Storming from the home ahead of the group following after him, Chevy picks up his helmet and prepares to drive off, angered more than he’s ever been in his life. “We need answers!” Chevy shouts, the entire group paranoid and distressed, having to be reminded by Alex that they don’t know what the report said was true or not. “It was” Amelia says from the porch, watching the group all turn to face her in unison.
“I downed a glass earlier this morning” the girl continues, “I was waiting for everything to happen when you found me.” Looking towards each other in hopes someone would know how to respond to this revelation, the group begins wondering why the girl never mentioned anything. “I thought it was just happening slowly” Amelia replies, the fright in her voice beginning to shine through, “I didn’t want to get your hopes up for nothing.”
“This has nothing to do with Amelia” Jaime responds, cutting through the groups shouts for further information to remind them that there’s no way to know exactly what to do next. “We know we can drink water again, and we know a whole shit ton of people are dead” Jaime furthers, “but the rest is still as fucked up as it was before.” The group quieting down, they begin spreading out, their hands over their heads or on their hips, pacing around in search of what comes next.
“So what do you suggest we do?” Chevy asks, stating that his intentions were to drive down to city hall and start demanding answers. “Do you know how many people have died?” Chevy asks, Jaime admitting that she doesn’t, giving Chevy the go ahead to make it clear that that’s the point. “We don’t know how many are dead, we don’t know what they’re doing next, we don’t even know if there is a ‘they’ now!” Chevy concludes, suggesting the hall as the only place with answers.
“Downtown LA is destroyed” Kayla acknowledges from the back, “if there’s someone giving the ‘all clear’ for that message to go out, there’s someone to give out answers for all of this.” Frustrated, Kennedy barks at the group, telling them not to be the same idiots that got themselves killed on day one. “There’s gonna be a riot in the streets!” Kennedy shouts, “if we sit around and wait for it, we’ll get caught right in the middle of it… again.”
“The kid’s making a good point” Chevy states, “no one’s gonna just be alright with the government trying to reclaim order when they got everyone killed and treated it like nothing.” With a breath, Jaime looks towards Amelia and asks her if she’d be alright leaving the house for a little while to check out city hall. With a nod, Amelia gives Jaime all the confirmation she needs to direct everyone into their vehicles, setting their sights on uncovering answers.
Jaime, Jordan and Amelia leading the group, Chevy and Kayla riding in the middle whilst Alex and Kennedy offer support behind, the group navigates back into the decimated center of town. After making the descent south and being forced to drive around burning office buildings and the debris of fallen towers, Jaime leads the group back onto the main roads.
Once past the debris, Jaime leads the group towards their intended area, watching protestors in the thousands rushing through the street, adding to the number at the bottom of the steps of city hall. “This is a lot worse than I thought it was gonna be” Jaime says, her boyfriend spotting a group of rioters tipping over a water truck, leaving its contents to flood through the streets. “This whole place is going to shit” Jordan mutters, Amelia in the backseat just awestruck at the sights.
Beckoned by Chevy from behind, Jaime watches the man point towards an empty plot of land in the middle of a park. “He wants me to pull into there?” Jaime asks herself, shrugging and doing so, leading the convoy into cover behind the trees as they park their car and regroup. “What’s up?” Jaime asks, exiting her vehicle as Chevy points towards the city hall building. “They prepared for this” Chevy says, pointing out the front stairway of the building.
Barely visible behind the sea of civilians hungry for answers, a massive, reinforced fence lines the front stairs of the building, keeping the swarm of survivors stranded beneath the fading sun. “How much do you wanna bet they held off on that alert until after the fence was finished?” Jordan asks, the finger he uses to point at the building still sporting the blood of the assailants from earlier in the day.
“I’d put every goddamn cent I own in the middle of the table” Chevy replies, placing his helmet in Kayla’s lap before walking towards the mob-surrounded building. Calling for the man to return, Jaime watches Chevy hurry off beneath the dark cover of the trees at his sides before ordering the remainder of the group to remain there. “An-swer us!” the crowd chants, the screaming dulling Jaime’s calls for Chevy beneath it as she begins losing sight of him amidst the chaos.
Rushing through the people in hopes of stumbling upon Chevy on his way around, Jaime feels a tug on her arm pulling her back, allowing Chevy to run further away without the ability to catch up. “Where you goin’?” a random man asks, digging his nails into Jaime’s arm before the pain prompts the girl to slap him across the face. “You little bitch!” the man shouts, his hand caressing his cheek before it lifts into the air.
Without hesitation, Jaime pulls a screwdriver out of her pocket and digs it into the man’s eye socket, causing a horrifying scream to resonate from the man’s mouth as she rips the tool out. Having freed her arm, Jaime disappears into the crowd as the man attempts to stop the bleeding, the mob immediately around him having seen this unfold, taking it as a chance to let out their frustrations, beating the man down and stomping on the back of his head.
Continuing to chase after Chevy, Jaime finds herself alone in the middle of the mob, the lack of familiar faces around her making it feel like she wasn’t even in a familiar place. Suddenly, as she looks to turn around and leave, the loudspeaker system powers on, the mob silencing as they prepare for any response worthy of the damage that’s been done. “Good evening, may I have everyone’s attention please?” the voice calls out, only beginning to speak when the crowd quiets enough.
“My name is Django Wenton, I am the current deputy mayor of Los Angeles, and am the current acting mayor of Los Angeles in relief of Halifax Thurbin.” The city now frighteningly quiet, the attention of every civilian able to do so is centralized on the sets of speakers throughout the area. “As of right now, a state of emergency has been put in order for all residents of Los Angeles, California” the acting mayor says, “and you are to return to your homes immediately.”
“A stay at home order has been put in place, and anyone found violating this order will be subject to arrest. There are no exceptions” Wenton declares, the anger of the mob beginning to build once more, only to wait until the deputy mayor has finished speaking. “We will be addressing these concerns shortly” Wenton concludes, “our thoughts and prayers are with you and your loved ones in these very troubling times.”
Shutting off, the loudspeaker’s system allows for all succeeding roars to be addressed, the roar eventually coming in the form of a singular voice made crystal clear via a megaphone. “Stand your guard!” the unfamiliar voice calls out, “they can’t arrest all of us!” With this battle cry, the crowd lifts into a roar once more, the shouting only amplifying from what it began as. Clawing her way out, Jaime returns to her group, watching the mob begin attempting to climb the fence’s sleek metal bars.
“This isn’t going to end well” Jaime says, her arms extended outwards as Chevy rushes back to the group, his hurry from the mob doubling that of Jaime’s. “What’s wrong with you?” Jordan asks, watching Chevy wave for the group to return to their vehicles and get out of the area immediately. “We heard about the stay at home order, Chevy” Alex says, attempting to talk him out of his fear until Chevy retorts that this isn’t about the order.
“They’re gonna start shooting” Chevy says, pulling his helmet on and demanding that Kayla get on the bike. “They can’t just shoot at us!” Alex replies, pleading for Chevy to stop scaring everyone. “Half the population of the country, if not more, are dead on the fucking ground and city hall is about to be overrun, do you think they’re gonna keep playing civilized if this shit keeps up?” Chevy asks, turning his bike on.
“Listen, if you wanna stay down here… Best of luck to you” Chevy goes on, “but don’t say I never warned you.” Staring at the man more nervous than he’d been in the middle of yesterday’s firefight, Jaime and the group huddle back into their vehicles, following the lead of the man that had yet to betray their trust. Pulling off of the grass, the group return to formation and drives off, leaving behind the massive crowd in an attempt to save themselves another day.
= Dire 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 =
Returning to the house, Chevy and Kayla park their bike outside the front gates and immediately dash into the house, only further alarming the rest of the group, thrown off course by the collected couple’s out of character behavior. “Guys, wait the fuck up!” Jaime shouts, slamming her car door shut and racing into the house, watching Chevy and Kayla pick up bags and boxes, filling them with whatever they can get out of the home.
“What the fuck are you doing!?” Jaime asks, catching a few boxes thrown to her by Chevy, who replies that they need to hit the road right now. “Can we please calm down for a minute and talk this through?” Jaime asks, the rest of the group finally following them into the home. “We can’t wait!” Chevy replies, exhausting himself as Kayla simply does as Chevy told her to whilst on the bike.
“Chevy, please take a second to breathe” Jaime replies, her hand stretching out to his arm as she gently tugs him back, allowing Kayla to stand in front of him, pleading with him to stop for a minute. “What has you so up in arms?” Kayla asks, Jaime asking further why he’s in such a rush to leave. “It’s all going to hell” Chevy replies, his hand digging through his hair as he informs the group that they’re going to want to leave as soon as they can.
“Everything’s falling apart” Chevy continues, “the mayor would get shot the second he showed his face, and until he shows his face, that mob is only gonna get bigger and angrier.” Trying to take a cautiously optimistic route, Jaime tells Chevy that there could be an answer worth trying to be peaceful that no one has yet, only for Chevy to snipe back, telling Jaime to think about the sort of excuse that could make losing hundreds of thousands of people alright.
“Whatever the reason is, someone’s gonna need to be held accountable” Chevy says, “they’re gonna want that mayor’s head on a pike!” Rolling her eyes, Jaime acknowledges the danger they currently face, but refuses to suggest they could be in danger when the mayor is the mob’s target. “No, no, no… Listen to me” Chevy replies, “If the mayor isn’t punished, they’ll burn the whole city down so he has nothing to be the mayor of.”
“That still doesn’t have anything to do with us” Jaime replies, failing to grasp the greater picture until Alex is forced to step in. “Honey, I think Chevy’s trying to say that the mayor is the threat we should be looking out for” her mother says, Jaime looking back for confirmation from Chevy. “They’ve already told us to go back to being sitting ducks” Chevy carries on, “if he can’t control anyone… He’ll just keep shooting until there’s no one left to oppose him.”
“You’re saying the government can do whatever they want now?” Jordan asks, Chevy shaking his head in refusal. “There is no government anymore” the man concludes, “they’re just trying to get us to believe it long enough for them to disappear.” Speaking up, alex voices her concern over what other places are left like this, Kayla admitting that most, if not all cities would be just the same, if not worse based on what they saw before the internet went down.
“There’s no way anyone will ever trust the government, big or small, ever again” Chevy replies, “as far as they’re concerned, riddling a crowd with bullets is damage control.” Wiping his face, Chevy tells Jaime that he’s not going to force her to leave, but he’s not going to change his mind about leaving either. “One way or another, shit is hitting the fan” Chevy concludes, “either we leave before we get caught up in it, or we stay and go down with it when it does.”
Before she can respond, the voice of the final remaining legal tenant of the house gives her answer. “I’m going too” Amelia says, catching Jaime off guard as the girl makes her decision without a second thought. “If all of that’s going to happen, I’m not gonna stand around and wait for it to happen” Amelia replies, her reason for wanting to leave encouraging Kennedy to voice the same concerns, leaving Alex to be the party responsible for telling her to quiet down.
Not one to listen, Kennedy shakes off her mother’s suggestion, placing her hat into the conversation in the favor of Chevy, who seems to have the majority of the camp behind him. Looking to her boyfriend, Jaime watches him stretch his arms out, “we already made the choice to head north” Jordan responds, “Chevy’s not crazy for thinking that all of this is gonna go sour. We’ve still got a reason to keep moving north.”
Turning towards her mother, Jaime watches her nod in agreement. “I’ll be honest, I don’t like what I’m seeing out there” the woman replies, Kennedy stood by her side. “I don’t know what it is about him, but I haven’t seen a reason not to trust Chevy yet” Alex concludes, “if this is what he thinks is about to happen…” she pauses, looking towards Chevy, who nods. “...I belive him. And we should probably get out of here before it’s too late.”
The entire group in favor of departing, Jaime turns around to look at the couple behind her, taking one final glance towards Kayla, who is in agreement with the rest. “Pack the food, whatever meds you’ve got here and whatever clothes we can find” Jaime directs, leading the grocery list throughout the home as the group disperses. Stood alone in the living room as the remainder of the house is combed through, Jaime picks up her box and starts going to work with the moon rising.
“When was the last time you took a risk?” Kate asks, her hands coupled as Jaime floats around the room, touching each side of the wall with her hands before continuing the pattern again. “Depends on what you classify as a risk” Jaime replies, “going outside is a risk for some people, and asking for another two-hundred thousand dollars on your annual salary is a risk for others.”
“In whose world would asking for two-hundred thousand dollars not be a risk?” Kate asks, Jaime replying by asking if she’s ever heard of Bill Gates or Elon Musk. “Some people have risks that others would see as just another part of their life” Jaime continues, “so clarify exactly what you mean by a ‘risk’?”
“When was the last time you felt badly about something, weren’t sure what was going to happen and did it anyway?” Kate furthers, stopping Jaime as she notices the wheels begin to sputter in her head again. “Just tell me something your instincts told you not to do that you did anyway” Kate concludes, clarifying her point enough for Jaime to be unable to twist it into a random philosophical detour.
Thinking about it for a moment, Jaime answers with, “moving into my own place whilst everything at home was still going on.” Finally getting somewhere with her question, Kate hops onto the opportunity as it remains presenting itself. “What made you chose to move out despite what was happening at home?” the woman asks, watching her patient’s mood shift, the answer not having been something she’d given much thought to before.
“You told me to” Jaime replies, Kate’s head shaking as she tells her to dig deeper than just that. “What more is there?” Jaime asks, “you told me that I should, so I did.” Leaning forward, Kate tells Jaime that she’s not one to follow Kate’s advice without issue. “Regardless of what I said, something in your head decided that I was right” Kate responds, “what was it that made you feel that I was telling you the truth?”
“I don’t know, Kate” Jaime answers, “it wasn’t getting any better and there wasn’t really something I could do about it… So there was no point in trying.” With a smile, Kate digs a little further, “And something clicked when I told you that, what do you think convinced you?” Looking off to the side, Jaime shrugs, admitting that she simply listened to what Kate had to say and it managed to strike a chord the way few other things had.
“You were right, I don’t need to know why” Jaime replies, “I need clarification that you were, and clearly… you were.” Her eyes dashing from Jaime to the surface of her desk, Kate pats the top and stands to her feet, walking towards the couch near Jaime’s chair and taking a seat. “Regardless of what I had to say, there was something inside of you that realized I was right and helped my point along” Kate continues, “I said the words, but you made the choice.”
“So I’m suddenly my own therapist now?” Jaime asks, her slim white jacket falling over her left shoulder as she sports a sparkling grin. “I can’t exactly ask my brain to tell me what it was thinking, I just know what I heard and what I felt” the girl replies, her hands being thrown outwards as she asks Kate what more she can take from that. “What did you feel?” Kate asks, Jaime serving her the common eye roll at the generic, Family Feud-like therapy question.
“I guess I felt…” Jaime begins, looking around the room for the adequate term, eventually landing on ‘supported.’ “I felt like what I had been telling myself for years was finally something that I wasn’t the only one thinking” Jaime responds, watching Kate’s face light up at the newly uncovered path. “So you’d thought about it before?” Kate asks, her question taking the form as just that, despite her already knowing the inevitable answer.
“That’s why I asked what made you think I was right” Kate continues on, taking her place back in the seat behind the desk, “what made you begin thinking that?” Jolting her head to free the loose hairs dangling over her eyes, Jaime puckers her lips, thinking back to the first time she began feeling like her role was serving little good. “The time I came back from a pitch meeting and saw mom with a bruise on the side of her neck” Jaime replies, her puckered lips evening.
“When was this?” Kate asks, Jaime admitting it to be nearly a year ago to the day. “I thought it was just a hickey at first so I didn’t bother asking about it” Jaime replies, “but then I saw some green and brown around the gray spots and started thinking something was up.” Her leg now crossing, the left over the right, Kate asks why this was so important to her. “Because something felt odd about it” Jaime replies, admitting to her mother being off.
“She was walking around the room slowly” Jaime continues, “she kept talking to me from behind stuff… Like the wall between two rooms and other furniture things.” Eyes narrowing, Kate asks what felt odd about that moment. “She was hiding from me seeing her even though Helen Keller could’ve seen the bruise the second she got in the door, but she talked to me more than she had the months prior that night.”
Feeling as though this interaction was completely backwards, Kate asks for more intricate details, asking about whether or not Jaime could remember the topics they discussed or the mood her mother was in. “It was just the simple things we always talked about” Jaime replies, “but it felt like she wanted to talk about them all over again.” Sitting back in her seat, Kate asks if there was anything else she could recall about the conversation.
“I just know how it ended” Jaime replies, the suspense beginning to dawn on Kate as she had yet to hear this conversation in all of their prior meetings. “We were talking about Canada, and that’s when dad walked… Err- stumbled, into the room.” Her eyes opening as Jaime had rarely liked to discuss her father in great detail, Kate asks if she’d be willing to tell her how the conversation ended other than the easy description she had just given.
“He was drunk” Jaime replies, “he had gotten pretty good at walking like he wasn’t, but he didn’t know how to keep himself from smelling like a package store.” With a chuckle, Jaime begins continuing until Kate interrupts her, asking if she’d tell her why she was ever afraid of her father. “No” Jaime says, the smirk on her face and the shaking of her head brushing him off as a joke, suggesting that anyone with half a mind would’ve called her crazy for not wanting to leave.
“Everyone would’ve taken the first chance to get out of there when they could” Jaime responds, “I was the only one that had all the opportunity, but none of the desire.” The side of her head supported by her shoulder, Kate asks Jaime what kept her from being the frightened one. “I was the breadwinner” Jaime replies, “out of that entire household, out of literally every single person under that roof... I was the untouchable one.”
“He knew he couldn’t touch you?” Kate asks, the smile on Jaime’s face giving her all the answer that she needed. “The second he put a hand on me, I had fourteen officers on speed dial that would whisk him away before he could crack open another cold one.” Her teeth showing in the corner of her mouth, Kate allows Jaime to continue, picking up the story from where her father cut the conversation short.
“He waddled in while we talked about how easy it is to get a visa for an entire family, and he thought it was inherently a dig at him” Jaime replies, insisting that he got very mad. “He told me not to get any ideas because I was still his daughter” Jaime goes on, “told me I wasn’t as important as I thought I was.”
“What did you tell him?” Kate asks, hearing about how Jaime popped one of his beers out and pulled the cap off without the assistance of a bottle opener. “I drank his beer right in his own face” Jaime replies, the smile spreading across her face without pause, “I told him to test that theory out.”
“What did he do next?” Kate asks, Jaime telling her that he called her some random name and walked off, grabbed himself a beer and retired to his room for the night. “That was how it always went” Jaime went on, “he was all bark and no bite, at least, as long as you barked louder and bit harder.”
“So what made you realize that things weren’t going to change just because you still lived there?” Kate asks, Jaime biting her lip as she swallows the truth. “No matter how much I’d threaten to unleash the law on him, mom would always come to his defense and say that she fell or something” Jaime replies, “I’d try to help her but she just can’t help herself, can she?”
“Are we ready?” Chevy asks, calling out to the home’s interior as the group hurries down the stairs and other crevasses of the home with bags and crates filled with supplies. Hurrying for the door, Chevy takes a head count, watching his girlfriend make up the final remaining number before rushing for his bike. “We head north and don’t stop until we reach snow, got it?” Jaime asks, pulling Chevy aside as he flashes a smile and paats her on the shoulder.
“Let’s move out!” Jaime shouts, confidently strolling to her car as Jordan and Amelia pile in, her mothers vehicle and her own carrying whatever supplies they bring as their lights flash on. Brightening the surroundings, Jaime is caught off guard when Amelia hands both her and Jordan a battery-powered bluetooth ear piece. “We can communicate without laying into our horns” the girl says, watching Jaime’s phone light up.
“Turn down your headlights” Chevy says, Jaime looking at his bike go dark from her rear-view mirror before her mother’s does the same. Following suit, Jaime pulls onto the street, leading the lineup forward as they prepare to find out what awaits them. Winding in and out of nauseating turns, the group climbs massive hills and navigates open wooded areas to dodge blocked streets before coming upon a sight that brings them to a pause.
“What’s going on Jaime?” Chevy asks, the woman ahead stopping her car at the sight of something shining through the distance. “I think I see something through the trees” Jaime replies, noting a bright light dashing through the trees as if it were calling her name. “It’s probably a billboard” Kennedy replies from the rearmost vehicle, Jaime shooting down that suggesting where it began as the lights form words, not provide the words themselves.
“What’s so important about this light?” Chevy asks, his question remaining unfinished by the time Jaime begins driving again, changing the course slightly to inspect the signage. “Jaime, you better not be wasting gas fetching after bullshit” Chevy says, revving his bike up before leading Alex forward. “Honey, what do you expect to do when you find out what it is?” Alex asks, watching the two vehicles slow to a halt as Jaime emerges from hers.
“Jaime, what the hell?” Chevy asks, watching the girl walk a few feet in front of her car and set her sights on the undisturbed sights. Blinking in the distance is the header for the Mount Cedar Sinai Medical Center, the entire top row of windows being blacked out, the only lights emerging from tacky ‘Open’ signs. “What the fuck is this all about?” Chevy asks, the remaining group abandoning their vehicles to stand beside the pair now gazing at the sight.
“It’s a hospital, so what?” Kennedy asks, “aren’t they always supposed to be open?” Agreeing, Chevy tacks on the important reminder that the signage wasn’t operating the day prior. “You can see this shit from the lowest part of downtown LA!” Chevy exclaims, “it wasn’t on at all last night!” Shrugging, Kayla suggests they had simply lost power and couldn’t turn the sign on.
“If that were the case, the hospital would’ve been abandoned once a few minutes without guaranteed power lapsed” Chevy responds, “that hospital shouldn’t be occupied.” Reaching for straws, Alex suggests there was a procedure they weren’t aware of, only for Chevy to turn around, his arm stretched out, insisting that there’s nothing further to dig into than what he’s already said.
“They wouldn’t have people in that hospital if the power went out for as long as it did” Chevy concludes, “that hospital should not be a hospital right now.”
“So what is it?” Jordan asks, “why is it blinking like a fucking bar room?” Stated from the front of the pack, Jaime admits that it’s not supposed to be a hospital. “That signage might as well be an ‘open’ sign itself, because it is anything but a hospital and whoever’s in there wants everyone to know it.”
“I’m so lost” Kennedy replies, Kayla admitting the same. “Let’s go see it for ourselves” Jaime suggests, returning to the front seat of her car as the rest of the group follows the same. Driving off into the night, the wandering survivors search for what remains in the ravaged remains of the state whilst Los Angeles burns to the ground behind them, the smoldering ash hoisting itself into the sky, it’s brilliant orange glow turning into a black nothingness with a snap.