This is Issue #14 of Dead Frontier by Walkerbait22, titled A Better Place.
Issue 14 - A Better PlaceEdit
"What's your name?" asks the man with the blade to Billie's throat. His voice is deep also, but he sounds considerably younger than the man with the magnum.
"Billie," she croaks out. She dares not move for fear of the man slicing her throat. She can just imagine it; one swift motion with his arm and she's dead in an instant.
"What are you doing out here, Billie?" the older man asks. "And God damnit, Luke, get that damn knife away from her throat!" Luke, the man holding Billie, lets her go. When the blade leaves her neck, she lets out a sigh of relief. "Put that gun down, girl." Billie slowly bends down and places her shotgun on the ground, never taking her eyes off of the older man.
"Me and a friend were separated from the rest of our group," Billie explains. "Friend?" Luke inquires. Billie turns to look at him. He has dark skin and a tall frame.
"He's hurt. He passed out sometime last night, and I was just out here looking for something I could use to help him."
"Ya ain't gonna find anything out here," the older man says. "The looters cleared these houses out a few days ago."
"How about this? Me and my boy will go and get your friend, and bring him back to our place. My wife will be able to fix him right up."
Billie just stares at him in disbelief. "You...you'd do that?"
"Well," says Luke. "We're not going to just let two people sit out here when we're fully capable of helping. And you don't really look that dangerous." He smiles at her playfully. "Our car's right over here. Why don't you take us to your friend?"
Adam is lying in bed with his face buried in his pillow when he hears a knock at the door. He groans and gets up; after the long day, all he wants to do is rest. When he opens the door, he sees Dommy.
"Dommy? You're supposed to be resting," says Adam.
"Yeah, I know," Dommy replies. He pushes past Adam, letting himself into the motel room, and closes the door behind him. "I need to talk to you."
"Yeah, sure. What is it?" Dommy takes a seat on the bed, and Adam plops down next to him.
"I know I'm going to turn." Dommy says it without looking Adam in the eye. "I know it, but it's just hard to admit. So I'm sorry for yelling at you back there."
"No, I get it. Don't worry about it."
Dommy lets out a shaky sigh and runs his sweaty hands through his hair. "But that's not why I'm here. Adam, I need to know if my family is okay. Before I die, or turn into one of those...things, I need to know." Dommy looks at the younger man with pleading eyes.
"You're hurt," Adam says.
"I know, but that doesn't matter. Just listen to me. Early tomorrow morning, I want you to take me back into the city. With less of us, maybe we can get in and out safer. Plus, you know the city better than anyone here."
"Only me and you?"
"I asked that new guy, Gord. He says he's up for it. Please, Adam. I'm fucking begging you right now." Adam can see the tears in Dommy's eyes, and can't think of how to say no.
"Okay," Adam says. "We'll go tomorrow."
Luke and the older man lead Billie back to their car and she directs them to where Cole lies unconscious in her car. She learns the older man is named Randy and that Luke is his son.
"Where are you staying?" Billie asks.
"A few miles west," Randy says. "Got this big, secluded house. Me, Luke, and my wife live there."
"What about you?" Luke asks. He drives the car and looks at Billie through the rearview mirror. His dark eyes bore into hers. "You're not just wandering on the road are you?"
"No, I've got a group back at this big motel in Calumet. Me and my friend, Cole, we got separated from them while heading into the city." She quickly recounts the story of how she and Cole were cornered and separated from everyone else.
"We'll get you back to your people," Luke promises. About ten minutes later, they reach the car and can see Cole slumped in the passenger seat. Billie rushes out of Randy's door and flings open the passenger seat, shaking Cole in an attempt to get him to wake up. Still, he is unconscious. "Put him in the backseat, Luke," Randy orders. Luke reaches into the seat and lifts Cole over his shoulder. As gently as possible, he places Cole in the back seat and drives back to his home with Billie and his father.
Eventually, Luke, Randy, Billie, and Cole reach the secluded house Randy spoke of earlier. They turn onto a dirt road and ride until Billie can see a woman sitting on the porch anxiously awaiting the return of her husband and son. When the woman sees the car, she leaps off of the porch and jogs over.
Once they pull up to the house, Luke immediately grabs Cole from the backseat. "Who are they?" the woman asks when she sees Billie and Cole.
"Don't worry, Rita," says Randy. "We ran into them on the street. The boy's hurt his leg. You can fix him up?"
"Of course." The woman perks up and follows Luke into the house, gathering up medical supplies. Cole's body is limp as Luke places him on the couch. He grimaces when he sees Cole's wounded leg.
"Move outta my way, Luke," Rita orders as she kneels down next to Cole. She rushes as she works on his leg, remembering her days working in the ER.
Billie enters the house and sees Rita working on Cole. She looks away in order to avoid looking at his disgusting calf wound again. She lumbers into the kitchen and plops down at the table, burying her head in her hands. She's exhausted, frustrated, saddened. This overload of emotions just makes her want to rest and forget about everything for a while.
"Hi." Billie looks up and sees Luke. He takes a seat at the table next to her.
"Hey," she replies. "Thanks...for taking us in. You're lifesavers, literally."
"Don't mention it," says Luke. "With the way everything is now, it just makes sense to try to help in anyway you can. To try and somehow make the world a little bit better."
She smiles. "Too bad not many people think that way. You guys are amazing people."
"Nah. We're not amazing. We just haven't been changed by everything that's happened. And I'm grateful for that."
"So am I," Billie says.
"So, you hungry?"
She would feel greedy is she takes anymore from these people. They've already done so much by just taking them in and helping Cole. "No, I'm fine." But her growling stomach says otherwise.
Luke grins. "You sure? Your stomach doesn't sound happy."
She gives in. "I guess I could use some food."
"Then food you will get." He stands and reaches into a cabinet. He pulls out a large can of beans and a bowl. The beans hit the bowl with a plop when he dumps then in. He places the food in front of Billie and provides a spoon. "Boom. Gourmet beans in 10 seconds."
Billie is surprised by the genuine laugh she gives. "Thanks." She eats a large spoonful of raw beans and moans inadvertently when they hit her near-empty stomach. Luke chuckles as he watches her scarf down the food. He hands her a napkin and she wipes her face, blushing slightly. "Sorry," Billie says. "I kind of eat like a pig."
"It's okay," he says, laughing and showing his white teeth. He grabs her bowl and puts it in the sink, washing it as he talks to her. "You know, we've got a bed you can sleep in. You look really tired."
"Do I look that bad?" Billie asks.
"No, you look good. Not like that," Luke stammers. "I mean, you do look good, but you look tired too. Look, I don't mean--" He takes a deep breath, annoyed that he's making a fool of himself. "Nevermind. I'll take you to one of the rooms so you can sleep."
Luke leads Billie upstairs and provides her with a few blankets and a pillow. He leaves the room and shuts the door, muttering "Stupid, stupid, stupid," to himself. along the way.