Jim turned back to stand with Aimee. She had his attention now.
He pushed the door handle down, and stepped out onto the huge balcony. Several large Rattan couches were strategically placed around a large glass table. Jim didn’t even notice these though. He walked straight over to the balcony wall.
The view was amazing. The whole town was laid out below the hotel. Jim felt like he could touch the ancient market place, the golden beach and almost dive into the sparkling blue Mediterranean. Of course being 23 floors up would pretty much prevent any of that though.
He felt Aimee standing next to him, and they both looked off into the distance.
The town itself was nestled in between two large hills. A road could be seen snaking its way along the valley between the two. This road was full of cars.
If you followed the road towards the town, hundreds of cars could be seen, and even more people. Trucks, cars, buses even tractors and horses were there.
This sight itself was disturbing enough, but the thing which really caught their attention, was the smoke billowing from the distance. Thick black smoke, oily and heavy slowly wounds its way upwards. The road which was full of people and cars, came from the same direction. A loud muffled rumbling could be heard at the same time.
"Look Jim, they’re fighting!" Aimee’s empty hand went straight to her mouth.
On the road, it looked like most of the people had given up on the cars. Many were walking towards their town now. Furthest away from them though, it looked like groups of people were fighting each other. Several of them would run at the others, dragging them down. It was hard to see any details though, the distance was too great. The rest of the column seemed to speed up, running now, trying to get away from the violence it seemed.
"Why would they do that?" he asked aloud.
Before Aimee could answer though, the couple both instinctively ducked. Two large black helicopters flew straight over their hotel. They were travelling in the direction of the column. Jim had never realised how big military helicopters were until now. The sound drowned out Aimee’s scream, and the down draft caused them both to huddle down together. As they passed Jim slowly climbed back to his feet. The helicopters had now dropped below the height of the hotel, and he could see above them. The rotor noise had also greatly diminished. Aimee clung to him as he continued to watch.
A fast dark object streaked in from the left hand side of his vision. It was a plane. A very fast, low plane. Jim watched as it crossed over the road, it had to be only 2 or 3 hundred feet above the running people. He didn’t see anything come from the plane, but within seconds of it passing, the whole road erupted in flames.
They watched as the cars and all of the people were engulfed in a massive fireball.
"Holy Shit!" Jim shouted, "What the fuck is going on?"
Aimee just cried, she could’nt comprehend what was happening. The road was covered in fire. Everything was burning. It was hard to tell what each twisted blackened hulk was now. He searched for signs of anyone moving.
The helicopters had now reached the road. Jim thought that maybe they would be looking for survivors. The two aircraft were slowly working there along the road. The smoke rising was being pushed in all directions by the powerful rotors. They seemed to focus on one particular burning lump, and then one of them started to fire missiles down. The other helicopter slowly landed on the roadsides grass embankment. Several figures dressed all in black could be seen running towards the road. Raising weapons of their own, the soldiers started firing into the smoke.
Jim had seen enough. He grabbed Aimee and dragged her back into the hotel room. "Grab what you can carry!, we’re getting out of here!" he shouted.
Aimee stood there crying, obviously in shock, so Jim started ripping searching through the cases on the floor.
"What are you looking for ?" she asked through her tears.
"The passports, we can’t leave here without our passports!" He was frantically emptying the cases now.
"We left them at the reception desk last night Jim".
He stopped and stood up. Grabbing her hand he ran for the apartment door.
Before he got there though, the door opened. They froze, deer in the headlights, as black figure stepped through. a very big gun pointed right towards them.
"Whao mate!, What the fuck..." before Jim could continue what he was saying, the man shouted "Get on the floor!, down now!".
Jim dragged the hysterical Aimee to the floor, he tried to push her behind him, but she wouldn’t let go of his side.
"When did you arrive?" the soldier shouted, although he spoke English, it was heavily accented.
"What?" Jim’s mind went blank.
"When did you arrive at the hotel?". He shouted again. The gun never left them.
"Last night!, we got here last night!"
"Have you left the hotel yet? Did you go to Cantabira?", Now his dominance had been established, his shouting had reduced somewhat.
"No, we got here last night, and we haven’t even left this room yet." Jim heard the change in the soldiers voice, but it didn’t make him feel any better.
"Wait here". He didn’t need to tell them twice. They clung together on the hotel room floor, while the soldier spoke rapidly into his radio. gunfire could be heard through the open doors. Jim’s imagination was running wild by now.
"Go out of the door, turn left and run to the stairs. Do not stop. Another soldier is at the doorway, he is expecting you. Do as he says and do not stop. Show me your hands." He stepped forward and as Jim and Aimee held their hands out, he sprayed something onto their skin.
With this he promptly turned and walked quickly out of the room.
"We have to go" Jim said. The sobbing Aimee seemed incapable of moving. She just stared at the purple paint dripping from her hand.
"Aimee, we have to go. Now!" he shouted. Pulling her up from the floor Jim looked out of the door, into the corridor outside. All along the passageway, soldiers were opening doors, shouted the same commands at the occupants. He pulled her along, passing doors that stood open. some rooms looked empty, but others had people on the floor, soldiers standing over them. The man at the end of the corridor stood against the stairwell door. Jim and Aimee walked quickly towards him.
"Show me your hands!" this was not a request. his gun followed their every move.
"Here, look!" Jim answered holding his and Aimee’s purple stained hand out.
"Ok, go down the stairs, all the way to the bottom, do not stop, do not enter any floor. Some people are infected already."
"What!, infected?" Jim asked, shock was’nt the word.
"You don’t have time!, Go Now!". The soldier pushed them through the door, and then turned his back on them. Jim was heading for the top of the stairs, but then turned as he heard the soldier start to shout.
"Show me your hands!, Stop, Stop!". Whoever he was shouting at didn’t stop, for within 2 seconds he had opened fire. The noise of his rifle echoing throughout the stairwell. Blood could be seen pooling towards the soldiers feet, just as the heavy fire door closed.
"Fuck this" Jim said, and started pulling Aimee down the stairs.
The stairwell soon got crowded. 23 Floors up, and people were coming out from every landing door. By the time they got to the fourth floor, they could move no further. Loud voices could be heard below, and the air was getting stuffy. Suddenly a number of soldiers appeared from above, they started pushing their way through the crowd. Body armour and a good prod with a hot barrelled rifle will pretty much move anyone, and the soldiers quickly moved through the crowd.
"What’s the delay?" one Englishman asked the soldiers. They completely ignored him, and continued past. "Well that’s bloody rude!" he said.
"We’re here to save your lives!" one of the soldiers shouted back at him.
The shocked man’s face turned gray, and he went very quiet. Lots of Spanish was being shouted into the radios, the soldiers all seemed to be talking at once, and the people on the stairs were starting to panic.
Jim held onto Aimee’s hand, at least she’s stopped crying now. They were jostled from every direction, but he clung onto her, hard enough to bruise, but he didn’t care.
"Hey mate, what’s going on?". It was the man from the bus. "Did you get dragged from your room too?" He had a small dark haired woman on his hip. Her bright eyes staring intently at him. It was the strangest thing, but it made sense when Jim saw her withered legs dangling beneath her. She was disabled. This is why he hadn’t seen her on the bus.
"No idea. We just got kicked out by Action Man. He spray painted us and sent us to the stairs. What about you guys?". Jim tried not to stare at the deformed legs.
"Pay me enough and you can look up my skirt!" She’d noticed.
"I’m sorry, i’m sorry" he mumbled.
"Do’nt worry mate, this whole thing is fucked up!" thin man said, "We got dragged out, they wouldn’t even let me get her chair."
"If you need any help....." Jim let the offer trail off.
"Do’nt worry mate, she’s as light as a feather." A huge smile filled his face, and the girl kissed him on the cheek.
"Dave’s the name, and Ella".
"Jim and Aimee".
They all turned as three loud gunshots filled the air. Silence was quickly followed by a loud voice. The heavy Spanish accent was difficult to understand.
"We all go to bus now" he said. "We wait for bus, now we go".
The people at the very bottom of the stairs started to move through the doors. Jim and Aimee moved slightly in front of the other couple, and started to move down with the crowd.
When they passed through the doors, the reception area looked like a bomb had hid it. all of the glass windows were broken, glass covered the floors. The reception desk had bullet holes all over it, and blood stained the walls where the lifts were. Around 30 soldiers stood around the area.
"Keep moving forward. Go to the buses." one of them said again and again.
Jim and Aimee followed the crowd towards the main doors.
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