We Don't Talk Anymore
Where could love lead us?
The flight information display system shows the flight from Ireland has arrived. Lara walks down the escalator in glee and goes on to pick up her luggage. As she holds on to her luggage on the carousel, her phone starts beeping. She drags the heavy bag to the ground after a struggle and immediately pulls out her phone.
It’s a text from Brandon. Her face lights up like a sunrise. She could lift anyone’s bag from the carousel at this moment. However, her joy slowly fades away.
The text reads…
“This is over. I’m trying my best to make things work but somehow it’s never enough. This won’t work. I genuinely don’t wanna be ruining someone’s happiness, especially the person I love the most. So let’s not drag this to be a much bigger mess. Take care and all the best.”
Her lips are trembling and her tears are wrestling to exit her eyes but she’s holding it together. Lara gets a cab and rushes to Brandon’s apartment.
Lara bangs on his door. Just pure silence. Lara hits again harder and Brandon opens the door shirtless.
She notices a redhead on the couch staring back at her in pity. She’s been strong for too long, not anymore. She shatters into pieces. She screams, yells and cries in excruciating pain. Brandon is stone-faced throughout.
A FEW WEEKS LATER.
Time passes by but the wounds don’t seem to be healing. Her food is untouched. She wanders around the house and screams for no apparent reason.
Do you know the feeling of frustration when the trash is building up and you keep procrastinating on taking out the trash but one day, you can’t take it anymore so you frantically take out the trash?
That moment occurred in her life. She rushed to her room, grabbed a photo frame of Brandon and smashed it to the ground. Fragments of glasses, all over the floor, just like her. She picks up the photograph, gets a lighter and starts burning it. Brandon is engulfed in flames and his face is completely burnt. She then flushes it down the toilet.
Lara stares at herself in the mirror, full of fury.
Lara: Get your shit together, Lara. Get a freakin coffee or something!
SIX MONTHS LATER.
Coffee is served to Lara as she thanks the waiter while Lara’s best friend, Rachel is sipping on a Bloody Mary.
Rachel: So, how are you doing?
She is trying to be gleeful as possible.
Lara: I’ve been good. So much better. Thanks.
Rachel: You’re happy with this new hospital?
Lara: Oh absolutely, so much better. Everyone is so warm.
Rachel: Are you?
Lara: Of course, I’m a paediatrician. Come on! How’s your research coming along?
Rachel: It’s fine, I guess. Dealing with viruses at the lab is not as fun as dealing with kids.
She’s definitely trying to pull her leg.
Lara: Wanna swap?
They both burst out in laughter. All of sudden, an ear-splitting honk comes by. It’s Rachel’s fiancé. She gulps her Bloody Mary and rushes away while waving goodbye.
Rachel gets into the car and embraces her fiancé, Darrion. He apologises for rushing her out but she understands as they are late for a family dinner.
The car gets moving, the exterior is noisy with all the traffic noises but the interior is silent as Rachel is in a deep reverie.
Rachel: You know I've been hearing a lot of breakups recently. It's so simple for people to end things, huh?
Darrion remains silent with a smile.
Rachel: Why are you smiling?
He adds a chuckle.
Rachel is more intrigued by his mysterious smile.
Rachel: Tell me what is it? Okay. Why do you think breakups happen?
Darrion: Because of relationships?
The disappointment was palpable all over her face.
Rachel: Oh thanks, genius!
Darrion cracks up loudly.
Darrion: No, I didn't mean it that way.
Rachel gives the side-eye.
Darrion: See, if you're in a relationship, the chances of ending up in a breakup is notoriously high but if you're in love…
The car comes to a shrieking halt at a red light stop.
Darrion: If you're in love, a breakup is technically non-existent.
Rachel knows how much Lara and Brandon were in love since college. Their breakup seems implausible. She presumes there's more to the story. Although convincing Lara was difficult, she succeeded. Lara was set to meet Brandon to discover the real story.
Lara and Brandon are seated at a restaurant. The silence is deafening, to say the least. Brandon looks so much different with his thick beard and messy hair. He doesn't have an ounce of care about his looks but he's grinning while stirring his cappuccino.
Lara: What actually happened, Brandon?
That was thunderous in the midst of the silence.
Brandon: What do you mean?
Lara: How did another girl come in? What happened?
Brandon: Another girl?
Lara: The redhead?
Brandon: Oh, Sophia? She’s a friend of mine, an oncologist.
Lara is puzzled. All this while, she thought Brandon left her for another girl.
Lara: So, if it wasn’t for her, why did you leave?
Brandon: I’m assuming you’re at a better place now. There’s something wrong with me and I have tried every possible avenue to get it fixed but I can’t. I couldn’t drag you along.
Lara: What’s wrong with you?
Brandon: They got many names for it. Glioblastoma multiforme. Grade 4 astrocytoma.
Lara is appalled. In basic English, it's an aggressive form of brain tumour malignant or in layman's terms, cancer.
Brandon is all smiles while Lara is all tears. She tries her best to convince him so that she could take care of him during his last days but Brandon is not up for it. He believes that’s the worst he could do to her. He leaves while hiding the unbearable pain with his smile.
Just after mere hours, Brandon gets a phone call from an unknown number.
Brandon: Hello. Who’s this?
Rachel: Hey, Brandon.
Rachel invites him to her lab to offer him salvation. She offers a solution to his cancer. Something that could heal him and give his life back.
She admits it’s a dangerous experiment but look at the bright side. Death is inevitable for Brandon, it’s around the corner so there’s nothing much to lose but if it works, it will be a second chance at life.
After all the convincing, Brandon still seemed dubious.
Rachel: Don’t you wanna live with the love of your life much longer? For 7 years, all you did was long distance! I could give you another 70 years to live with her.
Those words arrived in Brandon’s ears as sweet as honey. That was more than enough to convince him. However, Rachel advises against consulting Sophia on this as she will disapprove of such a dangerous act.
Rachel is a specialist in synthetic virology. We have been trying to figure out the cure for cancer for so long but first, let’s understand what’s cancer. A stubborn cell that doesn’t give up. Someone who doesn’t wanna die. So what if we send in an assassin?
That is Rachel’s cure for cancer. Sending in a virus to kill a stubborn cell and then it disintegrates. It’s a form of metamorphosis.
She opens up her computer and shows a 3D model which looks like cylindrical foam with a spring in it.
Rachel: This is Rahelicalvirus. I call it RaVi. Made by yours truly.
She puts Brandon into a secured chamber and starts the procedure. RaVi is injected into him through a robotic arm. She’s watching it all live through an imaging device that she invented specifically for this procedure, similar to fluoroscopy.
RaVi eradicates the cancer cell successfully. However, instead of disintegrating after the procedure as intended, RaVi replaces the cell and begins duplicating.
It starts attacking the other cells and takes control of the whole body. The cells begin mutating at an incredible rate. Brandon was outgrowing the chamber within seconds. The secured chamber is not so secure after all.
Rachel hardly recognises him. He looks gruesome. It’s obvious he lost his mind. As he gallops towards her, she is engulfed in trepidation. That’s when she realised, she unleashed the world’s first zombie. Not just any zombie.
A mutant zombie.
FIVE YEARS LATER.
Lara is at a laboratory working hard to find an antiserum. She seems to be losing her sanity. We discover that her lab is surrounded by high walls with electric barbed wires which are keeping her alive.
She’s searching for an antiserum based on the sample retrieved five years ago.
A forlorn human being.
The unhabitable world now belongs to RaVi as we discover thousands and thousands of mutant zombies surround the lab.