Derek had stopped firing. The fireworks had started to die back and now he was watching and listening to see what would happen next.
There was silence and Derek didn’t trust it. He tried to think what he would be doing if he were in the defender’s position. I would probably send people out to flank whoever was below, he decided.
Derek heard the sound of running and brought his gun around to bear on the old caretaker as he ran round the edge of the building; holding a shot gun.
He was moving with a lot less stealth than Derek would have expected; perhaps he was only nominally attached to the group on the inside.
Derek narrowed his aim to the centre of the old man’s heart and was just wondering whether to fire when something arced out of one of the windows and hit the ground.
There was a loud explosion, the smell of burnt duct tape, and the sound of snapping wood.
Derek felt something ricochet off of the tree he was hiding behind and heard it hit the old man.
Derek poked his head around the tree just in time to see the old man drop like a sack of potatoes.
Derek decided that the old man and the group inside weren’t communicating in a tactical sense, and he wished he had known that when he could have exploited it.
He looked around to see what had happened to the forest.
There was a smell of burning in the air, and there were leaves and branches scattered everywhere; some of them were on fire. As Derek listened he heard a tree fall over somewhere in the distance.
Derek forced himself to stay detached and he looked for some sort of clue about what had gone off.
Derek looked at the old man; trying to find the thing that had ricocheted of the tree and hit him.
He saw it on the ground, not too far from where the old man had fallen. It was a slivery gleam in the moon light; reflective and bright. Derek squinted and tried to make out what it was.
He was studying so intently that he didn’t even notice the second thing being thrown from a rather closer window.
There was another explosion, it seemed louder this time.
Feeling windswept and dazed, Derek blinked and opened his eyes.
Oh, thought Derek, staring at the thing that had embedded itself in the tree; travelling through his gun and the stone ornament to do so. He blinked again, they were bedpans, he thought.
Then the terror hit him, and this time it was impossible to stay detached. His gun was destroyed; he was alone, unarmed, and surrounded by people with sick enough minds to think of using bedpans as weapons.
Instinct came back online.
Before he realized that he was standing up, he was already running. By the time he realized that he had stood up, he had aimed a discus throw at an open window. And by the time he realized that he had been running, he had already grabbed the old man’s shotgun, kicked the back door of the hospital open, took up position at the bottom of a stairwell, and started counting down under his breath.