I was facing the shelves of soaps, shampoos, foot scrubs and ointments. All were covered in a thick layer of dust. The room was pitch dark now with my torch off, and the banging on the front panes of glass was growing in intensity as the mob outside grew.
To my right was the counter, and behind it, a darker patch in the gloom meant that the room extended further back there. Pointing my torch towards the back of the room, I flicked it on, not caring that it might attract the unwanted any more – they were already here. Sure enough, the room continued on for a bit. Back there were white shelves of dusty boxes and bottles.
I raced over and randomly chose a bottle. Blowing the dust off as I tried to make out the typed label. It was something beginning with O with lots of unnecessary vowels in its name. Not what I was after. I tried another one further down. A box with a green label and the black writing saying some floxy something was contained within. Wrong again. Two down, possibly only about two hundred thousand more to look at. There had to be some kind of order to them. A druggy-decimal system of some kind. It was too late for me to do any chemistry training, so there needed to be some kind of method to all this.
There was a crunching bang from the front of the store and a loud crack told me one of the windows was starting to give way. I had seconds, not minutes to figure this out now.
If I was a chemist, how would I order things? Alphabetically? No, the first thing I picked up started with an O. Colour? Shape? Flavour? In a supermarket they arranged things by the products that made them the most money at eye level and everything else above or below, down to the least profitable on the bottom shelf. Some companies used to be able to pay the store more to have an end shelf, or to have their products at eye level for a short period, but the arrangement was to lure the buyer to the items the store wanted them to buy.
Perhaps this place was the same. The most common complaint a pharmacist would have to look after would be colds. Ironic that, given the super-flu turned everybody into those creatures outside. Anyhoo, what else? Pregnancy? Venereal diseases! This was fun. What else? Where would you file drugs for infections from some sod lopping off your leg with a machete? That must be a fairly common complaint, surely. So, somewhere near the middle. Slightly lower down than eye level – prime position would be reserved for herpes and genital misadventure in a small township like this. A cluster of small plastic bottles grabbed my attention. Something starting with X. The next started with Sy, but wait, the end of each word was ‘cillin. That was the magic word.
I ripped my rucksack off my back and flung the zips open. An ominous creaking sound rang out over the incessant pounding on the windows and there was a sudden snap as one of the windows gave in and a half dozen zoms fell in, lacerating themselves on the glass shards. I scooped the bottles into by pack by the armload. They flew all over the place and scattered all over the floor. It didn’t matter. I needed to get as many of the ‘cillins as I could.
The first of the animated cadavers stood up, like a puppet with its strings suddenly being jerked from above, and started tripping its way over its fallen comrades. It was time to make like a tree and leave.
On the way out I spotted something else and pushed several packs into my satchel before zipping it closed and bunking it out the back door that I had come in through.
As all the attention was on the store, it was fairly simple for me to hightail it out of town and back to the train. I put an extra sentry on the gap in the fence that I used to get into town, purely because of the number of riled up zeds out there.
It turned out that amongst the many different types of antibiotics I had pilfered, there were several large bottles of the exact right one. Perhaps Jenny could come out of this after all.
The last minute grab of the girlie sanitary items on the way out the door was also extremely well received, and as a result, I had managed to once again polish my slightly tarnished reputation as the resident hero.