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9000 Days - Lorelei Cross


Trigger Warning: Abuse, Violence

The seventy-two hours without her father was the closest thing to bliss that Lorelei Cross had ever felt. There was no one to take care of beside herself. There was no broken glass or empty bottles to sweep up and throw away. There wasn’t the lingering smell of alcohol that hit you when you opened the front door. There were no apologies to friends for the mess or rushing people out because they’d been too loud and awakened a sleeping giant. Just bliss.

Even the best things must come to an end at some point.

Lorelei laid in the comfort of her quiet home, listening to the sound of the wind whistling outside of her window. Her body felt empty while her mind felt numb. Her gaze was locked on the aging ceiling, counting all the chips in the paint that had been acquired over the last twelve years or even longer. The clock above her nightstand didn’t fail to remind her of each second she allowed to pass without protecting her father.

For many, they couldn’t understand why Lorelei put up with him as long as she had. And it was true. There were many times in her life where she could have left him to run away. There were times where she could have allowed him to be bitten or starve to death but to her, there was a deep sense of familial obligation. She felt as if she should be grateful that she has her biological father when so many others are orphaned by the cruelty of the world they knew today.

She rose from the bed in an almost robotic way. There was nothing to offer in the expression that laid on her face. Even the way she packed seemed far too routine. To Lori, this was just another place she’d soon have to abandon due to her father’s recurring mistakes. She’d soon stand at the southern exit of Monroe looking over her shoulder one last time before watching the world outside the walls open up to her.

The three days that followed seemed to play on a loop. Wake up. Eat. Kill biters. Search. Make camp. Sleep. Repeat. All roads leading to the same dead end.

The air on the fourth morning felt heavy as if the world it’s self could see what was to come. Lorelei’s boots pressed the snow under her feet while she walked down the road of what she’d call a ghost town. There weren’t even dead from what she could tell. Only a deafening silence that left her alone with every nasty thought her brain could muster.

You failed.” It mocked her. “You’ve failed as a daughter. You couldn’t keep him safe and that’s why he left. He knew that if he stayed with you he might as well sign his death certificate. You’re worthless. A worthless nothing who will never be more than that. That’s why your mother died. She rather be buried six feet in the ground than have to stomach the thought that this is what she gave birth to any longer. She abandoned you and so did he. You deserve all the bad in this world.” The voice only got louder until it became too much to bear. Lori’s hands found their way into her dark brown locks and begin to pull with all her strength, screaming out in anguish for the thoughts to stop.

Her knees buckled beneath her and she collapsed to the pavement beneath her. The feeling of the snow seeping through her jeans didn’t seem to phase her much as she rocked herself back and forth with her eyes shut as tightly as she could get them. “Stop it! Stop it! Stop it!” She pleaded with herself.

Lorelei?!” The familiar voice broke through. “The fuck are you yellin’ about! Come here and help me, damn it!” And just like that, the tears stopped without a trace of being there in the first place. She lifted her head to squint at the figure resting on a curb roughly 200 feet from the place she’d found herself kneeling.

Her hands hung at her sides as she rose to her feet, dragging herself along toward him mindlessly. A passerby could easily mistake her for one of the dead without a second glance. The distance between them began to close but the closer she got the louder he hurled his insults.

Fucking took you long enough, didn’t it?

What are you? Deaf? Answer me when I speak to you!

Never leave a woman to do a man’s job.

The fuck are you crying about? Don’t be such a pussy.

Lorelei’s head craned to the side as she examined the extent of Patrick’s injuries. Her voice was emotionless as she questioned him, “What happened to you?”

Who are you to ask me anything? I’m the adult. You’re the kid. You do what I say. And I told you to fucking help me up before one of those dead fuckers comes this way or something.” He snapped with a hand extended to her.

Lori turned her head just enough to see the gesture from her peripheral, “You know when horses break a leg their owners typically put them down.” She muttered.

Why do I give a shit about horses? Stop messing around!

“I’m just sayin’ beca-” Her words were cut off by the sharp pain she felt in her forearm as she was pulled forward by a tightened grip. Her legs crumpled to the ground in front of Patrick as she stared up at him with a deer in the headlights look. Images of her childhood flashed through her mind. Every fight. Every screaming match. Every misstep she’d ever made. All of that flooded to the forefront of her mind while she looked into the eyes of her very own devil. His free hand came up to grip her jaw between his index finger and thumb, forcing a whimper from her.

Do I look like a joke to you?” He hissed, spitting in the face of his daughter. “You ungrateful fucking brat.” Patrick dug his nails into her smooth skin, watching the blood begin to surface. “Your whole life you’ve done nothing but be a waste of fucking time, money, space - you fucking name it. I can’t begin to comprehend what I did in my past life to be stuck with something as disgusting as you for a kid.” He pushed his daughter away with the entirety of his force, watching her crumple into a ball at his feet. “I wish you’d fall over dead, just like your mother.

Lori laid in the cold, wet snow feeling it soak into her clothing. She held her eyes open to keep the tears from falling out. Her heartbeat against her chest as the anger began to stack like building blocks. “Enough.” She whimpered, pulling her arms from underneath her and propping herself up. Her long brown hair covering her face from him. “Enough.” She repeated.

After all that, you still wanna run your mouth? You’re as hard-headed as her! How many lessons do I have to teach you before you learn your place, girl?!

“I said, enough!” She screamed, listening to her voice echo off the walls of the abandoned town. Her head snapped toward him with a look of disgust. Lorelei slowly began to pull herself to her feet with her fists clenched at her side. “I don’t deserve this. I don’t deserve any of this! You’re alive because I say so! Because I fight! Because I live! Look at you. Just fuckin’ take a look! You were what? Without me for three days? Have you eaten? What have you done even remotely self-sustainable?!”

The young woman paced the pavement as she let her fingertips dance across her fresh wounds. “You’re alive.. Because I say so. Me.” She whispers, sliding her hand down her thigh to the holster that held her gun. Her fingers wrapped around the cold wooden finish and pulled, letting her thumb run over the safety.

Patrick laughed. His laughter louder than her scream, almost hysterical to the point he began to choke on his own spit. “
Gonna kill me? That what you gonna do?” He tapped his finger against his forehead roughly, speaking through gritted teeth. “Right here! Put a bullet right in here! One to the fucking dome and I'll never have to spend one more miserable moment with you!

Lorelei’s smile spread across her face as she began to back away from him, her head shaking slowly with every bit of distance she got from him. Her arm raised into the air, flicking off the safety. “Oh no, no.. I would never give you that satisfaction, Dad. No, it’s not gonna be me. I won’t carry that fucking burden on my shoulders. That won’t be another thing on the list of what’s wrong with me.”

“You think you can do this without me? Is that it?” She asked, cocking her head to the side. “Alright.”


“I'm sure that break isn't even that bad! I bet you're just faking it!" She laughed. Her voice began to get louder the further she got. “Come on, Dad! Get up! They’re coming!” A faint groaning could be heard to the West.

Lorelei let her arm fall halfway, taking aim at Patrick’s chest. Her finger curled around the trigger, pulling without hesitation. She watched the blood paint the snow around him, listening to the thud as he fell on his back.


Patrick’s groans began to mix with those of the approaching dead.

The woman walked a few more steps backward, swallowing the lump in her throat. “See you at home, Dad.” She whispered, turning her back on her father. With each crunch of the snow beneath her feet, she put distance between herself and the cage she’d spent the last 9000 days living in.