“Hellooooooooooooo! Is anyone out there alive?”
I woke up to the sounds of another human voice. I felt odd when I thought about it. Now I couldn’t ditch Gar, plus I had to lug around another body. It was good, however, to hear another voice.
I looked across the concrete and bricks to see a shadowy figure calling out, searching for survivors. Gar still lay there on the ground, sleeping. His arm looked worse that before. I waved my arms in the air to get the guy’s attention.
“Hey! Over here!” I shouted towards the shadow as I waved my arms.
The figure turned towards me and began to move closer. I hit Gar awake. It would take him twenty minutes to get up anyways. He would open his eyes, then close them, then go back to sleep. Great. The figure closed in.
It was a man who approached. He was shorter than I and a little bit more scraggly looking.
“How’s it going, friend?” he said as he approached. He held out his hand until I shook it. “Name’s Marc, but everyone calls me Mac.”
“I’m Nat, and over there on the ground is Gar. You got any first aid spray or anything?”
“No, why what happened?” Mac replied.
“Gar over there got bit by some cat and it don’t look so good.” I told him.
“Let me take a look.”
Mac knelt down next to Gar to examine his arm. Gar stirred a bit as he checked it out.
“Oh…” Mac said as Gar began to actually wake up.
Mac noticed Gar waking up and pulled me over to the side, as if to let me in on some secret.
“Your friend….” he said “he’s infected.”
I was shocked. “Infected with what?”
Mac was smarter than he led on to look. He had numerous invaluable skills from medicine to computers to agriculture. This guy was the source.
He told me about everything. The blasts were three different bombs that were being tested. Apparently something in the coordinates went haywire, and instead of setting the bombs off in the desert, they went off in the mainland.
One of the bombs contained an Electromagnetic Pulse along with a Seismic Probe. The pulse destroyed pretty much all electronics and electricity. The probe penetrated deep within the earth, deep below the crust, causing devastating earthquakes by pretty much opening up a new fault line. Bombs two and three contained viruses. One virus causes the host to spontaneously combust, the other mutates the host into a disgusting zombie-like creature. Gar’s arm contained the tell-tale symptoms of the latter: brownish-yellow pus, swelling, skin turning blue or purple.
“I’ll tell you more when we get a bit further our of town. We need to find a pharmacy. Your buddy is going to turn and I’m out of antidote.” Mac told me as Gar finally stood up from his slumber.
I wanted to tell him that we could just ditch Gar. He was going to be nothing but a burden and he was just not the kind of guy I wanted to travel with at this point. Mac seemed to have his head on straight. Maybe Mac had a gun. Maybe we could just shoot Gar and call it good. I knew Durden’s grocery had a pharmacy, so I backtracked to show him where it was.
I saw Gar there, rubbing his eyes.
“You got any liquor?” I asked, knowing Gar was going to be an asshole without it.
“I’ve got a little in a flask and about a quart in the bottle. It’s in my pack. You want a drink?”
“Nah, no. It’s for my buddy.” I made a drinking motion towards my mouth. Mac nodded and gave me the flask.
I headed back to the camp to give Gar the liquor. He just stood there, trying to speak, sputtering out nonsense. I handed him the flask. He seemed to be pleased and drank the rest of the liquor inside. He began to speak coherently.
“Who’s that guy?” he asked.
“Help,” I replied simply.
“We don’ need no help!” He said laughing, then slapped me on the back. He sat back down.
I laughed a little as well. It won’t be funny so soon, I thought as I saw Mac walking back to our camp.