Sequel: Static Screams
Status: bloody

White Noise


I definitely would have had more luck playing 7 Minutes in Heaven with one of the Stinkbags. Even hours after Lila and Scarlett…exchanged words…. the tension was thick in the air, between the two of them. It was very clear that there was a divide between us, their group versus ours, even though Ryan and I both tried to be as helpful as possible.

We stayed in our perch in the tower, for the first few hours.. Lila was still acting like she had a stick shoved up her ass, but she had calmed down a little, enough to actually be a tad helpful when Sasha and Natalie asked where they could find…feminine amenities. They had been in the girly bedroom for most of the past two hours, and maybe Lila was just happy to have other girls to talk to.

Really, as long as it wasn’t Scarlett, Lila was quite pleasant.

Speaking of, Scarlett had made her perch on the balcony off the second story master bedroom. I could see it from the tower, looking over the back left end of the house to check on her every now and then. She stayed alert, which was a good habit to have, but I couldn’t help but think she was exhausted.

I squeezed down the stairs while Ryan and Peter talked about “the good ol’ days,” whatever that consisted of for the two of them. I knew Darren was asleep on the couch in the living room downstairs, in front of the fireplace, where he crashed after barricading the doors and windows as best he could.

That would make it a tad harder to get outside if necessary, but whatever. I wasn’t going to get in the way of a man with a plan.

I walked out onto the balcony, where the door was already open, letting the cool air into the house. “Uh, hey…”

She jumped with a start, but relaxed again after seeing my face. “Oh, hi.” She motioned for me to sit in the chair next to her, and I obliged.

“Sorry about Lila. She can be quite the pill to swallow.”

Scarlett laughed, and her nose scrunched up. “Yeah, something like that. But I get it, too. If anyone brought new strangers back to our place without some head’s up, I’d be a bit pissy, too.”

I nodded. “She’s very protective of us, even if it is a pain in the ass.” I paused, pulling a cigarette out of my crushed pack and lighting it. “It’s just funny – she was the one who suggested us relocating to begin with, but then as soon as we put the plan into motion, she was really against it.”

“Girls are strange, my dude. I don’t have an explanation for it.” She yawned, and shivered against the cool air.

“You can sleep, you know. I’ll keep watch.”

She eyed me warily. “Not that I don’t trust you, Holland, but…how do I know I can trust you? Especially with your screaming banshee running around?”

I laughed, elbows resting on my knees. “Technically, she’s Ryan’s screaming banshee, but I digress. I mean, I do recall a certain heroic action which saved your asses.”

“Fair enough, but you understand the apprehension, right? You seem far too trusting of strangers.”

I thought about that for a moment, because up until now, we hadn’t encountered any other survivors, and there was no telling the horrors that this group had seen. “I don’t have an answer for that.”

She watched me momentarily, before returning to gaze over the pasture on the other side of the road outside of the gate, or maybe she was looking at the skyline of the city. “Huh.”

I ran my hand through my hair, and sighed. “It’s pretty clear to me that we haven’t been through as much as you guys have.” I ran my tongue across my teeth before looking at her. “I’m sorry about whatever you may have lost.”

She looked at me, as though seeing me for the first time, sizing me up against the new assumption of how people in this world can be. “Thank you,” she said silently.

I took a final drag from my cigarette before tossing it over the rail. “A very wise man I once knew, Marine Tim – he’s really the reason we’ve made it this long – once told me something I still haven’t forgotten. ‘There’s a safety in numbers, and a strength in brains, especially if they’re all in the same place.’ I guess that was my thought process; eight is stronger than five, and is a hell of a lot stronger than three.”

“Pretty sure you need to consult with your screeching bird before you start proposing that we join forces.”

I laughed to myself. “She’s not the one who makes the call, fortunately.”

“Who is?”

“Unfortunately,” I grinned at her, “That would be me.”

“Huh,” she repeated, before stretching out her legs. “Well, I’ll have you know if we do join forces – which I am not agreeing to, by the way – I’ll be the one calling the shots.”

She stood to go inside, but looked at me one more time. “You’ll keep watch?”

I nodded. “It’s not just your group in this house. It’s mine, too.”

She nodded, and disappeared inside the door. I stayed on the balcony a while longer before returning inside, up the stairs, into our tower.

Lila was there, once again preoccupied by the quilt she had been working on before we left Marine Tim’s. “Hey, Hol,” she spoke, barely moving her eyes from the needle and thread.

“Hey…” I mumbled. It was awkward, I was waiting for her to explode on me again, or maybe jam the needle straight through my eye.

“Natalie and Sasha are asleep in the pink room,” she said. “Peter and Ryan are playing with a radio they found in the blue room. Darren is still on the couch downstairs and Scarlett is in the bedroom down there.”

I nodded, watching out the window for any movement. Other than the clouds and the slight breeze that blew every now and then, the world was still. Almost peaceful. “Lila, I just –“

“No, Holland,” she sighed, dropping her hands into her lap and meeting my eyes. “I owe you an apology. You’re right – I would want someone to help us if we were stuck out there, too.” She played with the frayed corner of a t-shirt she started to add into her quilt. “I overreacted. I just got so scared when you weren’t here, because if it was just me and Ryan, we wouldn’t make it. You’ve not only kept me alive, but also the love of my life, and I just couldn’t bear to lose that.”

“Lila, you don’t have to worry about that. I wouldn’t leave you and Ryan for anything. And it was stupid, because I didn’t even tell you that I left. It was so stupid. I’m sorry.”

She teared up, and smiled at the same time. “They’re really nice, Holland. Well, I don’t know about that Scarlett girl. She’s a little…much.”

“Oh, Jesus, Lila. She cares about her people, just like we care about each other. You kind of jumped down her throat.”

“Well, she got way too defensive way too fast.” Lila paused for a moment, and really looked at me. “Can we trust her?”

“I believe we can. They’re all in the same boat we are. Just trying to get by.” I swallowed, then looked at her. “You know what Marine Tim always said—“

“Yeah, I know. Safety in numbers.” She mumbled. “That doesn’t mean I have to like her though, right?”

I rolled my eyes. “I thought we were having a really nice bonding moment, but turns out you’re just your typical self.”

“What do you expect, asshole?” she laughed. Then her expression sobered, “You’re right though. It wouldn’t hurt to team up. It would be harder to maintain our supplies, but you’re good at inventory and at scavenging.”

“I think that we could make it work, honestly. You know Ryan will go with whatever – he doesn’t give a shit as long as he can still hunt. It’s really just us who make these decisions.”

“No, Holland. You’re always the one with the final say.” Lila smiled at me, “We trust you. You haven’t been wrong this far.”

I frowned into my lap. “I just want you to know I listen to y’all. I don’t make decisions just because that’s how I want it to be.”

“I know, Hol. We know.”

It began to grow steadily darker outside, and I stretched my arms over my head. “It’s getting dark out, Lila. You should go get some sleep. I know you’re exhausted.”

She yawned in response, and stood, wearing pink flannel pajama bottoms that somehow matched well with the gray long sleeve shirt she wore. “You’re right. There are some baby wipes under the bench seat,” she pointed beneath me. “You smell pretty bad.”

“Thanks. And Lila?”


“I’m sorry, again. I can’t imagine the fear and frustration that—“

“Shut up, Holland. We’re past it. Just remember,” she smiled sweetly at me. “I can trust her without liking her.”

And with that, she was gone.
♠ ♠ ♠
holy shit i'm sorry it's been so long i hate myself bye.

x sindie