azombiewrites: (Psych)
[personal profile] azombiewrites
Title: When a Zombie Attacks
Fandom: Psych
Rating: PG
Summary: It's the zombie apocalypse but can it be called an apocalypse when there's only one zombie.
Main Characters: Lassiter
Secondary Characters: McNab and O'Hara.
Disclaimers: All things Psych owned by Steve Franks and the USA network. The La Cumbre Plaza, Las Positas Road and State Street are real.
Beta: My always most wonderful comma wrangling-ninja-meh monkey-whacking-spyentist virtual spouse [livejournal.com profile] winks7985
Note: Written for the 2010 Halloween challenge over at [livejournal.com profile] spook_me. Yeah, I'm a bit late.
Prompts: Prompt #1 and Prompt #2.
Total Word Count: 5,272
Status: Complete






When a Zombie Attacks
Story One of 'The Zombie Verse'


It moved without thought, without emotion, each step as though it were its first, sluggish and hesitant. And with each step it took, it groaned, the words it once knew no longer an option, the sound grating, almost painful. It had no memory of its previous life, of the moment that had just past. It only saw what was in front of it, images now seen through a thin veil of blood. It felt nothing – emotional or physical – only an incredible, violent need to eat. It didn’t know why, only that it should, an instinct with no explanation. Its arms reached forward, its fingers gripping and clutching at thin air as it searched for its first meal of living flesh . . .

For brains . . .

.
.
.

Halloween at midnight . . .

Lassiter checked his watch . . .

Halloween at 12:14am was a night for the crazies, the mentally unhinged lunatics that walked the streets of Santa Barbara: werewolves, vampires, mummies, zombies, aliens and Little Bo Peeps. Everybody wanted to be something else, believing that on the stroke of midnight on October 31st their wish would be granted and they would then act accordingly. Why couldn’t they just be law-abiding citizens? Was that asking too much? Apparently it was because he’d already received a report of a zombie in a police uniform roaming the parking area of the La Cumbre Plaza, a naked werewolf (male) running through the Calvary Catholic Cemetery howling at the quarter moon – he’d given that one to O’Hara – and a little green alien – who will no doubt turn out to be a crazy dwarf who had just painted himself with luminescent green paint – trying to purchase tickets to the midnight matinee of ‘Return of the Living Dead’. The world was full of crack pots and they all lived in Santa Barbara. Astonishing.

At this time of night, on an almost empty street, the engine of the Crown Vic growled, its headlights bright, searching ahead for any indication that a rambling lunatic – dressed as god-knows-what – was about to jump in front of the vehicle. It had happened last Halloween, a vampire suffering from chronic depression had tried to kill himself by jumping in front of Lassiter’s Crown Vic, Lassiter slamming on the brakes, the bumper kissing the lunatics right hip before crushing the ankle. The attempt hadn’t killed the suicidal asshole but he had lost the lower part of his leg.

Sometimes, after a bad day, Lassiter would dream about a one-legged vampire stumbling after a damsel in distress.

Damn idiot.

His experienced gaze scanned the sidewalks, like a hunter searching for its prey; he felt like Arnold Schwarzenegger in ‘The Terminator’ searching the streets of Los Angeles for Sarah Conner. Turning his gaze to the right to remind himself the passenger seat was empty – he hoped the naked werewolf was five-foot-two and one hundred and ninety pounds – and said, “I’ll be back,” as he turned left onto Stanley Drive. Lassiter couldn’t help but notice children – some at least six-foot-two – dressed as their favorite Halloween character carrying bags, bowls and buckets standing at the front door of more than one house begging for candy.

Lassiter drove slowly, taking his time turning right onto Las Positas Road, heading for State Street, in no hurry to confront a zombie policeman.

.
.
.

It groaned in increasing need, its body starved, each step painfully slow as it struggled to move faster, to continue its search for living flesh, for fresh brains. But it could find none, the streets empty, the parking area of La Cumbre Plaza deserted, not even a stray dog, a lost cat or a scavenging rat. Giving up, it moved closer to the store fronts, banging clumsily against the windows of ‘Tiffany & Co’ trying to gain entrance. If there was fresh flesh behind these windows, these walls, it will find it. It will feed on human flesh . . .

On brains . . .

.
.
.

State Street– quiet, deserted, the stores closed for the holiday. Lassiter lifted his foot off the accelerator, allowing the car to roll to a stop, really not wanting to confront a zombie in a police uniform. Probably some nut-job who thought he was Ponch . . . riding a bicycle. Lassiter had arrested three of those last year and he wasn’t in a hurry to do it again. After putting it in park, Lassiter turned the engine off and relaxed into the seat, enjoying the silence while it lasted. It would only be a matter of time before all hell broke loose, silence and sanity becoming lost amidst the noise and insanity.

Something moved up ahead, a form revealed in the beam of the Vic’s headlights. Lassiter groaned at the sight; a man in a black suit and billowing cape. Another idiot in a vampire get-up. At least this one had two legs.

Lassiter called in, hoping that there was a more urgent call . . . there wasn’t . . . yet. He was stuck with Zombie Ponch. He waited until the vampire – who was turning into a stumbling drunk in front of Lassiter eyes – was out of sight before turning the engine, shifting gears and accelerating once more.

He drove on, glimpsing the occasional idiot in a ridiculous outfit, passing a hooker or two. He would take the opportunity to delay the inevitable and arrest every hooker he came across but it wasn’t worth the effort – not tonight – they would only claim to be in a Halloween costume before trying to convince him that a blow job was all he needed. Zombie Ponch? Hookers? Lassiter decided on Zombie Ponch- there was no way in hell that a zombie would offer him a blow job.

.
.
.

When the windows wouldn’t break, it gave up, stumbling away, searching the walkways that littered the plaza, blood dripping from the broken flesh that was once fists. The violent hunger clenched and twisted its guts, the pain no longer felt, only the knowledge that it must eat.

One awkward step after another, its search failing to find food. It groaned in desperate need. A desperate need to feed . . .

To feed on brains . . .

.
.
.

La Cumbre Plaza, one of Santa Barbara’s largest shopping malls, an outdoor shopping plaza filled with a maze of pedestrian walkways and all of it was surrounded by a cement moat used for parking. Deserted at 12:23am on Halloween. Not the perfect place for a zombie searching for . . . brains.

Again, Lassiter allowed the car to roll to a stop, the beam of the Crown Vic’s headlights stretched out before him, lighting only empty space. Beyond the reach of the headlights lay only darkness . . . and possibly a zombie in a fake police uniform. To his left was Macy’s, a department store all on its own.

If he got out of his vehicle and walked the perimeter of the plaza, it would eat up a lot of time, leaving all incoming calls from the crazies out and about on Halloween to his fellow officers. Lassiter turned off the head lights and engine. They deserved it, especially after the prank they had pulled–who bought snow globes on Halloween? He retrieved the flash light from the glove compartment and stepped out of the car, pulling up the collar of his coat to ward off the winter chill.

.
.
.

A noise, a growl loud in the thick silence. Its head turned toward the sound, tilted at an awkward angle. It sensed fresh meat . . . brains. It allowed its violent hunger to lead it, following its instinct for food like a vulture follows the scent of the dead.

Its slow movements frustrating in a way it no longer understood, the powerful need to eat growing, pulsing through its decaying brain, its soft innards. It reached forward, readying itself for the hunt, the catch, the ferocious feeding . . .

The ferocious feeding on brains . . .

.
.
.

Lassiter walked slowly, his strides long and confident, the beam of the flash light sweeping left to right. His patience was becoming short, the fuse burning quickly, his temper ready to lose itself amongst a barrage of vulgarity. He hated Halloween. Hated it with a passion. Where was that damn zombie?

He stopped suddenly; sure he had heard something up ahead. Lassiter lit the area he was sure the sound had come from. Nothing. He stepped forward, cautious but not yet ready to arm himself. A cat, black in color – of course it was – ran through the beam of light, like a thick shadow dancing across a wall. He waited a few seconds before moving on, allowing his heart beat to return to a normal rhythm, his breathing to calm.

.
.
.

Sensing that fresh brains were near, it groaned, struggling to move faster, its arms stretched so far ahead it was close to falling flat on its dead face. It moved more like Frankenstein than a zombie. If it were aware, it would be shamed at its portrayal of a zombie. It groaned. It wanted brains . . .

It desperately wanted to feed on brains . . .

.
.
.

He didn’t know why, couldn’t explain why but Lassiter began to feel as though there was something terribly wrong up ahead. Instincts that he’d trusted all his life told him to run, scream while he ran, get the hell out of Dodge and never come back. A shiver ran the length of his back, his arms and legs shaking with fear. This wasn’t like him, he feared nothing– too arrogant, too cocky to fear the unknown but this . . . this was different. This time, he knew his life was in danger, not from a lunatic in a costume but from something more sinister, something . . .

“You’re an idiot, Lassiter.”

A few steps forward and then he froze, the beam of his flashlight revealing a zombie in a police uniform. He had to admit that this idiot had done a very good job with the makeup, made it look as though a chunk of flesh had been torn from his neck, the shirt soaked with blood. The outstretched arms, the hands almost mangled, blood dripping from the knuckles. His steps ungainly, uncoordinated, like Frankenstein.

Lassiter raised his hand, the beam of the flash light trembling for a reason he refused to believe, highlighting the man’s features.

“McNab?”

.
.
.

It didn’t recognize the man it once knew, once admired. It just saw a feast of fresh flesh, of brains.

Zombie McNab groaned, stepping closer to its prey. It didn’t want a conversation; it wanted a meal of brains. . .

A delicious meal of fresh brains . . .

.
.
.

Was this a joke? Another Halloween prank? It had to be. Zombies didn’t exist. The world was full of brainless idiots, but not zombies. But that didn’t really look like makeup. Lassiter had seen torn flesh before, human teeth marks buried deep into flesh. Instinct told him this was real– where was a chronically depressed suicidal vampire when you needed one?

Lassiter’s body felt heavy with fear, refusing to move when McNab . . . a very possibly dead McNab lurched toward him. Now only a few feet away, Lassiter could see the heart wrenching truth. It wasn’t makeup. There was a hole the size of his fist on the right side of McNab’s neck – he could see bone – a thin trickle of blood still flowing. Eyes that were once brown now a milky white, an obvious sign of death- that and the fact McNab wasn’t breathing, his diaphragm as still as death.

McNab was dead.

McNab was dead and walking.

Dead man walking.

Dead zombie walking.

There was nothing Lassiter could do but put the man . . . McNab out of his misery. He had seen the movies. There was no hope, no cure, only a cause. Lassiter wondered, the thought freezing his chest with fear, how many of the lunatics he had seen on his way here were . . . he allowed the thought to die, he couldn’t think that way . . . there can’t be more.

He switched the flash light to his left hand, removed his weapon from his holster, raised his arm, aimed and fired. The bullet struck dead center, right between the eyes which was surprising considering that his gun arm was shaking violently. McNab fell backward, falling like a block of cement, his body slamming onto the ground with a grateful thud.

Thank God for slow zombies.

Unable to look at the body, Lassiter turned his back and holstered his weapon. McNab. Why McNab? Shaking his head, Lassiter retrieved his cell phone from his pocket and called his partner, not looking forward to telling her about McNab, explaining to her that he had to kill someone who was already dead. That he had to kill McNab.

There was no answer, only a single long running tone; a signal of death in an ICU ward.

Behind him, a noise, sudden quick.

Lassiter spun, his weapon holstered, the flashlight useless as a weapon in such close proximity. A flash of death and then darkness . . .

The flashlight shouldn’t have broken when it hit the ground but it did, just like the ankle of a distressed damsel running away from a . . . monster, in this case, a zombie. Fear gripped Lassiter’s heart when his small world was suddenly engulfed in a shadowed darkness. The shadows moved around him, breathing as though they were alive and within that darkness something abnormal lived, something so wrong, a creature that could destroy humanity. Lassiter knew it, felt it in his gut, his heart.

He thought he would have the time to arm himself, to step back and take aim, fire his weapon, kill what was already dead. But time ran out, it slowed, stopped and Lassiter stopped with it.

A form stepped out of the shadows; male, tall, strong . . . dead . . . ugly, its stumbling steps silent, its features contorted with the pain of hunger as its pale arms, fingers stretching beyond their natural reach, seized the lapel of Lassiter’s coat, pulling him sideways, toward an open mouth, a deep cavern craving to be filled . . .

Craving to be filled with brains . . . with fresh flesh . . .

So close, too close, the smell of death rancid.

Lassiter drew his weapon, ready to use it, to kill. Like he killed McNab. His heart filled with a sadness he wasn’t prepared for. He wanted to turn his head away, to not look at this thing that was once human, a man, a husband, a father, a son, but he couldn’t, its white eyes drawing him in.

The zombie tugged him even closer, its bloodied lips brushing against his own and for the first time in his career, his life, Lassiter dropped his weapon, just as he had dropped the flashlight. He pulled his head back, just as its mouth clamped shut, the sound of its teeth snapping together so loud, too loud.

The thing growled in despair, so desperate to ease its hunger.

In a defensive move that would ultimately cost him his life, Lassiter raised his left arm, pushing against the thing’s chest, trying to force it back, to give himself room to manoeuvre. Cold fingers clamped down on his left wrist, the nails digging painfully into his flesh. Lassiter twisted his body and pulled back, an attempt to free himself, but the zombie was too strong, even in death. Once again it pulled Lassiter close, too close, cold rotten breath drifting across his face, chilling him. These things breathed?

And before he knew it, its teeth, coated with McNab’s blood, were within striking distance.

Lassiter pulled, pushed, twisted, kicked; trying everything he could think of to pull his wrist out of this cavern of death. But his own strength, weak compared to the zombie, could do nothing.

With eyes wide with fear, Lassiter watched as blunt teeth first caressed his wrist, as though it were savoring the moment, drooling over the meal placed before it, then biting down, breaking the skin, drawing blood, too much blood.

If real life imitated the world of fantasy, of fiction, of horror movies . . .

Lassiter screamed. He couldn’t help it. The zombie, its teeth clenched, ripped a small chunk of flesh from his wrist and began to chew, a contented smile on its face as it fed . . .

As it fed on fresh flesh . . . chewing, grinding its teeth, blood and saliva merging, dripping down its chin.

But it wanted more.

It wanted brains . . .

Fresh brains . . .

He may be . . . can be . . . who the fuck was he kidding . . . was now a dead man in the making but that didn’t mean he was willing to allow this thing to take more, to eat more. Lassiter kicked out with his right foot, the heel of his boot dislocating the zombie’s right knee. It didn’t suffer pain, but the leg buckled and it stumbled, letting go of Lassiter’s wrist. With his life already gone, Lassiter risked bending down, placing his back within easy reach and picked up his gun, his gaze glancing at the wound on his wrist.

If real life imitated the world of fantasy . . .

As he stood up, he raised the Glock, pressed the barrel against the forehead of the thing that had taken not only his life, but McNab’s and pulled the trigger, stopping the dead thing in mid-chew. Blood splattered across Lassiter’s face, the smell of it causing him to gag. He could feel it on his skin, taste it on his tongue.

And just like McNab, the zombie fell backward, landing with a grateful thud.

Lassiter gagged again, spitting the foul tasting bile from his mouth, wiping it away from his lips and chin with the sleeve of his coat. His wrist throbbed with a sharp pulsing pain and blood dripped freely from the fresh wound. The shock of what had just happened sent a violent tremor through his thin frame, cramping his muscles, bending him over in an attempt to get away from the pain. He crouched down, his forearms resting on his thighs; his hands, his gun, limp between his knees.

His breathing became ragged as he struggled to draw in a fresh breath of air, as he tried to calm his thoughts, to get a grip on the reality of the situation. Confusion rattled his brain as he tried to find his way through the jumbled thoughts, the nightmarish images that ran through his mind like a silent horror movie.

If real life imitated the world of fantasy . . .

Of course it imitated fantasy. McNab was proof of that.

He didn’t know what to do.

He’d been bitten by a zombie and he didn’t know what to do.

Sudden anger raged through him and he stood up straight. He shot the zombie - now dead for a second time - again . . . and again . . . kept shooting it until his gun was empty and the zombie’s face was an ugly mess of unrecognizable shattered flesh.

He still didn’t know what to do.

Inside his skull, a dull ache began to throb, his body shook, his muscles clenched, his stomach hungry for something that left him feeling nauseated. No. It was too soon. It didn’t happen that soon. It couldn’t happen that soon. He wondered if the conversion would be painful. Slow. Quick. Lonely.

Lassiter wanted to scream, in frustration, in anger, for the loss of his life, for the loss of humanity- this disease will spread like wild fire. He didn’t know how many more were out there. Too many to fight.

He knew what to do.

He understood that he could decrease the number by one. Lassiter raised the Glock to his right temple, feeling the cool metal against his warm flesh and pulled the trigger.

Lassiter felt a pang of regret when his brain didn’t emerge through the other side of his skull in a bloody mess. Too angry, too scared to remember the gun was empty. With a trembling hand, he searched the pockets of his jacket for another clip, the open wound scraping against the edges of material; it didn’t hurt as much as it should have. After a minute, sixty seconds full of anxious fear, he found another clip. He reloaded, fumbling with the clip, dropping it only once. He raised the gun, enjoying the feel of the metal against his skin, wondering if he should close his eyes, unsure if his mind would register the spray of blood before his heart stopped beating.

There was movement to his right, something black crouching low, moving through the shadows. Another zombie? No. This was small, too small, and more alive than anything he’d seen in the last ten minutes. He watched in morbid fascination as the black cat that had crossed his path earlier crept toward the mess of flesh lying on the ground. It was hesitant at first, not sure of the man standing too close, and then it pounced on its next meal. The cat licked the blood before it began to delicately chew on the dead zombie’s brain.

Lassiter shot the cat - just in case - its small skull exploding, its brain spraying Lassiter’s shoes, turning them from a Washington black to a murky bloody gray.

He returned the weapon to his own skull, unable to pull his gaze away from the mess that lay before him. His forefinger gripped the trigger, applying pressure . . . He closed his eyes.

Now that he’d had the time to think about it, Lassiter couldn’t do it. The thought of his own brain splattered across. . . It was a lot harder than he thought it would be, not as easy as the first time he’d pulled the trigger.

Death by bullet?

Or death by zombie?

It wasn’t a hard choice. Just hard to do.

And the longer he thought about it, the less he wanted to kill himself. Not here and not alone. It was a selfish thing . . . he just didn’t want to do this alone. Surely someone, anyone would understand that. He thought of the one person he could trust. O’Hara. His partner. He loved her like a sister. Trusted her with his worst fears, the worst of his emotions, his life. She would understand. But she hadn’t answered her phone or was unable, a long running tone.

O’Hara. Everything else, his fear, his death became a second thought, pushed to the side. He needed to find his partner. He needed to make sure that she was okay. That she hadn’t been turned into one of these things . . . the thing that he would soon become. He didn’t know how much time he had left but he hoped he had enough time to find O’Hara. Once he knew she was okay he would explain the situation and then turn his gun on himself before he . . .

Before he . . .

He closed his eyes and thought of puppies and babies.

Of O’Hara . . . She had to okay. He needed her to be okay. He needed her to live through this.

Turning away, he took one last look at McNab, the small bullet wound in his forehead, the hole in his neck, the brains fanned out on the ground behind him.

Dead puppies.

Dead babies.

McNab. Dead.

He had to find O’Hara.

.
.
.

State Street. 12:50am.

It wasn’t what Lassiter had expected; it was quiet, too quiet, desolate. The Crown Vic’s engine growled in the thick silence, slicing through it like a blunt knife. Its headlights lit up the area ahead, right and left, revealing a large chasm devoid of life, of human life . . . of the walking dead. It was as though he were the only one left. All that was needed was a tumbleweed drifting across his path, a veil of dust behind it.

Lassiter drove with only his left hand; it wasn’t as painful as it should have been and this worried him, scared the almost-dead-shit out of him. Was he that close to death? He hadn’t felt the necessity to take care of the wound, to wrap it, infection being the last of his worries. He didn’t have the time to care, to worry about himself but . . . he was scared, so fucking scared; for himself, for his partner.

His right hand lay in his lap, the Glock held with a soft grip, ready for anything and anyone, ready to kill himself if he ran out of time.

Puppies and babies.

O’Hara.

He didn’t have far to drive. The Calvary Catholic Cemetery was close, close enough for Lassiter to smell the dead . . . He frowned in confusion. Was this part of the process? Could he actually smell the dead? No. He was sure it was his imagination taunting him, as if it felt there was a need to remind him of what he would soon become.

On the left, Ruth’s Chris Steak House. He felt a slight craving, his stomach cramping at the thought of steak, rare, raw, and bloody. His gut clenched in pain, pulling him forward, toward the steering wheel. Lassiter took a deep breath, willing his nauseated stomach to calm the fuck down. It refused and at that moment, he knew the conversion had begun. He could feel it. He was running out of time.

And then, on the right, finally, the first sign of life . . . or death. A man, tall, old, handsome, dressed in a black suit, white shirt and green tie, stood on the side of the road, watching, and waiting. Lassiter took his foot off the accelerator, allowing the Crown Vic to slow down. The old man smiled and waved at Lassiter with dainty fingers. Lassiter didn’t stop, the man was alive but there had been something not right, something wrong, something sinister. Shaking off the unsettling feeling, Lassiter drove on, glancing at his rear-view mirror; the old man was still watching him, waving. Despite being too warm, Lassiter shivered, the tremor moving through muscles that had begun to ache with an excitement Lassiter couldn’t understand.

He turned left onto North Hope Avenue, the Calvary Catholic Cemetery just up ahead.

A sharp stab of pain through his skull caused his vision to blur and his stomach cramped with a hunger that made him scream; loud and painful. He slammed his fist against the steering wheel in pain, anger and frustration but mostly in fear . . . once . . . twice . . . He tried to breathe through his nose, to calm his racing heart before the fear could take control. The pain stopped as quickly as it had started but his stomach still ached with a hunger . . .

A hunger for raw meat . . . red, bloody meat . . .

Lassiter held his weapon in a tighter grip, waiting for the last possible moment.

Puppies and babies.

O’Hara.

He had to find O’Hara before he turned, before he had to turn his gun on himself.

And he was quickly running out of time.
.
.
.

Calvary Catholic Cemetery. 1:02am.

It was the opposite of State Street; the small cemetery crowded with the dead, the living and the ugliness of drunken stupidity. This was why he hated Halloween. Crazy drunken idiots . . . But there wasn’t a single member of the walking dead among them. Lassiter frowned, confused; he was sure there would be more of them, sure they would be taking control, gorging themselves on brains until their stomachs exploded.

His own stomach growled but not with hunger, it growled with a different need, a need to be fed . . .

To be fed with something raw and bloody . . .

Something crawled up his spine, scratching to get inside his skull. A chill, colder than anything he’d felt, settled in his bones. He shivered, the movement so strong, he lost the grip on his gun, the steering wheel. He was close to death, so very, very close. He needed a few more minutes. Just a few more minutes. His head fell back against the seat, his eyes closing.

His foot slipped off the accelerator and the Crown Vic slowly rolled to a stop. He fought with everything he had to move, to find his partner but he had nothing left. Lassiter was on the edge of death, hanging on by a thin, fragile thread. It wasn’t his life that flashed before his eyes, it was his future, a future he’d had the chance to avoid but he’d been too selfish, his need to find his partner, to make sure she was okay, stronger than common sense. He should have pulled the trigger, splattered his brains across the ground when he had the chance.

It was too late now.

A sudden heart wrenching sob escaped and Lassiter cried for the first time since his divorce. The tears didn’t last long; he didn’t have the energy, but a sadness so thick, so black, tore a hole somewhere deep inside his chest.

His breaths were too shallow, his heart beat too slow. Any moment now.

And he could do nothing to stop it.

He could hear voices, sober, coherent and authoritative. Lassiter opened his eyes and there, moving toward him was his partner, her face beautiful, pale, and worried. Behind her was Dobson, one of the finest officers in the Santa Barbara Police Department. He couldn’t have wished for a better man to be with his partner, to help her do what needed to be done. If anyone could easily put a bullet through Lassiter’s brain, it would be Dobson. He would thank the man by not eating him.

Lassiter tried to open the door but his arm wouldn’t move. Nothing would move, his body a dead weight. His heart skipped a beat and it felt like someone had just walked over his soon-to-be-dug grave.

The car door opened and his partner gasped in shock. He wasn’t surprised, sure that his face was covered, not only with blood, but brains as well.

“Carlton?”

She wasn’t one of the walking dead.

He swallowed, his throat dry, “I killed McNab.”

The frown line he loved so much appeared on her forehead, between her eyebrows. “Are you hurt?”

She reached into the car, her hands on his face - God love her - his scalp, his shoulders, his chest, his stomach. “What happened to you?”

“I killed McNab.”

“No, you didn’t.”

“I had no choice.” His heartbeat was so weak Lassiter could no longer feel it. “He turned into a zombie.”

“Did you hit your head?”

“No. I was . . . bitten.” Lassiter wanted to tell her everything, explain what had happened and what needed to be done. He wanted to say goodbye.

But he no longer had the strength, the breath.

His heart stopped beating, his lungs still, eyes open.

Death embraced Carlton Lassiter, taking him into a future he did not want.





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