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PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 9:33 pm 
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I’m just pondering that possibility, it really hasn’t jelled into any kind of firm realization yet, when my eye picks up movement below. Way on the other side of the parking lot. Next to the woods I used so many days ago. It’s moving fast. It’s either a zed or an Olympic sprinter. And if it’s a zed then there’s only one thing that makes a zombie go that fast. It’s pursuing a human. Then I see another. And another. They’re all bunched together, running flat out, straight toward this building. Toward the main entrance below me. What the hell are they up to?

They’ve spotted someone down there. Someone right at the front door that I can‘t see from this angle. And the door is locked. I want to help but the zombies are already closing in on the front door, the lead zed a few steps ahead of the others. They disappear from my view at the front doors, under the eve of the entry foyer. After only the briefest of pauses, the three zombies are tearing back across the lot again, flat out, chasing something that I can‘t see. They’re looping onto the terraced lawn now, reversing direction again, coming back towards me along the top of the first retaining wall.

Now this is damn peculiar.

The first two are really moving. They‘re starting to open up a gap ahead of the third zombie, leaving it trailing further and further behind. All three zeds are moving so quickly that it takes me another few seconds to shift my frame of reference enough to understand what I’m seeing.

That lead zed isn’t a zed. It’s a person. A woman.

She’s flying along the top of the retaining wall, about to pass from my view on the right side of the building. I dash over to a window on that side. I can see her more clearly now. Definitely not a zed. The second figure clearly is a zombie however, and it’s right behind her, stride for stride.

I’m horrified at what I’m watching, but I also marvel at the spectacle. The second zed is only now coming into view on this side of the building, even though it’s in an all out sprint. That woman and the first zed are pulling away. I realize I’m seeing something I haven’t witnessed before: a human outrunning an undamaged zed.

It’s terrifying though, because the woman is tiring, and the zeds are not. Zombies do not experience fatigue, or even the pain of exertion. Whatever their maximum speed is, they’ll get up to that speed and can stay there for, as far as anyone knows, indefinitely. At least as long as it has ever taken. No one outruns a zombie. A few have stayed ahead long enough to find an escape or reach a weapon. But if it’s you and a zombie and the only things you have are your own two legs, it’s only a matter of time. Usually not much time at all.

And this woman has run out of time.

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Last edited by majorhavoc on Tue May 31, 2011 8:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 9:40 pm 
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She’s on the terrace, a strip of lawn only 20 or 25 feet wide and she’s running towards a dead end. Each level of the terrace ends abruptly at the back of the building; they terminate at an almost sheer granite outcropping that runs behind this structure. She has to see it from down there. She knows she’s dead. And I have a grandstand view, like a spectator in the Roman Coliseum about to witness a human sacrifice.

She’s looking back over her left shoulder now, back at her pursuers. I get a good look at her face. She’s young. God, she’s so young. I’m expecting to see panic in her eyes, the moment of realization of one’s imminent death. What I see instead is determination. It’s the way she’s looking back at that zombie that strikes me. Her tongue is wagging out of the side of her mouth, her brow is furrowed and it almost looks like she’s gauging something, working something out in her mind. I don’t understand what I’m seeing.

She’s slowing. She’s still running superbly, her feet flying over the grass, her legs a blur, each rhythmic stride ending with an impossibly high kick behind her. But the gap is narrowing. She only has a few more seconds now. And still she keeps glancing back. And still I’m not seeing panic. The zed is almost on top of her. It’s reaching out, blackened fingernails just a couple of feet behind her streaming hair.

God she’s down! She went down in the grass. No. A slide. A goddamn hook slide. The zombie, easily twice her weight, skids to slow down, but it’s already overshot her, twisting, clutching but she’s so low it’s past her before it can grab on. The zed continues twisting and it loses its footing. It crashes hard onto the grass, sliding another 15 feet.

Even before the zed stops sliding, the girl is up again, running back the way they had come from. She’s already opened up a huge gap, and widening it by the second. The zed is only now getting up, resuming the pursuit.

She’s in trouble again; big trouble. She’s running straight toward the second zombie. The slow zombie, if you can call any zombie slow. They’re about to collide when again she goes down. Another hook slide. The closing speed is so fast the zombie can’t react in time. It plows right into her. Or she into it. She’s sliding feet first, riding on her hip as she clips the legs right out from underneath the zombie, sending it tumbling head first onto the terraced lawn. It hits the ground and skids a good 20 feet on its face and upper chest. As it slides along the turf, its legs curl up off the ground, curving up over its back, as though the lower half of the zed is catching up to and trying the pass the upper half.

The girl is up again and sprinting further to my right. I have to rush back to the front window again to keep her in sight. I don’t know what part of her got hit when she tripped that zombie, but whatever it was, it must hurt like hell.

She’s got a huge lead now, but the zombies are gaining again. The girl, remarkable runner she is, is getting winded. But the zombies lost so much ground she’s nearing the end of the terrace well ahead of them. The terrace is gradually sloping down, the retaining wall getting lower and lower. I expect her to keep going in that direction, towards the woods, a chance to escape. But instead, when the retaining wall gets down to about five feet above the surface below, she drops over the edge, rolling where she lands. She’s up instantly and again reverses direction. She’s coming back towards the zombies, one terrace below them.

I understand what she’s doing even before it happens, but I still marvel at this young woman's ingenuity. She’s using her slight body mass to her advantage, out maneuvering the heavier, stronger zeds. She’s combining speed and her ability to rapidly change direction in order to position herself where she is now. To get at her, those zeds are now going to have to go over the edge of that retaining wall.

She using topography as a weapon against these zombies.

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Last edited by majorhavoc on Fri Dec 16, 2011 9:29 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 9:44 pm 
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The girl and the zombies are converging rapidly. As they near, the zombies begin to perceive she’s to their right, and one, then the other edges off the terrace with absolutely no control over its fall. The first plants its foot a couple of inches beyond where the top of the stone retaining wall ends. It immediately drops face first into the jagged outside top edge of the wall, landing hard on its head and groin. It tumbles over the edge, falling sideways with its arms and legs flailing, onto the ground below. The second zombie cuts over the edge more sharply and pedals air as it drops feet first, landing in a crumpled heap. The first zombie is up again and resuming its pursuit, but the side of its face is a mess and one of its arms is clearly broken. The arm is flailing unnaturally as it’s running, interfering with its stride.

The second zombie did not fair so well. It doesn’t look like its legs are broken, but there’s something going on with the way they’re rotating in its hips. Like its lower limbs are jammed in too far. It’s running with a stiff legged, almost limping gait.

I move back to the windows on the right side of the building; I have to crane my neck to see that the girl is over half way along this side of the building, past the ladder laying on the ground, and is already approaching the back side of the building. As she disappears from view I realize I’ve been a spectator in this struggle far too long. I scramble for the stairwell. I need to get to the front doors ahead of that girl and have then unlocked when she gets there.

I nearly fall down the stairs, trying to descend as quickly as I can. I burst through the first floor stairwell door and dash towards the front of the building, to the main entrance. I hear frantic tugging at the locked front doors before I can even get into the lobby area. She’s back at the front already? I round the front reception desk and look through the glass doors: there’s no one out there. Lord, I can’t lose her now. I crash into the inner door, slip the bolt and move into the vestibule. It occurs to me as I unlatch the outer door that I don’t have the bat, crowbar or the machete on me. Just the revolver.

I feel unnaturally exposed as I step out of the building for the first time in over a week. I feel incredibly vulnerable, and struggle to resist the powerful compulsion to retreat back inside. I frantically look around. She’s nowhere in sight. Where the hell did she go?

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Last edited by majorhavoc on Fri Dec 16, 2011 9:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 9:48 pm 
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The ladder.

She must have seen the ladder laying on the ground and the broken window above it on her first trip in the depression along the right side of the building. For one fleeting instant I consider retreating back into the safety of the building, trusting her to figure out how to raise that ladder and climb up into the conference room. But there are too many variables. Those two zeds are out here somewhere, and more could show up at any minute. The girl looked tiny. Can she even lift that ladder up to the window? I have to help her.

Or die trying.

I sprint down into the depression and around the corner. The girl is there, struggling with the ladder.

“Hey! You! Follow me!”

“Where the hell did you come from?”

“Miss, there’s no time! We can get in the front entrance!”

“No, we can’t. It’s locked! Help me with this ladder!”

“Sweetheart, trust me. I just came through that door. It’s unlocked now.“

The ladder is clattering on the ground and she’s rushing toward me. I turn around but before I’m even moving, she’s passing me.

“Holy shit! Seriously? Oh my god, thank you! Now come on! Com’mon, com,mon, com’mon!”

She’s hopping sideways to face me as she’s shouting this, yet she’s still moving faster than I can.

“Hold your horses young lady. I’m coming!”

She rounds the corner ahead of me still hopping.

“Oh my God! Thank you! Thank you, tha - oh, f-fuck!”

I round the corner to see what’s spooked her. I stop dead in my tracks. Her two pursuers have completed their circuit of the building and have rounded the front left corner. They’re rushing straight at us.

“I’ll draw them away, mister. You get inside and have the door ready!”

“You’ll do no such thing!” I bark, drawing the revolver. “You’ve come too far to take that kind of chance now.“

“Jesus mister, you’d better know how to use that thing! It only works if you get them in the head! Can you do that?“

I give her a look. Sweetheart, you have no idea.

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Last edited by majorhavoc on Wed Aug 17, 2011 2:36 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 9:54 pm 
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Holding your ground as two zeds are bearing down on you is a little like stepping between the rails in front of an express train. Every fiber of your being is telling you to get the hell out of the way.

The way the zombies are moving isn’t going to make this easy. Their injuries are causing each to run in a lurching gait; swinging their heads side to side. I raise the gun and sight it at arms length. The left zombie’s head blurs momentarily behind the front sight post as I center it in the rear aperture. I allow my aim to drift a little to the right and then back to the left. Right and left, right and left. Picking up the rhythm. The girl screams just as I pull the trigger and almost throws off my aim. Gonna have a word with her about that. The zombie’s head punches back violently as a fine brown mist erupts behind its skull. Before it hits the pavement my revolver barks again and the zombie on the right loses a good portion of its forehead. It too crumples to the ground.

Only two bullets. There’s a bit of luck.

“Holy fuck mister! I - I - Com’mon!”

She’s at the front door already. She pauses half a beat, takes a deep breath and only then tugs on the door handle. When it swings open, the girl dips at her knees, raises her face skyward, and pumps her fist.

“Yessss!”

She holds the door for me as I lumber into the vestibule. I turn to bolt it closed.

“These doors have been all I’ve been thinking about! I can’t tell you how totally freaked I was when I found them locked a minute ago!”

“Well, now. I can relate to that. You should have seen the look on my face the other night when I tried to open them.”

We’re in the lobby now. I lock the inner door.

“There, that should do it. We won’t have to worry -”

The girl slams into me, wrapping her arms around my neck. I stagger back against the inner door. I feel a warm kiss on my cheek.

“Oh my God, thank you! Thank you, thank you, thank you so much! I can’t believe it! I’m safe! Aaaaagggghhhh!”

She’s spinning around on the lobby floor. Hopping. Stamping the floor, actually. With both feet. Clutching her fists. Crinkling her nose as she smiles. Beaming.

“Yessss!”

I can’t help but chuckle. “Yes, you’re safe now, child. Now calm down or you’ll wear yourself out.”

Aaaaagggghhhh! I can’t help it! I never thought I was going to make it! But I did! I’m safe! That was your ladder, wasn‘t it? It must be because you just said you were locked out too. That’s how you got in isn’t it? Of course it is! Where the hell did you find a ladder, anyway? No one to let you in huh? That must have been a bummer. I was kind of hoping there’d be more people in here. Not that I’m complaining. I am soooo not complaining! Hey, can I just say? You are one hell of a shot, mister! Where did you find a ladder? Did I already ask you that? I think I did! Sorry but I’m just so happy! Did you see that leg out there? Talk about gross! Aaaaaggghhh! I’m so psyched I could just scream!”

She does. She actually screams. She goes tearing through the lobby with her arms akimbo.

“I’m alive! Yes! I’m alive! I’m alive! I’m aliiiiiiive!”

She’s still screaming that as she runs through the doors behind the reception desk, disappearing into the cubicle room beyond.

I just stand there for a moment. Enjoying the silence. The lobby feels like a trailer park that’s just been leveled by a tornado.

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Last edited by majorhavoc on Sat Aug 13, 2011 10:34 pm, edited 10 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Locked Out
PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 10:03 pm 
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EDIT: Story continues below. Deleted link to separate chapter thread.

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Last edited by majorhavoc on Thu Jun 16, 2011 4:37 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Not Alone After All
PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 10:20 pm 
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Awesome man. Please keep this up,and I love your plan of tying all three stories together.

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PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 11:27 pm 
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I catch up with the girl in the cubicle room. Her name, she tells me, is Zoey.

“Hey, I don’t suppose you have anything to, you know -- “

“- Eh?”

“- To eat around here? I’m sort of running on fumes, if you know what I mean.”

“Oh, yes! Of course. I’m sorry. You must be starving.”

“I’ll eat anything you’ve got. If you could, you know, spare it.”

“Zoey, no problem. Follow me. “

I walk over to the first floor snack shop and usher her into the cube. Her eyes widen like a child’s on Christmas morning.

“Oh. My. Freaking. God. This is all yours?”

“Ours now. Take whatever you like.”

Zoey surveys the selection for a moment and then begins grabbing things, seemingly at random. A bag of chips. A chocolate peanut butter snack bar. Something called Fruit Juicers, which I haven’t tried yet because I have absolutely no clue what they’re supposed to be. A package of Little Debbie’s snack cakes. A can of Mountain Dew.

She tears open the bag of chips and greedily jams her fingers into the package.

She crams half the contents of the package into her mouth and leans back against the counter, closing her eyes. “Mmmffh……mmmmf. Oofff my goff, thaffs sof fuffin good!” I open the can of soda she's picked out and hand it to her. She downs half of it in one gulp. I believe she would have drunk the entire can, but she has to pause to let out a huge belch.

“Sorry,” she says with a laugh, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand. “I just totally grossed you out, didn't I? But this tastes sooo good. Oh my God, I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed food this much in my entire life. “ She’s ripping open the snack bar as she’s saying this.

“No problem.” I say. I find I’m inordinately pleased that she’s enjoying the food so much. “How long did you say you were out there on your own?”

“I didn’t. But it’s been…..” she studies the ceiling, mouthing words I can’t make out. “Four days. I think. I haven’t been thinking too clearly the last 48 hours or so.”

“Good lord, child. You’ve been on your own and without food or shelter for four days? Out there?”

“Well, it depends on what you consider ‘out there’. I slept in the rafters of a garage last night, on a piece of plywood. So at least I was dry. I was in a toll booth the night before. Or was that three nights ago? That was scary. I could see a ton of zeds just a few hundred yards away on the entrance ramp. But I’d been out in the rain all day and I had to get under a roof of some kind.”

She pauses to take a huge bite out of the snack bar. Too big. She starts coughing, choking.

“Slow down, Zoey. This food isn’t going anywhere. I’ll stop asking you questions so you can eat in peace. But do yourself a favor. Eat a lot less than you want to for this first meal, OK? Your stomach has shrunk and your blood sugar has bottomed out. You’ll just end up getting sick if you eat much more in one sitting.

“Yeah, OK. You’re probably right.” She agrees, reluctantly. “Can I just have one more bag of those chips?”

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Last edited by majorhavoc on Thu Sep 08, 2011 10:16 am, edited 9 times in total.

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PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 11:33 pm 
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I acquiesce on the extra bag of chips.

“Tell you what. I’ll make up a nice dinner for us. Well, the best of what’s available. I bet you’ll want to get cleaned up. The water supply is out, but there’s a women’s room on the third floor that I haven’t touched yet. It’ll have - I hope you’re OK with this - clean water in the toilets. That’s what I’ve been using to wash up. It’s not as bad as it sounds.”

“I feel so grody Bill, that actually sounds divine.”

“Let’s swing by this woman’s cubicle here on this floor. She was a runner like you. I’m not a good judge of size, so I don’t know for sure, but she has a gym bag with … ah, - you know, women’s things - that is, articles of, ah… garments….”

“Bill, is ’underwear’ the word you’re looking for?” Zoey prompts. She’s smiling, enjoying my discomfort. “Maybe ’bra’?”

“Ah, yeah, stuff like that.” I chuckle nervously. “Sorry, I don’t generally spend a lot of time around, ah women. That is, in the domestic sort of living situation type of ah, … sense.” I’m tripping over my words. “I didn’t want to offend you or anything.”

“Bill, “ Zoey says, laughing. "You are so sweet. I see you out there mowing down charging zombies without batting an eyelash, and yet you go all to pieces over the idea of a girl changing clothes.”

“Well, saying the right things around women has never been one of my strong suits. I wanted to make sure I didn’t - “

“Offend me? Like what, you’re going to say ‘panties’ or something and it’ll freak me out so much I’ll go ‘screw this old geezer, I’ll take my chances out there with the zombies‘? Bill, you totally just saved my life. You’ve got some serious street cred in my book. Trust me, you’re going to have to work a lot harder than that to piss me off.”

I decide not to tell Zoey that I have quite a history of pissing women off. If the past is any indication, she’ll find out soon enough.

We head down the aisle to where I remembered coming across that woman’s gym bag, the woman who was obviously very trim and petite.

“Don’t get the wrong idea, it’s not like I was peeking for the sake of peeking at women’s things. I’ve had over seven days here to explore this place and I’ve pretty much gone through every cabinet and drawer in this building.” I’m holding the gym bag by the shoulder strap, like I’m bequeathing something extremely fragile, highly valuable, and profoundly mysterious. “So I happen to know that there’s soap and shampoo and of course some things in there that, ah…”

“Oh for the love of God, Bill! You’re hopeless! Just give me the damn thing before you have an aneurism!” She grabs it out of my hands and slings the strap over her shoulder. I notice Zoey suppress a wince when the strap falls across her left shoulder.

“You OK, Zoey?”

“Oh, sure. I just got a little ah, abrasion or something back there.” She adjusts the strap by pushing it further out on her narrow shoulder. In doing so, she uncovers a tear in her sweatshirt I hadn‘t noticed yet. It’s matted with what looks like drying blood.

“Zoey, let me look at that -”

“- No!” She says, abruptly. “I mean, I can do it myself. Looks like maybe you have some first aid supplies? “ She says, gesturing to my bandaged hand.

“Sure,” I say, cautiously. “I’ll get it. But you’re going to have a hard time getting at that where it is on the back of your shoulder. I’ve got some training and I could - “

“No. Thank you, but no. You know what? I actually am a little shy. I’m going to have to pull my shirt down a bit to get at it. I’d rather just deal with it myself. If you don’t mind.”

“Of course, Zoey. Of course. I’ll get you the first aid kit.”

We swing by my quarters in the corner office, walking in silence. This girl seemed so self assured a minute ago, teasing me about my discomfiture talking about women’s underwear. Now she’s assiduously avoiding eye contact. A strange awkwardness has settled between us.

“This is my place -- the Presidential Suite,” I say, trying to inject some levity into the situation. “But we’ve got the Princess Suite up on the third floor, which is even nicer. It’s got this amazing couch. You’ll think you’ve gone to heaven sleeping in it tonight. Here’s the ah, first aid kit and a flashlight. It’s pitch dark in the bathrooms, so you‘ll need it. But don’t feel you need to stay in there while you’re, you know, dressing. You’ll have the entire third floor to yourself. I’ll be down here working on dinner. I think considering your arrival and what you‘ve been through, a celebration is in order.”

“Yeah, that sounds great. Thanks Bill.”

I see her to the third floor, pointing out the corner office with the nice overstuffed couch, and direct her to the bathroom that I know has untouched toilet water.

I descend the stairs back to ground floor, trying to shake this vague sense of foreboding.

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Last edited by majorhavoc on Wed Jun 15, 2011 12:36 pm, edited 8 times in total.

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 Post subject: Not Alone After All 15
PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 11:37 pm 
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I’ve found several candles during my foraging expeditions, and I’ve learned to rig them under an open can of soup or chili. It doesn’t truly make the food hot, but if you stir it frequently, it gets the entire contents uniformly warm. I’ve got three of those going in a conference room when I hear Zoey’s voice from out in the cubicle room. “Bill? Bill, where are you?” There’s a plaintive edge to her voice as she calls out, like she thinks I might have left the building.

“In here Zoey,” I reply, emerging from a conference room. I spot her over at the corner where my quarters are. She’s changed into gym shorts and a men’s tee shirt that looks like it’s about 10 sizes too big. She pads up the aisle in bare feet. Her hair is damp, her face scrubbed clean and she smells of baby oil.

“Com’mon, check it out,” I say, encouraging. I usher her into the conference room, where I’ve set up place settings of paper plates and napkins and plastic tableware. I’ve got several candles burning, plus the three candle burners heating canned clam chowder, chili and Spaghetteos. I’ve set some crackers on a paper plate alongside an open tin of sardines. I’ve spread plastic cups around the table; one with raisins, another containing mixed nuts and the third full of dried apricots. And just because I didn’t know what the hell else to do about dessert, I’ve opened up some snack cakes and stuck a birthday candle in each.

“Ohhh,” Zoey squeals. “Me likey!”

“May I take your drink order?” I ask, relieved that she’s in a better mood. “Soda, tea, maybe some juice?”

“I dunno, Bill. What do you have going on over there?”

She gestures to the bottle of Jameson’s and a plastic cup I have next to my place setting.

“That’s whiskey, Zoey. I just assumed that you wouldn’t want -”

“ - No, you’re right; I hate whiskey. But where’d you get it? Anything else interesting?”

“ You mean that’s -”

“- that’s alcoholic. Yes, Bill. I’ve been through hell lately and could really use a stiff drink. So don’t be holding out on me if you got something more interesting than diet Coke.”

Hell, I’m not her father.

“Well, I’ve got some gin and scotch back in my office. Some vodka and some -”

“Vodka! I just got a great idea! You grab that and I’ll meet you back here.” Just like that she’s off again, padding up the aisle towards the snack shop.

She comes back with two bottles each of ruby red grapefruit juice and cranberry juice, which she expertly mixes with the vodka I retrieved from my office. I have to admit it does sound like a pretty splendid idea. So as we supp on the finest cuisine Campbells, Hormel Foods and Chef Boyardee have to offer, we chase it all down with several New England Sea Breezes.

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PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 11:43 pm 
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I’m glad I talked her out of eating too much earlier, because Zoey is ravenous now and is really packing it away. I marvel that anything that small would have such a monstrous appetite. But then I think of just the three minutes I saw of her Olympic cross country performance this afternoon, and it doesn’t seem quite so surprising.

“Where’d you learn to run like that?“

“Like what?“

“Like out there today. When you were running those zeds into the ground.“

“I didn’t exactly run them into the ground, Bill. If I hadn’t found those retaining walls when I did, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.“

“Zoey, I’m ashamed to admit how long I watched you out there before I decided I could help. You were amazing. I didn’t think it was possible to stay ahead of an undamaged zombie for that long, let alone two.“

Zoey considers this for a moment. “I dunno Bill. It’s nothing special. I guess I’ve always been sort of a fast runner.” “I mean, when you’re being chased by a zombie, you’re pretty much motivated to run like hell.”

“I know what it feels like to be chased by a zed, Zoey. Even if I were 40 years younger, I doubt I could have lasted half as long.”

Zoey and I compare notes on how we dealt with the zombies we each encountered while seeking safety. Basically it boiled down to my M.O. being ‘tread softly and carry a big stick‘, while Zoey addresses the issue by running circles around the damn things.

“Well, I’m just amazed that you figured out how to use those retaining walls to your advantage. I thought you were a goner when you first ran out on that terrace.’

Zoey blushes. Or maybe she’s getting flushed with the vodka. “Well, the truth of the matter is if you hadn’t come out to help me I.. I certainly couldn’t lift that ladder up to the window.”

“What I can’t figure out is, what the hell happened when you ran to the front door that first time, when those zombies were right behind you? I couldn’t see from where I was.”

“Oh, that. Well. Let me tell you about that, mister,” Zoey begins, in the exaggerated manner of someone who has had maybe a bit too much to drink. “That’s when I thought I was a gonner for sure. Fer sure. Yep. Seriously fucked. With a capital “F’ ‘U’ ‘C’ and ‘K’. Fucked.”

I don’t bother to correct her spelling of ‘fucked’.

“Really?” I say, suppressing a chuckle to which Zoey seems oblivious. “Please. Go on.”

“Well. I was hopin’ the door was unlocked. I mean, obviously,” Zoey continues, drawing out the word ‘obviously‘ while rolling her eyes. “An when it wassit. Wassit unlocked, I mean. Well, it was nothin’ but a cat fight at that locked door.”

Zoey raises two fists in front of her and levels a stare at me. Then she sputters into a giggle.
“Jus’ a mad scramble. They tried, but they couldn’t hang on to me. I was too fast fer ‘em. Jus tooo damn fas.”

Zoey’s definitely a little tipsy. As she’s relating this part of the story, I notice she’s unconsciously running her fingers over the bandage on her left shoulder, under the tee shirt.

Zoey seems to have lost her train of thought. So she veers onto a new one.

“So tell me again, Bill,” Zoey says, cupping her chin in her hand, her eyes glassy in the candlelight. “Tell me how amazin’ I wass, outrunnin’ those zombies. I was pretty amazin’ wassit I?

“That you were, sweetheart. But hey! Look at the time. What do you say we get you to bed? If you’re anything like I was when I first got into this place, you don’t realize how exhausted you are. Let’s get you settled in upstairs OK?

“OK, I guess I am pretty - hey!” She’s leveling an accusing finger at me. “I know wha you’re up to, mister I-can-shoot-two-bullets-with-jus-two-zombies,” Zoey says, struggling to hold up just two fingers. “Two….two zombies wiff two bullets……” “Yer tryin’ to cheat me out of my snack cake! Aren’t you?”

“Zoey,” I say, “I believe you might be a little drunk.”

“Don’t try to change the subject, mister.” “Mister.” “Mister Bill.” Zoey almost falls out of her chair, laughing. “It’s my damn party an I wan my damn cake!” Zoey drives the point home by slamming her fist on the table. Followed by more giggles.

“Tell you what, Zoey. Let’s bring the cake up to your room. You can have it before you go to bed.”

“Wiffa lil’ cannel?”

“Yes. Definitely with the candle.”

“Promise?”

“Of course, Zoey. I promise.”

“Dona you go be breaking yer promises to me, Bill. I’ll have nonnathat.”

“Wouldn’t dream of it, sweetheart.”

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PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 11:46 pm 
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Zoey has her right arm around my shoulder as I help her stagger to the third floor. I have to hang onto to her right wrist to keep her arm from sliding off my neck, it’s the only thing keeping her from falling to the ground. Somehow though, she’s managing to hold the snack cake in the open palm of her other hand, the unlit candle standing tall and proud in the middle of it. Probably because that’s all she’s concentrating on. I wish she’d pay a little more attention to staying upright, and moving forward.

“Well aren’t you jus’ tha cutest little thing?” She’s cooing to the snack cake. “I thing I’m gonna jus’ eat you up!” More giggles.

I finally get her to her room. She settles into the sofa and insists I light the candle and set it down on the table next to the couch.

She seems to have lost interest in eating the snack cake, fixating instead on the flickering candle light.

“I wish that candle could jus’ burn forever, Bill. I wishhit would never go out,” Zoey says thickly, sleep settling into her voice. “When I wassa lil girl, sometimes we’d haf these blackouts an’ I wasso scared. My daddy would bring uppa big pillar candle an set it onna saucer on the table nextta my bed. Said there’d be nothing to be scared of ‘cause the candle would burn all nigh long.” “All nigh long,” Zoey repeats, yawning. “Annit worked too. I wassit scared with tha candle nextta my bed.”

“If you want, Zoey. I could go downstairs and bring up one of the big candles.”

“Naw, Bill. Thas OK. It was jus’ somethin’ my dad did ‘cause I wassa lil’ girl scared of the dark. Now there are things that are a lot worsen tha dark, arn there Bill?”

“I suppose so. But Zoey, I promise you this: there’s nothing to be scared of tonight.”

“Promise Bill?”

“Promise.”

“Dona you go be breaking yer promises to me, Bill. I’ll have nonnathat.”

“Wouldn’t dream of it, sweetheart.”

Zoey seems satisfied with this, because she rolls over and tucks herself into the crease of the couch, with her back facing me. I wait a minute until I hear her breathing slow to the gentle cadence of sleep. I’m about to leave when I remember the candle, which has burned down almost to the snack cake. As I lean over to blow it out, I notice that the oversize tee shirt has slipped off her left shoulder, and with it, the bandage has tugged loose. That would be the baby oil, I think, thick bandages never stick unless the skin is completely clean and dry. That’s when I notice the wound. The perfectly radiused array of punctures.

A bite mark.

Shit.

* * * * * * *

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 Post subject: Re: Not Alone After All
PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 12:18 am 
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MOAR! Lol, you're doing a wonderful job fleshing out Bill and Zoey so far, can't wait to see what you manage with Francis and Louis.

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 Post subject: True Colors
PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 11:05 pm 
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Another installment in my ongoing zombie saga, as yet untitled. For my 2 or 3 faithful readers, proceed and hopefully enjoy. Barring any unforseen plot developments, this is the last installment before Bill and Zoey finally (I know, I know) leave that damn office building. Look for plenty of action in the next one.

[EDIT: External chapter links removed.]

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 Post subject: True Colors Part 1
PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 11:12 pm 
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It’s times like these I actually do believe in a God. I believe he’s up there, he’s in control and he’s one sick fuck. There’s just no other explanation. He’s been stewing in his own juices way too long and he’s lost sight of the whole point of what he started. So he’s putting us all through this shit just to keep from getting bored.

What I can’t believe is how personal this is getting. I know what I have to do. I know what’s best for the girl. It’s really not a choice at all. But why the hell me? To take the life of someone who never did anything wrong. Innocent of any conceivable sin. Who deserves a chance in this world as much as any other. It’s bad enough that fate should burden anyone with this kind of terrible responsibility. But oh, lucky me; after all these years, looks like I get to do it for the second time.

I’m in the room again. I left just long enough to get the revolver, and now I’m back, hovering over her like Death itself, about to collect on an old debt. I’ve brought the candle, it somehow seems appropriate. It’s flickering on that table beside her, next to the uneaten snack cake.

There’d be nothing to be scared of ‘cause the candle would burn all night long.

All night long. Chasing away the darkness and the earnest fears of a child‘s trembling heart. Everything’s going to be just A-OK.

I cocked the hammer outside the room so it’s single action now. I want to be absolutely sure she never hears a thing. She’s dreaming whatever the hell young women dream about. Ponies or boys or babies; I don’t know. After I do this, I’d like to think that she’ll just go on dreaming that dream forever. Never having to worry about anything ever again.

I wish that candle could just burn forever, Bill. I wish it would never go out.

I’m raising the gun now. I’ve been fixating on that ugly wound on her bare shoulder. The skin around the bite is just beginning to discolor as the tissue enters the early stages of necrosis. As long as I concentrate on that, it makes this task doable. But now I have to aim this damn thing, so I’m forced to look at the back of her head. A soft tangle of tousled, dark brown hair, spilling onto her shoulder, her back, the couch. Foreshadowing the deep crimson flow that’ll begin in just a moment.

Zoey, I promise you this: there’s nothing to be scared of tonight.

Promise Bill?

Promise.

Don’t you go be breaking your promises to me, Bill.


I’m shaking now and the gun is all over the place so I have to step even closer or I won’t get a clean shot. I’ve practically got the muzzle against the back of her head and I realize I’m crying now and this is so fucked, so incredibly fucked I just want to use the damn thing on myself. Why the hell not? That’s what I was planning to do anyway, isn’t it? It’ll solve the problem just as surely as killing this girl, won’t it?

But that would mean she’d turn into one of those things and then she’ll be dead anyway. Except she’ll end her days not as a sweet young woman but some kind of soulless monster. I can’t let that happen. I know what I have to do. And in that moment I also understand what I’ll do as soon as this job is done. Neither of us is ever going to leave this room. Two bullets left. Fate? Was it meant to end this way? Was that your plan all along, God? You sick fuck. Damn you. I’ll see you in hell.

I inhale though my nose; it makes a wet snotty sound and she stirs. For one instant I begin to tighten on the trigger: it’s gotta be now. But then I think the noise has brought her up a level or two of consciousness and she might hear or feel something. The moment’s gone and, spineless bastard that I am, I quickly slink out of the room and ease the door closed.

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 Post subject: True Colors Part 2
PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 11:16 pm 
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It is the longest, most miserable night of my life. I spend it sitting on the floor just outside her room, my back against the wall, cradling the revolver. Alternately listening for that first inhuman moan, and trying to work up the nerve to get back in there and finish the job before she really does turn.

Around six a.m. I come up with another way to do this. The coward’s way out. It’s a modest risk I take, leaving her untended for the few minutes it takes to get down to the lobby, grab the ring of keys in the reception desk and return to the third floor.

There’s a utility closet next to each bathroom. It takes me several tries, but I locate the correct key on the night watchman’s key ring. I discard the rest of the key ring in a nearby cubicle and leave the key in the slot. I open the door all the way so the key is hidden against the wall. Then I return to my grim vigil outside Zoey’s room.

I slept either 18 or 42 hours my first night, but such is the recuperative powers of youth that with the eastern sun streaming into both windows of her corner office, I hear stirring soon afterwards.

Quietly I stand up and thrust the revolver deep into my trouser pocket. The bulge isn’t too noticeable. I step back about 15 feet, swallow, and call out.

“Zoey!” I begin walking towards her door. “Zoey! You awake?”

I get a response from behind the door. “Mmmmmmmmm.”

“Hey Zoey, I got something to show you!”

“Mmmmmmmm!!” sounds more like a groan this time.

“You OK in there?” I’m worried because that last one didn’t sound entirely human.

“Mmmm! Aspirin!”

“What?”

“Aspirin! Or Tylenol. Or just give me your damn gun so I can shoot myself!”

“Sweetheart, you not feeling well?” I feel like a total shit for using that moniker, considering what I’m about to do.

I hear two feet drop to the floor and the sound of them shuffling closer. The door opens a crack.

“Oh. My. Maybe somebody should have stuck with juice last night?”

Zoey flips me the finger as she steps out into the aisle. Her eyes are two narrow slits.

“I got something to show you that might improve your mood. It’s right - “

She cuts me off with a single index finger. Just give me a sec, will you Bill? I realize now that she’s upright she’s keeping her mouth tightly closed. She slips past me, walking purposefully towards the bathroom. She gets about 30 feet, doubles over and breaks into a run. She practically flies into the bathroom door, knocking it open. She disappears into the darkness and I immediately hear retching.

She emerges a few minutes later. “OK, skip the gun. What about mouthwash?”

“Yeah. But can you hang in there a moment longer? I’ve got something really wonderful to show you.” I've never felt quite such a profound sense of self-loathing as I do now, lying to this girl.

“What? You big goof ball.” Zoey says, cracking a smile. “You look ready to burst.”

“Water! Running water!”

“I thought you said the main supply -”

“I know, I know. But it must have its own water supply. Maybe a gravity feed from a tank on the roof. It’s right here in this utility closet. That sink thing on the floor the janitors use to clean the mops. “

“This utility closet?”

“Yeah, see for yourself.”

Zoey gives me a questioning look, but she trusts me completely, so she turns and enters the closet.

“What am I doing wrong, Bill? I’m turning the handle but nothing’s coming out.”

I slam the door closed, wedge my foot at the bottom edge and turn the key, locking it shut.

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 Post subject: True Colors Part 3
PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 11:23 pm 
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“OK Bill, ha ha. Maybe you had too much last night too because you’re obviously not thinking straight; this is totally not funny. Now open the door.”

Now that I’m playing my hand, I feel a strange detachment from what I’m doing. I remember this feeling. From long ago. It helped when I had to do things that no human being should ever do to another.

“I’m afraid I can’t do that, Zoey.”

“Bill? What are you talking about?” Real fear in her voice now.

“I think you know perfectly well, Zoey. We both know what that bite on your shoulder means.”

Zoey explodes behind the door. “Damn you! Goddamn you, Bill! Let me out!” She’s beating savagely on the inside of the door.

“There’s two ways we can do this Zoey.” I say, shouting over the furious pounding. “I’d prefer to do it rationally. “ I realize I’ve gone completely numb as I’m saying this.

“Bill! Please?” Pleading now. “Bill, just open the door, OK? So we can we talk about this? Can we just talk about this?”

“We can talk just as well with you behind that door, Zoey.” In a detached way, I realize I’m a bastard. I always have been a bastard, I always will be.

“Bill! Bill, it’s me: Zoey. Bill, please?” Crying now. Sobbing. “I’m Zoey. Bill, I’m me. You know: Zoey? Amazing runner Zoey? It’s just me Bill.”

A twinge. A twitch. I remember this part too. I kill it off.

“Let’s not make this any harder than it needs to be, Zoey.”

Anger again: “Fuck you Bill! You know what? Just go fuck yourself, you freaky old bastard! That’s what you are! A decrepit, wheezing old sonnabitch. I hate you! You hear me, Bill? I hate your fucking guts!”

Cracks again. Cracks in the facade. It’s been a long time since I’ve done this; I’m out of practice. I’m soft.

“Zoey. Please. We need to talk. Please. Sweetheart.”

That was a big mistake.

“Oh don’t you dare ‘sweetheart’ me you fucking prick! What the hell was that all about yesterday anyway, you sick old fuck? ‘Sweetheart’ this and ‘sweetheart’ that! Who the hell do you think you are? Maybe you’re some old sicko, thought you found some horny little cupcake, you fat old fuck?”

That one knifes straight through the armor. She's going to die believing that about me.

“Zoey. I’m going to walk away now. I won’t go far. And I will be back; it won’t be long. Because you and I need to have a talk. I’m not sure how much time we have. OK? I’m going now.”

Sobbing, whimpering from behind the door.

“W-Wait! Wait. Please Bill. Don’t go. Don‘t leave me here.”

“I’ll be back,” I repeat, robotically.

“Please, don’t go. OK? I’m calm now, OK? I-I know why you’re doing this and I guess you’re right to do it. OK? It just sucks. This really just sucks, you know?”

This is beyond torture. I should just shoot us both right now and get it over with.

“Yeah, I know. It really does suck.”

“You’re not going?”

“No,” I say with resignation. “I’m here for the duration. I owe you that.”

Sniffling from behind the door.

“Thanks.”

“Don’t thank me. Zoey.” I say, settling down onto the floor, my back against the wall next to Zoey’s prison door. “Please don’t thank me for anything.”

“OK. But don’t go.”

“Not going anywhere.”

“Bill?”

“Yes?”

“You're a fucking prick, you know that?”

“Yeah. I surely do know that Zoey.”

“Good. Just so we’re clear on that.”

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 Post subject: True Colors Part 4
PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 11:27 pm 
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“I’m going to die in here, aren’t I?”

I don’t know what to say. What I can say? Silence.

“Are you still there Bill?”

“Yes.”

“I’m going to die, aren’t I?”

I hear her quietly sobbing on the other side of the door.

“Zoey, I --”

“ -- Just say it Bill. I think I need to hear you say it.”

“Yes Zoey. I think you’re going to die.”

Sniffling. "Thanks. I don’t know why I should care but I need you to be honest with me. I’m going to get sick and turn into one of those things, right?”

“That’s how it goes, Zoey. There’s no stopping it.”

“Yeah, right. That’s how it goes.”

“Listen Zoey, this is why we need to talk. I can -”

“-- Don’t. I mean, wait a bit, could you? I don’t know how long I have, but do you think you could maybe …. Just talk to me a while?”

“Sure, Zoey. I can do that.”

“Because, you know, if I start to feel it happening, I could let you know? And if I can’t, and you’re talking to me, you’ll be able to tell. It takes a few minutes once it starts, right? You could, you’ve got that gun, right?”

“Yeah, I have it right here.”

“It’s still got bullets, right? You do have bullets in that gun?”

“Yeah, I’m down to two, but that‘s more than enough.”

“So maybe you could, you know, do it when it starts and that way I don’t have to be one of those things?”

“Zoey, this isn’t easy for -- “

“Please Bill! If you can’t do it then, then maybe you should just do it now. I don’t want to be one of them, even for a second.”

I can hear her crying, softly.

“But if you could wait a bit, you know? Please? Talk with me for a while, just ….. keep me company?”

“Sure, I can do that Zoey.”

“Bill?”

“Yes.”

“It’s dark in here.”

“Sorry about that. Is any light coming from underneath the door?”

“A little bit. A crack.“

“Stay close to that. Your eyes will adjust.”

I hear her sliding down the inside of the door. She’s sitting just inches away.

“Better?”

“Yeah, better. So, what do we talk about?”

“Anything you like, Zoey.”

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 Post subject: True Colors Part 5
PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 11:31 pm 
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“I miss my parents.”

“I bet you do. I miss mine too, Zoey.”

“You? How long – I’m sorry … when did they die?”

“It’s OK. I’m just saying you never really get over it, when your parents are gone. Zoey, maybe this isn’t the best thing to talk about.”

“No, I want to know. If you’re willing to talk about it. Now that I’ve lost my parents, I’m not sure how I’m supposed to feel.”

“I don’t know that you’re supposed to feel any particular way. But I do know if you cared about them, if they cared for you, it hurts.”

“It still hurts you?”

“Sure it does. Some days I remember my mom and pop like I just saw them yesterday. Others, it seems like a very long time ago. But either way, you never stop missing them.”

“So, how did they die?”

“Well, cancer took pop back in 1983, but my mom hung in there until 2005. She was 91. A tough old bird.”

“So that makes you --”

“--old.

“My parents were 44 and 48. Daddy had his birthday in August.”

“Did you spend the day with him?”

“Yeah. The three of us went to a show and dinner at Dad’s favorite restaurant. Then we went home for cake. I baked it with Mom.”

“So you live with your parents?”

“Well, I had moved back home after I graduated. I was still trying to figure out whether to go on to graduate school or get a job.”

“Graduate school?”

“Yeah, probably cinematic arts.”

“You had just graduated from college?”

“Yeah. Why?”

“Why what?”

“Why are you asking me if I graduated from college? Didn’t you believe me?”

“Well, yes, of course I believe you. I guess I was a bit confused there, because I thought you, I actually thought you were in high school.”

“What?”

“Yeah, high school.”

She laughs, then sniffles.

“Are you kidding? Bill, how old do you think I am?”

“Well now I know you’re older, but I had you pegged for, I don’t know, 16 or 17.”

Another laugh.

“Bill, I’m 24! How could you think I was a teenager?”

“You look young, Zoey. You are young.”

“But 17? That was ages ago. Are you saying I don’t look like an adult?”

I laugh now. “It’s not like that. When you get to be my age, everyone starts looking like a child. You kind of lose track of how to judge young people’s ages.”

“Yeah, but with your own kids, your grandkids….”

“Oh, I don’t have family, Zoey.”

Oh. I just thought since you said your parents….no sisters or brothers?

“I had an older brother, but he died.”

“Was he married? Kids? Are you an uncle?”

“No. Tommy was gone long before my parents went, so it’s just been me for a long time now. What about you? Brothers? Sisters?“

“Nope.”

“So you’re an only child.”

“Yeah. Just me, mom and dad.”

“Well it does have some advantages.”

“You’d think so. All my friends from school talked about how their younger sister or brother got their bedroom when they left for college. They’d come home for break and they wouldn’t even recognize their old rooms – they’d have to sleep in the guest room. Or the couch.”

“So, you didn’t have to worry about that. I bet your parents kept your bedroom just the way it was.”

“Yeah. Everything was still there. Still is.”

“A shrine. A shrine to their daughter. The college graduate.”

“Who you thought was 17 years old!”

“We’ve been through that.”

“I can’t believe you thought I was in high school! If this door wasn’t in my way I’d punch you!”

Silence. Neither of us knows how to pick up again after acknowledging her imprisonment. And the sentence I have to carry out.

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 Post subject: True Colors Part 6
PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 11:35 pm 
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“Bill?”

“Yeah.”

“I’m scared.”

“I know. I know.”

“This is so unfair.”

“You’re right. There’s nothing fair about it. About any of this.”

“But I don’t want to die.”

“I know. Zoey, I’m not sure what I can say. There isn’t much left of the world that we knew. I could just as easily put a bullet in my head as --”

“--as putting one in mine.”

“Yeah. I mean you have to understand, after you’re gone, I don’t think there’ll be much point.”

“You’re not even going to try?”

“Try what Zoey?”

“Try to get out. Try to find other people. Find a place that’s safe.”

“I don’t think there is any place that’s safe anymore.”

“There has to be somewhere that’s safe. Somewhere where the zombies aren’t.”

“I think anywhere there were people, there’ll be zombies.”

“Ok, go somewhere no one’s been before. Like Antarctica.”

“The South Pole?”

“Well some place like that.”

“Zoey, even if such a place exists, somewhere where people haven’t been to before, I’d be alone. I’m not sure that’s a good enough reason to keep going.”

“But you could find people along the way. Other survivors. Then you all could go where it’s safe.”

“That’s a nice thought Zoey.”

“I think you should try Bill. I really think you should try.”

“I don’t know anymore. I don’t know what’s worth it these days.”

“You could do it for me. You could try to find other people and find a place to live for me.”

“For you?”

“Sure, don’t I get a dying wish?”

“Wish for a miracle Zoey, don’t wish for me.”

“You said I was going to die.”

“Yes I said that.”

“And you meant it; you know it’s true. So if you’re going to - when the time comes -”

“Put you down.”

“Yes, put me down. If you’re going to do that it's so I can’t hurt you, right?”

“I suppose.”

“Bill, that’s why you locked me in here. That’s why we’re having this conversation through a door, isn’t it?”

“Yes.”

“Keep me from hurting you. Keep me from hurting anyone else. Right?”

“Yes, that’s pretty much it.”

“So, can’t you give my death some meaning? Make it matter for something?”

“I don’t see how I can -”

“- Bill, if you kill me to protect yourself and then you just turn around and commit suicide, then what’s the point?”

“Zoey, don’t think for a moment this is easy for me. The only thing that’s allowing me to do this is because I know it will be a mercy.”

“But the only reason I need any mercy is because of what happened; I got bit.”

“Okay…”

“So I’m going to die anyway. Can’t you at least try to make it mean something?”

We’re quiet for a long time after that thought. Pondering what it really means.

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Last edited by majorhavoc on Wed Aug 31, 2011 1:46 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: True Colors Part 7
PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 11:42 pm 
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I awake with a start. I’m laying on the carpeted floor next to the locked utility closet. Shit. I was up all last night and I’ve fallen asleep while I was talking to Zoey. I was supposed to stay awake, alert. Ready for when the time came.

I get up stiffly. Judging by the dim light coming through the windows, it looks to be late afternoon, maybe early evening. Shit. How could I fall asleep?

I stare at the utility room door. It stands before me, ominously silent. Tentatively, I place my ear against its surface. Silence.

“Zoey?” I say softly. Please, let her still be…

…then I hear it. Moaning. Dread and regret come crashing down on me as I back away from the door. That’s one last promise I made to this girl that I’ve now broken. I’m too late. She’s one of those things.

I draw the gun. Cock the hammer again. I’m no longer interested in being discrete, I just want to get the shot off the instant I open the door. The moaning is louder now. That thing in there is stirring. Now that I’m up, moving about, it’s become aware of my presence. It senses prey.

As softly as I can, I turn the key, unbolting the door. I have to be ready. I step to the left, outside the arc of the door in case it suddenly bursts open. I grasp the knob. More moaning from within. Firmly now. There can be no hesitation.

In one fluid movement I yank the door open, let go of the knob and wrap my right hand around my left for a two handed grip on the revolver. I see movement. Down below. I wasn’t expecting that. As I’m swinging my aim downward, it darts, catlike, back into the dark recess of the utility closet. I hear it drawing itself into a crouch back there, I hear it hiss. My eyes are still adjusting to the inky blackness inside the utility closet. I can’t fire blindly, or I’ll waste half my ammunition with a single shot.

I’m just thinking of stepping back, to put some distance, some reaction time between me and that thing, when it comes flying out of the darkness. I don’t even get the shot off. It batters me into the cubicle wall behind me. The revolver is knocked from my grasp and falls to the floor, bouncing off the carpet and out of reach. That thing is rising up, too close for me to land a solid blow. It comes up from below my chin, smashing into my lower jaw. I immediately taste blood in my mouth where I’ve bitten my tongue. My vision erupts in a bright flash and immediately starts going gray. I fight to maintain consciousness. I have to buy some time. Just a second or two.

I get both elbows in between us and butt it backwards. It raises its right hand, claw-like, for an overhand strike, but I’ve recovered a bit. Instinctively, I block it with my left forearm, stopping it mid swing. That’s the opening I need. I thrust my right hand below and behind it’s right arm and snake it back over it’s biceps, grasping my own left wrist firmly. I’ve got it in a hold now, temporarily incapacitating its right arm.

So it comes at me with its left. A fist smashes into my right ear, and I feel my knees begin to buckle. I lean into it, driving it into the closet door frame. Time to permanently incapacitate its right appendage, before it can land another blow. With its right limb still firmly locked in my intertwined arms, I rotate violently to my right. This move will do one of two things. First it usually dislocates the entrapped arm, because it bends the shoulder joint in a direction that is only possible if the humerus leaves its socket. Otherwise, the upper arm bone will fracture, catastrophically. Do it right and both happen simultaneously.

I performed this move maybe a dozen times when I did this for a living, but all my adversaries were men. Your opponent’s weight works to your advantage because it anchors the body in one spot, allowing the judicious application of force to do its job. But this thing has Zoey’s slight body mass, and it simply rotates in the direction I’m twisting.

Fine. I’ll anchor the body the old fashioned way. This wall should do nicely. I slam it chest first against the wall, pinning its opposite shoulder. It lets out another hiss. Now I simply apply force across its back and --

-- It screams. It screams at the very instant I’m looking at its left shoulder, the bite mark. Swollen, bright pink flesh. No sign of necrosis.

The only way to release her arm is to drop beneath her, which I’m doing anyway because I’m sinking to the floor. She comes sinking down with me, gasping and fighting for air.

I hear roaring in my throbbing right ear. Above the roar I hear her name in the distance, repeating again and again. Zoey Zoey Zoey Zoey Zoey Zoey. I realize I’m hearing my own voice. I’m kneeling on the carpet, my arms hanging limply at my sides, calling her name again and again and again.

She’s had the wind knocked out of her from being slammed into the wall. She’s crawling away from me, choking. Trying to get some distance. Trying to escape.

Zoey Zoey Zoey Zoey Zoey. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.

She rolls on to her back, sputtering. But she’s stopped moving away. She’s beckoning me. She knows I know its her now. Between ragged breaths, she’s waving me to come over. Stiffly, painfully I crawl to her side. She’s beckoning. Closer, come closer. I draw myself so my face is just above hers when the side of my head explodes from an unseen blow coming out of nowhere from my left. It drives me onto the carpet and as I recede from the world of consciousness, I hear, from across a great distance, Zoey’s voice:

“Take that, you old bastard! Next time you want to kill me, try asking first!”

* * * *

I must have come back to consciousness gradually, because I find I’m leaning up against the cubicle wall, across from the utility closet. I remember blacking out flat on the floor. Zoey is leaning up against the opposite wall, legs sprawled out, staring blankly into space. She’s cradling her right arm at the elbow.

I feel I’ve come full circle because my body feels remarkably similar to how it felt the first night I arrived here at this office building.

I spit out a plug of coagulated blood and lick my lips. More blood.

“Did I break it?” I ask, staring at the wall in front of me.

“Break what?”

“Your arm. I was trying to break it, or at least dislocate it.”

Zoey releases her right elbow and tentatively, painfully, rolls it around her shoulder.

“Naw. Sorry Bill, it still works. Hurts like hell though. Where’d you learn a move like that?

“Special Forces. Camp Drake. Japan.”

“That's like some sort of super-duper soldier unit, isn't it? You didn't mention any of that when you were telling me about your Army days. How’s the jaw? Did I break that?”

I drop my lower jaw and swing it right and left.

“Stings, but seems OK. Sorry.”

“Huh. Too bad.”

“Where’d you learn to throw a punch like that?”

“Sixth grade. Tupper Lake. New York.”

“Tough school.”

“Yup.”

“Hey Zoey?”

“What?”

“I’m not going to call you ‘sweetheart’ anymore.”

“I’d appreciate that, Bill. And Bill?”

“Yeah?”

“You’re a fucking prick, you know that?”

“Yeah. I surely do know that Zoey.”

“Good. Just so we’re clear on that.”


3 things I learned that day:
1) It is possible to have a natural immunity to the zombie virus.
2) Zoey moans in her sleep when she’s having a bad dream.
3) Do not disturb Zoey when she’s sleeping, because she‘s not herself when she first wakes up.

* * * * * *

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Last edited by majorhavoc on Fri May 04, 2012 9:39 am, edited 10 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Not Alone After All
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 9:22 am 
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Next segment is up: True Colors.

[EDIT: external chapter link removed]

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Last edited by majorhavoc on Wed Jun 15, 2011 1:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: True Colors
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 12:59 pm 
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Really nicely done. Thanks.

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It's not that you were being "harsh" so much as a "douchebag".


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 Post subject: Re: True Colors
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 1:37 pm 
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Can't wait for more man.

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<thegunslinger> they just find newer and more inventive ways to be fucking retarded

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