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.’The Boss owned Alfatrex, the one and only company that has produced even a semi-effective drug against the Wolf Flu.The injection was painful and expensive.For two hundred dollars they would stick a six-inch needle in your back and inject what felt like battery acid into you.The Wolf Flu vaccine had apparently been proven to ‘significantly reduce’ a person’s likelihood of contracting the virus, whatever that means.And you had to get it once a month, or they said that it wasn’t effective.Robert King was the world’s first trillionaire, or so some thought.No one really knew how much money he had.Often times, when the gas station was closed and Asa was hungry, he thought of how awful he would feel to be the richest man in history and to not be donating a dime to assist in the biggest pandemic of all time.The Boss said that his contributions came in his work from Alfatrex, but god knew that his time wasn’t free.The cruiser’s driver door opened and a huge boot slammed down onto the dirt.Asa kept his hands on the wheel and watched the officer through his rearview.A giant hand gripped the roof of the police car, making it shake, and the officer stood up so that Asa could see him for the first time.He was a big, solid man, who was evenly spread out and thick in every area of his body.The driver’s side door thudded shut, and the officer stepped into better light.Asa’s head cocked when he saw the man, confused.He was balding and sparse strings of greasy red hair covered half of his ears, ran over his collar and pasted onto his forehead with a thin layer of sweat.His uniform shirt was untucked in places, and the buttons didn’t match up just right.The two things that alarmed Asa the most, were the man’s face and the way he was walking.The officer was large all over, but his face was gaunt and thin.His skull was huge, and on top of it was tight, pale, freckle-scattered skin that sunk in at the cheeks and in the dark bags underneath his eyes.He looked as though he hadn’t eaten for days.He gazed left and right as he walked.His eyes shot through the forest as though there was a predator lurking for him deep in the brush.He walked with the sloppy certainty of a man who has had a stroke but doesn’t know it.His feet limped and he was walking in crooked line, his boots making dirt clouds in the road as he made his way over the gravel to the Volvo.Asa kept his hands on the steering wheel and continued to watch the man.His heart was beating even faster.It’s okay.He’ll understand.There’s nothing to fear, he tried to reassure himself.The officer took his firearm out of its holster and held it by his side as he continued to limp over toward the car.Asa’s eyes bolted wide open and went from the handgun to the vacant face on the massive man.He tried to remember to breathe and he told himself that the firearm was just a safety precaution.The officer was out on a country road with no partner with him.It’s normal for him to pull out his firearm, right?When the big man was standing right beside Asa’s door, Asa realized he hadn’t rolled his window down.The officer’s face was peering into the car, his eyes dancing around the seats, and then he looked over his shoulder at the forest behind him, as if he heard something frightening.Asa saw that his shirt had grass stains in it and his metal ID tag was hanging upside down over his chest.Asa reached over to roll the window down when he froze with fear.The gun was pointed right at his face from outside the car.Asa saw the big, sure hands holding the firearm and closed his eyes, ready for the blow.Tap, tap, tap.Asa let out a whispered shriek, but then opened his eyes to see the officer gesturing for him to roll the window down.He had only been tapping the window with his firearm.That’s normal, right? It’s normal for an officer to use the barrel of his handgun to tap a window, right?Asa rolled down the window and the officer bent over and looked into the car.The 14-year-old was shaking, his hands still on the steering wheel, trying to predict what the officer would say.License and registration or Where are you headed? or Do you have any idea how fast you were going back there?But the officer said none of these.He opened his mouth and began to speak; his voice came out quiet and harsh, like a worried whisper.“Are you Asa Palmer?” His breath smelled sickly sweet like mildew.The officer stood up again and looked around, then stared back at Asa.His lips were pulled down on the corners, and he looked as scared as Asa felt.“Yes.” Asa was surprised he found his voice.The officer raised his black handgun in the air and scratched the side of his face with it.“My name is Harold Kensing.SHUT UP!” he screamed, as if he were reprimanding himself.“Don’t say your name.The kid doesn’t need to know.” He was staring at Asa as he said this.He smiled, let out a sob, and grumbled something underneath his breath.“Get out of the car.” The officer stepped back to allow Asa room to open up the door.Asa pulled the handle, footed the door open and stood out on White Bridge Road’s asphalt, looking at the officer.Harold Kensing’s mouth was twitching as though he were having some kind of a spasm.“You are Asa Palmer, right?”Asa slowly nodded, his eyes looking down at the weapon that was still in the officer’s hand [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]