This is the twenty-ninth issue of Dead Weight. It is entitled “School’s Out, Forever”. It is the first issue in Arc 3 of Dead Weight. Issue 29 was released March 23rd, 2019.
Previously on Dead WeightEdit
The survivors discovered a new home in that of Drewryville, a small, walled community run by married leaders Katie and Lexy. Despite best efforts to give new dog, Scrap, a new home Scarlette found herself having to give him up to be euthanised after he'd been scratched by the undead on a run which led to Cassie and Robbie, having unintentionally reunited with his lost pet, almost dying after witnessing the first ever animal to reanimate into the undead. Simutaniously, Sabrina ventured out to find Mark and found him being feasted on by an undead deer. While our survivors settle into their new home, a danger lurks over them all...
“His name is Patrick.” Katie spoke, standing in front of the low table which held a map of the county, tainted with blood stains, pen markings and ingrained dirt. She wiped off stray dirt lazily, as though it made a difference, and stared down at the map as Flake, Robbie, Grace and Abreham stood in front of her on the other side of the table, awaiting her to continue speaking. “He was a news anchor,” She added, “News anchor turned twisted killer.” She stuck her finger down on a point on the map, circled in a vivid red marker. Flake ducked down, balancing on bent knees to take a closer inspection of the map.
“Sounds familiar,” He spoke cryptically, looking to Katie. “He just sounds like everyone else these days.” He finally added.
“This isn’t a joke.” Katie tells him, her eyebrows furrowed. Flake frowns, returning his gaze to the map and standing back up.
“I wasn’t suggesting it was.”
“Patrick has been looming for months, our only trade partner was forced to cut off communications in fear of them coming for us next.” She explained.
“What? When was this?” Flake questioned.
“Two? Three weeks ago? I couldn’t be sure but they’d been harassed much longer than that. We haven’t heard from them since, we’ve got no one left in this world, and if they ever come for us we’re over, what can we do about it? We’re not exactly hidden.”
“You get a new trade system set up.” Robbie spoke.
“As thought it’s that simple,” Katie replied with annoyance, crossing her arms.
“Have you tried visiting the community directly? Maybe they’ve stopped communicating in fear.” Flake suggested.
“What kind of tactic is that?”
“In case YOU are the one being attacked. It’s a possibility.”
“So, if I decide to go to the community directly, will you come with me?” Katie asks. Grace nods immediately, but Robbie is hesitant and turns to Flake for his response.
“You said they weren’t far out, right?” Flake asks her.
“I didn’t,” Katie tells him, running her finger along the map until she found the road she was looking for. “But they’re not. It’s only a few hours ride from here. We have plenty of horses, we should take them.” She adds.
“Uh,” Abreham piped up unsure, “I’ve never ridden a horse before.” He tells her.
“I have,” Grace tells her, taking a step forward. “I did horse riding with Sabrina when we were kids. It was a while ago but, I feel like it’s something you don’t forget. Like riding a bike.”
“I want you to come with me, Abe,” Katie tells him, “You can ride in the back with me, Grace and Sabrina I trust will come along too?” She turns to Grace.
“Of course.” Grace confirms.
“I want to come too, if by chance this community is gone, then I want to meet this psycho.” Robbie’s eyebrows furrowed hard, arched down his face, as he speaks. Flake eyeing him with a hint of suspicion.
“Are you sure? I don’t know if--”
“I’m sure.” Robbie insists.
Katie nods, “Then we’ll go, today.” She confirms.
“I don’t think that would be a problem, especially with Sabrina,” She turns to Abreham, “She’s been getting a little agitated inside the walls.” She jokingly adds.
“Haven’t we all.” Robbie turns and leaves, Grace peering over her shoulder and quickly following him out the door as he tugs his jacket around himself, the bitter winds of winter beginning to set in.
“Robbie!” Grace calls out, picking up her pace into a light jog as she reaches his side.
“Are you one hundred percent sure you want to come with us? You don’t have to.”
“Why? Do you think I’m not ready?”
“Of course not,” She gently reminds him, “It’s just--”
“Can you save it? I’m a big boy, I can handle it.”
Grace just nods, reassuringly hitting her fingers against his, almost intertwining them together. “I just know you’re going through alot.” She goes to continue, but stops herself at the expression painted on Robbie’s face, one of discomfort and impatience. She lowers her head, kicking at the snow lightly. “We should probably start getting ready.” She looks back up at him and smiles.
“Yeah, see you in a few.” He blandly says, walking away from her and they go their seperate ways.
With her hands dug into her pockets, Sabrina walks chilled towards her sister and Robbie, their brief conversation ending. Almost completely ignoring Robbie as he passes, she raises her hand to wave at Grace only to be cut off by a voice calling her name from a nearby house.
Whipping her head around curiously, she spotted the small figure of Amanda trotting towards her, ginger hair blowing in the winds. Sabrina’s mind raced, attempting to think of an excuse so she didn’t have to talk to her.
“Sabrina!” Amanda called out again before stopping in front of her, copying her pose of standing with her hands shoved in her pockets. “What are you doing?”
“Uh, I was just about to go see my sister,” She turns her head towards Grace, who taps at her watch hastily. “Who… I think needs me, so I can’t talk.”
“Well, are you doing anything later?! Brendan and I were wondering if you wanted to come ‘round this afternoon.”
Sabrina’s eyebrows furrowed in confusion, Amanda exclaimed in realization. “Brendan, right. You don’t know him, but he’s class! He’d really like to meet you.” She tells her, Sabrina shuffles awkwardly.
“Uh, I don’t know. I’ll think about it, sorry, I have to go.” She nods towards her, giving her an awkward half-smile before turning on her heel and heading down the covered pathway to Grace.
Grace watched the girls, a somewhat feeling of proud seeping through her as she watched her sister interacting with another girl her own age. It was nice, felt almost human again. Although it was over as quickly as it started.
“What was that about?” Grace asks Sabrina as she approaches.
“Oh, c’mon Sabby, tell me.”
“It was just that girl, uh-- Amanda, asking if I wanted to do anything tonight.”
“You said yes, right?” Grace asks hopeful.
“No? Why would I. Sounds boring.”
“Sabby!” Grace groaned, gripping her sister by the shoulders, frightening her slightly. “You have to go hang out with her.”
“What a weird sentence. No, what did you want me for?”
Grace hesitated for a moment, “Nothing, I just wanted to know what you were doing tonight. And now I know! You’re going over to that girl’s house and you’re going to have an amazing, normal teen aged girl time.”
“Are you kidding?”
“I won’t take no for an answer.”
Sabrina stared at Grace, hoping she’d change her mind. While Grace stood there, trying to keep her act up so Sabrina wouldn’t come with her on the trip. And it worked, Sabrina’s rigidity fell.
Grace grinned widely, “That’s my girl! Now, go on. I say you nip around early to really get the party started.”
“Oh, god,” She screwed her ace in disgust, “It’s not a party, you sound like an old woman.”
Sabrina said goodbye to Grace, who hugged her quickly before letting her leave.
It was midday. Katie petted one of the horses delicately over its nose. The group of Abreham, Flake, Grace, Jamie and Jacob all gathered at the main entrance just by the horse’s assigned stables. Carlos, Melissa and Tanya also joined — curious to what was going on.
“We only take four horses out at any given time. There’s room for all of us, but I don’t recommend everyone going.”
“I want to go.” Tanya speaks out, glancing at Melissa and Carlos.
“Well. We’d love to go but we have plans.” Melissa told them, “but… where exactly are you going?”
“Druckson High just off the nearby route way. Shouldn’t take us all day, we should be back by nightfall.” Katie explains.
“Have you told Lexy about this?” Jacob asks.
“Of course I have, she’ll be manning the fort while I’m gone.” She replies, loading the horse will meager supplies. “And by fort, I mean the club.”
Jamie chuckled, unsteadily pulling herself atop of one of the horses, whistling towards Abreham and gesturing for him to get on the back.
Me? He indicated to himself, she just grinned to herself and nodded, turning away from the man.
Abreham exchanges a glance with Flake, who just shrugged.
Petite hands gripped at the pages of the novel, buried in between to save her space as she reached up and pushed the door open, letting it slowly swing open until she saw Sally curled up in the corner, alone, stroking at her stomach lightly.
“I’m stuck.” Molly spoke, pulling the book to her chest. Sally looked up, being cast out of her daydream.
“Huh?” She asked lazily.
“I’m stuck,” She repeated, entering the room and shuffling along until she reached the bed pushed against the wall on the other side of the room, opening the book back up. “What does this word say?” She asks.
With an effort, Sally stood from the chair and walked over to the bed where she sat next to the young girl,looking over the page of the book, Molly dotted down with her index finger under the word she didn’t understand.
“Peninsula.” Sally said. Molly took a moment and then repeated.
“It’s just a place surrounded by water. Like an island, but still connected to the mainland.”
Molly nodded but Sally could tell she’d already restarted her reading. “What about this one?”
“This book is hard.” Molly admitted, “Abreham gave me it but it’s too hard.”
“What book is it?” Sally asks, not even recognizing the paragraphs in front of her. Molly closes the book, pointing to the title on the front cover. “The Great… Gatsby.”
“When Abreham comes back maybe he can read it to me because I can’t read very well. I’ve gotten through one, two, three, four, five chapters so far but it was hard.”
Sally nodded, unsure what to say next. “Would you like me to read it for you?”
“Gatsby is a boy… Can you do a boy voice?”
“I can try.” Sally weakly laughed, taking the book from Molly’s hands.
The school was just as they’d expected. A chunk blown from the corner and the smell of rotting corpses.
“Is it worth going inside?” Jacob asks, turning to Katie who sat on her horse with Flake uncomfortably sitting behind her.
“There could be survivors inside. We need to be careful, but go inside and check it out.”
“Are you sure?!” Grace questions, eyeing the building suspiciously.
“The fire seems to be out, I think we’ll be okay.”
“It’s not the fire ‘’I’m’’ worried about.” Flake commented.
Abreham, Flake, Grace, Jamie, Jacob, Katie, Tanya and Robbie hopped off of their horses
“Be careful, okay?” Grace motions to Flake, who pulls his sword out in full view, much to the surprise of Jacob.
“It’s like you’re compensating for something.” Katie says.
The school was damp. The melted snow sinking into the flooring, creating a stench that lingered through the whole building. Along with that, the smell of gasoline tainted the charred black walls.
Entering through the side doors, which had been partially blown off, the group entered what remained of a canteen, a large stage to the east side of the room, being overlooked by a balcony snaking around half of the wall for the second floor. The balcony, made from glass now shattered and metal which had been blown apart or almost melted from it’s hinges, had been blown in the center which left rubble scattered across the place and made the balcony impossible to cross..
“What are we looking for?” Tanya asks, holding a dagger to her chest as her wide eyes scan her surroundings.
“The living. Or the dead. Just keep an eye out.” Jamie replies.
“I doubt we’ll find anything,” Jacob adds, “Are you really sure we should be doing this?” He asks Katie.
“We wont stay long, alright?!” Katie tells him, a pestered vibe to her voice. He just nods in agreement.
Crunching against the snow, which began to thin out over the grass, leaving dew clinging to blades of grass, Bri held her rifle close as she trudged along the border of the camp. Vigilant of her surroundings, she kept a look out for the dead lurking through the trees. It had been a few days since the snow had fallen, and since then the dead had had a hard time moving through it. Stepping over a log, she stopped in her tracks as one of the undead gurgled at her feet. Staggering back, it’s hand almost wrapped around her ankle, she pointed her gun towards the enemy.
“Stop!” A voice called. Turning with the gun raised alertly, she turned to see Lexy watching her from afar. “Don’t shoot it, you’ll bring the freaks down on top of us.” She reminds her, to which Bri just nods, lowering her gun to her side. She fumbled around her belt until she wrapped her fingers around a secured knife, and pulled it out. She leaned forwards and with a light flick of the wrist she pushed the knife through the dead’s head, killing it. She straightened up and turned to Lexy, who made her way over to her.
“What are you doing out here, anyways?” She questions.
“I was checking your walls.” She vaguely replies, looked at the tall walls, craning her neck to get a good look all the way up to the top, Lexy following her gaze.
A small smile creeps onto Lexy face, “They’re fine, trust me. Katie did an excellent job, and those who came before.” She told her, pulling against her own jacket to further tighten it around her body at an attempt to keep the cold out. The jacket was mostly fluffed fur, which made her look like some sort of bear. “What are you looking for, exactly?”
“Cracks or insecurities.”
“Trust me, Bri, the walls are in good condition. For now, at least.”
She nods in reply.
“Are you almost done?” Lexy adds.
“Not yet. Just go back inside, I’ll be fine.”
“You look cold.” She peered down at her hand, shivering slightly and growing paler by the second. “You are cold.” She confirmed her own suspicions.
Bri tucks her hand in her jeans pocket. “I’m fine.”
Lexy nods, suspiciously eyeing her before turning on her heels and leaving back for the main gates of the community. Bri kicks up some snow idly, positioning her rifle back at her front as she continued her way around the walls. Every so often, she’d kick up snow to make sure nothing was lying underneath.
To her right, a branch broke, and she turned her head alertly towards the forest. Squinting, she couldn’t spot anything through the shrubbery. The sun was setting now, which diverted her vision slightly. Then, through the shadowy thicket, she spotted something moving. “Hey!” She exclaims, clutching her gun tightly as she ran just a few steps forwards, stopping at the edge of the sheltered grass as she watched another young woman bounce up in front of her, covered in dirt and leaves, and bound into the trees away from her. “Stop!” She exclaimed, but she was gone. Bri stood staring for a minute, expecting someone else to come out, but nobody came.
- Drew Van Acker as Robbie Starn
- Allie Lewis as Grace Berry
- Brooke Hyland as Sabrina Berry
- Imogen Poots as Sally Middleton
- Liam Hemsworth as Flake
- Josh Pudleiner as Carlos
- Melissa Kirk as Melissa
- Andrea Boehkle as Bri
- Jackson Rathbone as Abreham
- Eliza Taylor as Katie
- Q'orianka Kilcher as Tanya
- Ariana Greenblatt as Molly
- Song Min-ho as Jacob
- Solána Imani Rowe as Jamie
- Emily Browning as Lexy
- Harley Bird as Amanda
- Hannah Murray as Friday
- Jenna Louise Coleman as Cassie
- Unknown as Pig
- Katherine McNamara as Athena
- Jason Bateman Patrick
- Alia Shawkat as Forest Girl