If I Stand, We Fall (IC)

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

Postby coinsruledude » Sat Apr 18, 2015 3:01 am

Roy: 6

“Jesus **** Christ.” Roy gasped. He used his amputated arm to wipe sweat from his forehead and mouth area; the humidity definitely had an effect on physical activity, and after running for two and a half kilometers at a full sprint, it was difficult to recover. His chest burned, and his good hand was in extreme pain due to aggravating the broken finger he received when fighting Tai.

Wei was groping at his own broken hand in the dark, unsuccessfully searching for a way to stop the pain. He was yelling to Zhou in Chinese, trying to communicate with his friend; Zhou himself was silent, his face relaying a feeling of shock and horror. Losing Chen, one of the two people he could depend on, was a strong blow to him.

Feliks started to stir a few moments after the trucks started moving, jostling the prisoners around a little as they made their way through the ruins of Jinshuihezhen. He had a split lip and a bruise on his cheekbone from the fight with Zheng and Jun, but otherwise he wasn’t injured, aside from minor cuts on his wrist from staining against the handcuffs connecting him and Zhou.

“I thought, maybe,” he said, gasping for breath as he sat up. “We weren’t going to make it.”
“We almost didn’t,” Roy said. “Fighting with them like that isn’t going to help when we don’t have weapons. We need to get the **** out of here as soon as possible. I’m not waiting anymore!”
“We have to wait,” Feliks said. “We don’t know where the safe place is yet. They haven’t told us, and I’m not running around Asia without a destination-”

In the middle of their conversation, Wei suddenly jumped on top of Roy, grabbing him by the throat with his unbroken hand. He started yelling and cursing at him in Chinese, the words being pretty unnecessary to convey the feelings he had towards Roy. Feliks immediately tried to break up the fight, but Zhou attacked him at the same time, and all four men were engaged in a short scuffle. The pairs were still handcuffed together, making it impossible to retreat or catch a breath. The men were also tired after their encounter on the roads outside, but regardless of their exhaustion, the Chinese prisoners linked Chen’s death and Wei’s injury to Roy and Feliks’ actions, and their tempers broke after the stressful situation they were recovering from. Roy kneed Wei in the tailbone, causing him immense pain but doing nothing to stop the assault. His vision started to blur and go fuzzy on the edges as Wei choked him.

Feliks pushed Zhou away from him, finding it hard to fight in the darkness of the container. He felt around for a weapon of some kind, and after groping around for a minute he grabbed what felt like Zhou’s free arm. However, it ended up being Chen’s severed arm, which still hung from Zhou’s wrist as a sick reminder of the zombies’ latest victim. Pulling on the limb allowed him to get leverage over Zhou and prevent punches for a few brief seconds, but the grief-stricken man kicked Feliks’ legs out from under him and inadvertently tackled him into Wei due to the confined space, knocking him off Roy. With the weight lifted from his chest and no hand wrapped around his neck, the adrenaline of the fight gave Roy the opportunity to reverse the pin and restrain Wei, who was physically smaller and weaker than Roy.

“We need to kill them both!” Feliks yelled. He managed to get on top of Zhou in the scuffle and started punching him with his free hand, using his handcuffed arm to block any recovery attempt by the man he was pinning.
“What? No, we don’t!”
“Yeah! Zheng said only three people – got to live from the five of us at the fire,” Feliks said in between punches. “Chen is – dead, and neither of these – two would let us alone if we only – kill one right now!”
“Why do we need to kill either of them? We can all break out together!” Roy said, uncertain about killing the other prisoners.

“They’re trying to kill us right now! I thought – you said you were strong, Roy! This is something we have to do!” Feliks continued hitting Zhou, whose face was quickly becoming bruised and bloody. Wei tried desperately to free himself, but Roy hit him several times, knocking him unconscious before stopping his attack. Feliks, however, didn’t stop himself; he continued raining blow after blow until Roy was forced to push him away from Zhou, who didn’t survive the brutal punches.

“Did you get him?” Feliks asked, shaking his hands in the air for a few seconds; his fingers were cut and bruised in several places from the fighting, but his face showed he was actually terrified, not enraged like Roy expected. His eyes were wide, and he was panting heavily.
“No, I didn’t.” Roy replied. Feliks was silent for a while; he leaned up against the side of the container and slid to the floor, stretching out one leg and keeping the other bent near his chest. It was a position of rest, similar to one which a man would take after an exhausting day at work.
“We’re going to have to sleep in shifts if we keep him alive…at least there won’t be any more trials, eh?”
“We don’t know that,” Roy said, irritated by Feliks’ behavior. “They could’ve made that up. He could’ve made all the trials up; they might just be another **** group of assholes.”

The container fell silent after a while, with two prisoners exhausted, one unconscious, and another dead. The smell of blood permeated the small space unavoidably, but Feliks and Roy had grown accustomed to it in their travels and weren’t affected nearly as much as one would expect.

Roy started having doubts about trusting Feliks. The man was driven by rage, which was understandable, but he also showed remorse, as if he was being controlled by a deeper, primal instinct rather than following a plan or any moral lines.
“I’ll have to keep an eye on him,” Roy thought. He shifted into a more comfortable position in an attempt to fall asleep, but the metal container and being handcuffed made it difficult. “But at this point, he’s all the help I have.”

[Saturday, September 5th, 2026 – 9:13 AM]

Some time had passed before Roy was woken up by metallic noises being made on the opposite side of the container. He sat up and noticed Feliks crouching near the door, pushing and prying the doors in an attempt to warp them in some way. Roy looked over at Wei and noticed that the man was lying in a different position, with new wounds on his face that weren’t there when he attacked Roy earlier.
“Did you hit him more?” he asked. Feliks turned around and looked at Roy.
“Yeah, he woke up and I didn’t want him being violent.”
“What, so we’re just doing to keep knocking him out until the trucks stop again?”
“I guess so, since you don’t want to kill him.” Feliks replied, returning to what he was doing.

“Why are you pushing on the doors?”
“I’m trying to break the handcuff,” Feliks grunted in response, as he yanked Zhou’s corpse closer to him. The doors were just far enough apart that Feliks could stick the cuffs between the two impossibly-strong slats, and he had some success in wrenching the cuffs to the side and bending them despite the hardened metal. “It’s working, but it hurts a lot.”
“Then stop doing it.”
“I’d rather not be attached to a body.”
“It didn’t have to be a body. It’s your own fault.” Roy replied. Feliks looked back and gave him a dirty look.

“I didn’t have a choice.”
“Then why is Wei still alive? Why didn’t you kill him too?”
“At the time, I didn’t have a choice! He was beating me, and he wasn’t going to stop. We needed to get rid of him eventually anyway.”
“That ‘three people live’ thing doesn’t even seem real, though. The trials are ****. Zheng is full of ****. We’re going to get killed if we stay with them.”
“That’s why I’m breaking out of my cuffs.”
“What, you’re with me now?” Roy scoffed. Feliks had been against taking the initiative to leave just hours earlier, and it appeared his tune had changed drastically. He initially expressed a desire to travel with their captors for a while in order to help his own survival, and breaking out didn’t seem like it was on his mind.
“At the very least, we can see how much we can get away with. We’ll need to get away from them eventually anyway,” Feliks said, shaking his head. With one final movement, he bent his wrist to the side and snapped the handcuff holding him to Zhou. As he was removing it from his hand, a procedure that required him to pry the two broken ends of metal away from each other, he accidentally cut himself on a jagged piece of twisted metal. Grimacing and wrapping his hand tightly in his shirt to stop the bleeding, he gestured at the door. “Break yours off if you want. I’m going to sleep some now.”

Roy stood up to approach the doors. As Feliks walked past him, he caught a glimpse of the other man’s face wounds. On his nose and forehead, there were several cuts and gashes that he hadn’t noticed before.
“How did you get cut up like that?”
“Zhou scratched me up when we were fighting.”
“That bad?”
“The man was fighting for his life. I’d claw as hard as I could if I needed to.” Feliks said. Roy looked down at Zhou and, after a few seconds of inspection, saw something peculiar. The Chinese man’s uncuffed hand was bloodied up badly and had gashes similar to those on Feliks’ head. Roy crouched down and, upon further inspection, found a single key clutched in the dead man’s fist. The key had a film of red covering it, but it appeared to be a shiny silver color. A length of metal chain was running through a hole punched on the top of the key.

“Where’d this come from?” Roy asked, holding up his find. Feliks grabbed the key by the chain and examined it for a moment. While he was looking at it, he involuntarily reached up and touched the cuts on his face, making the connection between them and the improvised weapon.
“I don’t know…could he have grab it on the road?” Feliks guessed, using his thumb to wipe dried blood from the face of the key. “How would he see it in the dark though?”
“Maybe he took it from Zheng while you guys were fighting.”

“Maybe…hey, there’s a lock holding those doors shut,” Feliks said immediately, pointing at the doors. “There’s a metal cover protecting it, but there’s definitely a lock out there.”
Roy went to the doors and peeked out through the gap Feliks had pried open. Roy knew from working on the Atlas that normal shipping containers usually had a metal lock box to add security and protect the padlock from being tampered with by cutters or other tools. However, the shipping container Roy and Feliks were trapped within was so dilapidated and aged that the lock box was wasting away in certain places, just like the rest of the structure; if he craned his neck, Roy he could just barely see the actual padlock through a rust hole.
“If we can get the cover off, we can check to see if the key works.” Roy said breathlessly.
“If that is Zheng’s key, then he’s going to know it’s gone,” Feliks warned. He looked at the key again. “It doesn’t look like it came from a ring…how would he open this container otherwise? We might have the only key for all we know.”
“That is, if this is even the right key,” Roy said, still looking outside. “But I’ll try anything at this point.”
“Where should we keep it?”
“I have no idea. Find a crack or something to shove it in.”

As Roy began working on breaking his handcuffs using the door, Feliks searched around for a place to stash the key. He found that one of the slabs of metal making up the ceiling of the container was rusted and had several gaps running along its edge. He took the chain and, after making sure the key was securely attached to it, let it drop into one of the gaps, effectively hiding it. He was able to wedge the balls of the chain between rusted segments of metal, making it so only somebody who knew the chain was there could get the key.
“Hope the potholes don’t shake it loose.” Feliks said.
“All we gotta do is widen this gap so we can pull the cover off,” Roy said, finding it somewhat difficult to break his cuffs one-handed. “We can make as much noise as we want while we’re moving, so banging and kicking is fine.”

~

Wei woke up later on, having recovered from being knocked unconscious twice in several hours. Finding that he was no longer handcuffed to Roy seemed to make him somewhat content, although he still muttered to himself in Chinese and cast vile glares at Roy and Feliks, the latter of whom was sleeping.

Roy busied himself by widening the gap between the doors. He used the broken handcuffs as a tool, prying them back and forth with his good arm. The pain in his broken finger became intolerable after an hour of work, but he persisted, ignoring the pain as much as possible. Spending time as a prisoner made him remember the bandits in Georgia, and how Wade’s group mercilessly killed person after person. The experiences hammered home a fact of life he was already aware of: he couldn’t trust anybody. Not strangers on the road, not people in safe zones, not the members of his group. He was on his own.
“I’m not going down without a fight. I owe myself that much.” he thought.

His work was interrupted by the container truck slowing down. He quickly woke Feliks by lightly kicking him, and then he haphazardly hid the broken handcuffs in the same broken ceiling panel as the strange key. They weren’t as well hidden as the key, but he hoped it would be enough.
“Don’t hide those!” Feliks hissed. “They’ll know we did something if they aren’t on our wrists!”
“What are they going to do? Beat us? They’re already planning on doing something horrible since they’re coming back here!” Roy replied quietly. Jun was the one who opened the container doors.

“Shì Zhōu sǐle ma?” he asked.
“Tāmen shāle tā. Tāmen dǎ tā.” Wei replied shakily. Jun whistled to another convoy member and instructed him to search and remove the body while the other prisoners were led to the center of what promised to be the convoy’s camp for the day. The vehicles stopped on a small island on the banks of the Yuanjiang River; the outcropping was connected to the mainland by a short, thin bridge, making it easy to avoid wandering hordes as long as they kept their campfires covered and stayed quiet.

“Line up over there and take off all your clothes.” Jun ordered the prisoners, both in English and Chinese.
“Why?” Feliks questioned.
“We need to search you. Something went missing yesterday, and you took it.” Jun replied violently. Roy avoided looking at Feliks; the statement confirmed that the key belonged to Zheng, which was both good and bad. As he took off his shirt, Roy noticed several convoy members climb inside the shipping container and start combing it from top to bottom. Anxiety began to build up as the prisoners stripped, knowing they could be discovered trying to escape at any moment.

A minute or so later, Jun gathered up the prisoner jumpsuits and left, leaving the three men naked and guarded by several convoy members. Although there was an air of awkwardness, it wasn’t a big deal at first compared to some of the things Roy had dealt with. He would rather stand naked in front of people than getting shot or beaten. It got worse when they were ordered to spread their legs and hold their arms in the air; a man began thoroughly checking each of them to make sure they weren’t concealing contraband on their person. Once the search was over, Jun returned to the men without the jumpsuits.

“Are you hiding anything?” Jun demanded.
“Shǒukào zài tiānhuābǎn shàng.” Wei replied immediately. Roy’s blood ran cold for a moment, thinking Wei sold them out, but then he realized the man was unconscious when they discovered and hid the key, so he wouldn’t have any knowledge of it. Jun yelled to the people searching the container, and they quickly discovered the prisoners’ hiding place. They returned with one pair of handcuffs, but they didn’t appear to have found the other set of cuffs nor the key.

Jun grabbed the handcuffs and inspected them, before violently smacking Roy in the face with them. He held the cuffs at one end and swung the other like the object was a short whip, hitting Roy’s jaw and almost knocking him over. He carried through with the blow and hit Wei in the face as well, aggravating his face wounds, and then hit Feliks with an overhead blow that landed on the man’s collarbone.
“Don’t hide things from us. It’s not trustworthy.” Jun said. He led the prisoners to a small campsite on the outskirts of the camp, where they were provided fruit and meat jerky of some kind to eat.
Roy was grateful for the food, but he never got complacent. He continuously looked around, wanting to find weaknesses in the convoy’s behavior. As he had seen before, there was no rhyme or reason to the convoy’s movements or guard schedules, which could’ve been exploited easily if given the right opportunity.

The prisoners’ clothes weren’t returned until after they were done eating; the jumpsuits had been washed, although bloodstains persisted as with any piece of clothing. After one final check of the shipping container, which had been quickly scrubbed down with water to remove the blood, Jun slammed the metal doors and put the padlock back in place, sliding the lock box over it before walking away. As soon as he was out of earshot, Feliks giggled, a crooked grin spreading across his face.
“Is it still up there?” he asked. Roy checked and confirmed that the key was still in place, along with the other handcuffs. “Głupeki.”
“Now we know it’s the right key, at least,” Roy said, rubbing his jaw where the handcuffs hit him. “You were right; they noticed it was gone.”

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"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 » Sun Apr 19, 2015 12:11 am

Jhonny: 2

~~~

“Bless me Father, in this confession it has been…well, sixty years – my entire life – since my last confession, I guess. I accuse myself of the following sins.”

“I stole from a lot of innocent people too many times to count. I swindled as much as I could to keep myself clothed, fed, and happy…I robbed some stores…but I stopped that because it was too dangerous. The police look into that stuff a lot more than a pickpocket or mugging. Uh…I avoided taxes using fake names and all kinds of fake documents, so I also cheated the government.”

~~~

[Wednesday, April 31st, 2028 – 1:27 PM]

Jhonny withdrew to his small bedroom on the second floor of the group’s house. It was relatively bare inside the room; there was a bed, a small bookcase, a wooden desk, and a computer chair, but not much else besides his worn-out mountain backpack and a bunch of odds and ends scattered around the desk and floor. His Sig Sauer was sitting out in the open on his desk, sunlight reflecting off its shiny surface onto the nearby wall. He sat down on the edge of his bed just as Church walked in after him.

“Jhonny, now isn’t the time to do this.” she said matter-of-factly, irritated that he just walked out after delivering the bad news.
“Do what?”
“Ignore everyone else and sit up here like you’re all alone in the goddamn world. You did enough of that on the Atlas; you don’t need to do it now.” Jhonny didn’t reply; after a moment, Church sat down on the bed next to him. They were silent for a while; the room was uncomfortably hot, but neither of them bothered to go open the window.

~~~

“I solicited murder – hiring people to kill other people – a couple times, for reasons I don’t think are justified anymore. I had blood on my hands before the apocalypse, but I never paid for it in any way. Never got punished. You know, if you kill somebody now, you can spin it as just trying to survive, but back then I didn't have that excuse.”

~~~

“There was a time when people like me got what they deserved.” Jhonny said.
“What do you mean?”
“You, me Ivy, the twins – that’s it. That’s everyone who survived. Everyone from Salt Lake City, the Atlas, the Island, everywhere.”
“Do you think you’re the only one in this house with survivor’s guilt?” Church asked, recognizing where Jhonny’s outburst was going. “All of us question why we’re alive every day.”
“I know, but I’m the only one in this house who actually, really, legitimately doesn’t deserve to be here.”
“Why? Because of who you were before the apocalypse?”
“And during.”
“Jhonny, for the thousandth time, nobody cares about that anymore. The people you hurt are long dead or forgot who you are. The zombies made everybody equal, wiped the slate clean for people like you, and you took advantage of it! You didn’t become a Last Judgment member.”
“Yeah, I know,” Jhonny replied, hanging his head in his hands. “I know…but now I know, for a fact, that I don’t have long left and I don’t know if it was worth it. Worth all the **** I caused and the food I ate and the ammo I used.”
“If you died earlier, a lot of people would’ve died a lot sooner. Stop acting like you’re still the piece of **** you were back then.” Church said. Jhonny looked up at her after a second.
“I was a big piece of ****, wasn’t I?” he sighed.
“The biggest, but who cares?”
“I do.”
“You shouldn’t.”

~~~

“I, uh, forced myself on three different women in my life. They weren’t underage or handicapped or anything, but…I-I didn’t have any consent. I was usually drunk or high, and they were too; I didn’t even remember two of the incidents until friends told me, and I didn’t really care at the time. Sex was just another thing to keep me feeling relevant.”

“For these and all the sins of my past life, especially for my sins of murder and adultery, I am truly sorry.” Jhonny finished. The air inside the confessional was hot and humid, just like in the rest of Sydney. The priest sitting in the other side of the booth waited a moment before talking.

“Thank you, Jhonny,” the priest said, his voice slightly muffled. “We are living in a time of great unrest and fear, but you chose to come and confess regardless. The Lord forgives even the vilest of sins if you are truly repentant; you are dying, and your time on Earth is limited. You must devote yourself to righting your wrongs and accept the Lord as your savior.”

After the priest finished giving his advice, he asked Jhonny to recite an act of contrition.

“Oh, my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee,” Jhonny began, repeating the priest's words as he said them. “And I detest all my sins, because of Thy just punishments, but most of all because they offend Thee my God, Who art all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin. Amen.”
“God, the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son has reconciled the world to himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins,” the priest said. “Through the ministry of the Church, may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

“Thanks for listening, Father.”
"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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Re: If I Stand, We Fall (IC)

Postby coinsruledude » Fri May 08, 2015 10:27 pm

Shaun: 1

[Friday, May 8th, 2015 – 6:04 AM]

Port Pirie didn’t wake up until around ten in the morning. The city was very quiet, as if no one lived there. The apocalypse had been rough on the survivors in the coastal Australian city. The Badlanders became bolder with every passing day, threatening the security of the small safe zone. They had been attacked three times before, causing death and destruction each time. Made up of former city-dwelling Australians and a few native Aborigines, the Badlanders were known for their aggressive, territorial behavior and tendency to raid camps and kill other survivors. Port Pirie and her sister zone to the south, Adeliade, were somewhat protected, being on the cusp of the Badlands. The bandits appeared to be heading east in droves, however; the desert could only maintain such a large population for so long.

Resources were becoming scarce in the desert, but not in Port Pirie. The ADF abandoned lots of rations when they evacuated and left the civilians for dead. Ammo wasn’t a problem either, but only because there weren’t many guns in the first place. Most of the fighting was up close and personal unless a citizen managed to get hold of a gun once used by a soldier. The large perimeter fences became invaluable whenever a horde of zombies or Badlanders assaulted the city. Attackers had to funnel themselves through small gates to reach the safe zone, which consisted of four city blocks nestled along the Port Pirie River, which served as a reliable fresh water source.

An unassuming house on the bank of the river is where Shaun Harris, Mia Nguyen, and Declan Jones lived together. The three shared a friendship molded out of necessity. Declan was an American music teacher who happened to be visiting family members in Port Pirie when the apocalypse fell upon him. He was tall, blonde-haired, and wore thick glasses. He lost the family he came to visit to zombies, and found himself trapped in the foreign country during a worldwide crisis with nowhere to go.
Mia was born to wealthy parents and raised by street urchins in the slums of Surabaya, Indonesia. She was fluent in English because her biological father taught her how to speak it when she was young. She had short, black hair and deep brown eyes. The zombies hit Indonesia hard. Most safe zones collapsed a few days after being established, and they were all gone within a few months. Before the zombies claimed her life as well, Mia managed to sneak onto a boat full of other poor Indonesians that was bound for Australia. The boat sunk about a mile from the mainland, and Mia was the only passenger to her knowledge who managed to swim ashore. She traversed the Badlands weaponless, and would have died alone in the desert if Shaun hadn’t found her.

Shaun was an oddity among Port Pirie. Unlike most of the residents, he wasn’t afraid to take the fight to the Badlanders, and he was known for venturing out into the desert alone and returning a few days later with a carful of supplies. He generally wore cargo shorts, a tank top, and an Aussie slouch hat to keep the sun off his face. His skin was almost as red as the desert sand thanks to repeated burning and tanning. He said little and kept to himself, and a sharpened machete on his hip kept it that way. During one of his travels into the desert, he found Mia lying out in the sun, passed out from heat exhaustion. He raced her back to Port Pirie, and luckily she survived.
Shaun met Declan the same day. When Shaun was returning home after leaving Mia at the hospital, Declan begged him for food. He had been living in alleys for weeks, slowly starving as the other civilians turned a blind eye to his suffering. Shaun gave him a room in his house.

~

“Ya’ll ready?” Shaun asked, throwing the bag into his dirty pickup truck.
“Not really.” Declan replied. He, Shaun, and Mia were getting ready to depart on one of Shaun’s expeditions into the desert. It would be the first time Shaun was taking anyone with him.
“It’s not that bad, mate,” Shaun grunted, jumping into the bed of the truck. He double-checked that the large water tank, capable of holding five hundred gallons of liquid, was strapped down securely. “You just have to hit‘em during the night. They'll never even see us.”
“I’m not so sure I want to do this,” Mia said, rubbing her forearms as if to ward off the cold, even though it was nearly seventy degrees outside. “The last time I went into the desert I almost didn’t come out.”

“That’s because you weren’t with me last time.” Shaun replied, climbing behind the steering wheel. With his truck loaded with supplies and his two passengers belted in, Shaun slid behind the wheel of his truck and started the engine. The truck was a 1980 Chevy, with chipping white paint and rusty metal rims. The water tank in the back was strapped down with red and black bungie cords, and the rest of the supplies were squeezed between the tank and the sides of the truck bed. The interior was covered in worn gray fabric, and there were gray seat covers that made trips slightly more comfortable.
“There’s an outpost a few miles north,” Shaun began to say to his companions, as they drove up to Port Pirie’s gate. The gate looked weak despite its proven effectiveness; it consisted of a single layer of chain-link stretching around the entire safe zone, with the exception of the river. The main gate was placed on the major highway running into the city. It was guarded twenty-four hours a day by anyone willing to lend a hand.

“Goin’ out again, Mr. Harris?” one of the guards asked. He hunched over to look inside the driver side window of the car. He had a black beard and thick, bushy eyebrows. His hands were wrapped around a crowbar, but behind him an FN Minimi machine gun was being manned by a middle-aged woman, eliminating any impression that the guards were under-armed.

“I’m always goin’ somewhere, Mr. White.” Shaun replied, flashing a smile at the man.
“Alright then. Take care outside the fence. It’s gettin’ more dangerous out there.” Mr. White said. He whistled, and two men sprang to their feet from sitting positions in lawn chairs to heave the gate open. The gate was normal chain-link, but it had been reinforced with metal siding from a house, making it slightly more durable than the rest of the border fence.

“Good luck, Mr. Harris!” the woman manning the Minimi yelled, as the truck kicked up dust and gravel as it left the safe zone. Shaun stuck his hand out the window and gave a brief wave.
“I’ve been keepin’ records of the Badlanders’ movements,” Shaun explained, reverting to his normal serious attitude. “I’m pretty certain they have an outpost ‘bout eighty miles north. We’ll drive up today and strike durin’ the night tonight.”
“What’s your plan to attack them?” Mia asked.

“Not sure yet,” Shaun answered. “I’m not even completely sure there’s an outpost there.”
“Well, then how can you justify this trip?” Declan asked touchily. “How are you so sure the Badlanders are nearby?” Shaun reached over Declan’s lap and popped open the glove department. He tossed a dusty, leather-bound journal at Declan’s chest. The man flipped through the pages and saw what appeared to be gibberish writing, accompanied by English paragraphs every so often in the pages.
“What does this have to do with anything?” Declan asked. Mia took the journal from him and began flipping through it herself. “It’s just gibberish.”

“I snatched it from one of the camps I raided a while back,” Shaun replied. “That gibberish is Guugu Yimithirr. It’s a language Aboriginals used way back when. Only a few humans speak it today, and they must be in with the Badlanders, since they’re using it as a code of sorts; it's a good language to use for secret messages and the like. I don’t have a clue what those parts say. I only recognize it from my time in university, but the English says the buggers are movin’ east," Shaun said, licking his lips before continuing. "And I’m sure the ADF with enjoy havin’ the Northern Sanctuary raided in a few weeks.”

“It says that in here?” Declan asked in disbelief.

“It says somethin’ along the lines of their 'tribe' is gettin’ ready to attack there,” Shaun confirmed. “Not much else. I think that book is just some diary or somethin’, not actual battle plans. The part we're concerned about is the mention of a small settlement in the desert. It never says the exact location, but the lay of the land the writin' describes is a helluva lot like a highway intersection north of here.”
“Shouldn’t we warn the Northern Sanctuary if there's an attack planned against them?” Mia asked. “If the Badlanders attack in a big enough group they could do some serious damage."
“Who cares?” Shaun asked. “Look, the ADF didn’t do jack **** to help in Port Pirie or Adeliade in the beginnin' of the outbreak. Let ‘em fend for themselves like they made us do.”
"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 Jun 08, 2015 3:58 am

Jhonny: 3

[Wednesday, July 20th, 2028 – 1:27 PM] (three months after the last Jhonny chapter)

Church, Ivy, and the twins were led through the dimly-lit hallways of Royal Prince Alfred Hospital’s second floor. Most rooms had their doors closed so patients and doctors could avoid being disturbed by people passing by, but one door in particular was cracked open just a few inches. The doctor leading the women through the building opened it and gestured for them to enter. Inside, there was very little to look at: a hospital bed, several folding chairs, a row of wooden cabinets painted white. The depressing room had several fluorescent bulbs providing light overhead, and one of them was flickering annoyingly.

Jhonny was lying in the hospital bed covered by a light blue blanket. He had a breathing tube connected to his nose to help him breathe, since his condition made it difficult. An aura of disease hung around him, which made his visitors feel even worse. His skin and hair were rapidly adopting shades of gray, and the shape of his skull was visible through the loose skin on his face. Jhonny’s Sig Sauer was sitting on a rolling serving table next to the bed; the weapon had traveled with him everywhere, from the illegal acquisition of the weapon in his early adulthood through many criminal endeavors and the apocalyptic zombie outbreaks. It made sense for the gun to be with him on his deathbed too.

“I’ll leave you all alone for a few minutes.” the doctor said, before quickly stepping back into the hallway. The simple statement carried with it a strong implication. After those precious minutes, he would come back and administer the drug that would ultimately kill Jhonny so he didn’t have to wait for the cancer to run its full, dreadful course.

“Usually our group doesn’t have a few minutes to say goodbye,” Jhonny wheezed. “Bullets are a lot faster than that.”
"I wish you didn't have to go like this," Malorie chimed in, speaking quietly. "I wish you didn't have to go period."
“Everybody ends up on this bed eventually, and I’m here now. All of you won’t be here for a long, long time, so be glad for that at least.” Jhonny grunted. He struggled to push himself up into a leaning position against the bed’s headboard; in addition to the cancer, he also suffered a minor heart attack just days earlier, but luckily he was already in the hospital surrounded by the best medical professionals left in Australia, making it survivable.

“If there’s one thing I learned from the zombies, it would be don’t panic,” Jhonny stated, his eyes cloudy. “If you stay focused on whatever you’re doing, it’ll be a lot easier and you probably won’t see as many people die. Also, don’t do anything I used to do – cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, being an ****.”

"Hearing your diagnosis was the hardest news I’ve had to swallow since Teddy died," Ivy said. She took one of Jhonny’s hands in hers as she started to cry. "Regardless of what doubts you have about yourself, I knew you as a great friend who helped me and others through the very worst of times. If we didn't have you along for the ride, I don't think any of us would still be breathing.”
“I think it was more of a team effort than anything, but thank you.”
"I hope you get a chance to see the people you miss, the people we all miss," Mary said sadly, seeing it as the only positive thing that could arise from the situation. "I'll miss you Jhonny, a whole lot. You taught me that people can change, no matter what they are."
“Thanks, Mary. That means a lot coming from somebody as selfless as you,” Jhonny coughed for a few seconds before looking back at everybody in silence. Eventually his gaze stopped on Church. “Anything to add?”

“No, I don’t think I have anything new…maybe it’s because I haven’t had to do this in a while. For the longest time, when the people we loved died, we just buried them and had a moment of silence before getting back on the road. But with you – it was too drawn out. It hurts a lot more because of that.”
“Oh, well then,” Jhonny began. He started to laugh, but his chuckling turned into coughs after a while. He had to take a drink of water to stop the fit before continuing. “I’m sorry I’m such a burden.”
“Apology accepted.” Church said, smiling briefly. She took a moment to wipe her eyes with the collar of her shirt.
“I know you didn’t meant it like that, but you’re right. There’s no point in delaying it anymore.”

“I’ve never been the type of person to care for last words, but I might as well give some, right? Ivy, Church, I can say without a doubt that you are the strongest two people I ever met. Stronger than me, stronger than every ASF member and bandit and zombie combined. You went through hell for years, trying to escape the apocalypse, and both of you suffered horribly because of it – losing your closest loved ones, fighting through injuries, dealing with everything mentally. But you both got through it in the end, eh? You two deserve to be here, in Sydney, safe, more than anyone.”

“Mary and Malorie, you’re both just as strong, and there’s no doubt you get it from your mom and your dad. Neither of you have known anything but the struggle to survive. You were thrown into this shitty world during the shittiest time ever, and you know what you did? You told the world to go **** itself. Even though you’re young, you’re just as prepared as anybody else in this safe zone. I don’t know what will happen to you four after this, but I doubt you’ll have trouble dealing with whatever comes your way.”
“I'm going to miss you greatly until the day I die, Jhonny. We all love you." Ivy said weapily.
“I know.”

After a few more minutes of tearful goodbyes, Church and the Julocks left the room, leaving Jhonny alone. The doctor didn’t return until two minutes later, giving him the two minutes to reflect on his life. Being on his deathbed, he knew he couldn’t change anything. Although he recently began to question his morality, he realized that he was who he was. While waiting for the doctor to come back, it wasn’t his questionable past that upset him anymore. He pressed the blanket to the corners of his eyes to soak up his tears of regret. He didn’t want to die. He enjoyed life, regardless of if he was snorting cocaine or watching after Cora or Mary or Malorie when they were babies.

After the longest and shortest two minutes of Jhonny’s life, the doctor walked back into the room, ready to euthanize Jhonny.
“We have a priest available, if you want to be read last rites.” the doctor offered.
“Thanks, but I hope there isn’t a God, because I doubt he’ll be happy to see me. I sure as hell won’t be happy to see him.”

(This is my new favorite song. It’s also one of my dad’s favorite songs, and I first heard it in a playlist while riding in his car. I recommend listening to it after reading this post and reading the lyrics all the way through.)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNluLz38xOY
"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 » Wed Jun 10, 2015 11:06 pm

Roy: 7

[Saturday, September 5th, 2026 – 11:04 PM]

The convoy stayed on the tiny island for the entire day, healing their wounds and resting their minds. The prisoners were ignored for the most part, aside from an occasional check to see if they were still there. Roy focused his energy on removing the shipping container’s padlock. The extra set of handcuffs he managed to hide from Jun proved to be a good tool; whenever nobody was around, he stuck one end through the gap in the door and fished for the edge of the cover, using the unlocked cuff as a hook. Once he had the cover hooked, it was simply a matter of pulling up and using leverage to tear the rusted sheet of metal away from the rest of the container. Feliks offered to help every so often, but for most of the day Roy was the one sitting near the door, waiting for an opportunity to get back to work. His mental state deteriorated throughout the day due to the escape attempt. He carried the compounding stress with him every time he made more progress in removing the cover. Roughly an hour before midnight, Roy’s efforts paid off. The metal cover gave way and clattered to the ground, revealing the shiny padlock keeping him, Feliks, and Wei trapped. The key and lock both had Master Lock stamped on them, so the chances of them actually having the right key was relatively high.

Feliks heard the noise of the cover bouncing off the ground, and so did a guard stationed near the flatbed truck; she took a quick walk around the vehicle, but the darkness masked the broken cover from her sight. She walked away, giving Roy a sense of excitement.
“Get me the key.” he said softly. Feliks had to step over Wei’s sleeping form in order to get to their hiding spot in the ceiling. He tossed Roy the key after retrieving it, and before he tried anything else, Roy wrapped the chain around his wrist so he wouldn’t accidentally drop the key through the door gap. Using the handcuffs, he maneuvered the lock into position, with its keyhole facing upward to the point where he could just barely reach it with the key. His heart started pounding harder and harder as he tried to fit the key into the hole. It was difficult to say the least; he had to keep the very tips of his fingers gripped on the key in order to span the distance between him and the lock. After three failed tries, the key finally slipped into the lock completely. To turn it, Roy simply twisted the chain over and over, braiding it until it began taut. He was able to pull the chain to the side slightly, turning the key and popping open the padlock. Feliks, who was waiting with baited breath, grinned and slapped Roy on the back when he heard the telltale click. After another few seconds, Roy was able to get the lock off the doors, and after that it was just a matter of pushing open the doors.

“Are we ready?” Feliks whispered.
“As ready as we’ll ever be. Let’s get Wei up and then get out of here.” Roy replied. He started walking over to Wei, but Feliks grabbed his arm and pushed him back to the door.
“We don’t have to take him!” he said quietly. “More people will make it harder to escape!”
“Why shouldn’t we? We can’t leave him with these people! They’ll kill him.”
“He attacked us!”
“Maybe saving his goddamn life will make him like us more.” Roy said, kicking Wei’s foot before Feliks could stop him. The Chinese man woke up immediately, expecting another fight. His eyes widened as Feliks pushed the door open several inches, checking for any threats outside. Roy looked at Wei and smiled a little, gesturing to the door, and Wei gave him a hard stare before nodding and standing up.

Most of the convoy was asleep, so initially exiting the container wasn’t an issue. The hardest part of the escape was getting out of the camp; in the middle of the parked vehicles, a campfire was still raging, but only three people were sitting around it: Jun, Zheng, and the female guard. They were speaking to each other in Chinese and appeared distracted with a late-night meal they had prepared. The prisoners stayed on the opposite side of the flatbed truck, out of sight. The female guard left the fire and began walking around the camp again, forcing them to shut the shipping container doors so it wasn’t obvious an escape was happening. She appeared to be on some kind of guard patrol, complicating things greatly.

A deep hatred started to boil inside of Roy. Watching Zheng and Jun eat and talk like nothing was wrong infuriated him. They were responsible for so much unnecessary suffering, just like the ASF. He tapped Feliks on the shoulder.
“Co to jest? What is it? Is that lady walking by here?”
“We need to kill these people before we leave. At the very least we can get Zheng and Jun.”
“No, we need to get out of here fast.”
“Feliks, you’ve seen what they do to people,” Roy pressed. “All we need to do is surprise them. Everyone else is sleeping; we can run away after bashing their **** heads in!” Feliks contemplated the decision for a moment before getting Wei’s attention. He nodded in the general direction of the campfire and ran a finger across his throat, but Wei appeared to be in agreement with Feliks; he waved his hands and pointed to the dark expanse of trees on the other side of the river, where they could undoubtedly have a better chance of escape.
“You’re outnumbered. We need to go.”
“I’ll catch up with you.”
“Stop being stupid, and let’s go!”
“I’m not leaving until these motherfuckers are dead!” Roy hissed. “If you’re leaving, then go! I’ll meet up with you in the trees in a couple minutes!”
Unwilling to wait, Feliks and Wei left Roy alone by the truck. They waited for the female guard to be on the other side of the camp and then sprinted towards the bridge spanning the river. Roy sighed and kept watching Zheng and Jun, unsure of how to proceed. They stayed in the same place, but the female guard was making her rounds, forcing him the hide underneath the flatbed. There was plenty of room and not much light, aside from the campfire, so she didn’t notice him as she walked past the flatbed, within mere feet of his location.

While he was moving around underneath the truck, Roy noticed several pieces of debris, presumably junk that had been swept under the truck while the convoy was clearing space for the campfire. There were several chunks of wood and metal in the pile, and he managed to get his hands on a piece of what used to be a street sign post. One end was flat while the other was tapered in a jagged spike, the evidence of some kind of car crash or scrapping operation. Having the improvised tool in his hand caused Roy to smile inadvertently. He could defend himself again.

Once the female guard circled around to the other side of the camp, Roy stalked forward, tightening his grip on the rusty piece of metal. He shifted it so it pointed down at the ground when he held his fist out; the spike instantly became a deadly weapon, ready to stab at an unassuming neck or back of the head. Zheng and Jun were sitting on the same side of the fire, facing the opposite direction. Zheng began talking when Roy was only a few meters behind him and Jun.
“I’m not sure if any of our prisoners will pass the trials at this rate.” he commented. Before Roy could process that the statement was said in English by a native Chinese-speaker to a native Chinese-speaker, the metal barrel of a shotgun was pressed up against the back of his bald head, stopping him in his tracks. He received a quick jab to the back of his leg, dropping him to one knee. The chunk of metal was wrenched from his hand and chucked away into the darkness. Zheng nonchalantly stood up and took several steps to get directly in front of Roy, while Jun remained seated, twisting his head to watch the scene.

“You’ll only be hurting yourself if you kill any of us.” Zheng said. Roy remained silent, staring at the ground in front of him. His feeling of freedom crumpled as he realized he was in custody once more; the man who ambushed him from behind grabbed the back of his neck and forced him to look up at Zheng. Obviously he had been aware of the breakout, but for some reason chose not to do anything until the last possible second. Zheng searched through Roy’s pockets and procured the key within a few seconds. He smiled and put the chain around his neck.
“Our home won’t let you in without us bringing you in,” Zheng replied. “If you were to show up there without us, you’d get turned away or killed. You need to be confirmed to be useful by people like me and Jun.”

Roy wanted to tell Zheng off, and after a moment of consideration, he held his tongue. The man’s arrogance was making him angry, but he didn’t want to let his captors know too much about his thoughts and what he planned to do. However, he had to say something to make himself feel better.
“You only got one of three.” he spat.
“Feliks and Wei won’t be gone for very long,” Zheng said. “We have men stationed all along the mainland coastline. They might’ve already been captured.” Roy was led back to the shipping container by the man who ambushed him. Zheng followed, curious to see exactly how they broke out.
“Ah,” he said in realization, kicking the broken lock box with his foot. “You must’ve had tools?” He received no response. “No matter. Once we have Feliks and Wei in custody, we’ll piece it all together.”

The next few seconds were a blur for Roy. Just before he was shoved back onto the truck and into the container, Feliks leapt out from behind the flatbed with a large branch, striking Zheng across the face with it. The man dropped like a ton of bricks, caught completely off-guard. The man who was holding Roy let go of him to reach for his gun, but he found himself falling backward, tripped up by Wei, who had positioned himself beneath the flatbed and kicked the man’s feet out from under him. Jun stood up and drew his firearm when he became aware of the situation, but Feliks was able to get ahold of Zheng’s own pistol, pulling it from its holster and firing it several times. Two rounds struck Jun in the torso and stomach. The injured man fell to the ground and curled in a ball, unable to fight through the pain.

“Roy, let’s go!” Feliks yelled. Wei crawled out from under the truck and began beating the convoy member he tripped with his own shotgun until he was unconscious.
“Why’d you turn back?” Roy asked in a daze.
“We never left,” Felix said. We noticed there was barely anyone on this island! They sent everybody to the shore to catch us when we escaped!”
“They knew we were escaping somehow!” Roy said, relieved to see the other prisoners. Gunfire began raining down on them from near the bridge, which convoy members were rushing back across after hearing the gunshots.
“They knew we had the key, so their guard was probably up. It doesn’t matter! We have to leave!” Feliks yelled, turning and running in the opposite direction of the bridge. Wei and Roy followed, weaving from side to side in an attempt to avoid the gunfire coming from behind them. “We have to swim across the river!”
"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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Re: If I Stand, We Fall (IC)

Postby coinsruledude » Sat Jun 20, 2015 11:27 pm

Harmony: 10

[Wednesday, February 17th, 2038 – 12:05 PM] (roughly ten years after leaving Sydney; Harmony is 30 years old)

Harmony looked through the windshield of her red pickup truck at the airstrip in front of her. She was parked in the middle of the road, not bothering to pull onto the side of the unpaved path. The single runway sat crumbling and forgotten, the remnants of Kintore Airport. No planes had landed there for at least two decades, and even the Badlanders abandoned the area once the tiny settlement of barely 500 people was looted and stripped. Still, there were several buildings still standing, and with the midday sun beating on her overhead, she decided to continue into the city to rest for a while. Quintin didn’t get a say on the matter; recently he started to let his daughter make all the decisions regarding their survival, which kept her content. She felt he was getting too old to call the shots.

As expected, Kintore was desolate and empty. The small manmade reservoirs that used to provide water to the residents were bone dry, without even a greenish puddle at the bottom of the pools. A large portion of the buildings in the city had been torn down by the Badlanders for materials and firewood, but a handful of structures remained, specifically those circling the town square. Most of them were in decent condition, but only compared to the buildings that had burned to the ground; they were shells with no furniture, windows, or doors. Harmony could see straight through some of them, in the hole which used to be the front door and out the hole which to be the back door. As she parked her car next to the biggest of the houses, she hit a large pothole, bottoming out the truck and jarring the vehicle violently. A chorus of meows and barks rose from the back seat for the third time in ten minutes. Harmony grimaced, threw the truck in park, and twisted back to deal with the noise. The back seat held two wire cages; one contained a pair of full-grown cats, and the other held six young puppies. The cages were covered with a blanket to keep the animals from burning in the sun, which poured through the windows and sunroof of the truck relentlessly.

“Shut the **** up!” Harmony yelled, banging on the cages with her fist. The cats reacted differently than the puppies; the felines hissed at her, arching their backs as much as they could in the cramped cage. The dogs, on the other hand, were too young to know who Harmony was, so they quieted down much faster. Once the animals were under control, she threw the blanket over the cages and grabbed her sword from where it was lying on the floor near the gas pedal.
“I’m going to see if this place will work,” she said to Quintin. “You can stay here.” He didn’t make any arguments, so she exited the vehicle and approached the houses.

Harmony wasn’t doing well physically. She was getting to be dangerously thin, no more than a hundred pounds, due to her unbalanced and sparse diet, and she found herself getting sick more and more. Whatever medications and vitamins she could find in the Badlands were expired and useless, so she had no way to rectify her illnesses except to wait. Her brown hair was cut close to her head, but it was jagged and uneven since she had to do it herself. Despite her health problems, she was able to keep herself safe thanks to her familiarity of enduring in a land filled with the undead. By the late 2030s, though, Harmony was noticing a distinct lack of zombies, and she figured their numbers must have been cut down so much that they just all died off. For her it was just one less problem.

With the house cleared, she moved the cages and her overnight supplies into the new shelter. She didn’t plan on spending the whole day there, but as long as it had a roof to keep the sun out, it was tolerable as a rest stop. She started a fire in the living room by piling some broken concrete in a circle to create a fire pit. She wasn’t worried about burning the house down; the missing doors and windows allowed plenty of ventilation to prevent smoke buildup, and she laid a sheet of metal down on the floor before sparking the fire. While the fire consumed the scraps of wood she fed it, she cleaned one of the puppies, stabbing its body into a stick to be roasted when the heat was strong enough; she made sure to kill a male since she only had one female. She looked at the cats in disgust. They were constantly annoying her, but she needed a litter before she could kill the parents. She fed them and the remaining puppies the entrails and some scraps of raw meat.

~

Harmony took a nap in the house after eating and putting out the fire. She slept alone, but she knew Quintin would keep watch, since he wasn’t about to allow any threats to creep up on them. A few hours later, a loud noise woke Harmony. It came from outside near the truck, so she grabbed her sword and crept to the front doorway. A man was leaning into the driver door of the vehicle, trying to break the steering wheel lock Harmony put in place before having lunch. A woman was watching his back with a ramshackle pistol in her hands. The pair was decked out in plastic body armor meant for soccer and football, and their general appearance made Harmony paint them as Badlanders.

While the man was working on removing the lock, the woman noticed movement near the nearby burnt-out shack. To the Badlanders, Harmony slowly stepped out of the house and into the afternoon sun like a zombie. A glare was plastered on her face, which was bony and covered in grime.
“Stop right there!” The female Badlander leveled her gun on Harmony, who didn’t listen to the instruction. She kept walking forward with her sword gripped tightly in her left hand. The female Badlander backpedaled as the man took notice of the new threat.

“Stay back!” he said, reaching for a rock hammer at his belt. Harmony suddenly jumped behind her truck as the female Badlander fired several shots at her, missing all of them. Keeping below the truck’s profile, Harmony hurried along the opposite side of the vehicle and surprised the man holding the hammer, cleaving through his thin armor and into his left leg as she exposed herself. He screamed in pain, but before he could swing at her, she grabbed him from behind and wrapped one arm around his neck, using him as a human shield. The Badlanders were just as malnourished and weak as she was, so nobody had an obvious physical advantage. The female Badlander pointed her gun at the pair, unable to get a clear shot at Harmony.

“Keep firing at me,” Harmony said, her voice raspy on account of just waking up. She pointed to Quintin, who was just outside the female Badlander’s peripheral vision. The intruders failed to take notice of him before attempting to steal the truck. “If you get me, he’ll get you.”
The Badlander’s concentration broke. She turned to look at Quintin for a period of time just long enough for Harmony to throw the man to the ground and rush her before she could fire another shot. Her sword went deep into the woman’s torso, killing her almost instantaneously as it pierced her heart. Without a firearm, the injured man could do little more than watch as Harmony picked up the pistol and shot him in the head. She shot the female for good measure before tossing the weapon on the ground and grinned at Quintin, or rather his decapitated skull, which was wired to the hood of the truck.
"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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Re: If I Stand, We Fall (IC)

Postby coinsruledude » Mon Jul 13, 2015 4:27 am

Roy: 8

[Saturday, September 5th, 2026 – 11:19 PM]

Roy, Feliks, and Wei fled as bullets flew through the air towards them. Debris from the surrounding forest turned the river a murky brown color, but the unpleasant appearance of the water didn’t deter the escapees from lunging into it. They ungracefully wadded into hip-level water, splashing loudly and signaling to the convoy where they were going. Once the water was deep enough, they dove under to avoid getting shot outright.

Roy had a very difficult time navigating the body of water, which was several hundred feet wide where they were crossing. He had no experience swimming with only one arm, so he had to rely exclusively on his legs to propel him forward while he used his good to prevent smashing his head on the muddy bottom of the river. Aquatic echoes sounded all around the escapees as the convoy raked the river with bullets. Two of the blindly fired rounds struck Roy – once on the back of his left leg and once near the small of his back – but luckily he was deep enough for the water to slow them down. Instead of delivering life-threatening injuries, the bullets only bruised his body painfully. Aside from the bullets, Roy was forced to stay underwater with only half a lungful of air in his lungs. His chest started burning not long into the exhausting swim, and he was forced to surface only a quarter of the way across the river. Through the film of grimy water on his eyes, he could barely make out the coastline on the other side, but he couldn’t distinguish anything else; Feliks and Wei were gone, and there was nothing ahead of him but black water and black trees. From behind his position, he heard shouting as the convoy members noticed him surface. They opened fire again, but in the darkness their aim failed them as Roy moved farther away. He dove back under the surface after getting a proper deep breath. Luckily the river wasn’t very deep, so he was able to kick down to the bottom and skim the mud. Three times he jammed his fingers on obstacles he couldn’t see, and each time he whined in pain, unwilling to let out a yell underwater, lest his mouth fill with the repulsive water. After all the abuse it had been through, he thought, the broken index finger on his good hand was unlikely to heal properly.

He surfaced only one more time before reaching the other side. By the time he crawled onto the water-saturated ground on the coast, he could barely see straight because of the pain in his lungs. He fell face-first into the mud, unable to completely pull himself out of the water as it lapped at his legs. The shadowy form of another escapee was bounding into a small patch of trees a few dozen feet ahead of him, but Roy couldn’t tell whether it was Feliks or Wei. He laid in the mud for several minutes, catching his breath and letting his strained muscles rest for a little while. Eventually, the sound of walking pulled him from his stupor. Wet footsteps indicated somebody approaching him from his right, but in his stupor he could barely lift his head to see what it was. A decomposed zombie was wandering over to him, unable to moan due to gruesome stab wounds to its neck and upper torso, which looked like they should have killed the zombie but somehow didn’t. The cumbersome creature eventually tripped over its own feet and fell face-first, its outstretched fingers just inches from Roy. Reality came back to him fairly quickly, forcing him to pull himself out of the water and shakily get to his feet. He left the zombie lying in the muck, unable to deal with it efficiently without a weapon, and ran into the trees. A search light lit up the area moments later, beaming from its location on top of one of the convoy’s SUVs. The vehicles were attempting to pursue the escapees by using a small bridge about a half-mile south of the island, but due to the distance it would be a few minutes before they could comb the area, leaving Roy a tiny head start.

It was nearly midnight, and an overcast sky blocked out what faint light the Moon and stars could’ve provided Roy. Branches and small saplings constantly blocked his progress, tearing up his exposed arms and face. A surge of adrenaline rushed through him as the surroundings threw him back to his time in Taiwan: rushing through thick brush and tightly-packed trees, unable to see where he was going or if he was just going in frenzied circles. The idea actually calmed him, since he got used to being alone on the doomed island. He mentally abandoned Feliks and Wei, who would have to fend for themselves. They didn’t wait for him at the river, so he wasn’t going to seek them out either.

“I survived then,” Roy told himself aloud between breaths. “I can survived now.”

The small patch of trees disappeared faster than he hoped, leaving him wandering along a dirt road leading up a flat, open hill. To the south, a small beach on the edge of the river led into a much large cluster of trees, and he ran to it, hoping to disappear into the foliage. Unfortunately, the convoy vehicles emerged near the beach he was aiming for, as the bridge they had crossed fed into a paved road out of the large patch of trees. Roy threw himself into the long grass and waited as the vehicles drove across a small field in order to link up to the dirt road Roy was on for a short period of time. As the sharp grass blades poked his arms he stuck his head up and watched the vehicles bounce along the road, sweeping their searchlights across the patch of trees Roy initially entered. He was unable to contain a small smile. They had no idea where he was, and as they wasted their time on the river’s edge, Roy ran to the tree line they emerged from. Once inside the dark expanse, his legs gave out, forcing him to sit cross-legged for a few minutes to catch his breath again. He was on the verge of passing out due in part to a lack of food, so he decided to climb a nearby tree in order to get out of reach of any passing zombies. The tree he climbed had a single branch low enough to grab, and from here he pulled himself as high as he could go. A small crook made of three branches about fifteen feet off the ground served as a good place for him to sit and support himself against the tree trunk, finally able to rest in a semi-comfortable position.

[Sunday, September 6th, 2026 - 1:04 AM]

Roy woke up an hour later to the sound of shouts. He had fallen asleep leaning the tree, and the bark made painful impressions on his cheek because of his position. For a moment he was confused as to where he was, but he gathered himself after rubbing his eyes. Several beams of light were dancing around on the ground below, and suddenly a scream broke through the air. Roy recognized the voice from the long periods of time he and the other prisoners were locked in the shipping container together.

Being careful not to make too much noise, he descended several branches to get a better view of the scene playing out below. A group of people was milling around on the ground, and they congregated around a tree just a few away from the one Roy had climbed. Curled up on the ground at the base of the tree was Wei; his hands were cut and bloody, and one of his legs was bent at an odd angle. The convoy members seemed to be taking turns beating him with their weapons and kicking him, until Zheng appeared from the shadows with two of his allies. He was dressed in dark clothes and was carrying a combat shotgun instead of simply a pistol. After a brief exchange in Chinese, during which Wei appeared to be begging, Zheng shot him in the kneecap, causing the man an incredible amount of pain as a deer slug basically blew the joint apart. After repeating the process with the other leg, the convoy left Wei to bleed out as they continued on their search for Feliks and Roy. The flashlights became dimmer as they headed west into the thickest part of the forest.

Once he was sure they were gone, Roy climbed down from the tree and went over to Wei, who was barely clinging to consciousness. The man’s legs were undoubtedly destroyed, so Roy could do little except look at him with pity. Aware that somebody was near, his eyelids fluttered slightly as Roy approached. He spoke a few choked words in Chinese, but the only ears nearby had no idea what he was saying. Wei stopped breathing a few moments later as shock took hold of his body. The fallen leaves and twigs around him were drenched in blood, and the sight made Roy feel the faintest sensation of guilt. If he wasn’t sleeping, there was a chance he could’ve intercepted Wei and helped him find a better hiding place before the convoy found him.

Roy started walking in the opposite direction from where convoy members walked after maiming Wei. Every muscle in his legs seemed to hurt, his throat was parched, and the dried mud on his face and hands was trapping his body heat and making him sweat profusely. The sky had cleared up a bit, allowing the Moon to peek through the clouds and cast some faint light through the leaves on the innumerable branches above his head. He continued forward with grim determination; it was obvious to him that the convoy wasn’t interested in taking them alive after their escape.
“Think I’m just going to lie down and play dead?” Roy asked aloud, bending over to pick up a sizable tree branch from the ground in front of him. He hefted it and smacked a nearby tree as he walked by, breaking off a few inches from the top of the stick. “Nope, not today.”
"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 » Fri Jul 17, 2015 4:07 am

Oliver: 1

[Saturday, September 15th, 2012 – 11:49 PM]

I grunted and, with a final burst of strength, lifted the one-hundred pound mass over my head for the twentieth time. I dropped the cast-iron weights onto the bench, and the bar made a metallic clink as it fell into place. After a few seconds of heavy breathing, I reached down for the towel I had lying on the ground nearby.
“Thanks, man.” I said aloud, wiping my face and hair with the towel to rid my head of some sweat. The man I had asked to be my spotter nodded and walked off, presumably to continue his own workout somewhere else in the gym. I had never talked to him until that moment, but he was friendly enough.

It was nearly midnight when I finished exercising. The various machines situated throughout the gym were mostly empty, which is exactly why I liked it. Having an entire section of the building to myself late at night, especially on Saturday and Sunday, was peaceful. A nice way to end my weeks, for sure, since it seemed my weeks were stressful more often than not. On the way to the locker room, I passed by a few people doing arm exercises. One of them, an older man with white hair, smiled and nodded at me, and I did the same back. I saw him almost every time I went to the gym, so obviously our schedules must have been similar. The locker room was similarly deserted, so I changed into my street clothes in peace. I said good-night to the woman behind the front desk as I left. She knew me by name since I was a regular, but for some reason I could never remember hers.

My Scion TC was parked at the very back end of the parking lot underneath a large oak tree. The thing used to be a sharp-looking vehicle, but after a couple years under my care, it had rust lining the wheel wells and its panels were covered in all kinds of dents and scratches. I was never one to get upset about the damage. A car is a way to get from point A to point B, not something to be coveted and cared for like part of the family. My girlfriend didn’t agree with that sentiment, so we had separate cars. A shiny rental to keep her happy and a junker for me.

Before I could start the engine, I heard a few loud pops. I recognized the sound from my time in Iraq. Gunshots. They sounded like they came from a few blocks away, so I assumed I wasn’t in immediate danger. I tried pulling out my cell phone to call the cops, but the lines were acting up, just like when I tried to call my girlfriend earlier that day - she was visiting a friend in Savannah at the time. After a solid minute of ringing and ringing, I shook off the incident. I assumed somebody else would call the police. In the back of my mind, the news stories regarding riots and some kind of virus kept bouncing around, but I just brushed it off like it was nothing.

I drove down Route 611 towards my apartment in Glenwood, but immediately after entering the freeway, I had to stop because of brake lights up ahead. An unusually large amount of traffic was stopped, and a few minutes of idling passed before I leaned out the window to see what the hell was causing the jam. In the road ahead, several people were weaving in and out of traffic on foot. At first I was confused. Nobody just walked around on the freeway in Philadelphia. Most people aren’t that stupid. For a fleeting moment I thought it was a protest of some kind, like I saw on the news, but as the people approached my car, I noticed that they didn’t look human anymore. Their skin was discolored and their bodies moved weirdly, like they didn’t know how to use their arms and legs. One of them stopped at the car in front of mine, a white SUV, and began pounding on the windshield. The escalation to violence was the final warning I needed to throw my car in reverse. Unfortunately, a guy in a pickup truck had bumpered up to me, so I had to lean out my window to yell at him to back up. As I called out to the driver, the man attacking the SUV turned his attention to me. Luckily the pickup got the message and put his own vehicle into reverse, allowing me to swing around. All of a sudden, the man standing in the road approached my car and shoved his fingers through the small gap I had left in the side window. He kept trying to push his entire hand inside, like he was trying to grab at me. I yelled at him to get away, but I couldn’t roll the window up because of the hand in the way. I just gunned it and I saw the man sprawl onto the pavement in the rear-view mirror.

After that incident, I finally realized something bad was happening. More gunshots started echoing through the streets as I drove home. At first it was just one or two at a time, but soon there was a symphony of pops and bangs. I had no idea what was happening, so I just focused on getting home as soon as possible.

My apartment was one of many inside an old building built in the late 50’s. It was kind of run-down, but it was affordable. When I entered my apartment, my dog AJ greeted me at the door. He was just a puppy, an impulse purchase by my girlfriend, but he was bigger than a lot of other dogs since he was a Harlequin Great Dane. His entire head was white and his body was dotted with spots of black. Technically I shouldn’t have been allowed to keep an animal in the building, but I was on good terms with the landlord, who I persuaded with a few extra rent dollars.
“What’s up, buddy?” I asked, sitting on the couch and vigorously rubbing AJ’s head to his delight. I pulled out my cell phone again in an attempt to call my girlfriend, and to my surprise I was able to get through. Instead of my girlfriend’s voice, I was sent to voicemail immediately.

“Hey babe, it’s me,” I said. AJ jumped off the couch and started sniffing my prosthetic leg. Maybe I stepped in something on the way out of the gym. “I wanted to let you know that what they’re saying on the news is true. Maybe you should stay in Georgia for a few more days until things calm down, unless there’s protesters blocking streets there too, in which case you might want to call the trip early and come home. It’s getting pretty violent here, so I hope you get this soon. Love you. Bye.”

Oliver: 2

A few weeks after the first zombie appearances, Philadelphia was inundated. On my occasional jaunts through the city, I noticed large numbers of them congregated near hospitals, which probably provided a means of flooding the city with the undead early on. The homeless population and pedestrians were the first ones to fall prey to the zombies and assimilate into the growing hordes, which swept through the city in dizzying numbers. The police force and the local government just disappeared as people began to flee for their lives, leaving no authority to depend on for help against the growing threat. Checkpoints were abandoned and overrun, and the East Coast’s highway system became a deathtrap as it clogged with vehicles full of desperate evacuees. It got out of control within hours.

I was forced to abandon my own apartment since it was on the first floor, so I moved up to the third floor into a previously vacant area. The landlord and all the other residents either fled or never came home, so I took their absence as a ticket to do whatever the hell I wanted with the building. Initially I was dead-set on staying put, thinking it was the best chance I had to reunite with the girlfriend, but soon the roving hordes trapped me and AJ. I didn’t have a choice to stay or go at that point. Going meant dying.

I started a routine of leaving every other day to look for food, water, and help, while the rest of my time was spent hiding. I had to make a muzzle for AJ out of some cloth and wire because of his random spouts of barking, which would’ve been deadly in my situation.
To be honest I was more prepared than most people. My firearm experience was useful for multiple purposes. Not only did it help me kill zombies, but it helped me navigate the city too. If I moved fast enough after firing my gun, I could draw hordes away from certain parts of town so I could scavenge for a while. I only did that twice because it was so dangerous, but it did work. Lots of supplies were still stocked in supermarkets and stores, both of which were the sites of bloodbaths and riots before the zombies took complete control. Another thing that helped me was being in shape; even with a fake leg, I was easily able to outrun the zombies, despite their numbers. Using my car for transportation wasn’t an option because of the noise it made, so it sat indefinitely outside building.

Sitting alone in my apartment day in and day out wasn’t easy, but it was definitely better than the alternative of dying in the streets while trying to escape. The worst part of being stuck in that building was waiting for any kind of contact with my girlfriend. I only cried once early on while assuming the worst, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t thinking of her constantly after that one time.

[Monday, October 1st, 2012 – 7:09 AM]

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Sunoc ... 188718d117

My next target was a Sunoco gas station. I was crouched in an alleyway on Lehigh Avenue, an empty backpack on my shoulders. Several abandoned vehicles, including a gasoline tanker, were randomly parked around the building, evidence of the hasty evacuation of the city. There were dozens of zombies wandering around, and I had to actively repress his instinct to turn tail and run from the obvious danger. Luckily for me, there wasn’t much organization to the way the zombies were moving. The stragglers were far apart, and as long as I didn’t draw too much attention, I had a decent chance of getting in and out without being trapped.

I left the alley and ran through the space between me and the store. I paused briefly to knock a zombie over with my aluminum baseball bat as I ran by. It was the only one in my direct path, and taking it out was important. Since the zombies were slow to react, I got to the building before the other undead could pinpoint where I was, although it was only a matter of time before they smelled me or wandered over to the store. The most difficult part of that particular trip was actually getting inside the building. The small crowbar I brought with me wasn’t much help against the metal-plated back door. I started talking to myself quietly, something I noticed happening more and more the longer I was stuck in my apartment.
“Come on, Oliver. You got this, come on!”

Just before the door gave way, several gunshots sounded from somewhere in the city. It was close, so close that I ducked down and waited to confirm that the shots weren’t aimed at me. Although it was a common occurrence to hear shots because survivors often tried to escape the city or enter it for loot, the source of the gunfire was much closer than I was comfortable with. In fact, they posed a very real threat, since the zombies in nearby buildings and cars were immediately riled up from the noise. I could hear their moans start up all at once, which always meant something bad was about to happen.

After forcing the door open, I ran through a small maintenance area and into the main section of the store, where I was greeted with a disappointing number of empty shelves. Other people got there first, and there wasn’t much left. I shoveled what remained of the store into my backpack. Sports drinks from the fridge units, bags of pretzels and gummy bears, a few cans of tuna – it didn’t matter as long as it as edible.
“This is great,” I muttered to myself. “Just great. Dumbass outside screwed me over.”
I was scared of getting trapped by the inevitable zombie flood that would be drawn by the gunshots, so I ran to the back door and threw it open. To my surprise I hit something on the other side. At first I thought it was a zombie, but whatever I hit ended up yelling out when the door smashed into it.

Gun drawn, I went outside and found a man lying on the ground outside, dazed from the metal door slamming into his face. He was a few inches shorter than me, but he was much larger, to the point of being relatively obese. He had brown hair and a neatly-groomed beard, which was strange to me, since I had experienced a lack of will to do anything with my facial hair after the zombies took over. I just let it grow out into a straggly mess. As the man began to recover, he looked up and saw me standing over him, and his face went white. He had a small-caliber pistol in his hand, but he didn’t make a move to raise it against me.

“Were you the one shooting?” I demanded. I kicked the man’s gun out of his hand.
“Yeah, I was.” the man replied. He wiped his nose and discovered that it was bleeding from getting hit with the door. The moans of the undead approaching didn’t seem to bring his mind back to reality. I poked my head around the corner of the building and watched as a large group of zombies marched out of the alley I originally came from, all of them heading towards my location. I looked back to the man lying on the ground. I didn’t want to leave the **** to die, so I helped get him to his feet.

“We need to leave before the zombies trap us here,” I told him. I reached down and grabbed his gun before he could get it for himself. “If I give you your gun, are you going to shoot me?”
“I-I’m not a very good shot. I don’t think I could if I tried,” the man said. He was still shaken, probably from having a gun in his face. “Do you have a place we can go?”
“Yes, but you’ll have to be right behind me, understand? I might not be able to stop.” I shoved the man’s gun into my backpack after turning the safety on.
“I’ll try to keep up,” the man replied, a grateful look on his rotund face. “Thank you.”
“My apartment is a few blocks south of here. Follow me.” I began running west from the gas station. My plan was to weave in and out of buildings to lose the zombies, and eventually we would get to a relatively safe area, just as long as the gunshot didn’t stir up any large hordes a few blocks away or anything like that. Simple. I pushed open a chain link gate and continued running between apartments as the man followed me at a much slower pace. He wasn’t nearly as fit as I was, and he was already drenched with sweat from running for an unknown period of time before our encounter. I didn’t feel much sympathy. If he was going to survive, he needed to get used to running around a lot.

As we ran through the yards and side streets of Glenwood, the zombie population began to thin out, allowing me to slow down. It was always dangerous to be outside, but we avoided the main streets, which contained the majority of the hordes. My apartment had two zombies independently wandering around near the entrance, and I was forced to dispose of them before entering the building. I killed both of them with my baseball bat, knocking them to the ground and bashing their skulls until they stopped moving. The stranger took several seconds to catch up, and once we were together, I led him upstairs to my apartment, safe for the time being.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pL1kaW-WZ6U

Oliver: 3

[Monday, October 1st, 2012 – 7:23 AM]

I led the stranger upstairs to my claimed apartment at gunpoint, making sure to shut and lock the front door behind me, not that the barrier would impede a sizable horde. It usually required a key code to open, but with the power out, the security system wasn’t working, so the only thing keeping the outside from coming inside was a simple deadbolt. I forced the man to walk ahead of me, since I wasn’t ready to trust a stranger on the spot, especially since the guy almost got me killed by a horde with his gunshots. Once they were inside the apartment, I shut and locked the apartment’s door.

“Thank you for helping me.” the man said; he was still trying to catch his breath from running through the neighborhood.
“Why were you shooting in the middle of the city like that?” I demanded. I leaned his baseball bat up against the couch. It still had hair and blood on it from attacking the zombies in front of the apartment building. “You could’ve gotten both of us killed – I almost shot you.”
“I got forced into the streets by zombies. I-I was staying at an old soup kitchen with some other people from my neighborhood. We were all driven from our homes,” the man explained. I noticed he was well-spoken, and as I took a better look at him I realized he was a lot older than I was. “Somehow a horde heard us. Maybe they smelled us, or saw us – I don’t know. I tried to help them others, but…I had to get away, so I ran. I only pulled the trigger when they got too close.”

“I guess I can’t blame you, but it was a stupid thing to do. Hopefully no hordes form around my building.” I walked over to AJ’s cage. I kept him locked inside whenever I wasn’t in the apartment so he couldn’t cause any trouble. After a few seconds of sniffing and examining the stranger, AJ walked over to his food bowl and started eating some dried dog food that I poured earlier in the day.

“What’s your name?” I asked.
“Alan Montgomery. I was a professor at Swarthmore.”
“My name’s Oliver. Where were you going after your place got attacked?”
“I was just trying to leave the city. I didn’t think I would get trapped here…do you know any way out? Any highway that isn’t blocked with cars?”

“Every major interchange is clogged. Trust me, I looked, and nothing is open. Otherwise I would’ve been gone a long time ago.” I sat down in an armchair, and Alan took a seat on the couch, wiping away his nosebleed with a handkerchief he pulled from his pocket.
“I don’t want to be a nuisance,” Alan began. “But would you mind if I stayed in one of the apartments here? This building is safe, all things considered, and I really need to slow down and rest for a while.”
“I don’t see why not.”
“I appreciate your kindness. I’ve heard horror stories about how people were behaving because of all this. Killing for food and water – things like that.”
“I’ve been hiding in here most of the time. Do you know how many people are still in the city?”
“I’m not sure. Gunshots go off all the time, though. Don’t you hear them?”
“Obviously. I assumed it was people killing **** or trying leave, like you were.”
“I wouldn’t have made it very far if you didn’t take me here. I’m sorry I brought zombies down on the both of us, but I was desperate.”

I helped Alan settle into an apartment across the hallway from mine. We decided to stay on the same floor for the sake of safety and mutual protection. I gave him his pistol too. I didn’t see any reason to distrust him, especially after thinking about how many times he could’ve killed me. I also gave him a can of soup and a can of peaches so he could eat.
“Thank you.” he told me gratefully.
“We might want to stick together for a while. Safety in numbers, right?”
“Right.”
“I’ll let you rest for a few hours before I bug you with anything else.” Alan shut the door, presumably to eat and sleep in peace, while I returned to my apartment and sat down on the couch. AJ walked over to my feet and looked up at me. I started petting him to calm my nerves.
“We’ll figure something out, AJ. Don’t worry.”
With the knowledge that every highway was blocked, I knew it would be nearly impossible to leave Pennsylvania without getting creative.

Oliver: 4

[Monday, October 1st, 2012 – 12:00 PM]

My watch started beeping at noon. I staring at the ceiling for a while before getting up. Alan’s presence made me want to establish some kind of short-term goal, since our partnership wouldn’t work out if we weren’t on the same page. Alan obviously wanted to leave as soon as possible, so I figured priority number one was get the hell out. I got up and went across the hall to the other apartment. I had to knock several times until the door opened. Alan was standing on the other side, and it looked like he just woke up from a deep sleep.
“We need to talk about what we’re going to do, now that we’re staying together.”
“Sure. That’s smart.” Alan replied. He followed me back into my apartment, and we sat down in the living room, with Alan on the couch and me in my armchair. AJ briefly looked up at us from where he was curled up on the floor before going back to sleep.
I pulled out a folded map of the Philadelphia area and spread it on the coffee table. I marked all the major highways with thick black marker so they would stand out, and some of the little shapes that represented buildings had red and orange dots on them. For the most part, the dots kept within a few blocks of my apartment building, and a few were located at seemingly random points throughout the city, from when I got ambitious and tried looking for a way out.

“I’ve been using this to keep track of some things,” I told Alan. “Whenever I search through a building, I mark it off so I don’t get confused or waste time.”
“It sounds like you keep yourself organized.”
“There’s not much else to do when I’m stuck up here. Where was the soup kitchen you talked about?”
“It was Saint John’s Hospice, if I remember correctly,” Alan said. “It’s by the convention center.”
“The Pennsylvania Convention Center? In the middle of downtown?” I was doubtful he was referring to the right place. It didn’t seem possible to hold out in such a high-density area, but Alan insisted it was the same place.
“W-We just kept quiet and stayed inside, and the hordes just left us alone. Our luck ran out yesterday, though, when they broke in the doors and…attacked.”
“You said you were trying to leave the city, right?” I asked.
“Yes, I was.”
“And you’re sure you don’t know any easy way out?”
“No. I haven’t seen the state of the highways in weeks, but I’d assume they’re blocked with cars. All the main roads are.”
“Well, your assumption is dead-fucking-on.” I replied, pointing to several spots on the map and explaining to him what I had experienced. I checked five different bridges over the Schuylkill River, and all five were blocked with cars and trucks. Vine Street Expressway was basically a river of zombies, and although I couldn’t get a good look at the Feltonville area, the hordes that chased me away were pretty telling.
“Jesus Christ.” Alan said, rightfully shocked at how bad things were. The city was wrecked beyond belief.
“I know. We need to brainstorm a plan soon. This isn’t a good place to be.”

We were quiet for a while, staring at the map and thinking about our predicament. It was stressful to imagine about how trapped we were. A sense of claustrophobia gripped us both, and eventually we had to break the awkward silence.
“What about the railroads?” Alan asked.
“Rails won’t solve the zombie problem. They won’t be blocked by cars, at least, but they’re ground-level and pass right through the main roads anyway. The subway would be better, but not by much. Walking through the tunnels in the dark doesn’t seem like a good idea since the stations aren’t exactly closed to the public, you know? There’s probably tons of stray zombies down there.”
“The tunnels themselves are probably flooded as well, without the sump pumps operating…what if we found a boat and got on the river?” Alan asked. He pointed at the thin blue line that ran up and down the map, representing the Schuylkill.
“Which way would we go? North or south?”
“Whichever one keeps us away from the zombies.”
“We’d have to put a lot of faith in finding a boat,” I said. The idea was dubious at best, but it was the only halfway decent idea he had available. “We’d attract a lot of attention going there, and no boat means we’re screwed.”
“There’s a good chance we’d find something. I know of one place in particular – it’s a prep rowing center, right on the banks of the river. We’d just have to go west for a few blocks, and then go south from there.” Alan explained, outlining the route he created with a chubby finger.
“A canoe would give us room to store food and water.” I admitted.
“We could use it to go anywhere in the Delaware River system. New York, New Jersey – anywhere. Out to the Atlantic, if we felt like it.”
“Hell, sounds good to me. A day or two for planning, and we’ll be golden.”
"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 » Tue Jul 21, 2015 2:37 am

Oliver: 5

The days immediately after I met Alan were spent packing up the apartments. Alan wasn’t carrying any supplies with him – he claimed it was because he never had to leave the soup kitchen to get anything – so I gave him a spare backpack I had lying around and had him fill it with a bunch of canned food and water bottles. I used my own backpack to carry as much of my medicine cabinet as possible, which ended up consisting mostly of basic things like bandages, painkillers, and ointment. In my gym duffel bag, I packed a few changes of clothes, a couple rolls of toilet paper, and my other prosthetic leg. I had been wearing a fitness prosthesis, the one with a hook instead of a foot, from the beginning of the zombies. It wasn’t as comfortable for normal walking as the normal fake leg, but I wanted to be prepared in case I had to run like hell. Aside from AJ’s carrying cage and my pistol, the Beretta Model 92 I bought after coming home from overseas, we had to leave everything else behind.

[Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012 – 6:10 AM]

We got up early so we could avoid other survivors in the city. Meeting other people was dangerous in Philadelphia. Avoiding human contact just an unspoken rule, even though neither me nor Alan actually had run-ins with anybody since the first few days of the outbreaks. The horror stories that passed by word of mouth were enough to keep us cautious. Just before we left, Alan and I had a short argument on whether or not to take my car to the canoe rental place. Normally I wouldn’t consider it, not with so many zombies nearby, but I wanted to spend as little time exposed as possible. By car, the trip would’ve taken like five minutes, easily cutting our travel time tenfold, especially if we could just **** plow through a couple zombies instead of stopping to kill them or detour around them. My new partner was adamant on hoofing it, though, even though he was the fat one. After a quick stop to lock the doors, we left. I made Alan carry the duffel bag since I had to carry AJ.

With three miles ahead of us, it wasn’t good luck for us to run into a horde straight away. The County Assistance Office had a bunch of zombies standing around it. A small barricade made of cop cars was blocking the road, but the undead obviously breached the checkpoint weeks beforehand, destroying whatever resistance there was. Alan and I had to backtrack and cut through a strip mall parking lot to circumvent the horde, and once we got onto West Indiana Avenue, things got slightly better. There were bodies lying in the streets everywhere, most of them half-eaten. I was so desensitized at that point that it didn’t bother me. Alan and AJ both looked like they were about to have panic attacks, though. AJ kept whining through his muzzle and moving around. Smelling zombies for the first time was probably driving him crazy.

The Philadelphia Water Department building also had a shitload of zombies surrounding it, and it got me thinking a bit about why the hordes kept surrounding the government buildings. Maybe it was because the government was likely to employ security guards to protect its property, and therefore the buildings were more likely to have armed resistance after the apocalypse. Maybe zombies just had a good sense of humor and wanted to zombify the bureaucrats. By that point we could see the Schuylkill River, which had an unusual number of cemeteries nearby; we crossed through two different ones and passed by another.

“It’s only a couple blocks from here.” Alan told me once we got to the river. A couple straggling zombies from the water department horde noticed us, but they were so slow that we could continue walking at the same pace. Their presence made Alan nervous, and he seemed to walk a bit faster because of their shambling gait a hundred yards behind us.
“How’d you know about this place?” I asked. I shifted my grip on AJ’s cage for the second time in a couple minutes; the dog was almost too big to carry in a cage, but he wasn’t disciplined enough to run around on his own, especially since he just learned what zombies were.
“My son went to St. Joseph’s Prep for high school, and he had some friends on the rowing team.”
“Well, lucky for us, I guess.” I decided not to ask about Alan’s family. I figured everyone he knew before the apocalypse was dead anyway, so it wasn’t a good idea to start a conversation about it. At any rate, I didn’t feel like talking about my family either, so I didn’t force the awkward small talk.

The rowing center didn’t have any zombies nearby. It made sense after Alan commented that rowing season slowed down during the fall so the participants could focus on building endurance for spring, which was apparently when competitive races began. There was a single van parked outside the building, but it didn’t have any canoes strapped to the roof like I hoped it would. I left AJ with Alan in the parking lot while I broke a window to get inside the building. I didn’t want to waste any time because of the zombies tailing us.

The only noise I could hear from inside was the drip from a water fountain near the main entrance, but I went in gun drawn regardless. A canoe was hanging over the main doorway I walked through, probably a keepsake for the owner or something, and I thought it would be as easy as taking it town and putting it in the water. Some genius decided to have holes drilled through the bottom to attach it to the wall, though, so I had to keep looking. Eventually I found a room that functioned like a storage closet, with a bunch of canoes lined up. Unfortunately they were all built for speed and hydrodynamics, not storing a bunch of supplies, but we didn’t have many options. I called Alan in and together we dragged one out. It was white with black stripes and built for nine people, so it had enough room to carry us as long as we didn’t lean to the side at the same time.

The small dock was an ideal launching point. It bottlenecked the approaching zombies, which finally caught up to us.
“Do you mind if I just shoot them?” I asked Alan, who was busy positioning AJ’s cage at the front of the canoe. “We’ll be leaving this area soon anyway.”
“Whatever you think is best. Just keep them away from us.” he replied tentatively. I fired a couple shots, hitting each zombie before they reached the dock. There were only four of them, and I killed them with four bullets in like fifteen seconds, but after discharging my weapon I imagined a bunch of riled-up undead would be crossing into the group of cemeteries within a minute or two and come down on us. Once AJ was on board, Alan got in the back of the canoe. It sunk down a couple inches, and once I threw the duffel bag on and climbed in myself, it was riding dangerously low, or at least what I considering dangerously low. Alan assured me they were designed to be just above the waterline.

“Where are we going?” I asked.
“I don’t know. We didn’t discuss that yet.”
“Well, it’s an easy decision. Do we go to the ocean or do we go inland?” Alan took a couple seconds to think about the choices. Even after knowing him all of two days, I could tell he was the kind of guy who planned things out.
“The East Coast is full of big cities, and if they’re anything like Philadelphia, I don’t want to have anything to do with them.” he said finally.
“Inland it is.” I said. With four paddles, two of each side, we began moving north along the river. Zombies did descend on the rowing station like we guessed they would, but they reached the building just before it disappeared from view as we rounded the first curve in the river.

It was a leisurely ride and more peaceful than I expected. Little waves lapped at the bow as we cut through the water; I let AJ out of his cage after a couple minutes, and he sat obediently in the seat in front of me while Alan and I paddled.
"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 Jul 25, 2015 1:50 am

Marcus: 1

[Tuesday, September 18th, 2012 – 10:52 AM]

Inside Western Virginia Regional Jail, a chorus of jeers and insults were being aimed at the guards on duty. The prison had been on lockdown for over twenty-four hours due to a violent episode in the cafeteria the day before, which led to the death of two inmates, including the one who instigated the incident, and minor injury to four others. After securing the rest of the prisoners in their cells, a large portion of the prison staff stopped reporting to work following news coverage of an emerging epidemic on the Eastern seaboard. Eventually, the prison found itself understaffed, despite the recent unrest within its barbed wire fences.

Marcus Albert was one of roughly six hundred inmates housed in the facility. He had medium-length black hair and an average physical build, along with dark brown eyes and a chiseled chin. He had been serving a five-year sentence for aggravated assault against his ex-wife when the lockdown occurred, and although he had only been in jail for a little under a year, he was awaiting trial for a separate count of assault against an inmate after an altercation resulted in broken bones for Marcus’s former cellmate. His new cellmate, a man nicknamed J.J., was a staunch white supremacist guilty of beating an African-American man to near death with help from his brother; the rough outline of a swastika tattooed onto his inner wrist with smuggled pen ink and needles was enough to prove how devoted he was to his beliefs. The two had become fairly good friends, despite a high level of alienation and pushback Marcus received from other inmates regarding J.J.’s racist mannerisms.

“C’mon boss, let us out!” J.J. shouted as another prison guard entered the cellblock, adding to the racket created by the inmates. “I wanna eat in the goddamn cafeteria, not in this **** cellblock!”
“Settle down!” the guard replied icily. As if on cue, all the cell doors automatically unlocked, allowing the inmates to roam freely from their cells and go to lunch in the cafeteria. Since Marcus and J.J. were classified as medium-risk inmates, they got to go to lunch at 11:00 while higher-risk inmates had to wait until 11:30. The prisoners quieted down slightly while they slowly congregated in the cafeteria, but the general upset attitude and disobedience continued well after people were grabbing trays full of food.

As Marcus and J.J. sat down together at an empty table, yells could be heard from another part of the building, and the piercing sound of shotgun blasts rang out. A lockdown alarm sounded, signaling all inmates to return to their cells, but after spending over a day locked away, none of them were willing to do so peacefully. Small fights broke out around the cafeteria involving authoritative guards and angry prisoners, and due to their recent poor treatment, there was enough support between inmates to start a full-blown riot within a few minutes. Food trays became clubs and forks became shanks as inmates went at each other and the guards in a furious frenzy. At one point, a heavyset black man wielding a weather-worn crowbar kicked in the doors to the cafeteria; he was garbed in a prison-issue jumpsuit given to him by the state, and his weapon choice indicated he was acting as part of the initial incident that caused the second lockdown, since the crowbar would only be found in a janitor’s closet or somewhere similar. He looked around for a few seconds before spotting J.J., who was standing to the edge of the cafeteria, egging on Marcus and several other inmates in their scuffle with a guard, who was having trouble fighting back against three able-bodied adversaries.
“You got a lot to answer for, J.J.!” the man yelled, pointing the crowbar directly at his intended target.
“Let’s go!” J.J. screamed. He withdrew a smuggled box cutter from his jumpsuit in response, slipping the blade out and stabbing it in the air at the man. “Come at me, you fat ****!”

Before anything else could happen between the pair, Marcus was able to get his hands on the guard’s taser, shooting it at its owner’s chest. It sent him into a spasm as electricity surged through his body. The other pair of inmates who happened to be touching him also felt the effects of the weapon. With the biggest threat to him successfully subdued, Marcus patted down the tased guard, procuring a set of unlabeled keys and a baton. Before J.J. got in a fight with the black inmate, he grabbed J.J. by the neck and forced him to run out of the cafeteria, leaving the other inmate to chase them down. By that point, a full-blown riot was taking place throughout the facility, with inmates using smuggled and improvised weapons to rebel against the guards.

“We gotta leave!” J.J. said aloud, eager to find a way to escape the prison in the confusion.
“Alright, we’re rolling.” Marcus replied, fist-bumping J.J. as they continued through the facility. The prisonwas on lockdown, which meant a large portion of the gates between sections of the prison were locked, including the doors between cellblocks. Marcus and J.J. couldn’t return to their cells to retrieve anything, so they ran down several hallways until they reached a dead end in the form of a small metal-plated door. They passed a few disgruntled and confused inmates along the way, but none of them threatened the men. Marcus tried every key on the stolen ring to open the door, and the second to last key finally fit the doorknob, allowing the inmates access to a small maintenance room attached to the back of the cafeteria. Another door led to the prison yard, and to Marcus’s surprise the same key worked again to open the outer door. Handfuls of orange jumpsuits were already present in the yard, signaling that inmates all over the prison were finding clever ways to escape, whether it was by killing guards and stealing keys or by breaking down the barriers in their way with brute force. It looked like around a dozen inmates were attempting to free themselves by exiting via the yard.

“Grab that step ladder!” Marcus instructed J.J., while at the same time watching their backs to ensure no riot police were sneaking up on them with mace or tazers. “We’ll go over the fence.” J.J. tossed the lightweight tool onto his shoulder and followed Marcus to the first border fence. Other inmates were busy trying to scale the barrier, but the barbs at the top were serving their purpose well, badly cutting several men as they tried to hop over it and deterring the rest. Thinking quickly, Marcus stripped out of his jumpsuit, ordering J.J. to do the same.
“Use your clothes to get over the barbs!” Marcus yelled, ordering the other inmates to employ his tactic. Those within earshot quickly complied, and they found that a layer of three suits made a thick enough blanket to keep the blades from slicing through their bodies as easy. A small union of prisoners formed as they used each other’s clothing to cross the first fence. Despite the precautions, there was still a second fence to climb; the tattered garments provided less coverage after getting ripped down from the first fence, and Marcus sustained two nasty cuts on his left shin and a gash on his right arm when the bladed wire maneuvered its way through the clothing. With the step ladder acting as a boost over the second fence, Marcus and J.J. were the first ones to escape and sprint for the nearby tree line. Gunshots rang out as a guard took fire at the escapees from atop a lookout tower, and he managed to hit two inmates before they got very far from the fence. However, the rest of the men were able to scatter; the fact that they stripped out of their brightly-colored clothing made it harder to spot them.

“Where are we going?” J.J. asked, struggling to keep up with Marcus, who kept himself in peak physical condition while in prison.
“Just follow me!” Marcus yelled back. He and his partner in crime were left alone as the rest of the inmates went their separate ways, disappearing into the forest. Soon all the men could hear was the sound of snapping twigs and crunching leaves as they fought their way through the thin brush. The pair followed a small river for a few hundred yards before spotting a white silo through the leaves. They approached it cautiously and, finding nobody nearby, jogged along a small dirt trail that led out of the forest. After being greeted by a cluster of farmhouses and garages, the pair stalked forward to the nearest house, with Marcus in the lead due to possessing the guard's baton. Two pickup trucks were parked outside the house, one from a recent year and one that was a few decades old.
“Let’s jack some clothes and get the **** outta this city.” J.J. offered, walking up to the back door of the house and trying the doorknob.
“Outta the state is more like it,” Marcus replied. “Outta the **** country.”
“I ain’t going to Mexico.”
“I didn’t say Mexico. Canada could work.”
“**** that idea too. I got some family who’ll hide me, and maybe you too.”
After ramming the door a few times with his shoulder, J.J. gave it a good kick and broke the lock, sending the door flying inward. When the interior of the house was revealed, the escapees were shocked at the sight of blood pooled on the floor of the house’s kitchen. A woman was lying in the middle of the room, and judging from her complexion and the liquid blood, she had been injured very recently.
“The **** happened here?” J.J. inquired, stepping over the body to get inside the building. “It looks like a ****’ wolf got to her neck.” He jumped back at the sight of a man entering the kitchen. His green flannel shirt and short gray beard were both coated in blood, and his skin was tinted gray instead of a normal pink color. The sight was startling to the escapees, despite their violent pasts.
“Back the **** up!” Marcus yelled, brandishing his baton. Marcus and J.J. were shocked when he continued forward, reaching for them menacingly. They backed up out of the house, and after two more warnings Marcus smacked the man upside the head with the baton. The wound did nothing to subdue the man.
“****’s on drugs or something! Kill ‘em!” J.J. said warily. Marcus didn’t hesitate before beating the man's forehead with his weapon, stopping his advance as the blows stacked up on one another. Although the baton wasn't made for lethal force, repeated blows eventually caused the man to stop moving; the corpse crumpled to the ground, spreading blood onto the recently-cut grass.

“We’re getting some clothes from this place,” Marcus said, looking up from the body. “We’re taking a truck, and we’re getting our asses to Canada, alright?”

http://i.imgur.com/EjJpy95.png
Last edited by coinsruledude on Sun Nov 29, 2015 2:15 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


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