((Katarina Konipaski continued from Fumble
She stopped just inside the entryway, far enough inside to keep the rain off her back. It seemed to be lightening, at least, but of course she was already wet and cold. A little part of her didn't mind, though. It was familiar. Homey. She'd lived in Seattle all her life, and spent a good deal of her time running up, down, and around the hilly coast, rain or shine. And for the thousandth time she reminded herself just how far away those fond memories were, just how much blood and pain and terror guarded her return.
Katarina shook her head, glancing over her should, sweeping a finger back over her forehead. easing her bag to the floor and kneeling over it. She reached past the gun that was, as usual, sitting within easy reach beneath the open zipper, and rummaged for a second before her fingers found the strong, stretchy cotton of the extra bandages she'd looted from Steven's bag. A solution so obvious it seemed as if she'd grabbed them for the very purpose. Smiling slightly she slipped it beneath her foot, winding up and around and across, a few good wraps beneath her toe and a solid X across her heel. Enough for an effect, she hoped, but not too much that she couldn't push off when she needed to. And - she couldn't help herself - criss-crossing up her boot in a neat little pattern. It felt a little childish, but the feeble excuse that she didn't feel like cutting off the excess was more than enough for her.
She straightened up once she'd finished wrapping her other boot and tested out her handiwork; her grip on the floor was still decent, but her foot made little noise against the floor, even less if she slid into it toe-first. With that, she looked around herself and padded quietly into the building. An abandoned hospital, then? She'd seen enough of the setting in movies or on TV to know how that usually worked out. Even played a game once where they'd kicked off the end of the world from one. The latter she had to admit seemed a bit unlikely, but as she pushed into the gloom it seemed less and less like a bluff she'd be willing to call. That, at least was some small comfort, because anyone seeking a bit of shelter from rain or cold or murderers would doubtless prefer a place that didn't creep them the hell out.
Through dim halls and drab rooms she wandered, a little restless edge working at the edge of her thoughts. It would be best just to lie in some decrepit chair or, even better, curl up against a peeling wall in satisfied discomfort, but somehow that didn't seem like a satisfying option right now. That meant stopping and waiting again, alone with her thoughts and her paranoia and that grinding, ominous feeling of dread, of what's behind that corner, of what comes next. Besides, she thought, it might not be a bad place to spend the night, or the late afternoon or morning or whenever the hell she was sleeping now after paranoia had bent her sleep cycle into a twisted mess. But she'd have to scope it all out if so, make sure nobody came slithering out of the depths to cut her throat as she slept. And while she was waiting, when she was awake and aware, she could benefit more than a little from knowing the layout of the place.
And so she pressed on until she found herself staring at a sign that read "Third Floor: Maternity and Children's" If the drab, dark, and cavernous depths of the rest of the hospital were unsettling, the ward she now pressed on into was downright disturbing, like a clown with sharp teeth. Drawings made by children, some doubtless dead and buried now, marked the walls. Abandoned toys littered the floor. Where were the hands that last touched them, she couldn't stop herself thinking, and were they strong or withered or rotting into dust by now?
A sickly smell she'd come to know better than she'd ever hoped came wafting through the stagnant air. She arrested her breathing, turned to move away, but in the quiet of it all - a little scratching noise. Heart in her throat, she slipped a hand into her bag and held the gun ready. Slowly, hardly daring to breathe, she slipped forward.
A blond-haired boy bent earnestly over a little table, hand clutched around something long and thin that skated over the paper before him. The simultaneous desire for fight and flight and a dozen things besides rose inside her, but the raising of her gun was met with absolutely no response. He was totally engrossed in his work. She stepped closer, her fingers trembling at the thought that he might hear, but still he swept and swirled his hand around the page.
Her palms were aching enough already, her wrists uncomfortable and sore. The SMG was so heavy, so brutal and unruly and loud. Its last shots still rang in her ears. The blood it has spilled was still tacking over her shirt and her jeans, crusting over her boots and her arms and her fingers where it spattered and smeared and dried.
Another step closer. She couldn't miss now. Well - she could. But if spray and pray had been hedged the odds before, it was near-certainty now. And then what next? The immediate was obvious, but what after that? And after that? Almost half a dozen now, and the inescapable fact was that that "now" really meant ten second, twenty, thirty into the future. You couldn't just mess with people who couldn't count their atrocities on one hand. Her breathing would give her away soon. There was food in her bag. A reputation on her name. A target on her back only to those she could count as clinically insane. A message in her brain: you could
mess with people who couldn't even stick to their own plans.
Chase opened his mouth in greeting, for she could recognize him as he raised his head up from his work. "Hel-" he said, but the tail of it was to Katarina as her heart throbbed and her breath rushed halfway out. One hand braced the other, one finger curled around the trigger, and there was no more hesitation as she squeezed it.