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[Originally posted by Pippin]

It had been quiet, at first, searching through his chosen apartment. Quiet, and yet not peaceful in the slightest. It was the sort of quiet that suggested there was something hidden around every corner and in every shadow, and the sort of quiet that was unbelievably heavy and oppressive in its sheer quietness.

Owen had tried to make more noise than strictly necessary, and somehow, despite his misgivings at splitting up, he’d managed it, overturning the sparse amounts of furniture and random crap left about. They were running out of time and running out of power, so finding something, anything that would help as quickly as possible was of utmost importance.

No corner was left untouched, no stone left unturned, as Owen frantically ransacked the apartment in search of anything. Then he moved onto the next one. Forgotten belongings and dusty furniture were left strewn across the floor. And yet the only things Owen could find that might be of any use were an old, rusty looking pair of scissors and a dismembered table leg.

Disheartened, Owen slumped against the wall of the apartment, looking at the mess he’d caused. What had he been expecting, exactly? A gun? Like the terrorists would have left anything that useful just lying about. Food? Anything that was in these buildings was likely stale, and he already had enough food to survive for the near future. Medicine? They hadn’t found any at the fucking hospital, for Christ’s sake, what were the odds of finding anything in a random apartment block?

So what had he been looking for? If Owen had to be honest, he had no idea. He’d just been hoping that there was something, anything hidden somewhere that would help in some way to their escape. It was a desperate, last resort hope, and it was all Owen had to cling on to. He’d only been looking in two rooms. He needed to get up and carry on searching. Sure, he might search for hours, a whole day, and find nothing in the entire building that would help, but the thought of escape would drive him on.

Owen slowly got to his feet, and as he did, he heard something. A sort of thumping sound, very faint, hard to judge exactly how far away . It was indistinct, but Owen was sure he’d heard it. Well, so what? He’d created enough noise himself.

So why was this giving him such misgivings?

It was most likely just Naomi or Aileen moving stuff around. But there was always the chance that it was something, or even someone, else. For a moment, Owen didn’t move, simply stood stock still, gripping the table leg tightly. Then, cautiously, he made his way out of the room, down the corridor and towards the stairs, trying to make as little noise as possible. Easier said than done, especially given how quiet the whole building was.

There might be someone there, Owen kept telling himself, someone who’ll try attack you upon first sight. If anything, that managed to keep pushing him onwards, rather than turning him away. Sure, he didn’t want to get attacked, not now, not ever. But if there was somebody, and they were going after Aileen or Naomi, he didn’t think he’d ever be able to live with himself.

Owen reached the bottom of the stairs, just in time to hear Aileen shouting at somebody, through the doors to the corridor. Oh Jesus, that was a terrible sign. Throwing caution to the wind, Owen took the last few steps from stairs to doors at a dash, throwing the corridor doors open. Aileen was directly in front of him, a few feet away. Behind her was one Summer Simms, hovering over Naomi’s prone, bloody, dismantled body. There was a strange, spear like contraption lying on the floor, covered in that same blood. It didn’t take a genius to figure out what had happened here.

For just a moment, Owen was frozen, staring wide eyed at the scene that had just unfolded in front of him. His mind was screaming at him to do something, anything, to charge straight at Summer and get her to back off, to do.... something for what she'd done to Naomi.

Owen's mind was telling him to be brave, to stand and fight, but his body was telling him to run, run as far away as possible. And this time, his body won. He turned, ran through the doors and out of the building, as fast as possible.

He hadn't been able to save Naomi. He hadn't been able to deal with Summer, had just left Aileen behind. At that moment, as he was running to God knows where, Owen felt completely and utterly useless.

((Owen Kay continued in Don't Panic))
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Big Stick Ideology · Apartment Complexes