After they had reached to the other side of the sewer, Flame and Lee looked up at the up manhole. But the ladder that they need to get up has been broken and it’s far out of their reach. Flame shrugged his shoulders before crossing his arms over his chest, “Jump for it?” Lee pulled out the pickaxe and tried to jump off the wall to grab the broken ladder with the weapon but the sign on the wall that he put his foot on loosened and Lee lost his footing. Flame caught Lee before he fell on the ground and they both looked at the crooked sign and noticed a small hole on the right of the sign. “What the hell?” Lee wondered out loud. “Maybe it’s a way out?” Flame guessed. The two went to each side of the sign and pulled it off of the wall. Behind the sign was a huge hole with rusting metal poles sticking out of the floor and roof of the entrance. The hole looked to be recently new, like for a couple of weeks or months. Flame stared at the hole cautiously, “Is it safe to go in?” Lee stuck his head in the hole for a second before looking back at the pre-teen, “Stay behind me.” Flame nodded his head and followed behind.
Lee and Flame stepped into the hole in the wall and just in the nick of time when the herd of walkers from earlier returned back, but luckily they didn’t notice the hole and the two living humans. Lee and Flame backed away from the hole and noticed three old fashioned office cabinets and a bio-hazardous poster near the hole. Lee looked at one of the office cabinets, “What the hell…” Flame followed his gaze and looking around as well. The boy whispered to the man, “Must’ve been one of those old nuclear fallout shelters. I remembered reading about them back in history class back in my school.” Flame and Lee looked around and Lee noticed a large shelf full of canned food. “Look at all of this, Flame. It’s enough to keep people alive for months.” Lee whispered to the boy. Flame picked up one of the cans and read the label that said: “Diced Peaches”. Flame’s nose wrinkled in disgust before turning his head to his right and spotted a door, “Hey look, a door.” Lee Moved forward and put his hand on Flame’s shoulder, “Stay here, in case something happens.” Flame nodded his head in response.
Flame moved back for Lee to open the door, but from the angle the boy was in he could see a group of people doing their own thing. The door closes slowly behind Lee and Flame could hear the sound of gun ready to be fired. Flame immediately panicked and stopped the door by putting his foot between the door and the doorframe. Flame listened into the conversation between Lee and two other people. Lee tries to calm the new people down and saying he’s not from Crawford. When the people were saying that they don’t believe him, Flame opened the door and entered into the scene. When Flame looked up he saw a man in his 50’s pointing his gun at Lee, but when the man looked at Flame, his gun lowered a bit. “He’s telling the truth. He’s a good person.” Flame defended. The old man’s softened a bit before a woman walked up to them and yelled, “You still can’t trust him, Vernon! The kid’s probably kidnapped by him and forced him to say nice things about him!” Flame gritted his teeth and glared at the woman. The woman continued, “You can’t let them leave.” “W-what do you want me to do, shoot them in the head?” The old man, now known as Vernon, asked. “Why not? That’d be more of a mercy than anyone from Crawford ever showed us. Thank, Vernon! What do you think they’ll do if they find out we’re down here, right under their feet?” Vernon sighed and raised his gun to Lee, “Dammit, you’re right. I’m sorry, friend. Can’t take the risk.” Flame bravely stood between Lee and Vernon and spread his arms out like a shield, “Stop! What we are saying is the truth! He didn’t kidnap me, he saved me! We’ve been through a lot these past few months…” Flame paused for a second before continuing, “We are not from Crawford, but we saw what they did up there. It made us sick. We are not like them! Please believe us!”
Flame felt a hand on his head and turned to Lee before he ruffled the boy’s red hair a bit. Lee moved Flame aside and moved closer to Vernon. “Keep back or I swear I’ll shoot!” The old man threatened. Lee calmly grabbed the gun and lowered it, “It’s all right. It’s okay.” “Vernon, what the hell are you doing?!” The woman moved in front of the man, “Vernon!” Lee handed the gun and Flame, “Relax, we’re not her to hurt you.” Flame pocketed the gun and turned to the group and putted his hands behind his head. “You two really not from Crawford?” Vernon asked. “No, we are really not.” Lee answered. Vernon moved to one of the tables and leaned back against it and crossed his arms over his chest, “Well… we are. Or were. We got out of there when they started sealing up the place, started weeding out the sick and the old so their perfect survivor society wouldn’t be threatened. No room for weakness or vulnerability in their little master race.” “You don’t look that old.” Flame said, “So… you’re sick?” Vernon answered the boy, “Were sick. We’re all members of a cancer survivors group that used to meet here at the hospital. We’re in remission. But that wasn’t good enough for Crawford. They’d already rounded up five of us before the rest of us managed to hole up and hide from them down here. This old basement’s been abandoned for years.”
Flame took a better look around and a chill went down his spin as he did. “Was this a morgue?” He asked, as he rubbed his arms in nervousness. Vernon nodded his head, “Yeah. Irony’s always high on my list when I’m looking for a place to survive. How did you two find your way down here?” Lee answers honestly, “My group, Flame and I were up by the river looking for a boat. Now Flame and I just want to get out of here and find them again.” Vernon grinned slightly, “That sewer system you both came through runs all over the city, it’ll take you two wherever you want to go.” Lee and Flame looked at each other and the pre-teen boy responded by giving off an uneasy look on his face. Lee turned to Vernon, “These sewers are like a damn maze. Any chance you could help us find our way back?” Vernon crossed his arms and shrugged his shoulders, “Look, I’d like to help you. But we’ve all got our own problems. Two of our group are sick and need constant care. And I’m the only doctor here.” “Besides, why should we help you?” The woman asked. Flame suddenly had the urge to punch the woman in the face, but he restrained himself. “Look, I’m sorry if I scared you. We just want to get back to our people. Back to Clementine.” Lee pleaded, looking at Vernon. Vernon’s face softened from the mention of Clementine’s name, “She’s your daughter?” Lee wanted to say “yes”, but he decided to tell the truth, “No. She lost her real parents. I’m doing what I can.” Lee rested his hand on Flame’s shoulder, “Same thing goes with him.” Flame nodded his head in response.
“You’re not seriously considering going with them.” The woman asked. Vernon turned to the woman, “It’s all right, Brie. I had a daughter too. Lost her in the first days. I’ll be damned if I’ll just sit back and let that happen to someone else.” “We need you here!” One of sick people in the group said. “Don’t worry. I’ll be back before you know it. Let’s go.” Vernon said before turning to Lee and Flame and the boy gave the old man a small smile of gratitude. Vernon walked over to Brie, giving her a goodbye hug before moving along to the other members of the group. Two of the men in the group gave Vernon a ‘good luck’ nod before Vernon led the way on getting Lee and Flame up to the surface and back to their group.