“Look,” Vince said. “Right there.”

The two women and the bigger guy, Rob, ran beneath one of the infrared cameras.

“They left him,” Don said. “That’s significant.”

Vince stared at the screen. “Or he left them. Maybe came across somebody to eat who wasn’t his sister-in-law.”

“Possible, but I doubt it. The infected girl was right there. I don’t think he’d be able to resist, let alone walk away.”

Zeek dumped a new pack of water bottles in the cooler and saw the three racers flash past another camera. “One down already? That was fast.”

“He’s still around somewhere,” Vince said. “Man, I hope we get to see what happens if they reunite. Then we know, Donny, the formula is ready to go.”

Don was looking at Zeek. “What did you do with Trisha?”

“She’s resting.”


Zeek grinned. “What do you care?”

Don’s face reddened. He opened his mouth, shut it, and left the control center through the door that led to the cots they had for overnights.

Zeek heard him soothing Trish. He shook his head. “The doc’s in deep.”

“I need you to keep an eye on that,” Vince said. He stood next to Zeek, his voice low. “Trisha’s gonna go soon and I have no idea how he’ll handle it. Who knows, maybe he’s like this with all his lab rats. Once they’re gone, he moves on. But he’s got something special with her, at least thinks he does. Time comes we need to put her in the elevator or otherwise, you make sure he doesn’t pull something stupid.”

“Like what?”

“What kind of dumb shit have you done for a piece of ass you liked?”

Zeek rolled his eyes. “Man, I lost track. Worst thing? I stabbed a guy once. He was—”

“Zeek? I don’t want to know. Let’s just hope it doesn’t come close to that. If he’s acting squirrelly when it’s time to tell Trisha goodbye, just take him outside.”

“A beating?”

“No, come on, man. Just escort him out for some fresh air. Get him out of my way until he calms down. Christ. But I’m glad you asked.”

“Just so I know,” Zeek said, “he won’t listen to reason, how far can I take it?”

Vince thought about it. “We have the formula. We have the antidote. It’d be a damn shame, but if he starts kicking and screaming, says anything about talking to someone outside this building, do what you have to.”


Vince watched the screens. “Hey, you know what? Don’t do anything too risky, but if it comes to that and you can swing it, bring him back inside. We’ll send him down with Trisha. Run another experiment.”

Zeek nodded. He flicked his spring-assisted blade open and cut the shrink-wrap off the bottles so they could settle in the ice water. He stood with Vince, watching the screens and crumpling the wrap into a ball, thinking there was a chance they could split the money two ways instead of three.


Don pushed damp hair out of Trisha’s eyes. Her skin was feverish.

“Please,” she said.

“Sh-sh-shh. I’m so sorry about all of this.”

“It itches. Here.” She pulled her tank top down, exposing her breasts to him. “Please.”

Don’s vision blurred. He leaned down. It would be so easy to try it. Try her, just once. And she would be so happy. So grateful. He knew exactly how the chemicals in her body would respond once he bit into her flesh, how the ecstasy would wash over her.

He wanted that for her.

The joy, release, relief.

She wrapped her hands behind his head and pulled him down. “Do it. Do it.”

Don inhaled her. Licked the skin between her breasts.

“Yes,” she said. “Keep going.”

Don pulled back with a grunt. Trisha slammed her fists into the cot and drummed her feet in frustration. Don also knew how his body would react after just one drop of her blood entered his system. It would not end well for either of them. He checked the doorway. Vince and Zeek were talking about something, probably guns or trucks, the two things Zeek could converse about.

“Here. I have something better.” He leaned close to Trisha and pulled a hypodermic needle out of his pocket. The syringe was full of an orange-tinted fluid. “This will make it all go away.”


“You’ll get better, then we can spend some time together. Do you like to travel? We can go anywhere you want. Money won’t be a problem.”

He checked the door again, slipped the cap off the needle and slid it into her thigh. He eased the plunger down, all the way, and watched the tension drop out of Trisha’s body as her eyes closed. The antidote was already working.