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.Smith closed the door and replaced the bolts then led the way across the metal walkway.The horrendous noise of the grinders still wailed down on the ground floor.I didn’t know how Smith had infiltrated the building but I was keen to follow him and get the hell out of the dismal place, full of the stench of death.The words of my former, now dead companions still rang in my ears.Their condemning, harsh words had rocked me and brought back all the emotions I’d managed to bottle up and keep at bay since those few, terrible hours in Manhattan.Were they real or an illusion my damaged mind had conjured up just to spook me?My train of thought lost momentum when I spotted the heavily tattooed guy I’d seen earlier, trudging up the staircase.“Shit,” I whispered and tried to hide my face behind Smith’s shoulders.“Just stay cool,” Smith mumbled as he noticed the guy approaching us.Smith nodded at Tattoos when he reached the staircase summit.“Howdy.”Tattoos grunted an inaudible reply and I thought for one second we were going to pass him on the walkway without any trouble.Smith turned his shoulder sideways to let Tattoos pass.I turned my face to the wall hoping he wouldn’t notice me but I guess our matching camp sailor attire gave us away.Tattoos did a double take and stopped dead in his tracks.“How come you’re moving him?” Tattoos pointed at me.“Does Larry know about this? Come to think of it, who are you anyway, mister?” He frowned at Smith and his voice grew louder with every word.“I haven’t seen you around here before and you’re dressed the same as him.” He nodded over Smith’s shoulder at me.“Something stinks.”“Yeah, your breath,” Smith growled.Tattoos turned and opened his mouth wide, taking in a deep inward breath like he was about to yell down to the guys milling around the ground level.Smith bent down and grabbed the guy’s legs slightly above his ankles.Tattoos screeched in shock as Smith lifted him off his feet and over the top of the hand rail running the length of the walkway.His fingers clawed the air in a futile attempt the grab the rail.Smith flipped the guy’s legs upwards as he tossed him forward over the hand rail.Tattoos screamed in mid-air while he nose-dived headfirst to the concrete floor below.The plunging body alerted the carcass grinders on the ground level.They stopped their noisy machines, removed their bloody goggles and looked up, pointing to us on the walkway.“Hey!” One of the grinders yelled.They threw down the cutting implements and grabbed big knives and meat cleavers from a bench behind them.A few other guys appeared on the floor, staring at Tattoo’s corpse and then up at the walkway.“Time to get the fuck out of here,” Smith rasped.“Follow me.”Smith darted along the walkway and ducked through a door to our right.I was close behind him but caught sight of the two grinders charging up the staircase with the sharp blades of their knives and meat cleavers glinting in the halogen fuelled lighting.Smith slammed the door and picked up two rifles.He tossed me an assault rifle, which I instinctively checked.Smith held a scoped rifle, pointing it towards the door.We took a few steps back into the center of the room.I noticed a guy bound in duck tape hanging halfway out of the open window.“Who’s he?”“Ah, forget about him, he’s out the game,” Smith answered.The door burst open and the two knife and meat cleaver wielding guys rushed through the opening.Smith fired off a round, catching the first guy squarely in the chest.The impact of the bullet caused him to recoil backwards, the knife and meat cleaver flew from each of his hands as he landed on his back on the deck.I aimed and fired a few shots at the second guy in the doorway.The rounds went higher than I’d anticipated but one shot caught him in the forehead and tore the top of his skull away from his the rest of his head.Blood and brain matter sprayed into the walkway and across the door frame.The guy fell back into the hand rail and slid down onto the walkway in a bloody heap.An eerie few seconds of silence followed.The stench of cordite wafted in the air.We heard the frantic shouts of the rest of the guys on the ground level and from the adjacent rooms.The meat grinders hadn’t expected us to be armed and we’d caught them by surprise but now our location and presence was known to the remaining crowd of shit kickers.“What do we do now?” I whispered.Smith moved closer to the door in a crouching position and kicked it shut.“Let’s barricade this fucking doorway,” he said.We slung our rifles and quickly shunted the two desks in front of the door.“That should hold them for a few seconds.Let’s go,” Smith whispered.I guessed Smith’s intended exit route was through the open window.I pointed my rifle at the door and listened for any sounds of movement on the walkway outside the room.“What are we going to do with him?” I said and nodded to the guy hanging over the window frame.“He’s coming with us,” Smith replied [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]