Sequel: Static Screams
Status: bloody

White Noise


It felt like hours that I sat there, clutching the ever-cooling hand of the body of my best friend. And at first, there were tears. Tears that fell so rapidly I couldn’t keep count. But the tears seemed to stop as abruptly as they started, because now I couldn’t feel anything.

I felt so numb. So immune to the world around me and the horrors that it could hold. All that I could think about was Lila, the great news she was going to share at dinner tonight, the great news that Ryan would never hear.

He was going to be a father.

And oh my god, Lila. How was I supposed to explain to her what had happened? I didn’t even think I could get the words out of the mouth if I tried. Just a few houses away she sat, waiting for us to come bouncing back up the drive, so she could throw her arms around Ryan and show off the actual, real feast that we would be having. It was going to be such a wonderful surprise.


I heard Scarlett’s voice through the fuzz and flurry of thoughts through my head, and I tried to look at her, but my eyes couldn’t focus, I couldn’t focus. Ryan was getting so cold.

“Holland, we need to go…”

I think I nodded, but I don’t remember. I do remember reaching around Ryan’s neck, unhooking the one possession he still had from before – the gold chain which held his mother’s wedding band, the wedding band he planned to give to Lila in just a few weeks, on her birthday.

Like there could even be a wedding ceremony. But I knew he’d still want her to have it, and I knew that he’d haunt me forever if I left it. But I wondered if he would haunt me if I left him?

I placed the chain around my own neck, tucking it beneath my t-shirt so that I wouldn’t lose it between here and the house. I left my jacket draped across him, and vowed to come back later, to bury him, to say a proper goodbye.

A hand reached out for mine, and I graciously accepted the help standing. Scarlett later told me that Darren shouldered my weight, walked me back to the house, but I really don’t remember much about that, either.

I do know what happened right before we went inside, however. I remember it clearly. It was this rage, this undeniable overwhelming rage that overtook me within moments.

“Holland…what are you going to tell Lila?” Scarlett had asked, and somehow that triggered an anger that I couldn’t cope with.

I shook my head, and mumbled under my breath. “Your plan.”

“What?” she asked, and I knew logically that is a normal response when someone mumbles something to you. But I went from mumbling to screaming in only a few short moments.

“Your plan! YOUR PLAN! Your plan put us in that house, Scarlett! You’ve been keeping watch for over a week, and you didn’t see a single damn thing move in that house?”


“Shut up! You and your planning, always infallible, for you. You do whatever you can for you, and only you, and that is a bunch of fucking bullshit.” I knew it wasn’t true, I was angry, and in shock. And I guess getting a little too close to her, because Darren had raised his gun, pointing it at me, ready to protect Scarlett if necessary. I wasn’t a threat, but for some reason, this infuriated me even more. I ran my hands through my hair, turning away from the two and facing the neighboring yard.

“I understand, Holland. I’m sor—“

“I swear to god if you say you’re sorry, I will actually lose my shit. You don’t understand. You don’t let anyone close enough to even remotely understand. So just…just don’t say it. Don’t, for the love of god. Don’t.”

I didn’t even look back at them as I walked inside, slamming the front door behind me. Natalie and Sasha peeked their heads through the kitchen doorway, and Lila came bouncing down the stairs.

“Hey, Holl! Where’s Ryan?” she leaned around me to look out the window, searching for him in the driveway.

“Um. Lila,” I ran my hands through my hair again, and suddenly noticed how much I craved a cigarette. “I have something I need to tell you.”

She punched me lightly on the arm with a grin, “You didn’t tell him, did you?” But her grin fell away as she noticed the blood I had wiped on my shirt, the dried blood on my hands. “Holland…are you okay?”

I blinked slowly, trying my best to figure out how to tell her. Natalie and Sasha kept watching from the doorway, but Sasha’s face fell in sadness as she realized what it was I was about to say. She pulled Natalie away from the door, and I was so thankful for at least some privacy.

“ of the houses we went to…it wasn’t empty.”


Jesus Christ, I was absolutely positive she was just playing stupid at this point. “No, Lila. Survivors.”

Her eyes lit up for a second, but then narrowed as she once again remembered the blood that covered me. “Where’s Ryan, Holland? This isn’t funny.”

I led her to the couch and pulled her down next to me. I met her eyes and slowly removed the chain with the ring from around my neck. “He would want you to have this,” I said sadly, pressing it into her hand.

She stared at it for a moment, as though it were a foreign object she had never seen before. But after a few moments, it was like all the pieces connected, and she understood what I was saying. “Oh my god,” she whispered.

Then she looked at me with eyes that were so full of sadness and pain and anger, I almost couldn’t bear it. I reached out to her, trying to pull her into a hug, trying to be at least a little comforting, but she ripped out of my grasp and ran to the door.

I quickly stood up to follow her, and was close behind as she flung the door open. But Scarlett and Darren were coming in, and left a space between them just wide enough for Lila to fit through.

“Lila!” I called after her, as she ran down the driveway. I tried to take a few steps, tried to follow, but Scarlett and Darren stopped me.

“No, Holland, I’ll go!” Scarlett said, turning to run off the steps.

“She doesn’t even like you!” I shouted, trying with all my might to escape from the grasp Darren had on my arm.

“She just lost the love of her life, Holland,” Scarlett replied calmly. “That’s something I know a lot about.” Then she stepped off the porch, and ran down the street, following a hysterical Lila into the direction of the sun.

I stood there, resigned to silence for a moment, before Darren gently led me back inside. He didn’t say anything, just patted my back a few times, before he disappeared into the kitchen with Sasha and Natalie. And I was praying that Scarlett could calm Lila down, get her back here safely, when Peter shouted down from the tower.

“Holland, you need to come up here, immediately!”

I sighed, and sprinted up the steps, two at a time, until I was climbing into the tower. “What?” I spat in exasperation.

“We have a few unexpected visitors heading this way,” he explained, handing me binoculars as I reached the top step.

I took the binoculars and looked in the direction he pointed, which happened to be the city. And what I saw from just a few miles away made my stomach retch.

“Peter,” I swallowed. “I hate to break it to you, but I think your math is a little flawed.” I lowered the binoculars and faced him. “A few would be two or three. Not two or three hundred!”