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Inhabitable | Invasion Survivor Book Two | Chapter Six

Chapter Six

Mc D’s was crawling with infected people when they arrived. The people inside looked at them through the big glass windows that had surprisingly stayed intact.

“Look how far downhill Mc D’s has gone,” Paige said.

“Yeah, this is unfortunate,” Dave replied, and she gave him the look.

“Let’s clean house,” Dave said unexpectedly.

Paige raised an eyebrow. “Really?”

Dave leaned toward her. “Why not? You scared, Night-girl?” he teased.

She pretended to be outraged. “Oh, game on, School-boy.” Nobody was coming between her and her Big Mac.

“The person who kills the most will be recognized as the King and has to be obeyed,” Dave proclaimed.

“Or a Queen,” Paige corrected him.

He nodded, already grinning with excitement about the competition. “Or a Queen,” he repeated.

“What’s the reward?” Paige asked.

“Lifetime bragging rights.”

Paige nodded. Her Angela stayed out of that conversation. It was obvious by the look on her face that she found it ridiculous.

“Try to force them outside. No killing in Mc D’s,” Paige suggested.

“Yeah. I don’t fancy a Happy Meal with a side of blood and guts. There’s nothing happy about that.”

“Let’s go, then,” Paige said before charging in.

Dave quickly dragged one of the bins next to the doorway to hold the doors open. The sitting area was buzzing with activity. A group of three infected teenagers were fighting amongst themselves while a girl sat across from them with her food still intact as the blood dripped from her nose.

Paige didn’t want to look at that for too long. It would ruin the Happy Meals for her, and she wasn’t about to let that happen. She spotted an elderly man by the toilet, banging his head against the door, and she decided to move past all of them.

She left that whole area to Dave and her mother while she went straight for the kitchen. She leaped over the counter and, without breaking her stride, went through a passage to the world beyond.

The place stank because the burgers on the grill were nothing more than chunks of charcoal, and she couldn’t even tell what was in the deep-fryers. A woman who was dressed as a manager almost immediately charged at her.

But Paige was ready for her.

The manager tried to scratch Paige, but she kicked the woman hard. As she staggered backward, Paige rushed forward and pushed the woman until she fell through the exit before stabbing her. The life immediately drained from her eyes, and Paige turned to go back inside.  

One down, how many to go? Paige thought, looking around.

Former employee his name tag said Drew. She swung the sword, but Drew ducked and jumped out of the way, assuming a position she’d seen people do in martial arts movies.

WTF? Was it possible Drew had some kind of training?

Paige didn’t even have time to process that information before he charged. She squeaked in surprise but managed to avoid being hit in the head by his foot. He’d only missed her by an inch at best.

“Oh, game on, Bruce Lee!” Paige practically yelled, channeling Dave at that moment. His weird sense of humor was rubbing off on her.

She backed away from her opponent, knowing he’d follow her outside. She could hear Dave fighting with a few customers who wanted him for dessert.

Paige gripped her sword tighter, and the next time Drew tried to use one of those fancy moves on her, she was ready. She nicked him on the foot, and he growled which made her cheer in return. While she paid attention to his lower limbs, he hit her with his fist. Immediately, the whole side of her face began to tingle.

She cursed, her rage helping with the pain. He landed awkwardly after he’d struck her, but Paige knew that a superficial wound like that one wouldn’t stop him from coming at her. She would have to do far more damage than that.

Paige took the lead this time and charged at him. As she was preparing to pierce him straight through his heart, he twirled away and did a somersault.

Oh, for crying out loud, she thought, wanting to yell it loudly in exasperation.

How was she supposed to fight a person that clearly had skills far better than her own? Not to mention the fact that she was hungry and weakened from all the fighting she’d had to do. Feeling annoyed, Paige swung her sword, trying to make him jump down again. To her chagrin, Drew jumped in the air and continued to do so.

“Need some help there, Night-girl?”

Paige was so in the zone that she didn’t even hear Dave approaching. He startled her, and that lack of attention almost cost her as her opponent jumped at her.

“Paige, look out!” Dave yelled.

She didn’t have anywhere to move while standing between the working spaces. She crouched down, aiming her sword upward. As Drew came for her, he impaled himself on the blade, then fell on her. The blood dripped all over her.

“Gross!” she complained.

“I guess you didn’t need my help, after all,” Dave said with amusement.

Scowling and wanting to kick Dave’s ass next, Paige shoved the dead body off her and stood. “You almost killed me!” she snapped.

“You were fine,” Dave replied, unconcerned. “Besides, you need to be more aware of your surroundings, so you’re welcome.”

The urge to hit him only intensified with that statement.

“He’s right, Paige,” her mother said, coming to stand a few feet away.

“Are we done?” Paige asked, ignoring both of them.

“Yup,” Dave replied. “And I won,” he added with a grin.

“Excuse me,” Paige argued.

“Well, you took care of two, and I killed three. That makes me King of the castle.” Dave pointed at himself proudly.

“Actually,” her mother interfered. “Your last one was actually mine. He would have bitten you if I didn’t...” she made a throat-cutting motion. “So, actually, I won. Bow down to the Queen,” she announced and while Dave pouted.

Paige laughed at his expense, which only seemed to get under his skin, making her laugh harder. The gang headed back inside, ready to get their rewards. They heard a scraping sound coming from one of the freezers, and they all raised their weapons.

Dave and Paige approached cautiously. He opened the door as Paige barged in with her sword raised high.

Two scared looking teenagers in McDonald’s uniforms greeted her with fear on their faces. “Please don’t kill us!” the girl pleaded.

Paige lowered her samurai sword. “We’re not going to hurt you.”

“You’re safe now,” Dave chimed in.

They were shaking terribly, and Paige realized that it wasn’t from fear. “Let’s get you out of there.” They followed her to the kitchen but recoiled when they saw the dead bodies on the floor.

“Are they still here?” the boy asked.

“No, we took care of them,” Paige replied. Both employees sighed in relief.

“Once we saw people turning, we hid in the freezer,” the girl said.

“But then we couldn’t get out,” the boy added.

It was a risky move, but Paige was glad they happened to be there to save them.

“What is happening anyway?” the boy asked.

Dave sighed, scratching his head. “Don’t know how to break this to you, but we’re under an alien invasion. Oh, wait, I just did.”

Paige wanted to kick him as the kids started to panic.

“Oh my God!” the girl shouted.

“Are we all going to die?” the boy asked fearfully.

“You have no tact,” she mouthed to Dave. He shrugged apologetically. Rolling her eyes, she turned back to the kids, hoping to reach out to them. “Look, it’s not safe outside, and you can’t stay here Is there a place where you can hide?”

“My... My house is just a few blocks away, and my dad is in the army,” the girl said. “Glen can come to my house.”

“Great,” Paige replied. “Now, what are your names?”

“I’m Judy, and this is Glen,” the girl said.

“This is my first day, too,” Glen stated nervously.

“Nice to meet you guys. I’m Paige, and this is Dave.” She gestured toward him. “And that lady over there is my mom, Angela.”

Both teenagers said hello, but Angela ignored them all.

“Should we go now? Are these things still outside?” Glen asked.

“As Paige said, it’s not safe outside,” Dave answered, deciding to join in again. “But we can give you a ride.” He looked at Paige for confirmation, and she nodded.

“Thank you so much for everything,” Judy said, finally calming down a bit. “If there’s anything we can do to repay you, just say the word.”

Paige was sure the offer was rhetorical, but she was still grateful.

“What’s with that face, Paige?” Dave asked her suddenly.

She wasn’t even aware she’d made one, but she decided to tell the truth. “I’m still hungry.”

“We can make you something,” Judy offered.

“Really? That would be awesome!” Paige smiled.

Judy nodded. “Sure.”

Glen and Dave took care of the grills and started a fresh batch of fries in brand new oil. While Paige prepared all the ingredients, Judy taught her how to properly arrange the burger. Once the meat was done, Dave joined in.

“Mine is better than yours!” Dave bragged. Paige quickly responded by throwing lettuce at him.

“Hey,” he rebelled. “Don’t hate. I am clearly a natural.” He pretended to smooth out his hair. “And good at everything.”

Paige rolled her eyes. “Whatever,” she replied. She looked down and frowned at her burger that was far less than perfect. She did everything she was supposed to, yet it looked like a disaster. She still planned to eat it, though.

Dave hugged her. “If you ask me nicely, I’ll make one for you, too,” he offered, still teasing her.

“I got this,” she snapped back. So, he was better than her at preparing burgers. That wasn’t such a big deal.

Dave grinned and held out his Big Mac. “Here, take mine. As a birthday present.”

Without much thought, Paige said, “Ok,” and accepted the peace offering. Once it was in-hand, she took the biggest bite possible.

Dave looked at her with his mouth hanging open. “You totally played me!”

Paige shrugged. “I totally did,” she replied with her mouth still full before taking another bite. “Mmmm,” she released a sound of pure joy. The burger was so good, she wanted this moment to last forever.

This is what I’ve been missing.

“Is it any good?” Dave asked.

She wondered if she should tease him or not. Instead, she just said, “It’s perfect.”

Dave puffed with pride while he made another Big Mac for himself.

“Could you make one for my mom?” Paige asked.

He nodded. “Sure thing. One for Mrs. Moon, coming up.”

Paige was already working on a strategy to take that one from him as well since she was almost done with hers.

Dave worked quickly on the burger and slid the tray to Paige. “No stealing that’s Mrs. Moons order.”

“Thanks, Dave.” Paige took the Big Mac to her mother. “Hey, Mom, I thought you’d be hungry.” She placed the try down and sat across from her mother.

Angela had been looking out the window but stopped and turned to her daughter. “Do you remember when I used to bring you girls here?”

Paige nodded. “I used to collect all the toys from the Happy Meals.” She grinned.

“You loved them. You would line them up on your windowsill, on top of the chest of draws, and if you could reach the top of the wardrobe, you’d put them up there, too.”

The pair looked at one another when she said wardrobe. Paige hated the wardrobe. In the middle of the night, her mother and sister made them get in—to hide from the Shadow Men.

“How did you know the aliens were coming?” Paige asked. Her mother instantly pulled gun from her pocket looked out the window, ready for the Shadow man. Paige placed her hand on the gun and lowered it. “Not now. When we were kids.”

Her mother visibly relaxed, and she nodded in understanding. “I’d listen to the radio waves.”

There was a pause as Paige studied her mother’s expression. “Is Brooke really alive?”

Her mom smiled. “Yes. You two look like twins. Brooke’s not aged a bit!”

 “Why didn’t you ever tell me or Dad?”

“Because you wouldn’t have believed me if I did. You don’t fully believe me now, even with a spaceship hovering in the sky.”

Angela was right. Paige wouldn’t have believed her then, and still couldn’t let herself believe that she was telling the truth now.

Judy headed over to Paige and her mother. “I heard you’d like a strawberry milkshake,” she said, offering her the cup.

“This is the best day ever,” Paige announced. They all looked at her like she was crazy. “Apart from the zombie virus/alien invasion, of course,” she amended, laughing. “We should leave.”

Dave shook his head. “Nope. Not until you prove you can chug that without getting a headache. I have to see this for myself.”

She rolled her eyes. “Are you serious?” He just looked at her expectantly. She sighed. “What a waste of a perfectly good milkshake.”

Paige took several drinks and then groaned, squinting her eyes.

“Ha! I knew you couldn’t…”

She interrupted Dave as she laughed. She just shook her head and kept drinking, letting him know she’d tricked him. She’d almost finished the whole thing without stopping when he shook his head.

“Ok. You can stop. I believe you. You should savor the last of that,” he said. “I can’t believe it’s true. Oh, wait… It’s probably because you don’t have a brain. There’s nothing to freeze.” He winked.

Her eyes widened, and she smiled. “You’re a jerk. Can we get out of here now?”

“I’m not looking forward to walking out of here,” Judy confessed.

“Me neither,” Glen agreed.

Judy stared downward, not truly seeing anything. “I need to get home and make sure my parents are all right.”

Paige nodded. She could relate to that feeling.

“You guys head to the bus. I have to go to the bathroom,” Paige told them.

They nodded and made their way out of the building. That last double portion of fries and an ice cream with whipped cream and chocolate sauce topping didn’t do her any good.

Paige walked to the bathroom, tapped the door open with her foot, and entered slowly. It appeared to be empty, but from the vantage point at the door, she couldn’t be quite sure. She crept inside, watching her step while also trying to make a mad dash to the toilet. Blood spatters were everywhere, only making her more anxious.  All the stalls were open except for one.

“Is anyone in here?’ Paige called out, but not too loudly. While she didn’t want to bring attention to herself, she also didn’t want to be in the middle of using the bathroom when she got attacked if she missed something.

No one answered her back, and Paige rushed to the nearest stall and unzipped her pants. The relief she felt couldn’t be expressed with mere words. She enjoyed her moment of pure bliss—until she saw a face in the gap between the door. It was a girl with bleached blonde hair that looked at her with hunger. Then the blonde smiled.

Paige’s eyes widened just as the woman kicked the stall door open with all her strength. Paige hurried to pull up her pants, but she wasn’t quick enough. In a move that was inhumanly fast, the infected girl grabbed and dragged Paige from the stall with her pants still down.

Paige was unarmed, having left her sword next to the toilet bowl.

Blondie shoved her against the sinks, and Paige grabbed her by the hands to shove her away.

While the girl stumbled backward, Paige lifted her pants up and ran toward her stall to retrieve the sword. Unfortunately, the girl had recovered quickly and now grabbed Paige by the hair, pulling her backward.

Paige stumbled but managed to stay on her feet. She grabbed the hand that was holding her and turned before punching the girl in the face with the other hand. When Blondie’s grip loosened, Paige hit her hard in the stomach. When she doubled over, Paige placed her hand on the side of the girl’s head and smacked her against the mirrors.

Glass shattered everywhere, and Paige used that moment of disorientation to run toward the stall again for her sword.

Paige turned just in time to see the girl charging at her again while screaming at the top of her lungs and blocking her way out.

Even though it was a tight squeeze, Paige raised her sword and slashed the woman from her neck to her hip.

In a panic, the girl used both her hands to stop the bleeding, but Paige didn’t stop there. She continued to slash and stab her until the girl laid motionless on the floor. After finishing up in the bathroom, she walked to the sink to wash her face and hands without actually looking at herself in the remnants of the broken mirror. She knew her hair looked wild, and she brushed it back with her hands and tried to make her ponytail neater.

“What is it with my look and bathrooms!” Paige complained, walking out of the bathroom to the bus.

***

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