9 Chapter 8: Sending a Message and Making an Escape
Joshua was able to find the room with the audio equipment down at the end of the hallway. The wooden floor on the third story was luckily still fine sense the large egg had yet to grow big enough to reach it, but with a lot of the support beams from below being broken Joshua made sure to walk carefully. When he entered the room the first thing he noticed was the fact that the lights in the room were on and the computers and all other electronics were working just fine. This gave him a sense of relief and a hope for his plan to proceed smoothly.
The fact that all the electronics were still working also proved something he was hoping wasn't true. If the equipment was still working then that meant that the electricity was still running just fine all over town, but the purple haze somehow stopped everything in it from working. There was something he wanted to figure out, but there was no way for him to check until he got outside of town.
The room was dimly lit, but the broadcast system was set up perfectly fine. When Joshua walked over to look through its setting he noticed that even if he hadn't come here there would be some announcement about the next town hall meeting broadcast in an hour from then. It may have attracted some of the creatures, but it wouldn't have lasted long enough for what he had in mind.
Pulling a speaker to plug in to the computer and making sure that the volume was as loud as possible Joshua composed his self before turning everything on. There was a loud screeching sound throughout town alerting everyone to the fact that the announcement system was up and running. It took a few seconds for it to come to a halt as Joshua adjusted the settings a bit before continuing.
"Testing, testing, just making sure this damn thing works." Joshua said into the speakers and heard his voice loudly all around him. The effect was a bit weird with how quiet things were outside so it sounded even louder than you would expect.
"Alright, to everyone out there that is still trapped inside the town. My name is Joshua James Jr. I'm not from around here and got caught up in this catastrophe with all of you while I was on my way for a vacation with the rest of my family. Yes it sucks. I know." Joshua started off trying to calm everyone down. As he was speaking he was starting to hear the screeching of the creatures from below as they were all attracted to the loud sounds coming from the speakers on the roof.
"I was actually able to make it out of town earlier, but decided to come back and help everyone out. I'm not sure I could ever explain everything that is going on, but I could tell you one thing for sure. Staying here and hiding in a corner hoping everything will just go away won't help you. All that will do is give the creatures far more time to find you. Hoping for the police, the fire department, or hell even the army to come save you also is nothing but waiting to die. From what I can tell there's only three fireman and two police officers left in town and guns don't seem to work, so depending on them to come find you would be foolish." Joshua stopped and took a deep breath before continuing. He wanted to get as many people to stop hiding away and take a chance in helping themselves out of the situation.
"I'm not saying all of this just to crush everyone's hope in surviving. I just don't want anyone to get left behind because they were too scared to make a move for themselves. Now all this talking has probably already started to grab the attention of those things outside. It should help draw them towards the center of town so all you have to do is go straight the other way. No matter where you are make sure you head out of town, don't try to go a specific way, don't try to head through the center of town, and make as little noise as possible…"
As Joshua continued to speak he started to notice a very thin layer of the purple haze start to seep through the floor. It wasn't rising very fast, he would probably have a good twenty minutes or so before the room was even half full. The only problem was at that point the speaker system would probably stop working the second the haze reached its level.
"…These creatures are stupid, blind with a poor sense of smell, and barely move at the pace of a seventy your old man leaning on a cane. The only way they pose a threat is if you let them surround you or you get close enough for them to leap at you. The closer you get to the edge of town the thinner the haze will become and the less of those freaks you will see around. I would suggest getting a crowbar or something nearby solid and heavy enough to smash into a watermelon. If you have to face one then its best to wait for them to lunge and move out of the way and then kill them as they try to recover from their miss. Always go for the back or top of their head, it's their weak spot." Joshua stopped for a second as he could hear more and more clicking sounds outside as more of the creatures started to surround the building. As he was explaining things he started to look through the internet to find a song to play over the speakers for as long as possible before he made his escape.
"Lastly try your best to stay away from walled areas. They move much faster when crawling on walls than they do by walking on ground. I have no idea why they don't crawl on the ground, but what the hell, lucky us I guess. They also have a bad habit at lunging out of broken windows or cars when you least expect it so give them a wide birth. Now I'm going to play an old song from one of my favorite games to keep their attention here. I'd say give it ten minutes for all the creatures to gather here before you make your way out of town. The speakers will probably shut off in twenty minutes by the rate the haze is feeling up this room so try to make it out before it stops if you can. That means within that span of ten minutes you all should be making your move. After that nothing will keep their attention so that's your best chance at making a run for it. When you get out make sure to wrap around the haze and head for the sign at the town entrance. I think it's on the side with the gas station, but you guys should know about that more than an out of towner like me. Everyone should gather there, the mayor is already waiting for you guys just a ways away from the haze in that direction. Well that's all I got to say…good luck to everyone and God bless."
Joshua turned off the speaker and started to play an extended version of an old gaming song that played when you had to make an escape from a reactor. The ten minute time frame he gave everyone to leave was also a bit nostalgic. The moment the music started playing on the speakers he started to make his way to the roof. Unfortunately he had to make his way back to the stairwell in order to get to the roof and he would honestly prefer avoiding tight spaces that could easily start feeling up with that haze.
When he reached the stairwell and opened the door he noticed the purple haze was just about knee level in the place. Not high enough for all the shrieking creatures to head up to this floor quite yet. All the creatures that he could make out just at the top of the steps waiting for the haze to grow higher started to screech and click their claws along the ground and walls in agitation. Joshua didn't give them another look before grabbing on to the ladder and opening the hatch that led to the roof of the building.
Once on the roof he headed to the side of the building that was in the direction of the gas station sense it was the only direction he had any memory of where everything was. He had no plans of taking a new direction and getting stuck in an alley with no way through or something else stupid just because he didn't know his way around. He looked to see how many roofs he could go on top of before he had to go back down to street level.
After planning his route out in his head he started to tie the rope he had gotten back at the fire station to the railing and made sure it was on well enough to hold his weight. He took his boots back out and put them back on so he didn't end up cutting his feet while walking on the broken glass all over town. He then stood waiting for the music to stop playing, because the second he started to move several of the creatures below would follow him and he didn't want others to get caught up in it. Even if they were attracted to the music the second he started to make noise by running along the side of the building and jumping across to the other there would be more than enough of these abominations that would drop everything and pay attention to him. It would be just like the police office, no matter how much noise he made to attract them all there would still be some stragglers that would go after something else. The only problem was that something else was him this time around.
He stood ready to move for about fifteen minutes before the music finally cut off abruptly. Taking in a deep breath he made his way over the side of the railing and gave himself enough leeway to run alongside the wall. He had to go down low enough to where some of the creatures down below started to look up and climb up the walls trying to reach him, but before anything could ruin his plans he started his sprint. His bag and equipment jingled as he moved as fast as he could running alongside the wall before jumping over to the other roof that was a couple stories short of the mayor's building.
When he reached out far enough to make the leap he let go of the rope and positioned his self for landing into a rolling stop. After successfully pulling off the stunt he looked back only to see multiple creatures screeching at him next to the rope he had just jumped from, some were preparing to make the same leap. Before they could follow their instincts Joshua made the wise decision to book it to the other side of the roof before he started jumping from roof to roof in his mad sprint to get out of town safely. By the time he had got to the point where the gaps between roofs were too large to continue jumping he had left the center of town far behind him.
Climbing down a ladder onto an open alley way Joshua made sure to creep around as silently as possible. When he reached the streets there weren't nearly as many of the things in the area as there were back near the center of town. In fact it was almost barren as most of the creatures were probably back towards the mayor's office and slowly shambling back this way. Joshua quickly hurried in the direction of the gas station, along the way he had to kill one or two of the creatures that tried to jump out and surprise him from behind some of the abandoned cars. Each time he would merely fling them over his shoulder before stomping their heads in as efficiently and brutally as possible. The noise would sometimes attract more, but they were too far away from him to catch up to his pace of movement.
Finally after getting near the gas station he could still make out the sight of the dead body he had seen from the very start of this mess. It was still in the same position lying on the ground with his neck covered in drying blood and his legs torn into at the calves. The difference was the tendrils that were spreading throughout his body in intricate vein like patterns similar to the ones growing around both the egg back at the mayor's building and the other man he had seen behind the desk.
They spread everywhere covering his face, arms, legs, and if Joshua had dared to take off the man's upper body wear he would find them all over his chest as well. He wasn't sure exactly what they meant, but he could tell that they were spreading from the bite marks on the man's neck and legs. Seeing this he could tell it was probably some sort of infection and by the way things had been going so far that couldn't mean anything good.
After checking his truck for anything else he might need later on, he grabbed a few tools, a family picture he kept on the dashboard, and a lighter he found in one of the stowaway pockets. Then he headed towards the outside of town. Just at the edge of town where the haze started to clear up and he could start to see people gathering with the mayor a ways away from the entrance, he noticed something that caused goosebumps all over his skin. The sign that said welcome to the town that stood just outside the reach of the haze before was now a good foot inside of it.