June 12th, 2008
T.Rex and Angel Hair headed towards the roof to start their night watch shift. As they climbed into the attic, Ryan tried to make sense of his spinning thoughts.
"So what was that all about?" Angel Hair asked. "You said something about Jenny and looked like you were having a bad dream."
"Quite the opposite," T.Rex said. "I dreamed that Benji drove here in his car. Except it wasn't his normal car, it was like a souped-up battle chariot, and he had a chainsaw and a shotgun. We slaughtered an entire crowd of zombies and rode out of town packed in like sardines. It was only after we were clear that I remembered Jenny, and then I woke up all confused."
Angel Hair pulled the tarp that covered the roof hole and took a deep breath of the cool nighttime air. "Sounds awful."
"I don't know what was worse, that we forgot my girlfriend or that I woke up in the first place," T.Rex admitted. Together the two Fools shared a pensive stare into the foliage behind the apartment, trying to see more than shadows. Normally, street lights, porch lights, and a host of electronics kept the night at bay. Tonight, just the moon shone dimly on the group of survivors and the horde of zombies infesting the campus.
The longer Ryan sat staring into the dark, the more he began to worry. The Fools had been trapped in their upstairs apartment for one day shy of one week, and there was no sign of help. Worse, signs of life seemed to be deteriorating around Purdue. Power had not been restored, phone service was degrading, and they hadn't seen any signs or sounds of normalcy in quite some time.
T.Rex grabbed his pack of equipment and rummaged through it until he found his binoculars. He silently motioned for Angel Hair follow quietly, and then indicated he was going to scout around with an exaggerated sweeping spyglass motion. Hanging them around his neck, he very gently climbed out of the hole cut in the roof and rested his body on the rough shingles, trusting in friction to hold him on the roof.
Together they army crawled to the peak of the roof. Ryan motioned silently to Angel Hair to remove his glasses before they continued, and once he did they peered very slowly over the top of the roof.
The sight they saw was much more frightening than peering out of a window. Hundreds of shambling creatures in various states of decay walked the streets uncontested. Their horrible groans and stutter step on the gravel weren't nearly as bad as the awful stench that corrupted the air. The same breeze that brought temporarily relief from the humidity also carried a putrid decomposing odor. Ryan's nose rankled as he glanced around. Apartments and trees blocked a good portion of the view.
"Here's the plan," he whispered to Angel Hair. "We need to get a better look of the neighborhood. I'm gonna shuffle to the edge of the roof and hop on that awning over there. After that, I should be able to climb on the neighbor's roof. Watch for me to cross and wait for my signal to follow."
Angel Hair nodded silently and tapped his temple with two fingers. Ryan very gently slid down a few feet, out of sight of the front side of the apartment, and worked his way to the edge of the roof.
Sure would be great if I had some sort of loud distraction, Ryan thought. Perhaps some fireworks. He very gently reached his short leg out to try and test the sturdiness of the overhang he would land on, but it was several feet out of reach. T.Rex gripped his binoculars, gritted his teeth, and launched himself from the roof.
He landed on the awning with little room to spare, and the resultant clatter seemed like a percussion feature in the relatively still night. Ryan quickly scrambled across and reached the neighboring roof, and began to climb. Fearing the noise had attracted the creatures nearby, he carefully maneuvered behind the chimney and paused to let his heart stop pounding.
Ryan brushed aside a nearby branch and held up his hand for Angel Hair to see. He splayed all his fingers to form the "Run Play Five" signal. Nodding, Angel Hair slowly worked his way to the edge of the roof and also took a leap. He cleared the gap, and Ryan very carefully extended his arm to help him up.
They climbed to the peak of the roof and very carefully stood up, legs planted apart for balance. Ryan gave Angel Hair the binoculars and leaned against the chimney. He cupped his hands and nodded upward, and very carefully he hoisted Angel Hair on top of the brick chimney. From there Angel Hair was able to reach up and grab a nearby branch.
He climbed slowly up into an enormous tree that hugged the building. The branches thinned at the top and so did the leaves, which gave Angel Hair a massive view of the surrounding area. Carefully wedging his skinny body between two branches and removed the binoculars. He peered down the entirety of Harrison street to the west, South Grant street to the south, to the Wood street parking garage to the north, and to South Chauncey Avenue to the east.
Ryan held onto the chimney for support as he craned his neck upward, trying to see his partner through the foliage and darkness. Several uncomfortable minutes passed in relative silence. He shook a nearby branch three times to get Angel Hair's attention.
"Status report?" Ryan whispered, trying to project his voice above him.
"I've got a really great view," came a muffled reply. "I want to stay up here for a bit and really study things, confirm?"
"Confirmed. Shake three times when you're coming back down." Ryan carefully sat down behind the chimney and waited, shifting uncomfortably every few minutes. Attempting to distract himself, T.Rex silently rhymed names in his head for Do Run Run.
Finally, there was a distinct trio of leafy rustles and Ryan stood up. Angel Hair carefully descended from the branches and back onto the chimney before looking down, nervously.
"C'mon," T.Rex urged.
"I don't think I can," Angel Hair admitted. "It was tall enough that I needed a boost up, and when I jump I'm gonna land on either angle, break my leg, and roll off onto the ground. And then I'll be crippled and zombie bait."
Ryan held out his arms and curled his fingers in a supportive posture. "C'mon, and I promise I won't let you fall. Toss me my binoculars, first."
Angel Hair lowered the binoculars by the strap and then very tenderly slid his body from the top of the chimney. Still holding onto the rim with his arms with a death grip, he flopped over until he was dangling. Ryan grabbed Angel Hair's pant legs just as he fell, and when he hit the rooftop his right foot rolled inward.
There was a very stifled yelp as Angel Hair's ankle folded awkwardly, but T.Rex hang on and kept him from going over the edge.
"Oh damnit," Ryan said quietly.
"It's fine, I think I just twisted my ankle," said Angel Hair.
T.Rex paused. "No, not that. I mean, props for staying quiet and I'm glad you're okay, but I just realized something."
"What?" Angel Hair said nervously.
"We jumped down onto this roof," Ryan said. "I wonder how we're gonna get back across to the upstairs apartment..."
Current Word Count: 23,226