Marshall sat up, unaware of his surroundings. He stood and stumbled to the window, pulling the blinds open to see the intersection of 52nd and Broadway littered with abandoned cars.
“How the hell did I get here?” he said.
“The same way everyone else did,” the older woman said from behind him. “Luck.”
“Who the hell are you?”
“Marlene Dietz. You’ve been asleep for three days, locked in this room with me and eighteen others.”
“What?” Marshall asked and turned.
She sat in a gold wingback chair next to an ornate fireplace. Her red hair made her face pale.
“They think we’ve been infected.”
“They gave you too much sedative—they do that with the ones that fight. The city is under quarantine.” He looked at her blankly. “Drink some water that should help get that poison out of you.”
He looked to where she nodded—bottles of water sat on the floor near the door.
“Don’t touch the door,” she warned. “They don’t like it. They’ll bring food soon, but would we eat if we were infected?”
“Infected by what?”
“Who knows? By whatever caused people to start beating each other’s brains out and eating them.”
Marshall took a bottle of water, not understanding her statement, and returned to the sofa where he had slept. Nothing made sense.
“Where are the others?” Marshall asked after taking a few sips of tepid water.
“In the other rooms of this luxurious apartment. I think Kim Kardashian lived here. Maybe, you should lie back down. You don’t look so good.”
A bang woke him.
“Stay away from the door or no food,” the gruff voice ordered.
The door swung open. Two men in hazard gear with coolers stepped in, dropped them on the floor, stepped back and shut the door. The others, Marlene mentioned before, milled into the room and took food out of the two coolers. They glanced at Marshall without saying a word and traipsed back to their hiding places. Their smells stirred his appetite.
He stared at the remaining food in the bottom of the coolers—light-brown bread sandwiches and bruised fruit. None was appetizing, but he forced himself to eat the flavorless food. Marshall noticed that Marlene stared at him as he ate and wondered why she did not have the enticing aroma the others did.
Hours passed, Marshall remembered less and less about himself. His head pounded, his stomach tightened. He stood and slowly moved through the room, following his nose to something delightful.
The aroma that permeated from the cracked door was exciting. He tapped the door and it swung inward. They lay on the bed asleep. Drool ran down his chin. He never imagined that his fingers would so easily pierce a skull.
The other in the bed screamed. He swung his hand, silencing her. He ripped her head open easily and devoured the contents. The one with no aroma stood at the door. He grunted and she made her way down the hall.
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