Read Deathly Contagious Online
Authors: Emily Goodwin
The Contagium Trilogy
A novel by
©2012 by Emily Goodwin
You are a wonderful friend. The world needs to know how amazing you are.
"The belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary. Men alone are quite capable of every wickedness."
A red dot hovered over my chest. I froze, abhorrence radiating through my body, heart instantly pounding. My eyes flitted to Hayden, whose own eyes widened in fear. For a split second, he held my gaze, unmoving.
And then he jumped.
If anyone was to die that day, it should have been me. I was no hero, no warrior. I had no true importance to the compound, could never make a big difference. I would never have let him take a bullet for me.
But I was too late. The shot rang out, echoing throughout the barren field, splattering Hayden’s blood across my face.
“Hayden!” I screamed, my body frozen in absolute terror. “Hayden!” I pulled my gun and blindly fired in the direction the shot came from as I clutched his body. “Hayden!” I cried. Unable to hold him up, I sunk to the ground, Hayden’s warm blood gushing out and staining my skin. “No, Hayden…Hayden!” My body shook. I emptied my clip, dropped the gun and wrapped my arms around my soldier’s body, crying.
I kept repeating his name between sobs as if that would make things better. I nuzzled my head against him, barely able to breathe. I didn’t want to go on without him. I didn’t think I could. All I wanted was to feel my fist crush every bone in the face of the person that shot Hayden. Then I wanted to die too.
I had no idea Hayden wasn’t dead until his fingers tightened around my wrist. In a true panic, I flipped him over. His eyes were open and locked with mine.
“Ohmigod, ohmigod,” I stammered. “Hayden.” There was so much blood. The entire front of his jacket was red. With shaking hands, I unzipped it to find the bullet hole. I screamed when another shot was fired. It ricocheted off the tailgate.
“I have to get you in the truck,” I told Hayden, tears still falling down my face. “You’re gonna be ok, you’re gonna be ok,” I incoherently repeated over and over.
“Orissa,” Hayden mumbled as he reached for me. His fingers brushed my cheek. He tried to sit up but winced in pain. I was completely hysterical. Feebly, he put his right arm around me and tried to help me hoist him up. I didn’t know how I did it but I got him to his feet. I took his gun from his waist and randomly fired into the woods. I wrapped both arms around Hayden and dragged him to the passenger side. I opened the door and he fell into the truck. Somehow he managed to get in. I slammed the door shut, fired three more rounds into the forest and dove around the truck and into the driver’s seat.
If the keys hadn’t been in the ignition, I probably would have had a panic attack. I slammed my foot on the gas as soon as the engine revved. We needed to get away. I needed to stop the bleeding. I looked at Hayden, forgetting that I was driving.
“Riss, drive,” he muttered.
I turned my head and focused on getting onto the road. While I accelerated to ninety miles an hour, Hayden pulled on his jacket, only able to move his right arm. I looked in the rearview mirror and didn’t see anyone behind us. Still, it was too soon to pull over.
“I have to stop the bleeding,” I said out loud.
“Don’t let them follow you,” Hayden said, on the verge of passing out. It felt like an hour passed before I slammed on the brakes, accidentally causing Hayden to fly forward. Forgetting to put the truck in park, I let my foot off the brake and opened my door. Screaming in frustration, I forced the gear in place. I sprinted around and pulled open Hayden’s door. “I’m alright,” Hayden lied.
“Ohmigod,” I dumbly stammered again. I knelt over his body, pressing my hands to the bullet wound. He had been shot between his neck and his shoulder on the left side. Hayden made a strangled noise of pain at the pressure from my hands and, using his good arm, pushed me away. Of course it would hurt to have someone push on an open wound. I was about to slap him and tell him to let me save his life when I realized the bullet had hit just under his collar bone, most likely damaging the bone. A sob escaped my lips.
I didn’t know what to do. Hayden was going to bleed to death. “I’m sorry,” I cried and put my hand back over the hole. He closed his eyes but didn’t object. My body shook as I sobbed again. I needed to pull it together or Hayden would die. I reached into the back seat, grabbed a sweatshirt and pressed it to his shoulder. “Hold this?” I shakily asked. He nodded ever so slightly and used all the strength he had to move his right hand over his heart. As soon as he pushed the cloth to his skin, I helped him straighten up and clambered over him back into the driver’s seat.
I wasn’t a doctor. I didn’t know what to do to save Hayden. I didn’t have anything that could help him even if I did know what to do. We weren’t far from the compound. That was our only hope. I reached over and put my hand on his, directly pressing the shirt to him. He winced again, let his hand fall and closed his eyes.
“You’re gonna be ok. I’m not going to let you die,” I promised, my voice coming out uneven as I tried to breathe. The truck lurched to life. I drove like a manic, remembering only to slow before turns as not to disturb Hayden any more than I had to.
I didn’t slow enough for the last turn and Hayden flopped to the side. I faced him, ready to apologize. My heart stopped beating and ice pumped through my veins. Hayden wasn’t conscious anymore.
“No!” I cried, slamming on the brakes. Putting the truck in park this time, I grabbed him, shaking while I screamed his name. He didn’t wake up. “You’re not dead! Hayden, you’re not dead. Stop, Hayden!” In a fit of hysterical sobs, I found his pulse. It was thready and weak, but still there. “Ok, it’s gonna be ok,” I said to myself. My hands were shaking so badly I could barely grip the steering wheel. I got back in my seat and drove.
We were almost there. Hayden was going to be ok. He had to be. The gate came into view. Stopping to open it would waste precious time, time Hayden didn’t have. I slammed the pedal down and drove right through it.
The A3’s at the second gate didn’t know what to do. I laid on the horn, yelling at them to open the gate. I rolled down window.
“What the fuck is the matter with you? Open the goddamn gate!” I clamored. Jason’s familiar face flashed in the tower. The gate opened and I sped past. I could see them running after me but didn’t care. I needed to save Hayden.
Cars weren’t supposed to drive close to the old house. Maybe it was because of the compound underground. I didn’t know; I didn’t care. I stopped just feet away from the front door. Leaving the truck running, I got out and raced to Hayden’s side. I tore open the door and put my arms around him, trying to ease him to the ground.
His body was cold. I felt like I was going to puke. Why wasn’t anyone helping me? I wanted to scream. I made it five feet before I collapsed under Hayden’s weight. I struggled to my feet, cradling Hayden against me.
“Orissa,” a voice called from behind me. I turned to see an A3 running at us.
“Help me get him inside!” I demanded, on the verge of hyperventilating. Someone put their hands on my shoulders. Thinking the two guys might lift Hayden, I backed off. The A3 rushed to Hayden, dropping to the ground and looking at his body. Jason pulled me a few feet back.
“Orissa, l-let’s get you in-inside,” he stammered, clearly nervous.
“No, I have to save him!” I cried out, pulling away from him. Jason tightened his grip on me.
“Let them,” he suggested quickly. I sunk to the ground, crying. The whole thing played through my mind. If Hayden had time to jump in front of me, then I had time to move away. It was my fault. I was mad at him for being so stupid. I wasn’t worth dying for.
“What a shame,” the unknown A3 said to his buddy. “Underwood was the best.”
“Yea, should we tell Fuller now? He’ll want to know before we burn the body.”
My blood boiled. “What?!” I screeched, madly rising to my feet. Jason tried to hold me back but I easily elbowed him in the ribs. “He’s not dead!” I stumbled over, protectively holding onto Hayden’s body. “He wasn’t bitten! He’s not dead!”
“Orissa,” the first A3 started. He looked like he might burst into tears at any second. “I’m so, so sorry.”
“No!” I yelled. “Go get help! Go get Padraic. He can fix this. Hayden’s not dead!” The two A3’s didn’t move. I pulled a small pistol from around Hayden’s ankle and pointed it at them. “GO!” I shouted. “He’s not dead!”
Jason moved over, his hand extended. “Oris—”
“No!” I screamed, turning the gun on him. “Don’t touch him! He’s not dead!”
Jason put his hands up and froze. I turned back to Hayden, burying my head against him, unable to catch my breath. I had no sense of time. Seconds or minutes could have passed before they came running out. Ivan got there first, dropping to his knees next to Hayden.
“He’s not dead!” I yelled at him, though he wasn’t telling me otherwise. He pressed his fingers to Hayden’s neck. I looked at him; his eyes were wide in terror as he desperately attempted to find a pulse.
“She’s right,” Ivan said, his voice hoarse. I clutched Hayden as everyone else sprang into action. “Orissa you need to let go. We need to take him inside.”
I nodded and pried my arms from around him. Ivan and Brock lifted Hayden up. Wade put his arm around me, having to help me walk since my legs suddenly turned to noodles and could hardly hold me up. Padraic ran down the hall, meeting us halfway. He ushered the guys into the exam room, closing the door in my face.
Panicking once again, I pounded against it, demanding I be let in. Wade tried to subdue me. I pushed and swatted him away. Ignoring my attempts to seriously hurt him, Wade patiently let me scream and hit the door for a few minutes before he put his arms around me and picked me up. He carried me into another exam room where Dr. Cara was waiting with a syringe. She didn’t waste time sterilizing my skin before she popped the needle in. Something cold rushed into my vein, burning as it coursed through my body. I screamed and protested, hitting Wade in the face more than once. Then everything went black.
When I woke, I immediately knew what was going on. My brain was fuzzy and I had little control over my body. I swung my legs over the hard, foam bed and fell onto the floor. Ivan, who was sitting in a chair by the door, got up to help me.
“Freak out and you’ll get another shot,” he warned me. “Doctor Cara’s orders, not mine,” he added. His face was grim. I felt sick.
“Is he ok?” I asked, my voice barely above a whisper.
“He’s not dead,” he responded.
“What does that mean?” I asked as Ivan picked me up and helped me back on the bed. I hated being drugged.
“He lost a lot of blood. He was already given some and the transfusion went ok.”
“But he’s not conscious yet. We don’t know if that much blood loss…loosing that much blood can mess up a lot of things.”
“No shit, Ivan. What are you getting at?”
“We won’t know until he’s awake.”
“So he’s ok?”
“I don’t know, Orissa. I’m waiting, just like you.” He sat next to me and sighed heavily. “What happened?”
“We were eating. Someone fired at us from the trees. I-I don’t know where they came from.”
“This wasn’t an accident?” he asked, taken aback.
“You think I shot him?”
“Well…no, I didn’t think-but…what-what else could it be? I’m sorry I even possessed that thought. What happened?”
“We thought we saw someone that night. I think we were followed.”
“Oh god,” I breathed, suddenly realizing the importance of Hayden’s last request. Ivan jumped up, told me he’d be right back and raced out of the room. I wiggled my toes, trying to force feeling and control back into my legs. I got to the point of being able to extend my knees when Ivan came back in.
“Rider, Brock and Wade are taking care of it,” he told me. “If anyone followed you here, they’ll be dead soon.”
“Save them for me,” I sneered, attempting to get up again. I wobbled, legs unsteady as if they were asleep. What the hell did Doctor Cara give me?
“Sit back down,” Ivan said shortly.
“I can’t just sit here while he’s in there.”
“It’s hard, I know.”
“No, I don’t think you do,” I spat, suddenly annoyed at how calm he was. “You don’t know what it’s like to—”
“—Orissa, he’s my friend too,” he stressed. “If we go in there, we’d be in the way. Padraic will get us when Hayden’s stable.”
“When,” I repeated. Not if. Hayden was going to be ok. Padraic might be the only doctor I really knew, but I had no doubt in him. I nodded and leaned against the bed. Hayden was going to be ok, I told myself again. He was. He had to be.