On January 15, 2009, the world witnessed the “Miracle on the Hudson” when Captain “Sully” Sullenberger glided his disabled plane onto the frigid waters of the Hudson River, saving the lives of all 155 aboard. However, even as Sully was being heralded by the public and the media for his unprecedented feat of aviation skill, an investigation was unfolding that threatened to destroy his reputation and his career.
A/N this is a more personal one for me. I suffer from Eczema, a skin condition where my skin can break out into patches of red, dry skin that is ungodly itchy(just incase you don’t know what it is). Everything I wrote in this is stuff I have gone through personally with my eczema and how I have had to handle it, I just added Sam in it cause I’m trash and when I have days like this I just would really like Sam to be there to tell me it’ll be okay. Also I did this on my phone so I’ll tidy it up when I get on my computer when o get home :)
On some days, my skin is great. At times making me forget I suffer from Eczema. It’s soft, clear and normal, like most people’s skin. But most days it’s not. Most days it’s red. Most days it’s dry. Most days…it makes me stay in my room and not want to see any human being until my skins calms down or clears, which can take more than a week to do.
Today was that day.
“Fucking hell…” I grumbled to myself as I look in the mirror. My skin was patchy and red, some dry spots and itchy spots…oh god they were so itchy. I could happily scratch my neck until I was through to the windpipe, but Sam was always there to stop me from making it worse. If he saw me scratching away, he would gently grab my wrist and pull my hand away saying “Babe, don’t. It’ll only get worse if you do that…” making me fidget for the rest of the day and force myself to not scratch.
No amount of creams or moisturisers would help…making me wonder why Sam would ever be with someone who was so broken.
As I stared into the mirror I let out a sigh, frustration and sadness filling it, as I start to rub some cream along my jawline. Today my skin was sore even to the touch, making me hiss through my teeth as I rub the cream in, making my skin feel like its burning. Before long I stop.
“No! No more…I can’t!” Throwing the tube of cream into the sink as I sit down onto the floor and lean against the bath, legs against my chest and my arms wrapped around them “…fuck you…” I say quietly, referring to myself. Placing my head onto my knees, I quietly cry to myself. It’s days like this I feel so depressed, so…disgusting. Who would want to kiss someone when their skin is this horrible? Who could wake up to face that’s patchy and red? Some how Sam can…
I hadn’t noticed I started to dose of to sleep, not until a strand of my hair slowly slides down my arm, brushing a sensitive part of skin on my forearm, causing it to become itchy. I shiver and lift my head, rubbing my eyes from the tears. I feel it, the itch building on my forearm “…no…don’t itch…” I say to myself, balling my fists on my lap, psychically forcing myself not to scratch, I couldn’t help it.
I scratch vigorously; hard, so hard that it felt like it was burning my skin of. I was scratching to hard that I began to close my eyes due to the pain, but it felt good to scratch it, even though Sam said it would make it worse…I didn’t care right now, I just wanted the itch to be gone and I’d happily go through to the bone to make sure it’s away.
I groan and hiss through my teeth; a mix of relief and pain. I started to feel the itch fade so I began to open my eyes…then I was met with red.
“Oh FUCK! Oh shit!” I gasped.
I scratched so hard that I did actually go through the skin, cutting my arm with my own nails.
“I didn’t fucking mean it! It was a figure of speech!” I say to myself as I grab a towel to wrap around my forearm. I stood and turned on the tap, just as I turn the tap on, the front door opens.
“Hey babe! I’m home. Sorry I was so late…Nathan was wanting a lot of paperwork to be signed so I-” he is cut of by a sudden scream erupting from the bathroom from me “Babe?!” Throwing his bag and jacket to the floor, he darts up stairs, taking 2 steps at a time.
In a matter of second he was in the bathroom “Babe! What’s wro-” his breath hitched when he saw me. I was standing shaking, a towel lazily wrapping around my forearm, large spots of blood on it and in the sink. His eyes were wide.
“S…S…Sam…” my voice broken and shaky as tears stream down my face “I’m…I’m sorry…”
“Babe what happened?!” He walks over and gently removes the towel from my arm, gritting his teeth and frowning.
“I…it was itchy…I couldn’t help it…” my voice breaks “I tried to fight the urge but it got the better of me…” I begin to cry again “I tried to do what you said…but I’m an idiot and can’t follow a simple rule like ‘don’t itch’” I looked down.
“Hey! You’re not an idiot! Okay!” Sam says as he pushes my chin up to make me look at him “I have no idea what you must go through with all of this, but I can see the urge at times is practically killing you…” he rubs his thumb on my cheek “…all I know is scratching the sore parts will make it worse, I only say it when I know your skin is really bad…” he gives me a reassuring smile “come on, let’s get you cleaned and patches up”
He sits me on the toilet and he kneels in front of me, cleaning the cuts and putting cream on them. He begins to bandage my arm up.
“How do you do it?” I mumble
“Do what?” He says as he finishes up with the bandages.
“Love someone who is such a mess…”
My comment makes him stop and he looks up to me, shocked that I actually said that.
“Where is that coming from?”
“Look at me Sam…I’m horrible, with these patches and dry skin spots…and the skin that’s weak enough to bleed from scratching…who would ever want to be with someone like that? Yet here you are…putting up with-”
“Okay stop it!” He frowns as he grasps my hand “I don’t judge someone because of their skin condition, disability or any other personal problem…” shuffling closer he cups my head “as long as I know the personal loves me and can look past my flaws then I can do the same for them…” he smiles, placing his forehead onto mine “Your skin condition doesn’t make me love you less…In fact…it makes me love you more.”
“Because it means if you’re having days like this then that means it’s my job to make you smile and that’s the best job to have…” he chuckles “When I see you smile, I love knowing it’s because of me…” he winks, making me giggle. “There’s that smile” he stands a little and pecks my forehead. “Come on, let’s get dinner sorted.” Offering his hand for me to take, I take it and wrap my arms around his, hugging his arm.
The sky had gone grey, giving almost no light to the town as we walk along the sidewalk, sharing no conversation between us. Sully decided to stay back with Charlie because he thinks he’s getting too old for this cat and mouse chase with these God damn Meat Eaters.
From general curiosity, I ask Roger about his wife in which he replies with a grunt and a deep exhale. “She was a scientist, working in the lab for the cure,” he starts softly, looking out into the distance like he’s thinking carefully. “But on that day when it started…” He trails off, breathing out deeply. “I’d rather not talk about it.”
I place a hand of sentiment but he just waves it away and the groan of pain coming from Sam catches my attention. I look at him to see his skin starting to go grey while his mouth quivers as he crosses his arms, shivering. My heart breaks to see him like this and I wrap an arm around his waist as he smiles slyly at me. “It’s fine, (y/n), it’ll take days until I turn, right? Plenty of time to get the cure.”
“No, it’s not,” Roger says and I look at him with my eyebrows furrowed.
“What do you mean?”
“The infection is different for everybody depending on their DNA, and you’re already showing symptoms of turning.”
I hold in the tears, pushing down the rising lump in my throat. “But—”
“C’mon, we gotta get moving, the facility is not far now.” Roger scans the area before continuing to walk. Sam’s eyes start to close and I shake him awake as he limps beside me, shifting his weight slightly to mine.
Sam chuckles beside me and I look at him with my eyebrows raised in question. “I remember when we argued if we wanted a dog or a cat,” he chuckles again and it makes me smile remembering it. “We settled with neither, but… At a time like this, I could like a dog.”
“Yeah, a dog sounds nice… Right when we get you the cure, we’ll get a dog.” I smile back at him as he looks at me with glazed eyes.
“Yeah, that’ll—that’ll be great.”
“You’ll be cured in time, I’m sure of it.”
Most of our time walking is pointing at stores and cafes where we spent a lot our time together before all this chaos happened and for the first time in forever, I finally felt like I could breathe without the thought of being chased by zombies.
“This is it.” Roger says, standing in front of the facility that I remember passing by once or twice before, but never really noticing it. We head inside, taken aback by the darkness surrounding the place and our only source of light is from Roger’s flashlight in my hand.
A gurgling sound is heard ahead of us and I stop in my tracks as Roger puts away the shotgun in his holster beside me while Sam stands in front.
“Turn it off.” Roger whispers and I obey, swallowing hard on my saliva as I turn off the flashlight and hold onto Sam’s hand for comfort. The clicking of the flashlight has made the gurgling noise quiet and I try my best to look around the place, only to see nothing.
My breath is caught in my throat when I feel a presence behind me, sending the hairs on my neck to raise and I bite my lips hard enough to make them bleed. Soon enough, the presence behind me makes a gurgling noise along with footsteps going to the side of the room as I tighten my grasp onto Sam’s hand.
I feel a tap on my shoulder, making me jump in my place only to see Roger looking at Sam and me, “There’s about five of these things in the room, but I don’t think they’re the only ones,” he looks at the group of zombies and then back at us. “They worked in the basement of this facility so it’s not far away from here.”
Glances are exchanged from us to the zombies meters away from us. “What about them?” I motion at the group of zombies when my vision adjusts.
He looks around the place and points at the hallway beside the zombies. “We can sneak over there.”
Agreeing, we silently walk towards the hallway with our backs on the wall as we look at the mindless corpses who are crouched down as if they’re eating something. As I keep walking, I keep my concentration on my footwork, careful not to make any sudden noise but fail to do so as something cracks underneath my shoes. Their heads turn towards me and I couldn’t think of anything else but to run as the adrenaline run through my body. From the darkness, there’s no other possibility for me to go through and now I’m stuck and in danger once again.
Before any of them can touch me, Sam whistles and it grabs their attention, turning their backs on me from the noise. He quietly walks to the side, throwing an object that thankfully led them the other way.
Sam puts his hands on my shoulders and looks at me in the eyes. “They’re gone now.” He says and I nod repeatedly, swallowing hard on my saliva as I walk along with him, meeting Roger by the hallway.
“You need to know how to defend yourself other than running away,” He remarks as he fishes something out of his pocket. “Here, it’s small but it’s pretty useful. Helped me a lot when I was in trouble.” He hands me a pocket knife and I thank him for it, in which he replies with a nod.
Heading back our way towards the basement, I turn on the flashlight and aim it at the walls to see dry blood covering the walls and floor with bloody footprints going in and out of the hallway.
Seeing the staircase nearby, we walk down the stairs to see the same bloody mess until we reach the bottom where two metal doors are wide open. Roger checks to see if it’s safe and he gestures with his hands for us to come. The basement facility has more light compared to the floor above us and looks more secure with metal doors secured by locks and codes.
“I worked here once,” Roger says beside me, singing as he looks around the place. “But… I got fired right before the cure started because—”
Before he could finish, Sam vomits on the side, puking out blood and I rush towards him as he falls to the ground, his eyes are closed, but he’s still breathing. Roger lifts him up making him come back to consciousness.
“C’mon, asshole, we’re close to the cure.” Roger says, putting Sam’s arm on his shoulder for support as he limps along with him.
“If I bite you, I won’t regret it.” Sam jokes, coughing afterwards and I rub his back for comfort. As much as he’s joking, it will only a matter of minutes until I see him fall onto the floor again with his eyes turning grey. The thought of it has made my throat tighten from the lump that I keep pushing down.
Roger leads us to a closed metal door and he looks at the security keypad on it. “Let’s see if they changed it.” He presses on the numbers and it slowly opens. As we enter, three zombies stumbles around the room and we stop in our tracks. Roger puts Sam down on the floor and he breathes out heavily as Roger makes eye contact with me then motioning onto the zombies in the room.
“But… I can’t do that…” I whisper but he shakes his head.
“Use the pocket knife and fuck them up.” He remarks and I avert my look from him to the zombies, taking a deep breath before nodding my head.
Just fuck them up.
Roger crouches down to the side and I follow him, each of us going behind one of them. The smell of their rotten flesh doesn’t stop me from taking the pocket knife and slicing open its throat, both of them making a screeching noise before falling down onto the floor. This has grabbed the last zombie’s attention, coming up towards me and I punch it in the face, making it fall onto the ground as I bash his skull with my feet.
“Good job.” Roger remarks and I smile at him.
“I’m getting a hang of it.”
We walk back to Sam who has his eyes closed and I wake him up. “Hey, sleepy head, time to get the cure.” I help him up and lead him to the metal bed, laying him down. It’s hard to see him like this: weak and useless. I’ve seen him sick before, but not to the point where his skin looked as if the life as been sucked out of him and his eyes puffed up and red. “You’ll be okay, Sam.” I tell him but he has already closed his eyes with his mouth chattering from the cold.
Not so far away, distinct laughter comes from the other side of the hallway and catches our attention.
“I’ll check that out.” Roger says, but I pull him back by the arm.
“This is more important than that.” I tell him, but he shakes his head with his eyebrows furrowed.
“These are survivors and I’m not letting go of the chance that my wife could be alive.” He harshly pulls his arm away. “I’ll be back as soon as possible.”
As he slowly walks away, my head boils that he prioritizes them than his friends. “You do know you’re being a selfish-ass, right?!” I yell after him and he turns his back away from me with his jaw clenched with his eyebrows furrowed.
“Have you ever lost someone you’ve loved for twenty-five years?!” He hisses, grinding his teeth as he stares me down. I don’t dare reply to him as I can see the tears and desperation in his eyes. “I’m going to look.”
He walks away and I let him go as Sam is more important than arguing about his wife. I look around the lab to see various syringes and chemicals around the place, along with blood splattered on the floor. I fumble around the vaccine names which probably means something, but it’s just letters and numbers to me.
My hands start to shake as I clench my jaw, looking for the right one. It must be labeled, right? Must be labeled as “Cure” or something. Beside the stacks of syringes, there’s a clipboard with a paper titled ‘Vaccines’, only to be soaked and covered in blood. Tears start to flow down my cheeks as I find no hope of the cure. “I can’t find it!” I scream, breathing heavily as I pick from one syringe to the other.
“(Y/N),” Sam says softly and I turn around to see him grabbing his gun from his holster. “Take it.” He hands me the gun, but I shake my head.
“When I turn, shoot me.” He tries to stand from the metal bed, but he just falls onto the ground and I rush to his side, placing his head on my lap to see his eyes are starting to close.
“Sam…” I shake him. “Sam, stay with me!” I shake him one more time, knowing that he’ll live and be cured, but somehow in the back of my mind, there’s doubts. My breath starts to shake as my tears fall to his face and I wipe them away. “Sam, c’mon, what about that dog we were talking about?”
Then, the moment that I fear for the most: he’s stopped breathing. My cries turn louder as I move away, grabbing the gun as I go back to the syringes, looking for the right vaccine, determined to find it. At this point, I cannot feel my hands as they won’t stop shaking and my vision start to blur from the amount of tears I’m crying out.
In the corner of my eyes, I see a figure stand and I turn my head. To my horror, Sam is looking at me with grey eyes and I quickly aim the gun at him in panic, but I hesitate to pull the trigger.
“Don’t make me do this,” I tell him as I retreat backwards to the wall while he walks closer to me. “Sam, stand back!” He doesn’t do anything else but move closer to me and in an instant, I can already smell rotten meat coming off from him. I feel the wall on my back, its coldness making me shiver as Sam has his body inches away from mine with his pistol right on his chest. I manage to look into his eyes to see a little bit of humanity like he’s begging for this. I close my eyes and look away and before I know it, I shot him.
The echo of the gunshot has made me let go of the gun and I feel my knees give in to my weight that I fall onto the floor while Sam falls on his back with a thud. Everything spins and blurs as my ears ring and I can’t feel anything else but emptiness.
I lost him.
I lost everything.
“(Y/N), what—? Oh…” Roger’s voice snaps me out of my trance and he rushes towards me to lift me up, but I push him away.
“I’m not leaving him.”
He pulls me again, but I to pull away, harder this time. “There’s no use, he’s dead anyway!”
“Shut up! He’s—He’s not—”
“What the fuck is happening? More of these things are coming!” A female voice with a British accent yells from the hallway and I look at the door to see a woman with jet black hair, shooting along with two male adults I haven’t met before.
“I’d rather die here than live without him.” I hiss, but I am caught off guard as he knocks me out with the butt of his shotgun.