Tamarrud

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Chapter 4: Don't Trust Me

The teeth chattering was unbearable. Tatsuya opened his eyes, the world blurry and dark around him. He slowly sat up. A woman was standing next to him with bandages. She turned revealing lime green eyes. Tatsuya scooted back frightfully.

“No. No. Don’t panic,” she said showing him the bandage. He looked down at his poorly fixed arm. His anger grew as he thought about Keenan’s betrayal. Tatsuya pulled his knife from his shoe and pinned the woman on the ground.

“Where am I!? How did I get here!?” Tatsuya shouts holding the blade to her throat. The woman’s teeth chatters viciously.

“I’m not gonna hurt you. I brought you back, I brought you back,” she says. Tatsuya holds the blade tight looking around. He’s outside the base camp. He steps off the woman and backs up toward the gate. His calf trembles as he steps. The woman stares at him her teeth chattering quietly now. The chattering ceases when a bullet goes through her head. Tatsuya turns around to see Keenan holding the gun.

“You OK?” he asks. Tatsuya slices Keenan with his knife.

“Like you freaking care! Screw you man!” Tatsuya shouts dropping the knife and resorting to his fist. A ton of crew members come and grab the two pulling them away from each other. “Let me go!” Tatsuya shouts trying to break free. Bexley limp runs to the commotion.

“What’s going on? Everybody calm down,” she says trying to be a mediator. Her eyes widen in shock when she notices Tatsuya’s bloody arm stub.

“Get him to a medic. He needs to be checked out immediately,” Keenan orders as the crew take a struggling Tatsuya away. Bexley looks at Keenan suspiciously.

“What happened on the run?” she questions as Keenan stares into the darkness. “Keenan you were the only one with him and I need to know what happened. The school is one of the safest places to raid,” she continues sternly.

“We didn’t go to the school,” Keenan mumbles. The guilt of leaving his best friend behind is finally setting in.

“Then where did you go? Keenan you need to start doing your part as a leader and tell us what’s happening. We need to work together,” Bexley scolds. It takes Keenan a while to gather his thoughts. The confusion of the event is killing him.

“I went with Tatsuya to the mines. We needed to get more weapons and ammunition. I know there were miners holed up there. We were leaving and a cart fell on him. I grabbed what we went for and took off,” Keenan admits. He covers his eyes ashamed. Bexley shakes her head disapprovingly.

“I can’t believe you’d risk the life of your best friend for some goddamn ammo. What is wrong with you, Keenan?” Bexley hisses. Before he can answer she storms away as best she can to the base. Keenan remains outside. He pulls out a cigarette and puts it in his mouth. He doesn’t light it but holds it there distastefully.

“What’s wrong with me?” Keenan mumbles to himself. He scratches his head. He stomps on the cigarette angrily. Keenan goes inside the base.

Tatsuya lays on an operating table. A few medics address his arm. Bexley ruffles his hair staring down at him.

“God I was so scared,” Tatsuya says as Bexley kisses his forehead.

“First my ankle, now your arm. We’re just falling apart,” Bexley giggles as Tatsuya laughs along. A medic named Geo pulls another medic to the side. Geo is an ex CDC scientist who left before the outbreak occurred. His metallic red hair shines in the dim lighting. It is shaved all around the bottom leaving just a portion of thick fluffy hair on top. His face is full of freckles and seriousness. He wears a white mask over his face. A line of arrows go from his ear underneath his shirt. The rebel symbol is on the back of his neck.

“We need to quarantine him. He’s been bitten,” Geo says his British accent heavy and tired. The medic stares at Tatsuya.

“How do you know? I don’t see anything wrong with him,” He says as Geo walks over to Tatsuya. He grabs his leg and turns it slightly to the side. Everyone in the room stops talking. There’s a purplish green bite in the fattier part of his calf. Tatsuya lays his head back sighing angrily.

“I don’t even remember this happening!” Tatsuya groans. “When did I get... Damn it! The mine cart! When that dumb frick fell in,” Tatsuya huffs. He slaps his head with his hand repeatedly. “How could I have been so stupid!?” he continues.

“If we hurry we can stop the flow,” Geo says. Tatsuya stares at him shaking his head.

“Come on man I just lost my arm. I can’t lose my leg too,” Tatsuya whines.

“It’s either that or get sick. Once you’re sick we’ll have to throw you out, you’ll infect everyone else,” Geo offers. Tatsuya closes his eyes in defeat.

“Do you have something to put me under and something to replace this? I’m not going to be of any help without a leg or arm,” Tatsuya says. Geo puts a hand to his bare, chiseled chin.

“I’m sure I can create something for you, but first we need to get it off and make sure the virus hasn’t spread anywhere otherwise it’d be useless,” Geo says as Tatsuya nods. Geo puts a surgical mask on and then puts on gloves. “I’ll make sure everything goes accordingly, OK?” Geo assures as another medic gets his tools ready. He has another guide Bexley out. She kisses Tatsuya and rubs his cheek.

“Make sure you come back to me in one piece cyborg,” she jokes. He laughs and then winces at the stick of the sedating needle. The world goes black. The pain never comes.

“He’s in good hands, alright, Bexley ?” Geo says as Bexley nods.

“I know. I trust you, Geo,” she smiles before leaving the room. Geo begins his work on Tatsuya’s leg. While the surgery goes on Bexley goes to the cafeteria. It’s fairly empty for the time. It’s just barely 7 o’clock. The chef usually didn’t serve dinner until 7:30 to 8:00 for those with young children so they wouldn’t go to bed hungry. The portions were small since they had to ration everything among a large crowd. There wasn’t an eating order otherwise it would cause anarchy.

“Hey there Bexley ! How are ya this fine evening?” a Texan named Colton asks. He was the head chef at the base and always made people’s favorite food based on supply.

“Not too bad. Just coming to pick up some food for Tatsuya when he wakes up,” Bexley says looking at the food selections. There was a wide range of international foods from all over. Some wasn’t homemade it was taken from the gas stations in town that had been abandoned.

“Did something happen?” Colton asks concerned.

“He got bit. They’re removing the part now so I want to surprise him when he wakes up,” she says looking harder. “Do you have any mac and cheese with the mini hot dogs in it?” she asks as Colton shakes his head.

“Fresh out. We ain’t got anymore mac noodles,” he says as Bexley frowns. “I can always make something else he likes,” he offers as Bexley ponders.

“Do you have spaghetti noodles?” Bexley asks. Colton goes to the back and returns with linguine noodles and angel hair noodles. “Can you make fettuccine Alfredo with extra broccoli?” Bexley says hopeful.

“Sure thing! I’ll buzz ya when it’s hot and ready,” Colton smiles as Bexley pats his shoulder.

“You’re the best Colt,” she says giving him a thumbs up. She walks out of the cafeteria. She walks to Keenan’s room to check on him. Keenan stands in front of the mirror like usual. He holds his knife to his skin and gets ready to cut his chest. Bexley grabs his hand gently. Keenan turns his eyes red and watery from crying. He leans in to kiss her. She pulls away quickly.

“Whoa slow down there,” she says putting a hand out. “I know you’re hurting and all but this is not the way to go,” she continues as he wipes his eyes.

“I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I saw you come in and youre so beautiful,” Keenan says walking toward her. Bexley backs up nervously.

“Keenan stop it,” Bexley says. Keenan reaches for her. She punches him in the jaw knocking him to the side. Keenan stands holding his face. He’s surprised not at her actions but his own. He stares at her for a second.

“I’m sorry. I’m so confused. Why would I do that to him? He’s my best friend you know?” Keenan whimpers. Bexley continues to stare at his eyes. He’s blinking rapidly. “I was just fine until I threw that woman and her son out. That’s when everything went wrong.”

“Keenan, how long have you been blinking like that?” Bexley questions. Keenan stares at her. He continues to blink.

“I don’t know. I haven’t noticed it. Even now that you’ve mentioned it, I don’t notice it,” Keenan says as Bexley backs up. “Please. I’m not going to hurt you,” Keenan says walking forward.

“I think you have dystonia,” Bexley says as Keenan shakes his head. The veins in his neck are showing as he strains to keep calm.

“What is that exactly?” Keenan asks. He’s finally noticed the blinking and tries to stop.

“It’s a neural breach. Keenan, I think you’re sick,” Bexley says as he continues shaking his head.

“I’ve done everything to protect myself. How is that even possible?” Keenan questions. Bexley shrugs as she continues moving backward.

“I’m going to find Geo. Maybe he can help,” Bexley says as Keenan nods. He tosses his room keys to her. “What are these for?” she asks as he sits on the bed.

“You need to lock me in here. Until this is figured out Bexley .... Don’t trust me,” Keenan says looking away from her. He cuts his chest with the knife slowly. Bexley locks the door and rushes to Geo.

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