It’s been a long twenty four hours. Much of it was spent leaned up against the door jamb watching the hallway for an advance on our position. Surprisingly, it never came. Armed men held their positions simply blocking off any exits.
The water was cut off but thankfully Hook plugged and filled the sink using the broken desk lamp before it happened. So, we had something to keep us hydrated. Doesn’t sound like much but after being on the road as long as we have we learned a long time ago about rationing. As in any other barricade scenario I expected the electricity to be cut but they didn’t even bother.
I perked up immediately when Murphy’s familiar face broke through the guard detail with a few more brainy types in tow. It was a huge relief to not only see him but to see him in good health and moving with confidence towards our room.
He stopped a few steps from the door and told his three companions to stay back before approaching me and harshly whispering, “What in the actual fuck are you doin’, Sally?! You’re lucky every single one of you isn’t dead, godammit. These men could make a tactical entry on this room, put all of you down, and walk this ‘prisoner’ of yours outta here so fast you wouldn’t have time to scratch yer ass!”
I could tell he was pissed. Like, MEGA-pissed. What were we supposed to do, though? No one was talking about where the others were. They roughed up Lilly, quarantined Kylee, and, up until now, Murphy was a ghost.
He looked over his shoulder to make sure his company couldn’t hear him before continuing with, “I’ve convinced them that you’re all a little rattled from the road and you guys just lost your shit for a minute. They’ve sent me up to negotiate.”
I asked him exactly what he was here to negotiate and he told me, “Mush mouth over there needs to be seen by the medics. Once his pain really sets in he’s gonna be moanin’ and hollerin’ and makin’ life more miserable for you than it already has been. The military types might look like they run shit here but it’s really the docs that are in charge. I’ve been with them since decontamination. They’re alright. I wouldn’t shit you on this, Sally.”
Hook recognized Murphy’s voice from inside the room and rushed to my side asking him, “Alyse? Is she ok?”
Murphy nodded and told him, “She’s stable. I heard she was in the bathtub or something?”
“She’s lucky she was, too. The bullet slowed down enough that it didn’t do any terminal damage. Matter of fact, it took them longer to pluck all the porcelain out of her chest than to retrieve the bullet fragments,” Murphy added.
Hook let out a heavy, grateful sigh of relief and silently celebrated with a fist pump… er… hook pump. He asked Murphy if he had seen her yet to which Murphy nodded in the affirmative.
“Now,” Murphy said firmly. “Let these men take mush mouth outta here. The guy who let us in here in the first place has volunteered to stay and act as your hostage for the time being. He has some things he wants to discuss with you and you’re gonna wanna hear it. All of it. His name is Clint and he’s alright by me. You know I wouldn’t bullshit you. But listen up, especially you, Sally… I didn’t want to come into this facility at all without thinking it through but you made the call. Now we’re here and we’re in deep shit unless we play it carefully from here on out. The docs saved Alyse as a token of trust. In exchange, I’ve taught them some of the things we learned on the outside about the dumbshits. NO MORE BULLSHIT! Let me run the show in here for awhile. Ok?”
Hook and I nodded our assent. Murphy craned his neck to peek inside the room and asked Cutty and Lilly, “You got that in there?”
Cutty told him, “Yeah, Murph, we got you. What about Kylee? You seen her?”
Much to our relief, Murphy told us, “Yeah, Kylee’s fine. But she’s in for the shock of her life once the man gets up here. I’ll let Clint explain all that.”
Murphy gave a wave and two men entered to aide mush mouth up and out. They were followed by the guy we recognized from the gate. He was a man of small stature with a ridiculous comb-over and wire framed glasses. I’d put him in his late forties.
He took a seat on the bed and said, “How’d you like to get outta this place and into a room you can all share?”
Lilly excitedly jumped to her feet and exclaimed, “YES!”
Clint jumped as soon as she made a move and told Cutty, “Do me a favor, hmm? Keep her at a distance?”
Cutty shrugged and nodded putting himself between Lilly and Clint. That was when Murphy leaned in and whispered in my ear, “Looks like our little Lilly has a reputation around here already. They’re calling her ‘Killy’. Rumor has it she took out that guard and stabbed the shit out of him on her own. Christ, Dext, is that true?”
I winked at him and whispered back, “Sort of…”
He grinned devilishly and told me, “Damn. Nice. I’d use that to your advantage if I were you.”
Clint gathered his thoughts as Murphy shook my hand and announced that the men in the hallway were going to remain in place but were under strict orders to hold their positions until further notice. He added that they would comply without protest and that we could relax for the moment.
Clint finally spoke and began with, “Looks like you folks have had quite a journey. I had a look at your diary… ‘Dext’, is it?”
I remember plopping down on the floor thankful that I could finally let my guard down a little and nodding at him to continue.
“Well, Dext… Cutty… Alex… Kil— LILly… Murphy and I have been catching up and after having read your record of events I feel the need to explain some things.”
Cutty scoffed sarcastically and quipped, “Oh, for real? You gon’ explain dis shit, huh?”
Clint was visibly nervous and swallowed hard before continuing. “Um. Yes.”
He asked to see my journal once again and I passed it over to him. He thumbed through some pages anxiously before stopping at whatever it was he was looking for saying, “AHA! Here it is. This girl you’re with, Kylee Peel. The soldier. She was pregnant.”
Cutty nodded but Hook looked stunned. Hook asked me, “She was? When? What happened?”
I waved him off as if to say, “We’d discuss it later.”
Clint continued, “And she’s been bitten. Not once but twice, in fact. She never turned, though. We need to find out why that is and she’s consented to some tests.”
Cutty stepped up casting an enormous shadow over Clint’s entire form and he bellowed, “Da fuck you mean ‘tests’?!”
Clint cowered immediately and put his hands up in surrender as he stammered, “Now… now… it’s nothing invasive. Just… some blood work. I assure you, she’s fine. But…”
Cutty’s fist balled up and he grabbed Clint by the lapel pulling forward roughly. “BUT nuthin’. Start talkin’ FASTER, lil’ man.”
I put my hand on Cutty to back him off and told Clint, “Look, cut the shit and spit it out. Unless you’d rather talk to Lilly…”
I shot a glance over to Lilly and her head snapped up as if she hadn’t been paying a lick of attention to any of us. Clint’s face went chalk white and he began spilling it. He told u*^&^****////////////////////////////////////////////
TRANSMISSION OF THE BAXTER FILES IS HEREBY TERMINATED INDEFINITELY BY ORDER OF SSG. CHALMERS.
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