Contamination | Invasion Survivor Book One | Chapter Nineteen
Luckily, they made it out of the museum in one piece and without any further incidents.
Her heart pounded like crazy, beating fast and furious as she ran to the motorbikes. Paige could hear it in her ears like a drum thumping out a very rhythmic and almost soothing beat. Which was contradictory, of course, but still true.
After everything she’d been through, she really wanted her dad at that moment. She wanted Dad or Mom beside her, telling her everything would be all right...or even Brooke, she thought, startling herself with that unexpected longing. Brooke wasn’t really there. That was Willow’s mind playing tricks on her, she reminded herself firmly.
There was no telling how much crap she could take without actually breaking.
Still, she had already taken a lot. And she’d fought off that man like a professional, not that she was bragging. Adrenaline was really a handy thing, she mused, remembering all the details of their struggle.
Someone to comfort her or show her the way would be very much appreciated at that moment.
“Wait up, Paige, you’re running too fast!” Dave complained, snapping her out of her reverie.
Shaking her head to dislodge the melancholy and to keep focused, she slowed down slightly and waited for him to catch up with her.
She couldn’t succumb to the stress and pressure. She needed to be strong.
If anyone around them found it strange that they were somewhat covered in blood and running with a couple of swords, no one raised their voice in complaint.
And neither would she.
If they hadn’t been infected before now, there was a real chance they were after that skirmish.
Dave sent her a grateful look.
Running over the things that had happened that day, it seemed that this zombie thing was a stage of the virus infection. The first one was becoming zombie-like, and the second had to be a lunatic phase. It was hard connecting all the dots since she still didn’t know jack shit. Paige felt helpless at the thought of how Willow was now surrounded by all those infected people who could start acting as if they were in a horror movie.
If they turned crazy, why would they bring them to Fort Hamilton? she wondered. But that was a question that probably wouldn’t be answered for quite a long time.
“Finally,” Dave exclaimed beside her, sounding quite winded.
And then something occurred to her. “I know this is a bit overdue but do you by any chance know how to ride a motorbike?” she asked him.
Because she sure as hell didn’t.
Although she was confident enough she could master it as well as driving a car, motorbikes were a bit dangerous and she wanted to keep breathing for as long as possible, thank you very much. Still, she would give it a go regardless.
To her disappointment, Dave shrugged noncommittally. “Nope, but how hard can it really be? It’s like a regular bike, right?”
Paige sighed in exasperation. “We are so going to die,” she murmured.
He chuckled, taking the handlebars from her, jumped on it, and patted the seat behind him.
Noticing for a moment how badass he looked with tousled hair, Paige grinned. Why the hell not? Mimicking his movements, she settled on the seat and looped one hand on his belt. She didn’t want to let go of her sword with the other.
“You will have to hold on tighter than that,” he advised, showing it by putting her hand around his waist. There was humor in his voice, but she ignored it.
“Can we go now?” she asked instead.
Chuckling, he slipped the key into the ignition and with a gentle twist, the engine roared to life.
“Awww, the sweetest of sounds,” Dave cheered and Paige had to agree.
“Here goes nothing,” he added, gripping the wheel and, leaning forward, he revved the engine and kicked the brake off.
The motorbike sprang forward and they kept going. Paige had an afterthought—maybe Dave should have learned how to ride first without her being on it—but it was too late now.
The motorbike sped forward at a seemingly uncontrollable rate. Her arms wrapped so tightly around Dave, she wondered if it was too hard and she’d squeeze the life right out of him. Not that she was really that strong.
She felt his ribs move a little, and she knew he was laughing. He’d gone fast on purpose to force her to hold him tighter. At least, that’s what she thought, though it could be because he didn’t have a clue what he was doing.
He released the throttle a little and the motorbike slowed a to speed where Paige wouldn’t squeeze him to death but still gave them the thrill of riding.
She loosened her grip and started to enjoy the ride as the wind blew her hair, sweeping it back.
Dave made a turn into the madness-engulfed streets which now seemed even worse than before. People, both the infected and those still healthy, flooded roads and sidewalks.
“Take this, you monster!” a boy with a baseball bat screamed as he pounded someone lying on the ground over and over again. Paige had to look away.
Tragedies like this one bring out the best and the worst in people, always. She wasn’t sure if the scene was a bad one or a good one. The kid was fighting for his life and he’d won.
Her first observation was that the problem was that all the cars that lay ahead of them. Trying to go around them, Dave made a sudden turn, and the motorbike wavered.
We are going to crash, Paige screamed inside her head.
“No,” Dave bellowed, and at the last minute, managed to pull them through.
“Let’s not do that again,” she advised and could practically hear him rolling his eyes at her as her grip tightened around him.
“Try leaning when I turn,” he yelled loudly enough to be heard over the engine noise.
“Okay,” she shouted back.
Paige had to admit that, for someone with zero experience, Dave rode like a pro. Still, there was too much blockage on the road for them to make it, even if he was a natural at it.
They were bound to crash, and Paige couldn’t let that happen.
Thinking quickly, Paige suggested, “Go straight through Central Park so we can avoid all this.”
He nodded, making another sudden turn, and Paige leaned as he wanted her to, making the ride smoother. With empty lanes ahead of them in the park, Dave had more of a chance to practice his new skill and that, unfortunately, made him cocky.
Not quite focused, he nearly lost control when a pack of joggers ran towards them in a line with blood streaming from their noses. They seemed to be simply following their normal routine, completely oblivious to everything, including the fact they were infected.
Paige was horrified to see that there were many bodies lying on the ground, but the joggers simply ran around them, and sometimes, even over them.
Dave continued swerving around the group at a lower speed.
“I can’t believe this,” he commented, shaking his head at the scene around them and Paige had to agree. But, then again, that was the theme of the day.
Unfortunately, the roar of the engine woke some of them from their stupor and Paige watched with rising terror as they changed their direction and headed full speed toward them, their faces morphing swiftly into the hungry, avid look she’d come to know. They weren’t unaware of their surroundings any longer.
She could see the determination in their strange eyes as they approached. They had a mission, a clear target, and Paige and Dave were it.
“They will catch us.” She panicked, already picturing what that number of people could do to them.
“I don’t think so,” he responded. He’d noticed them too and twisted the throttle, easing their speed up to get them the hell out of Central Park.
Dave moved from the path onto the grass, and that made everything that much more difficult. It was hard to steer straight but he leaned forward and really concentrated, keeping them going without mishap.
Strange noises made Paige turn toward the threat.
The joggers were screaming and groaning at them. They sounded like a pack of wild wolves, and they were gaining on them.
Dave glanced over his should at the crazy pack, then his gaze caught Paige’s. For one second, they were crystal blue, like an ocean sweeping him away from everything. But in an instant, they filled with fear. He was about to ask her what was wrong, but it was too late.
He could see trees from the corner of his eye, and they were heading straight for them. It was way too late for Dave to react.
They would crash into the tree, and there was nothing they could do to prevent it.
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