Sequel: Static Screams
Status: bloody

White Noise


I felt limber and fluid, like I was made of water and could spread like fire.

In the face of panic, of the group rushing to just get our shit together, I felt calm. Throwing things into a backpack and preparing a grand exodus wasn’t necessarily easier now, because without Holland, organization was out the window. But knowing I could take care of myself and my baby if I needed to…that gave me a sense of relief, a window into the warrior within me.

Scarlett barked orders in a whisper, Logan began to arrange an assortment of random belongings and weaponry into separate bags. Scar frowned when Logan tossed me a couple of knives in their holsters, but said nothing as I looped them through my belt and wrapped the smaller one around my leg.

It was a flurry of activity, but I didn’t say a word as I picked up my backpack and stood at the ready. There were several hushed arguments and conversations, and I was on the outlier of it all, peeking out the window every couple of minutes…just in case.

If Holland were here, he would have already made a contingency plan for this exactly scenario – survivors that wanted to take us, imprison us, eat us, god knows what. I could see panic faintly in Scarlett’s eyes, she didn’t know what to do.

But I had an idea.

“Scarlett,” I addressed her as I walked past her, back towards the office. She followed, after directing a few more specific actions that needed to be taken. I let her go inside first, and then I sat at the desk, where a map had been sprawled out over the wooden surface.

“This is the city we’re in,” I said, motioning to a section. “These roads lead back the way we came, while these,” I pointed with my finger, “lead almost directly to New York.”

“Lila, we can’t—”

I stuck my hand up to silence her. “Hold up, listen.” I pointed to a series of dashes that ran across the entire map. “These are old tunnels that connect with the sewer system. From what I could tell – because I did a little exploring while you two were gone doing lovey dovey things – almost all of the businesses on this strip have doors to these tunnels.”

She mulled over this information, chewing on her cheek. “Are you saying there is some kind of secret society tunnel system beneath our feet? And that you’ve been down there?!”

I winced, but nodded. “Best I can tell, they were probably built during the Cold War as potential bomb shelters for this city, but also where life could continue as normal if necessary.”

“Lila, what the hell? What if there were people down there when you went in? And you’re pregnant! You could have gotten hurt, or stuck, or there could have been poisonous gas, or—”

“Oh my god, Scarlett, shut the fuck up! I am offering us a viable solution and you want to preach at me!” I all but screamed in frustration. “Just because I’m carrying a child doesn’t mean I am a child, and I sure as hell shouldn’t be treated like one!”

“I was just—”

“I don’t care,” I spat, breathing deep to try to calm myself. “Listen, this is a way out. These tunnels connect to the sewer system.” I picked up a highlighter, and started to mark the route. “We can follow this path, make it to this road, and get the hell out of Dodge.”

“Lila…I don’t know…” she ran her hands through her hair.

“Scar, it’s fine,” Peter said from the doorway. “I went down there to scout it yesterday when Lila first noticed it. It starts right beneath us, and goes straight to the city sewer system which, save for a few rats, is also untouched. If you want to get out of here unseen, that’s the way to do it.”

I added, “If there are people out there looking for us, they won’t know to look here. I’ve checked every trap door on the strip, all seem to be either hidden away or covered by heavy furniture. The one here is hidden under a chest of drawers. There’s nobody else down there, at least not within two miles.”

Scar only looked at Peter. “You knew about it? And didn’t say anything?”

He shrugged. “It didn’t seem important to mention until now.”

She looked back at me. “And you…going out with Logan this morning. That wasn’t just a walk. It was a training exercise.”

“Scarlett, now is not the time for this!” I was growing exasperated.

“No, wait,” she continued as I stood to face her. “You lied to me. And Peter,” she turned to face him, “you might as well have lied to me, too! And Logan, and hell, maybe you’re all liars and I’m just an idiot for trying to protect you!”

Scarlett’s voice rose with every word, drawing attention from the others. “Scarlett, listen…”

“No, Lila, you listen! I’m sick of this! I can’t lead you guys if you won’t fucking talk to me! What am I supposed to do if I don’t know a damn thing that’s going on?” she laughed bitterly. “At least Holland would have told me the truth to begin with. Not that it matters; he’s probably dead now anyway.”

She was starting to come unhinged, but every word she said was like a kick to the gut. She was getting too emotional, too fast. This wasn’t like Scarlett. Scarlett didn’t lose control. And what if she was right? What if Holland really was dead? I shook my head, reached out my arm, and slapped her across the face. “Pull yourself together!” I yelled.

Everything went silent then. She held her hand to her face, which must have hurt if how bad my hand stung was any indication. Logan rushed to her side, Peter looked at me, and everyone else just stared with their jaws dropped.

“Lila, I—”

There was a crash from the front of the store, glass breaking and loud voices meeting my ears. My eyes widened, and Scarlett met my gaze. Then, she looked between Peter and Logan, before swiftly standing.

“Peter, Logan – go with Lila. Get in the tunnel, and run.”

I shook my head out of surprise, and Logan began to protest.


“No, Logan,” she said sternly. I need you both to get her out of here safely. She looked back at me, and I had begun to shake. “Lila, run until you meet the sewer system. We’ll come behind you when it’s safe, and we’ve gotten these guys taken care of.”

The loud activity at the front of the store was growing as the assholes broke more windows, and approached the storefront more aggressively. There wasn’t a lot of time left for any other game plan. “Scar, please,” I whispered, looking at my feet. “I don’t want us to split up. I have a bad feeling.”

“Lila, there’s no time! We’ll hold them off, do what we have to do, and we will meet you, Peter, and Logan there in no time. Just…don’t argue with me on this,” she pointed to all of us. “Do this for me, please.”

She wanted to say more, I could tell, but Natalie began to scream. She made a break for the door, kissed Logan hard, yelled one final “Go!” and faced the small battle head on.

I didn’t have time to focus on what I was doing, my brain was on autopilot. I grabbed the map, folded it quickly, and stuffed it into my pocket. I shouldered my backpack again, and Peter grabbed me by the arm. Logan followed closely behind, making sure we weren’t being watched by any of the opposing survivors.

It only took Peter a second to push the chest of drawers enough to reveal the trap door. He entered first, and then I began to climb down the ladder myself. Logan jumped in behind me. The ladder was long, and a little slippery, but it was fine…until it wasn’t. I’d seen Sawyer standing nearby, ready to close the door and push the furniture back on top of it until we were clear. But I wasn’t expecting the thud when it happened, when we plunged into darkness, when I lost my grip.

Just like we were out of time when it came to being ambushed by the opposing survivors, it seemed I was out of time myself. Or maybe just out of luck. I barely registered anything more than this thought as I fell, and fell, and fell, and seemingly fell forever, into the darkness, being followed only by the sounds of Peter and Logan calling my name.
♠ ♠ ♠
Word count: 1461

You know I had to do it to 'em.

Sorry about it.

- abigail