Dismissing the white coat with a flick of her fingers, the door closed and we were alone again. The Major, or doctor, whichever was the truth, hadn’t reacted to my accusation and now I was concerned about what she might do. When she finally spoke her voice was calm, her crow’s feet deepening as the forced smile came back. Her upturned mouth made me want to jump across the table, take her by the shoulders and shake her till she told me what she knew; told me the government fucked up, had been playing god and it had all gone wrong; told me she was part of the problem and not the solution.
“I’m not sure what conclusion you’ve just jumped to, but just because I’m an Army doctor doesn’t mean there is anything more sinister going on,” she said, her cheeks bunching high. Despite the constant smile, her stern expression did nothing to reassure me. “The military is best equipped to deal with the situation and that is all.”
I stared back trying to keep my expression as neutral as I could, forcing myself not to glance at Cassie, already knowing the concern on display.
“We’ve heard things,” I said, the words helping to stop from launching a tirade. Even though we’d only caught part of a conversation, everything the two thugs had said back in the bedroom had made sense. How could all that was going on outside just appear with no warning? How could this place be transformed in just two days? Someone must have known before. The woman sitting across from me had to know so much she wasn’t saying.
Her cheeks bunched higher still.
“I’m not interested in what you’ve heard or what you think you might know. We’re here to stop the spread. Who are you to get in our way?”
She was right and I let out a breath. No matter how we’d got to where were are now, it didn’t matter. We’d seen first hand what was going on outside these walls, what was happening to everyday people. With no need for much of an imagination, I could take a good guess at how quickly this could be the end. What could I do? I wasn’t an all-action hero and we weren’t in a Hollywood movie whose script had been audience tested to get the right level of peril before everything turned out fine in the end. So many had died and I knew what we’d seen was only a tiny part. Too much had already been lost for a happy ending.
For the second time since this had started, I thought of my parents, thought of my life before the new year had turned. Everything was different now. I didn’t know if they were alive, or if they were, how much longer would they be able to stay that way. I turned to Cassie and wanted to smile, wanted to take her somewhere quiet and enjoy the one good thing to come out of this whole mess. There were people who needed help and even if the boy wasn’t part of the cure, we had to find out. What else could I do? Despite my unwillingness to trust this woman, what option did I have?
“Okay,” I said, nodding, watching as her smile relaxed and her brow bore down to what I could guess was its normal stern position.
“So tell me you’ve been wasting my time. Tell me you’ve not seen someone whose survived a bite. Tell me you haven’t witnessed what could be our first clue in bringing this nightmare to an end before it takes out the rest of the country.”
Still, I couldn’t just blurt out the words she wanted to hear, something was telling me it wasn’t right to just hand over Jack. I couldn’t help but turn to Cassie. Couldn’t help but look deep into her eyes as she stared straight back like she was trying to reach into my mind and tell me something, trying to urge me to go one way or the other.
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Reading out of sequence? Why? Here’s Chapter One