“Carson said he’s close to a breakthrough,” Rodney reported, settling in with an MRE and a bottle of water.
Even months later he couldn’t help looking around for the tablet that wasn’t there. He didn’t have access to any of his data from the lab – there was no wifi, not even any electricity without a gas generator – but the tablet had practically been an extension of his arm at one point in time. Old habits were hard to break.
“I hope he’s serious this time. I know genetics is a slow science, but this is ridiculous. I don’t know how much longer I can stand being cooped up in here.”
Rodney had traveled a long way to get to Carson’s lab. He was fairly sure it was the last operational facility in North America still working on a cure. It had been a perilous journey. He wouldn’t have made it without John.
“I was thinking the other day how much I miss fresh meat.”
More to the point, he missed the days when he wasn’t the one considered meat. Back before the virus that turned most of the world’s population into mindless, ravening lunatics with a penchant for human flesh. People called them zombies, which was inaccurate because they hadn’t been raised from the dead. But the word universally encompassed all the fear and revulsion associated with the epidemic.
Rodney ate the MRE slowly. Not to savor it, because it wasn’t particularly good, but because he wanted to take the time to visit with John. He didn’t know why felt compelled to do so, because seeing John broke his heart every time.
If Carson didn’t come up with a cure soon, John would be out of time. Rodney didn’t know what else to do. He owed John his life, in every way possible. Failure wasn’t an option.
In the containment room opposite Rodney’s bench, John repeatedly slapped his hands against the thick plexiglass. He was yelling, just sounds with no intelligible words. Drool was running down his unshaven chin and his teeth were bared, gnashing and yellowed from not being brushed. But it was the eyes that gave his condition away, the beautiful hazel green now a translucent blue, a physical sign of the infection.
They’d have to find him something to eat soon, before his organs started shutting down. Something… or someone. Rodney would do whatever it took to keep John alive, no matter how repugnant.
Carson needed just a little more time.