Still walking gingerly, his step sporting a noticeable limp, Chevy approaches the living room and takes his seat beside Kayla, the entire household gathered with their attention directed towards Jaime. “This isn’t just nothing anymore” Jordan insists, his hand waving a piece of paper wearing the folds from being slid through the front door. “Joke or not, now we’re talking about serious issues” the man continues, the paper being thrown onto the center table.
“Whether this is a joke or not, we need to take it seriously” Amelia interjects, “if there’s a group, somehow avoiding detection, plotting to overthrow you… Something needs to be done.” Her arms crossed, Jaime refuses to allow any such thing to take place, “if they don’t agree with me, they have that right.” Refusing, Jordan remains adamant that his girlfriend take a stand and put this issue to bed.
“This isn’t just ‘we want you gone, we’ll vote you out!” Jordan responds, his voice loud and boisterous, “we’re in a place where murdering someone for their opinion isn’t unlikely!” Clearly concerned about this threat, Jaime remains mostly quiet, keeping her inner thoughts to herself as her gaze remains elsewhere. “Honey, this isn’t something that you can just let slide” Alex persists, “if you let this slide, even if this is a joke, it’ll open the door for more people to do the same.”
“Maybe they should” Jaime replies, Jordan’s eyes immediately rolling as he gets up and walks away, his anxiety getting to the point of fearing an outburst that could lead to any damage. “They’re not forming a coup because they’re being oppressed, Jaime” Chevy responds, “they’re mad they’re not getting to gouge their faces anymore.” Kayla coming to the defense of Chevy’s point, the woman, whose brunette roots have begun overtaking the blonde in her hair, stands her ground.
“They’re mad that they don’t get to be selfish assholes like they used to be” the woman argues, the group leaving the floor open to her, “and they’re blaming you for trying to make sure everyone stays alive.” Her attention directing itself to Kayla, Jaime asks the woman whether or not she believes them to have the right to that opinion. “Of course they have the right to be upset!” Kayla replies, “but in this world, they don’t have the right to be selfish cunts anymore!”
“Especially when it’s a system that has yet to fail to keep them alive” Chris adds, his sister standing behind the bar as he occupies one of the many stools. “Maybe we’ve only known you for two months, but that’s been plenty of time to see results” Chris continues, “and the results are pretty clear to see as long as someone’s breathing.” Her focus drawn back to Kayla, Jaime listens to the woman tell her that there needs to be a finer line drawn between rights now.
“This is a new world, there are new threats and there is less room for mistake” Kayla continues, “you can let them have an opinion, but you can’t let them feel like they’re entitled to anything.” Running down the laundry list of reasons they should be grateful rather than disturbed, Chevy tells Jaime that her tenure in charge has not failed anyone. “Just like Chris said, if they’re breathing… You haven’t failed them, and that’s what matters.”
Adjusting herself, Jaime leans against her couch’s arm rest and directs her follow-up towards the entirety of the group, every all firmly rested upon her. “Does anyone remember how we got control of this place to begin with?” Jaime asks, a few heads dropping as others begin sagging their faces. “We staged a coup because we wanted to know why we were forced into whatever you wanna call this world” Jaime replies, “are we any better if we keep them from doing the same?”
“Django’s government didn’t keep them alive” Chevy replies, distinctly outlining the difference between the pair, “he kept them silenced, and then he tried to wipe them out when it didn’t work.” From her bartender’s pocket, Julia tells Jaime that there are some difficult truths that need to be accept in worlds like these. “This is no place for democracy anymore” the woman remarks, “the only way these people stay alive is if they’re led by someone that knows what they’re doing.”
Before the woman can reply, either in denial or acceptance, Chevy and Kayla both verbalize their opinions. “You know exactly what you’re doing, and you’re doing it well” Chevy says, Kayla adding, “the second you let that power go somewhere else, everything changes, and most likely not for better.” Returning to the room, Jordan tells Jaime that he’s going to have Lazarus set up a position for an announcement just around sunset, her views set to be made then.
With a jog to the front door, Jordan takes his jacket and swings it over his shoulders, Jaime calling out for him to wait for a moment before he departs. Meeting the man, Jaime walks up to his chest, her arms wrapping around his back as he kisses her on the top of the head, and she responds by telling him to come back safely. “I’ll be back in a little while, don’t worry about me” Jordan replies, kissing her again before leaving the house.
The door closing behind him, Jordan enters his car unaware of his girlfriend still standing in the place he left her, looking at the door and waiting to hear the vehicle pull away. “Are you alright?” Kayla asks, her question the only one verbalized despite being shared with the remainder of the group. “Yeah” Jaime responds, her voice emphasizing a more welcoming nature as worry sets in on her conscience.
“I guess I have an announcement to prepare for” the woman continues, her head bowing to the group as she retires to her bedroom, leaving the room quiet, sharing each other’s concerns.
= 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 =
“Why do you insist on going out there?” Kayla asks, her panting towards Chevy putting a smile on the man’s face, “I’ve already told you what to expect.” Turning around, the man puts his arm over his girlfriend’s shoulder and gives her a peck on the lips, assuring her that he needs to see it for himself in the event he’ll need to. “There’s so much out there that we don’t know about!” Chevy remarks, his smile easing the pain of him departing, “we could be the only ones in this mess!”
“But you know we’re not!” Kayla replies, the man placing his hands on both sides of her face before humorously responding, “but we’ll never know for sure unless we find out ourselves!” Returning towards the packing of his bag, Chevy assures the blonde-brunette split that it will only be a week without him, giving her the greenlight to enjoy a few days without having to see his self-described ‘dumb face’ every morning.
Without any words to follow, Kayla chooses to alter her approach, walking for her side of the room and retrieving a duffle bag before proceeding to fill it with whatever she deems necessary. “What are you doing?” Chevy asks, his head slanted back while his lips pucker, realizing what Kayla’s strategy has turned into. “If you’re going, then so am I!” Kayla replies, packing a few changes of clothes and whatever else may come in handy in a life-or-death situation.
“I won’t stop you if that’s really what you want to do” Chevy replies, attempting to continue his statement until the woman turns around and walks into his arms. “I don’t need a break from you, Chev” Kayla replies, the man rolling his eyes as he admits to knowing how much of a handful he can be at times. “That’s what I love about you” Kayla responds, “and if you’re going out there, I’m going with you.”
Pulling away, Chevy asks her to give him a decisive answer, a clear ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on if she’s truly willing to join his venture into the unknown. “Yes” Kayla replies, a smile spreading from ear to ear, “I think you forget that I was out there for two weeks before I even found you out there!” Returning to her bag, Kayla leaves a joyful Chevy, leaving him to continue his final preparations before venturing out into whatever lies ahead, just in the company of welcomed sights for a change.
Her bare feet lightly tapping along the terrace, Kennedy does laps around the house, starting at one gate and turning around at the second. Upon reaching lap seventy-eight, the girl pauses at the top of the pool’s staircase and looks down for the first time, her attention diverting from the puffy white clouds and the glistening, still-reflecting megatowers of central Los Angeles.
“Are you okay?” Kennedy calls, her words floating down the stairs and into the ears of Amelia, who leans against the railing with her chin pressed to the cool metal tip. “I’m alright, Kennedy” Amelia replies, “don’t mind me.” Not one to ignore her more primitive instincts, Kennedy descends the staircase and joins the girl, the way she speaks clarifying that not everything is fine.
“What’re you looking at?” Kennedy asks, the girl shrugging her shoulders, admitting that she’s not truly looking for anything in particular. Without anything from Amelia to go off of, Kennedy begins talking about what she was looking at, describing the clouds like they were cotton balls in a doctor’s office. Proceeding to describe the towers downtown like pens and pencils in a plastic cup, Kennedy notices Amelia giggle, her spirits very different to what they had been seconds prior.
Having run out of sights to describe, Kennedy asks Amelia why she sounds sad, the girl denying any such emotions at first before Kennedy insists that something wasn’t pleasant at least. “Jaime always used to tell em she was happy, but I knew she wasn’t” Kennedy recalls, “her voice would be higher when she was happy, and she’d sound tired when she was sad.”
“Why would she have to be sad?” Amelia asks, her head turning towards the storybook house with the jaw-dropping view, “she lives in a movie, and she’s the main character.” Head shaking, Kennedy tells Amelia that most main characters usually have problems like every other character around them. “They’re the main character because their problems are supposed to be the focus” Kennedy continues, Amelia taking interest in the conversation, “it makes them who they are.”
“Okay, sure” Amelia remarks, accepting that she may have some issues with work or boyfriends, but reminding Kennedy that they’re not in a movie. “Everyone’s in a movie” Kennedy replies, Amelia beginning to squint as the conversation takes more loops and turns than a roller coaster at Six Flags. “We’re all the main character’s of our own stories, and we’re usually the other characters in our friends’ stories” Kennedy states, the outlook at least leaving an encouraging hope.
“People have more problems than you’d think” Kennedy concludes, watching the young girl look towards her with the expression of someone really anxious to ask for more. “How do we know what happens at the end of our stories?” Amelia asks, watching Kennedy look towards her with a smile, the innocence behind it heartwarming, even in an environment as hate-harboring as the one symbolized in those megatowers just ahead.
“When the story’s over!” Kennedy replies, her smile remaining as she turns around and leaves, the comfort in that analogy being left up for Amelia to take at her own pace.
“We ready to go?” Chevy calls out, the pleasant surprise from Julia and Chris when they see Kayla appear alongside leaves a light excitement in the air. Playful banter being exchanged, Chris informs Chevy that he’ll be the one leading the crew out of Los Angeles rather than being led, the sudden change of plans catching him off guard. “Well that’s an unexpected development!” Chevy proclaims, Chris apologizing for the sudden nature of it.
“They wanted the main branch leaders back in case the threats turned into something more” Julia states, handing him a map drawn out with every route and break to take. “This is what the original leads wanted to follow, they broke it down to more specifics for you when the plans were changed” Julia says, asking Chevy if he wants someone else to be made the lead figure on the venture.
“No, I think I should be-” Chevy begins, stopping himself and lowering the map from his face, looking back towards the pair and asking if he can put a good word in for someone. “Who do you have in mind?” Chris asks, walking towards the reception desk and aiming for the book of contacts until he and his sister notice the man’s gaze giving them the unspoken answer.
Waiting silently for the conversation to play out in the way that it will, Kayla begins wondering why no further words are being shared, prompting her to look to her left to see Chevy staring right back at her. After a few confusing moments, the woman realizes exactly what he was insinuating, immediately asking if that’s truly what he wants. “You know the scene out there better than I do” Chevy replies, “if there’s anyone better for this than me, it would be you.”
“I’m on board if she is” Julia replies, no moment to consider necessary when her mind was made up the second Chevy’s eyes wandered away from Chris and herself. “Don’t need to ask me twice” Chris replies, all three survivors around her in complete acceptance to give her control of the group. “If that’s what Chevy wants, I’m cool with it” Kayla replies, the excitement shared amongst the four only rising with the new direction sorted.
Her mind travelling to other, perhaps more pressing thoughts, Kayla fails to notice the three others walking over to meet the group, eventually snapping out of her daydream and catching up.
Her arms pressed against the patio railing, Jaime gazes in wonder at the sights of the skyscrapers towering through the sky, penetrating the clouds. “You picked a lovely view” Alex calls, Jaime’s head turning to see her mother walking through her room to meet her. “You would never guess people were unhappy here just looking at it from afar” Alex adds, noting the lack of commercial flights zipping overhead and each individual home not breaking into the sky appearing like a little dot.
“But most of all, it’s quiet” Alex continues, the smallest difference between the sight upon Jaime’s purchase of the property and its current state making the biggest difference. “I’d never seen it like that until after everything happened” Jaime admits, losing herself for a moment in the beauty, “I can’t really picture what it was like before all of this.”
“That’s what happens when everything we look at suddenly goes black” Alex replies, “eventually you start looking at everything you took for granted before.” The small droplets of sweat resting comfortably on her forehead glistening in the sunlight, Jaime admits that she’s never sight-seen as often as she has since coming back home. “It’s hard to believe I went so long without this view” Jaime concludes, “it may be the only thing keeping me sane anymore.”
Looking at her daughter, Alex repositions her body to face her offspring and asks why the story she keeps repeating to herself doesn’t have a happy ending. “Because it always starts and stops in the same places” Jaime replies, confessing to be unsure of why it chooses to pick up and leave off in the places that it does. “Do you leave any parts out?” Alex proceeds, her daughter’s smile disappearing, the weight of the answer being ‘yes’ attributing to her lack of progression.
“I remember all of the parts that teach me what I need to learn, but I never recall the things that I learned the lessons for” Jaime returns, finally vocalizing her departure from a good half of the story being told. “Are they the parts about us?” Alex asks, her daughter immediately hanging her head, the answer clear without needing to be stated. “Then you should probably think about those more” Alex replies, “y’know, just to make up for the time you’ve lost.”
Her hand brushing the hairs sticking to her daughter’s face away, Alex walks for the room before suddenly stopping, looking over her shoulder before returning to the girl. “Remember that night” Alex says, Jaime’s face beginning to sour until Alex simply offers it as a suggestion. “If you’re going to pick up on anything, you should pick up there” Alex directs, “this decision, whatever it’s going to be, should at least have intake from that night.”
With that, Alex walks away, leaving her daughter against the railing once more, her brain drifting away into the darker thoughts she prefers not to conjure up.
-> “I’m home!” Jaime calls out, her purse being tossed onto the kitchen table as she awaits an answer. “Hello!?” Jaime calls out, her shadow projecting itself onto the wall directly beside the staircase, surrounded by the yellow tint of the corridor lamp behind her. Hurrying down the stairs, her finger pressed to her lip, Alex instructs her daughter to keep her voice down.
“Your father is asleep” Alex informs, the rush of her words an unfortunate normal to the woman, who whispers apologies until heavy feet cause the floorboards above to creek. “Who the fuck won’t shut up!?” the audible male voice shouts, the lack of an answer only further angering him as he reaches the stairs. “Don’t you know to shut the fuck up, Jaime!?” Robert gawks, his uneven steps bringing him further towards the worried mother and his nonchalant daughter.
“Go to bed, dad” Jaime responds, the husk of a man refusing to do as told, reminding his daughter that she doesn’t tell him what to do. “If anyone gives orders around here, it’s me… not you” the man replies, the final word of that sentence carrying a spiteful vigor to it. “Touch her and you’ll never walk again” Jaime replies, her finger raised towards the man, who watches her walk off, her intention to stumble upon Kennedy’s room.
The inside stained with black covering the portions not illuminated by the dark blue night sky, Jaime whispers her sister’s name, the response coming from a lower place than her bed. “Where are you?” Jaime whispers, adding comfort to her voice, treating her search in a playful manner as she reaches towards the floor. “Under my bed” Kennedy replies, the response confusing the woman, who lays herself on the floor and notices her sister’s face.
“Why are you under your bed?” Jaime asks, not outright concerned, but instead, simply curious at first. “I don’t like when it’s just me, mom, and dad” Kennedy replies, watching her older sibling begin to frown, nodding as she admits that she doesn’t like it either. “They fight a lot when you’re at school, so I know how much it sucks” Jaime replies, telling the frightened girl that it all ends up alright in the end.
“Dad goes to sleep, mommy follows him, and they stay that way until the morning as long as we don’t make noise” Jaime mutters, the process run down like a check list. “What happens when they fight and you’re not here?” Kennedy asks, the girl shrugging, telling her sister that she doesn’t know. “When I’m not here, I don’t know what goes on” Jaime replies, her sister letting out a sigh before crawling from beneath her sanctuary.
Hopping onto the bed, Kennedy pats the seat next to her, welcoming her to spend a few minutes talking. “Do you want me to ask what happens when I’m not here?” Jaime questions, her sister looking up at her before looking away again. “They fight a lot more” Kennedy admits, her voice becoming somber as her head hangs low, lifted by her sister’s hand, the girl reminding her to be strong enough to keep her chin high.
“Do they hit each other?” Jaime asks, already feeling guilt every time she walks through the door, knowing how Robert elects to spend the time unsupervised. “Dad hits mom” Kennedy replies, “a lot.” Her hands in her lap, Jaime tells Kennedy to be honest with her, not keeping anything secret. “Is that all he does?” Jaime asks, expecting a laundry list of chores, work and insults to be named off, her last expectation being the first thing insinuated by the youngest child.
“He does… stuff” Kennedy replies, Jaime’s nose straightening after spending the majority of the conversation crinkled, her ears perking when Kennedy’s profound way of saying ‘stuff’ begins to paint the picture in her head. “What kind of stuff?” Jaime asks, her sister looking back up with confusion. After a few seconds, Kennedy begins trying to describe the events of a few nights prior, the acts Robert had forced upon Alex being drawn by someone unaware of what was truly happening.
Without needing the specifics, Jaime puts together what Kennedy is trying to get at, pushing Kennedy’s hands down to put an end to the description. Hiding her boiling anger, Jaime flashes her sister a smile and tells her to stay upstairs, not getting out from underneath the bed until Jaime tells her to. With a nod, Kennedy drops to the floor and rolls into cover, her sister staring towards her bedroom door before beginning her return to the main foyer.
Halfway down the stairs, Jaime is able to see into the kitchen, her father spewing one insult after another towards her mother, who remains trapped in the corner, unable to defend herself physically or verbally. Stepping through the inter-connecting archway, Jaime stops, her father’s back turned to her as he fails to even realize she’s there, waiting for him, staring him down like a hawk eyes its prey.
“Back away from here, Robert” Jaime commands, the man turning around to stare at his daughter with contempt, her mother still backed into the corner as she was before. “Find what you were looking for?” Robert asks, finally walking away from Alex and brushing past Jaime, reaching for the refrigerator door and pulling out his prefered beer of choice.
“Why are you staring at me like that?” Robert asks, his top lip arched on the left as he pops the cap off and takes his first swig. “What did I tell you in the hospital, Robert?” Jaime asks, clarifying her question to pertain to what she said after confessing to having him run off the road, not a care that her mother remains listening to be found. “I wasn’t fuckng around” Jaime follows, her walk taking her to the drawer, which she opens to retrieve a large, newly-sharpened knife from.
“Jaime, put that down right now” Robert orders, his words falling on careless ears as the drawer slides shut, slamming against the larger setup as Jaime creeps forward. The condensation on the lid causing the bottle to slip, Robert backs away and hits the bottle on the corner of the wall, leaving the glass to shatter on the floor, the tile now covered in beer as Alex pleads for Jaime to stop and take a moment to realize what she’s doing.
“I’m ending this” the woman replies, her boots leaving their imprint in the liquid as she follows the man towards the living room. “Get away from me you crazy bitch!” Robert shouts, his steps causing him to trip over the foot of the couch, his body collapsing to a heap on the floor as Jaime inches nearer.
“I told you to get the fuck away from me!” Robert shouts, quickly throwing himself to his feet and racing for the backdoor, which he pushes open and escapes through. Not one to give up the chase, Jaime hurries her pace, walking through the back door and turning the corner, finding the man trapped between herself and the graves her had still yet to fill, blocking his way to the connecting gate.
“Jaime, please” Robert pleads, his instincts to cowardly ask for forgiveness, the cleansing of all his wrong doings to be made as he drops to his knees with his hands cupped together. With a smirk, Jaime lowers the knife and hands it to her mother, telling her return indoors and wait for her to come back inside. With relief, Robert thanks her for her mercy, continuing to repeat ‘I knew I raised you well’ over and over again, believing the danger to be non-existent.
The woman placing her hands on both sides of his head, Robert looks up to find his daughter’s knee swinging between his eyes, forcing him to bend backwards, his back mimicking the fold of an accordion. His hands clutching at his nose, Robert shouts at his daughter in muffled pouts, the expletives in them unclear, but most likely plentiful. Without a care for what the man has to say, Jaime walks towards the fence and removes a shovel from the dirt.
“You’re not my father...” Jaime says, returning towards the man with the tool in hand, “...you don’t get the credit of thinking you raised me…” Lifting the head in the air, Jaime watches her father’s face look up, the broken nose illuminated in the moonlight as she finishes her monologue, “...and you’ll never hurt my family again.” With that statement, the woman swings the shovel like a baseball bat, knocking her father unconscious and watching his body tumble into the grave labeled for her.
Taking the moment to catch her breath, Jaime concludes her night by throwing a few lumps of dirt into the grave, only a few portions of her father remaining visible to the naked eye. Returning, Jaime tells her mother to let the man sleep, dropping the shovel in the middle of the floor before walking upstairs, and reuniting with her sister. <-
“Thank you for joining me” Jaime begins, her words being uttered into whatever time the community has left from the stairs of city hall. “I know I called this meeting to address this ‘revolution’ i keep hearing so much about, so allow me to waste no further time” the woman continues, the crowd anxiously awaiting what she has to say. Her lips opening, her chin held high, Jaime remains speechless, the only thing coming out of her mouth is the air in her lungs.
Suddenly, her mouth shuts, she remains speechless as the crowd silently await what is to be said. Her eyes navigating their way to her boyfriend a few steps below before scanning the areas where her family and Amelia reside, Jaime remains stood there, nothing to say except for the thoughts in her head. Suddenly, her mouth opens again, the new story she tells herself, teaching her the ways to oversee this community correctly do their part in her decision.
“Tough shit” Jaime declares, the crowd’s anticipation turning into whispered anger and shared annoyance. “There may have been a time where you were given ‘rights’ and ‘freedoms’, but those times are over” Jaime proclaims, her stance evolving with the times, influencing itself off of the world that surrounds them. “This isn’t a ‘you’ thing, or a ‘me’ thing, this is something for all of us!” Jaime continues, “we do what we need to survive, and that is all.”
Mostly silent, a few members beginning to mutter contempt for her under their collective breath, the crowd listens to Jaime run down her speech the way she’s given it countless times before. “This city used to be home to plenty of entitled people, the people that didn’t give a shit about how they treated others” Jaime persists, the crowd remaining surprised by her refusal to give into their demands, “that does not fly anymore, and it certainly doesn’t fly under my leadership.”
Having hit the major points she wanted to strike upon, Jaime concludes the meeting, ordering every civilian to return to their homes and begin appreciating what they still have. Turning around, Jaime begins ascending the stairs, only to stop at the sound of an unfamiliar response from the crowd. “We the Angelinos!” the crowd chants, the sight of a colorful blue and yellow flag stitched together catching her eye.
“Give us what we want or we’ll take it ourselves!” the small portion of the crowd chants, the remainder, unaware of exactly what’s going on, begins cheering in their favor. Suddenly, the silent crowd becomes the angry mob, standing at the bottom of the steps, chanting for change. Yesterday, Jaime reigned over Los Angeles as the polarizing leader, loved by some and hated by others.
On this day, the tide changes, Jaime, her group and her militia outmatched in staggering numbers by the remainder of the population, demanding she bend her knee to their desires. Her arm pulled by Jordan, Jaime realizes how cratering the sight truly meant to her, draining her hope within an instant. Suddenly, Lazarus and the rest of her group pull her away, leading her back inside while the mob remains united by want, change or consequence for the lack there of.