Here’s the first part of chapter 9 “The Last Argument With Andy”
The infected Carlton clamped his arms around Frankie in a gruesome bear hug and sunk his teeth into Frankie’s shoulder.
Frankie screamed. He struggled against Carlton’s grasp, but could not break free.
Carlton bit him again, this time closer to the neck.
Frankie thrashed with renewed vigor, but it was to no avail. Carlton seemed to have unnatural strength.
I was shocked. Witnessing the brutality of the infected completely blew my mind. How is it that someone in so much pain can suddenly become a superhuman monster? I glanced back toward Zeke, only to find he was no longer there.
In the room across the alley, Frankie and Carlton collapsed on the floor.
I was desperate to know exactly what was going on, but from the screaming and thumping noises coming from across the way, I could get a pretty good idea. I wondered how long this could possibly go on.
Within in a few moments, Frankie’s screaming had transformed into uncontrolled sobbing. The thing that had been Carlton stood up. Blood was smeared around his mouth and his face was emotionless. He appeared to be staring at nothing at all.
Even so, I somehow felt that Carlton was looking at me. In fact, I was sure of it.
Carlton clumsily began to climb out of the window.
He’s going to jump across. I no longer had time to think. I had to act. I rushed to my window and slammed it shut. Out of the corner of my eye I spied Andy’s computer chair. Only a couple of feet away. I reached for it, returning my full attention to Carlton.
He was on the small ledge outside his window, crouching to jump.
My hands gripped the backrest of the chair.
A deafening crash shook the room as he jumped. The upper right window pane shattered outward just before Carlton’s right arm broke through the left.
I instinctively ducked down and spun around.
Andy’s bulbous form filled the doorway. He clutched a large revolver in his right hand. He was shaking.
I covered my ears and spun back to the window.
Carlton was thrashing to seemingly tear out the window and enter the room. His arms were already shredded bleeding heavily. It didn’t seem to bother him at all.
Andy fired again, this time striking the wall above the window. He fired again, finally catching Carlton in the left shoulder.
Carlton reeled from the impact, nearly falling from his perch. With inhuman strength he held on and swung his left arm back toward the window.
The gun roared twice more, and this time the bullets caught him square in the chest.
The force of impact was too much. Carlton had lost his grip. He fell backwards to the street below and landed with a sickening crunch.
Andy fired one more shot through the window where his brother had fought to get in.
I exhaled and turned back to Andy, prepared to actually thank him.
I would have thanked him too, but when I had turned around, I saw that Andy had not lowered the gun. His hand was still shaking, and his face was twisted up in a painful grimace. The gun was pointed at me.
“This is your fault.” He extended his arm a little more.
Somewhere in the back of my head, I was pretty sure he had already fired six shots, but it’s still pretty hard to keep your cool when someone has the gun pointed at you.
“Don’t be an idiot.” I shuffled a little back toward the chair.
He took a step toward me. “This is your fault!” As he moved I could see a wide-eyed Zeke and another man’s shoulder in the hallway.
I took a deep breath. “You know that’s not true. He got bitten by one of the infected at the hospital. You know that. He was too far gone by the time you asked me to help. I never even got a chance to treat him.”
“Don’t lie to me!”
“Look, I’m sorry about your brother, Andy. But he’s gone now. And this isn’t going to help anyone.”
No sooner had the words left my lips than I knew that was a mistake.
Andy’s nostrils flared. “My brother? That fairy hasn’t been my brother for a long time.”
“OK, fine. Just put down the gun and we can talk.” I shuffled a little closer.
“Since when do you order me around, Core?” A look of pure hatred crossed his face. Whether it was hatred of me, hatred for his brother, or hatred for what he had done, I may never know. All I know is that it pushed him over the edge.
Through a clenched jaw he said “You’re off the team.”