The science building was not far, and when they arrived, they found the incident out front had all been cleaned up, though no one would be using that lab room for some time.
Emily judged the time by the sun and decided it was about two-thirty, no later than three. At that time, of course, the building stayed open even if some professors were gone for the day. They had no trouble reaching the second floor.
“Jack L. Hide.” Latasha misread the sign outside the door. “Sounds like the book we are reading in English, Jekyll and Hyde.”
Lisa and Emily looked at each other. That sounded exactly right. They kicked the door in.
A simply enormous man stood on the other side of the desk by the window. He had to be six-feet, six and was more than well built. His back was turned toward them as he looked out the window, but he spoke when they burst in, so they paused to listen.
“Proportion is everything. It can even relieve the pain, but adrenaline and testosterone burn, as I am sure you know. The growth hormone is in many ways the key to youth and vitality.” The man turned and Emily caught her breath.
“Professor Hilde.” She saw the crutches tossed aside just before they heard a moan in the corner. Owen was there, crumpled like a discarded rag doll. Clearly, most of his bones were broken and he would not live long. Pierce went straight to him and knelt beside him to see what he could do so the women could focus on Hilde.
“I tried to clean up some loose ends, but you survived.” He looked at Emily and turned to Lisa. “Your medical examiner was not home.” He turned to Latasha. “And I assume my little test soldiers are gone, and I can see why. There are three of you.”
Lisa responded. “To be fair, we had guns.” Her hand reached slowly to her back as she spoke.
“Yes, the money the government offered for the competition would have been nice.”
“What?” Latasha interrupted. “So you could build an army and take over the world?”
Hilde laughed, and it was a genuine laugh. “I assure you, my motives in all this were purely selfish. Now, if you will excuse me.” He crashed through the window and dropped two stories to the ground. The glass that shattered and the screen on the window proved no barrier. Lisa just got her hand to her gun when she cursed.
“Damn!” She leaped over the desk and followed the man out the window. Latasha and Emily looked at each other, but only briefly before Emily and then Latasha tried the same stunt.
Two stories were not that hard, Emily decided. She knew how to use her knees and roll when she hit the ground. Latasha had no such training and got up to look at her palms, which she skinned on the brick walkway, like a younger girl might skin her palms falling off a bicycle.
“Ouch,” Latasha mouthed, but quickly picked up the Billy club and chased after Emily.
Emily pointed to the other side of a row of bushes as she ran. Latasha got the message and went the other way. When they came around the corner, Emily ran right past the tussle and yelled “Back up!” because Latasha looked ready to get in the middle of what was already over.
Lisa had jumped over the hedge and caught Hilde by the ankle, effectively tripping him. He shook her off fairly easily, but Lisa held on long enough to give Emily and Latasha a chance to get between him and escape. When he stood, he was surrounded.
He eyed his opponents first and said nothing. Emily was in military training. Lisa was police trained. He went for Latasha who was both the youngest and least trained. Latasha managed to hit him in the face with her Billy club. Lisa and Emily rushed up and both hit him hard in the lower back. He growled and threw his hands back, which made Lisa leap back and knocked Emily to the ground. He was incredibly fast, and strong.
Latasha hit him again in the face and he grabbed the Billy club and wrenched it out of her hand. Latasha shrieked and backed up. That gave Lisa a chance to land another blow to the same spot on Hilde’s back. Emily saw a better opening. She kicked Hilde’s knee so his two knees crashed together.
Hilde howled and staggered for a second. They were drawing a crowd. Hilde needed to get out soon, or not at all. He turned on Emily and swung his fists at her face, three times. Emily bobbed and ducked, but each blow grazed her face and jaw and she felt like she was being hammered. He hit hard enough that any such blow landed squarely on a normal face would have been a killing blow. Then Hilde kicked at her knees. Though his foot only scraped her legs, the force was enough to both hurt her and knock her to the ground.
Lisa got two more blows in the same spot on the man’s lower back. They began to take a toll. Latasha had watched and kicked the man’s knees again, just before he dove at Emily. It disrupted Hilde’s timing so Emily could roll out from under before he landed, and he did not reach for her. He needed the hand to put briefly to the spot where Lisa had been pounding. He growled at her, but the women were thinking how they might finish this.
Pierce arrived, rushed past Lisa and leapt at the man with enough force and weight to push him to his back. Pierce briefly struggled to put something in Hilde’s mouth before Hilde shoved Pierce away. Pierce flew ten feet and landed hard on the ground, but he got shoved, not hit, so he did not get seriously injured.
Emily rushed to him, but Pierce smiled and held up a small vial. “From Owen,” he said, and Emily turned her head as Hilde began to scream. He put his hands to his head, and Lisa held back Latasha as they all watched.
“Too much.” That was the only word Hilde said before his body burst into a ball of flame. When it was over, there would be even less of him than there was of Karyn.
Emily stood. Pierce got up more slowly, though he looked fine. Lisa brought Latasha over and spoke.
“On this?” Latasha pointed at the burning corpse.
“Zombies,” Emily reminded her, and glanced at Pierce. She wonder again what he was doing that night in the alley.
“Oh, I should have remembered the zombies. That’s like back home in New Orleans.”
“Happy Halloween,” Lisa said.
Be sure and stop by Monday for The Elect, chapter 6, Vigilante. Just when Emily thinks things may finally settle down, the dead begin to move, and at least one person gets carried away. Don’t miss it. Happy reading.