Outside, the two searching figures slowly return to the main building. As they approach the light from their flashlights reflects off of the building and their shapes resolve. They're wearing simple, nondescript military style uniforms and armed with automatic weapons. One of them snarls at the other, "There's nothing out here except coyotes, dirt and wind. Besides, if I were in charge I'd have come out here and checked it out myself!"
"Yeah right! If you were in charge we'd all be dead already Carlson. That door was rusted shut, I'd bet money on it. Ain't no coyote cracking it open like that," says the second guard. They pause outside the door and turn off the flashlights and he digs a pack of cigarettes from his shirt pocket.
Lighting up a cigarette he offers the pack to his companion. "So if it ain't a coyote what the hell was it? Nothing around here for miles!"
"I don't know Staves, but I'm not taking that bet."
"There's not enough wind to throw that door open, even if it wasn't rusted shut. Someone else is out here, but I'm not risking my butt to find out where they went."
Carlson takes a long pull from his cigarette and stamps it out on the ground. "Come on, let's get back inside before all the grub is gone."
Staves looks around the blackened compound. "I dunno man, just doesn't seem right," he mutters while closing the door. "Who'd want to be out here unless they had to be anyway?"
After more struggling than I'd expected I finally work my way through the window. Collapsing on the floor I huff a little and try to slow down my breathing. Seems I'm a little out of shape here. Maybe I held down a desk or something before waking up outside. I'm obviously no Olympian.
I feel around the window frame and encounter a heavy roll-down blind at the top. Gritting my teeth against the possibility of making more noise I start pulling on it slowly to see if I can get it to roll down so I can cover the window. It sounds a little crunchy as it extends, but after a little work I finally get it down far enough that I feel safe enough to try the lighter.
Digging the lighter out of my bag I flick it a few times, only now realizing I have no idea if it even works. On the third try I'm met with a happy little flame though and I'm able to peer around the room. Looks like it might have been a filing room of some kind. There are several head height cabinets in here, which I quickly and quietly have a look in.
"All empty. Whatever information they were storing in here before...it's all gone now."
I turn to the empty wall opposite the cabinets and find a single door there. Not an industrial door, just a light wooden door you'd find in a used car sales office or something. My thumb is starting to get hot from holding the lighter so I let it go out and wait a moment for my eyes to adjust before trying the door.
Yes! Finally a door that isn't locked. Although on second thought maybe that's not such a great thing. I have no idea what could be behind here. No help for it though, I really don't have anywhere else to go and slide-step through.
I was sort of expecting a hallway, but judging by the sound of my footsteps I think I'm in another room, slightly larger than the file room. Taking another chance I decide to flick the lighter again and look around a bit. Besides, if any one is in here they likely heard my graceless thud as I toppled through the window.
The room is almost completely filled with old office furniture. Desks, chairs, lamps and other useless looking stuff stacked in haphazard piles. It's all covered with dust and looks like it's been in here a while.
I spot a telephone on a desk to my left and work my way over to it through the mess. I pick it up and hold the handset to my ear. Nothing; no dial tone, no lit up buttons, just more silence and more blackness. "Shit, of course that would have been too easy. A working phone would obviously be too much to ask for around here I guess."
At this point I'm a little stuck for ideas. No phone. No idea where I am. No idea who I am or what I'm even doing here in the first place. I'm obviously here for a reason, but what is that reason? Nothing's really coming to me and I can feel myself starting to panic again.
"OK chill out a minute," I say to myself as I settle cross-legged onto the dusty floor. "So far no one knows you're here, at least not that you're aware of." I take a deep breath. "That gives you an advantage. So just find a way out of here and worry about putting the puzzle together later."
I gasp and sit bolt upright. "Wait wait wait! If this is my phone what about...?" I can't believe I didn't think about checking in them before! Plunging my hands deep into the pockets of my jacket I pull out a charger cable. It looks like it should fit my phone! "Yes, now I just need to see if I can get some power into this thing."
On the wall directly in front of me I spot the glint of a metal outlet cover and crawl over to it. "Come on baby, gimme some juice please!" I plug the phone into the charger cable and then hurriedly jam the other end into the socket. Chewing on my lip impatiently I wait a few seconds before thumbing the power button again. My face is bathed in the cold, white digital light of the phone as it powers on. I slump against the wall and let the lighter go out while I wait for my lifeline to finish booting up.
Staves closes, locks the door and turns around. "Carlson? What happened to the lights man? It's darker in here than it is outside." He reaches down to his belt and grabs his flashlight raising it up to switch it on.
Suddenly a cold piercing bite hammers into his chest and he stumbles back against the door. The chill quickly turns to a spreading warmth. "Shit what was that? Agggh. Carlson? I'm hurt man, something just hit me!" he stutters, slumping onto his side and clutching his chest.
Staves tries to roll onto his knees to stand up, but can't. He grunts and tries again, crying out in pain as a heavy pressure strikes his back and rapidly increases. Something is forcing him back down to the floor and his arms give out under the weight.
Lying on his front, a hot pool of his own blood begins collecting around his cheek. He coughs and spits as the coppery syrup flows into his mouth and nose. A bright flare of light appears and immediately dims, framing a face in the dark. Staves smells cigarette smoke. Not his brand...Carlson's.
A floating red ember brightens and Carlson exhales smoke directly into Stave's face. "Well friend. You were right about one thing. If I was in charge, you would be dead. Let's just consider this my way of saving a little time."
The blood around his face is thick and cloying. He tries again to get onto his hands and knees but can't lift himself up through the haze of smoke. His arms and legs feel like frozen lead and even the darkness seems to be turning gray. "You...I thought we were friends," Staves gasps.
Carlson's voice recedes to the darkness. "We are man, we are. Trust me, it's far better for you this way."
Staves shudders as his final breath leaves his body in a dry rattle. Wide, betrayed eyes stare out, seeing nothing now. The spreading black pool of blood slows, then finally ceases as it turns sticky, thick and cold.