“Another day, another call for chemical processing plants to be shut down” the personality over the local news explains, “workers in these plants have begun protesting all across the country, calling for work to stop and their workplaces to be investigated.” Knocking at the front door, a woman stands on the steps of a quaint residence, waiting to be greeted from those inside.
Nearly tripping over a plastic spoon, the man inside lowers the volume on his television and begins descending the staircase, unlocking the door and moving aside. “‘Morning, John” the woman replies, stepping in at the man’s behest, her sunglasses sat atop her head, not intending to stay long. “How’s it going, Meg?” John replies, a shrug from the woman offering him the only answer he needs.
“Where’s Jess?” Meghan replies, letting out a huff when John gives her the answer. “She left early for work, she’s been gone for a few hours” John replies, the woman immediately rolling her eyes as her head tiredly shakes. “Auntie Meghan!” a small child exclaims, bursting through the halls as if she had caught a glimpse of the tape at the end of a decathlon. “Amsie!” Meghan shouts back, eyes suddenly perking as her ears do the same, picking the small child up into her arms.
“Why the f-u-c-k does Jess leave for work so damn early?” Meghan replies, an answer-less John shaking his head at the conclusion of the aforementioned question. “I think she’s been expecting the board to give her the ‘shut down order’ everywhere else has been getting” John replies, both Meghan’s eyes and his own turning towards the television, recordings of people attacking innocent bystanders with a far-away look in their eyes accompanying the anchor’s words.
“My sister’s never been the paranoid-type” Meghan replies, the man immediately arguing the same sentiment. “It’s not that she’s worried about this, she’s just worried they’ll catch her off guard” John replies, a brief chuckle parting his statements, “those greedy fucks haven’t closed her down yet, but she’s expecting them to at the least-optimal time imaginable.”
“They’re old, wealthy and powerful” Meghan replies, admitting to being one that likes going against the stereotypes, “even I can’t argue that they’re the perfect type to fuck over everyone without ever even realizing it.” Tossing a shirt into a laundry bin across the room, John begins to walk towards the kitchen, Meghan following closely behind, continuing their prior conversation. “So what do you think, mister military man?” Meghan replies, setting Amy down on the floor.
“What do I think about what?” John replies, unsure of the question at first, his attention redirected to the ongoing news report. “I think it’s something freaky that I trust our military to properly combat against” John replies, shrugging towards the woman and continuing to approach his toaster. “So the fact that the number of the sick continues to rise doesn’t bother you?” Meghan replies, an answer the man does not agree with.
“It’s never great to see more and more people get sick, but it’s just that” John replies, another shrug, this time towards the notion, “whatever it is, it’ll get contained and we’ll move on.” Nothing left to respond with, Meghan becomes quiet, her silence allowing John to ask about how she views the illness. “They say it’s a lot like rabies, so we should just not get bit by them” Meghan replies, her gut feeling suggesting something less flattering.
“So we’ve got crowds of people with rabies, all biting anyone they see, and you’re not allowed to defend yourself if they attack you” Meghan explains, “I’m sorry, but that equation just doesn’t work out to a good answer.” Shaking his head, John admits that he has no reason to consider anything he’s told by his former army veterans as anything less than true.
“We’d be told if something was off” John replies, patting the woman on the shoulder, “they’re just trying to keep people from getting hurt.” Returning the man’s response with a sarcastic nod, Meghan calls out for Amy, the child returning to the living room with a lunchbox in hand, excitedly shouting that she’s ready to leave. Carried in the woman’s arms, Amy gives her father a hug before leaving with Meghan, the young woman telling the man she’ll return within a few hours.
“Have fun you two!” John exclaims, standing on the front step and waving goodbye to Meghan, his daughter having been buckled into a car seat, the woman pulling out of his driveway. Pulling onto the road, Meghan’s vehicle slowly vanishes behind a collection of trees and shrubbery in a neighbor’s yard, John waving until the moment the car disappears. Turning to return to his home, John catches the sight of another neighbor out of the corner of his eye, a family loading their car with luggage.
“Hey, Steve!” John shouts, holding his hand high, waving to the worrisome-expressioned man, his kind greeting poorly reciprocated. “Good morning, John!” the man exclaims, a subtle caution in his voice, coming off with the sound of a man in the midst of a well-hidden struggle. “Going somewhere?” John calls out, the man stammering over his words, forcing his over-packed bags into the bag of his suburban minivan.
“Ugh… Uh, yeah” Steve replies, slamming the door shut three times before finally getting it to remain so on the fourth attempt, finally looking back towards his neighbor, “heading out to see family!” Returning a confused nod, John asks the man if anything is wrong, the uncertainty and concern in the neighbor’s voice as clear as day. “Have a good trip!” John exclaims, the man quickly loading his kids into the van before heading for the driver’s seat, prompting John to exclaim, “see you soon!”
Turning back to reply, Steve lets his mouth hang open for a minute before shutting it once more, a half-hearted smile returned to John as he replies with a silent wave. Bolting out of his driveway, Steve drives off and doesn’t look back, leaving John to question these actions. Strolling across the street, John walks up to Steve’s driveway before a second neighbor calls out, asking the man if he found that response odd as much as he had.
“I’m glad we both picked up on that!” John exclaims, offering the short response back as he climbs the stairs, his eyes set on the door at the very top. Resting his hand on the doorknob, John twists the mechanism with ease and pushes the door in, the lack of a lock worrying John further, such a mistake only common in instances of extreme distress and a lack of intention to return.
“That don’t look good!” the neighbor calls out from across the street, John’s mind travelling to various places before finding itself in a better-suited area of reason. “Do me a favor, call the cops and let ‘em know something is off with the Fairbanks’” John calls out, closing the door and leaving it be, hoping for the best result, “give them the rundown of their car and the people in it, let them take it from there.”
Returning to her home to do so, the neighbor vanishes within the confines of her house as John returns to his own driveway, a second look back at the newly-vacated lot across the street from himself giving him a strange feeling. Taking in a deep breath, John lets the early morning sunrise glisten off his sweaty brow, a shake of his head preceding the return to his home, shutting the door and locking it tight from the inside, attempting to move on with his day.
= Rise: Remastered is created by Zachary Serra, all rights to the series belong to Zachary Serra and the entity of Pacer1 Media from the start of Season 1 onwards =
“You’ve been storing up on vacation days since Amy was born, wouldn’t now be a fair time to use them?” John replies, speaking into the phone cradled between his shoulder and neck. “Sure, that’s not a good enough reason to use them, though” the woman on the other end replies, her hands shuffling through papers atop her desk, sifting files into different folders, stacking them in different assortments, “I just don’t like taking time off of work.”
Dead air presented to her from the other end of the line, the business casual-dressed woman pauses for a moment before calling out her husband’s name, checking to see that he’s still there. “Yeah, Jess… I’m still here” John replies, approaching the window of his living room and looking out at his neighbors house, a lack of police or any other presence at the property continuing to intrigue him, “I just think it would be nice, with all this shit going on, to have a few days away from work.”
With a sigh, Jess wraps folders with elastic bands as they fill, replacing it with another folder identical to it. “Why is this a massive deal now, just all of a sudden?” Jess wonders aloud, compelled by her husband’s sudden suggestion to take time away from work, “I thought you were skeptical of all this stuff.” Assuring his wife that such a truth has not changed, John explains that there are plenty of examples of things offering him bad omens.
“The Fairbanks’ just completely skipped town” John explains, citing the unlocked door as a reason to suspect they don’t intend to return, “they seemed rushed, and he served just as I had.” Taking in a deep breath, Jess attempts to respond before the tone of a second call coming in captures her attention, a sudden rush to end the conversation coming over her. “It’s the board, I’ve got to go” Jess quickly explains, John abruptly wishing her a fair remainder of her day before the call ends.
Switching lines, Jess greets the individuals on the other end of her call, the board of directors to her company offering the news she had been waiting for. “Mrs. Callis, we’re calling to let you know that we’ve made the decision to cease operations temporarily, effective immediately” the man on the other end of the line explains, a smile coming over the woman’s face as she humorously swipes the stack of folders off her table, letting them drop to the ground.
“That sounds like an idea my workers might appreciate, sir… Thank you” Jess replies, a quick rundown of protocol being offered before the call ends, a skipper Jess immediately calling John back, the phone ringing to no answer. With a shrug, Jess ends the call upon the voicemail returning to her, a brief gesture for her secretary to walk with her preceding her entrance to the warehouse grounds.
“Pack it up, ladies and gentlemen!” Jess exclaims, both hands pressed against the metal railing overlooking the large floor space, all eyes dawning upon her, “we’re closing shop!” With a few fleeting cheers offered, others proceed to exchange high fives or fist bumps with the exception of a small few. “Go help your boyfriend pack, Shauna” Jess mutters to the woman beside her, their own high five exchanged.
Returning to her office, Jess continues to walk the halls before brushing shoulders with one of her employees, the man not having seen her before turning the corner. “It’s fine, Jack” Jess replies, her hands held out, keeping the man from apologizing, in complete understanding, “just keep you eyes higher than the floor, okay?” With a nervous chuckle, Jack agrees and proceeds to move on, a man walking up the stairs and to the second level just as Jack looks to descend them.
“Hey Tyler, are we still doing the movie night?” Jack asks, the man he approaches explaining that he was about to ask Jess the same question. “My door’s still open” Jess exclaims, taking a seat at her desk as her eyes glance towards the men just a few feet away from her door, “as long as you promise to close up shop properly, use the floor however you see fit.”
With a nod, Jack and Tyler turn back for the staircase, their job on the second level already done, their next course of business being to set up the warehouse for the remainder of the evening. “You and Shauna sticking around, Reggie?” Tyler asks, the man hesitant at first, brought around when Shauna begins to nudge him towards accepting the offer.
With a sigh, Reggie gives the men a nod, agreeing to remain put and help as they need.
“Do you have any word on the national halting of the ‘stand your ground’ law?” a reporter asks, the question pointed towards a well-dressed man descending the steps of a courtroom, an American flag and pride flag pin latched to his collar. “In Connecticut, we don’t have ‘stand your ground’” the man replies, the two similarly-dressed individuals behind him remaining silent, allowing him to speak unless otherwise asked, “but I’m sure the President doesn’t want the jails overcrowded anymore.”
“Mr. Vasquez, does-?” a woman proceeds to ask, quickly interrupted by the man as he lifts one finger towards her, walking along the sidewalk, circled by the crowd of reporters, “I’d prefer you call me ‘Emilio’ until I’ve won the election.” Changing her approach, the woman rephrased her greeting, “Emilio, do you agree with President Clinton’s decision to cease the implementation of ‘stand your ground’ or not?”
“Well, you’re backing me into the corner of supporting or arguing against my own party” Emilio replies, bobbing his head from one side to another, “but I think it’s an issue rooted more in the President’s concern for the workload law enforcement already has to deal with.” Another hand from within the sea raising, the question offered presents a smile upon Emilio’s face.
“Emilio, do you or your campaign believe these attacks present a wider issue, one more dangerous to the public than currently portrayed?” the reporter asks, watching Emilio shake his head as he stops at his town car. “I believe these people are sick and they need help, which is not going to happen if we answer them with bullets and bombs” Emilio replies, opening the door to the backseat of his car, “if the President believes the answer is to crowd these epicenters less, I support her.”
Ducking into the backseat, Emilio and his two associates take the backseat and allow the driver to begin moving forward, the loosening of Emilio’s tie and the deep breath leaving his lungs allowing his mask to fall. “We’re in trouble” Emilio exclaims, throwing his hands out and immediately making it known that he believes none of what he just said, “we have ill people attacking innocent people, and these innocent people are being threatened with punishment for defending themselves.”
With a laugh, the man to Emilio’s right throws his hands out, immediately asking the candidate what he expected to happen. “You shoot someone, self defense or otherwise, you’re going to get booked” the man explains, watching Emilio’s head turn towards him, “if everyone can just run around with guns, firing at whatever they think is a threat, in the midst of chaos, how do you expect the breakouts to stop in the holding cells?”
Rolling his eyes, Emilio begins to think of a counter, his opportunity quickly stolen away by the man on his left. “Franklin, let’s call this what it is… We’ve got zombies roaming the streets!” the man argues, an audible groan coming from Franklin, who offers a counter argument. “Why aren’t they aliens then, Bill?” Franklin replies, Bill’s head hanging as the question is offered, “yes, they’re biting people, they’re strange, we can’t explain them… Why must it be zombies?”
“Have you not watched television for a single minute in your life?” Bill replies, admitting that he doesn’t want to come off as a nutjob, “how is this not like that one show, with the cop and his family?” Corrected on the title of the show by his boyfriend, Bill argues that everything they’ve seen screams nothing but ‘the undead are rising’, and anything less is ridiculous.
“Those shows are based on something that’s not reality, Bill” Franklin explains, admitting that the most likely conclusion to come to in the world they live within is that these people are sick and need treatment.
“I get that it’s easy to say ‘that’s a zombie, shoot it in the face’, but we can’t jump to the idea that this isn’t curable” Franklin explains, the side of his hand placed against the palm of his other, “if these people are just sick, we’re not defending ourselves, we’re committing murder.” Having heard enough, Emilio throws both hands out, telling both men to stop arguing, the ultimate conclusion to the problem, not one they have any power to come to.
“The only thing we can do is-” Emilio begins, stopped when the car violently shifts, thrown in the air by a massive explosion, one that levels a massive amount of area beside them. Thrown down a hill, the town car flips and skids across the ground multiple times, severed pieces of the metal skeleton of the vehicle flying through the air until it comes to a slow stop, halfway-submerged within a retention pond.
“I’ll be right back” John mutters, removing himself from his seat and handing Amy off to Meghan, the woman having two friends sat beside her, one with a child of her own, the other on her own. Travelling through the hallway, John reaches out for the handle to his bathroom before pausing, his ear pressing to the door to listen for what he can hear inside. With a sigh, John pushes the door in and looks towards the woman at the sink, a bottle of pills in her hand.
“I didn’t know my bathroom was a pharmacy” John jokes, the woman holding an apologetic look, any attempt at an apology waved off as John enters, locking the door behind him. “That’s the Viocodin, right?” John asks, the woman nodding in approval, the man proceeding to hold his hand out, waiting for the bottle to be returned to him. “Taking these with water isn’t as effective” the man explains, moving the woman aside before crushing a few pills upon his countertop.
Dividing the powder into two piles, John lifts his finger to his tongue and moistens it, instructing the woman to follow before dipping the tip of his finger into the powder. With his free hand, John pulls his bottom lip down and lathers his gums with the powder, walking the woman on how to do the same before finishing with his upper lip. “That’s the most effective route” John replies, emptying half the bottle into an already-empty, clear container and handing it to the woman.
“Don’t crush more than two pills at a time for yourself” John warns, watching the woman sneak the prescription into her bag, “I don’t know why you’ve got what you seem to have, just don’t let it kill you.” With a silent, still-guilty nod, the woman proceeds to walk off, her name called for before she can leave, prompting her to look back to the man. “Alicia!” John calls back, flashing her a smile before giving her a guilty nod of his own, “don’t tell anybody about this.”
Without a response necessary, John watches Alicia remove herself from the bathroom and return to the rest of the group, John letting out a deep sigh as he looks through the small window at the back of the room. Attempting to lose himself in his own train of thought, John begins to hear the sounds of crackling gunfire, guttural screams and beckoning calls echoing throughout grass-depraved rolling hills of dirt, a million screams bouncing through his head before his eyes shoot open.
Breaking out into a cold sweat, John forces himself to regain his composure, the tension in his arms forcing itself away, slowly easing to a loose grip on the towel rack. Licking his lips to replenish his bone-dry mouth, John wipes away at his face before attempting to leave, a moment of hesitation preceding his return to the window, a single glance out at his backyard affording him a view of the yard just beyond his wooden fence.
On the next plot of land over, John notices the open backdoor of the house behind his own, part of the final row of buildings in the neighborhood, it’s frontyard facing the bottom of a large layer of thick trees. Gazing at the sight, John notices the unusual look of the property, its sights affording him a peculiar view, something appearing off beyond any reasonable doubt.
His right hand shaking, John forces himself to ease up, the tension that runs through his muscles bringing itself on at the worst of times, disappearing in this moment at the sound of his home phone ringing. Hurrying into the kitchen, John answers the phone calling out his wife’s name, the voice on the other end belonging to the neighbor just beside him instead, a concern in her voice.
“John, I’ve been calling the police all day and they haven’t shown up yet” the woman on the other line explains, her tone carrying worry, “I just tried them again, but the line never stopped buzzing.” Knowing this to be odd, John thinks to himself for a moment before assuring the woman that he’d be going over to check the property out for himself, something that puts a general ease over her concerns for the minute.
“I’ll let you know what I find, Doris… Thank you for the update” John concludes, attempting to return the phone to its receiver, failing the first time due to the shaky hand, only succeeding on his second attempt. “I’m heading over to the Fairbanks’ next door” John explains, promising to be back in a moment, “Janice, you and Tyler should get home soon… Alicia, Lauren, Meghan, I love your company, but the same applies to you.”
Quick to point out the heavy congestion on the freeway, Janice explains that they’ve been waiting to leave since the moment the afternoon rush kicked in. “It hasn’t slowed down for the last six hours” Janice explains, a statement that confuses John, the sun beginning to fade on the neighborhood, leaving him little time to consider alternatives.
“If you’re planning on staying the night, just fix yourself up a place to sleep” John replies, not willing to waste anymore time on the conversation than he already has. Leaving his home, John begins to stroll across the street, leading himself to the neighbor’s driveway before climbing the stairs again, a knock for assurance being ignored as soon as it’s offered.
Prepared to enter at his own volition, John pushes the front door in and begins to navigate the main foyer, leaving the front door open to afford him light. Knowing the home to be empty, a strange feeling dawns upon John, the atmosphere suggesting ‘abandoned’ whilst the shiver that is sent down John’s spine suggests ‘occupied.’ Reaching into his pocket, John removes a flashlight, illuminating the dark interior of the home as his legs carry him up the stairs.
Facing the kitchen, John stands at the top step and looks to the recreational area to his left and the hallway to his right, the floor below the one he entered upon serving as the basement. Walking into the kitchen, John opens a few drawers, checking as many stashing holes the home can offer, wondering what has and has not been taken. “These guys don’t intend to come back” John mutters to himself, the small things having been left behind, but food and water having been brought along.
His hand beginning to shake less frequently, John continues to venture throughout the home, his curious mind taking him down the bedroom-lined halls. Not wishing to turn on any lights in fear for being misinterpreted as a burglar by anyone across the street, John begins to peer into bedrooms, each bed having been stripped of its linens, things like toys and backpacks left behind, seemingly considered unimportant to where they were going.
Entering the master bedroom, John veers into the area to find all the same remaining true, a single portrait of the family and the mother’s elderly grandfather left on the wall just beyond the door. “Simpler times, I suppose” John quips to himself, approaching the very end of the hallway before a rattling sound emerges from deeper within the home. His flashlight quickly turning down the way he came, John calls out for the attention of anyone left behind, his call answered immediately.
Clanking metal answering him back, John begins to return the way he came, continuing to call out for a response, the further he walks proving to be the closer he gets. Finally at the staircase, John calls out again, a set of pots and pans slamming together, making a strong sound from the home’s basement.
Descending the staircase, John calls out for the attention of those he continues calling out to, the closed door at the bottom of the stairs proving the be the barrier between himself and the occupant. Thinking whomever is on the other end is in trouble, John hurries to the bottom of the stairs and reaches out for the knob, intending to twist before a moment of realization dawns upon him, a brief hesitation allowing him to pull his hand away from the knob.
Thinking his position over for a moment, John taps his knuckles against the wooden door and hears a slamming of metal pots and pans again, a few muttered groans emerging from the other side of the door. Unsure of exactly what is on the other end, John backs away a few steps and keeps his flashlight upon the figure on the other end, ready to run out of the house if what he finds is less than flattering.
With a deep breath, John places his hand against the knob again, a gentle twist proceeding before the man shoves the barrier inwards, rushing back up the stairs before pointing the flashlight upon what rests inside. Not followed, John finds nothing awaiting him directly on the other side, the sound of pots and pans continuing to ring, this time more violently, though not any closer than it had originally been.
“John!?” a familiar voice calls out, hurrying up the stairs of the home and looking inwards, Meghan finding the man looking frighteningly worried at whatever rests at the end of his flashlight’s reach. “Stay behind me” John replies, honestly not comfortable with going in alone, preferring to do so with the woman now that she’s here. In agreement, Meghan follows John down the stairs, the man leading the push into the basement before finding the source of the noise.
“Oh, what the fu-?” John remarks, Meghan’s speechless response offering his reaction credibility, the zombified corpse of the grandfather to the Fairbanks’ matron restrained loosely to an old rocking chair, a system of strings allowing pots and pans to clash together when movement is made. The room filled with clanking metal, John and Meghan look on at the verge of sickness, a twisted reality unfolding itself right before their eyes, unable to truly explain itself.
== Rise: Remastered ==