Authors: David H Sharp
This book is a work of fiction. People, places, events and situations are the product of the imagination of the author. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or historical events is purely coincidental.
Copyright © 2014 David H Sharp. All rights reserved.
No part of this e-book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or, transmitted by any means without written permission of the author.
Also available by David H Sharp
The Murder of Crows
The Dust Book One - Bloodlust The Dust Book Two - Pursuit
You make our jigsaw complete.
‘Cuff him!’ Doctor James Robert was shouting through the thick, reinforced Perspex.
Jeremy Thorngate held a plastic chair out in front of him. It didn’t seem quite the correct weapon to defend himself against the huge Irishman they were doing tests on. The Infected man had broken free from his shackles and knocked Thorngate’s assistant, Linda Blunt, onto the tiled floor where she now lay unconscious.
Doctor Roberts banged his fists on the window but Thorngate couldn’t hear him. He was pointing to the cuffs and the Taser gun which were on the small metal trolley. He looked around for help but there was none. He was now cursing his decision to come into the lab early to try out a new serum on his guinea pig, a white Caucasian man labelled only ‘Male 17’.
Male 17 had been a bit of a live wire since he was trapped in Lynton, and transferred to the unit in Taunton, ten days ago. He had killed and eaten four of his fellow infected humans, and injured one of the security guards, who had later stated that ‘
the Taser gun didn’t seem to have any effect’.
Doctor Robert had also requested a female to test on; they were a little easier to work with. Though comparable in strength, they weren’t so unpredictable.
He had wondered what the hell he was actually doing, working for a regime known as ‘The Purebloods;’ but it was either that or try and survive this hellish post-apocalyptic state alone. He may not agree with the Doyen’s politics, but at least he was trying to restore some sort of order.
During the seventeen days at the lab James had established that the whole phenomenon of the Infected had been acute blood poisoning. That fact was without doubt. How and why it happened he had yet to establish. The dust was heavy in Sulphur, Hydrogen Chloride and Hydrogen Sulphide. All these properties had affected certain blood types. AB positive, for the time being, seemed to be immune from the poison; all the survivors were carriers of that blood type. The
blood had been too badly damaged to test. It had turned into a thick syrup which the heart had to work at double its rate to pump around the body. It could have been a form of Polycythaemia, but he hadn’t the instruments or the equipment to test for this. Plus the blood had been so mutilated by the poison he hadn’t the knowledge to know what he was looking for.
The bodies of the dead had now started to decompose, and most had been torn apart by animals or the Infected themselves. Only a week or so after death the body will burst open and start to break down, so getting accurate blood samples was becoming difficult.
Thorngate had said he had overheard a couple of the Doyen’s right hand men stating the Infected where to be subdued, and eventually used as slave labour to help rebuild the country. Doctor Roberts found this astonishing as they hadn’t a clue in how to control them, let alone give them orders to follow. He had also overheard them discussing how France and most of Northern Europe was in the same state of collapse.
How did they know that? Where were the Americans or the Chinese?
Only yesterday another influx of Infected and injured survivors had been shipped into the complex at Taunton. The place was at breaking point. They needed more medical staff, and certainly more security.
Male 17, now growling with the madness that lay within, stumbled towards Jeremy Thorngate, who in turn prodded away with his chair like an inadequate lion tamer.
James Robert again slammed his hands onto the window, trying to distract the large attacker from getting closer to his Lab technician.
‘Go for the gun!’ He screamed, his spittle spraying the window. It was useless, the pane was too thick for his voice to penetrate.
Thorngate swiped away at Male 17 with the chair and one of the legs grazed the paper-thin skin; the large Irishman started to bleed. Letting out a high pitched scream, blood burst from Male 17’s mouth into the direction of Thorngate.
The situation was rapidly deteriorating, and as he retreated Thorngate slipped on the droplets of blood that littered the Lab floor. Falling to one knee he lowered his guard for a split second, but that was enough for a strike.
With a flick of his right wrist Male 17 snapped the chair out of Thorngate’s grasp. Standing over the Lab technician, blood drooled from his mouth and his bloodshot eyes looked his prey up and down.
Thorngate was too scared to move, he knew he was trapped. Looking into the Irishman’s eyes he could see nothing; no emotion, no compassion, just death. He looked across at the Lab window and there he could see Doctor Robert banging the Perspex window and pointing at the trolley. Before he could call back Male 17 was upon him.
Teeth sank into his cheekbone and tore away the flesh; Thorngate screamed in agony. He tried to get up but the sheer weight of the Irishman had him pinned between the floor and the wall. A thick, scaly thumb then thrust its way into Thorngate’s right eye socket and his eye burst on impact. The pain was too much for him to take and he clamped his jaw down in agony, biting off his own tongue.
Male 17’s teeth did most of the damage, and by the time he bad broken the skin of Thorngate’s neck and gnawed his way into his windpipe the Lab technician was very much dead.
Doctor Robert had stopped hitting the window and now stood there in silent shock. He had never witnessed such barbaric bloodlust. He gulped and tried his best to keep his breakfast down. Then in the corner of his eye he could see movement, it was Linda Blunt, she was coming around.
Now he started to panic again, he needed to get in there and save her. He knew it would take at least five minutes to run around to the other side of the laboratory where the entrances were. He was in a separate part of the lab known as the viewing dock. It had been designed that way to observe psychiatric patients as they slept.
He looked again and he could see her legs twitching and her hands gradually moving across the tiles. Her head then shot up and her eyes were wide open, she had remembered what had happened. Doctor Robert could see her mouth stretch open as she screamed, but he could hear no noise. He looked across at Male 17, but he was too preoccupied with the dead body of Jeremy Thorngate.
James now jumped up and down waving his hands; it worked, he caught Linda Blunt’s attention.
‘I’m going to get help.’
He mouthed. He then pointed to the trolley with the Taser gun.
Linda Blunt looked up and ever so slightly nodded. With that, Doctor Robert vanished from the window. Linda mouthed back, ‘
please don’t leave me.’
but it was too late. She was now alone in the lab with Male 17.
With her petite hand over her mouth to stop herself from crying, she slowly slid backwards in the direction of the back wall. Peering around the corner of the work unit Linda Blunt searched for the Taser gun. She could see it perched on top of the metal trolley, next to a set of hand cuffs. They would be no use against the infected Irishman, but the Taser gun could buy her some time to escape.
Her head still thumping from the earlier fall, Linda dragged herself around the unit and within touching distance of the trolley, and ultimately the Taser gun. She stopped; she could hear a ripping noise, squelching and something splattering onto the tiles. She noticed her hands were being sprayed with blood. Linda gasped, pulling them away and leaving a red smear across the white glossy ceramics.
She looked up and then instantly wished she hadn’t. Male 17 had torn Jeremy Thorngate’s heart from his chest and was shredding it with his teeth. Dark droplets of uninfected blood were being sprayed all over the laboratory, drenching everything in its path.
Linda Blunt screamed through her hand that was pressed hard against her mouth. She kicked out her leg, instinctively trying to flee the room, but it hit the trolley instead sending it toppling over. The Taser gun slid across the hard floor, now out of Linda’s reach.
Male 17 turned his head slowly, bits of torn heart falling from his bloodied mouth. His bloodshot eyes searched for the scream and then met a pair of blue eyes full of fear and panic. He let go of the limp carcass that was once Thorngate and stood up; he smiled and began to walk slowly towards the scared blue eyes.
Linda Blunt screamed again, this time without the hand trying to muffle the sound. She turned and tried to crawl to the Taser gun, but before she could get close a clammy, rough hand grabbed her ankle and pulled her away.
‘Please, let me go!’ She yelled trying to claw her back across the tiles.
Male 17 flipped the young assistant onto her back with ease, growling as he narrowed his eyes. He snapped his blood stained teeth together, drooling as he drew closer.
Linda Blunt flayed her fists at her attackers face, but it was like hitting a concrete wall. It had no effect whatsoever and Male17 was now nose to nose with her.
His pupils had been darting and flashing at a rapid rate but they momentarily stopped, fixing themselves to the watery blue, defeated eyes. He could smell young blood, female blood, he licked his lips.
Linda Blunt stopped punching, her screams turned into a whimper. She watched as the large Irishman lifted his head up and opened his mouth. He snapped his teeth together and a string of gooey blood fell from his tongue.
Linda Blunt, aged twenty two, knew her short life was now over.
Angelica Carpenter looked out over the cliffs of East Quantoxhead. The sea was calm and she could just make out the coast of South Wales, which lay about nine miles across the water. She felt as though her hand could reach and touch it. To touch Jake again was what she longed for.
‘Angel, I’m bored.’ The voice of Lucy Peppercorn made Angel jump.
‘Sorry honey, I was miles away then.’ She turned and faced the child.
‘How long is Roger going to be?’ The young girl picked at a dandelion and swished it in the breeze, releasing the seeds.
‘Not long now honey. He’s going to see if there is any sign of Jake and his family.’ Angel swallowed hard. She only had to say his name and the tears welled in her eyes. It had been four long days since he had made the trip across the estuary, but it seemed like four long months.
After they had retreated from the beach, leaving a dying Yanto, and the bodies of their dear friends, in the hands of the ‘Pure Bloods’, the small group of survivors had made camp on the cliff tops of North Somerset.
Angel had mainly been fussing over Lou Pepper to take her mind off the fate of her boyfriend. She knew there was hope, which was the most important thing. There was no way he could have got back over the water after the collapse of the old Severn Bridge. Roger had told, almost convinced her, that Jake would be making his little girl priority number one. The main objective for all of them was to keep alive. Hopefully then all of them could push south to Old Mill Cottage in Devon. If that meant separately then so be it.
Naomi Hardcastle had been the bravest of them all. After witnessing the brutal murder of her mother, at the hands of Lonny Gold, the seventeen year old had been the most positive. Taking care of Iris, and playing with Lou, she had been an inspiration to all of them. Iris O Neil, on the other hand, had become a big concern. The flame haired Irishwoman had seemed so hardy, a true free spirit, but she had crumbled after the encounter at the bloodied beach. Blaming herself for not protecting little Alice and Hannah, she had taken on full responsibility for both deaths. Both Angel and Roger had been watching her around the clock. She had become erratic and severely depressed. Angel had been keeping Lou away from her the last couple of days as her moods deteriorated rapidly. Naomi was shadowing her, trying to talk to her, trying to dissuade her from doing anything drastic. The whole situation had become a constant worry for everyone concerned.