01 February 2013 - 01:55 PM
It’s getting light out already. Jett has slept for two hours. He kept thinking back to the high school. It was like staring into the face of death, literally.
Gillian, on the other hand, was exhausted and fell asleep the moment she closed her eyes. Jett enjoys watching her sleep. She seems so at peace. It warms his hearts.
He kisses her softly on her forehead, as to not wake her up and gets up out of bed. The sun hasn’t risen above the horizon yet, but Jett doesn’t feel like falling asleep anytime soon. He puts his pants on, but is hesitant to put his overshirt on. It’s filthy and covered in blood. He eyes the closet for a moment, considering the morals behind looting a closet in a house that has been abandoned. He shakes his head at his own indecisiveness. This is the apocalypse, why is he even considering not looting something that no longer belongs to anyone?
After taking a gander in the closet, he picks a dark blue T-shirt up. It’s got ‘Free Spirit’ printed on the front, with the words ‘Road Side Classic’ in a circle. The words are white and yellow colored. Jett takes an instant liking to it and puts it on.
Approaching the kitchen, a woman sits at the table, drinking from a mug. “Hey, Jennifer.” Jett says when he recognizes the lady as Henry’s wife.
She takes a sip. “Mornin’, Jett. You’re up early.”
“I could say the same about you.” Jett says as he squats down to get to the food they stored in the kitchen cupboards. “What time do you think it is? Five? Five thirty?”
“Oh, I don’t know.” Jennifer says while staring into the clear liquid in her mug. “I couldn’t fall asleep so I’ve just been sitting here all night.”
“Oh?” Jett pulls up a chair on the opposite site of the table from Jennifer. “What’s the matter?”
“Well…” Jennifer is hesitant to admit it to Jett. “Henry hasn’t been the same since we left the house. That speech he gave yesterday, that stuff about ‘life for a life’, it horrified me. This is not the Henry I know, the Henry I fell in love with.”
“I’m sure he was just trying to motivate us to help each other.”
“That thought crossed my mind too.” Jennifer says after taking another small sip. “But he did leave you and Gillian to fend for yourselves. And the way he said it, with such intensity. It sends shivers down my spine just thinking about it.” Jennifer giggles to herself. “You know, when he was still on active duty, some of the guys from his unit told me about how one time, they had to restrain him when he tried to save a rookie from a warzone. He had known him for maybe a day, but he just had to try and save him. And now he just left you two without even the slightest intent to go back for you.”
“Really? What happened to the rookie, did he make it?”
Jennifer shakes her head a little. “No one ever liked to talk about what happened to ‘the rook’, so I guess he didn’t.”
“That’s too bad.” Jett sighs. His compassion for what happened to the rookie he doesn’t know is feigned. He finds it hard to care for what happened to the rest of world right. “
Jennifer puts the mug down and reaches for her pocket. She pulls out her wallet and opens it. She takes a piece of paper out of it and unfolds it. “This is a letter Henry sent me. We met on Henry’s shore leave in Savannah. He was young, and so was I, and I’m sure the only reason he took an interest in me was because he wanted to get some action. And then, three months later, I get this in the mail.”
Jett downs a piece of canned meat before responding. “What is it about?”
Jennifer hands it to Jett, who takes it after wiping his clean on a nearby towel. “I’ve kept this for almost thirty years.”
Dear Ms. LaGarde
We met three months ago. It was my first shore leave in almost six months. My name is Henry Jones, in case you had forgotten. I would, for the record, not blame you. It took me a long time to remember your name, too. What I did not forget, however, was how beautiful you are. I haven’t been able to get your pretty face out of my head the entire time. I thought of you during drills and dreamt of you when I slept. I would love to see you again. If you feel the same way, you can contact me with the phone number I’ve enclosed in this letter.
Jett stifles a little laugh. “What a great romantic.” He says sarcastically as he gives the letter back to Jennifer.
“I thought it was cute.” She puts the letter back in her wallet. “He was so confident when he was flirting with me, but his letter was so clumsy and nervous. I guess saying ‘I love you’ doesn’t come easy to some men. Anyways, I called the number and the rest is, as they say, history.”
The stairs creak as someone walks down. “I thought I heard someone.” Henry says as he walks into the room.
“We were just talking about you.” Jett says, smiling as to let Henry know that it was nothing negative.
“Did she tell you how we met? She tells that story to anyone who will listen.” Henry’s grimace fades when he sees what’s in his wife’s cup. He tries to not make it obvious to Jett. “Jett, could you go wake the others? We have to leave as soon as possible.” Jett nods agreeingly and gets up. Henry stops him when he reaches the doorway. “Oh, and Jett? Could you do me a favor and talk to Marc for me? Keeping the group together is easier if everyone is on the same page regarding how I run things.”
“I’m sorry.” Jennifer apologizes when Jett walks upstairs and is out of their sight.
Henry takes the mug away from her and pours the liquid down the drain. “Honey, you can’t relapse now. Where did you find this?”
“In the basement.”
Henry pulls up a chair and sits down next to his wife. “Alcohol almost destroyed your life once already. Please, don’t do that to yourself, to me. Again. How much have you had?”
“That was my first.” She answers, unable to look him in the eyes out of shame. “When I saw the bottles, I just had to… I’m so sorry.”
“Baby, there’s no need to apologize. I’m not mad at you, I’m just worried sick.” He says before he embraces her. “Let’s just keep this our little secret, okay? No one has to know just yet.”
12 February 2013 - 01:20 PM
Alabama’s landscape is lush and green. The survivors look with marvel at the forest that has been going on for hours. Jett’s car has fallen quiet as most look out of their respective windows, distracted by how calm things look.
Jett is the first to say anything in a while. “Hey, Marc.”
Marc turns away from the window to look at his friend. “Hm?” He keeps his arm leaning casually on the open window.
“About the issues you have with Henry…”
“That’s putting it mildly.”
Jett gives him a stern look to let him know he’s being serious. Marc picks up on it. “He only wants what’s best for the group. He couldn’t risk going on a wild goose chase. He’s a fine leader and-“
“He’s our leader now?” Marc brashly interrupts him. Jett’s expression doesn’t change. “I’m not following a guy who leaves his own people to die and then threatens to kill me if I do the same.”
Akira decides to mix himself into the conversation. “You threatened to ditch him when he’d be in danger. He was establishing the rules. I consider him our leader. He makes the decisions that need to be made. If it were up to you, we’d still be roaming aimlessly around Georgia.”
Marc turns around in his chair, no longer enjoying the breeze on his arm and the fresh air on his face. “Yeah, instead he’s taking us on a wild goose chase across the country. Great job. We’re out in the open, exposed.”
“What do you propose, then? Holing up somewhere and hoping for the best?” Akira sees Marc's disobedience as a form of betrayal.
Marc turns around in his chair so he can look Akira in the eyes. "Sounds like a plan to me. Stock up on food and stay right where we are."
"That's a short term solution for this long term problem."
"You don't know-"
"We're in Mississippi." Jett notes when they pass a sign that welcomes them to the state. He successfully broke up the fight in the making.
Andrew smiles as he observes the rapidly passing sign. "We keep gettin' closer."
"Yeah, only two thousand miles to go." Marc says sarcastically. There's few that can restore his faith in Henry's master plan.
Jett decides to change the subject again before Marc continues the argument. "We haven't come across a single living person during the entire ride here. It's very unnerving."
"To say the least." Akira adds. He notices Henry's car slowing sown and beginning to pull over. "Looks like we're stopping here."
Marc pokes his head and right shoulder out of the car window. "Right here, in the middle of nowhere? This should be good."
Henry comes to a full stop next to a ditch. "Stay here, I'll be right back. They need to know the plan too. Yell if you see anything." He walks over to Jett's car. He leans his forearm on the open window and bends forward a little so he can look inside the car. "We're getting close to a small fishing and hunting community called Buzzard Roost. I used to come here to hunt." He begins. "Chances are big we'll find plenty of supplies here. Fresh food, hunting weapons, survival gear. It's pretty remote too so we might find some survivors here. With any luck I know them."
Jett nods. "Sounds good. Lead the way."
A small drive leads the group of survivors to a seemingly abandoned farmhouse. Its once white, wooden walls are now a worn grey. There was no one to uphold it.
Henry parks a few inches away from the gate and tells his people that this is where they’re staying for the night. “Listen up, people. Jett and I are going to scout the area for food and other supplies. I know just where to look. I know the area.”
“Just the two of you?” Gillian asks. She doesn’t entirely trust Henry to go off alone with her boyfriend after what happened last time.
Henry raises his hands to about Gillian’s shoulder height. “Don’t worry, I already told you I know the area well. We’ll be back in a couple of hours.”
“At least take one other person with you.” Gillian suggests. She’d feel safer knowing that there’s someone besides their leader watching her lover’s back.
“Okay. Anya, you think you’re up for this?”
Gillian gasps a little. She looks at Anya, who also has a surprised look on her face like the rest of the group. Henry explains himself: “Listen, we all need to learn how to deal with walkers. She may be young and small, but this is about survival. She has to be able to fend for herself and others.”
Anya takes a step forward. “Okay, I’ll come with you guys.”
Gillian tries to stop her. “Anya-“
“I can take care of myself.” Anya responds full of pride and confidence. “My parents aren’t here to protect me anymore. I have to do this.” Gillian and the rest of the group stare silently as Anya and is being handed a combat knife by their leader.
Henry instructs her on how to use it. “This is how you hold it.” He says as he holds it in a reverse grip with the blade near his pinky finger. “You go for the soft part, the eyes. Stab it as hard as you can. These walkers don’t feel any pain so they will push themselves on your knife. If they don’t go down, push harder and twist it. Got it?”
Anya has become unsure of coming along after Henry’s instructions. “Yeah, I can do this.”
Henry pats her on the shoulder. “Good girl. Go wait at the station wagon with Jett. Akira, could I talk to you for a sec?” Henry pulls Akira aside. “This isn’t an easy thing for me to ask, but… I need you to look after my wife. Don’t let her out of your sight.”
Akira is surprised. He’s never asked him to keep an eye on his wife. “Why?”
“Don’t let her near any alcohol you might find. She’s…” Henry can’t bring himself to finish his sentence. There is no need to, Akira understands what he’s trying to say.
Henry firmly shakes Akira by his shoulders. He takes a second to regain his composure before he spins around. “Get to it, people. We ain’t got all day!”
14 February 2013 - 10:30 PM
Akira took Jennifer upstairs to sweep that part of the farmhouse. He’s doing as Henry asked of him. He’s not letting his wife out of his sight. They’re about to inspect the last room at the end of the hallway.
Jennifer positions herself on the right of the door like they did with all the others. She’s not in the way of Akira like this. “You ready?”
Akira answers by nodding “yes”. Jennifer turns the handle and swiftly opens the door. Akira raises his katana above his right shoulder. He takes a step inside. “Ah, shit…”
“What? What’s in there?” Jennifer asks panicked.
“Nothing, nothing.” Akira answers as he closes the door. “It’s a baby room.”
“Oh.” Jennifer says softly. She needs a drink.
Let’s go downstairs.” Akira offers. He moves aside and gestures with his hands for her to go first. Jennifer nods and smiles at him. She appreciates his courtesy. It reminds her of what Henry was like when they were still dating.
“Is everything clear down here?” Akira asks as he descends the stairs.
“Yeah, looks like it.” Andrew answers him while he rummages through every closet and drawer he happens to come across. “Marc and Gillian found nothing during their search. Ain’t nothing dangerous around here, but nothing useful either.”
Akira takes a gander at Marc and Gillian who are sitting far apart from one another on the same couch. It’s clear to him that there is tension between the two, but feels like it’s none of his business. “Are you two sure you checked everything?”
Marc nods. He’s distracted by the secret that haunts him and Gillian. “Very sure.” He answers absent-mindedly.
Akira takes a moment to think. Jennifer slumps down in an antique wooden rocking chair. She feels an all too familiar sensation. Her hands quiver and cold sweats break out. Her body is begging for a drop of alcohol. Akira taps his foot twice on the ground and listens attentively. “That sounds hollow. There has to be a room underneath the house. My guess is on it being a basement.”
Gillian is astonished. She knows for certain that they checked every door in the house, from the kitchen to the broom closet. “
“Maybe there’s no way into the basement from inside the farm. This place looks pretty old. Maybe there’s an entrance around back.” Akira theorizes. He unsheathes his katana. He admires it for a while, noticing some scratches on the blade. It’s getting dull. It needs maintenance. “Marc, come with me. Let’s go see if there’s a way into the basement outside.”
Marc shoots Gillian one more quick glance before he rises from the couch. He takes the safety off of the gun he received from Henry. “Let’s go.”
Jennifer watches the two men exit through the front door. She takes in the fact that Marc is noticeably taller than Akira is.
“Mrs. Jones, are you feeling all right?” Andrew asks, seeing the drops of sweat slide down her forehead.
She clenches on to the handles of the chair to make her hands stop shaking. “Always so polite. You know you can just call me Jennifer. And don’t worry about me, sweetheart. I’m fine, really.”
“Are you sure? You look like you’re running a fever.” Gillian says while carefully observing her. “I used to go to medical school. I always dragged Jett to all kinds of first aid and other informative medical conventions. If you’d just let me feel your forehead. I know what I’m doing.”
Jennifer gets annoyed by their persistence. She tries to keep calm and from lashing out at them the best she can. “I said I’m fine. I need some rest.” She gets up from the chair swiftly. It rocks back and forth so fast it almost topples over. Jennifer walks upstairs in a brash pace. She slams the bedroom door close, leaving Andrew and Gillian perplexed. The woman was undoubtedly one of the most kind people they had both ever met.
Akira and Marc stop at a two-door hatch at the back of the house. A padlock sticks in between the handles. “What did I say?”
Marc waves him off. “Yeah, yeah. You’re a real Asian sage, pal.” Marc takes a gander at the padlock. He flashes back briefly to the chained padlock he found back at the high school. “Ugh, I’m not opening that. Last time I fiddled with a locked door I opened a gate to hell.”
“Well, we need to know what’s in here. There could be supplies in here. Or dead people. Either way we have to make sure.“ Akira takes a knee. He holds the padlock in his hand and begins to examine it. “You should lay off Henry. This isn’t easy on him either, you know. He has a lot of responsibility weighing down on his shoulders.”
“Whatever, man. I really don’t feel like talking about it.”
Akira tugs a few times on the padlock. He sees that the handles budge a little. He figures he’s better off taking those off than to go looking for a key that’s most likely not even there anymore. “I’m just saying. Henry is our leader. I stand behind him.” Akira gives the padlock a big tug. The bolt loosens. He gives it another good tug. The bolt flies out of the wooden door it was attached to. He removes the handle with ease.
He opens the right hatch. The basement releases a foul stench. Akira jumps up , covering his mouth and nose with his forearm.
Marc manages to utter “What the hell” before gagging and throwing up. He wipes his mouth. “You go first. You’re the one with the sword, after all.”
Akira opens the left door. The wooden stairs creak under his feet. The setting sun is all that lights the cellar. It reveals the side of a pile of charred bodies, burnt to a crisp. Akira can’t bring himself to go further inside. His knees become weak as they start to tremble. He hurries back upstairs.
“What? What’d you find?” Marc asks before he spits the last remnants of vomit left in his mouth.
Akira shakes his head in disbelief. “Somebody’s been burning bodies down there.”
Akira closes the latch. “At least they’re all really dead this time.”
“Yeah, no shit. Let’s hope that Jett and our illustrious leader don’t run into any real danger, eh?”
20 February 2013 - 09:44 PM
The walker stands idly by in front of an old timey diner located near a clear blue river. It hears tires grinding up the sandy road. It turns around and sees the car. Three people step out of it. It begins the approach with the intent to devour.
“You can do this, honey. Just remember what I told you and you’ll do fine.” Henry reassures her while the knife trembles in Anya’s hands. Seeing one up close, with its oozing wounds and bloodshot eyes, makes her lose her nerve.
Jett picks up on her trembling hands and panicked eyes. “We’re right behind you.”
Anya takes two steps forward. She reverses the grip on the knife, just as Henry showed her. The walker stumbles towards her, undeterred by the knife. It raises its arms to try and grab Anya, but she thinks fast and grabs it by the back of the neck with one hand. With her knife hand she thrusts it halfway into its eye socket, splattering some blood over her face and shoulders.
The knife didn’t plunge far enough into its brain. The walker continues to try to bite Anya. She holds it off by its chest. She screams for help from the two men accompanying her. Jett tries to lend a hand but Henry stops him. “No, don’t. You can do this, Anya! You can do this!”
Filled with new confidence, Anya twists the knife to the right. She then turns it left, scrambling its eye and its brains. The body goes limp. Anya doesn’t manage to pull the knife out in time and the weight pulls her down with it. She nearly falls on top of the now permanently dead walker.
She tugs the knife a few times before removing it. Chunks of its eyeball and brain matter still cling to the blade. Its soaked in blackened blood. “I-I did it. I did it!” Anya exclaims victoriously. She feels like a total badass.
“You did good.” Henry compliments her. He feels like a proud father. “What’s most important, you learned not to be afraid of them. If they don’t go down at first, don’t panic, strike again.”
There still some adrenaline flowing through Anya blood, She breaths heavy. “Yeah, they’re not that scary when they go down.”
Jett is impressed by how the small, sixteen year old girl took down the walker. “Damn, girl. Someday, you’re gonna be one bad walker slayer.”
Anya smiles shyly at her crush’s compliment. She giggles.
“Let’s hurry up.” Henry takes control of the situation. “Let’s take a look inside this diner.”
As Henry pushes the door to the diner open, a bell rings briefly. It reminds Henry of all the times he’s come here to eat after a day of hunting with Anya’s father. He misses his friend. He bites his lower lip for second to get his grip back.
The diner is clean. Much cleaner than any other structure they’ve slept in. It arouses suspicion in him. “Let’s check out the kitchen.” Henry whispers to Jett and Anya following him.
Henry slowly pushes the door open with his right hand. In his left is his trusty glock with his index finger glued to the trigger and his eyes looking down the sight.
Out of nowhere, someone swings the butt of a crossbow down at him. He ducks and dodges it. He retaliates, kicking his assailant in the back of the knee. The man collapses onto his knee. With both hands Henry grabs the back of his head and slams his knee right in his would-be attacker’s face. The man falls flat on his back, groaning in pain.
“Take that away from him!” Henry orders Jett, referring to the man’s crossbow. While he has his gun trained on him, he can get a good look at the man. The man is big, with a grizzly beard and his long grey hair tied in a short ponytail.
“Fine! Fine!” The man yells scared, crossing his arms in front of his face, afraid of getting hit again. “Take whatever y’all want! Just let me live!”
Henry is sure he recognizes his voice. He hadn’t recognized the face because of the long beard. “Jeb? Is that you?”
Jeb uncovers his face. His eyes are big as he hears that familiar voice. “Henry Jones? It really is you, ain’t it?” Jeb gets back up on his feet. “It is!” The man confirms. He spreads his arms wide and hugs Henry.
“Jebediah, my man!” Henry exclaims happily as he hugs Jebediah back.
Jett is a little perplexed. The man who just attacked them turns out to be a friend of Henry’s. He watches the two men hug it out while he stands there silently, holding Jeb’s crossbow. “You two know each other?”
“Sure do.” Jebediah says as he lets go of Henry. “This man has been comin’ here for the past, I don’t know, ten years every huntin’ season.”
“Twelve years, Jeb.” Henry corrects him in good fun. “Why are you still here, man? Where’s everyone else?”
“They all up and left. You know I ain’t got no family to go to, so I stayed at my restaurant. Lotsa food right here.”
“What about Mary?”
Jeb begins to feel misty-eyed at the mention of his wife. “She ain’t make it.”
Henry firmly shakes him by the shoulder to comfort him. “I’m sorry, man.”
Jett feels that the mood is shifting. He decides to introduce himself before Jeb, or anyone else plagued by dark memories, breaks down. “Well, Jebediah, I’m Jett. Pleased to meet you.” The men shake hands.
“And I’m Anya.” Anya has to reach up high to shake Jebediah’s hand.
“She is Ryan’s girl.” Henry clarifies.
Jebediah can tell from Henry’s tone that Ryan is no longer with them. He doesn’t ask a follow up question. The girl seems fragile. “How’s Jenny, man? She make it out all right?”
“I wouldn’t say she’s ‘all right’, but she’s still alive. Thank God.”
“Son, bein’ alive is as ‘right’ as anyone’s gonna get these days. Anyway, feel free to stay here if you like.”
Henry appreciates the offer but politely declines. “No, thanks. We were just passing through. There’s a safe zone in San Diego and we’re going there.”
Jebediah rubs the back of his head. He has his doubts about their plan. “That’s awful far away, Jones.”
“We’re still going there.” Henry says as confident as ever. “Feel free to come with us. It’d sure beat staying here, all alone and out in the open.”
Jebediah takes a long gander around his kitchen. This diner was his life. He inherited it from his father. He grew up here and lived his entire adult life here. But his wife is gone, and he is all alone. The place feels cold and empty without her. He’s been alone for too long. “Alright, lemme just get my stuff.”
27 February 2013 - 02:16 AM
I thought the revelation of Jennifer being an alcoholic was very well done, the direction that you are taking her character in is a very intriguing one. Nice characters, great plot. I love it.
28 February 2013 - 02:39 PM
Another walker head explodes in a red mist. “Yee-haw!” Jonah proudly twirls his handlebar mustache. “Y’all better just quit, ‘cause y’all ain’t never beatin’ me! Five in a row, baby!”
Connor and Russell admire his kill streak from the rooftop of the Clarksville mall. Russell presses a pair of binoculars against his eyes. Five walkers, all killed with consecutive headshots, lie almost neatly in a row.
Russell lowers the binoculars. “Damn, son. Who taught ya how to shoot like that?”
“My pops taught me everythin’.” Jonah explains with pride as he tips his cap. “These were for you, pa!”
“Shit, shame he bit the dust, man. Woulda loved to meet him.”
“That ain’t shit, I can beat that!” Connor says before he snatches the scoped hunting rifle out of Jonah’s hands.
Jonah laughs at Connor’s envy. Ever since they met he’s been trying to best him. “Sure, boy. Lemme see what ya got!”
Connor rests the barrel on the edge of the roof. Looking through the scope, he spots his next target. A woman who looks recently turned, with a large bite wound on the side of her neck. The dress she was wearing when she died is drenched in blood.
He takes her in his sights and begins to squeeze the trigger. He stops when he catches a glimpse of something moving fast behind her. He ignores his target, instead he tries to get a sight on that fast moving object.
He moves the scope to the right and sees two cars, one station wagon and one SUV. “Y’all ain’t gonna believe this, but we got survivors.”
“What ya talkin’ ‘bout, Connor?” Jonah looks over Connor’s shoulder. He tries to follow his line of sight. He spots the cars as well. “Hot damn.”
Connor observes the cars turning through the scope. “They comin’ this way!”
Russell wastes no time and grabs an automatic rifle they had stored in a wooden box on the roof for just such an occasion. He hands one to Jonah as well, who smiles as he holds it in his hands. He loves automatic rifles and knows just how to use them.
The cars stop when its drivers notice the armed rednecks on the roof pointing Carbines and hunting rifles at them. “Don’t y’all go no further!” Jonah warns them as he keeps the front windows in his scope at all times. “Get outta the cars, hands up in the air!”
The people in the station wagon behind them are the first to comply. Jett steps out of the car with his hands raised in surrender. “Please, don’t shoot! We’re just looking for supplies and we’ll be on our way!”
“Y’all ain’t looters, are ya?” Jonah asks suspiciously when Andrew exits the car. He’s never trusted black people.
“No way!” Jett gets nervous at the impending walkers. “Just let us in, they’re close!”
Connor gestures to SUV up front with his rifle. “Tell ya pals in the big fancy car to get out, first!”
Henry heard what Connor said and tells everyone to get out. “Ah, hell, Jonah! They got kids with ‘em.” Russell says when he sees Anya step outside.
“Are y’all gonna be trouble?” Jonah asks of Henry. He pegged him as the leader of the bunch right away, driving up front in the big and expensive car.
“You have my word!”
Jonah can’t bring himself to let a fellow person be eaten by the undead, even if one of them is black. He tells Connor and Russell to open up. “Get in y’all cars, we’ll get the garage open for ya!”
Jonah runs after his two friends downstairs. The elevators are out of order so they rush down the stairs as fast as their feet allow them. Russell and Connor tightly grab the chain that should open the shutter into the garage.
Henry honks the horn, signaling the men inside that they are ready to come in. They pull the chain down and the shutter gradually goes up. Henry moves inside the moment it’s open wide enough.
Two walkers are nearly at the entrance. Jonah figures that they can’t lower the shutter in time. He aims down the red dot sight on his rifle, makes sure the dot is right between the eyes of the walker on the right and steadily squeezes the trigger. The nozzle flares up, releasing a single bullet out of its barrel. It penetrates the walker’s skull, front and back, killing it.
The other one has snuck up on Jonah. Not without him noticing. He slams the butt of the rifle against its head, making it lose its balance and fall on its back. Jonah fires another single bullet from the hip. It speeds right through the walker’s eye socket and impacts on the concrete behind its head.
The light in the garage dims as Russell lowers the shutter. The strangers have all gotten out of their cars. Jonah takes a look at them, for the best he can in the faded light.
A young black guy, some Asian guy with some other fancy sword, two young girls. He doesn’t peg them as much of a threat. Not as long he’s holding a gun. Their leader looks like a tough son of a bitch, and the woman with curls who is by his side all the time must be his darling. The guy with the beard and crossbow looks like someone he’d like to befriend.
The shutters clang as they hit the ground. The garage is almost completely dark. Anya finds it unsettling, leaning against Jett. Andrew feels a little envy, wishing that she would come to him to be comforted.
Jonah offers them to come with them upstairs. “If y’all just follow Russell over there, the fella with the tats. We got lots more windows there.”
The group of fellow survivors do as he said and follow Russell. Jonah and Connor walk at the back of the group, in case they can’t be trusted after all.
The group enters the main hall. “Cool.” Anya says, seeing the clothing and food stores. “I love Applebee’s!”
Jonah closes the door behind them. “There’s a lot more where that came from, miss…?”
“Oh, you can call me Anya.”
Jonah pushes up his cap with his thumb as a way of greeting her. “And ya can call me Jonah. Y’all met Russell. The youngster with somethin’ to prove is Connor.”
“Fuck you, J.”
Jonah ignores the young one’s comment. “And who, exactly, are y’all?” He asks while he is walking around them, observing them.
They introduce themselves to their rescuers. Connor takes an immediate interest in Gillian. He is disappointed when she mentions that Jett is her boyfriend.
“What is it that y’all are doing out on the road? Ya shoulda done like us ‘n’ wait it out.”
“You’re preaching to the choir.” Marc comments with snark.
Henry rolls his eyes. He decides to take a page from Jonah’s book and ignore the young and ignorant one from the group. “We were heading to San Diego. We intercepted a transmission about a military safe zone there.”
“That ain’t exactly ‘round the corner.” Russell remarks as he sits down on one of the wooden benches. “And you don’t sound like y’all from Texas. I’m guessin’ Georgia?” Henry nods to confirm his assumption. “Well, y’all got this old man’s respect. It ain’t exactly safe no more out there.”
Jonah inspects them one last time. They seem genuine in their plight. “Y’all can stay ‘ere, I guess. We got plenty o’ supplies. Food, medicine, gas, ya name ‘n’ we probably got it.”
Henry and the rest thank them for their hospitality. Marc, Jett and Gillian wander into a furniture store. All three of them just let themselves fall down on a king-sized bed.
Marc hogs the pillows. “Screw California. I’m staying right here!”
12 March 2013 - 12:45 AM
13 March 2013 - 09:16 PM
Journey, Part 21
“Goddamnit!” Connor swears, missing his third target after he hit two walkers in a row. “Way too bright out! I got this flare all up in my scope!”
“Yeah right.” Jonah mocks him. “Ya ain’t shit, Connor. Just face it already.”
Jett and Marc walk on to the roof with some folding chairs they found in a camping store tucked under their arms. Anya carries a tray of sandwiches she made at the Applebee’s. She offers some to the three rednecks.
“Lookin’ good.” Russell says as he takes a chicken sandwich. Jonah picks one without looking. He keeps an eye on Connor, waiting for an opportunity to make a snide remark.
Anya offers Connor one by holding the tray next to his head. “I’m busy!” Anya turns around and walks away. She doesn’t like Connor. He’s arrogant and too much of a show-off.
The rest of her group has gathered up on the roof. She proudly presents them her creations. They all gladly take one after having to eat canned goods for months.
Jett picks one with bacon, one of his most favorite foods. “These all look delicious, Anya. You’re one hell of a cook.”
Anya giggles. Every time she is around Jett she has butterflies in her stomach. “Thanks. My mom taught me.” She just now realized that she will never get to cook with her mother ever again. Jett picks up on her grief. Her pats her on the shoulder. Anya feels better right away.
Jett unfolds one of the chairs he carried and plants it firmly on the ground, next to Gillian. He sits down. “Get yourself a chair too, honey. You don’t have to stand all the time.”
Gillian’s mind is occupied. She only hears half of what Jett is talking about. She did hear the word ‘chair’. She takes one and sets it down next to Jett, who rests his arm around her shoulder. She rests her head on his.
Jebediah approaches their three hosts, crossbow slung over his shoulder. “Y’all enjoying yourselves?”
“I know I am.” Jonah answers, amused at Connor’s incompetence with a rifle. “I ain’t all that sure ‘bout young Connor over here. I think he’s a lil’ frustrated.”
“I was just wantin’ to thank y’all, for opening your…” Jebediah thinks about what he exactly he should call the mall. “Let’s just call it your home, to us.”
“Ah, no problem, man.” Russell extends his arm to Jeb. He shakes it. “Just doin’ what the Bible taught me, ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you’.”
Connor gets a female walker’s head right in the center of his crosshair. He lowers the rifle a little, revealing to him that she had her gut ripped open. She drags her entrails with her, leaving a trail of blood and guts.
“Gross.” Connor remarks to himself before pulling the trigger. The bullet goes right through both temples. The walker face plants on the concrete.
The shot echoes through the air. “Are you sure you should be doing that?” Henry asks as he walks up to them.
“All in good fun.” Jonah replies as he mock claps for Connor hitting his target for once.
“I’m talking about the noise. It draws them.”
Connor scours the parking lot for his next target. He wants to take one down further away. “The more, the merrier.”
“’Side, we got this whole place locked down tight.” Jonah reassures him. “Ain’t nothin’ gettin’ in or out.”
“We encountered a group of hundreds of them on the road. They were an unstoppable force. They pretty much wrecked everything in their path. How many do you think the shutters can hold?”
Jonah shrugs off his concern. “Ya worry too much.” He takes notice of Jebediah’s crossbow. “Say, Jeb. That’s a mighty fine weapon ya got there.”
Jebediah takes it off of his shoulder. “Thank you very much. I call ‘er Mary.” He turns it sideways to show Jonah the name ‘Mary’ etched in its side.
“Nice to meet ya, Mary. Whaddaya say the two of go out huntin’ for some shit-for-brains sometime?”
“Whoah, whoah!” Henry can’t believe his ears. “You want to go ‘hunt’ walkers for fun?”
“Relax, brother. Jus’ outside the front entrance. We done it before.”
Jennifer watches on from a blue chair as her husband argues with the Southerners. She desperately wants a drink. She saw a liquor store close to the Applebee’s where she helped Anya with the sandwiches.
She puts up a fake smile as Anya hands her one of the last sandwiches. Anya has only three left. One for herself and two for Akira and Andrew.
Akira and Andrew are leaning against the wall with the entrance to the roof and chatting. “How long did it take you to learn those ninja skills?” Andrew asks as he inspects Akira’s katana.
Akira laughs. If he had a nickel for every time someone referred to him as a ‘ninja’, he’d be a rich man. “You’ll get the basics down pretty quick. Depends on how fast of a learner you are and how good your motor skills are. Perfection, however, takes years and years of dedication.”
“I ain’t never had no formal training. I learned to fight on the street.” Andrew does not say that with pride. He did what he had to do. He didn’t do what he wanted to do.
Anya interrupts them. She holds up the tray. “There’s only three left, fellas. You should’ve been faster. We got two with beef and one with chicken.”
Andrew is excited about finally eating some real food. “Hell yeah, dibs on the chicken!”
“Of course ya want the chicken.” Jonah says just a little too loud.
Andrew drops the sandwich on the ground. He brashly walks up to Jonah. “Excuse me?”
Marc does not see this end well. He gets up from his chair and runs up to Andrew. He pushes Andrew back by his chest. “Easy, man. He’s not worth it.”
“I’m not backing down until this fucker apologizes!”
“Hey now, it ain’t nothin’ personal.” Jonah says as he raises his hands. “I just don’t like your kind, is all.”
Andrew shoves Marc aside. He gets up in Jonah’s face. His veins pop out of his neck. “’Nothin’ personal’?! Is there anything else you wanna say to me, motherfucker?”
Russell tries to get Jonah to step off. “Jonah, let it go man. Live and live. There’s no need for this fightin’.”
Jonah ignores him. He won’t let a black man intimidate him. “Boy, you better step down or I’ma whoop ya black ass.”
Connor had gotten up to his feet in the meantime. He anxiously clutches his rifle in his hands. He’s ready to use it.
Akira has partially drawn his sword. He doesn’t get too close to the group, but he is fast and ready to use it as well.
“You’d like that, wouldn’t you, KKK?” Andrew taunts him. If Jonah’s going to be a racist, he is too. “Or did you leave your white hat at home?”
“Y’all niggers are all the same, always lookin’ for a fight. Why don’t ya just fuck off back to Africa and kill each other, huh? Save us ‘KKK’ some trouble!”
Something snaps in Andrew’s head. He’s had it. He won’t take any more abuse. Not from Jonah, not from the snobby white kids back in the city, the gangs on the streets. No one.
He takes a swing at Jonah, hitting him square in the jaw. Before Jonah can recover, Andrew tackles him to the ground. He hits his head on the concrete.
Marc and Henry attempt to pull Andrew off of him. Jonah takes advantage of the moment and punches Andrew in the face.
Andrew’s nose begins to hurt and bleed profusely. He shrugs it off. He’s endured worse. He slips out of Henry and Marc’s hold. He grabs Jonah by his shirt with his left hand and lays into him with the right.
He stops when he feels a steel barrel pressing against his temple. Connor cocks it back to let him know he’s serious.
Henry will not stand for it. He draws his glock and pushes it against Connor’s forehead. “Just try it, asshole. I won’t hesitate to blow your brains out.”
Jonah spits out a glob of blood. “Damn it, Connor! Fuckin’ drop it! These people are fuckin’ crazy!”
Connor throws the rifle on the ground. Jonah is not worth getting killed over. Henry tells Andrew to get away from Jonah. Jonah gets up to his feet.
“Man, fuck y’all! I coulda left y’all to die out there, but I ain’t! Even though y’all had this black motherfucker with ya! Show some Goddamn gratitude!”
Henry picks up the rifle Connor dropped. “You brought this on yourself. And I don’t think we can trust you. Hands up in the air.” He gestures ‘up’ with his colt. -
“I said hands up! You too, Connor. Russell, you’re cool. You at least tried to stop this.”
Both men put their hands up. Jonah swears racist slurs under his breath as he slowly raises them. Andrew pretends he doesn’t hear them. They’re getting what’s coming to them anyways.
13 March 2013 - 09:49 PM
14 March 2013 - 09:14 PM
Russell hands Henry the chain of keys him and the boys found when they locked themselves in there. Henry slides down the shutter of the clothing store, locking Jonah and Connor inside.
Russell shakes his head. “You're idiots.”
Jonah is still boiling with rage. He punches the shutter. “Screw you.”
Henry puts the keys in his pocket. “I’m letting you out when I think you’ve learned your lesson.”
Jonah kicks down a rack of clothing. He’s furious at being betrayed by his own race. Henry ignores his tantrum and walks off. Russell is hesitant. He’s spent a long time with those two, but their actions were wrong. He follows Henry.
Andrew is sitting on a bench in the main hall, next to the fountain. Gillian has found a first aid box and is treating his hand.
“You dislocated some knuckles.” She notes as she examines his hand. “I’m going to have to pop those back in.”
Andrew takes a deep breath. This is not the first time he had to have a joint popped back in. “Just do it.”
Gillian puts her index finger underneath Andrew’s index and middle finger, the two that are dislocated. She presses with her thumb on the knuckles while simultaneously pushing them up with her other two fingers.
Andrew’s knuckles make a muffled clicking noise. Andrew grunts. It stings. Gillian asks him to move his fingers up and down. He wiggles them. “Good, back in on the first try.” She begins to feel his nose since he is bleeding from it. “Hm, nope, your nose isn’t broken. The bleeding will stop on its own. Just stuff some toilet paper up there.”
Henry and Russell arrive back at the Applebee’s where the others are. He gives his wife a brief hug.
“So, what are we going to do with them?” Akira asks, sitting on a barstool. “We can’t just leave them there forever.”
“I’ll let them out when we leave-“
“Hold up, hold up.” Marc gets up from the barstool next to Akira. “We’re not leaving here. I don’t know if you noticed, but this place is paradise! It’s safe and we got all the supplies we need!”
For the first time, Akira agrees with Marc. “I’m sorry, Henry, but I’m with Marc on this one. Our goal was to find a safe haven, and we found one. Why risk our lives on the road?
“This isn’t a long term solution, though.” Henry pleads his case. “Food will run out. And then what? We have to hit the road.”
“I say we put it to a vote.” Jett suggests before this evolves into another heated argument between Henry and Marc. “Let’s ask everyone what they want to do; stay or leave for San Diego?”
“Well, you already know my vote.” Henry says. “What about you, Jenny?”
Jennifer shrugs, resting her hands firmly on her legs to stop them from shaking. “You know I will always support you, baby.”
Anya sighs. “I dunno. I like it here. I feel safe, and this isn’t the only food store here. I saw a butcher’s and grocery store as well. I’d like to stay.”
Jett looks over at Marc. He smiles at him from the corner of his mouth. Marc understands what it means. He’ll support him. “I vote to stay.”
“Akira, Marc, you two want to stay as well, right?”
Both men nod. Marc sees Gillian and Andrew enter the store. “Just in time, you two. We were voting for whether we’re staying here or hitting the road for San Diego. What do you think?”
Gillian doesn’t really care, but she knows she has to make a decision. “Sure, let’s stay.” She says before sitting down next to Jett on a leather diner couch.
“What about you?” Marc asks of Andrew, who silently went to sit on one of the tables.
“As long as that racist asshole is here I don’t want to stay.” He finally answers. “Can’t we throw him out or something?”
Russell steps in. “Now what a minute, son. Ya can’t just throw Jonah for the dead ‘cause he’s an idiot.”
“We’re not throwing anyone out.” Henry reassures him. “So long he keeps his hands to himself, we’re good.” Henry decides to keep on topic regarding staying or leaving. “Jeb, you?”
“Buddy, I honestly think we’re a hundred times safer in ‘ere than we’re out there.”
Henry nods his head a couple of times. “That’s six against three. Alright. We’re staying, then.”
Night has fallen, and everyone is sleeping peacefully with the thought of not having to hit the road again. Everyone but Andrew.
Andrew stares into the bathroom mirror. His nose started bleeding again. The large piece of toilet paper he’s using is already drenched in blood.
He tilts his head back. There’s no pain, but the blood just keeps dripping.
After a while, he removes the toilet paper from his nose. He wipes his nose with the palm of his hand. He washes his hands in the sink. He feels underneath his nose again. He inspects his hand. No blood this time.
“Finally.” He says to himself before picking his flashlight back up. He begins to make his way back to the furniture store where they sleep.
On the way, he passes Jonah and Connor’s clothing store. Both men are sound asleep. Jonah is sleeping on one of the shoe fitting couches. Connor has taken some coats off of the racks and uses them as a makeshift mattress.
Andrew doesn’t give them much thought. He’s not going to let Jonah get to him. He doesn’t want to grant him that.
Andrew is tired, but he is sure he hears a female voice echoing faintly through the hall. He decides to go check it out. It gets more audible the closer he gets to the main hall where Gillian treated his wounds.
The main hall is illuminated entirely by moonlight. It’s full moon out and it’s beaming right through the large glass door.
He sees someone sitting on the edge of the fountain, looking at the entrance. Her posture looks female. Her back is nothing but a dark shadow.
He does recognize the voice now. It’s Anya. He stops in his tracks to listen to what she’s saying.
“No, I could never do that. I’m not a cheater!” She says, seemingly to no one in particular.
“I like him. He gives me butterflies, but I like her, too! I don’t want to hurt her feelings.”
Andrew approaches her, slowly and steadily. She is creeping him out.
“I don’t want to talk about it anymore, okay? Today was so scary.”
Andrew is standing right behind Anya. She’s babbling to herself. She doesn’t notice him at all. “Anya?” Anya jumps up and spins around. “Easy, it’s me.”
Anya is puzzled for a second before recognizing Andrew. “Andy! You scared me.” She says with a big smile.
“You never called me ‘Andy’ before.”
She laughs. “Well, I’m calling you ‘Andy’ from now on.”
Andrew cocks his head sideways. He almost doesn’t dare to ask her. “Who were you talking to?”
Anya looks at him like he found her diary and read her deepest secrets. “I wasn’t talking to anyone. I wasn’t talking at all. I was just sitting her and, uhm, enjoying the full moon. Doesn’t it look nice, the way it lights up the mall?”
“But I heard you-“
Anya waves him off. “Oh, you silly! That was probably just the wind or something.”
“I sometimes talk to my dead parents and brother, too. You don’t have to be ashamed of it.”
Anya sits back down on the edge of the fountain. She taps on the edge besides her. “Come on, sit with me.” She knows Andrew is infatuated with her. He’s not the one she wants, but she hopes that letting him spend time with her will make him forget.
Andrew sits down next to her. He knows what he heard. He heard her talking to herself. But he won’t pass up an opportunity to spend some private time with her. His hormones tell him it may lead somewhere.
He looks at the moon and the lit up area around him. “It is quite something.”
15 March 2013 - 10:15 PM
Jonah paces back and forth in front of the shutter.
Connor lounges on a couch. Jonah’s pacing is distracting him from the lingerie section from a magazine he found. “Would ya stop that? You’re makin’ me nervous.”
Connor’s calm makes him even more agitated. “Ya should be! We’re locked up like animals, man!”
Connor looks up from his magazine. He can’t enjoy the pretty ladies like this. “It’s your own damn fault. Ya just had to call that kid the n-word.”
Jonah stops pacing. His feet are getting tired. “He was all up in my face! He had it fuckin’ comin’. Black motherfucker.”
“Ya know what? Why don’t ya just apologize to the kid so we can get the fuck out o’ here? I’m achin’ to pop some undead heads.”
“Apologize?” Jonah is offended at the mere suggestion of it. “I ain’t apologizing to no damn nigger!”
Connor tosses his magazine aside. “We ain’t never getting out of here if ya keep saying shit like that. Just swallow your damn pride.”
“I ain’t jokin’. We’re in some deep shit. You called him a nigger, beat him and I put a gun to a kid’s head.” His own words resound through his head. Only now that he hears himself say it does he realize what he has done. “Jesus, I put a gun to a kid’s head.”
“This ain’t the time to feel sorry. Have ya taken a look at the world around ya?” Jonah sighs. “World’s changed. We changed. These strangers, they changed too. I don’t want them here.”
Connor picks the magazine back up and shrugs. “We ain’t exactly in any position to do shit about it.”
“Not yet.” Jonah rubs his chin as he thinks. “Maybe I do what ya say, apologize ‘n’ shit. Ain’t gonna be easy. Then when they let us out, we go ‘n’ grab our automatics and drive ‘em all out!”
Connor throws his magazine on the ground again. “The hell you talkin’ about? You wanna shoot these people?”
“Only if they don’t leave.”
Connor rises from the couch. He can’t believe what he’s hearing. “The fuck is wrong with you, man? I don’t want no part in this!”
“You-“ Jonah stops talking at the sound of footsteps in the hall. Marc and Gillian approach the shutter. Gillian has two sandwiches in her hands for them.
“Feeding time, boys.” Marc says as he unlocks the gate. “No funny business.” Marc taps his right hand on the gun on his hip.
He opens the shutter partially. Gillian hands Jonah the sandwiches underneath. He hands one to Connor.
Connor politely thanks her. He hopes on being let out for good behavior. Jonah is on to him, shaking his head. He decides to be more to the point. “Why don’t y’all just let us out, huh? We’ll behave.”
Marc lowers the shutter. He locks it. “Not up to me, pal. I might not be the biggest fan of our leader, that’s still what he is. Ask Henry.”
Jonah bites into his beef sandwich. “So could ya go ‘n’ get him?” He says with his mouth full. “Please?”
“I’ll make sure he knows you want to talk to him.”
Marc and Gillian walk back to the Applebee’s. “Marc, we have to talk.” Gillian says after a short moment of silence.
“Don’t be like that. You know damn well what we have to talk about.”
Marc stops walking. He turns to face Gillian, hands in his pockets. “You said it was an accident, right? Nothing to talk about, then.” He shrugs.
“A very bad and immoral accident. The guilt is killing me, Marc. Jett is great to me. What I did, he doesn’t deserve. With his best friend! Don’t you feel like shit?”
Marc strikes his hands through his hair. Her question got to him. “Yes, I feel bad. But I’ve saved his life twice. I like to think I’ve redeemed myself already.”
“Marc, I can’t live with this guilt!” Gillian nearly cries. She keeps strong. “You tell yourself that bullshit, justify what you’ve done, but you can’t hide from the fact that you betrayed your best friend!”
Marc gets only an inch away from her face. “Watch your words! I saved his life while you cowered on a couch! I came back for you, knowing Goddamn well that you were surrounded by a herd of hundreds of walkers!”
Gillian pushes him away. She doesn’t manage to get him far away from her. He’s too strong for her. “I’m not saying I’m not grateful for that! You saved our lives, Jett’s twice! But what we did was wrong! I have to tell him. I have to.”
Marc violently grabs her by the shoulders. “No!” He shouts. “You know what he’s like, you’ll destroy him emotionally! I don’t want to ruin our friendship. For God’s sake, woman, we’ve been friends our entire life!”
Gillian squirms to escape his grip. “Let go! You’re hurting me!”
Marc calms his breathing. He slowly releases Gillian’s shoulders. She backs away from him, afraid that he’ll hurt her again. And worse.
“I- I’m sorry.”
“Don’t come near me again! You have no control over me! If I decide to tell him, there’s nothing you can do about it!”
Marc tries to approach her. With each step, Gillian takes another backwards. “Please, don’t tell him. I’ll get on my knees and beg if I have to. Just don’t-“
Gillian refuses to listen to him any longer and jogs away. Marc stands silently in place and watches her go.
Henry, along with Jett and Marc, looks out over the town of Clarksville from the rooftop. He’s holding a map Russell gave him. Russel is pointing out how to get to places of interest.
“Gun store’s about three blocks away from ‘ere. We got as many weapons we could carry, then came here. We left plenty behind.”
“We might have to make a run for it sometime, then. We need ammo in case the pot shots you’ve been taking attracted more walkers. You two up for that?”
Akira and Jett nod. “With my sword, we could get there quietly.”
The door behind them opens up as Gillian walks up on the roof. “Henry, Jonah wants to talk to you.”
Henry folds up the map and stuff it in his back pocket. “That’s okay, we are done here anyways. Akira, you be my back-up.”
“I’m comin’, too. I can talk some sense into those fools.” Henry gladly accepts Russell’s offer. He knows the two men better than he does.
Gillian watches the three men leave. She waits until they’ve closed the door behind them, and even after they do she still takes a couple of seconds to make sure they can’t hear them. “Jett, we have to talk.”
16 March 2013 - 05:33 PM
16 March 2013 - 08:00 PM
Journey, Part 24
Henry knocks on the shutter locking Jonah and Connor in. Both men walk up to it.
“Hey, boss.” Jonah says. Henry doesn’t trust his fake smile.
Henry cuts straight to the point. “You wanted to talk to me? Well, here I am. Talk.”
“I think we’ve learned our lesson, boss. We was just stressed with everything that’s goin’ on, you follow me?”
Henry glances at Akira for his counsel. He’s leaning against the wall. He shakes his head. “I’m not buying it, fellas.”
Jonah takes a step back from the shutter. He spreads his arms wide. “Come on, brother. Lemme prove myself to y’all. Let us prove ourselves!”
“And what did you two have in mind?” Henry asks. He’s genuinely interested in what they have to say. He wonders how they think they can make it all better.
Jonah shrugs his shoulders. “There’s gotta be somethin’ y’all need us to do. Somethin’ ya think too dangerous for your people, maybe?”
An idea comes to Russell how to help his old friends prove their worth. “Y’all could help with the gun run, couldn’t they?”
Connor’s interest has been piqued. “You mean like, goin’ into town to that gun store? Kill some shit-for-brains for y’all? Hell yeah, we could do that!”
Jonah nods his head enthusiastically. “We fought our way into this here mall. We can handle ourselves!”
Henry is not convinced. He rests his hand on his glock on his hip, tapping on it with his index finger. “Do you know how to take them out quietly, though?”
Jonah cracks his knuckles and smirks. “We know how to crack some skulls, sure.” Connor is not as sure of himself. They’re a lot scarier up close. But he does not let it show. He firmly nods his head.
Henry takes a moment to weigh the pros and cons against one another. “I’ll consider it.” He turns around and prepares to leave.
Jonah stops him. “Wait! Whaddaya mean, you’ll ‘consider it’? Ya gonna let us out or no?”
Henry answers when he is interrupted by angry screams. He turns around, seeing Jett storming through the hall, Gillian in tow.
“Marc!” Jett’s yell reverbs through the main hall. Marc spins around at hearing his name.
“Jett, man, let me explain-“ Jett doesn’t want to hear it. He takes a swing at Marc and hits him in the face. Marc stumbles but catches himself before falling.
“You son of a bitch! Who the fuck do you think you are?!”
Marc feels under his nose. There’s blood on his hands when he looks at them. “It’s… I… We-“
“You’ve been fucking my woman! Were you ever going to tell me?!”
The shouting has attracted everyone’s attention. Jennifer and Anya, who were looking at clothes in a store, come outside to see what all the ruckus is about.
Jebediah stops cleaning his crossbow and runs for the direction where the screaming is coming from. He arms his crossbow with an arrow. He worries another fight broke out between one of their own and the rednecks.
Andrew has the same thought. He has his gun ready. He runs into Jebediah along the way. Together they make their way to the clothing store where Jonah and Connor are locked in who, much to their surprise, are doing anything but causing trouble.
“It happened when-“
“She told me already!” Jett interrupts him. Every word from Marc’s mouth makes his blood boil worse. There’s nothing he can say that will please him. “The fact it happened is bad, but the fact that you kept it a secret from me is ten times worse! We have never had secrets for each other!”
“I’m so sorry, man! I didn’t want to ruin our friendship!”
Gillian cries. Jett ignores her. She has hurt him enough already. Jennifer takes her under her care. She offers her shoulder for her to cry on. Anya hugs Gillian.
“Do you love her? Do you?!”
Marc can’t answer that question. He wants to. He wants to say “no”, but he can’t lie to Jett. To his lifelong friend. He never has.
Marc’s silence tells Jett all he needed to know. He tries to walk away, but a blind rage is stopping him from doing so. He punches Marc in the gut. He slumps down on his knees and hands. In this position, Jett punts him in his stomach. Marc collapses to his side and throws up.
Akira tosses his sword aside and runs up to Jett. Before he can kick Marc again he takes him in a chokehold from behind. “Jett, back off! That’s enough!”
Jett keeps kicking in Marc’s direction. Akira tightens his grip on Jett’s throat. Jett becomes to weak to even stand up straight. Jett slowly lowers him to the ground.
Jett hits the ground with his fist. His anger fades and the reality of the situation kicks in. His girlfriend cheated on him with his best friend. Their relationship is never going to be back to what it used to be. He cries.
Henry helps Marc to his feet and escorts him away from the scene. He passes Jonah behind bars. “Y'all run like a well-oiled machine, that's for sure.”
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