Chapter 2 – The Airport
Jack released the magazine in the pistol and visually checked it before making the weapon safe. He pulled back the cocking slide, angled the pistol right, and a round dropped out of the breach. He thumbed the loose round into the top of the magazine, and then slid it back into the pistol grip.
“What type is it?” I asked.
“Sig P229, it doesn’t have a safety catch,” he said, inspecting it from different angles.
“Bernie, you’re the local, lead the way.”
“Okay, follow me around the left hand side. We’ll check the fence over there. If we can get through, we can walk around to the road that leads to the front of the terminal and the short stay car park,” Bernie replied.
He set off with Linda by his side, Jack and I followed, closely looking around at the terminal building and empty runways. I turned to see our stationary plane parked just off the main runway, faces visible at the windows.
Our pace was a fast walk and I looked in every direction for signs of life or potential threats.
I could barely see through the terminal windows, but the building appeared to be empty. The road on the other side of the fence had abandoned cars stretched as far as I could see, nothing around us was moving.
We arrived at the fence and surveyed it for signs of weakness. Jack pulled at the bottom where it was rusty in places, and it came away from the ground.
“There’s a man over there by the green car,” Linda shouted before clamping a hand over her mouth.
We all froze. I quickly looked back towards the road. About two-hundred yards away, where the road curved around towards the front entrance of the terminal, was a green car. Slumped against the side of it was a body. Its face appeared to be covered in blood.
Bernie was crouching down trying to help Jack with the fence.
“There’s two of them,” he said. “You can see another pair of legs at the front.”
“Yeah, you’re right, but they both look dead,” I said, joining Bernie.
The car stretched across both lanes at an angle that suggested that an emergency stop had been performed. A pair of legs, wearing orange shorts and leather sandals, protruded from underneath the front of the vehicle.
“Do you think the terrorists came along this road and killed people as they overtook them? They could be waiting for us anywhere. Shall we go back?” Bernie whispered.
“Quiet, Bernie,” Jack whispered back. “Let’s just stay here and observe.”
He cocked the Sig and looked at me. I nodded.
“Why did they get out of their cars?” Bernie asked.
“We’ll find out soon enough, so leave the guessing for now,” Jack muttered.
Bernie’s patience appeared to be similar to Jacks’, and I didn’t want either mind racing when we had more important things to think about. We needed to stay focused on getting around to the front of the terminal. I didn’t want to be unfair to Bernie, but speculating on events would only provide a distraction. If an exclusion zone had been created, it was a big one that stretched well beyond the airport. The only apparent signs of life were unrecognisable, distant, sporadic noises.
Jack started pulling at the fence again, while I organised Bernie and Linda into an all-round defence formation for observation purposes. We all crouched around Jack, collectively covering the arcs around us, searching for signs of movement. I scanned from the terminal to the plane for around five minutes as I heard Jack ripping at the fence behind me, occasionally cursing. The man hanging off the jet bridge took up much of my attention at first, but as I continued my sweeps, I spent less time staring at his corpse.
“Right, we’re in business. Let’s get through here and find out what’s going on,” Jack said.
I turned to see him wriggling through a gap he had created at the bottom of the fence, Bernie and Linda followed, with me bringing up the rear. I stood and looked at Jack.
“That’s the quickest I’ve ever got through customs,” he said.
Nobody commented on his badly timed joke, Jack paused to shake his head. I nodded in the direction of the terminal and Bernie started to walk towards it slowly. We followed in an extended line spaced out over thirty yards, Linda next, and then Jack.
“Which terminal is this?” I said.
“Does it matter?” Jack answered.
“Get back, now,” Bernie shouted. We retreated ten yards and crouched behind a car.
“What did you see, Bernie? What is it?” Linda asked.
“There’s people… lying around the front of the terminal – over cars, on the floor, everywhere!”
“Are they all dead?” Jack said.
“It’s a fucking nightmare.”
Bernie put his head in his hands. Linda wrapped her arm around his shoulder and gave it a squeeze.
“Do you want to go back to the plane?” she asked.
We’d come too far now to turn back. The possibility was remote that a large group of armed men could be lying in wait for us. We were on a commercial flight and shouldn’t pose any real threat to whoever had taken out a whole airport. However, I was worried that we might be breathing in some kind of germ. Had a biological weapon been used?
“Let’s take it slow, and try to find some help. A working phone line, anything. Jack, are you okay with that?”
“I don’t see what other choices we have. Linda, you and Bernie can always go back to the plane.”
“I’m not going anywhere,” Bernie replied. “Linda is staying with us, and we’ll carry on to the front of the terminal building, and then cross to the car park.”
Linda nodded. Jack pulled the Sig in front of him again in a two handed grip, and I loaded a cartridge into the flare gun and kept it in my right hand.
I could understand why Bernie wanted Linda by his side. I doubt either Jack or I would have been part of this endeavour individually.
Jack took the lead as we edged around to the front of the terminal, then all stopped to take in the scene in front of us. I froze, open-mouthed. Bernie’s comment about a nightmare was accurate; it looked like a medieval battlefield.
There must have been over three hundred bodies strewn along the front of the terminal. Some were between stationary cars on the road, but most of them were around the front entrance of the building. I moved closer for a better look. Many of the butchered corpses had improvised weapons close to their hands – a wrench, a broken bottle, or a rock. Others seemed to have turned their weapons on themselves. One young man had fallen backwards over a luggage trolley, and it appeared he died while grasping a knife that had been forced into the roof of his mouth. A well-dressed woman looked as if she had performed some kind of lethal surgery on her neck with a pair of nail scissors.
As we crept past a police car slowly, it appeared that the officers inside had taken part in a quick draw contest. One of them was leaning against a shattered window with a bullet hole in his eye. The winner had decorated the interior ceiling with his brains. I reached into the passenger side of the car, and took the semi-automatic Glock service pistol that was still in the limp hand of the quick draw loser.
I made the Glock safe, stowed the flare gun in my backpack, and then turned to look at the rest of the group. Jack stepped closer to me, I could see Linda’s lips quivering, and Bernie was silently shaking his head, his hand on Linda’s shoulder.
“This is unbelievable. What the hell has happened here?” Jack whispered.
“I’ve got no idea. Did you notice that they all look like they turned on each other?” I said, keeping my voice low.
“Yeah, what do you think kicked it all off?” He had lowered the Sig and stood slumped against a car hood. “Why did they all attack each other? It doesn’t make any sense.”
“I don’t know, maybe all these people knew something we didn’t?”
In every visible area I looked, a violent act had taken place.
Jack and I quickly ducked behind a car, Bernie and Linda did the same as a metallic noise rang out on the opposite end of the terminal to where we stood.
“Did you see anything?” Bernie mouthed.
“No, we just heard that noise,” Jack whispered back.
We all peered around the sides of the cars and waited. From around the far corner of the terminal, walked an elderly woman in a green tracksuit.
We looked at Bernie and Linda in surprise. They had seen her too. The woman started to wander slowly amongst the bodies, leaning down and touching each one. It looked like she was checking for signs of life.
“What should we do? There’s no way she caused all of this,” Jack said quietly.
He looked back at the old woman who seemed unmoved by the corpses that surrounded her.
“What if she’s like the security guard at the bottom of the slide?” I whispered.
“We’ll wait until she gets close, jump out, aim our guns at her, and then get her to talk.”
“Okay, you give the signal.”
I looked over to Bernie and gestured for them to stay where they were.
As the elderly woman closed in on our position, I thought about having to shoot her, and felt a bead of sweat run down my temple. I cocked the Glock as slowly and silently as possible, making sure a round went into the chamber.
“Freeze! Put your hands in the air, now,” Jack shouted as he leapt up and aimed his Sig at her.
She continued towards us.
“Take one more step and I’ll shoot,” I shouted, and raised the Glock.
“Thank God, I have found some people alive,” she said.
The woman looked curiously at us, but showed no other signs of emotion, then slowly raised her hands from the elbows upwards.
Bernie and Linda stepped out from behind their car, and he began an immediate cross-examination.
“Where have you come from? What’s your name?”
Good questions, I thought. Let’s see how normal she is.
“My name is Maureen. I’ve come over from Hook Creek. You are the first people I have met today who are alive.”
She now appeared to be scared, which was a strangely positive sign.
“Why did you come to the airport?” Bernie said in an aggressive tone.
“I heard two shots fired from this direction. I was hoping to find someone, anyone.”
Her explanation seemed to make sense, I thought. I’d probably do the same thing. It couldn’t have been very nice for an old lady to suddenly find herself amongst such gruesome surroundings, and the sound of shooting may have been a potential source of rescue, or at least life.
“What’s happened here? What caused it all?” Bernie continued.
“I’d like to know that as well. All of this senseless killing…” She broke off momentarily and looked down. “You probably know more than me. I’ve only just arrived here.”
“Have you seen anything at all in the last few hours?” Bernie replied. I could hear frustration in his voice.
“I was walking in the park on my own. I came back to find my car was stuck in the middle of abandoned vehicles. I heard the gunshots over here and decided to come looking for help. Can you lower your guns, please? You’re frightening me.”
Jack looked at me, I nodded, “Okay, we will, but stay where you are.”
She started rummaging in her bag, no doubt for a mint or maybe even a cigarette, and took a step forward. But I was taking no chances.
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Genre – Horror/Science Fiction
Rating – R
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