BOOK 2: THE CURSED PLANET
MATURE READERS ONLY
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A single private worship room in one of the many divulgence areas on the second floor—the ones that Adam found safe enough to approach, anyway—contained a group of seniors hiding from the threats outside. He was sure they were a few of the luckier ones, since the other divulgence areas on the third floor he’d entered had been left wide open for parasites to swarm the interior.
His nerves were high when he entered the space, both from the undead wanderers circling him and the armed men patrolling the rotunda, and at first he thought there was no one alive there either. The sound of crying stopped him during his search and he turned his head toward one of the closed doors, listening for a moment before returning to the entrance to enclose himself inside with the parasites.
Deadening the parts of him that were unsure—the parts that felt fear—he moved up to each of the hissing, mutated students and jabbed the knife into the back of their necks upward into their skulls, twisting for emphasis before tearing out the blade in a torrent of blackened gore. Quiet nausea roiled in him that he swallowed down with mouth pressed tight, his attention glazing over as he made himself see the bodies of his fallen classmates as moving obstacles instead of whoever they’d once been. He paused to watch each student fall after he’d stabbed them, surveying their heaped forms without uttering a sound before returning to the door where he’d heard the crying.
Adam knocked in the same pattern as before, calling out to those within as loud as he dared in the new stillness. “It’s Pendergast,” he barked, knocking loud. “Adam Pendergast. Open up—I’m here to help! Hurry!”
The door eased open after a short moment and promptly slammed shut when he tried to approach the opening. He knocked again and tried contact once more.
“I’m wearing a mask,” he said loudly, glancing back at the parasites limp on the ground. “Keeps the parasites away. I stole it off one of them and I’m using it to get you guys out. I need you to open up—and fast! There’s no time!”
He stood aside when the door opened again. The crying was louder now, exposed to open air. Students exited—he counted seven of them, four of them female. Several of the females shrieked at both him and the parasites on the ground with blood pooling everywhere. A female covered her face, shaking in horror, and pressed her back against the wall.
“That’s…that’s Myra,” she gasped. “They bit her before—and—we had to leave—oh my God. That’s…her…”