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.Not one, and I‘ve checked the other shifts, too.”“Shut up, I don’t need your feeble explanation.Give me his chart!”As he lay in the bed he could see the doctor scribbling something on the clipboard.Then the big man shoved the clipboard into her hand and said, “That dose should take care of it, for another month at least.”What! Another month! I’ve been under for a month? No.That can’t be!He swore he could feel the bones in his face seeping into his brain, and even though he couldn’t remember anything, he could recall despair.Something deep down inside him triggered a small chip of memories, horrible ones, something that had just happened that he’d just as soon forget.The doctor’s unpleasant tone interrupted his thoughts.“Nurse, I don’t want to have to remind you that if you screw this up again … I’ll be getting rid of you.And you know what that means, don’t you?”He could hear her sobbing reply, “Y-yes sir, I m mean Doctor Zhan—”Slap!He could feel his own cheek stinging from the blow as the nurse crumpled to the ground.Hey! Why’d you hit her for?“Mrmmf Fumphnhr!” It hurt so bad to say it he almost blacked out, and his stomach began to churn.He could hear the man walking away on heavy footsteps as the woman struggled to rise from the ground.He watched as her fuzzy outline slowly stepped behind him.He heard the sound of a small plastic wheel grinding and then something ice cold ran in his veins.“NO!”The pain was so bad, but he would rather deal with that than be knocked out for another month.Then he saw her face before his: round, sweet, and black.She was whispering something in his ear.“It’s gonna be okay, Honey.It’s going to be okay, just hang in there.”Please tell me where I am?As the pain began to subside, he felt something warm squeezing his hand.It was her hand in his, and it felt wonderful as he drifted away into a dreamless slumber.Chapter 2Washington, D.C.Two suited men were seated on a park bench near the Jefferson Memorial, soaking in the sun of a cool fall day.The leaves were turning in some places, but most of them still maintained their rich green colors.Both men sat comfortably, talking back and forth and nodding.The humming of a black Cadillac engine sounded nearby, with one stout man in a navy blue suit sitting on the hood and smoking.A semi-automatic pistol could be seen strapped inside is jacket, but none of the passersby noticed.He seemed to be enjoying the fresh air almost as much as his cigarette.He let out a breath of smoke, flicked his ashes, then took another puff.If he had any interest in what the men were saying, he didn’t show it.Instead, he watched and waited.The taller man, bearded in white, turned, rested his elbow on the back of the bench, and faced the other.The younger man, maybe forty, remained seated with his hands clasped, stooped over with his elbows resting on his knees, eyes gazing at the tip of the Washington Monument in the distance.“Come on, Jack, it’s going to be fine.She’ll come back to her senses.She needs you, and she loves you,” the older man said in a rich and soothing voice.Jack shook his head as he ran his fingers back through his thick brown hair.He opened his mouth to speak, but no words came.The older man squeezed his shoulder with a reassuring grip and patted him on the back.“Jack, women do crazy things.Even before the zombies they were crazy.It’s just stress, that’s all.Some time at home with her mother will do her some good.I know her mom; she’ll talk some sense into her.”Jack took a deep breath as he sat up and then leaned back against the bench.“Her mom seems to be just as testy these days.I keep calling Angie there, but her mom’s been pretty nasty.Called me a selfish bastard.”“Geez, Becky said that? That doesn’t seem like her at all.She was always so sweet.Hey, let me give Becky a call; I think I can smooth things over.”“Don, I appreciate it, but right now I get the feeling that any more attempted interventions will make them madder.”“Hah … Jack, they love getting mad.I’d keep it up because you know what will happen if you leave Angie alone too long?”“What?”“She’ll get even madder,” Don said, smiling and patting him on the shoulder.“Great.”Reaching over, Don grabbed his custom computer and set it on his lap.His aged fingers were as quick as a teen’s as he loaded one screen after the other.Whatever he was doing, Jack wasn’t paying much attention.Don’s voice took on a dire tone as he asked, “You haven’t let Angie in on anything that’s going on, have you?”Jack stiffened.“No, absolutely not.I swear.That’s the problem, Don, we’re close, and I’m keeping in all of these secrets.”“Is she still prying into your business?”“No … Yes, it depends on the mood she’s in, I guess.”“Listen to me, Jack: you can’t ever—I mean ever— tell her a thing, or it’s over.The WHS has trusted you with a great deal, and if you blow it you’ll be deader than a zombie before dawn.”Jack sagged in his chair saying, “I know.”“Angie and Becky will be, too.” Don cleared his throat.“I’m sorry, I mean, you’re just out of their program, a couple of years, but still new, and you somehow wound up with knowledge you didn’t even know existed.But that knowledge gives you power, Jack.It protects you and your family.It protects me, your uncle, and you have to trust me and believe me that you cannot share what you know with anyone.Got it, Jack?”Jack patted his uncle on his knee and said, “I won’t let you down, Don.I haven’t said a word, and I won’t.Not ever.You know you don’t have to worry about that.My mind is like a bank vault; even the most brilliant thieves would have trouble getting in there.”Don laughed and said, “Okay, I know.I just want you to be careful.Extra careful.But you’ve got to get your household back to normal, else it will arouse suspicion.I figure your mother in-law’s house is already bugged.”“Damn.You really think so?”“Just being a little paranoid for you.Look, you’re gonna have to give Angie a convincing lie to get her back home [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]