Jesse

Zombie or Post Apocalyptic themed fiction/stories.

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Patient Zer0
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Re: Jesse

Post by Patient Zer0 » Wed Mar 11, 2009 3:04 pm

Awesome Doc! I've read your other stories, in fact, that was one of the first things I did when I joined. They are some of my favorites. I also like the Alive Inside series you help write for Darker Projects. If I'm ever your way or your ever mine, the first rounds on me.
bonanacrom wrote:I'd never throw others out of my way to save myself over them but anyone in my way with speeches about rules and regulations is going to get punched in the throat.
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Re: Jesse

Post by doc66 » Wed Mar 11, 2009 8:57 pm

The smoke from the burning town was being blown toward the east, and thankfully, away from them. Due to the flatness of the land, they could only see a small part of the town, but it was enough to know whoever had been in the community, was either dead or had ran for their lives. They could see the wall which had surrounded the town through their binoculars and the undead which were stymied by the barrier, beating on the metal and wood palisade, oblivious to the heat of the fire which scorched their skin, caught hair on fire and melted clothing to dead muscle. Flames reached high, feeding on the consumables within their reach and from the odor drifting on the air, not all of it was building material.

Jesse scanned the area around the town, trying to find a reason for the inferno before him. There were vehicles outside the wall, but the ones he could see appeared to have been sitting in their respective locations for some time. The bodies outside the wall were of the animated variety and Jesse could not see any with fresh wounds.

“I wonder if a cook fire got out of control?” pondered Jesse.

Mitch disagreed. “Look at that wall, people who have that kind of wall have a fire system set up as well.”

“It could happen,” argued Jesse without really putting anything into his statement.

“I doubt it.” Mitch scanned the road way and leaned on the fender of the Toyota. “I’ll bet if we go back to that last crossroad, we can get on the other side of this. If we can, let’s see what the other side of the wall looks like. The tale might unfold a little.”

“’Tale might unfold a little’”? repeated Jesse. “Jesus, you really are over educated for a trucker.”

“I’m gay too, remember.”

“That’s gotta be it. The gayness overrides the stupid trucker.”

Mitch shook his head. “You know, you dope smoking reprobate, the only reason I don’t kick your ass is because I might get hurt in the process.”

Grinning, Jesse pulled the FN/FAL rifle from the hood of the Toyota. He had gotten the longer range rifle out just in case. They secured the binoculars and climbed into the Land Cruiser, turning the beast back in the direction they had come. Jesse took the turn that Mitch indicated and they bounced down a fairly clear road; one Jesse believed might have been maintained by the community that was now giving up its heart to the flames. More than likely they patrolled the area and had cleared out the houses nearby of everything they could use. It was what the Lodge had done and there was no reason to think that others who were organized had not follow suit.

They rounded a bend and before them were several vehicles, moving in their direction at a sedate pace, but two abreast and taking up the entire width of the road. There were men and woman seemed to be hanging from whatever hand hold they could find and most were armed, many were soot covered and all looked defeated.

“I think we found our survivors,” said Mitch as Jesse slammed on the brakes and maneuvered the TLC to the side of the road. The lead vehicles slowed and people jumped off of them and formed a skirmish line, weapons pointed at the Toyota. “What now?”

“I think we approach with caution,” suggested Jesse, shouldering open the door and exiting, holding his hands at shoulder height. “Travelin’ through!” he shouted to the approaching gunmen. “Just passin’ by.”

“Get your hands up!” screamed one of the women. She repeated it over and over while the others in her group hung back a bit, seemingly in shock and unwilling to take on yet more stress at the moment. Jesse gave her a quick once over, noting her combat boots and the police style gunbelt she wore. He finally saw a patch on her sleeve and connected all the dots.

“Its okay officer, we’re just passin’ through!”

She kept her rifle pointed at him and motioned for him to step away from the Toyota. Mitch had not moved yet, and stayed in the Land Cruiser, his hand on his AR while the officer seemed to focus on Jesse. Everyone else in the crowd followed her lead, and Jesse knew that they had suffered a severe shock and were operating on base instinct. He supposed he would have been as well if his entire world was currently being consumed by fire. Jesse did as she instructed and kept talking.

“Listen officer, is there anything we can do to help?” asked Jesse. “We’re just passing through.”

“Shut up, shut up,” she told him, coming closer and looking into the Toyota. Mitch waved at her when she glanced his direction, and she yelped, backing away from the Toyota trying to point her rifle at Jesse and Mitch at the same time. “Get out! Get out!” she screamed at Mitch.

“Jesus, Lorain,” said one of the others finally, a wry older man with a pump shotgun. “Leave him be, they aren’t them.”

“They could be ones that got left behind,” almost sobbed the officer, Lorain.

“Look at ‘em,’ coaxed the man. “They aren’t them.”

She spun at the man, dropping her rifle down show she would not be pointing the weapon at him. “Goddamn it, Michael, You think I can’t do this fucking job? You think that someone else might do it better? Why don’t you go back and report me to the chief? Why don’t you fucking find someone else who might do this job better! Oh, that’s right, there is no one because the chief and everyone else WHO MIGHT GIVE A FUCK IS DEAD.”

She turned back to Jesse and Mitch. “Now you sons-of-bitches get the fuck on the ground or I swear to God and all that is still holy I will put fucking bullets in your fucking brains.”

Jesse, who had been on the wrong end of angry police officers in the past, decided that no amount of talking was going to convince her of the truth of his statements so he dropped to his knees. Mitch followed suit and she same up to them and with efficient hands, patted them down and tossed away everything that might have even resembled a weapon. She then snapped cuffs on their wrists while a couple of the people looked on with a mixture of chagrin and curiosity. One of the men was glancing into the Toyota and when he saw how well equipped they were, gave a low whistle.

“Damn, Lorain, you need to see all the shit they got in here,” he announced. “They must be ex-military or something.”

Lorain grabbed the back of Jesse’s tac-vest and leaned close to his ear. “Is that it? You’re a fucking deserter?”

“Jesus, lady,” growled Jesse. “If you haven’t noticed, there hasn’t been a fucking military to desert from in over nine months.”

“Leave him be, Lorain,” repeated the Michael. “There’s no reason for this.”

“I got a while fucking town that says there is,” snapped Lorain back at the man. “You need to be reminded? Turn around then, take a look at that smoke, that’s your fucking house right there, going up in that smoke.”

“I know what happened, Lorain, I was there too; now let these boys go.”

“You have no authority over me,” snarled Lorain.

“Why would I want to have?” demanded Michael. “It’s just the right thing to do.”

“Screw that, fuck you.”

“He’s right Lorain,” agreed a woman. “Just let them go and let’s call this done. We gotta get to the Township hall before night, there’s people back there that’s in need of care and everybody is scared enough as it is.”

“They’re coming with us so I can interrogate them,” announced Lorain after a moment of staring at the others. “Michael, get back there and let’s start moving. Karl, you help me put them in the back here and we’ll lead the rest to the hall.”

Karl, the man who had been looking in the Toyota, nodded and grabbed Mitch under his arm, jerking at the man while he tried to get to his feet. Mitch swore at Karl, casting disparaging remarks on his person and his propensity for sexual relations with Karl’s own mother.

His face beat red, Karl punched Mitch in the stomach, causing Mitch to double over in pain. Jesse fought against Lorain, but she had the advantage of height and bore down on him, driving her fist into the back of his neck, making lances of pain shoot throughout his head, neck and shoulders. “Stay put,” she told him.

“Bitch,” roared Jesse as she hit him again.

“Call me a mother fucker, bitch,” spat Karl. “You’re the mother fucker.”

Mitch managed to choke out a laugh as he gasped for breath. “Believe me, Karl, I have no desire to fuck your mother.”

Karl kicked Mitch and made the man double over again. In the mean time Lorain swore while she tried to control Jesse, who was nearly twisting out of her grasp and swearing, fighting his restraints and her hold. “Goddamn it, Karl, knock it off, just get him in the fucking truck.”

Pointing to one of the people still watching, Karl motioned them over. “Give me a hand.”

The man reluctantly helped Karl hoist Mitch up and put him in the rear of the Toyota. Jesse was still fighting and Lorain managed to get an arm around his neck as they both fell to the roadway. Jesse tried to get his chin under her arm but she was already in position, choking Jesse and cutting off his blood flow. He cursed as he began to see red and flashes of light, then all went dark.





He and Chelsea were in a rather nice bass boat, anchored in a nice cove, pretending to fish. They were dropping lines and casting every now and then, but the ratio of bait to fish was not in proportion. There were not enough fish for the bait that was going into the water. It was not that they had not caught anything, they were spending more time talking than trying to catch fish. The cove was nicely serine, the water was calm with just small ripples on the surface, a light breeze made them keep their jackets on. The trees on the shore were still in the spring buds and not yet green so they could see through them and up the hill they covered. Both of them had their AR15’s with them incase anything happened. And both had their BOB’s and sidearms as well. But for the moment all the gear of destruction was sitting in seats and it felt almost like a normal day before the Plague. Jesse had the kitchen make them a lunch, which they were munching on occasionally as they fished. He stopped his fishing long enough to admire the girl as she cast and talked.

Chelsea had sprouted up in the last few months, even with the meager rations at times. She was nearly five-five now and would be taller before she was finished. Her blonde hair and blue eyes were going to make grown men swoon as she reached her adult years and were currently making the pre-teen and teen boys notice. She was telling Jesse a tale of one of them at the moment.

“—So I told him that I didn’t like him that way,” said Chelsea. “And I punched him so he understood.”

Jesse bit back a laugh and tried to not give her a high five. He looked for a more parent-like route. “Um, you punched him. You really think that was the best way to handle it?”

“It was that or shoot him,” said Chelsea as a matter-of-factly, casting her line back out into the still chilly waters.

He couldn’t help but laugh at that. he bit the chuckle short and attempted a straight face. “Um, you can’t just shoot people, Chelsea. Or go around punchin’ them. You did okay there at first, you told him he was wrong and that was good. Where did you get the idea that it was okay to punch him?”

He secretly hoped that he had not told her to punch anyone, not that he found anything wrong with it, personally. It was his job as her uncle to make sure that the little boy-shits around the Lodge didn’t take advantage of her. He didn’t want her to get into trouble because she was beating people up, but at the same time, he loved her, and didn’t want to have to be the old man beating up fourteen year olds.

“Aunt Stacy.”

He was glad it wasn’t him that had told her to punch anyone. “Aunt Stacy.”

“Yeah, she said if any fucker tired to put moves on me, I should kick him in the balls. Since he was sitting down, I punched him instead.”

He almost lost it. Fighting to keep his composure, Jesse cleared his throat several times before answering her. “Okay, first off, you know you ain’t allowed to cuss, second off, Aunt Stacy, while a cool lady and very knowledgeable in the ways of men, probably shouldn’t have been tellin’ you to kick anyone in the balls. I think you’d’ve been fine just tellin’ him off and leavin’ this time around.”

Chelsea gave Jesse a long-suffering look as if to say that he, being of the male persuasion, had no clue how a man should be handled. She shrugged instead of telling him where he was wrong, which he was thankful for. He spent a lot of time with Chelsea feeling like he had no clue what was going on. “I guess. But he got the point.”

“I’m sure he did.”

They fished for a few moments more. Suddenly Chelsea squealed and her pole took a dive toward the water. Jesse put his own pole down and went to her side of the boat to help her out.

“Let it run for a minute,” he told her.

“I got it,” she assured him.

The line buzzed out for a second and she kept the drag on it and the line taut while the fish fought the hook and tried to get away from the thing that held it. She began to reel the fish in, letting it run when it wanted and then dragging it back toward the boat. She brought it up to the boat and Jesse leaned over with the net, scooping the big bass up in the netting while Chelsea laughed and took up the slack in the line.

“Wish I could get a picture of this one!” exclaimed Jesse.

Chelsea laughed and pulled free a slim digital camera, handing it over to him after explaining to him how it worked.

“I ain’t stupid,” said Jesse. He then added a line from one of the movies that they had shown at the Lodge during one of the Saturday movie nights. “You’re stupid.”

Chelsea laughed again and pointed at him. “I ain’t dumb, you’re dumb,” she hooted at him in a very badly faked Hollywood-Texas accent.

They exchanged the fish for the camera and Jesse took the picture of her with her very big bass. They put the fish into the cooler with the other fish they had caught and sat heavily in the captain’s chairs. Jesse opened the food cooler and pulled out the treat that he had been saving. He handed her a can of Mountain Dew and kept the Coke for himself.

“Oh, Jesse, where’d you get it?” she asked him as she took it and popped the top. “I haven’t had a pop in forever!”

“Yeah, you shouldn’t be having that one,” said Jesse. “But it’s a special occasion.”

She got quite and Jesse wondered what he had said wrong. He asked her, since he had no clue, as usual, it seemed, when it came to women of any age.

“Is it because you’re leaving?” she asked quietly.

Jesse sipped from his can. “I’m gonna be gone for a little bit, yeah.”

“You’re going after that girl.”

She said it like a curse. Jesse winced.

“Yeah, I’m goin’ after that girl.”

Chelsea made a face and sipped her own soda. “You don’t have to, there are girls here that like you.”

Letting himself chuckle, Jesse shook his head. “It’s not that easy--.”

“Yeah, do I’m told.”

“Okay, smartass, what does that mean?”

“I mean that when I talked to Hannah about all this she said the same thing. I said that she had Cole and Stacy had Isaac and you could have people here at the lodge to be your girlfriend or whatever you call it and that you could stay here and didn’t have to leave and she said that it wasn’t that easy, that people didn’t always have a choice in who they fell in love with,” blurted Chelsea. “I said that they did to have a choice and just because you smoked with her didn’t mean that you have to like her that much and that there would be other people here who would do that with you if you just gave them a chance. And Hannah said that it had more to do with than getting high and I told her what if it didn’t and you’d be gone and might not come back and you’d get bit or something and die and then I’d see you and I’d have to shoot you like I’ve shot other people and I didn’t want to have to do that because I love you--.”

“Wow, that’s fucked up, Chelsea,” cut in Jesse across her sudden outburst.

“It’s not fucked up, it’s true and I don’t want you to die!”

Jesse put down his Coke and crossed the small space to where she sat in the chair, tears rolling down her face as she started to sob.

“Hey--.”

“Hey what?” she asked. “Hey, you’re leaving me like everyone does? Hey, it’s not that easy?”

“Oh, baby girl,” murmured Jesse reaching out to her. She hit his hand away.

“No, you’re leaving me for that girl.”

Jesse pulled his hand back and bit his lip. “I’m not leavin’ you for that girl.”

“Then why are you going?”

“Okay, Chelsea,” started Jesse. “I’m goin’ for a lot of reason—that girl—is just one of ‘em. There’s a lot out there that we don’t know about, what’s goin’ on and we need to know. I’m goin’ out there to find out.”

“Why can’t somebody else go?”

“Because, little one, I want too.” He held up a hand to stay off her protest. “It’s not that I want to leave you, or Hannah, or Aunt Stacy—but I need to for me. You know how it is when you sometimes feel like you need to be alone, so you go up on the roof where the crow’s nests are?” The crow’s nests were the places where the guards stayed on the colder days; they were battlements on the roof of the Lodge. Chelsea sometimes went up there when the press of people got to be too much for her. She nodded that she knew what he was talking about. “Okay, I get that way too, the difference is that the crow’s nests ain’t big enough for me, or far enough away.”

“Well, then let me go with you,” she said. “You’ll need me to watch your back. You know I can do that.”

“I do know that,” agreed Jesse. “But, I also know that Hannah needs you here, she needs help with that little boy, and you’re just the big sister he needs.”

“Oh, come on Jesse,” Chelsea grumbled. “Aunt Stacy’s here, Cole’s here, the whole damn Lodge is here for that.”

“Maybe, but you I can trust. If I can trust you to watch my back, than I can trust you to take care of that little baby and Hannah.”

“Cole--.”

“—Is a nice guy, but you and I know that you’ve got what it takes.”

She gave Jesse a hard, mean look. “Who’s going to watch your back then?”

“Mitch.”

“Mitch?”

“What the hell?” demanded Jesse. “There’s nothin’ wrong with Mitch.”

“I guess not.”

Jesse tentatively put a hand out for her and she took it in her own. He let out a sigh of relief at her acceptance. With his other hand he wiped her tears away.

“I don’t like this, Jesse. We’ve been together for a long time.”

“Yes, we have. We’ve been together ever since I made you jump out the apartment window.”

She smiled at the memory. “Okay, so if you’re going, how long will you be gone?”

“Honestly, I’m not sure.”

She shook her head. “That won’t work. You can only be gone so long. How long?”

“Two months. Two months is all I’ll be gone.”

“Promise. Pinky Promise.”

He did so and she hugged him so he knew that they were okay again.

“I love you, Chelsea,” he told her gruffly.

“I love you too, Jesse.” She leaned away from him and took the camera out of her pocket. “Everyday, you take a picture and you write me a letter about it. I want to know the story with every picture.”

He laughed. “Between Hannah’s diary, Aunt Stacy’s post cards and your pictures, I ought to have a pretty good chronicle of the journey.”

“Well, all that writing should keep you out of trouble,” she said seriously.

“I doubt it,” he told her.

“Me too, but we can try,” Chelsea grinned. She gave him another hug and kissed his forehead under his unruly mop of hair. “How long are we staying out?”

“As long as you want.”

“Good.”

She picked up her pole and cast it out over the water. He did the same and they spent the rest of the day enjoying the time they had left.
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Re: Jesse

Post by doc66 » Wed Mar 11, 2009 8:59 pm

Patient Zer0 wrote:Awesome Doc! I've read your other stories, in fact, that was one of the first things I did when I joined. They are some of my favorites. I also like the Alive Inside series you help write for Darker Projects. If I'm ever your way or your ever mine, the first rounds on me.
Thank you very much. Eric has been after me to finish my part of another Alive Inside for DP. So I guess I will here in a bit.

Oh, and you're on!
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Re: Jesse

Post by SimonZayne » Wed Mar 11, 2009 10:13 pm

Patient Zer0 wrote:Awesome Doc! I've read your other stories, in fact, that was one of the first things I did when I joined. They are some of my favorites. I also like the Alive Inside series you help write for Darker Projects. If I'm ever your way or your ever mine, the first rounds on me.
Now that was a mistake.

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Re: Jesse

Post by Kathy in FL » Thu Mar 12, 2009 8:07 am

Oh wow. I really like the added sides of Jesse and Chelsea that I'm seeing. I can actually feel something like this occuring in "real life." I think in a PAW situation connections or refusing to connect with other people is going to be a real issue of how well people survive. Its the curse of humanity to need others at least every once in a while. And kids need the connections even more fiercely than adults do ... its how they learn to actually become adults. Doesn't say much for our modern society but I think in a PAW situation the rubber reallly is going to hit the road and connections ... in whatever flavor ... are going to make the difference between life and death. And between just surviving and living.

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Re: Jesse

Post by doc66 » Thu Mar 12, 2009 10:53 am

Kathy in FL wrote:Oh wow. I really like the added sides of Jesse and Chelsea that I'm seeing. I can actually feel something like this occuring in "real life." I think in a PAW situation connections or refusing to connect with other people is going to be a real issue of how well people survive. Its the curse of humanity to need others at least every once in a while. And kids need the connections even more fiercely than adults do ... its how they learn to actually become adults. Doesn't say much for our modern society but I think in a PAW situation the rubber reallly is going to hit the road and connections ... in whatever flavor ... are going to make the difference between life and death. And between just surviving and living.
Thanks, and I agree. I think that how people interact with others is important to the development of society and what kind of society we are creating.

Jesse has changed some from Hannah to now, and I have to say the depth of the character is finally coming out from when I first envisioned him. He's gone from an ex-con loner to the leader of a struggling community and now we get to see him as a father-figure and friend.

I really wanted to bring out the sub-culture of the teens and pre-teens at the Lodge, but really didn't have the time or storyline to do it (not yet anyway!) I thought that having that brief exchange between Jesse and Chelsea about "the boy" and her somewhat violent reaction to his advances would shed a little light on the way kids are starting to think and how the adults need to and should, put a damper on the more severe of the reactions towards the unwanted actions. When you've spent the last several months of your life trying to stay alive and killing those around you, it can affect your world view, just a little. Having Chelsea bring that up in her rant at Jesse was another way to approach that problem and the characters dealing with the situation.

Also, since people have asked, as for Mitch-- yes, he's always been gay, there's just never been a reason to bring it up until now. When I first wrote him back in Hannah, I think it was, and working out a little of his back story, I was surprised to "discover" that he was gay. It's funny how little things like that are important to know and help with the writing of the character.
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Re: Jesse

Post by SimonZayne » Sat Mar 14, 2009 6:56 pm

Ok Doc. Quit dicking around and post something.

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Re: Jesse

Post by doc66 » Sun Mar 15, 2009 8:42 am

It's St. Paddy's day weekend. You were right to not come out last night. The music SUCKED. The people watching was worth it though.
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Re: Jesse

Post by Beanhead » Sun Mar 15, 2009 4:24 pm

doc66 wrote:It's St. Paddy's day weekend. You were right to not come out last night. The music SUCKED. The people watching was worth it though.
By "people" you mean hot girls, right? :wink:
Omnes ad unum
Cpt. MelonBuster wrote: Nothing says "GTFO of my country right now" like your buddy's head dissolving from a trigger pulled 600m away.

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Re: Jesse

Post by doc66 » Sun Mar 15, 2009 9:38 pm

I would never do that with Shorty sitting right beside me.
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Re: Jesse

Post by doc66 » Wed Mar 18, 2009 8:07 am

Jesse returns later today, more than likely. The Saint's day was celebated with gusto.
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Re: Jesse

Post by doc66 » Wed Mar 18, 2009 7:44 pm

Being choked out wasn’t so bad as long as the person doing the choking knew what they were doing. Lorain knew what she was doing. In the back of the Toyota, Jesse came to nice and easy, his head against the rear window and his chin wet from drool. He tried to lift his hand to wipe his chin, but couldn’t since it was cuffed behind his back. Instead he rubbed the side of his face the best he could on his shoulder. Blinking for a couple of seconds, he oriented himself and was able to see that they were still moving. Where they were headed, only Lorain and Karl knew. Twisting in his seat, he saw that Mitch was beside him and sitting slightly sideways to take the pressure of the cuffs off his hand.

“Hey,” croaked Jesse.

“Hey yourself.”

“How long was I out?”

“Minute or two. Not long.”

Lorain turned around in the front seat. “Shut the fuck up.”

“Fuck you,” returned Jesse. “I don’t know what law you’re enforcing, but where we come from, this shit is as illegal as hell.”

Her eyes narrowed as she tried to decipher the meaning of his words. “Where you come from—which would be where?”

Jesse gave her a sardonic grin. “Some place that can afford to send us out with a shitload of ammo, guns, and food. Think about that.”

“You could have stolen the whole load, found, it or murdered the people who really owned it. I’m not buying your bullshit at all.”

“Fine, but Officer, what happened to the law you were sworn to uphold and if you are a law officer, what are the charges against us? So far all you’ve done is violate everything that that patch you wear stood for and spit on the Bill of Rights and the Constitution.”

“From what I see those are machineguns and those are illegal,” she retorted, pointing to the two M4’s that were currently riding at her feet. “So maybe there’s been some laws broken that I don’t know about.”

“You need to learn the law a little better; machineguns are not illegal in the State of Ohio. Neither are the suppressors that are attached to them,” corrected Jesse. “I think you’ve over stepped your bounds more than a little here. You’re best bet is to release us before you get into trouble you can’t even imagine.”

“What’re you going to do, sue me?”

Jesse clenched his jaws and answered her through gritted teeth. “Trust me, lady, you don’t want my friends to hunt you down.”

“You have no friends,’ she decided and turned away.

Jesse could see that she was thinking very hard about the situation so far. He wished right now that they had taken one of the armored Hummers, it might have added more than a little credence to his warning if they had been driving one of those with a Ma Duce riding the hatch.

“Nice try,” said Mitch, sotto voice. “Maybe next time.”

Jesse didn’t get a chance to answer him as Karl was pulling off the road and up to a small collection of buildings inside of a fenced in area. The fencing was reinforced with supports at each post, laced with various kinds of barbed wire and screens to prevent people from looking through the fencing into the compound. Jesse could see that there was even an elevated guard tower or three made from free-standing deer stands and that the lane lead up to a fairly normal fence gate, which s3eemed to be the weak point in the wall. The gate was locked with a chain and padlock and Jesse wondered why they didn’t bother to make it a better barrier. The Toyota came to a stop a few feet away and Lorain jumped out of the Toyota and unlocked and opened the gate. Karl drove through as did the other vehicles in the line. They pulled up to a stop near the main building and people began to exit the vehicles, looking dazed as they helped the wounded and children out of the transports. As he glanced over his shoulder, Jesse saw why they had not bothered to do anything to the gate; a school bus was rolled in front of the gate. It reminded him of the scene in Mad Max II when Max goes into the refinery.

Mitch gave a low whistle to Jesse to draw his attention to one of the door in the side of the building. A man had stepped out of the building, followed by three other people, all carrying AR-type rifles and shrugging into load bearing vests. The man was tall, his shaved head glistened in the light and stuck in his mouth might have been the last cigar left in America. It was unlit, and the man was very careful to keep from having anything get in the way of the cigar. Lorain walked up to him and gestured to the Toyota, her arms waving in the air as she gave an agitated account of her version of events. The man who had tried to defend Jesse also walked up and stood by with his arms folded, listening as she spoke. He said something, which made her turn on him; Jesse could hear her shrill voice as she yelled, but not the words she was saying. The bald man shook his head and came over to the Toyota. He frowned at Karl and opened the door where Jesse sat.

“So you’re the fucker she says helped burn our town down?” asked the man around the cigar—up close Jesse could see it was a cheap stop and rob special with a plastic tip. Absently, Jesse wondered how stale it was.

Jesse shook his head. “She one of yours? She’s stupid. She doesn’t listen to what is being said to her.”

“Maybe, but you got a lot of explaining to do on why you’re here--.”

There was a gun shot from the area of the gate. The man’s AR was instantly in his hands and he looked in the direction that the shot came from as did everyone else.

A cluster of people were standing around a body on the ground. A man was kneeling and the sound of his cries suddenly pierced the air. Someone else was holding a pistol and yelling at everyone looking at him.

“She was fucking bit, she was bit, look at her arms, she was bit!”

“Son-of-a-bitch,” muttered the bald man. He began to point at the other with him. “Get these people inside and stripped down. We need to check them all over to be sure there’s no one trying to sneak in on us.” He looked at Lorain. “Where the fuck’s Doc Friend, the mayor, the chief? Anyone?”

“They didn’t make it,” she said softly.

“Get these two uncuffed and in the fucking building, they aren’t going anywhere. Then start these people moving into the chambers.” He shook his head. “Mother fucker. He turned to one of the women standing next to him, one of the three who had been with him. “We have to check everyone, take their fucking guns away until we do, we’re the only one’s I know aren’t bit.” He stopped Lorain and Karl. “These two first.”

“I’m not bit!” protested Lorain.

“You’ll get a chance to prove it here in a minute. Hand them over.” The other three with him made threatening gestures with their rifles. Lorain and Karl stared at them for a moment before handing over their weapons. “Now go and get the rest of what’s left of us in the building; women and children on the right, men on the left. They’ll be stripping down as they enter the exam rooms. As soon as we have them in line, you two can be the first to go and then help us with the rest. We’ve planned this and you know what you’re supposed to do. Let’s get it done, so people can get over being pissed off at us.”

“What about them?” demanded Lorain, pointing at Jesse and Mitch.

“They’ll go right now.”

“No, I mean, what are we going to do with them?”

“We are going to check them out and then we’ll deal with them later, that’s what.” The bald man pointed at the people milling around and starting to cluster together as they stared at each other with suspicious glances. “Let’s get this done before someone decides to settle an old grudge.”

Lorain and Karl moved off to start lining up the people. The bald man directed two of his people to help them He and the other ushered Jesse and Mitch into the building. They lead them through a large meeting room, an old sanctuary from the look of the place, into a small room where they were directed to strip down. With a sigh, Both men did so, standing uncomfortably while the bald man gave them a quick once over and the other man stood over watch, ready to shoot them in case they had been contaminated. He told them to raise their arms and turn, which they did. Satisfied that they had not been bitten, he directed them to get dressed and waited off to one side while they did so.

“So, to get this shit out of the way, who are you and where the fuck do you come from?”

Jesse introduced himself and Mitch. “We’re from Mansfield area.”

“Mansfield. East of here.”

“The same.”

“What are you doing here?”

“Seeing what’s left,” said Jesse, tying his boots and then standing. “We’ve got nothing to do with your town.”

The bald man shrugged. “Doubt you can prove that, can you?”

“No at all,” admitted Jesse.

“Yeah, well in the mean time, you’ll be held until we can decide just what the fuck to do with you.”

Mitch shook his head at that. “Tell you what, give us our shit back and we’ll be out of here like we never happened. It’ll save you the time and trouble of trying to make up your minds—you’ve got a lot on your plate.”

His words were punctuated by the noise of the remaining townspeople entering the outer room, their harsh conversations and protests registering through the walls.

“As much as I’d like too,” the bald man shook his head and motioned to the other man. “I can’t. Through that other door there and have a seat.”

They stepped through the door and found themselves in a small interior room. There was a desk and a couple of chairs in it and not much else. Jesse and Mitch sat as directed. Jesse noticed that the door was one that opened outward but the lock was on the inside, probably an after thought when the building was renovated. The smallness of the room made Jesse think that it might have been some kind of storage closet at one time. The door closed and they could hear it being barred by something on the other side. Mitch got up and pushed lightly against the door. It moved slightly and stopped. He quit trying and pulled it shut then locked it on their end.

“Fuck ‘em,” said Mitch. “We’ll come out when we want to.”

“There’s nothing stopping them from prying the door off the hinges,” pointed out Jesse.

“So? Make ‘em work for it,” replied Mitch as he started to explore the room. Jesse sighed and joined him.

The light in the room was from a small battery operated camping lamp. It cast a very dim glow over the room and forced them to work hard to identify some of the items they found. In the desk were several partial books of matches, old fast food packets of salt and pepper and a ketchup that might have been from before the first Gulf War. There were a couple of plastic sporks, pens that did not write, scraps of paper, paper clips, pennies and much to Mitch’s pleasure—a knife-shaped letter opener.

“Idiots,” said Mitch when he found it.

“A pusedo-knife against a rifle?”

“You’ve never seen me work a knife, have you?”

Jesse thought about it. It was true, he had not. He knew what kind of damage a knife or shiv could do, he’d seen it several times in prison. He also knew that in the hands of a determined person, a knife could wreck serious damage on someone before they knew what hit them. Jesse himself had a set of scars from a knife; at the time he thought that he was being punched until he saw the blood. He watched as Mitch did some spins and flips with the letter opener.

“I really need to have an edge on this,” said Mitch. “And a better, thicker handle of some sort—is there any cloth or paper or twine around I can wrap on this?”

Jesse looked around and saw an old phone laying in the corner. He grabbed the cord and yanked it from the wall. “Here.”

“Not optimal, but good enough I suppose.”

In the mean time, Jesse himself was hefting the handset at the end of its own cord. “This might be worth a hit or two.”

Looking up from where he had started wrapping the phone cord around the slim handle of the letter opener, Mitch gauged the handset as a weapon. “Might need to be heavier and I’d wrap it in something to keep it from falling apart.”

“Like phone cord?”

“Dick.”

Putting the handset on the desk, Jesse searched for something to give the handset a little more weight and maybe wrap it up to keep it from falling apart as Mitch suggested. As he searched through the desk that they had already looked through, he thought aloud about their predicament.

“You know, there’s about thirty of them and two of us,” he rambled. “We’ve got a letter opener, salt and pepper, and a phone. Not really the best escape tools in the world.”

“We’ve got our good looks.”

“While that might sway some of the ladies, at least in my case, I doubt it will help us get out of this unscathed.”

Mitch tested the letter opener with the new handle. He grunted and put another layer of chord on the handle. Jesse took the phone apart and filled it with pennies. He then took the pennies out and pulled off his boot and sock, dumping the pennies out of the phone into the sock. It was not quiet heavy enough. Scanning around in the dark office, Jesse tried to find something else to put into the sock to give it a bit more heft. It was amazing how many things looked heavy and then on picking them up, were simply pieces of plastic with no mass to them at all. There was a small glass jar with the remains of a candle in it and Jesse added that to his sock. He swung it a few times, deciding that it would work. Sitting back down, he put his boot back on while Mitch watched him with curious expression on his face.

“What?” demanded Jesse.

“If nothing else, the smell with knock them to their knees.”

“Like you smell any better,” groused Jesse.

“Maybe not, but I’m not swinging my sock in their faces.”

“No, just attacking them with a dull letter opener.”

Mitch sighed. “We’re so screwed.”

“Yep,” agreed Jesse. They sat and watched the door, not knowing what might happen next.





During dinner in the main dining hall, Jesse set his plate down next to Mitch, who grunted a hello over the top of his fork. Jesse returned the greeting as he sat. Jesse took a moment to see who else was in the room, nodding at the people he knew well and by sight. He was glad that the days were getting longer and allowing them to take advantage of the two story windows that over looked the Lodge grounds and the lake beyond. In the winter they had burned far more candles and kerosene than they had anticipated trying to provide enough light for people to eat by. Now with the longer days, they could feed the entire Lodge without a single wick being set fire to. Jesse brought his attention back to the meager portions on his plate. There was enough to keep people going, but no one was ever going to get full on the rations they were serving at the moment. Dinner was a plate of instant mashed potatoes, what was left of the beef from the injured cow had been made into a gravy to spread it out over a larger portion of the populace; which meant that there were just a few strands of meat floating in the thin sauce, not really enough to call it anything more than flavoring. The cooks were doing the best they could with what they had left. He supposed it was more than many were getting these days. Also on the plate was corn bread, creamed corn, canned spinach and a pear half. Grabbing the pepper, Jesse doused a liberal portion of it over the meal before digging in. He took a few bites and then cleared his throat so that Mitch looked over at him.

“You still wanna get out of here?” asked Jesse.

“I’m already packed.”

“Can I ask you why?”

Mitch put down his fork and took a long drink from his water glass. “I suppose that you can. It’s not like you won’t find out anyway.”

Jesse nodded. “I already know you’re gay.”

Mitch let out a barking laugh that made the others at the table glance in their direction. Jesse quickly shoved a forkful of food into his mouth so that he could cover his embarrassment. Mitch nodded at the others and took a bite himself before speaking in low tones. “I am, but that’s not the reason I want to leave here. While it’s true that my opportunities for romance are non-existent, I have a better reason to want to venture out and risk my own ass. I have a kid, and I want to see if he’s still alive.”

Stopping his fork in midair, Jesse turned in his seat to look at the other man. “You have a kid?”

“It’s not that unusual, Jesse.”

“Okay, but, yeah, how—I mean most kids require romance with a woman—shit.” He shoved the food into his mouth to keep himself from saying anything else that might make him look like an idiot.

Mitch leaned nearer to Jesse, seeming to enjoy the other man’s discomfort. “Yeah, I actually had sex with a woman to have a kid. A lesbian friend of mine wanted a child, she thought that I would make a good sperm donor and nine months later we had a son.”

“Sperm donor,” repeated Jesse. “So you didn’t actually fuck her?”

“God Damn, Jesse,” Mitch exclaimed in exasperation. “What does it matter?’

Shaking his head, Jesse put his fork down. “I don’t know, Mitch, I guess I want to have some kind of somethin’ I can relate to with you before we head out.”

“And sex with a woman is going to do it?”

“Well, sex with a dude isn’t gonna provide a common ground for us--.”

Shaking his head, Mitch took a moment before responding. They both ate their food while Jesse tried to decide if he should say something else. Mitch spoke first. “We’ve been here for what, eight months or something?” Jesse nodded. “In that time, how many fights we been in together? How many zombies or gang-bangers or other idiotic fuckers have the two of us waxed, I mean shoulder to shoulder bashed in heads and shot? A dozen, a hundred? More than I care to keep track of that’s for sure. And here we sit, trying to find a common ground? Com’on, Jesse, just what is it you’re looking for?”

Pushing his plate away for a moment, Jesse leaned on the table. “I donno, Mitch, I’m just strugglin’ with the whole gay –thing I suppose. I mean,” Jesse looked around them at the others at the table, who were pointedly ignoring the two of them. There was no one nearby, really, so Jesse pushed on, fighting to tell Mitch about his own past before he thought better of it. “I was in prison, man, I beat a couple of guys over that shit. Call me paranoid.”

“Okay, first off, should I be the one concerned because you did time? Am I headed out on the road with an axe murderer?” Mitch held up his hand to stay Jesse’s answer. “Dude, being gay doesn’t mean that I’m going to randomly jump or try to jump a man’s bones. Believe it or not, it’s like dating women, there has to be an attraction before I even entertain the thought. And, Jesse, while you might be in good shape and women might find you attractive, I have no desire to try to get you in bed.”

Pulling his plate back toward him, Jesse made a small noise as he digested what Mitch said. “Well, I guess I should be glad that you aren’t attracted to me, but in a way, I think I’m a little hurt too.”

“Sorry.”

“No, it’s just weird, a person likes to think that they’re attractive, and when someone, even a queer, tells you your not, it’s just a blow to the ego.”

“Queer?” laughed Mitch. “Okay, Jesse, so you’re a closet homophobe, that’s fine. But what I’m trying to say is that there’s more to what we can have as a friendship and road companions than what you’re worried about.”

“That’s cool,” decided Jesse. He cleaned off his plate, wishing there were more to eat. He would be glad when they were able to harvest the fields and gardens in the fall. Summer might be a lean time until the first of the plantings came in. “So, puttin’ all my concerns aside, we can safely say that this is a doable venture?”

“I think this is doable,” agreed Mitch. “The real question is where do we start?”

“We need a vehicle,” said Jesse. “Something that won’t attract too much attention and supplies for the road—it’ll take us a week or more to get it together.”

Looking out the big window of the dining hall, Mitch shrugged. “Another week is not going to hurt anything; it’ll only give the weather time to improve.”

Jesse followed his gaze. The only thing a week would do was put Rebecca further away. He sighed and the two men bent their heads to start a list of the things they’d need, scribbling the beginnings of a list on a piece of paper.
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Kathy in FL
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Re: Jesse

Post by Kathy in FL » Wed Mar 18, 2009 8:28 pm

As always, you leave me wanting ... MOAR!!!! :lol: :lol:

Seriously though, I like how your examing who Jesse is, not just what he does.

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Re: Jesse

Post by Molon Labe » Wed Mar 18, 2009 9:45 pm

Frigg'n SWEET! Doc's back with a continuation! Kinda late to the party, but fuck it. More chapters to read with out having to wait for an update :D .

[edit] Jeez Doc. You sure know how to make an audience hate someone (i.e. the former cop.) Damn good read. [/edit]
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Re: Jesse

Post by eazy » Wed Mar 18, 2009 9:50 pm

MOAR!!
bonanacrom wrote:When I bite into a York Peppermint Pattie, I get the sensation of the life draining out of a man's body as I crush his windpipe, silencing forever his irritatingly cheerful banter, when all I wanted was to pay for my coffee and leave. Get the sensation.
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Re: Jesse

Post by Ahkaine » Thu Mar 19, 2009 2:05 pm

Great update.

Many lolz at the phone cord wrapped letter opener.

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Re: Jesse

Post by doc66 » Thu Mar 19, 2009 3:06 pm

Ahkaine wrote:Many lolz at the phone cord wrapped letter opener.

I was hoping that would get a chuckle out of people.
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Re: Jesse

Post by Mr. E. Monkey » Thu Mar 19, 2009 3:27 pm

doc66 wrote:
Ahkaine wrote:Many lolz at the phone cord wrapped letter opener.

I was hoping that would get a chuckle out of people.
It could destroy the entire compound!!! :shock:

Seriously, it's great to see you continuing your story, doc!
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Re: Jesse

Post by Ronin71XS » Sat Mar 21, 2009 4:17 pm

doc66 wrote:
Ahkaine wrote:Many lolz at the phone cord wrapped letter opener.

I was hoping that would get a chuckle out of people.
I wonder if it was a katana-shaped letter opener???
Do, Do Not, there is no try. ~Yoda

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Re: Jesse

Post by Mr. E. Monkey » Sat Mar 21, 2009 9:23 pm

Ronin71XS wrote:
doc66 wrote:
Ahkaine wrote:Many lolz at the phone cord wrapped letter opener.

I was hoping that would get a chuckle out of people.
I wonder if it was a katana-shaped letter opener???
You've just given me a horrible idea...

Image

Behold, the power! :roll:
SMoAF wrote:'Tis better to light a flamethrower than curse the darkness.
Beowolf wrote:Disasters are terrifying, but people are stupid.
wee drop o' bush wrote:THE EVIL MONKEY HAS WON THE INTERNETS! :lol: Image
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Re: Jesse

Post by Ronin71XS » Sat Mar 21, 2009 11:42 pm

evil monkey wrote:
Ronin71XS wrote:
doc66 wrote:
Ahkaine wrote:Many lolz at the phone cord wrapped letter opener.

I was hoping that would get a chuckle out of people.
I wonder if it was a katana-shaped letter opener???
You've just given me a horrible idea...

Image

Behold, the power! :roll:
Oh sweet-leaping-Jesus what have I done. I'm of half a mind to drop kick you over some 250 foot towers down where you're at. :lol:
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Re: Jesse

Post by Mr. E. Monkey » Sun Mar 22, 2009 11:31 am

Ronin71XS wrote:Oh sweet-leaping-Jesus what have I done. I'm of half a mind to drop kick you over some 250 foot towers down where you're at. :lol:
You've created a monster, that's what you've done. :lol:

And you'd better hurry before I ETS. Heading to AZ around the end of the month! :D
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Re: Jesse

Post by Mr. E. Monkey » Sun Mar 22, 2009 11:33 am

The only solution is more cowbe...more story. :D
SMoAF wrote:'Tis better to light a flamethrower than curse the darkness.
Beowolf wrote:Disasters are terrifying, but people are stupid.
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Re: Jesse

Post by Resolute » Sun Mar 22, 2009 10:29 pm

Just found this thread - Thanks for continuing the story, Doc! Now it's time for some more updates!!

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