I Hold On
Suicide and Silence
The sound of conversation wakes her. The exchanging of names and seemingly warm welcomes, the familiar voice of her older sister making small talk, then a mans voice, then a woman's voice, then another woman's voice and then the man again. All of the chatter was drawn out and meaningless. It was only then Ariel realized she was in an odd place. she never once opened her still tired eyes. She could feel a soft cushion under her head and a warm blanket wrapped around her. She knew she was sweating but she couldn't move. Her body ached something fierce and before she knew it, she was falling back into a deep sleep, almost the same sleep that she could barely recall claiming her last night.
When she woke up again, this time she could move. Slowly sitting up she opened her eyes, shielding them from the sun that was pouring in at her from a window to her left. By now she had thrown the blanket off, it was crumpled in a heap and to her right, most likely having done so in her sleep. She still feels tired but not achingly so as before. Her blue eyes which are darker than usual look around in the space she had somehow ended up in last night. Ariel realizes she's in the back of a vehicle and wonders who's it is and how she had gotten there.
Deciding to find out where she was, she slowly inches her way out of the back of the Hyundai and manages to put both feet on the ground, forgetting one ankle is still swollen and twisted and the moment she tries to stand, let's out a pained yelp, quickly shifting her weight so she sits back down on the bumper instead of falling forward into the grass below her. Her cry of pain didn't go unnoticed and before long, her sister, the man she vaguely remembers from last night and a couple of other people she had never seen before in her life come running towards her, all looks of worry and panic on their faces.
"Ariel! Are you alright?"
Her sister runs up to her, touching her forehead and looks down at her bad ankle which is now wrapped in some kind of brown gauze. Ariel takes in Ellie's worn face and tired green eyes. It appeared as though she hadn't slept all night and if she did, she doubted it did much for her. The brunette simply nods, touching the back of her head as if trying hard to remember what had went on last night. She remembers the barn, the flesh eaters, twisting her ankle and crying for help but after that, everything is fuzzy and vague. The tall man with the broad shoulders, dark eyes and police cap walks up to her a bit more, leaning down and touches her twisted ankle, making her wince a bit.
"It ain't as swollen as it was yesterday so that's a good sign."
He says with a thick southern drawl, his voice making her have a quick flashback to last night.
The man's name was Shane and he had helped save her but that's all Ariel could recall. Ellie let out a sigh and nodded, taking a seat next to the brunette.
"That's good news at least."
Her sibling gave Ariel a smile and wiped a piece of stray brown hair away from her face.
"So this is your sister huh? Well it's nice to meet you Ariel. I'm Andrea and this is Carol."
Ariel glanced up from looking down at her wrapped ankle to see a blonde woman who looked to be about six or seven years older than herself with light blue eyes and her hand outstretched for the younger woman to shake it. Next to her was an older woman who had short silver hair with greenish hazel eyes. She stayed silent. Ariel slowly reached her hand out and gingerly shook Andrea's hand, not saying a word and instead went to looking back down at her ankle. The brunette honestly didn't know what to think or say. Ellie had promised just yesterday there had to have been a camp of survivors just like them somewhere and here they were. The two Lavelle sisters were no longer alone.
"Not much for conversation is she?"
Andrea asked and from out of the corner of her eyes, Ariel could see Ellie shake her head slowly but she smiled.
"These past few weeks she hasn't been much for conversation other than being a depressing pessimist. Fighting for survival can do that to you I guess."
The redhead then sighed and Ariel could feel the bit of guilt she had left rise in her stomach. It was true. All she had done was complain and talked about giving up these past two weeks. The only reason she was even still alive was because of Ellie and Ellie was only alive because of her. Even now Ariel couldn't see why her sister bothered to hold on to a world that practically belonged to the living dead. It was a pointless existence and even more pointless to argue about. So now the younger of the two chose silence, especially in front of their new company. Ariel had thought meeting other living people like her and Ellie would bring back the will to live in her but right now, it only made her see how truly desperate and depressing life had become since the world had ended.
"Well there ain't no need for you to be all depressed now. 'Sides, yesterday it looked to me as if there is still some fight in ya. The way you were crying and yellin' for help made me think you still got the will to live."
Ariel turned her eyes up to meet Shane's, a slight darkness behind her baby blues.
"I was only beggin' for help because I didn't want to be eaten alive or become one of them things. Now if Ellie would let me use one of her guns-"
"Ariel! I told you to never talk like that again!"
Her sister scolded her in outrage at the near mention of killing herself, making Shane raise a brow and Andrea and Carol frown deeply. Ariel just kept looking down, unashamed of what she had said, thinking about the first time she had even mentioned suicide.
It had been the third day of the Lavelle sisters being on the run from the constant drones of the undead. By now they were far away from the college and on the road, headed towards Atlanta, where the only radio station that was still broadcasting said there would be a refugee center set up with food, water and supplies for people in need. Ariel hadn't spoken since the death of their parents and was looking out the passenger's side window as her sister drove along some back road since every time they tried to get on the highway, they found it was either blocked by overturned vehicles or hoards of zombies. By now the gas in the tank of their parents old black sedan was a little under half way so it wouldn't be long before they needed to fill up. That is, if they could find a place that still had some.
"So many abandoned cars."
Ellie had said just as they passed an empty white corvette with two flat tires and blood stains on the hood and windows. Ariel remembered shrugging, thinking to herself that the owner of the vehicle had most likely gotten eaten like her mom and dad.
"We should stop for a bit. I don't know about you, but I'm really hungry. I'm goin' to pull over up here and get some MRE's and water out of the trunk."
Her older sister motioned to the small patch of dirt and gravel on the side of the road up ahead before pulling up and parking on it a few minutes later.
"Stay in the car. I'll be right back. Want anything in particular?"
Ariel had shook her head no, not really caring what she ate. All of the packaged food tasted like crap anyways. So with that she watched as her sister got out and she turned back to looking out the window, not staring at anything in particular. Everything was so bleak. The flesh eater she had killed just after it had taken a chunk of flesh from her fathers chest still was fresh in her mind. If only she had ran back sooner, maybe she could have at least saved her father. Her mother had been long gone by the time she had run back so there was no debating that.
It seemed like no matter what she did she could never impress him, not even in trying to save his life. All her father had ever done was praise Ellie up and down. Even in the end when he said that both sisters were his pride and joy, Ariel knew he had only meant that for Ellie. The thought left a bitter taste in her dry mouth. But now wasn't the time to dwell on that. Both her parents were gone and now she only had Ellie to hold on to and despite the jealousy, she was still her sister and the only family she had left. So when the redhead came back with two water bottles and two sealed packets of whatever she decided to grab from the back, the younger of the two peered over, looking away from the window and into her sisters olive green eyes.
"I got mac and cheese."
Ellie forced a smile and got in the drivers side, closing and locking the door behind her. She held out one of the packages and a bottle of water to Ariel and she took them both, shaking her head as she put them on the dashboard in front of her. The brunette watched as her companion opened the sealed plastic with her teeth and squeezed out a bit of yellow noodle mush, eating it while holding back a face of disgust and chewed and swallowed, quickly opening her own bottle of water and downed a mouthful or so.
"It's not that bad really. It's still better than what mom use to make."
The older of the two joked but her smile faded upon seeing the sorrowful look on Ariel's face, leaving a dense silence in the air. It was true, their mom hadn't been the best cook in the world but seeing as how their mom was dead now, it only made them think about how she and their father were gone. The joke itself was in poor taste and only made the awkward silence between them worse.
"I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said that. It's just, thinkin' about them being gone, it hurts. But if we don't talk about them every once and a while, I feel like our own memories of them will fade."
Ariel glanced at her sister who was now picking over the slimy yellow elbow macaroni in the MRE package and eating the noodles one by one with a look on her face that could only be described as a sad reminiscence. Her heart hurt seeing her sister like that and after grabbing her own package of mac and cheese she wasn't really too thrilled about eating, she opened it and gazed inside the bag of almost liquefied pasta as if trying to find the answers to their problems.
"It doesn't have to be like this you know."
Ariel felt her sister's eyes on her as she continued, poking the macaroni with her right index finger to make sure it wasn't alive.
"We don't have to keep runnin'. We don't have to keep fightin'. We shouldn't have to. Besides, how long do you think these MRE's and water are going to last us? Dad packed a lot in the trunk but really, the way we've been eatin', we'll only have enough left for two more days, maybe less. Then what? We start scavengin' and breakin' into houses, hoping none of those things come out to make us their next meal? Is all this really worth fightin' for? I bet there isn't even a camp in Atlanta for survivors. It probably already got overrun. I bet we're probably the only ones stupid enough to keep on movin' along. As if we have somethin' to look forward to. Look around us. The world is gone Ellie. Mom and Dad are dead. We should just opt out before we get eaten or worse."
Ellie dropped her half eaten package of what someone tried to pass off as mac and cheese, the yellow mush falling into her lap, staining her blue jeans with a cheesy substance. Her eyes which were usually a dull olive green were now a brighter green and wide with shock, like she had just woken up to the truth. The younger of the two kept poking at her food, not really gauging her sibling's surprised reaction.
"How can you say that! Dad raised us to be fighters! We can't just give up! You don't think I know that the situation we're in sucks right now? Well it doesn't help that this is the way you choose to see things! I promised Dad I'd take care of you and that means 'till the end. We aren't just gonna 'opt out'!"
Her voice sounded elevated and angry but Ariel didn't flinch or even look at her. She just kept on playing with her food and continued on with her idea of suicide.
"You know I'm right though. There's nothin' left to live for. I say we each take one of your Winchesters. It'll be painless. I mean we have more than enough ammo and-"
Ellie's words interrupted Ariel and they were louder than before. She was yelling now, her voice slightly vibrating off of the closed windows.
"Enough! Enough! We aren't killin' ourselves do you hear me? Dad and Mom wouldn't want this! They wouldn't want to hear you talkin' such nonsense! Now just shut up and eat your dinner! I liked it better when you weren't talking."
Ariel remembered that being the last time Ellie cried too. After that, she didn't bother wasting her tears.
Was all the brunette could say, her eyes boring circles into her open hands that layed upon her lap before feeling Ellie touch her shoulder.
"It's goin' to be okay. We aren't the only ones now. I told you didn't I? We found more people like us. We're safe."
The younger Lavelle sister simply nodded, never taking her eyes off of her own dirty palms. She wondered how long the group of survivors was going to let them stay here. Not everyone was what they seemed to be.
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