Infected Page 104

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Anyone watching would have thought it was impossible, that he was sure to break his neck. But he kept hopping, not knowing that Dew Phillips was only a few steps behind.

The outside door burst open, swinging wildly on its hinges, slamming so hard the handle gouged a chunk from the brick wall. Perry, wide-eyed and screaming, hopped out into the snow, the cold hitting his naked body like the fist of Old Man Winter.

He hopped fast, remembering somewhere, somehow, that he was supposed to get a car, go to Wahjamega and finish this crazy odyssey. He also wanted to get to a hospital, because some stupid motherfucker had just shot him in the left shoulder. That had almost knocked him over, but he’d been hit harder many times.

Oh, but he needed a hospital for a few other things, too, eh, DaddyO? A hospital to stitch up an arm that gushed bright, steaming blood onto the road’s packed snow, a hospital to piece together whatever was sliced in his calf so he could walk with two legs again, a hospital to treat the huge burn blisters on his back and head and ass, a hospital to pull that bullet out of the back of his left shoulder, a hospital to suck the rotting black goo out of his shoulder and ass.



And, above all, a hospital to sew his dick back on.

ONE SHOT, ONE KILL

The front door to Building G hadn’t quite closed when Dew Phillips smashed it open again. He raced out onto the snowy pavement, trailing smoke and flames behind him. He rolled once, twice, a third time, then stood, the flames defeated, his jacket a smoldering ruin of acrid polyester.

He was in that place again, that murderous place, the spot in his mind where he sent his feelings and emotions and morals when there was killing to be done. He wasn’t Dew Phillips anymore; he was Top, the death machine that had taken more lives than he could count.

Dew dropped into a shooter’s crouch and brought up the .45 with the stone-still grip of a brain surgeon. He saw everything: the snow-covered dead branches of the winter trees, each iced needle on the frosted pines and shrubs, every car, every hubcap, every license plate, every slushy footprint. Police dotted the lot like dark blue alligators sunning on a riverbank. A trio of gray vans raced in: one from his right, one from his left and one on the far side of the hopping, blood-streaming freak.

Dawsey hopped across the parking lot, a sprint for freedom when there was no place to run. He seemed to notice the police cars, and he slowed. Dawsey stopped, then turned. With the desperate optimism of a madman, he hopped toward Dew.

Dew sighted in on a face contorted with fury, pain, confusion and hate. The massive man raged forward, huge and horrible, every muscle fiber twitching and visible even from a distance. He hopped on his blood-glazed right leg, covering amazing distances with each thrust. His left leg hung at an angle, limp and along for the ride. Third-degree burns covered his right arm. He had no hair left, only crusty black marks and blisters that perched lecherously on his skull. A long streak of black goo decorated his chest, goo that appeared to ooze from a softball-size purple sore on his right collarbone.

Blood streaked down both legs, pouring from where a penis should have been.

Nightmarish above all this were the face and the eyes, eyes that stared

straight out with both the cold, intense look of the predator and the wild, panic-stricken flight of prey. A mouth that couldn’t decide between a snarl or a scream, a mouth that hung open, lips curled up to show teeth that gleamed a Colgate white in the afternoon sun.

Dew saw all this in less than two seconds. A brief instant where details stood out like raised letters on a brass nameplate.

That look. That expression. Just like Brewbaker. Just like the man who’d killed Mal.

One .45-caliber slug and Dawsey’s head would evaporate in a cloud of blood and brains. Somebody had to pay for Mal’s death, and this crazy fucker would fit the bill just fine.

Dew aimed for that psychotic smile.

His finger tightened on the trigger.

Dawsey kept coming.

One shot, one shot . . . goddamn it, Mal, I miss you.

But Dew had his orders.

He dropped his aim and pulled the trigger.

The bullet smacked into Dawsey’s right shoulder and spun him around like a rag doll. He almost made a full spin before he crashed to the ground, his steaming blood melting into the dirty driveway snow. The map fluttered to the ground.

Dew lowered his weapon and started to move forward, then stopped short. He stared, disbelieving, as Dawsey scrambled back up to stand on his one good leg. His expression hadn’t changed, not one lick, no surprise or agony visible among the tumult of emotions that rippled across his face. Huge muscles twitching, a grin of wide-eyed madness chiseled on his face, hopping on one powerful leg, Dawsey lunged toward Dew.

Dew raised the .45. There was one place he could shoot that the kid wouldn’t get up.

“You sure are one tough bastard,” Dew said quietly, then pulled the trigger.

The round smashed into Perry’s knee, the same knee that had ended his football career. The once-broken patella disintegrated into a bouquet of splintered bone. The bullet ripped through cartilage before it bounced off the femur and exited through the back of his leg along with a misty cloud of blood.

Perry crumbled. He fell face-first onto the snow-covered pavement

and slid to a halt only a few feet from Dew. This time he didn’t get up. He stared at Dew, breathing heavily, the insane death-grin plastered on his face.

And his penis was still clutched in his fist.

Dew gently stamped out the flaming map, then picked it up. Keeping the barrel trained on Dawsey’s grinning face, Dew looked at the map. It was burned through in places, but the red line running from Ann Arbor to Wahjamega was still clearly visible. Also in red, a strange, Japaneselooking symbol.

Infected Page 104

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Infected Page 104 summary

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