Contamination | Invasion Survivor Book One | Chapter Four
“What the hell is going on here?” River exclaimed, putting into words what all of them were thinking.
Mrs. O’Brian returned at that moment and rushed to the sick girl. “Jennifer? Are you all right?” The girl was unresponsive.
She snapped her fingers in front of her and Jennifer awoke as if from a daze. “Oh, my God,” she yelled, covering her nose with both hands, obviously hoping to stop the bleeding.
“You two.” The coach gestured toward two students. “Get her to the nurse’s office—now,” she ordered, and the guys helped Jennifer, guiding her away from the track.
The coach scanned her surroundings like an eagle or a sniper on a mission as Paige walked toward her with River in tow, a couple of steps behind her.
“Girls, our practice is canceled,” she stated without preamble. “Go straight to your dorms and wait for an announcement.” Her tone left no room for alternatives.
“What’s happening?” Paige asked, regardless, because that was simply the kind of girl she was.
Their coach shrugged. “I don’t know. I’ve merely been told to get you back to your dorms.” With that, she gestured with her hands for them to disperse like they were a pair of stray cats or something.
“Weird, but whatever,” River replied, shrugging while flashing her sweet smile.
“I’m tired of running, anyway. I need a shower.”
They both headed quickly back toward the locker rooms, showered, and changed before stepping outside.
A lot of speculation about what was going on was tossed about between all the students, and Paige wasn’t an exception. She listened as she dressed but kept her thoughts to herself.
She couldn’t shake the feeling that something bad was about to happen.
As they stepped out of the building, the wind started to blow. River tried to brush her black hair away from her face and behind her ears, but it instantly blew back again because it was way too short to stay put. The wind intensified with an almost eerie moan behind it.
As they passed other students, Paige noticed that some acted just like River did. They simply chatted away, happy that they had nothing better to do, but others looked as confused as she was.
A few that caught Paige’s attention in particular, because they weren’t socializing with their friends and they were definitely bewildered.
Paige felt a chill run down her body.
These kids stood motionless, staring past people like they weren’t even there. Their faces were very pale, resembling porcelain dolls, just like Jennifer’s had been moments before.
“Maybe they are doing the mannequin challenge. It’s all over YouTube,” River told Paige. Her gaze locked on her phone as she tried to find mannequin challenge videos to show her friend.
One of the dazed students walked past them, completely oblivious to his surrounding, while a speck of red started to appear at the edges of his nose.
Paige knew without a doubt that his nose was about to start bleeding, and she gulped.
He must have caught the same thing Chen had.
She tried to connect the dots, looking back at him. But what could make them space out and then force their nose to bleed?
Paige had never heard of a sickness like that, but she really wasn’t keen on catching it, thank you very much.
She forced her jacket way up, covering her mouth to limit her breathing just in case.
Silently, she linked arms with River’s once again, urging her to hurry, and when her friend looked questioningly at her, she whispered into her ear.
“We’ve got to get to our dorm room; people are sick.”
She didn’t want to alarm her, but she felt it was crucial they get away from there, and quickly.
River looked at her, clearly uncomprehending at first, but then she glanced around and, noticing all the weird people walking about, she simply nodded.
Some of the other students realized this as well and began a retreat toward the dorms.
They wasted no time heading straight to their rooms, suddenly quite eager to escape anyone who even potentially looked sick.
Paige hated being sick, and River was a nightmare incarnate during a common cold. Any sensible friend had to avoid being in the same space with her when that occurred.
Their dorm was built in an unusual new Gothic style complemented with high ceilings and strange carvings. The style hadn’t sat well with Paige the first time she’d come to the college, but eventually, it grew on her.
It could still seem pretty spooky during the night, of course, but it had a certain elegance to it as well.
Besides, the gargoyles on the facade represented guardians, and Paige had grown to like them. They reminded her of Hogwarts.
When they reached their common room, they were greeted by an eerie silence.
The place was packed with other girls, but the atmosphere was quite somber given what was happening. It was totally out of character for this bunch, who usually liked to chat and giggle.
They all stood around a TV that was mounted above their fireplace.
Only then did Paige notice that they were actually listening to the news, the real reason why they were so quiet.
A red panel with highlights scrolled with Breaking News.
Paige read the words a couple of times but still couldn’t believe them.
She understood them perfectly, but when they were placed all together, the meaning eluded her. It was too horrible to even contemplate that something like that was actually happening.
It read: A killer virus is spreading across the world. Stay indoors. Stay away from anyone showing signs of sickness. More information will follow.
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