“Good morning students and faculty. Please rise for your morning prayer” a voice calls out over the intercom, prompting each of the students seated in their desks to stand to their feet and bow their heads with their hands folded together. Delayed in his reaction, one of the kids in the middle of the assortment of desks stands to his feet and just looks around the room.
Waiting for the principal to be done with his request to the afterlife, the kid continues to stare around the room before locking eyes on one person in specific. Hands folded and head tucked downwards, a girl near the front of the room smirks and turns her head in the direction of the guy with his eyes locked onto her.
After a few proceeding moments, the prayers conclude and everyone returns to their seats as the girl at the front of the room walks to an empty desk directly beside the man and strikes up a conversation with him just as the morning announcements begin getting underway. “And your thoughts are?” The girl asks, watching the guy attempting to squirm father into his chair than possible. “My thoughts on what?” the guy asks, turning to face the girl with a smile on his face.
“This cannibal thing” the girl replies, watching as the guy looks back to her, genuinely puzzled, but intrigued. “What cannibal thing?” the guy asks, leaning forward as the girl pulls out her phone and opens up to a news article on her phone with the link to a photo before handing it to the guy.
Skimming through the article with a different photo breaking up each paragraph, the guy reads portions aloud to the girl with a sense of humor, treating it as a joke. “Wounded individuals healing over time and coming back hostile? Separate reports of hallucinogenic-induced tendencies towards the nobility of human life when aggravated? Patients falling ill crashing into a primal-like rage with violence and other indescribable acts deemed as indecent and unpropper?” Pausing for a moment and pointing at the screen in his hand, the man turns towards the girl and continues. “Is this some Onion article masqueraded as world news?”
“Oh, come on Lou. This is real!” the girl says under her breath so as not to be overheard, pulling her phone from the man’s hand as she does. “Ally, that’s almost as real as god. Give it a rest with this conspiracy stuff, okay?” Lou replies, dropping back into his seat.
The morning announcements continue over the loudspeaker, the quality of the audio remaining awkward and embarrassing. “And I would like to further illustrate that our school will always stand by our students and do whatever we have the power to do to ensure they remain safe and well looked after.” Chuckling to himself before opening his math textbook, Lou watches Ally slump back into her seat in disappointment.
“Due to concerns from parents and guardians, we have decided to end today’s first Friday mass following the receiving of communion, and we further ask all of our students and faculty to return to the gymnasium immediately following to await an announcement from Principal Thurgood. Thank you.”
Turning to face Lou, Ally watches him pull out his phone and begin texting his mother. “What’s wrong?” Ally asks, watching as Lou shrugs the message off. “She just said the state is preparing to let school out early since everyone’s panicking about something.”
“It’s that cannibal thing” Ally replies, almost sarcastically before Lou chuckles to himself and stands to his feet. “I’ve got to get Wyatt his math book back, I’ll spot you out in the auditorium” Lou says before leaning in to give Ally a peck on the cheek. “Love you” Lou says, walking off as Ally smirks and returns the favor.
Walking through the door and into the somewhat narrow hallway, Lou heads to the absolute end of the space and approaches a taller guy taking off his jacket and unloading it in the thin locker space. “Your book Lachman” Lou says, holding out the book for Wyatt to take. “Thanks Jack.”
Turning around to leave, Lou goes to walk off until Wyatt calls out for him. “Hey, Lou?” Wyatt says, prompting Lou to turn around and return to Wyatt. “What’s up?” Lou asks, watching Wyatt turn to him with an envelope in his hand. From behind, Ally pokes Lou in the side and walks into his arms as Lou takes the envelope. “Happy birthday, you big dumbass!” Wyatt says with a smirk as he watches Lou open the note.
“Happy birthday, you lovely dumbass. Sincerely, Ally” Lou reads, smiling as the girl in his arms refuses to remove herself. “Are you gonna let me kiss you or are you my jacket now?” Lou remarks before Ally does just that and kisses her boyfriend just before Wyatt pats him on the shoulder. “So, any miracles in store for some future to fall into your lap or what?” Wyatt jokes, only for Ally to build upon the statement.
“Yeah, what’s up with this no college thing? You’re the only person that I know that isn’t going off to college in the fall” The girl says, watching as her boyfriend rolls his eyes and playfully tries to remove his girlfriend’s hand from his arm. “College just isn’t my thing” Lou says, only for another guy and girl to make a remark passing by. “College isn’t the only option! You could do theater…” the girl says, watching as Lou turns to watch her and her boyfriend walk away before responding, “Thank you, peanut gallery!”
“No problem!” the girl shouts back, strolling further down the hallway and disappearing into the growing crowd of people on their way into the main foyer. “Seriously, Lou. I know it’s great to go with whatever life throws at you, but you’ve got no plan and we’re at the witching hour!” Ally adorably pleads. “Ally, no amount of arousal is going to change the fact that I’ve got literally nothing to offer the world” Lou says, only to be met with an immediate counter from Wyatt.
“Bullshit, you always know what to say and people follow you blindly because of it. Do something with that!” Wyatt says, watching Lou roll his eyes and meet the suggestion with sarcasm. “And what do you suggest? I walk into a mall and make a big speech?”
“Well it’s better than sitting at home while everyone else is at college!” Ally counters, only to be met with an instant refusal. “College just takes your money and tells you pointless shit you can learn in twenty minutes online. It’s a waste of time and effort that I ain’t bothering with.”
“Well you’ve got to think of something!” Wyatt says, attempting to continue before he is interrupted by someone walking up to the two. “Who’s got to think of something and for what?” the voice asks, with a girl walking up beside Wyatt. “Hello, Jenny” Lou says, drawing out the vowels. “Happy birthday you stubborn son of a bitch” the woman retorts confidently as she fist bumps the birthday boy. “Alright, we’ve talked about your laziness enough for one day” Ally says, turning her focus back onto her boyfriend. “Let’s celebrate your birthday!”
Just as the two attempt to kiss, the loudspeaker calls for the senior class to make their way to mass. “Damn cockblocks” Lou mutters under his breath, being met with a playful smack on the chest by Ally as the pair walk alongside Wyatt and Jenny down the hallway with the remainder of the senior class.
= RISE and REVOLT is created by Zachary Serra, all rights to the series belong to Zachary Serra and the entity of Pacer1 Media =
“And in this world, there will be many obstacles” the priest states, his sermon bringing most of the students that don’t want to be there to begin with to a near-sleep as the day crosses into eight o’clock. Seated near the back, in a row almost completely to themselves, two guys have a conversation quietly until one of the two begins looking anxiously around the auditorium. “Come on Terry, let’s get out of here” the first guy says, slowly standing to a crouch. “Where you goin’ Jules?” asks the first guy, watching him wave his hand in his face and signalling for him to come along.
Sitting beside each other in a packed row, Lou and his group of four sit and await communion until they are signalled to the end of the row by a teacher. Climbing over one student after another, the group of four finally makes it to the end where Lou is pulled aside by the teacher in question. “What’s up Mr. Gnervo?” Lou asks, watching the usually composed but now slightly thrown off teacher give him simple and easy instructions. “I need you four to do me a favor, okay? Go to the music room and wait there for an hour. I’ll be in to get you, and if I don’t come to get you in an hour, just start heading home, okay?”
Watching the man’s mannerisms, hands shaking and sweaty and eyes unable to stay fixated on one thing for too long, Lou nods in agreement and takes his group out of the auditorium without saying much. Finally, once through the doors into the main foyer, Lou tells the group what he was instructed to do by Gnervo. “Why an hour? Aren’t classes starting in twenty minutes?” Jenny asks, trying to connect the pieces no one seems to be able to put together. “Listen, I don’t think any of us know what to make of it, so let’s just do what we’re told and not try to get into trouble, okay?”
“Yes sir, birthday boy, sir!” Wyatt says, mockingly, placing his hand to his head and saluting the efforts made. Turning the corner, Lou and his group stumble upon Terry and Jules, walking in their direction with seemingly no predetermined destination. “Lost?” Lou asks, watching both men just silently shrug their shoulders. “Skipping church?” Wyatt asks, somewhat cocky before finding his ribs hit with an elbow from the woman to his left. “Trying to at least. You gonna tattle or some shit?” Terry says, watching Lou simply shake his head to decline before waving his hand as a signal for Terry and Jules to come along.
Reaching the end of the hall, the group of six enter the music room and find both the peanut gallery from before chatting by the piano in the center end of the room. “You get the golden ticket too?” Ally asks, watching the two, Pete Vincenzo and Margo Fink walk over to a filing cabinet and retrieve a bottle of Evan Williams and an assortment of plastic cups. “Did we travel to the 80’s or some shit, what the fuck is going on?” Lou exclaims, both in confusion and jubilation as his cup is the first one poured. “How did you get away with this?” Jenny asks, her question coming from a state of impression.
“We’re going to Juliard in the fall. We live in this room, we’ve got it all mapped out” Fink replies, turning to the group after filling their cups and looking straight towards Lou, “Happy birthday to the one and only!” Fink shouts, earning a cheer from the rest of the group. Suddenly, the door to the music room is pushed open once more, and emerging from around the corner is another girl, traveling in alone. “Halston! Welcome to the party!” Lou shouts, raising his glass and earning an applause from his peers as Halston finds her own cup and meets the liquid-courage requirements.
“Wait, why are you guys down here? Isn’t the church thing still going on?” Vincenzo asks, watching as everyone in the group turns to face Lou. “Honestly, I have no idea” Lou says, leaning forward and holding the cup by the rim. “Gnervo just pulled us out and told us to sit here and wait for him” Lou explains, watching as everyone other than his core group of four look around in confusion. “He told you guys to leave too?” Halston asks, with the group then turning their attention to her. “He told me to wait for him here for the next hour. Said he needed to tell me and a few others something important” Halston explains further, creating an even bigger sense of confusion on everyone.
“Well, what are we waiting for then?” Terry asks, watching Fink and Vincenzo shrug their shoulders. “We’ve got nothing to do with it” they reply, the rest of the group giving their own signal of confusion and unawareness in accordance. After a few moments, the sound of shuffling in the other room grows louder and signals that the mass is just getting out. “Well, whatever it is he’s got to say, I would guess that an hour free from class isn’t gonna do any harm” Lou jokes, watching the group around him nod. “I’ll raise a glass to that!” Wyatt says, doing so accordingly as the remainder of the group follows along. “To Lou! For being the golden ticket to getting shitfaced!” Ally exclaims, earning a cheer from everyone as they settle in to wait.
Despite the sound of laughter bouncing off of the concrete walls for anyone with a functional set of ears to hear, the group of young adults sat in a circle spreading the length of the main floor continues to enjoy the time being had, laughing and sharing stories about what made high school worth the effort of surviving in their own eyes. “Anyone got plans for the fall?” Vincenzo asks, looking around the room in search of a volunteer.
“SDSU over here” Terry says, lifting his cup to his lips. “USC for me” Jules follows, playfully tipping Terry’s cup higher up enough to get a few drops of whisky to drop onto his collar. “Jenn? Wyatt?” Fink asks, looking over to the two curled up together in the uncomfortable plastic seats. “I’m off to Colorado State and this guy over here…” Jenn starts, slowly lifting her hand before placing it over the nose of the man just above her, “Is staying here in Cali.”
“I’m heading off to Cal-Berkeley, gonna major in astronomy” Halston says, taking a swig from her cup as Lou looks on in a cheerful wonder. “Astronomy, huh?” the birthday boy asks, purposefully utilizing a sarcastic tone as Halston leans forward, placing her cup to the floor below and asks for his own future planning.
Biting his lip and folding his arms together, Lou sits back in his chair and shrugs his shoulders whilst shaking his head. “I’ve got nothing” he says, lifting his eyes to the woman ahead of him, who squints her own in response. “You’ve got no plan?” Halston asks, this time with a slight tone indicating her judgment. “No plan. Just going with the flow” Lou reiterates, smirking with the corner of his lip whilst panning across the room, noticing everyone refusing to state their own opinions on the matter by lowering their heads and taking another swig.
“Is that a problem for you all?” Lou asks, tilting his head and narrowing his eyes, aware of the poor attempt to conceal their thoughts, with their true belief being written across their face like graffiti over the side of a white wall. “I mean, there’s so much movement in your eyes I’d think you were trying to communicate via telepathy. Something you have to say?” Lou asks, looking around the room for a volunteer.
“I think you’re just being stubborn” the voice besides him says, with Lou turning to see Ally shaking her cup around in a circle. “I don’t think you want to hear what anyone has to say” she repeats, this time turning to look Lou in the eyes. “And I think you refuse to make a plan because you know how much life sucks and don’t want to be a part of it yet” the girl concludes, watching Lou’s eyes drop as he grinds his teeth together, the tension showing in the outline of his jaw.
Waiting for his response, Ally sits up and watches her boyfriend look around the room, his eyes pacing in circles like they’re taking part in a race. Finally, he breaks his silence and stands from his seat, making for the door. “It’s been three hours. I’m going to look for Gnervo” Lou says, disappearing through the door as Ally goes after him, leaving the remaining members of the group to look around the room at each other until they all collectively join the girl in going after Lou.
“Lou, you cant run from this forever!” Ally shouts, her words bouncing off the narrow walls like a tennis ball as they, too chase after Lou. “Watch me” the stubborn man states, walking into the open cafeteria to find it void of life, not a soul to be heard from. Catching up to the man as he stands as still as a statue, Ally tells Lou to face his future. “The future is coming and you need to figure out what to do with it” Ally says, only to find Lou unresponsive, not paying any attention to her words as the rest of the group catches up to them. “Lou?” Wyatt calls, finding the man looking around the area with a blatant look of confusion on his face, in an almost trance-like state, silent and perplexed.
“Lou, what’s up?” Terry asks, putting his hand on Lou’s shoulder and coming face to face with him, hoping for it to break him from his silence. “Something’s wrong” Lou answers, slowly walking forward from the entry to the cafeteria and further into the front of the school. “What do you mean ‘something’s wrong?’” Halston asks, following the group in the direction Lou’s deciding to take them. “Look around” Lou says, pointing to any direction as he explains further. “No one. Not a student, not a teacher. It’s just empty” Lou says, continuing to walk forward as the group begins to follow him into his state of confusion.
“They’re all probably in class” Ally says, just as Lou comes to a stop directly in the center of the main foyer. Turning to his right, Lou points at the front office, pointing out the empty desks and overall lack of life. “Does that include the office workers too?” Lou asks, turning to his girlfriend, now starting to visibly worry as he leads the group further forward before coming to another stop just next to the entrance to one of the main hallways. “Lou?” Jenn asks, watching him face the gymnasium entry, unusually shut off from the main foyer, with the doors closed and locked.
“Quick. Find something heavy. Something to defend yourself” Lou says aloud, turning the group’s worry into concern. “WHY?” Ally asks, fully enraptured in the fear being manufactured by the scenery around them. “I’ve got a bad feeling” Lou responds, simple and straight-forward as Jenn doesn’t waste a moment further, walking over to an emergency panel and opening the door to it, retrieving a bright-red fire axe before joining back with the core group.
Slowly, Lou walks forward and reaches for the handle, his hands subtly shaking before he notices and take in a breath, easing their tension and pushing down on the latch to it, pulling it open to reveal the inside. Frozen still, Lou shakes free from his fear and uses his foot to guide the stand at the bottom of the door, propping it open as he walks in, followed by the group shortly thereafter.
Once inside, the group is bathed in the artificial light from above as they pan all around the area, from the bleachers to the court itself. Strewn around the place like flies at the base of a light, the entire student body, comprised of students, teachers, other faculty and board members lay dead all around, just corpses amongst corpses with not a single sign of life to be found. Speechless, frozen in horror and stunted by shock, their eyes simply ponder around, looking at the hundreds of bodies laid to a mysterious and cruel demise in what is presumed to be their final resting places.
“Wh-” Lou attempts to say, only to cut himself off by noticing one person near the center of the court. As the only member of the group able to walk more than a few steps without stopping in place, Lou climbs over body after body before finding one man dropped almost in the exact center of the logo at midcourt dressed in a blue sweater vest and beige khakis. Reaching down, Lou pulls the shoulder of the teacher over until he’s resting on his back. His eyes, white and lifeless stranded in a permanent look of shock.
“Is… is that-” Jenn asks, her words prompting the rest of the group to look at Lou, just standing over Mr. Gnervo’s corpse with his head tilted to the side. After a few moments, Lou lifts his eyes from the corpse below him to the other hundred’s scattered in random places around the gym. “Someone did this” Wyatt says aloud, with the rest of the group turning their focus to him. “This was deliberate. Someone did something” he states, assuring everyone of his stance on the matter. “The question is who, and why?” Vincenzo suggests just as his girlfriend adds in, “And how.”
As Lou begins to make an attempt at speaking, a noise breaks through the air from the corner of the space, just barely recognizable but notable enough to grab the attention of the few living souls in the portion of the building. “What’s that?” Jenn asks, being the first to notice it, and subsequently the first to bring it to everyone’s attention as they aim their focus towards the corner of the room. Emerging from below a pile of the dead, a brunette woman slowly stands to her feet and turns to face the core, eyes a pearl-white and skin a moldy-yellow.
“Sam?” Halston calls out, quickly walking towards the girl until she is caught by Lou, who holds her back and moves her behind him. “Lou, what the he-” Halston goes to say, only for Lou to look at her, straight in the eyes and slowly shake his head. Turning back to the young girl, Lou begins to slowly make his way forward as the girl begins tripping over the loitered corpses surrounding the area in as quick of a dash towards him as she can muster. All of a sudden, Lou hears Ally shout his name out from behind, prompting him to turn around and watch as another member of the pile of dead stand to his feet, taking up the middle of the space between himself and Halston.
“Mr. Gnervo?” Halston asks, watching as the man growls and hisses in the girl’s direction, slowly inching towards her as Lou begins a sprint to him. “Mr. Gnervo?” Halston says again, this time with a more affirmed tone as the man inches closer towards her. Slowly returning back to the group, walking backwards and trying her best to navigate the mountain of bodies around her, Halston reaches her hand out towards the corpse currently closing the distance between them before tripping over one of the dead below and falling back onto the court. “Mr Gnervo!” Halston shouts one final time as the distance between the pair grows short enough to touch each other until the man is sent crashing to the floor beside her, tackled down by Lou as he yells at her to get up and run.
Still growling, more aggravated than before, Gnervo begins chomping down at Lou’s hands just beside his face until the man atop him begins bashing his head down with authority, shouting for him to give up. Refusing, and continuing to inch his jaw closer to Lou’s hand, Gnervo keeps up the fight until a voice shouts Lou’s name out, and the man throws himself from atop the undead.
With no restraint, Gnervo places his hands to the ground and makes his attempt at standing to his feet before the swing of an axe buries itself deep within his head, dropping his now limp corpse back to the rest it had recently returned from. Gasping for breath, Jenn plants the heel of her foot atop the former-faculty member’s skull and rips the axe from the bone, sending a line of blood through the air with it.
“You good?” Jenn asks, watching Lou nod before noticing Sam continuing her march closer to them. Without hesitation, Jenn walks forward and lifts the axe into the air before bringing it down like a guillotine and splitting her head in two, dropping her to her knees before she drops further forward to her final resting place.
“Hey! Guys!” Wyatt shouts from afar, prompting both Jenn and Lou to look around the room from their respective positions, noticing other corpses beginning to take a stand and lock their focus upon them with seemingly one purpose for it. “Run! We’ll catch up!” Jenn shouts, ordering for the group to make their escape. Continuing to pan her view across the room, Jenn is caught off guard when she hears her name called out from below.
Suddenly, she turns to watch a member of the undead come within inches of her before being dropped to the floor with a thud by Lou, who proceeds to hold it down by the neck as she takes a third swing, cutting the skull clean in half as the axe buries a portion of it’s tip into the wooden court.
“This way!” Lou shouts, noticing their original entry blocked by the undead taking chase at their group and directing the axe-wielder towards a set of doors leading to the locker rooms below. Charging forward to beat the undead to it, Lou and Jess kick and shove the undead away before barely making it through the double-doors and keeping their backs to it in order to keep it shut for as long as they can. “What’s the plan, now?” Jenn shouts amidst the barrage of growling from the pile of undead increasing in strength and numbers with each second passing.
Struggling to keep the door shut, Jenn turns to the man beside her and watches him catch his breath. “Lou?” Jenn shouts, watching the man nod his head whilst keeping his eyes locked on the stairs ahead. “I’ve got it!” the man shouts, raising his hand with three fingers raised, lowering one each second until both he and Jenn bolt forward, flying down the stairs as the undead begin flooding through in chase.
“Hurry!” Jenn shouts, just barely leaping from one set of stairs to another as an undead topples down the stairs mere inches from her heals. Turning the corner, Lou and Jenn both run into the heavy metal doors and wave their hands around the base of it, only to realize the lack of a handle to enter. “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me!” Lou shouts, throwing himself into the door to reach at the possibility of it being forced open to no avail. “Lou!” Jenn shouts, prompting the man to turn around and watch as the horde of undead begin closing the distance, bringing the duo into panic. With no further options, both Jenn and Lou throw themselves into the door, hoping for it to open before looking up and noticing a man peering at them through the tiny window in the center of the door.
“Hey! Let us in!” Jenn shouts at the man, whose eyes shoot open at the realization that she’s seen him just before he turns and runs off, leaving Jenn and Lou to the property of the horde. Fuming, Lou throws himself at the door, taking note of the weight behind each push becoming easier and easier until one final push sends the door flying open as metal bars and mechanisms shoot from their places and line the floor like debris.
Collapsing to the floor, Lou grimaces in pain as he can feel the drop in his shoulder from the dislocation as soon as he is picked up by Jenn, aware enough to pick up one of the metal rods beside him as they continue their way onwards.
Navigating through the cramped spaces, bouncing off lockers and stumbling over chairs as their momentum sends them flying into each room, Jenn and Lou freeze in their tracks as they watch the man from just before hurry through the locker room exit. “There!” Jenn shouts, leading Lou towards the doors and exploding into the basement hallway.
Once through the doors, Jenn and Lou watch from afar as the man is cornered by another pocket of the undead, taking turns sinking their teeth in his arms and neck as he continues to put up a valiant effort to survive to little effect. Armed with a baseball bat, the man lifts it into the air to swing the way he has a number of times before, only for two members of the undead to latch their jaws into his ribs, weakening him enough for another to tear into his jugular, serving as the death blow as the man begins slowly dropping to the floor as the life within him begins to be ripped free.
“Come on!” Lou shouts, directing Jenn down the long hallway as they escape trouble for the time being, caught in the lifeless space, free to take refuge for the moment. Collapsing back into a line of lockers, Lou drops to the ground clutching as his shoulder and catching his breath. “Alright” Jenn says, dropping to her knees and grabbing a hold of Lou’s right arm. “This is gonna hurt” she says, watching Lou’s eyes shoot open in response.
“Wait. What, what are you-” Lou begins to say, only for his response to be brought to a halt and replaced by screaming, echoing throughout the area like a sonic blast as his shoulder pops back into place just as the undead turn the corner and aim for their direction. “Come on” Jenn says, lifting Lou’s arm over her shoulder and helping him to his feet as they make a break for the opposite end of the hallway, speeding away from the horde.
Climbings the stairs and entering the hallways of the floor above, Lou and Jenn kick doors open and gaze around corners in search of the remainder of their group in hopes that thy’re still out there. “Wyatt!” Jenn shouts, hoping to hear an answer in return before finding her mouth covered by Lou’s hand, propping her gently against the lockers. “You’ve got to stay quiet, Jenn! We can’t draw any attention to ourselves!” Lou whispers as his hand is shoved away by the girl.
“We can’t just look for them forever!” Jenn counters, “My boyfriend, your girlfriend are still here somewhere looking for us. If any of us turn the wrong corner, we’re dead. You get that?”
“Of course I get that, Jenn. But even if they can hear us calling for them, it won’t make a difference if those things are between us. You get THAT?” Lou argues back, watching the girl retire to silence, accepting the facts laid out to her. “Then where would they go?” Jenn asks, watching Lou look around each corner in hopes of getting lucky. “If we can’t call out for them, let’s think about where they’d go” she reiterates, stopping in the middle of the hallway as Lou takes a moment.
“Alright. They went in the opposite direction as us, right? So that’s the cafe, the auditorium, the music rooms, the art rooms. Any of those places” Lou says, watching Jenn sigh in frustration. “What? What’s wrong?” Lou asks, watching the woman turn to him in anger. “They might not even still be here! What if they left, drove out and thought we were dead!” Jenn retorts, watching as Lou confidently shoots down that idea. “Why do you think they’re still here?” jenn asks, watching Lou smirk and lift his eyebrow as he turns to face her. “If we thought they were dead, they would have thought the same thing. We’re still looking for them” Lou says, watching Jenn catch onto what he’s saying.
“So they’d still be looking for us, too” Jenn concludes as Lou begins to nod, continuing forward. Rounding a corner, the two turn down yet another hallway, this one with no sign of life just as the one prior. “Clear” Jenn says, lowering the axe in her hands as the two head down. Midway through their walk, a lone undead walks past the end of the hallway in the direction of the cafeteria before turning to see the two stopped in their tracks.
On the hunt, the undead begins his walk towards the two as Jenn lifts her axe once more, only for Lou to lightly tap her arm as he brandishes his metal rod, walking forward and closing the distance between himself and the corpse. “Sorry Cait” Lou says, staring down the woman’s walking corpse and grabbing it by the neck before taking the road and pressing it into her eye, burying it in her skull before the reach of her arms fades and the corpse drops to the ground with a thud.
“Come on!” Wyatt shouts, leading the group away from the gymnasium through the main foyer and back in the direction of the music room. Separating from the rest of the group, Halston dashes off to the side and enters into the secretary’s office, shutting the door and hiding behind it as she peers over the side and watches the horde taking after the rest of her group as she catches her breath and regroups.
Rushing through the corridor they arrived into the chaos through, Wyatt, Ally, Vincenzo, Fink, Terry and Jules hurry back into the music room and seal the entry behind them, ducking behind any amount of cover they can find as they watch the horde catch up and pass them by. “Where’s Halston?” Terry asks, looking around the room as everyone in the immediate vicinity begins fearing the worst. “It’s fine. They would have stopped chasing us if they got her. She’s out there somewhere” Ally assures the group, intending to calm but instead eliciting fear to everyone.
“If she’s out there, she’s not safe” Vincenzo says, finding himself cut off by Wyatt as he further explains that there isn’t anything they can do right now. Suddenly, Fink looks behind the group and shouts “The doors!” before bolting to the opposite end of the room, shutting the two back entrances of the music room just as the undead circle the corner, locking them shut as the horde on both ends become aware of their presence.
“Now what?” Jules shouts, his eyes circling the room to find every exit point blocked by the horde of the undead, only growing in numbers. “What do you mean ‘now what?’, we’re trapped!” Terry shouts in return, walking towards Jules. “Don’t talk to me like that, boy I’ll fuckin’ rinse your ass!” Jules retorts, watching as Terry gets in his face and takes a swing before tackling him to the floor. “Hey hey hey!” Wyatt shouts, ripping Terry from atop Jules and sending him across the room.
Standing back up, Terry marches towards Jules before Wyatt catches him out of the air and throws him to the ground again. “Yo, don’t you touch me, nigga!” Terry shouts, this time charging at the much bigger Wyatt, who responds by dodging the man flying towards him as he crashes into a drum kit near the back of the room, sending a ring throughout the room, only further angering the undead outside. “Stop it!” Ally shouts, watching as Jules stands up and goes to charge at Terry, only for Wyatt to impede his progress by shoulder tackling him into a pile of guitar cases, knocking them onto the floor as Ally demands the fighting be stopped once again, this time bring her voice to the verge of breaking.
“Don’t you fucking tell me to stop!” Terry shouts, climbing out of the wrecked pile of symbols and pads, “You fuckin’ white people telling me what to do, I’ve had a-fucking-nough” he continues as Wyatt puts his hand out, signalling to both that he will keep them apart. “This has got nothing to do with race you fucking shithead! We’re all fucked the same!” Wyatt shouts before finding himself getting backed up by Ally. “If we don’t stop fighting and figure out how to get out of here, we’re all gonna fucking die. So pull yourselves together for fucks sake!” The girl shouts, bringing the three men, as well as the remainder of the group around her to silence.
“Halston’s somewhere out there, and Lou and Jenn are who-the-fuck knows where. If we want to get back to them, let’s figure out how to get out of here first. Any fucking ideas?” Ally asks, her anger shining through like light spilling into a room with each syllable. “Noise?” Fink asks, “These things started running after Lou and Jenn when they told us to go. If they’re attracted to noise, let’s figure out how to make some noise.”
“That’s not a bad idea” Wyatt says, walking towards Fink. “How can we make noise without drawing them right back to us. All we’ve got is right here!” Terry says, watching Wyatt begin to dig through the filing cabinet off to the side of the room. “What the fuck are you lookin’ for?” Jules asks, half out of breath and stumbling over guitar cases towards Wyatt. Refusing to answer, Wyatt keeps digging aimlessly, hoping to find the magical answer as Ally calls for his name walking up to him. “There’s got to be something here! There’s got to be something, fuckin’ anything!” Wyatt shouts, driven by hope but finding it harder to come by as things progress.
After a few moments, the horde at the end of the room becomes slightly quieter, and the undead faces in the windows are no longer taking up the space. “What the-” Terry says as he approaches the window, watching the horde march to the open-glass walls overlooking the front grounds of the school yard where the school busses are beginning to line up.
“Hey, guys! Guys!” Terry shouts excitedly, with the group walking over to join him in observation. “The busses are distracting ‘em!” Jules says joyfully, looking at the opposite end of the music room to watch the horde dissipating on that end as well. “They’re leaving!” Fink says, walking towards the front doors. “Guys, we’re in the clear!” the girl says again, watching the group walk from the back of the room towards her. Backing up in the direction of the front doors, Fink puts her hand on the brick wall just beside a stairway leading into the auditorium. “Come on, hurry up!” Fink shouts just as something from inside grabs her hand, forcing her attention to it.
Without knowing until it’s too late, Fink watches an undead sink its teeth into her arm, ripping her skin from bone as she screams in both agony and horror. Suddenly, thr group shoots back into action as Vincenzo runs forward and punches the rotting corpse in the face, sending it crashing back into the brick wall as Fink drops forward into Ally’s arms. Angered, Wyatt looks around the room and rips the lid to the piano open, tearing from it a snapped piece of piano wire before hurrying over to the undead and wrapping the wire around the undead’s neck and pulling it back.
“Wyatt!” Ally shouts, struggling to pay attention to both the wounded girl in her arms and the man strangling the undead as his knee presses up against the small of it’s back. Soon, blood begins to spew out of the makeshift incision in the undead’s neck and it’s growling begins to turn into hissing as slowly, but surely, the corpse’s head rips off and drops to the ground with the rest of its body at the bottom of the stairs. Catching his breath, Wyatt looks forward in shock as he overhears Jules shout his name.
Turning to the side, Wyatt watches another member of the undead make his way through the curtains from the staging area as it quickly inches closer towards him. Without anything to defend himself, Wyatt crawls backwards down the stairs before watching Vincenzo come in at the last moment with a wrench and crack the corpse over the head with it, taking it to the ground as it continues struggling to reach out at the distraught and anger-infused man.
Snapping like a pencil being pressured by the weight of two thumbs, Vincenzo bludgeons the undead corpse as its head caves in, spilling blood into a puddle. After a short few seconds, three other members of the undead make their way through the curtain and are all quickly disposed of by Vincenzo, who finds himself embroiled by the desire to kill. Finally to his feet, Wyatt walks over to the wrench-wielding man and puts his hand on his shoulder, only to be forced to duck as Vincenzo turns around and lifts the wrench into the air, only to snap out of his daze at the last moment upon realization of it being Wyatt.
Back into reality, Vincenzo leaps down the stairs and drops to his knees beside Fink as she bleeds out, her wound being bandaged by Terry’s shirt, having taken off the pink button up to find himself just down to a sleeveless white tank top and black dress pants. “Fink, hey Fink!” Ally pleads with the girl, too in pain and shrieking from the sting to respond with words.
Finally, as she sees Vincenzo beside her, she forces her pain to the side and clenches her teeth to stop from screaming further as he tells her to relax. “We’re not safe here” Wyatt says, directing everyone to get whatever they can find and follow him out of the music room. Helping Fink to her feet, Vincenzo wraps Fink’s arm around his shoulder and helps her walk as the group exits through the front doors and makes their way out, trekking through the narrow corridor on their way back to the main foyer.
Turning around the corner, they stop in their place as both Lou and Jenn do the same just ahead. After that, both members of the group embrace with their reunited ones before noticing Fink’s wounds. “What happened?” Lou asks, only to be met with a simple, “She got bit” from Ally as the two turn to rush off together. As they do, they watch as another lone member of the undead begins walking towards them, growling as they do before the group ready the weapons they have.
Before long, blood splatters from the undead’s head as it drops to the ground, revealing Halston, hidden behind it’s figure with a gun pointed straight forward. “Where the fuck did you find a gun?” Lou shouts in a horrified confusion as the girl rushes up to approach them. “Can’t remember” Halston responds, turning the group around into the cafeteria and sealing the doors on both ends behind her as they lay Fink out upon the top of one of the tables.
“Check the place, make sure nothing’s hiding in here” Ally orders, tending to Fink as Vincenzo stays by her side. After a few minutes, Lou and Wyatt both come back to the group, “It’s all clear back there, we’re alone” just as Fink begins unwrapping Fink’s wound, telling her to allow it a chance to heal, only to notice puss and infection beginning to visibly form at the sides.
“I’m gonna pull this the rest of the way, okay? Try not to yell” Ally says before doing so, without a peep coming from Fink, who lays across the table with her eyes shut. “Fink?” Ally says, watching as Vincenzo peels her eyelids back to look at her eyes as he checks her pulse. “Nothing. I don’t feel anything” Vincenzo says, starting to panic as tears well up and Ally tries to do what she can.
“Ally” Lou says in a distraught tone, “Ally, CPR isn’t gonna help her” Lou says, watching his girlfriend try desperately to bring Fink back. “Ally” Lou says again, this time taking a seat by his girlfriend and placing his hand on her shoulder as she begins to cry, refusing to give up on the lifeless girl. “I. Just. Can’t. Let. Her. Die” Ally says, speaking one word with every chest compression as the rest of the group looks away in sorrow.
Finally, the chest compressions slow down as Ally knows there isn’t any coming back, eventually stopping altogether as Lou pulls her head into his chest. Beside Fink, Vincenzo stares at her, broken as tears flow from his eyes, down his cheek and onto hers as he rests his forehead against his lost love.
Dropping her head at the table, Halston looks around to see Terry and Jules pacing around and Wyatt slumped against the wall with his girlfriend beside him as they begin to accept the circumstance. Repeating the word “no” to himself faintly as Ally and Lou look on, themselves distraught at the sight in front of them.
Looking up for a brief moment, Vincenzo looks at Lou and Ally, sitting in comfort with each other before losing his composure and completely breaking down, turning his head away from Lou and Ally as the pair take the hint and stand from the seat and check on the rest of the group, leaving Vincenzo to mourn as Terry pulls Lou by the arm and looks him in the eyes.
“What now?” Terry asks, watching Lou shake his head as if he had misheard him. “Why are you asking me?” Lou asks, only to be given a response by Halston, who turns to face the two with her head being propped up in her hand. “Because you’re in charge now” the girl says, watching as Lou looks to her before turning to Terry, who only assures him of the truth in her statement.
“Believe it or not, we’ve always followed you anyway” Wyatt says, climbing to his feet as Jenn walks beside him. “If anyone’s gonna lead, it might as well be you” he continues, watching as Lou becomes surrounded by the rest of the group joining beside each other, everyone other then Vincenzo looking at him in wait of their next move.
Panning around the circle, Lou looks at each member around and nods his head, panning his eyes to each point of exit in the room before finally answering them.
“Let’s get comfortable.”