Watching helplessly, well-restrained as his mother cradles her daughters corpse in her arms, Greg tries to call for his mother to no response, left to watch her disappear behind a wall as Halston and Lou drag him down the basement stairs and into a coat closet, locking the door behind them and leaving him stranded in the dark.
“What the fuck just happened?” Halston asks, trying to catch her breath without care of hiding the disbelief that everything could have fallen apart so quickly. Without the need for words, Lou reaches out and pulls her in close, holding her to his chest as the woman stares into nothingness, seemingly forgetting the concept of blinking. “Lou” Ally calls out, reaching the bottom of the stairs and rubbing Halston’s back. “What the hell are we gonna do?” Ally asks, the shock in her voice well hidden behind the confident face of knowing exactly what direction needs to be taken.
Before getting the chance to respond, the desperate pounding on the closet door and groaning of aimless apologies from the deafened child locked away creates a sinister vibe, pulling the plug on normality for good, and bringing the three survivors near down with it.
“Get Terry to the nurses station, he says the paint isn’t that bad, so let’s take his word for it” Lou starts, slamming his foot on the closet door to shut the kid up, aggravated near the point of flipping out, but only making the groaning worse. “Someone keep an eye on the fucking priest, and don’t take any eye off of that mother, I want multiple people looking after her at all times.”
“What about the kid?” Halston asks, looking helplessly at Lou as everything feels like it’s crumbling around them. “I’ll take care of the kid when it gets to that” Lou replies, immediately raising alarm bells for Ally. “Are you gonna kill him?” the woman asks, watching the indecisive expression on Lou’s face do all the answering necessary. “Whatever you do, I’ll support you on it” Ally replies, being met with the same response by Halston.
Returning to the top of the stairs, Lou directs Terry to the nursing station and puts Vinny in charge of looking after the priest. “Jules, you do what you can to wrap that gunshot up. It went clean through, so we don’t need to start digging. Everyone else, hold your places” the man commands, attempting to walk off to the housing sector before being interrupted. “Where are you going?” Jenn asks, watching the man stop and turn towards her.
“I’ve got some decisions to make… I’m gonna grab a drink” Lou replies, disappearing behind corners and leaving the group to look over the shattered mess of a web untangling at the seems in the entryway of the school. Standing around, the group just stares at each other in hopes of some sort of sense being made from this ordeal. “Well” Jenn says, breaking the silence and looking at each survivor in the room, “You know where you’re supposed to be… Get there.”
Without any further question, the group dissipates, leaving the core of Jenn, Ally and Halston remaining to oversee the grieving mother, still splintered into a flurry of thousands of emotions, all of which broken, clutching to her daughter and staring intently at her, praying she’ll just wake up and come back like nothing happened.
= RISE and REVOLT is created by Zachary Serra, all rights to the series from Season 1 onwards belong to Zachary Serra and the entity of Pacer1 Media =
Sat at the bar, downing a glass of scotch, Lou sits alone until Ally comes walking in, taking a seat next to him. “Didn’t I tell you where to be?” Lou asks, acting stern but adding a layer of sarcasm over it, earning a laugh from Ally before turning to a playful annoyance as she takes his bottle and pours herself a glass. “Ever hear of the bartender making the drink?” Lou asks, sliding the bottle onto his side to the pair’s amusement.
As they sit together, just enjoying each other’s company, Ally turns to him and waits for him to do the same. “We were just kids a few days ago” the woman says, prompting the man to turn back to looking intently at his glass. “Just walking through the hallways, always being overlooked by the adults that thought they were above us.”
“Well, without disrespecting their memory, we’re the ones that are still here!” Lou exclaims, raising his glass and cheering with Ally, laughing about it. “They never really thought we were much, did they?” Lou asks, watching the woman shake her head with the enthusiasm of a cheerleader. “I’m sure they always thought we’d amount to something eventually, just didn’t realize we were already starting to become something without them truly realizing it.”
Without replying, Ally stares off and mutters a question, turning to see Lou’s response. “Why do you think Gnervo chose us?” the woman asks, earning a genuine attempt at thought from her boyfriend, who would have an answer before long. “I don’t know if he really had a reason, but I do think it all worked out pretty well” Lou replies, smiling at Ally. “Vinny and Fink had their whole future planned out, Wyatt and Jenn had their aspirations, but were cautiously optimistic. Terry and Jules knew the importance of picking the right people to be around, Halston was the one kid the teachers would trust to lock up the school if they had to, and you’re ready for whatever life throws at you because you never let it take you down.”
Noticing the obvious exclusion, Ally asks why Lou thought he fit into the puzzle. After a few seconds of coming to an understanding with himself over his importance, a role he doesn’t seem to like acknowledging, Lou downs the rest of his drink and looks to Ally, confident in his conclusion. “I was just waiting for something to fall into my lap and give me a purpose” Lou begins, turning the glass over onto its lid before smiling.
“That’s exactly what the world did.”
Burying down the rest of her drink, Ally looks to Lou and tells him to take his eyes to her in return. “I love you. I know I say it way more than most, but I truly love you. We’d all be dead in the water had it not been for you, and that’s not something that can just be changed by denying it.” Taking Lou’s hands into her own, and giving him a quick kiss, Ally tells Lou to begin accepting his role without feeling the need to deny it.
“You had the total package but were just missing this one thing, and now that one thing is in place. You’ve got it all, and there’s no one that can take that away from you. So if anyone is getting in your way, it’s going to be yourself. Don’t let that happen.” Standing up and going to walk away, Ally feels herself pulled back in, embracing Lou as he wraps his arms around her and gives her a kiss on the head, reciprocating the message of love back.
“You good bro?” Jules asks, taping over the final loose end of the bandaging as Terry assures him that the strength feels more natural than before. “It’s still sore like a motherfucker, but it’s better than it was. Good looks” Terry replies, high fiving Jules as Lou enters the room, taking a seat opposite both men. “What’s good, Lou?” Terry asks, noticing a look of intent on the man.
“How you holdin’ up, hotshot?” Lou asks, examining the shoulder himself and making sure the wrapping holds on tight. “Better now. That little motherfucker just had to go and mess shit up” Terry replies, earning a nod of agreement from everyone in the room. “How ‘bout you?” Terry asks, “It looks like you’re making the final decision on the little brat.”
“You think he deserves to die?” Jules asks, only to be met with an argument well-rooted by Terry. “He took a life, bro… Of course he deserves to die” the man says, pausing to look at Lou, “Unless Lou don’t want to.”
Taking a breath of frustration, Lou sits back in his seat before being assured by Terry that this decision isn’t one he envies Lou for having to make. “The kid may be a piece of shit, but you’re the one pulling the trigger. If you can’t do it, you best believe I ain’t gonna hold it against you” Terry reminds him, met with the same response by Jules. “The problem is, this isn’t the only time we’re gonna have to make this decision, y’know?” Lou says, arguing to himself in a way to help with the decision. “If it isn’t the kid, it’s gonna be someone else. We’ll have to do it eventually now that shit’s hit the fan.”
Joining the other two in taking a seat, Jules tells Lou that they’ll be behind whatever decision he makes. “You’ve got us this far, I ain’t gonna start complaining now” Jules says, being cut off before anyone can say something more by Jenn popping her head in and asking for Lou. “What’s up?” Lou aks, dusting himself off before following Jenn to the mother, still in a state of shock and slowly coming to a stop just over her.
“You wanted to speak to me?” Lou declares, watching the woman slowly turn to look at him, having fallen so far so quickly. Through breaks in her voice making clear the level of pain within her, Monica asks one time, without pulling punches. “Are you going to kill my son?” the woman asks, fighting the urge to burst into tears again. Without much to speak further on, Lou reads the room and responds with a simple, “I don’t know yet.”
The tears beginning to fight their way to the forefront once again, Monica begs through a faint tone, “Please… Don’t” before the tears win out and she returns to burying her face to the side of her daughter’s. Trying to think of something to say to alleviate the pain, Lou snaps back into reality and realizes that kind of ask is just not possible, so he turn and walks off, leaving the women, Jules and an injured Terry to look over the mother again.
“I don’t envy him” the priest tells Vinny, only for their conversation to be ended with Lou bursting through the double doors and taking a seat before the priest. “I’ll leave you to it” Vinny replies, getting up to leave before Lou tells him to stay put. “I’d rather you heard” Lou says, granting Vinny enough of a reason to stay seated.
“Come to confess your sins, child?” the priest asks, smugly sporting a grin before Lou kicks him in the shin, prompting him to cool it with the subtle jabs. “What was it like?” Lou asks, watching the confusion over the nature of the question take over the priest like a plume of smoke revolving around a downed skyscraper. “What was what like?” the priest asks, immediately being answered with the obvious.
“Killing hundreds of people. I don’t mean the saving of them, I mean knowing you were actually killing four hundred people. What was that like?” Lou reiterates, watching the priest enter a genuine response, one not existing off of the backs of a subtle put-down. “Well, it was… Well, I don’t quite know what it was” the priest replies, noticing the man’s head drop in disappointment.
“I suppose knowing that the people who died mostly didn’t know it was going to happen was a little other-worldly” he restates, catching the puzzled look of Lou. “As if they all passed out and dropped in horror because of what I did. It didn’t feel real. It was like a trance of sorts.”
“Like an out of body experience?” Lou asks, being shot down by the man, adamant of it feeling like something else. “No, it wasn’t like I was watching myself do something… I was living in it. But it was like a dream I was waiting to snap out of, but just never did.” Looking remorseful for his actions, the priest chokes up a bit, catching both men off guard at the sight.
“But they would have suffered so much had I not done it” the priest says, uttering the same point he’s made a few hundred times by this point, but finally making it feel true for the first time. “You wouldn’t even be practicing your graduation ceremony right now had things not changed, and now you’re conflicted as to whether or not to take another man’s life. I don’t envy that, but I truly do believe that it grants me assurance that I did the right thing.”
Standing up to walk away, Lou makes for the door before turning around and looking at the priest. Assuring him that the problem was not that he did what he did, but it was that he took the choice away from the people that should have been trusted to make it. “They had the right to choose whether or not this world was for them, but you didn’t even give them that. You hid it from them until it was too late, and that is where the problem lies” Lou argues, getting in the priests face and tearing down the man that makes him up.
“They should have been given the chance to say goodbye to their friends and their family, utter their final words as anything other than ‘help me’, and get to see the sunlight one final time, but they didn’t. They died on top of each other, surrounded by their friends’ corpses, cramped in a box and lumped over benches. That’s not saving anyone, that’s ripping them out of this world and discarding them into the next. That’s why you should be ashamed” Lou concludes, slapping the man across the face before walking for the door.
“Some people aren’t meant to be given that choice, Lou!” the priest shouts, watching the man walk away without stopping, screaming at him until he has finally disappeared. “It’s in the best interest of some to be saved, even if they don’t believe it!” the priest continues, finally watching Lou walk away, leaving him alone with the man that severed a piece of his finger less than a day ago. “Looks like you really got to him” Vinny jokes, taking a bite out of an apple and holding it towards the priest, mocking him before pulling it away and taking another bite.
Following Jenn outside as the daylight begins to fade, Halston helps her carry in canisters of gasoline into the art gallery. “Need a hand?” Halston asks, taking a few canisters as Jenn unloads them. “We’ve still got shit to get done, and I think we’ve got enough people looking over the broken mom” Jenn replies, following Halston up the stairs. “Mind if I fill the truck with one of these?” Halston asks, deviating from the course with Jenn as they finally make it to her truck.
Filling the tank, Jenn and Halston hop into the front seat and blast the air conditioner, sending the cool air over their faces like a momentary trip to the Arctic Circle. “Of all the things I wish we had, it’s a working central air system” Jenn mutters, pulling her hair into a ponytail and pushing her face as close to the vent as she can. “This truck is like my fucking life” Halston exclaims, being met with Jenn asking what present it was for. “It wasn’t a present” Halston replies, smiling towards the girl who takes longer than she should be proud of to get it. “Now you see why it’s so important!” Halston jokes, sitting back and embracing the air.
Sitting amongst the sounds of cool air ripping by their ears, Halstoon turns on the radio and attempts to hold to the hope of finding any operable station. Without success, finding nothing more than emergency broadcast signals, the woman makes one last ditch effort by switching to satellite radio, where she strikes an unexpected pile of gold.
“Swedish death metal?” Jenn asks, genuinely puzzled before joining Halston in an overexaggerated head banging session. “What the hell are we even doing at this point?” Jenn asks, stopping the session before turning the radio off and returning to the cool air. Looking at each other for a second, the girls kick back their seats and aim the vents down at themselves, hiding in the shade as Halston turns the music on to a lower volume.
“What do you think’s happening in L.A right now?” the woman in the driver’s seat asks, looking over to Jenn closing her eyes in hopes of somehow managing to fall asleep. “I think they’re waiting to throw us a big party” Jenn responds, out of energy to a laugh-track like applause. “Very clever, I look forward to it” the girl replies, getting the same result from Jenn. “What about you?” the woman asks, getting comfortable. “I hope Steve Buscemi pops out of a giant birthday cake with Skrillex’s face on it” Halston replies, finally getting Jenn’s eyes open. “Why the fuck is Steve Buscemi there?” Jenn replies, only to be met with “I mention Skrillex and your first instinct is to question the presence of Buscemi?” from Halston, completely shutting her up.
“Fair point, I should’ve thought about that one!” Jenn laughs her way through saying. “Can I be honest?” Halston asks, keeping her eyes directed to the roof as Jenn lays onto her side, facing her. “I’m just glad you’re wherever I am” Halston replies, surprising Jenn. “Why is that what you’re glad about?” Jenn asks, watching Halston laugh it off as if it wasn’t obvious.
“You’re one of the coolest, speak-your-mind badasses I’ve ever met. You saved Lou’s ass when most people would have it the other way around. You’re the only other person anyone in this group would gladly take orders from, and to know that the person I looked up to in high school is fucking the end of the world like it’s her bitch with me is awesome.”
Flattered, Jenn repeats the notion of being who Halston looked up to in school. “Of course you were! If Lou was the guy everyone was enamored by, you were the chick everyone was enamored by.” Turning her head to meet Jenn’s eyes, Halston tells her that she was what Halston wanted to be. “I wanted to be the cool chick everyone liked being around, but I just fit in more with being the person everyone relied on. It gave me more satisfaction, but I vicariously lived through you, looking at what I could have been from another perspective. It was insightful and charming.”
“I guess I never really looked at myself like that” Jenn replies, only for Halston to point that out as proof. “There’s an old saying I always hear. You’ll get two kinds of guys in a bar, the first one walks in and talks all this shit about running the bar. But the second guy will walk in, not need to say anything, and just nod at everyone who already knows that he runs the bar without him needing to say it.”
Pausing for a moment to playfully tap her arm, Halston tells Jenn that she’s the second one, and she doesn’t even typically know it. As the two girls look at each other, both flattered by the reaction of the other, Jenn moves in and plants her lips on Halston, causing the latter to break the kiss quickly and suddenly dart back. “I’m… I’m sorry” Jenn says, realizing the error in her ways as Halston promises that it’s no big deal.
Now with things awkward, Jenn turns down the air conditioner and suggests they get back to hauling the canisters in, exiting the vehicle as Halston agrees. Removing her keys, Halston puts her hand on the handle and pauses for a moment, looking at Jenn in her rear-view mirror for a second before smiling, still flustered, but happy at the occurrence regardless before joining the woman.
With the total abyss of darkness around him, Greg is granted the ability to hear something more than just his wails of sorrow when the locks within the door to his confines begin turning. Introduced to the light once again, the kid peaks through the sharp white light to find Lou standing in front of him, ready to deliver his sentence.
“Where are you taking me?” Greg asks, trying to give Lou a reason to lower the gun from the back of his head. “You’re going to kill me, aren’t you?” Greg continues, trying to get something out of the man determining his fate to no success. As he takes the silence for fact, Greg begins weeping, apologizing for his actions and promising that it would never happen again.
Continuing to make no difference, Lou directs the boy up a flight of stairs towards a catwalk over the gym, motioning him towards the center of the walkway before telling him to look down. Already with a fear of heights, Greg shakes his way towards the edge and looks down, spotting the hundreds of undead below lined up for a peak at the hallway they used to infest.
“What do you see?” Lou asks, dropping any tone and strictly asking for Greg’s take. Mumbling for a few seconds, Lou silently lifts the gun back to Greg’s head and elicits a response, no doubt in hopes of it sparing him a few more seconds. “I see a bunch of monsters!” Greg replies, the tears starting to stream again as the undead take notice of the pair’s presence. “What else?” Lou asks, watching the boy quivering as if he were stuck below the air conditioning unit.
“What am I supposed to see?” Greg asks, wiping away the snot from his nose as Lou lowers the gun for a moment, allowing the kid room to breath, though not replying. Taking the silence as a dead end, Greg takes another look despite his instincts begging him not to. “I see a bunch of dead people” Greg replies, looking to Lou, who asks what they’re doing.
“They’re looking at me” Greg responds, watching Lou hold the gun back to his side, holstering it before standing beside Greg. “They’re all looking at you, yes?” Lou asks, earning nothing more than a nod from the boy on the edge of peril. “Do you notice how they’re all doing it together? Not straying from course, but following what the other does?” Lou asks, putting his arm around Greg’s shoulder, and telling him to relax.
“That’s the difference between us and them, they’d follow each other off a bridge if confronted with one, while we’re meant to keep each other from jumping off the bridge to begin with. That’s our responsibility, that’s what will help us win.” Telling Greg that the world isn’t going to be fair or play nice, Lou reminds Greg that it takes strong people to keep the fight going. “If you’re going to live in this world, you’re going to need to be able to be trusted” Lou says, inspiring confidence in Greg, who looks at him with a look of determination, ready to take a new fight to the world.
“They’re monsters, but they used to be just like us. They’re like that now because they didn’t have what it took to fight this new world head on. Where do you belong in this world? Down there, or up here?” Watching the boy nod and reply with the latter, Lou pats Greg on the back and brings him in for a hug, telling him to keep the fight alive for the right reasons.
Turning back to the staircase, Lou is stopped by the gun from his holster being put up to his head by the boy he gave a second lease on life. “What did we just talk about?” Lou asks, furious at the events turning as quickly as they did, watching the boy’s grin take shape once again. “It doesn’t matter, this world isn’t one for you” Greg replies, ordering Lou to get on his knees.
Reluctant, Lou does as told and reminds Greg that his mother is still heartbroken over his sister, only for Greg to assure him that she’ll get over it. “She still has me, that’ll be enough” the boy replies, pulling the hammer on the gun and readying it to fire. “Any last words?” Greg asks, putting the gun against Lou’s forehead and watching the man’s eyes grow to hold destain. “Please don’t do this” Lou requests, only for Greg to lean towards him and look him in the eyes, assuring him that it’s already been done.
Without further hesitation, Greg pulls the trigger and hears the gun click, refusing to fire any bullets as none remain in the chamber. Pulling the trigger three more times, Greg hits the gun in hopes of it simply being jammed as Lou stands to his feet with his head hung in disappointment. “What’d you do with the bullets?” Greg asks, demanding answers and still holding the gun at Lou as if it would make any difference. “If Halston is to be believed, that gun fired its last bullet in the stairwell of the bell tower saving Wyatt. She just didn’t use the gun enough to recall that it only held five bullets, not six. It’s been out of ammo this whole time, you just never cared to test me like I tested you.”
Putting his gun over the barrel and pulling the gun away from Greg, Lou takes off after the boy, who doesn’t get far before being taken to the ground and beaten by Lou, busting open his nose and his lip. As he struggles for position on top of the boy, Greg manages to get one good kick in below the belt, easing the weight off him and getting back to his feet. As Lou does the same, Greg rushes towards him in an attempt to push him over the railing, watching the man sidestep the attempt and send the boy clutching to the metal supports, dangling over a pit of undead anxiously awaiting their potential meal.
“Help! Give me another chance!” Greg pleads, quickly losing grip from the sweat building beneath his palms. “I tried, Greg. It’s not safe for you to be in this world, kid” Lou replies, picking up Halston’s gun and placing it in his holster before walking away and leaving the kid to his situation. Suddenly, Lou hears the smacking of the catwalk surface and turns back to see the kid managing to climb back onto the walkway.
Returning to the spot as the kid struggle to find a grip to pull himself the rest of the way up, Lou listens to the kid pleading for him for one thing. “Save me!” Greg pleads, stopping Lou for a moment, presenting him with the same conflict on interest he’s been fighting all day. “Please, save me!” Greg continues to plead, looking up at Lou as he draws the gun and puts one final bullet in the chamber.
Realizing the meaning behind this action, Greg continues desperately trying to force his way back to safety as Lou enters some trance, unresponsive to any voice or demand with his gun drawn towards the kid. “No!” Greg groans through the strain of the physical demand before Lou fires a round into his head and watches his body drop to the court below, quickly being engulfed by a swarm of the undead.
Staring blankly at absolutely nothing, Lou looks at the splatter of blood on the catwalk and walks back to the staircase, leaving the evidence of Greg’s death behind as he goes. Reaching the bottom of the stairs, Lou rounds a few corners before being confronted by the now terrified mother and the entirety of his group, minus the priest. “What was that?” Ally asks, noticing her boyfriends refusal to respond continue to take over before finally being captured by the mother.
“Where is my son?” Monica asks, lowering her daughters body back to the ground and stirring to her feet. “Where is my son!?” the mother asks again, frantically looking for answers the man refuses to respond with. “Lou?” Vinny asks, joining the group in panic over the way their leader holds himself, fixated on staring off into whatever deep space he’s lost his mind in.
“Where is my son!?” the mother asks again, her frantic need to know turning into screaming, only further worsening Lou’s state. Removing the gun from his holster, Lou shatters the window to the gym door and whistles, capturing the horde’s attention as the woman looks on, clinging to hope that this isn’t his answer. No longer asking, instead retiring to the acceptance of the unspoken truth, the woman drops to the floor in a silent hysteria, staring at the doors as Lou places his hand on the wooden board.
“Lou, what are you doing?” Halston asks, joining Terry in trying to walk up to the man before being forced to retreat as the man swipes the board loose and pulls open both doors, hiding himself behind one as the horde swarms back into the building to reclaim what is their death right. “Lou! No!” Ally shouts, forced to retreat with the rest of the group further into the school. Hoping to do some good, Vinny takes Monica’s arm and tries to pull her to safety, only to find her as nothing more than dead weight, refusing to move, and being left behind to be devoured by the massive horde as Vinny runs off, placing the battle between the living and the dead back into play.