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We continued on from room to room, clearing them swiftly. Most rooms didn’t contain a thing. This wasn’t a video game where you’d find ammo and health potions in every other drawer. It was mostly degraded stuff, maybe with a pencil here or a book there that managed to survive the test of time. That’s when Raven stumbled across a box of some kind of potato chips.

“Score!” He said excitedly.

I looked over his shoulder at the item. Allco’s Potato Fries. That was the name of them. As for how old they were, I didn’t even want to guess.

“Hey, let’s share these here.” Raven grinned.

“What?”

“No need to split it five ways. We’ll eat these between the two of us now. Then, we’ll keep searching and tell them we didn’t find anything.”

“I thought you were trying to make money.”

He rolled his eyes. “We need to eat too. If they find anything, we’ll just sell that. At least we don’t need to go hungry tonight.”

“Unless they all thought the same thing and ate all the food they found,” I responded.

He blinked, staring at me for a moment, and then he laughed. “Come on… we got to eat it first.”

I had no desire to find what constituted as food in that mystery box. I immediately shook my head. “I’m not interested.”

“Seriously? You’re going to get the smallest share if we share it with the rest of the group. You’re new here, so, that’s just how it happens. You don’t want to starve, do you?” He held the bag to me.

I shook my head again. “I don’t want it. Give it to the others. Just get me ingredients and I’ll make the drugs, okay?”

He opened his mouth, looking like was going to say more, but we started hearing shouts and gunshots. The pair of us only looked at each other for a second before drawing our weapons and heading out into the hallway. The screams were cut short, but there was still the sound of gunfire. As we turned a corner, I heard a bloodcurdling roar. A body slammed into me, and I stumbled back, collapsing on the floor.

I only realized once Raven pulled him off me that it was Husk. He had a vicious wound across his chest and was bleeding horribly. There was another roar, and I looked up to see an alien-like creature. It had scythes for arms, and it had sharp, beak-like teeth.

“Damn! It’s a murderdragon!”

“A-a dragon?” I barely managed to get out.

“Run!” Raven cried out. This isn’t something we can fight.”

“But, Husk…”

“Leave him!”

Raven had already turned to run. Hunter had been shooting at the murderdragon, but he also turned and fled. In a few seconds, it was me, the unconscious Husk, and the murderdragon left alone in the hallway. Its eyes locked on mine, and then it let out another roar and started running toward me.

“Shit! Shit!”

In a panic, I did the only thing I could think of. I hit my last dose of Stealthco. As my body was wrapped in light and disappeared, the murderdragon who was charging me slowed down. I let out a breath. I hadn’t moved, and if it was a smarter beast it would have realized that, but this one wasn’t smart. I found myself frozen with fear, barely able to move. The murderdragon began to glance around, looking left and right for me. I prayed silently that this beast couldn’t smell me.

It took a step, and then another, bridging the gap between us. I felt like those people being faced down by a velociraptor in certain dinosaur movies. I wanted to move, but I couldn’t even breathe at that point. The creature got closer and closer, and the next time it let out a huff of breath, I could feel the hot air on my face. It smelled like decaying meat, and I had to put my hand over my nose to keep from gagging.

“Ahhhhhh!”

Feather had just turned the corner to see the monster. She was at the other end of the hallway, where the creature had just come from. I guess they had responded to the shouts too but didn’t hear the other running. Payne reacted more aggressively, immediately pulling out a gun and shooting the creature. It was struck twice in the back, letting out another scream inches from my face before turning around. Its tail nearly struck me, but I just managed to avoid it.

As the murderdragon was looking at the girls, my eyes looked around to find a door to a room behind me. Looking down at the still unconscious Husk, I cursed to myself and grabbed him. He was heavy, even with my enhanced strength, and it took all I had to drag him beyond the door. The murder dragon had run toward the girls, but after shooting a few times, they ran. Thankfully, this creature wasn’t fast or bright. However, just as I was getting the door shut, it looked back and saw me, or maybe it just saw husks moving body. It let out another screech and started thumping toward us.

I slammed the door and then grabbed a nearby cabinet, turning it over and blocking the door. A few moments later there was a thud as the creature slammed into the door. I took a breath, but then I choked as a blade arm slammed through the door, causing splinters to fly.

“Shit!” I cursed.

I still head Stealthco on, but it would only last so long. Even if I hid, it was only a matter of time before my stealth wore off and I was hopeless. That wasn’t my only problem. If I somehow escaped, I’d be abandoning Husk. It was clear the thing wanted to eat him. If I left him here to it, he’d be as good as dead. Even now, he wouldn’t be alive much longer. Why did I care? He was a raider! Even his teammates abandoned him! Raven wanted to steal from his teammates and let them starve. He wasn’t willing to risk anything to save Husk. These were the kind of people I was dealing with.

Thud! Another claw slammed into the door, causing it to splinter more. The door was already far past its expiration date. He’d be through the door in under a minute. I looked around the room frantically, trying to figure out what to do. My eyes landed on the unconscious Husk who was bleeding out on the floor.

“Damn it!”

I kneeled and shoved the Perco injector into his neck, releasing a dose of RegenX. I only had gotten the one from Jericho, so if I got hurt myself, I’d be in a lot of trouble. The bleeding seemed to slow, but I had no clue if he’d be alive or dead come tomorrow. There was another thud, and I realized he might not be alive in another hour if I didn’t do something soon.

I looked around the room and then saw a nearly broken wall with various holes in it leading into the room next to mine. With a shout, I ran and slammed into it. I wasn’t so strong I could do that easily, and I felt the pain as I slammed through the wall. I collapsed into the floor of an adjacent room, my shoulder throbbing. There was another thud. The door was halfway destroyed now, and the cabinet was dangerously close to being knocked aside.

Forcing myself to my feet, I ran out into the hallway, pulling the gun at my side, pointed at the murderdragon still standing at the door, and fired several shots. The bullets seemed to bounce off the hard shell of this creature. It roared, turning my legs to jelly. As it turned to look at me, I narrowly avoided pissing myself. It started to run at me, its claw-like feet thumping with each step. If I ran too quickly, then it would renew its interest in that door and Husk would be dead. Thus, I held my ground and kept firing, letting it get closer and closer.

“Shit!” I turned and ran as it threw out a claw.

Its reach was farther than I would have guessed, and I narrowly avoided its devastating slash. I almost ended up like Husk. Stumbling around the corner, I kept running while luring the creature away. If it seemed to be losing interest, I would slow down and shoot a few shots. After taking three corners and becoming completely lost, I felt like I had lured it far enough away. At least Husk had a chance now. Looking regretfully over the murderdragon’s shoulders, imagining just leaving a wounded man there in some random room while a monster roamed the hallways, I turned and ran. I made two steps before I fell.

There was a random hole in the middle of the hallway. I had been backing away with my eyes mostly on the murderdragon, so I wasn’t watching my step. I fell two stories down into darkness. My body hit a watery mud hole with a thud. For a second, my vision turned to white and then went dark. A sudden roar from overhead caused me to jerk up. I wasn’t unconscious. I was still alive. It was just dark.

Now, I was cold and wet, lying in a hole on what was presumably the bottom floor of the complex. I could also hear a static sound. As I lifted my arm, I realized it was my Geiger going off. There was radiation. Flipping on the light source, I forced myself to my feet. My hand braced something metal to help me to my feet. However, as I got to a standing position and was able to make it out, I realized what it was.

“A… mini-nuke?” I read the name on the item.

I was standing next to a nuclear bomb! With a shout, I fell back, scooting away with my feet out of the water-filled hole the nuke was in. As I backed up, I ran into something sticky and gross feeling. Turning around slowly, I could see the wall was painted in this green mucous, and sitting in a patch of mucous were massive green eggs that seemed to come right out of a horror movie.

I hadn’t just landed on a nuke, I had landed into the nest of the murderdragon!

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