They were coming for us. They were closer than they had been the day before.
The warehouse was full of refugees from the entire state who had come to seek shelter and protection from the hoard of overtaking monsters.
Yes, monsters. We had no other name for them. Honestly, none of us had even seen one up close. They're huge enough to see from a distance and the few we've seen, we've been able to take down pretty quickly.
But now, there was more than just a few. And we would be squished like bugs in this warehouse if we stayed for much longer.
"Everyone to the parking lot! Grab a car if you can and drive to the west side of the city! If you can't, just start walking!"
The announcement from one of the leaders came over the loud speaker and chaos immediately ensued. Family's were huddling their children together and gathering bags. Others started grabbing whatever supplies they could find or wanted from the many warehouse shelves. I quickly ran through the aisles, helping whoever I could. I knew my mom and brother were more than likely safely outside already so I just worried about myself and helping others.
As I helped an older woman fill up an abandoned shopping cart with goods, I caught movement out of the corner of my eye. A guy, about my age, was wearing a large grey sweater. Too large for him. It was bulky. And he was walking a little funny.
"Hey," I called to him.
He turned to look at me and I saw a quick flash of fear in his eyes. I knew immediately that something was up. Not only because of that look, but also because who wears a thick sweater in a seventy degree warehouse?
I started slowly walking towards him, trying to appear as casual as possible. All the while my thoughts were churning like crazy.
It has been known that the monsters capture a select few humans and brainwash them somehow, then send them back into civilization to carry out certain plans. Plans that would help the enemy in overtaking us. We had no idea how or why they did this. As far as we knew, they weren't intelligent monsters. And we had no way of knowing how they captured humans without harming them. These brainwashed people we called Fixtures.
Suddenly a hand grabbed my arm. I turned. It was Will.
"Hey where are you going? The exit is that way."
Will was one of the leaders of the whole rescue mission. He was taller than me, kind eyes, thick shoulders and arms. We had basically grown up together. He was like another brother to me.
My face was slightly turned away from the guy with the bulky sweater so I took a chance.
"Will, I think that guy is a Fixture."
Will took my cue of being calm and nonchalantly glanced over at the guy. He had barely moved, which was another clue. The Fixtures seemed to be kind of like zombies. They could think and communicate clearly. But they didn't move much.
Will nodded. "I think you're right. I'll take care of him. You get outside. I mean it."
"I need to help people!"
"Then help them but make your way towards the exit, you dufous."
"Okay, okay, I'm going."
He gave me a brotherly peck on the forehead then pushed me in the direction of the large door that led to the parking lot.
A flood of people were slowly making their way out too and I quickly got lost in the mass.
I looked back for a second to see if Will had apprehended the Fixture but couldn't find him in the crowd and dimly lit building.
Once outside, some refugees were trying to find any abandoned cars that still worked. Mostly dads of large families. I saw two vans leave the parking lot and a suburban. They were all headed west.
To the right of the parking lot of care were the ones choosing to walk on foot.
I climbed onto a car and shielded my eyes from the late morning sun. I couldn't see any of our leaders. There were four of them. Will, Max, Charlie and Jed. None of them were out here.
A chill of panic ran down my spine. They were all still inside. There was no way these people could make it to the next shelter without at least one of the four leaders.
I jumped off the car and started back towards the exit. It had cleared a lot, since most of the people were already outside.
An older man, standing to the right of the opening, grabbed me by the shoulders. "Don't go back in there, missy. They found a Fixture."
"I need to. My brother is still in there."
"Who's your brother?"
"One of the leaders? He's fine, miss. He told me not to let anyone back inside while they're figuring out how the monsters sent that Fixture back. And with what plan in mind."
The old mans intensity and crazed eyes made me think better about not going back inside. But I couldn't help but worry.
"Okay," I said, as I turned away.
I was determined not to leave with the rest of the refugees though. There was no way that I was leaving Will behind.
As I headed towards the trail that the mass of people had begun, I caught sight of my brother, Noah, and his best friend. I jogged over to them.
“Hey Noah,” I called.
“Hey Noah,” I called.
“What’s up, sis?”
“Dude, don’t tell anyone cuz I don’t wanna cause a panic but…all of the leaders are still inside.”
He stopped and looked over his shoulder at the large building. It seemed a lot smaller from up where we were.
“All four of them?” My brother’s best friend, Seth, asked.
“What’s up, guys? Why aren’t you walking? Or driving? Should we steal a car?” Seth’s brother, Shadrach, asked as he walked up just then.
“Trying to figure out what to do,” I said.
“About what?” he asked.
“She says that all four of the leaders are still in the warehouse.”
“We need to wait for them. There’s no way this mass of people will know where to go once we reach the next town,” I said.
Noah shrugged. “Dude, we’ll be fine. And the leaders are fine too. If they’re still in there, there has to be a reason.”
I debated whether or not to tell them about the Fixture I’d spotted. I decided not to.
“Well it doesn’t matter. Will is in there. And I’m not leaving without him.”
Noah smirked at me and turned away. “Whatever. You can wait here for them. I’ll let mom know so she won’t wonder where you are if you don’t join up with us by this evening.”
Seth and he walked away, laughing. I felt my face start to tense up with anger. How dare they.
“Hey, I’ll stick with you,” Shadrach said, placing a hand on my shoulder. “What did you have in mind? Like, where are we gonna wait for them, I mean.”
I looked around for a place to hideout. The building was behind us, to the left was the parking lot, and to the right was the trail of people. Straight ahead was nothing but hills. The warehouse had been built on the outside of town specifically to be away from civilization. It was in the middle of nowhere.
“The hills, I guess.” I pointed.
Shadrach nodded. “Might as well see what’s over them, right?”
“Do you have a backpack or anything?”
I shook my head.
“Well, I have mine. And I have some snacks in it, an extra hoodie, a few knives and three guns.”
He was definitely prepared. “That should be fine,” I said.
He hefted it onto his shoulder and we started off.