Lucy is gone by the time I reach the front counter – probably off to the truck to grab her tools I take my time sifting through the keys, trying each until I find the one that works. I wist it, pull the lock off and toss it aside before sliding open the case. I do the same to the other case, then step back, admire my amazing handiwork, and go grab a few golf balls.
I climb on top of the counter with my club in hand and set a ball down. It takes me a few seconds of wrestling with the ball to convince it to stop trying to roll away but eventually, the ball complies with my demands and stays still. I step to the side, line up my shot, and cringe as shattered glass rains upon my head. The light above has been thoroughly destroyed.
The front door flies open and Lucy rushes inside, closing the door quickly behind her, without slamming it.
“Chase!” She whisper-yells.
“Nothing!” I holler back at her, quickly shaking glass from my hair and dropping off the counter. “It was like that whe-“
“Creepers!” Lucy interrupts me. I shut up immediately, subconsciously ducking my head. The windows have heavy bars over them and are fogged out glass so ducking is pointless, but it’s a natural response.
“Where? How many?”
“A dozen, maybe? Outside, about half a block. I grabbed my tools and saw them on my way back.”
“Did they see you?”
“I don’t know,” Lucy shrugs.
We stand there silently for several moments, just waiting to see if anything tells us they’ve been alerted.
“Maybe we should lower the security gate?” I suggest.
Lucy considers this for a few seconds, then nods at me. She takes a half step from the door, turns around, and reaches for the handle. Her fingers just brush the metal when something heavy thuds against the door.
A shadow of a former person plays against the frosted window of the door as we watch. It’s not trying to break the door down, or smash through the window, so it doesn’t know we’re in here… it probably just noticed movement or a sound and is trying to investigate whether it’s human or the wind.
Lucy backs away from the door, slowly and carefully so as to not trip or knock anything over. Another body thunks against the door, then one at the window, then another. They’re not extremely intelligent, but they know something is curious about this building.
Lucy joins me behind the counter, motioning to the open gun case with a questioning expression. I point at the keys on the counter and mouth the word ‘safe’. She raises a brow and nods, impressed.
After quietly retrieving a few duffle bags off a nearby shelf, Lucy and I load several hunting rifles, a few shotguns, and every case of ammo we can fit. We fill three bags, then she mouths the words ‘back door’ and jabs her thumb toward the rear office. I nod at her, raising a finger to indicate that I will follow her in a few seconds. She nods and disappears into the office.
I grab an extra bag and sneak back toward the clothing racks. I cram a few pairs of shorts, socks, and some shirts into the bag, then turn to follow. I turn to head back toward Lucy and freeze when I feel a tug. My heart skips a beat as I feel a whoosh of air; my bag caught a peg of the rack and pulled it over. I try to catch it but I miss and the whole rack crashes to the ground.
Hardly a full second passes before I hear the scream from outside. The creepers at the door definitely heard that; they begin pounding on the door at full force. I hear a window crack; it’s not too concerning because the windows are all reinforced with steel bars, but it still terrifies me to be reminded of their strength.
I take up my bags and run for the back office.