William Doonan

I write books and stories.

MedicineLand: Chapter Forty-Nine

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“Sweetheart,” Adam called, knocking on the window.  “Let me in.  Please, Karen.  Let me in.”  He slammed his elbow into the window but the glass didn’t break.  He picked up a rock and slammed it against the window.  The glass shattered but didn’t break.  He pushed and the glass gave a millimeter or so but remained intact, suspended in a clear polymer.

In the kitchen, Karen Sorrows poured the liquid in the receiving flask into a cup and began drinking slowly.

Adam found the keypad by the kitchen door.  Keyless entry.  Need the code.  He tried to rouse Julia, even sat her up on a lounge chair but she fell right back down.  He checked her pockets for keys but found none.  He ran around to the front of the house to see if he could find Alice or the husband, but the front door was locked.  He kicked it and almost broke his foot.

He tried to remember which window was the living room but it didn’t matter; all the windows on the ground floor were set above eye level.  This place is a fucking fortress, he told himself as he returned to the patio and sat beside Julia.

There had to be a way in.  He pushed the picnic table up against the wall and climbed on top.  He reached up, found the pipe just over the gutter and pulled his way onto the windowsill.  Instinctively he inhaled, catching his error a split-second too late.  He had found the vent over the stove which he himself had turned on.  How strange, he thought as he stumbled.  Also, how stupid.

He had only inhaled a tiny bit but the effect was profound.  He wondered how long it would last.  He would have to ask the man with the gun.

The man with the gun was shouting.  Then Adam smelled the grass at the edge of the patio as he lay face down, the man’s knee in his back and some kind of plastic ties digging into his wrists.

The man with the gun had Julia propped up against the back door while he pressed buttons on the keypad.  “Try again, Billy,” he said into a headset microphone.  “None of these codes are working.”  He saw Adam moving and pointed the gun at him.  “Who are you?”

Adam introduced himself.  “Who are you?”

“Tim Murphy,” he said.  “Little Tim.  I work for Mr. Shannon.”

“Who’s Mr. Shannon?”

“No,” he said into the microphone.  “I don’t know who he is but if you tell me not to worry about him, I won’t.  How soon can you get back here?”

Adam watched the little man as he had a conversation with himself.

“Forty minutes is a long time,” Billy,” the man said, punching in numbers on the alarm keypad.  “I think they’re all knocked out inside, drugged or something.”

Adam struggled to his feet.

“No, no,” said Tim.  “No, you get back down until I figure this out.”  He had the keypad pried off the wall and was following the wires with his fingers.

“I pulled Julia outside,” Adam told him, “because the vapor inside knocked us out, and presumably the husband and the doctor girl and the dead girl.  Look, I know that sounds strange but…”

“I know about the dead girl.  Is she still inside?”


“Then where’s the car?”

“What car?”

“The Land Rover.  Rocky’s car.  It’s missing.  The Audi is here, and the Asian doctor chick’s little Volkswagen.  And the crippled kid’s van, but the Land Rover is gone.”

“I drove the Audi back here earlier tonight.”  Adam sat in a lounge chair.  “There was a Land Rover there.  I saw the Volkswagen, but there was no van.”

“Well the van is here now and the Land Rover is not,” Tim Murphy said.  “When did the crippled kid get back here?”

“I don’t know.  I’m not really sure what just happened.”

Tim Murphy focused his attention on the door panel.  He had the security box opened and what looked like half the household wiring exposed.  “There has to be a mainline kill switch,” he said into the microphone.

Adam squinted, thought he saw a man out beyond the pool.  There was a whiff of human in the air back there.  He whistled.  “Hey, Tiny Tim, we’ve got company here.  I’m hoping this is one of your boys.”

“Hang out,” Tim said into the microphone.  He turned to Adam.  “What are you bitching about?”

Adam cocked his head toward the metal fence at the edge of the property.  “There’s someone back there.”

“I don’t see anyone.”

“Neither do I, but I can smell him.”

“You can smell him?”

“You heard me.  And truth be told, the lights would likely have come on by now had not you ripped out the whole electrical system.”

“Shut up and don’t move.”  Tim turned on a small flashlight and the yard became light as day.

“Sweet Jesus,” said Adam.  “What kind of flashlight is that?”

“StarLight.  Now shut up.”  He moved quickly to the fence and shone the light into the grove of thick sycamores that lined the property.

Adam heard something nearby.  He turned and saw the man, just by the backyard pool now, kind of stumbling, big white guy, leather jacket, probably a biker.

“Hey boss,” Adam called out.

Tim Murphy spun around and saw the man ambling awkwardly across the patio, toward  Adam, toward Julia.  “Stop right now,” he yelled, pointing the gun.

The man said nothing.  He was only about ten feet away.  Adam moved in front of Julia as Tim Murphy sprinted across the yard.  Adam was bigger than this guy but he was still handcuffed.  “You want me to dive at him,” Adam said, “or you want to take the shot?”

“I’ll take the shot,” Tim said.  “You, down on the ground, now.”

Adam looked into the man’s eyes and saw nothing.  He looked like a regular guy, pot belly but nothing to be proud of.  Smelled a little off, now thinking about it.

Tim and fired twice, hitting the man in the knee and the shoulder.  He lurched forward, but made no sound other than a few grunts.  He fell to the ground at Adam’s feet.

“That missed me by like three inches,” Adam said calmly.

“Who are you?” Tim asked, pulling a second pair of plastic handcuffs.  He pressed his knee into the man’s back and fitted the cuffs in just a few seconds.  “Answer me.”

“He’s a zombie,” Adam said.  “I think they’re not very talkative.”


Written by williamdoonan

July 15, 2013 at 10:57 am

Posted in Fiction, MedicineLand

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