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Daniel’s idea was absurd, but it seemed to pull the finger from the trigger. Nathan opened the door, but his gun was the first part that came into view as his arms extended out into the hallway. The gun was pointed directly at Anna’s forehead, and it didn’t take a rocket scientist to see she was the most likely threat in the hallway.

At the sight of Nathan, Lenore slowly moved down the hallway towards them. Davidson still held her waist and moved with her, and Sebastian followed the pair. The tension in the crowded way was palpable.

“All I want is a way to keep her safe. I wasn’t able to keep her safe from the infection, so now I need to keep her safe from the humans.” Nathan looked to Daniel as he spoke.

So she was infected. Though Lenore had known it all along, the admission of it still stung like a needle to the heart.

“She’s a danger to us here, Nathan, and we are a danger to her. So let’s figure out a way to get her out of the building. Then no one gets hurt. That’s what you want, isn’t it?”

It wasn’t; Lenore could read the devastation in Nathan’s eyes. But maybe the peace offering was enough to placate him and defuse the bomb.

“I wanted to give her a home. I wanted to give her a fresh start and a new life. And I brought her here, and now the world’s gone to hell. She didn’t deserve this. Of all people, she didn’t deserve this.”

Lenore couldn’t argue with him there.

“How’s about we sit down in the living room and figure out how this is going to work then?” Anna suggested, lowering the machete towards the ground, point first, “while there is still daylight to be had to work with. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be dealing with an infected trying to tear down the barricade we built to be impenetrable when I can’t see six inches in front of my face. You will not find me very cooperative in that situation.”

Nathan hesitated, and his focus shifted from Daniel to Anna and back before he finally lowered the gun, ever so slowly, and pushed the door open the furthest it had been in three weeks.

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