Please be advised: Violence is the main theme in this whole chapter, there may be no sex at all, but we'll see about that. If you don't like gory stuff, you may want to skip the story in its whole.
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~*~From what I could see the candy factory was quite big. I was standing at the foot of its back wall, for which I was quite grateful. ‘Weasel’ hadn’t sent me to the front door but to the mostly unguarded back, and I sent a quiet prayer of thanks to him for it.
It did put me in a bad spot though, because I was too hurt to climb up and get in, and the wall didn’t have any doors. The presence of the dead guy in this back street gave me reason to hope nonetheless. He wouldn’t have guarded this place if there weren’t some kind of way into the building.
I inspected the buildings to my left and right next, walking back the way I had come as I looked for doors or passages. I did find a wooden door a few feet up the street, but it had a shiny new padlock on it and looked quite sturdy.
Biting my lower lip I gazed back to the dead body. If this was the right door that guy had to have a key to that padlock, but the thought of touching his dead but still warm body gave me the creeps.
I grabbed the padlock with my good arm and gave it a hearty yank, but besides the rattling of the door and a metallic groan it didn’t budge. I was quite strong for a person of my stature, but not this strong. Obviously there was no way around going through the stiff’s pockets.
Swallowing bile I slowly tiptoed over, eying the body nervously.
There were many reasons why I didn’t want to touch him, and only one of them was my squeamishness. I had seen too many horror movies and too few dead persons to feel secure around a real corpse, and yes, I did expect him to jump up and grab me just as I leaned over his still form.
That damned smell was back as I crouched down to check his pockets, and the still high body temperature made me shiver with nerves and fear. He felt like a living thing, and I found it hard to think of him as an ‘it’ yet.
I tried to touch his clothes as little as possible as I felt around. His jacket smelled of cloves and tobacco, his pants of weed and urine. For a moment I hoped he hadn’t peed on the weed because I could really use it, then I felt bad because I didn’t feel bad enough about having killed someone.
I found a small packet of weed in his pants pocket, took his still loaded gun from his hand, and I felt a smallish bump in his shirt’s front pocket when I resorted to patting him down. His chest was blood soaked though, and my hand got wet and sticky as I fumbled the small key out of its hiding place.
I was planning to bring as much distance between me and the corpse as soon as I had what I’d wanted, but as I lifted the key to my face the sweet, metallic smell of blood overwhelmed me. My hand was coated in it, and even as it dried it still allured my senses and made my tormented stomach grumble with hunger.
This had to be the worst moment in history to get the munchies.
I couldn’t even think about eating… him. Wouldn’t. But somehow my bloody hand found its way to my mouth, and my tongue sneaked out between my lips to have a lick. The taste of blood exploded in my mouth like fireworks, and I heard myself humming with delight.
Then I realized what I’d just done, and this time I really stumbled back, got up, and jogged for the padlocked door, retching. Luckily there was nothing in my stomach to heave up anymore.
The lock proved to be quite a challenge to my one good hand. I had to wedge it between my hip and the door at just the right angle to get the bloody key in, which took a few tries. When I finally managed to open the padlock and with it the sturdy door I was drenched in sweat and my shoulder was throbbing fiercely again. I carefully pried it open, ready to fumble the gun out of my sweatshirt pocket if anyone tried to jump me, but the room behind the door was dusty, empty and dark. It looked like the entry to a larger clean-room-like storage space, but the door between the small chamber in front of me and the larger unit behind it had been claimed by time long ago.
There were foot prints on the dusty floor, some made by rats and some made by shoes and boots. The scent of cloves and tobacco hung in the air like a forgotten memory, assuring me that I was following the right route. It would have been nice being just as certain where that route was leading me to, but even plain old dumb luck had its limits.
There seemed to be windows somewhere in the bigger room, it would have been pitch black otherwise. My eyes were good enough in near-darkness, but I tried to keep low to the ground as I crept through the crumbling doorway and into the wide, forlorn space.
Following the foot prints and the diffusing scent trail of the man I had killed I made a bee-line through the vast room and reached another door, this time made of rusty iron.
It wasn’t locked, but made a low, groaning sound as I moved it, and I froze instantly to listen for an alarm. I also remembered how these people had booby-trapped Noom’s house. What if there were bombs around here? What if I stepped into one? I felt another panic attack bubbling up, but this time I stomped it down resolutely. They wouldn’t be stupid enough to trap doors and rooms they used regularly, and as long as I followed the dead man’s tracks I was on the safe side.
I waited for about a minute but nobody reacted to the sound of the door. The next time I moved it I was very careful to do it as slow as possible. It still groaned a bit, but this time the sound was muted and inconspicuous.
Glimpsing out into the open space in between the old factory buildings I scanned the surroundings for any sign of movement, and ducked when I saw someone walking on the other side. There was light in the first story window right across the cobbled yard, and the figure stepped into the door beneath it. I got a short peek on a set of old wooden stairs, then the door fell closed again.
To my left there was more cobbled yard, then a big doorway, and in the buildings left and right to it more lights and distant voices. Obviously I had miscalculated the mass of people I’d be up against, but that didn’t mean I would have to fight my way through every person in the factory. Being sneaky was my second nature after all.
Someone moved up there, making the light flicker when a body blocked it from reaching the window. I ducked again and listened hard, but failed to hear anything but the distant rumble of too many drunk and coked up people.
I had to get closer, and time was running out.
I couldn’t wait any longer. The whole situation was fucked up anyway, and I probably would have to wait forever if I wanted to be safe. There was no safe, not this time.
I grabbed the gun inside my sweatshirt and started running across the yard and to the door on the other side. With only one hand I was definitely fucked if anyone saw me, because I didn’t have a definitive idea how to use a gun, and as long as I held on to the gun I couldn’t do anything else either.
Only when I reached the door I took my hand off the gun and opened it. It gave easily and silent on its well oiled hinges, closing as promptly as I had opened it and with no one the wiser about my presence.
As soon as I entered the small ground level room I could hear voices I recognized from upstairs. Girl-thug and the guy from the speaker phone were up there, talking quite harshly to each other, but that didn’t mean I was at the right place. I had no lust for revenge whatsoever, I just wanted Noom.
His scent finally hit me when I started climbing the stairs as silently as possible.
His personal note was a mixture of cigarettes, gun oil, patchouly and something more male and musky, and I would have recognized it amidst a million people. Noom was here, just a few feet away!
Unfortunately my own euphoria made me run up the stairs— and right into the muzzle of a hand gun.
The last thing I saw was Nooms bloody face, then three loud bangs shattered the silence and ripped my belly apart.