The stay at the house didn’t last much longer. Everyone was soon in a vehicle and heading towards the town down the hill. When they arrived, it became clear that Sharkey hadn’t exaggerated about the amount of men at his disposal. While the large town wasn’t exactly crawling with people, it was clear to see Sharkey’s crew numbered upwards of a hundred. How he’d amassed so many people was a question none dared ask.
They arrived at what passed as the headquarters, formerly the town hall. It was really just a central hub for the crew. There was no hard and fast rule as to where people slept as long as they were reachable at all times. A few chose to bunk in the HQ; others picked alternative buildings in and around the town. It was a somewhat relaxed atmosphere, which certainly surprised Ryan.
He and Kas were debriefed by Sharkey, handed walkie-talkies, and then sent on their way. They were promised they’d see action soon.
With that done, Sharkey went to visit his new acquisitions: the scientists and the immune woman. They’d all been kept together. Jay, on the other hand, had been transported to the cells in the town’s police station to fester alone.
Sharkey entered the room with a handful of his men and adorned all with a frosty gaze. “As I said back at t’house, you’ll be workin’ for me now. Continue your research as you did before. I’ll expect daily reports. On top o’ workin’ on a vaccine, I also want you t’start on potential weapons.”
“What do you mean by weapons?” a scientist asked.
“I mean use what you know about the lurchers to develop weapons we can use against enemies. The kinda stuff that’ll infect ‘em in seconds and kill loads at once. We need t’start looking at ways of preservin’ ammo.”
“You’re out of your mind!” another scientist exclaimed. “We want no part of this insane game that you’re playing!”
Sharkey started slowly towards the man. “What’s your name kidder?”
The scientist stalled momentarily. “Frost. Professor Marlon Frost.”
“Listen, Marlon; I know you don’t know me and you won’t be aware o’ t’work I do, nor what I’m capable of. Believe it or not, I’m a scientist o’ sorts meself.”
“You… you are?”
“Oh aye! Biology’s my area as well. I’m a keen student in t’subject o’ dissection.” He quickly took a hold of Professor Frost by his jacket, forced him to the ground, and retrieved a flick knife from his pocket.
Frost was filled with immediate fear. “Oh God! Please don’t hurt me! Please!”
“I’ll start wi’ your face. I’ll cut off everythin’ and gouge out one o’ your eyes. I’ll leave the other in so you can see what I do wi’ t’rest o’ your body,” He ran the blade lightly across Marlon’s cheek, drawing blood as he went.
“Please stop!” Pleaded Georgina.
Sharkey looked up with cold indifference. “I’ll stop as soon as these fuckers realise who’s in charge around here!”
“Everyone knows you’re in charge. They weren’t expecting what you said is all. They’re medical scientists, not weapons manufacturers.”
There was a pause as Sharkey considered his response. “It’s time for ‘em to improve and update their CV!”
“We’ll do what you want,” a scientist called Martina yielded. “Only if you leave Marlon alone though. If you touch him again, we won’t do a thing for you, no matter how much you threaten us.”
“I’d love to put that to t’test, but maimed boffins ain’t exactly much use to me.” He stood and allowed Marlon to get away back to his fellows. “I want no pissin’ about! You’ll be fed and watered adequately and I’ll allow you all rest breaks. In return, I want you t’work on what I’ve asked wi’ no dawdlin’. Treat me like a mug and I’ll show you a side o’ me you’ll wish you never had; got it?”
There were nods and mumbles of compliance from the scientists; they knew their choices were decidedly limited at this stage.
“As for you,” Sharkey addressed Georgina, “I can see you fancy yourself a bit of a feisty one. Let me assure you; I have women in my ranks who’re ten times tougher than you are on their worst day. Try owt funny and I’ll have no qualms in tellin’ ‘em t’pay you a visit; you get me?”
Georgina nodded, the air of disappointment about her only too prevalent.
“If you shed the idea that you’re somehow a prisoner and actually try t’just get on wi’ things here, you might end up learnin’ t’like it. I’m always happy t’reward good work; just remember that. Things are what they are now, so you’ll be just as well crackin’ on with it rather than fightin’.”
The point had been made; the scientists and even Georgina knew that any further resistance would only be detrimental. The best thing they could do now was go along with the inevitable and hope that, somehow, Jay found a way out of the predicament for them all.
As Sharkey left the room, Georgina allowed herself a moment of weakness. Her heart weighed heavy and tears began to stream from her eyes. She hated to admit it even to herself in light of everything: all she wanted was for Ryan to be there to hold and reassure her. Despite him showing his true colours yet again, her love for him couldn’t be quelled.
TO BE CONTINUED