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Kat Savchenko

A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.

0 · 657 views · located in Post-Apocalyptic America

a character in “Bullets and Brains”, as played by Retrovertigo


” By all means let's be open-minded, but not so open-minded that our brains drop out."

The Basics

Full Name:Kateryna Savchenko

Kat, Sav




Sexual Orientation:

Prior Occupation:
Studying for her doctorate in organic chemistry

Current Occupation:
Scavenger/Tech Advisor/Booby trap specialist.

What's on the Outside

Hair Color:

Eye Color:Brown



Tattoos and Piercings:
Nose ring.
Nautilus shell tattooed on her right wrist.

Scars: A knife wound on her left forearm from an overzealous human who thought Kat was a zombie. Still healing.

Character Color: Insert character color you reserved. 422d47

Description: Kat definitely has her own sense of style, she’s always a fan of bright colors and unusual garments. She’s never followed the status quo and likes to wear what makes her happy which might not always be practical. Now that things have changed she hasn’t completely lost her style but does her best to remain practical with sturdy boots and long sleeved shirts and pants.
Kat keeps her dark wavy hair in twists which she pulls on top of her head so as to keep it out of her way and is bereft without her thick layer of eyeliner.

What's on the Inside


{Fearless, Funny, Inventive, Flirtatious, Cunning}
Kat has a very open and honest personality. What you see is what you get and while she may be quite intelligent she’s never condescending. She’s curious and clever and loves to figure out how things work. Never afraid to speak her mind or opinion she’s also willing to listen to other viewpoints with understanding.

She is an unabashed flirt and doesn’t discriminate, she figures the world is ending and the options are few might as well enjoy yourself a bit. Kat can also be very down on herself wondering if it’s even worth it to try and continue on when the world is so fucked but something deep inside keeps her moving, cause once you stop moving you’re dead.
Was lead singer in local punk band.
Inventing – Kat has always had a mechanically inclined intelligence. She’s always loved putting together her own little devices ranging from alarms, batteries and light sources to elaborate booby traps which comes in quite handy now.
Avid Gamer – Hand Kat a video game and she’ll have it mastered in moments. She excels at strategy and tactical based games

-Smokes a lot of pot
-Bites her nails
-Constantly making light of any given situation.

Suffers from Depression
Vegetarian, although her standards have definitely relaxed.

Likes/Loves:(At least 5)(repeat format if more)
  • Graphic Novels
  • Eyeliner
  • NPR
  • Marijuana
  • Cats
  • Dancing
  • Flirting
  • Dimples
  • Hugs
  • Sex
  • Making Jokes
Dislikes/Hates:(At least 5)(repeat format if more)
  • Zombies
  • Irrationality
  • High Heels
  • Feeling Depressed
  • Being Condescended to
  • Being Startled
  • Violence
  • The Cold

What Makes Us Special


Strengths and Weaknesses

Character Skills/Talents:
  • Booby Trap and Alarm expert. Kat is always coming up with new ways to protect the camp from the hordes of the undead.
  • Diplomatic – Kat is able to bring levity to most situations with her wry sense of humour and logical approach to things.
  • Working knowledge of organic chemistry. Theoretically with the right equipment she could synthesize medicinal compounds.
  • Kat, much like her name implies has always been quick and light on her feet.

Character Flaws/Weaknesses:
  • Although Kat is well aware of the dangers of this new world it’s hard for to really take it all seriously, some would even call her flippant and reckless.
  • Can fall into the pits of despair where she doesn’t want to get up and questions if survival is even worth it.

-Suffers from depression/anxiety and is usually medicated although her prescription is nearing completion.
-Killed her roommates to survive.
-Doesn’t know how to drive.

-Seeing her family turned – She’d rather just think of them as dead. Much more peaceful that way.
-Being left behind.

What's Done Is Done



Place Of Origin:Queens, New York City, New York

Birth Date: May 8th

Kat was born the eldest of three to immigrant parents from the Ukraine. Theirs was a fiercely close and loyal family who resided in a small apartment in Queens. Kat’s father worked manual labor jobs and her mother was a cleaning lady between the two they barely made enough money to keep food on the table. Even though money was tight and always an issue the Savchenkos were reasonably happy.

The children went to school and were raised bi-lingual, it was during this time that Kat’s superior intelligence was making itself known. She was always curious, always wanting to know why and resolved to figure it out. Her parents did what they could to give their daughter as many advantages as possible but it was ultimately up to Kat to make her way through.

Working any odd job she could and applying for any scholarship she qualified for she made her way into college where she excelled. Science and more specifically chemistry was where her passion lied. Of course Kat wasn’t all work and no play, she dabbled in illicit substances before deciding that pot was her speed and that was about it. She also dated casually but never settled into a deep or lasting commitment. Something she was frightened of if she was honest with herself.

It was in Grad school that Kat’s mental health began to deteriorate and after falling into a deep depression lasting for half a semester where she rarely ate or left her apartment, after failing out of school her parents finally saw that their daughter was in need of professional help and convinced her to seek help. Diagnosed with depression and borderline personality disorder Kat began treatment and vowed that she would complete her studies on time. Although her parents were concerned about the pressure she was under, Kat graduated with a master’s degree only a year behind schedule and began looking towards the future.

Kat began applying to doctorate programs, sure that her future was in organic chemistry. More specifically medicinal chemistry. She wanted to create new treatments, or even cures for the ailments that plagued the world. Being a person that depended on a drug to regiment her brain chemistry this became a passion for the perpetual student.

Moving back to New York to begin studying she made the decision to move into a brownstone with three other roommates than to return to her parent’s home. It was a decision that she would come to regret. Kat returned home from the lab to find her roommates transformed, as if demons had inhabited their flesh. It appeared as though two of them had turned on a latecomer. Now unrecognizable due to having been devoured.

When they turned their attention on her she booked it to her room, closing the flimsy door behind her and barricading it with a dresser. Panicked she searched for revolver her father made her keep for protection. The confusion and terror caused Kat’s hand to shake as she loaded the gun but when the creatures burst through she didn’t hesitate to empty all of her bullets into Jenna, the once blonde and bubbly roommate. Of course James, the handsome med student was right behind her and with an empty gun Kat scrambled for any other alternative. Picking up her large terrarium she dashed it over his head knocking him to the ground. Horrified that he wasn’t fazed Kat attacked him over and over again with a novelty bat until he stopped moving.

Taking the time to have a bit of a freak-out Kat listened to what news reports were still going out and decided that her best chance of survival was to head out of the city. Knowing that her family was out there somewhere haunted her but she knew that there was no way she’d make it to them alive. Armed with her revolver, extra ammunition and whatever supplies she could gather and carry Kat somehow ended up bumping into the group while raiding a pharmacy. She hasn’t looked back since.

Family Tree
Father - Olek Savchenko Presumed Deceased
Mother - Halyna Savchenko Presumed Deceased
Sister - Kryhstyna Savchenko Presumed Deceased
Brother - Symon Savchenko Presumed Deceased

Happiest Memory:
When she was accepted into the doctorate program for organic chemistry. It took a lot of hard work and patience and Kat truly felt vindicated when she heard the news.

Saddest Memory:
Leaving home the first time. Even though Kat was only going away to school it was definitely hard to leave her parents and siblings behind. They’d always been extremely close and now she had to figure out how to get along on her own.

So begins...

Kat Savchenko's Story

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nathan Durand Character Portrait: Aspen Bates Character Portrait: Layton Bates Character Portrait: Adam Dawson Character Portrait: Kat Savchenko Character Portrait: Annabelle Marie Richards
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Tugging her threadbare jacket close Kat knew that one of the things she’d be on the lookout for would be a coat to guard against the coming cold. The days seemed to be flying by now that winter was on the way and Kat didn’t seem to find the chill in the air particularly bracing. Give her tropical breezes and warm sunshine any day of the week. The idea of an island vacation made the twenty-nine year old smile dreamily. She could see it now; she’d finally get a tan and drink something blue with an umbrella in it while sitting on white sand.

Startled back to the reality of their situation by Nate’s declaration she shook her head wryly. “Flip flops, really? Now a good pair of boots, that would be a whole different story.” Kat couldn’t help but tease as she listened to Nate’s orders. Of course she’d do as she was told, at least for the most part. While Kat might possess a smart mouth she still preferred surviving to anything else and the second in command was usually right more than he was wrong. Lifting a hand to check the revolver at her waist she moved to grab the hunting knife she always carried.

Watching Aspen and Layton pair up and set off Kat girded her loins and followed Nate, Milo and the good doctor into the supermarket, assuming that Annabelle wouldn’t be too far behind. The smell in the abandoned market was nearly more than Kat could bear; the rotting meat and produce were nearly gag inducing. The thin brunette remained silent as she trailed behind the group, her gaze lingering on torn magazines with headlines that no longer mattered and celebrities who were in all likelihood dead. It was surreal and the urge to giggle was quickly suppressed by the presence of a horde of zombies.

Kat, taken over by adrenaline, grabbed her revolver and prepared to defend herself from the onslaught of the dead. There were at present count only the four of them and while Milo was a badass he was still a kid. The odds didn't seem to be in their favor but Kat was a reasonably good shot thanks to her father, a surge of confidence flooded her mind as she steadied herself and prepared for the worse. “So have we decided if this is going to be a fight or a flight situation?” Kat asked, her voice low and raspy as she aimed her revolver at the horde.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nathan Durand Character Portrait: Aspen Bates Character Portrait: Layton Bates Character Portrait: Adam Dawson Character Portrait: Kat Savchenko Character Portrait: Annabelle Marie Richards
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Michael was unsure about how the groups split. Two people seemed to immediately disregard it, and Nate had for some reason or another chosen to bring Milo with him. Michael was very cautious and very concerned for the younger members of the group, same as Robyn. And he was fairly certain they shared a special worry regarding Milo. The boy could barely speak without causing himself intense pain. Granted, he seemed good with a pistol or a hunting rifle, but he was still worried about sending a boy so young out on these trips.

Of course, if they didn't, he would just sneak off on his own. Milo hated be treated like a kid, even though he was one. Michael just wanted to keep him safe, a residual influence of what he did in the NYPD. Saving people. And he had...concerns...about Nate. He was worried he might be abusive, or a pedophile. Michael couldn't help it, the NYPD and his High School had taught him to constantly be aware of dangers.

However, he knew he couldn't talk Milo out of it. He hated being babied, and as far as he knew, Nate babied no one. That, and he had to admit Milo has certain skills. He seemed like he was the only one, or at least the best, at sneaking past zombies. He didn't have NYPD weapons training though.

Hoping Milo would be safe with Nate, he turned his attention to the rest of the group. He noticed Annabelle running off behind a building. He decided to follow her, and make sure she was okay. When he caught up to her, he noticed a pile of puke nearby. 'Are you okay? You are not sick right? I could walk you back if you are" he said, asking with his usual kind and polite voice.

In truth though, he knew he felt worse. He had a nightmare last night, about his fiancée, and his unborn son. Perhaps that is why he was so protective of Milo. But then again, Michael cared about anyone he believed to be innocent or a part of their group. Didn't matter how useful they are, all life is precious in his eyes. "you going to get sick again?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nathan Durand Character Portrait: Aspen Bates Character Portrait: Adam Dawson Character Portrait: Kat Savchenko Character Portrait: Annabelle Marie Richards Character Portrait: James Milo
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The quiet was eerie. Without realizing it, one grows very used to the sounds of the hustle and bustle that is bound to be produced by cities during everyday monotony. The sounds of cars, engines revving and horns honking, and the presence of others. Distant laughing, shouts, or talking just gets tuned out after so long of just living life, just white noise that no one really notices. But, now, when it's completely absent, one starts to miss it. Even nature seemed to have lulled itself into a quiet state from the shift of the norm, the trees no longer sounding as loud as swift breezes blew through their branches and the birds didn't sing their songs with the same vigor as before. At least, that was how it felt to Cyan. Like the world was slowly walling itself away, receding into a dormant state. The only sound he could hear now was sneaker soles scraping against the pavement.

Cyan kept himself near the front of the group's small herd. Tucking himself in the interior, just behind their temporary leader, Nathan, and little Milo, but in front of the good doctor and Kat. With his shoulders hunched up to his ears, the hood's drawstrings pulled taunt, and his arms pulled inside his hoodie's bulk, Cyan looked a bit odd as he kept pace with the rest. The mute looked odd most of the time, both lanky and pale, without much substance to his body at all, and generally looking like a bully's prime target, but he had a real reason as of now.

He hated the cold with a -- Ahem -- fiery passion. If the weather so far as dipped anywhere below 70 degrees, he was absolutely miserable. The teen cursed himself for not staying back at 'Home' with their true, yet unofficial, leader and the others, where he could of at least cocooned himself in blankets as he worked. But, alas, he guessed he was a tad more useful out here than back at base, more eyes to look for supplies and more hands to carry it. His own miserable state was no excuse for being lazy.

With his head in the clouds, Cyan heard nothing of the orders barked at them from Nathan, nor the witty but rather unnecessary comment about cute flip flops. He had just continued walking along at his same pace looking at the scenery, unaware that the group was splitting itself up and going it's separate ways until reality started to seep back in, and he realized he was alone. Pausing his walk, a small burst of panic seizing in his chest, he took a moment to free his arms from his jacket, turning in slow circles to try and find a familiar face.

Being alone was dangerous for the mute. He couldn't cry out if he needed help, and he wasn't fit enough to fight off any unpleasantness that might come his way. Cyan didn't carry a gun like the rest, either. He was a terrible shot, wouldn't even be able to hit a target at point-blank range, and would do more harm than help if one was placed in his possession. So, to stop any friendly fire and avoid casualties, he steered away from firearms. The only means of protection he carried on his person was a crude bat, the head of it being a mess of two-inch nails for 'effectiveness', clipped to his belt.

Seeing a wisp of a jacket disappear into a doorway, Cyan broke into a light jog toward a large supermarket building. They must have went inside when he wasn't looking. Thank the heavens that they hadn't up and left him while he daydreamed, because then he would be in some serious trouble.

Stepping carefully over a rotting pumpkin that held the sliding doors ajar, he nearly knocked into Adam as the doctor recoiled. Pursing his lips in dismay, Cyan moved out from behind the other man, not wanting to get pushed back into the moldy holiday decor. The room was dark, and the teen found himself squinting to try and make anything out.. There were only a few (And rather weak) light sources. One being the door Cyan had just entered from, and the other being the flashlight crudely duct-taped to Nathan's rifle. Following the beam of light with his eyes, and the tense muttering of his group mates, he, too, spotted the horde. The teen sucked in a breath through his teeth, eyes blown wide in fear. Cyan's hand dropped down to his belt, fumbling blindly to unhook his bat, not being able to tear his gaze away. Whatever may happen next was most likely not going to be pretty.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nathan Durand Character Portrait: Aspen Bates Character Portrait: Layton Bates Character Portrait: Adam Dawson Character Portrait: Kat Savchenko Character Portrait: Annabelle Marie Richards
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#, as written by Felilla

There was something about the silence that Layton Bates found disturbing. He had lived in the city his entire life, so he was accustomed to the bustle of everyday life. It felt strange to be in a world where everything was an eerie silence. Well, not completely silent. He could hear the scuff of people's shoes against the pavement and if he tried hard enough, he could hear the breathing of the others. Layton adjusted his brown coat, wishing for something a bit warmer. He could remember better days, when all of this was some delusional theory he had thought up. He never imagined he'd be living it. Aspen let out a silent sigh next to him. She had changed drastically in the past month, but then again everyone had. When things were simpler, Layton would tease his sister for wearing so much makeup. It was odd seeing her without anything but the occasional dirt smudge on her pale face. Layton could feel a stubble on his chin. The other males in the group had long since given up shaving, but it was a small comfort for the teenager.

He hiked his old backpack up, the one he had kept since the beginning of this entire thing. It was almost empty, save for a granola bar or two ad his dad's wrench, so he knew he'd have to fill it up to the brim. He only had to hope that wherever Aspen decided they were going would still have food and medicine, as well as some gum. It was his sister's routine to go to simple places like gas stations and small, family owned stores before hitting the houses. She, unlike the others in the group, would avoid grocery stores (or any large store for that matter). She had told him about her theory, and he was kind of starting to believe her. He ran a hand through his brown hair as Nathan barked out orders. Layton was kind of glad he decided to not join the military. He hated being told what to do.

Aspen glanced over at him and he nodded back. It was not unlike the two of them to have some unspoken communication. They were closer than most siblings, even before the outbreak. The past month had bonded them closer together than Layton thought possible. He figured if they could live through escaping New York City, they could live through this winter. Secretly, he wished they could've brought a car. It would be so much easier to carry things, stuff as much as possible into the vehicle then drive away. That way, they could get warmer clothes, blankets, sleeping bags, whatever was needed to survive a harsh winter without the comfort of indoor heating. However, he also knew that cars were too loud. They would attract zombies left and right if they brought one.

The Bates siblings separated from the rest of the group. They had survived two weeks on their own, they knew what to look for. Aspen swung her rifle onto her shoulder. In the past month, layton had also noticed that she was getting very comfortable with weapons. She was a hunter, but she had always seemed reluctant about holding a gun. "Look for ammunition, too. We'll check the gas station first. Zombies seem to avoid them."

It was like Aspen to notice things that others seemed to disregard. She probably had some theory about why zombies avoided gas stations too, but she never really talked about her theories unless she was sure they were true. Layton walked backwards as his sister walked normally. The two of them had become comfortable with doing things like this. A zombie could easily sneak up on you, so could a trigger happy human. Their boxer pup Lila Belle walked between them, treading almost silently. When they approached the gas station, Layton swung his flashlight around. He didn't see anything, so he nodded to Aspen. The two of them entered the abandoned building as their dog waited outside. Aspen ducked behind the counter to looked for medicine while Layton started moving through the aisles.

He started by finding some toilet paper before getting any canned foods. The gas station must not have been very popular when the world was normal, because most of the stuff was still in place. He left the refrigerated aisles alone, knowing that anything in them would've already gone bad. Honestly, he would kill a man for a bowl of ice cream. When his bag was almost full, he made his way over to Aspen, meaning to ask if they were checking out the houses next. He bent over the counter, nearly giving her a heart attack. "Don't do that! Find anything good?" she stood up, grabbing baby wipes and hand sanitizer off the counter.

"Course I did. Do expect me to not find anything?"

Aspen rolled her eyes as she did a look over. "Let's move."

"Where we going next?"

The older Bates sibling looked at her watch, "It's already been fifteen minutes. We should probably head back."

Layton nodded and the two of them left the gas station.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nathan Durand Character Portrait: Robyn Dempsey Character Portrait: Elias Grant Character Portrait: Aspen Bates Character Portrait: Layton Bates Character Portrait: Adam Dawson
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#, as written by Vix

|| Outfit ||

Silence had long since befallen the world. No longer were there honking horns, laughing children, or large planes zooming above head. There were often dying and fearful screams here or there, mingled with the sounds of Mother Nature, whom had reclaimed her lands. But the most prominent, ruling, and horrifying sounds were the groans. Not the kind you hear coming from your parents' and older siblings' rooms late at night when they think you're sleeping tight, all snug as a bug. The groans of corpses, walking and rotting and looking for flesh to devour. It had been some time since the living dead (and not the sexy ones with fangs that Hollywood and lonely female writers pushed to the unwashed masses) had overtaken the world. Those that didn't join their ranks either ran or died trying. Art was one of those who ran. If it weren't for her Kela and Robyn and Nate, she figured she might have died after a month. Art was agile, flexible, strong, intuitive, and she knew how to survive in the wild. But there had been more than a situation or two where running wasn't an option and her hunting knife wouldn't have been enough to save her. Despite this, she still volunteered to go alone while some others headed in a group to ransack a ghost town (zombie town?) for supplies. Nate and Robyn, of course, insisted that she go with the group but she decided otherwise and left fifteen minutes ahead of them.

The silence around the town was not quite so...silent in her neck of the woods. As out of place as could be was the Mission Impossible theme. She was humming as she darted around, crawling under cars, twirling around corners with watchful eyes. Her Timberwolf/Husky padded playfully around with her, her tongue lolling out of her maw and dripping with saliva. To others, it may seem as neither of them took the situation seriously or simply didn't care. The fact was, she was confident. She hadn't seen signs of any hoardes and figured she'd be able to escape easily, whether she had to drop some stuff or not. Her target was not the grocery store. It was the local Dollar General. Her trusty GPS lead the way and she was quick to heft her empty backpack, tightening her grip on the straps. “Kela. No room for failure. No barking. Understand? No ladridos.” The blue and gold eyed dog gave a low snort in response. It had taken a month for her to train Kela to respond to her new commands and it was well worth it. She was the perfect companion for keeping watch, her species heightening her senses and her training and wolf blood heightening her instincts and reactions. The canine was strapped into her harness once used for farmers market trips, prepared for transporting the necessities when Art had a little red wagon.

If there was one thing that Art would absolutely not put up with, it was funk. Toothpaste, extra toothbrushes, deodorant, soap, rags, and various other toiletries were put into the bags that went into the cart before she set out to fill her own backpack, constantly sidestepping to avoid fallen merchandise with the flashlight of her phone strapped to her thigh lighting up the place. Candy was the first on her list. She needed her sugar and would not do without. She had stocked up on stuff and was headed out when she spotted a cute jacket and squealed just a bit, snatching it up quickly. She figured she might as well grab some more clothes. Winter was coming and not to mention, washing clothes had become a luxury. And poor Joshamee and Isabelle were growing like weeds. She stuffed every bit of clothing that she could into a black thirty gallon trash bag, hauling it over her shoulder and finally leaving. No signs of the undead. While her backpack wasn't quite heavy, the clothes had caused her to walk hunched with knees a bit bent; She didn't want it to tear. Sucking it up, she braved the nippy air and maneuvered her way back towards "home". It wasn't too far of a jog but she had to walk this time around.

And then she heard it.

The sound of feet dragging against grass and concrete, groaning and moaning. She wasn't even a mile away but running wasn't an option. Kela lowered her head and issued and low growl, her lips pulling back to reveal a nice set of sharp teeth. “Estable. Maniobras evasivas.” She didn't need to bring her finger to her lips to hush her pal - and she couldn't - to send the message. “Ir a Robyn,” she whispered. Kela gave a light nod of understanding as her human companion set down her black bag of clothes into the wagon before pulling out a notebook she had gotten for Cyan, writing quickly.

Clothes & stuff in big bag. Lots of hygiene products. Few games for the kids. Snacks too. Found zombies and I'm going to go check on the others. Robyn, write my story if I don't make it back. And take care of Kela. I love you guys.

P.S. Bury me in the powder blue jacket with the white faux fur lining the hood. It's fabulous.

The dog took off at a careful trot down the street with perked ears, towing her wagon with her. Taking a deep breath and telling herself that everything was going to be fine, she headed off towards the sounds. There weren't many, just four. But where there were four, there were more. She only prayed that they were all in small groups and not traveling like a pack of wolves. The idea of killing them made her stomach turn and she could feel tears well up in her eyes. Don't see it as killing them. You're liberating them. If, God forbid, you were to become one of them... Would you want me to let you roam around, rotting and looking for humans to eat? Or would you want me to end your suffering? It isn't cruelty, but now the greatest kindness you can do someone.
Nate was right. Drawing out one of her bowie hunting knives, she whistled loudly and drew their attention. Moaning and groaning, they shuffled towards her and she walked towards them. Crying the whole time, she jammed her knife into each of their faces, using as much force as she could muster. Rotted flesh and blood that was almost tar covered her hand as the bodies fell. Her vomit wasn't too far behind, making the stench all the more terrible. If she lived then she would definitely down some Listerine. Painfully swallowing the disgusting aftermath, she headed out, taking more careful steps.

The others might need her help. She wasn't quite as useful as the others; She was a decent shot with a bow and arrow but she didn't have the equipment and using her knife made her vomit. She wasn't just going to abandon them though. Her creeping turned into a jog as she followed Nate's previously given directions, finding that they weren't too far away. The pumpkin wedged between the automatic doors gave away their presence and it made her heart clench. What if they were in there and dead.... Or dying. Taking a breath that tasted of vomit, she grimaced and headed in. “Olly olly oxenfree,” she whisper shouted. It didn't take her long to spot them. She maneuvered her way to Nate's side, excusing herself silently. Seeing what they were all staring at caused her to puff up her cheeks, heart dropping. “I got stuff, babe. Kela is on her way back to base now... We could run.” It was a futile attempt, she knew. She knew Nate would probably prefer to take down the zombies now.


The cart was heavy but she was strong. She couldn't let down Art. Nose to the air, Kela trotted past vehicles with zombies trapped inside, abandoned homes, and decapitated and decaying bodies in the streets. Her wagon pulled smoothly behind her as she headed to the outskirts of town. There was no pep in her step until she saw home. A small farm house encircled by vehicles, the grounds littered with tents for those switching out for guard duty or those who simply didn't want to sleep indoors. She gave a long, low pitched howl as she stopped before taking off. She barked at Elias as she passed him but didn't stop until she reached the steps of the house. She howled and barked more, vying for Robyn's attention. Joshamee and Isabelle were the first to reach her, removing the harness and freeing her from the wagon. “Robyn! Robyn!” While Izzy had been holding the antsy canine in an attempt to calm her down, Josh had gotten Art's note and began screaming for Robyn.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nathan Durand Character Portrait: Adam Dawson Character Portrait: Kat Savchenko Character Portrait: Art Character Portrait: James Milo Character Portrait: Cyan Kress
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Nathan pulls himself downward into a crouch while his eyes remain fixated on the zombies before him. A few walk right into the shelves beside them as if not fully grasping the concept of a shelf. Others drag themselves along the length of the section, moaning softly as if greeting their fellow members of the undead army. Of course they aren't greeted each other, for Nate knows they are nothing more than lifeless corpses, revived by the disease.

He looks to the side as he hears a soft voice inquiring about alcohol. Next to him, Milo pulls out a pistol. At first, Nate flushes, assuming for just a split second that the boy is asking rhetorically and hinting toward his past alcoholism. Then, of course, he realizes that he has yet to disclose this secret. Nate gives a quick shake of his head and looks to the boy, standing beside him with a gun in his hand. Again, he reminds him of his own son had Wendy allowed him to teach the boy how to hunt. She was quite adamant about making sure the kids didn't even know they owned guns. "Not on me, kid," he says softly in his accent that somehow mixes the South with New York. Slowly, he shines his flashlight up at the signs hanging above the aisles, proclaiming what would have been found within them. "Adult drinks" is only three aisles away. "Give me a second..." He pivots and rises, coming face to face with Kat. "Fight. I'm not letting those fuckers keep us from supplies. Hold your fire." His voice is little more than a deep whisper, and he shoots looks over his shoulder occasionally. Nate misses the doctor's comment completely, and that is probably for the best, for he would have definitely replied with a retort.

The first sergeant flicks off the flashlight and begins to circle around the cash registers to make his way toward the drinks. His boots, though he moves slowly, still make a soft thump on the ground with each step. His eyes take a while to adjust to the lack of light, but by the time he moves past the liquor, he can see a few dim shapes up ahead. They should have cleared the place out first, but Nate wouldn't vocally admit this. His hands graze along the labels of a few bottles as he moves along, squinting at the labels. As his fingers close around a bottle of vodka, he thanks the most-likely dead owners for carrying high proof alcohol. Nate lays his gun down and shoves two bottles into his backpack, side by side. He stops and looks up, a pack of Miller High Life before him. It couldn't hurt to celebrate if they got the hell out of here. Nathan jams a knife into the thin cardboard and removes a few cans. Wendy's no longer here to scream at him, thank God. He's out of the aisle almost as quickly as he entered.

When he returns, he makes sure that the cans of beer remain under the sweatshirt he shoved in the pack before leaving. Nate lays the bottle before the boy and cuts the bottoms of his shirt's sleeves off to use as wicks. The makeshift Molotovs are easily assembled, and once they are done, Nate pulls out the Zippo in his pants pocket and places it in Milo's hand. "Throw them one at a time as close to the middle as you can, or go for something flammable. I don't want the fire to die quickly." He looks back at Kat and Cyan. "We'll go in and through as many as we can. Avoid gunshots. Blunt force or stabs." Nate lifts his gun again and turns the light on, causing the undead to look toward them again. A deep breath in, a deep breath out. He prepares to rush into the fray when he hears Art from the door. "You're late," he muses, left corner of his mouth turning upward in a grin. "You know we can't run. We need the stuff in here."

As the first Molotov is thrown, Nate pushes himself upright and moves toward the flames along with the zombies who were startled by the sound of glass breaking. Knife clutched in his left hand, he moved and jammed it into the base of a zombie's skull. The flashlight that remains turned on moves crazily as he moves in between the zombies, weaving between their bodies. Finally, he merely drops the gun and double-hands the knife so he has more driving force as he slams the blade into the eye ball of a zombie. A month of this has trained him well, and the knife slides through with ease before he jerks it sharply. More filter in from the adjacent aisles, moaning softly as they wobble over. In moments like these, he loses himself in the thoughts that pester him all day. His regrets, his poor choices (though he would never describe them as "poor"). His knife flies through another's temporal lobe, cutting through the rotting skull with remarkable ease.

Nate's face turns into a very visible grimace as blood spurts on to him, joining the stains that are there from the others. As the first Molotov dies, he looks back toward the cash register and prays to God that Milo waited to light the next one and didn't follow him. As the crowd of zombies thins, he begins to move back to his gun and backpack. Nate slings the latter over his shoulder and begins to move down the aisles, limping quite quickly down them as he searches for non-perishables.

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Character Portrait: Nathan Durand Character Portrait: Adam Dawson Character Portrait: Kat Savchenko Character Portrait: Art Character Portrait: James Milo Character Portrait: Cyan Kress
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Milo checked an adjacent aisle and saw five zombies shuffling down towards them. The smell of old meat was masking their smell, but the zombies were starting to take notice of them. It seemed like the meat in the store had attracted every zombie in the town here.

When Nathan handed him a Molotov, Milo climbed up onto the shelves to get a better look. That is when he saw something bad. There were zombies coming down the halls, and would soon surround the others. He took out his flashlight and flashed it in someone's face, he couldn't see who, before turning it off and waving to them. As the fire of Nate's Molotov raged, other zombies instead of walking through the fire went around, while some of the zombies who went through the fire survived and charged towards the group while being on fire. As Nate's started to die, he threw his Molotov to help seal up that attack route.

The group was now getting surrounded, as the zombies were coming in through the doors behind him. The store was filled with supplies though, because contrary to popular belief and what the movies showed stores didn't deplete of supplies so quickly. This store still had plenty of food. Not counting the food that had gone bad. The smell of the rotted food was atrocious though, because the power had gone out. No refrigeration, no computers, no cell phone recharging.

He tried to look for other ways to help. Then he got an idea. He pushed a bunch of heavy boxes into the next aisle (and onto some zombies, which slowed them down and actually killed one of them). As the zombies were now all grouped together. He then pushed that aisle, causing it to fall down and smash them all. He jumped to another aisle, and looked in some boxes. Toilet paper, soda bottles, beer bottles. He took some of the beer bottles out, but he lacked cloth or a lighter. So instead, he threw the bottles at the zombie heads, hoping the glass would break and do enough damage. He threw the first bottle, which missed entirely. The second bottle hit it straight in the head but didn't break. It did break it's decayed neck through.

Milo continued to look in more boxes, as a few zombies took notice of him and began climbing. He found plastic knives, bleach, baking soda, flour, beads, hand lotion, napkins, more beer, dog food, and bugspray. He saw some lighters in the aisle, but two zombies were there. He threw a number of bottles at them, then quickly grabbed some toilet paper, beer bottles, and bugspray. He through the improvised molotovs right at the zombies, and finished them off with a flamethrower to the face. He then kept to his high ground and looked at what the others were doing.

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Character Portrait: Nathan Durand Character Portrait: Layton Bates Character Portrait: Adam Dawson Character Portrait: Kat Savchenko Character Portrait: Esther Lille Character Portrait:
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Esther peered inside where one zombie, hunched over on his knees, was eating the flesh off of a once living man. It was disgusting. She could feel her stomach churning. But there was only one, she had this under control. She set her backpack on the ground and took one last indulgent puff from her cigarette before taking it from her mouth and resting it on the pack. She approached slowly, cricket bat in hand.

She nudged the zombie in the back with the cricket bat, and as expected, it slowly peered around, locking her eyes for a moment before reorienting itself towards her, then began to stand. That's when she struck, stepping forward and putting her body weight into a swing that would send decayed teeth and blood ticking and splattering against the opened glass door that in its opened state, was facing them. It hit the ground with a thud.

She wanted to puke... She hit it again, blood fountaining into the air. It twitched. She hit it again, this time, angry. She could have swore she saw it move again. She hit it. Why was it moving? Why wouldn't it stop? Why wouldn't it die!? The head was in strewn pieces now, but she could swear... It was still alive. She hit it over and over, so angry at this... Thing. This monster, this horrid creature that ripped so many families apart. "Just fucking die!" She screamed... That snapped her out of it. Was... Was she hallucinating? She didn't know how long she'd been there... She felt dizzy. Oh how she wished she could take one of those Xanax right now.

She dropped her Cricket bat, too tired to maintain its grasp. She began mumbling out incoherent song lyrics, they all drew together before she changed octaves. "Down in a hole... Losing my soul..." she sang as she hesitantly picked up her bat, smeared with blood and other organ material. For the first time, she looked at the man who had been being eaten... 'Man' being used loosely. He was a husk in his stomach area, the whole section of his abdomen gone... But his face was intact. He was handsome. Very handsome. Her eyes suddenly began to well up with tears, but her expression didn't change. She inched towards the man, pleading with her sense of empathy to allow her to pass him without throwing up. Just step by step... She couldn't take her eyes off of his wound. She began to make out the anatomy charts she'd seen in health class, seeing what'd been eaten, and what hadn't. She heard his screams. He did not move, she did not see them... But oh god did she hear the-

And just like that, fate had elected to repay her negligence. A corpse tackled her from the blind spot on the opposite side of the wall of which she passed. It bit at her, but only got the hood of her jacket. She swung around with the meager amount of energy that she had left, whacking it in the stomach. It released its grip on the now perforated hood, but kept towards her, it was touching her, its decayed hand swiped her face. She barely arched her spine with all of her energy, the hand caught her lip ring and yanked it out, blood spewing down her face. She screamed, falling back into the corpse of the deceased, handsome young man. It closed on her, still standing. Without thinking she reached a hand behind her, drawing a revolver from underneath the young man's thigh. It was a blur, oh what luck! How the hell was she going to live? She pointed the gun roughly at the creature's center of mass as it prepared to tackle onto her. "Click. Click. Click." "Son of a bi-" "BANG."

The corpse fell back, stunned. She stood up, looking around in disbelief that she was still alive... She grabbed her cricket bat with her free hand and sprinted out the door, still physically drained and panting heavily. She scooped up her backpack and slung it around her shoulders, forgetting her cigarette for the moment before frantically searching the concrete for where it had fallen... There, she grabbed it and slid it between her lips, taking a generous drag and letting the smoke drift out of her nose for just... Just a moment of relaxation. No, a second. An instant.

She snapped back to reality, seeing the corpses begin shifting out of the door, she jogged off. Where would she go? ...What's the next logical place for food? A supermarket. Not much over-thinking was necessary. She jogged down the street, leaving the shuffling corpses in her wake... She rounded the corner and approached the entrance, something else was going on inside... Not again. She thought about leaving, but her curiousity wouldn't allow her. She slowly peered in, finishing her cigarette and resting the butt in her bottom left coat pocket. "People..." She whispered. She stood frozen in the doorway, watching the ruckus. Her cricket bat in her left hand, and the revolver with one bullet tucked safely away in her pack.

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Character Portrait: Nathan Durand Character Portrait: Aspen Bates Character Portrait: Adam Dawson Character Portrait: Kat Savchenko Character Portrait: Art Character Portrait: James Milo
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#, as written by mich22
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Fight. Alright—well…the mild doctor didn’t even bother to check his pockets. He did not carry a gun, of any sort. Believe him, dear reader, when you’re with someone who has eyesight like Adam Dawson, you’d be downright glad that the nearsighted man chose not to carry deadly weapons. Nathan returned to them once again, but Adam couldn’t help quirk an eyebrow at what he had brought back. Alcohol? He was sure a zombie outbreak would make anyone crave a good strong drink but really now wasn’t the time to be worr—oh. Nathan began unceremoniously stuffing his makeshift wicks into the necks of the bottles. If anyone or anything was ever thirsty for a Molotov cocktail, it’d certainly be the undead. The corner of his mouth twitched upwards during his quiet observation. The closest the man’s been to a smile in ages.

Lights flickered with the monotonous drone of florescent lights. Was someone tampering in the breaker room? Hazel eyes quickly adjusted, grateful for the extra light and scanned the aisle headings. Target locked. Pharmacy. Once those bottles were lit, there would be very little time to spend scavenging the store, and he didn’t plan on squandering a second of it. On the positive side, it seemed that their small party had grown. Art had joined in at Nathan’s side, already successful with her own ventures. That shock of red hair could only be none other than Aspen. As Nathan drew back his arm with his newfound weapon, the faintest whisper had notified Adam to look towards the doorway. A reclusive girl stood there, bloodied cricket bat in hand. She was battered up something awful. He’d have to patch her up later, no doubt. Uncertain on whether she was keen on letting her presence known to the others, he gave her the minutest acknowledging nod, before the shattering of glass and flame sprung their operation forwards.

You know, sometimes, it’s hard to believe how fast things melt into chaos.

“Sorry.” Adam ducked down around them, feeling the heat of the flames lick his skin. Nathan would probably do more than scold him for splitting off from the group later. The others, Nathan, Kat, Cyan, they were the fighters. He was--well, he didn't really know what he was. He wouldn't be of any use to them there, but he did know what he could do. Gathering medication was his priority. Should someone choose to come with him, then all the better, but he would not ask someone purposely to carry him as a burden. With the zombies, momentarily confused by the sudden noise, smoke and flame, he hurried his way over to the correct aisle. Though he sacrificed one hand to hold his blazer to his mouth and nose as a prevention of smoke inhalation, the other hand readily grabbed packages of bandages, bottles of rubbing alcohol—he’d really love to hop behind the counter for access to the stronger medications—but Tylenol and the like, even a few Unisom sleeping aids, should do for now. He hastily added whatever was left of those to his supply. But the call of more effective supplies was too strong. One flicker of his eyes towards the counter, a pause, and anyone who saw would know what he was about to do.

He made a dash for it, clumsily sliding under the flip-open partitioning door. The bottom shelf contained mainly opioids, but he could work with that. Wonderful. Tramadol, buprenorphine, methadone, were all gratefully added to his sack. The doctor went busily to work, but so immersed he was--

--that he did not notice the zombie lurking on the opposite side of his shelf.

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Character Portrait: Nathan Durand Character Portrait: Aspen Bates Character Portrait: Adam Dawson Character Portrait: Kat Savchenko Character Portrait: Art Character Portrait: James Milo
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Kat swallowed nervously as she put away her revolver and took up her knife. She knew that the noise would attract more attention than they needed but she liked the idea of being able to keep her distance from the undead. Now it’d be close, down and dirty work something she wasn’t nearly as confident in. Watching Nate and Milo spring into action, the twenty-nine year old former student laughed to herself. It was brilliant and the distraction gave them time to at least grab something making this whole trip not a complete loss.

Hearing noise behind her she immediately whirled around and prepared to defend herself against whatever had snuck up behind them. With relief she noted Art and Aspen’s arrival. “Nice of you to join the fun, wouldn’t have wanted you to miss out.” Kat called in greeting, a sardonic grin sliding across her face. Turning her much needed attention back to the zombies, she was surprised to see the Doctor split from the group and go racing off. No explanation offered and not much in the way of protection. Kat had two options she could do as Nate commanded or she could run off after the Doc and make sure he didn’t get gruesomely eaten. With new arrivals on hand to help she figured that this might be the time to disobey.

“We’ll be back!” Kat cried over the din beginning to emerge from the market. The sounds of the dead; growls, guttural groans and howls were insanity inducing. Knife in hand she took off in a sprint after the Doc, grateful that she could at least see where she was going. By now the smoke was beginning to roil and soon enough they’d be trapped in here, blind and unable to find their way out before succumbing to smoke inhalation or the horde of the undead. Catching a glimpse of the Doctor ahead of her Kat put on speed, the hanging sign for the pharmacy giving away his plan.

Tripping over the torso of a torn in half zombie and rolling her ankle, Kat instinctively and frantically pulled herself away from the chomping jaws of a young woman with stringy dark hair, now a mindless killing machine. As the rotting half-woman scraped her way towards the prone brunette on the tiled floor, Kat came to her senses and rose to her knees to gain better leverage. With a quick thrust of her hunting knife the zombie was well and truly dead. Heaving a sigh of relief Kat made it to her feet and tenderly tested her ankle. A minor sprain, she’d have to grit her teeth and bear it or become some ghoul’s main course. With only a minor limp to betray her left ankle’s weakness she finally made her way to the pharmacy.

Kat caught the figure of the Doctor, quickly and steadily emptying the shelves of the pharmacy. It was a brave move to go off alone without much for protection and all for the greater good. Her respect for Adam grew as did her fear once she noticed the shambling corpse in the back shelves of the pharmacy with him. Scrambling quickly through the partitioned door with about as much grace as a water buffalo she landed on her twisted ankle and winced as she drew the revolver from her side. Fuck the noise, the fire and its ensuing din were attention grabbers what would gunshots harm now she figured as she took aim and fired. The bullet tagged the corpse in the left shoulder, slowing it down only a moment before it resumed its lurch towards living flesh. Trying to steady herself and her quickened heartbeat, Kat took aim again and this time hit pay dirt or at least rotting brains.

“Hope I didn’t startle you, Doc, but we gotta go. This whole place is gonna be an inferno soon.” Kat explained herself loudly due to the ringing in her ears from the gunshots. Taking a moment to limp through the shelves, Kat scanned them quickly and frantically until she found what she was looking for. Grabbing the lithium and whatever else seemed pertinent she stuffed them into her backpack and made sure there were no lurking zombies to grab her as she crawled back through the door. Lucky for them the fire had attracted most of the attention; pulling up her scarf around her mouth she did her best to breathe clean air as she motioned for the Doctor to follow her out. “Oh, this could’ve gone so much better.” Kat mused aloud as she limped her way towards the rest of the group and ultimately the exit.

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Character Portrait: Nathan Durand Character Portrait: Aspen Bates Character Portrait: Adam Dawson Character Portrait: Kat Savchenko Character Portrait: Art Character Portrait: James Milo
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#, as written by mich22
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”Bloody He--” The man jumped, his hands reflexively twitching towards his head to protect it, as two gunshots rang through the air at an uncomfortably close proximity. He looked back to see Kat with a smoking gun in her hand. A zombie corpse lay not too far from him or the girl—it only took a moment more for him to put the pieces together. Yes, he was startled…but better startled than dead. It took a few moments more to wipe the shock from his face. He was lucky that she had followed him here. With a simple nod, he briskly jammed a few more items into his shoulder bag and tightened the clasps.

He jogged after Kateryna, in time to hear her musings about their scavenging job. “Ah, but it also could have gone worse.” He said, forcing his lips into a smile. It was rare to hear him speak without being prompted to. But he was trying to be optimistic about it, at least. Admittedly, the thought wasn’t very uplifting. His pep talks were about as good as his jokes were funny. In essence, not funny at all.

Adam noted though that she had new limp in her walk. “Here--” He couldn’t help but feel responsible for her injury, “Put your arm over my shoulder.” He offered gently. He had a manner of speaking that exuded his own sort of quiet authority. They were steadily making their way back to the group. The light cast from the propped open door put his mind at ease a little. Thank goodness, the faster they got out of here, the better. As per habit, he began to run a headcount and check of everyone in their small group. Nathan may be the leader, but Adam still watched over every one of them, just in a more subtle manner. Not everyone had come out unscathed, but that was to be expected. He could see that as Nathan collected materials off of the shelves, he as well, had a limp. The rest, including himself, were battered and bruised. Not to mention the untold damage to the lungs that smoke inhalation had caused to all of them. Obviously, he wouldn't be able to patch them all up now--you know, with the zombie infestation in this town and all that, so the least he could do was give her a little support to keep the weight off of her weakened foot. Running would not come easily to her for the next few days, or even weeks, depending on how bad the sprain was.

On the bright side, his medical sack was now heavy with good supplies. He felt better equipped than usual, more confident to make this great journey south, they'd been planning. He knew that their group would go through it all quicker than hungry children with candy, but it was better than having them starve, if you knew his meaning.

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Character Portrait: Shanti Nayar Character Portrait: Nathan Durand Character Portrait: Robyn Dempsey Character Portrait: Aspen Bates Character Portrait: Layton Bates Character Portrait: Adam Dawson
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#, as written by Vix
{A fabulous collaboration between myself and Scarlet Loup}

Art rolled her eyes, already knowing Nate's answer before he gave it. He wasn't predictable – She just knew him well enough. Sighing, she watched as the molotovs were thrown and busied herself with trailing behind him. She almost felt bad for letting Nate be the protector in the situation, hiding behind him as he stabbed the zombies moving towards him, but she figured that he didn't mind too much. She let off steam with midnight dances and he liked to stab dead people. Everyone had their quirks. Besides, she recalled a point in time where he mentioned that he didn't mind saving her ass. She smirked a little at the memory before realizing that he had cleared their area, immediately producing a large black trash bag from one of her backpack side pockets. “You people eat canned soup, right?” Even in this situation she joked, teasing in her voice. She knew very well that they ate canned soup. It was often that Nate teased – and sometimes reprimanded – Art for not eating what the others did.

A few of the others probably saw it as her being uppity - She wasn't one to sit down and explain herself these days and to be fair to them, she kind of did seem a bit prissy for it being the zombie apocalypse. She still spent at least twenty minutes every morning and night on her hair and pouted about her clothes being dirty. Lord knows that the organic eater wasn't about to slurp down a can of Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup. She had literally turned such food down to eat wild mushroom and grass soup instead. There was a time when she thought Robyn was going to die from simultaneously choking on her coffee and having a heart attack when Art suggested they all go nude during the summer. Robyn assured her that there would be none of that.

All were such fond memories that kept her smiling even through dark times as she used her thigh-strapped phone light and Nate's gun light to select food from the shelves. There were lots of soups and dry ramen packets in this aisle along with those sides that you need only to add water, heat up, and stir. She made sure to grab all the three cheese instant mashed potatoes that she could because Joshamee loved them. Isabelle, on the other hand, was more of a fan of macaroni and cheese.

There was something exhilarating about killing in the mind of Nate. Video games could provide a mockery of what the carnage was really like, but it was nothing like the real thing. It was much like giving an alcoholic a can of soda. There was no auto-aiming in real life or unlimited ammunition for your pistol. This was real life, and there was no way to restart the mission. And he loved it. Wendy thought he was crazy when he tried to take Penny out shooting. Crazy bitch. Maybe she was one of the zombies he slashed through now. The knife moved with a bit more strength. Filed for divorce. How dare she divorce him? She’d been far too nonchalant about it, too.

Nate looked up as the door’s lock clicked. It was too late, far too late. He’d stayed up by himself after the kids went to bed, waiting for Wendy to come home. As she entered, he flipped the light on and watched her jump in surprise with cold, calculating eyes.

”Where the hell were you?” he asked, his voice soft despite his steely gaze.

“Out.” She moved past him and set her purse down on the table, heels clicking on the wood floor, as he stood up and moved around. Wendy had never really lost the beauty of her high school years. She was still a slight woman who preened just about every morning. He rubbed at the stubble of his unkempt facial hair as she turned around, dress twirling slightly.

”Where?” he asked quickly, moving closer to her, hands in the pockets of his sweatpants. She shrugged and turned away from him, occupying herself with a magazine on the stained coffee table. Wendy toyed with her hair slowly, running a hand through the bleached pixie cut. His throat caught, for she only did that when she was nervous.

“Nate. It’s not working out...we’re not working out, babe. I...called a lawyer.” His brow furrowed, and he chewed the piece of gum in his mouth with more vigor. “I think it would be best for us both if we got...a divorce.” He caught the gum between his teeth and stared at her without expression, jaw clenched. He slowly opened his mouth and then he closed it again as he walked back toward the kitchen, head held between his hands.

“Honey...please don’t just walk away from me,” Wendy said, a sigh of exasperation leaving through her frowning lips. “We can’t just keep living this God damn lie, Nathan!” He turned to her, and she met his gaze, tightening her jaw as if mimicking him. “I don’t love you.”

The stack of dishes hit the floor violently, knocked in a sharp movement as Nate shoved past. ”Fuck you, Wendy. Fuck you!” He had wanted to say something snarky, something moving. Instead, he cursed her out and continued to do so as he moved down the hallway, past the kids' rooms. He disappeared into their bedroom with a loud slam of the door that woke the kids. He’d woken up the next morning to a pile of divorce papers in place of his wife.

He physically shook his head at the heat of the nearby flames licking by his face. There was no time to think about her. Art piled food into the bag beside him as he passed by again with his bag and gun in hand. ”Can’t be too picky when the world’ gone to shit,” he replied, smirk returning to his lips. ”I’m going to grab protein bars. You coming?” In truth, he didn’t want to leave her behind. Not because he didn’t trust her to protect herself-- well, partially because of that-- but because he liked keeping the others in view. It lessened the chance of a casualty, and in turn, the wrath of Robyn who would undoubtedly lose trust for him if one of the survivors perished.

He hardly noticed the limp in his step anymore. The health aisle, packed with powdered protein shakes and supplements, was quite easy to find and navigate through. Zombies had no use for the products there. As he set his backpack down, the beer cans clanked together slightly and made a soft ding in response to the first few protein bars.

Nate was zoned out again. Art paused with him, canting her head to the side as she observed him until he came to. The fire was moving across the aisles and they had to get out. She pulled the gray fabric of her Nirvana shirt over her mouth as some form of protection from the thickening smoke. She could smell the plastic and paper burning stronger now, the thick cloud of smoke starting to sting her eyes. Squinting, she pulled her shirt down and gave a cough, following him. “I'm not sure setting fire to the whole store while we're all in here was the best idea,” she teased. She knew full well that Nate would never make such a decision if he thought for a second that even one of them wouldn't make it out alive.

Nathan looked quickly over his shoulder and replied with a short chuckle. ”Well, it worked out good except for the-” He paused to cough. “Smoke. Besides, it adds to the excitement.”

“Next aisle over.” She walked past him and headed into the next aisle – Cereal and snacks. She didn't bother looking too hard as she grabbed every Quaker and General Mills brand item she could, shoving it into the bag. A brush of movement against her back caused her to turn and speak. “Oh – Are you ready to le-” She was cut short as she saw the flaming, rotting corpse with gaping maw reaching for her. Her voice became a shrill scream. Her knife found its way into her hand again and she quickly and immediately began stabbing the zombie in the face until it crumpled at her feet.

She could hardly stand the stench any longer, burning rotted flesh smell now wafting directly beneath her nostrils and attacking her olfactory senses in the most horrendous of ways. As was usual, her killing of a zombie was followed by a hearty vomiting session. She slipped in the blood and guts as she turned in an attempt to not get any on the bag or the now for-sure dead body. Grunting, she ended up with her earlier meal on her jacket, headphones, hands, and some of it on her face. Whimpering in disgust and just a bit of fright, she pushed herself up and grabbed her bag, taking a moment to breathe. Didn't do her much good - Her shirt smelled like vomit. So did her hands. And the air was thick with smoke.

Nate finished piling what remained of the protein-heavy snacks into his backpack before standing up and slinging it back over his shoulders. The store was quite bright from the slowly spreading flames now, so he flipped off the flashlight and looked around. Art was nowhere in sight, of course, for she wasn’t the type to follow mindlessly. You had to respect her for it, but it was also worrisome. His protective nature kicked in, and he moved back down the aisle, gun held at his hip.

”Art?” he called, waving smoke from in front of his face with a quick movement of his hand. ”Where are you, damn it?” He turned and peered down the cereal aisle where she was located. A look of relief moved across his face as he moved closer, but it disappeared as he noticed the vomit on her front. ”Aw, shit, Art…” he murmured, brow furrowing as he stepped over the dead undead corpse. Nate made sure to breathe through his mouth as he leaned down to help her up the rest of the way, but that only caused him to cough harshly from the thickening smoke. ”Let’s head out, okay? Meet up with the others.” Nate moved ahead of her, clearing his throat.

“I'm... I'm comin', Nate.” Art tried to keep up, dragging her bag behind her. Fuck! I should have double bagged it! The bag began to tear and she quickly put away her knife. Dry heaving, she felt like passing out until she remembered that she'd probably die if she did. She prepared the remaining three bags, stuffing one inside the other and beginning the slow transfer of goods from the ripped bag into the more sturdy set of bags. She forced herself up and toted the bag over her shoulder, her knees buckling under the weight as she trudged towards the exit. “Guys! Let's go!” There was a gunshot in answer and she immediately picked up her pace.

”Get the hell out of here!” he shouted, throat feeling scratchy from the mixture of stress on his vocal cords and smoke. It wasn’t difficult to make his way out of the store and back on to the streets once the smaller, fallen shelves were stepped over. Once he was out in the open, away from the store, Nate turned around again and looked for a trace of Art. Twenty minutes had obviously come and gone, but he fought the urge to make a snarky comment about it until the others showed up with their spoils.

Art wasn't too far behind Nate... Okay, maybe about twenty-three minutes behind him. But she made it out, nearly collapsing at his feet. She gasped and drank in the semi-clean air like a fish back into water, closing her eyes. Resting against the bag, she shielded her eyes and glanced back at the store. “Should we leave the stuff and go back in? Can't be much longer before that fire reaches the cleaning aisle and I don't want anyone in there when that plastic melts and those flames hit the chemicals.” She gave him a worried look, reaching up to ask for assistance in getting up.

Relief washed through him as Art moved out of the building. Sure, she collapsed on to her bag of food and whatnot, but at least she was out of the store. He set his gun down along with his backpack by the spot Oakley had settled down when the going got too tough for her. Nate moved to her and crouched down, balancing on the balls of his feet as she spoke.

”No, you’re not going back in,” he said, making his voice firm to avoid arguing about it with her. Nathan offered a brief smile, trying to lighten the situation. ”Can’t have you wasting food like that.” He joked, referencing the way her stomach rejected its earlier meal. He reached down to help her up, but Nate walked her away from the store instead of toward it. He supported her with an arm below her armpit, ensuring she wouldn’t fall. ”Do you want me to leave you to head back in?”

Art grumbled unintelligibly under her breath when Nate assured her that he absolutely wasn't letting her go back in, making her way away from the burning building instead. She didn't complain too long because she knew she wasn't going to win. Nate tended to win these sorts of arguments more than she did. Sighing, she momentarily decided to act like a child, throwing her head back and letting out a whine. “But I can heeelllllppp.” It accomplished nothing and served no use other than a brief second of amusement. She hated when things got serious. People got all serious. Then they got their panties into a wad. People argued. People got angry. People got sad. It was all so depressing. At his final words, it was almost reflex, her reaction. She threw her arms around his shoulders and mock swooned. “No! Nate! I don't ever want you to leave me! Who shall keep me warm at night?” She peeked to see if there was just a hint of a smile on his face, giving her own cheesy smile.

It was a wonder at times that she was their third in command.

It was also a wonder that nobody had outright told her that she was mentally unstable. She wasn't, obviously. But you can see how someone might think that.

He gave a bit of a forced laugh, the worry beginning to overshadow his amusement. Still, he managed to retain a smile as she pretended to swoon in his arms. To put it bluntly, he was quite dense. Inference had never been his strong suit, but he certainly wasn’t stupid. He blinked at her a few times, wondering to himself whether she was to be taken seriously. Then again, it was Art, so perhaps it was just her being her not-so-serious and flirty self.

”The smoke must have gotten to you worse than I thought,” he replied, still trying to make light of the situation as said smoke spread within the store. He hadn’t shared a bed with someone since the divorce was filed. In fact, he hadn’t really had a bed since the divorce process began.

He pried her hands off of his shoulders gently and set her down before rising. ”Don’t go running off, alright?” he said, looking at her with as much seriousness as he could given her swooning. As he moved toward the door, he continued looking back at her, pointing his index finger and middle finger at his eyes and then at her in an “I’m watching you” gesture. He wouldn’t enter the store, but Nate pushed open the door and shouted in again, calling for them to get out. He didn’t want to outright abandon them, but Nate knew that it wouldn’t do the group much good if he went in and died alongside them. He was extremely practical when it came to decisions. Nate’s emotions were hardly a part of these executive decisions. As a few more filtered out, he picked up his belongings and moved back toward Art with them in hand, Oakley following behind. ”I’ll give ‘em a minute, and then I’ll go in after the stragglers, okay?”

Art gave a silent nod, rolling over on her side and closing her eyes. The adrenaline was winding down and she was tired. She hoped that Kela had made it back safely and that Robyn wasn't too worried. Robyn was probably going to smack Art when she saw her alive and well. She didn't mind though - It was nice having someone that cared that you were alive. She gave the faintest of smiles and yawned, pulling her headphones over her ears and plugging them into the phone still strapped to her thigh. “Galaxy, play Metallica, For Whom the Bell Tolls.” The phone replied with a ding and a smooth “Of course, Art” before the metal music began blaring into her eardrums, forcing her to keep awake.

"Art!" Nate looked up suddenly, still wearing that half-amused smile he'd given Art as Robyn approached at a half-run, half-walk. Nathan looked down again and shook Art before pulling the headphones up slightly so they rested on her temples instead of her ears.

“Whaaat?” The younger woman whined and sat up, rubbing her eyes. “You know I hate people touching my headphones when I got my jams,” she grumbled under her breath before looking towards the sound of footsteps from the opposite direction.

"Mom's here," he told her, utilizing the name many in the group had adopted including Art. Nate normally would not have referred to the older woman by the name, for Robyn was less than twenty years older than him. Still, he knew Art would be receptive to the nickname and would recognize it. The red head knelt by Art and looked down at her. "God, God, how crazy are you?" Her voice didn't sound as frantic now, for Nate was one of the ones who needed her to stay level-headed and calm. He was far too unstable and trigger-happy. "I thought you died." She sighed and looked to Nathan. "How did it go...?"

"Successful, I believe." He stood up slowly, his feet seizing up from crouching. "Still waiting on a few, but we have supplies."

“Everything's fine. From my run, theirs, and then my run with them... I'd say that we've got enough food for a while for everyone. Assuming nobody steals our shit. Oh! And clothes. Nothing Gucci, but it'll keep us warm. We could blanket raid ater this.” Art pushed herself up and embraced Robyn, hugging her tightly before moving to Nate's side, wrapping her arms around his side. “On a much lighter note!” Art prepared herself mentally for the prank she'd been waiting to play on them both forever and this just seemed like the absolute perfect time for it. The actress put her skills to work and beamed a happy smile. “Nate and I are totally an item now!” She gave her most joyous of squeals, giving Nate a tight squeeze and leaning up to place a kiss on his dirty cheek. But with the chunks she's blown and concrete she's eaten in the past hour alone, her lips weren't exactly clean either.

Robyn's smile returned rapidly as Art began speaking about the supplies they'd gathered Hell, what would she have done if Art didn't make it? "I guess we'll have to make do with that," she replied, playing along with the joke. Robyn wasn't even sure if she'd worn anything from Gucci in her life. With the condition the world was currently in, she probably wouldn't in her remaining years either. She relished the hug, holding Art tightly as if letting go would mean losing her. When they finally parted, though, Robyn watched in confusion as she latched on to Nate, who seemed just as confused.

"We...are?" he replied, his words a mixture of question and statement but mostly question. He took the hug well, of course, for he would certainly never reject her from hugging him. He'd learned not to do that, for she was always hugging someone. Plus, she hadn't reacted well when he first rejected her hugs. She followed the constricting squeeze with a peck on his scruffy, dirty cheek however, and he made a brief expression of both fake and actual disgust mixed with the remaining confusion as she did so. He certainly didn't hate the kiss. In all honesty, he did appreciate it. Or perhaps that wasn't the right word. Regardless, he allowed her to do so without pulling away. The amusement showed plainly on his face now as he turned to look at her. "You're delirious," he told her, fighting to sound serious. He wasn't an actor in any sense of the word. Placing an arm around her from under her armpits again, he started to stand and pull her upward. "Let's get you back, okay?" His limp added an unnecessary little bounce each time they moved, but he kept a decent pace as he moved her along, away from the chaos of the burning building. "You're crazy. You know that, right?" He was joking, of course, but there was something...quirky about her.

Amusement flickered beneath the surface of her visage but didn't once show as she looked at Nate adoringly. That is, until he told her twice that she was crazy and began to tow her off. Time to really sell it! With the smoke in her eyes it wasn't hard to muster up some tears as she threw herself away from Nate and onto the pavement like some Disney princess in pain. It actually did hurt as she hit the concrete but the more tears the better. She whined some and looked back up at Nate with a tear stained face. “I'm not crazy, Nate!” Something that her shrieking suggested otherwise. “I thought you liked me.” Her bottom lip poked out some as she quivered with mock hurt (and a bit of real physical pain), putting on a show for everyone about. Humiliating Nate wasn't exactly the idea but she knew they'd laugh and kiss and makeup later. Regretfully, minus the kissing. Unless things went better than expected. She placed her face in her hands and cried a little more, taking a moment to let it sink in. She knew Nate hated it when she - or anyone else - cried. She shamelessly played on his emotions before looking up at him again, crinkling her nose delicately. “I guess I am crazy to think...we” She stopped and choked up, burying her face in her hands again.

Her skills had not lessened in her time away from the stage. As Art threw herself on to the concrete, he turned a light pinkish color. The more she whimpered and cried, the deeper the color of red became. "Art..." he mumbled, leaning down to begin pulling her back on to her feet. With the backpack on his shoulders and his gun in one hand, it became too hard to do, so he crouched on the pavement beside her. His face was a bright scarlet now, and he rubbed at the back of his neck slowly. "Come on...don't do this," he replied, keeping his voice low. "I-I like you." He wasn't sure in which context they were speaking, though he could assume she meant the "like-like" kind that elementary school students whispered about. For now, he referred to the amicable type. Maybe he did have those feelings, but there was far too much going on the worry about such things. Art peeked up at him with one eye, her distraught expression slowly becoming one of amusement. She leaned up to his ear, whispering softly. “Yeah, I know. Just wanted to hear ya say it. Now, go play firefighter.” The possibly insane actress kissed his cheek again and made a shooing motion, setting herself upright quickly, dusting herself off. “I seriously need to bathe and brush my teeth,” she whined to Robyn as she moved back towards the store only to grab her large black bag, heading back over to those who had made it out. “I think we could all do with some nice "hygiene-me-time" tonight, right?” Her smile was a polite and normal one, acting as though there weren't a building with zombies, fire, and other group members right behind her. Pretending it wasn't happening helped her not break down.

His grin returned quickly, almost taking over as his blush slowly died down. "Screw you," he muttered as she kissed his cheek. “You know where I sleep.” "Don't get yourself killed, okay?" Again, he moved toward the building and waited, occasionally shooting a glance at Art. God damn it, it was hard to tell when she was pulling your leg.

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#, as written by krashby

The hand holding Anna's offer fell lamely back down to her side. Slowly she pulled her jacket back over her, chilled skin thanking her for the slight comfort it provided. All the while she watched the woman carefully. When she began to reach for the gun left on the floor, Anna tensed and froze. She'd let her guard down. Should she try to turn and run? Should she try to grab the gun back. Her hesitation was too long; if the woman wanted to put a bullet in Anna's head, she easily had the time.

But she didn't. Anna's mouth hung open slightly as the safety was put on the pistol and then returned to her. Even more surprisingly, the woman released her one of her own weapons to her. The smile on her face was, well... less than convincing. Anna returned one just as weakly. This woman seemed very unstable, which in these days meant nothing but danger, and the lack of trust between the two strangers was obvious. And yet the woman released her weapon. Anna took the bat in her free hand, tilting her head slightly in confusion.

The next part was the strangest of the entire exchange. Anna shuttered at the rip of velcro, looking through the doorway immediately in fear that the noise would attract the undead. But of course, the commotion within was more than enough of a distraction to keep all the zombies occupied. At first Anna thought that the woman was simply trying to show her tattoos, but Anna couldn't understand why. Especially in a situation like this. "Those are... nice," Anna said anxiously. Reason told her to flee now, but she seemed to be glued in place. She looked at the arm. As an aspiring musician, Anna had spent years listening to and studying a wide variety of music and could recognize most of the musicians tattooed into the woman's skin... though admittedly, most of it wasn't exactly her first choice in music. It was only after she looked closely did she see the bruises. They looked like... injection marks... "Oh," Anna said. She felt dumb for not realizing sooner.

Gunshots. Anna jumped in place. They were far enough away for her to be safe, for now, but she had been in this group long enough to know that gunshots were only used in desperate situations. "We need to go," she said, attention snapping back to the present situation. She could smell the fire burning. Inside, she could see figures emerging to the exit. She could only hope everyone made it. "If you want help, follow. If not..." Anna handed the woman back her bat, and then she turned to head back to safety.

The rest of the group was emerging from the building. Anna did a hasty count in her head to try to figure out if anyone was missing. There seemed to be an injury or two, but nobody looked to be, well... dead. Thank goodness. Anna scanned for who she was looking for and found him quickly. "Adam," she called, jogging over to the doctor. Kat was limping on his arm but appeared otherwise unharmed. "What happened?" she asked once her reached them. Stupid question. Zombies happened, that's what. "Is everyone alright? I found a girl over there, by the supermarket. Not one of us. Her lip is busted over and bleeding quite a bit, and she might have other injuries but I'm not sure. But... I think something else is wrong with her..." Anna looked back to see if the woman had followed.

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Character Portrait: Shanti Nayar Character Portrait: Nathan Durand Character Portrait: Robyn Dempsey Character Portrait: Adam Dawson Character Portrait: Kat Savchenko Character Portrait: Annabelle Marie Richards
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#, as written by girlwt

Shanti followed behind Robyn, who took off when she saw the others. Shanti figured they would have to leave quickly to avoid the undead that would be attracted by the noise. Lizzy came back after seeing the others come from the building, which yes had been set on fire.

Shanti looked at it What a waste she thought to herself. Nate's need to cause destruction had struck again. Yet she hung back, knowing full well that she was in for a lecture one way or another. She had to smile though at Art's antics, smiled then roll her eyes. The others followed out, and it didn't look like they lost anyone to whatever was inside the building. She looked over at the Doc who was helping Kat, but she was also looking out for more undead. Anna came over and talked about finding another woman, Shanti glanced in the newcomer's direction...yeah something else was more of an accurate assumption.

The girl looked away and down the street, either the majority of the undead had been in the store, or they were hiding. She only saw a handful lumbering their way, "Can we play reunion back at base," she said to no one in particular. She didn't want to be wasting anymore time inside the town, which was creeping her out as it was. She shivered slightly even though she had an extra layer on from that morning. She had changed weapons figuring distance would be a better option at the moment. Risking a glance at Nate, she said nothing else, positive that mouthing off wasn't a good idea anyways.

"I am sure the kids are worried about you," this time her comment was to Art, she would have admitted that she was a little worried herself, but Shanti kept the face without expression. She gave the actress one of her small smiles instead after a minute, "good think you got big feet, or would have never found the trail leading here."

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She took her paddle back enthusiastically, letting go of a troubled breath.

"If you want help, follow. If not..."

The woman spoke before trotting off. Esther took a deep breath in before walking after the woman, more nervous than she'd been in the last month. She knew she couldn't survive on her own. Not by a long shot. The woman trotted about taking roll, and Esther simply fell into the middle of the group, standing awkwardly by herself. Deja vu. She spied Art from the corner of her view, noting her grey Nirvana T-shirt. 'Say something. Seem normal. Approach her.' All ideas. Ideas she wanted to fulfill. None of them came close to reality.

She saw the woman that had spooked her earlier had stopped and was talking with two people, one of them a man and the other a woman. She slowly walked over to the three, paddle idly swinging at her side, eyes at the floor. She became anxious on her way over. 'Turn around. You can still leave. Go. GO. GET AWAY!' she suddenly became fearful, and anxious and filled with terror. All these people, the smoke venting from the front door... The chatter... The crowd. She was suddenly mortally terrified by the prospect of a single being's attention resting on her.

She stood behind Anna, frozen. Anxious beyond expression. Her palms were sweating, her mind wouldn't keep straight and she could feel her heart beating out of her chest. What if they talked to her? What did they think of her? She was a freak. She looked at her inked arm without changing the direction of her head from the ground, just her eyes shifting uncomfortably. She didn't want to move. She didn't want to attract attention. She didn't want to exist. But she did. She looked up from the asphalt for one moment... A moment too long, her eyes met Anne as she turned around, and she froze. Terrified in fear that she may be forced to open her mouth.

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#, as written by mich22
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Adam exited the building with a rough cough to clear his lungs. The only regret, perhaps, would be the waste of supplies they had caused with their little light show. They hadn’t even taken a small fraction of what that store contained, and now anyone else that came would only be disappointed by ashes and dust. It may not be their problem in the future, but it may cause trouble for others in the future.

He noted that the group was already abuzz with chatter and seemed to be in good spirits. He gazed softened admiringly. The fight for survival, as much as you’d think would tear people apart, had actually brought them all closer together. Though, he couldn’t quite say he’d compare them to family just yet, they were dear to him, in some way. One would never be able to tell that they just came out of a burning building. Robyn and Shanti had even come to join the party. It was so rare to see the founder of their group stray so far from the children back at camp. Art and Nathan were up to their usual dramatics again. Sometimes he really wondered if they were--he quirked an eyebrow at Art’s announcement to Robyn. Oh good for them. The obvious fluster and confusion on Nathan’s face almost brought a smile to his lips. He did hope they’d invite him to the wedding.

His head snapped up at the call of his name. Oh goodness, he’d been completely lost in his thoughts again. He hoped Kat hadn’t noticed. Had she been speaking to him? A little blonde was jogging over to them—ah Annabelle. A flood of questions came soon after. ”Our plans went a little awry.” The cause of that seemed obvious enough, ”Yes, we’re all more or less in one piece, not to worry.” He shot Anna a quizzical look however, when she informed them that her scavenging had resulted not in clothing, or food, but another survivor! She turned around and the strange froze like a deer in headlights. Even disregarding the torn lip, the poor girl looked scared out of her wits. Adam looked down at his other companion. ”You should be alright for now, please let me look at that ankle when we’re back at camp.” Even so, he apologized again to Kateryna for dividing his attention from her so often.

The brunet took a gentle step forward to greet the stranger. Whatever terror she was feeling it certainly showed on her face. ”Hey--it’s alright. He spoke softly, “It's alright to be frightened...we all were at one point, but I promise you, you’re safe now.” Admittedly, shy, frightened, and sick children had given Adam a lot of experience speaking to the timid. He was an unassuming man in daily life, but as soon as you were his patient, he always gazed at you with a rare, irresistible prejudice in your favor. As if you were understood as much as you wanted to be understood. As if you he regarded you with the impression of you, at your best, that you hoped to convey. “We were just about to return to our camp. There's food, a warm fire, and a safe place to sleep. You’re welcome to join us. I can patch you up there as well.” Practiced fingers reached into his sack, pulling out a cotton pad. He held it at the level of her broken lip, to allow her to see what he was holding. “May I?”