If The World Ends, I'll Rebuild It
The jungle was silent.
Harold held his spear close. He and his friend were walking in the jungle towards their camp with the food they had so gladly managed to catch. Silence wasn't rare in the new world, but that didn't make it less eerie for those who inhabited it. When there was noise, you knew where the monsters were coming from; when there was silence, they could come from anywhere.
Harold and his friend were walking with a long stick that went on top of their shoulders. In the middle of it, there was a bundle tied with many knots, as if that was going to suppress the smell of fresh meat and blood. Both of them knew it didn't do much to avoid getting the attention of any monster.
Harold stopped walking and turned towards the man that accompanied him.
"You'd think years of living like this would make the silence feel as deadly as it really is," Harold said.
The man behind him raised an eyebrow and looked at Harold's body. Scars ran along his arms and upper body. If he hadn't been there when Harold got all of those, he would have believed someone had put Harold through a meat grinder of sorts. Yet, he had been there every time Harold got a scar and every time he had been the one unharmed.
"I'd say that's just you wanting to die, Harold." said the man turning his eyes back to Harold's face. "I've been scared shitless ever since we got out of the bunker."
"You lost more than me in there, Stephen. It's only natural that you cling to your life since it's the last thing you have left."
Stephen sighed, then both of them resumed walking without making a sound.
"Even if we don't know whether or not Emma and James are alive, you still shouldn't try to get yourself killed," said Harold.
"Harold, even if I die, Emma will have her big brother there for her. If putting my life on the line can save someone's life, I'll keep doing it," said Stephen.
"I'll never convince you, huh-"
The leaves rustled.
Harold and Stephen stopped in their tracks.
The leaves rustled again.
"Stephen." Harold slowly put down his end of the stick and started raising his spear.
"Don't you fucking dare." Stephen looked at Harold sternly.
"When you hear it, it's already too late, isn't that how it goes?" said Harold
"It never says you need to act as bait to let the others escape."
"You can die with me if you want, but I think we shouldn't leave Max and Jess alone, should we?"
There was a brief moment of silence before Stephen nodded.
"Harold, If you see my family, tell them I love them."
"Only if you do the same."
The leaves rustled one final time.