“Why did you come all this way?” Adrian wonders, leant forward with his coupled hands hanging between his spread, cacky-dressed legs, the cabin’s one-armed visitor sat confidently in a seat across from him. “Because my friends are smart. I’d like to think that, if they made it to Victoria like I did, they’d set off for the mountains” Lou replies, his elbow pressing into the cushiony armrest, his knuckles pressing into the side of his mouth.
“You don’t know that they made it to Victoria, they could have pushed against the current and landed back in Seattle” Adrian responds, a retort Lou refuses to argue. “You’re right, and if they landed in Seattle, I’ll probably never see them again” Lou replies, nodding his head, “because if I never find them, I will remain on Vancouver Island hoping to run into them.”
Sinking back into his chair, Adrian continues to read the young man’s expression, still unable to find anything less than certainty behind his statements. “If your friends are here, and they made it up these mountains like you presume, they could be right under our noses” Silvano interrupts, sat at a table a short distance across the room. “What do you mean by that?” Lou responds, aware of the assumption, but suspicious as to what’s being implied.
“Well, we don’t know your friends. You said they all drifted off together, so there’s no reason to think they’re not still together” Silvano replies, hiding the distrust, “maybe they’re the people stealing our food.” Stood in the corner of the room, Sebastian rolls his eyes, defending the people his guest seeks reunion with. “Lou’s a decent kid, I’m sure his group wouldn’t-” Sebastian begins to reply, interrupted by the different tunes Lou responds with.
“I’m sure that’s a realistic possibility” Lou responds, earning a confused, almost bewildered look from the man that had tried to defend him, “they know you as well as I do. I’m sure they wouldn’t mind snatching a few apples here and there.” His urge to continue fighting in Lou’s favour defeated by the onslaught of questions brought forward, Sebastian resigns to being a bystander, letting the conversation unfold naturally.
“They’re not just taking a few apples, they’re taking sacks of rice, seed packets, fresh drinking water, and plenty more” Adrian replies, growing irritated at the laxity Lou portrays. “They haven’t done anything. Neither of us know whether my friends are the ones snatching your seeds, big guy” Lou responds, his words directed at Adrian’s casual, seated posture, “but if it were, I can’t say I would be surprised.”
“I’d like to point out that, even if you are a kid, we’re very skeptical of you” Silvano explains, his arm draped over the back of a metal folding chair, “so, with that said, is any of what you’re saying supposed to help change that?” His head shaking and shoulders shrugging, Lou offers Silvano a puckered-lip response. “I don’t care if you trust me” Lou replies, sparking a slight surprise over most in the room, “hell, if saving your friends from a horde isn’t enough, I don’t know what is.”
“We’re not saying we don’t trust you, Lou” Sebastian interjects, his efforts thwarted again, both by Adrian’s interruption, and Lou’s genuine refusal to care. “That’s exactly what we’re saying” Adrian responds, his eyes taken to both Lou and Sebastian, “I get you’re young, and I’m sorry the world hasn’t worked out in your favour, but I’ve got a daughter to look out for. I can’t blindly trust a kid to not do me or my family harm just because he’s young, or he’s looking for his friends.”
“And I’m not arguing that you should- because I don’t care” Lou replies, hoping to make that point resoundingly clear, “I appreciate the hospitality- I really do. But all I care about is finding my friends, and if anyone in this home threatens my ability to do that, I’ll make them regret it.” Still slightly disconnected from the morals of the new world, a cocky Silvano challenges the young man’s warning.
“I hear a lot of bark and no bite” Silvano responds, Lou’s counterpoint begun before the man’s point can even fully leave his lips. Throwing the rifle’s strap over his shoulder, Lou steadies his aim at one of the legs to Silvano’s chair and pulls the trigger, a single bullet ripping through the metal with such force to break it completely. The chair beneath him crumbling, Silvano falls to the floor, looking to Lou, who’s teeth clatter together, shattering Silvano’s cocky display.
“Like I said, I don’t care if you trust me” Lou repeats, returning the rifle to its original place over his back, the remainder of the group that had lingered elsewhere in the home now beckoned by the boisterous gunshot. “If my friends are the ones stealing your food, I will be the one to handle them” Lou explains, his composure prevailing amidst a home full of anxious faces, “and as proven before, I have the capabilities of both saving you, and killing you.”
His eyes taking off to the side of the room, Lou looks to Sebastian, the man’s face weaning worry like a mink fur coat. “I’m not here to hurt you, and I’m not here to help you. I’m here because you owe me a place to sleep in return for saving one, hopefully two, lives” Lou explains, gently returning to the chair he previously occupied, “I don’t want to get attached. I’m here looking for my friends, and then I’m gone. Any questions?”
Letting to the air simmer for a moment, Lou waits for the silence to pass, counting the seconds in his head before he’s satisfied with the result. “Good” Lou remarks, climbing out of his chair again, this time letting his feet guide him to the front door, its floor mat still covered in Kim’s blood, “now, someone come show me that goddamn food warehouse of yours.”
= 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 =
“This kid is not right in the head” Adrian explains, seated at a table surrounded by his friends and family. “He’s the same age as Marta, Adrian” Sebastian replies, still standing in Lou’s corner. “There’s a difference, Sebastian- A big difference” Adrian responds, finding more reluctance from across the table. “There’s a difference because of circumstance, Adrian” Rudy replies, “put Marta in the kid’s place, and I’m sure your daughter would be standing here a lot different right now.”
“This isn’t about the kids being the same age. If Marta stood in that living room and shot at Silvano like this kid did, I’d be just as concerned” Adrian responds. “I think his story is bullshit” Sonya replies, her father’s confused look meeting her. “Sorry, I don’t buy the story about the mom” Sonya responds, shaking her head in disapproval, “a woman doesn’t start swinging like that for no reason. If he was adamant to that woman about not being a threat, she wouldn’t have kept gunning for him.”
“I disagree” Courtney replies, the simple mention of her voice drawing all eyes in her direction, a pleased look subdued from the faces in Lou’s corner, and a confused look on the faces of those against the young man. “Unlike the rest of you, I’ve seen what the world is like out there. It’s brutal, and the people don’t always make sense” Courtney explains, her hands wrapping around a cup of cold coffee, “with how things are, this kid is a good apple atop a basket full of bruised fruit.”
Letting out a sigh, Adrian’s head sinks, his own hands wrapped around a plastic cup of water. “I know what you’ve seen, and I’m sure you’re right, but that doesn’t make me any more comfortable with him being around Marta” Adrian responds, a gesture Courtney also refuses to argue. “I’m not saying ‘bring him into the fold’. He doesn’t want to be part of a group, and for good reason” Courtney explains, “but with how often I’m coming and going, you might be well off with him sticking around.”
“The mountains are not as dangerous as the ground is, Courtney. I get you’ve seen places become overrun, but that doesn’t-” Adrian retorts, expecting the same argument he’s heard before. “I know the mountains are safe. That said, you won’t be able to hide away from the world up here forever” Courtney replies, her words more trusted by Adrian than anyone else's, “he had the right idea cutting Kim’s leg off, whether she lives or dies. Half of you couldn’t even stomach being in the same room.”
“He’s dangerous, Courtney” Silvano proclaims, growing tired at the sight of his peers slowly coming into agreeance with their paramotorist-friend. “He’s dangerous if you make yourselves a threat” Courtney responds, her eyebrow raised in Silvano’s direction, “after all, the only reason he shot your chair was because you practically dared him to.”
“That doesn’t mean he has the right to prove me wrong!” Silvano shouts, a response that makes Courtney laugh. “The fact that you don’t realise how dangerous it is to egg someone on is proof enough that you’re not familiar enough with this world to see what I do” Courtney replies, a disappointed shake of his head suggesting which side of the argument Silvano remains in, “and I’m telling you, with all that I can, that this kid might be the best thing that could have happened to any of you.”
“What’re you doing?” Lou calls out, stepping through the snow as the daylight burns, watching Adrian sprinkle snow over a sharp-toothed, metal device sunken into the ground. “I’m covering a trap” Adrian responds, indifferent to the potential harm that could come to those he rigs the storage unit against. “Alright, and why use a bear trap?” Lou replies, able to recognize the physical honeypot by its shape, “are you trying to catch these thieves, or are you trying to hurt them?”
“Why not do both?” Adrian responds, still indifferent to the feelings of those stealing from his friends and himself, “they’re taking food off my daughter’s plate. Why should I care?” Getting up to leave, Adrian steps within Lou’s reach, the young man’s hand pressing against Adrian’s chest to stop him from progressing. “Because those are my friends, and the sooner I find them, the sooner I’m out of your hair” Lou replies, both men staring each other in the face, “that’s what you want, correct?”
“I don’t care if you’re here, I just care you’re not putting my daughter and I in danger” Adrian responds, pulling his chest away from Lou’s touch, “that’s more than reasonable, is it not?” His rebar pipe carried between his bicep and ribcage, Lou takes his weapon and sets in down on the trap, the teeth snapping down upon its presumed prey with enough speed for the trap to bounce into the air.
Calmly sliding his weapon from the trap’s jaws, Lou locks eyes with Adrian again, hoping to make himself clear. “We are not setting out to hurt these people. We only set out to catch them, interrogate them, and let them move on” Lou explains, his voice clear, his words impossible to misconstrue, “do you understand me?”
Frowning at Lou, Adrian walks away without another word, returning to the cabin as Lou watches him leave. “He’s not always like this” a young voice calls from nearby, Lou’s eyes drawn to the warehouse, where Marta emerges from around the corner, “we haven’t seen anyone new since everything shut down. I think he’s just nervous about you.”
“How much of that did you hear?” Lou replies, his face stoic, the thick, brown beard covering his pressed lips. “I was standing just around the corner” Marta responds, almost a sarcastic tone in her voice, “I’m not deaf. My ears are perfectly capable of hearing a conversation happening just a few feet away.”
“Don’t you have a text message to answer?” Lou replies, shaking his head as he proceeds to walk past the girl, her age closer to his than anyone else in the camp. “I haven’t been able to reach any of my own friends since everything went offline” Marta responds, following closely behind Lou, “I only spend all day on my phone because my dad won’t let me do anything else.”
“Shouldn’t you be happy about that?” Lou replies, trekking through the snow, his eyes set on a road leading to the nearest village, “the world’s off fighting the dead, and you get to stay inside all day listening to music. Consider yourself lucky.” With a chuckle, Marta finds herself very interested in arguing Lou’s viewpoint. “Sure, I’ll consider myself lucky for now” Marta responds, her head hung, “but, like Courtney said, we won’t be able to hide up here forever. I won’t be lucky then.”
Letting the conversation die there, Lou continues to walk, his thumb wrapped around the straps to both his rifle and prosthetic. Stopping in the snowy field, Marta watches Lou walk a few extra steps, the man having failed to realize she was no longer following him. “I don’t care if my dad isn’t comfortable with me learning how to defend myself” Marta calls out, her distant voice encouraging Lou’s walk to stop, the man turning around to face a girl once considered his equal.
“I don’t want to rely on my dad to get me through the worst of this. I don’t want to be helpless when we’re forced out of that cabin” Marta explains, the eye contact Lou gives her strengthening her confidence, “teach me how to survive.” The cold air grazing his face, Lou considers Marta’s request for a moment, but not a second longer than that. “No” Lou replies, turning back around to continue his journey, the answer confusing the young girl, who expected a different answer.
“Why not?” Marta responds, restarting her walk, one Lou worries won't end unless he agrees to her offer. “Because I’m not trying to get attached to you people” Lou replies, his eyes aimed at the ground, keeping a lookout for any debris beneath his feet, “I’m looking for my friends, and having a protégé doesn’t really work with that goal.”
“Okay, then fuck your goal” Marta responds, finally catching up to the man despite the bitter winds, which rush at speeds high enough to whip Lou’s scarf in the breeze. “Why bother trying not to get attached to us?” Marta inquires, her perception of Lou making such a goal weight with little sense, “if you were to stay with us, that wouldn’t stop you from being able to find your friends.”
“Oh, is that right? Because, if my friends really are the ones taking food from your group, I don’t think I’d be able to get away with playing both sides” Lou replies, his head nodding, “and if such a point came, I know where my allegiances will be.” Stopping again, Marta watches Lou walk off, this time with no intention of stopping him.
“Good morning, Rudy” Sebastian mumbles, walking past an Adrian-occupied kitchen table on his way to the fridge. “What’s for breakfast?” Sebastian inquiries, leaning over the older man’s shoulder to take a glance at the frying pan. “Court’ brought in some fresh stuff in” Rudy responds gleefully, “we’re having sausage, fried potatoes, cooked eggs and a blueberry muffin.”
“Sounds like heaven” Sebastian replies, grabbing a glass off the drying rack, filling its contents halfway with milk. “Did you catch anything in your trap last night, Adrian?” Sebastian wonders, gently setting the glass dairy-container back into the fridge. “Nope, Lou told me I wasn’t allowed to set the trap down” Adrian responds, stepping up from his seat at the table with an empty plate, “he decided to sleep in the warehouse instead.”
“He slept in the storage unit?” Sebastian replies, the tone of his voice proclaiming his disbelief. “It was his choice” Adrian responds, laying the ceramic plate into the sink before patting Rudy on the back, “why do I care if he sacrifices comfort over a warm bed?” Watching Adrian depart the kitchen, Courtney, Sonya, Marta and Silvano are all left seated, the sound of silverware clattering against ceramic and glass creating an environment not to unlike the one left in the wake of the undead.
“I can’t figure this kid out” Sonya remarks, still chewing on the blueberry sweet. “He’s seen more of the world than all of you have combined, so good luck getting a real good look on him” Courtney replies, nudging her sister with the base of her elbow. “What is there to get a good look on?” Silvano responds, swirling the half-sausage remaining in a depleted pool of syrup, “the guy carries a metal pole around as a weapon. He’s a savage living in a meat locker.”
Gently opening the kitchen door, Lou emerges not a second later, an empty ceramic plate carried atop his nub. Squeezing a dab of soap onto a damp sponge, Lou pats Rudy on the back with a short smile. “Thank you for the breakfast” Lou remarks, turning the sink’s faucet on and letting the water run. “You’re- you’re welcome” Rudy replies, caught by surprise by the young man’s manners, a much longer smile held on his own face.
Running the spine over both plates left in the sink, Lou leaves the eatery to dry on the dishrack and exits through the same door he entered, leaving with as little announcement as he entered with. Unable to hold back her laughter, Courtney sinks back into her chair, head pointed toward the ceiling in a fit. “Yeah, Silvano! You’ve really got it figured out!” Courtney shouts, her sides hurting from the humor she views the interaction through, “he’s a real fucking savage!”
Greatly confused, Sebastian resorts to following his initial intention, feet creeping into slip-on shoes as he, too, exits the kitchen. “Lou, hold up!” Sebastian calls out, tying his morning robe tighter, truly underestimating the Western Canadian morning chill. “Adrian told me you slept in the warehouse last night” Sebastian explains, the curious look on Lou’s face indicating his uncertainty over the importance behind such decision, “do you not feel safe in the house?”
“No, you people are fine” Lou responds, the concern in his voice nothing when compared to the concern in Sebastian’s. “Well, then why are you sleeping in the storage unit?” Sebastian replies, his cabin’s warmth rendering the near-December’s frost a line seldom worth crossing. “Because ‘dad of the year’ in there is trying to set bear traps up in the storage unit’s doorway” Lou responds, still tempted enough by the cold to cross his arms, pressing them close to hist chest.
“Well, we don’t have a much different option” Sebastian replies, trying to reason with Adrian’s decision, “there aren’t alarms, or security cameras, or tripwires to depend on. What other choice do we have?” His answer already prepared, Lou pays Sebastian the respect of letting him finish his argument. “I’m the other choice. I think you forget I’ve slept amongst a horde of the undead. That freezer might as well be paradise for me” Lou responds, “no need for ankle-breakers if I’m in there.”
“Sure, but that’s not the point” Sebastian replies, offering a welcoming look as he shakes his head, “the house is warm, there’s bed made for you. You’re too young to be out here cooped up in-” Not allowed to finish his thought the second time around, Sebastian’s offering is cut short, Lou’s voice speaking louder. “Do me a favour, stop referring to me as ‘kid’, sir” Lou retorts, tired of hearing the same word used to describe him, “I’ve done more than enough to warrant being called ‘Lou’.”
Letting out a sigh, Sebastian gives the man a nod. “You’re right, Lou” Sebastian responds, his hair blown upwards by the winds, it’s colour matching the partially-grey moustache-goatee combination he wears. “As a matter of fact, I’d argue you’ve done more to be called ‘sir’, than me. Hell, I’m sure Courtney and I would agree that you’ve done more than enough to be called ‘a man’” Sebastian furthers, the warm look returning, “that still doesn’t mean you should have to camp in a freezer.”
Waving his hand through the air, Sebastian begins returning the conversation to its original course, only to be interrupted by a panicked voice calling out through the kitchen door. “Lou! Sebastian!” Marta exclaims, both men turning back in the frigid tundra, their eyes setting upon her, “Kim’s not breathing!”
Trailing through the snow, Lou carries a string of squirrels over his shoulder, a small knife on his belt dripping blood upon his dark, navy pants. “There’s enough on the string for three critters each” Lou remarks, snapping three of the rodents from the twenty-four that remain tied. “Enjoy dinner” Lou remarks, resting the string on a tree stump before walking off for his freezer-home.
“Hey, hold on a second!” Adrian remarks, standing five feet below ground level, covered in the dirt he’s assist in removing from a grave, “are you not going to help?” Looking at the man curiously, Lou shakes his head and shrugs. “Why would I help?” Lou replies, genuinely inquisitive of the man’s response to his departure. “Because you cut her leg off!” Adrian responds, slamming his hand upon the woman’s blanket-rolled corpse, “you caused this!”
“No, the bite that I tried to save her from succumbing to caused this” Lou replies, fastening the straps of both his prosthetic and rifle, “had it not been for me, you would’ve buried her days ago.” Continuing to walk as Adrian looks to the rest of his group with disgust, Lou suddenly stops, looking to the hole-occupying survivor with a smile. “Well, that’s at least what I assume” Lou adds, watching Adrian’s eyes lock onto his own, “had Courtney not been here, she probably would have turned.”
Continuing his walk-away backwards, Lou’s smile grows larger, noticing the dissatisfaction in Adrian’s face. “I wouldn’t have wanted to see the outcome of that, trust me” Lou explains, shaking his head as his body spins around, “that would not have been pretty.”
Watching the man trail off, Marta’s eyes remain distant from her phone, a set of words bubbling in her head. “It’s almost like we can’t ever really escape what’s going on like we thought” Marta shouts, drawing Lou’s attention as much as she draws the attention of the rest of her group, “we can’t even escape it all the way up here.”
Only able to see his figure looking back at her, Marta holds hope that the proclamation can convince Lou’s protégé refusal to be granted a second look. A smile appearing through his beard, Lou rolls his eyes, head turning back to his storage unit home.
Sneaking through the backdoor quietly, Lou watches a puffy-eyed Sonya jump back, startled by the young man’s sudden appearance, her face briefly left visible through the orange refrigerator lightbulb. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you” Lou whispers, his hand extended in a show of courtesy. “Well, when you’re coming in through the back of the house, in the middle of the night, and with no warning, someone’s going to be startled” Sonya responds, her voice more fragile than usual.
“Yeah, I can see that” Lou replies, gently closing the backdoor on his way inside, “I just wanted to get that string back? The one I tied the squirrels to?” Considering her time to be better spent elsewhere, Sonya waves her hand at the fridge. “No one here knows how to skin squirrels, so they just stuffed them into the freezer” the woman responds, turning around to leave, “sorry.”
Whilst disappointed in the squirrels having gone to waste, Lou’s cares take to something more, the woman’s demeanour striking him as odd. “Were you close to her?” Lou wonders aloud, stopping in the hallway just beside the kitchen, Sonya turning back to the man’s call, “the girl that died. Were you close to her?”
“Her name is Kim” Sonya quickly corrects, her voice still stubbornly austere, her heart equally weighted, “and I’ve known her since high school.” Reaching his hand across his chest, Lou taps his thumb upon his nub, genuinely sorry for the woman’s loss. “What you did earlier today, the whole ‘I didn’t know her, why would I help bury her’ routine, it was sick” Sonya remarks, taking Lou’s silence as a route to pursue the release of her anger.
“We let you into our home, and you saw us burying our friend, and you just walked away!” Sonya begins to shout, waking those within the rest of the home, one-by-one, her friends and fellow survivors emerging from their bedrooms. “You just dropped off a string of squirrels and left! Carried on like nothing changed while the rest of us sat there, mourning our friend!” Sonya exclaims, shouting in anger while the rest of the house watches, hesitant to step in.
“The least- The least you could have done, was pick up a shovel and help like you cared!” Sonya exclaims, throwing her hands at Lou’s chest, shoving him back. “You could’ve tried to care, or pretended!” Sonya shouts, again shoving Lou back, the young man refusing to stop her, “you could have fucking helped!”
Shoving Lou again, Sonya falls silent, her head dropping as she stumbles forward, exhausting her anger to the point of lamenting right into Lou’s arm, his hand welcoming her into an embrace, catching her in a moment of sorrow. “You’re right” Lou whispers, his chin pressed against the top of the woman’s head while the rest of the home watches on, a sorry look on the faces of some, whilst others look unsure of how to respond.
“I’ve got her” Lou whispers, watching Courtney approach with her arms out, her stride cut short upon Lou’s whispered proclamation.
Asleep in her bed, Sonya rests peacefully beneath the dim light of the lamp on her nightstand, the man who’d lulled her to sleep now asleep himself. Slumped in a chair, Lou’s head tilts to the ceiling, his eyes shut, his lips parted ever-so-slightly. “Lou, wake up!” a soft voice whispers, her hand pushing the man’s arm, jolting him awake. “Hmph, huu- wha-!?” Lou mutters, groggily waking from the sleep he’d fallen into.
“Marta!?” Lou groans, a variety of different hurried footsteps racing through the hall closeby. “What’s going on?” Lou wonders aloud, unable to process much of the hurried rush happening around him, but aware enough to notice the importance. “I think my dad set up a trap outside the storage unit!” Marta replies, the look of sheer worry on her face accompanying the dreadful declaration leaving her lips, “someone’s caught in it!”
His eyes widening, Lou dashes from his chair, not wasting another moment to burst into action. Racing through the snow, Lou refuses to stop as his eyes fall upon the home’s inhabitants, all huddled around the freezer’s entrance. “What the fuck did you do!?” Lou exclaims, the heavy tone in his voice emanating from a place of pure, unadulterated anger.
“There’s so much blood!” Silvano remarks, covering his mouth as he walks away, the sickening wails of the trap’s victims only forcing his earlier lunch to spill out from his stomach. “I- I- I thought, I mean- You weren’t in there!” Adrian exclaims, stuttering over his explanation as Lou pushes past him, nearly knocking him to the ground as he dashes into the centre of the chaos.
“What do we do!?” Marta calls out, her father’s voice the first to speak up. “Okay! We- we get a-” Adrian begins, his daughter’s loud yell stopping him from continuing his thought. “Not you!” Marta angrily screams in her father’s face, eyes setting upon the young man in the middle, “Lou, what do we do!?”
The face of the man at his feet unfamiliar, a stifled wave of relief courses through Lou’s veins, the persistent screams of agony returning him to the situation’s gravity. “We’re gonna have dipshit over here to unlock the cage his dumbass set up!” Lou shouts, locking eyes with Adrian, the man still struggling for a response. “I don’t- I don’t-” Adrian stutters again, his reluctance bringing a wide-eyed look over Lou’s face.
“You don’t have a fucking key, do you?” Lou growls from the deepest pits of his core, the dreadful expression on Adrian’s face, giving him the answer. “FUCK!” Lou shouts, brought to the verge of firing a bullet in Adrian’s head, though aware enough to look for more fruitful alternatives. “Well, thank your heroic douchebag of a strong man for running through the same routine as before!” Lou eagerly shouts, “bandages, ice, and a big-fucking-knife!”
Racing off to follow through with instructions, Marta and Courtney sprint back to the house, the background sounds of pain-ridden screaming drawing Lou’s face back toward Adrian. Without a word, Lou simply snarls at the man, who stares at him with distraught, almost incoherent mumblings beneath his breath.
== RISE and REVOLT ==