Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Tower of Juice

"Juice," he called me. What a dick.

Of course, six years ago, that would have been true. At a time like this, I find myself wishing I was still using. It's not that I'm not still strong. I've always been a large man, but the strength of a large man pales in comparison to that of a large man who's time is devoted to growing stronger.

My eyes flash down across the palms of my hands. There used to be thick calluses from far too many repetitions with heavy metal bars. Now, the only things close to that are the slight points of wear from my fingertips mashing my keyboard. Not that I'm bitter about the change. I understand that I am healthier and lead a better life since trading weights for words, but being a powerlifter does prepare one better for physical conflict than writing about powerlifting.

My legs move me forward quickly. A short distance behind me, I can hear the chaotic chatter of my former bus-mates. Beyond that are the heavy thuds of what I can only hope are the now lifeless things that were attempting to use our bus as a canned meal. The more that guy takes out, the less there are trying to eat me out here. Further away are sirens, screams and other assorted sounds that one would associate with pandemonium. I scan the area for a building with no one exiting it. I figure that people will flee if something is trying to eat them, and these creatures will exit the building looking for food if everyone has fled. Either way, if no one is coming through the doors, it's probably my best bet.

Up the road a bit is a high rise that looks quiet, so I make for the revolving doors. I attract the attention of a couple of interested parties on my way in, and they try to follow. Luckily for me, they lack the ability to understand a machine even as simple as a revolving door. A well placed chair keep them jammed into their glass pie wedge prison cell. I can hear them banging away at it as I hit the button for the elevator. A friendly ding and the well polished door slides aside. The car is empty. I tap the button for the twenty-second floor. My Mom's birthday was on the twenty-second of last month. The door slides closed again. It cuts off the echoing banging from my friends at the front door, as if it was shushing them. Shhhhhhhud.
The car glides upward for a short while. Not surprisingly, no one is waiting to get on. Another ding and the door opens again.

I don't think this is my floor. A small lobby sits before me, and it looks like some people are waiting for an appointment. With me. I jam the button for whatever the hell floor my fingers make contact with and retreat to the back of the car. A thirty-something woman dressed in a long skirt, white blouse and buckets of her own blood stands just beyond the elevator's doorway. There are a few more people on the other side of the room in similar shape. Oh shit. Is this one of the blissfully antiquated elevators with the bumper on the door, or is it one of the inconveniently upgraded ones with the infra-red beams? I furiously mash the “Door Close” button. Over my clicking I can hear her bizarre steps coming closer. Two clacks from a high-heeled shoe on the tile, and one thump from her gnawed upon bare foot. This is taking far too long. She's right outside the door. I hear the motor snap to life and the door begins to close. My God it takes an eternity. I haven't seen anything move this slow since I tried to watch Seven Samurai. Of course, I would kill for a katana right now. She reaches out towards me and breaks the plane of the doorway. I lunge forward to knock her arms out of the way of the door.


The IR sensor is tripped and the door rescinds its offer to help me escape this floor and swings back to the right. I am now face to face with this bitch who decided to get fake nails from Olga the Sadist. At least she's only as strong as a 120 pound woman. I slam her to the ground in the doorway and rush past. She jams those fucking nails through my pant leg and gashes open my left thigh. Just what I needed, a limp. I spot the door for the stairs to my right and head through it. It's dimly lit, and the reverberations of shuffling feet and groaning fill the stairwell. I can't tell which direction it's coming from, so I'll just have to take my chances. I know the ground isn't safe, and up seems like the way to go. Floor twenty-two. Bah. Maybe I should have remembered to send my Mom a birthday card. I start to scale the stairs as the creatures slam into the door I closed behind me. The cacophony of thunderous echoes they create gives me an instant headache. I scale around ten more floors as quickly as I can. I'm bleeding badly from my leg, and I need to stop somewhere to bandage it. My eyes spot a few listless shapes on the landing above me, so I head through the nearest door. I come out into a long and empty corridor. I start checking the doors. I'm ruling out any office door that is locked or damaged. The first door that opens belongs to some sort of insurance company. It's a heavy door with a strong looking lock, so it will be a good place to hole up.

I stumble into a nearby office. The adrenaline is starting to wear off, and my leg hurts like hell. I trash the desk and am lucky enough to find a spare shirt and tie in one of the drawers. You can always count on insurance people to be prepared. I slump down next to the desk and begin tending my wound. I swear I can hear the bedlam from the streets below, but that can't be right. I'll have to investigate that once the noise of my heart pounding and my heavy breathing subside.

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