-> “Let’s see how we start off this chit chat” Jaime exclaims, entering Kate’s office and watching the woman walk to the chair behind her desk. Taking a seat, Jaime notices something off about this introduction, the manner in which Kate sits, her hands folded and her eyes pointed towards the table suggesting to the girl that today isn’t like others. “I have some news that I’d like to share with you first” Kate says, Jaime immediately placing her hands to either edge of her seat cushion.
“Why does it feel like you’re about to drop a bomb on me?” Jaime asks, her obvious concern noticeable, though a hint of humor inserted to ensure the mood remains lifted for the time being. “Would you like to guess?” Kate asks, watching Jaime through the part in the hair before her eyes as the girl begins to quickly pick up on signals and immediately read the nature of whatever is to come.
“It’s nothing good” Jaime begins, “your hands are folded, you’re creating separation between us and you’re letting me pick the subject.” Piecing together the fact that the white noise-producing machine isn’t powered on and Kate remains silent as she awaits Jaime’s conclusion, the girl becomes disappointed, believing herself to have stumbled onto an accurate prediction.
Her eyes sinking and her lips finding a spot between the ends of her left molars, Jaime takes in a deep breath and nods to herself. “I assume you’ve probably figured it out by now” Kate replies, remaining patient for Jaime to say it aloud herself as her lips pucker. “I’d rather you say it than me” Kate continues, watching Jaime look up at her. Without wasting another second, Jaime gets up from her chair and walks over to Kate, putting her arms around her and sharing a hug.
Returning the gesture without question, the two eventually pull apart and Kate stares into Jaime’s eyes, her stare giving the girl permission to be at ease with her conclusion. “You’re leaving... aren’t you?” Jaime asks, Kate’s nod signalling the end of their time together as therapist and client. Refusing to allow tears to run, Jaime smiles and attempts to speak, only for her initial attempt to come up short as she gets choked up.
“Damnit” Jaime replies, the room for talking without needing to cry capping at a single word, the single word accomplishing her attempt to verbalize her inner thoughts perfectly. “I know” Kate replies, her hands running up and down Jaime’s shoulders as she shares the disappointment in having to end this stage of their existence. “It was bound to happen eventually somehow” Kate replies, pulling Jaime in for another hug. <-
“Jaime!” Kayla shouts, finally breaking through to the girl having lost herself in a daydream recollection. “Yeah, I’m here” Jaime replies, watching Kayla’s head cock back as she takes a seat at the opposite end of the desk formerly occupied by Wenton, now occupied by Jaime herself. “I’m glad to hear that” Kayla replies, “but you’ve got more pressing issues that me calling out your name.”
“Anything new?” Jaime asks, Kayla informing her that they’ve been standing outside, awaiting clarification as they have for the last three days. “What do I say?” Jaime asks, her arms extending as she ponders over how to put the past few days into words. “The last thing you should be right now is another invisible leader” Kayla replies, pointing out the peaceful patience of the crowd as an example of their trust that she’ll do what’s right.
“Just tell them the truth” Kayla continues, her hand patting Jaime on the shoulder, “it’s more than Django ever gave them.” Her leg crossed, Jaime puts her finger to her lip and gently bites on it, calling Kayla just before she can disappear. “Have you ever been to therapy?” Jaime asks, the question confusing Kayla, who answers with a ‘no.’ Figuring she’d rather not know the reason behind it, Kayla brushes off the question and leaves, allowing Jaime to consider her options on her own.
= 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 =
-> “Nothing surprises me anymore” Chevy says, his hand gripping onto a foam coffee cup as Kayla gleefully walks by his side. “We just lose ourselves in the moment and never pick up where we left off” Chevy continues, pointing out how often we forget names and faces. “Can you remember your grandmothers phone number by heart?” Kayla asks, watching Chevy’s face drop in embarrassment.
“Then you shouldn’t be one to complain!” Kayla amuses, running her shoulder into Chevy’s as the pair remain laughing about beneath the warm, California sun. “How about-” Chevy begins, stumbling over himself when he knocks into someone whilst turning the corner. “Oh shit, maan. I’m sorry about that!” Chevy exclaims, reaching down to help the man he bumped into pick up the items he caused to drop onto the shade-covered side walk.
“Here, uh… Jordan?” Chevy begins, reading the name at the top of the green, college-ruled notebook in his hand. “Thanks” the man replies, patting Chevy on the back and telling him not to worry about it. Going about their separate ways, Chevy and Kayla return to their walk, continuing their conversation until later in the evening.
“You’re a lot of fun” Chevy declares, watching Kayla’s face light up as he walks her to her apartment complex. “Thank you, I can say the same to you” Kayla replies, asking Chevy if he’d like to share the day with her again soon. “I’d like that a lot” the man replies, watching the woman thank him again for the date and disappear into her complex. His hands tucked into his pockets, Chevy nods to himself and walks himself back to his end of town.
After a short number of months, the buzzer to Chevy’s apartment door beeps, pulling him from his writing as he notices just how dark the sky had become outside. Spending the night with Kayla, Chevy wakes up the following morning to see the woman, her body nude with the covers stretching over the small of her back. Awoken by the morning sun peering through his blinds and covering his eyes, Chevy pushes himself up by the elbows and glances towards Kayla.
The comfort of having someone beside him calms the air, allowing him to pull the covers the rest of the way up and return his head to the pillow. As weeks turn into months, a year passes with the pair remaining close, only growing closer with each day.
“I have something for you” Chevy says, the day turning into night as the Kayla awaits what she can only assume to be an anniversary gift. “Didn’t I say you were enough of a gift already?” Kayla asks, her smile turning into a flattered smirk as Chevy returns with a small box stretched out towards her. “I thought you’d like this almost as much” Chevy replies, watching the woman take the box and graciously untie the bow.
“Holy shit, Chevy” Kayla remarks, pulling a key with a bird-shaped head from within and looking towards the elated man. “The first night you stayed over, I woke up, saw you and couldn’t stop smiling” Chevy responds, “I still remember exactly how I felt and now I wanna feel that every morning.” Getting up from her seat, Kayla walks into Chevy’s arms and places her hands to each side of his face, thanking him. <-
“Wake the fuck up!” Clayton shouts, shaking Chevy’s head in his hands as the man lay semi-conscious, dirt covering every inch of his face as his arms lay at his sides. “Come on you son of a bitch” Clayton shouts, pulling Chevy up and dragging him out into the open. Gunfire still hurling through the air at a lesser pace than it used to, Clayton is forced to pull Chevy back into cover, laying behind some bushes whilst firing a few rounds back.
With bullets pulling up grass a few feet away, Clayton returns fire towards a windowless house and manages to make contact. Watching a head poke back into view, Clayton fires another round off and puts the threat down. Starting to come back, Chevy groans as the pain begins getting to him, keeping enough strength to pull his arm over Clayton’s shoulder and try to lighten his body weight to ease the task of carrying him.
“We’re getting there, Chevy” Clayton says, the only response coming from the wounded man is Kayla’s name. “We’re gonna get you some help, man” Clayton continues, assisting Chevy down a street on the outskirts of Los Angeles, the road sign indicating the close proximity of Mount Cedar-Sinai giving Clayton hope that it won’t be too late to keep the infection in Chevy’s body from being too advanced to overcome.
-> “We’ll still stay in contact, right?” Jaime asks, Kate not even needing a second to come to agreement. “I’d like to think this is just the end of our first chapter, and the start of a second… More casual chapter” Kate replies, the affirmation that she’ll be staying in Jaime’s life at least in one form putting a smile on the girl’s face. “I don’t even know who else I’d turn to” Jaime admits, acknowledging her appreciation for other friends, but not having any go-to in the way Kate is.
“I’m not going anywhere” Kate replies, “I just won’t be in this chair anymore.” Nodding, Jaime thanks Kate for always being there for her. Being the final client of her day, Kate ends her final workday by walking out of the building alongside Jaime, running down plans to meet at the local tavern later that evening. “I’ll be there around eight?” Kate asks, Jaime insisting the time sounds good before taking a few steps in the direction of her truck.
“Watch out!” a passer-by shouts, the road beside the therapy hall hosting a driver heading in the direction of oncoming traffic until the chilling sounds of twisting metal fills the air. Shouting profanities, Jaime and Kate turn away from their vehicles and towards the scene of the crash. The distracted driver of one car slamming at full-speed directly into the front of another creating reason to believe casualties are bound to be reported.
Running towards the nearest vehicle, though both remain halted in the middle of the road, Jaime and Kate lean through the mangled driver’s window to find the first driver barely conscious. “This one’s alive!” Kate shouts, a group of nearby civilians rushing from their places along the area to aid those wounded. “I’ve got no pulse over here!” another man shouts from the opposite car, his hands covered in blood from his attempted check.
“The door isn’t budging” Kate exclaims, one foot pressed against the car to aid in freeing the man trapped inside to no luck. “I’m gonna see if they’ve got something in the office!” Kate mutters, hurrying towards the entrance of the building now flooding with workers and clients alike from within having overhead the fiasco. Within seconds, shouting originates from the huddled crowds, the engine of a car growing closer as its tired begin skidding. <-
“Jesus fucking christ, Jaime!” Kennedy shouts, her hands slamming on the desk as her mother tells her not to use such language. “People are still killing each other! Me cussing is the least of your problems!” Kennedy retorts, her mother very anxiously trying to brush away her original concern. “Honey, are you alright?” Alex asks, her hands running down the sides of Jaime’s face as she notices the woman’s skin growing pale.
“Yeah, I’m fine” Jaime replies, pushing herself off her seat and walking for the front door. “You don’t look alright” Alex quips, her youngest and herself following after her eldest as the new leading lady of Los Angeles heads for the rooftop stairwell. “What are you doing?” Alex asks, her daughter insisting that she needs some air and to be alone. Refusing, Alex continues to persist, Kennedy following closely.
Following through the doorway, Alex and Kennedy watch Jaime stand out into the middle of the roof and just take a seat in the open, her legs crossed beneath themselves. Watching her daughter just take a seat and stare out into the cloudless sky, Alex stands by herself as Kennedy soon follows after, taking a seat next to her sister. Appreciating the image, Alex walks up to the pair and takes a seat in between, staring out into the sky and joining the daydream as it unfolds.
“What do you think about when you do this?” Alex asks, her question directed at Jaime despite her eyes locking onto the basin of light blue above. “The same thing I always do” Jaime replies, her voice growing tired, “the same story over, and over, and over again.” When questioned ‘what story’ by Kennedy, Jaime looks towards her younger sibling and smiles. “Just the story of how I got here” Jaime replies, “and when I finish it, I start all over again.”
“How does it end?” Alex asks, “I mean, if you have to start it over again, and it never changes, you must’ve told yourself the ending somewhere along the lines?” Her face returning to the sky, though her head remaining angled towards her mother, Jaime admits that she never really thinks about it in that way. “When it’s over, I just get the feeling that it’s over and I do it all over again” Jaime replies, “not much rhyme or reason to it.”
“Is it a happy story?” Kennedy asks, her big sister’s smile returning, though with less joy behind it. “It goes both ways” Jaime replies, immediately leaving the door open for Alex to ask whether the feeling of it being over is a good feeling or not. “Not lately, it hasn’t” Jaime replies, her head hung for a moment before she returns it to the sky. “Where does it start?” Kennedy asks, Jaime admitting that she hasn’t though much about that either.
“I just kind of let it play out the way it plays out” Jaime continues, “there’s really not much more to it than that.” The three, sat beside one another, stare peacefully into the mid-day sky as the sun nears the point of turning the horizon orange. “I don’t mean to turn the conversation into something too depressing” Alex quips, watching Jaime’s face turns towards her, “but these people are waiting for you to run down what happens next, and I don’t think they want to wait much longer.
“I know” Jaime replies, her lips puckering as her mother reminds her that it’s alright not knowing where to go next. “Sometimes things just happen, and you never really realize it until it either hits you out of nowhere or the abnormal just becomes normal” Alex continues, “it’s okay to be lost sometimes.” Her head nodding, Jaime replies with ‘I know’ again before pulling herself to her feet and walking for the entry into the stairwell.
Kennedy descending first, Alex takes a moment to ask Jaime a question before following suit. “Is it a happy story?” Alex asks, her daughter’s eyelids covering most of her eyes as protection from the sunlight. “No” Jaime replies, the disappointment in her face at having to admit that only matched by the depression in her future, “no it isn’t.”
-> Emerging through the front door, Chevy places his keys atop a wooden stool tucked away in the corner and glances towards the couch. “You okay?” Chevy asks, noticing something off when he spots Kayla staring at the television with a pillow tucked in her arms, and the television being off. Calling his girlfriend’s name, Chevy watches the girl turn towards him, the mascara around her eyes ruined by a day’s worth of crying.
One week later, Chevy accompanies Kayla to her father’s funeral, his hand holding hers, and her head resting against his shoulder. Months later, Kayla accompanies Chevy to the hospital bedside of his cancer-ridden brother, offering his good-bye’s as the final days inch near. Eight days later, Kayla accompanies Chevy to his brother’s funeral, their only remaining family no longer with them.
“We still have each other” Kayla whispers, her mother having died many years prior, and Chevy’s single-mother having been killed in a car accident just after he turned nineteen. “Forever and always” Chevy replies, his head resting against Kayla’s, which nestles against his shoulder once more. As weeks turn into more months, the pair remain close, their final true pillars of trust in the world residing in each other. <-
“Wake the fuck up!” Clayton shouts, his hand slamming against the side of Chevy’s head as the suffering Chevy is dragged through the front doors of Mount Cedar-Sinai. “I need some help over here!” Clayton shouts, a nurse rushing up to Chevy’s side and assisting him into a cleared wing of the building. The man, dropped onto a free bed, is wheeled into an open plot of the building with the question of where the wounds originated from being called into question.
“He got into a fight out there a few days ago” Clayton replies, “fucked his leg up real bad.” Calling out his instructions, the care taker directs Clayton to the hospital lobby, telling him to join the guards in keeping watch. “I need Kayla” Chevy mutters, his words barely legible to the naked ear as the doctor tells him to keep his eyes open as much as he can. With his supplies brought to him, the doctor begins going to work, peeling off the infection with a knife as Chevy screams out in pain.
“I know it hurts, man!” the doctor replies, “but you’ve gotta try to stay with me!” With the assisting nurse placing a wooden stick in Chevy’s mouth, the doctor returns to his work, slicing away whatever he deems necessary in the moment to save Chevy’s life. The pain becoming too much to bare, Chevy begins fading out, his eyes rolling into the back of his head as he loses consciousness once more sending the staff into a hurried panic.
Mid-speech, Jaime apologizes for the time it took her to find the right things to say, making it clear that there was nothing that could be said to make up for what was lost. “I figured I’d start with telling you all the truth about how all of this came to be” Jaime continues, the crowd, noticeably smaller than it was in the days past, anxiously awaiting the answers they’ve been looking for.
“The water was never poisonous for consumption, it was simply tampered with on order of federal officials” Jaime explains, “it was their misguided attempt at thinning the population to a more manageable level.” Explaining their idea that the water crisis was to be solved by decreasing the number of people in need of it, Jaime makes it clear that their solution completely misfired.
“The chemicals used managed to expand in water until the government stopped pumping it in.” Jaime continues, “the second they stopped, the chemicals already in began mixing with the oxygen, which in turn, created a nation-wide cold front, mixed with a storm of acid rain.” Admitting that it was intentional, Jaime explains that the federal government no longer exists as most either died or went into hiding.
“When the acid rain came, it dissolved the remaining acid particles in the water and essentially created the invisible effect of what we’ll see in twenty years or so.” Taking in a deep breath, Jaime explains that forms of plant life will slowly die off for the next twenty years due to the soil no longer being suitable, and the effects of breathing in the air will cause inactive cancer cells to activate in the coming years.
“No matter which way you look at it, there’s no way we see another two decades together” Jaime concludes, the instant shock bringing the crowd to their hopeless knees. “There’s nothing that I can say that can change what that means for us” Jaime admits, “but in the coming days, we’ll put together guidelines to make sure that we can all survive the remaining time we have.”
“That is all” Jaime concludes, the crowd’s silence ominous as the reason to fight each other or for survival completes depletes. “I’ll now ask the militia heads to join me in the conference room” Jaime continues, returning to the interior of city hall. “Should I still have spoken?” Jaime asks, stopping to look at her mother with her teeth pressing against her lips. Rather than answer, Alex pulls Jaime in for a hug and kisses her head, telling her how much she loves and is proud of her.
“Thanks, mom” Jaime replies, her hand brushing her shoulder before she brings herself to walk in the direction of the conference rooms. As she walks past her office, Jaime stops in the hallway and takes a few steps back, entering her new den and closing the doors behind her. Directing herself to the window, Jaime stares off at the view and loses herself in the blue of the sky, readying herself for the end of the story.
-> Running towards the nearest vehicle, though both remain halted in the middle of the road, Jaime and Kate lean through the mangled driver’s window to find the first driver barely conscious. “This one’s alive!” Kate shouts, a group of nearby civilians rushing from their places along the area to aid those wounded. “I’ve got no pulse over here!” another man shouts from the opposite car, his hands covered in blood from his attempted check.
“The door isn’t budging” Kate exclaims, one foot pressed against the car to aid in freeing the man trapped inside to no luck. “I’m gonna see if they’ve got something in the office!” Kate mutters, hurrying towards the entrance of the building now flooding with workers and clients alike from within having overhead the fiasco. Within seconds, shouting originates from the huddled crowds, the engine of a car growing closer as its tired begin skidding
“Kate, check for-” Jaime calls, her head turning towards the woman, only finding the end of a car zip away from the corner of her eye and a shriek of horrified screams from onlookers. Looking around, Jaime calls out Kate’s name again, watching people scattered throughout tuck their heads and mouths into their hands and shoulders, staring away. “Where’d-” Jaime starts, stopping herself in confusion as to what’s going on.
“Where the fuck did you go?” Jaime calls, turning around to watch strong-stomached men and women approach the third vehicle. “I couldn’t stop in time!” the man shouts, removing himself from the front seat and walking to the front of his car, immediately throwing up the second he sees the sights before him. “What the fuck’s going on!?” Jaime shouts, her arms extended outwards as she begins approaching the third vehicle.
“Don’t come over here!” one of the men shouts, urging Jaime to stay away as the others begins silently walking towards Jaime’s with their hands held out, acting as a shield. Police sirens blaring off in the distance, Jaime fights through each person and quickly approaches the car. “Seriously, don’t come any closer!” the man shouts, his attempt to hold the woman back falling short, Jaime walking to the front of the car in spite of his efforts.
“K-” Jaime begins, the first letter not even coming out clearly, a few seconds spent on figuring out what she was looking at before she actually puts the pieces together. Finally, like a twisted puzzle, Jaime realizes the grim sights in front of her when she spots Kate’s glasses hanging halfway out of the car’s front grill. “Kate?” Jaime questions, her mouth slowly widening as she begins to place the final pieces into the correct spots.
A lack of anything from words to thoughts, the emptied Jaime slowly backs away from the sight before breaking into a full sprint to her truck. Climbing into the driver’s seat and turning the keys in the ignition, Jaime pulls her truck out of the parking lot and turns onto the road, believing this could all just disappear and restart if she drives far enough away from it. Eyes wide, Jaime turns away from the scene, electing to take on the night as if nothing ever happened. <-
-> “Come over here and drink with us, loser!” one of the many recently-minted twenty-one year olds shouts to Jordan, holding a beer up towards the man stationed across the pub with a pencil in hand. “College isn’t one big drinking party!” Jordan replies, a smirk across his face coming when the group shouts ‘dweeb’ to friendly humor. “Join us when you’re done with math!” the slightly-buzzed student shouts, earning a salute from Jordan in return.
“Not a big fan of party drinking?” the bartender asks, watching Jordan chuckle to himself. “Not a big fan of flunking out” the man replies, the bartender patting him on the back as he throws a towel over his own shoulder. “Hey, real quick, do you know that girl over there?” the bartender asks, pointing towards the opposite end of an empty bar counter towards a woman, staring blankly in a glass of cold beer pressed between her hands.
“No, why?” Jordan asks, the bartender shrugging it off as nothing. “She came in like an hour ago and she’s just been sitting like that since” the bartender replies, “hasn’t touched her beer once.” Nodding, Jordan watches the bartender walk away before returning to his homework. Returning his gaze to the woman through the corner of his eye, Jordan begins finding it impossible to return to his work without acknowledging her, and chooses to approach her.
“Miss?” Jordan asks, the woman turning her head to the side by about five inches, offering that as her acknowledgement of his existence. “Are… you alright?” Jordan asks, his noticeable concern for the woman obvious, watching as she turns her face towards his and swallows the spit building up in her already dry mouth. “Y-” the woman begins, her response quelled by her hidden sobs beginning to break through her sturdy mask.
“I’m f-” the woman begins again, this time lifting her hand to her mouth as she begins to break down, her cheeks gone from pale to glistening with tears within seconds. Feeling the emotions running out of her like an explosion ready to go off, the woman takes her purse and dashes for the front door. “Hey!” the bartender shouts, calling for the girl already outside until Jordan insists he put her beer on his tap.
Hurrying after the woman, Jordan enters an alleyway and calls her name. “I’m sorry!” the woman shouts back, “I can’t” as her dash slows to a trot. Easily catching up to the woman, Jordan places his hand on her shoulder just as she turns around, her eyes puffy and red. “I’m sorry” the woman insists again, the man instinctively pulling her in to no reluctance, the woman breaking down with her head against Jordan’s chest.
“It’s alright” Jordan replies, understanding the great deal of trauma necessary to break down that quickly and to that extent, “you don’t have to explain.” <-
“You okay?” Jordan asks, his girlfriend staring off into space as she realizes the mid-day sun to have turned into night. “Yeah” Jaime replies, rubbing her eyes as Jordan closes the door behind himself. “You look tired” Jordan jokes, Jaime flashing him a smile and walking into his arms. “I heard what you said out there earlier” Jordan states, his face pulling away from Jaime as he informs her that he’ll spend every day with her with as much love as the day before.
“I love you” Jaime replies, Jordan responding in kind as they share a kiss and pull away. “I’ll meet you at home” Jaime instructs, Jordan giving her a kiss back before making for the front steps. Glancing back to her desk, Jaime runs her finger along the edges and takes her seat, her eyes returning to the night sky settling in over Los Angeles. “From the top” Jaime mutters to herself, the story she plays on repeat starting from the beginning all over again.
“...And how does that make you feel, Jaime?”