The Rage: Part 22

XXII

“Here.”

The man positions the frame over my eyes. The blinding glare of the sunlight surrenders to the comfort of the shadows. He steps back and I see him for the first time, his colours tainted by the exposure. He’s like no other man I’ve ever seen.

He has walked in the sun long enough to kill any other man. His skin is dark like rust and his hair like frost. His left eye is green. The right is orange and struck through by four diagonal scars from a Rager’s claws. His gaze dares me to back away. He knows he is infected.

“Who are you?”

“I am the man who is going to save your life.”

I cast my eye over him again. He carries little equipment, but what there is, is attached to a harness around his chest and waist. On one hip, he has a blade, on the other, a length of sturdy pipe. The handle of my knife sticks out of a pouch beneath his arm.

“Where are your companions?”

He seems too lucid to be a Rager, his tone calm despite the anger in his voice. If he wanted me dead, I would be.

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The Rage: Part 21

XXI

“You’re still alive?”

The voice is gruff and aggressive. I’ve heard this before. Words spat like they were poison. Every syllable a knife. Infection.

I take out my knife and lunge at the fuzzy shape. He moves, sidestepping me. I turn and the room spins with me. The man steps forward and I thrust the blade at him again, but he avoids the attack. He’s too fast – or I’m too slow. He grabs my arm and pulls the knife from my hand.

“Are you the only one left?”

I turn to the side and aim my foot at his stomach. The force pushes him back and frees me, but I’m face on to the cloudy window and I can’t see him.

“I’m not the enemy.” He’s behind me. “Are you the only one?”

“You’re infected,” I reply. “Give back my knife and I can help you.”

“I don’t need your help. You need mine.”

He takes my arm and pulls me into the shadows. I wait for his claws to sink into my flesh, for teeth in my arteries. Something hard pushes against my palm. Something cold. I run my fingers over the smooth edges. Metal. Glass. A visor?

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