Issue 8 Review

Midnight Nation 8 Synopsis

"Somewhere Between Nearly There and There"

David Grey and Laurel have been walking through the elements for ten months. They have fought relentlessly with the Walkers. David realizes that he is slowly losing his mind as the Walker tattoo spreads across his body.

For some time now, David and Laurel have not spoken to each other except when necessary. David knows that Laurel is in pain. He wonders if reclaiming his soul is worth all this effort on Laurel's part.

They sit around a campfire, and Laurel stitches a cut on her arm. As she finishes and puts on her shirt, she tells David that this is the second time that she is required to ask him if he wants her to kill him. David asks if she would like that. He thinks she wants to get rid of him so that she won't get hurt any more. He rants on about how unfair his predicament is.

Laurel says David isn't being himself right now. He is acting like the creature he is becoming. She decides to finish the conversation later. She stands up, and David becomes enraged when she turns her back to him. He attacks her from behind, but she flips him over her head and onto the ground. Laurel tries to calm David, but he screams like an animal and jumps on her again. They tumble down the slope.

David slashes at Laurel with his hand like a claw. The strike tears the shoulder of her shirt, reopens the wound that she just finished repairing, and adds a few more cuts. Laurel says that this is enough and lays him out with a strong punch. Laurel calls to David and urges him to follow her voice back. Slowly, David's haggard and bewildered face replaces the feral expression and Walker-like eyes.

David wonders why he is on the ground. He realizes that he lost control to his growing Walker nature and attacked Laurel. Laurel asks him to be quiet and leave her alone. She curls up into a fetal position. David says he is sorry, and Laurel says she knows.

David is consumed by guilt for what he did. They don't talk the rest of the night. He hates hurting her, but every night it becomes harder to resist the nature of the Walkers.

As they walk along the road the next morning, David suggests that Laurel doesn't need to accompany him to New York. They are less than a week away, and he can find his way from here. Laurel says that it's not allowed. She points out that if he has an episode like the night before, he'll need her to call him back from the madness. She'll be able to do that for at least a little while longer.

David asks Laurel what she does in-between escorting people to New York. Laurel remembers her time floating nude in the blueness. She says that she is at peace, but also unfulfilled, empty, and waiting. She doesn't want to stay and wait, but she does. It is her in-between place. Still, it is better than the pain.

David stops in his tracks and ask Laurel who she really is... what she is. Laurel says that David can never understand what she is. She is very old and very tired of walking. She continues walking down the road.

That night David studies Laurel's face as she sleeps. She smiled and laughed all the time when they first met, but now she never does because being with him causes her pain. David realizes that throughout all the relationships in his life he has always brought pain to the other person. The difference this time is that he can't stand to see Laurel in pain. He will work harder to control himself because she deserves better. He thinks that he is in love with her.

The next day David works hard to control himself and regain Laurel's trust. He even tries to make her smile again with a joke. Laurel categorizes his joke as Zen humor without the wisdom. David is pleasantly surprised that she is taking a playful shot at him. Laurel fires up another retort but stops short when she sees a long line of Walkers on the road ahead.

They have almost reached their destination, and Laurel calls this the gauntlet. David suggests going back and finding a way around them, but Laurel says they don't have enough time. David must fight each Walker one at a time. Each one will hurt him, and eventually he must decide when he needs Laurel to take over for a while. David is adamant that he won't call for Laurel's help because he doesn't want her to be hurt any more.

David fights several Walkers and defeats them in single combat. Laurel can see that David is wearing down and offers to help, but he refuses. He continues through the gauntlet, but eventually he is beaten and exhausted. He calls for Laurel's help and apologizes. Laurel fights for a while until David tags her and takes over. They continue through countless Walkers, trading off like tag-team wrestlers. Eventually they defeat all of them.

As they catch their wind, David agrees with Laurel's comment that their battle was bad. However, Laurel says that the worst is yet to come. When David asks what could be worse, she indicates a lone figure walking towards them far down the road. Laurel says that David must talk to him. Since he's on the road between them and New York, they can't get to New York without talking to him. David starts down the road, figuring that a conversation can't be worse than the battle he just survived.

Laurel tells him that she will wait in a nearby abandoned building. She doesn't want to talk to the approaching figure. David can tell from her voice that she is afraid of this person. He can't understand why since she wasn't afraid of the Walkers. He becomes less sure of himself and asks again who the person is. Laurel tells him that he must see for himself and adds one important piece of advice. Everything the man tells him will be the truth. It's not a trick, riddle, or metaphor. David asks how she knows that it is the truth, and Laurel reminds him that she has walked this road before.

As David walks down the road, Laurel huddles in a fetal position, muttering about how many times she has been down this road.

David approaches the man on the street, and it is clear who he is. "Give me a break," David says.

It is himself, David Grey, only several years older. Young David comments that he must have had a hard life. Old David concurs. Old David reminds young David that Laurel said he would only tell the truth. Young David surmises that since his older self is alive, he will survive the trip to New York. Old David says he will, "after a fashion."

Young David gets frustrated with the unclear comment. He suggests that old David could save them both a lot of time by just revealing everything that will happen. Old David is just repeating what he was told when he was in young David's position. He apologizes for being so cryptic. When old David was young, he assumed that his older self had a good reason for speaking cryptically. Now that he is on the other side of the conversation, old David admits that he doesn't know why he is being cryptic. He is afraid to say anything different because it might make things even worse. The battered young David doesn't believe that anything worse is even possible, but old David assures him that it is.

Old David asks if Laurel is in the abandoned building. Young David says she is, and suggests that he be allowed to ask one simple question and receive one simple answer. Old David agrees. When asked, he reconfirms that he will tell the truth. That's what Laurel said, and she never said anything that she didn't mean.

Young David asks if he gets his soul back. The answer is no.

Young David reminds his older self that if he doesn't get his soul back, Laurel said he would become a Walker trapped between the two worlds. Old David agrees. When young David notes that old David doesn't look like a Walker, old David merely replies, "Funny, isn't it?"

Old David says that his time is almost up and turns to leave. When young David protests, old David maintains that not only can he leave but he already did leave. Young David asks what happens to Laurel. Old David says she dies. They kill her after reaching New York. "We kill her," he repeats to his stunned younger self as he walks into the distance.

David returns to the abandoned building, and Laurel says they should go quickly because they don't have much time. She didn't get to finish asking her question earlier. She must know whether David wants her to kill him now. David says he knows that they fight sometimes, but he cares for her more than he has every cared for anyone else in his life. Laurel squeezes her eyes shut against his words and asks her question again. David says no.

They don't say much for the rest of the trip. Sometimes one or the other tries to make small talk, but it becomes harder for David as they approach New York. They are both very tired. David doesn't tell Laurel what his older self said. He resolves not to let it happen.

At a word from Laurel, David looks up and sees New York City.