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Infection: Chapter 17

They laughed imitating me. The other guy mocked me in a falsetto fashion pretending to faint into Paul's arms. Paul teleported next to me laughing. The black haired guy face planted. I giggled despite myself.This guy was a genuine class-clown. He might even help me get away from Paul if I play my cards right. He blushed deeply before formally bowing. " Alright, I think I've embarrassed myself rather thoroughly. My name is Ben. You must be Rika, it's an honor to make your acquaintance."

" So, Rika, did Vic-- I mean Paul tell you everything?" He asked curious but polite. I glanced at Paul.

" Not really." I answered wondering where this conversation could lead. He grinned wickedly at Paul. " You old dog, you. You didn't tell her how you got rid of the virus? Or what happened the night before the infection started near our base?" He asked bewildered. Paul nodded grimacing. "Wh-" I began but Paul cupped a hand over my mouth saying,

" I didn't want you to know that there was a way out. But I suppose it couldn't hurt to tell now." Wrong, mofo, I thought getting angry. " Alright, lets go to the bridge. Rika, be quite when we go in. I won't be able to protect you..." he trailed off. What the hell was he talking about? Whatever. I really don't care anymore. Ben sensing that I was quietly angry put an arm around my shoulders comfortingly. Paul walked in front. When we came into the lobby, I screamed for a half a second, getting my mouth cupped rather roughly. Ben whispered in my ear, " I'm sorry. Don't worry about them, they won't notice you if you're quiet and our scent covers yours." He wrapped his arms around me ushering me to a couch. Paul sat there looking confused. Ben said cheerfully, " Oh it's nothing. She just got a little scared." Little? I was terrified. There were about six of them. They looked almost as bad as the one in the bathroom that day at school. Some had weird blisters and sores. Others had blood dripping out of their mouths as they worked doing various things such as setting courses, looking at maps, and pressing buttons. They looked hungrily at me but Paul shook his head and indicated for them to keep on going with their work. "Alright. Rika, I'll tell you some more." He said awkwardly when I sat near him, " After my father left. A group of people came to see me claiming I was their messiah. I didn't believe them of course. But after a while I began to wonder that if I left, if my poor mother would have to endure another day being tortured mercilessly." he paused his voice cracking, " I was fifteen when I left. I left a note telling her that she would no longer be in pain. These guys," he exchanged a look with Ben, " took me to a small society in the wilderness. I was freely given blood when ever I pleased, given...whor- I mean beautiful admirers , and I could kill anyone there with impunity. I was quite content, pleased with not only the community but the fact that my mother was safe. That was all I wanted. They let me stay there for a couple of years never saying anything or asking anything from me. Until one afternoon. The main leader; who is Ben's dad, called me to the meeting hall. He told me this, " Paulus, you have stayed with us for four years and in that time span, we have never asked for anything, but times have changed, and now you must turn us into the undead. Or leave our community forever." He was very grave. I remember the first thing I said was " What? Am I no longer your messiah?" He laughed coldly at me and said, " No, Paulus, you are still our messiah. We just need you to be less lazy and more productive." I thought he was being asinine at the time. We should just relax and continue thing the way they were. But he was very intent. " Why is it so hard?" He yelled angry at me after we had argued for hours. I responded " I don't know how to do it!". He tried reassuring me for hours and hours. I refused until one day I saw him talking to his dying son." Paul cast a sad glance at Ben. Ben didn't respond, only stared at the wall with a blank expression. A small tear glistened on his cheek. I looked away. " Ben had cancer. But no one knew about it or what to do, they simply said, "pray to the gods."" Paul laughed bitterly. " I was going to tell Ben's dad I was leaving, I was in the front of his house when I heard sobbing. Curious, I walked over to the source of noise. What I saw next made me feel so cold and empty. The man who had argued with me for hours never breaking was sobbing in a chair next to a dying child. I now knew why he had so badly wanted the community to become vampires; he did it for his son. He wanted Ben to live forever. I left after a while with a heavy heart. " This is a child", I thought to myself as I paced, " He hasn't even had a chance to live." I eventually decided that I would do it. But I wanted something in return. I told him that I would change everyone as long as one day we would conquer the world so that I could take revenge on the sanctimonious fools who dared mess with me. So we prepared over the next few centuries. Ben and I growing closer and closer as we got older. The thing is, Anne, vampires do age but we stop aging at different periods of our lives. Eventually it does stop but it can be embarrassing to a young vampire if his friends stop before him." He glanced at Ben who seemed to be a little more cheerful. Ben blushed saying, " I was just a late bloomer, okay."
     Paul rolled his eyes. " So we decided to come to America and take over the world from there. So we started with your city because it was remote and near plenty of resources. I enrolled at your school hoping to infect as many kids as possible. It was tough, but I managed to get a few; including the one in the bathroom. Her name was Erin. She was a sophomore who had decent grades but no friends. I knew she wouldn't be missed. So I took a chunk out of her arms and left her in the bathroom. I thought she would be able to handle it but she wasn't. You saw what she had become. She didn't even make it to the infant stage." He pointed at one of the creatures.
   I gave him a confused look. He sighed, " Okay. There are three stages. We call them embryo, infant, and adult. The first is when the victim is infected. Their body will begin to change on the inside. They will for a good portion of time not lose their mind, they will simply blow it off as a bad cold. But towards the end, the body will start to change causing the victim's mind to go fuzzy, I guess you could say. There brain will look like someone suffering from Mad Cow Disease with holes in the tissue and prions all over. If someone isn't there with them, they will not be able to handle the changes and perish. The second stage is infant. This is a worse stage where the body grows wings, has loose leathery skin, and long fangs. The mind is unsettled. They are almost completely uncontrollable. But the more blood they consume, the more they become like the adults. If they drink the amount of blood needed for the next phase than they will become like us." Paul pointed to himself and Ben. " The infant's body will start to evolve gaining intelligence, speed, and camouflage to hunt prey. The process generally takes eight hours. The next stage is the final stage called adult. We are adults. We can control all the lower stages." Paul finished with a " anymore questions?" I nodded. "What?" He asked exasperated. I answered back in a whisper, " Why did I collapse outside of my house? Was I infected?"

Paul didn't say anything. Ben opened his mouth but then closed it. "Answer me" I said harshly a little loudly. Some of the " infants'" heads snapped up. Paul growled when one stepped forward. They fell back. " Stupid people. Can't wait until they advance. Alright. So, you want to know, do you? Well, you weren't. Ever. I thought for a while you were but you only had a little bit of glass in your skin. So don't worry about it." I nodded. Phew, one crisis out of the way. " What about the guy who I saw at your hideout. The one with the black hair and golden eyes?" Paul looked like a teapot about to boil. Ben leaned over and clasped his shoulder. "Dude, chill. She doesn't know...and she doesn't have to." Paul nodded saying, "Alright kiddies, story time is over." Ben and he rose to their feet stretching. "B-b-but." I stuttered. Paul shushed me gently and hauled me to my feet. " Time for bed." He led me down the hall to the beds and hammocks. I got underneath the covers of the bed, closing my eyes. " Ben is going to sleep in this room for your protection." Paul whispered in my ear. He kissed me on the cheek and left. I heard Ben shuffle in and throw himself into one of the hammocks. " Goodnight, Ben." I whispered not wanting to think about the infants. Ben muttered back " Goodnight, Rika." I began to sleep thinking about the boy that I had met in the cavern. Who was he? Could he help me gain revenge?

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