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Contamination | Invasion Survivor Book One | Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fourteen

Dave looked at the mother, then up the street in the direction of the museum where he hoped his brother was. But he couldn’t leave the baby. Neither of them could.

Paige had already started to walk towards the woman and he quickly caught up.

As they drew closer, it was clear that the woman stood motionless and stared out into nothing.

Paige picked up their pace and in no time, they had reached them.

The baby was crying, but the mother was doing nothing.

“Hello,” she said, hoping to snap the lady her out of her zombie-like trance. It didn’t work. “Can I hold your baby? She’s beautiful.” Still, the mother didn’t respond.

She took the baby gently in her arms and rocked her to soothe her cries.     

“Where does your mother live?”

The woman was completely non-responsive.

“Dave, we need to find her mother.”

He nodded. “I agree but how? I don’t have a clue where her mom lives.”

“Her phone would have the number in it.” Paige looked at the woman. She didn’t have a purse and there weren’t any pockets in her summer dress. “Damnit, her purse must be on the train. We’ll have to take them somewhere else—a medical center.”

Dave pulled out his phone. “Good idea! There’re loads around here. One second.” He zoomed in on the map and found one a block away from them. He raised his phone in the air, looking like a tour guide. “This way.”

Holding the baby, she followed him, then stopped. The mother hadn’t moved. She seemed stuck to the sidewalk, frozen by the virus. “Mmm…Dave, a little help here.”  

He stopped, turned, and headed back. “It may as well be blocks away.” Then he grinned. “What’s your name?” he asked the woman, but she didn’t respond. “We’ll call you Rose, then, after the roses on your dress. We’re going for a little walk to get you some help.” He took Rose’s hand and led her forward. Unbelievably, she followed.

“We’ll call you Petal,” Paige told the baby in her arms, and she brushed down her hair and straightened her hair clip.

“Cute name, Night Girl.” Dave grinned.

“Thanks, School Boy.”

The group walked to the end of the block, and Dave let go of Rose’s hand. “We’re here.”

Rose carried on walking, so Dave jogged after her, took her hand, and led her back. “Another woman trying to get anyway from my charm.” He winked.

Paige couldn’t help but laugh. She held the door to the medical clinic open. A lot of people waited for the elevator.

Dave led Rose to the door. “Come on, Rose, let’s get you inside.”

On the wall was a large chart of all the offices in the building, Paige scanned this list. The clinic was on the fifth floor.

They joined the others waiting for the elevator. Finally, after people came and went in a seemingly endless stream, it was their turn.

The doors opened on a man and a woman. She had blood on her face, and his eyes were red from anger. “They won’t see you. They are sending the sick away,” he yelled as he led is infected wife out of the elevator.

The group stepped into the elevator. Paige went to press the button for the fifth floor, but there was blood on it. She used her jacket to press the button. Before the doors could close, other sick people entered along with their loved ones.

Those who were healthy shared the same look on their faces—fear. The infected had the same look, too—lost. 

The daft elevator songs played as they lifted up through the levels. Paige whispered to Dave, “We need to make her look like she’s not infected.” She nodded at Rose. “Can you hold Petal?”

He held out his hands for the baby. “Sure. Come here, chubby cheeks.”

She passed her into his hands and he smiled at the little girl. “Who’s a cutie pie? Me? Why, thank you, Petal.” He laughed at his own little joke, and the baby gurgled happily in response.

Paige rummaged in her backpack, pulled one of her T-shirts out, then took her water bottle and poured it on the shirt.

“Rose, you have something on your face from the train crash. Please can I clean it off?” Rose didn’t respond, so Paige decided to take that as a yes and got to work cleaning the dry and fresh blood dripping from Rose’s face. There were drops of blood on the rose-patterned white dress. To cover up what she could, Paige buttoned up the lady’s red cardigan.

Quickly, she straightened Rose’s hair. Paige smiled at her—she’d done a good job to make her look not infected. If only she could get rid of the blank stare.

The elevator pinged. Time was up. The doors opened and people rushed out like they were after the last slice of pizza.

“Pass Petal to me.”

“Oh, we were having fun. Later, chubby cheeks,” Dave said, grinning at Petal as he passed her over. “Where’s my date at?” he asked as he looked at Rose. “You look lovely. Let’s get you to your date.” He held her hand and led her out of the elevator.

Always like Dave to lighten up the atmosphere. Under normal circumstances, his almost corny comments might even be amusing. Right now, they seemed to defuse the tension a little, and she was grateful for that.

The chaotic sound of voices could be heard before they turned the corner to the medical clinic. The hallway in front was full, and the door to the clinic was closed.

Dave looked at Paige in a panic.

She wasn’t going to make this a wasted trip. “Follow me.” Dave looked confused but let her lead the way.

“Excuse me. I have a baby,” she announced firmly as she weaved her way through the crowd. People moved out of the way. Some complained but others looked at Paige with pity. So far, so good. 

“They won’t see you,” a man said as she reached the front of the crowd, Dave and Rose right behind her.

She knocked on the wooden door, but it didn’t open, and she heard no response.

“See,” the man said smugly.

See nothing! Paige pulled her cell phone out and found the number for the medical clinic.  She could hear the phone ringing through the wooden door.

Please answer. She could feel the man breathing down her neck and held her breath, waiting for them to pick up. After what felt like a lifetime, they did.

“Hello, I’m outside the door—”

Before Paige could continue, a female interrupted. “We cannot accept any more patients.”

Paige had to think quickly. “I have a baby. She was in a train crash.”

The line on the other side went silent, then she heard muffled voices.

Paige kissed Petal on the head, held her breath again, and the door clicked and opened.

Quickly, Paige turned to Dave. “Be ready,” she whispered.

A man peeked his head around the door, and Paige held Petal out. “Help her.” She pushed the baby forward so the man had no choice but to take her. Once she was safely in the man’s hands, Paige moved out the way but put her boot in the doorway, preventing the man from closing it. On cue, Dave pushed Rose forward.

“This is Petal’s mother, Rose,” he said.

Once Rose was inside, Paige removed her boot. As she did so, others rushed forward.

“Please help my wife.”

“Help my son.”

Others called out for help for their loved ones as the door closed and locked. No one else would get into the medical clinic. People took to their phones frantically and called the medical clinic in the hope that they would be as successful as Paige had been.

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