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((Ericka Bradley continued from We Need To Stop Meeting Like This))

It was almost over. They’d been here for almost two weeks but now it was almost over; it seemed longer.

Ericka entered the backyard of a house through its busted wooden fence. She was cutting through the town’s yards and alleys to stay hidden as she got close to the final battlefield. The yard itself was a bit too empty, no garden or children’s toys, just a small poorly-maintained lawn. Or maybe there was a garden and it got overgrown? There was a small gate on the side of the house that appeared to lead to the front. She turned slightly to the right and walked toward it…

*beep* ... *beep*

Ericka took several steps back in shock. She figured that she must’ve gone too far, and was now leaving the town center instead of entering it. That problem was easy enough to solve. She walked back to the breach in the fence.

*beep* … *beep*

She jolted back again. Maybe she did just enter but the side of the yard was out of bounds? She walked over to the door and tried to open it, but it was locked. There was a window nearby, though. Ericka searched for, and soon found, a rock with enough heft to break the window. The glass shattered loudly as the rock plunged through it into the house. Then she took a smaller stone and broke off any remaining glass that might cut her as she climbed inside. She stuck her head as far as she could inside the building to make sure she wouldn’t be stuck in a danger zone when she went in. Since she had enough room to maneuver, she began to climb inside.

The house was better furnished then a few of the others she had seen on the island, but then again, she could count the houses she had been in here on one hand. It came as a shock considering how neglected the backyard was. This house had chairs, and tables, and it was decorated; it even had a door! Ericka began to walk toward the front door.

*beep* … *beep*

“Again?” she thought out loud as she backed up.

She decided to give up trying to make sense of the danger zone situation for now. Her next step would have to be to find another way out. There was another window to her left, next to a camera. She didn’t need to break the window since she was on the inside, so she just moved to it and opened it up. She poked her head out as she did for the previous window. She took the rock she used to break the back window, and tossed it into the alley just in case. She brought a chair over and used it to go through feet-first; gently lowering herself to the ground.

The front of the alleyway appeared unobstructed, so she tried to walk out into the street.

*beep* … *beep*

After muttering a short expletive, Ericka quickly turned and walked toward the back of the alley. She had enough information now to figure out the nature of the nearby danger zone boundaries. She had gotten closer to the street in the alley than she had in the house. The corner of the boundary was probably in that yard. She entered into the town center when she entered the breach in that fence, and the angle of the boundary caused part of the house and the street-side exit to this alley to fall into the danger zone. If that was true she could probably run around the corner into the safe zone before her head came off, but she wasn’t enough of a risk-taker to try that.

She went to the back of the alley. This one had a gate too, but the fence and gate for this yard were chain-link instead of the other yard’s wood. The gate was locked, but it was easy enough to climb over it. The yard on the other side was a mess; it looked like someone salted the earth here, so that nothing would ever grow again. There was some rusty scrap metal that looked like it used to be a swing set, and a half-buried deflated ball of some sort. She tried to open the door, this one was locked too. The back window was too high up, but the door itself had a window. She unlocked the gate, opened it up, and retrieved the rock from the alley. The door’s window gave way easily; she reached in and unlocked the door.

This house was nowhere near as nice as the last one, but it was still better than the others Ericka had seen on the island. She moved through it quickly and exited onto the street. The street itself was narrow, so it was probably a minor side street. One car could travel along it at most, and it had most likely been limited to foot traffic. She walked along the street, away from the danger zone, and emerged onto another street with one house between her and the town square. Now that she had her bearings, it was time to find a base of operations.
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Everybody Loses · Town Center