“Shit,” Max’s voice rings around the small room.
I can feel my chest tightening and my heart beating too fast, it sounds like a whooshing in my ears. I don’t have many fears but the dark is one, and it has got worse since I found those things.
“You okay?” Max asks.
“No,” I whisper, crouching in a ball on the floor and hugging my knees to my chest.
“What’s wrong?” I can hear him moving around and searching for something on the shelves.
“The dark,” I whisper, and to my ears it sounds lame. I know there are only the two of us here, yet I’m petrified of what is going to happen, that something is going to reach out and grab me.
Max doesn’t say anything, but I can hear him moving away from me and pushing things around the shelves. Finally he gives a small shout and I jump. There is only me and Max in here, but my imagination is running away and giving the darkness many eyes and teeth.
Just as I know I’m going to scream Max turns on a light, namely a flash light. Then I do scream, because Colin is about two inches from my nose and is smiling.
I scream and scream. Colin looks pleased with himself and then he claps his hands over his ears and winces.
Max walks over to me and hands the flashlight to Colin who takes it. He then sits behind me and takes me in his arms, gathering me like a child. At his touch my voice cuts out but I am still panicking. I clutch at his shirt and cry, sobs wracking my body.
“It’s okay,” he rumbles.
Colin has sat back on his heels and is looking around the room. He finally lets his eyes land on me and gives a rueful smile. “Sorry.”
I hiccup and gulp, trying to get myself under control.
“That was not cool,” Max rumbles and I can’t help but pull him closer. It is as if all the bad shit has hit me and I want comfort.
Colin shrugs. “Sorry.” And then after a quick pause. “You got any food.”
Max nods to the shelves. “How’d you get in here?”
“There’s a connecting door,” he says, pointing to a dark rectangle in the wall. “She drugged me and opened it, leaving it slightly agar. Guess you never noticed.”
“I should have.”
“You had your hands full,” he said with a little laugh.
“Why?” I manage.
The last thing I knew about Colin was that he was turning and we had locked him in cold storage.
Max rubbed my back, easing my tense muscles. “I gave you both the antidote.”
I lean back and look at him. “I don’t remember.”
Max gives me a slow smile. “No, you didn’t notice. He did though.”
I look to Colin who shrugs whilst stuffing biscuits in his mouth.
“Is that why he hasn’t become…” I shiver.
Max nods. “Do you feel different?”
Colin washes the biscuits down with a one of the water bottles. “Yes. I have heightened senses. I knew Bitsy was there even though it was dark, and…”
“Go on,” Max rumbles.
“I had an urge to bite her, but it was faint, like an afterglow.”
Max sighs. “It happens like that.”
I scramble off his lap and look at both of them. “Have you both been bitten?”
“No,” says Max. “I was infected by the guy who owned the cigarettes.”
“But they’re yours.”
Max shook his head. “Do you really think I would be that stupid? An apocalypse to bring about a new order… No thanks.”
“So why…?” I’m so confused.
“My dad. He infected himself and then I turned up. He gave me the antidote.” Max shook his head. “I need to get to the WHO. If I can stop what the stupid bastard has done.”
“Where did you get the antidotes?” I ask.
Max smiles and reaches into his back pocket. “This goes with the cigarettes. It is the time and date of the people who were meant to release the virus. I skipped ahead and got two of them. I was heading to London to get the next when all this happened.”
I take the paper. “It shouldn’t be here yet.”
“No,” Max agrees.
“They lost control,” Colin says, through more food.
“Yeah,” Max says.
“So why the lies?” I ask.
“I dunno,” Max says, running a hand through his hair. “I had a bad feeling and since I became this I trust those feelings.”
I look at Colin. “That’s why you weren’t worried about him.”
I give a little laugh. Friends again although that doesn’t help as we are still stuck in a small room. “How do we get out?”
Max looks at me uncomfortably. “You need to be bit first.”
Colin stops eating and looks at him, eyebrow raised in surprise.
“Bitsy, you have a mass of courage but as you are you are really breakable.”
I blink. “How?” I can feel the panic coming back and it scares me. I don’t want to be bitten by one of those things.
“I’ll do it,” Max says. And in front of me he changes slightly, his skin becoming grey and his teeth elongating.
“Oh, shit.” I say and I turn to run, only to find Colin there, holding me. “Let me go.”
“Sorry Bitsy, but I agree with him.” Colin has gone a grey colour too, but I don’t check his teeth. I can’t.
“This won’t hurt,” Max says, his voice slightly distorted. That’ll be the larger teeth I think abstractly. Then I feel a sharp scratch on my back. I hadn’t eve realised that he had moved my shirt. Then I feel darkness.