This is #16 of Endangered and is titled Just Watch the Sunset. This is Issue 4 of Volume 2.
Just Watch the SunsetEdit
“I know I wasn’t there a lot, infact now that I think about it, I was barely there. Mom and you spoiled me with gifts and I just spent my time away from you guys. Sad thing is, I never felt bad about it until now.”
“I also wanna talk about me leaving. I guess I was selfish and it was just in the moment, y’know? I was just so--blinded, I guess is the word, about how strict you guys were. I just ignored the stuff you did for me and looked at the shit I thought was wrong, least I know you were just trying to protect me now.”
“The point is I’m sorry, for everything. The disrespect, running away...all of it. I just hoped you guys knew I loved you, because trust me, I do. I always will. Always.”
Dre, who sat on a chair across from his parent’s bodies, soon stops his rambling apology, instead opting to go back to playing with his fingers. He doesn’t know how long it’s been since he found them but it’s definitely been awhile, considering it was dark out now. They probably should of left a long time ago but Dre just couldn’t find it in him to leave, so here he is now.
While Dre continues to just sit awkwardly by his parents, McCoy had taken position in the family room of the house. Sitting in a uncomfortable position on the couch, like a man who seems in the wrong place, and just stares forward at the TV. Originally McCoy was waiting in the car but once it became apparent that Dre wasn’t leaving he had came in, and just watched TV. Honestly it felt weird just sitting down and watching TV since McCoy was used to working hard and getting money, but he guesses that his Hot Dog stand was gone by now.
Currently McCoy watches the news, which of course is going crazy over the President’s speech. State of Emergency, no way could that be good. But one thing that puzzled McCoy is why Obama didn’t mention anything about the army working to stop this, or the CDC working on a vaccine. He never did know with damn politics, and he never liked Obama anyways. But the message was still very clear and McCoy saw Obama’s speech as saying “we’re fucked.”
He looks back over to Dre who still remains planted in the chair. While McCoy hasn’t known Dre for long he considered him close, and he currently felt so much sympathy for him. Dre was a great guy and he didn’t deserve that, than again no one does really.
After checking the time on his clock and seeing that it’s late, McCoy stands from the couch and heads toward Dre. Upon walking over he just stands there at first, hands in his pockets, and watches Dre intensely, different emotions in it. “So um Dre, I hate to bother you, but I just gotta ask something.”
McCoy heard Dre say something but he says it in such a hushed way that McCoy couldn’t understand. “What?”
“I asked what it was.” Dre doesn’t even make eye contact with McCoy and that was new for him. McCoy ignored that for now anyways.
“I just wanted to ask about sleeping arrangements. Like where the pillow and blankets are.”
“Where were you gonna sleep?”
“I ain’t gonna let you sleep on the couch, take my bed, I don-t--”
“Dre.” McCoy interrupts him mid-sentence. “You had a long day, alright? Take the bed, infact, just go to bed right now. You deserve a rest.”
“Yeah man.” McCoy looks over to the bodies and sighs. “Should we bury them in the morning?” Dre however doesn’t answer and just looks directly at the bodies before turning his head with his tears held back.
“Night brotha.” Dre says before standing and walking to his old room, leaving McCoy in the hallway. After taking another look at the bodies he too looks away and heads back the couch, deciding not to bother Dre about any sheets. The basket blanket on top of the couch should work just fine. Upon covering himself with the blanket and resting his head up against the couch’s arm comfortable McCoy shuts his eyes to sleep.
Dre on the other hand just lays down on top of his bed, just staring up at the roof. After having his whole family just being ripped away Dre has no idea what to do, except for the simple answer. Just go on. He only shut his eyes and mutters his love for his parents, before attempting to sleep.
Instead of sleeping like he probably should, Michael stays awake inside the guest room. He alternates between walking around the room, laying down, or sitting down. He can’t decide on which one to do; so he instead alternates between them.
It’s been a few hours since Tate and him arrived back from the supermarket. The two survived and even got some decent stuff but they had gotten their fair share of bruises. Tate had suffered a bruise on his cheek and Michael had a red eye, which he received after being punched in the face. At least he escaped with his life. However as they were going to James’s house they couldn’t get past the city due to some more chaos, so they had to head back to Tate’s house. Michael swore he was gonna head over there tomorrow on foot however, knowing she was still there.
After messing with his hair and rubbing his eyes, Michael takes a seat on the bed’s edge. For a moment he just stares forward before turning toward a book that was sitting on the edge of the desk; a bible. Instantly he’s reminded of the priest from a night ago, the insane little priest. He tried pushing it to the back of his head but truth was that he was scared. Terrified of what the dude did and how Michael could end up like him.
A man his whole life who is just good and snaps makes him think about himself; he doesn’t want to end up like him. If anything he wants to become a better person and not some psycho. “I’m not really a religion guy, never have been. Whenever people asked me what I believed I just said ‘nothing’. So yeah, that’s that.” Michael says out loud but not to himself, but to the bible.
“I always heard that you were a mysterious God though. How you work in mysterious ways and all. Well, if you are real, then I see you’re mysterious. Well, with all this shit.”
“You turn water to wine and priests into pyscos, right? I don’t know what your plans are but I’m gonna tell you something. Ready? Okay. You don’t own me. You aren’t gonna change me like you did the other fucks out there. I’m gonna survive this.”
“You’re not gonna change me like you did him. I’m gonna find my daughter, survive this shit, and not become some--some crazy.” Michael breathes softly before rubbing his head. “In short, fuck you.” Upon saying his words Michael smirks as he feels a load lift off his shoulder, then he plops back down on the bed. With his head rested against the pillow he simply rubs his head, brushes the hair out of his eyes, before turning over into a more comfortable position.
No positions proved comfortable though as he kept constantly rolling over, switching positions, and tried everything. Each way turned out the same though. Looks like Michael found a new enemy in the form of sleep. After another few minutes he just ends up sitting up and continuing his old routine.
Standing at the edge of his doorway, with a pistol in his hand, James watches the streets outside. It’s been about a day since this thing started and it’s already a state of emergency, so this thing had to have been bad. The moment he heard this James had taken position at the door to make sure none of those things, or people, come to strike.
Seeing the street was clear James turns over to the living room where Sarah is. The young girl current is asleep on top of their couch, falling asleep after watching some TV. After she fell asleep he laid a blanket on top of her, as he didn’t want her to get cold. Even the smallest things spoke wonders. Even the smallest sight of Sarah just curled up in a blanket made James smile.
Laying the silenced pistol, which he barely knew how to use, on the table James then walked over Sarah. He smiled at her, adjusted the blanket, then looked over to the TV that was still on. It was the news channel that was on currently and of course it was about the outbreak. However instead of the usual reports, this one was new. On the top right corner was the image of the nearby mall, Neshaminy to be exact, with the words “Barricade” under them. He tones in.
“The owner’s son, Jonathan Walsh, appears to be many people’s savior in the Philadelphia region tonight. Instead of running away, Mr. Walsh has opened up the mall as a sort of shelter to stay at. He claims that all people are allowed entry, and due to the mall’s size, it can hold many people. This mall is also a lot safer than most homes and it’s completely safe. To those-”
James blanks out from the TV and instead retreats back inside of his head. That mall was definitely a lot more safer than his house, and he knew that this house would fall in a second if any of those things came. But who knew what they would encounter if they tried going there; usually it was about a twenty minute drive so who knew what it could be now. In the end it was Sarah who came first; it was about her safety, not his. He ponders for a second before deciding.
He brushes some hair out of Sarah’s face and the young girl moans tired, to which he laughs. “Dad?” She asks tired as anything.
“Yeah it’s me.”
“What-” she stops mid-way to yawn. “What is it?”
“Go get some bags packed. We’re going on a little trip.”
The Next Morning; Day 3
Standing casually at the edge of the room is Joel, with the rifle he gained two days ago sitting in his hands and his eyes staring out the window. Physically Joel looks like a wreck right now. His hair is all over the place, dirt is all over his clothes, and a few bruises are scattered on him. He, and everyone in the area, hasn’t had the most easy past two days.
The situation outside hasn’t gotten any better and still remains the aftermath of the chaos. The streets are silent due to people barricading themselves in their homes, that and the increase of infected individuals. Being the thug he is, Joel was always used to danger on the streets but even this was to much.
Taking a look back into the small apartment he’s been camping at he sees Reyes on the couch, still sleeping. Reyes looked exactly like him with dirt and bruises. The two men only had a few encounters with infected but each one was deadly. One good thing was that they had no more encounters with hitmen or mob people. This shit appeared to save their lives from that bounty. “Hey Reyes, get up.” He calls over to him to which Reyes doesn’t respond and stays in his deep sleep. “I said get up.”
After a few more seconds Reyes flutters his eyes open, rubs them, then groans before sitting up. After adjusting his jacket he looks up to Joel. “Why’d you wake me up?”
“I was enjoying my sleep.”
“Was that why you were mumbling and rolling all night?” Reyes doesn’t respond. “Exactly.”
“Whatever.” Reyes mutters while standing on to his feet and stretching his back. Joel just rolls his eyes and looks out the window. “We have anything to eat?”
“Probably not. Check all you want though.” Reyes makes his way to the fridge and opens it to find only some water bottles. There was some chips next to fridge but no real food. Still he just took some water and chips before collapsing back onto the couch. “Want anything?”
“No.” Joel blunty denies to which Reyes just shrugs before digging into his feast. After downing the water bottle he opens the bag of chips and prepares to dig in, while Joel just stands watch.
“By the way, I saw you actually called me by my name.”
“You didn’t call me taco.”
“Don’t get used to it.” Joel simply says to which Reyes chuckles. “So what was the nightmare tonight?”
“Why do you care?”
“I don’t.” Joel reminds him. “I’m just trying to start a conversation here.” Joel wasn’t one usually to dig into other people’s shit but there was nothing to talk about at the moment.
“Well, it was nothing.”
“Fine, don’t talk about it.” Joel drops it and just goes back to silence, which came as relief to Reyes. Truth was Reyes was still bothered about the hitman he killed a few days ago. It’s not like Reyes pulled a trigger on him, or stabbed him, or got the blood on his hands. But he dropped the dude into a lobby full of infected, basically the same thing; that dude’s blood was pretty much on his hands. Reyes always hated killing and saw it was disgusting, but Reyes has gotten blood on his hands before in defensive situations. Doesn’t make it right but he only killed in self defense. In his mind, only the worst kind of people deserved death.
15 Years Ago, 1998
“I’m not a monster!”
“Oh grow up!” She struck once again, this time hitting Reyes in the face. The thirteen year old Reyes fell over this time, holding the black eye he has suffered. He was crying due to the attacks; with his assaulter being a girl in her mid thirties.
“M-Mom! Please stop.” Reyes pleads with his overdosed mother, who only ignores him and kicks her young son in the stomach. Mrs. Sophia Young was the drug using, abusive mother of Reyes. Her husband, Mr. Carlos Young, was never home due to his business so no one could stop her from abusing her son. Why did she abuse him? No reason at all. She was a complete druggie though. One time she left a lit cigarette next to a curtain and the house nearly burnt down; she blamed Reyes of course. With fury in her eyes she punched Reyes one last time before calming down.
“Go to bed!” She shouts at Reyes who nodded in absolute fear before scrambling to his feet and retreating to his room. He could barely run so instead limped down his house before making to his room and ran in, slamming the door shut behind him. In the next moment Reyes collapsed on his raggy bed and cried his eyes out, but even crying gave him pain. He should be used to this by now since she basically beats him daily; but how can he get used to his own mother abusing him? The bullies at school were one thing but this was just to much for him.
So Reyes just cries into his pillow silently, as he knew his mom would get angry if she heard him crying. In these tears of his Reyes silently wished that his mother would just die. He didn’t want to wish that but it was true. He wanted his own mother to just die.
2 Years Later, 2000
A now fifteen year old Reyes sat in the passenger seat of a car. Like always he had a bruised eyes and a small scar under his eye; the aftermath of beatings. However right now he didn’t seemed sad and just blank, like he had no idea to feel. Earlier today he got into a fight at school, and it involved Reyes stabbing some kid; but that wasn’t the point right now. That was a story for another day.
Next to him sat the driver, Carlos Young, Reyes’s father. Reyes hasn’t seen him in a long time so for him just to pop up at school after Reyes got in trouble was shocking. Even more shocking when Carlos took Reyes away and the two currently drive down the streets of Tecpan de Galeana, Reyes’s hometown. “So are you gonna tell me what happened?” Carlos asks.
“I didn’t plan too.”
“I’m not mad. You know that, right?” Carlos smiles. “Hell it’s great news to hear my son is kicking ass.” Carlos can see a slight smile form on Reyes’s face. “So how’d it go down? I wanna hear how my son kicked ass.”
“I was--” Reyes hesitates to speak but he does. “I was staring at that girl again. Liza, the hot one. Her boyfriend, Asston, got all angry at me.”
“His name is Asston?”
“Nope but that’s what everyone calls him. Anyways, today I brought in a knife. I just couldn’t take the bullying anymore, you know?”
“Yeah, I understand.”
“He lunged at me again so...so I stabbed him.” Reyes sighs and rubs his temple, while Carlos just nods. “I didn’t kill him or anything.”
“Well, it’s still pretty illegal.” Carlos jokes while Reyes just looks out the window; even though he wasn’t the best father he could tell when his son was in pain. “Your principle...he wanted to put you in juvenile hall. In fact, I told him I would take you there.”
In that moment Reyes and Carlos meet eyes and Reyes instantly grows scared at the thought of juvy. “I’m not gonna take you there though.” Carlos smiles but this just makes Reyes confused.
“Th--then where are you taking me?”
“My home. I think it’s time you joined me in the family business.”
“Bingo.” Reyes smiles. Sure drug dealing wasn’t the best job but it made money and he was working with his dad. Couldn’t be better. However a thought came to his head.
“And Sophia?” He asked about his mom, although he would never call her that word anymore. She didn’t deserve it.
“Well she--she’s dead.” Carlos expects Reyes to grow tears but he shows no emotion yet, so he goes on. “She overdosed again and took a nap, little did she know that she left a lit cigarette next to the curtain. She didn’t even smell the fire…” Carlos seems a little saddened by her death in fire but Reyes only stayed blank for a moment before letting out a smile; one of the biggest smiles he’s ever had.
“Good.” He looks over to his father, still with the smile. “She deserved it.”
Sitting inside of the black car, McCoy scans through each radio station in hopes something non-infected related would come on. Preferably music, maybe some Fall Out Boy or Coldplay. They’ve always been his favorites. After flipping a few more times he is surprised, and extremely happy, to find a song on the radio. Thnkx fr th Mmrs by Fall Out Boy. God must love him today.
Turning up the volume McCoy then looks over to find Dre not outside yet. They were suppose to leave the area finally and look for shelter, considering a small house wouldn’t do good. He hoped Dre was feeling better today since McCoy really wants to get going; he felt kind of petty for feeling that way but it was just the way it was.
After a few more minutes of listening to music he looks over to see Dre, now in a different set of clothes, walking down the steps, also with one-shoulder strapped bag around his shoulder and another bag in his hand. Soon enough Dre arrives at the car and sits in the driver seat, then proceeding to hand McCoy the bag. “I packed some stuff up. I got some stuff for you.” Dre says before turning back to the wheel.
“Thanks.” McCoy says while digging through the bag. Drinks, food, clothes, it had it all. However out of the corner of his eye McCoy sees something else Dre has. It’s dark, yet shiny and sits folded in a napkin. McCoy recognized the item but couldn’t tell what it was yet. “What’s that?”
“It was my Dad’s. He would keep it under the bed for emergencies.” Dre lifts up the item and it’s infact a revolver. “I guess he didn’t get to it in time.” Dre turns the guns to look at it. “It’s some kind of revolver.”
“Yo, that’s a IOF .32.” McCoy speaks up while grabbing it from Dre’s hand. “Not the best weapon but still usable. It get’s the job done. In fact-” McCoy sees Dre is pretty uninterested by the facts. “Guessing you don't care?”
“How the hell do you know all that shit?”
“I sort of got a thing for guns. Like a hobby.” McCoy hands the gun back to Dre. “Want it back?”
“You probably know how to work it better than me….so keep it.”
“Alright then.” McCoy holds the revolver and keeps looking at it, often twisting it around and inspecting it. Dre just goes back to starting the car.
“Ummm, no idea.”
“Well fuck then.” Dre ponders for a second before thinking of the only option. “Let’s just drive then.”
“I just want to get one. Get it in here, strap it down and study it.” Haruka remarks over to Sandra while staring out the window, her eyes mesmerized on a infected that roams down the streets. “They’re just so--so...um.” Haruka bites her lip and tries thinking of the english word. “Fascinating. They’re just so fascinating. Don’t you think?”
Sandra, who was studying her pencil, briefly looks up to Haruka, who is still mesmerized by the infected. She looks back down afterwards. “I guess.”
“Guess? I love ‘em. Not in that way though.” Haruka jokes to which Sandra just shrugs before going back to reading. “Watcha reading?”
“Reports. Newspapers. Anything to try and help me find out where this infection came from.”
“Good, good. Once that’s done maybe we can go onto step two.”
“Study them. Their genes and all.” Haruka says like it’s supposed to be obvious but Sandra just stares at her. They weren’t scientist so they probably shouldn’t study them. Sandra was getting a little worried for Haruka to be honest; she thinks Haruka might be taking this too far.
“I think you're...taking this to far.”
“What?” Haruka thinks Sandra’s joking but notes the seriousness in her eyes. She laughs. “I’m only doing what anyone would do. We gotta find out what this is.”
“Yeah but studying them? Can’t that be, I don’t know, dangerous?” Sandra worries about the dangers of that, since Haruka was one of her only friends. She just wanted her to be safe, however judging by Haruka’s determination, she sees this argument is going nowhere. “Alright, alright. Study them it is.”
“Great.” Haruka claps her hands together. “Anything else?”
“Well,” Sandra starts off as talking wasn’t usually her thing. “I was thinking of leaving. The apartment I mean.”
“You wanna leave your own house?”
“Not really but this place isn’t exactly safe.”
“Oh. Well where were you thinking?”
“That mall settlement. It’s safe and big.”
“But probably gonna be really crowded.”
“But there’s lots more room to study infected.” Sandra points to the thinking Haruka.
“Alright, alright. When you wanna leave?” Haruka asks Sandra who only remains silent for a moment. She loves her house so much and doesn’t wanna leave it, but it was the only safe option. She sighs.
“I guess soon.”
“This girl really needs to pay her water bill.” Vicky remarks jokingly at the lack of hot water while stepping out of the shower, to which she instantly feels a daft. Quickly she grabs a towel and covers up, before heading out of the bedroom and into the living room, where Lara sits on the couch with a big bag of chips in her hands. Lara was already pretty clean due to her showering earlier.
“I told you, we should've used the house across the street. It looked nicer anyways.” Lara calls to Vicky while eating more chips. “Want some?”
“Alright then.” Lara looks back to Vicky who is still in her towel and grabbing a water bottle. “So you gonna wash off and get changed, or are you just gonna head out like that?”
“Changed, thank you.” Vicky says before heading off to the room she was staying in, while Lara continues to eat chips and watch TV. She was living the life in an end of the world kind of way.
The two girls had managed to find a empty house on their journey to Ethan’s house, and the they had stayed there for the night. Wasn’t the best looking house, with Lara saying the one across the street was better, but it was duable and that is what mattered. So after stretching her legs more and looking at the TV that is playing Everybody Hates Chris, she can hear a door open behind her and followed by footsteps. Soon enough the now ready Vicky takes a seat next to her, then begins to steal some of her chips. “They’re my chips.” Lara tries to tug them away from Vicky, but she just smiles and takes more.
“Then come and get them.”
“That involves me getting up.”
“Not my fault you’re a lazy ass girl.”
“Not my fault you’re an energetic girl.”
“Not my fault you’re a bitch.” Vicky extends the i while drinking water.
“Not my fault you’re a…..um you’re a--”
“Hahaha, bitch. You can’t think of anything.” Vicky smiles. “Boom, Vicky wins.”
“Fuck up.” Lara smirks while ripping the bag back and eating more chips, forcing Vicky to giggle. This was pretty much the two girl’s relationships. They would tease each other and be weirdos, but they were closer than that. Lara was the closest friend Vicky ever had.
After a few more minutes of eating chips and watching TV, Vicky looks over at the clock. Around noon; they should probably get going soon. Sooner or later they would have to leave the ‘luxury’ of this house and head outside. The two girls were just naturally delaying it; they were just being ordinary young adults. After a few more minutes of sitting there Vicky sighs. “We should get going.”
“But--I don’t wanna get up.”
“Neither do I, girl. But lets do the math here--”
“Haha. But yeah we should get going. If it’s noon then there’s bound to be people out there, and they might not be friendly.”
“Ugh fine.” Lara moans before pulling herself onto her feet, and wiping the crumbs off her. Once clean of the crumbs Lara then walks over to the kitchen, Vicky getting up and following close behind. Once in the kitchen Vicky grabs her bag off the counter while Lara looks through hers; wanting to make sure she’s leaving nothing behind. “So where we heading?”
“Ethan’s, like we’ve been planning, duh.”
“I mean like which way.”
“We’ll figure that out once we’re outside.” Vicky replies while throwing on her jacket and bag, while Lara just tosses the bag on and takes out her pistol. Even though she only saw it out of the corner of her eye Vicky showed disgust about it, as she wasn’t the gun person. Still it was the only weapon they had and Lara has gotten pretty handy at it. She doesn’t say anything though.
“So this place is safe?”
“That’s what the news said. Safer the house, anyways.” James confirms Sarah’s question while also keeping his eyes on the road. The two had decided, well James decided, to head out for the mall. According to the news it was safe and they were taking in everyone, so he didn’t have to be worried about being rejected. He only had to worry about making it there. However Sarah is a little less calm about it and instead shows fear. Not like he could blame her though. “We’ll be safe, don’t worry.” Sarah opts not to respond and instead just sits still in her seat, and goes onto her phone. With internet still up despite the chaos, she decides to check facebook. Like expected most post are panic attacks about the outbreak, to stupid guys messing with the infected, to other stuff. Seems like people were divided on whether this was the so-called end of the world or not. “So what’s it like?”
“What’s what like?”
“Your facebook. Is it full of idiots or are people panicking?”
“Well, half-and-half. Some people are posting weird end of the world crap while others are--well, being idiots.”
“Idiots? Who's the idiot this time.”
“No surprise.” James cracks a smile. “I always knew that dude was an idiot.” James jokes about the dumb classmate of Sarah, and she tries to keep hold of her grin, feeling a little sad about laughing at it.
“Well he wasn’t that much of an idiot.”
“Wasn’t this the dude who jumped off the school’s roof with his skateboard?”
“Then honey, this kid’s a idiot.”
“I guess so.” Sarah smirks with James before they both go back to their separate activities; with James going back to driving and Sarah back to her phone. However soon enough she puts her phone away and looks out the window into her neighborhood, passing all the places she’s used to. She recalls passing Mr. Johnson’s house, an older man who was always nice to the duo. Seeing the wrecked house of what used to be a pretty one caused the young girl to grow sad a little. She wasn’t meant for this stuff. “You think he’s okay?”
“Mr. Johnson?” Upon asking, James thinks he knows the answer to that and it wasn’t a good one; Mr. Johnson was a sweet old man who wasn’t meant for this. He isn’t about to tell Sarah that though.
“Yeah, he’s fine. I bet he’s already at the mall.”
“I think so too.” Sarah optimistically says with a smile. It was her optimistic smile that put a smile on James’s face even with the situation outside.
“Hey! Over here!” Haruka yells once more at an oncoming truck in hopes this one would stop for them, even waving her hands. However like all the other cars it just drives away and ignores her pleas. Once it went out of distance Haruka lowers her arms and sighs. “If I knew America was full of jerks I would have never moved here.” She tries to crack with Sandra, who stands next to her with hands in pockets and head down.
The two woman have been walking for an hour by now, ever since they had decided to leave or the mall. While driving would have been better they had no car, since Sandra’s had been jacked overnight, so they were forced down to walking. They weren’t exactly lazy but walking just wasn't their thing. “Well um--let’s just keep walking, I guess.”
Sandra doesn’t argue and instead nods in agreement, allowing Haruka to lead the way, which Haruka takes and begins to walk down the road. They judged that they weren’t far away from their destination but it wasn’t the distance that mattered here, in fact it was the journey. Not in a deep meaning sense of way but the fact they could die in two minutes.
After another few moments of the two walking down the road, with Haruka still leading the way, Haruka decides to try and start a conversation; she never did like silence. That was just one of the many things that separated Haruka and Sandra, as Sandra was more of a silence person. “So dat silence.” Haruka says with a smile to which Sandra just continues to look ahead, not even hearing her at first. Soon enough the sound breaks into the barrier at Sandra’s ear.
“Yeah.” Sandra simply replies while walking, not starting a conversation, leaving Haruka to think of one. After glancing at Sandra she decides to take note of the black duffle bag around her back, which she hasn’t bothered to ask about before.
“What’s with the bag?”
“What about it?”
“I mean like, what’s in it? I mean, you got clothes and all that stuff in that other bag you got,” She refers to the second bag Sandra holds, “so yeah.”
“Is it some big secret that’s gonna turn my world upside down?” Sandra shakes her head. “Are you some CIA agent?”
“No, no, nothing like that. I’d be the worst CIA agent, trust me on that.” Sandra takes the duffel bag off her shoulder and unzips it slightly, allowing Haruka to see the treasure inside. A violin, but not just any violin, it was one of Sandra’s personal favorites. A ancient Rome themed violin it has a thick, brown exterior with symbols running all around it, to go with the black string for playing. “I knew I couldn’t take all of them--so I picked my favorite.” No way could Sandra leave her music possession behind so she was reduced down to one. Hopefully, when she goes back to her apartment that the rest will still be there.
“Ooh, it’s pretty, I can say that much. Was never much of a music person so--yeah. It’s nice.”
“Nice? It’s incredible.” Sandra smiles for one of the rare times, and Haruka can see music is very important to her. “And how were you never into music?”
“I was raised in Japan, we were more about sushi and karate then music.” Haruka jokes. “But, in all seriousness, my family never really let me listen to it. They always called it a ‘waste of time’, so I never got into it.”
“Well then, you definitely missed out on a lot.” Sandra, seeing this as an opportunity to play some music, forms an idea. “I tell you what. When we get to the mall, I’ll show you some good music.”
“A music lesson by Ms. Sandra Dufraine? I’m tempted.”
“Tempted? Whoever said you even have a choice?”
“Oh I don’t have one?” Sandra gives the slight shake of her head. “Then I guess I’m looking forward to it.”
“You should be.” Sandra adds before zippering up the violin again and deciding to start walking. With the bags they had and the distance left, Sandra hoped they got there by sundown or found someone to drive them.
Ironically just as she thought that another car drove down the street, and seemed to be going at a decent pace. Maybe this was the one. Once again waving her hands in the air Haruka hopes the car will stop, and to their surprise, it does. “Finally.”
The two woman approach the side of the window where they look inside to find two people, a man and his daughter, at least Sandra thinks she’s his daughter. Soon enough the man rolls down the window to speak with them. It was non other than James Benjamin, with Sarah in the passenger seat. “You need a lift?” James knew their question before they even asked.
“Yeah, please.” Haruka speaks while Sandra sinks back down to her anti-socialness.
“The mall place.”
“That’s the one.”
“Than it looks like we have the same destination.” James says while looking between the two women, both obviously not fighters. They seemed safe enough and James doesn’t think he can just ditch two people in the street, especially now-a-days. He wasn’t a monster. “Throw your bags in the trunk and hop in.”
Haruka instantly beams at the answer and just feels like saying a thousand ‘thank you’s right now but just resorts down to one. “Thank you, so much.” Haruka then hurries to the trunk and throws her stuff in the back with Sandra, who puts everything but the violin in, before heading into the back with Haruka. Once in James and Sarah look at them, then at each other, before James starts driving once again. “Thank you--again.”
“It’s fine, don’t worry about it. So what’s your names?”
“Haruka. Haruka Saito.”
“Sandra.” Sandra lightly says while just sitting there, now officially back in her shell.
“Nice to meet ya. I’m James, that’s Sarah.” Sarah manages to muster up a “hi” but mostly stays silent like Sandra, allowing James and Haruka to do all the talking.
The skies were pale that day, neither bright or dark, and instead provided a little sunlight. However it didn’t really bother Vicky or Lara, as they had just enough light with the store they were standing in front of. It was a supermarket,WalMart to be exact, and was ransacked like most places, but the electricity was still on. Vicky was just looking in the window to see what’s left.
Lara on the other hand was right next to the supermarket and was instead looking into another store. Tony’s Pizza was the name of the place, and in her opinion, was one of the best pizza places in Philly. It was just a small family owned shop but the taste was to die for; sometimes the small places are better than the big ass company places. “Mhmm, I would love some of this pizza.” Lara says over to Vicky, who was still at the supermarket window, and she soon turns and walks over to Lara.
“Oh my fucking God, this place was amazing.” Vicky says with a smile of joy, as she too shared her love with this place with Lara. “Damn, I wish this place was still open.”
“Well according to that sign--” Lara points to the sign at the window, which still says open. “--it is.”
“Oh haha, I mean like legitly open.”
“Well that ain’t gonna happen for awhile.” Lara says before shrugging. “Let’s go in anyways.” Before Vicky can respond Lara has already opened the unlocked door and made her way into the ransacked pizza shop. However, Vicky appears to like it and follows her in with no hesitation.
Once inside the shop Vicky looks around the once famed pizza place, only to find it ransacked. Tables flipped over, the TV broken, and some stuff scattered on the ground. It was a tad depressing to see this place all eerie, but there was nothing she could do about it. She instead looks over to Lara, who has made her way behind the counter and looking around. Some cold pizza and money are the only things back there, as is a menu.
Lifting up the menu Lara soon scans it and smiles at the memories, before tossing it back on the counter. “Hard to see this place as a dump. Spent most of my free time here.”
“You can say that again.”
“Hard to see this place as a dump. Spent most of my free time here.” Lara repeats with a smirk.
“That was metaphorically.”
“Well fuck metaphorically.” Lara says while exiting into the kitchen in the back and it actually looked better than the front. The in-wall ovens were still intact as was the other stuff, and some scattered pizza boxes on the ground. From the look of things it looks like there was a struggle in this restaurant; she only hopes the owners made it out okay. They were sweet people.
Back in the main room Vicky walks around the shop, trying to see what’s left. Once and awhile she comes across a few soda cans, which she scoops up and puts in her bag. Luckily she came across no blood or bodies to which she considers win, but the signs of a struggle bother her.
In that moment Lara walks out of the kitchen, hands in pockets. “No pizza, or anything else important.”
“Bummer. I would have loved that pizza right now.”
“Same here.” Lara takes a look around the shop again. “Same fucking here.”
Following that there is a brief silence, with the girls acting like someone died, in this case the shop. “Well, let’s get out of here.” Lara grabs the menu while saying this, stares at it, then puts it in her bag; for memory’s sake.
“Never really liked WalMart. Always was more of a Target kind of gal.” Vicky remarks while walking into the entrance of the store, Lara at her side. Lara looks around the ransacked store before turning back to Vicky.
“Ew Target. How the hell you like that place better?”
“Don’t know. I think it was the cute lil’ dog on the ads.”
“The one with the red circle thing around his eye?”
“Bingo. He was so cute. Or she, I don’t know.” Vicky says before stopping at the door, seeing a sign that makes her curious. Right next to the door is a sign that hangs up on a stand with big black letters. “Take whatever you need and go.” It was permission to do whatever they wanted, and they weren’t gonna turn it down.
The place was ransacked and trashed, despite the electricity still being on. Most merchandise of the store has been thrown onto the floor and trashed, as wrappers and other items lay scattered across the floor. The two had originally came in here to see what was left but it’s obvious that there is nothing of use left. “So--you just wanna go?” Vicky asks to Lara, who gives the shake of her head.
“We’re in an empty store, with no rules, and no one to stop us.” Lara points out. “I think we should have a little fun.”
“What do you mean by fun?”
“Haven’t you ever just wanted to grab something off a shelf, eat it and then grab a new one? Or just run around with a cart, then jump in and go for a joy-ride?”
“Or grab clothes and throw them around like you just don’t care.”
“Hell fucking yeah.”
“Well then Ms. Cummings, I think we have some fun, if you know what I mean.”
“Oh trust me, Ms. Drake, I know exactly what you mean.”
The next hour had to be one of the best moments of their lives. The two girls went from eating food and throwing the trash on the ground, to cart racing with shopping carts (which ended with Vicky crashing into a wall and hitting her head), entering a clothes fight (which was like a pillow fight but with random clothes they could find), and finally, pushing shelves completely over. Nothing was more fun than breaking the rules.
Soon enough Vicky found herself walking near the cash registers. She looked a little different now as she had thrown on a few more pair of expensive clothing she could find which included linerage, designers jeans, and other fancy items she usually couldn’t afford. It felt good, really good.
Currently at the cash registers, Vicky noticed how much of a mess they were. Cash lays scattered on the counters as do numerous credit cards, if this infection wasn’t going around then Vicky could become rich right now. Stepping up to the counter she reaches down and picks up a whole stack of cash, seeing most are twenties or higher, there’s even a few credit cards thrown into the mix. Even though she only held it for a moment she felt really good. She felt rich and the feeling was great. “Hey vicksters, get your ass over here!” She could hear Lara shout nearby, so after feeling the money again, quickly tosses it up in the air and makes it rain money. This would be the first and last time Vicky was rich with money.
After jogging around for a few moments she finds Lara standing in the sports section, a baseball bat in her hands. It takes a moment to see what activity Lara was doing now; hitting and breaking random shit with a bat. Lara, nodding at Vicky first, proceeds to lift her bat and swings into a glass vase, breaking it in one hit. Looked fun. Lara must have read Vicky’s mind because she tosses her a baseball bat. “Show me what you got, girl.” Lara says to Vicky, who smiles and nods her head.
Making her way toward a little girl’s doll house Vicky looks at it, lifts her bat and uses all the strength she has to swing at the house, efficiently knocking it to the ground and breaking it; and the feeling of seeing it break felt so good. Looking up at Lara, Vicky gives a little smile and Lara returns it. Sometimes, just having fun can take away so much stress, because now all Vicky wanted to have more fun, dropping the fact that the infected are out there and her parents are missing.
“Looks like everyone and their mother’s had the same idea.” James says to the others in the car, referring to the major traffic jam they’re in. Having just got onto the boulevard, they found it’s bumper to bumper traffic. At this rate it would take hours and hours to get to the mall. Behind him, Haruka looks out the window to see this. She only sighs.
“That’s a long, long line.”
“Yep. Fucking damnit.” James mutters to himself, yet loud enough for everyone to hear, Strangely, Haruka begins to laugh loudly, and apparently can’t stop as she collapses onto the back seat and continues to laugh constantly, while the other just watch. Soon enough Haruka wipes her teary eyes and smiles.
“Sorry, sorry. Just--nothing.” She acts like it was nothing before sitting once again in her the seat, while everyone just stares oddly at her.
“Okay then.” James turns back to the traffic and sighs. Staying out here in this traffic was not only boring but could probably be dangerous, considering the massive infected outbreak that could happen in the area. James knew that staying here would be a stupid move, so he looks around the area for a more sheltered area. Soon enough his eyes lay onto a small store, seemed empty too.
Lara and Vicky now sit on the roof of the WalMart, using clothes from the store as pillows, and just watching the skyline. Despite the chaos one could not say the city wasn’t beautiful, with it’s orangish like sky in the distance; and the pretty orange too, not the ugly kind. The two just laid there and watched it and they even hold soda in their hands. Right now, life was good.
“Never was much of a sunset person but it’s sort of nice, I gotta admit that.” Vicky remarks to Lara, who just nods in agreement. She, like Vicky, was tired. “I had fun today.”
“Same here, girl. Nothing’s better than breakin’ da rules.”
“Hahaha, you got that right. But yeah--anyways, we should probably make it to Ethan’s tomorrow.” Vicky casually says, stretching her arms while doing it, but Lara gives her a double take at that remark, like she’s dumbfounded. “Something wrong?”
“Not really--just I thought we could, I don’t know, not go to Ethan’s house.”
“Hear me out, this has been on my mind for a while.” Vicky pays attention. “I mean like, this place has no rules now, and I don’t just mean the city. I mean the whole fucking state.”
“And your point?”
“Well I always wanted to travel around, ya know? Truth is I never really been outside the state, so traveling was always a dream of mine. And now with all this, and everything gone and shit--I just figured we could just travel.”
“I don’t kn--”
“Just imagine it! Us two trouble makers going around the USA having all the fun they can have.” Lara looks at Vicky, who just sits silently. It’s not that Vicky hated the idea, in fact she thought it was great, but her parents, she couldn’t leave them. “Just us two, no one else. You know you’d love it. Haven’t you ever wanted to go to Vegas? If so, now’s the time.”
“I always did wanna go to Vegas, you got that right. But--I mean, I can’t just leave my parents behind.”
“Well, I can’t.”
“Wouldn’t you rather your last memories of them be before all this, instead of some corpse.”
“We don’t know that they’re dead.”
“I’m just saying.” Lara throws her hands up in defense. “Just sayin’.” Lara didn’t want to come as a jerk in anyway shape or form, she just wanted to get Vicky on her side. Her dream right now is to travel around with her best friend, and probably her only friend. Vicky would love it too, no denying that. “C’mon Vics.”
Vicky looks at Lara straight in the eyes, and Lara looks into hers. They just do this for a few minutes and Vicky bites the bottom of her lip, before deciding. “Okay then. Girls roadtrip it is.” Her response couldn’t be any better for Lara, who beamed at the news. Vicky only beamed to and grabbed Lara by the hand. “Adventure of our lives.”
After hiding the car behind some bushes, the four had take shelter in the small, empty store. Outside the traffic only grows, and from what Haruka said, it could go onto morning. They figured if they waited to morning, when the highway clear, then it would be better to get to the mall. So until then they just wait in this shack, which they already locked.
Sarah has already fallen asleep up against the wall, using her bag as a pillow, while the three adults sit in the center of the room in silence. James and Sandra appear to be the most awake while Haruka looks pretty tired. She yawns, rubs her eyes, then looks back up at them. “I don’t know about you silent people, but I’m pretty tired. So goodnight.”
“Night.” Sandra and James both return to her as she walks off to find a place to sleep, leaving James and Sandra as the only ones awake. It wasn’t even late to be honest, only being about six. But hey, if one was tired than they were tired.
James and Sandra sit there in silence for a moment, both not really talkative people. Sandra, who usually judges by first glance, had already come with her conclusion about James. In her mind, he was just a father who wants to do what’s best for his daughter.James finally decides to make the first move and try to communicate with Sandra.. “Sandra, right?” She nods. “So umm, what you do for living?”
“Nothing.” Sandra replied shyly.
“Nothing? You don’t look homeless to me.”
“Nothing important, I mean.” Sandra corrects him. “I was a Private Investigator.” She says again, not looking at James in the eye.
“Law? I work in law too. Lawyer.”
“Cool.” Sandra once again says and starts another silence, although James wants to try and talk to her.
“So you went to law school, I presume?”
“Well, I did too. I hated it.” James looks around, hoping to find something to talk about, and luckily see’s the violin bag. Her weakness to talking was music. “So I see you play music. Violin, I presume?”
“Yeah, actually--it is.” Sandra now faces him with a smile. “You play?”
“The violin? No, no, the sensitive stuff really wasn’t for me. Back in Highschool I played the trumpet.”
“Really?” James nods. “Did you like it?”
“Oh, I loved it. But I sucked at it, that’s what everyone else said at least.” Sandra manages to chuckle lightly. “You good at the violin?”
“I think so, I mean it’s like my second life, played it all my life. I’d always been into classical like music and not the modern stuff, like that dubstep crap. It always helped me and--” Sandra can see she went a little bit far off from the basic question, so stops herself. “You probably don’t care about that stuff.”
“Hey I don’t care about many things, but I always care for a good story.” James says but Sandra has already lost the feeling of telling it, so quiets down.
“It’s nothing really. Point is I love music.”
“That’s cool, yeah.” Well after that the talking between them died down and they just sat there, but at least James knew he could talk with the silent Sandra.
Daniel once again looks out his wall length window into the city, showing no clear emotion. It’s been about three days since the incident, and a day since the president declared a state of emergency. While he mostly didn’t care, there was a thought in the back of his head nagging him to care. He may be safe up here in his penthouse, but who knows what could happen. However, like usual, Daniel flips that thought off and plops down into his chair.
There was still another thought nagging at him however; when were the mob gonna do something? He would think in a situation like this, all the bosses would gang up or something, at least that’s what he assumed. Either way he was just hoping to get a call soon. They may not like him but not even they could deny his power.
However another thought began to invade his head. What if they ditched him? They had just decided to leave Daniel to die; not like it would be shocking but still hurt. He just decides to drop that thought however.
This whole thing was just overwhelming him so he reaches for a beer.
“I say we do it.”
“Really? I mean what if Ryker kills us afterwards?”
“Why would he kill us? If anything he would owe us.”
“Yeah--yeah, I guess.” Desse says while leaning against the wall, with a handful of people around him. It includes Harold, who is one of Desse’s closest friends. Others include people who hate Daniel just as much as Daniel, and upon Desse telling them Ryker’s plan, all agree with it. Howard had infact come up with the plan that someone go in there, shoot Daniel and they all leave. No need to drag it on and/or get into conflict with the men still loyal to Daniel.
“So who’s gonna do it?” One of the men asks, to which everyone goes silent. After a moment or two it was Harold who spoke up.
“I think Desse should.” Desse gives him a look of ‘are you kidding me’ and is about to speak up, but Harold beats him. “I mean, Ryker gave you the offer, not us.”
“Yeah, I know that, but--”
“C’mon, I think you deserve the honor of putting the bullet in that prick’s skull.” Everyone seems to agree with this plan, except Desse. Sure, Desse hated the dude but he couldn’t just kill him; Desse had slight sympathy for him.
“I don’t think I can do that, man. Why not you do it?”
“Because as I said, you got the option.” Harold lowers his hand onto Desse’s shoulder. “C’mon, you can do it, and think about how Ryker will help us once it’s done.” The other guards also try to encourage Desse, who is still hesitant. He ponders, and ponders, and ponders until he finally decides on his answer.
Walking up the stairs of the penthouse, Desse holds a pistol firmly in his hands. With his eyes determined and his scary posture, no one would want to stand in his way right now. Just twenty minutes ago Desse has informed Harold and other Brown hating guards about Ryker’s proposal, and they all agreed. In the end it was decided for Desse to head up there and put the bullet in Daniel’ skull.
Now why did Desse agree to it? For two reasons. One, he hated Daniel. Two, Ryker scared him. So this was the best option, and now was the time. With the silenced black pistol being the form of Daniel’s killer, Desse was ready to bring him death.
After making it to Daniel’s floor he made his way down the halls, acting normal around the guards still loyal to Daniel. Soon enough Desse arrives at the door to Daniel’s office, sighs, then rips open the door. The first thing he sees is Daniel Brown sitting at his desk with a beer and laptop, and he instantly looks up at Desse. Annoyed. “Big D do you mind? I’m sort of busy here.” Daniel rudely says before going back to his drink. However, unlike past times, Desse just stands there and doesn’t move. “Didn’t you hear what I said, dumbass?”
It was in that moment that Desse took a deep breath and lifted his pistol at Daniel, finger on the trigger. It only took Daniel a moment to react and he jumped in surprise, and attempted to say something, but Desse said otherwise. “Don’t say shit or I will blow your brains out.” Desse threatens, even though he plans on killing Daniel anyway. Daniel instantly complies and gets onto his knees, face full of confusion and slight fear. Just comes to show how easily the mighty can fall. However with the pistol aimed at Daniel, Desse still couldn’t just kill him yet. He needed to get some things off his chest. “I want you to listen and listen good, because I got some shit to say to you.