nine: ...towards death.
I'm so dizzy. I'm kneeling in front of the toilet wanting to throw up, to relieve my nausea. Sarabeth asks me if I'm okay; I say yes but I'm far from being alright. She doesn't know, will never know that I could have saved my family.
I sit back against wall and sigh. I'm thinking maybe I shouldn't help Sarabeth and stay to protect Greta, make sure she...make sure she lives a good long life. I want that for her, I trully do but something draws me to Charlotte. I want to see her, if only for a few minutes.
The room doesn't spin around me anymore and I find it safe to get up. I walk out the bathroom changed. I'm confident in my decision now. I know what I have to do.
"I'll help you," I tell Sarabeth, who was just about to slip on her jacket but turned to look at me, "But once we find Charlie, I need to get back here. Safely."
"That can be arranged." She answers and slips on her jacket, "I sense something in your voice. Is there something I don't know, David?"
I look away. "No, I just...feel safe here."
"I can understand that. Now let's go, we got someone to find." Sarabeth extends her hand, inviting me to grab it, "You're not alone anymore, David." She smiles and for what its worth, she reminds me of mom.
"I'm just going to be out for a few days, we're going to try to find Charlie Olsen. You remember her, right? I won't be long, please stop crying. Greta, she might hear you. Don't worry about me, I'll be right back. Here I sneaked some food while she wasn't looking. I promise, I'll be back for you, Greta."
It feels good to have the wind in my face. Were cruising along Còrtez Boulevard in Sarabeth's red Jeep. She says we need to stop at her place before we move on.
"Hey, can you put my jacket in the back, I have a bag of clothes there."
I nod and place her jacket in the bag, between the canned goods and the jug, which I guess contains water. I look up and notice her men, following us in a black sedan, but I can't tell which make. I settle back into my seat and let the wind carry me away once again.
It's odd being back at Charlie's house. The men have erected a new perimeter around this house. Four large metal posts at each corner of the yard. I look around and don't see any zombies, safe Jeanette Olsen and Stephanie Holloway - both as stiff and still as rocks.
"What are those?" I ask Sarabeth.
She appears from the kitchen and asks me what I'm talking about.
"The posts, what are they?"
She gives me a cold stare then sighs. "You are too curious for your own good, David Price." She walks over to the bay window and crosses her arms behind her back. "They protect us from the infected. That's all you need to know."
I knew that already. Anyone could have figured out they were some form of barrier. But David couldn't understand how it protected them. And apparently, it was a subject Sarabeth wanted to avoid.
"We have a lead on Charlotte's location. She's in Del Rio." Sarabeth turns to face me and waits for me to answer. It all seems to convenient.
"You guys knew she was here. Why do you want me to bring her back? What are you hiding?" The tone of my voice rises as anger starts to build up. She tricked me.
"I'm not hiding anything, David." She answers calmly, doesn't even move.
"DON'T LIE TO ME! WHY DON'T YOU GO GET HER?!" I storm off towards the window and point outside, at the posts. "And what are those?! Who are you, Sarabeth Olsen?"
"You caught me." She raises her hands up and smirks. Then drops her hands and smacks me across the face. "Don't ever talk to me like that, again. The reason I can't go get my own daughter is because of you."
She turns and takes a few steps away from me. The weight of her accusation sits offly heavy on my shoulders. What do I have to do with this?
"You planted ideas in her, David, and with enough time, enough doubt, those ideas festered into radical thoughts. Charlotte doesn't trust me. Not after what you guys discussed in the meadow."
"How...How do you even know about that? Did Charlie talk to you before...before this?" I'm puzzled. It brings me back to three weeks ago, the day it all went down. The last time I saw Charlie. But she would never talk to her parents about her conservations with me. Hell, I don't even think they called her all that much. She rarely spoke about them when they moved to Japan.
"I kept really good tabs on my daughter. Which led me to you, David. She trusts you. You can convince her to come back home."
I didn't question Sarabeth's sincerity up until now. All of this seems so contrived.
"I changed my mind." I blurt out and Sarabeth's face drops.
"David, you have to bring her home. She has the cure."
"I don't believe you. I don't believe your lies."
"You little brat, think of the greater good!"
"There is no cure, you're lying. I want to go back home!"
Sarabeth screams and then comes at me but I dodge and push her against the wall. I don't even doubt what I'm going to do next.
As I pass the front door I snatch up the keys to the Jeep. I don't look back, I don't even risk it. Sarabeth's men look at me funny when I approach the driveway but they don't react, don't stop me. When I finally get in the Jeep and pull out of the driveway, I understand why.
Sarabeth told them to. She's standing at the door and just watching me. Before I speed off towards home, towards Greta, leaving Charlotte behind, Sarabeth mouths: "Fool."
I'm driving along Palm Street, angry at myself for having left Greta behind. I don't even think about Charlotte anymore. It can't be true. There can't be a cure for this.
I see my street, Onco. I slow down and go to turn left when I spot a couple of infected to my right. I'm about to ignore them and floor it but I notice fluid movement, human movement. I look closer and spot Charlotte. Oh my god. She's alive, she's here. Charlotte.
I swerve the wheel to the right and the tires screech as I come to a stop at the corner of Palm and Onco, Charlotte running towards me. I have to tell her. Tell her that her mom is here. Tell her everything I know.
"DAVID!!" She yells and I can hear the pain in her voice, it's not the same. She doesn't look the same. I go to unfasten my seatbelt when I feel a sharp pain in my chest. I think it's heartburn, or anxiety but then I hear screaming and feel something hot trickling down my chest and legs. I look down and see blood.
When I look back up I see another girl, closer to the forest. My vision starts to blur and I can hear Charlotte beside me. She's here. With me. I'm not alone.
I try to tell her to go and get Greta but not a sound comes out of my mouth. I'm numb, and warm. I'm in Charlotte's arms.
"WE CAN'T LEAVE HIM!" She screams. I feel numb. And warm...This is it, I guess.