Infected Page 4

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“Approaching the front door,” Dew said. He spoke to no one in particular, but the microphone on his earpiece picked up everything and transmitted it to Control.

“Copy that, Phillips.”

This was their chance, finally, to catch a live one.

And maybe figure out just what the fuck was going on. “Remember the orders, Mal,” Dew said. “If it goes bad, no shots to the head.”



“No head shots, right.”

Dew hoped it wouldn’t come down to pulling the trigger, but somehow he had a feeling it would. After weeks of chasing after infected victims, arriving to find only murdered bodies, moldering corpses, and /or charred remains, they had a live one.

Martin Brewbaker, Caucasian, age thirty-two, married to Annie Brewbaker, Caucasian, twenty-eight. One child, Betsy Brewbaker, age six.

Dew had heard Martin’s call to Captain Jinky. But even with that crazy recording, they weren’t sure yet. This guy might be normal, no problems, just liked to blast his Sinatra on eleven.

I tried so . . . not to give in, I said to myself, “This affair never will go so well.”

“Dew, do you smell gasoline?”

Dew wasn’t even halfway through the first sniff when he knew that Malcolm was right. Gasoline. From inside the house. Shit.

Dew looked at his partner. Gas or no gas, it was time to go in. He wanted to whisper to Mal, but with Sinatra so fucking loud he had to shout to be heard.

“Okay, Mal, let’s go in fast. This asshole probably wants to light the place on fire like some of the others. We have to take him down before he does that, got it?”

Malcolm nodded. Dew stepped away from the door. He could still kick a door in if he had to, but Mal was younger and stronger, and young guys got off on that shit. Let the lad have his fun.

Malcolm reared back and gave one solid kick — the door slammed open, the deadbolt spinning off inside somewhere, trailing a few splinters of wood. Mal went in first, Dew right behind.

Inside the house, Sinatra roared at a new level, so loud it made Dew wince.

In spite of a warning voice that comes in the night, And repeats, repeats in my ear, A small living room that led into a small dining room, then a kitchen.

In that kitchen, a corpse. A woman. Pool of blood. Wide-eyed. Throat slit. A brow-wrinkled expression of surprise, not terror . . . surprise, or confusion, like she’d passed on while looking at a Wheel of Fortune puzzle that really had her stumped.

Mal showed no sign of emotion, and that made Dew proud. Nothing they could do for the woman now anyway.

Don’t you know, little fool, you never can win, Use your mentality, wake up to reality.

A hallway that led deeper into the house.

Dew’s feet squishing on the brown shag carpet. Squishing because of the thick trail of gasoline that made the carpet an even darker brown.

Mal and Dew moved in.

First door on the right. Mal opened it.

A child’s bedroom, and another corpse. This one a little girl. Six years old, Dew knew, because he’d read the file. No look of surprise on that face. No expression at all, really. Just glassy-eyed blankness. Slightly open mouth. Blood all over her tiny face. All over her little Cleveland Browns T-shirt.

This time Mal stopped. The girl was the same age as his Jerome. Dew knew, right then and there, that Mal would probably kill Brewbaker when they found him. Dew wouldn’t stop him, either.

But this wasn’t the time for sightseeing. He tapped Mal on the shoulder. Mal shut the girl’s door behind him. Two more doors: one on the right, one at the end of the hall. The music still blared, offensive, overpowering.

But each time that I do, just the thought of you

Makes me stop, before I begin, Mal opened the door to the right. Master bedroom, no one there. One door left. Dew took a deep breath, nose filling with gasoline

fumes. Mal opened the door.

And there was Martin Brewbaker.

Mal’s theory back in the car turned out to be prophetic — there was

one crazy Caucasian in that house.

Wide-eyed and smiling, Martin Brewbaker sat on the bathroom floor, legs straight out in front of him. He wore a gas-soaked Cleveland Browns hoodie, jeans, and was barefoot. He’d cinched belts around both legs, just above the knee. In one hand, he held an orange lighter. In the other hand, a nicked-up red hatchet. Behind him sat a red and silver gas can, lying on its side, its contents making a glistening wet puddle against the black and white linoleum floor.

’Cause I’ve got you . . . under my skin.

“You’re too late, pigs,” Brewbaker said. “They told me you’d come. But you know what? I’m not going, I’m not taking them. They can fucking walk there themselves.”

He raised the hatchet and whipped it down hard. The thick blade slid through skin and denim just below his knee, crunched through his bone, and chonked into the linoleum floor, severing his leg. Blood sprayed all across the floor, mixing with the pool of gas. His severed leg and foot sort of flopped on its side.

Brewbaker screamed, an agonizing scream that drowned out Sinatra’s jamming orchestra. His voice screamed, but his eyes didn’t — they kept staring at Dew.

That happened in one second. In the next second, the hatchet came up again and went down again, severing the other leg, also just below the knee. Brewbaker tipped backward, the now-missing weight throwing off his equilibrium just a bit. As he rolled back, his stubby legs sprayed blood into the air, onto the bathroom counter, onto the ceiling. Dew and Malcolm both instinctively raised an arm to block the blood from hitting them in the face.

Infected Page 4

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Infected Page 4 summary

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