Night fell quickly over the town, its shadows stretching like long fingers down the streets and alleyways of the city, draping all they saw in utter darkness. Somewhere in a seedy old hotel on the outer fringes of the city limits, Sayid Jarrah stared up at the cracked, plaster ceiling, wondering--for the thousandth time--how the hell he’d ended up here. And for the thousandth time again, it dawned on Sayid that he hadn’t the slightest idea as to where “here” even was. “Here,” in Sayid’s mind, proved an intangible concept--a certain uncertainty that he couldn’t seem to wrap his head around. How on earth he’d gone from that godforsaken island, to being rescued, to being here--he wasn’t quite sure. Perhaps it was, as his companion the scientist had said, that God truly was a sick son of a bitch with a terrible sense of humor.
At any rate, Sayid decided, none of that was of the utmost importance at the moment. If things truly were as bad as the scientist had reported, everyone in the town would be dead before sunrise. The infection was spreading; the dead lay on the streets, beginning to decompose--while the afflicted went out in search of victims. No place was safe.
From off in the distance, he could hear the wail of sirens, make out the staccato sounds of gunfire. They’re coming. Sayid sat up in bed, propping himself up on his elbow. Across the room from him stood Abby, assault rifle in hand, poised in front of the window like a sentry.
“Abby.” The scientist turned, his gaze coming to level with Sayid’s. “Do you see anything?” Abby shook his head.
“Nothing yet. With any luck, they’ll stay on the other side of town. More populated, more victims. We might be safe here.” Sayid could hear the discordant note of doubt in Abby’s voice.
“And if not?” he asked dubiously.
“Well, if not--” Abby patted the machine gun for emphasis as he propped it up against the wall beside the windowsill. “Then I’m well prepared.”
“I have a bad feeling about this.”
“Notorious last famous words, I’m afraid,” Abby quipped. “Nevertheless, Sayid, there’s no reason to panic. I have everything under control.”
“Of course. The town is under siege, bodies are piling up to the gutters, nevertheless you have everything perfectly under control.” Sayid’s dark eyes narrowed. “Why am I not convinced?”
“Because you’re a skeptic,” retorted Abby. “That’s why.”
“We shouldn’t be here.” Sayid rose from the bed, stalking toward the window. “There are people dying out there, Abby. We should be out there fighting those--things, not holed up in this dingy hotel room.”
“And what good would it do?” snapped Abby, turning on Sayid. “We go out there in the dark with all those sickos running amok and we’re as good as dead ourselves.” His voice softened. “This situation--it’s complicated. We’re working on a solution to the problem, I assure you. Come daylight, you and I can return to the base and everything will be explained. But for now, we stay put, and I keep you safe here. End of story.”
“Fine.” Sayid crossed his arms over his chest. “We stay put. What do you propose we do in the meantime?” Abby smirked.
“Well, I could think of a few things.” He slipped an arm around Sayid’s slender waist, pulling him in suggestively. Sayid glared, swatting at Abby’s arm.
“You’ve lost it,” he declared. “Here? Now? I think not.” He frowned, an indignant expression crossing his face.
“Come on,” Abby purred, drawing Sayid closer to him. “Relax, baby. What’s the worst that could happen?”
“Are you joking?” The frown deepened. “I’m familiar with the concept of American horror cinema. Every time someone offers that very question, and some unknowing couple jumps between the sheets, some axe murderer, or chainsaw-wielding madman, or horde of flesh-eating zombies breaks in the door and slaughters them.”
“I think that would apply only if you were a ditzy blonde with a big rack, which--” He held Sayid at arm’s length and studied him with mock scrutiny. “--you don’t appear to be.” Sayid just sighed and rolled his eyes. He would surrender, he knew, and he was aware Abby knew just as well.
“Your timing is positively impeccable.” This, he said with as much sarcasm as he could manage.
Still, he didn’t put up much of a fight when Abby drew him closer and pulled him into a kiss that lingered, sending a jolt to all his nerves. Nor did he protest when Abby sent them both tumbling to the dilapidated, old mattress, Sayid landing beneath the weight of his body. And suddenly, all Sayid was aware of were Abby‘s lips against the side of his neck, his hands sliding expertly beneath his shirt, caressing skin that, inexplicably, seemed to crave his touch. In an instant, it seemed, Sayid no longer knew nor cared where he was.
The situation at hand was, for the moment, forgotten. In the heat of the passion between them, where quick hands and heated kisses were all that registered, nothing seemed to matter. And before Sayid could quite comprehend what was happening, he was half-naked on his back with Abby’s hot mouth blazing a trail down his bare chest to his stomach, and still lower. His mind slid effortlessly to blissful unawareness, and in that moment, nothing in the world could possibly be wrong, everything was good and splendid and right--
And then in the turn of the next moment, it was all dreadfully wrong.
It was the faintest of noises, the ever-so-slight sound of footsteps from somewhere down the hallway--yet, minute as it was, it fully succeeded in sending a jolt to Sayid’s brain, jerking him back into present reality.
“Did you hear that?” Suddenly, he was sitting bolt upright, his eyes shooting to the door. Following suit, Abby reached reflexively for his backup firearm, a police issue handgun that he kept in an ankle holster. Sayid cleared the bed and retrieved the assault rifle. For a long moment, both men remained silent, both straining to hear what forms of life--or lack thereof--might be lurking outside in the hall.
And then it came. Footfalls, right there and growing nearer. Someone or something was on the other side of that door. And who or whatever it was didn’t sound human.
Footsteps closer now, shuffling, dragging--multiplying, Jesus Christ--and a horrid, animalistic howl cut the still air like a knife. No, Sayid decided, definitely not human.
“They’ve found us,” Abby’s voice was grave, wrought with dread. “Jesus fucking Christ, they’ve found us.”
And then came the scratching against the door, fingernails scratching against the wood. They know we’re in here. Dear God.
The moment’s silence that passed was the most unnerving sound that Sayid had seemingly heard in his entire life. Another inhuman moan, and then there was a crash against the door, as of a battering ram. They’re trying to break down the door. Fucking hell.
And then it came again and again, louder and louder, until Sayid was sure he heard wood splintering. They were caught, cornered like rats in a trap--and there was no way out but through that godforsaken door.
Dammit. Dammit. Dammit.
In a moment, Sayid knew, the sickos would beat down the door and storm the room. To make a stand would be their only hope of surviving.
“The first sicko you see,” Abby was saying, “start shooting, and for God’s sake, don’t let up.” Seemingly from out of nowhere, he had procured another nine millimeter, and was braced toward the door with both guns at the ready. He turned, glancing over his shoulder at Sayid. “If we don’t make it out of here alive,” he said, “I want you to know that I love you.” The feeling was mutual.
“I’ve got your back,” replied Sayid feebly, raising his firearm and aiming toward the door.
Neither of them could help but feeling that this was only going to get much, much worse.