rachelkiley: WHAT HAPPENED | Rachel Kiley note: This is one…


WHAT HAPPENED | Rachel Kiley

note: This is one half of a companion fic (what happened / here) to the short films In the Dark (dir. Rachel Kiley) and Angie & Zahra (dir. Yulin Kuang). Read the other half here.

Read more about the Darkness A to Z transmedia experiment here.

Sam stands outside the house, staring up at the broken windows, the tattered door. If anyone asks, he’d say he doesn’t know why he came back here, months after the fact.

But he does know. It was the last place he’d been able to convince himself things would work out. That he could have some semblance of the life he wanted, even in the midst of the chaos the world had been thrown into.

It was the memory that drew him back to this place. He didn’t have much beyond memories these days, anyway.

He was surprised he found it. Emily had always been the one who was good with direction. Just like Iris was good with protecting them. And Emily was good with people. And Iris was good at finding food, and supplies. Well, Iris was good at just about everything. That was one of the things that had drawn him to her. One of the many things. And Sam was… well, he wasn’t. Good at anything, or for anyone. That’s what it came down to, didn’t it?

The fact that the house was still standing almost rivaled his surprise that he’d found it again in the first place. They’d discovered months ago that looters were often one step behind or ahead of them, ransacking whatever buildings they came across. The kind of people who just want to watch the world burn — that’s what Emily had said. She talked poetic like that sometimes. Another thing he can’t do.

He reminds himself that “they” is just “him” now.

“Umm, hi?”

Sam registers the voice with a slower reaction time than a person should have in the midst of an apocalypse, but it’s been awhile since he’s come across another person.

The girl is standing off to the side of the house, a paintbrush in her hand, and he realizes the smell of paint fumes is strong in the air, out of place in a world where everything tends to smell like death and decay.

He blinks.

“I didn’t think it’d still be here.” The words tumble from his own mouth, quiet, scratchy, and part of him knows suddenly inviting this strange peppy girl into the conversation he’d been having inside his own head won’t make any sense, but they were the only words he could think of at the moment. The only ones he was willing to let out, anyway.

His eyes dart back to the front porch, and he can’t help but wonder what words had been let out there, weeks before, to have changed everything so completely.

He wonders if he should have stopped it. If he could have.

If that would have mattered, or if this was all just…some inevitable collision they’d been headed to from the day he first met the girls.

“Are you here for our SAT prep services?” he hears this new girl ask, and he briefly wonders if he actually heard her right.

“What?” Sam shakes his head, trying to make sense, not just of… SAT prep services? Really? But also of these different times his mind keeps jumping between like some confusing and poorly cut movie. “No, I… I shouldn’t have come here.”

His feet carry him back the way he came before he can make the conscious decision to go that way himself, through the yellow grass and towards the trees off in the distance, leaving the confused girl behind him. Wishing he was leaving his thoughts of Iris there with her, too.

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