Contamination | Invasion Survivor Book One | Chapter Twenty-One
“Let's try this way,” he said over his shoulder and swung wide to enter the doors of a shopping mall.
The engine suddenly seemed insanely loud among all the glass and metal.
As expected, there were a lot of looters and evidence of destruction inside the mall, but Paige had to admit that he’d hit on a good solution.
They would save a lot of time going through instead of around.
“Seedling!” someone shouted, a loud rasping cry easily heard above the clamor.
She refused to turn and look, hoping blindly that someone else was the object of the attention.
“Seedling!” another voice echoed. A woman stood ahead and to their right, clearly focused on Paige.
“Oh, for crying out loud. Do they have a tracking device on you?” Dave snapped.
“Seedling!” A few other voices joined in now, repeating the word like a mindless mantra.
A mob moved in to surround them. Others—the unaffected people—scattered in fear, leaving them alone.
“Hold on,” Dave shouted as he accelerated and tried to break through. Paige pulled her sword, ready to help make a way if need be.
His plan worked to a degree.
“Seedling! Mine.” One person refused to move, so Paige applied the ultimate metal persuasion and he became more compliant. And headless, though she didn’t dwell on that.
“Over there,” Paige yelled once they broke through, pointing with her stained sword. There was another exit nearby.
Unfortunately, it was locked.
“Fuck,” Dave snapped and turned the bike in a wide circle.
“Try that way.” She gestured urgently to the left. The mob hadn’t given up, and she could hear the sound of their approach drawing closer.
Taking her advice, he made a sudden left turn and rode through a passageway to the other side of the mall.
They swung around the final corner and ended up at a movie theater.
It’s a dead end. Paige’s heart sank, and she bit back her frustration.
Dave drove them right into it and cut the motor.
“We'll hide in here until they forget about us,” he informed her. They slid off the bike and he jogged to the entrance to pull down the big metal security doors. With a little fumbling, he managed to jam them, successfully locking them in. Or trapping them inside, of course, but it seemed like their only option.
Paige pushed the bike farther so it wouldn't be visible from the outside.
“Good thinking,” Dave complimented her before adding. “Stay here while I scout the place.”
He jogged away, and Paige wanted to yell after him that he should have thought about that before he trapped them inside a space with only one exit but didn't.
She sighed instead and sat next to the bike, leaning wearily against the wall.
The marble was cold beneath her, but at the same time, it felt nice.
It was actually more than nice to not run about and simply be, even if it was for a little while.
* * *
Too late, Dave realized that once again, he had jack shit to defend himself with.
Maybe that's my thing. He tried to reassure himself, but it didn’t work too well.
He reached the vendors’ stands and his eyes bulged when he saw that all the snacks were still there—intact and clearly on display just for him.
Clearly, no one remembered to loot a movie theater, he guessed.
And, like a kid in a candy store, he rushed to them.
An usher, obviously infected and at the crazy stage, stopped him in his tracks. He cursed his luck and took a defensive stance.
The man lunged at him at full speed, practically salivating, and he panicked. He took the gap and ducked behind one of the stands.
“Can we settle this some other way? Can I buy you some Duds? No?”
They played the ridiculous game of tag until Dave jumped over the counter. Frantically, he searched for something he could use to defend himself, but there was nothing useful there other than a metal popcorn scoop.
Well, beggars can't be choosers.
Before the nutcase could scramble over the counter as well, Dave grabbed the scoop and, flipping it over, jabbed the handle deep into the man’s eye.
The usher screamed and tried to pull it out. Not wanting to lose momentum, Dave dropped the utensil and pounded his fists into his opponent.
He fell to the ground, and Dave dropped on top of him to deliver the final blow.
“One down, and hopefully none to go,” he murmured, a little winded.
He glanced at the scoop and it looked so revolting, he decided to leave it and find himself another weapon.
On impulse, he decided to check the bathrooms before the rest of the theatre.
All clear, he wanted to yell when he found them empty but refrained from it. Also, he made a point not to check himself in the mirror.
Dave really didn't want to know what he looked like after all the beat-down he’d endured thus far. He could still see with both his eyes, so that good enough.
Exiting, he did a quick sweep through the rooms before going to the staff-only area.
The smell warned him that all was not great in there, and true enough, a lot of blood had pooled by the door. Moving past it, careful not to step into the goo, he found the dead body of a woman who clearly worked there.
Distracted by her and all the blood, he almost missed the fact there was another woman in the room. Dave heard a sound, alerting him, and turned slowly toward her.
She looked at him without moving or blinking, but he was now very aware how that could change in a blink of an eye.
Since she was covered in blood, Dave didn't waste time on chit-chat or wait for her to attack him but grabbed the first thing available—a movie film still in its metal box—and swung.
He could actually hear the bones cracking before her smacked head against the wall.
When she fell to the ground, he raised the box above his head for another swing. She wasn't moving, so he took a deep breath and lowered his arm, then continued with the sweep. This time, he decided to take his makeshift weapon along with him.
Checking the title label on the box, he chuckled. Deadpool.
Sometimes, life really had a strange sense of humor.
When he’d checked everywhere and was satisfied that there were no more crazies around, he went to find Paige. She was no longer there.
Before he could panic, he noticed one of the viewing rooms wide open and glanced inside.
She patted the seats absentmindedly and quite unaware that he’d returned, and that gave him a crazy idea.
Walking away quietly to avoid notice, Dave had a huge smile on his face.
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