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"Need.. help...", the voice rasped.

"Where are you!", she cried out once more.

"Blue tr... uck...", the voice let out a cough mid sentence.

Hope stared at the blue tow truck in front of her, slowly going up to the driver's side window and aiming the rifle inside. She let out a small growl, "Where are you? Don't play games!"

A hand shot out from under the truck and took a light grip to her left boot. Jumping and backing away, she crouched down. Two deep blue eyes stared into hers, making her uneasy.

"Who are you?", she asked.

"Clauden security... please, help me..."

"What are you doing under that truck? Have you been hit?"

"No."

"Then why?"

"The outbreak..."

The man's face was tired and dirty. Blood was dried and caked to the right side of his head, with scratches running down his neck. Reluctanly, Hope reached out her hand and offered it to the man. He took it with a grunt of relief. Slowly, they got to their feet, he leaned against the truck door.

"What's your name?"

"Maxwell... Clauden."

Her eyes widened, "You're the son of Daniel Clauden, the famous scientist?"

"Yeah."

"Then what are you doing out here?", she began rummaging through her jacket pockets. Gusts of wind blew papers everywhere, along with sparking wires that were hanging from electrical poles.

"I was out looking for surviors... But, who are you? How did you survive?"

She looked up at him. "My name's Hope. And survive what, exactly?", she asked as she pulled out some gauze from her pocket and offered it to him.

"You don't know what happened?", he wrapped some gauze around a cut on his forearm.

"No."

Max lowered his head toward the ground and closed his eyes. Letting out a weak sigh, he looked back at Hope, "Last night, my father was working on... on research."

"What kind of research?"

"It's classified.", he shifted his eyes.

"It'd be better if you told me."

"Why? What's it to you?"

Her eyes grew weary, "I was attacked this morning. By some kind of animal or something. I really don't know what it was... But, I know it wasn't natural.", she ran a hand through her wind tossed hair, "Since there's so many rumors about this city and its scientists, I figured it had something to do with your father or company. In my old line of work, we were trained for what I think has happened.", she grew quiet as she realized she was rambling.

"Your "old line of work"?"

"It's classified."

"Alright.", he nodded his head slowly, "If you won't tell me what I want to know, I won't tell you what you want to know."
She sighed and looked over to the horizon, nothing but ruined city giving way to a chain of mountains.

"Fine, but how do I know I can trust you?", she asked with a hard expression on her face.

"You don't. And I don't either. We have no choice. Who else is there?", his intense blue eyes searched hers, she lowered her head to avoid his gaze. Thoughts raced through her head. Her eyes trailed a piece of paper that was being blowed across the littered street.

"Your name is Hope. Don't you think that is quite ironic?", his voice cut through the silence like a knife.

Hope snapped out of her trance, "Hmm?"

"I said, don't you think your name is ironic?"

"Why's that?"

"Hope... And you saved me.", he smirked, his blue eyes lighting up at his idea.

"Oh.", she chuckled softly and smiled a little.

He admired her smile for a second, then his mind went to survival, "We shouldn't stay out in the open for too long. It's not safe."

"Yea-"

"BAM!", the jarring sound came from the distance.

"Oh, crap!", Max grabbed Hope's arm and headed toward a slightly scorched building.

"BAM!", the sound came nearer, louder, and clearer.

"Wait! We are we going?"

"A bunker! It's under this store!"

"BAM! Raaaiiihhh!"

Hope turned her head, she knew that sound. She looked back and her eyes met with another creature's. It was bigger than the one she had seen, it stood on its hind legs. It stared back at her, and let out a fierce call.

She gasped and turned away, letting Max lead her down a staircase in the back of the store. They stopped at a big grey door, Max swiped a card through the side of a keypad and entered a code in.

"Please hold. Rectnal scan taking place."

"Come on, come on!", Max gritted his teeth as he stared into a red light.

"Crrraaack!"

"Max! Hurry!"

"I'm trying!"

"Raaaiiiiahhh!"

"Max!" "Rectnal scan complete.", the door glided open slowly.

"Raaaiiiaaraah...", the creature growled and swung a clawed hand at Hope, as she started to aim her rifle. Max grabbed her shoulder and quickly pulled her into the bunker. As he slammed the door, his eyes stared into the creature's, who's were a bright blue.

Banging and stratching at the door rang loudly. Both breathed loudly and were trembling. Hope looked to the right and left of her, a long grey hallway to the right, another large steel door to the left.

"You okay?"

She nodded, then jumped when the door was banged on again.

"Don't worry, it's enforced, solid steel. It can't get through."

He motioned his head in the direction of the hallway and started walking. Hope followed, crossing her arms and pointing the rifle toward the ground. The hallway was long, grey, and lit by bright florescent lamps that hung from the ceiling. As they walked more, they came to yet another large steel door. Glowing red, a keypad attached to a pedistal stood to the side of it. Max swiped the card and punched in a code. A buzzing noise sounded.




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