Some word. What was it? Like Proprietary. But not that. Something about sensitivity. Inappropriate sensitivity?
The pepper spray clouded in the car and she got some of it blown in her face by the breeze passing through. She coughed heavily. It was like breathing hot ashes. She blinked repeatedly. Her eyes felt like they had sand in them. She couldn’t concentrate on spraying any more so she threw the can down on the floor. She drank some water and poured it into her palm to pat her eyes down. She had only caught the edge of the cloud but now she could at least imagine what a direct hit might feel like.
Caleb’s weird noises started to were starting to subside. Tamara desperately washed out her eyes. Her vision was a blur.
“Honey? Are you okay?” Her heart pounding. Ready to smash him in the face if she had to.
“Yeah,” he said. “Better.” She had to laugh. When she could see again she looked at him and he was staring at his hands like they were heiroglyphs. “Do they feel right?”
“Fucking painful,” he said. His face was contorted. “They’re in agony. Feels like they’re on fire. But it feels like they’re mine.”
The pepper spray wore off; although Tam wasn’t convinced that pepper spray on the hands was supposed to be painful. It might, just might, be working on the bacteria. That would be something worth calling the radio stations about. Whatever it was, the pain faded but Caleb still felt that his hands were his own. Tam could only imagine his state of mind when he thought they were not.
He said, “I actually thought it might be possible that somebody had transplanted someone else’s hands on my wrists. I was wondering where my own hands were gone. But there were no scars, so… it was just confusing. I wanted somebody to take these away.”
She gave him the Cognac and he took a sip, then another. It seemed to calm him, though the whole thing had been a kick in the head.
Tam started the engine and moved back into the flow of traffic. She thought it would be fine now. That at least, before the shit hit the fan again, there would be a pause and time for them to recover. But no. They had barely started moving again when there were screams from a car about fifty feet ahead of them. Both Caleb and Tamara realised instantly, without looking at each other or saying anything, that somebody in that car just turned into a Wreck.
Crashing, fighting sounds reached them. It sounded like kids kicking tin cans around. But with screams of terror.
A part of Tamara’s mind detached itself from the scene that was unfolding. Two militia guys were running down the road towards the car. They were just ordinary guys who happened to have guns and had come out to help put down the zombie threat. The car was comically jumping around as if people were having sex in there.
As she was thinking it, the two guys opened fire. They seemed to be aware only of their own fear and the fact that there were people moving inside the car. Gunshots hammered the air. It went on and on and the screaming stopped. They weren’t shooting at the Wreck, they weren’t trained for this. They were shooting at everything moving. They had assassinated an innocent woman.
Then it got worse, as Tam and Caleb watched this scene going on like a trailer for a horror film they hadn’t made up their minds if they wanted to see.
The two guys kept going until they ran out of ammunition. There was a short pause while smoke emanated from the car. Glass everywhere. The sound was still echoing. The deputised morons started talking, asking each other questions.
Movement. A door opened. A man fell out. There was a hole in his head but he was still moving. The militia guy who was on the same side of the car levelled his shotgun and pulled the trigger but he forgot he was out of bullets. The other guy did the exact same. The Wreck was on his feet. He struggled to move and find his way around because he was full of holes, pulverised, half inside-out. But still moving. And the two men with guns ran, and the Wreck went searching for someone to bite.