Originally published on March 16th, 2014
Copyright © 2014 by Christian Bergman, All rights reserved.
All people, places, and events are fictional … except when they aren’t.
The Nudist War – Day 46
Her skin was smooth and slightly freckled, bronzed with a healthy tan. She had long red hair that hung down, encircling his face. Her deep green eyes studied him intently. They were like pools in an oasis in the middle of a parched, arid desert.
• • •
Jess rolled over, looked at the clock and sighed. “2:00 AM. Maybe some fresh air will do me some good. Can’t be any worse than lying here staring at the ceiling,” she mused. “Maybe a walk on the roof?” She reached over and grabbed the notebook computer on the nearby table and brought it into bed with her. Deftly she opened the lid and scanned the stairwell security cameras from the garage level up to the roof. Seeing nothing amiss, she disarmed the motion sensors between the lab and the roof so as not to wake anyone. “I doubt that they will be coming down from the roof tonight. I don’t think the Zs are capable of scaling the outside of this building,” she chuckled to herself.
She had been cooped up in the lab far too long and desperately needed to get outside, even if it was just on the roof. She grabbed a raincoat from the closet, a pair of binoculars, and her favorite Russian made 410 semi-automatic shotgun. What it lacked in gauge, it made up for with its 15-round magazine. Eddy was asleep in the next room while Tom, Cindy, and Maxine were sleeping soundly in their makeshift accommodations in the break room. Wolf wagged his tail as Jess passed him. “Want to go for a walk?” Wolf whined and wagged his tail excitedly. “Okay, okay,” Jess answered.
She looked through the small window in the stairway door to make sure that it was safe, then quickly unlocked the door with her key. Once in the stairway she immediately relocked the door. She and Wolf quickly climbed the stairs to the roof door. She looked out the small window, but it was too dark to see anything. “We’ll fix that,” she thought and threw the switch that turned on the massive roof floodlights. It was now brighter than daylight on the roof with no shadows in which to hide. She then unlocked the door, let Wolf out, and silently stepped outside locking the door behind her … just in case.
Wolf immediately ran over to one of the floodlight supports and marked his territory. He then ran back and forth across the roof looking for just the right place to poo. With his immediate needs taken care of, he proceeded to inspect the area, stopping here and there to further add his scent. “All clear,” she noted mentally.
The door opened onto the roof next to the backup generators. At this elevation the possibility of flooding was nil and there were no known hurricane force winds that could damage them. Jess stepped out from under the helicopter landing platform and looked up to see the full moon ‘sailing’ through the low scudding clouds. Every so often a wave of light rain washed over her, pushed on by the wind. Jess did a quick inspection tour of the roof herself and then climbed the metal stairway up to the helipad above the generators. Wolf bounded up after her. There she opened the weatherized control box to shut off the flood lights and waited for her night vision to return. “Down, stay,” she commanded. Wolf lay down and proceeded to lick himself.
The wind was cold and damp blowing in from the Gulf. The salt smell of the sea was full in Jess’s nostrils, clean and fresh, unlike the filtered and re-filtered air of the lab. Jess walked over to the edge of the railing and scanned the beach with the binoculars. Nothing. She scanned the streets surrounding the lab building, following them back to the beach. Nothing. “Wonder where they are sleeping tonight?” she mused. The fact that Zs had been in the parking garage the day before was cause for concern. After several minutes, Jess heard a distant wailing cry. It sounded like it was several miles away. The shrieking grew as other voices joined in. It rose and fell in volume as it was carried along by the wind. Wolf picked up his ears and began to whine. It could have been a pack of coyotes or wolves, but these were all too obviously human voices. The chorus of voices slowly increased in number of voices and intensity. The sound sent a chill up and down Jess’s spine. It was suddenly too cold to be outside.
Jess turned, descended the steps back down to the roof, and walked briskly back to the stairwell. “Lets go Wolf. Enough fresh air for tonight,” she said as she closed and locked the door behind them and descended the stairs to the lab.
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