Infected Page 86

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Adrenaline surged through Brian’s system. He reached down with his right hand and knocked hard on the door.

“Police! Open up!”

No one answered. The hallway remained deathly quiet. Brian knocked again, hitting the door harder. “Police! Open this

door!” Still no answer.



He spun out to stand in front of the door. Giving a quick look to Ed, who nodded agreement and readiness, Brian put all of his 215 pounds into a push-kick aimed just below the door’s handle. The wood crunched, but the door held fast. He kicked it again, harder this time. The lock’s bolt ripped from the wall with a splintering of wood. The door slammed open.

It suddenly occurred to Perry that his car was useless. The cops would be out of the apartment in seconds. They knew who he was; they would be looking for his car. Probably wouldn’t make it fifty miles, but he also wouldn’t make it far on foot.

The hatching is co ming soon. The hatching. Some poor bastard was at the end of the Triangle rope. What would it look like? How bad would the pain be?

The trip to Wahjamega would have to wait. He’d be lucky if he made it out of the parking lot, let alone all the way to Wahjamega. There was only one place he could go. Someone was close, someone who was also infected. That person would understand Perry’s condition, understand what he had done with Bill, hide him from the cops who would be swarming all over this place in minutes.

“Can we watch the hatching?”

Yes, w e should watch. Yes, watch and see, see.

“Where is it? Tell me where to go, quickly.”

Come thi s way.

Perry froze. The other voice, the female voice. It was faint, but clear.

T u rn around.

He put his hands over his ears, his face a childlike expression of pure fear. It was all too much, too damn much, but he couldn’t panic now, not when the cops would be rushing out the apartment door in a matter of moments. He turned and found himself facing Building G.

Hurry hurry , this wayto safety.

He didn’t understand, didn’t want to. All he wanted to do was get away from the cops. Perry launched himself forward at a dead run-hop, sprinting on the verge of losing his balance. He fell twice, hitting the snow-covered blacktop, landing facedown both times before scrambling madly to his feet.

It took him fifteen seconds to reach Building G.

Brian Vanderpine and Ed McKinley would both remember every moment with total clarity. In their combined twenty-five years of police work (Brian’s fourteen and Ed’s eleven), they had never seen anything like the crazy shit in Apartment B-203.

The door slammed open. Despite Brian’s desire to point the gun into the apartment, he kept it trained at the floor. Nothing moved. Brian stepped inside. He immediately saw the body on the couch, bloody hands nailed to the wall with steak knives in some horrible parody of the crucifixion.

Brian would check the body, of course, but he already knew that the man was dead. He tore his gaze from the corpse — the perp might still be in the apartment. There was blood everywhere.

The smell hit him like a fist: the odor of sweat, of blood, of something horribly rotten and wrong in a way he couldn’t immediately define.

Brian pointed his gun straight down the short hall that led to the bathroom and bedroom. He was suddenly grateful for the dozens of calls he’d made to this complex, calls that had made him familiar with these apartments, all of which had the same layout.

Ed swung around to the right, pointing his gun into the tiny excuse for a kitchen. “Holy shit. Brian, look at this.”

Brian took a quick peek. Dried blood covered the kitchen floor, so much that in most places the white linoleum looked a dull shade of reddish-brown. Even the dining table was covered with dried blood.

Brian moved down the hall, Ed only a few steps behind him. The tiny hall closet hung open and empty except for one long coat, a gaudy Hawaiian shirt, and a large University of Michigan varsity jacket. That left only the bedroom and the bathroom.

That smell, that wrong smell, was stronger as they reached the closed bedroom door. Brian stood half-covered by the hall corner and waved Ed to check the bathroom, which was open. Ed was in and out in three seconds, shaking his head to signify it was empty. He mouthed the words more blood.

Brian knelt in front of the bedroom door. Ed stood behind him, a step back. They avoided standing close enough for one shotgun blast to take out both of them. Feeling his heart hammering in his chest and throat, Brian turned the handle and pushed the door open. Nothing. They quickly checked the closet and under the bed.

Ed spoke. “Check the wounded man, Brian, I’m calling this in.” As Ed grabbed his handset and started talking to the dispatcher, Brian ran to the body. No pulse; the body was still warm. The man had just died, probably within the last hour.

The victim sat on the couch, head hanging down, arms outstretched, a steak knife pinning each hand to the wall. Blood covered the area, soaking the victim’s leg and leaving huge red stains on the worn couch cushions. The victim’s nose was a disaster, broken and ravaged. The face: swollen, cut, completely black-and-blue. Blood had spilled down the man’s face and soaked his shirt.

Brian mentally pieced together the story, feeling his anger rise at the attack’s savagery. The perp had attacked this victim in the hall, cut him (either with one of these knives or another weapon), then dragged him into the apartment and knifed him to the wall. The blows to the face either came in the hall or after his hands had been pinned.

Shit like this wasn’t supposed to happen in Ann Arbor. Fuck, this shit wasn’t supposed to happen anywhere.

Infected Page 86

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Infected Page 86 summary

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