"What? What did you just say?" I breathed. "Are you serious?"
"Yes," Larry said. "We don't have time now. She may be immune to the germ, but she's not immune to bleeding to death!"
"Why is she immune? How?" Adrianna said. Jeffrey looked down and away. Did he know already?
"She's not the only one, dammit! You all are!"
My world was spinning. I'm immune? How is this possible? Or has Larry just gone over the edge? "I... Wha..."
"Jon! I need you right now! We'll talk later!" I shook myself, listening to Larry. If he was right, Julianna didn't have to die today. But we'd have to help her.
"What do you need?" I said, with a new determination.
Larry and I walked out of that room exhausted and sweating. Finally, we stopped the bleeding. Julianna, according to Larry, was going to survive the day. But I wanted answers.
"Larry," I began. Adrianna and Jeffrey went to bed a while ago. It was probably close to dawn. "How am I immune?"
"I'll explain in the morning," he yawned.
"It is morning," I said stubbornly. "I want an explanation."
He sighed. "Go wake the others up. I mean everyone. They all have to know. I don't want them to think we're just crazy and kill Julianna while she's healing."
I did so, some less willing to wake up than others. I gathered them all in the cafeteria, waiting for Larry. He came in. "I have something to tell you all," he said delicately. "Julianna, along with Jon, Jeffrey, and Adrianna, are all immune to the bacteria that turns people into stumblers."
A few gasped, and started whispering to each other. "How is that possible?" James asked. He sounded confused.
"I'm getting to that. You know why we're such good fighters? Before this all started, we were members of an agency that assassinated international criminals. Julianna and her friends were in training. In the early days of this shit, I slipped a pill in their drink. It was developed by the agency's scientists."
"What? You drugged us?" I shouted. "When? How long ago?"
"Before we left New York. I wanted to leave there to go the agency's main headquarters. They still have the drug there."
"But what's in the drug?"
"That's classified. I'm not allowed to even tell you where the headquarters are."
We were silent. Yes, the whole thing about the assassin agency was true. I ran away from my family when I was ten years old, and Larry found me. Since then, I've been training as a killer. The way our guild worked is that an assassin would go undercover, do anything to gain the enemy's trust, then we'd kill them. I've tried to forget about all that. For a while before the outbreak, I wanted to quit the guild and find my family.
I did. It didn't end well. I found Larry and the others shortly after.
"So if we're immune," I began, "is there a chance that there are others who are immune?"
"Maybe," Larry said. "I stole the drug from them. It was still being experimented with, but I decided to take that chance. Don't you remember? That's when Julianna went crazy. It affected her more, somehow."
"So if we even find the agency," Jeffrey said, "they'll probably kill you and probably us for taking the drug. Hell, they might not even have any more of the drug!"
Larry didn't say anything.
"Well? Am I right?"
"Yes. For all we know, the agency could have been overrun. For all we know, you four could be the only people immune, and therefore the only hope for the population. For all we know, we might be the only people left."
"That can't be true," I said. "We found James and his group. We didn't think anyone was even living in the city. Then we found Mia and Euan. I think there's a bit more of a chance than you think that at least someone is out there, trying to find a cure or whatever for this thing."
"Have you guys checked the CDC?" Ryan asked. "I bet if there was any government left, they'd probably try to protect the CDC. Have you checked there yet?"
"We checked the one in New York City. It was overrun," Adrianna dismissed. "Who's saying all the others weren't overrun either?"
"Who's saying they were? There is a chance."
"So Larry," I said, interrupting them. "Is that why you didn't want us to stay here permanently? To find the headquarters?"
He nodded solemnly.
"So your 'always keep moving' motto, would that apply when - no, sorry - if we found the headquarters? No, probably not, if there even is one. So this school, James' group... We'd just leave them behind eventually?"
I pinched the bridge to my nose. A was getting hit by a big headache. "What if these stumblers are here to stay? What if they're permanent? What if being immunized now won't help later in the future, when the bacteria, virus, or whatever it is, adapts? Shouldn't we just try to secure a location and have a life there? Like the school? I don't want to always keep moving. I want somewhere safe to stay."
"You make a good point. But it's not safe here. No where is safe. This bacteria - I think it's bacterial - could be our extinction, yeah. Maybe trying to live in a world where slobbering freaks can tear you limb from limb is worth it. I don't know. I want to think there's a chance at the headquarters."
"Do you even know how long it'll take to get there?" Mia said.
"No," Larry admitted. "But if there's a chance that we could eradicate the stumblers, by becoming immune to them, then maybe things can go back to how they were."
I sighed. Yep. I had a headache now. "Well, I'm not leaving the school."
"What?" Larry asked.
"You heard me. I don't want to leave. I want to start a life here."
"If he's staying, so am I," Adrianna backed up.
"Me, too," Jeffrey agreed.
I was touched. They were staying for me. "We don't want to leave."
Larry looked at us. "Fine." He walked out, though I felt as if he was planning something.