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Gabriel returned at dawn to find that his suite had been taken over. Joby heard him shouting from the next room and instantly froze in terror.
"We're not alone now", said Kieran, softly "We have nothing to fear".
"We could have an army with us and we couldn't fight him".
"It doesn't matter. We're all together again and that's what counts".
They got out of bed and went reluctantly into the second audience chamber. Gabriel was by now screaming hysterically and making no sense at all. This scene looked as though it could have gone on indefinitely if Hillyard hadn't suddenly gone up behind him and coshed him over the head with the sock full of rocks he had prepared earlier. Gabriel fell unconscious to the floor.
"Well that's just fucking marvellous!" Joby exclaimed.
"What are you complaining about now?" said Hillyard.
"We're going to have every zombie in the district beating a path to our door. Gabriel told us he'd programmed them that way in case anyone attacked him, like you just did".
"You could've fucking told me!"
"Stop arguing about it", said Kieran, reaching for the leather pouch around Gabriel's neck and retrieving the key to his manacle "What's done's done".
"Why did you think we didn't do that to him ourselves?" said Joby, still going on at Hillyard.
"Joby, shut up", said Kieran "We've got to make the best of it".
He began doing just that by climbing out onto the ledge and hurling the manacle and chain down the rockface. In the meantime Adam dragged Gabriel into the alcove and tied him to the loop using the spare chain.
"He could've just been having you on", said Hillyard.
"I doubt it", said Ransey "It all sounds only too familiar to me. If he said he programmed every zombie to attack, then that's exactly what's going to happen. And they'll come straight after us, no one else. They're mobilising already I expect".
"Can nothing stop them?" said Adam.
"How do you destroy something that's already dead?" said Ransey.
"We're done for", said Joby.
"I refuse to believe that", said Adam "Now there are only two ways into this suite. We know that one is sealed by an iron door, so I'm hoping that'll give us a bit of time. It's the other route that worries me. To get up through that they have to use the service elevator".
"Cut the wires then", said Joby.
"That's all very well but we have to warn Isaac and his crew first", said Adam "One of us has to go down and tell him what's happening. It'd better be me I suppose".
"Make Hillyard do it", said Joby "He's caused all this".
"Don't blame me for it all", said Hillyard "You should've told me".
"If you two can think of nothing better to do than argue then I suggest you do it whilst keeping an eye on Gabriel", said Adam "Knock him unconscious again if he starts coming round. We've got enough to deal with without him conjuring up any of his elementals whilst he's awake".
"I'll come down to see Isaac with you", said Kieran.
"Good idea Pats. You should be able to persuade them of what's really happening".
Kieran's appearance had a marked effect on the commune. When they had got over their eagerness to kiss his hands, they were ready to believe what he said. Isaac seemed more concerned about the guards finding out what had happened to Gabriel, and dreaded their reaction more than that of the zombies.
There were a dozen of the Honorary Virgins in the commune and it took four trips in the elevator to get them all up into the suite. Adam and Kieran stayed down in the commune and supervised them on their way, stuffing them into the elevator car like over-filled bags of refuse.
"That's the lot", said Adam, as the elevator hummed for the fourth time "You and me next, Patsy".
"I wouldn't be so sure about that", said Kieran, quietly.
"Oh hell!" said Adam.
On the far side of the cavern a large posse of zombies had congregated at the entrance. They were moving slowly but determinedly as though in an hypnotic trance. Some were in a more advanced stage of decay than others, but all of them had eyes which glistened like marbles. As they advanced steadily into the chamber, more were brought up behind. They were an unending army.
"Hurry up you wankers!" Adam bellowed up the lift shaft.
"They can't seem to move very fast", said Kieran "We could probably out-run them if necessary".
To his alarm though the zombies then fanned out in a long line, storming steadily through the chamber like a human tidal-wave. They smashed through everything in their path, crushing the glass cubes like fragments of chalk and wrecking the garden. There was no other way out of the chamber. They were cornered. The zombies moved in a deceptive fashion. It looked slow, but they were crossing the chamber with disconcerting speed. They were now so close that the lines on their faces could be seen as clearly as main roads marked on a map. The eyes were terrifyingly blank.
"Adam!" Kieran wailed "I think we've had it".
"You give up too easily, Patsy", Adam grabbed the edge of the elevator floor as it inched slowly down into view.
He bodily yanked it down a bit more, then picked up Kieran and shovelled him into it. He went to climb up himself but a zombie lunged out from the front row and grabbed a handful of his hair. It yanked his head back so sharply that Adam almost fancied he could hear his neck snap. Kieran tried to grab him by his arms and was nearly hauled out himself by another zombie. Adam threw his arms round Kieran's waist and with one desperate surge of willpower threw himself up into the elevator, landing stomach-first on the floor. Kieran scooped up his legs like spaghetti, knocking aside a forest of dazed hands as he did so. He screamed at everyone above to raise the elevator, and nearly died with terror when they accidentally lowered it instead!
Below them the zombies were climbing into the empty lift shaft, and were trying to grab the wires. The elevator cab shook violently but they managed to reach the top, and fell out of the cab like a pair of loose dominoes. They then lay panting on the floor whilst Isaac and two of his crew sawed through the elevator wires, eventually succeeding in sending the metal cab crashing down at high-speed on a few of the zombies below.
"Admit it", Kieran gasped "You thought our number was up then".
"As I said to you below", Adam replied "You give up too easily, Patsy".
He rolled over and held Kieran close for a moment.
"There were a lot of the bastards weren't there?" said Kieran, eventually.
"Oh yes, but they didn't stand a chance against you and me", said Adam.
"We're alright as long as that iron door holds", said Ransey, as a terrific pounding noise could be heard in the distance "I don't rate our chances though. They can usually crash their way through most things eventually. And nothing's going to stop them. They're after our blood".
"Then we either have to find another way out of here", said Adam "Or somehow get Gabriel to call them off".
"You've got more chance of abseiling down that rock-face out there".
"Then if it comes to that we'll do it".
"We should be alright for the time being", said Hillyard "Those kind of doors are built to with-stand most things".
For the next hour or so Adam prowled the suite looking for clues as to another way out. He had gone over it with a fine tooth-comb the evening before though, and already knew what to expect. They were trapped. He was grateful that Isaac was doing such a good job of keeping his own men calm, even if that did involve them sitting on the floor and chanting "Je-e-e-sus" over and over again.
"I wish you lot were as easily subdued, Patsy", he said, as they scanned the floor in Gabriel's bedroom for signs of a hatchway.
"Plumbing!" Kieran announced, suddenly "Of course I should've realised!"
He reached into the empty hot-tub and yanked up the manhole cover at the bottom. It was basically a very large plug which when raised released all the used water down a broad shaft.
"I noticed if yesterday", he said "I remember saying to Joby what a focking great plughole it was. If we could find some way of getting down that .... It's a long shot but it's our best hope".
"Patsy, what a little genius you are! It must lead down into some kind of sewage system. I just hope the zombies don't know about it too".
"This is all Hillyard's fault we're in this mess", said Joby, who had walked into the room whilst they were peering down the shaft.
"That's not important now, Joby", said Adam.
"It's true though, and I've been telling him that".
"One more word about it, Joby", warned Adam "And I'll tip you across my knee and paddle your butt like I did Patsy's! Now you two see if you can estimate how deep that shaft is. Until we know that we won't have any idea what we'll need to get us down it. I'd better check what state mine host is in".
"He's a real cocky bastard sometimes", said Joby, sulkily, after Adam had gone.
Kieran tossed a metal comb down the shaft, and heard it clink against the floor reassuringly soon.
"Hey that's great!" he exclaimed "It can only be drop of about six feet. We could lever each other down it".
"I wonder where it leads to?" said Joby.
"That doesn't matter. The important thing is it'll get us out of here. Away from Gabriel and his dead henchmen. We won't be trapped anymore".
Hillyard had unearthed a cache of weapons from behind the silk hangings in the small luncheon-room. These consisted mainly of flare pistols.
"Perfect", he said, with great satisfaction "One gob-full of this and no zombie would ever smile again".
Adam handed one of the flare pistols to Isaac and ordered him to take his crew down the drain-shaft first. Joby and Hillyard chafed at this delay, but Adam reasoned that it would get them out of their hair. Hillyard then climbed down and stood at the bottom of the shaft, followed by the others. Adam climbed down last, pulling the drain-cover shut behind him. Hillyard caught him in his arms at the bottom.
"This isn't the time to make a pass at me", said Adam, as he slithered to his feet.
By now Isaac and his crew were out of sight, having disappeared down one of the numerous side-tunnels which connected with the main one. The whole place was like an elaborate labyrinth. Adam brought up at the rear of his party, trying the impossible task of keeping an eye on Kieran, Hillyard and Ransey, whilst dragging a limping Joby.
"It's no good, Ad", said Joby, stopping to lean against a damp wall "Me feet are getting worse. I can't keep up. You'll have to leave me here".
"Don't talk such utter garbage", said Adam "How can I possible leave you behind? We'll just have to go at a slower pace".
"But we can't! We'll lose sight of them. This place is like a fucking maze".
Adam stood arguing with him for some time before he realised with horror that the other three were nowhere in sight. In the far distance he could hear voices, but they were getting fainter by the moment. He had a horrid sensation of being buried alive, and that when the voices disappeared completely it would be as though a coffin lid had been nailed down on him and Joby.
"Looks like we have lost sight of them", said Adam, grimly.
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