Hello, and welcome to the second instalment of Generation Two! No, this is not Briar pre-maturely ageing into an elder. Yes, she is doing an Extreme Smustle Dance (what’s up with the Daredevils and their useless Extreme actions?) which Ash is not impressed with. I think he’s running away to his bedroom. Goddamnit, Briar. Max will run away too if you continue pulling that expression.
Now let’s move on from Briar’s disturbingly derpy face and onto the chapter!
“Woo!” Briar dances wildly in the living room, flailing her arms and narrowly missing her brother, who ducks and quickly ascends the staircase. Ash had just arrived at home (Did he honestly spend the whole day at the lab? What. A. Nerd) and without so much of a greeting, disappears upstairs. A little worry about his unfriendly attitude pops up in Briar’s head, but she pushes it to the back of her mind. All that matters is that she had gotten a job!
Tomorrow, Briar thinks, will be the start of an epic career. Yes, she will be going on without her twin, but it does not worry her so much now. Ash can stay on his icy high horse and be safe and happy inside a lab, studying atoms and other useless whatnot, but Briar will be out and about busting criminals and making a proper impact on Sunset Valley.
At 8:30 next morning, Briar changes into her uniform and runs out of the door, shouting a quick goodbye to her slightly tearful parents. The deputy had told her to dress in normal civilian clothes (with an emphasis on normal, as he had frowned at her panda cap) which Briar took to heart. She had picked out a blue prom dress and her favourite lilac Converse- a civilian had been wearing that one day in town, so it is perfect for a uniform.
“Are you going to a party afterwards?” The officer asks curiously, whom Briar is carpooling with. “Nope, this is my uniform!” She says happily. “Civilian clothes for a Snitch, right?!” And then she begins humming as the Sloppy Jalopy pulls away from the kerb.
The officer choses not to answer.
Briar hops out of the car after a few minutes. The other employees are arriving as well, checking into the heavily watched reception and flashing their badges. Briar runs towards the doors, wanting to arrive nice and early to get to work straight away. She just sees Blair’s blonde hair disappearing into the station as she crosses the lawn.
An old lady -a standard traffic cop, by the looks of it- begins laughing as Briar hesitates in front of the door. Briar ignores her, apparently under the impression that the lady is going a bit loopy from her age. Who just laughs out of nowhere? Feeling a little sympathetic towards the woman, Briar quickly walks into the reception, ready to begin her first day of work.
Around 4 PM, Briar finally leaves the police station, exhausted. What a day. She had spent the morning running around the department, brewing coffees and delivering them to tired-looking officers; making espressos was harder than she thought, everyone was so picky. Double shot, one teaspoon of sugar please, a splash of soy milk and a pinch of cinnamon- blah, blah, blah, all these demands.
In the afternoon a chuckling lieutenant (everyone seemed to be laughing, maybe they were planning a prank?) had sat her down at a desk and told her to tidy all these files into alphabetical order and rewrite old faded ones. It was tedious work, and all the files were on stupid things like an old lady reporting her favourite garden gnome gone missing. By the time the end of the shift came, Briar was seriously annoyed, her hand aching from all the writing.
She walks down the street, past Doo Pea Towers, and is about to cross the road when a flash of white catches her eye. Briar turns and squints past the trees. A crumbling brick warehouse surrounded by tall wire fences is there. That isn’t the interesting part- everyone knows that the warehouse is the local criminal hangout. However, Briar stares, because the man she is looking at seems to be Ash.
Briar narrows her eyes and takes a step forward, trying to discern if it is really her brother. He seems to be talking to someone, although no one is in sight. The dying sunlight flashing off his blonde hair, and the white clothes- it really does look like her twin. But before she can investigate further, a rumbling sound behind her diverts Briar’s attention.
The tarmac cracks right in front of her eyes, and a strange blue light appears. Briar backs away, shocked. A figure claws her way up onto the ground, groaning, scattering stones and dust. The sound is just like from a horror movie.
The figure straightens up, the green light fading away, and Briar shrieks. “WHAT THE HECK?” Sallow green skin, hunched posture, mysterious birth from the ground- a zombie?!
Briar whips around, terrified, and runs towards the warehouse. But her brother is nowhere in sight, the barren garden empty and silent. Fear coursing through her, she jumps onto her bicycle and pedals as fast as she can.
She zips up the road, and briefly glimpses a woman jogging along the path in a red velvet dress and boots. Briar leaves her behind in no time, but not before seeing the disturbing gauntness of the woman’s face, the bizarre green tint of her skin and her hollow black eyes.
Briar practically sprints into the house and slams the door behind her, locking it. She skids to a stop by the alarm box, which she quickly checks. Yep, all in order. She stands there for a while, huffing, trying to calm her jitters.
“Oh no. Why is everything glowing?”
The house is glowing with an eerie light and Briar’s unease grows. She spots Isla casually eating PB&J sandwiches outside and frantically calls her in, locking all the windows and the sliding doors along the way.
“Where’s Ash!?” Briar shouts. Isla looks up at her big sister with startled eyes. “I’m not sure, maybe he’s still at work? Are you alright, Briar?”
“No!” Briar’s lip trembles and she double checks the lock on the door. “Stay inside today, okay? It’s dangerous!”
Isla looks confused. “What, why? I’m just going to be on the patio.”
“No, no, no, they can get there! They won’t be able to come inside… I hope Mommy and Daddy and Ash come home soon, or they might eat their brains!” This boggles Isla completely.
“Um, Briar… who are ‘they’?”
“Zombies!” Briar yells. “I saw two tonight, one of them was on our street, I saw them, and there’s bound to be more out there!” Her voice is hysterical and she begins pacing from side to side, completely freaking out.
Isla assumes an expression of polite worry. “Uh, Briar… zombies don’t exist, they’re just fantasy characters, like from my fairytale book, remember?” Briar halts and glares at her little sister. “Isla, don’t you see the glow? It’s a full moon ton- do you hear that? That sounds like a werewolf!” A sinister howl sounds in the distance and Briar begins to shiver.
“Erm… no. Werewolves are just fiction too, do you want hot chocolate to calm down, Mommy taught me how to- oh, alright.” Isla says anxiously, at the scared look on Briar’s face. “I’ll stay inside tonight, I’ll do homework up in my bedroom. Don’t worry, big sis.” Isla hugs Briar tightly, trying not to show how unsettled she is by her sister’s behaviour.
For some reason, Blair is standing in the park. At night. By herself. Staring at nothing.
Briar paces around the lounge, jumping at small noises. Isla had gone up to her bedroom on her promise – she can hear her playing with her teddy bears- but Briar can tell that her little sister does not believe her. Doesn’t she see the ghostly light to everything, feel the hum of danger in the air, hear the faraway howls in the night?
Someone knocks on the door and Briar whirls around. She peeks through the door and to her relief, it is only an old man. Paparazzi, she supposes. Annoyed, but not scared, Briar steps out to greet him- Mack, he is called. She is promptly attracted to him.
EWWW OMG WHAT THE HELL BRIAR I UNDERSTAND YOU ARE AN ADULT NOW BUT YOU ARE GODDAMN 18
Briar feels a crazy and powerful emotion come over her and before she knows it, she is blurting out if Mack wants to go on a date with her. The old man waves a finger at her -“I have a wife!”- but with a grin on his face.
Briar, get back inside. You are embarrassing me.
At those words, an uncontrollably strong wave of anger forces Briar to slap Mack so hard in the face stars spin around his head. The old man reels and falls flat on his back, and with that, Briar marches inside.
After a couple of seconds, Briar realises what had just happened. She glances back outside, where Mack is rubbing his head and scowling. Why the hell had she done that? The powerful surges of emotion had come out of the blue- what is wrong with her?
Greatly unsettled, Briar runs upstairs and slips into her comfy athletic outfit. As she climbs into bed, she tries not to think about all the weird things which had happened this evening- zombies, the strange haze in her eyes, and her random actions just then. And not to mention thinking she had seen Ash.
Maybe things will go back to normal on the morning.