This is #18 of Endangered and is titled The Riots Are the Worst, Part 1. It is Part 6 of Volume 2.
As the city's condition swindles down worse, citizens try finding protection. However, an intervention from the army may be what they needed, although a small incident will bring the city to it's knees. Once all hell breaks loose, some groups begin to team up for protection, while others are forced into a major conflict that only ends in death.
The Riots Are the Worst, Part 1Edit
“Here we are.” the tired Tate says to Michael, who sits directly next to Tate in the passenger seat. Wearing a dark jacket with it’s hood up, Michael looks determined right now, along with the crowbar sitting in his hands.
Outside the car sits the Benjamin house, the place where Sarah should be. After days Michael is finally at his daughter’s house, although he isn’t smiling just yet. Instead he just stares blankly at the house, with the weapon locked in his hands. As much as he wanted to believe that Sarah was safe in there with James, he just didn’t know what to think. “You okay?” Tate soon asks, as it’s been minutes since their arrival and Michael hasn’t talked.
“Just fine.” He says back, although Tate knew he clearly wasn’t. Still Tate decides to not say anything, as Michael was clearly in the mood to just think right now. After another few minutes Michael opens his car door and steps out into the night; however Tate just stays in the car, knowing full well that this is for Michael alone.
“I’ll just wait here. Keep a look-out.” Tate announces, to which Michael doesn’t react, and he instead just makes his way toward the house. The first thing he notices is that the car is gone, but he ignores that bad sign, instead making his way toward the door. Once there he decides to be patient and knocks.
He waits a few moments in hopes that someone would answer, but no one does. So he knocks again only to find no one answer. This doesn’t stop him, however, and he simply just reaches for the knob and twists it. Locked. So he just backs up a little and gives the door a kick, accompanied by another kick. After two kicks the door falls back and Michael enters, hoping Sarah nor James will care about that. Once inside however he sees the damage of the house.
Besides knocked over furniture, Michael quickly notices holes in the wall; which he soon finds to be bullet holes. That wasn’t good, not at all. “Sarah!” He shouts and listens while his shout echoes across the house, but he gets no answer. “Sarah! James!” He once again gets no answer so he walks around the house.
He notices that some pictures in the living room, notably a picture of Zoey and James, are missing, and no one would steal that. But who knows with the crazy people out there. “Sarah!” It’s becoming hopeless now and he knows this fully well, but he doesn’t want to stop yet. He needs to know where she is.
Making his way into the kitchen he instantly notices blood almost everywhere, like a giant fight went on. Blood, knocked over table, and water everywhere, something bad went on here. Still, Michael presses passed it and into the backyard. Luckily the backyard is in pretty good shape but there was one thing off.
Near the door laid a trash bag that was covering something tall, yet scrawny. Michael only stared at it, guessing what was under it, then took a deep breath before ripping the bag off. Of course what he found underneath nearly made him fall back, as he never got used to the sight. It was the body of some—some young dude from what it looked like, and from his appearance, looked like one of those wannabe’s too.
Still, the sight of a body made Michael stumble backwards and into the wall. He’s only seen dead bodies three times; with Zoey, the priest, and now. Each one made him almost gag though. “Bloody sick.” He mutters to himself before walking away, wondering why a dead man was in James’s backyard. Finally deducing that the Benjamin’s weren’t home, Michael instantly retreats back inside the house, before checking the upstairs. After checking almost every room in the house, Michael finally accepts that they’re not home; but at least he didn’t find their dead bodies.
Walking back downstairs he makes his way into the living room and just collapses on the couch, where he immediately digs his head into his hands, and just lets out a sigh. His hopes of them being here are obviously gone. After muttering some things he then rubs his hands through his hair, before looking up across the room.
It is then that he notices something on the TV, something small that stands out in the dark. Upon standing up he walks over and takes a closer inspection; it’s a note. Quickly, he yanks it from the TV and looks it over.
To anyone this shall concern,
Sarah and I have decided to leave, as the house is pretty unsafe. To anyone wanting to find us we headed to the Neshaminy Mall, it should be safe there. Hope to see you there.
“So where are we going?”
“The mall thing, Neshanimy. It’s right in Bensalem, I think.”
“Yeah, I know the one. But why go there?”
“It’s some sort of refugee center.” Tate says to Destinee, who sits on the edge of her bed, the blanket wrapped around her. Tate had arrived home about ten minutes ago, after learning about this barricade Michael found. According to the note, and radio message they heard on the way back, this mall is supposed to be safe, and it’s taking anyone in. It’s definitely safer than their house, and Tate was anxious to get there. That’s the thing about Tate, he’s ambitious; once he gets something in his head, that is beneficial for him and Destinee, he strives to get it.
Destinee was more of a realist on the other hand. She didn’t like shooting for stuff, and instead opted to stay with the stuff they had now. She was never much of a “doer” as people would say it. “I say we leave tomorrow.”
“I mean it sounds safe and all-- but don’t you think it’s better here?”
“That place has walls and gates, we have a cheap front door from ICEA.”
“Yeah, but we’re safe here, right now. Water, food, protection, I think we should just stay here.”
“Safe for now. How long until rioters or infected come into town?”
“We’ll worry about that when it comes. No point of leaving a perfectly safe place, into the dangerous streets, only to arrive at a place that may or not be safe.” Destinee shrugs, believing the mall was trouble. “I say we just wait here until the army comes. Seems like safest option.”
“They won’t come.”
“Sweetie, this isn’t The Walking Dead. The army’s going to get a hand on things.” Tate and Destinee just stare at each other, both trying to convince the other about their plan.
“If he wants to go, he can go. I just don’t think it’s the right idea.” Her response just makes Tate sigh, and he leans back against the wall, scratching his head. He doesn’t try to seem demanding, he just wants what’s best for her; but sometimes she could be stubborn. “Does it matter where we go?”
“Yeah, it does.”
“Why? As long as we’re together—“
“It doesn’t matter if we’re together, it matters that we’re alive and together. And this place is gonna get us killed, where we can be dead and together.”
“Tate, I’m just saying that we should stay here.” This anger seems to slightly bother Tate.
“What do you want from me!? I’m risking my ass to protect you, and you aren’t doing anything!”
“Your life is on my back! You, the baby, Michael, it’s all on me!” Tate raises his voice slightly to get the point in.
“No, it’s not.”
“Yes it is!” Tate says before plopping onto the bed next to her, burying his face into his hands. “Yes it freaking is.” Destinee just watches him for a moment before she puts her arms around him, and lowers her head onto his shoulder; in return he holds her hand.
“Honey, I know that for some reason you feel like everything is your responsibility, it’s not.” She looks over at him, and sighs. “And I’m sorry, for being bitchy, I guess. I’m just- I’m just scared.”
“I know, I am too.” The two just sit there in silence for a moment, accepting the truth; they’re both helpless and scared. Then Tate looks over to his fiancé, and gives her a smile. “For the whole responsibility thing, I just want everything to be perfect, you know? Makes me seem like the biggest freak sometimes-“
“Hell yeah it does.” Destinee jokes with him, giving Tate a smile.
“Anyways, thank you.”
“For being there for me, during my whole ‘we gotta do this’ spaz attacks. If you think it’s best to stay here, then I’ll stay.” He gives her one of his signature smiles, and she smiles. She won, but yet she feels slightly bad.
“I say- we head for this mall thing.” Tate gives her a surprised look, shocked that she gave in. “Can’t be too bad, right?”
“It’s gonna be just fine, I promise.” Tate looks over and checks the time. Around midnight at this point. “Let’s get some sleep, we got a big day tomorrow.”
The Next Morning; Day 4
Sitting on the edge of the roof and looking over the area is Vicky, who wears pajamas and rubs her eyes, as well that her hair is everywhere. Lara and her had slept on the roof last night with pillows and blankets, acting like it’s a campout, and it was fun. Vicky, at least, absolutely loved it.
Unlike Vicky, who was up watching the sunrise, Lara had chosen to sleep in more. She lays wrapped up in blankets near the door, with her head resting on the soft, soft pillow. Yet she was snoring, and Vicky couldn’t help but laugh at her snoring.
After a few more minutes Vicky hops onto her feet and walks over to Lara, grabbing her cell phone while doing so. Upon arriving at the sleeping Lara, Vicky grabbed a feather from her bag (she doesn’t even remember how she got it), puts her camera on, and begins to brush the feather against Lara’s face. This happens to bother the sleeping Lara, who begins to sleep-talk, and Vicky was getting it all on camera.
A few minutes after torturing the sleeping Lara, Vicky grabs her bag and heads down into the mall, deciding to try and get ready for the day. Walking down the metal, rusty stairway she then walks into the ground floor, which like yesterday, was still empty.
Bag in hand, she walks to the clothing section and begins to pick at different clothing again, trying to decide what to wear. After picking out some clothing which she thought looked nice, she retreated to behind the shelf to get changed, as she didn’t want some person walking by the door to see her. Upon getting changed Vicky tosses her dirty clothes in a random spot, before going to explore the mall a little more, to see what she can pack before leaving.
Making her way around the store she makes her descend down many different aisles, ranging from food all the way down to action figures. She wasn’t even picking anything at the moment and was more window shopping, if anything. She figured she’d go legit shopping once Lara wakes up, which should be about in twenty five years.
Awakening from her slumber about twenty minutes later, Lara slowly rubs her eyes, lets out a moan, before sitting up. Unlike Vicky who had slept in pajamas, Lara had chosen to sleep in her underwear, so she was immediately hit with a breeze, so she wraps the blanket around herself. Lara usually didn’t like getting up early but once she was up she couldn’t fall back asleep, so she just resorted to sitting there.
Rubbing some hair from her face, Lara looks out into the area ahead of them; today was the big day of her and Vicky’s “big adventure.” A journey across the United States with no rules, it was going to be fun, and Lara couldn’t help but smile. She was gonna have a great time, that’s for sure.
It was in that minute that Lara realize that Vicky wasn’t there, and wasn’t outside from what she could tell, so she was probably inside. Putting on her jeans and shirt, which she left next to her, she then puts on a jacket and shoes before grabbing her bag and heading downstairs.
Going onto the bottom floor she looks around to see Vicky’s dirty clothing in the corner, so she is nearby. “Hey yo Vicksters!” Lara shouts and listens as it echoes around.
“Over here!” Vicky’s echo comes into hearing distance, coming from a few aisles away. Making her way over she finds Vicky holding an IPad, trying to see if it’s still on.
“Taking a liking to that thing, I see.” Lara says while sliding next to Vicky, who smiles and puts it down.
“Well, I never had one, shockingly.” She admits. “Pretty poor family so it was always ‘pay the bills’ instead of getting stuff.”
“Damn, sucks for you.” Lara says in both a serious and joking matter. “Well don’t worry, you aren’t missing much on that.”
“I'd beg to differ," Vicky holds up the Ipad once more, "pretty advanced shit."
"Well then, however you wanna see it."
"That's more like it." Vicky lowered it once more; she was always a 'tell it as it is' girl. However, after lowering it and feeling her phone shake in her pocket, she remembering something.
"Oh, I got something to show you.” Vicky reaches into her pocket and pulls out her phone. “Watch this.” Lara grabs the phone and watches the video, which is her snoring in her sleep. After a few seconds Vicky begins to tickle her with a feather.
“The hell?” Lara says while watching herself curse Vicky out in her sleep. She muttered phrases like “fuck you”, “cunt”, “piss off” and many other colorful things. “I don’t know what’s weirder. Me cursing you out in my sleep or you taking videos of me while I sleep.”
“Both are pretty weird, but pretty funny.”
“What else do you do to me while I sleep?”
“Oh girl, you don’t even wanna know.”
“I don’t think I do.”
“Good. So how was the sleep?”
“Well, I slept on a cold roof wrapped around a blanket. So alright. You?”
“Slept like a baby in a crib.”
“So you slept like a small, tiny, defenseless human trapped inside a tall cage?”
“Well, when you put it that way.” Vicky scratches her head laughing, while Lara just smirks, while also looking around. “Anyways, when we leaving? I just wanna get the hell out of here, place is creepy.”
“What time is it?”
“I don’t know. Eightish, sevinish.”
“Damn, I got up early, for once.” Lara snickers while scratching her temple. “Meh, better now than never.” Lara says and looks toward the front doors, then back at Vicky. “But we should eat first because goddamn I’m hungry.”
“Already? You ate like five cans of shit last night.”
“Well, a girl’s gotta eat.’
“Yeah, but not like a pig. Damn girl.”
“Just c’mon.” Lara smirks while heading off toward the food section, Vicky following close behind. However the simple trip to the section turns a little complicated upon hearing some noises, and the two women instantly react. Looking in the direction they heard these notices, they listen as more footsteps become louder.
Can’t tell if they’re human or infected, however.
Grabbing Vicky by the arm, Lara proceeds to yank her behind the shelf, before reaching for her gun; all while Vicky watches. “What are you doing?”
“Seeing that none of-- those things are here.” Lara peaks around the corner, as the footsteps become more apparently non-human.
“Can’t we just go the other way?”
“And have them follow us? No thanks.” Lara sees the nervousness in Vicky, and feels slight sympathy for her friend. “Relax, we’ll be alright.” Vicky just nods unconfidently and steps back, letting Lara do all the fun. Muttering under her breath Lara reaches for a random item and chucks it across the room, drawing the attention of the infected from behind the shelf. She watches as it quickly runs into the open, right in her sights.
“Pfft, dumbass.” She remarks about the infected, snickering to herself, before lifting her pistol and opening fire. Naturally Lara isn’t a sharpshooter so she misses completely for her first shot, but makes it up by hitting it twice in the upper chest area. It proved to be enough for the beast and it fell dead on impact. “Fucker made me waste three bullets.” She mutters while walking toward it, to see what fun stuff it has.
Vicky just watches from nearby with a sick like feeling in her stomach. It’s been four days since these things attacked and she should be used to seeing them get killed by now, but how can someone get used to killing? Disgusting, in her mind anyways.
It was in that split second Vicky heard another scream and quickly cranked her head, to see another one of those things entering the store. “Lara!” Vicky’s yelp proved pointless as the infected had already charged at her, and Lara’s pistol was a few feet away from her. Deciding to not stay and fight it Vicky quickly runs the opposite direction, knocking items over behind her in hopes of tripping it. But this thing had it’s eyes on her and didn’t plan on losing her.
Vicky could hear Lara panic and scramble for her gun, but she just kept running. This proved utterly pointless because the infected dived for her, knocking her off balance and sliding into a pen stand. With the infected already up and coming again, Vicky figured she had to do something instead of cowering away. With it being the only weapon in sight Vicky grabbed a pen, uncapped it, and got onto her knees. Just as the infected leaped at her Vicky, hesitantly, thrust her hand forward and hit it in the eye. All this did was pop it’s eyeball, and blood began to spray around. Screaming in fear she found herself having to do the deed again, as it wasn’t dead yet. So, once again, she dug the pen into it’s now empty eye socket.
It proved to work but not enough, as it was still coming. Holding in her breath she stabbed it in there once again, and using her slight strength, managed to dig it deep in there, somehow managing to hit it’s brain.
Vicky, now covered in blood, simply pushed the body aside, leaving the pen in there, and fell onto her knees, breathing while doing so. Lara had turned around the corner, gun raised, only to find the situation dealt with. “Fuck.” She simply exclaimed at the sight; Vicky sitting covered in blood, with some blood around her, and a dead infected in front of her.
“D--Does it spread by skin contact?” Vicky asks nervous, to which Lara gives the hesitant shake of her head.
“You should be fine.” Vicky simply nods and just looks at the infected she just killed; she put on an okay face but in reality she could puke. Lara knew Vicky well enough to see past that. “It’s alright, Vics.” She extended her hand down. “It’s gone.”
Vicky just sits there for a moment, sighs, then accepts Lara’s hand and pulls herself up. Upon standing up Vicky looks at the blood on her. “I guess I need some new clothes.”
“Well good thing we’re inside Walmart.” Lara says, neither with a laugh or smile this time. “I’ll get some food ready.” Vicky agrees with her and walks off to get new clothes, while Lara watches her go, pity in her eyes, before turning to go get some cans.
“How’s it look out there?”
“Better than yesterday, that’s for sure.”
“Alright, that’s a good start.” Lisette says positively, seeing as the streets seem safe right now. Anahi just shrugs before backing away from the window. “Looks nice out today.”
“Well it probably ain’t some of that ‘Spain perfect sunshine’, but yeah, looks pretty good.” Anahi playfully mocks, to which Lisette gives a smirk. It was true, it was almost always sunny in Spain, at least the area she grew up in. It was one of the many things she missed about it, and currently, scenery was up there on the list; in Spain one didn’t just see a McDonald’s and obese infected every mile or so.
“Well, I must say, Span is tough compotation.”
“I bet it is.” Anahi says before glancing backwards to the man sleeping in the back of the room; Daniel Brown. Neither of the woman have a positive impression on him, considering the way he was last night, but they couldn’t just kick a half dead man onto the streets. “So, what about douche back there?”
“Douche is a little mean,” Anahi gives her a look. “but true, I admit. Anyways let’s just keep him with us, until the mall at least.”
“I was going to say leave him here, but that works too.”
“Hey, I’m too nice sometimes.”
“Then I’m gonna need you when I’m trying on designs.” Anahi looks back toward Daniel, curious, who lays fast asleep. “Should we wake sleeping beauty?”
“Eh, not yet. Let him sleep, he’s probably going to need it.” Lisette says, to which Anahi doesn’t argue and just shrugs slightly, before looking back out the window. After that the two women just remained in silence for a few moments, neither making a noise, and just in their thoughts. After about five minutes Anahi gets a little bored, wanting to start a conversation. “So was it nice there?”
“Spain?” Anahi nods. “It--was amazing, no other way to describe. Sure it had his problems, lots of them actually, but didn’t take away my love for it. Lots of scenery, semi-friendly people, and great history.” Lisette can see Anahi paying attention, but deciding to not go on a rant about her love for Spain, Lisette just ties it up. “Miss it every day.”
“What you do there?”
“Well-- mostly just some traveling, I was in a new place ever week pretty much.”
“Nice. And job wise?”
“Is this ‘learning all about Lisette day’? C’mon, tell me some juicy stuff about your life.”
“I’m pretty boring, trust me. But if you insist. I grew up in California with two political involved parents. So I had some perks as a kid, got stuff some others didn’t, but was pretty boring. I became a cop, then a fashion designer. And boom, that’s me in a nutshell.”
“No, not really.”
“No ‘romantic, charming’ dude I should know about?” Anahi quickly debunks that question by shaking her head. “Don’t tell me you’re a lesbian.”
Anahi laughs. “Nah. I had a brief boyfriend back in high school, but after that, stayed on my own. Why you ask?”
“Just figured a pretty young woman, like you, would have someone out there.”
“Nah, forever alone club, right here. And what about you, huh? Any Spanish drug dealer boyfriend I should know about?”
“Nope, right there in that forever alone club with you.”
“If you want I know someone for you.” Anahi nods her head toward the still asleep Daniel, to which Lisette giggles. “Seems pretty perfect.” Sarcastically says Anahi.
“I’d rather get hit over the head with a bat.” It was in that moment that Daniel began to stir awake, muttering some things under his sleep while doing so. “Let me go see if he’s okay.”
“I wouldn’t if I were you, after the way he talked to you yesterday.” Lisette ignores it and walks over to Daniel, whose eyes now were open, and was staring up at the ceiling. He didn’t seem to be in much pain anymore, luckily. Of course upon awaking he rubbed his already red eyes, and sighed.
“You alright there?” Lisette asks nicely, hoping to get a better response from a not ticked off, half dead Daniel. But Daniel’s asshole mode was on twenty four seven, and there was no off button. So he didn’t even lower that with the nice lady trying to take care of him.
“No, I thought this was all some fucking dream.” He moans and tries to go and stretch, but the immediate pain in his stomach forced back down onto his back, where instead of screaming he simply breathed rapidly. Quickly Lisette hands him some water, which he takes without question and drinks it.
“Are we not good enough for you?” She tries to joke about his earlier question.
“Yeah, pretty much.” He bluntly says while downing his water, and Lisette doesn’t respond, instead just biting her lip. No point of arguing with this dude, so she decides to be nice and ignores the comment.
“How are you feeling?”
“Like shit, but, not bad shit. Feel better than last night.”
“Alright, that’s good. Do you think you can move?” Truth is Daniel probably can’t move a lot but no way in hell would he tell someone that; he wanted to do everything himself.
“Yeah, I can move like the Flash.”
“Good, we’re going to need it. We’re heading out later so just be ready.” Daniel nods while Lisette stands to her feet.
“Where we heading?” Daniel asks before she can walk away.
“Neshanimy mall. Know it?”
“Nope. But as long as I get there safe and it’s in good conditions, I couldn’t care less of what it is.”
“Yeah, that’s the way to think.” It was clear Lisette didn’t mean that, and was being sarcastic, yet in a nice tone. “Need anything else?”
“Alright then just rest up and prepared.” With that said Lisette turns and descends away from Daniel, who just watches her go, smirking.
“Sure thing, sweet cheeks.” He mocks after her, causing Lisette to mutter under her breath, Daniel notices it and has a devilish smile on his face. Even with someone like Lisette, he knew he was gonna get under her skin in a short time; and that was the fun part, in his mind.
What is a monster? A man or beast? A killer or a animal? A man hell bent on anger or the sociopath with no feelings?
It’s certainly hard to tell when the monsters are being attacked by the victim. A situation like that was going on right now in the suburbs, where a man attacks every infected he sees in sight. With an attire of a full of sweat and blood gray t-shirt, worn out jeans, and dirty boots to top it off, not to mention the bloody baseball bat he holds tightly in his hands.
Letting out an angered roar, the man smashes his bat into one of the infected’s head, sending only more blood everywhere and the infected to the ground, still alive. He doesn’t kill it however, and instead leaves it for later, instead he turns toward the still four remaining infected. He neither frowns or smiles, showing no emotion while getting ready to kill them. He has a lot more anger to let out. This is Ethan Brash, the now ex-detective whose wife was torn to bits.
Stepping forward his bat collides head on with the infected charging at him, knocking it backwards, and he then proceeds to swing again at the other infected. As they try to counter attack him, Ethan swings at their feet and smashes their heads in. The next two charge at him and Ethan was quick to kick one down, but the second one grabs him by the shoulders and tosses Ethan to the ground. However Ethan felt on the top of his game right now, the adrenaline flowing through him, he began to wring the infected by the neck. With his massive strength the infected stood no chance to Ethan, and soon enough, he stopped breathing.
Picking up his bat one more time he swings at the final infected, bashing each of their heads in, until there was nothing left to smash. Ethan had taken his anger out on almost everything, and now, he had nothing left to beat up. Yet, the anger was still roaring inside him; like a monster trying to get out of its cage.
Taking a few deep breathes he sees no more infected nearby, and he just drops the bat onto the ground, and listens to the clang sound it makes. Once that was done Ethan just stood there, allowing all the energy to calm down. This has been his routine for the past two or so days, taking his anger out on most things. After coming home to find his wife dead Ethan had been on a rampage, as all the anger he’s been holding in has found its way out. Hell, he never even had time to grieve, minus the time after the phone-call.
Wiping the sweat that was dripping off his forehead, Ethan then looks around his deserted street; he was alone, although he didn’t expect anything else. After that he doesn’t do anything else and just walks back to his home, leaving the bloody bat behind. Upon reaching his house he simply walks in, closes the door behind him, and stumbles into his living room, where he collapses onto the couch.
He sits there for a couple of good minutes just thinking about his situation. Some would expect a cop, and former military soldier, to be out there saving people and playing the hero, but Ethan had his own problems right now. A dead wife, and a missing step-daughter; yeah, some hero he is.
Step-Daughter. Before she died Lynn had tried to get in contact with her daughter Vicky to no avail, and Ethan had come up with the conclusion that she too, like her mother, was killed. Vicky didn’t have a mean bone in her body, so this wasn’t the environment for her. That or she simply ran off; Vicky had a strained relationship with Lynn, and him, for years now, so that option didn’t surprise Ethan either. He just knew that she wouldn’t be walking in that door in a few minutes.
So he just sighs to himself and rubs his head, wondering what his next step in life is going to be.
“Well golly, looks like you were right.” Haruka calls back to James, who is in the back of the building, while looking out the window. “Streets are clear.”
“As I said, no one going to try and drive at-eight or something in the morning.” He brags while throwing on his jacket. Luckily his plan of camping out in some small store and continuing to this mall in the morning was good; otherwise, Sarah would never let him forgot it. With the streets cleared now, and the four rested up, they were ready to keep going on.
Despite that, James still had a little bit of cautious with Haruka and Sandra, as he saw what people do only a few nights ago. Hopefully this one doesn’t have a similar outcome. Haruka and Sandra had proved to be nice, to an extent as Sandra seemed extremely silent, he just had to keep that guard up for Sarah.
Sarah, on the other hand, appeared to like these two new woman. Haruka and her made a small friendship due to their both humor like nature, while James had talked with Sandra last night. So maybe he was wrong about keeping his guard up.
In that moment James turns to see Sarah next to him, all ready to go, with a smile on her face. “Morning, dad.” She yawns and pats him on the back. “How was your sleep?”
“Better than in my bed, I can say that for sure. And you? How did you sleep, Ms. Princess Sarah?”
“Well, I didn’t sleep like a princess, if that’s what you’re saying, but besides that I slept pretty well.”
“Good.” James looks back over his shoulder to Haruka and Sandra, who converse about something on the opposite side of the room. “So what do you think of them.”
“Not bad, but I tend to think everyone’s not bad, so I probably don’t have the best say.”
“Well, you never have the best say. Always nice to ask though.” James smirks, to which Sarah gives a sarcastic laugh.
“But yeah, I like them. They’re pretty too, especially the red head one. And I hear there single.” She nudges him in the arm, alluding to relationships, but James just rolls his eyes.
“We been over this--“
“I know, I know. But, geez can’t blame me for trying.”
“Yes, I can actually.” James says whilst pulling out the silenced black pistol, which he received a few days ago from Reck. He only stares at it for a moment, before tucking it into his pants. “Now c’mon.”
Across the room Sandra and Haruka were standing by the door, waiting for James. Haruka looks like she’s in less of a happy mode today, and like always Sandra is silent, having resorted back into her shell upon meeting with the Benjamin’s. She gets comfortable with one person and then more show up. “You alright there?” Haruka asks soon enough, noticing the shyness in Sandra. “They aren’t going to bite.” Sandra gives her a look. “Yeah, bad joke. Sorry.”
“I’m fine.” Whispers Sandra quietly. “You don’t look good yourself. Like you’re nervous, or something.”
“Me? Nervous? Course not.” Haruka looks over to her right to see the Benjamin’s finally coming, ready to go. “Now let’s get going.”
After a second or two the Benjamin’s arrive at them, with James in the lead. Putting on a smile, James greets them and takes a peak outside. All clear. “Shall we?” He extends his hand forward in a gesture, for the ladies to go first. They accept and the two woman walk out, followed by Sarah, then lastly by James himself. Upon exiting the small store James quickly leads them out back, where they left their car in the bushes; however, something was different. The place where they left the car was empty, and no car was in sight. “It was right here, wasn’t it?” Haruka asks the shocked James, who only stares at the blank space.
“Fuck!” Is the only thing James is able to exclaim, tossing his bag to the ground in frustration. Ironically, despite the situation, Haruka giggles to herself, although James pays no attention to it. “It was right here.” He once again says angry, grabbing his head in frustration, before taking a calm, deep breath to cool off.
“I’m fine.” James cuts her off calmly, before scratching his head again. “It’s alright, we can -- we can just go on foot.”
“Isn’t there like six more miles?”
“Only option we got.” He cranks his head behind them and toward the road. “Plus we get the exercise too, I guess.”
“Oh joy.” Sarah sarcastically says joking.
“Oh haha.” James mocks before completely turning around; despite trying to put up a happy calm attitude, James is clearly angry and stressed inside about the car gone. Turning toward Sandra and Haruka they agree with his plan. “Let’s go.”
“Just pack everything into the car, well anything that can fit. After that we just take a smooth drive there, and it should be all good.” Tate assures Destinee and Michael, who both stand with him in the kitchen; Destinee looking pretty happy while Michael’s hard-to-read emotionless face is present. He seems okay though. “Sound good?”
“Loud and clear, Sergeant Levine.” Michael mocks smiling from his position; Tate only smirks a bit at his new title before getting back on track.
“Alright so the most important things are water, food, and clothing-“
“But what about our clock? We can’t just leave that, it was a present from Aunt Ev.”
“If you can fit it in the car, be my guest, and take it.” Tate takes a look at the certain clock that is above the door. “It’s pretty ugly, though.” Destinee ignores the comment and goes to take it down, leaving Tate and Michael; and Tate can tell Michael was thinking about the possibility of his daughter being at the zone.
“She’ll be there.” Tate assures him. “Don’t worry.” ¬
“I know she will.” Michael is quick to respond this time, believing fully well that Sarah is going to be there, all safe and sound. “I’m just nervous knowing if I’ll get there.”
“Well don’t be, alright brotha?” Michael reluctantly nods. “Alright now that we’re on the same track, go start packing.”
After about ten minutes of going around the house and putting the stuff they need in the car, Tate thinks that they’re ready to go. With water, food, a few bags of clothes (although Destinee’s clothing bags were more like trunks), and space for the three to enter, it was all set.
With the car all ready to go, Michael was the first one to enter the car, sitting in the back seat. However Destinee and Tate were a little more hesitant, specially Destinee, who only stares at the doorway of her house. Looking back into her house seeing all of her stuff there, ranging room furniture to pictures, Destinee just feels saddened that this is pretty much goodbye to her house. The house that they struggled to buy, the house they renovated, the house they were going to have a baby in, this house held so many memories for her and would have held more if they weren’t leaving.
Standing outside Tate notices her reluctant leaving, and heads up to join her at the doorway. Once there he wraps his arms around her from behind, and pulls her in. “You ready?” He asks soothing.
“Yeah, I’ve been ready. It’s just,” Destinee looks around it “I don’t want to leave.”
“Neither do I, and if there was another option, I would stay here. But we’re going somewhere safer.”
“I know it is, and I like that. Just -- just we spent so much time trying to get ourselves the perfect home. Then we finally get it and we can’t even stay in it.” Destinee sighs. “I just wish we didn’t have to give it up so fast.”
“We aren’t going to leave forever. Maybe if things get on the right track, and it becomes safer, we can come back with,” Tate rubs her stomach “our little boy.”
“Boy? Who said we were having a boy? I want myself a baby girl.”
“Because I can’t play football with a girl.”
“Well I can’t go get my nails done with a boy.”
“Look it doesn’t matter about the gender right now, point is, all three of us will be back. And that, is a promise.” Tate gives her a quick kiss on the cheek, and his sooth, determined ship has Destinee no longer sad about leaving. “And it is going to be a boy, let’s just get that straight.”
“Willing to bet on it?” Destinee says while walking away but stops suddenly. She just remembered something. “Wait, before we go I need to get one more thing.” She separates herself from Tate and retreats back into the house, and after a minute, comes back out with a book in her hand. A photo album, the very one Destinee has been preparing for years. And on the front is a picture of Tate proposing to Destinee, which he had someone take. “We can’t just leave this behind.”
“The damn country is in chaos and you didn’t want to leave a photo book behind? You’re one strange girl.” Destinee only smiles and heads toward the car, where Michael has been patiently waiting. Tate however takes one last look into his house and smiles, before shutting the locked door and heading to the car.
“City is in sight. I repeat, Philadelphia is in sight.”
“Roger, roger. What’s your ETA?”
“About two minutes.”
“Alright, you know the plan. Get to the center of the city and set up the-“
“Barricade, and get all citizens out of harm’s way.”
“And the infected?”
“Shoot on sight.”
This time the man was more reluctant to speak, but he does. “Shoot on sight, sir. I know the plan.”
“Alright then, see you soon. Overlord out.”
With that said the voice on the other side of the radio goes silent, leaving only the man and his group of people. Although this was not just any ordinary group of people, it was a small platoon of the United States Army, with this group being a mix of Rangers and Marines.
The man speaking, and leader of the platoon, was Staff Sergeant Brian Redford, who had returned to the states only a day ago. He, along with the rest of his division, were stationed over in Afghanistan when they got the alert to return home, due to state of emergency. Upon arriving back the division was split up to take back cities and towns, with Redford going to Philadelphia.
Luckily this problem just wasn’t in the states, as the whole world was dealing with this. Over in Afghanistan they were attacked at base by infected, and they were originally thought to be terrorist until proven otherwise.
Resting his rifle down Redford looks back to the other members riding in his truck, which was only eight people. Other soldiers were riding in the other three trucks, with about thirtyish people all together. He clears his throat. “Everyone ready?”
A series of “yes sir” were spread around by the soldiers, who looked ready for action. Armed with rifles, pistols, knives, and grenades, they looked like they could take down a whole city. “Just remember, this isn’t like any of the jobs in the east. You shoot to kill, infected or not.”
“Feels weird that we might have to shoot the people we’re trying to protect, with all due respect sir.” One of the soldiers asks.
“Well this is a weird situation, am I wrong?”
“Good. Just remember what the major said ‘Protect at all cost’. I don’t care if it’s a little girl or your damn grandma, if they’re infected or hostile you shoot them. Got it?” His soldiers nod, some reluctantly. But as long as they get the job done then Redford didn’t care about their feelings for the job. It was the job, no matter what it was, personal issues stay out of it.
“You people need to slow down.” Daniel mutters to Lisette and Anahi, who walk visibly faster than him, as they are two feet or something in front of him. “I was just shot yesterday.”
“You said you were fine walking.”
“I’m fine at the walking part, but the speed party not so much.” Daniel counters bitterly, although it’s clear that he shouldn’t be walking. “I may look like him, but I ain’t fucking Superman.”
The two women just roll their eyes at him and agree to slow down, allowing the weak, slow Daniel to catch up. Upon catching up he rubs the sweat off his forehead, takes a few breathes, and finally spits on the ground. However the two girls just continue to stand there. “You women gonna walk or we just gonna stand here catching flies all day?”
“We were waiting for you.” Anahi states to him, doing her best not to say anything. Sure, Anahi was a nice person and kind to those who returned it, but to people like Daniel, she couldn’t help but be inpatient.
“Well considering the fact I’m standing here ready to go, I don’t think you need to wait anymore. So let’s go.” He walks past them, still holding his stomach, while Lisette and Anahi just glance at each other for a moment, before going on as well. However after only going a few feet the trio stop, as something comes into distance. The sounds of trucks, lots of them, fill the air. They were close.
“Get down.” Lisette yanks quickly yanks Daniel and Anahi around a corner and concealing themselves in a doorway, as the trucks begin to come down the street. From what Lisette could see, they were military trucks and they were going fast, like they were on a mission. “Military.” She whispers to the two, and after seeing the trucks are gone, steps out into the open with them.
“Military? They actually came?” From the entire apocalypse like media that Anahi has seen, the military almost never showed up to help, so it was a little surprising to see they actually came. “Shows how unrealistic that apocalypse stuff is then. Anyways, should we follow them?”
“Hell no.” Daniel speaks to them, for once in a serious accent. “Who knows what they might do, let’s just go the mall shit.”
“And what are they gonna do? Shoot or something.” Anahi asks sarcastically, annoying Daniel.
“Those people in that truck, they are men that follow orders, and that’s it. If the orders were to grab some little Spanish chicks and torture them, they would do it. Now I’m guessing they’re orders are to clear the city of infected, and let me tell you this, they’re going to complete that order. But there’s only one thing in their way. Do you know what that is? No? It’s us. People.” Daniel points at himself, and them, to dramatize his point.
“People are gonna cling to them, beg for help, and get violent, and those all distract them from the job at hand. And, as I said, soldiers only follow orders. It’s the leaders that make them, and I’m pretty sure they’re more focused on saving theirs and the important people’s ass instead of helping us.”
Upon finishing his little speech he keeps his eyes focused on Lisette and Anahi, who glance at each other. They know he’s probably right. “If you want to follow them then be my guest, but I’m saving my ass and not.” Lisette and Anahi are both thinking the same thing; that Daniel is right.
“Looks like we’re not following them, then.” Lisette says. “So, let’s keep going.” Daniel smirks at their choice, because he only partially meant some of the shit he just said. If he went to any law enforcer they would probably kill him, so he’s going to need two bodies to protect him. And for bad encounters if he needs to ‘lighten the load’. Daniel Brown truly is a slimy bastard.
Stopping the trucks in what he thinks is, at least near, the city’s center, redford begins to exit the truck along with his other men. After all his men gather around, with some staying near the trucks and others surveying the area, Redford does a headcount. It’s all good.
Now lifting up his rifle Redford wastes a whole clip as he fires into the air, singling a helicopter that’s been on standby. Hearing the gunshots, the helicopter immediately starts up and flies into the skies of Philadelphia. “Citizens of Philadelphia,” the helicopter begins to broadcast loudly, “the United States Military is requesting that all citizens report to Center City. They are setting up station there to protect and serve you.” Once it finishes broadcasting that it just begins to broadcast it again, like it’s on a loop.
Watching the helicopter begin to make its way around the city, Redford then turned toward his men, who have already began spreading defenses around the area. Road spikes, makeshift metal fence, and everything they needed. “Alright boys, it’s show time.”
Sitting in the car’s driver seat, McCoy just sits there instead of driving. With his head back up against the head rest, it’s obvious that he’s tired, yet he still tries keeping awake; if he fell asleep then someone might come and take the car. So being awake, and twirling the revolver around, made the car look protected and secure from any looters.
Moaning to himself he then looks at the backseat, where Dre heavily sleeps, using his jacket as a blanket. While Dre opted that they do rock-paper-scissors over who got to sleep in the back seat, McCoy immediately let Dre sleep there, as he’s already been through enough. It was the nice thing to do, at least.
Ever since finding his parent’s bodies Dre has been noticeably more quite, often just sitting there for hours doing nothing. Due to his natural watchful attitude and knack for reading someone, McCoy was able to tell that Dre took the death hard and was suffering. It was great to see that Dre loved his parent’s so much, which is where they differ.
“Don’t you dare speak to us that way. You’re nothing more than a spoiled kid who latches off our money, not some wise young kid.”
The last words his father spoke with him in person still ring through McCoy’s head. It’s been about more than half a year, maybe a year, since McCoy left his parents. Mr. and Mrs. Davis were snobby, social climbers who spent their time rising in society and spoiling McCoy, who got bored with his rich life. Unlike his parents McCoy wanted to earn the rewards he got, not just get them for sport. Of course when he told his parents about his feelings they flipped off at him, and he ran away that night to start anew. Even with chaos around him, McCoy still can’t help but think about that past. He made the right choice of running, however, and he doesn’t regret it.
The sounds of a helicopter soon drift into his ears and he retreats away from his thoughts, instead focusing on the helicopter that is outside. Curiously opening his car door, McCoy steps out onto the streets and scans the skies, where he almost immediately sees the helicopter going around. “Citizens of Philadelphia,” the helicopter begins to broadcast loudly, “the United States Military is requesting that all citizens report to Center City. They are setting up station there to protect and serve you.”
McCoy only watches as the helicopter announces that, while drifting into another part of the city. Without a second’s thought hesitation McCoy gets back into the car and starts it up. If that thing was legit then lots of people would be going there, and he didn’t want to be stuck in a giant line. “Yo, Dre, wake up.” He says back to the sleeping Dre, who still doesn’t budge. “Wake up.” McCoy grabs his shoulder and gives it a little shake, which proves enough to awaken Dre.
Upon waking up, Dre simply yawns, stretches his arms, then rubs his eyes and sits up, before looking at McCoy. “Morning, man.” McCoy smirks at Dre, who only yawns again. Mornings weren’t his thing.
“Why did you wake me up again? I was enjoying--“
“We have to get going.” Before Dre can ask why McCoy has already began to explain that. “Military blockade, center city, safe, we gotta drive there…so yeah.” McCoy sums up the basics of the message, with Dre catching all ears, despite not looking enthusiastic or annoyed.
“Do you even know how to drive?”
“Not exactly, but there’s a first time for everything, right?”
“Move over. I’ll drive.” Dre mutters, to which McCoy hops over to the passenger seat and Dre climbs up into the driver’s seat. “So where to?”
“Center city, it said.”
“Well can you be more specific? Center city isn’t a small place.”
“He didn’t say where. I would think near City Hall, though.”
“City Hall it is.” Dre says while driving the car off, not really caring about this barricade as he felt empty as anything right now.
Walking their way down the empty highway, James eyes the area suspiciously. During their walk across the highway they haven’t seen or heard any cars, and that for some reason bothered James. Why wouldn’t people be heading for a safe place? Then again it only made some life easier for them, so he wasn’t arguing. Still, he kept his pistol nice and close just in case anything went down, and Sandra had one in her bag too.
The walk itself was pretty silent, and around the halfway mark, almost annoying. With Sandra and Sarah over packing just a “little” bit, there was a few bags that had to be carried. They all managed to keep a hand on that and move pretty good however, and at their pace, should be there in the next few hours. But another few hours with walking in this wasn’t on the top of James’s list, nor anyone else’s.
“So, we all never really got to know each other.” James calls back to Sandra and Haruka. “I know your names but nothing really else.”
“Well we aren’t interesting people.” Haruka smiles, to which James scoff.
“Well I ain’t interesting at all, but I still got some stuff to tell.” James mocks. “Let’s see. Adopted around ten years old, graduated top of my class, went to law school and became lawyer, and has a teenage daughter. Boom, now your turn.” James points at Sandra, who at first doesn’t reply. “C’mon Sandra, give us some juicy details.”
“Um, well I--“ Sandra rubs her head. “Growing up I was very into music, which is pretty obvious, and I enjoy fashion.” It’s all Sandra is willing to give out, but James wants a little more. He was just trying to get Sandra out of her shell and make her comfortable.
“C’mon Sandra, you have more than that.” James gives her an encouraging look, and Sandra just sighs at first.
“I have an ex-husband and grew up rich.” She sighs out, which still isn’t a lot but it pleases James, so he accepts it. He then turns toward Haruka.
“Well I was born in Japan, came here not too long ago. I’m a reporter, and find some of the culture here, well, funny. No offense.”
“It’s cool, even I gotta admit this country is weird as hell sometimes.”
“Me and you both.” Haruka states, to which James smirks at, before turning toward Sarah, who listens to music on her phone, which is still somehow charged.
“Sarah.” He says to no avail, as she can’t hear him through the music. “Sarah, honey.” This time she hears him, and taking out her one ear bud, turns toward him.
“Tell Ms. Dufraine and Saito about yourself.” Sarah gives him an odd look, having not been paying attention to any of the conversation earlier.
“What about me?”
“I don’t know..anything. An overview.”
“Well….I get straight A’s and I’m an honor’s student. I have lots of friends, and I want to go to medical school.” Sarah says, shrugging, before turning back toward her father. “Is that good?”
“Perfect.” He states to which she then puts her headphones on and listens to music. “Teenagers.” He jokes to Haruka and Sandra, to which Sarah can’t hear due to the music. Still, James always felt like there was something that Sarah wasn’t telling him, which was probably true since teenagers tended to hide stuff from their parents. However, James just wished he knew what it was.
Although it’s only been twenty minutes since the military arrived in the city’s center, a crowd has formed, since most have been hiding away in their homes. In front of City Hall sits two lanes, each one built up by gates, and in front of the lanes, are tables where one or two soldiers sit at. With computers and DNA devices, the soldiers make everyone scan their hand before letting them pass into the safety of City Hall. The whole set up looks like something one would find in a video game, like The Last of Us or Infamous: Second Son.
With the two lines going down the block, people are obviously growing un-patient. They switch from walking around, to tapping their feet, to grunting about unimportant stuff. Two people who seem surprisingly calm however are Joel and Reyes, who are almost to the entrance. Having abounded their rifle, so they don’t seem suspicious and get shot at, their only form of defense is the pistol that Joel has tucked in his jeans, hidden behind his shirt.
Joel, unlike most, just stands there and doesn’t seem to be in a rush to be getting in the front, while Reyes is the complete opposite, since he keeps looking past people to get a glimpse of what’s going on. “You okay over there?” Joel mockingly asks Reyes, who is practically trying to jump over people to get a view.
“I’m--just trying to see what’s going on up there?”
“Why? It’s pretty simple. We walk up, they see if we’re infected or not, then they let us in.”
“No, no, no. They’re doing something else.” Reyes states to Joel. “They got all this computer type shit, and they’re asking people some questions.”
“I get drug dealers are--“
“Former drug dealer.”
“Then I get former drug dealers having paranoia, but you got to calm your nips.” Joel mocks again, to which Reyes just rolled his eyes. Joel didn’t get it; they might be in danger. He had no idea what test the military were giving but it didn’t like good, so he only scratched his head before turning his attention back up front.
Currently a little bit older man walked up. The man wore a basic t-shirt with shorts, and was mostly bald, using a hat to cover up the bald spot. From what Reyes could tell, this dude seemed nervous. Upon stepping up to the table, which blocked the entrance to safety, the army official looked at him. “Please, place your hand on the device sir.” The official says, referring the device in front of him, which has a place for a hand on it. “Now, sir.”
The man nods and quickly places his hand on the machine, and the machine begins to scan his hand. On the official’s screen comes up his picture, along with other details, including his name. “Name…Cameron Mitchells. Age….55. Criminal Record….oh boy, would you like at that.” Instead of saying the word ‘none’ next to that, there is a list of felonies committed by Cameron. “Grand theft auto, murder of first degree, accused of sexual assault…you have quite a list.” The soldier reads off as Redford walks over, seeing the felines. “Permission denied.” The soldier says to Cameron, who watches in horror, before the soldier turns to Redford. “Sir, he’s all yours.”
Redford nods and points at Cameron, to which two soldiers come over, grab him by the arms, and escort him away from the line. Cameron struggles but the soldiers prove to strong, and the crowd just watches as he disappears from sight; with Reyes watching closely. “Excuse me, oficial.” Reyes asks a nearby soldier, keeping watch of the lines, who turns toward him.
“Reyes.” He introduces himself. “Do you mind if I ask what those machines are?” He refers to the machines up front, including the scanner. The officer scratches his head, unsure if he is allowed to tell Reyes; but he doesn’t see the big deal.
“Well, the first one is a DNA tester. Pulls up your name and other stuff, including any criminal records. We just want to make sure no serial killers or rapist are entering the barricade, know what I mean?”
“Interesting. May I ask what happens if someone does have a record.”
“Truth is, Mr. Reyes, I have no idea. It’s up to my superior, Sergeant Redford. But they are rejected from the barricade, no matter what.” The officer then points toward the second machine. “The other one is just to test and see if someone’s infected.”
Reyes nods, not showing his nervousness of getting caught by his machine. He paid off his crimes in Mexico, but he just wonders if they show up here. He hopes not. “Mind if I ask why you’re so interested?” The officer asks.
“Just curiosity. Thanks for your time.” Reyes says to the man before heading back to Joel; knowing that Joel surely has a criminal record. Upon reaching Joel, he stands next to him.
“They’re checking our records.” He announces to Joel. “They’re going to know who we are.” Joel doesn’t react and just stares forward, sighing to himself.
“Well, fuck me.” He sighs, clearly not liking the machine’s abilities. “Think we can sneak by?”
“They got soldiers on every maldito side, no way we can just sneak by.”
“Sneak out of line?” Joel suggest while checking the area. “We could do that.” However he begins to rethink that. “On second thought, it be suspicious if two people just run away from the line that leads them to safety.”
“True that. Personally, I think the only hope we have is that the machine backfires, or our records don’t show up.”
“I think you should be alright, taco. But me--I’ll figure out something.” Joel blunts. “I always do.” It was then that Joel and Reyes, moved forward, now next in line. They should be happy, not nervous. “Well, you’re next. Good luck.”
“Thanks.” Reyes mutters before stepping forward, his turn to take the tests. Upon stepping forward he is met by the same table, with the same officer there. “Please, place your hand on the device, sir.” The officer says and Reyes, reluctantly, complies. While the machine scans he can’t help but feel time slow down, as his slight paranoia kicks in. What if he gets caught?
“There we go, you can take your hand off.” Reyes complies and does. “Let’s see. Name…Reyes Young. Age…28. Born in Mexico? Alright good, I see a green card here. Criminal record--“ Reyes freezes up. “None.”
The response makes Reyes freeze, in a shocked, happy way. Looks like the crimes only count toward the ones here, or maybe his crimes were taking off the database after he took them off? Either way, he passed that, and he gives Joel a thumbs up. “Okay, now can you stick your finger out?” The soldier asks.
“Sure thing.” Reyes sticks out his finger, and the official takes out a needle and pokes it, letting some blood come out. He then takes Reyes’s blood, and puts it on a machine. “And….no infection. You’re clear to enter, Mr. Young.”
Smiling, Reyes turns to give Joel two thumbs up, before walking past the table, but staying at the gate so he can wait for Joel. At that time Joel walks forward to the table, and the officer asks him to put his hand on the table like he did Reyes. Joel complies.
While the scanning goes on Joel takes glances around the area. He knows his record isn’t going to come up clean, and he’s hoping on making a quick escape. Maybe Reyes can help somehow. Soon enough the scanning finishes. “Let’s see. Name…Joel Ramsey. Age..36. Criminal Record….fuck. Sergeant Redford!” He calls for his superior, who soon comes over, with other soldiers glancing over. Joel was fucked.
Redford overlooks the criminal record. “Well, Mr. Ramsey, you’ve been busy. Murder, grand theft auto, involved in numerous drug deals, robbery, served some jail time, too.” Redford looks up to Joel. “Anything to say for yourself?”
“What can I say? I live the extreme life.” Joel knows what’s going to happen next.Redford’s men are going to drag him away from the crowd and put a bullet in his head. So why not go out mocking? “Go ahead, bring your men over and swoop me away, sir.”
“Think you’re funny.” Redford just stares down Joel, whose only reply is staring Redford back. “Take him away, men.”
Two soldiers immediately step in and grab Joel by the arms, and try to drag him away, but Reyes sees the commotion. Although Joel tried giving him a sign to just move on, Reyes runs over, blocking the soldiers’ path. “What are you going to do?” Reyes asks.
“Sir, please, move out of the way.” One of the soldiers says.
“Yeah, man. Just go.”
“You gonna kill him, huh?” Reyes asks again. “You just gonna drag him outback, shove him down, and shoot him, like you did that old dude?”
“Sir, move out of the way. This is your last warning.”
“Last warning? Or what, shoot me for asking a question?” The soldiers don’t respond, instead just looking at each other thinking, while Joel tries motioning Reyes to leave. He wasn’t gonna have Reyes’s blood on his hands, he already had so much on them. “Go ahead, shoot me, I dare you. Hell, I double dare you.”
Immediately one of the soldier’s drops Joel’s arms, grips his rifle, and smashes it into Reyes’ stomach, forcing the man to grip his stomach and collapse onto his knees. He coughs a few times before looking back up, where the soldier simply grabs Joel’s arm and goes back to dragging him away.
Not letting them take his “friend” away, Reyes stands back up and catches up to them; at this point the crowd is starting to notice the situation. “Back for more?” One of the soldiers coldly remarks.
“If he’s not allowed in, just let him go. He’ll leave and never show up.”
“Those aren’t my orders, so for the last time, get out of my fucking way.”
“Reyes, god damnit, just listen to them.”
“Just let him go. No need to kill him.” Reyes notices the soldier reach back down for his gun, but Reyes doesn’t do anything. He lets the dude do it.
The soldier lifts his rifle, not to hit him, but instead aims right at Reyes’s face. Reyes doesn’t back down, and neither does the soldier. The two just stand there facing off. “Back away.”
“No.” Reyes says, and now, a few people from the crowd were beginning to run over to see the scene, as are a few soldiers. One of the civilians notices the soldier’s willingness to pull the trigger.
“Hey, officer, this man didn’t do anything. No need to draw guns here.” One of the citizens try to say calmly, but is pushed away by the officer.
“Go ahead, officer. Shoot an unarmed man, see how that works out.”
“This man,” The officer refers to Joel “is a murderer. A cold-blooded one, to be exact. No way in hell am I going to just let him walk in.”
“Look who’s talking.” Reyes refers to his activities in the Middle East.
“I murder in self-defense only!”
“Tell that to them.”
“Get. Out. Of. The. Way.” Reyes rejects and continues to block his path, and the soldier has had enough. Reye notices this, and simply smirks, right before the man pulls the trigger. However, Reyes and his quick reflexes were a step ahead of him, and Reyes rolls out of the way. The man who previously tried to reason with the soldier instantly steps up, complaining how shooting is uncalled for. However the innocent man makes the grave mistake of touching the soldier by the shoulder, frightening the already angered soldier, who turns around and fires.
The innocent’s man dead body slams onto the ground with a loud thump, stunning not only the soldier and his fellow comrade, but the people crowded around the area. The soldier only looks at the body, showing no emotion, before reluctantly lowering the rifle. The crowd surrounding the area simply watch in shock, while a few cowardly people scatter off. Reyes only watches the soldier, a smirk on his face; his plan worked.
Joel, however, only mutters to himself. “Fuck it.” Using his free arm to reach down and grab his pistol, to which the occupied soldiers don’t notice, he then aims at the soldier who killed the man and shoots him in the temple, proceeding to shoot his buddy as well. No one in the crowd tried to stop him. “Dickheads.” Joel grunts while walking back to Reyes.
In that moment the soldiers stationed at City Hall, including Redford, begin to run over with their raised rifles. Most of the people who remained in line either run over as well or remain there watching.Redford arrives first, rifle up, and eyes spelling cold. “What the hell happened?!” He shouts to the crowd in fury, while Reyes and Joel blend into the crowd. “Well?!”
“Your man shot an innocent man.” A unknown person from the crowd speaks up nervous.
“And why are my men dead now?”
“S--someone shot them.”
“Who?” Redford makes eye contact with Joel and Reyes, who tried to sneak out of the crowd. Considering Joel was a convicted murderer, he presumed what happened in a heartbeat. “People, people, no need to panic. Everything is under control now. So just proceed back to the lines, everything will be dealt with.” Redford puts on a friendly smile, while secretly signaling his men to get Joel, as well as Reyes.
The crowd doesn’t move at first, so they see the soldiers grab Joel and Reyes. Instantly numerous shouts like “they’re innocent”, “what did they do?”, “they did the right thing” begin to go around, all toward the military soldiers. Redford simply scowls.
“People, please just back away. These men are murderers--“
“Your men are the murderers!” Is one of the many screams Redford receives. This whole thing with people screaming at him was probably going to go on for a while; even in the apocalypse people try to start stuff with the military. It was in that moment that something happened, something that would cause the death of thousands. A single gunshot goes off, but not from Joel, from an unknown person.
The moment the gunshot rings out, Redford reacts. Not knowing who fired it he instantly just blames the crowd, and on his order, the military opens fire. The military opens fire on the crowd of people they’re supposed to be protecting. After that it all turns into a blur. While Reyes and Joel take this as their chance to escape, others don’t attempt it. Sure some run off back into the city, but the brave ones, stand and fight the military. From bats, pistols, to throwing fucking rocks, some people are starting a riot. From the amount of people, it was going to turn into chaos real, real soon.
Reyes and Joel just don’t look back, with Joel leading the way with his pistol, and Reyes keeping a lookout.
“Damnit, damnit, damnit!” Tate panics while attempting to drive down the city streets. The peaceful driving has turned into a death sentence in only a few moments. He has no idea what happened, but he knows the aftermath fully well, but now chaos ensures the street again. People against military, people just attacking shit for no reason, infected coming out of the shadows, and gunshots everywhere. Michael, sitting in the backseat, watches weary of the events outside, ready to run if he has too. However Destinee is in panic mode as well, muttering and screaming once in a while upon seeing the sight of infected. She had the luxury of not seeing the initial chaos, but now she has.
“What the fuck happened?” Michael asks from the back seat, but he knew they didn’t know the answer. He just had to ask.
“I don’t know!” Tate says back before looking down streets from the seat, chaos is almost on every block. “Where do I go?”
“Um,” Michel looks around, “right.”
“There are people there! I can’t just run them over.”
“It’s the only option, just drive.” Tate doesn’t give into arguing anymore and immediately turns down the right road, almost hitting someone while doing so; luckily, the man gets out of the way in time. However more people flood down the streets, forcing Tate to drive considerably slow, which puts them in danger of infected. Tate, however, decides to risk it as he doesn’t want to hit anyone, especially in front of Destinee.
“Drive.” Destinee panics, watching the horror from her window as people glance at the truck, wondering if it’s worth stealing.
“I’m trying!” Tate panics back. “There’s no room.” After a minute or two of more flooded people running by the car, Michael sees the slightest glimpse of an opening for them to escape; one that can certainly fit a car.
“There.” Michael points to the opening, and upon spotting it, Tate drives there right away. After almost hitting yet another person, Tate drives out of the crowded street into a more open street. They were out of that one, and Tate sighed slightly. With that done, they begin to just drive around again, still trying to get to the mall.
After driving another few block, Destinee notices a pair of two girls, maybe in their college years, running down the streets, practically begging for help. Infected were chasing them. “We should help them.” Destinee says to Tate, who doesn’t even take a glance at them. “I said, we should help them. We have room.”
Tate, hearing her perfectly clear, just ignores her; since he needs to protect Destinee and Michael, not two strangers.
“Tate did--“ Destinee says but stops midway, and her voice turns into a scream. “Watch out!” Destinee’s high pitch scream fills the car, pointing to Tate’s left. Both men turn to see a car coming right for them, with the driver dead with a bullet sitting in his brain. Slight fear and shock entered Tate, and as such, was too late to turn the car away and the two cars collided; sending Tate’s car upside down.
Snapping his eyes open, Michael instantly groans in pain and takes a breath. The pain doesn’t let up, not one bit. Instead of trying to get up he simply reaches down and holds his stomach, which of course has a glass shard in it. “Ah, fuck.” He groans once more, and lifts up his shirt to inspect his wound. It wasn’t a big piece but it was right in his stomach, and he knew the only thing to do was to pull it out. Hopefully it doesn’t cause him to bleed too badly.
Gripping the shard with his hand, Michael takes a deep breath, and quickly yanks the glass shard out of his stomach. The pain felt like someone ripping his organ out, but that luckily only lasted for a few seconds, because then it was over. With the pain gone Michael watches as blood begins to come out. Reaching into the nearest bag, which he thinks is Destinee’s, he pulls out a random shirt and rips off the sleeve, before wrapping it around his stomach. It should hold until he gets to the mall.
Now came the next part; getting out of the car. The boxes that fell in front of Michael blocked his view on Tate and Destinee, but he thought he heard them up there. At least they were safe, he hoped anyway.
Looking toward the window in front of him, the only way out, Michael gives it a nice firm few kicks, to which he breaks it. Once broken Michael scrambles out and falls onto the hard, cold ground. Landing right on his stomach he groans in pain before grabbing the car and pulling himself up. He was now out in the open and ready to get out of there.
Turning the car’s corner he confirms his suspicion when he sees Tate at the passenger’s seat, but something was wrong. He was panicked and desperate to get Destinee out, whose foot was trapped under the seat. Every time Tate pulled her, Michael could hear her scream. It was awful. “C’mon, baby. C’mon.” Tate tries calming her. “I’m going to pull again, alright?”
“It won’t hurt, just hold your breath. Ready?” Destinee nods and bites her lip, while Tate grips her wrists and pulls, forcing Destinee to scream once more. The scream made Tate’s heart drop ten times over, and all he wanted to do was stop her pain, but he couldn’t yet.
Michael runs over and kneels next to Tate, who doesn’t even notice him at first as all his attention is own Destinee. Soon enough he does. “Michael, lift the chair.”
Michael follows his instruction and lifts up the chair Destinee’s foot was caught under, to which Tate yanks her out, but her screaming still goes on. Now Michael can see why she was screaming; her foot is broken. Her bone sticks out of her ankle and the ankle itself is snapped. It was bloody disgusting. “You okay?” Tate mutters repeatedly to Destinee, whose tears roll down her face.
“Tate, I can’t walk. I -- can’t move it.” She refers to her leg, but Tate sooths her by pulling her in for a hug. He wasn’t gonna let her foot stop them.
“It’s alright, baby. I got you.” Tate pulls her up, and she screams, before Tate swoops her up into his arms. He was carrying her like a prince would do his princess. Michael, seeing as Tate can’t fight with Destinee in his arms, reaches down and grabs a baseball bat from the car. Tate nods in an early ‘thank you’, just in case he doesn’t get the chance later. “Let’s go.” He says to Michael, who leads the way for them with the bat, ready to stop anyone from attacking them.
Running down the street Michael watches as panic unfolds once again; he feels like he did a few nights ago and memories flash his face. He doesn’t want to meet any insane people anymore. But he knew he would run into infected, it was going to happen at some point.
With Tate carrying Destinee right behind him, Michael makes a turn down the safest route; an alley way. Kicking the gate open that blocks their path Michael then lets the couple in, before slamming the gate shut. Making their way in front of them he runs down the alley, where ironically, a stray infected is eating a dead body. The infected is quick to hear them and pounces at them, but luckily, Michael swings fast into its head. No way was he gonna die now, not when he was so close to seeing Sarah.
The infected doesn’t die and jumps again, but Michael kicks it down and disposes of it, not even thinking about the “murder”, before moving on with the others. Continuing down the alley they come across the back door of a bar. “In here.” Michael runs up to the door and opens it, it’s empty. Once Tate and Destinee enter, Michael shuts the door. “Stay here, I’m going to search around.” Tate nods and Michael heads off while Tate lowers Destinee on top of a table.
“You alright?” He asks her, brushing some hair out of her face, allowing her red eyes to come to light. The pain was unbearable for her, and it pained Tate to even watch. “It’s gonna be alright, I promise.”
“It--it hurts, so much.”
“I know, baby. I know.” Tate lets his word rings out, before letting the silence sink in. He was just glad to be safe right now, with his injured fiancé. It was all going to be okay.
Of course it’s never okay because in that moment, a stray noise rings across the area, and Michael was upstairs so it wasn’t him. Jumping onto his feet Tate looks around the area, to see a stray infected in the corner. With Michael upstairs, Tate grabs a nearby chair and tosses it at the infected, but it proves worthless. Instantly it leaps at them, and lands on top of Destinee, who screams while Tate rushes to protect her. He instantly throws it off her and smashes it’s brains in, with no hesitation at all.
“Alright I’m gonna go Michael, we can’t stay here.” Tate says while rushing to the stairwell, but Destinee tries to stop him.
“Tate.” She calls after him, her voice hoarse and quiet. He was too distracted to get out of there that he didn’t even hear her. “Tate!” she shouts again, with more attitude, and getting him to turn.
“What?” Destinee lifts up her arm, in plain view. “What is it?”
“I--got bit.” An oval-shaped mark with patches of blood sits right in the middle of her arm. With the dark, black blood all over her arm, as well. Tate finds himself frozen with his eyes on this horrible sight, and his legs feel like giving out.
It’s been about ten minutes since the incident. Standing in the back with his back up against the wall, Michael fixates his attention on Tate and Destinee. Tate simply just holds Destinee in his arms, who does her best not to sob, while Tate’s face is blank. His red eyes simply stare forward and he mutters the phrase “it will be okay” like a robot with no off button, as he was in denial. Michael decides not to intervene and let the couple fix the situation themselves.
While Michael hasn’t known Destinee for long, she was a nice lady, but he was more upset for Tate. The energetic, optimistic, nice young man Michael had met in the bar was turning into what Michael feared; himself. From the moment Michael saw Tate, he saw himself in this young man and hoped he wouldn’t go down the same path Michael had, but looks like faith had different plans. Michael can already see Tate turning into the depressed, lonely, piece of shit that Michael himself is, but maybe he can prevent that. But of course, Tate has to grieve.
“Tate,” Destinee finally manages to speak up, “you have to get going.”
“We have to get going.” Tate repeats back, while Destinee shakes her head.
“We saw the news reports, sweatie. Once your bit--you turn into one of those things.” She wipes her eyes. “There’s no point of denying it.”
“You’re honestly going to believe those bullshitters? They bath in making people afraid and twisting stories.” Tate denies her death once again. “There is something we can do about it, don’t worry.”
“No there isn’t, sweatie. I’m--“
“Yes, there is.” He interrupts her. “We are going to make it to the mall, nice and safe, then deal with that wound. It’s just another wound, and doctors are bound to be there.”
“Tate, just listen to me.”
“I can’t when you’re speaking bullshit! You, and the baby, are going to be just fine.” Tate puts on a half-smile, trying to keep her hopes up. Destinee, however, can’t bear to look at Tate right now, denying her death. “Okay?”
Destinee, knowing her end is near but not wanting to leave Tate like this, nods reluctantly, with Tate patting her on the back. While the couple embrace, Michael just watches the scene go down. Soon enough Tate heads over to Michael. “We have to move now.” He tells him. “I’m going to carry Destinee and--“
“No, she isn’t.”
“Tate, listen to me. Denying it ain’t going to do you shit, just accept it.” Michael reasons with him, but Tate wasn’t in a reasoning mood. Instead his denial and optimism mixed together and he honestly believes Destinee is going to be okay. Even if she isn’t, he isn’t going to leave her in a bar. So as Michael is about to go on, he grips the man by his shirt and shoves him into the wall.
“She. Is. Going. To. Be. Alright.” He says between each breath, making his point clear to Michael in a very threatening way. The only way Tate was going to learn Destinee was going to die is by seeing it happen, so Michael saw no reason in this. So he just nods and puts his hands up.
“Alright. Whatever you say.” Michael tells him, to which Tate drops him and backs up, allowing Michael to scoop up his weapon. “Let’s get out there.”
“Lara!” Vicky shouts down the street, watching as Lara tries shooting some of the infected chasing them. After leaving the shelter of the mall and heading into the city, hoping to cross the bridge, they were instead caught in the middle of conflict. After running down several streets, being chased by some infected and being pushed by citizens, Lara has resorted to trying to take down the chasing infected.
With her pistol raised she fired shots into its chest, killing it, before catching back up with Vicky. “Don’t run off.” Vicky tells her, to which she only smirks.
“Sorry, I had to go be badass.” Lara says before looking back down the street. The chaos has ceased to stop, and is only getting worse. With law enforcement trying to stop the rioters now, along with the army, people pelt them with Molotov’s. This city was always a piece of shit, but this was just too extreme. “Alright, we gotta go, now.” Lara gripped Vicky’s arm and ran forward, yanking Vicky right behind her, until Vicky managed to keep up the pace. Soon enough the girls were running down the streets, pushing people out of their way.
“So where too?” Vicky shouts to Lara, trying to get above the noise of the area. Lara hears her.
“Um, anywhere but here!”
“Sounds great to me.” Vicky replies, trying to block out the chaos around them, instead only focusing on Lara. Apparently, it was like this when the infection first broke out, but Vicky was hiding inside of the college at that time. Now, she sees what people are really capable of, and it’s disgusting. Hopefully, the other cities around the state wouldn’t be like this.
With Lara leading the way with her nice friend Mr. Pistol, she turns down a nearby street, although it’s nowhere safe; nowhere is safe in this city right now. So she simply runs down with Vicky, like a chicken trying to cross the road.
However out of an alley pops an infected, thirsty for blood, and it’s eyes going on the first person it sees. Lara. Letting out a scream it charges toward Lara, who aims her gun, but is caught off guard and tackled onto her back. The infected tries biting at her face, but Vicky acts first, where she kicks the infected off her friend and takes the gun. After a second she shoots the infected, saving Lara, but the act still makes her sick. So she just hands the gun to Lara, who nods in a ‘thank you’.
The two girls quickly move down the street, where to their surprise, hear their names being called. Turning they see a car come into distance, and upon closer inspection, see McCoy standing in front of it, gun in hand. He points it at anyone thinking of taking the car, and shooting any infected. “Vicky! Lara!” He signals them over, to which the quickly sprint over. Once close enough McCoy opens the backdoor for them, and they hop in, while McCoy goes in the passenger seat. Dre looks back to see if the girls are safe, but McCoy cuts in. “Drive!” He exclaims, and Dre quickly does so and drives off.
Upon speeding off the block, McCoy turns back to face the girls. “McCoy Davis, right?” Lara asks, as she recognized him from around campus. He nods.
“And is that..Dre?” Lara asks, to which Dre turns around and nods.
“Yep, that’s me.”
“So, I see your girls are keepin’ up in good shape.” McCoy remarks, with a smile.
“Us big, strong girls know how to kick ass, better than you probably.” Vicky mocks back, smiling.
“Oh yeah, sure.” McCoy simply says. “So um, how’s this thing been going for you?” He asks both girls, who really just shrug.
“Oh you know, did some girl stuff, and kicked ass. You?”
“We, well-“ McCoy looks at Dre, deciding not to mention the stay at his parent’s house, “-just been going on.” McCoy rubs the back of his head. “So where were you girls heading, if you don’t mind me asking?”
“Well-“ Vicky and Lara lock eyes, both thinking the same thing. “-that mall place.” They can use a place to rest, and not tell anyone about this plan o there’s. It is a girl’s trip only, anyways.
“Wow, ironic. We’re heading there too.” McCoy pats Dre on the shoulder. “Looks like this is a one-stop trip after all.”
“Great.” Vicky beams, happy to see two old faces nice and safe, but saddened to see they might have to delay their trip. But hey, safety came first.
Tate held Destinee’s hand tightly, and was only holding on to her with the last strength he had left. With him and her being forced into a pushing crowd, every second someone else was banging into him. The bruises were getting worse by the minute, but he wasn’t going to let go. Not now. Not never. With the people around them panicked and only worried for themselves, they showed no remorse for simply tossing the couple out of their way.
Michael was a few inches ahead of them, trying to scan his way through the crowd and make room for the couple. But with each step, Tate was losing sight on Michael. He knew that carrying Destinee was slowing him down, but in no way was he going to stop. Michael would just have to wait.
After the army began shooting, this was the crowd that ran away from all the violence, and they accidently blended into it.
“Can’t breathe.” Destinee gasps, as more people pressed up against them and blocked their breathing. A broken foot, bite mark, and no air; she was not in good shape. Tate tried to push themselves forward, but to no luck.
“Just--just don’t let go.” He says to her, referring to the fact her arms are hanging around his neck, one of the only reasons she is still in Tate’s arms. If that grip were to loosen, he’s afraid he might drop her. “Don’t let go.” He once again tried to push through the crowd, hoping to get into a more clear area. But his meek composure wasn’t going well.
Up ahead, Michael can’t even tell if the couple is behind him, as he has no room to turn his head. He can see the people in front of him, though. At this point he saw people running all direction, and infected as well. He couldn’t tell who was who at this point. The people running were screaming and pushing; like the infected. Others have been swept onto their knees by the crowd, and they stay trapped there, as their air slowly runs out. It was all just so insane; all hope was lost in this city.
Suddenly a scream echoed throughout the crowd, a scream of a warning. “Soldiers!” Someone shouted, followed by a parade of bullets flying around the crowd. The people they came to protect, the soldiers are now opening fire on them with no remorse. Tate instantly cursed and picked up the pace, holding onto Destinee just a little bit tighter. “It’s alright, baby. Just don’t let go.” Looking down at her he can see how sickly she is looking. Her skin is slowly turning darker, yet this makes her eyes stand out.
Her eyes never looked so beautiful, yet at the same time, so terrifying. “Don’t let go.” He repeats. “Please".
It was in that moment that bullets began going in their direction, and in a moment of desperation, Tate spun around to try and block Destinee better from the bullets.
But instead she let out a screech and her eyes go shocked, as her stomach gets pierced with two bullets. Not just any body part, but her stomach...where the baby was previously laying. In just a second the baby in her womb died, and Tate stumbles onto his knees, causing Destinee to lose her grip and she collapses onto her back. On the ground she only groans, holding her stomach, while Tate just begins muttering “no” rapidly, and time itself just began to slow down.
Standing back up, despite the force of the crowd, Tate walks over and grabs Destinee’s hand and tries pulling her up. But all her pain, and amount of blood coming from her stomach, halt him from doing so. She instead collapses back onto the ground. She wasn’t going anywhere. “Can’t breathe.” She repeats, now almost crying. Her lungs might have been hit too.
“Come on, baby. Just--just get up.” She can’t. “Don’t leave me, come on. I can carry you.”
“I-“ She can barely speak, and Tate just screams in pain. Not physically pain, but the pain his heart is emitting as it sinks down.
Michael, who heard his scream, stops and grabs a nearby pole, which he uses to turn himself around and he sees Tate with Destinee, just on the ground. The crowd was going to trample them soon, or the military would get them. He tries to make his way back, but is met with resistance.
Once more, Tate tries to pull Destinee up, but she doesn’t budge. So he instead tries to drag her, but this only gives her more pain. He can’t just leave her like this. “Come on! Get up!” He screams. “Please.” he whispers.
“Tate!” Michael screams at him. “We have to go!” He doesn’t budge, and looks like he’s going to stay with Destinee. “Tate, let go!”
“No.” He whispers back, although Michael clearly can’t hear them. He can’t leave his dying wife, whom squeezes his hand. She wants him to go. “No.”
But in the end it was fate that chose. With the incoming crowd to strong Tate was pushed away from her, and he tried pushing through them, but the crowd was too strong, and they showed no pity for Tate. He watched as they almost trampled over Destinee, and he tried getting back. But he couldn’t. Soon enough he was pushed back to Michael, who grabbed his arm. “We have to go.” He tells him, but Tate just stares in Destinee’s direction. “Tate.” He speaks with sympathy.
Tate looks at Michael, his eyes teary and his soul left where Destinee was now laying, probably dead by now. He looks into Michael’s eyes, bites his lip and just lets out one last tear, as the sounds of dying become more emit. “Okay.” He whimpers back, allowing Michael to drag him off, where they follow the crowd, and go into parts unknown.