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The Fifth Book picks up the Story of Billy and Beth and their flight out of the ruins of L. A.
L.A: Billy Jingo: March 9th
He came up from sleep fast, Jamie’s face above him, her voice a low, panicked whisper.
“Wha… What… What?”
“Downstairs… It’s downstairs,” she didn’t finish, but she didn’t need to. A crash came to his ears, but he could not tell if it was from the downstairs hallway. At least he hoped it was the downstairs hallway, not the stairs outside of their apartment, or, God forbid, even closer.
He jumped from the tangle of blankets, started to pull his shoes on, and then reached for his machine pistol instead as another noise came from the hallway. This time it did sound like the downstairs hallway; the steel gate that closed off the lobby. Billy thumbed the safety off the machine pistol and ran for the apartment door.
The hallway was nearly completely black. The hallway windows let in the light from outside, but it was very little. He slowed and felt his way to the staircase. He sensed her before his hand brushed against her.
“Don’t you shoot me, Billy Jingo,” Beth whispered tightly. A small penlight clicked on and he could see her leaning against the wall from the upstairs apartment.
“No,” Billy said. It was stupid, but he could think of nothing else to say. “Going down,” he told her. He made the stairs and headed down toward the lobby. Behind him, Beth had turned out the light, but he could feel her following behind him.
The noise became louder as they made their way downward. Billy tried to count the steps as he went. Fifteen to the landing, turn to the right, feel for the banister. Fifteen more to the bottom, but he missed the last step. He had made himself count the steps just earlier that day in case he had to navigate them in the blackness.
He nearly fell before his foot found the floor and he regained his balance. He could smell them now though, hear them. Just fifteen or so feet across the lobby. He felt Beth’s hand brush against his back. A second later she pressed up against him and whispered in his ear.
“When I flick the light on them, just shoot!”
“But what if…”
“Never mind What if… Just shoot. Who do you think it would be, the Avon lady?” Silence fell. The noise stopped. “Dammit,” Beth muttered. She flicked the light on…
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