/ Two months earlier /
“Ally!?” Lou exclaims, water rushing through the spaces between his toes with each step, his damp shoes splashing atop the asphalt. “Jenn!? Halston!?” Lou continues exclaiming, his clothes covered in sand just as one half of his face is, hair soaking wet, leaving a trail of water in his wake. “Terry!? Jules!?” Lou continues shouting, his voice echoing through the abandoned city centre, his hope depleting with every name he calls aloud.
“Elsie!? Lee!?” Lou continues, stood in the middle of a three-way intersection, surrounded by dark buildings and debris-strewn roads, “anyone?” Alone, Lou feels his chest grow heavy, each breath becoming harder to come by, the wishful thinking he walks through eerily empty streets dying with the recognition of his honest, unchangeable loneliness as night begins to fall.
Sat beside a fire in the middle of the road, Lou waits out the night sky that covers him from above, huddled in a jacket to ward off the unfamiliar chill of Western Canadian autumn. “Aaarrrggghhh” a hiss emerges, departing it’s cloak beneath the sightless night as it approaches Lou, the fire having taken its eye with ease. The breath he lets leave his lungs now floating in front of his face, Lou looks to the fire for protection, removing a partially-burned log from the brick-surrounded pit.
Letting his puffy jacket fall from his shoulders, Lou steps away from his firepit, his bare feet gently walking upon the poorly-maintained road, his path lit by the persistent flame in his log-carrying hand. Moistening his lips with a lick, Lou lets a whistle graze his teeth, guiding the corpse closer toward him, hungered growls egged on by the young man’s display.
Close enough for his liking, Lou takes the burning post through the frosty air, his force snapping the corpse’s neck. Laying there, hobbled, the zombie suffers Lou’s beating, the half-naked man repeatedly crushing it’s skull with a flaming two-by-four. His frustration boiling over, Lou mangles the body at his feet, grunting with every strike before stopping himself, one glance taken to puddle of blood surrounding his feet convincing him to end the senseless attack.
Encouraged to travel at the first sight of morning, Lou packs a knapsack with essentials and leaves his campgrounds. Still barefoot, Lou begins walking down the third road, its sidewalks adorned with tall office buildings, whilst the snow-touched mountains stand before Lou’s sight, covered in a foggy haze.
*knock, knock, knock knock knock* Lou hears to his right, surprised at the smooth, rhythmic tapping of glass never intended for him. “Hello?” Lou whispers to himself, quiet enough so as not to be heard, his sights set on a glass tower piercing the sky. Invested in this source, Lou squeezes through cars to reach the skyscraper, shuffling to the side of the road before reaching a set of stairs, each step leading to the building’s entrance, where a man aimlessly knocks at the glass door.
Opening his mouth to speak, Lou holds his words back, his eyes squinting at the rugged man waiting below.
*knock, knock, knock knock knock*
The tapping continues, the man’s body covered with a well-fitting work jacket, his hand a pale white. A feeling deep within his core urging him to leave, Lou chooses to distrust his instincts, walking to his right for a few steps in hopes of seeing the man’s reflection. “Hello, Cheryl?” the man groans in a strangely high pitched voice for someone of the man’s appearance, “can you buzz me in?”
*knock, knock, knock knock knock*
“Hello, Cheryl?” the man at the door repeats, the same tone as before, at the same time as before, no expectations held just as before, “can you buzz me in?” The door’s glass reflecting sunlight, Lou fails to earn a decent view of the man below, any visible features of his face rendered to nothing more than a dark, featureless figure. “Are you looking for someone?” Lou finally asks aloud, too perplexed to leave the situation alone.
“Aaarrrggghhh!” the man suddenly growls, his beady eyes turning toward the one-armed man standing above him. “What the fuck!?” Lou exclaims, backing away from the stairs as the fresh corpse begins to ascend, running with the speed of an olympian despite the pale complexion of a sickly hermit. His lips puckered, Lou retreats to the instincts he’d earlier taken for granted, allowing the zombie to rush at him.
Standing his ground, Lou lets the corpse close in before dodging the suit-clad corpse’s attack, his outstretched leg sweeping the corpse to the ground with a heavy thud. The end of his burnt log sharpened, Lou drives his weapon through the back of the reality-challenging zombie’s skull, it’s sharpened point emerging through the face. His look one of curiosity, Lou pulls the log from the undead’s head and stares in disbelief, unable to truly comprehend what had happened.
= RISE and REVOLT is created by Zachary Serra, all rights to the series from Season 1 onwards belong to Zachary Serra and his entity of Pacer1 =
/ One week later /
“Aaarr-” a corpse growls, a heavy boot pressing its neck to the ground as an axe is buried into the back of it’s skull. With a grunt, Lou removes the weapon from the cranium, struggling to wield the heavy weapon effectively. Stretching his aching back muscles, Lou rests the axe upon the ground as he reaches for a canvas pouch over the body’s shoulder, it’s straps fastened by hefty metal hooks.
Unzipping the sack’s top, Lou retrieves the contents within, a curious look on his face as his fingers graze metal and heavy rubber. Continuing to feel around, Lou wraps his fingers around what feels like a hand, his eyes rolling as he removes the item from its vessel. “Ain’t that funny?” Lou mutters to himself, taking a prosthetic left hand from the cylindrical container, shaking his head as his quickly returns it.
“I’m sure Ally would tell me to take this as a sign, so that is what I shall do” Lou grunts, pulling the sack from over the corpse’s shoulder as he hoists it over his own. Reclaiming his axe, Lou returns to his stroll, defying the darkness overhead by clasping a flashlight in his few remaining free fingers. Dressed for the winter, Lou steps over broken glass and broken asphalt, his eyes taken to anything worth paying a close eye to.
Continuing to walk the road for another five hundred metres, Lou’s sights find something to fall upon, a once-eleven story residential building rendered to rubble, ash, and manageable pockets of persistent flame. Severed, a downed hydroline lays across the street, the brief spurts of light that pop suddenly from its disconnected end signifying is danger. “This place has electricity?” Lou whispers to himself, walking toward what remains of the ravaged building until a noise emerges closeby.
“Hello!?” Lou proclaims, turning his entire body toward a broken storefront, the signage on its window made incomplete by the missing shards of glass. “If you’re alive in there, please make that clear” Lou explains, holding a chuckle beneath his breath, “I’ve nearly made that mistake once, and I’d like it not to happen again.”
Met with silence, Lou continues to keep his patience in order, the hope he’d arrived on the island with finding its way back to his heart. “My name is Lou” the man greets, his flashlight still pointed at the ransacked barbershop, “I’m looking for my friends.” As obvious as he can make himself out to be, Lou’s suddenly revitalised hope softly fades, his eyes falling ever so slightly.
“I don’t mean you any trouble” Lou persists, resting his axe upon the ground in a show of good faith, giving up on the desire to find a familiar face on the other side of the darkness. “I washed up on the beach a few nights ago, I’ve been looking for my friends ever since” Lou continues, steadying the flashlight on the broken window, “they all probably look like they’re in high school and equally as in need of a shower as me, so if you know-”
“Put your hands up and give me your shit” a feminine voice remarks, her words aimed at the back of Lou’s head, just as her handgun does. Slowly pulling his hand into the air, Lou cooperates with the woman’s request, a bitter truth unfortunately keeping him from showing good faith. “I don’t have anything other than a prosthetic hand, miss” Lou replies, worrying over the display this leaves him casting.
Kicking the young man in the small of his back, the unfamiliar woman brings Lou to his knees, his hand painfully falling to the ground. “Stop lying and give me your shit!” the woman repeats, this time not wasting time in raising her voice. “I would give you everything I have, but I don’t have anything” Lou responds, as quick to reply as the woman is to raise her voice, his answer still failing to fall in the woman’s favour.
“I don’t want to have to tell you again” he woman warns, triggering the ‘fight or flight’ response in Lou’s mind by pressing the barrel of her weapon against the man’s skull. Swinging his elbow around, Lou knocks the firearm from the survivor’s hand and pushes her away, creating the separation needed to regroup. “I don’t want to fight you, please-” Lou exclaims, reclaiming his axe as the soles of his boots return to the ground.
Throwing himself to the side, Lou watches the woman fly past him, failing to tackle him as originally planned. “I have nothing to offer you, miss!” Lou exclaims, stepping away as the woman stands up once more, seething with anger, “if you want me to leave you alone, I will!” Refusing to listen to reason, the woman makes another run at the young, handicapped survivor, his efforts to side step her not prevailing as they had once before.
Knocked off his balance, Lou is spun to the ground, the axe falling from his hand as the side of his head meets the road. “Ffuuc-” Lou groans, his hand guiding itself to the road-burnt corner of his brow momentarily. Putting his pain aside, Lou crawls away from the pebble-grinding steps he hears nearing him, scrambling from leverage. “Ma’am, I’m not trying to hurt you!” Lou desperately pleads, watching the woman take his own axe into her possession.
“Please, stop!” Lou exclaims, holding his hand out at the woman, her rabid desire to end his life not subsiding. Letting the woman take his axe into the air, Lou rolls away from her initial swing, scrambling to the opposite direction with little plan. “I am not a threat!” Lou shouts once more, yet to accept the woman’s refusal, his hope still held out for her actions to cease.
Left to rest on the ground, the silver finish of the woman’s handgun reflects the sparse flames of the nearby eyesore once considered an apartment. Taking the gun into his hand, Lou crawls onto his back and stares at the woman, offering her the final chance he has to propose. “I don’t want to hurt you!” Lou exclaims, watching the woman ready a swing with as much intent as she had many times prior.
With one squeeze of the trigger, Lou fires a single bullet through the woman’s face, the bullet entering beneath her chin before tearing through the top of her head. Stumbling back five steps, the woman topples backwards, the axe bouncing free of her grip the moment she slams into the ground. Gasping for air, Lou looks with dejection at the woman’s corpse, the twitch in her left foot forcing the young man to look away, unable to stomach what was necessary of himself.
Pushing himself to his feet, Lou retakes the axe into his hand without paying another look to the woman, too distraught to endure the body’s sight. Letting his breath fog the air as it lulls, Lou’s eyes take back to the road he’d intended to travel, whilst his ears suddenly take back to the barbershop. Lou’s face fills with dread while his eyes slowly return to the building he’d originally become so infatuated with, the sounds that emanate from within prompting his heart to sink.
/ Four days later /
“It’s alright, I’ve got you” Lou whispers, carrying an axe in his mechanical hand whilst cradling a crying baby in the one that remains, calming it down gracefully. “We’re gonna find you some formula, and then we’re gonna find a nice house to stay in” Lou continues, whispering hopeful thoughts to the infant, his warm breath purposefully aimed into the child’s face.
“I don’t know how the fuck I’m supposed to raise you, but I’m gonna try my best” Lou continues to whisper, keeping the child close to his chest, “I don’t know how to feed a baby formula either, but I’m sure I’ll screw up enough to figure it out eventually!” Putting on a kind face to mask the deep fear he still carries deep within himself. “Everything will be okay as long as I say so” Lou whispers, the crying now coming to a stop, its restless whimpering finally put aside.
“Where’s the mom, Lou?” a distinctive voice calls nearby, the exact tone, reflection, vibrato and cadence prompting the man to stop in his tracks, the tremble in his core prompting the baby’s crying to begin again. “You gonna say ‘hello’ or am I supposed to stand here waiting all day?” the domineering voice wonders aloud, Lou’s face returning to its orbit.
“Come on, old friend- at least give me a wave” Matt jokes, aiming a rifle at Lou, a man he once incorrectly considered a close friend. “Matt, there’s-” Lou begins, his words ordered to halt by the rifle-wielding, scorned apocalyptic-profiteer. “Yeah, a baby. I don’t care” Matt replies, bobbing his head to the side, “there was a conversation had in that crow’s nest, and I want it ended.”
“Then we can have that conversation without aiming guns at each ot-” Lou responds, the warning shot Matt fires into the air rendering him silent, the baby’s crying beginning once more. “These streets are going to be littered with the dead of the twelfth biggest city in Canada within minutes, so I’d suggest you follow my instructions very closely” Matt explains, an arrogant look on his face, “there’s a building to your right. Climb every stair until you reach the roof, don’t stop until then.”
“And where will you be?” Lou replies, keeping his eyes away from Matt’s face, struggling to portray confidence when the sickeningly familiar man urges nothing but grave worry. “I’ll be right behind you” Matt responds, turning the gun back onto the man in front of him, “and I’ll have the barrel of this gun aimed at the back of your head every step of the way, slayer.”
Trying to lull the baby to sleep, Lou’s attention is called for once again. “The decaying process doesn’t really kick in for a few weeks, so the dead still have a little bit of pep in their step” Matt explains, keeping his rifle locked onto his sworn enemy, “I wouldn’t want to be on ground level when they get here, Lou. I’d start walking if I were you.”
Relenting, Lou steps to the rundown building, ducking through the entrance before embarking on an eight-story ascent to the roof. “I don’t see what the point of this is, Matt” Lou explains, finally reaching the rooftop, axe still carried in a prosthetic hand he’s yet to master the advantages of. “You don’t have to worry about dying, my intention isn’t to kill you” Matt replies, shutting the door they entered through.
“As the crow’s nest went under water, I vowed to take from you the future you’d stolen from me” Matt explains, leaving the door unlocked, “and that’s precisely what I’m going to do.” Taking in a huff of the cold air filling the streets of Victoria, Matt lets a smile come over his face. “Put the axe and the baby in the corner” Matt orders, aiming his rifle at the man the instant reluctance presents itself.
“Do as I said, or you’ll die today” Matt proclaims, leaving Lou no option other than compliance. “Do you know how things are going to unfold from here on out, Lou?” Matt inquires, watching the young man walk away from the still-crying baby, the head of the axe resting just beside it’s small, frail body. “No, I don’t” Lou responds, taking a low tone to every answer Matt demands of him.
“Of course not, you’ve never truly experienced this world!” Matt replies, his humor slowly beginning to die out, the realization starting to creep in, “none of us really have.” Disgruntled, Matt shakes his head in disappointment, his eyes trailing back toward the one-armed man across from him. “After all we’ve been through, and after everything that’s happened, I sometimes forget how young you are” Matt explains, a frown emerging from a chuckle.
“You- you should be in Chemistry class or something right now” Matt explains, almost in disbelief at the scene that’s unfolding, “I mean, yeah, my life was taken away- But you never even really got to have one... That’s not fair.” Grimacing, Lou becomes uncomfortable with the sentiment shared, almost as if Matt is coming to more of a realisation than Lou was intended to be awoken to.
His eyes lowering, the tension in Matt’s body eases, the anger he’d greeted Lou with now twisting into sorrow. “You’ve been forced out of your home, you’ve lost an arm, you’ve had to fend off death prob- I me- Holy fuck! How many times have you had to fend off death!?” Matt rattles off, arriving at the same conclusion as before, the weight heavier now than it was before, “you’re just a kid!”
The silence confining him to an odd hesitation, Lou holds his hand a few centimetres from himself, lowering his voice to a gentle tone. “I’m sorry for what I did, Matt. I’m sure you already know that” Lou explains, watching Matt’s rifle fall to the ground, his face somberly drifting off into the distance, “but neither of us has to die, today. We can both move on with our lives and-”
“You’re wrong” Matt responds, still looking at the mountains in the near distance, the faint sound of hungry savages below only helping his emotionally deranged thoughts flutter in. Pressing his lips together, Matt looks to Lou with a tear in his eye, a sudden embrace of humanity coming over himself. “When we carted the dead onto the Euronam, we stuffed them into those deep, deep caverns- so they’d decompose quicker” Matt explains, a laugh leaving his mouth, “it was like we’d done it for years.”
Shaking his head, Matt tosses his rifle to the ground, seemingly welcoming the change of heart clarity has brought upon him. “It shouldn’t have been that normal, Lou. It shouldn’t have been that normal, but it was” Matt explains, his hands falling upon his waist, “and the scariest thing about it, is that nothing about that ‘normal’ is going to change. This is the world now, and the people in it are, for better or for worse, the people now.”
Clearing his throat, Matt takes in the sounds of the baby crying, again shaking his head in disbelief. “To think neither of us has to die is foolish, Lou. It’s foolish, it’s reckless, and ultimately, it’ll be what kills you” Matt remarks, every word he speaks further dragging Lou’s fears to the forefront, “it’s a naivety that you can’t afford. You need to know when people are worth being left alive, and if you can’t see that, you’re going to get yourself, and the people you love, killed.”
“What is this, Matt?” Lou finally interrupts, the man’s motivations too puzzling to understand, “I don’t understand what’s happening, and I’m not sure I want to.” Dropping to his knees, Matt looks at the ground, disassociating from himself. “You need to kill me, Lou” Matt replies, the profound answer only further losing Lou’s patience.
Reaching for Matt’s throat, Lou presses both thumbs to the man’s shirt collar, pulling him back to his feet whilst screaming in his face. “What game are you trying to play with me, Matt!?” Lou exclaims, the boiling aggravation sending spit flying from his lips, “you’re talking like a fucking lunatic!”
Shoving Lou away, Matt matches the young man’s screams, his finger pointed at Lou’s face. “The world is fucked, Lou! F-U-C-K-E-D, FUCKED!” Matt screams, the veins in his neck popping. “For the last week, I’ve held onto the hope that I’d find you, and I’d kill you for ruining my great, big plan! You, I was going to kill you, a kid!” Matt persists, gasping for the breath he forces from his lungs with such desire, “I’m as fucked as the rest of the world is, and you need to kill me!”
Throwing himself back to his knees, Matt bows his head, openly inviting Lou to squash the broken life he begs to let end. “I will not kill you, Matt!” Lou exclaims, again shoved away, this time with enough force to take him off his feet. Slamming into the cedar finish, Lou watches Matt sprint across the roof, taking the crying baby into his hands. “NO, DON’T!” Lou growls, watching Matt’s body swing, the infant launched eight-stories to the collected herd below.
Slamming into the concrete lip, Lou watches the child plummet to the ground, disappearing into the swarm with a squeal. Dismayed, Lou watches the dead clump together, struggling to process what he’s just witnessed. “Y- Yo-” Lou whimpers softly, too stunned to react. The dead now preoccupied, a chilling silence comes over the rooftop, only the sudden, forceful collision of knees to the panels below left to interrupt.
“I told you I was broken-” Matt grunts, the sound of his voice sending Lou into a rage, his face shaking with life-shattering vigour, “-and now you need to act accordingly.”
Trembling, Lou takes his face away from the dead below, staring off at midday sun just overhead. In quick succession, Lou pushes himself from the ledge and wraps his hands around the axe handle, its head dragging against the cedar beneath his feet. “Yes!” Matt shouts with excitement, eagerly anticipating the inevitable demise that approaches him, “I’ve shown y-!”
Pulling the weapon over his shoulder, Lou swings the axe as if it were a baseball bat and buries the blade in Matt’s chest with enough force to knock him off his knees before he can finish his final words. Pressing his foot on the man’s stomach, Lou rips the weapon from Matt’s insides, continuing to bludgeon the man’s corpse with no remorse. His face painted with splatters of Matt’s blood, Lou continues to dissect, disembowel, and disassemble the man’s torso, leaving it a bloody husk.
“Aaarrrggghhh” Matt groans, his reanimated jaw propped open with a brick, his arms and legs having been carefully removed post-mortem. Taking a knee beside the fresh corpse, Lou stares into Matt’s beady eyes, a disgusted look on his face. “You taught me nothing, and you died for nothing” Lou hisses, letting the man’s sniper rifle join the prosthetic arm over his back.
“You haven’t taken into account how I see the world” Lou explains, his nub resting against the wall’s ledge, “and I still see the world as I always have. It’s gruelling, it’s remorseless, and as you noticed today, unfair.” His words now carried in a whisper, Lou takes another look at the mountains, the snowcaps along the very summit bringing a smile to his face.
“I’m going to find my friends, Matt. I’m going to find all of them” Lou promises, resting his axe on the ground, “Jenn and Halston, Terry and Jules, Elsie, Lee, Theo and Ally.” Leaning his face close to Matt’s ear, Lou departs with a whisper, taking solace in the confidence he speaks with. “You’ve changed nothing, and I hope that there’s some part of you in there, helplessly trapped that can hear me” Lou explains, rising to two feet with a grin, “because that is how I’m leaving you.”
Picking up a gore-covered raincoat from the building’s ledge, Lou throws the jacket over his shoulders and retrieves his axe, leaving the man behind in favour of moving forward. “I’ll see you all soon” Lou whispers, taking one last look at the mountain, holding onto the hope that it beckons for him on their collective behalf.
Groggily stepping through the door at ground level, Lou steps into the horde, traipsing through the dead without hesitation, not a single beady eye concerning themselves with his presence. Emerging from the horde, Lou walks with the dead, leading the horde through the streets of Victoria without a second thought. Looking to the same mountain he eagerly works toward, Lou’s heart is taken to another decimated building, the concrete walls of its first floor blown to smithereens.
Shaking his head, Lou moves on, one foot cautiously put in front of the other until the tip of his boot kicks something unusual along the paved sidewalk. Squinting, Lou stops his walk, taking his eyes to the ground at the luring call of grazed steel. “Hmph” Lou groans, letting the axe fall from his hand at the sight of something more favourable.
Distancing himself from the dead, Lou crouches to the ground with a smile, his fingers wrapping around the familiar touch of thin, cylindrical rebar. “Hello, old friend” Lou whispers, a chunk of concrete still encapsulated around the pipe’s very base. Surrounded in silence, Lou takes the pipe over his shoulder and swings it at the ground, freeing the bar’s end from its concrete confinement.
“Everything’s going to be okay” Lou mutters to himself, turning back to rejoin the horde in Victoria’s streets, the pipe proudly returning to its rest upon his shoulder.
== RISE and REVOLT ==