What kind of mess were they in for?
September 28, 2013
A VG Serial: Dark Continent Continental
Angus was barreling down Lamar at thirty miles over the speed limit. He had just pulled off I-35. “Quick, Skeeter! You know the routine. I am sliding over to the passenger’s side while you climb over me and drive.”
Skeeter was used to this switch-out. It didn’t happen more than once a month, but they were able to work it fairly smoothly in an emergency. When the coast was clear, Angus put the bench seat back all the way and gunned the engine. He continued to steer while Skeeter glided over him and grabbed the wheel. She could not reach the pedals, but that was when Angus swiftly pulled the seat back up where she could. They always requested bench seats in their vehicles for this and many other reasons. The front seat was more workable without a console or bucket seats. Sometimes they had to spread materials out between them. It was a solid, level work surface. They made sure that the seat always had a seat control on each side, the driver’s side and the passenger’s side.
“Sixth block down Guadalupe, then turn right.
“Do they think the body is brainless, a BB?” Skeeter asked?
Angus had reached into the back seat for a prepared kit and was putting on a surgical gown, baggies over his shoes, gloves, and he had a mask and goggles ready. “Yeah, this could be our first brainless body. EMS is on the way, Skeeter. Why don’t you just wait in the car? I will give you a hand signal to suit up, if necessary. I am going to let EMS handle it. They have all the right equipment, but I want to see it up close, myself. Maybe I should take a camera.” Angus reached for the camera and was sliding the plastic housing on the outside of it.
“Good idea!” Skeeter agreed.
“I want to see if a brainless body has any external clues to indicate it is brainless, first off. Do they look just like other dead bodies, or are the physical characteristics of the faces changed? Are the facial muscles more relaxed? Is the skin tone different?” Angus then bolted from the vehicle as it came to a stop and approached the young, distressed woman out on the lawn of the house. “Thank you for following our directives to leave the residence, Miss …..”
“Robbins. Tanya Robbins.” The young woman collapsed into sobs.
“Stay right here. Where is the body?”
“In the kitchen—at the back of the house.”
“Okay. I need to go check that out. EMS is probably going to quarantine you, until we know what this is. You didn’t come into contact with anyone did you?”
“No. I waved them away—anyone who tried to talk to me.”
“Good girl! I’ll be right back, and you can tell me more.”
Angus went through the front door of the house and walked through to the kitchen. He saw her lying on the floor. He walked all around the body, snapping pictures of the positioning. Then he turned on the overhead light, squatted and examined the face carefully. She looked like she was sleeping—very pale but asleep. He looked closely at the eyes, and then snapped close-ups of her face and hands. When he heard the EMS crews pulling up, he went back outside. He walked over to the first man on the scene. “Miss Tanya Robbins, there on the lawn, will need to be transported to some quarantine facility. She would not let anyone get near her—which is good. She didn’t touch the body. When she found it, she called 911 immediately and they told her not to, but they were roommates and if the dead girl was exposed to something, Miss Robbins could have been, too.
“Okay, good!” Frankie, of EMS responded.
“I have been wondering,” Angus started, “on all of your EMS calls, how are you handling this, since everyone got the directive?”
“We have got a driver and a co-driver who sits in the passenger’s seat as back-up, with not much protective gear, then we have two people in the back suited-up at all times.” Frankie answered.
“Isn’t that unbearable?”
“Well, what I meant was, they are pretty much ready to go. They have on the bulky suits at all times, but they have to put on the helmets, goggles and gloves as they are leaving the vehicle. Nah, they couldn’t leave the helmets on all the time—it’s too hot and suffocating. Because it is so uncomfortable, they must switch out with two new people every four hours.”
“Oh, boy.” Angus felt a big wave of anxiety sweeping over him. “What kind of mess are we in for?”
Chapters of Dark Continental by Sara Marie Hogg will be published on Saturday and Sunday.