As the attendant in the room took the empty bags from the stand, Anderson steered Claire back out the door they’d entered and to another one on the right- hand side. It was locked, but An- derson had a thick ring of keys on her belt, and she opened it and pulled Claire through it with her, then firmly shut the door behind them.

And they were in the room where Eve was being unstrapped from the “treatment chair.”

“Claire?” Eve’s voice sounded weak, and it trembled with tears, and Claire couldn’t take it anymore. She couldn’t stand to wait even one more second.

She gave her hands a sharp shake, and the cuffs slid off. She caught them in her right hand, slipped them over the back of her hand, and punched Dr. Anderson in the face. Shane had taught her how to do that, too, all the power coming straight from her shoulder, her body weight leaning into it, and the move caught An- derson completely by surprise. She stumbled, hit the wall behind her, and went down. Claire bent and ripped the keys from her belt, then realized that there were two attendants in the room, not just the one she’d expected.

No time to worry about it.

As the attendants were just starting to be aware of the violence, she dropped the handcuffs and took out her slingshot. She loaded it with a handful of screws and pieces of crayon and let fly as the two started toward her.

She hit them both in the face. They stumbled back, startled, and she reloaded and hit them again, moving the whole time. The male attendant had a Taser club in his belt loop, and she grabbed it, thumbed it on, and slammed it into his chest to trigger the charge. He went down. Seconds later, so did his colleague.

Eve shook her head, as if she was still woozy. “Claire? What the hell are you doing here?”

Claire was already unbuckling the rest of the straps that held her friend down. “Being a menace to society, I guess.”

“Thank God!” Eve came up off the table and enveloped Claire in a hug that left her breathless and actually picked her up off the floor. “Sorry you had to rescue me, but thank you. They— they were—”


“I know,” Claire said, and hugged her back, hard. “I saw.” She wanted to cry, but this wasn’t the time, and it certainly wasn’t the place. “We’ve got to get the hell out of here, right now.”

Dr. Anderson was down, but she wasn’t out— not yet; she was trying to get up, in fact. Claire let go of Eve, grabbed the Taser from where she’d put it on the bed, and held it out, crackling, in front of the doctor’s widened eyes. “Don’t,” she warned her. “I don’t want to hurt you more than I already have.”

“Then you’re a fool,” Anderson said. It sounded ragged and pained, and she spat out some blood. That, Claire thought with some surprise, had been one hell of a punch. Shane would have been so proud. “Because after this, there won’t be any delicate little adjustments to your psyche. You’re not going to be fixed— you’re just going to be put down. I’ve said that would be necessary ever since I got here, but Fallon wasn’t listening. Now he will know I was right.”

Claire bent, picked up the handcuffs from the floor and quickly clicked them over Anderson’s wrists behind her. “Stay down,” she said. “Eve?”

“We are so leaving,” Eve said. She looked down at herself and shuddered, and Claire realized for the first time that she was wearing shapeless hospital pajamas— pale pink. “Okay, we are so leav- ing as soon as I find out what these fashion murderers did with my clothes, because, seriously, I would not be caught dead in this.” She was trying to be her old self, but Claire could see the fragility in her, the fear, the horror.

“I don’t think we have time to shop,” Claire said, because the big orderly in the white coat was slowly getting his muscle control back and looking at them with murder in his bloodshot eyes. She darted over and collected his keys, and then the other woman’s.

“Flee now. Fashion later.”

“There’s always time for fashion!” Eve protested, but when Claire grabbed her hand and towed her toward the door, she fol- lowed. Claire slammed the door as they left, and locked it with Dr. Anderson’s keys. No point in leaving her enemies behind her without at least trying to slow them down, she thought.

They ran down the hall toward the front, but Claire caught sight of figures heading toward them— three at least, all wearing white coats. “Not that way,” she said, and they backpedaled and turned the other way. That hall ended in another locked door, but Claire had the keys from Dr. Anderson, and she rifled through the choices until she found one that fit. One quick twist and they were inside. The key lock was in place on this side, too, so Claire turned the key and heard the bolts slam home. “Done,” she said to Eve, but Eve wasn’t listening.

Eve was staring at the room they were in, and after the first blink, Claire was, too.

Because it was a room full of corpses.

Vampire corpses.

“Mr. Ransom,” Claire said. She walked to the table that held his partially covered body. It looked exactly the same now as it had in the photo she’d seen in Fallon’s office, and it also looked . . . sad.

Alone and lost. She tugged the sheet up over his still face. “That one, that’s Amelie’s assistant. And that one used to be one of her guards.” She covered each of them as she passed. She didn’t know some of them, and some she didn’t like, but that didn’t matter now.

They were victims now. There was no mistaking that they were dead— she couldn’t explain how she knew, but it was the color of them, the fallen- in emptiness.

“What the hell happened to them?” Eve asked. She already knew the answer, Claire thought. There was dread in her voice, real dread.

“Fallon gave them his so- called cure,” she said. “These are the ones who didn’t make it.”

“But— but he’s giving it to Michael!”

“I know,” Claire said. She took a deep breath and turned away from the dead. “And Oliver, and a bunch more of them. I heard Fallon; he was putting Anderson in charge of the cure, and if she’s here that has to mean that Michael and the others are here, too. Maybe behind those locked doors in the hallway. We’ll find them, Eve.”

“You’ve got a Taser,” Eve said. “I feel militantly underdressed.”

She looked around the room, then pulled out the drawers. There were knives in them. Saws. All kinds of things that made Claire feel a little bit faint, seeing them.

Eve hesitated, then reached in and took out a thick, wicked- looking knife. Claire snapped the elastic holding her makeshift homemade weapons and traded out for a scalpel that fit inside the cardboard sheath. Then she looked at the shelves, and the ranks of bottles.

“Wait,” she said, and began pulling things down.

“We can’t wait. They’re going to give that poison to Michael!”

“I know. Just wait.”

Eve didn’t want to, but Claire had all the keys. “What the hell are you looking for?”

“Trichloroethylene,” she said. “Hydrogen fluoride and bro- mine. I’m making anesthetic gas. Halothane.”

“Is that safe?”

“No,” Claire said. “But it’s safer than using knives on people, and we might need to knock out a bunch of people all at once.”

Eve kept her objections silent, at least, though Claire was pretty sure she was screaming them inside. Claire didn’t let it affect her concentration, because doing this wrong would be a very bad idea.

Halothane was volatile, and this wasn’t the best- equipped setting in which to be making a gas. She found some breathing masks and put one on, then handed one to Eve, who only complained a little.

“They’ll be getting here soon,” Eve reminded her. “One of them is bound to have keys.”

“I know,” Claire said. “Here. Go jam this in the lock.” She handed her the paper clip, bent into an almost unrecognizable shape now from all the uses she’d already put it to. Eve raced off to do it, and Claire began carefully measuring out beakers of fluids.

She had the bare minimum equipment necessary to capture the gas once it started to react: tubing and a container. She worked fast, with all her attention on the problem at hand. Her mind was clear, at least, and the picture of the chemical compound seemed so real she could have reached out to touch it. She prepped the burners.

The last part would be the problem, because the bromine reaction needed a very high temperature, but she’d just have to do the best she could.

The synthesis of the trichloroethylene and hydrogen fluoride went easily enough; once the temperature reached 130 degrees, the gas progressed to the second stage. She added the bromide and cranked the heat as high as she could. The mixture boiled off into gas, precipitated into the tubing and the container, and Claire quickly stuck a cork in the tube and left it attached to the bottle.

“Are they outside?” she asked Eve, who turned toward her. Eve didn’t need to answer, because Claire could hear the metallic clicking in the lock, followed by a loud bang on the metal door.

“Open up!” someone called. He sounded angry. “Open up now!”

Claire hurried forward and crouched down to uncork the tube.

She crimped it in the middle, and then slid the flexible rubber un- der the door’s bottom edge. “Talk to them!” she said to Eve. “Get them close!”

Eve began spouting something that sounded half crazy about the dead coming back to life and zombies lurching up off the ta- bles, and if Claire hadn’t known it was a lie she might have bought it, too, especially when Eve ended it with “Oh, God, help us, help . . .” and trailed off into a gurgle that sounded especially grue-some.

There was silence on the other side of the door.

“Do you think—,” Eve whispered, but she didn’t need to finish the sentence, because Claire heard a falling body hit the door and slide down. Then another, and another, farther away.

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