Red was perplexed, he could see that Max was in the county courthouse near the center of town, on the third floor in a room that looked to him like it was part of the county jail. Why was Max in jail? For that matter, he recognized the life patterns of the woman cop. And a few of the others looked familiar too. It was just after dawn, around seven in the morning and Red was standing on the street outside of a small diner sipping a coffee he had bought a few minutes before. Getting into town had been easy, he had circled the place and come in through a field that butted up against the city park. With his ability to sense where the humans were it had been a piece of cake.
'And if I can do it, so can other zombies. Zombies without my good intentions.' He thought to himself. 'Humanity doesn't stand much of a chance without making some allies among the dead.'
He took another sip of his coffee and nodded at a man wearing a police uniform that was heading into the diner. 'I am hidden in plain sight.' The coffee had a peculiar taste to it, it wasn't horrible, but it was not like Red remembered it either. 'I wonder if it will do anything for me?'
Red looked at the building and where Max was within it. He walked around the place seemingly focused on his coffee, but using his mind to scour the building for people and entrances. Red set his coffee cup down on one of the benches that were spread around the courthouse and continued walking. There were armed guards at the main doors and at a smaller set of doors in the back near a large parking lot. The ends of the building had unguarded glass doors, but they were locked. Red had watched an older man try to go through one of the side doors, then move around to the front.
This was okay for the simple plan Red had come up with, which consisted of going through the window to see what Max was doing. As he circled the monolithic structure, he chose a moment to veer in when he sensed, no one was around. He dashed up to the building and launched himself to the second story with a leap from the ground that left two foot sized depressions six inches deep in the sod. His hands found easy purchase on the decorative crenelations on the wall and he pulled himself onto a lower rooftop that didn't match the other parts of the building.
'Probably a newer remodel of the place. Like so many other government buildings over the years.'
From there, Red moved into a rectangular alcove that went up the side of the building to just under the roof on the fifth story. There were four small windows set in the walls, one for each level. Climbing up was just a matter of pressing his legs against one side while his back was against another. All the windows were frosted, but Red wasn't depending on eyesight to verify which room Max was in. There were two people close by Max, but as far as Red could tell they were not in the room with him. This window had bars on the outside. Bracing his body with his legs Red reached out and grabbed one, he didn't pull or push, he just twisted. The ends of the bar came out of the concrete with barely a whisper of sound. After he had taken all five bars out he examined the window. It looked like it was set in metal and would be difficult to remove without breaking it. Pulling the bars out of the concrete had worked, maybe he could pull the entire window out in one piece too. Red had not dropped the bars, he was afraid the sound of them hitting the roof would expose him, he had wrapped the ends into hooks and loops and connected them into a chain. Removing one he straightened it out and dug into the wall with it. It was like pushing a fork into cake, moving it side to side he was able to gouge out a good section of concrete all around the window frame. Flaking off the pieces of concrete was making some noise and he could not stop the numerous pieces of stone from dropping onto the roof below, where they rolled and bounced until they hit the gutter with a clanging sound.
Finally, he had the window loose enough that he could just grab it on the sides and pull it out, frame and all. Max was looking at him from a table in the center of the room.
“I am glad to see you.”
“C'mon, let's go!” Red said in a loud whisper.
Max raised his hands up off of the table enough so that Red could see the handcuffs.
“You can't break them?”
Max shook his head 'no.'
Red clambered into the room, sitting the window carefully up against the closed door to the hallway. The door did not have a way to lock it from the inside. Moving over to Max's hands he took one of the handcuff chains in both hands and pulled until one of the links broke, then he did the same with the other set.
“Let's move the table over in front of the door.” Red said.
“It is bolted down.”
“C'mon, just help.” Red squatted by one side of the table and lifted, the mechanical groan seemed as loud as a drum to Max's ears, making him wince at the fear of discovery. Red moved around to the other side and pulled the table loose there too, then they lifted the heavy table and put it up against the door. Max went to the medical cabinet and pulled out a long strip of gauze and wrapped it around his head, hiding the paint there.
“Now let's go.”
Red led the way, “I can sense the people around so follow my lead.”
“Me too, remember? That is what got me into this mess.”
“Really? Wait, tell me later, let's get out of here first.”
They shinnied down to the roof, Red stayed below Max and let the other man use him as a support when he clambered out of the window. They waited on the roof for a few minutes until they thought no one was looking then hung and dropped from the gutter. A moment later they were walking along the sidewalk back towards the park Red had come in from, Max sipping the coffee from a cup that Red had retrieved from a bench along the way. Red paused long enough to open a parked car's door and filch a stocking cap off of the dash, which Max put on over the makeshift bandage on his head.
“We gotta get the others.” Max said.
“You were isolated, the police woman is in with a bunch of other people. I doubt they would keep quiet for us to break into the room and get her out.”
“I don't want them rotting in there.”
“Did you tell anyone about the horde that is coming this way?”
“Many times, they tossed us into a holding cell because we might be infected, they stopped listening after that.”
Shaking his head, Red said, “So they know and won't do anything? Stupid.”
“I thought the zombies would be here by now?”
“No we managed to lure them off the main highway, they move even slower in the fields where the simplest barbed wire fence slows them down for awhile.”
“So how long until they get here?”
“Maybe tomorrow night. It really depends, they are all strung out now too, so it should be easier for the soldiers to cut them down.”
“They are supposed to move the others out tomorrow afternoon, they are evacuating south to get to a train. Stewart! They said they would send her and I east by car to get her to Des Moines by tonight.”
“Okay.” Red said, “You will need a vehicle anyway.... I got the perfect way to get out of town without being seen.”