“What the hell?” Tony whispers to himself, arriving at a large compound and noticing a number of security guards posted outside the front doors, holding a heated discussion. Thanking his driver, Tony walks over to the guards, watching the occasional helicopter flying closer to the ground than usual, but nothing too out of the ordinary begin to unfold around him.
“What seems to be the problem gentlemen?” Tony asks, seemingly putting a halt to the conversation. “Nothing to be worried about, sir” Louis replies, watching Tony glance around at each of the guards before nodding his head and pulling Louis aside. “Return to work, gentlemen. Thank you very much” Tony exclaims, walking in the opposite direction as the guards return to the inside of the building.
“Now what’s really going on, Louis?” Tony asks, watching Louis wait for the guards to complete disappear back into the base before answering. “Everyone’s going nuts about some cannibal thing on the news” Louis replies, watching Tony’s eyes drop like sandbags in surprise just before he begins to laugh. “Can- Cannibals? What cannibals?” Tony laughs, watching Louis pull out his phone and open up to the first news article at the top of his Twitter page.
“What is this?” Tony asks, his laughter turning into confusion, swiping through the page as Louis answers. “A bunch of people from wherever have been saying they’ve been encountering these weird people. Like they’re hooked on pills or something like that and don’t know where they are.”
“Okay, well where does the cannibal stuff come in?” Tony asks, eventually finding an article that singles itself out from the rest. “Apparently these things are biting people… Literally just tearing into them if nothing stops them” Louis responds, expecting to continue, only for another helicopter, this one dangerously low comes zooming overhead, ringing through Louis and Tony’s ears and sending a gust of wind at them before disappearing just over the treeline.
“This one’s from somewhere in Mount Roseda, that’s twenty minutes away” Tony says, glancing through pictures of people with deep gashes and bloody wounds from the responded bites. “It’s nothing. Photoshopped or something, it’s no big deal” Louis replies, his assurance being met with a silent challenge from Tony, who refuses to laugh any further, and instead, opts to continue scrolling through the feed, enamored by the reports. “I said it’s probably just a bunch of fakes” Louis says, watching as Tony looks up at him from the phone and sympathetically shakes his head.
“What? You think they’re real?” Louis asks, halfway sarcastic and halfway concerned. Taking his eyes away from the screen, Tony looks up at Louis with mocking eyes, flooded with certainty. “Louis, when was the last time you saw the law-abiding white fold at Mount-fuckin’-Roseda on drugs? Hell, they don’t even take most forms of aspirin without checking twice.”
Hands to his hips, Louis looks around the scenic surroundings in hopes of using it to make sense of this predicament to no avail. Remaining silent, both Louis and Tony scan the perimeter before walking over to the main doors and entering the massive, concrete building. Each step of his fancy, reflective black dress shoes clicking across the granite floor and bellowing through the immediate vicinity brings Tony closer to the front desk. “Margaret, hello. Can you call Eric and Georgio for me, please? Let them know that I’m hoping to discuss a pressing matter with them.”
“Will do sir” the lady replies, grabbing a hold of her phone as Tony and Louis climb the beautifully-crafted staircase to the second level.
Entering into his office, Tony drapes his sports jacket over the back of his chair and takes a seat, opening his laptop and pulling up his email. “What are we going to do about this problem, sir? If it even is a problem?” Louis asks, watching Tony glance up to him and slide down his reading glasses. As he opens his mouth to speak, the phone begins to ring, prompting Tony to abandon the conversation and switch his focus. “Tony Archibald on the line, Chief of Security Louis Perry is with me as well, please acknowledge yourselves and those in the room with you.”
“It’s just us, Tony” one man on the line says, somewhat tired and annoyed. “What’s all this about, T?” the other man asks, giving Tony a reason to sink into his chair and kick one foot over the other. “Gentlemen, are you aware of this, eh-” Tony begins saying, pausing for a moment to look up at and snap towards Louis. “Cannibal report” the man replies, allowing Tony to run with it.
“Yes, this cannibal report spreading around?” With a longer amount of dead air on the opposite lines than normally desired, Tony waits for a reply. “No, we’re not” one man replies, noticing the pause himself and doing what he can not to draw attention to it. “Is that true, Eric? Because it seemed like there was a long enough pause to indicate that neither of you wanted to take the first swing.”
Loudly exhaling on the other line, the second man responds in truth. “We’ve heard about it, but we’re not giving it much of a second thought.”
“You sure about that, Georgio?” Tony asks, popping up into hs chair and leaning closer to the machine. “Because of all the people I’d expect to not take this seriously, you’re the last person on my list.”
After another pause, Eric breaks the silence once more. “We’re testing our inmates” the man replies, everyone involved in the call noticing Tony’s repetition of the term ‘testing’ taking on a joking manner. “Yes, Tony. We’re testing them. It’s the best option for we’ve got, but we’re not looking any further than that.”
“Okay, and what exactly are you testing for?” Tony asks, treating each response with more and more humor the further the conversation goes along, mocking each reply with the correct amount of vigor and distrust. “Fevers, any signs of illness, anything that can be construed as as a danger of becoming whatever the hell those things on the news are.”
Looking up to Louis, Tony watches the man nod at the idea, shrugging towards Tony to indicate possible sense in the idea. “Alright, Eric. Let’s say you get someone that you think is a possible candidate for whatever the hell these things are. What are you going to do with them that you could defend if this whole thing turns out to be a hoax. What can you explain away?”
As another few moments of silence begin to ensue, Tony keeps his eyes glued on Louis, who begins to narrow his eyes and become overwhelmed by an ominous feeling, worried about what response is going to come from the other end of the line. Without much further need to wait, the air is interrupted by two words, only these two words come from Georgio, and not Eric.
Shutting his eyes and hanging his head, Louis looks down to the ground, sick and disgusted at the acknowledgement, whilst Tony stands there, patiently awaiting further detail. “Reformatory or not, they’re criminals. No one’ll care about some rich criminal getting sent to his grave” Georgio says, his statement being concluded by Eric. “At least, not if we say it’s an accident.”
Silently nodding, Tony glances over to Louis, still burying his head towards the ground before walking over to the window, and taking a glance outwards towards the river on the opposite end of the road, glowing a brilliant white from the hot sun’s reflection. “Okay, then” Tony says, earning Louis’ attention upwards, directly at him with anxious eyes. “Then it’s settled” Tony says, walking back to his seat, “Anyone deemed a danger is to be executed inconspicuously. The reason will be for attempted escape, and death will be due to the necessity to use lethal force. Are we all in agreement?”
Looking at the man with shock across his face, spreading like wildfire, Louis just stares blankly as all men on the line find agreement amongst themselves. “Alright, we’ll talk soon. Stay as distant from each other until this is all over. We want as much of a reach as we can get on these things, you hear me?” Tony asks, hanging up the call shortly thereafter.
Taking a seat and leaning forward, Tony asks for Louis’ attention. “Will you please hear me out?” Tony asks, watching Louis attempt to regain his composure, closing his mouth and silently nodding to the man before him. “I know what you just heard was harsh, but I’m sure you already understand my reason for it” Tony says, standing from his seat and sitting beside Louis, who watches his every step up to the final one. “The kind of life you saw in those videos is not the kind of life that anyone deserves to live, regardless of the crimes they’ve committed.”
“What happens when people find out?” Louis asks, watching Tony smirk and shake his head. “No one’s going to find out. These flights being grounded, the cops on every other street… This thing is real and it’s going to hurt.”
“So what happens when things go back to normal?” Louis exclaims, this time louder than before, trying to get Tony on the same brain path as him, only to find the tables reversed under Tony’s next answer, bring Louis into Tony’s own pattern of thought. “It’s not going to, Louis. If people are fighting over the smallest things now, there’s no way we allow anything to go back to the way they used to be.”
“What are you saying?” Louis asks, watching Tony pat him on the back. “When this thing hits, it’s not gonna go away. We need to be ready for that before it happens, alright?” Tony asks, watching Louis swallow the wad of spit forming in his mouth and nod in compliance, earning a pat on the cheek before Tony bobs his head in the direction of the door, allowing Louis to aim for it. “Oh, and Louis?” Tony asks, watching as Louis turns his face back towards him, hand still gripping at the door knob.
“Let’s not let any of these other guards know all of the details, okay?”
Understanding the gravity of the request being made, Louis silently nods and opens the door, closing it behind himself as Tony remains seat, staring out at the sunny sky in the New York morning. Taking in a deep breath, Tony relaxes into his seat and begins to whisper a few words to himself with a sadistic smile on his face. “Good morning, New York City.”
= Rise 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 3 onwards =
“Louis!” a man calls out, noticing Louis walking up the flight of stairs from the second floor, rushing to meet the man at the top. “What’s up, Eddie?” Louis asks, turning the corner to head for one of the inmate hallways. “You think we can talk in private?” Eddie asks, watching Louis pan his eyes around the room before directing Eddie to one of the vacant closets at the end of the hallway.
“What’s wrong?” Louis asks, already noticing the worry in Eddie’s voice. “Louis, the convicts are starting to panic about that drug addict shit on the news. They’re not co-operating with anyone, and almost no one is opening their doors” Eddie says, watching Louis lean against one of the metal shelving units in frustration. “Son of a bitch, how the hell did they find out so fast?” Louis asks, watching as Eddie hands him a cellphone with a shattered screen.
“One of our patrolmen said they found it stuffed in one of the vacant suites on the sixth floor. Seems like one of the inmates took it off one of the guards without ‘em noticing” Eddie says, watching Louis look it over for anything. “Do we know who took it, or why?” Louis asks, watching Eddie, flustered, pan around the room for any explanation other than the most obvious.
“We’ve got no idea who took it, but the only reason we’ve got is that they wanted to sell it for a price. Who they were selling it to remains unknown” Eddie says, watching Louis nod and return the phone to him. “Alright, Eddie. I want you to keep this on the down-low, okay? We’ve got too much to worry about and we are not about to let things start slipping out of control. You figure out who took this, and I’ll take care of making sure info doesn’t start spreading like a cancer, alright?”
Nodding, Eddie walks out of the storage closet as Louis stays behind, pulling out his phone to make a call. “Hey honey, how’re the kids?” Louis asks, listening to his wife as scuffling begins to break out in the middle of the hallway just outside. Opening the door just a small amount, Louis peers out to see two uniformed guards entering one of the convict’s rooms by force, trying to push the door in. Cutting his wife off as tensions begin to escalate, Louis skips straight to the point. “Listen, honey. I need you and the kids over here now, alright? There’s not much time to explain, I just need you to calmly get them here as soon as you can, okay?”
With the scuffle beginning to escalate, Louis continues to switch his focus between the phone call and the events happening just outside. “Nothing’s wrong, honey. I just need you and the kids to get here as soon as you can, alright?” Louis says, repeating to his wife that he loves her and his children before hanging up and opening the door, entering the hallway just in time to watch as four other rooms open, and convicts armed with whatever makeshift weaponry they can craft begin to flood into the hallway and overtake the guards, stripping them of their weapons and shooting both men in the head at point blank range.
Stunned at the sight, Louis hurries back into the storage closet and shuts the door behind him, listening in as room after room opens up, and each convict stationed on the floor begins to race behind each other, storming throughout the rest of the building and leaving the corpses behind to rot. Noticing his moment, Louis exits the cramped space and into the hallway, grabbing a walkie-talkie from one of the guards and hurrying down to the other end of the hallway, hiding in one of the newly-opened convict’s rooms. “Louis Perry to all forces within the Sheol building, we have an indefinite amount of convicts armed on the sixth floor of the eastern wing without supervision. They have killed two deputy officers and are to be considered armed and highly dangerous. Use lethal force if approached.”
12 hours later
“I want to thank everyone for their dedication to the job today. I know it wasn’t an easy fight, especially with concerns only growing, but you toughed it out and I want you all to know how much I appreciate what you did here today, so thank you very much” Tony says, earning a round of applause from the guards around the main hall of the compound. “I want everyone to get a good amount of rest tonight, we’ll be figuring out how to lay low for the next few days until this all blows over, am I understood?” Tony asks, earning “Yes, sir” in response from the guards, who proceed to break away from each other and return to their quarters.
“Hey, Tony?” Louis asks, waiting for Tony to walk into his direction. “Have you seen the wife and kids yet?” Louis asks, watching Tony disappointedly shake his head. “No sign of them yet, Louis. I’m sure they’re just caught up in traffic and are on their way, alright?” Nodding, Louis stands still as Tony pats him on the back and walks through a heavy-plated door off to the side, disappearing behind the pitch-black, smokey-like abyss.
Shaking it off, Louis walks out of the main building and paces around the parking lot, staring down both ends of the road without give, hoping to see his family’s blue sedan pop around the corner at any moment. “Waitin’ for someone?” a woman from off to the side asks, catching the man’s attention as he turns to face her. “Just some family” Louis replies, crossing his arms and placing his view back onto the street. “Same here” The girl says, earning the man’s attention again, this time watching as he notices her reading a book, alone on a picnic bench below the street light.
“How long you been waitin’?” Louis asks, the girl continuing to glue her eyes to the pages and answering without looking directly at him. “Fourteen hours” the girl replies, catching Louis by surprise. “So… So you were here when all the-” Louis begins to ask, cutting himself off as the girl just nods to each word. “Why haven’t you called a taxi yet?” Louis asks, watching the girl remove her eyes from the book for the first time, just peering at him over the top of the pages with a playful look.
“What?” Louis asks, walking over to her table and taking a seat in front of her. “Use your common sense, security guy… If the emergency services aren’t picking up, why would a yellow cab?”
Shaking her head sarcastically and turning the page, the girl watches out of the corner of her eye as Louis folds his hands atop the table and buries his head into them. “What are you doing?” the girl asks, earning no reply as he continues to sit there uninterrupted. After a few moments, the guy removes his head from his hands and responds, “I’m praying. You don’t interrupt someone when they’re praying.”
Returning to her book, the girl continues reading silently as Louis just waits for hope to turn the corner. “What’s your name?” Louis asks, watching as the girl takes a ribbon from the corner of her book and place it between two pages, closing it and placing it to her side. “Angela” the girl replies, standing from her seat and taking the book into her hand. “I don’t think my mother’s coming to pick me up anytime soon, I guess that’s what I get for being twenty-five with no car, huh? Any rooms I can use for tonight?” the girl asks, watching Louis nod his head and stand from his seat.
Rounding the stairs, Louis and Angela enter the sixth floor, stepping over a blood-stained carpet and entering a room at the end of the hallway. “This should be good enough for tonight” Louis says, opening the door to reveal a hotel suite-like room. “Thank you, I appreciate it” Angela says, walking inside and laying her belongings on a chair off to the side of the room. Closing the door, Louis pauses momentarily halfway before closing it the full way and walking to the opposite end of the hallway, entering a room previously taped off.
Once inside, Louis gets a massive whiff of the foul stench of decay, stammering his walk forward before he continues on, pulling free a walkie talkie from the belt of one of the deceased guards on the ground. Returning to Angela’s room, Louis knocks on the door and awaits an answer, only to be caught off guard by Angela greeting him in little more than a bath robe. “Forget something?” Angela asks, watching Louis stammer over his words.
“Just… Here…” Louis says, extending his hand out and handing Angela his walkie talkie. “It’s set to a frequency that only I can hear, so if you need anything at all, just let me know and I’ll see what I can do” Louis says, watching Angela stare at it for a moment before pressing a red button on the side. “Copy that” the girl says, her voice being projected out of the other end of the talkie on Louis’ belt, getting him to let out a small amount of laughter before she closes the door with a smile.
Alone, outside, at the same picnic table where he had first encountered Angela, Louis sits alone, glancing back and forth at both ends of the road, unwilling to accept any fact less than what he perceives to be the truth. In his hand, Louis holds a pocket knife, blade extended outwards and carving tally marks into the supports, one for each car that passes by the blank road that isn’t that of his family’s.
“Louis?” the voice over the talkie calls, prompting the man to swiftly return his blade to his pocket and reach for the device. “Angela? What’s up?” Louis asks, his attention momentarily being stripped away as the faint sounds of gunshots ring through the ground, one after another in interval-succession. Quelled by the ground below, the gunshots feel as far away as they do close, and the lack of Angela’s voice over the radio begins to worry the man.
“Louis… Somebody’s in here” Angela whispers, the sound of menacing growling being heard in the background, causing her to slow her breathing to a near silence. “I’m on my way” Louis whispers, charging back into the building with his gun drawn. On the other line, Angela turns the talkie off to keep it from making any further noise as she watches the feet of a staggered individual trail from one end of her room to the other, over and over again.
Racing up the stairwell and leaping over short gaps as some amount of a short cut, Louis finally makes it to the opposite end of the sixth story hallway, rushing downwards before his progress is brought to a complete halt, the open doorway to the room storing the deceased is now left wide open, with neither body still remaining inside. Quickly piecing everything together, Louis rushes for the end of the hallway, turning into Angela’s room, door agap to find the two bodies of the formerly deceased security guards, now up and walking once more.
Figuring it out, Louis pulls his blade and ducks one attempt from the first corpse before taking the second the distance to the opposite wall, pinning it up by the throat as it clamps its teeth down at him. Suddenly, Angela shouts in horror as the first undead, still dropped to the ground finds a way to grab onto her arm, struggling past the bedframe to get any closer than a few inches. Knowing the uncertainty of the situation, Louis uses one of his feet to push the sliding glass door open, pushing the undead onto the patio and over the edge to its brunt-force resting place below.
Hurrying around the bed, Louis grabs the second undead by the hair and begin scalping it, peeling the skin from the skull below until the corpse finally relieves its grip, allowing the body to throw itself into the door frame. “You alright?” Louis asks, taking the moment to watch Angela nod before rushing up to the corpse, now back to its feet, and burying the blade between its eyes, allowing it to drop to the floor in a heap.
Nine months later
“You sure you’re not one to come along?” Louis asks Angela, simply shaking her head and wrapping her arms around the guard. As the snow falls upon the compound in the brusk of winters fury, Louis returns the embrace on his end. “I know you’re not a kid, Angie… But I still want you to be able to fend for yourself out there” Louis says, looking at the girl staring back at him. “You just go out there and make sure I don’t have to, okay?” the girl replies, patting Louis on the head before he climbs into the van and takes a seat beside both Eddie and Tony.
“Welcome to Sheol, eh?” Eddie jokes, watching Tony wrapping gloves around his hands as Louis takes a few smacks at the metal gate between themselves and the driver to signal the drive’s beginning. “Where we headin’ out to, anyway?” Louis asks, counting bullet casings in a small felt bag. “Wherever we feel like going, boys” Tony responds proudly, holding onto one of the many protruding metal latches in the van as it struggles off a pile of snow and exits the compound’s interior.
Upon reaching their destination, Tony and his crew disembark the van and aim for a small cottage house just beside the shoreline. The following day, they approach the front gates of a barn off in the middle of a field in rural, northern New York. The following week, they approach the front gates of a community for the elerdly, tucked away in the forest just beyond a road winding more than the curves in a blanket. The following month, they close in on a small group of people in the middle of an abandoned airport hangar.
One by one, house after house is put on notice, and the people living there are welcoming to the presence of Tony and his group as long as they find themselves falling into compliance on one singular issue. Each area they encounter, and each person they meet along their travels, every single one hands over a bag of ammunition, food and other medical supplies whilst declaring one single statement. “I give my loyalty to the Convoy, and my honor lies within Sheol.”
Before long, the compound, now represented by a sign out front reading “The Compound of Sheol Welcomes You”, is filled with as much ammunition, food, medicinal supplies and other survival necessities as one can imagine. Rooms and hallways specifically dedicated to housing the supplies, all overseen by Tony and his closest of allies.
On one night, Louis and Angela find themselves buried in books in their shared room at the end of the sixth story hallway. “Do you ever wonder why we’re here?” Angela asks, snapping Louis out of his focus on the pages. “I’m sorry, what was the question?” Louis asks, chuckling with Angela. “Do you ever wonder how we got lucky enough to be here when we were? What it took to bring you and I to the same place at the same time?”
“Not as much as I appreciate it for happening” Louis says, closing his book and standing from his seat to sit beside Angela on the bed. “Why?” Louis asks, watching Angela gaze out at the cold night sky from a heated, hotel-like room with running electricity. “Look around you. Look at everything we have that so many places don’t. You haven’t mentioned coming across one place that works like Sheol. Do you ever wonder about the things that fell into place that got you here when it did?”
Thinking for a moment, Louis takes in a breath and scratches his head, comforted on the soft silk sheets in nothing more than a pair of boxers and a white t-shirt. “I don’t think it’s my story to read too far into” Louis says, earning Angela’s intrigue. “I think… I think we’re all individual stories that… That all make up the story of Sheol. And if we were meant to be a part of this story, then whatever reason it was that got us here, is one that I’d rather appreciate blindly than undeservingly pick through.”
“That’s very deep” Angela jokes, watching Louis chuckle before he gives her a peck on the head and returns to the chair. “Do you ever miss what the world used to be?” Angela asks, “Is it even still possible for you?” Stepping up to the glass patio door and breathing on it, mixing his warm breath with the cool winter air on the other side, Louis smiles and glances out at the river across the street.
“At times. Other times… I’m just glad to be where I am now…”
Returning to his seat and opening his book, Louis returns to reading as Angela stares at him for another minute, smiling as she watches him enter back into his fixation with the story where he left off before returning the her own.
Over one year after the events of the outbreak
The sun begins to shine over a brand new day in New York, welcoming in yet another run for Tony and his crew, in the van for another go of things. “Hey, hey, hey!” Eddie shouts, earning the driver’s attention by slamming his hand on the metal grates, signalling for the van to come to a slow halt. Stopping on the side of the road, the convoy watches five people walking across the parking lot and into a depot just ahead, disappearing inside its interior as the van hides itself where it can.
After nearly an hour, the survivors exit the building and load their gatherings into a vehicle, taking off down a road in the opposite direction. Tailing behind the vehicle, Tony and his convoy sneakily keep pace with the truck before it comes to a stop, and the five individuals hop out of their truck and load supplies into a rundown home just barely hidden on one side by trees, and open to the road on the other.
“What’re they doing?” Louis asks, watching from afar as the group grows larger, and the true numbers begins to show as they organize everything into different quadrants. “Let’s pull out of here. I’ll send a scouting team to keep an eye on them. Let’s get back to work” Tony says, fastening his seatbelt upon the order and dealing with the bumpy road once again.
“That was a bigger group than I’m used to seeing” Louis jokes with Tony as they both enter the Sheol compound main foyer. “That’s why I’ve got eyes on them. I’m thinking we deal with them a little bit differently than the others” Tony says, confusing Louis. “Why? What’s so special about them?” Louis asks, watching Tony halt and turn towards him with a smile. “They’re renovating a beaten down house when the dead are walking all around them. They’re not settling down, they’re figuring shit out. They’re smarter than most of the others.”
“Should we worry about them?” Louis asks, turning his rifle to his back as the strap tugs at the front of his shirt. “We shouldn’t be worried about anyone, only prepared for them” Tony replies, patting Louis on the back, watching carefully as he turns around and aims for his sixth story room. Once Louis is no longer visible upon the staircase, Tony turns to the secretary station, watching at her as she nods just once to him, earning one right back from the man as he makes for a door beside the stairway, hidden in the corner.
From his pocket, Tony pulls a key and unlocks four locks, finally allowing it to be open before entering into the dark space, taking one final glance out at the foyer before closing the heavy door, only allowing the sounds of the mechanisms shifting within each of the four locks to bellow throughout the foyer, sealing the entrance shut from within.