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       Zombie High, p.3

           Roger Laird
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  A Cure

  Mr. Jenkins was still fast asleep and Mrs. Canterbury was closely monitoring Mr. Stewart. So when Breanne walked over to the door and yanked it open, Mrs. Canterbury’s response was too slow to stop her. Breanne leapt over Miranda’s head and grabbed her by the ankles. She dragged Miranda away from the door and begged Mrs. Canterbury to close it behind her. Mrs. Canterbury was crying hysterically as she shut the door to the panic room.

  Breanne dropped Miranda’s legs and ran away. She swiftly made her way up to the hallway of zone three. She found a supply closet and retrieved some rope. Then she went to the nearest classroom and got the teacher’s high backed desk chair. She gathered her courage, and when Miranda came crawling into the hallway, Breanne sprang on top of her and tied Miranda’s hands as tightly as she could. Then she lifted Miranda into the chair and tied her legs, chest, and head tightly to the chair.

  With Miranda secured to the chair, Breanne wheeled the chair down the hallway to Mr. Stewart’s classroom. She left Miranda at the front of the class while she went to the back of the room and opened the door into the laboratory. She walked in and looked up and down the aisles between the lab tables in order to insure that there would not be another unexpected attack.

  Once she cleared the lab, she returned to the classroom to bring Miranda in. Breanne wheeled Miranda to the front of the lab a good distance from the table that she had decided to work at. That way she would be able to keep a close eye on Miranda as she worked. With Miranda in place, Breanne went to the refrigerator and started gathering the ingredients that Mr. Stewart and she used to create concoctions.

  As she sat down to work, she looked out the thick barred windows of the lab. She noticed that it was dark outside. Breanne wasn’t sure how much time had passed since the attack had started. She was certain that she wouldn’t have noticed if several days had gone by. Red and blue flashing lights swam on the ceiling. Again, she was thankful for the lighting that drowned out the flashing lights. She took a beaker and started mixing in ingredients, carefully documenting the combination, amount, and order in which the ingredients were added.

  When she finished the mixture, she walked over to Miranda and forced her to drink it. Breanne went back to work at the table. She checked on Miranda again after ten minutes. Seeing no change in her condition, Breanne went back to the table to work. There was no change with the second mixture either. Nor was there a change with the third. By the one hundredth mixture Breanne was starting to lose hope.

  She sat down on a stool near Miranda at the front of the classroom to observe the one hundred and first mixture’s results. As she did, Breanne mumbled to herself unintelligibly. When she stopped, the mumbling continued. Breanne looked up at Miranda who was staring back at her with knowing eyes. “I wish you could talk so I would know what you are thinking,” Breanne said to her.

  Then Breanne noticed that Miranda’s hand was bunched, as if holding something. She was swirling it in the air in front of her. An idea occurred to Breanne. She ran back to the lab table and grabbed her pen and notepad. She spoke out loud, asking Miranda how she was feeling. She put the pen in Miranda’s hand and held the paper so Miranda could write. When Miranda finished writing Breanne turned the paper around to read. The paper read:

  I feel great for the most part. My head is clearer than it has ever been before, except for the overwhelming sensation that is driving me to bite you. Before you and Mr. Stewart came back upstairs to look in the lab, I had control of my senses. But as soon as I knew that the two of you were alive, and uninfected, I lost control again. If you untied me, I think I could help you find an antidote to this accursed infection.

  Breanne considered the paper for several minutes. She was certain that untying Miranda would be a mistake. She was not sure how long it would take her to discover a cure, and then how would she administer it once she had? In those few minutes, she had determined a course of action. She knew she was not going to be able to find an antidote quickly enough to prevent everyone in the school from starving to death. In order to be more effective, she needed to be smarter. She rose from her stool and walked to the front of the room. She rolled up her sleeve as she approached Miranda. She held her bare arm in front of Miranda’s face. Miranda tried to resist by moving her head from side to side, but she was tied too tightly. Finally, Miranda gave in.

  Breanne screamed in pain as teeth tore into her flesh. She felt a strange sensation moving through her veins. The last few seconds of Breanne’s scream were nothing more than moaning. Her head was clear, but there was an insatiable tugging sensation in her stomach. She was hungry and she knew what she craved. The craving for blood was foremost in her mind. The craving stemmed from a desire to be cured. It seemed that what Breanne needed to be cured was contained in human blood, but for some reason the blood of the zombified Miranda held no draw for her. In her heightened intelligence, she found that there was something more than just human blood that she needed to be cured. She mastered the sensation and rushed to the lab table with her notepad. With her new craving to guide her, Breanne set to work again. She worked to find an antidote that did not require human blood as part of the composition. The first two mixtures had no effect. The third mixture revealed the horror of Breanne’s mistake.

  Miranda spoke out one loud word. “NO!” But it had been too late. Breanne’s original hunger increased exponentially. It overwhelmed all of her senses. She dove at a cured Miranda, biting her on the arm. Once she had bitten Miranda, the sensation vanished again. She tried to apologize, but only moans came out. Miranda moaned in response, but her angry eyes told Breanne that Miranda had been infected again. Breanne retrieved the remaining amount of the mixture and drank it. Then she mixed more to give to Miranda. In her excitement, Breanne spilled it onto Miranda’s arm. To Breanne’s amazement, Miranda was cured simply by the contact with the antidote. Breanne set to apologizing immediately, but Miranda was too preoccupied with the pain in her broken legs to listen. Finally, she told Breanne that she forgave her just to shut her up. Breanne untied her.

  Miranda did not rise from her chair. She asked Breanne to wheel her next to the lab table so she could watch as Breanne mixed more of the antidote that would be needed. Miranda began looking around the room. While Breanne worked, she and Miranda debated how they could administer the cure to everyone at once. Breanne hoped that the fact that the antidote could be absorbed through the skin would help them to find a solution. Suddenly Miranda burst out, “I’ve got it.”

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