In the end, time was relative to the observer. Standing here, looking down the barrel of two guns pointed at him from across the room, Eren experienced a change in perspective. It was as if the world around him had come down to a slow, sickening crawl where nothing broke the tension of the moment.
There were three men in front of him, all wearing varsity jackets, and plastic masks that resembled the faces of various animals. The one on the left, holding a pump-action shotgun, was wearing a chicken mask. The one on the right had a gorilla mask, with a pistol in his hand, and the one in the middle was unarmed, with some sort of a pig mask. Eren had been rummaging through this department store when these three had jumped him.
"Alright, here's how it's gonna work." The one with the pig mask spoke. "We're going to take that backpack you got there, and that fire-axe you're holding. You're not going to do anything stupid. Then you're going to turn around, leave, and never show your face around here again. Understood?"
Eren remained silent. His palms felt sweaty against the handle of his axe. The pig masked man took a step towards him.
"Look, I ain't gonna repeat myself. And my boys here wouldn't lose a night's sleep over shootin' you, so do the smart thing."
He took another step, lowering his voice to a chilling degree.
"All I gotta do is give 'em the word." He all but whispered, just a few feet from Eren. His eyes were almost visible through the slits in his mask now.
The axe dropped on the ground with a loud pang, and Eren begrudgingly took off his backpack and threw it forward too.
"There's a good boy." The man said. "Now scurry on outta here, and we'll call it an even trade, huh? Come on, go."
It's hard to suppress the need to punch a guy in the face, especially when he takes everything you own and acts like a smart ass about it, but Eren really didn't have any options. He turned his back, with the high hopes that he wouldn't get shot on his way out of the store. The whole walk to the front door felt like an eternity, beads of cold sweat running down his forehead. When he finally got out, he didn't look back, and kept walking in a straight direction for the better half of an hour. All things considered, this was a good outcome.
That bag he just lost had some crackers, bread, and one can of food in it. There were some bandages and plasters, too, but nothing that would save a life or hold too much value. What bothered Eren even more was giving up that axe. Now, he was as defenseless as a white collared office worker walking through a shady neighborhood could be. His chances of survival had dropped from slim to nill.
There was supposed to be a high school around, filled with "survivors". At least that's what that radio transmission he received earlier had said, right before the batteries ran out. Nonnewaug High School. He was in some sort of a suburban area now, so a school was probably nearby. He just had to find it, and wandering around aimlessly wasn't going to get him anywhere. The houses around looked a little shaken, but most looked like they hadn't been ransacked down to the bones yet. That could only mean one thing: this place had walkers, and no one had been stupid enough to rummage for supplies here. With so many cars parked around, more evidence suggested that the residents of this community never had a chance to vacate the area. Eren hopped the nearest white picket fence, landing on a soft toy that let out a squeak. He felt his shoulders tense up, and froze there for a moment.
Nothing. His mistake wasn't punished, for a change.
He crept across the yard and onto the front door. With his ear against it, Eren could hear groans from the inside. He kicked at the door, making a loud sound. The plan was to draw the walkers here, and find another way to get in. When he got to the side of the house, Eren peeked his head out from the corner to the back yard, and saw and old woman, with her back turned, kneeling over a sand-box. She was making the same groaning noise. Clearly a walker. The back-yard door led into the kitchen, and it was open. With his shoes off, both in one hand, Eren managed to sneak in without making much noise. He got in, and gingerly closed the door behind him.
A house full of walkers, and I just closed the door behind me. Fantastic.
There was a sizable knife on the counter next to him, just begging him to pick it up, and he immediately did.
At least he was armed now, with one hand holding his shoes, and the other clutching a knife so hard that his knuckles went white. The mindless groaning coming from the living-room ahead re-assured that he still had no reason to pick a fight.
I need to move up the stairs somehow.