Read Fall of the Seven Cities Saga (Book 1) Online

Authors: Jay Brenham

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Fall of the Seven Cities Saga (Book 1) (4 page)

BOOK: Fall of the Seven Cities Saga (Book 1)
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Jenna, the nurse from the front desk, was silent in her approach. Matt didn’t even notice her until she spoke.

“Precious aren’t they?”

“Yeah, I didn’t know they were so small,” Matt said. He felt stupid as soon as the words were out of his mouth. Who doesn’t know how big a baby is?

“I think even parents forget how small a newborn is. But they get big in a hurry. All of those newborn clothes that people buy for baby showers last about two weeks. A month if you’re lucky.”

“You know a lot about babies,” Matt said. Another stupid thing to say. She must have really wanted to talk to someone because she certainly wasn’t staying for his conversational brilliance.

She laughed. “Nah, I just work around them. Aren’t you like that with your job? What do you do?”

“I’m a real estate agent.”

He was about to say something else when the buzzer rang. Someone wanted to get into the maternity ward.

They both ran towards the front desk. Through the window they could see a middle-aged black woman, with a messy set of braids.

“That’s Miss Jade. She’s the nursing specialist. We have to let her in,” Jenna said.

“You’ve gotta open up,” Miss Jade screamed at the same time. “Help me!”

Her hand was bloody and it left red smears as she pounded the small window set in the door.

“Don’t open it,” Matt said.

Taylor had come up behind them. He had his gun out of the holster, but instead of aiming it at Miss Jade, he was pointing it at Jenna.

“If you open that door you’re gonna kill every one of these children and their mothers. If you move for that button I’ll splatter your brains against that wall like a plate of spaghetti,” he said in a calm voice. “And if Miss Jade gets in I’m going to kill her too. She’s infected.”

The words Taylor used might have been laughable in a movie. But the way he said it, Matt knew he was serious. Matt had already seen Taylor kill a man and knew that he wouldn’t hesitate to do it again.

Jenna’s eyes were wide as she stepped away from the button that released the door. Miss Jade let out a wail. Taylor lowered his weapon but he didn’t holster it.

At the sound of commotion, several of the nurses had appeared; they’d all heard what Taylor said. Now Matt could feel their animosity growing like a living thing. Everyone was either glaring in Taylor’s direction or they looked like they were going to be sick. A lot of people didn’t like cops on an average day, let alone a cop who’d just sentenced a friend to death. It didn’t matter if Taylor was right.

“We have to help her,” Cheryl, the nurse who’d changed the code on the door, said. She crossed her arms, like she was ready for a fight.

A doctor dressed in scrubs made a move for Taylor’s gun but Matt saw him coming and tackled him into the ground, planting a knee on the back of his neck to hold him in place. Taylor placed a boot on one of the doctor’s wrists so he would not be able to grab at Matt with his hand.

“We could open those doors real fast and get her inside,” the doctor said through clenched teeth.

“This is the way things are,” Matt said, making sure his voice carried to the rest of the onlookers. “If you have a problem with that, too bad. Miss Jade is infected. If we open those doors everyone in here will die. You. Me. The mothers. The babies.”

The doctor was silent and no one else said anything. The decision was made.

At the door, another man had appeared beside Miss Jade. He had a long cut down the side of his face and lacerations and bite marks on his neck. He started yelling and pounding on the door with his fists and feet.

The infected came scrambling around the corner right behind the man, some upright, some on all fours. When they saw Miss Jade and the man they went crazy, a pack of hyenas that stumbled upon two wounded antelope.

One of them grabbed Miss Jade by the braids and pounded her face against the small glass window, using it like a battering ram. After the second impact, Miss Jade’s front teeth broke and the skin above her eye separated like the Red Sea. Blood covered the reinforced glass, making it difficult to see.

Matt couldn’t see the other man—the infected had tackled him to the ground—but he could hear rhythmic thuds as they pounded him against the tile floor. The nursing staff looked on in horror, but this time none of them made a move to open the doors.

When the infected were finished with Miss Jade and the man, they turned their attention to the maternity ward, pounding savagely on the doors and throwing their bodies against it with no regard for injury.

“Damn it,” Matt muttered. “They led the infected right to us. We need to do something to block that entrance.”

“I’m on it.” Taylor raised his voice to address the medical staff and families, who had begun trickling out of the hospital rooms. “I need a few people to give me a hand so we can block those doors.”

Matt and Taylor ran to the waiting area with a few nurses and some of the men who were visiting their wives. Together, they started moving furniture to pile in front of the doors. Chairs, couches, anything that could be used to block the entrance. When the waiting room was empty they removed the plastic reclining chairs from each hospital room and stacked them against the door.

Taylor pulled Matt aside. “Those doors aren’t gonna hold forever and when they go there’s gonna be a flood of infected in here. We both know what they’re going to do to these mothers and babies.”

Matt passed a hand over his eyes. “We need a plan to get these people out of here. Where’s the rest of your department? Shouldn’t they be providing back up? People have been hurt.”

“The department is only staffed to put out a certain number of fires at once. People have been hurt all over the city. I don’t know what’s happening out there.””

“I didn’t think about that.” Matt grimaced. “Any ideas on what we should do with these people then?”

“If there weren’t infected pounding on that door I would say we should sit tight. But we need to get the mothers and babies out of here or they’ll die.”

“Alright, I’ll talk to Jenna about getting some emergency bags made up. I overheard two of the nurses talking earlier and nobody is in labor. Thank God,” Matt added. He had no idea what to do with a woman in labor. “Where should we go?”

“I don’t know. I wish we had a bus so we could drive everyone out of the city."

“I live down the block,” Matt offered. “Literally, one block. It’s not as secure as a hospital but nobody will know we’re there. We can sneak out the emergency exit and everyone can stay in my house until this blows over.”

Taylor nodded. “Let’s get everyone together and explain that we need to leave.”

It wasn’t the best option and they both knew it, but it was better than the alternative. They could stay and be massacred, or they could all pile inside Matt’s home.

Matt was walking toward the front desk, intending to have Jenna page the staff, when he heard a scream and the sound of wood dragging against the floor.

The infected had already broken through.

Jenna’s voice came over the loudspeaker. “They are inside. All patients get in your rooms and lock yourselves in.”

Matt started running in her direction. “We need to leave,” he said, catching Jenna by the arm as she went around the corner.

“I have to get these babies out of the nursery and with their mothers,” she yelled.

“There’s no time for that,” Matt said, even as he looked in the direction of the nursery. He knew they couldn’t leave the newborns to be slaughtered. He would rather die than have children turned over to the same fate as Miss Jade. The idea of the infected getting a hold of the newborns was sickening.

“Get to the loudspeaker,” he said. “Tell the mothers and fathers to get to the nursery and get their children into their rooms before it’’s too late. Taylor and I will try to hold the infected at the door.”

Taylor was just down the hall telling a woman to get back in her room.

“We need to hold the infected back,” Matt said without preamble. “Jenna is going to get the parents to come to the nursery for the newborns.”

Taylor nodded and ran toward the barricade, Matt on his heels. They reached the breached doors just in time to see the infected struggling to push through the furniture barricade.

With practiced precision Taylor pulled his gun from his holster, aimed, and fired at the wall of infected behind the barricade. With each body that went down another took its place. Once Taylor had emptied his magazines, he withdrew a smaller version of his handgun from inside his shirt and emptied it as well, tallying one body for each shot.

Matt stood back, not wanting to get in Taylor’s way while he was shooting. Over his shoulder he could see parents running to the nursery for their children. He hoped they could hold off the infected in time for everyone to get their child.

Once Taylor had emptied both weapons he pulled an extendable baton from his duty belt. There was a piece of tape on the handle that said “Evidence,” but there wasn’t time for Matt to ask what it meant. With a flick of his wrist, Taylor extended the baton.

“I don’t think we’ll be able to hold this barricade for long. Strike at the ones in the front first,” Taylor said, meeting Matt’s eyes.

Matt swallowed and gripped the framing hammer, moving forward with Taylor, a phalanx of two. He wondered if this was how the Spartan warriors felt as they marched into battle. This was their version: a Virginian Thermopylae.

There was no hope in holding the barricade for any length of time. They could only slow the infected down and buy the patients as much time as possible.

Matt climbed atop the barricade and Taylor took the side, where a small space showed between the door and the pile of furniture. The infected surged forward, trying to grab hold of them. Matt swung wildly with the hammer, striking at any exposed flesh in sight.

Their attempt at fighting by hand did little to hold back the onslaught. After a few minutes Taylor pulled back from the barricade.

“Let’s bail,” he shouted to Matt, who was still attacking. “We’re wearing ourselves out and I think all the babies are out of the nursery.”

Matt’s feet had just touched the floor when the barricade began to shift: the infected were pushing the entire thing forward by brute strength, not bothering to pull it apart piece by piece. It wasn’t until some of the infected started to go over the top of the barricade that it truly failed.

Matt was following Taylor toward an emergency exit—a different door than they’d entered by—when he noticed Jenna in the nursery. She had a bag full of diapers and formula over one shoulder and she was leaning over to pick up a tiny baby with a pink hat.

“Wait,” he shouted to Taylor. “There’s one more baby.””

Taylor turned to hold off any infected while Matt rushed into the nursery.

“They’re inside,” Matt said, careening through the nursery’s open door. “We have to go
now
.”

Jenna cursed and ran after Matt, holding the baby to her chest.

The first infected, a female in surgical scrubs, had nearly reached Taylor. He stood stagger-stepped with his knees bent slightly: a fighting stance, with his baton cocked in the air. When the female reached him he stepped to the side, delivering a crushing blow across the bridge of her nose, before moving to the next target. This bought Jenna and Matt enough time to get to the stairs.

“Go to the stairwell and wait for me,” Matt said to Jenna, not taking his eyes off Taylor. “If I don’t make it, leave.”

Taylor was in trouble but not yet injured. The first woman that he’d struck in the face was flailing blindly, searching for something to attack. He’d struck a second infected man in the knees and now the man was crawling towards Taylor, his fingers curled like claws. A third infected, a man wearing a Hawaiian shirt, was clutching the shoulder of Taylor’s uniform.

In the second it took Matt to assess how Taylor was faring, more infected began scrambling over the barricade. They wouldn’t be able to hold their own for long; they needed to get out of the hospital. Fast. Maybe they could lead the infected away from the families in the maternity ward in the process.

Taylor had dropped his baton but somehow managed to trap the arms of the infected man in the Hawaiian shirt under his left arm. He was using his free hand to push the man’s face away from him.

Matt took a running start in Taylor’s direction, front kicking the blind infected in the back, sending her sprawling on the floor. With his next stride, he stomped on the neck of the crawling infected man just as he reached for Taylor’s pant leg, then aimed his hammer at the back of the man’s head. Taking the claw end of his hammer, Matt swung it into the spine of the infected man who was grappling with Taylor. The infected man arched his back and Matt twisted the hammer against the man’s spine, until he felt something pull loose. Instead of falling limply to the floor, the infected man ran into the wall, spinning against it like he was a short-circuiting robot. Taylor scooped up his collapsible baton and sprinted toward the stairwell. Matt followed.

Jenna was waiting for them, trying to calm the screaming baby. Matt shut the door behind him and the three of them ran down the stairs.

When Matt looked up, the infected were pouring through the door from the maternity ward like a flood. Some of them were screaming, but mostly he heard the sounds of their heavy breathing. Taylor had taken the lead, keeping Jenna and the baby safely in the middle. When they reached the bottom, Taylor burst through the door and into the sunlight, spinning around to make sure no infected were nearby.

BOOK: Fall of the Seven Cities Saga (Book 1)
4.1Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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