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Sonora practically tiptoed across the parking lot, she was so cautious. What seemed a perfectly acceptable parking spot before going inside the building now was shrouded in shadow and caused her stomach to tense. Stop it! You're being silly, still on edge from the library.

Sonora straightened and took a bold step forward, then another one. See! No problem. The rattle of metal from the dark alley that ran off to the side of the lot changed her mind.

She glanced to the left and right and sped to her car. Sonora pulled the keys from her purse, ready to jam them in the lock as soon as she reached the vehicle.

Another tinny clatter from the alley echoed through the lot. Sick people or not, this would have put her on edge, and she kept one eye on the dark mouth of that street. Steps away from her car, Sonora saw a middle-aged woman step out from the gloom holding the hand of a young boy. 

Sonora sagged with relief until the woman coughed, bending with the effort. When she stood straight again, blood stained her chin.

Sonora glanced from the woman to the boy to the woman again. The boy seemed fine.

The woman waved at Sonora. She seemed oblivious to the stain on her face. "Can you help us?" She coughed. "I seem to have lost my car." The woman's voice was raspy.

Sonora backed toward her car as the woman walked across the lot toward her.

The woman put a hand to her head. "It's just--I just feel so lost. Everything's fuzzy. I don't know."

She coughed again, covering her mouth. This time when she pulled back her hand it was covered with bloody spit. The woman looked down at her hand. "No! Oh no! Do I have it? That thing going around?"

"I'm sorry. I think you might." Sonora took a few more steps away. Ian said she couldn't catch it but what if he were wrong. What if what happened in the lab was just a fluke? What if she could catch it from a person?

The woman held out a hand. "Can you help me?"

Sonora's heart ached at the woman's plea. "I can get you help."

"Please don't leave us. Help my boy, if you won't help me." The woman continued to make her way over to Sonora.

The back of Sonora smacked against her car, and she twisted to slid her key into the lock, turning it .

"Please, please help us. Something is wrong. It's so wrong, but I can't--I can't remember what--"

"I will help. I will find someone or call someone to come for you. Just stay here. I'll tell them you are here." Sonora opened her car door.

"No. Please. Help my mommy," the little boy said, tears flooding his eyes.

"I'm going to get help for your mommy," Sonora said. "I promise."

The boy scrubbed his eyes as his mother pulled his along. "Don't leave us!" she ordered.

"I'm sorry. I will get help. I really will. Someone who can really help you."

Sonora fell into her car, her own eyes tearing up at the pathetic scene before her. The mother was clearly losing her reason, and the little boy was so scared. Who know what he understood about what was happening. Sonora turned the key, and looked back at the two of them. Maybe she couldn't get it, but she couldn't take that chance. And what if the mom attacked her?

Sonora tore her eyes from the two of them and backed out of the parking space. She swung the car around and down the aisle beside them. "Stay here," she shouted through the window and drove on.

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