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Beer Run | Book Two The Fog Series | Chapter Three

While Elijah, Alex, Sara, and Daisy still insisted on trying to make it to the Queen Vic, they had agreed that it was probably best that they create a breathing mask before they ventured forth into potentially Ted virus contaminated air. This, Benjamin supposed, was better than nothing.

He watched as everyone, except for Amber and himself, crowded around a table and Googled ideas. This was going to be a disaster. The one silver lining was that Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” was playing, proving that someone in the household at least had good taste in music.

The moment Benjamin noticed the music, though, it changed. Benjamin wrinkled his nose as the unfamiliar song filled the air. Why couldn’t the whole playlist have been Beethoven? Or just composers in general?

“Is this “When Will My Life Begin” from Tangled?” Daisy asked.

“Uh…I guess,” Elijah replied, shrugging.

“It’s a really weird mix you’re playing,” Daisy pointed out.

“Well, it’s because everyone in the house has different tastes in music,” Elijah said. “It’s caused a load of problems, so we made a mixed playlist. Everyone got to choose songs, and the rules were that you couldn’t skip. I knew the songs that Ted hated, so I chose them—Disney songs. And Alex chose songs I hated, hence all the classical.”

Alex laughed nervously and rubbed the back of his neck. “Well, I mean, it wasn’t…it wasn’t a malicious thing…” Alex trailed off.

Daisy blinked her large brown eyes at him, and Benjamin felt a twist of sympathy for Alex, who—like Benjamin himself—seemed to disintegrate into a pile of goo when talking to a pretty girl.

“And Ted just has bad taste,” Elijah added.

“Ah. Now, I see the light,” Daisy said, nodding, “And it’s clear that you all just hate each other.”

“Isn’t that true of all roommates?” Alex asked.

“Maybe if they’re men,” Sara replied. “And I think I’m pretty much done.”

Sara placed a fedora with and attached mask composed of wax paper and several wads of tulle on it. It looked like an unholy abomination, especially when she put it on.

“I’m done, too,” Elijah said, proudly showing off his baseball helmet, covered with a plastic bag.

That looked like it would be exceptionally poor at protecting Elijah from any toxins that were in the air. If the virus was still around, Benjamin was sure that Elijah was setting himself up for a one-way ticket to Zombieland.

It was still better than Alex’s endeavor. He’d taken a Freddy Kruger mask and taped paper towels over the mouth hole.

And Daisy’s mask was just odd. She’d shredded up some bedsheets and tried weaving them together in some makeshift mask that looked like something between a headscarf and a quilt. Whatever it was, it was an unholy abomination.

“This is a really bad idea,” Amber said. “Guys, I don’t think you should do this.”

“I agree,” Benjamin said. “I’m a scientist, and if the CDC says that we should stay indoors, we should stay indoors. We don’t know what this thing is yet, so we don’t need to take any unnecessary risks.”

“Meh. It’s just fake news!” Elijah replied.

Benjamin felt his eye twitch. Being a scientist, he was particularly sensitive to news being called fake. He had met more than his share of completely uneducated people who swore up and down that they knew more than people who had devoted their lives to silence, and it never failed to grate against Benjamin’s nerves. He had not spent that much time in school to be told that he didn’t know as much as his Aunt Sue on Facebook who once worked in a daycare thirty years ago. “Have you seen Ted?” Benjamin asked, sweeping a hand towards the apartment doorway. “He’s dead!”

And he was presently decaying on the floor outside the apartment. Benjamin grimaced. They probably shouldn’t have left Ted to decay in the hallway, but it would likely be too late to move him now.

“So? Why are you bothered? You’re getting his room!” Elijah countered.

Benjamin winced. Elijah had a point there, and Benjamin knew that he ought to be very grateful for that. But still.

“Well…” Elijah trailed off.

It was dangerous to go outside.

“I mean, you’re getting what’s left of it,” Elijah said.

But it had worked out in Benjamin’s favor. Then, though, Benjamin couldn’t help but think of the reason he couldn’t go home. Leslie. His ex-girlfriend. The woman who he’d caught in the arms of another man.

“What do you mean by what’s left of it?” Benjamin asked.

“We might have gotten a little over zealous in looking for some alcohol,” Alex said.

“The good news,” Elijah added, “Is that you now have this fabulous new way to look into the kitchen.”

For Christ’s sake.

“And…uh, you can’t see all the stains in the carpet!” Alex exclaimed excitedly. “Because it’s covered in Ted’s stuff!”

“Which we’ll probably eBay,” Elijah said, “Although I don’t know if people are really shopping eBay right now. I don’t even know if the postal service is running.”

“If you lose about fifty pounds, though, you might be able to wear Ted’s clothes,” Alex said.

“Wonderful,” Benjamin deadpanned.

“Hey, at least, we didn’t completely destroy the closet,” Elijah said, as if leaving one small snippet of the room untouched was an act of great mercy.

Benjamin impulsively grabbed the bottle of wine and downed the last, precious bits of cabernet sauvignon.

“That was the last of the alcohol!” Alex exclaimed.

“Why did you just down it like that?” Elijah asked.

“There were literally three drops,” Benjamin replied.

“But I could have used those three drops,” Amber said.

Benjamin sighed. “Look. You’re all going to get yourselves killed if you go out in headgear like this. I’ll help you make it better.”

But if he made it, he’d have to test it. To be ethical. Benjamin couldn’t just help them make breathing masks and send them outside without knowing that they would be safe. No, if he was going to do that, he would have to go, too. Test out his own gear and sink or swim. He wouldn’t have to live with himself if he stayed behind, while they risked their lives with the headgear he’d made for them. It wouldn’t be right. He’d worry himself to death.

“And I’ll go with you,” Benjamin said.

Amber sighed. She’d spent most of her time remaining silent and leaning against the wall. “Well, I’m not going to stay here in this apartment all by myself. I’m going, too, but if I die, it’s all your fault.”

“Mine specifically?” Benjamin asked.

“No, mine,” Sara replied.

“And if you die, it’s my fault,” Daisy said. “Because it means that I didn’t dive in front of the Ted and die for you.”

“And if you ladies die, it’s my fault,” Elijah replied, flexing his muscles. “For not breaking them apart with my bare hands.”

Sara laughed. “That’s a little overly dramatic, isn’t it?”

“Not at all, princess,” he replied, winking.

“And if I die, well, I—uh—hope you’ll say some nice words!” Alex declared.

“I’ll say that you weren’t as bad as Ted was,” Elijah replied.

Alex gasped. “Oh, Elijah! You do care!”

Elijah rolled his eyes.

“I think it’s great to see guys who care about one another,” Sara said.

“Oh, definitely!” Elijah agreed, nodding vigorously. “I definitely agree. I love Alex so much. He is my best friend!”

Benjamin rolled his eyes and shook his head.

“So how do we make better breathing masks?” Amber asked, eyeing Daisy’s creation.

“Well,” Benjamin said, “Here’s how you do it…”

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