Sharon’s Note: One of the hardest things about an injury or disability is to talk about it. It’s something you absolutely should do, but it may require practice. Warning: Author cloaking issues in fiction. That’s what fiction is for, after all.
“The short version? Zombies. I got bit.” My hand drifted several inches towards the spot on my left shoulder before I noticed the motion and moved it back to the wheel.
“So that turns you into a zombie? Like the movies?”
“There are over a dozen types of zombies. Some of them don’t change you when they bite you. Most either kill you outright or are likely to kill you just from infection. I mean like bacteria and that kind of thing. Zombies are filthy.” I gave up and let myself rub the scar. “I got lucky, or unlucky, depending on how you look at it. One of the contageous ones bit me.”
“So, they got the cure to you on time or something?”
“Yeah, but still, I was lucky. Even it you get it to someone on time, the cure only works on maybe five percent of people. I only had a few . . . side effects.”
“You don’t have to eat brains or something do you?” Poor Brian sounded nauseous.
“No.” I wrinkled my nose in distaste. “The whole brains thing is a movie construct. And no, I don’t have any zombie flesh cravings or anything. I have some nerve damage and a funky colored eye. It makes walking hard and I get tiered easily.”
“So you get no benifits? That sucks.”
I glanced at my left eye in the rear-view. I normally tried not to look at it, but I had to admit that it was a kind of pretty shade of buttercup yellow. “I think my left eye is a little better at tracking motion. I mean, the doctors can’t prove anything, but I think I can tell the difference.”
Brian snorted. “That’s cool, I guess. I don’t suppose there’s a cure for werewolfism.”
“Not for the type of werewolf you’re dealing with. There are about as many time of werewolves as there are zombies. Most of them aren’t even contagious.”
“What about this one?” Brian dropped to a whisper, “You know your guy was bitten, right? Is he going to . . .”
“We’ll get him tested as soon as the medical team gets out there.” I really hoped he didn’t ask me when that was going to happen. “What you’ve got there is a lunatic werewolf. They’re one of the few ones actually tied to the moon. The infection rate on them is only like thirty percent, but either way, no one else will change tonight. It takes a full cycle for the curse to spread. Even then, it’s not the end of his career. If he’s infected, he’ll have to spend full moons in lock up, but nothing else will really change.”
“Lock up sounds bad.” There was a nervous edge to hisvoice that I didn’t like.
“Brian, were you bitten?”
“No, but . . .” He took a deep breath that shuttered a little. “I got stabbed on a branch. It’s not really bleeding anymore, but when you’re guys opened fire on the thing I got splattered with its blood and . . . and . . .”
“It’s highly unlikely it’s infected,” I assured him. “You were bleeding at the time, and that helps clean wounds. And remember infection rate is only thirty percent at the best of times. Really, though, even if the worst happens, you spend one night a month in lock up. It’s not even as bad as it sounds. Yeah, it’s a little like a jail cell, but I’ve spent nights in lock up when I was to tiered to drive home. The beds are surprisingly comfy.”
My dashboard flashed that I had a call. From Will. Hope surged. Maybe the city wolf had been contained.
“Hey, Brian? Will you be okay for a second? I’ve got a call from another team. They might be coming to help.”
“Yeah, sure. I’ve got to see if I can help Barbara move so she’s a little more comfortable anyway.”
“Cool.” I switched off my microphone and hit the talk button on the dash touchscreen. “Will, tell me you didn’t let me down after all?”