Chapter 9

“You’re kidding me,” Ric muttered under his breath, looking on with a smirk on his lips.

As Heather, Ric and Mila watched, the swirling wall of water finally cleared and through its opening rested a bright red Thunderbird. The fanciest car Heather had ever driven was her dad’s hand-me-down minivan, so to see any kind of sportscar up close was somewhat of a thrill for her. Ric, on the other hand, started to chuckle.

“Out of all the cars you could be driving down here, this is what you chose?”

“Well I thought it’d be ironic having a Thunderbird underwater,” Mila replied, “plus, I look super cute in it. Besides, it’s got all the newest upgrades and everything… well, all the upgrades that I could get from, oh, how many years ago? Hehe, I guess I’ve been down here too long.” She pulled a set of keys out of her back pocket and with the click of a button the car revved its engine, the headlights turned on and the doors opened up. She walked towards the car, motioning with her hand for Ric and Heather to follow, and as they all climbed inside, Heather wondered how Mila could be hidden under here this entire time without knowing her dear friend Ric was alive. Did she even try to look for him? Or was Ric’s strong affection for her really only one-sided? There was a part of Mila’s story that Heather needed to find out, and fast, if she was truly going to trust her.

“Like I said, this road will take us around the entire island, but there are two entry points up onto the island itself. The first is located where the old dock can be found further north on the island, close to British Landing, and we’ll head there now. I also have extra protection for us in the trunk if we need it… guns, ammunition, and a few ~ ”

“No! No guns,” Ric interrupted. “We have no need to kill. What we need to do is find out how this is all happening, who’s responsible, and find whatever antidote we need to help the people on this island. The last thing we need is to have people die.”

Mila nodded in understanding, and with a slight tone of relief replied, “Okay then. In the trunk they’ll stay. I’m a little relieved that I haven’t felt the need to actually use any of that stuff.” She stepped on the gas and started driving on her underwater road. There wasn’t much to see around the car as the currents along both sides of the car were still moving at a pace too fast for anything clear to be seen through it. Heather wondered what else could be created to connect the island to the mainland… or how this underwater technology could connect islands, peninsulas, countries, even continents to each other. She also wondered how quickly this mind-controlling disease, or whatever it was, that had taken over the Mackinac Island community could spread all over the world in a short amount of time, in a matter of months, possibly even days. “Mila, you said there were two entry points onto the island. Where is the second one?”

“It caved in. I lost the manpower to fix it… my construction team was on the island and overcome by that crazy smoke before they could get back down here… and I don’t have enough electrical power to start up my tunneling machine. If there was some way that I could find a generator or extra power on the island, I could start it up, and with both of your help I could reopen the tunnel.”

“I think I can help you with that, Mila,” Ric replied, “both of us can, with both things.”

Mila slowed down and made a right turn to drive into another tunnel, one that slowly started to incline onto the beach. She stopped before the car could be exposed to the land, and shut off the vehicle. “I think this is as far as we drive. This is about as far as I’ve ever gotten, actually.” She opened up her car door and stepped out, and Ric and Heather followed suit. Mila stepped forward several feet and reached her hand up towards the surface of the water, where she could just reach one finger through into the air. She started to swirl her hand in a clockwise motion until the water above her head began to spin apart, creating a hole like that which they had first jumped through by the marina. All three looked up through the opening, but since they were still below land they couldn’t see anything. “Heather, why don’t you get up on Ric’s shoulders and you can see what I’m talking about.” Mila pointed to Ric, who offered out a hand for Heather to step on, and he lifted her up onto his shoulders. Her head poked out up enough from the water for her to see the beach ahead of her, and what the beach was covered with as well, as her eyes widened in disbelief at the scene before her.

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The beach was dense with people… people roaming the beach, the street, walking slowly with their heads down, bumping into each other and continuing on as though they were sleepwalking. Heather squinted as reflections of light shone in her eyes, realizing that there were reflections coming from all different directions, the silver in their pupils catching the sun. Surely walking through this hoard of island zombies would be a death sentence, she thought.

Heather tapped Ric on the top of his head and he knelt down low enough for her to step down. “It looks bad. It’s congested with people up there.”

“It’s why I’ve never driven up onto land,” said Mila, “just watching these people and how they act, so viciously but so sporadically, I was afraid I’d run someone over. We’ll need one heck of a good game plan to get past them.”

“Oh we’ve got one.” Ric pulled out his taser. “I know that all three of us are capable of maneuvering through tight spots, but we need to do the same thing up there, just faster. I’ve got a taser just in case someone gets too close to me, Heather you’ve got yours, and Mila…?”

She nodded at Ric and pulled out her own taser from her belt. “When we’re ready,” Ric continued, “we’re gonna spread out. They won’t have a chance to gang up on us all in one place. It’ll seem like every man for himself, but trust me, this is how we’ll work together.”

Mila stepped back up to the watery opening and swirled her hand around its edge until the hole extended to the shore. “We have about ten seconds before this opening disappears. Here we go!”

Heather took in a deep breath as she watched Ric run out in front of her and onto the beach first. She follows right behind him knowing that Mila is right behind her, and Heather takes a sharp left with her eye on the tree line, shoving people out of her way before they even have a chance to register what’s happening. She had just reached the trees when the first pair of silver eyes connected with hers. Oh boy, she thought ,and grabbed her taser just in time to use it, but she threw her hand out too high. The taser makes contact with the islander’s face, shocking him right between the eyes, and knocks him out. Heather stumbles backward, thinking that her mishap may have caused more harm to this man than necessary, or that she may have cost him his life. But her eyes focused back towards the new pairs of silver eyes gravitating her way, and she knew she had to go.

Heather ran through the trees, searching left and right for another running human being, when she sees Mila and Ric escaping up British Landing Road. Mila looks over her shoulder and catches Heather’s eye, throwing her hand in Heather’s direction indicating her to catch up, and Heather sprints up the road to meet them. The three then disappear up the road knowing that they have a long run ahead of them before they reach Ric’s underground sanctuary, but Heather secretly hopes that he’ll lead them instead to a location closer by…


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