“They won’t attack us,” I say.
Max watches the creatures shuffle from side to side, moving their heads back and forth, noses in the air, scenting.
“Not us no,” he says, in such a deep voice it rumbles around the room. He then looks at Dee.
We all look at her.
“What?” she asks, her tone scared, but her eyes suggesting she has an upper hand.
“We could let them have her,” Colin says.
For a moment I think about it. I really do. And that scares me more than anything. The shot has changed more than my physical appearance; I’m starting to think of Dee as a separate species. I try for sympathy but I come up short. I do know that just handing her over to the monsters would be wrong. “We can’t,” I say.
“Why?” Colin asks and I can see that he feels the same detachment that I do.
“It wouldn’t be right.”
We all jump as one of the creatures bumps into the window. It must know that the barrier is there, but it is sniffing the glass as if trying to smell inside. Maybe it can.
“Don’t give me to them,” Dee pleads.
I look at her and the brashness is gone, instead she is just scared. Fear pours off her in a bitter sweet scent. In fact, she smells very strong.
I am about to say something when Max does it for me.
It doesn’t seem to mollify Dee much but she nods and her scent becomes less pungent.
“We can’t run with her,” I say.
Max nods. “I know.”
“We can leave her,” Colin suggests.
Dee looks between us and I realise how unhuman we are appearing. I smile sadly at her. “You did this.”
“What do you mean?” she asks.
“You put me in there so they could infect me.”
She looks away. “I didn’t realise that he had given you the vaccine.”
“You wanted her to die?” Max asks, anger crossing his face.
I should intervene. I should make him more relaxed. I can feel the urge bubble beneath the surface, but I don’t act. Instead I watch. If my eyes are anything like Colin’s they must be almost black, looking more alien than human.
“Yes… No…” Dee sighs. “I wanted to have only one of you left. You,” she looks at Max, “would have been easier to keep a track of. I knew you wouldn’t turn.” Her face twists into a sneer. “I didn’t know about the others.”
“So, instead of just me being here, you have all three of us and we are…” Max stops.
“More,” Colin finishes.
Dee looks away and I turn to the creatures. They are still there and they are all looking at us. “We are going to have to run, now.”
As I finish the first creature hits the glass, not with a fist, but instead slams his head against the glass. Black blood runs down the glass as his forehead splits open. The glass cracks. The man, I can only assume he is a doctor due to the stained and torn white coat he is wearing, pulls back to slam his head again.
“Time to go,” Max says. He walks over to Dee and pulls her from the chair, pushing her toward Colin. “Take her.”
“Why me?” Colin’s words are punctuated by another crack from the creature outside.
“Because you will leave her if things get messy.” Before I can question Max’s words he has grabbed my hand and we are running toward the door we came in. Was it really only this morning? The world has changed so much since then.
Max kicks the wood out of the way and opens the door. We pause and look either way. I can see no one.
I scent the air and although I can smell a creature but it is a stale smell. He hasn’t been around for a few hours. Behind us glass shatters and we hear the high pitch mewling of tortured children. Inside the hospital there is an answering cry. Max tugs on my hand and we are running. We are moving faster than I thought possible. I wonder how Dee is coping and I turn my head to look.
Colin has lifted her and is running with Dee cradled in his arms as if she were no more than a child. Which I suppose she is, or maybe we are. Children of a new world.
Max pauses and I’m surprised that we seem to be moving toward the fire. I look at him questioningly.
He nods to Dee. “The smoke will hide her scent.”
Colin catches up. He is struggling, not from her weight but because she is twisting in his arms, trying to escape. Colin looks mean angry and I put a hand out to calm him. Max stops me, grabbing my hand and shaking his head.
Instead he pushes me behind him and motions Colin to put Dee down. “You want to escape?”
Dee looks round wildly, as if she doesn’t trust that she is suddenly free.
“She bit me!” Colin says indignantly and shows us his arm. There are a set of perfect teeth marks that are oozing black blood. I know that the blood is only black because my eyesight is a strange mix of muted colours and greys; my night vision, but Colin is standing in front of a red car and I can see that it is red.
“Is our blood black?” I ask.
“That is what you want to know?” Colin shouts. “Not if I’m hurt?”
I ignore him.
“Shit.” Max is lifting one of Dee’s eyelids and looking at her face. She is just standing there and letting him.
“What?” I ask.
I look at Colin. He holds his hands up. “I wasn’t me.”
“No,” Max says. “She did it to herself.”
“How?” I ask.
Max doesn’t say anything but points at Colin’s arm. She infected herself.
Max shrugs. “Probably didn’t think it would work.” He takes hold of her head as the woman that I’d grown to hate looks at him with a black soulless gaze that makes my blood run cold. With a sigh he does something that jerks her head and makes a snap echo through the street. He then lets her body drop to the ground.
“Why?” I ask.
Max looks at me and his look is so much like Dee’s that I take a step back. “I didn’t know what she would become by ingesting Colin’s blood.”
“You mean she may have wanted seconds?” Colin asks.
Max nods. He starts walking towards the airport.
“Haven’t we been there?” Colin asks.
Max’s face shows a brief smile. “We’re going to Bitzy’s friends.”
“We are?” I ask.
“We need supplies.”
I can see the logic, but as I follow the two guys I hope that they are gone, because I’m not sure I can stop them from getting hurt. I send a small prayer to the heavens that they are safe and not at home.
Please don’t be at home.