Aris wanted to cry. “Simon?”
Billy shook his head. “This is where you’ve been? Everyone thought you ran away.”
Simon laughed a little. “I wish I had.” He stared up at Aris. “I was on my way to your house Aris, but then that storm hit and blew the power. I was closer to your house than mine, so I kept going. I wanted to see if you were okay after passing out. I hadn’t gotten the chance to talk to you before then.”
Simon seemed like he was rambling, but Aris had a feeling she knew where this was heading.
“But then as I was walking I saw a flashlight, so I walked a little faster and the next thing I know there’s this person attacking someone. They were covered in blood. I had no idea it was you until I heard Billy say your name. At first I couldn’t move, but then Billy seemed to calm you down. I ran home. I didn’t stop until I got there, but I wasn’t sure what I saw.” He hugged his knees a little tighter. “I wouldn’t leave my room Sunday trying to figure out what happened. I didn’t want to go to school the next day, so instead I walked to the park to hide from my mom till classes got out. I wasn’t there for twenty minutes before these guys came up to me and asked if they could talk to me. I tried running, but they knocked me out with something and then I woke up here.”
Aris felt guilty somehow. She knew Simon had not run away. It was her fault he was taken to begin with; she wished she could have done something to make it better. Aris swallowed and asked what she was dreading.
“Simon, did they inject you with something?”
The boy gave a shaky nod.
Aris closed her eyes and let out a breath. She had no idea what to do. All these people were infected like her, and she still had no idea how to find the cure, if one even existed. She looked over at Billy who stared at Simon wide-eyed.
Billy spoke. “We need to get him out of here…we need to get them all out of here.”
Aris and Billy looked at Simon surprised.
Simon shook his head. “You can’t let us all out. As much as I would love to get out of here…we’re dangerous. If we get stuck in the dark, there’s no telling what will happen. The safest place for everyone right now, is here.”
Aris shook her head. “We can’t just leave you here.”
“You have to.” Simon’s eyes were filled with sadness.
“We’ll find a cure for you man, for everyone.” Billy looked at the ground.
Aris looked at Billy. “We should keep looking.”
“You should leave.” Simon looked at the clock on the wall behind Aris and Billy. “Every night someone comes back here to run experiments. Someone should be coming soon.”
The two did not want to leave their friend without finding a cure, but they did not want to get caught there either. If they did, Aris would get thrown in a cage, and Billy would get killed. So they left empty handed, not sure of their next move. As Aris drove them back to the motel, all she could think about was Simon. His family and the entire school thought he just ran away, and they would continue to think so until the whole situation got settled. When they got back to the motel room they sat on the bed.
“So now what?” Billy stared at the ceiling.
“Dunno.” Aris looked at the phone sitting on the dresser. “Your parents are probably worried.”
Billy sat up. “Crap, I didn’t even think about that. We’ve been so caught up in everything.” He took his phone out of his pocket to find it dead.
“Here,” Aris handed Billy her phone. “They’d get suspicious if you called from a motel.”
“Thanks.” Billy took the phone and got up. He had told his parents he was staying at Aris’ the night before, but he should have been home by now. He dialed the number and on the second ring someone answered.
“Billy? Is that you?”
“Yeah, hey mom, sorry I forgot to call.”
“I’ve been trying to call you all night, where have you been?”
“Just at Aris’ still, my phone died, but everything’s fine. Umm…I think I’m gonna stay here again tonight and maybe tomorrow too.” He hoped his mom didn’t ask him to stop by the house for anything.
“Billy, are you sure everything is all right?”
“Yeah, mom we’re fine, we’ve just been working on something, so we’ve been busy.”
“O-okay. I love you. If you need anything call.”
“Yeah, love you too mom. Bye.” Billy hung up the phone and realized that could have been the last time he talked to her. He was not sure what they were going to do, or how the whole thing would pan out.
Billy got up and went to the bathroom. He shut the door and stared at the rusted mirror. The time had come to find out if becoming this creature could be transmitted through bites and scratches. Billy took a big breath and shut off the lights. He closed his eyes and waited, afraid to look in the mirror. He felt no different than before, and when he opened his eyes he could not see anything; no silver eyes, nothing. Billy let out a sigh of relief and stood in the dark for a minute, just to make sure. He turned the light back on and left the bathroom to see Aris asleep on the bed. He knew seeing the others at the lab took a toll on her, and she needed the rest.
Now he needed to figure out what to do. Aris really irked him more than she had before. All the other times were different, she always bounced back, but now she was embracing the power. The last injection definitely pushed her over the edge, and he was not sure if she would come back from it. They needed to find a cure before the monster took her over completely. After a couple minutes of thinking, Billy decided it was due time for him to step up. It was too dangerous for Aris to go out again, especially with her mother looking for her. If they were not together then she had a better chance of hiding. Billy grabbed the keys off the bedside table as quiet as possible and exited the motel room without waking Aris.