The sun beamed in Alice's eyes. The light that emanated from the outside was cut in small pieces by the blinds that blocked it. Specks of dust and hairs flew across the beams, sometimes sticking in her bright blue irises. She coughed and opened up her eyes, discovering a surprisingly neat room. There was a flower-coated wallpaper all over, and an old-fashioned television set right upon her. It had a very comforting feeling to it, which made Alice forget about the cold horrors she had been a victim of in the last few days.
-"Hello?" she softly asked, sitting straight up. "Shit... what was his name? Craig? Are you there?"
The beams of sunlight reflected on the television screen, creating a blinding light. Alice lifted the blankets off herself and turned, jumping off the bed she was in. "What the hell?" she asked. "What happened?"
Limping lightly, she marched to the door and turned the warm doorknob. She could see the same plaza she was in during her last memories. "Craig?" she asked, turning her head. "Craig, where the hell are you?"
There was a cheerful greeting around her. "Oh, there you are!" said a voice. It was very sweet and smooth. "We were worrying!"
As she turned, Alice could recognize the voice. Heather stood beside her, grabbing her arm with a cheeky smile on her face. Alice smiled, remembering her past moments in the hotel. She could sense Heather yammering on and on as she dragged her down the plaza. There was no real need to listen, as the entire layout of the hotel seemed interesting. It was strange to recognize how places as warm as that one still stood as the dead scratched their walls, scrambling to have a taste of their comfort. Her old high school classroom flew around in her head, making her shiver at the thought of going back into its cold, hateful atmosphere. Finally, Heather stopped pulling her around as they reached the dining table that welcomed her to the hotel a few days ago.
-"Great search, Antonio" said Heather, sighing as she let go of Alice.
-"Oh, come on!" said a beefy, tan man sitting at the end of the table. "I looked around everywhere! I swear!". Alice recognized him from before. He was the man who opened the gates when they first came in.
-"Well, I found her. That's the most important part. She was sleeping in 102, by the way" said Heather, sitting down. Alice followed, still struggling to keep her eyes open.
-"Sleep well?" asked Deanna, the girl in the glasses who offered her a meal in her first day. "Did the bed bugs bite?"
-"Uh... no, I... I don't..." mumbled Alice.
-"It does seem like you did. There's drool all over your lips" snorted Deanna.
-"I... oh..." said Alice, sliding her sleeve by her mouth. "I'm a bit confused... what is this place?"
-"Oh, jeez!" said another woman sitting near Deanna. "My God, Heather, didn't you say anything?"
-"I did! I told her everything!"
-"Well, she says you didn't. You came in a couple of days ago. You came with some bearded dude, remember? Russell said he picked you up in the woods"
-"Oh... yeah, that was Rob..."
-"Yeah, him. Russell brought you here so you could have some food. He said you looked really tired when he found you"
-"Yeah... I had been trying to sleep in logs"
-"Heh. Well, your friend turned and bit our nurse. Russell put both of them down"
-"Oh my God... I'm so sorry, I didn't-"
-"Nah, it's alright. She was a slag, anyways. It looks like you passed out when you saw all the blood over the nursery. We carried you to a room, and here you are"
-"I was with someone else. Some bald guy with a stubble. I told Russell about him, He said he'd look for him"
-"Oh, yeah. He came in a couple of days ago, actually-"
The girl's speech was interrupted by a scream. Strangely, it wasn't the kind of scream you'd hear when someone got bit. It sounded cheerful and relieved. "Alice!" it called.
Alice turned around, and saw something that opened her eyes wide. There he was, Delmont, just as she'd seen him at the woods. He had his arms spread, and a smile that went across his face. She sprung out of the bench she sat in and rushed to hold him, surprised.
-"Delmont! I was worrying so much!" she cried, holding the man tightly. He patted on her shoulder and smiled. Alice raised her head and was able to see Craig and Russell, who also had wide smiles on their faces.
-"Aw, I missed you too. Good thing these gentlemen over here found you. We'd be starving out there"
-"That wasn't a problem. We're always happy to have someone else join us. Why don't you guys head over to the table? You must be starving" invited Craig.
The two smiled and sat on the long bench upon them. Deanna grinned and pulled a plate towards her. "So, how are you two holding up? Need anything?" she asked, picking on the food by the plate with her spoon.
-"I'm... uh... still a bit confused. What's wrong with Ethan?" asked Alice.
-"Honey, we'd better not talk about that" said a voice behind her. It was Cheryl. Her long, blonde hair was wrapped up in a ponytail, and she wore a light, pink outfit. A set of stamped birds flew around on her trousers and shirt. "He's kind of the black sheep of the group. Never talks, never eats, never shares. He's just there to bark orders at us". Cheryl sat down beside Alice and smiled.
-"Heather, didn't you know him? Russell said he lived on our apartment complex" asked Alice.
-"Yeah... he wasn't much fun. He'd do the craziest things whenever Russell came over. He had some... weird thing about me. Most of the time he'd look jealous whenever Russell saw me" said Heather, blushing.
-"Why did you guys bring him along? He's a terrible leader, and... he's really creepy" said Alice.
-"Oh, dear, we would've let him behind if we could. Thing is, he owned the car we used to get out of the building. There was nothing we could do. We'd be six feet under if he hadn't come along" stated Heather, looking down. There was an air of discomfort around her.
-"Anyways... we should, uh... change the subject. He'll probably throw us outside if he hears what we're talking about. Let's all just chill out. Deann made some nice breakfast for us all"
-"Finally, someone appreciates it!" chuckled Deanna, pushing the plate towards Cheryl. There was a small portion of dry, hot scrambled eggs. They didn't seem very appetizing at first, but it was the best they could have.
Alice scooped some with her spoon and placed it in her mouth with a fake smile. The first taste of decent food she took in weeks was dry and coarse. Her fake smile expanded across her freckle-covered face, finally helping her stretch the sad frown that had been in that spot for days. There was something in the spongy taste of the bite that comforted her. It felt as if the corpses outside didn't matter. It made her feel home.
A series of heavy steps interrupted Alice's nostalgic thinking. She turned, and saw Ethan marching towards the table. He had a discomforted look on his face, as always.
-"Uh... I need the supply team, please" mumbled Ethan, fiddling with his fingers.
-"What? Why?" asked Heather, looking up again.
-"The canned food supply is... uh... running low. Just go"
-"Jesus fucking Christ, what is this?" asked Antonio, standing up. "Look, man, you can't just go around wasting our food and then making us go out there and get more for you. That's enough"
-"Do it now. It won't take time. Please, just... go" said Ethan.
-"What do you mean it won't take time? Of course it'll take time, you puto! We need to get everything organized! Fuck, why you gotta be so dumb?!" shouted Antonio, walking away from the table.
-"Antonio, calm down. He needs us to go. It'll be for our own good. We actually need some more food oursevles" said Cheryl.
-"What? Now you're defending him? The fuck are you doing? You were just talking shit about him!" asked Antonio.
-"You were? I can't trust any of you here, can I? God, why did I ever think it'd be safe to bring you people in?"
-"What? We brought you in, you shit! It was us who helped you in, and then let you act like a leader!" shouted Deanna, bumping the table as she stood up.
-"Come on, let's not freak out. We'll go on the run, Ethan. Go back to your office, and to... whatever you're doing in there" said Cheryl. She undid her ponytail and stood up from the table with a very serious expression.
- This issue has the first mention of both Rob and Linda since their deaths.
- This issue marks the start of Volume 2.
- This issue marks Delmont's first appearance since Issue 9.