~ Welcome to Quills ~

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

~ ModMother / The Cougar ~


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


Disinfectant. Bleach. Bright lights. I fluttered my eyes open with a wince. I didn’t know where I was or recognise the room I was in. Fear gripped my stomach. It felt like it was being squeezed by an icy cold fist. The room around me resembled something of a hospital ward, one just as they had been before the war. I wasn’t comforted at that thought at all. I had already been tricked by my mind into believing in things that didn’t turn out to be real - so I lay there stiffly. Every muscle was clenched in apprehension as I slowly looked around. I didn’t know if I were dreaming any of this or if it was indeed real. Catching sight of a figure curled up in a chair against the wall I caught my breath. I held it. I waited for some sign, some indication of him to unfurl from the darkness like he had been of late, waiting for him to sit there and laugh at me and mock my helpless state. My fear was overtaken by another sharp sensation below my stomach. Gingerly I lifted the blankets. Again I winced.

“Rae?” a voice asked. 

I turned my head towards it. It wasn’t Rob. Thankfully.

“Trinity,” I said. The word came out in syllables. I sounded more exhausted than I actually felt. Briefly returning my attentions to the bandage taped across my lower half I reached down to touch it. I grimaced and clenched my teeth. Yep, that was real. God damn it.

“How- how are you?” she asked me.

I thought hard a moment before I lowered the blanket and smoothed it back down. Slowly I relaxed against the pillows. Though I was still anxious I felt physically spent. I felt as if I’d been running non-stop for days. I didn’t even know what day it was anymore. I pushed out a heavy breath and slowly closed my eyes. Things suddenly came to me then; flashes, screaming, I didn’t know what, if any of it, was a figment of my imagination, triggered by stress or fever, or real. I shrugged. It probably came across like some involuntary spasm. Then my chin quivered. Tears stung behind closed lids. I sniffled. The sound echoed into time and space without rival.

“What happened?” I asked her. 

I bit my inner lip. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to hear what she had to tell me. As it was Trinity seemed hesitant about answering. Amid the silence I heard her garments rustle as she shifted off her chair. Her joints creaked. She’d obviously been sitting there like that for some time. I peeled open my eyes to look at her.

Trinity smiled. It was a strange gesture. It was amusing to think in the short amount of time I’d come to ‘know’ her that I couldn’t ever recall seeing that particular look on her face – then again, what reason had she or any of us to feel particularly ‘happy’ I wondered. I lay there feeling like a 5 years old looking up at a stranger for some promise of comfort in lieu of loved ones. She just continued to look at me, or not look at me, as an uncomfortable silence elapsed. Then I caught sight of the chain around my neck. Absentmindedly I picked it up between my fingers to get a better look at it. In my head I could still hear screaming. As I did so I closed my eyes again, squeezing the small pendant in my fist. I was shaking.

“What do you remember?” Trinity asked me.

I struggled to breathe, caught on that precipice between wanting to burst into hysterics or curl up inside of myself and hide. The scents of the gauze bandage and disinfectant was so strong I was practically gagging. Hunger gnawed away at my stomach. I was starving, quite literally, but something horrific was preventing me the luxury of having an appetite.

“The baby,” I mumbled.

Trinity hesitated. I didn’t look at her. Instead I stared across the foot of the bed. I saw nothing but sterility and blandness which seemed to glow in the severe fluorescent lighting. Out of the corner of my eye I could see her studying me. She frowned and looked down at the bedside. 

“I’m… sorry,” she told me.

I nodded. My lips moved but didn’t actually say anything. With a sniff I closed my eyes and pretended to go back to sleep. I didn’t. I lay there watching myself screaming in my memories for something small and grey in the doctor’s arms. I saw its black eyes staring back vacantly. A shudder ripped through me. Dead. Jill had been right all along. Better dead than the alternative…


I met the doctor, Doc M, just once, briefly. Robed in his dusty brown coat and layers of dark clothes he nodded at me, seeming to dismiss my utterance of thanks, though for what I had no real recollection of. He watched as Trinity led me out of the room without doing or saying a thing to assist us. He stood beside some young, bubbly girl in a nurse’s outfit – she didn’t look old enough to be wearing it with any authority I thought, more like some overgrown kid playing dress ups – and something that sent an eerie shudder through me – the ‘doctor’ didn’t say one word. He certainly didn’t look like a doctor I thought, in his muddy boots and dark glasses. And again came this impression I was caught up in some crazy nightmare where random facets from every horror movie I’d ever watched had all culminated together to create this ultra realistic and terrifying ‘reality’ for my brain to work its way around – but the pain in my stomach, beneath the bandage was all too grounding. As I shuffled through the dusty corridors I got the distinct impression of defensiveness emanating from this apparent saviour. Though Keith, and in her own way Trinity, seemed to regard him as a kind of reverent overseer, I couldn’t help but feel this Doc was keeping something from me, that with his silent glower behind those impenetrable lenses he was all but daring me to challenge him to reveal it. I couldn’t. The truth was I didn’t want to. I was too distracted by what I saw to really get a bearing on anything. Dirty corridors. Grime. Decay. The further we ‘walked’ away from the hospital ward the less sanitary things became. All of this of course only further heightened this sense of dissociation I felt caught up in. Nothing seemed real. It all felt… wrong to me. This whole place with its fetid stench and unkempt look made me think of the trenches in some world war. I knew though that we weren’t underground, despite the lamps that intermittently shone the way. Through tiny slivers in the wall I could see light, daylight. I couldn’t see enough to know what lay outside beyond the walls but some innate sense in me told me we weren’t near The Park anymore. No this place was alien. It was more than that, it just felt… wrong. Seeing the face of a child in a doorway my step faltered as I passed. She had red hair tied back in a braid. Her dress was green. She looked up at me and smiled in an innocent and endearing way. I didn’t remember the last time I’d laid eyes on a child, it had been so long. My throat closed up. My expression buckled. After losing a child, seeing another just hit home with agonizing precision. 

“Come on,” Keith urged, sliding a huge arm around me.

Outside the glare of the noonday sun was relentless. Though it took a moment to get used to after spending god-only knew how long in darkness, I raised a hand and squinted up at it, at the gloomy sky, as if seeing it for the first time. No matter where I looked I saw nothing but red sand and sky. The world around us had died. It somehow seemed apt.

“Let’s go, Rae. Get in,” Trinity urged me.

I surveyed the area until my eyes came to rest on the building we had just come from. Tucked away in shadow I could still see the menacing figure of the doctor standing inside, watching. A cold chill possessed me as my hand lowered to my side. Wind was skipping across the sand dunes, making a hissing noise as grains struck against the side of the building and the van. Hearing dogs bark I balked. After a parting glance I stepped inside the back of the van as the door slid closed with a slam.



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

We drove for what seemed like days without anyone speaking. There was nothing but the incessant howl of the wind that seemed to have sprung up out of nowhere hissing and shoving about the van. It sounded like the whispers and moans of the billions dead were chasing us, trying to force us to join them. I lay in the back, across the drawn up back seat, staring at the vehicle’s ceiling as shadows and lights played across it. Going against apparent orders I refused to take it easy and get some rest on the air mattress, preferring the worn leather and shot springs that dug into my back and screamed at every bump in the road to the air mattress. Though I couldn’t bring myself to admit to the reasons why, neither Keith nor Trinity seemed ready to argue with me. Something about their shifting gaze and awkward smiles made me feel uncomfortable. Curled up on the leather I nursed my stomach feeling the emotions tug and slide off my face. As hard as I tried not to, all I kept thinking about was those few split-seconds of chaos and agony of my labour. It had all been for nothing. I was going ‘home’ with nothing. I should have been happy enough to have been going anywhere but in truth I wasn’t. The last fractured piece of my humanity cracked and fell away as I lay there swallowed up in my grief. There were no words of comfort or consolation forthcoming from the other two in the front.

We drove.

We could have been driving into the mouth of hell itself and I wouldn’t have noticed, I thought.

I was wrong.


I slept. Whether a side-effect of the sedatives, or the shock still lingering from the days’ trauma, or a side-effect from the hypnotic sway of the vehicle itself, I awoke still feeling groggy and a tad dissociated from my surrounds. This feeling of not being able to discern reality from some dream-like state weighed me down, pressing about my head and shoulders like a physical force. I didn’t think myself fortunate I hadn’t ‘seen’ Rob again upon waking; more begrudging the fact it would only be a matter of time the way things had been going. In a way I no longer feared these ‘visions’ if indeed that’s what they were, rather I feared not having them, as if my psychosis was of some comfort to me, and it was just one more loss I was forced to endure now on top of everything else. In a fugue-like state I pulled myself up and looked around. The van around me was empty. I was alone.

We were parked beside some gas pump that looked so old I doubted it gave out anything other than rust. Hearing a small mew I looked around. Again, for a few minutes, I thought I must have been crazy. Then I saw it, a tiny little black head peering up at me from the floor. I frowned down at it. Alarm bells went off inside of my head.

What if it’s infected, I panicked.

Opening its pink mouth with a silent mew it wandered towards my ankle and rubbed itself against me. I jerked my leg up, knocking the little thing out of the way. It cried out. Instantly I bowed down to touch it. I hesitated. I looked up. Where were the others?

With a wince I rubbed at my stomach. The wound ached and I couldn’t ignore it. Realising that it had to fend for itself, the kitten resourcefully clawed at the leather until it managed to pull itself up. Padding over towards me it rubbed itself against my thigh. I internalised a grimace behind a faint smile. It was cute – but it was helpless. And it only served to remind me of my past before all of this… I couldn’t even continue with that way of thinking, the kitten demanded my attention. It padded at my stomach that seemed distended now beneath the jersey with its little black paws. I scoffed in wonder. Was it true animals really could sense things? Not that it mattered anymore… Despite my earlier reservations I found myself stroking it. Comfort seemed to settle with every touch of its ratty coat. It purred. I smiled down at it. Lucky, I thought. You’re lucky to still be alive when everyone else, both human and beast are all dead, or half-dead. In my head I heard a voice chiding me, something cold and detached about eating it. I shook my head and picked the cat up. Who would want to hurt such a defenceless-?

“What- was that?” I balked. 

Something sounded as if it had crashed beside the van. I winced. Though it jerked at my stitches to move I shuffled closer to the front of the van. I strained to see out through the windscreen. Nothing but dirt streaming past. Something rusty was creaking. Something heavy thudded to a slam on worn hinges. Where the hell were we, I wondered, Mars?

Pushing the kitten aside I struggled through between the front seats, tucking my forearm against my stomach. Every slight twist and turn felt like a knife stabbing into me. I grit my teeth and struggled to sink sideways onto the off-driver’s seat. Packets of empty food littered the floor and was scattered across the dash. I turned my head and squinted out through the window towards the front of a building. Its rust-coloured walls and grey monochromatic signs had been stripped bare by the wind and the sand. The kitten mewed alone on the back seat. It looked so fragile and scared.

“Don’t worry,” I grimaced as I delicately rotated my legs to face towards the door. “I’ll be right back. Promise.” 

I didn’t think it strange to converse with the cat as though it were human. I had, in my former life, lived with two moggies who had been in many ways my surrogate children… Swallowing a dry choking lump in my throat, I pulled the neckline of my jumper up over the lower half of my face and twisted the handle. The door swung open. The wind threatened to wrench it from the vehicle. I struggled to close it as debris was swept from the cabin and scattered to the winds. The door slammed. The van rocked. Rusty signs for gas screamed on weathered hinges. I squinted beneath my raised palm and struggled to orient myself. A storm was brewing, the kind I’d only ever seen on the Discovery Channel back home. Hearing what sounded like a gunshot I froze, sunk and almost screamed at my own stupidity. A hand clutched to my stomach. Stitches tore. I struggled not to scream into the howling wind. God damn it all, for the love of-!

The sound of the front door slamming against its buttress lured me forward. I hurried through the dust and made my way inside. The store sat in shadow before me. It stunk of old wares, oil, and stale air. I didn’t smell death in here, but given the amount of wind howling around outside it was possible the stench could have been carried away… I grimaced and shuffled inside. 

Shelves were still standing. Dust coated windows that for the most part were still intact. The Coca Cola signs at the back wall were dusty but still hanging as they had been. The general order of what should have been a looter’s paradise unnerved me. All that was missing was the people, oddly enough a few upright freezers – and the cleaner. Seeing footsteps tracked through trails of red dust in front of me I followed – and stopped. I swooned in relief. Chocolate! I hadn’t eaten any in… months! Without thinking I snatched up a bar and tore into it. I scoffed it down like a parched man to water. I fast downed another. My chest burned with indigestion but to hell with it, I started ripping into a third just to prove some masochistic point before more sounds against the howling wind stopped me. I froze. My eyes darted around the shadows. It was only now that it suddenly occurred to me this whole thing may have been some kind of trap and I’d stupidly walked straight into it…With a loud gulp I swallowed down my mouthful of sweet dairy goodness before stashing the rest inside my pocket. My heart was pounding, the adrenalin riding on the heels of a sudden sugar rush. I didn’t stop to think as I walked down an isle, shoving another fistful or two of candy into my pockets. The lure of food was too good to pass up, and god only knew when I’d ever have the chance to-

“Drop it,” a voice said.



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

With my hands full I slowly raised my fists. Chocolate bars clattered to the floor. I heard a sharp click behind me. I thought, for an instant, of the health warnings of the past, that chocolate in particular was no good for your health. I internalised a scoff and shook my head. Of all the things to die for…

“She’s not armed,” a voice said. A female voice. Familiarity.

“Trinity?” I gasped. I turned my head. The butt of a gun poked me in the back of my head. In my peripheral vision I saw movement. Trinity stormed up and slapped my assailant’s arm away.

“She’s one of yours?” the man began to say.

Without thinking I swung back and drove my elbow into his face. The man choked on alarm probably more so than pain. The pistol clattered to the floor. Trinity snagged my arm to catch me. I glared at her. 

“Welcome back,” she smirked.

Still riding the shock and adrenalin all I could do was glare back at her, huffing on my breaths as my shoulders slowly began to loosen. Keith appeared too in my peripheral vision and just seemed to snort in amusement, his expression never really giving anything away. It was with reluctance I drew my arm away from Trinity’s grip enough to stand beside her. I turned in time to see the man retrieving his pistol from the floor. He stood upright and sheathed his weapon back inside his holster. When he looked at me I thought for a second I was seeing things again – I probably gasped. The man’s brow knitted together briefly. His eyes looked me over with suspicion.

“Do I know you?” he wondered.

I shook my head. My forehead was suddenly killing me. I cupped it and rubbed it with the palm of my hand. I was shaking again. I was feeling… ill again too.

“Jesus Christ, she’s pregnant?” The man declared.

I looked down at my forearm pressed defensively against my stomach. Delicately I pulled my arm away. Blood was seeping in a fine line through my jersey. I looked up at Trinity and huffed in fear.

“Relax,” Keith said, pushing his way in between them to stand before me. “You’ve probably just torn your stitches. Come on, we’d better get you cleaned-”

No sooner had he spoken it than we heard a sudden thump on the wall – it sounded to be coming from outside the store. Four sets of eyes turned towards it. Everyone of us wore the same fearful expression on our faces.

“Maybe that’s just the wind,” someone said.

Someone else grunted in disagreement.

“No,” Trinity said, stepping closer towards it. 

We heard a scraping noise followed by another thud. Then we heard what sounded like a moan. Panic set in. We started to draw back away from one another, spreading out, as if standing too close would somehow make us easier targets.

“That’s not the wind,” Trinity continued. Then, as if we needed the commentary she added, “They’ve found us. Zombies. How is that possible?”

“They’re all over this place,” the other guy said.

He smeared his face with his forearm as if the effort of speaking had caused him to suddenly perspire. Again, in the strange shadow, in the half light, I turned my head to the side and squinted at him, affronted by the tricks my mind was able to play as I saw this man taking on the form of someone else. Seeming to sense me staring at him or maybe as an afterthought for the brusque interlude of moments ago, he nodded at me and extended his hand.

“Mike,” he said.


“Rae?” he repeated, eyebrows raised. “You going to stand there staring at me or you going to get your gear out?”


“I told you she was unarmed,” Trinity grunted, grabbing me by the bicep to drag me backwards away from the wall. 

Mike huffed and rammed a fist into his rucksack. Snatching out a pistol he snapped open the chamber, squinted inside it, and then with a sharp click snapped the chamber back into place.

“Then what good is she?” he grumbled under his breath. My jaw locked. I didn’t have time to retaliate. Extending a hand he held the pistol out towards me. “You know how to use this?” he asked. I nodded. “Good,” he said, shaking it for me to take it. Eventually I did. “Consider it an apology,” he said, shrugging the knapsack onto his back.

I stared at the pistol then back at him as he began to wander across the store, following the wall. I turned my attentions aside to Trinity. She raised her shoulders and turned her head to the side with a pout. I frowned at her. At first I didn’t catch on. When I did I scowled back as if offended. She winked. Keith, ever the level headed one, strode between us, intercepting the exchange.

“They must have smelled the blood,” he said, his baritone drowning out another one of those thumping, moaning sounds.

“Yeah,” Mike grunted, “No thanks to your friend over there.”

No one spoke. The wind continued to howl. The dead were out there, shuffling, feeling their way blindly amidst it. There was only a matter of time before they made their way to the door. Trinity wrapped her fingers around the barrel of my pistol and shook her head.

“I know what you’re thinking,” she said. She gave Mike a dour glance. “Save the bullet.” She smirked. 

Eventually, and without meaning it, I smirked too. Though the gesture was weak it took the edge off knowing any second we were about to be confronted by the natures cruellest paradox; the walking dead, yet again. There seemed no end to the amount of them out there.

Wrapping my arm about my abdomen I grit my teeth and closed my eyes. In my head I could hear myself screaming again, I could see a flash of grey, a flash of black soulless eyes… I shook my head to push the thoughts away. Crazy thoughts, I scolded. Crazy thoughts will only get you killed.


-- Edited by Ravynlee on Saturday 13th of June 2009 01:11:17 AM


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

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

~ ModMother / The Cougar ~


Status: Offline
Posts: 2990

“Come on,” Trinity said, grabbing me by the bicep again to urge me to follow. “We have to get you back to the van. They won’t be able to smell you in-”

Before she even had a chance to finish speaking the door slammed open and something lurched in the doorway. A gunshot blast exploded the stillness. I screamed. At least, I think it was meant to be a scream. Startled, I froze. My shoes skidded across the dusty boards. Trinity, with almost superhuman strength, dragged me onward, trailing scuffmarks behind me like I wasn’t any kind of physical anchor. I didn’t even have time to react. Another series of gunshot blasts echoed in the tight confines before the first zombie slumped and fell face first inside. Keith shuffled forward and began shoving the door to a close, pushing the zombie’s head to a progressive right angle until it was flush against its shoulder. Mike continued shooting, rounding on the open door as Keith continued to close it.

“Mike! Is there a back room, an office, something-” Trinity barked at him.

Mike swung his head between recoils. “Office. Back left! Left!”

“I heard you!” Trinity snapped back. “Come on,” she urged me. 

I shook my head. I tried to argue I wasn’t helpless that I knew how to shoot and they needed another set of hands, but Trinity wasn’t one for listening. Though she was tiny she moved me with apparent ease. I wanted to think it was adrenalin kicking in, but something inside of me seemed wary of her sudden air of authority. Something told me she knew what she was doing when it came to battle. She was too young to be a trained soldier but everything about her, even the stern angle of her brow, reminded me of one. I allowed myself to be led frowning back at her out of the corner of my eye. Fighting back didn’t seem a feasible option I realised. Bursting through a closed door we emerged in a room, it looked no bigger than a walk-in robe, featuring little more than a paper-strewn desk, filing cabinets and a bookcase choked with dusty books and ring binders. 

“Stay here,” Trinity ordered.

I shook my head and started forward. I winced. My abdomen was bleeding more than it should have been. Reluctantly I pulled my arm away. Blood had soaked through the material and now coated my sleeve and part of my exposed forearm. Trinity swore. I wanted to follow suit. I couldn’t. I was shifting gears between invincible to down right terrified. As if lured a sudden thump against the wall startled us. Behind dust-choked Venetian blinds human silhouettes loomed. Zombies were pressed against the window, smearing their rotting faces against the glass. Their moans were loud and desperate. Mike or whatever his name was had been right. They could smell me. The wind had been carrying my scent across the land towards them. I was as good as beacon going off for the walking dead for god-only-knew how many miles. There was no way of knowing just how many were out there now and how many more were coming. At this realisation I almost sobbed. My bladder threatened to lose its contents right then and there. Absently I snatched for Trinity’s shoulder in lieu of actual words. I knew in some logical way that either way I went, whether I made it to the van or not, I was bringing the enemy right to us and they wouldn’t stop until the bleeding did.

“Jesus Christ,” Trinity grumbled. 

Her face was pinched in bitterness. Rather than say anything I stood there leaning against the front of the desk holding my stomach. Trinity reached over her head and ripped her turtleneck off. She ordered I do the same with my bloodied jersey. Motioning me to stand upright she used the turtleneck as a tourniquet, wrapping it around my stomach. She told me to take a deep breath but I practically screamed when with a jerk she wrenched the sleeves together in a knot. My stitches, those that were left, seemed to rip like the rest. She told me to hold it and muttered something about getting Keith. I slumped to my knees the second she left. The pistol looked like an inviting prospect. I picked it up from where it had fallen and turned it around to stare down into it. The pistol exploded. A bullet struck the wall above the window. I didn’t even have time to see Trinity snatch the weapon from my fingers. Rather than say anything she shook her head at me. For a second she reminded me of David… My eyes sank guiltily to the floor.

“We have to get her the hell out of here,” Trinity said. Mike seemed to emerge out of nowhere. “I knew it was a bad idea taking her out of that place so soon but oh no, doctor knows best my ass! Where the hell has Keith-?”

“Something about a cat,” Mike snapped. 

He glowered around as he spoke while his hands snapped the clip from his pistol. He loaded it with bullets from his pockets. He stared at the shapes moving on the other side of the window as he fed them in, one by one. When his attention turned to me his face buckled.

“What the f**k-?”

“She’s just lost her baby,” Trinity said, sinking to a crouch before me. “You could show a little decency.”

“I’m sorry,” Mike muttered. The magazine snapped back in exaggeratedly loud in the boxy confines. “I’m sorry you’re about to get us all fu*king killed while we’re at it. Yeah, you heard me! I don’t know whether you’re aware of it or not but you’re friend here’s a fu*king magnet for those things out there!”

Trinity shot to her feet. Though Mike was taller, and arguably better built than she was, the young woman gave the stranger a death stare like a woman twice her size. Though it was impressive it was also fleeting. Keith burst through the door out of breath and with his arms waving the air in front of him. Dust swirled as it fell in clouds of red from his jacket. All I caught were the words ‘dust storm’ and ‘zombies’ – the rest seemed irrelevant. I zoned out to the panic as I watched a tiny black head peering out from the big man’s pocket. With a tiny mew the kitten shook its head, a fine powder of red flying from its black fur. I smiled limply. Lucky indeed. The banging continued outside and seemed to get louder as did the wind around it. Pretty soon shadows were dropping unnaturally fast. The dust storm was upon us and so too were the countless dead outside all chomping at the bit quite literally to get inside – to me.



-- Edited by Ravynlee on Saturday 13th of June 2009 02:03:11 AM


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

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

~ ModMother / The Cougar ~


Status: Offline
Posts: 2990


The service station was in surprisingly good repair as darkness fell. Whether it was night now or the storm had not yet passed us, we sat in the gloom, penetrated only by a single beam of torchlight, as the wind continued to moan and howl around us. Conversation was sparse. It was hard to combat the noise coming from outside. The dead were still out there, we could hear the incessant thumping and scratching against the walls and glass but for now at least the elements were doing their job in keeping much of the noise covered. It left an anxious atmosphere brewing inside the store as we exchanged wan and wary glances in place of actual words.

Time passed slowly. I spent much of it staring at the Coors clock hanging above the register, watching the seconds clack by but seemingly in silence. It amazed me that despite the fact the world had ended the clock, and the time it marked, continued on without flinching. It made me wonder about the future of the human race in comparable terms. I sighed. Keith kept himself entertained with his kitten as Trinity either paced or stood around at the various windows or doors on high alert. Though what furniture could be moved had been positioned across most entry points we were all as wary of caging ourselves in as we were locking the enemy out. Gaps were left here and there for weapons to patrol and to keep a look out – not that there was anything to see in the darkness and the flying sand. On the edge of some upturned produce crate Mike, the newcomer, sat preparing his weapons. His back pack seemed to contain a modest assortment of guns each wrapped in a towel or some such to stop the triggers from catching, and a few knives that would have left David envious. As we watched with varying degrees of apathy Mike continued to load, empty and reload each of his weapons, resorting to cleaning them when he seemed appeased they were battle ready. It was obvious he needed something to do; his hands I noticed, always seemed to be moving. In his past life, before the war, he could have been a musician of some sort, or an artist, or both. Though he looked to be of some sort of Asian descent, it was his dark eyes, his brooding frown, and the wispy beard that looked like an overgrown goatee that caught my attentions. In the strange light I stared at him amused by the notion he could have resembled anyone else, but still I couldn’t stop staring. And thinking.

“So what’s your story?” Trinity asked eventually. 

It was inevitable the inquisition begin at some point but it didn’t matter where we went or who we came across in our travels, all of us that had survived generally had the same basic stories to tell. Mike was no different. He was nothing, if not obscure about the details. He came from the West Coast. He was alive, his wife was not. His friends and family were zombies. He was here because he didn’t want to be there. Even as he spoke I saw things, every nuance, every tiny spasm to his face, or slight quaver to his curt tone, reminded each of us in some way of the past we had escaped just to get here. Mike himself appeared emotionless about the whole event. He was comfortable with public speaking even if he had apparently survived this far on his own. He didn’t look old but nor did he look young. Maybe it was his beard that threw me or the wrinkles that gathered in the corners of his eyes as he sat frowning down at his handgun. I saw the golden band gleaming on his finger but could only turn my eyes away from it. He struck me as the kind of man who would shoot his wife to save her the horror of turning into one of those things but not have the heart to join her – and no sooner had I thought that than he was looking at me.

“What about you?” he said, raising his chin towards me.

We could have been kids sitting around at camp telling ghost stories save for the obvious surrounds. I shrugged. I looked up at Trinity and Keith as if urging either one or both to silently jump in and offer to spare me. To my dismay neither one did. It seemed, in the absence of anything better to do, all there was left was to sit and talk or listen. With a heavy sigh I shrugged back at him.

“I was here… on a holiday. Some holiday… Been saving my whole life to get here. Then, the war happened,” I said. My gaze burned vacantly into the distance. My face was limp and slack from untapped or too much emotion. “There was a guy who saved me. His name was Rob. He was… with a bunch of other people. They saved me and a few others from this place we were staying at…We met others along the way. After a while we were down to just the three of us, me and him and… this other guy. One day we were getting supplies. He got bit. That night he turned. He turned on me… We left,” I said. The force of my angst seemed to close my throat shut. I cleared it in order to carry on. “Then, we met these guys… eventually. Here we are.”

“Uh hu,” Mike nodded. He seemed to take my vagueness in his stride. “So what about the kid. Was it normal or not?”

I struggled to swallow let alone respond. Trinity spun on her heels to glare at him. Keith, ever the gentleman, merely looked up from the kitten in his lap to raise and lower his brows in admonishment. 

“I’m just asking,” Mike shrugged. I could tell by the smirk on his face he was intrigued by our, or more precisely, Trinity’s sudden reaction. “I’d heard stories on the road,” he said. “This gas they dropped… it f*cked us up in some strange ways. It’s not unlike that Agent Orange sh*t they dropped during Vietnam. Thalidomide babies. Sh*t like that. That’s not the worst of it.”

“And what the hell would you know?” Trinity snapped before she stomped past in a huff. She disappeared inside the manager’s office with Keith trailing apologetically behind. Once they were gone Mike offloaded a sigh and sn iggered quietly to himself as if in amusement.

“What’s eating her?” he wondered.

Not knowing him well enough to judge whether or not he was genuinely asking or had made a snide joke, I merely shrugged at him and continued to frown.

“You know, my wife Anna, she was pregnant too,” he soon continued. “We didn’t know. The thing inside her… it wasn’t human. The scary part is I don’t even know if it started out that way…”

I scrunched my eyes up with a wince. In my head, over the din of the sand being whipped against the walls and the van and the glass, I could hear the echoes of my screaming. I saw the labour and the flash of grey and black and tiny white teeth. I shook my head with a pout, convinced at this point I had to have been dreaming at least part of it. After all I had witnessed, after all I had been through these past months, it was more than probable something had affected the inner workings of my psyche. I probably was a little crazy now but felt I had a right to be. I didn’t realise Mike had sunk down beside me until I felt the air stir around me. Even the scent of his cologne, his personal odour, was enough to bring memories of another come flooding back. I must have been sobbing but I didn’t realise I was doing it. Lately it felt I spent more time in tears than I wasn’t I realised, but could only assume it was due to my fluctuating hormones. And to think a few scant days ago I had blissfully unaware I had even been pregnant; I thought with discerning pep, Ignorance truly was bliss sometimes.


-- Edited by Ravynlee on Saturday 13th of June 2009 01:23:21 AM


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

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

~ ModMother / The Cougar ~


Status: Offline
Posts: 2990

“Here,” Mike said, handing me a scrap of material. It smelled like gun oil but I was happy to accept it. “I didn’t mean to come across like a hard ass before,” he admitted, “I’ve just… been on my own so long. I guess after a while you stop feeling like a person and start feeling like an animal, you know?”

I shrugged and nodded, dabbing my eyes and my nose on the coarse material.

Mike sighed. His eyes roamed the surrounds distractedly. He looked back at the door through which Trinity and Keith, and Lucky the kitten, had disappeared through. He leant backwards with his arms stretched behind him.

“So… what really happened?” he prompted.

I frowned at him. He smiled. It made the creases in his eyes gather 10 fold. He shrugged at me using only the slightest spasms on his face.

“This Rob guy, he the father? I get the impression by the way you talk about him you two had a thing going on. He didn’t do that to you?” he gestured towards my forehead. 

As if forgetting it was even there I dabbed at the mark between my brows that felt less like the egg shape it had seemed the day before. I shook my head at him. 

“You miss him, huh?”

I nodded. My chin quivered. My throat knocked. How did I go about explaining that after virtually my whole life lived in solitude the only guy I had ever really felt anything for had become one of those things because of me? I couldn’t. I sat there. I sat nursing my stomach that seemed to twinge with every movement as if needing to remind me it was still there. I pouted.

“I didn’t want the last part of him to just die like that,” I murmured. It didn’t seem fair to add the part ‘If it was his,’ and risk any further explanation. 

For his part Mike just sat there and smiled at me. It was probably meant to be reassuring. In the dim conditions and given the current predicament I was happy enough just to have received the acknowledgement. He nodded and eventually returned to his seat. There was no need to end the conversation with empty formalities or tidings of sympathies – who in their right mind would think their suffering was any worse than the person before them after the world had come to an end?


There's more coming - but that's all I've got for the night. Hopefully it will tide you over until I get something else done. If I get a chance I'll add to it soon, make no promises though. If you really are bored and want to continue go nuts. I'll work around you or whoever works next. I'm easily pleased it seems =)


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

“You’ve got to stop reacting every time he says something about Rae’s child,” Keith said reproachfully, safe in the privacy of the office.


“I know,” I grumbled. “I can’t help it, all right? It’s all still a little bit too fresh.”


He nodded sagely and regarded me moment longer, then wandered back out into the main store. Watching him, my eyes caught on the empty space where there should have been freezers. In my mind, I saw the thing again, and remembered how I had stopped Doc M from killing it. I was still doubting my reasons, but I forcefully told myself that it didn’t matter now – whether I had saved an innocent life or screwed the world, it was now in the Doc’s hands. And, remembering his hiss that the thing’s victims’ blood would be on my hands, I tried to assure myself that I wouldn’t be alone. After all, he and Keith had been wiling to trust my judgment, had participated willingly in the whole ordeal.


I slipped out of the office. Keith, Rae, and the new guy, Mike, were sitting along the wall in a row, and I sighed and sat down next to Keith. The kitten clambered over his knees to mew squeakily, begging for my attention. I stroked its back absently. It must be nice, I thought, being that kitten. Not having any idea of the danger you were in, just knowing that behemoth Keith would protect you no matter what. He had risked zombie attack just to get its furry little hide out of –


“The van’s ruined,” Keith said suddenly, as if only just deciding it was important. Rae and I turned as one to stare at him. Mike did too a moment later, most likely just because we did.


“Ruined?” I queried, hoping I’d misheard somehow.


He simply nodded, not seeming too concerned.


I struggled to find words, fighting over whether I should berate him for not mentioning it sooner, demand what we were going to do now, or just scream.


Rae beat me to it. “Now what?” she asked.


Keith shrugged. I supposed it wasn’t really fair to expect him to have a way out of situation, but I had gotten used to following him over the past few days.


“What do you think the others will do when we don’t come back?” Rae said softly. “Would Amy and Corey come looking for us? Or would they all just … forget about us?”


“Amy wouldn’t abandon me. Neither would Corey,” Keith rumbled with a certainty I wished I could feel. But Rae seemed so helpless, I had to offer my own comfort.


“Dean would try to find me,” I said, and after a moment’s hesitation, I added, “I’m sure David would …” I trailed off, not really sure how to end. Rae didn’t even look up. “But that’s not the point,” I burst out, “because we’re not going to be stuck here. Mike – you have a vehicle, right?”


He looked at me blankly. “I used to. But it ran out of fuel, and … now I walk.”


I scowled. “Doesn’t matter. Maybe the van can be fixed, and even if it can’t we’ll walk if we have to.”


“That would take days,” Keith observed.


“You have a better i –”


Shattering glass drowned out the rest of my sentence. Sand instantly filled the store, and over it we could hear the moans and growls of what sounded like thousands of undead.


“I thought you had this place barricaded!” I screamed at Mike, moving to pull Rae to her feet.


If he replied, I didn’t hear. Though I was sure none of us could see which pane of glass had been destroyed, Mike and Keith were already firing. A furry bundle was thrust into my free hand; I passed it to Rae and started hurrying her towards the office. Once she was inside, I stood in the doorway calling for Keith and Mike. The only response was increased gunfire. Twisting around to Rae, who was standing against to wall, clutching the kitten, where I’d pushed her, I shouted, “Stay here!”


And shoved out into the sand, slamming the door behind me.


With a blink, my vision seemed to change. I couldn’t and didn’t think to pause and wonder why – but seeing or sensing the cold, black shapes as zombies and the hot red ones as Mike and Keith kept me from making a fatal mistake. The roaring sand was drowned out by a calm white noise that filled my head. It seemed Trinity wasn’t needed at all for me to enter this state of mind, but I found myself yearning to hold a sword in my hand. It was so much more elegant, predictable – almost like dancing. Shooting and shooting and reloading and shooting again … it seemed unfair. Not to the shuffling zombies, but to me. If I had to kill, I could at least do it cleanly.


There was a pressing pain in my ankle, and without thinking I flicked a shuriken through the forehead of the zombie that bit me. Then I forgot about the incident.


Eventually we realized we were fighting a losing battle. I reached out to the smaller of the red shapes, and he seized Keith, and I directed them, still firing randomly, to the office. Rae had huddled into the furthest corner of the room, oranger than the men with their increased heart rates, but when we came in she jumped to her feet, warming instantly.


“I can fight –” she tried.


“Like hell you can,” Mike snapped, but his venom seemed to be gone. “You led them to us, and if you went out there we’d just have to defend you.”


She slouched against the wall. Mike was right, but I glared at him (he looked shocked when I did) and turned to say something to Rae.


“Trinity,” she gasped. “Your eyes.”


Raising an eyebrow quizzically, I glanced around for something to see my eyes in. Finally I noticed a broken mirror hanging on the wall – and reflected in it, I saw that my eyes’ normal brown color had been flooded with bright red. With a blink they were brown again, and when I looked back at the others, I could make out their features instead of just their body temperatures.


My first instinct was to just shrug and act like it hadn’t happened. “What?”


“Your eyes, they were …”


“Red,” Mike finished.


I turned back to the mirror for emphasis. “Look brown to me. You had sand in your eye or something.”


“She didn’t.”


Rae was looking at me with a horrified expression on her face. No – no, I couldn’t have that. She and Dean were the only people I truly cared about out here; alienating her wasn’t an option.


“I – look, I don’t know what you both think you saw, but my eyes have always been brown. Why would they be red? Keith – did you see anything?”


“Eyes don’t change color,” he said reasonably. But I noticed he didn’t answer my question.


After a little more persuasion, Mike was convinced it was just sand and a certain blindness from battle. Rae, though she offered no argument, was obviously not a believer. Frustrated, I carelessly made a pact to tell her the truth soon – I couldn’t tell her the truth about her own child, but I owed her something. About that time Keith noticed the drops of blood on the floor, and I remembered being bitten in the ankle. Damn, damn, damn.


But Mike’s silence on the subject spoke a thousand words. We all broke into a babble – it isn’t me I wasn’t bit maybe just a scratch Rae wrong color for that who was attacked – while he stood quietly and waited for us to shut up. When we realized, we all took a step back from him. He laughed at our reaction, and even tried to joke.


“It’s not communicable that way, you know.”


“I suppose you were going to tell us,” Keith growled. It had to be only to second time I’d seen him really and truly angry.


“Yeah, sure – of course,” Mike said hastily. “It’s just, I got distracted by her eyes and …”


“And it’s not like you were in a hurry,” I supplied.


He shrugged.


No one said anything. No one moved. We all knew there was no way around it – Mike had to be killed before he killed us. But even though we’d only just met and our interactions so far had been tense and unfriendly, I at least wasn’t willing to do it. Although I wouldn’t have admitted it, I would sooner put a bullet between Jill or Wesker’s eyes, and I’d know them longer. I guess the difference was that I’d fought with Mike, and that was, in a strange way, a very vulnerable, open thing. There was no room for doubt or indecision or mistrust.


“…I’ll do it myself.”


Rae and I both reached out, but the door had closed behind him before we could act.


“He shouldn’t have to –”


“It’s his choice,” Keith sighed. “I wouldn’t want either of you to have to shoot me if it came down to it. I understand.”


There was no way we could hear a gunshot over the sandstorm. I wondered if he took down a few undead before going himself. Or if he ran, and if he did, how far he got.  Or if he even tried.


* * * * * * * * * *


“Maybe we could make it back to the Doc’s.”


“At this point we couldn’t even make it to the van.”


“We could at least try to board up the glass and secure the rest of the store.”


“Don’t know which pane it is. Besides, we’re almost out of bullets.”


“We –”


“Trinity. All we can do is wait.”


* * * * * * * * * *


Wait, and sleep. We piled together for warmth. When we woke, which seemed to be every few minutes, we could only stare at each other. We took turns minding the kitten; it was in heaven. Keith was the first to be able to fall into a deep sleep, and as his breathing steadied, I looked over at Rae and realized I had better make sure she fall asleep before I did.


Wait, and sleep, and think. I laid my head on the floor, my back pressed against Keith’s and my arm outstretched towards Rae, and thought about Dean. It hadn’t been long enough for him to logically be worried about me, but I was fostering the silly idea that he would be able to just tell I was in danger. And of course come for me with guns blazing and save the day, with Amy and Corey in tow … and maybe even David. I smiled to myself, amused by the mental image it gave me. How quickly I’d gone from self-dependent to a hopeless romantic – and how funny my idea of romantic ended up being. ‘Wherefore art thou Romeo; I’m being laid siege to be a bunch of undead things, so refuse thy father and reject thy name, or be but my love and save my ass, and I’ll no longer be Juliet’. Right. I snickered out loud.


Unable to sleep, I listened to the slowly-dying sandstorm, hoping to heard some sign that help really was coming. I couldn’t believe it when I heard a rifle fire.


I jerked up. “Rae! Keith! Wake up!”


Both were fully awake instantly, demanding to know what was going on.


“I heard a rifle. Someone’s here!”


“How could you have heard a rifle?” Keith grumbled. “That storm’s still raging.”


“It’s calmed down some,” I insisted. “Just wait, you’ll hear – there, did you hear it just then?” I asked excitedly.


Keith ****ed his head to the side. Rae just looked dubious.


“I’m telling you – there, again! You can’t hear…?” I began to wonder if it was just my imagination, just wishful thinking. But three times? Surely not. “Someone’s out there,” I said stubbornly.


Keith laid back down, turning his back. Rae looked between me and him uncertainly. Then, suddenly, her head perked up, and she shook his shoulder. “Keith. Keith, I heard it that time.”


I beamed at her. Keith had no choice but to drag himself to his feet, pick up his gun, and crack open the door. Rae and I stood behind him. It was immediately obvious that the sandstorm had died down almost entirely, and for who knows how long, we’d simply been hearing the wind whip around detritus inside the store. There were still plenty of zombies to dispatch, but with clear vision, we had no problems on that front. I noticed something odd, though - I made it a point to look around for Mike; it just didn't seem quite right to gun him down as another nameless undead. But I didn't see anything, living or dead, that looked like him. It occured to me that, although obscure, there was a possibility he was alive. After all, I knew I was bleeding, and so was Rae, but I never actually saw a bit mark on him. He didn't really give us time to look. Maybe he simply wanted to get away from a bad situation - who could blame him - and had run. It lifted my spirits somewhat to think that. I made a mental note to share it with Rae.


Also, we had help.


It came in two forms, in fact. One of them was an angry Doc M, who claimed he had come for a supply run, only to find his precious store disrupted and filled with undead. Erin was with him, but all she did was cower in the pick-up truck and, when he called for it, pass out more ammunition. When he saw Keith and me, he shouted something about how he should’ve known we were behind it – and he tried so hard to sound angry, I had the sneaking suspicion he wasn’t that unhappy to see us. He did live virtually alone, after all, and no matter how much of a people person he wasn’t, no one can survive with only children for company.


The other form? A familiar Jeep, enclosed trailer rattling along behind it, with Corey driving and Jill riding shotgun. David and Dean sat in the back with rifles in hands, and they didn’t hesitate to use them when they saw the situation; Amy, Mark, and Wesker had to be in the trailer. It didn’t occur to me until they stopped the Jeep and Corey and Jill started advancing on the store that it was odd for Corey to be separated from his dogs – Amy was minding them, I guessed.


It was all so unlikely, I very nearly cheered.


And I did laugh. As soon as the last zombie fell, I started to run across the barren desert towards the people who, I realized, I considered friends. Then, seeing David’s dark face, I halted, spun around, dashed back into the office, and dragged Rae with me, whether she liked it or not. I lost her when the Doc intercepted my happy reunion to whisper in my ear.


“It escaped. Tell Keith.”


Unfortunately, I knew exactly what he was talking about. He hadn’t come on a supply run. He had come looking for Rae – assuming, as I did, that the thing would somehow know where she was and seek her out. The bond between parent and child is there, even when the child is an eight-foot-high, skeletal, potentially-undead thing. Needless to say, it put a damper on my spirits. But in the next instant, mutated two-day-olds and the Doc were the furthest things from my mind.


“I missed you too,” I laughed when Dean released me. “How did you know to –?”


“We had to go somewhere.” He shrugged. “Corey suggested paying this surgeon guy a visit.”


I was confused by exactly how he put it. Looking around, I saw that Amy and Wesker had appeared from the trailer, but Mark was nowhere to be seen. None of the dogs had made themselves known either. Amy, Keith, and Corey were huddled together in either a group hug or a covert meeting. It was like I had had only a temporary alliance with Keith, and it was gone now that his primary alliance was back together. For some reason I felt hurt and betrayed, which was stupid since I had forgotten him the moment I’d seen Dean. Still …


“Hang on. I have to talk to Keith for a sec.”


I tried to get his attention and pull him quietly off to the side while the Doc distracted Amy and Corey, but instead it ended up being just another reunion – Amy and Corey seemed thrilled to see me, and the Doc to a rather less degree. Erin, no longer in fear of her life, joined in, and after a little while Dean came on over as well. Before long Jill, Wesker, Rae and David entered the circle, and my discreet meeting was a hug-fest. Doc M, as the least ‘popular’ guy there, was able to hastily excuse himself, grab Erin, throw some canned food into his truck, and whirred off. Amy and Cory seemed happy to see him go, and no one else really noticed.


Thanks, Doc, I groused. Guess I’ll have to corner Keith some other time.


Finally, Rae had the bright idea of asking the others why they were there. I added a question: Where was Mark, and where were the dogs?


Jill assumed a grim face. It seemed that things hadn’t been going well in the Park in our absence.


~ ModMother / The Cougar ~


Status: Offline
Posts: 2990

DarknessLover - If you're still reading this I mentioned you in this update in case you felt the desire to jump back in again. Wesker has mentioned picking up a radio tarnsmission he thinks is from Jason. Whether you are ready to jump back in or not is up to you. I've left you that option. Your call now =)


I lay slumped in a stupor trying to let the waves of adrenalin roll off me. The sound of gunfire still rang in my ears. The horror of what I’d seen – or thought I’d seen in the office – still affronted me. Even now, though we were perhaps in no less danger than we had been before they had burst in, I couldn’t stop myself from shaking. With a few deep breaths I fought to regulate my breathing. In spite of everything that happened there seemed no limits as to what the human mind and spirit could endure, I wondered. I should have been in an asylum by now – this thought made me scoff with ire at the memories of the pharmaceutical companies before the war and how as a society we had looked to them like a kid does to a parent with a grazed knee. Turned out we didn’t need any help at all – we just weren’t ready for what was coming. I lay twisting the Silver Star back and forth between my fingers thinking to myself we were probably going to die here. Mike was gone. How fast things changed now. Though he hadn’t been here long enough to form any kind of attachment – and he had spent most of his time abusing me, which he had redeemed himself for in the end – I still I still felt a strange kind of void in his absence. I didn’t mourn him but nor could I completely forget him. It was strange really but again all I could do was shrug it off. His choice to flee into the infected horde to dispatch himself or to get away from all of us bordered somewhere between brave and idiotic as far as I was concerned. No one ever wanted to die a hero, just live as one. Still, I couldn’t begrudge him what he’d done. In a way I almost envied his ability to just chose an option and take it even to your own detriment. Reminded of that day in the rain with Rob and David waiting outside that abandoned supermarket, I pushed the memories of it away. The ringing in my ears, if not the weight of my thoughts or the major low after the sugar and shock and adrenalin, was giving me the mother of all headaches. 

Outside the wind continued to howl – it seemed endless and without source. The kitten purred against Keith’s forearm. Reaching out I stroked its little back. It didn’t seem to react at all it was sleeping so peacefully. Lucky animal I scoffed. Then Trinity sat upright. She’d heard something in all of this ruckus? I half-heartedly wanted to believe her.

“Rae! Keith! Wake up! I heard a rifle. Someone’s here!”

“How could you have heard a rifle?” Keith grumbled. “That storm’s still raging.”

“It’s calmed down some. Just wait, you’ll hear – there, did you hear it just then?” Trinity was urging us. 

I frowned dubiously and looked around. I’m not sure what proof I expected to find indoors but it didn’t stop me pretending to humour her a moment. 

“I’m telling you – there, again!” she said. Her eyes – I frowned with a grimace were wide and brown with no hint what I thought I saw before – “You can’t hear…? Someone’s out there.”

I nodded. It was a sad gesture. The only one coming for us was-

I stopped. My frown darkened. I wasn’t sure what I could hear but she was right, there was something out there – and as if needing to share this fleeting moment of hope, or insanity, I grabbed Keith’s shoulder and shook him. Trinity grinned at me. I found myself actually smiling back. Though it was fleeting it was worth savouring none the less. With a weary groan Keith pushed himself up and made his way over to the door. Trinity followed. I warily followed her. We peered out.

“Well, I’ll be…” he breathed.

Outside zombies were moaning. Engines, two of them, roared as they swung to a stop in the dirt. Gunshots blasted into the silence. The dead slumped heavily. I didn’t even have the gumption to stand there as Trinity and Keith did, watching in amazement as figures leapt from a familiar looking Army Jeep and a battered pick up truck. Guns blazed. The zombies roared and growled in defiance – all the good noise did against a slug or two – before they too fell to the ground. It was all too surreal to be believable I thought, glimpsing back into the store as if expecting to find my body there curled up with Keith and Trinity and we were all dead somehow or in the least having some sort of out-of-body experience. I backed up thinking at first this had to be some sort of dream, yet another to add to the myriad that afflicted my embattled psyche of late and watched Trinity race off outside without thinking to stop her. I gave chase. I stopped. Outside through a gap on the doorway, I saw a familiar figure in Army fatigues and bald head stopping to step on a zombie and rest the barrel of his shotgun against the forehead. A blast echoed across the red plain. It was followed by another. Dean was assisting with the dispatch; ensuring the dead stayed dead once and for all. It was all too much for me to take as I staggered back inside the store and hid there squeezing the chain in my fist fearfully.

“Come on,” Trinity beamed at me. 

She was dragging me by the arm outside before I could stop her. Again came this innate sense that I wouldn’t have been able to stop her had I actually tried to. Outside in the bright light the absolute calmness, more so than the arrival of our rescue party, momentarily stunned me. My step faltered. Trinity raced off talking to someone in a dusty brown coat and dark glasses. Just the split second glimpse of the Doc made my insides plummet. My throat knocked as I braved a look up, noticing the way Keith was strolling towards Amy and Corey with his arms out victoriously. I heard his deep baritone echo with a laugh as the trio shared a group hug. When I looked up David was walking my way. He stopped soon after. So did I. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to see him, meaning I was nervous of the expression I’d find if I met his eyes. In my peripheral vision Dean and Trinity were hugging. I smiled ruefully at the sand. A few feet away the palm of a dead human lay curled amidst the sea of red. I swallowed a boulder in my throat before looking up.

“Hey,” I ventured. Hey? You almost die, twice, you get attacked by zombies, you practically bleed to death and lose a child you weren’t even sure you were carrying in a strange alien hospital and all you can say is hey?! I looked down again. I smiled wanly.

David cleared his throat. “Hey.”

The silence was unnerving. I blinked up. In the strange glare that seemed to paint everything a slight ember, I looked up into his face – or what I could see of it beneath a raised hand, and felt my breath escape me. It wasn’t entirely relief. My pulse raged. For a split second my initial reactions was to storm across the sand and punch him as hard as I physically could in the mouth. It was all too fresh in my mind the vision on his face as he slammed the butt of a rifle against me what seemed like years ago, but the pain of that had been soothed somewhat by logic. I knew he had done that to save my life, as cruel as it may have been. When everyone else had been baying for my blood, for him to shoot me, he had at least bought me time by practically taking an eye out – I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to thank him or slug him for it. Not that it seemed to matter. I watched him drop his hand and smile at me in a way that wasn’t all that unfamiliar. He looked down and looked around then and I realised on instinct that he had noticed my stomach – I don’t know what if any thing he knew about that – so in the spirit of the moment I said little. I shrugged and shook my head at him. I realised with a sense of irony at that moment just how sparse our communication up til this point had really been – no wonder people, Trinity to be precise, was looking at us strangely. It didn’t take a genius to figure out the only conversations David and I had ever had had been more akin to soldiers communicating on the field. There was no room for sentiment in battle I thought – no wonder I had clung to Rob as I had, and with that thought inevitably I pouted.

“I’m sorry,” I mumbled. I wasn’t sure quite what else to say.



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 nodded. It was a small gesture but it was something none the less. There was no real change to his face. I wasn’t sure if I had been expecting one. He had to have known there was some possibility that the child I’d lost may have just as easily been his as it was Rob’s. But given we weren’t exactly in the most discreet of circumstances, and given things were generally anything but cordial between us up until this point I couldn’t begrudge him a simple dismissal – after all, an unborn child, let alone a dead one, really meant nothing when he’d had no time to get used it. He cleared his throat and sighed at me. There was something he wanted to get off his chest just waiting there, unprompted. I could see it behind his usual frown and grave stare. I frowned back but I couldn’t maintain it. My lips twitched and my eyes started to blink frenetically. The sand at my feet turned to water. Before I knew it he was in front of me. It was a tentative gesture, at least it started off that way, and before I knew it I found myself against his chest sobbing. It was cathartic to let the tears flow at that point, and they weren’t all tears of grief. Thought it felt like a split second, the second they dried up I could hear him soothing me, rocking me, his arms were wrapped around me in a hold I wasn’t 100% sure I’d ever be fully capable of getting out of. But I smiled. It was weak but thankful. Nerves kicked in a split second after that. Realising perhaps I was trying to break free David pulled back to look down over me. My face, still wearing the creases and imprint of his black muscle tank, was burning as well as damp. I had to be a dishevelled mess to behold but rather than pull away in horror David just smirked at me and said nothing. A moment later, like two awkward teenagers on a first date, we kissed. The world came to a stand still around me. I was deafened by the hammering force of my pulse and heartbeat. Sucking in my lips I lay my head against his collarbone and stared out across his shoulder at the land of dead around us. My head was still spinning wildly. I was still shaking. Catching sight of the Doc looking at me, I frowned. The look on his face was severed behind those ghastly dark goggles. I quickly lost sight of him. The group had come together, in itself an eerie gesture. But I was still too giddy, too elated, too relieved more than anything to be fully conscious of it. In the throng I lost sight of him, only catching the plume of dust as it swirled behind the old pick-up, watching it disappear from view. Something told me with a shudder it wouldn’t be the last time I’d ever see his face again.


I sat reeling in the news of what Jill told us.

Mark was dead. He wasn’t just dead he was undead. Before he had turned into one of those things he had turned on Amy, to what end or for what purpose none of us could really say with any certainty. As we sat around, or stood around, the side of the Jeep and trailer soon after, Amy bowed her head and gave Keith’s arm draped around her shoulders a gentle squeeze. The wound on her side was tucked away behind her layer of clothes, it was barely noticable save for the way she favoured her other side where she stood leaning against him. She was more than lucky she had not lost anything in the stabbing, including her life, but no one could say as much aloud. With her pale eyes darting around now and her expression flighty the trauma still played upon her face – it haunted her, robbing her of her previous power and smile. And of her natural grace and beauty. Maybe that had been Mark’s intention, I thought, stirring my head uncomfortably on David’s shoulder. In a world so ugly now and populated by the damned Mark in his twisted logic was just reinforcing the norm – Then again maybe she had simply rejected him, he was alone in this existence, and he had in essence nothing to fight for anyway. Such all-or-nothing ideals weren’t that uncommon in a world that had gone to hell. The more I sat and thought about it the more ‘sense’ this insane logic appeared to resonate within me – and with a sigh I tried then to block out any thoughts of the troubled young man at all.

“After you left, the zombies again breached the river,” Jill told us. There was no blame in her eyes but I still turned my head away from the insinuation regardless. “We tried to hold them off as best we could-”

“But we were outnumbered,” Wesker said for her.

Jill nodded sadly. At least as sad as someone with so much anger and resentment in her system could sustain, I pondered. She went on to tell us that the dead must have been drawn in by the smell of Amy’s blood. While Corey, Dean, David and Wesker struggled to maintain defences at the river, Mark tried to strike again. A few of Corey’s dogs had been lost. It didn’t take them long to start turning on the rest of them. Panic had gripped The Park as the gates were opened. I heard the word ‘Mark’ again but didn’t know if Jill had been meaning something along the lines of trying to escape him or he had sadistically opened the gates himself to let the undead in before they in turn returned the favour. She didn’t go into details, or if she did I purposefully blocked it out. It wasn’t enough to think that someone we had all in some way trusted had not just tried to commit murder but in essence tried to sabotage the lives of the rest of them on top of that – and there was always mixed feeling about seeing people change into one of those things, regardless as to whether we felt they ‘deserved’ it or not. The jittery bespectacled Mark had to have been stark raving mad at this point in the story, I thought, one screw too many loose after his botched suicide attempt had left him detached and homicidal. Nestling in closer I felt David’s arm tighten around me as he kissed the top of my head. I closed my eyes as Jill’s voice droned on. 

“We had no choice but to get out of there,” she lamented. “All the food, weapons, medical supplies we couldn’t get to in time… all of it. Gone.”

“Why didn’t you go back and get them?” someone suggested.

Jill shrugged from her position squatting knee down in the dirt. “There’s too many of them,” she said. Her eyes, peering out beneath the severe black frame of her hair, dared someone to challenge her. For a moment no one said a word. It wasn’t fear that held our tongues in check, at least not a fear of her regardless what she may have been thinking.

“So now what?” Keith sighed.

I turned my head and smiled at him. It was weak at best but with a degree of fondness too. After what he and Trinity had done for me… but I didn’t finish that thought. Something drew my attentions across the clearing. Sitting cross legged in the dust with Dean propped back on outstretched arms behind him, Trinity was looking at me with a strange expression on her face. I baulked at first, sure again that just for a heartbeat her eyes, her iris’ were the colour of blood. I must have made a sound, like a gasp, because I suddenly became aware of everyone’s eyes upon me. I froze, wondering if I had said something out of turn. Then people were looking away again and I knew why. David’s arm was draped around my stomach, his hand flush, almost protective. That thought was a bittersweet one – that he should care so much for something that was already long gone – but then my thoughts, my recollections, once again froze mid-way through playing.

“Trinity? Trinity, did they – is – ?”

“It’s alive,”
she told me.

My brow buckled as I lived through the memory. When my gaze focussed again Trinity was no longer looking at me. She was whispering discreetly with her head turned towards Dean. I didn’t hear what they were saying. I didn’t want to. I sunk against David as if trying to hide under his shirt as Trinity’s eyes returned across the clearing. My spine shivered and in that instant I suddenly seemed to accept that I had been right all along. Trinity, or whoever the hell she really was with her strange eyes and impossible strength, was dangerous – and I was probably the only one out of everyone here that suspected.

People were tentatively murmuring. Where would we go? Staying exposed out here in the open like this- But we didn’t have any options, we were low on resources, low on everything- But what about that Doctor’s place, right-?

“There’s something else-” Jill said. She sounded wary about bringing it up at all. 

With a look up at her hulking henchman that suggested she was going against the general consensus that may or may not have existed between them, Jill took her time to deliberate before speaking. With her head bowed she looked grave, drawing out the already terse atmosphere. Around us the sand lightly hissed across new low dunes and the breeze relaxed, allowing the stench of the dead to draw the incessant buzz of insects towards us. Looking up Jill searched and stared into each one of our waiting faces. 

“We received a transmission, just before this all happened,” she sighed. “We think its Jason. He’s alive. And he’s headed back to The Park. At least, he was, before the transmission cut out.”

“I thought you said those zombies were in there,” Keith said. 

The kitten was jostled awake in the crook of his elbow and raised it’s head as Amy did her best to pet it back to sleep.

Jill sighed again and bowed her head. She looked exasperated.

“They are,” Wesker said for her.

No one said anything after that. The wind that had only hours beforehand had blanketed the sky as black as pitch was still and deathly silent.

Each of us sat exchanging worn and anxious looks.

We waited.


-- Edited by Ravynlee on Saturday 13th of June 2009 03:01:38 PM

-- Edited by Ravynlee on Saturday 13th of June 2009 04:42:01 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

We might’ve just sat there all night, staring at thin air, if it hadn’t been for Doc M. Since he’d left in such a hurry, I didn’t expect to see him again. I was all set to be angry at him for abandoning me and Keith to deal with the thing on our own. But a while after Jill told us about Jason – Jason whom I’d never met, but was supposedly the Park’s fearless leader – the Doc rolled back up in his truck. Erin was no longer with him, and maybe it was my imagination, but he seemed to have cleaned up some. At any rate, he’d swapped his ratty brown coat for a spotless white one, and the black glasses I‘d seen him wear before were back again. I was glad of that; the goggles unnerved me for some reason. He’d also made some effort to pull his hair back in a ponytail, but as short as it was, it was really a moot point.


We all sat silent and still, watching him slide out of the truck and start towards us. I wondered how he knew where we were without seeing us. He couldn’t have heard us talking. But my mind was on such overload, I didn’t bother to think about it. I just rested my head on Dean’s shoulder, closed my eyes, and waited for him to reach us. My senses felt strangely flat – like I should have been able to feel the vibrations in the ground as he came nearer, but I couldn’t. Can’t say it bothered me too much. After the episode with my eyes, the last thing I needed was something else weird happening to me to freak people out.


When the Doc reached our little loose circle of comrades, he looked around at us with something like disgust.


“Just relaxing, are you?” he demanded. “That won’t last long. What did you think drew the zombies to you in the first place? Blood. And what have you done about the bleeders? Nothing.” He gave Keith, in particular, a nasty look. “Very responsible.”


“And who the hell are you?” Jill growled.


He tilted his head to the side and innocently said, “Does someone hear a fly buzzing?” Then he smirk and finally looked at her, condescendingly saying, “Oh, I’m sorry my dear, that was you. The ineffectual leader of this merry group.”


Jill jumped to her feet, preparing to shout at him, but he cut her off.


“I can’t blame you though, can I? I’m sure you’ve got some excuse. It hardly matters.” He turned away from her dismissively to speak to Rae. “You – you need to come back to my clinic. I’ll only replace those stitches once; you’d better be careful you don’t tear them out again. And …” Again, maybe it was my imagination, but I thought he faltered. “Amy, you’re bleeding too. I’ll take a look at that.”


“I’m fine,” she muttered. Her thin hand tightened on Keith’s arm.


The Doc’s voice became brisk again. “For now maybe. In these conditions that wound will be infected in no time. If you people are going to be any good to me at all, you can’t be ill.”


“And why would we want to be any good to you?” Jill smirked.


“Because I’m willing to board you all, on the condition that –”


“The world has come to an end,” Corey said softly, “and you have ‘conditions’ about helping out fellow human beings?”


The Doc responded at once, coldly. “My resources are not infinite,” he said. “While I would love to be the Good Samaritan and take in all you homeless puppies, I don’t have the luxury.” Keith coughed, and I’m sure the Doc didn’t miss the subtle “Like hell”, but still, he turned back to Jill and continued with his pitch, “My condition is this. A … ward of mine recently escaped my lab. If you’ll help me search for it, I’ll let you stay there.”


It?” Jill quirked an eyebrow.


The Doc waved off her question. “Need-to-know. If you agree, of course I’ll have to give you the details, but until then I’d rather keep my experiments’ results to myself. So then – what’s your answer? We haven’t got all night.”


Jill glared at him. “Get lost.”


“We’ll discuss it,” Keith rumbled, his deep voice completely undermining Jill’s authority. She shot him a look of sheer hate, but the Doc had already nodded and begun walking back to his truck. Once he had gone, Jill’s head whipped around to Keith so fast I thought she might suffer from whiplash.


“Discuss it? What are you trying to do here? Until Jason rejoins us, I’m in command,” she hissed. “Or had you forgotten?”


Keith regarded her calmly. “Amy needs a doctor. You know another one?”


“We’ve done perfectly fine on our –”


Corey shot to his feet, breaking in again. “Yeah, what with some guy stabbing Amy, then letting zombies infiltrate your base, getting all my dogs killed and losing every last scrap of dried meat you’ve ever laid eyes on – including what was rightfully ours –”


“Corey,” Amy interrupted quietly. “Sit down.”


He did so without any further bidding.


“He is right, you know,” she continued listlessly. “Rae and I can’t safely go without treatment. If we lost the Park – which is a well-made, easily defended place – in this state, there no way we can take it back now. We have to go somewhere. I don’t like it either, but this is a better opportunity than we even have the right to hope for.”


“That man can’t be trusted,” Jill spat. “We’re going nowhere with him.”


Looking at the opposing sides, I mourned for the spirit of camaraderie we’d had briefly, earlier. Thinking back, it had really only lasted for as long as the battle had – then we’d quickly formed back into our small groups: Dean and I, Rae and David, Jill and Wesker, and Amy, Keith and Corey. Intoxicating though the idea of our little community was, I knew what I had to do. Squeezing Dean’s hand, I got up and went to stand behind Amy. Dean was right behind me. Reluctantly, either from simple tiredness or unwillingness to choose sides, Rae and David rose and joined us. It was seven and two – I was sure Jill would see the logic of staying together.


Instead she slowly turned to Wesker. He looked back impassively, but stayed firmly rooted next to her. Without glancing at us again, they climbed into the Jeep and drove away.


Rae breathed, “What have we done?”


“Only what we had to do,” Amy answered wearily. She coughed on the dust kicked up by the Jeep. “We better start walking.”


Despite her injury, she led us. Keith was right beside her, arm around her waist the whole time. Corey trailed a little behind them, hands jammed in his pockets, looking incomplete without his pack accompanying him. I started to join him, before remembering I had something to say to Rae. She and David walked hand-in hand a step behind Corey, and I pulled Dean forward to catch up.


“Rae – Rae, there’s something I need to tell you.” She looked over at me drowsily. “During the skirmish earlier, I looked for Mike. He, ah … I didn’t seem him. He might’ve left. He might be alive.”


She smiled. It was brief, but it was sincere. She didn’t worry about why there was blood if Mike hadn’t been bitten; she was just happy that he there was a chance he was alive. It was a simple kind of joy – and one I had thought had to have died along with the rest of the world. Even though we had a long, painful walk ahead of us, and that the destination was little better, I found I was happy as well – merely because I could make someone else happy.


~ ModMother / The Cougar ~


Status: Offline
Posts: 2990



In silence.

Just one step after the other. 

On and on. 

It seemed like an endless chore. 

As we walked I couldn’t help but replay the scene over in my head; I could see Jill and Wesker high-tailing it into the Jeep and pulling away from us. They had abandoned us in much the same way that Jason, within the first day or two since arriving at The Park, had done to the rest of us. I internalised a scoff, too weary more than flabbergasted to shake my head in insult. Those military types, I huffed, unable to finish my train of thinking. In my peripheral vision I could see the sway of faded green camouflage fatigues as David walked beside me. Weakly I afforded him a tiny smile but it was probably hard to decipher. I knew he wasn’t one of them, but still… 

“How much further?” someone, Dean, quipped.

I turned my head to frown back at him. He, more so than the rest of us, seemed to be the one with the highest, surest step. He looked like he could have walked for days at this snails’ pace without any trouble at all yet his face was pinched in the scowl of a bored child. Trinity too frowned at him. When I caught her eyes she looked away. Her face was pinched for a moment with colour. Trudging through the sand I couldn’t help but think of what I’d seen back at the service station in the office, of what I’d seen in her eyes. It couldn’t have been real but something about it…

I shuddered.

David tugged my hand. I rolled my head towards him expectantly.

“You alright?”


I looked away again. His hand seemed heavy and uncomfortable around mine. I huffed out a breath trying to dispel this sense of unease growing inside of me. I knew it wasn’t entirely due to the fact that with each step we were growing closer to that place again, back to where ‘it’ had all happened. Beneath my tee shirt and the knotted sleeves of Trinity’s turtleneck sweater, I could feel my labour wound throbbing. Pain, as of late, was not something I was unaccustomed to – it seemed as prevalent as the tears I’d been shedding. Now though, whether drained from the fight at the service station, or drained from my injuries, or from something less physical, I felt incapable of emotion. My lifetime supply of tears had been tapped. All I felt now, along with trepidation, was guilt. I kept glancing at David in my peripheral vision with a nervous smile replaying across my lips. It was too late now to wonder if I’d made the right decision, I thought. It was too late for all of us now, in a manner of speaking.

We trudged onward.

Eventually, after what seemed like forever, we saw the Doc’s barracks rising out from the sand dunes. The structure seemed to shimmer on the horizon like a steel oasis. I looked around, feeling that same sense of dread and dissociation rising within as we drew nearer. The sun was sinking behind it, casting ominous shadows like the bony hand of death across the sand towards us. I shuddered. David’s hand gave mine a reassuring squeeze. I had an insane thought that he was holding on, that he wouldn’t have let go now had I broken his arm let alone severed it. I was going in there whether I wanted it or not. I blinked up at the imposing structure that really didn’t look any different than it had mere hours before hand. It seemed like a lifetime had passed since. Time always seemed strained after the zombies attacked, I thought. Adrenalin and fear took a ghastly toll on a person, no matter who they were. 

Dogs were barking. My step faltered. Trinity drew into step along side me. She smiled again but said nothing. I tried to return it but couldn’t. For some strange reason I thought of that strange young man we’d met at the service station, Mike. I wondered if he’d made it this far. I wondered if he was still alive. I cast my eyes around. If he had survived I wondered where he’d gone. Since the dust storm it was hard to tell where anything was now, if there was indeed anything out there beyond an endless sea of red sand and sky. 

This had to be purgatory, I thought. And this place looked like the gates of Hell. If there had been such thing as a heaven, I doubted it existed anymore. We were damned. A handful of souls left on the face of the planet. Hunted by the living as well as the dead. Either way you looked at it, we truly had to be damned. I looked down at my arm tucked in against my stomach. Some part of me knew I should have been relieved not to be bringing anyone else into this chaos really, but still…

Keith, having apparently taken helm as troupe leader in Jill’s absence and Amy’s injury, stepped up to a video camera. The electronics whirred and turned its all-seeing eye upon us. The door beside it opened and a little girl, the same one with the red hair and green dress came out. Obviously she’d been expecting us. At their posts around the Doc’s compound, the dogs were going wild, feral almost, at the arrival of so many strangers. Seeing a familiar figure in his white coat and dark glasses fill the doorway behind the little girl, the dogs immediately stopped and dropped, muzzle-first, into the dirt.

Beside me David took a half step forward. “What the f-”

I squeezed his hand and stopped him. The doctor was looking at us, all of us, with his chin raised and his brow stooped heavily with authority.

“There’s only seven of you. What happened to the others?” he wondered. Maybe wonder was a bad word. There didn’t sound to be any wonder in his voice at all, just cynicism. 

“What do you think?” Dean piped up. “We ate them! We were starving man! You had us walk across the god-damn Sahara desert with no food, no w-” 

He fell short as Trinity drove an elbow into his ribs. With a grimace he shrugged, smiling as if in apology. Though it had obviously been a joke the rest of us gave him differing degrees of the same discerning stare. David looked ready to tackle him into the dirt and start punching the crap out of him. I tugged his hand. His death scowl ended. I smiled and with a blush dipped my eyes downward. There was something to be said for the ‘power’ I realised I suddenly had over him. I’d probably always had it. A sick thrill rose and ebbed within me. I looked up. The Doc’s eyes, or at least his pitch-black lenses, seemed to be staring straight at me. I looked down, guiltily.

Soon we were bid entry inside. 

The compound, for lack of a better word, was a rabbit warren of buildings and corridors all radiating outwards from this main entrance. The corridors, at least those we could see from the onset, looked sturdy enough, but they were plentiful in number. I had no idea just what this ‘place’ had been before the war, but it reminded me of something I’d seen in some movie, something crossed between a haunted disused hotel and a 1940’s war barracks complete with reinforced aboveground trenches. Through gaps in materials the dying light could be seen, bidding the end of another long and exhausting day. The cool nip of night was falling and it seemed to be falling frighteningly fast. Already the absence of moisture or the sounds of water lapping or the boats creaking in the shore reinforced this sense of unease. 

“We’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto,” Dean murmured.

For once I was actually inclined to agree with him.



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 Doc’s first order of business was to assign Amy and myself to the hospital ward. As he spoke, Erin, the young girl in the nurse’s outfit, seemed to appear like an apparition just behind him.

“Follow her,” he told us, with a dismissive flick of his wrist. “I’ll join you shortly.” 

I frowned at the way he looked at us, more so Amy, with a strange, almost tentative stare. I looked between them but couldn’t decipher it. Amy, who had spent much of her time leaning against Corey or being sporadically carried by Keith on the long walk, looked ghastly pale and washed out. I probably didn’t fare much better but at least in my own mind I thought I was recovering fairly well. Snagging the sleeve of Trinity’s sweater in his fist the Doc wrenched it away. I swooned in agony. I staggered towards him. He shoved me into Erin’s arms.

“Hey!” I heard.

Erin, with a more delicate touch than her ‘associate’, positioned me next to Amy who was forced to stand alone against the corridor wall. Struggling to internalise my pain behind gnashed teeth I slumped against her and struggled my eyes up. David stood glowering at the Doc, his shoulders squared and heaving, his jaw locked tight.

“You touch her again and I’ll f**king kill you,” he grumbled.

There was no time to appreciate, or cringe, from the sentiment, as the Doc too stepped forward. Beneath the huge black lenses, a leer slashed across the lower half of his face.

“I hardly think you’re in any position to threaten me. We have an agreement, remember?” The Doc said. Then, surprisingly, he leant forward and seemed to whisper in David’s ear. “I would have thought you of all people were a man bound by your word. Now all of a sudden you’re not going to honour it? Hmm?”

Something shifted on David’s face. His frown darkened, but it receded with something else too. He watched the Doc pull away again as if the breath or at least the fire had been stripped from him. He didn’t say anything as the Doc turned towards me, then turned back, his brows arching over the top of the lenses sceptically. Like a well-trained puppy David’s eyes lowered to the floor. He didn’t say another word.

A strange chill swept over the group. The Doc, shifting his shoulders and gloating with a smirk, raised his eyes, or his glasses, towards the rest of them.

“Like I said, you’re more than welcome to stay out there with your cannibalistic friends. I don’t care,” he uttered. It was only now I realised how articulate he sounded, how… educated? “Whether you live or die tomorrow means nothing to me. But right now we have business to tend to. Don’t confuse my hospitality with weakness. You’re in my house. These are my rules. Don’t like it? There’s the door… Now I take it, if there are no more distractions…?”

No one spoke up. From the look on the Doc’s face, he hadn’t expected any. He nodded. He stepped back and seemed to snort disparagingly at David. David’s eyes flicked up and followed his retreat. The tension was palpable but it was swallowed up in the unfamiliarity and uncertainty of our surrounds. Amy swooned limply into Erin’s arms. Erin looked at the Doc. The Doc frowned back at her. He nodded as if she’d said something. He turned back towards the others who all waiting, terse, edgy, but obediently. I scoffed at the thought that finally in that one moment we were all united together as one. In a few sharp words this veritable stranger had done what Jill and her crackpot team of sharpshooters could not – lead. But there was no satisfaction to be derived from that, just a sinking sense of time wasted, and fear, and a small sense of self-loathing.

“You two,” the Doc said, raising his chin towards Trinity and Dean. Dean gripped at his rifle expectantly. “Take the North corridor. You two take the South.” Keith and Corey exchanged wary glances. They looked to the Doc. He was smirking smugly at David. “You; follow me.”

“What?” Dean said. He gestured forward but stopped as the Doc’s dark lenses fell upon him. Dean’s smile wavered. He cleared his throat. “You mean, after all that way on foot and we don’t even get to rest first or maybe grab a bite to eat-?”

But the Doc was already walking off, urging Erin to swiftly follow with Amy and I, and David begrudgingly in tow.

“Those things don’t sleep,” The Doc said. “The war doesn’t stop just because night is falling.” 

Dean watched him go with his brow buckling by degrees as he mulled it over. “The war?” he echoed. “What war? Hey! You said you only wanted us to find this ‘thing.’ We don’t even know what the hell it is we’re meant to be looking for!”

His words echoed off the corridor walls and faded away without answer. The Doc continued walking leaving Keith, Corey, Trinity and a bemused looking Dean to wallow in the shadow of impending night.

I glimpsed back over my shoulder to see Trinity grab Dean’s arm. In the gloom of the oil lamp her expression was severe. I thought I heard the words ‘not human’ but I couldn’t be sure. I stared back until the darkness, which seemed to be settling unnaturally fast, swallowed the end of the corridor whole. We turned a corner and then they were gone. 


“You. Up here. Carry her,” the Doc ordered. 

I watched as David pushed past, saying nothing. I wished I’d had the strength, or resolve, to reach out and grab him, in the least to snag his hand, but I wasn’t afforded that luxury. As strange as it was I still wasn’t sure I wanted to. Since the team had arrived at the station and ‘rescued’ us, I’d been struggling with this inner conflict, feeling relieved and scared and vulnerable and sorry from the minute we’d kissed. I’d let my guard down; it wasn’t something I did often. The last time I did that… I shook my head. I couldn’t afford to think thoughts like that, still it didn’t stop them coming. Though we had just spent the best part of the afternoon walking through the desert for miles in the glare and dry wind holding hands, my face still burned with the demure gaze of a nervous schoolgirl. The truth was I wasn’t ready to admit it to myself – being lovers of convenience was one thing but going from that to an open and public affair? Who was I kidding, I thought, you not that long ago lost a baby. It could have belonged to either man and now everyone had to have known it. Any secrets I thought I might have had were out. So too was this raw sense of vulnerability. I couldn’t stand this feeling that people were looking at me, at us together out of the corner of their eyes and snickering. Worse than that, I couldn’t let go of this sensation of being unfaithful. I nursed my stomach feeling as if it were my heart instead. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I could feel Rob slipping further back into obscurity; I was desecrating his memory, with every smile at David I was pushing Rob away and that, on top of losing the baby, made me feel like I was losing him all over again. I hung my head sadly.


-- Edited by Ravynlee on Monday 15th of June 2009 01:18:45 AM


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

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

~ ModMother / The Cougar ~


Status: Offline
Posts: 2990

Ahead of us the Doc seemed to be doing his best in asserting his newfound authority as he watched David heft Amy into his arms. He nodded them on forward before turning to me. What, I wondered, did he expect of me, jealousy? I shook my head feeling this sense of fear and anxiety growing inside of me. Those previous thoughts of things not being quite right dogged me, pressing upon my head and shoulders and chest, making it harder for me to breathe. Maybe that was just the dry air out here, which was so different from what I’d become accustomed to back at The Park. Then again maybe it was the pain with each step feeling like razor blades slicing across my flesh. It was like this place was stamped with the residual trauma of my visit not that long ago. The more we walked the worse it got. The corridors seemed without beginning or end. I looked ahead. I turned back. All I could see were silhouettes and a doorway literally sliding into the distance – it was like vertical vertigo. I groaned, squeezing my forearm tighter against my stomach. Limp in David’s arms, Amy was murmuring something incoherent. 

Oil light flickered ahead. ‘Like a moth to the flame,’ I thought with a sense of irony. I grimaced. I wasn’t even sure of my state of mind at that moment. It was like this place was designed by, if not for the sole purpose of sending, someone completely insane. Whatever the reason I thought as we continued to trudge ahead, it was working.

“In here,” the Doc said eventually. 

The stench of disinfectant and bleach came to me, filling my nostrils, enflaming them. I paused. I swooned in light-headedness. Some logical part of me knew it was from the blood loss, from the fact I hadn’t eaten properly in god-only-knew how long, shock, partial dehydration and so on. I was, more than anything, exhausted. In truth we probably all were. Even though I knew this, logic was of cold comfort to the sinking feeling in my stomach. 

“No. I don’t wanna go back in there,” I murmured. 

The doors swung inwards. It was like setting foot on a stage prop, on a movie set complete down to the finest detail, from the tiles to the paint to the blinding fluorescent lights above. Shoes squeaked as the rest of them entered ahead of me. The sterility of my surrounds me made me come to a stand still. I don’t know what made me think of it, but in my mind’s eye I was thinking of those shows I had seen on TV, of the German gas chambers. I was back peddling before my brain could catch on. I swung around. I was heading back the way I had come, back towards the doors. The Doc snapped something. I glanced over my shoulder. David was handing Amy to Erin. My step faltered. Amy looked awful. She looked sickly. Her lips were blue. Her eyes were rolling back in her head.

“Amy,” I gasped. My only thought at that moment was ‘Please God, don’t let her die like this,’ then it shifted to a simple, more heartfelt. ‘Don’t die too.’ “What’s wrong with her?” I begged.

“The same thing that’s wrong with you,” The Doc approached. “Hypovolemia, if I had to guess.”


“It means you’re bleeding to death. Or you will, eventually, if you don’t let me treat you.”

A gasp fell from me. It felt like my last breath. I clattered to the floor. Erin, who was struggling to manoeuvre Amy onto a gurney, made a squeaking sound in alarm. The Doc just rolled his eyes – at least without seeing them he gave the impression that he had. He stood before a trolley on the far west wall of the room, twisting the end onto a hypodermic needle. He picked up a small blue vial and stabbed the end into it, raising it to draw the blue liquid into the syringe. The blue stripe reflecting across the lenses of his black glasses briefly gave him the appearance of having freakish feline eyes. I frowned as my head rolled forward limply.

“Pick her up,” the Doc muttered. “Bring her here.”

Blue liquid shot into the air when he compressed the plunger. I grimaced. After everything I’d been through in recent months, if not days, it was almost laughable how I was so wary of a tiny needle – but that wasn’t all that was scaring me. In my mind I caught flashes of that blue liquid when I was here last – I’d seen the needle coming towards me but I’d been in too much pain to fight it. I wasn’t about to make the same mistake twice. As if someone had flicked a switch inside of my brain I started to struggle, crawling across the floor on my hands and knees until hands caught me. I thrashed but it was brief and futile. David was making sounds to soothe me. His grip was like steel on my biceps. I whimpered as my arms were twisted behind my back. Something stung my neck. I grimaced. My heels were dragging across the floor in front of me. Shoes squeaked. A curtain rattled. Springs creaked. The cold thin mattress of the gurney groaned as I settled on to it on my side.

“I’m sorry, Rae,” David murmured against me. “It’s for your own-” He stopped with a sound that stole my attentions. His brow was contemptuous as he lifted his arm. A small sliver of red scored the back of his arm just above his elbow. David glared up at the Doc who was slowly walking back to the trolley as if nothing had happened. “You cut me?”

“Don’t be ludicrous,” the Doc said. “It’s just a scratch… You’re going to begrudge a blind man?”

“A what?”

“Sorry,” the Doc smiled. It was laced with sarcasm. It carried an unspoken dare.

With a grumble David inspected his arm again as I struggled to follow the doctor. My eyes were narrowed with effort and suspicion. I could have sworn I saw something long and sharp slip inside the Doc’s pocket – but his hand came out empty. He appeared to be contemplating his tools on the trolley – along with the black bundle of Trinity’s sweater – as Erin tended to Amy a few feet away along side me. With my head heavy I opened my eyes, closed and opened them again to see David watching Amy and Erin gravely. I gripped his muscle shirt and dragged it down. He turned to me with a grunt.

“I can’t- go through this- again,” I begged him. 

My heart rate started to thrum in my ears like an ebbing tide. It was growing distant. Softer. The lights overhead faded to black. I struggled to hold my eyes open. I couldn’t. 

“Don’t- leave me-”

“I won’t-”


“I won’t.”




“Shh,” I felt his breath against my forehead. His palm was lightly tracing my hair. “Get some rest now. I’ll see you when you wake up.”

“Mm-hmm,” I murmured. 

I thought I heard the Doc’s voice, and then David’s, but I didn’t hear what was said. Unconsciousness beckoned. I didn’t register anything after that.


Sorry, am just too tired to edit - I hope for what it's worth it makes sense. Hopefully it's something you can use if needed, if you want while I'm working tomorrow (later today *groans*) Just wanted to get that up before I went to bed - Considering the time zone difference while I sleep you have a few hours perhaps to see what you want to do with it. Up to you as always. Best of luck! =)

-- Edited by Ravynlee on Monday 15th of June 2009 01:22:18 AM


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

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



Status: Offline
Posts: 1752

Shortly before Rae disappeared for sight, I grabbed Dean and began dragging him in the direction the Doc had indicated. I wasn’t going to stand there and watch her fade away from me. I couldn’t believe we were being split up. I wouldn’t have abided by it, but as before, we needed the Doc’s help, and he knew, it, and he was completely unafraid to use us. If he was sure enough of his power to turn his back on Keith, then he would do anything. The creatures outside might have been undead, but the Doc was well on his way to emotionally not being human. I couldn’t help but wonder if he had always been so aloof, or if it came after the end of the world. Everyone seemed to have a tragic story to tell – Mike and his wife, Dean and my parents – and perhaps the Doc could’ve redeemed himself in my eyes if he had such a history. Somehow, though, I suspected he had always been apart from humanity. Maybe he even saw the Earth’s current predicament as just desserts.


After walking for a while (my feet were killing me, and I had, presumably, been footing it for the last three months) we met the little blonde girl, Amelia. After giving us both very disapproving looks, she beckoned us down another, shorter hall and stopped.


Erin told me you two would share a room,” she said, her high voice rich with the criticism on her face. “But I thought you would be two girls. I can prepare another one if you want.”


Dean and I shared a look that was half aww and half we don’t have time for this. “That’s all right, kid,” Dean assured her. “We’ve shared rooms before. I think we can manage.”


She looked even more scandalized, quickly pointed to a door, and dashed off.


I giggled, more from a sort of giddy exhaustion and the sheer ludicrousness of the situation than amusement. I all-out laughed when Dean picked me up to carry me across the ‘hearth’ and into the room. It was a lot like a hotel room – compact but efficient. There were two beds; Dean and I sat down at the foot of the same one.


“It’s been ages since I saw a bed this big,” I marveled.


Dean grinned. “You haven’t realized it yet, have you?”




“Running water.”


Even when he said it, it took me a moment to really get it. As it finally dawned on me, my eyes widened. He took a breath to say something else, but before he could, I belted out, “Dibs on the shower,” and dashed into the bathroom. He laughed uproariously behind me.


I had been wearing the same clothes so long they felt like just another layer of skin. Peeling off my shirt was almost painful. Even worse, once I had completely stripped down, I felt vulnerable – I wasn’t sure if it was because my ‘skin’ was gone, because I had taken off my weapons, or because of my hyper-awareness that Dean was only a very thin wall away. Either way, it didn’t last long. I didn’t even wait for the water to warm up before leaping under the spray. Once I was almost clean, I realized that I would have to put on my dirty clothes again, so I pushed the shower curtain out of the way, grabbed them, and washed them too. After squeezing as much water as possible out of them, I used the hairdryer – a hairdryer for crying out loud – to finish the job.


It felt like paradise. I didn’t even feel guilty for making Dean wait so long until I got out. Of course, then I also felt guilty about not thinking about Rae or Amy once in all that time, so by the time I stepped out of the bathroom, still-wet hair dripping on the carpet, I couldn’t recapture that joyous feeling.


Dean, stretched out on one of the beds, cracked open and eye when he heard me. He sat up slowly, staring at me with something between awe and … grief.


“What is it?” I queried.


“Nothing,” he said softly. “I just never thought I’d see you like this again.”


“What, clean?” I joked weakly, nervously playing with a strand of hair. He smiled and motioned for me to join him. I did so readily; no matter how clean I was or dirty he was, I was beginning to learn that there was no substitute for human contact. I curled up next to him, he put an arm around me, and with our feet dangling off the end of the bed, we gratefully slept.


Some time later a tentative knock roused us.  We were sluggish responding, and since we were usually both so alert, it had to mean we had been sleeping deeply. Dean shuffled to the door while I finger-combed my hair back into some semblance of order. To my surprise, Keith and Corey slid in past Dean. Neither one looked too pleased.


“We’re allowed to see each other now?” I asked mildly.


“Not hardly,” Corey snapped. “We’ve spent all this time trying to bribe Selene into letting us see you. And what, might I ask, have you been up to?”


I blushed. Dean didn’t help by catching my eye over Corey’s shoulder and winking.


“Doesn’t matter.”  Keith pushed past the other men and collapsed onto the other bed. “If we’d both been trying the same thing, we’d’ve been in trouble, now wouldn’t we.” It wasn’t said in a way that invited responses, and besides, he was perfectly right. I still felt bad about the way I’d thoughtlessly indulged my own wants.


Dean sat behind me, taking my hair into his own hands. From the feel, I guessed he was braiding it. Corey still looked dour, but he made himself comfortable.


Keith continued, “It could be a while before we see Amy and Rae again. Or it could be just an hour or so – you never know with the Doc.”


“What about David?”


“Don’t know. I would guess Doc only wanted to use his as a pack animal, but he might let him stay with Rae if he wants to. Like I said,” he sighed, “you never know with the Doc. The important thing is that we don’t let him separate us all. Amy and Rae need treatment, but the rest of us should be free to do as we like. If he gets us apart, I don’t doubt he’ll manipulate us into doing anything he wants. Tell Dean that Trinity’s refused to see him unless he does something, for instance,” he said, turning his eyes briefly toward us. “But he won’t tell us until we’re desperate to see each other an believe anything he tells us.”


“This sounds like personal experience,” Dean remarked, securing my braid with the rubber band I usually held it back with.


“More or less is,” Keith answered miserably. He left it at that.


“So we basically don’t believe a word the Doc says,” I said. “Shouldn’t be hard. I think I can speak for all of us when I say we don’t trust him.” I looked around for assent.


The guys all nodded.


“But until he approaches us, there’s nothing we can do,” I pointed out. “In a way, this is better than the Park – we’ve gotten to keep our weapons and we don’t have to worry about defending ourselves. We just have to stick together as best we can, and when the time comes, pay the Doc back by looking for his … escaped lab experiment.” I waved my hand, trying to downplay that part.


“About that …” Keith said slowly, looking to me. I widened my eyes and shook my head slightly. “We’ll have to be careful,” he finished. “If we can bet on anything, it’s that something that’s able to get away from the Doc is some dangerous beastie.”


Again, there was a round of nods. We agreed that the first time we saw the Doc, we would demand to see Rae and Amy, ask after David, and insist that we all be allowed together, in that order. If we met with one of the girls, Selene and Amelia, we would try to convince them to take us to the Doc. As it was, all we could do was go with the flow. Keith and Corey stole away to their own room, escorted by a fearful-looking Selene, and after a brief, meaningless conversation, I crawled back into bed and Dean took his turn in the shower. By the time he got out, I was fast asleep.

-- Edited by Jess on Monday 15th of June 2009 11:45:55 AM




Status: Offline
Posts: 1752

* * * * * * * * * *


I woke with no sense of time or place. It was dark, I was in a soft bed, and there was rhythmic breathing coming from the other side of the room. It only took a second for me to remember, and to my credit I didn’t leap up and start shooting. Instead, I just lay there and focused on Dean’s breathing. I let myself get lost in the sound. A moment later, I thought I heard something else – something that sounded like voices.


“You can’t say a word to them about what you saw. Not a word.”


“Okay, M. But why not?”


“Because the … the thing you saw, Taijitsu, it might scare them. We wouldn’t want to do that, hm? Understand?”


“I understand, but why would they be scared? It was just a baby.”


There was a weak laugh. “I know, Amelia. It was just a baby. But it was different, and things which are different tend to have an unsettling effect on … They scare people.”


“It didn’t scare me.”


“You’re special, sweetheart.”


Doc M and Amelia’s voices faded out, and another set, which had been in the background all the while, became prominent. They were fainter, but almost crystal clear, maybe because of their familiarity.


“I don’t see how you of all people can just sit here and wait, like a sheep to the slaughterhouse –”




“– man’s got Amy for god’s sake, got her again, who knows what he’ll try to do –”




“And, I mean, aren’t you at least a little suspicious of what he might’ve done with Rae? Isn’t it a little too easy – her child being stillborn? Wasn’t that girl – that Trinity, with the eyes – wasn’t she there when it was born? Did she tell you what’d happened or did Doc M?”


“Christ, Corey.”


“Hell, forget that – that girl’s not all right either. There’s something going on with her, between what you told me about her eyes and just this weird, animal-like sharpness –”


“You should like her, then.” There was a certain amount of dryness in Keith’s voice when he finally responded, but Corey seemed to be ignoring him.


“– not to mention the way Dean’s devoted to her; I couldn’t believe it when they split up before. And earlier, did you seem him braiding her hair?”


“I fail to see what’s so suspicious about a man braiding his woman’s hair for her.”


“There’s just something wrong with the whole situation –”


“I think you enjoy worrying.”


Suddenly there was a much louder sound – a savage smashing. I gasped and sat bolt upright in my bed, reaching for my gun. It came again – now a simple, tame knocking at the door. I sighed in relief, realizing that in some way, I had heightened my hearing, making close sounds seem enormous so I could detect far off ones. Then I cringed, a little disgusted that such a thing brought me relief. I reached over to the table in between the beds and flicked on the light, then trotted over to the door. Impulsively, I checked my eyes in a mirror, but they were normal. My ears seemed to be in perfect, human, working order as well.


Opening the door, I found Selene standing there with a couple of trays of food balanced on her arms like a pro waitress. I hurried to take one away from her (she wouldn’t let me take both) and called for Dean to wake up. He struggled out of his wrinkled sheets and met me halfway.


“Hungry?” I smirked. He didn’t even respond – too busy stuffing his face.


I took my own tray from Selene and thanked her before sitting down to enjoy it. A real meal, of pancakes, bacon, eggs, orange juice and milk seemed beyond even the Doc’s resources, yet there it was. I eyed it for a moment, almost expecting it to transform into the tasteless, lukewarm oatmeal I had eaten at the Park. When it showed no signs of liquefying, I dug in. In the back of my mine, I was thinking, This is just the Doc’s way of getting on our good side. Or worse, it’s drugged. But that was the back. The front of my mind was just concerned with its next meal.


Selene stayed in the room, watching us as if she’d never seen a hungry person eat before. I would’ve made conversation, but, well, I assume I was taught not to speak with my mouth full. Eventually, she shyly said, “Amelia told me you were a couple. Are you?”


We stopped in unison and looked at each other. “Um,” I stuttered out before Dean could answer. “Something like that.”


Selene boosted herself up onto a desk. He skirt rode up a bit, revealing her prosthetic legs. I made it a point not to stare, and prayed Dean was doing the same. Not that it was likely anyway, since he was likely already back to feasting.


Amelia tilted her head to the side. “Are you pregnant too?” she asked me.


I nearly spat out my milk. Dean seemed to be choking – with laughter. “Wh-what? Why would you ask that? Of course I’m not!”


“Well, David and Rae are a couple, and she was pregnant,” Selene explained with wide eyes. “Keith and Amy are, and so was she. Why wouldn’t you be?”


“Um,” I repeated in my endless eloquence. “I think you should talk to the Doctor about this one, Selene. Speaking of which,” I added, remembering out meeting the night before, “when can we see the Doc?”


Selene shrugged.


Dean cleared his throat. “Are Rae and Amy all right?”


“I think so,” she said, not sounding too sure. “When Erin and Amelia and I were making your breakfast, I saw M walking with Amy. I haven’t see Rae though.”


Recalling Doc M’s falter when he spoke with Amy out at the convenience store, I frowned. Amy didn’t seem too fond of the Doc, which was understandable, but he seemed to have some sort of feeling for her. Apart from his alarmingly enthusiastic reaction to the thing, it was the only time I’d seen him show much of any emotion. I also didn’t like that Rae hadn’t been seen yet. All she was in for was to be stitched back up – it shouldn’t have taken too long.


“M won’t let me see Keith again,” Selene said sadly.


“Why not?”


“Amelia told him about me bringing him and Corey to see you. It’s not fair, because he never said I shouldn’t. But M says it should have been enough that he separated you in the first place.” She swung her legs, discouraged.


“That isn’t fair,” I agreed solemnly. It was wrong, but I instantly thought of Amelia as a sort of a sneak, a teacher’s pet; one we couldn’t trust. “If you asked him, I’m sure he’d let you visit Keith, at least,” I offered.


She nodded. “Maybe.”


Selene waited in silence for us to finish our breakfast, then took away our trays. I closed the door behind her, turned to Dean, and at the same time we said, “She’s on our side.”


Neither of us could explain what we meant, but it certainly felt like we were engaged in a sort of war of attrition with Doc M already. Erin and Amelia were on his side, and Selene was on ours. Unfortunately, he had three of our number captured, and the other four split. Thinking of what should have been a wonderful place as a battleground made the food on my stomach heavier, but there was no doubt Corey and Keith saw it the same way, and little doubt that the Doctor did.


~ ModMother / The Cougar ~


Status: Offline
Posts: 2990


A light tapping sound forced my eyelids to open. I woke with a frown. I fluttered my eyes and blinked around. Where the hell was-?

“Hey,” a woman smiled from the doorway. She wore a nurse’s uniform. “You’ve got a visitor.”

I nodded, still frowning. My gaze wandered the room distractedly as the door creaked open. Footsteps approached. I found myself lifting the blanket as if wary of what I’d find under there. I heard a voice and looked up.

“Hey,” Rob said. “There she is.”

My mouth fell open. A dubious smile grew. In his arms he carried something wrapped in a blue blanket. He was beaming down at it as he approached the bedside. Something inside of me seemed to know what this all meant – I didn’t question its validity; this strange soaring sensation inside of me was familiar and equally as addictive. Hope. Maybe this time it’s real? I found myself thinking. I had to. It seemed I never really knew from one minute to the next just what was real, what was illusion, and what was a sordid mix of the two further widening the gaps on my embattled consciousness. I smiled as he stopped beside the bed and leant down to peck my lips with a kiss. I mewed in response as he drew away. That felt real enough.

“Hey mom. How’re we feeling?”

I opened my mouth to say something. Nothing came out. I just sat there feeling like a sideshow alley clown, mouth ajar, waiting for the ping-pong ball to drop. The bundle of blue stirred in his arms. Rob chuckled as he manoeuvred his long arms around it and jostled it unfamiliarly. I was so fascinated by the spectacle; my senses were so heightened I couldn’t tear my eyes away. My heart was soaring. This was just… perfect. The whole thing was just… perfect! Rob spoke but I was too busy staring to really take notice of what. With a deep breath I sat there just taking everything in. I could smell everything, the soft fragrance of fabric softener, of flowers, of baby powder - and disinfectant. The sun streaming in through the open window gave off the smell of freshly ironed clothes as they caught the end of my hospital blanket.

“Hey,” Rob said. He was smiling at me. His cheeks were rosy. His dark eyes were sparkling. “You want to hold him?”

“Uh… okay,” I answered. 

Rob oriented the bundle tucked away in his blue blanket into the crook of his elbow. When he pushed it into my arms I felt my stomach plummet. I tried to smile but I could feel it slipping. Why did he feel so heavy, so… cold?

“There we go,” Rob said, leaning over us proudly, watching me struggle to nurse the bundle into my arms. “Take a look.”

I leant my head against his shoulder. I nodded. Something inside of me seemed to want to shake my head. If I don’t do it I know I can just stay here, I found myself thinking. An odd thought for such a perfect setting, but still… With morbid curiosity my fingers danced on the folds of the blanket. I smiled unsurely. Slowly I peeled it back. In the shadow something grey and skinny appeared. My smile was swallowed by a grimace. What the hell was-? But before I could even get the words out large black eyes shot open staring straight up at me. A bony hand with scythe-like fingers reached up. From the inside out I recoiled with disgust.

“Aww,” Rob cooed as if he were looking at the very picture of health and perfection. “Look at that. He wants you.”

With a screech it opened its mouth – white needle sharp teeth-

I jerked against the covers. I winced. I groaned. Two, three attempts later I was able to open my eyes and keep them open. A heavy breath escaped my nose in place of words. With tired eyes I stared out across the pillow. Another nightmare. Seemed like I was never able to sleep without them anymore, I lamented. With slow deliberate movements I stretched my limbs and stirred against the covers. I froze. I frowned. Fabric softener? Here? I almost laughed aloud. I couldn’t. The realisation I lay on clean sheets, albeit sterile ones brought a sense of relief. And dread. When I tried to roll onto my back I could feel my stomach protesting. Memories flooded me and didn’t stop until I heard a light tap on the door. My eyes snapped up. My fingers gripped at the covers with knuckled glowing white. I waited. The door behind me closed, and footsteps wandered over. I lay stiffly feeling a hand touch my shoulder. Bedsprings creaked beneath settling weight. I slid my eyes aside. The sight of a shiny silver wrist watch stole my attentions. My stomach muscles relaxed. My breaths escaped with relief. And disappointment. Rob wasn’t here. Of course he wasn’t. I knew with each passing day that he existed only in my mind now but that didn’t stop this sad keening against impossible odds. Lips and hot breath trailed the side of my face. David sighed. He came to a stop with an outstretched arm over me.



“How are you feeling?”

I smiled. David lowered to kiss my face, my cheek again. I closed my eyes and reclined my head back. I wasn’t used to such open displays of affection, not even really from-

“You smell,” I murmured. David sn iggered. His joints creaked and popped as he settled onto the mattress behind me. His arm draped across my waist and stomach. He sighed into my hair. Sweat, dirt and paraffin oil teased my nostrils. “Where have you been?”

David nuzzled against my shoulder wearily. He sounded exhausted.

“Hmm-working,” he murmured. He kissed my neck. “Digging.”

“Digging? Digging what? Where?”

He moved as if shrugging and shuffled closer to relax against me. “I don’t know. Feels like I’ve been in some underground mine shaft,” he said. When I asked about the others he shook his head. “No, just me. Haven’t seen anyone since… arrival.”

The heat of his body blanketed my back. I swallowed my nervous smile. In spite of everything I realised I had missed this feeling. Yet in a strange paradoxical way it also scared me, and it wasn’t just due to his brawn or grave demeanour. Feeling David’s breaths slowing against my shoulder I stirred forward to try and face him. He dragged himself up on elbow and leant against me. His chin was blunt and scratchy on my bare skin. I balked.

“Where are my clothes?”


-- Edited by Ravynlee on Tuesday 16th of June 2009 09:46:46 AM


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

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

~ ModMother / The Cougar ~


Status: Offline
Posts: 2990

Again David shrugged at me. He chuckled. It was low and deep and strangely ominous. Leaning forward he kissed my lips. I let him. When he pulled away I found myself looking down, twisting the silver pendant between my fingers. I pouted.

“You should have this back,” I said. 

David sighed and dug his chin into my shoulder again. He shook his head.

“You keep it. I don’t need it anyore.”

“I’m not Jewish.”

David smirked – I was sure I even saw him blush beneath the stubble. There was a pause before speaking that betrayed the tenor of his thoughts. Instead he said, “I don’t think He’ll mind.”

“He? God? You mean you still believe?”

“I guess,” David deliberated, “I didn’t,” he sighed. I felt his hand come to rest against mine over my stomach. He didn’t speak for a moment but seemed as if he wanted to. “I wish I’d been there,” he murmured. It barely sounded anything beyond a grumble.

I shook my head. No you don’t, I wanted to say, but for some reason remained silent.

Lying there in the stillness I realised I couldn’t hear anything beyond this room. I couldn’t hear the others. In truth I wouldn’t let myself think of them, it was frightening how vulnerable, how attached I’d become to a bunch of random strangers. They were like family to me now – a vast difference to days before when I thought they were plotting my demise back at The Park. I shook my head to forget. Memories of The Park hurt now, bringing with them more sense of loss we didn’t need, and worse because thoughts of that place always inevitably brought me straight back here, to ‘it.’ 

As if somehow able to read my thoughts, David told me, “I have to admit though, the… concept of being a father, even for a little while… I don’t know… I guess I was warming to it. I’m not sure I could picture myself being the father to a whole new generation but… In all of this seeing new life come into the world after everything that’s’ happened; it’s a miracle in itself, if you want to put it like that.” He laughed. It was too short and too quiet to be considered as anything remotely humorous. “I never would have thought I’d hear myself say that a few years ago.”

I nodded. A few years ago seemed like another lifetime ago. For all of us. Before the world had ended. It still seemed like one long and horrifying nightmare. One none of us could wake from. Ever. It was a terrifying thought in itself.

“Meaghan always wanted kids,” David murmured. 

I rolled my eyes towards him. He looked at me. His expression had sunk, half tucked away against the ball of my shoulder. Every movement made it feel like coarse sandpaper scratching against me. But I could only frown back and study him. In the months I’d spent travelling with him I’d never heard that name before. I was intrigued.

“She was my girlfriend,” he said, adding with wry emphasis “fiancé.” He smirked bitterly. “She had her problems… very attached. Suffocating. She wanted a family, the white picket fence, the mortgage, the whole nine yards. Everything… I didn’t… When she told me she was pregnant, I didn’t believe her. I’d been away… things had become strained… I doubted her. She became so manic, so depressed eventually I broke it off. She threatened to kill herself. I got so sick of hearing it I told her to shut up or just do it. That night I found her… swinging by the neck in the bathroom. They all thought I’d done it. No one believed me. They didn’t see her the way I did, she was a train wreck, half the time I think I stayed out of pity… They didn’t believe she would have thought of suicide let alone done it. They locked me up. Threw away the key. I never found out if she was actually pregnant or not, no one ever said. They all thought I was crazy,” he murmured. He sighed. He kissed my shoulder. His voice had barely altered from its gravel-like monotone of apathy. “After years of putting up with that sh*t, you know what, they were probably right.”

An uncomfortable silence settled as his voice faded and he came to rest on his side behind me. I lay there feeling his arm tighten around my waist, still holding on to my stomach. I tried to physically relax but couldn’t. ‘Stayed out of pity,’ how that phrase repeated like a sadistic recording inside my head. As I listened to his breathing eventually slow and regulate I found myself thinking back to my life before the war. I struggled; after all I’d spent so long since consciously trying to block it out. It was what we had to do, for the most part I’d realised if we wanted to survive in this life. The past didn’t matter but still I felt weighed down by it. A lifetime of lonely nights, of distant family, of few friends, of no emotional outlet beyond my tears, it was no wonder I clung to Rob the minute he charged in and saved me. I almost scoffed as I lay there, tasting the irony and fear of my current situation. In spite of the fact I had no faith, I still marvelled at how perfect it had all been, aside from the zombies, and despite the fact we had all been running for our lives. It was hardly Mills-and-Boon type romance but I’d never really had anything before it to compare it too. And whether it was reciprocated in the same way or not I never found out, Rob had turned, and here I was, here we both were David and I left holding our consolation prizes. I pouted and rested my head back, cushioned against David’s sternum. For the first time in what seemed like forever I actually felt safe. Drawing his arm tighter around me I closed my eyes. I think we slept then, together, like we’d never really done before. I don’t know how long we lay that way only that it felt like seconds. Hearing another tap on the door I fluttered my eyes open with a grimace and struggled to pull my chin up to see over David’s shoulder. I couldn’t. The sound of a throat being cleared apparently woke David. He rolled onto his back and squinted wearily. A shock of blonde hair and a reprimanding frown on a little girl’s face had him chuckle aloud, albeit briefly, like someone was playing a prank on him.

“What, kid?” he croaked. “Go away. We’re sleeping.”

The little girl, ‘Amelia’ a voice inside my head corrected, continued to stand there in the doorway frowning back at us like a parent scolding her children. I was too tired to appreciate the humour in it. Apparently Amelia was in no mood for laughing either.

“You’re not allowed to be in here,” she lectured, her pale little arms knotting across her chest seriously. 

David rubbed his face with his hand and blinked back at the child glowering in the doorway. 

“F**k off,” he murmured.



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 shot him a reprimanding stare. Though he’d only said what I’d been thinking, I disapproved of his delivery, especially to a child even one looking so irate and so strangely ‘innocent’ as she was. As David lay slumped against the pillows groaning into his palms in frustration, I managed to eventually pull myself over to lie on my back as well. The pulling of my stitched told me I’d been lying like that for some time but at least they were holding now. Seeing something red flash by I blinked up to see Amelia standing on my side of the bed. I automatically smiled at her. She had a cherubic face I thought, for some odd reason reminded of the actress Christina Ricci as a child. But something about her, more so than the way she was looking at David, made my smile dissolve from my face. Had she been here, had I seen her in the corridor when I’d-?

“You must send him out of here before M comes. You’re meant to be resting,” she said. “You’re going to get into a lot of trouble.”

“Listen,” David grumbled, “I don’t take orders from p*ssed off 6 year olds, you copy?”

“David,” I argued, “She’s just a kid.”

Another tap on the door and Erin emerged. Flat on his back on the bed David pressed the ball of his palms into his eyes sockets and grumbled. Loudly.

“Hi-ee,” Erin greeted. 

For a moment I wondered why she was being so saccharinely sweet. I could smell it before I could see it, the tray full of food that she was carrying towards me. Suddenly I was deaf and blind to anything else. Service with a smile, I thought. It added to this feeling of waking up in a hotel – before the war of course. My stomach burned with hunger as I struggled to sit up against the pillows. Amelia was glowering at me, but mostly at David who sat too now wondering where his tray was. He watched frowning as Erin brought the tray over and settled it on my lap just so. When he questioned her Erin flicked her wrist at him playfully. 

“Oh you,” she squeaked, belying her true post-pubescent age. “Don’t be silly. You’ve got work to do. You can have yours when you’re finished.”

“He can have some of-” I started suggesting with a mouth full of bacon.

“No he can’t!” Amelia snapped. 

She stomped her foot down. It would have been cute in a different context. David and I frowned at her. There was something… wrong with the way she was looking at us. She seemed… angry, really angry, as if she were the one being disobeyed, not her elusive ‘father figure’ Doc M. Briefly I paused mid-chew on my breakfast before instinct kicked in and I started hoeing into it again. It tasted so good. Unbelievably good. I didn’t even pause to wonder where, or if it was even possible, food like this existed anymore after the slop we had been forced to endure at the other place. Mindful of the disappointment on David’s face I smiled back and let him take some. He reached out and paused. He looked at Amelia and Erin, one glowering, one still smiling expectantly at him. He sighed through his nose and wrapped his hand around the back of my head instead. He drew it down to plant a kiss. Then he pulled back murmuring something about seeing me later. I nodded watching him slide off the other side of the bed with a weak smile. He looked exhausted. I felt guilty for feeling so… opposite. Amelia stomped past. She was a storm cloud in a red dress. Crossing the room David paused in the doorway and looked back. Erin approached him. Begrudgingly he walked out.

“Hey,” I called, stopping her as she crossed the room. “How’s Amy?” I asked her. The food stopped rolling about in my mouth as I waited. I didn’t like the look that flashed on the young girl’s face.

“Oh, she’s fine,” Erin assured me. “You keep eating now and don’t you worry about anything else. You need plenty of rest to get your strengths back up. We’ll have you up on your feet in no time,” she said. 

She continued to beam but she had lost that perfect sweetness she had worn upon entering – it didn’t stop her from acting however. Pausing again to point out where the bathroom was along with my cleaned clothes – can’t have those things outside being attracted to the smell of old blood now could we? – she flashed her smile at me, even scrunched up her nose a little, and with a gentle click closed the door behind her.


I think (hopefully) I got Amelia right. Correct me where appropriate - rushing to get this posted before I catch the bus =) I know it's not much but at this point I've left Rae resting. You have more 'leeway' on discussing the rest of them. I won't cramp your style at the moment. While you're on a role, your turn ;)


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

Warning. Bit graphic. (All the better, eh?)


It had been five days since we’d come to the Doc’s clinic. In that time, Dean and I had seen no one but Selene (who brought us three hearty meals a day) and, once, Corey. Apparently Keith had sweet-talked
Erin into letting Corey stay with us for a few hours to allow the two of them privacy to get “caught up”. Remembering her exuberance the first time we’d seen her, I winced on his behalf. Corey told us that he and Keith had heard no more than we had – less, actually, because Amelia was their caretaker, with occasional visits from Erin. The older girl was just as close-mouthed as the little one.


Corey treated me with a chilly politeness. If I hadn’t heard his rant at Keith, I would’ve been baffled. As it was, I could only regard him with the same aloof disinterest – revealing that I knew what his problem with me was would only incriminate me further in his eyes. I was a different thing, and I had lied about Rae’s child. They say the truth will set you free, but in my case, it would only imprison me.


Not that I wasn’t imprisoned already. Between meals, Dean and I tried to leave the room, only to find the door locked, bolted, barred – whatever it was, it kept even us, with our superhuman strength, inside. What had at first seemed like paradise showed itself to be simply a very pretty cage. We considered shoving past Selene when she came to bring us food, but the reality of the situation was that we had no chance of getting anywhere. Keith had seemed to know where he was going in the labyrinthine structure, but I certainly didn’t. Again, I reassured myself that at least we still had our weapons, and had hadn’t been split up entirely.


Though by the fifth day, I was beginning to wonder if that mightn’t have been a good idea. I was just as restless as Dean, but I didn’t spend my time pacing back and forth, knocking on walls at random in hopes of finding another exit, searching for hidden cameras, or sporadically attacking the door, trying to bust it down, to no avail. We were both angry at being caged, and each other’s reactions only heightened the feeling. Distantly, I realized that; and I realized that the Doc was probably doing it just for this effect. But when I watched Dean rampage over the room, the only thing I was thinking was how much I would prefer to be alone.


Between his overreacting and my inaction, we got nothing accomplished. We could have constructed a sensible plan of escape together, or I could have quizzed him about my life – but instead, when we spoke, it was in snaps or controlled monotones. More often, we filled the infinite hours with tense silences and long stares that neither of us could interpret.


I found that I could rarely sleep. Judging from Dean’s tossing and turning most nights, he was the same. It was like our internal clock were stretched and warped – our nights, or “sleep times” were short, at most only two hours, and the “awake times” could range from twenty to thirty-two hours. (Yes, I spent a lot of time counting the seconds off on the face clock on the wall over my bed). It seemed as though without anything to physically exhaust our bodies, they could keep going for quite some time. Still, even though we were more or less sure we weren’t being monitored, we conformed to the sleep cycles of ordinary humans, or at least pretended to.


On one of the rare occasions that Dean was asleep and I wasn’t (we couldn’t seem to get synchronized), I tried to tap into my weird super-hearing thing again. I had a vague idea of how it’d happened, but I couldn’t seem to get it back. ‘Vague idea’ was better than the vision change I’d had, which I’d barely been aware of until Rae and Mike noticed it – but still, it meant that instead of eavesdropping on the Doc, I was just more aware of Dean waking up and moving around.


I figured he would assume I was asleep, and that it was better that way. I was reminded of that first night we had spent together, after he had defended me to Jill and Wesker and taken me back to my hut in the Park. How I feigned sleep so that he would leave me alone, and how I had fervently wished he would just go away. How ironic that my feelings towards him had come full circle.


He was pacing again, back and forth past the foot of my bed. In a strange way it was as if he was a fretting father, deliberating over my well-being. Finally he settled somewhere a little further away, probably at the square table a couple feet away from my feet. I heard him sigh, murmur to himself, laugh softly. Then I heard a clicking; a sort of whirring noise; then another click, of a slightly different tone; then a third. Click-kzzz click-chunk. Again: click-kzzz click-chunk. Click-kzzz click-chunk.


Then, in a mutter, “How many times in his life can one person be unlucky?”


Click-kzzz click-chunk.


A sigh.


Click-kzzz click.


Unsettled, I slowly rose up out from under the covers. It was dark, but even without infra-red sight, I could see Dean sitting on the table. His eyes were locked on me. His teeth were locked around the barrel of his revolver.


“What do you think?” he asked, without moving the gun. “How many times?”


I wasn’t afraid; I wasn’t rattled. I didn’t have that far-away feeling that I’d had when Rae’s child was born. I wasn’t even surprised – and the fact that I wasn’t surprised didn’t surprise me either. I was just … uncaring. Even when he pulled the trigger again – chunk – I didn’t flinch.


“Well?” he said, clicking the chamber out and giving it another spin. Click-kzzzzz … “What do you think?”


“What are you doing?” I said quietly.


“Russian Roulette.” He slid off the table and slammed the chamber back in. “Favored pastime of those who just don’t give a damn anymore. Wanna play?”


“So you don’t give a damn anymore, now?”


“What is there to care about?” He spread his arms. “The world’s come to end, I’m trapped up like a lab rat, and the one person who’s still alive that I ever cared about – doesn’t know who I am.” He returned to his seat and stared at me. There was a wrong kind of sparkle in his eyes. Nothing like the glint that had entered them when he teased me, more … insane. “And besides. I want to know if I can die.”


He bit down on the gun again and fired. Fired again with out resetting the ‘game’. Again, again, again. I knew perfectly well that the revolver only had six slots, and if there was a bullet in the gun, there wouldn’t be another misfire. Yet still I only sat and watched him. He sat and watched me with that manic stare.


“Are you curious?” he asked, and pulled the trigger.


There was an explosion of sound, louder than any time I’d fired a gun, even though it was further away. I expected time to move slowly, but it didn’t – in an instant Dean was on his back on the table, and the white wall and mirror behind him were spattered with dark, almost-black red. Tiny chunks of white pinged off the wall and tapped onto the table. I hyperventilated for four seconds – counted by the wall clock – and met my own eyes in the mirror, through Dean’s blood and brains. They were calm.


I began to wonder what would happen when Selene brought us breakfast in eight hours. How would the Doc feel about one of his bounty hunters offing himself? Would he blame me, punish me in some way, for letting him do it? Perhaps more importantly, how would the others feel about it? Of course I could say that I’d been asleep, but the gunshot would have to have woken me up – and what would be my excuse for not raising a fuss when I saw what had happened? Maybe I should start banging on the walls, shouting for help. Or I could drag him into the bathroom and close the door, say he had been there when I woke, and I hadn’t seen him. It wasn’t at all unlike planning to cover up a murder – but in a way, not trying to prevent a suicide was murder, I supposed.


Intending to go with my last idea, I folded back the blankets and slowly approached Dean’s body. His eyes were open, and because it felt strange to have him looking at me, I closed them. First, I searched them for some sign of … life, maybe. Such a lovely brown, that had so often beamed at me as if I were the most important person in the world. Tilting my head, I carefully took the gun out of his hand and loaded it completely, so that his death would look more intentional and less like a bored, reckless man’s sick game. I wedged it thoughtlessly into my belt.


“How many times in his life can one person be unlucky? … Well? What do you think?”


I slid my hand under his head, trying to determine the best way to carry him. I stiffened when I felt the soft stickiness of the back of his skull – really, what had I been expecting? But I withdrew my hand and brought it to my face, staring at the thick red liquid that now covered it. On impulse, I touched my middle finger to the tip of my tongue.


“And the one person who’s still alive that I ever cared about – doesn’t know who I am.”


It was …




But licking the rest of the blood off my hand seemed so natural. It felt like something I had done countless times. Maybe I had – God only knew where I had been and what I had done in those months between getting separated from Dean and finding myself at the Park. Never mind what the zombies had done to me, with me, because of me while I was in their undead custody. Maybe I had survived off the flesh and blood of other humans, the same way they had. Maybe that was because I was more one of them than one of the human race. But the only way I would ever find out had just shot himself. I pulled the revolver back out and emptied it. Then I slid one bullet into place.


Click-kzzz click.


“Wanna play?”


I looked down at Dean’s body resting on the table. His face was completely undamaged. If it hadn’t been for the splatter on the wall, I wouldn’t have known anything had ever happened. I would think he was simply asleep. Asleep in a strange position, but asleep. I really didn’t know what had happened to him – why he had decided that death was better than life, whether or not it was my fault, if he had really gone insane. I put it down to some chemical imbalance caused by the same serum that made him immune to infection from Gas Z. And I was perfectly aware that the same thing had to be happening to me. And I didn’t give a damn.


I backed away from the corpse and sat down heavily on my bed. I stared down the barrel for a second, and then took it between my lips. Chunk. Chunk. Chunk. My eyes drifted away from Dean and up to the clock. Three seconds passed. Chunk.




* * * * * * * * * *


youcannevercomprehendhowscaredIwas. Andthat’swhyIhatedyouandthat’swhyIactedhowIdidandI’msorryIdidn’tcarewhenyoucared
Iloveyou. AndIalwayshaveandI’msorry.


“… and I love you and I always have and I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry … It’s my fault and it’s been my fault all along … I made you suffer and I deserve everything I get, but you, not you, you don’t … Only me … Only me … I hear you, please, please, please … ”


* * * * * * * * * *


“Dad?” she asked. “Dad, what’s going on? There’s all this stuff on the news, and they mentioned your lab.”


“There’s just no time. You have to get here right now, sweetheart. Satoshi and Dean should be there in a few minutes to pick you up, so you need to get off the phone and pack some clothes and things.”


“F-For how long?”


“I don’t know, I – bring everything you can fit in the big suitcase,” he answered. “The one we always used when we went to the beach, you know, that we keep in the hall closet. The black one.”




“And – and Jamie, bring the necessities. Nothing more.”


After a pause, “Okay.”


And because she was a dutiful daughter, she hauled the big black suitcase out of the hall closet and carefully packed her clothes – winter and summer – and the female necessities that her father referred to as ‘things’. But she also slipped in something else – the old photo album that still had pictures of her mom in it. Just in time, a car horn honked in the driveway, and a second later the front door opened. Jamie’s childhood friend Dean poked his head in and carried the suitcase out for her. Satoshi, the quiet Asian boy she and Dean had always been thrust together with at events their parents attended, sat in the driver’s seat. He was a couple years older than them, and even now, he seemed to know more about the situation, but he was indifferent to their questions. He was silent for the entire drive to the lab where their parents worked.


Dean’s mother and Satoshi and Jamie’s fathers met them outside and rushed them in. Satoshi and his father had a hurried conversation in Japanese, and it only served to make him grimmer. Still, he wouldn’t answer Jamie and Dean. Finally their own parents saw fit to tell them that Gas Z had been released, and about the effects it was having – exactly the effects that had been expected – and how they were already trying to reverse it.


It all happened so quickly. Satoshi’s father was the first human who resorted to using himself as a test subject, and his ‘cure’ killed him. His son, if he grieved, did it in his usual quiet way. Jamie’s father was determined that such a thing wouldn’t happen again, and he left the sealed lab to find more lab rats. He didn’t come back, though they waited for days. Jaime held out hope, but once Satoshi devised his own ‘cure’ and administered it to himself … and mutated beyond recognition, and destroyed the majority of the lab …


After unwillingly learning to fire a gun, and having to turn it on the reanimated corpse of her own father, Jamie felt her emotions leave her. When Dean’s mother, working off of her predecessors’ results, developed a serum to bolster the human body’s immune system and hypercharge it, Jamie volunteered to take it. Dean wouldn’t let her. They argued, they fought, and eventually Dean shot Jamie’s thigh to keep her away from the serum. Sobbing in pain and grief, Jamie looked up through the curtain of her dark hair and watched Dean inject himself with the auspiciously transparent liquid. He fell to his knees, clenching his teeth – saying it burned through every single blood vessel in his body. His mother knelt next to him, crying because she had to subject her son to such pain, reminding him of the reasons and the possibilities. His eyes rose to Jamie’s before flooding with red and closing as he passed out.


Jamie herself floated in and out of consciousness. When she came around, she often heard screaming and sobbing, and sometimes realized it was her. Other times it was definitely Dean. Still other times it came from outside the lab. Once, when she woke, she saw a pale woman drawing blood from her own arm and shooting it into a clear plastic cup, which she offered to a man with red eyes. He drank it down eagerly and demanded more without words. The woman ignored him though it obviously pained her to do so, and turned to a counter where she peered into a microscope.


Later the man became recognizable as Dean. His eyes faded back to brown. He didn’t seem to know where he was. He wanted to know why he was tied to a wall, and his mother refused to tell him. He asked after Jamie, and begged that she not be given a serum – because he remembered pain.


Then there was fire under Jamie’s skin and the world turned red and orange and purple, and everything that was purple was in her way, and everything that was red could be devoured.


And then … the smell of a river … Something was missing, something was wrong. But it was all fading away. It was all fading away.


* * * * * * * * * *


Choking and sobbing.


It was too familiar. It sent flashes of red-stained pale skin through an awakening mind. It reminded the mind of fire and pain. It terrified the mind into curling back into itself. Then the mind remembered that which had followed the sobbing last time, and slowly, like a turtle emerging from its shell, it decided that it would be safe. And it rested, and it healed.

-- Edited by Jess on Saturday 20th of June 2009 10:46:19 AM




Status: Offline
Posts: 1752




Amy’s sleep was filled with nightmares. So, it seemed, were her moments of lucidity – so much so that for a long time, she didn’t know when she was awake and when she was asleep. M was there in both states, though he was different. Then again, he was often different from one vision or dream to the next, so he was no stable way of measuring. Eventually, she was able to tell the difference because the waking nightmares were worse in their way.


In the nightmares, she went through the pain of her abortion over and over again. She listened to M’s cold voice all the while, just as she had in real life, but in the surreal world his words were changed. He accused her, in an unfeeling monotone, of being a whore, a murderer, an adulteress – each apathetic syllable punctuated with a rip of his dull scalpel. It became hard to remember that in reality, he had been detached but not cruel. And she had to remember that, his capability of official distance.


His capability to cut a woman open and remove the squirming, under-developed child from her womb, deftly slice off its head, and hand it away like a peeled apple.


Amy knew that the pains in her stomach were phantom pains, but it didn’t ease her suffering. She knew, after a time, that when the real M came to her bedside his expression was puzzled and concerned. More than anything, she was aware of what she lacked – Keith’s huge, warm, protective presence and Corey’s slimmer, more actively fierce one. Distantly, she still ached for those she’d lost so long ago: Ben, John, Terry, Rocky, Adam …


But eventually the pain went away. Eventually she was able to open her eyes and see only the silhouettes of medical equipment instead of monstrous, imaginary beasts. Eventually she drew a steady breath. And then, Amy heard that which had so plagued her nightmares.


“Are you out of it now?”


She turned her head and squinted into the darkness of the room. Realizing, belatedly, that the thin, hospital-issue sheets were damp and cold with sweat, she shivered; and the motion had to seem connected with what she saw. It wasn’t, but standing slouched in his corner, M retreated further into the shadows. Amy winced. His voice had been so soft, so caring – not at all what she’d been hearing in her sleep – and inadvertently, she had sent him away. Rolling her head to the other side, she closed her eyes and prayed for a peaceful sleep.


* * * * * * * * * *


“How much longer can she sleep?” The girl sounded petulant, as if Amy was sleeping simply to put her out. “I mean, it’s been hours since you said she –”


“Drop it, Erin,” M snapped.


The girl immediately fell quiet. ErinErin had been just a child, before. She couldn’t be more than sixteen now, and still a child really, but her voice was different … more confident, but in a away that made her sound arrogant. Unfortunately, it had retained the childish squeakiness that Amy had always found so grating.


Now subdued, Erin said, “Should I check on Rae, Doctor?”




Doctor, was it now? Then Erin had joined Penny in the ranks of M’s nurses. Once they were old and capable enough to assist his lab-work, he wouldn’t let the girls call him M. It had to be Doctor. He had introduced himself as Doctor M to her and Keith, Amy remembered, and Keith had taken to calling him Doc. Amy picked up on that, but during her recovery, the doctor had insisted she call him by his … name. She hadn’t been comfortable with it, but through the three days he kept her there, it had become habit. Good morning, Amy … Good morning, M … Good afternoon, Amy … Good afternoon, M … Goodnight, Amy … Goodnight, M … It was almost an in-joke: not anything anyone else would have found amusing, and not anything the concerned parties were really sure why they smiled over. Their eyes met briefly, he gave her the meal he had brought, and she tucked in while he sat himself down in a metal chair to wait. She told him every time that he didn’t have to, but he told her that he liked watching her eat; that she put more gusto into that than he put into living in general.


His vision was better then. He had told her she was beautiful. Vital. A rare blooming flower in the desert the world had become. He had told her that simply being near her gave him cause to not only live, but to give back to life. That she reminded him of why he went to medical school – because beautiful things should not be allowed to become dry and ugly. But none of it had stopped her from letting Keith wrap her small, pale hand in his gigantic dark one and lead her out the door.


Now, she sensed that everything that had before made him a good doctor was twisted into cold logic and self-preservation. His distance wasn’t so much a sad requirement as a part of his person.


Erin had left. M, though, was still in the room. Amy didn’t know if it would be better to face the doctor alone first, or with the padding of another individual present. She doubted that Erin’s being there would really matter to M, anyway – it was more a matter of whether or not Amy wanted an audience for what was sure to be an awkward moment. She chose not.


Opening her eyes and blinking a few times to get her bearings, she rolled over and sat up. The Doctor stood in the doorway, his arms behind his back, his posture rigid, and his eyes hidden behind dark glasses even in the windowless room. He was plainly looking at her, but his expression was unreadable.


Finally, he said, “Then you are awake.”


“Only just,” Amy answered haltingly.


M shifted his weight forward and tilted his head down to gaze over his glasses. “I would say that you look well, but as a doctor, that wouldn’t be very intelligent, since I know that you are well.”


Amy guessed it was supposed to be some sort of a joke, despite the monotone he said it in. She smiled faintly, not knowing what to say. Resuming his former position, M didn’t seem too eager to speak either. She wondered if he still saw in her any of the wonderful things he had described – and if he didn’t, if it was a deficiency in her or himself.


“H-how have you been?” she cautioned.


“I’ve survived, which is the best anyone can hope for.”


It’s not, she wanted to argue. Just surviving isn’t enough, even in this living hell. I’ve found love and I’ve found dependable friends, and why can’t you so I’ll stop feeling guilty?


Instead, she looked down and nodded.


M suddenly took two steps toward her bed and held out a hand. “Walk with me.”


Because it wasn’t a question, Amy did as she was bid. She even took a chance and held his hand – all the while comparing it to Keith’s, and before his, Ben’s, and even M’s own from before. He must have been working; where it used to be smooth and soft, it was rough and callused. It wasn’t as scrubbed raw as it had been. Her mind produced the phrase His body feels more lived in, and after considering it a few seconds, Amy decided that it wasn’t a bad way of putting it.


He led her out the door and on down one of the endless halls of his clinic. Wherever Erin had gone, she was no longer in sight. No noise came from any of the other rooms.


“Where are the children?” Amy asked. “It’s so quiet.”


“They have their own section of the hospital now.”


She nodded, but couldn’t stop herself from turning her head to peer into every open door, expecting a little girl or boy to look up at her and smile. It had amazed her that in the world’s end, children were the most unaffected. They were so adaptable … what was the phrase, “Children's talent to endure stems from their ignorance of alternatives”? Yes. That was it.


M’s legs were longer than hers, but he kept his strides short so that she could shuffle alongside him easily. Adapting his usually brisk walk for her comfort was one of those barely noticeable acts of kindness in which he specialized – and inwardly, she fumed that he would single her out for the favor. I never asked for this, she wanted to yell. I don’t want your attentions or your pity or … your love, if you’re even capable of it. And most of all, I don’t want to have to push you away, because god damn it, I only feel guilty afterwards. And you just stand there and stare at me with your impassive blind eyes.


“Where are the others?” she said instead.


“They’re fine.”




“I won’t hurt them, Amy.” He sounded offended that she thought he would.


“I guess.”


He stopped and turned to her. “You think I would?”


She could only look at him for a second before averting her eyes. “I don’t know what to think.” She hesitated. “M, there – there’s something I want to say, but it’s a lie.”


“What is it?”


“I’m sorry.”


Without a word, he started walking again. Amy was pulled along by his grip on her hand, which wasn’t uncomfortably tight, but he didn’t seem ready to release her yet. His pace was a little faster now. Eventually, he spoke again.


“You truly believe that I would harm something you hold dear?”


“I think you would kill Keith without a second thought,” she said softly.


“No. He could be useful.”


Useful, she thought disdainfully. You would keep him because he’s big and strong enough to be a good slave, but not because I love him.


“I want to see him and Corey.” Her voice trembled.


“That’s not possible right now.”


“Why not?”


“It just isn’t.”


“M –”


It’s ‘Doctor’.

«First  <  1 2 3 4 5 610  >  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