Book: Transmission

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Roach sat behind the wheel of the Humvee, parked on the far side of a grassy field from where a large group of children were playing.  He wasn’t watching the children, however.  His attention was fully focused on Katie Chase as she constantly moved around the edge of the playground, ensuring the kids were behaving and not doing anything too risky.  She was dressed in a pair of Air Force issue uniform pants and a simple tank top, her long hair up in a pony tail that bounced every time she took a step.  He was mesmerized by the pony tail, fantasizing about holding it in his hand and using it to control her head as he violated her body.

He had fought with Synthia earlier, and had sought out the Major’s wife to distract himself.  They had not been able to indulge their needs enough to satisfy Synthia, and she was impatient.  He had explained to her that they were cut off.  Surrounded by infected with no way to go back into town with another woman.  She had screamed at him, sulking off and slamming the bedroom door like the child she really was.

The thought of following her into the bedroom and slipping a knife into her heart had gone through his head.  He had even started to move in that direction, drawing the blade he wore under his left sleeve.  At the bedroom door he had paused as he reached for the knob.  If he killed her, what would he do with the body? 

Tinker Air Force Base was large, but it was also crowded with both military personnel and thousands of civilian refugees.  Someone was always awake and about, and he didn’t think he could move the body without being noticed.  He certainly couldn’t keep it in the house.  Within a day it would start smelling and only grow worse until a neighbor or passerby noticed.  With a sigh he had re-sheathed the knife, turned and walked out the front door.

Driving around to clear his head he had stopped to watch several C-130’s arrive, a dozen V22 Ospreys coming in right behind them.  The Marines he’d heard about were here.  Great.  Even more eyes around to prevent him from playing his games.  Moving on, he had intended to just drive by the barrack where Katie was housed, but when he’d seen her outside with the children he’d had to stop.  Now all he could think about was the feel of her naked body squirming beneath him as he punished her for the Major’s sins. 

Curiosity had driven him to make some discreet inquiries, and he’d been terrified to learn that Major Chase was also at Tinker.  And so were the bitch and the dog.  How the hell had they all survived?  It didn’t matter.  What did matter was that if any of them got so much as a glimpse of him, he was certain he was dead.  The Major would kill him on sight; of that there was no doubt.  Unless he had some leverage.

It was then that he recognized he didn’t want to share that with Synthia.  She might be a kindred spirit, but she was a liability.  Roach had survived as long as he had because he hadn’t taken chances.  He only took women that couldn’t be traced back to him, and he had never told anyone before Synthia about what he liked to do.  She already knew enough to get him arrested, and in today’s world he suspected a court martial would be swift.  As would the punishment.  It would be his word against hers, and she had the marks on her body that would sway belief firmly into her court.  But how to get rid of her?

While he had been thinking, Katie had decided the children had played long enough.  With help from a couple of other women she began rounding them up and herding them towards the barrack.  With a sigh he watched until the last child went into the building, the Major’s wife bringing up the rear.  She paused at the door, looking around like she felt his eyes on her back.  As she stood there in profile he imagined her naked.  The strong, lithe body made oh so feminine by her thick hair, large breasts and curved hips.  Then she closed the door and he lost the mental picture.

Cursing, he started the Hummer and drove off, his erection painfully pushing against his trousers.  Driving, he turned his thoughts back to Synthia.  The decision to cut his losses with her was already made, he just had to come up with a way to do it without getting caught.  Roach didn’t want to die, but more than death he feared capture and the humiliation of the spectacle he would become.

People would call him crazy.  A psychopath.  A serial killer.  They wouldn’t understand.  Wouldn’t be able to comprehend his needs.  Besides, he had never taken anyone that was worth anything.  All the women had been sluts.  His first kill, the cheerleader in high school, had slept with most of the football team.  Then there had been the party girls.  The ones in the clubs in short dresses that would sleep with anyone they thought had money or drugs.  There had been prostitutes too, and none of them had been what society would call virtuous.  He had done society a service.

Smiling, Roach pulled to the side of the road.  He was at the extreme eastern edge of the base and had stopped next to the water treatment facility.  The plant was huge, covering a couple of acres with giant tanks and a veritable forest of pipes.  Catwalks circled the tanks and were woven through the piping.  Butting against the perimeter fence, he could see several places where the narrow walkways extended above the fence.

Still smiling, he turned the wheel and accelerated back down the road.  Excitement coursed through his body and he had to force himself to slow down.  The last thing he needed right now was to get caught speeding on base.  Sure, he’d probably not get a citation like most other drivers, but he’d wind up standing in front of Lieutenant Colonel Lewis, getting his ass chewed up one side and down the other.  He didn’t need that kind of attention.

Roach had always been a master at controlling his emotions, but this was getting the best of him.  He drove fast.  Nearly double the posted limit but made it to his small house without encountering any Security Forces patrols.  Parking on the street in front, he jumped out and dashed inside, heart still beating a mile a minute.  Synthia was sitting on the sofa, refusing to look at him when he charged inside.

“Come on,” he said.  “I’ve got us a way to get off the base.”  She looked up and smiled, jumping to her feet a moment later.

“I knew you’d think of something!  Now?  You have someone?”  She cried, rushing forward to wrap her arms around him.

“We’ll find someone in town.  There’s plenty of women, and more arriving every day!  Are you ready to go?”  The excitement in his voice was infectious and Synthia ran to the bedroom to get her shoes and large purse with her “toys” inside.

“Let’s go!”  She said brightly, dashing back into the front room, yanking the door open and running outside.

Minutes later they were driving along the perimeter road.  The prospect of a new victim had made Synthia forget her earlier anger.  She was bubbly and effusive as Roach drove, describing what she wanted to do this time.  He smiled and nodded, laughing with her, again driving too fast but not caring.  Reaching the plant, he turned into the parking lot and shut off the engine.

“What are we doing here?”  Synthia asked, looking around.

“It’s our way out.  All the gates are shut, but we can get over the fence here and slip into town.”  He said, opening his door and stepping out.

“But what about the infected?”  Synthia asked, getting out and following him into the maze of pipes and tanks.

“There aren’t any here.  You’ll see.  We just have to climb up some scaffolding and then take an emergency exit over the fence.”  Roach reached out and took her hand in his, leading her deeper into the facility. 

Pausing, he looked around and identified the catwalk he wanted.  Still leading, he moved onto the metal stairs.  Synthia was talking a steady stream as they climbed and started out on a series of grates that were 30 feet in the air.  The walkway curved around the side of a tank and suddenly they were out of the shelter of the pipes.  As they continued along the bend, Roach could look down through the grating and see the 12 foot chain link perimeter fence directly beneath his feet.  Half the catwalk and the handrail extended beyond the fence line.

A chorus of screams sounded from below and Synthia jerked to a stop and looked down at a seething mass of infected.  There was an equal mix of males and females, the females having seen them and becoming agitated.  Their excitement spread through the surrounding infected like wildfire.  They began slamming against the barrier, making the wire mesh ring as it impacted the steel posts that supported it.

“You said there weren’t any infected,” she said, starting to look up at Roach.  Before she could complete the turn to face him, he hit her on the side of the head with a leather sap he had withdrawn from his pocket.  Synthia’s eyes rolled up as her knees buckled, her body collapsing to the metal grating. 

“I lied.”  Roach said, slipping the sap back into his pocket and ripping her purse open.

Inside the purse he found two knives, a pair of pliers and a small butane torch that would normally be used to lite cigars.  Synthia didn’t smoke cigars.  He took the knives and pliers, putting all of the items into his pockets.  If by some miracle her body was found and recovered, he didn’t want any weapons found on it.  Not that the times didn’t justify a young lady arming herself with whatever weapon she could find, it was just one of the small details that he paid attention to.

Squatting, he worked his arms under her body and stood with her cradled against him.  Stepping forward, he grunted as he lifted her to clear the handrail, her eyes fluttering open.

“What are you…”  She started to say, but the words turned into a brief scream when he dropped her to the waiting mouths below.

Synthia struck one of the males, knocking him to the ground and coming to rest on top of his body.  Before she could move, several females fell on her, almost sounding delighted in their screams.  She screamed once more, but it was brief, cut off when a female locked her teeth on Synthia’s throat.  Roach stood staring down, fascinated.  And strangely aroused at the orgy of blood that was taking place 30 feet below him. 

“Don’t have to worry about body disposal anymore.”  He mumbled to himself, turning to head back to the Humvee, freezing when he saw the man looking at him.

The man was on an adjacent catwalk, dressed in a set of blue coveralls with Tech Sergeant stripes on the sleeves.  He stared at Roach with his mouth open in a silent ‘O’ of shock at what he’d just witnessed.  Roach mentally screamed at himself for not having made sure there weren’t any maintenance workers on site before killing Synthia.

He didn’t move at first, standing as still as the shocked man.  Flicking his eyes around he found the path to get to the other catwalk, and started walking forward with his empty hands raised in a calming gesture.

“It’s not what it looks like.”  He shouted to the man.  “She was infected.  Just starting to turn.  I had to get rid of her before she killed someone.” 

While he was talking, Roach had covered half the distance to the connecting walkway that led to the one the man was standing on. 

“I didn’t have a choice.  She was going to become one of them.”  Roach pointed at the mass of writhing bodies on the other side of the fence and the man automatically turned his head and looked down at the infected.

As soon as his attention was diverted, Roach sprinted.  He reached the connecting walkway, made the turn at speed by grabbing onto the handrail and charged the man.  Drawing one of Synthia’s knives he ran with it held low, ready to thrust upwards in a killing strike.  The man finally recognized the danger and turned to run. 

But he had waited too long and allowed Roach to draw too close.  He had taken three steps when Roach thrust the knife into his lower back.  The 10 inch, razor sharp blade sliced into his kidney which immobilized the man by instantly throwing his body into severe shock.  Roach pushed him down onto his face, pulled the knife out and stabbed two more times to make sure he wasn’t able to move or fight back.

Grabbing the man’s feet he dragged the body along the catwalk until he was back at the spot where he had thrown Synthia over.  Looking down he could see what remained of her corpse, shocked at how much had already been consumed by the infected.  Working his arms under the man, he avoided the blood as best he could and levered the body up and on the handrail.  It teetered for a moment before tipping fully over and crashing onto the heads of the infected that were still feeding on Roach’s earlier offering.


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