The chief took in a deep breath and positioned the container of coffee mixed with anti-fungal medication over the infected’s head. Its mouth was opening and closing, its teeth clicking together as it tried to bite the chief. It couldn’t move thanks to the restraints holding it down. The chief waited, then he brought the bottle back up as he raised his head to look at me. “Can you hold its mouth open?”

“Sure.” I placed my left hand on the infected’s forehead and my right hand on its chin. Then I spread my arms apart, keeping its jaw locked open. The infected rolled its eyeballs towards me and groaned. It tried to turn its head too, but I pressed down, keeping it steady.

“Thanks.” The chief positioned the bottle over its waiting mouth and poured. Thankfully, the infected swallowed it down instead of coughing it out. The chief staggered the pouring, waiting for the infected to swallow everything in its mouth before continuing. When the bottle was completely drained, the chief put it down. “You can let go of its head now.”

I released the infected and took a step back. “You’re not going to give it more?” It didn’t look cured to me.

The chief shook his head. “That’s not how anti-fungal medications work. They have to be ingested at a set time every day for a minimum of at least six weeks.” He took out a marker and wrote down a “1” on the infected’s forehead. “Help me untie this one and strap in the next one.”

“If you’re going to do this every day for the next six weeks, wouldn’t it be better to tie all of them down and keep them tied down?” Tying, untying, and retying over and over sounds like a huge pain in the ass. It’s highly inefficient too.

“Well,” the chief said and gestured around. “How many tables do you think I have?” He nodded at me. “But you have a good point. It’d be better to tie them to the wall or something and keep their heads looking up and locked in place, but we can figure that out after dosing these.” He grabbed the ball gag before frowning. “I don’t want it to re-infect itself with its saliva.”

“It’s fine.” I untied the infected’s forehead. “The infected can’t bite through our clothes anyway. For some reason, it doesn’t act like it wants to bite me either.” The infected’s eyes were staring up at the ceiling. Even though I was touching its head, it didn’t roll its eyes towards me. It seemed to be in a daze. The chief untied its legs while I untied its arms. We kept the rope holding its waist down in place and grabbed its shoulders, lifting it up. I tied its arms behind its back, and the chief undid the rope around its waist. With a gentle tug, the infected came off the table. It looked at me, but it didn’t try to bite me. Then it turned its head around to look at the chief. It groaned and spun back around to look at me. It groaned again.

“Interesting,” the chief said. “It’s not cured, but its behavior is noticeable different.”

I led the infected to a corner and…. “Where did you want me to tie this?” There was nothing to tie it to. There was only one pipe, and the other nine infected were there.

The chief looked around before frowning. “You know what, you’re right. Let’s tie them all into place now so we don’t have to keep doing this later.” He opened the door to the room, ignoring the infected struggling against their bindings, and stepped outside. “Come with me.”

I pushed the docile infected from behind, leading it outside the room. It was walking like a person instead of stumbling around like infected normally did. Its head was turning from side to side, taking in its surroundings. It seemed to be smarter than most infected, like it had a clearer head. Is this how the smart infected on the outside was created? It was taking an anti-fungal medication and happened to be drinking coffee at the time the outbreak occurred? It would have to have a weakened immune system too, unless it decided to drink coffee and continue taking its medication after being bit. If those were the requirements for becoming a smart infected, it makes sense why there’s only one of them around these parts.

I led the infected after the chief. We went down the hall and into another room that had a bunch of shelves with medical supplies on them. They looked like drying racks, metal and in layers. The chief swept the supplies into a black garbage bag and gestured towards the shelves. “Tie it here.”

While the chief cleared the rest of the room, I pushed the other against the drying racks, turning it around to face me. I tilted its head back so that it was staring up at the ceiling, the back of its head resting against the shelf. Luckily, there were gaps between the metal poles that made up the shelves, and I could tie its head into place there. I tied its forehead and its neck. Then I tied its arms and legs to the shelves below. With this, all the chief needed to do to give it medicine was stand on a chair and pour it into the infected’s waiting mouth. There was still plenty of room for the other nine infected as well.

“This works a lot better than I thought it would,” the chief said after seeing my handiwork. “Let’s get the rest of them tied down, but first….” He took the marker from his pocket and wrote a “1” on the infected’s shirt. “I’m labeling them so I don’t mix up their medications.”

It took a while to bring the rest of the infected over. They struggled a lot unlike the medicated infected. I almost thought the drying racks were going to fall over, but they seemed to be bolted into place. An hour or two passed by the time we were done tying and medicating them all. The chief said it’d take six to twelve weeks before results started to show. I hope it works.


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