This is Issue #62 of Dead Frontier by Walkerbait22, titled Regrets and Mistakes. This is second issue of Volume 11.
Issue 62 - Regrets and MistakesEdit
Adam stands outside of Chloe’s door that night and rubs his hands together. His fist hovers over the door as he decides whether to knock or not. Is he prying? Maybe he’s prying. He shouldn’t pry. Prying’s bad. He shakes the thoughts from his head and knocks. There’s a long silence, and he even places his ear to the door to make sure she’s in there. Eventually, it does open, and her eyes are moist.
“Hi,” she says, forcing a smile.
“Sorry about being so...cold earlier. I didn’t mean it.” She moves from the doorway, giving him room to enter.
“Yeah, I know. It’s fine,” he replies, taking a seat on top of her dresser. He picks up a globe paperweight and inspects it. “Chloe, I never knew you had a fiance or anything...”
“It’s kind of hard to talk about...so I don’t really mention it. Or think about it, until today.” She falls onto her mattress looks to the blank ceiling, her arms crossed on her stomach.
“I’m assuming he died...before the outbreak? It being September and all.” There’s a considerable silence, which makes Adam fumble with his fingers in his self-consciousness. Maybe this was a bad idea after all. "If you want me to just leave, I will. But it can help to let things out sometimes. For some people."
“Think so?” She looks to him hopefully, and he nods.
“I think so.”
She sits up, takes a shaky breath. “How...how do I even start?”
“However you want. I’m listening.”
“Oh. Well, he was...” She ignores the lump in her throat. “I’d met Sam in college. Then in a few months, I was this stupid head over heels in love girl...How could I not be? Anyway, we spent a lot of time together. Moved in, met my parents. He proposed and I was just...I was happy beyond words. Fast forward 6 months later to September 2010, and he gets into a head on collision with a drunk driver. Dead on impact. Drunk barely had a fucking concussion. And two years later I’m still bent out of shape over it, even now. With all of this.”
“I’m sorry,” Adam says after a while; his words feel inadequate. “I am.”
“Everyone’s sorry, aren’t they? That’s all I heard anytime I told anyone. ‘I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I know what you’re going through.’ It all got so tiring to hear...Everyone’s sorry for me. Why for me? He’s the one that never got to live a full life because some drunk idiot decided it’d be smart to go and operate a fucking vehicle.
"Now that I think about it," she continues, "he probably didn’t die on impact. Doctors just told me that to make me feel better, right? He probably suffered. Who knows? But no one’s sorry for him.” She lies back on her mattress and covers her face with her palms. “I even tried being with other guys, to see if I’d feel better. But...” She shrugs.
Her sniffles eradicate the silence in the room, and Adam doesn’t say another word, instead leaving and closing the door quietly behind him.
"You seem to be in a better mood," Lienne observes. She sits next to Cole in the passenger seat as he drives toward the Hyatt Regency Hotel, and behind them Alec and Devon sit and chat.
"Yeah. I feel...good," he replies, smiling to the road. He let Billie's words resonate overnight, and although he misses Hannah more than he can possibly describe, she was right.
"Good. It's good that you feel good. Feeling good is really good."
Cole laughs genuinely and turns left onto the next street. But his chuckling subsides when he hears a pop and the car slows down considerably.
"Oh, Cole, what'd you do?" Devon jokes as he slowly stops the car.
"I have no idea." He exits the car to inspect and sees the flat tire on the driver's side. He groans and places both hands on top of his head. He looks up to the sky, where a few thunderclouds that weren't there a few minutes ago roll by. "C'mon...don't do this to me..."
Lienne slides across to the driver's side and rolls down the window. "What's the issue?" she asks.
"Flat tire. Must've hit something a little ways back...but don't worry, I've got it. I think."
"Oh, my God. Please tell me you know how to change a tire."
"Yes! I'm a completely capable tire changing man. I think."
"Stop saying 'I think.' You're scaring me."
He moves to the trunk and grabs the spare, along with the lift. Ready to get to work.
As Cole and Alec collaborate and argue on the intricacies of tire replacement, Lienne and Devon sit on the truck's hood. A light drizzle from the thunderclouds falls upon them. "So, what's your deal?" Lienne asks.
"Mhm. How'd you get to be with these guys? You never said."
"Oh. Kind of an unspoken rule that we don't really talk about it, but I was with my family hiding out in O'Hare. Long story short, we got into some crazy conflict with this other group. They infiltrated, gunned down my entire family and a few others. Now I'm here."
Lienne raises her eyebrows at her nonchalance, and a sense of pity washes over her. Being able to say something like that, with next to no emotion in your voice, isn't normal. "Oh." Lienne swallows hard.
"Never told anyone about your bandages," Devon says, pointing to Lienne's left forearm. Lienne crosses her arms instinctively.
"And I don't really plan to."
Lienne walks down her street, heading to her apartment. The rain starts off as a slow drizzle, but then begins to come down full force. By the time she walks up the creaky steps to her apartment, she's soaked. But she doesn't bother to change clothes as she opens her door. She instead slumps down against her door and brings her knees as close as possible to her chest. She wants to hide, to be invisible, nonexistent, after what she just saw.
The kids at her daycare, dead. Dead, but not really. Some still moved, still lived, wanted a piece of her. She looked through the bloodstained window as they clawed at the glass. Older infected ripping at them, their insides on the floor...
She stops thinking about it. Her mind goes blank as she buries her tear-stained face into her knees. But she can't do it for long, and the images keep rushing back. She can't fathom that happening to children, especially children she cared about so much, yet she saw it with her own eyes.
Lienne stands up in a rage and stumbles to her bathroom, accidentally knocking over a dining room chair on her way there. She slams it shut behind her, listening to the faint hum of sitcom laughter from the bedroom TV she forgot to shut off this morning. An old Friends rerun she could probably quote in her sleep.
More of the prerecorded laugh track seeps through the cracks in the door, mocking her, until she can't take it anymore. She flings the door open and storms to her bedroom, where the TV airs the iconic episode: Joey Tribbiani and Rachel Greene sitting in a restaurant before Joey admits his love for her. The audience laughs, but Lienne couldn’t hear what the actors said in her fury. She just grabs the television in an uncontainable rage and throws it to the floor, Rachel and Joey's faces cracking and their voices fading.
She returns to the bathroom across the hall and scours through her medicine cabinet, spilling meds and Q-tips all over her floor. She finds it: her razor blade. She places it into her palm and stares at it, contemplating. She clenches her fist and relishes in the pain as it cuts her hand. A yell escapes her as she smashes both fists into her mirror, leaving bits of glass stuck in her skin and many shards of it on the floor.
What am I doing? What the fuck am I doing? Get it over with, Lienne. Jesus.
She pulls away her shower curtain and takes a seat in the cold, dry bathtub. She opens her palm, revealing the bloody cut the razor left. But this isn't about a cut or a scrape; this is about ending it. Because this world isn't fit for her, or anyone of any good anymore.
She grabs the razor and holds it in her shaky right hand. It hovers, trembles over her left forearm, where some blood from her palm has already leaked. She takes a deep breath and bits her lip. The blade cuts into the skin on her arm and she whimpers. She chickens out; it wasn't deep enough. Not nearly deep enough.
Again, she tries. Again, just a thin line of blood. Finally, on this last try she squeezes her eyes shut...
She opens her eyes, and the blood covers her arm; she realizes the damage she's done and goes into a panic. The red stains the beige tiles and she scurries out of the bathtub, almost slipping on her own blood. She searches her cabinets for something as she steadily starts to get woozier. She finds a roll of gauze and begins wrapping it around her cuts in a frenzy.
She collapses onto the toilet seat, damp clothes and all, and breathes heavily. That was stupid. That's not me.
That's not her.
“Okay,” Devon says, respecting her privacy. “But I’ve thought about it too, y’know. A few times.”
Lienne feels her heart jump in her chest. “It was a mistake,” is the last thing she says and they fall into a long silence, listening to tinkering of tools as Cole and Alec try to fix the tire.