Read Designated (Book 2): Designated Quarantined Online

Authors: Ricky Cooper

Tags: #Zombie Apocalypse

Designated (Book 2): Designated Quarantined (13 page)

BOOK: Designated (Book 2): Designated Quarantined
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Northern Afghanistan
Route Irish
 

Kingsley stood, his hand holding the short leather-bound rope that tethered him to Angel; she sat patiently waiting for her command as Kingsley scanned the road ahead. The heavy pockmarks in the road standing prominent, the scorched remains of old vehicles and pieces of kit marking their hideous nature.

 

Kneeling, he ruffled the back of her neck, her ears flopping gently against his hand as he unclipped the shorter lead from around her neck. His SA80 hung by his side as Jenkins stood, watching the area around them.
 

'Go on, girl, seek.'
 

Her head dropped to the floor as the heavy-gauge webbing lead trailed along behind, its gently flopping length kicking up small clouds of dry, brown dust as she diligently sought out the IED.
 

A soft snuffling huff echoed from the still heat-laden air as she stopped. Her ears perked up as she pointed at the ground, its featureless surface showing little of interest, and yet there she stayed, her tail rigid as she stared with her nose and muzzle only millimetres from the cracked and barren soil.
 

'Good girl. Who's my girl, then? Show me.'
 

Slowly and with infinitesimal care, he traced Angel's path as she lay down on her stomach, paws forwards. She turned her head with a soft low growl, calling Kingsley on.
 

'Jenkins, call it in.'
 

Without looking back at his squad mate, Kingsley knelt, his hand softly ruffling the back of Angel's neck.
 

'Good girl; who's my good girl… such a good girl. Come on girl, let's move, slowly.'
 

Angel slowly pushed herself to her feet. She stepped backwards to Kingsley's feet, her paws padding through her own footprints as she edged away from her find. A small red flag fluttered in the breeze. Leaning down, Kingsley gently pressed the metal rod into the dirt just in front of Angel as she stood up.
 

Easing back, Kingsley and Angel edged away from the fluttering red triangle. The hairs on the back of Kingsley's neck rose as a muffled beeping filled the air. He turned, his eyes meeting Jenkins' as the ground erupted besides them. Angel yelped; she was thrown sideways, her body thumping into the road, kicking up a cloud of powdered dust and stones while Jenkins dove behind the skeleton of an old Russian truck.
 

Kingsley lay, his body limp. Blood leaked steadily from his nose and left ear and the torn skin along the left side of his face was caked with grit and dirt.
 

Jenkins screamed into his radio as Angel stirred and rolled unsteadily to her feet. Her front left leg pulled tight to her breast as she limped towards Kingsley's motionless form.
 

Her nose nudged at his shoulder, a keening whine leaving her as she licked at his bloody cheek. She gently nipped at his cheek, urging him to respond. Clamping her teeth around the shoulder strap of his vest, she began to pull. A deep growl of urgency left her as she dragged Kingsley across the dust-laden road.
 

A smeared trail of blood marked her path as she pulled and tugged at Kingsley's unconscious form. Scrub brush plucked and scraped at her haunches as she backed towards the far side of the road; her vest shifted as she twisted her body, her leg still pulled tight as blood matted her glossy, straw-coloured coat.
 

The stencilled halo on her side was streaked with dust and blood as she flopped to the ground, her muzzle resting in the crook of Kingsley's neck.

 

                                                              ****

 

Kingsley toyed with the small pockmarks on the side of his face as he called out to Angel, the fading memory making his jaw ache.
 

'Come on, girl; let's go home.'
 

Angel's answering bark made him grin as she trotted back to his side, the twisted streak of discoloured fur marring her leg. He lovingly tousled the fur on the top of her head as she licked at his hand, her tail thumping the floor. He knelt and clipped the lead onto her harness, the halo stencilled on its side, streaked a russet brown.
 

She leapt with the agility of a dog half her age, her claws digging into the seat of Kingsley's Land Rover. She pawed slightly at the blanket covering the front passenger seat before settling in, her head resting on her front paws. Kingsley once more ran a hand lovingly over her head as he settled into his seat and made the hour-long journey home.

 

 

 

 

 

London, South Kensington

 

Hawk stared into his pint glass as the music throbbed around him, the table tacky to the touch as he clasped the glass in both hands, his weight braced on both forearms.
 

He gazed at the bubbling amber liquid, his mind lost in a vacuum of self-loathing and pain. Sitting back in his chair, he lifted the glass to his lips and drank. Rivulets of the ice-cold liquid ran down either side of his chin, soaking into the skin-tight cotton t-shirt he wore.
 

Slamming the empty glass onto the table, he motioned. The glass disappeared as a slim waif of a woman lifted it onto the tray balanced on her hand. Turning, he looked at her; her chestnut brown hair spilled out around her face, seemingly in a bid to escape the loosely woven, woollen hat perched on her head.
 

Her hazel eyes questioned him as he sat staring at her. Her slim form wrapped in a form-fitting band t-shirt and jeans that left very little to the imagination. His gaze lingered on her as she cocked one hip to the side with a sigh.
 

'What?'
 

Her Scottish lilt drew his gaze upwards, over her sparingly endowed chest to the eyes that held little in the way of interest in him or his leering gaze.
 

Turning with a slightly disgusted snort, he replied. His tone was curt and left little in the way of compromise as he leant on the table again, his eyes lost in his own mind.
 

'Same again and keep them coming.'
 

'Drinking to forget?'
 

He snorted as he watched her move off, her question lingering in his mind as he turned back to the table again, speaking softly to himself.
 

'Something like that.'
 

The drinks flowed across his table, their cold, slightly bitter forms drowning the images that threatened to flood his mind. The girl never did bother taking the empty glasses back after their first encounter, and John never paid it any heed as he drained his ninth glass, setting it with a slight waver amongst the ever-growing pile in front of him.
 

Watching with a detached interest, the barman nudged her, nodding his head in Stabbler's direction. A smirk crossed her features as she pulled a fresh pint and made the short journey to his table.
 

'Had enough yet, or can you still remember your own name?'
 

She set the glass in front of him and folded her arms across her chest, a look of scorn and mild pity dancing in her eyes as he cast his gaze towards her.
 

'No, yes, and I told you to keep them coming.'
 

Draining the glass in front of her, he let it drop to the table top, its echoing clatter making her jump slightly as it clanged against the others cluttering the now lager slick surface.
 

'Pig.'
 

Turning, she walked back to the bar. Her muttered comment flirted with Stabbler's hearing as he turned back to his pit of sorrow and self-loathing. His soul sank as the wall-mounted digital jukebox began to play, its slim plastic form shuffling through its files in a bid to sink Stabbler even deeper into the pit he was vainly trying to claw his way free of. He turned and glared at the box on the wall. The need to sling one of his empty vessels of loathing at it to silence its soul-wrenching wails was almost too much to bear.
 

His hand closed around the glass until it creaked in his hand, its strained protestations falling short of his ears. The low whine of constricting glass rose the more he squeezed. With an almost audible cry of relief, it was plucked from his grip as the girl returned and set it onto the tray she carried. Her eyes bore into his, her uncaring gaze making his soul wilt all the more.
 

'Boss says you're cut off; he wants you to pay up and move on, and you're making the other customers uneasy.'
 

Hawk glanced around him, the cautious stares of those about him only just registering; a snort of derision left him as he tossed seven fifty-pound notes on the table.
 

'Hey, that is way too much.'
 

Hawk turned, lifting the last glass from the table, testing its weight in his hand. 'It's towards the repairs.'
 

Her eyes narrowed as she watched him. A question bubbling in her mind. Before she could stop herself, she heard the words tripping from her lips. 'What repairs?'

 

With a degree of force that would have made an English fast bowler proud, he heaved the glass at the Jukebox and watched as the screen shattered. Turning, he grabbed his coat from the back of his chair and walked calmly to the door. The bouncer there moved to block his exit, his burly frame almost filling the doorway. Hawk smirked, stepped sideways, and delivered a heavy boot to the side of the man's knee.

 

The crunch of cartilage made the girl almost drop the tray as she watched the doorman crumble, his hands wrapped around his shattered knee as he screamed.
 

The other doorman watched as his mate fell, his high-pitched almost girlish screams filling his ears. With clawed hands stretching forwards, he lunged at Hawk. Stabbler ducked, his mind slowly closing in on itself as the alcohol began to seep through him, slowly erasing any trace of the soldier he once was.
 

A vicious downwards punch sent the bouncer face first into the stained and pitted planks of the floor. Lifting his foot, Hawk sent the toe of his boot into the side of the man's head. One of the patrons, acting on the alcohol-fuelled courage flowing through him, flew at Hawk. A guttural roar left his mouth as he spun, sending his boot into the patron's face. Teeth and blood splattered the wall as the man dropped to the floor, his mouth a mass of shattered teeth and crushed gums.
 

'Come on, you bunch of cunts. Who wants it? Huh? Come on; fucking do it.'
 

A flash of blue filled the pub as cars squealed to a halt outside. Two officers piled in through the door as Hawk continued to scream obscenities. He dropped low, his hand flying forward as he drove his hand into the solar plexus of the closest police officer. A metallic clicking was his only warning as the gasping officer's partner drew her baton and sent it screaming through the air towards Hawk's legs. Turning his hip, he felt the blow glance down his leg, a shock of white flared in his mind as the pain lanced through him.
 

Snapping his hand down, he grasped the end of the baton and pulled; the female constable staggered forwards as she was wrenched over her own feet. He followed round, driving a punch into her exposed back, sending her into the planked floor as she crumpled, hitting it with a thud.
 

Her eyes widened as she hit the floor. Rolling onto her back, she dragged the Taser from its holster and in one movement, aimed and fired, sending the barbs singing into Hawk's stomach. As the Taser clicked, he went rigid, dropping to the floor with a heavy
thunk
as his body convulsed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11
Southwest London

 

The phone echoed through the room, its warbling ringing filling the small, fifth-floor flat. His hair sat in a dishevelled mess atop his head as he padded towards the wall-mounted phone. Lifting the phone receiver from its cradle, he spoke briskly, his words short and sharp as he felt the cool plastic meet he his sleep-heated skin.
 

'Colinson, speak.'
 

A muted curse left him as he listened to the caller, the voice monotone and bored as it drifted through his ear, chasing away any vestige of sleep's lulling haze.
 

A deep almost mournful sigh left him as he replied cutting off the speaker. 'Very well, I will be down to collect him at once. Please see to it he is left shackled. Thank you.'
 

Slamming the handset back onto the cradle, he cursed once more and walked back to his bedroom. Dragging a plain shirt from the rail in his cupboard, he turned and dropped to the bed, fishing in his bedside cabinet for a pair of socks. The door to his flat clicked shut as Colinson shrugged his shoulder, settling the lightweight jacket he wore into a more comfortable position. Then with a shake of his head, he turned and hurriedly descended the staircase.

 

****

 

Colinson's car slid to a stop outside. The two RMP officers were already waiting outside as he stepped towards them, both men saluting as he walked past. He didn't bother returning the formality as he strode up to the duty officer and slapped his identity card on the Formica top.

She glanced up from the screen and nodded, already fully aware of who he was. She pressed the button next to her keyboard and let him through, the reinforced steel door jumping slightly as its magnetic lock disengaged.

 

The two RMP officers followed closely on his heels, the cries of the people trapped behind the heavy doors of the cells around him echoed down the hallway. The discordant, garbled cries of one man made him smirk as the man pounded on his cell door, his voice so slurred it was hard to distinguish any cogent words from his diatribe as he ranted and raved.
 

A pool of urine seeped across the floor as an officer forced open a cell door. The man inside sent a steaming trail of yellow piss over the officer's booted feet as he waved his semi-engorged member at the young constable.
 

His drunken cackling rolled over the three men as they marched onwards; the cadre of police encircled Hawk's cell as they approached.
 

The clang of steel-on-steel echoed back at them as the officers opened the cell door for the two Royal Military Police officers. Their boots thumped against the floor as they pulled Hawk to his feet, the dark stain on the front of his trousers expanding slightly as he lost control over himself.
 

'You have fucked up royally this time, Stabbler. Christ knows what Baker will say when he hears of this; he vouched for you, said you were on the wagon—and this is how you repay him!'
 

Blearily, he looked up, a line of drool glistening as he stared at Colinson. A smirk covered his features, a dim flicker of intelligence glowing inside his alcohol-addled mind.
 

'Hello there, sir. Awe shit, sir, they made me piss myself. Bloody piggies made me piss all over myself, sir.'
 

His words tumbled out in a saliva-drenched blurt as he tried to salute, the handcuffs on his wrists making the movement even more clumsy than it already was. As he jerked his arms, one limp hand slapped him in the face making him stare at it in confusion.
 

'Get this piece of shit out of here; I will deal with him when we get back to base.'
 

Hawk's head dipped as he passed out again. With their arms secured through his, the two RMPs dragged him from the cell and down the hall, his feet squeaking slightly on the floor.
 

'I hope your officers are both fine.'
 

The station chief nodded. 'Nothing but bruises and wounded pride. Constable Renley was quick on the draw with him, otherwise things could have been a touch different. So, what happens with him now?'
 

Colinson sighed as he watched the slowly disappearing form of the two officers as they towed Hawks between them.
 

'We get him back, get him sober, and go from there; no point administering punishment if he is too damned pissed to remember it.' The station chief snorted slightly. 'Well, good luck, Captain. Sorry we couldn't meet under better circumstances.'
 

Colinson nodded as he shook hands with the man. Then turning on his heels, he marched quickly after the three men.

BOOK: Designated (Book 2): Designated Quarantined
11.6Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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