Author's Note: Sorry this chapter is late. Aw well, enjoy!

Chapter 26: The School, Hour 4

Enter McCain:

My eyes snapped open as I woke up from a nightmare I couldn't remember. Cold sweat was on my face as I took a few deep breaths to calm myself. I slowly sat up, taking in where I was.

It was a small classroom, the desks already moved. I was on a mat on the floor, my torso covered with bandages. My sunglasses were sitting beside me, along with a few medical supplies. I quickly donned the glasses before slowly climbing back to my feet. My head felt light, but I managed to move to a wall and lean against it, keeping myself in a standing position. I blinked hard, rubbing the side of my head.

"Geeze…" I muttered, feeling the world spin when I closed my eyes. I heard someone else mutter something, and I turned my head to the side of the room that I missed. Sitting on a chair was a Sophomore, his head leaned back on the wall as he slept. I leaned my own head back against the wall as I looked at my own hand.

"…okay," I breathed. "So… I'm alive. Good. I was afraid I was going to bleed out for a minute…"

I closed my eyes as I took a deep breath. "God… how long have I been out?"

Silence was my only answer. A few minutes later, the door opened, and Sue stepped in.

"Hey Steve, how's McCain doing-" she started, but she stopped short when she saw my mat was empty and the kid-apparently he was Steve-sleeping.

"STEVE!" she shouted, making him snap awake. "Where's McCain?"

"Huh?" Steve blinked. "Um… h-he was here a minute ago…"

Sue opened her mouth to scream again, but I called attention to myself by clearing my throat. She spun toward me, a look of relief passing on her face.

"Oh, McCain!" she said, running to me and wrapping me in a hug. "Thank God, I was afraid… I mean, you were losing so much blood…"

"I'm fine, don't worry…" I answered, patting her on the back. "Where did you get the medical supplies from?"

"Mike, he and Jasmine, they ran into the condemned part of the school and…" started Sue, when suddenly it seemed like she realized she was hugging me. She quickly pulled away and turned her face away from me, blushing.

"…but yeah," she finally said, regaining her composure. "They got the medical supplies from the Nurse's office."

"Alright…" I said. "But again, how long have I been out?"

"Almost two hours, now," Sue answered.

"Two hours…" I muttered, looking down at my torso. "How the hell did I survive?"

"You're the luckiest son of a bitch alive, that's how," Sue grinned. "That… THING that stabbed you, it missed practically everything. Your ribs are intact, your organs are all okay…"

"…wow," was all I could manage to say. "Alright… so, what happened while I was out?"

Sue's face fell as she looked down. "…we lost a lot more students."

"The monsters are ruthless!" added Steve, finally speaking up. "They've been storming this place left and right! We're in the only safe building in this whole damned school, and these THINGS are just waiting out there!"

"…how many of us are left?" I asked, dreading the answer.

"…twelve, including us," Sue said solemnly. "We're all that's left standing between this school and those monsters."

"T-twelve?" I asked in shock, leaning against the wall and feeling blood rush through my body. "H-how… I mean, in only two hours…?"

"The monsters SWARMED," Sue clarified. "Steve was being… optimistic when he said we have this building. In truth, we only have a hallway consisting of three classrooms, and even that's only because the monsters haven't closed in to kill us yet."

"They're playing with us…" Steve muttered. "They're just sitting out there… waiting. They know we're sitting ducks. They want to attack us, but they want a scared meal… this is it! We're not going to win! It's game over, man! Game over!"

Sue sighed, giving Steve a sound hit to the side of the head. "Get a hold of yourself, soldier!"

Steve blinked hard, then snapped to attention. "I'm sorry for that breakdown, boss! Do you need a guard around the perimeter?"

"No, just… look, we need to make sure no monsters invade this room," Sue finally said.

"Understood!" saluted Steve, standing near the door. I stared at him, wondering what was wrong with him.

"…c'mon McCain, I need to talk to you about… battle strategies," Sue finally said, dragging me out of the room and closing the door behind her.

"He's snapped, hasn't he?" I asked. Sue gave a deep sigh and leaned her forehead against the wall.

"I just… I don't know what to do anymore…" she said, her voice wavering. "Everyone's either dead, dying or going crazy. We're almost out of ammo, we lost most of our guns… maybe we should just end it right now, save ourselves from being ripped into shreds by those monsters, or worse, turning into those zombies…"


I grabbed her shoulders firmly, turning her and making her look me in the face. "Listen to yourself. You CAN'T give up now."

"What's the point?" shouted Sue, her eyes welling with tears. "Everyone's dead, McCain! The few people that are still alive won't be able to stand against the monsters if they attack! You're always the one that looks at things realistically, do YOU think we have any chance?"

It was then I said something I never thought I'd ever hear myself say:

"Fuck realism. We're being attacked by monsters made out of paper coming in through a magical black wall, I don't think realism applies anymore. Now listen to me Sue, you are the bravest, most brilliant woman I know. You organized a whole group of people that pretty much hated each other toward a common goal, you organized a whole SCHOOL full of kids against monsters and held your ground against them for the better part of an hour, and I KNOW you can handle this."

"…wait a minute…" muttered Sue, looking down in thought. "McCain, what was that you said about the monsters?"

"Just that they're coming through the wall-" I started.

"Nono, the part about them being made of-" Sue started as I suddenly got it.

"Paper!" I interrupted. "Right! In the sewer, one of the monsters practically fell apart when it landed in-"

"Water!" continued Sue. Her face was lighting up as she was grabbing my hands in excitement. "So if we gather enough of it and sprayed the monsters with it-"

"They'd fall apart uselessly, leaving them open-"

"For us to beat them into literal pulp!"

We were silent for a minute, then finally realized we were holding each other's hands. Both of us blushed slightly, but… neither one of us were making a motion to pull away.

Well… for awhile, anyway.

"Sue… we really don't have time for this," I told her, pulling my hands away.

"Oh…" Sue looked a little hurt as she let her arms fall limply to her sides. "Alright… I understand, we're kind of in a crisis situation here…"

"…just between us, though," I said after a thought, "as soon as this is over and we're all safe, I plan on 'celebrating' with you until I collapse from exhaustion."

It took Sue a few moments of stunned silence to finally retort.

"W-what, with your injury?" she stammered. "You'd be down in five minutes, tops."

"We'll work out that bet when the time comes," I told her with a slight smirk. "First though, we need-"

"A map of the school's pipe system, yeah," nodded Sue. "That would probably be in either the janitorial office or the front office… both of which are in the 'condemned' area of the school."

"Well then…" a strange voice said behind us. We both turned around to see Augustus standing in the hall, his body scarred and one arm hanging limp by his side. The other arm was holding a loaded shotgun.

"If we're gonna die anyway, let's go out charging those bastards," he said.

Author's Note: Short AND late, I am SO sorry. I honestly have NO idea how the school chapters are gonna end up, but I do know that next chapter will come back to Lucy and the gang, so until then, this is Pax the Dreamer, signing out!

PS: When I said two hours, I mean McCain passed out at the beginning of Hour 3 and woke up at the end of Hour 4. The next school chapter will start out at the beginning of Hour 5 though, so don't worry!