Merry Zmas


“Spot!” Wherever that mutt had gone, he was either out of earshot or ignoring him. “Dammit! Spotttt!” This wasn’t good. They were supposed to be partners. Where had that mutt run off to? If he came home without that lousy dog, Katie would have a fit. And if Katie had a fit, Lauren wouldn’t–it was too much to think about. “S P O T T T!”

The winter air was thick and silent. He was only about five miles from Central, and Crosshair’s prediction had been correct. The area was empty except for the occasional corpse on the side of the street. Or in the middle of the street. Zack didn’t seem to care where he froze or what position he took when he did it. Sometimes he or she or it was face-down in the snowbank. It didn’t matter. Grab a wrist, twist, and club. If he didn’t think of them as former people, he didn’t even squint.

His squad had walked to the intersection of Seeley and Salt Springs Roads. This was an area of the city that had held against the encroachment of crack from the west, but failed to hold back against Zack. One mile to his east was the site of the most murders in the city, but all around him was university wealth. His team had spread out, hunting for Z’s. This would be valuable real estate that would yield some bounty once the gatherers were able to move in. That didn’t matter right now, though. He had to find that dog or Katie would be furious.

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