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Inhabitable | Invasion Survivor Book Two | Chapter Eight

Chapter Eight

Slowly, Paige made her way toward Willow and Angela, trying to find the best way to get her on board with their crazy plan.

That’s it, Paige thought to herself. A direct approach would be the best.

Angela looked at her disapprovingly, clearly not liking that she’d spent all this time with AJ, but Paige ignored that. She trusted AJ, she trusted her mom, and that was it.

“Mom… listen to me. I need you to go crazy,” Paige told her in a hushed voice.

“Huh? Right now?” Angela replied, looking at her questioningly.

“Trust me,” Paige insisted with a nod. “Just go nuts,” she added with a wink.

Angela shrugged and nodded without another thought. “I guess I can do that.”

Immediately, she started screaming at AJ, cursing him, quickly attracting the full attention of the guard.

“You don’t belong here!” Angela screamed at the top of her lungs. “You’re with them, spying for the Shadow Men!”

AJ and Dave were taken by surprise by this ruckus but recovered quickly, realizing that was the moment they were waiting for.

“I want you to stay away from my daughters!”

Paige felt awful for AJ, for having to hear all those hurtful things. Angela then started to advance, as if wanting to attack AJ, but the guard rushed past Paige. She seemed pissed she had to intervene again, and Paige casually put her foot out to trip the guard. Not paying attention to the floor, the guard tripped and went down hard. As the guard laid there, motionless, Paige really hoped she hadn’t harmed her too badly.

“Help me; she fainted,” Paige called out.

Naturally, Dave and AJ rushed to help. The other kids in the room let out a cry of shock.

“She’ll be ok,” Paige said, trying to reassure them with a smile.

“Put her on that bed over there,” Paige said, pointing to the corner of the room.

Dave and AJ easily completed the task, and Paige started to meticulously relieve her from her uniform while her mother still ran around the room, talking crazy and creating a distraction. Paige started to worry she would attract other guards to come, which would crap all over their plan. “Mom, you can stop now,” Paige said, and just like that, her mother calmed down and grinned.

“How was that?” Angela asked.

“Perfect. Come,” Paige said.

Once they were beside the bed with the unconscious guard, Paige grabbed all the clothes and handed them to Angela.

“Mom, put these on, please,” Paige instructed. She took the guard’s gun and shoved it in the back of her jeans. She then took the guard’s blue ID bracelet and gave it to her mother.

Angela wasted no time with the unnecessary questions and started stripping right in front of the guys.

Oh, for crying out loud, Paige cringed inwardly.

“Mom! Not here. Over there,” she said, pointing to the corner of the room that had a little drape.

Angela rolled her eyes. “Paige, really? It’s just the human body,” she said, continuing to strip. Paige sighed.

The guys turned their heads and pretended not to see, busying themselves with other tasks.

“We need red bracelets,” Paige realized, showing her blue one. AJ sprinted to some kids and after convincing them took theirs.

 

* * *

 

AJ felt a massive adrenaline rush after that little scene Paige orchestrated. It was crazy, but in a good way. They needed a couple of red bracelets, so he volunteered to get some. He could see Paige felt slightly guilty, not only for taking advantage of her mother and her animosity toward him, but for AJ as well. But he didn’t take it to heart, at least he tried not to.

That woman is dangerous and not who you think she is,” Francis said, eavesdropping on his private thoughts like always.

What’s that supposed to mean?” AJ demanded.

She is different,” Francis replied critically.

AJ sighed. “Whatever, man. If you don’t have something helpful to say, shut the hell up. I’m busy.

AJ approached some teenagers. “Hey, guys,” he said, greeting them.

“Is that lady alright? Should we call someone?” The only girl in a group of kids who were probably Willow’s age was the one to reply.

“She’s fine, just fainted,” he added, sensing they wanted to know if she had the virus as well. “Look, I need your help.” AJ decided to jump right in.

They all looked at him with curiosity.

“These red bracelets,” he said, holding up his wrist. “Could you lend me a couple?”

A teenage boy looked at him suspiciously. “And why do you need them?” he demanded in a cocky tone.

AJ had to work really hard not to laugh, because once upon a time, he was that kid. His parents would argue that he still was. “I need them, so my friends and I can hijack an airplane,” AJ said flatly.

He decided not to lie to them, and their eyes widened in surprise. It was a bit of a gamble but... It paid off.

“Wicked,” that same boy said, his tone turning to something a bit more complimentary. He took off his bracelet and handing it over.

AJ nodded. “Thanks, man. I appreciate it.”

“Here, take mine as well,” the girl said, surprising him. She looked proper in her school uniform. He imagined she probably had all the good grades and followed rules, but he was glad there was a rebellious side in her as well.

Glancing at Paige, he realized he kind of liked that in a girl. “Thank you,” he said to her, and without further delay, returned to his group.

 

* * *

 

Paige grinned once AJ returned, holding two red bracelets. She and Dave quickly swapped their blue ones for the new ones. They needed to blend in, so they could move around freely.

I hope this plan works, Paige thought.

“How did you convince them?” Dave asked.

AJ shrugged. “I told them the truth.” Paige could only stare at him, which made him grin in return. “Come on, no rest for the wicked,” AJ said.

Paige shook her head, bringing herself back to the present. “Right,” she said as she snapped into action, going to help her mother.

It took a few minutes for Angela to dress, and with each layer, Paige witnessed a transformation that was beyond scary.

Angela could actually pass for a guard, and with flying colors at that.

“Where are we going now?” Angela asked.

“You have to get us to the planes,” Paige replied.

They figured Tilley would already be there, so Willow would be able to speak with her. Paige briefed her as much as she could in the small amount of time they had.

“But what if she refuses?” Willow asked.

“We’ll deal with that possibility if it happens,” Paige replied, but she really hoped they wouldn’t have to.

“Straighten up!” Angela ordered. All of them immediately straightened, even though she winked afterward. Checking her out from head to toe, from the clothing to the difference in her expression, Paige thought her Mom looked like she’d been training for this her entire life.

Well, looking back… In a way, she did. And all those years of my life, Paige thought, we all thought that she was crazy.

“All ready to go?” Paige asked. Everyone in the group nodded and went to collect their bags. “Great, let’s go.”

Just as Paige spoke, her mother shook her head. “One minute,” she said, moving away from them as she looked for something.

“Seriously?” Paige grumbled when her mother returned with a teddy bear.

Angela smiled as she pulled a gun from inside the teddy bear.

“Nice,” Dave said with a smile, and Paige couldn’t help but agree.

Angela gestured to her pile of bags with her newly acquired gun. “Be a dear and carry those for me,” she said to AJ, surprising everyone—AJ included.

“Yes, Mrs. Moon,” he mumbled, rushing to comply.

Since her mother had no trouble getting right into character, she led them all out of the room and into the corridor without a fuss. They all followed Angela’s instructions and walked in a straight line as if they were in elementary school again.

“Mom, you know the way, right?” Paige asked, though it would have been a bit too late had she not.

Honestly, it was a miracle they’d survived this far since they clearly didn’t know what they were doing, and every plan was made up on a whim. But her mother nodded, making Paige breathe out a sigh of relief.

“I memorized the layout. It was on the wall when we first came in,” she said like it was no big deal.

Paige’s eyes bulged, but she was grateful.

Turning this way and that, Angela led them to the other kids who were lined up with red bracelets. They were all standing in front of huge gray planes. They were definitely military, but Paige could spot a smaller one as well. That one stood out against the others.

That’s the one, Paige guessed. The president’s plane.

She turned her gaze back toward the other planes, checking out the procedure involved with getting aboard. She watched as each kid approached the guard at the door of the plane, gave his name, that the guard checked the info on his tablet.

But not everyone got on board.

Paige noticed at least five kids who gave their names and were turned away. They had to get out of the line.

They’re being escorted back to the rooms, Paige guessed, which saddened her.

Luckily for them, they weren’t trying to board one of those planes. Their suicide mission involved an Air Force One aircraft.

Paige nudged the guys, nodding toward their destination. That particular plane was heavily guarded, which made them royally screwed if they didn’t come up with a plan.

“We’ll never get through that,” Paige said what she was certain was on everyone’s minds.

“Not necessarily,” AJ said, grinning.

Paige turned around to see what he meant. That was when she noticed Tilley, the president’s daughter. She was being escorted by two secret service agents toward the plane.

This is our only chance, Paige thought, still not knowing what to do.

“Ok, that’s your cue, Willow,” Paige prompted.

“Ok,” Willow replied a bit nervously before she took a deep breath and squared her shoulders.

“Tilley!” Willow called out, jogging toward her.

The secret service agents became visibly tense, but Tilley calmed them once she saw who it was. She smiled. “Willow,” she said, greeting her friend with a smile.

Paige couldn’t hear the whole conversation, but they were both smiling, so she hoped everything was fine. While they spoke, Paige noticed Willow taking her phone out. Twenty seconds later, Paige got a text.

Confused, she saw it was from her. <<Put a gun to her head.>>

Willow turned toward Tilley, and she laughed even harder as if Tilley had said the most hilarious thing ever.

What the hell? Paige reread it a couple of times, but she still didn’t understand what they wanted from her—even though the text was pretty explicit. Both girls looked relaxed, like they were glad to be chatting with one another though the world was ending. Willow waved at them, gesturing with her hand for the others to join them, and her mother escorted them over. The secret service agents stopped them at a certain point, but Willow whispered something in Tilley’s ear, and she nodded.

“Paige, come and meet one of my classmates,” Willow said loud enough for everyone to hear.

Nobody else knew about the text, but by the slight frown on AJ’s face, he knew something wasn’t right about this situation.

Paige nodded and walked toward the girls. With the way Willow was looking at her, even though she still had a smile on her face, Paige realized her plan.

When she was close enough, she took the gun from the back of her pants—the gun she’d snatched from that female guard—and pointed it at Tilley’s head. Paige hated herself for doing it, but it was the only way.

“Don’t come any closer, or I’ll shoot her,” Paige warned the agents.

“Drop your weapon now and raise your hands in the air,” they commanded, pointing their own weapons at Paige.

 “I don’t think so,” Angela said calmly. She pointed a gun at one of them, and she looked ready to use it. But Paige really didn’t want it to come to that. They were just doing their jobs.

For a moment, everyone was silent, including Tilley. Paige had to fight the urge to apologize to her.

“We’re now going to board the plane,” Paige informed them and started walking backward with Tilley toward the plane.

“Just do as she says,” Tilley pleaded.

The men guarding the plane became nervous at seeing them approach and raised their rifles.

“Put the gun down!” one of the guards ordered Paige. A tiny red light danced across Paige’s body, and if she didn’t steel herself, she would pee her pants from fear.

“No,” Paige replied with resolve. “We’re boarding that plane, and if you try to stop us...” She left the sentence hanging because she really didn’t want to threaten Tilley’s life again.

This already made her an enemy of the state, but desperate times and all that.

“Do as she says,” one of the agents ordered the soldiers. “Stand down!” he barked, and they complied.

Relieved, Paige backed onto the plane. Dave was the last one who entered, and he closed the door behind them.

 Smart.

“I don’t know what your plan is, miss, but this is not the way,” one of the agents said, trying to reason with her.

She realized they’d surpassed that stage a long time ago. Completely ignoring him, she urged Tilley toward the pilot’s cabin. Stepping inside, she pointed a gun at the pilot.

“Take off now and take us to the Maryland NASA compound,” Paige commanded.

“What the hell is going on?” the pilot yelled, looking at all of them

“We have the president’s daughter, and we’re going to Maryland. So, don’t think of doing anything stupid,” Paige warned, trying to be menacing, but she was still just a college girl surrounded by trained killers.

Still, she acted as if that wasn’t bothering her. The pilot simply continued to stare at her.

“Why Maryland?” one of the agents asked.

Paige sighed. This clearly wasn’t going to work on brute force alone, she realized. Maybe if the told them the truth, they would be more likely to comply.

“There are spacecraft’s at NASA that can take us off the planet. My father’s there. He can get us on one of the space shuttles.”

The agent looked taken aback, but the pilot actually nodded.

Still, not wanting to take unnecessary risks, Paige handed the gun to AJ. “Watch them.”

He nodded and sat behind them as they prepared for take-off.

 ***

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