Chapter 8: Attack

Jack and Angelika stood on the roof of the car. Well, Angelika stood, Jack sat.

“Don’t you wish that the infection never happened?” she sighed wistfully. Angelika’s foot slipped.

Jack grabbed her hand before she fell. “Queen Elsa, maybe you shouldn’t do that anymore,” he teased.

Angelika smiled. “Yeah, probably a good idea,” she agreed. From the roof of the car, Jack and Angelika could hear Nyx and Samantha talking. Suddenly they heard a groan. Angelika’s head whipped around and her hair slapped Jack in the face. Ow, he thought but decided not to complain.

“They just don’t stop, do they,” Jack said.

Angelika screamed and Jack saw dozens of infected people starting to pile on top of her. Their green skin glowed in the darkness. They bared their teeth.

“Jack, don’t just stand there,” Angelika yelled. “Actually do something with your short life!”

“Hey, I’m trying,” Jack protested.

“You’re not,” Angelika shouted.

Jack looked the other way to see Nyx and Jason trapped the same way. The heap of infected was growing larger by the second, like a bunch of leaves being raked in the fall.

“JACK, DO SOMETHING, YOU IDIOT!!” Angelika hollered at him, clearly annoyed.

“Hold on a sec!” he yelled, exasperated. He tried to find Samantha, but she was laughing at all of them. Jack felt rage rush through his body and felt his anger growing until a flash of lightning hit an infected person and pierced its skull. Jack looked down at his hands and saw purple energy dance across his fingers.

“Oh yeah,” said Jack, grinning. He ran towards Angelika, who shrieked, “Not me, Jack!” and covered her eyes with her hands. Jack ignored her. He transformed into a whirlwind of tossing blades and slashing, hacking, and bludgeoning the infected. Two infected people walked towards him and he put his hands together. The blades in his hands became a staff of pure electricity with razor-sharp tips.

“It just keeps getting better and better,” he said. Then he charged.

Chapter 9: Evolve

After all the infected lay in a humongous pile on the icy ground, Jack’s friends walked towards him.

“Where’s Samantha?” asked Nyx.

“With the infected,” Angelika growled, “the traitor.”

“She did laugh,” Jack said.

“Sammy told me she likes to laugh when bad things happen,” Nyx said, “to remind her that positive things will always come no matter what.”

They all stood there for a short-ish moment. Then a humanlike figure with dark hair came running up to them, stopping a few times to rest. Her black boots were covered in mud. It was Samantha.

“Traitor!” Angelika yelled at her.

“What?” Samantha looked at her in confusion. “What did I do?”

“You left us here to die to the infected!” Angelika accused.

“No I didn’t,” Samantha said. “I-I went to go look for a, um, stick that could help save us?”

Even to Jack, the tone in her voice said that she was definitely lying.

“Liar!” Angelika shouted, voicing Jack’s thoughts for him. “I saw you! You went to the city, not the woods, God, you’re such a-”

“No, I didn’t!” Samantha protested.

“Yes!”

“No!”

“Yes!”

“No!”

“You-”

“Okay, stop it,” said Jason loudly.

“Jason’s right,” agreed Nyx. “We can continue this fight later.”

“Fine,” Angelika consented grudgingly.

“We should get into travel buddies,” Nyx suggested.

“Sure,” said Samantha. “Jack? Be my travel buddy?”

“Uh… sure,” Jack said.

“But there’s five of us,” realized Nyx.

“I don’t need someone,” said Angelika firmly. “I’ll be fine on my own.”

“You sure?” Jack said.

“I’m sure.”

“Suit yourself,” Nyx said. “Sooo… Jason, Angelika, and I will find food. That ok?”

“Sure,” said Samantha.

“Bye,” Jack said to Angelika, but she turned around and Jack was pretty sure she didn’t hear him.

When the others left, Samantha said, “You have leaves in your hair.”

“Really?” Jack said.

“I can help you take them out if you want,” Samantha offered.

“If you want, Samantha.” Jack shrugged.

“Call me Sam. Or Sammy. It’s so much easier to say than Samantha.”

“I’ll call you Sammy.”

“Can I call you Jackie?” Samantha asked. “I mean if it’s not okay with you-”

“It’s fine,” Jack said.

“What do you want to do after we save the world?” Samantha asked Jack.

“I dunno. Get into the military, I guess…” For some reason, he felt more comfortable telling Angelika this than Sammy.

always wanted to have a family. A big house overlooking an ocean,” Sammy described. She batted her eyelashes at Jack.

“Uh-”

Then three figures walked up to Sammy and Jack.

“We found apples,” Jason said, “and violets.”

“Why violets?” Sammy asked.

“Because violet petals and leaves are edible,” Angelika said as if everyone knew that. “Also it has Vitamins A and C.”

“Oh,” Sammy said. “I bet Jack already knew that.”

“I didn’t-” Jack started to protest.

“Can we like actually sleep now?” Jason asked.

“I don’t think so,” Angelika said.

“Pleeeeeease,” Jason begged.

“Jason, we all know how tired you are,” Angelika said while rolling her eyes, “but-”

“-the infected can see better in daylight,” Nyx said.

“They can?” asked Jack.

“I think they can see both equally in night and day,” said Angelika. “So I think that whenever we sleep, at least one of us should keep watch.”

“That’s a good idea,” Nyx agreed.

“I’ll take first watch,” Jack offered.

“I’ll watch with Jack,” Angelika said quickly before Sammy could say anything. “And that’s it. I need to talk with Jack anyway.”

Chapter 10: Secrets

“So what do you want to talk to me about?” Jack asked as they watched the sunset over the frozen ocean.

“Samantha,” Angelika said, with a hint of severity in her voice. “Doesn’t she seem a bit weird? I mean weirder than the rest of us, we’re all weird. But I think Samantha might be infected.”

“I don’t think she’s infected,” Jack said, “she seems fine to me-”

Angelika cut him off. “To you, she does, but not to me. Did you see how she laughed when she was with the infected? And how she ran towards the city? And lied about it afterward?”

“Maybe she panicked,” Jack said, but Angelika interrupted him again.

“She’s different. Really different. Different from the rest of us. I don’t think we should continue with her. We’re better off without Samantha Aires-”

“What?! Angelika, she’s not infected. I can feel it.”

“So what? You don’t know anything, Jack. No, listen to me, Jack,” she said when Jack tried to squeeze a word in. “Samantha’s not okay. She’s a threat. She might spell out the end of our lives for all we know. You can’t go trusting every single person you meet that might seem ‘okay.’ Some people aren’t trustworthy.”

“So are you saying I can’t trust you?” Jack shot back.

“No,” Angelika said, her cheeks turning very slightly pink. “You can trust me, that’s for sure. I know I’m not infected. You know I’m not infected. You’ve seen my powers. I’ve seen yours. Samantha… what do you about her? Her brother’s already been infected.”

“Well, she could’ve been born with an ability and not Owen-”

“Jack,” Angelika said so firmly that Jack automatically shut up, “we don’t know anything about her. Anything. You can’t trust her, you don’t know her.” Jack tried to say something, but Angelika continued, “I tell you, she is infected. She’s put some sort of spell or enchantment over you, Nyx and Jason that makes you seem like she’s okay. But-”

“Wait,” Jack interrupted.

“Don’t you dare interrupt me, Lanturno-”

“How do you know all this?”

Angelika took a deep breath. “A few reasons. One, I’ve studied magic. Not by just reading Harry Potter or something, but like literally study magic. I can sense those things. And two, sort of had a dream… and I heard her saw it. With her own voice.”

Jack gaped at her.

“Stop looking at me like that, Lanturno,” Angelika told Jack. “You look stupid.”

He blinked. “Lanturno? Seriously? You know I hate my last name-”

“Whatever. Get used to it.”

“But…” Jack tried to make sense of things and failed. “How could you have heard her? She’s been with us the whole time, she’s in the car right now!”

Angelika shook her head. “No, she’s not, Jack,” she said in a small voice.

“Whaddya mean-”

“Jack, listen to me,” Angelika said with a voice so powerful that Jack stopped caring about anything else in the world and just listened to her. She grabbed his shoulders so that they were now nose to nose. Her gray eyes twinkled. “She’s gone. And Nyx and Jason.”

“What-” Jack started. He looked at the car. Inside were Nyx, Jason, and Sammy, fast asleep. “They’re in the car! All three of them!”

“I didn’t mean physically,” Angelika whispered, making Jack look at her again. “Their bodies are still here. But Nyx and Jason… their souls…” She couldn’t continue. She let go of Jack’s shoulders.

“Oh,” Jack realized. “Oh, God… you don’t mean-”

“I mean exactly what I mean, Jack,” Angelika said, not looking at him. “I think… Samantha infected them.”

Awkward silence. “Is that possible?” Jack asked timidly.

“Ninety-nine-point-nine-repeating-percent sure,” Angelika said quietly.

Long silence. Then BOOM. Angelika and Jack both jumped. Nyx, Jason, and Samantha kept sleeping as if nothing happened.

Then a silver chariot pulled by two giant cats and a staircase made of dark fire appeared in front of the car. A thirteen-year-old girl with brown hair and bangs stepped down. She wore a glowing silver dress that came down to her ankles. Her quiver was filled with arrows and was slung across her back. A white tiger and a silver wolf were on either side of her. Her piercing silver eyes were fixed on Angelika. And her bow was nocked with a gleaming silver arrow, pointing straight at Angelika’s heart.

TO BE CONTINUED

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