After

Interlude 6 - Emily, Matt, Josh

Emily

So empty. So dark. Blackness everywhere.

Lonely. No energy. Drained.

Sore. Everywhere.

There is nothing here. Nothing but her.

The darkness tugs at her skin, peeling, ripping. She screams but her throat is dry. Empty.

Everything is empty.

And then it starts again. Like a chanting mob. The last minutes of her life. Like a slide-show, flickering images all around her. Coming closer, swallowing her. The inky black mouth of a gun. The inky black of his heart.

The yells of "Kill her" like a siren in her head. Trapped. Forever trapped. Over and over again.

Bang!

The bullet. It snaps out of the gun's socket. Ripping through the air towards her.

And there's nothing there to stop it. There never is.

The bullet explodes through her eye.

Then nothing.

Silence.

Empty.

Again.


Matt

His hand shakes. The more he looks at it, the more it trembles.

Jessica hasn't stopped moving. She was always that way. At least he thinks she was – he doesn't even know if he can remember that anymore.

Matt is the opposite. The couch has found a home in him, moulding to his body shape as he sits collapsed on it. Frozen. Unmoving. There was something not right about this – about any of this. His brain was shattered, like someone had thrown the jigsaw back in the box and shaken it until all the pieces were unhooked. He couldn't put them back together.

And he had touched her. He had taken her wrist in his and held it there. As if it could have been her hand that would be able to reach inside his brain and put the jigsaw back together – this time with some super glue to keep them all together.

What's happening? That's what he had wanted to ask her. What's going on? She knew something. Something important, something that he needed. And yet she wasn't telling him.

Why?

Jessica paces through the room, calming herself as she straightens out the remainder of the creases on her suit jacket. He's afraid that if she comes any closer, he'll want to touch her again. And not just to make her stop.

"Okay," she breathes, nodding to herself and then to him. "I'm leaving."

She picks up her handbag, the key rings clinking against each other. "Don't leave this apartment," she warns him, taking a deep breath in. She's calming her nerves. He can at least tell that. She moves towards the door, bending down to drop something on the coffee table. "And don't you dare," she eyes him challengingly, though her gaze flickers with quenched anxiety. "Switch on the TV. Alright?"

Mike nods. It's the only response he can give through his stiff, perturbed mind.

And then the front door closes with a soft thud.

The TV light isn't even on. She's pulled out the wires at the back; hidden them elsewhere. Of course. He can't help but smile, the first real movement for minutes. She doesn't trust him.

And then his eyes catch a metallic glint from the coffee table. Her spare keys. Placed perfectly in eyesight, in arms reach.

Well. Obviously... she trusts him enough.


Josh

Josh doesn't trust him. He keeps to the back of the group to keep his eyes trained on the man's spine, every so often sniffing in defiance. Which always leads to him coughing at the stench of ash.

Ugh. He shakes it off. Like it's travelling its smoky fingers across his shoulders.

He doesn't understand why he's here.

The videos. She said something about the videos.

He has to remember this. Just remember this, Josh. She needs you to remember this.

He squeezes his eyes shut, his feet balancing on rubble. The videos. What about the videos? Flick through your memories, Josh. Flick, flick, flick. Like skimming through photographs.

No. Not that one.

No. No no no.

"Josh?" Sam's voice.

He snaps his eyes open.

Stupid Josh. Should have kept his eyes on that guy's back.

He huffs, lugging up to the trio, his eyes narrowing at the wolf.

'You think you got a chance with her, buddy?' Josh snorts.

The wolf smugly sticks his nose up in the air just as Sam reaches down to pet him, rubbing him affectionately on the side.

Josh crosses his arms, irritated. 'Yeah, well... you're a dog.'

Josh has decided. He doesn't trust either of them.


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