All around me are familiar faces,
Worn out places, worn out faces.
Bright and early for the daily races.
Going nowhere, going no where.

Movements like cancer—slow and awkward, waning strength leaving numbed and bruised hands. Flashes of light, each one taking a life. Still they came like a stuttering wave. Rising and falling like the tide.

They moved, expressionless, too numb to care. Instinct drowned them in stoicism. They were inhuman. They were soldiers without a cause. Survival drove them. Their cure was a bullet in the brain.

Flashes of light, smoke curling into the air, the smell of gunfire, the deafening soreness. These things made them feel safe. Nick was sure he would never be able to sleep again without the taste of sulphur on his lips. His aches lulled him to sleep, each bruise a reminder that he was still alive.

Their tears are filling up their glasses,
No expression, no expression.
Hide my head I wanna drown my sorrows,
No tomorrow, no tomorrow.

Finally a room, a place to bar up the walls and humanize themselves again. A place to feel again, to hold each other and cry. I'll hold your hands if you hold mine. I know it's bad out there, but we have each other. There's still the four of us. We still have us.

He rested his head and his body ached in protest. His back arched, eyes closed, lips parted to breathe in air that tasted tainted. But it tasted right. It tasted familiar. It tasted like tomorrow.

And I find it kind of funny, I find it kind of sad.
The dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had.
I find it hard to tell you, I find it hard to take.
When people running circles it's a very, very...
Mad world, mad world.

He was startled awake, adrenaline thundering through his heart, heating his veins. He blinked enough times to remind himself he was still alive. The smile on his lips fell away. For a moment he thought the decision to give up had been decided for him. There had been pain for only a moment and then peace. Utter peace. He wept at the memory, calloused hands touching at his wet cheeks, sobs shaking him to the core. He had felt so much peace.

Ellis reached for him. A hand on his shoulder, one taking his. The young man pulled him into a sitting position, hands clasped, eyes meeting with uncertainty. More hands came, comforting his shoulders. The four closed together, hands clutching together, foreheads pressed together. There was comfort, but there was no peace.

Children waiting for the day they feel good,
Happy birthday, happy birthday.
And I feel the way that every child should
Sit and listen, sit and listen.

This one looked in pain. Her entire right arm was missing, flesh peeled away, raw bone exposed. She moved with a limp, her little body rocking with each faltering step. Rasping breath left her, caught in her decaying mouth and lips. She still had the reminiscence of glitter. Her shoes lit up like fireworks with each step she took.

Nick lifted his pistol. His eyes closed.

It's a mad world.

Went to school and I was very nervous.
No one knew me, no one knew me.
Hello teacher, tell me, what's my lesson?
Look right through me, look right through me.

He could still remember it. Sunsets over white-smothered trees. Shimmering ice under a moonlit sky. Hot cocoa and smiles. It snowed every Christmas. He was always shoveling a path to his parents home. His father would stand proudly in the window, coffee in hand, nodding to himself as if to say I raised him right. Nick let him think that. Afterwards, mother would cover him blankets and kisses, hot cocoa pressed into his hands.

But here, there was no snow here, no father to make proud. No mother to smooth back his hair.

Just this endless mad, mad world.

And I find it kind of funny, I find it kind of sad
The dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had.
I find it hard to tell you, I find it hard to take.
When people run in circles it's a very, very
Mad world, mad world, enlarging your world.
Mad world.

A/N: Lyrics are "Mad World" by Gary Jules. Last few nights I've been going to sleep listening to this song and I kept seeing the exact same scenes of the L4D2 crew over and over.. They demanded to be written with. It's been awhile...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think sulphur is a component of gunpowder (still?).

This is one of those times when I really wish I had 1) my tablet pen, god do I miss it and 2) an ability to use flash because I would love to make short video of these "memories". I may eventually draw a comic if/when I get a new pen... don't know if I have that talent/patience