“We should be a few hundred feet out from the house” Lou remarks, the second end of the rope restraining Adrian tied around Lou’s own waist. “How far is that in kilometres?” Marta responds, setting her increasing nerves aside as to appear confident, her eyes turning with the rest of her head toward Lou. “Uh, a few- I think?” Lou responds, uncharacteristically uncertain, the look he gives Marta proving this.
“We’re about a hundred metres out” Adrian replies, walking at the front of the group, his hands tied around his back. “I don’t know your weird systems of measurement” Lou mumbles, setting the conversation down as if it were an expensive toy. Overcome by silence, the group walks another few metres before Adrian’s voice inevitably reemerges from the frozen air.
“I can’t go back to the group, Lou” Adrian mutters, unable to find the one-armed man when looking over his shoulder, the unwavering refusal to care still carried like a badge on Lou’s chest. “You have to answer for what you did” Lou responds, his tone stolid, commiseration not held for Marta’s father, “however your group chose to do that, you brought it amongst yourself.”
“No, you brought it upon me!” Adrian replies, his voice not raising to a yell, but rather holding a vitriolic force, “you put that gun in my hand, and you told me to shoot!” Planting his feet, Lou jolts his body backwards, the rope around his waist yanking Adrian toward the ground, where he lay helplessly in the snow. “Lou!” Marta exclaims, her worries calmed by her mentor’s hand, extended toward her as to request her worry be set aside.
His rebar pipe falling from the small of his shoulder, Lou dangles a sharpened edge right at Adrian’s throat, his eyes staring into those of the man below him. “I’m not sure what it will take you to see that this world isn’t kind to the weak, but I really don’t care” Lou explains, gently pressing the point against Adrian’s throat, “but the world is full of sick people and little help, that same kind of help that allows me to threaten puncturing you with my rebar pipe to no consequence.”
His point proven swiftly, Lou steps away, returning to Marta’s side as the older man brings himself to two feet, carrying on with their collective journey. “Is there anything you care about?” Adrian calls back, another few seconds of quiet interrupted by his voice. “I care about finding my friends” Lou responds, his pipe tucked beneath his arm, “and I’ve been saying that since the first day you met me.”
Wincing, Adrian’s rosy cheeks rise with his squinted eyes, his head tilting from one side to the other. “They’re going to kill me” Adrian whispers to himself, subdued by nature, but loud enough for the company that tails him to overhear. “Sebastian wouldn’t do that” Marta replies, her father’s lack of confidence in her remarks prevailing. “He wanted me to muder a man in cold blood” Adrian responds, snarling as his head turns over his shoulder, “I don’t know what to expect from him anymore.”
“Silvano isn’t dead because Sebastian made you take responsibility for your actions, he’s dead because you fired a shotgun at his head” Lou replies, the words silencing the older man, “that’s not on any of us.” Quivering, Adrian looks beyond the trees, the cabin finally entering view, his anxiety spiking. “You can’t do this to me!” Adrian pleas, unable to keep the few remaining strands of his composure intact, “Marta needs her father!”
“Marta’s going to be just fine” Lou responds, his calm voice unchanged from the moment they left Lee’s camp. The sunset’s glare bouncing off the glass front doors ahead, Adrian senses time tick away rapidly, his bones shaking as an assortment of figures emerge from the home’s warmth. “Marta” Adrian whispers, teeth clattering together, “look away.”
“You motherfucker!” Sebastian grunts, an anger coursing through him the likes no one in the group had been familiar with. “Look after Marta for me, please!” Adrian shouts as Sebastian hurries at him, running through the snow with overwhelming rage. “Don’t do this he-!” Adrian pleads, Sebastian’s fist slamming into the side of his face before the thought can be finished.
Unfastening the rope from around his waist, Lou hands Adrian’s restraints to the cabin’s owner, veins popping from Sebastian’s neck as he wraps the thick threads around Adrian’s throat. “Please don’t hurt him!” Marta pleads, her arm grabbed by Lou as she steps forward, keeping her from interfering. “Whatever this is, it has to happen” Lou whispers, the young woman looking back to her father, reluctantly staying by Lou’s side.
“What are you doing with him, Sebastian!?” Rudy calls out, following the trail Adrian leaves behind, dragged with the noose in Sebastian’s grasp. “Stay back, Rudy!” Sebastian warns, easily overcoming the struggle put on by the rope’s prisoner. “Seb’, please!” Adrian groans, his lungs barely graced by the presence of oxygen as his back dampens, soaked by the snow on his way to the storage unit’s entrance.
Suddenly ripped to his feet, Adrian hands are released from the knot coupling them together, his chest immediately forced to the warehouse’s concrete floor. Rolling onto his back, Adrian stares at the freezer’s door, Sebastian’s figure blocking the small amount of sunshine pouring in from the heavens. “I should’ve listened to Lou sooner, and I can admit that- but you can’t yet” Sebastian explains, his fingers wrapping around the door’s handle.
“Sebastian, please” Adrian pleads, his throat burned and marked, voice raspy and frail. “I only decided to keep you alive because Marta needs her father” Sebastian explains, beginning to close the door on Silvano’s killer, “but I’ll make sure her father isn’t the same coming out of this freezer as he was entering it.” Leaping to his feet, Adrian races to beat the closing door, his chest slamming into the metal finish as the door locks.
= 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 =
“Welcome to your new room” Sebastian greets, his welcoming tone returned as he guides Lou toward Adrian’s room. “I see you’ve thought the warehouse jail through enough to move my things in” Lou jokes, entering the room to find his two bags left atop the bed, “but I do struggle to see where you plan on this ending.”
His eyes pulling away, Sebastian’s glance toward the floor dawns a realization upon the new house-dweller. “By the looks of your face, I guess that makes two of us” Lou finishes, turning toward his belongings. “I wanted him alive for Marta” Sebastian replies, a long, green sweater worn, it’s sleeves barely reaching his hands, “if it weren’t for her, I would’ve told you to do whatever you thought was best.”
Nodding, Lou lets one bag loosely fall to the ground, resting just beside his nightstand. “Why would you have trusted my decision?” Lou responds, curiously inspecting the second bag, its pouch flipping upwards to reveal the contents inside. “Because I didn’t want to make one myself” Sebastian replies, speaking to Lou’s back as his attention is kept with his belongings, “I trusted both you and Courtney to make a better decision than me. To be a better leader than me.”
Removing his class photo and a few shirts, Lou rummages through his own bag whilst Sebastian speaks. “I don’t want to be your leader” Lou responds sternly, a desire already voiced plenty. “I know you didn’t, which is why I chose not to put the choice in your hands” Sebastian replies, Lou’s back still turned toward him, “and Courtney refused to make it, so I knew the choice was mine. It had to be at that point.”
“Good, now get used to-” Lou responds, his preoccupation turning into rapid realisation, his eyes widening as they fall upon a pocket near the back of his bag. Sliding his map from the canvas slot, Lou’s face turns into a muted disdain, his breathing growing steady. “Who went through my shit?” Lou inquires, looking toward the window in the back of the room as he raises the question.
“I did” Sebastian replies, answering with confidence despite the angry reflexion in Lou’s voice. “Why would you do that?” Lou responds, turning around with glaring eyes, his face scrunched up. “Because I’ve started to realise some things now that I’ve become familiar with the world around me” Sebastian replies, tucking his hands into the pockets on either side of his pants, “and one of those things I’ve noticed is, despite the interactions we’ve had, I don’t know who you are.”
“I’ve hidden nothing from any of you” Lou quickly responds, the speed of his response matched by the rapidity of Sebastian’s retort. “And yet, you’ve said so little that I know nothing about you- other than you’re young, you’ve seen this world first hand, and you’ve had your struggles to get here” Sebastian returns, leaning his body against the doorframe beside himself, “that is, until I went through your bags.”
His lip curled, a shadow is cast upon one side of Lou’s face, the other revealing a disgusted expression beneath the caliginous light in the bedroom’s corner. “Have you found what you were looking for, then?” Lou wonders aloud, closing the distance between Sebastian and himself as he steps closer, “the life I once had? The beach I washed ashore on? The people I’m looking for? Was it all you could have ever dreamed to find?”
A mocking voice given to Sebastian, Lou waits for his answer, staring the man in the eyes as seconds pass. “I see how you made it this far, yes” Sebastian replies, the curious phrasing peaking Lou’s interest, “I’m assuming those people, the ones without the marks over their pictures, are the people you’re looking for.”
Grimacing, Lou controls the frustration coursing through his body, mustering the will to remain silent. “Not having them here gives you something to fight for- or in this case, people to fight for” Sebastian explains, a sad emotion emerging in his speech, “as long as they’re out there, and you hold onto the hope that you’ll be reunited with them, you’ll always have a reason to keep living- to keep fighting.”
His burning exasperation quashed in favour of a sombre despondency, Lou stares into Sebastian’s fallen eyes, the dread in his face visible. “I hope you find your friends, but not before you find something else to live for” Sebastian explains, returning his sight to the young man stood before him, bathed in a hushed orange glow, “the hard part comes when there’s nothing left to keep moving for.”
Nothing left to say, Lou allows Sebastian to pull back into the hallway, a feigned smile coming over his face again. “Goodnight, Lou” Sebastian whispers, leaving the young man to himself as he enters into the dark corridor beyond.
“I hope you’re making the right choice” Rudy mutters, approaching his eldest daughter with a warm mug of cocoa, her seat taken near the patio doors, watching the snowflakes fall through the cold glass. “About Adrian, or choosing to consume this cocoa?” Courtney responds, graciously accepting the warm beverage with a smile, her father sinking into a beanbag chair beside her.
“About trusting Sebastian” Rudy replies, his hand held up, signalling his refusal to pick an argument, “I’m not here out of malice.” Her reluctance falling aside, Courtney rests back into her chair, waiting for her father to speak. “I’ve been worried about him since last night” Rudy explains, speaking softly as his lips touch the mug’s marshmallow-covered brim, “he hasn’t seemed like himself since then.”
Gently blowing on the beverage, Courtney responds with confidence. “He finally realises what’s waiting for us beyond this cabin” Courtney replies, finally pressing the mug to her lips, “I can’t fault him for not wanting to condone everyone’s complacency anymore.” Resting her mug on the floor, Courtney kicks her feet upon the radiator, her father’s voice calming her in spite of the conversation they add to.
“We all understand the world outside is dangerous, but we shouldn’t need to be constantly reminded of that” Rudy explains, his eyebrows narrowing, “since Lou’s come around, we’ve buried three people in the front yard, two of whom, were our friends.” Turning her head with squinted eyes, Courtney refutes her father’s claims.
“We aren’t being reminded of it, we’re being presented with it” Courtney responds, her right palm held over the mug, the steam that rises warming her hand. “You saw mom in her last moments, and you saw her when she came back. That’s going to happen to all of us” Courtney continues, her father’s silent shake of the head proving the denial she once confronted him about, “and it’s only a matter of time before something comes down on us, and this resort we’ve enjoyed comes crumbling down.”
“You can’t be thinking that way” Rudy replies, interrupted before he can finish the thought. “No, dad, you can’t keep thinking we’ll always be safe here” Courtney responds, her voice still low, but braved with her passion, “and if you keep looking at Lou, or Sebastian, or me with this thought that we’re being too pessimistic, and need to take it down a notch, you’re going to get yourself killed, and you’re going to get Sonya killed, and you’re going to make what I had to do pointless.”
Hanging his head, Rudy’s eyes fall upon his lap, the thoughts that run through his head pushed aside once his daughter gets up to leave. “You can’t be the big, loveable teddy bear you want to be, dad” Courtney says, departing with the mug in her hand, “so please, figure that out before I have to kill my father’s zombie, too.” Pain on his face, Rudy watches his daughter leave, suppressing himself from calling out for his daughter’s return.
His eyes peeling open, Lou groans through silent air, unsure of the ruckus sounds that had awoken him. “Lou, open up!” a young voice mutters from the other side of the door, their knuckles again trapping against his door. With a sigh, Lou throws the covers over himself and drags himself to the door, punching at the wooden frame multiple times before finally grasping the knob.
“Don’t you weird people still go to sleep at night?” Lou grunts, stepping aside to allow Marta entry. “Someone’s outside” Marta replies, disobeying the question in favour of her intended point, the minimal moonlight peering through what were once her father’s bedroom blinds displaying Lou’s increasingly concerned face. “What?” the young man responds, the base of his palms wiping the crumbs from his eyes, “why aren’t you telling Sebastian this?”
“Because he looks like your friend from earlier” Marta replies, pulling Lou’s arm toward the room’s window, their eyes taking to the snowy field, where Theo stands with his hands folded, alone and exposed to the elements.
“It’s good to see you again, Lou” Theo greets, his friend strolling around the home’s corner, dressed for the cold night. “That is not the greeting you give someone when you stalk them all the way home, Theo” Lou responds, throwing a puffy jacket over his shoulders, “I have too many goddamn questions.”
“Good, don’t ask any of them. I’m not here to answer questions, I’m here to give you a warning” Theo replies, straight-faced and assured, a gesture Lou finds strange. “You’re- what?” Lou responds, walking to his friend until they’re separated by mere inches. “I followed your footprints through the snow, that’s the only question I have time to answer” Theo explains, his rifle carried over his shoulder, “I must say, I was really hoping they wouldn’t lead to this side of the mountain.”
“Why were you following any of my-?” Lou begins to ask, stopping himself short as another question inches into his mind, “what’s wrong with this side of the mountain?” With a frown, Theo slowly reaches into his back pocket, where a folded paper is taken into his hands. “Of everyone that escaped the Euronam with Lee, one of those people was a meteorologist” Theo explains, handing Lou the folded paper, “her only job at the camp has been to predict storms and their aftermaths.”
Unfolding the note, Lou reads the various ramblings, descriptions and shapes written in various pen colours. “Storm hits at morning, increases in severity through afternoon, avalanche expected from-” Lou reads aloud, muttering just loud enough for Theo to make out the words spoken, “-from the western slope.”
“Your cabin is set up directly in the path of an avalanche she expects to hit tomorrow afternoon” Theo explains, speaking with dismal timbre, “she’s predicted dozens of these things to a tee- and she’s never been wrong.” Letting the paper fold itself, Lou extends the note back toward his friend’s reach. “I know you take your time before making decisions, so please don’t think this is a ploy to get you to join our camp” Theo explains, “if I could give you that time, I would- but I can’t.”
Returning the note to his pocket, Theo begins stepping away, retracing his steps backwards. “Lee and I pitched another tent down at the camp, and we invite you and everyone else in that cabin” Theo explains, a smooth hope held within his voice, “if you’re not there by the morning turns to noon, we’ll assume you’ve chosen to stay up here.”
Turning around, Theo ventures off, returning to the forest with his hands tucked in his pockets. “Make the right call, Lou!” Theo exclaims, his voice echoing through the dense forest, “you need to be alive if we’re going to find our friends.” Watching the man’s figure disappear into the darkness, Lou pulls himself back the way he came, returning to the home shaken.
“What did he want?” Marta inquires, her question raised the moment her one-armed pal steps through the cabin’s entrance. Taking his coat off in silence, Lou hangs it upon a rack and kicks his boots off, still yet to say a word. “Hey, Lou?” Marta whispers, her hand tugging at the man’s shoulder, “what did that guy want?”
His mouth agape, Lou stares at the dark home, the lights in the living room turned out for the evening. “Nothing” Lou replies, yet to look the woman in the eyes, “nothing worth getting into tonight.” Strolling off into the darkness, Lou leaves Marta behind as he returns to his room, the woman having picked up on his reluctance to talk.
Sat at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee in her hands, Courtney listens to footsteps emerge from a bedroom closeby, a cheap grin coming over her face. Her slippers tapping along the ground, Sonya marches upon the tiled floors, instinctively reaching for the refrigerators handle. “Why are you still awake?” Courtney calmly wonders, the light-deprived corner she sits in giving the question a horrifying centre.
“Motherfucker!” Sonya blurts out, slamming into the wall as she leaps back, startled by the sound hauntings are claimed from. Her own hand pressed against her chest, Sonya calms her breathing from the startle that had unnerved her. “Why would you do that?” Sonya responds, eyes pressed together, head tilted toward the sky. “I thought it would be funny” Courtney replies, another swig of warm espresso lifted toward her lips, “and it was, it really was funny.”
Letting out a groan, Sonya lets the fridge close behind her, walking over to a seat across the table from her older sister. “I could have had a gun” Sonya remarks, the laugh that Courtney responds with not the intended reaction. “What? I could’ve shot you!” Sonya reiterates, still not pulling Courtney from the humour she takes. ‘The day you learn how to fire a gun is the day water catches fire” Courtney responds, setting her cup down, “and even if you shot at me, you’d miss.”
Her feet set atop a nearby chair, Sonya lets Courtney poke her fun. “Go ahead and laugh it up, Sully” Sonya replies, her arms folding as the laughter dies down. “I don’t mean to laugh at you sis, it’s just- I-” Courtney stammers, the laughter falling aside as the humour begins to evade her, “-I shouldn’t laugh.”
Her peeved expression diminishing, Sonya’s curiosity kicks in. “What’s wrong?” Sonya inquires, seeing the disappointment that comes over her sister’s face. Shaking her head, Courtney tries to hide the worries that encompass her, the inevitable persistence her sister shows rendering the effort pointless.
“I’m not oblivious just because I’m tired and hungry, something’s up with you” Sonya explains, the glance Courtney takes in her direction proving that, “what’s going on?” With a sniffle, Courtney wraps her hands around the coffee mug, careful to choose her words properly. “I’m worried about you and dad” Courtney responds, the taciturnity Sonya shows allowing Courtney to finish her thought, “I’m afraid that, when things go wrong, and they will, I won’t be able to protect the two of you.”
Holding her head down, Sonya taps her foot on the ground, a concealed smirk appearing on her face. “Courtney, I’m almost twenty-two years old, not six- I know I should start accepting how the world works outside” Sonya explains, her furrowed eyebrows holding steady, “I know we won’t be able to depend on this cabin forever, I just can’t bring myself to jump into your world just yet. I don’t know how to live in your world, and I’m not ready to learn just yet.”
“You don’t really have a choice, Sonya” Courtney replies, the proclamation silencing her younger sister, “I mean, what would you do if everything we have disappeared tonight, or tomorrow, or the day after? What happens then?” Shaking her head, Sonya throws her hands up, admitting what Courtney fears. “I don’t know, Court’” Sonya responds, unable to keep herself from laughing, “I don’t know, and you already knew that.”
Her head falling into her arms, Courtney distances herself from the topic, returning her lips to the mug’s brim. “I’m sorry I can’t be as willing to stroll into this world, kill zombies all day, and move onto tomorrow like you can. It’s just not who I am” Sonya explains, her sister’s rebuttal cutting her short again. “It’s who you need to be” Courtney replies, her sister falling silent yet again, “you’re as good as dead in this world if you’re anything less.”
The air hushed, Sonya looks into her sister’s eyes again, shoulder rising with a shrug as she responds. “I guess I’m as good as dead, then” Sonya replies, letting the response sink in before climbing out of her seat, stepping through the kitchen’s arch, and returning to her room. Again left in the dark, Courtney sits with her thoughts, staring at the wall as the coffee warms her mouth, her feet kicked atop a chair as she remains in silence.
“You’re not asleep, right?” Rudy wonders aloud, peering his head through a crack in the door to Sebastian’s reading room. “No, but I might fall asleep if I read another page” Sebastian responds, his feet gently resting atop a cushioned stool, “-which is not to say the book isn’t fascinating, but is to say my eyes can’t take another goddamn page.”
With a chuckle, Rudy stands off to the side of the room, not wanting to make himself comfortable. “Is there something I can help you with?” Sebastian queries, his page folded at the corner, hard-cover closed as his coupled hands rest atop it. “I need you to be in charge of this group” Rudy replies, the air still, no sound more consistent than the two men’s breaths.
“I’m not sure what you mean by that” Sebastian responds, his reading glasses pulled gently from atop his face. “I’m telling you that I need you to be in charge of this group” Rudy replies, doubling down on the loose-ended statement, “I don’t mean be the cabin’s owner, I don’t mean choose what we have for dinner tonight, I mean- and I mean this nicely- grow a pair of balls and make the right decision when you need to.”
Left silent, Sebastian remains sat in his chair, looking up at Rudy for a few seconds before joining him in standing, a confident look on his face. “Why is this demand just now coming up?” Sebastian responds, hands falling into his pockets. “I’ve seen my daughter act like this before- like she’s a soldier having to check around every corner we pass” Rudy explains, his posture as statue-like as his expression is, “the last time- the only time I’ve seen it, was when we were fleeing Victoria.”
“And you think it’s because she wants to be the leader herself?” Sebastian incorrectly replies, Rudy’s eagerness to correct him presenting itself. “No, I think it’s because she believes in you, and you’re giving her a reason not to” Rudy responds, breathing heavily, “I don’t want Courtney thinking she has to look after her sister and I because no one else will. You’re in charge of this house, and you’ve chosen to look after us- so do that.”
“Alright, I will” Sebastian replies, not wasting a second in doing so, the unsatisfied expression on Rudy’s face suggesting this conversation isn’t over. “As for the kid, Lou- I’m sure he’s got his head screwed on well enough, but he’s not the leader of this group” Rudy explains, his eyes staring directly into Sebastian’s, “Even if I don’t like everything the kid does, I like the kid and I get why he does it. But I’m sure, just as you are, we’re not the people his heart belongs to.”
“If you’re going to keep grilling me until I get the point, why don’t you just take over?” Sebastian responds, his head tilted to the side, “or, better yet, let’s get Adrian at the helm, huh? See how he’d work out?” Nostrils flaring, Rudy brushes Sebastian’s question aside, returning to the original point. “I can keep my daughter from taking your spot up top, but there’s nothing I can do to stop the kid” Rudy explains, “I don’t want my daughters having to bury their father- or each other.”
“You want me to be a leader? Fine- get the fuck out of my room” Sebastian replies, leaning forward to match Rudy’s confrontation, “I get the message, loud and clear, now leave.” Accomplished in what he entered with the purpose of doing, Rudy walks away, leaving the way he entered whilst Sebastian stays behind, watching him walk off. Presented with his choices, Sebastian takes his hand to the reading lamp and turns its knob, entrenching himself in midnight’s embrace.
== RISE and REVOLT ==