First Zombie 12

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Heather was still asleep, the thunder and generator could not make a dent in the fatigue she was sleeping off from the day’s work. Doctor Sentry took care to disable her first. He went to the lab and grabbed the sevoflurance gas mix and the syringes of anesthesia then approached his sleeping colleague. Sentry held the mask of ether in front of her face, but not touching it and opened the valve. A slight hiss and a sweet smell filled the room. Heather didn't wake up and after a minute of allowing her to breath in the vapor Sentry felt sure he could attached the mask to her face with its elastic cord which would keep her sedated. Sentry then prepared a syringe and injected her with a anesthetic that would should keep her unconscious for as long as two hours, long enough to get done with his preparations for the night.

Gabe and Ritchie were going to be more of a challenge. Sentry had to get them separated from each other, which should make it easier.

But how?Then a thought came to him.

He approached the guard station and asked, “Can we bring Pitatchi and Williams into rooms two and three Gabe?”

“Right now? Wouldn't you rather wait until the regular power is back on? It is getting pretty bad out there.”

Sentry shook his head, “I could wait, but this next batch needs to be used or I lose about thirty hours of work. It's just a simple shot. I shouldn't have any trouble administering it if you can get the men on gurneys and secure them.”

“It's your call doc. C'mon Ritchie let's go wake the dead.”

Sentry waited for a moment, then leaned into the security station and dropped medication into both men's coffee. Maybe I won't have to get them alone after all. The mickey fin he had slipped into their drinks would make them sluggish in a few minutes and have them dozing within half an hour.

Thunder crashed so loudly it overcame the noise from the generator. Sentry thought quickly, adapted his plan and stepped after Gabe and Ritchie, “Ah Gabe?” he called as the man was preparing to unlock the cell, “Maybe you're right, this might not be the best time. Who knows how long this storm will last? If we have problems we might need to transfer the patients and no one is going to want to do that in this storm.”

Gabe paused and nodded, “That's what I was thinking, but you know the risks better than I do. So, you lose thirty hours of work then?”

Frowning Sentry said, “Better that than to have a problem we can't handle.”

“Okay doctor, whatever you want. C'mon Ritchie let's get back to the station. “

Sentry ducked into the kitchen and poured himself a cup of coffee, calling across the hall he asked, “Can I top you two off?”

“Sure, thanks doc!” Gabe said, followed by a more subdued 'Thank you' from Ritchie.

“Alright, I am going back to the lab to do what I can. See you a bit later.”

“Okay Doctor Sentry, call us if you change your mind.”

Sentry went back to the lab and checked to make sure he had enough anesthesia for Gabe and Ritchie. The side of his face was numb and coldness radiated down his arm to the tips of his fingers. The doctor reflexively continued to squeeze his hand on that side closed.

I hope I have a half an hour.' Impatient, he returned after only fifteen minutes, using the pretext to refill his coffee. Ritchie was slumped over the desk; Gabe was on the floor, bleeding slightly from where his head had struck something on the way down.

A surge of adrenaline coursed through Sentry, 'I am going to do it!', he hurried down the hall for a gurney and the syringes. Upon his return he gave both men shots to keep them out and then hoisted Gabe up onto the gurney. He wheeled the man into medical room three and then went back for Ritchie. Finally, he took the last gurney and gathered up Heather. By the time he pushed her into room three he had lost most of the functionality of his left hand and his vision was getting blurry. He fumbled with the nylon webbing restraints, but was eventually able to tie all three people down. Once that was done he stepped back into the lab.

'I can't stop now, I must finish this. I should have taken care of Vic first.'  Sentry looked around the lab for something innocuous he could use as a weapon. For a moment his eyes rested on the next two strains of his serum sitting in the controlled environment section of his lab. Either of them would have, in theory, given him endless life without the need to die first. Neither had been tested and Sentry was not sure what effect they would have if he used them now. Vic's strain was...virulent. 'Focus!' he berated himself. Thinking there was little time for subtly, the doctor left the lab and went to the end of the hall where he pulled a heavy metal fire extinguisher off of the wall. Halfway back to Vic's room it slipped out of his grasp and hit the floor.

“Damn it.” he said softly as he grasped it with his right hand. He swung it around so it hung down his back, leaving his elbow sticking up by the side of his head. When he entered Vic's room he propped the door open with a medical cart, 'I don't want to get locked in by a random surge of the electricity.'

“Hiya doc.” Vic's voice called warily. “What'cha got there?”

Sentry swung around to reveal the fire extinguisher.

“There aren't an-any fires in here.” Vic said, hardly stuttering.

“You might be surprised.”

“Are you serious? You plan to bash my head in with a fire extinguisher?”

Sentry stepped forward, a grim look on his face. In bed Vic pulled his hand up to protect himself. His severed arm was no longer attached in the handcuffs on the other end of the chain; the empty cuff was in Vic's good hand.

As the doctor stepped forward swinging the fire extinguisher Vic threw the empty cuff, still attached to his good arm by a long chain, it hit Sentry square in the face. The pain from his bloody nose ruined his aim and the fire extinguisher crashed down on Vic's chest, instead of his head as Sentry had planned. The hard metal edge of the bottom of the cylinder broke ribs and crushed the bone shards through Vic's lungs and heart in several places. This didn't slow Vic down in the slightest. He reached for the fire extinguisher and wrestled to get it from Sentry's hands. He was still handicapped, his other arm had been growing back, but the progress was slow. Vic had hoped that merely by pressing the stump to his arm they would join and give him two sets of hands again and while the flesh did seem to mold together like two sticky bits of play dough, he had not regained the use of his off hand.

As he was fighting for his life Vic called out to Dan with all his might, the other zombie, three rooms away, stirred and struggled to sit up in his bed. Vic had a firm grasp on the bottom of the fire extinguisher but Sentry still had the top and was doing an admirable job holding on to it against the zombie's greater strength. Neither man could pull it away from the other. Sentry inadvertently pulled the trigger as he struggled to get control of the makeshift weapon, the cool powdery foam sprayed out of the nozzle into Vic's face.

This didn't hurt Vic, but it did surprise him and for a moment his grasp weakened on the cylinder, which allowed Sentry to pull it away from the zombie. The doctor didn't hesitate; he swung it around sideways to bounce it off of Vic's head. The blow was not fatal, but it stunned the zombie, which allowed Sentry to line up another one handed shot. Instead of swinging the extinguisher he lifted it and rammed the bottom of it into Vic's face, which resulted in a satisfying crunch of bone. Still not dead, the zombie struggled and brought its arm up in front of his head as Sentry pulled the weapon away for another blow.

Sentry saw that he could get a better angle of attack if he moved the gurney away from the wall. Quickly he unlocked the wheels and pulled the whole thing towards the center of the room. Standing behind Vic's head Sentry swung the fire extinguisher over his shoulder one last time. His breaths were coming in sharp gasps now and Sentry felt a sharp pain radiating from his chest out to the other parts of his body. The fire extinguisher swung over head in a long arch that ended with the base of the heavy steel cylinder smashing through Vic's forehead. 

Vic's last moments were twisted in a slow reality of time stop motion. He felt Dan breaking out of his bonds, felt the zombie get to his feet and head to the door of his room, then he felt the cool kiss as the extinguisher touched his forehead just over his eyes.

It was done. Sentry sagged and checked Vic's head, looking for any sign of the rapid healing that he had observed before. Nothing. His ragged breathing was not easing up as he rested from his exertions; in fact the chest pain was getting worse. 'I gotta get to room three.' Sentry stumbled into the hall and over to the doorway where the security guards and Heather awaited his revival. In his haste he forgot to wedge something into the doorway to hold it open in case the power went off, with a sharp metal snick, the door closed behind him.

Sentry dropped to the floor and laid in the center of the room, overwhelmed with pain, his breathing coming in gasps as his body sought to pull in oxygen it no longer needed.

“Thomas?” slurred Heather, “What's happened?”

Sentry pulled in another long breath and ignored her.

“Thomas? Are you all right?”

Sentry shook his head and continued focusing on his labored breathing.

“What's wrong? Why am I tied to a gurney?”

Sentry stared at her and then lifted his arm to tear away the bandage at his neck.

Heather's head was barely lifted off of the gurney; she was able to twist enough to see the wound on Sentry's neck. “Oh God you got bit....” Her voice trailed off as she turned her head to both sides and took in Gabe and Ritchie, lying to either side of her.

When she spoke again her voice was cold, clinical. “We could have gotten you blood.”

After a deep inhale, Sentry croaked, “I know.”

“Then why? Why do this?”

“I can make it better. I can do it this way. Make it so no one can stop me.”

“How doctor?” Heather asked in a tone that could freeze water.

“I don't have time to explain.”

“Well, use the time you have. The time we have.”

“You'll have all the time you need...after.”

“Tell me now.”

Sentry nodded, though Heather was staring straight up at the ceiling and didn't see the gesture, “I will tell what I can. Series three is in the lab, I think I solved the problems with the second generation formula, based on what we learned from Vic. I went ahead and refined the genetics even more with series three.”

“When?” Heather interrupted, “You never tested the second series and you're telling me you are a generation into the next one? I don't believe you.”

“It doesn't matter, it is all dust now, don't you get that? No, I supposed you wouldn't. This is a world changer.” Sentry pointed to his neck wound. “I am coming back when I die. I can feel the poison creeping up into my brain, down my arm, into my chest and lungs. The bite is fast moving, if I had died I think I would have come back in minutes, if not faster. That is the problem with these damned biological agents; they evolve so quickly!”

After another long pull of breath he continued, “I won't be giving out the second or third series now, I had intended to. But I made a mistake; Vic caught me, pulled me down, then he infected me.”

“I have a hard time feeling sorry for you, given what you've arranged for me.” Heather said.

Sentry didn't reply.

“I'll be dead in hours.” Heather said woodenly. “This isn't what we planned.”

“Everybody wants to live forever, but nobody wants to die.” Sentry chuckled, his voice sounding like rocks tumbling together as they rolled down a hill, “Vic came back; you'll be fine...eventually.”

“What if I like what I am now? Alive, that is?”

“I am not in a good position to bargain, the others might not be enough for me. Vic went through a lot of blood.”

“One was enough.” Heather looked over at the other two men bound on their gurneys. “Three seems like overkill. Push me out into the hall; take them! That should be enough to get you on your feet. Then I can front for more blood from the hospital.”

Sentry seemed to consider her proposal for a moment and shook his head. “I don't think I am going anywhere, I barely made it here.”

“Try, Thomas! We can make it work better if I am still able to front for you to the hospital. And to the prison! Don't forget that!”

Struggling to get up only resulted in Sentry getting to his hands and knees, then his right arm slid out from under him, followed soon by his other hand. This left him up on his knees with is face planted on the floor. Slowly he twisted his head to look at Heather, his eyes lost focus after a moment, he mumbled, “Sorry. I think your way would have worked.”

Heather let out a sob as she watched Sentry struggle for a few more minutes, then give up. “Fuck you! You are going to kill me and I hate you for it!”

“Careful. You'll be back and we'll have to work together. Don't say anything that will strain our relationship.”

“Or what? You'll murder me again?”

Sentry said nothing for a moment, the quietly he explained, “I understand exactly why you are upset, but Vic came back. He was better than before. I know it will work. I designed it to be perfect.”

“How is killing the recipient 'perfect'?”

“Shit happens.”

“That's it? 'Shit happens'? That's your whole defense for what you are doing?”

“If I could do it all over again, I would have taken better precautions. In a week, we'll talk about whether it was right or wrong.”

“I won't...” Heather paused and seemed to reconsider what she was saying, “Okay, you have a week. But how will you bring me back?”

“I have the other prisoners sedated, I was planning on getting you three back up and moving with them.”

Heather laughed, a cruel, bitter sound that lasted only a moment, “And who will you feed to them, to get them back up and running before the prison comes looking for them?”

“I...well, I thought we could get blood for that.”

“We’re about at our limit now. No, I know what you've done and how you will fix it. Does the word 'Ponzi' mean anything to you? You've built the world’s last Ponzi scheme haven't you? But where will it end doctor? Will everyone die with only the last few unfortunates not being brought back to sentience? I doubt you'll get people to go along with you willingly.”

“No. I...Heather we can figure something out.”

Her laughter cut him off. “I am sure 'we' will. I just wonder how they will punish us? Life imprisonment? Fines?”

“Enough, this isn't constructive. We will deal with the ramifications of my actions after I return. After you return. We are smart people, the best and the brightest, we will find a solution.”

“I hope you are right Thomas. I really do.” Heather lay her head back down on the gurney and Sentry finally fell over onto his side where he lay breathing heavily.

Listening to him Heather didn't think he had long to live, she started testing her bonds, slowly at first, then with more vigor when Sentry didn't acknowledge her struggles. 'He is out.' she thought to herself, then upped her movements, struggling to get her hands to the webbing release buckle. It was too far and she knew it, after all it was designed to prevent people from taking it off themselves.

'Maybe the fucker won't die. Maybe the morning staff will arrive before he passes.' this was quickly followed by, 'Don't kid yourself sister. He is almost gone now.' Heather stopped to listen to the Doctor's breathing. He was panting now, taking short, ragged breaths in quick succession.

Finally after one last choppy inhale, he let out a ragged whistle and didn't breath again.

'He is dead.'Heather thought, angling her head to watch him. She jerked involuntarily when he started to move a moment later, laying her head back down on the gurney. 'Okay, don't call attention to yourself, hopefully he will eat one of the security guards first. Then he will come to and release me. He doesn't need all of us.'

She slowly tilted her head again and opened her eyes in a small slit to see what the man was doing. Sentry was staring right at her. His face was drained of all color and his eyes had gone from a hard slate blue to an opaque gray.  Slowly the man rose to his feet, using the base of Heather's bed to help pull him up. Sentry's face never turned from Heather's gurney, nor did he bother to stand all the way up, his face just bent towards Heather's legs.

As he began to devour Heather her screaming was muffled by the heavy walls of the clinic, even if someone had been outside in the hurricane winds they would not have heard the woman crying out for help. One person, however, did hear her screams.

Dan's door swung open slowly as the zombie finally pulled the latch, he was drawn initially towards where Vic had called him. Seeing fresh blood splatters on the floor of the hallway outside of his room Dan fell to his belly and began to lap it up like a dog. He followed the trail all the way into Vic's room, but there was not enough blood there to sate him. Soon Dan rose, looking for more food, Vic's body, a thing of dark, inert matter, didn't interest him in the slightest.

Dan shambled back out into the hallway. One direction led to the holding cells, but that was too far away for him to see the prisoners. The other direction led to a fire door and outside, secured only by an alarm. At first Dan was drawn towards the cells, but a rolling clap of thunder from outside turned him towards the fire door. Moments later the only sign that anyone had been in the hallway was a sodden puddle where the fire door had been briefly opened.

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