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 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.
Andy a clenched jaw he said “You’re off the team.”
I could have been relieved. Instead, I was furious. He would have killed me. I reached for the chair and flung it with everything I had.
Andy was either too stupid or too slow to duck. The chair caught him in the upper chest and face. He stumbled backward and slammed into the open door. The two men in the hall jumped back.
I wasn’t about to give the slob a chance to react. I sprung at him. He looked up at me only an instant before my right fist made contact with his face.
He wobbled on his feet and threw a clumsy punch with his right.
I easily dodged and quickly followed up with a left to the side of his head.
He bent over slightly and covered this head with his arms. His nose was bleeding freely.
He tried to say something, but I was too frenzied to listen. I just kept swinging.
I had every intention to just keep punching until I could no longer lift my arms, but within a moment the two guys in the hallway snapped to, ran in, grabbed my arms and pulled me back.
Gasping for breath, Andy dropped to a knee.
I kicked at him, but I had already been pulled out of range.
The fat idiot picked up a filthy shirt off the floor and pressed it to the side of his bleeding nose. He held it there for a minute. He was recovering swiftly from my attack.
He struggled to his feet. “You’re lucky…”
“I’m only lucky you’re so stupid you can’t count to six.” I jerked against my guards. “And you’re just lucky you have friends here.”
I sensed the two men who were struggling to hold me cringe at the word friends. My limbs were shaking. I fought to calm down and slow my breathing. I watched for his next move.
After a few moments, Andy pulled the shirt off of his nose and looked at the blood. “I tried to like you, Corbin, I really did.”
“No, you tried to kill me.”
He looked up from the shirt. “I do what I think is best for the team.”
“Shut up!” I jerked again and almost got free. “Who do you think you’re kidding?”
Andy raised an eyebrow. “Who do I think…”
“You use these insipid sports metaphors all the time, like it makes you look smart or something.”
Andy raised a hand and opened his mouth like he was going to speak.
I cut him off again. “But the truth is that you’re just a big, dumb, washed up jock. I have no idea how you conned your way into having the people downstairs fulfill your little ‘mayor’ fantasy. All I know is that you can’t fool everyone for very long. It won’t take long for them to see how stupid, arrogant and irrational you are.”
Andy set his jaw and stood up. “I’ve heard enough out of you.”
He took an awkward step through the mess toward where I was being held near the doorway.
I squirmed against my captors.
Andy pulled a fat fist back and drilled it into my stomach.
I tried to give with the punch, but it didn’t work so well. The punch took my breath away.
Almost immediately after contact, Zeke must have had a change of heart. He dropped my arm. He other guy followed his lead and dropped my left arm.
Unsupported, I fell to my knees. I fought to get my breath back.
Zeke took a step forward and Andy took a step back. He raised a finger and pointed it at Andy. “Look, I’m not going to just help you bully people.”
The other guy chimed in. “Zeke’s right. I only helped pull him off you so that he didn’t get a chance to really mess you up, not so you could take cheap shots.”
Andy turned to the side and spat onto a the pile of his own dirty clothes and garbage. “Now you guys look. Corbin here is never going to follow anybody’s game plan.”
Zeke spoke up again. “Well, when your plan is to shoot him while he’s trying to help, I can see why he might not want to follow along.”
Andy sneered at the three of us. “I have to make the hard calls. You’ll never understand. I was the one who was prepared and shot that thing that tried to blitz us.”
I shook my head. I did my best to speak.”The only thing you were… prepared… to do is steal other peoples stuff when you got the chance.”
The room fell silent.
I was still pretty mad, but it helped knowing that a couple of guys were on my side. Well, at least I knew they weren’t on Andy’s any longer. Each breath came a little easier, but my stomach still hurt pretty bad. I pulled myself off my knees.
I glared at Andy for a long moment. “I think the Mayor needs to be recalled.”
Andy started to say something, but I ignored it, turned, and walked out.