“You should leave,” I say, trying to put as much authority in my voice as I can muster. Authority. Like that’s a thing anymore.
“There is a village not far from here,” he replies, ignoring me. “We have fortifications. We have clean water. We have food.”
“You are infected.” I draw each word out to be sure he understands. “You have to go.”
“I am not dangerous. I can help you!”
I take a step back. He doesn’t have long left. He doesn’t realise what he’s becoming. Perhaps he doesn’t even realise he’s trying to kill me. I brace myself and curse myself for not being prepared for this. But maybe, if he’s that far gone, he’ll be as desperate as the others. Maybe…
“I know how to cure you,” I say. “Would you like that?”
He clenches his jaw and his lip curls. His mismatched eyes fix on me like a hunter on prey. Perhaps he’s too far gone.
“I’ll need my knife back, but I can stop you suffering.” I nod and extend my hand, smiling. I think. I’m not sure I remember what smiling feels like.
The man shakes his head and moves away from me.