Sequel: Static Screams
Status: bloody

White Noise


My bones rattled with the slammed door. I stared incredulously after Holland. The week we had been here had been so strange. I had started leaning towards staying, if only because this seemed to be a secure area, and I felt like I could trust Holland. Now though, everything was a fucking disaster. What was I going to do? What were they going to do? Without Ryan, they were just two. Without Ryan, what were they? I wanted to grab my people and run.

Would they run with me? Should we run away? Fuck.

“Scar.” Darren put a hand on my back. “He didn’t mean any of it.”

I nodded. “Maybe so, but that doesn’t mean it’s not all true.” I ran a hand through my hair. “I was up there every fucking day. I watched the houses. I watched the streets. I never saw…” my voice caught on the lump in my throat. “I never saw them. That’s such a big thing to have missed, Darren. Survivors?” I squeezed my eyes tightly shut to keep them from burning.

“You’re not perfect, Scar. No matter how hard you try to be. You’re not perfect. It’s impossible.”

“I need to be. People keep dying and it’s my fault every single fucking time.” I cut him off from disagreeing. “Let’s go see what’s going on.”

I opened the door in just enough time for Lila to run through it. Holland was right behind her, but I moved to block him. “No, Holland, I’ll go!” I turned to run off after her.

“She doesn’t even like you!” He shouted at me, like I was an absolute idiot. I turned to see him struggling to get away from Darren.

I took a breath. “She just lost the love of her life, Holland.” The calm in my voice shocked me. “That’s something I know a lot about.” Without waiting for a response, I turned and ran down the street after Lila.

I let her run until she finally had to stop to breathe through her tears. I stopped a little bit behind her, letting her have a few moments to herself. She shook with her sobs, and I knew she was fighting the need to scream in pain. I waited until she wore herself out and collapsed to the ground. And then I waited a little more.

I waited until she seemed like she was trying to decide what to do now.

“Lila.” She turned and looked at me, her face wet and eyes red. She took a shaky breath. “Let’s get somewhere safer and talk.” Lila nodded ever so slowly, and I moved to help her up. She let me, and I led her to a car on the side of the road. Thankfully one of the back doors was unlocked. I motioned for her to get in and then scooted in after her.

“I know you don’t want to hear this,” I began. “But I know what you’re going through right now.” Lila merely looked up at me in response.

“When the beginning of the end came around, the first day it really hit, I lost the love of my life.” An intake of breath followed by a sniffle was my response. “We’d been together for almost three years. I watched her throat get ripped out.” I fingered the bracelets on my wrist, and choked back the tears. “Sorry. I haven’t told anyone about this before.” I took a breath. “It’s the worst pain imaginable, I know.”

“I feel like I’m dying.” Her voice was weak.

“I know. I did too. I still feel like I am sometimes.” She stared at her hands, and I saw she was fumbling with a ring on a chain. “Can I ask you a question?” Lila nodded slowly. “How long were you two together?”

“Four years.” She laughed. “Never thought I’d get to see this ring.” She rubbed a finger along the band. “I didn’t know he took it when we ran. I figured he forgot about it and left it behind.” She was smiling a small smile. “You know, he took six months to ask me out after we met.”

I smiled. “The good ones usually take a while to work up to it.”

She nodded. “After that first date, though, you’d have thought we’d been on fifty dates.” She took a deep breath. “I don’t know what I’m going to do now.”

“You and Holland both lost someone very important to you. You’re both going to need each other to deal with this. You should talk to him when we get back.”

“I’m pregnant.” She said quickly, as if she was trying to get the words out of her mouth before she convinced herself not to say it.

“Oh, Lila.”

Tears fell down her face again. She wiped at them with her sleeve. “I was going to tell him tonight. He would have been so excited.” Neither of us said a word. “I want to see him.”

“I’m sure Holland will take you to bury him.” Again, she nodded. “And I’m here for you and the baby. I know we haven’t had the best start. If you want us all to stay together now, I will help you. Fuck, we will all help you.”

“Thank you, Scarlett.” She reached through her blanket of hair and clasped the chain in her hands around her neck. Centering the ring on the chain, she pressed it against her lips, and then let it fall against her chest. Finally, she looked up at me. “I still don’t like you.”

I laughed and she smiled. “Fair enough. Let’s get back before it gets dark.” We got out of the car and started heading back to the house. We had only gone about halfway when we saw Darren and Peter running towards us. Their eyes grew wide with relief when they saw us.

“Come on, we have to hurry back.” Peter immediately informed us.

My heart dropped. “Why, what’s wrong?”

“Just come.” Darren spoke with urgency. “You need to see it. Holland’s waiting on you.”

Lila and I looked at each other, and took off running for the house.


Holland stood in the middle of the tower, looking out towards the city. He had one hand on the back of his head and was holding binoculars with the other.

I ignored the self-conscious voice in my head reminding me of what he had said. “Holland?”

He didn’t say a word, and didn’t turn to me. He simply held out the binoculars. After I took them, he pointed towards the city. I stepped forward and held the binoculars to my eyes. “I don’t see anyth-” Holland pushed the binoculars slightly to the left. “Holy fucking shit.”

Hundreds of the dead shambled through the buildings, headed up towards our hilly neighborhood.

“There’s at least three hundred of them, I’d estimate.” Holland finally spoke. “I was waiting on you so we could decide what we’re going to do.” We stood there staring at the horde of infected as they moved through the city. “Do we run, fight, or hide? I’m sure in the end we will do all three. But what do we do first?”

I couldn’t let myself go into shock like I did with Ian. I had to be a leader again. There was no question in my mind about what we should do. “We have to run.”

“We won’t be able to come back here.” Holland sounded like he was already exhausted at the thought of running. I knew it was because he hadn’t had time to breathe after Ryan.

I nodded. “There’s no way to take on that many of them.”

“And there’s no telling if hiding would work.”

“We have to run.” I repeated. We took a deep breath in sync with each other, and then Holland turned to leave.

“Sorry.” He mumbled over his shoulder.

Taken aback, I turned and stared as he left the tower. He didn’t say another word. For a moment, I wondered if I had imagined it. Maybe we’d have a chance to talk about it when things calmed down. I snorted to myself. This was the fucking apocalypse.

Things didn’t calm down.

I took one last look at the impending flood of the dead, and then followed Holland down the stairs.

Holland was explaining to Lila what was going on. I motioned Sasha over to me and handed her the binoculars. “I need the guys to help pack up. Can you keep watch on the horde?” She nodded, but her face held words. “I won’t let anyone else die.” I looked up and realized everyone had heard me. “I won’t.” I said again.

Lila looked pale. “Go, please, Sasha.” She squeezed my arm, and then headed up into the tower. “Natalie, get Lila some water. Peter, help Holland pack up his and Lila’s things. Darren, you and I will pack up food, water, and medicine.” Everyone started moving.

I walked over to where Lila and Holland were standing. “Lila, go pack up Ryan’s things.” Holland started to disagree. “She needs to.” I told him.

He opened his mouth again. “It’s okay.” Lila smiled at him. “She’s right.” Natalie appeared at her elbow with a bottle of water. “Thank you.”

“Do what you need to, but hurry as much as you can.” She nodded, bumped her shoulder against Holland, and headed off into the rooms.

Natalie went to help Darren.

I looked around at my people. “I won’t let anyone else die, Holland.”

“I know, Scarlett. I know.” He sauntered off towards Peter and I moved to pack up necessities.

Old Scarlett would be angry that I was caring so much about these people. New Scarlett was attached and absolutely refused to lose anyone else, ever again.
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