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Necropolis: Revelation [Rated R][Closed]



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Sat Apr 07, 2012 9:38 am
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JordanPierre2000 says...



Nathan Boskuy

Nathan made sure to enter before Kylie did. He knew all the other called her dr Harriss but he thought he knew her enough to call her by her first name. Nathan scanned the bar. There were fifteen tables squashed together, all of them occupied apart from the two at the back door exit. He knew this was because no one wanted to sit near a possible place where no guards were, even if the bar was surrounded by a deadly fence. Nathan and Kylie strode over to the last table and took a seat. Nathan sat at the end closest to the door, just in case a zombie did decide to crash the party, he would have the advantage. They sat in silence for a while. Then Nathan decided to break the silence.
"So I was wondering what our next priority was?" he asked. Kylie down at the moulds tablecloth that some how looked a lot more appealing to her than it did before.
"Aren't you...angry at me?" she said in a hushed tone. Nathan stared into space for a while them thought of the best reply.
"No. The bunch of baffoons had it coming anyway. My job is to protect you. Not to get all teary when part if my squad is killed."
Kylie brightened up a little bit and examined him. He hated it when she did this. It felt like she was looking at him like she looks at her specimens.

"Our next move is still to get to Asheville. Whether we like it or not it's where we have to go if we want to cure this thing."

Spoiler! :
Sorry guys I'll write the rest later
Stop for a while and think about this.

What if we used to be able to make wishes

But then someone wished we couldn't :O




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Sat Apr 07, 2012 12:03 pm
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Cadi says...



Toni Bowen
The Settlement - March 3, 2011 - 9.15pm


It was pretty much too dark to see what she was drawing, at this point.

Toni shivered, glanced up and around. Here and there, people were moving, disappearing into the motley assortment of tents. The wind snatched at them as they went, and at the tents, and filled the evening with unexpected sounds.

She wasn’t sure if it was better or worse than the eerily calm nights.

As she turned her head, the wind caught up a loose bit of hair and whipped it across her face. She lifted her hand from the page to catch it - mistake. Deprived of one plaything, it grabbed for another - the paper. The top page snapped up, one end ripping through the spiral binding.

She slammed a hand back down to catch it. The page crumpled.She frowned.

Clamping one hand down on the unbound edge of the pad, she wiped the other across the crushed page. Not the most effective tactic, but then, the pad as a whole was hardly pristine anymore.

She peered down at the sketches, made one or two more attempts to add to them, but drawing without seeing wasn’t really the easiest of tasks. With half a sigh, she flipped the pad shut, dropped the pencil back into her rucksack.

“Getting a bit dark for that, isn’t it?”

If she’d been on her feet, she would have bolted at the unexpected voice. As it was, she nearly jumped backwards into the wall of the tent, gripping the pad to her chest.

“Oh, sorry. I forget, you’re a twitchy little bugger.”

The intruder stepped over her to the tent door, unzipped it and ducked through. Toni sat frozen, jaw tight and eyes wide, cursing the wind and all its noises for covering the important sounds.

She listened for a while to the movement inside the tent, the rustling of nighttime routine. When eventually it stopped - and stayed stopped - she dropped her pad into her bag with the pencil, and crawled through the door into her own corner of the tent. Too dark to draw, too windy to relax...

Better try sleep.
"The fact is, I don't know where my ideas come from. Nor does any writer. The only real answer is to drink way too much coffee and buy yourself a desk that doesn't collapse when you beat your head against it." --Douglas Adams




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Sun Apr 08, 2012 1:24 pm
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Charlie II says...



Dr Bernard Grahams
Ashville Hospital - December 18, 2007 - 2:08pm


Bernard had never seen a hospital so empty. When the four of them walked into the waiting room he felt a sick kind of laughter begin in his gut. It was the first time he'd seen the place with no queues.

He took the lead. Hospitals were his natural environment and not even Johanna would challenge him here. If Kev had stayed with them, well, that'd be different. But he hadn't, so it wasn't. Bernard took the group through the first set of double doors and they followed the coloured lines on the wall to the nearest wards.

"Eyes open, head clear," Jo murmured. Then to the rest of the group, "No mistakes."

There were four of them in total: Bernard, the Doctor; Jo, the Survivor; Dave, the Hacker; and Velna, the Child. No-one in their right mind would have picked the last two to be on their team in a football match. Bringing them on a scavenger hunt was, in Jo's mind at least, a fucking stupid idea. Still, they needed the eyesight. More eyes, more chances of spotting Them.

Of the four, only three were armed. Jo had a metal baseball bat -- it was light but Bernard had seen her separate zombies' heads from their bodies with it. Dave had some sort of pistol -- Bernard could never remember the names or numbers of the things.

Velna had a set of throwing knives. She was fucking terrifying. When the fourteen-year-old kid threw them she looked like something out of a comic book. Bernard, of course, was unarmed. Everyone and their undead grandparents knew he was a shitty shot. He just had his pack for carrying the loot. What a world it was where a qualified doctor is only cut out to be a pack-mule.

"There's someone in there," said Velna. Her voice was low and deep for a girl of her age. She gestured ahead. The doors were blocked by a metal trolley. The accompanying mattress was nowhere in sight.

"Survivors?" asked Dave. He sounded short of breath. "Maybe they're doctors. Maybe they found a cure. Maybe--"

"Nuh uh," Velna replied. The group stopped walking so she could listen. "Too much shambling. It's gotta be one of Them."

Beside her, Dave gave an involuntary moan. Velna looked up at him with her wide brown eyes.

"Quit shitting yourself, Dave," she said.

"Bernard?" That was Jo. "Tell us where to go, Doc."

"Down there." Bernard gestured further down the corridor, into the unlit depths of the hospital. "We need to go deeper. This place has been looted already. If we want to get anything out of this trip we need to get to the supply rooms."

There was a moment's silence. It was broken by harsh laughter from Velna.

"Bunch of chickens," she said and laughed again.

"Please don't do that," Bernard murmured. He felt the girl's gaze burn on the back of his neck as he began to walk down the corridor. A few seconds later the others joined him. They walked side-by-side, deeper into the hopsital.


Dr Bernard Grahams
The Settlement - March 3, 2011 - 11.30pm


"No."

Bernard shivered in his sleeping bag. He looked at the inside of the tent, at the metal skeleton of the poles and the cheap fabric outer skin. He was in the medical tent. After a while he controlled his breathing.

The doctor looked at the pill cabinet to his right. He knew there were sleeping pills in there. Enough to last one man a year, perhaps. Only he and Desmond Walker had the key to open it. For a moment, Bernard considered taking one but his conscience overpowered him.

He turned over and tried to focus his mind on other things. Perhaps he wouldn't dream of it again tonight. Perhaps...
I am thankful for laughter, except when milk comes out of my nose.
-- Woody Allen




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Mon Apr 09, 2012 10:35 am
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Lumi says...



Spoiler! :
A bit of retcon to match up with Kevin's timeline. Note that Annika had already left him alone on I-5. Also, anything within this post is up for editing until Dono gets a few words in tomorrow~


”Captain” Judah Siken | The Ashville Sky: 8:30pm



There was something haunting about the Ashville skyline--something that, as the clouds burned past the glass in front of him, made Judah think of how absolutely dead the world was. Obviously, it wasn’t a new revelation. Hell, it wasn’t news to anyone this side of the Earth’s rotation; but Judah signed this form of death off as something different than the old Edgar Allen Poe. Yessir, this was more along the lines of Dante’s hell--somewhere between the adulterers and thieves, snared up in a gray torment.

Thunder rolled out in a rambling cadence miles off; Judah’s left eye flooded with light, and he blinked before squinting away the afterimage. There were times, he swore, when the image of the clouds burned skulls into his eyelids.

His attention dropped to the control panel beneath the glass before him, and he caught the signal from the picky meters that he was running low on fuel. It was nothing to worry over--he was close enough to home that he could make it and circle a few dozen times before spiraling to certain death.

And that was it for Judah, really. Death, death, death without stopping, without a moment to breathe...which inevitably brought death. He blamed everything morbid on the world, on the morons who let this all happen, on the idiots who couldn’t control a simple virus. At least, it looked like a virus to him. After all the diseases he’d studied in college, after analyzing all the possible zombie apocalypse outcomes with his buddies before taking tests, he’d never actually thought a zombie virus could be legitimate. But fuck, was he wrong.

There had been a time when the apocalypse reminded him of the jewel wasp, how it could zombify a roach, deprive it of its old fight-or-flight, and make it stand completely still until being eaten. Yeah, it still felt that way--maybe some sort of vindictive hornet of a god, some third party that just needed fodder for its own purposes. It all sounded so perfect in a religious sense; but everything sounded perfect to Judah in a religious sense.

He shifted the elevator forward, slipping a strip of stale, plasteresque gum from his pocket into his mouth, and focused on the empty gray murk before him while he began chewing.

His ears always killed him during descent. Without fail, and they’d leave him mostly deaf for a good while afterwards.

The clouds slipped by, the change in pressure doing a number on the older plates and cogs in the plane, and he tightened his grip on the controls to smoothen the shaking out.

It’s like ironing, his flight instructor had taught him, sometimes you just have to press in for the steam.

And as moments passed, as he knew he was lined up perfectly with his landing strip made of Interstate 5, Judah’s heart broke tempo, skipped a beat, left his chest hammering for normalcy.

A gunshot--a simple, echoing gunshot--pierced the rattle of the plane and the roar of the engines, and Judah’s eyes spread wide as the fog (and let’s be honest--light rain) stripped past his vision. There below was a man and an animate corpse...and a gun.

Right.

____In the trail.

_________Of descent.

In a moment like that, it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been driving, flying, crawling, running, or anything--when you realize that your path of safe landing will kill a man (which was getting...rare...those days), you will do anything to avoid causing more death.

Deathdeathdeath.

So valiant “Captain” Judah jerked the controls, pulled to the right, and the plane responded on a dime, searing off to the side and down, down, down into the uncaring asphalt of Interstate 5.

But Judah was a tricky one; he clutched the ejection lever and shot from the cockpit just as the right wing blasted against the roadway, soaring out of the mangling metal and skidding down the freeway with the sickening sound of skin and leather meeting road.

But God, that sound didn’t live for long: as the engine crashed into something equally as powerful and unwilling to give as the plane itself, sparks and fluids and oxygen met in one infinitesimal mesh of elements that blew every last bit of metal, food, wood, rubber, and anything else into a roaring lion’s head of flame.

Things, as cliche as it sounds, grew very, very dark for Judah. He never lost consciousness--the burning of his skin and muscle wouldn’t allow it--but he couldn’t help but close his eyes, but to wait for either help, or death.

Nearly moments later, as Judah let out a wailing moan, two hands gripped his shoulders and rolled him onto his back, giving way for seventeen thousand new pit fires to burn on his skin. With blurry vision, as the world divided into triplets, into twins, into a simpleton, and back to twins, Judah opened his eyes and stared overhead at the man above him.

Cue the long, intense moment when there aren’t any words, when there are just returned stares between drugged and pained eyes.

And as the burns set in, as blood seeps from road-gashed wounds, cue the shriek of the undead.

Judah’s mind jerked back into attention, cutting through the blaring pain in all directions, to focus on the approaching horde. Trembling, he gripped the man’s shirt by the chest and pulled, reaching a slouched angle on his backside. As he fought for balance, the man shouted above him, rising to his feet. Judah blinked, and the man shot off into the burning fog.

Twice.

Three times, with moans and screams from the oncoming zombies.

“Get the fuck up!” the man shouted, firing into the mob once again.

“Irm wrknn nnt...” Judah shook his head, looking at his mucked up hands as bullets fell around him. Granted, the magnitude of the situation didn’t exactly occur to Judah until a hand gripped his boot.

And it’s incredible what adrenaline can do to a man.

Judah jerked back, jerking his hands to his sides and retrieving both of his firearms; he fired down between his feet five times, rapidly, and pulled his body back from what had to be more undead.

The man from the runway had already backed away to the edge of the interstate, near an old, fortified house. Judah’s home. The pilot swung to his feet, burning with each tiny movement, and staggered back to join the man in front of the house. They both fired off into the swarm, and Judah looked back behind them with a begrudging groan. “...lure them into the house--we’ll take them out with one shot.”

The man snarled back at him, firing off again. “I don’t fucking take orders, roadkill--” He grabbed a knife from his leg and threw it, flaying open a zombie’s throat in front.

Judah stowed his guns, shoving the other against the concrete wall of the house. “Just fucking do it!” Judah let him go, glaring at him. “Shoot out a window when they’re all near the house--and run,” and he took off, staggering around the building to the gas tanks in the back.

He knelt down beside his major reserve tank, shutting his eyes tight as he thrust his weight against the release lever. After several tries, the hold gave way, releasing the flow of gas into the lines through the house. Judah coughed into his jacket, feeling the thick wetness of blood as his throat cleared out.

Then came the shot out the window.

Judah staggered back into the dark clearing, running awkwardly away before firing several shots towards the gas lines. The last shot caught, and Judah hit the dirt as his home went up in blazes. Then, as he lie on his back, watching the towering flames, he wondered who the hell he’d just fought with; and if he’d even survived.
I am a forest fire and an ocean, and I will burn you just as much
as I will drown everything you have inside.
-Shinji Moon


I am the property of Rydia, please return me to her ship.




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Tue Apr 10, 2012 10:42 am
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Rydia says...



Kylie Harris
Ashville: Rockys | March 3, 2011 | 9:55PM | With: Nathan, Amber and Malcolm


It was practical, Kylie supposed. The way they checked everyone for bites. But it was also degrading, like she might be less than human. But anything to feel safer, right? She wasn't an idiot. People were always hiding bites; it was human nature to be selfish. Kylie couldn't say for sure what she'd do; shoot herself or go off on her own until the virus turned her into one of those things. Or hide it and do what she was meant to do until she was part of the problem instead of the solution. Her training said shoot but her self preservation said continue working on the cure.

Boskuy was talking, something about how he'd let his whole squad die before he let any harm come to her. Interesting. Kylie lifted her face and looked at him, wondering where this extra piece of the man fit in with the rest of his traits. After a moment though, she bored of it. Boskuy was an easy puzzle: open and uncomplicated and her eyes shifted away to glance around the establishment.

"Our next move is still to get to Asheville. Whether we like it or not it's where we have to go if we want to cure this... thing." Kylie didn't mean to call it a thing, she meant to say virus but then she hesitated as she still couldn't be sure that it was a virus. She was thinking Prion disease: less contagious, but then the infection was being passed through the bites as opposed to air travel. It fit, just brely but it did. Virus or Prion. Before the outbreak, Kylie had never stopped to question the science behind a zombie apocalypse because then it hadn't been real. Now it was. Uncannily so. She flicked through a note-book she carried to a page titled 'Fact vs Fiction'.

A disturbance across the room attracted her attention. But not for long: just a drunk man, nothing to get excited over. Except- Kylie took a second look at the girl and noted her shifty behaviour. Unease, more so than you'd expect from such an encounter and a paranoia as the bar man called out. Trying to avoid someone then. Nobody had entered in the last ten minutes, other than herself and Boskuy. Kylie nodded her head in the girl's direction. "Ask her if she'll join us." Boskuy gave her an inquiring look but stood and removed himself from the table, winding his way through the crowd. It was partly a test.

Now the disturbance over in the other direction, that was interesting too. A tall, wiry man who'd just entered was pushing his way through to the only group who hadn't initially turned to watch the girl. Of course they were watching her now, since their eyes had been on Boskuy and he was walking over that way. Kylie stood calmly and as they rose out of their seats, she took a step toward their table. "Are we disturbing you, gentlemen?" Kylie asked. She knew what this was about; it was obvious. Everywhere they went, just two kinds of people and this place was no different than on the roads. Maybe she should make Boskuy lose his uniform. Maybe she shouldn't have sent Boskuy in the other direction, leaving her all alone. She was taking a gamble on the wiry man; either he was here to stop those others or he just didn't want to miss out on the action.
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Fri Apr 13, 2012 12:18 am
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Lothbrok says...



Malcolm Addler
Rocko's - March 3, 2011 - 9:55pm



Fuck. That was the one thing that went through Malcolm's mind as he shoved the final drunk aside. He had looked forwards to vengeance for years. Hoped for it, dreamed of it. He imagined kneecapping the big one before finally finishing him off – payback for Mitchell, who had lain helpless on the ground, begging for mercy as the sweeper team put a round in his head. The woman was standing in front of the men, did she have a death wish or is she just stupid? Malcolm drew his lips back into the warmest smile he could summon.

“Down boys.” He said, cracking his best door-to-door-salesman. “Sorry, ma'am.” Malcolm inclined his head to woman, he wasn't sure about her. She did not look military – simple then, single to the head, a mercy. “The lads get a bit rowdy with strangers.” The woman gave a nervous smile and nodded. Bitch.
“Malcolm Addler.” He offered his hand and smiled as best he could.

“Kylie Harris.” She took the hand and smiled back. Off to the side the men were watching with looks of bewilderment. One went to say something but was hushed by his neighbour before a word got out.

“It's been nice meeting you then.” Malcolm said with a hard finality, which thankfully Kylie understood and said her goodbyes before walking back to her own table.

“Mind explaining what the fuck that was, Sergeant?” Demanded Private Kevin Donald, a short, squat man with the shape, face and demeanour of a pitbull. Malcolm ignored him, removed the crows from his belt, sat down in a free seat and grabbed Donald's drink out of his hand.

“That was me stopping you from making a tit of yourself and getting shot by Rocko while you were at it.” Malcolm took a swig from the bottle and thrust it back into Donald's hand. It was the usual swill Rocko passed off as beer. Whisky was the only real thing he sold. Malcolm signalled one of the barmen and a few moments later a bottle of whisky and a glass arrived. Malcolm filled and downed within ten seconds before filling it again and sipping.

“No-one makes a move for the Yanks in here.” He told the five men before him. All those seated were dressed similarly, light brown greatcoats and the same thick black boots, great for crushing a walker's skull.

“When then, Sergeant?” Ripely asked the question the rest of them eagerly awaited.

“We need to do a recce first.” Malcolm enjoyed the slight burn of the whisky, it was watered slightly but then what did he expect from Rocko? Malcolm looked back across at the soldier and the woman. They had someone new with them, a young looking lass, probably not military he decided. Best to let her get out of the way before bullets started flying.

“Find out how many are in those trucks outside, how much they're carrying.” Malcolm finished his drink and met the mens' eyes. “Doing this right could mean no more shit-for-pay jobs for Rocko.” Malcolm's voice became a growl. “So any of you fuck this up and I'll come down on you like a ton of fucking bricks, got it?” The men nodded. “Good. Ripely get the bags packed, I'm off.” Malcolm picked up the bottle, adopted the salesman smile again and made his way to Kylie's table.
“May I join you, ladies?” He inquired, flashing his relatively clean teeth.
If at first you don't succeed then destroy any evidence that you ever tried




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LowKey says...



Becka Count
Motel at the edge of Ashville, March 3, 2011. 9:40pm


The oily odor of the room coated Becka’s throat. Janet, the woman watching the door, ushered her partner in quickly behind her before shutting it. The only time the door was open for fresh air was when it was open for Becka. She cleared her throat and tried to notice the smell as little as possible. Outside didn’t smell much better, especially not when one went deeper into the city, but there was sometimes still a breath of air that was still clean. Or at least, not oily. She handed out the supplies. Her pack was light, just like the last trip, and the trip before that. Supplies were never abundant, but now they were almost nonexistent. Toilet paper became a thing of the past a while ago. Water they had always been able to gather one way or another, but it too was beginning to become more difficult. There was a river not too far off, but distance suddenly gains meaning when you don’t have a car and the streets are paved with creatures happier with your flesh in their mouths then on your bones.

The supplies were counted and measured out. They wouldn’t last long, she knew. A couple days, maybe. Two people, even with backpacks full to the brim, weren’t enough to supply a group twenty eight people for long. Backpacks full to the brim were another thing that ceased to be a while ago. She emptied her bag and turned down the hall to the staircase leading to the second floor. The motel was small and cheap. On the edge of Ashville and far enough from down town, it couldn’t very well afford to charge the higher rates of other hotels deeper in the city. Still, when you took the cleanness room and the quality of service at the front desk out of the equation, the building was just as good as any other. She ducked into her room and opened the window, sighing and laying back on the bed. She hated night runs.

The day before, Mike had come to her, saying they needed her to make a run for food. They hadn’t realized they were on their last few rations until they were gone. It had been the middle of the day, and she knew better. There was no way for them to make it back before dark. Normally, she would have held off, made them wait until the next morning. Normally, she was on more solid ground. They needed her. She knew they did. And yet, in the see-sawing power play that had made up the last month, the verdict was that Becka needed the group more. The more time passed, the more Becka became convinced that wasn’t the case.

And so.

Becka inhaled deeply, half enjoying the feel of a bed under her, half wondering if she should find something to vomit into. For now, there was peace. In the morning, it would be gone.

This was insane.

She had no idea if the settlement would let her in, or what the living conditions would be if they did. She knew the group she was in. She knew everyone in it. They had been there for her, and now she was leaving them for the complete unknown, barely able to fend for themselves.

Tonight might be her last spent in a real bed.

She let a long breath out through her nose slowly and looked at the ceiling, staring at it without seeing it.

Alright.

She knew she couldn’t stay. The group was committing a long, drawn out suicide by choosing that option. Logically, she knew it was a choice of living without them or dying with them. Logically. She closed her eyes again. It didn’t make it any easier. And yet, she knew. No matter how much mental tennis she played, going back and forth between the sides, she knew. She was leaving. She could debate it the whole time she walked, but she’d still be walking. If the settlement turned out to be a bust…

She would come back. And if they refused to take her back?

Stop.

No,
don’t stop.

She needed to think about it. What then?

For a moment, she didn’t breathe, just sat in the silence, interrupted rhythmically by her heartbeat. If worse came to worst, she could survive on her own. But she didn’t want survival. If she had to live the rest of her life alone... She sat up and sighed. She’d cross that bridge when she came to it. For now, she needed rest. Scanning the city one more time, she closed the window and returned to bed, a hundred ’what if?”s echoing in her head as she did.
Necropolis SB / Necropolis DT

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Mon Apr 16, 2012 9:07 pm
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Ego says...



Kevin Scholler
Ashville: Rocko’s | March 3, 2011 | 8:30PM


The sheer force of the explosion knocked me off my feet, a blast wave of searing heat singing the hairs on my forearms as I covered my face instinctively. I landed on my back and stayed there, the breath knocked from my lungs.

You’re getting weak, Kevster, whispered a familiar voice in my ear. I chuckled; even laying flat on my back struggling to catch my breath, I still found a way to laugh.

Getting? I’m there, baby.

I stared up at the sky as the chuckles subsided, making note of the rather adorable bunny-rabbit that appeared in the clouds sometime during the day, and sighed disappointedly as I checked myself for grievous wounds--no such luck. I sighed again and slowly picked myself up off the blacktop. shaking my head to clear the stars. My ears were still ringing from the blast, and I was pretty sure I’d lost an eyebrow, but my pistol was still miraculously in my grasp.

I sat on my haunches for a moment, waiting for the world to stop spinning, trying to ignore the pounding behind my eyes that had become so startlingly common--at least, common when I was plagued by visions of empty bottles. The only movement my pounding eyes detected was the waves of heat rolling off the flames and a single shambler that wouldn’t die, despite being immolated in jet fuel. My knee popped audibly as I straightened, curious as to the whereabouts of the guy that crashed himself in an effort to not splatter my face all over the runway--

--It’s a freeway, you fucking moron.

”Fine, a blacktop,” I concluded. I holstered my pistol, satisfied that the zombie currently burning at a cool 1156 degrees fahrenheit would collapse sooner, rather than later.

“Hey! Roadkill! Where you at, Ace?” I called out, though I was pretty sure that a raging inferno qualified as “too loud to shout over.” I found him soon enough, though, half-under a large piece of the home we’d just demolished. He was unconscious and broken--hardly worth saving, really.

I walked away.

At least, I started to. Then I hung my head a moment and sighed. I turned back to him, lifted the piece of debris, and heaved him over my shoulder.

It was gonna be a long walk to Rocko’s.
Got YWS? I do.

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Lumi: He's the sweetest angel this side of hades.




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Rydia says...



Finished :)

Kylie Harris
Ashville: Rockys | March 3, 2011 | 10:05PM | With: Nathan, Amber, Malcolm, Rocky and Kevin.


She was slim with small pockets of extra weight here and there, like drip bags waiting to be squeezed. It wasn't the slim of someone who'd been eating bad but rather the look of someone who'd been a little over-weight their whole life and just because there was a zombie apocalpse now, didn't mean she was going to change a thing. "Sit down," Kylie said, not giving her any other option. The girl sunk slowly into the chair, a wary expression on her face. "What are you hiding?" The girl's eyes flicked silently from Kylie to Nathen and then back again. Her fingers tightened on the bag.

"Please-" The girl's eyes were wide and frightened but Kylie didn't trust eyes like that. Yellowish green, like a snake's. She was a practical woman but sometimes you just had to go with your instincts. "Please, they're just notes. My father-"

"-Was a scientist." Kylie remembered now and the girl's quick, surprised nod was confirmation. "I visited your lab and you're keeping his research notes. From me." There was a hiss in her voice, stern and long and she reached over the table to take a firm hold on the woman's wrist. But her grip softened and her cold exterior returned to neutral after a moment. "I want the bag." The girl hesitated, long enough to spark Kylie's annoyance but then she gave a confident smile and a nod.

"Alright but you have to take me as well. You must have a lab around here - I want to go there. And I get to hold on to it, until we're there at least." Kylie grunted. It was of little consequence to her if the woman came or not but she supposed since the girl had been around labs before, she might be useful.

Then the wiry man was back again.“May I join you, ladies?” he inquired, flashing a smarmy smile. Kylie was relieved for his aid back there but she didn't like his men and she didn't trust him. "I'm not interrupting something, am I?"

"We've just agreed to travel together," Kylie replied in a matter of fact tone. Nathen recognised that tone and she saw the muscles in his neck tense up. Good, he was paying attention then.

"Travelling, where to?" The man helped himself to a seat with another flash of those teeth. Kylie wondered what his agenda was and how it tied in with those men back there.

"Oh didn't you hear? We've come to save the world." Kylie's lips pressed thin into a strained smile and she stood abruptly. "You'll all have to excuse me. Nathen - arrange rooms for us here tonight, just you, me and the girl." The men could sleep in the trucks again but Kylie wanted a bed. It would also hopefully secure them some safety if the bar-keeper had any reputation or decency at all. Something she was about to find out.




Kylie strode up to the bar and took a seat on one of the stools, crossing her legs neatly at the ankles. She was wearing dove grey suit trousers and black flats, neat but practical. "I’m looking for a guide who knows the area and knows how to handle themself. Anyone in here fit that description?"

The bar-man- Rocko she supposed - smiled and struck a typical bartender pose, wiping a glass with his cloth. "You think anyone in here would be here if they didn’t know how to handle himself, miss? Gonna need a bit more information if I’m gonna help you there." He made a good first impression, seemed like the kind of man who didn't want trouble in his bar and might be willing to help her out for the right price. Nobody overly interesting but decent enough.

"The kind of someone I’m looking for is someone exceptional. Someone who isn’t going to be afraid to spend time around the infected. Not a soldier. I’ve got enough of those already - someone with a brain and a tongue of their own." She smiled at him and her eyes flickered back to Nathen at their table as she spoke.

Rocko glanced around the room, a thoughtful look on his face as his eyes settled briefly on a haggard looking man at the far end of the bar. "Well, I could lend you one o’ mine, for the right price. All of my guys are strong, capable, and sharp; but they’re mostly ex-cops. Is that a problem?" Kylie had seen the glance though. He was young, maybe younger than her and he had a tangle of beard and long, unkempt hair.

"Is he one of yours?"

The bar man smiled again and set a glass down in front of her. This was probably one of the most normal settings she'd been in since before the outbreak and she felt the paranoia that the man from earlier was watching her slip away. Kylie liked bars, she felt at home in them. "Oh, him? You don’t want none of that. What’ll you have, miss?" Not one of his then, that made him free game.

Now this was the part where the bartering started."Oh? Why don’t you tell me what it is I don’t want. And pour me a whiskey. Anything old."

"I got old, but expensive. It’ll cost you." They both knew she was going to pay. He brought down a bottle and set it on the counter. Kylie read the label before nodding her approval - a good year. "That man...isn’t what you’re looking for. You want someone that’ll get you where you need to be and get you back, not a guy that’ll lead you into the worst part of town, rob you blind and be gone before you realized you were surrounded by shamblers."

That wasn't what she wanted. Kylie didn't think for a moment that she'd picked wrong, though she couldn't keep her eyes from rolling across the bar again for a second look. Definitely her man. "What’s the going rate ‘round here?"

"Fer this?" Rocko tapped the bottle lightly and she nodded once. "Make me an offer. Something interesting. Seriously though, honey; that man is as dangerous as they come. Lived here all his life, if I’d have to guess. Never keeps company."

"I’m not much of one for company myself." Kylie dug into her rucksack and after a moment of rummaging around, she started producing items. A large bottle of anti-biotics, two packets of dried beef jerky and a military swiss knife - assorted tools included. She stacked them up on the counter, knowing she was probably paying over the odds but it would cover the information as well. Rocko lifted an eyebrow and picked up the antibiotics.

"Just soldiers, hm?"

"It’s dangerous for a woman to be alone around here; as you keep trying to tell me." Kylie reached out to take her bottle. "Thanks for your help; I’ve found my man." She left as abruptly as she'd come and took the bottle with her but left the glass on the side.




"I’m looking for a guide," she said, taking a seat next to the haggard looking man, without waiting to be asked. She saw very quickly that he had a rifle, a pistol, a knife. All on show and in easy reach; definitely her man.

"Do I look like a fucking concierge to you?" He didn't turn around, just went on sipping his beer. Kylie broke her own bottle open and took a fiery guly before smiling at him.

"I wouldn’t be talking if you did. There are places I’ll need to go and some-" Kevin snorted at the word. "-of them are still hot zones. The hospital, the- are you interested or not?" Of course he was.

"I don’t need to baby-sit some bitch looking to save the world."

Kylie smirked at him, amused that he'd made the same assumption as she'd fed to the wiry guy back there. "You think I’m looking to save the world," she drawled. Then she switched back to her firm, clipped voice: "My view’s a little narrower than that; I’m happy with just saving myself amongst... other things."

The guy looked thoughtful for a time, spinning the beer bottle in front of him and Kylie thought she had him. When he spoke again though, his words were clearer than any that went before: "I’m sure there are plenty of people out there willing to throw their lives away for you, Princess. Go find one of them. Besides, your money’s no good to me."

But Kylie wasn't easily put off. "Oh I already have, that’s what soldier boy is for. And I didn’t say I was offering money." She pulled a can of food from her bag, realising it was time to throw the hook before the fishy decided to swim away. The rustle of pills could be heard as she wriggled around in there, checking how much she had to bargain with. The man froze in his chair for a moment- she saw it out of the corner of her eye. Then he blinked, real slow and with a chuckle and a smile he shook his head.

"Canned food? If I was desperate for food, do you think I’d be bartering for booze?" And finally he turned and looked at her with eyes that were dull but sharp at the same time. His brow was sweating and Kylie wondered if he wasn't so well. Her brain twitched for a moment as it screamed infection but just as quickly it simmered back down, no. The owners of this place were far too paranoid and careful. A mild fever or too much alcohol; just more pieces of the puzzle.

"Booze then, is that your price? Or maybe it’s something closer to hand..." Kylie drifted off into thought. What else might have drawn his attention?

"Told you; I’m not going to throw my life away for some misguided attempt at do-gooding."

Kylie reached into her back-pack again and this time lifted out a bottle of pills, carefully watching his reaction. Medicine, drugs? They were only paracetamol but his eyes twinkled for just a moment before that scowl took over his face. He turned back to his beer.

"Not interested. Fuck off."

Kylie popped the lid off the pills and put one on her tongue, slowly swallowing. "For my headache," she said in an off hand way, completely ignoring his refusal. "I’ll need to drop some supplies off at the Settlement first but my work requires visiting the areas still occupied by the infected." As soon as the words were out of her mouth, Kylie knew she'd said something wrong from the way he bristled and stiffened, turning slightly away.

"Ashville is dead. You don’t want to go there. Little free advice before you get the fuck away from me; stay away."

Fine. Be that way. "I don’t take advice from my concierge. Come and find me when you change your mind." Kylie crammed the food back into her rucksack before standing up. Kevin chuckled and gave her a solid stare. Kylie started to stride away and only just heard his last comment:

"Probably wise. You obviously know more than me anyway."

She glanced back over her shoulder. "Not about Ashville." But she walked away; there were some nuts you couldn't crack in a single day.

Kylie took up her seat again at the bar. “So. Found your man?” She looked up at Rocko with a soft frown.

"He just doesn’t know it yet. What else can you tell me about him?"

Rocko shook his head and smiled. "Name’s Derrick, I think. ‘Least, that’s the name he fed me. Helluva shot. Ruthless bastard. Seen him shoot a guy on the spot once because he had a bite. Guy was dead before he realized we knew."

"What does he want though? What’s his story?"

“Dunno, really. Been here as long as I have, maybe longer. Didn’t know him before I opened this place. That knee of his isn’t one hundred percent though, I’d bet on that.” There was silence a moment as Kylie tried to fit the pieces together; maybe he was looking for pain medication for the knee. “Guy can’t be all bad, I suppose. He dragged in a half-dead guy earlier. Coulda left him where he found him.” She looked up at that and pressed he lips into a thin smile. Definitely her man.

"I’m going to find out."

______________________

My thanks to Dono for the Rocky and Kevin dialogues <33
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CelticaNoir says...



Tanya Carr
Ashville: Rocko's | March 3 | 10.00 PM | With: Kevin


Usually someone as young as herself wouldn't be allowed in a bar. Heck, they wouldn't have allowed her now, if they knew her real age. Being short had its own advantages, though; since no one could ever really figure out how old you were, you could always put on that big smile and obfuscate your way through it. At least Tanya could. She was used to dealing with worse. A simple bartender wouldn't be much of a hassle.

Not that the bartender cared. He glanced up from polishing the counter just briefly to give her a suspicious look, and then went back to his work. Nobody else seemed to notice, either. She put on her best expressionless face and strode towards the bar, brushing past a blonde woman as she did so. She glanced back; it felt more like she was being shoved out of the way, to be honest. Being short might have its good points, but it had its bad points, as well. People not noticing you standing in the way was one of them. “Anything you want, miss?”

“Oh! Ah...” She took a seat. “A martini, please.” She looked at her neighbours. On her left side a young woman was slumped onto the surface of the counter, hiding her head in her arms and snoring quite contentedly. Tch. The Master would have had something to say about that.

On her other side, however, a fairly ragged looking man sat, muttering to himself. “Ladies love the Kevster.” She sized him up. He seemed like an interesting person to talk to; and only the Master would have known exactly how bored she was at the moment. Having nothing to kill but mindless zombies in search of targets wasn’t her idea of fun.
“Hello.”

“Go away, little girl. You don’t meet the height requirement for this ride.” He slid the empty beer in his hand across the bar, whistling at the bartender as he did so. Tanya checked a few things off on her mental list. Needs to learn manners. However, she simply kept her face mild and blinked at him innocently.

“Ride? You mean like a rollercoaster?” She leaned back against the stool’s small back; it wasn’t much of a support, but it would do. “I haven’t gone on one of those for like. Years.” She grinned good-naturedly. It couldn’t hurt to be friendly. “How about you?”

The man snorted. “Been a while.”

“I find blowing out heads to be more exciting. Zombie heads, that is.” She shot at him with a grin on her face, gauging his reaction. Most people usually either shrank back in disgust or simply shot her a glare. The man, however, simply raised an eyebrow at her, as if wondering if she was really stupid--and then he shifted back, apparently satisfied.

“Whatever floats your boat, kiddo.”

She sighed and shrugged to herself. He wasn’t going to rise to her bait after all. How disappointing. “Thanks for the vote of confidence, grandpa.” She rested her chin on her hands, looking discontented. “I want my martini.”

Her neighbor rapped on the table. “Hey, Rocko! Little help?”

The old man moved over with a bottle of beer and a glass, and her neighbor reached out for the beer. Tanya noted to herself that she’d forgotten to ask his name. She would, probably, later on. She chose to give the bartender a sullen stare instead. “Hey, old man, what about my martini? I’m pretty sure I asked for it before this old geezer did.”

The old man glanced down at the glass and slid it closer to her. “Yeah. I know.”

Tanya looked down, and realized she’d spoken before she’d looked. Too much freedom in the outside world made her lax--she seriously needed to keep sharp. She turned back to her neighbour. “Hey, you never told me your--” Then she saw it. The mark on his forearm. The Devil’s Mark. She subsided into silence and picked up her martini, sipping at it quietly.

Yes, she definitely needed to be more aware of her surroundings.
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I am the audience that witnesses history.
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Charlie II says...



Dr Bernard Grahams
The Settlement - March 3, 2011 - 11.59pm


"Velna, don't open it!"

Bernard sat up. Enough was enough.

He struggled out of his sleeping bag and knelt in the cold as he fumbled for his jeans. Trousers, right pocket, keys. Bernard pulled them out and they clinked guiltily. He got up and padded across the tent to the medicine cabinet. Even in the dark he could feel the heat in his cheeks as he blushed.

Some things were too hard to bear alone. Bernard knew he wasn't the strongest, physically or mentally, but he needed to appear in control for the greater good of the Settlement. He needed to be a rolemodel.

His hands didn't shake as he unscrewed the lid and tipped two tablets into his open palm. He considered them for a moment. Let's start with one, he thought. I've got to actually wake up tomorrow.

Bernard put the pill in his mouth and swallowed. He replaced the lid, locked the cabinet, and climbed back into his sleeping bag.

Anyone else in his position would have done the same -- he was sure of it. Maybe now he'd get enough sleep. He was fed up feeling like one of the walking dead every day. There were enough of them about without him.

Before sleep finally claimed him, Bernard made one last mental note. He wanted to talk to Johanna again. Not just exchanging pleasantries or a few words during a check-up. She and him had been through such a lot, and it was wrong to think avoiding each other would mean they could forget.

Some things were too hard to bear alone.
I am thankful for laughter, except when milk comes out of my nose.
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Ego says...



Kevin Scholler
Ashville: Rocko's | March 3 | 10:05 PM


I don’t know what possessed me to drag that guy back to Rocko’s. I’d seen dozens of people die since this thing started--Hell, I’d killed more than my share, some in cold blood--so what made him any different?

Maybe his badass, bold move to blow up his own house to destroy the shamblers impressed me. Maybe I hoped he had pills, after seeing that stack of medical boxes piled neatly in the house a moment before I pulled the trigger that blew them all to Hell.

...Maybe I just wanted to believe--just for a moment--that I was still worth the oxygen I drew.

Maybe.

The tight little thing that had approached me stumbled away, leaving her martini mostly untouched. Something had spooked her. I raised an eyebrow her way and shook my head a little, unsurprised. People were always freaking out about something in this unforgiving world.

Me?

I was freaking out about the fact that I hadn’t gotten a fix in more than two days. I could feel the dull pain in my knee, but I knew, somewhere, that it wasn’t the pain that made me want to pop a Percocet.

“Hey, Rocko.”

He strode over to me, leaning on the bar in front of him. “What’ll it be, D?”

I fished around in the pouch on my belt for that little orange plastic bottle before remembered it was laying on I-5 somewhere.

“I’m out of meds for my knee. Come by any?”

He stared at me a moment before shaking his head. “Nope, sorry. No pills, at least. Got plenty of Morphine bags in the back, but that’s some hardcore shit.”

I blinked. “How much?”

“You’re not hurt, D.”

“How. Much.”

He sighed. “We had to use a box of .40 Smith the other day. Could use a replacement, to keep things stocked.”

I blinked again and reached down to snatch my pack from its place at my feet, dropping it onto the counter and unzipping one of the side compartments. I withdrew the box of ammunition--0.40 Smith and Wesson Jacketed Hollow Points--and set it on the counter.

Rocko nodded and pulled the box behind the counter, opening it a moment to ensure its contents. “I’ll set up a cot for you and leave out the stuff.” His eyes were unreadable as always, but I refused to meet them anyway.
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Lumi: He's the sweetest angel this side of hades.




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Lumi says...



Judah Siken | Rocko's | March 3 | 10:10 PM

One of the funny things about fire--and there are plenty of funny things about it--is that it loves to burn in your vision even after you’re in the dark again. What made it strange that particular time was that Judah had seen more than his share of fires in the past years. Forest fires, implosions, explosions, bombings--you name it. And hell, he’d caused most of them.

But regardless, the fire burned in the back of his eyes, constant and sweltering, like the feel of an acute fever building overnight. But as the crazed energy licked at his skin, Judah jerked away and found himself toppling--physically--out of a cot with a loud thud.

Suddenly, he was overwhelmingly cold. Alone, stripped down to bare necessities around his hips, and confused, Judah opened his eyes and peered through the dull foggy vision of the room. The wood, the high-ass ceiling, the smell of whiskey stills in the back quarters. He knew, both comfortably and irritatedly that he was in a safe place.

So with another thud, he dropped his head back to the floor and groaned as pain tore through the muscles around his left shoulder. There were waves of chatter in the background, down the hall where the main bar was kept away from the bunker-style safe rooms where he lay. He waited several moments, held in several heavy breaths that ripped pain through his shoulder, and pushed himself up to his knees with his decent arm. Another few moments, and he was on his feet, fumbling for a light switch.

When the room flooded with light from this one dangling bulb, Judah caught his image in a six-foot mirror across the room with an angry, resounding ”FUCK!”

Dislocated shoulder, definitely fixable. Gashes on chest--infectable.

Judah swung around to the door, jerking back on the handle and pulling himself through before staggering down the hall to the bar. There were too many people there at once for anything good about to happen, but it wasn’t his problem. It was Rocko’s. The mangled pilot strode past the weird glances and shoved through the door behind the bar leading into the kitchen and storeroom. “RIGS.” It was what the old bartender had used as a “business” handle every time they’d traded.

“What’s the matta, Wings?”

He began digging through a crate of medical supplies he’d pilfered from an Ashville hospital by air raid just a month back, but couldn’t find what he needed. “Cautery. Nitrate, caustic. You know goddamn well I brought it here, and you don’t have anyone smart enough to use it, so where is it?”

Rocko strode through the door, letting it swing behind him, and stood back, arms folded, watching Judah dig. “It don’t matter if you find cautery powder or not. Yer in for trouble unless you jam yer shoulder back in place. And put some goddamn pants on, those folks out there’ll think yer a closet fuck.”

Judah stopped digging and stood, watching Rocko with wavering vision. “...how’d I get here, Rigs?”

The man shrugged the question off and wiped his hands with a dirty dish towel while nearing Judah. “This druggie drug y’in a while back. Ya weren’t really breathin’ much, so I figured I’d just let y’die like the freaky little bird y’are.”

The door to the bar swung open, and in walked none other than whom Judah would, from then on out, refer to as That Bastard. “About that morph--”

“--shuddup and get over here. Hold this bitch down for a second and I’ll get yer fuckin’ drip.” Rocko rolled up his sleeves and tossed the dish towel over his shoulder while Kevin approached behind him. Judah gave them both a once-over before letting out The Longest Sigh.

“Just make it qui--”

That Bastard snared Judah in a sleeper hold, buckling his right arm behind him while Rocko grabbed his left shoulder, slamming it back into place with a chilling crack. Granted, you couldn’t hear the crack over Judah’s obscenities.

Blood rushed from his face and he staggered back, grabbing onto That Bastard’s arm and watching his face as his eyes lulled into the back of his head. It may not have even been a real sentence, but Judah swore he spoke his first gospel truth to That Bastard: “Fuck you you owe me a plane fuchhhhhh...”

As he fell to his ass, Rigs pulled a beaker of silver nitrate from another crate. He stood over Judah and put the beaker down in his palm. "You know the drill. You fuck yerself up, you do yer own chemistry."
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Cadi says...



Toni Bowen

The Settlement - March 4, 2011 - 5:00am


Her dreams were fractured splinters of intangible anxieties, but that was far from unusual.

Somewhere inside one of them, she was running. Running - from them, no doubt, but not fast enough. (And how pathetic must you be to run slower than them?) Her legs moved as though through treacle, and she was going nowhere at all.

A hand grabbed her shoulder.

She tried to break it off, break away (and the smell, and the groaning, and oh!-so-close), but the grip was tight. Tight - and now shaking her, jolting her out of her syrupy nightmare and into a blurry approximation of consciousness.

“You’re on guard. Get up.”

“Shit.”

Language, Antonia, scolded a memory, but it was swept aside by the surge of panic. She bolted upright, groping for her rucksack.

“Sleep well?” the voice asked sarcastically.

The bleary grey of sleep focused into clearer, if still grey, vision, and the shape of dark hair around a face swam into sight. Familiar. She scrabbled for a name. J-, Jo? Jo-something. Jo.

“I don’t know about you, but I’d want to be getting over there fast as fuck. Before one of Walker’s choirboys noticed anything.”

One fist clenched around her bag strap, Toni flailed the other, managed to push herself up off the floor. She ducked just in time to not headbutt the tent’s roof, and stumbled out of the open door. Walker’s lackeys. She cringed at the thought of how the priest’s more zealous followers would react to a missed guard shift.

“Shit, I’m sorry,” she groaned, dragging a hand across her face. Balance. She could do that. Right?

“Sure, but sorry doesn’t get you there, does it?”

Toni swayed on the spot, and turned slowly around. She stumbled a pace or two, and discovered one of the guy-ropes.

Jo caught her arm, kept her from what would have been a spectacular faceplant.

“Look, I’d just rather not have to deal with a pissed-off leader, ok? The bastard is crazy enough without adding rage to the mix.”

“Sure. Sure.” Toni shook her head vigorously. When Jo let go, she managed to not fall straight over, and her next two steps were achieved without mishap.

She paused, looked back at her glowering ally. “Like, thanks for this.”

“Just don’t fuck up again. I’m not your personal alarm clock, got it?”

“Got it!”

She legged it.
Last edited by Cadi on Sun Aug 19, 2012 2:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Via says...



Seal Mitchell
Ashville - 10:30pm, 5:00am


10:30pm

Seal traveled from the store back to where she had made her home. It had taken her 3 years to get back to California from Florida, all with the purpose of finding her family, but that had been three long years without any information or contact with anyone she knew from Ashville. Once she arrived back to the city, she made camp about a mile from her families home--this was nearly three weeks ago, and she had yet to visit the house. But, she knew all that was going to change in the morning.

Well behind the store that she harboured her goods from was a stone wall. It was clear at this point that the shops and homes in this area had been built on a hill, and giant stone walls were built to hold back the earth from destroying them. There were several levels on these stone walls, although they varied based on where you were, but were anywhere from 5-8 levels in the area Seal was currently traipsing.

She slid up to the top level, where an abundance of trees would easily conceal her whereabouts, and any zombies coming near her would make an obscene about of noise--they aren't exactly known to be stealthy. Her "camp" consisted of a canopy made of one single, large piece of wood she had found in an alley downtown. It was thin and incredibly light, but it was enough to keep rain off of her in the event of the heavens breaking loose. She had her own blanket that she always carried with her, as the nights here were still quite chilly. There was a hole in the ground that had initially been started by some kind of animal--with the size of the hole, Seal expected it was a fox or a wolf of some kind. She completed it herself shortly after finding the secret stash in the store, and placed her good in there for easy cover up if needed.

The moon was directly above her, and Seal knew it must be getting pretty late. She curled into her "camp" and pulled her blanket up over her, settling in for the night.


5:00am

Seal was never able to sleep in, and was always up before the sun broke the horizon. The birds in the trees made sure of this. Apparently, they had no idea what was happening on the ground because they were just as cheerful as ever. Most the time Seal was annoyed by this--ignorance wasn't exactly a fabulous trait--but some mornings she enjoyed the sound of joy. Joy was never found anywhere else anymore.

The light was starting to come over the hill and pass through the trees. A dim, light blue light. It was going to be sunny today--that was clear--but it wasn't quite there yet. This was the perfect time for Seal to move. She grabbed her backpack, slid her blanket into it, and started making her way down the levels of stone wall.

She moved from alley to alley, never using the main road as she made her way to the home she grew up in. The main road would have been faster and more convenient, but also would have made her prime zombie bait. She hadn't seen but 5 humans in the city limits since she arrived, all the rest were zombies. Although, quite honestly, there weren't many of those either. But being a living breathing human walking through the middle of the town was sure to pull them out of their poor hiding places.

It took her maybe a half an hour to finally make it to her home. It wouldn't have taken nearly as long on a normal basis, but she moved slow and was constantly on guard in the city. Now, though, she stood in the alley across from her family home--a townhouse only two blocks from the main square of the city. She scanned the home while she attempted to muddle up the courage she needed to go inside.

The home was still in pretty decent shape, structurally. The steps in the front were smooth and uncracked as they always had been, and gorgeous vines (though much larger than before) scaled the front. There were 6 visible windows on the front of the home, and three had been shattered. The front door was cracked open about a foot, but there was no sign of anyone--human or zombie.

Seal took a deep breath and ran across the street, up the stairs, and into the home. She slammed the door behind her in case she had been spotted, and flipped the deadbolt closed--it was easier for her to unlock and door and escape than to beat off new zombies. She took in the living room before her, everything completely trashed. Tables broken, ripped sofa, smashed lamps. She couldn't even imagine the place she used to know--it all just seemed like an unfamiliar building now. Especially with the puddle of blood and red, dried drag marks on the wooden floor before her.

It took her nearly a minute to realize she wasn't breathing. But, she wasn't sure whether she was holding her breath or just simply had none, and she didn't know how to start breathing again. She coughed--it's the only thing she knew how to do. Breath returned to her, but short and rapidly. She had to pull her eyes away from the blood.

There's no body, she told herself. It might not even have been them.

She moved out of the living room and passed the kitchen, only finding more and more destruction of her childhood home before going upstairs. There was another pool of blood in her parents room, but no drag marks. Seal didn't even know how to make sense of this, but she knew she had two more people to search for.

Her little sister's room was across the hall from her parent's. The door was closed, which immediately struck Seal as odd--good odd or bad odd, she didn't know. Slender fingers slid over the doorknob and slowly pushed it open, but even considering if there could be dangers on the other side--only thinking of her sister. The room itself was in far better condition than the rest of the house, almost like it had been preserved. But, Seal's eyes went directly to red, bloody streaks on the white carpet. Her nose was unable to ignore the horrible smell that came from the room, either. She followed the trail to the other side of the bed--complete with a flowery comforter, her sister's favorite daisies--and stopped in her tracks when she saw her sister's arm sticking out from underneath the bed frame. The skin was blue and flaking badly, and Seal tried her hardest to ignore the tiny insect that surrounded the arm. She could not bring herself to witness the rest of her baby sister's lifeless body.

Seal ran from the room as quickly as possible and slammed the door behind her. She shoved her back against the wall in the hallway and doubled over, tears pouring out of her eyes. She thought she knew what to expect when she got here--she knew the chances of finding her family at all (albeit alive) were miniscule. Apparently, she wasn't as prepared as she thought.

Suddenly, she stopped crying, stood up, and looked down the hallway. "Jordan," she said to herself. She had one last hope, and she ran down the hallway to get it. The door to her brother's room was open and it was evident that someone had been in the room--it was just as dismantled as the rest of the house.

Jordan's room was the second largest in the house, and was closest to the back door. But, it was different than the rest, as there was no blood in this room. There was no foul smell, no bugs, no...anything to suggest he was killed. In fact, quite the contrary. Jordan's closet was open, and almost all of his clothes were missing. And drawers were pulled out of the dresser and nearly emptied as well. Seal knew that this could be nothing more than a drifter who needed men's clothing , but she chose to take it as a good sign.

She turned around and stepped on something, hearing it crack underneath her foot. Looking down she found a picture frame, flipped over and broken, with glass strewn everywhere. Seal reached down and picked it up, flipping it over to find a family photo half sticking out of the missing glass. She pulled it out the rest of the way and took a seat on the corner of her brother's bed, dusting it off gently.

She jumped, hearing a noise like a door creaking open. She was terrified, hopeful, and completely pissed off at the same time.
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