Chapter 07: Clash By Night

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Reality snapped into focus.

Greg lay perfectly still. He was on his back, staring up at a gritty, tiled ceiling cast in a thin gray light. For a long moment that seem to stretch into eternity, absolutely nothing moved, nothing shifted. It seemed as though he wasn't even breathing. There was nothing in his head. No thoughts, no memories, no emotions.

Nothing.

Something seemed to click then, and it was like someone hit a reboot button. Memories slid into his skull. They were little more than a trickle at first, but quickly built until a tidal wave had been released from a burst dam. The first thing that really grabbed his attention was the fact that the light appeared to be coming from a single source. It wasn't being provided by overhead lights, instead by what was likely a flashlight.

"What happened?" His voice came out in a dry croak.

Someone shifted nearby and abruptly Kyra's pale, beautiful face came into his field of vision. She looked concerned, but deeply relieved.

"Oh, thank God," she whispered, reaching out and placing a cool hand against his cheek. "I thought you were dead, honey."

Greg managed a weak laugh. "Now you're the one using pet names."

Kyra broke into a genuine smile, leaned down to kiss him, and then hesitated.

"What?" he asked.

"You were hit by the infection. A Creeper jumped on your back, bit you. I thought you were dead, and then I remembered you had the Cure in you. Burne nearly blew your head off right then and there," Kyra explained.

"Shit," Greg moaned. He felt exhausted and dull, his head clogged with a thick mental fog that seemed to mire everything in confusion.

"Are you okay? Here." She lifted his head and brought a canteen to his lips. He drank deeply from it and it tasted amazing.

"Thanks." He coughed and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. "What happened? Why's it so dark?"

"Campbell and I carried you to the infirmary. Burne followed us, hung around for a little while. He got some kind of call and left. The power just went out a minute ago. I'm not sure what's going on, but I wasn't going to leave you."

"Thanks...how long was I out?"

"About half an hour. I think you were hallucinating before you passed out. You had a pretty bad fever, but it finally broke. What I think happened was the infection hit you, then ran into the cure, and a bit of a battle raged in your body. But it looks like the cure won out. It's just me here, everyone else ran off when the power went out. And...there's another thing, Greg. They found out about your arm. Burne was pissed."

Greg heaved a sigh and pushed himself up on his elbows. The world tilted and swam, then slowly began to right itself again. He sat up all the way.

"Fantastic," he muttered.

Greg reached down and ran his hand along his metal arm. The secret was out. Slowly, he clenched the silver hand into a fist. Maybe it was time he put the thing to use. It could definitely take a lot more punishment than a regular arm...

He stared at her. "You didn't kiss me."

She frowned. "I'm sorry. It's nothing personal, it's just...well, I don't know if you're still...infected. I guess. You might not turn, but you might be able to spread the infection now. I mean, it's unlikely, I think...but I don't know. I do know that if our roles were reversed, I'd never be able to live with myself if I infected you like that."

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