This is Issue #33 of Dead Frontier by Walkerbait22, titled The Pink Flower. This is the third issue in Volume 6.
Issue 33 - The Pink FlowerEdit
Cole walks slowly down the road, trying to somehow clear his head and calm down after Chloe's revelation. He absentmindedly kicks a rock and sighs. What he'd give to go back to his shit job, to collapse on the couch after a long day and watch some TV.
He hears the patter of footsteps behind him and turns. Hannah approaches him with her hands in her pockets. Once she catches up to him, she holds his hand.
"Are you feeling okay?" she asks.
"I should be asking you that," Cole says. "But I'm fine. I kind of want to throw up, but I'm fine. I'm okay."
"That doesn't sound like you're fine."
"It's just like..." He sighs and tries to compose his words. "I still had hope left. I thought, hey, maybe it was possible to rebuild society somehow. It wouldn't be the same, obviously, but we could just...live. I feel stupid now that I even thought that. Everything I told you yesterday, all of that 'pushing forward' bullshit..." He scoffs. "We're not gonna be able to rebuild the world as it once was if we're all fucking time bombs, just waiting to die. And not just to die, no, but to come back as some mindless fucking...thing.
“And that's not even the worst part. You wanna know what the worst part about all of this is? It's the possibility of having to see everyone you love die because there's nothing you can do about it. You have to watch them break down until they're just...shells of their past selves. And then you'll end up falling apart, too, until you're just this empty fucking body with no soul...an animal who's trying to survive but doesn't know why, who eats and drinks and sleeps and kills because that's what you're supposed to do. Until you finally realize it doesn't even matter what you do because you're either going to watch everyone around you die a horrible death or you die. That's how it ends. That's it."
Cole sees Hannah wiping tears from her cheeks. He stops in the middle of the road and faces her, still holding her hand. "...I'm sorry," he says. "I...I really needed to let that out. I'm sorry."
"I didn't know you felt like that," Hannah says softly. "Ever since Micah died, and your parents, I just..." He takes a deep breath as his emotions start to overwhelm him. "I don't know. I'm just tired of everything. That's all." She opens her mouth to say something, but stops abruptly and looks to her right. "Look," she says, pointing down the road. Cole squints his eyes and sees a human figure limping down the road. He realizes he hasn't brought a weapon, but Hannah hands him her knife while she pulls out her gun.
The figure starts waving frantically and Cole sees that it's a woman. "It's a person..." Cole says. They hurry down the road toward her and see that she's clutching her arm. Then, another figure comes into view behind her. A little girl, no more than 8. But the girl isn't screaming. She's growling and chasing after the woman.
"Help!" the woman screams. They finally reach her and Cole grabs her by the arm and attempts to take her back to the truck. He instantly notices the blood seeping through her fingers.
"Cole, she was bit," Hannah warns. She looks at the infected little girl about thirty feet behind them and shudders. She begins to imagine how many of her first grade students are infected, soulless demons, just like this girl.
Cole grabs the woman and puts her over his shoulder. "Hannah, the girl!" Cole says as he begins to run. Hannah starts to run too; the more she looks at the girl the more panic she feels. She can't kill her. She can't.
Back at the truck, Billie, Dwight, Chloe, and Finn notice Cole and Hannah running toward them. "Is he...carrying somebody?" Finn asks.
"...What the hell?" Dwight mutters.
"She's bit!" Cole yells as he sets the woman down on the ground near the truck.
"But she's alive." Cole looks back and sees the infected little girl still trudging towards them.
"I couldn't do it," Hannah says, but Cole understands. He sighs and walks toward the little girl. It growls louder the closer he gets. He starts to doubt whether he can do this. He's never even worked with kids, so he can only imagine how Hannah would feel trying to kill a child. But it isn't a child. It's infected like all the others. At least, that's what Cole tries to tell himself.
He sticks out his foot, and the girl runs into it, falling on the ground. She stares at him angrily, and he stands over her with the knife. He cringes at the sound the knife makes when it enters her skull. He picks her up and leads her to the grass on the side of the road.
He suddenly hears yelling behind him, and turns to see Dwight with a gun in Hannah's face. She crouches in front of the injured woman, apparently protecting her.
"You're not going to kill her!" Hannah orders. Dwight sighs. "She was bitten. I'm sure you know what that means by now."
"My daughter...she, she..." the woman mutters. "Help her." She points in the general direction of where Cole carries the lifeless little girl.
"Just look at her. She was just attacked by her own daughter and now you want to shove a fucking gun in her face?"
"He's right," Chloe says. "We can't help her."
Dwight is fuming. "Look, Hannah, you're not invincible; this bullet can go right through you and hit her."
"Shoot me then," Hannah dares him.
"What the fuck are you doing?!" Cole shouts when he finally reaches the truck. He pushes Dwight against the side of the truck and presses his forearm against Dwight's neck.
"Get your girl...under control," he chokes out. He gives Cole a knee to the stomach, and Cole doubles over.
"Dwight, what the fuck! Stop!" Billie demands, but she doesn't dare interfere. As Cole is bent over, Dwight smashes his knee into his head. Cole falls over, with the side of his head bleeding. Hannah leaves the woman and rushes to his side. Dwight takes this opportunity to pull out his hatchet and swing it into the crying woman's head. She goes silent and topples over when he pulls the hatchet out of her head. "Don't look at me like that," Dwight says to everyone. "You all knew we had to, eventually. It was only a matter of time. She was a ticking fucking time bomb."
"Is he...is he always like this?" Finn whispers to Billie.
"No." Billie stares at Dwight for a long time. "Finn. Help me take her body over there." She points to the grass where Cole set the little girl. "You," she says to Chloe, "check on Cole." She and Finn both lift the dead woman and carry her down the road. They set her down next to her daughter.
"That's fucked up," Finn says as he looks down at them. The woman's face is caked with dirt and blood, and the girl has blood running down her lips. Her eyes are still open, exposing the signature grey irises of the infected.
Finn bends down and grabs two of the many dying flowers on the side of the road. They were once beautiful and pink, and he sets one on the chests of the girl and the mother. He looks up and sees Billie; it looks like she's trying to fight back tears. He hesitates for a moment and grabs another flower.
Finn stands and holds it out to her. "It's almost dead," he says, "but... I thought you might want one."
She takes it. "I'll be sure to put it in a vase right away," she says sarcastically. She then looks down and says more seriously, "Thanks, Finn." She doesn't really know why, but she's grateful for this little flower, as dead and crumbling as it might be.