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13.33% 3 Years Later / Chapter 6: Past

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Chapter 6: Past

Talking is not my forte.

Even before the time everything went to shit, I never mastered the art of it. In fact, more people could drag more words out of me with a text than if we met face to face.

It's funny, but pathetic really.

As I sat in front of Bryce, I realize I don't know what to say. But can you blame me? Months-fuck years of barely speaking and then suddenly I have to think of full sentences to say to him?

He wasn't looking too good either. I can't tell if it was because of the climb or just because I'm in front of him, but he looks as though he's ready to cry. His mouth keeps opening, ready to speak, yet one look in my direction and he closes it.

It was silent for a moment.

"3... 3 years huh...?" I mumbled, more like whispered, to him. My eyes shooting up to meet his halfway as a strange sense of emptiness began to fill me. Whatever I should be feeling was gone, just a sense of longing for something I used to have I supposed.

He nodded, his face screwed up in his own memories before relaxing. A small laugh left him as if he just realized how stupid it was to be worked up over this meeting. At least that's what I hope, for that's what I feel at this moment.

I just got to wing it and maybe it'll come natural to me. Talking to a relic of my past.

"S-so this is where you've been holed up at huh?" He tentatively asked, perhaps unsure as to how to start.

I just shook my head, trying to relax into my seat.

"No no.. uh I've just came here a few months ago," I fiddled with my fingers trying hard not to feel as though I was being judged, "I've been rotating where I stay at."

"That's smart."

He pulled a chuckle from me as I nodded in agreement.

"I mean, if you stay for too long then you're bound to run into trouble right?" I laughed as he nodded. I found myself eyeing his weapons and clothes, curiosity peaking my interest as I asked him where he's been at. He must've noticed my gaze for he looked down as well, tilting his gun over, before speaking.

"Wondering where I got the gear?"

I nodded as a cheeky smile spread across his face.

"I was picked up by a Military group. Well..." He paused, contemplating his words by scratching the patches of beard he had, "Technically no. They weren't actively part of it. Just old time veterans, military fanatics, and the likes."

A part of my stomach sort of dropped, a memory resurfaced of a time when I ran into one of those. But for the sake of him, I just smiled and nodded.

"They gave me the guns, the gear, they were a second family." He laughed, shaking his head, "I'll forever be in debt by their kindness. Even allowed me to leave so I can come back."

"For what?"

Whatever he was planning to say next was suddenly lost. Mouth agape as my words seemingly short circuit. Looking down, he began to ponder again. Perhaps trying to figure out why he did come back.

"To find friends, see home, the usual I guess." He decided to finally say. His tone this time low with the hints of an unknown sadness as the undertones. Perhaps even he realized the impossibility of such a wish but did not want to acknowledge it. Not now, not while he found one person from back then.

I just gave him a soft smile, placing my hand on his shoulder as he nodded. Holding it in his own hand as he stared into the ground.

"D-Did you see anyone?"

I just shook my head. Pulling my hand back as I pulled my knees to my chest. My head suddenly began to throb as I tried to really figure out when was the last time I saw someone from back then.

"N..No. Not since... Not since the day when everything went down."

"Well what about Evan? Or Nerys?"

His question sent a pang of pain through my head. The names beginning to echo back and forth through my ears.

What about them?

Where are they?

My vision began to flash. Pulling me away from Bryce's concerned face to a dark room. Of blood red skies and black surfaces. Of a groan then a scream.

"-rie! Marie!"

The sound came back. My body unfroze as I slowly began to hear my heavy breathing. My eyes shakily turned upwards as Bryce's body was placed in front of me. His hands on my knees as he stared with the upmost worry. Silently, he pulled me into a hug. My first for a long time.

"H-Hey. Don't worry, you don't need to speak about it. I understand." He said, looking past me and towards the window.

"Had to off my family, I get the pain."

he let go, standing up to stretched.

"Let's not think about the past, instead," He walked over to his bag and suddenly pulled out a rather large looking flask, "let's get drunk and celebrate finding each other!"

A soft chuckle found it's way out of my mouth. Shaking my head as I rolled my eyes.

"Should we really be getting drunk as shit during the apocalypse?"

"Hey man, gotta find something to entertain ourselves!"

With that, he took a gulp. Soon passing it to me with an expectant look on his face. With a sigh, I accepted his offer. Allowing the rather burning liquid to slide down my throat as my features contorted to one of pure disgust without my knowledge. This, of course, prompted a laugh from my companion.

For a while we stayed like that. Laughing off past anxiety and freight for one night. It was great to just not worry so much. Just to get shit faced and talk to a relic of the past.

It wasn't long until it hit night time.

"I'll take first watch," I offered as I walked to the window, "Feel free to just sleep anywhere yeah?"

"You sure about it dude?"

I turned to nod at him as he sighed. Soon rummaging around to prepare for bed as I looked back outside the window.

For what little moment of festivity it was, it's now gone now. The bleak reality of this world came back when I peered at the bodies below. The rain coming almost relentlessly now as their bodies danced. Struggling to move towards the buildings as if they were looking for cover.

"Do... Do you ever think they remember anything?" I found myself asking. More so to myself then anything. That didn't stop Bryce from responding though. Propping himself up on his arms from his place on the floor to look at me.

"Huh?"

I laughed at his response and just shrugged. Leaning against the window sill and staring out at the fractured fragments of what was society.

"It's kinda strange... I've noticed it from staring out for too long. But they... they seem to act as if they remember things.

"Like during the weekdays, students still go to their old schools. I encountered that when I tried holing up at one of the highschools near by... Or how more of them meander about in the malls during fridays and saturdays but come monday and it is dead as a whistle. Hell, even now! It's raining and they're all scrambling for cover..."

I found myself trailing off, a part of me retreating as I speculated just what I'm trying to say. What my observations were indicating.

"I... I never notice that before." Bryce's voice came, whispering as if he just realized it himself.

I just sighed.

"Nevermind Bryce. Get some rest. I'll wake you up later."


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