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Inhabitable | Invasion Survivor Book Two | Chapter Two

Chapter Two

Paige glanced over her shoulder and was relieved that she couldn’t see the institution any longer.

“What are your intentions with my daughter?” Angela asked Dave from her seat. The words coupled with their accusing tone snapped Paige from her thoughts and practically made her choke on her own tongue.

Dave didn’t look much better. “Excuse me, ma’am?” he asked, confused.

“Why are you here? Helping? Are you boyfriend and girlfriend?”

“Mom!” Paige exclaimed. “You are making him uncomfortable.”

She was making Paige uncomfortable as well.

“No, ma’am. We are just friends,” Dave replied, looking straight at the road.

Paige felt like she wanted to die right then and there. It was true that they were friends—sort of. That trip to the theater wasn’t really a date but a battle strategy.

“Then Paige is lucky to have such a friend. Thank you,” her mother replied politely.

Paige groaned. She chose now as the time to be all lucid and civilized.

“Paige saved my ass. I mean, my life, more times than I can count, so I simply figured it was the right thing to do to return the favor,” Dave explained.

Paige was genuinely touched by his words, even though the jury was still out as to who saved who more.

“That’s nice,” Angela countered. She stood and moved to pat him on the shoulder. “And, just so you know, I approve. You can date my daughter,” she said, totally deadpan before returning to her seat.

“Mom!” Paige shrieked again, but her mother simply looked at her like she was making a fuss about nothing.

As Paige looked at her mother, she noticed something she didn’t like. “Mom?”

“Yes, dear?” her mother replied.

“Where did that come from?” Paige pointed at her mother’s hand and the gun she was holding.

“I picked it up after you dropped it,” Angela replied.

“Will you give it to me?” Paige asked, stretching out her hand.

Instead of handing it over, her mother only stared at her blankly. “Will you give me your sword?” she countered.

Paige was taken aback. “Why do you want my sword?” she asked, confused.

Her mother sighed as if the meaning to her question had been obvious, but she replied to her daughter anyway. “You’re not the only one who needs protection, Paige.”

“You have me to protect you; you don’t need a weapon,” Paige reasoned. That was something that was never an easy thing to do.

“Don’t be silly, Paige. I know how to take care of myself. I’ve been doing it since before you were born.” Her mother dug her heels in, and Paige decided to drop the issue for now. Try to find some other way to tackle the problem.

And it was a problem—a huge one at that.

Paige couldn’t have her mother running around with a loaded gun. She was more afraid of her mother being armed than a bunch of infected people. Although, even Paige had to admit that her mother was rather handy with it, especially when she shot that bald guy.

Where did she learn how to do that? Paige wondered.

As she thought about her mother’s past, and not for the first time, Paige glanced at one of her mother’s bags. Something at the top caught her attention.

 Reaching down, she opened the bag for closer inspection and couldn’t help but frown. The whole thing was filled with Kindles.

Why does she need so many e-readers?

“Mom?” Paige felt like she needed to ask, even though a part of her felt like she shouldn’t. She had enough problems as is.

“Hm?”

“Why do you have so many Amazon Kindles in your bag?”

“Because I needed the storage for all the books, and they couldn’t all fit on one device,” her mother replied casually.

All? “All?” Paige verified.

Her mother nodded. “Of course, someone has to preserve the human heritage.”

That made sense, but it also reminded Paige that they needed to plan ahead. If they really planned to leave the planet, Paige had a list of things she would need to gather as well. Tampons, a first aid kit, and whatever else she could find that would be of use.

How should someone pack when evacuating Earth?

She didn’t have the faintest idea but planned to talk with Dave about that. She didn’t want to trouble her mother with such details.

“I forgot to say happy birthday. You can have a Kindle if you like.” Her mother smiled.

Paige had completely forgotten about her birthday. So many things had happened that got in the way, and she’d forgotten entirely.

“Thank you. I’ll take one later.” Carefully closing the Kindle bag, Paige moved to the next.

“Be careful with that...” her mother started to say but then paused. A look of pure panic crossed her face.

Paige became instantly worried as well. “Mom… what’s wrong?”

Completely ignoring her, Angela snatched the bag Paige had wanted to inspect and started ripping through it before moving to the next.

No, no, no, no, no, no, no!” she exclaimed over and over again, getting more and more agitated with each passing second.

“What is happening?” Dave asked, stealing glances over his shoulder at the two of them.

Realizing her mother was out of control, Paige did the only thing she could think of. “Pull over!” Paige yelled at Dave. He quickly brought the minibus to a stop, parking it on the side of the road.

“Mom, what is it?” Paige tried again. She could attempt to reason with her and possibly find a way to soothe her much easier now that they weren’t in motion.

“It can’t be. It can’t. It can’t. It’s not here!” Paige’s mother banged her hands against her head.

Paige quickly jumped to her feet in hopes of calming her. She tried to reach her mother but got a couple of bruises for her troubles. Her mother was freakishly strong, especially when agitated.

Ok, no more touching, Paige reminded herself.

“It’s not here!” she wailed in desperation.

Paige turned to Dave, but he only shrugged. He was just as freaked out as she was. Of course, he didn’t know what to do. Paige had witnessed such scenes all her life, and she still didn’t know what to do.

She knew asking her mother what she was talking about would only agitate her further once she was so far gone. On the other side, not understanding her could cause just as many issues, so Paige feared she’d have to take the risk and ask.

“We have to go back,” Angela suddenly announced, taking the burden away from Paige.

“What? Are you—” Insane, Paige finished in her mind. She managed to bite her tongue before that word was spoken, but her mother wasn’t an idiot. She narrowed her eyes, and Paige felt instantly guilty, looking away.

“We have to!” Angela insisted. “The… The calling device. I need it to contact Brooke!” she said, her words animated by her erratic movements. She began walking down the aisle while waving the loaded gun.

I have to get that gun out of her hand before she ends up hurting someone. Or worse.

“Mom, I need you to calm down, ok? Let’s sit down and talk. And could you please stop waving with that gun?”

“We don’t have time for that, Paige!” her mother snapped. “I need that device!”

“What device?”

“It’s the only way I can reach her,” her said loudly. “I must call her once we’re all together. Without it, I won’t be able to!”

For the briefest of moments, Paige really wished Brooke was alive and with them because no one could calm their mother faster than she could.

“Mom, we can’t go back there. We have to get to Willow,” Paige pleaded. She hoped that mentioning her other daughter, who was still alive and well, would do the trick and snap her out of it.

“We’ll all be dead if I don’t go back,” Angela insisted.

Paige felt like she was running out of options. “No,” she snapped, putting all her strength behind that small word.

Her mother stared at her for a couple of heartbeats, blinking and looking as if she wanted to hit her.

Paige stared back.

“Should I continue to drive forward or go back?” Dave reluctantly asked. Paige and her mother ignored him.

For a while, they simply stared at one another, neither woman willing to back down.

Then, without warning, Paige’s mother grabbed one of her bags and rushed to Dave’s side. She pressed the button that opened the door and jumped outside, running toward the institute.

“Oh, crap!” Paige yelled. Nothing was ever easy when it came to her mother, but she certainly hadn’t imagined the woman behaving like that.

“What the hell...?” Dave didn’t even have the time to finish that sentence before all hell broke loose.

“Come back!” Paige yelled, knowing it was useless. Once her mother got an idea inside her head, there was no stopping her.

We are all going to die here, she thought.

“What do we do?” Dave asked, jumping from the driver’s seat.

“Go after her,” Paige replied instantly. “We can’t just leave her.”

“I’ll turn around,” Dave offered while Paige stepped out of the minibus.

She turned to look back at him. “I’ll catch up with her and try to persuade her to come back.”

“And if she doesn’t?” Dave asked.

Paige shrugged, looking ahead to where Willow and the rest of the gang would be. As she did, her eyes widened, and time felt as though it stood still. “Oh, my God,” she breathed out.

Hovering in the sky was a colossal silver disc. Seeing it made her question her sanity. She tried to convince herself if was a plane, but she knew better. No plane looked like that and questioning that would only waste time. There was only one thing it could be.

 A spaceship.

Just as the infected people had suggested. It was something that was clearly not of this world.

“What is it?” Dave demanded, rushing next to her on high alert.

Paige could only point, suddenly at a loss of words.

“Paige tell me I’m seeing this wrong! This can’t be happening,” Dave rambled.

They both looked at the ship with wide eyes.

Paige suddenly became hyper aware that the ship wouldn’t hover in the sky and not move forever. It would move soon, and they needed to run.

Now.

Mom!” Paige screamed at the top of her lungs, praying her mother would hear her.

 “Mom, they’re here!” Paige shouted, shuddering as she realized all the gibberish her mother had said was actually the truth.

Her mother continued to run, so Paige ran after her. She couldn’t leave her when there was a threat in the air.

Faster, Paige urged herself.

It didn’t take Paige long to catch up with her mother. She was actually surprised how fast she was and thought it was possible that the sight of the spaceship had given her an adrenaline boost that allowed her to run faster.

Paige grabbed her mother by the arm and forced her to stop. Before the older woman started to struggle, Paige pointed. “Mom, look.”

Her mother looked up and gasped as she saw the spaceship in the sky. Paige watched with dread as fear settled deep into her expression.

Looking at Paige again, her mother said, “We need to get to the institute.”

Paige didn’t want to argue anymore. Not after realizing her mother had been right about so much. If she’d been right about that—if there really was a spaceship—there was a chance that Brook could be alive, too. Paige nodded.

The sound of the minibus engine grew louder as Dave closed in. He stopped the bus, and both women quickly climbed on board.

“We need to go back to the institute,” Paige informed him, not quite believing she’d spoken those words. Her mother nodded beside her.

Dave looked like he was about to argue, but he stopped as he glanced toward the sky. He was quickly reminded of the danger they were in. Instead of questioning their decision, he simply closed the door and hit the gas pedal.

“Hold on. This isn’t going to be pretty,” he warned, flooring the gas pedal.

They sped in the wrong direction, knowing what danger was ahead, because the alternative was even worse.

Paige questioned all of their sanity as they drove back toward the institute, but something deep inside of her said they’d made the right choice.

Looking over, Paige saw her mother messing with the gun that was still in her possession. Unlike before, she didn’t try to take the weapon from her mother. She no longer felt worried.

That was, until her mother pointed it at her.

“Mom,” Paige said, but her mother only stared blankly at her while aiming. “Don’t point the gun at me.”

Her mother rolled her eyes. “Relax, Paige. The safety is on. Besides, it’s the easiest way to get your attention.”

Was that a joke?

“Well, I don’t care. Don’t do it anyway,” Paige snapped, masking with anger how scared she was for the briefest of moments.

“But what if I need your attention?” Angela insisted.

Paige sighed. “I’m sure it can wait.” Until we survive a freaking alien invasion! Her head still spun from what she’d learned in the last few minutes.

Paige narrowed her eyes as the gun stayed pointed at her. “What?”

“Doesn’t Brooke look good?” her mother asked with a prideful glint in her eyes. “The same as the day she left.”

Paige shrugged, looking ahead of herself for a moment. “I don’t know,” she replied honestly. “I haven’t seen her yet.”

“Oh, yes. Sorry I forgot.”

To be perfectly honest, she still had trouble wrapping her mind around that piece of information. Paige’s older sister could be alive, and if that were true, it would change everything.

Her mother smiled, stashing the gun inside her bathrobe pocket. “You will—once we get the device.”

Paige nodded in response. Suddenly, anything and everything was possible.

***

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