Chapter Eleven

'I can't do this,' Paul said suddenly. It was the first time that either he or Donna had spoken for more than an hour. 'Can't do what?' 'Stay here like this. I can't handle it. I can't just sit here knowing they're out there waiting...' 'Well you're going to have to handle it, aren't you? There's not a lot else we can do.' Still crouching in the training room where they'd hidden since the incident hours earlier, the two survivors knew that there were still bodies out on the landing. Occasionally Donna plucked up the courage to peer out through the window, immediately moving out of sight again at the faintest sign of activity in the corridor outside.

She had spent the last hours trying to work out why the creatures were there at all. Had they been trapped by the heavy landing doors swinging shut, or had they made a conscious decision to wait there for the survivors to emerge again? Were they even capable of conscious decision making? It was impossible to tell. Assuming that it had been sound that first attracted them to the tenth floor, Donna had come to the conclusion that it had been a domino effect of sorts that had drawn others to the scene. It seemed logical that the noise made by the first body trying to force its way inside had attracted another which in turn had attracted another and another and so on... 'So what are we going to do?' Paul moaned. Christ, he really was beginning to irritate Donna now. 'Jesus,' she sighed, 'I don't know.' 'We can't sit here forever, can we?' 'But what are we going to gain from leaving?'

'We're ten floors up here. The only way out is to go down the staircase and if any more of those things appear then we're going to have a hell of a job trying to get through them when we need to get out, aren't we?' He was right. She didn't bother to acknowledge him but she had to admit that he was right. Much as she wanted to stay hidden in the office, she knew that if she followed her earlier line of thinking through, then more and more of the bodies could be attracted to the scene until it became impossible for the two of them to get away. Her options looked decidedly bleak; take her chances with the diseased population or sit here and wait endlessly with this whinging mouse of a man. For a few seconds she sat and weighed up the odds before deciding it was time to move. 'All right then,' she said, 'let's do it.

We'll try and find somewhere safer, if anywhere's going to be any safer, that is.' She watched Paul's face. He looked terrified. Although he had been the one who had suggested they leave, it was obvious that the grim reality of his suggestion was only just beginning to sink in. 'But how?' he stammered. 'How are we going to get past them. We don't know how many of them are...' Donna thought for a moment. 'Distract them,' she said eventually. 'There are doors at either end of the landing, aren't there? We'll draw them towards one end of the office and then get out through the other.' Paul looked into space, thinking carefully. The expression on his face slowly began to change and Donna started to wonder whether she'd been hasty in her judgment of him. He had listened and he suddenly looked ready to overcome his obvious nervousness and take what was left of his life in his hands to leave the relative safety of the office.

'Okay,' he said quietly, his voice a little more positive and purposeful than it had been all morning, 'so where do we go once we're out there?' 'Don't know. From what I can see we can pretty much take our pick of the entire city, maybe even the country.' 'We could find ourselves a car and try and get away...' Donna shook her head. 'I don't think that's a good idea. If those things outside are able to hear us now, all we'd be doing is drawing more attention to ourselves. What we need is to find somewhere secure like this place, but with more than one way out.' 'There must be hundreds of places like that round here. This is a city centre for God's sake.' 'There's the main police station round the corner for a start. Then there's the hospital, the university, shops, pubs...' 'If we could find somewhere with food supplies and drinks...' 'Christ, I could murder a drink...' 'Or beds? What about finding somewhere with real beds? Bloody hell, a decent-sized house would do, wouldn't it?'

'There aren't many houses round here,' Donna said, suddenly feeling a fraction more positive about their situation. 'But you're right, when we're ready we could head out into the suburbs, maybe even further?' Paul stopped to think again. 'There's one thing that we're not taking into consideration here,' he sighed. 'What's that?' 'The bodies. We both saw what that one tried to do to you. As soon as we go outside we'll be...' 'I still don't think that body tried to do anything to me,' she interrupted, 'it just reacted to me being there. I think if I'd stood still and stayed quiet it would have walked straight past.' 'I'm not sure...' 'They don't seem to be attacking each other, do they?' 'I don't know. I haven't seen enough to be able to say...' 'Look, assuming their senses are gradually returning, how would they know that we're not like the rest of them if we played dead? We're stronger and we look in better condition than they do, but after everything that's happened to them are they really going to be able to tell?' Paul shrugged his shoulders. 'I don't know. Can we afford to take a chance like that?'

'Can we afford not to? You're right, Paul, we could be trapped in here. There might be thousands of those things here in just a few hours, there might even be that many out there now. We don't have an option.' 'When then? Now?' 'Tonight.' 'Why wait?' 'If we're relying on the fact that their senses are poor, then why not wait a little longer until it's dark outside? If they can't see us properly in daylight, what chance have they got at night?'

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