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Richard Brand

The Hunter.

0 · 561 views · located in The Haven Universe

a character in “Live Together or Die Alone”, as played by Bosch

Groups

Characters that are in the Rands

Description

Name- Richard Brand

Age- 35

Gender- Male

Physical description- A wiry man with a scraggly beard, brown eyes and dark brown hair. He’s around 5’9.

Biography- Richard Brand is a native of the Lake District and has spent his entire life in the area. He was an average student but excellent sportsman who excelled at team sports such as rugby where he played as a fly half.

He dropped out of school after his GCSEs and became a farm labourer and gamekeeper for half the year while working the tourist trade during the summer as an outward bound instructor. In recent years he was employed by Ken Rand as a beater for shotgun hunts.


He married his childhood sweetheart and had a eleven year old daughter. Unfortunately both perished in the initial outbreak. Richard then took Rand’s offer to stay at Upton Abbey. Richard using his weapons and geographical knowledge quickly become one of the best Hunters the Rands had. He tended to butt heads with William Rand however as the pair disagreed how the community should be run. Richard saw William as a posh idiot while William saw Richard as a brute.

Richard is known for his short temper as was evidenced during a trip to Cromwell. Richard caught two people living in his house and killed both with a shotgun. He did this in full view of his fellow hunters although around Upton Abbey the story is more of a rumour than a fact.

The battle between Richard and William concluded when Richard was able to lure William to the Hamilton’s retreat hotel. Richard was able to trick William into getting swarmed by the undead and left him to die at the Hotel. The dying William Rand would later be found Toby Harrison and Tilo King.

Richard was the leader of the Gang of Five who were made up Richard’s most trusted hunters. They all believed Haven and the Caravaners would present a problem down the line for The Rands as resources became more scarce. Therefore they sought to create as much disruption in the area as possible.

The Gang of Five were wiped out by Jonathan Monroe leaving Richard the only survivor. Despite this set back the Hunters are still a large group comparable to the Scavengers. He now believes he is the next in line to lead the Rands however he cannot just snatch power away and is instead biding his time.


Skills- Richard is strong and fast with excellent knowledge of the local area. He is a skilled hunter and can be incredibly stealthy. He is prone to acting aggressively due to fear.

So begins...

Richard Brand's Story

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tilo King Character Portrait: Callie Winters Character Portrait: Mark Lawson Character Portrait: Jonathan Monroe Character Portrait: Richard Brand Character Portrait: Ken Rand Character Portrait: Erin 'Hoppy' Hooper
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

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#, as written by Bosch
Epilogues.

November 4th.

Upton Abbey.


Kenneth Rand watched his Grandson Eric playing with two Tonka trucks in front of a smouldering fire place and sighed. Eric’s father William had been missing for about a week and attempts to find him had not been successful.

Ken knew this was bad. His son had been a rarity in a life, a strong character with a gentle soul. He would gladly get punched in the mouth if it spared someone else the same fate. Kenneth had no idea where he got it from, most likely his mother. Ken had made his money the old fashioned way, by screwing over anyone who got in his way. It was the kind of attitude that made Britain Great.

Now Ken was an old man and he knew in this new situation the disappearance of his son was very bad indeed. He was an old man who had been waiting for a massive heart attack or just plain old age to kill him before the dead rose. Now his life expectancy was around the same as his grandson’s. That made him impossibly sad.

He had bought Upton Abbey with the money he had earned through his numerous lucrative business dealings. Upton Abbey had been the standard stately home until Ken got his hands on it. The aristocracy had been dying since World War 2 and the slow collapse of the class system. In the 21st century being successful wasn’t as much an accident of fate as it had been in the past. Now it didn’t matter how many titles you had C.B.E., M.B.E., Lord or Sir. None of it mattered. The only thing that mattered in the modern UK was bank balance.

At least it had until the outbreak now they were back to a time before the class system, now power rested with the strong.

He was dragged out of his thoughts when the door swung open and his daughter in law, Elizabeth, walked into the room. Ken couldn’t lie his son had chosen a beautiful woman as his wife, she was an upper class, head girl, boarding school type. If Ken hadn’t been such a successful business man odds were his son would have never met his wife or if they did through some twist of fate she would have just seen him as a working class bum. Ken’s money had opened a lot of doors for his son but it was William who had to walk though them. Ken had hoped to do the same for his grandson but the world was a different place.

“Hi Ken how are you? Thanks for watching him, we’ve just finished dinner.” Elizabeth said with a smile as she ruffled Eric’s hair. The boy looked up and beamed but continued playing with his toys.

“Felling good Lizzie. I think this one might be a little builder in the making.”

“Oh an architect!” Lizzie said with a smile.

Ken smiled and nodded but he’d been thinking more of brickie than architect. It always entertained him how Lizzie’s mind always went to a middle class career while his was still operating on working class mode.

“Dinner’s going out now. I’ll bring him back when he’s fed.”

“Ok I’ll get something later.” Ken said as Lizzie led the young boy out of the room.

“Is Dad home yet?” Eric asked as they made their way down the staircase and toward the dining area.

“Not yet sweetie. He’ll be home soon though.”

Eric nodded, he was still young enough to take his mother’s word as Gospel.

She led him down into the dining room where the Rand’s were getting fed. The only actual Rands in the room were Eric and Lizzie, the rest were just locals that William and Ken had taken in. Upton Abbey though had slowly became known as the Rand’s over the years Ken had lived there.

Lizzie got Eric settled with his dinner and a spoon then went to help serve the in the kitchen. She entered the kitchen to a scene of anger between Mrs Wilson and a Hunter called Richard Brand. The Hunters had been pushing their luck since the disappearance of William who had been able to keep them in line. Lizzie understood them in a way they were young men risking their lives but a lot of them had started to view themselves as the most important people in Upton Abbey, the ringleader was Richard brand.

Mrs Wilson, a matronly woman in her middle sixties, was holding firm to a bowl of soup that Richard Brand was tugging at.

“What is going on?” Lizzie asked.

Brand turned and immediately let go of the bowl.

“I was just explaining to Mrs Wilson here that Hunters get more food.”

“Richard, that’s not how things work, everyone gets the same.”

“Not anymore. The hunters take more risk so we deserve more food.”

“That’s not what William said. Everyone gets the same here.”

Brand sighed and looked at his cronies who were watching the spectacle. Brand was aware he was in danger of losing face.

“Yeah well William isn’t here. When he comes back send him to talk to me about it.” Richard said before snatching the bowl from Mrs Wilson. “Seconds for the Hunters from now on.” He then walked over to his group who whooped and high fived.

Lizzie was going to say something but all of a sudden felt very vulnerable. Richard was looking at her like he wanted her to make a thing of it. He looked at her like he ached for the confrontation. Lizzie instead decided to go and help Mrs Wilson with the dishes and avoid the confrontation.

“He’s a right wee toerag.” Mrs Wilson whispered under her breath. “Where’s William?”

“I don’t know...” Lizzie said.

#

November 5th

0900

Haven


Callie called Tilo into the Kitchen and handed him the wallet he had recovered from William Rand.

“It’s been pretty dead around here Tilo so I was thinking it might be time to call in with the Rands. You said you wanted first crack at it so here you go. We don’t know much about them except they’re pretty much all locals and know the area like the back of their hand. We’ve had some reports from runners that they aren’t too friendly but all that info is in the briefing pack. Head over there and see what you can learn.”

Callie walked over to the map and pointed to Upton Abbey. “They’re holed up here, Upton Abbey, it’s a bit of a trek but the road should be safe enough and not too strenuous. I hear it’s an old stately home so the place might be of interest to you.” Callie said with a hopeful smile.

“The place is owned by an old guy called Kenneth Rand, he’s a rich guy, like has a butler rich. William was his son. We don’t know much else about the family but I’m sure you’ll find out more once you get there. Keep your wits about you though, could be walking into the Texas Chainsaw massacre for all we know.”

Tilo was about to leave when Callie stopped him. “Your Briefing pack.” She said with a smile as she handed the older man the notes and Map Callie had prepared for him.

Job

I think this is yours.

Suggested Number of Scavs- 1

Area- Upton Abbey.

Objective- Make Contact with the Rands. Return wallet. If possible forge beginnings of an alliance.

Special Equipment- N/A (The wallet I guess)

Information- Hi guys on a previous mission Tilo and Toby found the mortally wounded William Rand who requested we return his wallet to his family and explain how he died. Tilo has requested this mission personally so he gets first refusal.

Upton Abbey is an old fashioned Stately home, the kind of place you see in BBC Emily Bronte dramas. Apparently it’s quite nice. Its owned by the Rand family Ken the Grandfather, William the Son and a Grandson. There are other families living there but who knows how many. What we do know is a sizeable contingent of local Towns people took shelter in Upton Manor during the outbreak. Their version of Scavs are called Hunters and they know this place like the back of their hand. They would be a useful ally.

The path to Upton Manor shouldn’t be too infested with the undead and I hear the walk around the grounds is quite nice. They have a hedge maze! Isn’t that ace?
Anyway accept their hospitality whatever form it takes and report back. Remember to stay in radio contact so if you get in trouble we’ll know. Have Fun! You know after you tell the guy his son is dead, don’t be smiling when you do that.

Callie.

#

November 5th.

1200


Monroe sat silently in one of the upstairs bedrooms and stared at a spot in the middle of the room. He’d made a decision that resulted in the death of his own people. He thought long and hard about what he could have done differently that would have resulted in Toby still being alive.

Callie was doing her people person thing on the Radio and trying to smooth the whole thing over with the Caravaners. Laney had also been on the radio giving her version of events but it was up in the air how the whole thing would pan out.

Monroe stood and started pacing. He was pissed and punched a wardrobe, he then let out a long sigh. Pointless impotent aggression wouldn’t solve anything, made him fell better though. Don’t get mad get even he told himself repeating it like a mantra.

“Monroe?” He knew it was Callie.

“Yeah?”

“People are getting worried about you. You’re not acting yourself.”

“Maybe this is myself Callie maybe I’ve just been acting.”

“Monroe you’re not making sense.”

Monroe turned and slumped his shoulders. “I just... fuck I’m so sick of losing people. I could have gone out, done something...”

“Then we’d be mourning two instead of one.” She said as she moved from the doorway and into the room.

She pulled Monroe into a hug and the gruff man complied. “I’m just so fucking pissed. I really need to end these bastards.”

“And we will but there’s no sense going off half cocked. Come on lets go get a cuppa.”

Monroe nodded and smiled. That’s why Callie was the people person.

#

November 5th

1730


“Dolphin five- eight reporting critical engine failure. We are going in hard over... Fuck where even is this...” Michael Hailsham cried into his radio.

RAF Pilot Alison Carter was doing her best the keep the Sea King in the air but it was a losing battle, Her Co pilot Michael Hailsham was doing his best to communicate his location to whoever was listening. They had been defending RAF Valley with a tiny force made up of Search and Rescue Crews, Fire-fighters and RAF regiment members. They had defended RAF Valley Airfield to the best of their ability but soon they found themselves completely abandoned.

Waves of the undead crashed into their lines and each encounter whittled down their remaining supplies and men. Eventually it became clear the only course of action was evacuation. Alison being a Search and Rescue Force Pilot was tasked with taking evacuating her crew as well as two RAF Regiment airmen and three civilians in addition to as much gear as they could fit in the helicopter. It meant the Sea King was packed to the gills and she wondered if that had anything to do with the current catastrophic failure.

Suddenly the Chopper levelled out and Alison felt in control. She smiled briefly but that turned to horror when she realised the pedals were unresponsive.

The chopper started to spin and she cried out.

“We’re going down! BRACE BRACE BRACE!”

She tried to pull up but the Helicopter was spinning so violently she had no idea if it made any difference. All she could see was intermittent flashes of Green grass and grey sky.

#

Haven


Callie listened intently to the radio but she couldn’t make out the garbled message she increased the volume in time to hear.

“Brace Brace.” Followed by a loud hiss of static that made her grab her ear.

“What the hell...” She muttered but she wasn’t confused for long as Monroe burst through the door followed by Mark. They made a line straight for the pantry armoury. Where Monroe grabbed a Rifle and his Webley.

“What’s going on?” Callie asked suddenly confused.

“Didn’t you see it?” Mark asked dumbfounded.

“Sea king just went down to the west. Passed right over our heads.”

“What the hell is a Sea King?”

“RAF search and rescue helicopter. Mark and I are heading out see if we can’t get some survivors or supplies.”

Just as the words crossed Monroe’s lips the radio crackled to life. Monroe dove for the set hoping it would be from the downed chopper. Instead Hoppy’s voice filled the airways. She explained that she had gotten separated from Ben but that she had succeeded in stashing the vehicle.

“Fucking Shaggy’s got lost.” Monroe said dropping the headset. “Hoppy is on her way back here but someone is going to have to try find him. Hell some people are going to have go find him.”

“What about the chopper?” Callie asked.

“I know I’m thinking.” He said abruptly.

Monroe looked at Callie whose face was blank, he knew she was overwhelmed. This was the deal, she did people stuff and Monroe did zombie stuff. This definitely fell into his domain.

“Right here’s the deal. I’ll go to the crash site secure it and gather up any survivors. Mark you are gonna take two Scavs and have Hoppy here lead you to where she last saw Shaggy. You good with that?”

“Yeah sure Monroe but...”

“Are you good?”

“Yes I’m good. I just don't see why we have to go now. He's only lost, we'll go looking tomorrow.”

"Yeah tell it to Toby." Monroe said frown while Callie shuffled her feet. “Remember to use your radios and move as team. Be methodical in your search and look for trails. Callie get on the blower to The Caravanners see if they have anyone in the area that can help out.”He sighed Mark was looking like Monroe had just asked him to do brain surgery. “Well fuck off then, get it done.”

Monroe collected his own gear and was walking out to the bike shed when he saw Callie running from the Farmhouse.

“Monroe where are you going?”

“I’m doing the crash site while The Scavs are gonna rescue the damsel in distress.”

“Who is going with you?”

“Harry and Mister Webley.” He said lifting the sawn off shotgun and revolver.

Callie shook her head she wasn’t in the mood for jokes. “No way Monroe it’s your own bloody rule nobody goes out alone, you wanted to crucify Laney for doing the same thing.”

“She’s a fucking popstar, I’m a professional solider. It’s apples and oranges.”

“I’m going with you then.”

“Don’t talk shite, we need you here to run comms, what if Shaggy calls us or we pick up something from the crash site? Who else am I supposed to take? The Scavs are all tied up, Rishi would fill his under crackers before we got out the gate and I’ve seen corpses more athletic than Gary... literally.”

Callie stood in silence unable to think of a point to argue.

“Just be careful.” She said finally.

“Never knew you cared.” He said as he grabbed a bike and wheeled it across the Farmyard to the gate. He noticed Gary was manning the gate and he had the same wide eyed look Callie had earlier. He wanted say something encouraging but couldn’t come with anything that wouldn’t sound too Hollywood or sappy.

Gary swung the Gate open and Monroe wheeled the bike out onto the snow covered road. He tested the tire pressure by giving them a quick squeeze and decided they were too firm so he released a little bit of air that should make it easier to pedal although he didn’t plan on doing much pedalling.

Haven Farm was at the top of small hill which meant so long as Monroe stuck to the road he should have a pretty clear run down. From there the bike would be less useless but he’d re evaluate the situation once he got there.

He was about to get on the bike when he saw Hoppy make her way up the hill. She looked totally shattered from her ordeal and now Monroe was going to have to ask her to head out again. He stopped her and briefly explained the situation.

“Hoppy, Mark is getting a team together to find Shagg... Ben. They’ll need you to lead them out to where you last saw him. Just hold it together kid. Just one more run. All you gotta do is point the way and then hang back.”

Hoppy was gasping from her trek but Monroe could tell from the look or her face she had a lot more questions.

“I got this other thing to do. Mark will brief you up. Good luck.”

With that he was off quickly descending the hill and aiming for Jones Farm.

#

Job

GTA 2: Team GB to the Rescue.


Mark looked at the assembled Scavs and cleared his throat.

“Hi everyone so Monroe has to go this chopper crash and Ben has gone missing so that means we gotta head back to Cromwell to get him. Hoppy is gonna lead the way and point out where this Mechanics garage is. He’s probably holed up in there pissing himself.” He swallowed hard. He was nervous. Sure he was good with a rifle but going to Cromwell was a totally different thing from Guard duty.

“So it’ll just be the two of us to begin with but the Caravaners are sending out some of their people to meet us and help with the search. Callie seems to think it’ll only be two but that’s better than none. Hoppy is also coming along to point out where we’re going.”

He handed out the Harry’s and grabbed a scoped rifle for himself.

“I’m pretty good with the rifle from doing guard duty so often but you guys are the Scav experts so if one of you would rather take it that’s ok.”

He let the Scavs organise their own equipment and then they were off, only a couple of minutes behind Monroe who was heading South to the crash while the search team would be going west to Cromwell.

#

November 5th

1745


Carter shook herself awake and everything was sideways. She shifted her weight and her left leg cried out in agony. Definitely broken.

The helicopter had landed on its side with her side in the dirt. She looked up at Hailsham but she immediately knew he was dead. His neck was twisted and his head was resting unnaturally low on his chest.

“Anyone still with me back there?” She croaked.

A grunt from behind her told her at least someone was still alive.

“Wake up! Come on!”

She looked out of the window of the Sea king and could see a zombie shuffling toward the crash.

“Any fucking time now would be just super!” She cried keeping her eyes on the zombie.

“Ugh. Hell of a landing Captain.” Muttered one of the RAF regiment guys from behind her.

“Who’s that?”

“Gupta Ma’am.”

“What kind of shape are you in?”

“Left arms broke. Reloads might be a problem.”

“Can you shoot?”

“Yes Ma’am.”

“We have incoming on my twelve o’clock. Pass me the weapons and ammo. I’ll work reloads.”

“Rodger.” Gupta said as he passed all his magazines into the cockpit and climbed on top of the downed Chopper. He smashed the co-pilot’s window so he could pass the rifle down to Carter who would then reload. He raised the SA-80 selected single shot and took aim at the nearest undead.

Carter for her part had the second SA-80 loaded and ready to go. She then turned her attention to trying to raise anyone on the radio.

“This is downed RAF helicopter Dolphin Five-Eight requesting support from anyone. We have wounded and are in danger of being overrun we need an evacuation immediately.”

The radio crackled and Carter strained to hear faint voice.

“Hold ti... on the way... ven... old tight.”

“Repeat last?” Carter said trying to control the stress in her voice.

“Reload!” Gupta called and Carter passed the fresh SA-80 up to him and took the empty one. She slammed in a fresh magazine and tried the radio again.

#

November 5th

1820


Monroe ditched the bike at the entrance to Jones farm and jogged toward the farmhouse. In the drive he noted the many vehicles including a snow covered Rav 4. He kicked open the front door of the house and glanced to his left. Sure enough there was a little key holder on the wall. Monroe quickly glanced at the keys and grabbed the Toyota keys.

He then bounded out of the house and climbed into the vehicle. It took a second for the engine to kick over but eventually it did.

Monroe lifted the radio and called Callie.

“Callie it’s Monroe. Anything from the crash site?”

“Yeah we just got a burst but it was real garbled. Sound like there’s at least one person alive.”

“Right I’m just leaving Jones farm now and I got a car. Where are the Scavs?”

“They left right after you. They’re probably half way to Cromwell by now.”

“Good. There are more Zombies the closer I get to the crash. It must be drawing them in from all over. Their path should be pretty clear.”

“Ok at least the Scavs are heading in the opposite direction. What about you though? You can fall back or maybe the Scavs could use your car.”

“No if we start deviating it will result in confusion and then a clusterfuck. They have their area of operation and I have mine. Depending on the shape of this crash zone I might need help shifting casualties though.”

The engine finally roared to life and Monroe dropped his boot. “I’ll call back, once I get there.”

#

November 5th

1855


Gupta was doing well keeping the zombies at bay but he kept having the drop his firing line closer to the downed aircraft as more and more zombies stumbled near. Carter pulled the SA-80 down and noticed it was slick with blood.

“What’s happening up there Gupta? This thing is covered in blood!”

“I think I might have got nicked in the crash.” He said. Carter handed up the weapon and looked at Gupta who was very pale.

“Jesus, are you bleeding? Have you dressed it?”

“Haven’t really had the time, Ma’am.” Then he resumed firing.

Carter tried to protect her face from the falling hot casings. She could hear something in the distance, it sounded like a car horn.

“Reload!” Gupta said as he lowered the rifle and handed it Carter.

“Last mag.” She shouted up.

Gupta remained still for a moment. “Is that a...”

Carter looked out of the window and a small silver jeep mowing down zombies on it’s way to the crash site.

It slid to a halt beside the chopper and a short balding man jumped out.

“Fucking run you daft bastards!”

“We have wounded.” Gupta cried, he then pointed to the back of the helicopter.

“Cover me then!” The balding man cried as he clambered into the chopper and started feeling for pulses.

“They’re dead, it’s just the Pilot.” Gupta shouted.

“Right.” The man said gruffly. “Alright what we got here.” He stuck his head in the cockpit and looked at Carter.

“Can you move?”

“Broken leg.” Carter said.

The man frowned. “This is going to hurt.” He grabbed her under her arm pits and told her to release the harness holding her in place. His strong arms lifted her clear of the cockpit but her leg hit every surface on the way out. She tried to muffle her screams which came out like roar.

He hefted her out and into the backseat of the Rav4. Of course hitting her leg on the lip of the door. That was enough to send her over the edge and make her pass out.

Gupta was still firing when the bald man shouted up to him.

“Right, Rock Ape let’s get fucking moving.”

Gupta turned and half slid half fell off the helicopter. The bald man was helping him up when a shot rang out which found Gupta. The Bald man looked down and half of Gupta’s head was missing. He threw his head up and caught a glace of a fleeing man wearing a red coat. He could sense movement out in the woods as well.

“Fucking cunts!” He screamed as he climbed into the car. He gunned the engine and tore down the snow covered road.

#

November 5th

1930


Carter’ s sleep was disrupted by Monroe’s screams. She opened her eyes in time to see the RAV4 crash into a very large tree. At least her leg didn’t hurt anymore, now it was her nose that was the source of agony. Broken in the crash.

“Hold on I’ll get you out.” Monroe said as he struggled past the air bag and opened the door. He climbed out of the car and immediately slipped in the snow. He was concussed from the car crash and shook his head in an attempt to clear the cobwebs. He’d been driving too fast, hit a patch of ice which had sent the RAV4 off the road and into a tree. At least there was some distance between them and the horde of Zombies on their ass.

Carter looked for Gupta but found herself alone. She knew what that meant. Outside she heard a scream followed but the unmistakable sound of a shotgun blast. Then Monroe was at her door.

“What’s your name sweetheart?”

“Captain Alison Carter.” Normally if someone had called her Sweetheart she’d have decked them but now wasn’t the time for outrage. “What was that?” She asked.

“Nothing, a Zomb, it’s dead now. I’m Monroe. I’m gonna have to lift you again but I need you stay quiet.”

Monroe lifted her out of the vehicle and dragged her some distance from the vehicle before returning. He tore the bottom off his lab coat and then opened the petrol cap. He stuffed the rag into the cap and with his last match lit the end.

He then hurried over to Carter helped her to her good foot. He then turned round and knelt allowing her to jump on his back.

“We’re gonna be moving fast there’s more than Zombs on us, hold tight and if it gets too much tell me so I can stop. You can’t pass out again becuase I can’t carry dead weight.”

“I can do it. Just move.”

Monroe started moving toward Haven again, this time with a heavy burden.

They kept staggering forward even when the RAV4 exploded. Monroe hoped the noise and fire would lure the Zombies off them at least for a while.

#

November 5th

2010


Monroe and Carter struggled up the hill and Monroe could feel himself starting to weaken. In his head all he could hear was Staff Andrews who had conducted his selection for the Paras. Jones had hated Monroe which made sense because nobody likes a lippy Belfast Boy. The hate Jones had piled on him acted as fuel for Monroe who used it again to help him get Carter up the hill towards Haven.

“I’m approaching Haven from the South. I have one wounded and Zeke right up my hole. Those gang of five fuckers are here too.”

“Ok Gary will be there to meet you.” Callie said on the radio.

“The Scavs aren’t all back yet?”

“Not yet they should be on their way though.”

Monroe’s stomach dropped.

“Alright. Fine have Gary be ready to take wounded, I’ll lead the horde away.”

“What?”

“I’ll need some matches or a lighter or something and a ton of distraction bombs, Callie.”

“What is happening Monroe?”

“Get the lighter and bombs, Callie. Confirm that you understand me.”

“Yes.”

“Good now go.”

A ten minutes later he finally reached Gary and saw he wasn’t alone. Callie was standing beside him.
Monroe handed the wounded pilot over to Gary.

“Monroe what the hell is happening?”

“There’s a ton of those things on my arse. Someone has to lead them away or else the Scavs won’t be able to get back in and Haven will be swarmed.”

He handed her his radio and medical pack.

“Don’t you need this?” then she noticed the blood running freely down Monroe’s arm and landing on the snow.

Monroe shrugged before pulling up his sleeve exposing the large bite mark on his arm. He’d received it during the car crash from the Zomb with the Harry. The skin around the bite was already turning grey.

“Reckon I got an hour or two left. Fucker isn’t clotting neither.”

“No Monroe you can’t... we’ll get the doctor maybe we can cut it off or something... stop the infection. Rishi’s smart, he’ll come up with something.”

“My heart’s beating faster than priest on a school bus. This shite has been pumped into every organ, vein and artery I got.”

He grabbed the satchel full of distraction devices off Callie. He was about to run off when she grabbed him and started dressing the wound. Monroe shrugged but figured it was a good idea. He was already feeling light headed from blood loss.

“Look get her into Haven, then lock down, keep the place quiet and don’t attract the Zeds. The crash has pulled them all out of the wood work. I’ll lead them down to the Jones farm, you remember where Toby got the petrol that time. I’ll draw ‘em all down there and clear the way for the Scavs to get home.” He explained.

“Monroe I don’t know what to...”

“Time’s ticking here Callie. That Pilot was in a RAF chopper she knows something about what is going on. It’s up to you to get it out of her. She was going somewhere, and I’d bet anything it’s safe.”

Callie dumbly nodded as finished dressing the wound and Gary just looked on slack jawed.

“Right then, I’ll be going.” He said finally and for the first time since she’d met him Callie saw fear behind his eyes. She threw her arms around him and pulled him into a tight hug.

“You don’t need to do this. If we just sit down and think I’m sure we can come up something. The Doc can at least make you comfortable.”

For a second Monroe was tempted but he could already hear a low pitched moan from the ghouls behind him.

“I’m sorry Callie.” He said as he pulled away. He grabbed the bag and quickly started to jog back down the hill. He didn’t want anyone to see the tears in his eyes.

#

November 5th

2030


Gary brought Carter straight to the Doctors while Callie went about securing Haven and telling everyone they had to lie low.

She went back to the kitchen and tried to raise the Scavs still in the field.

“Haven is in danger of being swarmed. We’re trying to draw them away but at the moment there is a lot of Z activity near the base. Stay away from Haven until we give you the all clear.”

She hoped the Scavs had heard the message. At least Zombie activity in the area around Cromwell should be slightly down making their search a little easier.

#

November 5th

2130


Monroe was dying and wondered if turning hurt everyone as much as it was hurting him. He’d seen people turn before and they always seemed to be a mild pain Monroe was in agony but he kept dumbly staggering forward. The Jones farm house was in sight and all he had to do was push it out for another hundred yards. He’d already been running for over an hour which he figured wasn’t helping. Any other time he’d seen people turn they had been made comfortable not taken part in a foot race with undead.

He tried to think about what he would do when he got in there but his mind was drifting to Callie, Tilo, Ben, Hoppy, Mark, Laney, Rishi, Gary and Jesus. They were the goal now, he’d done his best to keep them alive and maybe they’d be able to keep the place going without him. In fact he knew they would. His type of person was a dying breed, a necessary one now, but an evil one none the less. He stuck has hand into the satchel, lit two more distraction bombs and dropped them behind him as he ran. He’d been dropping them every so often to draw as many Zombs to his position as possible. He felt like the pied piper, except with improvised explosives instead of a flute and rotting corpses instead of kids.

Finally he made it to the front door of the Jones’ farm but stopped when he heard voices from inside. They were muffled but he could hear stress in the tone. He grabbed the Harry and slowly let himself in.

He found them in the living room.

One was on couch moaning from a wound his side. The other three were gathered around looking at their wounded friend. The first thing Monroe saw was the red coat. He was going to announce his presence but figured that was foolish, he had the drop on them. He could kill two birds with one stone. He lifted the Webley and shot the first one in the head.

They all had their backs to him and by the time they knew what was happening Monroe had killed three.

He turned the gun on the man on the couch.

“Why the fuck...” He mumbled.

“I’m from Haven.” Monroe said with a shrug.

The fear in the man’s eyes was replaced momentarily by recognition. It was enough for Monroe who fired his last bullet into the man’s face.

Then he heard another shot.


Monroe had been shot once before in Sierra Leone. That time his nation had given medal this time this time getting shot meant he’d just failed to save Haven. He collapsed to his knees and another shot rang out hitting him in the back.

It was his own fault really, they were called the gang of five for a reason. He’d failed to identify all the targets and now he was going to die and the Zombies would lose intrest leaving Haven firmly in the shit. He fell onto his back and looked at his killer.

It was a man he’d never seen before but he wasn’t looking at Monroe. He was standing in the hallway looking towards the door. He then turned aimed the rifle at Monroe and fired.

It went wide though but the man didn’t check his kill instead he was fleeing.

The moan from outside told Monroe all he needed know. The horde was nearly upon him.

Monroe tried to stand but that wasn’t happening he was too weak and the wood floor of the house was slick from the blood of four men. Instead he dragged himself toward the door way and out into the hall. He glanced towards the front door and could see running Zombies at the far end of the drive way he figured he had thirty seconds before they reached him.

He crawled into the kitchen which was opposite the front door of the house and kicked the door closed behind him, immediately bodies crashed against it. With a bit of luck he bought himself and extra few moments, maybe the bodies in the living room would also distract them.

He made his way to the cooker and ripped the gas line out. He listened for the hiss as gas slowly filled the kitchen. The door creaked and strained against the weight of the zombies that were pushing against it. Now he had to wait until as many zombies as possible had gathered around the farm house. The explosions would take a few and the fire would drawn a few in for miles around. Fire would kill a zombie eventually and make them so feeble they presented little threat it was the best he could do.

He sighed, and tried to catch his breath which was coming in ragged gasps. He wasn’t long for the world.

“Come on Lads I’m in here! Lets go! The train is about to leave the station, please mind the Gap! I wanna see your heres Johnny faces!”

He was just rambling nonsense, singing half remembered songs just to keep the noise level up the door began to buckle and snatching hands were reaching through a section they’d already broken through.

“Georgie Georige, they call you the Belfast Boy, Georgie Georgie keep your feet on the ground... I’ll... Uh... When you're left and think I'm long gone, I'm going to drop the Ex Bomb...”

He shook his head when he realised what he was singing.

“Christ I am not dying singing that... Green on, we’re airborne, we know we are the best, When you put that beret on you know you passed the test...”

Then the door gave way and wave of the undead collapsed into the kitchen. They fell over eachother in their desperation to get to him. Monroe produced the lighter Callie had given him and flicked the thumbwheel.
His thumb slipped because it was wet from gore and sweat. He tried again but it slipped.

The Zombies were getting to their feet.

“Aw fuck me.” He moaned as the first one sunk it’s teeth into his shin.

He grabbed the Harry and aimed at the zombies head. He pulled trigger firing the round and igniting the gas.

#

November 5th

2140


Richard Brand looked back in time to see the Jones’ farm go up. He had no idea what had just happened but his entire team had just been taken out and now the place was crawling with Zombies. They were being drawn to the inferno he could see zombies stagger into the fire and wander around like horrible twisted beacons. From where he was standing he could smell the burning flesh. The inferno was drawing zombies out of the dark woods and would give Brand the time he needed to escape.

He understood the importance of being strong and it was something he’d drilled into all the Hunters. He was the leader because he’d dealt with all the problems that had come his way when William Rand had questioned his methods he’d seen to it that William had an accident. It was only a matter of time until the food started to run out and the other groups got desperation. Brand simply understood the importance of the pre-emptive strike.

He kept running an eventually made his way back the Crash site which was empty now. He passed the body of Gupta without a second glance. Instead he went straight to the Helicopter and grabbed some of weapons and supplies from the back. Just enough to show when he got back to Upton Abbey.

Once he had grabbed enough he made his way back home.

#

November 5th

2140


All was silent at Haven, no lights were on and every window was covered. They had been lucky and the horde had seemed to follow Monroe’s trail of destruction but there were still a lot of zombies very close to the farm. It would only take one to notice signs of life and the farm would be swarmed. If that happened they didn’t have the resources to fend them off. In fact Monroe and Mark’s carpentry would be unlikely to withstand the onslaught for long. Callie though that wouldn’t be too bad at least it meant they wouldn’t have to starve to death. While she’d been out on the road with Monroe they’d heard stories about the siege of Chester. Apparently the ancient walls of the city had found use again but they quickly turned into a tomb of all who lived there. Last she had heard the city was under siege by thousands of zombies. With no way in or out it was only a matter of time before the city was over run or starved to death.

She looked over at Gary who had a Harry pointing directly at the kitchen doorway. Callie respected that in a way. He’d decided he was going to at least try to take a few with him rather than use the Harry as most Scavs did.

Then they heard it. A dull distant thud that was unmistakably an explosion. Callie felt an emotional swell, she knew Monroe was dead no way would he let himself turn and no way would he leave a body. No she knew he’d have been as close to the explosion as possible calling in zombies from as far as possible, away from Haven and the crash site.

They sat in silence for another few hours before deciding to check outside. When they emerged from the farmhouse the coast was clear and where Jones farm once stood there was the smouldering embers of a blazing inferno.

“I’m going to bed.” Callie said with finality as she turned and trudged back into the farmhouse.

Doctor Short had spent the evening working on her new patient, the RAF helicopter pilot whose only identification was the name on her flight suit. Carter. Gary had dropped her off and the first thing Short did was check her for signs of bites or infection. Finding none she set about dealing with Carter’s broken left leg. Short preformed a closed reduction to ensure the bones of the leg were correctly aligned which thankfully hadn’t been too much of a problem because Carter was unconscious when she arrived. If she hadn’t been Short would have had to use some anaesthesia or Carter’s screams would have woke the dead. She then set about cleaning and stitching the numerous contusions and lacerations the pilot had suffered as well as dealing with the broken nose. She was wrapping up around the same time Monroe was redecorating the kitchen.

Despite the numerous medical procedures she had been subjected to Carter didn’t wake up until late the next morning when she had a lot of questions to answer.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tilo King Character Portrait: Callie Winters Character Portrait: Jonathan Monroe Character Portrait: Richard Brand Character Portrait: Dominic Fields Character Portrait: Ken Rand
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I Think This Is Yours

Wednesday - November 5th, 2013


0900 Hours

“It’s been pretty dead around here Tilo so I was thinking it might be time to call in with the Rands. You said you wanted first crack at it so here you go. We don’t know much about them except they’re pretty much all locals and know the area like the back of their hand. We’ve had some reports from runners that they aren’t too friendly but all that info is in the briefing pack. Head over there and see what you can learn.”

Tilo nodded, "Right, I'll see what I can find."

Callie walked over to the map and pointed to Upton Abbey. “They’re holed up here, Upton Abbey, it’s a bit of a trek but the road should be safe enough and not too strenuous. I hear it’s an old stately home so the place might be of interest to you.” Callie said with a hopeful smile.

"Accurate as ever milady," Tilo returned the smile.

The school teacher was one of the nicest women Tilo had come across, she had this seemingly infinite ray of hope, if he could call it that. Perhaps it was prior her work with pre-pubescent children that gave her a sanguine demeanor.

“The place is owned by an old guy called Kenneth Rand, he’s a rich guy, like has a butler rich. William was his son. We don’t know much else about the family but I’m sure you’ll find out more once you get there. Keep your wits about you though, could be walking into the Texas Chainsaw massacre for all we know.” Monroe was sipping the tar black coffee as usual.

"I'll keep that in mind."

The way the two managed the 'command post' seemed almost picturesque. On any given day it seemed as though Callie would be up and about, and Monroe would be at the table seated in his poorly crafted chair, sipping the same deeply odorous black coffee, the beans of which many have wondered about the origins.

Between the two men, there was a level of agreement. Tilo acknowledged a silent respect for the man who served in Her Majesty's forces. The training that Monroe gave around Haven was essential to their survival, and Tilo never complained. For his part, Monroe knew that Tilo was a book person, but he had seen the old professor return physically unscathed and in one piece from several sorties. However, the soldier saw through that and had seen the mental and psychological toll it had taken on the old man. As a soldier, Monroe had been through those, and perhaps he knew that a civilian had a lower level of tolerance when it came to matters like this. Monroe had tried to instill resilience in them. However, not many of them had seen death on the scale that Monroe had, so he just tried, not expecting to train people to become desensitized.

Tilo was about to leave when Callie stopped him. “Your briefing pack.” Callie said with a smile as she handed the older man the notes and map she had prepared for him.

1500

Tilo decided to set out after lunch. He had spent most of the morning in his room writing on what pieces of stationary he could find. He was writing a chronicle of sorts, a history, of Haven and the zombie apocalypse.

Up to about Manchester, I'm still surprised that I managed to make it from Colchester to the Lakes. It must have been a miracle if anything.

He stopped with his current direction of progress. He was still alive, he realized, and he wasn't telling the stories that needed to be told. He reached for the pen again.

We were visiting Hamilton's retreat, a luxury resort of sorts situated in the Lakes. It was in the countryside among the hills, secluded from the world for the elite. They came and enjoyed the outdoors that the resort offered. By the time we came, it was already perhaps weeks into the apocalypse. The place no longer resembled old world elegance, which was very common among many buildings.

He wrote on for minutes trying to pour what detail he could.

We had cleaned out what we could find in the kitchens and were searching the West wing for any survivors. No progress was made, until we heard a sound coming from the East wing and immediately ran to the source of the disturbance. When we came we heard a single shot from a firearm and then we saw a zed stumble backward out of a doorway with its head gone. And that was where...

------

1540

His first mission alone. Before he left, he made a checklist of everything that he needed. He gripped the sawn off in one hand, and the other held onto the map, while the compass watch was strapped to his wrist. The torch and first aid kit were inside his knapsack as was a couple of pages of stationary, while the radio rested snugly inside the pocket for drinks. The binoculars dangled by a strap around Tilo's neck. The hatchet was holstered in his jeans' strap. He looked at the map once in awhile at junctures to determine his location and where he was headed.

The walk was silent and solitary. Birds and squirrels were present; they were scarce though. The snow was starting to grow thick. Clumps of it were now nestled on the branches of the oaks and ferns that dotted the Lakes. The Lake District consisted of many u-shaped valleys carved out ages ago by glaciers, leaving behind lakes and streams within the giant crevice of green lands.

Tilo had never been this close to nature since he spent most of his life in a borough close to the big city of London. It was a new experience for him, as was this entire journey from his home to the Lakes. He had endured, seen much, and done much. Before as a professor, he lived among his books, his family, and his colleagues. However, the natural world was something else entirely. For some unknown reason, he felt as if he was naturally equipped to enjoy nature and everything about it.

At the same time though, he was very much aware that the next turn might be a slippery slope into a pit of festering undead. Around the next bend might be a dying man. Past the tree line in the distance would be bodies mangled beyond recognition shuffling back and forth. He was also aware that nature was still dangerous in itself with quicksand pits like those in Morecambe Bay that he had heard of from scavengers coming from directly south of the Lake District. And yet...above all this, nature watched on with indifference, or perhaps pity on the human race.

Tilo re-opened the pack of briefing notes and quickly skimmed through once more like he had done after breakfast.
Haven was going through some minor tumult at the moment. All Tilo knew was that this mission required him to be a diplomat. He settled disputes among people before, his family, students, and fellow professors. This, however, was something different.

"Keep your wits about you."

If Tilo had forgotten anything that Monroe had ever said, this would be the only thing he did not. This was an entirely different field of play, he believed he might find himself bargaining, or negotiating. He wasn't sure what assets Haven had in comparison to the Rands, and this worried him. He feared his position would potentially be lower than the other party, which meant he would have to work very hard to gain leverage.

If he secured the aid of the Rands, though, life along the Lakes would be less burdensome, he thought. He imagined both sides coming together and cooperating in order to survive, perhaps jointly with the Caravanners as well. Haven would no longer just be the name of the farm, but a description of the Lake District.

Then he remembered the brown leather wallet which he kept in his back pocket. It was the first time in days that he had looked through the wallet since he came back from Hamilton resort and handed it to Callie and Monroe for safe-keeping. He pulled it out and looked at the image of the boy. He sat on a bed of grass, with the trucks and cars beside him, staring back at Tilo. He resembled his father in so many ways. He had these bright blue eyes and short dark hair, and his smile was brave. What's his name? How old is he? Does he remember his father? Does he know where his father is now? Does he miss his father?

His ponderings were disrupted almost immediately as he reached the edge of a small hill among a range of others. And below, at the base of the hill were five zeds. They seemed to be wandering somewhere, recently turned no doubt, as they sniffed the air with the ferociousness of a canine. They clamored and moaned in indistinguishable grunts and huffs. They snarled like rabid dogs. And just as they glanced up the hillside, Tilo ducked back into the brush and snow to avoid being sighted. His breath increased; he was afraid that they had already detected him with their heightened sense of smell had they not caught him with their eyes.

He tried to think of a plan to get around the zed. His sawn off was not really manufactured for marksmanship, but for blowing wide holes close range at least that was what Monroe had told him. He had never actually fired the armament to know, and they never practiced with live rounds. Maybe he could fire away into the distance, but that would only turn their attention to him. Perhaps he could disguise himself as a bush with snow and sneak past them. It was bullocks for an idea. Perhaps he could go around them, but they would still remain on his return trip, or perhaps move off somewhere and catch him off guard. He needed to remove them permanently, not temporarily. There was nothing in his sack for this kind of encounter, it was all wits.

Quickly thinking, he noticed several rocks and pebbles that were not covered by the snow. He wondered whether they would make a loud enough sound to distract the stiffs if he threw them somewhere. That would only lure them away, he dropped that idea along with the pebbles. He set aside the sack, and the shotgun in order to get a closer look.

Tilo got on the ground and crawled on the damp, cold ground until he was over the edge again, he peered down to see the zed still milling about. It was a very different sight for him. When he was on the run from Colchester, the zeds and stiffs just looked like one massive throng of flesh and hands and dirt and blood rolling about, smashing through everything like a tidal wave. This was different, they looked nonchalant, standing almost like statues. A red squirrel, an insignificant creature, slipped past them. But Tilo had seen them, once they hear the sound of a living human, they would wake like predators.

Two had distanced themselves from the group, they wandered alone. The other three stood still as ever. Tilo looked around for any slopes leading up to where he was, and there was only a single path. He reared back, returned to the shotgun, and un-holstered the hatchet from his jeans. Then from there, he grabbed a sizable pebble from the ground. He hoped that he wouldn't have to go out in this manner.

The pop on the head was enough to turn their attention up the slope, and their disfigured faces cried out with a wrenching screech that made Tilo's hairs stand on end. He almost froze for a second, just as they clawed their way up the slope, almost flinging themselves at him. He aimed the shotgun carefully at the closest one, pulled the trigger, the head shattered into bits smeared on the ground. Then he aimed at the next one, fired, the blast sliced through its arm, but it continued its ascent. Another one thrashed about on its way up, Tilo reloaded while trying to maintain composure.

Sweat began its buildup underneath the many layers he had on. He fired again; the bullet almost missed the thrasher as it seared through the top half of the zed's head, but it was enough to incapacitate it. Two more twitched and jerked with their unnaturally bent arms and festering flesh wounds running from the top of their skull to their discolored torsos barely covered by their half ripped clothes. He fired one shot at the first one, the pellets did not penetrate as deep, so the stiff continued coming. Tilo had almost missed the next reload as he twitched with his unsteady hands, they were getting closer, a few feet from him. He fired again, the lower jaw was severed along with the neural connection. The other one managed get within several feet of Tilo, he fired a round, he missed narrowly. The thing had its hands nearly at the crest of the hill. Tilo dropped the shotgun and ran back to grab the hatchet from the ground just as it lunged at him with its arms. Tilo spun around and screamed almost with a warcry and swung the hatchet with all of his might, the blade went cleanly through the neck of the walker, its blood content and other fluids spraying into the cold, damp air of winter. The other one that had its arm blown off finally ascended to the top and flung itself at him without balance and stumbled over.

Tilo looked down at it, and then for some reason he remembered William Rand.

With both of his hands he used the hatchet like an axe and smashed apart the zed's head.

"Fuck you!" he cried out each time he axed wedges into its deformed neck and skull. He made sure that each cleaving blow, each was for Toby and William, drove straight through the flesh and into the ground. He probably did that about six or seven times, or to the point where the head was no longer a recognizable skull, but simply pieces of meat wet with blood. The snow bled red that day.

Then he fell back against a tree, and he tried to breath as the cold air scratched against his throat. His head ached slightly, and the muscles in his arms, shoulders, and back were warm. His hands were shaking as if he had a mild form of Parkinson's, but it was probably just the adrenaline. In his mind, if there were anymore zed around, this was their chance to strike. He was done.

"I'm sorry guys," he spoke to himself while trying to breath and trying to swallow what little saliva he had.

"I'm sorry, I wish I was there," he said, he wanted to cry so hard. It felt as if it was no longer just his hands, but rather his entire self was shaking. The cold provided no comfort.

Then he turned his head slightly as if he was speaking to someone else standing before him at the edge of the crest, "If we had went through the East Wing first, we could have saved you. I'm sorry mate. I'm so sorry."

------

1645

England was a beautiful land. Tilo traversed through the valley and continued on the main road to Upton Abbey. He finally reached the great country house of the Rands, Tilo did not really have any expectations other than to admire the home for what it once was. Colchester lacked many great houses, most had been ruined through disuse and disrepair. By the time the National Trust took over, most of the old manors had ceased to exist, those that still survived were dilapidated and had to be renovated. In Colchester, only the ruins of the nave of St. Botolph's Priory remained, the original structure was ruined in the siege of Colchester in 1648 during the English Civil War as Tilo had read.

Tilo entered the grounds, which was a patchwork consisting of woods and streams that melted away into paved roads that led directly toward the manor-like home. The exterior remained almost untouched, perhaps even modernized as a result of Kenneth Rand's ownership. It looked restored, Callie had said it was old, and Tilo expected it to be in disrepair like most remnants of aristocracy. However, the professor realized that he needed to venture inside to confirm or disprove his thoughts.

Tilo radioed in to headquarters, "Is anyone there?"

He tried adjusting the frequency to clear up the static, until he heard a familiar voice reply, "Yes, who is this? Over."

"Callie is that you? Eh...over."

"Yes, Tilo is that you? Over."

"Yes ma'am, I've reached the grounds, relatively unscathed, over."

"Good, we hope for your success. Come back with whatever you can. Callie out," a slight zip of static ended her message.

Come back with whatever you can.

It was so little, yet so much.

------

1700

A marksman with a long bandage across his forehead sat on a window ledge of Upton Abbey's third floor smoking, with his rifle standing by his side. He spotted a figure moving about quickly through the grounds, he was clearly not a walker. The sniper quelled the small ember of his cigarette, and proceeded to flick the fag out the way before he scoped out the man with his rifle to determine his identity. He did not recognize him as part of their group, but he noticed that the man was holding a sawn off shotgun, carrying a knapsack, and clutching a map. The sniper wondered what business this lone man had with them, them being "The Rands."

Ever since the local community came under the sheltering of Kenneth Rand and his refurbished manor, everyone considered themselves as part of the minor magnate's extended family. Now wheel-chair bound, he seemed sage-like in wisdom and appearance at times, though the latter often gave way to people believing the existence of the former. His son William inherited leadership over the dynasty and thus they provided stability in a world that was no longer familiar. His disappearance days ago in the midst of a trek began to stir up rumors among the inhabitants inside the walls of the country house. Given the fact that the townspeople were now holed up inside of the Rand estate, they did not have much to do except maintain order, scavenge and forage for food items and supplies; and hopefully survive through the apocalypse so that they could return to their homes.

With the establishment of nearby groups such as Haven, and the Caravanners, the townspeople of Upton Abbey had to identify themselves. Rather than call themselves 'Upton Abbeyites', they decided to rally behind the banner of the businessman and his son.

"Oi mate, we got a live one comin' through the old gate. He's armed with a...sawn off. He's got a sack...and I think a map," the marksman said to his fellow brother-in-watch, a younger lad, who was sitting nearby against a piece of cloth draped furniture. He was leafing through one of the many volumes that belonged to one of Upton Abbey's libraries.

The fellow looked up to his comrade, "Alright I'll run down and tell Mr. Rand."

They would have liked to call him 'Sir' for his contributions to the nearby towns and charities; and his altruistic decision to harbor them. However, the old man refused, simply stating that it was his duty as an Englishman. Whenever there was an issue the people always conferred with the old businessman. As of late, however, a group of hunters known as the Gang of Five, led by Richard Brand, had gone rogue. Rogue in the sense that their ringleader began to challenge the Rands' authority. They included James Hanover, Neil Froggat, Lewis Stuart, and Abel Speleers. Though Richard had easily taken advantage of the charity the Rands offered; he became increasing belligerent. He managed to gain a following among the four other men that he went out hunting with. William, and to an extent his wife Elizabeth, had to police them. Elizabeth was educated, but she could only do so much without William around to enforce it. Politics...it was a British past time, a 'noble art.'

Of course that was not to say that the Rands did not have allies, among them included the Wilsons, a couple married for some thirty years, they were around Kenneth's age. The husband, Ian was a carpenter and the wife, Valerie worked in the kitchen, their children lived in London and Manchester. They lost contact with their children, and had prepared for the worst. Rory Bennett, a twenty six year old, was perhaps the last surviving member of his family. He was nowhere near a younger brother, but he was a bit old for William to have considered him like a son. He simply conferred onto the lad a relationship that was similar to mentor and student.

The McInnisses, a family of four from Scotland, were on vacation when the undead began to rise; they were a sturdy folk and had spent much time in the outdoors. Finley McInnis, though a hunter, was more aligned with William and less with the rambunctious clique. Claire McInnis, and the daughters Isabel and Sidney both of whom were in their twenties, often went out with the hunters to get supplies. The Aldens consisted of couple Ewan and Talisa, and Talisa's sister Flora. They were city folk from Carlisle, the largest population center in Cumbria. There was also Dominic Fields, a corporal in the British Army who was on leave from the last brushfire conflict that the UK had devoted manpower to. He was one of William's trusted aides, who recently injured himself on a mission and had to be bandaged up due to the bruises. Then there was Sandra Hargrave, a middle aged woman, who was Kenneth Rand's caretaker and had lived in the manor prior to the outbreak. She had a husband who lived in a local town, who many claimed to have succumbed.

Rory Bennett ran down the stairs to find Mr. Kenneth, along with Ian and Sandra sitting in the saloon watching little Eric playing with his trucks.

"Is something the matter Rory?"

------

1710

The topiaries that lined the pathways grew abundantly, they no longer resembled whatever fauna they were meant to be. The water works had long dried, but were once again filled with melted-snow water. The balustrades of the walkways needed a fresh coat of paint. And of course, there was the hedge maze that was inextricably tied to the country house, winding through the grounds leading to some exit elsewhere on the property. However, who would care about such aesthetic features of the home's exterior when there were more important concerns to tend to. Tilo spotted what appeared to be the main entrance of the once-classical mansion. The main doors with their rich engravings and metal work were locked as Tilo tugged against them, then he decided to knock several times. He looked around, though the brief mentioned that the journey up the main roads would not be as zed infested, Tilo had acquired a habit to always look behind him twice. He shivered slightly before the wind.

After waiting outside for what seemed like an eternity of thirty seconds, the front door opened with a slight creak. Without looking, Tilo stepped straight into two hunting rifles and a shotgun. Tilo pulled his hands up, the look on his face was held like concrete.

"Whoa whoa, don't fire. I come in peace," that was one of the most uneducated things that Tilo had ever said, but he could think of worse.

"Who are you and what do you want mate?" a brownish red haired man in military fatigue with a bandaged forehead and a grizzly gaze asked him.

"My name's Tilo," he looked around, he saw a rugged man with brown hair, brown eyes, and beard, watch him with caution. Then there was a younger lad with unkempt darker hair, and a growing beard, probably in his mid twenties, Tilo guessed, who held the shotgun.

He was about to talk when he was interrupted, "Put down the gun and kick it over to me," the bandaged man said.

Tilo knelt down and placed the gun on the floor slowly, with one hand still in the air. Then he kicked the sawn off over to the bandaged man, who kicked it behind him, it was no longer a factor.

"Whit's in yer sack?" the rugged man asked, rifle still centered on Tilo's chest.

"Just a map, a first aid kit, a torch, uhm..." as Tilo spoke, he saw a much older man in a wheel chair roll up behind the three men in front of him, he was attended by two women and a child.

They came to see the commotion. The older of the two women attended the old man, while the child clung to the younger of the two women. Instantly, he recognized the child.

"Are you Kenneth Rand?" Tilo asked the old man in the wheel chair, who looked back at him with a fixed and calm gaze.

"Yes and who might you be?"

------

1730

"We don't have any more cups, I hope this would be sufficient. Care for some scones?" Sandra handed him a mug of tea.

"Oh no thank you, ma'am," Tilo smiled, as he inhaled the fresh aroma of the warm drink, it was a luxury Tilo had missed. Scones? These people must have been living in comfort compared to Haven.

He was seated in the saloon on one of the many pieces of arm chairs that rested on an Ottoman rug and adorned the spacious room. The end table beside him had an outdated issue of the Guardian. The crackling fireplace was controlled, and continued to burn, and the fading sunlight gave its dying light to illuminating the cherry red walls of the interior through the half covered windows. The chandelier that hung from the high ceiling and sconces on the walls no longer served their function. There were various paintings hung on the walls, each in extravagantly ornamented frames, and the books on the shelves were recently dusted. Other end tables and desks were empty of decor. The manor was not as ostentatious as Tilo had expected, and he realized that it was only so because of the apocalypse. If the lights were on, it would seem as though the interior of Upton Abbey had not seen much decay. The lights were off and they left to let the fire and the sunset light the room.

The old man was across the room from Tilo, and the young woman was seated on a luxury sofa between the two of them. The three men stood around the room, with at least one of their hands on their weapons, even though Tilo's shotgun was still on the floor in the foyer. The little boy was playing with his trucks, and he occasionally looked up to Tilo and the woman. Tilo deduced that the woman was his mother. She had red hair and green eyes, and her face was fair for a woman living through this time. She wore no makeup, and a few lines of wrinkles showed, but she maintained great composure as she watched both Tilo and the child of William.

"You say you're from Haven? Why that's quite a ways from here isn't it?" Kenneth inquired.

"Indeed sir," Tilo took a long sip of the tea, it's deep flavor was something he long missed. The warmth of the drink eased his cold scratched throat. Then he set the mug on the end table, and rubbed his hands on his jeans in a nervous manner.

"How is miss Callie doing? And um...mister Mundry was it?"

"Uh Monroe sir," Tilo tried to be respectful of the older man.

"Right right, my age gets the best of me at times."

"They're doing fine, I thank you on their behalf."

"So why are you here?"

"Um well, I came, because uh I have news regarding your son, William."

Kenneth's mouth opened slightly, fear was beginning to rise. The hunters exchanged worried glances, and the young woman began to tense up.

"Wait," the young lady said to Tilo, then she turned to the young man, "Um, Rory can you take Eric to another room?"

"Uh cer-certainly Mrs. Elizabeth," Rory walked over and led the boy out of the room.

"Well go ahead," Kenneth gave him a grave look, while Elizabeth looked hopeful. The two hunters, they had the same face as Kenneth, their eyes grinding into the professor.

Tilo saw the look on their faces, he sighed and closed his anguished eyes for they had seen much. And that was enough for Kenneth and Elizabeth to know.

"I recently visited Hamilton's retreat hotel on a mission with a partner," they all looked to each other, aware that William had departed for the place a week ago.

"And while we surveyed the wreckage and scavenged for supplies, we confronted some zed. And um...we found...William..." Elizabeth covered her mouth with her hand, her eyes welled up.

"Is he okay?" she asked.

Tilo paused a bit, unsure which route to take.

"By the time we got there, it was too late. He was already bitten..." a cry escaped Elizabeth's mouth as she buried her face within her hands, the brownish-red haired man stepped to her side and placed his hand on her shoulder.

Kenneth had his eyes closed, and he exhaled slowly. It can't be true.

"He knew he was about to go, so he gave us his wallet and told us to come here and tell you how he died. Then he asked us to..." Tilo cleared his throat, "Shoot him...so that he wouldn't turn and prey on the living as one of them."

"How do we know what you're saying is true?" the bandaged hunter was skeptical.

Kenneth spoke, "Because... only William would have asked this man to perform such a deed."

Tilo produced the wallet and one of the hunters came to retrieve it, he handed it over to Kenneth. The old man nodded, it was his son's wallet, with the picture of his grandson.

"Why...why are you lying? He's still alive. Where did you find that wallet? You must have stolen that wallet. You are a thief and a liar!" Elizabeth cried incredulously amidst her sobs.

"Elizabeth, please," Kenneth tried to calm her, but he himself was having trouble holding back the pain.

Maybe it was because he had dealt with death before, with the death of Theresa, then again everyone at Upton Abbey had dealt with death at one point or another. Several members of the community had passed since Kenneth took in survivors. It was nothing new, but it was his son and Elizabeth's husband. The community looked on to William as a leader, for even the hunters had their heads down. It had been perhaps a week since William disappeared, and even the hunters knew that the odds of his survival were low, despite the sliver of hope that remained.

This time Elizabeth's sobs were even greater, as she finally knew, after days of waiting anxiously for her husband's return. He departed, saying goodbye, but she never expected it to be his last, not yet. No, it was not possible. It was too soon, he could not have died. She hoped that he had simply found himself stuck somewhere and would be on his way home soon. He had to come back to them, Eric and her, he had to come back. What took him so long? Why isn't he home yet?

Kenneth felt sadness on two levels, one for his daughter-in-law who had crumbled despite being a normally confident woman, and one for himself for he had lost a son. He was supposed to die before William, not the other way around. His son had died before he died, it disrupted the natural order of things. That knowledge was profound.

He tried to recall from memory his time raising the boy, and then the man he named William, but his old age had taken a toll on his memory. He tried to remember what he could of his son, he remembered that he was proud of the man that he came to be. Sometimes, he thought, maybe he did not do enough as a father. Wealth was one thing, but to be a father was another. Regret poured into him, he had so many things he wanted and needed to say to his son before he left.

A part of him had died.

Then he thought of Eric, and the sadness he felt the day before for his grandson only grew. His grandson would grow up without a father. Kenneth Rand felt helpless in his wheelchair, he tried to break the metal armrests in his palms in silent wrath. In his youth, he conquered the world, but in his maturity, all he could do was observe the world until he could no longer wake from his sleep.

Tilo watched in silence as the turmoil unfolded, and kept his eyes at the fireplace.

------

1840

After about an hour of grieving, during which Elizabeth fled to another room to be alone with her thoughts and Kenneth bade the hunters take leave to return to watch, the old man spoke again.

"She's just dealing with grief normally."

Tilo nodded.

"You said you had a partner at the time of William's death? Where are they now?"

"She could not make it. She, died, last night. She was out on a mission and she was bit by them and...had to kill herself to save a comrade," Kenneth nodded, so he knew that Tilo himself was not unfamiliar with death.

For some reason, he trusted Tilo. He knew the younger man, compared to himself, had seen much as evidenced by the way he saw Tilo clasped his hands and the trouble he had trying to maintain a straight face while telling the story of William's death.
At the moment, the old man realized that there were pressing matters arising. With knowledge of William gone, the hunters of Richard Brand were free to take over. None of the others dared to challenge him and his group, not without William. He feared they might institute a new, and unsavory regime.

Kenneth wondered what kind of person Tilo was, and from there he could determine whether the professor was a friend enough to confer onto him the current social climate of Upton Abbey with this new revelation, or a foe who he would hide the affairs of their community from.

"So Tilo, you say you're a professor. Do you have a family?"

"That's quite right sir, I was a history professor at the King's College in London. And yes, I had a family. I have a wife and two sons. We lived in Colchester, but we were separated at the beginning of the outbreak. I don't know if they are still alive."

"I might venture to ask what are their names?"

"My wife Lucille, and sons Edmond and Horatio. Have you by any chance..?"

"No...they aren't here at Upton. I'm sorry."

Tilo pursed his lips, that was about all he wanted to say regarding his personal life.

Kenneth nodded, understanding that he might have pried a bit too far into the younger man's life. He was a family man and he had sons, and Kenneth believed that he understood the pain or even the fear of losing a son. Kenneth felt a bit of pity on Tilo, because the wheel-chair bound man knew the fate of his son, but the younger man was still looking for his own sons. The uncertainty was a dreadful feeling that loomed over Kenneth the past couple of days, but he knew it was nothing compared to perhaps the months of isolation from his family. That was coupled with the fact that Tilo was far away from his home in Colchester, here in the Lakes, and news of sons would be very unlikely to reach him here. All of this, however, hinged upon the question of whether or not this information was true.

Kenneth saw the tormented man's eyes in the way he faltered at maintaining a conversational gaze, his gestures in the way he clasped his hands and rubbed them together, his expressions in the way he leaned forward and did not recline against the chair, his wrinkles when he told the story, his voice in the way it trembled at times when he spoke, his nervousness in the way he rubbed his legs, all of these seemed to indicate that he spoke the truth. At the same time, Kenneth wondered about the likelihood of the man's origins, Colchester was quite far from the Lakes.

"From Colchester? That's quite a long trip you've made. How did a college professor such as yourself end up all the way up here? Tell me your story."

"Yes, um, well one day I came home from work, and the things came out of nowhere and blocked all paths to my home. So, I tried to evacuate northward, since the Prime Minister had declared that they were retreating behind the Antonine line. And I believed my wife and sons would most likely have headed north like everyone else. Along the way I found shelter with many people, but everywhere I went was just a day's rations away from starvation and the undead were never far behind. I realized that I could no longer stay with them and had to set out if I wanted to survive and find my family. Luckily, I managed to find a caravan of survivors and we drove as far north as the petrol could take us, following the M6. We had hoped that maybe Cumbria was spared, but little did we know then, that the sickness (I don't know what it is), hit the major population areas. And I'm sure you know that the main motorways often drove from one major town or city to another."

"Indeed."

------

1940

"When we arrived at Carlisle, we were lucky to have gotten out of the city alive. The city had been overrun and we lost a few here and there. Then we ran out of petrol in the wilderness somewhere along the Lakes. To be honest, at the time we did not really have a long term plan. We had just hoped to make it to the wall and regroup with our families and friends, if they survived. Fear was a prime motivation. One of the problems was that we did not use what little fuel we had wisely. We thought maybe we could pick up a couple of cans here and there, it seemed smart. We never factored in that other people would have the same kind of thinking, especially in this world. So from that point we made it on foot, moving northward, and one night (I don't remember the day) we were ambushed by zed and everyone scattered. I probably spent two or three days traversing the wilderness in a fatigued and hungered state. Then I found Haven, and well the rest is history I suppose," the irony of that last statement.

"In those two or three days in the wilderness, I often thought about my chances of survival. I thought about whether or not I would have the chance to see my family again. It was a miracle if anything that no zed found me wandering along in the woods, otherwise I would not be here today," Tilo exhaled, his story was told.

Kenneth nodded, the tale was compelling. He no longer had any doubts, this man had seen much, and the conviction through which he spoke convinced him that he might be a worthy ally.

"Well, I want to thank you for your tale, and for telling us the fate of my son William. He was noble until the end, he got it from his mother, that I am sure. I didn't think he would have preferred to leave this world in a manner similar to myself, of old age."

Tilo nodded in agreement, the burden seemed to slowly lift itself from him. He remembered the stationary he had brought with him, and he reached into the sack and pulled the sheets out.

"I'm currently writing a small volume of history regarding the apocalypse and the people I've met along the way. My personal history I suppose," Tilo paused, "Could you tell me a bit about your son?" Tilo had his pen on the slightly bent and crumpled sheets.

Kenneth's eyes looked out the window.

------

"Thank you so much sir," Tilo smiled modestly, the subject was touchy if anything. "There's also something else."

"Oh?" Kenneth was curious.

"I came here on a diplomatic mission of sorts. We want to engage in trade, and more cooperation with the people you have here at Upton. We believe it would be to our mutual benefit."

"Explain. How do you suppose we go about doing this, given the distance between our two communities?"

"Not just us two, but the Caravanners as well. As far as we know, the three communities are the largest, and most stable settlements in this region. All of us have managed to survive the undead thus far. If we worked together trading supplies and clearing out the region of undead, perhaps we could make it safer for us to venture outward. At some point...we have to start looking toward the future."

"The offer sounds tempting, but who would spearhead such an effort?"

"Well, the leaders of the three communities of course. Ms. Callie Winters and Mr. Jonathan Monroe of Haven, Ms. Jane Meadows of the Caravanners, and you yourself Mr. Rand. I believe all of you are capable leaders who have managed to successfully maintain order within your respective communities," Tilo paused, "We're all Englishmen, Mr. Rand, we can continue to compete, but that would leave us vulnerable to outside forces."

"What do you mean?"

"Recently we received reports of a group of five marauders wandering the district. They recently killed several Caravanners, and were the cause of my partner's death yesterday," the band he spoke of seemed disturbingly similar to the gang of five in Kenneth's mind.

"The possibility of more hostile groups of armed men, outlaws, militants, bandits, taking the law into their own hands in this world seems to be growing."

"The last thing we would want...is for someone...like William...to die by the hands of these scoundrels or the undead for that matter," the mention of William struck a chord.

Kenneth fell into thought, Tilo did not want to pour more onto what he said because that would be redundant. He felt as though he tried every trick in the book, pathos, ethos, and logos. He felt a bit guilty for using William the way he did, but it had to be done for the greater good.

"Give me some time to think about, Mr. King. Perhaps I'll have an answer for you by tomorrow morning."
Tilo nodded.

By the time their conversation had ended, night had fallen upon them, and the light of the incandescent fireplace bickered for their attention. The wind and the snow picked up outside and was directly crawling inside of the manor.

"Oh dear, it's getting late, I need to return to Haven. I apologize for overstaying my visit," Tilo got up from his seat.

"Oh no, it was my fault. However, it's quite dark and cold outside. It would be a dangerous return trip," Kenneth paused, "How about you stay the night? Perhaps you can leave in the morning when the conditions are more favorable, my friend."

Tilo wanted to decline the offer, but the older man had logic and reason on his side and this was a stately home. Perhaps it couldn't hurt to stay the night, besides he had not actually had the chance to tour the manor from the inside.

"Speak no more, I will be sure to tell Sandra that we have a guest for the night."

"Oh well I should probably tell Ms. Winters about this, she would be worried if she didn't hear back from me."

"I would imagine so." Kenneth rolled out of the saloon and into another room, one among the many rooms of his home.

------

2140

Dominic and Finley were on night watch, Finley had switched out with Rory after the sun was no longer in the sky. The two men were eating from plates filled with potato slices, radishes, and squirrel meat. It was a decent meal for them, and they didn't complain. Finley sat on the window ledge while Dominic was on the floor on one of the Ottoman rugs in the bedroom. Dominic had just finished his plate and set it beside him while he sat and waited for the food to digest.

"Wad ye leuk at that!" Finley cried as he saw a spark of light in the distance from the open window.

"What is it?" Dominic got up and there they both saw the beacon of light in the distance. It was an explosion, in the middle of the night.

------

Tilo, Kenneth, and Sandra had their supper in the saloon area, everyone else ate, wherever else they ate. People often moved about after the meal, the place seemed fairly lively. Tilo came to believe that Sandra was Kenneth's caretaker, the way she managed his things and followed him about. Elizabeth had returned with Eric, Tilo later found out the child's name, and joined them for supper.

Supper was one of the finest Tilo had in perhaps months, it was a surprise how the Rands lived. It was probably due to the fact that they had a number of experienced outdoorsmen who knew the land better than most of those at Haven, Tilo included, therefore it was no wonder that they acquired a larger supply of game compared to Haven. Not to mention they even had a small farm in the back, cultivated by the women and men every now and then. It afforded potatoes, lettuces, and radishes, and if there were any squirrels feeding on the crops, a huntsman would make it part of one of the day's meals. Kenneth made no objections to that either, red squirrel charities was old world news.

As Tilo thought more about it, Monroe never actually sent the scavs on hunting missions, they just went out and about gathering canned foods and other supplies that were still critical to handling the zed threat, such as the fireworks, and bikes. All of these equipment were for better scav operations as the days went on. Upton Abbey's pantry, however, was decently stocked at the time of the outbreak, and the outdoorsmen came with the equipment that they survived with. The comparisons were interesting, for a settlement to be permanent in this kind of world, there needed to be a stable source of food. In history it was through the efforts of agriculture, now with the automated farms down, and workers nowhere to be found, they had to scavenge for food. There was only so many cans available in nearby towns. The second requirement was safety, this was afforded via weapons, but those were only needed insofar as the zombie threat still existed.

Tilo's fears were about to come to fruition, why would the Rands bother allying themselves with the Caravanners or Haven. It seemed as if they had all they needed to live comfortably, food, shelter, supplies, and safety. They seemed better off than Haven, and perhaps even the Caravanners if what Tilo had heard was true.

As they finished, Tilo set aside his plate for Sandra to pick up. Eric had finished his meal and was playing with his trucks. Tilo
watched the innocent child roam on with his imaginings, he felt pained that the child would never see his father again. Somewhere in that family was a reflection upon Tilo and his. Elizabeth caressed the boy, he was the only living link she had left to William.

Eric's trucks found their way to Tilo's foot, and he obliged by nudging them along and smiling to the boy. Eric returned the affection with a smile.

"Did you finish supper?" Elizabeth asked the child.

"Yes," he answered bravely.

Tilo sighed.

The young man from before with the unkempt hair, Rory, came into the room, addressing Kenneth.

"Um, Mr. Rand, Richard is back, but he's alone," Rory was slightly disturbed, as was Kenneth. Tilo had no idea who they were referring to.

Another man, he seemed to have been ravaged by the day and the sun, stepped into the parlor with a couple of weapons.

"Ah Richard, you're back," Kenneth said. Tilo detected a slight hint of distaste as he said this, this man was the 'Richard' they spoke of.

"Mm," Richard noted Tilo, the grey haired professor. To Richard, he was probably just another survivor that found the place, he did not seem to pay much attention to the old man.

"Where are the other four?" Kenneth asked.

"Eh," Richard had not really thought of an alibi, he was more concerned with getting back to the mansion alive through the night.

"They're uh...probably back in Cromwell. They'll survive the night in some old cottage," he tried to play it off cooly. He did not want to hint at the fact that they were all killed, with him as a sole survivor.

"Who's he?" Richard asked, glancing over at Tilo.

"He's from Haven," Kenneth said.

"Haven?" Richard was surprised, and he became...defensive, "What are you doin' all the way here? Did that place finally run out of food? How many people have died so far? Are the leaders still alive?"

Tilo did not have time to react before, "Richard, please be a little respectful of our guest," Kenneth Rand had this firm gaze that pacified the hunter.

"Apologies mate," Richard sprung a smile at Tilo. It seemed to the professor that it was oddly uncharacteristic of Richard to do so.

Kenneth had saved Tilo from answering the questions, and gave him time to wonder why the man would ask him such questions. The short confronation between the two melted away, Richard had other bones to pick. Kenneth tried to hold on as long as he could. It seemed as if he was trying to gather intelligence on Haven, and that reminded Tilo about what Monroe had said, to keep his wits. He had not exposed much regarding Haven's affairs, just his own personal matters. At all costs, he knew he had to maintain a firm front for Haven.

------

November 6th, 2013

0900

They were up early in the morning, Tilo was lucky enough to have a tour of the mansion the previous night. The entire time the fellow Richard seemed to be around, always eyeing him like a vulture of sorts. He was a wiry man, and his shifty eyes made the professor uncomfortable. He had a habit of carrying a knife around with him, brandishing it almost. Tilo feared the man would try something on him in his sleep, he was after all in "hostile" territory as Monroe might have called it.

However, when Tilo woke up he was just grateful that he could open his eyes. They had a short breakfast, a plain breakfast with eggs, toast, hash browns, and beans. It was scrumptious, Tilo made sure to savor each bite in secret, because he was sure he would not be able to eat such food again in awhile.

"Perhaps we've been too isolated here," Kenneth paused, "Cooperation...it sounds interesting. At the moment, I have not come to a decision. However, I do thank you for your effort to make it from Haven all the way up here, it was a perilous trip. And we will be more in touch with your leaders from this point on, and perhaps your vision might be realized."

"Oh no, please, it's not my vision. I just simply want to go back to living like before," Tilo said.

"Mmh, my friend, you are a history professor. You should know that before is no longer here, but long gone. Anyway, take some biscuits for your return."

Sandra gave Tilo a small cloth with a few biscuits wrapped inside as he was about to depart.

"Oh I can not possibly take this..."

"No I insist. It's for your troubles."

"Very well, thank you. I don't know how I'll be able to pay you back."

"Worry about getting home first. We'll see you." Kenneth Rand, his caretaker Sandra, and Rory returned inside of the mansion, and the doors closed shut.

------

1100

The path home was clear of zed, it seemed almost like a golden brick road. Tilo reached the gate of Haven with a smile on his face. He would be happy to report good news, and only good news for once. The past week had been complete hell of a new sort. Whether or not he'd get over Toby and William, he didn't know. People seemed to be dying left and right, and his smile began to falter. It worried him that someone else might have died while he was away, Laney, or Hoppy, or who the hell knows anymore.

As he stepped into the 'command post,' he saw Callie alone. Something was out of place, where was Monroe? He was supposed to be in his seat as usual. Callie turned to him, she looked different than from the day before. Something was lost in her
expression, despite her smile. It seemed like a facade.

"Where's Monroe?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tilo King Character Portrait: Callie Winters Character Portrait: Benjamin Kinney Character Portrait: Richard Brand Character Portrait: Alison Carter Character Portrait: Jesus "Matador" Herrera Character Portrait: Erin 'Hoppy' Hooper
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#, as written by Bosch
November 9th 2013, 0430

Upton Abbey.


Ken Rand awoke with a gun being pointed in his face.

He didn’t need any light to know who was behind it.

“Richard. Come to kill an old man in his bed?”

“It’s the only way Ken, the strong keep the weak and that’s not happening at the moment.”

“And I suppose you are the strong?”

“In Upton I am.”

“Strength doesn’t come from the barrel of a gun boy.”

“It’s just a tool.”

“So what are you hoping people will believe I died from lead poisoning? You can’t shoot me.”

“I’m not going to. You’re going to take these.”

Brand tossed a bottle of pills onto the bed.

Ken lifted them to his face and tried to read the label. They were medication for his heart.

“You’ll have to shoot me, I’m not taking these.”

Richard produced a large knife with his left hand. “Or I could use this. Just know my next stop will down the hallway, Elizabeth and Eric’s room.”

“You bastard you wouldn’t get away with it.”

“Yeah I would. People want a strong leader. I tell them I saw someone running off in the direction of the Caravaners and I’m fine. People will believe what I tell them too because they’re scared. Everyone wants an older Brother.”

Ken looked at the mans gleaming eyes and knew he was serious. “You won’t harm Eric?”

“Scout’s honour.” Richard said. “Bottoms up Ken.”

Ken unscrewed the lid of pill bottle.

#


0900


Sandra was carrying a tray containing Ken’s breakfast she made her way up the stairs towards his bedroom. On the staircase she passed Elizabeth and Eric who were going the opposite direction for their own breakfast. After a cheery hello she was on her away again.

She reached the door to Ken’s room and with the grace that comes from practice opened the door with her elbow.

“Rise and shine!” She said in sing song as the door swung open and bounced off something behind it. She gave it nudge but it didn’t budge. When a grey arm reached around and grabbed her ankle she let out a loud scream and dropped the tray. She fell hard on her back as Ken Rand flung the door open. Sandra could see he had turned. His eyes were cloudy and his hand cold on her ankle. He was pulling himself towards Sandra with his teeth bared.

Instinct kicked in and Sandra drove the heel of her trainer swiftly into the Zombie’s face. After a few more kicks she was able get clear of the beast.

“Help! Ken’s.... HELP!”

She ran for the stairs while Ken crawled after her, his legs as useless in death as they had been in life.

As Sandra ran down the stairs she passed two hunters travelling the other way. Except this time there was no cheery hello.

The confirmation came in the form of a gunshot that echoed through Upton Abbey.

#

The entire of Upton Abbey was in an uproar. First there was the fact Ken Rand was dead, secondly there was the fact he’d turned despite not being bitten and lastly there was the issue of who would lead the Rands now. The impromptu meeting was being held in the dining area as the populace tried to deal with the confusion. It was perfect for Brand’s purposes.

He stepped forward and raised his arms in an attempt to calm the crowd.

“I’ll lead. It makes sense that the Hunters have more say over how Upton is run. We need to be strong now, it’s what Ken and William would have wanted.” He shot a wink at Eric who buried his face deeper in his mother’s leg. “As for why Ken turned that’s beyond me but there’s no point in dwelling. It happened and we have to move on.”

As he predicted fear was a great motivator and everyone agreed, only Elizabeth kept silent.

He had no idea why Ken had turned he thought the heart medicine would just kill him not turn him. It was of no matter now his plan was complete he had complete control of Upton. There maybe a few people that would oppose him like Elizabeth but a blue blood like her wouldn’t present much of a threat.


November 9th 2013, 1020

Callie stood in the doorway of Doctor Short’s Medical area watching the mousy woman work. It was a strange thing to see. From the second Callie had told her Hoppy had been wounded the Doctor had set about marshalling her resources. She was brimming with confidence and had no problem ordering those around her unlike her normal persona.

Carter was sitting on her bed watching the scene as well. She had offered her basic first aid training but Short had politely yet firmly declined. By the time Laney and Hoppy arrived the Doctor was ready to deal with the trauma. It took about an hour of work but eventually Short was able to stabilise her. Callie was concerned that the Doctor was having to bastardise a lot of the equipment she was using and could already see that the Scav’s would have a something of task on their hands if they were too save Hoppy’s life.

“Bollocks!” Short cried and a spurt of blood erupted from Hoppy. “Callie, get here now.”

Callie rushed to Short’s side and got her first good look at Hoppy. The girl had gone very pale and was naked from the waist up where Doctor Short was working on a small but very bloody wound. Bubbles of blood were erupting from it and Hoppy’s breathing was faint.

Short directed Callie to put pressure on the wound while she prepared some plastic sheeting and duct tape.

“It’s the pressure, it keeps blowing the dressing off. I don’t have the equipment to deal with this kind of Trauma.”

Callie kept the pressure on the wound until Doctor Short had applied her dressing.

“She needs blood.”

“What is she?” Callie asked.

“Not a clue. I’m AB negative, so I’m no good.” Short explained.

Callie shrugged. “I don’t know what I am.”

“I’m B positive.” Carter called from her bed.

“That’s no good either. We need someone who is O negative, universal donor.”

Callie nodded and raced out of the medical room in search of blood.

#

1050

She came up empty nobody had O Negative and Callie silently cursed herself for not thinking about getting a Blood Type chart up and running sooner. She was about to give up when she noticed him sitting silently on the living room couch with his head in his hands.

Callie wasted no time.

“Shinji. What Blood type are you?”

He looked up and Callie could see tears in his eyes. She remembered he’d lost his wife only hours before but now wasn’t the time for compassion.

“Hello Shinji.” He said morosely.

“Yes, Hello. What Blood Type?” Callie said.

He stared dumbly ahead.

Callie swore and ran to the kitchen where she picked up a pen, paper and kitchen knife. She returned to Shinji and showed him the palm of her hand and sliced it. She flinched at the bite of the knife and let the blood fall onto the page. She then did an equals sign and scribbled AB+.

“Oh Shinji.” Exclaimed suddenly comprehending.

He grabbed the pen and hurriedly wrote O-.

“Hoppy. Needs you.” Callie was wildly gesticulating trying to covey her meaning to the only man who could save Hoppy.

“Hoppy, yes.” Shinji said getting off the couch.

Callie took him by the hand and marched him to Doctor Short who wasted no time setting up a transfusion. Shinji was sitting a chair opposite Hoppy although he had positioned himself so he wasn’t looking at the girl given her some privacy.

“Ok Callie she’s stable but she won’t stay that way. My Blue Peter efforts won’t last long we need serious equipment to deal with this kind of trauma. I’ll prepare a list and you need to get the Scavs out. I reckon she’s got about a day. Shinji can only give so much blood.”

“Alright I’ll get people on it.”

“Good, but first let me patch that hand.”

#

Haven

1500


"And we have to end it."

Callie looked tiredly at the two men but couldn’t help the grin spread over her face which quickly turned into peals of laughter. She was giggling for a full minute before she got her breathing under control.

“We have to end it?” She said wiping a tear from her eye. “You guys sound like John Wayne or something. I’ll give you pair that you’re always good for a laugh.”

She sniffed. “Back in reality land you need to understand the Rand’s hunters are a larger group that know the area well, have weapons training and have killed in the past. You two are a History Professor and a Computing Student, so if you guys are done with the Rambo routine we have real problems. Hoppy is conscious but very sick and she’s going to get worse if she doesn’t get medical help.”

She produced a mission briefing and slid it across the table.

“Hoppy has been shot and the Doc says it’s pretty bad. She needs specialist materials if Hopster is to have a chance at survival. That takes precedent over a suicide mission to assault the Rands. Work it out amongst yourselves who goes. I’ve got Jesus ear marked for a special mission so it’s between you two, Laney and Kiera. We need those supplies within the next 24 hours.”

Job

Scrubs.


Suggested Number of Scavs – 1


Area – West Moreland Hospital

Objective- Recover Medical Supplies. Chest Tubes/ thoracic catheter, Asherman Chest Seals, as many of these as possible. Azithromycin, Clarithromycin, Clindamycin, Voriconazole, Cefdinir, Cefixime, Ciprofloxacin, Doxycycline, Fluconazole, Levofloxacin, Linezolid, Loracarbef, Sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim.

Information- Hoppy has been seriously wounded but thanks to Doctor Short and Shinji she is now stable. She’s lost a lot of blood and the Doctor is worried about her lung collapsing all together. Apparently that’s really bad.

She’s put together a list of items that she can use to save Hoppy’s life however they are not in her GP practice in Cromwell. A lot of his stuff is pretty specialised so it looks like you are going to West Moreland Hospital in Kendal. The meds are all types of Antibiotics that do not need to be kept cold. It’s unlikely the hospital will have them all just grab what you can some is better than none. Kendal is a pretty big town, at least it’s big for the Lake District so keep your head on a swivel.

The Doc reckons any immediate danger to Hoppy has passed but she is suggesting Hoppy will not survive with the supplies the Doc currently has. It’s your job to get out to Kendal and back before any harm befalls her.

I’m getting pretty sick of putting up those crosses so be careful and get the supplies. If it comes down to it though your life outweighs the supplies.

Callie.

#

Upton Abbey

1900



Sandra came to her in the evening when all was quiet. Eric was asleep but Elizabeth was just staring at the ceiling. She was wondering how best to escape Upton. She had a feeling though that Brand wouldn’t make it simple. Perhaps she could reach out to Haven, their Professor King seemed nice and more importantly smart.

A knock at the door broke her train of thought. Elizabeth got out of bed and answered .

“Sandra, come in.”

Sandra slunk in like a thief and Elizabeth could relate to her feeling of paranoia. Now Brand was calling the shots the atmosphere at Upton had already begun to change. They spoke in hushed voices on the far side of the room so as not to wake Eric.

“Lizzie, I found something and I don’t know who to tell.”

“You can tell me. What is it?”

“This morning when I was cleaning up Ken’s room I found this.”

Sandra produced a small pill.

“What’s this?”

“It’s heart medication. I found it in Ken’s bed.”

Lizzie stared blankly.

“Ken has different types of Meds for his heart. Some he takes daily and I look after them. Others he takes only when he’s having an attack.”

“Ok.” Elizabeth said still not understanding the importance of the heart meds.

“This is the type he takes daily so there is no reason for him to have them, I control the administration of Meds and I’m very precise about it. Even if he did have them he would have known these aren’t the right type of Meds to combat an attack. He may as well have eaten Tic Tacs.”

“So you think he died from a heart attack but took the wrong meds?”

“That’s what I thought at first but with Heart meds being so rare I can account for every pill, this one isn’t one of mine.” Sandra said. “If he was having a heart attack he was taking the wrong Medication that he shouldn’t have even had in the first place.”

“Right that dosen’t make sense Ken is meticulous.”

“Exactly but I checked my stores anyway and they are all present and accounted for.”

“So either Ken had a supply you didn’t know about...”

“Which is impossible.” Sandra interjected.

“... or someone gave him a few of these.”

“A lot of those. I think he was murdered. In a high enough dose that would trigger a heart attack. Ken knew it would be undetectable without a clue so that’s why he dropped a pill for me to find.”

“So you think it was murder?”

“In my opinion yes.”

“That doesn’t explain why Ken turned though.” Lizzie pondered.

“I know I can’t explain that. Maybe the pills were laced?”

“If the heart pills would have done the job why... why zombify him?” Lizzie said after trying and failing to find a better word.

Sandra shrugged. “Whatever is happening it stinks and the suspect list isn’t exactly long is it?”

“No.” Lizzie said.

“So what do we do? Brand is a psycho, he can’t run this place.”

“I know I was thinking of running to Haven with Eric but it’s too dangerous.”

“I could make it.” Sandra offered.

“It will make you look suspicious though.”

“Yeah well it’s better that then letting Brand remain unopposed, nobody here is going to do anything about it.”

“Alright. I’ll cause a distraction so you can escape tomorrow morning, at guard change would be a good time. Go to Haven and give this to Professor King.”

Lizzie quickly scribbled a note and folded it into William Rand’s wallet which she then handed to Sandra.

Sandra nodded.


#

November 10th 2013,
1100


Jesus was sweating under his multiple layers and was wondering how he got himself into this situation. He was standing in the middle of Silent Valley Solar Energy Plant with Mark the Haven Guard/ carpenter and Gary Flower who was so scared he was shaking like a shitting dog.

It was a peculiar saying he’d picked up from the English locker rooms and he found it apt. It made sense though last time Gary had been to silent valley he’d seen Chip die and nearly died himself. Figured that the guy would be nervous.

They were loading up the last of the solar panels, Mark and Jesus were there for the heavy lifting while Gary was there to make sure they weren’t damaging the panels when they cut them down. Mercifully they were light but as reported they were awkward to carry even with two people, Monroe had been wise to get the truck.

In a way they were putting all their eggs in the solar basket as they had used the fuel earmarked for the generator to make this run. The truck had been used frequently over the last few days and was in the red when Mark had gone to turn it over. Callie had agreed with the decision rationalising the fuel would run out anyway so they may as well use it trying to get the solar panels.

Mark slid the last Solar panel into the truck and dusted his hands.

“Job done let’s get back.”

“Wait do we not need a battery or something, you know so we can store the energy for use in the night?”

Mark and Gary glanced at each other, both surprised at the intelligent question from the footballer.

“Ideally yes but that’s a job beyond Haven. Besides I’ve been stockpiling rechargeable... well everything. The idea is we charge everything up during the day so it’s ready for use during the night.” Gary said quietly.

“I see well let’s get the show on the road then.” Jesus nodded. Mark climbed into the back of the truck with his rifle while Jesus and Gary climbed in front. Gary was driving and Jesus was keeping his eyes peeled.

They were leaving the plant when Mark curled his nose up in disgust. It smelt like rotten barbecue. He looked to his left and saw a naked and badly burnt zombie staggering after the truck.

“Jesus Christ.” Mark muttered as he tapped on the cab. “We got one following us. Shit make that two.”

In the cab Jesus could see more in the distance.

“Shit. We’re gonna get surrounded.” He said.

Gary’s hands were shaking badly now. “What do I do?”

“Chill. Nobody ever did anything by freaking out.” Jesus said with an easy smile.

Jesus rolled down his window and called to Mark.

“Take the long way home, I have distraction devices so I’ll lead them away. Once you get to a road you can pick up some speed and put some distance between you and them. I’ll loop round and come back home later.”

“You sure?”

“Yeah I need a run anyway.” Jesus smiled, wound up his window and prepared his gear. He then stepped out of the Cab and began his run calling to the zombies as he ran.

#

November 10th 2013,
1440


The Zombs had been pretty persistent but Jesus saw that as a good thing, it meant there were less on Mark and Gary. He’d run further south than he’d intended and he figured it was time to loop back first he had to shake the Zombs.

Every Scav had their own method but Jesus found the best way was to enter a building and close doors between him and the horde. They got snarled up in the building giving him time to escape via a back door. He found a large farmhouse that looked like it would do the trick and made a run for it. He ran inside and up the stairs. He left the front door open but closed every other door. It would ensure the zombs got well and truly entangled inside the structure.

He left via a bedroom window and soon found himself on the ground leaving the house in his dust.

He slowed to a jog as he wanted to avoid making too much noise and he’d been running for hours so he figured he deserved a break. His clothes were a mess of sweat and dirt. Jesus thought it might be time to retire his teeshirt.

It was a cool day but the snow had for the most part been melted by the recent heavy rain. There were multiple ice patches and according to Gary more Snow was on the way. Jesus shrugged. He liked the snow.

He’d been running for about an hour when he stopped to check in with Haven. He spoke to Callie and gave her his position. He figured he’d be home in a couple of hours at his current pace. He was in no rush, there was a lot of bad feeling in Haven at the moment due to the number of deaths. He’d been toying with the idea of leaving as at times it felt like tensions would boil over.

Jesus was thinking about this when he heard the moan. He dropped his hand to his hammer and stopped running.

It wasn’t a normal Zed moan, no this was more controlled. He then realised he was hearing sobbing, a child’s sobbing. He kept the hammer out and followed the sound. If it was a kid he couldn’t leave them but at the same time he wasn’t about to walk around unarmed.

He found a burnt out Nissan in a clearing and approached with caution. He peaked into the back seat and saw a girl in a school uniform hugging her knees and weeping.

“Are you ok there?”

The girl looked up and wiped the tears from her face. She had long red hair and her face was blotchy from crying.

“Hi my name is Jesus. Do you need help?”

“Hey-Zeus?” The girl repeated.

“Yeah. What’s your name?”

“Natalie. I’m lost. My dad went out for food and told me to stay here, he hasn’t been back for days.”

Jesus noticed Natalie glance over his shoulder. He turned his head and in his corner of his eye detected a flurry of motion. He didn’t have time to react as the axe swung down and into the top of his head. His attacker tried to pull the axe free but it was firmly wedged. Jesus collapsed and began convulsing.

Natalie leapt out of the car and over Jesus, who was no longer capable of comprehending much, and hugged the man who had swung the axe.

“We did good Daddy!”

“Sure did pumpkin. Lot of meat on this one and that looks like a nice watch!”

“Yay!” Natalie cried as she jumped up and down.

Daddy then pulled the axe free of Jesus’ head and swung it again.

#

November 10th 2013,
1650


Gary and Mark were tinkering with the Solar panels and Callie was monitoring radio traffic for the runners still out in the field. Jesus was still out there although he had checked in a few hours ago. A knock at the door pulled her from her post. She turned and saw Carter standing in the doorway.

“Hey want some company?” Carter asked.

“Yeah sure come in.” Callie nodded. She knew this moment had been coming and how she handled it would decide a lot. She had to size up Carter while she was doing the same to her. It was the kind of thing Callie excelled at.

Carter hobbled in on a pair of makeshift crutches and sat at the end of the table.

“So you’re the boss?”

“It’s not really like that, I was just first here.”

“That’s not the vibe I’m getting, you call the shots.”

“I guess but it’s more democratic than that.”

Carter nodded. “I see.”

They lapsed in to silence for a few seconds.

“I, uh, wanted to say thanks for saving me. I know you lost one of your people.”

“Yeah we did.” Callie let the words hang. “We couldn’t leave someone out there though. There’s survival and then there’s being an asshole.”

“I’m glad you did. Your man was very professional, Forces?”

“Yeah he was army or something.”

“It showed. Very controlled. I, uh, know you were close and set this place up with him. I just wanted to say, I appreciate it.”

“Don’t mention it. Time may come you have to do something similar.”

Carter nodded.

“I saw one of your people got captured and slapped around a little.”

“Yeah Ben. He’s dealing with some issues, but he’s not a bad a kid. We just don’t really have time for mental break downs right now. We’ve lost two people in the space of a week.”

“Losing people is hard. We took a lot of casualties defending Valley.”

“RAF Valley in Wales? You mentioned that before.”

“Yeah pain in the arse it was. We should have retreated much sooner but Command and Control had totally collapsed.” Carter shook her head at the memory.

“So the military isn’t functioning anymore?”

“What can I tell you? When the police and civilian services got overwhelmed they called in the Forces to try to control the outbreak. Course that didn’t work because we had no idea what we were dealing with. Lost a lot of people, people with the skills to survive this kind of thing. The brass is probably still out there, our guts their glory you know?”

“I think I can relate, except I’m the brass.” Callie frowned.

“Heavy rests the crown I guess.”

They lapsed into silence again and this time it was Callie who broke it.

“Monroe was the only person we had trained in any kind of combat, you got any training like that?”

Carter shook her head. “I’m a chopper pilot. I got escape and evasion training and I can operate some weapons systems but I was usually above the action.”

“Sorry, weapons systems?”

“Guns. I can work most weapons the RAF are issued with, combat theory isn’t my bag though. That’s army stuff.”

Callie nodded.

“What I can do is operate a radio and run ops. We had to work our own mission plans and that meant map studies. I can help you out with that kind of thing.”

“You want to help with the admin?” Callie said with a sceptical eyebrow raised.

“Yeah it’s not like I’m running anywhere any time soon.” Carter said pointing at her leg.

“Ok you can help. We have one Scav in the field at the moment. I guess you should get familiarised with the area. Monroe organised all the maps, they’re beside the bread bin behind you.”

Carter twisted awkwardly and grabbed the files. She smiled at the cover which was very precise and neat. It was organised in the fashion of an old school Map Book. Before the outbreak it was all digital, this was something of a throwback for Carter. She buried her head in the books and started studying.

#

November 10th 2013,

1700


Doctor Short had long since stopped taking blood from Shinji, in fact she’d taken more than she should have and now had the man under observation in the bed that had been occupied by Carter. Hoppy was stabilised and was even up and talking but Short was never far from her side. She had broken two ribs, Pneumothorax, a punctured lung and blood loss. Short was convinced the equipment on the list would allow her to treat the wounds but it was a matter of time, Short’s makeshift dressings would only last so long. She needed the correct equipment to deal with injuries or Hoppy would die.

This was frustrating to Short as Hoppy’s injuries where entirely treatable it was simply the lack of supplies. She needed the chest tube apparatus to stop to lung collapsing. Once she had that inserted the treatment plan became simple. Ensuring the wound was kept clean, allowing the ribs to heal and finally the removal of the tube. It would take weeks but Hoppy was lucky to be alive. The bullet had passed straight through her and avoided all major internal organs, save the lung. She had been particularly lucky as the bullet passed close to her spine. That would have spelt the end on her Scav career at least.

With nothing else to do Short checked the pulses of her two charges.


#

November 10th 2013,

1720


The panels were up but they hadn’t got the opportunity to get a full charge. Mark was sitting in his Crow’s nest with the scoped rifle when he heard a twig snap somewhere below outside the perimeter.


He lifted his large lamp and shone it in the direction of the noise. The Lamp had once been used in rabbit hunting now it served a different purpose. The beam found a bedraggled looking woman making her way up the hill towards Haven. She had her hands raised above her head.

Sandra called out. “My name is Sandra Hargrave! I am unarmed and need to speak to Doctor, I mean Professor King!”

“Tilo?” Mark muttered. “Where are you coming from?”

“Upton Abbey! King will know me I have a message!”

“Ok approach the gate then turn around and get on your knees then interlock your fingers behind your head!”

Sandra complied and Mark went outside, by now the entire of Haven was out and looking into the darkness with weapons drawn. Mark tied Sandra’s arms and marched her to Callie.

#

Carter, Tilo, Callie, Sandra and Mark were all in the kitchen. Sandra was starting to feel like a criminal but in a way she could understand the suspicion.

“Speak.” Callie said.

“Elizabeth Rand sent me. I have a message in my jacket pocket.”
Mark started rifling through her jacket which he removed when he was checking her for weapons. He produced a small black wallet and shrugged. Recognition flashed in Tilo’s and Callie’s eyes.

Mark tossed the Wallet to Callie and sheet of folded A4 tumbled out onto the kitchen table. It said Professor King on it and reminded Callie of the notes the kids in her class used to pass.

“Guess that’s for you Tilo.” Callie said. Tilo lifted the letter and quietly read it before handing it to Callie who read it aloud.

“Professor King,

I apologise for intruding but Upton Abbey is in trouble. Ken Rand has been killed and I suspect it was murder as does Sandra who you hopefully remember from your visit here. She can fill you in on the details.

I implore you to help us, the people here are scared and are reaching out for anything. Unfortunately that seems to be resulting in the wrong people getting in charge.

If Sandra makes it this far please ensure she is not mistreated.

Yours

Elizabeth Rand.


“I’d give her high marks for penmanship.” Callie said after a beat.

“This Kenneth Rand what makes you think he was murdered?” Carter asked.

Sandra explained that Ken was taking heart medication he shouldn’t have had that would have been ineffective.

“What about suicide? I’ve seen it happen to the strongest.”

“No not Ken, besides there was no way he got those pills on his own.”

“That you know of.” Carter said.

“Let’s go back to this Zombie situation. You say he turned without being bitten?” Callie asked.

“Yes well I suppose he could have got bitten on the face. The Hunters used a shotgun to put him down, there wasn’t much left of his head. If he had been bitten though that Zombie must have been the dairy milk man of Zombies because he didn’t leave a trace.”

“Weird. I’ll ask Rishi about that.” Callie said.

“So you want us to send one of our guys over there? You know one of your people has been running around murdering other survivors? A Gang of Five of them actually.” Carter said. Callie had spent the afternoon filling Carter in on the history of Haven.

“No but I bet I know who was responsible. Brand?”

Tilo nodded at Callie. That was the man he and Ben had concluded to be responsible.

“Let me guess he’s the one you think killed Rand?”

“Yeah both of the Rands probably.”

“Ok we need to take a look at this guy. Make sure he’s not a threat.”

“So what do we do? We can’t attack them, they out number and outgun us.” Mark said.

“I know.” Callie muttered.

She thought for a long moment while staring into space. When her thoughts came back to the room she found herself staring at Tilo.

The History Professor.

“Greeks bearing gifts.”

Mark looked at Tilo who appeared to be as confused as he was.

“This Brand guy. Sounds like a narcissist or a psychopath or whatever, means he likes it when people play up to his sense of superiority. So we use that as a cover to get in there and see what the hell is happening.”

“Narca-what? I thought you were a school teacher not a head shrink.” Mark said.

“You never watch Criminal Minds?”

“What?”

“Nevermind look. If we go over there, say we want to start the trades that Ken Rand proposed and play up to his ego he might just let us inside the building. From there Tilo can work out what the hell is going on once he has a word with Elizabeth Rand. See what I mean?” Callie explained.

“What if it all goes wrong?” Carter asked.

“Well if Tilo doesn’t check in then we tell the Caravaners we know who killed their guys and see what happens.”

“You mean start a war?” Carter asked.

“Don’t be melodramatic. They are the two biggest groups around here, we side with the Caravaners and take the Rands out. It’s a win win. We get back in with the Caravaners and protect ourselves from the Rands.”

“Then why not tell them now?”

“Because they lost people to those assholes and they will want blood. It’s clear not everyone supports Brand but I don’t think the Caravaners would see it that way once the bloodlust descends. They’ll slaughter everyone or be slaughtered in the attempt.”

“Maybe that wouldn’t be such a bad thing.” Carter offered. “I mean think about it. We let the Caravaners know what we know then let them go to war with the Rands. If the Caravaners win their numbers will have been thinned making them less of a threat and if the Rands win hopefully we could steamroll the survivors.”

Everyone in the room looked at Carter with wide eyes and Mark’s jaw actually dropped.

“I’m just saying.” Carter shrugged.

“That might be too far at the moment. The Caravaners can still be allies and we can’t assume Brand is evil. The evidence is pointing that way but it’s from conclusive. We need an investigation.” Callie offered although Carter’s callousness had shocked her.

“So the plan is to use the trade agreement to play up to Brand and make contact with Elizabeth Rand?” Mark asked.

“Correct. I say we send Tilo he knows the area and has a relationship with the people.” Callie said.


“I see. Will he be able to take care of Brand if it comes to it?” Carter asked.

All eyes fell on Tilo but Callie saved him from having to answer. “Tilo is smart and knows what’s at stake he can deal with it whatever way he needs to.”

Carter shrugged. “Fair enough what are you going to trade?”

“Haven’t thought about that.” Callie mused.

“We were carrying a lot of supplies might be something there worth salvaging. Food, that kind of thing. I think you guys should hold onto the weapons.”

“Yeah I think so too. What kind of weapons, we talking here?” Callie asked

“Couple of 9mm Browings , probably a few SA-80s. Nothing too heavy.”

Callie stared blankly. “I do people stuff, we had someone else for the guns. What does that mean?”

“Pistols and assault rifles.” Carter said simply.

“Ok so sounds like we got our selves an honest to God Scav mission. I’ll prepare the briefs.”

Job


An Inspector Calls.

Suggested Number of Scavs – 1


Area – RAF crash site. Upton Abbey.

Objective- Recover items to trade with the Rands from Crash site. Investigate death of Kenneth Rand.

Information- Ok so this one is a little complicated.

A woman called Sandra Hargrave arrived at Haven carrying a letter from Elizabeth Rand for Tilo. Sandra and the letter tell us things may have gone a little bad in Upton and it would be in our interest to check it out.

Elizabeth and Sandra believe and Man called Richard Brand is responsible for the death of Ken Rand. This is part of his powerplay to take over Upton. Apparently Brand believes himself to be a strong leader and the only one who worthy of leading. We intend to use his narcissism as a method to get inside Upton.

You will visit the downed RAF chopper and try to retrieve whatever you can. Not weapons though. Use the items as a way to ingratiate yourself with Brand. Play to his ego. Once inside locate Elizabeth Rand and get to the bottom of this mystery. Find out if Brand killed Ken and try to work out what Brand’s plans are for Haven. This could get ugly and there is a very real possibility you might need to kill Brand. It would be far better if you make this look like an accident. Talk to Doc Short or Rishi about how to achieve this.

Lastly it would appear Ken Brand turned despite not being bitten we’re looking into this but be aware he may have been poisoned. Odds are they could try the same trick twice assuming that’s what they did to begin with.

If we don’t receive a radio transmission at every four hours we will assume you have been captured and tell the Caravaners what we know. We want to avoid this as it will lead to a massive loss of life.

Good Luck.

Callie.


Bonus Mission.

Sea King Down.

Suggested Number of Scavs – 1


Area – RAF crash site.

Objective- Recover weapons and Items from the Sea King.

Information- When my Sea King went down it was loaded with supplies weapons, MREs, Medical equipment and ammo. By now the Zombie activity should have returned to normal so you can pop in and pop out without too much bother. Also of note is a radio equipment that would help boost the signal of the Haven Comms allowing for less atmospheric and geological interference.

A. Carter

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tilo King Character Portrait: Callie Winters Character Portrait: Mark Lawson Character Portrait: Richard Brand Character Portrait: Dominic Fields Character Portrait: Rishi Sharma Character Portrait: Alison Carter Character Portrait: Erin 'Hoppy' Hooper
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

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An Inspector Calls

November 10th, 2013

Upton Abbey


Ewan Alden had not received any transmissions from the rest of the gang of five through the radios that they were carrying or were supposed to be carrying. And any attempts he made to call out were met with static.

The situation at Upon seemed to be deteriorating by the minute as of the day before, when Ken Rand had to be put down by the hunters remaining at the abbey. People were still fearful and wondering how their elder leader turned. There was hysteria. At first the hunters went through checking everyone for bite marks, they began combing the halls of the manor, hoping to find an undead roaming about. However, none were found and they began to closely examine the late Ken Rand's body. They saw that he had no bite marks or wounds of any kind on what remained of his body after Richard Brand, almost remorselessly, blew off his head. They concluded that the only possible place he could have been bitten would have been on his head. It was inconclusive. That news made it even worse. People began to fear that there was some new form of transmission of the zombification.

Richard Brand, opportunistic, a word to describe the man, seized the initiative. He quickly took command, even though past incidences have proven that he was far from the sort of leaders that Ken and William were. Of course, he was a hunter, and they supplied the most in terms of food and safety. And by that point, news of William's death had reached everyone. The confusion as to how he died though was a result of the ever accurate rumor mill. That worked in Brand's favor. The mantle of leadership was up for grabs, but there were no claimants aside from Richard. The hunter smiled upon his fortune, and handily took his throne.

This only added insult to injury, especially to those who perceived the feud between the Rands and Brand's group and sided with the former rather than the latter.

From there, the ground seemed to shift. At once, Richard made it clear that the four hunters of his clique had probably turned or killed themselves to prevent turning. It would explain why they did not return to Upton. Most of the remaining hunters immediately fell under Richard. Those who were formerly with Kenneth grudgingly accepted him as leader, only Rory went so far as to make a claim for Elizabeth, saying that this was her father-in-law and husband's property. They spat on the boy and sent him out into the garden to tend the crops. Property in the new world belonged to the one with guns not to the one who held onto a defunct legal document.

Interestingly, in the old world, the legal document was just more than paper. There was an arsenal of guns behind it, so it was actually nothing new, not that many people cared. Except paper no longer had the support of guns.

------

That same morning it came to Richard's attention that one of the residents at Upton, Sandra Hargrave, had gone missing. She had been the caretaker for Kenneth, and she was a close friend of the Rands through her connection with the late elder. Richard knew all of this. He also knew that she was responsible for managing his medication. He wondered if she discovered what happened and immediately fled. It would only make him wonder more as to whether or not she told anyone anything before she left.

"Do you know where Sandra is?" Richard inquired.

"Sandra?" Elizabeth had a quizzical expression.

"She's nowhere to be found. Do you know where she could have went?" Richard raised his voice.

"No, I have no idea." Elizabeth replied.

It was bad enough that he could have been responsible for both her husband and her father-in-law's death, and now he was attempting to make advances on her. If not that, then perhaps threatening her and and her son's lives.

"So she just up and left then?" Richard said, like a wide-eyed maniac.

Elizabeth tried to come up with a possible reason to dissuade Richard's doubts.

"Maybe the incident yesterday took a heavy toll on her."

"But do you know how dangerous that was? She could have left the doors open to zed as she left. I'm damned surprised she managed to get past the night watch."

Elizabeth nodded in silence.

"Did she tell you anything? Before she disappeared?" Richard seemed to calm himself, it was atypical of him to do so.

"No, nothing."

"I know you're still a bit down after what happened with your father. If you ever need anything, I'm here for you." Richard's attempt at sincerity was disgusting.

"I'm fine." Elizabeth said, rebuffing him.

Richard simply nodded his head and left Elizabeth in the hallway.

Elizabeth knew Richard was going after the various people who were with her husband and father-in-law's side before they both perished. Sandra believed he was responsible for turning her father into a stiff, and the fact that he was the one to pull the trigger only added to her suspicions. It was possible to say that he could have been responsible for William's death as well, since they were out on their trip to Hamilton's resort. Elizabeth instinctively believed that he had injured Corporal Fields to prevent him from accompanying William. She imagined that Richard had probably trapped her husband somewhere and left him to die. She imagined him laughing with those four others when they had done it. She imagined William's last moments, the same image coming forth to her mind's eye as the one she conjured up when Professor King told her about his fate in the first place. And the sexual advances that her husband's killer made only discomforted her even more. These thoughts flooded her mind. She was upset, angry, disgusted, disturbed, sad, horrified, fearful, anxious, and even helpless. But perhaps not...hopeless.

At the same time, the cocktail of emotions was too much for her. Taking a page from British politicians, she tried to hide herself beneath her exterior and maintain a stoic countenance to prevent the man from becoming suspicious. She hoped that Sandra could get help, as she passed word to whoever still sided with her. Rory promised to stay quiet, and Dominic promised to always look behind himself. They were capable people.

------

November 10th

0900

Haven


Sometime after Tilo had recovered from the news about Hoppy, he decided to shut himself in for a bit to think. He slept, he ate, and then he slept. He felt no desire to talk to anyone, there was a lot already weighing on his mind. And it seemed to him that, as each day passed, the more his family slipped from his memory. The other day he cursed himself in angered silence that he forgot his youngest son's name. He knew he was only in his mid forties, but it stung him a bit. Secretly, he felt ashamed. He spent an hour to two writing Horatio's name over and over and over on a sheet of stationary. He never told anyone about the incident.

The old man looked over the notes he had written while he was at Upton. He was glad that the sheets weren't as badly crumpled as he expected them be as a result of the return trip, and that the ink had not smudged.

Ken Rand was born in London, and he later moved his home to Liverpool, on the west coast of England to expand his business of greengrocers. He met Theresa Kenny there in 1976, and in that same year, William was born. This made William 37, compared to my 45, it was only an eight year difference. From there, young William attended a preparatory school from 4 to 11. After that he attended senior school until he reached adulthood. Both schools were independent schools, unconfined by the national curriculum, and paid for in full by the elder Rand. I think it would not be too much to conclude that William had a quality education. After that, William enrolled in the University of York's law program. When I spoke with the elder Rand, he said that the only thing his wealth did, was giving his son opportunities, and he emphasized that it was his son who made the choices that got him where he was in life...

Tilo had asked people around Haven about Monroe and Toby.

Some say Monroe was born in Belfast in 1975 or 1976. They said he was in the Forces as part of the Paras. He joined mainly because he wanted to get away from the Troubles. I remember hearing about that, just a lot sectarian violence that did not needed to happen. He received a military cross for actions in Sierra Leone. After he left the army he became a contractor, but he never settled down. Truth be told, I can see why that was the case. He was probably unaccustomed to civilian life, and accustomed to military life. Institutionalized, I suppose. His personal life was riddled with womanizing and alcohol, at least that's what I heard. When I came to Haven, I saw none of that. In fact he was more of a gruff no-nonsense type, sobered up even. And maybe he talked about me behind my back, he was a soldier, and I was a...well...a student. One thing that I will never forget about the man, he often drank this rank smelling coffee that rotted the nostrils. And for some reason, and maybe this is pure coincidence or maybe not, but it seemed as if whenever I was there, he would be drinking it. Of course, I'm hoping that as the days go on I'll remember him by just more than that. He did what he could to prepare us, us as in the Scavengers of Haven...

He stopped there and moved on to another piece. Cramps? No, he had none of that. His mind was too busy thinking about people to worry about a little hand fatigue.

I was kind of sad to find out that nobody knew about Toby. In fact, I kind of beat myself up for not knowing her real name in the first place. The only people around who actually knew her real name were Callie and Mark, October Harrison. Since this is what I would hope to be my memoirs, I want to honestly say that, when I first met her I dreaded the possibility of having to work with her on a mission. It was the scar above her lip that made the first impression for her. She was shorter than me, and stouter framed, and somewhat more muscular. Her arms had tattoos, which I only found out about after our mission to Hamilton's retreat. She was not really sociable, but maybe that was just me or the rifle that I held. I doubt I looked intimidating because she knew that I had no prior experience of using such a firearm. I later found out that not many people knew her. She was almost like a ghost. She seemed to be the self-reliant type. Mark told me that she had made her way on foot all the way from Halifax. I think lesser people would have crumbled before reaching Haven. I don't think she deserved her fate, but then again I'm not God, and I don't get to pick and choose who lives and who dies. Food for thought I suppose.

As Tilo's hand cramped again, he heard a knock on the door, goddamnit. He took a moment to let that sink in, had he just swore under his breath at a minor annoyance? It seemed his fuse was getting shorter. He immediately hid the guitar in the corner, covering it with his sleeping bag.

"Who is it?"

"Tilo it's Gary, open up."

"Have you checked this out?" Gary handed Tilo what appeared to be a small booklet.

"What is this?"

"You saw Rishi's book that was pinned to the board right?"

Tilo nodded.

"This is a pocket sized version that the man spent, who knows how much time, to make."

Tilo skimmed a few pages.

"He ran some tests over the zed that he's got locked up in that building, and he managed to write down what he could find. By the way, is it true that you actually found him that specimen?"

"Well I..."

"Actually, how did you even manage to catch one and bring it back here?"

"It's a long story," Tilo waved his hand, "Um, I'm a little busy right now Gary, could you?"

"Uh...yeah, sure," but before he left, "You've been in here the entire morning. I didn't see you get breakfast. Are you okay Tilo? About the whole Hoppy thing?"

"I'm fine," that was a partial lie, "Mark was kind enough to leave a plate of eggs outside," Tilo smiled.

He reached over to the cabinet, where he left the empty plate, and handed it to Gary. Once the man had taken the plate and left, Tilo shut the door.

------

1230

By about early afternoon Tilo decided to check the job boards. He found that the only job around was one by Rishi. Tilo simply looked past it, too tired to try another one of the man's forays. He was sure that Callie sent word out for medical supplies, as to where, Tilo did not know. He was a non-native. He drifted along the farm, hands in pockets, the cold beating against him.

He entered the infirmary, or what was supposed to be the infirmary. Doctor Short did what she could to convert the large room into an adequate facility for the sick, the injured, or the wounded. Hoppy was sleeping, her face growing almost as white as the snow outside.

Doctor Short came in. She started coming into the infirmary at intervals to watch Hoppy's progression. They were both quiet for a time.

"I told Callie to tell Ben and Kiera to hurry," she finally said.

Tilo glanced at the doctor, observing her concerned expression.

She sighed, "I don't know if she's going to live."

It was a mental thing for doctors to prepare themselves for the worst. They out of all people, with the exception of perhaps soldiers, dealt with death almost on a daily basis. And as each day passed, they accumulated a mental and emotional conditioning that made the burden less burdensome.

"How is she?"

Doctor Short shook her head, unsure if there were any words left to express.

"I think she's the first one I actually managed to..." she searched for the right words, "give a chance to."

"Kim was already bitten. I heard about Toby. And Monroe..."

"She'll pull through doc," Tilo said, trying to reassure the middle aged woman, calming her nerves.

Tilo left after Doctor Short told him she would watch over Hoppy's condition.

1500

The day passed by quickly. Tilo occupied himself in his room. He had told Mark and anyone who came to his door to tell others not to disturb him. He was still intent on writing. Once his first pen was out, he placed it aside on the desk, and grabbed another one. Every couple of minutes he would write about one person and then move on to another, jotting down notes about them. He skipped around. Then he would stand up to stretch his arms or walk around. His solitude was incomplete because he had a companion, which was the mid day sun permeating into the lightless room. He had gotten used to living without light.

As soon as it got dark, Tilo made sure to turn off the power in his room. It was one of the little things everyone had to do to ensure that the petrol would not run out. 'Light discipline' was what Callie and Monroe had called it. Their earlier attempts at finding an alternate source of power were not fruitful, so they made sure that scavs tried to grab a jug of petrol every now and then. Once they found out about the Silent Valley plant, they began drawing up plans and trying to find a way to set up a panel, or a couple of panels, at Haven to make sure they didn't freeze through the winter. Cumbria was well to the north in the Isles, and the Isles themselves were just as far north as they could get. As a result, winters came early, unofficially. Tilo felt this winter seemed colder than usual, perhaps it was due to the lack of heating.

He wanted to write what he could about anybody. He tried to capture his thoughts in little snippets. Then he went about trying to strum the guitar that was to be Laney's present. He had played a bit when he was younger, but he gave up on it once school picked up and he had to redouble his efforts on his studies. Now he just played a note or two and tried to hum a song. Then he would sigh. Then repeat the entire cycle again. At some point Mark had left a cup of ramen with some canned sausages outside his room, which Tilo had almost kicked over as he stepped out.

Mark was thoughtful. He made sure that everyone maintained their strength. He definitely deserved a couple of words. Tilo had heard about Kim. The old man admired how Mark continued on, giving what he could to Haven, despite his loss. It was probably one of the toughest losses a person had to deal with. Nobody would have known just by looking at the man. In a way he was sort of like Monroe, but a bit more polite and less unsavory.

Speaking of unsavory, Tilo stepped out of his room and entered the bathroom. Nobody really used it anymore, since there was no running water. The mirror showed him that his beard had grown almost as thick as the bark on an oak. He looked like a caveman.

He saw what he wanted to see and returned to his room.

------

1730

Tilo sighed. He wiped his forehead and massaged his scalp, racking his brain for anything more he could write down about anyone. He leaned backward in his chair, hands behind his head, content with what he managed to do. He let out one long exhale in the silence of his room. Then he decided he would go check on Hoppy again, but as he reached for the door he heard a knock that made him jump.

"Tilo open up! It's Mark, someone from the Rands is here for you."

Tilo immediately opened the door.

"From the Rands, you mean Upton?"

Mark nodded, "Comon', Callie and Alison are already in the kitchen with her."

Her? Was it Elizabeth Rand?

"Alison?"

"The pilot that Monroe saved," Mark said as they went down the stairs.

Then they entered the kitchen, where the pilot had taken Monroe's seat at command. Her appearance at the coffee table was an incongruity in Tilo's mind. Maybe he wasn't used to seeing someone else in that poorly fashioned seat. She had a cast on her left leg and a makeshift crutch resting against her seat. Short blonde hair, her face was straight to the point.

Callie sat beside the middle aged woman that Tilo seemed to recognize. She was the same woman who tended to Kenneth.

"You're..."

"Sandra Hargrave. Thank God, you're here Professor."

The formalities were cut short as Callie commanded, "Speak."

“Elizabeth Rand sent me. I have a message in my jacket pocket.” Mark checked her jacket and found a wallet, it was the one that belonged to William. And with it there was a note with Tilo's name on it.

"Guess that’s for you Tilo.” Callie said.

The old man read the letter to himself before he gave it to Callie to read aloud.

“Professor King,

I apologise for intruding but Upton Abbey is in trouble. Ken Rand has been killed and I suspect it was murder as does Sandra who you hopefully remember from your visit here. She can fill you in on the details.

I implore you to help us, the people here are scared and are reaching out for anything. Unfortunately that seems to be resulting in the wrong people getting in charge.

If Sandra makes it this far please ensure she is not mistreated.

Yours

Elizabeth Rand.


------

“So the plan is to use the trade agreement to play up to Brand and make contact with Elizabeth Rand?” Mark asked.

“Correct. I say we send Tilo he knows the area and has a relationship with the people.” Callie said.

“I see. Will he be able to take care of Brand if it comes to it?” Carter asked.

All eyes fell on the old man, but by God he was thankful that Callie saved him from having to answer. “Tilo is smart and knows what’s at stake he can deal with it whatever way he needs to.”

Carter shrugged. “Fair enough what are you going to trade?”

“Haven’t thought about that.” Callie mused.

“We were carrying a lot of supplies might be something there worth salvaging. Food, that kind of thing. I think you guys should hold onto the weapons.”

“Yeah I think so too. What kind of weapons, we talking here?” Callie asked

“Couple of 9mm Brownings, probably a few SA-80s. Nothing too heavy.”

Callie stared blankly. “I do people stuff, we had someone else for the guns. What does that mean?”

“Pistols and assault rifles.” Carter said simply.

“Ok so sounds like we got ourselves an honest to God Scav mission. I’ll prepare the briefs.”

Everyone was still somewhat mystified by how Ken Rand died.

Tilo tried to wrap his head around the idea, but he couldn't. "I still can't...he turned without being bitten?"

"Well, I didn't really get a good look at him when I saw him, but I'm sure he wasn't bitten anywhere on his head. We checked his body and everything,"

"And the head?" Mark asked.

"Brand blew it off with a shotgun," Sandra said matter-of-factly.

"You know what, I'm going to go talk to Rishi about that," Callie promptly left the coffee table.

The room was bathed in silence, before Mark finally spoke. "Well, it must have been a long trip, and you're a guest. So I'll get you some water."

"Thank you." Sandra said, she was no longer as visibly shaken as she was before when Tilo saw her.

------

1800

"...seen any other method of transmission, I thought it was safe to assume the bite is what got you. If there are other methods of transmission, we are vulnerable to infection without further information on the virus, or whatever it is that is doing this to people," Rishi's voice echoed down the stairs, he was followed immediately by Callie.

When Rishi entered the kitchen, he immediately spotted the visitor and shot out, "What were the circumstances of this person's death?"

“Pardon?” Sandra was caught off guard, as was everyone else.

------

“There is no transmission!” He yelled at her, Sandra simply staring in a shocked sort of awe.

“Rishi, calm down. Tell me, what are you talking about?” Callie asked.

“People don’t die because there is a virus in the saliva that slowly turns them into a zombie Callie. People die from the bite wounds because of infection brought on by the germs in our mouths! They just die Callie, they just die. I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of it before. Callie, this is very important. We might all be zombies already.”

“Excuse me?” Sandra said, clearly outraged at the statement.

Mark, Tilo, and Alison looked at each other with raised eyebrows and wide eyes. They thought he was mad, but this much? It was almost astronomical.

“Slow down. We might all be zombies?” Callie said, motioning with her hand for Sandra to calm down.

“Yes. How do you explain so many people turning at once, all throughout England? Everywhere at once? Look, not all of us might be infected, but I would reason otherwise. It would be safer to think that all of us have contracted this ‘zombification’ process, and that if one of us were to pass away, we would come back regardless of the circumstances surrounding our deaths.”

“Can you be sure?”

“I would need to see it for myself, but I believe that might be the case.”

“I can’t listen to this.” Sandra said, getting up and leaving the room. Rishi looked at Callie and sighed.

“I am going to watch over Hoppy while we wait. Mark told me about her condition, so if she doesn’t make it, I need to be there to make sure…” He trailed off as he let out a sigh. “Let's just hope that for once, I am wrong.”

"Wait hold on," Tilo said.

Rishi turned as he heard this.

"We were wondering if you knew of any...possible method of killing someone..." Mark said.

"Well yes, there are plenty..."

"But making it look as if it were by accident," Tilo finished the sentence that Mark began.

"Oh?" Rishi's eyebrows were raised, "And who do you want killed?"

"A bastard named Brand," Alison blankly stated, "Not Russell Brand, another one."

He paused for a moment, not catching the pop culture reference. Then he began to think, trying to comb his memory for any novel information that might help.

"Amanita phalloides. A deadly basidiomycete fungus found throughout most of Europe. The primary toxic agent is alpha-amanitin, in short, acute liver failure and eventually death. Toxicity can not be reduced by cooking, freezing, or drying. Half of it is enough to kill a man," Rishi said.

"If you do manage to find one, try slipping it into a meal reserved for this Brand fellow. Once he consumes it, it'll take some time before the abdominal pain kicks in and gastrointestinal symptoms appear. These will be delayed anywhere from six to thirty hours. The man is sure to die within a matter of days afterward as long as you make sure he ingests it."

"And where might we find these?" Tilo said.

"Right, right, um, they form mycorrhizae with many broadleaved trees such as oaks, chestnuts, and pines. The fruiting bodies are most likely to appear during the summer and autumn. I'm not sure about the winter. They are white in appearance, look for a large and conspicuous flat or convex cap, that is pale in the ranges of yellow to perhaps olive green. Young ones look like eggs coming out of the ground. The smell has been described as sweet, but I don't suggest inhaling it. However, I do advise you gather a large number of them, to guarantee the man's fate because there are a number of edible species out there that are similar in appearance. The taste has been described as sweet, which will work to your advantage at disarming any suspicions from this Brand fellow," Rishi paused to sigh, "Anything else?"

"Thanks Rishi. By the way, how do you know all of this?" Mark said.

"Call me a renaissance man, anyway I'll go check on Hoppy," before he went out the door, "Be sure to take a copy of my little pocketbook. They're flying off the shelves!"

Callie chuckled at that.

"What happens if I can't find one?" Tilo looked to Callie.

"Find one, or improvise," Alison cut in and Callie shrugged.

------

1900

After dinner, Tilo sat outside on the steps of the porch in the cold for a bit. He tried to feel the cold again. The night was dark and the farm house was silent. The only light was the candle that Doctor Short had lit in the infirmary to keep watch over Hoppy.

Mark came and sat beside Tilo. The man sighed.

"Cold isn't it?"

"Yeah."

"Are you ready for tomorrow?"

Tilo exhaled through his nose, "I don't think I could be more ready. I've got the sawn-off if it ever comes to that."

Mark stared at Tilo, unsure what to say.

"So you've got the panels charging?" Tilo asked.

"Yeah. Gary and Jesus were with me. Jesus hasn't checked in yet, that's got me worried."

"You think he's..."

"There's a high chance. But the kid's a footballer, he's supposed to be fast. He should have been back before nightfall."

"It could have been the Rands."

"Could have been, or even the Vanners."

Tilo looked at Mark.

"As much as Callie wants to trust them, I can't. I think the pilot had the right idea." Mark spit.

"It's already bad enough we have to fend off zed, but other humans?" Tilo asked.

Mark shrugged, "Get some sleep old man, you've got a long day tomorrow."

------

November 11th, 2013

0400


Tilo put everything he needed into his pack. The map and compass were on hand, he had the sawn-off and a couple of rounds. His hatchet was holstered into a belt loop. It was still fairly dark, so he decided to bring a flashlight. The radio was turned off to conserve the little battery power it had. He also carried a canteen half filled with water. He knew a trip in the cold was sure to dry his throat.

The old man had on the pack and stepped outside into the winter sky. No lights, no city. He was surprised to see all the stars glittering above against the black velvet of night. He exhaled, his breath swirling with frost from the cold.

He stood on the porch a bit to watch the horizon above the line of trees. Time seemed very slow and non-existent.

Callie was up behind him with a thin sweater so she held herself to brace the cold, "Beautiful isn't it?"

"Hmm?" Tilo turned around.

"Monroe once told me that as a child he would often look up into the sky and imagine that he was a bird. He wanted to fly far away from the Troubles. I suppose he got his wish."

They lapsed into silence for a time.

"I couldn't have sent Ben."

Tilo looked at her with a quizzical expression.

"He would have gotten both of you killed. Matters like this need discretion."

The old man nodded before he started to leave.

"Come home safe, Tilo."

"I'll try, ma'am." Tilo looked back with a smirk.

Callie simpered, she mouthed "I'm not the Queen," before turning in.

------

0500

The path to the crash site was clear. It was located near Jones' farm which was the opposite direction of Upton. The place had seen much blood and fire.

The chopper itself was strewn atop the crest of a hill. One of its rotors was lodged into the ground, while the other three were bent. The paint had begun to fade and snow had gathered into icicles. Its cargo content had spilled out beside the shrapnel and other parts of the chopper. It seemed as if the chopper had been searched through, but not fully cleaned out. Tilo left his sack outside and went through the cabin hatch that remained upturned and not buried in the snow. Most of the space still had cargo, the average Sea King could hold about twenty to thirty people.

He pulled out the flashlight and kept it dimmed so as not to attract any undead. As he went in, he saw several corpses, rotten. Maggots and flies. They were still in uniform with blood dried. The skin had darkened on those who had pale complexions, and it became cracked on those with dark complexions. One of the corpses was impaled on a long pipe with a sharpened tip. Another one had a limp grip on a pistol. Tilo retched at the sight.

The old man spotted some duffle bags. He rubbed them, feeling out the solid and metallic items inside. They had handles, they were probably the weapons. He remembered that the pilot said they should keep those for Haven. Another scav would be sent after him to retrieve. The old man then rummaged through the other strapped packages looking for kits with the red crosses on them. He found only a few remained, which he shoved into his sack. He turned to look at the deceased. He would have buried them, but he did not have the tools. He would have uttered a prayer if he was Catholic, but who said he needed to be Catholic to do so.

"Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name..." Tilo paused trying to remember the next verse.

He was not one to attend church much in the old world, but he did study the Bible for other purposes. He wanted to curse himself at observing how age had ways of deteriorating a person's mind.

"Thy kingdom come, thy will...be done, on earth, as it is in heaven."

"Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us...from evil," he drew a breath from the air.

Then he slung the pack over his shoulder and forged on with his shotgun in hand, trying to erase the sight that he just witnessed. The night was behind him and the day was before him.

------

0730

Once Tilo reached the valley with the many hills he began to search for the mushrooms. The trees of the valleys were tall and stood with splayed branches. He combed the ground while keeping his eye out for zed. The brush on the ground consisted of dead dry leaves that had fallen off from the trees to prevent water loss. Fauna no longer roamed freely, they were shut in their little nests or dwellings, contemplating the weather outside. They balled up inside their fur coats and closed their eyes, hoping that this year's winter would be shorter than last year's.

The pebbles, leaves, grass, and snow formed a sea that covered any possible mushrooms that Tilo could find. If what Rishi had said was correct, it would be incredibly hard to identify the white mushrooms against the white snow.

Fortunately, the sun began to rise in the eastern sky. The rays of orange and gold melted away the night and shone clear the forest path. It felt warm. The white clouds though, distilled the light. It was not as clear as it could have been.

Tilo continued looking at the bases of the trees, where the ectomycorrhizae would be.

Then he found some of the caps that indicated mushrooms. They were brown though, and so he moved on. He knew that the mushrooms he was looking for would be nestled near oaks and pines, however, he was not a tree expert. All he knew was that the Lake District had many pines and oaks.

After searching for what seemed to be an eternity, he found some of them. They were young ones, recently sprouted from spores. They looked like eggs. Then he found some more, and as Rishi had advised, it would be safe to gather a large sample. So he did. They had wide flat caps and yellow to olive green coloring on top.

Once the rest of the space in his pack was filled with the poisonous things, he thought about whether he should radio into headquarters about his progress. It couldn't hurt, he supposed.

"I found the medical supplies. I left the guns where they were, and I managed to find the mushrooms that Rishi spoke of."

"Good job Tilo, over," it was Alison.

He was unaccustomed to her voice, after being so used to Callie and Monroe.

"Where's Callie? Over."

"She went to check on Hoppy, anyway I've got to go, you can check back in about an hour. Over."

"Got it. Over and out."

Tilo clicked the little walkie-talkie off and slid it back into a sidepocket before he continued.

------

The trek was quiet. No birds anywhere. Just snow and trees, and the occasional babbling brook that had a few chunks of ice in it. His throat was sore with the cold, and every so often he pulled out his canteen and took a swig of water from it.

He continued walking, eyes always darting side to side. The zombie threat at times seemed present at times and absent at times. He walked past a line of trees until he spotted a shadow in the distance. His shotgun grip tightened and he inched forward to the figure slowly. As he crept closer, the figure made no motion to turn around and face the old man. Once he got close enough to see it clearly, he determined it was zed by the color of its skin. It was no natural living hue.

However, the thing made no move whatsoever. Tilo noticed the icicles that had accumulated on its elbows. Maybe it was frozen, but he did not want to assume. So he grabbed a pebble and tossed it in front of the stiff.

No motion.

Tilo then whistled, no motion.

Maybe it was frozen, he decided to test even further. He whispered to it, still no motion.

So instead of firing his shotgun, he decided to save the rounds and just use his hatchet instead.

He swiped the head clean off the body, unbalanced it fell forward while the head rolled to a stop on the ground.

Tilo walked on.

Some time as he continued walking, he decided to start singing. The quiet was unnerving and he felt the need to calm his mind. He began to hum a favorite tune of his.

"Yesterday..."

"All my troubles seemed so far away," he hummed in between.

"Now it looks as though they're here to stay. Oh I... believe... in yesterday..."

"Suddenly... I'm not half the man I used to be..." he hummed, "There's a shadow hangin' over me... oh yesterday.. came suddenly..." Tilo hummed, he had forgotten the other lyrics.

It didn't really matter.

"Yesterday..."

"All my troubles seemed so far away..."

"Now it looks as though they're here to stay. Oh I... believe... in yesterday..."

"Suddenly... I'm not half the man I used to be..."

"There's a shadow hangin' over me... oh yesterday.. came suddenly..."

And he repeated those lines for a time.

------

0700

"Is everyone ready?" Richard loaded the last round into his rifle.

The hunters nodded in agreement. Dominic had taken off his bandages, the bruises on his head had disappeared. This only revealed the unflinching gaze with green eyes the man had that made him a threat in Brand's view.

He was taking Dominic, Finley, Ewan, and four others of his loyalist cadre with him on a hunting mission. He told them that they were going to be searching for a new source of food. Perhaps they might try for Penrith or Appleby. He left behind most of the hunters that were loyal to him to guard Upton for his return. They weren't as loyal as the four, but the shift in the situation made them willing dogs.

"Safe journey lads," one of the remaining hunters said to the group as they left. Then they proceeded to lock the giant main doors of the manor.

Elizabeth was having a private conversation in her room between her, Rory, and Talisa Alden.

"Are you sure it was him?" Talisa questioned.

"Who else could it possibly be?" Elizabeth said in a hushed voice, "You've seen how the man acted when William was gone."

"I don't know. What can we do with him? He's restored order for the time being, it isn't so bad," Talisa tried to pacify her.

They didn't know that Talisa was actually sleeping with Richard. She had her needs.

"I'm not so sure about that," Elizabeth said.

"Well...what do we do?" Rory looked at her with concern.

"I sent Sandra to Haven to get Professor King, I hope to God he has a solution. In the meantime, keep on the lookout for him."

------

0830

The topiaries and manor, once again illustrated old world splendor before Tilo, but he ignored it and made his way quickly to the door. He had a mission. However, he stopped halfway to report back to headquarters.

"I've made it to Upton, over."

"Good job Til--"

"Callie?"

...


There was static and then the battery died. He looked at the thing, pressing several buttons, trying anything to revive the talker. Still nothing, he decided to just slip it back into his pack. He looked at his sawn-off, they would probably confiscate it like last time. He decided to place it inside the pack, removing several medical kits for space.

The great doors opened before him once he reached them, to welcome him were four men who looked completely unfamiliar. Tilo should have expected the changing of the guard.

They pulled him in at gunpoint, asking him questions.

"Slow down mate," Tilo pleaded, his hands in the air. It was almost like deja-vu.

"Who are you? And where are you from? And what's in the bag?" A burly hunter asked him, his beard almost as thick as Tilo's own.

"Tilo King. Haven. I came here with some supplies for Mr. Kenneth Rand," Tilo said, showing them the kits in hand.

Then he unslung his sack and rifled through the bag, making sure they could not the shotgun. Once he pulled another kit out, the hunters lowered their guns.

"I didn't ask what you were here for, but he's dead anyway. You came here for nothin'."

Tilo already had beforehand knowledge, but he knew it was best to hide the fact that he knew. So he tried his best to portray shock and confusion, which partially succeeded. He was never the actor, but he had to up the ante.

"When? How? What happened?" Tilo asked in false exasperation.

"Two days ago, on the ninth. The old man turned, someone was screamin'. The old man was a crawler. Had to put him down."

Tilo kept on a confused face before Elizabeth and Rory came through the hallway. Her eyes widened as Tilo could see, and she acted quickly.

"Professor King," she said, hoping her little stunt would lower their guard.

"Miss Elizabeth. I'm so sorry to hear about..."

"It's okay..." Elizabeth looked to the rest of the hunters who loitered about, unsure what to do, "You guys can return to your post, he's a friend."

"I don't know about that, Miss Rand. Richard said we shouldn't let strangers into Upton."

"Well, he's been here before, so he's not a stranger. Now go on," she emphasized with gestures.

Jeremy scratched his beard, sighed, and left them alone.

Minutes later, Tilo was in Elizabeth's room.

"So what do we do?"

Tilo showed her the mushrooms and explained.

------

0900

Richard and the band of hunters laid in wait at the crest of a hill overlooking a field that was a chopper crash site.

"What are we doing here Richard?" Dominic asked as they sat against some stones for cover, "There aren't any zed around, we should just loot the chopper."

"Just waiting," he said, watching the chopper for activity. Then out of the corner of his eye, he saw two men.

Immediately he grabbed his binoculars and examined them closely, it was an older man probably in his fifties. He had a rifle with him, and accompanying him was a younger fellow. The younger fellow had a beard, pimpled face, and he was armed with a machete or some blunt object, Richard couldn't tell from the angle and distance.

Richard and the hunters watched the two people circle the chopper, inspecting it. Then the hunters spotted the zeds, swarms of them coming from Jones' farm.

"Shouldn't we go help them?" Dominic asked.

"No, those bastards deserve to die," Richard said.

"But they're people," Ewan protested, "Each one we can save is one less we can fight."

"You think so mate?" Richard's eyes bulged psychotically.

"They're just like us, willin' to do anythin' to survive. I'm willlin' to bet my life that when the chips are down, they'd stab m-.. us, in the back for potatoes."

Everyone remained silent after that.

"'Sides, they were responsible for William's death," everyone stared at him in shock.

Dominic, and Finley were caught off guard by that statement. They heard from Professor King that he had to kill William before he turned. The news about how William died was kept a secret between those who were present when Professor King was there. Among them was Kenneth, Dominic, Finley, Elizabeth, and Rory. Nobody else was in the parlor when he spoke. Now that they heard Richard denouncing the Caravanners as the ones responsible for William's death, it made them suspicious. They looked at each other and shook their heads subtly, remaining silent. In the corporal's mind, he came to the realization that Richard had a hand in William's death, and he would find out. He was injured the day Richard and William went out to Hamilton's retreat, which was the day that William disappeared.

"That's right, they killed 'im. I saw it with me own eyes. Wankers even killed Abel and the other three. Damned sick of them."

Richard's ploy was working, from what he could tell. There was no one else proving him wrong. He peered into his binoculars again to see that the two people had noticed the zed. They realized they were surrounded, and so they decided to climb the chopper.

------

Elizabeth entered the kitchen with a plastic bag. Flora was chopping some vegetables, but she noticed her walk in.

Mrs. Wilson was maintaining the fire of a stew. With the lack of power, they had to rely on a fireplace cooker that was previously installed in the abbey before the elder Rand bought the home. Elizabeth approached her and showed her the bag full of mushrooms.

"Where did you get these mushrooms?" the old lady inquired.

Elizabeth whispered into her ear, "Nevermind that. These...are for Richard."

She emphasized her meaning with a sharp glare, the old lady looked frightened, but she understood and nodded.

"It won't matter if you cooked it or cut it. Just make sure he gets it."

Elizabeth left the bag beside the old woman and promptly exited.

Flora watched the two of them from afar, unsure what was going on. She sneaked slowly behind the older woman and peered into plastic bag. She saw mushrooms. As a city girl, she wasn't really sure what the mushrooms were for and why the two were acting so fishy. A new ingredient to liven up the spirits, she supposed. But, what if they were poisonous? Flora had never given a thought to such things when she lived in the old world.

"Valerie? What..?" Flora pointed to the bag full of mushrooms.

"Oh dear me," the older woman nearly jumped, she was startled by the younger woman.

She panicked slightly at the inquiry, "Oh these? Um...new ingredients that the hunters found. White mushrooms. Haven't had any here yet."

"These are pretty big for white mushrooms."

"They're like that before you cook them," Valerie hoped that the girl would stop asking questions soon.

"Ah," Flora accepted the answer and returned to her place, cutting vegetables, "But..."

"Hmm?" The Mrs. Wilson nearly jumped again.

The older woman had a mental sigh, unsure how far she could have continued with the farce.

------

0930

"Your sister-in-law's got a fine ass mate," Richard said to Ewan who sat quietly with his rifle.

"Aw cheer up, don't be a bore. It was a compliment," Richard laughed.

They had been watching the pair fight off the hordes that were now gathered. The two strangers managed to thin the ranks of the dead, until the older man appeared to have run out of bullets.

"Damn it I need to go help them," Ewan said.

Richard grabbed him by the collar, "Don't be a fool Ewan," he swallowed, "They killed William. And now you're gonna go save them?"

The hunter knew how to act. His eyes had crocodile tears that lent an intensity and conviction that convinced the other man. Ewan believed him, so he sat down.

Richard peered into his binoculars again; he saw some cracks ring from a nearby hill just past the field enclosed by the stone wall.

"A newcomer," Richard watched her closely.

She had dark skin and wavy hair beneath a ridiculous looking helmet. For some reason she looked familiar, then something clicked in his mind, it was the same woman that shot Abel.

What are you up to? he wondered.

She came to the chopper once the zeds had been cleared and the two men on top jumped down to meet her. They conversed for a bit until the older man went to the wall...to piss.

Then suddenly the younger man smacked the woman to the ground and jumped on her.

"A little tiger aren't we? Look at that wee bastard. He's been deprived," Richard snickered, "Dom, I think this one's for you. You can be her knight in shining armor."

Dominic scoped the rifle and aimed at the younger man who was on top of the woman, and he pulled the trigger. The kid doubled over from what he could see.

Richard whooped, "Good shot!"

The boy was still writhing on the ground in pain, another hunter, Clive, ended that pain.

There were some faint screams and the old man disappeared into the woods. Dominic pulled the trigger again and missed the woman, who scrambled to safety behind the chopper.

"Damn it man, I thought you were in the Forces! Didn't they teach you how to shoot?" Richard taunted.

Dominic shrugged it off. The man's insults were only skin deep in his mind, but his motivations were dubious.

One of Richard's loyalists grabbed his own rifle and checked for the woman who appeared from behind the chopper and made a dash for the wall where the old man pissed.

The hunter pulled the trigger, hitting the duffle bag, but hoping that it penetrated and got through to her leg.

"Again, again," Richard yelled.

The hunter missed her as she crawled.

"Shit," the hunter sighed. The woman appeared to have escaped.

"Clive, Finley, go check out the chopper." Richard descended the hill heading in the opposite direction, followed by Ewan and two of his loyalists, "Ewan, you're with me."

"Where are you goin'?" Dominic asked from the crest.

"You, Simon, and the others go check the chopper for supplies. I'm takin' these three to Penrith. Just head back to Upton when you're done."

"Penrith? What for?"

"Supplies," Richard yelled back, but he whispered to himself, "And business."

He wasn't really going to Penrith.

------

Two men walked along a forest road, one was armed with a pistol and a crowbar, the other with a shotgun.

"Somebody oughta do something about those Haven people. We haven't heard anything from Jake or Sam since they went out with them. They've been missing for six fucking days," said the first one.

The second man sighed, "I miss her too man, but...you have to accept the possibility that she's..."

"Gone? No. Fuck that, she's still alive somewhere and I need to find her," the first man spat.

The two were knocked over by another man who seemed to be running for his life. They fell against the brush.

"Jesus Christ it's one of them!" said the second man.

The first man had his pistol ready and was about to fire until, "Charles? Charles is that you?"

"Oh fuck, thank man," Charles was out of breath.

"Charles what happened? And where's Benson?"

"It was..it was.." Charles tried to catch his breath, "Bitch from Haven. She shot 'im."

"What? Haven?" the second man stood up.

"Bloody hell I knew it! We need to tell Jane," the first man's triumphant appeal was cut short when he fell to the ground at the sound of several cracks.

Then the second man jerked as the pellets hit him and fell over. Both of their bodies were slumped on the ground, blood pouring profusely from their wounds. They coughed up blood and choked for air.

"Ah shit!" Charles, completely stunned for a moment, got up and ran off in the direction the two men came.

Out of the nearby brush, Richard stepped out and took off his beanie, revealing his flowing hair that had not been shaved. He ran his hand through his hair and looked off in the direction that the old man had run. This would be as far as they would track him. He pulled out a pistol and fired several rounds randomly into the same region that the old man fled, hoping he would hear them on his run back to camp. It would be a nice little signal, Richard thought. Once that was done, he holstered the pistol and looked down at the two lifeless bodies.

"Sorry mates. A man does what he needs to do to survive."

He pulled out a Bowie knife from his jacket, and proceeded to sever the heads from the corpses. Blood squirted onto his jacket and face which he wiped off. It took him a couple of minutes, but he managed to brutally decapitate them.

Then he carved into their stomachs crudely the word, "Haven." He put the beanie back on, and then he slipped back into the woods.

------

Tilo sat waiting in Elizabeth's room. The door opened and Elizabeth came in, followed by Rory.

"He can be trusted," she said of Rory.

"Professor King," the lad nodded.

"I hope for my son's sake," Elizabeth paused, "That we can weather this storm."

"I know I won't be strong enough to take over, but I need to be once Richard is out of the picture," she turned to Tilo, "You should probably leave Professor, I don't know what Richard will do if he found you here. He might already have suspicions, what with Sandra gone already. The man is a pure psychopath."

Tilo shook his head, "No, I think he's responsible for more than just sir Kenneth's death. I have to find closure for my friends."

"And we have reason to believe he was responsible for the deaths of several people from Eden Valley."

"The caravan park people?" Rory asked.

"Yeah, I don't know if he's trying to orchestrate a war between us and Eden Valley over misconceptions."

"Dear God, he is mad." Elizabeth covered her mouth with her hands.

------

1100

"Shit!" Simon screamed, as a zed lunged at him. He blew its skull to bits, but more of them came after that one.

"Look it's the kid!" Clive pointed out as he spotted the re-animated corpse of the kid that he had killed. Wounds and everything in his torso where the hunter had shot him.

"Damn thair a' place. Jist keep shootin'!" Finley howled, as a bullet from his rifle connected with another zed.

"Comon! Let's get out of here! Leave them damn it!" Dominic waved at them and they began their dash back toward Upton through the woods.

The hunters dropped whatever supplies they were carrying to lighten the load to allow them a quicker pace. They were being pursued by a horde of walkers that had appeared out of nowhere. They had left the crash site about twenty minutes ago.

One of the hunters, Clive, was unaware of the wound he had acquired on his arm when the undead came out of nowhere. Amid the fear and the adrenaline that was pumping him onward to Upton, he completely lost sensation of the pain.

-----

Back at Upton, Tilo and Elizabeth were seated in the parlor. The former's stomach was grumbling, he was hungry for not eating breakfast. Mrs. Wilson told him that he could dine with them during lunch.

"He's back!" Rory swung down the stairs.

Tilo was slightly startled by the younger man, but he was a foreigner, unaware of their routines and protocols.

It was usually the person on watch's job to tell the hunters at the door to open up for any friendlies they spotted from the window on the second or third floors.

The hunters immediately opened the door, Tilo remained in his seat, unaware who had returned. Perhaps it was Richard. Several men shuffled in and they conversed in the hallway, their voices mingling in the air.

"Aw fuck, I'm hungry. Mrs. Wilson is lunch ready?"

"Almost," a soft sweet voice replied from the kitchen.

The words were crude and impolite, and the tone was coarse, carrying the air of a scoundrel. It was Richard.

The man stepped into the parlor, and placed the gun on an end table. He noticed Elizabeth and the old man that visited before.

"Lizzie," He nodded, "And you," he looked to Professor King.

"I remember you...you're..."

"Professor King," Tilo answered.

Richard chuckled, "Yes a professor. A Professor King, or a King Professor."

It wasn't really funny.

"You were here last time, when Kenneth was still here."

"Yeah. I've heard, I'm terribly sorry to hear about it."

Tilo noticed that the man fell silent, whether it was half-hearted or earnest, he did not know. He leaned toward the former though, Brand could not be trusted.

"Is he joining us for lunch?" Richard asked Elizabeth.

She nodded,"Yes."

Ever since Kenneth departed, Richard became increasingly verbal, forcing Elizabeth onto the defensive. She forced herself to voice her opinions, lest she came off weak and be swept aside by Brand and his cronies. Upton Abbey belonged to her family, and she had to try at least.

------

1200

Mrs. Wilson sent Flora out, the kitchen was all hers now. She decided to create a separate, smaller stew just for Richard. The water vapor continued to rise from both pots as she managed and took care of them.

She pulled the large white a. phalloides from the plastic bag that Lizzie had given her. There were a lot, and every single one of them was for Richard. She swallowed before she set to work. She hoped the things would not release any poisonous spores that might kill her. Immediately, she took the knife and began slicing the mushrooms and then dicing them until they were bite sized bits. She cut several down even further until they resembled cheese gratings to ensure that if he did not eat the large chunks, he would at least sip the soup with the little grains in it. Then she balled the plastic bag up and hid it inside one of the counter top drawers.

She wiped her head of sweat, and every few minutes she checked behind her back to make sure no one was entering the kitchen. She swallowed, and proceeded to dump the many mushroom chunks into Richard's stew. Then she stirred them and she was about to taste the flavor on accident as she raised the spoon up to her lips. Then she remembered not to, breathing heavily at her very close call with death.

She proceeded to spoon Richard's bowl first, get it over with. The old woman made sure that she scooped all of the white chunks into his bowl.

------

Elizabeth, Tilo, Richard, Ewan, and only the other hunters were eating at the table. Everyone else was eating elsewhere.

Mrs. Wilson watched closely as Richard looked at the bowl of soup. It looked as if he wasn't going to eat it.

Shit, Tilo thought. He might have to improvise and devise another method of killing Brand. In the meantime he hoped the man would at least sip the soup.

"What is this white stuff?" Richard asked, unfamiliar with the new ingredient.

Tilo and Elizabeth were both cold with fear, as Mrs. Wilson answered.

"Oh those?" Mrs. Wilson paused, "Those are mushrooms, we started grow'n them recently."

"Mushrooms?" said one of the hunters, "'Ow come I didn't get any?"

Richard had no hint of suspicion, as he finished the soup. Tilo and Elizabeth were relieved.

"Oh..." she was panicking, Elizabeth and Tilo eyed her as they spooned some of the other soup into their mouths.

"Well, ay suppose I may hae scooped th' only mushrooms of th' soup intae Richard's bowl," she smiled, "We only had two."

"Seconds Miss," Richard handed her the bowl.

Mrs. Wilson took the bowl and went directly into the kitchen, once she was beyond the conversation of the table, she breathed a sigh. Anxiety washed away from her.

Once lunch was finished, most of the hunters disbanded and headed back to their posts.

Only Richard remained with Elizabeth and Tilo. And so there they were, the man who had robbed them of their friends and families.

Tilo was never a man of action, but he wished to God at that moment that he had a shotgun or something to shoot the man with, and clean this pestilence from the face of the Earth. The old man, however, kept his emotions tightly knotted in this confrontation. Any sudden expressions would only give the man a hint.

"Trade huh? I don't think you'd have anything that we would need, or want." The man's voice was dry and rough.

"Not even medical supplies?" Tilo tried to played it cooly.

Hoping to bide some time, maybe he would be lucky enough to see the mushrooms take effect. Highly unlikely though, as Rishi said, the symptoms would be hidden anywhere from six to thirty hours after ingestion. Of course, that was only for one mushroom. Neither of them, Tilo or Elizabeth, knew that Mrs. Wilson added all fourteen mushrooms into Richard's stew.

"You guys will need it more than we do." Richard said calmly.

Tilo's eyebrow raised.

There was a brief moment of silence before Richard communicated his thought fully.

"That's right I killed your friends."

What was that?

That's right I killed your friends.

Did he just say that?

"What...what are you...?" Tilo was lost.

Elizabeth stared on in horror.

Why would he...

"I know all about your little group. And frankly I'm fuckin' sick of you pricks coming into our territory. You made it out of here last time, but you won't be making it out this time."

"Richard!" Elizabeth cried.

"Shut up woman," as he said this, there were several large thumps coming from the foyer, the sound of glass breaking and screams followed after.

"What in Go...?" Richard's attention was toward the direction from which the sound came, and they immediately rushed to the main hallway.

They found two hunters, Clive and another hunter holding the front doors as they were being beaten upon by the zed outside. Cracks rang out from the second floor.

"Shit they're fuckin' everywhere! Get a board or somethin' to cover the damn door!"

Simon was sprawled on the ground bleeding out of a wound on his abdomen and others on his arms. He was slipping in and out of consciousness. Dominic and Ewan were tending to him, they examined his body for bites. Mr. Wilson came with medical kits.

"What the hell happened?" Richard stared in complete confusion.

"It was th' feckin' kid, ah swear," Finley cried with his Scottish accent.

"We were coming back from the crash site and zed just came out nowhere, one of us misfired and shot Simon by mistake."

By this time, Finley's wife and daughters came to see what was happening.

"Just keep shootin!" a voice screamed from upstairs.

Rory came down the stairs, stopping halfway, "We need more gunners up here, there's stiffs everywhere outside!"

"We'll pull him out of here, Rory come and help." Dominic and Finley dragged the wounded Simon into the back.

The hunter holding the door back against the beating bodies saw that his partner had gone limp. Clive had a feral look in his eyes. They had turned milky white, then the hunter noticed the bite on Clive's arm.

"Jesus..." his prayer was cut short.

Clive dove for him and sank his teeth into the man.

The doors, with no one to hold them, fell open with a giant thundering.

And the bodies poured in like a wave, falling over, because the entire time they had been pushing against the doors.

"They're inside!" someone yelled, and everyone began to flee.

Tilo and Elizabeth fled down in separate directions, Brand and another hunter ran in another direction.


------


Halfway down the hall Elizabeth met up with Dominic and Finley.

"Fuck! Behind you!" Finley fired a round, the walker's head exploded into bits against the wall.

"Elizabeth we gotta get out of here quick!"

"But my son!" she protested, the tears of fear and panic streaming down her face.

"We can't stay comon'!" Dominic grabbed her wrist, but Finley stayed behind.

"Fin! What are you doing?"

"Ah need tae fin' mah fowk," Finley disappeared into another room.


------


Tilo did not know where he was running, just that he was running somewhere. The manor was filled with twisting hallways and rooms all interconnected. He wanted a god damned map or maybe even a lighted path to tell him where to go. Fueled by adrenaline, and fear, and perhaps something greater.

Then he spotted something hiding in the corner. It was Eric. Screams, cries, gunfire echoed in the hallways. Bones broke and unnatural growls followed.

I couldn't save your father in time. I won't make that mistake with you.

He grabbed the boy and held onto him as the child buried his head into Tilo's shoulder, and the old man ran for dear life, away from the hordes.

A zed fell out in front him and almost made his bones jump out of his skin, but he darted past the slow walker.


------


Several weird things were happening in Richard's mind at this point as he tried to recover his thoughts. He was wondering what the hell was going on.

"Keep shooting!" Richard screamed, firing his assault rifle. The repetitive rattles shook the entire room and perhaps even the ground they stood on. Blood popped and mists of red sprayed the walls.

He spotted Rory running, this was his chance to clean out the pests he thought. But weren't there greater concerns to deal with? Brand didn't think so.

He fired seven rounds that hit Rory, the impact sounded like hard snowballs as the boy shrieked with a cracked voice and fell over.

Then a sharp pain jabbed Richard in the stomach. What the hell? And it got increasingly worse. He fell over in wrenching torment, his insides were being clawed apart. He felt a great pain build up at his rectum, boiling almost.

"Argh what the fuck..." Richard tried to speak, sweat almost covering his face.

The vein on his forehead bulged and he was sucking his breath in to deal with the agony.

"Mate, are you alright?" the burly man, Jeremy was still firing.

Richard got up and tried to walk away, but only succeeded in stumbling.

"Where the fuck are you goin'?" Jeremy cried, but he had to maintain fire on the undead.


------


Tilo was running for a bit, his breath was nearly gone, the weight of Eric was slowing him down, but he couldn't drop the child. He continued until he felt two incredible shocks hammer him in the back.

He cried out in pain. And immediately he was sent skidding to the ground into another room, but he was still conscious enough to make sure that Eric wasn't the cushion for his fall.

Tilo and Eric fell beside a hunter covered in blood.The deceased man had a dead man's grip on the shotgun.

It was Richard who had shot him in the hallway. The man's discomfort now doubled to the point where he could barely gather breath. It shifted from his stomach to his nether regions and then back and swirled around like a hurricane.

"Goddamnit!" he cried like a demon.

Tilo held the child, who was crying in his arms. Tilo was aware of the possibility that he had been shot. He took his free hand and rubbed the area that was throbbing on his back and brought it to his eyes.

Thick, dark red, hemoglobin and plasma covered his shaking hand. And he gasped for air, the sting slowly spreading across his back. He looked at the child whose teary eyes looked back into Tilo's for hope.

This is the end

Dominic and Elizabeth had ran past many of the gunfights, the zombies, and the dying. They even ran past Brand, noting the man clutching his stomach tightly and they reached the room Tilo was in.

"Eric!" Elizabeth cried, grabbing her son from Tilo's hands.

"Mommy!" the boy reached out to her.

"Professor King! We need to get you out of here!"

With what little strength he had left, "Leave me...go...there's too many of them."

"We can't leave you!"

"He's right Elizabeth, we gotta go before they surround the place," as the corporal said this, they heard zed coming from down the hall, someone cursed and screamed in agony.

"Elizabeth comon'! We don't have time!" Dominic had his shotgun, peering out the hallway.

She was reluctant to leave, but she saw Tilo nod to her. She left, mouthing two words. Thank you. Tilo gave one last glance to the child that resembled William.

And then they were gone.

Gunfire and screams continued.

Tilo laid there thinking. He looked over to the dead hunter, and pulled the man's bloody grip off the gun with his own bloody hands. He ignored the pangs on his back as his breath faltered.

He looked up through the windows where the sun shone through, and he wondered if there was another reality in which this never actually happened. He wanted to laugh at himself about how his last dying moments mirrored the way he lived, but he knew he didn't have the strength to do so.


------


1430

After trekking through the wilderness on nothing but fear, Dominic, Elizabeth, and Eric reached the walls that Tilo knew.


------


Gunfire and screams continued back at Upton.

Tilo was thinking about whether he was selfish for saving only Eric and not other people.

My only friend the end.

Alright everyone, smile! This one's for the album.


Horatio, are you alright?

My boy's going to university...

He missed his boys and his wife.

The faces skipped past him, as he faded in and out of reality. He didn't have time to cry, because time was gone.

He saw a zed out of the corner of his eye, it seemed to be a slow one. His dizziness getting the best of him.

He pulled the shotgun's barrel up to his chin. He would miss the friends at Haven. He didn't even get the chance to spend Christmas with them.

Were they worth it?

Yes.

Tilo's last feeling was his finger pulling the trigger.

Beautiful friend, my only friend, the end.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tilo King Character Portrait: Callie Winters Character Portrait: Mark Lawson Character Portrait: Richard Brand Character Portrait: Rishi Sharma Character Portrait: Alison Carter Character Portrait: Erin 'Hoppy' Hooper
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