The rumbling faded to silence, Guy awoke. His eyes glided open into a glassy stare. He blinked and peered around the room. His expression darkened when it came to rest upon us. He leered at me, although I wasn’t exactly sure what he saw.
He shifted his gaze to Mouse, Briana and Nicole before returning to Mouse. He crawled to his feet and swayed.
The changes became painfully obvious as he emerged from the shadows of the bed. Tiny veins in the whites of his eyes had darkened and spread, bathing them in red. His pale complexion was ghostly.
“Guy, stay right where you are.” Nicole’s voice was cool and commanding. I hoped there was enough of the old Guy in there to understand.
He didn’t even pause. He kept moving toward Mouse, scuttling like a crab, keeping an eye on all of us. He got closer, focusing all of his attention on her.
“Guy, I’m warning you,” Nicole said, “stay the hell away from her.”
He didn’t even flick his crimson eyes in her direction. His hand was claw like as he reached for Mouse.
I was unable to move, for fear of hurting him. I’d seen what the other creatures had done, of course, yet I couldn’t help but think just hours ago, Guy had been Guy; the one who helped us escape. He’d played soccer with us on the grass outside the labs, when Mom had still been around to tell her silly riddles.
Mouse took matters into her own hands. She grabbed a metal-framed chair and swung it at him with all her might. It slammed him right across the room.
A strange look of shock adorned his face, soon chased away by despair as he curled into himself. For a moment he almost looked like a lost child, but in a flash it was gone. Rage suffused his features. A sound of anger crept from somewhere deep in his throat.
He launched himself forward, grasping for Mouse’s throat.
This time I was ready. I dipped and swept his legs out from underneath him with one of my own. I tried to keep the rest of me as far from him as possible.
Nicole was there right away, pinning him to the ground. He thrashed, lunging at her with his teeth bared. She evaded his bite, but he freed himself. She reached for one of his arms and I grabbed the other. Briana sat on his ankles, preventing him from tearing free.
He pulled and pushed, hell-bent on escape. He wrenched his arm so hard that a stretching, snapping sound came from his shoulder. He didn’t even flinch.
He tried to bite Nicole again, but she twisted away. “Get the cuffs.”
Mouse dove at the pack and wrenched a handful of oversized cable ties from the side pocket. She kneeled, securing several around his ankles before pinning his wrists together. “What are we supposed to do now?”
That was a good question. They’d never trained us for this at the labs and there was no one else we could trust, nobody to help us.
Wait, no one to help? He’d talked to someone yesterday.
“Where’s his phone?” I tore at the pile of things beside his bed, looking for his bag.
I soon found it, tucked beneath the bunks. I dragged it free and tipped the contents onto the ground. The phone was stuffed into a small waterproof pouch among the debris.
I flipped it open and turned it on. The screen lit up, a sense of hope flooded me. There wasn’t much battery power remaining—the symbol at the top of the screen blinked orange.
I found three different numbers under the outgoing calls log. Highlighting the most recent, I pushed connect and listened with bated breath. The phone beeped.
It rang three times before someone answered. The person didn’t say anything, but I could hear breathing on the phone.
“Hello? We need your help!” I begged.
“Who is this?” the person on the other end rasped. I still couldn’t tell if it was a man or a woman. I ignored the question, not sure I was willing to trust whoever it was yet.
“You have to help us, please. Something’s happened to Guy,” I said. “He was bitten by a creature from the lab. There’s something really wrong with him.”
“There’s nothing you can do. There is no cure for the virus, he's one of them now. Kill him, before it spreads further.” It wasn’t a question, it wasn’t even a suggestion. It was an order.
For a moment I struggled for words. “No, we can’t do that.”
“You have to. There’s no turning back once the virus takes hold. He wouldn’t want to be like that.”
“And then what are we supposed to do?” I almost shook the phone in frustration.
“You run, you hide and you never call this number again.”
The call disconnected with a click, leaving me to stare at the phone. The little battery symbol in the corner flashed red before running out of power completely.
“So, are you going to do it? Or should I?” Briana had been standing directly behind my shoulder.