Sequel: Their Rebellion

When the Sun Goes Down


Noah was entering Georgia at a fairly decent speed. The van was quiet throughout the long ride, due to the fact that Mama was becoming much worse. I gently pushed her hair from her eye's and sighed quietly. Her eyes had gotten much heavier and within a few hours time, had formed large, dark bags under her eyes. She leaned back into the side of the van and tried to catch her labored breath. They came in short, quick bursts.

I choked slightly on my own breath as I ran a hand down her forearm. A heavy hand was placed on my shoulder, but I never turned around. Mama reached down and laced her fingers in my own before giving me another warm, heart felt smile. I only gave it back, but we both knew I didn't mean it as much as I wanted to. Mama knew she was dying; we all knew she was dying. She was trying to keep the best moments as much as she could.

Abby's quiet whimpers filtered into the air, which forced Mama to turn in her direction. Quietly, she breathed out, "Abby, sweetheart, it's, okay."

I had nearly run out of tears. I was so upset, yet I couldn't find the strength to cry anymore. Mama seemed so out of breath and restless. It was as if she had been running on fumes for months. I let my gaze flicker to her shoulder, where her bite was hidden against the wall of the van. I looked down at her and asked, "Does it hurt, Mama?"

"No."She whispered sweetly."Nothin' hurts, Adrienne."

"That's good, Mama."I sobbed.

"Don't cry, darlin'."She squeezed my hand tightly and gave me a smile."S'alright."

I nodded my head vigorously as the van slowly came to a stop. Murphy looked up at Noah and asked, "Everythin' alright, Da?"

Noah removed the hat on top of his head before turning to look back at us. The sun was beginning to go down; the back was dimly lit with the pale rays of sunlight we had left. He gave us no sense of happiness and held back all emotion in his face. Quietly, he said, "We're here."

Sean twisted in his seat and for the first time since he had been here, showed some sort of emotion. His eyes had welled slightly in tears, giving him the human affect. He normally seemed so emotionless and care free. It only took one of the infected to touch Mama to send him to tears. It seemed that Mama had tugged at everyone's heart strings over time. Even those we barely knew. I looked down at Mama, who was trying to sit up.

I gasped quietly and helped her to a seated position. In a hushed whisper, I said, "Mama, you gotta be careful."

She squeezed my hand again, as if she were agreeing with me. She looked up into my eyes and asked, "Can you take me outside, Adrienne? I want to see the sunset."

I turned away from Mama and nodded my head. If I were to speak right now, I would simply lose it. I was trying my best to keep calm for Mama's sake, but at this time I was finding it harder and harder to do. I looked at Connor and Murphy before whispering, "Open the door, please."

"C - Can I go?"Abby choked.

Mama let out a hushed chuckle and nodded her head softly. I helped her scoot to the edge of the van before I stepped out. Abby climbed to her feet and I turned back to look at the sky. Noah had parked beside the edge of a large cliff, which lead out to a thin river many feet below. I felt a strange sense of calm come over me as I caught sight of the multiple oranges, pinks and blues in the sky. It was as if the sky made itself beautiful in the presence of Mama.

It was like everyone knew she was going to die. Mama dug her fingers lightly into my shoulder and whispered, "The edge, Adrienne. It's beautiful."

"I don't think you can -"I began softly.

"Please, Adrienne. It'll be alright."She offered me one more smile and I nodded down at her.

I pulled Mama's thin body to her feet and cautiously walked her toward the edge of the cliff. Sean, Noah, Connor and Murphy stepped from the van to watch the on going scene. Abby walked with Mama and I, as if waiting to catch her. Mama's steps were small and slow. Yet we came to the edge of the cliff. I allowed Mama to sit down in the dirt before taking a seat beside her. She never released my hand as she slowly leaned down on her side.

"Mama,"I whimpered quietly.

"I'm okay, Adrienne."She said softly."I'm just tired is all."

"Was a long ride, Mama."I smiled.

Abby's eyes welled up in tears again and I pulled her into a hug.

"Why you cryin', sweetheart?"Mama said softly.

"Because - Because,"Abby dug her face into my shoulder and forced the situation to become worse.

I tried to hold back my tears as best as I could. Mama was becoming delerious, which I didn't know would be a symptom. I ran my fingers along the top of my jeans and froze as I traced over my pistol. Mama was my responsibility, which meant I had to put her out of her misery. I felt myself holding my breath after a few moments and let it out. How was I going to do this? Mama was never one to harm anything; now I was faced with taking her derenged life away from her.

I squeezed Mama's hand tightly and began to cry loudly. Mama looked up at me with foggy, confused eyes. In a hush, she asked, "Adrienne, what's wrong?"

"I'm - I'm just thinkin', Mama."I breathed.

Foot steps echoed behind me and I watched as Connor placed a warm hand on Abby's shoulder. She looked up into his baby blues and sniffled slightly. Connor, though his eyes were welled in tears, gave her a small smile. Politely, he said, "Let's go back to the car, Abby. Let's give Adrienne and Ma some space."

"But,"She began softly.

"Come on."Connor whispered.

Abby looked up at me, as if waiting for me to push Connor aside. I only nodded my head, because I wanted Mama and I to be alone for the last few moments of her life. Abby's bottom lip quivered in sadness before she got to her feet. She knelt beside Mama and kissed her softly on the top of her head. Mama let go of my hand to take hold of Abby's. She looked up and with the warmest of smiles, said, "Have a good night, Abby. I'll be in in a minute."

Abby turned her face into Connor's chest before letting go. Connor squeezed my shoulder tightly before walking Abby back to the van. I grabbed hold of Mama's hand once more and leaned forward, pressing a kiss to her cheek. Mama looked out to the sky and let a smile crawl along her lips. I sat back into the dirt as Mama said, "It's beautiful, ain't it, Adrienne?"

I nodded my head as Mama took in a short breath.

"It is, Mama."I whimpered quietly.

"Remeber the sunsets in Louisiana?"Her eyes slowly started to drift closed."They were, beautiful."

"They were, Mama, they were."I brushed the hair from her eyes and watched as her eyes looked up at me one last time.

Mama was completely out of it. It was as if I were holding onto her outer shell. She had already gone; I could feel it. I kissed her softly on the cheek and whispered, "I love you, Mama."

"I, love, you,"She choked."too, Adrienne."

She leaned further back into the dirt and rolled onto her back. She gave my hand one last squeeze before whispering, "Come inside soon, Adrienne. It's gettin' cold out."

"I promise, Mama. I'll go in soon."I cupped a hand over my mouth and cried silently into it.

"Lock, the door,"She weezed."so Duke don't, get out."

"Got it, Mama."Mama's fingers tightened around my hand before it suddenly disappeared.

I turned toward Mama and released her limp hand. I brought my knees to my chest and rested my head on them. I began to cry, to sob, to weep. I cried over and over again into my knees before tracing my hand along my pistol. I pulled my head from my lap and snaked my gun from the hem of my pants. I looked down at it in my shaking hands and shook my head. I wouldn't be able to do this. I wouldn't be able to put a bullet into Mama's head.

"Mama,"I cried."I'm sorry."

I continued to weep as the sun finally began to settle behind the mountains. The area was so quiet and reserved. I felt like everyone and everything had stopped to look on at me. The quiet whimpers of everyone behind me did me no good as I stole one last glance at Mama. Her chest had stopped rising and falling; she was gone.