Infected Page 99

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Dew stood and moved toward the door, pulse racing, adrenaline pumping. He kept his eyes fixed on the ground, looking for another blood spot, just to be sure.

His sleepiness vanished, possibly from the thrill of the hunt, or more likely from a well-honed instinct for self-preservation.

It was party time.

The first real action since Martin Brewbaker, the infected psycho who’d killed his partner. Brewbaker hadn’t been a big man, nor had he been an athlete, but he’d proved something Dew had known since he’d been eighteen — being a killer isn’t about being strong or fast or well trained, it’s about being the first to pull the trigger, it’s about attacking before the other guy is ready, it’s about the willingness to go for the throat right off the bat. The growths had made Martin Brewbaker that kind of man. Dawsey had those same growths, but Dawsey was a big man, he was an athlete, and he was violent and vicious even before he was ever infected.



Dew felt a flash of déjà vu, the sense that he was again entering Martin Brewbaker’s house, walking down the hall just before the crazy fuck lit the place on fire and buried a hatchet in Malcolm’s guts. The old Sinatra tune rang in his head.

I’ve got you . . . under my skin.

BACARDI

Perry shut the bathroom door behind him and spread his goodies out on the sink counter.

Bottle of Jack Daniel’s: check.

Two bottles of Bacardi 151: check.

Butcher’s block with knives and Chicken Scissors: check.

Lighter: check.

Towels: check.

Fatigue clutched at his body. He started the tub and flipped the lever on the stopper, allowing the basin to fill up with cold water.

He stripped down, taking off everything but his socks and his underwear. He grabbed the longest towel he could find, twisted it into a rope, then poured some Bacardi on it. It soaked into the terry cloth, filling the small bathroom with the strong smell of rum. He flipped the long towel over his back, feeling the cold, wet, rum-soaked spot send chills up his spine. He positioned that cold spot right over the Triangle. One end of the towel went over his left shoulder, the other under his right arm. He tied the ends together, making the towel hang like a bandito’s bullet strap.

Sí, señor. El Scary Perry is a baaad man.

He soaked the end of a smaller hand towel with Bacardi, then laid it on the toilet. With the preparation finished, he took four long, uninterrupted swallows of Jack Daniel’s.

Perry sat on the tub, the cold porcelain sending another wave of chills through his body. He held the knife and the lighter with his left hand. In his right he held the rum-soaked towel.

It was time.

Burn, burn, yes ya gonna burn.

Perry flicked the lighter. He watched the tiny orange flame shift and turn.

Yes, ya gonna burn.

CLOSING IN

Dew stood just inside the front door to Building G. He shivered slightly, but not from the winter’s cold. Like every other building in the sprawling complex, Building G had twelve apartments, four each on three floors.

Perry Dawsey, the one-legged killer, was in one of those apartments. Dew pulled his notebook from a jacket pocket. He quietly flipped through the pages, eyes looking down at the book one second, flicking back to look up the stairs and down the hall the next. He half expected to see the hulking nutcase tearing down the hall or the stairs, hopping madly, ready to do an encore presentation of the Bill Miller Crucifixion. Dew reviewed the notes he’d collected from the cops. Building G had been checked by a pair of state troopers. There had been no answer at apartments 104 and 202. Dew put the pad back into his coat pocket, hand brushing against the .45 just to make sure it was there. If his hunch was right, he had a chance to kill Dawsey and do it with no press, no interference from the local cops.

Going in alone was dangerous, probably stupid. But Dawsey probably

had a hostage right now. If the rapid-response teams closed too quickly and Dawsey saw them, he might drag that hostage out into the open where the cops could intervene. That would complicate things.

Dew pulled out the big cellular and dialed. It rang only once — they were waiting for his call.

“Otto here.”

“Get the squads in position,” Dew whispered. “I’m in Building G. Do not — I repeat, do not— approach until I say so. I’ll stay on the line. If the connection is cut off, move in immediately, understand?”

“Yes sir. Margaret and Amos are with me. They’re ready.”

Dew pulled his .45. Adrenaline surged through his veins. His pulse raced so fast he wondered if a heart attack would take him down before Dawsey could.

CONJECTURES

Racal suits were not built with comfort in mind. Margaret Montoya sat in the back of gray van number two, along with Amos and Clarence Otto. Both men also wore the bulky suits. All they had to do was put on the helmets, pressurize and they were ready to battle with whatever bacterium, virus or airborne poison Perry Dawsey might spew forth.

Only Margaret knew it wasn’t a bacterium, and it wasn’t a virus. It was something different altogether. Something . . . new. She still couldn’t put her finger on it, and it was damn near driving her mad.

“So this couldn’t be natural,” Margaret said. “We’d have seen it somewhere.”

Amos sighed and rubbed his eyes. “Margaret, we’ve had this conversation already. Several times.”

He sounded exasperated, and she couldn’t blame him — scientific curiosity or no, her mouth had run nonstop for hours. There was an answer here, if she could only get a handle on it, somehow talk it out.

Infected Page 99

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Infected Page 99 summary

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