“The clock is stopped at 3:45. Think that was morning or night?” Steve asks. He is feeling overly talkative and knows Paul doesn’t like it when he gets chatty, but he’s nervous. Something about the old train station. Maybe it’s the history. Maybe how this whole city went from vibrant spring day to fiery nightmare without warning. The bombing started and went on for days. Millions died. Millions more lingered before dying of wounds or the sickness. Then hunger took quite a few more. When the ground opened it swallowed the rest.

“Doesn’t matter. How close are we?”

Steve Checks his tab. “A mile or more. Maybe a bit less.”

“And the bio signal?”

“Keeping pace. Like its stalking us. Do you think it could be a…’ his voice trails off. He knows Paul doesn’t believe in the rumors and he needs this job. ‘Never mind.”

Paul looks back and the two men make brief eye contact and Steve sees fear. Somehow Paul’s fear makes Steve less uncomfortable, makes him feel sane. Imagined monsters can’t be fought. But real monsters maybe they actually can win against.

“Let’s go,” Paul says in almost a whisper, before dropping a line and climbing over a steep ledge.

With a glance into the inky black behind them Steve shivers before following his boss over.

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