Stepping out from his bedroom, Sebastian walks the halls cloaked in his morning robe, an unaltered expression from what he usually starts his mornings wearing. “Good morning” Sebastian salaams as he steps into the kitchen, a succinct incredulity at the vacant room he wanders into. His eyes curiously gazing around the room, Sebastian takes note of the lonely sector he’s introduced his presence to, the walls a husk of the life they once always hosted.
The unusual desolation off-putting, Sebastian guides himself back toward the direction he entered, stepping into the equally-tenantless living room, where he finds the body from the night before still laid upon his rug, dead from the bullet Lou had callously fired through its skull. Quelling the sick feeling that boils within his core, Sebastian takes a stride across the room, paying no mind to the corpse on his floor.
The closer he comes to the bedrooms a cabin’s length away, faint voices begin to catch his ear, their fledgling conversation seeming to bring tension upon those taking part. “He’s trying to leave” a feminine voice declares from behind Sebastian, his body spinning with the rest of his head. Stood in the corner of the hallway, her back pressed against the wall, Courtney crosses her arms as she looks at the floor.
“Adrian’s trying to leave” Courtney repeats, adding context through a dissatisfied voice, her tone lone, “he doesn’t think it’s safe here anymore.” Furrowing his eyebrows, Sebastian looks back at the one bedroom door that remains open, the sunlight peering through its windows spilling into the halls. Without a word, Sebastian takes off from his stand, approaching the conversation’s source as Courtney follows, comforted by the presence of a similar mindset.
“My daughter and I are not staying here!” Adrian exclaims, the veins in his head running trails through his skin, the man’s hands shakily fumbling over a set of suitcases. “Where are you going to go, Adrian?” Rudy asks through a calm voice, the only survivor whose voice refuses to lift. “I told you, my brother-in-law has a cottage on Swartz Bay” Adrian replies, hastily running a zipper over the clothes-stuffed bag, “I’ll teach Marta to fish and hunt, and we’ll wait this chaos out there.”
“You’ve got to climb the mountains down to, and through, Victoria to get there” Silvano responds, his hand resting against the man’s bedframe. “Exactly!” Sonya bellows, desperate to speak sense into a man unwilling to accept it, “and Lou’s already told that the city is overr-”
“I don’t give a FUCK about what LOU SAID!” Adrian snaps, his eyes practically bulging out from his skull. “You should” Sebastian interrupts, stepping through the open door with a blank expression, no fear of hassle in his complexion, the group parting amidst his arrival. “Who the fuck are you to tell me what I should do!?” Adrian exclaims, his frustration with the other survivors simmering, it’s concentration setting upon Sebastian, “I trusted you to keep my family safe!”
“That’s what I’m trying to do, Adrian!” Sebastian emphatically replies, his voice rising out of necessity as opposed to anger, presenting a strong perseverance. “Bullshit! That’s fucking bullshit!” Adrian exclaims, knocking his luggage aside as he steps into Sebastian’s face, “you took the side of a murderer instead of me! You told me to murder a kid in cold fucking blood!”
“I told you to do what was necessary!” Sebastian responds, his commanding voice proving louder than Adrian’s anger-induced shouts. “You told me to stoop down to Lou’s level!” Adrian retorts, both men beginning to speak over each other. “You couldn’t clean up the mess you made!” Sebastian proclaims, his declaration silencing the rage-infused Adrian, whose closed mouth forces the anger to remain at bay, boiling past his breaking point, “you won’t last a day out in the real world!”
Sliding to the floor, Adrian pries Sebastian’s stolen shotgun from beneath his bed, taking the barrel toward Sebastian’s chest. “I’ll do whatever I have need if it means protecting my daughter!” Adrian proclaims, his display now forcing his own silence upon Sebastian, who takes one step back with his hands raised into the air, “I’ll protect my daughter from the world, I’ll protect her from Lou, and I’ll protect her from you.”
“Adrian, put the fucking gun down!” Courtney orders, stood to the side with the rest of the group. “Don’t tell me what to do!” Adrian shouts, instinctively pulling the gun away from his original target, its barrel now taken to Rudy’s eldest daughter. Sensing his opportunity, Sebastian throws his hands out at the shotgun, pushing it away from the woman with failed hopes of disarming the deluded gunman.
The redirected shell obliterating his skull into fragments, Silvano slams into the newly-bloodstained wall and slides to the ground, his brains blow into chunks, a trail of blood left sliding toward the ground where his body lay. Devolving into chilling screams of fear, the group leap away from their unrecognizable friend, unable to contain their immeasurable awe.
His heart sinking, Sebastian stares at the young man’s body for a few short, yet eternal seconds, his mind struggling to process what he’d just witnessed. Well before events can be properly understood as axiomatic, the group’s gunman dashes for the room’s exit, leaving his luggage and murder weapon behind. “Adrian!” Sebastian shouts, lifting himself from the ground the moment his friend’s feet hurry before his eyes, taking off without a word.
“Adrian! Stop!” Sebastian pleads, tailing Adrian through the home and out the front door, the distraught killer racing into the wilderness empty handed. “Adrian!” Sebastian exclaims, following the snowprints until they begin merging with others. “Adrian! Come back!” Sebastian exclaims again, no longer holding the man’s sight close. Losing the strength to continue running, Sebastian jogs for a few extra metres before falling to his knees, surrounded by desolate forest.
Gasping for air, Sebastian listens for footsteps that never emerge, the silent air leaving him with his thoughts. The events having transpired just now setting in, Sebastian begins to weep amongst the winter chill, tears leaving his eyes while he stares at the cloudy sky.
= 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 =
“Can I ask you a personal question?” Marta wonders, her beige bottoms tucked into the cuffs of grey winter boots. “That seems to be all you’ve done today” Lou replies, his rebar pipe tucked at his armpit, his outstretched hand reaching out for every tree he passes, “I don’t see why any of these questions are important.” Her hands dressed in gloves, head covered with a wool cap, and puffy brown sweater covered with a red winter coat, Marta smiles.
“If they’re not important, there shouldn’t be a problem with answering them” Marta responds, her eyes set on the snow beneath her each step. “You have a point” Lou replies, his ease of conceding a pleasant surprise to the woman that trails him. “If you have a prosthetic, why don’t you ever wear it?” Marta wonders aloud, her feet stepping in each of Lou’s comparably larger footprints, “it seems counter-intuitive to me.”
His head shaking, Lou continues his relentless hike, never once pausing for a breath. “I don’t wear my prosthetic unless the situation deserves it” Lou responds, squinting off at the distance, his rifle at a moment’s reach, “prosthetics can break. But, unlike arms, if a prosthetic breaks, I can’t wrap it in a cast and fix it.”
“So, you’re saying the prosthetic is more symbolic to you than beneficial?” Marta replies in a puzzled way. “Not necessarily. I don’t use it unless the situation deserves it, or the people I’m using it for deserve it” Lou responds, biting into his bottom lip, “I’m sure using it would benefit me. But if the day comes that it breaks, and I’ve grown to depend on it to survive, I don’t want the ability I have of using one arm to deteriorate.”
“Oh, I get it” Marta replies, finally following Lou atop reasonably solid, flat ground, “it’s like learning to fend yourself, then depending on someone for long enough that taking care of yourself becomes more difficult than it used to be.” A smirk coming over him, Lou gives the woman a gracious nod. “Yeah, pretty much” Lou responds, visibly impressed.
“Do you have any questions for me?” Marta waits a short while before asking, a drawn look of curiosity coming over Lou. “Not exactly” the young man replies, the tone he answers with doing little to convince the woman behind him. “You didn’t sound confident in that answer” Marta points out, proving not to be someone eager to let the obvious go unstated.
“Some things you and your friends do confuse me, but I don’t bother with asking” Lou responds, looking at Marta over his shoulder, “it’s safer to make my own assumptions.” Her eyes pointed at Lou whilst her head bows, Marta challenges the man’s thought. “It’s just you and I out here” Marta quips, continuing to drag her feet through the footprints left in Lou’s wake, “you don’t need assumptions when you can have answers at no extra cost.”
“I don’t need answers, Marta” Lou replies, his voice unchanged from the start of the conversation, his pace kept steady through his travels, “answers are dangerous.” Her eyes squinting, Marta persists with her challenge, her voice slowly becoming more enthusiastic. “Why is anything that draws you closer to my family and I automatically dangerous?” Marta wonders aloud, the tenacious interest beginning to wear on the man.
“You answered your own question” Lou responds, still yet to slow, “anything that draws me closer to you and your group is dangerous by default.” The first to break stride, Marta plants her feet in the snow, the man ahead taking a few extra steps before noticing the lack of Marta’s company. “Does that include me?” Marta finally asks aloud, Lou’s walk stopping for the first time since sunrise, his eyes turning back.
“I know you talk a lot about finding your people, but you’ve done very little to find them” Marta explains, almost worried to say what’s on her mind, “I know you said you didn’t want to get attached, but I can’t help but wonder if a small part of you already has.” His nostrils, red from the cold and beginning to flare, Lou turns fully toward Marta, the woman’s face holding a noticeable worry.
“I haven’t gotten attached” Lou replies, his head shaking, a snarl coming over his lip, “I’ve cooped up in that freezer waiting for my friends to come to me!” Not wasting a moment, Marta counters Lou’s statement. “The answer to that question is a big, fat ‘no’ in the form of a corpse on Sebastian’s floor” Marta responds, the enthusiasm in her voice replaced with a rigid, confident pitch, “but you’re still here, so you’re not exactly coherent in the signals you’re sending.”
“I am not growing attached!” Lou abruptly squalls, throwing his hand at the ground in a burst of emotion. The air calm, Lou locks eyes with Marta, reading the expression on her face that refuses to concede defeat. “You’ve been the voice of reason to me, to my family, and to my friends since we met you. Since then, the only person you haven’t been honest with is yourself” Marta explains, stepping up to the man’s hostile frame, his eyes turning docile in her approach.
“If you can’t be honest with yourself, I’ll be honest for you” Marta explains, her hand wrapping around Lou’s own, her second hand resting on the side of his face as she whispers, “you’re probably never going to find your friends, Lou.” Pulling his head back slowly, Lou feels the woman’s hand guide him back, pulling his face into her own as their lips lock, a kiss shared between the young survivors for the seconds it takes Lou to pull away.
“I can’t- I won’t, Marta” Lou refuses, taking his hand from the woman’s touch, his head shaking. “I’ll find my friends or I’ll die trying” Lou vows, pulling a breath of air into his lungs as his witts return to him, “that’s the promise I made myself, and I’m not going back on it now.” Creating space between Marta and himself, Lou remains quiet, thinking to himself as static engulfs the air, the radio atop his prosthetic case buzzing.
“Lou!?” Sebastian’s voice beckons, his frantic voice apparent, “Lou, please answer. It’s an emergency.” Reaching behind his back, Lou takes the radio into his possession, half-heartedly begging for a reason to depart his conversation with Marta. “You sound like a schizo patient, Sebastian” Lou replies, the composure in his voice returning, “what’s going on?”
“What the fuck are we gonna do?” Courtney murmurs, the quiver in her voice bringing a tear to Sebastian’s eye. “I don’t know yet” Sebastian responds, throwing a white t-shirt over his pale chest, his radio sat beside him, “I’m not even sure I’ve processed it yet.” A deep sigh leaving her, Courtney sets herself down on Sebastian’s bed, her hands pushing into the soft mattress she sits upon.
Remaining silent, Courtney listens to faint swirling of wind just beyond the bedroom window, its whispers humming gently to her. “If I hadn’t grabbed the gun-” Sebastian mumbles beneath his breath, Courtney’s eyes snapping at the man before he can finish his thought. “Had you not grabbed the gun, I would be dead” Courtney interrupts, Sebastian’s head falling to the ground, the shame overwhelming him, “one way or another, someone was going to die, and that’s Adrian’s fault.”
On the verge of tears, Sebastian’s head shakes, rejecting Courtney’s retort. “I could have talked him off a ledge, I- I could have said something different” Sebastian babbles, his cheeks a rosey red, “I should have said something different, but I just went off.” Pushing herself from the bed, Courtney walks around it’s end and kneels before the older man, his soul crestfallen.
“It doesn’t matter what you did, or what you said, or what you were thinking” Courtney reasons, her hands falling over Sebastian’s, “Adrian chose to pick up that gun, regardless of why he did it. He made that decision, and Silvano is dead because of it.” A pain growing in his stomach, Sebastian slumps over, his head leading his torso forward, forehead coming to a rest on Courtney’s shoulder.
“Everything’s gone wrong” Sebastian weeps, his sobs staining the shoulder of Courtney’s shirt, “everything’s gone wrong and I can’t fix it.” Tucking her chin into the small of the man’s neck, Courtney frees her hands from Sebastian’s hold, her arms wrapping around his neck to hold him close. “This is what needed to happen, Sebastian” Courtney whispers, tears of her own falling from wet eyes, “the way we’ve been living isn’t feasible anymore.”
Muffling his sobs, Sebastian nods into the woman’s arm, gingerly returning the woman’s embrace, his arms limply wrapping around Courtney’s upper back. “I didn’t expect to lose it this quickly” Sebastian mutters, holding his emotions back to form coherent thought, “I thought we’d have more time.”
Moving one hand from Sebastian’s neck to the back of his head, Courtney pulls Sebastian’s face closer. “I thought so, too” Courtney whispers back, the side of her head pressing against a guilt-ridden Sebastian, “I thought so, too.”
“Does he go anywhere during the day? Just, maybe, disappear for an hour or two?” Lou questions, he and his protege walking their path quicker than before. “Lou, I’ve never seen him leave the house” Marta replies, keeping her composure despite her voice emerging frail. Finding flat ground, Lou’s rush slows as he nears a tree, a bright orange band wrapped around it’s thick trunk.
“Alright, Marta. For the last few days, whenever I’d go on a hunt, I’d wrap these orange bands along my trails” Lou explains, black sharpie written along their length, “if your dad’s found one of these, there’s a good chance he’d start following them once the cold set in.”
“Do they lead back to the house?” Marta responds, her frigid breaths emerging rapidly. “They lead back to that village Sebastian found me in. They’ve all got my name on them” Lou explains, sliding his hand into his pocket, “it’s a long shot, but I’m sure there’s nothing else your dad would have followed instead.”
Closing her mouth, Marta stares blankly into the distance, her teeth clattering together not from the cold, but from fear. “Sebastian told me not to kill your dad, and I don’t anticipate on going against Sebastian’s request” Lou explains, gently resting his hand on Marta’s shoulder, “but if I’m going to convince him to come back to that house, there’s no way I do it without you by my side, alright?”
Trying to nod, Marta’s head bobs in each direction, her best effort given to keeping herself composed. Understanding the woman’s conflictions, Lou guides Marta to the ground, kneeling beside the tree he sits her against. “I know all of this is a lot to ask you to digest in such a short amount of time, but you need to see that this is normal” Lou explains, the woman’s eyes holding steadily upon his own, “like you said, I’ll probably never see my friends again. That hasn’t stopped me from trying.”
Shaking the half-frozen cantina of water in his knapsack, Lou extends the drink to his pupil. “The point isn’t that I’m trying to escape you, or your father, or your group- it’s that I haven’t given up on mine” Lou states, allowing himself to be open, “even though the odds aren’t in my favour, I’ve never held back that small, almost pointless shred of hope- and neither should you.”
Gently reclaiming the cantina, Lou’s voice softens, a near-smile breaking through his chapped lips. “What your father did will take time to repair, a lot of time, I’d imagine” Lou concludes, finding the glimmer of faith he’d looked to see return, “but, in due time, wounds will heal and balance will come back- you just need to keep yourself going until then.”
Mustering the strength to return the nod she intended on giving, Marta takes the hand Lou extends toward her, lifting her to solid ground.
“I don’t like the look of this” Courtney spouts, her younger sister sat beside Rudy, who retains possession of Sebastian’s stolen shotgun. “We’re gonna kill him” Rudy replies, his declaration made the moment Courtney’s own finishes. “No, you’re not” Courtney responds, the answer prompting her father’s head to shake. “The man tried to kill you, and had it not been for Se-” Rudy retorts, his daughter’s interruption stifling his anger-bound statement.
“He didn’t kill me and that is what matters” Courtney replies, a wave of heat rolling over her face as she enters the room, “and doing the same as Adrian makes you no better than him, if not, it makes you worse.” A slightly astonished look on his face, Rudy opens his mouth to speak, his daughter interrupting him before he has the chance to speak this time.
“I don’t care what feelings you have of Adrian. Sebastian wants him brought back alive, and that is all that matters” Courtney explains, her voice lacking the comfort she commonly speaks to family with. “He can be brought back alive all he wants, Court’” Rudy responds, leaving his chair to approach her, “but he won’t make it through the night alive.”
Beginning to walk past his daughter, Rudy’s chest feels his daughter’s hand push against it, holding him back from exiting. “Dad, I’m a paramotorist- are you aware of how quickly I can strap a fan to my back and fly off into the night?” Courtney asks, her right eyebrow arched as she looks her dad in the face, “because I’ve counted. I can have that fan, and a parachute, and a sack full of gas on me in less than three minutes.”
“What are you trying to tell me?” Rudy responds, his own dissatisfied expression worn, the tone as one would expect from a father being threatened by their eldest born. “I’m telling you that if you harm one hair on Adrian’s body, I’ll take my paramotor to Saskatchewan again” Courtney replies, looking her father in the face, the man taken back by her claim, “but this time, and I mean this from the bottom of my heart, I won’t come back.”
“Why are you defending Adrian?” Sonya barks from further in the room, her sister’s eyes drawing toward her, “he murdered Silvano.” Lightly guiding her father back into the room, Courtney steps to her right, refusing to let either member of her family leave. “I don’t care what he did. Sebastian wants Adrian alive, and I have hope Sebastian will do the right thing” Courtney responds, already sensing reluctance.
“Why do you have that hope!?” Rudy barks, his frustration taking his voice to a yell, “why do you have more faith in Sebastian to do the right thing than your own blood!?” Her teeth clenched, Courtney lets her father finish his question, already prepared to shout the answer before Rudy’s inquiry can finish. “Because he came around, unlike you idiots!” Courtney snaps back, meeting her father’s tone with equal resonance, “he’s making an effort to prepare for what’s to come!”
Staring at Courtney angrily, Rudy lets his daughter continue, flustered by her remarks. “My father hands around the house all day playing chef with the groceries he wouldn’t have if not for me flying out to get them!” Courtney bellows, her hands flailing in every direction, “and while he does that, my sister plays doctor and refuses to acknowledge, even for one second, that the world is a fucking hazard in every fucking direction, so she can pretend everything’s fine!”
Speechless, Rudy’s anger dissipates whilst Sonya’s confusion strengthens. Her lips puckered, Courtney holds her tongue until she no longer can, her head shaking until her declaration breaks free. “I had to kill my own fucking mother for the two of you!” Courtney screams, protruding veins running like rivers down her arms, “so stop pretending our lives are coming back! I killed her to save our lives, so stop trying to get yourselves killed living in fucking denial!”
His mouth closing for the first time since his daughter entered the room, Rudy stands beside Sonya, watching the tears run down Courtney’s face as she approaches him, her voice lowered to a growl. “Give me the fucking gun” Courtney gnars, stretching her right hand toward her father, refusing to look him in the eyes. With his free hand, Rudy reaches to lift his daughter’s chin, only for Courtney to pull her face back at the last second.
Her breathing heavy, Courtney keeps herself distant, waiting for the man to place the weapon into her hands. Relenting, Rudy hands the shotgun to his daughter, letting her leave without another word, Courtney left to disappear into the home to the sound of silence.
“Dad!?” Marta exclaims, her nerves cooled and her heart settled, the cloudy skies giving the air the grey, sick aura it deserves. “Adrian!?” Lou exclaims, his rifle carried in hand as he leads the young woman through the dense forest. His hand held out, Lou reaches into his pocket again, turning to face Marta. “I wanted to give you this earlier, but I forgot about it” Lou explains, digging through his pants to retrieve a switchblade.
“I knew we were having to up our pace, so if we ran into the dead, I wanted you to have something to rely on other than me” Lou explains, tucking the knife into Marta’s hand, “use it wisely- and only when you need to.” Forgetting about her father and the situation that surrounds for only a moment, Marta’s lips curl into a smile, Lou’s trust in her letting everything bad disappear for only a moment.
“Alright, let’s move” Lou exclaims, eagerly turning back to the trail. “Adrian!” Lou exclaims, sharing Marta’s efforts in contacting her father for a few more metres. “Get down, get down!” Lou grunts, turning around again, this time to sit Marta behind a tree. His finger pressed to his lips, Lou drops his voice to a whisper, his knees sinking into the snow beneath him.
“I hear someone” Lou whispers, the sneaky steps not encouraging him, the instincts he carries urging caution. “Well, it has to be my dad!” Marta whispers, Lou’s emphatic refusal answering her. “No, I can’t figure out why, but it is not your dad” Lou says in a hush, letting his rifle and prosthetic fall into Marta’s lap, “you stay here, and don’t move unless I tell you to.”
Begrudgingly accepting of Lou’s orders, Marta shovels snow over her lap and lies flat, letting her mentor take control. Making no effort to silence the crunching of snow beneath his boot, Lou journeys through the forest, his eyes dashing from one side to another as his rebar pipe drops into his clutches. “Whoever you are, I know you’re not who I’m looking for” Lou proclaims, the air snapping at the rebar, which Lou spins across his body like a bo staff.
“I also know I’m not looking for anything other than one man in particular” Lou proclaims, his ears catching the sound of rubber shoes skidding across wet rock just to his side. “Unless your name is Adrian, I want nothing to do with you” Lou explains, his beard covered in ice, “so, if you’re willing to leave me alone, I’m more than happy to do the same for you.”
Readjusting course, Lou steps toward the skid, his voice remaining calm, a confidence unmatched by any other. “If you do choose to attack, much like I fear you will, I won’t hold back” Lou explains, taking a glance behind every tree he passes, “if you’re not lucky, or you don’t have the balls to finish the job you start, attacking me will ensure that you die tonight.”
A barely noticeable crunch of snow coming from a tree just a few metres away, Lou’s eyes are taken to his destination, the rebar pipe in his hands locking onto whatever resides within its cover. Aware of his discovery, the clean-shaven gunman behind the tree stump emerges from his cover, a rifle held in Lou’s direction. “Drop the-!” the masculine, powerfully familiar voice orders to Lou, his eyes widened and voice retreating.
Holding onto a gasp, Lou steadies his pipe, holding it at the throat of a man distinguishable for miles. “Oh my god” the gunman mutters beneath his breath, overwhelmed with astonishment, “Lou?” Letting go of his gasp, the one-armed survivor lets his pipe fall to his side, a smile breaking through his confused expression. “I- I- Wha?” Lou mumbles, jolting his head forward as if convinced he were dreaming.
With a laugh, Theo’s gun lowers to his lap, joining his friend in self-disarmament. “It’s good to see you, old friend” Theo laughs, throwing himself into Lou’s arm for a hug, an embrace Lou is more than willing to meet. Holding back a tear, Lou gently pats his good friend on the back, unable to hold his smile back any longer, “it’s good to see you, too.”
== RISE and REVOLT ==