The Verdict

Zombie or Post Apocalyptic themed fiction/stories.

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The Verdict

Post by majorhavoc » Sun May 01, 2011 3:25 pm

[EDIT: If you like this story, please post! If you have constructive feedback, I'd love to hear that as well. Let me know what works, what doesn't, what you'd like to see more of, less of, etc. Thx! - MH]

I guess this is what you'd call "fan fiction", as it takes place in the Left 4 Dead universe. The characters came with very basic back stories, I’ve just used my imagination to extrapolate what they’d think and feel during all this.

If you’re not familiar with the original Left 4 Dead, it takes place about 2 weeks into a zombie infection of apocalyptic proportions. Zombies in the L4D universe are the fast, highly mobile type. The only other technical point you need to know for this story is there is one of several 'special infected' zombie types called a 'boomer'. A grotesquely bloated zombie that either literarly blows up close to or vomits a green bile on it's victims. The bile attracts all zombies in the area, who attack en masse the location of the bile, or whoever is covered by it. Eventually, it is discovered that this 'boomer bile' can be harvested, and used as a sort of biological hand grenade.

These are the 4 main characters, all immune to the virus itself, but not to the zombies' physical attacks:

Francis: Huge hulk of a man, tattooed, a biker with a questionable past. Outwardly he wastes few opportunities to express his hate for just about anything he encounters. Somewhere in there there’s a good heart. According to the companion comic series, has the singular distinction of doing the wild thing with a woman as she turned, so basically he screwed a zombie, and then had to kill her. So the man probably has issues.

Louis: Young IT professional, has a sunny outlook on everything. Actually saw the initial stages of the apocalypse as good for his career because he continued going in to work long after everyone else stopped showing up. Figured his dedication would get him noticed by upper management, except said management are all either dead, turned, or no longer give a damn. Obsessed with finding pills. Still steadfastly believes this whole zombie thing is going to clear up any day now.

Zoey: College age co-ed with a penchant for horror movies. Undeniably hot, but basically watched both her parents turn and then die: Infected mommy attacks daddy who then had to put mommy down. Daddy turns and attacks Zoey, who is left to carry on this new family tradition by blowing his brains out all over the bedroom wall. She's a lot more capable than she first appears, but she's still definitely damaged goods.

Bill: Grizzled old Vietnam vet. Gets around surprisingly well for his age, his smoking habit and the fact that his introduction to the zombie infestation was as a patient on the operating table when the entire surgical team turned into zombies. Had to fend off all of them while fighting the effects of the anesthesia. The long term consequences of his aborted surgical procedure are unclear. Has some mad combat skills, but is fighting both the zombie hordes and demons from his own past.

Again for people unfamiliar with these characters, the original L4D intro movie still does a very good job of efficiently introducing the characters and the general nature of the world they find themselves in. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7hnnMEv7A_w

Being older than the average L4D player, I most relate to Bill, so this story is told from his point of view. Without further ado, I present:

The Verdict
Last edited by majorhavoc on Sat Jun 11, 2011 6:55 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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The Verdict [Part 1]

Post by majorhavoc » Sun May 01, 2011 3:39 pm

The Verdict

The sun is settling low on the western horizon when we find the boat yard office. It’s on what turns out to be the second floor of a two storey building. The driveway slopes steeply down on the far side, to the ground level behind. I can just see it leading into some kind of alley way between more buildings around back. The front door is centered between two large windows, slatted blinds drawn tight behind the glass. It’s unlocked and we cautiously enter, locking it behind us.

It’s already darkening inside the building. We have flashlights, but know it isn’t wise to use them. We wait for our eyes to adjust. Gradually, a customer service counter emerges from the gloom, dividing the room into public and private space. Without a word, we fan out, looking for supplies. Dust is everywhere. We move cautiously, tentatively probing cabinets and drawers, making as little noise as possible. Zoey has found some sugar, tea bags and powdered creamer near a coffee machine. She quietly stuffs these items into her rucksack. There’s a soggy dairy carton bobbing in water inside an ice bucket, which she passes over.

Nothing else useful is found, so we try the first of three doors on the back wall. It’s a bathroom. There’s a mirror over the vanity and Louis, as is his habit, tugs on the corner. It’s just glass bolted to the wall. He tries the cabinet underneath the sink, but finds nothing of value. Francis ducks in and re-emerges a moment later with a thick roll of toilet paper. We're standing there, puzzling over Francis and his prize.

“What?“ he whispers to us, stuffing the TP into his pack. “You know … for later.” I look at him quizzically. “Hey don’t give me that look, Bill. Just for that, when you come to me looking for this, it’s gonna cost you 20 bucks, cash.”

This man is incorrigible. “Shhhh!” I hiss. “And this is the goddamn apocalypse, Francis. Money doesn’t mean anything anymore. I’ll keep my 20 dollars and use that to wipe my ass.“

I try the second door; it’s a utility closet. Inside I find cleaning supplies and a large metal tool box. It opens on rusting hinges that groan alarmingly. After a brief parley, we agree that the needle nose pliers, a hack saw, bolt cutters and a pry bar are worth the extra weight. These we divide between us, and then quietly move on.

The third door opens onto an office on the back side of the building. Three windows line the back wall of this room. Again, slatted blinds drawn tight. We step in and I quietly make my way over to the windows and pry down one of the slats. A sliver of light pierces the darkened room, illuminating dust motes drifting everywhere. I’m looking out over the alley in back of the building. I tug the slat down further and peer below: its about a 15 foot drop to the ground.

The other three are silently going through this office now, checking the cabinets. I stay at the window, surveying the alley. It runs between two brick buildings, presumably workshops, maybe a chandlery. Beyond, the alley opens out onto a paved work yard; I can see the prows and sterns of several boats parked out there on trailers and jack stands. Beyond that, the river and farther still, a blood red sun sinking behind the western horizon. Under different circumstances, the view would almost be pretty.

The alley is already in shadow, but it leads us in the direction we want to go, the only direction we haven’t tried yet. Maybe there’ll be a roadway or something leading off that back yard. Otherwise we’re pretty much penned in here, at least for the night.

But the alley is also a bottleneck. From up here it looks fairly clear. No doors or windows on either wall that I can see. There’s a dumpster on the right, overflowing with large black bags of trash. Four orange metal barrels are spaced out along the opposite alley wall. None of it big enough to hide a zed, except the dumpster. There could be a one or two tucked behind that, but no more. Still, we‘ll want to hurry through that alley. It‘s a bad place to be if we encounter a horde.

Then again, so is this room.
Last edited by majorhavoc on Fri May 06, 2011 3:36 pm, edited 9 times in total.

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The Verdict [Part 2]

Post by majorhavoc » Sun May 01, 2011 3:45 pm

It’s then I realize we’ve been in the building for almost 15 minutes now. We’re blind on three sides, and the only sure way out is the way we came in. I don’t like it. I’m suddenly aware of the hair on the nape of my neck. I feel as I would walking along the top of a narrow stone wall, with the ground below gradually dropping away on both sides. You realize if you go out much farther, it’s going to be difficult to turn around, if you have a mind to go back.

I try to visualize using one of these windows as an exit route. It would be all too easy to twist an ankle jumping down. Or worse.

I turn around. Francis, Zoey and Louis are still looking for anything of value. Zoey, considering a pair of scissors, shrugs and slips them into her pack. They‘re moving on to the desks now.

“Alright people!” I whisper harshly. “Five minutes and we’re leaving. I’m getting antsy.“

I take stock of what I have on me. 2 granola bars, maybe a half a liter of water. A pen knife I’ve had since ‘Nam. First aid kit and now the pry bar. The M-16 rifle looks filthy. I cycle the bolt and can actually hear grit as I work the action. It could jam at any time. I pull the magazine and feel it’s heft. No more than 10 rounds left in this one. I replace it with the one full mag I have left. The rest of the magazines are all empties. My side arm situation is maybe a little better. A full 10 round magazine in the .45, plus one in the pipe. Another 2 full magazines in my back pocket. That makes 31 rounds for the pistol, plus the 40 or so for the rifle.

I know the other three have even less ammunition. We’ve been too careless with ammo up to now, that’s abundantly clear. What’s also clear is that we’re no longer capable of repelling zombies in any significant numbers. After a moment’s consideration, I switch the rifle’s fire control selector from ‘FA’ to ‘SA‘; I can’t afford to spray and pray anymore. Every bullet has to count now. We’re vulnerable unless we can find more ammunition. And supplies. A safe house. And I’d about kill right now for a GI issue rifle cleaning kit.

And, I have that ‘bile bomb’ Dr. Van Auken gave to us. I pull it out of the molle pouch and eye it suspiciously. A large, pressurized glass and metal tube filled with milky green liquid. Van Auken said to toss it against a hard surface; it’ll break open and spray boomer bile wherever it lands. Drives the zombies crazy, he said. Attracts them and they’ll ignore anything else, going ape shit around the bile until it evaporates. Which Van Auken said is in about 90 seconds.

What the fuck can you do in 90 seconds? Prolong the inevitable? Might give those three a chance to run for it; they’re young. I can’t run for shit. Hell, I’d get maybe a 100 yards in 90 seconds. This bile bomb, even if it works as advertised, is definitely a measure of last resort. Well, if it comes to that, I’ll be the rear guard. Maybe buy them another minute or two.

The hairs go up on the back of my neck again, and at first I don’t know why. Then, just like that, we can hear them. Distant at first but not nearly far enough away. Grunts and growls and those freakish hissing sounds they make. And at least 50 pairs of feet pounding the pavement in a dead run. An entire horde of thoroughly pissed off, half-starved, insanely ravenous corpses, and a big one by the sounds of it. And they’re coming in fast.
Last edited by majorhavoc on Tue May 10, 2011 9:42 pm, edited 7 times in total.

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The Verdict [Part 3]

Post by majorhavoc » Sun May 01, 2011 3:50 pm

They somehow picked up our scent. Don’t know how, don’t know why, but they’ve found us and now nothing save a bullet in the brain or a goddamn flame thrower is going to dissuade them from bashing through wood, glass and steel to rip our skulls open and bury their rotting maws into our heads.

Before we can do much more than check the inner office door, they’re at the front of the building, beating the shit out of the outer door, and punching fists, shoulders and even their heads through the window glass.

The din around us immediately becomes deafening, and disorienting. Howls, hisses and slavering grunts coming from every direction. Smashing glass, splintering wood and straining hinges. I struggle to quell the panic rising in my throat. I‘m looking at Francis, Zoey and Louis. They‘re looking to me, at the bile bomb in my hand. I heft it once and nod to them; it‘s our only hope. Another, even louder crash and I can see through the office door that the first of those things has fallen through the ruined front windows now, disappearing behind the counter. The front door is rapidly disintegrating and looks ready to give way any second.

My three companions are preparing for a battle we cannot win. Francis chambers a shotgun shell and backs up against the wall, just to the right of the office door, the side opposite the door hinges. He’s set himself up for a clear shot at the first zombies to come into the room. After a few blasts, he’ll more likely than not just wade in, using the shot gun as a bludgeon. Francis is an immensely powerful man, the only one among us who can, and regularly does, go toe to toe with a zombie.

Zoey is crouching behind the corner desk, cradling her carbine over the top. Somewhere along the line that girl must have gotten some schooling in long arms, because she’s a deadly shot.

Louis has planted himself in front of the office doorway, 10 feet back and out of Zoey‘s field of fire. He widens his stance and is holding the submachine gun in both hands down low, against his hip. Ready to open up on whatever approaches the office doorway.

Any of these three would have made a fine soldier.

Fuck. Fuck! Why did we spend so much time in here? A minute ago I was worrying about getting the angle on one or two zombies lurking behind a dumpster. Now we’re cornered and half the infected population of this town is sweeping into this building like a plague of locusts.

What the hell: 90 seconds is 90 seconds. How long to open those back windows and drop down into the alley? Shit, who am I kidding? I’ll break a hip trying to jump down from up here. And I thought if it came to this I could get 100 yards. Looks like I’m making my stand here in this room, covering their withdraw through the windows. It’ll happen right over there, behind that desk, closest to the back wall. They’ll be on top of me within 10 seconds; I won’t even have time to reload.

I allow myself a grim chuckle. Looks like my ammo situation isn’t going to be a problem after all.
Last edited by majorhavoc on Sat Aug 27, 2011 1:02 pm, edited 12 times in total.

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The Verdict [Part 4]

Post by majorhavoc » Sun May 01, 2011 3:54 pm

I move into the office doorway and prepare to throw. That first zombie is up now, and working its way over the counter. Three more have come through the other window and are thrashing wildly in a tangle of glass and window blinds. The front office door looks like its about to give way.

I’m aiming for the area between the counter and the front door. Maybe some of those devils will get hung up around the counter and I can pick off a few before they get past it.

I’m ready to throw, but still I’m hesitating. Why? Because this just isn’t going to work, that's why. This isn’t going to change anything, just delay it. But what else can I do? I’m missing something here. What?

I saw something. What did I see?

Then, it comes to me. Like a word hanging on the tip of my tongue, infuriatingly close, just beyond recall. But now I remember. I back away from the office door. “Close the door, Francis!“

Francis looks at me, incredulous. “Bill! For god’s sake use it! It’s the only thing we got!“

“Close the goddamn door, Francis!” I roar. “I might have something. Louis! Help Francis with the door! Keep them out for as long as you can! Hear me? Keep them out! Zoey, help me with this window!“

Zoey, crying now, “Bill, what the hell are you doing? Please! It’s our only chance!“

“Dammit Zoey“ I say, moving towards the windows. “I’m going to use this thing, but we have to get this window open first!“

I don’t know whether it's fear, or anger and just frustration with the hopelessness of it all, but before I even get to the window, that girl, all 105 pounds of her, sweeps a heavy metal office chair clear off the floor with both hands, squares her shoulders to the back wall and runs it full bore into the window. It crashes through, window shades, glass, casement, the whole thing punches through and by the looks of it, Zoey‘s going out with it.

I’m still holding the bile bomb in my right hand. I let the rifle clatter to the floor and knife my left arm between the chair and Zoey as she passes by. The chair sails out into space and drops with a shower of glass and casement. Momentum is still carrying Zoey forward, but I got her around the waist now, pulling back. She just folds in half around my arm, like a rag doll. We fall backwards onto the floor.

Everything’s happening at once. There‘s thrashing and pounding at the office door now, I‘m getting to my feet. Francis and Louis are straining against the onslaught; the door is splintering rapidly. A mottled blue/gray arm, festooned with shards of window glass, thrusts through the upper panel, groping at Francis’ shoulder.

“Bill!” Louis screams, grunting in effort. “If you‘re going to do something, you‘ve got to do it now!”

I spin around and look out the window, gauging the distance. I think: no, it needs to be a bit further. I adjust my aim and then I throw, God help me, I throw our one bile bomb out into the alley, our only escape route. It lands more or less where I was aiming and goes off immediately, spraying bile everywhere.
Last edited by majorhavoc on Sat Aug 27, 2011 1:07 pm, edited 7 times in total.

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Re: The Verdict [Part 5]

Post by majorhavoc » Sun May 01, 2011 4:02 pm

Zoey’s just gotten to her knees and sees what I’ve done. She screams in shock, disbelief. She thought we were opening the window to escape. She wails in outrage, spiting her words at me between sobs, a staccato burst of furious accusation. “Damn you to hell Bill that was our only way out! Why?”

The doctor spoke true. Those things have gotten a whiff of the bile now; I can hear them backing away from the shattered remains of the office door and scramble back out the front entrance. They’re running around the outside of the building, down the sloping drive and I watch through the back window as they spill into the alley below. Dozens and dozens of those miserable zeds are massing in that confined space, surrounding the broken remains of the bile bomb, clawing and biting at the air above it. The scent is driving them beyond all sense of reason or purpose. They‘re all desperately congregating there, lashing out at nothing, or each other, with no understanding of why.

The shortest distance between two points is a straight line, and one of those things, a genius among zombies I guess, somehow deduces that the most direct path to the bile is through this office. It smashes apart the last of the office door, knocking back Louis and Francis, who bears the brunt of the impact. Both fall down in a hail of wood splinters as the zed bursts into the room. It runs right between Zoey and me and without missing a beat sails out the same window I just used to toss the bile. I hear it hit the pavement below. A sharp, moist sound, like a celery stalk being snapped in two. Zoey, still on her knees, recoils from the path the zombie has just taken, crab-walking backwards across the floor in shock and horror.

I get to the window in time to see the zed get up from the pavement, fall down again and scramble to re-join the rest of the swarm. It doesn’t seem to notice that both of its legs are broken.

The other three still think that all I've done is bought them a reprieve. The zeds are all in the alley now, every last goddamn one of them, swarming around that stinking cloud of bile. In 90 seconds they’ll stop, turn around and come back for us, more enraged than ever.

I set the M-16 carefully on a desk. I fish out a smoke from my breast pocket and, shaking, light up the cigarette. Seems to help with this tremor I've picked up lately. I need to be rock steady in a minute, but only for a few seconds.

For a moment I just stare down at them. It occurs to me that ‘them’ is too kind a word. It implies some sort of presence worthy of the pronoun. All I see is a hive of ‘its‘; unaware, unthinking, undead. I‘m the one that‘s breathing, thinking, living. Facing perhaps the waning moments of a long and most certainly unfulfilled life. So, is this to be it? Is this somehow a verdict, a judgment of some kind that a churning mass of nothingness down there is going to endure, and I am not?

We’ve all gotta die some day, I’ve always said. The lucky among us go peacefully, with some awareness of closure, of purpose fulfilled. They understand it’s simply their time. That’s how it should be.

Problem for me is, at this moment, I’m not feeling any closure. I’m not feeling particularly fulfilled. What I do feel is anger: an intense rage at the pointlessness of it all. And a burning hatred for that sea of frenetic, undulating chaos below me. Not even worthy of the space those wretched things occupy in this world of the living.

I’m just not getting any sense at all that this is supposed to be my time. Not yet. And if I’m wrong about that? Well, I guess I’m not one of those who get to go peacefully. Because I’m sure as hell not going down quietly.

I despise that writhing, deranged mass of unthinking fury. A moving darkness blotting out all in it’s path, every thing it encounters. Blotting out life. Blotting out that dumpster, those bags of trash in that alley. Those orange metal barrels.

Except for one barrel, of course. Just one: the closest. After all, I did make a point of clearing that first barrel when I threw the bile, didn’t I?

Some of the zombies momentarily stagger in front of it, but basically I’m looking at what I had expected to see: a clear line of sight to that first barrel of high octane gasoline.

The bile’s starting to dissipate now. A few of the zeds have already stopped clawing at air and are just standing there. Slowly working out what to do next. They’ll begin to smell us again in a minute. I sure a hell can smell them.

It’s time.

So I unholster my pistol and steal a glance at Zoey over there in the corner, still on the floor. She‘s coming out of shock now, looking at me, questioning.

So much to say that can never be put into words. I give her a wink. This is for you, kid.

I adjust my stance and then, in a swift, practiced motion, swing the pistol up to eye level. If the tremor is still there, I’m not noticing it.

Just one. Well placed. Shot.
Last edited by majorhavoc on Mon May 30, 2011 12:02 pm, edited 11 times in total.

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The Verdict [Part 6]

Post by majorhavoc » Sun May 01, 2011 4:13 pm

Fractured, tortured tendrils of orange and yellow light. Blinding at the first instant, and then softening. Then another barrel goes off. And another. And yet another. Sheets of roiling, liquid flame sweep the alley side to side. Dancing, soaring skyward, a riot of wild flickering light.

And then: a rush of hot, almost searing air washes over me. I stagger back, gasping and blinking in wonderment. This heat - I can feel and regard and contemplate, while all those things down in that sea of flame cannot. In that raging inferno I see only what there ever was: an animated form of death. But up here, with Zoey, and with Francis, and with Louis, I am among the living. I endure.

It wasn’t yet my time, after all.

Someone, moving close behind me. A hand on my shoulder. Francis.

“Jeesus, Bill. Remind me never to invite you to a barbeque. I bet you even light up your smokes when you're pumping gas. Don’t you?”

He’s baiting me. I know it, he knows it. Hell, Louis and Zoey know it. Busting my balls is the closest he’ll come to gratitude.

“Every time, Francis. I do it every goddamn time.”

The pistol, I notice, is already back in my holster, though I can’t recall getting it there. The strap is back over the hammer and snapped tight. Old habits.

I’m still facing the window, looking at the spectacle below. A few of the zeds are down, but most are still upright and thrashing around, ablaze. It‘s a sort of frenetic group dance down there. Zeds bumping into and sliding past each other, as what passes for flesh is rapidly roasting away. Dosy doe. Bow to your partner. It’s a regular fire hall dance and barbeque.

The stench is beyond sickening, but I can‘t draw my eyes away just yet. There. Yes, they’re really starting to drop now.

I turn slowly around to face Francis; he won’t let up until he gets a real response from me. My vision swings past Zoey. Is she still angry? In spite of myself, I realize I’m looking for any small sign of approval, of forgiveness. She's standing at one of the other windows now, hugging her chest and biting the tip of her thumbnail as she watches the conflagration below. Our eyes meet for an instant. She’s shaking her head, slowly, almost imperceptibly. She releases her thumbnail from her teeth and exhales a small puff of air. Then she rolls her eyes. What the hell am I going to do with you, Bill?

It’ll do. Anger still, yes. But not murderous rage. This young lady has been with us for just two weeks and already I understand well that when Zoey gets mad, she needs to stay mad for a spell. God help those young men she chooses for boyfriends.

“Well Francis,” I begin. “I decided to make myself useful while you were dicking around over there with your shotgun. And Louis was over here rifling through drawers like a some kind of cat burglar.”

Louis has already returned to the task of finding supplies. He looks up, indignant. But the look quickly changes to mock hurt as he flattens a palm against his chest. “Bill! Now I know you don’t really mean that. But check this out! Whose ever desk this was, he practically had a pharmacy going here in his bottom drawer. He had it hidden underneath a pile of papers. Look at all this stuff! Ibuprofen, naproxen, even some Oxycodone. That’s a prescription narcotic, you know. Really heavy duty stuff. And there’s still more in here!”

Louis is saying this with a broad smile, immensely satisfied with himself. Thirty seconds ago he was certain that he was going to die, horribly. Now look at him. Does nothing faze this man?

“Hey Louis, just how many pills do you need in one day?” Francis quips, sensing an opportunity. “Hullo everyone. My name is Louis. And I have a pharmaceutical problem.“ he mimics the group response: “Hello, Louis!”

“I wouldn’t get on his bad side, Francis,” Zoey interjects as she walks towards him, producing a roll of gauze from her first aid kit. “You’re going to want something for that once you start to feel it.”

“Wha?” Francis follows Zoey’s gaze to his own right arm. A piece of splintered door, roughly the size of a fountain pen, is half buried under the skin on his arm, just above the elbow. “Huh. Well, will ya … will ya look at that ….”

Zoey quickens her stride as Francis begin to buckle at the knees. He outweighs her close to three to one, so she doesn’t really catch him so much as she re-directs his descending bulk into a nearby office chair. She hops up onto the adjacent desk.

“God Francis! She admonishes, inspecting his arm. “What a big baby you are! This is a flesh wound!”
Last edited by majorhavoc on Sat May 07, 2011 4:12 pm, edited 12 times in total.

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The Verdict [Part 7]

Post by majorhavoc » Sun May 01, 2011 4:22 pm

Francis’ head clears and he considers Zoey’s advice about Louis. “OK Louis. Old buddy old pal.“ Francis is saying, playfully. “This is how it’s goes down. I make nice and you give me some of the really good stuff. That oxycodone shit should --”

“-- Nothing stronger than the Advil!” I find myself barking. “I need this man alert and oriented.” A little louder and firmer than I had intended. “Just until we find a safe house.” I offer in concession. “Then you can drop acid, if that’s what floats your boat.”

Francis, exasperated: “Acid? Are you kidding me? Old man, I don’t think acid has floated anyone’s boat since the …. sixties. When was that now, Bill? Damn, that‘s like fifty fucking years ago! Exactly how ancient are you? At least try to sound current. Say ‘pop some ‘ludes,’ or ‘do a couple of lines of cocaine‘. That good shit too. Not that crap that‘s cut with - OWW! Jesus, Zoey! You did that on purpose!“

Zoey has removed the massive splinter with a pair of pliers. And none too gently.

I feel better than if I had a snappy zinger ready for Francis. Which I didn’t. Zoey did that for my benefit. Not so angry after all.

I’m watching the two of them now. Zoey, perched on the desk with both her legs tucked neatly under her, intently ministering to Francis. Some loose strands of hair keep falling over her face and she’s ineffectually blowing them aside from the corner of her mouth. Unconsciously, she draws her hand from Francis’s arm and quickly sweeps the errant hairs behind her right ear.

Her feet are rolled to the side and I’m looking at her sneakers. Do they even still say ‘sneakers‘? There are pom-poms on the back of her anklet socks. Tiny, yellow pom-poms. How young is this girl? Did she say 24? She could just as easily be 14. Or 34. Hell, these young people all look like teenagers to me. Francis is right: I am ancient.

At the moment, I think Francis looks the younger of the two. Chastened, he’s like a schoolboy with a skinned knee. Tentatively, he’s reaching for the wound with his other hand. Zoey slaps it away.

“Don’t. Touch!” She commands. “I don’t want to see you picking at this, or the dressing, or anything near it until I say so!” Remarkably, Francis has nothing to say in response. He casts me a conspiratorial look, however. Francis and I have more in common than we let on. We both silently acknowledge that this young woman, this wisp of a school girl, has shouldered her way into our lives and wrapped us all firmly around her little finger.

I wonder if she knows that? I smile inwardly. Of course she does.

“Something funny, Bill?” Louis is suddenly next to me. Good thing he’s not a zombie, or I’d be dead. Check that; he’d be dead.

“’Cause, I believe that’s the closest I've ever seen you come to an actual smile.”

“A grimace, Louis. It’s called a grimace. This day has gone to hell in a hand basket.”

“Would have, if you hadn’t taken care of all those zombies the way you did.” Louis cocks his head to the window; flickering light is still reflecting off the alley walls. He lets out a low whistle. “With a single bullet! How did you know there would be gasoline in those barrels?“

“I didn't. It was just a lucky guess.”
Last edited by majorhavoc on Fri May 06, 2011 2:13 pm, edited 10 times in total.

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The Verdict [Part 8]

Post by majorhavoc » Sun May 01, 2011 4:26 pm

“Well, that was a hell of a guess, Bill. Anyway, speaking of luck, I don’t know who that guy was,” Louis gestures toward the desk he’s been raiding. "But he was stocked. Look at this: Amoxicillin.” He holds up a pill bottle, rattling it for emphasis. “An antibiotic. We could really use this stuff.”

“That is good news, son.” I tell him, truthfully. “I take back everything I said about you and your pills. Just do us all a favor and stuff some paper or something in those bottles. The way they rattle around, sometimes I think those things can hear us coming before we hear them.“

“In fact,” I say, turning to Zoey’s patient, “I think Francis here has some bath tissue that he’s more than willing to donate to the cause, isn't that right, Francis?”

“Well I think,” Zoey announces without looking up from Francis‘s arm, “We each seem to contribute something unique to our little team here, our little -- family. I don’t suppose any of us would have gotten very far if we weren’t together. “

“A family? Com’mon, Zoey,” Francis protests. “It’s shit random luck we bumped into each other two weeks ago. It’s shit random luck we haven’t found better company since then. And it’s shit random luck we’ve all managed to stay alive in the same general vicinity.”

“You don’t believe that, Francis.” Louis now. “I know you. In fact just yesterday, you were telling me that even though you give Bill a hard time, you had to admit that - “

“- Louis!” Francis, abruptly. “Shut. Up. You talk way too much, you know that? That’s your fucking contribution to this team effort.“

“I think Louis, in addition to being a whole lot better in a fight than you care to admit, Francis,“ Zoey says, returning to her original point, “Is going to keep you from getting a nasty infection with those antibiotics he found.”

“And Bill here,” She continues, glancing up at me, “In spite of being a pig-headed, ill-tempered, dictatorial - "

“- Dictatorial?” Francis interrupts, savoring the word. “Dictatorial. I like that. It takes little Miss College Education here to nail it, but that’s definitely you, Bill. Dictatorial. But Zoey, don’t give up on that stuff about pig-headed and ill-tempered -”

“- In spite of that. … Or, maybe even because of all that,” she concedes. “You do seem to always find a way to get us out of some pretty bad situations when -” Zoey glances to the window, firelight now ebbing in the gathering dusk. “I mean, what you just did out there -- I didn’t think we were going to --” Zoey lowers her gaze, and her voice. “I’m sorry, Bill. I didn‘t - I shouldn’t have said -”

It‘s Francis who bails me out of this one. “Oh, now don’t go all gooey on him, Zoey,” “Personally I think you should have stayed with the ‘pig-headed, ill-tempered, dictatorial’ parts, finished up with something like ‘Rambo Geezer’ or at least ‘old shit-head’, and called it a day.”

Louis and Zoey both laugh at that, and in spite of myself, I allow a chuckle.

Francis for once actually looks pleased. “Well since you’re doing all this thinking about what those two contribute, what do you think about me, huh?”

“You? ” Zoey announces as she snips off a tail of gauze and slips off the desk, “I think you’re about done, mister.”
Last edited by majorhavoc on Sat May 07, 2011 4:16 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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Re: The Verdict [Intro]

Post by majorhavoc » Wed May 04, 2011 10:25 pm

Bumpity bump.

Skip the intro. Just start with the second post, Part 1. Someone humor me.

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Re: The Verdict [Intro]

Post by Scott in AK » Thu May 05, 2011 2:43 pm

I like what you are doing here.
Good pace, good characters, good location details.

MOOAAARRRR

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Re: The Verdict [Intro]

Post by majorhavoc » Thu May 05, 2011 7:36 pm

Well thank you Scott! I really appreciate you taking the time to read it, and thanks especially for noticing the pacing and characters. I was trying to use pacing to build suspense, ease off a bit and then provide a big payout.

And it's really important to me to give these characters personalities, and have them react not just to the situation, but to each other.

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Re: The Verdict

Post by bad_karma00 » Sun May 22, 2011 10:14 pm

Im not familiar with the game, but I really like the story you have going. The interaction between the characters is just great. Do some more!, lol.
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Re: The Verdict

Post by DannusMaximus » Mon May 23, 2011 3:54 pm

I don't know if you're planning on adding to this story, MH, or just keeping it short. Regardless, fun little read. I've played both of the L4D games, and had a blast with them. I liked that you used a first person point of view as well. Makes for an entertaining look inside Bill's head.

Anway, good action, the characters are fleshed out plenty for the length of the story, and the prose is good. One problem? Why didn't they just use their infinite ammo dual wield pistols? That would have taken care of their supply issues, after all... :lol:

I don't know if you've posted stories before, but if not, kudos for putting your work out there. It takes some gumption to post stories like this and brace yourself for criticism. Well done!
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Re: The Verdict

Post by majorhavoc » Mon May 23, 2011 6:39 pm

Thanks for the feedback, badkarma and DM. I really appreciate it. To answer your last thought, DM, no I've never posted a story before, I just got inspired. Maybe I was worried about criticism at first, but truthfully, after it seemed to disappear into a black hole, my fear became that no one would ever read it.

I have written more, but the next piece I've finished is just Bill, before he meets up with the other 3. So it would be a prequel of sorts. Although there is a lot more action in that one. Let me know if you're interested.

BK: you should consider trying the game; it's a blast to play. I'm glad you appreciated the interaction between the characters. I was really trying to make something of the relationships these people would have after surviving 2 weeks of hell together.

And DM: I hear you about the unlimited ammo with the dual pistols! I like to think I have a good imagination, but I'd be hard pressed to come up with a believeable explanation of why those pistols never run out ammo.

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Re: The Verdict

Post by DannusMaximus » Mon May 23, 2011 7:35 pm

majorhavoc wrote:I have written more, but the next piece I've finished is just Bill, before he meets up with the other 3. So it would be a prequel of sorts. Although there is a lot more action in that one. Let me know if you're interested.
Well hell yeah!

The nice thing about using L4D as your template is you are given only the vaguest sketches of the characters in the games, as well as the barest backstory about what happened. Kind of like being given an empty house with white walls that you can decorate however you want. I like the idea of a prequel, or even a pre-prequel (maybe what happened to Bill in Vietnam that has shaped his life). Lots of rich territory to mine, especially with 4 characters in the game.

I find myself spending more and more time on the fiction forum. We have some really good writers, and the stories are usually 'bite-sized' so it's not a huge time committment. You keep writing, we'll keep reading!
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Re: The Verdict

Post by Ninjadaddy » Tue May 24, 2011 11:07 am

I haven't played the games myself, but they're on my agenda for some point in the indefinte future. Just wanted to say I've really enjoyed reading what you've got here. I think you have some good character dynamics going. I would like to see more. (And I would leave the intro in, as it was helpful to me.) :D

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Re: The Verdict

Post by majorhavoc » Wed May 25, 2011 9:14 pm

Thanks for the encouragement everyone. OK, the second installment, a prequel chapter entitled "Locked Out", is now up: http://zombiehunters.org/forum/viewtopi ... 2#p1772382

Bill's alone in this part of the story, so no character interaction. Unless you count Bill "interacting" with zombies using a crowbar and a baseball bat. In which case "Locked Out" is just chock full of character interaction. Enjoy.

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Re: The Verdict

Post by Tendrax » Thu May 26, 2011 11:27 pm

Definitely post more! That was great. I've played both games, and while I like the game mechanics of the second one better, the original four characters really are better. Though Ellis is certainly priceless.
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Re: The Verdict

Post by majorhavoc » Thu May 26, 2011 11:36 pm

Ian(tendrax) wrote:Definitely post more! That was great. I've played both games, and while I like the game mechanics of the second one better, the original four characters really are better. Though Ellis is certainly priceless.
I like the mechanics of the L4D2 better too. The introduction of melee weapons and the new special infected zeds really opened up the game.

Sometimes I linger in the saferooms because if you wait long enough, Ellis will start in on another of his crazy stories about him and Keith. :P
Last edited by majorhavoc on Sun Jul 10, 2011 10:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Verdict

Post by Tendrax » Fri May 27, 2011 12:05 am

I firmly believe that Kieth is completely made up, and that Ellis is either a schizo or is really worried about seeming boring or something.
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Re: The Verdict

Post by majorhavoc » Fri May 27, 2011 8:21 pm

Ian(tendrax) wrote:I firmly believe that Kieth is completely made up, and that Ellis is ... a schizo
Now that would certainly explain a lot about Ellis. Personally, I think he smoked a little too much dope at all those Midnight Riders concerts. :lol:

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Re: The Verdict

Post by Tendrax » Sun May 29, 2011 6:23 pm

majorhavoc wrote:
Ian(tendrax) wrote:I firmly believe that Kieth is completely made up, and that Ellis is ... a schizo
Now that would certainly explain a lot about Ellis. Personally, I think he smoked a little too much dope at all those Midnight Riders concerts. :lol:
Also possible. I have known a few potheads that just always have some ridiculous story that's somehow relevant to the conversation.
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Re: The Verdict

Post by NX02GT » Mon May 30, 2011 10:13 am

Very good, I couldn't believe I was done reading it when I was. Post more please. I especially liked the part when he threw the bile bomb with the quip about "some sort of zombie genius", hilarious. Going to read your other one now but will be checking back on this one.
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