Vons Serin told me that the church had a second first level, which the elevators could not reach; the only way there was from the fifth stairwell, at the first landing, by pushing through the storage door and following the path between the bed frames to a ladder within a janitor's closet. Take that ladder down, pushing through the covering, and you'll be there. I walked down the flooded halls, taking my time, looking in on rooms evacuated without time to gather the personal effects, not yet gathered by looters. Beds unmade, luggage left open, drawers still filled with the belongings of people who had forgotten or been unable to retrieve them. This second first floor was above the basement and sub-basements, far too water-damaged for anyone to stay there, yet the complete dismissal of the rooms had me paranoid of waterborne plagues, of microscopic predators, of bone-spears hidden beneath the water. There were signs of encampment, of doors nailed shut, spraypaint sigils on the walls in codes I did not know. Something was moving up along the hallway, beyond the corner, but I refused to look. I just needed my package, taped to the back of the mirror in the third room on the left, the plastic bag torn open in my haste. Balancing the package so as not to spill the contents, staining my fingertips, knocking a pile of polaroids of opened cattle down into the water around my feet.

the exit is hidden within the exit