A loud noise reverberated through the tunnel. Be aware that “loud” is an understatement, and “noise”, while strictly true, is not very descriptive. To Sebastian, whose eyes were involuntarily closed, it was as if the entire world had compressed into a single, deep, all-encompassing BANG. He briefly wondered if this was what happened when you died.
He opened his eyes. They were shaking; he could feel them. Everything seemed silent. There was a dead man inches from his feet – double-dead, really.
Seb was vaguely aware of a muffled noise coming from above and behind him. The muffled noise was rather drowned out by the rest of the world’s noise slowly returning, but he turned nonetheless.
There was a man, nothing particularly special about him, standing on top of the bus. A more focussed look revealed him to be holding a handgun of some sort, and that he was young, perhaps a year or two older than Sebastian. He was yelling something incoherent at Seb, and Seb stood. The man nodded and gestured for Sebastian to come behind the bus. Sebastian turned to see the gap had been widened just enough for him to fit through.
Once he was through, he stood still for a few seconds, trying to regain his senses and his balance. The universe had different ideas, and another person grabbed his arm and started pulling. He was aware of someone yelling in his ear: “Are you okay? Are you hurt at all?”
Sebastian looked up to see a teenaged girl with a worried look on her face. He didn’t respond, still shell-shocked.
“Look, if you’re not hurt, then we need to get going!” she shouted, loud enough for him to hear her. “There were more following you anyway, and that shot will only attract more! We don’t want to get trapped in here!”
Sebastian nodded to signify that he understood.
“Maria?” he shouted back. The girl pointed. Maria was standing a few metres away, looking just as worried. Sebastian grinned foolishly to show her that he was fine, before taking a proper look around.
They were an eclectic bunch – for they were a bunch, not just the man with the gun and the girl with the worried face; there were three others. Just as assorted as people one would normally find in the city.
The man got down from the bus by sliding down the wall. He walked quickly up to Sebastian, talking as he walked: “Chris. And you are? Tell me while we walk. Olive, keep an eye on him, make sure he’s okay. Everyone, let’s go before we get stuck!” he addressed the last part to the other three, who were huddled next to Maria.
“Sebastian” Seb yelled, keeping up with Chris.
“No need to yell, mate, we can hear you perfectly fine!” Chris yelled at him. “And the girl?”
“Maria,” Sebastian answered, lowering his voice to a more normalised level. They reached the group of the others and continued walking. The others followed.
“Right, then. We’re leaving. Headed south, hopefully in a car or two. Will you be joining us?” Chris asked. Sebastian looked at Maria. She nodded, unsure.
“For now, at least,” Sebastian responded. Chris nodded grimly and started jogging. The group followed suit, and they began to run out of the CBD, down the south-eastern motorway.