A knock on my doorframe. I look up from where I'm sitting in the middle of my floor. Alfred. Of course. "Yes?"
"Miss Clara, is something bothering you?"
I'm getting awful at hiding things. "N--no, nothing important."
"You should stop chewing your fingernails, then. It isn't good for the teeth."
"I'm not chewing my--" I look down at my hands. "Okay, I will."
He winks at me. "It doesn't take the world's second-greatest detective to see when something's eating you, you know. You should get out of here for a bit. Get some nice, fresh air. I'm going out. Come with me."
I wish it were that easy. But, of course, it isn't, and I can't leave now. "No, I'm...not up for that today. Thanks. I'll go next time." Getting Alfred out of the house and out of harm's way is an excellent bonus. If I can take care of this myself and avoid having to tell him, I'll be happy.
Alfred reaches down and pats my hand before taking it in his own. "Yes, that's a dear, come on."
"But I don't--"
"Just for a little while, that's all."
"But, Alfred, I--"
"That's a girl." Somehow, I'm on my way out the door.
I don't know how he does it.
He drives slowly. I'd forgotten how slowly. Though, it could have something to do with how anxious I am to get back. Why, though? What are they going to do if they get there to "meet" me and nobody's home? Take advantage of the element of surprise, I think glumly. No, I still want to be at the manor before they are.
I don't recognize this part of town. I can't help but think, as it passes us by, that it looks quiet. Nice. Two ladies, mother and daughter, perhaps, are selling flowers from an old booth, pink and green garlands spilling from tipped baskets. I can't take my eyes off them until Alfred turns a corner and they're stolen from my sight. I could do something like that...when I'm finished with all this...
The charm of the neighborhood behind us is quickly diluted by the rest of Wasusy. None of it remains when Alfred plunges us under a high rise and parks. "I've got a short meeting to sit in on, speak Master Wayne's piece. You can come up and wait for me in the building if you'd like, but there are shops and a park a block away."
I'd go crazy sitting and waiting for him in some panel-walled lobby. I'll go crazy waiting regardless, but that would be worse. "Okay. I'll check them out."
I wince when I get out of the car. Forgot to take the knives out. I always wanted a couple puncture holes in my thighs. Maybe I can clip my stockings to them, not have to wear a garter any more. Stupid stockings. Stupid knives. I surreptitiously reach up to feel the damage. Not bad, just pinpricks, really. Still. Stupid. I come out, squinting into the light.
There's shouting and screaming and a crowd that I move toward, forgetting Alfred's distractions, but that I can't see until my eyes adjust to the sun. Gol. A building is on fire. Someone is yelling to call 911 without making a move toward the phone booth a few yards away. Others are standing in a semicircle with their hands in their pockets, watching the flames.
I push my way to the front. "Is anyone in there?" I ask the man next to me.
"Don't think so," he says. Takes another slow drag on his cigarette.
Nervously, I look from window to empty window. The woman at the edge is still screaming about the fire department. Annoyed, I shove her toward the phone booth.
A crash. I can't identify the source. Part of the crowd steps back and many of them trip over whoever's behind them. I find what scared them--a sizable chunk of flaming debris that must have fallen off the building.
I yell and step back when I realize the debris is moving and it's human. I should help, somehow, but all I can do is stare.
G: Like helplessness experiments. That's the biggest problem in zombie apocalypses. People who survive will always eventually come to question why they bother.
Seamus: The biggest problem in zombie apocalypses is poor planning and not enough ammo.