This is the eighth episode of the A New Life Season Three and the thirty-sixth episode overall.
Pete squinted his eye, trying to look for anything on the woods, but the nightfall lighting made difficult to spot anything there. He looked back to Angela, concerned before walking back to the stairs.
Before going, Angela gave another look at the woods, it was calm as never seen before, and nothing moved, not even the leaves at the wind. She hesitated for a couple of seconds before dropping the rifle on the beach chair and following him.
Outside the factory, but still inside the fences, the group was fully reunited around a campfire, cooking a deer Tyrone had hunted earlier that day. In the middle of the circle is Keith, playing an acoustic guitar he had brought back from another trip to Atlanta they had done this week.
Everyone listened in silence, while munching on the meat, until he finished playing. Once finished, everyone in the circle smiled at the scene, except for Tyrone, slightly isolated from everyone. Even Leon, cuddling with Jesse next to Sarah and Nate gave away a faint smile.
"That was so beautiful..." Sarah said. "It felt so... peaceful. Like it was before, like we're all just in a camping trip now."
"I didn't know you could play guitar, Keith." Pete said, biting a piece of his meat.
"It's one of the many things I knew before that don't mean shit anymore in this world." he replied. "Fluent in four languages, professional acoustic, electric and bass guitarist, amazing singing voice... Heh, what a bunch of bullshit."
"Nah man, it's cool to have someone playing these days. We could really use this calm and peace once in a while." Pete said. "Get our thoughts out of just surviving, you know? Make us remember that we're still people, getting to know each other better. I'm living with some of you for months and I barely know you!" he laughed.
"That's true, we've been together all this long and all we know about each other is our names..." Angela said. "I don't even know what any of you did before all this... Well except for Jessie and Keith... And Pete, of course."
"Well why not share it, then? We're on the woods, around a campfire eating meat we hunted... If you ignore the dead trying to eat the flesh out of our bones... It's pretty much a camping trip." Keith said, drinking some water and almost choking on it laughing after seeing the reaction of the others.
"All those things and you still got a good sense of humor." Steph said, leaning against him and kissing him on the lips. "That's why I'm so lucky to have found you."
Looking at that, Matthew lost his grip on his cup and spilled water all over Nate.
"Jesus, Matthew!" the boy said, quickly moving away and trying to clean himself. "What got you?"
"Oh shit, sorry!" he said, trying to clean Nate's jacket after putting his cup down. "I, uh... I gotta take a piss, I'll be right back." he added, awkwardly.
Matthew got up and quickly walked back inside the factory, catching everyone's attention. Some looked at each other, unsure what to say or do, some couldn't control giving away a smile or even a giggle.
"Damn, we drank all the water." Sarah said suddenly, breaking the awkward silence. "I'll get us more." she also left.
"Okay, so... That happened." Leon said.
"That happened." Pete agreed. "Where were we again?"
Sarah got inside and put the jar on a table near the water bottles. She looked for Matthew for quite some time until she found him, alone in his room, with a cigarette lit, smoke coming up.
"Never took you for a smoker." she said kindly, not wanting to startle him. He looked around and saw her.
"I... I'm actually not." he chuckled. "This shit fucking sucks... Took a huff and almost coughed my lungs out. I'm never touching this stuff again."
"Here, give it to me." she said, taking the cigarette and taking a huff herself, before exhaling the smoke. "Damn, this feels good! I didn't have a good one for months... I think it's better that you don't smoke any of these, though. With your... Asthma problem... It's bound to go to shit."
"Yeah... My asthma problem..." he said vaguely, quickly frowning.
"It's about Stephanie, isn't it?" Sarah asked. "That you got all weird at the fire. It's because you like her, right?"
"Is it that obvious?"
"Yes, it's that obvious. Everyone can see you fell on your knees from her from miles away... Well, everyone except for her. But then again she didn't realize that guy Francis was into her either, and we all know how obvious that was."
"Heh. It's just silly of me, thinking that." Matthew faked a smile. "I mean, a girl like her, with a guy like me? No way."
"What's wrong with you?"
"What's not wrong with me? And she's with that guy Keith now, anyway. If I ever had a chance before, I'm dead meat now. I mean look at him, he has everything. He's tall, strong, good-looking with that blond hair and those blue eyes of him... And to top that, he's famous. What am I compared to him? Nothing. I'm a nobody."
Sarah didn't say anything, she just took another huff of the cigarette and waited until Matthew was finished talking.
"When Stephanie went out with Pete and Nate, to get me that medicine... I thought she was doing that because of me... Because she cared about me. Well, she obviously do care about me but-" he made a brief pause and sighed. "Not in the way I wish she would."
Sarah dropped the cigarette on the floor and stepped on it to put the fire down. She approached Matthew.
"You know, Matthew... I'm sure there is someone else that cares about you." she said kindly, as she removed his glasses and stroke his long, brown hair. "In the way you wish someone would care about you. Maybe you just have to look somewhere else. Maybe you just gotta... Open your eyes and see what's right in front of you."
"I... uh" Matthew stuttered, the words wouldn't come out of his mouth.
Sarah moved her hands from his hair and gently caressed his growing stubble. Matthew slowly raised his hand and placed it on top of hers. He gently took it off his face and held it, still looking at her, wordless.
Later that night, Keith was sleeping in his room with Stephanie when suddenly he was woke up by noises nearby. He opened his eyes and started to listen, and realized it was crying noises, and they were coming from the room right next to his.
He slowly raised her arms and got free of her cuddle, got up and went to check. In the room, he found a lone Nate, sitting on the corner of the room, looking at a picture of a happy-looking family with a flashlight. A gray-haired father wearing a military cap and his all black-haired wife, and two sons, one a teenager and one a little boy, wearing a white baseball cap. The boy realized he was there and quickly hid the picture and started to wipe away his tears.
"H-Hey... What's up?" he said, trying to pretend what Keith just saw never happened.
"What's up..." Keith replied, feeling something odd in the air. "So, uh... How's your ankle doing?"
"My... Oh yeah, it's doing great, thanks. It doesn't hurt anymore when I walk so... That's good."
"It is... You're one tough son of a bitch, you know that?"
"Please don't do that."
"The... Swear words. Don't swear, please. It's rude." Nate said. "At least that was my dad would always say. He always hated when someone swore."
"Your dad, uh?" Keith asked. "Okay, cool. If you don't like it, I won't use it near you."
"He would always get mad when Kurt went around swearing at everyone." Nate remembered. "Kurt was my brother. Sometimes he looked like a broken swearing machine. I swear he couldn't finish one sentence without at least one swear word. My dad would flip anytime he heard that..."
Nate sat on a chair in a table near by the door of the room, Keith sat on the chair right next to him, without saying anything, just listening.
"Heh, I used to think my dad was a dick. I hated him sometimes, couldn't understand him." he continued. "But now that he's gone... That they're all gone... I regret being mean to them so much... I miss my dad so much... And my mom too, my brother... My uncle Jerry..." he began to tear up again.
"Hey, hey dude. Easy now, don't cry." Keith said, putting his hand on the boy's shoulder, trying to comfort him. "If this make it easier for you, I never met my father... My real father, that is."
"He died before I was born." Keith said, with a sad face.
"Was he sick?"
"No, he was just a guy that liked his parties, you know what I mean? One day he got into this big bar fight, the other guy had a knife, he didn't know that. Ended up getting stabbed in the kidney. Died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. And then bam, my mom was a widow with a baby coming up. It broke her down."
"Oh... I-I'm sorry to hear that."
"My mom... She did marry again, eventually. I was about your age when I got a step-dad. Stephen was a nice guy, but I didn't accept it at first. 'He isn't my father!' I used to yell at the top of my lungs. Poor Stephen he was just trying to be accepted by me. Would take me to see any sport if it just meant being with me. I was a dick to him, and I only apologized when I was already an adult. I started calling him dad and I still remember the look on his face the first time he heard that. It's one of the things that get burned into your eyes, you'll always see it perfectly in front of you."
"And your mom... And Stephen? Are they gone like my family too?"
"I... I don't know, man. First thing I did when the dead started walking was get the hell out of that airport and go see them. Me and Shaun we- we drove as fast as we could to their house but they weren't there... They could still be out there, who knows? Maybe they're still alive... Maybe they're fine." Keith held the tears as hard as he could.
"I hope they are okay. They seem like really good people."
"They were..." Keith said, leading to a couple of moments of silence "Hey." he suddenly said, raising his fist.
Nate looked to him, suspicious. Keith shook his head, signalizing his fist with a smile. After some more moments of silence, Nate raised his own fist and fist bumped him. They both looked at each other and smiled.
The morning after, the Sun shined hard and everyone woke up early to do their chores. While Angela and Jessie chatted on the sniper area, Tyrone followed Pete around inside the building, while he was walking around checking the supplies.
"I'm telling you man, this guy is up to something!" he said. "He's not to be trusted, I'll tell ya. Sooner or later someone will show up and shoot our asses, and then you'll realize I was right the whole time."
"Uh-huh. Yeah, I know how you feel about him Tyrone." Pete replied, emotionless. "Please, there's been a week since Keith joined us and he's being nothing but a needed help. No one doubts him anymore, just you. I know it's how you are, it's hard for you to trust people but come on."
"I swear this is a fucking mistake, Pete."
"Haha Yes, I know, Leon's exactly like that." Jessie laughed. "Hey, look at that! Over there, what is that?" she pointed in the direction of the woods.
Angela raised the sniper rifle and looked through the aim to see what she was talking about. Out of the woods, she saw six people get out, walking in the direction of the factory.
"Shit, get down!" she whispered.
"Look, Ty. I don't want to argue with you. But you gotta lighten the fucking up, man." Pete said, stopping and finally looking at the man.
"I'll be dead before I 'lighten up'. You're all just letting your guard down, doing exactly what he want you to. If I was in charge, I'd put a bullet in his head in the moment I saw hi-"
Tyrone was cut mid-sentence by a wave of bullets being fired to the air outside, followed by the deep voice of a man yelling.
"Come on out, now! I know you are there, I know how many of you are there, and I know you have what we want!" the man yelled. "Now how about you send someone out here and we have a little talk?"
"What the fuck was that?" Tyrone asked.
"Sarah, get the fucking guns!" Pete ordered. "So it was true, then... There was some shit stain on the woods watching us... Come on Tyrone, we gotta deal with this shit now."
Outside the factory, the six people stood, all holding M4A1 assault rifles. The one who appeared to be the leader, a big and muscular black-haired white man, three more Caucasian men, a black one and a white girl. They stared at the boarded windows of the factory from outside the fences, waiting for someone to show up.
"Shit's about to go down, Andrew. Are you really sure about this?" asked one of the men, bald and with several face tattoos.
"And am I ever not sure about something?" their leader, Andrew replied.
To Be Continued...
- Mr. Howard (Before Outbreak, Confirmed Fate) - Stabbed in the kidney during a bar fight, died of blood loss.
|Episodes of A New Life|
| ||The Beginning • I Promise • Together We Survive • Hope • Reunited • Family Matters • Signals • Everything Dies|
| || Restart • Never Too Careful • Forging Alliances • Our Poor Defenses • |
Just Another Day In The Office • Live Better • Playing With Fire • Mousetrap • Survival Of The Fittest • Do Or Die • Retaliation • Friendly Fire • Life Among Them • Trust • Wolves and Sheeps • Second Chances • Changes • Surrounded By Death • In The Eye Of The Storm • No Going Back
| ||The Past That Haunts Me • Safety • The Clock Is Ticking • Trapped • Rooftops • Apartment 3C • Doubts • Campfire • Bloodshed • Aftermath • Wounded • Dust in the Wind • Family • Friendship • Taken By Storm • Struggle • Mayhem • Farewells|
| ||A Tough Decision • One Long Day|
| ||Barry Special|