“Stop groaning” Michael says, telling the three wanderers behind him to brace the cold for a little longer, noting all the progress they’ve made to get back to camp. Dropping to the ground, freezing cold and ready to give up, Rena feels the snow grace her face and notices an almost warm feeling to it. “Come on, Rena!” Marlhy calls out, lifting the woman up and noticing her lips to be turned a faint dark blue.
“Michael, we need to hurry” Marlhy says, noticing the snow to begin feeling warmer than the wind threatening death upon them. Perhaps warmer than the air hitting them in the face every five seconds, the snow only further melts inside the group’s boots, soaking because of the warmth of their feet and leaving every step to hold an unpleasant squishing noise.
“Oh, motherf-” Michael begins, stopping midway through his remark before using the strength he has left to start sprinting for the cape. “Oh, no fucking way!” Michael shouts, nearly every cabin on the cape being rendered charred and uninhabitable. “What the hell happened!?” Austin shouts, hurrying into the cabins left standing to find them as vacated as the day they arrived in the tundra just over a month ago.
“What the fuck happened!?” Austin shouts again, the lack of anyone able to answer his question sending shockwaves of blistering anger coursing through his veins. Catching up to the men, Marlhy and Rena survey the cape, noticing every one of their homes having burned to the ground they were built atop. “Who could’ve done this?” Marlhy asks, baffled at the question of whether or not the cannibals could have caught up to them that quickly.
“No” Michael says, “there’s no way!” as he rummages through the cabins still left standing. “Get inside!” Michael shouts, directing the group into Rick’s old cabin and slamming the door shut behind them. Wrapping whatever blankets they can get their hands on around them, the foursome look through the window at the damage left behind by the group, now missing in action as far as they’re concerned.
“Did the fire do this?” Rena asks, beginning to irk Austin, who tells everyone to stop asking questions they clearly don’t have the answer to. Across the lake, Michael notices a light on in the cabin, realizing that at least part of the group is still around. “Okay, so we rest here for a little while and then we go meet them over there, right?” Marlhy asks, discouraged once Michael shuts down that idea the second it’s made.
“The cape is different, at least we had twelve cabins for twelve people. They get to us over there and we’re completely cornered” Michael replies, his point not serving as a popular one, but a fair point nonetheless. “If we stay here, we’re all be cornered anyway!” Marlhy argues, her counterpoint serving as a fair rebuttal. Not having any of the possible arguments, Austin tells the cabin to hush down and figure out what to do that doesn’t put anyone in jeopardy.
“When we were flying into Barrow on that first day, I remembered spotting a radio tower out near the edge of town. Maybe we can follow into the next town over?” His suggestion leaving little to be desired, Austin’s only main oversight is the lack of ability to travel miles beneath the bone-chilling temperatures. “We won’t make it half a day out there, Austin” Rena says, warming her lips by breathing warm air into her cupped hands.
“We don’t have to go directly from here to the next town” Austin suggests, “We’ll catch some rest in the building like a waypoint.” Feeling stupid for having missed it on the first time it was suggested, Michael makes one further suggestion that interjects the group with a newfound hope as if the lightbulb went off in his head at the drop of a pin.
“If it was a radio tower, why don’t we just radio for help?” the leader by committee at the start of the competition suggests, his proposal splitting the journey nearly in half. “If there’s a road from the next town over, we’ll call them for help and explain what’s going on!” Marlhy says, finishing the proposition on Michael’s behalf. “So it’s settled! We’ll get some rest, warm up and start heading out in the morning!”
Michael’s declaration of intent serving as enough fuel to keep the group fighting through the night, the remainder of their immediate future hangs in limbo, waiting to be uncovered like the snowy tundra beneath the supports of their cabin. Off in the distance, lacking any electricity or sign of life, the radio tower waits for its presumed visitors to stumble across what it has to offer, which the group goes to sleep dreaming includes a lifeline offering a return home.
= Neptune City 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 =
“Come on, Len! Keep fighting!” Harper says, clutching her internally wounded fellow survivor towards an almost completely submerged ice fishing shack beneath the surface. Gently placing Len down on the snow, Harper hurries towards the shack door and begins digging the puffy white clouds away from the entrance to their only source of hope for surviving this cold front.
Pulling Len up to the shack, Harper drops inside and pulls Len in after her, leaning him against the wall, leaving him to groan in pain as he hits the floor. Apologizing, Harper looks around the shack for anything that could be of use, only to find very little food or protection from the cold other than the shelter itself. “Come on, there’s gotta be fucking something!” Harper shouts, her anger becoming more visible as she punches the shelter wall.
Drained of energy, Harper drops against the wall and slowly slips down, taking a seat directly beside Len. “Bad day?” Len jokes, his breath growing fainter, made even more obvious than his struggles to breath by the lack of strong white gusts of air coming from his mouth and nose. Worried for his well being, Harper lifts up his shirt as he struggles to cough due to the immense pain, joking through it by suggesting Harper take him on a date before rounding for second base.
Giving Len a brief chuckle, Harper’s light hearted smile is wiped off when she notices deep purple bruising around Len’s ribcage. “Is it bad?” Len asks, his voice growing weaker as Harper struggles to contain her worry, the cold still flirting with her skin making it difficult to do so even if she tried. “It’s… It’s not good” Harper replies, watching Len turn his lips into a smile as he tilts his head back, looking towards the shack ceiling.
“This is where I’m gonna die” Len says,, making peace with his imminent demise as Harper assures him that she’ll get him out of there one way or another. “You can’t promise that” Len replies, doing whatever he can with the little strength he has left to make sure Harper doesn’t hold herself responsible. Working up tears as she tries to convince Len that he’ll make it out of here alive, Harper is stopped when Len places his hand to her cheek and tells her not to worry.
“Look at me” Len requests, watching the salty tears run down Harper’s face as the man fighting for his life amidst the tundra demands she not blame herself. “I couldn’t stop it!” Harper says, reminding herself that she just stood back in fear while he fell. “If you went down with me, we would’ve both died” Len replies, assuring Harper that he’d much rather Harper keep her life than die in an empty attempt to save his.
“You jumped off a cliff to save me. Whether I die here or not, I wouldn’t have made it here if it wasn’t for you” Len says, telling her that everything’s going to be alright. “Why are you so calm right now?” Harper asks, shaking her head from one side to the other as she reminds him of how badly he’s hurting. “We all die someday, Harper… I’m not scared of it knowing I get to figure out what comes next” Len replies, his valiant refusal to fear death only bringing more tears.
“We’d be out there for almost a full day, there’s no way we can do that until this wind stops” Warren replies, shooting down the suggestion that they head out on a search and rescue mission right now. “The longer they’re out there, the more likely it is that they won’t come back” Natalie replies, her concerns falling on deaf ears when Rick points out that sending anyone out in this weather would result in even more lost souls.
“So we’re supposed to just let them freeze out there?” Natalie asks, growing annoyed at being outnumbered with lives at stake. “I don’t like it anymore than you do, Nat... But our hands are tied here” Tessa states, sinking into the couch as defeated as anyone else would be. “This is bullshit” Natalie says, knowing how much of a risk it is to send anyone out during the cold front, but angered at the fact that they have no say in the matter.
“So let’s figure out what we do when the cold front lifts” Charlie suggests, offering to go out with someone to look for Harper and Len. “I’ll head out with you” Rick offers, Natalie and Warren having previously declared their intentions to search for Michael’s group. “Tessa and Liz can stay here and figure out how to get that stupid fucking door open in the meantime” Charlie says, making the claim as a joke until those unfamiliar with it start asking questions.
“What’s the mystery behind this door again?” Liz asks, only having heard about it by Natalie in passing hours prior. “Not a door, but a wall” Charlie replies, his humorous correction falling on deaf ears. “Wrong time, buddy” Warren whispers, patting him on the leg and nodding as the question is repeated. “Whatever it is, it’s big enough to hear your own echo” Charlie replies, not knowing much other than what he can overhear from the other side.
“This fucking tundra” Natalie mutters, getting up and walking to the bathroom, dissuaded by nearly every result today. Without Natalie, Rick does his best to keep the needs of the group in check, “Let’s try to get this door open before the cold front slows down, and then we can switch courses” the newly group-centric man suggests, waiting to make anything official before he gets assurance from those around him.
“Any idea what it’s made out of?” Warren asks, the suggestion of wood, unclear if for comedic purposes or if it was meant as a genuine answer, coming from Liz. “Any idea what kind of wood?” Warren follows, smiling towards Liz in an almost sarcastic way. No further responses incoming, Warren takes a few steps back and starts letting the faucet in the sink run, getting the water piping hot as he looks for a bowl.
“We dampen the wood and take a hammer to it, we’ll have this son of a bitch open in no time” Warren says, lugging a color of hot water across the living room, having been unable to find a bowl of all things in the pantry. Handing sponges to the group and telling them to focus on the center, Warren walks deeper into the home in search of a hammer as the floor beneath the feet of the remaining group becomes soaked.
“This is not how I thought this game would go” Len says, trying to laugh despite the pain not letting him do so without repercussions. Looking beside himself, Len notices Harper staring forward blankly, not speaking, almost as if she were having a silent battle with herself. “If I’m gonna die here, can you atleast-” Len begins, halted by Harper, insisting that she’ll die before she lets Len die in the corner of a tucked away ice fishing shack.
“I’d prefer it if you didn’t” Len replies, watching Harper insist that she’s not letting him drop dead alone in the middle of a game show that shouldn’t even be happening. “Harper, I want you to listen to me” Len says, taking the woman’s hand and holding it in his own, almost at peace with the inevitable. “None of us get a say in when we die. I just want to decide how I go, and I’d rather it not be in silence” Len says, his words slowly shattering Harper’s heart.
“You can’t die” Harper replies, the hopes she says aloud in hopes that they’ll miraculously come true being continuously pushed away by a man already knowing his fate to have been sealed. “I’m certainly not making it out of here” Len replies, watching his counterpart silently nodding, almost as if she thought she was speaking in that moment. “How’re you gonna get out of here? This box?” Len asks, changing the conversation so Harper doesn’t have to.
Thinking about it for a few seconds, her cold hand slowly being warmed by the palm of the increasingly weak friend beside her. “I’m gonna carry you to someplace warm, and we’re gonna fix you up” Harper replies, watching the intention to correct her train of thought fade away as Len simply displays his smile. “Somewhere warm sounds really nice right about now” Len replies, his intended laughter being noticeable enough for him not to have t extend too much effort.
Naming off things that give off warmth like hot chocolate and a campfire, the man’s voice grows weaker than it was fifteen minutes prior, though his faint exuberance brightening up the walls of the dark shack. “I remember when I was a kid” Len begins, looking at the walls opposite him as he reflects on his childhood. “My grandparents always made me these little hot chocolate mugs in the winter, and we’d drink them while we watched the snow on our back patio.”
“Those were simpler times” Len says, fighting through the pain well enough to adjust his position. His face flushed with the onslaught of hills to climb and only highlighted by his skin’s red reaction to the bite of the cold air, Len’s smile lights up the shack, and momentarily takes the pair away from the nearest events. “I miss those times” Len says, tilting his head and using the back wall of the shack to recall the memories of his childhood.
“I’m sure they weren’t without their faults, but I miss when times were simpler” Len says, “I wish we had a way of knowing how nice they were before we lost them. Had a way to become numb to what we know now.” Looking at the man, nodding in agreeance, Harper tells Len that everyone is in the simpler times without ever knowing it. “I guess it sometimes just feels like a lot because we turn it into a lot, y’know?”
Looking at her, Len nods and responds with a faint “yeah” and a smile. Cupping his hands together in his lap, the whipping snaps of the wind just outside do nothing to keep Len from thinking of warmer times. Daring the pair to remember the troubles of the world within fingers reach from them, the wind continues to snap and crack at them, it’s efforts falling shorter than it’s fear-inducing cliff dive hours prior.
Awoken from her desperately needed slumber beneath her mountain of blankets, Rena hops out of bed and walks through the front door, taking a few glances in each direction at the camp. The distance being hidden behind thick white blankets of falling snow and a heavy fog, the well-masked glimmer of a flame just close enough to visible appears nearly a mile away.
Within moments, the sound that broke through the heavy winds, waking her up ring directly in Rena’s view, signalling the onstart of war. Eyes open as if they were being held back from closing, Rena hurries through the door and wakes up her group, telling them that they need to leave right now. “They’re here?” Michael says, the lingering effects of his concussion still keeping him from quickly putting two and two together.
“We’ve gotta go, come on!” Rena shouts, throwing on her puffy jacket and tossing her backpack over her shoulder as she leads the group out of the door. Rested enough to pick up the pace, which has become necessary to keep up with the windspeed, the group starts running off to the radio tower, trying to pull one over on mother nature. Little does the group know, one of mother nature’s many jokes is showing new residents how well the natives have acclamated to the violent change in weather.
As if they were pulling a car stuck in park, the group desperately marches forward, only for a jumble of arrows to embed themselves in the snow just feet ahead of them, acting as a warning shot. “Surrender now or we’ll force you down!” the group storming after the foursome shouts, sending off another round of arrows, all being pushed in the opposite direction in which they were fired, yet managing to come within inches of the competitors every time.
“Surrender now and make this easy on yourselves!” the hunters call out, sending off a final round of warning shots to no success. “W’re done asking!” the hunters shout, watching the group scatter away from unpredictable arrow storms hurling themselves with reckless abandon. Splitting from the group, Rena and Marlhy dive into piles of snow strewn about on the ground as the evade falling death, whilst Michael and Austin limp towards safety.
“Now!” the burly man in charge shouts, having his community heave molotov cocktails forward, looking like the heir apparent to Tom Brady as the wind takes them ninety yards. As some bottles explode on contact with hard enough snow to shatter glass, others simply drop into the snow and slowly empty as time goes by. “Down here!” Austin shouts, shoving Michael to the ground behind the cover of a massive rock as Austin covers him in snow.
“Stay hidden!” Austin says, brushing off Michael’s demands to keep moving by telling him to trust what he’s doing. With Michael hidden, Austin emerges from the rock staring at Michael as if he were killed before continuing to scurry away. Running up to the middle of the cape, Rena and Marlhy take cover behind the recently malfunctioned Neptune Box and catch their breath, watching arrows fall from the sky as if they were a Greek god’s tears.
“Get ‘em!” the harsh-toned leader shouts, sending his troops after the girls whilst he focuses on puncturing every orifice of the escaping Austin. Reaching into the broken insert of the Neptune Box, Marlhy looks for whatever can pull them out of this corner they’ve taken cover in as time begins running out. Just off to their side, the blood of one of the community members splatters upon the snow at their feet, as the hunter drops dead just behind the box.
From across the lake, Tessa uses the rifle displayed on the wall to buy the girls extra time after overhearing the roaring horns. After another two hunters drop dead, the raging community begins to take notice, ordering their hunters to fire at the house. “We’d appreciate getting that wall down right about now!” Tessa shouts, listening to Warren rain down blows upon the splintering wood.
Sending off further shots, Tessa spots Rena and Marlhy through the scope as they retrieve a cloth bag of small guns from deep within the Neptune Box’s chambers. Despite the fall of Neptune City around them, Marlhy and Rena fight on behalf of it, outmanning the hunters and dodging their arrows, with their bows being no match for a modern war zone’s best friend. Running from the middle of the cape, Marlhy and Rena dodge more raining arrows and continue matching fire.
Keeping up with the overwhelming soldiers, Marlhy and Rena take further cover beneath and behind the fallen cabins. Continuing to fire shots from the other side of the lake, Tessa hears the work of the core behind her begin paying off, with the sound of damp wood bouncing off laid concrete. “We’re in!” Warren shouts, leading the remaining competitors into the depths of the home below.
Calling for Tessa, still solely focused on evening the odds at the cape, Rick swallows his pride and tells the group below not to go far. Running into the bedroom of the home, Rick takes his prior experience with firearms and knows exactly where to look for them. Ripping the frame off the closet door, Rick pulls a hidden rifle from within, opting to join Tessa in bringing the fight to whatever threatens the men and women they were forced to leave behind.
“You’ve gotta go, Rick!” Tessa says, comforted in the man’s guarantee that he is not going to leave her out to dry. Pulling off a few shots of his own, nearly every one of them hitting their mark, Rick takes aim for the figure in charge and pulls the trigger, only able to graze the top of his head. “Charge forward!” the leader shouts, using his fellow community members as shields in a refusal to take any further gunfire himself.
“I don’t wanna waste ammo” Tessa says, firing off the savages threatening Marlhy and Rena as the girls pick out enough time to advance onwards. Sliding down a hill, Austin covers his head, bracing for impact as arrows fall into the snow just ahead, forcing him to slide away in order to dodge them. Looking up, Austin spots a singular molotov ripping through the skies just over him, directly in his line of sight.
Digging his hands into the snow and pushing forwards, Austin keeps the pace of his descent increasing until the molotov shatters directly behind him, leaving a spray of flames in its wake. Sliding to the bottom of the hill and taking a few rolls in order to do so, Austin climbs to his feet and keeps running, the wind decreasing in speed and allowing him to stand a fighting chance.
Hidden beneath the puffy white snow, Michael watches through the small hole in his covering as the hunters hurry past him, almost completely forgetting he was still there. As he watches, one of the horde of hunters drops to the ground beside him at the behest of a bullet from across the lake. Placing his finger to his lips and hushing down the hunter, barely clinging to life as her face meets his, Michael prys from her hand two molotov cocktail bottles and a lighter.
The lone man completely behind the community, Michael climbs from his snowy white cover and lights the two bottles up. “‘Sup fuckers!” Michael shouts, launching the bottles at large pacts of the group, setting them alight and forcing them to the ground. “Retreat!” the leader shouts, running away from the battle and leading whomever remains alive back into the abyss, intending t live to fight another day.
Following after Austin, the remaining three in the group begin their descent, reuniting with the man mostly responsible for getting them out alive amidst an arrow gravesite. “Come on!” Marlhy shouts, spreading the wealth of firearms to the members of the group still in need of it, their ammunition-short rifles no longer needing to be their only lifeline with an alternative coming into play.
Across the lake, Tessa and Rick fire off a few final shots before returning to their group and descending into the echo chamber that rests below the home. “What is this place?” Tessa asks, listening to the sound of water droplets colliding with the stone below. “It’s not a basement, I’ll tell you that” Rick replies, walking into the dark cavern only illuminated by the light in the living room of the cozy home above.
“It’s almost like it’s not fair sometimes, y’know?” Harper says, going on about how many turns life can have that are only done to make the lives of people that go through it worse. “I laugh at it sometimes, because no one ever really cares about what happens, it’s a joke to them” Harper admits, referring to the world as one selfish whirlpool of self-aggrandizement. “I’m tired of people calling for change and saying they care, and then being convinced by the same lies we’ve always been fed!”
The wind outside beginning to wind down, Harper barely notices it, continuing to rant about the state of the world and the people within it. “It makes you question yourself sometimes. Like we begin to wonder if we’re the only ones seeing these things happen.” Looking above at the sight of the darkened sky, watching the snowflakes violently fall off to the side and out of sight.
“Maybe I’m just looking too far into things… Maybe it’s not as complex as I make it out to be” the girl admits, waiting for the wind to stop snapping so she can pull Len to safety. Breathing a sigh of relief and laughing at the heavens, Harper tumbles out of her train of thought to lean over and tell Len that the winds are finally calming down. Staring at her with a glassy look, Len sits there silently, waiting for the final touches to be put on controlling the actions of the heavens.
Playfully elbowing him in the arm, Harper waits for a smile, only to find his head drop down, staring at the floor with the same glassy gaze. Calling for the man and lightly shoving him, Harper begs for a response to no use. “Len, we’re almost out of here!” Harper says, the tears beginning to run down her face, this time without being stopped. The instant shock wearing off, Harper breaks down with her head on Len’s chest, apologizing for not making good on her promise.
The wind having finally stopped, though having taken its sweet time in doing so, Harper climbs out and sits in the snow, looking to the cliff that caused this. Alone, without food, water, or protection from the elements, Harper just lays onto her back and hopes she’ll wake up, and everything will have been returned to normal. Occasionally accompanied by the sound of rippling winds, Harper rests there with her eyes closed until she decides that waiting to die isn’t good enough.
With her bare hands, Harper covers the shack beneath snow, effectively turning the shack into Len’s coffin and burying him. Once sealed, Harper ventures out into the tundra and awaits the sweet release of death to claim her as its own. Bracing herself against the frigid temperatures, Harper walks for a few minutes before spotting a space hidden behind a small amount of snow a few hundred feet away from her.
With her frozen hands, Harper digs the snow away from the spot and notices the entry to an a space located deep underground. Stumbling inside, Harper steps on a pile of loose rocks and falls to the ground, sliding down a path of dirt before dropping a few more feet to sturdier ground. Groaning in pain as the numbing sensation of her fingers stiffening guides the bruising of her back being ran into the ground throughout her body.
Climbing to her feet, Harper begins following the dark and empty tunnel system until she spots a light just around a corner not far ahead. With whatever strength she has, Harper waits for whomever controls the light to put her down, only to bring herself to a stop, her eyes widening as she sees it turn the corner. Her eyebrows raising as the warm light graces her face, Harper drops to the ground, staring at the wall beside her as hurried footsteps inch closer to her.