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TOPIC: The Park: Apocalypse (Story)

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The Park: Apocalypse (Story)

The usual vulgarities and foul language ahead. Also threw in some low-brow humour. Sorry, it appeals to my warped sensibilities. I am, after all, writing this for myself. I guess if someone gets insulted at least I know one other person has read it wink.gif


Trinity. Strange name, I thought. Sounded exotic. Maybe she had been a dancer in her former life. Then I scoffed at my own stupidity. I remembered the fire in her eyes when I had grabbed her arm, the way she had recoiled and the way her limbs had locked reminded me of something else. Casting my eyes over the girl I rubbed my face and tucked my hair back, offloading a heavy heartfelt sigh. 

Trinity was asleep now, a cool wet cloth draped across her forehead. Reaching out I went to take her wrist in my hand and found myself flinching. My eyes darted towards her face again. It was still slack with sleep but flushed from the fever. If it didn’t break soon… With a quick gesture I reassured myself that her pulse was slowly returning to normal. Maybe she was over the worst of it, I thought, God willing. I smiled but the gesture fell away too quickly; I didn’t wholeheartedly mean it. In the silence of the dank little hut I sat at the younger woman’s bedside with my shoulders slumped towards the floor.

“Why did he save you?” I wondered. 

My mouth was dry, rendering all sound to hoarse whispers. I studied her face feeling my heart rate increase, catch and stall again in the space of a few breaths. This is crazy, I told myself, it shouldn’t matter why he saved her, we all should have been thankful he did or she’d almost certainly be dead by now. Deep down I knew I was being petty and selfish but even despite all I had seen and endured these past few months I couldn’t help it. 

“What makes you so special?” I asked her knowing full well she couldn’t answer. Why did he come back for her yet he couldn’t stay or come back for me? My eyes fell into my lap and shimmered.

Outside a sense of unrest had begun to infect the rest of The Park. Jason had been gone for hours and despite Wesker’s tireless efforts to establish communications using the old two-way, we had not heard a single sound from them against the ceaseless hiss and crackle of static. People were beginning to worry.

“What if he doesn’t come back?” Nick asked, hounding Jill as she lingered outside of the Rec room. 

He was twitchy and jumpy, moving about like a child with ADD needing reassurance. Jill puffed on her cigarette and did her best to ignore him as Wesker could be seen just inside with his ears covered in bulky archaic headphones, shaking his head with his face it’s usual grave countenance.

“What are we going to do, huh? They took our only working car! We’re screwed! If they don’t come back we’ll starve to death-”

“They’re coming back!” Jill snapped, glaring at him as she tossed away her cigarette. She stormed off and Nick followed her, headed in the direction of the weapon’s store hold. “We just have to wait, that’s all. Just wait and see!” she said, but even through the dusty glass I could well hear the anxious edge to her usually self-assured voice. 

I sighed to myself and sat quietly in the dark, struggling to get abreast of my inner fears.


Night fell slowly. Jason and Leon did not return. Wesker sat at his radio and repeated his call to no avail. Though I hadn’t been here all that long already I was beginning to see the cracks emerge in Jason’s absence. For the first night since arriving we did not all eat together in the Rec Room but stayed apart, as Jill and Wesker struggled to fill the void with half their team, and their closest friends, missing. Later, having grown weary and stiff from maintaining my bedside vigil, I left Trinity in her fever and stole out into the darkness to breathe the cool yet acrid air. David sat on the doorstep of my neighbouring hut in shadow waiting for me. He didn’t say anything.

“How long have you been sitting there?” I asked him.

Around us the rest of the compound was quiet. The lack of light that should have ordinarily been streaming from the Rec Room cast an ominous gloom around the rest of the adjoining houses. Along the barricade I could see silhouettes walking. I didn’t see Jill or Nick anywhere but the familiar baritone of Wesker against a backdrop of static reassured me that all was as it should be, or as much as was able given the current situation.

David didn’t answer right away. In the lack of natural moonlight, struggling to break through the churning clouds above, he resembled little more than a head bowed in darkness. He sighed and stirred, his joints creaking against the stillness. Insects chirped. Boats rattled and creaked upon the lapping waters.

“How much did you hear?” he asked in return. 

I waited. 

“Earlier.” He looked up at me. “Anyone ever tell you it’s rude to listen in to other people’s conversations?”

“You lied to me,” I blurted. I felt myself cringe for having said it aloud let alone so bluntly. “If I’d have known-”

“What?” David challenged. “If you’d have known what, that I’m a criminal-?”

“Are you?”

“Does it matter?”

“It does to me!”

“Why?” he countered. 

He ran a hand over his head and scoffed into the darkness. He was probably smiling to himself but in the poor light it was hard to make out anything definitively. I folded my arms across my chest and said nothing. My silence apparently amused and offended him. 


-- Edited by Ravynlee on Sunday 3rd of May 2009 02:09:10 AM


Resident of OUR TOWN
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~ 'Shane' is my virtual world ~

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“Jesus Christ Rae, what does any of it matter? That was years ago. Things have changed. In case you didn’t notice the world pretty much came to an end. Doesn’t that buy me some kind of reprieve?”


“On what?”

“Did you do it or not?”

“Did I do what?” he echoed, dropping his tone to a veritable growl on the last word.

I swallowed a boulder in my throat and waited.

“Kill her,” I said. 

The sound or lack of anything that came from him drained the marrow from my bones. I closed my eyes and winced internally. I shook my head as memory after memory suddenly bombarded me.

“All those times… you didn’t mention it-”

“I didn’t think it mattered.”

“Murder doesn’t matter?”

“Look around,” David told me as if speaking to an idiot. “Show me one person that hasn’t-”

“That’s different! Those things out there are already dead!”

“Exactly,” David uttered. “We do what we have to do to survive.”

Just as I was about to argue the point further he stood with a groan and I realised my first reaction on impulse had been to step back away from him. Guiltily I hung my head. David sighed and dusted himself off in the doorway.

“That’s precisely why I didn’t want to say anything. People hear that and I’m suddenly enemy number one. It doesn’t matter if I’m guilty or not. The world may be over but societies’ old stigmas obviously aren’t. Once a criminal, always a criminal, right? May as well shoot me now before your friends over there do,” he grumbled towards the main gate, “finish what the state started. At least the next time something goes wrong here they won’t automatically look at the guy with the record and jump to the wrong conclusions.”

“I’m not jumping to conclusions,” I said, sensing the conversation was spiralling out of my control too fast and riding on the coattails of the drama following Jason and Leon’s exit. “I’m just saying you should have told us. Rob and I took you in, we trusted you-”

“I saved your f**kin’ ass,” David snarled in my face, “the both of you, one too many f**kin’ times. You didn’t take me anywhere, I took you. All of you. I know what this world is like, I lived it, in a 4 x 4 cell, I was better equipped than any of you were when that sh*t went down, so don’t act like my saviour because I didn’t need your help, I certainly didn’t ask for it and I don’t need it now! I can take care of myself just like I always have. If you want to tag along then you do what you have to do, but I don’t owe you anything, and you don’t owe me, are we clear yet or do I have to spell it out for you?”

I nodded, sick and seething and huffing on my breaths too heavily to engage to language. David walked away from me but stopped a few feet later and turned, regaining my attentions.

“And for the record I’ve never killed anyone who wasn’t already dead. You can tell that to your peace corps loving friends over there. Not that they’ll believe you. They’re already looking at me like you are.”

“I’m not-”

“Save it.”

I watched him stomp off into the darkness of the Rec Room. The material snapped in the air and fell into place behind him. I stood waiting in the shadows and the light breeze but realised eventually he wasn’t coming back out. Bowing my head I returned to my home and closed the door behind me.


-- Edited by Ravynlee on Sunday 3rd of May 2009 02:25:07 AM


Resident of OUR TOWN
Resident & Admin of DLoD
~ 'Shane' is my virtual world ~

 ^ My Homes away from Home ^
If I'm not here, I'm there.

~ ModMother / The Cougar ~


Status: Offline
Posts: 2990


In the darkness and quiet I wept. I should have just killed myself, I thought, without being able to rationalise why. Helplessness suffocated me. Memories drowned me. Guilt buried me. In my state of semi-conscious sleep I dreamed of Rob, of being in his arms, of talking, reminiscing, of kissing him, of making promises for a future we would never see, making love - brief glimpses of happiness amidst the chaos. 

On the cold hard mattress I now lay I felt equally cold and alone. A chill was seeping into my bones, draining me. I sobbed his name, eternally begging his forgiveness. The blankets didn’t even feel like they were there anymore as I struggled to hide beneath them. In my head I was back there, back in that dingy hotel room, feeling rough unfamiliar hands upon me, and the old stale sheets against my back. I hadn’t even known David then, he had just been another man, one of so few who had been so long without the touch of a woman. Oh god, why did I agree to it, I kept asking myself, a sick sadistic mantra, one word, why, playing over and over to a desperate, morose tune in my head. 

Even then, during the horrors of the world collapsing in a bloodied mess around us, I had been a willing participant, reluctant but happy to thank our sudden saviour who had emerged out of no where with his shotgun blazing, liberating us against unseen dangers. Things were suddenly different now, I had never understood the Hollywood cliché of lust amidst impossible circumstances until it was there, and fear and death was everywhere and all senses, all thoughts, every emotion was simply heightened beyond normal constraints and comprehension.

But I lay weeping now, as I hadn’t done before, not even after it was over, too busy putting on a brave face because Rob had seemed happy enough to go along with it, sympathising one man to another – because men, after all, had needs, they had said. And so I had made love to him, a stranger, even in the absence of love, while the man I loved waited outside, and said nothing - Did it still count as lovemaking then if sex were merely just a chore, a formality, a thanks-for-saving-my-butt and here’s your reward, physical act? I scoffed to myself bitterly thinking that nothing really mattered anyway, Rob was dead and this refuge was slowly dwindling – pretty soon we would all be dead anyway. I could practically feel the barricades closing in around me.

Outside in the harbour the boats rattled and insects continued to sing. Smearing my eyes and subduing my sobs, I strained my ears to the sound of static echoing into the night. I tried reassuring myself that everything was going to be okay, but without the comforting sound of another’s dozing breaths abating the fears as there usually was, all I could do was lay there curled up in a ball and wait for the end of the world to finally come and claim me.


In the morning I awoke to music blaring. I was startled from sleep and immediately thought that something remarkable had happened. It was such a drastic change from how I had drifted off in hunger and tears to sleep that it took me a little longer than normal to get my bearings, and to realise I still lay in a damp, dank hut that was not my family home. Still groggy from sleep and disoriented, I shoved the covers back and staggered towards the front door. I twisted the handle and creaked it open. The sight of a jeep in front of the Rec room made my heart soar and pound with renewed hope. Jason and Leon were back already? 

Shielding my eyes from the settling dawn, I slipped on my shoes and made my way out of the hut. Then, for no reason at all, I stopped in my tracks. Wesker stood, snatching the torch hanging from a niche on the underside of the bonnet, dusting his oily hand on his thigh.

“Hey,” I heard a familiar voice beckon. 

I squinted up. Nick was standing inside the Jeep, holding what looked like a car stereo in his hand. Wires dangled down his wrist and arced into the dash. I shook my head at him, realising that he was the cause of the commotion as music continued to blare across the compound.

“You like, huh?” he urged, grinning.

I smiled a response gathering at the back of my throat. Catching movement in the corner of my eye I saw David approach, hefting a bag into the back of the Jeep and afford me a stray glance without saying a word by way of greeting.

“The world’s dead and you’re subjecting us to Britney God damn Spears,” David muttered under his breath, yet loud enough for the other man to hear. The bag he was carrying hit the Jeep interior with a thud. “It’s a good thing those things out there are dead already, if they heard this they’d probably kill themselves.”

“Ha ha,” Nick jibed, his upper lip curled into a contemptuous snarl. “Hey don’t you have somewhere to be right now? Say maximum security being munched on by all your a**-raping buddies?”

“You want to be my encore?” David asked him.

Jill approached from the other side of the compound with her arms full of guns, ammo and assorted weaponry.

“You two,” she grunted, “That’s enough.”

I watched her lower a few rifles into the back before realisation finally dawned on me what I had awoken to. They were planning on going out again, probably to find Jason, if not to search for more supplies at least, and I was being left behind in the dark again like a dutiful housewife. With a word Jill managed to convince Nick to lower the volume on his stereo as she emptied her arms and dusted her hands on her blue camisole. David strode back past uttering a word under his breath.


Nick winked and raised his middle finger, puckering his lips before Jill barked his name and once more ended it. With her hands on her hips she watched the two men retreat, and eventually saw me standing there just outside my hut obviously wearing a confused look upon my face. She lowered her head and began to walk away from me.

“Jill,” I called, drawing her to a stop. 



Resident of OUR TOWN
Resident & Admin of DLoD
~ 'Shane' is my virtual world ~

 ^ My Homes away from Home ^
If I'm not here, I'm there.

~ ModMother / The Cougar ~


Status: Offline
Posts: 2990

I met her at the back of the Jeep as I saw David, in my peripheral vision, disappearing inside the Rec room and cutting short his dark-eyed stare. 

“Hey,” I said, “You’re planning another hunt, aren’t you? You weren’t even gonna tell me?”

“Rae-” she began, but I could tell by the sound of her voice what she was implying and intersected it.

“I wanna go along this time. I can. I’m fine now, I don’t feel… like I did before. Honest.”

Reluctantly Jill met my eyes and too looked around. She folded her arms and c ocked her head to the side with a huff. Her brows rose expectantly.

“I’m serious,” I urged. My smile was quick, reflexive and nervous. “I told you it was just… hunger,” I said. I couldn’t bring myself to speak of the other possibilities we had earlier broached, too busy sharing my attentions between her stony face and the material acting as door for the Rec Room several metres away.

“I can do this,” I told her, “You’re two men down, you need all the help you can get.”

“Someone needs to stay here and look after the girl.”

I groaned. My shoulders deflated. My gaze fell towards the ground. Jill sighed.

“Fine,” she muttered. She didn’t look pleased at all with her decision but clearly had no defence against my logical argument. “But one thing goes wrong and-”

“I know,” I said, “It won’t. Trust me.” No sooner had the words fallen from my mouth I saw David reappear and my gaze hit the ground beneath my feet like dead weights. Jill huffed heavily before me.

“Nick told us,” she said. She waited until David dumped the second load of supplies into the jeep and strode off before she loomed closer and resumed speaking, albeit at a lower more discreet tone. “Is it true? He’s a convicted killer? Why didn’t you tell us when you fist got here? You know we have a liability here, we have a job to protect lives-”

“He’s not,” I found myself suddenly defending, “He’s not dangerous.”

“How do you know? Nick said-”

“If he was going to kill us, we’d be dead by now,” I said. I looked up and met Jill’s stare. I couldn’t read it. Tucking my hair behind my ears I folded my arms and looked away. Jill huffed.

“Fine,” she grunted. She stooped into my face. “But if you’re boyfriend steps one toe out of line I wont hesitate to put a bullet between his eyes, are we understood?”

“He’s not my boyfriend,” I mumbled.

Jill made a sound that instantly silenced me. Like a chastised child I blinked up awaiting retribution. She stared at me.

“I don’t care what he is,” she said, “I swore an oath. To protect people. To save lives. If I think for one second he’s going to endanger that, I’ll have to get rid of him just like those things out there, just so you know we’re clear.”

“Okay,” I mumbled, chewing the inside of my lip.

Jill nodded and the corner of her mouth pulled up. Maybe it was an attempt at a smile. Maybe she was about to say something. But bowing her head she tapped me on the shoulder and walked away.

“Go eat,” Wesker muttered from around the edge of the upraised bonnet. “You’re going to need it. Big day.”

Being that was the most I had ever heard him say in one sentence, I agreed with a nod, a thankful smile, and wandered off towards the Rec room to do as I had been instructed. 

After spending months since the start of the war running from danger this was the first time I had ever faced the prospect of deliberately going off to face them, those flesh-eating zombies, and arguably worse. Such were my nerves; I was physically sick at the prospect and didn’t see the need to waste good food, despite the best of intentions. I spent the next ten minutes hidden away behind the Garden shed throwing up until I was weak and shaky and light headed. Out of the corner of my eye, across the rickety fence, the pink-white star flowers on the Jasmine bush brought a sense of peace to my otherwise pounding heart. I thought of Rob as he had been and struggled not to think of him being out there somewhere, rotting and feasting, a walking corpse without respite and without relief. I uttered a little prayer to myself and hoped we’d never have to cross paths again. Please, let him be dead, I hoped, dead in a permanent way. I don’t want to have to shoot the only thing that’s ever mattered to me. But God, if He was up there, probably wasn’t listening. If there had been a God before the war, I struggled to rationalise the existence of one now after all I had seen – and all that I didn’t want to.

Half an hour later as the suns rays spread like ripples across the smoky sky, we exchanged solemn glances as we were jostled about on the back of the jeep, headed towards the gates – They creaked open and Wesker waved us off, and as we drove through I looked back, watching them slowly close. I realised then that there was no turning back.

Some of us might not make it back alive.


-- Edited by Ravynlee on Sunday 3rd of May 2009 02:23:12 AM


Resident of OUR TOWN
Resident & Admin of DLoD
~ 'Shane' is my virtual world ~

 ^ My Homes away from Home ^
If I'm not here, I'm there.



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The second time I woke up, I felt worse. But it was a ... realer kind of feeling - I could tell that I had been delirious before. The memories of struggling out of the building and being found by Rae were fuzzy, dark somehow. I was just glad they were there. So many thing weren't there.

I sat up, catching the damp rag as it fell off my forehead. It was an easy, automatic action, even though I hadn't even been aware that the rag was there. I had so many things that could only be classified as instincts - but I hadn't been born with them, and I had no idea when they had formed. What had forced them to form. How long I'd had them.

Swinging my legs off the side of the bed, I dropped the rag on the pillow. I was sure there was some proper place for it, but I didn't see a rack or anything nearby. Someone had to be around - Rae or the man she had mentioned, David. And surely there were others. From what I remembered, the structure was quite large, and humans usually didn't occupy areas larger than necessary; it makes them harder to defend, after all. From this place's size, there had to be at least six people living here.

How did I - ?

How could I possibly just know that?

I brushed the thought off and stood. I was still a bit off-balance, but I made my way slowly to the door without incident. Recalling my adventure just crossing the room before almost made me smile. The doorknob gave me no trouble.

I looked around. For a second, I was comforted by the dark sky, the foul smell coming from the river, the dampness of the air, and terrified of the high walls that surrounded me, closing me in, keeping me trapped. I had a painful ache, as if some of my internal organs were missing. Then the feelings reversed, and those walls were the only things keeping me safe, but the ache remained.


But - but 'Trinity' was what I told Rae my name was. Was I confusing myself witht he sword, of all things? Which did the whisper of my subconscious mean?

I leaned against the doorframe and sighed deeply. I was starving, thirsty, and maybe still feverish. It would be best to dismiss these thoughts for now. Focus on the material things I needed: food and water. (The smell of the river made me mentally amend, clean water.) And to find those I needed to find someone who lived here, to direct me to them. Anyone would do, but the leader fo the group would be best, my rational half told me - while the lost-little-girl half said it didn't want to meet strangers and I'd better find Rae.

But it didn't seem to matter who I wanted to meet. I stumbled up and down the row of buildings several times, but found no one. Admittedly, I hadn't looked in any buildings. I couldn't even bring myself to go back into the place I had been sleeping - every time I tried the more ... animalistic instinct practically took over, forcing me back out the door. Then, as I was leaning against the wall, catching my breath (I was worn-out and still panicked from trying to go inside) I saw something around the corner of the second row.

Something green.

I wandered over cautiously. Much of humanity's greatest accomplishments had been swallowed by plantlife, and though I couldn't remember that bothering me before - it might have even satisfied me in some weird way - the idea that Mother Nature was invading this safe haven disturbed me. But as I got closer, I realized that it was just a garden, itself contained by four shoulder-high walls. I ventured in.

The garden may have been contained, but it was as wild as it could be under the circumstances. Vines wound up and over the walls, and bulging roots covered the entire ground. It took me a moment to even notice the fruits and vegetables. But when I did, it didn't matter that very few of them were ripe - I laid into green bananas and small tomatoes like they were ambrosia.

As hungry as I had been, it took very little time for me to get full. At that point, I sat down in one corner of the garden with my knees pulled up to my chest and my arms wrapped around myself. It wasn't so much that I was physically ill, but more that my insides felt weak and cold. Without the hunger to occupy my mind, the feeling of missing something returned. I laid my head against the cool, damp wall.

Trinity. Trinity.

I slept.

Continued ...




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"What the - ?!"

I snapped awake and instantly pushed myself up. Cornered - when fighting in a corner you always try to get out of the corner. I started to shove past the person who'd trapped me.

And then I remembered where I was, what I was doing.

The man stared back at me, completely clueless. I was probably giving him much the same look.

"Wh-Who're you?"

My stutter matched his. "T-Trinity."

After a pause I realized I hadn't relaxed. My hands were still up, ready to fight. I lowered them and shifted my weight back to lean against the wall. My legs felt weak, but it was mostly from relief. The man pushed his thin-framed glasses up his nose, then finally introduced himself.

"I'm Mark." He blinked. "So you're the girl they brought back."

I nodded, though I hadn't known there was a 'they' to it.

"How long have you been ... up and about?"

I shrugged. I really had no sense of time, especially with the continuously darkened sky. I had the vague idea that it had been night before, and it was day now, though, so I guessed, "About a day."

"Oh. I didn't know," he said regretfully. Then he brightened. "So, where do you come from?"

"Um ... around," I supplied vaguely. I got the impression he was something of an outsider. "What is this, anyway?" I waved a hand to encompass the entire area.

"No one's given you the welcoming speech, huh?" He smiled, a little bitterly. "Of course. They're almost all gone right now anyway." Gone right now? "Jason and the others established the place, and they call it the Park. I think it's supposed to be named after the mayor, back when this was actually a town. Now it's more of a prison," he added darkly.

"What do you mean?"

He started to explain that the caretakers of the Park were the only ones allowed to have weapons. I remembered, suddenky, that I didn't have Trinity, and interrupted him.

"Do you know where they keep the weapons?" I demanded.

He pushed his glasses up again, nervously. "Well ... I think I do, but ..."

"And no one's here but us?"

"Y-yeah ..."

"Take me to them."

"But - "

I fell easily into a fighting form again. "Do it!" I growled.

He backed away slowly, but I knew he wouldn't run from me. He was too desperate for some interraction - even threats and bullying must've seemed like an improvement.

"Th-this way."

I followed him closely across the complex to a somewhat small building that was right next to the gate. At the door, he hesitated.

"Come on! Are they in here?"

"Y-yes. But, this is Jason's -"

"I don't give a damn!" I snarled. "Can you open it?"

"It's locked."

I went the throw all my relatively little weight against the door, but he stopped me hastily.

"Stop, s-stop," he whispered, as if someone was listening. "I can ... pick the lock."

"Why didn't you say so?" I hissed.

"You didn't give me an opportunity." He extracted a couple of small tools from his sleeve and went to work. I waited, pacing impatiently behind him, until I heard the slight click. The ache was getting worse the closer I came to my sword.

"Got it."

I shoved past him and burst into the small room. It showed few signs of being lived in - obviously Jason took no time for himself and focuses of runnign the Park as best he could. He also stockpiled weapons, it seemed, just as Mark had said. And in the corner, glinting, to my eyes, even in the dark ...


She was in my hand before I knew it, and when a hand touched my shoulder, I didn't think; I acted. Mark was against the inside wall of the compound, Trinity's tip pricking his throat, before he could even speak.

"Wh-what're you - Trinity -"

I flinched. Trinity - my name or - ?

The gate began to open.

-- Edited by Jess on Sunday 3rd of May 2009 10:26:24 AM


~ ModMother / The Cougar ~


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Posts: 2990

Takes place roughly the day after Jason and Leon disappeared. Not keeping track of days, no need yet, we'll cross that proverbial bridge when we come to it.


“Alright, stop here.”

With a stern glance from Jill, the jeep limbered and idled at an intersection. The street on both sides of us was empty, the street directly ahead just the same. A tattered American flag whipped lazily from its lofty perch above a group of buildings. Store eaves waved to us with dirty, mouldy abandon. Empty cars sat still against the kerbs, some scattered at random angles on the road. Everywhere I’d been, every town I’d crossed in my travels, always looked like this. Whatever happened here had happened fast and apparently no one had had the time to get out. The military barricades that blocked The Park were not existent here that I had seen. I guessed it was feasible Jason and his crew had dragged them back to fortify their walls, but it was just as likely that the virus the government had fought so stringently to contain had spread too fast for guns or jeeps or army personnel to catch up. Casting my eyes around the barren streets I squeezed the cold hard metal of my pistol in my white-knuckled grip. I pushed out a shaky breath and fought to compose myself.

“You,” Jill said, turning in her seat to face us. Her gaze zeroed in on David as she flicked her head to the side and motioned he move with a quick distracted glance past me. “Get out,” she told him. With a click she inspected the contents of her magazine before snapping it back into place and thumbing her weapon off safety. In the driver’s seat Nick sn iggered as David rolled his eyes and clambered out, hefting his trusty 12 gauge in fist along with him.

“You too,” she said.

Immediately the grin on the younger man’s face stalled. Nick opened his mouth to protest as David could be heard sn iggering in turn in the background. Leaning across his lap, Jill opened the door and urged him out. Nick groaned, rolled his eyes and eventually began to follow.

“No,” I said, suddenly seizing everyone’s attentions. Before anyone could stop me I stood on weakened knees and made my way over the jeep’s side. David stood frowning, nursing the barrel of his rifle across his beefy shoulder.

“You should stay in the car,” Jill lectured, seeming to know by the tone that her argument was pointless before she’d even voiced it. 

Shaking my head I backed away from the vehicle.

“I’m going with him,” I told her. 

I braved a glimpse back over my shoulder but David was looking off into the distance, his brow furrowed. I lowered my eyes with a sigh towards the ground. The jeep door slammed shut again and Nick caught my eye, seeming to beseech and apologize to me in the one nervous gesture. But now that we were here Jill had no time to waste on proprietaries.

“Alright,” she said. “We’ll split up into two teams. Nick and I will search the houses. You two check the storefronts. Remember to keep an eye out for anything that could be useful. We’re scouting for supplies but were also looking out for signs of where Leon and Jason might have gone. We’ll meet back here in half an hour. If there’s any problems use the radio.”

Snatching up the rucksacks from the jeep’s floor, Jill thrust one at each of us. David begrudgingly accepted. He squinted up at the clock tower, a staple of these old small towns, and huffed cynically to note that the hands were frozen somewhere around the 6 and 8 on the clock face. With a raised brow he turned back to Jill who pursed her lips at him.

“You don’t have a watch?”

“Never needed it.”

“God, he’s a crook,” Nick groaned, “why can’t he just go out and-”

With a click David brought his rifle down and was aiming it at Nick’s temple. With a start Nick recoiled as Jill pursed her lips at David, looking all too much like a disapproving parent. She waited until the gun was eventually pulled away.

“Why I don’t I just steal yours?” David grunted to Nick’s previous statement.

Nick was too shaken, and too pissed off, to retaliate beyond a scowl. David smirked. The rifle came to rest across his shoulder once more.

“Have you two finished?” Jill demanded. She gave each of them a stern glare that they both turned away from. “Over there is some kind of jewellers. I’m sure you’ll find something there.”

“Yeah, that’s if all your looting buddies haven’t-”

“One more,” David warned, snatching the gun off his chest threateningly. 

Jill’s eyes blazed and narrowed. No one spoke a word as she turned in her seat away from them. Her jaw was tight. She had said all she intended to say, but more simmered behind her steel-eyed stare. Inspecting the torch, water and radio in my rucksack I listened as Nick ground the gears and the jeep lurched forward, its tyres crunching on the dirt and asphalt.

“Half an hour,” she said, her eyes briefly locking on to me.  “Be careful.”

I nodded. 

Then the jeep lurched forward again, the motor growled, and they were speeding off in a cloud of swirling dust up the roadway.

-- Edited by Ravynlee on Friday 8th of May 2009 11:29:52 PM


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It was a bright, sunny day and the birds were chirping merrily.

As I woke up from my forced slumber, I was met directly by the strong, sickening smell of rotting flesh.  I looked to my right and my left, analysing my surroundings.  Bodies.  Bodies everywhere.  I let out a scream as best I could but I had already came to the conclusion that my situation was hopeless.  I was in a pit of sorts: a circular black wall of sharp rocks stuck inward at me and I could see that I was about eight feet under.  They must've thought two more would be funny.  Whoever they were.

"Hello!  Hello!  Is anyone there?!"

"Just you and me darlin'."

I turned round to find a girl sitting behind me atop several skeletons and still decaying bodies, swinging her legs back and forth with a smile on her face. 

"Here, take this-" She threw a raw piece of fresh meat after ripping it from a leg nearby- "It's good for ya.  Human meat.  Not the infected kind, mind you.  Although I gotta admit... that's tasty too."  She grinned and wiped her nose shortly after snorting, and returned to sinking her jaggy teeth into our dead peers' flesh.  I let the food she threw at me fall to the ground.

"Are you fuc**ng insane?  Dumb bi**h, that craps probably infected.  You're nuts.  You're crazy.  How the hell do I get out of here?  What the hell is this place?  Who are you?"

She dropped the bloody meat in her mouth and looked at me as though I was an alien. 

"Calm down there cowboy.  I've been down here for five weeks, so I have.  What do you expect me to do?  Eat myself?  Idiot."  She shook her head and slid off of the body she was resting on like it was a chute.

"Besides, I figured that these people weren't infected since they didn't seem to be walking around much, y'know?"

I sighed in disgrace at my own stupidity. 

"Okay, okay.  But Jesus, surely there's some other way.  I mean, you can't just eat people.  Not if you're human; you're human, right?"

She chuckled a little and continued her swagger towards me, slipping through the odd mound of bodies and jumping over the occasional boulder.  As she got closer, I heard a vehicle in the distance.

"****!" I exclaimed. "This is our chance!  Help!  Help!"

She shook her head in disbelief and let out a sympathetic laugh and chuckled, "Ha ha!  You fool!  You're actually one of the dumbest people I've ever met.  And I've met a lot of people.  Sh*t, some of these ones down here show more intellect than you do."

"He-" I stopped immediately after realising I was getting nowhere.  I noticed that the woman who stood in front of me had a gun in her pocket.  She reached for it and licked her lips slowly, biting them and then, with her other hand, began rubbing her hand up and down her leg gently.  It was hard not to get aroused.  For a woman who ate humans but wasn't a zombie, she was attractive.

"What are you doing with that gun?"  Strangely I wasn't too nervous.  I was thinking that she'd be the type of person to use the gun as a... toy... rather than a weapon.

"Honey... you're gonna have so much fun."

She climbed atop the boulder I was sitting on and wrapped her legs around my waist.  She began to kiss me on the lips.  She nibbled on them now and again like they were candy.  Maybe I am her candy, I began to think. 

"Look, this is very good and all but... I hav-" I stopped and thought of Alice for a moment. "Had... a wife.  Please, just leave me."

"Whatever you say, big boy," she said seductively.  She turned round and went to resume her former position at her own personal dinner table -- where there was a buffet; all the human you could eat! -- when she suddenly stopped, ripped the gun from her pocket and aimed it directly at my head.

"Sorry, big boy, nothing personal.  Don't worry, I won't eat you.  Not for a while anyway." She winked and tightened her grip on the gun, firing a bullet right through my skull.

-- Edited by Brendan on Wednesday 6th of May 2009 05:45:56 AM


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Hopefully I got Dean right Jess. If not I apologize. This was my third re-write. In the end I've just decided to stop procrastinating and post something. Here goes.



That one hazy yellow circle encompassed my whole world.

Briefly I loosened my fingers from the plastic and flexed them. The tips were numb and tingling. Around us the store sat in perfect stillness. Dust motes swirled in the beams of light. We were sole survivors canvassing a ghost town. Before us shattered display cases stood dusty and blood smeared. Contrary to Jill’s earlier claims there was little of value to be found inside. I scoffed as I thought about the global hysteria that set in during the onset of the war, of the things I had seen and heard and had bombarded with on every front; on the street, on the news. Everywhere panicked misinformed people, terrified and desperate, struggled to barter with whatever they could as the social order crumbled around them. I internalised a wince as I was stung with the memory of a woman at the same hotel as me begging complete strangers to take her baby, someone, anyone, everyone that crossed her path. ‘Please, I need money to eat!’ she had begged. Hours later Rob and a handful of others had come upon me and took me away. The last sight I had of that hotel was seeing that woman, her nightgown stained from neck to hem in blood, staring vacantly at us with a tiny arm in her hand. My eyes fell as the memory dissipated back into its place with the others. My throat clicked as I swallowed. Hearing the sound of crunching glass I snapped my eyes up. 

A few feet away David was slipping the band of a watch onto his wrist and snapping the catch shut. He frowned and cringed from the light. I muttered an apology under my breath and swung it aside. More broken glass. More upturned furniture. More pictures of gorgeous models smiling enticingly from the dust- and cobwebbed walls. C ocking my head to the side I stood in front of one and touched the glass with my hand. I know that face, I thought. She must have been some kind of Hollywood actress. She was probably dead now. I wonder how she had passed, I wondered. Funny how I could consider such things with a degree of cool detachment now. 

“Hey,” David muttered.

I heard him snatch up his rifle from the countertop and glass fragments tinkle to the floor. I swung my head and glared over my shoulder. The torch caught him again with his hand raised flat in my direction. I hesitated.

“You smell that?”

I nodded. In truth I wasn’t able to speak. It wasn’t from the rancid stench of rotting flesh that suddenly infused the air but something internal strangling me, stopping the words from coming out. Gripping my torch and handgun in the same fist I tugged up the bandanna tied around my neck as in the peripheral light David did the same. After seven months in normal external conditions insects and bacteria would have consumed almost all of a dead body leaving paper-thin flesh taut on protruding bones, but hidden away in here, in the dark, in the moist conditions and the cool breeze brought in off the nearby river nature and the normal process of decay had been delayed. My stomach nose-dived at the low muffled sound of movement somewhere in the darkness ahead of us. I knew that sound. I feared it. My knees weakened.

Ahead of me David raised his hand again and lowered it flat towards the floor. Reflexively I sunk to a crouch, following his lead. Torchlight streamed across the carpet. Darkness festered above like a suffocating blanket. The thin wall of material covering my nose and mouth was no match for the stench that was growing steadily stronger. David raised two fingers. He pointed to our immediate left. Great, I grimaced, the way we had come in. Or was it? Fear scrambled my thoughts and I fought for a moment to recompose myself. In the distance one of those things were moaning. Maybe it could smell us and was salivating at the prospect of fresh meat – god only knew how long it had been between feasts, I thought, with a frown. I wondered how long it would take for one of those things to starve to death without finding humour in the irony of such a question.

With the sound of crunching glass David was stealing away into the darkness. At first my legs refused to follow. In the shadows, in the unfamiliar surrounds, at the limp shuffle and moan of death looming unseen around me terror had nailed my feet to the floor. Time stopped. I lowered my light in an attempt to disguise myself and let my eyes adjust to the darkness. Again I cursed my ailing eye-sight.


My eyes shot up. My torchlight stabbed the darkness in a panicked daze. Eerie faces from the posters smiled at me, now with a new degree of malevolence. My heart hammered, deafening me. Something heavy moved. I gasped. It sounded like furniture being pushed. Could those things be capable of it, I thought, terrified at the prospect. Could those things remember how to master their fine motor skills or even adapt given the time? Terror seized me in its steely grip. If those things could remember, what else were they capable of? What else could they remember?

A loud crunch stopped me mid-thought. I swung my torch through the darkness to find the source. Left and right I scoured for signs of David. I found nothing but more evidence of destruction. The black shirt and camouflage fatigues he was in the habit of wearing did their job too damned well. My heart began to thunder as I crunched across the glass now hearing this crunching sound echo in the stillness. My throat burned with his name but in my fear I couldn’t speak it. That’s when I saw it, no; I heard it suddenly close to me; a wet sucking sound, like someone slurping on a juicy meal. My insides turned to water. My knees buckled. I smothered the torchlight in against my chest and froze where I crouched. Encased in darkness with no idea which way was in or out anymore let alone how far into the store I’d now come. I swore under my breath. We shouldn’t have come in here, into the darkness; there were no supplies in here of worth I cursed. The distant glow ahead could have been light struggling through boarded windows or the muffled glow of David’s torchlight – muffled in the detritus that littered the floor, or muffled in his blood… I couldn’t see or hear him moving around anywhere. Disoriented and terrified now I couldn’t gauge how many of them were around me but in my terror I didn’t want to know. There was probably more behind them, zombies were limitless – In a world devoid of human life all that was left was a world too horrible to fathom. With my insides quivering I found myself backing up. In the haze less than five metres away I suddenly saw movement. I couldn’t tell if it was friendly or not.

“Dave?” I whispered.


-- Edited by Ravynlee on Sunday 17th of May 2009 02:56:28 AM


Resident of OUR TOWN
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The slurping stopped. My heart seized up like a cold rock. In that second the silence was absolute. That’s when I saw him, or what used to be a him, crouching over the body of a victim ripping away at its insides. I recoiled. Something was behind me. I screamed. A hand wrapped around my mouth smothering it. In that instant the noise of my retreat alerted the zombie who stood now and was looking in the opposite direction. David was squeezing my lower face so I hard I could feel his arm shaking. He was one swift jerk away from breaking my neck, I thought suddenly. Fear held me in its sway. The thing was moving now away from us. Relief was short lived.

“Shh,” he said. He was pointing behind me. That’s when I saw the zombie’s silhouette and realised I’d been staring into a mirror. I’d practically walked right up to it and not even known.

The zombie seemed to sniff the air. Maybe he was relishing the taste of blood dripping from its lips. In the settling darkness the blood looked like ink staining its mouth. It looked like a man but something about its appearance confused me momentarily. It too wore the uniform of a soldier. My insides curled with renewed fear. Maybe this thing retained some of that military training I thought. Maybe it was somehow more dangerous. But the thing moved slowly; it wasn’t wounded - it was hunting. Us. I whimpered something into the palm of David’s hand. He was squeezing the breath from me. He shook me, embedding the back of my head into his chest. The zombie was moving closer. The ceaseless buzzing of flies made my ears ring. It was less than 2 metres away but I couldn’t move. It could have fallen on top of us, why wasn’t David moving? 

“Over there; 2 o’clock,” he murmured.

I strained my ears. All I could hear was the erratic thunder of my heart.

“By the shelves…”

Something was moving. I couldn’t make out what it was. Then the hairs on the back of my neck stood on end. I tugged at David's hand, my words muffled against it. “Is that a dog?”

“Not anymore,” David said, releasing his grip on my mouth. Carefully he raised his rifle between both hands.

“What are we gonna do? Just shoot it.”

“There could be more-”

“I don’t care-”

David glared at me in my peripheral vision. “Why don’t we just send up a f**king flare, bring them all to us?”

I fell silent. In front of us the dog padded across the glass. I watched its silhouette shifting through the shadows. Then, suddenly, it froze. It raised its muzzle in the air. I heard a low growl.

“Door. On three,” David said. I nodded and huffed out a determined breath. Then he began to count. “One… Two…”

A sudden sound stopped him. It sounded like a stick striking a watermelon. We both turned in confusion. Something heavy hit the floor. We didn’t have time to react. From the darkness a dog barked. Its fangs flashed. It was less than three metres away. David snatched his rifle to his shoulder and squared his shot. An explosion resounded. The dog yelped. It slumped to the glass. The growling didn’t stop. 

“Jesus Christ! There’s more!”

“I know!” David snapped.

I swung my torch up. Pearls gleamed in the amber light. Dead eyes. Zombies and animal alike. Without thinking I squeezed the trigger, offloading a handful of bullets. Lights flickered from the barrels of both guns. My ears rang with the noise of it. Something grabbed my back pack. I swung around and offloaded a shot without thinking. My arm was knocked aside and the bullet pierced the darkness somewhere above. It took me a second to realise the person in front of me wasn’t dead. 

“This way,” he said with a slight southern drawl. Maybe it was just adrenalin warping my senses as David offloaded another two and three shots. The man shoved me aside and took my place, firing into the massing crowd of zombies. David, realising with a double take we were not alone, caught my gaze and frowned. 

“Who are you?” he asked the stranger. 

Another volley of shots rang out. Moaning, growling zombies slumped like sacks of wet cement to the floor. The man chuckled. The sound was out of place amid the carnage.

“Now’s not the time or place.”

“The f**k I’m going anywhere with you without answers,” David snapped. “Where’d you come from?”


-- Edited by Ravynlee on Sunday 17th of May 2009 03:04:27 AM


Resident of OUR TOWN
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The man smiled over the barrel of his rifle. In the torchlight I caught a flash of the man’s face. Young. Light coloured hair. He winked at me in that ‘She’ll be right, mate’ manner that only country people do. My heart ached as I thought of home. Together the three of us continued firing at random, picking off targets, circling in disorientation and in defensiveness. Elbows and fists took out those closest. Snatching a wooden spike from his pocket David slammed one into the forehead of a zombie. It howled in shock before falling to the floor.

“Impressive,” the man said with his brows raised. David’s brow crumpled further. “Where I’m from is not as important right now as where we’re going. So unless you want to stay here and end up someone’s chew toy-”

“I’m out!” I cried. I snapped out the clip and glared inside it. Empty. F**k!

“Here,” the man said. He slipped the strap from over his shoulder and shoved his rifle into my hands. I was too gobsmacked to argue.

“What are you-?”

“David!” I interrupted.

I swung the rifle up and aimed it at his shoulder. A greyish bloated hand snatched at his sleeve. A dead face lunged. A scream bubbled away at the back of my throat but didn’t make its way past my lips. A swish of movement to my left stunned me into silence. Caught off guard David turned in time to see the zombie slump onto its knees and slam its head into the floor – the hilt of a blade all that was left protruding from its forehead. He blinked up and glared at the man momentarily speechless. The man strode past and kicked the creature over, stomping a boot into its chest as he wrenched the knife back out. It gleamed in the man’s hand, stained with black-red blood in the torchlight.

“Who the hell are you?” David grumbled.

The young man snatched up a fistful of shirt from the fallen zombie and squeezed it around the blade to clean. Maybe it was a trick of the light or the rush of adrenalin coursing through his system as I saw colour blossoming in his face. He chuckled as he slid his knife back inside his belt. 

“Name’s Dean,” he said with a nod. He paused as if awaiting further questions that never came. “Come on,” he said. “This way, before the rest of them come.”

“Let them,” David said. He puffed his chest out in a gesture of male bravado. “I’m not afraid of a few dead sh**ts.”

“I’m not talking about those things,” Dean said. 

He pointed towards the darkness ahead of us to where the darkness was deepest and focussed our attentions. In the new settling stillness the sharp click of claws on glass and the low growl emanated growing louder and drawing closer with each passing second. A gasp escaped me as I realised what he was referring to. I clutched the rifle in my hands and back peddled.

“Let’s get out of here,” Dean said. 

I didn’t need any further prompting. 

In what felt like the longest minute of my life I hurried through the store, tripping and bouncing off shelves but not feeling anything. There was no time to think, to feel, just react. In the end I was running towards the gloom and the sweet promise of freedom without turning back, running like I always did in my dreams. I ran like death, like the hounds of hell were chasing me.

They were.


-- Edited by Ravynlee on Sunday 17th of May 2009 02:50:07 AM


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I'm writing this one from Dean's POV (in third person). It should be the only one I have to do like this, and I'll be back to exclusively 'Trinity'. No promises though.

Dean bounded easily through the ruined town, but he was becoming increasingly aware of the other two lagging behind him. The zombie dogs were fast, and they never grew tired. It was still a few miles to his current fort.

Look around, there's bound to be some -

"This way!" he shouted over his shoulder, turning down another street abruptly and praying they heard him.

The chaotic pound of three pairs of boots striking the rougher patch of asphalt told him they had, just as the jostling noise and scream told him someone had tripped in the pothole and fallen. He stopped and turned to see Davey - or whatever she had called him, it had been hard to hear with his ear still ringing - pulling the woman up. They would be running again soon, but even the tiny pause would cost them. Still too far, still too far...

The couple reached him, and Davey screamed something about where the hell they were going, but Dean blocked him out. There was a rusted metal trashcan nearby - it's contents had been fully picked through but not spread far. Dean leaped over to it, cramming the old papers back in and easily knocking out the bottom. He struck a match pulled from his cuffed sleeves, dropped it in, and kicked it towards the dogs. Smoking headlines proclaiming "Virus nothing to worry about, says Government" and "Another City Falls" blew out opposite ends of the barrel.

"What the f*ck are you, MacGyver?" Davey growled.

Then, because he had no idea if it would do any good, Dean wasted no time dashing away again. He didn't really think the others needed to be told to follow him. Behind them, there were yelps and howls, but not enough.

They were coming up on a small used-car lot. The house that had been used as an office building looked to be made out of cement blocks; it would be good and sturdy. Dean motioned for the other two to go in and make sure it didn't have any unwanted inhabitants, and he set to work dragging the chain link gate closed. It might not stop anything, but it would slow them down. Just in case. As he threaded the the lock between two links, a gunshot sounded behind him, and when he started to go in the door, a corpse of a corpse - the pun made him grin unconsciously - was tossed out.

"You intend to just hole up here and wait for them to go away?" Davey asked coldy.

"Something like that." He held out his hand to the woman. "I don't think I got your name, ma'am."

"R-Rae." She shook it. Dean didn't miss the flicker of something - jealousy? - in Davey's eyes.

"Dean. May I have my gun back?" She gave it to him, hesitantly. "You two barricade the door and stay safe. I'll be right back."

They stared at him. He noted that they did not barricade the door, or even close it, but it would probably be fine. Swinging the rifle's strap over his shoulder, he set about climbing the fence. The rust dug into his hands, but he had climbed worse things, and besides, he'd had a tetanus shot.

One he reached the top of the fence - luckily the owner of the business must have been too poor to afford razor wire - he reloaded the rifle and reached into his knap sack for its scope. Once it was secure, he raised it leisurely and began picking off what remained of the pack. It took maybe a minute and a half, which, having played one too many video games, Dean considered a high score.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

"How did you know about this place?" Rae asked as soon as he climbed down.

"I guessed," he said with a grin.

"You what?!" Dean ducked the fist. "You risked our lives on a guess?!" Davey shouted.

He shrugged. "It worked, didn't it?"

Davey growled wordlessly and stalked off. Rae watched him go, but didn't seem too inclined to follow.

"What's his problem?" Rae picked at a small hole in her sweater, and pretended to have not heard the question. Dean sighed. "Whatever. Do ya'll have somewhere to go? I can give you some ammunition, but there isn't room at my place for more than one."

"No, no, we'll be fine," Rae assured him. "We're meeting up with some others and going back...home."

"Home, eh? You're lucky to have a place like that. How many of you live together?"

"About half a dozen, I guess."

There certainly seemed to be something she wasn't telling him, but Dean couldn't resist grinning and asking, "Room for one more?"

From Davey's direction came the call,"No!"

"Good hearing," Dean remarked, still grinning for Rae's benefit. "So...?"

"I guess," she mumbled, then finally brushed past him to stand with Davey.

Dean shrugged again. "When do you meet them? Maybe I could go gather up my supplies and be back."

Davey didn't glance at his watch before saying, "Fifteen minutes."

"Great. I'll be back in ten."

* * * * * * * * * *

When Dean returned with his full backpack of ammo and canned goods, he was slightly surprised to see both Rae and Davey still waiting. They seemed to have done some raiding in his absence - a small pile of objects (sealed boxes of dried meat, seeds, and a couple of new guns) sat between them. Judging from the way they were standing, they hadn't exactly been having a nice heart-to-heart. As soon as Davey saw him, he picked up a few of the boxes and jerked his head in a come on if you're coming motion. Dean jogged to catch up.

"Is it far?"

No response. Then his question was answered for him by a Jeep rolling into view ahead of them. The woman driving it looked harried.

"Where's Nick?" Rae asked her.

"Gone." Her voice was cold and hard. "Who's he?"

Dean stepped forward, bowing his head slightly because his hands were full. "Dean. You are?"

"This is no time for pleasantries," she snapped. "What do you want?"

"I intended to come back to your...home." He paused uncomfortably. "But if I'm not wanted, I can..."

The woman eyed his backpack. "Jill. Get in the Jeep."

* * * * * * * * * * * *

The ride was hardly calming, but, having walked eveywhere for quite some time, Dean enjoyed the feeling of moving without walking. Jill and Davey both sat in sullen silence, the perfect couple. Dean though about saying as much to Rae, but it didn't really seem tactful. She, at least, hadn't tried to punch him, so it wouldn't do to offend her.

"So, where do you come from, Dean?" she shouted over the wind. She, at least,
trying to be civil.

"Georgia," he called back. "You?"

"Long way from home. I'm from Australia."

"Wow. How'd you get here?"

She shook her head and extended a finger. Dean turned his head to see where she was pointing. It was a small town on the river they'd been driving alongside for some time, but it was barricaded and fenced in more like a small military base. A sign outside read "The Park." The Jeep slowed, pulling to a stop a few yards in front of what seemed to be the gate. Jill muttered something - it sounded like, "He's not opening the gate. Something's wrong."

She, Davey, and Rae got out to open it manually. Maybe it was just their paranoia rubbing off on him, but Dean suddenly felt a wave of forboding wash over him. He shrugged his backback off and slowly picked up his rifle.

The gate began to open.

-- Edited by Jess on Sunday 17th of May 2009 10:21:27 AM




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Back to 'Trinity' (in first person). As a reminder - last time I broke off with the point of her sword pinning Mark to the wall. The gate was just opening.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The gate began to open.

I flinched at the movement, and the tiniest cut appeared on Mark's throat. The bright red drew my eyes, and for what seemed like an eternity, I stared as it ran alongside his windpipe, discoloring the skin as it went.

Red smears on a pile of white bodies. Screaming. Ripping. Crying.


I flinched again, but this time my eyes jerked towards the gate. Trinity lowered to my side.


Before me stood a man. Maybe not quite a man; he couldn't have been much older than me. He wasn't tall, or escepially brawny, but he looked sturdy - dependable. And completely shocked. He took a few steps closer.

Just then Mark jolted away from the wall and ran outside, screaming. I couldn't make out the words, but I knew he was spilling the entire story.

Trinity hit the ground with a bouncing thud.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Apparently, the man defended me. Apparently, I passed out a moment after I saw him. Apparently, I was still feverish, and he argued that I must have been delusional. Apparently, Mark went into hysterics when the majority voted in favor of not punishing me. Apparently, he was sent into isolation - where he was supposed to be anyway - for breaking into Jason's hut to try and get weapons. I was officially cleared of any wrongdoing.

Apparently, my benefactor's name was Dean. I had no idea who he was. He seemed to think I was someone named "Jamie". At first I completely rejected the idea, but when I considered that most of my life was a blank area, I supposed it wasn't actually impossible. Still, I didn't know the guy. When I woke up in that same room again, and lazily turned my head to look around, seeing an unfamiliar face made me jump away.

He jumped at the same time, catching my wrist with one hand and cupping the back of my head with the other. He could have probably circled my arm twice with just his thumb and first finger.

"Shhh. It's okay, Jamie," he whispered. "It's just me."

"My name isn't Jamie." Not that I knew. "Stop ... touching me."

He backed off, slowly, and in return I relaxed back onto the bed. Our eyes never broke apart. He looked so confused, so helpless. But I was certain I had never met him before in my life.

My life. I wasn't sure what my life was anymore.

"I don't know you," I mumbled.

An apalled expression came onto his face. "Of course you do."

"No. I don't. I don't even know your name."

"It's Dean." He searched my eyes, as if just his name would bring me to some amazing realization. I stared back blankly."But - Jamie ... "

"My name is Trinity!" I snapped. "Look, I don't know what went on between you and this Jamie, but don't expect anything of the sort from me!"

I turned away and pulled the covers up to my neck, pretending to be asleep. After a moment, I heard him leave. He closed the door behind him very carefully.

For some reason, I was crying.


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Outside the opened door the sky was grey and heavy. It suited my mood perfectly. I sat with my arms folded over the back of a dining chair, my jaw clenched, my eyes narrowed. I could hear yelling coming from next door, muted, but apparent. Trinity and this newcomer, this ‘Dean’ fellow, were arguing. My brow furrowed at his repeated insistence of this name ‘Jamie.’ As hard as I tried to make sense of it I couldn’t. My mind was splintered into a hundred different directions as it was at that moment. As the sky rumbled I felt the moisture searing behind my eyes. I swallowed it down with a dry knock and drew in a sigh. Hearing a door close and footsteps approach I refocussed my attentions. A lone figure stormed past, a flash of dirty light hair and faded denim, and then he was gone.


I flinched at a sudden searing pain in my shoulder. I swung my head around to face the cause.

Behind me, seated on the edge of another dining chair, David flicked his eyes up, a damp, red-stained cloth poised in his fist. The corner of his lips tugged up as he snorted. His brows rose instigating a rebuttal but receiving none went back to his duties. With a scoff I shook my head and resumed my previous pose, struggling not to jerk away as the cloth scraped across my various grazes and bruises sustained mere hours beforehand in the jewellery store.

“I can’t believe it,” I mumbled.

Behind me there came no evidence David was listening but I knew he had heard. Around us the rains were beginning to fall, a hushed whisper, a murmur all that could be heard against the usual lapping of the putrid river nearby. Clearing his throat he leant back and squeezed the excess water from the rag to wipe his hands on before dumping it with a splash into the bowl atop the table.

“What?” he sighed. The chair creaked with his shifting movement.

I shrugged. Again I shook my head. I felt the tears come again into my eyes. With a sniffle I fought to push them away. “Nick,” I finally said.

David groaned and got to his feet. Sweeping my hair over my shoulder I looked back to see him taking the bowl to the door and flicking the contents outside. The blood-tinged water splattered into the forming puddles and mud. 

“I can’t believe he’s dead,” I added. 

I looked for signs of empathy on his brooding face. With a wince I reached back and delicately drew my tee shirt and sweater back down. I watched David drop the bowl in the sink with a clatter and snatch up a dusty tea towel to wring his hands on. 

“I don’t understand… Jill barely said anything. I still don’t even know what happened. Imagine if I hadn’t gone with you… that could have been me.”

“Yeah, well it wasn’t.”

“I know, but-”

“No buts, Rae. You’re going to cry for him? Not worth wasting the tears on if you ask me.”

I paused. I sighed. “I know you didn’t like him, but-”

“That’s got nothing to do with it. Look out there,” he said, gesturing with a nod towards the boarded window through which strips of mountain and water could be seen. “There’s a whole world full of dead men, and women, and children. Are you going to cry for all of them too? Well you’d better get started. Something tells me you’re going to be at it for a while.”

My mouth fell open with protest, my brow knitted in disgust. Sensing my disbelief, or reacting to the silence, David finally turned and faced me. He was smirking again but there wasn’t the slightest trace of humour in it.


“You’ve got to be kidding me! We’re talking about a human being here! A man of flesh and blood, like you-”

“He was nothing like me,” David snapped, flinging the cloth in his fist away. “That little f**k probably asked for it. Look at him. You saw him. Poor impulse control. No regard for others. Always running off at the mouth. It was only a matter of time before he got himself into trouble, and you know it. Who are you trying to kid here?”

I huffed a breath as if David’s words had winded me. In my peripheral vision I watched him stride up and drag the chair back, shoving it under the table with a touch more force than was necessary. The sound was exaggeratedly loud amid the afternoon quiet. I jumped at it. I swung my eyes away, too angry to speak for a moment. 

“No one deserves to die like that,” I eventually said.

“Are we talking about him now or again with your dead boyfriend?” 

I hesitated. My eyes flared. I was so enraged it sapped the strengths from me as my eyes lowered sullenly towards the floor below. 

“You don’t mean that,” I said. My voice was little more than a pained whisper.

“No?” David scoffed. He folded his arms across his chest. His head leant to the side, daring me to challenge him. 

Again I swung my head away. My bottom lip quivered. My composed façade was getting harder and harder to hold. David stepped closer but I was still far too angry to look up. Feeling his hand, the back of his fingers, brush against the side of my face I grimaced and swung away. Again he touched me, again I jerked away from him. A heavy sigh fell over me like steam. Snagging the back of my head in his grip he tried to force me to look at him. 

“Don’t!” I whined, swiping his hand away.



Resident of OUR TOWN
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David grit his teeth and grabbed me by the collar of my shirt, wrenching me up out of my chair. It fell to the floorboards with a clatter. Though he was only a few mere inches taller he loomed over me, casting me in his ominous shadow. I flinched at the searing and stabbing pains shooting through my limbs and up my back. I recoiled away from him, struggling to push him off, to struggle when in my head I seemed to already know it was futile. In the brief melee of pushing and pulling the rain masked the thunder of harried footfalls. I gasped, feeling the wind then the mattress slam against my back. I cried out on reflex but was cut short when David slumped down over me.

“Get- off me!” I ground out. 

I struggled to breathe as his hand was wrenching at the neckline of my shirt. Holding himself up on his outstretched arm he buried his face into the crook of my neck. His stubble scratched at my face like sandpaper. I couldn’t turn my head far enough away from it. After a few curse words and another brief struggle, I managed to push his chin back and slap him as hard as I could manage in my precarious position pinned back-first on the bed. The blow briefly knocked the fight out of him, but rather than retaliate David snig gered, smeared his mouth with the back of his arm, and loomed down closer over me. Our noses were practically brushing, our harried breaths commingling in the chilly afternoon air. 

“We had an agreement,” he reminded. He smiled slowly, deliberately; a bully revelling in the knowledge he would come out triumphant regardless what happened. “Now all of a sudden you’re not going to honour it? Don’t start this innocent bullsh*t now you’ve got a crowd out there to hear you. Like it or not, but you agreed to this. It doesn’t change anything just because your knight in shining armour is dead.”

As if prompted I tried to struggle but the stabbing pains in my back and knee, from where I’d tripped on the asphalt running from the hell hounds, quickly stalled me. Whether stung by the memory of what he’d just said about Rob, or something else, I snorted and rolled my head aside, clenching my jaw tightly rather than fight anymore.

“Go ahead,” I uttered. “Who's stopping you?”

I waited. In the passing seconds David’s breaths were growing slower and heavier as I lay there ignoring him. Finally with a huff he pushed himself off me and crawled up, getting back onto his feet. His expression was seething. Sweeping a hand over his scalp he stood over me, looking torn in his decision whether to retaliate by force or something other. A heavy sigh dragged his shoulders down.

“You know what,” he grumbled, “I’m getting sick of this. I’m competing with a dead man. I can’t win, can I? After all, I’m only human. I’m still breathing. Guess that doesn’t mean anything to someone like you now does it?” 

The rain began to thunder down, an uproarious applause against the rusted, weather beaten tin roof. Boats rattled in the harbour. A distant bird, a ravenous crow, cawed into the downpour. David shook his head and stomped across the cabin, his shoulder, his back turned without apology.

“Jill was right,” I murmured, still lying there, weakened by his verbal attack. Tears shimmered in my eyes. “Rob and those… things out there, they might be dead, but right now they have more of a soul than you do.”

David had paused in the doorway, listening to my dismal condemnation. I caught a glimpse of his profile, his eyes slitted as they slid in my direction but didn’t reach me. He shook his head and said nothing, the corner of his mouth tugging up again in that bitter smirk. He reached out and clasped his fingers around the door and stepped out, wrenching the door behind him. The slam was so loud I choked on a half-squeal, jolting against the mattress. Curling my knees up I rolled on to my side as the gathering darkness settled in a blue wash over me. Outside the rain continued to thunder down, masking my tears as they silently soaked into the pillow.


Tension. Silence. The Park had awoken to another dreary day without another one of its members and without word or sign of its fearless leader. We were a collective flock without a Sheppard, and as the sun rose the overall atmosphere remained as low as ever – helplessness seemed to dampen the air more than the previous night’s rains had done.

Outside in the gloomy light, I made my way to the Rec Centre to have breakfast. David was inside, slurping a spoonful of whatever was on offer into his mouth at a distant table. The minute our eyes locked he pushed himself up, dropped his plate and cutlery on the usual clearing table, and stomped past without saying so much as a word to me. I felt the literal cold shoulder bump into me as he passed. I lowered my eyes with a sigh, feeling my appetite waver with a cold boulder sinking in my stomach. Realising Jill sat at another table with her good pal Wesker I forced a smile as best I could manage if only to reassure her sudden frown and made my way over to the food table without saying anything. I couldn’t stop staring at the vacant chair where Nick most often sat. Though I didn’t feel like it I ate because I was starving. As cold as his delivery had been I knew logically that David was right. We didn’t have the strengths or privilege to mourn for anyone else in our current predicament, the possibility that any one of us could be next at any moment threatened behind our shying eyes and forced smiles and everyone knew it – they just didn’t talk about it.

After breakfast I sat before the communal fire, the only one we were afforded given the terrible atmosphere we’d been left, another legacy from the war, and watched the river water boil with my thoughts too simmering. Around me the compound was awake and in full swing but the sense of loss seemed to weigh heaviest upon my shoulders alone. Sitting there on an upturned container that still stunk of fish and old water, I blinked up at the house that Nick used to live in and felt my shoulders fall along with my gaze. Taking a bucket back with me to the cabin I sat in the mould-scored bathtub in a few scant inches of water, slathering a washer across my body in an effort to get clean. I found myself thinking back to a time when I would shower carefree for ages, sometimes half an hour at a time, feeling the hot sting of the water pinch my skin a fiery pink and had been comforted by the smells of the soap and body lotions I once loved. I missed it the way one mourned a loved one. I missed all the little things I had taken for granted. I guess we all did now. 

As clean water was so scarce we had to utilize what we had to the best of our abilities. After towelling down and dressing I knelt over the side of the tub and began the long arduous task of trying to shampoo and condition my hair with a small plastic jug and whatever hygiene product was on offer. Thankfully the previous owners had left enough of these basic things for us to use so I didn’t have to use soap as I had from time to time while on the run with Rob and the rest of them. Though most of us hadn’t planned our escape and therefore not packed our personal belongings, after only a few days without brushing my teeth I didn’t even care I was using a toothbrush that had belonged to someone else I’d never met, hindered but not completely stopped by my inherent germ- and general paranoia. After witnessing the zombie virus a common cold or mouth ulcer didn’t matter – survival was all that did, and if you were lucky enough to find some non-essential items to assist you on your way then even better. I had found while on the run how much easier I could live, and live without, when the superficialities of life had been pared away.


-- Edited by Ravynlee on Thursday 21st of May 2009 04:24:14 PM


Resident of OUR TOWN
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The air was cold outside. As always a chill breeze continued to skip off the river, bringing the stench of the dead along with it. The sky above was still heavy and overcast but it wasn’t as dark as it had been the day before. Moisture still tainted the air. The weather was as unpredictable as those things outside the gates nowadays. Suddenly stung by the memories of the zombies in that jewellery store I shook my head to push them away. My skin crawled. My knee throbbed. I winced and stopped to rub it. Hearing movement I looked up. Before me was Trinity’s cabin. I stood up slowly and frowned. Ever since we’d returned yesterday my unease with this entire situation had festered like the hunger pains inside of me. I remembered the look on Trinity’s face when Dean had addressed her, the sword that lay at her side condemning her for the scratch that scored young Mark’s neck. I remembered the look on her face when she’d awoken from her fever days ago and how she’d shaped up to me on reflex when I’d grabbed her. Something wasn’t right about her story, I just knew it, but given the traumatic events we’d all had to face over the past few months…

She tried to kill Mark, a voice reasoned inside my head.

I nodded as if someone had whispered it into my ear. Seeing a figure pass the half-boarded window I quickly bowed my head and kept walking, unable to stop myself stealing momentary glances back over my shoulder. I stopped mid-step, seeing what I thought must have been Dean the newcomer inside Trinity’s cabin facing elsewhere. I smiled meekly. A warm rash blossomed in my chest. Then my stomach sunk. Out of the corner of my eye I saw David on the other side of the Rec Centre. He was bare-chested and hefting a barbell behind his head, utilizing his free time now with something more constructive. He seemed to know what I was looking at and shook his head as he lowered the bar then hefted it back up again, the frown and the scowl of exertion on his face having barely shifted since the night just gone. I dropped my eyes guiltily and listened as the completed a few more reps before the weights fell to the ground with a rattle and thud. Behind me Jill was talking to Wesker. She suddenly stopped, pausing to look at us. I lowered my eyes to the ground kept them there feeling the isolation and loneliness smothering me.

Am I the only sane person left, I thought, the only one left in the whole wide world who hasn’t tried to kill anyone else and who hasn’t lost touch with their humanity?

With a sigh I made my way over to the communal garden and sunk down on my knees, surrounding myself with the scents and sights of nature. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the pink starflowers of the Jasmine and smiled again, feeling a sense of peace, however slight, coming over me. Then I remembered my first day here, how Nick had stood just there at the rusted gate and leant over it explaining the way things worked at The Park. Now he was gone and no one wanted to talk about him, no one even so much as mentioned his name. It was as if he had never existed at all. I wondered who, if anyone, would mourn me if I died tomorrow. Maybe everyone else who hadn’t been turned had been lucky after all, I thought, and then lowering my face away from the flowers snatched up the weeds from the wild tangle of growth and mud and puddles and with a grunt began to wrench them out. 



Resident of OUR TOWN
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I’d been at it all day but the growth was so thick I’d barely felt I’d made a dent in it. By the time late afternoon came around I was tired, cold and weary but I was too set in my task to admit defeat and walk away. Hearing footsteps squelch in the mud and stop behind me I sighed. I was half expecting to see David there, thinking he’d finally come to his senses and had come to apologise. Jill’s offensive pose, with her hands on her hips and her head leaning to the side, had me frowning back in confusion.

“What?” I asked. Something was obviously wrong, I could tell by the look on her face.

“You shouldn’t be doing that,” she said, but her tone suggested she appreciated the gesture.

“I’m fine. I don’t mind, really.”

Dusting my muddy hands on my jean legs I slowly got to my feet. My joints which had grown stiff as I knelt there now protested the sudden movement. I winced as my knee screamed beneath the skin. I hobbled over to the fence and held myself up letting the blood slowly flow back into my legs. Jill continued to frown at me.

“I meant in your condition,” she added.

I continued to frown up at her in confusion. After looking around to make sure no one was looking she dug something from her pocket and shoved it into my hand. I looked down at the small pink and white box and a sound fell from me that was something between a nervous laugh and a scoff of disbelief.

“I told you-”

“And I told you,” Jill interrupted, leaning closer so as not to be overheard. “This isn’t a game here. This is a serious matter, one that none of us can afford to take lightly.”

Something about her tone, made worse by the look on her face, made me bow my eyes. That small feeling of accomplishment and contentment that had been steadily growing since I’d started in the garden was being stripped away at the realisation this younger woman was talking down to me as if she were my parent or worse, David. I shook my head and went to hand it back to her, the image of the pregnant woman’s bulbous stomach on the cover making me smile in as much fear as nervousness.

“I don’t- I can’t-”

“Humour me,” Jill said. Her tone said ‘Do it. Or else.’

With a dry mouth I nodded and without so much as a second glance at it shoved it away inside my hip pocket. I pulled my hand from it as if the very touch of the box would be enough to condone me. Jill’s expression eased then with a touch of sympathy. Not by much though. Lighting a cigarette she nodded at the work I’d done and blew a ribbon of blue-grey smoke into the air.

“So what’s the deal,” she asked then. “Don’t give me that, I’ve been watching you two all day. Clearly you’ve said or done something to piss our favourite inmate off. Get more conversation out of one of those dead things outside, not that I’m complaining mind you.”

I shrugged and shook my head. I scanned what I could see of the compound from my vantage point inside the garden, but if anyone was out and about so close to twilight no one was making it obvious.

“It’s nothing,” I finally said. Jill scoffed, sending up a disjointed spattering of smoke from her lips. “I dunno. Just… tired I guess.”

“Please, I hope you lie to him better than that. Certainly explains a lot. This wouldn’t have anything to do with our new arrival would it? Someone feeling a little put-out perhaps?”

“What?” I scoffed. The loudness of my voice, more so than the sudden heat stinging my face, had me look away with my heart thundering in embarrassment. Jill chuckled and leant down over the gate, draping her forearms across the metal in a manner that briefly reminded me of Nick.

“Honey, you’re not the first one to sell yourself to get by,” she said. “Trust me, some things may have changed, but men’s appetite, and I’m not just talking food, didn’t end when the rest of the world did. You did what you had to do to survive. It happens. Sucks you have terrible taste in pimps but who am I to judge? None of us are particularly innocent, what’s left of us.”

“I didn’t-… He’s not-… It wasn’t like that,” I found myself explaining. But Jill flicked her wrist dismissively.

“Like I said, not my business. Just try and keep a leash on him okay? I saw the way he was looking at the new guy and I can tell you, having spent a lot of years around men in the squad and all that testosterone that someone’s going to get hurt. If I didn’t know any better I’d swear he was marking his territory. It’s not enough we’ve already got a war going on outside against the dead, we don’t need to be bringing it in here, understand?”

Though I clearly didn’t, I nodded and hoped my faint smile would appease her. It didn’t.

“Go clean up,” she sighed, huffing out the last lungful of smoke. 

She dropped the butt into the mud where it landed with a hiss and squashed it beneath the toe of her boot. She mentioned something about a meeting after dinner but I didn’t catch all of what she said. I watched her stride off in the direction of Mark’s hut where he was being detained for having broken into Jason’s quarters. On my way towards my cabin I stopped and looked back again, watching Jill unlock the door with a rattle of keys and disappear inside. Sliding a hand inside my jacket pocket my fingers wrapped around the box and tentatively held it. A moment later Jill backed out and called aloud to Wesker. The tall man came running from his usual post inside his place, manning the radio as he had since Jason and Leon’s departure. In silence I watched the two re-enter the hut and heard a terse exchange between them. I was too far away to hear exactly what but I knew by their tones it was bad. Something had happened. Something awful. Drawn closer I peered in at a distance through the opened doorway. I saw what looked to be legs dangling at least a foot off the floor. At first it didn’t register as Wesker wrapped his arms around the figure’s waist and Jill stood up on a nearby chair, snapping something from her belt, and reached up too high for me to clearly follow. It wasn’t until I saw the figure slump across Wesker’s shoulder that I realised who that figure was and exactly what had happened.

“Mark?” I gasped. 

God, not another one.


I've deliberately left it open here, not saying either way whether Mark is dead or not. I've decided to leave it and see if someone else wants to pick that up, to either assume it was attempted suicide and he lived, whether it was successful and he didn't, or whether there was something more suspicious to it - exactly what is up to you (whomever wants to write about it). Just thought I'd point that out =)

-- Edited by Ravynlee on Thursday 21st of May 2009 05:06:52 PM


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He wouldn't go away.

He didn't speak, didn't do anything other than sit in a corner and give me that puppy-left-in-the-rain look he did so well. Not long after he left that first time, he slipped back in - I barely heard him - and took up his position. I refused to pay him any attention, but I would've felt just guilty ignoring him, so I feigned sleep. And because the sleep gods hate me, I couldn't actually get any rest. Instead, I had way too much time to think.

Since he was handy, I thought about him. First.

Who is he? Is he really someone I know, or knew? There's so much I don't remember - he could be. But, well ... he seemed to feel so ... strongly about me, and unless it was some corny Charlie Brown unrequited love situation, surely I'd remember him? Then again, I don't remember my parents or any siblings or other relatives, and if they're a blank, why wouldn't ... whatever he was be?

No, come on. The likelihood of meeting up with someone from my past in this whole wide world is just ridiculous. I mean, who knows how far away from wherever my home is
this is? That I happen to be here and he happens to be here - too big of a coincidence.

But ... he really seems like he knows me. You don't just walk up to a random person and start calling them by a made-up name. It only works if they've got amnesia, and how could he know

It led to thinking about me.

"Who is he" I ask myself. Why does it matter who he is - who the hell am I? I have this vague notion of going several months without speaking to a single human, and not midning. I know I saw them though, why did I not ... ? Oh. Oh God.

I wished I hadn't remembered. I guess it was all I could do, in a way - food was limited and I was alone and ... what was I supposed to do? It'd become a kill or be killed world, and well, I hadn't wanted to be killed.

I must've made some disgusted, or maybe terrified, sound, because Dean suddenly said, "Something wrong?"

I considered just pretending that I had made the noise in my sleep, but I was restless and tired of pretending. And he sounded so ... nice.


He sounded amused. "Right. I can tell you're fine by the way you stammered."

"I didn't ask for your help."

"You don't have to, Jamie."

"How many f*cking times do I - "

"I know, I know. Trinity." He paused. "Trinity's cold. It doesn't sound like you."

I threw the covers back and swung my legs out of the bed. "Apparently I am cold," I growled, glaring at him. He still looked as docile as dirt, and shrugged.

"If you say so. But I can't think of you as anything but Jamie."

"So don't think of me," I snapped. I started to leave.

He called after me, "Aren't you even curious?"

I stopped dead, my hand on the doorknob. "What are you talking about?"

"You say you don't know me. Aren't you even curious about my side of the story?"

Yes. Yes, I am. But I'll be damned if you catch me in that. "No." I turned to look him in the eye. "No, I'm not. Because I don't care about story of someone who's either delusional or a liar. I'm not your 'Jamie' - if she ever even existed, she's probably long since been eaten by those things. And if you can't let her go, you might as well f*cking join her."

He just smiled sadly. "Same old Jamie."

Corny Charlie Brown unrequited love it is.

Remembering how gentle he had been with it, I slammed the door on my way out.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Judging from the position of the barely-visible sun, it was about 6:30. I didn't stop to wonder how I knew that.

I didn't feel woozy at all anymore, and I was fairly sure I wasn't feverish this time, so I took advantage of the situation and walked around the perimeter of the Park. The wall seemed solid, which both reassured and rankled me. I couldn't image why it would do the latter, but again, I didn't stop to wonder. I made up my mind to focus on the problems ahead of me, and screw the past.

I caught sight of Dean standing in front of what could loosely be called my house.

Screwing the past - in the figurative sense, that is - would not be easy.

I slid between buildings, moving in the darker shadows. I made several complete circuits of the compound before settling between my house and a small, shed-like building that didn't seem to be in use anymore. From my secluded vantage point I could see the garden. I'd intended to go back in there and grab another snack - after all, no one had told me where else I could get food - but I stopped when I saw Rae and the other woman - I thought I'd heard her called Jill - talking there. Jill glanced around surreptitiously, then passed a small box to Rae. I squited, but couldn't make out what it was, only that it was white and pink.

Rae slipped it in her hip pocket, and the two talked for a little while longer. They seemed to almost be arguing, but in the hushed, civil way that people do when they're acting like they're simply conversing. Finally, Jill walked away. I hesitated, then started towards Rae. She didn't seem to be too aware of her surroundings - Jill must've had bad news - so I thought I would just ease past her and hide out in the overgrown garden a while.

"God, not another one." She didn't seem to realize she'd spoken aloud. I turned to see what had horrified her so.

Mark, my partner-in-crime or victim or whatever they believed him to be, was being carried away on someone's shoulder. I caught a glimpse of his face and shoulders - a wide, red welt wrapped around his throat. Jill and the man carrying Mark rushed him over to the largest of the one-story buidlings, disappearing quickly.

Rae and I watched mutely, and I forgot that she didn't know I was there.

"What - ?"

She jumped, her hand dropping to her pocket. "Trinity!"

"Sorry. What's going on?"

She stared at me. "What does it look like?"

"It looks like Mark hung himself," I said bluntly. She winced. "Well, that's what it looks like, but I was hoping you could shed some light on the matter."

"And why would you care?" she murmured, and looked over at the building. "You tried to kill him yourself."

I had no response for that. It was more or less true, I supposed - how could I explain to her that the part of me that also wanted to rip her and everyone else in the compound apart so I could eat their food had overcome me? How could I explain that sometimes it felt like the walls around the Park were meant to keep things like me outside them, not inside them?

I just looked away.

After a moment, she amended, "Look ... I know Dean said you were still feverish when he reached you. I'm sorry. But when you've just come back from running for your life, and you expect some small amount of safety, and the first thing you see is - "

"I understand." Really I do. Now, imagine you were the one pinning another human being to the wall and the one watching it, and you'll know how I feel. "What was that box Jill gave you?" I asked.

"What? Oh, that. Nothing." She said it a little too quickly to be believable, but if she could apalogize for rightly accusing me, I could stop being nosy.

There was another pause, longer this time. Quietly, I said, "Should we ... should we check on Mark?"

She was about to reply when Dean strode out of the same shadows I'd been hiding in and informed us that Wesker had called us all for dinner. Apparently there was to be a meeting of some sort afterwards. I wondered if he'd been following me, and was not oblivious to the fact that he walked close to me as Rae led us to the large building. It seemed to serve many purposes in the Park - emergency hospital, chow hall. Tall plastic letters over the door announced "Rec Hall," but I would have proposed, simply from the state of the sign, that it be changed to "Wreck Hall".

Inside, at least, it was a clean as clean got nowadays. The disinfectant assaulted my nose far worse than rotting flesh could ever hope to, though.

A brawny man with a shaved head sat at one table, and Jill and Wesker sat at another that was towards the back of the room and on a slightly upraised platform. Both had a rather pitiful assortment of food arrayed on them, but pitiful or not, it  looked good to me. Casting my eye around for Mark - after all, there ws no visible back door to the place - I finally saw him sitting in a corner, haggard and bruised but alive. It looked like his hands were tied behind the back of the chair, but with his long, bulky jacket, I couldn't be sure. He refused to meet my eyes. I didn't try too hard.

Dean dropped down comfortably next to the other man - whom I assumed to be David, who had rescued me. I studied him out of the corner of my eye but decided to go with the evil I knew and sat beside Dean. After the slight hesitation that accompanied most of her actions, Rae slid in on my other slide.

Dinner wasn't filling or peaceful. Sitting between Rae and David was like sitting between to magnets of the same polarity; I was actually glad Dean was there. Jill and Wesker didn't exactly make for warm, welcoming hosts, either, and through the whole meal, I could feel Mark's eyes on my back.

But finally, it was over. I had the distinct feeling that the 'meeting' wouldn't be a whole lot more pleasant.




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Everyone seemed to finish eating at the same time. Of course, it wasn’t by choice for all of us – I was still hungry, it was just that the food was all gone. On the bright side, eating food that was meant for humans made me calmer. Even if I wasn’t full, the compulsion to roam or … to kill, if need be … until I did have enough food was gone. Still, I made a mental note to ransack the garden later. Then I wondered if I would be punished for that, for taking as much as I wanted from the community garden. Well, they’ll have to catch me at it first.

There was a brief, incredibly uncomfortable moment while the last tarnished spoon and bent fork clicked down onto the tables. Dean crossed his arms on the table, and Rae folded one leg under her and stretched the other out under the table. I pushed my stool away from the table and pulled my knees up to my chest. Wesker cast his eyes over to Jill and the two shared a nod, and Jill stood abruptly.

“Your attention,” she called. There were no noticeable signs, but I thought she seemed a little nervous. “Some of you already know about the things I’ll be addressing tonight, but bear with us. You also know we’ve made new … friends since then.

“When we stumbled across this town and decided to make it our own, there were six of us – Jason, who was out leader, and Leon, Wesker, Nick, Mark, and myself. We took barricades from other nearby towns, we stockpiled food and weapons; we worked hard for what we’ve got now, and in working alongside each other, we became comrades. We had personality clashes, of course – we always had – but our goal was greater than our petty differences.” Her voice quieted somewhat. “But once our goal was complete, and we had our home, there was nothing to work for. Not having to constantly worry if we had enough food or if there was an undead stalking us – it made room for boredom. We tried to keep ourselves busy, but whether we accepted it or not, our camaraderie was gone.

“Some time later Rae and David joined us. But by then we had all but fallen apart, and we couldn’t give them the welcome they deserved. Nevertheless, they stuck with us. On a scouting mission soon after, Trinity was found unconscious and brought here, bringing our number up to nine. We had to be one of the largest groups of humans living together in this wasteland.” A proud smile flickered onto her face, but it was erased as she sighed deeply.

“But not long ago we lost our leader. Jason and Leon left the Park to protect us from some unknown enemy – they rushed headlong into battle without even knowing what they were fighting. They were willing to sacrifice themselves for us, even though we weren’t necessarily all getting along with each other. I believe that Jason could reunite us if he were here, simply because of that action. Now, since then Wesker has been diligently listening for a signal from them, but … we have to face the fact that they may not be coming back.

“We have to face the fact no matter how much Wesker and I pretend, the Park has no leader.” Jill planted her hands on her table and leaned forward, deliberately making eye contact with every one of us. Intently, she said, “We have to draw together. We have to be a society, not just a gaggle of people forced to live in the same place.”

She leaned back again. “Yesterday, on our scouting mission, we gained a member and lost a member. David and Rae met Dean, and his skills as well as his personal stockpile was added to ours.” (At this point there was a very weak round of applause, sustained by Jill, Wesker, and a half-hearted Rae. I clapped once and couldn’t be bothered to do it again. David, apparently, could be bothered to do it at all. Dean bowed his head and smiled bashfully). Jill’s voice became grave. “And we lost Nick. I was … purposely vague when Rae asked after him before.

“The truth is that Nick was not killed as I’m sure you all assumed – in fact, he abandoned us for another small community that seems to be not unlike our own. There’s another small town some ways up the river, built partially into the mountainside. For lack of a better name, that’s what the inhabitants call it – the Mountainside. Two of its members happened to be foraging in the same area Nick and I were, and he was … fairly quick to join them.”

There was a long pause. I wasn’t sure if it was because people wanted to think about this Nick guy’s treachery, or to consider joining him.

I wondered who, if the group split up, I would go with. Whatever I did, it was safe to say Dean would go with me, and maybe it was a good that that no matter what, I wouldn’t be alone. Rae and David would probably stick together despite the obvious current friction between them, and I made up my mind to follow them. Then there would be four of us, whether we chose to stay at the Park, join the Mountainside, or venture out on our own.

But I was thinking too far ahead. Jill continued, with a wry grin, “Also in current news, and part of the main reason I called this meeting – today Wesker picked up radio transmission from three people who’ve been traveling for some time. They expect to arrive here tomorrow morning. From what we can tell through the interference, there are two men, Keith and Corey, and one woman, Amy. They have a van with a small trailer, which, needless to say, will help haul supplies on our next outing. And of course, more hands are always helpful, but that also means more mouths to feed.

“We may have to start taking multi-day outings soon. That will mean finding and defending places to stay overnight. It’ll be dangerous, but we have to do what we have to do.

“And this brings me to the other main reason for this meeting. In light of all this – lack of leadership, more members, another town to contend with for supplies – Wesker and I have decided that it’s no longer fair or logical to keep the guns to ourselves. In the spirit of trust … ” She cleared the tabletop and nodded to Wesker.

He reached under their table and drew out a thick, rolled up blanket. Motioning for us to come forward, he sat it on one end and gave it a gentle push, letting it unroll.

As it went, the objects inside were revealed: pistols, rifles, knives, and, of course, Trinity. Next to her were a few of five-pointed throwing stars – shuriken, whispered my subconscious - and a pouch to store them it, which was on a leather belt that also had Trinity’s sheath attached to it. My hand immediately went for Trinity, but just before my finger touched to hilt, I stopped. My fingers twitched impatiently, but I forced myself to move on to the belt, slowly buckling it on and filling the shuriken pouch. There were two other pouches on the wide leather strip, one fairly large and the other quite small, and a sort of noose that I could easily image holding a water bottle. There was also a small sheath, and the knife inside it was sharp enough to make a deep slice in the plastic table when I tested it.

Again, I automatically went for Trinity. But again, I stopped myself, and instead set about untying her scabbard from my belt. Without actually touching the katana, I sheathed the blade, and left her where she was.

Dean, who seemed to own half the handguns on the table as well as a rifle and a double-barreled shotgun, held one of the smaller pieces out to me.

“I know you’ll say you don’t know how to fire one,” he said softly, “but I don’t think that’s something anyone can ever forget.”

I took it silently, slipped it into the holster he provided, and dropped the extra cartridges into the larger of my pouches. Even after all the other weapons had been claimed, no one questioned Trinity’s presence. Wesker rolled the blanket back up and stashed it back under the table, and we all returned to our seats. I’m sure it was lost on no one that Mark hadn’t come to be armed – I figured he must still be being punished for our crime.

Jill was still standing. She took a deep breath. “Does anyone have anything to contribute to this meeting?” I thought she could have waited a tiny bit longer before she nodded and finished, “Our new arrivals will be here in the morning. I’d advise you all to get a good night’s rest so we can give them a fitting welcome.

“Until tomorrow, keep safe.”

David was the first to shove back his chair and leave. It seemed like he couldn’t get out of there fast enough. Rae offered Dean and me a mumbled “Good night” and went out after him. I lingered for a moment, trying to decide if it was appropriate to talk to Mark, but Dean caught me eye and nodded towards Jill and Wesker – it was plain they wanted us out of there.

I shivered as the cold night air hit my bare arms. Rubbing them for warmth, I made a beeline for my hut, with Dean keeping pace easily.

“You’re not going to leave me alone, are you?” I growled at him.

Instead of responding, he asked, “Don’t you have anything warmer to wear?”

As far as I knew, I had nothing but the black t-shirt and dark grey cargo pants I had woken up in a few days before, and I told him as much. Perhaps predictably, when we got to my hut he reached into his hiking pack and pulled out a black turtleneck sweater.

“It used to be yours,” he commented as he handed it to me. I pulled it on and had to grudgingly admit that it fit me almost perfectly. Dean apparently noticed the ‘almost’ and added, “You were a little bit better fed then, I guess.”

I didn’t feel like arguing with him about who I was or wasn’t, so I just scowled and crawled under the covers. I won’t lie – it was at the very front of my mind that there was only one bed, and I was fully prepared to react if he thought we were sharing it. But he seemed content to produce a tightly-rolled sleeping back from the depths of his backpack and curl up on the floor at the foot.

Even though I was tired, it took me a while to get to sleep. I lay there and listened to Dean’s steady breathing and the sluggish, polluted river. I wondered whether the people living in Mountainside went to bed listening to the same sounds, and I wondered if they were happy there.




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* * * * * * * * * *

“Jamie. Wake up.”

I moaned and shrugged the hand off my shoulder. “Don’t call me that,” I mumbled without any real venom.

“Come on. Jill told me that the new arrivals say they’ll be here in less than an hour, and she wants us all present when they come through the gate.”

“Fine,” I sighed, opening my eyes but not moving otherwise.

Dean stood to the side of the bed, his hands now in his pockets. “You must’ve been sleeping pretty hard,” he observed. “I’ve been trying to get you up for a while.”

I did feel well-rested. It was probably the first good night’s sleep I’d had in a while – God knew if I had even one during the time I couldn’t remember, and since coming to the Park most of my rests had been feverish. I deserved to sleep in; it figured that I would have to get up early this morning.

“What time is it, anyway?”

“About eight, I think.” He smiled slightly. “I guess that is early, for you.”

I tried to glare at him, but I was still half-asleep, and it was hard to round up much irritation. I shoved the covers back and sat up, grinding at my eyes to clear out the grit.

He held the door for me on the way out.

Jill and Rae were in front of the Rec Room, talking quietly. I considered joining them, but from the intent pitch of their voices, I wouldn’t have been well-received. David stood some ways apart from them, arms locked across his chest, looking as if he’d as soon kill me as glance my way. Wesker was the only one who looked welcoming at all, and that was only because he wasn’t paying attention to anyone else. Mark wasn’t even present. So much for Jill’s talk of becoming a society. I claimed my own spot against the Rec Room wall and crouched down, with Dean standing over me. The women’s conversation ended when Jill left to go talk to Wesker, who nodded in response to some unheard question. I shot a curious glance at Rae, but she was staring sadly off into space.

We all snapped back to reality when the faint growl of a motor broke the silence. When it got closer, Wesker began cranking open the gate. As promised, they pulled in with van and a small, enclosed trailer, which Wesker motioned for them to park it next to the Jeep. And just like that, our new arrivals had arrived.

Amy, who was driving, got out first. Her skin was as pale as a dead thing’s, and her long black hair made her look paler, almost sickly, but the rifle swung over her shoulder made it plain she meant business. The man who got out on the far side of the van immediately strode back to open the trailer, where the other man sat, holding the leashes to seven dogs. He and his charges emerged, looking equally suspicious of the new surroundings.

Jill looked at Amy. “Dogs?”

“Trained to kill,” Amy said with a grin. Seeing Jill’s apprehension, she added, “Don’t worry. Just make sure they know everyone in the complex and they’ll only attack unwanted visitors. They can be quite cuddly when they want to.”

The man holding the dogs introduced himself as Corey. He had short blond hair and was rather slight; if the dogs decided to go somewhere, I didn’t think he would be able to stop them. Keith was a tall black man with dreadlocks and a gravelly voice.

Before we unloaded the van and trailer, Amy insisted we let the dogs get used to us. After all, there was a chance they would attack us if they thought we were intending to steal from their masters. So, we were submitted to the vigorous sniffing of two rottweilers, a golden retriever, a collie, a Doberman, a husky (who had one blue eye and one brown), and a bloodhound. Since Mark wasn’t present, the dogs were also given a shirt of his. None of the new three asked why Mark couldn’t be there in person.

“And how to you intend to feed these animals?” Jill questioned after we started unloading. It didn’t seem like they had much food.

“That’s not a problem,” Corey assured her. “We let them loose three at a time and they hunt for their own supper.” He patted the retriever’s back. “This lady’s too old to be chasing down rabbits, so she’ll be splitting my rations.”

“If she’s too old to get her own food, what good is she as a guard dog?” David grunted, heaving a sack over his shoulder.

“Lady is Corey’s pet,” Amy clarified. “She’s not one of the guard dogs.”

David didn’t seem too impressed, which I understood. Pets didn’t exactly fit in this environment – if it couldn’t help you or slowed you down, you got rid of it. An arthritic old dog was just another stomach to fill. But if Corey was willing to split his personal rations with her, no one could really object.

It took some time – they may have been deficient in food, but Amy’s group had accumulated plenty of other things, and not just weapons. They had candles, oil lamps, matches and lighters, medical supplies, and a large stack of quilts and pillows. They even had a small stash of soaps and toothbrushes.

What canned food they had was in the back of the van, along with the tiniest garden in existence, where they grew potatoes and carrots in stone planters. And, of all things, a pair of chickens.

“We’ve been living in this van for months,” Amy said, amused at our surprised looks. “We never knew when we might come across food that was safe to eat. We had to improvise.”

It also turned out that they had another pet – when Keith’s back was turned to me, I caught sight of a black kitten riding in the hood of his denim coat. It blinked back at me with wide amber eyes.

“Quite the menagerie you’ve got,” I commented wryly.

Realizing what I was talking about, Keith cradled the tiny kitten in his arms. “We couldn’t just leave him to die,” he rumbled; a gentle giant, apparently.

I sighed and took a chicken under each arm.

* * * * * * * * * *

Finally both trailer and van were unloaded. Jill invited Amy, Keith, and Corey to share their first breakfast with us. We all crowded into the Rec Room, famished after our hard work. Looking around, I sighed again - three new people, seven dogs, two chickens and one kitten. I had a headache already.

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