Insatiable (Zombie Survival RP)

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Evelyn was a little bit curious as to how the house had become so well fortified, but she figured that it was best to simply leave it for now. Smiling, she said. "Thanks, I'll look around and see if I can find anything that can help us out." After saying this, she began her search of the house. It was definitely well fortified, and she couldn't help but wonder why he would have left such a place at all. She hadn't checked the kitchen just yet so she didn't know how they were on food, but she did know that this place was much safer than the park.

Going over to the bedroom, she could see that the windows were secured here as well. If nothing else, they were ready for this. She didn't know about his parents, so she figured that it was his house, and he had lived here for a while. Sitting down on the bed, she looked out the window and frowned. So much had happened since the initial outbreak, and she wished that it could all just come to an end. What was the military doing right now? She had seen so many commercials about the military being the 'best', so why didn't they stop the zombies? Shaking her head, she sighed and fell back onto the bed with a pomf.

Now looking up at the ceiling, she went through all of the things that she would have to do to secure her place here. Becoming friends with the other guy was a priority of course, but as of yet she didn't even know his name. She had asked previously, but he had remained silent about it. Was it something embarrassing? She could imagine that being the case, since there were plenty of embarrassing names out there. Shrugging her shoulders a little bit, she relaxed a few more minutes before getting off the bed and walking back into the lounge area. Looking to her partner, she asked. "How are we on food and stuff? Oh, and your crossbow arrows wouldn't happen to work with a bow, would they? Mine are all rubber and useless."

Jake

The man entered a windowless stairwell, and it was dark as a moonless night within. Venturing onward without a source of light was an errand for the very foolish or the very brave. A combination of the two would also be acceptable, though having a light couldn't hurt one's chances of surviving.

Alex

It wouldn't have been noticed without a second glance with all the trash that laid before the closed door, but there was light coming from the small gap between it and the scuffed floor. There was a sound of something hitting the floor shortly before shadows were seen dancing across the bit of light beneath the door. Any sound or sign of movement vanished as swiftly as it appeared and the store was still once more.

Yasei

Three of the for garages had cars, though it seemed that two of then were nowhere near operational. A red, crudely painted, rusty '73 Mustang was in the second of the four garages with its engine dangling above the open hood on a large chain. The third housed a reinforced frame of an old Volkswagen beetle, along with boxes of what one could only assume was the rest of the vehicle. The forth, however, was home to a dented, dirt-brown station wagon that was almost covered in steel playing, splashed with grey paint, and had "The Tenderizer" written with rough brushstrokes on its sides in crimson paint. The grill had been removed and had a heavy steel plate resting in its stead. The large piece of metal had two angled sides that met in the middle to create a rather broad point and was covered in thick, pointed metal studs. While it looked intact, that hardly meant it was completely functional, if at all.

Naomi

The basement would've been pitch black were it not for the the small windows on the upper walls. It was a very soft lighting, but most certainly better than no light at all. The smell of wood rot grew stronger the further she descended, and she quickly discovered the source if the smell. The basement was a workshop of sorts, its purpose made evident by the various power tools and lumber lying around. The real eye-catcher, however, was not the bright pink, hand-carved rocking chair that was turned on its side in the center of the room, but the corpse that hung by its neck on an extension cord right above it. Behind the man's hanging body, against the far wall, was an even more gruesome sight. A woman's corpse was lying on a table saw with her legs dangling over the edge and the circular blade that split through the mangled remains of her head. Blood was spared and sprayed all over the wall against the large tool and even the ceiling above. Resting at the feet of the table saw was another body, the body of a child. A little girl from the looks of it, with the head of a hammer lodged deep in her skull. The bodies weren't fresh, but they couldn't have been more than a couple months old. Another look at the makeshift noose would show that the pipe it was tied to broke loose and soaked nearly every inch of the floor along with the lumber and sawdust that was on it. Any traces of the scent of the corpses' decay was heavily masked by the rotting wood that was still damp in that humid room.

Beneath the stairs, Naomi would find two unopened half-liter bottles of water still in the packaging the original twenty-four were sold in. Beside them stood a box of granola bars with one lone packet. It seemed the family was on their last legs when something went terribly wrong. There was a very thin silver lining in the dark cloud of her discovery, though even that was crudely wrought with impurities. If they had survived just even a day longer, there would've been nothing for Naomi to find.

Ashlyn

Many of the storefront windows were smashed in, and that was only the beginning of the chaotic state of the leasing offices. Chairs, tables, paperwork, and various brochure racks were strewn rather unceremoniously about the entire room. A large rack of keys was among them, lying face-down in the corner.

Darek

The school wing was quiet and dank, the lighting barely allowed him to see the end of it where it opened up to the main hall. There were classrooms that had been boarded up with large pieces of plywood, and each had a big red "X" spray-painted across it. Clearly, whomever marked them didn't want anyone else going in there for reasons that were fairly obvious. From the silent halls, a faint noise echoed through - the clacking of a heavy door closing - shortly before growing quiet again.

Ted

Fortunately for the seemingly cornered man, he was allowed to breathe easily, at least for the moment, as the sounds of a door choosing resonated through the halls. The two undead by the doorway slowly craned their necks as their ears picked up the noise and they turned out of the lounge to investigate its source, shuffling side-by-side. The scuffling of their shoes and their low growls became faint and distant, relieving for the man who hid behind the couch, but likely not for whomever was moving about.

Herman had been crouched behind the table, trying to calm himself down and remember how to deal with the monster edging closer to him. "One good shot in the head, aim for the head Herman. Get up! Get UP!He leaped to his feet and swung out wildly at the creature, cracking the pipe hard against its jaw. It stumbled to the right, but kept moving. Panicking, Herman placed the pipe horizontally so that the creature's mouth would wrap around it as it got closer. Herman let the monster bite down on the metal pipe. With it's jaw all but shattered, Herman wasn't worried about losing his weapon. He leaned back and placed his foot firmly on the monsters chest, allowing himself to fall backwards and send the dead man over his own body with a loud *CRASH*.You're a dead man Herman, get up! GET UP!

Herman rolled on his side, his back aching. Quickly, he pushed himself up to his feet and dashed over to the fallen corpse, which was writhing around like a turtle on it's back. Herman lined up a good shot and struck, this time knocking bits of skull loose as the corpse fell, finally lifeless. Breath. Just Breath. Herman winced as he tried to calm himself back down, and grabbed at his side in pain. Nothing serious, probably just a bruise, you'll be fine. He placed his free hand on the table to steady himself when he felt something under his fingers. For a second he thought it might be one of them, so he drew his hand back instinctively. Looking over, Herman saw that it wasn't a monster, but rather a stitching kit. That might come in handy. Herman scooped the kit into his pack and quickly made his way out of the pet hospital, stepping cautiously over the glass trap he'd set. Leave it. Not enough time, especially with all that noise you just made. Time to go find a ride.

Herman made his way down the street slowly, carefully, compensating for his fresh bruises. He would try the Waffle House first, then circle back around for any spare parts he might need to either get a ride running, or to keep it in good shape later down the road. All these auto shops, its almost too good to be true. Herman passed a collection of auto shops on his way to the Waffle House when he noticed something in the distance. It looked like a lot of some kind. Might be worth checking out. Even if it means holding off on those waffles for a few more minutes. and so Herman quietly made his way towards the lot.

They left. They left! Something had obviously attracted their attention. Ted lay silent and still for many long heartbeats after he last heard the moaning. Maybe they had been distracted by a survivor. Maybe they had smelled the corpse of the walker he had dispatched earlier. For whatever reason, they were gone.

Shakily rising, Ted returned to the office. Turning on his flashlight, he set it on a filing cabinet behind him and started sifting through papers. Memos and other pre-crash trash. Then he found it. It was buried underneath all sorts of garbage but there they were.

"Lovejoy High School... Thought I was in Brooklyn. Well..." Ted murmured, poring over the map. His experience with blueprints through his old work gave him the ability to read almost any kind of building plan without any difficulty.

"Roof access... Right near the main administration office. At the front of the school... Where the zombies were headed..."

He took a moment to memorize the spot before moving on with his train of thought.

I don't want to fight the walkers if I can help it. I think this place has been pretty thoroughly lived in and that certainly means that there won't be much to scavenge from. I...

There was a shot. Ted stuffed the blueprints into his bunnyhug pocket and swung his axe over his shoulder as he grabbed his flashlight. A shot changed everything. A shot meant a local. A shot meant a surviver. A shot meant better odds.

Or it could mean another Troy.

"Troy was crazy... He talked to himself." said Ted as he started to walk calmly towards where the distinctive sound had originated. It could mean more walkers would converge on the area but that meant more would be coming within proximity of Ted anyway. It made sense to buddy up. Besides, he had a map. That was worth something.

You should have left the building the second you found the water. Nothing else in this heap was ever going to be worth the risk

"I thought there would be more water, oka-" he said before he noticed he was at it again. It was never his voice in his head talking to him, always someone he had known during the peace of before.

I'm not crazy. I'm not crazy.

He turned a corner and heard the crack of a skull and muffled moaning. It sounded like a door was being repeatedly slammed. He pressed his back along some lockers. Wait until it is safe before calling out...

"H-hello?" his voice was hoarse as he tried shouting when everything had become quiet.

Im sorry guys but i not really engaged in this. I just don't feel that its fun for me so im leaving i may return with a different character but most likely not, i am still on the escapist though so feel free to contact me.

Kuroneko Aisha i was planning to have Ryker say that their may be spare arrows in the basement near the archery tools that his father kept, so feel free to get those and to also god mod my character leaving you,or being overwhelmed by infected or something do whatever you want with him.

Evelyn listened closely as Ryker told her about there possibly being spare arrows down in the basement. Nodding her head and heading for the door, she wondered just how safe it was here. It was definitely warmer than outside, and safer than being in a tree during the winter, but she just couldn't shake the feeling that something wasn't right. Going down the stairs, she turned on the basement light and ruffled around for a little bit before finally spotting some loose arrows here and there. Collecting them all up, she counted sixteen arrows, which she used to replace her rubber tips. Tossing the useless arrows to the ground, she headed back upstairs.

Ryker was at the window staring out, and she could tell from his expression that something wasn't right. A quick glance showed a large amount of zombies making their way towards the house. It seemed their escape from the park wasn't as successful as they thought, and the slow ones were still following them. Evelyn knew that things were going to be bad, and she didn't want to stick around to find out what would happen. Backing up into the kitchen area in the back, she checked outside and saw that the coast was clear for now. Ryker's attention was still on the zombies, so using that, she quietly unlocked, opened and slipped out the back before making a run for it.

Sticking close to the walls and moving silently, she heard something behind her, and saw that there was another crowd of zombies shuffling towards the house from the back. If she had stayed in there, they would have definitely been overrun. Not wanting to see what was going to happen, Evelyn slipped away and hurried onto the nearest street, Eads Avenue. Looking down the road, she could see that the nearest intersection was Eads and Nebraska Ave. She didn't know this area too well, but she knew that she had to get to a safe area quickly. Seeing a particularly dense tree near the corner and no zombies just yet, she hurried over and climbed up.

She felt somehow at peace in the tree, since she knew that she was safe from the zombies, but also hidden from sight in general. There was plenty of shade around her and she could see pretty well. At the very least, she would be able to see anyone passing by, so she would be able to flag them down, or even warn them of danger ahead. She hadn't gotten any food, and she was down one water bottle so she knew she had to be sparing with her food bars. Secure in her tree, she relaxed against the trunk and looked around. Maybe one of these houses would be safe to stay in for the night, but she couldn't be certain. It was a risk to even leave the tree, so she would leave that choice for when it became darker. The day was still young after all.

Darek tentatively picked his way through the hallway. Making sure to check every corpse that he passed with a poke of his crowbar. The school was dark, and the air smelled of mildew and rot. To make matters worse he didn't have a light source. Then he heard it the sound of a swinging door closing shut. "Shit!" he said as he pulled out his pistol. He crept towards the main hall every muscle tense. He entered the main hall ready for a fight....and there was nothing..nothing at all. He went to check the other halls that branched off of the main hall. Most of the halls looked similar to the one he just left. He came to one hall and was greeted by two snarling faces, and the smell of rotted flesh.

They were right on him. He pulled up his pistol in reaction and shot at them. The aim was bad, and it few past the one closest to him, but in a stroke of sheer luck blew the brains of the one in the back all over the wall. He dropped his gun, as the other got too close for a clean shot, leaped back. Having put some distance between him, and the deadhead he took a swing at its skull with his crowbar. The angle of the strike was off, and the crowbar deflected off of the things skull. As the crowbar slid down the side of its head it ripped a huge gouge of flesh out of its face, and lodged under the collarbone.

"Fuck" spat Darek as he tried to remove the crowbar from the things shoulder, but it wouldn't budge. Having given up on freeing his weapon he used the new found leverage the keep the deadhead from sinking its teeth into his face. He was looking around desperately trying to find something to finish the thing off when he saw a door that was opened slightly ajar. He grunted with effort as he pushed the walking corpse to the door. As he was trying to off balance the thing he got careless. The deadhead clamped down on Darek's hand. Darek drew a sharp intake of breath, but it didn't have the jaw strength to rip through the leather of his glove, and it only pinched the shit out of his hand. He quickly gave up trying to pry his hand out of its mouth, and stomped on its kneecap. Having gripped the things jaw he first pulled it towards him, and then shoved it with all the strength he could. The deadhead toppled backwards. Darek's hand came free as the thing fell but he still gripped the jaw. He dropped his grisly prize, and stepped behind the door. The things head was in the perfect place. So he threw his weight against the door, and it slammed the monsters skull between the door and doorjamb. The thing was stunned after the first slam. So he dragged the door open again, never letting go of the knob, and slammed his body weight against it again. This time he heard an awful wet crunching sound, and the thing stopped moving. He slammed it one more time to make sure. "Jesus Christ!" he said between gasping breaths. Over the sound of his pounding heart, and his panting he didn't hear the man hoarsely calling out Hello.

"Hello!" shouted Ted, gripping his axe tighter. Perhaps the person with the gun had been devoured and he was just attracting the victor of the struggle to him. He was about to make a dash down the hallway when he heard a reply.

"Yes!"

"Alive?!"

"Not dead if that's what you mean."

Ted paused.

"I don't want any trouble. I just want to live. I don't want to make trouble for you... If we need to part ways now, lets do it now."

This time the stranger paused.

"We might as well work together. I don't kill survivors." said the voice in the adjacent hallway.

That satisfied him although Ted never let his guard down. Coming around the corner, he saw quite the mess on the wall. One zombie lay face down, parts of its rotting brains splattered across the wall. The other was a fleshy mess between a door and the wall, it had broken under the man's assault.

"Christ... Here." said Ted, pulling a dishcloth out from his bag. "Don't get any of their blood on you."

The stranger just nodded. Another survivor. Wandering the wastes to live another day? Part of a gang? It was impossible to know. All Ted did know was that this guy was taller, probably just as strong as him and had a gun. A gun. Which had discharged.

"They probably heard that shot. I guess you had to shoot with them both there. Whatever. I know how to get to the roof of this school, we might be safe to lie low there for a bit before moving on. There's no water."

Ted thought he heard moaning.

"Are you sure you're clean?"

Their blood had destroyed the last man who had partnered with him. Didn't bother to clean his sleeves whenever he had the chance. He was always involuntarily wiping his nose with that jacket. When he turned, Ted wasn't ready. Another close encounter with death, another lucky escape.

Not happening again. I'm not letting that happen again.

The office was a mess, certainly not the thing that would have stood in the days before Zombies. Right now though, all Ashlyn was focused on was that rack of keys. "All right, we're in business. Now which one of you suckers is going to open up that bad boy in the back there...?" She did a quick scan of all the available options, knowing that something that size had to have a fair amount of keys on one hook. A couple of the rings were chosen and Ashlyn looked around to make sure her path back outside was still clear. "K, let's see what we got."

Naomi couldn't help but let out an involuntary "Aw, gross!" She quickly turned to the wall, putting her thumbs in her pockets. It was a gruesome scene, and she couldn't even imagine trying to find out what had happened between the family. "Come on, Naomi, you gotta get the stuff and go. Get the stuff and go. You couldn't have done anything for them, but your family is still relying on you." She shuddered again before finally steeling herself and grabbing what little was left.

It was still a nasty scene, and Naomi made all sorts of faces in disgust as she tried her best to look around the corpses for anything else she could take. Finding nothing, or quickly growing tired of mangled bodies, she ran back up the stairs. Not the best idea, considering they were rotten, made much more obvious when her foot went through one of the steps with a crash.

"Aah! Shit!" It didn't hurt a lot, but she had banged her head against the handrail too. Open wounds and having a limb out of sight were a few things that made you dead nowadays. It took a minute to get her leg free. A bloody gash now graced her calf. I need to cover this up before I get any muck in it... She rinsed it with some soap, tearing up a rag to cover it up. I need to find some glue... that would help keep this stuff out of my bloodstream...

That was enough of this house, she thought, walking back out the door and continuing down the street.

The breath was caught completely in his throat as Alex saw the shadow flit briefly from under the door. For an eternity, he stood there as though he had been immortalized in stone, frozen by sheer uncertainty. There was something behind that door. Something that moved...something quiet...

No.

Odds were good that there was something unsavory behind that door. It was a good assumption to make these days. It was also likely that any supplies in this building would have either been looted or rotted a long time ago. Low chance of reward for high chance of risk.

Blood but no bodies.

Crouching back down, he turned towards the front door of the shop and carefully walked out. If there were any supplies that remained in this husk of a gas station then they would be left to the other scavengers. Alex had not survived this long to be chomped on at the first stop in this new state. Dejectedly, he moved back towards where his car was parked. There would be other stores around. Hopefully a repository that provided more advantageous shopping opportunities could be found with just a little bit of looking around town.

He carefully crawled back into his dirty Pontiac and continued his search, turning right onto Nameoki road. There were dangers to going deeper but Alex hoped it would be a far more promising prospect.

Darek nodded his thanks as the man gave him a rag to clean off any gore that happened to get on him. Darek was wiping down the gauze around his calves when the man said. "They probably heard that shot. I guess you had to shoot with them both there."
"Yeah they kind of got the drop on me."
"Whatever. I know how to get to the roof of this school, we might be safe to lie low there for a bit before moving on. There's no water."said the stranger.
"Fair enough let's get moving then."

"Are you sure you're clean?" The man asked. As what sounded like distant moaning started to echo down the halls. "Doesn't really matter if we die here." Darek walked over to the door and pried his crowbar out of the corpses shoulder, and checked to make sure a round was chambered in his pistol. "Now let's get the hell out of here."

Ted was about to agree when he heard the running on the floor down the hallway. Gesturing at a corridor, he sprinted down it as fast as he could go, mindful of where his axe blade was as he ran. Through this door, around this corner, up these stairs... He heard Darek right behind him and didn't look back. It wasn't an easy route so Ted was hoping maybe the walkers behind them would get lost.

They didn't.

Maybe these walkers had been athletes in life because in death they could run fast! There were three of them. One of them looked like it had an ammunition belt around its chest but he didn't have time to gawk at that. Ted turned the corner into the room with the ladder. He closed the door the instant Darek was inside and heaved a heavy filing cabinet so that it fell in front of it. The door was a flimsy thing and an undead hand had punched through it immediately. Within seconds the hinges of the door broke off as the three muscular zombies piled into the room. There was no time to get up the ladder behind Darek.

The first one who clambered over the filing cabinet was a lean, streamlined undead machine. It actually ducked his first swing, trying to go low. Shifting back with the handle, he drove it to one side and then swung the axe head straight into the skull. It was a jarring hit.

More fresh, newly turned...

The zombie fell as Darek dealt with another with his Crowbar.

Either he wasn't willing to see me die or he couldn't get high up enough on the ladder to risk letting one of them drag him down.

Whatever his reasons for staying, Ted could definitely appreciate the powerful crowbar hits being laid across the head of the second zombie. The third zombie looked like he could have been a Football player in life. He charged in just as Darek finished off his zombie. Splitting up out of his reach, they dodged the lumbering undead monster. Darek's crowbar got wedged in the walker's neck and he fell back, sprawled across a desk. As the dead jock went in for the kill, Ted swung the axe from behind with all of his strength. It staggered to one side as the splitting axe cut off an arm. Darek was on his feet and wrenched out the crowbar, flipping it and using the flat side to break out its eyes. It roared loudly as it flailed around blindly. Darek's crowbar was thrust straight through the forehead. Ted waited until Darek jumped to the side and he decapitated the beast with a wide swing.

Ted wiped the blood off of him as soon as the thing dropped, disposing of his now filthy facecloth and replacing it with a new dishcloth. He passed a new cloth to the stranger as he saw the man tossing away the original one he had given him.

He can fight without the gun. That's good.

They climbed up the ladder, opening the steel trapdoor and hauled themselves into the fresh, chilly October air. Compared to the stink of the high school, this was heavenly. Ted closed the door and noticed that there was a table with binoculars set up with a bunch of chairs sitting around.

An old lookout post for survivors.

Further down ontop of the roof he spotted a body. Walking over to it, he examined the corpse. Shot in the head but no traces of the disease. Ted looked him over, searching his pockets.

"Survivor fighting." spat Ted, getting up. No weapons or anything valuable left on him. Ted supposed his comrades or his killers already looted him. He sat on one of the lawn chairs set up and let the cool breeze wash over him.

"My name's Ted." he muttered.

**********

Down below a zombie groaned, finding the bodies of two of its kind in the hallway. Devouring the cold flesh didn't satisfy it but it sustained it. It hungered for warmth. It smelled the warmth. It needed the warmth. Dressed in a Hells Angels biker outfit and holding a long, well used machete in its right hand stiffly, it had seen many killings in life. Now in death it moved with a swiftness unbeknown to the average walker. It traced the scent through a winding path. It found three more of its kind dead but it remained silent. The scent was strong. They were close.

It could wait.

Herman

The streets seemed clear so far, still and quiet, a comforting scene in these dark times. It was almost beautiful with more of the sun's light making its way through the thinning low clouds, but the charred, rusted, and otherwise totaled cars didn't offer much in the way of sightseeing. A nearby corpse that was pinned between two fenders wasn't exactly an appealing sight either, not with the open sores and the moist, fleshy stump of a wrist. However, something was off about the cadaver. It looked...fresher. Almost preserved, somehow. It didn't take long for him to realize why as the fleshy stump, aided by the hand opposite, slowly propped up the torso of the dead man who turned towards the onlooker with fogged eyes and an open mouth. It almost seemed to grin as it reached out for Herman, a sight made more gruesome by the stripped lips and scraggly chin caked in dried blood. It reached it towards the man with its arms, fruitlessly grasping at the air before it started to groan, almost as if in frustration. It only grew louder as its grin turned into a pained and hungry grimace, vying to get warm flesh into its body.

Ashlyn

The highway in front of the lot's offices was clear of most signs of life, but further down the road, some commotion could be heard. The unmistakable, raspy groan of the undead reached Ashlyn's ears quite easily in the stillness, and it would most certainly reach those of any bodies nearby. Only a quick look would let her know just what was going on, and a few moments' time would reveal just what kind of attention the noise was attracting...

Evelyn

In that tree, everything seemed so calm and peaceful, which was more than one could say for Ryker who was now being stripped of his flesh on his own carpet. Fortunately for him, he was already dead, though not before he experienced some of the most excruciating pain imaginable. But it was not the time to dwell the passing of a short-lived companionship, only to make plans for her journey from that tree, and hopefully to a safer place. It seemed, however, that the universe wouldn't let her off easily, for there were a dozen Walkers approaching from the south and west. It was evident they hadn't quite noticed her being there, otherwise they'd be crowding the tree in no time, but if she was to find a more secure location, her window of opportunity was growing smaller by the minute.

Ted & Darek

There was the sound of creaking lumber, and the ruckus of snapping plywood soon followed. Rooms that were previously boarded up now had members of the undead, invigorated with the prospects of a good meal that came with the sound of gunfire and the brutal end of a chase. Some tore through the timber, some from outside found glass doors to smash open, but each and every one of them came for the food that the two strangers did not want to become. From the rooftop, small groups of Walkers could be seen coming from the north and east, from the fields and trees around the rail-yard. Unable to stay there for long, they'd need to find some way down to safe grounds. With the large canopy that shaded the front of the school, it was possible they could clamber down with little to no risk of injury. Otherwise, they'd have to chance going through the gauntlet of the undead that was an empty collection of hallways just an hour before.

Naomi

The residential streets seemed bare as she drew nearer to S Mason Road, almost untouched by the whole plague, but the illusion's curtain was pulled back as she saw the pileup the occupied the southbound lane of the main road. The paint on some of the vehicles was masked with scorch marks and much of the glass was blackened and shattered. Further south, there were several zombies surrounding what appeared to be a freshly killed deer, preoccupied from the looks of it. They presented no immediate danger, but there was no telling when or even if one would pay Naomi any mind, perhaps wanting to claim his own meal rather than settling for whatever meat wasn't taken by the others.

Alex

That Pontiac's fuel gauge began floating a little too close to 'E', the driver had noticed, and it wouldn't do him any good to let it run dry. He hadn't come up and on gas stations and there were no signs indicating any nearby, which meant only one of two things: either ditch the car in hopes of finding another, or siphon some fuel out of what vehicles he could. Seeing as finding another charged and functioning car battery anywhere within a hundred miles would be nearly impossible, the latter of the two options seemed the most viable of solutions. The only problem with that was the fact that, strangely enough, cars were very sparse along that particular stretch of road. It was quite possible he'd have to find some place to park his car while he ventured off to collect whatever fuel he could find. East of the road, there were plenty of houses that would likely prove to be fruitful prospects, though if the dense area wasn't deemed suitable by the man, he recalled a car lot he'd seen about a mile back, Tri City Motors as the sign indicated, which was sure to have what he was looking for, provided it was cleaned out already.

Dana smiled when she saw the car. Someone had the right idea of how to design a vehicle. It wasn't as good as another lorry, but it would have to do. It could probably mow a few zombies down, or at least get them out of her fucking way. She almost prayed that it worked, but stopped herself before she did something she'd regret later. God didn't exist, and even if he did she should worship the other dude. The one in hell.

She opened the door to The Tenderizer and got behind the wheel. The key was in the ignition and luckily it started on her second try. Well, it didn't stop it from breaking down as soon as she got onto the road or out of the garage. Maybe she should find something to sacrifice to the devil, for good fortune or whatever.

The drummer got out of the car to open the garage door, then went back to the driver's seat and really hoped that it wouldn't break down as soon as it got the perfect opportunity to do so.

As Ashlyn looked back out the windows, the streets seemed to be clear, but there were noises in the distance. Inhuman noises. Hell. Well these better be the ones then.

She took her keys with her as she charged back across the parking lot towards the Triple E with her head on a swivel. I ain't getting bit now. Not after being holed up in Wally World all that time. She made it to the door in one piece, and immediately brought up the first key ring up to the hole. She started plugging keys in, not bothering to check what they looked like, just looking for one to fit. All right, come on.....nope, next.......nope, next........dang it. All right, winner's gotta be here somewhere, just gotta keep trying...

Herman had been walking for a short while when he saw the corpse. A pitiful looking thing with only one hand left, and most of its flesh peeled, ripped, or rotted off. It swiped out at him hungrily, locking its eyes on him like a dog locks eyes on a squirrel.The shape that thing is in, it's harmless. But if it keeps on moaning like that it'll attract more, and the ones it attracts will probably be a bit more dangerous. You should hurry and take it out before it rallies the troops. Herman shuffled quietly over to the corpse as it's moans grew louder, and once again readied his pipe to crack into the skull of the beast. This time he felt different however. A moment of hesitation rushed over him, watching that rotted defenseless thing bat at him with one hand, helplessly stuck between two cars. This one seemed more human than the one he'd beat down in the Animal Hospital. That one was stronger, and more aggressive. This one was weak, trapped, struggling with every ounce of it's being to survive one more minute, to find one more meal.Just like you.

Herman finally mustered enough courage to smack the corpse across it's rotted skull, and with a mushy sort of snap the moaning ended. Unfortunately, he'd been too slow. Turning around, Herman saw two very healthy looking corpses shambling in his direction. Healthy looking, for a couple of dead guys anyway. RUN! Looking around, Herman realized he wasn't that far off from the lot. Get inside, go! GO! Herman vaulted over the two cars that had pinned the first corpse down and smudged it's bloody fleshy remains all over his pants as he slid off the trunk of one of the cars. He pumped his arms back and forth furiously, making a bee line straight for the front door of the RV Lot. No doubt the corpses would be behind him the whole way, but he was well practiced in putting distance between himself and the dead.

Ashlyn tried another trio of keys before she started wondering if it was worth attempting any of the others. That's when she saw the note on the window:

Roy,
Keys are in my office if you need them. And don't forget, the float charger is still on the battery. Just make sure you put it back with the others if and when that thing sells.

Well that would have been nice to spot a little earlier. Determined to curse herself for it later, Ashlyn headed back into the abandoned building. The office was in behind the overturned key rack, and the door was open. Upon examination of the remarkably well-kept workspace, the keys were nowhere to be found. None hanging on anything. "Are you kiddin' me?" she softly exclaimed as she went searching around. "They gotta be in here." She got confirmation upon spotting the labels on the desk, one of which clearly read "RV Keys".

"All right then." Ashlyn went for the drawer, but it was locked. She tried bashing the bottom corner of the drawer with the end of her rifle, and on the third try, it got pried out enough that a sizeable crack was made. Sticking the end in, she turned her gun into a makeshift crowbar to pop the weakened drawer out. "Jackpot." There was only the one set of keys inside, which eliminate any guess work this time. Scooping it up, she started back out towards the parking lot where her machine awaited, but something stopped her. The groaning sounds she heard we still faint, but now audible inside the building. The rifle was shifted from battering ram to boomstick mode. I told you, I ain't getting bit now.

As she left the building, she could see what was making the noise. There were three figures, all moving towards her position. The leader seemed to be human, but one couldn't be too careful when it came to zombies. She brought the rifle up to her shoulder to aim. She had the heads in her sights, but whether or not the gun would cooperate would determine how this played out. "HIT THE DIRT!" she shouted, before waiting two seconds. Once the grace period was over, she fired three shots.

Herman was a few feet away from the entrance, still being chased by the beasts that had heard the calls of their dying brother, when something surprising happened. The doors swung open and a figure emerged, holding something in its hands. Can't be one of them, they can hardly hold their heads up, let alone keep a grasp on something Reflexively, Herman tried to halt himself, flailing his arms and legs as he ran to slow himself down. Though he didn't want to run face first into this new figure, he was still mindful that there was a very real threat behind him as well. A moment passed and he was able to get a better look at the figure in front of him. Is that...a girl? Is that a GUN!? Herman dove to the side, obeying the woman's command to hit the dirt just as she fired three shots from her rifle. Three shots. One of those was meant for you.

Memories of the last time he'd encountered another person flashed through Herman's head at a million miles an hour. Three shots. He placed his hands on the back of his head, frozen in fear and not even bothering to check if the corpses pursuing him had been stopped by the bullets Three shots. Herman squinted, pressing his eyes shut tight, trying to get his head back together. Waffles. Three shots. His muscles ached, he smelled the decay of the bodies around him and his throat seized up. Get up or she'll kill you. Try as he might, Herman could not get to his feet. The most he could muster up was the strength to turn around, open his eyes, and crawl backwards away from the woman with the gun. His pipe was still in his hand, his fingers wrapped around it so tight his knuckles turned white. Three shots.

"P-please. I ju-just need a v-va-van. Waffles." Herman used the bloody pipe to point down the street towards the waffle house.

Once the shots were fired, Ashlyn allowed herself to drop the weapon back to it's relaxed position. All three bodies appeared to have dropped to the ground, but as she looked the bodies didn't line up. The front one was off to the side, while the back two where right in line with where she fired. No zombies got the lateral movement like that. Then the front body started to move.

Ashlyn brought her gun back up and slowly walked towards the front body. By the time she got to him, the man had flipped over, but he was starting to crawl towards the others. Why? What are you doing?

"P-please. I ju-just need a v-va-van. Waffles."

Then it dawned on Ashlyn that the pale lady with the gun might be a little more frightening to the man than the now deceased zombies. Especially considering she just tried to shoot at him.

She blew back the bangs that had settled in front of her face. "A van? Good luck finding the right combo. Keys in there are all over the place. You probably wouldn't have much of a shot till more of those buggers come running." After tucking the rifle back into the holster, she bent down, offering a hand to the disheveled man. "Here, come on up. I ain't gonna shoot ya. You passed the zombie test when you weren't stupid enough to stand in my line of fire."

Uh-oh... I don't think I can make it past them... Naomi took a quick look around. She decided to go around, making her way behind the houses. A big jump cleared the fence, and she was in the backyard. This continued for a while, hopping over the fences separating the houses. Most of them were bare, save the few times she had to go back out to the street to avoid a backyard zombie. Unfortunately, she found nothing useful as she made her way through the grass and forgotten play houses and swings. The doors that weren't boarded up were wide open, and a quick glance told her there probably wasn't much left inside.

Finally the houses started to thin out, replaced by buildings and stores. Still good cover. She took the back alleys, staying clear of the empty street. "Hum... hmm hmm hmm... hmmmm..." she hummed softly, nervously, to herself. They won't bother me... they won't bother me...
"Oauuugh..."
A zombie shuffled up from his seated position.
Time to run!
Naomi bolted down the sidewalk. She couldn't run too close to the doors in case one burst out at her, but that also meant she was out... in the open. She had to get back to some cover. Even if the blood from her leg wasn't seeping out, she had no doubt they could smell it if she got too close.

Now that they were safely on the roof Darek took of his hat, and stuffed it into a side pocket of his pack. After two fights and a chase he was sweaty, and the cool air felt good on his face and sweat lank hair.. "My name's Ted." muttered the man sitting at the table. Darek walked over to where Ted was sitting, and placed his pack on the ground. "I'm Darek. Thanks for pulling my ass out of the fire back there. I'd probably be dead if you hadn't known how to get up here." Darek tossed his gloves down next to his pack and started rummaging through it. He fished out his bag of beef jerky, and grabbed a couple pieces. "I don't know when the last time you had some protein, but we're gonna need our energy." He tossed the bag onto the table. "Help yourself."

Darek walked around for a bit, trying to figure out the best way to get out of the bind they now found themselves in. There was a canopy on the front of the school. It would be a bit of a drop, but he figured they could make it down off the roof easily enough. Darek walked back over to his pack grabbed his canteen, and sat down in one of the chairs. After a couple moments he said "There is a canopy on the front of the school. Looks like we could make it down, but these shambling bastards are tickling in from the streets, and the woods behind the school." Darek took a drink from his canteen. "We could always chuck this guy down to the corpses to distract them while we get away. What do you think?"

Ted took the bag and grabbed a few pieces. It was hard knowing what was too much. He was entirely too hungry to be restrained. He took five pieces, looking at Darek for approval. When he had it, he carefully chewed them all down slowly to savor them.

Now to find a way out of this.

As Ted listened to Darek's suggestion thoughtfully, he noticed a skylight. He had the germ of an idea pop into his head...

Yes, that could work.

Darek finished talking and Ted pointed out what he had been thinking about.

"Some of these emergency systems for schools are active even when the power is out. I was thinking that if I can get you to hold my legs..."

After explaining his intention and getting a skeptical agreement out of Darek, Ted smashed the skylight out with the head of his axe. Zombies from below looked up and roared, pointing. Getting Darek to hold him up, Ted crawled through the skylight to poke his head upside down along the ceiling of the auditorium. Taking out the school blue prints and striking a match, he lit it on fire right underneath a sprinkler head.

The sprinkler system shuddered violently and then a jet of water rushed out... for fifteen seconds. No alarms went off and the zombies beneath merely got a little wet. Getting pulled back up, Ted scratched his head.

"Well.... there... there goes my idea. No alarms. Thought we could get ourself a loud distraction if it worked... I guess we'll try your idea... Let's get ready."

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

The Hell's Angel zombie had pushed open the trapdoor. The prey was gone but it stayed quiet. Heaving its rotting flesh up through the entrance, it closed the door behind it. There were still the instincts of a contract killer in this zombie. It had to get its prey, had to set a trap, had to get that flesh... Leave no trace. When he was alive, many zombies had failed to bite him by leaving a clue.

All except the one that bit him.

Stumbling over behind an air conditioning unit, the biker ghoul checked its hand to see if it still had the machete. It was there.

Soon.

Tension seemed to build in his chest as Alex drove onward through the desolate streets. His eyes keep glancing quickly to the pointer of his fuel gauges as it inched dangerously in the wrong direction. The poor machine hadn't had a drop to drink since he'd siphoned off a half a tank back near Kansas City. Fuel had become an incredibly difficult commodity to come by after the days the power went out. With no electricity, there was nothing powering the fuel pumps save the odd generator he had found providing backup at a very few gas stations he had stopped at along the road. Anymore Alex just obtained his fuel by siphoning from vehicles abandoned on the side of the road. Unfortunately, his darting eyes were unable to spot anything that would carry the precious gasoline he needed. Most everyone had probably tried to skip town when the end came about. The only options would be to drive or to walk. From his observation, Alex figured most had tried to drive and had at least succeeded on making it far enough away to put a heavier burden on the shoulders of the fool trying to make their way INTO St. Louis.

His eyes scanned the scenery desperately as he tried to find any meaningful opportunity. He had passed a car lot a while back that might provide the necessary fuel but a niggling doubt about that place hung over him like an anchor. If anyone was looking to scavenge vehicles or gas, a car lot would be the first place they would look. This meant that there was a higher chance that the place was either empty or filled with shufflers who met an ill fate in the face of an optimistic prospect. And even in a best case scenario, Alex knew that most car lots didn't keep their vehicle fueled more than the bare minimum to ensure that no one drove off the lot for good without signing a contract. Even if they hadn't been tapped, Alex would be standing in the open draining mere drops from the cars parked there. Alex couldn't risk that; he needed to get his gas in "bulk" and then move on with haste.

The houses that popped into the left corner of his eye bared a little more promise. Alex was always skittish about venturing into residential areas but his luck had always favored them. Perhaps it was because looters preferred to head towards commercial zones in hopes of commercial levels of goods. Perhaps it was simple luck siding with the young man. Either way, Alex had been able to find better supplies in the lands where the people used to rest their heads.

On the other side of the coin, he had also found a lot more Shufflers there too.

But his eyes kept darting towards the fuel gauge, constantly working its way towards empty.

After an eternity, his hands suddenly jerked the steering wheel to the left without his mind fully comprehending the weight of his decision. He just knew that he needed the fuel and the supplies. He just knew that if he were to find them, they would be in the places that people had lived in the before time. He just knew that suddenly, he was walking towards the homes with a plastic fuel can held in his right hand, his revolver firmly clenched in his left, and the yellow tubing wrapped around his shoulders.

He knew the risk of what he was doing. He just silently prayed to God that it would be worth it once again.

"Alright man I'll get the body. See if you can't find a good place to drop him." Darek began to walk over to where the body was. He passed by the trap door, and continued walking. A chill went through his body as the hairs on his neck stood on end. He slowly reached for the gun in its holster, and turned around. He didn't see anything out of the ordinary. So he passed it off as nervousness from the gathering horde around the school. He turned and began to walk back to where the body, and more importantly his gear was. He came up on blocky air conditioning unit when he was hit by the same sense of trepidation. All the sudden a raging monster burst from behind the AC unit. The sight of one of the deadheads on the roof stunned him for a moment. "What the fuck....." he said in surprise. As the monster raced towards him in a lurching gait, and brandishing a machete. The thing was moving much faster than any other he had seen before. By the time he recovered from his shock it was almost on him.

He scrambled for his gun as the thing came within blade distance, and swung the machete. Darek had his gun half way out of his holster when he was forced to jump back. Much to his horror his grip wasn't good on his gun and it slipped out of his hand as his feet hit the gorund. "Ted!" he shouted "We got one of these fuckers up here with us!" He sidestepped an overhead swing, and pulled his knife, but the zombie kept up it's swings apparently impervious to fatigue. Darek couldn't get close enough to make a counter attack. So he continued to give ground making sure he didn't get hit by the things unstoppable flailing. He could see Ted sprinting over with his axe in hand, when his luck ran out. He took a step back and suddenly there was no more ground. He fell backwards his hands reflexively making a clawing gesture, and he cried out as he fell.

He hit the lower roof with a jarring impact. It wasn't a long drop, but it was unexpected. The impact blew the air from his lungs, and he laid there stunned for a moment. He stood up, and looked for a ladder or something to get him back up to where Ted was. He didn't even know if there was a ladder, and he could still hear a struggle above him, so he ran over to one of the AC units up against the wall. He climbed onto it, and scrambled his way back onto the raised roof.

Apparently Ted had removed the blade wielding arm from the things torso, but the thing was in under the swings of his axe trying to tear a chunk out of Ted's face. Thinking quickly Darek pulled his jacket off, and twisted it around with a couple of flicks. He sprinted over to Ted and put the loop down around the dead things lower face, and neck and pulled its head back with one hand. As the thing's face was slowly pulled away from Ted's it started to become over balanced. Darek stepped on the back of it's knee and it dropped down onto its knees. Then Darek took his knife and started slamming it down on top of it's head. Sadly the knife wasn't meant for stabbing, and all it was doing was cracking the skull, and ripping huge chunks out of the things head as it glanced off the skull.

"Stand back." Darek heard Ted say so he let go of the jacket, and kicked the thing in the back. The ghoul dropped to its chest. Its face slamming against the roof with a wet thunk. Ted brought his axe over his head like he was splitting a log, and split the ghouls skull. As the threat was ended Darek sat down. "Holy balls." was all he could say for a moment. "How the fuck did that thing get up here?" he said to himself more than anything his voice high from fear, and adrenaline.

Ted was breathless. The walker... It had split them up and...

"Jesus Christ..." he muttered, forced to use a new dishcloth up after another splash of blood had covered him.

Stay clean... Stay clean...

He looked at the zombie and back to Darek.

"It got the jump on us and... it used a knife? I've never seen one of these things do that before!"

He felt sick imagining if all the walkers started to fight as... human as this one had.

When they had recovered their wits, he looked at Darek.

"I think we need to get out of here sooner than later... We get off the roof and then... then what?"

Safety. Get to safety.

The sun was still high in the air. That was good. The grounds around the school were flooded with zombies. That was bad. Now... now he didn't even know if they could stay on the roof without being ripped apart by... smart zombies?

"This is crazy... They've never been smart before."

Dana

The station wagon's engine roared to life, proving that however battered the machine appeared to be, the owner kept it's internals clean and pristine. Had she not been in the garage, starting the car, she may have heard the Pontiac passing the small speedway. But there she was, watching the fuel gauge steadily climb to a quarter of the way to full with contentment. It wasn't much, more than one would need for it's intended purpose, but it would have to do for now since it appeared that whomever owned the beast previously hadn't thought to refill his only gas can before his early 'departure'. So, with high hopes and newfound heavy metal, Dana quickly pulled out of the garage and headed for the nearest outlet.

When The Tenderizer reached Nameoki Road, the woman at the helm was presented with two options; either turn left and head toward the heart of St. Louis, no doubt riddled with refueling opportunities, or turn right and chance the bare bones pickings of the open road. Either option had its risk and reward, she just needed to decide if she wanted to chance running dry with her recently-adopted baby or potentially becoming something's next meal...

Herman & Ashlyn

As if the sounds of a previously hungry and frustrated friend weren't encouraging enough, the trio of gunshots that followed certainly captured the attention of the able-bodied dead nearby. The scrape of dragged boots and shoes across asphalt and broken glass came from the southwest as a few lumbering undead headed up the road towards them. Bloody figures emerged from the trees across the road, walking from the residential area to the pair that made their presence apparent. There was an audible squeaking as a blood-soaked, three-fingered hand slid across the hood of an old Lincoln, its owner eager to get over the blockade of trapped vehicles and to either of the morsels on the other side. Though there were no more than ten at the moment, it rarely took long for things to escalate, meaning the time to move was at hand.

Naomi

The woman's mad dash down the sidewalk came to a screeching halt when she had to stop herself from turning the corner, narrowly avoiding the wandering gazes of the Walkers shuffling around the parking lot of the quaint shopping center. She was caught behind a Starbucks in a rut of uncertainty; no telling if she'd be noticed by the several hungry bodies ambling the near-empty lot or if the one she'd bolted past moments before had caught her scent. As if to settle the matter, there was the familiar groaning of the Walker as it began moving about from its previous state of dormancy. Unable to wait around for long, Naomi was presented with the choice if making a mad dash for better cover or hole up in the coffee house and wait for a better opportunity.

Alex

He made it across the highway with no trouble, and supposed he was in the clear when he reached the residential streets. There was a haunting silence in the neighborhood that was broken by sparrows singing in the trees. For a moment, it was as if the world had turned back to a more peaceful time. One could almost smell the burning of a charcoal grill, hear the sounds of children playing, laughing and screaming...the screaming seemed more real then anything else, and that's because it was. The cries of fear and agony came from a couple blocks north, accompanied by the sound of small arms fire. Though it seemed like minutes had passed since the noise erupted, it was mere seconds before the screams were cut short by a single gunshot. After a few seconds of silence, another gunshot followed, and the neighborhood became still once more...

Ted & Darek

Though the seemingly-intelligent zombie had been dealt with, there was still the growing that was beneath their feet, ambling through the halls for access to the roof. If one could find its way topside, surely there were other that'd follow suit. The matter was made even more pressing by the fact that with every zombie that had pushed through the doors, there was another that drew nearer the access hatches. Time wouldn't be on their side for very much longer, and something had to be done.

Darek stood up and looked to Ted. "Alright we gotta get out of here. I cleared a couple of houses on my way in." he said as he pointed off to the south east. He was looking at his gore covered hands, and the unsavory stains on his jacket. If I can't find a way to clean this I'll have to get a new one. He looked over at Ted. "Hey man I got a bottle of rubbing alcohol in my pack. Would you mind grabbing it for me?" He kind of lifted his hands up and shrugged indicating his hands. "Seems we are gonna need a bit of that after this mess. Not too much though; we may need more after we get safe." Ted walked over to where the gear was sitting and started to open the bag. "It should be near the top. I just picked it up earlier today." Ted pulled the bottle out and started to open it. "Found it. Hold out your hands and I'll pour some onto them, and then you can do the same for you." Darek nodded and stuck out his hands. "Alright."

Now that they weren't in immediate danger of getting infected they started to plan their way off the roof. "If we put him down by that door we can draw them away from the canopy." Suggested Ted pointing at the area he was talking about. "Yeah that seems like a good idea. We can also toss smart guy over there down further along that wall, and have two bodies to keep 'em occupied." Darek said as he glanced over towards the ghoul.

"Alright on three." as the body hit the ground it made an audible thump that made Darek wince. "Lets drop the other one now." said Ted getting Darek's attention. Once they dropped that body down they started the clamber down the onto the canopy. "Looks like it's working." whispered Darek and the throng of walking corpses slowly shuffled their way over to the meal. Darek jumped down behind a group of the deadheads, and recovered as quickly as he could bringing his crowbar to the ready. They didn't seem to notice the thump he made over the general din of the moans, and growls that group of these things made. He looked up at Ted and beckoned him down signaling it to be as safe as it could get. The sound of the shamblers starting their grisly feast could be heard above the sound of the horde. Ted dropped Darek's pack down to him, and he put it on fearing the feel of cold hands grabbing at him. He heard Ted drop down next to him, he looked up at Ted was watching Darek's back for him. Tapping Ted on the shoulder he motioned in the direction of the east side of town; where the comparative safety was. The streets ahead should be mostly empty. Most of the dead were here looking for them.

They made off for the street skirting the side of the building in a crouching run trying to not be noticed. They had made halfway there before their luck ran out. One the shufflers came around the corner of the building and spotted them. It let loose a strangulated cry that had a sickening bubbling sound to it, and started to lurch its way towards them. "Son of a bitch." Darek hissed. "Alright we need tot ake him down and move as fast as we can. Once we take him out We can pass through one of the building I cleared, and hopefully lose any followers as we go through. With luck we can cross the street, and get through the next building. We can figure out what do next after that." By this time the thing was starting to get closer. It was fairly isolated, and a couple others were just now taking notice. Deciding there was no other choice Darek leapt up out of his crouch and ran at the monster. He used his momentum to swing his crowbar with a greater force than usual catching the zombie along the side of it's head. The thing crumpled with bubbling groan, and Darek kept on moving, with Ted close on his heels.

That had undoubtedly drawn attention to them, and they were now being followed by a small pack of the flesh eaters. They could easily out pace them if their luck held, and they didn't get cut off by another roving band.

Ted ran up to a large two story house, trying the door and testing the windows while taking a breather. Darek came around.

"Not this one. Hurr-"

An undead police officer was ontop of them, with two teenage girls right behind him. Swinging the axe low, Ted disabled the larger zombie by severing its leg at the knee. Rotten blood spilled across the ground as it moaned pitifully. Darek bashed out the skull of one of the girls as Ted finished off the cop. The third zombie tripped on a piece of wood that was left in the tall grass. A quick chop to the neck and she was finished.

"Lead the way." said Ted, hauling up the heavy splitting axe. He had already noticed that the holster of the cop was empty, no point in wasting further time looking at it. He followed Darek down a back alley as the zombies from the school started flooding towards the scene of their fight.

Keep moving... Keep moving...

On instinct, Naomi decided to try the first door she saw in the alley. She threw her weight into the dumpster that was blocking it. It creaked, shifting a few inches over. She could hear the undead getting closer. "Rrrah!" She pushed it again. Her leg ached, but the adrenaline numbed the pain. As soon as the door was unblocked, she threw her weight into the door. It splintered: it was already weak. There was no time to think about it. She hit it again, breaking the lock and falling onto a tile floor. The kitchen. She scrambled up and slammed the door closed, looking around the room for something to block it. A large freezer, appliances... nothing she could move. By herself. She couldn't believe what her eyes settled on no further than 10 feet away. A... a human. Not infected. No taller than 5'5", short black and electric blue hair, a green apron, glasses.

"Quick! Help me move this!" The woman tugged on a nearby oven. Naomi ran over and helped. The pair got the door blocked, backing away as the moans of the ever hungry gathered outside of the door. The two women stared at the door for what seemed like an eternity before finally looking at each other. She looked pretty good for the apocalypse.

"H...hi. I'm Maddy."
"I-I'm Naomi..."

There was a little more silence before Maddy got up, offering her hand to Naomi. "Come on, let's go in the other room. These zombies get me nervous, ya know?"
Naomi got up, following Maddy. The inside of the coffeehouse was dim, lit by a few frosted windows in the ceiling, and rays of sun that peeked through the boarded windows. Consumer products of the past were arranged on the floor, mostly mugs and bottles. The empty shelves were propped against the front door and windows. Maddy, who looked like she might have worked there in the distant past, sat on the counter. "Do you want anything? Coffee? Stale bread? I can make a mean caramel machiatto... but no milk. It's pretty much all spoiled, unless you're willing to take the chance. Being sick isn't exactly good right now. So... I'm sorry, I talk a lot when I'm excited. I haven't seen a real person in a while! It's awesome!"
"Yeah. Everyone's probably gotten as far from the cities as possible... I mean, I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for my family."
"You're looking for family?"
"Yeah. We were camping when this happened. I'm meeting them at..." Naomi dug around in her pockets, finally taking out a piece of paper. "The Plaza Frontenac. Do you know where that is?"
"Oh the Plaza? Sure. I could take you there... but... I dunno, it's not really... safe. Besides, I have a lot of supplies here still, and it was kinda safe until you broke the door. I don't want to risk losing them."
"That's fine. Can you draw me a map?"
"Uh... yeah, I think I can... but uh... can you really go by yourself?"
"I'll be fine!" She gave Maddy a thumbs up. "I'll leave as soon as I can. Be out of your hair in a minute."
"Ha, whoa, no need to be so gung-ho about it! You can stay here for a while. Like I said, I've got a lot to spare." Maddy disappeared into what looked like a walk in closet for a few seconds. She came back with a bag of mixed nuts and a bottle of water. "You might want to clean your leg. Keep it from getting infected."
"Yeah. I have some soap."
"Good!"

They talked for a while. Maddy used to live a few blocks away. She was single, 24, rented an apartment with a couple of friends. She was closing up when the attack happened. As soon as she could, Maddy went back to look for her friends. They were all gone. Maybe they escaped, maybe not. Either way, she had holed up in the coffee shop. With careful rationing, she would have food for a month or so. Without it, a few weeks? But the food wasn't all that great. So a month. It was hard sleeping with the dead silence, only broken by the sound of starved predators.

But meeting Naomi was a big comfort. Maddy had started to think she was the only one left in the world.

"Shit we gotta go. there is a series of houses up that way." Farek frantically said, and pointed down the street. "I left a couple of the houses open after I cleared them out. We can jump between them, and lose the bastards, or at least buy us some breathing room." Darek started running down the alley it was better to run on the grass the asphalt would make too much noise, and alert anything nearby that might be looking for an easy meal. As they ran alongside peoples houses he saw a zombie clutching a chain link fence around someones backyard. He ignored it and kept moving.

"There it is across that parking lot" Darek called out to Ted who was a little behind him due to Darek's longer stride. There is a backdoor that leads straight into another house that. He said as he stopped to make sure the way was clear. I cleared both of those buildings earlier today." The sound of the group behind them was getting louder. No doubt attracted by the noise that zombies tend to make when they catch the scent of their next meal. "If we are gonna go we gotta go now." Ted said in a hissing whisper. The sound was getting closer.

Their shoes slapped against the asphalt making an odd echo in the lifeless town. More deadheads wandering around in yards and along the street took notice of the sounds. As the noise echoed down the empty streets, the corpses that populated them started converging on the sound. "Alright we gotta time this right, if they don't see us go in the may just surge around the house. This way they will just bang at the door while we slip out the front. Go make sure the street out front is clear....well relatively clear."

Fortunately, there were no walkers in the side street Darek had pointed at. None that Ted could see at a quick glance.

"Clear!" hissed Ted. Darek opened the door and they jumped in as quietly as they could, closing the door silently behind them. Staying low, they made their way to the living room and hid under the table. They didn't have long to wait as the sounds of the roaring undead surged around the house. Thankfully, there was no interest in the house at all. Yet.

As soon as the moaning faded into the distance down the street, Ted looked at Darek.

"We can't stay long. What's our move."

Not too far southeast of St. Louis...


"Well, it's a clear and beautiful morning here in West Illinois, mostly cloudy with a slight chance of rain. It's a bit nippy for this time of day, though it's yet another sign winter is right around the corner, so you better bundle up, folks. I hear this year's is gonna be a doozy. For all you frequent listeners out there, of course you'll know that it won't only be the cold biting at ya if you're not careful out there. Now here's Peters with the undead report, Peters, what say you?"

"Well, Barker, things aren't lookin' too bad in Sector Whiskey Foxtrot, or West Frankfort for you civvies tuning in, and all is fairly quiet in the areas to the north and east. Now, in a few moments here we'll be entering Sector Sierra Lima, what you may know better as Saint Louis, and we'll be happy to fill you folks in on exactly what's going down in Mound City. So, keep on listenin', enjoy the tunes, and hope to God we don't run outta fuel."

With a quick flick of a switch, the two-man crew of the UH-72 Lakota were shut from the rest of the world, allowing them to talk amongst themselves while anyone tuned to their broadcast only heard the music from the improvised radio 'show'. For the past week, Sergeant David Barker and Corporal Lance Peters have been tasked with reconnaissance and the acquisition of supplies, operating with the remnants of an Army battalion from a previously-established military encampment in Southeast Illinois. They've been taking in survivors during the recent months, coming to the realization that the entire foundation of the United States Armed Services had been shattered, leaving no direction other than what the Colonel provided. They were no longer part of the line of defense against the undead masses. Now, much like everyone else, they were just trying to get by...

This guy is really weird... The man in the parking lot hadn't moved since uttering the cryptic "Waffles" comment, and Ashlyn was starting to get a little frustrated. "All right, you know whatever. You can't take a shot over the head, I ain't trying to save ya. Like I said, keys are inside if you can find the right van."

Ashlyn turned her attention back to the Triple E to get the massive camper ready to roll when she heard more moaning from behind her. "Don't be bellyachin' and shit now! You wanna get your ass up and talk to me, then do it!" No audible answer, just more moans. "You know, you're a creep. I should just blast you right-"

As Ashlyn rotated to aim her gun and back up her threat, she realized it wasn't the Waffle man making the moaning noises. More creatures emerged from the woods across the street, and they were heading for the lot, no doubt attracted by the gunfire. "Damnit!" Less concerned with the fate of the other human, Ashlyn dashed back to her new RV and started thrusting keys in to find the one that granted entry. It was the third one she tried that did the trick. "Yes!" She quickly hopped in door and slammed it shut behind her. Now it was just a matter of getting the behemoth started up.

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