Devon and his allies made it back to their ranch without so much as seeing a stray zombie. As soon as he had washed the sand from his hair, he sent out some runners to fetch the people whose advice he trusted or was at least willing to lesson to.
Of course Spencer, Emily, and Brown where there. Mitch showed up moments later, wheeling Rollie into the study that Devon had claimed for his own.
Their would-be doctor arrived as well. Dr. Alexander had been a psychiatrist before the Walkers claimed the planet five long years ago. The brown skinned man had never been able to flesh out no matter how lucky their savaging teams were and only his well kept goatee separated his figure from the gaunt corpses that refused to die. Although Alexander was no surgeon, his medical training certainly left him better equipped than anyone else to handle any physical crisis.
More surprising was seeing Mar enter with him. The young ebony haired woman had undoubtedly been saved by Alexander skills when she received a bullet wound during their escape from the Ripper jails. Despite the heat, she favored black and often appeared to be competing with Emily over who the sexist girl in the camp was. Devon wondered briefly if she and the doctor could have somehow become an item.
When they finally got settled, Devon filled them in on the away group’s encounter with Haeds. Mitch could barely bite his lip long enough for Devon to finish, before he burst out, “The zombies didn’t attack this man. That’s impossible. Are you sure he was alive?”
“Unless a zombie can shout and swear while he’s trying to fill you with bullets, I’d say he’s alive.” Spencer said, as he helped himself to one of Brown’s precious shots of whiskey.
“Wait,” Alexander began. “Maybe Mitch has a point. If what you say is true and the walking dead ignore this man, then perhaps he is infected.”
“What do you mean doc?” Rollie asked.
“Maybe you have been looking at this from the wrong angle. You are acting like he is a human that fails to attract zombies. Perhaps, he is a zombie that has evolved.”
“I don’t know, Doc,” Devon said. “He seems pretty spry. I could see a zombie remembering to pull the trigger of a gun or learning to turn doorknobs, but talking normal and driving a car… I’m not buying it.”
Brown spoke up. “Maybe it’s something else. What if he was bitten by a zombie, but somehow has an immunity to the plague. Not only would he still live, but if the infection marked him, the Walkers might read him as being an undead. We know they never eat each other. They could think he’s one of their own.”
“And if he only had zombies for company after all this time,” Emily said, while leaning forward, “that could easily explain why he went mad.”
She flashed the psychiatrist a small smile, so he took the stage. “I would certainly agree with you there. After five years, he might consider these zombies and his friends and family.”
“I still hate him,” Spencer said.
Devon addressed Alexander. “Could it be possible that we might be able to use his blood to inoculate ourselves and become immune to the Walker’s attentions?”
“It certainly could be possible, but we have no real way of knowing why the zombies ignore him. He might have devised a sound wave device or be doing it be some olfactory means.”
Spencer made a leaking gad noise. “I doubt that, this guy’s a dumb-ass.”
“Young man,” the Doctor chastised, “having a mental illness is no indication of an inferior intelligence.”
“Whatever,” Spencer said and tried to take another shot.
Phillip was faster and grabbed up the bottle. “Let the rest of us catch up first. It has been a long ass day.”
“And it will be a longer night, if that freak tries to march his ‘friends’ into our ranch.” Mar said, finally joining the conversation.
Emily looked over at Devon. “Do you think he might do something like that? He knows where we live.”
“Maybe we should leave while we still can.” Mar said, looking like she was ready to start packing.
“Let’s not be rash,” Devon said. “We’re set up pretty good here and the only real place to retreat to is a city filled with Walkers. Even if he does try to march on us, unless he has some truly mystic control over the undead, it would take him days to get organized and then at least another three to get them here.”
Emily touched his arm, “but what if he does have some power of them somehow?”
“You’re right. We need to head back to San Miguel. If he’s trying anything big we need to know about it. Maybe we can learn more about this guy in the process. He just might be the savior of mankind.”
Spencer stopped cleaned his nails with his dagger for a moment. “Either that or some bastard is about to try to do his best to see us all eaten alive.”