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Chapter 2

“Okay time out, I’m going to get a drink at the bar. You want anything?” Ali asked

“No thanks I’m good,” I said, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t dying for some water but I honestly didn’t trust the sketchy-looking people sitting at the bar. Instead, as Ali made her way to the bar I went outside to get some fresh air hoping it would help. Being stuck in a warehouse with hundreds of other people being close together gets uncomfortable quite fast.

“You look exhausted” I heard a deep voice say from behind me. I turn around to come face to face with Ace.

“I just came out here for some air,” I said, trying to get him to leave. There’s nothing wrong with Ace but I don’t know what kind of guy he is, for all I know he’s just as much of an asshole as the guys on the football team and I didn’t want to take that chance.

“Mind if I join you?” He asked, I shrugged not wanting to say anything as I folded my arms across my chest defensively

“You don’t have to be scared of me you know, I’m not going to hurt you,” Ace said. I assume trying to reassure me but it wasn’t exactly working.

“How do I know you’re not like all the other guys?” I said skeptically, I heard him chuckle as if it was funny

“So you don’t trust me but your best friends with the girl who ruined your life?” He asked

“What?” I asked, as my eyebrows scrunched together

“You don’t know, Allison was the person who took that picture of you and your boyfriend making out 2 years ago,” he said.

No, that’s not possible Ali wouldn’t ever do anything like that, that picture had ruined my relationship. I assumed Ace could see the confusion on my face because he continued to explain what had happened as he walked closer to me but still making sure to keep some distance

“Allison was drunk as hell at that stupid house party and she went to go look for you and she found you and Jake in the guest room and when she came back downstairs she was telling everyone about it and showing them the picture. She posted it but the next day she deleted it from her feed but everyone already screenshotted the picture and spread it to the rest of the school. It was already too late for her to stop it.” Ace concluded

There’s no way Ace is serious Ali would never do something like that, maybe I should ask her? Oh god what do I do if it’s true, what do I do if it’s not true and Ace is just messing with me? I had gotten bullied for years because of that stupid picture.

“Oh, really and what do you think she’ll say if I ask her?” I ask trying to sound confident to see if he was lying

“She probably won’t admit to it but there are other people who know it was her,” he said. Oh my god, he’s being completely serious. It’s at that moment Ace got a text, he pulled his phone out of his pocket and looked at it. He looked confused. I wasn’t sure what he was looking at but I don’t care. At this point, my mind was focused on what to do with the Ali situation.

“Oh god, Zac come look at this” Ace said I could hear in his voice that he was slightly alarmed. I walked over to him slightly curious as he pressed play on a video.

The video was taken in a parking lot of what looked like a motel. You could tell the person taking the video was behind a window from the reflection, for the first few seconds nothing happened but then a man came into view, the man was running to his car and then something else came into view. I didn’t know what it was, it was shaped like a person but it looked pale like completely white, it looked like it was chasing the man. The thing’s arms were reaching for the man. When the man got to his car he took too long to unlock it and the white thing jumped onto the man’s back and they both fell onto the pavement. It looked like the white thing took a bite of the man’s neck as the man’s screams of agony slowly faded to a gurgling sound as the thing continued to rip the flesh from his neck, then the video ended.

“What the hell was that?” I asked shocked

“I don’t know,” Ace said, then he got another text. It was another video but this video had someone talking to the camera, he looked frantic and out of breath, almost as if he had just run a marathon.

“Okay, oh my god dude, I have no idea what’s going on. All I know is DON’T TAKE HYPE. When you do your pupils dilate until your eyes are completely black, and then you start attacking people. I don’t know what happened to these people but they’re all over the place dude there are hundreds of them, they’re attacking everyone they see, and they start eating them! It only takes a few hours after taking it for the side effects to start showing.” The man on the video was cut off by an ear-piercing scream then the video cuts to a black screen.

“Who was that?” I asked looking up at Ace

“He’s one of my friends. He’s from… Pennsylvania. I think we need to find Nico and Allison and get the hell out of here” Ace said as he put his phone back in his pocket, I nod. We got back to the warehouse within 5 minutes

“When I left, Ali was at the bar,” I told Ace, he nodded and we headed to the bar only to find that Ali wasn’t there. She wasn’t even in sight.

“Dammit!” I yelled in frustration. Where the hell could she be?

“Maybe she’s with Nico, she probably got tired of waiting for you and went to go find him?” Ace suggested scanning the room

“You’re probably right, let’s go find him,” I say as I make my way to the back of the warehouse as Ace tells me about where Nico’s spot is and we make our way over. When we got to Nico’s spot, which was just an old office, we saw Nico sitting in a chair with Ali on his lap. I mentally facepalm. I walk up to Ali and take her arm

“Come on we need to leave. Now.” I am trying to make it clear that it’s urgent.

“Awe but I’m having fun!” She whines “You never know how to have fun” she whines again.

“Listen. It’s important, we need to leave” I say again I look back at Ace with pleading eyes.

“Nico! It’s time to go” he says with serious eyes leaving little room for arguments. Nico nods and gets up with a hand on Ali’s waist.

“Let’s go doll face,” Nico says to Ali, Ali was more off-balance than normal so either she was drunk or she took something she shouldn’t have, Oh god.

“Are you drunk?” I ask Ali seriously

“No! I took Hype” she says matter-of-factly and my eyes widen as I look back at Ace whose jaw was clenched keeping in shut

“Why?” I ask her and I immediately look at Nico skeptically knowing he most likely had something to do with it.

“What? She said she wanted to try some so I gave her some” Nico says and I don’t know how to react. Will she end up like whatever that guy in the video was talking about?

“Whatever it’s fine, we just need to leave,” Ace says this time, his voice sounding deeper than usual, almost urgent. Nico looks between Ace and me and then nods, Nico picks up Ali bridal style and we make our way back to Nico’s car. Ace got into the driver’s seat and Nico and Ali got into the back which left me in the passenger seat.

“Hey, Nico!” The man with shoulder-length hair from earlier said making his way towards us.

“Hey listen Xander this isn’t a good time I gotta go, dude,” Nico said. Xander looked sad, I can only assume he and Nico are pretty close friends

“Why don’t I come with you, I don’t know if it’s just me but I’m so hungry,” he said and it only took seconds before Ali chimed in.

“Oh my God me too! We should go get something to eat! I want cookies. Oh! Zacie where’s that one place with those really good ginger cookies?” Ali asked

“You mean Starbucks?” I asked, turning to look at her, she nodded.

“Fine whatever get in the car” Nico sighed

Xander got in the car, squishing Nico between Ali and himself, we made our way to Nico’s house because Ace and I decided it would be the best idea. When we got to Nico’s house we all got out of the car going inside hoping we could figure out what was happening, I assumed this Xander guy had taken Hype as well since he had bought some earlier

We went into Nico’s house which was actually quite nice, from the doorway I could see a large kitchen on the right with a medium-sized island, on the left was the living room which had a large sectional that looked incredibly comfortable, we stood around the island in the kitchen contemplating what to do next

“Oh my god Zac you smell so good,” Ali said as she buried her face into my chest as I locked eyes with Ace

“Okay, lets make some cookies, I have cookie dough in here somewhere,” Nico said as he walked towards the fridge but I gesture for Ace to talk to Nico

“Hey uh Nico can Zac and I talk to you for a minute. Alone” Ace said and Nico nodded and left Ali and Xander to make the cookies on their own as Ace Nico and I went into the living room.

“What’s up with you guys you’re acting weird,” Nico said looking between us, Ace pulls out his phone and shows Nico the videos we watched only about a half-hour before. After he saw the videos we told him what we thought and he was silent the whole time which was unusual for him.

“Wow that’s a lot to take in, so you’re telling me that that might happen to Ali and Xander,” Nico asked, not trying to hide his worry and what seemed to be a hint of guilt.

“Well, we’re not sure we only know as much as we’ve been told which isn’t much. So I guess we’ll just have to wait it out.” I say trying to calm his nerves but on the inside, I’m freaking out just as much as he is. I mean I know I should be mad at Ali for the whole picture thing but when she could become some cannibalistic creature thing the picture is the last thing on my mind. Ali was there for me when no one else was and accepted my sexuality when my parents didn’t. She’s my best friend and I don’t know what I’d do if she became one of those things.

“Let’s just keep a close eye on them for now for all we know it could affect people differently,” Ace said, probably to try and calm both Nico and me down. We both nod and go back to the kitchen where we left Ali and Xander to make cookies. When we walk in we see them both taking a bite then spitting out the freshly made cookies.

“What the hell?” Nico asked knowing he would have to be the one to clean up the mess and I internally chuckle. Sucker.

“They taste weird!” Ali whined with a pout on her face. She walked up to me and wrapped her arms around my waist as she put her head on my chest.

“Did you get new soap?” She asked me and I look at her questioningly

“Umm no, same as it’s always been,” I say confused.

“You smell so good,” she says burying her face further into my chest yet again, I look at Ace and Nico questioningly and they both just shrug.

“Why don’t we go to a gas station and get you ginger cookies?” I ask Ali, trying to be helpful as Xander stands by the counter. When I looked at Xander the only thing I noticed was his eyes, his pupils almost doubled in size. I elbowed Ace in the ribs to get his attention.

“Ouch, what the hell?” He asked quietly and I nodded towards Xander and it didn’t take long for Ace to realize why I was trying to get his attention. He then got Nico’s attention and Nico was visibly shaken. Nico has never been known to be someone who’s visibly scared but I guess this time he doesn’t have the same amount of protection he usually does, or the situations usually aren’t as serious as the one we’re facing currently.

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