After Rollie and Will used everything from Marshall stacks to scrap wood to barricade the two doors leading into Scallywags’ back stage, they hurried to find Steve. Steve, with the help of his girlfriend and the two waitresses, had been working on getting the skylight open.
The men arrived to find him struggling at the top of a folding ladder. “This damn skylight is jammed or something.”
“Maybe it needs a key,” Rollie suggested.
“The hell with that,” Will said. “Just break the f-in’ thing open.”
“But what if it’s a toxic gas that’s causing all this?” Sammy said.
Will said, “I really think it’s the bites, hun.”
Steve came down the ladder. “Speaking of which, how are those two?”
Raquel answered. “Diamond found a first aid kit and he’s taking care of himself and that woman, Julie.”
Steve’s eyes flew around the room, as he said, “Well, I wish him all the luck in the world.” He found a crowbar on a table and snatched it up. “He’s going to need it.”
After climbing back up the ladder, he started hammering the opaque skylight with the crowbar. It didn’t take long for it to shatter and rain jagged crescents of white plastic down onto them. “I’m through and I’m going up. Stabilize that ladder.”
Looking back, he said, “I don’t care if you guys want to come up, but send Zoë up first. I don’t want her down there without me.”
As Zoë climbed up, Rollie looked at Sammy. “How about you gals? You want to stay here?”
“You go,” Raquel said. “I’ll keep an eye on things down here.”
Will had already started up the ladder. Sammy and Rollie hurried to follow him.
After helping Sammy onto the roof, he saw the backs of the others, while they all did a Blair Witch impression as they looked down into the strip mail parking lot.
“What is it?” Sammy began, “Oh my God!”
Below them spread a sight straight out of a mad man’s worst nightmare. Packs of the blood soaked cannibals roamed in groups sometimes a dozen strong. Others banged on the interior of their car windows with red fists, like they remained too brain dead to figure out how to open the doors.
A shout came up from below. “Oh thank God!” a woman said.
A man stood next to her right below them. He clutched at his bleeding arm. “Are you guys normal? You have to help us. Lower a rope or something.”
“Were you bit?” Steve asked.
“Yeah, we need help,” the man said.
“Not if you’ve been bit. Keep moving,” Steve said.
“Are you kidding?” the woman said.
“No, keep moving.”
A group of the infected rounded the southwest corner of Scallywags and started lurching toward the couple. “You son of a bitch!’ the man shouted and then took off running with his woman’s hand in his.
“I can’t believe-” Sammy began, but was interrupted by the sounds of Raquel screaming below.
Check in every Saturday for a new chapter in the Eternal Aftermath!