Sequel: Static Screams
Status: bloody

White Noise


“I’ve never seen Scarlett cry,” Sasha said, leading me over to a large display bed I didn’t notice earlier.

I rested my other hand on top of my tiny growing bump. Natalie hopped up on the foot of the bed as I took a seat beside her. “Holland would be so proud of her, if he knew.”

Natalie grabbed my hand. “We’re so sorry that he left, but he really is my hero.”

“Our hero,” Sasha corrected as she fluffed the pillows. “I don’t think I’ve ever given him enough credit. He saved our asses, but I was always so wary of him...of all three of you.” She sighed and took a seat to my right.

“I wasn’t really fair to you guys, either. I was so quick to go off on him for being such a dumbass all the time.” I laughed, twisting my braided hair around my fingers. “I feel so empty without him here. He kept me and Ryan alive for so long...” I wiped at my eye where tears were threatening to escape. “He’s such a good guy. I hope he’s okay.”

“I’m sure he is,” Natalie rested her head on my shoulder. “And I know he’s trying to make his way back to us.”

Sasha nodded in agreement, and we sat there, me sandwiched between the two, longer than was necessary. Everyone else settled down, quietly chatting amongst themselves, and I was struck with an idea.

“Do we have any scissors?”

“What?” Natalie asked, raising an eyebrow at me.

“I...I want to cut my hair. Do we have any scissors?”

“Why do you want to cut your hair?” Sasha demanded more than asked. “It’s so long and so pretty...”

“That’s it, though,” I stood up, looking at the two still sitting on the bed. “It’s so long. What if one of those deadbags grabs me by my hair? It’s not practical! It’s not just about me anymore, I’ve gotta keep us both alive,” I rubbed my hand on my stomach again. “So...are there any scissors?”

“Scissors, madam,” Sawyer held out his hand in front of me, where he held a pair of office scissors and wore a smirk. “Shall I do the honors?”

“I don’t think so, pal,” Natalie smiled at him. “I’ll do it.”

“Honestly, I don’t care who does it. Let’s just cut it,” I exclaimed. Sasha rolled her eyes, but ultimately ended up taking the scissors.

I sat on a stool, and everyone except Logan and Scarlett gathered around to watch Sasha saw through the thick braid, what I had considered a trademark to my character. I felt it fall away from my head, and then heard it hit the ground.

“Well, can’t change your mind now,” she muttered. I just grinned.

She worked her fingers through what remained of my hair, trying her best to even it out or at least try to make it presentable. With dying light, Natalie held a small mirror in front of me, and smiled. “You look so badass.”

When I caught my reflection, I gasped. There were strands in the front that were a bit longer and choppier, but Sasha had managed to cut my hair down into what could’ve almost passed as a pixie cut before the apocalypse happened. It was probably an inch long in the back and on the sides, bordered closer to two inches in the front, and it seemed to make the red color pop. My cheekbones were more pronounced, my face looked more fierce. Natalie was right, I looked badass.

I jumped off the stool and hugged Sasha. “Thank you so much!” I squealed. She sighed with relief, and for some reason our onlookers clapped, as though congratulating Sasha for narrowly avoiding destruction.

“Looks okay,” she mumbled modestly. “I need a broom to sweep this hair up.”

Peter appeared at her side with a broom and a piece of cardboard. “I couldn’t find a dustpan, but this is the next best thing.”

Although Logan and Scarlett remained in their little hidey-hole, the rest of us spent the rest of our evening chatting about what our last haircut had been like, how much we missed shampoo, and how bad we all smelled now, except we’ve all grown accustomed to it.

When it just became too dark to see, the conversation died slowly as one by one we all stalked off into our own little corners. James, Darren, and Peter all took couches. Sasha curled her petite frame into a love-seat, and she fit perfectly. I pretended not to notice that Natalie had fallen asleep on Sawyer’s shoulder, both curled into an oversize chair. I decided it’d be best not to mention that to anyone.

The only two that didn’t seem to have their bearings were Cosmic and Seven, who huddled against each other and leaned back against the wall, shivering. As I passed them, I stopped. “Do you guys want to sleep in my bed?”

I couldn’t very well read Cosmic’s reaction, but I could see Seven nodding as he rubbed his sleepy eyes. I reached my hand out to them both, and he eagerly took mine. She just stared at it, then looked away.

I just shrugged. “If you change your mind, it’s a big bed.”

Seven climbed on up, kicking off his shoes as he went. He even pulled the covers out for me, waiting until I climbed up before he snuggled close to me. I laid on my side, facing him, and closed my eyes.

I heard Cosmic sigh, and then her footsteps. I then heard her kick off her shoes before I felt the bed shift beneath her weight. I smiled to myself before drifting off to sleep.

One thing I had noticed over our time together is that Logan was always the first one awake. Although she was stealthy and quiet, I always woke up not too long after her. This morning was no different.

She swiftly and quietly moved through the store, her silhouette visible by the dim light of daybreak. She slid into the back office, leaving the door cracked behind her so as to not make any noise.

I peeked at Seven and Cosmic, both soundly sleeping, and then slid out of the bed. I quietly walked to the office, opening the door a little and sliding in. Her back was to me, so I eased the door shut, only alerting her to my presence when it clicked, causing her to jump and face me.

“Holy shit, Lila, you scared – where the hell is your hair?” she whisper-yelled, brows knit in confusion.

I stifled a laugh. “We cut it last night while you and Scar were getting freaky.”

She grinned and slapped my arm. “We did no such thing.”

I raised my eyebrow, teasing her. “Sure, sure.”

The room fell silent for a moment, but like all cliché moments, we spoke again at the same time.



I quietly giggled again. “Go ahead,” I motioned with my hand.

She laughed, and I saw the way her eyes sparkled in the growing light. No wonder Scarlett was enchanted by her – she really was beautiful.

“I just wanted to say,” she began after composing herself, “I didn’t get to spend much time with Holland, but he seems like a good guy. But I have to ask you something.”

I nodded, chewing on my lip. “Okay...”

She tilted her head to the side. “He asked me to keep you guys safe. He even referred to me as one of his friends. Is he always so easily trusting?”

I rubbed at my temples with one hand. “He...he’s a special breed. Up until he saved Scarlett’s group – you should ask her about that, it’s a great story, she called me a screaming banshee – we hadn’t come across any other survivors. But Holland bonded with Scar quickly; at least, as quick as you can when it comes to her. And I guess because he saw how much she respected you, he knew he could trust you, too.”

She nodded, before asking a question. “So last night, Scar’s outburst...”

I shrugged. “Holland could see that she was breaking down her walls before she could. He’s always been very intuitive, he just hides it behind this apathetic mask and shoots it down with stupid jokes. But he knows more about a person than he’ll ever let on. I guess it could be a bad thing, being too trusting, but when you have that kind of intuition you just don’t question it.” I looked her in the eye before I spoke again. “Holland trusts you. He trusts you with me, the group, and with Scarlett. I don’t take that lightly, you know? And in case he didn’t get the chance to tell you, don’t fuck with her. She’s a very special kind of person, and doesn’t deserve any more bad shit.”

Logan nodded. “I’m not going to take this for granted, not in this world.” She turned to look out the window behind her, where birds were lining up on power lines and singing their songs. “So what were you going to say?” she turned back to face me.

“Well...I’m not really in good shape. I’m kind of useless. If we were ever separated, or I was attacked, or anything...I don’t know anything about defending myself. And it’s not just me I have to worry about,” I shrugged as her eyes quickly fluttered to my baby bump and back. “I’ve watched you and how good you are with defense. I was hoping that maybe you could teach me.”

She looked at my stomach again before looking back at me. “Why not one of the others?”

I looked down at my feet. “The thing is, everyone is being so protective over me right now. I appreciate it, I really do, but I’m not just a bump on a log. I need to know how to fight for myself, for us as a group, and for my baby. It just feels like you’re the only one who’d really be willing to help me.”

She chewed on her cheek for a moment. “So I imagine you’d want to keep this on the down low, then?”

I nodded, cracking a small smile. “That’s the idea, yeah.”

She threw an arm over my shoulder and laughed. “In that case, my lips are sealed. Give me two weeks and I’ll have you acting as badass as you look.”

“Goodbye, soft Lila. Hello, bad bitch,” I grinned.
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