Issue 42 - SarahEdit
"Decided not to go, huh?" Finn asks Dwight. They're sitting in the cafeteria, with Peter sitting on Finn's left.
"Had massive headache this morning," Dwight says. "I kind of took it overboard with the drinking."
"Yeah, I saw."
"Why didn't you go? I barely saw you drink anything yesterday."
"Because...I don't know. They didn't need me. They've already got Billie, Robbie, Elle, Tyler... I'd just be dead weight, I think."
"And what about you, man?" Dwight asks. He looks to Peter. "Didn't want to go?"
"I haven't even killed one of those things," Peter says. "And I don't want to. It's nice and cozy in here behind the fence."
"But your sister's real eager to leave, huh? She tougher than you?"
"No way. She's a chick."
Dwight laughs. "I can name tons of chicks here that could kick your ass, Devon included."
"...Whatever." Peter stuffs his mouth with a big spoonful of beans. "Hey, what's that tattoo?" Half of Dwight's tattoo on his bicep shows from under his T-shirt.
Dwight tugs his sleeve down, almost defensively. "It says 'Sarah.' "
"Who's that?" Peter persists. Finn kicks him in the shin under the table. "Ow."
Dwight sighs and takes a bite off of his granola bar. His body tenses up. "She was my daughter, okay?"
"Oh. Sorry I asked." Peter can feel the warmth rising to his cheeks, and his face turns light pink.
"Ah, it's okay. No shame in being curious." Dwight forces a smile to Peter.
Dwight returns to his tent in the terminal. Music is playing, but he shuts it out. He lies down on his blanket and buries his head in his pillow. After a few minutes, he reaches under his pillow and pulls out a small photograph. It is a large family photo, with him, his mom and dad, his brother, a bunch of cousins and aunts and uncles, and his wife holding their 4 month old, Sarah. He stares at it for a long time. "Oh, man. I miss you guys," he whispers. "So much."
DAY OF THE OUTBREAKEdit
Dwight wakes up to Sarah's crying in the other room. He turns over in his bed and groans, covering his head with his pillow. "Jamie..." he mutters.
"...What?" Jamie replies.
"She's crying again."
"Ugh." Jamie stands and stretches, her bedhead unruly. She follows the sound of Sarah's crying and flips on the light when she gets to her daughter's room. She begins to sing a soft, beautiful tune to calm the baby, but it doesn't work. She sets her back in the crib, and a few minutes later returns with a bottle of milk. "I'll never understand how you drink so much milk."
Jamie rocks her until Sarah's eyes start to close. She turns, startled, when she hears a thump outside the window. She sets the bottle down and peeks through the curtains. Just darkness. She shakes her head to calm her nerves, but then she hears the thump again. "Dwight? Baby?"
"...What?" he mutters sleepily. He has tons of press to do tomorrow for his upcoming fight; now he just wants a good night's sleep.
"I think there's something outside," she calls out. She continues to nervously peek out of the window, cradling Sarah in one arm.
"It's probably a raccoon. Leave it."
Jamie sighs and closes the blinds. She's going to put Sarah back in the crib when the window shatters and a rabid man bursts through. Jamie screams in terror as the man grabs her by the shoulders and sinks its rancid set of teeth into her neck. She drops Sarah in the struggle.
"Jamie?" Dwight leaps from the bed and runs toward the screams. He enters the room and immediately tackles the man. In a fit of blind rage, Dwight stomps on his face until the man's head isn't even a head anymore; just a mess of brains and skull.
Dwight presses his hand to Jamie's neck and reaches for the house phone on the dresser. He cries and whispers soothing words as he calls 911. Sarah lies on the floor, silent. Dwight grabs her and cradles her with one arm. "It's okay, baby. You're okay," he says to Jamie. She starts to choke on her blood when the operator picks up after what seems like an eternity, although it was only a few seconds.
"911, what's your emergency?"
"Some guy, he broke in through the window and attacked my wife and my baby. My wife, she's bleeding. Oh, God, she's bleeding so much..."
"Sir, calm down and tell me your address." Dwight gives her the address. "An ambulance is on its way now."
"Hurry, please! Oh, my God."
"Where is the man now?" the operator asks.
"I...he's dead. I killed him...I fucking killed him."
"Okay, and your baby. Is it okay?"
"I think...I think my wife dropped her. She's not...she not moving!" Dwight is a whirlwind of emotions. He lets out a frustrated, angry yell.
"Stay on the phone with me, sir. The ambulance will be there soon." The few minutes it takes the ambulance to reach the house are complete hell for Dwight. Jamie is barely alive when the paramedics burst through, and Sarah still hasn't made a sound.
In the back of the ambulance, Dwight watches, horrified, as Jamie flat lines and the paramedics try to bring her back. He sees Sarah on a table, a large bruise on her head. It's too much for Dwight, and he passes out.
When he wakes up, the ambulance is on its side. Only one paramedic is in the back of the ambulance, but she's dead. She wears a bite mark similar to Jamie's, but on her arm.
Dwight blinks his eyes open and shut a few times to get his bearings. He sees Jamie sitting up, her skin and irises tinged grey. She has some kind of surgical tool protruding from her forehead. Dwight sobs, muttering curses under his breath. He frantically searches around the ambulance for Sarah. He finally lifts up the paramedic and sees Sarah under her. She looks peaceful, except for the bruise on her head and face. He listens for a heartbeat and lets out a bloodcurdling scream when he hears nothing.
The cars come to a stop in the parking lot, with only six people instead of the seven they started with. Cole, Hannah, Adam, Robbie, Billie, and Tyler enter the airport and make their way to terminal one.
Abe sees them and rushes over. He scans over their faces, seeing the disappointment and fright, and notices who they’re missing. "Where's Elle?"
"She didn't make it," Tyler says. People start to crowd around, but Abe shoos them away.
"Come here." He hastily leads them to the now empty cafeteria. "What the hell happened?"
"Thomas, Rowan, everyone," Cole says. "They're dead. The helicopter crashed... somehow."
Abe collapses onto a seat and rubs his temples. For the next ten minutes, Cole explains what exactly happened back in the forest.
Finn sits patiently in the waiting area as Abe finishes learning all the details. He jogs over to Billie and embraces her, afterwards giving her a kiss. "I'm okay, Finn."
"I know. But, what happened back there?" Finn asks.
"I'm not really the best person to ask. Cole, Hannah, and Adam saw everything. I wasn't there."
"Yeah, thank God you weren't."
"Yeah, it's better that Elle was shot, right?"
Finn sighs. "That's not--forget it. I'm just happy you're back, and that you're safe."
Abe calls for a meeting in the middle of the terminal. He stands in front of everyone and they listen intently. "This has been a strange day...to say the least. With the revelations about Harry, and Thomas, Rowan, Lucas, and Jane going missing. But this day, as terrible as it was, has actually taught me something very important, about trust. I trusted every single one of you here, and someone betrayed me. Killed one of our own. If I can no longer trust everyone here, how can I trust the living on the other side of that fence?
"I can't. And now that I know about the dangers close to us, thanks to Robbie, Cole, Tyler, Hannah, Adam, Billie, and Elle--God bless her soul--I know that I can't keep those gates free for anyone to enter. From now on, it's us open to us and only us. The radio broadcasts will be shut off today, and entry forbidden for anyone not standing in front of me right now.
"We'll have Elle's funeral after dinner," he says at last. Everyone disperses, either heading to their tents or to the cafeteria.
"Hey, Starr," Dwight says. He catches up to Billie and pulls her into a hug.
"Hi, Dwight. What the hell happened with Harry?"
"I don't know. Abe's being kind of hush-hush about everything. But I've picked up something about Harry going through some kinds of psychotic episodes or whatever. Then he attacked Devon, but she fired off a good two shots."
"Wait, Devon killed him? Holy shit."
"Yeah, she's been pretty quiet all day. Keeping to herself. You should go talk to her."
During dinner, Billie finds Devon sitting in a corner of the cafeteria, sulking and eating by herself. Billie places a bowl of beans onto the table and sits across from her. "I'm sorry about everything that happened today," Billie says.
"Thanks," Dev replies, barely audible.
"This sounds kind of dumb, but...you shouldn't feel guilty. He was going to hurt you. You did the right thing, you know."
"It's kind of hard not to feel guilty. I planned on killing infected, not people. It's not the same. At all."
"If you take some time to think about it, they're actually not that different from each other. It doesn't matter if it's a person or an infected running towards you; if they're both trying to kill you, killing them just seems to be the natural reaction. Right?"
Devon looks up at her for the first time, and Billie notices that her eyes are red. "You sound like you're talking from experience."
"Was it that obvious?" Devon nods. "It was tough, but I got over it. You will too." Billie gives her a comforting smile and eats another spoonful of beans.
"Charlie, please. You need to calm down." Former army medic Paul Godman is trying his best to calm Charlie. He is in a frenzy after Paul, as gently as possible, informs him of Brady's death.
"Why couldn't you save him?" Charlie asks, pitifully. "...Why?"
"I tried. I tried as best as I could, but the knife pierced his heart. With the equipment I have there was just no way..."
"I trusted you with his life, Paul!" Charlie grabs the medic by the shoulders. "You told me you could save him!"
"I said I would try! I'm sorry. I'm so fucking sorry." Charlie releases him and collapses onto the floor, devastated. Paul looks down at him and feels a pang of guilt.
Paul leaves Charlie to grieve, and Dylan stands right outside the door with a bandage wrapped around his deformed ear. He grabs Paul by the shoulder. “You told him?” Paul nods. “And?”
“What do you think?” Paul snaps. “No, Dylan, he’s in there throwing a party after his son died. You want to go in and join him? I’m sure he’d love just love your company.”
“Jesus, bro, your thong riding up again?”
Paul pushes him away, but he’s so small, Dylan barely moves an inch. Dylan runs after him and grabs him by the elbow. “Stop being so fucking sensitive. My God.”
“Do you even know what this means?” Paul snaps. “Do you, you thick-skulled...idiot!? Charlie is a mess, and when Charlie’s a mess, everything else is a mess! Do you remember when he killed Jose? We had no leader for two Goddamned minutes then, and it was mayhem.”
“But Charlie’s not like Jose,” Dylan counters. “Even with Brady gone, he’ll know how to handle things.”
“This is different. I can see it in his face: he’s not the same. He was crazy before, oh, man, he’s even crazier now. Rational thinking? Out the window. Mercy? None.”
“Why are you jumping to so many fucking conclusions? Why don’t you chill out and then when can gauge Charlie’s crazy-meter.”
“Look, Dylan. Just find Dex. Something needs to be done--now--and I need to talk to him.” He rips his arm from Dylan’s grasp and heads back to his small cabin. When there, he reaches into his cupboard and pours some scotch. He relishes the burning as he slowly finishes the glass. Afterwards, he collapses onto his bed, waiting for Dex Sasaki’s arrival.
Paul has fallen asleep by the time Dex enters the house on his own accord. He shakes Paul awake obnoxiously and takes a seat on the foot of the bed. “So?”
Paul grabs his glasses from the nightstand and gets his bearings before sitting up. “So...we need to talk,” Paul says.
Dex sighs and scratches his head. “Charlie?” Paul nods. “How is he?”
“Not good, not good, not good. He took it really, really hard.” Paul swallows hard and fiddles with a ring on his pinky finger, refusing to make eye contact with Dex. “Kind of feel like I’m to blame.”
Dex moves further onto the bed and grabs Paul’s hand. “Come on. Don’t start with that crap. You've done so much for this place, Paul. If anyone’s a necessity, it’s you. You’ve saved so many people, but you just...can’t save everyone.”
“Yeah...I know. It’s just hard to think about what I could’ve done or what could’ve happened. But Dex, we really need to talk about Charlie. He’s not okay. He’s really not.”
“Then what happens?”
“I think you should step up. For now, at least. Without order, all of these testosterone jacked dumbasses will start pushing their weight around. We don’t need that.” He pokes Dex in the chest. “We need a charismatic testosterone filled dumbass.”
He laughs, and pulls Paul into a tight hug. “We’ll be fine,” Dex assures. “And you need to get all of that stupid guilt outta your head.” He pulls away and stands. “I guess I’ll go...rally these guys up or whatever. Love ya.”
“Love you, Dex.”
A few hours later, Charlie sits on his couch. He downs some whiskey from a glass cup; the bottle was full awhile ago, but now it sits on the stand next to his couch, almost empty. His eyes are bloodshot, filled with rage. The entire moment replays in his head: making eye contact with the green-eyed girl, seeing the knife plunge into Brady's chest, seeing Brady fall to the ground, helpless.
He yells and throws his glass across the room. The door then opens, and Ackerman peaks his head through. "Charlie?" he says tentatively.
"I made it crystal fucking clear I wanted nobody bothering me," Charlie says. Ackerman enters anyway and closes the door behind him.
"This is important." He dares not to move close to Charlie; he keeps his distance by standing near the front door.
Ackerman clears his throat. "The girl that...stabbed Brady. I think I recognize her."
"You know her?" Charlie sits up straight in his seat.
"Unless she's got a twin sister, then yeah. I think that was her running with the rest of them. She was one of those test subjects back at the facility. And that little fuck that shot me in the ear. I remember him, too. If you wanted to know anything, I thought--"
"Tell me everything you know about her. Everything." He's seething with rage. This girl, this bitch, isn't going to murder his son in front him and walk away. To go back to her lavish life at the airport, while he sits here, every second without his son more agonizing than the next. No, she isn't.