A Veil of Black and Gold
Dale and Rael watched in horror as the big metal door slid up.
“No! Dear God, please no!” Rael screamed and banged on the metal door. Dale held onto Bubba’s hand and watched as the young man began to cry. “I’m so sorry, Nicole.” He whispered to himself. “I never meant to hurt you, I’m so very sorry.” He fell to his knees and banged the door once more.
“Rael, what are we going to do? Should we try to leave? Do we stay and see what’s going to happen?” Rael looked down at his hands and thought very deeply. He turned around and looked into the eyes of his son. He should be the only one that Rael should take care of.
“We leave. Go get your stuff Dale because this is where we make our exit.” Dale just looked at Rael and then looked at the silver door one more time. He could here banging on the other side and tried to see if he could tell who was doing the banging. “Hey, Dale! C’mon old man, we’re leaving!” Rael called out and picked up his son. Dale turned and followed Rael, heading to their rooms to pack their stuff.
It didn’t take them long to get their belongings together. They met back up and quickly headed to the main door. They looked for a way to open the door but were unable to find one.
“Rael, what are we going to do now? There is no possible way for us to get out of here!” Rael’s eyes were a blur as they scanned the huge planes of glass that separated them from the outside world. He put Bubba down and ran to a square of glass. Bubba then ran to Dale and wrapped his little arms around his legs.
“Granpa, I’m scared.” He whimpered as he held on tighter. Dale placed a hand on the small boys head. He didn’t want to frighten the boy anymore, but he was pretty scared himself. He then remembered to the first day that he met the child. He had at first called him Santa Claus when he looked up at the old man’s face.
Dale had to explain for three days straight that he wasn’t Santa. So once Bubba got that through his head he started calling him ‘Granpa’.
Dale didn’t object to that.
“You fucking son of a bitch!” Nicole heard Daryl yell as she fell against the sliding door. “How could you lock us in here?!” Nicole imagined Daryl beating the doctor to death, hitting him over and over again until his face was unrecognizable and Daryl’s knuckles were bloodied, bruised and swollen.
She felt hands on her shoulders and looked up to see Lori, scared to death with Carl clinging to her.
“Nicole, you have to stop him,” She pleaded. “You have to stop Daryl from losing control. If he kills the doctor we will never get out of here.” I looked over to where Rick and T-Dog were pushing Daryl back. She also saw the look that Shane was giving that doctor and also the way he was holding that large shotgun.
“I’ll rein in Daryl,” Nicole said as she slowly turned toward Lori, “if you rein in Shane.” Lori looked up at Nicole as she stood and ran toward Daryl.
He had an axe in his hands was trying desperately to swing it at Jenner’s face. She ran as fast as she could and wrapped her hands around Daryl’s waist, pulling him away from the doctor.
She was able to accomplish what two grown men couldn’t.
Daryl glared at the doctor as Nicole pulled him away.
“Jenner, you need to open that door and let us out, right now!” Rick hissed at the doctor as he ran to where he was seated.
“It wouldn’t matter, the facility locked everything topside anyways. Your friends that got out, they can’t go anywhere.” Jenner looked around at the group of survivors; Lori and Carol clutching their children, Andrea and Jacqui holding each other’s hand, Shane and T-Dog with their brave but fearful faces, and Nicole and Daryl, holding onto each other as if their embrace could save them. “Besides, this is better, than what would happen out there.”
“What is better?” Lori choked out.
Jenner stayed quiet.
Shane violently kicked his seat as Rick repeated his wife’s question.
“What is better?!”
“What the hell do you think we do here?!” Jenner quickly stood and got in Rick’s face. “We keep you ungrateful people safe from horrible and agonizing deaths! We protect you all from thousands of diseases that could easily wipe all of you out in the span of a few hours! This is the god damned center for disease control! DISEASE CONTROL!” He calmed down after his rant and sat back down in his chair. No one spoke for five seconds. Jenner took a deep breath. “We have a safety net here. The things we work with are lethal so in the off chance of a terrorist attack, if the power goes out H.I.T.s are deployed to protect the public.”
“What are H.I.T.s? Nicole asked softly.
Jenner looked down at the floor.
“H.I.T.S: HIGH -IMPULSE THERMOBARIC FUEL-AIR EXPLOSIVES CONSIST OF A TWO STAGE AEROSOL IGNITION THAT PRODUCES A BLAST WAVE OF SIGNIFICANTLY GREATER POWER AND DURATION THAN ANY OTHER KNOWN EXPLOSIVE EXCEPT NUCLEAR. THE VACUUM-PRESSURE EFFECT IGNITES THE OXYGEN AT BETWEEN 5,000 AND 6,000 DEGREES AND IS USEFUL WHEN THE GREATEST LOSS OF LIFE AND DAMAGE TO STRUCTURES IS DESIRED.”
“It sets the air on fire. Just a few seconds then nothing. Everything is over” Nicole clenched Daryl’s arm tightly as she looked around her. This was going to be the end. She was never going to see her brother or nephew again. She was never going to get to make love to Daryl again. She closed her eyes and let her tears fall freely.
Her life was ending.
Daryl and Shane had been banging on the door for what seemed like hours. All they were accomplishing was making the axes sharper. Nicole sat with Lori and Carol and tried to help keep the children calm.
“You should’ve just left well enough alone. You all could’ve been better of it you just…”
“If we just what?” Rick interrupted. “Just rolled over and let you kill us?”
“Those things out there are going to kill you. It’s going to be painful and slow. I’m giving you a quick way out, easy and virtually painless.”
“We don’t deserve this!” Carol screamed. “Our children don’t deserve this!” I stood and helped Carol to her feet, and turned back toward Daryl.
“Rick, those doors aren’t going to give,” Shane said out of breath as him and Daryl walked back towards us.
“That door is impenetrable.” Jenner said. “Nothing will get through.”
Daryl rushed violently at the doctor. “My fist is about to go through your chest!” Nicole tried to grab him but she missed. Luckily Rick and Shane were able to stop him. Daryl didn’t walk back to Nicole. He paced back and forth away from the group, like a violent animal who has come face to face with an enemy.
“Rick, I know this is what you want.” Jenner said.
Rick looked to him like he had just told him something horrible.
“You don’t know anything.” He venomously whispered.
“Remember what you told me last night? You knew that it was going to happen any day now that all these people and everyone you cared about would soon be dead.”
The group looked at Rick in utter disbelief. Nicole looked at her partner with mixed emotion. How could he possibly think that with everything that had happened, after everything they went through?
“What the hell is he talking about?” Shane asked. “You were the one who was going off about trying to keep folks alive and doing what we can to survive, and now this?”
“I just wanted to keep people motivated. We need to keep believing in hope.”
“Hope is dead, Rick.” Andrea said suddenly. He looked down at her. “Everything is gone and that is the truth. There is no hope. We are all doomed.”
“She’s right,” Jenner added. “This is the end of the world. This is the extinction of the human race.”
Nobody noticed Shane walk away.
“Just hold each other, and wait, it will all be over soon.”
A gun cocked and everyone turned to see Shane charging toward Jenner.
“Shane no!” Rick yelled.
Shane broke out of his grasp and pointed the shotgun right at Jenner’s face.
“Open the god damned door or you’re going to die.” He didn’t look like he was playing.
“Shane you can’t kill him,” Nicole said shakily.
“She’s right, brother. If you kill him, you kill us all. Shane please!” Shane yelled in this man’s face and turned the gun to his computers. Shane began blasting away at them. Everyone ducked in cover and Daryl quickly ran to Nicole. He wrapped one arm around her waist and used the other to shield her head. He turned her away and knelt down, determined to protect her from Shane’s wrath.
Rick was finally able to stop him and he wrestled and subdued Shane to the ground. They were both breathing heavily and after a few seconds Rick stood up.
“You’re full of shit,” Rick told Jenner.
He merely chuckled.
“How’s that?” He asked.
Rick walked toward him.
“Because if you had no hope, you wouldn’t be here now. You would’ve either left or checked out early. You stayed and fought this thing, a man who has no hope wouldn’t do that so tell me why. If there is no hope why would you stay?”
“I didn’t stay for me,” Jenner stood and pointed to the big screen. “I stayed for her. I stayed for my wife.”
The realization began to spread throughout the survivors faces.
“TS-19, was your wife?” Nicole asked softly.
“Yes,” Jenner answered. “She was bit and dying. Her last wish was for me to use her as the ground floor of figuring out a way out of this mess. I mean, what was I supposed to do, say no? She was suffering, she was dying. It should’ve been me. I was nobody. She was the brains here. She would’ve been able to save us. Not me, not some lowlife named Edwin Jenner. Just her,” Jenner’s voice broke away as he looked at the floor.
Rick stepped up to Jenner and it was the first time he didn’t look at the man with disdain.
“I’m sure if your wife had a choice she would be here, but she’s not. You have a choice and I’m begging you, please give us the same.”
Jenner took a deep breath and looked down at the floor.
“Like I said, everything above ground is locked.” He walked to the console at his computer and pressed in some buttons.
The large door lowered. The survivors were free.
Nicole didn’t wait any longer. She didn’t wait for Daryl or for Rick. She took off to look for her brother and her nephew. They had to be somewhere. She ran to her room and quickly grabbed both hers and what little belongings Daryl had. Calling out for Rael, she ran through the CDC trying to remember her way to the front door. She remembered going down on an elevator, surely there had to be stairs.
She found the stairs and began pounding up them. She ignored the burning in her lungs and the stitch growing in her side. She had to find her Raels. Her brother was still her brother, she still wanted to find him.
When she reached the top of the stairs, sunlight blinded her. She let her eyes adjust before taking in her surroundings. She saw Rael, Bubba and Dale standing in front of huge panes of glass. She felt an overwhelming rush of emotion as she gazed upon her older brother. She hasn’t forgotten how lost he was but the unconditional sibling love was strong and she ran to embrace him.
He held her tight in his arms, tears falling down his cheeks. He never meant to hurt her, she was his baby sister, and he just felt so lost. It was like wandering in a life that resembles your own but isn’t.
Before Rael could talk to Nicole, they began to hear shouts from the other survivors. Nicole, Rael and Dale called back to let them know they were all right. When the group appeared Nicole ran and hugged Rick. He saved them, he was the reason Nicole was able to be with her family again. She then turned to Daryl who was already walking to her. She went in to hug him, but he gingerly grabbed her face in his hands and kissed her. He kissed her so deeply that the planet seemed to stop for a moment. It was a kiss that Nicole could only describe as no less than perfect.
“Where’s Andrea?” Dale asked as he looked around at his friends.
Nicole reluctantly released Daryl and looked around also, not seeing her or Jacqui.
“She stayed.” Rick said. Dale didn’t reply. He turned and ran down to where the others had just come.
“Granpa!” Bubba called out from next to Rael. Nicole watched as the old man disappeared from sight then turned her attention to the windows were T-Dog was attempting to break the glass.
“What. The. HELL!” He yelled in between blows with a chair. He was about to attempt it again when Shane called out to him.
“Dog, get down!” Shane raised his shotgun and took aim at the glass. The shot was just as effective as a pea shooter.
“We can’t get out,” Daryl said softly. It would take more than all the ammo we have to get out of here.”
Nicole suddenly made a realization. She began digging in her bag until she found what she was looking for; the grenade.
“Rick!” She called out. He turned to her and she slowly raised her hand up to reveal the grenade.
“Everyone get back!” Rick yelled as Nicole ran to the window. She held the trigger, pulled the pin and released. She dropped the grenade near the window and quickly ran back to Daryl. Before she got to him, the grenade went off and shattered the pane of glass.
Nicole quickly got up and grabbed Daryl’s hand. They both ran out onto the grounds of the CDC. Daryl got in front of Nicole to protect her from the walkers. She still was in no position to protect herself.
“Lori! Carl! Stay close to me!” Rick yelled as he shot some walkers coming towards him. Shane covered him and Daryl used the axes he took from the lab. He swung at the walkers with an ax in each hand. Nicole had to admit that she was slightly turned on.
Nicole finally reached Daryl’s truck and she jumped in, breathing heavily. Daryl jumped in on the passenger side and Rick was just about to start up the RV when someone else came out of the CDC.
It was Andrea and Dale.
They ran as fast as they could to the RV but had to take shelter.
The CDC then exploded and was quickly engulfed in flame. The shock wave could easily be felt by all walkers in a five mile radius not to mention the thick black plume of smoke that began to rise. Nicole saw Glen open the RV door to rush in Dale and Andrea and she fell into the seat.
She suddenly felt herself crying uncontrollably. She brought her knees up to her chest and began to sob horribly. Daryl began to ask her about it but she just turned away. He understood. He knew she was in a great amount of pain and under an enormous amount of pressure. He let her be, she needed to just let it all go. The survivors’ convoy began to move and Nicole felt a deep sense of fear. If what Jenner said was true, then there was no way out of this mess. The world was gone, there was no more hope and no more chances of being saved.
She began to wonder if Jenner was right. Maybe it would’ve been best if she had stayed. What if she missed her shot at a peaceful death? What if her long and painful death was just around the corner? She now envied Jacqui and Jenner and as she looked over at Daryl’s sweet face, his beautiful short hair and his piercing eyes, she didn’t think that he would be enough to show her that hope still existed. Because for all she knew, this time tomorrow Nicole as well as all the people she loved could end up as just another group of corpses, just another herd of the walking dead.
Season 1 is complete! If you like this hopefully you'll stick around for season 2!! I'd love to hear from everyone and I hope you enjoyed A Veil of Black and Gold!