Toxic Vol. 1 Susceptible States Part 11

Moving around the last corner before the entrance, DeMarcus isn’t sure whether to be relieved or not that it isn’t locked down. If the executives had sealed themselves inside he wouldn’t have to worry about them getting hurt but he’d also have no way to get the explosives he needs. The doors are closed but there’s no shutters covering them. He considers locking it down now. If the last of the attackers are inside they won’t have a way out. Neither will anyone else in there with them though.

Turning the handle, he pushes the door open inch by inch. He can hear people inside but he’s not sure how many. They’re far enough away that whatever they’re saying is muffled. He’s only been in the storage area a couple times for lockdown drills. He vaguely knows his way around but he’s never had to find anything.

Sliding through the door, the smell he found in C wing upstairs fills his nostrils. It’s the iron smell found in blood. He tries to prepare himself for the worst. He can’t see anything to worry about at first. All he finds are row after row of shelving units. They’re lined with boxes, tanks, crates, and every other storage item he can imagine. There’s less obvious stuff stacked up as well. He sees a lawn mower, a snow mobile, what he hopes is a fake skeleton, and all manner of other gear. This is supposed to be a storage unit for all of their experiments but over the years it’s served as a place to dump anything they had laying around.

Every time he walks around a corner DeMarcus expects to be confronted by a group of armed men. Each time he turns the corner he’s again met with an empty hall. This place is so huge someone could get lost and he starts to fear he will. He continues hearing voices but with the high ceilings and metal walls of the storage area everything echoes. The smell in his nostrils never lets him forget the other thing he might find.

A body. He turns down a narrow path near the right wall and there’s a man laying on the ground. He can see a pool of red beneath him. He moves to the man’s side to check for any sign of life but he knows what he’ll find before he feels the lack of a pulse. He’s dead. There’s barely any warmth left to his skin. A closer examination finds the man’s chest filled with bullets. He tries to place the man but can’t come up with a name. He’s definitely seen him walking the halls on more than a few occasions but he doesn’t think they’ve ever spoken. Does he work in legal?

This hall’s a dead end so he turns around to go back the way he came. When he returns to an intersection where he can choose which way to go, he turns right hoping it isn’t the way he came. He’s past the point of knowing.

Turning to his left he’s met by a woman he recognizes immediately. Daisy’s the secretary for Mr. Sarraf, the president of the company. She’s a sweet, slightly older woman who always takes the time to say hello to the security guards when she comes in. She brings cookies in every few weeks and drops a few off for security every time. Her peanut butter cookies are the best he’s ever eaten. He realizes quickly that he’ll never have them again. Her body isn’t as cold as the last one but she’s not breathing. Someone shot her, likely with the same gun they used on the last man. Her eyes are still wide open, her face twisted with terror. DeMarcus takes a moment to close her eyes before moving on.

He wants to charge into the open and get revenge but he also wants to see Jesse again. That desire keeps him from giving away his position. He can explode later. For now he has to be smart. At the end of the hall he thinks he hears voices. He can’t be sure with the echoing going on but he decides to check it out. He has to find these guys before they kill anyone else. There should be at least a half dozen staff down here. He’s only found two bodies so it may not be too late to save some.

Approaching the end of the aisle, he hears an automatic weapon firing and a scream in the distance. That’s clear enough that he can place it. It came from his right. Running in that direction, he hopes the sound of gunfire will cover the pounding of his boots. When he thinks he’s found the right aisle, DeMarcus turns and glances down it.

Standing in the aisle are two men with guns. One’s a fairly unassuming man with short hair and a cut across his left cheek which is still dripping blood. The other’s one of the biggest men DeMarcus has ever seen. He has to be nearly seven feet tall and built like a bull. His face is smashed and more resembles a bulldog. The top of his head’s completely bald though he has a massive beard that hangs down to the middle of his chest.

They’re surrounded by three employees who are still alive, including Mr. Sarraf. The other two are one of the company’s lawyers and the accountant. Neither is close with DeMarcus but he’s still glad to see them alive. Another woman’s lying on the ground bleeding. He can’t place her but he knows she works down here doing something. She’s still twitching and fighting. The accountant seems to be trying to fight back a gag and Mr. Sarraf has his hand over his eyes. The attackers stand there watching her die.

DeMarcus wants to help her but from the amount of times she was shot, it’s too late. Maybe if an ambulance could be in here now but he still has no clue where the explosives are to get into the vice president’s office. Even without these guys in the way he’d be lucky to get out in a half hour. She doesn’t have that long. He has to worry about the three people who still have a chance.

After she takes her last breath the large man returns his attention to the rest of the group. “I don’t know about you folks, but that didn’t look like a lot of fun to me. Anyone want to volunteer to be next?” Nobody steps forward. “Didn’t think so. Can’t say I blame you. I wouldn’t either. If you don’t want to join the rest of your group though, I’d start cooperating. You know what I need. I’ve told you again and again. Lead me to it and I’ll head out of here and leave you breathing.”

Mr. Sarraf finally removes his hand from over his eyes and takes a moment to glance down at his dead employee. He quickly averts his gaze. “Everyone here is trying to cooperate with you. Do you have any idea how much stuff we have stored down here? Look around you. I don’t know where anything is stored, let alone those chemicals. I want to tell you. I can’t. I’ve tried to lead you to the right general area but that’s the very best I can do. If you wanted someone to be more specific you should have brought one of the scientists down. Go get one.”

“A little late for that Mr. Big Wig. They’re all either dead or locked down. I was planning to take a few hostages but didn’t count on your security locking most of the upstairs down before I could get to them. That leaves me with you folks. Nobody’s coming to help. It’s just you and me. Figure this out and you can survive. Otherwise we’ll play this game again and another one of you can join your friends.”

Something cold pushes into DeMarcus’ back. He freezes. From the shape it has to be the barrel of a gun. He wants to scream. The sight of that aisle distracted him even though he knew there were three of them left. What the hell is he supposed to do?

Part 10

Part 12


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