Death of Conscience...a Zompocalypse Story of Lonliness

Zombie or Post Apocalyptic themed fiction/stories.

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Death of Conscience...a Zompocalypse Story of Lonliness

Post by Ponyboy314 » Mon Jun 29, 2009 5:34 am

Here are the characters for the story, which will be in several parts and can be seen in this thread.

Will Beecher: A senior at the University of Colorado in Boulder, like all the other characters. He is a quiet, thoughtful young man who displays a great deal of courtesy and dignity on the outside, but inside he is crippled by emotional setbacks and an inability to form meaningful relationships with the opposite gender. He is neither attractive nor unattractive, and most women who have known him refer to Will as some variation of "physically uninteresting." Despite this, his regard for the others is strong, and by the time our story begins, he has done a great deal to keep them alive. He is best friends with Chris and is secretly in love with Alyssa, which no one suspects. He is wise beyond his twenty-two years (life having kicked him around and pounded that wisdom into his head) and is regarded as the most intelligent person in the group.

Red Kaplan: Three words enter the mind when meeting Red. "Big, black, and bad," the first two of those being plainly evident, but the last is a common misconception which Red himself is all too happy to cultivate. His first name is Rashid, which friends once shortened to "Rash," and considering the color of a rash, his name became "Red," and by his own admission, this took up all of his first week in high school. He is large and physically strong, but is possessed of a sharp mind and a genuine concern for those around him. There is virtually no one he has ever met who didn't like him within minutes of meeting him. His girlfriend is Marleena.

Alyssa Stone: An attractive young woman with blue-green eyes and reddish-brown hair. She was not among the friends who had been together since high school, but had met everyone in college, but knew them only somewhat. Alyssa had met up with them as panic swept over the campus as she was far from home and only they seemed to remain calm as things went from bad to worse. She is not as resourceful as the others, and is of little value in a fight, but seemed possessed of a conscience that attracted Will to her. Initially snobbish and elitist, the fact that she had to rely on others to keep her alive has humbled her a great deal. She had no idea that Will liked her, until it was too late.

Marleena Shore: Young, black and bookish. She is a geek in the truest sense, which explains why the others love her and welcomed her into their little gang back in high school. She can quote the Star Wars saga at will, and knows every cult movie and comic book in one degree or another. Marleena is Red's girlfriend, and the two are quite devoted to each other. She loves everyone in the group, and there is nothing she wouldn't do for them if they needed it. Her sense of humor is highly developed, and her ability to make others laugh on a whim has done much to keep them sane in these dark times.

Chris Parisi: Will's best friend since the 7th grade, and when they met Red in the 9th grade, their little gang was born. Chris is unlike Will in almost every way. He is not exactly a ladies' man, but the ladies do notice him and like what they see and hear. Chris was intolerant of anyone putting Will down, and the two backed each other up in many fights both in and out of school. Chris took martial arts classes with Will, making them both capable of defending the women in the ground throughout the crisis (as was Red, who was on the wrestling team), until Marleena and Chelsea became good fighters in their own right. Chris continuously feels for Will, believing that other people owed him much more consideration than they gave him. Although the two tell each other almost everything, Chris didn't know that Will had developed feelings for Alyssa, for which Chris was unable to forgive himself. He is Chelsea's boyfriend.

Chelsea Czerny: A pretty blond whom Chris met during their senior year in high school, the two being together ever since. Being around Chris and the others has allowed her to get in touch with her inner geek. She is still somewhat traumatized after stopping at her parents' place with the others, only to find the door open and blood smeared all over the walls (but no bodies), prompting the others to not attempt to reach their own homes. Chris has helped her through this as best he can, and she is emotionally rebounding because of him. She has a soft spot in her heart for Will, whom she thinks would be a good match for some lucky woman, but she mostly feels bad that they largely ignored him, and somewhat guilty that she doesn't believe that she ever could have been with him herself, had circumstances been different. She has learned how to defend herself quite admirably by watching Will, Chris (in particular), and Red.

And for one of these characters, escaping the hell of the living dead simply propels into another hell...the hell from which walls and weapons are no defense.
"If you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and there's a straw, there it is, that's a straw...and my straw reaches...acrosssssssss the room, and begins to drink your milkshake. I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE! SLURRRP! I DRINK IT UP!

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Re: Death of Conscience...a Zompocalypse Story of Lonliness

Post by Ponyboy314 » Mon Jun 29, 2009 5:35 am

Part I.

The rather speedy electric golf cart pulled up to the wrought-iron gate of Malta Mansion. The gates slid to the sides and the cart sped right in, parking near the outlet that kept the cart's battery charged. On the way across the courtyard in front of the house that doubled as a driveway, both now and before the fall, they passed their own vehicles, those that bore them all to the mansion, as well as the U-Hauls, UPS trucks, FED EX vans, and other such rides that had carried their looted supplies to the place.

Will and Marleena got out and plugged the battery cable into the outlet on the wall. Their haul today amounted to one Zulu (what the group had taken to calling them, considering the 'Z' in the phonetic alphabet), just one. Although they had their firearms on them, they had taken it down the way they had taught themselves. Will had used a garden weeder to impale it in the chest, while Marleena had hamstrung it with a pruning staff, taking its head after it hit the ground. The body was dragged and thrown into a ditch, containing the bodies of other downed Zulus. They didn't seem to pop in much anymore. An optimist might suspect that the neighborhood was slowly being cleared of them, but no one was that optimistic.

This tactic had brought down more than one hundred Zulus in the three months since arriving at the mansion. It was slower these days. They had trained in this method and had turned it into a science and an art. It also saved ammunition, even though they had plenty of it. But even plenty can still run out.

After washing off their weapons, they walked inside the front door, where Red swept Marleena up in his arms.

"Hey Will, thanks for looking after my little gal here."

"Actually Big Red, you should have seen her take the head off the one we found. It was outside the gates, out on the road that leads back to I-70. It seemed more like she was looking after me. That Zulu's head popped off like a fucking champagne bottle."

Marleena turned to Will. "Will, since Zulus were an African tribe, and Red and I are both black, I think using 'Zulu' to reference zombies is racially insensitive."

Will looked at Red, who said, "Don't look at me, white boy. I'm the one who has to share a room with her."

Will gave Red a slug in the shoulder. "Oh, the angry black routine. I was hoping that the end of the world meant the end of that bullshit."

There were muted laughs. It was all in good fun.

"Where are the others?" Marleena asked.

Red answered, "They're all out back by the pool. Lazy day today. All our chores were done early in the week. We're taking the next day or two off. You coming?"

"Of course." was Marleena's answer. Will answered in the negative.

"Damn, Will. Would it kill you to hang with us more? You're too damned anti-social these days."

"Kill me? I never thought much on that. Oh, and I think I need a haircut. Marleena? You game for that tomorrow?"

She nodded.

Will left them alone to let them hit the pool, and walked up to his room on the second floor. He passed the parlor, the bar, and the living room of the huge mansion, which he had accidentally named "Malta Mansion" after the island nation that in 1565, withstood a siege of a few hundred thousand Turks, using only a few thousand soldiers, knights, and mercenaries. It seemed appropriate, considering that their sextet was outnumbered, but not out of hope. The name stuck.

Will reached his own room, which was lavish (in a classical way, like the rest of the house), and easily bigger than his own parents' bedroom, and his family was hardly poor. He kicked his shoes off and lay down on the bed. Everyone else who didn't have Zulu detail today was relaxing, splashing around, and making fools of themselves. Will wanted none of that.

He just wanted to be alone.
"If you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and there's a straw, there it is, that's a straw...and my straw reaches...acrosssssssss the room, and begins to drink your milkshake. I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE! SLURRRP! I DRINK IT UP!

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Re: Death of Conscience...a Zompocalypse Story of Lonliness

Post by Ponyboy314 » Mon Jun 29, 2009 5:36 am

Part II.

But there is always that same problem with being alone, even if one wishes for it. Being alone is...lonely. But Will was increasingly subscribing to the school of thought that sometimes, it's better to be lonely while genuinely being alone than to be lonely surrounded by people. This would be one of those occasions.

Out in the rather huge backyard, the others were wasting the day away in the pool, forgetting for a time that the world had ended and that the six in the house could be, for all they knew, the last people alive on earth.

But most days, Will felt as though he was the last person on earth.

His room was huge, perhaps too large for his purposes. But for its great size, the walls seemed to close in on him from time to time. Even when he wanted to be alone in his oversized refuge, it seemed like a prison, with his cellmate being the memories of the last three months in the place, and the month or so before that when the gang hid out in their dorm as the infestation swept across the world, their country, and eventually, their campus.

As the infestation reached the Colorado state line from the east, school had already been closed, but the panic had already gripped everyone. Dorm rooms were cleared out as students tried to get home to their parents, even those fools whose parents lived far away to the east, deep in the infected zone as the military kept pulling west. Their fates, trying desperately to get "home" by driving or walking right into the face of an unstoppable wave of living death, weighed on Will a great deal. He still wondered how many he could have saved by simply grabbing their arms and talking some sense into them, and letting them stay with the gang and eventually Malta Mansion.

He thought about that a lot, even though it was far too late to save anyone else.

But when things did go badly, it was mostly Will and Chris who had saved the others. When the infestation reached the United States on the east coast, they sat down and began to think rationally. Both were huge fans of "end of the world" movies, and believed that whatever was causing society to fall apart, it was still people, and their greed and stupidity, that were the greatest danger to those trying to stay alive.

Will and Chris got the gang together as everyone else was running helter skelter, trying to get out of dodge. They hid in Will's dorm as the sounds of chaos echoed down the halls and outside the windows. Only a trip to the bathroom on Will's part saved the life of one who would, on that day become the sixth member of their crew.

Will's mind drifted back to that day, and to the fact that he was still emotionally paying for it.

Will walked casually down the hall towards the bathroom. The few remaining people in the dorm were now locked in their rooms, while a few others were grabbing something out of the cafeteria in the first floor. Of course, no one was as smart as Will or Chris, who bought a fair amount of non perishables as the infestation hit the east coast. Now that was saving their lives. But the doors were barricaded, as were the stairwells, and no one was using the elevator anymore. After taking a whiz, Will headed back to the three rooms that housed his gang, since the two rooms on either side of Will's were unoccupied.

And the rest of the campus had already poured out into the parking lot and the streets as the undead wave rolled over Boulder. The dead were still roaming all over the campus, but none were banging on the doors to the dorm, since people were doing a good job being quiet, and most stayed on the upper levels, where the dead were unlikely to hear them.

Will almost ran into Alyssa, whom he had known somewhat, which is to say that he knew her name, what she looked like, and the fact that she was rather devoid of the qualities that tend to ensure favorable reviews from those around you.

She was dressed in jeans and sneakers, along with a blue hoodie with a backpack and her hair tied into a ponytail. She was rigged for traveling. She had been staying on the third floor after she ran from the girl's dorm when the infestation reached campus. She had been mostly alone down there, and it looked like she was grabbing what she needed from the rooms on the upper level.

"Will? What the hell are you still doing here?"

"Alyssa? You have some place you have to be? There aren't many of those things out there, but enough that going out there alone is the dumbest thing you can do. You won't make it off campus. Where the hell do you think you're going?"

"Home. I want to get home."

"But didn't I overhear you say once that you came from Pennsylvania? Are you fucking crazy? You can't get there, shit, you can't get anywhere."

"I want to get home to my family. I...can't stay here anymore."

"Alyssa, listen to me. You go out there now, and you'll die. Everyone wants, or wanted to get home, but that meant going out there in the middle of those things, and the choked roads and thousands of screaming, panicked people. None of us would have made it."

"Okay, Will...but what are you going to do? We can't stay here forever."

"Listen. We geeks, you know...your favorite people...(sarcasm dripped from his tone), are making plans to get out of here. I mean, we could survive this whole thing if things pan out. But we need to think, plan, and not rush off on a suicide mission. If you want to live, I would suggest you stay with us."

Alyssa cried, as thoughts of home pounded her in the head. After a time, she agreed. Will lead her back to the others, who were shocked to see her.

The gang agreed to let her tag along, but it was clear that no one was thrilled about it. Geeks had as much disdain for the cool kids as the cool kids had for them.

Their plans came together over the next few days, as the living dead began to slowly disappear from campus. following the panicked survivors out of town to the west, following the evacuation routes that ended at the Pacific coast. They waited for the right time, as Alyssa tried her damnedest to fit in with these people for whom she had only a passing acquaintance, and now, whom she needed to save her life.

Will rolled over and went to sleep while the others, Alyssa included, splashed around in the pool. He had no desire to be around them. He certainly had no desire to be around her.

But not because he disliked her.

In fact, quite the opposite.
Last edited by Ponyboy314 on Mon Jun 29, 2009 5:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
"If you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and there's a straw, there it is, that's a straw...and my straw reaches...acrosssssssss the room, and begins to drink your milkshake. I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE! SLURRRP! I DRINK IT UP!

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Re: Death of Conscience...a Zompocalypse Story of Lonliness

Post by Ponyboy314 » Mon Jun 29, 2009 5:37 am

Part III.

When Will woke up, it was still early afternoon, since he and Marleena had gone on "zombie patrol" (Chelsea's name for it). He was starving, but dinner was still a while away. He went down to the kitchen and grabbed a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a bottle of apple juice, both of which didn't last long. He then went to the game room on the first floor, which the previous owners had filled with a pool table, foosball, a dart board, a ping ping table, and air hockey. He shot some pool solo, and tried to get his insecurities out of his head. For a while, it worked.

Until Alyssa decided to screw it all up.

He sense someone behind and and turned to see her, standing in the doorway. "There you are, Will. What the story with you being so anti-social the last few days? The rest of us were out back."

Her hair was still wet, but the rest of her was now covered by a t-shirt and a pair of blue sweats, which mercifully covered whatever she had been wearing while in the pool. The last thing Will needed was to have that on the brain for the rest of the day.

"Just decided to fly solo for the day. That's all."

Alyssa was not convinced. "No, you've been like this for the whole week. What's wrong?"

Of course, there was no way Will was going to tell her that she was what was wrong with him, but she clearly needed to be told something that made enough sense for her to stop pushing the issue.

"Well, with all of us in the same house, no matter how big it is, I just wanted to take a little while and to my own thing."

It wasn't much, but it was good enough to get her off the subject. Will wasn't certain why, but sometime between getting to the mansion and today, he had fallen for her something awful. Of course, some reasons where at least somewhat evident. She was quite an attractive young lady, but then, she was not the type who went for guys like Will. Never had, and certainly wasn't going to tomorrow. Also, she was one of only three women alive that Will knew about. The other two were hooked up with his two best friends. She was unattached. He was the only single guy in the house (in the world, for all he knew), and she was the only single woman, but it was obvious that the possibility of the two getting closer had not yet entered her mind, and never would. She would rather be single during the end of the world than have anything to do with Will that wasn't strictly platonic.

Of course, Alyssa was oblivious to Will's unending loneliness. The sadder thing was that everyone seemed to be oblivious to it as well. They had all gotten so used to Will being alone, even before everything went to hell, so used to him being the 5th wheel, that him being by himself was hardly unusual, and the end of the world hadn't changed that.

"Well, Will...it's Red's turn to cook tonight. Those plum basted ribs you made last night were totally top shelf."

"Well, thank you for that. What's red making?"

"No idea. But neither of you suck at cooking, so my hopes are high. After that, we're putting the extended Lord of the Rings in. You'll be there for that?"

"Nah, Alyssa. I'll just keep to myself for a while."

She shrugged and walked off. Will was happy to let her go, but it pained him whenever she left. It was a contradiction that was not lost on him, but his inability to come to terms with the futility of his regard for her felt like it was eating him alive from the inside out, starting with the heart.

Dinner was certainly good. Red made an awesome fried chicken which led Chris to make a comment about how the only black man in the mansion just had to make fried chicken. That got him a slug in the arm and a general laugh from the group. But afterward, Will retired to his room. It was large and roomy enough that there was a reclining chair in the corner with an end table and reading lamp. He cracked open Crime and Punishment from the mansion's rather extensive library. It was an upcoming reading assignment from his Advanced Literature class, but things went to hell before it came up. He started reading it on that basis alone. It seemed to Will that reading it was tying up unfinished business.

He sat, reclining, with his book opened and a glass of brandy by his side, looking for all the world like a sophisticated gentleman in the reading room of the Titanic, just waiting for that iceberg to hit.

Will was lost in the words when a knock hit the door. Will bade them to enter, and it was Chris. His best friend in the world.

"Hey man, we're about to put in Fellowship of the Ring. Alyssa said you weren't coming. Why are you being so damned distant these days?"

Great, this shit again.

"Just trying to stay out of everyone's way, I guess." It was a half-hearted answer, and also, it was a half-true one.

"Come on, Will. The gang misses you. Come hang with us. It doesn't cost anything, you know."

"Nah, don't worry about it, Chris. I'm just trying to do my own thing." Chris reached into his pocket and pulled out a joint. Neither had done that much before the fall, but had indulged once in a blue moon at a party. They had been in college after all. But Chris had gotten his hands on the weed in the dorms before leaving, and the seeds were really coming into their own in the greenhouse. And in any event, it looked like Will could use some.

Will lit it and took a deep toke. His mind got clouded a bit, and the stress seemed to leave him for a while. That was the point, after all.

"So seriously, Will. We miss having you around man. If you aren't doing chores, you're up here, or somewhere else by yourself. Don't tell me you survived the end of the world just to spend it by yourself."

"Just don't worry about it, Chris. Go back to the living room. I'm sure Chelsea is waiting."

"We're all waiting, Will...for you."

Bullshit...not all of you...

"Chris, just go back. I'm staying up here."

"Okay, Will. But what the hell do I tell them when I get back, since they expect me to come back with you?"

"Tell them whatever you want. Hey, can I finish this?" Will asked, holding the joint up.

"Sure. But man, you shouldn't coop yourself up in here all the time."

Chris left. Will got a little high and went back to reading. After a while, he got tired. Will closed the book and turned out the light, falling asleep right in his reading chair.
"If you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and there's a straw, there it is, that's a straw...and my straw reaches...acrosssssssss the room, and begins to drink your milkshake. I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE! SLURRRP! I DRINK IT UP!

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Re: Death of Conscience...a Zompocalypse Story of Lonliness

Post by Ponyboy314 » Mon Jun 29, 2009 5:38 am

Part IV.

Will woke up somewhere around nine in the morning, his breath stinking of weed and morning. His book was still at his side and his brandy glass was empty. His back ached a little from sleeping in a chair, but walking around for a few seconds fixed that. He brushed his teeth and showered (some of the bedrooms had bathrooms, including his), then put on fresh clothes. He walked down to the kitchen and looked at the dry erase board. It was his day to take the trash out to the back and burn it, as well as dust the living room. No one else was awake yet, so he set to it. By noon, the living room was dusted, and by a quarter to one, the trash was burned. It tended to include paper and such, so they saved fuel easily. After that, he went back to his room.

On the wall near the bed was his gun rack, full of guns. After leaving the campus and heading to this neighborhood, the area where the richest people in Denver/Boulder lived, they stopped at a large sporting goods store, where it was a simple matter of rigging the chain from the door to the bumper of Chris's pickup. After that, they backed up one of the U-Hauls they'd taken, in case any of those things were around and tried to get in, but by that time, most of the dead had moved on, following the evacuees to the Pacific.

There was one piece of fortune. The infestation hit them like a sledgehammer, and most people just loaded up and headed west, while those who left later (when the dead were crashing through windows and pulling down people right on the street) just ran screaming for their lives. There simply wasn't enough time to loot, and those who tried died for their efforts.

The area wasn't clear, but anyone who wasn't an idiot could grab what he needed.

And they did.

In about an hour, that U-haul had cardboard boxes full of ammo boxes tossed in the back, and they grabbed whatever weapons seemed useful. Will grabbed five long arms. He got his hands on a lever-action shotgun (like Arnold in T), a .30-06 scoped rifle, an M1 Carbine, a Winchester 94 lever action, and a Lee-Enfield. This was added to the M4 Carbine (with some attachments which he rarely used or needed) he took from the ground near the eviscerated National Guardsman (or whatever he was) who'd owned it previously.

His selection of sidearms was equally impressive. In the store, he found a large Smith and Wesson 629 .44, a Smith and Wesson 28 "Highway Patrolman" .357 (his favorite), a Springfield M1911, and a neat little Walther PP. Out in the street he got a Beretta M9 from that same dead National Guardsman (which he gave to the previously unarmed Alyssa) and a modern Colt Peacemaker in .45 Long Colt. They had used very little ammo, and the way things were going, they would hold on to what they had for a long time. The dresser under that gun rack was cleared of the previous owner's clothes, and was now full of ammunition and magazines, as well as cleaning equipment, holsters, slings, and what not. He was as well-armed as any Montana militiaman from before the fall.

Will set about cleaning his shotgun, which needed it. By the time he had cleaned that and his .357, it was past two. The others were out and about, but none had bothered him (or probably even seen him) as he went about his business. It was not until he was holstering his now-clean .357 that Chelsea knocked on his door.

"Hey Will, haven't seen you much today."

"Oh, hey Chelsea. Been keeping to myself. Didn't have much to do after my chores were wrapped up. I gave my guns a little attention."

"Oh yeah, this afternoon, Chris is going to help me get a little better with my Ruger 10/22. You coming?"

"Nah. He can handle that. I'm just going to stick around here. Stay off my feet and all that."

"Will, Red reminded me this morning about our thing tonight. You'd better be there for that. It doesn't mean anything if we aren't all there. The others asked me to tell you that if you aren't their, then your choices are to either have the party in here, which I know you don't want, or be dragged down the stairs by the rest of us."

"I guess I'll be there, then. Wait, which 'others' told you to ask me that?" That question was full of bait, which Chelsea did not detect.

"Oh, Red, Chris, Marleena...you know...everyone."

Will noticed that Alyssa was not part of that everyone. That could have been an oversight on Chelsea's part, or maybe she wasn't in on that conversation, or maybe Alyssa really didn't give half a shit about him.

But he was going.

The "thing" Chelsea referred to was something they did every two or three weeks. Outside was a UPS truck that they had used to haul an assload of booze from the nearest liquor store, and that night, they were going to get drunk and stoned off their asses. It relieved the tension, that was for sure. Will had spaced it, and had he remembered, he would have considered bowing out and keeping to himself and his book. But Chelsea had put a stop to that. He was getting fucked up whether he liked it or not.

He wasn't sure which was true yet.
"If you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and there's a straw, there it is, that's a straw...and my straw reaches...acrosssssssss the room, and begins to drink your milkshake. I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE! SLURRRP! I DRINK IT UP!

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Re: Death of Conscience...a Zompocalypse Story of Lonliness

Post by Ponyboy314 » Mon Jun 29, 2009 5:39 am

Part V.

It was Marleena's turn to choose the music for their little booze-fest, and she chose her favorite stuff, that being 60s Motown and 70s soul, which Will greatly preferred over the hip-hop Red seemed to love. At least there was musicianship in Aretha Franklin and Wilson Pickett, but none to be found in Dr. Dre or that dead dumbass Tupac.

The bottles were laid out across the bar, as was the bag of sweet grass. Everyone helped themselves, and by the time that two hours had passed by and Marleena had gotten to Stevie Wonder from his "Songs in the Key of Life" days, everyone was good and ripped. Even through the pot smoke (both in the air and in Will's mind) and bottles of this-and-that, Will had firmly planted himself in fucked-up land. Good and wrecked, which was what he needed to get his mind off the loneliness that crippled him.

His mind only drifted to the fact that he was happy to be alive, and that his friends were with him. He had been able to keep the old gang together, which he was fairly certain that no one else had been able to do anywhere else in the world. His family was undoubtedly gone, which weighed on him a lot, but he knew that trying to get to them was not only suicide, but even if they made it there, Will almost certainly would not be able to take what he would see. And after what they saw when they got to Chelsea's old home...

That was a thought for another time. Will was alive. His friends were alive. They were safe and secure. They had more resources than they could use. They now lived in a house that young people dream about. There were no bills, no rent, no telemarketers, no tuition, no homework....and with the solar panels and wind generators visible along the back wall from the second story, the power was not getting shut off anytime soon (the filthy rich were notorious for their hatred of paying bills and love of living off the grid, irony being what it is).

Better than anything else, his friends were happy. In a corner chair, Red and Marleena were occupied trying to swallow each others' faces. Chris was alone, and Alyssa wasn't there either. If Will had to guess he would have thought that Chelsea and Alyssa were in the john, with one making a puke sacrifice to the porcelain god while the other held the hair out of the way. That's certainly what happened last time.

With that in mind, Will got up and headed to the poop room himself, passing the nearest one, thinking that the girls were in there barfing. Instead, he went out into the hall to go to the next nearest one, needing quite badly to drain the ferret. After pissing damned near his whole life force away, Will headed back, and was about to pass the exercise room, until he heard voices coming from inside.

Female ones. Will would have kept walking (okay, staggering), but he heard his name. It was Chelsea's voice. That meant that Alyssa was in there as well, and he was the subject matter. He was not the eavesdropping type, but this conversation might be what he had been waiting to hear all along. In his deepest hopes, Alysssa was asking Chelsea about the possibility of hooking up with Will. Unfortunately, with a system running for the time being on booze and weed, he dared to actually expect that very thing.

Will stood near the partially-opened door and listened.
"If you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and there's a straw, there it is, that's a straw...and my straw reaches...acrosssssssss the room, and begins to drink your milkshake. I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE! SLURRRP! I DRINK IT UP!

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Re: Death of Conscience...a Zompocalypse Story of Lonliness

Post by Ponyboy314 » Mon Jun 29, 2009 5:40 am

Part VI.

Will listened intently, to programming already in progress.

The first voice was Chelsea's.

"...yourself for a change?"

Alyssa responded without amusement. "But what you're suggesting...for fuck's sake...what, you think that I'm going to just drop my standards for his sake? Look what you're asking me to do! Would you?"

Chelsea was now getting angry. "I probably would anyway. He's a nice guy. We'd all be dead if it weren't for him! And you more than anyone else!"

"I know that...I know what he did for us...and what he did for me specifically...but...he's just not my type."

"I remember your last type, Alyssa. I seem to recall the one before that. Treating you like shit...screwing your friends...treating you like a second-rate dick dumpster...is that your type? Maybe you should start rethinking your type and start thinking about who would actually treat with like a human fucking being."

"Chelsea, stop ramming this bullshit down my throat! I don't fucking want him! How difficult is that to understand? What part of that aren't you getting?"

"The part I'm not getting is how you can think that way after everything he's done! Have you forgotten that Wal-Mart parking lot thing so quickly?"

"Of course not, Chelsea. I was there."

"Say it, Alyssa! Say what he did! Let me hear you say one good thing about him!"

"He saved my life. Is that good enough?"

"Is that all he did? When that thing grabbed you by your hair while two others tried to rip you apart while you screamed like a little bitch? I seem to remember Will charging right at them, smashing one with his shotgun, blowing the head off the other, and then taking the one that grabbed you and slamming it into a wall before shooting it. Then when you fell apart and whimpered like the spineless bitch you are, he carried your ass back to the truck! Then he sat with you on the couch until you got a hold of yourself, then spent the rest of that day making sure you were all right, waiting on you hand and foot like he was your personal fucking slave!"

"It wasn't like that Chelsea..."

"Really, then what was it like? Or how about in the parking lot of that Chinese buffet place? You, like the idiot you are, got too close to a car, and that one belted to the seat grabbed you and tried to bite your arm off! Who saved your ass again? Will did! He lopped that arm off with his Khukri or whatever it is, and dragged you away while you screamed bloody murder! Would any of those alpha-male exes of yours have done that? Shit no! They'd have left you to die! After all that, all you can think is that he's beneath you? That he's less than the shit on those high heels you love so much? My God, how can you think like that?"

Alyssa hesitated. Chelsea didn't.

"And do I have to remind you that he was the one who invited you to hang with us when you wanted to run off to another time zone like a dipshit? All you ever had for him was contempt. I certainly overheard you say that enough with your little bitch friends! You're only here because we let him vouch for you! We didn't want you with us, but here you are, eating our food, living in this house, and stepping on Will every chance you get!"

"But what you're saying..." Alyssa was running out of ways to counter Chelsea's arguments.

"What I'm saying is climb down off your high horse and stop acting like he's too subhuman to breathe your air! What, you still waiting for the captain of the damned football team to show up at the door with flowers and heart-shaped candies, to sweep you onto a white horse and bang the hell out of you on a mountain top? My God, how can you do this to him?"

"It's not my fault that he sent you to beg for him to get into my pants! What are you, his fucking pimp or something?"

Chelsea was now livid. "You'd better get rid of that thinking right now, Alyssa. He never said a word to me or anyone else. If he's suffering, he's doing it silently. But he barely comes out of his room. When he does, he doesn't talk much, he doesn't want to be around anyone...this is the end of the world, and he has to spend it alone, because he's too...I don't know...not up to your meaningless standards?"

"Chelsea, I'm not going to bang him just because he's a lonely little child. Let him grow up and realize that he has limitations!"

That was all Will needed to hear. He had no idea that Chelsea had noticed how lonely he was, or had figured out why he chose to be alone, but the fact that she didn't know how he felt about Alyssa made him adore the hell out of Chelsea right then and there. Well, he already did, but just more so now. No wonder Chris was so devoted to her. No wonder they were such a good match.

Will headed back to the others and slammed a fifth of tequila while Red, Marleena, and Chris stared, gawking at him. They had never seen him drink like that. But they were too wasted themselves to know that something was wrong.

Chelsea came back after a minute, and Alyssa followed. Will said, "Good fucking night everyone." He stormed out, nodding at Chelsea, though she didn't know why, and completely ignored Alyssa. He wasn't going to pine for her anymore. He wasn't going to let her make him feel that way again. It was time to make a change, and tomorrow morning was as good a time as any. The sooner, the better.

But the easiest way to make a dramatic change is to find a change of scenery.

Will was leaving.
"If you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and there's a straw, there it is, that's a straw...and my straw reaches...acrosssssssss the room, and begins to drink your milkshake. I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE! SLURRRP! I DRINK IT UP!

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Re: Death of Conscience...a Zompocalypse Story of Lonliness

Post by Ponyboy314 » Mon Jun 29, 2009 5:40 am

Part VII.

The next morning, Will had something of a hangover, but not a bad one, and considering the previous night's activities, that was amazing. But he had set his alarm clock (the first time he had done so since getting to Malta Mansion) for 5:15 AM. The sun was just barely starting to peek over the mountains to the east, and he wanted as might light as possible for traveling. He left most of his weapons behind, as he could only carry so much. He took his M1 Carbine and .357 and a decent supply of ammo, along with his khukri. He filled his backpack with a few extra sets of clothes and walked down the hall, trying to not make a sound.

Will stopped at the door to the room that Chris and Chelsea shared. "Take care of each other." he whispered. He then made a similar sentiment at the door of Red and Marleena's room, but then passed by Alyssa's room without a thought or a pause.

Whatever space was left in his backpack was quickly filled with dried fruit, beef jerky, and a water bottle. Will didn't bother taking any of the keys for the vehicles outside. He didn't want to deny their use to the others. And besides, he thought he could think clearer if on foot. He was, after all, in no hurry. He didn't know where he was going, but he had all the time in the world to get there.

Will walked out the door and through the gate to the mansion, closing it behind him, before reaching the gate to the gated community, which he also closed behind him. There were at least a dozen other mansions in the place, but none were far enough away for him. A new home was out there somewhere. He just had to find it.

For the apocalypse, it was quite a lovely morning. Birds chirped in the trees, the morning was crisp, and the climbing sun made the whole scene look like a Normal Rockwell painting. He set a brisk pace. He knew that they were out here somewhere. If he walked briskly, they wouldn't be able to surround him. Still, he heard no moans or shuffling feet. That was a sign of luck.

It was about half past one in the afternoon before he stopped. He was starving, and his legs ached from hours of brisk walking with a carbine and a backpack. He saw a stump by the road, which he sat on, facing the road. There was a lot of brush behind him. If anything came from behind, he'd hear it. From in front, he'd see it.

Will wolfed down part of what he brought. It tasted better than it should have, and he savored every bite. After resting his aching legs, he started off again. After a time, an overturned car with blood drying near the broken windshield came into view. He didn't know how choked this road was (the town where the gang had done their looting was the other direction), and was instantly glad he walked, lest he have to abandon a perfectly good car. After another hour of walking, he still hadn't seen any of...them. Will smiled. This was a nice day.

And he was free.

It was not until about three in the afternoon that he heard something that didn't sound natural, but it wasn't the dead. There was still no sign of them. It sounded like a car engine, coming from behind. He turned and unslung his carbine. He expected some crazed survivor preying on anyone he found, and if that was the case, Will would shoot first and not bother with the questions. If it was someone who seemed friendly, Will may have found the core or a new group.

It was neither. He recognized the car. It was a silver Durango, which the gang had found abandoned with the keys in it (and the previous owner nearby, eaten alive). Someone had come looking for him.

Will was in no mood for a pep-talk, or some bullshit about how they needed him, or that the answers weren't out here or any of that shit. He turned and kept walking. He was leaving. He was finding a new home. They weren't stopping him.

The Durango passed him and skidded to a halt right in front of him. Chris got out with a hunting rifle in his hands. He looked pissed as fuck.

"Will, what the fuck? What are you doing out here?"

"Leaving, Chris. I'm going somewhere else."

"I can see that. Why? What the hell are you doing? Do you know how far you are from home?"

"No idea, actually." Will's tone was even, emotionless.

"You've come sixteen miles! On foot! I drove almost twenty miles in the other direction before turning around! I was about to give up! You have any fucking idea what's happening back home? Everyone's in a panic! Chelsea and Marleena are crying themselves silly! Why the hell did you leave? Why didn't you say anything to me first?"

"Because you would have tried to stop me, Chris, and I'm not being stopped."

Will just walked right past Chris, but turned. "Good bye, Chris. I'm finding my own home."

"But why? Because of what Alyssa said last night?"

"What? What do you know about that?"

"This morning, after we found out that you'd left, Chelsea told us everything! She figured you'd overheard! Now this is stupid! Get in the car. Let's go home."

"That place isn't home to me, Chris. Go back. Look after the others."

"Fuck that. I'm not leaving you out here to die! What do you think I'm supposed to tell the others?"

"Tell them you couldn't find me. Tell them I didn't want to come back. Tell them whatever you want. Tell them nothing. I don't care."

Will started walking again, prompting Chris to get back in and drive in front of him again. He got out once again, less patient than before.

"Will, I'm not leaving you out here."

"Yes you are. I'm not going back there. I'm just not."

"Will! Listen to me! You don't need to do this to yourself! You keep doing this, you'll die! You'll die like all those morons who ran out into the damned chaos...the ones we laughed at from our dorm! Is that what you want?"

"I don't give a shit. I'm free. You understand that? I'm free...if I'm going to be alone, I'd rather really be alone. You have any idea what it's like, being alone in a house full of people? To see you and Chelsea rubbing up against each other right in front of me? To see Red and Marleena sucking face without giving a shit how I felt about it? To see that bitch...no...nevermind. I'm not going there. I'm leaving. You don't get it. You don't understand the loneliness. You never did, Chris. I can't do this anymore! I've got to find my own place! I've got to be somewhere else!"

"Will, Alyssa's not worth doing this to yourself."

"But it's what I'm doing."

Will stormed past the SUV again, not looking back. For third time, Chris skidded it in front of him. Will was losing patience.

"Will, I'm your best friend. I always have been. For fuck's sake, if you won't come back for yourself, come back for me...for the last ten fucking years, come back."

"I'm sorry Chris. I can't live like that anymore. I can't. I don't expect you to understand. You...Red...you can't understand. Just..."

Chris locked eyes on him.

"Chris...just let me go..."

Will walked past Chris again. But what he didn't feel was the crack of the butt of Chris's hunting rifle against the side of his head, or being dragged into the SUV.

Chris was taking Will home, and Will's opinion on the matter was neither required nor desired.
"If you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and there's a straw, there it is, that's a straw...and my straw reaches...acrosssssssss the room, and begins to drink your milkshake. I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE! SLURRRP! I DRINK IT UP!

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Re: Death of Conscience...a Zompocalypse Story of Lonliness

Post by Ponyboy314 » Mon Jun 29, 2009 5:41 am

Part VIII.

Will woke with a start, from a nightmare that faded from his memory within seconds. It was a dark and terrible dream, where things unseen lurked and hunted his mind, but the details were lost within seconds of Will's return to the waking world, supplanted by a reality that was no better.

He was starving and the right side of his head felt like a punching bag. He felt his head. A gauze bandage was wrapped around it, and feeling the source of the pain, dried blood flecked off on his fingers. He did not know how he got here, to his own room back at Malta Mansion, but with that bandage on his head, it found it easy to guess.

The world came into focus. It was nighttime, and the clock by the bed read 9:54 PM. He had no idea if it was the same day that he had left, but his hunger level told him that it might have been yesterday that he set out on his failed attempt to get as far from this lavish prison as he could. He was back where he started, with a raging headache for his troubles. The room was dim, with only the light of a lamp near the bed to show that he was not alone.

Alyssa sat asleep in a comfortable chair set up right by the bed. An empty coffee cup sat on his nightstand, which was easy to recognize as the one that she used. Nothing, not an iPod nor a book or anything else indicated what she had been using to pass the time, for however long she decided to amuse herself by silently gloating over his unconscious self, if in fact, that's what she had been doing.

Will attempted to get up and sneak past her, but he grunted with pain, which was in more than his head. After taking that crack to the skull, he had apparently hit the pavement hard. Every bit of his body ached. Evidently, when Chris said that Will was coming home, he meant it.

His painful grunts shot Alyssa out of her own dreamworld, and inside his thumping head, Will said "fuck..." to himself. He was in no mood for whatever she was going to say.

Instead, she ran out and yelled down the hall. "He's awake! Will's awake!"

The rest of the gang, all of them, filed quickly into the room, Chris, looking ashamed, coming in last, keeping a respectable distance from the bed. He didn't look like a man who wanted to get too close, since Will might thump him in the face for that wallop to the skull.

Not much was said. Instead, the girls had dried tears on their faces, and the guys weren't looking much better. Alyssa was the only one showing joy in her face. Relief was showing in everyone elses'.

The first discernible sentence said to him came from Marleena. "Will, Alyssa's barely left your side since Chris brought you in. I think you two should talk. The rest of us will be down the hall if you need anything."

They all filed out, leaving Will and Alyssa together in his room. Will lay back down as Alyssa sat back in the chair. She looked like she was about to cry from happiness, or maybe regret.

"Will? Are you..."

Will was still not in the mood. He put his hand up roughly, indicating that he wanted her to shut the fuck up, which she was quick to do.

"Alyssa, what are you doing in here? Why have you been sitting here this whole time?"

"I wanted to see if you were going to be all right. Chris brought you back in pretty bad shape."

"A crack to the skull will cause that, I guess. So anyway, what's the real reason you've been sitting there this whole time?"

"I was worried."

"About what?" The sarcasm in that tone was so thick that one could have molded it with their hands.

"You. We were so terrified...we woke up and you were gone. We looked everywhere for you. When we found out that you had left, we freaked out. Chris went to bring you back. I cried the whole time you were gone. I was so...I was totally relieved when he came back with you. I wanted to wait by your bed until you woke up."

Will was not moved. He had promised himself that she wasn't going to make him feel anything again. He stuck to that. She wasn't going to guilt him into falling all over himself to forgive her for what she had said.

"Well shit...I'm crushed. But why waste your time? Didn't you have anything better to do, like polish your nails or something? I mean, so I got jacked up. Big fucking deal. What's that to you?"

"I felt bad after...I...Chelsea and I...we talked about you last night. She told me that I had to come clean about what we said. She said I owed you the truth. She kept wondering if you had heard...when we waited for Chris to come back."

"No need to come clean about anything. I did hear. I was drunk as fuck and high as the space shuttle, but I heard you guys. I know what you said. Truth be told, I can't imagine how anyone can say what you said and then wait for god-knows how long until I snap out of unconsciousness. Don't tell me that you started giving a shit sometime between the party and now. Don't insult me by calling me stupid."

"Will, after you ran out, I realized how much I missed you. I mean, you saved my life more than once. I know that I have no real right to be here...not like you guys do. I know that this is your group, not mine."

"No shit, Charlie Chan. It was always mine and Chris's. I never knew what you thought of me before everything went to shit. But I heard what Chelsea said. You talked with your snobby bitch friends about how worthless I was...about how you regarded me about as much as you would a booger in the sink. What's changed? Why now? I had to walk sixteen miles away from this place and get rocked in the head and then you start caring? Bullshit. I already asked you not to call me stupid."

"Will, it wasn't like that."

"Then feel free to tell me what it was like." Will was hoping that this conversation would end soon. He wanted to gorge some food and go back to sleep, not to wake up until after his head had healed.

"I know that I owe you everything. I know that I'd be dead if it wasn't for you. You saved my life...more than once. I know that you talked the others into letting me hang with you. I know..."

"I know a few things myself, Alyssa. But first among them is that when we were all fucked up a night or two ago, all you could do is tell Chelsea how worthless and beneath you I am. Now here you are...with all this bullshit concern. I know why you're really here, and it sure isn't for me."

"Will, I don't understand."

"Then let me spell it out for you. You're here for yourself. You're not feeling compassion or concern. You're feeling guilt. You thought that I might have heard you, you felt like a piece of shit when you thought that I had skipped out of here because of what you said. That's all. You think I don't know what you're hoping for? All you want is for me to forgive you and all that shit. For me to say it wasn't your fault and so on, so you can walk out of here with a clear conscience. You're in here expecting me to fall all over myself to tell you that we're cool, then you can go right back to being what you really are. Then you can walk all over me and tell the others was a useless piece of shit I am and not feel any guilt over it, because you're just so awesome that I'll forgive anything you do. Well, choke on that shit."

"Will..."

"Shut that pretty fucking mouth of yours. I'm talking. I could have gotten killed out there, and not in some heroic, dignified manner, either. I left hoping to find a new home where I could be alone, where you wouldn't matter, but I figured that the chances were that I'd die out there, and you know what? I was cool with that. At least I'd never have to hear the shit you said ever again. I don't belong here. I should be somewhere else, alone."

"Will, I was so afraid! And yes, I felt guilty, and I still do, but that's not all...I..."

"Sorry Alyssa, but my "give a fuck" is broken. I'm not going to let you use my failed escape attempt as an excuse to use me for absolution or some shit. Feeling guilty? Good. You fucking should. And don't think that anything's changed. The moment I can walk without pain, I'm walking out of here again, and this time, I'm going across country. You'll never find me. You can send Chris to do your dirty work again, but I'll be gone. You'll never see me again, and I know that you can't be displeased to hear that."

"Will, please...don't do this. I want to tell you how sorry I am. I never realized that I actually cared about you until you were gone. You have no idea how terrified I was. You can't know..."

"Nor do I give a shit. Now get the fuck out of my room. I'm starving, and I don't want to see you when I head to the kitchen. This conversation is over."

Alyssa looked shocked and almost betrayed. She started to cry as she got up and walked out, seemingly defeated.

Will stumbled to the kitchen. He didn't really want to see anyone else, either. This place was dead to him. It was a prison more than a refuge. He would leave it as soon as he could.

After grabbing some quick food, Will made his way back to his room. He went to the bathroom and plopped back into bed and turned the light out. He was asleep in seconds with a smile on his face.

Will was free.
"If you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and there's a straw, there it is, that's a straw...and my straw reaches...acrosssssssss the room, and begins to drink your milkshake. I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE! SLURRRP! I DRINK IT UP!

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Re: Death of Conscience...a Zompocalypse Story of Lonliness

Post by Ponyboy314 » Mon Jun 29, 2009 5:42 am

Part IX.

Four days had passed, and to call them tense would not do them justice. No one knew what to say to Will. The young man who had come back with a bleeding head injury didn't seem like the one who had left. Will had grown cold and even more distant than he had been. He never seemed to want to leave his room. He showered and pissed behind his own door, and even hunger wouldn't cause him to interact with others. The rest of the gang resorted to leaving his meals outside his door.

Will wanted no contact with anyone. He tried to remember liking them, loving them, but his emotions were now buried so deep under mental layers of cold, hard logic that he no longer felt human. He was a shell of a man. No one could speak to him, for fear of a volatile reaction, even though he had so such reaction to offer. Outside his doors, emotions ran high, however.

Alyssa was heartbroken and utterly devastated. It took this crisis, that of Will leaving and telling her exactly what she was, to make her realize that the sum total of her life was absolute zero. Will's and Chelsea's words had taken their toll, and now they haunted her sleep, her footsteps, and her every thought. She was the pretty one, the one every young man at UC Boulder wanted to get into bed, but only now did she realize that she was no one any man wanted to really love. She had come to depend on everyone but herself for her safety, and Will most of all. She owed everything to this man to whom she had given nothing but grief, even if that grief came in the form of silence and indifference.

Now, she felt as alone as he had. She walked the opulent halls of a house that was less hers than anyone else's. She was no closer to understanding these people...these geeks, than she had been when the world fell apart. She couldn't understand their devotion to each other, their willingness to risk everything to help a friend. It was only now that she realized that she had never known such people in her life. Every friend she had ever had now seemed like an ally of convenience in her retrospective mind. They had buddied up to her for the sake of their own social standing, and she had done the same, but none of them, not one person she had ever called a friend, would have gone out into a dangerous world teeming with the walking dead to bring back a friend. None of them would have risked their lives to save someone who had shown them nothing but contempt.

Alyssa had spent her whole life thinking she was above such people; that they existed to hoist her upon their shoulders and lick the shit from her shoes. Now, she felt as though she had no right to look them in the eye. In the four days following Will's involuntary return, she hadn't. She locked herself in her own room, cried herself to sleep at night, and heard Will's harsh but justified words in her dreams. More than once, Will had saved her life, but now, neither believed that her life had any real value that needed saving.

Will had seen something in Alyssa that day at the dorm...something that no one else did. He thought that beneath it all, there was something good there, something that didn't deserve to vanish into the stomachs of the living dead, and he had spent the preceding three months hoping it would show itself. Now, Will regarded himself as a fool, as one who saw what he wanted to see, even when there was nothing to indicate that it was ever even there.

Red, Chris, Marleena, and Chelsea worried constantly. They didn't know what to expect from this young man who had once been the anchor of their gang. They all had terrible things to realize, just as Will and Alyssa had. Chris, after his argument with Will on the road, began to realize that while he cuddled up to Chelsea every chance he got, his best friend rarely had anyone to cuddle up to at all, and when he did, it backfired and hurt him terribly, and Chris wasn't always there to look after him. Red, always playing the part of the big tough guy with the heart of gold had always had the chance to run with the popular crew, but had chosen to stay with those he knew truly liked him, but after Will had been dragged back to Malta Mansion, he wondered how he could have never really noticed that inside, Will was tormented by the success with their girlfiends his buddies enjoyed while trying to make peace with a life that would not allow him to ever get to experience the same.

Marleena had always liked Will, thinking him to be a great guy who just couldn't get it together, until this time, when she realized that he lived in a world that was always trying to stop him from doing just that. Chelsea felt a horrible guilt well up within her. She didn't know if, had circumstances been different, if she could have ever been with Will. Chris was the better-looking of the two, and she loved him, but her inability to know if she could have ever been with Will made her wonder, and fear, that she wasn't much better than Alyssa, though no one else gave her so little credit.

It was in those four days that his gang wondered if they had ever really been the friends to Will that he had ceaselessly and unquestionably been to them.

Will felt sufficiently strong after four days to prepare to leave again. This he kept to himself, and didn't believe that Alyssa would ever suspect that he would be able to leave so quickly. This time, he would do it right. This time, he would stay off the roads. This time, he would not be found. He would vanish into the world. What he left behind would no longer be of concern. Whatever lay ahead, whether it be a new home, new friends, a woman who truly cared, or horrible death at the hands of...them...was now on his mind more than anything else.

His weapons had been returned to their places while he lay unconscious that first night, and Will wasted no time packing in the manner he had before, not really noticing the screaming pain in his joints or the thunderous pounding of his head, or the fact that his body was trying to tell him that he was in no condition to go anywhere. His road lay out there somewhere, even if it lay upon no actual road.

On the fifth day, again at the crack of dawn, Will left his room with all that he thought he needed and could carry. His head thumped and his joints fought him, but he passed it off as residual discomfort. He was leaving, and that was that.

Reaching the front door, Will heard a voice behind him. It was Chelsea. By the look of her, she had spent the night down here.

"Will?"

"Chelsea."

"You're leaving? Again?"

"Yes. I have to. This place is not home. I can't stay here. I won't have any peace if I do."

"You really think you'll find it out there? This is the only place in the world where you know anyone cares about you."

"Chelsea, it might be easier on everyone, including me, if you stopped. Look after each other. You don't need me hanging around. I can't be the fifth wheel anymore. I can't be in the way. I have to go out there. That's just what I have to do."

Will walked up to Chelsea and kissed her on the cheek. "Chris is so lucky to have you. Thanks for being good to him. Thanks for looking after me. Thanks for being a friend, for talking down to Alyssa...well...thanks for everything."

Will walked out into the chilly morning, still not knowing that his body screamed for rest. Chelsea watched him go, knowing that attempting to stop him might not end well. She cried as Will walked towards the gate, but noticed as he began to stagger. Will, however, didn't notice. He was so close...close to being free, to being free from Alyssa once and for all...he just didn't notice.

Nor did he hear Chelsea scream as he passed out and fell hard on the stone courtyard near the vehicles.
"If you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and there's a straw, there it is, that's a straw...and my straw reaches...acrosssssssss the room, and begins to drink your milkshake. I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE! SLURRRP! I DRINK IT UP!

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Re: Death of Conscience...a Zompocalypse Story of Lonliness

Post by Ponyboy314 » Mon Jun 29, 2009 5:43 am

Part X.

A few days earlier, when Will woke up after getting clocked with a rifle butt, courtesy of Chris, he had woken with a bang. This time, it was with a whimper.

The world came into focus, taking its sweet time doing so. The blur subsided as Will tried to get a grip on his surroundings. He was again in his own room, but this time, it was somewhere around the middle of the day. The good part was, this time, Alyssa wasn't there to screw it up.

He was alone. But considering things, he didn't feel all that bad. His head was no longer bandaged, and his joints seemed to be as good as the ever were. Will got up and headed downstairs hoping for a bite, as well as to see where the others were. They were all in the kitchen. It was apparently lunchtime. When he walked in, everyone acted like a ghost had just manifested in their midst.

It was Chris who was on him first.

"Goddamn, Will. You...fuck it. How are you feeling?"

"Not bad, actually. What happened to me? I mean..."

Chelsea spoke up. "You passed out. You almost reached the gate, and you just fell in a heap. I freaked out. It took three of us to get you back up to bed. You were out for six days."

"Six days? What the hell? Why aren't I starving? How the hell have I been out that long?"

"None of here are doctors, Will, but you overexerted yourself. Your dumb ass needed to be in bed, not going back out on another suicide run. You'd better start getting used to the fact that you aren't leaving us." Red answered.

And Marleena jumped in. "Alyssa has been looking after you. You couldn't eat, but she was able to spoon-fee you soup and such. In the last six days, she's insisted on doing everything for you. Wouldn't let any of the rest of us near you. You popped in and out. When you were awake, you were utterly delirious. Started saying all kinds of weird shit, but we shouldn't talk about what you said. Not now."

That didn't register well in Will's mind. It meant he said something sensitive.

"Well, I don't feel that much like shit. I think I might be a hundred percent before long." Will said.

It was Chris again. "Just stop this shit about leaving. We can't do this again. We can't keep worrying like this. There aren't many of us...the whole world is dead. We've lost everyone but each other. We won't lose you, and that's final."

That stuck in Will's craw a bit. "Chris, don't start giving me orders, all right? Let me worry about what I'm going to do. I don't have immediate plans."

Nothing else was said on the matter as Will grabbed some of last night's ham that the others were picking at. After wolfing it down he headed back to his room and lay down. Alyssa followed him in, but Will either didn't notice or didn't care. She sat down by his bed, worry masking her features.

"Will, I...I'm so sorry."

"Sorry for what? What is it this time?" He was still unmoved.

"Will, please just don't do this again. If you leave again, you won't come back."

"That's the fucking idea, genius. I'm not trying to leave to just come back. That just defeats the purpose of leaving."

"I can't handle this. I spent the last six days scared out of my mind. I was afraid you wouldn't wake up. I just...we can't lose you. Please, don't try to go out there again. Please, just stay here with the rest of us."

"Us? Is that what you said? With us? The rest of you are not 'us.' It's the rest of the gang and you. You're not one of us. You never were. We're just a means to an end. You hang with us because we've kept you alive and given you a safe place to be before this whole thing is over. You're with us because you'd be dead otherwise, somewhere out there between here and Pennsylvania. There's the five of us...and you. I don't think you'll ever really appreciate what we did for you, what I did for you...and because of that, you'll never be part of this crew. I may be all alone in this fucking world, Alyssa, but get this through your head. So are you. The difference between you and me? You deserve to be alone. There, I said it."

Alyssa started to cry, planting her face in her hands, sobbing and wailing. Will smiled. It pleased him greatly to see her in this condition. She had spent her whole life being told what she wanted to hear, what others said to get something from her. Now, she finally heard what she needed to hear, and it was hurting her terribly. Will smiled the way Roman consuls smiled as gladiators ripped apart criminals. It was...in a way, his sweet revenge. For the few years she had thought what she had thought about him, for the things she said to Chelsea when they didn't know he was listening, and for letting him save her parasitic life without even appreciating it...the playing field was starting to slowly level off.

And Will loved it. He hadn't genuinely smiled in a couple of months...until this glorious moment.

Will decided to twist that knife around a little bit more. "Sucks huh? See how that feels? Multiply that to cover three years, and you might have a sense of how you've made me feel. Sorry, sweet cheeks, but in this place, you won't find your fawning little clique, but the antithesis of everything that you are. Here, you're the outcast. Here, you're the one who's beneath us. I don't know how I ever fell for you. I really don't. I was a fucking idiot, but not anymore. Get this through that pretty head of yours. If there were a thousand people in this house, you'd still be my least favorite among them. Now, please feel free to go out into the hall and play Hide and go Fuck Yourself. I'm going to occupy myself doing nothing."

Will grinned as her cries got worse, but she did get up and head for the door. It was his ultimate triumph, his own personal Revenge of the Nerds. Now, he was the one on top and she was the slime.

It felt good.

Alyssa began to stumble a bit before reaching the door. Will figured it was her emotions getting the better of her. He didn't know how right he was. She let out a whimper, which Will could barely discern. But he did recognize one word.

"Will..."

She crumpled to the ground and didn't move. Will got out of bed and was about to tell her that the faking and the game-playing is over, and that this little sympathy party had already worn thin, but she wasn't moving. Only the rising of her chest through her shirt indicated that she wasn't dead.

Oh fuck...to think this had to happen now...

Will reached the door and shouted down the hall.

"Guys! Get up here! Something's wrong with Alyssa! Something bad!"
"If you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and there's a straw, there it is, that's a straw...and my straw reaches...acrosssssssss the room, and begins to drink your milkshake. I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE! SLURRRP! I DRINK IT UP!

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Re: Death of Conscience...a Zompocalypse Story of Lonliness

Post by Ponyboy314 » Mon Jun 29, 2009 5:44 am

Part XI.

Will, Chris, and Red carried her back to Will's bed. They tried shaking her, even slapping her, but she wasn't coming to. If she was faking this, it was such a great acting job that Morgan Freeman was ask her for advice.

Alyssa was out cold, and even when Marleena smeared ice cubes in her face, she didn't come to. The gang was at a loss. Will felt slightly moved, which was more than he could say. Then that turned to resentment. She looked so lovely, so peaceful, even innocent. He resented her because she had been gifted with such attractiveness that served only to hide what she really was.

But she didn't wake up. Not for several hours.

When she did, everyone was surrounding her. Chris and Chelsea had fallen asleep, Cheslea on Chris's lap, in Will's reading chair. Red and Marleena sat by the edge of the bed, looking genuinely worried. Will sat in the same chair where Alyssa had been when he had woken up that first time. Will was the first to notice that she had come to.

"Guys, she's stirring."

Chris and Chelsea woke up and before long, everyone was hovering over Alyssa as though they were performing surgery or some such thing. She slowly opened her eyes and began to sit up.

"Where the hell am I?"

Red answered her. "You're in Will's room. You passed out. You've been out for hours."

"Will? Who's Will?"

It was Marleena who uttered "What the hell?"

Will was unmoved once again. "That's a good one. You know damned well who I am, toots. Now, get up and get lost. You have your own room."

Chris said, "Will, we don't know if she's faking this..."

"Bull-fucking-shit. She burned her bridges here and now she's trying score points. This is the kind of shit people like her do. You know it and I know it."

Alyssa opened her eyes fully and looked around in what appeared to be complete disorientation. Again, it was a good fake-job, if it was one at all.

"Who's Will? Which one of you is Will?"

Will grinned. She was good, he had to give her that.

"Where am I?"

Will said again, "My room. Now enough of this crap, Alyssa. I'd like to go to bed already."

"What did you call me?"

"Alyssa. Why? What should I call you?"

"I...don't know. I don't know my name. I...who are you people?"

Chelsea asked, "What? You really don't remember?"

"I...I don't know who I am...who you are...what is this place? What am I doing here? Someone please..."

Red spoke again. "Okay...what do you remember? The last thing you remember?"

"I...don't think...I remember anything. I don't know this place...I don't know you..."

Right in front of her, Marleena said, "Jesus...I think she has amnesia. She really doesn't remember."

"I thought you needed to take a hit to the head for that to happen. She didn't." Will retorted.

"No, I saw on Discovery Health once that situations of extreme stress or trauma can cause the mind to shut down to protect itself...like it's rebooting or something. It wipes a bunch of memories out that could overwhelm a person. Something like that. I don't know much about it, but I think her brain restarted. I think the stress fucked her mind." Marleena replied.

"Stress? What happened to me? What's going on?"

"You really don't remember?" It was Will again.

"I don't remember anything. Alyssa is my name? I...don't know that name."

Oh my God...how do we tell her anything about this?

Red tried, but telling an amnesiac that the apocalypse happened three and a half months earlier and one popular chick linked up with five geeks and took refuge in an opulent and safe mansion...well that's a tough sell. She didn't buy a word of it.

"This is bullshit. What am I really doing here? Who am I really? Who are you?"

Will, wanting to deal with this as soon as possible, said it in simple terms.

"Alyssa, and yes, that is your name...Alyssa Stone...listen. We were all seniors at the University of Colorado in Boulder. A few months ago, something happened. A plague, a pandemic that brought people back from the fucking dead. Anyone bitten by one of those...dead things...died after a short while and came back as one of them. It swept across the world. About four months ago, it reached Colorado. The five of us were just a bunch of geeks, you were a popular chick. You came with us when we set up house here. That's it in a nutshell."

Alyssa was totally unconvinced. "This has got to be a prank or something...this can't be real. No way. What is this? A reality show? Did someone slip something in my drink that wiped my memory or something? Is someone about to pop out with a camera or something?"

Will was exasperated at this. He grabbed her arm and literally dragged her out of his bed and led her down the hall and outside.

"Will, what the fuck do you think you're doing?" Chris demanded.

"We'll be back in a bit." was all he said.

He forced her in the passenger seat of his '98 Ford F-150 (which had been his before everything went to hell) and drove out Malta Mansion's gate, and then out of the gated community.

"See any people, Alyssa?"

"I don't see anyone."

"Because they're all either dead, undead, or hiding out somewhere. It's all gone. It's all over. This is the end of the world. I'm not hardly bullshitting you."

"No, no...Will...that's what they called you, right? Will? This is something else. Something is wrong, but what you're saying...zombies? This can't be."

"Really? Just sit there."

After about eleven or twelve miles of driving, they reached the town where the gang had gotten most of their supplies. Alyssa could only let out a barely-noticeable whine at what she saw.

Bodies were everywhere, sitting in dried pools of blood and viscera. Cars were overturned, some buildings had burned to the ground, and the whole thing looked like a deleted scene from the worst parts of the Bible.

"Four months...the six of us have been dealing with this or hiding from it for four months...this is what the whole world looks like."

"What did this?"

"Already told you, chica. But if you still aren't buying it..."

He got her back in the truck and they drove almost thirty more miles, saying virtually nothing, until they saw it.

It was shambling down the middle of the road, bones poking through gray skin.

"Look! Another person! We should see if we can help him!"

"Alyssa, that look like a person to you? Look at him! He looks like something chewed him apart! And guess what? Something did."

Will got out. The thing noticed him immediately.

"Will, what are you doing?"

"Oh, don't worry. We've learned how to fight them." Will grabbed his lever-action shotgun and planted a load of buckshot into its chest. It flew back and landed hard.

"Will! You just killed someone!"

"Wrong on two counts. That's a something, not a someone. And you can't kill it if it's dead, you can only turn it off. And I assure you, it's not turned off."

Alyssa shrieked as the things began to crawl towards Will. It's spine was severed, but it could still used its arms.

"It's moving!"

"No shit. Had it been alive, it'd be done. But it's not alive, it's dead. Time to turn it off. Will racked the lever on his shotgun again and blew its head into pieces. It certainly wasn't moving now.

Casually, Will got back in and slammed the door. He cranked the ignition and headed back to the mansion.

"I...I can't believe what I just saw."

"Well consider yourself lucky, chick. Twice, those things out there almost ate you alive, or worse, made you into one of them."

Will left out the part where he saved her life on both occasions.

After getting back, the gang was waiting for them at the door.

"Will, where the hell did you go?" Red asked.

"Oh, she's now seen one of them. About thirty miles or so out. She saw me pump one into the chest, and then the skull. She now knows. Now that that's out of the way...we can deal with everything else."

"Like what?" Chris replied.

"Like her memory. We need to help her remember everything. Then she can go back to what she was."

"What was I?" Alyssa nervously inquired.

Will replied, "Oh, I think you should learn that for yourself. You really don't want me to be the one to tell you what you were. I have something of a bias."
"If you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and there's a straw, there it is, that's a straw...and my straw reaches...acrosssssssss the room, and begins to drink your milkshake. I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE! SLURRRP! I DRINK IT UP!

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Re: Death of Conscience...a Zompocalypse Story of Lonliness

Post by Ponyboy314 » Mon Jun 29, 2009 5:45 am

Part XII.

The next week or so was an interesting one. Alyssa, having no memory of being a stuck-up bitch, or a pompous elitist, or even of anyone in the world short of her five companions, busied herself as best she could, hoping that something would spark a memory, but the others secretly hoped that her memory would be wiped clean forever. They liked this version of Alyssa better.

She had spent some of that time relearning what she was supposed to do in Malta Mansion. She got her responsibilities down to a routine, even though beforehand, she was the most forgetful of the group, always having to be reminded when it was her turn to do anything. Now she performed her responsibilities with admirable diligence. She did dishes, vacuumed, dusted, did laundry, cleaned the pool, and mopped the floors whenever it was her turn, and as the days came and went, she relied on the others less and less. It was a silent fear for the others that once her memory returned, she would remember why she held the gang in contempt.

Alyssa listened intently over dinner or during movie night, or whenever she was around the others. When they talked about their experiences, both before and after the fall, they tended to leave out what she had been for the sake of letting her stay useful and actually likable, but of course, this didn't help her remember anything. In the space of one day, she had gone from a twenty-one year old bitch to a halfway decent person with an age of a few hours. In the space of a few more days, she had proven herself to have some measure of value. The gang liked Alysssa 2.0, but knew that she had a short shelf-life. More than likely, the old version would return, and the gang, mostly Chris, feared that Will would pack up and head for bloodier pastures again.

Will, still disoriented because of this unexpected development, spent most of his time unsure of his next course of action. He still resented her, but had certainly come to believe that she was just a poor, confused amnesiac. She was a different person, a new one, and Will cursed himself for laying any blame on her for what she had done, since she had no memory of it and didn't exhibit those qualities now. Mentally, she was innocent of her past transgressions.

But he had fallen out of love with her. He had purged himself of those feelings as he walked down the road until Chris found him, and now he didn't know what to think of her. In most cases, what he saw in people moved him closer to pity than scorn, but Alyssa got a good share of his scorn, and now, he pitied her more than anything else.

Will sat on the balcony that overlooked the enormous backyard, taking some time to do nothing but smoke and drink a beer as the sun went down. Dinner had just ended, and it was Red's turn to do dishes. Will had nowhere he needed to be. But he was surprised to see Alyssa come out and join him. She had paid him more heed than anyone else, because for reasons that even Will could not explain, he had been the one to look after her as she struggled to get used to her surroundings, to what had happened to the world, and to learn to live with these people who had become, in effect, strangers. She was amazed by the courtesy Will had shown her, and that whenever she needed help with anything, he was the one who was the first to step up.

Perhaps it was pity that moved him. He knew that neither love nor infatuation were the reasons.

"Will?"

Will took a drag blew the gray smoke into the darkening sky. "Alyssa. How was dinner? The others say that my Baked Parmesan Chicken is my best."

"It was wonderful, and after a full day doing all the laundry, I was starving. Thank you for making dinner for us."

"It was my turn."

"Listen, I'm sorry to ask stupid questions, but there are some things I really think I need to know...from before I lost my memory."

"But everyone else is inside. Why are you asking me? Anyone should be able to answer whatever questions you have."

Alyssa seemed shy at that moment, which she certainly had never been before her mind went kaput.

"But...I wanted to ask you because you've helped me more than anyone else. Those first couple of days, when everything was so confusing, when I couldn't handle what happened to the world, when I was struggling accept that my life before a few days ago was gone...why were you the one who was always there to talk me through it? Out of everyone here, why you?"

Will didn't have an accurate answer to that, so he made on up on the spot, and wondered if somewhere within him, this made-up answer was genuine. He didn't know.

"Chris and Chelsea have each other to worry about. They have a support system. Red and Marleena also have each other. I only had to worry about you. I was available I guess."

"Well, something else. Chelsea said that you saved my life while we were trying to get here. You told me that they almost killed me twice, but you never told me that you were the one who saved me both times. Why didn't you tell me?"

"Because I didn't think you needed to hear that, Alyssa. And I'm certainly not going to say anything that's going to make me look heroic or something. I just didn't consider it that much."

"Chelsea told me a lot about both times...about how you risked your life for me. I can see it if I close my eyes, but I know those aren't memories. It's scary to know that I experienced that but don't remember it."

"Trust me, Alyssa...if it's a terrifying thought, it would be a more terrifying memory. If your memory comes back, you'd be better off without that one."

"But Will...I don't like the fact that you risked your life for me twice, and that I owe you my life, but can't remember it. I feel like...I don't know...that I have responsibility to remember it, but I can't."

"Well, Alyssa, that's not your fault. Your mind went off the grid."

"Something else, Will. Chelsea and Chris are together, and Red and Marleena are together...and they were before everything went bad."

"Something like that." Will didn't know where she was going with this, but he didn't like it.

"Will, were we together? I mean, was I your girlfriend?"

That question hit Will like a sledgehammer to the jaw. It made no sense that she should ask that, and his mind clouded up with confusion. She had nothing but indifference at best and disgust at worst for all the time they had known each other. And even if she couldn't remember having contempt for him, she should at least know that she could have never been with him. Even without memory, that should still make sense to her. But Will didn't know much about amnesia.

After getting his mind right, which took only a few seconds, Will answered in a monotone.

"No, Alyssa...we weren't together. You and I were never close to each other."

"That makes no sense...I mean, we're the only ones in this house not coupled-up...how did we not get closer during this whole thing? And if we were never close, how did I really end up here with you guys? What were we to each other?"

Will was now in a trap. He wasn't going to lie. But then, the truth was not a pleasant thing to relate in this case. He had no cover story anyway, but did hope to spare them both any unpleasantness, but that he would leave to her.

"Alyssa, we weren't really anything to each other. We knew each other, but we weren't together, and we weren't even friends. Every friend I had in the world is in there. We...we just didn't talk to each other much."

Alyssa was now thoroughly confused, and it showed plainly on her face. "But...even if that were the case, why didn't we get together since we got here? I mean, why would we both be alone when we were right here in the same house?"

Clearly, this wasn't going to be easy.

"Alyssa, that might be an uncomfortable subject. I know how badly you want to remember, but...the truth of the matter might be...uncomfortable. You don't have to go down that road."

"Will, I want to know. I want to know what kept us apart."

Will decided that she could have it her way. "You didn't want to."

"Did you?"

"Yes. I had...shit, how do I say this without sounding like a retard? I had fallen for you somewhere along the way, and don't ask me why, I just did. But I never told you about it, and didn't tell anyone else. Chelsea tried to push you towards me, but you weren't interested. I'm not your type. You just didn't have any interest in me."

There was the expected uncomfortable silence, and Alyssa's confusion was now complete. "I don't understand...why wasn't I interested in you? You saved my life. How could I rather be alone than be with you? You got me in with this group. How could you do all that for me, and I just ignore you? I don't get it."

"I assure you, I didn't get it either, but you are who you are, or rather, you were what you were. Remember when we told you that you were one of the pretty ones and we were the geeks? You were top rung as far as social standing goes, and I was bottom rung. Two people like that getting together? That's in the movies. That doesn't happen in reality. It sure didn't between us."

"No, that can't be. I couldn't treat someone like that...could I?"

Will was now just running with the conversation. He had no reason to hold back.

"You could, and you did. You didn't really want me around. I wasn't good enough for you. End of story."

Tears began to well up in Alyssa's eyes. This had completely caught her off guard. "My God, was I that terrible a person? Is that what I really was? How could anyone be like that?"

"Alyssa, when your memory comes back, you'll understand again. You'll know why you didn't want me. Then, you'll go back to being what you were, and you'll wonder how you could have ever questioned your contempt for me and people like me. You'll see. What you were...you'll be that again someday. Mark my words."

"No Will...I can't be like that. I can't treat anyone like that...that's...the worst thing you can do to someone."

"You're saying that because you don't remember doing it. When you do remember, it'll make sense. Then, you'll despise me all over again. That's...just the way things work I guess."

"How can anyone be like that? Like...me?"

"You're asking the wrong guy, Alyssa. People like me wonder that all the time, how anyone can think or act the way people like you do. I'm no closer to understanding people like you than I was in middle school. But it will make sense to you sooner or later. It will never make sense to me."

She began to cry. Alyssa couldn't believe what she had heard, that she was a stuck-up bitch who treated people like shit. She didn't feel like it now, and she couldn't make sense of it. She hated herself at that moment for things she couldn't remember doing.

At that moment, Alyssa wished for the same thing her "new" friends did. That she would never remember what she had been.
"If you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and there's a straw, there it is, that's a straw...and my straw reaches...acrosssssssss the room, and begins to drink your milkshake. I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE! SLURRRP! I DRINK IT UP!

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Re: Death of Conscience...a Zompocalypse Story of Lonliness

Post by Ponyboy314 » Mon Jun 29, 2009 5:46 am

Part XIII.

Another five or six days had gone by, and it seemed that Will and Alyssa had essentially changed places. Now, after Will had gone ahead and informed her what she truly was, she had become the recluse. She still took care of her responsibilities on time and such, but now, she was the one who skipped movie night or game night. The party planned for that weekend didn't happen. The mood just wasn't right for it.

She had been avoiding Will, which, as far as he was concerned, was just business as usual, but this time, he was the one getting acquainted with the concept of guilt, but only so much. He had told Alyssa something about herself that she wasn't ready to hear, and his guilt was lessened somewhat by the fact that she wanted to know against his objections. Nothing good had come of it, and he felt no satisfaction from the occasion. He was still lonely, and so was she, but that loneliness did not bring them together. Instead, it simply drove her into a despair over a life she couldn't remember but still filled her with regret, and it drove him into his own seclusion, since nothing for him had improved, but now guilt, if even a small amount, could be added to all the negatives he already felt.

One night, after Will did the dishes, he sat in the living room and put in a movie, even though everyone else decided to pack it in and spend the rest of the night in their own rooms. Will watched Animal House, and got his laughs out of it, but only his laughs filled the room, and even the short-lived humor he got from watching one of the funniest movies ever just made the place that much lonelier. Will made up his mind sometime that night, but didn't decide on the time. Soon, though, he would pack up and head out again. He needed a home that felt like a home, and this place felt like less and less of one by the day.

Will fell asleep on the couch that night, with a copy of 1984 on his chest (Crime and Punishment was long finished, as was Ben Hur), but awoke for one reason or another sometime around two in the morning. Something told him that he was not alone in the room, and he was right. Alyssa was there, standing over him.

"Will, I remember something."

"What's that?"

"My last boyfriend. His name was Ryan, wasn't it? Ryan Woods."

Will searched his own memory, as it had by now been four and a half months since they had left the dorm for good, and it was a couple of months before that that she had last been someone's girlfriend, but it came back to him.

"Yeah, I think so. What else do you remember?"

"I remember...that he was on the basketball team, but was second-rate player. I remember that...he drove a fancy-ass car, but I can't remember the type yet. I remember that it ended badly."

"How?"

"He...he started screwing some bitch who worked in the campus bookstore, and dumped me for her. I don't remember the one before Ryan, but I think I can somewhat remember that he and I ended badly too, and that he screwed me over somehow. I don't know how, but I think he did."

"Alyssa, what sparked this? What happened that brought this memory back?"

"Will, this might sound dumb, but I think you did."

"How did I do that? We've barely spoken in days."

"But I've thought about you a lot. I thought about what you did...saving my life and all...and for some reason, my mind told me that you were the first guy in my life who ever would. Something in my mind brought up Ryan, and I think it was because he wouldn't have done what you did. I can't remember anything else so clearly, but I think my memory is coming back. Little by little, but I think I might start remembering more soon. At least I hope so, and at the same time, I don't."

"Why is that?"

"Because I'd rather just know you as I know you now. I don't want to remember a time when I treated you so badly. I don't want to remember what I was. I'd rather you just always be the man who saved my life and took care of me when I needed someone the most. I...I'm afraid of what I'll remember. I don't want to remember why you have every right to hate me."

Will didn't respond to that, but at least nodded.

"Alyssa? It's way late. You should get some sleep. Maybe now that you remember something, other things will follow. We'll see soon enough."

That night ended on that note. Will also left the living room and slept in his own bed.

Over the next few days, Alyssa began to slowly piece together the details of her life as some memories came back and melted into others, giving her an idea of who she was.

She kept Will (in particular) and the others informed as her life came back to her. In a week, she remembered that she was from an affluent suburb outside of Philadelphia, and that her father left her mother not long after she was born, but her stepfather was a good man who raised her like his own daughter, but she had no siblings. She remembered that she was majoring in business management, and that she lost a friend to a car accident when she was seventeen.

Details such as that came back slowly, but one, or rather two came back in a dream.

The morning after this dream, she met with Will under a tree in the back yard.

"Will, I dreamed last night. I think it was a memory. I need you to tell me if it is."

"Fire away."

"I dreamed about being attacked by those things, three of them. They grabbed me and tried to pull me down. I could see their bloody teeth clearly...it was...horrible, until you came and killed them all, and helped me to my feet, carrying me away. Then I found myself outside some Chinese place. One was in a car. It grabbed me, but you killed it. Is...is that how it happened?"

"Yes. Those were memories."

"Did I ever thank you? For saving my life?"

"No." That was true. She hadn't.

"Will, thank you. Thank you for saving me. No one else ever would have. Not Ryan, not all those other assholes who never wanted anything but my naughty bits. Why did you, after the way I treated you? I don't remember anything about that yet...but...why did you?"

"Because it was the right thing to do. That's about as much thought as I put into it."

More details came back to her, and after another month had passed, she was able to assemble them into a facsimile of her life. She remembered much now, but the more she remembered, she more she wished she could still forget. Still, she knew that it was probably better to know than to not know, no matter how terrible the memory was.

Things began to rebound in the house. Alyssa's memories coming back, and the fact that she relied on Will to help her make sense of them, helped everyone come out of their rooms more often and make the place more...home-like. There were more laughs, more smiles, and more camaraderie. Then came that day.

Will was making himself some lunch when Alyssa walked in.

"Will, there's something I want to say."

"Fire away."

"I just wanted to thank you."

"You already thanked me for that."

"Not that. You helped me get my memory back."

"Alyssa, I can't really take credit for that. Your mind is your own, you know."

"But you did more than you know. It was because of how nice you've been to me that I began to remember those guys who weren't like you...weren't as good as you. That was the first memory I got back, and I think that's why the others have been coming back. Being what you are started it. I just want to thank you."

"Alyssa, what else have you remembered?"

She looked down, as though ashamed.

"Everything."
"If you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and there's a straw, there it is, that's a straw...and my straw reaches...acrosssssssss the room, and begins to drink your milkshake. I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE! SLURRRP! I DRINK IT UP!

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Re: Death of Conscience...a Zompocalypse Story of Lonliness

Post by Ponyboy314 » Mon Jun 29, 2009 5:50 am

Part XIV.

Will just sat there with a surprised expression on his face.

Alyssa said again, "Will, I remember everything."

"Well holy shit. I expected that your memory would come back fully, but this was sooner than I thought. Are you sure? Are you sure you remember everything?"

"Yes. I don't know how I know that, but I do. It's all come back."

"Uh-huh...well, I'm glad. I guess...well, I've tried to look after you here and there since you lost your memory, but...it looks like you can take it from here."

"Will, what does that mean?"

"It means that, well...there's nothing else I can really do for you. I helped get you to this point, but now you're here. You've been really cool to me since your memory went down, but now that it's come back...things will go back to being the way they were. So...I guess the best way to put it is...you don't really need my anymore."

"Will, that isn't true."

"Even if you don't think that now, you will soon enough. Just trust me. It's best to stop hanging around each other now, before you start thinking the way you used to. It's part of your personality, and when it comes back...nothing that I did will matter to you anymore. That's just going to happen. I don't want it to, and you might not either, but it will. Let's just call it and go do our own thing."

Alyssa started to cry again. This was not what she expected.

"Alyssa, if you haven't already, you should tell the others. They might want to know this."

Tears rolled down her face as she turned and walked out of the kitchen. Will tried to somehow regard that last part of the conversation as the final step in getting revenge on her for how she had treated him, but there was no joy or satisfaction. It didn't feel sweet at all. Now that she was back to normal after weeks or months, things were going back to the way they were, which he didn't really want, but he himself had played a part in it.

But he also was quick to realize why he got no satisfaction from brushing her off.

Will had fallen in love with her again. He cursed himself for that stupidity, for letting it happen again. It wasn't the first time, and the first had disastrous consequences, and now here he was, falling into the same trap. No, he wasn't falling, he had already fallen.

How could he be so stupid?

Will knew the answer to that, too. He fell in love with who she had become, not with whom she had been. When her memory vanished, she had become something else. She helped the others. She tried to get to know them, to fit in with them, to appreciate them, Will especially. She thanked Will often enough for helping her as much as he had when she was struggling to get her memory back, and she had become an intriguing young lady, as lovely on the inside as she was on the outside, which was saying quite a bit.

That was why. She was a new person, the one he had always hoped was somewhere underneath that bitch exterior. But she had changed into that, making Will wonder if it had always been there, but buried so deep under her need for acceptance and superiority that even she didn't know it was within her.

But that going to die soon. Now that she remembered despising Will and people like him, she would soon enough remember why and it would start making sense, and would once again worm its way into her personality, and things would be as they were before, and just in time for Will to have fallen in love with her all over again.

He slammed his fist down on the counter. Everything was so fucked now.

Will brooded on this all afternoon, and though he came down for dinner, he spent most of the rest of that day and night being anti-social. Most of it he spent in his room, or on the back balcony with a beer and a smoke. His mind swirled with facts and emotions, but he had formulated a plan at last.

He was leaving. And this time, the third would be the charm.

On his way to bed after virtually no contact with anyone else, he passed Chris and Chelsea's room, from which voices emanated, but Chris's was not one of them. He heard Chelsea and Alyssa talking, not arguing as before all those months earlier. He might have understood their words had he pressed his ear to the door, but he just walked on. Everything had gone off the rails because of the last time he listened in on those two, even though this time, his course of action was the same.

Will slept through his alarm, not waking up until 6:30 AM. Still, no one else was ever awake at that time, so he figured he had time to get out of dodge before anyone could stop him, and this time, he was cutting across country. No one was finding him.

He slung his carbine and holstered his .357, and put on the backpack he had readied the night before. Walking silently down the hall, he stopped at Alyssa's door, to his own surprise. He kissed his hand and touched it to the door before walking on, and he didn't even know why. He would miss this new Alyssa, but he wasn't hanging around for the old one to come back.

Walking down the stairs and heading to the front door, Will began to feel that sensation of impending freedom that he had felt twice before, but his hand was almost on the ornate doorknob before a voice came from behind him, and this time, it was not Chelsea.

"Will?"

It was Alyssa.

"What are you doing awake?" Will asked.

She ignored the question. "What are you doing? You're leaving, aren't you? Chelsea told me last night that you might try. We talked for a couple of hours in her room last night, and I told her that you didn't want to see me become my old self. She thought that you'd just try and get away again. I waited here all night."

"For what? My hand is on the doorknob, Alyssa. If you have any good byes to say, this is the time."

She got up and walked towards him. "Before you leave, I wanted to tell you a few things, things I should have told you earlier, but...I hesitated. This might be my last chance."

"Say what you want, but be brief. It's a long road, and I'm burning daylight."

"Just...come sit with me a bit before you go? I mean, just please."

Will put his carbine on the coffee table, along with his backpack. He would at least hear her out, but he was really eager to get on the road.

"Will, this isn't the time to leave anything unsaid. I...when I lost my memory, you were a completely new person to me, I didn't know who you were or what we were to each other. Despite everything I had done to you, you looked after me, and you didn't have to. I know how you felt about me before that, before everything went to hell, before that first time you left. And I know I killed that in you, but you still looked after me even when you started hating me. I understand, you had every right to hate me. But I didn't know what I'd done...."

Will just nodded. He didn't want to speak and make this take any longer than it had to. He really wanted to get out of there and start looking for his new home.

"So as far as I knew, you were just this really nice guy who helped me back on my feet without asking for anything in return, and when I found out that you had saved my life, I just...I couldn't believe that you had done that and still didn't ask for anything from me. You were so kind and so helpful...you were, everything no one else ever was. I...I fell in love with you. I should have told you this before, but I didn't know how."

"Alyssa, you're just saying that to keep me from leaving. Believe me, if I get out of here, we'll avoid a lot of shit in the future."

"No, that's not it. I do want you to stay. But there's more. I did fall for you, and considering how kind you were, kindness that you didn't owe me, I think I was bound to. I just couldn't believe it when you told me how I treated you before. And when my memories started to come back, I started to remember how I thought of you...and I was ashamed. I was ashamed that I could have ever treated someone like you like that. I mean, I remember doing it, but it seems almost like someone else's memories. What I don't know is why I did it. I feel so detached from my own past. It seems like...before I lost my memory, I was just a different person altogether."

"Go on." Will had nothing else to say at that juncture.

"Well, that's about all I can really say. I've fallen in love with you, and now that I found someone who was genuinely kind to me unlike the guys I was with before, he's about to walk out of here forever. I know it's what I deserve, but I think you deserve something, too. You deserve someone who cares about you. Just like me, no one ever really cared about you the way they should have. I do, though."

Now Will had something to say. "Alyssa, I'm afraid that now that your memory is back, you'll start to understand why you were the way you were, and what you think you feel for me will just vanish. When that happens, you have no idea how much that will hurt me...I can't go through all that. I just can't. When I go, you can be who you were without any regards to what I would think of it. I'll be too far away to consider."

"But Will, I'd think about you every day, we all would. I already hate myself for what I did to you, and I don't think I'll ever understand why I was like that, but when I lost my memory, I feel as though I have a second chance, a chance to do things right this time, to make it right. I can't be that way anymore. I won't."

"Alyssa, all this is easy to say, but how do I..."

Will was interrupted by Alyssa grabbing his head and pulling hit towards hers. She kissed him passionately and genuinely, as someone who had been waiting too long to do so. Will didn't know how long that kiss lasted, but it was anything but brief.

After their lips separated, Alyssa said, "That's how I feel. I don't have anything else I can say."

Will just leaned towards her laying his emotionally weary head in her lap. She held him and said, "Will, I'm so sorry...I'll never do that to anyone again. I have a chance to do what I should have done before, and I need you."

They sat like that for a while, saying little but not needing words. Their emotions just welled up within them as Will came to understand that she was genuine about what she said, both about her feelings and her intentions, and Will knew that this is what he had been wanting this whole time. He wanted this Alyssa. He wanted the one who let herself be a good person. It came together for both of them.

After a while, the others began to wake up, and the two hurried off to the kitchen to make breakfast, not believing that anyone else needed to see anything. That day went as did many others, but Will did have to explain to the others that his M1 Carbine was on the coffee table because he intended to teach Alyssa how to use it, not because he was leaving, which was clever, considering he made it up on the spot.

After taking care of a few chores, and spending an hour showing Alyssa how to shoot in the backyard (pausing between magazines to kiss behind the trees, when they knew others weren't watching), dinner came and went. The gang put in Alien and Aliens, everyone mimicking the line where Ripley says "I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure."

Later that night, Will was in his reading chair, still working on Orwell, when Alyssa walked in. It was past the time that the others usually went to bed, and he was surprised to see her still awake. She was dressed for sleep. She wore black panties (the functional kind, not the erotic kind) and a red t-shirt. She sat on the edge of Will's bed and looked at him, which caused him to put George Orwell away for the night.

"Will, can I...can you stay with me tonight?"

Will walked over and kissed her on the mouth. "Of course."

They held hands as they walked to her room. She shut the door and they two lay down on her bed together.

What happened after that is their business and their business alone.

The next morning, the others began to wake up and gather in the kitchen as usual, but Will and Alyssa weren't there.

"Where the hell are those two?" Chris asked.

"Oh no..." Chelsea said. "I told Alyssa to clear the air with Will. He was afraid that she'd be a bitch to him after she got her memory back. He didn't leave, did he?"

Red replied, "I doubt that. They were out back for a while yesterday. For God's sake, he taught her how to shoot."

Marleena now involved herself. "Okay, fuck this. I'm going up there. I'm waking his ass up. I'm tired of never knowing what's going on."

She headed upstairs went into Will's room. The door was open. Not a good sign. But his weapons were right where they usually were. If he had left, he forgot a few basic essentials.

She left his room confused and headed to Alyssa's room. Her door was closed, so she was almost certainly still asleep. She knocked lightly, but after there was no response, Marleena slowly opened it and approached the bed. Although it was unlikely that Will was gone, it was still possible. She then froze.

Will was in Alyssa's bed. He was lying on his back, with Alyssa cuddled up next to him, her arm over his chest. The looks on their faces spoke of utter contentment. Marleena had to stifle her urge to shout out to the others. Instead, she walked out of the room and closed the door slowly. She went back downstairs to the kitchen.

Chris asked, "Well, is he up there?"

"He wasn't in his room." Marleena was on the verge of laughing.

"Then, shit...now what?" Chelsea asked.

"I said he wasn't in his room. I didn't say he wasn't up there." Marleena was now being coy.

"Then where the hell is he?" the gang seemed to ask in unison.

"Ask Alyssa when she comes down." Now she was laughing.

"Did they...no fucking way!" Red blurted out.

"Yes they did, and it looks like they enjoyed it. Damn, talk about something I didn't see coming..."

Two weeks or thereabouts had passed after that day, and things in the house had fully rebounded better than they had ever been. Their "zombie patrols" (as Chelsea had named them) were slacked off. It had been too many months since they had seen one, and that was quite a few miles from the house. There was no need to go out there looking for them, or so they said. Everyone was happy, including Will and Alyssa, who seemed to hold hands every time they walked anywhere together. By the end of those first two weeks, the unthinkable happened. All of her stuff was in Will's room. They both hung out with the others all the time, whether it was game night, movie night, or party night, which was now happening again.

And in those two weeks, the others had done what they never thought they would ever do. They admitted to each other that their gang had grown to six.

It was now August, high summer in Colorado. It made for pleasant mornings, especially on the porch in the back. Chris, Chelsea, Red, and Marleena were out there eating breakfast, trying to make sure that enough would be left when their two absent friends finally woke up. It was easy to tell which nights they had decided to...get frisky. They didn't wake up until late the next day.

"Well, I still haven't gotten over it. I can't believe for all the world that this happened. Those two? We all hoped for it, but we'd also given up on it. I mean, can you believe it?" Chelsea said.

"Well, look what it took. Alyssa's whole brain had to reboot." Red said.

Marleena asked the others, "So, you think they're going to be all right? The two of them together? You think so?"

Chris lit a smoke and took a large swig of his coffee. He blew a drag out and smiled.

"You know, I think they will. I know that this is something that really fucked our heads when we learned about it...but somehow it makes sense...

...I think that they're going to be all right."


But were they? Did Alyssa ever go back to what she was?

Of course she didn't. Despite the obvious understatement, Will and Alyssa were actually...all right.

But that...is another story.

THE END
"If you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and there's a straw, there it is, that's a straw...and my straw reaches...acrosssssssss the room, and begins to drink your milkshake. I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE! SLURRRP! I DRINK IT UP!

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Re: Death of Conscience...a Zompocalypse Story of Lonliness

Post by Ponyboy314 » Wed Jul 01, 2009 1:27 am

...
Last edited by Ponyboy314 on Fri Jul 03, 2009 6:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"If you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and there's a straw, there it is, that's a straw...and my straw reaches...acrosssssssss the room, and begins to drink your milkshake. I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE! SLURRRP! I DRINK IT UP!

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Re: Death of Conscience...a Zompocalypse Story of Lonliness

Post by Kathy in FL » Wed Jul 01, 2009 8:16 am

Don't you dare .... I just had the chance to finish it.

It is very good. I like the emotional arc and the going in a circle to come back to a satisfying ending. Well, satisfying from my standpoint anyway. :lol:

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Re: Death of Conscience...a Zompocalypse Story of Lonliness

Post by Diesel2 » Wed Jul 01, 2009 9:59 am

This was a great read.Thanks for putting it all together. We have our July 1 Canada Day holiday and as I was up wayyyyyy too early I finished reading this with my morning coffee!

I'm looking forward to the next episodes!! 8)
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Re: Death of Conscience...a Zompocalypse Story of Lonliness

Post by colinz » Wed Jul 01, 2009 10:03 am

Delete it and ye shall get the Slap! It's a very good story, if a bit shorter than some others... (nudge, Kathy).

I skipped the character descriptions in your first post, just because I tend to like the characters backgrounds being revealed through the story, rather than just given to you. :)

Keep up the good work.

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Re: Death of Conscience...a Zompocalypse Story of Lonliness

Post by SimonZayne » Wed Jul 01, 2009 5:09 pm

Well I'm glad you didn't delete this. Its a great story with an END.
It is so nice to read a story on here with an ending, too many of them just trail off to nothing.
Thanks for the good read.

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Re: Death of Conscience...a Zompocalypse Story of Lonliness

Post by Ronin71XS » Wed Jul 01, 2009 7:47 pm

Good Job!!I liked it a lot. Now, about that other story.
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Re: Death of Conscience...a Zompocalypse Story of Lonliness

Post by Redeyes » Thu Jul 02, 2009 4:07 pm

The story was good. I remember having some emotions similar to Will's during junior high. I walked away from the situation, with my mind in a fog. I was walking in a kind of woodsy area not paying any attention to where I was going. I was alternating between crying and punching trees. Then I stepped on a rake and the handle hit me in the face. I started laughing and something clicked or snapped in my head. I was in a good mood for the next few days and have not been that depressed and angry since then.

Being treated like shit constantly will fuck you up.

I think there is some room for improvement. But, I am not a good enough writer to help you out with that.
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Re: Death of Conscience...a Zompocalypse Story of Lonliness

Post by Snapshot7.62 » Fri Jul 03, 2009 12:58 pm

I haven't had a chance to do much reading lately, and just finished this. Glad you didn't delete it, it is a very good story!
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Re: Death of Conscience...a Zompocalypse Story of Lonliness

Post by Kopf-Jaeger » Sun Jul 05, 2009 5:05 pm

Ponyboy, great story and well written!
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