VIROS (Barnaby Taylor, 2017)

Chapter 6

With the hatch in the floor bolted shut,  the twins led me and Ellis down a dimly lit service corridor until we came to a large metal door in the wall. The boy pulled the door open and stepped through.

            ‘After you,’ said the girl to the two of us. Ellis walked slowly through and I followed.

            We found ourselves in a small utility room. One wall was lined with metal shelves. There was a steel sink in the corner and above the sink was a first aid box. The girl opened the box and took out a box of bandages. She pointed to a rusty chair by the door.

            ‘Sit down, ‘ she said to Ellis. ‘I’ll take a look at your ankle.’ Ellis sat down. I suddenly felt very tired and slumped to the floor. The boy handed me a bottle of water. I said thank you with my eyes and took a big swig.

            ‘Who are you both and why were you following us?’

            ‘I’m Abraham,’ said the boy, ‘but everyone calls me Abe.’ Abe pointed at the girl. ‘My twin sister’s name is Amber.’

            ‘And I’m the eldest by three and a half minutes,’ said Amber as she expertly wound a bandage around Ellis’s ankle. ‘We were on our way back here,’ she continued, ‘when we heard the two of you making enough noise to wake the already awake dead.’ She laughed.

            ‘This tunnel is a favourite short-cut for the infected of this town and had you carried on much further you would have stumbled upon so many of them that you would never have escaped. We were running to warn you.’

            ‘And also because there was another swarm right behind us,’ laughed Abe. Ellis looked puzzled.

            ‘But how did you know that this place existed?’ she asked.

            ‘Our dad owned the construction company that was repairing this tunnel and he told about this secret room. Apparently, it was built just in case anyone got trapped in the tunnel due to a train crash, landslide or other disaster. They could make their way here and wait to be rescued.’ Abe was a cheerful boy and laughed again. ‘Clearly no-one is coming to rescue us any time soon.’

            Amber finished with Ellis’s ankle and put the bandages away. Everyone was silent for a minute and then I spoke.

            ‘We are Jake and Ellis and we met on top of a roof. My mum is missing and we are on our way to find Ellis’s brother, Vinnie who we think is still alive and hiding at St. Dunstan’s School. We have been bumping into these viros all day.’ The twins nodded.

            ‘Viros,’ said Abe. ‘That’s a cool name for these things.’

            ‘We went past the school earlier,’ said Amber ‘and there was a group of people on the roof of the gymnasium. We couldn’t stop to help as we were being followed by a very persistent bunch of these things.’

            ‘We managed to lose them, ‘ continued Abe, ‘and made our way here to wait for nightfall. Once it was dark we sneaked out to try and see if there was anyone else left alive. We were just coming back when we saw the two of you ahead of us.’

            ‘We had no way of knowing who you were,’ said Amber, ‘so we followed you until we realised that we were being following by a swarm. That’s when we started running.’

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