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I feel my daughter’s chest heaving against mine, just barely making out her sobs above the screams echoing through the stairwell. The once steady flow of machine gun fire now faded to sporadic bursts. My shoes slapped against the cold metal steps trying to keep up with the pounding of my heart. I spun my head around checking the stairs behind me. My grip tightened on Ella as we neared the roof, the dim red glow of the exit sign giving me new strength. I latched onto the shadow of a hope that there still was. I lowered my shoulder and burst through the door onto the sun splattered roof. Ella lifted her head from my shoulder and shielded her puffy red eyes from the sun. I ran to the edge of the building and looked down over the streets. But there was no street to see, just a writhing mass of bodies. It looked like Times Square in New York City… from hell. I shuddered at the grisly sight. Ella’s head quickly returned to the nook between my neck and shoulder and she resumed her sobbing. I put my hand on her sandy blonde head and reached into my pocket and removed a black military issue radio. I turned the dial on the top until it crackled to life. I mashed the talk button down.
“Nolan! Are you still there!?” I shouted into black mesh.
I released the button and listened intently to the buzz. I waited a few seconds and tried again.
“Nolan! We’re on the roof! Get us out of here!” I screamed, battling against the deafening roar coming from the streets below. I waited again, I clenched my jaw and squeezed the radio.
Come on Nolan.
Then it burst to life.
“Jason! Thank god! We’re on our way! Watch the east!”
I ran to the eastern side of the building and watched the horizon, still clenching Ella close to my chest. I cocked my head sideways as if it would help me hear the rotors sooner. A few seconds later I heard the faint buffeting of helicopter blades. I closed my eyes and looked up.
Just then a loud bang reached my ears. I whipped my head around and saw two frenzied forms charging towards me. I immediately dropped Ella and shielded her with my body. I then removed the only weapon I had from its 10 inch sheath and held the menacing Ka-Bar out in front of me. One of them was considerably faster than the other and was approaching fast. It snapped its jaws in the air and made a low grumbling noise. Just when it came within a few feet of me it let out a gut wrenching cry and dove. It splayed itself out with total disregard for self-preservation preparing to tackle me. I side stepped it just as it reached me and drove the Ka-Bar directly into its spinal column. It cried out in pain as I heaved it to the ground. I yanked the blade out, feeling the sickening scrape of bone against metal. It attempted to get back to its feet but was met but the razor sharp blade once more, but this time in the back of its skull. It lay limp on the hard cement, blood pooling beneath its body. By now the second one had almost reached us. I fumbled behind me with one arm and pulled Ella in closer. Just as the monster reached us I grabbed a tuft of its greasy hair and slammed its head into my knee cap. I felt the crunch of its nose breaking and felt the warm blood explode onto my jeans. I wasted no time and jammed the crimson Ka-Bar into the base top of its neck and watched it fall to the ground. I yanked the blade out and turned back to the edge of the building. I pulled the radio out of my pocket and yelled into it.
“Nolan! We don’t have much time. They’re reaching the roof already!”
The radio crackled and he responded.
“You should be able to see us any second now!”
My eyes scanned the skyline for any movement but saw none. The sound of the blades was getting louder.
“We’re right on top of you Jason!”
Just as Nolan finished his sentence the small red medi-vac helicopter barreled into view. I jumped with joy feeling a surge of adrenaline enter my veins. I stroked Ella’s back trying to comfort her.
“We’re safe now hun. Nothing to wo-“
A deafening boom echoed off the buildings and a wave of heat hit me like a brick wall. I looked up and felt my heart stop. I ceased breathing and dropped to my knees as I watched the helicopter explode into a massive fireball and plummet to the streets below.
“It’s over…” I said simply.
I felt no emotion, no sadness, I just ceased. I sat there on the sun scorched roof gazing at the horizon.
“It’s over…” I said again.
Ella’s voice snapped me out of my trance.
“We’re not going home now, are we daddy?” She said, snot dripping down her upper lip.
I stood up from the cement and walked to the edge of the building.
“Yes… We are honey… Just a different home.”
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