I woke up on the floor of the room I had passed out in. I sat up quickly, holding my destroyed shoulder. Slowly, I grabbed a nearby railing with my left hand and pulled myself up, surveying the room. Armando was nowhere in sight, but the light was on in the armory. With every step, I gasped in pain, but I continued to the light.
I reached the doorway and there was Armando gathering food from the rations container. He looked up and saw me in the damaged door frame. " My friend, you are awake!" he exclaimed." I didn't want to wake you, your recovery is important, so I was getting you something to eat when you did rise."
I shuffled over to him and sat down. He passed me a bottle of water which I painfully downed. Armando glanced at my shoulder. " The device used to remove the parasite... I have heard that it has healing properties as well. My friend lost a hand to one of the inmates awhile ago...the machine was able to give him a new one..." Armando muttered.
" What! Why didn't any of you tell the people topside! This is an amazing medical advancement!" I looked Armando in the eye." We need to get to the infirmary. There we can remove the parasite from your body and fix my shoulder. I won't be able to help you fight until then."
" I understand," Armando started," then our goal is clear. We need to get to the infirmary..." He stood up and walked over to one of the shelves, pulling a crate from the top. He walked back over and set the crate down beside me. I looked into the box, it was full of flash grenades.
Armando picked up one of the grenades and examined it. " If these grenades are as effective as I'm hoping... we should be able to reach the infirmary using just these"
" It should work...let's just hope we don't run into any garrador-esque creatures. They're blind and won't be affected as well, the flash will have to actually make contact with their plaga."
Armando nodded and stood back up. " I'll carry the crate, you toss the grenades." I acknowledged his offer and stood up as well, grabbing on of the blue grenades. Then, after a brief second of pain in my shoulder, we headed off in the direction of the door marked "This way to D wing."
We passed through the double doors and came to a set of stairs. Cautiously, Armando and I made our way up the stairs. I held the flash grenade in front of me in anticipation of a sudden attack. The staircase was deserted, not a sign of life other than ourselves. It was slightly unnerving, it seemed too quiet. My fears were groundless ,however, and we reached the D wing doors without trouble.
I inched the door open with my good arm, peeking into the room. Inside the room were dozens of those garrador-esque creatures limping about the room. I turned to Armando and whispered in his ear. " We won't be getting through here as easy as we thought. The room is full of the blind creatures and the grenades will have little effect on them unless we can get the flash to make contact with the parasite on their backs, which is highly unlikely."
Armando nodded and motioned for me to go through the door. As I pushed the handle he tapped my shoulder. " Toss a grenade into the corner of the room. It will make a noise and distract them, and kill any that are unlucky enough to be caught in the back by the flash."
I continued through the door, getting ready for the sprint ahead of me. The room appeared to be a gathering hall of sorts, with many chairs lined up in rows, many of which were knocked over. On the left side of the room there was a stage, looking over the sea of chairs. In many of the chairs that were still upright, there were the bodies of those who had watched the final announcements before the outbreak.
I pulled the pin on the grenade and tossed it towards the right-hand corner of the room. It collided with the wall and gave off a burst of light and a loud bang. Two of the creatures with their backs to the flash instantly collapsed, their backs gushing yellow fluid. The others cried out and sprinted towards the origin of the sound.
In that instant, Armando and I ran full tilt towards the door on the other side. I would have ran in the direction of the elevator, but obviously it was out of order for the time being. The creatures heard our footsteps and pelted towards us, bearing their massive claws. I grabbed another grenade and tossed it into the other corner.
The creatures ran towards the sound and were distracted as we came up to the door marked "service hatch". I closed the door behind Armando and locked it, taking deep breaths of recycled air from my suit.
"Oh !" Armando exclaimed. I turned around and saw the only way out of the room. Before us extended a ladder, rising up into the darkness.
" With your arm in this condition, I don't know how we'll manage to get to the top of this ladder." Armando exclaimed. " It's only a matter of time before those things manage to get in here, then God knows what'll happen."
I looked at the ladder and then at Armando. " Well, if I don't hold any grenades, I should be able to climb up one handed. You will need to drop the box though, and attach yourself with as many grenades as possible. I'm sure we'll need them." I looked up into the darkness above. " Where does this ladder lead, it looks quite long?"
Armando scratched his head, as if he was struggling to remember. "Ummmmm, if I remember correctly...it should take us to the B wing, if not A. It's a long clime, are you sure you're up to it Luis?"
A loud smashing noise came from beyond the door. " I guess I'll have to be." I said as I grabbed hold of the first handle bar. I pulled myself up and began to climb to the top of the seemingly endless ladder. Armando followed close behind, his belt filled with flash grenades. The banging on the door continued.
Sweat rolled down my forehead and along my palms, making it harder to hold on to the slippery steel handle bars. We were about half way up the ladder, my body aching from the exertion, when there came another loud smash, even more violent than the previous ones. I could only assume the creatures had broken down the door and were searching the room for our presence.
A short while later, we had made barely any more progress up the ladder. I had to stop several times to regain my strength, and Armando was beginning to wheeze. On one of our short breaks, he began to wheeze more heavily than before. He took one hand off of the bars and attempted to cover his mouth. He began to cough and spew blood all over himself, the sounds echoing down the shaft.
From below us, I heard a loud grunting noise, followed by rampant scurrying. I looked down and saw the creatures, rapidly crawling along the walls towards us.
Armando and myself scrambled towards the top of the ladder, the creatures following from closely behind. I was slowed by my injured arm, and Armando was growing tired and limp as his symptoms progressed. I could hear the claws of the creatures scratching the metal walls and digging in to propel themselves forward.
Above me I could see a dim light, flickering with signs of an escape. I doubled my efforts, hauling my body up the ladder one painful rung at a time. Armando, despite his weakening condition, followed close behind me. The breathing of the creatures could be heard as we reached the light, ragged and foul smelling.
A latched metal door was situated on a platform bathed in the light of the flickering bulb. Dragging myself up onto the platform, I undid the latch and opened the door. I then turned around and helped Armando up and through the door. The creatures were just reaching the top as I slammed the door in their faces, locking it tight.
I turned around to survey the room. It was the main lobby, the infirmary was close by. We had come through a hidden side door next to the entrances to the lower holding areas. I spotted Armando in the corner breathing heavily, and helped him to his feet.
We rounded the corner and opened the door to the infirmary, the P.R.L (Plagas Removal Laser) chair lay in the center. " You get in the chair." I said to Armando. " We need to get that parasite out of you as soon as possible." He nodded and lay down in the long operating chair.
I ran over to the console and booted up the system after strapping Armando into the chair. After tweaking a few of the functions and warming up the charger, I hit the "start" switch and the mechanical arms came down from the ceiling and began to surgically fire white energy into Armando's body. He cried out in pain as the machine worked to remove the plagas. Everything seemed to be running properly, yet the machine had no effect on the state of the parasite.
The process finished and Armando called to me in a raspy, dry voice. "Is it gone? Am I cured?" I couldn't bear to look at him, knowing what I had to do. It was only a matter of time before the mutations set in, only a matter of time before he lost his humanity and turned on me.
I walked over to the chair, placing my hand on the handle of my gun. " Armando, I'm sorry." I whispered as he struggled against the bonds.
"Luis! Wh-what are you doing!" He yelled in panic.
" I'm sorry" I repeated as I drew my weapon. He looked at me with wild eyes, knowing what would come next.
My finger rested on the trigger. "Forgive me." I said, before squeezing. The bullet struck his forehead, ending his life.