If I Stand, We Fall (IC)

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coinsruledude
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If I Stand, We Fall (IC)

Postby coinsruledude » Thu Dec 11, 2014 3:02 am

Harmony: 1

[Monday, September 10th, 2012 – 5:02 PM]

“Come on, honey, look over here for just a second.” the woman said, positioning herself in front of her young daughter. She held up a sleek-looking digital camera and snapped a few quick pictures before the subject of the picture looked back at her cake, wrapped presents, and the friends she had sitting around her at the kitchen table.
“We’re going to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ now, everybody!” the woman, Janet Streets, called out, flicking off the kitchen lights. The five burning candles on the cake shone brightly in the dim kitchen area of the Streets’ apartment. All the adults stopped conversing with one another and gathered around the table while the kids quieted down, some needing a bit of help from their parents to do so.
“Happy birthday to you,” the crowd began, off-key and unorganized. “Happy birthday to you…happy birthday dear Harmony…happy birthday to you!” At the end of the song, the girl leaned in and blew out the candles, amid cheers from the people gathered around her.

[Sunday, September 16th, 2012 – 3:24 AM]

Harmony woke up from her deep sleep, jerking awake after having a nightmare. Overcome with fear, she immediately got up and ran to her parent’s room. It only served to upset her more after she opened the door and found it empty. She could hear a strange noise coming from the living room, so she quietly approached from the hallway, her feet sliding across the floor in her pink footed pajamas. A periodic beeping alarm was breaking the silence, and it was emanating from the TV, which Janet was sitting on the couch watching. The LCD screen was displaying the gray background of the National Emergency Broadcast System, and a few short sentences of white text stood out in stark contrast to the background. Janet’s husband, Harmony’s father, was pacing nearby in the kitchen.
“Hello? Hello?” he said, frustrated. He swiped the end-call button on his smartphone and tried dialing again, but with the same result as before. He started rubbing his head, the top of which was covered in a very thin layer of black hair. “Damnit, I can’t get anything. My brother isn’t answering.”
“Calm down, Quintin. Maybe the phone lines are down in Twin Falls. People all over the country are probably calling each other right now.”
“Yeah, maybe,” Quintin replied. He looked up and noticed his daughter standing in the hallway, tears running down her cheeks as she whimpered, not understanding what was happening or why her parents were acting so strange. He quickly approached her and picked her up, and she suddenly exploded into flat-out crying. “Hey, Harmony, what’s wrong? Why are you up?”
“I-I had a scary dream, a-and I went to your room and you weren’t there-“
“I’m right here,” Quintin said, rubbing his daughter’s back lightly. “We’re right here, okay? Everything’s fine.” Janet stood up and walked over to the pair, joining in on the group hug in an effort to comfort her daughter a little more.
“Harmony, everything’s fine,” Janet said, soothing her daughter. “Whatever your dream was about, it’s not real.”
“Can I sleep with you?” Harmony asked, wiping her nose.
“Sure. Stop crying, okay?”
As they started to break up the hug, electricity suddenly shut off. The TV’s screen blinked out into black, and the small light above the family’s oven, which was providing the rest of the artificial light in the house, turned off. The house was plunged into darkness, and Harmony started screaming again.

~

The Streets managed to calm Harmony down enough to get her back in bed, and within minutes she was snuggling with her brown teddy bear, which she got for her birthday a week prior.
“I swear, that kid should be our alarm clock.” Quintin said.
“Yeah,” Janet said, cracking a small smile, despite the circumstances. The US government had issued a state of emergency the day prior, citing multiple major cities that had descended into riots across the country with seemingly no provocation or underlying cause. Before the news stations were replaced with the emergency broadcast just hours earlier, it appeared as though there were reports of similar events were happening elsewhere around the globe. With so much instability in the world, it was a terrifying situation to be in; Janet and Quintin masked their worry around Harmony to keep her from getting scared, but it was difficult. “The news didn’t mention anywhere in Idaho on the list. Maybe it’s all isolated.”

“I hope so,” Quintin replied. He walked over to a coat rack and threw on a light brown coat with while wool for insulation. He planned on going to the grocery store to restock the house’s basic essentials like milk and bread. In hindsight, he shouldn’t have waited until Sunday to do so, but the riots were enough to delay him until it was absolutely necessary. “Still, I think we should go on an early annual camping trip tomorrow. Pull Harmony out of school, go relax for a few days-“
“Do you really think that’s a good idea?”
“If we stay in Glacier View, then riots can’t reach us. I’d rather use a few vacation days than risk us getting involved in a riot happening in downtown Boise.”
“I guess it can’t hurt. You don’t think anyone would blame us? Do you think it’s overreacting? What about the house?”
“The house will have to fend for itself. We’ll put all our papers in the safe and hope nobody breaks in to loot the place. We’re in a good neighborhood, so I think we’re fine.”

[Monday, September 17th, 2012 – 7:22 AM]

Harmony woke up in the morning with her mother sitting on the edge of her bed, gently shaking her shoulder.
“Harmony? Wake up, honey.” The five-year-old slowly sat up and wiped her eyes, yawning off the last bits of deep sleep.
“We’re not taking you to preschool today,” Janet said. “We’re taking you to Glacier View to go camping.”
“Camping?” Harmony said, getting excited almost immediately at the mention of Glacier View. Her parents always took her camping at that location at least once a year, and she loved it. Being so young, it was like a new experience to her each time, despite the fact that she had gone there over and over again. Thinking of the time her dad pointed out a male pronghorn standing just outside their campsite, or when she was allowed to help start a fire, made Harmony forget about everything else.
“We already packed your clothes and everything,” Janet said, smiling. She pushed her daughter’s long hair out of her face and behind her ear. “Let’s get you dressed, get you breakfast, and then we can go.”
Harmony quickly got dressed in a long-sleeved shirt and jeans, which her mom picked out for her to wear, and she had a bowl of cereal at the kitchen table, eating in silence as her parents prepared to leave the house. With no power, the groceries that Quintin purchased the day before would quickly spoil with the family out camping, so he decided to throw out things in advance to prevent them from stinking up the house; he trashed most of the dairy products and a package of salami, leaving it all in a thick garbage bag in the garage. Meanwhile, Janet prepared for their camping trip by loading a few days’ supply of bottled water and nonperishables like canned food and protein bars into the family’s black Chevy Tahoe. She was also sure to pack a bag of marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate bars at Harmony’s request, all of which Quintin had purchased the night prior in anticipation of his daughter’s desire for s’mores.

~

Quintin pulled the Tahoe up to one of the pumps at a Chevron station in Horseshoe Bend, one of the last highly-populated locations the family would pass through on their way to the campsite. He stepped out of the vehicle after putting it in park and began filling the SUV’s large gas tank with gasoline. They had been on the road for well under an hour, but he hadn’t filled up in days and needed to do so.
“Bullshit.” he muttered under his breath, looking at the gas price of $3.70 per gallon. In his mind gas was supposed to be cheap since it was basically a necessity, especially for his wife, who had to commute to work in Meridian from their home in Boise every day. As he continued grumbling to himself, he noticed a man in the distance walking from the south towards the gas station, hunched over dejectedly.
“Poor guy had his car break down in the middle of nowhere.” Quintin thought. He finished filling the car with gas and proceeded into the store to buy a six-pack of beer for the campsite while Janet stayed with Harmony inside the Tahoe.
“Are you excited to go camping?” Janet asked her daughter.
“Yes! I…mommy, I can’t wait...” Harmony replied. It was clear that the girl was energetic; she had already talked for a large portion of the ride about how she was going to show all her birthday toys the campsite, how excited she was to be going out in the forest with all the tress, and on and on about what she wanted to do. Janet couldn’t help but smile; seeing her daughter rambling on so happily offset the potentially dangerous situation taking place around the country.

As Quintin walked outside with the beer, shoving his change into his jeans’ pocket as he walked, the man who had been walking down the highway entered the gas station property, walking in between two parked cars in order to get closer to the gas pumps. However, he strangely bumped up against the cars as he walked through the gap between their mirrors, as if he were about to faint, which made Quintin turn his full attention to the man. His skin was a sickly, grayish color, and his eyes were extremely bloodshot, as if he had popped blood vessels somewhere near his retinas. His hands were mangled and twisted in vicious, painful-looking ways, but he didn’t seem to notice. He opened his mouth and let out a loud, growling moan as he approached Quintin.

“Oh my God, what happened?” Quintin asked, backpedaling away from the man, who persisted in following him. “D-Did you get in a crash? Are you alright?” The man didn’t reply; he simply kept moaning, drawing the attention of other people at the gas station, including the rest of Quintin’s family. One of the gas station attendants also took notice of the situation and rushed outside after telling his co-worker to call an ambulance.
“Sir? Are you alright?” the man asked. He approached the sick-looking man, who suddenly turned and lunged at the attendant. He tackled him to the ground and started biting at his face and neck. The attendant held the man back with his forearms and started yelling for help, so Quintin dropped the six-pack of beer and grabbed the sick man’s shoulders, attempting to restrain him. However, before he could do so, the attendant’s arms weakened and couldn’t hold back the figure atop him. The sick man opened his mouth and took a large bite out of the attendant’s neck, making him scream in agony. At this point, the other customers who had congregated near the scene fled in different directions, some into their cars while others ran into the store to escape the violence. The attendant stopped struggling as the man sitting on top of him continued biting his neck and chest multiple times, causing a pool of blood to puddle up on the pavement.
Janet looked on in horror at the scene outside. Harmony’s view was blocked by the driver’s seat, so she couldn’t directly see what was happening, but she could hear the screaming of the victim and the other customers. Quintin rushed back to his vehicle and immediately pulled away from the gas station, the SUV’s tires squealing on the pavement.

“W-What happened? Are you going to call the police?” Janet asked worriedly.
“My phone still doesn’t work,” Quintin said. The gruesome assault shook him badly, to the point of going twenty-five over the posted speed limit to get as far from the gas station as possible. “Somebody else will call. God, I hope that guy he attacked will be alright-”
“What happened?” Harmony asked.
“N-Nothing, honey,” Janet replied. “Just…somebody at the gas station.”
Last edited by coinsruledude on Mon Dec 15, 2014 2:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.
"You can only talk rubbish if you're aware of knowledge." ~Karl Pilkington
"**** it, it's late. Change it later." ~Me and Teddy

coinsruledude
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Re: If I Stand, We Fall (IC)

Postby coinsruledude » Fri Dec 12, 2014 11:54 pm

*Omit*
Last edited by coinsruledude on Fri Jul 17, 2015 8:01 pm, edited 2 times in total.
"You can only talk rubbish if you're aware of knowledge." ~Karl Pilkington
"**** it, it's late. Change it later." ~Me and Teddy

coinsruledude
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Re: If I Stand, We Fall (IC)

Postby coinsruledude » Tue Dec 16, 2014 12:56 am

Roy: 1

[Wednesday, September 2nd, 2026 – 11:04 AM]

The cracked pavement seemed to twist and turn endlessly, wrapping around the side of the hills and mountains. Although nature had vigorously reclaimed the road with weeds, vines, and small saplings, it was still maneuverable via bike, the only piece of transportation suitable for long-term movement through post-apocalyptic Taiwan. It was surprisingly difficult to ride with one arm, and only having access to the front wheel handbrake almost cost Roy his life several times, nearly pitching him over the handlebars in front of a stray pack of zombies, which had been the reason he tried to stop in the first place. The mountain path he was traveling on now, however, was clear of the undead, making it safe to journey to his next destination.

Taiwan was unforgiving, but Roy learned quickly that he could survive by moving and traveling constantly. Even the smell of a human would taint an area within a day or two, luring hordes of zombies from miles around to his location. The only resource he could find readily was the rain, which was plentiful; whenever he could, Roy would stop at puddles and clogged ditches on the side of the road, filling his metal canteen with water to boil at the fire later in the day. Food, however, was a different story and a different challenge altogether. Eating canned goods was the easiest way to survive, but it came with several downsides, all of which were dangerous; scavenging the cities was stressful and tedious, and it was a gamble whether or not it was even worth doing. Often times Roy found himself suffering from diarrhea and vomiting due to damaged cans and expired food, making him sick and exposing him even more to the zombie threat.

Despite what he anticipated, a missing limb wasn’t as deadly a handicap as he once thought. He got used to using his left hand for everything quickly, as the alternative would have been a swift death. His body accumulated wounds, he lost weight, and he grew a beard, but the mental and social aspect of survival, not the physical endurance, was the hardest thing to overcome. In the beginning of his lonely survival ordeal, Roy often wandered back into the jungle randomly, crying and yelling for the group in regret and partial insanity. He would walk in circles endlessly, making a futile effort to locate the walled camp the group had conquered, hoping they would take him back in and he would be among friends again. Each time, he ended up drawing dozens of zombies to his location, which he would then run away from in frustration. After several weeks, his mind became numb, and he barely had the energy to run from the zombies anymore. The positive turning point for Roy came after his most dramatic low; he was walking by a shattered storefront in a city he couldn’t name; he looked in the reflection of the glass and saw a battered, hunch-backed man limping along slightly faster than a tangled horde of zombies just a few dozen feet behind him. He was skinny, exhausted, and starving, and he considered lying down in the street to end his life once and for all.

He kept on walking. Then he started running.

The only reason he didn’t kill himself was a nagging voice in the back of his head, which continuously reminded him of how many people he had seen die and how it devastated him to watch such an event occur. If he was going to die, he was going to make sure he tried his hardest to avoid it.

His SW1911 had become useless almost immediately, as he used up whatever ammunition he had in the first few days. He kept it in his backpack, just in case he found a stray bullet or two, but the only real weapon he had to defend himself was the green-handled bowie knife Jhonny had given him several years before during a looting trip for the Atlas. The knife had stabbed and slashed more zombies than Roy could count, but he always cleaned it after ever encounter and always kept it sharp, habitually wiping it down and grinding it on a sharpening stone. He had resigned himself to a life of schedules and constant repetition; every city began to look the same, and each zombie started to look like just another lifeless blob to push out of his way.

He rode his bike between the outstretched arms of a few dozen zombies, barely flinching as their fingers brushed by his ratty clothing. He rode through fields and fields of old plantations, the trees overgrown and normally with fruit. However, this time the trees lacked anything of substance, which disappointed him. Whenever he could, he would stop to grab a handful and shove the fresh food into his backpack, continuing onward only when the zombies forced him to do so. He became a master at riding without touching the handlebars, eating as he rode to save time and satisfy his growling stomach whenever he needed to. Unfortunately, he didn't have that opportunity, as the trees were bare.
The stripped plantations gave way to what used to be a bustling city, packed so tightly that every turn presented a new danger, as hordes containing hundreds of zombies were crammed into a few side streets, their individual members unable to move due to sheer numbers. As he rode closer to the coast, he could see the sunken hulls of several fishing boats dejectedly sitting near the docks, along with one pristine-looking ship bobbing in the waves. It was small, but it was big enough to carry several full-size shipping containers. What he thought were zombies wandering on the docks were actually people, carrying crates and crates of supplies onto the boat via a gangplank. Some of the boxes contained the same wild fruits Roy had desperately hoped for in the fields.
He dove off his bike and landed hard on the sidewalk, not wanting to be spotted. Seeing people sent a jolt of fear through him; he didn’t recognize any of them, and they didn’t look like they would speak English either. He had no effective weapon, and they were armed with rifles and pistols. Deep within him, his main goal was to get off the island, where he knew there was nothing left for him; if he stayed, he wouldn't be able to survive, but instead he would engage in a vain struggle that would result in death no matter what. However, the people frightened him. He knew what people were capable of, and he also knew that even good people couldn’t be trusted.

The people became distracted amongst themselves, discussing something in a language Roy couldn’t understand no matter how hard he tried. Using a small pair of binoculars, he could see that nobody was standing guard over the ship’s gangplank. Using buildings and a few stray zombies as cover, Roy was able to sneak into the water surrounding the dock. A ladder allowed him to climb up onto the dock behind the distracted strangers, and he was able to quietly board the ship.
Once on the deck, he immediately became stressed and started to panic. The shipping containers were wide open, allowing the people on the dock to stack crates and fill their ship with whatever supplies they were after. Sensing people approaching from behind him, Roy squeezed himself into a small gap behind two decent-sized crates full of fruit. The strangers continued packing crates and miscellaneous supplies, such as scrap metal and scavenged furniture, into the container until it was almost full, and then they slammed the doors shut and locked them. Roy was locked in the darkness, but he was also elated. He was getting off the island that had caused him so much pain over the several weeks he had been wandering its hills and villages. He had a steady supply of food and water, in the form of stored fruit and bottled water in the container.
He was part of a group again.

Image
"You can only talk rubbish if you're aware of knowledge." ~Karl Pilkington
"**** it, it's late. Change it later." ~Me and Teddy

coinsruledude
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Re: If I Stand, We Fall (IC)

Postby coinsruledude » Mon Dec 22, 2014 4:17 am

Harmony: 2

[Monday, September 17th, 2012 –10:17 AM]

The Streets family arrived at the Glacier View campground several hours after leaving Horseshoe Bend. It was still early morning, and Harmony was asleep by the time they pulled up to Redfish Lake Lodge, which was the family’s go-to camping location; it was run by friendly people and had a variety of activities to participate in. There were a few cars parked outside near the building, ranging from a black Idaho State Trooper car to a rusted pickup with a missing back tailgate. In addition to the parked vehicles, an ambulance with its flashing lights was also parked a few car length away, its front end pointing away from the lodge. A group of people was gathered beside the ambulance, discussing something. Quintin stayed with Harmony and the family’s SUV while Janet went to go see what the commotion was about.
“Now, listen here,” a man said, trying to quiet the crowd. He appeared to be a state trooper; his partner was standing next to him. “We’re responding to a reported assault. Who knows what happened? Where’s the person who assaulted someone?”
“It happened in one of the rented rooms. Upstairs, the first one to the right,” another man said. He appeared to be a worker at the lodge, judging from his attire. “The guy who did it is still upstairs; he locked himself in his room, I think.” The troopers split off from the rest of the crowd and cautiously entered the lodge as several more people began bombarding the worker with questions.
“What exactly happened?” a man inquired.
“We think it was domestic violence,” the worker replied, again trying to calm everyone down. “It wasn’t anything serious; the woman who was attacked is in the ambulance and the paramedics said she’ll be alright.”
“Are you sure he wasn’t one of the rioters?” a woman cried out hysterically. “They’ve already robbed my house and drove my family out of the neighborhood!”
“We came up here to avoid the riots too,” Janet chimed in. “Is it too late to rent a spot? Do we have to turn around?”
“No, we still have sites available for people who want to stay,” the worker replied. “It’s just going to have to wait until the police are gone and the lodge is safe to enter again. For now, everyone please go back to your cars until the police leave.”

Several minutes later, the two state troopers exited the building with a man handcuffed in front of them. Janet, who was sitting in the back seat of the Tahoe with Harmony, noticed that he looked sick, almost exactly like the man who attacked the gas station attendant in Horseshoe Bend. The area around his mouth was stained red, and he was constantly struggling with the troopers, who forcibly shoved him into the back of their squad car. Once locked inside, he started squirming and banging on the squad car’s window with his forehead.
“Stop doing that!” one of the troopers said. “You’re going to hurt yourself!” After unsuccessfully coaxing him to stop, the troopers quickly recruited the paramedics from the ambulance to strap the man down onto a stretcher so he wouldn’t hurt himself. He struggled the entire time, straining against the belts holding him in place, all the while letting out inhuman groans and shrieks every so often. The disturbing scene was enough to force several people to leave the lodge entirely, driving away in their respective cars. The Streets family could see what was happening from where the Tahoe was parked; Harmony closed her eyes and covered her face with her hands, trying to look away from the scary man outside.
“He looks just like the guy at the gas station.” Quintin said, shaken.
“I saw that,” Janet said. “The police are here this time though. We can still go camping.”

After the police cars and ambulance left to transport the man and his female victim to the nearest hospital, Quintin went in the lodge and rented out a spot for his family to set up their tent. It was a cleared area within a small patch of forest; there were several more identical plots of land nearby, where other people were setting up their own sites. Harmony watched as Quintin and Janet pitched the family’s tent. It was a simple green dome being held up by plastic rods and held to the ground with ropes and stakes. It was worn and weather-beaten, but there was no reason to replace it until holes and tears started to form.
“Can we make a fire?” Harmony inquired.
“It’s too early right now, honey,” Quintin said, unzipping the tent in order to climb inside and unroll the family’s sleeping bags. “We will later. After dinner, probably.” As Quintin finished setting up the tent, Janet wandered over to the family that was setting up next to them. A man dressed in jeans and a brown coat was starting to pitch the tent with the help of a young teenage boy, while the man’s wife sat on the tailgate of the family’s pickup truck, watching. Janet recognized her as the woman who stated she and her family were driven out of their home by rioters. She noticed Janet approaching and smiled slightly.
“Hi, there.”
“Hello,” Janet said, smiling back. “I guess we’ll be camping next to you.”
“I guess so. I’m Thelma.” the woman replied. She adjusted the headband that was holding her black hair out of her face.
“I’m Janet. Nice to meet you.”
“Is this your daughter’s first time camping?” Thelma asked, looking over at Quintin and Harmony.
“No, we’ve taken her out a few times before. She loves it here, and with everything going on right now we figured it was a good time to-”
“Did rioters attack your house too?”
Thelma interrupted.
“No, but we heard about things on the news before our power went out.”
“You did the right thing. We had to leave because of the riots! We went grocery shopping this morning, and we ran into all kinds of traffic. Police officers were blocking roads, and people were just panicking so much…when we got home, there was a van parked in our driveway, and men were loading our TV and computers into the back.”
“Oh, no.”
“We called the police, but they never showed up,”
Thelma continued. “Luckily we have security cameras all over our house, so we got them on tape. But we got spooked, so we came up here with nowhere else to go. It’s getting crazy in Boise.”
“I’m glad we’re not the only ones who had to leave.”
Janet said.
“Now is the best time for a vacation. We’re planning on staying here for a week or so, at least until the police get everything under control. Then we’ll go back and figure out if the police can get our TV back.”

~

The rest of the day was spent settling in to the campsite; after the police left, the lodge was reopened and people were allowed to shop for food, relax, and rent rooms inside if they didn’t want to spend their entire camping trip outside. Janet and Quintin took Harmony swimming in the lake after they had lunch; although it was September, the water was still warm from the summer, and several other families went swimming as well.
A sense of community was quickly formed between the campers; not only were they in close proximity to one another and doing activities with one another, but Janet learned that Thelma’s family wasn’t the only group to go camping in order to escape the unrest happening around the country; three other families and an engaged couple also fled their homes and took refuge at the Glacier View campsites. It relieved Janet and Quintin, knowing that they weren’t the only ones to overreact slightly and abandon their homes. However, despite the lively atmosphere of camping, it was obvious that something ominous was occurring back in Boise. The lodge’s owners tried repeatedly to contact the police department and follow up on the assault that happened on their property, wanting to confirm that the victim was okay and they weren’t liable, but the phone lines were down and they never got a response. In addition, when the phone lines sporadically worked, some of the campers received text messages from family and friends that seemingly told them to hide and stay away, since the riots were spreading. Quintin’s brother managed to send him a voicemail, telling him that he had been mugged on the street and was currently in the hospital with a few injuries from the encounter.
“I would go see him, but I don’t want to leave you and Harmony anymore, not after everything we’re hearing.” Quintin said, hanging up his phone.
“I’m getting more and more worried that our house will be robbed.”
“If it does, then it does. I’d rather be here when it happens.”


[10:29 PM]

The Streets waited until the sun was well below the horizon and nighttime was upon Glacier View, and then they used a built-in fire pit location to build up a decent-sized campfire. Thelma’s family joined them as several other bright fires were lit around the camp; the stressful day was finally over, and people were getting ready to relax. Harmony and Thelma’s son started making s’mores on the fire while the adults discussed recent events.
“…and then we decided to come here.” Thelma’s husband, Reggie, said. He had just finished describing his account of the events that led to his family leaving their home.
“Any idea what the riots are even about?” Quintin asked.
“No clue. The news didn’t say, and the radio didn’t say anything on the drive up here either-”

Harmony suddenly screamed loudly, alarming everyone within earshot. She dropped the metal stick she had been using to roast a marshmallow; she tried to put it on a graham cracker by herself, but she accidentally grabbed the hot metal in the process and burned her hand. Janet immediately got up and picked up the crying five-year-old, looking at her hand to see the extent of the damage. The wound wasn’t even visible; the burn had obviously shocked Harmony more than actually hurt her.
“Are you okay? Harmony, honey, it’s alright,” Janet said, trying to calm her daughter down. She looked at Quintin. “I’m going to take her to the lodge and see if they have a first aid kit. I don’t think ours has anything for burns.”
“I don’t think it does.” Quintin agreed. Janet walked the wailing Harmony to the lodge while Quintin picked up the metal rod and wiped it off.
“Poor thing.” Thelma said. The situation was startling, since the group thought Harmony had been hurt, but Quintin touched the rod a few seconds later and confirmed that it wasn’t hot enough to severely burn her, especially since she dropped it immediately. He started roasting another marshmallow in the fire.

“I think it was just her theatrics,” Quintin replied. “She didn’t have the rod in the fire long enough for it to burn her really bad.”
“Just roast another marshmallow and give her a s’more when she comes back,” Reggie said, smiling. “She’ll be happier than ever and forget she even got hurt.”
“She probably already forgot why she's crying.”
Last edited by coinsruledude on Wed Aug 05, 2015 4:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
"You can only talk rubbish if you're aware of knowledge." ~Karl Pilkington
"**** it, it's late. Change it later." ~Me and Teddy

coinsruledude
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Re: If I Stand, We Fall (IC)

Postby coinsruledude » Thu Dec 25, 2014 4:52 am

Harmony: 3

[Saturday, September 22nd, 2012 –11:03 AM]

“I’m not letting you leave!”
“Dad, you heard the radio people-”
“Yes, I did, Darin. I know what the radio said, but I’m going!”
“You can’t-“
“Yes, I damn well can, Thelma! We’ve done enough sittin’ around for the damn police to come up here and tell us it’s safe! The phones are down, the Internet is down, and nobody else in the family knows where we are. This ain’t up for debate anymore!”
With his point made, Reggie stormed out of Redfish Lake Lodge, followed closely by his wife and son, who continued to beg him not to leave the campsite. The upheaval had been caused by cryptic radio broadcasts, which circulated around Glacier View during the prior week, carrying a warning for people to stay out of cities and stock up on whatever necessary supplies they could. In response to the broadcasts and the current state of communications, the lodge’s management decided to offer free shelter to the campers due to the apparent collapse of society around them; hoping it was a temporary event, Reggie and Quintin were determined to check on the condition of Boise and the surrounding suburbs in hopes of retrieving what they could from their homes and finding help in the form of the police force, the military, or the government. As Reggie’s family argued, Quintin and Janet had their own dispute outside their designated room inside the lodge, where Harmony was sitting alone on the single queen bed. She could hear her parents yelling at each other in the hallway outside; she curled up on the bed and hugged her favorite stuffed animal, a white teddy bear that she got on her birthday, close to her chest. Being one of the youngest people staying at the lodge, she was being sheltered from the news and events as they appeared, which was making a negative emotional impact on her as she watched everybody debate and yell for seemingly no reason, all the while being denied the ability to return home and see her friends. It was a very difficult situation to be in, especially for a five-year-old.
“Quintin, I don’t want you to go.”
“I know you don’t, but I’m going to. Things are going to get worse before they get better, and I want to get our damn passports and Social Security cards in my hands before somebody else finds them! Reggie lives on the same side of the city as us, so we’ll be back some time this afternoon.”
“What if you get hurt?” Janet demanded. “What if you run into the riots – or whatever is in the cities – and don’t come back?”
“Don’t ever talk like that. I’m going to come back, and I’m going to help Reggie.” Quintin replied. He walked down the stairs and out of the lodge, leaving Janet alone in the hallway. She sighed and went back inside the room. She sat down next to Harmony, who had started crying.
“Where is Daddy going?”
“He’s just going home to get something.” Janet replied.
“Why can’t we go home with him?”
“The police said it’s not safe to go back home yet, Harmony. We’re going to keep camping until the bad people stop messing everything up at home.”
“I-I hate the bad people!”
“Yeah…” Janet said, her mind drifting to thoughts of family and the state of the United States as a whole. The people talking on the radio were anything but friendly, and some even threatened people to stay away from certain locations or else they would respond by shooting on sight. Thinking of Quintin going out into the city was enough to put tears in her eyes as well, since she knew she wouldn’t be able to stop him and wouldn’t be able to do anything if something were to happen.

Reggie and Quintin left a few minutes later, carrying with them the praise and good luck placed upon them by the campers at the lodge.
“Do you think everything will be as bad as the radio said?” Reggie asked, as Quintin’s Tahoe rolled away down the dirt road.
“I hope not,” Quintin said, rubbing his chin, where a layer of stubble had accumulated. “I really, really hope not.”
“That’s all we can do.”

~

Reggie and Quintin drove down Idaho State Highway 21 for mere minutes before encountering an abandoned vehicle. They stopped to see if they could assist the driver, only to find the compact sedan empty and devoid of most objects inside. The driver door was ajar, and Reggie closed it before the pair continued down the road. It wasn’t long before they found even more cars, this time at the scene of an accident. Blood was splattered on one of the seats, but there were no bodies and nothing to indicate that the police had shown up at any point.
“The city should have more people.” Quintin commented.
“This is straight out of a movie,” Reggie said, climbing back in the Tahoe. “It’s like us and everyone else at that campground are the last people on Earth.”
“You mean, besides the people on the radio?” Quintin asked, somewhat sarcastically. Reggie simply huffed and looked out the passenger window.
“Man, they don’t count. They don’t count as people,” he said. “Threatening my son, my family. ‘Don’t come down this street or I’ll pop a cap in you.’ Who do they think they are? This situation ain’t an excuse to go crazy.”
“I hear you.”

~

Horseshoe Bend was the first location in which Reggie and Quintin spotted human activity, but the spectacle barely appeared to be human from their perspective. They stopped several hundred feet away in order to inspect the area before continuing onward. A row of bodies, both lying on the ground and standing up, was blocking the bridge across Shafer Creek. The people on the ground appeared to be dead; gore was covering them and the surrounding pavement, but for some reason they were still moving around, bobbing their heads every so often and pulling themselves along the ground, dragging shatter limbs behind them. The upright people were similarly deformed, some with gunshot wounds and others with fresh, bleeding cuts and bruises.
“Are these the rioters?” Quintin asked quietly, taken aback by the scene in front of them. “I haven’t seen any until now. Well, I saw one.”
“They don’t look like rioters,” Reggie said, equally terrified; if he was white, all the color would’ve drained from his face. “The people I saw in my house weren’t all injured like that.”
“Is there another way across the river? I don’t want to ask them to get by.”
“Maybe. I think up the road there should be one. South of Sweet, I think.” Before Quintin could turn the car around, another few people started to trickle from the buildings behind the Tahoe, blocking their path north. The people began to moan and shamble towards the car, to the horror of the men inside.
“Quintin, turn the car around.” Reggie said nervously.
“Where do I go? There’s people behind us too!”
“I don’t know, man! Do somethin’! I don’t want these people gettin’ any closer to us.” Quintin threw the Tahoe in reverse, executing a U-turn before attempting to drive back up the road. However, even more people had appeared, making it impossible.
“Go right! Drive along the river!” Reggie yelled. Quintin made a sharp turn and sped along a thin, paved road that ran the length of the Payette River and encircled the southern half of Horseshoe Bend. The groups of people eventually began to follow the vehicle down the pathway, with some of them clumsily falling in the water while the rest slowly followed on foot.

“What the hell is going on here?” Quintin asked. He made two more right turns through a small neighborhood situated on the small island, approaching the bridge they wanted to cross.
“I don’t think those were people,” Reggie said. “They looked more like ****’ zombies. Walkin’ with their arms at their sides like robots, blood all over their faces.”
“At least they followed us away from the bridge,” Quintin said. He slowly maneuvered the Tahoe between some of the stationary, grounded people. However, as they rolled by at a slow speed, both men stuck their heads out the windows and gazed at what was lying before them. On Reggie’s side of the car, a diseased woman with a broken ankle and several lacerations on her face was attempting to crawl towards the wheels of the SUV, moaning loudly and snapping her teeth together. Quintin looked down and saw a familiar face; on the ground before him was the uniformed gas station attendant who had been attacked by the sickly-looking man days earlier; his neck was torn open violently, revealing his windpipe and part of his spine. Despite having a snapped knee, he was still reaching up at Quintin, his eyes glazed over with dead, lifeless but somehow full of hate.

Quintin stomped on the gas pedal, throwing himself and Reggie back into their seats as they flew towards Boise.
“One of the people on the ground, I recognized one of them,” Quintin stammered. “I-I saw him get attacked!”
“God, those people were hurt bad…sorry, what?”
“I recognized one of those people! I-I saw him get attacked on our way up to Glacier View the other day!”
“Attacked…by the rioters?”
“Yes, by the rioters! I think it was the rioters, anyway! Now he looks just like all of those people! What the ****…”
“What happened to that guy you saw?”
“The guy bit the other guy’s throat a bunch of times. I drove away before I saw anything else.”
“Are these zombies?”
“Don’t be stupid-“

“I’m not!” Reggie said, aggravated. “You saw a man get attacked and killed, and you saw him just now with a group of dead people!”
“They weren’t dead, were they? They were moving…but maybe…you said they looked like zombies earlier.”
“No, man, this can't be right…zombies aren’t ****’ real.”
“Then what did we just see?” Quintin demanded.
“I don’t know! ****, I left Thelma and Darin at the lodge with zombies runnin’ around-”
“T-There’s a lot of people with them. They’ll be fine up there.”
“Should we still go into the city?” Reggie asked.
“I…I don’t know,” Quintin said. He took his foot off the gas, allowing the Tahoe to coast and slow down. “Should we?”
“Look, let’s say these are zombies, or somethin' similar,” Reggie offered. “Then going into a city is the dumbest thing we could go right now. Every movie ever says to stay out of cities.”
“This isn’t a **** movie, Reggie!”
“I know, but for ****’s sake, movies are the only damn experience I have with zombies! I wanted to go back home and get some personal stuff because I thought we would just have to avoid some protesters, not…what we just saw.”
“Well-“
“Is a passport worth your life?” Reggie inquired. “I think we should turn right around. The bridges are still clear for us right now. It’s your choice.”

[3:59 PM]

Quintin and Reggie returned to the lodge a few hours later, deciding to skip going back into Boise after their encounter at Horseshoe Bend. However, they didn’t receive a friendly greeting upon their return; rather, they were welcomed with a practically empty campsite. The men exited the Tahoe and walked to the lodge, where they found several people talking in hushed tones, distressed about something.
“Where’s my wife?” Quintin asked. “Janet Streets?”
“I think she’s out back with everyone else,” a man replied, looking gravely at the two men “What did you find in the city?”
“We had to turn around. We ran into some…some people.”
“What did they look like?”
“They looked hurt. Hurt and sick.” Reggie replied. The man’s eyes widened a little bit.

“You might want to come out back for a sec.” he said, gesturing for the pair to follow him. Quintin and Reggie complied, and they were led behind the lodge to a group of people gathered behind the building. Two white sheets were draped over what appeared to be corpses lying on the ground, judging from the feet sticking out from the edge of both sheets, which were stained red in some areas. Janet and Thelma were two of the people gathered around the bodies; they immediately approached their husbands after seeing them.

“Thank God you’re alright-“ Thelma began. Before she could continue, however, Reggie bent down and threw a corner of the sheet up, revealing the pale, dead face of a man beneath it. He had cuts and bruises on his face, and his appearance strikingly resembled that of the wandering people the men saw at Horseshoe Bend. A kitchen knife was sticking out of his forehead.
“Holy ****.” Reggie whispered, taking a step back.
“Where did they come from?” Quintin asked.
“T-They were acting strange,” a chef from the lodge’s kitchen said. “I told them to stop, and they didn’t, so I had to stop them from attacking me-“
“Where did they come from?” Quintin repeated, louder and more panicked.
“They walked in from the woods!” Janet replied, startled at her husband’s tone.

“Me and Reggie saw a bunch of people just like this outside of Boise,” Quintin said, silencing the people in the crowd gathered outside. “They had broken bones, cuts, some were missing parts of their bodies…and they followed us! They tried attacking us. We didn’t get to Boise because we thought there would be more of them…”
“Quintin said he saw somebody he knew among them.” Reggie said.
“I didn’t know him personally,” Quintin said, all attention on him. “I-I saw him get attacked though...by one of the rioters – the people we’re all scared of. But when I saw him today, he was one of them. He was chasing us, just like they were. Just like the two people lying right here were doing-“

“Daddy?” a voice asked. Quintin immediately recognized it as Harmony; he whirled around and saw her and Darin standing together at the rear of the group; both of them were staring at the body of the man lying on the ground.
“Darin, I told you to stay inside with the other kids!” Thelma said, horrified.
“W-What happened?” Darin asked. He was frozen in place, looking at the uncovered body. “Dad?” Reggie threw the sheet back over the man as Harmony and Darin both burst into tears. Their parents tried to comfort them, but the shock of seeing something as gruesome as a dead body left them in states of terror, the sight undoubtedly burned into their memories forever. The gathered crowd eventually huddled back inside, leaving the two zombies outside.
"You can only talk rubbish if you're aware of knowledge." ~Karl Pilkington
"**** it, it's late. Change it later." ~Me and Teddy

coinsruledude
Posts: 14906
Joined: Wed Nov 24, 2010 7:36 pm
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Re: If I Stand, We Fall (IC)

Postby coinsruledude » Sat Dec 27, 2014 4:34 am

Harmony: 4

[Friday, December 23rd, 2016 – 5:03 PM] (four years later)

Quintin pulled his family’s aging Chevy Tahoe onto a snowy dirt road leading to several white trailers parked haphazardly around an empty campsite. He looked up at a sign reading ‘Judith Landing Campsite’, which was hanging overhead on a crossbar supported on each side of the road with tall wooden poles; its paint was chipping slightly and snow was accumulating on its surface due to the harsh wind outside the vehicle.
Time was beginning to take its toll on everything in the country, including the survivors. Hordes of zombies blocked people from seeking shelter in cities, and the survivors from Redfish Lake Lodge eventually went their separate ways as supplies became scarce. Quintin and Reggie kept their families traveling together, assuming there was safety in numbers, but in recent months the relationship was strained due to Harmony and Darin’s frequent arguments over childish things, like how a certain keepsake was misplaced or lost. Harmony was often blamed for things because she was the youngest and had a reputation for being nosy and curious. The kids’ arguments led to adult arguments, which sometimes threatened to become violent. The whole group was forced to live on scraps, foraging for food whenever possible; hunger drove an even deeper divide between the families, but the kids were always taken care of before the adults. They avoided main roads and cities after several run-ins with bandits and, if they moved too far east or south, the Last Judgment. Confined to the northern US and southern Canada, it was a tough existence.

“We need to start thinking about shelter for the night.” Quintin said. He had grown a thick, graying beard, since shaving was difficult and became a luxury rather quickly after the apocalypse fully descended upon Idaho and the surrounding states. He was thin due to a lack of adequate food, but that was the theme represented throughout his entire group. He was starting to lose portions of his hair as well, but in the winter his head was always covered with a black beanie, which matched his black winter coat and heavy-duty jeans.
“I’d love to sleep in one of these trailers. It’d get us out of the wind and we won’t have to sleep in the car again.” Janet replied. Her hair was tied up in a tight bun, and she was wearing a crocheted hat on her head with a brown leather jacket and brown cargo pants. Harmony was sitting in the back seat, sporting a purple winter jacket and purple earmuffs. Her hair had grown out relatively long, so her parents kept it at bay using a ponytail.
“Let’s go see what they think,” Quintin said, putting the Tahoe in park and stepping out of the vehicle into the freezing cold. “At the very least we have to search for food here.” He, Janet, and Harmony began trudging through half a foot of freshly-fallen snow in order to get to Reggie’s rusted pickup truck; luckily, both of the group’s vehicles were well-suited for all-terrain travel, but Quintin had been forced to work on them several times due to their increasing age.
Reggie had exited his own vehicle and was walking against the wind to the Streets; his head was covered by a rabbit fur trapper hat, while his body was kept warm with snow pants and a blue and black coat. Darin also exited the vehicle, along with a middle-aged German Shepard, which the group found as a stray a year earlier. The sixteen-year-old began tossing a red ball around for the dog, which he had named Bishop, to retrieve, which the dog did gleefully despite the snow. Thelma, meanwhile, remained inside the vehicle; she was suffering from some kind of traditional sickness and wanted to be exposed to the weather as little as possible.

“This storm is getting worse,” Reggie yelled, over the sound of wind gusts. “On my map I found a city about an hour south of here called Winifred; we can stay there until this blows over!”
“Why can’t we stay here in the trailers?” Quintin asked, pulling his beanie tighter onto his head as the cold weather bit into his ears. “If one of our cars breaks down halfway there or gets stuck in a snow-covered ditch, we’ll be in trouble!”
“By the time this storm stops, these dirt roads will be buried too deep for us to get out without shovelin’ a hundred yards of wet snow! At least Winifred has pavement!”
“Yeah, and more zombies.”
“They’re all ****’ frozen by now! We can clear a house and use a real fireplace there!”
“Either way, we need to search through this campsite for supplies,” Janet said. “We’ll figure out what to do in a few minutes, but right now we have to get moving or we’ll all freeze, alright?”
“Alright, we’ll decide in a few minutes,” Reggie said, turning to his son. “Darin!”
“Yeah?”
“Don’t go too far from the cars! The zombies should be frozen, but don’t do anythin’ stupid!”
“Harmony, stay with Darin and Thelma.” Quintin ordered. Harmony begrudgingly walked over to the pickup truck; she didn’t want to stand outside in the cold, and she didn’t want to have to sleep in the family’s SUV again. The three adults began searching the trailers while Darin continued throwing the ball to Bishop. Eventually he stuck his hand out and offered Harmony the ball.

“Do you want to throw it?” he asked. Without replying, Harmony took the ball in her gloved hands; the dog was waiting patiently for her to toss the toy, its tail wagging side to side. She wound up her arm and feigned a throw while keeping the ball in hand. Bishop sprinted away for a short time, but he returned a few seconds later after realizing the ball hadn’t been thrown.
“Don’t tease him! Just throw the ball.” Darin said. Harmony whipped the ball directly at Bishop, and the rubber sphere bounced off his left hind leg. He didn’t seem to mind much; it wasn’t a powerful throw, and he simply picked it up and gave it back to Darin, tail still wagging.
“Why’d you hit him with it?” he demanded, looking at Harmony. “Are you stupid?”
“I’m not stupid!”
“You’re sure actin’ like it! Are you gonna apologize?”
“Why do I need to apologize to the stupid dog?”
“He’s not stupid!” Darin said angrily. Thelma rolled down the truck’s passenger window and began yelling at the kids.
“Both of you, quit it! Get back in the cars before you all freeze!” she yelled weakly. Darin and Bishop went back into the pickup truck, while Harmony walked back over to the SUV, not wanting to sit with either of them. She was about to open the door and get inside, but she noticed a small red tent a few hundred feet away in the tree line; it was partially covered with snow, and her parents and Reggie appeared to ignore it. Driven by both curiosity and hunger, she began walking through the snow towards the forest; nobody noticed her leaving at the time. It got harder and harder to walk through the snow as she got farther from the designated road, but eventually she made it to the tent. A snow drift was piled over its entrance, so she cut a large slit in one of the sides using a small pocketknife that she had on her person before climbing inside.

Aside from a small pile of clothing and a few zipped sleeping bags, there was nothing of interest inside. Harmony started digging around the pile of clothes, and in the process of doing so she uncovered the partially decayed face of a zombie. Its body was concealed within a sleeping bag and almost completely frozen by the cold temperatures, but its head, being insulated by the clothing heaped on top of it, was able to snap its teeth together and crank its neck to the side, trying to bite Harmony. She screamed at the top of her lungs, startled, and instinctively stabbed the zombie with the pocketknife. Its small blade wasn’t enough to penetrate the brain, so the zombie continued snapping and making weak moaning noises. Harmony quickly backed up and clumsily drew a Model CS45 from her large coat pocket; her parents forced her to carry the handgun, even though she was terrified of using it and had never actually used it in combat up until that point. She fired an entire magazine of bullets into the zombie, with only two of the making kill shots in the head area.
Drawn by the screaming and shooting, Quintin, Janet, and Reggie immediately dropped what they were doing and rushed outside towards the source of the noise. They found the tent as Harmony was exiting; she ran into her mom’s arms as Quintin and Reggie confirmed that the area was secure.
“Is there anythin’ else around here?” Reggie asked.
“No, I don’t think so.” Quintin replied, sticking his head inside the tent.
“Can’t you control your daughter for five ****’ minutes?” Reggie asked angrily. “Isn’t this– what – the fourth time she’s run off in the past week? You’re lucky we keep bein’ so close by, or otherwise she’d get grabbed!”
“This time she handled herself,” Quintin said. He was upset Harmony had run off, but he was surprised and glad that she had finally killed a zombie on her own, which, in his mind, meant she was gaining survival experience. He kicked the dead zombie several times. “Zombie couldn’t do ****! My daughter got you, didn’t she? **** freezer-burned shithead-“
“Quintin, for God’s sake, let’s go!” Janet said, raising her voice to be heard over the sound of the wind. Harmony started crying as she looked at the dead zombie and her father relentlessly kicking its head in.
"You did a good job, Harmony," Quintin panted, kicking the corpse one more time. "Don't cry. You did a good thing!"

[Wednesday, December 28th, 2016 – 1:00 AM]

http://www.yourepeat.com/watch?v=dW_gRcz389M

Harmony woke up from a vivid nightmare with a gasp. She had been sleeping on a bed next to Janet, who was still motionless on the bed next to her. Instead of waking up her mother, Harmony got up and walked downstairs, passing the room in which Reggie, Thelma, and Darin were sleeping. As she walked down the stairs, she could see Quintin stretched out on a couch on the first floor of the house they were staying in. He would’ve been keeping watch, but the group decided that the city they were in, Winifred, was safe enough to risk just locking the doors and windows. They spent a few days looting the small city and intended to settle down there for a few more days as well. They barely celebrated Christmas; there was no celebration, presents, or decorations, and there was essentially no festive attitude left in any of the survivors, especially Harmony. She used to love the holiday season, but unsurprisingly there wasn’t much opportunity to celebrate anything after the zombies uprooted her life.

However, she still appreciated the beauty of nature; she opened the back door of the house and went outside to look at a fresh sheet of snow that had fallen the day prior. There were no footprints, and the white blanket extended as far as she could see and covered trees, fences, abandoned cars, and obscured the sidewalk and roadways to the point of not being able to tell what was where anymore. In her mind it was very pretty; she made sure to keep her feet in the same footprints to avoid disturbing the snow.
She suddenly heard soft footsteps and heavy breathing, and she whirled around to see Bishop standing behind her. He had noticed her walking around the house and followed her outside. The dog was wearing a muzzle, as he often did during the night so the group could avoid his random bouts of barking.
Bishop started playfully rolling around and running in the snow around the backyard, and Harmony immediately got angry.
“Stop it, Bishop!” she said, trying to keep her voice down so she wouldn’t wake up her parents. “Stop! You’re ruining it!” The dog didn’t listen; instead, he turned his attention to a pair of small birds which had perched on the house’s wooden perimeter fence. He started barking, the noise cancelled by the muzzle, and ran after the birds, chasing them around the backyard and stomping all over the snow.
“Why do you ruin everything?” Harmony asked tearfully. Bishop always seemed to cause her problems; he ripped up her favorite teddy bear almost immediately after he joined the group, and he peed on her several times. Her sadness turned into anger, and she started chasing him around the backyard; the dog stopped and looked at her, expecting to play, but instead she tackled him to the ground.
Harmony was about to pull out her gun and shoot the dog, but she realized that it would make noise and instead drew her pocketknife, which Quintin retrieved for her from her first zombie kill. Bishop obediently laid on the ground, not realizing the roughhousing had cruel intentions until she started stabbing him in the neck and back. He tried to run away, but Harmony was strong enough to keep his legs down, which eliminated his only defense since his mouth and teeth were covered with the muzzle.

[7:38 AM]

Quintin woke up slowly; he laid awake for a few minutes, covering himself with a blanket to ward off the chills. Eventually he woke up and opened a small can of peaches that the group scavenged from the city the day before. He started walking through the house while eating, intending to go upstairs to his wife and daughter, when he noticed a trail of blood running through the house. Confused and suddenly alert, he set his can down on a nearby counter and went back to the couch to retrieve his Glock 9mm handgun. He followed the trail to the back of the house; he didn’t have to exit the house to figure out its source because of the sliding glass back door.
Bishop’s body was lying in a puddle of blood, which had melted the snow initially due to its warmth but eventually froze, leaving the body covered in ice crystals. The stomach of the German Shepard had been brutally sliced open with several cuts, and most of the internal organs were spilled out. Some of them had punctures or were entirely cut into pieces, indicating a blade had stabbed or gouged them. The head of the dog was positioned a few feet away inside a partially rolled snowball; the dog’s neck had been half-cut, half-torn from the rest of its body. The muzzle was still on, the dog’s eyes were missing, and its ears were slashed into ribbons.

“Jesus Christ.” Quintin said under his breath, backing away from the glass. He ran upstairs and banged on the door to Reggie’s room; the man was already partially awake and getting dressed, and the noise startled him.
“What, what?” the man asked groggily.
“I just got up, and there was blood all over the house…Bishop is dead in the backyard. I-It’s pretty bad.”
“Did a zombie get him or something? How'd he even get out?” Reggie asked, his eyes widening.
“I-I don’t know. Maybe. It doesn’t look like it though.” Quintin replied. He left the room and went to find Janet and Harmony. He found Janet sleeping in the bed, but Harmony was nowhere to be found.
“Janet,” Quintin said, lightly shaking his wife. “Janet!”
“W-What? Did something happen?” she asked, forcing herself awake.
“Bishop got killed somehow. Where’s Harmony?”
“She should be right here.” Janet replied, feeling her stomach tie itself into knots. Everybody started to run downstairs in ones and twos until the entire group, minus Harmony, was downstairs and had seen the body of the dog in the backyard.

“Where the **** is Harmony?” Quintin asked, going room to room in a panic. He was worried that whatever or whoever got Bishop also managed to get his daughter. He opened the basement door after following the other end of the floor trail.
In the dark shadows of the basement, there were boxes and bins full of old keepsakes and belongings that belonged to the original owners of the house. The group had cleared it when they first moved in, but Quintin kept his Glock at hand just in case something found its way inside. Reggie and Janet followed him into the basement, and the three adults eventually found Harmony sleeping in a corner of the basement on a mattress made of old papers and books; the trail of blood ended at her. Her gloves were lying on the ground nearby, completely soaked in blood and neatly hooked together using the little plastic clasps on each of them. Her hands, coat sleeves, pants, and even her forehead had bloodstains.

"Harmony, get up!" Quintin said loudly, although his voice cracked at the sight of his daughter covered in blood. She immediately woke with a start, sitting up and looking at the people standing over her.
"Harmony-" Janet said. She couldn't believe that her daughter did something like killing and mutilating Bishop. Reggie interrupted her before Janet could continue.
"Did you do that to Bishop? Did you kill him?" he demanded.
"I-I didn't do anything wrong!" Harmony said. She was starting to tear up; she didn't like getting yelled at.
"Bullshit! You killed our son's dog!" Reggie said. He turned to Quintin and Janet as Harmony started wailing. She expected her mom or dad to bend down and comfort her, but for the first time in her life, her parents seemed to ignore her. "Why the **** couldn't you just control your daughter?"
"We didn't tell her to go kill anything-" Quintin began, but Reggie cut him off again.
"You definitely didn't tell her not to! She kills her first zombie, and the whole time: 'Good job, Harmony! You killed somthin', good job'! I refuse to let my family travel with you anymore, not after what she just did! First it's a dog, and then it's more animals,and then it's me or my wife or my son!"

"D-Do you want to leave, or should we?" Quintin asked quietly. He wasn't about to argue with Reggie over something so one-sided; Janet was reduced to tears after a few more seconds of looking at her daughter. Harmony herself stopped crying after her parents didn't respond.
"We're not stayin' in the house with our unburied dead dog," Reggie said angrily. He stormed up the stairs, yelling at the Streets family as he left. "We're takin' half the food and half the water with us! Thelma, Darin, we're leavin' right now! We're not stayin' with these people and their sadist daughter!"

~

Quintin and Janet loaded what supplies they could into the Tahoe and left with Harmony several minutes after Reggie and his family disappeared. There was silence on the car drive until Janet regained her composure enough to talk to Harmony.
"Harmony, honey," she said, choking on her words. Harmony barely looked away from the snow-covered landscape that was speeding by the rear door windows. "Why did you do that to Bishop?"
"...I didn't like him."
"You can only talk rubbish if you're aware of knowledge." ~Karl Pilkington
"**** it, it's late. Change it later." ~Me and Teddy

coinsruledude
Posts: 14906
Joined: Wed Nov 24, 2010 7:36 pm
Location: Restricted

Re: If I Stand, We Fall (IC)

Postby coinsruledude » Wed Dec 31, 2014 3:42 am

Roy: 2

Roy stayed hidden in the shipping container for a few days as the small cargo ship traveled. He was unaware of its destination or the duration of the voyage, but he hoped his efforts would get him closer to a safe zone, or at least somewhere with less zombies and more supplies. He could vaguely tell what time of day it was judging by rays of sunlight that snuck through cracks and dents on the decades-old metal container he was locked inside. He spent the majority of his time locked in deep sleep; in Taiwan, it was difficult for him to get more than a few power naps before zombies found his hiding locations, and he was constantly exhausted physically and mentally. Being transported by the cargo ship allowed him to recover slightly and regain some of his energy. He slept for roughly twenty hours after first getting on the boat, and once he woke up, all he did for half an hour was eat the stored fruit from one of the crates, using an empty one on the other side of the shipping container as his bathroom.

[Friday, September 4th, 2026 – 9:34 AM]

Early in the morning on the second day of travel, long after Roy had fallen asleep again, the shipping container’s doors were wrenched open and two crew members entered. One of them was a man wearing a pair of worn jeans and a long-sleeved green shirt with the sleeves rolled up, and the other was a man in a thin yellow jacket and a pair of beige cargo shorts.
“Ràng wǒmen zhǎodào qìwèi.” the green-shirted said, sniffing the air.
“Lǎoshí shuō, tā wén qǐlái xiàng gǒu shǐ. Méiyǒu yīzhǒng dòngwù dédào ma?” the other man replied. He took a few steps inside the container, but he immediately stopped after noticing Roy’s feet sticking out from behind several of the crates.
“Nǐ kàn dàole ma?” he shouted, training his Norinco CQ rifle on Roy, who immediately woke up from the yelling. He was barely coherent, and the morning light burned his eyes after spending days in darkness. “Gǔn chū zhèlǐ! Bǎ nǐ de shǒu!”

Roy started groping around for his backpack in a panic, trying to get ahold of his weapons, but the man with the yellow coat grabbed his feet and dragged him out onto the deck, where he was quickly pinned down by both men. They started calling for backup, and several more crew members rushed over after hearing about the stowaway. Roy’s arms were bound with rope while the crew frantically argued and discussed what to do with him. He remained silent, not wanting to provoke the strangers; he was terrified of being killed or dropped overboard. Eventually, they simply tossed him back inside the shipping container and locked it after taking his backpack and weaponry. A few minutes before, Roy had been the one in control of his journey; he had the element of surprise and he would’ve been able to get somewhere safe without any trouble. He had been careless and became a prisoner almost instantly.

~

The boat docked soon after Roy was discovered. The port the ship stopped at was barely usable; a large freighter was grounded nearby, and during the crash it had destroyed most of the dock’s usable area and several smaller boats anchored nearby. However, the cargo ship was able to stop and unload its cargo; two of the shipping containers, including the one Roy was locked inside, were loaded onto a double-flatbed truck to be transported elsewhere. Two SUVs escorted the large vehicle inland, leaving the boat and the rest of the crew behind.
“Let me out!” Roy yelled weakly, banging on the door of his container. His yelling fell on deaf ears, so he was forced to wait with his arms still bound until his captors decided to let him out. The only good thing about his situation was that they left him in the container with all the food, which meant at the very least he wouldn’t go hungry.

[4:48 PM]

The drive lasted for what seemed like days, although in reality it wasn’t nearly that long. Constant bumping, sharp turns, sudden braking, and the smell of burning diesel prevented Roy from sleeping. Instead, he thought about the Atlas and the safety it provided for him; he started crying at one point, curling up in a ball on the floor of the shipping container and waiting for somebody to come kill him. In his mind, his story was over. He heard a large amount of gunfire outside, and he was sure they would come in and shoot him. Instead, the doors of his prison were thrown open and he was greeted by the same men who captured him in the first place, the green-shirted man and the man with the yellow coat.
“Bàituōle.”
“I can’t **** understand you!” Roy yelled desperately.
“You’re rude,” the yellow-coated man said in English; he had a very heavy accent. He gestured with his CQ rifle. “Come out of there. Now.” Shocked that the people spoke English and even more shocked that he wasn’t going to get killed, Roy obediently stood up and exited the shipping container. The convoy was parked in the middle of a street lined with small huts and broken-down houses. There were dozens of dead zombies lying in the road; some had just been killed and some were simply decomposing skeletons that had been there for years.

“Where am I?” Roy asked. There were no street signs visible, but he assumed he was still in East Asia judging from the mountainous, tree-covered landscape.
“Two or three hours north of Hanoi. We’re nearing the border between what you probably know as China and Vietnam,” the man with the yellow coat said. “We know them as parts of the Yíwàng. The forgotten land.”
“Why do you know English?”
“There are people outside America that speak English, and that’s all you need to know. Why did you hide on our ship? Why were you in Taiwan?”
“I was on a boat that crashed, and I-I had to get off that **** island somehow.”
“So you hid in our boat and imperialized our cargo? If you’d come up and asked, we’d have took you away from there. You chose to be sneaky and act like a criminal, so we’ll treat you like one.”
“Then just let me go. I’m sorry I ate some of your food, but I’m starving! Don’t kill me or anything!”
“We’re not going to kill you, but by week’s end you’ll wish we did.”
“What do you mean?”
“Zheng, don’t say anything else,” the green-shirted man said. “Tā bùnéng liǎojiě shìyàn.”
“We have to blindfold you,” Zheng said, turning to Roy. “You won’t get hurt as long as you know how to survive. Don’t try to run or resist.”

~

A piece of cloth was tied around Roy’s face and he was led away from the convoy by Zheng and his companion. The terrain was rough and bumpy, and he almost tripped several times; his escorts made sure he never fell to the ground. A few minutes later, Roy could tell that they entered a building of some kind. He also heard the unmistakable sound of zombies moaning and shuffling around; the noises were uncomfortably close.
“Where are the zombies?” Roy asked. He could feel his captors untying his arms from behind his back, but before he could react he was given a violent push from behind. He managed to catch himself before his head hit the ground, and he ripped off the blindfold just in time to see a heavy wood door slam shut behind him. He was locked in a sizable windowless room with half a dozen zombies inside. There were a few pieces of furniture in the room, including some chairs and a wooden table, but there were no weapons, exits, or other survivors to help him kill the zombies. Luckily for him, he had been conditioned not to panic at the sight of zombies thanks to his time spent in Taiwan. He stood up and began walking in wide circles around the perimeter of the room, effectively herding the zombies in the middle. When he made a pass near one of the chairs, he picked it up and smashed it against the floor several times with all of his strength, breaking it into several pieces that could be used as clubs. As the zombies got closer, he grabbed one of the chair legs and backpedaled to a safe distance before swinging at the lead zombie. It took a few smacks with the improvised weapon before the zombies fell to the ground, but it was still moving around on the ground and struggling to stand up.

Roy repeated his tactic of hitting the zombies one by one until he had killed three of them. He noticed a rusted kitchen knife stabbing into the thigh of one of the corpses, but he decided it was too short a weapon and continued using pieces of the chair to strike blow after blow on the undead. The zombies allowed him to let out the simmering anger he had been holding back towards his captors; they bound him, blinded him, and abandoned him, and he didn’t trust their claim that they wouldn’t kill him. He couldn’t trust anyone anymore.
Last edited by coinsruledude on Sun Jan 25, 2015 1:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
"You can only talk rubbish if you're aware of knowledge." ~Karl Pilkington
"**** it, it's late. Change it later." ~Me and Teddy

coinsruledude
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Re: If I Stand, We Fall (IC)

Postby coinsruledude » Mon Jan 05, 2015 1:40 am

Harmony: 5

[Wednesday, December 28th, 2016 - 7:38 AM]

Due to the cold weather and their new lack of supplies, the Streets family stopped about an hour south of Winifred in a city called Lewistown. It was many times larger than Winifred, and they hoped it would at least give them the opportunity to gather more supplies before moving on to their next location; Reggie’s family took half of the group’s supplies when they left, leaving them dangerously low on food.
Harmony sat quietly in the back seat, still speckled with blood from the night before. It was clear that she didn’t understand why she was in trouble or even why what she did was wrong, which bothered Quintin and Janet greatly. Their daughter never gave any indication of mental instability until that day; she got increasingly difficult to control as she got older, but since it was a natural part of childhood to defy your parents, they never thought anything of it. Now they were forced to accept that the apocalypse was affecting Harmony much more than they once thought.

Quintin parked the family’s SUV in the backyard of a two-story house so they could plan where to stay and where to begin looting. He entered the house and headed to the second floor, his thoughts shifting from his daughter to determining a plan of action, while Janet brought Harmony inside to clean her up. Sacrificing some of their bottled water, she cleaned the blood off her face and hands and forced her to get a change of clothes, throwing the bloodied garments in the kitchen’s garbage can, which was full of newspapers dating back several years and other refuse.
“Harmony,” Janet began. “I want to talk to you about what you did to Bishop.”
“Why I killed him?”
“Yes, honey. I want you to tell me what happened last night, okay?”
“I was having scary dreams again,” Harmony said. She was talking like she was in trouble over something and afraid that she about to be punished. “I went outside to look at the snow and Bishop ran out and ruined all of it. I-I didn’t want to pull his head off! He was moving around too much when I tried to stop him!”
“Harmony, why did you cut his tummy open though?”
“I don’t know.”
“Tell me the truth, Harmony! Are you sure you don’t know?”
“I don’t...I saw him bleeding and I wanted to see what was inside.” Harmony replied. Despite the disturbing things her daughter was saying, Janet could tell she didn’t know why what she did was wrong. She wiped her eyes with her hands and took a few deep breaths.

“Is what’s in him what’s in us?” Harmony asked. It was an innocent question, but it didn’t make Janet feel any better.
“Pretty much, yeah, but…Harmony, you aren’t supposed to do that to animals. You aren’t supposed to do it to animals, or people, or zombies.”
“But I’ve seen-“
“I don’t care who or what you saw!” Janet said forcibly. “It’s wrong! You don’t hurt something or someone unless you absolutely need to! Y-You killed Bishop, and you really hurt Darin and his mom and dad! Okay? Do you understand?”
“Y-Yes, Mom.”
“Good,” Janet said, hugging Harmony tightly. “I want you to know that your dad and I love you, okay?”
“I love you too.” Harmony replied. Quintin walked into the room moments later, after climbing down from the roof after surveying the area with a pair of binoculars. It appeared as though there was a small horde gathered in the center of the city, but almost the entirety of it was frozen and immobile, making the city relatively safe as long as the weather didn’t warm up while the family was still in the city.
“We can stay here for a while and look through the city. The next block over looks a lot safer, though. Sturdier houses and more open space to see threats.” Quintin said.
“Good. Harmony, go get in the car, alright?” Janet said. Harmony went outside and climbed in the back seat of the car; Quintin tried to follow her outside, but Janet stopped him by putting a hand on his chest.
“This needs to wait.” he began.
“It can’t wait!” Janet hissed.
“I know it can’t, but it’s going to have to anyway! Tonight when she’s asleep we’ll have hours and hours to talk, but right now we need to get somewhere safe and find enough food to last us a few days! Alright?” Quintin pleaded. Janet reluctantly agreed, and they both went outside.

[Thursday, December 29th, 2016 - 12:04 AM]

Just after midnight, Quintin and Janet went to the first floor of the house they chose to spend the night in. It was a two-story brick house with partial barricading already covering the windows, so they were confident it would hold up to whatever was thrown at them with the exception of an unfrozen horde or a dozen bandits with crowbars. Harmony was fast asleep in a room upstairs; her parents made sure to block the door before they left so nothing could wander in or out.
“Did she say why?” Quintin asked, referring to Harmony’s attack on Bishop.
“She said she didn’t like him, and that’s pretty much it,” Janet said through tears. “Quintin, she doesn’t have any empathy. I knew something like this would happen!”
“I don’t think it’s as bad as you think-” Quintin said, trying to calm down his wife.

“This is our wake-up call! She never got to go to school! She never learned to share! She never learned how to make friends on her own! How can we call ourselves parents?” Janet cried. With Harmony out of the room, she felt free to lose her composure and break down.
“We’ve tried to teach her what we can, but the only thing that matters now is keeping her alive!”
“What good is keeping her alive if she’s going to do things like that?”
“It doesn’t have to be things like that! She got…confused. All the violence she’s seen…I-I don’t think we can have her unlearn it, but we can direct it, right? All we need to do is aim it at zombies and wild game, and she’ll be able to take care of herself out here! T-That’s our job as parents, keeping kids alive for their adulthood.” Quintin said. He didn’t fully believe everything he was saying, though; like Janet, he started crying, knowing that Harmony was never going to have the chance to live a normal life. Her life would be full of pain and violence, and they wept for her.

[Thursday, December 29th, 2016 – 2:09 PM]

Quintin took Harmony to the house next to their temporary home in order to loot it; Janet, depressed and exhausted from the previous day, stayed in bed and tried to relax.
Quintin broke a window of the house they were going to loot; he used his gloves to remove the jagged shards of glass left on the sill, and he lifted Harmony inside before climbing through himself. They were standing in the kitchen, which was covered in a thick layer of dust and still had some cabinets that hadn’t been stripped clean by other survivors. As he started gathering soup cans and boxes of expired crackers, Quintin began talking to Harmony to keep her from wandering off on her own as she often did.

“Are you wondering why we didn’t use the door?” he asked.
“No.”
“Usually you want to use the door, but we don’t have anything to use to get it open. Reggie took our crowbar and axe with him when he left, so we had to use the window.”
“Zombies use windows to get in houses too, but they don’t use doors.”
“Yeah, zombies can’t use tools like crowbars. We can, so we like doors, but if there’s enough zombies they can get through a door by breaking it.”
“Like at the lodge?”
“Yeah…yeah, like at the lodge,” Quintin said. He stopped gathering supplies for a moment to kneel down in front of Harmony. “Harmony, I know you don’t like our car, and you don’t like living in a different house every day, but we have to do what I’m doing right now. Do you know why it’s important?”
“We have to survive.”
“Yes, but do you know why we have to survive? Do you even know what that means?” Quintin asked, getting a blank stare in response. “It means not getting hurt, and….and not being hungry all the time. It means being with your family for as long as possible because we all love each other. I know you don’t really understand, but I want you to grow up and be able to do this stuff on your own.”
“Okay.”
“It means you have to learn how to use a gun and how to keep zombies away from you. I-I know I always attack zombies and yell at them and beat them up, but that’s not how you’re supposed to do it.”
“Then why do you do it?”
“I don’t know, but I won’t want you to do it like I do. You didn’t have to do that to Bishop, but you did, and it’s okay as long as you promise not to do it again.”
“I promise.”
"You can only talk rubbish if you're aware of knowledge." ~Karl Pilkington
"**** it, it's late. Change it later." ~Me and Teddy

coinsruledude
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Re: If I Stand, We Fall (IC)

Postby coinsruledude » Thu Jan 22, 2015 9:03 pm

*Omit*
Last edited by coinsruledude on Fri Jul 17, 2015 8:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"You can only talk rubbish if you're aware of knowledge." ~Karl Pilkington
"**** it, it's late. Change it later." ~Me and Teddy

coinsruledude
Posts: 14906
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Re: If I Stand, We Fall (IC)

Postby coinsruledude » Thu Feb 05, 2015 12:10 am

Harmony: 6

Over the course of several years, Harmony and her parents traveled throughout Montana, Idaho, and the Dakotas, always staying out of major cities and keeping themselves isolated to prevent any hostile encounters with other survivors, although every so often they were forced to confront the Last Judgment as their borders grew and shrank. Over a surprisingly short period of time, Harmony began to adapt to constant travel and a minimalist lifestyle, but her parents, having grown up and lived in much different circumstances, had more trouble doing so. Quintin and Janet taught her everything they could, often learning alongside her when it came to things like hunting, scavenging for food, and utilizing their environment to better their chances at survival. Basic academic skills such as mathematics and science were overlooked and ignored when it came to Harmony’s education, because finding the family’s next meal was often more important.

Harmony’s parents made sure to closely monitor their daughter’s behavior after the incident involving Bishop. Although most of the time she acted normal, there were other times where something worrying occurred. Every so often Quintin or Janet would find the dead body of a squirrel or a stray pet lying near their campsite, mutilated in the same way Bishop was. As the strange incidents became more frequent, Harmony began to deny involvement, blaming wandering zombies even if there was evidence that suggested otherwise, such as fresh blood on her clothes or weaponry. In addition to trapping and killing the small game, she threw violent tantrums aimed at her parents, especially Janet, whenever hunger or exhaustion got out of control. One day she pointed her gun at her mother and nearly pulled the trigger, but instead she began crying and dropped the gun. Harmony’s episodes were random and caused Quintin and Janet gratuitous amounts of stress, but even without their daughter constantly harassing them and wandering off on her own, they were mentally stretched as far as possible. The unending fear of being stuck in a world with zombies for years took its toll; distrust began to build over time and arguments erupted frequently, but marriage counseling was obviously out of the question. Aside from the occasional fight due to stress, the couple continued to love one another and never wavered when it came to protecting or comforting one another or their daughter.

Despite years of abuse and off-road driving, the family’s Chevy Tahoe continued to transport them from place to place, often acting as a unifying object that kept the family calm and comfortable. Whenever fuel ran out or the vehicle broke down, the family would trek for miles and miles in order to keep it running. Their commitment to the vehicle was partially because it protected them from the elements and untold amounts of walking, but it was also because they formed an almost unnatural bond with the vehicle as time wore on. Quintin and Janet looked at it as the last remaining shred of their normal lives, and Harmony, almost thirteen years old, essentially grew up in the car. She treated it like her home, and the car was essentially another member of the family, affectionately named Frankenstein due to its ramshackle, beat-up appearance and constant need of repair.

The Northern Plains became a hostile environment over time, but Quintin, Janet, and Harmony persisted since there were few other options within their reach. Zombie migration and a lack of resources drove the Streets family further west into Montana and Idaho. One day they discovered Boise had been cleared out somewhat thanks to zombies moving out into the rest of the state, and eventually they were even able to return to their old family home, which was situated in part of the city with few remaining zombies.

[Wednesday, August 12th, 2020 – 2:09 PM] (four years after last chapter)

“I think this is it.” Quintin said, peering out Frankenstein’s cracked windshield and looking at a rusted street sign that was barely standing. He hadn’t shaved in years, resulting in a frizzy mess covering most of his face. His head, however, was missing most of its hair, and Harmony often annoyed him by saying his hair relocated to his chin. He was wearing a thin jean jacket and cargo pants, along with a pair of sunglasses perched on his forehead.

“It looks like a lot of it burned down.” Harmony commented, looking out the window and examining the various burned skeletons of nearby buildings. Her hair was tied up in a tight ponytail using a pair of earbuds. She was wearing a green long-sleeved shirt and cargo pants, along with running shoes; although she would’ve preferred to have steel-toed boots, unfortunately they never found any that fit her.
“Ours is farther up the street. I don’t think it burned.” Janet said. Like her daughter, she had a ponytail. Instead of old earbuds, her hair was tied up using green twine. Her face was worn with wrinkles and plenty of scars, but her demeanor was still relatively positive. She was wearing a black winter vest with a white long-sleeved shirt underneath, along with a pair of jeans.

Quintin parked Frankenstein outside the family’s old apartment building; it had been subject to riots, looting, and untold numbers of zombies wandering in and out, but it was still standing.
“I wonder if anything’s still inside.” Janet said, stepping out of the vehicle and walking towards the building. She was holding an AR-10 shotgun, which she kept at the ready just in case a zombie were to surprise them.
“I wouldn’t count on it,” Quintin replied. He was holding a shotgun similar to Janet’s; Harmony was carrying a 9mm Yarygin pistol in a holster on her hip, along with a small hunting knife strapped to the outside of the holster. “We never leave anything when we strip a place, so I doubt anyone else does.”
“Would they take family photos, though?” Janet inquired as she led the way inside and up a set of stairs. “Personal items aren’t worth anything.”
“Well, maybe. Maybe not.”

Quintin and Janet had to rack their brains to remember which apartment was theirs, but eventually they decided which one it was and entered, with Harmony close behind. Just like the rest of the building, it had been ransacked. Even the oven was partially missing, as somebody had pulled it from the wall and stole the wires snaking from its rear panels. The family’s couch was the only piece of furniture remaining, and it was splattered with old bloodstains and torn open in several places. The cupboards were obviously picked clean by looters, and the bedrooms fared no different. Tucked in a dark corner of what used to be Janet's personal closet was the safe that contained the family's personal documents; it hadn't been tampered with, probably because it was hidden and wasn't a major target for anybody looking for crucial survival supplies.

“Do you even remember what was in it?” Janet asked, as Quintin rolled the safe onto its side so the door was facing upward. “Do you remember the combination?”
“No, but we might was well try for posterity’s sake.” he replied. He tried entering several different numbers and combinations of numbers, and the door finally opened when he entered 2007, Harmony’s birth year. Inside, a pile of papers was scattered around the safe.

“Birth certificates,” Quintin said humorously, pulling out the documents sheet by sheet. “Social Security information. Passports.”
“Funny how all of it’s still here.” Janet said. Quintin reached in the safe and pulled out a small handgun, which was buried beneath his wife's naturalization papers. He inspected the small gun while talking.
“It's weird to see our own personal junk left behind. Usually when we loot a place, we find driver's licenses and passports belonging to complete strangers, but now it's our own stuff. Perspective's a ****."

As her parents dealt with the safe, Harmony wandered around the apartment looking for anything interesting. She didn’t particularly remember the building as a home; in fact, the stop wasn’t much more to her than another looting trip, except this time they knew there was nothing of value to loot. She eventually made her way to her old bedroom, the contents of which had been thrown around and scattered. What remained of her old toy box littered the floor, stuffed animals and books alike, and her old bed was sitting at a small angle, having been pulled out of position at some point. She bent over and picked up a brown rabbit, which she had vague memories of. The wallpaper, although torn in some places and peeling from the walls, also ignited some visions of the first few years of her life, although none of it meant much or elicited a response in any way.

“Harmony, where’d you go?” Janet’s voice called.
“I’m right here.” Harmony yelled back.
“Don’t wander away.” her mother said, walking into the room.
“I’m not doing anything.” Harmony said crossly, tossing the rabbit to the floor.
“Do you remember this place?”
“No.”
“I do. It’s cool being back here after so many years; I never thought I’d see this place again.” Janet said. Harmony didn’t say anything in response; she left the room a few moments later. Janet looked around at the toys on the floor, sighed, and followed her daughter.

“Think it’ll make good kindling?” Quintin asked when he met up with the others, holding up the papers from the safe. He had the gun stuffed in his back pocket, along with the ammunition he found for it inside the safe.
“It’s paper. It’ll be fine.” Harmony said.
“You are so contrary, you know that?” Janet asked. “You’re just like your grandpa.”
“Yeah, and my mom.” Harmony retorted quietly. Quintin laughed at the comment, and Janet rolled her eyes before playfully flipping her daughter’ ponytail into the air and leaving the apartment.
"You can only talk rubbish if you're aware of knowledge." ~Karl Pilkington
"**** it, it's late. Change it later." ~Me and Teddy


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