“Is this place bugged?” I ask.
“I don’t think so,” replies Lucas. “We can’t be certain but as far as I know we had no bugs before the outbreak. And they have brought nothing with them.”
“So, what? They turned up and took over?” I ask
“Judge was already here doing some security work. The others showed up and took over,” Jonas says, his voice sounding tired.
“You knew when we chatted on the internet?” I ask.
He looks away. “Yes.”
“I suppose the guys we were meant to meet are more of Judge’s friends,” I say, sneering.
“Good job we can get you out of here then,” Max says.
“What?” Temple snaps. Not sure I’m happy about her joining our little club, but then I can’t be the only woman.
Max doesn’t say anything. He simply uncrosses his arms and runs to the other side of the room. I track him but the others don’t. He simply disappears from one area and reappears in another. He coughs and the scientists turn in shock.
“How?” Jonas asks.
“The cure,” I say. “It has some side-effects.”
Temple steps back with her face filled with fear. “What are you?”
I don’t answer. I’m not sure I can, I just don’t know.
“We are more,” Max says, his voice confident and strident.
“How did you change?” Jonas asked.
“Obviously from the cure,” Lucas says, his eyes bright with curiosity.
“No, not completely,” I say. “The cure was given to me, but it takes a bite to make you like this.”
“And you are the same?” Jonas asks.
“Yes.” I don’t move though. I’m already feeling as if I were a fish in an aquarium, the last thing I want to do is perform on command.
“What else can you do?” Lucas asks, Max.
“Eyesight is improved. We are strong, and fast…” Max fades and looks at me. I know what is wrong. He doesn’t know what to include.
“If we are hurt we heal fast, but we need to replace what we use…” I say, looking anywhere but at them.
“How?” Jonas asks and I can hear the trepidation in his voice. Before I can answer though, Temple has.
“You have to eat us!” she cries, practically screaming. “You eat humans!”
I blink. “No,” I say, but the damage has been done. They are all looking at us as if we are monsters. Lucas sprints for the doors and begins banging on them, screaming to be let out. Temple is hyperventilating and hiding behind the guys.
I look at Max and shrug. “You take Lucas,” I say quietly. The only way we can get them out is if the guards have no idea what we are or what we are capable of. He gives a slight nod in agreement and then moves. I do too. Suddenly I am stood directly in front of Jonas.
Temple screams, the sound high pitched and painful. I wince and I notice that Jonas sees it.
“If we wanted to kill you we would have. Instead, you make assumptions that we are monsters…” I look away and back off. “We aren’t. And you need all the help you can get, especially considering the new type of gone.”
Max has grabbed Lucas and moved him away from the door. Considering he could have thrown him through a wall, he has done it gently but I still notice that Lucas is rubbing his arms. He will probably have a bruise.
“So,” Max says. “We do not eat humans. In fact you are poison to us.”
That makes all the scientists pause. “What?” Temple asks.
“If we eat you, we die,” I say slowly. I’d have thought they would have caught on faster than this. They are meant to be bright.
“So what do you eat?” Jonas asks.
“Regular food and the gone,” I say.
“The gone?” Theo asks.
“The things outside that used to be human,” I say.
“You don’t eat humans, but the monsters,” Jonas says, and he sounds excited.
I nod. I really had expected them to be quicker than this.
“You said there were other types of gone?” Theo says. I notice that he is the only one stepping away from the others.
Max walks over to the kitchen and I follow. “Is there any tea?” I ask.
“Yes,” Jonas says. “Right hand top cupboard.”
I flash him a smile and turn the kettle on. Max opens the fridge. “Sandwich?”
I nod. I’m starving.
“We can get the guards to catch a gone,” Theo suggests.
“No,” I say, dropping tea bags into cups. “We only need them when we are pushed to our limits. Otherwise sandwiches will do.” I wave a teabag at the group.
“Milk, no sugar,” says Theo. The others shake their heads. I reach for another cup.
“Or steak,” Max rumbles and I can hear the smile in his voice. I agree though, steak would be more than welcome, although I have a feeling that instead of having it well-done I would want it to be rare.
The kettle pings and I pour boiling water. “Pass me the milk.”
Max hands it over and I finish the tea. It isn’t strong but then I’ve always loved weak tea. Max looks at my offering and raises an eyebrow.
“It’s good for your nerves.”
Theo gives a laugh as he comes over and takes the cup. He too grimaces as he looks at it. “Next time you make it,” I say.
He shrugs and takes a sip. “What other types of gone?”
Max places a sandwich in front of me. At least I think it is a sandwich, but it is so tall I wonder how I’m going to eat it. I push down with my hand, and tomato sauce leaks out. Cheese and tomato sauce. I give him a look. Max just raises an eyebrow and takes a bite of his.
“They are smart,” I say turning to Theo. “Like us.”
“You or humans?” Temple asks, her voice more of an irritating squeak.
“Both.” I take a massive bite. I don’t think I’m going to like her.