Doctor Benson was totally unprepared for what he saw. What had once been a man was now overcooked meat on a stretcher and was being rolled toward him with the help of a frantic pair of paramedics. Two police officers trailed behind them.
“What happened?” Benson inquired as soon as the paramedics were within earshot.
“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you,” the bald paramedic answered.
“Get him to the ER.”
“Why’s it so dim in here?” the short cop asked.
“The power went out. We’re running on generators.”
“How long will they last?”
“A few days. You have any idea when the power’s supposed to come back on?”
The tall cop crooked his eyebrow. “What do we look like, electricians?”
“You work for the city, don’t you?”
“Wrong department,” the short cop replied.
In the ER, the patient was awake. The paramedics were trying to communicate with him, but he wasn’t responsive. His eyes looked glazed and unreal.
Benson approached. He started to ask if they’d taken his vitals when the patient reached up and grabbed a handful of his lab coat. He resisted, but the man was surprisingly powerful. He saw that the patient’s eyes were solid red, with no irises or pupils. He looked to the paramedics for aid, but they backed away calmly, watching the event unfold. Their eyes were cold and steely. In this moment of distraction, the patient whispered a clear message into Benson’s ear. Benson was alarmed by what the man said, but even more alarmed when he bit his ear off.