“So, what’s yer name?” Caleb said. “You are a doctor, right?”
Tam was glad he asked, because if he wasn’t he could just get out and walk.
“My name is Rashid Imsam,” said the guy. “I am of course a doctor. Why?”
“Well, I’d like you to take a look at me,” said Caleb with a smile on his face, covered in dried blood. Hilarious. The doctor’s expression was not so amused. He had dark skin and a moustache and very thick eyebrows and Tam thought from his accent he must be from Iran or Israel or Egypt. He said nothing but rubbed his face with his hands and looked out the window. Tam and Caleb glanced at each other. For a doctor, he wasn’t too concerned about the obvious injuries.
“So, how long were you up there?” Caleb said, a bit too nicely as far as Tam was concerned.
“A few hours,” said Doctor Imsam. Then, as if he was on board to give them a lecture, “I noticed that their behaviour changes in different circumstances. I would like to study them more but…” a shrug, “Better to fight and run away, I suppose.”
Caleb started to ask something about the Wrecks’ behaviour, and suddenly Tamara was furious. She felt like a spare wheel, yet she was the one driving the car.
“Doctor Imsam, can you help us out here? Where am I going, anyway?”
Imsam didn’t seem put out by her attitude, but sat forward briefly and looked at Caleb’s skull. “What happened?” he said, the broad brush strokes of any good doctor. Better.
“One of the bad guys got me,” Caleb said sheepishly. Imsam sat back. In a slightly alarming manner he crossed his arms, sighed deeply and stared straight ahead like the whole thing was over before it began. After a second’s thought he said, “Take me to my home, I have some things there. Enough to work with.”
Tam asked him where he lived. He said it was on Sierra Drive. Luckily they were on the right side of town already and Tam quickly ran through the route in her mind. Varsity was a small place.
While she drove, Caleb seemed intent on keeping up this odd “boys and their toys” conversation about the diseased dead people who now populated their home town. The doctor told them more about his experience with the Wrecks: after scrambling up on the roof, he had a good view of their activity.
“Have you noticed that they sometimes eat each other?” he said.
“We never got that close,” said Caleb. “Except once.”
“The strange part is that it seems to be by consent. It isn’t like a pack of dogs where they fight each other. One of them would occasionally offer itself to the rest. Is that not strange?”
“Those guys around the medical centre seemed to have a lot of get up and go,” said Caleb. “What’s that about?”
“I have a theory,” Imsam said like a kid on too much Lucozade. “I think they might have more energy in groups.”
“Do we have to talk about this?” said Tam, irritated.
“We do not,” Imsam retorted. “But I find it interesting. Maybe I am insane.”
Tam didn’t know whether he was insane, and didn’t care. She just found the whole thing disgusting. These were real people and it was happening right now. Imsam was a doctor so maybe his clinical attitude could be forgiven. But she was let down by Caleb. She shot him a doghouse glance. He noticed, but didn’t seem to get why.
“I’ll find it interesting too, when it’s over,” she said.
That hung in the air as they cruised through empty streets. One or two residents could be seen gaping from the windows of their homes but thankfully, Wrecks had not reached this neighbourhood. None of them said anything else until they reached Sierra Drive.
They turned the corner. It was clear, for now. Imsam pointed to his house. Tam pulled over. It was very similar to Caleb and Tam’s place: cosy, designed to look larger than it was. Wooden slats that he had painted an unsightly mint green. The only distinguishing feature was a rock garden that looked carefully tended and gave the place a vaguely Japanese feel.
Imsam stepped out of the car. Caleb and Tam followed. Each of them watched their surroundings with eagle eyes, like some sort of spies.