B Dub and I escorted Fatima downstairs to watch guard as she cooked lunch. He looked around the media room and kitchen, things were scattered about, the patio doors were blocked off with furniture and wood that I nailed to the patio doors. The seating area of the kitchen was the same, a bunch of junk tossed in front of the windows and a few pieces of wood nailed against the glass. “Looks like shit in here.” He jested. 

“Well you know, we had to do what we had to do.” 

B Dub pointed to the two smaller windows in the kitchen near Fatima as she put a pan on the oven. “You ain’t worried that they will jump through those windows?” He asked me.

“Those windows are higher off the ground standing about ten feet, plus the windows are much smaller. I don’t think they’d try honestly. Ran out of stuff to put in front of them anyway. The remaining stuff we tossed in front that go up stairs, then tossed stuff from upstairs down to completely block the passage.” B Dub nodded his head in agreement. Fatima pulled out some hot dogs and threw them in the pan. She looked up seeing B Dub was staring in amazement. 

“Fried hot dogs for lunch. Things that cook quickly is better than sitting down here for too long. It’s actually kind of eerie to be down here knowing we are ground level with those things outside.” Fatima said. “You can hear them scuffle past the bushes, or on the street.” 

“And they have never tried to get in here?” B Dub asked. 

“No. I have been watching their behavior, they just seem to move about aimlessly during the day until the night comes. That’s when they come and investigate the house. They move about outside with intent then. I think they can sense us but just don’t know how to find a way in. They don’t try to hard to find a way in.” B Dubs face went blank. 

“It’s smart that you guys are upstairs, at night if you were downstairs they would get a better chance at picking up where you are.” The way he said that made me feel he knew this from experience. As Fatima cooked, B Dub briefly talked about the hell he’d been through. “I seen some crazy shit out there.” He said.

I looked over at him before peeking through the wooden planks on the window staring outside ever being cautious. “I bet you did. You were in ground zero brother, and it was on your evening shift when things went to the crapper. I feared the worse for you after your phone kept going to voicemail.”

“Yea it was bad. I was told by dispatch that a bunch of infected kept flooding out of the Betacom building near campus. When I got there I saw that it was way more than a bunch. I swear it had to have been the whole damn workforce.” 

I kept my gaze outside, Fatima rolled the hot dogs in the pan as they sizzled the smell of them filled the kitchen. “How did you survive?” She asked staying focused on her tasks, B Dub stared off reliving the moment.

“There were already other officers there trying to fight off the infected, but they were treating the infected like they were still human. No aggressive force was used against them. Many of them just raised their arms as if the infected would listen to reason.” He paused rubbing his face. “It was a slaughterhouse. It was too late, before most of the officers realized what was going on they were either already infected or beaten to death. I feel really bad about it…” he paused again to control his emotions, I stopped looking out the window and watched B Dub fight to compose himself a moment. After a few moments he was able to, I waked over to the patio doors and looking out in the back yard, it was still clear. None of the infected had tried to climb the privacy fence. B Dub continued talking. “I hauled ass man. Shot off a few rounds and got in my patrol car and didn’t look back.”

“What else where you supposed to do brother? From the sounds of it there was no one you could save. No sense in getting yourself killed in the process for nothing.” I said. 

Fatima grabbed a plate and put the fried hotdogs on it. She looked at me like she was ready to get back up stairs with a sense of urgency. She hated being down here so close to the infected that was just outside, she felt safer higher up, who could blame her. We all went back up, Fatima served us the fried hot dogs and a bottle of water. We sat on a blanket in a circle in the hallway, my two year old sat on my lap. For the first ten minutes of eating lunch we were all silent. Then Fatima looked over at B Dub. 

“So did you see anything different about them? Anything else that they might do that the emergency broadcast system hasn’t told us yet?” She asked. B Dub’s eyes turned strangely odd, he started chewing his food slowly. Picking up the bottle of water he swigged it hard. 

“Yea, I saw a few things.” He said, you could tell by how he said it there was a lot more to it than that.

“Like what?” She asked. We all sat intently waiting. B Dub took his time finishing off the hot dog, it almost took too long to the point I was about to ask what Fatima said again. It made some of us more curious. The children didn’t seem to catch on save for Giovanni, he noticed it and said it.

“What did you see that bothered you Uncle Landon?” Giovanni said studying B Dub’s facial expressions closely, that boy was a human lie detector and B Dub knew it. He kind of kept his head lowered to make it harder for Giovanni to see his face. 

“Maybe..” he looked up at me, that’s when I knew whatever it was he wanted to say was pretty deep and not for the ears of children. “Maybe I should just talk to your dad about this.” He looked uncomfortable. We all stared at him while he ate the rest of his hot dog, he didn’t look up the entire time. He drank the rest of his water then crushed the plastic bottle. Giovanni continued to study B Dub’s face, before he spoke again. B Dub noticed that Giovanni was about to speak so he quickly stood up to excuse himself. 

“I’ll help you clean your riot gear armor. It’s sitting in the master bath. I have some bleach in there and a few rags.” I said quickly standing. Fatima glanced over at me and was about to stand but decided to remain seated, something in my eyes told her I would find out what was going on. That’s what was great about her, sometimes we could speak without saying a word to each other. Just a certain look or body motion would tell us what we needed to know. Maria started getting fussy, she was sleepy. Fatima picked Maria up then looked at the boys.

“Stay close to your sister please, I have to go feed Maria in the other room.” She walked off into Destiny’s room with Maria, and B Dub and I walked into the master bedroom. B Dub nervously looked at Maria crying before I shut the bedroom door. 

“Does she cry often at night?” B Dub asked as we walked to the bathroom. 

“Sometimes, and yea we get nervous when she does so we work quickly to calm her. It’s the only reason Fatima breast feeds her still, it quiets her quickly.” I reached down grabbing the bleach turning the bathtub faucet on grabbing the rags tossing one to B Dub. “So what’d you see that had you shaken brother?” B Dub took a deep breath. 

“Some crazy shit man…” his voice trailed off. Rubbing the stress from his face I saw that he was ready to tell me everything. “Let me start over, how it went down at ground zero and all the crazy shit in between.” He looked at me with a crooked sad smile.