~ Welcome to Quills ~

Members Login
    Remember Me  
Post Info
TOPIC: The Park: Apocalypse (Story)

~ ModMother / The Cougar ~


Status: Offline
Posts: 2990
The Park: Apocalypse (Story)


I wrote about 16 MS Word pages today (was feeling inspired) so what follows will be a lot to read for anyone still playing along at home *lol*. Jess, I hope this will appease you in advance for the next few days I intend to spend Simming instead of writing but this should in essence give you plenty to work with until it's my turn again! biggrin.gif

So here goes...


The meeting had been fruitless.

After watching the events of the afternoon transpire I felt weak and vacant. Though Mark’s botched suicide attempt had not been the first such act I’d witnessed since the gas attack, for some reason it seemed to have struck me the hardest. It wasn’t that I knew him at all, I’d barely said two words to him beyond utterances of ‘hi’ and such since arriving, but for some reason his act had struck a nerve in me that was already raw and exposed. It didn’t seem to matter what we did or where we went anymore, death was always there somewhere, circling us, biding it’s time, waiting. There seemed no escape from the inevitability of it.

Though the scents of food, some weakened broth as usual, wafted out from the Rec hall as I arrived, the atmosphere itself was heavy enough to force the appetite from me. For being so empty my stomach felt cold and heavy. Noticing David doing his usual impression of a man without a conscience sitting crossed-arms at the end of a table, I waited until Dean and Trinity took their seats before I reluctantly slunk down beside them. Though I tried intently to eat and later to listen to what Jill had to say, I was too distracted, my attentions torn between studying David out of the corner of one eye and the lamenting figure of Mark slumped in his chair away from all of us with the other. Twice I almost choked on the watery soup with its little chunks of what I hoped were vegetables from the garden, struggling against the churning bile in my throat to swallow it down. People looked at me like I was complaining, and the venom in David’s eyes was all too loud and clear in its message. Scraping the last spoonful into my mouth I made a conscious effort to hold it there until I was sure the urge to regurgitate had passed, at least for the moment, and pushed my plate away. As Jill got up and started her little spiel my gaze wandered in and out of focus, I caught little if anything that she said. In my mind’s eye I kept thinking back, going back through all the most horrific highlights of my life these past months and sat there like a statue, unmoved by any of it. At some point people got up out of their chairs and tentatively gravitated towards the table where Jill and Wesker now stood. I was probably the last to follow and tried to ignore the grave look Jill was giving me as my fingers danced above the cool metal of a familiar pistol. I had a vision of myself picking the gun up, c ocking it, and putting the barrel in my mouth right then and there in front of all of them and could all but feel the explosion of the hammer slamming down, driving the bullet home, and catching a split second of horror on their faces before my world came to a blinding end – but with a sniff I lowered my eyes, took my handgun, and slid back behind the table like a child on detention. I wasn’t even entertained by the sudden almost impulsive desire to pick off everyone with one, two, three shots, and watch them all fall one by one without even realising it was me, the meek and mild mannered Rae that was doing it. I wasn’t even moved at the thought of standing there on the other side of the table pressing the barrel of the gun to David’s forehead and just relishing in that final moment before pulling the trigger. With a small huff a smirk came and went without anyone seeing, not that anyone would have noticed anyway, I thought. I didn’t have to look up to feel that same helplessness suffocating the air around us. Though we sat now heavily armed (or as heavy as we were likely to get for now) and desperate, there was a sense of foreboding too – feeling like mourners to a funeral all sharing the same grief but unable to openly express it.

The meeting ended and David was the first to leave. I followed. I had, in essence, nothing to stick around for. Jill seemed to be lurking, whether still vulnerable from her rousing speech or anxious about wanting to get something else off her chest, but with a bowed head and a hurried step I slipped past her and made my way outside. I emerged into darkness as if seeing it for the first time. I stopped and looked up, just casting my eyes around slowly, taking it all in. The sky was heavy and brooding as it always was. There were no stars, no moon, nothing but a gloomy glow, like a beam of torchlight struggling to shine through a swatch of dirty material. Feeling my stomach muscles clench and spasm in hunger I grimaced, tucked my pistol away, and made a beeline straight back to my cabin – where I felt safest, if such a thing truly existed anymore.


I did not sleep a wink at all that night.

In the semi-darkness I lay, shivering beneath the blankets, listening to the usual sounds of the environment as The Park settled down for the evening; the water lapping at the shore, the boats creaking against the currents, the insects chirping, the low bitter sea breeze skipping across it all smelling like the breath of the dead permeating every nook, cranny and gap in the weather-beaten old cabin. Feeling groggy and exhausted I struggled to push myself up. Squinting through the shadows I could see the bulky frame of David dozing in his usual place on the chair near the foot of the bed. His breaths were deep and heavy and chesty signalling he at least had managed to shut down for a while. I watched him a moment before tentatively crawling across the lumpy mattress and the musty smelling covers and made my way into the bathroom. The toilet stunk. No running water meant we were unable to flush it. There was a sense of irony about it, being in a room with ‘modern conveniences’ and having to use a rusty little bucket instead, but I wasn’t in the mood for laughing. As I sat there listening to the water and to David’s snores, I studied my surrounds like as I always did, watching the candlelight flicker and create shadows of inanimate objects that both amused and terrified me. My head was killing me. It always seemed to ache lately, like the tenor of my thoughts were literal weights pulling my body down head-first. Again I thought of Mark and forced myself to stop it. I thought of Nick and tears pricked my eyes which I too forced away. Bastard, I cursed. I still could not believe it. I didn’t want to. I was stung by the memory before bed when David had made an under the breath comment about my misplaced trust and had gloated in it. First Rob, then Nick, he had scoffed. I was on a roll apparently. With a sniff I dragged the heel of my sleeve beneath my nostrils and balked. I could taste… rust?

Through the candlelight I strained my tired eyes to see. The dark black smear that stained my arm and the back of my hand immediately made my stomach roll. I gasped.

Why was I bleeding?


-- Edited by Ravynlee on Wednesday 3rd of June 2009 10:15:24 PM


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


The sun rose but my panic had not dwindled. If anything now with the starkness and usual dissociative glare of a new day, my night terrors did not fade with time, and they could not convincingly be explained away with logic. After being roused by Wesker to get up and get ready, I locked myself away in the bathroom and studied myself in the mirror from every possible angle to see if there was something outwardly wrong with me that may have explained what I saw – or thought I saw - the night before. Sure my eyes were a little sunken, sure I looked paler than I once used to back in my old life before the war, and my face was slack and weary, but all of this could be attributed to shock. The world had ended. Everyone I’d ever known or seen on TV or read of in magazines was dead. I was trapped in a country I didn’t know thousands of miles from my home and from anything even remotely familiar. There were no phones, no TVs, no computers, no Internet, no mail service, no contact with anyone else anywhere on the face of the planet aside from the few strangers that were locked in fear and desperation around me right now. I had no one to talk to; there was no distraction, no relief from this day-to-day, minute-by-minute struggle just to stay alive in a world that had turned against us. And, oh yeah, not to mention there was several billion walking dead out there on the other side of those walls and that barricade all desperate to get at me to bight and tear me limb from limb like wild rabid animals. 

“I’m going crazy,” I muttered at my dusty reflection.

I smiled but as usual I didn’t mean it, watching it sit and fall off my face in gestures I no longer understood anymore.

“Hey,” David grunted from the next room. 

He could have called my name but given his tenor and my state and the door dividing us it was too easily lost in translation. Hearing his voice, the way he spoke to me like a master beckoning his mongrel dog – the only real thing he had practically uttered to me in what seemed like days that wasn’t somehow bitter – made my eyes slip from the mirror and stare at the ground sullenly. I watched my hand slide around my stomach and fingers splay across the faded grey material of my jersey. Though I stared I couldn’t feel it as if it were no longer under my control and moved now of its own volition. I winced and pulled my arms together, wrapping them around my chest defensively. Dutifully I wandered outside and stood in front of the Rec hall, along with everyone else, feeling like the world existed but I was caught up in some kind of bubble – and not even Jill’s terse words or admonishing stare could fracture it.

“So?” she urged.

I stared back blankly as if I hadn’t seen her before in my life. She stooped closer.

“Did you do it? The… thing,” she sidestepped, “The test. Is it a yes or no?”

In my peripheral vision I saw movement and watched Trinity and Dean make their way out of their cabin and heading in our direction. Jill was still talking but I didn’t hear what she was saying. I was too focussed elsewhere, staring at David and pretending I wasn’t and watching the way he was staring at Trinity and the newcomer and pretending he wasn’t. In the end I just shook my head and grunted and told her something about doing it later. In a huff Jill stomped off and I deliberately refused to notice. I clenched my jaw and stared elsewhere. I was already mentally too far gone from this situation before I even heard the engine coming towards us.

It was as if I had been ripped from a daze when I saw it enter, watching the way the gates opened and the vehicle lumbered in and shut off with a shuddering rumble. Something inside of me soared to sickening heights as I watched these people emerge, fascinated at the vision of new faces, survivors who like us had beat overwhelming odds just to get here. I stared as the woman emerged first, a natural beauty with dark hair and pale skin, and the dark man with the thick dreadlocks with a face that said what all of us were thinking. But that’s when I heard them – and froze.

“Dogs?” Jill demanded.

The woman smiled reassuringly. She said something but the roaring thunder of my pulse in my ears deafened me to it. I watched as the second man stepped out of the enclosed trailer, holding the leashes to all of seven of the snorting, grumbling beasts. Though people were gravitating towards the newcomers, and anxiously assessing the dogs, in my mind all I could see, all I could feel was the terror of being chased through the abandoned Jewellery store days ago by things that started off as something like these. I couldn’t take my eyes off them. I was beyond mortified.

“Don’t worry,” the woman told Jill, “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.”

So could the dead, I thought, right before they turned on you…

The trio introduced themselves as Amy, Keith and Corey, the latter being the apparent keeper of the mutts. It was clear from the get-go that he was far more at peace with them than he was with people. It was Amy’s idea that we all be subjected to a rigorous assessment by the dogs, for our own protection she said, but I didn’t trust her. I watched as Corey led them amongst us, talking in a friendly jovial tone that was obviously meant to appeal to the hounds’ collective sensibilities. I had horrific visions of these things turning into vicious bloodthirsty beasts with one sound from Amy’s lips, and when it came to my turn was all but two seconds away from having a nervous breakdown and soiling myself.

“Relax,” Corey smiled, stroking the back of a golden retriever. One, two of the dogs were growling. “Animals can sense fear.”

That’s not all they can sense, I felt like correcting.

Jill organised the group to start unpacking the trio’s stock as Corey thankfully dragged the dogs away. Their van was deceivingly well-equipped; they had a modest array of everyday goods, Manchester, surprisingly even plants and animals, but most importantly weapons. We may not have had enough food to go around but worst case scenario we could always eat the dogs and chickens before going mad and shooting each other for sustenance, I thought. It was half thought of in jest.

At some point I caught sight of David hefting a sack of something over his shoulder and paused mid-stride as he turned his attentions to Corey. They were obviously referring to the big yellow dog that always accompanied her master’s side; they shared a look the way men once used to when talking shop beneath the raised hood of an expensive car. 

“If she’s too old to get her own food, what good is she as a guard dog?” I heard David grunt. 

There was sadness to his tone, tucked away as usual behind his animosity. I smiled but catching sight of Trinity nearby I dipped my face and after a moment resumed moving. The bitterness of tears unshed made my heart sink a fraction lower. In this black-and-white world there was no room left for sentimentality or pity or emotion anymore.



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


Breakfast was a tense affair.

It wasn’t that everyone wanted to be on their best behaviour for the newcomers, but there was still that sense of trying too hard to make things seem normal when they obviously weren’t. Jill, who after last night’s speech had carried on this reign of supremacy, had done her best to welcome Amy, Keith and Corey into the fold, but the smiles and nods and utterances of thanks and cordialities were as awkward as partners being forced together in the form of some pre-arranged marriage. The silence was uncomfortable but the acting was unbearable. It didn’t take long at all for the façade to slip and people’s general curiosities overtook their sense of common decency.

“So what’s your story?”

“How did you survive?”

“Where did you meet?”

“Where have you come from?”

I couldn’t bear it.

“So how long have you been here?” Amy eventually asked us.

She was sweet to look at, I thought she was pretty, but the cold stare in her eyes told a different story. She had a quiet voice that was a little husky and as she sat there in her chair pushing her egg back and forth across the plate with her fork, I had this feeling like I was watching a teenager struggling inside the body of a woman she was not used to inhabiting. She was the obvious leader of the troupe, like Jill probably a leader more out of circumstance than by choice, but she seemed to capture everyone’s attentions as we sat around the Rec hall eating and mumbling and exchanging stray glances and forced smiles. When the subject of other survivors cropped up Amy and her troupe looked at each other, and then sombrely looked elsewhere.

“We haven’t seen another living soul for weeks now,” she said. 

Her fork clicked against the side of her plate with finality. She didn’t have to say what she was obviously thinking. With each passing day the world was getting smaller, our world was shrinking and the world outside the barricades was drawing ever closer around us.

“What about Jason?” someone asked.

All eyes turned to the back of the room.

Mark sat like a shrinking violet, shoulders raised, slumped over his plate, sliding his glasses higher along the bridge of his nose.

Amy frowned at Jill. Jill chewed her mouthful of food slowly. She took her time in answering, and exchanged a glance with Wesker as if the two of them were able to read one another’s minds. 

“He was our friend,” she started. 

Mark scoffed and again drew attention, and a measure of scorn and loathsome stares, along with it.

“He abandoned us,” Mark said, his voice still struggling for pitch as a result of near asphyxiation. “He took off with Leon and left us here to die. If he was any friend he would have stayed.”

“He was trying to defend us!” Jill snapped.

“From what?” Mark snapped back. As the most timid of the group it was unheard of to hear him raise his voice let alone with such anger and to Jill of all people. “If he was still here we wouldn’t be in this mess,” he said, his voice unsteady and quavering. “We wouldn’t be turning on each other!”

“Hey,” Dean said, turning in his chair as if offended. “You’re the one that tried to gank yourself, buddy, not us, alright?” 

Turning back in his seat a vindicated Dean went back to eating, but sensing Trinity’s unimpressed stare hesitated, stopped, and smiled back in his irrepressible yet innocent manner. This received a few sn iggers of laughter but the amusement was dampened behind the facts of what had happened. As Mark seemed to curl up into a corner and seethe, the rest of the group went back to acting like they had been moments beforehand.

Then, clearing her throat Amy spoke up again.

“A while ago we heard rumours,” she said. “People were saying that… when the war started, these scientists, they went underground; into bunkers and bomb shelters. The government was apparently said to be working on some kind of antivirus to combat the affects of the gas-”

“That doesn’t make any sense,” Trinity argued, “That would mean the government would have had to have known about the attack before it happened…”

She stopped talking when everyone stopped to stare at her.

“What?” she asked.

Dean chuckled. “Sweetheart, the government did know. How do you think we won the war remember? They hit us and we hit straight back with the same thing. It doesn’t matter what the newspapers said. Don’t you remember back at the -oh, that’s right, I forgot; ‘Amnesia’…”

The way he stressed this last word, probably more so than the fact he had called her ‘sweetheart’ had Trinity’s eyes narrow like a viper. The room struggled a moment before the apparent tension abated. Again Amy spoke up.

“Anyway, we went looking. Anywhere we thought survivors might gather. All the major hospitals, labs, military bases – gone.”

“What about Fort Bragg, Fort Campbell?” Wesker asked.

Keith shook his head. The kitten in his lap nibbled at a scrap of egg from his thumb. He smiled as he stroked its wiry black fur. When he looked up his smile had disappeared.

“There’s too many of them,” he said.


“The dead. Stenchies.” With his deep voice the word came across like a threat rather than a wry in-joke.

I shuddered and squeezed my folded arms around myself tighter.

-- Edited by Ravynlee on Wednesday 3rd of June 2009 06:52:07 PM


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

Amy explained that they, the dead, were everywhere. We well knew the facts. Anywhere where there had been large populations of people was a breeding ground for the virus. If scientists had survived they wouldn’t have run the risk of exposure but would have needed places to hide out that were secluded and impenetrable. In the wave of paranoia following the First and Second World Wars the construction of bomb shelters sprang up across the countryside like a plague in itself. It wasn’t unfeasible to think, if the stories were true, such minded people would have gotten as faraway from the bigger cities as possible to set up camp underground and wait out the proverbial storm that followed. 

“So, it’s possible Jason and Leon might have stumbled across them, right?” Jill asked. “They might still be alive out there somewhere?” She didn’t sound certain, rather more speaking to convince the rest of us – which did just the opposite given the fact none of us had once dared voice the opinion that Jason or Leon might actually be dead.

Amy shrugged and smiled. Keith petted his kitten. Corey sat with his elbows up either side of his empty plate, and his hands together in front of his face, watching on and listening, the look on his face somewhat observant and cautious.

As I listened to this I couldn’t help but feel my insides rising at the chance, however slim, that what Amy had said was true – and months from now, if the dead were somehow defeated, all these storm cellars and shelters would magically open up and the world would be full again and right back to the way it had been before this whole ordeal had started. But as this news settled and the imagination was allowed to take flight it was apparent some of us were feeling less than optimistic.

“So that’s it then huh?” David grumbled. He tossed away his cutlery to land with a disgruntled clatter on the table in front of a bemused looking Corey. “We find the scientists and they give us the antidote and we go out there all guns blazing and save the day and everything goes back to normal like some god damn miracle huh?”

Amy, offended, opened her mouth to retaliate. She didn’t have a chance. Jill did it for her.

“David, no one said they had a cure-”

“Damn right they don’t have a cure,” he said, turning in his chair to face her. 

He smiled in a way that said he had heard about as much from Amy and her crew as he was liable to take. Hunkered back down over the table top he continued, stabbing a finger in the air in their faces and into the scored plastic top to drive home his point where appropriate. 

“They don’t have a f**king clue. You know, I don’t know what planet you all came from, but here, in this time, in this place the only antidote we need is right over there. It’s called a bullet, and that’s the only god damn thing that’s going to cure the infection.”

With his chair scraping across the floor boards he got to his feet, ignoring Jill’s demands he sit back down and stay quiet. With a groan David raised his eyes alone and with his upper lip curled into a snarl pushed his chair back in under the table with a thud.

“This is bullsh*t,” he said. “You want to chase dreams you be my guest. But I’m not killing myself for you or any of you. F**k you.” Then he spat at the ground and stomped off. 

I heard him go but didn’t have the heart, or the will, to raise my eyes as he passed me in a cool gust of wind. Jill called out and even Dean, in his unflappable way, tried to make him see reason. But with a sharp swish of material David was gone and the Rec hall seemed to gasp in collective relief behind him. Only I didn’t. I couldn’t. Part of me felt crushed as if he’s ripped my heart out of my chest and slammed his foot down on it. I sat there with my eyes closed listening to the room struggle to recover some sense of normalcy. Over the thrum of my pulse I opened my eyes, noticing the way Trinity was looking at me. At first I thought she was expecting me to follow suit and chase after David, but then I saw something else. She turned her head to the side as if hearing something no one else could hear. Her brow furrowed. I frowned back, spurned on by David’s hate to a point I wanted to vent that back at her. That’s when I heard it…

The dogs were barking. 

After a moment’s pause and bewildered stares sudden panic infused the room. Chairs scraped and clacked against the floorboards as people scrambled for the door. Outside in the bright light fear disoriented me. I shielded my eyes from the overhead glare with a hand that was shaking. Not since arriving here at The Park had we come close to witnessing a zombie on the outer walls. They stuck to the cities and towns for the most part, like animals they hunted together. But the fierce barking and growling and snapping of the dogs echoed with a chilling reality. Corey snapped all six dogs off their leashes in succession, one after the other, keeping the aged yet excitable golden retriever by his side.

“Come on, girl, where is it? Show us,” he urged her, snatching his rifle up with his other hand and following.

In a blur of movement and noise we hurried as a unit through the compound lead by the ceaseless barking of the dogs and then the splash of water.

“The river!” someone cried. 

Terror flooded us, draining the colour from our faces. Though The Park was for the most part contained it opened up from virtually the entrance gate to where they kept the old generator and behind what had until recently been the ammunitions shed. The river ran virtual metres away from the eastern walls of our huts, Jason’s, mine, and Trinity’s at least. I was weak-kneed with helplessness – the river front was so vast we were scrambling over ourselves, and our visitors, to know where to start defending it. Wesker, Trinity and Keith charged into the fray with the rest of us drawing in behind like a second wave. Weaving between buildings I stopped, out of breath, feeling light-headed and faint. Someone asked me if I was okay. I nodded them on their way. Alone a second later I found myself back first against a wall and holding my stomach, looking around as if disoriented. Where the hell was David?

-- Edited by Ravynlee on Wednesday 3rd of June 2009 06:57:03 PM


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

Suddenly gunfire rang out, splintering the sleepy silence like firecrackers, explosions, one after the other. I heard people yelling and screaming, both redirecting and in exertion. There on the waters edge on the opposite banks of the river three zombies just stood there, staring back at us. The waters lapped and the bullets continued to fly as the handful of shots struck their targets and the zombies staggered backwards. With an almost primal growl they fell back first amid the mud, one after the other, twitching in the throes of a second and permanent death.

Feeling a sudden convulsion I dropped my gun and slumped against the wall. It felt like a fire was burning its way up from the pit of my stomach. I tried to call out but couldn’t. The guns were still firing. No one would have heard me. I dropped to my knees seeing the mud squelch between my fingers but I couldn’t feel it. The world was spinning sickeningly out of control. My breathing was laboured. I was drowning on dry land. Then a moment later I coughed and heaved and all this red liquid came purging out of my mouth. It came on and on, in hot blinding waves of nausea. I couldn’t hear over my deafening pulse. My heart was exploding. It happened so fast I thought I was going to die… When finally, at least the heaving subsided, I gasped and pushed myself up again on all fours, struggling to catch my breaths. Seeing a pair of shoes in the mud in front of me I squinted through the tears and followed them up until my neck couldn’t crane back any further. In the glare and sudden eerie silence I stared down the barrel of a shotgun that was aimed directly between my eyes.

“Do it,” I heard someone mutter. 

I looked around. Everyone was staring at me. The looks on their faces that moments ago had been cordial if not sombre in the Rec hall now looked at me, or deliberately didn’t, with loathing and trepidation. The stench of gunpowder stung the air, as well as the stench of the recently slain dead carrying across the water and into the encampment. Blinking down to see what they were all staring at I froze when I saw the pool of bright red blood that was splattered in front of me. It still dripped off my chin. Droplets were flecked up my arms and sleeve that was still stained from my nose last night. Trembling and quaking I blinked up a strange sound escaping me that was meant to be a word half severed in a sob. It came out like a growl.

“She’s not pregnant. She’s infected. Shoot her. Or I will.”

In front of me, staring down the barrel of the shotgun I saw David’s brow crumple and his finger twitching impatiently against the trigger. In the aftermath of the gunshots I could hear everything so clearly, his breathing was so heavy it was as if he were panting. He dropped the barrel, rolled his head on his neck and rolled his shoulders as if shaping up to a fight and snatched the gun back up again. The perfectly round and hollow eye of the shotgun was mere inches from my eyes. I sniffled as tears slipped out; cringing from the bullet I knew any second would kill me. Seconds passed like hours. A ravenous crow called out in sick delight overhead. I forgot to breathe.

“Please… don’t,” I murmured.

Something flashed across David’s face. With a grimace he snatched the gun up and swung it around. The butt of the rifle was the last thing I saw before everything came to a searing and jolting stop.


“It’s not possible.”

“We don’t know that.”

“We don’t know enough about it. All the people that created the virus are dead. All we know is what we’ve seen.”

“We should kill her now. Before she has a chance to turn on us.”

“Shouldn’t she be dead already? She’s been sick for days. I mean, if it really is the infection shouldn’t she have turned into one of those things by now?”

“She’s right. Maybe it’s not the virus. Maybe its something else.”

“Like what?”

“Maybe it’s mutated.”

“Maybe she really is pregnant.”

“Maybe she’s not sick. Maybe it is; the baby. I’m just saying, maybe it’s contaminated from something else. Like he said, we don’t know what we’re dealing with. It could be genetic.”

“If we don’t do something soon any one of us could be next.”

“And what if it’s not the virus? What if it is something else? It could be any number of things; contaminated water, food, disease-”

“Look, there’s no way of knowing how she came into contact with it, the fact is she did. She could have quite easily brought it in with her the first day they got here, we don’t know-”

“Then why isn’t he sick?”

In the darkness the voices came and went. Silence followed. 

I drifted.


-- Edited by Ravynlee on Wednesday 3rd of June 2009 10:41:02 PM


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


Like an old Polaroid photograph images started to emerge from the shadows. They were strange at first, almost flat, two dimensional cardboard cut-outs. And then I recognised where I was. 

No, it couldn’t be… I was back at the bakery! 

How was that possible?

I shook my head and rubbed my brow feeling dizzy and disoriented. Had I been sleeping, I wondered. Had all of that, all that went before it, been some kind of dream? Again I shook my head, feeling a cold watery fear take hold of me. Touching the back of my hand and raising it to my face I heard a small sound escape me. Relief. I think I laughed aloud. 

It must have been a dream; clearly the world hadn’t ended! Ha-ha!

I blinked up and looked across the store and out through the windows at the cityscape beyond. For no reason at all another cold chill swept over me. My smile wavered. I turned my head. The street was just as it always was at this hour of morning. The world was just sleeping. The sun hadn’t yet risen. The sky was full of bright, twinkling stars. I could have stared at them in wonder forever. Funny how I’ve never really noticed this view before, I thought. It didn’t occur to me how I knew what time it was either. That eerie chill from before worsened. 

What was that noise?

With a frown I made my way past the bench towards the industrial oven. The internal lights were off. That was unusual, I thought. I always turned them on first thing when arriving. Extending a hand I held it before the doors. I should have been cringing from the heat. They were cold. What was going-?

I froze. My ears pricked. Was that… crying? What the hell was anyone else doing in here?

Panic flooded me. Snatching the handle I wrenched the door down. I gasped. There was nothing inside. What had I been-?

Damn it, there it was again. 

“Hello?” I called.

I waited. I looked around. The shadows seemed to dim in my peripheral vision. 

“Is anyone there?” I mumbled. I realised how vulnerable and scared I actually sounded. It amplified the fear; I could feel it spreading like cold water in my stomach. I touched a hand to my apron. I gasped. It didn’t feel right. I looked down.

“What the-?”


I snapped my eyes up. 

A man was there. On the other side of the glass. He was walking past. He moved as if in slow motion. Breathing was suddenly harder. I felt exhausted. My whole focus was trained on this man in some kind of space aged looking suit moving past the window. A pale green light from inside the visor illuminated his face but I didn’t recognise it. I didn’t see anything but coldness in his eyes.

“Hey,” I beckoned. 

I don’t know why I felt so compelled to follow him but I did, racing towards the glass as the man continued walking. His eyes never left me, boring in, black holes of suspicion and hate following my every move until he reached the edge of the window and the darkness swallowed him whole.

“Hey! Hey!” I yelled. 

My voice echoed around me, it was high-pitched and panicked. I stood before the glass and slapped my palms against it. The glass was cold. It didn’t move like it should have, it should have been rattling in it’s frame. Instead the glass seemed to frost over, crystallizing from the outside in like ice. I gasped and backed away. The city outside was suddenly gone now replaced by nothingness. Shadows and cold air enveloped me sucking the light and the life of the store behind me. Morbid curiosity and an overwhelming fear kept me focussed on the glass. Again I could hear the sound of crying but it was softer now, distant. It didn’t seem… normal. It trailed off and sounded almost like…

“Oh my god…”



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 heard my name echoing around me. It was muffled and I knew it was coming from the other side of the glass. Suddenly empowered I approached the glass again. I couldn’t see through it, I couldn’t even see my fearful reflection.

“Rae?” that voice called again. It was louder this time. Closer.

I craned my neck up as if scouring for a way over. The window had no beginning and no end, no limits at all. I slapped my hand against it. Suddenly a hand slapped back. I choked on a squeal and back peddled. I could see it perfectly, a hand, a palm pressed flat against the glass from the other side.

“Rae?” he called.

I gasped half way through a breath. My mouth fell open. Tears sprang to eyes.


“Rae!” He called back. Relief flooded me. He knew me. He knew I was there though I couldn’t see him. “Rae, where are you, I can’t see you-”

“I’m right here-”

“Rae. Get me out of here.”

My brow furrowed. “What?”

“Help me,” he said. 

His hands slapped against the glass. Suddenly I could hear the glass rattling. Panic once more washed over me. Something was terribly wrong here. 

“Rae, for god’s sake, get me out!”

“I can’t-” I said. I sobbed. 

My palms slid across the glass but I couldn’t find him. I couldn’t find a way through. I called out to him. I begged him to hold on. 

“Rob? Rob! Where are you!” 

My fear was rising. I could hear something else. It was distant but approaching. It was like the approach of a storm without seeing the rain, I could just hear it, the low angry thunder, then the growls, and suddenly my insides lurched, my heart threatened to escape out through my throat.

“No… no!”

“Help me!”

“I can’t!”


“Rob! Stay with me!”

The back of my fists bounced against the glass. A searing pain stabbed my insides. My eyes dropped. My mouth fell open. Blood. So much blood was just splattering beneath me. It soaked me. I stared, terrified, watching it roll down my legs and pool around my feet. That wasn’t natural. That wasn’t right. That much blood and that dark, I was bleeding to death – no, I should have been. I could hear crying again, screaming now, a high-pitched screeching masked behind woeful sob. That’s when I recognised the sound was coming from me.

“No… no…”


I blinked up, my mouth still ajar from shock. Rob was looking back at me, a small barely perceptible smirk tugging at the corner of his mouth. It was just now I realised his skin was discoloured, blue-grey and blotchy, and his eyes…

I couldn’t speak. There wasn’t time. His fingers snagged my wrist. 

Stay with me,” he snarled.

He jerked me forward- 

I screamed-


Next? (Yes, that was a dream/vision/lucid state, don't take it literally) *lol*

-- Edited by Ravynlee on Wednesday 3rd of June 2009 10:46:07 PM


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.



Status: Offline
Posts: 1752

I couldn’t believe it had gotten dark so quickly. It didn’t, usually. But after the zombies attacked and …


Maybe it was only dark in my mind.


“It’s not possible.”

“We don’t know that.”

“We don’t know enough about it. All the people that created the virus are dead. All we know is what we’ve seen.”

“We should kill her now. Before she has a chance to turn on us.”

“Shouldn’t she be dead already? She’s been sick for days. I mean, if it really is the infection shouldn’t she have turned into one of those things by now?”

“She’s right. Maybe it’s not the virus. Maybe it’s something else.”

“Like what?”

“Maybe it’s mutated.”

“Maybe she really is pregnant.”

“Maybe she’s not sick. Maybe
it is; the baby. I’m just saying, maybe it’s contaminated from something else. Like he said, we don’t know what we’re dealing with. It could be genetic.”

“If we don’t do something soon any one of us could be next.”

I left on that note. It was partially because I just didn’t want to hear any more of their ghastly talk, and partially because I just needed some air. Rae had been locked to a chair in the Rec Room, much like Mark had been before, and the unconscious dangle of her head made me sick. I tried to slip away surreptitiously, but in my haste, I accidentally let the door slam closed.


Dean was right behind me. “Jamie? Are you okay?”


I had already decided I wasn’t speaking to him, after his comments at breakfast, but – I don’t know – I was upset - that’s my only defense. When he reached out and touched my shoulder, I spun around and cushioned my head against his chest. He seemed surprised at first, then wrapped his arms around me.


“Are you … crying?” he asked, obviously appalled.


“What do you think?” I sobbed.


“Okay, you’re right, stupid question,” he murmured.


A few minutes passed, with Dean smoothing my hair and making indistinct, calming noises. A little part of me was incredibly embarrassed by the situation, and after I had calmed down a bit, I mumbled out, “Sorry.”


“I don’t mind,” he said lightly.


“Pervert.” I shoved him away and stomped off towards my hut, arms crossed. He called after me, but my lapse was over – hot tears still coursed down my face, but they were more from anger than the overwhelmed feeling I’d had before. I locked the door and curled up on my bed. And I tried not to think. I knew that would only serve to overwhelm me again – and I was afraid that would drive me back to Dean.


“Hey, uh, can I come in?”


I jumped at the female voice. It wasn’t quite familiar – I guessed it was Amy.


“What is it?” I called back.


“Something about being a democracy.” It was obvious from the tone of her voice what she thought of that. “Jill sent me for you and your boyfriend.”


“He’s not –” I didn’t bother to finish that thought. “…with me.”


I scrubbed at my face as best I could and trusted that the darkness would save the rest of my pride, then unbolted the door and stepped outside. Amy stood, silhouetted by the weak, bare light bulb outside the Rec Room, fist on her hip.


“He’s not in there?” She craned her neck to see inside my hut, like I might be hiding Dean and didn’t want to fess up.


I slung to door wide open. “No,” I snapped. “As I told you.”


“I didn’t hear you.” She looked injured. I felt like an idiot. “You two had a disagreement or something?”


“Or something. I don’t know where he is. I figured he went back to the Rec Room.” I shrugged, trying to show just how much I didn’t care.


Amy frowned at me, but didn’t say anything; just tilted her head in a ‘come on’ motion.


The Rec Room was silent. As I walked past Rae, I brought my hand up to fiddle with my hair so I wouldn’t have to really see her.


Jill stood at the head of the table that had become our discussion table. Wesker sat next to her, and everyone else stood or sat on the other side. I noticed Mark had positioned himself at the edge, closer the Jill and Wesker than the rest of us. Corey’s head was laid on the table, and as I squeezed in between him and Amy, I thought I heard him mutter, “Should’ve stayed in the freakin’ van.”


Keith, who was unfeelingly watching the kitten chew vigorously on one callused thumb, patted him on the back.


Jill gave me something akin to a glare. “Well?”


I sighed. “He wasn’t with me.”


“If he can’t bother to be at the meeting, he has no say,” David barked.


Jill held a hand up to silence him, but we could all tell he had said all he needed to say anyway. It was just for show, to give her the illusion of power. David himself smirked and folded his arms over his chest.


“All right,” Jill said, rubbing her temples. “Continue, then. We don’t even know if we have time to wait.”


Without picking up his head, Corey droned, “We’re in danger of being attacked via the river. One of our members may or may not be infected and may or may not be pregnant. We have absolutely no sense of camaraderie. We’re running out of food.” He looked up at me. “Yeah, that’s pretty much all you’ve missed. Complain, complain, complain. No solutions being thrown out there. Nice job, people.”


With forced calm, Jill started, “Look, if all you can do is be sarcastic…”


“But he’s right,” Keith rumbled.


Corey smiled at him, straightened completely, and turned to Amy. “Ame? Let’s just get back on the road. Pack back up and go.”


“That’s not what I said.”


Much like we were at a tennis match, everyone looked back to Keith. He replaced the kitten in his hood and stood to his full height – towering – before continuing. “Danger. We build a fourth wall. Food. We scout for more. Rae … I might know someone. Someone who can help.”


“Keith –”


He raised a finger to silence Amy. “You know we do.”


Glancing between them, I asked, “What are you two talking about?”


Amy hesitated. “There’s this guy. He used to be – well, he is a surgeon. We found him a few months ago. He’s set up a sort of clinic. It’s more hygienic than any half-assed thing we could do and … he helped us.”


“Helped you how?” Jill asked suspiciously.


“I was pregnant,” Amy spat, glowering at Jill for making her say it. “But bringing another life into this hell wasn’t an option. He gave me an abortion.”


Corey reached past me to hold her hand, and Keith walked around us both to put an arm around her waist. I was shocked by and envious of their friendship – if only we could all be so unified.


“We take Rae there,” Keith said softly, “and he’ll do the same if need-be.”


“And if she’s not pregnant? If she’s infected?” Jill questioned, but she seemed to be warming to the idea.


“We shoot her and we’ve wasted time and resources making sure of what we already know,” Mark hissed.


I felt my muscles coiling with wanting to leap across the table and choke him, but Amy’s group’s unity, more than anything else, kept me in my place. As it was, everyone at the table shot him disdainful looks.


“You don’t have enough people to just start shooting them whenever you feel like it,” Corey said tiredly. He gave Amy’s hand a final squeeze and stood up. “Look, I’m all for helping out if we can, but you people need to get your act together. You’d as soon kill each other as pass the salt. I still think we should leave,” he glanced at Amy.


She thought for a moment, he head resting on Keith’s shoulder. Finally, she said, “Not an option. We’re with you now,” (she looked pointedly at Jill), “but we won’t hesitate to take matters into our own hands if we deem it necessary. Right now, the way I see it, Rae is our priority. She’s potentially more dangerous than the undead out there, simply because we don’t know what to expect from her.”


I looked over my shoulder. Don’t know what to expect indeed. Rae’s lips were moving, but no sound was coming out, and her brow was furrowed. Her arms jerked periodically. Blood still stained her chin.


“What do you suggest we do about the river?” Jill seemed to be slipping out of her leadership role, but maybe it was my imagination.


“Snipers on the roofs,” Keith said briefly. “Only need two or three. Just until we get more materials to build a wall.”


I raised my hand. “All right if I speak?”


Everyone looked a little surprised. I realized I had been virtually silent through the entire thing. Jill nodded.


“Why don’t Amy and Keith take Rae in the van to this surgeon. David, Corey, Dean – if he’s … still with us – and Wesker stay here to defend. Jill and I go for building supplies with the Jeep and the trailer. Or, you know, we could split up a little differently, just as long as Amy or Keith goes with Rae, since they’re the ones who know where the guy is, and Corey should stay here with the dogs, and Wesker stays here to monitor the radio … I mean, maybe more people should go in the van, for protection –”


“Sounds like a winning idea to me,” Amy interrupted, before I put the other foot in my mouth.


Jill looked around uncomfortably. “Good basic plan, I guess. All in favor?”


Almost every hand went up. Mark’s, of course, was one that didn’t – I figured all he was in favor of was taking Rae out to the river and shooting her. David’s didn’t either; he was just staring at the center of the table like he was a million miles away. I wondered if he had even heard my suggestion.


“Whatever we do,” Corey sighed, “it’s awful dark to be doing it now. I think she can abstain from killing us all for one night.” He jerked his head in Rae’s direction. “What say we sleep now so we can be fresh in the morning for ironing out the details?”


Before Jill could call for another vote, Amy reminded us of Dean.


Everyone looked at me. It was amazing how even in such a small group, humans would act as one. “I’ll look for him,” I said grudgingly. “He shouldn’t’ve left the Park.”

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

-- Edited by Jess on Saturday 6th of June 2009 06:00:50 AM




Status: Offline
Posts: 1752

So it was agreed that we would bed down for the night. Rae would be spending it tied to her mattress in her hut, with David standing guard whether he liked it or not. I would be going on a Dean hunt before bed, whether I liked it or not. No one had mentioned sleeping arrangements for the new three, but I figured they could fend for themselves – there was plenty of room, especially since it looked like they would be happy sharing.

Wesker carried Rae away, with David trailing behind him. Amy, Keith, Corey and I stood just outside the door to the Rec Room, watching; next thing I knew, it was just me and Amy, and she was leading me around the building.

“Let me make sure I’ve got this right,” she whispered. “As far as alliances go in this place, it’s Jill and Wesker, David and Rae, you and Dean, and Mark’s alone, right?”

“R-Right. I guess.”

“That’s not going to work.” She stopped and held me at arm’s length. “Too many people, not enough friends. It’s no wonder your camaraderie is shot. You think we got this far by jumping down each other’s throat at every opportunity?”

“I’m – I’m not really the one to talk to –”

“No, you all are. I can’t just go to Jill and say, ‘Look, you guys need to get along’; no, I have to go to the individuals.” She paused as if waiting for me to say something. When I didn’t she continued. “Okay, obviously there’s something with you and Dean, but – unless he’s gotten sick of it and flown the coop – you need to let it happen.”

“I –”

“Shush. A blind mad could see that you’re the one stopping it. We don’t have the luxury of playing coy, got it?”

I blushed. “But –”

“No buts. David’s kind of an outsider too, I’ve noticed. If something happens to Rae, he’ll be gone. And he’s valuable – you don’t want to lose him. Talk to Dean – if nothing else, another guy telling him that he should go will keep him here long enough for the rest of us to work on him. Now, I don’t know what’s up with Mark, but it’s pretty plain none of you like him and he doesn’t like any of you. That makes him a liability. I’ll think about him later on. For now, you just get with Dean.”

She left. I stood there, dumbfounded, for the longest time - she had it all worked out, did she? In a way I resented being controlled, but then, maybe it was better this way. As long as we were able to live and work together, but it didn’t matter that it had all been orchestrated. The ends justifying the means. Either way, I still had to find Dean before I went to bed. And I would be thinking about what Amy had said; about ‘letting it happen’. I mean, realistically, I couldn’t give him the silent treatment for long, no matter how much I wanted to. I didn’t have the luxury of being childish any more than I did of being … coy.

Which I wasn’t, I insisted. There was nothing to be coy about.

“Are you talking to me again yet?”

I jumped. How had I not heard –? How long had Dean been standing at the corner of the building? Most importantly, had I been thinking aloud without realizing it?

“I – I was supposed to find you before I turned in for the night.”

“Well, you weren’t doing a very good job.”

I blushed again and looked down. “I hadn’t started yet,” I mumbled.

“So … I take it you are talking to me?”

“I don’t have much of a choice, do I?” I squinted. “Why are you wet?”

He shrugged, but said, “I was down at the river. I don’t think the zombies can swim, so they must’ve been holding onto the wreckage out there. I tried to clear some of it, but there isn’t really anywhere to clear it to. I found a boat in pretty good condition though – might come in handy. I dragged it up on the shore.” Then, like he had just remembered there had been a meeting, he asked, “Did I miss anything?”

“You can figure it out in the morning, can’t you?” I snapped, and started walking away. I had done my job; I had found him.

He sighed.

I stopped and sullenly turned around. “It’s not that I don’t appreciate what you were doing instead,” I forced out. “It’s just that these people see me and you as a … unit … now and, when you went missing, I was supposed to know where you were. And I’m the one who had to come looking for you. Don’t make this whole damn thing so hard on me, please?”

He slogged past me. “You not the only one this is hard on,” he said under his breath.

“I didn’t say that!” I shouted. “I know I’m not! Just …” I ran after him so I could lower my voice. “There’s no reason for you to purposefully –”

“Oh, I’m purposefully hurting you now?” he snapped.

“I –”

“You’re the one acting like you’ve never seen me, like you don’t remember everything we went through just to f*cking survive in this world, everyone who died for us and everyone we killed.” He swallowed painfully. “Don’t remember. Yeah. Amnesia. Right. I believe you, Jamie.”

I watched him go. Just as he reached my – our – door, I called, “Dean, wait…”

He didn’t stop. The door closed gently behind him. I started to pursue him – I had to make him understand that I didn’t remember him – didn’t remember anything. He had to realize that it was the truth. I wasn’t faking for any reason. Why would I?

But I was almost afraid to. It was so much more comfortable assuming that he was the liar, and I was just his victim. There was a certain bliss in ignorance – knowing what was in my past opened me up for promises and plans I might have made, things I would be obligated to follow up on if I knew about them. Not knowing was safer.

Not knowing was the coward’s way out.




Status: Offline
Posts: 1752

I squared my shoulders and strode towards my hut. He hadn’t locked the door – luckily – so I went on in. All I could see of him was a dark shape at the foot of the bed. Even after our argument, he had left me the bed. I picked the candle up off the table next to it, lit it, and sat down next to him. He was wide awake.

“How were we separated?”

He looked up at me sadly. “Are you sure you want to know? And will you believe me if I tell you?”

“Yes. And … I don’t know yet, but I want you to tell me anyway.”

Nodding slowly, he sat up. He had changed into dry clothes, but his hair was still wet. He pushed it out of his eyes.

“There was an attack. A new mutation of the virus, at the time – they’re fairly common now. The biggies, the giant zombies, attacked our camp. Three of them and a swarm of regular ones. There were only two of us, we couldn’t fight them off. After a while I was knocked unconscious and, when I woke up, you were gone. Right before I went out, I saw one of the biggies grabbing you. It seemed like … it seemed like they wanted you alive.”

I stared at him in horror. Then something else he had said filtered through. “Wait – you were knocked unconscious? But, if they … Why didn’t they finish you off?”

“They started to.”

He pulled off his shirt. His entire upper body was covered in scars – claws, slashes, bite marks. I scrambled away.

“Y-You’ve been bit – you’re –”

“I can’t be infected, Jamie,” he said impatiently. “You know – I can’t be. Neither can you. I think that might be why they wanted you. I only got the beta version of the immunity. You got the full one, the real one. What I can’t figure out is why they stopped. I mean, when I woke up I was almost dead from blood loss, but …”

“But what?” I breathed. I was so close to going into shock as it was, I figured he might as well finish and put me over the edge.

“I just … wanted to find you. I couldn’t die.”

I moaned and turned away. “I can’t deal with this, I can’t deal with this, I can’t …”

There was a rustle as he put his shirt and sweater back on. After a pause, he asked, “Did you want to know more?” His voice wasn’t really cold – it was more hopeless. He seemed to finally accept that I didn’t already know any of this.

I didn’t turn back, but I nodded.

“Our parents – your father and my mother – were scientists working on the virus. When it got out of control, they barricaded themselves in their lab. Of course, they called us there first, so we would be safe with them. There was another scientist there with them, and his son. Me and you had always been friends, but the third guy – we didn’t get along with him. There wasn’t any reason, really, and there wasn’t any animosity. We just didn’t.

“But anyway, our parents were trying to find a cure. They thought they were getting close, but they had run out of test animals, so the third scientist used himself. It didn’t work; he had to be killed. My mom continued his work, while your dad went out into the rest of the lab to try and find more test subjects. He … he found out that the rest of the lab was infested. The hard way.

“The other scientist’s son offered himself as a tester. We didn’t have a choice, so we did it. That time …” He frowned. “It didn’t really not work. We think. But he became something else – something not really human but not really undead. And – something angry. He almost destroyed what was left of the lab as he left. But, we were getting closer.

“My mom had another solution. You wanted to test it – I mean, your only family was dead and the world had gone to hell in a hand basket – but I wouldn’t let you. So …” He motioned to himself. “Again, it kind of worked. I can’t be infected. But I did mutate, I guess – I’m faster and stronger than I was. I feel normal. It wasn’t enough; it wasn’t what my mother wanted. She wanted a superhuman, someone who could kill all the zombies.”

He looked at me intently. “And I think, in you, that’s what she got. But the serum she gave you knocked you out for days, and the lab was assaulted, and … she didn’t make it out. We –”

“Stop.” I threw my hands up. “Just, stop. I – this is too much, okay? I’m not saying I do or don’t believe you, I just need time to think and … and this was really bad timing.”

“There are no good times anymore,” he commented. “If you hadn’t noticed.”

“I guess not.” I managed to smile weakly. “But this is worse than usual. We’ve got – we have to figure out what we’re doing with Rae in the morning, and we should get to sleep. It’s … To be continued, all right? At some later date.”

His nod was understanding. “All right. One more thing.”

“What?” I asked warily.

“If I tried to kiss you goodnight, would you kill me?”

“…Probably not.”




Status: Offline
Posts: 1752

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

“O-oh, say can you see, by the dawn’s early light, what so proud-ly we held, at the twilight’s …”

The baritone voice jerked me out of sleep, bed, and even hut before I was even fully conscious. That seemed to be a habit of mine – moving before I was awake. I wondered if I had been a sleepwalker in what I could only think of as my previous life.

“…the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming. And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof, through the night …”

Keith stood atop on of the two two-story buildings, serenading the world in general and the Park in particular. Once the shock wore off, I guessed it wasn’t such a bad way to wake up.

“For the la-and of the free … and the home … of the … brave …”

Scattered applause echoed throughout the Park as he finished. Corey and Amy and I seemed to be sincere; I suspected Jill and Wesker were doing it only for their precious illusion of society. It really made the complex seem more hollow than jovial. Nevertheless, Keith took a bow, then began his way down the fire escape. As Corey let three of the dogs out the gate – for their feeding, presumably – Amy sauntered over to me, her blue eyes sparkling.

“Dean looks happy this morning.” She grinned and nodded behind me, where Dean must have emerged from our cabin.

I blushed furiously, not for the first time. “This is not the time or the place –”

Joining us, Keith remarked, “When is it ever?”

Amy gave me a smug parting glance and went to speak with Jill, hopefully about something more serious. Keith had the grace to pretend to not notice my red face.

“Um … so … what was with the singing?” I asked him.

“Did it every morning on the road. Only way to wake Corey up sometimes,” he added with a sly smile.

“I heard that,” Corey called faintly. Again, I was amazed by their relationship. They could actually tease each other – I just knew that if any lighthearted barbs flew between the rest of us, there’d be blood.

“Amy used to sing with me,” he said, even more softly than usual.

“Used to?”

“Things were different then.”

“Was that … before her abortion?” I hazarded.

He nodded sadly.

Realization dawning, I said, “You were the father, weren’t you?”

He nodded again, and without further ado, walked away. I was instantly regretful I’d brought it up, but I didn’t think he would hold it against me. He just didn’t seem the type. It wasn’t a good memory for him, but he wouldn’t begrudge me my curiosity.

Keith set to attaching the trailer to the Jeep while Wesker carried Rae to the van. It kind of amused me how he seemed to be the resident beast of burden, even though David, and now Keith, were probably stronger. Then again, I shouldn’t underestimate him just because he isn’t very vocal, I reminded myself. After all, that’s probably more or less how the others see me.

Jill called us all over to the van for another, brief meeting. First she asked Amy how far it was to the surgeon. Amy herself didn’t answer; instead, Keith and Corey had a brief, silent conference and Corey responded, “About two straight days, we think. Take shifts driving. And there’s a gas station on the way, one that hadn’t been raided, at least when we were there. So if you’ve got any gas cans, now’s the time.”

Jill acknowledged him and thoughtfully said, “And we don’t know how long the scouting team will be gone. Just depends on how long it takes to fill the trailer. A couple day’s food, I guess. We can always forage for more if we have to. The rest of you don’t really have that option. So.” She looked around at us. “Teams. Wesker and I decided that it would be better to work on a system of volunteering unless we absolutely couldn’t. Of the three of you, who’s driving the van?”

Keith’s hand went up immediately.

“Then you’ll be the leader of that team. Meanwhile, Wesker will be holding the fort here, and I’ll lead the scouting mission. Volunteers for scouting?”

Amy and a surprisingly enthusiastic Mark raised their hands. If Jill noticed Mark’s uncharacteristic behavior, she didn’t show any sign of it.

“All right then. Looks like the rest of you will be –”

I lifted a hand tentatively. With a disapproving arched eyebrow, Jill nodded that I could speak.

“If it’s … all the same … I’d like to volunteer to go with Keith and Rae.” As a weak excuse, I offered, “I mean, if there was an attack, Keith alone might not be able to fend them off, and then we’d lose him and Rae, and the van and whatever supplies they have.”

Wesker solemnly said, “I think we can spare her.”

After that, Jill couldn’t really say anything. If Keith would have me and Wesker would let me go, by her own ‘teams’ rules she was powerless. The rest of the preparations were hurried. Packing food for three in the van was no problem – the thing seemed to have more hidden compartments and sliding panels than a magician’s trick box. Corey, who basically gave me the tour as he stashed canned and dried goods here and there, was quite pleased by my astonishment. A small air mattress (granted, not fully inflated) was even crammed in the back for Rae, who seemed almost lucid today, if completely disoriented.

The Jeep wasn’t quite so smooth. Jill was insistent that all the supplies be kept in the Jeep itself, so that the trailer would be clear for barricading materials, but cramming adequate food and clean water in the bed of the Jeep proved difficult. After fighting with it for some time, she decided to cut the rations – they could return to the Park or scavenge if they had to, she said. Amy didn’t seem too thrilled by the prospect, but I supposed maybe she just wasn’t used to having a home base to run back to. Mark only shrugged at the change of plans; he wasn’t helping to load and unload over and over again anyway.

I kept an eye on David the entire morning, but his face was like a blank easel, and even my imagination had no paints or brushes. I realized I had never seen him as anything but angry or disdainful, and even though I knew what a terrible situation we were all in, that made me sad. Could nothing raise his spirits? Still, I would have preferred anger to blankness – with anger, you knew where you stood. I just didn’t like not knowing his state of mind. It made him feel like a loose cannon, in a way.

I caught Amy looking towards me with a suppressed grin, and turned around just in time to bump into Dean.

“Can I talk to you for a sec?” he asked.

I had a feeling I knew what it was about. “Yeah. Sure.”

He led me a little apart from the others so we could speak in relative privacy, his hand resting on my shoulder in a way I wasn’t sure I liked. It felt like it was on the borderline between protective and possessive, and he didn’t move it when we stopped.

“Jamie,” he started. “This whole doctor thing – do you … need something?”

I squirmed. “Of course not.”

“You’re not just trying to get away from me, are you?”

“O-Of course not,” I repeated, the stutter making it sound like a lie. “No, I just feel like I should go with Rae. She was the first person here who made me feel at all welcome. The only one really.”

“Yeah, well I can sympathize, but I’m not chomping at the bit to –”

“Dean, I’m coming back,” I said bluntly. “Will you be here?”

“I’ve killed for you, I offered to die for you, and I stayed alive for you,” he sighed. His hand dropped away. “I’ll be here.”

Keith called me. I hesitated, then reached up to hug Dean at the very least. The truth was that I did want to get away from him, at least for a while. I needed time to process everything he’d told me, work out if I believed any of it or all of it. I couldn’t disregard his scars, or ignore the fact that neither of us was quite human in our agility. He provided such perfect answers, but they were also so far-fetched. It would just take time, but I knew that if I had a chance, I would press him for more whether I was really ready or not.

None of which is to say that I didn’t care about Rae at all. I did feel compelled to stay with her – guard her, in a way. David may have rescued me, but she was the one who took care of me in whatever meager way she could when I was feverish. She was the one who had taken the time to talk to me. I owed her; and not only that, I wanted to be with her. Ghoulish as it sounded, her … affliction … just happened to coincide nicely with the little ‘vacation’ I needed from Dean.

As I climbed into the van, I glanced over at David again. Finally, I thought I saw some inkling of an emotion in his dark eyes – but just like that, it was gone. As soon as my leg was in, he slammed the door and backed up. Keith slid in the driver’s side, but before he leaned back, he reached into his hood and pulled a little, furry black bundle out. His hands were so large, the sleeping kitten fit easily, and probably never woke as he transferred it to my lap.

Twisting in my seat to check on Rae, I saw that her eyes were open, but only half-way. If she was conscious, she couldn’t have any idea where she was. Or maybe she had simply lost hope – maybe she had just accepted what I refused to believe: that we would have to kill her for our own safety.

Jill pulled out ahead of us, and Corey welcomed back half of his dogs and let the other half loose. His pet, Lady, shuffled her feet at his side; it was plain how much she wanted to join her pack.

Looking up in the rearview mirror, I caught the same look on Dean’s face. I stroked the kitten and said a silent goodbye, and the gate closed, blocking him from my view.




Status: Offline
Posts: 1752

Short one for these guys. I really hate writing in third person, and I'm not good at it, but this post serves its purpose.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Scouting Party.


“You know we’re going to run out of food.”


Jill, Mark, and Amy sifted through different sections of a demolished building, looking for sturdy wood. Amy had been discreetly working her way closer to Jill for at least half an hour, and finally felt comfortable that her murmur would only reach Jill’s ears. The other woman made no sign of hearing.


“And you know it’ll be almost impossible to find anything suitable for eating out here.”


Jill straightened, hefting a thick chunk of wood onto her shoulder. “You have a point here, I’m assuming,” she growled.


“Sure. We all know it, and I don’t like it. I don’t think you like it either. But he –” she jerked her head towards Mark “– he doesn’t seem too worried.”


“And what are you trying to insinuate?” Jill asked it like it was a rhetorical question and began to walk away. Amy hastily picked up a sheet of tin and followed her to the trailer.


“Nothing needs to be insinuated.” She said, struggling with the sheet; it was larger than she was. “I’m just pointing out the facts.”


Jill furtively glanced at Mark, the shoved Amy into the trailer. “Listen,” she hissed with surprising vehemence. “Mark may have his faults, but I trust him a hell of a lot more than I trust you. You’re not the boss anymore – you agreed to join us – and you need to stop acting like you are.”


“How silly of me to forget – I mean with all those brilliant ideas you were spitting out last night, it’s so obvious who rules the roost.” The words were beyond taking back before Amy had hardly thought them. She ducked out of the trailer and got back to work before Jill could register what she had said.


Mark was waiting for her. He politely asked her to come help him with an especially heavy barricade (one left by the military, apparently), pushing his glasses up his nose – as glasses-wearers the world ‘round always seemed to do -  and looking perfectly innocent. Amy wondered uncomfortably how much he had heard. She would have preferred not to go with him, but since it was between him and Jill …


A moment later Jill heard a bitten-off scream. Mark called for her, sounding panicked. She rushed out of the trailer, where she had been re-arranging the supplies they had found so far, and found Amy clutching a jagged stab wound in her side, face even paler than usual. Mark was hurriedly explaining how she’d slipped and fallen on a sharp piece of metal, and even offered the blood-slicked thing up for Jill’s examination. In her pain, Amy neither confirmed nor refuted his story.


But she did choke out, “We have … to go. Zombies’ll smell the blood and …”


Jill snapped into action. She ordered Amy into the trailer, hoping that would help to dampen the smell, and cranked up the Jeep while Mark locked the doors. As soon as he leaped into the Jeep, she floored it.




Status: Offline
Posts: 1752

Also in that most hated third person, but I refuse to write in first for a character other then Trinity.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Guard Team.


In the three hours since the others had pulled out the gate, not a word had been spoken in the Park. Dean, who had stationed himself on top of his and Jamie’s hut, put it down to the fact that all the ladies had gone, leaving a bunch of guy who didn’t even know each other. Even in these post-apocalyptic (‘apocalyptic’ was such a nice word for some reason, he reflected) times, it seemed like when women found each other, they clicked instantly, in one way or another. It could be a violent sort of click; Jill seemed to do nothing but berate Rae, for instance, but they spoke, at least. Put a pair of men in the same situation, and they would just stand there looking around awkwardly. Or shoot each other.


Davey – or David, or whatever the hell his name was – had positioned himself further away from the river, on top of one of the two-story buildings. The same one Keith had been on that morning, in fact, the one closer to the garden.


Dean wondered about Jamie. Where she was, what she was doing, if she was safe. He’d thought about extracting a promise from Keith to keep an eye on her, but that was pointless, really. It was a given that they would look out for each other. Still, he mentally beat himself up for not insisting to go with her, and calmly reminded himself that that was in no way logical or fair to the other residents of the Park. Glancing over his shoulder at Davey, Dean wondered if he was having similar thoughts about Rae.


Below him, one of the dogs barked once. Two rifles and a pistol ****ed – and then realized it was a false alarm. Corey, unseen from Dean’s vantage point, shushed the mutt, and finally the long silence was broken.


“Knock it off.”


The humid breeze blew the stench of the river into the Park. Come to think of it, the breeze, when it existed, never seemed to blow any other way. It figured. God’s way of continuing to say ‘f*ck you’ to what remained of humanity. But by now, Dean barely noticed the smell, and doubted anyone else really did either. Humanity’s way of responding to God – with their never-ending ability to adapt. Had to grate on the big guy’s nerves.


Dean sighed and leaned back in the grimy plastic chair he’d carried to the rooftop. He and Jamie had once enjoyed poking harmless fun at religion; now it had become a bitter pastime. It was a sad but unavoidable evolution, he supposed – in what the world had become, believing in God was either foolish or fanatical. There was that church he’d come across early in his travels with Jamie, where the pastor –


There was no use in thinking about it. Thinking led to wanting, and wanting was fruitless.


* * * * * * * * * *


“We having fun yet?”


At around what could be loosely figured as noon, Corey climbed up on top of the building with a couple bowls of stew. Delicious gray Mystery Stew. Didn’t matter – Dean was hungry.


“Sure. Loads.” Dean took a bowl. “Waiting to be attacked by zombies always was my favorite hobby.”


Corey smirked. Down at the shore, his dogs whined.


“What was that bark all about earlier?” Dean asked, blowing on the slop to cool it. If burnt tongues had been annoying before, they were hell now; even something that small could hold a risk of infection.


“We thought there was something in the water, but it was just a bit of metal sliding under.”


‘We’ – it should’ve been strange that Corey talked about his dogs as if they were extensions of himself, but since Amy and Keith were a duo, Dean guessed the poor kid didn’t really have much in the way of companionship. They’d had him locked in a trailer for crying out loud.


“Hey, Dean …” Corey was squinting out at the Park. “Can’t you just imagine rope bridges between the tops of these buildings and the ones back there? I mean, we’re pretty much safe from anything up here – if it weren’t for the fire escapes on that one – so if there was just some way to move around between buildings …”


Dean laughed. “Dreamer, are you?”


“You have to admit it –”


“Sure, it’d be cool. Not very plausible, is all. But sure, give us a few more months to get ourselves together and you never know … Maybe.” He sat his empty bowl down.


Corey grinned, but it faded as he looked at Davey. “Few more months,” he repeated. “What do you think, will he even be here?”


“Don’t know,” said Dean. “Depends on Rae, I reckon. How she comes out of this thing, or if she does at all.” He paused. “Tell me about this … surgeon.”


“I didn’t meet him.”


“Didn’t …?”


“Nope. I waited in the van. Mind you, I was the one who knew about him – the guys I traveled with before I met Amy and Keith and their group visited him a few times before I joined them. They told me about him, and later on I passed it on the Amy and Keith’s team.”


Dean frowned. “You talk like there used to be a lot of you.”


“There was.” Corey sighed. “I used to travel with six other guys. Slowly we got picked off, and by the time we met Amy there was only two of us. Two of us and four of them – and we thought it was just a brilliant idea to team up. And now here we are. Down to three.” He looked quietly out over the river for a moment. “How many humans do you figure are left on Earth? Live ones?”


“Not many.” Dean shrugged. “I don’t bother to think about it. All that matters to me is us.” Or more truthfully, he amended, all that matters to me is myself and Jamie. Nothing personal. “Hey, did Davey get anything to eat?”


“Not unless Whatshisname took him something.”


“Not likely. He’s been all holed up secretively since the …” Dean resisted saying ‘girls’; after all, Keith and Mark had left too. “… others left.”


“I’ll –”


“Nah, don’t worry about it. You’ve been away from your dogs – and technically your post – long enough. I will.”


* * * * * * * * * *






Dean shrugged and left. Indifference was a blessing.


* * * * * * * * * *


A rumbling motor made Dean’s head perk up. He had been dozing ever since lunch – he knew the dogs would wake him up if something happened, so why not? Or, alternately, the sound of a vehicle approaching would wake him. For an unreasonable moment, he thought that it would be Jamie returning already – that somehow the five or six days without her had passed in a blink, like Rip van Winkle with happier results.


But of course, it wasn’t. Instead, the Jeep came barreling over the horizon like a bat out of hell. But …


“Hey,” he shouted across the complex. “Hey, Davey, you seeing what I am?”


He didn’t really expect an answer, but an indistinct sound of acknowledgement came across the gap. Corey scrambled up the side of the building, his curiosity getting the better of him.


“What is it?” He peered out. “What the … Where’s the trailer?”


~ ModMother / The Cougar ~


Status: Offline
Posts: 2990


Pain. In my face. Throbbing. It felt as if my whole head had a separate heartbeat, a life of its own. With a groan I struggled to open my eyes. For a while it hurt too much to do anything so I sat there, head down, frowning to keep the light out. The light, more so than the pain in my face, seemed to hurt the most. It didn’t occur to me that they might have been interrelated. I was too disoriented; my brain felt rattled, somehow loose, like someone had shaken me violently and severed the connections between my head and the rest of my body. I didn’t even remember at first that the butt of a rifle had slugged me in the forehead – all I could do was work through this pain, consciously fighting to block it all out. The memories, when they did come, hit with an intensity all of their own. I remembered crying, that’s if I even stopped, but I couldn’t feel any tears rolling down my face. David’s betrayal and the look on his face as it flashed in front of my closed eyes, stung in ways I couldn’t begin to fathom. As I sat there swimming in and out of consciousness I was taunted by voices that came and went like the reeking river tide. 

“Whatever we do,” a voice said, “it’s awful dark to be doing it now. I think she can abstain from killing us all for one night…”

I had no real concept that the ‘she’ they were referring to in any way was me.

It was terrifying just how exaggerated my senses had become in place of my forced blindness. Chairs scraped on floorboards and footsteps passed me and I knew with some sense of lucidity that we were in the Rec Hall. The stench of sweat and breath and people in general filled my nostrils, enflaming them. My god, I could have sworn I knew them all just by their scents and the sounds of their movements as they made their way into the distance.

The night air was crisp but brief as it swept past me.

Greeted by a welcome gloomy pitch I peeled my eyes open to darkness to find I was back inside my cabin. Relief flooded me but like everything else it too was short-lived. I felt something inside of me cringe, like a wild animal cornered, watching the last cuff zip and click into place. Chains rattled when I tried to lift my arm. The sudden movement sent concurrent spasms of alarm through the rest of my limbs. In the soft glow of the candle I saw faces bleed out. David and Wesker stared at me. Their faces were cold and severe.

“If anything happens-” Wesker started.

“I know,” David grumbled. The shotgun that dangled from his fist seemed to nod in agreement. 

I huffed – it was a sound of fear and resentment as I glowered at it, at the weapon that had slammed against my face and felt as if it had almost cracked it in two. The two men stopped to look at me again but the moment was over before another word could be shared. Footsteps receded and the door creaked to a close. David sighed. He refused to look at me. I saw him standing there in my peripheral vision, as far away as he could possibly get in such confines, looking downcast and surly as if he were the victim. Anger surged as I jerked my arms again. A low, barely perceptible sn igger caught my attentions. I swung my head towards it.

“Look at him,” Rob uttered, “he’s getting off on this. Look at his face. You can’t tell me you don’t know what he’s thinking.”

With an unsteady huff I closed my eyes. Cautiously I opened them again. There, sitting at the head of the dining table less than two metres away, Rob smiled back at me.

“You’re not real,” I said, my bottom lip twitching.

Rob continued to smile back in his introspective manner. His shoulders rose and fell as if he found my statement amusing. He sat with his legs crossed, an ankle draped across his thigh, relaxed back into the chair like a man with all the time in the world at his disposal. For a moment he propped his elbow on the top of the table and rested his temple against his fist and shrugged at me. Again I closed my eyes, scrunching them tight until the pain in my face made me stop with a gasp. Again I heard Rob chuckle at me. Clutching the back of a dining chair David dragged it across the floor and sunk into it with a groan.

“He’s enjoying this you know,” Rob said matter-of-factly. “It’s kind of ironic isn’t it, how someone like him went from being the one in captivity to the prison guard in a manner of speaking-”

“What are you doing here?” I cried, cutting him off.

David, who had been placing his rifle down to rest against the wall nearby, swung his head around and looked at me. He didn’t say anything. He didn’t have to. It was obvious from the culmination of shadows from his expression that he didn’t seem to understand a word that I was saying. I shook my head or tried to. 

Did he not see, did he not hear-?

“Rae,” Rob chuckled in a way that was not at all like him, “He can’t see me, you know.”

“You’re dead!”

“And you’re dying.”

My mouth fell open, stilled in silent protest. David continued to look at me, then down at the floor, with his head shaking as if he still didn’t hear or comprehend me. Maybe he didn’t want to. I watched as he sat rubbing his brow then his scalp with the palm of his hand, his face still pinched in that eternal expression of bitterness I’d come to know and expect from him. But there was something else about it too; something… foreign I couldn’t place. I watched his shoulders fall and heard his breath escape like a man who had just run a marathon. Then he looked up and smiled at me. It was so brief and weak I was too taken aback to do anything else but stare.

“Aww,” I heard Rob coo in the background. “How sweet. Looks like the big guy’s human after all.”

My expression buckled at that. Not even the pain in my face could stop it. I glared aside towards the table where Rob sat smirking back at me bathed in candlelight. The sight of him, from his clothes to his hair framing his face to the brooding angle of his brow was so familiar that part of me ached, seemed to swoon and sink with physical relief, but there was something else too, something cold and detached and not quite right that laced his voice and his gaze. I was almost convinced I could hear him breathing but though I strained through the dizziness and the darkness for proof I could not see it. Tears made my throat click when I swallowed. The chains once again rattled. I slumped against the mattress and rolled my eyes to the ceiling festering away in shadows.

“Please… leave me alone.”

Rob scoffed. “You don’t mean that.” He paused and turned his attentions to David. It was, in those brief moments of silence, a return to the past, to the stark defiance and competition that always existed between their egos; which one was right and who knew better than whom. All I could do was lay there and struggle against the memories that came flooding back. I clenched my jaw and my face responded to it in kind.

“What did you do to me?” I sniffled.

-- Edited by Ravynlee on Wednesday 10th of June 2009 07:21:14 PM


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

David sighed. He sat forward in his chair over his thighs and just stared at the floor saying nothing. Silence befell the cabin. I closed my eyes. It didn’t last long.

“Oh Rae,” Rob too sighed. It was sympathetic. He was overly-sympathetic. He was down-right mocking me. “You know what, maybe you should bight him. Look at you, you’re starving. When’s the last time you ate anything with any real substance? Go on… you know you want to. Hell, I want you to. I want to see the look on his face when you do it-”

“Stop it!”

“Maybe you should just do it to get a reaction. Maybe then it’ll give him the excuse he’s always wanted to put you out of your misery-”

“Shut up!”

Rob chuckled. It was low and bitter – nothing at all like I could ever remember hearing from him when he had been…- I winced.

“Yeah,” Rob said. It was as if he could read my-

“You stand up for him, and he attacked you! I don’t remember you doing that for me. From what I can recall you couldn’t get away from me fast enough. The way he dragged you out of there Rae and you let him. That’s not like you; you were always stronger than this. This damsel in distress act, this is his doing, it's what he obviously wants, to be the hero, but we both know the truth. You left me. You both did. You didn’t even check to see if I was still-”

“You were dead,” I mumbled. 

I smiled bitterly towards the ceiling. I had to be going crazy at this point, I realised. Maybe the blow to the head had finally pushed me over that proverbial edge past the point of no return. I think I laughed then. I felt it reverberate in my chest but the sound didn’t make it to my ears. If that was me it didn’t sound… normal. It sounded almost like-

“No,” Rob lamented. He was beside me now, moving without sound, without obvious effort, like a ghost - maybe that's what he was now, haunting me. “Rae. Just let him do it. We can be together then. Imagine it. No death, no pain, forever. Just… think about it…”

I felt his words against my cheek. Blindly I rolled my face towards it. My head seemed to pulsate from the centre of my forehead, from where the rifle had struck me, but I consciously fought against it. It only caused me more pain. I sobbed aloud and felt lips brushing against mine. I responded without thinking, it had been so long without human contact I kissed him through the pain and the half-hearted tears. It didn’t register until a moment had passed that I could feel nothing but air on my lips. When I craned forward the chains rattled, startling me back to my senses. I cringed and opened my eyes. I didn’t want to. Darkness was waiting there like it always was. Limply I rolled my head aside on the pillow. With his hands clasped together in front of his mouth David was watching me. His brow was heavy and burdened. After a moment he raised his chin to speak across his knuckles.

“I’m sorry,” he grumbled. The timbre of his words, more so than the gravel of his tone, brought his shoulders down. “We shouldn’t have come here. I shouldn’t have brought you…” he stopped. He sighed. He looked reflective tucking his mouth behind his hands again but only briefly. 

Rather than face him I closed my eyes against this never-ending thrum in my forehead. My pulse was so loud and his voice was so quiet I could barely, nor did I really want to, hear him.

“I should have left you where you were,” he continued. “I should have stayed on my own. I should have left you on your own… with him. And the rest of them. You were better off that way. You could have died right along with them and not even gotten to this. It’s my fault. I shouldn’t have-… Like I said, a man would go crazy if all he had for company was his head or his hand… Not that any of it matters anyway. You died when he died, I just didn’t want to see it…” 

Again he sighed. His breathing seemed temporarily laboured. He scoffed. 

“I’m tired Rae. I’m tired of burying friends, of this… bullsh*t. I’m tired of all of it. Maybe I should just do what I said I was going to do when we got here, take you out in the middle of nowhere – end it. It’s all over then. You can be at peace. So can I. Maybe I deserve this life, but you don’t. You shouldn’t have to-…”

I wept. I tried to but in my dissociative state, in my pain and my delirium I couldn’t be sure, I wasn’t sure of anything anymore. It could have been a minute later, it could have been a week, I felt the air stirring around me and realised I could smell blood, smell it and practically taste it as though it were filling up my mouth. I fluttered open my eyes to find David standing over me. His hands were around my neck. I jerked – or tried too – but my body lay unresponsive. I saw a glint of silver as his hands pulled away. My eyes dropped, struggling to focus on what looked like a pendant hanging from the end of a chain. It was a star. 6 points. I knew it. I’d seen it too many times before. I winced and tried to turn away from it. It was a Star of David. It was his star. It carried his name.

David whispered something but I couldn’t hear what, only feel the brief gust of breath on my brow as he said it. Then I felt his lips as they pressed against my forehead in trepidation. I closed my eyes and tried to say something. Something internal was choking me as I lay there like a corpse, like I was already dead. I was dying inside, I could feel it, I knew it, and apparently he must have known it too. This was tantamount to a parting goodbye. Hearing him sink back into his seat with a sigh I lay there still and silent waiting for the darkness to just take me, once and for all. But death, if that’s what it was, didn’t take me that night; in the hours that followed it just sat there at the end of my bed staring back with familiar eyes, wearing a familiar face, and smiling that small imperceptible almost malevolent smile, a haunting visage happier times past.


-- Edited by Ravynlee on Wednesday 10th of June 2009 07:30:53 PM


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

“…the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming. And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof, through the night …”

Singing. Deep. So deep it seemed unearthly. I opened my eyes to find that light no longer stung them but the harsh reality of my situation did; Chained to a bed and held hostage at gunpoint. Thoughts didn’t come to me much after that, only observations did. It was as if shock had finally kicked in and was doing what nature had intended it to do, cushioning me from the worst of it – as if the worst had arguably already happened.

After the singing came the brief spattering of applause. I didn’t recognise the words but I seemed to know what it symbolised. I rolled my head to the side limply, watching David glancing out through a gap in the door. He didn’t join in the salutations to his beloved national anthem and with a grimace turned away. The door opened inward soon after and Wesker entered the cabin. 

He raised his brows rather than say anything as David merely frowned back; the male equivalent of idle chitchat. After a brief glance my way they both approached, taking care to unfasten my restraints while one in essence held me down. They needn’t have worried, after what felt like a week without anything in my stomach and after such drastic blood loss, if that’s what it had been on the riverbank, there was barely enough strength left in me to lift my head from the pillow let alone strike anyone. I noticed the way Wesker was mindful of his weapon, his pistol and a searing bullet only a finger’s twitch away. I studied David waiting for some glimpse of empathy, some small glimmer of compassion as I’d seen the night before but with the dawn of a new day so too had come a new kind of defensiveness set upon his face. He was avoiding my eyes the way people used to with the terminally ill. I was too limp to put up a fight, physically or emotionally. After all, he had already said his goodbyes to me – there was nothing left for anyone to say.

Outside The Park was its usual hubbub of activity. People were gathering. A big black guy whose name briefly escaped me was attaching a trailer to the back of the Army Jeep. It looked loaded. They were going somewhere. It seemed logical after the security breach on the river that the camp be vacated, but I stopped short of recalling what actually happened to me on the riverbank. I lay slumped against Wesker’s chest, deafened by his heartbeat, as he carried me across the compound. It didn’t miss my attentions that David merely followed. Now I was of no further use to him he no longer wanted to touch me. Figured. As I blinked around watching the way Jill and Amy were loading the jeep, or taking things from it, my hopes didn’t soar that I was being taken along with them. My wrists were still bound and attached to a belt around me so that I couldn’t even raise my arms let alone feel them. I felt like a prisoner being escorted off to death row. 

Ironic, a voice jibed inside of my head. I bet this idea of restraint came from a certain surly-looking someone… Apparently trust was as rare as food in these parts.

Food, I thought. That one word was enough to distract me as I was hefted inside the van. The air mattress upon which I lay stank of age, perfume, sweat and mildew. Rather than fight it I stay there, remaining still and obedient watching the rest of them gather around nearby and have their little confab. I was too miserable to feel anger towards them, just lost. For all the hopes and promise this place had offered since arriving, this kind of departure had never made it to the forefront of my imagination. Peripherally, hands were going up. Despite the fact that a conscious woman lay tied up against her will in the back of a car less than a few metres away from where they all stood, diplomacy in The Park was apparently alive and well. More talk, more conspiratorial murmurings. I didn’t want to think about what they had just taken a vote in favour of. I closed my eyes. Death was taunting me now. After all the horrors I’d seen and endured after the war, I was still scared of it. I didn’t want to go out like this but I knew in this state I was helpless, there was nothing I could do to defend myself from the inevitable.

Afterwards I watched as the keeper of the dogs Corey, and Trinity, set to stocking the van. At first I watched Trinity, stung to the point of wanting to cry but not actually doing so, confused and hurt more than anything that she of all people was just going along with this whole thing complacently and why she wasn’t fighting to free me - after all I had helped her when she first arrived, I thought, but loyalty just like everything else around these parts was fleeting, or just lies. Eventually my focus drifted out again and I lay there in a kind of stupor, feeling as invisible as I had apparently become to everyone else. Time passed with nothing to mark it but the frenetic pace of the rest of them packing, unpacking and organising themselves into some measure of conformity around me. Seeing Trinity and Dean walk away with his hand on her shoulder made me consciously pay attention. I watched them speak without being able to hear just what was being said. Someone called out and Trinity hesitated before reaching up to embrace Dean. Something about that tiny gesture felt like a steel capped boot had been driven against my stomach. I lay there. The door was closed. That was it, I realised. My last glimpse of freedom and it had to be that – something I'll never get to experience again.

People climbed in behind the wheel and the off-driver’s seat and doors were slammed. The cabin rocked as if in a violent wind. I waited for David to come and at least see me off. I waited like a dirty secret in the back of the van but it didn’t happen. My insides were scrambling about. The gesture didn’t make it all the way to my face still slack against the mattress. Keith, the big black guy, so Trinity called him, reached back and pulled a tiny ball of black fur from the hood of his jacket. A weak mew could just be heard over the vehicle’s rumbling motor. The gears cranked and the vehicle lurched forward. I could feel Trinity’s eyes on me briefly but I did nothing by way of acknowledging her. There was after all nothing left to say that hadn’t been said already.

The vehicle began to move and shadows swept past, and I knew with a horrid sinking sensation that it was all real now and happening. We had left The Park and the gates were no doubt closing behind us. I lay there unable to speak or do anything waiting for the tidal wave of the undead to rush upon us and tear us limb from limb with each passing second.

“You know they’re going to kill you, don’t you?” a voice told me.

I grimaced and slowly dragged my eyes up. I was no longer shocked to find Rob sitting there, on the opposite side of the van, knees drawn up and smiling at me, being rocked about as the van hit a dirt patch and skidded briefly for traction.

“You know it as well as I do. What I can’t figure out is why you’re letting it happen. You’re just laying there and taking it. You came all this way just to give up now, huh?”

“Go away,” I murmured into the mattress. 

I realised now that my teeth were chattering. A chill had swept in. I didn’t know if it was from the movement of the van, seeming to thump and rattle about like a bat out of hell, or from a stray wind gusting in from unseen nooks and crannies that I had seen Corey and Trinity packing. I buried my face against the air mattress and grimaced at the taste of it. Even over the noise of the van I could still somehow hear Rob snorting at me in amusement.

“You can feel it can’t you? Those things out there. They can sense you too, Rae. They can sense death. They know you’re coming…”

Around me, somewhere, I was sure I heard Trinity’s voice speaking above the din. I opened my eyes but didn’t really look for her. Her back was still turned to me, just as it had been moments ago. I didn’t doubt my captors had no intentions to face me, Why would they? I thought. Who wants the guilt or responsibility of looking someone in the eye knowing soon enough you’ll have to put a bullet into them?

“Do it,” Rob urged. He was looking at Keith and Trinity too with his eyes uncharacteristically narrowed. He smiled. It was so cold it made my stomach lurch. I turned away from it. He jut his chin towards them and frowned in a manner that was both sinister and suggestive. “You think they’d notice if we took a bight out of that kitten over there? If nothing else it’s one way to get your strengths back up.”

I grimaced and struggled to roll away from him, recoiling inside at the sound of his laughter that echoed around me like a death knell.

“Go away… Please… I can’t take this anymore.”

Rob scoffed. “That’s not my call, princess. You’re the one having a full fledged psychotic breakdown - getting all deep and meaningful with a dead guy, remember? I’m just coming along for the ride…”

The van continued to limber across the dusty flats. Where ever we were headed seemed too far away.


-- Edited by Ravynlee on Wednesday 10th of June 2009 07:44:38 PM


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.



Status: Offline
Posts: 1752

Guard Team \ Scouting Party.

“I didn’t do anything!”

Dean easily held Corey back. If he hadn’t, Corey would’ve been strangling Mark. As it was, he struggled against Dean’s arms, his hands clawing the air a yard from Mark’s face. The dogs, sensing their master’s agitation, strained against their own restraints, barking fiercely.

“The trailer must’ve come loose somehow,” Mark insisted. “Why do you all instantly assume I did something?”

“Right, ‘cause you’re just all about working together most of the time,” Dean drawled. Given his way, he would let Corey maul the kid. He deserved it.

Jill and Wesker stood apart from them, whispering. Davey watched the proceedings with some slight thing akin to amusement. Dean caught his glance and rolled his eyes towards a cringing Mark. Davey smirked.

Wekser headed back to his hut, and Jill came over. Still glaring at Mark, Corey relented in his attack to listen to her. Dean knew better than to release him, but he did relax his grip.

“Obviously we can’t leave the trailer out there.” She seemed to be pointedly making it clear that Amy wasn’t the priority; the trailer was. “But with her out there bleeding all this time, there’s no telling how many zombies it’s attracted. We’re going to have to take a strong team out to get it back. That’ll be me, David, and Dean.”

“I want –” Corey protested.

Jill snapped, “What you want isn’t relevant. Truth is, this is too close to home for you, and I need level-headed people. Besides, you and your dogs are needed here.” Seeing that he was realizing he would be almost alone in the Park with Mark, she sternly added, “And don’t even think about it.”

* * * * * * * * * *

Amy knew exactly what had happened. She should’ve seen it coming – after all, the bastard had stabbed her, and knew she would rat him out when they got back to safe ground. He had to either finish her off or abandon her. Still, she’d hoped Jill would realize he’d loosened the trailer before they made it all the way back to the Park, which they apparently had.

She curled up on her side, propping her head on a two-by-four and keeping the wound elevated. Maybe Jill had realized, and decided to keep driving. She wouldn’t put it past the woman. But Amy took solace in the knowledge that there would be hell to pay when Corey found out about what had happened. He was no idiot – he would know right away that Mark was responsible. And if it crossed Jill’s mind to just leave her, Corey wouldn’t allow it. Whether they knew it yet or not, his pack made him a danger to their group if he wanted to be. If he had to, he could force the point. He wouldn’t let them abandon her. He wouldn’t let …

Something dented the aluminum door of the trailer. Amy jerked up. It was a blessing, really – if she fell unconscious, she would be just a step closer to death. But it was a blessing heavily disguised. It had to mean that her blood had been caught scent of, and now there was at least one zombie out there trying to open his canned food. Amy scooted to the back of the trailer, hand seeking out a weapon and finding a reasonably-sized board with a couple nails sticking out of it.

Fists – or heads, you never knew with the undead – battered the sides of the trailer. Luckily, the sides were steel; the door was the only vulnerable point. The door, and, Amy supposed, the small ventilation holes along the top of the walls that provided her with a little light. But those were probably too high to reach from outside, and she was dubious that a zombie could use them for anything anyway.

There had to be a veritable horde outside by now. The beats were coming more and more often, and the door had already taken more punishment than Amy had previously thought it could take. Guttural growls and moans surrounded her, and she was sitting in a pool of her own blood. It would have been so easy to just give in, to lie down and die.

She roused herself again. No – no, she couldn’t. If she was alone, it would have been different, but Keith and Corey needed her. The Park needed her, like it or not. And becoming one of those things after death just wasn’t an option. Until the door broke down and her makeshift club splintered, she would fight. She would fight … She would … fight …

The next thing she knew, someone was shaking her shoulder, hard. Then there was a searing pain in her side. Her hands clenched into fists and she jerked upright. Jill was cleaning her side with a cloth and a bottle of antiseptic, and looked at her scathingly when she moved. Dean forced her shoulders back down, murmuring something about holding still, and everything being all right. She glimpsed David standing in the doorway, systematically shooting things that had already died twice, before she blacked out again.

* * * * * * * * * *

Waking again in the Park with gauze wrapped around her from waist to hip, Amy heard Jill shouting. Jill always shouted. Then she heard Corey’s voice, apparently arguing back, and Dean’s agreeing with him. The voices became a little clearer.

“…know perfectly well he wasn’t mentally stabile,” came Dean’s.

“He was fine, god dammit! And you know perfectly well that Corey was ready to kill him – leaving them here together was a mistake.”

“It’s not his style, Jill. If Corey had anything to do with it, you think there wouldn’t be dog bite marks on that corpse?”

“He’s not an idiot. He –”

“I don’t even own a motherf*cking gun, all right?!” Corey finally yelled.

Jill fell quiet. Alone, Amy smiled. It was a good feeling, knowing someone always had your back.




Status: Offline
Posts: 1752

On The Road.


Eventually I fell asleep. The humming of the van was actually quite soothing, and the kitten on my lap seemed to put out more warmth than such a little thing should have been capable of. Keith was silent the entire time; I don’t know if I was expecting him to break out in song or what, but he certainly wasn’t interested in entertaining me. I wondered if he, Amy, and Corey talked a lot while they were on the road. It didn’t seem likely, but maybe Keith was only antisocial around other people.


I pulled my boots off, pulled my legs up into the seat as best I could without disturbing the little furry bundle, and rested my head on the door. Before long I had slipped away.


When I woke, all I remembered was that it had been a pleasant dream, and I was pretty sure Dean was in it. I was busy being embarrassed by that fact (which was silly since only I knew) when I realized that the van had stopped, and Keith wasn’t in the driver’s seat, though Rae was still in the back. It was completely dark outside, and the van’s headlights couldn’t even begin to pierce it.


Hurriedly forcing my feet back into my boots, I dropped a shaking hand to the gun Dean had given me. I was practically hyperventilating. Where were my weird instincts now, when I needed them?


A shape appeared by the driver’s side window. I clenched the gun, just about to whip it up and fire through the glass, and future safety be damned, when the door opened and Keith ducked in holding the kitten.


“Corey,” he said with a sigh, “forgot to include the kitten’s litter box. I think he forgets that cats need them because dogs don’t. The poor little guy hardly knew what to do without it.” The ‘poor little guy’ was now sitting between us, gnawing on his front paw. “Sorry I was gone so long.”


“That’s okay.” I managed a weak laugh. “I only just woke up.”


“If you’re hungry, there’s some beef jerky and canned pineapples in the glove compartment. I found them while I was looking for the box, and couldn’t figure out how to cram them back in where they were.”


These had to be the longest, most complete sentences that had come out of Keith’s mouth since I’d met him, but my sudden hunger outweighed my desire to pursue them. I popped open the glove box and pulled out the jerky. The kitten became my best friend as soon as he smelled the meat, and I fed him tiny morsels of it at a time. I noticed he actually wasn’t entirely black; the very tip of his tail had a few white hairs.


“Does he have a name?” I asked, scratching the kitten under his chin.


Keith shook his head. “The only animal we’ve ever named is Corey’s Lady.”


He didn’t have to say that it was because at any time, the animals could become infected or get killed in a fight. Leaving them nameless was a form of protecting their owners’ feelings, and a luxury they didn’t have with people. I sighed through my nose and leaned back in the seat. “How close are we?”


“We’ve made good time. Should be there by noon tomorrow.”


* * * * * * * * * *


It was the morning of the second day on the road.


Breakfast was more beef jerky and an orange for me, and a thermos of coffee for Keith, which explained how he’d stayed awake so long. Rae seemed to be unconscious again, and when I looked at her more closely under the blankets that covered her, I was positive that her stomach had swelled overnight. She finally looked pregnant; she hadn’t before. It disturbed me that it had happened so quickly – that couldn’t be normal – but I was leery of asking Keith’s opinion, considering what had happened to his and Amy’s child. Besides, whatever was inside Rae wasn’t necessarily normal anyway. I couldn’t expect the pregnancy to be.


Around mid-morning, a gas station \ convenience store appeared on the otherwise desolate horizon. Keith instructed me to climb in back and retrieve the gas cans Jill had sent with us, and fill them up while he refueled the van. Once my job was complete, he invited me to check out the store, which seemed to be virtually untouched. Inside, however, it showed signs of looting – surprisingly non-destructive looting – and the freezers were completely gone. I tried to ignore that fact and slipped past the emptiness.


Since we had adequate food for our drive, and didn’t really have room to haul any back to the Park, I decided to be greedy and take some junk food. A small pack of Reese Cups for myself, Kit-Kats for Dean because something told me he would like them, and a pack of M&Ms each for everyone else. Catching sight of a box of dog biscuits, I laughed to myself and picked them up for Corey to give to his dogs. Then I felt guilty for laughing in such a situation.


I took my ‘purchases’ back outside and stashed them in my floorboard. Keith was still filling the van up; its tank must have been enormous.


The area was a strange contrast to the Park’s slightly wooded, riverside location, considering we weren’t really so far away. It was a sandy, dusty wasteland as far as the eye could see. There was another building just visible in the distance, which I assumed to be the surgeon’s clinic.


“There’s nothing alive or dead around here,” I remarked absently.


“Even dead things have common sense,” Keith rumbled darkly. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out he thought of the surgeon as dangerous, and it worried me that he was still the man we were going to for help.


“So what’s this surgeon’s name, anyway?”


“Doc,” he said briefly. “Doc is what I call him. He doesn’t care.”


“He introduced himself as ‘Doc’?” I asked, unimpressed.


“Well. No. He introduced himself as M.”


“Doc M,” I muttered. “Okay. Not weird at all.”


Keith smiled humorlessly and motioned me back into the van.

* * * * * * * * * *


It was a short drive to the doctor’s clinic. I was surprised by the size of the place – it was only one-story, but it sprawled across the desert messily, seeming to be constituted of several buildings with crudely-built hallways between them. And although it was crude, those hallways looked solid.


What surprised me more were the chained-up zombie mutts at regular intervals around the building, which created a nasty perimeter fence of sorts. There were three of them leashed to each stake, and though they looked more or less like normal, drowsy dogs from a distance, when we pulled up closer, they leapt to their feet and began barking and growling insanely.


I was horrified by the predicament. Keith simply parked the van, got out, and sat on the hood. I waited a moment for something, anything, to happen. When it didn’t, I got out too and joined him.


“What the hell is this?” I demanded


Keith pointed to a video camera mounted next to the door. It was pointed right at us. After a moment, the door cracked open and a little girl – no more than eleven – slipped out. She wore a full-length, red-and-white striped dress and her short blonde hair was in pigtails. I wondered wearily when things would begin to make sense.


“Hello, Amelia,” Keith called in a fake sing-songy voice. “Would you kindly tell the good doctor that Keith is here to see him? He’ll remember me. Even if you don’t,” he added, so only I could hear.


The girl – Amelia – looked at him distrustfully but nodded and ran back in. The hellhounds were still going crazy, but they didn’t seem to have even noticed her.


“That was, ah, Doc M’s daughter? Kid sister?” I guessed.


“Not even,” Keith said grimly.


I didn’t bother to ask anything else. After a minute or so, Amelia came back out with another little girl of about the same age, maybe a little older, with an identical dress (except in green) and braided red hair. The two of them headed straight for the hellhounds. I started to automatically pull out my gun, but Keith caught my wrist.


The dogs didn’t even notice the girls. Their attention stayed fixated on Keith and I as Amelia and the other girl walked right up to the stakes they were chained to and pressed a button on each of them, which retracted the leashes and cleared a safe route for us to enter.


“Why don’t the dogs –?”


“Don’t question it.” Keith sighed quietly. “Let’s just go and get this over with.”


Amelia ran back into the building immediately. The red-headed girl stayed outside, watching us walk cautiously between the mutts. Keith noticed her looking and smiled, and kneeled down next to her.


“You remember me, don’t you, Selene?” he asked warmly. She nodded shyly. He laughed and rumpled her hair. “Good to know I’m not completely forgotten.”


She beamed at him, and then glanced towards the van. In a high voice that completely fit her size, she said, “Is Amy with you?”


“Not this time.”


“I liked her.”


“So do I, kid. So do I. Listen, what’s the Doc been up to since last time? No more dangerous … toys … for you and the others?”


“Hm-mm.” She shook her head.


“All right. That’s good. I’ll see you later, okay? We’re kind of in a hurry.”


Selene nodded and waved bye. She watched us go inside. Something about her creeped me out, even though she seemed to be a perfectly ordinary little girl. Maybe that was it – ‘perfectly ordinary’ wasn’t the norm any longer. Still, it made me smile to see giant Keith being protective of such a little girl. He would’ve made such a good father, I thought.


Inside was nice and cool, and the air was fresher than any I’d smelled in a long time. But the atmosphere was misleading; it was also a complete mess. Dust and grime covered every surface, and sand had been thoroughly ground into the beige carpet. The ceiling fans only stirred it all up. A small group of kids were in a corner playing a board game, Amelia among them. She was probably the oldest, and though there were a couple boys, it didn’t escape my attention that most of them were girls. They didn’t even look up when we entered.


“So he runs a frickin’ orphanage too?” I said to Keith quietly.




Status: Offline
Posts: 1752

He just frowned and started down a hall. Amazingly, the further we got from the main entryway, the nastier it got – there were remnants of building projects that seemed to have been abandoned or just not yet completed everywhere. It ranged from a hallway that abruptly ended to a room with only two walls. Boards, buckets of nails, and various carpentry tools littered the place. I was quickly losing what little amount of faith I had in the man when we crossed into what seemed to actually be the hospital section.


There, it was spotless. It was such a startling change, it almost seemed like stepping out of a dream and into reality. It was exactly like a real hospital, albeit a very empty one. Another girl, this one at least sixteen (not so much younger than me, I guessed), was actually sitting behind a desk in a nurse’s uniform. When she looked up and saw us – or, to be precise, saw Keith – she squealed, jumped out of her seat, and ran over to give him a hug. Laughing haltingly, he detached her and held her pointedly at arm’s length. The tenderness he had shown with the younger girls had turned into uneasiness.


“I called the Doctor up and told him you were here,” she enthused, “but he said he was in the middle of something and you’d just have to find him when you came in. Keith, how have you been? Where have you been?”


“Around,” he said weakly. “It’s nice to see you, Erin, but we need to hurry. Where’s the Doc exactly?”


“Oh, he’s off in the East Wing, digging a hole or something silly like that.” She waved a hand dismissively. “But we really should catch up, I have so much to –”


“Really sorry, Erin, gotta run.”


And we practically did run, unfortunately right back into the construction area. Keith’s glower told me I better not say a word, but I couldn’t restrain a tiny giggle. He sighed deeply as if he was about to explain, but then just shrugged helplessly.


We continued on deeper through the war zone-esque area. I had no idea whether Keith knew where we were going, but I wasn’t about to ask. Finally, I heard faint human sounds – humming – and became aware of the fact that we were going down a slight ramp. Soon, the only walls were made of earth, and instead of electrical lights, our way was illuminated by the occasional oil lamp. The humming had gotten louder, and so had the sound of a shovel rhythmically hitting dirt. There was a stretch of darkness where Keith felt along the wall and I held onto him. Then we rounded a corner and I finally saw Doc M.


He stopped humming and turned around to look at us impassively. At least, I took it for impassiveness – it was hard to tell, because his face was obscured by the green-tinted goggles over his eyes and black bandanna around his mouth and nose. His hair, which was the same color as the bandanna, was just long enough to brush his jaw-line. The shovel was rusty and beat-up, and to protect his hands from its splinters, he had wrapped gray rags around his palms. He had a tattered, long brown coat over several other darkly-colored layers of clothing, and equally worn boots.


Not at all my idea of a doctor.


“Doc,” Keith said respectfully.


For a long moment, the doctor stood silent and still. I bothered me that I couldn’t even see his eyes – if I had had that much, at least, I would’ve had some clue as to what was going through his head. Eventually, though, he dropped his shovel, pulled the bandanna down around his neck, and stepped toward us. I couldn’t fathom how he even saw us through the tinted goggles, but apparently he did.


“Well,” he said. “You’re back, are you.” His head turned towards me. “What’ve you done this time? This certainly isn’t Amy.”


“She’s not involved, Doc,” Keith rumbled.


“Then why, pray tell, is she here?” the Doc asked wryly.


“It has to do with a friend of hers –”


“So you go around knocking up friends of teenage girls now?” he said bitingly.


“Doc …” Keith growled.


Doc M snorted as if he couldn’t care less that a man quite a bit bigger was threatening him, and pulled the bandanna back up. He turned to go back to work with his tunnel. Then I realized – he knew we needed him. He knew that whatever was wrong, he was the only one who could help us. And he had no qualms about taking advantage of it.


Keith sighed. “Doc, I came to ask your goddamned help. Are you going to or not?”


“Depends.” His voice was muffled by the bandanna. He swung a shovelful of dirt to the side. “Depends on what you need. Unless you tell me otherwise, I’ll assume it’s the same thing as before. And as you know, I will help you with that.”


I didn’t quite like how he said ‘that’. I couldn’t tell if he emphasized it simply to stress that Keith already knew his answer regarding ‘that’, or to show his distaste of ‘that’. It did seem a little odd that a man living with a bunch of kids would have any particular liking of abortion.


“Sort of,” Keith replied. “I need you to look at a woman and tell me what’s wrong with her. Preferably do something about it if she’s … unwell.”


“I understand. Bring her in. Tell Selene or Amelia to let you in through the West door – it’s closer to the hospital.”


He kept working unconcernedly. Keith and I waited, in case he had anything else to add. When he began humming again, we turned to walk away. We were just about to go back around the corner when the digging and humming stopped, and he called, “Keith!”


We turned. I could see that he had pulled his goggles up onto his forehead, but in the bad lighting, his eyes were merely black recesses.


“How old is the girl?”


Keith was silent a moment before answering, “She’s fine, Doc. Don’t.”


Doc M nodded once, pulled his goggles down, and went back to work. Keith and I continued on through the darkness, up the ramp, and into the construction area.


“What was with that last part?” I asked.


Keith sighed. “The Doc cares about kids in his own way. He doesn’t want you to be hurt. He’s just … a dabbler. In things that don’t necessarily need to be dabbled in.”


I stopped him. “Don’t be so cryptic. I’m not in danger here, am I?”


“Only if the Doc thinks I’ll mistreat you. But it’s not his way to directly intervene – no, he would just make sure you could … defend yourself.” I gave him an impatient go on look. “He would genetically enhance you. In any way he deemed fit. The older kids here, he experiments on – Amelia and Selene are protected from zombies because to the undead, they smell like zombies. But Amelia suffered long- and short-term memory loss, and Selene … well, you’ll notice she walks with a limp. That’s because the flesh of her right leg began to rot off the bone, and the Doc had to amputate and fit her with a prosthetic. A little later, same with her left leg, and then her left arm. Fact is, Selene won’t be alive much longer because of his dabbling.”


“…Oh.” I hesitated. It flashed through my mind that I wouldn’t need any genetic enhancement. “But, you trust him with this?”


“We’ve got no one else to turn to. Besides, he’s proven that he knows what he’s doing in his field – he should just stick to it …”


Selene manipulated the hellhounds and directed us toward the West door, just inside of which waited a gurney. We loaded Rae onto it – I could swear she was even bigger than she had been that morning – and wheeled her in. Selene trailed behind us, and I did notice her limp, as well as the fact that her left sleeve cam down longer than her right one, so that the simplistic three-fingered metal hand was only visible if you looked.


After a short, relatively clear hallway, we entered the hospital area. Doc M stood at Erin’s desk, unwrapping his hands. Erin herself was nowhere to be seen. He still wore his bandanna and green goggles, which looked even more bizarre under the medical, civilized brightness of the fluorescent lights. He looked up and frowned when he saw us.


“What you have is a pregnant woman. I know you didn’t need me to tell you, of all people, that.” But his frown deepened as he came closer. “A very pregnant woman … how far along is she?”


Keith and I exchanged blank looks. The Doc scowled.


“She’s got to be about to pop.” The Doc laid a hand on Rae’s belly. “But there’s something not … You people don’t have a lot of food, do you? Or does she not eat much?”


“We have plenty,” I supplied. “And she’s always seemed to eat fine.”


“Then why,” the Doc raised one of Rae’s arms; it was devoid of absolutely any fat, “is she so damn skinny? It looks like she lost so much weight so quickly, her skin hasn’t been able to keep up.”


“She wasn’t – she hasn’t been like that before,” I stuttered.


“I think – I need – I need to do something right away. Erin!” he shouted, a note of panic in his voice. “Get in here right now! And you,” he flicked his hands at Keith, “you get your giant filthy body out of here. Out, out, out!”


Erin appeared, and Keith was pushed out the door. Doc M pointed to me. “You, you stay. We might need another pair of hands.”


“I’m not any cleaner than Keith –” I protested, but he cut me off curtly.


“Women are by their very nature cleaner than men. Now come.”


He shrugged out of his coat, let it and his bandanna fall onto the floor, and he and Erin rushed Rae’s gurney away. At a loss, I ran after them. It couldn’t be my imagination that Rae’s stomach was actually writhing, as if there was something inside that wanted out, and didn’t care how it got there.


* * * * * * * * * *


The time passed, dream-like. I wanted to forget what I’d seen. I promised whatever god was listening that I would sacrifice all my memory if he would erase the last two hours. Instead, I had it replaying through my head over and over and over again.


The Doc and Erin had raced Rae into an operating room. Neither, it seemed, had time to do more than hastily wash their hands, which I was instructed to do as well, so the hygiene of the area was no doubt compromised. If Rae had been unconscious, she certainly wasn’t anymore. Judging from the amount of profanity coming out Doc M’s mouth, that was a bad thing.


Catching sight of me in the background, she hysterically demanded to know what was going on. I shook my head. I didn’t know. But I hated to not be able to comfort her in any way. The Doc plunged a syringe of some blue liquid into her neck, and she fell back unconscious in a matter of seconds. Seeing Erin arranging medical instruments – most of them bladed – on a cart, I backed against the wall; if they needed another pair of hands at this point, they might just be out of luck.


But when Doc M beckoned me forward to operate a light mounted over the gurney, I moved without thinking to obey. The panicking part of my mind had been forced to the back. It was just as vocal in its complaints and just as loud, but a blank calmness controlled my body. Distantly, I was familiar with the sensation. It was similar to the way I felt when I held Trinity or sought her out, only … safer.


It let me unfeelingly watch the Doc and Erin strip off Rae’s sweater, swab down the area with some sort of disinfectant, and slice a horizontal cut across her abdomen. I didn’t know anything about babies, but the blank feeling kept me from being openly terrified of the thing the Doc ‘delivered’. It wasn’t so much an undeveloped human as a rather small one – a skeletal one with grayish skin and fingers with too many joints. Its eyes were wide open and pitch black, completely pitch black, and its first action in the outside world was to bite down on the Doc’s sleeve, revealing a full set of thin, needle-like teeth. Luckily the many layers of clothing protected his arm, but the action shocked him into dropping it. It landed on its feet, limbs unfolding so that it didn’t look near as small – that, or it was growing even now, right before our eyes – and it snarled at us.


My gun was out and pointed at the thing’s head as soon as it hit the floor. But I hesitated – I wanted to know what it was, how it had come to be, what its potential might be, and all my questions couldn’t be answered if it was dead.


“Shoot the f*cking thing!” the Doc shouted at me, ever the man of science.


He was right, really. It was too much of a danger. Besides, it seemed to be hypnotized, if only briefly, by the barrel of my pistol, and I couldn’t waste the perfect shot. My finger tightened on the trigger –


“No … please …” a weak voice whispered.


For an absurd second I thought the thing had spoken. Then I realized it was Rae, and because I was there for her, I unthinkingly lowered my gun. The moment passed, I realized my error, and whipped the pistol back up – just in time to see the thing disappearing around the corner.


Erin!” the Doc snapped, giving chase. “Stitch her up. And you, come with me.” He jerked his head at me.


My protective blank feeling was starting to ebb away, but I followed behind him. I wasn’t sure where he’d got it from, but a rifle was in his hand. I knew he had no intention of letting the thing live if he caught it, and because it was plainly Rae’s wish that her … child … survive, I concocted a hasty plan to stop him. There would be no talking sense into him. I had to do what I had to do.


“There!” I shouted, raised my gun, and shot the Doc carefully in the shoulder.


As expected, he stopped. He cursed my idiocy. He made me give him my gun. He told me that the blood of the people that thing killed would be on my hands. I reacted the way I guessed I would have if I actually had hit him by accident – with shame and horror – and on the inside, I gloated at how well my plan was working. Eventually, the impact of what I had done hit me, and I was ashamed and horrified.


Moving more slowly and awkwardly clutching his rifle in his other hand, the Doc continued. Again, I followed, even though I was unarmed (except for the throwing stars that I had no idea how to throw) and probably couldn’t be much help. We now had no idea where the thing was. The good part was that we didn’t hear any little girls screaming. After moving into the part of the hospital the Doc told me was meant for the children, what we did hear was, in a way, even worse.


“Hello,” said a tiny voice. “I haven’t seen you before. What’s your name?”


Doc M froze, and I nearly bumped into him. “That’s Amelia,” he breathed. “Oh God. She – she doesn’t know any better. Oh, God no.”


We followed her voice quickly but quietly down the empty halls. “Can’t you talk? … Well, my name is Amelia. I’m pleased to make you acquaintance.” She sounded so prim and proper – I wonder if the Doc had taught her to talk that way. “This is the kid’s section, you know. Are you sure you’re a kid? You’re awful tall.”


It had grown taller. Even crouching in front of the little girl, it was head and shoulders over her. It had to be bigger than Keith, though its limbs were still bone-thin. And it still had gray skin and black eyes – how could the girl think she was talking to a human being? But she merely squinted up at it curiously. I thought that perhaps it was giving her the same look.


Doc M hefted his rifle in his weaker hand and walked straight into the room. I stayed in the doorway, fascinated.


Amelia and the thing looked up at the same time. The thing stood to its full height and stared down at the Doc, as if daring him to try and hurt it. It very nearly had to duck its head just to fit in the room, but the Doc pointed his rifle up at its forehead steadily. What Keith had said was true – he did care about the children he lived with. Either that or he had a death wish, and Amelia being in danger was a convenient way to go about fulfilling it.


But Amelia plainly wasn’t in danger – in fact, she leaped in between Doc M and the thing, whining, “Don’t hurt it, M!”


“You don’t understand, Amelia,” he said patiently. “This … beast would kill you for no reason. It –”


“How do you know?” I hissed.




“How do you know?” I insisted. “Look around – look at this room.”


I had just noticed what the room was filled with: the freezers from the store. Inside, among other things, were gallons and gallons of milk. And the thing had been right next to one of them, while Amelia was closer to the door. Obviously she had come in on it, not the other way around.


“I think it’s just … thirsty. Or hungry, whichever is more appropriate,” I finished. “I mean, technically, it is a newborn.”


As if to confirm what I’d said, the thing slid its feet back towards the freezers. Its long fingers looped around the handle of one door and opened the, then wrapped around a half-gallon of whole milk. Once it had its prize in hand, it crouched in front of the freezer – the Doc’s gun following its head as it went – and ripped the top off. Keeping its unfathomable eyes on us, it began to drink.


“Amelia? Amelia, get out.” Doc M pushed her out and backed out himself. He didn’t lower the gun until the door was closed and locked. Then he turned to me. “You better be f*cking right.”


The Doc sent me back to the operating room while he took Amelia back to the other kids. Erin had stitched Rae up, but she wasn’t resting peacefully. When I went into the room, she tried to struggle up into a sitting position, ignoring Erin’s admonishments to stay on her back.


“Trinity? Trinity, did they – is – ?”


“It’s alive,” I said faintly.


She smiled and relaxed again. She has to be delusional, I thought. Then again, they say nothing’s stronger than a mother’s love – and whatever the thing is, it is Rae’s child.


The Doc came into the room. Erin went immediately into a tizzy over his bleeding shoulder, but he brushed her off and even handed me back my gun. “How’s the mother?” he asked tiredly.


“Oh, she was fine as soon as the girl came in.” She apparently hadn’t registered the brief conversation between Rae and I. “What happened to –?”


“I’m fine,” he said. “Did you test the mother for infection?”


“Of course.” Erin sounded offended. “She isn’t infected. Actually she’s perfectly healthy, just undernourished.”


“Well she would be,” the Doc muttered, “with that thing sucking the life out of her.” He looked at me with a slightly crazed spark in his eye. Only then did I notice he had lost his goggles at some point; under clouds of cataracts, his eyes were so dark they seemed black. “Did you see the way that thing grew? I’ve never seen – that fast –”


He winced, closed his eyes, and rubbed his shoulder. “It’s staying here, obviously. The mother can go. What will you tell Keith? It might be simpler to lie, say it was normal but it died.”


“I – I hadn’t thought about it.” I didn’t know if Rae would be willing to leave it, anyway. Once she came to her senses, surely she would want to leave and try to forget the monstrosity, but what if she never came to her senses? Or, worse, what if she did, but still didn’t want to be parted?


“Well, think about it. Erin, help me with this.”


I left discreetly as she started to bandage his shoulder. Since then I had been wandering the facility. Praying to a god I didn’t believe in. Trying to decide if I should lie to Keith. Finally I settled on telling him but keeping the others in the dark – letting them believe the child had been born ordinary but stillborn. If they found out Rae’s child was … mutated, they would assume Rae was, but according to the Doc’s tests, she was fine. I frowned. That surely meant that the father must have had some latent infection – and I was assuming David was the father.


That made him even more of a loose cannon.


* * * * * * * * * *

-- Edited by Jess on Thursday 11th of June 2009 09:01:07 AM




Status: Offline
Posts: 1752

Eventually I found Keith, waiting for me at Erin’s desk. He raised an eyebrow; I shook my head, exhausted; that was the extent of our conversation. I was incredibly glad he was the one with me – anyone else would’ve pressed me for details. He was content to wait until I was ready.


We sat with our backs resting against the desk. I leaned my head against his arm and dozed, too much adrenalin still pounding through me to really sleep. Restless, I straightened up and asked, “Keith? Is the Doc blind?”




“Then how the hell does he perform accurate surgery?”


Keith waved his fingers. “Magic hands,” he said with a smirk, then amended, “Mental images of the various states of the human body, I would assume. He told Amy – ‘cause she asked the same thing – that he wears dark glasses so he feels completely blind most of the time. That way when he takes them off it seems like he can see better.”


That made sense, in a way. Though it made me wonder why he had had any lighting at all in the tunnel he had been digging – for Erin or anyone else who went down there? It helped keep my mind off what I’d seen, which was a relief. Not a lasting relief though – soon, Doc M and Erin came out of the operating room and walked slowly down the hall towards us. When they got close, Keith and I stood.


The Doc’s head turned toward me. Though still missing his goggles, he wore totally black sunglasses. “Are you going to tell him or shall I?”


“You tell him. The truth. I’m – I’ll go sit with Rae.”


I shuffled away, not wanting to hear the story told. I’d lived it, and that was enough. The thing dominated my mind, as if it was creeping along behind me instead of securely – presumably – locked away. I was almost positive it wasn’t malevolent; even biting the Doc made a twisted kind of sense. Most babies cry when they’re first born – it just happened to have a different initial reaction. But still, something so large and so easily dangerous couldn’t be regarded as a harmless baby.


Rae slept. Sitting in a corner of the room with my knees pulled up against my chest and my pistol – safety on – in one hand, I was able to sleep as well.

«First  <  1 2 3 4 510  >  Last»  | Page of 10  sorted by
Quick Reply

Please log in to post quick replies.

Tweet this page Post to Digg Post to Del.icio.us

Create your own FREE Forum
Report Abuse
Powered by ActiveBoard