-"Guys... we really need the supplies. We'll eventually run out of them, and you fucking know that. It's just a run down the street. Please, just... help me out with this one" said Ethan, fiddling with his fingers.
-"Look, Ethan, we've all had enough of your bullshit. This group is fucking shattering as this point. No one shares their supplies. No one wants to talk unless they're forced to. No one wants to even leave their room. These rules apply to you too, son. Now, if you want those supplies, you'd better go get them yourself. We won't care if you fucking starve. We're not interested" said Don, finally standing up from his seat. He had a killer frown, and his lips seemed like they were struggling to resist an insult.
-"Grandpa! Stop it!" said Deanna. "You're gonna get hurt!"
-"Stay back, honey. I don't want to splat you with this fucker's blood" said Don, rubbing his wrinkly hands together.
-"Don, sir... I... please, don't... I'll get them myself... just please, don't hurt me!" cried Ethan, stepping away from the table.
Don was serious this time. He'd had enough of Ethan. He'd had enough of him feasting on their supplies and asking for more. He was tired of working for him. Don cracked his knuckles and grunted as Ethan started shivering like a dying rat.
-"Fine!" yelled Alice, getting up from her chair. "We'll go with Ethan. I don't want this to turn into another dilemma"
-"Alice, are you fucking crazy?" asked Heather. "Sit down! This has to fucking happen!"
-"No, she's... she's right. We can't afford to fight anymore" said Russell. He seemed relieved now that he'd been succesful at interrupting Don's rage. "I'm sorry, but... this group is a broken glass. One little touch, one blow, one movement... and it'll shatter and fall on the ground. I don't want that to happen"
-"Honey, please... don't do it. He deserves it" said Heather. "Don's right. We've all had enough of him"
-"Oh, c-come on, guys... you can't be doing this! I've broken my bones just to get you food! I've done everything in my power to keep you safe!" stuttered Ethan.
-"Even you know that's fucking bullshit" said Don. "You've done nothing to help us. People have died... people have been fucking eaten... because of you. You send them out just like that, and they never come back. All you do is bark out orders and do who-knows-what in your office!"
-"This... this uh... requires a voting. I demand a voting" said Ethan, gulping down a block of nervous saliva.
-"You can't demand anything anymore. You can't make us" said Don.
-"No, no. He's right. The group is divided on this one. We'd better vote" said Cheryl. "I... I agree with Don, but... we still have to keep our remaining humanity. We can't just waste it like this"
-"Yes... uh... yes. She's... she's right" mumbled Ethan, straightening his glasses.
-"There's no need for that. I'll go. All I want is some order around here. We'll go, take the supplies, come back and... distance ourselves. The closer we get, the more we'll end up fighting" said Alice Her voice finally sounded like it was ready to take a stand.
-"Alice is right. I'll go too" said Russell, running his hand through his hair.
-"Russell... Jesus... why are you doing this?" asked Heather. "Are you seriously trying to help him?"
-"Trust me, babe, I don't. At all. I just want the group to feel like a family again. I... I don't want the fighting to go on. All this unneeded violence is killing me" explained Russell.
-"That's... that's... uh... good. Thanks" said Ethan, trying to sketch out a smile.
-"Come on. We're leaving" said Russell, turning around and walking towards the jeep near the main gate.
-"You're saved by the fucking bell, kid" said Don, twitching his face. "You'll fucking see..."
-"Grandpa, calm down. No need to kill him" said Deanna, grabbing her grandfather's arm and helping him sit down.
Ethan smiled as he saw Alice and Russell shuffling down the path to the gate. They had undirectly helped him squirm out of his problems with Don. At last, he had an excuse to avoid a beating.
Russell jumped on the jeep. He shoved the key into the groove by the steering wheel and sighed, comforted by his actions. He'd found a way to finally bind the group together.
Alice followed, climbing onto the back of the jeep. As she plopped herself down on her seat, she felt a lump on her pocket. There it was, the paper shirt Mr. Damon had done back in the classroom. She remembered the time she was forced to sleep in that cold, distant room, knowing that every single one of her friends was being munched on outside. She hadn't had the guts to go out and help them. Alice remembered that fleeting happy moment she had with the teacher. He felt bad for her, and whipped out a page from one of Bebe's binders. He folded it, and after a while, he had a tiny shirt. She remembered his smile. She remembered her attempt at making her feel better. She remembered the small moment of joy. The silver lining among the storm. A sad drip fell onto the crumpled paper.
The car's rumbling woke Alice up from her daydream. Her eyes hurt, and her tears had dried away, leaving a rough sensation down her cheeks.
-"Alice, you okay?" asked Russell. "You were whispering some pretty sad stuff to yourself"
-"Really? Oh, shit, sorry. I just... remembered something. It's okay" said Alice.
-"Eh, tell us. It's okay. We've all been through sad shit"
-"No, no. It's nothing. I'm okay"
-"Don't try to hide it. We know you're sad because of something. Tell us. It'll be our little secret"
-"It's just... my old group. They... they all died. There was nothing I could do to help them. My hands were tied"
-"Oh... I... I'm sorry"
-"No, don't worry- it's my fault. It was all because of me"
-"If your hands were tied, how was it your fault? It's all destiny. Their fate said they had to die there and in that way. You can't interfere with stuff like that"
-"No, no. They died because of me. I... I could've prevented it, but... I simply didn't think it through. All I cared about was my survival, not theirs. If only I'd... I'd known I'd be so lonely after their death..."
-"Lonely? Alice, you us. We're your friends"
-"You... you don't get it, do you? I'm surrounded by people, but... I still feel like I'm alone. Like there's nothing to live for right now. There's this big, giant hole on my heart that reminds me that... no one's family anymore. Sure, there's actual families like Craig and Cheryl's, but the others... we're just strangers that got glued together like a fucking macaroni frame. We're all unstable, and... none of us belong"
Russell was quiet. Every once in a while, he would sniff or cough, but he wouldn't cross a word. Alice's answer just showed what was really going on. His plan of trying to make the group come together once again was not working. It never would. The group would never be a family, no matter how hard he tried to integrate everyone in it. They'd just be strangers that met because the world brought them together. If those corpses hadn't started walking around, they probably wouldn't have met. They would each live their lives normally, not caring about the people they would probably, just probably, meet.
The car stopped.
They were faced with a rather small convenience store. It was covered in flyers and posters, and the giant neon sign that read its name was still twinkling small specks of energy.
-"Here we are. Uh... Ethan, why don't you go ahead and pick your things? I'll... I'll just stay here" said Russell without turning his head.
-"Alright. I'll be right back, I promise" cheered Ethan. He had been succesful into manipulating the group i his favor.
-"I'll go with you. Wait up" said Alice, climbing down from the car.
The store seemed empty. It hadn't been touched in months. Although the posters outside had been damaged by the weather, the general look of it seemed untouched.
-"I... I missed this place" chuckled Ethan, prancing up to the entrance. "It's been a while since I first came"
-"Alright, alright. Cut the greetings. What do you need? We'd better get out of here before they start worrying" said Alice, walking up to the sliding door.
-"Not much. Just... a few cans, some water... maybe some crackers, peanut butter... nuts, granola..."
-"Hurry up, then!" cried Alice as she walked into the store. "There's no time to-"
She was interrupted by a realization.
The store had been touched. The whole place seemed like it had been ransacked. The few items that were left in the shelves were either destroyed or completely useless. A stench flew all around the store as the spilled cans and melted popsicles stuck to the ground.
-"No... no... no... NO!" screamed Ethan, falling to his knees. "FUCK! FUCK! FUCK!"
-"Shit... let's... let's just take a look around. I'm... I'm sure we can find something" mumbled Alice, walking rapidly towards the first aisles. There was nothing around, just wrecked cans and spilled liquids. "Fuck... isn't there another store nearby?" she asked.
-"No... only this one. Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck! Why do these fucking things keep happening to me?! FUCK!"
-"Listen, Ethan, just... just calm down. There's no need to make any noise" said Alice.
-"What the fuck? The whole store has been robbed! There's nothing here! Nothing at all! Fuck, they're all gonna kill me... fuck, fuck!"
The stench was even stronger as Alice walked down the aisles. It was rancid, as if a corpse had been attacked with old cheese and feces. Every step she took, the smell was stronger and got into her weak nostrils with even more ease.
Finally, she saw the spot where it came from.
Down in the frozen foods aisle, there was a body. It was covered in blood, and his skin was ripping and hanging on the floor. The only tissues that were able to cover his body were weak, making him look like a skeleton covered in string. His face was dented in, as if he'd taken a giant blow to the nose. His teth were bent, and his eyes were buried within deep, dense sockets. His light hair dripped down a green, slimy scalp.
-"Oh, God..." whispered Alice. "ETHAN!"
Above his head was a sign written in blood. It had small lines dripping down to the corpse.
- Antonio (No Lines)
- Janet (No Lines)
- Jillian (No Lines
- Delmont (No Lines)
- Marcos (No Lines)
- Craig (No Lines)