Passage Graves

Passage Graves by Madyson Rush Read Free Book Online Page B

Book: Passage Graves by Madyson Rush Read Free Book Online
Authors: Madyson Rush
Tags: Fiction, Suspense, Thrillers, Retail
weapon. It destroyed indiscriminately, leaving almost no signature upon its victims.
    “We set up a security peri meter around the village,” the pathologist continued. “We hope that whatever caused this disaster will be contained.”
    They exited the morgue and headed into another tent marked QUARANTINE. Inside, the walls were protected with extra layers of insulated foam and plastic.
    “D econtamination stations?” Thatcher asked.
    The site saf ety plan called for five exclusion rooms, but they weren’t needed.”
    The room was filled with gurneys and equipment, but empty of people.
    “Since we haven’t identified or isolated the sou rce,” the pathologist said, “I advise you keep protective gear on at all times.”
    “Any guesses as to wh at caused this?” Thatcher was curious about his diagnosis.
    “Off the record?”
    “Sure.”
    He shrugged. “ An infectious agent. I’d say an Ebola-related filovirus or a mutated strain of hemorrhagic fever.” He paused for a moment looking thoroughly confused. “None of the bodies show any cutaneous manifestations, though. There’s blood loss at all orifices, though mostly the nose and ears, and massive internal bleeding. The severity of subarachnoid hemorrhaging is bizarre.”
    Hummer looked to Thatcher for a translation.
    “Blood surrounding the brain,” she said. “Usually from an aneurysm or traumatic injury.” Hummer didn’t care about the fine nuances of forensic medicine. All that mattered was these were signs of lethal noise.
    “It still doesn’t make sense.” The pathologist shook his head. “The death rate is much too high for a virus. It’s unprecedented, actually. The Sudan outbreak only had a 22% survival rate.”
    Thatcher feigned bewilderment. Acoustic trauma of this magnitude would result in a 100% fatality rate. No questions asked. If her team was responsible, there would be no survivors. End of story.
    The pathologist shook his head , perplexed. “You need to see this.”
    He led them to the back of the room and stopped near a large sliding door. It looked more like an elevator than an entrance into a sealed decontamination area.
    “There’s a lift?” she asked.
    “We stumbled upon an abandoned uranium mine while taking soil samples. ” He slid aside the panel door and revealed an elevated metal cage suspended from wires. “It was constructed during WWII. The mine was retired and apparently forgotten.”
    He gestured for them to get onboard. Thatcher was hesitant. The rickety machine looked well past its prime.
    “ We fixed the drive motor. It’s a counter-weighted hoisting system with mechanical brakes,” the pathologist insisted. “We reinforced the guide rails. The lift is a bit precarious—especially the cage—but it does the job. There’s a pneumatic rope break system, lighting, and a fully contained airlock system below.”
    “Why’d you go through all this trouble?” she asked.
    His face lit up beneath his mask. He was charged about something. “I’ll show you.” He stepped inside. The three of them barely fit. “Hold onto the rail,” he said. “The drop is a good thirty-three feet down.” He pressed a button on the inside of the cage. “One push down, two pushes up.”
    Thatcher shook her head utterly confused. Why would they need a bunker three stories below ground?
    The car rocked side to side as they lowered into the dark. The flo or was made of a see-through metal grate. Thatcher had no problem with heights, but it was disconcerting to drop into nothingness. When they reached the floor, the lift came to a hard stop. The tunnel walls were cracked, exposing the aged brick and mortar. Six feet ahead was the first airlock door.
    The pathologist opened the gate.
    “I’d like you to meet the lone survivor,” he said.
    Thatcher ’s gaze shifted to Hummer. She must have heard him wrong.
    Hummer looked sick . “ Survivor ?”

Chapter 12
    SUNDAY 6:30 p.m.
    Stenness, Orkney Island, Scotland
     
    Thatcher

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