I'm not even sure how far I'll take this. Right now, though, it's marked as complete. If I get any reviews from anyone who wants me to continue, I might give it a couple more chapters.
I should really be finishing my summer projects before I go back to school on the 22nd e_e
They were fucked. That's all there was to it.
After fighting, and surviving, and all the bullshit they went through, it all turned out to be worth nothing.
The bridge in New Orleans had been bombed only minutes before they arrived. Only minutes.
They literally watched the fighter jets fire the massive explosives, and after they rushed to get there, their fears were true.
CEDA had failed them, and they were now left for dead, for the thousandth and final time.
"I can't...fucking...believe it..." the con-man finally spoke up, after almost half an hour of silence, as the four sat, defeated, on dead cars, on iron wrote benches or, in such a state of shock as Rochelle, simply on the road, and they listened.
"I can't...Fucking...Believe it!" Nick rose from his seat on the bench, his voice a hoarse yell, strangled with anger and pain, and hefted his crowbar into a nearby window that somehow managed to stay intact up until this point. As the broken glass clattered, Nick went on.
"After all the fucking 'New Orleans' this, and fucking 'New Orleans' that..." he moved his arms about, trying to get a point across that wouldn't matter in the end. He huffed, taking in his surroundings, bits of burning structure fluttering in the air as it landed at their feet.
"We finally fucking get here, and we're still gonna die anyway!" He screamed it to the top of his lungs, so the whole infected world could hear.
Ellis, who had been sitting on the hood of a Pinto, facing away from everyone, peeked his head around. His eyes were tinged red, and puffy. The trails of his tears were visible through the dirt that had been washed away by them, and created wet marks on the neck of his faded Tee.
He sucked in a breath, trying to come up with words to calm the con-man, but as he thought, he remembered there would be no reason to keep him calm, so he could fight another day. All the reasons for everyone's actions had suddenly been wiped out.
And on that note, "Goddamn it, Nick, I am officially done with yo shit!" Coach rumbled, looking his hard, defeated eyes at the gambler.
Nick turned and glared daggers at Coach, "Oh fucking wow! Look how much I care!" he roared, his shoulders scrunched high.
Coach lifted from the electric box he had been sitting on and started towards Nick. Nick smirked, "Bring it, Old man! I've been waiting a long time to kick your ass!" Nick took a stance, and Coach grumbled as he got closer.
Ellis, who had been watching them both, finally sprang up to put himself in between the two men.
"H-hey now..." his voice was tentative and slow to come.
Ellis' hand touched Nick's chest before he swiped it away, and Coach stopped just an inch before contact.
"Stay out of it, Ellis." Nick spat, still glaring at Coach.
The big man grumbled before turning away, "I'm not gonna stoop ta'ya level Nick." going to pick up his shot gun that he'd laid against the electrical box.
Nick snorted, "What ya'gonna do, go solo?" Nick scoffed.
Rochelle's head snapped up from the comment, seeming to come out of her daze.
"I don't care, just as long as I ain't got to stick with you for another damn mile." Coach grumbled, his voice wavering a bit as he started back the direction they had come.
"Wh-what? Coach, what are you-" Ellis was starting to panic, until he was cut off.
"Hush, boy. This is my decision." Coach faced Ellis, his face tied in a knot of desperation.
"It was hard to get to this point...But now...I just cain't!" Coach yelled. It was the first time anyone had seen Coach so... out of character. He turned again, his head shaking shamefully. He hoped the good Lord wouldn't frown upon him for this.
Ellis' head turned to the sound of Nick. Laughing.
"I fucking knew it..." his face was in his hand, the other at his hip. He drew another breath and started to laugh, but even harder than when he began.
Rochelle stood with shaky movements. "Coach...Wait!" she picked up her rifle and sprinted after him.
Good, Ellis thought, she would be able to talk some sense into him. Tell him he's being irrational and that they should all talk it out normally. He watched as she caught up with him and they talked. And talked. And then she turned back around.
She ran back to Ellis, and he was getting panicked again when Coach wasn't coming back with her, but giving him a sorrowful look from far away.
Rochelle came back with tears in her eyes, and before he could ask, her arms were flung around him. She began sobbing profusely.
"Ellis, sweety, honey..." she began weeping again.
"Rochelle, wh-what's wrong?" he asked shakily.
Nick came up behind him, only by two feet.
"The family's splitting up. She's leaving you with me." he answered his question emotionlessly.
"No..." he began whispering, his arms slinking around her smaller form.
Coach and Rochelle both knew that Ellis couldn't ever be parted with Nick, for whatever reason, and it wasn't in anyone to actually leave Nick on his own, no matter how much of a jackass he acted to be.
The split was right down the middle, and it almost seemed to be pre-formed.
"Rochelle, no..." he squeezed her tight.
"Sweety, I'm sorry. I'm so sorry!" she nuzzled her face into his shoulder, wetting his shirt while a hand was clutched at the same material. Both their forms started shaking as they began crying again for the second time that day.
Nick sighed, throwing his hands up in the air and behind his head, not really sure why, but started walking in circles. His nerves were everywhere, and with an emotional separation with the group of people he'd been fighting alongside for who knows how long, it only served to give him a head ache. He needed a cigarette.
Rochelle started pulling away gently. At the feel of it, Ellis loosened his grip on her until his arms fell to his sides. Rochelle leaned up and gave him a soft kiss on his cheek.
"You-you stay safe, you hear me?" she swept back a few strands of hair that were obscuring Ellis' eyes behind his ear. It had grown considerably sense they had started their journey and was in much need of a haircut.
"I'm gonna think of ya every day." he sniffed a bit, and took the hand that had moved his hair into his own.
She smiled sadly, her eyes apologetic.
She hugged him again, but briefly, before she started walking, backwards, to Coach. As she got closer she finally turned and ran back to him.
Ellis held back another pained sob as he watched them. As they regrouped, they both turned around and gave a wave. Ellis waved back.
And they were gone.
Ellis fell into another mess of sobs, falling to his knees, face in his hands.
Nick stood behind him, watching his shoulders bob, his back lurched. He wasn't expecting the kid to get up right away so they could get the hell out of there, but the sun was setting fast, and he wasn't going to die in the dark because the kid was feeling abandoned.
So, he tried soothing the kid, to hopefully get him to hurry it up.
He got down on a knee beside him and started to rub small circles on his back. At first, it made Ellis jerk, his sobs stopping to stare up at him. But when he saw that Nick had a far off look in his eye, he understood.
"Come on kid. It's getting dark. We better find shelter."
Ellis shook with cold, and nodded once. He sniffed back all emotion as he stood and went back to the pinto to retrieve his hunting rifle and hat, which he had taken off in defeat to run his hands through his hair. He sighed heavily and shook his shoulders out, preparing himself to get back to business, at least until he had a moment to himself.
Nick nodded in approval. He looked back in the direction the others had left in and decided to go the opposite way, down the road. It would be the most awkward thing to have to run into them.
"Come on, this way." he realized he wouldn't need to be yelling anymore, now that it was just him and Ellis. The kid stuck to him like glue as it was, but now, it seemed if he were any slower, Ellis would be stepping on the backs of his shoes.
He didn't want to make the mistake and take them to the last safe house they were just at, and decided to get them to a place that was at least decent enough. Now, with Coach off their backs, he could do what he wanted.
He just hoped the big man hadn't been right all along.
"We're gonna take up one of these houses here." he commented. The infected that they had killed before stilled laid in crumpled heaps, strewn about on the hard road. The dead faces in different states of agony only brought the feeling of dread over them like a black rain cloud. Nick could slice the tension with a knife.
They came upon a house they had passed on the way to the bridge. It had two stories, and its door seemed to have been reinforced with something on the inside, but the people inside probably hadn't thought of the windows, because they were all busted in.
"Here, we'll block the windows and clear it out." Nick instructed, hopping into an open window. Ellis followed in soon after, wordlessly.
They began plugging off all infected they saw on both floors of the house, picking them up and tossing them out of windows. Soon, the house was clear, and Ellis set about ripping material from whatever he could to board up the windows. Nick finally just dumped out several book cases and started pulling it apart with his retrieved crowbar.
Ellis had found a box of nails underneath the kitchen sink and began to hammer away at the boards with the butt of his pistol. Nick was itching to comment on how dangerous and stupid it was to use his gun as a hammer, but the kid looked so fiercely at the task, he didn't want to set him off.
Soon, Nick was lugging boards up the stairs behind Ellis, now boarding up the upper floor. Ellis made quick work of the remaining two windows and as soon as he was done, he gave a sigh and wiped a bit of sweat from his forehead. If it weren't for the fact that there wasn't a large warm hand clasping him on the back, telling him he'd done a fine job, he would have almost forgotten that it was just him and Nick now.
The smile that was about to grace his lips suddenly lost its courage at the thought.
His head fell forward and a sob escaped instead.
"Why..." he spoke softly. His shoulders began shaking as he folded into himself, wrapping his arms around his knees from where he had been hammering in the last nail.
Nick heard Ellis and turned from making suitable sleeping arrangements. There were only two rooms in the house, the one that was apparently the parents, and then the child's room. The child's bed was entirely too small for either of them, and the few things they had in the way of furniture were either stacked against the door, or stained with blood, and smelt disgusting.
Nick sighed when he saw the kid crying again, and now that they were officially out of danger for the night, there was no real reason to stop him.
"What am I gonna do with you…" he commented under his breath. He wasn't one for actually giving comfort at times like these, but he really didn't want to be a flat out jerk. He didn't want to make the kid anymore miserable now that it was just the two of them. Nick being a complete ass, plus losing two people the kid probably considered family, on top of a fucking zombie apocalypse…
"Ellis…" Nick kneeled down beside him and started taking his hands away from his face. At first, he resisted, trying to yank his hands free, but his attempts were weak, and he finally gave in.
Nick stood, pulling Ellis by one of his hands to stand as well, and once he was on two feet he guided the sobbing boy to the bed.
"Lay down, Kid." He mumbled to Ellis, pulling back the blanket so he could get under them.
Ellis' cries had diminished to slight hiccups as he followed Nick's instructions, curling up into a ball on the mattress as Nick laid the blanket over top him.
Nick couldn't help it and took Ellis' hat off and set it on the night stand, "You get some rest." Squeezing his shoulder reassuringly, Nick turned to go sleep on the smelly couch.
But, a hand tugging at his suit sleeve stopped him dead in his tracks, he turned back.
"N-Nick…don't leave me…please."
All the fear he'd ever seen was now on his face, wide eyed, chest heaving, and on the verge of more tears. Great, does he think just because everyone else was leaving left and right that he's going to leave, too? It was hard for Nick to deny that face.
"I'm not going anywhere." He murmured in the growing darkness. Ellis' gaze never faltered, and he held tight to the gambler still.
Nick sighed, defeated, and reluctantly started crawling onto the other side of the bed. Only until Nick lay down close to Ellis, their bodies barely centimeters from touching, did the younger relax back into the mattress, uncurling his fist from him. Instead of being able to take his hand back though, Nick was stunned into more silence as the hick brought his hand around himself and held it tight to his chest. Ellis then leaned his body into Nick, his face now submerged in the dark brown curls of Ellis' head.
Nick's whole demeanor softened when he heard and felt Ellis sigh in comfort. He let the kid have this moment, this moment of reassurance. Nick had a pretty good feeling there would be even worse moments that they would have to share as they were now down to themselves in this world. What they would do now, he had no idea. Maybe keep going west? Head north to where the frost of winter would hopefully slow the infected down?
Only with the light of morning would there be answers. Right now, though, there was only mind numbing sleep.