The trip over to the grocery store isn’t bad really. We see maybe a dozen of “them” and don’t even have to interact with them. Since we scrapped the idea of the store that is further away, this one is close enough to walk to briskly, with no running needed.
Sal is still grumbling about the food that we’ll be getting, but he’s smart enough to realize that Katarina and I were right, speaking practically, to not risk our necks until we absolutely MUST.
The doors of the store are partly broken, and partly wedged open. There’s not really any sort of security for us with the doors in the condition they’re in, so we’ll just have to snatch and run.
Sal is the first one in, and although his status as a loudmouthed douche bag is pretty much cemented in my head, I’ve gotta admit that he’s virtually silent upon entering the store. Katarina follows him and I bring up the lead, keeping an eye out on our tail end. The closest people around are about two to three blocks back and it doesn’t look like anybody’s noticed us, so we seem to be in the clear for now.
The smell of spoiled food and several unfortunate employee’s corpses is faint from this end of the store, but as we get further into the store, and closer to the produce and deli, the smell is almost overpowering. I’m successful at containing my gag reflex, but Katarina doesn’t do so well. She vomits on the floor, not even making it out of the area. She looks at me and apologizes for that and that the last time they came the smell wasn’t as bad, to which I tell her that it’s completely understandable and that I’m on the verge of my own cookies.
Before I even get to finish telling her this, Sal walks up to her and slaps her full handed across the face, telling her to get her shit together. Katarina whimpers softly and Sal flashes one of his smug looks my way, flashing his eyebrows as if to add insult to injury.
That’s it, I’ve had enough of this asshole. I’ve never been one of those guys to fight another person’s battle, but Sal continues to go too far with his deity complex. I tell Sal that if he’s ready to start hitting people, he oughtta try hitting ME across the face. Sal flashes me a dirty look and comes stomping over to me, hand raised in a fist.
The punch comes quickly and I duck, only to come back up and meet his other swinging fist. I’m dazed and lose my grip on the backpack. The sound that the backpack makes as it hits the ground sounds like a sonic boom and, due to the unending silence, echoes for what seems like an eternity. I gather my senses, grab the nearest can from the dropped backpack, and swing it hard at Sal’s head. Luckily, the can connects and Sal is stuck swaying back and forth. I lunge for his midsection and knock him off balance. We both go sliding across the grocery store floor, and Sal takes another swing at me, which I deftly maneuver away from, then deliver my own punch.
Sal yells at me to get off him or he’ll kill me, to which I respond with another well-placed punch to his side. Sal is a tough bastard though, and no matter how many punches I land, he still seems to keep coming back at me. He head butts me with enough force to knock me off my feet once again and then reaches for his gun, cocks it, and points it at my head. “You stupid shithead, I knew it was a bad idea to pick you up. All you’ve been is extra baggage. Katarina and I have a good thing going, and ever since we rescued your sorry ass, the balance of power hasn’t been the same. Well I’m going to set that balance back to where it was before. I’ll be kind enough to shoot you in the head so you’ve got no chance of me meeting up with you again.”
As I sit there with my eyes closed and realize that chivalry might as well be dead in this current situation, Katarina says quietly, “guys look at the door”.
My back is against the shelves and all I can see is the shoplifting mirror on the ceiling, but it’s enough to let me see that we’ve got company walking in the front door.