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Thread: Zps-14

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    Zps-14

    This is a story I've had around for a while. It's been in quite a simple format, but I've recently decided to make it an actual story. The title is a reference to the game that this is based off of.

    This story is based off of a game I play with my friends, so it involves The Walking Dead characters, real people, and the occasional original character that I'll put in in order to move the story along or create drama. Any characters, even from TWD, from may be slightly "out-of-character," at least as the character you may know them as, in order to fill a role, or because their personality needs to mesh with the group more, or sometimes less. Meaning, similar to how the TV show remixed comic characters, any character or person you recognize will likely not be similar to the character you know them to be. Facts about who they are, who they're with, what they do, what they've gone through, or most commonly where they lived or live now will be changed. Many characters may be based on famous people, at least physically, as I do not know them personally, and cannot write on their behalf or their actual personality. Names of actual people may be edited to protect their identity.

    I'll be publishing this story as I write it, and the chapter I post will usually be about four chapters behind the one I'm currently working on. Be warned, all chapters are subject to editing, though usually minor, just to fit in with certain aspects I later have, or because I want to change something. Like to change a tone of a certain part, or how a character may react to something. Or, just general editing (fixing spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, etc). At the end of every chapter, as others have done, I will include a character update list to review the survivors and how far they have come. Who has died, where they have gone, who remains, etc. The list of characters will be organized by where/with who people were introduced, and in order of when they were introduced. Also, officially, this thread will be guaranteed to be updated every weekend, unless otherwise stated. If I'm far enough ahead, feel generous, or there's a special occasion, I may also publish sometime in the middle of the week.

    DISCLAIMER: This is a work of fiction. All characters and incidents are products of the author’s imagination and any resemblance to actual people or events is coincidental or fictionalized. No attack or violation on any real person's character is intended. Some characters do not belong to me, and are the creative property of The Walking Dead and associated people or groups.

    WARNING: There will be inappropriate language, including cuss words and racial/gender/sexuality slurs. No harm or offense is meant, as the slurs are used solely to demonstrate the characters of people who use them. Further, there will be sex scenes, but they will not be thoroughly detailed.

    ALSO, DO NOT POST IN THIS THREAD. FOR ANY COMMENTS, CORRECTIONS, CRITIQUES, ETC, PLEASE POST THEM HERE.





    Chapter 1 “End”
    Day 1








    It was June 3rd, 2016, and a group of friends would soon become a group of survivors. They had just graduated from high school in small-town New Mexico and had decided to celebrate with a road trip across the United States. Driving the car was Robert Hutchins, a thoughtful young man who cared deeply for each of his friends. He was slender, brunet, and had stunning green eyes. He clacked at the steering wheel with his long nails to the beat of the thumping song.

    Next to him in the passenger seat was his best friend, Lily King, who was a very smart, short girl who was quite a comedian. In the back seat sat two girls named LaRissa and Lyrik. LaRissa Masterson had high hopes for her future, planning to go into nursing at Texas Tech. Lyrik Bernthal was a black girl obsessed with music, pop culture, and being right.

    The foursome was just coming from Dallas, Texas, after having spent the last few days there. They were just arriving in a small town in Georgia, headed for Atlanta, and were running low on gas. Robert pulled into the first convenience store they found, a quaint little blue and white building on a crowded block in the middle of the city.

    “All right,” he sighed calmly. “LaRissa, you stay here and pump, I’m gonna go in and get drinks. Do you guys want anything?”

    “Um...” Lyrik started, “I’ll just go in with you.”

    “Me too,” Lily said.

    “You know what I want,” LaRissa told Robert. “Just coffee.”

    Robert nodded his head and they all exited the car. LaRissa readied the pump and went right to her phone, texting and playing Candy Crush.

    Lily, Lyrik, and Robert entered the gas station and immediately split off. Robert went for the coffee, getting himself and LaRissa one. For himself, a caramel espresso. For LaRissa, a French vanilla frappe. Lily went to the fridges in the back to get a drink, and Lyrik went straight for the candy.

    “No Faygo!” Lily moaned loudly from her aisle.

    After the coffees were filled, Robert met Lily in the drinks section. “There’s no Faygo,” she said sadly.

    Robert smiled at her, rolling his eyes. “I heard.”

    She smiled at herself and continued eying the shelves. “Should I get water or Sprite?” she asked.

    “Well, whatever you do, don’t get that,” Robert said, pointing to an orange liquid with red and yellow chunks floating around in it, resembling bottled vomit.

    “Ew,” Lily scoffed. “I think I’ll just get Sprite.” Lyrik came around the shelves, her left arm incapacitated, filled with candy; Skittles and Nerds falling out from between her fingers. She bent over and grabbed a Dr. Pepper, encumbering the last free limb she had. Robert and Lily rolled their eyes fondly at her.

    The three went for the counter to check out with their items. Lyrik dumped her armful of candy onto the counter in front of the cashier on shift. He was a middle-aged Latino with squinty brown eyes and lots of prison-style tattoos, but was pretty short for a guy his age. His name tag read “Javier, yo.” Lyrik seemed attracted to him, judging by the way the two were eyeing and chatting each other up.

    As he was ringing them up, a scrawny man with wild blonde hair and big green eyes burst through the doors and ducked into the closest aisle. The expression on his face was of pure horror. “Get down!” he yelled to them, to which the cashier and Robert lifted their brows. As the cashier was about to speak, presumably to ask the crazy man to leave, a shrill scream was heard outside. LaRissa had fallen, her leg tangled in the gas pump. Her phone was lying in front of her, the screen now completely shattered, and she was struggling to free her leg as a group of scary-looking people approached. Some were missing fingers, walking with a limp, or had huge, open gashes on their bodies with blood staining their clothes and skin. There must have been nearly twenty of them, and they were close to LaRissa.

    “What the fuck are they doing?” Lily swore in confusion as Robert and Lyrik panicked and ran to the door to help LaRissa.

    “No!” Screamed the man cowering in the aisle. Robert and Lyrik staggered in shock, and he jumped in front of the door, blocking the way of anyone trying to get in or out. “They’re monsters. I heard someone call them walkers. They’re like mutations of humans or something. Whatever they are, they’re dangerous. I barely escaped them,” he said as he pulled up his dirty sleeve, revealing a huge gash on his left arm. “One of them bit me. They aren’t normal. They don’t think or care in any way. They just want to eat. I should know. My girlfriend did this to me.”

    Everyone looked on in horror. Lily and Javier looked like they were about to puke. “You’re going to die, aren’t you?” Lyrik asked him.

    “I don’t know,” he said, looking quite sad.

    “What’s your name?” Robert asked him.

    “Jackson, but it doesn’t matter right now. What matters is that you don’t go outside. And that she doesn’t get in. Sorry, but she’s on her own now. If those things — those walkers — see us, we’re dead!”

    “We can’t just leave her out there!” Lyrik said. Their attention was drawn back to the gas pumps as LaRissa had freed her leg and was nearly at the doors. She pushed on the handle and the doors opened slightly, but then Jackson threw his weight onto them. LaRissa peered in and saw the man then looked past him to her friends. She screamed, begging them to get him off and to let her in. Lily didn’t budge, believing the strange man. She wasn’t about to get herself killed. Robert thought that Jackson’s words held some weight as well, but he and Lyrik did their best to get the man off the doors.

    “No!” Jackson yelled, grabbing a display case full of lighters and flinging them at the two. “I’m sorry, but you don’t know what you’re doing! Would you rather one die, or all of us die?!”

    “I’d prefer if none of us died,” Robert said. He looked to the cashier, “Are you just going to stand there the whole time or are you going to do something?!” He looked to Lily, continuing. “Help us!”

    The man behind the desk was nervous and was already at the back door. When the teenagers turned to him, he bolted out to the back alley and escaped. Lily watched, her weight shifting toward the door, but she knew she could not leave her friends like this. Bravely, she began trying to get Jackson off of the doors as well.

    The walkers outside were getting dangerously close to LaRissa as she was putting all of her weight against the doors. She grew desperate, and began banging her fists against the windows of the door, hoping to knock out the glass and get in. The walkers were now close enough to reach out and touch her. Finally, teaming up together and using brute force, the three were able to get Jackson off the doors, and LaRissa fell to the ground as her weight swung the doors open.

    While trying to get herself up, a walker fell on top of her, and she screamed in panic. She scrambled, trying to get to her feet, but the walker chomped down into her right leg, ripping right through her jeans and pulling out veins and muscle, viciously digging into her calf. Robert and Lyrik dragged her in while Lily and Jackson kicked at the walker on top of LaRissa, flinging it back into the crowd of walkers. Lily, Lyrik, and Jackson tried closing the door again, but the weight of about twenty undead corpses was too much to fight. Robert was on the ground attempting to help LaRissa, and told Lyrik to run and get supplies to help LaRissa while he did his best with what he had near him.

    Hastily, she bolted off into the aisles, searching frantically for something to help LaRissa with. Lily and Jackson were struggling to keep the doors closed. The wild-looking man told Lily to hold onto the doors while he went to get something to put against them. Lyrik returned to Robert with bandages and alcohol. Robert did his best to use the bandages to stop the bleeding as LaRissa was hemorrhaging blood and was only faintly conscious. The doors suddenly burst open and Lily fell onto a knee, scraping it open, but quickly got up and screamed, “We have to go! Now!”

    Jackson was dragging an ice cream fridge to the doors when Lily fell. He cursed under his breath and ran to LaRissa to help Lily and Lyrik get a good hold on her.

    “Get her out of here,” Jackson advised them as he released the unconscious teenager.

    “Are you serious?!” Robert shouted in frustration, refusing to let him go.

    “Yeah,” Jackson curtly stated quickly before recklessly jumping into the crowd of walkers. The creatures began devouring him, and Lyrik and Lily could only watch in horror.

    “Come on!” Robert yelled, and they stumbled out of the back doors, Robert running ahead to find help. They went down the alley in the opposite way that the walkers were coming from and made it to the door. They struggled to keep LaRissa up, and two walkers had followed them out of the backdoor by the time they were halfway down the alley. When they made it to the street, LaRissa fell, and the walkers were coming quickly.

    A car was coming down the street and Robert and Lily ran to stand in front of it. It stopped and Robert approached the car quickly to make sure it did not drive back off. Lily went back to Lyrik to help LaRissa back up and out of the alley. About three walkers were beginning to appear from other sides of the streets.

    Robert opened the back door to see that the back seat was filled with groceries and he pushed them to the floorboard.

    “Hey!” said the old man driving. “What are you doing?!”

    “My friend is hurt and we need help. If anything back here got damaged, I’ll pay you back. Just take us to the hospital.”

    Robert ran back to help them carry LaRissa, and Lyrik got in first. The three cooperated to gently get LaRissa in next to Lyrik, and the bitten girl’s torso fell limply onto Lyrik. Robert jumped into the passenger seat as Lily tried her best to get LaRissa further in so she could get in as well. They took off with walkers all around them, headed to the hospital.

    “Thanks, sir,” Robert said. “My name’s Robert Hutchins. That’s Lily,” he gestured to them, “that’s Lyrik, and my hurt friend there is LaRissa. What’s your name?”

    The man looked a bit nervous, unsure of what exactly what was going on. “H-Hershel,” he stuttered out confusedly, “Hershel Greene.” After an awkward pause, he continued. “Uh, if you don’t mind me asking, what happened to your friend, there?”

    “I’m not exactly sure,” Robert stated. “A crazy man locked her out of this convenience store we were in, and those things back there, ‘walkers’ he called them, there were more of ‘em. A lot of ‘em. One fell on top of her, and bit into her leg. She nearly died of blood loss, but we kinda managed to get the bleeding to stop before the doors burst open and we had to bolt.”

    The car swerved around a corner, dodging a walker in the road. Just a few blocks farther and they were in front of the local hospital. There were people inside in police uniforms shooting at the ravaged people, which were everywhere. “Fuck!” exclaimed Lily as she angrily looked down to LaRissa. “What are we gonna do now?”

    Robert furrowed his brows at the confusing scene, watching as people were shot repeatedly in the chest but still kept coming. “I don’t fucking know,” he said. “Is there somewhere else we can go?” He desperately asked the driver.

    Already driving away from the gruesome scene, Hershel opened up to them. “I’m a veterinarian. We can go back to my farm outside of town and I can help your friend there.”

    “My friend isn’t exactly a cat, sir…” Robert replied worriedly.

    “You got much choice?” Hershel retorted

    “Thank you so much,” Lyrik said to him before anyone else could reply. “Really.”

    The old man nodded in return. “Just don’t make me regret this,” he said, looking seriously into the rearview mirror to them.



    They made it to his farm about thirty minutes later and were met at the driveway by his son, Shawn, and two daughters, Maggie and Beth. Shawn asked what happened, and Hershel told him to help the teenagers get LaRissa inside. The young farmer picked up the stranger as Hershel rushed inside to prepare his medical supplies. Maggie and Beth were told to get the groceries from the car and to bring them inside.

    When they entered, LaRissa was laid onto the couch, and Hershel’s wife approached from the kitchen. “Honey, what’s happening? Who are these people? We already have guests over, dear.” In the kitchen was two fat men and an old blonde lady. One of the fat men resembled Maggie and had moderately long, deep black hair. The other one was wearing camouflage, with stubbly, balding hair. He was sat next to his aging blonde wife. They looked on in worry and confusion.

    “Hello, Otis. Patricia. Arnold,” Hershel said in a rush. They nodded, feigning smiles, still looking confused. “Annette, get me some peroxide and bandages,” he said to his wife. She turned to the couple at the kitchen table, smiled politely, and excused herself to go upstairs. She came back down shortly afterwards and they both attempted to help LaRissa.

    Half an hour later, having done the best they could for LaRissa, Annette and Hershel invited Robert, Lily, and Lyrik to join them for dinner. The three were all quite taken by Shawn, as he was very handsome and kind. Otis and Patricia left shortly after to their home in town. Hershel and Annette apologized for ruining their night, and they talked about the monsters that hurt LaRissa and apparently killed a man that Robert and his friends had met that day. Otis and Patricia thought the teenagers might be lying, but Hershel vouched for them, seeing the strange people himself. Annette suggested that they might just be sick people desperate for help.

    After a few hours of waiting, LaRissa had remained unconscious, and Hershel decided they should move her to a bedroom. He invited the teenagers to stay the night with him and gave them rooms to sleep in. Robert got a room of his own, while Lyrik and Lily shared a room.






    Spoiler Spoiler:
    Last edited by bertglamga; October 21st, 2014 at 05:23 AM.

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    Chapter 2 “Easy”
    Day 2
















    The next morning, Robert woke up to the smell of homemade eggs and bacon, a scent he hadn’t smelled in many years. For a moment he thought that he was back at his grandmother’s house and that she had made him breakfast. He then remembered everything that had happened. How that crazy man had died. How LaRissa had been bitten. And that he and his friends were now living under the roof of strangers on a farm in the middle of nowhere.

    Robert rose out of bed and was about to put on the clothes he wore yesterday, but he was surprised to see that they were gone. In their place were fresh clothes: a fresh pair of blue jeans, black socks, plain black boxers, and a green plaid short-sleeved button-up. He put them on and went downstairs, where he saw Annette and Beth working at the stove, while Hershel was at the table reading a newspaper, with Shawn and Arnold sitting next to him. Hershel looked over to see Robert standing at the stairs and smiled. “Good morning, son! Did you sleep well?” Robert nodded, giving a slight smile in return.

    “I see you found my clothes,” said Shawn. “Since y’all lost all your luggage yesterday, we decided it wouldn’t be any harm to lend y’all some clothes. Beth and Maggie gave some of their clothes to your friends, too.” Shawn looked to be in his mid to late twenties, and had stunning eyes of hazel. He was wearing a plain white shirt, as he often did, and blue jeans just like the pair Robert was given. Like his father and his step-cousin, he wore brown, worn-out cowboy-style boots. His smile was enticing, and he looked very friendly. His dad was almost the opposite, fat and wrinkly, with squinty, dark eyes, in frumpier, duller clothes, including brown overalls. According to Maggie the night before, who had brought his birthday that was a few weeks back, he was 72. Arnold was a very plump, nerdy-looking man that seemed a bit shy. He was Maggie’s cousin. Hershel’s first wife was named Josephine, and he had Maggie with her. She died sometime later, and he got remarried to Annette, who had had Shawn from a previous marriage. The two then had Beth together. Arnold was Josephine’s brother Jonathan’s son, and was visiting for the summer.

    Annette, their mother, looked very pretty for her age. She had very long brown hair that went to her lower back, though most often it was up in a bun. She must have been about fifty, and she liked to wear long dresses. Beth was a very attractive girl, just like her older sister Maggie. Beth had long blonde hair and was quite scrawny. Maggie was the opposite, with short brunette hair, and seemed to be more fit, with a very shapely figure.

    Robert joined the men at the table, making small talk. Lily and Lyrik came down the stairs about twenty minutes later, dressed in fresh clothes that seemed a bit long on them as the duo were both quite short. Lily was a very short girl with a bit of meat on her and mid-length brunette hair. Lyrik was almost a mirror image in terms of proportions, except she was dark-skinned with quite short, nappy, black hair.

    Seeing them made Robert remember LaRissa, who was as plump as the other two girls, but was just as tall as Robert and had long, reddish-brown hair. “How’s LaRissa doing?” he asked.

    Hershel seemed to remember something as well, and he half-smiled at Robert. “Go see for yourself,” he said. Robert looked to Lyrik and Lily and the three hurried upstairs to LaRissa’s room. She was awake. She was still quite weak, but she was eating and drinking.

    Though obviously in pain, LaRissa smiled at them as they came in. “Guys, hey,” she said. They smiled back at her. “I know I don’t look so good-”

    Lily laughed to herself. “Don’t look so good now? Should have seen yourself before this happened!” Robert and Lyrik looked to Lily, slightly shocked she couldn’t keep her humor to herself at a time like this, despite both of them smiling about it.

    LaRissa half-smiled weakly. “Thanks, Lily. But thank you guys so much for helping me out, bringing me here. I’d be dead if you guys didn’t do anything.”

    Looking at her, Robert was getting concerned. Even though Hershel had helped fix the bite wound, LaRissa still didn’t look very good. She was still wearing the same clothes from yesterday, her sheer pink top was now stained with blood and dirt. She looked even more ill than when they arrived. Robert thought to himself, You’re dead anyways, but smiled at her and reassured her, “Of course. We’re best friends.”

    Annette walked in and told them that LaRissa needed her rest, and that Hershel could use their help. She smiled at LaRissa as she closed the door behind them and led them back to the kitchen. As they were eating, they spoke solemnly about LaRissa. “I'm just sayin’,” Lyrik sighed, "I’m pretty sure LaRissa’s not gonna make it.”





    Hershel took them outside and showed them around his land. He asked if Robert’s group were willing or able in any way to help out around here while they stayed. They all agreed to help with anything Hershel needed, whether it be helping to take care of LaRissa or helping with the animals. Robert then volunteered to help with the farming, realizing that Hershel probably had more things in mind for them to do than to laze around until someone or something gets sick. Lily quickly caught on and joined, as well. Hershel smiled at them and nodded his head.

    “Great,” he said. “For now, let’s go back and tidy up a spare bedroom or two. We have a few people movin’ in, and we should make room for everybody.”

    “More?” Lyrik asked hesitantly, worried that the teens may be kicked out soon to make room for people the family actually knows.

    “Yeah, three more,” Hershel nodded. “They can’t live in town anymore. They say it’s way too dangerous with all the walkers around. People gettin’ sick left and right.” The teens nodded politely, hardly able to imagine what being surrounded by what they experienced yesterday would be like.





    Due to the new additions to the household, Robert was forced to move in with LaRissa. LaRissa had come down with a heavy fever later that day, and couldn’t move at all without experiencing crippling pain. That night, Robert was sitting next to LaRissa in her bed, talking to her as she drifted to sleep about how they should try to get back home soon, assuming that the walkers were disposed of, having seen very few here in Hershel’s secluded lands.

    “We should get back on the road as soon as we can,” Robert said, looking down to meet LaRissa’s eyes, but they were closed.

    “I’m sorry,” LaRissa choked out forcefully.

    “Don’t be. It’s not your fault that psychopath — what was it, Jackson? — put you in danger. To be honest, I’m kinda glad he’s dead now.” Robert looked back down at her. She was so pale. She looked weak. If she didn’t start getting better soon, this might be the end for her. He looked away, out the window, watching clouds roll in. “You’re gonna to make it,” he said, trying to reassure himself more than he was her.

    After a long pause, LaRissa’s wheezing breath faded into silence. Robert’s breath caught. He slowly looked to her, hoping she was simply yawning, or stretching. Of course, she wasn’t. She wasn’t breathing at all. Robert began to panic. He began shaking her, and she was so frail, so weak. He put his ear to her chest. Nothing.

    Robert got off the bed and ran to Hershel’s bedroom door. He pounded his fists against the wood. “Hershel! Annette! Get up, I need you right now!”

    “What do you want?! Just a second!” Hershel yelled angrily and groggily through the closed door.

    “I think LaRissa’s dead!” Robert screamed, running back to LaRissa. Hershel came out a few moments later with some serious bed head, followed by Annette, dressed only in a silk robe. They rushed into LaRissa and Robert’s room and checked for the girl’s vitals. Seeing no response, Hershel decided to try CPR.

    Despite all of their attempts, Hershel got no response. No matter what the old couple tried, it appeared that it was no use. He pronounced her as dead, and lifted the sheet over her cold head. A teenage girl’s life had just been lost out of what appeared to be insane, senseless violence. A group of friends had just lost a dear friend at a time in their lives that they should not even be considering death.

    Robert grabbed his stuff and decided to bunk with Lily and Lyrik that night, not wanting to sleep next to the dead body of one of his closest friends.

    “I hate to say it, but I told you so,” Lyrik said. Lily rolled her eyes, noticing Robert was very upset.

    “Come on, Lyrik, really?” Lily questioned angrily. “We all know you don’t hate to say that., but this is absolutely not the time for that.”

    Robert ignored the whole conversation and rolled over on the bed they made him on the floor, facing away from them. He cried himself to sleep, thinking about all the things he hadn’t gotten to say to her. How much she must have suffered before she finally just let go. How her last words were “I’m sorry.” The entire situation was awful, and he couldn’t believe that LaRissa was dead. This had to be a dream. This was unreal. Lily and Lyrik did their best to comfort him, to the point that they both began to cry, too. Tonight, they lost a true friend, and they would never forget it.




    Spoiler Spoiler:
    Last edited by bertglamga; October 21st, 2014 at 05:22 AM.

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    Chapter 3 “Turned”
    Day 3








    It was a warm summer night. Clouds were heavily rolling in, making the dark night even darker. It was about 4:00 A.M., about an hour and a half before anyone usually woke up in the house. A loud thud was heard from LaRissa’s room that woke up Annette. At first she thought it was Robert getting up for something, but then she remembered that he had went to bed with Lily and Lyrik. Annette slowly sat up, rubbing the sleep out of her eyes. She slipped on her favorite, mauve pink robe off of the coat hanger by her bed. She loved to collect robes and had a row of about thirty of them. Baby blue, yellow, black, white, pastel green, flannel, red just for Hershel, and her favorite one that her mother gave her for her birthday many years ago: mauve pink.

    She made her way to LaRissa’s room and put her ear against the door, thinking someone could have went in there to be with her, or to claim something of hers now that she has dead. After hearing only what sounded like soft moaning, she called out.

    “Hello? Is anyone in there?” Her words were met by an even louder growl, and what sounded like footsteps towards the door. “LaRissa?” Annette questioned concernedly.

    Another groan was made in reply. Annette smiled widely. LaRissa’s awake! It’s a miracle! she thought to herself. She opened the door quickly, arms wide open to hug LaRissa, but all too late Annette realized that LaRissa was very pale, and was baring her teeth at her. She screamed, and fell backwards. As she fell, LaRissa swiped at her, and grabbed onto her robe’s sleeve, dragging the undead girl down, too. LaRissa fell onto Annette and she screamed again, trying hard to push against LaRissa’s weight. Hershel opened the door to his bedroom to investigate the screams and saw the fresh walker on his wife. He went back to search his closet for his gun.

    Though she put in her best effort, Annette was quite a frail, old woman, and she soon lost her ability to fight against LaRissa’s weight. LaRissa bit right into Annette’s face as she wailed in anguish, eating at the elder woman’s flesh. A hole was left in place of where the old woman’s left cheek once was. LaRissa continued eating, swallowing down the nose and going for more.

    Hershel finally arrived with the shotgun. Most people in the house were now awake and standing in the hall, witnessing the horrific event. Patricia screamed in horror, burying her face into Otis’s chest. Beth tried running to her mother, but Jimmy held her back. Hershel drew back tears and aimed his shotgun at LaRissa’s chest. He shot, but she continued eating. He gasped, and took a step backwards in shock. Annette was now dead underneath this immortal monster. LaRissa looked up and growled at him.

    The growl provoked Hershel and he glared at the undead teen. His eyes were filled with rage. This creature, no longer a person, attacked his wife — attacked his family. He stood up, holding back more tears and shot the walker again in the neck, and when that failed, he shot her between the eyes. She fell, and he now knew what he had to do. He pointed his gun down at Annette, unconscious. He shot her right in the head, doing his best to remain composed.

    He looked up. Robert, Lyrik, Patricia, and Beth were in tears. Otis, Lily, Arnold, Maggie, Jimmy, and Shawn looked on in disbelief and pure shock. “Let’s get this cleaned up,” Hershel said in a shaky yet firm voice.

    Maggie took LaRissa’s sheets off of her bed and handed them both to Hershel. Shawn and Hershel lifted Annette’s body up and wrapped it in the sheet. They then repeated this with LaRissa. The two lifted Annette up and carried her downstairs. As they were going down, Hershel instructed Arnold and Otis to grab LaRissa’s body. They carried the two outside to the front steps and into a wheelbarrow they used for gardening. Shawn pushed them to a nice spot in the field, underneath two big trees. Otis and Shawn began digging graves as the sun rose toward the clouds in the distance.



    Later that day, when the two were done, a funeral was held. Their bodies were lowered into the graves and buried. Hershel conducted the funeral.

    “Today, we’re here to mourn the loss of two kind individuals. Annette Greene, my dear wife, and LaRissa Masterson, a dear friend. Though the body is...withered,” he stuttered as he thought of their maimed bodies, “the soul lives on. They are with God now, looking down on us,” Hershel looked up, into the only clear spot of sky through the clouds. He could not help but shed a tear as he looked back down. “I’m sorry,” he whispered. He composed himself, and looked up. “Does anyone have any words they’d like to share?”

    Surprisingly, Beth stepped forward first. Her boyfriend Jimmy loosed his hold of her and allowed her to go forward. “A long time ago, I was told a poem by one of my friends in school. I wrote that poem down because I thought it was so beautiful. I want to share it with you all… I want to share it with you, mom.”

    Beth looked up and closed her eyes. She moved her head back towards the graves, eyes still closed. She reached into her pocket, and pulled out the piece of paper. She opened her eyes, her expression as though it were painful to open them. Painful to accept her mother’s fate. She began to recite the poem.


    “Every time that I smile,
    Every time that I sigh,
    I think of your face,
    And a tear escapes my eye.


    You were my world,
    My inspiration and my heart,
    But when you left me,
    I thought I would fall apart.


    You were my best friend,
    My one true 'confidante',
    And that's not all you were,
    You were also my mom.


    I didn't want to live without you,
    But you would have wanted me to,
    And if there's anyone I want to make happy,
    That anyone is you.


    I would have given anything to have you back,
    But I know now that it was meant to be,
    For you are still watching from up there,
    And I know you're watching me.


    I'll make you proud mom,
    I'm going to fulfill your wish,
    You're going to see me and smile,
    That's a daughter's promise.”


    She folded the paper back up and clutched it in her fist. Nearly everyone was crying now. The Greenes were a mess, weeping into one another, Shawn and Maggie hugging each other tightly. Beth turned back to Jimmy, who went to give her a big hug, but she rejected him.

    Hershel again was letting his emotions overcome him. Through his weeping he said, “Anyone else?”

    Robert stepped forward, looking a bit nervous. “I don’t have a beautiful poem, or anything memorized or planned to say. But I have my memories. The sentiments and love. I just wanted to speak on behalf of LaRissa, since not many of you here knew her very well. And sadly, now you never will get the chance to. LaRissa was a good person. Sometimes, her intent may have been to seem better than she thinks she is, trying to overcompensate for what she doesn’t need to. Doubting herself every step of the way. But everything she did, she did with a good heart. She meant well at all times. Never did she attack or hurt a person that hadn’t wronged her in some way. She didn’t deserve to die. Not this early. She had so much to live for. Though she won’t be able to continue on with us, she will always be on my mind. I will never forget her. And I hope none of you do, either. Thank you.”

    Robert stepped back and Lily wrapped her arm around him. Hershel, now much more composed, nodded to everyone, signalling for someone else to speak if they so wished. When no one did, he spoke up, “Anyone? Maggie?” The brunette shook her head at her father, and he looked to Shawn, who was crying, staring at the ground. Hershel nodded his head and brought the funeral to a close. Everyone went inside to get started on dinner and to move on.

    Right after dinner, Hershel locked himself in his room and wasn’t heard from again until the next morning. He would not answer his door and generally ignored everyone else in the house. This became a habit.




    Spoiler Spoiler:

    DISCLAIMER: the poem recited by Beth is not my own, and is titled "A Mother's Promise" by Allie B. Quaglieri. No copyright infringement is intended.
    Last edited by bertglamga; October 21st, 2014 at 05:22 AM.

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    Chapter 4 “Get Out”
    Day 9







    It had been nearly a week since LaRissa and Annette passed. Since then, Hershel has kept himself locked up in his room, constantly drinking or weeping. He refuses to open the door, and only comes out to use the restroom or to eat. Beth and Shawn, similarly, have spent most of their time alone in the fields, or just being very distant. With Shawn, Beth, and Hershel down, Otis, Arnold, Jimmy, and Robert’s group have stepped up to fill in the role of farmer, making sure everything that needs to get tended to does.

    On this morning, Otis tried to convince Hershel to come out and be with the group. Hershel opened the door and spit some of his alcohol at Otis’s chest. He noticed Robert and Lily observing, and yelled at them. “It’s your fault that Annette is dead! I want you off of my property, now! Leave, and don’t you ever come back!”

    Maggie, Patricia, Arnold, and Jimmy came out of their rooms, hearing the commotion. They stood against the drunk man, not allowing his depression and intoxication to cause more pain.

    “Daddy,” Maggie yelled back at her father, “you need to stop that right now. You know it’s not their fault. It ain’t no one’s fault. We couldn’t have known.” Arnold and Jimmy nodded their heads.

    “Hershel, you know I love you, and you know I loved Annette,” Patricia said, “but you are acting like a damn jackass right now. These people have been nothing but kind and helpful since they’ve gotten here. If you kick them out, Otis and I are leaving with them.”

    “Me too,” said Arnold.

    “Same here,” Maggie added. “You have no right to kick these people out. You lost your wife, but we lost our mama. Our aunt. Our best friend. We’re all hurting, but we have to move on.” Maggie walked up to her dad and grabbed the alcohol out of his hand and threw it out of the nearest window, right into the wheelbarrow outside.

    Hershel, still drunk, hiccuped. He had a look of defeat on his face. Wordlessly, he retreated back to his room, slamming the door behind him.

    Robert and Lily approached the others and hugged them. “I didn’t know you guys cared that much about us,” Lily said.

    Maggie smiled at them, “It’s no problem. We’ve been through a lot now, haven’t we? If we didn’t care for you by now, we’d be heartless.”



    At dinner, when Hershel came down, there was an awkward air about the room. Instead of grabbing the food and going back to his room, he took his place at the head of the table and ate with everyone. The others tried to carry on despite the awkwardness. Finally, after about twenty minutes of small talk, trying to ignore the shady elephant in the room, Hershel cleared his throat and spoke up.

    “I just want to apologize to Robert, Lily, and Lyrik. And,” he paused, “to everyone. I’ve been a ‘sore jackass’ to everyone, I understand. And I want to make up for that. I lost my wife, and I wasn’t dealing with it well. I took it out on you people, and I drowned my sorrow in vodka. And I want to re-extend my invitation to you three. They’re right, you know,” he said, looking to his family who had yelled at him earlier, and then to Robert, Lily, and Lyrik. “You three are a tremendous help. And I appreciate everything you’ve all done to accommodate for the...mourning I went through.”

    He smiled at them for a few seconds, and after getting no response, he picked up his fork again, digging back into his food. Everyone laughed at the weird tension, and began talking as if there had never been any rifts in the group. They were beginning to feel like a family.




    Spoiler Spoiler:
    Last edited by bertglamga; October 21st, 2014 at 05:22 AM.

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    Chapter 5 “New”
    Day 11







    One beautiful, breezy day, the group decided to have an outdoor picnic. Patricia, Lyrik, Beth, and Maggie chipped in to make a nice feast. They brought out the foldable table and chairs and took them outside to watch the sunset and have a family dinner. They stayed there and chatted for a very long time.

    Soon, it was getting quite dark and the group decided to start cleaning up. As they were beginning to carry in the food, a car turned the corner to the farm about half a mile out. Stunned, no one moved for at least a minute.

    Snapping into action, Beth, Jimmy, Patricia, and Lyrik realized that it was people. Actual, real people. They had not heard anything from outside of town and had been too preoccupied to try leaving the farm. There were no televisions on the farm and radio signals were no use this far out during most hours of the day, but they did hear occasional reports on the radio that things were getting worse around the Atlanta area.

    The foursome ran to the side of the road, waving their arms, flashing their flashlights at the car, trying to get the attention of those within it.

    The car slowed down, noticing the four. It pulled in right next to them, and the person driving it was a very buff man with half-blonde, half-black hair, and a moderately long black beard. “Well, howdy, there,” he said, seeming to mock the group’s farm clothes. “The name’s Seth. What’s yours?”

    The girls were obviously stunned by him as they all failed to find words. Jimmy spoke up for them. As Jimmy introduced them, Seth’s eyes went to the crowd standing in the field, finally taking notice of them. He realized that this farm was their home, and that they were a big group. He smiled and turned back to Jimmy just as he finished.

    “I’m sorry, son, you’ll have to say that again. I got distracted. Mind if I get out and you introduce us to all of them, too?”

    “Uh, sure, I guess so,” Jimmy replied dumbly.

    Seth pulled in and parked the car on the far side of the barn, out of sight from most of the road. He got out, followed by four white women and a black man. “Oh, I’m sorry, I forgot to mention all of my friends here.” He pointed to the black man who was now standing next to him. “This here’s Lee. He’s my good buddy. He helped me out of my apartment building when this all started.” He pointed to a woman with short, black hair who seemed very shy, and said that her name is Jessie.

    A young brunette girl, no older than sixteen, introduced herself as Allison. She had very large, Harry Potter-like glasses. A very scrawny woman with bleached blonde hair raised her hand and said that she was named Amanda. She very obviously does — or did — drugs judging by her appearance, her face sunken in and damaged. Seth pointed to the final girl, a blonde, middle-aged woman who had obviously been crying. “Excuse her, I’m sorry. She just lost her son.”

    Jessie looked to the ground, upset at Seth’s words. “I guess I did, too,” she said, obviously having history with Seth.

    “You don’t know that, Jessie,” Seth retorted. “Sorry Erin,” he flashed a hand to the sobbing blonde, “but we actually saw her son die, Jessie. Yours was lost when we tried to escape the refugee center. He could be with other survivors.” The two glared at each other for a few moments, which seemed very suspicious to Robert and Hershel. “Anyways, sorry,” Seth said, realizing how awkward things had just gotten. “You were saying, your names?”

    Jimmy was stumbling over the names, so Hershel took over for him, introducing himself, his family, Robert’s group, Otis, Patricia, and Jimmy. “So, what do you want?” Hershel inquired.

    “Well, I don’t know,” Seth began. “What do most survivors want? Food, home, friends. You all are the ones that flagged us down, by the way,” he chuckled. “We have supplies in our vehicle, and we can combine inventories. We could team up. It’s a rough world out there. You all probably don’t know how bad it is, do you?” Most people shook their heads, not knowing much more than second-hand stories over the radio. “People dying everywhere out there. Y’all got it good here? We can help you all out. Do you need guns? We have plenty! So what do you say?” Seth smiled widely and looked between everyone at the farm. “Can we be a part of your group?”

    Everyone looked to Hershel, seeing him as their unofficial leader. He looked between everyone, with a general consensus that it was a good idea. After a long period of silence as he contemplated the decision, he looked into Seth’s eyes and said, “Alright. You can join us. But remember two things: if you try to hurt one of us, you’re all dead. These people are my family, and if you hurt them, you’ll regret it. Second, if you live here, you will be expected to help out, at least a bit. Help keep the house clean, do chores, help out with animals, the lands, and anyone who needs help.”
    Seth nodded his head and looked to his people. They all nodded at him and he smiled back to Hershel. “So we’re in?” he asked for clarification. Hershel nodded his head again. A wave of happiness washed across Seth’s face.



    About an hour later, Patricia and Lyrik made up the only bedroom left, and Hershel told them that they could either pile into it or sleep in the living room. Lily told them that their friend died in the room they were trying to move into and Erin and Jessie freaked out. Seth rolled his eyes when he thought no one was looking, though Robert and Lily caught it, and he told them they would sleep in the living room. Shawn and Arnold helped them move a couple of mattresses downstairs, grumbling the whole way down. Seth, Jessie, and Erin slept on couches while Lee, Allison, and Amanda slept on beds on the floor.

    Robert was sitting in his room, listening to the quiet of the house. He was expecting the newcomers to be dangerous. Lily and Lyrik told him he should stop being so paranoid and just go to bed, but he couldn’t help but worry. “Robert,” Lily had told him, “they gave us weapons. They wouldn’t do that if they planned to kill us.” Though she had a point, Robert couldn’t shake the feeling of uneasiness. After about thirty minutes of just staring out of the window, listening, he began to drift to sleep, against his better judgement.

    Downstairs, the new group was trying to get some much-needed rest. Seth was obviously upset about having to sleep on a couch when he could have been upstairs in a bed. He felt that Jessie and Erin were way too sensitive. They’re not the only ones who lost people they love and care for, he thought to himself. What gives them the right to be so whiney? I lost my dad, fiancÚ, and daughter, and I’m fuckin’ fine.

    He attempted to sleep, but ended up tossing and turning for a few hours before finally falling asleep in the strange new environment. In most of his dreams, all he could think about was fighting. Visions of a car, stealing supplies, and running from dangerous people ran through his head.



    Spoiler Spoiler:
    Last edited by bertglamga; October 21st, 2014 at 05:21 AM.

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    Chapter 6 “Followed”
    Day 15








    Since the new group of six has arrived at the farm, they have actually improved the whole group’s survival rate. Occasionally, a stray walker or two may come out of the woods. To take care of the issue of walking outside and being met with an undead monster approaching, Seth suggested they have a lookout at all times and that they could take shifts. They even assist the majority group in all of the jobs, and the farm has grown and is back on track for a successful harvest.

    They had enough guns to get every Greene family member armed, as well as Robert, Lily, Otis, and Jimmy. The two days after they arrived, they took the group into town to the local firing range and taught them quite a bit about shooting and aiming, as well as quickly reloading. Seth and Lee impressed everyone as they dispatched of walkers in town with ease and seemed very confident in surviving this new world.

    Everyone in the group has begun to warm up to the new group. They have been very nice, and none of them have seemed too threatening to them. The only one who seemed suspicious in any way was Seth, who seemed to be hiding a lot of things. Everyone else was either a sad mother or an average citizen, and thus didn’t much cause any suspicion.

    Generally, however, they seemed to be quite paranoid, or on the lookout for something. It seemed quite off to the original group. They were constantly volunteering for lookout duty, or staring outside windows to the road. Hershel, Patricia, and Arnold, having already grown much closer to them than some of the more suspicious, said that they were probably just working extra hard to show that they can pull their weight and make sure they were all safe. That they are proving they are worth keeping around, especially because they must have seen and experienced awful things. Finally, they were beginning to ease up, and they decided to let Arnold have night shift as lookout so that they could all finally get some much-needed rest.



    Arnold got onto watch duty just around sundown, right after dinner. He went upstairs and climbed onto the roof through Hershel’s window to take his position for the night. He brought up his favorite magazine for when it gets too quiet and a fresh cup of coffee for just in case.


    Hours and hours passed, way past midnight, and the only thing he saw was a stray walker crossing from one side of the field to the other, being swallowed back into the forest.

    About an hour before sunrise, Arnold was getting very tired. He went inside for a quick refill of coffee. He climbed in through Hershel’s window, being careful not to wake the man. The overweight man eased his way downstairs, passing by everyone’s bedroom doors. When he got downstairs, he was careful to step lightly, so as to not wake up Seth’s group. In the kitchen, he found he had drank nearly all of the coffee in the empty pot, aside from a thin layer of coffee in the bottom. He poured what little he could into his cup and started up a new pot. Paranoid, and knowing it would take about twenty minutes for the coffee to make, he quietly shuffled back upstairs and out the window to return to his post.

    He sat back on the roof and sipped at what little coffee he had. By his third sip, it was gone, and he groaned to himself, putting his head in his hands. Then, he heard a low rumble that took him off guard. He lifted his head from his hands. It was a shaky, vibrating sound, and it felt like a small earthquake. He almost brushed it off as an actual earthquake before he noticed movement up the road. There, a massive truck was driving up, followed by a small car with long paint scratches on one side. From the dimness, the truck looked like a rolling, demonic porcupine, with spikes and chains dressing it, poles sticking out of many sides of it it, and most of the vehicle covered in blood. Their headlights were turned off, and they were moving quite slowly. Clearly, the drivers were trying not to be noticed. They’re either looking for something, Arnold thought to himself, or they know we’re here and want something from us. God, I hope they just want directions.

    Arnold readied his gun, pointing it into the windshield of the blood-splattered truck. Looking through the sniper, he saw a large, dark man, who appeared to be either Hispanic or simply very tanned. He had muscles ripping at the seams and the beginnings of a handlebar mustache. In the passenger seat was a smaller, though still quite fit, white man with a buzzcut. He had an angry sneer on him, and a blade of wheat between his teeth. Arnold sighed in concern. Maybe sugar?

    As the vehicles neared the house, Arnold pressed against the side of the roof, right next to Hershel’s window, attempting to blend in. He kept his sniper up and watched the people in the vehicles as they studied the house. They were looking at the grounds around the farm, eyeing up vehicles and things outside such as tables and occasionally trying to see through windows. They were nearly out of sight and surrounded by the trees again, on the exit of the road off of the farm, when the small car stopped. The truck soon took notice and stopped, as well. A flashlight turned on in the car, illuminating the people within and revealing three people in the back. The light first was directed to the back window of the truck to get their attention before the beam turned and shone in a direction Arnold couldn’t see. He scooted closer to the edge of the house as the roof creaked below him, and saw that the beam was on the vehicle Seth’s group arrived in.

    After a few moments of the flashlight’s beam scanning the car, presumably making sure it was the right one, the light turned off and the vehicles began moving, quicker this time. Arnold felt a rush of relief. They were mistaken. This isn’t the car they’re looking for. He lowered his gun and began to smile. Then, the truck made a sharp u-turn, the car following. Their headlights blazed to life, blinding Arnold instantly. He fumbled, attempting to raise his gun, but struggling to find the right parts of it in the bright light.

    The two vehicles drove up into the yard and parked right below the part of the house Arnold was pressed up against. Arnold’s eyes finally adjusted to the light and he squinted, his gun up and finger on the trigger. The strangers climbed out of the cars and stood right in front of them, becoming no more than silhouettes standing in the headlights. There was about ten of them. The big, strong one lifted his gun, using his sniper in the same manner Arnold was. As he was about to fire, he realized that this man was unfamiliar. He lowered his gun back down. “Who are you?” called the stranger.

    “A-Arnold,” the farm hand squeaked in horror. The other silhouettes around him raised their guns in unison. Arnold considered lowering his, but was too afraid to move. “A-” he paused, “Arnold Greene.”

    The leader nodded his head in response. “Well, Arnold, have you seen any people around recently? A group of four? Maybe a bit more?” Arnold was quivering, instantly thinking of Seth’s group and his head filled with anger and fright. What did they do? The large man in the headlights continued, “Their leader’s a pretty built guy, dual-colored hair. Should be traveling with a black guy and two weak girls. Unless they died by now. Ringing any bells, Arno’?”

    Arnold was having trouble breathing and thinking at the same time as he stood vulnerably on a roof, lit up and surrounded by dangerous strangers. What should he say? What happened? Were the people in Seth’s group bad people? Murderers? Thieves? Arnold realized the gravity of the situation, nine guns pointed at him, ready to fire, and snapped back into it. With immediate regret, he said “Yes.”

    “Just as I thought. Well, Arny-boy, I’m going to need you to let me in. Immediately. They are inside, yes?”

    Beginning to panic, Arnold told them to wait while he got his leader. The silhouetted stranger turned to the person right next to him and they whispered to themselves. They agreed to let Arnold go in, but if he took longer than one minute the farm house would become Swiss cheese.

    Quickly, Arnold got to his feet, shoved the window open, and could be heard from where the strangers were standing, shouting incoherently.

    Hershel, rudely awakened, quickly slipped on pants and a jacket and grabbed his pre-loaded shotgun. He slipped on his shoes as Arnold slipped back out the window to buy more time. Hershel made his way out of his room and woke up Otis and Patricia, and told them to get everybody up and ready to fight immediately. He made his way downstairs and woke up Seth and Jessie, before he heard the leader outside yell, obviously getting annoyed at Arnold. Hershel quickly went out of the door.

    “I’m here, I’m here. I’m old, damn it,” Hershel said, trying to cover for his slowness.

    Upstairs, Otis and Patricia were waking everyone up. They grabbed their guns, and some of them shoved their most prized possessions into their pockets or grabbed bags they had packed in case they needed to make a quick escape. They all readied their guns, making sure they were loaded and ready to go, and positioned themselves in windows or in safer areas to wait out the gunfire or to provide a safe area in case someone got injured and needed medical attention as soon as possible.

    Downstairs, Seth panicked. He knew what was going on. If he or one of his people were on lookout duty, they would have seen the truck coming and could have done something. They could have hidden the car more, drove it out of there, or even killed the dangerous group on sight. Anything would have been better than this. Better than ruining their chances at the group ever trusting them again. Better than having this safe, beautiful farm possibly being destroyed. Certainly better than having these good, trustable, amazing people die for something that was in no way their fault. He gathered his group, armed them, and they positioned themselves in the windows, ready to fight for this place.

    “So you’re the leader?” the silhouetted stranger asked Hershel. “You seem to be quite...elderly for a leader.”

    “Doesn’t mean I can’t keep people safe. And I can damn sure keep ‘em in line,” Hershel said, his eyes hardening.

    “Well, whatever man. I don’t care about you or Augustus Gloop up there on your roof. I’m here to...get my friends. Seth, I believe one goes by.” Though it could barely be seen, it was obvious the man was smiling at what he had just said.

    The conversation lasted for as long as Hershel could manage, but it eventually went out of control when it became apparent to the strangers that Hershel was trying to buy time. Arnold had sneaked back to the window, with one leg in and one leg out, his gun still up and ready to fire. Trying to be subtle, Hershel took a step back, and the door behind him was quietly opened slightly, so that Hershel could push past it and get inside if things got dirty. The leader took notice, however, and he raised his gun. He had lost his patience and knew what was about to happen. “I’m sick of this shit,” he said and quickly fired at Hershel, the bullet flying just barely past his head, chopping off a few white hairs. Hershel quickly turned and ran inside, throwing the door open and slamming it shut behind him as his heart raced. Bullets began firing from the windows of the house at the strangers, who were nearly all taken out right then, blindsided by the amount of people ready and shooting from the farm house.

    One of the gunners who had ducked behind the truck managed to hit Arnold in the arm as he quickly tumbled inside and fell flat onto his face, which made a loud thud throughout the house. He scrambled to his feet through the pain and ran out of Hershel’s room to Patricia and Lyrik, who were crouching in the hall as they tried to gather their belongings and ready some first aid kits. “Patch me up, quick,” he begged them, knowing he had to take care of his wound, but also had to help defend the farm.

    The gunfire flew rapidly, bullets exchanged between the two groups. Suddenly, out of nowhere, Allison was shot right between the eyes, falling lifelessly to the ground. Jessie and Erin ducked down, panicking.

    “Get back up and fight for this fucking farm, goddamn it!” Seth screamed at them, filling with rage that they could just give up so easily. Jessie cautiously but quickly raised back up to the window and resumed firing. Erin, however, stayed down, frozen with fear.

    Upstairs, Otis, Shawn, Beth, Jimmy, Robert, Lily, and Maggie were in a row, firing at the opposing group. Shawn downed a woman, shooting her right in the heart. Beth got a headshot and smiled, pleased with herself, but kept the firing going. Jimmy looked to her and they smiled at one another before Beth went back to shooting. Jimmy opened his mouth to congratulate her, but a bullet went right through the side of his open mouth and he fell to the floor, lifeless. Beth wailed and dropped her gun. She was quickly on her knees over him, her hands over the hole in the side of his mouth as she confusedly attempted to save him.

    “Patricia! Jimmy needs your help, now!” Patricia and Lyrik rushed in crouching and keeping their heads low before the three dragged Jimmy into the hallway to assist him. As soon as they lowered him back onto the ground in the hallway and the got a good look at his injury, Patricia gasped and covered her mouth. The bullet had passed through Jimmy’s cheek and into his neck. He had passed out and was barely breathing, so it did not seem as if it had hit his brain, but there was no way to tell where the bullet hit in that moment. If they had proper medical equipment, there was a chance that he could be saved. But they did not, and there was no way to get them in time during this chaos. Patricia looked up to Beth and grimly shook her head no.

    Outside, the mysterious leader grew angry from ducking behind cars, having to deal with two warring groups that could barely aim. “Everyone in the farm should be dead by now,” he angrily said to his friend.

    The leader had killed someone on the ground floor and one of his women nailed someone upstairs, but she had been taken down pretty much right after. He had lost seven of his people out here, way over half of his group. He turned to his right-hand man and nodded his head. The man with the buzzcut grabbed a bottle of liquor and ripped off a shred of fabric they kept around for just this. He put it in the mouth of the bottle and turned to the leader who was ready with a lighter. The fabric was lit and the leader threw it quickly to the house. It burst, setting the porch ablaze.

    “Fuck!” Seth yelled as the flames erupted outside and he pushed Jessie and Hershel from the windows. He pointed at the stairs, but remained where he was, still firing at the dangerous strangers. “We have to go now. You two go get everyone and get ready to run!”

    Before long, Hershel, Maggie, Shawn, Jessie, Robert, Lyrik, Lily, Arnold, and Otis came running downstairs with packs loaded and they ran out the back door into the two trucks they had, Hershel and Shawn driving either.

    Inside, Patricia was screaming at Beth, crying for her to pull herself together and get into action. Finally, Patricia drew back and slapped the teenager, and she stared at Patricia, stunned. Patricia took the opportunity to get her to her knees and to get their their things so they could flee.

    Downstairs, Seth’s group was split. Lee had made it outside in the back of the one of the trucks. Seth, Erin, and Amanda were inside, still. Erin was still on her knees, kneeling with her face on the ground, weeping into the floor, Allison’s undead body lying in front of her. Amanda was yelling, watching the flames grow closer, inching in through the windows. “Erin, goddamn it, we have to leave now, or we will die! Don’t you get that?”

    Seth was kneeling over them, out of aim from windows. Even though the bullets had now ceased, he was taking no chances. “Look, either this place is going to fall on us, or we’re gonna leave her here. She’s not moving any time soon. We have to go now!”

    Amanda looked at Seth, horrified. “How could you say that? That we’d just leave her here.” Amanda pulled on Erin, but she screamed, an ugly, roaring scream of deep anguish.

    “Do you not see her? She was a mess before we ever got here. Seeing more people die was only ever going to set her off the edge. If she didn’t break down now, she would have done it later. If we leave now, we won’t have to deal with her in the future, doing this again. She could get us all killed if that happens.”

    Behind him Beth and Patricia ran through the back door, and Patricia yelled to them, “Come on, we need to leave right now!”

    Seth looked over his shoulder, then turned back to Amanda. Amanda stared at Erin, contemplating. An ember fell beside her, and she finally took notice of how far the flames had gotten, eating at the house. She looked back to Erin, and tears began falling. “I’m sorry,” she said to her dear friend. Seth grabbed Amanda by the arms and dragged her out. Loud bumps could be heard coming from upstairs, but there was no time to check what it was. Amanda began to regret her decision immediately, and tried fighting back once they got out of the back door.

    Two dead bodies lie between the trucks and the house. They were two of the strangers, who had come around to make sure there were no survivors, but Lee and Hershel had killed them.

    Seth fought Amanda towards the trucks until she eventually gave up when she heard a large crash, knowing the front of the house had collapsed. Hershel quickly drove off, his truck full of people and unable to sit around any longer. Seth and Amanda climbed into the back of Shawn’s truck.

    As the truck was taking off, two walkers made their way from around the house and a singed one came from inside. Amanda hit the back window and screamed at Shawn to stop, thinking the figure was Erin. “Erin, hurry up!” Amanda called desperately as she tried to climb out. Seth held her back, though, pointing out that the figure made no response and was walking very slowly. They soon realized it was on fire when they thought the fire was simply from the flames of the house. It was undead Jimmy, but no one knew that it was him. They assumed that it was one of the mystery group or a random walker that had got in somehow. The truck kicked back to life and chased after Hershel’s.





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    Chapter 7 “What Just Happened?”
    Day 16







    Hershel led the pack, overwhelmed with sadness. He did his best not to let it get to him, and definitely not to let it show. Right now they needed to focus on escaping and keeping calm, but the severity of the situation was not easy to ignore. They had just lost the farm, most of their supplies, and the lives of three people in their group.

    Now they were on the run, driving northwest. The sun rose above them like a flag, symbolizing the new start they have been forced to make. They drove all day, passing through towns and cities, trying to make as much distance as possible between themselves and the farm. After having passed a fourth town, the people in the leading red truck felt they were safe enough and Hershel signalled to Shawn that they were turning off onto a side road.

    Hershel pulled over the red truck and everyone got out of the seats or climbed out from the bed. Soon, the blue truck drove up and did the same.

    As Hershel got out, he began, "So, where should we-" but was cut off by Shawn, who had been holding in his rage this whole time, letting it boil deep inside like a kettle ready to blow.


    "What the fuck was that about?" He screamed, huffing and puffing over Seth. He turned to Lee and pointed, "Do you know anything about this shit?"

    Everyone originally from Seth's group lowered their heads. "Yeah, we know what that was about," Lee spoke up. Seth looked him in the eyes, and they shared a knowing look.


    "Those people," Seth paused, trying to find the right words. "Those people were actually the innocent ones. Well, not after that. But originally, we were the ones at fault. And we didn't know they would find us. We were hoping that they lost us. And on behalf of everyone, I'm sorry."

    Shawn was angrier still. He waited, but Seth said nothing more, holding a guilty look on his face. "Are you gonna fucking tell me what the hell happened, or do I have to shoot all'a you one by one? Leave you all here? I fuckin' will!" He reached for his holster, about to grab his gun, but Hershel grabbed his arm and glared at his step-son.

    Seth sighed, scratched at his beard, and looked down. "We stole from them. We didn't know we were stealing from them, though. We should have, but we foolishly thought that it was out for the taking. There was food, medicine, guns. Lots of stuff that we needed. And it wasn't everyone in my group's fault, either. Amanda and Erin, they weren't with us at the time."

    Shawn spat. "I don't believe you. How the hell did he know your car? Your name, Seth?"

    Seth's face remained the same, unfazed. "Well, their leader saw us drive away with the stuff, which made us realize what we had taken just then was stolen. And I imagine he heard Allison or Jessie say my name when we left." Seth lowered his head, and spoke with sincerity, "I'm truly sorry. Especially to you, Beth. I'm very sorry that you lost your boyfriend. But, you guys, you aren't the only ones who lost something last night. We lost two of our friends, Erin and Allison."

    Beth looked down to the ground. "It's okay," she said. "I forgive you." She looked up to him, wiping away a tear. "But it's not really my place to forgive you. It was Jimmy's life. Not mine."

    Seth lifted an eyebrow, not expecting that kind of response from her. He nodded to her. Shawn looked to his sister, slightly shocked. Since Beth and Hershel let it go, he decided he should try to as well. He sighed, scratched his head, and leaned against a car, resisting the urge to keep the fight going.

    Hershel looked between them and decided they were done arguing. "Well," he began, "as I was tryin' to say. Our priority right now is finding a place to stay, and soon. We're nearly runnin' on fumes, and I don't know about y'all, but I'm exhausted. Finding more vehicles couldn't hurt. It'd get people out of the cold, open back of a truck. Anyone got any suggestions?"

    There was a long pause as the group thought or looked around. Down the highway, Maggie spotted a sign. "Welcome to Palmetto," it read.

    "Daddy, look. We're outside of Palmetto. We could go check on Fern."

    "Fern?" Hershel questioned. It took him a second, but then the memory came back to him. "Fern, that girl who moved away a few years back? Maggie, I'm not sure that's a great idea. When was the last time you talked to her? And," he hesitated, looking to the ground, "there's a real good chance she's gone."


    Maggie shook her head. "I know, Daddy. But if she's gone, her house could still be a great place to stay. Her parents kept it real nice. A farmhouse surrounded by forest, even has a little pond outside of it."

    Hershel slowly nodded his head. "Alright. You lead the way," he said, and gestured for her to drive his truck there.



    They made it to Fern's house about twenty minutes after. Maggie had to constantly turn around, trying to recall the way to her friend's home. She turned down another one of the many dirt roads on the main road, beginning to feel stupid, when the large pond materialized on the right side of her, the water shining blindingly into the trucks. They made their way up the road and were met with a few walkers roaming around the house.

    The walkers quickly took notice of them and began trudging their way toward the trucks. Maggie grabbed her gun and got out, taking down two walkers as Shawn took out the third one. Maggie approached their dead bodies and sighed, slightly saddened. She recognized one to be Fern's father, Fernando. He had a large chunk of his neck missing, obviously eaten by walkers. The other two walkers appeared to be strays, or possibly other survivors that were with him when he died.

    Hershel stood over her and put his hand on his daughter's shoulder. She turned to him, her expression unbothered. "It's alright, Daddy. She wasn't my best friend or anything. I'll be fine, so long as the house is."

    As they began walking into the house, Lily gave Robert a worried look. They both had their guns ready, but Lily seemed to be afraid of what could lie inside. If it was something awful, Maggie could be very upset by what she finds. If it's anything too gruesome, they may just have to move on and find another place, which could be dangerous.

    Shawn entered the house first, his gun at the ready. In the living room stood five walkers, meandering around aimlessly. Maggie, Robert, and Otis followed in directly after. Maggie noticed that the walker farthest from them was Fern. She frowned and lowered her gun slightly. Gunfire went off around her and all five were quickly put down. She looked to the ground and turned around. "All clear," she said, signalling for everyone to come in and unpack.

    Otis, Shawn, and Robert went upstairs, checking the rest of the house for more walkers and supplies. Maggie decided to walk the perimeters and act as lookout to distract herself.

    Everyone moved in, carrying their stuff inside as much as they could at a time. Beth and Patricia were the first ones in, carrying the medical supplies and some sleeping bags. Immediately upon entering, they were smacked in the face with the vile odor of rotting corpses. Beth dropped the box of medical supplies, doubling over in disgust, puke threatening harshly to make its escape. Patricia helped her out, wrapping her arm around Beth's shoulders and guiding her outside. "Don't go in there," she said to everyone coming in. "They put down some walkers and the smell's liable to kill you."

    Hershel turned to Arnold and Seth and nodded his head. "Alright," he said. "You two, come on, let's go get those stinkers outta there."

    "Are you sure that's a good idea?" Seth said.

    "Yeah," Arnold so helpfully chimed in.

    "Those things could make us puke everywhere, and it would be a lot worse," Seth said. "We might catch something."

    "Well, unless you want to wait on them up there to come back down to do it, leavin' us all just standing out in the open, then yeah, I'm sure," Hershel retorted. "We can wear masks, it'll be fine."

    The three entered holding their breath and grabbed the medical box Beth had dropped. They quickly tried to get masks out of it before the scent hit them. Arnold couldn't hold it, and the smell attacked his nostrils. He ran outside immediately, desperately holding his hand over his mouth. As he ran out, everyone outside scattered away, avoiding him at all costs. He made it to the edge of the woods and hurled onto the trunk of a tree.

    After Arnold was done, he headed back to the house and was met by Hershel, wearing gloves and a mask, holding out the same for Arnold to put on. He dumbly looked at Hershel, giving him a look that said, "I hate you for still making me do this."

    By the time they made it to the third body, the three upstairs had finished scanning the house, finding no more walkers, but a few guns and bullets that Fern's father used to own. Robert, Otis, and Shawn then helped out in disposing of the walker bodies, also affected by the smell. Soon, the bodies had been dragged out and put in an open area near the lake to be burned later, another great idea from Seth.

    Everyone carried on moving in and setting up shop. Things seemed to be good here, to Hershel, Beth, Otis, and Patricia. They loved it here, and thought the group could live here indefinitely. Robert, Arnold, Maggie, Lily, Seth, and Lee, however, felt that we should keep moving for a while and not get too comfortable. Seth made his case on why they should stay, stating how "They found us in Senoia, all the way from northern Atlanta. If we want to escape them, if they're not all dead, we need to keep moving, because they will find us. It's clear now that those crazy fucks have a bloodlust."

    The discussion carried on for quite a while, until Hershel ruled a compromise. "I suppose you could be right about them following us. But we can't keep driving around like this. We need to take time to get our strength back, and to find more supplies, better vehicles. And there's only, what, three of them left? We managed to take out a lot of them. I don't think the last few are much of a threat." Most people nodded their heads or somewhat agreed, but Seth and Lee stood firm on their stance. "How about this?" Hershel suggested. "We stay here for three days. Then we decide what to do from there. If anyone feels too uneasy, or we find signs that we've been followed, we leave immediately." Begrudgingly, everyone agreed to the compromise.

    That night, Maggie stayed up as lookout, almost terrified of sleeping in that house after seeing Fern like that. Her old friend looked terrible, like she had been tortured for days before she died. Her jaw was missing completely and she was missing her left hand. Fern's mother was in the room with her, too, and she looked just as bad. Maggie finally realized how bad things must be out here, and she suddenly felt very scared for the future. Everyone would die, and it would be painful. She would die, her father would die, her siblings, Otis, Patricia, Robert, Seth. Everyone.





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    Chapter 8 “Let’s Go”
    Day 19







    Over the past three days, the group had scavenged in Palmetto as much as they could and found many useful things. Gas in cars, lighters, matches, canned foods, seeds for growing, and clothes. Everyone got at least one extra set of clothing, and they found three working vehicles: two cars and a van. They decided to siphon all of the gas out of the trucks and put it into the van and the car with the most space in it.

    Now, it was morning. The sun was slowly beginning to rise over the sunset. It was peaceful, aside from a few walkers every few hours. Today was the day the group would vote on whether or not they stay where they are or move on. Arnold was on lookout duty once more.

    Though an awful thing happened the last time he was on lookout, he quite enjoyed this job. It was quiet, tranquil. He sighed before rubbing the bullet wound on his arm, now almost totally healed. A few days before, Hershel had managed to get the bullet out, which was luckily not very deep in and proved to be an easy job.
    What he like most about looking duty was that it gave him time to himself away from everyone else to think. Today was a very big day to be thinking, as well. Certain members of the group have entrusted him to get them out of this house, and he was not entirely certain whether or not to go along with it. No matter how nice this place looked, he would not dare to put his friends and family in danger.

    Robert, Maggie, and Seth came up with the idea. Arnold would be on lookout duty on the night before the final day, so when it came time to discuss leaving, Arnold would have news for them. He would lie and say that in the night he saw headlights through the trees run down a neighboring road, and that they were driving quite slowly, as if they were looking for someone, just like they had on the night of the attack. He would then say that he awoke Robert and Maggie to be on standby in case things went South, and then they would lie, as well, and say that they witnessed the vehicles, too.

    Thinking about it, however, Arnold was very unsure. If they kept moving, they might never find a good place to stay. Even if they do, that could be a long time from now. Being out on the road seemed much more dangerous than running from a group of people that may have just perished in the fire of Hershel’s farm. Sending the group on the road again could be a death sentence. Staying here could be a death sentence as well, but quite likely not any time soon. This could be a haven, he thought.

    Soon, after spending his time pondering, conflicted as he stared out at the lake, the sun was quite high up, and he didn’t realize it until Otis found him and told him to come downstairs. It was time for the group to vote on staying or going.

    He made his way downstairs, still weighing the possibilities. In the livingroom, Hershel was standing in front of a coffee table while everyone around him sat in the chairs and couches surrounding it. Arnold took a seat right next to Maggie, ready to speak when Hershel first asked for any information.

    “Alright, so now everyone’s here. So, it’s been three days since we moved in. It’s time to vote on whether we stay here or move on. First, we need to know if anyone’s seen anything strange.” Maggie, Robert, and Seth subtly looked to Arnold. He looked back at them, and decided, This is the right thing to do.

    “I did,” Arnold spoke up. “Last night, on lookout, I heard what sounded like cars.” Patricia covered her mouth, shocked and afraid. “And on the other side of the trees, at the neighboring house, I saw headlights. I got worried, and I woke up Robert and Maggie to help out in case something happened. The sun was startin’ to rise, though, so I guess they got scared of being seen. Took off.”

    Hershel’s face showed what looked like serious fear, and it shocked Arnold greatly. He turned to Robert and Maggie. “Is this true?” he asked. Maggie nodded her head as Robert frowned seriously at Hershel, also a bit shocked to see quite a reaction. “Well, why the hell did nobody tell me sooner?” Hershel asked, sounding suddenly angry.

    “Daddy, nothing happened,” Maggie told him. “If the car turned this way, we would have went and got you.” She realized her argument didn’t exactly make the point that they were in danger, though, and quickly added, “But this is bad. If they had turned down this road, we could’a been dead. I think we need to leave.” Jessie and Lyrik, who had remained neutral, nodded their heads worriedly to Hershel, seconding Maggie’s suggestion to leave.

    Hershel nodded solemnly, looking upset as well. “Alright, well...I think this changes things. I think it’s time to vote. All who vote we should leave, raise your hand.” Maggie, Arnold, Robert, Lily, Lyrik, Seth, Jessie, and Lee raised their hands. Lastly, Hershel hesitantly raised his hand as well. “All opposed,” he said, and Patricia, Otis, Beth, Shawn, and Amanda raised their hands.

    He lowered his head and felt like he may regret his next words. “Overruled. We leave immediately. Everyone, pack up your stuff and we’ll leave before noon.”

    Everyone got up from their seats, headed to their rooms, and got their belongings. Just on time, they left before noon and started on their long drive.



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    Chapter 9 “Temporary”
    Day 20








    The group drove for hours in their new vehicles and eventually made it out of Georgia. They passed the Alabama state line and continued driving for hours. They passed things that they did not even expect to see. In this distance, they once saw what looked like almost fifty walkers, walking together as a unit. Some of the towns they passed through seemed okay, but others were awful. One town on the edge of the Georgia border had half of its buildings completely engulfed in fire.

    That night, they set up camp off the road a ways outside of a town, with two people on lookout at any given time. They woke up the next morning and began driving once more after having a light breakfast of canned food and the last of their remaining vegetables from the farm.

    Slowly, they drove down the lonely roads cluttered with debris. Crashed or broken vehicles littering the highway, with the occasional blood splatter here and there, walkers roaming all about.

    Eventually, they made it into a town and spotted a house that seemed usable. All of their past houses had been farm houses basically in the middle of nowhere. This one was quite a large house sat in the center of a neighborhood. It seemed to be large enough to hold all of them, and they decided to stop and check it out. Arnold, Seth, Lee, and Shawn volunteered to check and clear out the house.

    The entrance room was quite large and split off into two directions. To the left, the kitchen and living room were visible. Down the right, a long hallway with many doors could be seen. Seeing no immediate threats, they split up. Lee and Shawn went to the left, exploring the main rooms, while Arnold and Seth went to the right to check out the hallway, which presumably was the bedrooms.

    Lee and Shawn made themselves busy with scrounging for supplies, checking out any unexpected doors — which either led outside or to a bathroom or closet — and making sure all windows and doors were secured.

    Seth and Arnold decided to split the doors between themselves to save time. Seth took all the doors on the left-hand side of the hallway, while Arnold took all the doors on the right-hand side of the hallway. They agreed to not open any two doors at once, and to wait for the other person to open their door before they open their own.

    Their first two rooms were perfectly fine, the only thing seeming off was the room Arnold opened smelling like rotten eggs and soured milk. The trend continued, with every door they opened seeming perfectly fine, though some things being slightly off, like a blood splatter here, or a cracked window there.

    At the end of the hall, Seth had just opened his room and was currently inside of it, checking it out, signalling to Arnold that it was okay to open his door. He slowly cracked it open, nervous. As he entered the room it appeared to be, like the others, clear. Relieved, Arnold sat his gun down onto the bed and layed down on his back next to it. He sighed, finally able to rest, and this time on an actual bed! It had been almost a week since he had a bed of his own, and he wanted to enjoy what little time he had with it.

    As he was beginning to doze off, he heard a scratching noise under the bed, but figured it was a bug or rat and continued focusing on his relaxation. In an instant, something grabbed onto his right ankle, and he felt an intense pain. A quite delayed reaction, he sat up and yelled in pain, doing his best to get his hands around his gun. Seth bolted into the room and noticed a small walker ripping into Arnold’s ankle. Arnold had gotten his hands around his gun and pointed down, figuring he had gotten the aim right, but shot himself in the calf instead and yelled furiously in pain, throwing himself on his back again, writhing in pain. Seth gasped and lowered his gun. He looked around the room before ripping a loose slice of wood off of a dresser. He slammed it into the walker’s head, blood spewing out of the hole made with the wood and a the monster’s mouth, mixing into Arnold’s blood.

    By this time, Lee and Shawn had heard the commotion, and Lee had already left to go get the others. Shawn and Seth began working on cleaning Arnold’s leg and getting the walker out of the way, but it was stuck to something under the bed. Seth went around the side of the bed and attempted to pull it out from under the bed and found that the walker’s legs were tied to the bedposts. Seth used the same piece of wood he used to put down the walker to free it, and he dragged it out from under the bed. It was the body of a young boy, thin and small, no older than 10. Seth grimaced and looked to Shawn, who was pressing his hands against Arnold’s legs, attempting to slow the bleeding. They shared worried looks about all of this and Seth began dragging the young walker out through the hall, out the back door so that no one in the group had to see it. Hershel, Maggie, and Patricia came through the doors of the house just as Seth made it through the back. Lee led them to Arnold and Shawn, and the older duo immediately began working on him, cleaning and disinfecting the wound and wrapping it up as best they could. After, Seth rejoined them.

    “I’m sorry, Hershel. We should have been more careful. This is my fault,” he said to Hershel, genuinely feeling very guilty.

    “No, son,” Hershel said to Seth, “this isn’t anyone’s fault. Neither of you could have known. He thought it was safe and it wasn’t. If anything, it’s Arnold’s fault.” He paused, and reconsidered his words. “I didn’t mean that, I just...I’m sorry Arnold,” he said, looking to Arnold’s pained, barely conscious face. After checking other beds and blind spots in all of the bedrooms, Seth and Lee helped Arnold get properly into the bed. Hershel knew that no matter what he did for Arnold now, nothing could help him. Saying that aloud though would help no one, though. He cleared his throat sadly and got up to inform the people outside that it was clear to come in and get settled before warning them to be careful and not to disrupt Arnold.



    About an hour later, everyone had picked out sleeping arrangements for the seven bedrooms they had to share. The sun was beginning to set, and Arnold had woken up. All of the Greenes were surrounding him, hoping that these would not be the last moments they spent with him. After the initial relief and shock once they saw he was awake, they rushed to help him in any way, adjusting his pillows or kissing him in glee that he had awoken.

    Before long, though, Arnold brought the mood back down. He loved them, but he was scared and wanted answers. “I’m going to die, aren’t I?” Arnold asked them. “Just like LaRissa...and Aunt Annette.” Beth sadly looked to the ground and Maggie shook her head at him.

    “No, Arnold,” Maggie said. “We don’t know that. We don’t know how this works. We were able to disinfect your wound pretty quickly after it happened. You’re going to be fine.”

    Though Maggie said it, just like Hershel, she knew she was wrong. That she was lying to Arnold. No one believed her, but they wanted to. God, did they want to.



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    Chapter 10 “Foodland & Goodnight”
    Day 21








    It was the next morning and things with Arnold were still looking grim. He hadn’t been able to move at all, not even to change his position on the bed, and people were losing hope. Not only were they losing hope, they were running low on supplies. They had used the last of their alcohol yesterday on Arnold, and they needed a lot more food and bandages. Exploring the area surrounding their new house, Shawn and Otis discovered that they were a few blocks east of a grocery store called Foodland.

    Shawn and Otis told Hershel about it and he agreed with them that they should consider getting a group together and head out to get supplies. “How about,” Otis proposed, “Shawn, Seth, Lee, and I go?”

    Hershel half-frowned at him. “I’m not sure that’s the best idea right now. Patricia needs you, and I don’t think you should be goin’ around, riskin’ your life when we have a constant reminder here about how dangerous it is out there.”

    A flash of sadness swept across Otis’s face, but he pushed it back and nodded his head compliantly. Shawn looked to Otis and considered sneaking him out, but decided against it for Patricia’s sake. Otis was tough enough, but Hershel wasn’t wrong. “I’ll ask around for someone else to,” Shawn told Hershel, who nodded in response.

    Shawn went to find Seth and Lee, but they weren’t in their room. He went down the hallway, about to check for them in Jessie and Amanda’s room, but heard voices in the living room and followed them. There, everyone was gathered around in the living room, playing board games they had found in one of their rooms. Shawn sighed, slightly angry about having to ask everyone together. He entered the room and smiled to Beth, who was the first to notice him, but she only half-smiled in return.

    “Everyone,” he said, attempting to get their attention, “Otis and I found a supermarket down the road, and we need to get a group together to go and scavenge for supplies. Does anyone want to volunteer?”

    Lee and Maggie raised their hands instantly, eager both to help out and to get out of the house and its gloomy atmosphere. Seth kept his head down, acting as though he was focused on the cards. Hesitantly, Robert put his hand up, as well. Lily noticed and decided, Why not? putting her hand up as well.

    Shawn was obviously disappointed. Seth was upset for some reason and he felt that Maggie, Robert, and Lily weren’t exactly the best people to bring along. Maggie because he was his sister, and Robert and Lily because they weren’t really very strong members of the group. “Maggie, no,” he said.

    “Shawn,” Maggie told him, glaring, “I don’t care what you say, I’m going. I can handle myself and you know that.”

    Shawn shook his head, frustrated. “Robert, Lily, are you guys sure you should be going?”

    Robert raised a brow at him, “What’s your problem with me going?”

    Shawn’s eyes widened slightly, and he shook his hands rapidly. “No, no, it’s nothing like that,” he said, trying not to come off as offensive. “It’s just, I’m not sure that you’d be a good idea to bring along, if I’m honest. Especially you, Lily.”

    Lily raised her own eyebrow, but with an actual fury brewing inside of her. “What the fuck is that supposed to mean?”

    “It means that I’m not sure you’re fast or focused enough,” he said after a brief, shocked pause. He bit back though with a flat, “Plain and simple. Sorry.”

    Lily looked back down at the board game, her face twisting in anger. Robert glanced at her, and looked to Shawn, giving him a look that said “you just fucked up.”

    Shawn ran his hand down his face and groaned loudly. “Fine, whatever. You four, get ready to go. Empty out a backpack for each of you, make sure your shoes are tied tight, get any weapons you feel you’re capable with or may need, and be ready in ten minutes.”



    Shawn was sitting at the wheel of the white car with Lee sitting right next to him in the passenger seat. “I don’t know about this,” he said to Lee.

    Lee shrugged in response, “Well, you never know. They might be useful. Even if not, it wouldn’t hurt to get more people to be capable of this kind of stuff. We can’t just rely on Seth, Arnold, you, me, and Otis. Especially with Otis’s wife being so fragile and Arnold in the shape he is.”

    Soon, Maggie joined them, just on time. She sat right behind Shawn with her empty backpack in her lap. “Seth said we should try to find more knives,” she said out of the blue. Shawn nodded to her in the rear-view mirror, and he looked to the house to see Robert quickly walking to the car, climbing into the seat behind Lee, doing the same as Maggie with his backpack.

    “Where’s Lily?” Shawn questioned.

    “She’s takin’ a piss,” Robert stated bluntly. Lee smiled to himself and Shawn nodded, an odd expression on his face.

    “She couldn’t have done that earlier?”

    “Excuse her for having a bladder,” Robert retorted, getting annoyed with Shawn.

    Lily came from the front door of the house, zipping up her pants. She got in through the passenger side, pushing Robert into the middle.

    They took off just as a walker approached who had noticed Lily enter the car. It scratched at the trunk of the car as it departed, blowing dust into the poor, undead creature’s face.

    From the house, Seth was watching through the window. He felt an awful feeling in the pit of his stomach. I should have went, he thought to himself. But I have to prove myself. Prove that I can be useful, and not just get people killed. Too many people have died under my watch, and that’s going to change. These people can finally look up to me, and Hershel will finally trust me. Seth didn’t comprehend the amount of respect many people in the group had for him. He was the strongest person physically, and he has helped them survive and adapt tremendously. Without him they would have no defense and very little knowledge of many things about the way this new world works. Though he hasn’t exactly proved to be great as a protector, he has been wonderful as a teacher and motivator.

    They made it to the supermarket in only about five minutes and were met with a few walkers as they approached, which were quickly dispatched of within a few shots by Lee and Shawn. Lily attempted it, but missed horribly, instead shooting a stop sign, which made a loud clanging noise. Robert stared at the hole in the sign and remembered something Seth had told him about walkers being attracted to noise.

    Before they entered the stores Shawn laid down a plan. They would go in, split into two groups, and explore as two units. Robert smiled to himself, “Well,” he said, “I think there might be a change of plans.”

    Shawn lifted a brow at him. “What do you mean?”

    “You’ll see.”

    They entered together, Shawn first, then Lee, Robert, Maggie, and then Lily. Lee was about to separate the group, him taking Lily, while Shawn took Robert and Maggie, when Robert told them to stop. He lifted his gun and pointed it up to the metallic ceiling and pulled the trigger, taking everyone off guard, the sound sharp and shrill almost deafening. Then, a dozen walkers materialized from the aisles as Shawn realized Robert’s plan, giving the teen a proud smile. “That’s genius, dude,” Shawn said, suddenly feeling better about bringing this group along.

    Shawn and Lee dispatched of the nearest, most threatening walkers, and then they focused on trying to teach the other three to shoot. Maggie was quite the natural, taking down three walkers with ease. Robert got the reloading and shooting part down well, but his aim was quite off and it took him a few tries to put down two walkers. Lily, however, was just all around pretty bad with shooting and Lee and Shawn had to put her walkers down for her. The best she had managed was getting one in the neck, but that wasn’t enough to take it down.

    Slightly frustrated with herself, she holstered her gun and did her best to forget about it. Lee patted her shoulder kindly. “It’s alright. You’ll get better at it,” he smiled to her. “It just takes practice. Besides, this place is safe now. You don’t need it any more.”

    Lily looked at him, frustration blatant on her expression. “Good,” she said. “I don’t want to shoot ever again.” She detached her gun holster off of her belt and handed it back to Lee, who frowned at her, but nodded understandingly.

    Though Shawn wanted to insist that Lily keep the gun, Lee was right. This place was safe. So instead, he made a new plan. “Since this place is clear, we can all split up solo and get the place covered in half the time. The sooner we get out of here and get the supplies back to the group, the better.

    They all departed, headed in opposite directions. Robert went for the household and medical supplies, Maggie searched the entrance and front counters for reading material and weapons, Lee headed for the foods section to find canned foods and not-yet-expired goods, Shawn went to the vegetables looking for seeds and fertilizer, and Lily went to the refrigerators and the back rooms for useful things employees might have left behind and the stockroom.

    Robert’s search proved to be moderately fruitful. He found no peroxide or alcohol, but there were plenty of pills (including aspirin, antidepressants, and ADHD medication) and bandages, as well as other things like toilet paper, plastic silverware, paper plates, shampoo, and deodorant.

    Maggie found many things that she thought could be useful, such as magazines and small books for when things get boring, cigarettes, pocket knives, lighters, matches, batteries, a few flashlights, fabric hair ties, rubber bands, and candy.

    Lee’s search was not the greatest. He found many canned things, but he was hoping to find other things, such as mostly-fresh bread loaves, but it seemed like the day that this place was abandoned was probably the day before their stock would be replenished. There was very little food at all, and what was left was either spoiled, moldy, or hardened. He did manage to find a large amount of spices and enough canned and nonperishable foods to last out the rest of the week, though.

    Shawn’s search went about as well as one would expect. Going to the fruit and vegetable section, he was met with a whole lot of nothing and disgusting. Just like Lee had found, it seemed as though the food that expired quickest was looted early, and what was left was shriveled and rotten. He did find many seeds, though, which would make his father very happy.

    Lily’s exploration of the store was the most interesting, though. She was in the freezer section looking for things that could still be good, since the electricity was still on here. Looking through, there was still some good sodas and energy drinks, which she put into her bag, thinking they could be useful, and grinning devilishly at the energy drinks. After she put in the freshest drinks, she continued down the freezers, looking at the foods and their expiration dates, when she found something that caught her attention. Faygo. She smiled from ear to ear and shouted very loudly to the group: “Faygo! Guys, I just found some fucking Faygo!” In the toiletries section, Robert was smiling, shaking his head in her direction.

    She grabbed a few bottles and put them in her bag, as well. She opened one for herself and began drinking it immediately, not wanting to miss out a second longer on getting her first taste in what felt like ages of her favorite soda. She continued down the aisle and grabbed some frozen meats and cheeses to add to the collection, as well.

    When she got to the end of the aisle there was a fork, forcing her to choose to turn either left or right. To the right was Shawn, inspecting the vegetables and fruits. To the left was an almost-hidden door that lead into a back room. It wasn’t much of a door, though. They were thick plastic strips hanging over a doorway, through which many boxes could faintly be seen. Drinking her Faygo happily, she went inside to the dim room. She looked around for a light and eventually found it by dragging her hands across the dark wall. In the now way-too-bright room a desk sat, with many boxes and sacks lying around it. On the far end of the room was another door.

    She went for the desk and pulled out a drawer. Inside were many pens and paper, which she quickly bagged. In the drawer below was the same thing, and she nearly overlooked it before she thought to look under the paper. Below the paper was a brown leather holster with a white handle sticking out. She grabbed it and examined it, unsheathing the blade. It was a sharp machete with a riveted back side. It had the initials “W. E.” engraved on the lower part of the hilt. She smiled thoughtfully and attached the holster to her pants pocket.

    Feeling much stronger and safer, she went to the door at the end of the room and swung it open carelessly. The room was pitch black, and she repeated her last method of using what little light there was to search for a light, running her hands across the walls. Unbeknownst to her, something was attracted to the bright light she had just let into the room. When she made it back to the doorway, she sighed and turned around, peering into the darkness. Then, two women in blue shirts that read “FOODLAND” in bright red letters emerged, pale and stumbling. One had a huge hole in her neck, dried blood on her skin and clothes, and large parts of her hair clumped together nastily.

    Panicking, Lily scrambled to get her new blade back out of its holster. She was afraid of using the machete with two of them in front of her, so close to one another, though. Unable to get it with her fidgety, panicked fingers, Lily cussed under her breath and turned to run away, but she tripped on her bag and her Faygo spilled out onto the floor in front of her, soaking her shirt. She yelled for help, and in an instant one of them fell on top of her and bit into her left shoulder. She wailed in agony and felt the weight of the other one plummet against her legs as it too began to eat, ripping into her right hip. In her pain she really wished she had not given her gun back.

    Shawn came in first and was shocked to see Lily lying there on the ground, her blood pouring out of her body, mixing in with Faygo that was still dripping out of the bottle and onto the floor. He bit his lip and raised his gun just as Robert and Lee entered. He looked to Robert and lowered his gun, focusing on the younger boy’s expression.

    Going through Robert’s head were many emotions. Loss of the best friend he’s ever had. Agony for witnessing it. Guilt for making everyone let their guards down by drawing out walkers. Fear of the future without her. But most of all, an awful, heavy feeling of suffering for not being able to do anything to help her. On the floor, she was looking at them, her eyes begging as she was unable to yell, already looking lifeless. She blinked and attempted to speak, but was too weak and shocked to. Robert wiped at tears he didn’t even realize were falling, and raised his gun. Maggie entered behind them. “What’s going on?” she asked Shawn, who looked to her and shook his head at her as she looked past Lee and Robert’s heads to see Lily, lying on the ground in a puddle of her own blood with two walkers eating away at her.

    Robert killed the walkers with ease, taking both down with only three bullets. He approached Lily, who followed him with her eyes. She closed her eyes and clenched her lips, anticipating him to shoot her. Robert cringed and covered his mouth and nose, seeing her blood and guts pouring out of her body around her, and her looking so ready to die. The tears fell like they never had before and he raised his gun again. Robert was now blubbering as he struggled to see Lily through his tears. She, too, was crying. He closed his eyes and pulled the trigger, hitting her right in the forehead. Robert opened his eyes, making sure he got her, and he did. He fell to his knees and sobbed into her back, wailing like a small child. He looked at her forehead and saw the hole he had just made. “No,” he whispered to himself. “Why?”

    He was soon hit by the awful smell of the undead walkers by her, and he angrily pushed himself up to his knees, and began firing wildly into the walkers, hitting each one another five times each before Shawn grabbed him from behind and took the gun, shushing Robert and bringing him into a hug.



    They left about thirty minutes later after having a prompt funeral for Lily behind the supermarket. Her body was too gross and mangled for them to easily transport her back, especially since they only brought a car. Robert made sure not to forget Lily’s bag and the machete she died with. He took the machete for himself and no one argued with him over it.

    They made it back to the house with five bags, four people, and tremendous mourning. Lyrik saw them as she was looking through the windows and held her hand over her mouth. As they made their way to the house, a handful of walkers approached and Shawn and Maggie took care of them as Lee and Robert carried the bags in.

    After carelessly dropping the bags in the livingroom, Robert headed for his room, which he shared with Lyrik and Lily. He sighed as he entered and saw her bag full of clothes. In the living room, Lee explained to the group that walkers sneaked up on her and took her down before they could help. Lyrik began to cry as she listened to the story and she ran to her bedroom to talk to Robert.

    When she entered, Robert was sitting in Lily’s bed, holding the white-handled machete and one of Lily’s shirts, crying onto them. Lyrik only cried harder as she made her way to him and wrapped her arms around him. He wiped a tear and looked at her. “Lily was ambushed,” the boy said, “We were stupid. We split up, all five of us. We thought the whole place was safe, and that we’d all be okay on our own. But we weren’t. She went into a back room, and she just...went down. There was two of them.”

    Robert was bawling once again, struggling to breathe and speak. Lyrik’s tears were beginning to pour, as well. She loved Lily, and she had such great memories with Lily. But Lyrik was mostly concerned for Robert, because she knew how close the two were. Losing two of his best friends in such a short amount of time was tearing him apart, and she knew it. They both hated the idea of carrying on without her.

    Back in the living room, Robert and Lyrik's crying could faintly be heard, and it really set the tone of the whole house. Seth couldn't help but feel guilty for Lily's death because he refused to go, all because he was afraid of getting more people killed. Maybe if he were there, he could have kept them on their toes. Maybe they would all still be alive. He was finally beginning to see, though, that no one is safe, whether it’s his fault or not.

    Seth went to Hershel and volunteered for lookout duty that night, who nodded solemnly in response, his mind more focused on Arnold’s wellbeing. Hershel went in to check on him and found that he was still asleep again. He sat next to Arnold’s bed in a chair they had brought in and opened up to Arnold, half-hoping he wasn’t able to hear him. “Things are rough around here. I don’t know what we’re gonna do about it, either. People just keep on dyin’, and I don’t know what to do. Maybe I can help train them with theirs guns. Keep a better eye on ‘em. I don’t know. And now that you’ve...been bitten...I just… I just wish that everything could be easier. I don’t know how we’ve all carried on so casually. Half of Seth’s people are gone and he’s hardly managing it. Robert’s pretty much in the same position. Lost two of his best friends. People he’s had around him for most of his life. We all lost Annette… And I’m afraid that I might die, soon. I’m old, and not exactly a bodybuilder like Seth. If I get cornered, that’s it. And I don’t know what everyone’ll do if that happens.”

    Shocking Hershel, Arnold responded. “It’ll be okay,” he said weakly. “We have strong people here. I know I’m not long for this world, but-”

    Hershel interjected, worriedly, “Arnold, you know I didn’t mean-”

    “Hershel. It’s alright. I know I’m dyin’. What matters now is keeping everyone prepared and ready to deal with this. Keepin’ everyone together and functioning. No matter who goes or what happens, y’all gotta stay strong. Don’t give up.” Arnold opened his eyes to look to reassure Hershel, and saw that his uncle was crying.

    He lamely raised his hand and wiped a tear off Hershel’s cheek, who jumped slightly at the sudden touch. “Go get someone strong to watch over me,” Arnold said. “When I turn, I don’t want no one to get hurt.” Arnold looked into Hershel’s eyes, serious as stone. A last thought, Arnold added, “Do it quietly.” Hershel’s eyes reflected greif. He nodded and rose to his feet, leaving his nephew alone.

    Lee entered the room a few minutes later, assigned to watch and put down Arnold should the time come. It was awkward at first trying to talk to one another, as the two weren’t that close, and Lee was there only to kill Arnold when he reanimated, but eventually, Arnold fell asleep, and the awkward small talk was finally over.

    Though Lee managed to stick it out for longer, he was running on less sleep than most other people in the group. He had been constantly volunteering and then put on watch, only managing to get about two hours worth of sleep in the last two days. When it got quiet, and all he had to keep himself occupied was to watch Arnold get the sleep he himself so desperately desired, he could hardly stand to keep his eyes open.

    By the time he had awoke, it was too late. Arnold had turned, and was digging into his chest, tearing out organs, and Lee could not speak. He was in agonizing pain, crying wordlessly. He couldn’t even let out a yell, or a scream, or a noise of any sort, and soon he blacked out. The last thing he saw was deep red blood; all over him, all over Arnold, all over the room.




    Spoiler Spoiler:
    Last edited by bertglamga; October 21st, 2014 at 05:19 AM.

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