Issue 5 Review

Midnight Nation 5 Synopsis

"Past Present, Present Tense"

A group of Walkers rampage through the streets of a city attacking helpless victims. The thoughts of the newest Walker echo the words of their leader.

The sounds of pain, fear, and despair excite him. He is truly alive for the first time. He has no doubts, insecurities, questions, or regrets. To be a Walker is to be free, powerful, and alive.

The gory feeding frenzy is replaced by a gathering of Walkers as their leader continues preaching to them from a mount. He says that this is a new covenant, a new promise to replace the one that wasn't honored. He praises the Walkers as the new covenant made manifest.

The newest Walker questions himself. The leader urges him not to fight it. The leader says he is love. The Walker screams, "No!"

David Grey awakes screaming, "Leave me alone!" Laurel rushes into the room, and David tells her that he just had a nightmare. She asks if he was a Walker in his nightmare. He confirms her suspicion. Laurel says his dream was a promise, not a simple nightmare. She says they should get moving because they are taking too long. They may not get to New York in time.

David knows that if they don't get to New York in time, he will become a Walker or Laurel will have to kill him. He figures he'll be better off dead, but he wonders why being a Walker seemed so right in his dream.

As Laurel and David walk down a street, Laurel suggests that they get something to eat even though David says he isn't hungry. David reminds Laurel that every time she suggests that they stop to eat they get into a weird situation. Laurel says she was just going to offer David some beef jerky so the can eat and walk at the same time.

David is chagrined. Laurel offers him teriyaki or hickory smoked. David doesn't like those flavors, but Laurel reminds him that they must take what they can find in the place in-between. David reluctantly asks for the hickory smoked since he hates teriyaki, but Laurel says he took too long deciding so she already ate it.

From the roof of a building, the Walker who has been following them mutters Laurel's name.

David curses. Laurel thinks he's getting carried away about the beef jerky, but he is cursing because he sees the shadow of the Walker. As the Walker climbs down the wall in an alley near his black van, David surprises and tackles him. David has the upper hand, and he is just about to smash the Walker's head with a brick when Laurel enters the alley. The Walker cries out to Laurel for help.

A short while later, the Walker is tied to a chair in an abandoned building. He is still asking for help. David demands an explanation from Laurel, but she is not forthcoming. The Walker knows Laurel, and she obviously knows him. When David continues to question Laurel, she explodes at him. She reminds him that she is not a suspect in a police interrogation room, and she doesn't have to answer his questions. Laurel stops short, bothered by the Walker's ongoing pleas.

David asks Laurel more politely who the Walker is. She reminds David that she helped others before him try to reclaim their souls. She always failed. This particular Walker is the last person she escorted before David.

His name is Drake. As they walked he would make a joke of asking her when they would get there every ten minutes. Drake told Laurel that she reminded him of his wife even though they looked nothing alike and his wife laughed at his jokes. He missed his wife. Drake annoyed Laurel, but she liked him anyway. He quickly learned what he had to do on the road.

David asks Laurel what Drake learned, but she won't tell him. Everyone takes a different path on this journey. Drake's was particularly difficult.

Drake had been in the Midwest when his soul was stolen, so he didn't have as far to travel. He didn't move as fast as he should have, so he lost a lot of time when winter arrived. With time running out, they finally arrived in New York. Drake's transformation had already progressed to the point where he was very gaunt and the green coloration and tattoo-like markings of the Walkers were creeping up his neck.

Laurel is unable to continue her story.

Laurel and Drake descended into a tunnel and encountered the Walkers. Their bald leader with his braided beard was silhouetted by fire. A body was manacled to a wall. Drake stared in terror at the blood on his hands as the victim died. He screamed out, blaming God for what happened. The leader spoke, inviting Drake to embrace his father.

David does not learn this last part. Laurel is too upset. She has never been contacted by one of her former charges before. She asks Drake what he wants.

Before his soul was stolen, Drake saved money in an account that his wife didn't know about for his daughter's college. He knows that they are in financial trouble since he disappeared. He wants to tell them about the money, but he know he will frighten them if he appears as a Walker. He asks Laurel to contact them and gives her a paper with the telephone and account numbers.

Laurel reminds him that this is against the rules of the Walkers and reminds him of the consequences. Drake begs her again to help.

Laurel heads outside to a phone booth, and David asks her how she can call the real world. She reminds him that she went there to get him. David reminds her that the phones are messed up in the place in-between.

Laurel picks up the abandoned pay phone and hears the tortured voices. They plead for help and make threats. Laurel orders them to get off the line. They refuse to obey and demand to know who is telling them to get off the line. She says it is Laurel, and the voices quickly excuse themselves.

As David watches from the doorway, Drake joins him. David looks back to see the broken chair and ropes. He comments that the Walker is stronger than he looks.

Laurel reaches Drake's wife on the telephone. She says that she knew Drake before he died, but she won't identify herself. She reads off the account number and has his wife read it back to verify it. She says she won't be able to call again. Drake approaches the phone booth as his wife thanks Laurel. Laurel asks her to repeat what she just said an holds the phone up for Drake to hear. Drake hears his wife's voice explaining how much this money will help. She says she misses Drake and thinks of him every day. It means a lot to her to know that Drake wanted Donna, their daughter, to have this money.

Drake's wife asks if anyone is still on the phone, but Drake does not respond. He cries and sinks to his knees in the phone booth.

Laurel tells David they have to leave quickly because the Walkers monitor the phone lines. David asks if they can do anything for Drake. Laurel says that they can't do anything for him now. David is confused. At first, Laurel helped Drake and showed that she has some compassion buried inside her, but now she's hardened herself again. Laurel says she's just tough and nothing gets through.

As they walk past the phone booth, Drake thanks Laurel and says that he loved her. Laurel moves on ahead, and Drake asks David how long he has. David says he has six or seven months left. Drake advises David not to continue the journey. He should find a nice place to settle down and live for five months before letting Laurel kill him. It will be better and cleaner that way.

When David catches up to Laurel, she asks him what Drake said. David tells her he didn't say anything.

That night the black vans come for Drake, who is still sitting in the phone booth.

David and Laurel sit by their campfire. David apologizes for what he said to Laurel. He clutches at his chest and says he noticed something the other day. He saw himself in Drake, knowing that he will be lost and alone if they are not successful. Laurel says it's all right. They are all lost and alone.

The Walkers stand around the perimeter of a shallow pit. Drake stands in the center. The leader tells him that there can be no forgiveness for what he has done. He apologizes to Drake and orders the Walkers to do their duty. As Drake continues to ask Laurel when they will get there, the Walkers descend on him. The leader turns his back.

The next day, David and Laurel continue their journey. Laurel begins to say something and then stops herself. David asks her to continue since it's the first thing she's said since the previous night. Laurel concedes that David is right. She is cold and distant sometimes. She only escorted a few of the Walkers, but every time she sees them she is reminded that she always failed. She keeps her distance so it doesn't hurt so much when she fails. Every time he hopes that her companion will be the one that makes it. She begins to hope, and she begins to get involved. Laurel confesses that she didn't want to do this duty again. She doesn't have any hope left.

David suggests that things will work out when they look darkest. Laurel might have to be at the end of hope to make one last grab at success. His father told him that you can't jump up until you hit the bottom of whatever you fall into. Laurel says that David is supposed to be the one doing the learning. David responds by questioning whether she is here for him or he is here for her. He seems to have a point.

Laurel excuses herself to answer the call of nature. David tells her to take her time. To himself, he says that he'll be here for as long as he can.

David is beginning to look a little gaunt in the face and tired in the eyes. He lifts up his shirt and examines the beginning of the Walker tattoo pattern that is growing on his chest.