Clouds made a woolly gray ceiling overhead, leaking a cold intermittent drizzle. It was just before dawn and Ilsa lay stretched out on the old apartment building roof in the cover of its brick facade. About twenty feet below at street level Morris and Jelly would be getting ready to do something that was, in all probability, very stupid.
Striders had been guarding the whole block across from the remains of this apartment building where there had once been a post office, bank, and an office building. Now, most of the buildings were ruins though parts still stood like skeletal remains.
Every now and then a few grunts, their movements suggesting that they were securely under their overseer's control, would appear and move some of the debris around. More Striders showed up now and then and vanished into the bowels of the former bank, apparently bringing in more supplies as they found some to stash.
Ilsa's stomach twisted with hunger and anger flamed along her nerves. There was food on that block, most likely in the vault. The Lankies were cleaning out the entire surrounding area for themselves. Still, she waited patiently, sighting through the scope on the Parker Hale, its barrel braced on the brickwork.
There was a subtle shaking, a definite tremble through the building and a hulking shape came into view, its armored head turning this way and that. Ilsa's guts decided that food was the least of their problems and decided to try and freeze instead as the Giant turned toward her.
She was almost certain that it didn't know she was here. Everything they knew about Giants indicated that the creatures' eyesight was generally poor which was why they'd chosen this time of day when she was a deep-grey shape amongst other deep-grey shapes.
The breeze shifted, Ilsa cursed inwardly as she felt it flow from her back up over her head. The creature had stopped still and she saw its nostrils flare. Thick grey lips wrinkled back from incisors nearly as big as a chainsaw.
Ilsa didn't wait to watch as one of the fists came back, she snapped off the shot at the right eye, then scrambled away, clutching the rifle as she ran for it. There was not much of the back of the building left and there was soon to be nothing left of the front, either, as the Giant's fist crashed into the brickwork just where she'd been a second earlier.
It had been a careful climb up the rubble originally and now she didn't bother with care, just scrambled, jumped, and fell blindly as bricks rained down from above. The remains of the building groaned, a foreboding accompaniment to the shrieking roar from the Giant.
She slipped, slid, and lost control of her descent, falling the remaining several feet so that she felt she'd been beaten up in one instant, all along her left side. More crashing sounds came from the front of the building, more rubble falling on her as she dragged herself to her feet, shaking off the pain as well as possible.
Where were Morris and Jelly? There wasn't time to find out, they'd have to regroup at the hide. She looped the rifle's strap around her so that it rested on her back and ran-climbed-limped-scampered to get far away as she could.