START: “How many people are we going to have to kill?” Mick asked Theo and P.J. “I mean, we’re already up to three.”
“As many as it takes to stop the virus,” Theo said, “Look it doesn’t matter if the total is 1,200, are you in or what? If you’re not, you can leave right now! So are you in or what?”
“Put on your suits guys, we can talk numbers at the pub.” PJ said.
Mick and Theo put on their brown suits while PJ inched into her yellow suit. She looked through the plastic lens.
Theo rolled his eyes, “See. Here comes another one. You get this one P.J. I’m not doing all the work.”
PJ grabbed the hose and soaked herself and her comrades with the protective gel substance. She nodded to Theo. Theo opened the door of their van and the three friends began scanning the area for signs of life. It had been two days since the last raid.
To the left, Mick saw a bunched up old lady clawing at a trash can. It was obvious that she was infected. He couldn’t help but feel his stomach twist with pity. He couldn’t hesitate. As he drew closer, he found the old lady holding a scrunched paper in her hand with blood on it. Could this be a viral disease? He took a deep breath & pressed his finger to the spray button, releasing black tar.
At least she was old, Theo thought as he stepped over the tarred clump. PJ tapped on her oxygen tank, signaling.
Then a massive explosion rocked the assassins out of their argument and instantly everything changed. They were discovered! They chose not to wait around to find out what would be done to them and beat it. In a flash they took off toward home base; unsure if it had been infiltrated or not, the only uninfected haven they knew.
PJ poured herself a cup of coffee and looked at the map on the wall, the blue areas were few and far between. The color red was all over the map like blood on mangled flesh.
“We are in a twilight zone,” said PJ. She took a yellow highlighter and drew a circle, “This is our last secure area, we need 2branch out an make this circle bigger.”
“You want to separate?” Theo asked in shock.
They knew they needed more. It was inevitable. Otherwise, it was them that would be killed and they knew how they would die. They reluctantly split up, searching for survivors and hoping to widen the perimeter of safety. PJ chose the east route, while Theo & Mick chose the west route.
Little did the threesome know, however, there lurked a traitor in their midst. The betrayal could destroy all hope.
As they filed out of the base, PJ remarked, “Cinder, keep us on the radio from the base.”
Cinder replied gruffly “Always.”
Theo’s sigh was tinged with a bitter resignation. “As many as it takes to keep her safe.” SAFE. The word gave him a funny feeling. How safe can you get in an atmosphere of tombs?
PJ circled back to the base. “So which one of them do you think is infected?” she asked Cinder.
“The ratings I pulled from Mick were near the edge of the scale, his body is trying to fight it, but I don’t think he’ll make it”
“Damn” mutter PJ. This was not the news she hoped for regarding Mick, “We need to try the transfusion again.” PJ said.
“PJ, it didn’t work last time and you were out for three days.” Cinder said.
“Cinder, I’m not going to let him die. He is stronger than the others, and we have a connection. It will be different this time.”
“We can’t afford to have any of you down right now, the infection is spreading too rapidly” whispered Cinder.
“Call him in. I’ll do the transfer myself.” PJ said, grabbing the needles, tubes, and tape.
Cinder looked at the list of names. So many had been crossed out. PJ began a vicious cycle of swallowing pills as fast as she could. She hoped they would act quickly so that the transfer would go without a hitch, allowing them to go out in the field again.
“What’s going on?” Mick asked as he walked into the hub. PJ stuck the needle into his back and he slumped to the floor.
Here we go, Cinder thought as she dragged Mick to the table.
PJ took a deep breath, inserted the needle into her thigh. The blood, Mick’s, was still on the syringe. No time to clean it, PJ thought. The transfer came first. If this transfusion worked, the face of this war would change. The proof of a cure would save millions.
Cinder watched as the blood from PJ’s body flowed into Mick’s. She marked on the chart where the ratings needed to be in order to consider the transfer a success. PJ looked at Mick hoping that his body would grab hold of her blood and reconfigure the…
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Minor editing (punctuation, capitalization, etc.) was done before this story was posted, to allow for easier reading. No words were removed from or added to this story after its original posting on Twitter except where indicated with red and then only to promote continuity in the story.