Read The Infected 3: Cast Iron Online

Authors: P. S. Power

Tags: #Horror, #General Fiction

The Infected 3: Cast Iron (7 page)

BOOK: The Infected 3: Cast Iron
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“Sure. We can share a room, if you want? I mean, since Karen and Brian are going to and you normally bunk with her, right? Unless, you know, the three of you want to share? I hear we actually get real rooms, but no one’s going to let me be alone. I could be in with Penny. She doesn’t get in the way or anything. She’s cool really. Plus if I sit on her lap long enough I get to be kind of invisible too. Who doesn’t love an invisible me running around?” The girl looked entirely too pleased by the idea of sneaking off on her own using that effect, it seemed to Marcia.

She’d never tried it herself, but Brian had told her about it. It was more of a mental thing, making people just not notice you, which Penny passed to objects she was carrying all the time, but it could come in handy if they ever had to infiltrate a base or compound with a small group of people. That or spy work. Penny needed some training still, but her powers made her about the best spy in the world already as far as covert ops went. She just needed to learn how to uncover things and she’d be set. Really, if she could learn to shoot and a few killing techniques with a knife, possibly how to make and plant bombs, she’d be a great assassin too. The hard part so far had been coordinating that kind of thing and communicating with her.

Now they could, thanks to the new ear buds.

Marcia shrugged.

“Why don’t we all share? Penny, you and I? We’re partners anyway and Penny tends to get forgotten too often. We should make sure that doesn’t happen this time, don’t you think?” It would be a pain having the security risk directly underfoot, but if they tried to exclude her too much, she’d probably catch on anyway. Possibly by cuddling with Penny for a while and then…

Oh.

Well, that made sense. The girl had likely been coming to their meetings about the problem with Alpha Squad, hadn’t she? Marcia and the others hadn’t seen her…

Except for Brian if that was the case. He wasn’t fooled by that kind of thing. Penny wasn’t either.

Marcia wanted to scream and hit someone, but she just sighed instead. None of them were trained for security work. It was hard to remember that, since Penny wasn’t a problem that way personally and Proxy seemed so military and disciplined most of the time. More than most of the special forces guys she’d worked with on the old team. It threw her off a bit.

Of course that didn’t mean they really were in on it, but it was a possibility they needed to discuss. She wanted to grab her forehead, but didn’t, smiling instead. The girl danced a little in place, a happy wiggling that got some attention, and then she hugged Marcia with both arms.

“Great! I was afraid I’d be locked in with my parents the whole time. Watching them kiss and all that… Ugh. Not something I want to see and vacations bring out the worst in them that way.” There was a giggle with it and a tolerant smile from Scott.

“Alright, but only if you do what Quartz… Marcia, tells you too. No sex and no running off on your own. If you’re going somewhere you need to be with at least one person at all times and to clear it with your mom first. Got it?”

Marcia had to fight a surprised look. It was nearly the most concentrated parenting from Scott Chambers that she’d ever witnessed. True, telling the girl not to do something wasn’t enough, but that he was bothering to try at all… It was an improvement. A vast one she’d never thought would happen.

Bridget took a deep breath, then let it out slowly. She repeated the whole thing about ten times before speaking, her voice calm, relaxed and adult sounding.

“Of course. I can do that.” Then, atypically, Impulse stopped talking.

It was, it seemed a day for surprises altogether. The girl wasn’t even fidgeting or fighting her desire to blurt out whatever it was she was thinking. That was showing a lot more control than Marcia had thought she’d ever posses. If she could keep that up, it would be… Wonderful. She waited for the girl to fail and let go of her control, but it didn’t happen. Not on the topics she was clearly not talking about.

She did whisper about a list of things to do in Florida, but that was just happy conversation, not giving away secrets.

That lasted for hours, until food was passed out by Warren, the skinny head chef from the bases restaurant along with the cabin crew guy. Even eating on the floor, the food was the best she’d ever had on a plane. That meant it looked good to her instead of pale and a bit soggy. The portions were about right even. Scott and Peggy had heaping plates of food, but Bridget got the most, and ate with a ferocity that showed the girl must have been starving, though she hadn’t mentioned it at all. Marcia had less. Not because she shouldn’t have eaten more, but because to her food was something to look at mainly. A texture in the mouth that was needed, but nearly tasteless at the best of times. She didn’t have a sense of smell or taste. It was a side effect of her powers.

It made life a little difficult at meal times, because the amount of food she needed to eat was a lot more than she could manage to be interested in most of the time. She ate, but it was an exercise in will power, boring and too easy for her to just forget about. On the good side she didn’t get hungry either, so that part wasn’t a burden. On the bad side she could drop weight without even thinking about it. She didn’t look all that thin she didn’t think, about like any fit woman did really, but her actual body fat level was nearly non-existent. The sheer thickening fluid pockets under her skin helped there, but it wasn’t fat and didn’t keep her body running. If she failed to eat she’d eventually get weak and die, like anyone else. There was just no immediate payoff for doing it day to day. Other people had gourmet food on their plates, and it really did look good, but to her it might as well been a bowl of unseasoned oatmeal. Only the textures changed with each bite.

No one making food for her bothered to give her too much anymore since part of it would go to waste. There was a drink this time, with a little note, from Mark, that just said “Drink me”. Because that wouldn’t set off her natural suspicion at all. It had a pale golden color and was in a cool bottle about the size of an old fashioned eight ounce Coke. The texture was thick, but she didn’t know what it was really. She downed it all at once, since Mark was watching her and nodded as she picked it up. Bridget saw the whole interaction and took the bottle from the edge of her plate, sniffing the thing and then nodding as if it all made perfect sense.

“Oil. Vegetable oil I think. Straight. I can’t drink it myself, but I kind of wish I could. Maybe if I practice I could learn? A fast way to build up the daily calorie count. It’s a pain eating all the time.” She went back to the task easily enough though, Marcia noticed.

Peggy stared at the bottle openly. She didn’t say anything for a long time, but then she hadn’t really said much for the whole trip, paying attention and listening, singing, but not joining in much otherwise. Marcia wondered if she thought the others didn’t want her there or something or perhaps thought they were afraid of her? She’d been branded a Killer and punished for it, but that wasn’t such a big deal with this crew. It was just the way it had happened that got her in trouble. Most of them had killed at one point or another.

Well, many of them at least. Looking at the group with them it occurred to her that other than Peggy, Ink and Brian, she was the only other killer on the plane. That she knew of at least. Cellophane might have, of course. No one would know if she had, most likely. Not if she was careful about it. The idea was a good one and she decided to see about working with the girl on a few things. It would be hard for her to do, but worth it if they could pull it off.

Peggy shook her head a little, more of an event than it was with most people, since her mouth was about sixteen inches from the rest of her face. Filled with sharp teeth too. That was how she’d killed the jackass, with a little nibble to his moronic throat. The man should have known not to mock someone that had just been in a fight to save his life.

“I see the point. You don’t eat enough. Do you like it OK? I mean, you can drink that and it doesn’t bother you?” She actually sounded concerned, which was a little odd.

Marcia started to not trust it, but managed to stop and think for a second first. It was probably just the woman making conversation. She’d watch and be careful with the situation, but a bit of concern for someone that was around you several times a week was just part of being on the team. They weren’t really on any teams together, the woman still being a prisoner as far as that went, but the idea wasn’t lost on her.

“It’s no worse than most of what I have to eat. Coats the mouth a bit, but I hardly notice it.”

“Good, then you can load up on that at each meal. It should help, right? So you don’t keep wasting away to nothing. I always feel like I’m eating all your food when we’re at meals together.” The woman didn’t grin but it came across as friendly sounding anyway.

“I… can see about that. It’s probably what Mark has in mind anyway. It’s a lot easier than trying to eat that many calories. I should have thought about it before myself. Down a half gallon of it each morning or something.”

They all chatted for the rest of the flight, about half a dozen different topics. Peggy opened up a bit, which was nice to hear and Prime managed to only be half into himself, which was nearly as amazing as Bridgie controlling her impulses. As flights went it wasn’t that bad at all. Almost boring. Marcia liked boring. It was restful.

They were met by a bus at the base of the stairs, a nice looking silver and blue thing, obviously sent by the Food Network, since it had the logo all over the side of the thing. No limo for Mark and the crew, but she didn’t think that was a huge problem. Didn’t bands tour in busses? It felt about right to her at least. It was probably the only thing anyone could find on short notice that was big enough for Lauren anyway. It would take some maneuvering, but the door near the front looked just big enough. She tried to map out how to make it work.

Which meant she was staring right at the driver as his hand moved under his shirt suspiciously. He watched them walk down the ramp toward the tarmac closely, his attention riveted on them. There were too many people in the way to rush him down the stairs, so as the hand came around she jumped over the side rail and headed toward the man at full speed. There was something black in his hand as she pumped her legs as hard as she could, wishing she had her uniform on instead of a skirt.

Suddenly she lifted into the air, her momentum carrying her past the man. Some kind of attack? Possibly a defense? She scrambled at the empty space around her, trying to turn, which she did, slowly, as if weightless and floating in space. Finally she saw what was going on. The man was just taking pictures of them all.

Because some of them were famous.

Well that was a bit awkward. Kerry was looking at her as the man took pictures, using her ability to save the man’s life. It was a good thing she had, because they didn’t need the bad press, but Marcia felt vulnerable at the moment, hovering without being in control like she was. The girl let her down then, without a word, realizing the danger had passed once the camera had been identified no doubt. Marcia couldn’t blush, it wasn’t physically possible for her anymore, but she still felt like an idiot as her heels tapped lightly on the hard ground.

“Well, um, sorry there!” She was about ten feet from the man, who spun without comment, taking pictures of everyone else. If he was bothered by the whole thing, he didn’t show it.

In fact he was smiling, which was more than she expected from someone trying to capture them for the tabloids or whatever.

“No worries! That was awesome. Just incredible. Just getting some pictures of the trip. You can all buy them from me at the end if you want. Online even. I have a web-site.” The man had dark skin and black hair, was at least a few pounds past overweight and had sweat rings under his arms. The air felt thick, but the temperature wasn’t something she could really register herself. She wasn’t sweating much yet, but that would probably come if it was that warm and she had to keep rushing at innocent people. Most of the others were already glistening, so that meant it was hot out. Well, Florida in the spring. Early spring, but still, it was going to be warm this far south, wasn’t it? The driver stopped and turned back to her.

“I’m Sammy. I’ll be your driver for the whole stay, I’m a local, but the Network hired me to make sure you all get anywhere you need to go. You need anything to make your stay more comfortable, please don’t hesitate to call me, day or night. I can get you almost anything. I have connections. Of course, you folks being in law enforcement, those are all on the up and up… But still, I’m here if you need anything, understand?” He clicked another picture of Marcia and then, finally, put the camera back under his shirt, a bright blue and green polo above light cream shorts with big pockets.

“Hi Sammy, I’m Marcia Turner. Pleased to meet you.” She held out her hand, wondering if the man would really shake it, after seeing her rush at him faster than a person could and then hover in the air like he had. He might not know that the last part had been Kerry even.

A lot of people couldn’t make themselves touch an Infected person at all. It wasn’t catching, but some people didn’t believe that. No matter what the medical studies said some people still worked on the assumption that it must be passed from person to person somehow. It wasn’t an infection at all, but the name had come in early and stuck, so a lot of people couldn’t tell the difference. It seemed that Sammy wasn’t one of those people for what it was worth, which was a great skill to have if he was going to work with the public, at least in Marcia’s mind. The man grabbed her hand like it was a present, not letting go for far too long for comfort and pumped away at it like he thought water would eventually start to shoot from her mouth if he worked hard enough.

BOOK: The Infected 3: Cast Iron
3.39Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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