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Chapter 3

Ali and Xander had agreed to go to a gas station so that’s what we’re currently on our way to do, we all got back into Nico’s car and googled the nearest gas station, and started our little journey.

“There it is!” Ali yelled excitedly. We pulled up and Ace and I got out leaving Nico, Ali, and Xander alone in the car with poor Nico squished in the back seat between a very excitable Ali and Xander

“What do you think we should get?” Ace asks as we walk towards the back of the little convenience store.

“I don’t know, cookies that seems to be what they’ve been asking for for the past few hours,” I said, I still wasn’t completely comfortable being alone with Ace and I know we’re not completely alone but I didn’t like being with him without Nico or Ali around. Sadly I did a not-so-good job of hiding said feelings.

“You know you don’t have to be nervous around me like I said before I’m not going to hurt you. I’m not like those douchebags on the football team.” Ace said as we looked through the different kinds of cookies.

“I mean can you blame me, I don’t know you that well how do I know you don’t hate gays?” I asked

“Why would I hate someone for being like me? That seems kinda weird.” He says without hesitation. Wait did he just imply that he’s gay too?

“Wait hold on, are you saying you’re gay?” I asked shocked

“Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying. What you never thought you’d meet another gay guy?” He asked with a grin on his face. Okay, maybe Ace wasn’t as bad as I thought. We continued to look through the cookies in silence, I kinda felt bad for thinking that stuff about him but come on how was I supposed to know he was gay? I couldn’t just look at him and know. We’ll at least not with him.

“Hey um I’m sorry that I thought that stuff about you,” I said quietly and his deep chuckle filled my ears.

“It’s okay if it weren’t for the fact that it was broadcasted to the entire school I wouldn’t have known you were gay either, so don’t worry about it,” he said. I nodded leaving the conversation there as we went to the front counter to pay. I went to take out my card only to realize I didn’t have it. Shit, I must have dropped it somewhere.

“Don’t worry I got it.” Ace said, smiling just a little, revealing small but still noticeable dimples. Honestly, he was quite cute I mean you’d have to be blind not to realize that but I guess with life in the way I never really got to take a good look at him.

“Thanks,” I say looking away at a small TV the cashier had set up on the wall. The news was on and it looked like they were talking about Hype and the side effects. A picture came up with what looked like a girl with long black hair. She was pale, almost white with small black veins all over her face but her eyes were what caught my attention, they were black. Like completely black, her pupils must have dilated to like 5 times their original size. I nudge Ace and tell him to look at the tv and when he does his jaw drops only slightly but snaps shut only seconds later

We leave quickly and get back into the car where an exhausted-looking Nico sat between a hyper Ali and Xander. I laughed a little at the sight. Ali and Xander looked like little kids looking out the windows in amazement but also wonder, and Nico looked like the parent they dragged around all day. I got back in the passenger seat and Ace in the driver’s seat.

“Your back!” Ali yelled wrapping her arms around my neck and squeezing

“Ali, have you been lifting weights? You’re hurting me” I said noticing she had become stronger

“Oh my god Zacie I’m so sorry, and no since when do I work out that’s too much work.” She said laughing

“Yea that’s kind of the point” I retaliated, rubbing my sore neck. “Whatever, here take your stupid cookies,” I said handing her and Xander the cookies. Ace put the car in drive and Ace Nico and I decided that it would be best for all of us to stay together at Nico’s at least for the night considering the situation at hand.

It didn’t take long for Ali and Xander to start spitting out the cookies saying they “didn’t taste right”, even though they asked for them in the first place. When we got back to Nico’s Ace, I offered to clean Nico’s car from all the cookies and he happily agreed and said he’d clean the kitchen as Ali and Xander slept in the guest room seeing as they said they were tired not long ago.

Ace and I didn’t waste any time getting started. The sooner we start the sooner we’ll finish.

“Why don’t you talk in school,” I asked curiously picking up previously chewed pieces of cookie

“I don’t know, why talk when people won’t listen or care, I feel like you guys aren’t like that,” he said. I looked up from the car floor to see his deep green eyes looking back and I couldn’t bring myself to look away, it was as if I was trapped. I took this as a good time to take him in. His sun-kissed skin looked almost golden as if it was honey complimenting his almost chocolate hair, his emerald eyes glistened, capturing me in their beauty. I finally found the power to look away only a few moments later, we both went back to cleaning and we both probably felt a little embarrassed about what just happened, well at least I did.

We finished cleaning in silence and made our way back inside to see Nico on his hands and knees cleaning the kitchen floor. It was quite amusing if I say so myself. He turned around when he heard us come in.

“A little help?” He was a little embarrassed about how we found him. Ace let out a breath and went to help Nico out.

“I think I’m going to go check on Ali and Xander first,” I say and they both give me some form of acknowledgement and with that, I make my way upstairs to the guest room Nico said they were staying in. Nico’s house wasn’t huge but it wasn’t exactly small either. It was a good size with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms a good-sized living room big enough for their 40 inch TV and sound system. Nico likes to say it’s not a lot but it’s more than I have along with most people. Nico lives with his parents but he said they’re out of town for a business trip and that they work together, kinda cute if you ask me.

I walk into the guest room to see Ali lying spread out on the bed with Xander lying on the floor. I chuckle at the sight of Ali lying on her stomach sprawled out, I leave quietly closing the door behind me not wanting to wake them, and for the first time since Ali and I left my house I’ve had a moment to think to myself. Damn a lot happened today, I should probably find a way to bring up the picture thing to Ali.

I went back downstairs and heard Nico and Ace talking in the living room. I walked in quietly not wanting to interrupt their conversation but as soon as I walked in they stopped talking and turned to me.

“They’re both sound asleep, I think I’m gonna go to bed I’m pretty tired,” I said already feeling like I could sleep for days after everything that happened, this was more social interaction than I usually get in a week

“You guys can sleep down here, I’m gonna go to bed too,” Nico said getting up from his spot on the couch, I nod as Nico left leaving Ace and me alone, Ace goes to get blankets from a small closet in the corner of the living room beside the TV, he sets one on the floor and one on the couch.

“You sleep on the couch, I’ll sleep on the floor” he offered, I nod not trusting myself to say actual words without blushing like crazy. With being so pale me blushing is very obvious. I lay on the couch and looked up at the ceiling while I listened to Ace lay on the carpeted floor and attempted to get comfortable as I fell into a dreamless sleep.

I was jolted awake by an ear-piercing scream, I wasn’t sure who was screaming but I knew that it was coming from somewhere upstairs. I look to the floor and see Ace who seems to be just as confused as I am. He looks at me and puts his finger to his lips to shush me, even though I wasn’t making any noise. He quietly got up and came closer to me making sure not to make any noise

“Okay I’m going to go upstairs and see what’s happening you stay here” he whispers to me in a huskier voice than normal, god his morning voice is hot, that aside I look at him like he grew a third head.

“Are you crazy?! I’m going with you, Ali and Xander took Hype and you can’t fight back both of them if they attack you like that thing attacked the man in that video” I whisper yell back leaving little room for arguments, I hated the possibility of calling Ali one of those things but who knows what could happen to Ace if she did become one of them. I needed to make sure Ace was Okay

“Fine, but stay behind me and don’t leave my side, we’ll go for Nico’s room first, his room is the closest” Ace said, with both of us feeling as confident in his plan as possible, we made our way upstairs when we got to the top of the stairs Ace motioned me behind his large frame, he told me to grab onto his shirt so he knew I was safe and I quite happily obliged, he walked up to Nico’s door slowly. As he opened Nico’s door the door down the hall caught my attention, it was the guest room door it was wide open and pitch-black inside. I was a thousand percent sure that I had closed it last night after leaving.

My nerves heightened as Ace walked into Nico’s room with me following closely behind his shirt balled in my small fists, Ace turned on the light only for us to see Nico lying in bed shirtless. Definitely not something I ever wanted to see let alone at this very moment, I let go of his shirt as Ace walked up to Nico’s bed and shook Nico’s shoulder. Nico let out a groan and rolled over to face Ace, I knew Xander or Ali had turned now knowing that one of them was the one who screamed.

“What the hell are you guys doing in here?” Nico asked still half asleep

“Did you not hear that Screech?” I asked from beside the now-closed door Nico looked at me confused, which answered my question. I guess Nico’s a heavy sleeper.

“I think Hype started taking effect on Xander and Ali, we need to get out of here,” Ace said slowly trying to get the point across, Nico sighed and nodded, removing the blanket from his body as he grabbed his car keys from his bedside table. Luckily Nico was wearing grey sweatpants, he got up from his bed and walked over to a tall wardrobe that sat in the right corner of his room. He opened the big wooden doors and moved all of his hanging shirts out of the way Ace took out a backpack from under Nico’s bed and handed it to him Nico put some clothes and other little things inside then Nico pulled out a pistol from his wardrobe and my eyes widened.

“Hold on, please tell me we aren’t planning on using that on Xander or Ali,” I said, not wanting to have to watch someone kill my best friend or kill anyone for that matter.

“We’ll only use it if we have to,” Ace said reassuringly, but the look on Nico’s face told me something different, I had a bad feeling about all this. I was going to be a witness to a murder, oh god what did I get myself into

Nico put the gun in the bag along with a new set of keys and finally put a shirt on his small torso

“Okay, now what?” Nico asked as he turned to face me, I looked to Ace who seemed to have good plans that don’t get us hurt, or at least not yet.

“We go and check on Ali and Xander, we don’t leave Ali behind if she’s not showing symptoms. We don’t know how this thing works yet for all we know it doesn’t affect everyone the same way” Ace said, ″ I didn’t want to just leave not knowing if Ali was Okay or not. Nico nods and Ace tells Nico to keep an eye on me and to stay in a line with me in the middle, if I’m being honest it kinda pisses me off just because I’m small doesn’t mean I can’t defend myself, but at the same time who am I to complain? Ace was strong and Nico always got into fights so he knew how to fight were I only took a few self-defence classes

Ace opened Nico’s door as quietly as he could and stepped into the hallway but this time Xander was standing at the end of the hallway. He was facing us but his head was down so we couldn’t see his face but Ali was nowhere to be seen, had she turned into one of those things already? Was Xander one of those things already?

“Xander?” Ace said barley at a whisper, I assume he was trying not to scare him or set him off in some way. Xander let out a deep grumble but no response

“Xander, are you okay man?” I heard Nico ask from behind me, Xander’s head shot up and he looked at us. His eyes were completely black and his skin was white and he had little black veins all over his face and neck as he foamed at the mouth, he looked exactly like the women on the TV in the convenience store, shit.

“Oh god,” I said under my breath

“Xander? Can you hear me?” Ace said quietly Xander let out a high-pitched shriek and ran towards us at full speed, Ace (being the hero he is) stepped out of the way to leave me wide open to welcome Xander. Xander smashed into me and we both fell to the floor with a hard thud, Xander was 10 times heavier than I thought and it was hard to keep his snapping teeth away from my face and neck. I wasn’t completely sure what he was trying to do but he was snapping his teeth and shaking his head like crazy, it was almost like he was trying to take a bite out of me. His hungry black eyes bore into me and for the first time in a while, I was scared I was going to die, I could only hold his weight above me for so long and I could already feel my small arms giving out. I wrapped my hands around his thought hoping that would cut-off his air supply and he’d stop, but as my fingers pressed into his neck there was only one thing I noticed, he didn’t have a pulse. How was that possible?

I could feel his saliva hit my check as I try to push him away, I close my eyes and hope that Ace or Nico like me just enough to not let me die, then something hit Xander on the back of his head which managed to get his attention, he turned away from me and turned to Ali who was armed with a baseball bat. Xander lunged at Ali and she swung the bat hitting his temple, making him lose his balance and smash into the wall. I felt a pair of arms go under my arms and wrap around my chest, one of the boys pulled me up from the ground.

“Are you okay?” Ace said as he let me go

“Yea, thanks for the help,” I said sarcastically.

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