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Sin City

This is Episode #1 of Sin City and is titled Welcome to Miami Sin City. This episode is both the first episode of Season 1 and the pilot for the series. It was be released September 21st, 2014.

SynopsisEdit

In the series premire, we are introduced to the "normal citizens" of the zone. Leah Alvarez, a new survivor bought into safe-zone of Miami, explores the zone while also enrolling herself in Miami High School, one of the last schools that also acts as an optional boarding school for students. Meanwhile, Annabeth Jackson is forced by her friend Taylor to get some more interaction in her life and to reocline with her family, despite her wishes. But, is she really ready to do so, or is no one understanding her?

CastEdit

Welcome to Miami Sin CityEdit

It was beautiful. Truly, it was. A dark, but mesmerizing shade of blue made up the ocean that sat around the city. It’s funny actually, most would assume that the oceans would be dead by now, but the state of sunshine isn’t giving up that easily. The ocean still sparkles as the waves wash ashore the beach that sits beside it, and like the ocean before it, the beach is still looking younger than ever. No trash are in sight on this sandy beach (it’s hard to tell what color it is, but on close inspection one would say it looks a mixture of both yellow and orange.) Like the nearby ocean, it is truly pretty.

Behind the dazzling beach, sits the great city of Miami, Florida. Miami really always has been a very pretty city, has it not? It always had nice, humid weather to go with it’s beautiful scenery. The current section of the city behind the beach is what was once known as Downtown Miami, but know it has been given the sector name of Liberty Park. It it, as most people call it, the main part of the zone. It features numerous homes (mostly apartments and condos), the courthouse, a metro station, entertainment places, and numerous other places within.

The structure of the city is surprisingly good. All the buildings still stand straight with some broken windows here and there, but mostly in good shape; and at night was when it was most beatiful. Before the outbreak some of the buildings would activate it’s neon lights at night, allowing a lively, energetic look of the city. Sure, now the buildings can’t do any fancy tricks like glowing on and off repeatedly, but still the sight was pretty.

The citizens of Liberty Park look just as good. While there was few people out right now, due to the time being eleven in the morning, there were a decent amount of people out. Currently a woman jogs down a street in basic jogging uniform with her headphones in, listening to an unknown song. Another girl walks down the street with one of those smug faces that emulate from rich snobs. She wears fancy sunglasses, fur coat, and designer jeans, shirts and boots, along with a designer purse. According to the language on her face she thought she was better than everyone else. Another man walked with his dog, another with a briefcase, and another with a pretty woman. There were lots of people in Liberty Park, lots of different people; and they all certainly had stories.

A car makes it’s way down the street, turning down a street every few blocks, while the driver sips a little cup of coffee like it was the good ol’ days. The car, like most in the zone, was solar activated, thus eliminating the constant need for gas (of course they always had some for the non-solar vehicles). It was breath taking to see how the city works, including having electricity thanks to a nearby dam.

While the car drives down the driver sends a glance at a gate, before driving off the area. It was suspicious because the gate was not like any other structure in Liberty Park. It didn’t have neon lights, or a fancy structure, it was just a normal metal gate, with a sign that read the word Goulds. A person stood at a toll on either side of the gate, where they would check to see if the person had their Miami ID’s (the ID’s given once arriving at the zone) before they could pass.

The gate acted as a gateway to another section of Miami. The safe-zone of Miami itself was split into four sections. First, as already explained, was Liberty Park, the center of the zone. Next was Beach Town, formerly known as Miami Beach. Taking the form of a coastal resort city, it is the least populated section of the zone and people only attend there on vacations. Then there is Ackland Gardens, formerly known as the Venetain islands. Ackland Gardens, named after one of the zone’s founders Daryl Ackland (who had an unfortunate incident involving wild dogs, funny story actually), are a chain of artificial islands on Biscayne Bay, which connects the main city and Miami Beach with each other. Ackland Gardens nowadays were the suburban area of the zone filled with houses where families would come to settle down and live.

Last but not least were the Goulds, and just as the name suggests, was the worst section of the city. The Goulds were a combined section of areas that were considered the “ghettos” formerly, including Little Haiti and Liberty City. The Goulds were, sadly, the most populated section, as it was the default section for new arrivals. Upon arriving in the zone one would be sent to the Goulds, and chances are one will never get out. Hell, chances were someone could barely survive.

The Goulds were certainly the worst part of the city, even just one glance would tell. Unlike the beautiful Liberty Park, vacation filled Beach Town, or the family centric Ackland Gardens, which all looked appealing, the Goulds were in no shape appealing. Filled with low cut buildings that were covered in graffiti, if they weren’t already crumbling down, and trash that filled the streets like their very own ocean. The Goulds, not surprisingly, held the record for highest body counts. Someone died at least every week, if not every other day, and most of the time, their bodies would just lay in the streets. Their deaths would go unnoticed and they would just die. No one would mourn them, no one would know their final words or thoughts or what even their personality was like. Their names would just disappear into the unknown history, and in a way, it would be like they never even existed. All their achievements in life, their goals, and their personality will never been known. It’s a sad thing really. The earth has been around for almost ten thousand years (or millions, whatever suits your boat), and only a handful of people have went down in history. Imagine all those lives of people who died and years from that moment it’s like they were never even there. It’s not death that’s scary, it’s the fact that no matter what you do, now matter how much you try, one day it will be like it never even mattered. That, in a way, you were nothing more than an ant on the street.

Due to the lack of police in the Goulds this was a reality. For whatever bullshit they pull out of their ass the police force of Miami almost never entered the Goulds, mostly out of fear. Most of the police, actually, were either officers who entered the Goulds for drugs, or just power abusing people who act they like own everything, only to be shot there. That being said there were some honest men in the force; some men who actually wanted to give justice, not destroy everything it stood for. But justice is never fair is it? Justice ain’t no lady, she’s a twisted, battered whore laying bruised and naked on a bloodstained wooden floor.

When someone looks at one of the more finer areas like Liberty Park they think to themselves, “Wow! This zone is great!”. But what happens when they look at the whole picture?

The whole picture is currently what a person sees from a long distance away from the zone, standing on top of a hill that sits about a mile or two away from the zone. The person stumbles in their worn out clothing and pale skin, which just so happens to have many bloodstains all over it. There was something off about this person, though. Their teeth were filled with blood, their fingers were icy cold, and their eyes….well, that’s the problem, their eyes were pure red; that’s because this is no person, this is a runner; which is one of the stages of the infection.

It’s been about fifteen years since an outbreak arrived that turned men into savages, or as they are normally called, the infected. Some say that the outbreak was from nature’s hand, others say it was a disease spread by scientist, others say the wrath of God, and believe it or not, some say the Illuminati. No one truly knows what it is but they certainly know what it does.

Some actually say the infected are still humans too who are just trapped in their bodies with no control of their actions. Imagine, if this theory was true, what this certain infected was seeing? He was seeing a society that he could never be apart of because he’s different. They would reject him on sight and kill him. This certain infected, who's just another lost name in history, stumbles forward a bit more with no goal.

Before the infected can even know what’s going on a bus rams into it, passing right over it while also dragging the body with it, until it finally rolls away. The bus kept moving in the direction of Miami, which was not far off at all. The bus itself was pretty well protected with scrap metal being hammered on there as shields, while also leaving tiny holes open for the occupants to use weapons. From guns, to blades, all the way down to explosives could be used from this bus; in short, this bus was ready for war.

Inside the bus was very much like a public bus with two sections of seats, however this bus wasn’t very populated. The seats were mostly filled with some bags and weapons while only a mere five people were on the bus. There were two armed men who sat in the front taking a rest, the bus driver who was currently whistling a horrible remedy of “Emerald Sword” by Rhapsody of Fire, than two passengers who sat in the back minding their own business.

The bus driver (who, on a side note, looked like a bearded Jeff Garlin) took notice of their approaching arrival to Miami. “All right back there, time to wake up!” He speaks with such a loud and enthusiastic tone that it’s hard not to like him. “It’s a beautiful day, full of opportunity!”. He fist bumps the air and lets out a chuckle for the century, before focusing his attention back onto driving. He was most likely one of the optimist left in the world, which is probably good in a way.

His words reach the young woman who sits in the very back of the bus, despite the fact she even had her headphones on. From first glance she seemed like one of the loners, judging from the way she has her hat in a position that blocks most of her face. The woman certainly did have a sense of fashion with her black jean jacket, red shirt, basic pair of dirty cargo pants, and not to mention flashy pink belt. The woman takes off both her hat and headphones to glance ahead to Miami, and now with a full look at her she barely looks over eighteen. This was Leah Alvarez, and judging from the look on her face, she was not the type of chick to be messed with.

Leah rolls her eyes at the look of the skyscrapers from the distance, and just collapses back into her seat. It takes a lot to make her impressed. “Ever been there before?” A man asks from the seat in front of her while reading some old magazine. The man wore a fancy plaid jacket with a button up shirt, tie, jeans and dark boots. Despite the situation the world was in he looked pretty well dressed.

Leah takes a glance at him from up and down before giving her answer. “Can’t say I have. Didn’t even know this city still existed.”

“Then how’d you know about the bus?” The bus was used for many different priorities, but mostly for two: supply runs and picking up people. Most of the zones in Florida have been in contact, and knowing some may wish to switch between zones, Miami set up a bus system that travels around the area every two days and picks up people. It mostly stops at selected sites that they placed signs at.

“Maybe because I saw a damn bus driving down the street.”

“Fair enough.” The man closes up his magazine and tosses it on the ground. “I used to stay there, actually.”

“And you just decided to leave a giant safe-zone? You must be a genius.”

“Actually it was a little more complicated.”

“Sure sounds it.” Leah gives a scoff, not in a asshole way, but the way that people with sarcasm give. The man takes note of it.

“You got a mouth on you.”

“I noticed.” Leah leans back on her chair, resting up before she’s gonna have to find her away around the zone. The man chuckles lightly to himself before turning around to see the city for himself. It’s been a few years since he’s seen it, and he must say, he forgot how stunning it was. He quickly reminded himself of what the inside was, though.

“Name’s Charlie, by the way.” He calls back.

“Leah.” Leah looks out the front window and notices the big, flashy sign that sits on the side of the road that reads Welcome to Miami, with fireworks around it and all. However something was up with the sign as the Miami part was mostly crossed off. Instead it was replaced by big bold letters in a dark greenish color directly under it. “Welcome to...Sin City.” She mutters to herself the reading. “Sin City?” She asks up to Charlie. “What the hell kinda name is Sin City?”

“Pretty accurate one.”

“And why’s that?”

“You’ll see.” Charlie smirks while leaning back on the chair while Leah mutters the name to herself once more, before shrugging and relaxing once more, simply letting the thought pass her mind.

In just a few more minutes the bus arrives at the gates of Miami, or otherwise known as, Sin City.


It some ways it was a typical night. From a distance, Ackland Gardens looked peaceful, and usually it was very peaceful. Sitting right on top of the clear lagoon that was Biscayne Bay it seemed as if the town reflected off the lagoon. Nature was very kind that night as it gave a calm breeze and an even calmer moonlight.

The breeze, traveling through the Gardens, blowing through the trees and grass, soon brushes up against a young girl. The girl, whose chocolate hair flew with the breeze, watched endlessly out into the night, often eyeing the lagoon that sits mere not to far from her. On some days she would love to swim in it, others she would fish, and others she would merely stare out across the lagoon, wondering what else was out there.

The eyes of this precious little twelve year old were not full of wonder on this night. Instead a look of fear and despair have take over. A dark, purple bruise sits on the side of her cheek, which only causes her to flinch as her tears roll down across it. It’s becoming instantly clear that everything was not how it seemed.

Two cop cars sit in front of her house with the ambulance, with their red and blue lights flashing across the area. The policemen are currently inside her house while the paramedics were in the ambulance, getting together bandages and medicine for her bruise. All the commotion has obviously gathered the attention of the neighbors, with some watching with awe from their houses, while others group together and gossip. The girl ignores their pitiful stares, instead focusing on the lagoon, hoping it could just rise up and wash her away into parts unknown.

An officer makes his way out of the house and down the steps, taking notice of the little girl sitting at the edge. He rubs his chin and thinks of outcomes in his head, while his eyes still remain focused on the girl. “I’m sorry.” He tells her, knowing very well she may not want to hear it. “No one should go through that. You’re a strong girl.”

The girl struggles to find a response. Everytime she wants to speak a whimper comes out instead. The officer lowers himself down to her height, and although reluctant, pats her shoulder. “Everything will be okay.”

The phrase echoes around in her cluttered little mind. She wishes she could believe him but the situation proves otherwise.

-----

The whole bedroom was a mess. The posters hanging on the wall were ripped, the walls were faded, the furniture was covered in dust and trash, and the floor was hidden beneath a layer bags and clothes. There was a lone bed in the corner of the room, where beneath a thick blanket, laid a woman. She was a very pretty woman with chocolate hair, and while her eyes were closed, they were bold, crystal blue.

It was in that exact moment that the woman jumped up from her bed, her eyes filled with the same fear and despair from the distant memory. At first the woman gasps and scans the room, before slowly calming down, allowing those frightened gasps to turn into deep breathes. These were her daily wake-up routines.

At this point nightmares and her could be considered close friends. She’s known them for about ten years now and they sure love to spend time with her. Most of them date back to that very memory, where the phrase ‘everything will be okay’ always seems to wake her up. One would think that by now, after ten years, she would have gotten over the constant nightmares. Ironically the more she tried to the more they pulled her back in. That is just how the life of Annabeth Jackson went.

Upon brushing her hair away from her eyes Annabeth soon found another problem in the sunlight. She groaned in annoyance while using her hands to cover her eyes, until she finally managed to close the blinds after a few tugs. She’s been meaning to get those things fixed all week.

Sliding off the bed, whilst giving her eyes a good rub, she gives a firm glance over to her alarm clock. Like usual the pink numbers spell out 12:10, the usual time Annabeth gets up. Annabeth certainly loved her sleep, and was very much a deep sleeper. So, as expected, she was in no way a morning person.

Taking a deep, satisfying yawn, Annabeth stands up to her feet and walks across the messy floor, not giving a damn about the current state of the room. In a way the room reflected some of herself; unorganized and lazy.

Stepping out into the living room she takes quick notice of her roommate sitting on the couch. Like every day she sits there with her laptop and headphones watching some old TV shows. She was always so interested in them, and whenever one was on, she was glued. She does, however, notice Annabeth. “Rise and shine, bum.” She greets her, while setting her laptop aside. Conveniently, she just finished her episode.

Annabeth gives her a wave of the hand, to which her roommate chuckles. “I can never understand how you sleep so long and are still tired.” She remarks.

This was Taylor. She was a very pretty woman and was about a year older than Annabeth. In retrospect she was a complete opposite of Annabeth. She was organized, active, and a ‘early bird’. Her daily routine involved her getting up at the crack of dawn, going out for a jog on the beach, then coming home to get ready for the day. This of course sometimes put them at conflict (like when Taylor pressures Annabeth to clean her room), but overall they’re pretty good friends, with the two having been roommates for about three years now.

Both are in the local community college stationed a few blocks away, but luckily today they didn’t have class. With the two sharing similar schedules they had classes all week, but on Tuesday the only class they had was English; and lucky for them the teacher gave them the day off, allowing Annabeth to sleep in.

“And I can never understand how you get up at six.” Annabeth counters while rubbing her still tired eyes.

“I get up at five, actually.”

“Even more weird.” Annabeth makes her way to the kitchen-slash dining room in hopes of getting some food. Both the cupboards and fridge were lacking the food she was hoping for. “Do you have work today?”

“No. Why?” Unlike Annabeth, who only worked as a waitress at a nearby diner, Taylor had various occupations. She worked part-time at an elementary school, a yoga instructor at a gym, a maid at an hotel, and a volunteer at numerous places. She was like Superwoman.

“We need some groceries.”

“How much?”

“Food, drinks, detergent, soap, and probably more. So I’d say a decent amount.”

“Wait, we need detergent?”

“I saw it empty when I walked by it.” Taylor groans at Annabeth’s revelation, while Annabeth takes a seat on the chair next the couch. “What?”

“Nothing. I was just hoping to get some wash before heading out later.”

“Yeah, you haven’t done it for like a few days now.”

“You know, you could do it to.”

“You trust me with washing your clothes?” Annabeth gives a mischievous smirk. Taylor quickly rethinks that answer.

“Yeah, nevermind.” Taylor takes a glance over at Annabeth’s messy room, and cringes at the sight. “Although, you could clean your room..”

“It reflects my artistic personality.”

“You can at least separate clean and dirty stuff.” Taylor was not trying to be mean at all. She just prefered that everything be organized and tidy. In many ways she was a little OCD. Still, she isn’t gonna force Annabeth to do it, nor is she gonna clean the room herself. She tried that once, actually. Never again. “When I’m trying to gather up all the wash, or trash, I can’t tell which is good and bad.”

“That’s the point. I enjoy watching you trying to guess which is which.”

“I’m not even gonna dignify that with a response.” Taylor chuckles while taking a glance out the window. It was getting nice out. “So you got no work, right?”

“Nope. Greaseball Larry decided to let me have the day off. Thank God.” Greaseball Larry was the owner of the diner Larry’s King of Steaks, and as his ever so thoughtful nickname suggested, he was a greaseball. Fat, hairy, covered in grease, and grumpier than a short old man, Larry was not a very liked man by Annabeth. Still, he cooked mighty fine meat. “And we got no homework, right?”

“Nope.”

“Than I’m gonna have a damn good day.” Annabeth puts her feet up on the coffee table. “We can go shopping, grab a bite to eat…”

“No, no. You got plans today, remember?”

“No.” She scratches her head. “What do I have?”

“Lunch with your sis’.” The response makes Annabeth freeze up as she begins thinking. She remembered agreeing to have lunch with her sister...but not so soon.

“No, no. We’re having lunch on the tenth and today’s,” Annabeth shoots a look at the calendar, “and today’s the…..tenth.” Taylor lets out a ‘I told you so’ smirk, and after taking in the fact, Annabeth lets out a loud, annoyed groan. Most people would be enthusiastic about having lunch with their little sister, but it was almost torture to Annabeth. Sure, she kept in touch with her, and did love her, but social interaction wasn’t exactly her thing, especially not with her family…

“I’ll just tell her I’m sick or something.” Annabeth makes up her excuse and slumps back up against the chair, but unfortunately, Taylor wasn’t gonna let her out of it that easily.

“C’mon, she’s your sister. You can’t just stand her up.”

“Why not?”

“She’s been trying to set this up for a while, and you denied her each and every time. Don’t ruin her day by doing it again.”

“But--”

“Besides, she’s your little sister. Don’t know if you noticed but she adores you.”

“For some odd reason.” Annabeth mutters under her breath, not loud enough for Taylor to hear. “I just..I don’t know.”

“You haven’t gone out once for...who knows how long, except for school or work. A lunch with someone other than me will do you some good. It will make you seem less antisocial.” She jokes about the last sentence, and Annabeth rolls her eyes.

“I’m not antisocial, I’m anti-stupid.” She jokes, and manages to make Taylor smirk, but Taylor doesn’t let go of the subject.

“Come on, Anna. I’m one hundred percent positive that one little lunch won’t kill you.” Taylor continues to encourage her, and it begins to work, as Annabeth rubs her head, trying to think. Maybe Taylor’s right. One little lunch with her sister won’t kill her. “I’ll tell you what. If you got out for the day, just for today, I’ll buy all groceries for the next month.”

All groceries?”

“All.”

“For a month?”

“That’s what I said.”

“Then how can I turn that down.” Annabeth stands up to her feet, stretching her back one final time, while also taking a glance at the clock. From what remembers her sister said 1pm at her favorite cafe, and since it’s only 12:20, she has plenty of time to get ready. “Alright, guess I should get ready.”

“Good luck finding clean clothes in that mess.” Taylor friendly mocks her, to which Annabeth gives a sarcastic laugh back before heading off to get ready. If only she could go out to lunch in her pajamas, it would be so much better.

-----

It was now about one-ten in the afternoon, at least that’s what Annabeth presumes while she sits out in one of the cafe’s outdoor tables. After devouring her room and actually finding clean, decent looking clothes, Annabeth made a rush to get here early. Having got here at ten of one, she has been waiting for twenty minutes for her sister to arrive. A part of her expected her to be early, but the other half knew her sister full to well. As she would put it, she loves to be “fashionably” late.

That’s just a part of who Lola Jackson is. Being a seventeen year old female she was naturally a little bit of a reckless kid. She’s impulsive, immature, a little to social, nosy, and stubborn; so, in some ways, a complete differ from Annabeth, minus the stubbornness which just happens to run in the family. Still, Lola was not a bad kid by any means, in fact she had many redeeming qualities, much more than Annabeth. She, like Annabeth, was just missing some good guidance in her life, but her heart was in the right place.

Annabeth, not really the type of person to be hanging around in public, taps her foot anxiously, while also taking a bite of her lip. If Lola didn’t show up soon Annabeth would just have to leave a note and take off, as she’s starting to have second thoughts about now. However, luckily for her, she soon saw her dear sister step out of a nearby public bus. Like always Lola had a taste for fashion. Wearing a marvelous white dress, dazzling boots, and an elegant brown, leather jacket, she made Annabeth and her shabby clothes look like a homeless woman in comparison.

Lola never associated herself with make-up as she had natural beauty, a trait that seems to ruin in the family. Lola took a quick scan of the cafe in search for Annabeth, and upon seeing her silent big sister at the corner tables, lets out a smile. It’s been so long since she seen Annabeth and a part of her thought Annabeth wouldn’t show.

She quickly made her way over with her smile still standing. “Oh my God, it’s so great to see you.” Lola walks up to the table, and while she is enthusiastic, Annabeth puts on only a slight smile. It’s a little forced, but nethertheless, Lola takes it. “C’mon. Give me a hug, damnit.”

Annabeth stands to her feet and joins her sister in an embrace, with Lola giving a nice tight hug. “It’s good to see you too, sis.”

Once exiting their embrace the two take their respective seats. “How you’ve been?” Lola asks while folding her legs.

“Fine, I guess.”

“Oh, come on! You’re a college girl, Beauty. You gotta have some interesting stuff going on.” Beauty was the nickname Lola gave her when they were kids. It originated from Annabeth’s bold, blue eyes, for the most part. Lola got the idea that blue eyes were associated with beauty, and thus, gave the nickname to her sister. “Give me all the juicy deets.”

“There’s..uh--there’s not much. I’m passing my courses..and uh, still living with Taylor--”

“How’s she doing?”

“Same old.”

“Good, I actually like her.” Lola smirks while going silent, allowing Annabeth to continue her earlier sentence.

“I got a job.”

“Nice! What as?”

“A waitress at Larry’s King of Steaks.”

“Wait. Isn’t that the place with the weird big dude?”

“Greaseball Larry? Yeah, that’s the one.”

“Oh. That’s..cool.” Its obvious Lola forces the compliment out of her mouth, as she has been to the place and it isn’t exactly great. Well, the food’s okay, but Larry himself is just a fat, greasy, perverted weirdo in Lola’s book. Annabeth notices the forced compliment and lightly chuckles.

“Just say it as it is, sis. It sucks.”

“Well maybe it doesn’t suck--”

“Food isn’t that good. Scenery is--yuck. Larry is..Larry.”

“Yeah, who am I kidding? It sucks.” Annabeth and Lola both let out a laugh at the conversation, with Annabeth chucking more awkwardly at first, but it soon becomes a little bit more natural.

“Hey, it pays though. Thats what matters, right?”

“Yep, yep. So is that all in the life of Beauty? Getting out as of late? Any boys?” Lola always made an effort into slipping pasts Annabeth’s defenses and into her personal feelings. While she only made it seem like pointless questions Lola desperately wanted to help her sister. She wants Annabeth to know that she’s there for her, but the problem is, Lola doesn’t know how. Even if she did Lola isn’t the best person for advice. It may not seem that complicated of a situation, but in the mind of Lola, it was beyond complicated. The fact that sometimes Annabeth envies her isn’t making it any better.

Annabeth only straightens up and bites her lip. She just gives the shake of her head before hastily changing the conversation to Lola. “So what is going on with you?”

“Nothing much.” Lola goes along with the change of subject. “In my senior year now.”

“Really?”

“Yeah. Believe it or not my birthday is coming up soon.”

“And you’ll be turning…”

“Eighteen.”

“Eighteen?!”

“Yeah. Believe it? I’m gonna be a ‘mature, responsible’ adult.” Lola chuckles, and while Annabeth chuckles lightly, she mainly lets that sink in. For the most part she’s been ignoring her little sister..and now she’s no longer little. Lola is gonna be eighteen. Annabeth can’t believe it.

“You’re getting old.” Annabeth says, and while she doesn’t exactly mean it in a joking matter, Lola gets a smirk either way.

“I’m getting old? Please, you’re like, what? Twenty-two?”

“Yeah, I am.” Annabeth scratches her head, trying to think of what to say to Lola. “Do you know what you’re going to do?”

“What do you mean?”

“Like where you’re going in life.” She wanted to make sure her sister had some idea on what she want’s to do, unlike herself. Annabeth, a twenty-two year old college student, has absolutely no idea what she wants to do with her life. Instead she is drifting on day by day, hoping that purpose will just find itself on her doorstep.

“Well, truth be told, sis, what is there exactly to do?” Lola shrugs, whilst taking a sip of some iced tea. “I mean there isn’t exactly a whole lot options out there.”

“That’s not true. There’s plenty.”

“Is there? Well, what exactly do you want with life?”

Annabeth sighs. “I don’t know. Something. I just..haven’t decided yet. You still have time to decide, though. So don’t waste it.”

Lola smiles genuinely at the sign of her sister opening up, even if it’s at the slightest. “I don’t know. I like fashion.”

“See.”

“And nightclubs.”

“Oh. Well, that’s an option too. I don’t know, just do something good.”

“I will. Thanks for the wise word of advice, Beauty.” Lola thanked her in a light hearted away but she meant it. Annabeth simply returned a smile. “Damn, when is this waiter gonna take our order?”

Good thing in the next minute or so the waiter arrived in time to take their order. Both got the cafe’s famous cheeseburger which was topped with lettuce, tomato, barbecue, onion rings and a toasted bun. Annabeth hadn’t had it in a long time but she remembers that it tasted like heaven. For some odd reason Lola ordered an extra one, although Lola always raved about the burgers, so she probably wanted two. After that the two returned to normal conversation.

“So how’s school?” Annabeth asks while taking a sip of lemonade.

“Same old, same old.” Lola smirks. “It’s hell.”

“That bad?”

“It’s just so boring and pointless. Like when am I ever gonna need math? Hell, who the fuck even likes math?”

“I liked math.” Lola almost spits the drink back in her cup. “I sorta liked the school too.”

“You’re--you’re weird.” Annabeth smiles lightly at the remark. “At least I got my own dorm.” The high school acted as an optional boarding school, and since a majority of the students stayed there, it was a little surprising news to Annabeth.

“Really? What happened to your roommate. The one with the instrument thing.”

“Rebecca?”

“Yeah. Her.”

“She snuck outside the wall last month with some kids. Apparently she ran straight into a gang of walkers.”

“Oh.”

“She got torn apart, by the way.”

“Yeah. Yeah, I figured.” Annabeth bites her lips as a short awkward silence engulfs them. “That’s depressing.”

“Eh, I hated her.”

“Lola!”

“What? She would play that damn trumpet all night long. I wanted to tear her apart myself.” Lola, like her big sister, took her sleep very seriously. “Now I can sleep in peace and I got the room to myself now. I wish she snuck out earlier.”

“Lola! That’s horrible!”

“Just stating my professional opinion.”

“That’s...not a very good professional opinion.”

“Blame her.” Lola takes quick notice of the waiter approaching with the amazing burgers and lets out a wide smile. She always loved eating here. “Here we go. Come to mama.” She exclaims as the waiter sets the three burgers on the table before departing to allow the girls to chow down. Lola takes a nice, big, satisfying bite the moment she can and moans as her tastebuds explode into heaven. “God, I love these things.”

“Is that why you got two?” Annabeth asks, and in response, Lola gives her a confused look.

“What? I’d get like ten pounds if I ate a second.”

“Than why did you get the third burger?”

“Oh.” Lola sets down her burger and Annabeth notices the awkwardness come across her face. Lola coughs and rubs her temple awkwardly. “Did I forgot to mention that?”

“Forgot to mention what?”

“Well...”

“What is it?” Annabeth demanded, not wanting another person to show up. She can barely handle herself around one person, let alone two. Lola didn’t respond her question as someone else did.

“Hello.” Annabeth heard a voice behind her, and she instantly freezes up. Not out of fear, because she knew exactly who it was. In fact that’s why she froze up. “Annabeth.”

Annabeth reluctantly cranks her head around to see an older woman standing there. The resemblance between the woman and the sisters was very high, especially with Annabeth. Long dark hair, blue eyes, natural beauty. This was the sister’s mother, Brooke Jackson. Annabeth’s stare slowly but surely turned into that of a glare while Brooke approached, and as this goes on, Lola only sits awkwardly. “Do you mind if I sit down?” Brooke asks her eldest, but Annabeth’s response is turning away from her, instead facing Lola.

“You didn’t tell me that--she was coming.” Anger is visible in Annabeth’s voice, and it scares Lola enough that she can’t look at her sister in the eyes.

“Yeah. That’s the thing I forgot to mention…” A silence ensures in that moment as Lola looks up into her sister’s eyes. She knows Annabeth despises their mother but she was hoping she would at least talk to Brooke. “Sorry?”

Annabeth only glares further while Brooke takes a seat in hopes to finally talk to Annabeth. “Annabeth, sweetie, don’t be mad at your sister.”

“I just wanted you two--I don’t know, talk.” Lola explains herself but the glare she is receiving doesn’t cease to stop. “I’m tired of going back and forth, okay? I just wanted to be with my family, both of you, for once.”

“Excuse me,” Annabeth turns toward the waiter, “can I get this burger to go?” He nods and departs to get her box.

“Annabeth, baby, please speak to me.” Brooke attempts to reach out her hand but Annabeth backs up her seat, having reverted to ignoring both Lola and Brooke. In that moment the waiter handed Annabeth her box and she was quick to put her burger and fries in it. “I just want to talk with you.”

“You lost your privilege to speak with me.” Are the only words Annabeth speaks to her before standing to her feet, box in hand. “Thanks for the burger, Lola.” Are the last words Annabeth speaks before walking off, leaving her family behind, having chosen anger over forgiveness.

Lola and Brooke watch Annabeth go off into the distance until she exits their view. Brooke just sighs, collapsing her head into her hands while doing so. All she wants to do is rebuild her relationship with her daughter but Annabeth refuses to let go of the past. Then again Brooke can’t exactly blame her for not doing so; Brooke fucked up as a mother when her daughter needed her most. “I’m sorry it didn’t work out.” Lola finally breaks the silence. Brooke raises up her head and smiles at her daughter.

“It’s fine. I had a feeling it wouldn’t.” Brooke says whilst trying not to show how depressed she really is, instead trying to act like the tough mom. Lola buys it, luckily, because in reality Brooke just wants to cry. “When she needed me I wasn’t there.”

“Don’t blame yourself, mom.”

“Thanks, but truth is I’m the only one to blame.” Brooke stands up to her feet. “I guess I should get going.”

“Don’t you want your burger?”

“I lost my appetite.” Brooke gives her daughter a hug.

“She doesn’t hate you, alright mom?”

“Yeah she does.” Brooke can’t help but rub her depression filled eyes. “Thanks for trying, though.”

Lola, seeing no way to comfort her, just nods and takes her seat while Brooke walks off. This lunch really went to shit. Lola was hoping Brooke and Annabeth would bond and they could actually be a family again, it’s all Lola really wants. Lola grew up without a good family like her sister, but instead of pushing family away, Lola was actually trying to build one. Why couldn’t Annabeth do the same?

Lola groans while looking down at the table. She had her half of the burger, but she couldn’t help but stare Brooke’s burger just waiting to be taken. “Fuck the calories.” Lola mutters to herself and puts the other burger on her plate. She may be denied a family lunch but she won’t be denied another burger.


“So this is it?” Leah asks while looking up at the building in front of her. It was tall, taller than she thought, and shined up against the sunlight in it’s fresh white paint.

“Yes, ma’am, this is it.” The bus driver confirmed. “City Hall. Pretty ain’t it?”

“I guess.” She shrugs while looking at it top to bottom. This building was formerly known as the Miami-Dade County Courthouse, but now, it’s just City Hall. According to the bus driver it’s the control center of the zone. It’s where all the courts take place, all the government officials meet up, and most important to Leah at the moment, it’s where all the new goers are required to go. Apparently all new arrivals had to go there and do some sort of meeting. Only basic stuff like giving name, story, basic info, and where they got some ID or something. It’s a little complicated for her taste but she’d rather be here than out on the road. “Thanks for taking me.”

“Anytime. Now you head in there and get that shit sorted out.” The bus driver pats her back, resulting in an awkward look on Leah’s part. He only laughs it off with his signature Santa Claus laugh. “Welcome to Miami!”

Leah chooses not to respond to the weird old man, instead making her way up the stairs of the Court House. Following stepping under the shady archway (which was certainly a nice break from the sun that currently burns down on the city), Leah takes a look back on the area so far. Being in the middle of Liberty Park she notices how nice and organized it looks, like a rise of civilization.

Not long after Leah walks through the double doors that lead her into the lobby. It was admittedly nice looking but very cluttered at the same time. Many different types of people sped down the hallway in a hurry. The lawyers rushed by in their tailored suits, with one hand holding a briefcase, while another talks on a bluetooth. Some officers were present, either escorting convicts to court hearings or just patrolling around. The list could go on.

Leah, in the middle of this clutter mess, looked around in search of where to go. There were no signs or directions that she could find. “‘Scuse me, sir.” Leah tried to stop one man, who simply ignored her, to focused on his conversation. “Jackass.” She scoffs whilst going back to searching. Eventually her eyes come into contact with a concierge near the back of the lobby. If anything she can at least give her a clue of what the hell she is supposed to be doing right now.

“Hey,” Leah approaches her, after shoving her way through the crowded hall, “so I need some help.”

“Hello there.” The concierge nicely greets. She was a pretty young woman with blonde short hair and gray eyes, and had a name tag that read “Thea”. “How can I be of some assistance?”

“So I’m new here, came in from that bus, and I was told to come here.” Leah scratches her head. “Look, I don’t know what I’m even supposed to do….so, yeah.”

“Really?” Thea asks enthusiastic. “You’re new?”

“Yeah. I just got here like...literally, twenty minutes ago.”

“Th--that’s great!” Thea almost stutters out of excitement, turning off Leah a little bit. This had to be an almost routine thing to her. “What’s your name?”

“...Leah.”

“I’m Thea.” Thea stands to her feet and extends her hand toward Leah. Leah, although creeped out by her heavy enthusiasm, reluctantly shakes her hand. “Welcome to Miami!”

“You seem awfully excited.” Leah was always a blunt person. She really just spoke whatever came to her mind, no matter how insulting it may be. She wasn’t a mean person by any means but her blunt honesty can be considered harsh.

Thea’s smile falls slightly at Leah’s previous comment, only for it to rise slightly in a matter of seconds. “I’m sorry, we just haven’t exactly had any newcomers for awhile.”

“Really?”

Thea nods. “For awhile there I was beginning to think we were it.” Truth be told Thea had a sister out there somewhere in that hell of a world. They were separated four years ago as they were traveling up to Miami when they came across some hostile survivors. Thea never found her again, and after a reluctant decision, kept on the road to Miami. She still hopes that one day her sister will come back to her. “Anyways, you have to go meet with Mayor Daniels.”

“Mayor Daniels?”

“Yes. Cedric Robert. He’s like the leader of the zone right now.”

“Okay. So where is this dude?”

“Oh he’s...lemme just show you.” Thea turns around to guide Leah away, but stops dead in her tracks. “Actually, I can’t.” Thea sigh and glances around the area until her eyes linger on a woman walking past. She wore a pink business jacket, a business skirt, and boots, along with a briefcase in her hands. The woman was very pretty for her age with glowing brown eyes and hair to go with it. “Excuse me, Isa!”

The woman, named Isa apparently, smiles and approaches Thea and Leah. “Hello Thea, and…”

“Isa I would like you to meet Leah. Leah I would like you to meet Isa Martha Montero” Thea introduces them, and Isa Martha gives Leah a friendly handshake. “Anyways, Isa can you do me a favor?”

“Sure, anything.”

“Leah’s new and I need someone to show her to Mayor Robert’s office. I would but I’m busy….”

“Don’t worry, I’ll take her.”

“Really?”

“Yeah, it’s fine.” Isa Martha brushes it off like nothing in a total act of kindness. Truth be told Isa Martha had one of the biggest hearts in Miami, often going out of her way to help people in any way she can. It’s a reason that makes her one of the most popular lawyers in Miami.

“Follow me, Leah.” Isa beams, and after saying a quick bye to Thea, Leah followed Isa Martha down the hallway. “So how’d you get here?” Isa Martha asks with curiousy while guiding Leah around. Unlike most guides, Isa wanted to get to learn about the person a little bit.

“I noticed the bus near me, they told me this place was safe, and then I got a ride.”

“Oh, yeah. The buses. Forgot about those things. My husband used to drive some of them.”

“That’s...cool, I guess.”

“I always they thought it was a bad job, due to all the dangers.” Isa Martha shrugs, and while doing so, Leah studies her. She seems like an okay person, even if she was a person in law. Leah’s grandfather would always tell her that law people are just a bunch ‘hypocrite scams’. “So how’d you end up in the area? The one where the bus found you, I mean.”

“What’s it to you?”

“Just trying to keep a conversation going on. Didn’t mean to offend you.”

“I was--just searching a town for food. Well, more like anything, actually.” Leah, amongst all the talking, looks around City Hall. So far this place, and the zone itself, seemed pretty legit. “Found jackshit though. Not easy finding stuff out there.”

“I wouldn’t think so. Truthfully, I wouldn’t really know. I been here maybe...nine, ten years now.”

“Been here a long time.”

“More than a long time.” Isa Martha adds on, but unlike her, Leah doesn’t think it’s good someone’s been ten years away from the real world. Sure, they’re fed, sheltered, and well protected, but what happens when those walls fall one day? They would be like a child separated from it’s parents where they’re defenseless from the big, scary world. “Must of been hard out there.”

“It’s hard everywhere.”

“That it is.” Isa Martha knew hardship like the back of her hand. Having been raised in an less than ideal environment she was quickly introduced to that world, however unlike most, she didn’t let weigh her down. Instead she strove through with the one thing that most are not willing to have: Kindness and hope. “All we can do is try to make it better.”

“Better?” Leah asks, and soon enough she gives a light scoff. “No offense but things aren’t gonna get better. All we can do is get used to it.”

“Well that’s a depressing way to look at things.” Isa remarks, but instead of giving a reply, Leah just grunts. Not long after the two arrived at what appears to be the mayor’s office. It was like Leah expected. Two double doors leading to the office, a secretary in front, and a line of seats for people to wait. “Well, here we are. Talk to the secretary and she’ll get you set up.”

“Thanks.”

“Any time. Well, I must be going, so have a good day, Leah.”

“You too.”

“Oh, and welcome to Miami.” Isa greets her to the city with a smile. “You keep safe.” Isa Martha wishes her the best before departing off into the depths of the City Hall, leaving Leah standing in front of the Mayor’s office. Her eyes lock onto the golden plaque nailed onto the door that reads his full name, Cedric Roberts. Her eyes wander next to the secretary who's to busy reading some book to even notice Leah.

“Let’s get this over with…” She mutters before approaching the secretary.

-----

It’s been about twenty minutes since Leah arrived at the Mayor’s office, and yet she still sits outside on one of the waiting chairs. After talking to the secretary she instructed her to take a seat until Mayor Roberts was ready to see her. Apparently he was in some sort of meeting, or some shit like that, so she had to wait until he was done.

To pass the time she listens to her music while at the same time tapping her foot to the beat. She would even take constant glances over toward the wall to check the time; unfortunately for her every two minutes felt like an hour. She would groan after seeing the little time that went by before going back to her music, knowing there was nothing she could do.

Going back to her glancing she noticed a portrait over in the corner of a man in his thirties, with the name “Lucas Hawk” written in big letters under it. She took no notice of it, simply passing him off as someone important.

“Miss Leah,” the secretary finally calls her name, “Mayor Roberts will see you now.”

“Thank God..” Leah mutters to herself, relieved that she no longer has to sit down. Making her way toward the office slides her Walkman into her pocket, while putting her headphones around her neck just as she arrives at the door. Without hesitation she opens the right door which leads her into an oval office like place.

The office was definitely built for the man in charge. Besides the lavish furniture it held home to numerous recovered paintings and the wall behind the desk was practically all windows, giving Roberts a stunning view of the city, which conveniently, what he was doing right now. “Hello there,” he speaks while turning around in his chair to face her, “how are you today?”

Mayor Cedric Roberts was an older fellow who wore a fancy suit and had eyes that practically spelled out all the stress he had to deal with; a typical politician. He smiled at Leah and waved her toward the couch, which she gladly sat down on. It was a lot more comfortable than the chair. “I’m alright.” Leah shrugs. “You?”

“I’m doing just fine, thank you.” Roberts smiles. “Now your name is Leah, yes?” She nods. “Well hello Leah, I’m Cedric. My friend over there,” he points towards the man sitting on the chair closest to the desk, “is Raymond Saraceno.”

“Hello there, darling.” Raymond smiles. Leah almost didn’t notice him sitting there. He was visibility older than Roberts, in fact, Leah didn’t know people his age could even make it this far into the apocalypse. Just like Roberts he wore a suit and seemed to be yet another typical politician. However, Raymond also seemed creepy at first glance with his pale skin, boney fingers, and a typical grandfather like smile.

“So I bet you’re wondering what this is all about?” Cedric asks, to which Leah gives a nod. “You see, if we’re to rebuild civilization, than we have to start acting like a civilization. We need to start keeping records of our citizations, get ID’s, jobs, bills, all the stuff that made our old world what it was. You get me?”

“Sure…” Leah doesn’t really get it. Being only eighteen, she was only three when the outbreak started, so naturally she forgets everything about life before that. Maybe sometimes she would get random flashes of memories, but it was only minor stuff like dolls.

“I’m sorry, I forgot to ask. How old are you?”

“Eighteen.”

“Really?” Leah nods. “You look a lot older.”

“You look a lot like Anna Kendrick.” Raymond points out.

“Who?”

“Back onto point,” Cedric interrupts, “we need to pass on the rules of our old world to the next generations, like yourself. I see all these people think the only way to save the world is by ‘getting rid of the infected’, ‘killing all the bandits’, and stupid ideas like that. But, the truth is, all we need are guidelines, and guidelines lead to order.”

“Makes sense.”

“Yes, it does.” Cedric answers while digging through his drawer, until he finally takes out and hands Leah a brochure. “This brochure has all you need to know about Miami. It has our rules, residential areas, job information, and our humble origins.” Cedric smiles at a thought that runs through his head. “You know, this place has stood standing for over ten years. Ain’t that something?”

“I guess.” Leah shrugs while tossing the brochure into her bag with no intentions to read it.

“Now, we would like to get to know you.” Cedric opens up his laptop, ready to type every detail Leah gives him. Raymond, who has been silent for the most part (always preferring to study by eyes not words), nods in agreement. “Just general information.”

“Why?”

“I told you, for record keeping, ID’s--”

“Okay, okay. I get it.” Leah sighed in annoyance. She wasn’t really annoyed at the old men but just the situation in general. It’s so boring. Cedric, not noticing it, gets ready.

“So what is your full name?”

“Leah Alvarez.”

“Alvarez?”

“Yeah. Prob?”

“No, not at all. That’s just an uncommon last name for--”

“A white person.”

“Well, I wouldn’t say a white person, per say. It’s uncommon in general.”

“Actually it’s a pretty common last names for latino’s.”

“It doesn’t really matter, forgot I said anything.” Cedric rubs his chin before sailing off to the next question. The rest of the questions took about ten minutes, and ranged from simple stuff like “What’s your birthday?” to “What is your background like?” to “How did you find Miami, and what are your hopes for it?” Each question just got more and more annoying, so Leah just began pulling out random bullshit answers like “I hope to be very successful.”

After the questions for the records were over with Cedric apparently still wanted to talk to Leah. How complicated was it to join some random safe-zone? “So, Miss Alvarez, what plans do you have after leaving my office?”

She smiles at the phrase ‘leaving my office’. “Well….” Leah lingers that word for a second while thinking until she finally remembers something. “Do you have some sort of...education thing?”

“Like school?”

“Yeah.”

“Yes, we do.” Raymond speaks up from his seat. “There’s an elementary, middle school,high school, and a college for our youngers to attend. Would you like to enroll in one?”

Leah bites her lip in an act of hesitation. “Yeah. So...can I get into the High School?”

“Of course.” Raymond answers again. “It’s a pretty good school, actually. My grand-daughter’s been there for a few years now and I never had much problems. If you would like, I can get you a meeting with the headmaster there.”

“Sure.” Leah scratches the back of her head in boredom. “Look can I go now or--”

“Any other questions, Miss Alvarez?”

“Nope.”

“Are you positive?”

“Yes. Can I go now?” Leah moans. Truth be told Leah was never the one who could just sit still, instead she was very fidgety, wanting to move around constantly. That and she stopped paying attention minutes ago. Cedric and Raymond notice her will to leave.

“You sure her antsy to leave, young lady.” Raymond smiles, although his smile is hella creepy to Leah, who only shivers at it.

“You sure love to talk.” Leah quirks back.

“Now, now.” Cedric calms her down. “Yes, you can leave. Just please head across the hall to get your zone ID and head to this address around sixish.” Cedric hands her a piece of paper with the school’s address on it. “Mr. Saraceno will set up the meeting.”

“Alright.” Leah slips the paper into her pocket and stands to her feet. “Thanks.” She doesn’t mean it, but it was just the generous thing to do.

“You have a good day now.” Cedric greets her goodbye. “And have fun exploring the city. Liberty Park, Ackland Gardens, Beach Town, they’re all marvelous places.”

-----

Leah walks down the bumpy sidewalk of Liberty Park while shifting her eyes between the bright blue sky and the city beneath it. She’s gotta admit that from inside the walls it looks like nothing ever happened to the world. With the morning sky, the tall unfazed buildings, the smiling people, and some birds in the sky, it felt like a pre-apocalyptic world, as her grandfather would call it. He would go on and on about what the world used to be like, but Leah could never just understand his love for it; then again she was only three when it started.

After watching a few birds zoom past Leah felt that, just for a small moment, she was actually in the former world; and it was nice.

Soon after that feeling went away and she went back to looking at the zone with apathy. All these people with their smiles, acting like the world is in pitch perfect condition, maybe even thinking that the infected are all a myth. If only they saw a glimpse, just a mere glimpse, of what Leah has seen out there. When this place falls, like every place does, they’re not gonna survive one day out there.

She grunts discontentedly and kicks a random can out into the street. Following the can with her eyes she watches as it land across the street before continuing her path down the road. For the next few minutes she walked across Liberty Park, thinking of how this ‘paradise’ will fall. Infected? Bandits? Internal fighting? All three?

Soon enough she spots none other than the entrance to the Goulds. It was weird. As she left Cedric mentioned three different areas, but for some reason, left out the Goulds. She instantly figured that this must be the area that doesn’t fit they’re perfect society. In many ways, the weak link.

Without hesitation or fear blocking her way Leah made her way over to the gates. Upon flashing her ID card she was allowed entry, and thus began making her way down the road, until finally arriving at the Goulds. She immediately noticed the different ampthosphre than that of the other parts. There were no lavish buildings, no smiles planted on people’s faces, and all in all, no happiness or hope, just despair.

This right here was the reality to Leah. This right here seemed like the most normal part of the zone to Leah. Not that fake paradise bullshit. Life wasn’t easy, it wasn’t full of paradise and smiles. It was full of despair, violence, and death. So seeing these dead bodies on the streets, seeing the outlines of dealers in alleys, and seeing the despair in the environment and faces, it made Leah feel normal.


The apartment building Annabeth stayed at was by no means impressive. While Taylor had managed to make their particular room look lavish, the others were not so lucky. The building itself was just built with fairly old concrete (with it’s paint definitely needing a new coat) and contained five floors. The apartments were certainly the less lavish in Liberty Park, and thus, suffered much neglect over the years. Evicted rooms that have been left neglected, bad plumbing, thin walls that could allow easy access to spy on other rooms (through either listening or putting peepholes), and a poor roof made up most of the damages. Luckily the new owners have been attempting to fix up the damages (mostly due to pressuring by Taylor).

Making her way just up the steps, Annabeth can’t get the lunch out of her head. It was all going good until….she showed up. Why did Lola have to betray Annabeth like that? Lola knew Annabeth’s feelings about their mother perfectly well, yet, still thought about getting the two together. It made her angry.

Grunting her way up the steps Annabeth couldn’t feel more relieved when she entered her third floor apartment and collapsed onto the couch, with no intentions of getting up. While adjusting one of the couch’s pillows she let out one last moun before shutting her eyes. She could really use a nap. So she kicked off her boots and grabbed the folded up blanket that sat on top of the couch.

“I’m guessing the lunch went swell.” Taylor calls from the kitchen. Annabeth turns her head around to see Taylor out there, dressed up in her yoga outfit while drinking a bottle of water. She probably just got back a few minutes ago from her yoga class. “I can just tell by the smile on your face.”

“It went the exact opposite, actually.”

“How bad?” Taylor asks while taking a seat on the chair, putting up her feet while doing so. For once even Taylor wanted to rest for a few minutes.

“On a scale on one to ten I’d give it a….nine.”

“A nine?!”

“Yeah. A dead nine.”

“Dang. What happened?”

“Lola, she…..she invited Brooke.” Annabeth moans in annoyance, and like expected Taylor immediately could see why Annabeth was so stressed. Still, Taylor didn’t say anything about it, knowing full well that Annabeth never wanted to speak about her family, no matter how much Taylor tried. There was only person Annabeth has spoken about her family too, and that was David Reagan. David is a former Navy captain who resided next to Annabeth’s family house, and following the incident, he took her in. “Why would she do that to me?”

“I don’t know.” Is all Taylor responds. Annabeth sighs then continues on.

“I knew I shouldn’t of went.” Annabeth sighs while rubbing her eyes and snuggling up in her blanket. “I just wanna hop in my pj’s and nap all day.”

“You can do that tomorrow.” Taylor says while hoping onto her feet, patting Annabeth’s head while doing so. Annabeth watches confused as Taylor walks across the room, grabbing a fresh dry cleaned black dress of the coat hanger.

“What do you mean?” Annabeth groans. “And what’s with the dress?”

“Oh, nothing really. It’s just for a party.”

“A party?”

“Yeah. Some of our ‘wonderful’ classmates are throwing a party tonight.” Taylor puts the dress over her shoulder while also grabbing the party invention off the counter. “So you might wanna get ready.”

“Get ready?”

“Yeah. For the party, duh.” Taylor points over to the red dress over on the other counter, all ready for Annabeth to use. Next to it were demi jackets and boots. “I even got all the clothes ready for you. Well, all except, you know, the undies.”

“I’m not going to a party.” Annabeth counters. Being the introvert that she is Annabeth obviously hated social get togethers. “No way.”

“Yeah you are.”

“And why the hell would I?”

“Remember the deal we made?”

“....what deal?” Annabeth sits up on the couch, both curious and frightened by what Taylor has to say.

“We agreed that if you went out for the day then I will buy the groceries for the next month.”

“But I went out with Lola, like we agreed.”

“Nope. I said the day.” Taylor smirks, and after a second, Annabeth puts it together. Taylor knew that the party and the lunch were on the same day, and so she decided to trick Annabeth into going to both of them. She didn’t do it out of malicious intentions. Quite the opposite actually. She just wants to get Annabeth more social.

Annabeth sighs before letting out a small chuckle. “You bastard.” Annabeth chuckles sore. Instead of being mad like she should be Annabeth is just slightly annoyed. Still, it’s just one party, and she gets free groceries out of it.

Taylor smirks. “C’mon. We gotta leave in twenty.”

-----

“Here we are.” Taylor pulls up their car to the party location, and after a quick observation of the area, knows they’re at the right place. The over-abundance of cars and music give it away. Annabeth sits still for a few moments in debate with herself on why she came without a fight.

The two young woman looked very nice. Taylor wore a medium lengthed black dress with boots, a pearl necklace (which belong to her passed grandmother), and a small black purse. Annabeth wore very similar clothing with a red dress (that was a tiny bit shorter than she would prefer), a white demi jacket, fish net leggings, and black boots. Both of the woman, as well, had done their hair and put on lavish make-up. Naturally, Annabeth didn’t put on as much as Taylor, instead only putting on mere lip-gloss. She let her natural beauty speak for itself.

“Hey,” Taylor taps her arm, “you okay?”.

“I...don’t think I’m ready for this.” Annabeth admits while glancing over to the entrance, with her ears hearing the sounds of partying. She can barely go out to lunch and now she was expected to do this? “Maybe I should just go.”

“Relax. You’ll be fine.” Taylor flashes her a smile, a smile that in Annabeth’s mind, reassures her that it’ll be fine. “I promise.”

Annabeth takes a deep breath in hopes that it will calm her nervousness. Of course it fails. It doesn’t even boost her confidence by the slightest. Nethertheless she gives a very reluctant nod. “Alright.”

Stepping out of the car Annabeth walks onto the sidewalk, slightly shivering as the evening wind blows up against her. With Taylor at her side Annabeth reluctantly walks forward to her fear, until finally, they walk through the door. Once entering they were instantly met by music, dancing, and the smell of alcohol. “Lets have some fun, girl.” Taylor assures her while dragging her by the arm.

Taylor soon arrives at an empty table with Annabeth in tow, where she takes a seat. Annabeth soon follows, slowly observing the heavy social area. “Looks fun, right?”

“I guess..” Annabeth shrugs, not really sure what to do. Taylor notices how unsure Annabeth is at the moment and once again grabs her by the arm.

“C’mon, lets get some drinks.” Taylor once again leads Annabeth across the hall. Now the party itself wasn’t just a ‘crazy college’ party like many would expect. Instead it acted as a mixture of both a more formal party and a more traditional party. All the guest wore good dress clothing, and while the food was more traditional, the music alternated from formal to wild. It was different, yes. But it was nice.

Arriving at the drinks table Taylor is quick to pour the two of them some beer. “So what do you wanna do first?”

“I don’t know.”

“You wanna dance?” Annabeth shakes her head. “Karaoke?” Once again she shakes her head. “Make friends?”

“That’s not exactly my specialty.”

“Ah, c’mon. You can use some new friends, especially guy friends, if you know what I mean...” Taylor gives her a wink. Annabeth has had a seriously lack of boyfriends; and by serious lack Taylor means she had zero boyfriends. In fact Taylor doesn’t recall Annabeth going on any dates either. Of course Annabeth had reason not to, but still, Annabeth couldn’t just her life alone.

“I’m not the romantic type, T.”

“Everyone’s the romantic type. You just gotta say some words, then make-out for a bit. It’s an easy cycle.”

“Easy for you.”

“Just try it.” She nudges Annabeth while handing her a glass of beer. “Now let’s take a cheer, shall we?”

Taylor and Annabeth both raise their glasses. “To having a good night.” Taylor proclaims, and just like that, the two cling their cups together and respectively take a gulp of the delicious drink. After lowering their glasses Taylor takes a look out into the crowd, noticing many good looking men. “Well, let’s go.”

“Let’s go what?”

“Talk to some guys. Get you hooked up.”

“I’m not exactly a….I don’t know what you call it, hottie.”

“You kiddin’ me? Annabeth, believe it or not, you’re actually pretty good looking. No homo or anything, but yeah, you’re pretty hot.” “Thanks?” Annabeth rubs her temple in awkwardness, which gives good ol’ Taylor a good laugh. She appreciated Taylor’s words but whenever Annabeth looked at herself in the mirror she didn’t see some beautiful woman. She saw…...something else. “You go on ahead. I’ll just chill here.”

“You sure?”

“Yeah, I’m fine.” Annabeth assures her. “Go out and have fun. I’ll come out eventually.”

“You better.” Taylor backs up toward the dancefloor with a smile. “Or I’ll hunt you down.” Annabeth chuckles at Taylor’s empty threat and watches as her best friend disappears into the crowd. Now alone in some random party Annabeth watches the events go on around her. People having fun, talking, drinking, all without the slightest hesitation. She sighed before dousing down another drink.

For the next few minutes she simply leans against the wall in observation. Maybe there was one person out there she could at least talk with, because if not, Taylor would probably make her talk to some random stranger. Her keen eyes glance around, and she mostly saw people she would rather not hang out with. In due time she saw a young man, around her age, sitting alone at one of the tables, a camera around his neck. Like Annabeth he was very shy, maybe even introverted, going off by how he stares into the crowd like her.

Naturally she doesn’t approach him, but she does keep her eye on him. Taylor, who is talking to some people across the room, notices the looks Annabeth is giving him. She locks eyes with Annabeth and mouths her to go talk to him, but being the girl she is, Annabeth months back now. So for the next minute the two girls silently talk to each other, but like always, Taylor comes up on top by threatening to bring the boy to her.

Giving a deep sigh, Annabeth makes her way over to the man, flipping off Taylor while doing so. Making her way to the table she watches as the young man silently sips at his drink, which looked like a fine cup of wine. “Is seat--taken?” She reluctantly coughs out. The young man looks up at her, shocked someone actually came over, but soon let out a small smile.

“All open.” He informs her. Annabeth reluctantly sits herself down while wondering what to say. She doesn’t exactly know how to flirt.

“So...what’s your name?”

“Alex Chase. Alexander, if you’re fancy. Yourself?”

“Annabeth Jackson.”

“That is a lovely name.” Alex smiles while observing her, and in that moment, he looks into her eyes. Those beautiful, blue eyes. “You’re eyes are so...mesmerizing .”

“I...get that alot.”

“I bet you do.” Alex has always had a thing for blue eyes, mostly since he himself had them. In fact, himself being a brunette, always loved brunette hair too. To him Annabeth was truly beautiful, but way out of his league.

At the same time Annabeth was studying him. He was dressed in a white collared shirt, dress pants, and black tie that Annabeth noticed he like to play with. “So….I like your hair.” Annabeth finally says, and Alex can’t help but chuckle. “Is something funny?”

“It’s just that…,” Alex’s chuckles interrupt his own sentence, “this is your first time flirting, isn’t it?”

“No. Well….okay, maybe.” Annabeth meets the gaze of Alex, who is finding it humorous. “Yes.”

“I thought so.”

Annabeth, feeling as how she already embarrassed herself enough, just nods. “I guess I’ll just...go.”

“Don’t.” Alex stops her, wiping away his chuckle just like that. “It was just funny, that’s all.”

“You sure?”

“Yeah. Besides, I can’t flirt either, so we got something in common.” Alex smiles, but instead of it being a laughing at her smile. it’s a friendly one. Annabeth nods and sits back down, taking a good sip of her drink while doing so. “I bet you’re wondering about the camera?” Alex holds up the camera for her.

“I am.”

“I’m a photographer. Well, not officially. It’s just a hobby.”

“That’s nice.” Alex suddenly scoots over next to Annabeth, much to her surprise, and extends the camera to her. She watches as he scrolls through the pictures, showing her beautiful pics of various items. There were a few of the party, the sunset, the outskirts of the zone. Each one beautiful in it’s own way. “They’re beautiful.”

“It is, isn’t it? There’s art everywhere, but to see it, you just gotta find the right angle.”

“I...don’t think art is everywhere.”

“Sure it is. It’s in the good stuff, bad stuff, and even the ugly stuff.” Alex corrects her while scrolling through more pictures. As he scrolls through Annabeth can’t help but notice one picture. It was fairly simple with just the picture of a poster hanging on a wall. “Like I said, you just gotta find the right angle.”

“What’s that?”

“What?”

“The poster.” Annabeth points out, to which Alex scrolls back for her to see it. The poster had the picture of a masked man on it, with big letters that say a message: Amon is our savior. “Who is Amon?”

“You haven’t heard of him?”

“Nope.” Annabeth shakes her head, to which Alex gives her a disbelieving look. She guesses this Amon dude must be pretty popular or something. “So who is he?”

“He is this...masked person down in the Goulds. He is speaking about freedom, equality, stuff that the government failed to give us, in his words.” Alex speaks with such awe that Annabeth thinks he must admire the man. “Personally, I sort of agree with him.”

“Eh.” Annabeth shrugs, not really caring about that those so called ‘saviors’. She honestly didn’t care about who was running things as long as those walls stand up. Alex sees her disinterest in the subject so he lets it go for now.

“So, I’m guessing parties aren’t your thing?” Alex asks while putting the camera back around his neck.

“Not at all.”

“Same. I’m more of the guy who would sit in his room all day than...this.”

“I do that everyday.”

“Ain’t it amazing?”

“It’s the best thing ever.” Annabeth lets out a small smile that isn’t completely visible, but a smile nethertheless. “Sadly, my roommate forced me here.”

“Ouch. How did she do that?”

“She...tricked me.” Annabeth chuckles lightly at it for a second. “So why are you here?”

“Wanted a change of scenery.” Alex shrugs. “And besides, I wanna see what my ‘fellow’ classmates were doing.”

“Sounds like a waste of time.”

“I wouldn’t say a total waste.”

“I would.” Annabeth gives a devious smirk while taking another sip of her beer. “A waste for me. I’m in this surrounding that is weird, not sleeping, and these fish nets hurt like hell.”

“Sounds fun.” Alex friendly jokes, to which Annabeth reluctantly chuckles. Before Annabeth can say anything more she feels a hand grab her, and upon turning around sees Taylor standing there smiling.

“I’m sorry, but may I borrow her for a second?” Taylor asks politely, and once Alex gives her the nod okay, she takes Annabeth away from the table with glee. Once getting a good distance from the table Taylor finally lets Annabeth ago and smiles with excitement. “How’s it going?”

“How’s what?”

“You talking with a guy, duh!”

“It’s….okay, I guess.”

“Oh, come on. I saw you smiling. Smiling!”

“It was just...okay.”

“It was just...okay.”

“I bet it was.” Taylor winks and gives her a quick nudge, to which Annabeth only rolled her eyes. She get that Taylor was just trying to help her but boys were honestly the last thing Annabeth needed. Taylor saw this and decided to shut up about it. However, after taking a glance back at where Alex was, Taylor found that he was gone. “Looks like he left.”

Annabeth turns around to see Alex gone. Looks like he left quietly and quickly. “Oh.” That certainly didn’t help her self-esteem.

“He probably just had to go.” Taylor assures her with a friendly smile. Annabeth, however, just sighs and scratches her head. “Let’s go dance.”

“Excuse me?”

“Dance. Me. You. Over there.” Taylor nods over to the dance floor. “It will make you feel better.”

“No. No. No.” Annabeth immediately shoots her down. “How about I just go and we call this a day?”

“Come on, you’ll have fun.”

“I doubt it.”

“Pretty please?” Taylor puts on a pouting face by putting out her lip and widening her eyes. Annabeth rebuffs her at first, instead turning the other way. However, as Taylor keeps staring, Annabeth finally just gives in and nods. “It’s just one night” Annabeth tells herself. “I can do this.”

Slowly but surely Annabeth walks out onto the dance floor with Taylor. Once on Taylor slowly begins to dance to the current song, while Annabeth just stands still at first. She watches as the others dance around her in rhythm to the song while she just stands there for at first, despite Taylor’s attempts to get her dancing. After a moment she begins tapping her foot, but she can’t concentrate. All the loud music, wild dancing, and she even felt herself get a few looks from guys.

After yet another moment she felt herself getting bumped into people, due to the people moving around with their dancing. Eventually she found herself bumped up next to some guy, way over her age, who gives her an inappropriate look. He observes her from top down, very interested in the tight dress she’s wearing, taking special interest in her backside and breast. “Hey, girl.” He smirks inappropriately. “How you doing?” He reaches out and touches her shoulder, and his actions instantly remind her of a certain someone. A certain someone who ruined her life. In a quick instance she clawed him in the face, effectively giving him a small bloody gash. He lets out a small yell in the word form of “You bitch!”.

In only a moment she could feel eyes turning on the situation, and more importantly, on her. At first she freezes up while the perverted man wipes some blood off him and more people turn around curious. Before anyone else can look at her Annabeth makes a bolt out of the dance floor, and soon enough, runs out the door, leaving Taylor behind before she could even notice.

-----

Walking down the now darker streets of Liberty Park, Annabeth can’t help but keep her head down, in both shame and annoyance. Why did Taylor have to force her out? All that was accomplished was her embarrassing herself and getting hurt. This is why she doesn’t go socialize, because it never ends good for her. It all ends the same: with her walking away with nothing accomplished. At least in her head that won’t happen. Ugh, why didn’t she just stay in her room?

But, at the same time, she is ashamed in herself. All those people in there just talking, laughing, dancing like it was nothing. They loved hanging out with others and thrived for it. Why...why couldn’t she just be like that? Instead she’s just some freak who can barely handle talking to one person. She tried and tried and tried to be like others, to be like Taylor, but she just can’t. Annabeth may be introverted but even she got lonely.

Currently walking across the docks Annabeth stops and looks out into the ocean, the same way she used to as a kid all those years ago. No thoughts of wonder were in her eyes, nor were any looks of despair. Instead they were the eyes of a broken woman wondering why this was her life. Why did this has to be her? Of all the people out there why her?! Sometimes she likes to imagine a different version of her life, where it was good; other times she likes to imagine being someone else. Yes, it sounds stupid, but to her it was one of her favorite pastimes.

She sighs deeply before continuing her walk across the docks. After a few minutes she reaches her destination. At the end of one of the docks sat an older fellow, maybe in his mid-forties, with dark hair and a big mustache. Currently the man appeared to be crabbing, and better yet he appeared to be a fisher, judging from the fact a good looking boat sits next to him. This is David Reagan.

David used to be in the Navy, and he was damn good at it. Him and his squad helped clear out Miami and make it into the safe-zone that is today. There are even rumors that he took on two brawlers (The strongest infected who are like mini-Hulks) with only a pocket knife. David, however, was not one to take in his successes and was very humble, so he neither confirmed or denied the rumor.

David is a very respected man in the community, respected from the rich all the way down to the scum. First, he acts as a non-official therapist, helping out anyone with their problems, with no charge. Second, he goes out of his way to help the poor and unfortunate, which again, has made him popular in the poorer sections of the city. At some points David was even offered the position of mayor, but he turned it down time and time again.

With no hesitation Annabeth approached David, since he was one of the only people who Annabeth felt close with it. “Hi David.” She greets while approaching. David cranks his head and smiles at the sight of Annabeth.

“Annabeth? What a lovely surprise.” David stands onto his feet and gives her a hug, which she returns. “What’s with the fancy outfit?”

“I was….out a party.”

“Really?” David asked, certainly shocked, but with a mixture of happiness and sadness. He feels happy that Annabeth actually got out, but at the same time, doesn’t know how she handled it. “How did it go?”

“What do you think?” Annabeth asks, giving him the ever so obvious look that it turned out like everything does for her. David nodded softly. “I had a long day, and I just need someone to talk to. You mind?”

“Never.” He smiles while patting her shoulder, which even gives her a smile. He always made her feel good. “Take a seat.” David sits down at the edge of the docks, with Annabeth doing the same. After taking off her boots she dangles her feet over the edge where she moves her feet in the water. She always loved the water. While David sets up his crabbing stuff up again he hands Annabeth crabbing equipment as well, which she took, and began crabbing with him.

This is how there talks went. Unlike most, Annabeth loved fishing, crabbing, or anything to do with the ocean. So, when she came to the docks to talk with David, they would work on catching food at the same time; as David put it, they were multitasking. “So what happened?”

Annabeth doesn’t talk at first, instead focusing on her crabbing. “It started out okay, I guess. I got up and made plans to relax, maybe go out shopping with Taylor. Then…..I went out to lunch with Lola.”

“That sounds lovely.” David inputs. Being an old neighbor of the Jacksons he remembers Lola very clearly. Sadly, he hasn’t kept in much contact with her. “How is she?”

“Good. She is…..she’s turning eighteen.”

“Really?”

“Yeah. Believe it?” Annabeth sighs. “It reminded me how old I really am. I’m only like twenty-two, but I feel so much older.”

“Don’t you start with that shit.” David messes with her about the old phrase, which gives her a slight smirk, but it quickly goes away.

“It was going good. We were talking, like really talking. Then….she came.”

“She?”

“...Brooke.” Annabeth speaks the name with such rage that it even sends shivers down David’s spine. David knew full well about the situation of the Jackson family, especially the relationship between Brooke and Annabeth. The moment when Annabeth needed her mother the most was the moment Brooke pushed her away. “She showed up and actually thought she could talk to me. Why the fuck would Lola do that to me?”

“She is your mother, Annabeth.”

“She is not my mother.” Annabeth scoffs. “As far as I’m concerned I’m not related to...that bitch.”

“Annabeth--”

“It’s her fault, not mine.” Annabeth reminds him. While David certainly did know that it was Brooke’s fault, he did feel like they should make up. Anyways, David didn’t comment yet on the mother situation and allowed Annabeth to continue with the story. “I got home and Taylor forced me to go to some stupid party. I didn’t want to go, of course, but I sucked it up and went. I go there and decide to talk some dude, but he ditches me when I wasn’t looking. So I go onto the dance floor and some creep tries flirting with me.” Annabeth scratches her head, reluctant to say the next part. “So I gouged his face in.”

“You what?”

“I sorta clawed him in...the facial area.”

“Annabeth…”

“In my defense, the perv had it coming.” Annabeth defends herself while shrugging. “Then I came here.”

“Sounds like you really did have an eventful day.”

“Told ya.” Annabeth lifts up her crabbing cage to find it empty, and just groans before sending it back down. “Why do people keep trying to get me out? Lola. Taylor. I get that they mean well but why can’t they understand that getting out isn’t my thing?”

“They’re just worried about you, Annabeth.”

“I get that, but there is no reason to be. I’m fine.” The words ‘I’m fine’ cause David to give her a look of disbelief. “Alright, fine. Maybe I’m not fine, but I’m fine living my little hermit life.” She retracts her former statement after a minute. “Lola and Taylor love to socialize but I’m not built like that. We have different ideas of what ‘fun’ is.”

“I understand that you don’t like big social events, and I understand you’re shy, but maybe they’re right in a way. Sure, maybe Taylor shouldn’t have taken you to a party, but she was on the right track.”

“I get that I need new friends, but don’t you think I should do it my way with my rules?”

“I do.”

“Thank you.” She smiles. David truly was the only person who understood her reasoning. “I love Taylor and Lola but they don’t understand me. No one understands me.” Annabeth sighs and buries her head into her one hand, while the other holds onto the crabbing rope. “Well, no one except maybe you.”

“Then help them understand.”

“How?” Annabeth has given them so many signs that she isn’t like them. They expect her to move on from the past, but that’s the problem, she can’t. She tried so hard to move on, but no matter what she does, she can’t. “Why can’t they just let me be?”

“Because they care about you.” David reminds her while pulling up his cage with a prize of four crabs trapped inside, struggling to escape. “Annabeth, you’re a strong woman.”

“Yeah, right.” She scoffs. She was nowhere near strong. She was a wreck that was slowly falling apart.

“You went through events no people should go through as a kid. Lots of adults ended themselves for what you went through, but here you are. You pressed through it. Wanna know why?”

“Enlighten me.”

“Because of your will. For ten years now you kept going and didn’t let the darkness in, instead you pushed it out. That’s remarkable.” David sees the doubt that fills Annabeth’s face, and in a loving act, puts his hand on her shoulder. “Don’t let the darkness in now.”

“So what do you want me to do? Just forget about my life?”

“I never said you had to. Look, you don’t have to forget the past, in fact you shouldn’t. But, instead of letting it defy you, let it drive you forward. Don’t let the weakness of one man defy who you are.”

Annabeth reluctantly nods but she doesn’t really know how to take the words of advice. She felt like a coin in the middle of a toss right now. The head of wisdom wanted to accept it, the tails that bring her down were more pessimistic about it. David certainly knew this from the lack of sureness in her eyes. “How about we cook these crabs up and go for a little ride on the ol’ boat.”

“I don’t know.”

“Come on. Maybe we can even watch that one movie you like. What was it?”

“Synecdoche, New York.” Annabeth names it with a smile. It sure sounded like a nice offer. Cooked crabs, on the bay, watching one of her favorite movies, with one of her favorite people. “It sounds like a plan.”

“Good. Good.” David stands to his feet, helping Annabeth up as well. “Maybe I can even teach you how to crab better.”

“Haha.” She gives him a sarcastic laugh while setting down her empty cage. As she looks back up she can’t help but smile at David. “Thanks.”

“Anytime, kiddo.” David extends his arm around her, pulling her in for a loving side hug. “Anytime.”


“So, Miss Alvarez, why do you want to come here?” The older man, whose apparent name is Joe Hopkins, asks from the opposite side of his desk. Leah sits directly across from him, with her eyes looking around the boring little room. Mr. Hopkins, who just so happened to be the principle of the high school. wanted to ask her some questions. Hopkins was a short old man with a declining hairline and a thick pair of glasses.

“Is it important why I want to?”

“Important? No. Unusual? Yes.” Principle Hopkins points out. “I been the principle here for years, and almost no one has requested to attend here. I’m simply curious.”

Leah, while tapping her foot energetically, sighs. She isn’t one to just give away her motivations. But, seeing how this old bastard won’t leave her alone, she sighs. “I made a promise that I would get an education.”

“That’s it?”

“That’s it.”

“Well then, let’s keep that promise.” Hopkins smiles. Having always loved education he was pleased to see a youngster actually willing to learn, unlike the others who were forced to. “I understand that you had a long day, so I’ll keep this short. I’ll set you up with your room tonight, then tomorrow you’ll take a test that determine your main courses. You then get to pick a few extra courses. Sound good?”

“Yeah.”

“Good. Now, as far as rules go, we do have a few. No bullying, violence, and certainly no weapons. Yes, we may live in the so called apocalypse, but no guns, knives, or any of that sort here. I want peace here. Is that understood?”

“Loud and clear.”

“Excellent. I hope we have no problems then.” Hopkins smiles whilst standing to his feet, adjusting his tie while doing so. “You seem like a good kid, Miss Alvarez. It’s always refreshing to see a youngster focused on education and not any of that mindless stuff like fashion. It was one of the hopes of Mr. Hawk and I when we created this place.”

“Mr. Hawk?” She asks curious. She remembered the name from City Hall earlier from some portrait. “Who is he?”

The question seems to wipe the smile off of Hopkins’s face, and instead of being friendly, he lifts his glasses and scratches his eyes. Must be a touchy subject. “Lucas Hawk was one of the founders here. He was...generally considered the man in charge. Sadly...he had an accident.”

“Did he die or something?”

“No. Miss Alvarez, there were things far worse than death.”

“So...he’s an infected?”

“I don’t know. It be would be a better fate than what did happen to him.” A fate worse than death? Leah found that hard to believe. Death was Leah’s worst fear in life. It wasn’t the idea of dying that feared her, it was what’s after death? Some people told her there was an afterlife, some said there wasn’t, some said you must believe in God to have eternal life. It was a question that always haunted her. “It’s a very unfortunate story. Lucas was a very good man at first, and he built this place from bottom up. But he….he lost his mind. He went utterly insane. It got so bad that, eventually, the other men in charge were forced to kick him out. He was thrown out the gates, just like that. He hasn’t been seen since. No body, no infected version of him, no nothing. Just gone.”

“Why not just kill him?”

“They respected him, and frankly, I did too. No matter how insane he may have became, deep down, he was still the same good man.” Hopkins had a moment of silence after speaking, out of respect of his former friend. Sometimes he wishes he killed Lucas to spare him the pain of being a man he isn’t; in fact it’s one of his biggest regrets not killing him. “Now that the quick history lesson is over, how about I show you to your dorm?”

-----

The school was decent enough. In a way it reminded Leah of Bullworth Academy from one of her favorite video games Bully (Leah was secretly a major video game and comic fan, and was now afraid to show it). There was the main school building, the gym, sports field, the library (it wasn’t official the school’s, but it was right down the block), the garage, and the respective boy/girl dorms.

A good amount of people attended the school, much to her slight shock. She didn’t think there would be many kids her age, but nope. Looks like she wasn’t the only one of her ‘teenage kind’ out there. Some even lived at the school, like Leah would be soon enough. This school was apparently an optional boarding school for those who have no homes, but it also allows the kids who have homes to stay at their houses. Hopefully there were a good amount of kids staying at the school otherwise it might be awkward.

Principle Hopkins walks Leah up to the Girl’s Dorm while ranting about something about education; lucky for Leah she’s gotten good at blocking people out. Instead Leah inspects the outside of the building, and she has to admit, it looks pretty big and nice. Walking through the front doors gave her an even better look at the indoors. It had two floors, with numerous rooms, a few big bathrooms (that were more like locker rooms), a sitting room, and items like soda machines scattered around. It didn’t seem like a bad living place at all, but Leah was more use to the harsher environment of the outside.

“Your room is right up here.” Hopkins guides her up the stairs while Leah looks around some more. It seems like none of the girls are home right now, or they’re in their rooms. Once on the second floor Hopkins shows her to her dorm. “This is it. Dorm 204.” Hopkins knocks on the door. “Now just give me a second to talk to your roommate.”

“What’s up?”

“Well...she doesn’t exactly know she’s getting a roommate. This was all sort of last minute.”

“Oh. Great.” Leah sarcastically points out, which gives Hopkins a little chuckle.

“Relax. She’s a good girl, I’m sure she won’t mind.” Hopkins’s reassurance seems to match the time of the door opening. The door opens up to reveal Leah’s new roommate, which was none other than Lola Jackson. Lola must have been just chillin’ in her room tonight since she only had on booty shorts and a tank top, and her hair was messed up.

“Hi...Mr. Hopkins.” She yawns while giving him an awkward greeting. “...Everything okay?”

“I just wanna introduce you to Leah.” He informs her while pointing at Leah. “Lola, this is Leah Alvarez. Leah, this is Lola Jackson.” Lola and Leah greet each other by giving respective nods and a muttered “hi”’s. “She will be your new roommate.”

“Wait, wait. Hold up. Roommate?” Lola asks confused.

“Yes. Roommate.”

“This is gonna be good.” Leah mutters to herself, as Hopkins and Leah converse about the situation. Lola argues saying how she doesn’t need a roommate, while Hopkins assures her that she does. To make a five minute conversation short, Lola is gaining a new roommate, whether she approves or not.

-----

Ten minutes later Leah finds herself leaning against the pink painted wall, while Lola cleans up Leah’s new side of the room. They haven’t talked since Hopkins left Leah in the care of Lola, instead they opted to be silent. It was a little awkward considering Lola didn’t want Leah to be her roommate in the first place. “Sorry about that.” Lola finally apologizes while getting some of her clothes off Leah’s bed. Like her sister, Lola was a very messy person. “I had my own room for awhile now, and well, you know, it’s more fun being alone.”

“Trust me, I know.” Leah smirks. “I had my own room for four months now.”

“Really?”

“Well, room as in random places every night.”

“Oh. You new here?”

“Got here this morning.”

Damn girl.” Lola draws out the ‘damn’ with a smile while throwing stuff on her side of the room. “How’d they put you in here so fast?”

“I...asked.”

“You asked to be put in school?” Lola asks dumbfounded, and once Leah nods, she only stares even more blankly. “Were you…high or something?”

Leah chuckles lightly. “Nope. I was actually sober.

“Are you positive?”

“Pretty fuckin’ positive.”

“That is not right.” Lola laughs at her, finding the idea of someone willingly going to school hilarious. “Look, we got on the wrong foot earlier, so let’s try this again. I’m Lola Jackson.”

“Leah Alvarez.” They shake each other’s hands, formerly meeting for the first time. “And no, I have no spanish in me, before you ask.”

“Figured not. You’re way to white.”

“Exactly.” Leah says while tossing her small bag onto her bed. She didn’t have much at all. Only a few pair of clothes, some comics, and other cool stuff she found out there. Judging from Lola’s wide variety of clothes, Leah guessed she was in fashion, which meant she would be dragging Leah out shopping soon enough.

“So did you get a grand tour of this place?”

“He took me right here.”

“Typical Hopkins. To lazy to give the tours.” Lola mocks her principal. He always talked about hard-work and education, but when the time came, he took the easy way out. “Since he couldn’t get off his lazy ass, I’ll get dressed and give you the tour of your life.”

After putting on some of her grand, fancy, fashion designer clothes, Lola was all ready to show her around the campus. Lola didn’t bother to show her around the Girl’s Dorm just yet, and instead led Leah right to the main campus. First up was the main building. According to Lola that’s where every class (minus Gym and Mechanics) were held; Math, Science, English, History, Language, it was all in there, or as Lola called it, the center of hell.

Once entering Leah took notice of the size. It was big, and like expected, she saw lots of kids roaming around. In many ways it looked like a normal High School, including lockers. “What’s the point of lockers when we have dorms?” Leah asks while walking across the shined floors, to which Lola only shrugs.

“How would I know? I just show up, I don’t pay attention; and I barely show up.” She gives a devious smirk while leading Leah to the lunch room. “Anyways, once we get to the lunch room, just shup up and follow my league.”

“Why?”

“Right now it’s dinner, so all the groups are there. It’s gonna be crowded and lots of them are….I don’t know how to put this nice...asswipes.”

“How generous of you.”

“Why thank you.” Lola takes a quick bow before opening the doors that led into the hellhole that was the lunch room. The room was giant with numerous tables packed everywhere, but even they weren’t enough to hold the giant amount of kids. Holy shit there were a lot of students. However, like every High School, they were all divided into groups. “Alright, so let me give you the quick rundown.”

Lola first points over to the tables at the far left where a bunch of weird kids sat. Ranging from fat to scrawny, glasses to not, and pimples or braces. They had lots of books and talked about something called ‘League of Legends’. “Those are the Nerds. All of them have A+’s, talk about fantasies, and some of them act like they’re ‘gangsta’.” Lola points out the obvious. “Almost every clique hates them, and not surprising, they’re the least popular.”

“They seem fun.” Leah was obviously kidding. She liked video games and all, but not any of their kind.

“Fun is a loose term.” Lola says while pointing to the next group of tables. The next tables were all wearing fancy, expensive clothing and talked with a snobbish attitude. Leah could already tell who they are. “They are the preppies. They got rich and powerful parents, and damn they will not let you forgot it. They’re snobbish, demanding, spoiled, and downright pricks. Just ignore them, it will save you time.”

As Lola explains the Preppies, Leah can’t help but make eye contact with one of them. The girl she makes eye contact is the one who sits at the end of the table, not talking to any of the Preppies, and instead seemed uninterested in whatever shit they were talking about. She was a very beautiful woman with big brown eyes, near flawless skin, and flowing brown hair. Lola takes notice of the eye contact. “That’s Julia Saraceno, and is practically the richest out of all of them. She’s just like the other brats, so just keep clear of her.”

Leah nods as Lola points over to the next group of people. “They got a few names. Some call them Punks, Goths, Bikers, Rebels, whatever suits your boat. They were leather jackets, have piercings, and all of them pretty much work on their motorcycles. They’re not annoying but they are violent.”

“Then we got the Bullies, which is pretty self-explanatory.” Lola skips over discussing about them and instead goes straight to the ‘leaders’ of the school. “Finally, we have the Jocks. They act like they’re in charge of the school. Again, pretty self-explanatory for them. Football, Soccer, Baseball, Basketball, they play it all. Plus most of the cheerleaders sit over there, and most of them are bitches.”

“Most of them?”

“I don’t.”

“You’re a cheerleader?”

“Of course. I gotta spread ‘dat school cheer.” Lola chuckles. “Back onto point, they’re like the kings and queens of the school. Don’t mess with them and they won’t mess with you. Anyways, So those are the major groups. They’re also wildcards, like myself.”

“Wildcards?”

“People who go around.” Lola explains. “I don’t have a specific ‘clique’, and just hang out with whoever.” Leah nods while taking a look at the lunch room, and soon notices two guys over in the corner all by themselves. One of them was tall, built, and had a mohawk. The other was shorter, skinner, and had shaggy hair.

“What ‘bout them?” Leah nods over to them curiously. “Wildcards?”

“Nope. They are loners, aka the people who just stick to themselves.” Lola takes a closer look at them, and in that moment, it seems the one with the mohawk takes notice of them. “The mohawk kid, Seth, is weird.”

“And the other one?”

“That’s Kyle. He’s pretty new here, but he’s pretty chill. Shy, though.” Lola shrugs and looks back to Leah, who was taking in one last look of the place. She is gonna have a lot of ‘fun’. “So that’s about all the groups. Watchu think?”

“It’s….stupid.”

“Yes. Yes it is. But, hey, it’s high school!” She exclaims. Leah just rolls her eyes, and in turn, Lola friendly punches her shoulder. “You’ll do just fine.”

“If I don’t end up punching someone I might.”

“That’s the spirit! Anyways, so how you liking the place so far?”

“The school?”

“Miami in general.”

“Why you ask?”

“Just curious.” Lola shrugs. “Wanna know how my new roomie feels.”

Leah looks down for a second and thinks, scratching her head whilst doing so. She doesn’t exactly know how to put the words nicely. “It’s okay, I guess. But people gotta be ready for when this place falls.”

“It’s not gonna fall. We been doing good for over ten years.”

“Everything falls. Just give it time.” Leah scoffs. Unlike others, Leah was very pessimistic about life. Sure this place may be okay to stay at for a little bit, but sooner or later it will fall, so she shouldn’t get to comfortable, or attached to anyone. “It’s just how life works.”

Lola stares at her blankly for a minute. “You’re a real debbie downer.”

“Boo-ho.”

Leah’s response gives Lola a giant smile. “I think we’ll get along just fine.” Lola, seeing what time it is, decides that they need to hurry this tour up. “C’mon, lemme show you the rest of the school.”

Leah nods and follows Lola back outside, where they both take looks over toward the rest of Liberty Park. Due to it getting darker some of the buildings have activated their neon lights, and boy, was it a beautiful sight. Some lights were pink, others were blue, some were even red. Lola, seeing how Leah stares in amazement at the sight of the beauty, taps her on the shoulder and smiles one last time. “By the way,” She prepares to say a sentence that Leah heard all day; except this time, with a twist.

“Welcome to Sin City!”

TriviaEdit

  • The overall episode was 46 pages long and contained 17,975 words.

Sin City
Season 1
Welcome to Miami Sin City A Chip on the Shoulder The Melting Pot Palm Beach County Fury Dear Miami, A Bright Future is Coming All The World's A Stage Fiend Among Fiends Omega Red Lockdown

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