This is the fifth issue in Volume 1 of A Long Road to Fortune. It is titled Trauma.
It was finally night time. Many of the survivors were still awake. Only a few candles remained lit as grosero noises could be heard faintly. Many survivors were left wondering by Mr. Chet's speech. Some weren't affected, and some even took the speech the wrong way, taking severe offense to it. Ashton was not given a sleeping bag and had no other choice but to sleep on the floor near the lookout window. The lookout was awake. He had night vision goggles and some food and water to keep him company for the night. His name was Jose Quintero.
"Pretty good night." said Jose.
"It's been worse? How exactly?" replied Ashton, in a very quiet voice so as to not attract the attention of the walkers outside.
"The problem with our people is, they make themselves too comfortable. We had a problem with Paco, one of the kids. He was playing with a kickball, bouncing it off of walls and his parents, Leslie and Jacobo, didn't seem to care" said the lookout. "One night, Jacobo went on and peed right out of the window since the bathroom was occupied. What a douche bag. The groseros showed and they broke down our wall. We didn't lose anybody though, but Daniel gave Jacobo a good ass-kicking for what he did. There are other people who don't think before they act, but that family is one of the worst offenders. Mr. Chet was pretty much spot on today."
"Yeah, I remember them. The Barreras. I uh, graffiti'd their van once. They weren't thrilled when they found out." Ashton replied.
"That reminds me, you stole my wallet one time." Jose replied. "Jerk."
"I don't suppose an apology would mean much now." Ashton said. "It would be a nice way to start." Jose replied.
"Ashton, how are you?" Ashton looked over to the source of the voice. It was Liza. She was wearing a ripped pink nightgown. "Can we talk?" Liza said. "Yeah, of course" said Ashton. Ashton followed Liza to a bench in a poorly lit part of the market. "Let me just say, you don't know how happy I am to see you alive. I mean, I have had no one since this whole thing started."
"I missed you too Liza. But, why did you kiss me back there?" said Ashton. "Ashton, I have known you all my life. I remember the days when my big sister would babysit you and take me along with her. We always played together and she always took care of us. I was just so happy when I saw you again that I, didn't know how to express it. So in the heat of the moment, I went for it." "Liza, I didn't know I meant that much to you, still." Ashton said.
"Look, just because you've had your fair share of setbacks in life, doesn't mean you're not still my friend. You never changed Ashton. You were always you." said Liza. "I can't understand how anyone could be so loyal to their friend." replied Ashton. "You keep saying I'm all you have left, regarding family. What happened to the rest of your family?" Ashton asked.
Liza took a deep breath and began to speak. "My sister was still in Morelos studying, so I don't know what's become of her. She could be one of those things right now."
"Kind of like my parents" Ashton said.
"And in the early days of this whole mess, I became sick. My parents didn't want me going to school that week, so I stayed home and rested. Our house was full of supplies and my medicine. My parents were horrified when the first of the groseros started popping up. We decided to leave Tecpan but hours before we made the trip, a man and his crew of desgraciados broke into our house. They were from the cartel. I could tell by their neck tattoos. They were lead by a man who covered his face with a bandana. My parents hid me next to our laundry room, so they never saw me. The man just shot them. Both of my parents, right in their heads. Without hesitation. They took our supplies, and just left. I got a really good look at that bastard's eyes. I'll never forgot his cold look." Liza said. She broke into tears after telling her story. Ashton decided to comfort her by hugging her.
"I'm sorry Liza. I hope we don't run into any of those people again." After a bit, Liza wiped her tears away.
Valdez came running to Ashton and Liza. "Ashton, Mr. Chet wants to see you." Valdez said. "Come, follow me. Bring Liza with you too."
Valdez led Ashton and Liza to a storage room occupied by Valdez and Mr. Chet. Since they were the supply runners, they were given the luxury of their own room.
"I'm going to leave soon, Ashton." Mr. Chet said. "I need to find my daughter. She's all I have left."
"But wasn't she studying medicine in Acapulco? With the way things are now, you may never make it there! And who knows if she's even still alive." said Ashton. "Exactly, I won't know until I get there. And you let me worry about getting there in one piece ok?" "We at least need to come with you!" Ashton said.
"Look Ashton, these people need you. I'm not just talking about your friends when I say that either. You've seen the ugly side of life and you know how to deal with it. Very few people here know that. I mean sure, everybody's poor, but they've always had each other to rely on. Not you. You may not know it yet, but these people need you. But for me, I need to attend to this matter." After a minute of silence, Ashton spoke once more.
"Ok. I understand. Just promise me one thing. You won't die on us." Ashton said.
"I will try with all my might not to." Mr. Chet replied. The two friends shook on their promise. "I have everything I need ready. I will be leaving early in the morning."
Meanwhile, Jose was still on lookout duty, but something, however, was off. Jose looked out into the street and spotted a small figure chasing something. "Who the hell is that?" A ball rolled down the street. "Oh no. Please no. Don't be who I think it is..." Little Paco had accidentally thrown his ball over the wall. He had gone outside to retrieve it. Much to Jose's relief, Paco came back in one piece. He threw his ball over the wall and began to climb the rope to get over it.
Jose ran down the flight of stairs and confronted Paco. "What the hell was that? You know you're not supposed to get over the wall!" said Jose. "But none of the things got me" Paco replied.
"Yes, but they could have followed you! Don't you understand? You put all of us in danger!" Paco was angry and he was about to give Jose a mouthful until some banging on the wall interrupted him.
- The title of the issue refers to Liza and the "trauma" she's received from witnessing the murder of her parents.
- This is one of the few issues to not feature any zombies.
|A Long Road to Fortune: Volume 1|
|Issue 1 - Issue 2 - Issue 3 - Issue 4 - Issue 5 - Issue 6|