Season 2 Finale
“How’d you find this place?” John asks, his shoulder carrying the weight of a handcuffed Charlotte, who purposefully drags her feet along the ground to make leading her difficult. “Just cruising” Jack replies, the next to step through the front door, his heavy boots tapping against the wooden floorboards. “Why’d you keep her around?” Jack cuts in, throwing Charlotte’s second arm over his own shoulder, helping to alleviate the load John carries.
“For selfish reasons” John replies, resting the woman beside the stone-crafted chimney near the back of the room, dust lifting into the air amidst Charlotte’s seating. “Hold your weapon on her” John orders of Jack as they’re joined within the home, Jess and Amy the next to enter. “Where’s the bedroom?” Jess wonders aloud, Jack’s hand waving her towards the depths of the building.
At gunpoint, Charlotte’s handcuff is unlocked, her right hand kept restrained whilst the left cuff wraps itself around a thick, iron pipe. “You can lower the gun” John remarks, backing away from Charlotte to tend to other matters, stopping himself suddenly. “Jack” John remarks, turning back to find the gun still raised in Jack’s hand, the man tempted to pull the trigger at that moment.
“I told you to lower the gun” John repeats, watching Jack’s arm shake, trembling for a few moments before finally pulling away, the barrel aimed at the floor. “Thank you” John whispers to Jack as the man passes him by, grazing John’s shoulder with his own. “She shouldn’t be alive right now” Jack whispers back, watching Meghan step through the front door, her eyes instantly falling upon the tense pair, “if she causes anymore harm to anyone here, I’ll kill you myself, John.”
Stepping away from the group’s leader, Jack returns to the front yard, helping to tend to those still unloading their respective trucks. “What was that about?” Meghan calls to John, waiting for a few seconds to pass after Jack’s exit before starting conversation. “It was about me” Charlotte replies from afar, earning an unflattering look from the group’s leader.
“Hmph, I’m not surprised” Meghan replies, stepping aside for Lauren to enter the home without a word, her bags tossed into the same corner she slumps into, waiting for the day to pass. “Something wrong, Lauren?” Meghan wonders aloud, standing beside the front door. “Nope” Lauren replies, her hand draped over a bent knee, the eyes of all in attendance firmly upon her presence, “just waiting for something interesting to happen.”
“That makes two of us” Janice replies, the next to enter, her belongings tossed into the same corner as Lauren’s. Pushing Lauren’s bags to the side, Janice clears a space on the floor and takes a seat within it, too close for Lauren’s comfort. “Does anyone know of the jokes about a bunch of urinals to choose from, and one asshole chooses the one urinal of many right beside someone else?” Lauren inquires, turning to look Janice in the eyes, “why have you chosen to be that asshole?”
Turning to Lauren with an annoying smile, Janice offers the woman her answer. “I’m waiting for something interesting to happen” Janice replies, the eyeroll Lauren responds with felt around the room. “Oh, how this reminds me of home” Troy remarks casually, stepping through the entry with Katie following closely behind. “It’s stuffy, cramped, and produces anxiety when more than two people occupy the inside” Katie follows, a loud, humorous breath filling her lungs for the group to hear, “just like home, indeed.”
“If Lauren and Janice are waiting for something interesting to happen, I don’t think they’ll have to wait for long” Meghan replies, watching Alicia and Franklin enter the home next, “care to explain why Charlotte is here, John?” His body turned towards their prisoner with his head hung, John lets out a sigh at the prevalence of such question. “Because I’m in charge, and I decided she was coming along” John replies, looking over his shoulder at Meghan, “do you have a problem with that?”
“Yeah, I do” Janice replies, the humorous tone she’d taken with Lauren now dissipating as she looks at John, “I’m pretty sure you know why.” Sliding his tongue over his bottom lip, John nods to himself as he turns to Janice, kneeling beside her and lowering his voice. “Then I would suggest, from a place of understanding, you keep that opinion to yourself” John replies, holding back none of the punches sent forward, “because, as previously stated, I’m in charge.”
Snarling at the man, Janice leans forward, her face growing closer to John’s own. “I’d like to have confidence in that, John” Janice replies, her voice lowering to a whisper, “but thus far, I’m not so inspired by your decision-making.” His blank expression twisting into a smile, John unholsters a knife from his hip and holds the blade’s edge upon Janice’s cheek.
“Either you’ll find that confidence, or you’re not to be welcomed in this group” John replies, gently gliding the blade down Janice’s cheek, “my decisions are final. If you don’t like them, I don’t care.” Looking at the reflective, stainless steel blade sliding down her cheek, Janice locks eyes with the man above her. “I think there ought to be a third option” Janice replies, pushing her cheek upon the knife’s blade, intentionally letting it break the skin, “we could fight for it.”
Letting out a laugh, John shakes his head in refusal, allowing himself to come down from the humorous remark. “No, Janice. That’s not going to happen” John replies, slicing the woman’s cheek as he removes the blade, its edge stained with the smallest hint of Janice’s blood, “and if you have even the slightest thought of trying to force change upon that, I will kill you.”
Letting the blood run down the side of her face, Janice watches John step away, returning to his domineering position over Charlotte, her dissatisfaction subsiding. “What was that about?” Emilio wonders, having entered the home mid-confrontation, its ending serving to surprise them. “Civil disagreement” John replies without hesitation, his eyes still stuck to Charlotte, the woman appearing like a spider web, John’s focus a mere fly caught within its silk imprisonment.
“That certainly didn’t look civil” Emilio replies, moving aside for Salem to enter the home, a laugh coming from within her. “Come on, ‘Emmy. You’ve spent how long chasing paper trails beyond those walls?” Salem replies, stepping backwards to the bedrooms with her arms extended, “you’re telling me you don’t know what civil looks like nowadays?”
“I guess I just hadn’t seen John’s version of ‘civil’” Emilio replies, the disappointment in his tone left to resonate with Charlotte’s warden. “Can we address the elephant in the room?” Jess wonders, Amy held within her arms as she trails from the bedrooms, “what happened to the plan?”
“Yeah, I’d like to know that, too” Charlotte replies, helping to force the metaphorical walls to close in on John, “why did you murder my brother, destroy my compound, and render half of everything I own into ash?” His head tilted downwards, John scowls at Charlotte, peering at her through tight eyelids. “I don’t answer to you, Charlotte” John replies, intending to end the conversation there.
“But you do answer to me” Jess replies, her voice carrying a subtle discontent within it. His teeth sinking into his lips as if they were thin slices of pie, John turns to his wife slowly, an unamused glare returned to her. “Why is it important?” John responds, his question answered elsewhere. “Because the answer to that question is the reason for why we don’t have a home anymore” Heather replies, stepping through the front door to interrupt the conversation, “it’s pretty fucking important.”
Placing his hands to his hips, John looks to an empty corner of the room, thinking of his answer. “Like I told you all in the office, just after I gave Charlotte the demands. I thought the people were salvageable” John replies, turning back to Charlotte as his answer lingers within a hushed crowd, “and I was proven wrong.”
“So you turn everything to rubble?” Charlotte replies, dissatisfied with the man’s answer, “you made such a mess of my compound that you decided ‘if I can’t lead it, no one can’? Where the hell is the sense in that?” Keeping his anger at bay, John closes his eyes and clenches his teeth, allowing Charlotte to continue speaking. “You’re too ashamed to admit that you failed to lead” Charlotte digs deeper, “because of that ego of yours, everyone here is homeless, hungry, and in danger.”
“You act like the dead are superhuman, or could run at thirty miles per hour” Lauren mocks, hiding a laugh. “The dead are the dead. The majority of you have too little experience with the outside for your own good” Charlotte replies with a smirk on her face, “that was the whole plan. As long as the wall kept the dead out, the people inside remained oblivious. Helpless to the dead, and subservient to those that made the rules.”
Turning back to John, Charlotte continues to wear her cocky expression proudly, her words sinking claws deeper into John’s heart. “Congrats, John. You managed to turn the most obedient little pussycats into the least-tameable lions” Charlotte explains, watching the man’s eyes peel open, returning their attention to her, “that’s a whole new level of fuckup.”
Returning his knife to the pouch he’d retrieved it from, John turns his hand towards the gun on his hip, allowing it to linger by his side, the visual immediately pulling Charlotte to silence. “I want to be understood universally” John proclaims, watching Tyler and Cameron enter the home, “I am in charge. I call the shots, I make the rules. Not you, not your parents, not your loved ones, just me.”
Silently keeping their eyes upon John, the group patiently awaits for the man’s point to be made. “I’ve failed before, but it will not happen again” John explains, his weapon used as a laser pointer, its barrel aiming at every corner of the home. “My choices will not be popular, but they will be followed. I will not always be agreeable, but you will agree with me regardless” John explains, returning his weapon to his holster, “get used to that, or find something better out there.”
Letting his orders sit well within the reaches of everyone’s minds, John turns back to Charlotte once satisfied with the response, his focus cemented upon the woman. “Now that we’ve got that out of the way, it’s time to get to the nitty-gritty” John explains, tracing imaginary lines of the ground with his finger, “let’s find some reason in this world, shall we, Charlotte?”
= Rise: Remastered is created by Zachary Serra, all rights to the series belong to Zachary Serra and the entity of Pacer1 Media from the start of Season 1 onwards =
“You’re oddly melancholic today” Jack calls out, stepping through the front door with his hands in his jacket pockets, his eyes coming upon a statue-esque Lauren, who stands in the middle of the yard with her eyes in the distance. “I’m always oddly melancholic” Lauren replies, her stare directed at the treeline, it’s unimportant, lack of unusual appeal making it an interesting source to funnel attention towards, “it’s somewhat of a personality trait for me.”
Strolling up to Lauren’s side, Jack shares the woman’s gaze at the natural presentation before her, a gesture that confuses the woman. “Why are you here?” Lauren asks, not caring to spare feelings for the sake of a question. “I could ask you the same question” Jack replies, setting his feet in the space next to Lauren, “those trees don’t seem like they’re going anywhere, so I don’t know why they need a babysitter.”
Letting a laugh break free beneath his breath, Jack falls silent amidst Lauren’s lack of a reaction, his joke falling flat. “Yeah, why are you standing here?” Jack asks again, this time with less intention of humoring the woman. “I wanted to look at the trees” Lauren replies, still having yet to look at the man face-to-face, her blonde hair gently carried by oncoming winds.
“I didn’t take you for someone who liked watching nature” Jack replies, his statement immediately earning a response. “Would you have taken anyone in that house as someone that missed hearing planes and cars in the street? Or someone that missed rude, obnoxious assholes telling people off in restaurants?” Lauren wonders aloud, her voice calm, yet judgmental, “a lot of things change when the world you knew disappears.”
Pressing his tongue to the corner of his mouth, Jack feels the moisture leave his lips. “I’ll be back soon enough!” Janice calls into the home, stepping through the front door with a small knapsack carried over her shoulder. “Where are you going?” Jack wonders aloud, looking back to watch the woman leave. “There’s a depot about a mile down the road” Janice replies, her rifle carried in hand, “I can’t stand being in the same room as Charlotte, so I’m gonna figure out what’s useful down there.”
“Care for a second set of hands?” Jack asks, watching Janice’s stroll slow to a stop. “I don’t want anyone slowing me down” Janice replies, watching Jack’s hands shoot towards the sky, a smile worn on his face. “I’ll keep up with you, just take the lead” Jack replies, the conflicted expression on Janice’s face soon turning into a smile. “As long as you keep up” Janice replies, starting to lead the walk before Lauren’s voice calls out.
“Do you need a third set of hands?” Lauren wonders aloud, both Janice and Jack looking back at her, surprised to hear her offer. “I don’t see why I wouldn’t” Janice replies, the answer good enough to convince Lauren to start walking, her arms crossed as she follows suit.
“Who were you going to put in my place?” John asks, cutting into the silence between himself and his former superior, Charlotte’s face looking at him with confusion. “Hm?” Charlotte hums, her head bobbing outwards slightly, illustrating her misunderstanding of the question. “You said, way back when, that I wasn’t your first choice to lead the New World Order” John replies, sitting on the floor with one leg laid against the hardwood tiles, his other knee standing up, “who was your first choice?”
Crinkling her nose at John, Charlotte turns her head away, refusing to answer the man’s question. “That’s interesting” John replies, earning Charlotte’s attention with the quip, the woman having anticipated frustration, not discovery. “What’s interesting?” Charlotte asks, her face largely aimed towards the chimney, only a slight turn allowing her eyes to set on John.
“You’re never one to give up the opportunity to hear yourself talk, especially when the information isn’t worth the breath it takes to offer” John replies, a smile on his face, “it’s someone you don’t want me to know about.” Her frustration building, Charlotte turns her face away from the man in hopes of her anger subsiding, the man’s persistent efforts to rip a question from the deepest chambers of Charlotte’s heart only helping to further her burning hatred.
“John, stop talking” Charlotte replies, her warning coming off more like a plea, the vulnerability she takes such measures to hide away now starting to present themselves. “Why? Are you gonna shoot me?” John remarks, remorseless in his efforts to pick on the woman, Charlotte’s face turning sour and hurt, the tears she seems to be near the verge of shedding remaining kept upon her eyelid.
“Please, stop talking” Charlotte replies, her voice softened, her pleas made more clear. “You can’t fault me for wanting to know, Charlotte” John replies, gently tapping the point of his knife upon the hardwood floor, “Neville was a close friend of yours, Tom was your brother, and I can only assume the people in Dover and-”
“Aaarrgghh!” Charlotte interrupts in a searing scream, balling her restrained hand into a fist and slamming her thumb into the side of the brick fireplace. Pausing, John stops tapping his knife upon the ground, his fist wrapping around the scales and preparing for a fight. “As I was saying-” John continues, pretending the scream hadn’t cut him off, “-I’m sure every leader had a special bond to you. I can’t even imagine who that would've been in New York.”
“John, I’m going to warn you one last time-” Charlotte interjects, preparing her own declaration before getting cut off once more. “Why bother?” John wonders aloud, Charlotte falling silent as her head turns towards her captor, his eyebrow raised, “you’ve already broken free.” Her nostrils flaring as the remaining residents stare on at their leader with confusion, Charlotte utilizes her mangled knuckle to slip free from the metal cuff, leaping into immediate recapture.
“No, no, no. That’s not how this is gonna work” John whispers, dodging Charlotte’s lunge by wrapping his arms around her neck, the point of his knife resting on the side of her face. “How’d you know?” Charlotte grunts, each heavy breath blowing the hair in front of her face outwards.
“I thought about the same thing while I was in Afghanistan” John replies, a breathy laugh leaving his lungs, “cuffs are 6.5 inches wide, hands are just about 7.2 inches. If you want to escape, figure out how to shave down those point-seven inches.” Her eyes rolling, Charlotte refuses to attempt another escape, the group that stands before her blocking the only viable exit. “For the love of god, why are you all just standing there!?” John calls out to the group, “someone get me some rope!”
“How’s your sister doing?” Troy asks aloud, noticing Meghan exit through the home’s rear-exit, the components of his firearm all laid out individually upon a wooden crate. “She’s- she’s fine, why?” Meghan replies, the question catching her by surprise. “I was just wondering” Troy replies, running a clean rag over the barrel as his shoulders shrug, “she’s seemed a little preoccupied recently.”
“Preoccupied?” Meghan replies with interest, the shrug in Troy’s shoulders persisting. “Yeah, preoccupied. Like she’s got something on her mind and can’t say what it is” Troy replies, unsure how to better describe his assumption, “either she’s afraid to say what it is, or she doesn’t know how to describe what it is.”
Giving the man a nod, Meghan offers a half-hearted smile. “I’ll let her know” Meghan replies, visibly anxious for the conversation to end. “How are you doing?” Troy wonders aloud as Meghan turns to leave, his words hitting her ear just as her hand reaches for the backdoor. “I’m doing fine, why?” Meghan replies, watching Troy’s expression turn into one of amusement.
“What’s with this ‘why’ stuff?” Troy answers with a question, setting the barrel down as he reaches for the grip, “can’t I check on people without having an ulterior motive?” Letting a sigh leave beneath her breath, Meghan turns back to the yard, stepping up to Troy’s crate-crafted desk. “You could, if that person wasn’t me” Meghan replies, now watching Troy’s eyes roll, his head lowering back to the spare parts of his handgun.
“Okay, so let me get this right” Troy quickly retorts, letting the grip rest in his cloth as his attention turns fully to the conversation at hand, “I can ask anyone in here how they’re holding up, but I can’t ask you how things are going because we hooked up a couple of times, ended it there, and now my interest is less genuine?”
“I never said it was less genuine” Meghan replies, her thought quickly interrupted. “Then what is it supposed to be?” Troy replies, his arms thrown outwards, “because it sounds like you’re saying I can’t ask you how things are just the same way as I can everyone else.” Her head tilting to the side, Meghan certifies Troy’s conclusion. “If that’s what you’re saying, then yes, you’re right” Troy replies, his voice falling softer, “that doesn’t make my interest any less genuine.”
Taciturn, Meghan hangs her head without a response, digesting Troy’s view. “It doesn’t matter what kind of relationship we have, because it’s not going to change what I want for you” Troy explains, locking eyes with Meghan as Katie walks through the backdoor, “since this world isn’t getting any better, I want what’s best for you. I want you to be happy, and that’s not changing.”
Giving Troy a smile, Meghan watches Katie descend the short steps to the ground, leaving the younger woman to take the conversation where she pleases. “I’ll leave the two of you to it” Meghan says aloud, returning to the home as Katie stands in her place, curious about the interaction. “Please tell me you didn’t fuck her” Katie asks after a few moments of silence, finally turning to look her foster brother in the face, his expression bringing an eyeroll from the young woman.
“Do men ever think with something other than their penis?” Katie wonders aloud, both hands placed at her hips. “Well, we seem to have two brains- One above the eyes, and one below the belt” Troy replies, his focus set back on cleaning his firearm, “I’m pretty sure we only have enough blood for one of them at a time.”
“Did your failed attempt at escape strip you of the ability to speak?” John wonders aloud, tapping the point of his knife against the ground once more. Her hands bound by rope, its second end tied around a pipe across the room, Charlotte remains quiet, sitting where she was originally positioned with her eyes set on the window across from her. “What is there left to say, John?” Charlotte replies, refusing to look the man in the eyes out of defiance, the last bit she has the ability to give.
“I want to know everything I’ve been left in the dark from” John replies, his stare directed at Charlotte solely, “I’ve known of your compound, your rules, your morals- And yet, I don’t know you.” No longer caring to hide her true emotions, Charlotte lets out an emphatic laugh, the entire room void of life, the rest of John’s group having gone off to their own routines.
“And there in-lies one of your greatest short-comings, John” Charlotte replies, repositioning herself to sit against the fireplace, her head resting against the cold, red brick, “you care too much about who people are, and too little about what people do.” His hand draped over his upright knee, John continues to tap his knife against the ground, his eyes pressed harshly against the woman’s unamused frame.
“Explain what the difference is” John replies, again earning an eye roll, the woman’s expression doing little to change his approach. “Sure thing. Let’s start with an example” Charlotte replies, putting on a vaguely positive attitude, her voice lifting with feigned enthusiasm, “how about we start with you, the leader of a compound reduced to rubble, overthrowing me in favor of bringing in outsiders, mixing them in with the rest of my population, and sending the entire lot into an uproar?”
Unaware of the smile John gives her, Charlotte remains staring at the cloudy skies beyond the glass frame. “How does that work for you?” Charlotte wonders aloud, her tone intended to mock John, the question instead responded to differently. “Sure, let’s start with that” John replies, intrigued by the proposition, his genuine interest surprising Charlotte enough to earn a look from her, “you’ve failed to get me to understand your reasoning before, let’s see if this will be any different.”
Sniffling at the idea, Charlotte waits for a moment, unsure whether or not John is serious. Letting seconds pass, Charlotte begins to consider John’s offer, inevitably finding it too entertaining to let pass. “Fine, let me start by asking you a question” Charlotte explains, sliding her entire body around, now face-to-face with John, “why did you put a bullet through my brother’s head? Why did you send the plane into the New World Order? After everything you preached, why do any of it?”
Clearing his throat, John lets the blade glide across the ground, a muffled grazing emerging from the floorboards. “Because I’ve come to realize the people weren’t salvageable” John replies, watching Charlotte’s face fill with anger, “and with the-” Getting the best of her, Charlotte’s anger interrupts John’s explanation, his mellow voice offset by her eruptive yell.
“They didn’t need to be salvageable because they weren’t broken!” Charlotte exclaims, leaving John in silence. Trying to control her anger, Charlotte huffs for breath, the room left open for her to continue. “Were they hungry? Yes. Were they tired? Yes. Were they scared? Yes. Were they all of those things and more? Yes” Charlotte pinpoints, raising her coupled hands to point fingers at John, “but were they broken? No. They were just left to fight for their livelihoods because of you.”
His own face covered with disgust, John hands his head, trying to keep the expression away from Charlotte’s eyes, unable to wipe it from his own face. “But you realize that already, don’t you?” Charlotte wonders aloud, letting a few seconds pass before John answers. “You’re evil” John whispers, his head still hung out of shame. With a smile, Charlotte shakes her head, letting it gently fall to the bricks beside her.
“No, I’m just a bitch. But you can keep convincing yourself of that all you wish” Charlotte explains, pulling her legs to her chest, “use me as a scapegoat, that’s fine. But it’s you that failed those people, not me.” Closing his eyes, John lets Charlotte’s point sink in, the knot that turns in his stomach running out of intestine to tie. “You killed Tyler” John replies, drawing a laugh from deep within Charlotte’s core, “you tried to kill me, you nearly murdered everyone I care about!”
“Yeah, I did. And the only thing I regret is that Tom made a spectacle out of it rather than getting the damn job done!” Charlotte shouts, “and as for Tyler? Yeah, I murdered the kid in cold-fucking-blood.” Taking her head from the chimney, Charlotte returns her glare to John as thunder emerges from within the dark clouds.
“Is that all you’re going to run with? I killed a kid and almost killed you and your friends?” Charlotte wonders aloud, egging John on, “because I’m keeping a list, so if that’s all that makes me evil, go ahead and let me know.” Biting his lip, John keeps his head down, allowing the thoughts to bounce from one side of his head to the other.
“You left the people outside those walls to freeze to death. They grew bitter and waged war because of it” John replies, his head still sunk towards the ground, “there’s another.” Her coupled hands lifting back to her chest, Charlotte waves her fingers at John, gesturing for him to keep the laundry-list coming. “You put a value on human life, you stripped them of their rights, you played god deciding who got to live and die” John explains, running low on reasons, “what more do I need to say!?”
Shaking her head, Charlotte fights to answer John’s question with one response. “Gosh, I don’t fucking know John!” Charlotte replies, her enthusiasm now genuine in a way it hadn’t been before, “how about something you’re not equally guilty for?” Letting out a stammered sigh, John’s blade returns to the pouch on his side, its tracing along the floor put to an end.
“Let’s start from the bottom. I did play god with who got to live and die. But, is that not what you’re doing with me as we speak?” Charlotte wonders, watching John’s head sink further. “How about stripping them of their rights? What government body is around to enforce those?” Charlotte wonders, continuing to dig, “as for putting a value on human life, go ahead and wave your red, white and blue, Cowboy! If that’s evil, then you spent years fighting in Afghanistan on behalf of evil.”
“Sure, you definitely didn’t let those people freeze to death. As a matter of fact, you took them in and nurtured them back to health!” Charlotte says warmly, her tone dropping as the statement progresses, “go ahead, Cowboy. Tell me how that worked out.” Letting Charlotte continue, John shakes the head he continues to hang. “Let’s get to my favorite part now. Let’s talk about the kid I killed, and all the other people I killed” Charlotte explains, snickering at John with a pause.
“You see, you say that two days ago, and I’ve got no argument” Charlotte explains, a smile worn, “but it’s extra-fucking-hypocritical now.” Taking herself to her feet, Charlotte walks away from the chimney, staring down at john as she approaches him, speaking from above. “Do you know how many kiddos were born during the time I led the New York compound?” Charlotte wonders aloud, watching John’s head shake in refusal, “the last record I saw said ‘one hundred and seven’.”
Lowering herself to the ground, Charlotte crosses her legs and looks at the top of John’s head, his hand resting on the knife at his side for protection. “Look at me” Charlotte orders, lifting her coupled hands towards the man’s chin to pull his face towards her own, his eyes red and wet with tears, “how many of those kids, all one hundred and seven, do you think made it out before the plane went down?”
Licking his lips, John continues to let the tears fall from his face, a heartbroken expression worn. “How many of them do you think fell victim to that undead invasion I’ve heard you mention so frequently? Or those attacks from the outsiders you were so kind to let in?” Charlotte continues, watching John’s lips tremble, “how many of those kids did you kill? How many of their parents, their friends, their teachers, their loved ones, the whole lot- How many of them did you kill?”
Sucking in a deep breath, John lets every ounce of air suddenly burst from his lungs, the horror he pushes upon himself immeasurable in its torture. “And there in-lies the difference, the real difference between you and I” Charlotte explains as the first raindrops begin to tap upon the ground beyond their shared walls, “I don’t think I’m evil, I just hope to be right. Whereas, you are never right, but you desperately think you’re not evil.”
Looking back to the window, Charlotte returns to her seat beside the fireplace and latches her eyes onto the pouring rain, John’s sights soon setting on the storm outside as well. “Good rain truly does know the best time to fall, doesn’t it?” Charlotte asks softly, resting against the chimney with a faint smile.
“Nothing more than the same” Lauren exclaims, sifting through shelves of lumber and other various constructive materials, “wood planks, wood boards, wood posts, and bubble gum.” Taking a loose roll of gum into her possession, Lauren inspects it for a moment as Jack steps beside her, gently taking the roll from her hands. “Thank you” Jack says comically, walking away with the sugar-clumped choking hazard.
“It may not be anything we can carry through the city, but it’ll sure help fix up that fence” Janice remarks, sifting through different assortments of Alder Wood. “We’d only need that if the house was a long-term plan” Jack replies, snapping a mouthful of gum from the roll as he strolls through the aisle, nothing of note catching his eye. “We don’t know it isn’t” Lauren replies, following Jack leisurely through the aisle, “John just destroyed our home, what makes you think he has a plan?”
“I’m not condoning his actions, don’t get me wrong” Jack explains, calling back to the woman he can feel trailing behind him, “but what does him having a plan have to do with our living situation?” Reaching the end cap, Jack turns towards a set of aisles opposite Janice’s direction. “If he’s got no plan, it’s not long until he suggests hunkering down in the house” Lauren replies, acknowledging the man’s limitations as she reaches the end cap, “we’ll be slaving over that fence in no time.”
“That is, unless, we find something better” Jack is quick to respond, hearing Lauren’s footsteps take after his own, following his walkway like a lost puppy. “And where do you think we’re going to find that?” Lauren remarks, her eyes traveling from one side of the depot to the other, “because if you’re thinking of this place, I’m not so confident your head is in the right place.”
“Why not?” Janice asks from afar, still sifting through different selections of boards, “it may be big, but it’s easy to defend. These massive walls could prove just as viable as the New World Order’s borders. Plenty of materials at our disposal for use.” Turning down the paint aisle, Jack’s voice grows louder, leading those behind him both to his whereabouts and his perspective.
“The difference between this place and the New World Order is plenty clear” Jack replies, lifting a bucket of red paint from its store shelf, “one offered us the ability to make food, retain shelter, and enjoy the safety of an army. Whereas, with this warehouse, we’d be lucky to find a way up to the roof.”
“I don’t see how an inaccessible roof makes this warehouse any less of a shelter” Lauren remarks, turning down Jack’s aisle, continuing to follow his path much to Jack’s amusement. “Where would we find the room to build a garden, or harvest crops?” Janice replies from afar, inspecting another wooden board, “pests, the dead, or even other people would be a threat if we were to build it ground-level.”
“That doesn’t even take into account that we don’t have an army anymore” Jack replies, carrying the big can of red paint with him as he departs the aisle, “yes, it’s a good thing the dead are mostly too rotten to keep up with our speed, but they’re still not going anywhere.” Following Jack’s path, Lauren remains nipping at the man’s heels, following him through the central endcap and back into Janice’s wing of the store.
“The dead are dumber than most animals, especially most of the ones that hunt” Lauren replies, her shoes purposefully tapping against the concrete ground louder than before, “if people killed predators with traps, don’t you think we can do the same with the dead?” Watching Jack pass the opposite end of her aisle, Janice shakes her head. “We’re here shopping for stuff to finish the fence with” Janice remarks, watching the man flash a smile towards her, “isn’t that what we’re doing?”
“Do you really want to share a small, single-family house with a kid and seventeen grown adults?” Lauren replies, not paying Janice any mind as she passes the same aisle, continuing to follow Jack. “It’s not my favorite situation, if that’s what you’re asking. But it’s the world we live in, you’ve got to take what-” Janice replies, turning her focus back to the selection of wood before pausing, her mind thinking back to the number Lauren arrived at, “wait, there are sixteen adults in the house.”
“Go ahead, count in your head, I’ll wait” Lauren shouts out, silently following Jack through the store, aware that he knows of her stalking. Reciting the sixteen survivors she shares floorspace with, Janice finishes with the first family. “Jessica, John, and Amy” Janice concludes, five fingers held out on one hand, and the opposite presenting only one, “I counted right, that’s sixteen!”
“You’re forgetting about Charlotte” Lauren nonchalantly replies from afar, watching Jack stop and look at her with a confused look, one Lauren can only assume Janice holds to an equal measure. “If you mean for the next few hours before we gut her, then sure, I forgot about Charlotte” Janice replies, earning a laugh from afar. “John kept her from being gunned down or splattered via a crashed plane” Lauren calls out from afar, finally catching up to Jack, “do you really think he’s killing her now?”
Reaching into Jack’s hand, Lauren retrieves her wad of gum, her front teeth sinking into the roll with pleasure. “Thank you” Lauren says to the man, stepping past him to resume her original trail, Janice’s appearance at the end of the spacious, near-gigantic set of shelves. “What are you implying?” Janice wonders, slowly stepping further into the aisle, intent on confronting the suggestion Lauren had just made.
“She’s leaving that house alive no matter what you do” Lauren replies, her demeanor unchanged from its previous status just moments ago, “John won’t bring himself to kill someone equally as cruel as him.”
“John’s not cruel” Jack replies, earning Lauren’s attention as much as Janice does. “Well, Charlotte’s people don’t think she’s cruel, so who are we to say she is?” Lauren replies, mocking Jack’s response, “at the end of the day, it’s down to what John thinks of himself. And the man never stops asking questions, so how long will it be before Charlotte convinces the man they aren’t too dissimilar?”
“John was doing the right thing, he-” Janice replies, quickly interrupted by the only woman speaking from a bipartisan viewpoint. “-he was fighting for what he believed in, yeah yeah yeah” Lauren replies, rolling her eyes in mockery, “what the fuck do you think that counts for anymore? What does that change? The New World Order isn’t being rebuilt, Charlotte is no less the manipulator she was when we first met her, and the world isn’t healing just because we fight honorably.”
Letting out a sigh, Lauren begins rolling past Janice before thinking better of herself, still with air in need of clearing. “The bottom line is, Charlotte put the walls up, and John tore them down” Lauren explains, both Jack and Janice stood beside each other, their disbelief looks slowly turning into cautioned, worried expressions, “how long do you think it’ll be before all those lives, all taken by John, are thrown right back in his face?”
Her hand guiding itself to her forehead, Janice struggles to convince herself against Lauren’s accuracy, her mind racing over the pictures the woman has burned into her memory. “The thing about John is that he’s not someone to stab a person in the back, he prefers to do it upfront. He’s yet to take that swing on Charlotte, and he’s had plenty of time” Lauren explains, finally prepared to leave, “and if push comes to shove, I’m sure they’ll welcome you to Sheol with open arms.”
The pair squinting, Jack and Janice are stripped from their fears, their minds thrown into curiosity. “What the fuck is Sheol?” Jack calls out, the first to break from Janice’s side, jogging after the woman who’d followed his every step not too long ago. “That city I saw during the invasion” Lauren replies, continuing to walk as if she’d not just hammered into the pair’s greatest fear.
“When the dead breached the walls, during Jerome’s attempt at a takeover, I got drunk and went to throw myself off the control tower” Lauren explains, blowing a bubblegum-bubble mid-sentence, “I saw a big patch of light show up, then disappear, and it convinced me not to die. I don’t know why, so don’t ask me, but I’m assuming it’s Sheol.”
“You’ve yet to explain what the fuck Sheol is” Janice replies, following a few feet behind Jack. “Katie came back from one of her stakeouts talking about a voice recorder she found, like, a year ago” Lauren replies, loudly chewing the same wad of gum, “she mentioned a city, called it Sheol, and I put two-and-two together.”
“And you didn’t think to say anything?” Jack replies, matching Lauren’s stride as he reaches her, staring into her unconcerned face. “Why bother? What’s the point in giving John another city to take over and ruin?” Lauren replies, her shoulders shrugging as she steps through the depot’s entrance, “I mean, don’t get me wrong, I like the guy, but he’s his own worst enemy. It takes a fool not to see that.”
Stopping in the doorway as Lauren walks off, Jack and Janice are left to their own devices, their minds left to simmer anxiously, their breaths steady, persistent, yet mortified and lost.
“Knock knock” Meghan gently proclaims, her knuckles tapping against the cedar door frame as a request for entry. “Come in” Jess replies, an old shirt held to her chest, one sleeve folded across from the other. “Well, that’s not how the joke is supposed to go” Meghan says facetiously, watching her sister dart from one side of the room to the other, hastily resting clothes into the abundance of cardboard boxes sprawled across the king-sized bed.
“Sorry, I wasn’t expecting a joke” Jess replies, her voice reflected with the preoccupation of a woman desperate to force her wandering mind into fitting a centralized task. “I see that. It looks more like you’re expecting a sudden laundry day” Meghan apprehensively replies, glancing into the clothing within every single box, “what exactly is this all for?”
“Are clothes no longer a necessity?” Jess replies almost acerbically, her eyebrows raised at her sister’s suggestion. “If we’re speaking in a legal manner, technically, no they’re not” Meghan replies, her sister’s focus returning solely to the box-filling, “but even if they're a necessity, why are you stealing these clothes?”
Throwing a child’s t-shirt into a box filled with clothing of equal size, Jess answers mid-fold, continuing to sort every shirt, shoe, and pair of pants adequately. “We may need the drawers as storage space for something else, there’s a start” Jess replies, a ruined pair of shoes thrown into a random corner of the living space, “and since we lost everything at the New World Order, I figured there’d be no need to go hunting for clothes if we already have plenty at our disposal here.”
Puckering her lips together, Meghan nods at Jess, silently expressing her acceptance of the answer. “But that’s not why you’re here, Meg” Jess continues, her past experience at the forefront of the New World Order allowing her a passing eye for examining people’s true intentions. “I can’t begin to assume what you’ve come here for, but it wasn’t to criticize me for doing laundry like some pitiful housewife” Jess explains, turning to look her sister in the face, “so go ahead, spit it out.”
Hesitating as she looks Jess in the eyes, Meghan runs over her approach silently, letting a few seconds evade her before speaking out. “I think something’s off about you” Meghan replies, both of Jess’ hands sliding into her side pockets, quiet enough to her a pin fall, “before the hurricane, you were happy. Everything was falling into place, and for the last couple of days, you’ve been distant. You’ve been cold, and you’ve been quiet.”
Her eyes falling away from Meghan, Jess maintains her silence, allowing her sister to continue hashing out the concerns she’d kept in. “It reminds me of when John was AWOL. His jaw was a wreck, his mind was a wreck, and so were you” Meghan explains, her sister’s eyes still taken towards the bedroom’s depths, “you delegated. You wanted to be the leader as much as John did, but somehow hated it more. You went off into your own world, and the last few days have been like déjà vu.”
Pulling her bottom lip between her teeth, Jess turns around, her feet carrying her to the other side of the room. “This is what I’m referring to. I’m not trying to criticize you, or tell you to do better, or defend yourself, or whatever else I could” Meghan explains, watching her sister stop at the window, peering through the blinds at the woodlands. “I don’t need you to change” Meghan explains, meeting Jess at the back of the room, her hand placed on the woman’s shoulder, “just talk to me.”
Planting her hands against the windowsill, Jess face is shadowed by the separated splinters of light, watching the rain dot the glass. Her head shaking, Jess sinks into the churning pit in her stomach, letting the sick worries consume her, the pride she is engulfed by too great on its own for her to acknowledge the truth. “I don’t know who my husband is” Jess replies in a whisper, her face cold, the nerves in her hands fighting the urge to ball her fingers into a fist.
“That’s not true” Meghan replies, her thumb caressing the woman’s shoulder. “No, it is. I mean, go ahead and look at him yourself, and tell me if you see the same man you saw on my wedding day” Jess replies, looking Meghan in the eyes, “tell me if that’s the same man you saw after our honeymoon, after Amy was born, after the first year, or the first two years. Hell, look at the man in the next room, and tell me if that’s even the same man you saw right before this world went to hell.”
Letting a smile emerge, Meghan offers a warm laugh, her head shaking. “Of course he’s not the same man he once was, none of us are” Meghan replies, the look of refusal on Jess’ face prompting Meghan to leave her response unfinished. “It’s different with John. The rest of us do what we need to in order to survive, but he- He’s not like the rest of us” Jess replies, a defeated look on her face, “he’s seen war, and torture, and everything. If any of us shouldn’t have changed, it would have been John.”
“Jess, we’ve all had to change. John included” Meghan replies, unable to offer Jess the relief she terribly craves. “He didn’t have to change like this” Jess replies, veins popping from her neck from the force she drains her lungs of air with, “he didn’t change his perception, or his morals. He changed himself.”
Her lips parting without words to speak with, Meghan’s jaw closes, allowing Jess the chance to continue speaking. “I’m losing my husband. I’m losing Amy’s father. The man I’m getting in return is a soldier, and a shell of the one he used to be” Jess remarks, the expression on Meghan’s face sinking just as her heart does. “My husband, he- he- he- he murdered those people” Jess says in a hush, her face souring, “just like that. No remorse, no second thoughts. Just death for the sake of it.”
Hanging her head, Meghan lets Jess’ opinion sit with her, feeling her lungs lose their capacity for air with each second that passes. “I’m sure he had his reasons, Jess” Meghan replies, still stubborn in her refusal to give up on her leader, the man she clings to for guidance as much as anyone else.
“His reasons don’t matter, his actions do” Jess replies, a blood vessel bursting her eyes, leaving a small, red dot to the side of her pupil, “and he chose to kill those people. One moment, one choice, and hundreds dead.” Swallowing the spit built in her mouth, Jess takes in a deep breath, letting it sit before releasing it with a gust.
“My husband took control of the New World Order for them, and then murdered them without a care” Jess explains, her head tilting, expression changing, “what else would he do?” The look on her face matching the suspicious curiosity on her sister’s Meghan pulls her head back, eyes worriedly looking into Jess’ own. “What are you implying, Jessica?” Meghan responds, her hands still cradling her sister’s arms, “because if you’re suggesting what I think you are, I encourage you not to.”
“Why wouldn’t I think he’s as capable of killing me, or any of the rest of us, if the situation called for it?” Jess immediately replies, not encouraging reluctance of any sort, “he killed them no problem, why not you? Why not me? Why not Amy?” Her sour expression turning into disgust, Meghan shakes her head vehemently. “No! You’re his wife, Amy is his daughter!” Meghan replies, her voice raising from a whisper ever-so briefly, “why would you even think that!?”
“Why would I not?” Jess replies, pulling her shoulders from Meghan’s reach, her face tense, hands as restless as the rest of her body.
“John is two people, either my husband or the soldier. Since the world ended, he’s been forced to be both at once, and he hasn’t been good at it” Jess concludes, her nostrils flaring, “every day that passes with him being both, I lose the husband and the soldier” Jess explains, moving a box aside to sit on the bed, “he’s becoming someone I fall asleep having nightmares about.”
Standing over her sister, Meghan crouches low to the ground, both hands resting upon her sister’s knees. “John is not the monster you’re worried he’s becoming” Meghan explains, re-locking her eyes with Jess’, “he would never hurt you, he would never hurt Amy, he would never hurt us. That’s not John.” Pushing her lips together, Jess shakes her head. “I’m sorry, Meg” Jess whispers, laying her hands atop her sister’s own, “I don’t think I believe that anymore.”
“You’ve still yet to tell me who the other person was” John says aloud, now sat across from Charlotte, his back to the wall whilst hers presses against the chimney, their fronts facing each other. “Why do you care so much?” Charlotte wonders aloud, both survivor’s wearing groggy voices, tired from the secretion of violence the world has left to fester around them.
“Curiosity is the greatest weakness of man” John replies, his eyes taken to the woman, Charlotte’s eyes, meanwhile, are taken towards the window, “that’s why.” A sarcastic smile worn proudly, Charlotte shakes her head. “If curiosity is that powerful, I’ll leave the answer a mystery” Charlotte replies, a passing glance taken at John, “once you kill me, I’ll leave you something to be haunted by forever.”
Letting out a sigh, John directs his attention to the ceiling, the thunder that roars in the distance keeping him entertained through fits of silence. “Why is affecting me so important to you?” John inquires, his head still taken to the sky, “speaking of my evil deeds, trying to prove everything I did, or everything I believed in wrong, leaving me haunted with questions never to be answered” John explains, finally earning Charlotte’s eyesight wholly, “why do you care so much about that?”
With a smile, Charlotte pushes herself back against the bricks, entertaining John’s question. “When I was in the hospital, a good couple of years ago, I passed a lot of my time reading” Charlotte explains, her hand draped over a bent knee much like John’s own, “and there was a quote from a book that I liked, one that stuck with me for a long time.”
Clearing her throat, Charlotte stares at the ground, her finger running over the smooth, concrete beneath her. “There are three deaths. The first is when the body ceases to function, the second is when the body is consigned to the grave” Charlotte recites, a smile on her face, “the third is that moment, sometime in the future, when your name is spoken for the last time.”
Nodding at the woman’s response, John retreats to his mind’s own thoughts. “You can kill me today, tomorrow, or whenever else” Charlotte explains, her hands held out in a mockery show of surrender, “but you, and the rest of your group, will be speaking of my name long after I’m gone.” Tilting his head back, John lets time pass, listening to the thunder roar.
“Oh look, she’s still here!” Lauren exclaims, the first to step through the door, her teeth gnawing into the same wad of bubblegum, “what a surprise!” Followed closely by her depot-mates, Lauren takes her previous seat in the corner, Janice’s back resting against the wall as Jack steps further towards the conversation-enraptured pair.
“What are we gonna do with her?” Jack wonders aloud, wasting no time to find the point of his confrontation. His eyes taking to Jack, John pulls himself up from his seat without a rush, leaning from one side to another, stretching to alleviate his spent muscles. “I haven’t decided” John replies, drawing Jack’s ire as quickly as he draws Janice’s. “What the fuck do you mean you haven’t decided?” Janice replies, her hands folded in her lap.
“I haven’t decided, it means exactly what it’s supposed to” John replies, beginning to walk past Jack. Returning from outside, the group reunited in the living room, a call from Troy clearing the overwhelming aura of tension. “What’s for dinner?” Troy calls aloud, finding John out of the corner of his eye the moment awkward silence greets him. “I’m going out to scavenge something up, it depends on what I find” John replies, not thinking much of his answer.
“You’re leaving without sorting out the issue we’ve got tied up in the corner of the room?” Jack replies snarkily, aggravated at the man’s lack of care. “You don’t have to like me, but I still do have a name” Charlotte remarks from afar. “Shut up, bitch” Janice barks from the other side of the room, too enthralled with anger to handle the sound of Charlotte’s voice.
“Yes, as I said, I haven’t made a decision” John replies, patting Jack on the shoulder. “What kind of bullshit answer is that?” Jack replies, pulling his shoulder away from John. “After everything she’d done, how is this a hard decision!?” Jack exclaims, both arms held outwards, “she’s either a fucking psychopath, or she’s got a real hatred for people named ‘Tyler’.”
Hanging his head, John lets out a sigh, leaving a moment to pass before giving his response. “It’s a hard decision to make, so I’m taking my time” John explains, again patting Jack on the shoulder, this time more sternly, almost as if trying to give Jack a warning. “Oh, you’re taking your time, that’s great!” Jack exclaims, retrieving the pistol on his left hip, his aim pointed at their tormenter, “if it’s so goddamn hard, I’ll make it for you!”
Refusing to leave room for mistakes, John unsheathes the knife from his side and takes its point to Jack’s throat, pressing on the gunman’s jugular just enough to remind Jack of his vulnerability in that moment. “I said I’m taking my time” John whispers, his soft tone taking it’s time, emanating from his diaphragm like molasses settles, the gravel-like reflection he wields expertly prominent.
Holding his left hand across his chest, John places his palm beneath the aimed weapon. “Gimme the gun, Jack” John orders smoothly, willing to wait as long as necessary for the man’s disarmament. With a scowl, Jack lowers his weapon into John’s possession, surrendering his defense reluctantly. “Now, I’m going to head out for an hour or so, and I’m going to think about my decision while I do” John explains, his blade still held to Jack’s throat.
“Now, if Charlotte is dead by the time I get back here, I’ll kill every last one of you” John remarks, his threat made permanent. Catching John by surprise, Jack knocks the blade from John’s hand, letting it fall into a dark corner of the room as he lunges towards the group’s leader. “We wouldn’t even let you take the first shot!” Jack shouts, hurling his arm at John with confidence, his own self-belief vanishing the moment John ducks his swing, taking the superior position.
His hands wrapped around Jack’s throat, John sweeps the man’s leg from beneath him, throwing Jack to the ground. Reaching into his back pocket, John retrieves a grenade and bites down on the pin, letting it sit between his teeth as he pulls it from the explosive. “Would you like to put a bet on that?” John wonders aloud, staring down at Jack with wide eyes, a frenzied smile on his face, “because I really like my odds there.”
“John, please” Jess calls from afar, her husband’s eyes trailing towards her, clinging onto her sight, “don’t.” Calming himself, John lets the situation settle, returning the pin to its place within the cylindrical bomb. Regaining his composure, John takes himself from atop Jack, pulling the man up by the hand, putting their differences aside. “Alright, fuck it. I know you’re mad and I don’t blame you” John explains, struggling to put the leadership role he’d grown accustomed to aside.
Glancing around the room, John feels their fears from afar, the anxious staring and paranoid tension palpable. “We can’t become the people we’re on the verge of turning into” John explains, looking out at the gathered assortment of survivors, all having done whatever has been deemed necessary. “People turn into monsters, and when we start deciding who lives and dies, we turn into those monsters” John explains, tormented by the thought, “it takes time to decide if that price is worth it.”
Shaking his head, John tosses his knife to the ground, the firearm he retrieves from behind his back left to join his blade. “I made a terrible choice today. A choice I’ll live with, be tormented with, and be haunted by for the rest of my life” John remarks, watching Jack pull away, rejoining the huddled masses.
“I don’t like it anymore than you do, but if we’re gonna kill Charlotte out of revenge, we’re just as bad for different reasons” John explains, “if she’s to die, we need to find a better reason.” Dissatisfied, Janice hangs her head out of shame, whilst Jack’s eyes close, trying to accept John’s reasoning.
“I changed at the New World Order today. I’m not the man I was yesterday, and I never will be again” John confesses, even Charlotte’s attention left upon him, “I never wish this feeling on any of you.” His eyes finding Janice, John’s words take towards her.
“Killing Charlotte will never bring your son back, Janice” John explains, watching the white’s of her eyes fall over him, “losing Tyler left a hole in your stomach that you’ve filled by blaming Charlotte. Taking her out won’t fill that hole, it’ll only leave it impossible to ever fill again.”
His focus pointed to Jack as Tyler standing in the background, just beside Troy. “And Jack, I don’t even think Tyler himself hates Charlotte as much as you do” John explains, an assumption Jack holds little argument against. “Reggie is gone, Shauna is gone, and Tyler’s buddied up to Troy more than he has with you as far as I’m aware” John finds, again, his discovery impressively accurate, “you’re alone, and it leaves you boiling with anger. Charlotte’s not the cause, she’s the escape for it.”
Peering around the room, John’s group looks to him with accepting eyes, looking to him with trust, hoping for guidance for the first time he can remember.
“If we’re going to be monsters, we need to let it be for a valid, unarguable reason” John explains, a chill running over his body as the rain begins to fall harder, “I know what it feels like to look at yourself differently in the mirror. I killed my decency for a poor, inexcusable reason, and I’ll never forgive myself for that. None of you should experience that.”
Biting his lip, John lets out a warm smile, pleased with the conclusion his mind has succumbed to. “I am not your leader anymore” John says with a smile, a proud joy in his voice, “but I will still lead you. I can only hope the path I lead you down is better than the first one I chose to take.” Letting free a sigh, John strolls over to the front door, removing a black raincoat from a nearby hook.
“I’m going off to find food, and I plead with you to leave Charlotte alive by the time I come back” John explains, throwing the cover over himself. “This is our family now. You and I, the rest you see around you” John explains to those around him, a hopeful look in his eye as he looks at Charlotte. “When I come back, I want something worth keeping you alive for, Charlotte” John explains, hoping to deliver the woman a say in her own fate.
Closing the door on his way out, John embraces the elements, leaving the home shrouded in silence, a tense, quiet questioning delivered through strange looks. Her eyes turning towards the corner of the room, Janice watches Lauren respond to John’s explanation with a shrug, no less confident in her prediction than when she made it.
Descending the front stairs, John listens to the raindrops tap at the hood he throws over his heavy-haired, thick-bearded head. Lifting an axe from where it rested against the home, John wraps his hands around the handle and plays with the weight.. “Let’s get to work” John mutters to himself, letting the weapon fall to his side as he embraces the storm, stepping through the incomplete front gates as he takes to the road, moving forward.
== Rise: Remastered ==