This is Issue #50 of Dead Frontier by Walkerbait22, titled Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda. This is the second issue in Volume 9.
Issue 50 - Woulda, Coulda, ShouldaEdit
Billie is quickly transferred into the airport and taken to the medical room. Jen, who was still asleep, wakes up and hastily prepares to do whatever she can.
“What happened?” Jen demands as she pulls on a pair of rubber gloves. She’s calm, but urgent.
“Gunshot,” Chloe says. “In the back, through the stomach. I stopped the bleeding and kept her as still as I could.”
“Good. Good. Take that kit, and check on everyone else. Go.” Jen pulls an IV stand towards Billie while Chloe grabs the kit and leaves the room.
Chloe finds Hannah just entering the airport and leads her to the bathroom. “Sit here,” she commands, pointing to the low counter top, and Hannah obeys. Chloe does whatever she can: tending to Hannah’s bruised face, her ribs, replacing the bandages on her arm.
“Nothing’s broken,” Chloe says. “That’s good. Really good. Your ribs are pretty bruised up, but you’ll be fine soon. And...” She clears her throat, uncomfortable mentioning the elephant in the room. “Just change the bandages on your arm every few days and it’ll be okay. It'll be fine.”
Cole suddenly appears, leaning on the door frame. He has a bloody bandage on his temple, where Charlie hit him. His head is pounding, but it’s easy to ignore with everything else going on around him. Chloe squeezes Hannah’s hand and forces a smile. She leaves, and Cole pats her on the arm. “Hey. Thanks,” he says. Chloe nods, and as the bathroom door closes, everything that’s happened practically collapses on top of her. She slides down the wall and sits and stares for a little while. Finn’s sitting alone in the cafeteria, and they lock eyes for a few seconds.
“Finn! Finn!” Devon shouts, running into the cafeteria. She stops at his table, out of breath. She prepares for the worst news. “Billie?”
“She’s with Jen,” he says, barely audible.
“She was actually...shot?” Devon asks meekly. Finn nods, and she plops into the chair across from him. “I can’t believe...I’m so sorry.”
She flinches when he slams his fist onto the table. “We should’ve just...stayed here and everything would’ve been fine.”
"You don't really think that...right? I mean, you went for Hannah."
"I know, I know. And there's no way Billie would've stayed. I'm just...a mess right now. I'm a mess."
They sit there in solemn silence, hoping. Waiting.
Cole takes a seat next to Hannah on the counter top, and places a notebook in her lap. "It's not done, but...there you go."
"Thanks," she says as she slowly flips through the pages. "Hey. I just thought of something..."
"I guess I'm a righty now." She lifts her bandaged left arm.
"You know...righties are better anyways," he says, daring to tell a joke. But the faintest smile appears on her lips. It disappears just as quickly. “Abe told us why they took you. Do you know?"
She nods her head. "It's just all one big fucking coincidence, right? We're in the wrong place, at the wrong time, and then I stab this fucking kid, because I think he dangerous... Then all this happens." She angrily wipes a pesky tear from her cheek.
Cole pulls her close, lies his chin on top of her head; she wraps her arms around his midsection. "You don’t have to talk about anything." He wants nothing more than to make her feel safe. But her slight shaking says she doesn’t feel that way at all. “It’s alright.”
“No. It’s not.” He has to listen closely to what she says next because she says it so quietly. But he wishes he didn’t hear it. “Both of them just...I feel so disgusting. They kept...like, taunting me. And they put a gun to my head and...and made me say--" she trails off, blankly staring ahead at the stalls. She feels this weird emptiness in her gut, and a wave of shame at admitting any of this to him. “I just wanted them to kill me. So they wouldn’t do it anymore.”
“Oh, my God...Hannah.” He feels his eyes sting, but he can’t cry. He needs to be strong, for her.
Seeing her like this, so broken, is borderline excruciating for Cole. He doesn't know how to deal with this, he doesn't know what to say. He can't Google what to say, or how he should comfort her. He's lost. "I don't want you to feel like that. What they did...it wasn't your fault. You don't have to talk about it. But just know...I'm always here for you. Always."
She continues to stare ahead, trying to stop everything from replaying in her mind.
Dylan and Dex burst out of the cabin at shouts of "INFECTED!" There's tons of them pushing against the wall, making it sway. A few men drag their dead or injured friends across the ground, preventing them from being a meal.
Dex pulls at his hair. This was a fucking mistake, taking this girl, and he knows it. In just a matter of days, everything spun out of control. And with Charlie out, he has to deal with this.
"The fuck do we do, man?!" Dylan asks. His eyes are frantic and full of a burning fear. Then, Dex looks toward Paul's cabin and sees it overrun. His heart falls to the floor, but he can’t deal with that now. Inside, Paul screams as the infected rip him to shreds.
The wall collapses, and the infected pour through. Their insatiable hunger is more apparent than ever. A few fall after being shot down, but their numbers are too much for the men to handle. A few men run in the opposite direction, only to be met with another sea of infected that breached the other wall.
Dex stares as Miles walks in circles while the infected begin to crowd around him. He yells, puts a gun to his head, and pulls the trigger. The infected grab him and chew on his fresh flesh. Dex wants to stop and mourn his friend, but Dylan pulls him the other way. They run, firing off a few shots here and there.
They stop abruptly and almost fall on their faces when they run into a group of five infected. Dex yells and turns, and Dylan shoots one before following. Dex knows where they can go.
They sprint through the carnage, and Dex leads Dylan to a wall that hasn't been breached. It doesn't have a visible gate, but Dex pushes on the left side of the wall. Dylan watches, confused, and gets more anxious as the infected approach. "WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING?" he screams at Dex.
"Okay. Here it is," Dex says. He gives one hard push and the small door flings open. They slide through and close it, leaving everyone for dead.
With no time to catch their breath, they run through the forest until the screaming fades. After a few minutes, Dylan stops and leans against a tree, breathing heavy. “We...we left them all...they’re all gonna...gonna die...”
"Just you and me now,” Dex says. “You and me.”
"Yeah, with no fucking food...or water, or medicine. What the fuck...am I supposed to do about...this?!" Dylan points to his bandaged ear.
"You want to go back in there then?! You better be fucking happy I led you out here. Ungrateful little shit."
"Okay, okay. Fuck. I'm sorry. Thanks."
Dex kicks the tree next to him. "Jesus fucking Christ!"
"Shut up, dumbass. Want to bring more on us?"
"I'm just pissed, alright? Everything just had to go wrong. Every-fucking-thing!" Dex says.
"Why don't we just go to the airport? They're stocked. Take them all out and have it for ourselves. We’d be set." Dylan suggests.
"I'm serious, man. They don't have shit. They got, what, three airmen? They're nothing."
“They’ve got around 30 people. To our two people. And there’s kids there, man. And families.”
“Like you give a shit.”
“I do, actually.”
“Listen to me. They’re the reason the place is overrun right now. They’re the reason Paul is dead, and Miles is dead, and Charlie is dead, and Brady! They’re the reason everyone is fucking dead and now you want to sit back and let them go? You said it yourself--no one gets off scot-free.”
Dex stares at Dylan. “You knew...about Paul? And me?”
“I knew. And I knew you loved him. And now he’s in there, getting his fucking guts ripped out. Along with everyone else we were friends with back there. We can end their fucking...reign of terror.”
Dex leans against a tree, contemplating. Paul and Charlie’s deaths finally sink in now that everything’s calmed down, and he rubs his eyes, not letting the tears fall.
“Look at this,” Dylan says. He pulls off his backpack and reveals several handguns, and multiple grenades. “We can get payback for everything they’ve done to us. It’s only fair. We can end it all, Dex.”