“What the fuck is wrong with this guy!?” Lauren exclaims, looking on from afar as Alicia strolls around the restrained corpse, inspecting it from just out of its undead reach. “He’s one of the sick, is it really that hard to tell?” John replies, his argument immediately countered, the drug-gummed woman circling the corpse sending a momentary hush over the gathered collection.
“No, he’s dead” Alicia replies, every eye in the room immediately looking towards her, unable to ask for a repeat of her declaration before she begins pointing out her findings. “He’s got a clean exit wound right behind his heart, and there’s too much blood all over the floor for this guy to still be alive” Alicia explains, John proceeding to cautiously approach the body, looking into the discoveries for himself, “overall, this guy was shot and bled out. It’s confusing, but he’s dead dead.”
“Have you failed to notice that he’s still moving?” Meghan replies, challenging the woman’s thoughts until she suddenly hushes, watching John retrieve a lead pipe from across the room. Cautiously leaning forward, John gets the corpse to open its jaw before ramming a led pipe between his teeth, the free hand he has being placed against the man’s neck, feeling for a pulse.
“I’ve got nothing here” John replies, looking back to Alicia, suggesting that he finds her assumptions credible, his ear placed against the man’s heart, finding the lack of a beat. “This guy isn’t dead, but he’s most certainly not alive” John concludes, removing the pipe once more before tossing it across the room. “I don’t understand, why is he moving?” Janice replies, the certainty in their conclusions not being accompanied by any definitive statements.
“That’s what’s boggling the rest of us” John replies, admitting that he has no idea why anything about the scene is as it had been found. “If he had a fucking pulse, it’d be easy to argue that’s he’s just sick” Alicia replies, looking towards John, admitting that she no longer trusts the input he’s getting from his fellow veterans, “but I can’t make that same call when he’s fucking dead.”
Dumbfounded, Meghan blurts out a question that leaves the rest of the room silent, something fairly outlandish now having become as real as death and taxes. “So, are you saying he’s a zombie?” Meghan replies, both John and Alicia looking back towards each other before their eyes lower to the growling lump of flesh between them, unsure of how to respond, partially unable to admit the truth to themselves.
= 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 =
“Em? Em!” a voice shouts, the gubernatorial candidate blinking unresponsively, the blood having rushed to his head, his brain unable to process what has happened. “Em?” the voice continues to beckon, finally earning Emilio’s attention, the man looking to the side to find his boyfriend, Bill already having left his seat, now kneeling upon what used to be the roof.
“What happened?” Emilio groggily asks, finally able to notice the danger he is surrounded by, only to fall short of fully comprehending everything as it unfolds, only the chorus of terrified screaming surrounding the vehicle to guide him along. Tilting Emilio’s head, Bill unbuckles the seatbelt and carries him to the new floor of the car, metal bending with the addition of Emilio’s body weight.
Turning around, Bill begins to tend to Franklin, the man having been thrown across the backseat by the sheer impact of the twist, his seatbelt having torn apart in the process. “Frankie, can you hear me?” Bill asks, Franklin’s eyes open and blinking, not a single word leaving the man’s lips until Bill tends to him. “What’s going on?” Franklin asks, watching Bill’s lips move, but unable to fully understand what’s being said, his attention finally taken by the thrashing of the vehicle.
Tilting slowly to one side, Bill notices the front seat of the car beginning to collect water, rushing waves running over the window borders and the shattered windshield, their time running out. In a moment of panic, Bill pushes his boyfriend through the opening in the window before rushing over to do the same for Franklin. Looking into the front seat, Bill fails to spot the car’s driver, a body-shaped hole in the windshield suggesting there is no safety for their accompanying guide.
In the nick of time, Bill crawls through the window just as the car begins to tip heavily, soon swallowing up the retention pond’s surface, disappearing below the calm waves. Hunched over, Emilio lets his dinner crawl back up his throat and spill out of his mouth, Franklin quickly trying to force himself to regain his steadiness, pushing himself to his feet and making sure he remains there.
“Can you walk?” Bill asks Franklin, a moment of consideration being taken before Franklin’s assurance, Bill quickly pulls his boyfriend over his shoulder and begins to lead the pair up the hill. After a struggle, Bill leads Emilio and Franklin back to where their car lost all control, a massive sea of people running towards and away from the scene of a massive blast.
The day begins to settle down, Bill begins to lead those with him towards a closed barbershop near the center of the blast, the twirl of the illuminated barber’s pole. “Why won’t you tell me what happened?” Emilio mutters, Bill promising him that he would explain everything if he were able to. “I don’t know what’s going on” Bill replies, quickly watching three people race towards them, knives in their hands, prompting the politicians to stop.
“We don’t want any trouble!” Bill exclaims, unable to throw his hands up without letting his boyfriend collapse, his explanation ignored as the trio pull the group away, leading them back where they came from. “You don’t want to go back there!” the woman exclaims, two other men beside her immediately racing towards Emilio, helping lead him away.
“What happened here?” Bill asks, the woman hesitant to respond with anything other than the simplest form of an answer. “The whole fucking building exploded, the dead are everywhere!” the woman exclaims, the little she offers providing brief, yet lackluster information. “Who are you?” Bill asks, the woman stopped from answering before she can even open her mouth, a set of bullets firing through the air in their direction forcing them to duck behind cover.
“Take ‘em out, boys!” the woman exclaims, barking out the order as if this attack was something she’d expected, both Bill and Franklin diving behind a car alongside her. In a moment of hesitation, the two men throw Emilio towards his boyfriend and running mate, only one able to retrieve their firearms in time. A bullet through the eye taking one of the men out, the woman’s second friend immediately ducks behind a tree, holding fire until he can get a better shot.
“Dude!” the woman exclaims, her friend’s attention paid fully to the individuals responsible for the gunshots, unable to notice the stumbling burn victim taking an interest in him. Ducking out of cover, the second man begins to return fire towards their attackers, a single bullet to the chest ending any attack he had been hoping to wage, the gun leaving his hands as quickly as the bullet lodges itself in his chest.
With a groan, the woman takes aim at the burning figure closing in on her friend, but fails to get a decent shot before the charred remnants bury its teeth into the man’s throat. Horrified, the man screams in agony as he drops to his knees, unable to defend himself as the blood runs from his neck, Bill and Franklin watching on as best they can, muttering expletives to themselves as the sight unfolds.
Punching the bumper of the vehicle she takes cover in, the woman waits a moment before ducking out of cover, a single shot audibly finding its target, putting her attacker down in his place. Keeping aim as she presents herself, the woman strolls over to her friend before firing a single shot into the back of the burn victim’s head, the bullet ripping through the burnt skull and imbedding itself in her friend’s own, a single bullet ending the misery of two souls.
“We’ve got to go now!” the woman exclaims, Bill’s request to hear her name falling on deaf ears, a conversation to be had elsewhere. Lacking any specific destination, the woman helps guide Franklin away as Bill carries Emilio, the political spokesman slowly coming back to sound mind, understanding the gravity of the situation they face.
Slamming her hand against her horn, Jess remains stranded in the midst of bumper-to-bumper, dead-stop traffic, her car empty aside from herself, business casual attire exchanged for a t-shirt and shorts to combat the hot summer sun. “As the summer winds down, we’re beginning to find ourselves embattling the last true heatwaves we’ll see for the rest of this year” the anchor over the radio explains, her head shaking as she switches the station, finding the nearest pop station before settling.
Frustrated, Jess begins to let the tips of her fingers tap against the steering wheel, waiting for the line of vehicles ahead of her to move another few inches closer to where she’s going. The sun begins to set on a day where she’s spent more time in traffic than at work or home, Jess grows more impatient as each second turns into an additional minute, her only reprieve coming from a phone call from her husband.
“I’m trying to get home, John… I’ve been in frozen traffic for the last four hours” Jess explains, unhappy with her predicament, but left with little to turn to. “Jess, I think that might be the last of our problems” John replies, the vagueness in his tone not offering much, but the slight resemblance of worry his words carry doing enough to convince Jess that, whatever this problem may be, is one to take seriously.
“The Fairbanks’ skipped town a few hours ago, and that old guy that’s been staying with them?... He’s dead” John explains, the woman immediately growing concerned, not yet having been delivered the true stunner. “He’s not breathing, he’s got no pulse, no heartbeat, and there’s a bullet hole ripping straight through his chest and a massive pool of blood” John explains, “but he’s strapped to a chair, growling at everyone he sees, and biting at us whenever we get close.”
Telling her husband to stop messing with her, Jess finds herself lost for answers when John assures her of the truth, swearing the sights he hosts on their daughter’s grave. “Jess, something is seriously fucked up right now” John explains, speaking into dead air, Jess letting him finish before interjecting, “I don’t wanna say zombie, but I think this guy’s a fucking zombie.”
Still uncertain her husband is telling the whole truth, Jess runs down the checklist again, the answers she receives being nothing she can put any other answer down upon. “So he’s a zombie? Like… an actual zombie?” Jess replies, the mostly-assured answer from her husband being something that still fails to truly connect with her. “Are you fucking sure, John?” Jess replies, unable to fathom how something so outlandish would grow to become so real.
“Jess, I wouldn’t be calling you if I wasn’t positive something completely unbelievable was going on” John explains, promising that everything he’s offering her is as close to the truth as he can offer, “however you get it done, you need to get home now.” Looking through her windshield, Jess notices two younger-appearing people talking a few cars ahead, prompting her to end the call, promising to do what she can.
Ending the call, Jess emerges from her vehicle and approaches the young pair, a man sitting through his car’s spoiler, using it as a dinner tray for his sub sandwich, a second young lady stood beside him. “Have either of you-?” Jess begins to ask, the whirring sound just above cutting her off, all three people looking to the skies to see a set of jets ripping through the air, advancing towards the nearest population center with intent.
“Have either of you figured out what’s going on?” Jess asks, the man all too happy to answer the question. “The dead are rising” the man humorously replies, watching the older woman’s eyes roll before correcting himself, “well, the undead are rising.” Squinting, Jess looks towards the young man with a confused stare, wondering what he means in the words he’s offering.
“These people are dying up there...” the young man begins, pointing to his head, “...but they’re still kicking in here” he concludes, pointing to his chest. “I’m sorry, I think I’m-” Jess begins to reply, quickly cut off by the woman standing beside the man, apologizing for the vagueness of the sandwich-eating informer’s behalf. “People are getting sick and their whole bodies are shutting down… except for the heart” the girl replies, “the heart kicks the bucket once it restarts the brain.”
“Break it down in normal terms, please?” Jess quickly replies, the man immediately arguing such a chaotic scene is impossible to do justice for in such a case. “I’m Troy, this is Katie” the man explains, offering an introduction to kickstart the mess of a conversation, “and you are?”
“Mildly confused” the woman replies, both hands placed against her hips, “also, Jess.” With a nod, Troy expresses his appreciation for the woman’s sarcasm, quickly returning to his point. “We’re coming up from Delaware… We got our hands dirty with a few friends a couple of days ago and have been on the run ever since” Troy explains, “we’ve seen it happen, the body dies everywhere except for the heart… The heart kicks the brain on and then dies off, too.”
“So we’re being infested by zombies?” Jess replies, quickly corrected by Troy, who takes intrigue in the readjustment. “No, we’re being infested by corpses… The brain never truly dies” Troy explains, chalking up the beasts beneath the term ‘undead’, “they’re both dead and not dead.”
Taking her turn to speak, Katie explains that they’re too far gone to come back, but will rip into anything that moves. “It’s an infection, that’s as much as we know” Katie clarifies, rolling her eyes towards her friend, “everything Troy just spewed off at you with is the conclusion he’s come to.” Downing the bite of his sandwich, Troy explains that the only functions the undead have come from their brain, and those simple motor functions turn towards people with violence.
“I can’t tell you how one of these things thinks, if it even really does…” Troy admits, his finger pointed towards Jess, confident in his analysis, “...but whether it be out of need or want, these fuckers are going to rip your face clean off if they want!” With a sigh, Jess holds her head in her hands and turns back to her vehicle, returning to her car with a half-hearted ‘thanks’, the door slamming shut on her way in, proving to be the only outlet for her persistent anger.
Removing himself from his seat, Jack walks away from the warehouse floor where many fellow employees remain, watching a movie out of their own wish to, or through force due to the heavy traffic. Ascending the steps, Jack begins to walk towards the cubicle-filled sector of the building until a second set of footsteps present themselves behind him, a voice calling out for his attention just as he picks up on the light steps.
“What’re you doing, Jack?” a man’s voice calls out, a relieved Jack leaning forward and taking in a solid breath, a concern having come over him for a moment, unsure of what walks behind him. “I’m good, Reg… Just getting the blood rushing to my legs again” Jack replies, the man patting him on the shoulder before turning on a desk lamp, his spooked fellow employee watching Reggie take a seat in a cubicle not belonging to him.
“You seem off today” Reggie explains, the conclusion not one that he alone has come to, “something going on back at home?” Looking down in disappointment, Jack admits that he’s got very little going on in the place he sleeps at every night. “Don’t get me wrong, I’m getting used to her not being there every night” Jack explains, the problem not being the empty space beside him at night, “I’m just not too thrilled about actually getting used to it.”
With a laugh, Reggie hears Jack remind him that what was said was not intended as a joke, a conclusion Reggie had already made. “I’m just laughing at how short of a time it’s been” Reggie explains, “it may not feel like eight months, but it’s been eight months… Everyone grieves a breakup differently, that goes double when talking about an engagement ending.”
Nodding his head, Jack reaches over and pulls a chair up beside the desk, kicking his feet atop the wooden surface before him and admitting that he wants to move on as much as he doesn’t. “Do you think I don’t know exactly how you feel?” Reggie replies, Jack being reminded of their past through the man’s own perspective. “I played with suicide the same way every damn day, my dude” Reggie replies, patting him on the shoulder, “it wasn’t until you came along that I chose my side.”
“So, you’re supposed to be my guiding light?” Jack jokes, a subtle smack on the chest from the back of Reggie’s hand redirecting course. “The world’s a fucking mess right now, Jack” Reggie explains, leaning back in his chair with both hands behind his head, “enjoy what you’ve got while you’ve-.”
Noticing the same banging sound as Jack, Reggie pulls himself out of his chair and returns to the warehouse floor, a group of workers standing by with their eyes draped upon the front gates. “I need help!” a woman shrieks, a man stood just beside her, clutching at an open wound upon his chest. “What the fuck is going on?” Reggie exclaims, noticing the lack of rush from his coworkers to help the woman, a sight he takes pity on.
“The fuck is wrong with you motherfuckers, we’ve got wounded!” Reggie exclaims, following Jack as the pair rush to the gates, calls for medical equipment and phone calls to be made emerging from the worried crowd. Unlocking the restraints, Jack and Reggie pull the gate open and hurry to the man, their questions of what he needs not answered at first, a much more calm reflection in the woman’s tone being offered as she answers on his behalf.
“Everything” the woman replies, watching Reggie and Jack look back at her, confronted with the barrel of a gun in their faces, her finger resting upon the trigger, ready to fire at any moment. “The two of you need to get back inside and get everyone to cooperate” the woman explains, three vans pulling up to the side of the road and allowing uniformed men to swarm the premises, “don’t make this harder on yourselves than it needs to be.”
“I need to get up to Maine before everything goes to shit” Doris explains, packing her vehicle and making for the driver’s seat, “I wish you luck, John… I really do.” Entering her car, Doris backs her vehicle out of the driveway and takes onto the road, John watching her vehicle and an assortment of others vanish down the street as the neighborhood begins to evacuate.
“Shit’s already gone to hell!” John exclaims, shouting towards Doris’ car well after it has already left, Meghan stood at the top of the Fairbanks’ doorstep, watching on. “I can see the tremors are back” Meghan calls out, watching her brother-in-law return to the home, his hands shaking of their own volition. “Spend a few years at war, your body will betray you, too” John remarks, walking past the woman with his eyes on the basement, a shout catching his attention in the distance.
Shouting at the cars that pass her by, a woman leads three people, all at varying levels of discomfort, to the top of the hill, her eyes spotting John and Meghan immediately. “Hey!” the woman exclaims, watching the pair remain stood atop the stairs, hearing the woman out from afar. “Do we know you?” John proceeds to ask, originally not believing himself to have ever seen the foursome before, a moment of recollection bringing one of the faces ahead of the other.
“Are you the guy running for governor?” John calls out, his finger aimed at a loopy Emilio, verifying the man’s accuracy through a cloudy haze. “Our car got fucked up downtown, I still don’t even know what happened” Emilio explains, the woman quick to fill in the blanks. “One of the old warehouses blew like a lit fuse” the woman recalls, “people were convulsing, others were going ballistic… It was bad.”
“And the rest of you are?” Meghan proceeds, apologizing for the cold introduction, preferring to simply know what she can about the people she’s interacting with. “That’s Bill, Franklin, Emilio, and I’m Salem” the woman replies, finger pointed at each individual person as she goes along. “I don’t mean to be a bother, but do you guys have a phone I can use?” Salem asks, her voice carrying a somber hesitation, not wanting the phone, but rather, needing it.
“Yeah sure, but… We’ve got a problem in here” John replies, the intrigue of Salem immediately captured in such an introduction. Giving into the behest of the woman, John leads the four into the basement, the sight they stumble upon baffling the newest additions to their ranks. Introducing the four to Alicia, John watches Emilio and Franklin approach the body, told to remain cautious as Bill looks on from afar.
“Are those the things you said were back there?” Emilio asks, looking back towards Salem and Bill, not a moment of hesitation proceeding, the interaction puzzling John. “Wait, you’ve seen more of these?” John asks, Salem immediately looks back with assurance, promising the man that every instance he’s heard of is real. “There’s a lot more going on than anyone’s being told” Salem explains, “shit’s getting real, and I’m pretty sure it’s being covered up to avoid a mass-panic.”
“So these fuckers are everywhere?” Alicia clarifies, Salem looking back to her with a wide-eyed nod. “This ‘stand down’ thing the government’s got going on… It’s only making the spread worse” Salem explains, her head shaking with great disapproval, something Bill and Franklin notice, “I wouldn’t be surprised if we were only a few days away from a global emergency.”
Walking back towards the woman, Franklin begins to ask her about the other experiences she’s had, a brief snap cutting his question short, the restraints of the undead figure giving out. Lunging out of his seat, the old man tackles an unsuspecting Franklin to the ground, the sudden change in events catching everyone by surprise. Pushing the corpse back with his forearm, Franklin feels the tip of the old man’s teeth sink into his flesh, ripping off a chunk of his forearm with ease.
Screaming out in excruciating pain, Franklin manages to hold off any second attack long enough for a dazed Emilio to rip the corpse off his running mate. The only people unphased, John and Salem burst into action, John taking his flashlight into his hand whilst Salem calls out for someone to find something sharp. Now pushed against the floor with the corpse atop him, Emilio struggles to keep the chomping teeth of the undead figure above him from taking another bite.
Trying to pull the corpse off his boyfriend, Bill finds himself unable to rip the grasp of the corpse’s hands from Emilio’s shirt, his stamina depleted from the journey to the neighborhood. Proving to have the magic touch, John cracks the corpse over the head with the flashlight at the demand of Salem, a splatter of blood running across the wall as the corpse topples to the side.
A change in the man’s eyes, John steps over Emilio and Bill and kneels over each arm of the elderly corpse, both hands clenched upon the flashlight before bringing its most solid end crashing into the grandfather’s eye socket. Unsatisfied with his work, John listens to the growls of the corpse below him before taking the flashlight to him once more, continuing to deal blows until the fight in the zombie beneath him finally dies out.
Fighting for every breath, John lets the flashlight topple to the floor, rolling to the wall before coming to a stop. Despite the ongoing chaos behind him, John takes a moment to reflect, the sight of the results to his actions below bringing a steady calm over his usual tremor-heavy hand. “What are you doing!?” Emilio exclaims, watching Salem tie Franklin’s own belt buckle over the bitten wound, a large saw clutched in her opposite hand.
“You fuckers clearly don’t understand how these things work” Salem exclaims, making it simple for them to understand. “If you die, you’re coming back… If you get bitten, you’re dying and then coming back” Salem explains, taking the saw into her opposite hand, “you want him to have a chance of living? Sever the infection before it can spread- however the fuck that happens.”
“This is insane!” Emilio shouts, quickly learning that the woman has no care for what seems logical or illogical based on the environment she’s in. “This is how it is, this is how it works” Salem explains, challenging the man to do his job and make a decision, “you gonna let your friend die, or are you gonna let me do what I can to keep him alive?”
Allowing Alicia to toss a bottle of rubbing alcohol and towels beside her, Salem continues to keep her eyes upon Emilio, the man’s silence being taken as a failure to act when necessary. Shaking her head, Salem wastes no further time, the saw being brought upon the man’s arm, just below his elbow, and running over his flesh until the saw hits the floor.
Unable to watch, Emilio and Bill turn away, John looking on from afar, engulfing himself in the truth of what this new environment calls for in the return of survival. Screaming in a mixture of pain and horror, Franklin feels the control of his hand quickly deplete, his arm growing uncomfortably loose as blood oozes out of the incision.
Too drugged to truly take in the full effects of this sight, Alicia watches the scene unfold beside a sickened Meghan, Salem finally ripping through the other half of the man’s arm amidst a chorus of groans. Quick to race into action, John helps Salem dress the wound properly, Franklin remaining conscious through it all, refusing to slip out of consciousness for the second time that day.
“I think you’ll be just fine” Salem mutters beneath her breath, tying the towels to Franklin’s injury whilst looking at John, the man glancing back at her, expressing his intrigue in her statement. “Why do you say that?” John replies, the sadistic smirk upon the woman’s face telling him most of what he needs to know. “You seem to get it” Salem replies, giving the man a nod of approval, “this world is gonna need people like you.”
Made extremely uncomfortable by such a statement, John offers his ingenuine appreciation for her conclusion, continuing to look her in the eyes while he continues to wrap the wound.
== Rise: Remastered ==