Taking in her surroundings, the feeling of cold helplessness traced its grip along her throat. She rubbed her neck and rolled her head along her shoulders. The bones cracked and she stopped for fear of alerting the military to her location.
Peeking around the wood frame of the door, the General remained stationary, his eyes scanning the shadows looking for her. She knew it. They weren’t leaving because they she was being searched for. Was that a good thing, not likely?
Pulling herself away from the door, she needed to find another solution. This was a general store, there had to be more than just regular stuff here. Maybe something could be of use.
Keeping the lights off, she started to look for anything that could help her. Mostly canned goods ran underneath her fingertips. The thought occurred to her to attack them with an armful of canned soup, but shook it off. That would just get her caught, or killed.
At the front of the store she found what she was looking for. An early display of fireworks. Fourth of July was still three weeks away, but this would do.
Now she needed a lighter. She remembered seeing one back by the store room and snuck her way back that way. The musty room had cleared a little bit with the door letting in fresh air, but she needed to be extra quiet or else she would give away her position.
Machine gun fire went off. She ducked and covered her mouth.
A creature growl ended abruptly. Bits of decayed flesh splashed into the doorway.
She kept her wits and pulled herself up and started to search the metal shelves. Coming up empty handed she froze. A beam of yellow light shot across the doorway and someone was approaching. The gravel crunched as the army man closed the distance.
Ducking back into the store, she hurried away from the storeroom as fast as possible without making any noise. Falling at the end of one aisle, her heart raced, her temple throbbed and she still didn’t have a lighter for her fireworks.
The beam of light shot across the store front. It passed overhead, and the person continued searching. Why would they come in now? She crouched and made her way down another aisle. Hoping against the odds that she would be free from the torture.
“I know you’re here.” A soft voice spoke up. “I’m here to take you to a safe place.”
She put her hands over her mouth and crouched up against one the end cap of one aisle. She almost responded. Sweat trickled down her cheek as she watched for the source of light.
The army man approached the aisle she had taken up as a hiding spot and she searched for any sort of weapon to protect herself. These are the same people that tried to kill her and Kyle not too long ago.
“Come on, I hear you breathing.” The man said again.
The leather booted clicks approached. She tensed and at the last moment slipped around the corner of the aisle. The army man stood at the end cap, the light waving back and forth.
Still holding the fireworks, she found her lighter. The army man remained stationary in position so if she made a move he would spot her. She grabbed a box of nails hanging on the shelf behind her and chucked them against the far wall over her head.
The clatter it made drew more than the army man’s attention as growls began to close in. Time was running out.
The moment the army man made a dash for the sound she picked up the lighter and started to light the first firework.
The flame blinded her as she rolled it down the aisle. It started to spark, red, green, smoke clouded her vision.
A high pitched whistle and she darted toward the storeroom as the army man came to check it out. She lit another firework and tossed it over her shoulder. It almost felt unnatural and dreamlike as she darted toward the back room. Her adrenaline pumped.
Creatures were banging on the glass now. It vibrated from their steady blows.
Just as she entered the storeroom, the General came in from outside. His gun in one hand and they both stopped, staring at each other.
“What are you doing? They will follow the sound.” He raised his gun. His white bushy eyebrows knitted together.
Unable to find a way out of this, Anna raised her hands. “I’m sorry.”
The General’s only response was waving her toward him with his gun.
As she approached, the cool air refreshed her blazing skin.