Medical care was, perhaps, the most desperately needed industry, and it had been one of the first to fall. The infected, taken to the hospitals with severe influenza-like symptoms, had ravaged through medical personnel with brutal efficiency. The medical centers began turning away the infected after the first few months, but the damage had been done. Trained staff had been decimated, and more fell to the Revenants outside the safety of the fortified hospitals. Likewise, the National Guard had been among the first to swell the number of Revenants. Sent in to contain the spread of the virus, they at first cut a wide swath through the infected. Within a year, only a tenth of the troops remained nationwide, and within a short time they had dispersed, either into the ranks of the survivors or the infected.

To maximize the light, Bon aimed his beam at the wall so it reflected in the wide hallway. A gloomy cavern ahead signaled an intersecting hallway. He tucked Mac behind him; she didn’t protest. Hallway intersections were perilous, and Bon was better trained in combat.

They approached cautiously, in combat formation: Bon ducked down against the wall and slightly ahead, the flashlight pointing behind him at the floor, and Mac a few paces behind and a couple of steps from the wall. The technique served them well; often a Revenant would charge when the light hit its eyes, and Bon would take evasive action by rolling out of reach lest he become a friend-munching cannibal. The Revenant would then focus on Mac, and Bon would dispatch it from behind while Mac held it skewered on her black-bladed machete, which she had named Black Jack.

She held Black Jack at the ready as Bon started the countdown: three fingers held down near his thigh. Then two. Then one. He stabbed his flashlight around the corner into the dark hallway and withdrew quickly.

Silence.

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