“You’re all a bunch of wankers,” I slurred at the guy sat opposite me. He was staring at me and to be perfectly honest, I didn’t trust the look in his eyes. Joe was gone, he’d left me here with this lot, and the withdrawals were in full swing. I don’t think any of them could understand what I was saying, and that on top of the fact I was burning up and heaving every few minutes didn’t help my claim that I’m not turning. But then who knows, maybe I was. And if I was, I was going to spend my last few hours of humanity cursing at these people.
Mostly though, I yelled at them to get me some fucking morphine, or something. Just a little bit, y’know? To ease the cravings and the withdrawals. And then I yelled about how Sophia had taken the drugs away, even though she was the bright fucking spark that gave me them in the first place.
My guts grumbled so loudly the guy looked up in surprise at me.
“What was that?”
“You might wanna take me to a toilet,” I laughed, “or I’m going to shit myself.” He grimaced, but did what I said anyway. It was a close call. That’s the really fun part of withdrawals. The other is the part where you want to throw up but there’s literally nothing in your body left to get rid of. He gave me some water but that didn’t stay down very long. When he saw it was only water coming up, he asked me how long it had been since I last ate. “I dunno man,” I mumbled, closing my eyes against the brightness of the sun forcing its way up for another day, “long enough.”
“Wait there,” he said, getting up. I gurgled a laugh.
“I’m not goin’ anywhere, am I?” I wiggled my feet and he glanced down at the rope tied around my ankles. He shrugged and smiled, wandering off to the others.
“Can we get this guy some breakfast?” I heard him asking the blonde one they kept calling Marc. I smiled to myself; he was pretty short next to Marc, and it’s not like Marc was a giant. “And some morphine? For his arm? He was mumbling about withdrawals... I think that might be why he’s in such a bad way.”
“Great, so he’s an addict and he’s been bitten,” Marc growled, exasperated. “You better be right about this.” I watched my guy skitter off to go get something. When he disappeared into a tent, I thumped my head back against the post. He had fucked off, hadn’t he? He’d gotten fed up or too antsy to watch the guy that was bitten.
To my surprise, he did actually come back. What surprised me more was that he’d brought food and what looked like morphine. The only thing that could describe how I felt was relief, and I’m not sure even that comes entirely close.
“Right,” he knelt down next to me, putting the plate of food on the floor, “we’ll do this first so you don’t throw it straight back up,” he said, holding the syringe. He didn’t look like he knew what he was doing with it. Or like he wanted to do it, really. But he refused to let me. So I braced myself. He had a harder time finding a vein than Sophia did when I first volunteered to give her a blood sample. I guess a few more have collapsed since then.
Eventually he found a vein in the back of my hand and shakily pushed it in. I winced – his technique was nonexistent and that’s not exactly a comfortable area to inject into anyway.
Still, it was a hit, and it didn’t take long for it to kick in. I remembered to thank him, since I was still chained up and they were the ones with the guns – and my knife. Once the hit had kicked in, though, they saw I wasn’t lying – I was making sense again, my fever went down and I stopped throwing up, which was a bonus when it came to eating for the first time in god knows how long.
“So, what’s your name then?” he asked when he was done spooning food in my mouth.
“You can call me Cancer. And you?”
“That’s not a promising name,” he smiled a little nervously at me.
“That was the idea. What’s your name, or am I going to be referring to you as Squirt?”
He flushed, half embarrassed, half annoyed. “Andy.”
“Well, Andy, I’d shake your hand but I’m a bit tied up right now,” I chuckled. He flashed me a half smile, which I figured was better than nothing.
“Where are you from?” he asked, this curious look on his face.
“Nevada. I was a drug dealer in Reno and Las Vegas, and that is why I was in a state earlier.”
“It’s been months since the outbreak though. You can’t have been high all that time?”
“I wasn’t. I was clean, but then I got bit, and some asshole ripped one of the bites open, and morphine was the only thing Sophia had to hand. But this is why you don’t give an addict morphine, especially not in the middle of an apocalypse. Good bit of advice that.” He gave me an awkward little smile and nodded. Well at least I was honest. More than can be said for Joe.