Zombies Don't Make Good Pets
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Copyright ©2013 Ashlynn Monroe
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The shooting outside stopped. She waited. Taking a deep breath, Cora stood up and checked the window again. The tank in the center of town had stopped its slow progression. A wave of the hungry undead surged over the metallic behemoth. She hoped whoever was operating it was still alive. When she'd first seen the National Guard roll into town she'd thought she'd been saved, but looking out at the overturned jeeps, bodies, and abandoned weapons, she knew salvation wasn't going to be that simple.
A clatter echoed in the back of the clinic. Cora gasped. Her hands were shaking as she picked up her bag. She reached into the top drawer where she kept her emergency tranquilizer gun. She'd never had to use it on an unruly patient, but now she wondered how well the drug would work on an animated corpse. Shivering, she slowly crept back towards her small operating room. Turning the corner, she passed the storage closet and finally her hand touched the knob to the back room. She hoped that feral cat hadn't escaped. Cautiously she turned the knob and peeked inside.
A tall man in a uniform was going through her supply bins. She couldn't see his face, so she couldn't tell if he was one of them. A desperate breath escaped her and she bit her lip. Here goes nothing. Cora threw open the door and dropped her bag. She raised the gun, ready to fire at the interloper.
He turned. She saw blood running down his forehead. The intruder's eyes were wide and framed with thick black lashes, and they were clear, not the milky white of death.
Cora let go of the breath she'd been holding and lowered her weapon. "You scared the shit out of me," she said.
He raised his pistol.
"Whoa, just hang the hell on. You're in my clinic," she shouted. Her knees wobbled. This was just too much. Don't get weepy! She tried to obey her inner voice, but her lip trembled.
"Were you bitten?" He had one of those deep, radio perfect voices. There was a seductive resonance in his tone. He was handsome, movie star hot, and it wasn't just the uniform. The man had well-proportioned classical features. His eyes were shadowed with fatigue, but they were the most startling shade of green. Perfection. She almost felt the heat radiating off him and his six-pack abs.
What is wrong with me? He's pointing a gun at me and today is mostly likely the first day of the apocalypse. Why am I so fixated on his total sex-a-lusciousness?
"Were. You. Bitten?" he repeated in annoyance.
"No," she replied, scowling.
He lowered his gun. "I think you and I may be the last."
At first, she didn't understand what he meant, and then the horrific understanding dawned on her. "The last?" she squeaked out. The idea everyone she'd ever known was dead or -- worse, undead -- squeezed her heart with almost unbearable pain. "Are there reinforcements coming?"
"Don't think so." He returned to his search and spoke without looking at her.
"We need to get out of town!" Cora said as she pulled her bag higher on her shoulder. She'd waited too long. She should've run sooner, but she'd been waiting for her sister.
"The tank was no match for those things. I seriously doubt we'd be able to get past the bastards on foot."
His harsh assessment put a glare on her face. "Hey, those bastards used to be my friends and neighbors." Cora's voice rose as she reminded him to show respect.
"Sorry," he muttered gruffly, but she didn't hear remorse in his tone. His pupils appeared dilated. She realized her only hope looked like he was ready to fall over.
"Sit down. Let me take care of your head."
He must have been looking for some bandages. He'd come to the right place. He sat while she grabbed what she needed. "What happened?"
"I was dodging a few of the infected bastards when I had to scale a fence and duck under a sign. I hit my head."
"You didn't touch your cut after touching the infected? Or let one of them touch your wound?" Cora asked with concern. She had no idea how this spread, but an open gash seemed like an invitation for infection.
"No. I don't think so."
"Well, that's good. Hold still. This might sting."
"Damn," he spat out as she wiped at the gash with an antiseptic covered pad.
"So are you the only doctor in town?"
Cora grinned. It felt strange to be standing there smiling when all hell was breaking loose a few feet away. "No. I'm the town vet. Davis is too small to support its own human clinic. We don't have a doctor. I make many house calls to local farms. You're the first human patient I've seen in this office, but I don't think you have the luxury of being picky."
He grunted, but didn't tell her to stop. She finished wrapping his wound. His hand was bleeding and she cleaned and wrapped that too.
"I'm Cora. Dr. Coralee Bradley."
"Jordan Parks," he said. She already knew part of that -- Parks was embroidered on a patch on the right side of his chest. The other side said US ARMY. She hoped he was wrong and there were reinforcements on the way.
"So what's going to happen now? What do we do?"