This is Issue #49 of Dead Frontier by Walkerbait22, titled No Choice. This is the first issue of Volume 9.
Issue 49 - No ChoiceEdit
Finn's in a moment of frozen shock; he even blinks a few times in attempts to understand what he's seeing. He snaps out of it and runs to Billie's body while Robbie fires his Python, killing the fuck that shot her. He's dragging her out, her blood staining the dirt, when Finn assists him. They lift her by her shoulders and work together to carry her back to the cars.
"Faster, man! Fuck," Robbie orders, and they eventually catch up to the rest. Billie is put into the backseat of the truck, and Finn hops in the back while Robbie heads to the front seat.
"Chloe!" Finn yells, and she's soon in the backseat with Billie. Adam speeds away in the other car with Cole and Hannah.
"We need to go the airport. We need to go back," Finn continues. "To help her."
"We can't go--" Chloe starts as she pulls out supplies from her bag.
"We need to go back! She's fucking shot." He begins muttering the same phrase over and over. "She was shot. She was shot. Oh my God..."
"Robbie, back to the airport," Chloe says.
"We got fuckin' banished from there, girl," Robbie says.
"And I don't give a shit. You're going to the airport."
"Well, then. Yes, ma'am."
Chloe focuses her attention back on Billie. She presses a rag to her stomach as Finn mutters some soothing words to her. The rag is quickly soaked, and she pulls out another. Then another. Finally, she resorts to the one absorbent pad she has in her bag, and prays for the best.
Billie wants to say something, but her words won't come out. The pain is so unbearable. She can see Finn clearly, but it's as if someone pressed a mute button to the world. His mouth is moving, but that's all it's doing. There's no sound.
Enraged is the only way to describe how she feels. She's not really afraid of dying; she knew she had to go one day, and it'd probably be sooner rather than later, but she'd rather do it on her own terms. She's, in a way, angry at herself for knowing her friends have to sit here and watch her die. Watch her bleed out. That's the one thing she hoped would never happen. And the fact that she can't muster the strength to say anything because she's in so much shock just makes her feel even worse. She can't tell Finn everything will be okay, or Chloe not to stress herself out over not being able to save her.
She thinks she might actually cry, looking at Finn's face right now. She doesn't realize until now how much she loves him, and it pains her to see his heartbreak as much as the gunshot does. His usually beautiful, vibrant blue eyes are so dark and full of anguish it's scary. She wants to scream at him to look away, but even if she could, he wouldn't.
"Billie, keep your eyes open. You have to try to keep them open, okay?" Finn says. His voice sounds broken, hopeless. "You can't close your eyes. We"ll be at the airport before you even know it. I promise.” But then, slowly but surely, her eyelids start to droop, and Finn can’t do anything but watch.
"Hannah, baby, look at me. Please." The frame that once made up everything Hannah was is shattered. She turns to Cole and wants to feel happy, knows she probably should feel happy, but she's filled to the brim with hurt. "You're safe. You're safe."
He tends to the cuts and bruises on her face with a rag. She doesn't even wince at the frequent stabs of pain. "You're safe," he repeats again, and wipes the tears from his cheek with his forearm. He places the rag into his back pocket and embraces her, keeping careful not to harm her ribs.
Cole holds her as she delves into a wretched sobbing that slowly fades after awhile. Every single tear is like a stab in the chest for Cole, and Adam is almost an emotional mess in the front seat as he listens.
After a while, Cole finally asks the question: "What happened?"
There's a prolonged silence that holds an unnatural heaviness. "I never got to read the rest of your book," is what she finally says.
Her voice is dry and weak. "I never got to finish it. I read the first fifteen pages, but you didn't let me read it until the end."
"I'm sorry. I left it at the airport. I wasn't thinking about...I should have let you read the rest. I'm sorry."
"I kept thinking about how I wouldn't be able to finish it, because they were going to kill me. That was pushed to the front of my mind. Knowing what happens at the end of your story."
Cole is at a loss for words. He stares at her for a long time as she looks out the window. All he can say is "I'm sorry," and those two words accumulate everything he's ever needed to apologize for.
As they drive, they see the infected lumbering in the opposite direction, towards Charlie’s camp, following the sound of the gunshots and explosions. They zoom past them, and the infected shamble on.
Dex cowered in his bedroom as soon as he heard the explosion, while Charlie went to investigate, and he doesn't dare come out until the gunshots have stopped for a long while. When he finally exits his cabin, he sees dead men all around him: some shot in the head, some shattered by the explosion. His first instinct is to run to Charlie's cabin.
Dylan is already there, crouched over Charlie. Blood soaks the carpet around his dead body. "Holy shit," Dylan whispers. "Holy fucking shit."
Dex's eyes sting at the sight of his old friend. "We gotta get outta here, man. This place is Goddamn chaos. Grab whatever you can and let's go." Dylan nods and leaves Charlie’s side. He heads to a hall closet, where he knows Charlie keeps all of his favorite weapons. He begins stuffing his pack with whatever he can.
Just then, they hear shouts of "Infected!" from outside.
The airport comes into view eventually. Chloe has her fingers on Billie's neck, feeling for a pulse. Her heartbeat is faint, but it's there. It's there. Mulligan and Tyler stand on guard at the front fence; they raise their guns as soon as the cars come into view.
"Holy shit," Mulligan says. "They made it back."
Adam rushes up to the fence, with Cole right behind him. Neither can believe anything that’s just happened actually happened; Adam is surprised he hasn’t collapsed from exhaustion and shock yet. "Let us in," Adam says to Tyler and Mulligan. "We've got Hannah, and she's fucked up, alright? And Billie's barely alive right now."
"What the hell happened?" Tyler asks.
"It doesn't matter!" Cole yells. "We need Jen."
Mulligan speaks into his walkie, never taking his eyes off of Cole. "Abe, they came back. We need you out here."
"Not this fuckface... Tyler, look. Open the fence. You saved us once, back at the lab. We need you again." He pleads, but Tyler seems unfazed.
Tyler sighs. "I can't, until I get the order from Abe."
"Fuck you, man! Don't let Abe turn you into a piece of shit!" He wishes he could reach through the gate and beat some sort of sense into him, remind him that these are his friends that need him now more than ever.
Adam pulls Cole away to make sure he doesn't do anything to further thwart their chances of getting Billie and Hannah some help. "Just chill out," Adam says.
Abe exits the airport and walks toward the fence, seemingly taking his time. "Look who made it back," he says. "I thought I made it perfectly clear--"
"Abe, Billie's shot. She's in that truck right now, dying, and we need Jen," says Adam. "I know you've got this fucking reputation to uphold, as some "take no shit" leader, but throw that out the God damned window for a second and listen to me. We just want some help. Please."
Abe sighs. "Those medical supplies are for residents of this airport."
"For Christ's sake, man!" Cole shouts. "Just help Billie, and help Hannah, and we'll fucking leave! We'll go! We had no other choice but to come here, alright?"
As his frustration culminates, Abe grits his teeth. "No."
Finn is watching this all from the truck, nearly fuming from the ears as he listens to every word. He leaves Chloe with Billie for a moment and pulls out his pistol. He slips the barrel through the fence and locks eyes with Abe. Tyler and Mulligan hesitate to raise their rifles.
"Please," Finn begs, the smallest quiver in his voice.
"You wouldn't." But Finn doesn't back down in the slightest, and Abe begins to ask himself: Would he? He can't take the chance. He raises his hands in defeat. "Okay."