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Matthew Cave

A musician, trapped in a nightmare.

0 · 338 views · located in Realistic Fictional Universe

a character in “Barely Alive”, as played by ArhaHitomi888

Description

ImageName: Matthew L. Cave
Age: 25
Sex: Male
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 174lbs

Body Type: Matthew is extremely skinny, but isn't without some muscle. However, due to his height and his weight, he looks almost weeping willow-eqsue, which lead some to believe he is unhealthy - but this is untrue, he's actually rather healthy most of the time.
"I'd say about average, really."

Appearance: Matthew is a handsome young man, standing at 6'4" and weighing in at around 170lbs. He has a strong jawline - which is dusted with a some stubble - and a slightly simpled chin. His eyes are a gentle kind of blue, changing intensity with the lighting. When in the light, they are bright and seem to almost sparkle with a kindness. When in the dark, they are a dull blue, giving a feeling of being calm, quiet, and reserved. Matthew also has chocolate brown hair, kept not too short but not too long - just the right length to be able to style but be managable (From a guy's perspective at least). His skin is on the paler side, and burns somewhat easily. His build is extremely slender, and some see him and assume he's got a very serious health concern, although this untrue (Though Matthew's immune system is weak, and does tend to fall ill somewhat easily without proper diet and exercise).
"Sorry if i'm a little hard on the eyes,"

How long you have been in Aurora: Matthew has been in Aurora for four years.
"I'd say i've been here about four years,"

Back Story: Matthew was born to an average middle class family on April 17th. Growing up, he had a younger brother and sister, being the oldest in his family. His parents were very kind and parented Matthew and his siblings well, treating them very kindly. They weren't wealthy, but the family was provided for, despite the extra funds that went to Matthew due to his weak immune system (Matthew gets ill rather easily). However, his mother spiraled into a depression after she had a miscarriage, and while the family comforted her, she eventually took her own life, unable to cope with the grief. After that, Matthew took it upon himself to make his father happy and proud whenever we could. From that moment in, his family began to struggle to pay the bills. To help his family, he studied hard enough to skip a grade and graduate early, excelling in his studies in college - Becoming a certified Choir teacher/conductor/director, performer, and the youngest member on the board/committee of music directors to help his family pay the bills by sending them some of the money from his great success. Now, he is usually found at the Middle School, that being his place of employment and where he likes to spend time catching up on work.
"Nothing big, I grew up in a pretty normal house."

Special Skills: Matthew is an extremely fast and skilled runner - Running, turning, and jumping like a professionally trained athlete - Simply because he trained himself as a cross country and competative runner whenever he had free time. Matthew also has unexplainably very sharp hearing. If he hears something strange, he'll probably hear it before anyone else. However, it also works against him since grating, piercing, or extremely loud noises will practically immobilize him and stun him with a kind of strange, unexplainable pain. The sounds he can hear can be the smallest squeak from the further distance and Matthew would still be able to pick up a bit of it.
"Nothing special, really.

Personality: Despite his careers, off stage and out of the classroom, he's rather shy and very modest. He's extremely polite and very soft spoken, not liking to be the center of attention more than he has to. He's very lighthearted, generous, and kind, and enjoys making others happy - Always sincere. He's been likened to his favorite food, the sweet Mirschino red cherry. He's not confrontational at all, not liking to resort to any physical violence unless someone else is being hurt or to defend his own life. In any other circumstances, he'd simply run and hide. However, Matthew is also somewhat sensitive, not taking any harsh words very well. However, with the current crisis, Matthew is extremely paranoid and afraid, wrapping any wound at all until he's practically covered in casts - Terrified of contracting the virus.
"Well, i'd like to help people in any way i can. I can always spare something for someone who needs it."

Note: Matthew is also a certified band and orchestra teacher, but only because to be certified choir director, you must be certified for band and orchestra as well. (True Fact)
"True story,"

So begins...

Matthew Cave's Story

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Character Portrait: Matthew Cave
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"You have to sing this song like it means something to you! You can't sing notes flat if you care!" Matthew said, somewhat frustrated. He was a man of gentle personality, but could be most easily irritated by student's failure to pay attention or do what he told them to do in their music. His choral program was one of the best in the nation, and some of his choirs were some of the best choirs in the nation, and he would teach his students to be the best damned musicians they could be, even if they hated him in the end and slashed him black and blue with their harsh words. "We've all felt these emotions, think of someone close to you who had passed away. Sing this song to them, not to the audience. This song is their 'flight to heaven'. Sing it to them, give it some feeling." he urged them, watching as some of them teared up at the thoughts of a close one's death.

Matthew stared at the young men and women who stood on the risers, the room engulfed in total silence. Then, he slowly raised his arms, the accompanist placing her fingers on the correct keys for starting the song, but not yet playing. His face was solemn, but with a kind of peace. The room was still and the air was soundless. The students watched carefully, staring expectantly with their lips slightly parted. Then, Matthew moved his hands up to signal a breath, and there was a very faint inhale before Matthew moved his hands downward and began to move them rhythmically, but so swiftly and smoothly that it looked almost like some kind of mesmerizing waltz with no steps, but movements that seemed to flow through his hands like water through a stream. There was a quiet entry, gentle and sweet.

There was dissonance, melismas, crescendos, decrescendos, and ritardandos. It was a beautiful song, words spoken with great eloquence due to the choral diction, to make sure words were heard clearly from the audience. The melody was beautiful enough to perhaps bring one to the verge of tears, even if they didn't know what the song was about. The song, 'My Flight to Heaven', was one of his favorites, and he performed it every three years, teaching it to the top choir - Jame's D Wilcox Chamber Choir. As the bell rung, he ended the song and thanked them for their hard work, telling them to have a wonderful day and to be safe.

That was basically the end of Matthew's day really, as he returned to his office to look through emails and look through school papers and new music. Opening his binder, he looked through the music for all five of his choirs: Men's choir, women's choir, Concert Chorale, Chamber Choir, and Chamber Singers. With a sigh, he began to circle things in the music that they had missed or done wrong, pressing a finger against his left temple and rubbing to soothe his headache from many of the choirs singing flat that day. They just didn't care about their music, and when they sang flat because of it, Matthew's trained ear registered it as pain and it drove him up the wall.

Before he realized, he had spent a bit too long looking at the music and he leaned back in his chair. There was no choir needing to be taught at the moment, giving him just time to think and work. Reaching across his desk to a set of headphones, he slipped them on and flicked a switch on the side of them, turning on noise canceling - plunging his ears into complete, soothing silence, letting them rest. Perhaps he would walk the school halls later as exercise, if a student did't come in to talk to him (seeing as though he have apparently become a pesudo-counselor, which he had not intended but would not refuse the duty of).

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Matthew Cave Character Portrait: Lilly Williams Character Portrait: Danny Gregory
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#, as written by dig17
As far as Danny Gregory knew, all of his students had shown up. He waited for this day every year, the day he got to begin the unit on the Civil War. It seemed so substantially more important to him than most other events in American history, simply because it seemed to have launched their modern nation from a slingshot-moment where any direction was possible. Without the Confederate States of America, Danny always figured, we wouldn't have realized how precious America really was. These high school kids, however, had no concept of the sacrifice, no idea of the high worth of what America had given them, nor the work put in by their forebearers. This was the reason for his excitement: he got to tell them exactly why they needed to be reverent.

"Okie-dokie, history scholars: let's talk." He began the presentation, shutting off the lights and referring to the projected images of his PowerPoint on his dry-erase board. "As we've been discussing, America has gone through a social metamorphosis following the revolution, and we have seen the separation of identity between north from south. We've fought the Mexicans and won, and fulfilled most of our manifest destiny. We've begun the process of conquering the native Americans, and we've made a republic now divided over a way of life and a president. Stephen Douglas loses the 1860 election, and in his stead comes a man born in the boondocks of Illinois, someone seen as a true northerner, and a man who has no strong public opinion of the slave-holders. Now, a southern Confederacy of states rises up to make themselves known, and at a place called Fort Sumter, we begin the great American Civil War."

Danny paused a moment to drink up some coffee.

"Before we go any further, I want to stress something. This war was not fought on some foreign battlefield. These soldiers did not appear out of Britain and die in the Crimea. These women left behind are not nameless extras in history meant to fill the gaps of your textbook. Abraham Lincoln is not a man from Mars. This is the most American event to ever happen to us."

He went to the next slide, depicting dead men behind a fortified position.

"These dead men are Americans. The Confederate States of America is not some foreign country, nor some forgotten congress. These are your people. This is OUR people; they went to war against themselves to make themselves better, because somehow, they deducted that we were different enough that it warranted cannonballs to correct the difference. They took guns and knives and teeth to the Americans across the Mason-Dixon line because they could not co-exist."

The next slide came up, showing dead upon some nameless place to his students.

"As we go into this unit, you must understand that these bodies belong to you. They are your responsibility when I give out the last test. In no other conflict have we sent Americans to make an effort to destroy American infrastructure, American quality of life, American military, or American interests. These Americans came from every single nook and cranny of this continent: yes, they came from Pennsylvania, yes, they came from New York, yes, they came from Florida and Virginia. Your textbooks don't talk about the miners from Colorado, or the Hispanic New Mexico militias, or the Arizona Rangers, nor the California Column, or the runaway slaves of Missouri that became the 1st Kansas Colored. You don't hear about the fact that Pennsylvania men marched all the way to south Texas by the end of the war, and then were told to walk on back after being discharged. You will never read about the fights for Arkansas, Louisiana, and Indian Territory, places abandoned by the federal government that became decisive points to win. You don't get to read about the Indian Home Guard or the 1st Nebraska, or the Confederate Marine Corps, fighting battles at places called Wilson's Creek, Prairie Grove, and Vicksburg, all because they didn't want the enemy to claim any more ground because it was their home. You can't read about that kind of passion."

The next slide showed what appeared to be a mass grave, bodies stacked on one another like cord wood.

"If you were born here, this war belongs to you. Heck, if you weren't born here, came here with your parents, whatever; if you consider yourself an American, this piece of history belongs solely to you. The World Wars? That's France, they get to claim those; Germany and Russia, too, but they won't. Vietnam was not ours. Iraq and Afghanistan are not ours. The American Civil War happened right here, right down the highway, on our doorsteps, in every backyard and on every road. We didn't send an army to fight a foreign threat. We didn't storm beaches across the ocean or send navies around the world to stop something that's too far away to really hurt us."

The next slide showed a group of Union soldiers positioned in a trench, the truest weariness of humanity on their faces.

"This is us. These are our people. We must never allow the rust of time to keep us from connecting to those who gave much more than we could ever consider, unless many of you intend to leave home for four straight years, living off scraps, wearing the same clothes, camping in every weather condition, slinging 100 pounds of gear on your back, a 10-pound rifle in your arms, and for what? For the home we know."

The final slide showed a family, possibly in a camp, posing for the camera. This was especially striking to Danny, for this was his great-great-grandfather and his first three children, as well as the wife that provided the cornerstone of the Gregory clan in Aurora. Danny had shown these pictures year after year, class after class, to thousands of students, but he had never changed his final words.

"The history of the world is the history of progress. You have an obligation to yourself and your people to never forget how this war determined who we have become as a nation, as a culture here in Aurora, as the identity of the modern American. You people are the modern Americans; these people are your legacy. Do not fail them, and do not fail yourself, or else they worked and died in vain. This war was fought right here at home. North, south, east, west, Hawaiian, Alaskan, wherever: every spec of dirt, every grain of sand, every tree and leaf, every building and every pasture, all of it is home, no matter who you are or where you're from. That makes every American your family."


----


The bell had sounded over two hours ago. He had been playing catch-up with a series of tests from his elementary history class ever since school got out. He was in the middle of tackling Lilly Williams' understanding of the Industrial Revolution; she was one of the newer kids in town and was sometimes a bit of a troublemaker, but Danny hadn't had any issues with her in his class, especially considering that she was a bright kid and, dare he say, sometimes even appeared to enjoy his class. Either way, she seemed to have mastered the transition of 19th-to-20th century industry, having missed only 2 problems out of 20; he marked it with a big, red 90%.

He broke away from the stacked papers and rubbed his eyes, turning his head to gaze outside. The sun was beginning to fall; he held up his hand and measured that Aurora probably had a couple of thumbs worth of daylight left before it reached the horizon. He sniffed up a lungful of air and groaned as he reached behind him, stretching out the muscles on his old bones. It was during this that his cell phone, an old Nokia that he never bothered to upgrade, rang once, indicating that he had received a text message. He hated text messages. They would surely be the bane of man-to-man conversation, though something told him that there was nothing more civilized than communication in the digital age.

He retrieved the phone from his pocket and opened the message, his hate alleviated after finding it had been sent from his wife, and began reading:

<HOSPITAL'S SWAMPED, EVERYBODY'S INFECTIOUS AND DON'T KNOW WHY, NEEDS LOTS OF WORK. I WILL BE HOME AFTER DARK TO CELEBRATE YOUR BIRTHDAY. I LOVE YOU>

Sure enough, it WAS his birthday. He was 48 years old, and had 25 years worth of a teaching career to show for it. Of course, having that experience under his belt meant one thing: he was able to mess with the new teachers and get away with it. Being his 25th anniversary was only days away, and to partake in celebration for his birthday, he decided to indulge in his seniority, as well as escape his obligations, by hunting one of the teachers down. Among those who stayed late regularly, there was Matthew Cave, a teacher recently hired from one of the Yankee states; he typically didn't classify the United States in that way, but Matthew Cave struck him as a 'true' Yankee, compared to the men that ran the southern agricultural complex.

Still, Matthew was a good kid and there was no better feeling in the world for Old Man Danny than bothering the new teachers with inane questions. It had developed into one of his favorite pastimes in the last few years, and could be considered his only 'sin' that he enjoyed indulging in; he could have lived off of the comedy of watching the newer guys and gals look up from piles of paperwork that they had no idea they would be getting, or trying to find zen in the chaos on the front line of the public school system only to be interrupted by Danny Gregory with a question pertaining to obscure, nearly trivial information that had no place in the classroom. Of course, he passed it off as keeping the new teachers on their toes with pseudo-distraction, but were it not for his reputation as a practical joker, he might be able to get away with it in a bigger town.

He knocked three times quickly before he opened the door and popped his head inside the door. He looked right at Matthew, sitting at his desk as usual, analyzing sheet music; that guy was always looking at music, which Danny had always thought was a weird concept.

"Mattie, what do you know about Appalachian folk music?" Matthew was leaned back in his chair, using those new-fangled no-noise headphones. Danny thought the concept was another capitalistic way to cheat consumers, because he could hear the noise regardless of the volume. Of course, he did not fully understand the concept, being an old white man from the Midwest with no interest in staying current. "Mattie!" Still nothing. Kids these days; none of them knew the danger of listening to music that loud. Danny reached in his pocket and grabbed a handful of loose change before taking it out and examining the pile in his hand. After carefully segregating the silver from the pennies, he chucked the collection of Abraham Lincoln's greatest achievements at the young teacher, watching them disperse and spread like birdshot from a shotgun. "I understand you like the Backstreet Boys, but are you ever gonna go home?!"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Matthew Cave Character Portrait: Danny Gregory
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Matthew rubbed the side of the number 2 pencil with his thumb, conducting a piece by Eric Whitacre - 'Sleep' - with one hand while he marked the music with the other, occasionally singing along as well. He had a rather gorgeous tenor voice, thought it could easily drop down to bass if he wanted it to, and of course he always had falsetto for the alto and soprano lines. The song was beautiful, and was another one of his favorites. He had taught this piece last year to the Chamber Choir. He always revolved; My Flight for Heaven, The Seal Lullaby, and Sleep. His office was rather empty - A desk, a computer, filing cabinets, a piano, and that was really about it. The various books scattered around were all music books, the various pictures were of composers such as Bach, Handel, and - Matthew's idol - Eric Whitacre.

As he was looking through the music, he registered a sound through the silence of his noise cancelling headphones. Something about Appalachian folk music. It had always been a problem, his hearing. The headphones he had bought were ten times more expensive to ensure silence, and while everyone else felt deaf, he could still hear. He figured it was students talking about kinds of music in the choir room and continued to work on looking through the music and marking. He wanted to add a bit of variation for the next time to keep it all from being the same. As he placed the massive, heavy music score for this year's masterwork - Handel's Messiah - on the desk, there was a louder sound and some small impacts.

By the time Matthew realized what he happened, he had fallen back out of his chair and sheet music had gone flying into the air, his headphones now around his neck. Jumping up, to catch his music scores, he managed to be quick enough to snatch them all as they floated down and hastily put them in order. Looking up, he realized Danny was standing in the doorway, commenting about the backstreet boys and if he was every gonna go home. Matthew blinked in surprised for a moment before offering him a kind of embarrassed smile as he set the music on the desk, his other hand reaching up to adjust the headphones around his neck.

"Hello Mr. Gregory." he greeted. "Sorry i didn't hear you before... These headphones do their job pretty well." Placing the papers aside and starting to pick up the pennies to return to Danny, he shrugged. "Well, to your first question - which is think i heard well enough to answer - is a fair amount. It has quite a bit of influence from other music styles; hymns, scottish fiddle tunes, and blues. It was important for the development of many recent kinds of music like country or bluegrass. I've got some music lying around, to be honest. It's mostly fiddle, banjo, and guitar, but it's got a dulcimer that not a lot of music styles have."

As he finished picking up all of the pennies, he placed them on his desk and gestured to them for Mr. Gregory to take if he wanted them back. Looking up at the clock on the wall, he laughed lightly. "And for going home, well, i usually don't go home until around nine or ten, but i was thinking of leaving at around eight thirty today. If i went home right now, i'd probably just be doing the same thing i am now except at home. Not much to do at home, really." Glancing up to the older teacher, he offered a smile.

"Also, happy birthday. I meant to drop by earlier during your planning period, but i had a student drop by to talk to me." he said. Matthew, being a new teacher as well as somewhat painfully shy, took a while to actually talk to other faculty members. It had been several years, but Matthew had barely managed to become conversationally connected to perhaps five other teachers - three of the four of five being the orchestra teacher, band teacher, and his accompanist. At this point, he was also established as one of the most socially awkward teachers in the area - Good at his job, exceptional as a teacher, fantastic as a music board member, and completely socially lost as a person. And honestly, that fact was probably why his dating/love life was just about as exciting watching a rock erode in real time, or maybe watching paint dry or grass grow.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Matthew Cave Character Portrait: VIctoria "Vicky" Bell Character Portrait: Lilly Williams Character Portrait: Danny Gregory
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BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP

Lilly awoke to her alarm going off and pressed the snooze button. She slowly drifted back to sleep knowing that it would be useless. Her dad came in and turned tthe alarm off.

"C'mon Lilly," he said, sounding a bit disgruntled. "Get up and get to school. I need to go to work and your mom left early again."

Lilly woke up and rubbed the sleep from her eyes. Her dad rushed around the house getting ready for his day while she took her sweet time getting dressed. He was standing in the kitchen tapping his foot when she finally entered after brushing her teeth.

"Took your sweet time didn't you. Now Dad's gotta get off to work, I'll see you when you get back from tumbling ok?"

Lilly nodded. "Bye Daddy, I love you." She said as he stooped down to hug her goodbye. "Tell Mom I love her too k?"

"Sure thing Pumpkin, now get on the bus!"

Lilly grabbed her bag and ran out to the waiting bus. The doors closed behind her and she saw her dad driving off in the opposite direction, towards the highschool. Maybe someday she'd get to have a counceling session with him. She walked towards the back of the bus and sat next to some other girls who were talking about boys. Lilly didn't see why they even cared, boys were gross.

It was a long ride to school and Lilly spent the ride moping. She hadn't had any fun the day before (forgeting her morning run) and she probably wouldn't get to have any fun today.

____________

Her day at school went by fast enough. Her teachers spent their time talking and generally didn't notice that Lilly wasn't paying much attention. She was more excited about getting out of school and into her tumbling class with Miss Bell. That was usually the high point of her weekdays.

After school finished she got dressed into her tumbling outfit and ran over to the gym where Miss Bell was starting class

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Matthew Cave Character Portrait: VIctoria "Vicky" Bell Character Portrait: Lilly Williams Character Portrait: David Cross
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VIcky pulled her hair up in the bow and nodded. Her eyes seemed to soften at the sight of the little girl. She looked so sad and concerned, and Vicky would want to go check on her own mother. She was terrified of what was going on. All this news about the hospital and she knew her mother would be there.

Her brother was also in that part of town.


"She is right David" The sweet soft cooing of her voice had returned. "I want to check on my family too. If you want to come with us it would be deeply appreciated. We could use your expertise. If not, I understand, I'm sure you have your own things you need to do."

She knelt down to talk to Lilly when she saw something moving out of the corner of her eye. Instinctively she pulled Lilly behind her. It was different than before, protecting Lilly was almost her prime objective. She had to get this girl home safely.

Cautiously Vicky approached the movement, it was a man, he was hiding behind a car. She wasn't sure at first if he was one of the walking corpses, or if he was just a man looking for help. She motioned for David to wait, in case it was indeed human.

She got a good look at him. He had dark brown hair, it was neat aside from the places you could see where he had ran his fingers through it in his stressed state. He looked unharmed.

"Are you okay?" She asked.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Matthew Cave Character Portrait: VIctoria "Vicky" Bell Character Portrait: Lilly Williams Character Portrait: David Cross
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David breathed out a quick sigh of concern but nodded to the little girl as he rubbed the back of his neck.

"Yeah, sure of course. We'll find them."

David said, his voice unsure yet resolved to find the young girls parents. Trekking off after missing civilians was risky and dangerous but he wasn't about to deny a child an opportunity to find their parents. If the roles were reversed he would go to the ends of the earth to find his brother. He turned to the young woman as she tied her hair up in a bow.

"I'm with you, I'm not about to leave you two ladies out here on your own."

He said with a warm smile before the young woman caught the sound of someone moving nearby. David's smile faded in an instant as his hand went to the gun at his back. It was out and at the ready in seconds. He was about to move forward to engage the target but the woman motioned for him to hang back. David halted but kept his gun ready to drill a hole through whatever was on the other side of the car should it be hostile.

"Are you okay?"

He heard the woman say, whose name was still a mystery to him as was the name of the young girl.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Matthew Cave Character Portrait: VIctoria "Vicky" Bell Character Portrait: Lilly Williams Character Portrait: David Cross
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Matthew stayed hidden behind the car, terrified. He had woken up this morning and started his day as usual, then things had gone insane and the next moment, there were the walking dead - or at least something like them. It was bizarre, like from a sci-fi or horror movie. And now he was here, hiding behind someone else's car after a frantic moment of panic filled fleeing, clutching his conducting baton like some sort of makeshift weapon. Suddenly, he heard people nearby. They were far away, but he heard them clearly.

As they grew closer, he became now and more paranoid. What if they attracted one of those whatever they were? Just as he was about to peek around the car to check, one person looked over the car and spotted him. Frozen, he simply stared back, blue eyes wide and his knuckles turning white as he gripped the baton. Then, one of them spoke. The moment he heard her voice, he unfroze - her voice seemed familiar, had he heard her before? Was she student at the middle or high school? He could forget a face but he never forgot a voice.

"Y-Yes," he said quietly, standing slowly, looking around himself cautiously. "Are you?" he inquired in return. Perhaps she would recognize him before he recognized her. Depending on the time of day, he taught at the middle school or the high school - high school in the morning and middle later in the afternoon. A quick glance at all of them showed that they were far from walking corpses, and he even clearly recognized one of them - The young Lilly Williams from one of his more... rambunctious choirs.

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Character Portrait: Matthew Cave Character Portrait: VIctoria "Vicky" Bell Character Portrait: Lilly Williams Character Portrait: David Cross
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"I'm fine," She used her sweet voice to coax him out of his hiding spot. She stared at him long and hard. He looked familiar somehow. Then she had it, she smiled enthusiastically at him, happy to see a familiar face.

"You work at the high school don't you?" She asked. She tried to think back to before she graduated. "You taught the music class." She held out her hand to him.

"My name is Vicky Dawn. I took your class about 2 years back. This is David, we only just met, and Lilly, she is one of my students." Things were tumbling out of her mouth stupidly.

"I'm glad to see that you are okay. We are heading towards Lilly's house. We have to get her home," She turned to the girl.

"Where do you live anyway exactly?" She inquired of the girl.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Matthew Cave Character Portrait: VIctoria "Vicky" Bell Character Portrait: Lilly Williams Character Portrait: David Cross
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Lilly saw her choir teacher, Mr. Cave, behind the car as he came out. Miss Vicky recognized him too. He looked really scared and Lilly wondered how he had gotten there. It was strange to see him outside of the classroom. But, Lilly felt that she wouldn't see any of her classes any more anyways. Inside she felt a little jolt of excitement as she realized there would never be any more homework. Then she realized that the world she was in was a hard price to pay for no homework.

She woke up from her thinking to hear Miss Vicky asking her a question.

"Where do I live?" She asked rhetorically, thinking to herself. She realized that she knew the way, if they took backroads, alleys, and the backyards of people's houses; but she had no idea about how to get there using streets. She also wasn't quite sure how to explain it to them. She also wondered if these people would be able to follow her if she took her usual routes. They generally involved a lot of climbing, jumping, and falling from moderate heights. She wondered if these old people would be able to handle the strain.

"I can lead you there," Lilly said after a few seconds of contemplation. "But you might know a quicker way...It's close to the park. We could go there first and I could lead you from there if you want."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Matthew Cave Character Portrait: VIctoria "Vicky" Bell Character Portrait: Lilly Williams Character Portrait: David Cross
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"The faster we're on the move the better. I don't like us being out here in the open like this. Lead the way Lilly, we're right behind you."

He said giving her a reassuring wink before checking how many shots he had left in his current clip and eyeing the nearby streets for signs of trouble. The nearby moans of walkers were ever present but fortunately there were none in visual distance. At least not yet. David took a minute to shake the new teachers hand as he introduced himself.

"Hey there, David Cross. Hell of a day huh?"

He said half sarcastic.

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Character Portrait: Matthew Cave Character Portrait: VIctoria "Vicky" Bell Character Portrait: Lilly Williams Character Portrait: David Cross
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Matthew was quiet as Vicky talked, always having been a very polite man. As she asked if he taught at the highschool, specifically if he taught music, he smiled lightly and nodded, muttering a quiet 'yes'. It was comforting to know that two younger people had enough sense to take action while keeping their heads in the right place. He visibly calmed quite a bit once he realized that they were there, strongly believing in strength in numbers. He held his conducting baton loosely in one hand as he straightened his back.

"Yes, i remember you," he spoke after Vicky's brief introduction. "One of the few that paid attention if i remember correctly," With a sigh, he continued. "And i know Lilly, she's one of my current students - Also one of the few that pay attention." It was sobering for him to think about how many students tried to take his class for an easy A (although they quickly were proven wrong when they're lack of work ethic earned them a very solid D or F). Teenagers now...

He was pulled from his thoughts when the man, David, spoke up. He offered him a smile as he introduced himself. "A pleasure you meet you Mr. Cross, although i wish it would have been under different circumstances - Hell of a day indeed." Offering his hand politely, he spoke quietly. "I'm Matthew Cave," Once the pleasantries were finished, he quickly shifted his attention like flicking a switch.

They needed to get Lilly home - And she was the only one who know how to get there, so she would have to lead the way for all of them. Hopefully they'd make it - Alive.

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Character Portrait: Matthew Cave Character Portrait: VIctoria "Vicky" Bell Character Portrait: Lilly Williams Character Portrait: David Cross
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"I know how to get to the park." Vicky said cheerfully. "My brother lives on that side of town. I want to check on him myself." She stared off in the direction of the park, then turned to face her party.

"It is probably going to be safer to walk. The roads are blocked in most places." She began to walk the route she knew best towards the park. Vicky was doing her best to stay out of sight, not wanting to attract more of the soulless monsters to them. She was especially careful to avoid downtown as the passed it. There as nothing but bad things there before everything went to chaos, she was sure there was nothing but even worse things now. It seemed they would make it to the park with no incident. They weren't far now.

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Character Portrait: Matthew Cave Character Portrait: VIctoria "Vicky" Bell Character Portrait: Lilly Williams Character Portrait: David Cross
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Everyone was looking at Lilly for guidance but she wasn't sure if she knew how to lead. She shrugged and began to walk forward when Miss Vicky said she knew the way to the park. Lilly sighed in relief and she eagerly let the older girl take the lead. It was a lot easier then trying to lead them through her route. She noticed that Miss Vicky was avoiding the open while still using the street. Lilly still felt a bit exposed.

As they walked they could hear the sounds of chaos off in the distance, but for now they really couldn't hear anything close to them and Lilly felt safe with all of the adults walking with her. She noticed that Miss Vicky was avoiding downtown. Lilly would have lead them straight through there, because that was the quickest way to go. But she understood the need for caution and she followed her teacher trustingly.

As they got closer to the park Lilly got more and more nervous. She hoped her parents wer ok and she hoped that they wouldn't have to see any more of those zombies. She worried about leading them and started thinking of an easy route that the adults would be able to take without too much trouble. She had just thought of the perfect way to go when they reached the park.

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Character Portrait: Matthew Cave Character Portrait: VIctoria "Vicky" Bell Character Portrait: Lilly Williams Character Portrait: David Cross
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I was bringing up the rear, the pistol in my hand. I kept my eyes scanning out immediate surrounding for signs of hostiles. We were moving steadily, making good time.

"Keep close to the buildings and check your blind spots people."

I advised as we continued on our route to Lily's home. As they went along I noticed the buildings starting to open up as the park started to come into view. Littered with park benches, playground equipment and picnic areas. It would have been quite charming if it wasn't for the walking corpses. There was maybe six or seven of the moaning and stumbling around in the park. There were two huddled over a body they were savagely ripping to pieces as the devoured the flesh. I moved up to the head of the column to bring Vicky to a stop.

"Woah, hold folks up we got contacts."

I said as I lowered to a crouching position and gestured for the others to do the same. I eyed the terrain and gauged my chances at taking out the few in the park but it just didn't smell right, too many variables. I turned around to confer with the others about our next move.

"I've got enough rounds for the ones I can see but it's the ones I can't I'm worried about. We don't know how many are around the corner or down the next street. I start firing off rounds the noise will draw everything in ear shot. We don't want that."

I said before pausing to shoot another quick, speculative glance at the park before turning back to the group.

"Options?"

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Character Portrait: Matthew Cave Character Portrait: VIctoria "Vicky" Bell Character Portrait: Lilly Williams Character Portrait: David Cross
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Matthew moved cautiously with everyone else, staying completely silent. He hoped that most everyone was okay, although it was very doubtful at this point. He, at least, hoped most of the students in the area had survived - After all, youth was important, it's why he loved to teach.

As everyone spoke around him, he simply listened. That's what he was best at after all, listening. Perhaps he's be able to hear some other people who were looking for a group to travel with. At this point, he just wanted to find somewhere safe to think about his - more like their at this point - situation. Then, sound reached his ears. IT was slow shuffling, and not the kind of a human shuffling, followed by a kind of creaking sound one might associate with the squeal of bones against bones. Well, that certainly answered a question or two.

As they continued to speak to one another, worried about their option with the group or single of whatever nearby he put up a hand to signal silence, much like he would do in his choirs, with one hand up and palm flat, outwards. There was stepping and creaking, but soon it made almost a cadence, almost a macabre harmony of corporeal instrumentation. Looking at him, he furrowed his brow.

"I think there's maybe a small group of them nearby, other than the ones we can see. Maybe three or fourish. Six at most, they don't sound loud enough to be any more." he offered his help, wanting to do what he could.

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Character Portrait: Matthew Cave Character Portrait: VIctoria "Vicky" Bell Character Portrait: Lilly Williams Character Portrait: David Cross
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Lilly knew where she was now. They were close enough that she could take them straight through to her preplanned route. She saw the zombies ripping apart a body and closed her eyes and shook her head. She didn't think she could ever get used to something like that.

"Woah, hold folks up we got contacts." David said as he walked to the front of the group and stopped them. The big man checked his gun and looked at the zombies ahead of them. He looked like he was ready to fight. Lilly didn't think that was such a good idea.

"I've got enough rounds for the ones I can see but it's the ones I can't I'm worried about. We don't know how many are around the corner or down the next street. I start firing off rounds the noise will draw everything in ear shot. We don't want that." Lilly nodded as the soldier looked at the group. They were deffinitely not going to be able to fight a lot of zombies and gunshots would draw zombies from everywhere.

"I think there's maybe a small group of them nearby, other than the ones we can see. Maybe three or fourish. Six at most, they don't sound loud enough to be any more." Mr. Cave spoke up. Lilly could almost see his ears twitch with the sounds that it seemed only hecould hear. She wondered how he was able to do that. If there were really 12 zombies though, they'd never be able to fight through them all before more would come.

"Can't we just go around them?" Lilly asked, whispering. "I can take us through backways and we can avoid the roads and the zombies. If we're quiet enough, I don't think they'll even know we were here."

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Character Portrait: Matthew Cave Character Portrait: VIctoria "Vicky" Bell Character Portrait: Lilly Williams Character Portrait: David Cross
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David turned to Lily who, while seeming apprehensive, appeared resolved and confident in her abilities to lead the rest of the group the rest of they way. He was impressed with her resolve despite the horrific chaos unfolding around them. Strength like that was a rare thing. That being said he couldn't help but note the resolve of everyone in the group. Vicky shifted between compassion for Lily and the rest of the group and a hardcore ability to do what it took to survive. Odd but still a good thing as far as the Ranger could tell. Then there was Matthew, a civilian maintaing his head in a situation like this was a remarkable thing. David counted himself fortunate to come across this elceltic, level headed group.

"If you can get us there, we're right behind you Lily. Staying off the roads sounds like a plan to me. Point the way."

David said giving her a warm smile with a firm nod.

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Character Portrait: Matthew Cave Character Portrait: VIctoria "Vicky" Bell Character Portrait: Lilly Williams Character Portrait: David Cross
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Vicky agreed with the rest of the gang as they decided to take the safe route and move around the group of flesh hungry monsters. It was definitely the smartest decision. They were almost past the park, everything was looking like they would be getting out safe and sound, when all of the sudden Vicky hit a car by accident.

The car alarm came on, blaring within earshot of the entire block.

"Damn." Vicky cursed. IT wasn't her style to curse, especially in front of kids but it seemed that this was a good exception. The zombies in the park heard the noise, and without hesitation began making their way towards the group of 4. Vicky slowly began pulling her hair down.

"Sorry about that guys," Victoria said bemusedly. She gave them a wink, "Looks like we are going to be fighting them any way." She knew they could never take them all. If Army man over there was going to shoot them all, that would leave them ammo-less until they found some more. Thankfully they were moving slowly, they might have to fight a few but the others they could easily run around.

One of the monsters approached Victoria, she didn't make the same mistake twice. Upon watching David shoot the other in the head, she knew that would take them down. It would be pretty hard to walk around without a spine. Victoria flipped so she was on her hands and grabbed the head of the corpse with her calves. Effortlessly she snapped the neck of the monster and it fell lifelessly to the ground.

"We need to move. We can't take all of them."

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Character Portrait: Matthew Cave Character Portrait: VIctoria "Vicky" Bell Character Portrait: Lilly Williams Character Portrait: David Cross
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The others had started to follow her. Lilly had been confident about the path she was about to travel. She mentally prepared herself, shutting out anything that didn't have to do with running. She stretched as she began walking forward. Pulling on her arms and cracking her back. Then Lilly began running, her footfalls barely making a sound on the ground as she led them past some cars and away from the main force of the zombies. Miss Vicky took that opportunity to accidently bump into a particularily touchy car and set off an alarm.

The zombies all turned towards them and began walking towards the sound of their prey. Miss Vicky did an amazing stunt and snapped the neck of one of the creatures. Lilly didn't really believe her when she said that they couldn't fight them all. She had never seen anyone do anything like that. Lilly looked around for a new path to take, to escape the zombies. She tried to clear her mind again.

"This way!" She yelled, not caring about staying quiet any more. Her plan had changed. Before she was going to take them on a quiet, easy route. Now, to escape the zombies, she would lead them through the quickest and (Lilly would admit) most dangerous route. It was also one that even she had had trouble with. But the adults were taller and faster than her, they should have a bit less difficulty than she did. Plus, it was the easiest way to get away from the zombies. As far as Lilly had been able to tell, these things were slow and stupid. Even if they could have caught up with them. They'd never be able to do all of the stunts it took to catch them through this route.

She placed her hands on the hood of the car that was going off and lithlely sprang over over it, landing on the other side of the row of cars. Then she ran towards the break between two houses, into their backyards. She hoped that the others would follow her, because her mind had been set and she was going to keep running. They'd have to do something to catch her attention if they weren't going to run with her. Her heart beat fast as she rounded the side of the house but there were no zombies in the backyard.

"Cmon!" She yelled, letting them know both which way to go and where she was by the sound of her voice. She ran to the back fence and hopped over it and into the backyard of a house on the street behind the one they had been on.

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Character Portrait: Matthew Cave Character Portrait: VIctoria "Vicky" Bell Character Portrait: Lilly Williams Character Portrait: David Cross
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David turned in almost horror at the sound of the car alarm. The balring siren was like a diner bell to the hungry ghouls in the area.

"Shit..."

David groaned as he turned to see nearly all the walkers in the immediate area turn and began shuffling towards them, hungry moans in their throats. David raised his gun and fired off a few rounds into the crowd. Heads exploded from the impact of the projectiles meeting their targets. While the bodies dropped two seemingly would just fill the gap almost instantly.

"I'm gunna run outta ammo before we even make a dent in these things!"

David shouted as he hopped back, keeping his distance from the advancing horde.

"This way!"

He heard Lily shout causing him to whip around just in time to see her scramble up the hood of a car before darting between two houses, coming to a stop in the back yard.

"Through the gap people! After Lily! MOVE!"

He shouted as he took a few more prospective shots into the horde before running off to herd the others along after her.

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Character Portrait: Matthew Cave Character Portrait: VIctoria "Vicky" Bell Character Portrait: Lilly Williams Character Portrait: David Cross
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Matthew followed Lilly, listening around them carefully. He wasn't particularly strong and clearly had nothing in the way of endurance, neither did he want to test it. To be honest, the only thing he could really do is run and jump - And everyone could do that. In that way, hearing would be the only way he could be helpful.

That is until the car alarm.

With the sudden loud noise, he flinched and stumbled. He cupped his hands over his ears and cringed, a stinging sensation crawling across his skin like tin, daggerfooted beetles. The volume of the car alarm and the gunshots overwhealmed his hearing, forcing him to simply follow them deafly until the auditory overload had been remidied by distance.

His vision pulsated with every honk of the car alarm and rippled with each gunshot, making him stumble a bit as he raced after them, catching up with them and matching their pace without breaking a sweat.

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Character Portrait: Matthew Cave Character Portrait: VIctoria "Vicky" Bell Character Portrait: Lilly Williams Character Portrait: David Cross Character Portrait: Jennifer White
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As the group of people near the car alarm's source turned and fled, jumping, ducking, and weaving like professionals, Jennifer guessed that they were actually alive, or at least extremely agile undead. But at the sound of gunshots and the sight of the gathering horde, it became more and more clear that these were not simple zombies—they were survivors. And judging by their appearance, it seemed they were not the other sort of 'zombie' either, that living sort which mindlessly acted to preserve its own life. The little girl that took the lead among them would probably not have been able to survive on her own, and thus the others must have been good people to protect her...or so she wagered.

Despite being chased, it seemed like the group didn't need her help all that much. But when has that stopped me before? Jennifer thought with a smirk. She made a quick turn towards the blaring car and began cruising steadily down the road in its direction. She honked her horn a few times while she drove, trying to get attention from the zombies and probably from the survivors as well. She hoped that the flesh-eaters would give chase to her car instead of the group—she was protected by pounds and pounds of impact-resistant metal, while they only had their clothes and brains to protect them. Within moments her car was where they had been, and she continued to honk for attention, making her car obvious to any potential pursuers. She waited there for only a few moments as the horde ran after the group (and thus towards her car), and could only hope that her car would prove more enticing a target.

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Character Portrait: Matthew Cave Character Portrait: VIctoria "Vicky" Bell Character Portrait: Lilly Williams Character Portrait: David Cross Character Portrait: Jennifer White
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Victoria watched as the car swooped in to their rescue. As the horn blared its annoying whir and got the animated corpses' attention. They went after the noise like the mindless things that they were.

"Who is that?" Victoria thought aloud. Whoever they were she was thankful that they came to their rescue, although she would never admit it. She watched as Lilly bolted after the car. She had taught the little scamp well. Lilly followed suit, easily barreling over the car. She looked behind to make sure the others were following her. She might need them and wasn't ready to give up her few resources.

They were on their way following Lilly as best they could, it wasn't easy, the girl was fast and agile. She ducked and jumped with so much expert grace that she had to run this route often. One of the straggling zombies came close, Victoria did a hard sweep kick to keep it away from her. The thing hit the cement with a satisfying thud. She didn't look back to make sure it was dead, she didn't have time for that, and quickly caught back up with Lilly and the crew.

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Character Portrait: Matthew Cave Character Portrait: VIctoria "Vicky" Bell Character Portrait: Lilly Williams Character Portrait: David Cross Character Portrait: Jennifer White
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David kept the horde at bay as best he could. Firing round after round into the swarming mass of bodies as he bought time for the others to escape. Only after the last of them made it up and over the car did David follow suit. It was then that the car sped up, horn honking wildly. "If I didn't know better I'd say they were trying to lure these things away from us..." The Ranger thought to himself as he charged up the abandoned cars and darted after the others. He paused to fire three more times before hearing a familiar clicking noise.

"Damn, I'm out."

He growled as he quickly and efficiently reloaded with his second of three clips with practiced ease. The importance of finding more ammuntion began blaring obvious as he pulled back the slide, readying the gun to fire once again. That done he ran the rest of the way before leaping into the back yard with the others. Cross took a moment to scan the gap to verify that they weren't being pursued.

"Anyone wounded?"

He asked while his eyes were on the car that had just saved them. "C'mon... get outta there." He said within the confines of his mind as he began to worry about their mysterious savior.

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Character Portrait: Matthew Cave Character Portrait: VIctoria "Vicky" Bell Character Portrait: Lilly Williams Character Portrait: David Cross Character Portrait: Jennifer White
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Lilly didn't take the time to talk. That car that came by might have saved them for now, but Lilly had to keep running. The closer she got to her house the more panicked she got. She was so worried about her mom and dad. She hopped one fence and into another yard. She stopped only for a moment, to see if the others were still following. Some were slowing down and she had slow down too just for them to keep up. Lilly was so nervous but she was trying her best to stay within range of them.

Lilly came to the first true obstacle. A ten foot drop into a storm drain area. She continued running off the edge and dropped quickly. She collapsed her knees when she reached the ground and rolled over her shoulder and onto her feet again. She waited to see where the others were.