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On The Run

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Columbus haphazardly tosses himself into the motel bed, causing the springs to screech and pop. He lets out a heaving, exhausted groan as his body melts into the mattress. His feet dangle down the side of the bed with legs bent at the knee, too limp to even kick around.

Tallahassee sits next to him but rather than relax, he immediately starts rifling through the duffel bag to pull out the guns. He stretches his arm out to snag the small round table and pull it toward himself while remaining seated on the the edge of the bed. Quickly, he spreads the guns and cleaning supplies out to get to work dismantling and cleaning them all.

"Leave a gun or two for me, I wanna take a nap first." Columbus mumbles as he starts dragging himself up properly onto the mattress to do just that. Not even bothering with a blanket, he winks out immediately.

Tallahassee quietly chuckles to himself as he looks over his shoulder at the young man. With a slight but amused head shake, he returns to his maintenance of their weaponry.

~~

Only two guns have been cleaned of the five before Columbus flinches awake. His chest heaves slightly, residual from the nightmare that woke him. With shaking hands, he forcefully scrubs his face as he sits up beside Tallahassee.

"Again?" Tallahassee doesn't even look over at Columbus, he just hands him a gun and a rag. The latter takes the items silently, nodding slightly as he gets to work dismantling the weapon.

Tallahassee pats Columbus' leg in support before saying, "I'm layin' down for a bit." He stretches out on his back with hands folded beneath his head. Columbus busies himself with the cleaning while listening to Tallahassee's instant snores.

~~

Columbus' hands pause their work when he hears a vehicle roar past outside with its music blasting. He jumps up and runs to the window, thankful for the drawn curtains; very carefully he cracks them to look out. The parking lot is unchanged from how it looked when they came in.

A few abandoned cars are scattered around the lot. Loads of trash is spread around randomly and blown into piles by strong winds into dead spots. The road is now empty, but that doesn't mean the car won't be back.

He turns from the window and heads straight for Tallahassee. Columbus shakes the man's leg to wake him.

"Get up. We've got a problem." He subconsciously keeps his voice low, as if the distant car might hear him.

"Why? What's going on?" Tallahassee drowsily blinks as he sits up, moving before his body even realizes it's awake again.

"I heard a vehicle roar past. Blaring music." Columbus swiftly puts the gun he was in the middle of cleaning back together.

"You guessin' they're trouble?" Several joints crack as he stands, causing a slight scowl to form. He hates the sound and feel of it.

"People aren't exactly any nicer than they were before everything went to the zombies. Especially those cocky enough to /blare/ their music." Columbus raises a pointed eyebrow over his shoulder at his partner, whom just scoffs in response.

"Hey, I only crank my tunes on the highway." Columbus stares knowingly at him. "... Mostly."

"Mhmm. Help me get this shit togeth-" Columbus cuts his statement short as he hears the tell tale roar coming back. Without further word to each other, both men scramble to gather their things, but they're too late.

The vehicle rolls into the parking lot just outside their room, they hear the brakes whine as it is shifted into park. The doors open to let out shouting voices, whooping and generally being crazed.

Tallahassee slings the duffel over his shoulder while Columbus cocks a gun. The former creeps to the window to peer out, trying to get a visual.

"Six. Heavily armed. "Mad Max" lookin' fucks." He watches in disdain as they surround the Hummer. "Fuck me." They begin to rip into the vehicle, taking their supplies along with destroying the body as much as possible.

The ring leader sends up a call to scout the motel to find who brought the vehicle here. They spread out and descend upon the building, breaking down doors and even windows just for the hell of it.

"Fuck! Go, the bathroom window!" Tallahassee urgently whispers as he pushes Columbus in that direction.

The bathroom window is hilariously small and near the very top of the wall. Columbus knows he can fit but is unsure if Tallahassee will.

"You first." Columbus states, figuring that he'll need to help push the other through.

"Nuhuh, get your ass moving." Tallahassee shakes his head adamantly as he locks the bathroom door, re-shouldering the duffel into a more comfortable position.

"I'm serious, go. I don't know if you're going to fit and I'm sure as hell not leaving you behind. You're wasting time."

Tallahassee glares at him for a few precious moments before cursing under his breath as he climbs onto the toilet. He has to break out the window seeing as it's not an opening type. He uses the sleeve of his leather jacket to wipe away as much of the glass shards as possible before sticking his head through to see what is on the other side.

"Fuck!" He pulls his head back inside to look at Columbus. "It's a straight drop to the ground, nothin' to climb down."

"Shit..." Columbus chews on the cord of his hoodie anxiously. "What about the roof, we can hide up there; it's a flat roof, right?" Tallahassee leans out the window again and cranks his head to check the possibility of Columbus' plan.

"It looks doable, I can just reach the edge." He immediately drops the duffel and starts on the venture, trying to wiggle through the narrow gap with his chest facing the ceiling so that he won't have to twist while half way through.

The front window shatters while Tallahassee is only partially out, gripping the lip of the roof. Columbus pushes on Tallahassee's knees to make him move faster and helps him clear his legs when it comes time to get them through.

Columbus stuffs the duffel through to Tallahassee's waiting hands before starting on squirming himself through. His jeans hook on a sharp piece of the window frame, or a shard of glass but he can't tell which, causing his progress to halt just as the doorknob jiggles violently. He hears the manically happy voices taunting each other before a foot begins to beat on the surprisingly dense door. They're not able to cleanly kick it open because there's just not enough space to do so outside the bathroom.

He flails, trying to get his pants to release, but it's too caught to let go easily. Even with hands pressed against the siding to push away from the snag, it isn't budging. He feels Tallahassee's hands wrap under his arms and give a mighty pull, ripping the material free and pulling the rest of his body through seconds before they hear the door splinter.

Columbus falls on top of Tallahassee with their combined momentum; both hope the bandits racket covered the sound of the impact. They both roll as quietly but as quickly as they can away from the ledge before going perfectly still.

The door finally gives way, spilling at least three bandits into the small bathroom, going by how many voices they can hear. They beeline for the broken window, one shoots head first out of it, nearly toppling to the ground two stories below.

"Fuckin' hell! Hey, pull me back in, will ya?" The voice goes muffled again after they hear the body slide back in. "They musta jumped it, probably broke somethin'. Easy prey!" A weird whooping cheer goes up before they charge out of the room, heading for the parking lot.

Tallahassee and Columbus let out a collective, while tentative, sigh of relief. They remain stock still, listening to the commotion unfolding out front of the building.

Concluding a brief meeting, the bandits head for the back of the building. They scout for a short while before giving up and heading back to their car to continue the search on wheels.

After the blasting radio diminishes into nothing, Columbus finally speaks, saying, "Happy as I am that they're gone, we still have to get down..."

He sits up, but has his head on a swivel as he does to make sure he can't see down to the road so that they'll still be hidden. Columbus winces at the movement though, suddenly feeling a gash along the back of his right thigh where the metal or glass had snagged more than just jean material.

Tallahassee sits up too, rubbing his sore shoulder. He pulls their duffel away from where it was sitting too close for comfort at the edge.

"Shit.." Columbus pulls his hand away from the back of his bent upward leg to find it's covered in blood, way more than he thought he'd see.

"Fuck, hold on." Tallahassee startles a bit at the sight of so much unexpected blood, he unzips the duffel with a sharp flick of his wrist to find the first aide kit.

After a few moments of worried searching, he curses under his breath. The first aide kit isn't in the duffel.

"It must be in the Hummer..."

"Well.. take a look for me? Hopefully it just seems worse than it is..." Columbus takes a steadying breath as he lifts his knee higher, bringing his foot to rest flat against the rubber membrane of the roof to expose the wound. He flinches at the pain caused by the pulling on his skin in doing so.

Tallahassee leans over to get a better look at it, gently moving the tear in the jeans around so he can see. Columbus can tell by the look on his face it's as bad as it feels.

"Shit... I barely even felt it."

"Probably was on some glass piece I missed... fuck... give me your flannel." Columbus quickly does as instructed, having to first take off his hoodie to do so. Tallahassee ties it tightly around the lower half of the gash before taking off his own belt to tie around the rest of the wound, trying to stop the worrisome amount of bleeding. The gash runs nearly the full length of his thigh.

They both sit back for a few breaths, both racking their brains for ideas on what to do next. Columbus' mind is a bit foggy from stress and the newfound pain caused by the tourniquet setup, but he tries nonetheless.