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Live Together or Die Alone

Live Together or Die Alone


An RP focusing on long posts and character development set in the Zombie Apocalypse.

5,065 readers have visited Live Together or Die Alone since Bosch created it.


You’ve been running for hours and you’re starting to feel it. The stitch in your side has been a near constant companion but you know if you stop they’ll be on you in seconds. Even now, after so long and so far, they’re still snapping at your heels.

You had to leave all your gear at the camp, no time. Even if you do escape what’s the chances you’ll survive the night?

No shelter,

No food,

No weapons,

No torch,

No hope.

Of course the little voice is there telling you it’s all over. Your own personal cheerleader.

“You’re fucked, game over. Surviving six months of the zombie apocalypse was a good innings. Can’t say you didn’t have a good run.”

Ha Ha, very funny. You hate the voice but proving it wrong is what keeps one foot going in front of the other.

The stink of death is overpowering, getting nearer. You think you might throw up from it or maybe it’s the fatigue.

The overgrown wet grass whips against your legs and you tell yourself all you gotta do is make to the tree line, just the tree line and then you might have a shot.

You’ve been telling yourself that all day.

Just to the end of the street...

Just out of the city...

Just to the next house...

The next car...

The next rock...

The next body...

You just need to keep going, this can’t last forever.

Your lungs burn as you suck down another ragged breath and your dumb legs stumble on.

At least six fast ones behind you now.

They won’t get tired.

Question is...

How the hell are you getting out of this one?

Or does it all end here?


How the RP works.

Hello in this section I’ll explain how this RP will work please take a quick look as it maybe a little different from things you’ve done before. Basically the RP can be broken down into steps.

Step 1. The GM (that’s me Bosch) will post Missions in the IC section of the RP. These Missions will be clearly titled in the IC post.

Step 2. The RPers (that’s you) read the mission and choose one. They state which mission they would like to undertake in the OOC section of the RP. This is to prevent two people doing the same mission. The Missions are allocated on a first come first serve basis.

Step 3. After declaring your interest you can get writing. Remember from the day you say you want mission you have one week to complete your post.

Step 4. Once all the posts have been received the GM will create a post that deals with the epilogues of each mission and their impact on the setting. The GM will also post a new selection of jobs at which point we go back to step one.

This is the basic setup of the RP however there is more to it.

Missions come in three flavours which will be described below.

Solo Mission.

In this mission your character will be alone or with NPCS. The Solo aspect refers to you as a writer not your character. It means you won’t be collaborating with anyone. We have occasional missions like this and they intended to be shorter and less plot heavy. Sometimes the story might dictate missions are Solo efforts.

Collab Mission.

This is a mission when two or more characters from the same group go on a mission. You will be writing this as a collaboration with other RPers from the same group. For example two runners go on a mission together or two scavs go on a mission together.

Intersection Mission.

The Lake District is not big and the groups are close together so odds are Runners and Scavs will bump into each other. The GMs will indicate OOC when two missions are likely to intersect. Obviously it’s up to you guys if they actually do.

We treat situations like these as collabs but instead of leaving together the characters meet in the field. It is up to you how the characters interact but THE RP IS NOT COMPETITIVE.

We are all writing a story here and in terms of OOC communications we are all working together. If someone asks me to “settle a fight” or anything ridiculous of that nature I will send you packing. If you want to “fight” there is an arena on the site for that. Everything we do here is collaborative that means the outcome of conflicts is agreed on ahead of time. I’m pretty easy going with rules and don’t like being all GMey but this is something I have a zero tolerance on. Agree the outcome of a conflict ahead of time or don’t have it.

We’re telling a story here not competing.

Other features we have are areas for more traditional RPing called the Farm IC and Eden Valley IC.

The Farm IC and Eden Valley IC.

Ok these are OOC topics but we treat them as IC. Here you can do traditional “Real Time” RPing. You must obey a few simple rules though.

1. The main RP always takes precedent over these. If a post doesn’t fit in the timeline the IC will nine times out ten be ignored or changed.
2. Your character cannot move between areas. If a runner ends a job in Haven they are then part of the Haven IC until their next job. No teleporting.
3. I personally don’t get involved in the IC’s with my characters as they aren’t really my thing and keeping the plot going and coming up with missions eats up most of my RP time. That doesn’t mean I don’t monitor it but it does mean sometimes I can miss things.
4. No combat in the ICs this includes between writers and between NPCs.

The Setting.

In August, 2013 a series of viral outbreaks started to target major European cities. The virus was particularly contagious and fatal. While Governments struggled to initially deal with the outbreak a new problem quickly presented its self. The infected who died were reanimating with murderous intent. The situations quickly devolved thanks to how contagious the disease was and the slowness of the Government’s response.

In a few short weeks the dead outnumbered the living in the UK. Survivors fled from cities and tried to just stay alive whatever way they could. As the weeks turned into months it became clear the UK Government would not be coming to help anytime soon.

In the Lake District two groups quickly formed the Rands and the Eden Valley Camp site. The Eden Valley group quickly became known simply as the Caravaners or Vanners. The outbreak tested both Groups but they survived and started to forge their own communities. The Vanners led by Jane Meadows and the Rands led by Ken Rand.

Around a month after the initial outbreak two Survivors called Jonathan Monroe and Callie Winters who were travelling together stumbled on a Farmhouse in the Lake District and decided to fortify it. They decided to call the place Haven. In the next few weeks and months Haven grew into small community that is ever expanding.

With more people however came more problems. Food, medical supplies, clothing, entertainment and information were all in short supply. It was for this reason Winters formed the Scavengers, a group that would leave the safety of the Haven and go into the wild to recover items that could help the community.

Around the same time supplies had also begun to run low in Eden Valley and members of the community, part motivated by hunger and part by cabin fever, offered to explore the local area and recover what they could. They became known as the Runners.

You are a one of these community members.

A Scav or a Runner.

The Scavengers.

Winters originally formed the Scavs as a way to ensure the people of Haven had adequate supplies. However there role has expanded significantly over time.

All Scavs are issued with the same very limited basic kit. This consists of a first aid kit, a map and a radio. The radios are used to stay in touch with Haven but given the mountainous geography of the Lake distract they don’t work so well in valleys. All Scavs augment their basic kit with items they find in the field, what your Scav carries is up to you.

Scavs tend to loners, athletic and have decent survival skills, although those traits are possessed by a surprisingly diverse group of people in the aftermath of the dead rising.

The Runners.

The Runners are the Scavangers opposite numbers from Eden Valley. While they are a large group they have been able to ride out the Apocalypse in their camp site so they have very few new people just like the Rands. Haven on the other is made up almost entirely of non locals so the Scavs tend to have more field time.

They are a larger and better equipped group than the Scavengers as Eden Valley was full of camping supplies. All Runners are issued with the same basic kit. This consists of a first aid kit, a map and a radio. The radios are used to stay in touch with Eden Valley but given the mountainous geography of the Lake distract they don’t work so well in valleys. All Runners augment their basic kit with items they find in the field, what your Runner carries is up to you.


The World outside your door.

The world beyond the communities is full of Zombies and other survivors. So let’s talk about them.

Both communities are near a small town called Cromwell. Cromwell has been picked pretty clean in the chaos of the outbreak but there are still some goodies to be found.

The Lake District is a mountainous Region in England’s north west near the border with Scotland. It has many hills (called Fells by locals), Lakes and woodlands.

Wildlife in the lakes represents a good cross section of British wildlife such as Red Squirrels, Wild Fell Ponies, Fish, livestock such as sheep and Red Deer. The abrupt decrease in human population has lead to an increase in the amount of wildlife in the region.

Some Survivors are just trying to survive while others are going to be assholes. It may turn out that the people left alive are more deadly than the Zombies. Nevertheless Characters must work together if they are to succeed.

The Zombies.

First off all Zombies in the LTODA cannon follow some rules which are documented here.

They go by many names Walkers, Stiffs, Roamers, Zack, The Undead, Lucky, Zed and many others No matter what you call them the zombies come in two flavours Slow and fast.

Slow Zombies are those that have been infected for a longer time while Fast zombies are the newly turned. The reason for this is degradation in muscle fibre. As the Zombies are dead they are unable to heal themselves which means over time their bodies become weakened due to wear and tear. This means the most powerful zombies are those that have just turned while older zombies are more likely to be weaker. It would take years for a zombie to become so decrepit that it would no long cause a threat.

It may be a mistake to think of the zombies as being either slow or fast instead it's better to think of it like a spectrum.


The Groups


A small mongrel group made up of all sorts founded by Callie Winters and Jonathan Monroe. They operate out of a defended Farmhouse they call Haven. Haven Farmhouse is on the crest of hill giving them a view of the overall area.

The place is under a constant process of construction as the survivors try to better their defences.

They have Scavengers who go on missions for the community. Your character can be a Scavenger.

The Rands

A group of Locals living out of a stately home called Upton Abbey. They don’t like outsiders who they class as tourists but understand good relations with neighbours are necessary. The group was led by William Rand and his Father Ken.

Recently the Rands have been all but wiped out after a large horde attacked them. The group it thus spread all over the place.

The Caravanners

A large group of refugees living in a caravan site, they are led by a woman called Jane Meadows. They are a large group and while Meadows is the leader her position is tenuous which means she must keep control using diplomacy. They lack local knowledge but have numbers and have worked hard to secure their perimeter. They are quick to panic however possibly given their fish out of water nature.

They have had the most interaction with Haven although this has been marred by confusion and for a while many voices in the community were calling for a war with Haven. This was because Haven Scavs had been confused with the Gang of Five. A murderous group of Hunters.

They have runners who go on missions for the community.


Individuals or very small groups who are either passing through or trying to find a place to stay. It’s impossible to predict what they are like. They might be like Natalie and Daddy a pair of psychotic killers or be friendly traders.

Important Events

August 2013 - Viral outbreaks across Europe, possibly rest of the world.

September 2013 - Haven founded and Scavengers formed.

October 2013 - The RP begins.

Late October 2013- Death of William Rand.

November 4th -Death of October "Toby" Harrison.

November 5th- RAF Helicopter Crash, Death of Jonathan Monroe.

November 10th- Death of Jesus Herrera.

November 11th- Death of Tilo King, Richard Brand and Destruction of the Rands. Upton Abbey overrun by Zombies.

The Character Sheet

The CS will be pretty basic because the whole point is we get to learn more about your character through your writing. With that in mind though we are striving for realism so keep in mind we don’t want Ubermen running around but at the same time your character must be capable of surviving. I know it seems contradictory.

Consider the CS an audition of sorts and it’s the only writing sample we ask for so, make it pop.

The Basic CS should include the follow sections.




Physical description-

Biography- Include pre outbreak and post outbreak information.

Skills- Skills will develop as the RP rolls on so don’t feel pigeonholed.

The buzz words for the CS are realism and potential. Feel free to include any additional sections.

Toggle Rules

Rules Bleugh. It’s pretty simple really, abide by the rules of the site, GM decides all issues and we’re here to have fun. I’m sure we’re all rational reasonable people and there will be no need to get all enforcey.

Here's a few guidelines though that will probably help the whole thing run smoothly.

1. Some Jobs are collaborations. Communication is key in these situations. I know it's just an RP but we're all here to RP and that makes it important.

2. All jobs must conclude in a single post. Two Parters, while fun, can be a difficult to run.

3. Please use dates and times on jobs. They don't have to be totally accurate just give us an idea when events are occurring.

4. If you choose to kill your character you don't lose your seat at the table rather I will hail you as a God among Mortals and you get to make a new one. This is a very lethal world and your character is a product of 21st century pampering. While we all like to imagine ourselves as surviving the zombie apocalypse the probability is low, there's always more zombies than survivors after all.

5. NPCS that have a CS are Unkillable, NPCS without a CS are killable. It's my responsibility to make sure everyone important has a CS.

6. Jobs must be in no later than one week after they are accepted. Let me know you'll be late and it's cool. The Max I'm willing to wait though is two weeks. After that I'll conclude the Job.

7. In matters of Chronology the main RP always takes precedence over the Farm IC. Sometimes this can lead to paradoxes but use your imagination.

8. If you have a holiday or exams or some other big deal thing coming up let me know and we'll stick your character on Pause for a couple of weeks. Maybe they got the flu or a sprain.

The Story So Far... Write a Post » as written by 12 authors

2 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Callie Winters Character Portrait: Jonathan Monroe
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#, as written by Bosch

October 2013

Callie Winters awoke and for a brief second she at home in her own bed but the moment quickly passed and reality crashed in around her. She was lying on a dirty old couch, wrapped up inside a sleeping bag in a farm house she now shared with four other people. She crawled out of the sleeping bag and stretched, enjoying the way her joints cracked and popped.

She staggered around picking up her clothes and a meagre selection of toiletries before heading for the portable camp Shower they had set up.


Twenty minutes later she was walking into the living room of the Farmhouse that now acted as the Communications centre of Haven. Of course Monroe was already there studying a map that was splayed over a coffee table. He had little pins sticking out of various locations. The room stank of his black coffee.

“Mornin’. Sleep well?” He offered when he saw her enter the room.

“As well as could be expected, what we got today?”

“Well I’m gonna finish shoring up the Southern Wall then I’m gonna inspect those weapons Kim brought.”

“Kim... How’s Mark?”

“He’ll live, a bit sad and that but he’ll get over it.”

Callie shook her head Monroe could be very cold but she’d seen how his pragmatism had helped keep both of them alive while they were on the road together.

“I’m taking him out today to help me with the wall. No sense moping around all day.”

Callie nodded that was about as close as Monroe could get to offering a shoulder to cry on. To him manual labour was comforting.

“I hear there’s some interest in the Scavs. Surprising saying after Kim got, ya know... bit.”

“Understandable, Haven’s great but it is cooped up. Who we got?”

“The woman with the art and the piercings, said her name was Toby. I think she’s batting for your team.”

Callie rolled her eyes despite her best efforts she had failed in domesticating Monroe, he was just as offensive as when she first met him.

“I’m not gay Monroe. Who else we got?”

Monroe shrugged and continued. “The little teeny bopper chick who thinks she’s a punk also wants in.”

“Delaney Byron? Good for her I didn’t think she’d... Good for her. Its crazy she found us right? A big time celebrity like that.”

“I never really watched Britain’s got Talent.”

“She wasn’t on Brtian’s Got Talent. She’s got famous the old fashioned way.”

“Whatever I’ll get excited when Kenny Rodgers comes knocking. Next up is the Yank kid, Kinney. Actually feel kind of bad for him.”

“It must be hard on him...”

“I know, I mean who’d want to be a cheeseburger eating Yank?” Monroe said with a smile.

“This is why I’m the people person. Can’t you ever be serious?”

Monroe ignored her and kept talking “And lastly we got Slick Willy Moore. He’s the skinny kid, very verbal.”

“Talkative eh? He should get on well with you then.”

“Hardy Har Har.” Monroe said as he screwed his face up into a poor facsimile of laughter.

“At least they’re better than Gary. Remember when he arrived and told us he was a Sharpshooter? Turned he meant on an Xbox.”

Monroe laughed and Callie walked over to the desk they’d set up a scrounged radio on. They’d found it in one of the Mountain Rescue Bases to the North. At first Monroe hadn’t wanted to take it but Callie had talked him round. She pulled out her chair and sat down. It emitted a long creak and Callie looked at Monroe.

“I swear to God it’s fixed this ti...”

The creak turned into a crack and the chair collapsed.

“Damn it!” Monroe shouted as he ran to help Callie to her feet. “Sorry Cal I don’t know what the problem is I just can’t... It’s the wood I tell you it’s the wood.”

“Sure thing Monroe whatever you say.” Callie said as she rubbed her behind and grabbed a stool. “At least we have more wood for the fire.”

There was a knock at the door that made Callie and Monroe look at each other.

“Uh, come in?” Callie said unsurely.

The door swung open to reveal a woman in a tattered looking lab coat.

“Doctor Short, there’s no need to knock, come in.”

The middle aged woman walked into the room with a slightly nervous gait. At first Monroe didn’t like the woman but when he saw Short in action treating a dog bite he knew the Doctor was a professional. While she was a bundle of nerves most of the time the Doctor functioned incredibly well when the chips when it mattered.

“Oh I didn’t want to interrupt. I just, came to request... that is ask if um, I need something for the infirmary.”

“Of course Doctor. Just give me the list and I’ll get the Scavengers on it.”

“Yes very good. Do tell them to be careful though I... just feel so terrible about Kimberly.”

“She knew the risks Doc. She died a hero.” Monroe said without looking up from his map.

“Yes quite Mr Monroe.” Short then turned back to Callie. “I’ll leave the list here with you Callie.”

With that Short left the room leaving Callie and Monroe alone again.

“Any word from The Rands or the Caravaners?”

“The Rands are still staying quiet but the Caravaners are talking. No word of trade yet but at least they’re talking. Those Rands give me the Heebie Jeebies though.” Monroe replied. “Look here.” He said pointing to the map. “That’s another camp site thats pretty out of the way, I think we should check it out. Might be more survivors or at least some good things to pick up.”

Callie nodded. “I’ll give it to one of the Scavs. I’m trying to keep the Newbie’s out of too much danger.”

“I don’t know if that’s going to be possible. We might need to send them back to McGuffin Fell.”

“What are you mad? That’s where Kimberly got bit!”

“Yeah I know that so you know that in this instance the juice has to be worth the squeeze.”

“What could be so important out there?”

“I sent Kim out there because there’s a forestry office there. The office will have all the data on weapon owners, population centres, farms and pretty much everything the Rands already know. Before she turned Kim told me she’d downloaded all the data onto a hard drive but after she got bit she didn’t know if she’d make it home so she stashed it in the Forestry building. It’s in the second floor bathroom behind the toilet cistern.”

“That was smart of her.” Callie said.

“I know so we can’t let her death have been for nothing.”

“Right and we need this data?”

“It would let us provide a lot more information to us about the surrounding area.”

“Ok it goes in orders.”

“There’s one last problem. The Forestry place was wired up with Solar so hopefully its computer will still boot up. We though are working off Gary’s laptop which needs juice. That means turning the generator on.”

“We need petrol then.”

“Yep, looks like the Scavs will have their hands full.”

“I’ll draw up the Mission Orders.” Callie said.


Don’t want to be down with the Sickness.

Area- Cromwell General Practitioner’s office.

Objective- Secure Medical Supplies.

Information- Doctor Short has requested some supplies from the Cromwell GP office. She has provided a list of what is needed. It’s mainly various painkillers, bandages, splints and such like. The list had been included below but you are to only take what you can.

Cromwell was a small town and but it’s still a population center and that means people lived there. People means zombies. So you’ll need to stay on your toes. Dr Short tells us the medical supplies are kept in a basement so you should probably use a flashlight. Also be aware that the GP Office is in Cromwell which is reasonably near the Caravner’s site. Do not approach their base but understand you may run into some of them.

Is there anybody out there?

Area- Small Campsite near Tull Hollow

Objective- Investigate the camp site, recover supplies or make contact with survivors.

Information- Tull Hollow is a small wooded area that serves as a small camp site. It hasn’t been fully cleared yet and we need you to go in and check the place out. There are no buildings so expect tents and the like. You could arrive and find nothing, some supplies or even a few survivors. Obviously be careful but we need to check this place out. It’s too close to Haven to not know what going on there.

Unfinished Business

Area- Forestry office in McGuffin Fell.

Objective- Recover the Data left by Haven Scavenger Kim Reynolds

Information- Kim Reynolds was one of our first Scavs and one of the best, unfortunately she died yesterday after being bitten while on a mission. That mission was to recover some data from the Forestry Office in McGuffin Fell. The information will help Haven greatly as it will provide information not on maps. Kim was able to download the Data to a hard drive but unfortunately was bitten soon after. Thinking fast she hid the hard drive behind a toilet cistern on the second floor. You need to recover the Hard drive and bring it back here.

The Forestry office is in the middle of nowhere with pretty much nothing around it. There might be some supplies but your goal is the Hard drive don’t lose sight of that. Kim said that inside the place had quite a few zombies and that they were all pretty fast so be on guard.

Siphon Filter.

Area- Farms around Haven

Objective- Recover Petrol.

Information- One of your fellow Scavs is on a mission that requires the use of the Generator. That means the Generator needs some petrol. You need to go get some.

We believe there is a farm a little to the east that will have what we need. There are quite a few farming vehicles around the place so all you need to do is siphon off some petrol. We have a tube you can use and everything just try not to swallow too much.

The farm was owned by a Family called the Jones and we haven’t seen them in the time we’ve been here. Some Scavs have reported hearing screaming from within which could either be Zombies or Scavs making up ghost stories. Whatever the case there is no reason to go inside on even near the house. Just get the petrol and go.

3 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Callie Winters Character Portrait: Jonathan Monroe Character Portrait: Delaney Byron
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Is there anybody out there?

'Is this it?' Laney pouted. 'I can't fucking kill Zeds with that.'

She dragged her eyes along the pitted length of the rough-and-ready weapon, and up into the steely gaze of the Haven leader. There her sneer died as he raised a gray-flecked eyebrow.

'I'll be quicker without it. It's just... I'm not...'

She flounced from the pantry that served as the armory, leaving the sawn-off shotgun and the taciturn Monroe behind. If only she still had her Kel-Tec P11, she'd show him what she could do. Barney hadn't let her go back to Mayfair for it, and the decision had probably saved her life. Nobody got out of London alive, that was the rumour. Still, it wasn't fair for this grumpy soldier to look down on her like she was a useless little girl. She'd seen the same look on other musicians, people who thought they were more 'real' than her just because she'd had the leg-up of her famous dad. She grit her teeth. She'd show Monroe too.

Callie was in the kitchen, still poring over the large-scale area of the map. Laney had dragged herself to Haven by following Callie, so she felt a sense of gratitude to her she didn't feel towards her co-leader. But the Scavs leader had recognised her straight away, even seeming momentarily star-struck - even though that behaviour really belonged to what Laney thought of as the old world - so Laney had to assume Callie also had her preconceptions about her. What they were, Callie hadn't let on, but preconceptions about her were invariably bad, Laney had found. So she was determined to show Callie too.

It was early in the morning. Back in the old world, Laney had been used to rising at midday - fuck it, sometimes she didn't even get home until midday - but over the course of the months it had taken her to travel the 300 miles from London the the Lake District, dodging zombies and raiders alike, she'd got more in tune with the natural world. Complete withdrawal from alcohol, weed, coke, and everything else she'd been popping and snorting, followed by a week's rest and recovery in Haven, had left her feeling fit and fresh. Even so, she wasn't the first one up. Callie and Monroe had been in their Communications Centre when she'd got there; she'd also passed the timid Dr Short on her way there. Still, she was first of all the Scavs to get out the gate.

'So, anything else I need to know?' she asked, picking up one of the backpacks from the pile on the floor. She'd been assured they were identical - map, radio, first aid kit, food, water - and Callie had told her her mission wasn't going to require any special equipment.

'We don't know much about the wood, and less about the camp, so probably the less I tell you, the less you'll be mistaken.'

Laney raised an eyebrow at this sophistry, unconsiously mimicking Monroe.

'Just be careful is all I'll say, Delaney.'


Weak sun was struggling to burn away the hill fog as Laney stepped out of the fortified gates. Her hand instinctively went to the hatchet tucked into her belt as the bars slammed shut behind her. Monroe took no risks with the settlement's safety. She fought the instinct to hammer on the gate and ask to be let back in, or given a companion for her mission. There was a feeling of all hands on deck around Haven at the moment. Laney had never visited the Lake District before, but it was the kind of place you'd see wreathed in snow every year on the news. Its isolation had disadvantages as well as advantages.

She sucked in a deep breath of the cold morning air and set off down the road. She'd been assured the road was safe a mile or so either side of Haven, and she'd checked and rechecked the Command Centre map and her own, smaller map, for the point where she'd strike off cross-country. Tull Hollow was about 10 miles away by road, slightly closer cross-country, but striking through the rough, overgrown fields was going to take time. Laney was counting on two hours to get there, two hours looking around, max, and two hours back. Easy.

The day brightened, but didn't get any noisier. As a born-and-bred Londoner, the silence of the countryside had always unnerved her. Now, the world was even quieter still, robbed of the vast majority of its noisy inhabitants and their noisy habits and past-times. She looked up at the clearing sky. No vapour trails, for what must be the 100th day in a row.

She arrived at the S-bed that marked the safe extent of the road - how the Haven leaders had ascertained it was safe she didn't know. Now straining her ears and eyes, Laney crept around the first corner. More empty road. She chided herself for her over-reaction. It's not like every Zed or raider in Britain was going to be waiting just outside Monroe's safe zone. Double-checking her hatchet was secure, Laney mounted the stone wall that deliniated the road, and jumped down into the field below. Checking her map one last time, she set off almost perpendicular to the wall.


An hour later, Laney's boots and leather jeans were soaked through from the dew that clung to the long grass. Her hands and face were scratched from fighting through hedgerows. Maybe it was longer than an hour. Certainly the sun felt warm. Maybe she was sweating at her own frustration. The sweat dripping from her brow stung her scratches. Only the trail she had tramped through the long grass behind her stopped her panicking at being lost. Only the fact that she was still heading downhill convinced her she was on the right path.

'Fuck. This,' she muttered, throwing herself down by the latest hedgerow she'd clambered through. She pulled her water bottle out of her backpack and took another swallow. It was half-gone. She should really slow down on it, she knew, but she was thirsty. She'd just have to fill it at Tull Hollow. Throwing an evil look at the radio and again casting from her mind the idea of checking in at Haven, she pulled the map out again. She'd already folded and dog-eared it from over-use, but she had to check it again, just for reassurance. Yes, there was Haven, marked with a big red H. There was Tull Hollow, and there, half a mile beyond the wood, was one of the lakes that gave the district its name. It was downhill all the way, right? So why could she see neither wood nor lake, just rolling hills?

Laney looked back the way she'd come. Haven was out of sight now, too, and she left a little pang of separation. The other Scavs had probably set off on their missions now, too. They probably weren't having these kinds of problems. Even that skinny, jittery guy, William, seemed like he could take care of himself in a fix, or at least get himself out of a fix. That short, muscly woman and the cute American, they were definitely doing okay.

It's too hard. It's not fair. Tears prickled Laney's eyes. Then she sprang to her feet, wiping angrily at her face with her sleeve. That was the old world Laney sneaking back in. She shoved everything back into her pack and set off again.


She hadn't expected to come across this stream. She knelt on its edge and splashed her hot face with the deliciously cool water. She was just about to fill her almost-empty water bottle when she stopped. Better check where the stream comes from first, she thought.

Pleased with this survival instinct, Laney was even more pleased to discover from her tattered map that the stream had to be running out of the lake below Tull Hollow. On further scrutiny of the battered document, she surmised she'd set off from the wall by the S-bend at the wrong angle - 100 degrees perpendicular instead of 80 degrees. She stood on a tuft on the side of the stream and looked to her right. Over the crest of the hill, she thought she could make out the tops of pine trees. A triumphant smile split her lips, and she allowed herself a little fist pump - after checking first that no-one was watching. Old world habits die hard.

She walked along the stream for five minutes, observing its clarity, and enjoying its tinkling music. Then she walked back to where she'd first come across it, filled her water bottle, and followed it upstream again. She rounded the shoulder of the hill, and gazed across yet another field to the wood and the lake. She checked her hatchet once again and stepped out into the field -

- and stopped immediately as movement just inside the treeline caught her eye. She dropped to the ground and watched. Moments passed. Laney crawled to her left to see if she could get a better view, and again movement caught her eye, as did a flash of red canvas. She drew the hatchet from her belt and crawled closer, stopping below a natural swell in the sloping field about 250 yards from the treeline. She peered, and caught sight of the red canvas again. It wasn't moving, and Laney surmised it must be a tent. Then it was blocked from view, and reappeared. Something had walked in front of it!

Laney looked all around her, as Barney had taught her on their flight north. Check all escape and approach routes. Any settlement would have scouts or outposts out. Monroe had tried to teach her the same thing yesterday, even used the same words, and she'd told him to fuck off. She'd been upset at the reminder of her last remaining friend from the old world.

Seeing nothing, she crept forward, over the safety of the swell and out into the open. Ever watchful for more movement as she approached the woods, Laney could hear her heart beating. And then she froze, a good 150 yards from the woods. Standing between two pine trees as upright as pillars was a distinctly human form, in a distinctly unhuman stance. Its head was slumped forwards onto its chest, its shoulders sagged, its arms hung by its sides. Every few seconds it would take a listless step. It was gradually turning to face the path Laney had taken up from the stream.

Her throat dry, her heart thumping, sweat beading her brow, Laney backed up the hill as quietly as possible, angling her retreat to remain behind the zombie as much as possible. She was at the edge of the field, almost in the hedgerow, when a waft of foul air struck her nostrils.

Gagging and screwing up her eyes, Laney spun round, brandishing her hatchet in two hands, more like a shield than a weapon. In the hedgerow lay a body, still as a log. Covering her mouth and nose with her sleeve, she looked closer.

Around its neck and hands, the skin was a putrid, pink-grey colour. Yellowy white teeth and jawbone protruded rudely where its lower face should have been. She guessed a zombie had bitten the face off this person, when they had been a person. It was hard to tell what the initial zombie had done to its victim's upper face; from the nose upwards, the head was a pulp of mashed flesh, blackened gore, and bone fragment. Someone had put an end to this re-animation.


The adrenaline had seeped from her body, leaving her feeling light-headed. A glance in the direction of the cloud-shrouded sun told her it was the afternoon; certainly time to eat. This mission was taking much longer than she'd anticipated.

Moving away from the body, Laney looked back at Tull Hollow and pondered her discoveries as she chewed some dried meat. There had been some sort of settlement here; the body - once a look-out, probably - and the red canvas within the woods suggested that. But the death of the look-out and the presence of the wandering zombie in the wood suggested it had been abandoned. She peered back at the wood. The zombie was out of sight now, but movement beyond the wood caught her eye. Shielding her eyes against the sun, Laney looked out to the lake. After a momentary squint, she realised something was floating on it, some sort of boat. It was impossible to make out movement on board at this distance, but a few minutes of watching told her it wasn't drifting in the wind - it must be anchored.

A few more minutes left, and she was on her feet. Recalling her new job title, Laney crept back over to the body, but it didn't look like there was anything worth scavenging. It didn't even have shoes. Looks like its former friends had done all the scavenging here already. That made up her mind; there wouldn't be anything worth having in the woods. Whoever was out on that boat would have it all already. Callie's final words of caution replayed in her head as she struck out for Haven.


Fuuuck, it got dark quickly this far north. This far into the year, too. Laney berated herself for every delay - for getting lost, for sitting in the field despairing just hours into her mission, for approaching Tull Hollow so slowly, for taking so long for her lunch break. It had turned cold too, but she hardly noticed as her panic rose with every degree more the sun slipped behind the horizon. Now her every step was blind. Now her every step could be right onto a prone zombie, or right into a zombie's grasp. Now her haste was making her incautious, now the occasional whimper of fear escaped her lips. She was gripping her hatchet so tightly, she thought she'd never be able to prise her fingers from it.

The hedgerows were the worst. Every rustle was amplified into a zombie's step. The wind through the bushes and stunted trees was a zombie's moan. Every time a bramble snagged her sleeve, that was it, grabbed by a zombie! Her eyes stung, her pulse roared, her breath was ragged in her throat as even the dusk dwindled. Just like the unworldly silence, the utter, utter darkness was alien to this city girl. There was no way, no way at all, of telling if she was going in the right direction. It was like one of those dreams about endless falling. Haven would be blacked out by now, only the bare minimum light used, and only then safely indoors behind heavy curtains, so as to avoid attracting human and unhuman intruders alike.

Straining her eyes, Laney could just make out that she was coming to another hedgerow. No, wait, this one was different, it's outline more uniform. She reached out her hatchet, and metal chinked on stone. The road wall! She vaulted it in one bound and immediately started sprinting up it, not caring whether she was on the safe mile yet or not. Indeed, she dashed through the S-bend without even pausing.

Her chest heaving, soaked in sweat, tears and snot pouring down her face, Laney gave the special knock on the door of Haven.

3 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Callie Winters Character Portrait: Jonathan Monroe Character Portrait: October "Toby" Harrison
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The morning came as it usually does for Toby; with an extreme case of 'not a morning person' syndrome followed quickly by a string of select words. She proceedes from her decidedly uncomfortable bed and to her small pile of belongings in the corner. She doesn't keep much - doesn't like the feeling of loss when loosing an item she's attached to. Toby tries to fumble blindly for her spare change of clothes as her eyes are closed to cling to those last moments of sleep. Eventually she opens them to pull said clothes on.

Today is unusual for Toby. Its her first mission and though it's simple she knows all to well the dangers that come with her involvement. Lady luck often doesn't smile for Toby, not in life, and certainly not in death. She grabs a bag of extremely old stale jerky from her bag and begins chewing loudly on the not so good peice of meat. Would she feel the repercussions later? Most certainly, but she doesn't much care about the state of her internal health anymore. As long as she can run, lift, and climb in her usual way she wouldn't care if she even contracted some sort of deadly disease; or more hilariously in her opinion Stiff Syndrome (as she has dubbed the Zombie problem to be.)

"Honestly, how do they expect us to get shit done." Toby curses as she ignores the weapons closet. She carries in her hands the sawed of shotgun that serves more suicidal purpouses than anything. It almost brings a smile to her face to think of someone even blowing their head off with it. She wouldn't, if it came down between Stiff Syndrome and shooting herself she would rather leave her terrifying mark on humanity.

Siphon Filter is the name of her mission apparently. She doesn't exactly know who comes up with the mission names as she is severely under acquainted with both Monroe and Callie, but she gives whoever it is props for keeping a creative mind. Toby wastes no time making small talk to the Haven leaders - once she's given her mission briefing she gathers what she's taking and goes.

Toby doesn't know the lake district near as well as she should by this point. She starts running circles by the time noon rolls around. By now she should have been done with this mission and now that the sun is nearly at its highest point it will fall faster and make getting the petrol much harder. She stumbles finally upon the farm with very few rays of sun peeking over the cloud cover. Sweat drips heavily off her skin, staininh her once white t-shirt even further.

The farm itself is good in size and eerily quiet. She heads for the nearest vehicle - a large tractor that seemed to have been suddenly abandoned. Blood, guts, and other body parts cover the front of it. Toby quirks a strange little smile as she realizes they are the body parts of dead Stiffs. Her mind buzzes with grotesque images of someone using this tractor to crush the Stiffs.

With daylight fading fast she takes up one of the fuel cans and attaches the hose to the tractor. She takes a deep breath and prepares herself for one of the few worst experiances she's had to be subject to several times in her life. When several hard intakes bring no gasoline from the tank she gives up on the Tractor. Winded and light headed from stray fumes. She casts her weary gaze closer to the farm house. She could have sworn they said this place had plenty more vehicles. She assumes that others have been here recently and took off with the salvagable ones. After all with the Rands and Caravaners tio compete with she wouldn't doubt they've covered as much area as possible. Much like Haven. The only other vehicles she spots are horribly rusted and covered in creeping vines. Toby doesn't bother with those.

They said there would be no reason to go inside the house but from one corner she can see another forgotten farm vehicle peeking out from a large barn; she doesn't quite know the name of this particular vehicle but it looks large enough and unscathed. Half obscured by the farm house wall and over grown shrubbery. Toby jogs that way and peers into the dark barn. Her pulse picks up a few beats as a scurrying noise reaches her ears. A furry little creature half appears into the light, then scurries back into the dark at the sight of Toby.

"Oh god, of course it has to be rats," Toby mutters as she crosses the threshold with the fuel can and hose in her hands. Toby hurries along with her job. Inserting the hose and placing the fuel can down. She only has to take one really hard intake before the horrid taste washes over her taste buds. She spits the hose quickly and aims for the fuel can while choking loudly on the liquid still invading her senses. It fills a little over halfway to the top before the stream sputters and dies. She strings the hose through her belt loop.

A sound catches her off guard suddenly, loud and definantly not a rat. She stands quickly and sets the fuel can halfway in the nearby shrubberybto conceal it. She dons the sawed off with a grim expression. The noise starts up again, lower and more raucous this time. It reminds her of a child's cry. Toby stares at the house with grim finality. They said she wouldn't need to go in....

Toby takes less than a second to make the decision to enter the house. She crouches low and listens for any hiny of Stiff or Human - though surely any survivors would have heard her and came to check out what was going on within the barn...right? Toby creeps along a hallway lined with family photos. She averts her eyes from the picture of a happy family.

She can't bear to see something she didnt have and won't ever have. Even if perhaps her mother survived their two person family couldn't be happy. Even as a kid Toby was on her own, cooking her own meals, signing her own school forms, and putting groceries in the fridge if it happened to be a good week at work. But these people in these pictures surely never experianced such a pitiful existance. They all smile, and its genuine joy in their eyes.


The sudden noise to a room directly to her left startles her. She wipes the sweat from her forehead and crouches low. She uses the butt of the sawed off to push the door open after u latching it. She doesnt know what to expect on the other side. Her heart beats so fast it feels like any second now she'll burst. Inch by inch the door opens to reveal a normal child's room. Only...a woman hangs from a noose in the dead center of it. Toby covers her mouth as flies buzz around her and the scent of rot and decay clouds her brain.


That sound again, louder now and more familiar. Its coming from the closet. Toby doesn't want to go in the room but her body reacts with the noise on a more basic level. She gives the woman a wide birth as she crosses to the closet. Once again her fears show freely as she shakily opens the closet door. What comes tumbling out certainly isn't what she expects.

A mottled gray tabby cat with its left ear missing barrels from the closet quickly. Its skin and bones body sagging under the weight of its fur and loose skin. It regards her with a feral look, claws unsheathed and back arched up. It must have been in the closet for a while, though how it got in there she doesn't quite know. She peers closer into the closet and exhales her understanding. "Oh..." more death it seems has struck this house. A tiny body lay curled up in the closet, cans of empty food scattered about. His body is that of a child no older than eight or perhaps ten. Hes in the fetal position, his head bowed and arms crossing his stomach as if in death he still is experiancing the pains of hunger.

Toby uncovers her mouth and looks back to the cat. She won't admit it aloud but her heart aches suddenly. As strong as she is this isn't exactly something she likes seeing. Death is a part of life however and she can't blame the woman or little boy for bringing these feelings out. Toby digs in her pocket and takes out one of the bad peices of meat from earlier. She tosses it to the cat and heads back for the door the house. However a peice of paper at the woman's feet catches her eye. Knowing its a bad idea she still bends to pick it up and scans the chicken scratch words.

"The only way out, is to become one of them."

Toby stuffs the paper in her pocket. She doesnt explore further in fear of discovering the rest of the family. When she steps into the light of day she notices the sun has dropped considerably lower. She takes up the fuel can and as quickly as possible retraces her step back to Haven. She knocks absent mindedly on the gate. She drops the fuel off to Callie, who she is less opposed to talking to - what can she say? She's a sucker for nice people and Monroe just doesn't cut it with his abrasive attitude.

"I had no trouble," Toby reports even though running into bodies was definantly trouble for her psyche. "Its real quiet up there, I'm pretty sure the farm is all tapped out though so finding a new source of fuel might be in order." Toby had only seen the two large farming vehicles though she's sure there's more scattered around that area. However with how little she got she wouldn't be surprised if the rest of the vehicles have also been tapped out. Toby says this all with her usual attitude filled look and her slightly jokong voice. Once her job is done she returns to her bed

Her sadness is slowly replaced by a growing amount of anger and anxiety from being around so many people. As much as she wants to be on her own she's afraid of the repercussions of doing so.

"I wouldnt last a day," Toby says to herself. She sheds her smelly clothes for ones not soaked by fluid. And as she lays back in her bed she thinks about the future and how these things will be from now on. "Stop being pathetic," she chides herself. Toby won't stand to put herself down, not after the hard work it took to get to this point today. She replaces her frown with a half grin meant to make herself feel better. Toby groans at her own actions and tiredly rolls on her side. Sleep takes over instantly, dreams becoming rapid fire nightmares of scared children and the monsters that chase them.

5 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Callie Winters Character Portrait: Jonathan Monroe Character Portrait: Mark Lawson Character Portrait: Delaney Byron Character Portrait: October "Toby" Harrison
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#, as written by Bosch

The petrol would help keep the generator running long enough for Gary to get the information they needed as soon as the hard drive was recovered. Toby had done well for her first mission although something about the woman troubled Callie. After Toby had retired she asked Monroe about it in the kitchen but he remained unconvinced.

“You really can’t see it?”

“See what Callie? She’s fine, no broken bones and still breathing. That’s ok.”

“No she’s... heavy. Something happened out there that’s weighing her down.”

“We’re all heavy now Callie. We all got something to carry. She’ll be fine in a couple of days, just needs to compartmentalise.”

“Don’t you mean process?”

“No... I don’t. Something’s you can’t process. You just lock ‘em away keep ‘em real deep and then dig ‘em up every so often. I tend to do it over a bottle of Bushmill’s. We all deal with things in our own way Callie. It’s not like the kids you taught, just leave her be.” Monroe shrugged and left the living room. “I’ll get the kettle on.”
He was walking through the hallway of the Farmhouse when Delaney practically collapsed through the door looking like hell. He was about make a quip about this being a far cry from the O2 Arena or Simon Cowell’s yacht but stopped himself when he saw the stress on her face. There was a time for humour and this wasn’t it.

“Well done kid. Go get cleaned up suppers almost ready.” He offered with his best approximation of a smile.

Delaney’s report was what Winters and Monroe had expected but they needed her to check it out any way. The boat was news though.

“A boat could be a way outta here.” Winters said and Monroe rolled his eyes.

“Callie there’s nowhere else to go. This is home now.” Callie shook her head, she’d been running for so long it just seemed natural to keep going. “We’ll need to get someone on that. They might be open to trade, maybe they fish or something.”

“I’ll put one of the Scavs on it.” Callie nodded.


The next morning Monroe was still working with Mark augmenting the defences of Haven by building a large fence. Mark was still grieving the loss of Kim but as Monroe expected labour was helping keep his mind off it. Monroe believed a lot of depression was due not keeping the body active, at least that’s what he told himself. He knew the real reason he worked so hard to exhaust himself was so when he went to bed at night all he could do was sleep and not think about the things he’d buried.

They were just adding struts to the walls they had already built from lose wood and spare corrugated cladding. Monroe knew the job was great but it was already October and Winter could take down his walls faster than a crowd of Zombies.

“MONROE! QUICKLY!” Callie yelled out of the Kitchen window.

“Sounds bad.” Mark said. Monroe nodded and ran to the kitchen where he saw Callie fiddling with the dial on her Radio set.

“There’s someone on the radio.” She said frantically.

“What are they saying?”

Callie held her hand up and spoke into the radio.

“Yes that’s better we have you now. Who is this?”

Monroe heard tinny voice on the radio but couldn’t hear what was being said.

“Right... Right... Ok... just calm down... How many? Hello Hello?” Callie tried to get the signal back but had no success.

“What? Is one of the Scavs in trouble?”

“Not one of ours. A guy called Timothy says he’s been chased up a tree but a crowd of about ten Zombies.”

“Well sounds like Timmys shit out of luck.”

“What, you want to leave him?”

“I don’t want to but we can’t ask one of our people to risk themselves.”

“So we leave him to die?”

“What if it’s a trap?”

“You sound like Ackbar.”

“Who’s that?”

“Nevermind point is. He sounded scared. We can’t leave him to die.”

“It’s acting. We could be sending out a Scav to save evil Daniel Day Lewis!”

“We could be but WHAT does it say about us if we don’t?”

“It’s say’s we’re realists.”

“He could be one of the Rands or the Caravanners. This could be our in with those groups.”

Monroe went quiet which was a sign he was thinking deeply. “Ah... I don’t like it.” He finally grumbled.

“You don’t have to.”


I’m on a Boat.

Area- The Lake near Tull Hollow.

Objective- Investigate the Boat sighted by Delaney Byron

Information- One of our Scavs was out on a job in Tull Hollow where they found a devastated campsite however while there she also spotted an anchored boat in Tull Lake. We need you to investigate the boat, make contact with any survivors or scavenge the place for whatever you feel will be of use.

Be careful as you will have to a bit of swimming to get on board and the lake could contain Zombies. Also try not to get the Sawn off wet. Won't fire if it's sodden.


Helping hand.

Area- Davis Crag.

Objective- Rescue Timothy.

Information- We have just received a panicked cry for help over the radio and need a Scav to go check it out. We have currently lost radio contact with Timothy who is at Davis Crag and was able to climb a tree to evade a pack of about ten zombies. Unfortunately now he’s stuck up a tree and is exhausted. He needs someone to lure the zombies away to give him time to escape. That’s where you come in.

Monroe isn’t convinced this is safe though and is worried it’s a setup so he’s authorised use of one of his special weapons. It’s called a Webley revolver. Apparently it was pretty popular during WW2. Monroe was able get one working again by cannibalising an assortment of other guns. It’s ugly as sin and very heavy but it can hold six rounds which is a step up from the sawn offs. We only have one of these revolvers and Monroe would very much like it back safe and sound.

We’re also giving you a firework satchel. It’s just a satchel filled with things that go bang. Use it to lure the Zed’s away from Timothy so you can both escape.

Use caution on this one. You are guaranteed to find something. Either a crowd of Zeds or an ambush.

C. Winters.

3 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Callie Winters Character Portrait: Benjamin Kinney Character Portrait: Jonathan Monroe
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#, as written by Messiah
Helping hand

Ben rolled out of his sleeping bag and onto the floor of the farmhouse. He didn’t know for sure what time it was. In the time since the outbreak, he’d gotten pretty good at guessing the time, but it was getting further and further into October now, and the days were getting shorter. But, the time didn’t particularly matter; he’d taught himself to get up with the sun in the months since he became stranded here. You know, get as much out of the daylight as possible.

With a groan, he stretched and searched through his clothes for something that was suitable to wear. The unwritten rules of the world had changed. No longer could he be so picky with his clothes anymore – not that he was beforehand, but now even less so. He got dressed, wearing a t-shirt, a light sweatshirt, blue jeans, and his regular pair of black and white sneakers. Thankfully, the advancing of the months also made it cooler. His dressing habits hadn’t changed much since the outbreak in summer, not because it was comfortable (it certainly wasn’t), but because long sleeves offered some minor protection.

As he went downstairs, he pulled on his backpack, his faded dark blue baseball cap emblazoned with a white ‘S’, and the belt that held his knife and hatchet. Even when asked, he wasn’t particularly willing to give these up to a communal equipment area. These tools had served him well and he’d gotten used to the weight and balancing of the hatchet. Not to mention the only time he allowed himself to use the knife in combat is when he couldn’t get to his hatchet (which has been never, as of yet); he was trying to make a point of keeping it from getting contaminated with the blood of infected. And every night, he ritually cleaned both tools, just to be safe. An accidental cut from a contaminated weapon was just as bad as getting bitten.

Once downstairs, he passed by both Callie and Monroe, giving them both a nod as he did, and then pushed out of the house and into the compound. Immediately, he went to the job board. Today, he’d have to go out since he had stayed in yesterday to help around Haven. He was around long enough to see both… what were their names? Toby and Laney return from their respective trips. Toby seemed… distant, but Laney really looked upset.

He felt like trying to console her, but he decided against it. She was tough; she had to be to still be alive and he didn’t really want to make her think that he was still under the impression that he was still living in the old world. Or something. Maybe it was because he found her attractive. Apparently she’d been some kind of celebrity in the old world. Not that that really meant anything now. Ben had seen so many celebrities in his life that sometimes the names and faces ran together, so he didn’t immediately recognize her. Really, the only reason he knew is because he overheard Callie talking about her one day.

There was nothing on the job board, but that was pretty much guaranteed to change soon, so he decided to take a walk around the compound. He knew the people around Haven, but he hadn’t had much interaction with them. It wasn’t for a lack of want, he just felt a little… awkward. Since the outbreak, he’d been alone pretty much all the time and gotten used to not talking to anybody. Maybe he was just at Haven to be around other people, not necessarily to spend a lot of time talking to them.
The truth was, even amongst the people here, he felt a little bit alone. He was American, and so was his family, and that meant that he had no way of reaching them, and he had no way of knowing what was happening there now. Had there been another outbreak in the states? That was the question that bothered him the most.

Either there was and his family was in danger, or already dead, or there wasn’t and they were worried to death about him with no way of contacting him. And that wasn’t all. If he ever managed to make his way back to Seattle, returning to a “normal” life would be extremely difficult. He’d killed things. He’d stolen things. It was a way of life that he’d gotten used to now. Going back would be hard.

By the time he returned back to the job board, there was something new on it. He pulled the job down and looked it over. There was a guy named Timothy in trouble, trapped by a crowd of walkers. They were worried that it might be an ambush. The job really wasn’t his forte, but it was his turn to go out.

It said that Monroe would give him a couple things; a big-ass gun and a firework satchel. He was also given the standard sawed-off shotgun and sent on his way.

In another minute, he was making his way out the gate and towards this place… Davis Crag. Whatever a crag was. He wasn’t exactly up to date on his British English. Not completely, anyway. Once he was out into the open world, he pulled his backpack up onto himself and stepped out onto the road, headed in an easterly direction.

It was quiet now. It was always quiet. Even in the cities. It was a stark contrast to what he was used to. Seattle was one of the larger cities in the United States, and there was almost always something going on. Cars, police sirens, people. He did like Seattle, but the quiet was nice too. Except now it was too quiet. There were hardly any cars, no police sirens, and people were few and far between outside of Haven. The people you did come across weren’t always friendly, either, so you had to watch for that.

In a world where the dead were coming back to life, they were rarely the most dangerous thing out there. You’d think that a disaster like this would pull the species as a whole closer together, since the numbers were dwindling fast. But… that wasn’t the case.

And now certainly wasn’t the time to dwell on the human condition and what this world did to it. He had to focus on what was going on now. If he wasn’t careful, he could run into a horde of zombies, or he could run into a group of unfriendly humans.

Checking his map, he had to make sure he was going in the right direction. The thing is, though, that there wasn’t much to tell where he was. Some trees here, some rocks there. But, his map was labeled with both Haven and Davis Crag, east of Haven. He looked up to the sky to see the sun below midway to its highest point. Good. He hadn’t been walking too long to have completely lost track of things. Ben looked down to the map again.

Davis Crag was still probably an hour or two away. Along with the standard kilometer markers, Monroe had also marked the miles on his map, probably at Callie’s urging. That meant that, if he was on course, he should arrive at the crag when the sun was near its highest point in the sky.

The whole thing seemed a little fishy, he had to admit. On one hand, how could this guy have gotten himself trapped by that many of those things, unless he’d done it on purpose? Maybe he was that stupid. But, on the other hand, he didn’t feel right just abandoning this guy to die there, one way or another. So, that was why he was on his way there.

On his way there, he stopped just twice. The first was to give himself a small drink. Even in October, it still got warm out, and he was wearing a sweatshirt. Thankfully, he wore a hat that kept most of the sweat out of his eyes, but that left the inside of his hat smelling oddly and gave it a slight brownish tinge, as opposed to the dark blue of the rest of the hat. The second time was to get another drink and to have a meager breakfast of dried fruit. Although, by then, it was getting close to lunch time. At least, it would have been lunch time by old world standards.

“Jesus.” He muttered to himself about an hour after having his breakfast, “Where is this crag thing?” It had to be around here somewhere, but when he looked around, he didn’t see many distinguishing features. No sooner had he said that when he noticed the ground getting less soft and more rocky. And then he heard it. It was the unmistakable sound of the dead, growling and snarling. Then, he heard something else that sounded more like a person. One of the living types.

Ben ducked down and looked around, but he didn’t see anything. He moved forward and soon discovered that he was near the top of a cliff-like formation. As he approached the edge, he found what he’d been looking for.

Below and about a hundred feet in front of him was a man stuck in a tree, surrounded by a large group of walkers. The man had dark hair and a beard, and was wearing a blue long-sleeve button-up shirt. He had a backpack on that looked fairly full.

Ben checked his supplies, notably the gun and the satchel he received and made his way down. There were less-steep paths on either side of him, leading down from the crag. On his way down, he stopped, seeing more human shapes heading towards the tree from the other side. By the way they walked and because they were holding weapons, he could tell that they weren’t undead, but actual people.

“Great.” He whispered, “It is an ambush.” He peered at the approaching group, trying to decipher who they were, but they weren’t people who he recognized. The zombies turned their attention from the man in the tree to the approaching figures. However, within a minute, each of them had been cut down by the five others.

Timothy climbed down and approached the four men and one woman who comprised the group, obviously grateful, “Thank you! Are you from Haven?”

Maybe this wasn’t an ambush.

The man in front – a Caucasian man in his mid-twenties, who had only stubble on his face and on top of his head sneered for a moment, “Haven? No. We’re new in the area. Looking for a place to stay. Do you know where this Haven is?”

Ben scowled, hoping that this Timothy guy didn’t know where they were at. He didn’t like the look of these guys.

“A few kilometers away. Not sure which direction.”

The leader sighed and shook his head, “Thanks.” Then, he drew a revolver and, before Timothy could protest, he fired a single shot into the poor man’s head. Blood, brain matter, and bits of skull ejected out the newly formed hole in the back of his head violently and he fell down onto his back, dead.

He tucked his revolver away and nodded to the man to his right, a man of Indian descent, “Search him.”

It was time, Ben decided, that he left and went back to Haven. These guys could be on their way, and he had to warn them. As he made his way back up the path, he slipped on some rocks, sending them back down the path and making some noise.

Ben heard the leader speak up, “What the fuck was that? Ethan, go check that out.” At this prompting, Ben rushed to the top of the path and looked for a place to hide. About fifteen feet away was a large rock that stuck up out of the ground enough to hide him. Hopefully.

He dove behind the rock just as ‘Ethan’ reached the top of the path, looking around for any signs of the one who’d caused the small rocks to crash down the path. Ben could hear his heart pounding in his ears, as he pressed himself flat to the earth.

“I don’t see shit!” ‘Ethan’ called back down to the leader.

“Then get back down here. We’re getting out of here.”

Ben braved a peek above the rock, breathing a quiet sigh of relief when he saw that ‘Ethan’ was no longer up at the top, looking for him. But, he wasn’t going to hang around and wait. Now was the time to get back.

Although, he was fairly sure that the group wouldn’t be heading this way – at least not for a while – he kept checking over his shoulder every few minutes, just to be sure. He didn’t want to lead those guys straight back to Haven, especially considering how callously they executed Timothy, and for no reason. There was no doubt in his mind that they’d be willing to murder them all for their home.

Not only was he paranoid, but he was quicker on his way back to Haven than he was out to Davis Crag. He managed to return to Haven by the early evening, although by then, it wouldn’t be long until it got dark.

When he returned to the farmhouse to give his report, he was given a curious look by Callie, and a cross one by Monroe (though he seemed to be happy to see his gun back in his own hands).

“What the hell happened?” Monroe asked.

“Where’s Timothy?” Callie cut in.

“He’s dead.” Ben explained. “Some group got to him before I could. I saw them kill him and take his stuff.”

“Who were they? How many?” Two more questions by Monroe.

“I didn’t recognize them. Didn’t think it’d be a good idea to ask, either. Five of them.” Ben rubbed the back of his head, “But, the thing is…”

“Yes?” Callie looked to him curiously.

“They asked about Haven. This guy Tim didn’t know exactly where we are, but he did know we’re within a few miles--” Ben gave a brief shake of his head, “—I mean kilometers.” He corrected himself, “So, I don’t know. They’re dangerous. We definitely don’t want them finding this place. Good news is, they didn’t see me.”

Ben turned to leave, muttering as he went, “Probably would have killed me if they did.”

5 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tilo King Character Portrait: Callie Winters Character Portrait: Jonathan Monroe Character Portrait: Mark Lawson Character Portrait: Delaney Byron
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(Co-written with Faith Fanon)

Tilo King had arrived in Haven about a week now, and he was still getting to know everyone. He came unexpectedly, that might be an overstatement. At the time, surviving settlements were consolidating, and he just showed up on the doorstep as if the zombie horde had only just begun. For the student of history, and father of two, it did. After eluding the first wave on the day the stiffs came, Tilo had been trying to survive and find his family ever since. Seeing the situation at Colchester, Tilo didn't know what to think. Maybe, maybe they survived. Both boys could care for their mother if anything had happened to Tilo himself. He knew that, or maybe he didn't. He didn't know.

He wasn't that physically fit, or able compared to most of the others at Haven. However, he realized that it was something he'd have to manage or he'd be left behind. The group here, in his mind, consisted of various peoples from many walks of life. He was surprised to see the diversity when he first showed up. One of his fears was that this little place would be overrun pretty soon, it had happened at various other places that he stopped at. Maybe he was a bringer of ill-fortune.


Forget about it, he thought. He was suprised at how superstitious he'd gotten. But sometimes, and this might be one of them, a person must find some consolation, or solace in what ways they can.


She got the distinct feeling Monroe wanted her to stay on the farm and help out, but after last night, Laney had set her mind against getting lumped with the domestic chores, and helping out on the barricades with Mark was creeping her out. The man was almost like a zombie himself now, methodically lifting and securing lengths of wood, backwards and forwards, unspeaking, almost unseeing. Any attempts at conversation were met by a dull stare, utter silence and then the cold shoulder. Sure, he'd lost someone - a fellow Scav, who'd died right here in Haven after being bitten on a mission - but who hadn't? So when the new guy, Tilo, had volunteered to go back to Tull Hollow to check out the boat, Laney had blurted out her offer of help immediately.

She felt some resentment towards him, for volunteering for what should have been her mission, and towards Callie and Monroe for accepting. It just reinforced her fear that she'd let the group down, that she could have done more. She felt like letting Tilo go on his own. He wasn't all that, let him face the unknown by himself. But after an hour on the barricades with Mark, she'd swallowed her pride. When she saw him sitting outside, hunched and nervous, she realised all new Scavs were scared. It was only natural. This guy was just trying to make his way same as anyone else.


Tilo sat on one of the logs that was set aside on the grounds as part of what was formerly a firepit. Now it was just a hole in the ground. He sat with his knees bent and his hands clasped together. He didn't sign up for this job, but on the day he came, Jonathan Monroe, one of the leaders of Haven, made it clear that everyone would have to do their part if they wanted to eat. Tilo's stomach told him that even though he was in the midst of a zombie apocalypse, he still had to eat. Tilo's head told him that even though he was hungry, he was in the midst of a zombie apocalypse.

He didn't care, the primary goal on his mind was to survive and find the whereabouts of his wife and kids.

So he sat there and waited. One of the other 'scavs,' short for scavengers, went out to Tull Hollow the other day to check for any survivors. As an urbanite, Tilo wasn't much familiar with Tull Hollow, perhaps he might have overlooked the place as he referred to the Romans and their northward expansion. If there was anything important at Tull Hollow in history, it was perhaps a camp for some druids and their followers. Nothing more than a footnote in history.

Having a guide who survived a trek to and from the region seemed a prudent idea, on the part of the volunteer who chose to lead the way. Delaney Byron, Tilo remembered hearing something about her in the news. He didn't really keep up much with popular culture, as he relied on his sons to do that for him. From what he knew, she was the daughter of Morris Byron, or rather, the late Morris Byron. Tilo didn't know if the rocker had survived, but he did enjoy the man's music. Tilo's adolescence practically revolved around the man, him and other musicians such as Elton John, the Beatles, and Rod Stewart.

The thoughts dissipated, as Delaney Byron appeared from the farmhouse, or as Monroe put it, the 'command post.'


"Hey," she nodded at him. "I'm Delaney." She looked him up and down. He was younger than her father, but still what she would call old, even though he was probably not much older than Monroe. It was the educated air that clung to him, she guessed, compared to Monroe's robust physicality, that had that effect, she supposed.

"Okay, let's do this thing," she announced, setting off down the road. She'd been here a day or two longer than Tilo, no more, but the fact she'd been out on a mission and he hadn't, that she'd survived and come back, made her feel capable, at least in his presence.

"Right then," he gestured for her to lead the way and he followed.

The way they went about, it seemed like he was on a hike, since he had to carry a bag among other things. The hatchet was something that he was never accustomed to using, but he knew he'd eventually have to learn. He held it with both hands, almost with a death grip. They came to the S-bend, Laney casting sly glances at her new companion. He wasn't of the generation that would know much about her career. Mostly she was glad, but part of her was disappointed - that same disappointment she always felt when confronted with the transcience, the artificiality of her celebrity. It wasn't important, in the grand scheme of things. Not like her dad's had been. People would remember things he'd made forever. At least, that's what people had thought, back in the old world.

"So I hear you're Morris Byron's daughter?" Tilo attempted to socialize, although it wasn't a priority for him at the moment. His eyes scouted the surroundings, trying to spot any zack.

'Yeah, I am,' she replied, glad to be talking about her father, not her own career. 'You... I don't know... you into him? This way," she said, vaulting the stone wall.

Tilo climbed over the wall, and once he got back on the ground, he began, "Well I'm a history professor, or I was. Before that I rocked out to your old man, the Beatles, Elton John, that sort of thing."

"Elton John? Yeah, my dad knew him, believe it or not. He used to play me Goodbye Yellowbrick Road all the time when I was little, the whole thing, on vinyl."

"Oh, no kidding?"

"Yeah, taught me to play it too. On piano. The song, I mean, not the whole album."

"Well I'm not surprised, I suppose Sir Elton was very much a family friend."

"Not really, I think they fell out when I was little. When they were both cokeheads." Laney saw they were nearing where she'd come across the stream, and directed them to the right, towards Tull Hollow.

"That's one of the things I miss most about the old world, my piano. I used to write all my songs on it. I wouldn't even mind if I just had a guitar again." She pointed out the tops of the trees to Tilo. "Over there. I mean, do you think we'll ever get things like that back again? Pianos, records, that kind of thing?"

"Honestly? I don't know. They seem like luxuries now. But um, I think everybody needs some music these days. And I'm hoping it comes back."

It was the most Laney had spoken to anyone since the outbreak. Come to think of it, she was struggling to remember the last time she'd spoken to anyone like this. Tears of loneliness pricked her eyes. "What about you, what do you miss?"

When posed with the question, he wasn't sure if he should answer it, or rather, could answer it. He wanted to give the most obvious answer. However, a part of him was afraid that, by doing so, he had already accepted that they were gone. They were people, not musical instruments. Once they were gone, they were gone, and he wasn't prepared to accept that.

"Um...well...," his head shifted away from her, trying to find some comfort in the trees. He perceived that they offered none, so he went out with it.

"I miss my wife, and my sons," he paused, continuing along behind her, "I don't know if they're still alive."

Laney opened her mouth to fill the silence. She'd resigned herself to her family being dead long ago. It wasn't her place to tell this man how to deal with his grief, so she kept quiet.

"That's the aspect I hate the most, the uncertainty," then he began to chuckle at himself, "In the end, it's just fear."

"Look at me, I'm a history professor," he paused and let out a low sigh, "The subject teaches you to realize the uncertainty of the future."

As he said this, he heard a slight crunch among crumpled branches on the ground.

"Speak of the devil," he whispered.

They crouched low, keeping their line of sight in the direction of which the noise came. Tilo's hatchet grip only tightened.

It was a loner, the thing moved at a snail's pace through the woodland. Its entire left jaw was gone, and the irises of its eyes were a milky white. It was male, Tilo knew that, but genders didn't really matter any more with those things. Blood, both wet and dry, was smeared across its face in random patterns almost like tribal markings. Its skin had turned a very sickly pale brown, some had turned into the literal definition of white, and various other colors that fell in between the two.

"Should we let him go?"

Laney recalled the sting of cowardice she'd left when she told Callie and Monroe she'd left a Zed wandering around the trees, and hefted her hatchet. "Come on, there's two of us. Besides, we don't want any of them waiting for us when we come out of the lake."

Tilo looked at Laney, then he eyed the zombie once more, and he agreed that she was right.

"You go left, I'll go right. Which ever one it turns its back to... Pow!" Laney didn't let on it was Barney's tactic. It had served them well.


They stood by the water's edge, looking out at the boat. "Looks like one my dad had in Jamaica," Laney said. "Could be 10 people out on it. Fuck, that water looks cold." She looked Tilo up and down, then flung her backpack, jacket and hatchet to the ground. "I used to swim every day nearly, I got this." Then she stripped off her jeans, hoodie and T-shirt. "Oh, come on," she said, looking the staring man levelly in the eyes. "I wore less than this in my videos." With that, she threw herself into the water.

"No, it's I just I was about to jump in myself. But I see I've been relegated to rearguard," he shrugged it off and kept watch on their rear for any more stragglers.

For all her bravado, for all that she'd braced herself, the shock of the cold took her breath away and momentarily she foundered, sinking below the surface. Then she found the bottom with her feet, breached the surface again and took a deep breath. 'Fuuuck,' she cried, looked back and winked at Tilo, still standing on the shore, and struck out with powerful strokes towards the boat. It was a good 100 yards out from the shore, so Laney was able to observe it at length as she closed on it. The truth was, it was a lot less sleek and stylish than her dad's Caribbean yacht, but it was about the same size, so there could be as many as 12 people squeezed onto it, the survivors of the camp. But there was no-one to be seen above board, no signs of life at all. No deck chairs, no casually discarded clothes, leisure items, nothing to indicate it was inhabited at all. Then, about 30 yards from the boat, Laney thought she glimpsed a face at one of the port-holes but, treading water and looking again, she couldn't make it out. She swam closer, and then, when she got within 10 yards of the boat, a head popped up from where she guessed there was a short stairs down into the cabin. It was a red-haired boy, somewhere between 10 and 14, she guessed, and he was struggling against something. Something was pulling him back.

"They're u-ugh," he choked out, craning his neck, then disappearing from view. Laney trod water, trying to catch another glimpse of the boy. A quick glance behind her failed to locate Tilo on the shore. Sudden fear, a sudden feeling of exposure, rattled her nerves. The boy shot up from below deck again and she heard him cry, loud and clear, "They're underwater, under the boat," just as bone-cold fingers closed on her toes.


Water closed over her head and rattled into her lungs as Laney was pulled under, then, with an instinctive kick she broke free from the tenuous grasp. She rose spluttering, and swam several strokes away from the boat. Unable to catch her breath, she found it hard to keep her head above water. On the deck of the boat, a red-haired man now stood behind the red-haired boy, their struggle evidently over. Laney tried to tread water, her throat retching against the swallowed lakewater, her lungs tight as a fist.

From afar, Tilo could not recognize the situation, was Laney drowning? He wasn't sure, but she looked as if she was being pulled under. Zombies under water? She was taking in water, and everytime she went up, her gasp for air was much larger than the last.

"Damn!" he swore, and paced about, with his eye on the girl and the two figures on the boat, whom he could not seem to make out.

She held out a hand beseechingly to the boat's occupants, black smoke and red dots beginning to float before her eyes. She felt a hand brush against her thrashing legs. She kicked away again, and coughed, water gouting from her lungs, and finally drew in sweet, life-giving air. The pair on the boat continued to look on, both mouths open, eyes gaping. The man held the boy's shoulders. The chilling terror at drowing gone, rage at their inaction surged through Laney.

"You fuckers!" she screamed impotently, her throat raw.

She looked around again; her struggles had taken her almost round to the other side of the boat. Certainly she couldn't see Tilo on the lakeshore any more. The lake was murky, and the sun reflecting off its surface made even harder to see what lurked beneath, so, hoping she had put enough distance between her and the submerged zombies, Laney dunked herself. In the grainy, dark silence, a solid wall of limping, crooked bodies shuffled towards her, a forest of reaching arms and grasping hands. There was no way of getting closer to the boat; the horde of zombies must spend every moment under it, mindlessly drawn by the sounds of its inhabitants. Laney came up for air and looked again at the man and boy on the boat, noticing the deep, dark hollows around their eyes.

"What the hell are you waitin-" Tilo stopped his cry as he tried to assemble the pieces of the puzzle. Why weren't they reaching out to help her?

His call would only attract more from beyond the woods, if there were any.

He searched about on the shore trying to find a sizable boat that would not tip over if more of the swimming ones came for him like they did for Laney. But he only managed to find a canoe with a passenger capacity for at least two people. He dropped the hatchet into the canoe and immediately grabbed the wooden oars and began rowing to her. He struggled furiously, paddling toward the yacht, and from the corner of his eye he spotted more zed coming above the waterline.

Oh bloody hell. Where did they come from? It didn't matter, he had to focus, she was struggling to maintain her breath, while avoiding the teeth of those things that were once human. He had to get to her before she was bitten. Meanwhile, the man and the boy on the boat just stayed there, not moving an inch, indifferent to her cries.

"For God's sake help her!" Tilo growled, still no movement, what was the matter with them?

"Delaney, swim toward me!" He motioned with one hand, paddling with the other.

She kicked and kicked, while her arms stretched to their limit with each stroke as if she tried to pull the boat toward herself. Tilo paddled even more, trying to close the gap between the two of them, with the swimmers, or gurglers floating behind her. She grabbed onto the side, and he hauled her over, letting her lay across the canoe, as he rowed them back. She was still breathing hard, her voice almost gone. The scream in the water that she gave was taxing on her singer's vocal chords, not to mention lungs.

"On the boat," she gasped. "There's something.. wrong with them."

"We can't go back there, those things will swarm us," Tilo was just focused on getting out of there.

"Keep your hand on my hatchet, and watch out for any that might try to board," Tilo rowed, and breathed. Rowed, and breathed, trying to calm himself. Laney let herself be dragged through the water. She didn't think she'd have the energy to strike out at anything that approached them.

"Don't say anything, just check if you were bitten anywhere," he looked back after every other stroke he made to keep track of the distance he was putting between them and the yacht. Just a little bit more, just a little bit more. They were going to make it, they needed to make it.

He lifted Laney up from the boat, while the zeds were still on their approach. They had landed far from where Laney had ditched her backpack and clothes for her swim, and the closing zombies made it too dangerous to return for them. Tilo gave one last look at their dreadful faces, of the zeds, and of the two survivors on the small yacht. They kept a pace that was just shy of sprinting, his equipment slowing him down, and Laney's exhaustion slowing her down.


Back at Haven, Tilo panted, and took very long breaths, his hands on his knees, as he tried to recirculate what little saliva he had in his dried mouth. He sweated, he squinted, and he realized he was old.

He may have been old, but he still had enough breath to ask Laney, "Are you alright?"

She nodded, still a bit shaken by the encounter. "Tilo?" she asked.


"Lend me your shirt?"


Tilo stood there for a second, in front of the two leaders of Haven. Should he tell them that there were two survivors still trapped on the yacht? Or should he keep that to himself, and leave the two to whatever fate they chose?

"Everybody was turned, as far as Laney and I could tell. From the boat to the lake, the place is swamped with them," Tilo turned to leave, but he stopped himself and added, "But...if you do come back there, remember to pack some firepower."

Then he left the 'command post,' leaving Callie and Monroe to their devices.

"Yeah, forget Tull Hollow, forget Tull Lake," Laney added. "The place is swamped. Okay, I've got to get dressed." She hurried out of the room after Tilo.

1 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jesus "Matador" Herrera
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The sky was clear, the birds were chirping away and the rays of sun lighted the place Jesus now called home, it was a perfect day for a stroll or a date with a pretty lady, try as he might he just could not picture things being back the way they had been but neither could he completely reconcile with the current state of things.

He was restless, he was not dumb, he had seen the writing on the wall ever since Kim had arrived… her face had never been made for smiles, she had suffered a lot, one of those people who had enjoyed a large family and group of friends and saw everything torn to shreds around her.

Herrera remembered how they became acquainted, she had found him while scavenging, had recognized the goal making star that the people had embraced as the Matador, had warmed up to him, had told him about this time she had accompanied her little brother to a soccer match while visiting her mother´s side of the family.

She really got lost in thought, she was reliving those events as she spoke, how her brother… Joseph had screamed his lungs out when Herrera scored a goal in a match that had them against the ropes, how that had filled the red devils with a renewed vitality that made them push the Chelsea back, how they had remounted from a losing game of 3-0 to a daring and grueling tie that was 3-3 that tasted like victory.

That was all she had said about her brother, Jesus did not meant to pry… he could not imagine it having a happy ending, nothing had a happy ending these days, he could only imagine things back at Mexico… maybe it had been different there, maybe the gringos had this thing tied up and figured out at America, maybe the old world was the exception rather than the norm.

Don't be a fool

He had always wondered what was Reynold´s deal, it was clear that she wasn't interested in males, Herrera had tried something once and it was so embarrassing and awkward that they both pretended it never happened, it was clear that for Kim to be attracted to someone they had to be rid of their member. It had occurred him more than once that either Winters or October could be really good friends with Kim, but he had never pursued the matter

They would not let him see her, at least he had the luck to be able to say goodbye to her… so few people could cherish that in this new lifestyle

She had remained stoic even in her last moments hulled down in the fortress of her own mind waiting to die, it kind of like if she was seeing another person dying the idea of someone being so accustomed to death that they could face their own with such an indifferent feeling was… it was a sign of the times but try as he might Herrera could not get used to all the death

When the notice came out that she had left some unfinished business in the forestry office he jumped at the call, it was a personal affair… sort of, the woman had taught him the job of scavenging, he had developed his own style after 3 successful raids and one that… one that could have come off way worse than what it did.

A career in football had shown him that, there are no failures just… different forms of success.

In any case this was his reckoning, he had performed under her tutelage and they all looked to him as the newcomer who kept getting lucky and had an easier time just because of who he was before this shit hit the fan. But no more, he had the slight feeling that ol Monroe would have left him where Kim found him if it had been up to him… but he was a man of action and Herrera had bested many barriers to have been able to place himself in his current position.

With the world gone to hell and none to give a fuck?


He had gotten up early, as he always did, unlike the others his sleep came easy and hard, waking up with the sun was part of his life even predating his training routine when he was the goal leader.

If he could help it there would be no way that the circumstances would play against him, the Mexican knew that in the night the Zombies had a less than stellar sight but he was not fond of the idea of carrying a lamp and making a target of himself, having to keep one eye where he step and the other ahead while on the move… many had been grabbed by the ankles while on the run by the crawlers and if one added the probable odds of being chased by runners. Well Jesus liked his continued existence enough to not make a lesson for the other scavengers.

Herrera had made an effort of trying to get a good time advantage before he arrived at the Forestry Office, the report that Reynolds had given about the place gave some good clues, it was, as the name might give away, a place surrounded by nothing but grass and trees which meant he could not get to the roof of the place by the adjacent structures and work his way down, he would have to find some way to avoid the first floor completely and climb from the outside or try to gamble through unknown territory. Kim had also noted that the place was packed with runners.

She always liked to take the tough ones, said she could take em… you stupid cunt


When he arrived to the place he felt his guts diminish, it looked like a really hard job, the structure looked like a fortress rather than an office, with barred windows and a fenced wall protecting the structure and tall tower whose function Jesus could only make wild guesses at.

Only has one clear entrance, the main gate… hmm once I'm through the fence then what?

For what had been told the place looked awfully peaceful, things like a bent over and wrecked main gate were clear signs of past transgression but besides that there was not much to be seen or heard, some of the barred windows on the lower floor had been smashed and stained curtains flapped inwards and outwards as much as the stretch breaks in the bars allowed them to.


It was hard to get a good feeling of the runners with so much obstructing his field of view, Herrera did notice that there were a couple of cars outside… it was a small shame really, he had never bothered to learn to drive so even if he could somehow make them start he would crash before reaching the outside of the fenced compound.
The tower was far too elevated to use as a dropping point to the 3 tiered compound, a fall from there would probably cripple him, so that option was outside of his choices, one of the cars, a van was close to one of the windows on the second floor, but with those things barred it was a moot effort trying to figure a climbing order.

Never move without a plan

That was one of his maxims of life, in and outside the playing field he always had clear goals, clear courses of action to fall back, scenarios that he played over and over in his mind till he could chose one that could fit into what he wanted out of life.

Still it was impossible to make anything without getting closer, and that was precisely what he had wanted to avoid, on his next visit at Haven he would make a point to request binoculars, he was good with those, one could not see much from the top seats of a Mexican stadium without those, besides he always practiced use of those when he was busy ogling scantily clad cheerleaders, but that had been years ago.

Like a man amidst sleeping Lions, the shooter moved slowly and calmly towards the ruined gate and he saw things much more clearer now, giving much needed perspective to his approach.

The main door had been smashed with… something, probably a car looking at the structural damage of the 2 doored frame and the quantity of broken glasses splattered there, also the entrance of the tower had been cleaved open by, what Herrera guessed, an axe since chops of wood remained on both ends of the door giving it an egg shaped form.

Now that he saw the windows there was a view of shapes standing there, the Mexican took a deep sigh as he realized that if he was seen things would get really ugly really fast, probably outdoing Kim as far as grim fate went, but realizing it late he saw that some of the window bars had been smashed or torn open, the magnitude of the force needed to do such thing gave Herrera a shiver but he now saw that he could use these damages on the iron work on the first level to act as steps to make his way to a wrecked window on the second floor.

He just had to find the matching criteria, treading lightly around the building Herrera had eyes peeled and ears open for anything he might come across… try as he might he could not get used to the eerie calm surrounding such tense activities, at last he found a second window that looked torn up enough to allow his passage while having a lower floor clear of hostiles.

Quiet like a snake Herrera observed with the stealth that would make a great thief, this corridor that he had entered looked vacant of zombies not so of echoes of violence, shards of glass littered the walkways, blood splattered on walls and pieces of cloth and shoes all over the place… yet not a corpse on sight.

His ears heard the sounds of several steps on the move, terror gripped him when none of those gave evidence of limping and they sounded like a march on his training fields might, his confidence began to wane but he remembered that it should not take an effort beyond finding a hard drive and butting out of there… it was a bathroom so that would save him the trouble of having to peer into every door into quite possibly unpleasant surprises.

The corridor eventually ended and on its corner Jesus could spy away 3 shapes that matched hostiles, there was a white haired one sitting on a chair, the rocking of its head gave away the fact that it was a problem, another one stood giving its back to Herrera looking to the other end the flies circling its body as well as it ragged looks made it clear that it was another one to look out for… it was definitely a runner and the last shape was another individual with its back slumped against the wall, his wrist was missing and bites on him were prominent, the question was if it could spring up and cause trouble.

I really wish I had something for these.

Jesus figured out a plan, there were empty soda cans… he would do something really stupid and risky, at least if anybody but him tried it.

Zombies went for movement and sound like moths do to light… a well timed and placed kick to a can would make a fuss on the opposite end of the corridor, hopefully sending the runner that way and with luck the other 2 as well. He was about to fire up a shot that would have sent the crowd wild but then a sharp cry broke the stillness of the place making all 4 of them stir up… Herrera had failed to spot one that was covered by rubish

“Chingada madre” one heartbeat later they were hot on his trail and back he was from the way he came from, then from the opposite end he saw a kid with half of his face missing running his way, he wished he had only it to worry about but there was unpleasant company and so much as a grab could be the end. He tried the first door on his right, nothing. The distance between the kid and the steps at his back drew nearer, second door gave in to an empty office with a computer and a desk, without a moment to waste Herrera closed it and pulled the desk to block the entrance with what little time he had, the door was half open by the time the desk met it, and even closed as it was an arm broke through the wooden door groping for flesh.

A quick look at his surroundings gave hope to the Mexican, glass walls separated offices much like the one he was currently in, the gap in the door grew larger and with so little options Herrera was quick to get the office chair and smash it against the glass clearing his way to the next one, he would make his way to the last one and figure his way from there on, by the time he was to the second office the upper half of one of the zombies was already crawling in the sound of the shattering fueling their zeal but by the time one of them had fully made his way through Herrera was already unlocking the last door and renewing his escape.

Fuck this, Fuck the drive

One of the pillars of life for Herrera was… when the game looks bad don't focus on winning, focus on not losing and right now the hard drive was taking a backseat to getting out alive.

He was sure sooner or later the zombies on his trail would catch up to him, they had blocked the path he had used to get in and something told him that all the ruckus he had made was only drawing the ones on the floors above and below to him, it was a surprise they had not poured down into him by now, but the quick eyes of the Mexican saw an open window on the corridor he was in, one that had a van underneath it

Lucking good!

He made a quick jump to it while the echoes of the chase behind him were still fresh and upon his landing on it of all things an alarm triggered and he knew just how many of the bitters would come after that sound, all that he had left was running.

Had he been wiser he might have questioned why the van had an alarm,
Had he been paying attention he might have made out the sounds of gunshots
Had he been smarter he would have asked himself whose cry was the one that drew the zombies to him before he could lure them away with the can

But he was fast, and right now there was no place like Haven

3 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Callie Winters Character Portrait: Jonathan Monroe Character Portrait: Mark Lawson
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#, as written by Bosch
Monroe hefted the wooden pallet into place and waited for Mark to raise the hammer. He looked over at the young man who was looking glumly into the distance and lowered the Pallet.

“Let’s take five.” Monroe said setting the Pallet on the ground as a seat. “You’ve been grinding those teeth all day mate. What’s the problem?”

Mark looked at the ground and took a deep breath before sitting down on the pallet beside Monroe.

“Why? Just tell me why you sent her.”

“We needed the information on that drive, someone hadda go.”

“Why her though?”

“Back then we only had a couple of Scavs, its dangerous work Mark, she knew that.”

Mark made an annoyed grunt and rubbed his forehead.

“Look I know it’s shite and makes no sense. We don’t get to decide who lives and who dies. There’s no author to all this, no sick bastard sitting at keyboard coming up with ways to torture us. This is just life, it’s just war.”

Mark sat next to Monroe on the Pallet. “I just... She was only person I’ve ever loved... Really loved I mean.”

Monroe rolled his eyes. Kim Reynolds had settled when she began a relationship with Mark and it was clear to everyone he had invested more in it than she had. In fact Callie had suggested the arrival of Jesus Herrera would cause a lot of problems if a love triangle occurred. Callie had been so worried and unsure but Monroe just had a quiet word with Kim and she said she understood the situation. Kim had been a pragmatist like Monroe.

“Mark it’s goona hurt mate. You just gotta aim that hurt where it belongs. Those fucking Zombie bastards. They took Kim, we just stay focused on staying alive and the pricks don’t win.”

“Yeah... I’ll try better. It helps working.” Mark said after a long pause.

“Good Lad. I’ll grab us some water and we can crack on.”

Monroe got to his feet and marched towards the farmhouse. Mark was staring daggers at him the whole way there. “Fucking Mick...” He muttered.


Inside the Farm house Monroe grabbed a jug of water and filled two cups. The water was collected in a bathtub Monroe had ripped from the Bathroom, modified and installed outside. It needed to be boiled before it could be drank but it was better holding your mouth open every time it rained.

“How’s it going with Mark?” Callie asked from the Comms desk where she was monitoring the Scavs currently on Jobs.

“I think me wants to give me a dig.”

“Really?” Callie said her eyes going wide.

“Yeah probably wouldn’t be a bad thing... bit like milling.”

“Milling?” Callie asked.

“Controlled aggression exercise in the Paras. It’s like boxing but it only lasts a minute. Idea is you give it everything then stop. Shows you can avoid the red mist descending and you aint afraid to get hit. Course the lads used it to work out any issues they had with eachother.”

“Sounds terrible.”

“I guess... Sorted out any personality clashes though pretty quick.”

Callie turned and looked Monroe in the eyes. “You will not do that here.” She said sternly.

“Course.” Monroe said before cracking a smile. “Is that your scary teacher voice you used on the kids?”

“I find it works just as well on over grown children...” Callie said before returning to her Comms. Monroe shook his head and brought the mugs back outside to continue his work.


Monroe gleefully received the Webley revolver from a panting Ben and immediately set about checking the weapon.

“What the hell happened?” Monroe asked as he unloaded the revolver.

“Where’s Timothy?” Callie cut in.

“He’s dead.” Ben explained. “Some group got to him before I could. I saw them kill him and take his stuff.”

“Who were they? How many?” Two more questions by Monroe.

“I didn’t recognize them. Didn’t think it’d be a good idea to ask, either. Five of them.” Ben rubbed the back of his head, “But, the thing is…”

“Yes?” Callie looked to him curiously.

“They asked about Haven. This guy Tim didn’t know exactly where we are, but he did know we’re within a few miles--” Ben gave a brief shake of his head, “—I mean kilometers.” He corrected himself, “So, I don’t know. They’re dangerous. We definitely don’t want them finding this place. Good news is, they didn’t see me.”

Ben turned to leave, muttering as he went, “Probably would have killed me if they did.”

Once Ben had left the room Monroe began speaking. “Shite they didn’t see him but he probably left a trail all the way here. Fuck with all the Scavs going out there’s multiple trails to follow leading here.”

“How likely is it they’re trackers though, I mean they’re probably city boys.”

“It’s likely but we need to plan for the worst and hope for the best.”

“Also why were they asking for us by name? I mean we’re tiny compared to The Caravanners or the Rands.”

“Probably know better than to fuck with the Rands and there’s too many Caravanners. We’re easy pickings.”

“What about the Scavs?”

“They’ll need better weaponry and maybe we shouldn’t be sending them out alone any more. We’ll get less done but two heads are better than one.”

“Alright what about guns?”

“I’m working on it.” Monroe said.
It turned out he was not working on it.

Jesus’ report told of his failure at securing the hard drive and Callie was sympathetic.

“There was nothing he could have done. The place was crawling with infected.”

“I know but we needed that Intel, it would have told us who owns guns in the area, whose weapons we could have borrowed.” Monroe allowed himself a sigh before moving on no point dwelling. “I guess the Rands will have already pinched the majority of the weapons anyway.”

“So the Scav’s are doubling up now?”

“Yeah at least until we work out what’s going on with those bastards the Yank saw.”

"Everybody was turned, as far as Laney and I could tell. From the boat to the lake, the place is swamped with them," Tilo turned to leave, but he stopped himself and added, "But...if you do come back there, remember to pack some firepower."

Then he left the 'command post,' leaving Callie and Monroe to their devices.

"Yeah, forget Tull Hollow, forget Tull Lake," Laney added. "The place is swamped. Okay, I've got to get dressed." She hurried out of the room after Tilo.

Monroe raised an eyebrow at Callie. “You think they’re? You know?”

“No what?”

“You know... She’s wearing his shirt.”

“Christ, Monroe he’s old enough to be her Father.”

Monroe held up his hands in an I give up gesture. “So what are we thinking here? Stick a red pin in it?”
Callie nodded and drove a small red pin into Tull Lake, it denoted the place was crawling with Zombies, the forestry office also had one.

“Was a bit weird though, I mean they didn’t bring anything back.”

“So?” Monroe said.

“Well I just mean if they made on board the boat surely they could have grabbed something.” Callie wondered. Her career had been spent listening to tall tales about dogs eating homework and the like, Kids might not be as good at lying as adults but the principals were the same. Something was off about the way they had acted maybe Monroe had picked up on it too but his imagination didn’t stretch much past the scandalous.

“They said the place was crawling. Probably lucky to get out of there.” Monroe said finally before returning to the map. Callie nodded and dismissed her suspicions, she’d been cooped up in the kitchen all day and was probably going a little stir crazy.


Eden Valley Camp Site.

The Eden Valley Camp Site was the Location the Caravaners called home. The group had been successful due their large size. However in the early days a lack of direction lead to many losses. Eventually the Caravan Club Committee that had planed parties and events took on a new role as the leaders of the group. It was a bizarre twist but the sense of community the Caravaners had built up around the Caravan Club Committee structure had translated well the Deputy Chair was now the Chair as her successor had died before the community had gotten prepared. Her Name was Jane Meadows and the success of the Camp had been mainly due to her take charge nature. She had used smaller caravans to create a wall around the Site that helped stop roving bands of the Undead getting in. It made her laugh how everyone had once viewed her as a dippy hippy but now seemed fine with the Caravaners form of communism. There had been some descent from the people whose caravans she’d used to build the wall but she made a point of including her own Caravan in the list. It meant there was less sleeping room but with all the camping gear they had no body didn’t have a place to sleep.

Like Monroe and Winters, Meadows had set up a group of Scavs although she called them her runners and their role was much the same. There was something of a problem with the Runners though as a man called Timothy Greaves had not reported in. They had been able to pick up some communications between him and Haven though. It seemed Tim was trapped up a tree and needed help. Haven agreed to help and sent out one of their Scavs. The Caravaners could hear the conversation but some reason could not be heard. None of them were expert in the use of radio equipment so their comms were something of a trial and error affair. Jane felt it would be only fair to send one of her own Runners out to help the Scav from Haven. Jane hoped the operation would lead to a partnership with Haven. The Scav she had sent was called Samantha Low and she had just crashed through the door of the Caravan Jane was using as an office.

She was sucking in air and trying to get the words out but it was just coming out in a garbled mess. Jane told her to sit and grabbed the woman a towel and a glass of water. She was sweating profusely and looked like she’d just ran a marathon. Once Sam got her breathing under control she finally delivered her report.

“I found Tim. He’s dead.”

“What? Infected?” Jane asked.

“No gunshot to the head.”

“Are you sure he hadn’t been bitten?”

“I checked him myself he was clean. They executed him.”


“Haven, who else?” Sam said after gulping down some water.

“We can’t know...”

“I know what I saw, Jane. Tim laid out on his back with a bullet in his forehead.”

Sam stood and went to leave the caravan.

“Sam you need to keep this under wraps until we know what’s going on.”

“No way Jane I’m telling the other runners. You can’t keep this from them. What if they happen upon a Haven Scav?”

Jane slowly nodded. “Of course.” With that Sam left to inform the rest of the Caravaner Runners about the threat from Haven.




Given recent reports of an armed gang in the area all Scavs are to operate in teams of two. Be aware there are at least five and we have a report they are looking for Haven.

Additionally Monroe is releasing one scoped hunting rifle and twenty rounds of ammunition to each team in addition to normal Scav equipment.

The Tour de Lakes.

Area- Hamilton’s Retreat Hotel.

Objective- Recover bicycles and Distraction devices (Fireworks).

Information- Right Hamilton’s is one of those fancy resorts for rich arseholes, you know the deal. Five star service where minimum wagers give the whole Sir and Ma’am thing to the wealthy. It’s a health spa and kind of looks like the Hotel from the Shining, Don’t tell Callie I said that she’s worried it’ll freak you out.

Anyway Hamilton’s offers adventure retreats, Spa days and fine dining we’re more interested the adventure aspect of things. Word has it they got all sort of gear in there in but we want two things in particular bikes to increase the range of our operations and Distraction devices. Now if one of you arseholes shows up on a fucking Harley I’ll break you in two myself. I want mountain Bikes, repair kits, spare tyres and anything else you can grab.

Hamilton’s is famous for it’s firework show they put on at the weekends. I want as many of those fireworks as you can get your mitts on. Zombie’s like loud noises and pretty colours so we can use ‘em as distraction devices. More and more Zeds have been approaching the walls. So far we’ve been able to drop ‘em silently but we’d rather just lure ‘em the other way.

Obviously be careful when handling the explosives. The Doc’s good I don’t think she can reattach fingers.

Like I said it’s an outward bound place so there might be bows we could use or at least a football for a kick about.

The place it’s self is massive and consists of the hotel and outdoor pursuits center round the back. The hotel is made up of three parts the main building, east wing and west wing. The main building has a reception area, restaurants, bars and the Spa. The wings are guest rooms. Out back the Outdoor Pursuits centre is a more modern looking building. It has a pool, Archery Range, Climbing wall and a storeroom. The Storeroom is your target. Take what you can carry.

The place was populated at the time of the outbreak so assume the dead have taken it. Any reports we have received have not suggested anyone is alive but shadows walk past windows and there are Zeds in the grounds.

Good luck and try to keep away from the Spa, I don’t think they’re doing hot stones anymore.


The Bodyguard

((Based on an idea by Black Hoodie))

Area- Silent Valley Solar Energy Plant

Objective- Bring Gary Fowler to the Silent Valley Solar Energy Plant.

Information- Gary is Haven’s Technological expert and we need you to accompany him to the Silent Valley Solar Energy Plant. The Plant is reasonably large but has few buildings. It’s mainly made up of large Solar Panels that kind of look like Trees if Trees were designed by Apple. The plant is made up of technical equipment, offices and a reception area. In total the Plant is a small two story office building. When the Solar Fields are taken into account however the full size of the place is around 4km.
The field is fenced off to deter vandals which means there shouldn’t be many zombies inside. We don’t think anyone has been there yet which means the Zombies inside are going to be in good condition. That means they are still fast and strong, still dumb though.

It’s your job to Get Gary there and back out in one piece, his role is to take a look at panels and see if there is any way to get one back to Haven or tap into the grid. He says his work should take around Thirty minutes and is strictly research. Gary is probably not as experienced around Zeds or active as you are so make allowances for his reduced stamina and knowledge around Zeds. We offered to send one of you out with a camera instead but he insisted he needed to see the place himself. He can be quite stubborn so be prepared for that to.

Good luck.


Chicken Run.

Area- Brakenbacker Farm.

Objective- Get chickens.

Information- I know this one is a little weird. The problem is Winter is Coming (yeah I said it) and we haven’t really had time to prepare, we reckon we can still get by with scavenging as most locations haven’t been picked clean yet but we need to start thinking about renewable sources of food. I feel Eggs are a good place to start.

Brakenbacker Farm is one of those horrible battery farm places that crams the poor animals on top of each other and forces the poor little buggers to lay all day. I think they will be much happier in Haven.

Brakenbacker Farm is farming on an industrial scale so it’s quite a large complex however many of the systems are automated so there are probably not a lot of people around the site at least before the outbreak. This has the added bonus of ensuring the Chickens are still being fed, at least we hope.

We’re going to send you out with a bag for a couple of chickens but remember they will probably keep squawking so one of you should catch the little buggers while the other keeps watch. I’ve got Monroe building a coop so they should have a nice home by the time you get back. We only need a couple so don't grab too many.

If you are feeling strong a bag of grain would be great too.

Just think of the omelettes!


4 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Callie Winters Character Portrait: Benjamin Kinney Character Portrait: Jonathan Monroe Character Portrait: Delaney Byron
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#, as written by Messiah
Chicken Run

Collaboration with Faith Fanon

Part One: The Trek

The morning came earlier than Ben would have liked. The previous day left him pretty tired, and he'd gone to bed earlier than normal. Even so, he still felt like he hadn't gotten enough rest, but he wasn't one to complain. He would push through like he always had. Once he had adequately prepared for the day, he made the trek downstairs and outside to the job board. At the top was a notice, warning of an armed gang looking for Haven. Inwardly, he felt a small sense of pride; he was contributing.

Laney came up behind Ben at the jobs board. "They're sending everyone out in twos now? Makes sense. Tilo pretty much saved my life out at the lake."

Ben turned at the sound of Laney's voice, hiking his backpack further up onto his back and nodded, "Yeah, there's some people running around looking for us." His mind's eye saw the leader of the gang execute Timothy in cold blood again and he shook his head briefly before adding, "Dangerous."

She stepped closer and reached around him, taking a job off the board and scowling once she saw what it was. "Ew, catching chickens? I don't like the sound of that."

He raised his eyebrows at that, trying not to laugh. "There's a joke about calling you a chicken somewhere in there, but it feels too easy." The laugh that he'd held back before came up now, almost involuntarily. "You're not, are you?"

"No, just... they're all shitty and scratchy and... just ew, okay?" By now Laney was laughing at herself. The tall American, she realised, was just teasing her. "Anyway, you don't look like much of a farmboy to me, Ben."

"Nah. Not much room for farms in an area where millions of people live. It gets crowded."

"I'm from London, blud. You're telling me?' She looked up into his grinning face. 'Right. Let's do this. I'm game if you are."

"Sure." He nodded absently, his expression fading slowly. Secretly, he wished that she'd relented so they didn't have to go bring back the chickens. Truth be told, chickens freaked him out a little bit, and he had no idea why. They just... did. Laney stepped away from the board and disappeared back into the farmhouse, leaving Ben to take out the map and look it over. There it was, Brakenbacker Farm.

Monroe glanced at her quizzically when she stepped into the armoury. It wasn't his usual glare of derision; she wondered briefly if he knew about Tilo's lie.

"I want one of those shotguns," she said petulently. His scorching glare returned, as if Laney was putting him out by risking her neck out there among the Zeds and the armed gangs. She glared back, her lower lip jutting out. Eventually Monroe reached behind, then placed a shotgun heavily on the counter, the clang of its metal echoing around the room.

"There's this too," he said, gently placing beside the rudimentary weapon a far slicker, sleeker, cared-for rifle. Even in the gloom of the armoury it seemed to gleam. Laney's lips parted in a hungry smile. She'd never fired a rifle, but it was oh so pretty.

"Look what we got," she beamed at Ben, who was still poring over the map. "Hey, you ever fire something like this before?"

"Hmm?" Ben intoned before looking up from the map and back to the young woman that had returned from the farmhouse. With a furrowed brow, he gazed at the rifle, then motioned for it. After a brief hesitation, Laney handed it to him and he looked it over, "A few times, and never at moving targets. My brother taught me to shoot a couple years ago. Mostly pistols, but he gave me a little bit of rifle training." Offering the rifle back, he noted her puzzled expression, "He was a Marine. He thought I should know how to protect myself." A pang of sadness hit him as he thought of his family, "How about you?"

"No, pistols and things, nothing like this," she said, taking the rifle back. "My dad was a bit of a nut about personal security. Bit paranoid. Had a bunch of handguns, taught me to shoot them. All unlicensed of course."

"Well, you might get your chance." Hopefully not, "Go ahead and carry it if you want. You look like you'd enjoy it more, anyway." Ben had seen the look on her face; like a kid getting a brand new toy. "Ready to go?"

"This is my rifle, this is my gun," Laney chanted, slinging the weapon over her shoulder. "This is for fighting, this is for fun." She finished the obscene rhyme by grabbing her crotch and thrusting it at Ben. The American looked slightly uncomfortable at her gesture. Had she been overfamiliar? "You going to take that shotgun?"

Ben nodded, "Yeah, sure." He took the shotgun, then approached the gate and pulled it open, allowing her to exit before pulling the gates closed behind them and setting off into the open world. "Oooh, a gentleman," Laney quipped. He wasn't crazy about traveling with another person to get something done. Other peope had a tendency to slow him down, or so he thought. This was actually the first time he'd done this kind of thing with anybody else, but he felt like he'd be better on his own. Then again, maybe it was time for a change. With that gang out there and who knows what else, it might be good to have some backup. And it didn't hurt that his first partner was Laney.

For a while, he was quiet, debating on whether or not to bring up her expedition from the day before, but he knew that sometimes, people didn't like to talk about the things they've seen. There were things that he'd seen that he'd be hard-pressed to talk about. But, as the saying goes, never say never. He didn't know if this was one of those cases for her, but sometimes you have to take a leap of faith, and that's exactly what he did.

"I saw you and that guy, uh, Tilo talking yesterday after you got back. I don't know if you noticed. Seemed important. Mind if I ask what that was about?" Then he quickly added, "I mean, you don't have to tell me if you don't feel like it. I get it."

Ugh, Americans, Laney thought. So polite but so bad at minding their own business. Her good mood at strolling through the countryside on a crisp, clear morning with a cute guy her own age quickly evaporated.

'Okay,' she eventually said, 'I lost most my clothes swimming in the lake yesterday. We got attacked by Zeds and I couldn't get them back.' Damnit, already she felt she was getting tripped up by Tilo's lie about the survivors on the boat. It was her lie too, now. All of a sudden she wasn't sure how far she could trust Ben. He was practically a stranger, after all. Everybody was practically a stranger.

"Well, he just said a few inappropriate things on the way home. I was just telling him to back off."

Pursing his lips, he relented, fearing that he'd upset her, "Sorry. I was just wondering." He shrugged helplessly, "Are you alright?" There was genuine concern in his voice.

"I can handle myself, Ben."

"Okay, okay. I didn't mean any offense or anything." Ben went quiet after that, not wanting to make things worse. "This world brings out the worst in people." Thinking back to the gang, again. Apparently, he'd actually spoken that aloud; he could've swore he'd only thought it.

"Return of the savages," she muttered. "Just look at that gang you saw yesterday. Callie and Monroe might be a pain in the ass, but at least they're keeping the old world alive. If that gang takes Haven, or if that way of thinking takes over, we're all dead. Well, you're dead anyway. Worse for me." Laney hadn't meant to sound so gloomy when she'd started speaking, but acknowledging what might happen, what could happen, filled her with dread, left her standing immobile with the weight of the challenges the future held.

Ben knew exactly what she meant by that and he shuffled uncomfortably and looked away. What could he say? He didn't want to see that happen to her, or anybody, really, but she'd already said she could handle herself.

Part Two: The Visitor

As he looked around, something caught his attention way off into the distance. It was a figure of some sort, and it looked like it was still living, based on how it was moving, but he couldn't tell for sure. He didn't want to take any chances, "Get down!" he hissed at Laney and dropped to the ground. Immediately, he took off his backpack and rolled onto his back to open it, taking out a set of binoculars and rolling back onto his stomach to peer through them. Sure enough, the figure seemed to be walking at a pace and a manner that seemed consistent with that of a living, breathing person.

Offering the binoculars over to her, he pointed to the figure, "There. See that?"

Laney was nursing the back of her head where the rifle had dug into her when she'd dived to the ground, and scowled as she took the binoculars. "It's a survivor, not Zack. Where's he going?" In her excitement over the rifle, Laney had forgotten to study the route to Brakenbacker Farm.

The Lake District wind was rising as usual. Darker clouds were closing in from the west, pushing out the innocuous grey. "If he's heading for the farm, he could take the only chickens left," Laney whispered urgently. "Or bring down a bunch of Zeds."

"Yeah." Ben muttered, taking the binoculars back and stuffing them into his backpack once again, "We should get moving. It's not far now, I think, but we've got to be careful." He raised himself up, remaining in a low, crouching position. Laney followed suit.

Keeping a hedgerow between them and the unidentified survivor, Laney and Ben picked up the pace. But their prey crested a hill and disappeared from view. Ben stopped, and grappled with his map, wrestling it to the ground as the high winds tried to whip it out of his hands. "Yeah, the farm should be right over there," he confirmed.

From the top of the hill, they could see Brakenbacker Farm sitting squat and ugly in the valley, a perfunctory block of concrete amid the wild, dappled greens and browns of the Lake District countryside. Mother Nature was doing her best to fight back; bushes of weeds sprouted from the concrete forecourt amd trailed up the farm's outer skin of chain-link fence. A wisp of smoke coughed from one of the chimney stacks. Callie had been right; there was still some automated function. But of the survivor they'd been following, there was no sign.

"Might as well get in there," Laney sighed as the first fat drops of rain fell. "Maybe we'll get lucky and our friend will have done all the Zeds."

Ben scoffed, muttering to himself, "I wouldn't count on it." Nothing was ever easy anymore.

They were about 50 metres from the chain-link fence, heading for a vehicle entrance/exit manned by a forlorn booth, when the smell hit them, the stench of several months' build-up of chicken shit and piss. Ducking beneath the vehicle barrier, noting the broken, bloodied windows of the booth, Laney noticed another note to the foul odour, one she'd smelled several times on her trip north; rotting flesh. She gagged. Ben coughed and grimaced before pulling his shirt over his nose and mouth.

"Oh fuck. I'm not going in there. Oh god."

"We don't have a choice. It's this or the rain, Laney." Ben was right. The drops that had started moments ago was turning into a downpour.

With the improvised masks covering their noses and mouths, Laney and Ben circled the factory. "There," said Laney pointing to a warehouse-style metal door that hung ajar, buckled by some heavy impact.

"I don't hear any chickens," replied Ben, inching up to the gap.

"Well, I can still fucking smell them," she shot back.

The metal door opened onto the side of a corridor; branches went off it left and right, and directly in front was a double door, in metal just like the one they'd just come through. One of the doors was also ajar. "Looks like our friend got here before us. Be careful."

Laney unhitched her hatchet, and pulled back the door slowly. The stench of rot and shit, strong before, hit them like a wall, forcing its way up their noses and down their throats. Under blinking neon lights, stacks of two-foot square cages reached to the ceiling and back into the gloom, like some nightmare supermarket. Every few seconds, there was a metallic click and clank, as an automated hopper spilled seed into the cages. That was the only sound until, suddenly, a thick, glistening black cloud sprung up from the cages and obscured the lights. Laney screamed and slammed the door, and promptly vomited all over the floor.

Ben had the sensation like he was going to vomit too, so he pulled his shirt away and doubled over, wretching, but nothing came up - nothing more than a dry heave. Of course. His stomach was empty. Still doubled over, he managed to cough out, "There's no way he's in there." The metal door they'd come in then creaked and Ben turned, but he wasn't fast enough. They'd let someone get a drop on them.

It was a young man, around their age with dark hair and dark eyes, and he was scowling fiercely as he pointed a revolver at them, "You're from Haven, aren't you? I saw you come up over that hill there."

Ben didn't answer. This guy didn't look like one of the gang that had executed Timothy, but, admittedly, Ben hadn't studied their faces closely enough to be certain of that. But, it was unlikely that any of them would be traveling alone. This was somebody else. He stood and held up his hands in surrender. There was no way that he was going to beg for his life.

"Which one of you assholes killed Tim?"


"You heard me."

"Ben..." Laney faltered.

"We didn't. It w--"

"Bullshit!" The man cut Ben off, "I don't have time for this. Hand over your weapons."

Ben looked over to Laney. Maybe he could talk him down. After all, he'd been there when Timothy had been killed. He just hoped that Laney wouldn't do anything rash.

"Hurry up!"

Slowly, Ben lowered his shotgun to the floor and unhooked his knife and hatchet from his belt and kicked them over to the man. He looked to Laney again, this time, leaning towards her and whispering, "Just trust me. He'll kill us anyway if we don't." She nodded, wide-eyed. The man was getting impatient, now looking towards Laney as well, and pointing his revolver at her.

Laney slipped the rifle from her shoulder slowly and laid it on the floor. It didn't seem like such a toy now. She dropped her hatchet next to it.

The man bent down to pick up everything, keeping his eyes on the pair as he did. "Come on. Outside." He backed through the door that he'd come into with the two of them following after and motioned for them to keep walking, so they were facing the way they'd come and he stood behind them in the factory parking lot.

Ben spoke up again, "We didn't kill Tim."

"Then who did? Because he sure isn't alive anymore."

"It was a gang. Five people. They're looking for Haven, so they can kill us too." Ben glanced to the woman next to him, "Or worse."

Laney nodded, fixing the newcomer with deep, scared, vulnerable eyes.

"How do you know?" He seemed hesitant now, as if he was starting to believe what Ben was saying.

"I was there. They asked about Haven. He didn't know much, but then they shot him."

"Why didn't you do anything about it?" His voice rose, "Tim was my friend!"

"They would have killed me too. They'd just taken out that group of the dead by themselves." Ben turned around to face the man, his hands still in the air, "I'm sorry about your friend, I am. Actually, I feel downright shitty about it. If I'd gotten there sooner, I could have helped him and we wouldn't be in this mess right now, but I'm telling you, you've got the wrong people." There was a moment of silence, "Look, she wasn't there. The rest of Haven had nothing to do with it. It was only me. If you have to kill anybody, it should just be me."

"Ben, no!" Laney shouted, taking a step towards the American.

Maybe it was stupid, but he didn't want anybody else to die because of what happened, "Let her go and leave Haven alone."

At that, the man raised his eyebrows in surprise, and lowered his revolver entirely, sighing deeply, "I don't know. I can't j--"

"They're... they're coming!"

Part Three: The Horde

Laney's shout, a different register of fear, cut him off and Ben wheeled around to see it was true. A horde of the undead creatures had rounded the west corner of the factory and was bearing down on their position. Almost all of the thirty or forty zombies were wearing green factory overalls, and they looked hungry. Well. They always looked hungry.

"Shit." Ben hissed and looked back to their captor, "Our weapons." There was hesitation on his face, "We can help you!"

Backing away, his revolver switching from Ben to the horde and back, he yielded and offered the weapons over, "Don't make me regret this."

"Fuck fighting, let's get the fuck out," Laney yelled, snatching the rifle and sprinting for the vehicle exit and booth they'd passed on the way in. She skidded to an abrupt halt and fell backwards as a group of ten more zombies came round the other corner, cutting off the escape. Scrambling backwards to her feet, she felt as much as heard a bullet rip through the air above her and punch through the throat of one of the lead zombies. Ben turned and allowed the other two to move before he himself did.

The trio darted inside the doors of the factory. Whatever impact had damaged them stopped them being pulled completely together and locked. Not wishing to face the fetid, poisonous air of the cages warehouse, Laney looked up the other corridors. To the left, a rough woollen carpet began, and a row of office chairs were just visible round the corner. To the right, the floor was bare and the wall hung with industrial fittings.

"Come on, it's got to be safer down there. Might be something we could use at least."

The right-hand corridor opened onto what looked like a machine room, two stories high. The air was thick and warm, with an oily aftertaste, and metal pipes criss-crossed the room just above head height. Tools lay scattered around workbenches, and the floor was stained with patches of what Laney hoped was oil. Around the edges of the room, one floor up, ran a metal walkway, accessible by two enclosed ladders. At the back, chugging quietly to itself, was a large generator - the source of the power that was keeping the automated feeders going. A system of pulleys ran from the generator and out a dark chute in the ceiling.

Behind them, the outer metal doors rattled and clanged, and the savage, mindless groans of the horde grew closer. Laney scurried up a ladder, Ben right behind her, and the newcomer doing likewise on the opposite side of the room. They gathered near the pulley chute as the first zombies shambled into the machine room.

"Okay, now what?" the newcomer asked. "I don't have bullets for all of them. Do you?"

"Monroe gave me 20 bullets for this," Laney said, tapping her rifle. "That wouldn't do half of Zack, even if I got him with every shot." Out of immediate danger, she felt a little confidence return. "Can we get out there?" she said, nodding at the chute.

"Not while the pulley's going up it, you'd be ripped to shreds."

Ben was silent, staring down at the horde below. He moved 10 feet away from Laney and the newcomer. Several of the zombies followed him. Others milled around below his companions on the walkway.

"Hey! You ugly motherfuckers!" he yelled, banging his hatchet on the metal railing. Several more shuffled to below where he stood. The others looked on as he continued to shout and curse; soon, nearly half the horde milled around below him.

"Laney, you need to hide. Give... um..." he gestured at the newcomer.


"Give Jake the rifle. Jake, you make like me and draw them away from the ladder. Laney, you've got to get down and turn the generator off."

She stared at him wild-eyed, then down at the horde, a seething pit of grasping arms and gnawing jaws. Conflicting emotions rose up. Pride that he was asking her to help leached into her terror and gave her courage she didn't know she had. She slipped into the small space behind the pulley chute as Jake joined Ben, shouting, stamping and waving their arms against the far wall. Four shots rang out and, upon re-emerging from her hiding place, Laney saw no zombies more waited below her. Ben was reloading Jake's revolver; their new companion had the rifle sight to his eye and the stock to his shoulder. "Come on, girl," he shouted. "We'll get any that come off the back of the gang."

Laney slipped down the ladder as smoothly as she could; there was no great need for stealth considering the noise Ben and Jake were creating, but she knew alerting just one zombie to her presence would bring them all down upon her and her end would be quick and bloody. She arrived at the foot of the ladder as the rifle barked and a zombie slumped to the ground; she bit through her lip suppressing her scream.

Constantly glancing over her shoulder, she arrived at the generator, and lifted a clear plastic lid that covered an instrument panel. There were dials, sliders, buttons of several sizes and colours; all were a mystery to her. She gestured back to Ben, her palms up and shoulders hunched, imploring him for instruction.

Three zombies must have seen the movement amid the milling frenzy, and turned away from Ben and Jake. One fell almost immediately as Ben leaned right out over the rail to hang above the forest of grasping arms and plant a shot through its forehead. Another turned back as Jake renewed his screaming and shouting, getting hoarse as "Do something, fucking quickly!" tore from his throat. The third stood still for a moment, registering what it had seen, and slowly lumbered through the press of bodies, arms stretching up and out, jaw working. Sweat sprang out on Laney's forehead as she turned back to the instrument panel and hacked at it savagely with her hatchet. Sparks flew up from the panel, a mechanism behind it crunched and whirred. Behind her, gunfire crackled and Ben screamed "Laney, get out!"

She turned, and her heart quailed and her knees nearly gave out beneath her. Two zombies had broken away from the pack and were halfway to her ladder. Several more had fallen to the floor under Ben and Jake's fusilade of shots, but just at that point, Ben had to stop and reload. Now only half of the original horde were focused on Ben and Jake, and more were turning away all the time, and, as the instinctive messages ploughed through their rotted brains, began to step towards her.

The eyeball of the zombie closest to Laney exploded as a rifleshot burst through its head, and Laney was galvanised into action. An involuntary scream escaped her lips as she charged towards the horde and towards the ladder. She got her feet on the bottom rungs and was swinging herself up as fast as she could, almost daring to think she was safe, when a vice-like grip closed around her ankle. Expecting any moment to feel teeth tearing through her flesh, she looked back. The grabber had thrust his arm through the bars enclosing the ladder, and couldn't pull her to his mouth. Laney screamed and kicked, and was suddenly free again when a bullet found its mark. She scrambled to the top of the walkway and lay flat, panting and sobbing.

Part Four: The Finish

Ben pulled off his baseball cap and wiped at his brow, which was drenched in sweat. He allowed himself to breathe a sigh of relief, but they weren't out of the woods yet. They were still trapped up there. Well, maybe not trapped, but they certainly couldn't get back down the way they'd come up, seeing as the zombies were still down there. "We're not done yet. We still have to get out of here."

Tugging on his hat once more, he moved over to Laney, gently placing a hand on her shoulder, "Nice work. Rest a little. I'm going to go up." he motioned to the pulley chute, and offered a faint smile, trying to reassure her.. Then, he reached over, taking the rifle from Jake, giving it back to Laney and returning his revolver to him. "You wait here, too. If something happens up there, you two should find another way out."

Without waiting to give either of them a chance to protest, he hopped over and disappeared up into the chute. It was dark and cramped inside. So dark, in fact, that he hadn't noticed when the chute opened up into a hole in front of him, causing him to fall with a shout of surprise onto his back. Thankfully, the landing hadn't been so rough. Even so, he grunted and pulled himself to his feet. The sight in front of him caused him to blink and smile a little bit.

"Holy shit," he muttered, taking a few steps forward. In front of him and below him was grain. Grain, everywhere. Mounds of grain, both large and small were spread out around the massive room. Anemic gray light filtered in through a window on Ben's left, and there was another window on his right. Maybe one of those windows was their way out. An all too familiar sound pulled him back to reality; the moaning sound of the undead. Ben crouched down, listening. Thankfully, it sounded like there was only one. Then, he heard another sound. The squawking of a chicken was a sound he knew, but it wasn't a sound that he'd heard much before, especially since the outbreak.

Slowly, he ascended to the top of the tallest mound of grain and looked out over the room. Sure enough, there was a 'Zed' as the people of Haven often called them. Those funny Brits. It was chasing one of the chickens, but that wasn't all Ben noticed about it. Somehow, it had gotten a chicken cage stuck on its head. When he saw this, Ben just stood up and started laughing and approached the lone walker, "How the hell did you manage that?" he called out. It turned towards him and snarled, immediately moving towards him. A person was much larger and would give a much bigger meal than a chicken.

Before it got too close, Ben stuck his leg out, kicked it to the ground and pinned it down on the ground. Its muscles were weakened by months of chasing chickens and were unable to provide enough strength to lift itself up from underneath him. ITs jaws snapped uselessly inside the cage. He took ahold of its clothes at its shoulders and began savagely slamming the back of its head against the cage that held it. With a groan, the walker stopped struggling and, just to make sure it was dead, Ben pulled the cage off of its head and brought his hatchet down onto it. The chicken that it had been after clucked a little bit, and then ran away as Ben made his way past it and towards the other window. It looked like it opened outwards, as there was no hint of any way to open it any other way. He pressed his hands against the window and pushed, but it wouldn't give, and put more weight and strength into it. Finally, it slowly opened with a rusty squeaking noise.

Ben stuck his head out the window to look down. It looked like a drop of about ten feet - low enough that they could get out without causing serious injury. Good news. Even better news, there were no walkers to be seen. Quickly, he jogged to where he had emerged, calling down the chute to Laney and Jake, "It's all clear. I found a way out. Careful of the drop at the end."

As Laney emerged from the chute and onto the ground, Ben was grinning.

"What's that look for?" she asked, raising an eyebrow and dusting herself off.

"Guess what else I found?"

"What did you find, Yankee boy?" Despite her ordeal only moments ago, Ben's grin was infectious. That was life in the new world, Laney told herself. Staring into the jaws of death one minute, the sparkling smile of a cute boy the next. Forget non-stop partying in London's most expensive clubs, this was really living for the moment.

"Exactly what we were sent here to get. Chickens. Living chickens."

"No shit?"

"No shit."

Jake dropped down onto the ground behind them, and Ben led them both to the window on the far side of the room, pushed it open and held his hands out, "Voila!" he was still smiling, clearly proud of what they'd accomplished, despite the earlier troubles.

"And the chickens are running around the room somewhere."

As Ben and Laney were about to go and collect some chickens, Jake stopped them, "Hey, so, I think I was wrong about you guys. Thanks for your help. I'm not sure I would've made it out without it." With a shrug, he continued, "I should get going. My group's going to be wondering where I am. I'll tell them what you said and that you saved my life."

Ben stuck out his hand in a friendly gesture, to which Jake responded by shaking it, "Thanks," Ben said, as he nodded, "And keep an eye out for that gang that killed your friend. Remember, there are five of them."

"I will, thanks."

And, with that, Jake turned and hopped out of the window and down onto the ground below. Ben watched him as he disappeared around the corner, then turned to Laney with a sigh, "Ready to get some chickens?"

An hour later, Laney and Ben fell to the floor, wheezing, sweating and covered in dust. The aftershocks of the hysterical laughter that had overcome her still rippled through Laney's body. Watching the the tall American run, bent double, after chickens had been one of the funniest things she'd ever seen. His lithe, self-contained grace disappeared and he became a collection of elbows and knees. Of course, her pride at showing him how it was done had been short-lived; the captured chicken she'd held above her head in victory had promptly shat on her. At last, though, they had secured a clucking, squawking, wriggling bag of three chickens, and a small bag of grain, to take back to Haven, and news of their encounter with Jake to report to Callie and Monroe as well.


On the way back, Laney agreed to let Ben take the rifle and carry the chickens and the feed herself. His joyous mood from before had settled down as he came to realize how close they had actually come, not just from that horde, but with Jake and his group as well. Still, he was happy that they managed to get out mostly unscathed and with what they'd gone there for. He was silent for most of the trek back to Haven, until, nearly there, he spoke up.


"Mm?" She had seemed a little surprised, worn out and lost in her own thoughts.

"Could you do me a favor? Nobody else needs to know that I offered myself up."

"It was really brave," she blurted out, then fell silent again, not wanting to interrupt his flow.

"I mean, nothing came of it, and I feel a little silly about it. I just didn't want anybody else to die that didn't need to. We're already going to be fighting that gang. I didn't want to be fighting Jake and his group, too."

After a brief pause, she nodded, "Sure."

"Thanks," he mumbled, returning to his thoughts. The truth was, there was so much more he wanted to say; so much more that he just... wanted to get off his chest, but he couldn't do it. Not without sounding whiny, or weak. Besides, he wasn't sure if he knew anybody well enough to tell them the things he wanted to.

3 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Callie Winters Character Portrait: Jonathan Monroe Character Portrait: Erin Hooper
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#, as written by Rann
Shit was just getting worse and worse, huh? Sending everyone out in twos, Hoppy really felt a little worried. All she was really good at is stealth, sneaking in unnoticed- virtue of her stalking she did way back then. There was no way she could have known she’d end up considering her light-footedness and generally good situational awareness would be her biggest value one day- but then again, no one here were really counting on a goddamn zombie apocalypse.

Zombie. I still hate that word. Sounds so stupid.

As she sauntered down the stairs, she caught the slightest glimpse of Monroe, one of the leaders here in Haven. The guy, just seeing him, it brightened her day just a little bit, and Hoppy shook the tiredness off, randomly taking one of the jobs from the board. The hoodie’d girl stretched a little before getting some a little drink of water, relishing the moisture pouring down her throat. Nibbling at a granola bar (damnit, she used to hate these, and now they’re a pretty damn awesome treat, what happened to the world, huh?) she read the job she’d chosen. Bodyguard.

She leaned back in her chair, with a small, almost pitying chuckle.

“God, shoulda known I’d get a combat-ish job someday.” She murmured, and then chomped down on the rest of the bar. Hoppy shrugged a little, a single name popping into her mind: Chip. The man that had found her and took her to Haven in the first place. She’d go up, jump into his cot and tell him to wake him the hell up. Since she couldn’t handle guns at all, the damn recoil scares the shit out of her; this man would probably be able to use the scoped rifle. All she needed was the meat cleaver she’d always used.

“G’damnit, Hoppy, I’m tryin’ to wake up, you didn’t have to jump on my fucking head!”

The man was still rubbing his head sorely after the girl woke him up in what was most likely the rudest way ever. He scratched at the unshaven stubble starting to grow on his chin, and was uncomfortably aware of the morning glory that all men had; the stiff and slightly painful feeling. Especially in front of a girl young enough to be his daughter.

“Y’get that notice, Chip?” She asked the man, looking up at his face when she asked. “Bout the armed gangs, hunting down Haven? We won’t run into them, hm?”

He grumbled something inaudible, and the girl offered him the notice.

“You suck at picking, Hop.” Chip said sourly, but patting her head affectionately all the same. He made sure to get one of the hunting rifles being given out for protection, and Hoppy still had that cleaver, tucked into the belt of her jeans, the blade shimmering evilly in the glint of the sunlight.

The two met Gary a ways south of the farmhouse. He had his glasses pushed up; sweat glistening in the cold October morning air. On his back, he toted a large black backpack, probably filled with whatever he needed to use to diagnose the solar panels. It was a pretty major job- if they could get a working solar panel over at the farmhouse; that meant electricity. Power. Heat, all that stuff, for the coming winter. Even just a little luxury like heat could go a long way, because in the winter, they’d have to keep morale up somehow. And if everyone was cold all the time, well, it’d be easier to slip up and get yourself killed.

“It’s south of here, the plant,” The technician said, a little nervously. “Thanks for coming, and let’s hope we get out of this mess alive, shall we?”

The burly man comfortably held the rifle to his right shoulder as if it was the most natural thing in the world. And in his red and white plaid shirt, he even looked like one of those redneck hunters in America. How they even managed to get guns, Hoppy didn’t have a clue. She certainly hadn’t even seen one in person until Chip had found her, about two or so weeks ago, aiming something he called ‘Harry’ at her.

Hope he doesn’t need to shoot anythin’, right? God, I still hate the damn sound of the guns.

“Hey hey, so,” Hoppy began talking, somewhat panicked. “Let’s not go in all guns a’blazin’ and stuff, please? Once we’re at the Plant, I’ll run ahead, like a scout or something. I’m faster and quieter than you both, so, uh, I can scout out the best ways and shit like that.”

Chip looked initially worried, but when the girl shot him a wide toothy grin, he patted her on the head again, telling her to do her best, and make him proud. He still didn’t manage to shave yet, and it felt rather awkward having the stubble out like that.

The tech, Gary, also looked relieved when Hoppy told them the general plan. He probably wanted to avoid the direct violence route as well. He wasn’t keen on having a young woman put herself in danger, but it was true that she was faster than them both at running. And his sharpshooting skills, unfortunately, only existed on the Xbox, playing those first person shooters such as Call of Duty, Halo, among others. He was great at them; one of the ones to call the others noobs and chortle unpleasantly, even being a grown, if wispy, man.

While idly chatting about, generally unimportant trivial things, dark clouds were rising. Was it a storm? Who knew, but the District might be in for bad news, if it was.

It was roughly noonish by the time they had reached the fence surrounding the plant. Chances are there weren’t many Zeds there, but that didn’t mean it was totally safe. Hoppy took the initiative; finally serious, as she chopped away at the steel wiring of the fence with her cleaver. It took some effort, but she looked as if she was enjoying herself, and maybe ten minutes later, there was an opening wide enough to even fit the comparatively giant Chip.

Immediately upon seeing the panels, Gary started muttering and took out his equipment; making his diagnosis. Thirty minutes, he’d said. That wouldn’t take too long.. but Hoppy was getting stir-crazy just waiting around. She wanted to do something, and maybe there’d be useful stuff inside the office building.

“I’ll scout around, I guess.” Hoppy said tersely, breaking a glass window and hopped in through the wreckage.

Y’know, Chip’s a nice guy. He puts up with a girl like me and protected me when I was still terrified of everything. Must’ve caused him quite some trouble, I bet... but I gotta do what it takes to help out Haven. The longer we last, the better fer all of us, ri-

A zed, animalistic and feral, made a running leap. Almost as if by reflex, Hoppy dodged out of the way and chopped at its ankle, crippling it. She made a grunt as she took another step back, mind still on auto-pilot while the zed was crawling frantically, making those eerie nightmarish noises. Another chop, and the sinew around the neck was weakening. Another. Blood oozed dully out of the wounds; little bits of neck flesh splashing around her already stained hoodie. Another. The head bent crookedly as steel hit spine. It was more than grotesque, the once human creature... monster crawling and clawing at her, it’s head bent unnaturally sideways; one ankle hopelessly mangled. Hoppy did one last chop, utterly severing the head from the base of the neck. After that, she stood there panting for a few minutes, and fought the urge to throw up. It was sudden, it was debilitating, and it took up probably too much energy to hold it down.

I’ll never get used to this shit.

She rounded a corner, seeing a hallway filled with numbered doors, eventually reaching 120. There were also stairs at the end of the hallway. Some of the doors, well, they were broken down, and she could peer inside, seeing nothing really of importance. A few of them had zeds in it, and Hoppy kept those doors shut tightly, while room 113 had the body of a man, a tight noose around his bruised, purple neck. Claw marks were there, as if he’d died while desperately trying to undo the noose. Suicide. She frowned distastefully before closing that door too.

Overall, it was dark and eerie, but she didn’t want to turn any light on. The Zeds would be attracted to it, and even if they were bumbling about outside the plant, they’d nonetheless flock to it. The windows, at the very least let in some of the afternoon light.

In the end, Hoppy managed to gather up a bunch of files that looked important somehow, a few labcoats as spare clothing, and two unopened bottles of water, looking almost comical as she carried those things out, along with the cleaver waving around with each step.

“Some more shit.” She said with gritted teeth, unable to really remove the sight of the hanged man. “Notes, files, whatever. Maybe it’ll help.”

Gary thanked her, still going through everything, when they all heard mass groaning. Did Hoppy make too much noise? Still, whatever it was that had attracted them, it didn’t matter at this point. Maybe ten or so started charging at them, like a barbaric little army. Chip let out a cry of warning, to the tech who gave the zeds a cursory glance.

“A few more minutes!” He called. “Try to hold them off, please.”

“Goddamnit!” Chip growled, taking careful aim with the rifle and downed one of the zeds with little effort. Just killing one didn’t help much, though. Things looked grim, but they also needed the data on the panels to figure if they could be of some use. The prospect of power wasn’t a tiny thing, after all. “We need to move now, Fowler!”

“I said a few minutes!” Gary sputtered, still obstinately standing and running tests. So, there was only really one thing to do, right?

Hoppy dashed to the side as fast as she could, turning on her flash light and aiming it at the zeds. The nine of them left made a mass turn and now were hounding her. Chip yelled with sudden anger and worry- the hell was the girl thinking? He took another deafening shot; Hoppy flinched at the sound and very nearly tripped.

Panic. Adrenaline. Blood pumping desperately through her system, keeping her moving. The zeds were right on her heels; she needed to go faster. Faster, longer, harder, whatever. She didn’t even allow herself the luxury of thought- all that mattered was sprinting for as long as she could, trying to block out the moans and yelps of the infected; their rotting stench.

Until Chip fired at the wall with his Harry. And pretty much all save two zeds turned once again and moved towards Chip, standing rather far from both Gary and Hoppy. Spinning around, she chopped rapidly through the two zed’ s knees and, with heightening panic, tried to wave her flashlight again to get the zeds to turn back on her.

But now, the zed swarm was between Chip and the other two. He stood defiantly, Harry to his chin, even after the end. Gary didn’t let her watch. There’s no way he’d have let Hoppy watch it happen.


The way back was pretty silent. Although Gary had finished the tests and his report, Hoppy really didn’t want to think anymore; her mind numb. What would she do now? She wasn’t really close to anyone else in Haven. She’d be all alone again, just like when the zeds first came. Isolated from everyone else.

Gary had tried a few times to say something to the girl, but she wouldn’t really respond. He felt bad about the death, sure, but the data was more important. And Chip had to have known what he was signing up for, right? What it meant to be a Scav. And death, unfortunately, is an inevitable part of the deal. Not everyone makes it out alive.

But he couldn’t say that to the girl.

After they got back to the farmhouse, the two of them reported in to Callie, the teacher, the results of the mission.

“They’re definitely useable.” Gary said. “The panels. If there was some way we could get one over here, it’d help out everyone, Callie. There are some zombies still there, though, so it might take a group to do it. Heck, we lost one. Chip Mayberry. “

Hoppy, still feeling lost and listless inside, gave her usual cheery smirk to the school teacher. “I’m okay, if you’re wondering.” She lied easily. “It is how it is here, after all.” She then opened Gary’s pack, and handed over her items to Hallie; the lab coats and the bottled water.

3 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Callie Winters Character Portrait: Jonathan Monroe Character Portrait: Delaney Byron
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Don’t want to be down with the Sickness.

After the relief of having a normal, girly chat with Hoppy last night, Laney knew she should have woken in a good mood, refreshed. Instead she felt groggy, her breasts were sore in the sports bra she wore in bed, and she had that familiar thick feeling below her waist. And that would explain the painful spot high on her forehead.

'Oh fuck,' she groaned, scrabbling underneath her bed for the box she kept discretely hidden away. Four left. Well that wasn't going to do. She'd determined last month to sort it out, and then she'd forgotten all about it. As usual. She dragged herself out of bed, full lips pouting, and wrapped a bandana round her head, to hide the spot as well as keep her hair back. Dawn had barely broken. On her way to the kitchen, a scrap of paper on the mission board caught her eye in the half-light.

Moments later, Laney was shrugging into a Scav Pack and rueing the nicks her hatchet blade had picked up hacking the generator in Brakenbacker Farm. She should have talked to Monroe about fixing it up last night. Never mind, it would still do the job. Even he wasn't up yet, meaning the armoury was still locked. The shotgun would have to do instead of the rifle. Easier to use, at least.

As she passed the designated safe radius outside Haven, Laney reflected on how far she'd come in her month as a Scav. When she'd passed this point on her way to investigate Tull Hollow, she'd been petrified but at the same time careless, not making good time, not taking notice of where she was going. But the near misses she'd experienced since had shocked her out of her comfort zone; finally she'd accepted Barney wasn't there to hold her hand any more. She was responsible for her own life, and those of her mission companions; she'd enjoyed feeling like Tilo and Ben's equal.

She had one leg over the wall and into the field when the sound of feet dragging on the road reached her ears. She scrambled the rest of the way over just as the zombie began its snarl and rushed at her. It was a tall one, and she backed away from its long grasp, wincing as she noticed almost all the flesh had been eaten away from its face. Twice she made towards it and had to back away to avoid being grabbed. She stared at it, plotting her next move. She swung her hatchet to hack off the first arm. As metal bit through rotting flesh and into bone, she realised...


Was it?

Laney hadn't seen the energetic Scav around Haven for some time now, and he hadn't been particularly close to anyone who would miss him, not like Mark and Kim, or Callie and Monroe.

The creature's left arm dangled uselessly, a shard of broken bone jutting out through the skin. The long, thin cheekbones were the same...

She hesitated again. It kept trying to grab her with its one good arm, kept growling and snapping its jaws at her. Will or no, now it only wanted one thing. She stepped forward, felt its clammy, steel-strong fingers close on her left shoulder, and brought her hatchet straight down on the crown of its head.

The fingers released. The zombie slumped onto the wall. The growling didn't stop. Laney whirled around, hatchet out, and by luck as much as anything else shoved the child-sized zombie to the ground. Judging by its jerky movements, it was an old one. She caught her balance, put her boot on its back, and struck it in the back of the head.

Fuck it, Laney, she chided herself. Just as she thought she was getting the hang of it, she'd been careless again. Even if that zombie had been Will once, it wasn't any more.

For all her caution for the next hour, Laney didn't see any more zombies. That was the benefit of Haven being uphill. Just by law of averages - or maybe gravity, she ticked herself off for not knowing - unless they had a reason, they tended not to go uphill. Of course, that meant they congregated downhill. And Cromwell was downhill.


Laney paused by an old-fashioned telephone box that overlooked the village. There was no movement, which suggested no-one living had been here in a while. She double-checked her map, and pinpointed the corner around which she'd find the GP's office. Just beyond the corner, there was a pile of bodies. She pocketed a handful of pebbles from the road

She crept into the village, hatchet at the ready, crouching low, a hand out for balance and ready to burst into a sprint at any moment. Every doorway she approached came in for close scrutiny; she ducked below every window. As she drew closer, she could see the pile of bodies for what they were: long-decomposed remains. She checked the way out of the village behind her was still clear, and threw a pebble at the pile, just to be sure.

She missed. She'd never been a good throw. The pebble skittered up the road, clicking and ringing in the deadly silence. She froze, barely daring to breath. Nothing but the sound of a window somewhere creaking in the cold breeze.

Peering round the corner, Laney spied the GP's office halfway down the street. It abutted a pharmacy, just as she'd hoped. At the end of the street appeared to be a street market. The remains of stall, awnings and barrels cluttered created a road block. Produce long perished, empty containers, plastic and wood alike, littered the street.

The door to the GP's office had been smashed off its hinges. Deep gashes in the wood suggested a fire axe had featured in this entrance. Laney's first careless steps inside crunched on broken glass from the windows. She backed up and picked her way in gingerly. The waiting room had witnessed a human-on-human fight, judging by bullet holes around the nurse's counter and the arc of blood sprayed on the wall and a door behind it. Zeds didn't have blood pressure like that. Out of habit, Laney scanned the headlines on the glossy magazines scattered in one corner. A year-old Grazia - she never featured in that, too upmarket - and, yes, there is was! Heat Magazine's splash headline 'Let Byrons be Byrons', from when she and her father had attacked a paparazzo outside a London nightclub last Christmas.

She gazed on her father's face on the front cover. Even contorted in violence, he seemed to be laughing. He'd never taken a single thing seriously. Laney shook the shards of glass off the magazine, rolled it up and put it in her backpack.

Just as she was zipping it up, she realised something was missing. What? Flashlight! Of course. The mission order said the supplies were in the basement. In her haste to leave, she'd forgotten to stop off for a flashlight. Fuck.

Looking down the corridor, past two open doors Laney presumed led to surgeries, the signs were that the office had been ransacked. There was more broken glass, more bullet holes, and a set of bloodied footsteps led from one of the surgeries to a door at the end of the corridor. The basement, Laney guessed. She crept along the corridor and listened at the door. Nothing. She pushed it open and it struck her that the bloodied footsteps only led down into the basement, not back up again.

A blur of growling faces, snapping teeth and reaching, gripping fingers flashed before her as daylight poured into the basement. She slammed the door shut, and bodies slammed frantically against it. 'Hungry bastards,' she gasped, and dashed back to the waiting room. She could still hear the muffled sounds of the zombies trying to escape the basement. The door had held them before, so it would hold them again, but it couldn't be long until the noise brought more zombies.

Laney slipped through the door behind the nurse's counter. A small hall held a stairs and the door to the pharmacy. It, too, had been thoroughly looted, it's large plate-glass window smashed in. No bloodstains or bullet holes here, at least, but the shelf she sought out was empty. Someone had had the same idea some time ago. Damn. But on the shelf next to it... What's this? Better take a few.


She was just browsing bottles of conditioner when she heard a creak from the street outside. The creak grew, and climaxed in a crash of something heavy falling to the ground. A familiar groan went up, more than one. More than a few. Darting her head out the window, Laney saw zombies rising from the wreckage of the street market. Five, no ten, eight or ten more behind that stall, and more again.

Without sparing the breath to swear, Laney spun on her heel and up the stairs. The door at the top of the stairs was locked, but fear made her frantic, and the lock gave way under a flurry of blows. Laney made it to the upstairs front window before the zombies had crossed the street. She hurled a coffee table through the window, shards of glass cutting her arms, and leant out, shouting.

'Zed motherfuckers! Hey! Fuck you!' The pack - there must have been 25 at least - gathered in the street below her, snarling and grasping uselessly. At least none would think to venture into the pharmacy and climb the stairs. Not yet. She was safe until she stopped shouting.

Ten minutes later, she was reduced to shouting 30 seconds or so, just enough to keep their attention, but her voice was nearly gone. She needed help.

The walkie-talkie! Thankfully they came prepacked in the Scav Packs. Thank you, Callie, for your foresight! The walkie-talkie crackled to life

'Haven? Haven? Hello? Anybody there? C'mon c'mon c'mon c'mon. Hey Zack, I fucked your mother!'

'What did you say?' Monroe sounded gruff as usual, but also bemused.

'Monroe? Oh thank fuck. Monroe, I'm stuck in Cromwell, I'm fucking surrounded.' Laney realised how far away help was, how little help a voice over the airwaves could be. The panic began to rise from a tight knot in her stomach.

'Who is this?'

'It's Laney. I'm stuck in a house...' Her voice cracked, completely hoarse. She lifted a mirror off the wall and threw it out the window. The zombies howled anew. More were streaming in from the main street and out of houses.

'Delaney? What are you doing out there? No-one said you should go out to Cromwell.'

Some came back out onto the street from the pharmacy to investigate the latest noise. She was running out of time, and the horde must have swelled to 50. Her mind turned briefly to Chip's death, and the shotgun on her back. Then she remembered Hoppy's wan smile, and Ben's laugh.

'Delaney, how many? Where exactly are you?'

'Fucking... all of them, blud! I'm upstairs, but they'll be here soon.'

'How fucking many, girl?' A part of her secretly whooped at the concern and stress in Monroe's voice. 'It's your pop star,' she heard him say to someone else.

'I don't know, 50. More. I need to distract them, there's no back way out.' A wave of fear washed over her at the thought of being utterly trapped. Of the tearing teeth. Of the pain. Of dying, of losing her body, of becoming a monster. A sob escaped her lips.

'Okay, cut your mewling and listen up, Delaney. Have you got something to cushion the walkie-talkie?' She spotted a couple of seat cushions and nodded. 'Laney! Are you there? Have you got -' 'Yes, yes, yes.' 'Okay, here's what you do...'

She could hear zombies moving around in the pharmacy as she worked. Soon they would find the stairs, and she would be swamped. But it wasn't long until Monroe and Callie's voices hollered and whooped down by the street market. Soon they were joined by a couple more voices from Haven. Turned up to maximum volume, the walkie-talkie she'd wrapped in cushions and her bandana and thrown out the window would have about 20 minutes battery life.

Laney lay low, unable to see how many zombies had gathered at the decoy, not wanting to draw them back to the pharmacy. That sounded like Hoppy's Welsh lilt, and Ben's West Coast drawl. Was that Tilo's educated tone? Ten minutes dragged by, slow as tombstones. The voices on the decoy were ragged and hoarse, and Laney knew it was now or never. Inching down the stairs, hatchet at the ready, prepared to make a last stand in that narrow space, lifting and dropping her weapon until the strength left her arms, Laney arrived in the pharmacy. Empty. She backed through and into the waiting room of the GP's office. Empty, although she could hear the zombies in the basement thudding away at the door, alerted by the decoy.

She crept out onto the street. Every zombie in Cromwell was milling around the trampled street market and the walkie-talkie. Already the sound was fading. Hugging the wall, she slid back to the main street, which was mercifully clear of zombies. Throwing caution to the wind, and surges of relief giving her new energy, Laney sprinted back to the telephone box, shut herself in it, and burst into tears.


Monroe was black with anger when she arrived back at haven. She thought she saw a vein thumping in his forehead. Callie stood beside him in the Command Centre, anger and relief conflicting on her face. Monroe lanced Laney with a stare for 30 seconds, then opened his mouth to begin his tirade.

'Fuck you Monroe, I had to get tampons,' Laney snapped. The soldier's jaw dropped, his eyes bulged. The vein throbbed double-time. In the end, he muttered 'You deal with this' to Callie and stormed off.

'But I couldn't get any, they were all out. Fucking zombie apocalypse, huh?' Laney reached into her backpack and pulled out a device that looked like a small rubber eggcup, but with a longer stem and no foot. 'But I got these. It's a Mooncup. Don't ask me, I've never tried. But it's better than rags, right?' She handed it over to Callie. 'I got a few each, you know? Oh, and I got conditioner.'

4 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tilo King Character Portrait: Callie Winters Character Portrait: Jonathan Monroe Character Portrait: October "Toby" Harrison
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The Tour de Lakes

(Co-written with VindicatedPurpose)

Toby could hardly believe the lack of luck, teaming up. On her second mission, but no less. Honestly she still felt drained by her last mission that had left a heavy weight on her. Now with the threat of another group on their shoulders she has to team up - with a stranger no less. Not that she could judge who was or wasn't a stranger here, considering her lack of socialization. She hopes her partner isnt someone all too bad. Toby throws on her mismatched clothes and heads for the mission Board.

He stood there eyeing the bulletin board, giving some thought to his job. Scavengers now had to move in teams of two because apparently, there was an armed band on the loose. It presented trouble, Tilo thought, he chalked up another to the growing list of dangers. He sighed.

"Alright let's see what we have today."

A mission to go grab some chickens had already been taken by another pair, the other two jobs left were a tour of a spa retreat for some fireworks, bikes, and possibly some hunting equipment that could be put to good use. The other job was to escort a technology expert to a solar power plant, and serve as his body guard. Both had medium threat levels, medium was a subjective term though. Tilo scratched his chin, before he heard the approach of a stout framed woman, with an all too apparent scar running from below her nose to the corner of her lip. Tilo gave a single glance, and he managed to acquire all of that, which meant that she indeed stood out of the crowd. He just hoped that she wouldn't be his partner, he was still kind of bonding with Morris Byron's daughter.

Toby stops a few feet from the board, mouth set in a thin frown. Her social graces are telling her to run away before things get awkward but she forces her feet a few steps foreward. She wearily eyes the man at the board - he's older with fading white hair, his appearance contrasting Toby's own, somehow he also reminds her of someone who could be stern- then looks at the missions themselves. Only two were available and out of the two only one caught her eye - Tour De Lakes. It seems the best route considering if she were to take on The Bodyguard job there would be too many people. As far as she's concerned two is a crowd and three is a death sentence.

Toby smiles a little bit. She catches sight of the man once more and drops her smile. She coughs awkwardly and shuffles her feet. What does one say when normally faced with strangers? Toby briefly thinks back to before the Stiffs and remembera brief moments of her life where she had this same problem with people.

"Uh, hey." Is what she finally blurts out, immediately berating herself for acting so dopey, then again for putting herself down.

"Hello," Tilo said with a brief facade of a smile, trying to be friendly, before he returned his attention to the bulletin. It was hopeless, really, to continue prevaricating.

By this point, Delaney had not shown up, which meant one thing, she was already off with another. So much for waiting, Tilo thought, then his mind shifted to the lady beside him. There was a slight dreadfulness creeping up his spine, so he shook it off.

"I suppose I'll be taking Tour de Lakes," Tilo announced, awkwardly.

Toby stills, raising a large brow. Of course she hadnt really expected to be paired up with this guy. She nods and grapples for the words to tell him that she would also be taking Tour de Lakes.

"Me too," she replies somewhat awkwardly. "My names Toby, I suppose we'll be working together on this mission."

A jolt ran through Tilo's ear as she said this, damn. Well it was inevitable, he supposed, maybe he could have taken the Bodyguard job instead. Perhaps he could have held his tongue and wait for another person, there were plenty of other scavengers out there to partner up with. It was a little too late, he realized in hindsight. He gave a mental sigh. Just get back in one piece.

"You have your equipment ready?" Tilo gestured to his knapsack.

"Yeah," Toby says. She turns ever so slightly to show her own empty bag. theres never anything but stale beef jerky in it and a change of clothes. Both of which she left back in her sleepng quarters to have more space. She tries not to act awkwardly as she eyes him wearily. Toby hadn't really thought much on how working together could be.

Usually she strays from being around others, still self-conscious to a near crippling point where day by day she still has to chastise herself for self depreciation. She runs a hand through her short unwashed brown hair and sighs. Could she do this? Probably. But not without stepping out of her comfort zone just a little bit.

"Suppose we best get going?" She asks keeping her tone mildly calm.


As the two of them strode down the imagined path upon the map, Tilo held the rifle in one hand, and the couple of rounds in the other, both issued by Monroe. Tilo's eyebrows creased as he stared at the items. As a history professor, Tilo had some knowledge in firearms. In fact, this was one rifle that he knew a bit about. It was a type of rifle called a bolt-action rifle, which meant the user had to put the ammo into a tube and bolt it into place. Sometimes, the user had to bolt every single bullet into place and it was indeed time consuming, despite the fact that the weapon was recognized as the standard equipment from the late 19th century and a little bit beyond both World Wars. There was a reason why a weapon was eventually replaced, as with all things.

Only ten rounds divided into two metal strips of five, he concluded that either he was lucky or Monroe must have been conserving. Then he thought, what if it wasn't enough? There was only one answer to that, run. He pocketed one strip, and inserted the other into the slot, then he bolted it into place. He realized that if they ever found themselves in a group of zeds, he would need to be quicker with the cartridges. Should the case be otherwise, he did not want to imagine the outcome.

He aimed the rifle, squinting at some imagined target in the distance, before he strapped it onto his shoulder. They were on a real scavenging mission, he thought. This was some hotel, it was bound to have large stocks of supplies, but that was only countered by the expanse of halls and floors filled with walking corpses.

The darkened clouds in the distance were easing into the region, rain would soon fall upon them.

Its silent as they walk, but Toby isnt exactly complaining. Rather she is glad for it. Theres time now to recompose herself and contribute working thoughts towards the mission. Hesitantly she faces Tilo, nervously eyeing the rifle. Her trust doesnt run deep in its use. Guns attract attention wich attracts the stiffs.Its easy to shake off the worry gnawing at her gut and to steele her mind.

"Damn," she too notices the darkening sky. A promise of rain. She checks her psck to see if maybe she might have forgotten to take her petrol stained shirt out. Of course she has and she finds herself longing for another layer of clothes if only to stave off the cold seeping into her thick bones.

If theres one thing she has never enjoyed its being out in the cold. They are not really moving fast enough to get warm blood pumping through her veins so she lets the shivers over take her. Nothing like a good dose of Homeostasis to keep the body going. She stoops suddenly to pick a stick up off the ground. Feeling suddenly like a kid as she swipes at withering plants.

"So...this should be fun." Wow, if she were anymore awkard it would hurt. She laughs, aloud. "Sorry, im not good at this partner thing. I have a rather hard time socializing." Toby snaps the stick In two by Accident then drops the two halves to the ground. "We do need some sort of trust level however. All I ask is If I Get bit dont kill me, ill take care of myself."

Tilo raised a brow at that statement. He nodded his head, "Fair enough."

As he said this, the thoughts of the other day crept into his mind. The faces of those bloated corpses mangled and torn in multiple places flashed into his mind's eye. Their arms thrashing about. Their skin no longer a recognizable pigment, but one that was diseased, deceased even. He wondered what it must have been like in those early days, when people tried to escape the stiffs by running into the water, only to find more of them in the lake. The fear, the panic. Some drowned, trying to swim away. Others tried to find boats to escape on. Then he remembered the man and the boy, their plain faces, emotionless, as if their eyes were open, but their minds were closed. Were they like that before? Were they like that at the very beginning?

Tilo just kept walking.

At least they seemed to be on similar grounds. Though Toby suddenly felt a little like everything happening is simply a surreal conjuration of her mind. She watches the sky darken and frowns as the first streak of lightening strikes overhead. It looks like the storm will be a fairly bad one but she knows they will get there soon. There isnt much time to spare as the first pattering of rain starts to stain the dry ground. Shes thankful atleast a little bit of noise to shatter the silence between them. Toby doesnt mind that people dont often get along nor talk to her that much. Shes used to be on her own, has been since a the day her Papa walked out with a pretty blonde hanging off his arm. Even if Mama had shut her weeping mouth to take care of Toby it would only serve to distance them further. As it is TOby still wants to get in contact with her mother, even if they werent very close. She slows her descent as noises from ahead catch her attention, a sound that could belong to a Stiff or perhaps a wounded animal. She holds out her hand, even as she realizes Tilo is ahead of her still.


Tilo was almost at a point where he forgot that Toby wasn't beside him. He looked back down the path, the short woman held her hand to him, her face attention elsewhere into the woods. Perhaps it was a zed.

"What is it?"

"Not sure yet," she whispers so low she isn't sure he can hear her. Her face is grim in expression. She remembers the last time she heard a strange noise and followed up on it. However her gut instinct took over, they are close now to the resort and despite the storm rolling in she decides to head for where the noise is coming from.

He saw her mouth a couple of words, and noticed her face seemed disturbed, the cause of which might have been zed.

"Hey wait," Tilo whispered, but she was already going to the source of the disturbance. Tilo readied his rifle with both hands, but kept his eyes on the surrounding to make sure they weren't caught off guard.

Toby looks back at Tilo, mouth set in a grim line as she continues on. "Dont be a baby, if its a Stiff we can just off it." She doesn't let the panic show in her voice but doubts shes masking the steady beating of adrenaline through her veins. Everything sounds sharper and much more clear now. "How close are we to the resort?" She whispers not so lowly this time. "I don't think it was a Stiff," well, atleast she hoped it wasn't a Stiff. Though she would rather face one of them more than a stray Rand or Caravaner.

Tilo fumbled for the map that was folded in his pocket buried beneath the strip of rounds. The small laminated sheet was a geographical one, detailed with woods, and the ascending and descending topographical features of the land. Tilo was used to working with maps as a history professor, often pointing to them and studying them during and outside of lectures. That was his old world profession, now he was actually putting it to practical use by determining where they were, relative to the location of the resort. Luckily, Callie had been kind enough to mark off the location of the resort, Haven, the Rands, and the Caravaners using semi-permanent marker.

Tilo deduced from the map that they were about seven kilometers away, which wasn't far, but wasn't near either.

"We should probably pick up the pace."


They had finally reached the secluded resort. It was nestled within the many trees guarding the landscape, sentries covered in branches and leaves. The structure reminisced of the profound influence of Neo-Georgian and Neoclassical architecture, leaning more towards the former in general. However, the columns dominated the Greco-Roman appearance of the resort's entrance. Tilo had a fascination with the culture of antiquity, in particular, Classical Greco-Roman civilization.

Hamilton's Retreat laid on the other side of a long abandoned road that was four lanes wide, stretching on toward towns perhaps hundreds of kilometers away. The parking lot had a few cars left astray in various positions, definitely not parked. Most had their doors open, people tried to escape on foot, Tilo thought. The collective flaying of was that possible? This was a secluded resort in the country, they would have had ample time to prepare. The professor discovered a realization about himself, and it was that he had an imagination. He wasn't like other professors who lived in their heads, and slightly to one side. As a student of history, he lived in alternate timelines, and realities, he wondered about multi-verses and hypothetical situations. It was that curiosity, that made him interested in history. He liked to imagine how, or what could have been possible. Sometimes, though, he just didn't want to think about the people here at the beginning of the outbreak.

Tilo was most surprised by its similarities to Stanley Hotel, the one from The Shining. Bloody hell. If Monroe had never mentioned that place, Tilo would never have identified the resemblance. He had seen the movie in the early eighties, around the time of its debut, and around the time his adolescence. To say the movie scared him was an understatement. Tilo had a hatchet. He just hoped for two things, that there wasn't a hedge maze, and that the lights still worked in the building.

Toby certainly didnt care for the sight of the Resort. Not only did it clearly resemble the hotel from The Shining but its entire vibe radiated with creepy, even with the addition of the Outdoor Pursuits bulding. She takes a deep breath of the stale air that seemed to have suddenly sucked the air from her lungs. She wondered if she was the only one suddenly feeling like this just from the sight of the creepy place. She sighs, readies her weapon and shifts her bag to make sure it wont easily get caught on anything. She looks to Tilo wearily, still nervous about the whole team thing. She figures he wont be too hard to work with. Thus far hes been quiet, so much so she actually kind of feels at peace. Even though at that moment her nerves felt all bundled up and could make her spring at any moment - in other words she felt like an impending freak nout could possibly be on the horizon.

Geeze. When had she become so melodramatic? She figures its time spent in Haven thats made her this way. She never had to be subjected to strangers before and now that she is she has to deal with all the anxiety that comes with being around others. Hopefully once inside the resort if anything goes wrong that they would have each others backs. Or at least Toby knew SHE wouldnt just be leaving Tilo to become Stiff Food, she certainly has a little more compassion than that.

"Ive been through a lot so far but this is probably the creepiest place ive ever had to be at through this entire apocalypse." She speaks aloud though not directly to Tilo. If he chose to answer or speak to her than that was his own choice and she didnt want to bother with small talk now that they had reached the resort and the real mission was beggining.

Tilo swallowed some saliva, "I'd...have to say that I agree with you on that one."

"Well, shall we?" Tilo led the way, crossing the four lane road to the other side.

Once they reached the other side, Tilo acquired a better view of the resort. The fountains in the front were dried of water, save a couple of puddles. The trees enclosed the resort like a haunted mansion. There at the center of the fountain, stood a giant white Greek sculpture of a nude woman or goddess perhaps. With her arms cut at the shoulders, her pose acquired a subtle, and ancient melancholy poise. She stared at them with motionless eyes, stalking them as they went. She smiled and laughed in devilish delight.

As they walked past the succubus in white, and neared the giant columns, they noticed that the three revolving glass doors were all shattered. The glass frames of said doors laid in disparate shards upon the ground in a random pattern. Poetically, the resort's logo on the window wall was fractured into a thousand spider webs. Blood was painted in many forms, with hands, or little veins. Pieces of flesh clung to the webs.

Tilo gritted his teeth as he noticed this, which meant that the possibility of zed inside the resort...was very much a reality.

Tilo sighed, "I think this means we'll need to move slowly through the hallways."

"I suppose," Toby answers, though as they move around to view the other side of the Resort. Its decomposed state causes more shivers to run up and down her spine, she raises her arms to rub the goosebumps away.

Toby doesnt want to enter the resort at all but she knows they cant dilly dally outside forever. She takes the lead and steps into the decaying Resort, crinkling her nose at the lingering scent of death that hangs in the air. Blood spatters and streaks the walls and there are obvious signs of the chaos that ensued when everything first started. Glass from windows litters the floor and suggests that someone broke them inward. She takes light steps, in full caution mode now. "Okay, im assuming the storage room will be towards the back of the Resort." Toby says, avoiding contact entirely with anything that screamed creepy at her. The nude statue seemed to have watched her as they walked by and the complete state of disarray that the Resort seemed to have fallen under seems dangerous enough that Toby feels like avoiding it all. She sighs, staying away from walls or open doorways in case anything were to be lurking just inside, waiting for them to pass by to make a grab for them. She half turns back to look at Tilo, as she has gotten slightly ahead of him at this point.

Though something else catches her eye, a tiny stuffed bear laying abandoned against a wall. Its body stained with blood and probably the remains of whatever child had owned it. Toby balks and looks away from it, trying to cover the sadness that lit up in her eyes. "Deeper through we go." she doesnt really want to go deeper into the Resort. Its creepy enough here in the front walkway where the glass from the front doors and various scattered peices of furniture and other such items that littered the place.

"We need to find bikes first, that and the fireworks above anything else, and then we can go look for supplies," it was a perfectly good reason, it was their primary objective after all. In truth, Tilo just wanted to get out and take a breath of fresh air to clean his lungs of the rot.

"Oh yeah," Toby had forgotten all about the bikes. Half due to her brain trying to keep her from jumping at every sound she hears. "I suppose there may be a shack somewhere that rents out bikes, probably close by an exit." She suggests, trying to make up for her earlier mistake of forgetting about the bikes in the first place. She continues foreward, peering closely at any dark spots that may hide any form of danger.

Despite the decay of the manor-like resort, the ornamental gardens remained relatively untouched by man, as the many shrubberies, bushes, and other flora grew to almost envelope whatever humans had designed. The birds and other flora were nowhere to be found. Only the trees and plants were unafraid of the dead. Then of course there wasthe Outdoor Pursuits center that Monroe mentioned, it was there that they would find the bikes and whatever usable equipment. The archery range was an extended field next to the building, with target stands located at various distances from the fence. Behind the stands was a large net that stretched from one side to the other, completely preventing any stray arrow from flying outside of the range. As for the pool, the water was covered in a layer of leaves, save a couple of patches of murky water staring back at them.

They reached the building's entrance, which seemed to have been ransacked, as evidenced by the doors jarred off their hinges. Sunlight bled through the trashed building. They were lucky to have found a pair of bikes buried beneath all the fallen equipment. They propped the bicycles up, and left them leaning against the wall to return to later. Tilo set aside the rifle as soon as he spotted a pair of compound bows, the kind that had the fancy axles at the ends of the limbs. They were relatively unscathed, along with a pack of bolts. The arrows looked durable enough, but he'd have to check with someone who knew things. Tilo stood there waiting for a zombie horde to fall upon their good fortune.

When nothing came, he held his sigh of relief, trying not to tempt fate. They proceeded to enter the fireworks storeroom, and as fate would have it, the room was stocked to the brim with a various assortment of the pyrotechnic devices that would have made any pyromaniac cry with joy. Immediately, the pair set about shoving into their packs what they thought they could bring home, leaving behind the larger canisters of category four fireworks behind. Only licensed professionals could use those. Tilo erred on the side of caution because he didn't want to be responsible for a fire that started at Haven as a result reckless usage of fireworks.

"Look," Tilo found a football lying in some corner. It was the only ball that remained inflated, the others had long been deflated, along with all of the spare tires.

His smile was shortlived though. The instant he took his eyes off of Toby and onto the ball, it reminded him of his sons. He placed the ball inside his pack in a gawky manner, trying to dispel the feeling overcame him.

Minutes later they were inside the hotel, and luckily for them, no zed thus far. They passed by the lobby the wrecked cushioned seats and blood everywhere. The stench was copiously wretched, and it climbed through Tilo's nose, almost rotting the insides of his lungs. The odor culminated in restaurant dining rooms, with rotten food and rotten flesh, the definition of disgusting.

They made it inside the kitchen, and were scrounging about inside for any canned foods. Mostly any cans were broken open or horribly dented. Toby examines one that seems okay enough, although the metal of the can itself was dented inwards on the top as if someone had tried to get into it previously but didnt have the tools to do so. She places it in her bag, which now rests on the handle of the bike she is wheeling along with her. This way if they pick anything up she can simply let the bike carry its weight. She checks the kitchen thoroughly to make sure nothing is left behind. Thus far she only found that one can of carrots, and a half eaten box of saltines that were pretty much stale - atleast she knew crackers wouldn't exactly go bad anytime soon.

She looks around also for anything good to use as a melee weapon. Though so far anything good was in bad shape or too broken to serve a purpose. She toyed with the idea of using a skillet from the Kitchen as a weapon but decided that the handles on them would be too hard to keep a grip on. After what seems and feels like forever she stops searching the kitchens and moves over to where Tilo is.

"Ive gotten all I can find from here, find anything good?" She finds its a little easier now to talk to him. She keeps her mind occupied with keeping her eyes out for any wandering Stiffs while waiting patiently for a reply. They have been gone for quite a while from Haven and she wonders if the storm has subsided by this point. Though they hadnt been outside when it started she could faintly hear the sounds of the storm as they went through the Resort in search of the bikes. "We can check some of the rooms as well, see if any guests left anything good behind." She checks her wrist, knowing fully well her broken watch would not be there as she had gotten rid of it some time ago - by now however its a habit she hasnt been able to kick.

"Hmm," Tilo paused in thought, "No that's about it," placing the last of the non-perishables into his pack. The lights in the building were still working, as were the walk-in freezers. This meant that the electricity was coming from somewhere. Haven, didn't have any electricity, so if they could tap into the grid at Hamilton's or at least figure out where the resort drew its power, it would mean not freezing during the winter.

Check the other rooms, Tilo wasn't exactly sure. They had already found what they came to get.

"I mean, we don't really need to," he paused, "But it's been odd that we haven't seen any zed." Once more, curiosity had found its way.

West wing, and twenty rooms later. They skipped past the rooms with doors closed, occassionally they knocked on one or another. If they heard snarls, they simply moved away from that room. The rooms with open doors however, were easy traps for those who were careless. So they simply kept their eyes peeled, with the rifle aimed as they approached open rooms carefully. For rooms on either side that were open, they made some noise in attempt to lure any zed out. This method worked well in the West Wing as they managed to scrap some shampoo and conditioner bottles. Interestingly, the open rooms were the only ones that did not have stiffs. It seemed as though the walkers had locked themselves, and fortune smiled upon the pair. They checked to see if the place still had running water, most ran dry once the faucet was turned. There wasn't anything else left to do, until they heard a muffled shattering sound that came from the East wing.

"Shit," Toby curses under her breath as she looks to Tilo. There isnt any time for chatter though, that sound definitley didn't mean anything good was going on here. She heads in the direction of the sound, despite the adrenaline trying to push her back. If she werent scared before she was now, as her heart felt as if it were about to burst from the excitement. "Hurry up!" Toby half shouts as she tracks down the sound that actually wasnt as close as she thought it would be. She stops to catch her barings as they come into clear view of the Laundry room.

"Alright, alright, just keep an eye out for any more of them from those rooms," Tilo dropped his bag in the lobby area beside the bikes, bringing only the rifle with him as they darted through the lobby in the main building and entered the East wing.

Toby nods, having forgotten all about the rooms. She keeps her pace slow now, keeping her eyes on the rooms as she passes by. None of them seem to have been the room that the noise had came from, wich left one last option at the very end of the wing. She hadnt really figured they would need to check out the Laundry room, since it didnt hold food or possible weapons in it. However there must be something in there to have created such a noise. She stops, allowing Tilo to catch up. "It came from there I think," She says, pointing to the room in question. "Lets check it out," Though shes sure thats what they were already doing she doesn't think it hurts to voice her thoughts aloud. She moves slowly and quietly towards the Laundry room, unsure of what they will find.

Tilo nods in reply. As they were merely feet away from the laundry room at the end of the East wing, a fatal sound like a clap of thunder was heard. Blood spurted to the opposite wall of the laundry room entrance, a stiff fell backwards, its head blown apart into bits of flesh.

The professor stopped in his tracks, he held the rifle aimed at the laundry room, waiting for someone to come out. He had never fired the thing before, now would be a test to see if those class lectures on the history of warfare paid off for him.

"Who's there?" Tilo asked aloud, followed by "We're human!"

There was no response.

After moments of waiting for anything more to happen Toby makes the last few steps into full out view of the doorway. Her heart thudding heavily as she tries to ignore the dead Stiff at her feet. She peers in, trying to get her eyes used to the sudden darkness of the room. The only light inside came from two small windows that seemed more like slots in the wall than anything. Inside is how anybody would imagine a Laundry room to look like, with hampers and various machines to get the clothes clean. However anything that still lingered within is either horribly ripped up or bloody, there even seemed to be several piled of sheets stacked up in one corner, as if the sheets were some sort of nest. What really made Toby reel back though was the man within.

"Oh god," There is no doubt that the man is bitten. Not with the copious amounts of blood.

Tilo's expression mirroed that of his partner. The image before him, was no image, but reality. How it happened, Tilo did not care, because it did not matter anymore. The man was still conscious. He gasped for breath, the thing had taken a bite out of his arm and shoulder. The pistol that he had used to blow the zack's cortex into bits, laid in the limp hand of his wounded arm. He recognized that they were human, and his lips began to quiver as he saw the bite marks and the blood at his wounds.

And he cried. With his other hand he tried to cover his eyes as he cried. The sob turned into a wail as he pounded his head in frustration against the wall that he leaned on, trying to bash his head apart to find a quicker death than this. He knew like they knew, it was over for him. In minutes, hours, days even, he would become one of them, a mindless, soulless creature. Perhaps this was not how he wanted to go.

Tilo stood there, unsure of what to do, he looked to Toby. Tilo lowered his weapon, he no longer needed to use it.

She wouldn't fool herself into believing she wasn't compassionate. Sure, Toby felt very little need to keep friends but she still cared about the well being of others. And right at that moment, watching that poor man in his struggles she felt worse than she had during her last mission. She slowly walks towards the man but pauses as her turns to regard her with a less than sane look. She realizes that he is barely alive, hanging on by a single thread. Going insane because he knows that he will be a Stiff. Toby gives a miniscule smile, that could easily be mistaken for a grimace. She always talks about Stiffism as if it were something that would neer affect her, and if it did then she wouldnt care about walking around and tearing things to bits. But when it really came down to it she knew that was no way to go.

This man probably had family, friends, people he was leaving behind all because of a slip up - or however he managed to get bitten. Toby kneels, not too close to the man that he can lash out but close enough she can clearly hear him as he babbles words to himself. "Come here," She says to Tilo, not ordering really but simply suggesting. He should be there too, to listen to the final words of a dying man. "Please," The man chokes out, words wet with the blood that hes been choking up. Toby does grimace then, because its not something she ever wanted to see.

Tilo nodded, silently mouthing 'okay,' as he knelt down beside them. The man continued to sob, his eyes were red by now. His body writhed in pain, in fear, in loneliness, and in regret.

"Hey, its ok." Toby almost laughs aloud at herself, because its not ok. "Whats your name?" Wow, what a question to ask a dying man. But she has a method to her madness and shes sure this man has a few last words.

He gasped, and choked, and coughed, until he could clear some air to speak.

"Wil..William...Rand," he coughed again, his cheeks were still wet. He wasn't ready to go yet, as he closed his eyes shut tightly for several seconds, before he let his head fall back in a surrendering manner.

"In my pocket..." he swallowed. Tilo reached into his pants pocket.

"There' wallet," the Rand closed his eyes again. Tilo found the wallet.

"The picture of the boy..." he swallowed some more of his blood and saliva. Tilo unfolded the wallet to reveal the boy.

"He's my son..." the man gasped again.

Tilo stared at the picture for a couple of minutes, he lost the heart to look at the man any further.

"Please," the man continued, "Make...make sure that my family I went," and he no longer struggled against his fate.

Tilo nodded solemnly and quietly.

"And there's more favor I need to ask of you," William stared at them, and he placed his hand on Tilo's rifle.

They wheeled the bikes back to camp in silence.

There wasn't anything else to be said.

As they passed through the gate, they set aside the bikes against the wall, and proceeded to drop their packs outside of the farm.

"The zed are all in locked rooms," Tilo reported.

"The place still has," Tilo couldn't concentrate on his words. Toby was there beside him, she was silent. Over and over, that scene played in his head. William Rand. William Rand. William Rand.

Monroe eyed the older man as he spoke, he sipped his odorous black coffee. Callie noted their expressions, or lack of, perhaps she sensed something troubling them.

"Uh...there's some running water over there...and um..." the professor paused, "There's still a bit of food stores in the freezers. Send some more to that place...I don't think anybody else has thought of it."

"And um, thanks for the laminated map," Tilo nodded toward the school teacher. Toby left, that was all to be said.

" there anything else?" Callie asked. Tilo paused for a moment, there was. He breathed a sigh.

"We found a Rand there, he was bitten by the time we got there," Tilo paused, "And he knew...that he was about to go."

Tilo showed the leaders the wallet and the boy and explained.

"I um...want to go on that one, and tell them personally."

8 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tilo King Character Portrait: Callie Winters Character Portrait: Benjamin Kinney Character Portrait: Jonathan Monroe Character Portrait: Mark Lawson Character Portrait: Delaney Byron Character Portrait: October "Toby" Harrison Character Portrait: Erin 'Hoppy' Hooper
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#, as written by Bosch
Friday, November 1st, 2013.



The three chickens pecked around the Coop Monroe and Mark had built and for a change Callie was happy with their work. She had a hard time christening the birds, Monroe had wanted to call them Pellegrini, Hart and Nasri, he figured it would piss off Herrera too much though so it was Callie who chose the names in the end. So it came to be the three chickens were known as Liz, Natasha and Katona after British pop group “Atomic Kitten.” Although everybody had taken to calling them “Atomic Chicken”.

“It’s my era.” Callie explained with a slightly embarrassed smile when Toby raised a questioning eyebrow.

Atomic Chicken seemed to enjoy their new home in Haven and Callie was already incredibly pleased with how the mission had gone. Monroe however was more concerned with the chance meeting Laney and Ben had with Jake. He was speaking to Callie while she fed the new arrivals.

“I don’t know, at least he didn’t kill them. Last thing we need is the whole thing turning into a bloody shootout. We need to clear this up with the Caravaners. From their perspective we look guilty as sin.”

“They did well though, their runner knows the truth and they survived together.”

“We still need to speak with their leadership, get this thing cleared up.”



“Aww fuck.” Monroe moaned when he heard the report of Chip’s death and the trip to the solar plant. He had known Chip to be one of the more capable members of the Haven community and his loss would be felt. “We didn’t need that. Chip was a good one.”

Callie noticed Monroe was now calling Chip by his name, before he had called him “The Rescue Ranger”. Apparently dying meant you got your name back. Callie and Monroe were in the kitchen going over the new information gathered by the scavengers and listening intently to Gary Fowler’s report.

“What did you find Gary? Is the Solar plant worth anything?” Callie asked.

“Yeah can we tap into their system?”

Gary smirked, Monroe was one of the many people who viewed computers as a magical box that could achieve anything. In Gary’s experience it was usually due to a combination of ignorance and Hollywood.

“No we can’t tap into their system.” Gary explained enjoying his chance to display a bit of technical knowledge to the shaved Ape and Callie. “We’d need to lay a lot of cable and... it’s just not feasible. However we could install some of the Panels here.”

“How could that work?” Callie asked. “Those things are massive.”

“That’s logistics which makes it a problem for the Scavs. They’re not too heavy, just awkward and long.” Gary said with a shrug.

“Yeah.” Monroe said absentmindedly, he was already trying to come up with ways to get around the problem. “Can we take the panels apart? Move them in chunks?”

“I wouldn’t. Putting them back together would be a nightmare. You’ll need to dig them out and bring the whole structure back here in one piece.”

Monroe nodded the job would be a tricky one but with planning anything could be achieved.

“What about Hoppy?” Callie asked.

“What about her?” Gary asked.

“She was pretty close to Chip, how’s she taking the death?”

“Seemed uh... a little shell shocked but I guess that’s normal considering. It was pretty bad in there. Didn’t really think we’d make it out... but we did.”

Monroe nodded. Gary wasn’t big on feelings and in a way that was a good thing.

“I’ll keep an eye on her just the same.” Callie said.


Eden Valley Camp Site.


The sun had already begun to dip below the skyline which meant and communal fire had been lit. It was covered over with a tarp to block the majority of the light and there was a strict no green leaves policy to avoid too much smoke. It was a risk but Jane Meadows, the leader of the Caravaners, knew the importance of warmth and light especially now. Before the outbreak Jane had worked a lot of odd jobs, just enough to pay for her next holiday. In no particular order she’d been a taxi driver, masseuse, weed dealer, fast food employee, cleaner, Pet Smart employee, Tesco shelf stacker, dry cleaner, Waitress and holistic therapist.

By far her worst job had been in a call centre. The hours were long and she remembered some days your shift would mean the only time you’d see the sun was through the window and 15 minutes at lunch. There had been one guy who brought a special lamp to work that was supposed to mimic sunlight. He claimed he had a condition call SAD, which stood for something but Jane couldn’t remember what it was. She just thought it was utterly tragic that someone had to spend their days looking at a fake sun while working in a shitty call centre.

It was true though people did tend to go a little funny when they don’t feel the warmth of the sun. That’s why she ensured the communal camp fire was always lit at night. Kept the place and community warm.

At least that was the idea, on this evening the community wasn’t feeling too warm towards Jane Meadows. She was trying to lead a group discussion with a group of incredibly pissed off runners when Jake returned from his mission. The rabble was lead by Samantha Low and they were demanding some action be taken against Haven.

“Tim was executed, Jane. Executed. These Haven people are bad news. We all knew the outbreak would have caused some people to go a little crazy, that’s what’s happening at that farm.” Sam said reiterating the point she’d been making for the past half hour.

A roar of support came from the assembled runners while Jane held up her hands in an attempt for calm.

“Sam you’re drawing conclusions here based on incomplete information. I agree it looks bad for Haven but they have never done anything like this before.”

Samantha was about to respond when Jake stepped forward and cleared his throat. He'd had to take a much longer route back to Eden Valley due to a horde of Zombies. He'd only just entered the conversation and figured it would be best to explain what he knew.

“I met some Haven runners while I was out. They saved my life, well we saved each other’s lives. They were just a couple of kids, said their guys had nothing to do with Tim getting killed. In fact they said there’s a gang roaming around the place and they shot Tim.”

“Lies!” Samantha cried, although her outburst didn’t get the same roar of approval this time. Jake was offering new information and he was a trusted member of the Caravaners as well as a respected runner. His word carried weight and went a long way to strengthening Jane’s appeal for calm.

“It’s not Sam. I liked Tim too but if they wanted to take me out they had more than enough opportunities.” Jake explained.

Jane felt the need to press the advantage.

“Sam is right, we need to be sure about what is going on, however I don’t think Haven have anything to do with Tim’s death. They are in as much danger as we are so maybe we should just go talk them.”

“All right but I’m going.” Sam said in a tone that made it clear she stating a fact not asking permission. Her argument had taken a hit but Haven wasn’t off the hook yet as far as Samantha Low was concerned.


Saturday, November 2nd 2013.



Callie woke and took a few a seconds to shake off the drowsiness of her night’s sleep. It also took her a few seconds to notice her breath in the air but when she did she moaned. She pulled herself out of the sleeping bag and wandered to the window. She raised the blackout blinds and saw the rolling hills of the Lake District were covered in Snow.

“Bugger.” She muttered.

She got washed and dressed then went to Kitchen where she saw Monroe sitting at the table wrapped in a couple of Layers with one of the white lab coats Hoppy had scavenged on top.

“Didn’t take you for the scientist type.”

“You seen outside? It’s camo.”

“Where were you?”

“The roof, it was my Stag.”

Callie knew he meant he had been on guard duty the previous night. She had quickly picked up the odd vocabulary a mixture of a Northern Irish childhood and career in the army had given Monroe.

“You want a coffee?”

“Naw I’ll crash out now, be up by noon.”

Callie nodded and was about to speak when the radio crackled to life.

“Haven. This is Eden Valley Caravan Site. We need to talk.”

“Aw bollocks. I’ll get a coffee after all.”

Callie dropped into her seat by the radio while Monroe poured two cups of Coffee.

“This is Haven did you say Eden Valley?”

“Rodger. My name is Jane Meadows I’m the leader here. Who am I speaking to?”

“I’m Callie Winters and I’m with Jonathan Monroe.”

“Are you in charge?”

Callie looked at Monroe who shrugged.

“I guess... I mean we’ve been here the longest.”

“Well I understand we might have had a bit of a misunderstanding...”



Monroe was in awe, somehow Callie had had tuned Jane Meadows from a mysterious voice on the radio into a what any passerby would assume as a life-long friend. It was a power Callie had that Monroe just didn’t possess. He called it witchcraft, Callie called it basic social skills.

“So the problem seems to be this wandering band of psychos, you say your runn... sorry, Scav said they asked Tim about Haven before shooting him?” Jane concluded.

“Yeah our Scav saw the whole thing.” Callie was being careful not use any real names as, while she was getting on with Jane Meadows, the fact remained she was just a voice on the radio. For all she knew she could be talking to the very person that had killed the Caravaner runner.

“What do you say to a joint investigation? Maybe we can track these people down?”

“Your runners and our Scavs?” Callie repeated to buy time so she could look at Monroe who nodded and shrugged at the same time a gesture Callie took to mean “I’m ok, if you’re ok.”

“Alright we’re game.”

“We’ll send two runners to you. One of them will be the same one your runners met earlier so you’ll know it’s us. I’ll send them on Monday.”

“Alright Jane it’s been real nice talking.” Callie said as she hunched over the table and let her tone drop. “I gotta warn you though don’t try to fuck us Jane, don’t you ever try to fuck us. So long as we both keep that in mind, everybody will stay happy.”

“Sure thing Callie, we just want to get these assholes out of our area. I’ll send our runners with another freq so you guys can have a more secure line to us.”

“Great can’t wait to work together.” Callie said, her tone bright and cheery again.

She ended the conversation and turned to Monroe.

“So whadda you think?”

“ ‘Don’t ever try to fuck us?’ I didn’t have you pegged as a Scarface fan.”

“A Uni boyfriend loved it, I must have seen ten times. I couldn’t think of anything intimidating to say!”

“Clearly. We should get a notice up.”



Monroe took a swing from his coffee and eyed the battered pair standing in front of him. He’d seen it before, the thousand yard stare. Tilo and Toby had clearly been through the wringer. They delivered their report and Callie made no attempt to interrupt.

Once they concluded their harrowing tale silence fell on the room.

“I’m sure he was glad of the company in his final moments. At least you were able to give the dignity of not turning.” Callie said finally.

“Aye and good work securing those supplies. They’ll come in handy.”

Tilo handed over the wallet "I um...want to go on that one, and tell them personally."

“Of course Tilo, you’ll get first refusal. It might be a good idea to explain what happened and the family will probably appreciate this.” Callie said as she accepted the wallet from the sad eyed man. She’d heard his story and couldn’t begin to imagine the pain over his missing family.


Sunday, November 3rd, 2013.


'Fuck you Monroe, I had to get tampons,' Laney snapped. The soldier's jaw dropped, his eyes bulged. The vein throbbed double-time. In the end, he muttered 'You deal with this'.

“You owe me a fucking Radio, X-factor.” Monroe growled before turning on his heel and leaving.

Callie sighed before turning to Laney. “He’s right you know that was pretty reckless. You should have told me. I’d have sorted it. What if the walkie thing hadn’t worked? We would have had to send someone out to get you, endangering them. That’s why Monroe’s pissed, don’t take it personal. He wants us to be a bit more Girls Aloud and a bit less Mariah Carey...” Callie said with a smile hoping the joke would help break the tension.

Delaney looked at the floor and reminded Callie of one of her students. Some responded to yelling while others responded to the “I’m not angry just disappointed” routine. Callie patted her on the back and took the mooncup.

“Thanks and chin up. I’ll handle Monroe, his bark is worse than his bite.”



Monroe was seething and walked outside to get some fresh air. Discipline was sorely lacking in Haven but he was working with Civilians, what did he expect? It’s not like he could beast them, He supposed that’s why he had Callie. It was her job to do the people stuff, it was his job to do the zombie stuff.

He took a deep breath and tried to regain a sense of calm.

“You ok?” It was Gary.

“Yeah sure.” Monroe said although he wasn’t ok. He turned to look at Gary. “Piece of advice though, Never work with children, animals or people you have been on top of the pops.”

“I’m pretty sure Top of Pops got cancelled, like a couple of decades ago.” Gary offered.

Monroe shook his head and trudged off through the snow. For some reason he found himself looking at the wall he and Mark had built together that kept the farm secure. It was obvious to him the bits he’d built at the start compared to the bits he’d built later. His ability was getting better with practice. A few weeks ago he couldn’t mend a chair but now he was building Chicken Coops. This resulted in one of the few epiphanies Jonathan Monroe would experience in his life. The last one had occurred in 2004 in a bar in a the Philippines when he realised few women have Adam’s apples and fewer still have a five O’clock shadow to rival his own.

Unlike the epiphany of ’04 this was a happy one.

He left the wall to go see Mark who was asleep in one of the converted outer buildings. The Farmhouse was starting to get a little cramped.

“Wakey, wakey hands off snakey!” Monroe cried as he stuck his head round the door.

“Aw Christ Monroe, what is it now? I was on guard last night. I’m knackered.”

“I know you were. Problem is X-Factor got out past you and near got her face chewed off by some Zeke down in Cromwell.”

“Oh shit is she alright?”

“She’s fine. My radio is another story...” He mumbled but quickly moved on. “Point is I want you to know this situation has led me to a conclusion. Youse uns don’t know the first goddamn thing about Soldiering. How would you? It’s my fault and I’m gonna fix it. 1500 hours today in front of farmhouse, I’m going to be taking a little class. Pass it on.”

Then Monroe was gone leaving Mark huddled in his sleeping bag. “When the hell is 1500 hrs?” He wondered.



Monroe looked at the assorted faces assembled in front of him. Gary, Mark, The Doc and some of the Scavs had come to listen to his little presentation.

“Right ladies and gentlemen I know its cold but this important. Today I’m gonna teach you all a little bit about what I know. What I know is soldiering. Today everyone is going to become competent in three things, weapons handling, fire and movement and orientating. We don’t have a lot of ammo to spare so all the drills are gonna be dry.”

After this Monroe went into his spiel about the various weapons available in the armoury, even weapons the Scavs didn’t usually get to use. They covered the use of the Webley revolver (Monroe’s prized possession), the Harrys, how to work a hunting rifle scope as well as reload and maintenance drills for all weapons. He then explained the basics of fire and movement which for their purposes basically amounted to covering retreats. He explained these in the context of a gun battle but explained the same principals could be used to create distance between a small team and a horde of the undead.

“It’s pretty much like leap frog, while someone is moving someone else is firing. You just keep leap frogging until you extricate yourself from a situation. The trick is you need to trust your team, it all falls apart if you break rank. Nobody never won nothing on their own.” He glanced at Laney and smiled. It was as close as Monroe could get to extending an olive branch.

“What about Olympic sprinters?” Callie called from the rear of the group. “Far as I can tell they do that all alone.” She had enjoyed learning more about the weapons and the skills Monroe had taught. It had been a fun day and a way for the group to let their hair down while taking part in exercises.

“You know what I mean.” Monroe moaned with a smile on his face.

Finally he moved on to basic orienteering skills like how to work a compass, how to read a map, what a contour line is and how to orienteer one’s self using the sun and stars.

“Right so that’s enough for one day. If any of you have any questions I can help with I’d be happy to. I’ll be holding these little classes every week and they’ll get more advanced as we go. I know Doc Short wants to give you all a brief about basic first aid tomorrow, it’s always good to know what bit goes where. If anyone else would like to step up and teach us a little something about what you know that would probably be worthwhile too. Now though I think it’s time for dinner.”

“Yep, it’s Omelettes tonight.” Callie said with smile but the news was met with a groan, the egg based cuisine was getting old.

“Poached eggs then...” She said hopefully.



The farmhouse was quiet as everyone had taken themselves off to whatever nook or cranny they’d claimed as their own. Callie and Monroe were in the kitchen going over the jobs they’d post the following day.

“So Monroe was the school thing today your attempt to make peace?”

“No, idea what you’re talking about. I’m just helping out the only way I know how, and my way is educating feckers.” Monroe said deflecting her question. “It was a bit of Craic though.”

A silence passed between them and Callie sighed. She had gossip and had to tell someone, it was bad habit she’d picked up in the staff room. Monroe wasn’t perfect but would have to do, it was too good not to.

“Soooo have you heard the gossip?” She said in the least nonchalant way possible.

“I don’t really do gossip.” He said without looking up from his map.

“Everyone does gossip Monroe, it’s what separates us from the animals. The gossip is, right, you know Laney and Ben...” Callie raised her eyebrows what cocked her head to the side. “You know.”

“What X-factor and the Kid who looks like Scooby-Doo’s stoner mate.”

“Ben doesn’t look like Shaggy.”

“Shaggy! Thank you that’s been on the tip of my tongue since I met the guy.” Monroe cried with satisfaction. “Anyway what about them?”

“They’re... Boom chicka wow wow.” Callie sang with a smile on her face.

“What even is that... are you saying they’re bumping uglies?”

“Well no I think they’ve just kissed but you know... it’s adorable.”

“Shaggy took his time, that’s for sure, he was following her around like a wee love sick puppy. Scrappy doo.” Monroe said with a glint in his eye.

“Oh be nice. It’s cute.”

“Yeah, well just look at Mark and Kim. These days it’s best to keep feelings like that at arm’s length.”
Callie was silent for a moment. “Jesus, Monroe I can see why you don’t do gossip, you depress the hell outta everyone. What’s on the to do this week?”

“Well we got the date the Caravaners so we’ll need to send three on that and I’ve got an idea for the Solar panels but we’ll need supplies.”

“Ok Rishi said he needed some help with things, so he’ll be taking two as well. He’ll write his own briefs though.”

“Bloody right he will. Looks like our dance card is all full up so lets get these things written up.”

They sat down and began writing their briefing packs, abruptly Monroe stopped writing.

“Aww no...” “

“What?” Callie asked suddenly concerned.

“I was just thinking about X-factor and Shaggy.”


“Tilo’s gonna be crushed.” Monroe said while shaking his head.

Cassie face palmed and let out a long moan. “Never in my life have I met someone so rubbish at gossip. You don’t even try to pay attention do you?”

Monroe tutted and returned to his briefing.


Monday November 4th, 2013.


Getting to Know You.

Suggested Number of Scavs- 3 (plus 2 Caravaner runners.)

Area- Netherland Wood, around Eden Camp Site and Haven Farm.

Objective- Work with the Caravaner runners to learn more about the Gang of Five currently in the area.

Special Equipment- Scoped bolt action Hunting rifle with twenty rounds.

Information- We’ve made some friends, which is nice. They’re from Eden Valley Camp Site which is where the Caravaners call home. It looks like there was a lot of confusion on their end about our involvement in the death of one of their runners called Tim (The call their Scavs, Runners weird right?) It’s all been cleared up now though and we’ve been in touch with their leadership via radio.

Anyway we’ve decided the best course of action is to go on a joint mission to see if we can’t learn more about the Gang of Five. The two Runners you’ll be going out with are called Samantha and Jake. Jake is the guy who helped out Laney and Ben while they were picking up ‘Atomic Chicken’. From what they said he seems pretty cool, we have no information on Sam.

Their leader has suggested they have some information relating to the location of the gang but we’ll see how that goes. Monroe has issued the use of scoped rifles for this mission, hopefully you were paying attention during his class.



Suggested Number of Scavs- 2

Area- Cromwell, Gill Mechanics.

Objective- Retrieve a flatbed truck and stash it.

Special Equipment- Bicycles.

Information- Right our resident Tech Geek Gary seems to think he can jury rig up a couple of solar panels to give Haven some electricity. This is vital as the nights get longer. We need to start using rechargeable batteries and quite depending on the generator anytime we need some juice, petrol is scarce enough.

Gary, Hoppy and Chip went on a mission out to Silent Valley and scoped out the solar panels problem is they are a pain in the arse to carry especially when you got a couple of Zombs on your back. Not to mention we’d need to make several return trips even if everyone in Haven was helping.

So we need a vehicle and a big one at that to accommodate the panels.

As luck would have it there should be a flatbed truck in Gill Mechanics in Cromwell at least there was when Kim was last out that way. They mainly do agricultural machinery so even if the Flatbed is gone you might be able to find something capable of carrying the panels. All you gotta do is get to the mechanics, get an appropriate vehicle and stash it somewhere that’s not at the front door but close enough we can get to it easily. Beauty part is the mechanics should have the keys so you don’t even need to hotwire it or anything.

Once you get the Truck stashed we’ll work on a plan to retrieve the panels. You may as well take the recovered bikes and throw them in the back of the flatbed once you get it.


1 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rishi Sharma
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Sunday November 2nd, 2013



There was a knocking at the door to Rishi’s room, which went unanswered. There was work to be done, and there was to be no distractions. The knocking continued, and their calls remained unheeded, Dr. Sharma busy scribbling his latest formula on the walls. He ran out of paper, and found it unnecessary to go find more when there was a readily available surface on which to write. After all, time was of the essence.

“Rishi, its Gary. Can I come in or what?”

Distraction. Ignore.

“I’m coming in.” Gary said plainly, cracking the door open. What he saw when he walked through the door sent his alarms blaring.

“I’m busy damn it!” Rishi turned and shouted at Gary, who was wide eyed and had his jaw dropped. Dr. Sharma shook his head, clearly annoyed that somebody was in the room with him, as he continued writing. Gary stood there in shock for a few more seconds, as he looked around the room. The furniture was all moved to the center of the room and stacked irregularly on top of each other. The couches had their stuffing torn out of them, and there was what looked like a poorly stitched, human sized dog bed lying beside the stack of furniture, complete with a poorly stitched comforter blanked and pillow. The thing that caught Gary’s attention the most was the writing. It covered all the walls, parts of the floor, which had its carpet ripped out in places, and somehow there was even writing on the ceiling.


Gary snapped out of it and walked towards Dr. Sharma, hesitantly.

“Rishi, what the hell is all this?”

Without so much as batting an eyelash, Dr. Sharma replied in a shaky but direct tone, not bothering to turn his head.

“What does it look like? You’re a man of knowledge, of ability. You tell me.” Gary looked around, recognizing many of the symbols and formulae that was written, but was more concerned with Dr. Sharma’s current mental health. He took a few steps closer.

“It looks to me like you were working on quite a few things. I see something about solar cells in that corner, which is what I’m here to talk to you about. Uhh…When was the last time you left this room?”

Dr. Sharma stopped dead. He was so busy…when was the last time he ate? It must have been a handful of sleep cycles ago. That might be why his lips were cracking too. Involuntary shaking, light pressure in the forehead…he was dehydrated. His performance would suffer if he didn’t eat. It was a good thing Gary came in when he did, there might have been a flaw that would have crept past Dr. Sharma’s eyes and made it onto the wall.

“I can’t remember. You said you were here to talk about solar cells?”

“Yeah. I think I can put something together to power Haven. I remember you mentioning something a while back about knowing how to work with computers and figured I could use a hand with the setup. I mean…if you’re not… busy…” Gary’s voice trailed off, unsure of what else he could say. Everybody else’s knowledge about how computers worked was limited to how to Tweet and Facebook. Monroe was a completely different story, but Gary remembered just recently that the Indian guy said he knew his way around a keyboard. Even though he kept to himself, it would be nice to have somebody helping him who wasn’t a complete newbie when it came to coding.

Dr. Sharma dropped his arm to his side and walked hastily past Gary, through the door, down the hall, and down the stairs without saying a word.


Soon after Gary turned around to walk to the door, Dr. Sharma appeared, racing back up the stairs with a glass of water and a bowl of food. He walked past Gary again, towards the pile of furniture, and put the water and food on the table. The chair directly above him was taken down and set aside, and another chair that was beside the first made its way in front of the meal.

“Have a seat.” Rishi said as he followed his own advice, sitting in front of the food. Gary turned slowly, a look of ‘what the hell’ plastered all over his face. “Or stand, I don’t care. What do you want from me?” Dr. Sharma stated matter-of-factly while he took a sip of the water.

“Well, like I said, I need somebody who knows how to use a computer. You know anything about—”

“C+? C++? JavaScript? GNU? I know how to use quite a number of Basic and Esoteric programming languages. I can fluently speak twenty-four languages, and twenty-two of them are computer languages. I designed several of them myself. Microsoft was quite livid with me when I introduced RX Plus. But it was all for nothing!”

“You…Wait, what the hell? You can speak twenty-two languages? Fluently?” Gary’s jaw hung slack once again. Dr. Sharma continued to munch on the slop in the bowl, his cheeks stuffed to the point where he looked like a cartoonish chipmunk. Gary shook his head a little, clearing his stunned expression. “Alright, I’m going to pretend you just told me you know how to do what needs to be done.”



“I said twenty-four. You’re a specialist, aren’t you? Whatever. Listen, I’ve been dealing with some problems. I’ve been trying to come to terms with some things.”

“I’m no shrink, I just work here.”

“Clearly.” Dr. Sharma said whilst chewing. After he swallowed that mouthful of food, he set down his utensil and turned to face Gary. “I’ve had some time to think. Too much time, I think, to think. I’ve been dwelling on what happened during the outbreak. My students, they all had so much potential, and now they are…regressed. I think I have spent too much time in here, thinking. Just thinking. I need to be doing some doing. Follow me?”


“I need to deal with my thoughts in a more constructive manner. I haven’t had any contact with people from the point I arrived, to the point you knocked on my door. Keeping to myself in this room, mumbling half-hearted answers through the door to alert people I’m not a walking corpse. I feel like I have been a corpse for these past couple of months.”

“So you’re going to help me?”

“Yes yes. But I need some assistance of my own.” Gary looked around the room.

“I told you, I am not a psychiatrist. Whatever you have going on in here is beyond me, and quite frankly it’s giving me the willies.”

“For a learned man, you sure are slow. I’m quite alright in the head, I assure you. I need a living specimen for study! I can’t go near them myself, but if you can round up a few of them for me that would be wonderful.”

“Hold on, I think you are talking to the wrong person here. I’m not one of the Scav’s, that’s their business.”

“The who now?”

“Right. I guess you’ve missed out on a few things. You should probably talk to Callie or Monroe, they’ll be able to fill you in. I’ll come back when I need you.” Gary left the room far quicker than he entered, closing the door behind him.



November 4th, 2013.


Rishi raced to the kitchen to post his ‘job’ on the mission board. It was quite nice how they had things set up. It took some time to process all the information, about everything Callie and Monroe put together, and the tales of the Scavs and their missions. Quite nice. Dr. Sharma hadn’t managed to work up the courage to begin conversing with anybody spare Gary, Callie, and Monroe, and figured his ‘job’ would be a good enough first introduction. He would meet everybody eventually, but he needed to do some ‘scheming’ as his colleagues called it. He would introduce his presence to the Scavs that brought back his little project first, and then he would expand his social network from there. Yes, the job board would do for the time being.

After pinning his message to the board, he snuck back to his room, and began scrawling on the new stack of paper Callie had given him. Hopefully there weren’t too many protests. He didn’t exactly tell anybody what he was up to.


Bring Zack Back.

Suggested Number of Scavs- 2

Area- Anywhere.

Objective- Find a reanimated corpse and bring it back to the southern outbuilding.

Information- First off, I would like to introduce myself. I am Dr. Rishi Sharma, and I have been the crazy Indian man in the upstairs sitting room making all the strange noises, I’m sure you’ve heard at one point or another. Next, I would like to state that I was instructed by Ms. Winters that I was to be creative with the job title. Blame her.

The mission is quite simple, really. Find a corpse, preferably the kind that is trying to eat you, and bring it back to the empty building to the south. As you can imagine, there is an abundance of corpses shuffling around basically everywhere, but there are a few requirements that need to be met. The subject must have full locomotion in their legs, and arms (which must be attached to the main body), they must be relatively damage free (no missing eyes, jaw still attached, preferably little to no deep wounds, though flesh wounds are alright), and lastly, they must be mostly free of decay. Signs of decay include mould, cataracts, and excessive bloating. The fresher the specimen, the better.

The method in which you capture the specimen I will leave to you, but please refrain from damaging the corpse as much as possible. They are very fragile. I would advise the use of some strong rope and a sturdy pole. Duct tape and magazines are a couple other tools you may find useful to avoid direct contact with the subject. I will be waiting in the southern building by the time you get back, and should have a device prepared to hold the specimen. I look forward to meeting you in person, so please, don’t get eaten. And don't bring back more than one, we don't want to be overrun.


4 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Callie Winters Character Portrait: Benjamin Kinney Character Portrait: Jonathan Monroe Character Portrait: Erin Hooper
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#, as written by Messiah

Collaboration with Rann

November 5th, 2013

Part One: Introductions


Ben watched Laney exit to the farmhouse. The encounter had left him a little... empty. Ever the optimist, he was hoping she would have said something a little more positive. But, he knew what she meant. One or both of them could be dead by this time tomorrow. Nothing was certain, but, if you asked him, that was an argument for taking a chance. He sighed, turning back to the job board.

The crunching of snow from behind him alerted to the presence of someone else approaching. Hoping and half-expecting it to be Laney again, he turned around to see that it wasn't. It was a different girl - perhaps the most unique-looking out of any of them, particularly with that red hair. Silently, he wondered if she was able to keep it that color since the start of this whole thing. Surely, hair dye wasn't a common thing. Then again, it's not like it's very valuable anymore. If people had it before, they still probably had it sitting around in their house.

"Caravanners or a truck. Truck seems easy enough, right?" he asked, partly to himself. Then he added quietly, "I hope."

"I'm going to get the truck. You want to come?" It was blunt, but he wasn't the type to beat around the bush. At least, not mostly.

"Eye-ah" The girl, Hoppy, said cheerfully, in greeting. "Don't mind knockin' about wit' ya." Silently, she added that finishing with the power business would help give her closure to the whole Chip being dead thing. She had jumped into the room where he had slept just this morning, so the reality of it still hasn't completely sunk in just yet. That's not no business of Ben, here, though, and chances are that he wouldn't see past the Stepford smile. "Just get in, nab the truck, get the 'ell out, easy quickie."

"Time to check in with administration. I'll be back."

He returned to the farmhouse and to where Callie and Monroe were situated. They both gave him funny looks as he approached. Hers was more of a look you got when a mom learned of her son's first girlfriend, and his was a little more scrutinizing. He could just imagine it: 'What the hell are you doing, kid?' Monroe would say. And then they would argue, inevitably leading to one of them storming out of there in anger.

Thankfully, none of that happened.

But, she'd probably already told him. Great. With an eyeroll, he set down the notice for the job down onto the table in front of them, not bothering to say anything.

"The bikes are around the corner," Monroe announced.

"Bikes? What good are bikes going to do in the snow? They're just regular bikes, right? We're going to end up wheeling them along, or leaving them somewhere after we get stuck."

Typical city boy, right? The only time he rode a bike was when it was on a city street - a clear city street, at that.

"Fine. Don't take the bikes if you don't want," Monroe snapped back impatiently. He was always impatient, or he seemed that way, anyway.

Ben exited the farmhouse to find the girl lounging against the board, waiting for him. "Ready to go?"

Hoppy nodded, flashing her signature grin, and a peace sign. "Aye-aye" She had already gotten her cleaver, just in case things went down badly like it did on her last job. Still, and this was pretty unusual for her; she had one of the Harry's slung over her shoulder. She still didn't want to use it, of course, but like Chip had shown her, you never know when it may be needed. Being afraid of it wouldn't help none, 'specially after attending that class by Monroe. She knew the basics on how to use it, it's just, the noise. The goddamned noise. "Its main purpose is the dignity of not turning, if there's no other way out of a rut," Monroe had said during the class. "And it leaves one less bastard to deal with later." She'd wanted to die with a bunch of people she loved, though, not with half her face blown off. Not that she brought it up during the class at all.

She had a request, though, to get things clear before heading out. Her awesome hair dye was fading, and that was a crisis, if there was any. She saw the brown roots not too long ago while examining herself in a mirror... so she had to ask. No point stayin' quiet 'bout that, at the very least. She just didn't feel... right, if that mattered in this world. She didn't feel right, and at the moment, Hoppy really wanted to have as many things going for her as possible. and having obnoxiously red hair was like having moral support, or something.

"C'n we make a small bit of a side route?" Hoppy asked the American casually, hands still buried in the wide front pocket of her hoodie."Fancyin' more red dye. Oh, and, m'name's Hoppy." She stuck her hand out to greet the American, since this was probably their first ever conversation.

"Ben." He put his own hand out, shaking hers in return. "You don't really need the dye, do you?" Ben murmured, but shrugged, and the girl took that as permission to raid the salon in Cromwell before getting the truck for their job.

With a bit of a hop and a skip, as well as a flash of a snide smirk, Hoppy left the farmhouse first, anxious to get things over with as soon as possible, rubbing the handle of her cleaver as she walked, and shuddering slightly as the cold wind hit her straight on. It was crisp, and uncomfortable, but at the very least it lightened the air, making for easier breathing. With a dark murmur, "Least it in't pelting."

It took him a second to realize what she'd said. Her accent was different than any of the others'. Quite a bit different, actually. "Yeah. Still cold as shit," he complained, pulling his jacket over himself with an annoyed grunt. This weather was making it difficult to stay positive. It wasn't that he didn't like winter, but the cold got to him, and this was colder and snowier than he was used to back in Seattle. Having a city close to bodies of water kept the climate rather temperate. It didn't normally get too hot in the summer and it didn't get too cold in the winter.

Still, despite his less-than-positive attitude, after a while in silence, he decided to try and make conversation.

"So, where are you from?"

"Wales." She explained easily.

"Oh yeah? That explains the accent. Not really an expert on the subject," he shrugged. She seemed pleasant enough, but at the same time, it was kind of off-putting. The world had gone to shit and here she was, acting a bit like it hadn't. Unless...

Then he remembered, Chip had gone out once and brought her back. But, he wasn't around anymore, so that meant...

"I'm sorry about Chip. I didn't really know the guy, but he seemed like he was a good one." It was awkward and it was a downer, but he really felt for her - losing someone that she cared about a lot in this world, maybe her only real friend anymore. At the same time, he considered her lucky in some respects. Lucky in that she knew what had happened to him. But, Ben... he would probably never find out what happened to the people from the old world that he loved - not unless there was an afterlife and he got to see them there. And he never really was a staunch believer in God or Heaven. If anything, this... apocalypse... it made him doubt the existence of such things even more. Certainly, many prayers had gone unanswered in the last few months, and the ones who did pray, it didn't do anything for them. The only thing he could be sure of anymore was his own actions. Nothing more.

"Mmm." She said absently, now purposely looking away from the American. Everyone seemed to bother her about Chip, and she really didn't want to get into it. It was easier to just pretend that everything was okay; that she was mostly getting along happily. So in typical Hoppy fashion, she decided to pull the subject onto Ben. "How's it gone fer you, Ben? Bein' away from ev'ryone you know and such."

"It sucks," he said flatly. "I have nobody to look for. I had nobody with me when everything went to shit. Pretty much everyone I've run into is either looking for someone or had someone they were with." Angrily, he sighed, "And you know the worst part? I know that I'm probably never going to know what happened to all of them. They could be alive. They could be dead. They could be undead. I have no idea," He threw up his arms in exasperated defeat, turning his head away from her to keep her from seeing the tears that had begun to well up in his eyes.

He wiped at his eyes before turning his head back to her, "Sorry. I just-- It's hard." His voice then went quiet, "You know, sometimes, I think that maybe I'll get to see them again after we're all dead, and I think that maybe if I... end it, that I'll get to see them sooner." Again, he turned his head away, shamed over his admission, "But, then I think... that's not what they would want. They'd want me to keep fighting for as long as I could. So, I keep fighting. I don't give up."

Why had he just told her all of that? He barely knew her. She'd only just given him her name earlier that morning. Maybe he really was desperate to get that off of his chest.

She didn't really know what kind of response to expect from Ben, but in hindsight, she supposed she was kind of an idiot to spring it on him and expect anything good. Everyone was missing people, but for Ben, it was probably even worse than anyone else. He'd have to fight and eventually die over here in Haven, unless somehow society fixed itself and he could go back to America. She made a little frown at his words- was this suicidal ideation? It couldn't be, right, or else he'd already be gone. Still, it was troubling and she didn't entirely know how to deal with it. Thinking quickly, the girl bumped his shoulder, forcing a wider grin. It'd be better to try and keep this easy, and not bring up the super emotional topics. That was her mistake.

"Eye-ah, c'mon, mun" She smirked. "You 'oughta stick around- there're rumors, y'hear, you and Laney..."

Hoppy giggled a little bit, a tiny blush showing on her cheeks. "They're true, right? Wherever the 'ell your family and friends are, imagine when you tell 'em 'bout the little baby Bens you made!"

With a grunt, he rolled his eyes, but he couldn't help but laugh a little bit at that, "I guess it was stupid of me to think that people would keep something like that quiet, right? There's really no point in denying it, so, yeah. We kissed. It's true." And then he raised his eyebrows,"I don't know about that. Let's not get ahead of ourselves, but..." he sighed, this time, a little calmer, "But, maybe I have another reason to stick it out, now. Another reason to come back."

Just as long as she kept the dumb excursions to a minimum, anyway, he thought.

At Ben's blatant admission, she giggled nervously. He was meant to squirm uncomfortably, but he wore it proudly, that they had kissed. The fact that romance even bloomed in a hell like this, it was almost like a beacon of hope for some of the scavs. It was like an idealistic hint that not everything is completely gone, that one day things might go back to how they were meant to be. And it seemed Ben was successfully talked out of the possibility of suicide, if he even considered it, it seemed the diversion was a success. Hoppy mentally pumped her fist, and unconsciously developed more of a bounce in her step.

"And, oy mun." She laughed again. "They cun, you know, use guns o'er there, amirite?" She paused a little, trying to work it out in her head without sounding like a ridiculous twyp. While she wanted to appear generally happy and totally okay, there was a limit before it got obnoxious. "Prob'ly awready dealt with the whole thing over there, and are workin' on gettin' society back up."

"Could be. Let's hope they send reinforcements over here soon. I want to get the fuck out." He adjusted the weight of his backpack a little bit, "But, if anyone can keep them safe, it's Chris," he mumbled. He turned to look back at Hoppy, "You remind me a little bit of my sister."

"Then she be'er be tidy splendid like me." The girl smirked at Ben, lightheartedly, and suddenly feeling even more than when first taking it, the change in weight she still needed to get used to. The stupid sawed off shotgun was messing up her stride, since most of the time she just went with the cleaver. And she knew if things, somehow went bad, she wouldn't be able to run as fast as she was used to; obviously something to worry about. Making a bit of an uncomfortable frown, she shifted the Harry a bit, before making a brief but sure scowl. "Stupid. It's just a run 'n grab job anyways, 'innit a bit thick to bring it?"

"You never know what you're going to run into. Hordes. Gangs. Can never be too careful these days. One thing I've learned is that there's no such thing as simple. Not anymore." As much as he would like to believe that this would be a simple run and grab, he knew that the likelihood was much less than the likelihood of shit going bad.

"I s'pose." The girl looked a little miffed, but she accepted the answer, because it was most definitely true. She still didn't want to tote around the heavy Harry, though. It was an almost pointless hassle, because she was pretty sure she could outrun all but the fastest Zeds. "If there weren't no snow... biking this'd be easier." She mumbled to herself, disgruntled.

Part Two: Cromwell


It didn't take much longer until Cromwell was in view. Ben stopped, surveying the area. It was quiet, but he knew that was a deception. Somewhere underneath this peaceful place was a powderkeg about to explode. This is where Kim had been bitten. This is where Laney had nearly gotten herself killed. This was not a good place to be. At the very least, he hoped that the snow would slow any adversaries down at least as much as they did Hoppy and himself.

"Let's be quick. I don't want to be here any longer than I have to be." This probably wasn't the best time or place to be looking for hair dye, but he had doubts as to whether he could persuade her to give up the task. Besides, people still had to hold onto some of the things from the old world, or risk becoming something other than human, "I think the store's on the west side of town. Get in, get out, and I'll keep watch from outside. Gill Mechanics is on the north side of town, it looks like."

"That's posh." She murmured and after peering at Ben a little, she tried the front door to the hair salon, finding it locked. She made another scowl before smashing the glass window with her cleaver, raising her arm gingerly to shield her eyes from any of the flying glass shards. Once that was cleared, the girl hopped over the sill and quickly tried to navigate herself around the place. The lobby looked pretty gruesome, for certain, dreary and abandoned, with faded peeling posters on the walls and one of the seats were stained with what looked like old blood. If the door was locked, Hoppy wondered, how could there have been blood? Deciding not to think too hard about it, she moved past the lobby into a lightless corridor.

She clicked her tongue distastefully, and with a minor shrug, turned her flashlight on. It was weird how creepy things were when you could only see a little bit of it at a time, the small light patch swamped by darkness, but there it was. She needed the dye, in any case, and was willing to search the whole frickin' place to get it. Not like anything would decide to just jump out at them, right? And, sure enough, she eventually found herself in one of the unlocked rooms where the actual styling was done, seeing a few bottles scattered on the floor, as well as a plugged in hair straightener. Looking at it made her feel more than a little wistful, because her poofy mop of hair wouldn't flatten no matter how much she brushed it. Sure, it was a trivial thing, but she still wanted to at least feel like she looked nice. Was that too much to ask for in this sort of world? Probably, she thought, probably. But it didn't matter, since all she had to do was find where the dye was stashed.

Accidentally cutting her finger while trying to reach into a cabinet on some remnant glass, Hoppy shone her flashlight into it and found exactly what she was looking for- about two bottles worth, maybe enough to last her a couple months. Hoppy hastily shoved it into her pocket. Smirking victoriously, she sucked the blood off her finger while faintly hearing a familiar and terrifying moaning noise. A zed, somewhere in here. She knew better than to fight it though; it was dark and she couldn't see a damn thing. Panicked, but almost silently, she made her way out, and ran to catch up to Ben, waving at him.

"Got the loot!" She cheered brightly. "Just in time, there perhaps be a Zed followin' us now jest."

It seemed like he'd been out there forever. Every little noise got him on edge, and when she re-emerged, it was all he could do to avoid breathing a sigh of relief, "Right. Okay. Just keep an eye out for it, then. We should get going." If he seemed a little antsy - a little on edge, it's because he was, "I don't like this place," he mumbled, mostly to himself, "I don't want to be here any longer than I have to," he repeated, making his way north towards Gill Mechanics.

Gill Mechanics wasn't far; Cromwell wasn't a very big town. The trek was eerily quiet, especially for what he knew was lurking in the shadows. He just hoped they could get in and out before attracting too much attention.

A short time later, they came upon the building for Gill Mechanics. He approached the door and pulled on it, to no avail; it was locked. Turning to look at Hoppy, he held his hand out, "Stand back." Once she had, he took the sawed-off and slammed it into the glass on the door, shattering it. Slowly, he reached inside, unlocking the door before pulling it open, "I'm going to take a look. Keep an eye out, okay? Let me know if you notice something."

"Ben?" Hoppy asked him, almost jittery, nervously. "That zed earlier, I reckon it's got friends, so, er, let's hurry it up. And you weren't quiet when breakin' the glass.." She heard the defininte growling moans, and clutched her Harry in a hard sweaty grip. This was lookin' more and more like a repeat of the Silent Valley mission... she didn't want to see someone else end up dead because of her.

It didn't look like anybody had really been in this place since the outbreak. The windows weren't barred, and there was nothing on the walls that indicated anything; no blood, no bullet holes, nothing. There was a clerk's desk in front of him and, to his side and behind him were waiting room chairs.

With windows unbarred, there was light enough for him to see around the room. Behind the clerk's desk, he saw a door that perhaps led into a garage. And that's where he decided he would go. First peering over the counter for any hiding monsters, he hopped over the counter after discovering that there were none.

Luckily, the door to the garage hadn't been locked - though he couldn't figure out why the front door was and the garage wasn't. Once the door opened, he took a cautious look around. The truck was there, but slumped against it was a body. It looked either dead or undead, he couldn't be sure. That was until he saw its arm move ever so slightly. Unhitching his hatchet, he walked cautiously towards it, raising the weapon up. Before it could react, he brought the hatchet down into the top of its skull and pulled it out, causing the body to slump down even further.

The garage had one of those metal corrugated doors that you could slide up, and whatever was inside could drive out. He approached it, put his hands underneath the bottom of it and began to lift, as slow and careful as he could. Thankfully, it wasn't too heavy.

Part Three: Separated

As he lifted the door up, he could've swore he heard a whistle. He stopped, listening for the noise again. When he didn't hear it again, he continued to pull the door up. Once it was at the top of the track, he exited the garage and rounded the corner where he saw Hoppy waiting.

"Psst. Over here," he called as quietly as he could while still getting her attention. He ushered her into the garage and towards the truck, "Can you drive?"

"I'm a bad job at it," she responded.

"It doesn't matter. We need to go," he whispered, turning around at the sound of the moaning and groaning of the undead. They were starting to emerge from their hidey-holes, and there were a lot of them. A lot.

As Hoppy was trying to start the vehicle, Ben had gone to the entrance and was looking out. More and more of the things were gathering and they had seen the pair and were ambling towards them.

"Shit," he muttered and then called to Hoppy, "Get it going!"

"Aye, I- it i'nt working!!" she cried out, frantically turning the key over in the ignition again and again.

"Give it some gas!"

She did and the engine roared to life. Once it had, she brought it forward and out into town, leaving Ben some fifty feet behind it. The truck had gathered the attention of most of the horde and they were now stumbling in that direction. Now the horde was directly in between Ben and the truck.

"Go!" he called to Hoppy in the truck, "I'll meet you back at Haven!" There was no real time to argue. If she did, the truck would be surrounded and she would have a difficult time getting out, very possibly leaving her trapped with no way out, aside from, well, the shotgun.

With a dark sense of dread, Hoppy nodded and left Ben behind, to fend for himself. "I'll come back fer you." She muttered angrily, thumping the wheel. "Fuck, I will. Laney's waitin' fer you too." The girl gulped unsteadily as she kept driving, seeing Ben's figure get smaller and smaller in the distance until she couldn't distinguish him from any of the zeds that were now swarming. Who knows where they'd come from, maybe even from the damned detour she basically forced upon him. That had wasted time, and obviously attracted a few of the zeds in the beginning. Not as if she could go back for him now, though, and she narrowed her eyes, finally letting down the mask, with no one to see.

Once again, someone's been lost, and it's her fault. She killed yet another person. She hadn't meant to, of course not, but that's just how it worked. Hoppy mentally cursed herself even more, and her mood continued to spiral darker and darker as she frantically hunted for a safe place to hide the truck. First it was Chip, her stupid attempt to make a diversion ended with him taking the aggro and killing himself. And now, she abandoned the American because of her need for some useless red hair dye.

She was just a burden, after all; something to bring the whole community even farther down. And Hoppy began to hate herself for it. She finally found a place near the outskirts of Cromwell, after breaking into a house and forcing open the garage, she wheeled the truck into it clumsily, and closed the garage door. So no loners could find it, and steal it away for themselves. What would she do now? Go back for Ben? Or just give up, and not even-

No. Just giving up wouldn't solve a thing. If she did, it'd be the same as simple suicide, and Hoppy knew pretty well that there was no way she'd just throw away her life like this, when she still had yet to find out if her father or Laura had survived the outbreak at all. She wouldn't let herself die before then.... so she had to try and make herself even marginally useful. So she grabbed the radio and tuned into Haven.

"Haven?" She asked uncertainly, holding back the despair in her voice to try and soud as neutral as she possibly could. "Uh, anyone... anyone hearin' this? It's Hoppy."

She heard a male voice at the other end. Monroe. Cursing herself again, Hoppy fine tuned the dial until all that annoying static disappeared, or at the very least kept to a minimum.

"We've got a rut 'ere." Hoppy said again, and heard Monroe gruffly mutter 'well, talk then'.

"Got separated from Ben, um, I dunnae if 'e's even alive just now. Got the truck, 'n I hid it in this place, but... what do? There were lots of Zed and I, um..."

"Did you even pay attention during damn class?" Was the harsh response, and Hoppy sucked in her breath hesitantly. "Not... completely, sir. Uh-"

"Just get your ass back here, we'll think of someway to fix this."

She nodded numbly. "We ain't gonna abandon him, 'aight?" Her voice betrayed her frailty as it trembled; tears threatening to form in her eyes, but she successfully choked it all down. "Won't be the reason another'un buys it."

Back in Cromwell, Ben stood, having watched Hoppy drive off in the truck. Most of the horde had gone off in chase of it, but he couldn't count on it drawing them all away. There was no way he could just stand around. He had to find a way out of town, and fast. There was no telling how fast that horde would be back on him, as soon as they realized they couldn't get at Hoppy.

Now he had to find a way back to Haven on his own. It was possible that they would send somebody back for him, but he couldn't count on it, and he wouldn't have asked anybody to come back for him. He was on his own now, but this was not a time to panic, nor was it a time to despair. He wasn't dead yet.

A sound caught his attention, and he looked around for its source, but saw nothing.

Part Four: Brothers

There it was again: "Psst." This time, there was more; it was definitely a person, "Hey! You! Over here!"

Frantically, Ben looked around and saw the face of a man peeking around the corner of a building and, perhaps against his better judgment, he ran to the man, who pulled him around the corner and out of sight, allowing Ben to rest against the outer wall of the building and catch his breath. The other man did little to acknowledge Ben, instead keeping his eyes focused on where he'd come from.

He was shorter and considerably more pudgy than Ben was, and he also appeared to be at least ten or fifteen years his elder, as he had begun to bald.

"They'll go back to the shadows soon enough. Just don't let them see you here."

The next ten or fifteen minutes were spent in silence as the man kept watch and Ben leaned up against the wall. Once the man was sure the threat had passed, he turned to Ben, gave him a smile, "Lucky we found you, huh?"

Ben glanced around quickly, "We?"

"Yeah," the man nodded and, as if on cue, a man dropped down from the roof onto the ground behind Ben, causing him to start, "Me and my little brother." The first man adjusted his pants slightly before nodding, "The name's Mike, and that's Shane."

Shane was tall. Taller than Ben. And he looked like he weighed more, but not in the way Mike did - it looked like muscle. Frankly, Shane looked rather intimidating.

Nodding to Mike before turning and doing the same to Shane, he responded, "Ben. Thanks for the save."

"Sure thing! We try to do our part to help people out, now."

"Well, that's nice of you. Not enough of that going around these days."

Mike chuckled, "Tell me about it!" He gave Ben a rough pat on the shoulder, "Say, where are you from? Your accent doesn't really sound local."

"Nah. American. I was on vacation when shit hit the fan."

"Shit," Shane muttered.

"Sounds rough. Got a place to stay for the night?"

Ben didn't really know these guys. And this seemed a little fishy. No matter what he said, there could be problems.

"No," he lied. He didn't want to risk Haven on a couple of unknowns like Mike and Shane.

"Damn. How have you managed to survive this long?" Mike asked, seeming a tad surprised.

"Luck, I guess. And family." Another lie.

"The girl in the truck?"

"Yeah. She's my sister."

"Won't she be worried about you?"

"Well, yeah, but--"

"Let's go back for her!" Shane suggested, perhaps a little too eager. Unnoticed by Ben, a derisive look was given to him by his brother.

"No. We already came up with a plan if we ever got separated." Lie upon lie was stacked up now, all in the name of protecting everyone else. He feared he was too deep to get out of this. Then again, maybe these two really were okay and he was just being paranoid.

"Tell you what, Ben. We've got a little place you can stay, if you're sure your sister's going to be alright."

A frown crossed Ben's features briefly. He really had no idea whether or not to trust these guys. But, he'd dug himself into a hole with his set of lies. If he said no, they'd become suspicious and he'd have to come up with even more lies to cover those up. Pursing his lips, he nodded, "Okay."

"Great!" Mike clasped his hands together and they marched out of town, Mike in front and Shane in back. Most of the trek was taken in silence, except for a moment in the middle where Mike spoke up again, "You said you came here on vacation. Family vacation?"

"Oh. Yeah. My parents, my brother, my sister, and me."

"So, is it just you and your sister now?"


"I know how that goes. Everybody's lost somebody. I'm sorry to hear it."

"Thanks," Ben mumbled, rubbing the back of his head awkwardly

Several minutes later, they came upon a farmhouse flanked by a barn. They looked like they were fairly taken care of - well, at least under the conditions of the world. The wood on both structures was dark, almost black, but it looked natural. If Ben knew more than nothing about carpentry or forestry, he could say what kind of wood it was, but he didn't, and he couldn't. The house was two stories tall with a window that looked out directly onto them. It reminded him a little bit of Haven, but not as well fortified, and not nearly as busy. Both probably because of its location. It seemed more out of the way than Haven was, but he knew nothing about how things were before.

Ben squinted at the house, trying to decide if he'd actually seen someone in the second-floor window, or if he'd just imagined it. If there had been, it was gone now.

Part Five: Trouble


They walked up the steps and Mike pushed the door open. It seemed pleasant enough inside, and it reminded him a little bit of what he'd imagined the inside of a ski lodge to look like; a fireplace, a couch sitting next to it, a simple dining room, and a kitchen with no walls separating any of it.

"Nice place," Ben said absently, taking off his jacket and hat and offering them to Shane when the younger brother held out his hands for them wordlessly.

"Thank you. We do what we can to keep it presentable. You never know when guests are going to show up. It's gotten a little more difficult these past few months," Mike responded, smiling pleasantly. Shane returned from putting Ben's jacket and hat away, giving his brother a knowing nod.

Ben took a seat on the couch, looking into the inactive fireplace, and folding his arms over his chest. He wanted to spend as little time as possible here. Maybe he could spend the night, and then sneak out early in the morning. He'd have to come up with a way to cover up his tracks so they couldn't track him back to Haven.

While he sat at the couch, Shane and Mike were in the kitchen. Ben couldn't really see them, even when he tried, but Mike was quick to re-emerge, "You look hungry. Would you like me to make you something?"

Ben was getting hungry. He had barely eaten since he'd woken up, "Yeah, sure."

"Something to drink while you wait? We've got beer. You Americans love beer."

"Sure, I guess," Ben shrugged. An odd request, but he hadn't had the luxury of alcohol in a long time. It was probably worth a lot these days, though.

"Great! Shane?" The brother nodded and fetched a bottle of beer, popping the cap and offering it to him as he sat down.
Ben nodded a thanks and took a drink, smacking his lips. It tasted a little funny. Maybe just a little stale, but he didn't really know what stale beer tasted like.

"Something wrong?" Shane asked, raising a brow.

"No, just... a little different than I remember."

"Hmm. Maybe your taste buds are different than ours. American and all."

And then everything started to get fuzzy. Apparently, he'd said something to Shane in response, but he couldn't remember what it was, for some reason. He tried to focus, squinting his eyes in the direction of the brother who was sitting next to him, but it was getting harder as the seconds went on. Then, he couldn't be sure, but it looked like Shane was smiling at him. Something was said behind him, but he couldn't make it out.

Then, everything went black.

Part Six: Captured

Ben began to come to some time later, and he shook his head, trying to clear the cobwebs from his head. He realized then, that he had woken up because someone was slapping him.

"Time to wake up, piggy! We're in for a long night!" Ben's eyes hadn't quite readjusted, but it had sounded like Shane.

Once his eyes were open and he was aware of what was going on around him, he found himself in a different room with no idea how long he had been down there. It was cold. A basement, maybe. He was sitting down, and his hands and feet were taped to the chair he was seated in. But, what he noticed more than anything was that he was now completely naked.

He looked up to see Shane standing over him, holding one of those multitools, and the blade was out. Immediately, Ben realized what had happened. How could he have been so stupid?

Shane laughed, leaning much too close to Ben; he could smell the man's breath, rotten. The man brought the knife up to eye level, keeping a steady grin on his face.

"You and I? We're going to have some fun."

To be continued...

5 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tilo King Character Portrait: Callie Winters Character Portrait: Jonathan Monroe Character Portrait: Kiera Trennan Character Portrait: Rishi Sharma
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(co-written with VindicatedPurpose)

Bring Zack Back

Tuesday - November 4th, 2013

"Oh...bollocks. How are we going to catch one of them? They're not fishes!" The other jobs had been taken.

"I am Dr. Rishi Sharma..." Tilo read through the brief.

"Hmm, so he's the wanker who's been keeping me up. I expected more from a doctor," he wondered aloud.

The cold crept on and took a heavier toll against the older people, like Tilo. To exacerbate problems, he had to deal with the maniac that kept him up for the past several nights. Tilo woke up late that morning. He decided he could no longer continue losing the battle against age, now that he no longer lived in the old world. Of course, it was easier said than done. They were sleeping comfortably enough in the bags, and there were spare sheets and blankets to go around.

However, as he read through the only brief available, he had his hands in his pockets. If it wasn't the zombies, it was going to be the cold. The old dog, however, flatly refused to let the beginning of winter claim him. Once he finished, he paused and tried to figure out how he would go about trying to capture a zombie. He felt like he needed to sit down, scratch his chin, and plan it out.

"What's wrong with using a dead one?" Tilo closed his mouth as he said this.

They were practically dead, but Tilo meant the ones that were no longer walking and eating.

Kiera had been avoiding the job board, choosing to pass the time by pacing back and forth across her small room. Now that the day of her first mission had finally arrived, the young woman seemed to be plagued by self-doubt. Kiera knew she couldn't hide from it forever, so with a final deep breath she set out on the path to the Jobs Board. The stalling tactic had worked in a sense; the other jobs were already taken before her arrival which prevented her from agonizing over making a decision between them. However, the one that remained sent a chill down her spine. Bringing back a fast, carnivorous corpse would be no easy task. At least the pills would kick in soon, which reminded her that the stash was getting low.

Tilo saw the younger woman approach the bulletin, so it would seem she was his partner for the day's adventure. She had brown hair and was of shorter stature than he was. He had never seen her before, but then again he had only joined Haven about two weeks ago. There were plenty of others who he failed to get a name from.

"Ello!" Tilo said, he was sitting on a log again, near the board. He wasn't sure if she noticed him.

Unable to find another excuse to look busy, Kiera turned and smiled at the man that sat nearby the board. She had noticed him, but her shyness had prevented her from walking up directly and speaking to him. However, she had taken the time for several sidelong glances while she pretended to be fascinated by the posting on the Jobs board. Blushing slightly she replied to his greeting.

"Hello. My name is Kiera Trennan, from the looks of it I guess it will be the two of us going on the Zack mission. I know I've seen you around Haven, but I don't believe I know your name. How would you like me to address you?" Perhaps she had overdone it with the formal greeting, but Kiera always felt that it was better to be overly polite than unintentionally rude to a new acquaintance.

"Well, they used to call me Doctor King," Tilo grinned, he recognized the American accent immediately, and deduced that she was another Yank.

"Not the American civil rights leader, I was a professor. Emphasis on was. But you can call me Tilo or Mr. King now, not that it matters." Tilo coughed.

The wind was getting to him a bit.

"Really, what subject did you teach? I have a Bachelor degree in Mathematics and I was eventually planning to become a teacher myself, probably at the high school or college level." This was quite the pleasant surprise. By Tilo's appearance she had assumed he would be the gruff "no-nonsense" survivalist, but this was a much better discovery to be sure.

"Ah," Tilo warmed up to the thought of fellow intellectual, one that was actually sane.

"Well I am a history professor. Was...was, I keep forgetting that," Tilo could not forgive himself for that. He needed to move on from everything, everything except his family.

"So, a bachelor's in mathematics?"

"Yes indeed, it wasn't easy let me tell you, but I fell in love with the tricky subject, algebra especially. Though it is such a shame it has gained such a bad reputation. Look at me carrying on, next I will be trying to teach you factoring." She actually felt relaxed in his company.

"Hmm," Tilo's short chuckle turned into a laugh, it was perhaps the first time he had actually laughed in a conversation with someone ever since the beginning of it all.

"Not if I teach you a thing or two about Cicero first. But anyway, we should probably get going."

"I wouldn't mind that too much." she replied with a laugh. "Yes, please lead the way."


The weather had changed rather rapidly. It had gone from a slight chill in the air to full blown snow almost overnight, though that was probably exaggerating the situation a bit. Snow and rain, either one or the other, on the isles. It made living in Britain a bit depressing at times. At the same time, however, it challenged people to rise above the gloom, one that was now compounded with the walking dead, to maintain a sense of optimism. The kind that John Lennon talked about, British socialism.

Tilo hefted the long pole on his right shoulder as they walked. His other hand was free to carry some rope, while Kiera walked with the pack slung across her shoulder with duct tape, magazines, and the other equipment that was now standard with Scav kits. These items included a first aid, a hand-cranked flashlight, walkie-talkies, and a map. Life would have been much easier had they had a dog catching pole, the kind that could be lowered onto the neck of a dog and then tightened to control it. Life was not easy.

"Have you given much thought as to where we'll find a live one?" Tilo looked over his shoulder to the mathematics graduate.

Despite everything that had happened, Kiera still couldn't deny the beauty of this place; one could almost believe everything was normal, almost. The illusion easily shattered by the scenes of carnage both along the road and the ones unseen just out of sight. Drawn away from her somber thoughts by Tilo's query, she tried to think of places they might find a Walker.

"Hmm, I think we should stay away from populated areas, while we might have a better chance of finding a fresh one, I think the danger of being swarmed would be too great. Plus, I haven't stretched properly for a mad dash for my life." Kiera added with a small laugh. "Seriously though, maybe our best bet would be to stray from the road and hope we find a lone one in good condition. What do you think?" Finally coming abreast of Tilo, she watched for his reaction.

"Ehm," Tilo cleared his throat. She made a couple of valid points, in particular the one about the swarm stuck out in front of Tilo. The last time he had faced a swarm was on a lake. He was lucky that they were bloated corpses and not...well, swimmers. A swarm on land was a different thing, and Tilo did not want to find out how.

"Very well, I don't know if we'll find one soon if we are to search the lone roads.'re American?"

"Yes I am, from the squarish state of Colorado in fact. I'm a bit embarrassed to admit my lack of geography knowledge, so I will have to ask what part of Britain you're from." The ignorant social bubble she grew up in was showing like a bad dye job, Kiera really wished she knew more about the land where she would likely spend the rest of her life barring a miracle.

"Squarish?" Tilo looked at her, "Right...well I'm from Colchester, it's northeast of London. You know where London is right? It's on the Thames River. Actually that doesn't really matter, you probably don't know where the Thames River is," Tilo paused, she had something to say.

"Well you certainly have more experience with the Walkers and scavenging in general, so I would be glad to hear your opinion of the best place to find one." In a moment of distraction Kiera noticed the trees along the road with leafless branches**

The old professor, or rather middle aged professor, chuckled at her statement as he continued walking.

"Experience? I've only been here for about two, three weeks, I haven't done much around here. So I wouldn't really know where the best place to find them would be. For all we know we could walk into a live one on this very road."

"Oh, don't be so modest, this is my first mission, so you're an expert compared to me."

Then along the way, he neared a tree and decided to drop the rope and place the pole gently on the snow covered grass beside the gravel path. The frost bit him like a viper, winter had just begun. They might need gloves to keep their hands covered as the cold encroached upon them.

"I think we should consult the map before we continue," Tilo said as he rubbed his right shoulder.

"Good idea, make sure to hold it the right way though." She said in a teasing tone. Kiera had learned that lesson the hard way.

Tilo gave her a sharp glance, followed by a lopsided grin.

"I'm a history professor...we practically sleep with maps."

"Thank goodness for that. I would probably get us lost in a small stand of trees." She replied with a laugh, as she gazed over his left arm at the foreign and confusing piece of paper he was intently reading.

The laminated sheet found itself within the grip of Tilo's left hand as he attempted to search for their location via his right index finger. He popped off the digital watch, underneath there was a compass. The red arrow began to orient itself, and once it had found north, so too did the pair.

"Okay so we left Haven here..." Tilo began to trace their path.

"Fifteen kilometers from here, and we might reach Cromwell. Let's hope we'll find something between here and there."


About a mile back, Kiera had begun to develop the start of a blister on her right heel, it was slowly getting worse, but she refused to acknowledge it. The boots she wore were far from a perfect fit, about a half size too small, though it was better than wearing her sneakers to death. They seemed to have traveled a good distance, likely halfway to the town, but Kiera didn't want to sound ignorant by asking Tilo how far they had actually traveled. The pair had spent much of the time walking in silence, broken by short conversations about trivial topics. Finally she decided to just ask him, perhaps more due to the blister than anything else.

As casually as possible, Kiera asked the burning question on her mind. "How far from Haven do you think we are?" Hastily adding, "I was never a big walking fan back home, so distance is not something I tend to keep track of." as a way of explanation for her sudden interest.

Tilo pursed his lips, recognizing that she was probably a bit sore, as he was. In fact, he might have been sorer, considering he was lugging about the pole.

"Um, I really don't know," Tilo said simply, sort of shrugging. They had been walking so long past many trees and shrubs that were almost slowly losing their leaves.

The ground was covered in a soft, thin layer of damp snow, above a layer of dirt.

"But we can take a break here if you want. It's surprising to see that we haven't found any stiffs at all so far. Isn't that a bit bizarre?"

Did he suspect her desire to take a break? She wondered. In times past she would have claimed to be fine and insisted that they continue, but this was a different world and time, where even a small mistake could mean a particularly gruesome death.

"Just for a minute or two if you wouldn't mind. I think I need to adjust my sock really quickly. Then we can continue on."

Something about her reminded Tilo of one of his students. He saw it often, not so much lately, but he knew she tried to maintain an unfaltering facade. In a time like this, it became incredibly difficult to continue with it.

"No it's quite alright, I'm.." he rolled his shoulder, "Aching a bit. Besides we're not really in a hurry. Let them come to us, and if we don't find one today, then we can try again tomorrow. We at least need to be able to make it back to Haven by the end of the day."

"I'll make it fast then, I don't like to think about the possibility of being forced to spend the night away from Haven either." Kiera decided to keep the pack on her shoulders since the fresh snow would probably wick onto the bottom if she set it down. Taking several steps away from her companion, so he wouldn't see the state of her socks, Kiera opted to stand while removing her blister causing footwear. She barely noticed the steep embankment towards her left, normally having great balance; she was forced to hop around awkwardly clutching her boot in one hand while adjusting her sock with the other due to the lopsided weight from her backpack. Luckily all her hopping had brought her near a tree that stood on the edge of the embankment, reaching a hand out to steady herself, Kiera made the mistake of looking back at Tilo. Without any guidance from her eyes and the single foot stabilizing, she was suddenly off balance and leaning at an alarming angle.

Tilo had his eyes away, watching the trees again, but he turned just as Kiera began to slip off the embankment. He reached out toward her as she went down. Too late she tried to recover, but she just succeeded in looking ridiculous by wildly pin wheeling her arms, the boot flying from her hand before she pitched backwards down the hill. During one of the rotations she felt a sharp pain in her left shoulder, but it was quickly forgotten when she took a mouthful of dirt and snow as she landed face down on the next turn. Finally she reached the bottom, in a snow covered pile, Kiera checked for injuries. None seemed to be immediately apparent, so her next task would be to find her missing boot. Perhaps Tilo hadn't seen her embarrassing fall. That would be a nice thing. She finally spotted her footwear a few feet away, a few awkward hops later and she had reclaimed it. Her sock looked worse than ever though. She let out a sigh, oh well.

Tilo ran to the edge where Kiera had tumbled from. Terror shot through his heart like an arrow. He was about ready to fear the worse as he heard her roll down the side, small pebbles and dirt chasing after her. As Kiera looked up the embankment, she noticed the fall had only been seven or eight feet. Unfortunately, her embarrassment did not end there. Tilo had seen the whole thing and was peering down at her, a concerned expression on his face. Scrambling up on hands and feet, Kiera tried to regain her composure before facing her scavenging companion.

"Are you alright?" Tilo was about to make his way down to help her, but he saw that none of her limbs had broken or fractured during the slip. A slip like that often turned simple missions into dangerous ones. If she had twisted her ankle, and they were on the run from a horde. It was not a pleasant thought, but then again, it never was.

Safely on the path once more thanks to a help up from Tilo, she tried brushing the worst off, but she only succeeded in smearing it further, making a muddy mosaic across her coat and pants. Awesome. Another load of laundry that she would have to scrub by hand at least there wasn't any sewing to be done.

"Sorry about that, thought I would take a peek down the bank real quick, and then took a mud bath while I was down there." She said with a nervous laugh, trying to play the whole event off as a silly accident. Truth be told her shoulder felt like it was wrenched at the very least. Her foot made a squelching sound due to her soggy sock, her blister was going to love this development.

Tilo had no words to say as he looked on, mentally though, his brain was running on mach three out of anxiety. This one incident reminded him of the many times his sons would get into trouble, the many times they got scrapes, and the many times they injured themselves. It was a normal thing for boys, that was Tilo's way of thinking, but he had no conception of how to treat a younger woman that was barely older than his sons. Protective, over-protective maybe, would have been a word. The close call with Laney weeks ago, and now this, all were accelerants of his gray hair. Age was a nemesis that perched atop his shoulder like the raven from Edgar Allan Poe's poem.

"Try and be a bit more careful next time, yeah?" Tilo smiled with raised eyebrows.

"I will. Sorry you had to witness my clumsiness in action. Well, I guess that was a bit longer of a rest than it should have been. Should we resume our stroll?" She asked, finally able to calm down from the shock of her tumble.

"Are you sure? You barely had time to adjust your sock..." Tilo gestured to the now soggy, deformed, mushy cloth called a sock that Kiera was wearing with her boot.

With a bright blush, Kiera consented and quickly proceeded to wring her sock out as best as she could.


They were within a network of various gravel paths and dirt roads that intermingled and went many directions with no destinations. They continued along through the snow and beyond the trees. The snow had melted slightly, leaving a few puddles. Winter was not in full bloom yet. It still had a ways to go before the great blizzard could unleash its fury on the isles. As the sun began to pass over its apex point in the sky, Tilo guessed it was about an hour or so after noon, they chose to take a short break. It also gave Tilo a chance to drop the pole, which was taxing on his shoulder and arms at this point. It was already past noon and they had yet to find one, which meant that they were to turn back if they planned on being in their sleeping bags at Haven before night blanketed the sky.

"I think we should turn back," Tilo sighed.

Kiera couldn't deny the relief she felt when Tilo was the one to suggest turning back. The pain in her shoulder had gotten worse once the initial shock had worn off, but she was determined not to complain about the injury. The stupid blister was a constant sharp pain, regardless of how she stepped the thing found a way to chafe and burn like a hot poker.

"What terrible luck. The one time we go out to seek one, they disappear like cockroaches run from light." She replied with a small scowl.

As they rested, nearby a man was on a bike. He was riding slowly, in a tempo that seemed to lag behind a person's pulse at rest. Part of this was due to the fact that he was hunched over the bike, while his legs pushed forward as if he had the heavens upon his shoulders. This man was no titan like Atlas, he was only a man in a white coat. This signified that he must have been a scientist or doctor perhaps. He didn't seem conscious, or rather he seemed half-conscious. His motile functions driven by will perhaps, or by a single voice in his head, where there used to be a chorus of vocals that conversed of various ideas. The pair exchanged concerned glances before they returned their attention to the half-awake man on the bike riding down a road to nowhere.

"'Ey mate, are you lost?" Tilo voiced his thought to the man.

He continued on as before, it seemed as though Tilo's call slipped past him.

"'Ey I'm talking to you!"

His left leg, then his right leg, pushing down. The pair walked over to him, and stopped the bike in its tracks. The man seemed to stop pushing, aware that he could no longer do so.

He lifted his head back, there was blood and dirt wiped on his face and on his wide framed glasses. His mouth kept itself open, trying to draw oxygen. The blood did not seem to come from any wound on his face. The startling feature, though, was the wound on his neck. It was concealed when the man rolled forth, grinding on his bike mindlessly. The bite itself was red with his blood, and his flesh was torn off in chunks like ground meat. It was clearly a bite. It was nearly a miracle how he managed to balance and push himself forward on a bike with a wound of that size.

His face seemed clammy and sweat beads formed on his forehead. Standing a step behind Tilo, Kiera spotted the gruesome wound and her hands flew to her mouth in shock, stifling a loud gasp. How was he even still moving with such a severe injury? Fascination and fear kept the young woman rooted to the spot, staring wide-eyed at the man on the bike. Unsure of how to react, Kiera looked to Tilo as she tried to process this awful discovery.

"What should we do?" She whispered to Tilo, while also keeping a watchful eye on the unsteady stranger.

Kiera wanted to help the man who was in obvious distress, but she knew a bite like that could have only been caused by one thing. Simply by his current behavior, the bite was probably several hours old already and there was no telling when he might suddenly turn. For her friend in that abandoned warehouse it had only taken four hours till he had succumbed to the infection and rose again as one of them. Pushing that dark memory away, Kiera took a tentative step towards the man who had an almost glazed expression on his face.

"Hello there, my name is Kiera and this is my friend. We don't want to hurt you. We're just passing through the area. What is your name?" Kiera kept her hands away from her body in a gesture of peace, she didn't want to risk spooking him by hiding her hands.

"Cree-Craw toad's foot, geese walk barefoot." He said with an eerie sing-song tone in his voice. His eyes seemed to clear a bit after uttering the sentence of nonsense. "I'm on my way back to my flock, I have food for them in my pocket. You may call me doctor," The doctor's eyes suddenly becoming unfocused again and began to dart rapidly back and forth as he finished speaking.

Perhaps the fever was causing hallucinations or he might just be crazy. It was kind of suspicious that he was heading in the direction of Haven, alone, bitten and unarmed. He might not even be an actual doctor for all they knew, a white coat wasn't proof of the credentials he claimed to have. A thought suddenly occurred to Kiera. This man was obviously doomed to die and rise again as a Walker, but why should his death be just another statistic. What if he could help the living?

Cautiously backing away Kiera returned to Tilo's side. Speaking in a low whisper, she proposed her idea to him. "Maybe we can learn more about him on the way back. If there is another group of survivors out there, we should try to figure out where. What do you think?"

As Tilo was about to reply, "I need to get to them! I need to get to them!" The man blurted out, startling the both of them, but he remained weakened.

When he finally settled down and closed his eyes, Tilo whispered "There's no telling how long ago he's been bitten."

He eyed the man with caution, "I think we should tie him up first."

Whatever response Kiera had been looking for, that was not what she had expected Tilo to suggest. However, everything was different now, it was better to be cautious than too trusting, still her conscience whispered the injustice of what they were about to do. It was prudent, he thought. The bite was a zombie bite, at least that was the appearance that it kept. If indeed it was not a zombie bite, then they had a dying man on their hands. And how he died...would be an interesting question to think about. At least if he turned or when he turned, he would be restrained.

"Maybe we can ask him questions once he's tied up."

"Okay, it's probably safer for him and us that way." Kiera replied, keeping her doubts about their decisions to herself.

They set about pulling the man from the bike and laying him on the ground flat on his stomach. The two proceeded to place the pole on his back, Kiera went about tying the man's hands and feet in knots bound to the pole. Then they proceeded to roll him over and see if they could comb him for some answers. The doctor, or whatever he was, seemed out of it still. How could you coerce a semi-lucid person to reveal the location of their base? Maybe with a bit of kindness first, then a harder approach if necessary.

"Let me see if I can get something out of him. I'll try talking about his flock and see if he gives any clues."

"You don't want to grill the lad, he's almost about go," Tilo watched the dying man stumbling in and out of consciousness, it was the second of this kind of encounter.

Tilo was again reminded of William the other day, just thinking about it gave him a headache. The emotional burden of one man was enough, to learn more about this man felt like reaching a critical mass.

"Just a few questions, then we can start heading back." Kiera strode over to the Dr. and crouched down, she had to lean in close to hear his wavering voice. Probably it would just be more rhymes, but maybe some of what he said would prove useful.

"They need...they need me," delirium shook him.

"Who?" the pair asked him.

"I don't have much time, I need"

"To what?" Tilo asked, the lack of concreteness in his words puzzled them.

"I need to get to them before...before..."

"Before? Before what? Hey!" Kiera tugged at his shoulder when he finally passed out.

"You're right, he's just spewing more nonsense. Let's start heading back to Haven before it gets much later. How should we carry him and the bike?" She asked her Scav partner.

Tilo looked at the man strapped to the pole and the bike painted with blood. He tried to think of a way that they could carry while wheeling the back home.

"Monroe, this is Tilo, are you there?"

The gruff man's voice buzzed through the walkie talkie, "Yeah what is it?"


Tilo led the way, his shoulder supported the pole which he gripped with his left hand. His right hand was free to push the bike along, while Kiera pulled up the rear holding the weight of the pole on her end with both her hands. The added weight of the man made their return trip considerably slower. They kept the man's head inside of a drawstring bag that they tightened at the neck. They kept their conversation to a minimum because at any moment they were waiting for the growl that meant the man had become one of them. The pair tried to keep their eyes on the surrounding woods, always cautious of any ambush by zed or otherwise.

Kiera's shoulder was excruciatingly painful from walking with the pole, each bounce and shift exacting an additional dose of pain. Taking one step at a time, trying to breath through the worst of it. Then, a sudden spasm from the trussed up doctor nearly yanked the pole from her hands. He jerked violently twice more then hung limp. Her heartbeat sped up, this was the time. When he passed from the world of the living to whatever state the Walkers could be called. She held her breath, dreading the sounds he would likely be making for the rest of the trip. She locked eyes with Tilo across the length of the pole. One of her eyebrows raised in question.

"I think this might be it. Do you think the bindings will hold? He's probably going to rise as a very strong Runner." She asked the question while taking nervous glances at the man strung between them.

Tilo felt it as well, the man began to twitch and jerk. His covered head began to convulse and a bit of moaning was heard. A final cry of humanity tried to escape from his mouth but died in his throat. They could hear his teeth gnashing and his incisors trying to bite at the air. His fingers bent in an awkward manner as if they tried to break free from his skin, which had by then began to turn an inhuman color. Secretly though, Tilo felt a bit of remorse in the way they used this man. His fate was his own though, he would eventually turn and then be offed by the living. Maybe they were putting him to better use in finding a cure. And perhaps all of the twitching, the tics, and the jerks were actually just part of the animal inside Tilo. The animal that no longer had guilt or sympathy. Then he wondered, what had this man actually done to earn his sympathy, or lack of, for that matter. He was simply another human being. Tilo felt like giving him a couple of rites, but the time to do so had long passed.

The unnatural sounds and movements coming from their captive really put the situation in perspective. While the pain from her blister and shoulder were quite intense, that was nothing compared to being a hands length from something that has a desire to kill and consume you with brutal savagery. Kiera vowed to keep this lesson in mind when she felt the responsibility and hardships of survival beginning to weigh on her. This could happen to her or anyone at Haven, unless they stayed vigilant.

It was significantly harder to hold the pole now that a Walker was strung across it. First she had been grateful to be on the end where she could keep an eye on him, but now every creak and sway tested her nerves, the fingers never ceasing to bend and claw for the two meals that remained just out of reach. One particularly strong swing caused something to tumble from the Doctor's white coat pocket. A small human hand lay in the feathery snow. Stifling a scream of horror, Kiera straddled the appendage as it passed beneath her. Why was there a hand in his pocket? She tried to think of a plausible explanation for it, but nothing came to mind. She immediately wanted to tell Tilo about the discovery, by sharing the burden of it, maybe it would lose some of its horror. Something stopped her though. Maybe it was a look in Tilo's eyes that hinted the depth of what he had lost during the collapse of society, the kindness that he had shown to her throughout the day. No, she would carry the burden of this revelation. Or rather revelations; three more severed hands fell from the pockets before they were finally empty.

After traveling awhile, Tilo had drown himself in his thoughts. Their marching pace only furthered his daydreaming regardless of the walker that hung from the pole like a roasted pig and snarled like an alligator. They were carrying a man who had turned, the wrenching sounds that the man made with his mouth made his blood curdle slightly and his sweat cold. The pole felt as if it was ready to slip from his hands. The snarls and growls happened every couple of minutes accompanied by rough snifffing and some tugging on the pole by the stiff. Tilo just tried to ignore it all, concentrating on the road home.

Time seemed to pass slowly during the journey back especially for Kiera, when it wasn't her shoulder, blister, thirst, hunger, or the walker that was on her mind, she spent staring at the back of Tilo's head. More than once a rogue thought about the former professor had illegally jaywalked through the regular flow of her thoughts. Something to explore in the future, figuring out how to escape the friend-zone would be step number one. While Kiera was busy running mock scenarios about Tilo, she suddenly spotted movement in the nearby trees.

Thankfully it was not a Walker or another person, but some sort of animal by the looks of it. A dog she realized with surprise, from her current distance it was impossible to tell the breed, only that it was brown, medium-sized and wearing a blue collar. She also thought the dog might be carrying something in its jaws. Kiera tried to grab the binoculars from the backpack in order to see better, but they remained stubbornly out of reach. Besides, all the time spent reaching and stretching the dog had fully disappeared back into the trees. Almost making her doubt the dog's appearance at all.


Evening, the sun began to dip down on the horizon, and the sky shaded itself blue. The gate of Haven was a welcome sight from a daylong trek. The body still struggled within the blindness of the drawstring bag drawn over the man's head. By now the wound had decayed like the rest of the man's skin, it had turned from red to a numbing black and purple. The ripped pieces of flesh surrounding the neck wound dangled like peeled skin or torn sheets, the blood had dried onto the bag itself.

They took the hogtied zombie around to the south building, where Dr. Sharma and his device were nowhere to be found.

As they laid the pole down with the zombie flat on its stomach, the doctor appeared from the building with a cup of ramen and a fork in his hands. His mouth fell agape.

"What the hell took you so long?"

After the zombie had been secured by Dr. Sharma, the pair headed to the farmhouse to return their gear and report in. As they walked Kiera tried to figure out how to broach the subject that weighed on her mind. Once she brought it up, she knew there was no taking it back. She opened her mouth to speak, but closed it just as quickly, later she promised herself.

In the command post, Monroe sat with his feet on an old wooden desk. An alert and intense expression on his face, despite the lateness of the hour.

"So, you two finally made it back. I was beginning to wonder if you'd be spending the night out there." He said gruffly as he expertly checked the gear for damage.

"It took a bit longer than we expected, but we found one that was in pretty good condition." Kiera answered quickly to explain their tardiness.

"Anything else to report?"

"No sir." Kiera replied.

Turning to face Tilo, she couldn't tell how he felt about the lie, but he kept quiet and didn't contradict her. Once Monroe was satisfied that everything was in order he sent the two Scavs off to their rooms. The pair stood in the hallway, the events of the day stretching between them. What the hell! Kiera thought, going for the full hug. She held the gesture a bit longer than necessary, but not uncomfortably so. Tilo felt a bit uncomfortable when she wrapped her arms around him. The day must have been tough on her, he returned the hug only lightly because he himself was tired.

"Sleep well." She said while stifling a yawn.

4 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jonathan Monroe Character Portrait: Delaney Byron Character Portrait: Jesus "Matador" Herrera Character Portrait: October "Toby" Harrison
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A collaboration with Romaneck and UnderSavaveEternity
November 4th
Part 1: Hello
Laney stomped through the snow, unhappy. She wasn't at all sure she'd said what she really wanted to Ben. She'd felt his heartbeat under his fingers. She hoped she'd get to feel it again.

She wrapped her layers around her tightly. Ugh, she hated snow. Sure, London had seen some cold, white winters in recent years, but up here, exposed, away from the comforts of the city, the wind bit sharped and dug its icy fingers deeper. There was no diving into a Costa for hot chocolate up here in the hills.

She rounded a corner and found her partners for this mission waiting for her, Toby and Jesus. Toby she'd seen around Haven quite a bit, but it was hard to get a conversation going with her. Jesus, well. she'd not gone out of her way to talk to him. It wasn't because he had been an even bigger star back in the old world than she was. Not entirely. But he wore his fame so easily, hardly even noticed in fact. And Monroe knew who he was, whereas he called her 'X Factor'. Even Ben knew who Jesus was, even though Laney had thought Americans didn't like soccer - what little she knew about the game anyway. But no, Mexico were America's big rivals, apparantly. Still flustered by her brief meeting with Ben, she merely nodded at her two companions and picked up the rifle and Scav Pack she'd left at the door.

Jesus was deep in thought. Things were simply not the same anymore, and it wasn't just the fact that the whole doomsday had come. It was simply that without Kim... things simply could not be the same, did not felt the same. The task at the forestry office had been his opportunity to redeem himself, to prove his worth... He had done scavenging tasks before, simple things like delivering and retrieving satchels, bringing bottles of water back home - simple stuff. But the minute things began to get dicey, for some reason he had dropped it completely.

And people had not been blind to the fact. Jesus had insisted to be left more scav hunts on his own, yet Monroe had been wiser than that. When a man who has tasted success for so long suddenly can't clean his defeat, they tend to be reckless in their pursuit to reafirm their self-worth, so now seemed to be a good time to have him deployed in a way that would have him be of use without fear of getting himself killed.

Monroe knew that Jesus was a team player, and he also could tell that the safety of others would take priority to the Mexican... or at least he could hope so.

Still Jesus had his doubts. He had heard that there was another group ganging up on them. The so-called rescue mission had turned into an armed assault report. In hindsight, Jesus should have passed on this one. He had never fired a rife before. He had premier aim, yes, but that was with his legs. The only way he could see this working was if at some point he would have to kick the bullets into a goal keeper. The chances of that seemed less than unlikely.

Jesus walked towards the others, he had been the last one out. "Hello people." He had not spent much time around them but they were all Scavs now. Jesus would see if he could have them all wear sport jerseys with numbers on them, to keep the team spirit. "Jesus Herrera at your service, call me J if you have something with taking the Lord's name in vain". He was slightly shocked at how reluctant the people of the old world had been to calling him by his full first name. "Or Matador will do if you remeber my shoots."

"Actually I think we had already met?" he said to Laney. " I think I saw you with one of my mates, Carlos Romano was it? I don't remember really, might be mixing you up with someone else."

Carlos Romano. Ugh. Laney glared at Jesus for bringing up an ugly part of her life in the old world. She'd briefly dated the footballer when she was 17, when the tabloids were just cottoning on to the fact that the child star was becoming a wild child. the Mexican played for one of the London clubs, Arsenal or Chelsea, she wasn't sure, but he was the polar opposite type of footballer from Jesus. Carlos was slow and brutal and had a habit of dirty play - and he was much the same in bed. She'd been blamed for breaking up his marriage, but judging by the number of starlets who had flirted with him that night the Mexico team took over The Cat Club, the damage had been done a long time ago. She hadn't noticed Jesus there, but when 20 millionaire footballers go raging in a nightclub, it's hard to keep track of everyone.

'He was an asshole,' was all Laney replied.

"Well..." Seems like they hadn't parted ways warmly from the disgust in her face. "He was kind of full of himself." He certainly was hoping for a happier reaction, or at the very least a nostalgic one, but they all dealed differently with it. For himself the answer came simply, be swallow, be simple and dont think to much.

Toby hung back as the two other Scavs were speaking. She had noticed the girl - Laney - around Haven quite a bit but never felt any real urge to talk to her. The other one she didn't remember really ever seeing around. Jesus or something, though she had a bit of a problem calling him that. She approached them quietly, as if not actually there in body but definitley in mind. Toby didn't know what to make of them yet, but from the sounds of their conversation they at least had a bit of knowledge on one another. That's good though, the less they knew about her the more leeway she had in a conversation. "Hey there," she started, looking at each of them inquisitively, trying her hardest not to act as awkward as she felt. She would rather have not said anything at all, because at least then she could go along the mission quietly without too much awkward conversations between them. "I'm Toby," she said, though she knew they probably already knew who she was.

The Caravanners' runners - what they called Scavs - arrived shortly afterwards. Laney recognised Jake as he strode forward to shake her hand; he obviously believed in this mission's secondary purpose of fostering good relationships between Haven and Eden Valley Caravan Park. Laney introduced him to Toby and Jesus. Turned out Jake, too, was a Jesus Herrera fan. Behind Jake, a woman in her 30s scowled and toyed with her rifle strap. 'Come on, United Colours of Benetton,' she snapped. 'Let's go find this mystery gang of killers.' Jake made a calming gesture to the woman, patting the air with one hand. 'Sam is still upset about Tim. We all are.'

'Yeah, well, that's why our guy who saw it isn't coming today,' said Laney. 'Too much tension. You met him, Jake, down at the chicken factory.'

'Ben. I remember. Good kid.'

After poring over the map, the group set off for Davis Crag shortly after midday. Thick cloud cover prevented the sun from melting the snow, but there were no further falls. The Caravanners kept up a brisk pace, knowing daylight would be short and they would have to return to Eden Valley before dusk. At least it kept them all warm. Sam strode ahead silently, mouth set in a steely grimace. Jake was pressing Jesus about his soccer exploits.

"The way you scored that goal against the Ajax was the thing of legends!" Jesus was getting to know the so-called Runners. Jake gave off the impression that he was a sport enthusiast; he was a fan of the Chelsea "Yes, im not going to say it was a lucky shot, but the pass that Glenn gave me sealed their fate"

Laney fell back with Toby. 'You okay?' the younger girl said after several minutes.

Toby didn't quite know how to answer the question. She didn't assume the rest of the group hadn't seen their share of horrors, but it felt like since she'd come to Haven, all she'd seen was death. Human death, not just Stiffs. The hanged mother and the starved child down on that abandoned farm appeared in her dreams still, and she'd avoided Tilo since their mission to the Hamilton Hotel; she didn't want to relive the despair in William Rand's eyes.

'Yeah, okay,' she huffed eventually.

That was the extent of their conversation until they arrived at the crag. Sam brought the group to a stop where she'd found her friend's body. The way she glared at the Haven crew, it was clear they weren't beyond her suspicions yet.

'The way Ben told me,' Laney spoke up, 'he was behind some rocks, kind of looking down on it, so he must have been... up there?' She pointed to a crest above them. 'And the gang left...' she pointed up a gravelly ravine up the Crag, 'in that direction.'

Part 2: The Hunt
After an hour examining the area, and with no real leads, the decision was easy to take the path the killers had taken up into the mountains. The going was slow, a 40ft climb with the snow turning to ice in patches. Toby's cheeks burned as she slipped for what felt like the hundredth time; Sam and Jesus had already reached the top of the ravine, a third of the way up the mountain. 'Makes sense, no zombies are going to climb that,' she heard the Caravanner say as she finally joined them. Toby briefly wondered if that was a jibe at her lack of dexterity.

Catching their breath, the group turned to look out over the valley in front of them, taking turns to point out some of the landmarks they'd visited. Laney quickly noted Tull Hollow and Tull Lake, but kept to herself what she'd seen there; she didn't know how far to trust the Caravanners. Toby nodded to Hamilton Hotel, and Jake pointed the road that rounded the shoulder of another high hill that hid Eden Valley Caravan Park off to the east. Everyone automatically turned to the west, where Haven lay over several more horizons.

'If they're up here, they'll have seen us going about our business the last few weeks,' Laney muttered.

'They're not up here,' replied Sam testily. 'There's nothing up here, too exposed.' As if to prove her point, a sharp gust of wind tore at everyone's clothing. Racing through the rocks above them, the wind did a reasonable impression of a groaning zombie. 'No-one came up here, this Ben is telling fibs. Why's that, d'ya think?'

Anger flashed through Laney like a slap. 'Hey! Back off, bitch,' she snapped.

It was a good thing that Jake and Jesus had almost instantly found a common ground. Laney had grown a thick skin even before the fall - being a public figure either hardened or burned you - and this Sam looked like she was a great example of a female canine.

Jesus and Jake were between the pair in an instant. 'Alright Sam, alright," he soothed. 'I'm telling you, that kid's okay. I believe him. And you know Jane does too, so let's just get on with it. Besides,' he said, pointing over the woman's shoulder, then turning her around, 'what's up there?'

A wisp of white smoke contrasted with the dark clouds. It was coming from the other side of the crest of the mountain. Sam turned away from Laney and led the group up a raised ledge of rock. They found themselves looking down on a secluded little valley, almost as if a giant had scooped a handful out of the mountain. Inside the gentle slope stood a stone cottage with smoke rising from the chimney, and behind it a few wooden outbuildings.

'There must be someone inside,' said Jake. 'What about the smoke? Jesus, you want to check it out?'

Straight out of a poor slum, there was a building that had not been subjected to some good maintenance, but there was no question about it... that chimney had not lit itself. "What do you make of it?" Jesus had a bad feeling about this, but then again he had not had a good feeling about anything since Kim had been bitten.

The Eden Valley runners joined Jesus at the cottage. Laney slipped her rifle to her shoulder and squinted along its barrel. Jake gave the door a gentle shove, and even as Sam muttered 'Be careful,' a now familiar growl went up, and from out of the darkness stumbled two of zombies. Jake dispatched the first, a tall, slender being, with a practised stab of a sharpened iron bar through the eye. The creature fell awkwardly and dragged the bar from his hands. As the second creature, a ragged, torn, grey thing that might once have been an old woman, stepped up to him, Jake reached out to grab both its hands to keep it at bay. His right hand passed through thin air - this zombie was missing its left arm from the elbow up - and it pivoted round and buried its face in Jake's chest. Sam and the Scavs sprang forward as Jake tumbled to the ground, but as even as they did, from the door of the cottage a seething wedge of zombies burst out and fell where Jake lay to feast.

'Jaaaaakkkkkke!' The scream burst from Sam like something solid, the woman bent double in shock and anger. Immediately, the zombies who could not get near Jake were alerted; seven or eight stood clumsily and turned towards them. Fear gripping Jesus tightly, sprang to action admist his colliding sorrow and fear being the closest to the cottage when the zombies emerged, blasted one in the chest with his shotgun and sprinted past it as it was knocked to the ground. 'Back to the ravine,' he shouted, dragging Sam after him, his arm trobbed with the kickback of the firearm, but right now his golden rule was in play - Focus on not losing before going for the victory

From their vantage point, Toby and Laney could see at least 12 zombies in the chasing pack, two in particular closing ground on Jesus as he struggled to bring Sam with him. Laney checked her aim and fired. The rifle bucked wildly and slammed back into her shoulder. Beside her, Toby picked up a stone the size of her fist and threw it in a high arc. It caught the nearest chaser in the chest, knocking it to the ground. Then they, too, turned and ran.

The group slipped and slithered down the ravine and, ignoring cuts and bruises, turned to watch as the first zombie stepped onto the steep, rocky incline. It immediately lost its footing and plunged headlong down the 40ft drop, hitting almost every rock on the way down and landing in a crumpled heap. The rest of the pack followed mindlessly; soon there was a pile of smashed bodies at the foot of the ravine. A number tried to stand or crawl on shattered, buckling limbs; the Scavs watched uncomfortably as Sam strode among them, slashing and hacking with a wicked-looking machete. Finally, covered in gore, she sank to the ground, her arms wrapped around her knees.

Part 3: Crosshairs
'Sam?' Toby asked cautiously as she caught up to the woman, who seemed to be feeling a mulitude of angry emotion at the loss of her friends. Toby got it, she really did, but she also knew it wasnt quite healthy for Sam to be holding things in like this. Sam gave her a heart-stopping look that sent nervous jitters through Toby. She tried to keep her facial expression calm and collected. She was still on the ground, hugging her knees in a position that looks all too feeble for the woman. Toby didn't quite know what to say, but knelt down anyway, looking Sam dead in the eye despite the feelings of anger radiating from the woman.

'I know this sucks, but you've got to pull it together, Sam, its the only way you'll make it through this.' The words rushed out of her mouth like a tidal wave she couln't seem to stop, and she somehow felt some of the anger edge off of Sam. 'It hurts to lose someone close, to feel that they aren't here anymore,' Toby stopped to take a stuttering breath. She herself felt weak-kneed now. She stood before giving Sam her final words, 'But he wouldn't want you to lose your mind because of these feelings of anger.'

Laney cautiously approached them. 'Listen, Sam, I'm sorry bout Jake but we're starting to lose the light. We should go...'
'I'm not leaving Jake up there,' Sam stated grimly, hauling herself to her feet. 'Not to become one of them.' It might have been due to their sudden bonding but Jesus could understand Sam here. If he had given the choice to go back for Kim at the hearth of the zombie onslaught he would have done it. "I can go with her" Jesus blurted, but as far as he could tell it had gone unnoticed.

'We should really get back to Haven. Or Eden Valley. You can't help Jake now.'

'Jake bought your little story, you and the Yank. But maybe I don't. So we keep looking for this gang, or maybe I'll start thinking Haven did kill Tim.'

Laney felt she had to speak out, Toby and Jesus weren't going to. 'This is bullshit, Sam, soon we won't be able to see a thing. We're walking into a trap, or more Zeds.'

The older woman whirled around, grabbed Laney by the shoulder, dragged her face up to her own, wild-eyed.

'It's not like before, little girl,' Sam snarled. 'There's no daddy's millions to protect you now, no coppers. It's just you and your friends now. You find one of your friends dead - killed by human hands, not zombies - it's up to you to kill the fucker who did it." She reached behind her and pulled out a pistol, pointing it back up the ravine for emphasis. 'That's what I'm doing for Tim. You telling me you wouldn't to that for your Latino friend there, or or this Ben guy or any of the other happy clappy family you got up at that farm?'

Toby could have ignored the way the woman grabbed at Laney, spouting put-downs. But then, that would have weighed heavy on Toby just as everything else has done. She held her weapon steady, pointing at Sam. She knew this could be viewed as an attack but Toby had her own moral codes to live by, even if she didn't exactly hang around like the others as she could. Any moment Toby could simply choose to be the lone wolf, but at this time she decided its time to stand up and stop acting like she can get by without making a few good friends. 'Back off missy,' Toby hissed. 'I know you think this is the best way to get a point across, but all you're doing is making us all a hell of a lot more nervous.'

'You can think what you want about Haven, but putting other down isnt going to solve your problems.' Toby knew all too well that this was true. 'Lets just stop being assholes to each other so we can get shit done.'

Sam, standing nearly half a foot taller than Toby, appeared to deflate in the face of her harsh words. She let go Laney's jacket, even straightened it for her. She briefly looked down at the ground, swallowed, and then faced the Haven women. She opened her mouth to speak.

Blood splattered across Toby's face.

Toby could have lived a million years without feeling the blood of another woman on her face, she gasped like a fish out of water. Laney leapt between them, thinking Sam had struck Toby, but the Eden Valley woman staggered into her arms. Steam rose into the frigid air from a hot, thick gush of blood streaming from the crook of Sam's neck. As her weight dragged Laney to the ground, another shot rang out from above. Five figures stood at the top of the ravine, two pointing rifles down at the Scavs and Sam.

'Where the fuck - ' Laney cried out, trying to gather Sam in her arms and scramble to her feet at the same time.

'Get down!,' said Jesus, his quick reflexes already having taken him into cover next to a thick tree. 'Its a fucking trap and we took the bait.'

Toby dragged Sam off Laney and behind an rocky outcrop. Laney slid in next to her, dragging the rifle off her back and resting it on the rock. She set it to her shoulder as Monroe had demonstrated, looked along its length and yanked the trigger. There was no way of knowing where the shot went, Laney only knew Monroe would have yelled at her for not using a gentle squeeze on the trigger, but the crack of the rifle reverberated around Davis Crag and the five figures above them dived for cover.

'She's still breathing,' Toby bit out as she pulled the first aid kit from her backpack. 'Can't say more than that.'

Laney racked her brains for more of Monroe's military teachings. There was nothing about leapfrogging with an injured party, but the gang had the higher ground and that was never good news. She fired again, this time with more precision, and was satisfied to see a plume of snow jump up from the top of the ravine. At least that shot had gone somewhere near where she'd intended.

'We've got to get her back to Doc Short,' said Toby. Sam's breathing was ragged but regular as she slipped in and out of concsiousness. 'But that lot will just pick us off.' As if to emphasise her point, a bullet from above ricocheted nearby.

'Eden Valley's closer, right?' replied Laney. 'And the way's less hilly.' She caught Toby's wary look. 'Their leader's spoken to Callie and Monroe. We'll be safe. And we can't lead them back to Haven.'

'How do we...' Another shot whizzed by, and Toby and Laney ducked instincively. Laney wondered if Toby even knew she'd covered Sam's body with her own.

'Jesus,' she called out to the soccer star, louder and slower than necessary. 'Get back to Haven, bring help.' She hoped he didn't think she was being loud and clear because he was foreign. She hoped he could see her winking from here. 'Lose them along the way,' she whispered.

"We'll be here by nightfall" he shouted back. There was going to be vegeance for this outrage. He was going to make sure Monroe took everyone who could use a gun here. They had to bring the flamethrowers and the assault rifles and the AK-forthysomethings here, make a crater the size of Belgium with these cunts.

The Mexican crouched into a sprinting position and Laney let off a volley of shots at the top of the ravine. That much she remembered from Monroe's lessons. Squinting against the failing light, she thought she saw at least four figures moving parallel to the direction Jesus had taken. After giving them a few minutes to clear the area, Toby spoke up. 'Come on, we've got to get her out of here.'

'We're not going to make it to Eden Valley by nightfall,' mused Laney, patting her hatchet without thinking.

'You want to leave her here?' Toby snapped.

'Come on,' Laney replied, slinging the rifle over her shoulder and fixing in her mind the Eden Valley road Jake had pointed out earlier that day. 'I fucking hope Jesus is going to be okay.'

Part 4: Run for their lives
Here he had to think and do it fast. Part of his third world chivarly wanted him to go back and help the women out... there was something just plain wrong about the ladies staying behind while the man took to the hills, but he was the fastest of them all and God knew that, had he stayed, their current predicament would have gone further downhill.

He regained a boost to his pride when he saw that he was being followed... by people with rifles! Motherfuckin' rifles.

The first thing he had to do was lose them. Jesus was not going to chance it on poor aim - if he was caught in an open field he knew he was as good as dead and that, with the snow, the option of hiding was out of the window. The only choice was diving deep into a hive of Z's and praying that they would be more interesed in the second servings than in the appetiser, and with the sunlight starting its rapid decline this was the only outcom that could see him alive and well.

Well, the first option would be getting to the nearby gas station and from there work his way from there. He had gone there only once and it had been a quick lookout for a tire... there were so many things that could go wrong, but as the thunderous roar of a firearm shook his ears he suddenly found worrying less and less about what could go wrong in the far future and more in what could be done to get there.

Taking quick and misleadings turns, the Mexican was gowing bolder that his hand was for once stacked. He glanced backwards looking for signs of his assailants but found nothing. The lingering question on how long had it been sine he lost them left him puzzled. Also it was a relief that came with a sharp guilt, for it was almost a certainty that resources that were not being spent on his persecution would be deployed on targeting those he had left behind. He was not a guy good with math or logistics but the chances of the Scavs and the dying runner were slim, and that was if one was wildly optmistical.

Legs throbbed with pain and his huffed breath against the winter's cold was visible... he was not going to walk out of this as a bastion of health. A flu would be in order and there a the fact that he was working against time, time that drew ever shorter for those that so desperately needed it. Gotta get to Haven... Old man Monroe will know what to do

He clutched the radio tight enough to squeeze juice out of it. He only had to get near enough to get the message, each step taking him closer and closer as the hot sweat clashed against the cold winter winds. Every once in a while he gave a look backwards to confirm if he was leaving a trail or if he had a tail, but all he was could see was the darkness of the night accompanied by the silence of the grave.

The running had slowed down to a jog and from that to a fast walk, pain flared through his kneecaps, the wearied body urging him to stop and take a rest and the temptation to take a seat and catch his breath was eve more alluring. He could get farther and faster if he took one quick break right? Then the image of Toby´s blood-splattered face came crashing to his mind and he found himself renewing his efforts, all that was needed was that he gave the message.

It was all he had to do, dodging zombies was a cakewalk compared to dodging bullets, you could fool zed, you could rattle some cans and zack would answer... but a group of armed nutcases out for blood was frightening. They had always killed at least one of the runners or the scavs on each engagement - people who risked their lives daily to outdo the infected.

But he could not crack, he had to stay focused. It was just a change in the game. Some of the slow people would fall, yes, but those who were up to it would bite back. Nobody fucked up with Haven. Jesus had the feelin that Monroe would wrap this up in no time. He had this "retired badass" feel and look to him, they would sort them out good, and recall these adverse times to pull the through in the dark days ahead.

His radio cracked. He had been pushing the transmiting button all this time... who knows how much time had passed since he had been in range. He was still some 40 minutes or so away from Haven. "Answer back who is this?! Over?" He let the message through and then with his dry and rasp voice gathered as much sense as he could. "It was an ambush, one of the runners is dead and the other gravely wounded! Toby and Byron left beind, over." The answer was inmediate. "Who the fuck is this? What's going on?" Herrera had fallen on his knees. "This is scavenger Jesus Herrera, you need to tell Monroe that it was an ambush, we got an armed group preying on us, Toby and Laney stayed behind to make me slip! They need all the cavalry they can get!"

There was some silence as surely the other reciever chewed on what he just had told and the numerous ramifications that this all entailed. 'Get back here, son,' Monroe snapped. 'Out.'

Soon Jesus sat before Monroe and Callie, panting, gasping. Even for one with his peak fitness, it had been a long run. So he hardly had breath to object when Monroe refused his request to send out the rescue for Toby and Laney. 'We can't see shit, son. We can't risk more lives when we don't even know where they are, if they're alive.'

Part 5: Carry the weight
Laney was happy to let Toby carry most of Sam's weight. With thick bandages swaddling her neck and shoulder, the bleeding had mostly been stopped, but still she was drifting in and out of consciousness, stumbling and occasionally falling. Sam grew heavier as Toby continued on, huffing with the exertion of keeping the woman's weight from dragging them down. It had been a while since she'd had to lift a body, and she was definitely having a hard time lifting one thats nothing more than dead weight in her arms.With Laney insisting on the precaution of following the road from the field side, getting Sam over hedgerows took up valuable minutes.

As dusk fell, progress got even slower. The snow had one silver lining, as it were. Though it hampered movement, it reflected what little light remained. It was this that enabled Laney to see, as she jumped down from the hedgerow into another field, the outline of cluster of zombies up ahead. She couldn't see their exact movements, but the rising howls were enough to send her scrambling back over the hedgerow. Toby had heard it too, and was half-dragging, half-carrying Sam back the way they'd come.

'Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck,' Laney muttered under her breath as she took Sam's other arm. The hedgerow held the zombies up a bit, but soon Laney's regular glances over her shoulder revealed darker shadows against the light grey of the carpet of snow. 'Go,' she hissed to Toby. 'Get over the next hedge and we can maybe hold them off.' She shrugged out from under Sam's arm again, and turned to face the oncoming zombies.

Not for the first time that day, the different ages and physical conditions of the zombies had spread out the pack. What must have been a particularly recent victim was closing fast. Laney swung her hatchet down in an overhead chop, hoping to avoid its arms and hit the head in the poor light. She must have swung a fraction of a second too late; her fingers smashed down on top of the zombie's skull as the thick, heavy blade lodged in the back of its head. The now incapacitated creature slumped and tumbled past her, wrenching the hatchet from her hand with a vicious twist that sent shocks through her wrist. There was no time to react to the pain; another dark grey shape loomed up in front of her. With her left hand, she reached across her shoulder and grabbed the rifle by the muzzle and swung it like a club. Her wild lunge caught the creature in the side, sending it sprawling, one grasping arm tangling in the rifle's strap and ripping it from her grasp. She glanced back at Toby and Sam, peered at the approaching pack, and turned on her heels.

'Leave her,' she barked at Toby. Even in the gloom, she could see the shock on the older woman's face.

'Leave her!' Laney screamed. 'Leave her, drop her, or we're all fucked!' She wrenched at Sam's loose-hanging arm with her left hand, tried to pry Toby's grasp loose with her right, only for the pain in her damaged wrist and fingers to make itself felt and force her to give up the fight. A body barrelled into the back of the trio, tumbling them to the ground. Laney sprang to her feet and instinctively held out her hand. The grip that fixed to it was warm and firm, and Laney dragged Toby to her feet, barely conscious of how foolish she'd just been.

As they reached the last hedgerow they'd crossed, the sounds of crunching and ripping reached their ears. As they slithered through the gap they'd made - Laney first, Toby close behind and panting - there was a brief scream; Sam must have regained conciousness just before she died. Laney tugged on Toby's jacket to make sure she followed, didn't return for the doomed woman. Then she remembered her escape from Cromwell, and rummaged around in her backpack for her torch. Switching it on, she threw it as far as she could away from them. Then they clambered over the stone wall, crossed the road and re-entered the field on the other side. Hopefully the multiple barriers would be enough to hide them from the pack of zombies once their distraction was gone. Any more movement would either see them run into zombies in the dark or alert the pack behind them as to their location.

'Toby?' Laney hissed as they hunkered down. 'Toby?'

Don't tell her. You can't be sure.

Laney knew the older woman was the quiet type, but didn't know if the brooding silences were signs of emotional fragility or just unfriendliness.

You have to tell her.

The way she'd spoken up for Laney, the way she'd carried Sam, Laney feared it was the former. 'Toby, there was nothing we could do.'

Quick or slow? It's your last choice.

Her lips were practically on Toby's ear now. 'Toby, we've got to keep warm til it's light.' She huddled up as close as she could get to Toby. Toby was as tense and still as a stone.

Don't touch me, don't touch me.

'Toby?' Laney whispered falteringly, rubbing her fingers together. 'Is this... Where's this blood coming from?'

No no no no no no no it can't be real.

There was silence in the field as the two women sat with their heavy thoughts. The bite on Toby's shoulder stang a little, but the cold creeping over her mostly numbed it. She thought of the woman she'd found hanging from the rafters in the farmhouse, and the child starved in the cupboard. She thought of William Rand, dying alone in that hotel room, his last thoughts with his son. She had no child to think of in this moment, no parent, no lover. Perhaps this was the right thing to happen. The hanged woman waved at her. She heard the starved child's cries. William Rand reached out to her, his lips moving. She leaned closer, staying just out of the reach of his embrace, to hear what he was saying.

'I have Sam's pistol,' he said.

'Toby, I have Sam's pistol,' Laney whispered. 'Do you... do you want me to do it?'

She took the pistol. It was satisfyingly heavy. Things shouldn't be light, not when they're about to do this.

Laney picked up Toby's axe and peered through the darkness. She couldn't make out much, but the reflected light from the snow showed up in Toby's eyes. They were clear, dry and wide open.

'Give me five minutes to get away.'

November 5th
Part 6: Goodbye
Shortly before dawn, as she drifted in and out of consciousness in a small copse, Laney had realised her injured hand had stopped hurting. Her wrist had stiffened up completely, and her first and middle finger were badly swollen. She'd been unable to pull herself up into the high branches of one of the trees because of it, which is why she'd spent the night in a hollow at the base of the tree. Now, as she fumbled left-handed with the gate into Haven, she was thwarted by the shivers that ran through her entire body. She kept seeing Toby's eyes, kept hearing the muffled shot that had cracked open the silence of the night as she'd stumbled away, and cracked open the hard shell Laney had wrapped around her pain and fright at Toby's fate. She'd wept then, and she wept again as she fell into Jesus's arms when he raced down from the farmhouse, his face etched with tension and frustration.

7 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tilo King Character Portrait: Callie Winters Character Portrait: Jonathan Monroe Character Portrait: Mark Lawson Character Portrait: Richard Brand Character Portrait: Ken Rand Character Portrait: Erin 'Hoppy' Hooper
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#, as written by Bosch

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



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.


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.



November 5th.


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.


“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


“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.



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.



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


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


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


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


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


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.”


“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.”


“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


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


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


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


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.

1 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rishi Sharma
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November 4th.

Southern Out-Building.

When the zombie was properly secured in the specially prepared chair Dr. Sharma had put together with the help of Mark and Monroe, he grabbed his ramen noodles and continued to slurp them up. With a mouthful of food, he turned to the Scav’s who’d just finished helping him put the specimen in its containment.

“Phank oo fo vaa affiftenff.” He managed to say before swallowing. With a smile and a nod, he turned back the zombie. “With his help, maybe we can learn a bit more about our situation.”

After he learned their names, they left and went on to do whatever the Scavs do. He stayed in the building with the zombie, simply watching it struggle against its restraints. Dr. Sharma had a list of tests he intended to conduct on the subject, but for the time being, he was simply looking at it, recalling the day of reckoning. It was extremely difficult to get it in that position, but now that it was there, Dr. Sharma had little to fear. Though the others didn’t really want a zombie inside the walls, neither Mark or Monroe put up any arguments when Dr. Sharma had asked for extra redundancies for every part of the chair’s restraints. Dr. Short was a little less forgiving when he asked her for a needle with muscle relaxants, but he eventually managed to persuade her. It had helped when he and Tilo and Kiera moved the chair, and by the time Tilo and Kiera left, the muscle relaxants had done their job. The only thing left to do was to take the bag off its head and gag it.

It didn’t matter what precautions were taken, the memories of that first day still came to the forefront. Once he grabbed the bag, the zombie moved its head weakly in his direction. Dr. Sharma jumped back, the bag still in his white-knuckled grip. The zombies head hung low, and its movements were sluggish. Even its eyelids were only half open. Shivers ran down Dr. Sharma’s spine, and he cursed under his breath for being so jumpy.

“You can do this…”

He pulled the bit out of his labcoat, courtesy of the Scavs, and walked back in front of the zombie. He closed his eyes, drew in a deep breath, and exhaled. As soon as he opened his eyes, he lunged for the zombie before he had a chance to second guess himself. The rubber strap went around the back of its head, and with his left hand Dr. Sharma essentially smashed the wooden bit into the zombie’s half-open mouth with his palm. The thing bit down on the bit, and Dr. Sharma dove away from the thing into a pile of hay. As quickly as he could he looked at his left hand, going over every millimeter of it before sighing heavily. The zombie hadn’t bit him. Looking back at the subject, Dr. Sharma noticed he had broken its two front most teeth in his attempt to put the bit into place. It didn’t seem to care, its pupils focused entirely on Dr. Sharma. Its temples pulsed over and over again as it attempted to close its jaw.

Dr. Sharma stood up and brushed the straw off himself.

“What just happened, let’s just keep that between you and I, shall we?”

Drawing confidence from the subject’s inability to do harm, Dr. Sharma moved on with the next phase of his plan. He stuffed cotton balls in its ears and nose, placed a pair of ear-muffs on its head, and put the bag back over its head. He looked at his watch, and marked down the time of sensory deprivation. He would return later to see if the subject had calmed down. As he walked back towards the Farmhouse, he paused and looked back at the out-building.

“Subject Zero isn’t exactly a suitable name.”

Quickly, he sprinted back into the out-building. Neither of the Scav’s told him how they found the subject, and it was very curious how they could manage to secure one in the fashion they did, what with it being so…fresh. The most worrying thing about it though, was that it…he…had a name. The husk of a man in the building used to have a name, and now nobody knew it. If he was going to help in any fashion, he needed a name, for the history books. Dr. Sharma entered the holding room and moved behind the chair. He quickly patted the man down for any signs of a wallet or cellphone or any piece of identification. The subject was agitated, but luckily the relaxant was still in effect, and the muffled moans of the zombie were its only response. After a few minutes of searching, Dr. Sharma produced nothing.

“It looks like fortune was never something that looked favourably upon you, my friend.”

Disappointed, Dr. Sharma made his way back to the Farmhouse. He still had to write up the list of materials he required for the more in-depth tests he needed to perform. Without delay, he made his way back into his room and began scrawling on the stack of paper on his desk. Halfway through writing the list, a thought popped into his head.


It seemed fitting, considering Dr. Sharma was the closest thing anybody had to Sherlock Holmes.

“Yes, that will do nicely.”

He finished as quickly as he could, and just like he had a couple days earlier, and rushed down to the jobs board and posted his request.


Mission Impossible.

Suggested Number of Scavs – As many as are available

Area – The Roslin Institute, just outside of Edinburgh.

Objective – Acquire the supplies mentioned in the attached list, and bring them back to the southern out-building.

Information – Many of the items on the attached list are very delicate. I cannot state the importance of proper handling. If one of the highlighted items is broken, the entire mission will have been nothing more than wasted efforts. It is of the upmost importance to maintain a low profile. I am still conducting preliminary tests on Watson, the man in the outbuilding, to determine perceptive capabilities of the reanimated, so I cannot give any insight into the subject at this point in time. Drawing any attention to yourselves, at all, will put the equipment at risk, as your need to rush and tumble will become very prevalent. The proximity of the research facility to a population center is to be of major concern; there may be large quantities of the reanimated shuffling around. It may be necessary to set off major distractions in other locations to the north-west or further east of the institute to draw them away. Do not hole-up under any circumstance, because if you do, you will have to fight your way through 480,000 cold bodies to get back.

Additional information – This facility may contain a variety of extremely dangerous substances, such as the Spanish flu, small pox, and every other apocalyptic disease or pathogen known to mankind. If you break ANY vial of fluid or disrupt ANY containment that is not described on the list, you must, by ANY MEANS NECESSARY, combust the entire facility, with you inside of it. Because I do not yet know if the contagions are transferrable by the reanimated, the risk posed by releasing any of the contagions into the world may be the end of all as we know it, so please, do a good job. In addition, there may be quite a few locked doors that you may need to break to gain entry to certain locations, which may attract attention, unless you can somehow acquire the keys and passcodes.

I wish you the best of luck, because if you fail, you risk potentially more than just your lives.


4 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Benjamin Kinney Character Portrait: Mark Lawson Character Portrait: Erin Hooper Character Portrait: Jesus "Matador" Herrera
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#, as written by Messiah

Collaboration with Rann

November 5th, 2013

Part One: Hopeless

Late Evening

Click. Click. Click.

Shane sat across from Ben, silent. The latter kept his head down, but he knew that the younger of the two brothers was staring at him. He could hear the clicking of the man's knife blade. In and out. In and out.

Ben looked up and Shane looked to him, smirking lopsidedly, "Does that bother you?" to which Ben gave no response.

Shane held in his hand a wallet now, and Ben recognized it as his own. He pulled out his driver's license.

"Benjamin Robert Kinney. Born August 20th, 1991, from... Seattle, Washington." He looked up, "Seattle, huh? How is Seattle?" Again, Ben gave no response. "The silent treatment, huh? Fine, then. But, you won't be quiet for long." Shane stood up, circled around Ben, and leaned in to whisper, "I promise."

He sat back down and looked to his license again, and laughed, "Oh, would you look at this. You're an organ donor, too! How... poetic."

The brother went silent again after that, putting Ben's license back into his wallet, and the wallet back in his pocket, and then resumed his routine.

Click. Click. Click.

Part Two: Getting Ready

After hearing her name, Hoppy left the briefing. She didn't care about Mark, or Caravanners, or whoever else was going to accompany them on the rescue hunt. None of that mattered. She fidgeted restlessly in the front of the barn, watching Monroe leave, as she gripped the cleaver tightly in her hand, occasionally swinging it around with a frustrated grunt. This was bullshit, wasn't it? It just wasn't right! While Ben might be lying, dead in a gutter from the zed swarm, she was sitting around, idly, as if none of it mattered in the slightest, while the higher ups did their thing, just talking about useless crap. What did it matter? What needed to happen was saving Ben! With an angr snarl, she thought about Laney. The actress... was it too much to think they've become friends in that short time? The small girl swung the cleaver again, wiping sweat off her brow at the exertion. Then again. It felt... good, imaigning a zed was there, taking the blow; blood and sinew fracturing as the stel blade chopped its way through. It felt natural. And that Laney, thinking that she couldn't handle it, because she was just a fucking little girl, or whatever it was, that pissed her off almost as much as the sitting around and chatting. In her mind, if she was ready to go up and charging into the rescue, after all this endless toil and weariness, then why couldn't anyone else grow the damn balls and get moving?

She scowled as she swung the cleaver down once more, this time striking at one of the bottles of dye; red ooze gushing out in spurts, a few drops getting onto her hoodie even, other parts splattering out onto the ground. It was red- it could have been blood. And the object she had just obliterated could have been a zed.

It should have been a zed. They should have been on the way to Cromwell by now. It's damn cold, and Ben was still out there.

And it was the idiotic girl's own fault, anyways, wasn't it?

"Best t'go alone..." She muttered to herself, drinking a swig of water; gulping the liquid down. "Else I might kill whoe'er else knocks about with this mess." She glared angrily at the red dye spurts. There's no way they were worth Ben's life. If getting rid of them would somehow help them find him, then she'd gladly destroy it all. The girl then set down the second bottle and began practicing her cleaver swings again. The better to kill Zeds with, right?

Part Three: Witnesses

Shane was getting impatient. With his head lowered again, Ben could see Shane's leg shaking. He even stood up once or twice, paced around the room and circled around Ben again. Ben had even once heard the brother muttering to himself, "Hurry up. Hurry up."

Finally, after what must have been ten or fifteen minutes when he heard a door creak open. It sounded wooden, and it sounded big.

Where the hell was this place?

Shane had noticed the noise as well, and stood up and walked out of the room they were in. Ben could hear them speaking, but if he were to guess, they really had no intention of hiding what they were saying.

The first voice was that of the young brother, "Can I start now?"

"After I talk to him," Mike responded.

In response, Shane seemed to giggle with delight before entering the room once again. As he did, he stepped towards Ben, brandishing his knife, but didn't use it. Instead, he simply stood a foot away, looking down on Ben. A moment later, Mike entered the room as well, bringing in a folding chair of his own. He set it down and took a seat upon it. What Ben found odd as he looked at the older brother was that he held a pencil and a notepad.

Mike leaned forward and looked Ben in the eyes, "Ben. I'm going to be honest with you. You won't be leaving here alive. But, you can help us."

"Fuck you," Ben spat.

"Let me explain. I'm here to record your final moments, but if we were just to kill you here and now, we wouldn't get to experience this intimate moment with you, and pain is a powerful way to get people to reveal the kind of person they really are." He looked to Shane at that, "And that's why my brother is here."

Ben looked to the man standing over him as well; he was shaking - no doubt with excitement - and he was grinning. With a disgusted scoff, Ben shook his head and turned back to Mike.

"So, please. If you would like to cry, scream, beg, or anything else, don't hold back. This is a haven for your feelings."

Haven. The word echoed in his brain, and he shook his head once more, as if trying to shake it out of his mind.

"Fuck you. You're both psychopaths."

Mike shook his head, then narrowed his eyes at Ben, "Don't even pretend like you know us." He motioned to his brother,"Okay," Mike said, leaning back in his chair, "You can start now."

Part Four: Going Out Again

"So that's where you were, Hoppy." Mark had come out, giving Hoppy somewhat of a cautious wave- she was in the middle of another swing of the cleaver, the second bottle of dye already exploded, and red spurts of liquid decorated the area where she sat. "I... hey, you mind if I sit down with you?"

The girl shrugged, and hooked the cleaver back into her jeans strap, looking almost dazedly at the spattered dye. Her restless fidgeting should have been a sign to any, really, that she really wanted to head out and just find Ben, alone or otherwise. That made her, at least at the moment, a loose cannon, and possibly a danger to the whole mission, if they had to chase and restrain her at the same time looking for the American. So he placed a hand on Hoppy's shoulder, getting her attention.

"Right, let's get going." He said kindly, looking into her eyes. "The Caravanners will rendezvous with us at Cromwell; they're probably already moving out. It won't be long until we're there, and we'll have Ben safely with us, with the truck. You'll see, it'll all-"

"Dun' be on spec, you twyp." Hoppy spat, before quickly getting up to her feet with a dirty scowl. Mark let out a sigh, before talking again.

"Look. You lost Chip, you think you'll lose Ben, and that's shit, okay?" He paused. "You probably lost all your friends and family from before too. We all have, right? You're not the only one here who's lost people, so you know we're working our asses off to keep that number a minimum." His voice started shaking as he thought, almost wistfully of Kim. "I lost someone... really important to me... and I don't want anyone else to feel that, if I can help it, okay?"

She shrugged impassively, frowning again; the two of them leaving Haven; next destination would be Cromwell. It was chilly, still, and Hoppy's body was worn, but the faster they went, the more they'd warm up.

"We're doing our best here. Don't think we don't care if Ben buys it or not, Hoppy." He gave her a reassuring smile; anything to try and make sure she wouldn't just run off at her first chance and recklessly shoot herself into Cromwell. "Just think, the smile on old man Monroe's face once we're all home safely, and he walks in, sees Ben home alive, safe and sound. Hell, something like that'd even make that guy grin."

He considered again, and let out a little chuckle. "Well, maybe a small grin."

"I en't need any o' you." Hoppy murmured, looking away. "I bet I could find 'im all on me own, an' be back on time. I oughta-"
The hand on her shoulder squeezed it tight, trying to calm the active girl down at least a little bit. She was already itching to get moving, and leave Mark behind. He'd only slow her down, right? "At least give us until we secure the truck." Mark offered. "You need at least one of us for driving it back, don't you?"

Hoppy grunted, obviously disliking it, but it was true. She doubted her driving skills were sufficient in doing anything extensive with the truck. So as much as it irked her, the frustrated girl paced herself along with Mark's stride, scowling at the man. "If youer'all 're too slow..." She trailed off. This really was a drag, waiting like this. Moving a bit away from Mark, she started, once again, practicing her swing to work off the pent up stress.

A minute later, Jesus arrived. Mark turned and offered a small smile, "Okay, then. I think we're ready to go." Looking between both Hoppy and Jesus, noting the awkward silence, before nodding and heading out, the other two following him close behind.

Part Five: Torture

Shane stood close with his knife in hand, looking Ben over carefully, as if looking for a good place to start. In fact, that seemed to be exactly what he was doing.

After a minute or two of this, he stopped searching and held out his knife. The metal blade stung the flesh on the right side of his abdomen. He winced, but he didn't allow himself to show more than that. In fact, he held his head up and looked at Mike in a specific act of defiance.

The younger brother stood up once again, looking Ben over carefully again, before stabbing the metal into his right bicep. Pain shot through his arm. He ducked his head down, letting out a quiet groan. There was no way he was going to scream or beg; he wouldn't give them that satisfaction, no matter what they pretended they were doing.

The two brothers looked to each other, and Shane spoke up, "He's a tough one, isn't he?"

"Mm," Mike grunted, looking back to his notepad, tapping it with his pencil, "Remember Edmond?" he asked, perhaps a little too casually.

"Oh yeah. Seemed like a real tough guy at first, didn't he?" He chuckled, leaning down to Ben, "Had him squealing about his girlfriend before too long and how she died in his arms. Turns out he wasn't as tough as he'd pretended to be."

"Ben, do you have a girlfriend? It's okay. You can tell me."

It reminded him of the typical therapist that you'd see on TV, 'How does that make you feel?' Except this was one fucked up therapist.

Then, his thoughts went to Laney. How was she taking this? Did she even know yet? He didn't imagine it would be long if she didn't already, and he could only imagine what she might be feeling right now.. If their positions were switched, he'd be going crazy and probably would have done something stupid by now, like go out and look for her, probably on his own.

"No," Ben responded. It wasn't entirely untrue.

"How about family?"

"I already told you about them," he murmured.

"You didn't tell me their names."

"Fuck you."

"Have it your way. Shane?"

"With pleasure."

Part Six: Runners

"You know." Mark tried to break the uncomfortable silence. Hoppy was clearly rushing. Earlier on, she'd only subtly increased the pace in their walk, but now she was moving on pure adrenaline in a light jog; Mark was starting to pant too, but Jesus was more used to this kind of thing. But they both knew it'd be useless to try and convince her to slow down. He wasn't keen on it, either, seeing the glinting cleaver in her pocket; seeing how emotional she was at the moment, and wondering just a little bit if it was that time of the month for her, she just might end up turning the blade on him. If that made him a coward, so be it- but maybe it was better she keep her energy up like this. So she wouldn't lose her motivation and completely wear herself out.

The girl cocked her head in his direction, making labored breaths as she walked with short, quick steps.

"Tilo." Mark said, remembering their talk not too long ago. "I think he's worried about you, you know."

A little 'hmph' from the girl.

The man let out a bit of a sigh as they kept on their tiring trek.

"Doctor Short also told me about your..." He coughed. "Confr- talk. Talk with Laney."

"Her own fault." Hoppy muttered, shooting him an angry glare. "Dusn't think I c'n handle this." She was still angry at that whole thing. Who was Laney to tell her to just leave it to Monroe? Couldn't she understand that she had to do this? That it was her job to fix? It was infuriating. It was frankly, insulting .She's doing fine, isn't she? Just ignore the bags under her eyes, and the fractured mask that couldn't form like it used to. She still had fight left. She'd get Ben back.

No matter the cost.

"Laney en't gunnae be able to do shit. anyways." Hoppy gestured at nothing in particular. "Hurt like she i-"

"She had to watch Toby die, Hoppy." Mark interjected with a tense frown. The girl stopped in her tracks, whipping her head back at the man behind her. Someone had died? No one told her anything about that! How could- no, that;s just the nature of this shit, isn't it? This stupid new world they found themselves in; and the more people they lost, the darker this world became. And Ben could just possibly end up on that growing list, too. "More than that, the two others with them all died, too."

A forty percent survival rate. That's just insane. Hoppy shook her head, now feeling the beginnings of guilt for what she'd said to Laney. She was already in shock and mourning for the ones lost, wasn't she? And then now Ben could be one of them too. And, Hoppy realized darkly, it was her own fault. Laney was right to lash out at her. Hoppy'd have done the same, if things were reversed.

It wasn't too long until the pair reached the outskirts to Cromwell- a sight Hoppy dreaded to see. This was where she'd messed up bad, wasn't it? It was almost like a haunting reminder of her sins. She gripped the handle of her cleaver hard, and made out two figures waiting there. The Caravanners, two men who looked friendly enough, waved them over.

"You're the Caravanners, right?" Mark talked first, while Hoppy stayed behind with an impatient frown and Jesus stood behind her, rubbing the back of his head awkwardly. Goddamn introductions were a waste of time. "I'm Mark, and this is Hoppy. She's the one who got the truck earlier. And that's Jesus," he motioned to the third member of their group.

The older man, maybe thirty or early forties with greying hair introduced himself with a nod of the head, as Ronnie. He regarded the two Scavs almost apprehensively, reserving judgment for now. He then turned to the younger man, younger than Hoppy herself was, in fact, probably mid-teens. He was missing an eye, or maybe it was injured- an eye patch was over it. Not that it really mattered- they were just cannon fodder for the Ben search, after all, Hoppy figured. The younger man called himself, ironically, Benson, earning a dark glare from the hoodied girl.

"What first, then?" Ronnie asked, seemingly taking charge. "You need the truck secured, but there's also that... Ben, of yours, we need to find."

"If he's even alive," Benson said sardonically, chuckling a little. It was that instant that Hoppy brandished her cleaver and pointed it towards him, almost quivering with anger. There was a tense silence- all eyes on the girl. Benson held his smirk; a lip curling almost cruelly, utterly ignoring the blade aimed at his throat. This was frustrating. And Hoppy really really wanted to lunge forward and cleave him with it... but that wouldn't solve anything. It might just start even more trouble between the two groups. And everyone would blame it on her- another fuck up made by Hoppy.

"Shut up." She said quietly, and let Mark pull her aside and give her a disapproving glance. As the three chatted and planned, Hoppy thought- there was no way she's hanging around with these idiots. She'd rather bash her head against a wall for eight hours, and that's a stupid idea, of course. In her head, a plan formed to leave them behind, and she; with an almost twinkling smile, feeling triumphant at the return of her mask, "Truck first." She said. "So we c'n up an' get in an' get Ben out ASAP. 'e might be injured."

Yeah, definitely no way she'd hang around with these fools, even as they shrugged and more or less agreed with her. Benson still gave her a hard, piercing look, though, making the girl return it coolly.

Part Seven: Threshold of Pain

Ben's vision had gone blurry, and his right arm had started to go numb. Shane hadn't let up. In addition to the gash on his abdomen and the stab wound in his arm, he had accompanying gashes on his left leg and his back, near his left shoulder blade. The younger brother had also taken to hitting Ben in the face to the point where his right eye had nearly swollen shut, and his head had become increasingly difficult to hold up.

But, Ben wouldn't give up. He didn't scream, and he didn't beg, and it seemed to frustrate the brothers - Mike in particular, who kept prodding him for information.

"I guess you really are a tough guy, huh?" Shane grunted out, rubbing the fist that he'd used to hit Ben, and then struck another blow, this time in Ben's ribs.

Ben doubled over and coughed, having just had the wind knocked out of him. When he'd recovered, he lifted his head to look at Mike once more. This time, he chuckled, seeming to catch him off-guard, "I bet this frustrates the shit out of you, doesn't it?" Ben spat out some blood at Mike's feet, "You're used to people just howling like banshees, aren't you?"

Mike sighed and stood up, then looked down at Ben, "Defiant to the end." He motioned to Shane, who turned and looked at his brother. They both exited the room and Ben lowered his head so that his chin nearly rested on his chest, thankful for the respite, as brief as it might be. All he wanted to do now was cry, or scream. The pain was getting to him, and he just wanted to be back at Haven with the people that he cared about. But, he would not give in. He wouldn't give the brothers the satisfaction of letting them know that they'd gotten to him. No. If this is where he was to die, he would die strong and defiant.

"This isn't working!" Shane said. He was getting frustrated too.

"I can tell. Maybe we should just move forward."

"Yeah. Fine." Shane sounded indignant. Probably because he wouldn't get to play with their captive much more.

"I'll be back. You wait out here until I get back."

This could be an opportunity. With Mike gone and Shane outside for who knows how long, he might be able to start getting himself free. He had to believe that he could still make it out of this alive. What he would do after getting himself free, he didn't know, but giving up now wasn't an option.

His arms and legs were held to the chair with duct tape. First he tried wiggling his left arm, and it budged a little, but he had to think of something else; it was unlikely that the wiggling alone would be enough to free his hand in time. After a moment of thought, he ducked his head down to his wrist and began chewing on the tape. This might not be fast enough either, but maybe... both at the same time would be enough. The door creaked open again and Ben quickly pushed the tape back down with his chin, trying to make it look like he hadn't been doing anything. Hopefully the brothers wouldn't notice.

Both brothers entered again, and what Mike was holding made Ben's heart race, and his eyes go wide.

The older brother held in his hand a set of bolt cutters.

No. No. No. What were they going to do?

It didn't take long for him to find out. Shane approached and held him down with one forearm while holding the fingers of his left hand - all but his left pinky. Then, Mike stepped up, holding the bolt cutters. He pulled the arms open, to open up the head of the tool. The opening was then placed so his pinky finger was between the blades. He struggled, trying to move his hand out of the way, but he hadn't chewed through enough of the tape.

Ben could feel the metal pressing into either side of his finger, and the moment before seemed to last forever.

And then, with a grunt, Mike closed the arms.

Ben screamed. Blood poured.

He remained conscious long enough to see the brothers step back, and the older one bent down to pick something off of the ground.

Then everything went dark.

Part Eight: Tricky Hoppy

It was really terse. Hoppy couldn't help but wonder why, exactly, did the Caravanners even come to help? What use would they be? What if they killed Ben upon finding him? She frowned more as she realized that they most likely didn't know what he looked like- and if Ben is bloodied and hurt, they might even mistake him as a zed and kill him with those rifles of theirs. The sound still echoed in her mind- when Chip had done himself in. Ridiculous. Do guns have to be so loud and terrifying? That's just... she had to stop thinking on this track. Not like she'd be with them for much longer.

"So, where'd you leave the truck?" Ronnie asked her, turning away from his talk with Mark about random, useless things.

"Just somewhere." Hoppy muttered, trying to block them out. The house wasn't far- just a few more turns and then that'd be it. It's weird how empty these streets were though, not even a hint of zed. WAs something going on elsewhere that might be luring them away? Hoppy didn't care all that much about the reason- as long as there were less of them. She knew she probably wouldn't be able to slash through the skin with the heavy blade of hers, in her current state. So damn tired.

Benson caught up and nudged her, startling her into a jump. "Didn't drive it back?" He jeered. "You can't drive, or something?"
Another chilly glare found itself on the younger boy. "I c'n drive fine." She said with a pleasant smile. "'was more convenient t'ave it 'ere."

"Don't see how." The boy prodded her again, shrugging. "I mean, driving back to Haven or whatever, then driving back here, it's faster than just walking."

He really was getting on her nerves. If it took too long, Hoppy really thought that she might end up snapping and driving the cleaver into his gut. This cocky kid sure as 'ell deserved it, didn't he? The bastard just didn't know when to shut up. Boiling internally, she made a self deprecating smirk. "Might be I'm stupid, en't it?." She said, and turned back to the deerted streets. The house was right there now, the garage door was still closed. So no one had broken in and taken it. Hoppy let out a relieved sigh, and saw a few other houses with garages around. A nasty grin appeared on her face.

"So." She said, getting Mark and Ronnie's attention, and gesturing at the assorted houses. "It's 'round 'ere, somewhere. I... summat forget which'un." She made an apologetic face.

"We'll have to just search each one then." Ronnie said, cracking his knuckles, and moved up to the closest one. Hoppy quickly glanced over at Benson, Mark, and Jesus, all watching the older man. As he forced the garage open, he looked back at them, calling out, 'Not this one!", and tilted his head in the direction of the next house; Mark and Benson following. No one was paying attention to Hoppy, were they? She immediately bolted in the other direction, towards Gill Mechanics, where she'd last seen Ben, leaving the four men behind.

Part Nine: Now's Your Chance

Ben regained consciousness a while later. He had no idea how long he'd been passed out. Slowly, he opened his eyes, but kept his head down. The realization of what had just happened came over him again just as the pain did. The throbbing in his left hand was nearly unbearable. There was no end to it. But, he had to keep himself quiet. The brothers didn't need to know that he'd regained consciousness. His jaw clenched and he kept quiet, despite the pain.

Not far away, he could hear them talking; apparently they still thought that he was unconscious. At least for the moment.

"Someone's going to come looking for him," Mike was saying, "He mentioned a sister."

"So, what do we do?" Shane asked in response.

"What do you think? We go get them."



"I should go."

"No, Shane."

"Why the hell not? You think I can't handle it?"

"Remember earlier? You got way too eager to go back and look for her. You almost fucked it up." Mike was getting impatient.

"Fuck you."

"Shane, I need you here to look after him, make sure he doesn't try anything."

"Fine," Shane grunted, agreeing reluctantly, "Don't take too long."

"I won't. Oh, and if he's dead when I get back, there's going to be hell to pay."

"Yeah, yeah. Get going. You're wasting time."

Ben expected Shane to return, but he didn't. Thank goodness. He could go back to trying to free himself, and he had to hurry. It wasn't just his life in danger now. If anybody had come looking for him, they were now in danger of being captured by the brothers, just as he had.

Again, he ducked his head down, this time to his right arm which, as if in response to the extraordinary pain in his left hand, had gotten its feeling back. It still hurt like a bitch, but it was a duller pain than in his other hand. He began to chew on the tape and wiggle his arm back and forth. A few times, he bit his own arm, drawing blood, but he didn't care. All that mattered now was getting his arm free.

Finally, after a few minutes, he was able to yank his right arm free of the tape. Wasting no more time, he began pulling the tape off of his other arm, and then his legs, careful not to make too much noise.

He was free.

Part Ten: Where Are You?

The four that remained continued to search for the truck. It wasn't until a minute or two later that Jesus piped up, finally noticing they were one short. "Guys? Where's Hoppy?"

Mark looked around frantically, "Shit. Where the hell did she go?"

"Probably ditched us, stupid f--"

Ronnie stopped Benson from finishing his sentence by putting a hand on his shoulder and shaking his head, before offering, "She couldn't have gotten far, could she?"

"I hope not." Mark looked around, "Alright, let's find the truck and get to Cromwell. Maybe she's there somewhere."

Seriously, this was ridiculous. They hadn't followed her so far, at the very least. Hoppy buckled over in the last place she'd seen Ben, almost balking at the gloominess of the building. No zed in sight whatsoever. What was going on, where were all of them? It was creepy, and she didn't like it. At least there was no trail of blood or anything, or even worse: Ben's corpse. That's probably the only mercy here. But that had the problem- there's no real trail to track Ben at all. She scowled and kicked an idle can at the wall, with a grunt, before taking the cleaver out and tossing it into the air, catching it by the handle with apparent ease.

"Fuck." She muttered quietly. "The 'ell are you, Ben?"

She was frustrated. She was tired. She had no idea what to do now, so she just plopped herself down, her limbs sighing in great relief, being finally allowed a little rest. The world seemed to twist around her, making her almost lurch with a sudden wave of nausea. Gripping her head irritably, she realized that she'd pushed her burdened body to it's limits, hadn't she? And it was all to no end- there was still no sign of Ben at all. She'd failed, miserably and utterly. And she didn't have enough energy to head back to Haven either- nor had she remembered to bring a radio.

It was almost funny- going this far only to be, pretty much stranded, and having it entirely her own doing. She had tried though... but there's nothing really to show for her effort.

A quiet sound came through the darkness. Almost like a hiss. But, it was hard to tell where it had come from, or maybe it hadn't been real at all.

But, again, the sound came, accompanied with words, "Hey! You!" And a man approached, slowly, and carefully, "That's not really a good place to be resting, don't you think?"

Hoppy turned towards the voice, surprised. It wasn't Ben, he didn't have that almost barbaric American accent, but it was someone else. Maybe he had, at the very least, food or something, right? She got up with great effort, before steadying herself by leaning on the wall.

"Who's you?" She asked pointedly. "I c'n rest where I want..."

"Sorry, I didn't mean-- There could be those dead things hiding out here, you know? It's not safe." The man stepped forward, offering a hand, "I'm Mike."

She looked at the hand for a few moments before deciding that there couldn't really be any harm in it. "Hoppy." She replied, giving her own name, with a bit of a shrug. "An', there arn't any zed 'round today... the streets're stupid quiet. I dun' like it."

"They could come back here anytime." Mike adjusted his pants a little bit, "What are you doing here, anyway?"

Hoppy took one more cursory glance around the room, not really wanting to accept any help. But, unfortunately, there was still no sign of Ben at all. "Jus' lookin' fer sum'un." She sighed tiredly. "Some'un I was with til yesteday, last saw 'im 'roud 'ere." She turned to the man, Mike. He might have seen him, right? There was always that chance. "You seen 'im?"

Then she wondered- what exactly was Mike doing here, anyways? There's not really much except for a truck that was no longer there, right? "What're yew doin' 'ere?"

His face seemed to light up at her admission, "Oh! Maybe you're the one I'm looking for. We might have found this person you're looking for. Me and my brother saved him from a horde, but he got hurt, so we had to take him back to our place." He rubbed the back of his head sheepishly, "He wouldn't tell us if he had anywhere else to go."

A rush of relief poured through her body. In that instant, the weary and on the verge of giving up Hoppy shot up; eyes bright and considerably lightened. If anything, she looked almost like how she used to, before the stress kept on piling up. "Take me to 'im, then." She said quickly, with new enthusiasm. "'How bad's the injury?"

"Nothing too serious. We're not doctors or anything, but I think it's just a sprained ankle. But, lucky for him we came along. He might not have gotten away otherwise." With a waving motion with his arm, he added, "It's this way. Follow me."

Cracking a bit of a grin, Hoppy followed along, staying just a few paces behind him. "Thanks." She managed. "I'm all tired; been runnin' non-stop since we got split up. 'e'll be glad t'see me, though, innit right?"

"Definitely. He seemed worried about you."

"You got, I dunnae, a drink or anythin'?" She asked. "At youer place, I mean. I'm sorry t'ask, but... I cud really use a refresher before takin' 'im back."

"Yeah. We've got drinks." He continued to lead her away from Cromwell. It didn't take long for the silhouette of what appeared to be a house to appear on the horizon, "It's just up there."

Mike was friendly to Hoppy. Maybe a little too friendly.

Hoppy looked pensively at Mike, noting the house. Something seemed a little off to her, but she couldn't quite put her finger on it. Now that the elation had burned out, she could actually think, at least, a little bit. And she had that weird prickling feeling she always got whenever someone was lying... but why would he be lying? It was a bit unsettling, but that might just be due to the antagonizing Benson from earlier, or the eerily empty streets with nary a hint of a zed wandering around.

They had found the truck and had made their way into Cromwell - which was eerily quiet. In the past, Cromwell had always been ready to explode with activity, but the dead seemed to have vacated the area entirely. After a few minutes driving around town, they had found Gill Mechanics.

"This must have been where they found the truck. Maybe this is where they got separated," Mark announced as he brought the vehicle to a stop. Mark and Jesus exited the cab while Ronnie and Benson hopped down from the back of it. "Can anybody track at all?"

"I can, just a little," Ronnie responded, "That's why I was brought along."

"Convenient," Mark nodded, "Well, do your thing. Let us know what you come up with."

The two members of Haven kept an eye out while Ronnie searched the area for clues and Benson just... stood around looking indignant, as youth tended to do, even before the world went to shit.

"Here!" Ronnie called, "It looks like somebody was sitting here recently. Someone must have come up and led them away. It could have been your friend."

"Great. Where do they lead?" Mark asked.

"South out of town."

"Back in the truck," Mark ordered.

"Fantastic," Benson grumbled, climbing back onto the bed of the truck with his fellow Runner.

"Where are you going, Hoppy?" Mark whispered to himself, starting the vehicle and heading south out of town.

Part Eleven: The Tables Have Turned

Slowly, Ben pushed himself against the door and peeked out to see Shane with his back to him and looking out into the open world. They were in the barn. It had been dark, and he couldn't see much past the room he was in at the time, but he probably should have figured it out. The room he'd been captive in was one of the feed stalls that you saw in a barn.

Shane had the barn door open, and distilled moonlight passed through clouds and into the barn.

Ben could get the jump on Shane, but he had to find a weapon first. He crept out into the large open area of the barn and looked around frantically. At his left was a piece of wood - a 2x4. Quickly and quietly, he picked it up, then approached Shane from behind. He raised the piece of wood up, just in time for Shane to turn around. Without so much as a second of hesitation, Ben swung, hitting him in the face and knocking him down to the ground, stunned.

He then reached down, taking Shane's knife off the ground, which had been dropped when Ben delivered the blow, and pointed it at him.

"...please..." Shane mumbled dazedly, "...don't kill me..."

Ben stood where he was, staring down at Shane with contempt and rage. He deserved worse than death. He deserved the same treatment that he'd delivered to Ben and probably to countless others who hadn't been as fortunate as himself.

"I guess we're finding out what kind of person you really are, aren't we?" he sneered. All he wanted to do was to cause pain to this man, and he wanted to do it slowly, but...

"No," Ben said aloud, "I'm not like you." He then crouched down and put the blade to the man's throat, "But, I can't let you live."

And, with a swift motion, Shane's body went limp and collapsed to the ground with a steady pool of blood gathering beneath him. Ben stood back up and spat at Shane's lifeless body, "Coward." Before stepping away from Shane's body, he searched his pockets and found his wallet with his license in it. Really, he had no reason to keep it, but he didn't want to lose it. Maybe it was a connection to the old world, like with Hoppy's hair dye.

That hair dye. If she hadn't made them stop for it, they might not have gotten separated, and he might not be where he is now. He grew angry, and he couldn't tell if he was angry at her for making them stop, or if it was at himself for being so stupid as to trust these guys. Whatever it was, he wheeled around, flinging Shane's knife at the back wall. It thunked into what looked like a door - a door that didn't seem like it belonged. As if it were made sometime after the barn had been built.

He walked to the back and to the door. It wasn't locked. He pulled the door open. As cold as it was in the barn, it was even colder in this room.

But, what really got him was the contents of the room. For almost a minute, he stood staring in shock, unable to find proper words. He had to shake his head, and then he closed the door, turning to leave the barn. How--

An explosion sounded and Ben ran towards the entrance of the barn as fast as he could and ended up in the snow - still naked - and looking around. Off in the distance, he could see a fire burning. That was likely the source of the explosion.

"What the fuck..." he muttered to himself, squinting at the blaze. That couldn't have been good. He only hoped that nobody he knew was in trouble.

No matter. There would be time to worry about that later. Now, he had to focus on Mike. As long as he was alive, Hoppy and anybody else was still in danger, but Ben couldn't just go chasing after him. He had to find a way to get the jump on the other brother just as he did with Shane.

First thing's first. It was getting cold, and he had to find his clothes. The house was a good a place as any to start.

The door to the farmhouse wasn't locked either. Obviously, neither of the brothers had expected Ben to escape, so there was no need to lock it, right? The house was warm. Well, not all that warm, but it was better than the barn or the cold night air. He went upstairs, looking through the rooms, hoping to find his clothes. There were three bedrooms. One of them was neat, the second was slightly less neat, and the third...

The third bedroom was the largest of the three. In the center of the floor were piles of clothes. This must have been where they put the clothes of everyone they'd captured before. Right on top of the piles were his own clothes, right down to the hat and socks. And off to the side, amongst all the shoes, were his boots. His backpack was hanging on a hook in the closet.

Gingerly, he pulled on his clothes. They stung, but if they kept him from freezing to death, then he would have to push through the pain. He also made sure to pull the left sleeve of his jacket down to cover his hand.

The bed in the room was neatly made and didn't look like it had been slept in in months. Off to the side of the bed was a dresser. Maybe there was something in there.

He pulled open several of the drawers and most of them had nothing in them. There were two that did, however. They were small drawers, normally used for socks or underwear.

The first one seemed a little heavy, and as soon as he opened it, he understood why. Inside was a pistol and a few magazines. Before he took them, he looked around, as if expecting someone to be watching. Carefully, he took the weapons and its ammunition and put them in his backpack. Nobody else needed to know about these yet. But, he couldn't help but wonder where these came from.

Then again, no doubt the brothers had come across all types. It stood to reason that at least one of them had a gun and some ammunition for it.

Once the drawer was emptied and its contents were in his bag, he closed it and opened the other. Inside this one, he found a book. It didn't have anything particularly distinguishing on its cover. He took the book and set it on the bed. Also in the drawer, previously next to the book was a set of various personal identification cards. He pulled them out and looked through them, sitting down onto the bed as he did.

These were all the people that they had captured in the past. Men and women both.

Putting the cards down, he turned his attention to the book. He opened it and began to read...

Part Twelve: On Their Way

She hadn't really thought of the risk before, but it's entirely possible. Being a girl... it made her inherently more vulnerable to predators, didn't it? Not just because of being, in general, physically weaker than men, but because of the fact that... well, 'making love' would hardly be anyone's priority right now. Or even worse- the birth-giving capabilities her body had might be a good pick for extremist groups trying to survive. She knew that that was why Chip had been so protective of her, before he died, for sure. Because of the risks involved. And with her, possibly overly keen instinct, she had to make sure this wasn't some sort of trap. Of course, that explosion earlier might have been why she's so on edge too. It was loud and sudden, and too similar to the shot of a gun. It reminded of things she really didn't want to remember at a time like this.

Before they could take another step, Hoppy slid the cleaver over Mike's shoulder, resting against his throat. Her face was dark, impassive.

"Youer lying." She muttered. "I dunnae what exactly- but you arn't talkin' to me straight. So I suggest now start bein' straight with me." She pressed it closer to his neck flesh, hoping the cold of the steel alarmed him. "Or I might ju's kill you, 'ere an' now."

Mike straightened himself up and stopped his progress. Despite his predicament, he remained calm. Maybe he was used to this kind of reaction. It was hard to tell.

"Alright. You want to know what your friend told me? He told me that you were his sister, but I can tell by your accent that isn't true. You're not American." He shuffled his feet a little, "As soon as you opened your mouth, I could tell he lied about that. And he also told me that he had no where to go, but that was probably a lie too, wasn't it?"

Sister? How could that even- no matter, it was still a lie nonetheless. Hoppy pressed her lips tighter together as she thought, not moving the cleaver a centimetre from the intended victim. Why would Ben have lied about her? Couldn't he just say 'a friend'? Or perhaps- well, for one, it meant for sure that Mike and his unknown brother were untrustworthy. And such, it'd be better to leave out any details about Haven, she thought. Hell, that might've been why Ben lied too. To keep them out of Haven. It made sense- the more people, the harder it'd be to feed everyone. Less food to go around, of course.

That didn't change that it was a lie. But then again, everyone lied, old world and new world alike.

"Dusn't answer me." She said coldly. "Yew still arn't tellin' me the straight, Mike. Why were you so... quick t'agree to me havin' a drink? That stuff's rare these days, an' you dun' gain 'nythin' from lettin' me 'have some."

"Look, we really don't want you two around any longer than we have to. No offense. My brother doesn't do well with strangers. If a drink will help you get you on your way faster, then that's what I'll give you." Again, Mike shuffled, but kept his eyes and his head facing forward.

That also made some sense, didn't it? Hoppy considered... but then something else came up. If the brother didn't do well with strangers, why not just leave Ben to die? Surely that's a normal thing to do these days- you look out for your own, and fuck all the others. They didn't matter in the slightest. And that was still nagging at her.

"So why'd yew save 'im in the first place." She shot at Mike with her words. At least he wasn't trying to get away from the blade; it'd be a quick and easy chop, just in case she had to do it. And she would, wouldn't she?

Mike sighed impatiently, "I couldn't just leave him to die, not in all good conscience. My brother wasn't around when I found him, but he'll manage, at least until you both go. Besides..." Mike turned his head to look at her, "Do you think he's going to take kindly if you walk up to the house without me?"

Things were still nagging uncomfortably at her mind, but she was anxious to find Ben and go, already. Then find the others, and get the hell back to Haven and get some well earned sleep. In a different situation, Hoppy would have continued the questioning, but she was pressed for time here. Her strength was ebbing away, in any case. Hoppy lowered the weapon grudgingly, refusing to look Mike in the eyes.

"Fine," she spat. "Let's jus' get this over with, then. Hurry up." She took a few steps forward before the world went all wobbly once again, almost losing her footing. With an irritated curse, she steadied herself. How pathetic, showing weakness after a threat like that. If it really was a trap, she really couldn't do anything about it like this. The sooner they ended this, the better.

When the weapon was lowered, he relaxed a little bit and rubbed at his throat, "The sooner, the better," he mumbled.

Part Thirteen: The Journal

The inside cover of the book had a name written on it.

Michael Beckett

Ben opened to the first page.

August 18th, 2013:

Mom got bitten today. We went to Cromwell to look for food, but there were so many of them. We managed to escape, but only just barely. I don't know why I let her come along. She just wouldn't take no for an answer. When the time comes, I'll have to put her down. I can't ask Shane to do that. It would destroy him. He feels bad enough about letting her get bitten in the first place.

He turned to another page further along.

August 29th, 2013:

We're running out of food. It won't be long before we starve. Shane has suggested that we go to Cromwell to look for food again, but the last time we went, Mom got bitten. He's determined that it won't happen again. Maybe he's right. We have to do something. If I die, I'd rather do it trying to stay alive, rather than sitting here hiding while we slowly starve to death. Yeah. He's right. We need to go to Cromwell.

The next entry.

August 30th, 2013:

We ran into a couple people who had the same idea that we did. They wanted to check Cromwell for supplies - food in particular. The four of us were chased off by a group of them before we could get any food or supplies, and now they want to stay with us. We can barely support ourselves, how are we supposed to do anything to help an extra two people? I don't know what to do.

The next entry seemed to be written in more of a hurry, and certain parts of the page were wrinkled, as if those specific spots had gotten wet.

August 31st, 2013:

We had to do it. Our food is running out, and we can't go to Cromwell without risking being attacked. We didn't have a lot of choices. I pulled Shane aside and once we'd talked about it for a while, we agreed that we had to do it. They fought back, so we had to knock them out and put them in the barn. The father was first. His name was Alan Rogers. The young woman, his daughter Katie, is still alive. I think I can still hear her. I almost couldn't hold it down. What would Mom say about what we've done? We had to do it. God forgive us.

Ben stared at the page, not daring to turn it for the page. Not yet. He'd remembered seeing their faces when he looked through the identification cards. Alan, an older man with gray hair and a beard, and Katie, a woman maybe a few years older than he was with bright red hair. Not like Hoppy's, but they called that hair color red, even though it was usually more orange.

He flipped to another entry.

September 3rd, 2013:

We had nothing left from Alan, so we had to take from Katie. She cried, and she screamed, and she begged. I told her that I was sorry, and we had to do it. We would starve without them. Her screams are gone, but I can still hear them in my head. They won't go away. I'm so sorry. I'll never forget you two, sacrificing yourselves so that we can live. She'll last us another few days.

God. It was almost enough to keep him from reading on, but there was some morbid sense of curiosity in him that wanted to know more.

He skipped ahead some more, and some other words caught his attention.

...found some more in Cromwell...

Some of that he didn't want to read, but some other things caught his attention.

...I think Shane is starting to... like all of this. He told me that he enjoyed hearing Katie cry and beg that night. He asked if he could start... hurting them while we held them. I didn't want to disappoint him. I said yes.

There was so much that Ben would be willing to do for his brother, but letting him torture people?

Ben continued.

September 16th, 2013:

I've decided to write down what people say when Shane is doing what he does. A lot of them confess things they've done, or tell us about their families, or their lovers. It's really touching that they would share these things with us, but they are their final moments, so it's... not all that unexpected, I guess.

September 20th, 2013:

Shane suggested we keep mementos from everybody. These people are giving up their lives so we can survive, so I told him yes. He suggested we keep their heads first, but I told him no. That would suggest that we do this only because we like it, like we want to take trophies. We should be respectful of their sacrifice, so I told him we'd take fingers only, and bury the heads.

October 15th, 2013:

God, what have we become? Shane has enjoyed this almost from the start, but I keep telling myself that I don't, that I'm only doing this to survive. And then I let him torture them. And then we started taking their fingers. It's too late to stop. I can't tell Shane to stop. I can't stop. There's no going back. If God exists, He will not forgive us.

What the hell did that mean? Of course he could stop. What a load of bullshit. He probably enjoyed it as much as Shane did, but just didn't want to get his hands dirty.

At last, Ben turned to the final entry in the journal.

November 5th, 2013:

We came across another person in Cromwell today. His name is Ben, and he's an American. We haven't had any Americans yet. I wonder if they're any different? He's tied up in the barn now, but he won't talk. He won't cry. He won't tell us anything. Why not? We're just trying to help him get his feelings out there. We don't normally take their finger until after they're dead, but I think if I do it before he dies, it may help get some of those feelings out there. We also have to be careful. His sister drove off yesterday when they attracted a horde. She may come looking for him. I'm going to have to try and find her.

That fucker.

Part Fourteen: Reunion

November 6th, 2013

Early Morning

Ben stood up, closed the book and tossed it back onto the bed angrily, before pulling on his backpack.

It was then that something caught his attention outside. He crept to the window and peeked out to see Mike returning, but he wasn't alone; Hoppy was with him.

"Shit," Ben muttered to himself as he unsheathed his hatchet and made his way downstairs. He found the downstairs bathroom and stepped inside, moving to the shower and hiding behind the curtain, just in time to hear the front door open.

"You said you wanted a drink, right?" Mike asked, his steps getting audibly louder.

"Make it quick." Hoppy grumbled. "Don't fancy passin' out 'ere when we should be gettin' outta the way."

Ben poked his head around one side of the shower curtain and saw Mike walk past the open bathroom door as he did. He had to do this right, and he had to it quick. It was more than likely that the drink he was going to give her would be laced just as his own had just hours ago.

"You like beer?" Mike asked, "We've got plenty of that."

Hoppy shrugged with distaste. "Get rid of the headache, innit right?" She glanced around a bit. "Where's Ben, then?"

"He might be out in the barn. I told him he could look around while he waited for me to come back." There was the unmistakeable sound of a bottle being opened, "And it might help with the ankle. 'Walk it off', you know?" Mike chuckled.

"Aye, I'll jus' take a bit o'it.." Hoppy murmured, grabbing at the bottle. "Ta, maybe."

Ben was now out of the shower and hiding in the dark of the bathroom. Mike walked past once to give her the bottle, back again to the kitchen, spoke up, "I'll go and check for Ben in the barn. I'll be right back." And then, again, Mike walked past the open bathroom door, intending to go outside. No doubt he believed that, by the time he got back, Hoppy would be out of it.

Ben wouldn't let that happen.

As soon as he saw Mike pass the door, he leaped out from the shadows, brandishing his hatchet. Before Mike could react, Ben had buried it into the back of his head. The older brother was dead, but Ben didn't stop. He brought the weapon down onto his head over and over and over again. Blood splashed his face and his clothes as he lie on top of the man who had nothing but a bloody pulp left for a head. Finally, Ben let the weapon slip from his grasp and it clattered on the floor.

With his chest still heaving, he looked to Hoppy, "Don't... drink that."

Hoppy was staring at the scene. Not exactly in shock, per se, but it was a surprise. And it made things clearer in her mind- why she had that nagging feeling of a lie in her head. Where was the other brother, then? And what was the trap, in the first place? She had the burning desire to ask those questions, hoping it wasn't anything too bad.. Ben was alive, wasn't he? She had to do something first though. Hoppy lowered her head just a bit, not having the will to see his face.

"Sorry." She said in a strained voice, threatening to cry again. "It's my fault, an', I- I'm sorry. I'm... I tol' Laney an' she's... she's worried fer yew an', I jus'... She paused, gathering her breath. "I'm sorry, Ben, It should'a been me who got left be'ind."

This was the last thing he wanted to hear right now. The assault on Mike had taken a toll on the strength he had left, but with what he could muster, he picked up his hatchet and pulled himself to his feet. He wiped his face off with the sleeve of his left arm and stared straight at Hoppy once more.

"Just stop. Don't cry. Don't apologize. It doesn't matter who should have been left behind. It was me. Unless you have some way of going back to change that, move on."

The words stung more than she'd wanted to have been affected by them. It hurt like, like fuck. And she deserved each bit of it. In a way, this hurt even more than if he'd had struck her, because at least she'd have the physical pain to ease her mind of what she did. She held the tears back, out of shock and guilt and pure willpower, and straightened up. In a meek voice, "Ta, fer savin' me..." and gingerly turned away to hide her face from him, burying herself deeper in the hoodie.

Part Fifteen: The Truth Revealed

Right now, he looked bad. His right eye was nearly swollen shut, and his expression was filled with rage, and in a way, the rage dulled the pain - like some kind of anesthetic. So much so that he didn't realize that his left hand was still in pain until he looked to his sleeve and saw that it was still covering his hand entirely.

He watched her carefully until she turned away, "Be glad I did. Things wouldn't have gone well for you."

"What'd they do?" She asked, still refusing to look at him; shrunken into herself. "Why're yew all... like this, now?"

Ben stepped past her and out into the open air, motioning for her to follow him, without actually saying it. He led her into the barn. Still at the entrance to the structure was Shane's body with his throat cut open. At the back of the barn was the door that didn't quite look like it belonged.

Behind the door was a grisly scene. It was like something you'd see at a butcher shop, or a market. The room was ice cold and, from the ceiling, hanging upside-down from hooks were three human bodies - two male and one female. They had each been disemboweled and decapitated. In addition, each of their left pinky fingers were missing.

Hoppy took a glance at the scene and instantly buckled up; body collapsing onto her knees at the heel realization. Eyes wide, pupils dilated, and guts hurling, sick globs of vomit leaked through her fingers as her body shook in the crumpled pile she was. It was sickening and horrifying all at once... and it had almost happened to her. She lay there for a few minutes, registering the scene. Recovering as best as she could from the retching, she wiped her hands on her hoodie gingerly and took an aside glance at Ben's arm. Was his pinky finger, also... Idiotically and impulsively she pulled on his left sleeve, not saying a word.

"Hey!" Ben shouted in a mix of pain and anger, "Don't. Fucking. Do that." The look in his eyes was one he'd never had - one that nobody had ever seen. For a moment, he looked about ready to strike, but he stopped himself, remembering who he was staring at. He pushed his way past her and stood at the entrance of the barn, resting against the doorway. Though the body was still there, Ben didn't seem to notice. In fact, he seemed to shut out the rest of the world around him for a moment or two, closing his eyes. God, he was so tired.

And, indeed, once she had pulled the sleeve back, there it was, a bloody stump where his left pinky finger had been.

Hoppy shrunk again; both at the stump of a pinky finger, and the almost violent reaction of someone she'd once considered a friend. She squeaked out a miniscule 'sorry' before closing her hand over her mouth again- not wanting to anger Ben even more. With one last look at the grisly barn, she followed Ben out, looking down at her feet as they moved.

"Yew... did th'right thing." She mumbled quietly. "Killin' 'em. I'd- I'd 'ave dun it too. They'ere, they were scum, Ben! Worse'n that. Be'er off dead"

"I know," he said quietly, opening his eyes slowly. Truth be told, he knew it was the right thing to do. They probably would have come across another member of Haven in the future, if it hadn't been him. They might not have been so lucky. But, he'd never killed a person before. Within an hour, he'd killed two and had come dangerously close to harming a third - someone that he could trust. Killing someone, no matter how necessary, wasn't something that he could just get over. Not right away.

He should have thanked her for coming to look for him. He should have apologized for how he'd talked to her - how he'd almost hurt her.

But, he didn't.

Instead, he chose to change the subject, "Did you see that explosion? Any idea what that was about?"

"Aye, I saw it." she said, still in that tired and tiny voice. They just had to find the others now, and then get the hell out of this stupid town. But Ben- was it really okay? He... he's changed. And, he might be dangerous now... Hoppy shook her head fiercely. No, it'd be fine. It's Ben. If anything, a certain red-haired girl deserved the shaft more than Ben did. At least he wouldn't accidentally get people killed or traumatized or whatnot. At least he was useful.

"Dunnae what it was 'bout, though." She raised her head a tiny bit, slightly relieved at the more neutral topic. "We c'uld check i' out on the way back...if yew'd like?"

He thought about it for a moment, but then shook his head, "No," he decided, pushing himself up from his resting position. "I don't think either of us are in any kind of shape. The explosion probably drew every dead asshole from miles around."

"'Splains why the streets're empty." She sighed sadly, still keeping a careful distance behind him. "Least that's goin' fer us, innit?"

Ben nodded, "Right." He looked back to her, his face more neutral now, "We'd better get going while it still is going for us."

Right, Ben still didn't know, just yet. Might as well tell him, right? "Mark an' two 'vanners came with me t'find you." Hoppy said, and made a scowl. "The kid's a fuckin' twyp, callin' me stupid an' shit... 'E's got yer name, sorta. Benson. Complete arse'ole."

"And now they're probably looking for you too, right?" He sighed, "Jesus Christ. What the hell's Monroe thinking? Caravanners?"

Hoppy let out a nervous laugh, as she realized that yes, they probably were looking for her. Not that it mattered much either way- they were useless. "Din't need'em t'find you, anyways." She said, then turned her mind to Monroe. What had he been thinking? He said he'd- right. Hoppy decided to tell Ben- "'e said 'e'd 'ad sum'thin' to deal with." She offered, hopefully helping a little. "Erm, I dunnae what exactly.. c'uld it be related t'the explosion?"

He had a brief sinking feeling as soon as she said that he had something to deal with, and he'd come to the exact same conclusion she had, just a millisecond before she had said it, "Could be." If it was true... Well, there was nothing they could do for him.

"Whoever's idea it was. Trusting Caravanners is a bad one."

Part Sixteen: Safe At Last

Briefly wishing Monroe well in her mind, Hoppy gulped it down, and turned her thoughts to the Caravanners. Ronnie hadn't talked much- but there was that Benson. That damned despicable bastard. "Arrogant trash." Hoppy muttered, unconsciously gripping the handle of her cleaver more tightly, feeling the pressure in the back of her head grow with the tension. Before she could reply to Ben in agreement, they heard a voice wafting back at them. It was Mark's, in an imploring tone. Quickly, Ben pulled his sleeve back over his left hand and turned his attention to the sound.

"-not as bad as she seems, okay?" Mark was saying, as he and the two Runners got out of the truck, while Jesus sat in the passenger seat. "She's.. just impulsive. Probably at the end of her wits, I daresay. Don't be so quick to judge her."

Benson's sneering voice. "Praps she thinks she's too good for us." He laughed snidely. "thinks she can take on armies of zed by herself. From what we've heard, this is her fault anyways, isn't it?"

Hoppy's teeth clenched- hand gripping her cleaver hard. At least they found them, and sure enough, the truck was there too.
"Shut up!" She hissed, making the four men notice her and Ben- at least a relieved smile from Mark. "I found 'im on my own, d'in't I?"

And she'd nearly gotten herself captured for her trouble.

"So you're good for something after all, what a shock."

The girl really wanted to kill the kid. She wanted to stick her blade through him. He deserved it, didn't he? He was such an arrogant little bastard. Ignoring her fatigue, Hoppy made to lunge forward for the kill.

Ben had seen her grip her weapon tighter. Just as she made to lunge for the Caravanners, Ben stepped in front of her and towards them, "Look, kid--"


"I don't give a shit. Shut up."

Benson opened his mouth to speak and Ben stepped even closer, "I said shut up." He looked between both Caravanners, and then to Mark, who now had something of a frown on his face, "If you continue down this road, you're not going to like where it ends." And to accentuate his point, he put his right hand on the handle of his own weapon. "Get out of here and walk your worthless asses back to your camp before I get impatient."

The three in front of him seemed a little taken back at the words that had just come out of his mouth - particularly Mark. Here was Ben, this normally friendly man, all but threatening these Caravanners who had been sent to look for him. For a while, neither Ronnie nor Benson moved. Ben continued to stare the pair down until, finally, the older man took hold of Benson's arm and began leading him off.

"Come on. Let's go," the older man said.

Ben continued to stare after them until they were far enough away for him to be sure they wouldn't come running back. He then turned his attention to Mark and Hoppy, offering nothing more to say than a simple "Let's go."

Hoppy shot Ben a grateful smile- so he hadn't gone completely psycho. And it stopped her from having to kill someone- Hoppy faintly knew that she'd have regretted taking a human life, no matter how much shit they talked. Climbing onto the truck, she held out a hand for Ben to join her, hoping that he'd take it. "Ta, Ben." She smirked. Mark opened his mouth, almost as if he wanted to ask what had happened to Ben, but in the end he just murmured a 'welcome back, you two', before starting the engine with an ease that made Hoppy annoyed and envious at the same time.

Ben took her hand and used it to help pull himself up onto the truck.

They left the truck in the same area Hoppy had earlier, but in the garage of a different house, and made the remaining trek back on foot. It wouldn't be long now. Ben would be home soon.


He'd never considered Haven home before. If this were the old world, it wouldn't be, but this was close as he was going to get, probably until the day he died.

The four of them finally pushed their way through the gates of Haven. Ben had no idea what time it was. It was sometime in the morning.

He didn't really care, though. He was just glad to be back.

6 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tilo King Character Portrait: Callie Winters Character Portrait: Jonathan Monroe Character Portrait: Dominic Fields Character Portrait: Richard Brand 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.


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...



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."



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.



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. 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?"



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?"



"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 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.



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."




"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 for 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.



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


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, " 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.



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?"

3 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Delaney Byron Character Portrait: Kiera Trennan Character Portrait: Rishi Sharma
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Mission Impossible
Collaboration with Selene Durlan

Waking Bad
Stiff and sore would be a major understatement for how Kiera's injured shoulder currently felt. Rest had not helped to relieve the constant ache that pulsed down her arm in waves, a small mercy at least was that her blister seemed to be healing well, which meant no more awkward hoping around on one foot for her. Really Kiera should have allowed Dr. Short to take at look and make sure nothing was permanetly damaged from her tumble down the hill. But with the recent deaths and the appearance of a critically injured pilot, Kira would have felt guilty for taking up the doctor's time for a relatively minor injury, so she was determined to grin and bare it for the time being.

Why did the Apocalypse have to happen in Winter? Kiera thought wryly. Why couldn't it have been Spring? Taking a quick leap from her warm comfortable nest, Kiera rapidly tossed on a thick sweater, hat, gloves, sweatpants and boots before even thinking about braving the cold weather just outside the Farmhouse door. Halfway out the door, she suddenly remembered her stash hidden beneath the floorboards in her room. Kiera had been rationing the pills for a while now, but eventually they would run out and then there would be a problem. Hopefully it wouldn't come to that and an upcoming mission would provide an opportunity for Kiera to replenish her dwindling supplies.

Once Kiera felt suitably clothed she headed out to the job board. With the other jobs taken, the only one that remained was another mission for the reclusive professor that spent most of his time scribbling on walls and scaps of paper if the rumors were to be believed. Kiera really hoped it wouldn't involve any more contact with live Walkers, she still felt unsettled after her last encounter and would prefer not to repeat such an event.

"Edinburgh, I wonder how far that is." Kiera wondered aloud, her breath forming small clouds in the early dawn's chilled air. In times past, she would have clung to sleeping in even for a few minutes longer, but now the early risings felt natural and even enjoyable to Rookie Scavenger. Kiera attempted to rack her brain, trying to think of who might be available to accompany her on this task. Finally the answer presented itself, though she had doubts if it was really the best idea. Laney had been recovering ever since her disasterous last mission where two of Haven's recently aquired allies and a fellow Scav, Toby had lost their lives. Laney had suffered an injury to her hand and who knows what kind of emotional trauma from the experience. Maybe she would welcome a chance to "get back on the horse" so to speak and start to put the mistakes of the past behind her.

Kiera approached Laney's room with caution, unsure if she was about to awaken a slumbering wolverine. She entered the room and called out to the sleeping figure, eventually able to rouse the snoozing Laney, though she gave Kiera an aggravated look. Which was actually understandable, given the fact that they hardly knew each other if at all and Kiera had just invited herself into Laney's room without asking permission first. Cringing mentally, she needed to turn this first encounter around or this first impression might hang between them like rotting meat.

"Hi, sorry I barged in like that, I should have knocked before entering." Kiera said guiltily. "I'm Kiera by the way and I believe your name is Laney. I've never met a celebrity in person before, I guess I should have brought something for you to sign." She said with a smile in an attempt to brighten the mood as Laney propped herself up on her elbows, her face screwed up in displeasure at being woken. It was probably best to leave certain topics alone while in Laney's presence or at least until Kiera had a better grasp of what type of person this former actress really was. Kiera decided to press on with the interaction. "There was a job posting on the board today, I know you're still recovering, but it is more of a team job rather than a lone wolf one. Would you be interested?" Realizing she had left out any details about what the mission entailed Kiera hastily glanced to the paper and summarized the first few parts of it. "We're supposed to travel to Edinburgh, to the Ros-"

'Edinburgh? Gimme that.' Still scowling, Laney snatched the job list from Kiera's hand and peered at Dr Rishi's tiny, neat script. That was a bit rude. Kiera said to herself while she waited for Laney to read the description of the mission herself.

'Edinburgh's hundreds of miles from here.'

What? Kiera's eyebrows shot up in surprise, Traveling hundreds of miles in a heavily populated Walker territory, that would be crazy!

Her frown deepened as she scanned the job. 'Watson... outbuilding... perceptive capabilities of the reanimated...' Laney stared at Kiera. 'Man in the outbuilding? Does this mean what I think it means?'

Kiera shrugged her shoulders, "I don't know what he does with his time."

Laney held her tongue at the American's answer, and returned to the notice. 'Dangerous substances... apocalyptic disease... combust the entire...' She couldn't hold it in any longer. 'Combust the fucking facility with us inside it?' she shouted. 'What the fuck? Have you actually read this shit?'

Slowly it was beginning to dawn on Kiera that maybe this had been a bad idea to wake Laney. From the colorful language she was currently using, it was obvious this task was not a great idea according to Laney. "Well I-" Kiera tried replying, but Laney continued with her line of questioning without pause.

'And you're okay with this? Heading out like happy fucking campers for a city crawling with Zeds, hundreds of miles away, to pick up deadly fucking poison and bring it back here? And if we spill any we have to set ourselves on fucking fire?!' She balled up the piece of paper and hurled it across the room. The lightweight missile bounced unsatisfyingly against the wall. Laney had wanted it to smash, to destroy the wall, anything to reflect the anger that seethed inside her. Monroe was dead, Toby was dead, Ben was as good as dead, and this pampered Indian doctor, who had yet to set foot outside the safety of Haven, wanted her and this American to go on some suicide mission. And that wasn't all...

'Does this guy seriously have a live zombie in Haven?'

"Listen, I'm not happy with the situation either, but we are both Scavengers for Haven and it is our job to go out there and do whatever is necessary to ensure this small farm continues to exist. If that means treking a long distance for something, then so be it. And yes there is a Zombie in Haven, Tilo and I risked life and limb by going out and managing to capture a live one. I do not want to see all that hard work go to waste by us not at least giving this mission a shot. At least it will give you something to stay busy with." Kiera felt commited to seeing this through to the end, one way or another she was getting Laney out of that bed and into a better mindset.

Laney heaved herself off the bunk, rolling her eyes. She saw the bunk opposite her was empty. 'There's something I gotta do first. Stay busy.' Kiera left as Laney dragged on warm layers of clothes, hampered by her splinted right hand.

Breaking Bad
She eventually found Callie out by the chicken coop, standing alone in the half-light of dawn, wobbling the imperfect workmanship. Laney recalled who built them, who'd given the chickens such stupid names. Nasri was the only one she could remember. She hoped she wouldn't forget humans' names so quickly.

Now that Monroe was gone, Kiera had to find the right equiptment herself. Eventually after several tries she was able to successfully assemble both packs, though Kiera hoped they wouldn't need to use the fireworks or flares. Stringing a pair of binoculars around her neck, she did a final gear check before walking to the Farmhouse door. Laney was still speaking with Callie, so Kiera leaned against the door frame while she patiently waited for them to finish.

'I'm sorry, Callie,' Laney whispered. It felt so inadequete, and a hot wave of shame rolled through her. She put a hand on Callie's shoulder, felt how slender she was. Laney realised the former schoolteacher wasn't a lot older than her, in the grand scheme of things. There'd never been the slightest hint of a physical relationship, but Callie and Monroe's friendship, strange though the pairing was, had been obvious. She wondered if Callie had come to respect the short-tempered soldier by the same route Laney had. She wondered if he'd given her a nickname like the rest of the Scavs?

'It's how he would have...' She couldn't finish the phrase, it seemed such a hollow sentiment. How could Laney know how Monroe had wanted to go? Really, she'd barely known him. 'We won't forget him, okay?'

Callie simply nodded, her back still to Laney. The resignation Toby displayed in her final moments sprang to mind, the perfect balance of weakness and bravery, and Laney struggled to push from her mind the thought that every single one of them was doomed.

She turned to find Kiera watching from the door of the farmhouse. 'Come on then, what's the plan? Got everything we need?'

Handing a pack to Laney, Kiera began to lay out the plan. 'I think we should stay away from Cromwell, you know how dangerous it is. So maybe the Jones farm, where Toby found gas - sorry, I should say petrol now, shouldn't I? The Jones farm, where Toby found petrol -' she gave Laney a wan smile '- is the best place for finding a vehicle.' She kept it simple, not wanting to draw more scorn from her current companion.

Laney half-listened, not objecting - yet. It all hinged on finding a vehicle, then on finding one with enough petrol to get them to and from Edinburgh. If that unlikely eventuality came to pass, she'd speak out then. She hefted her share of the equipment awkwardly with her left hand and followed Kiera down the road. Her right hand ached in the cold. The snow that had fallen in the last couple of days had settled in, reinforced by a typical British winter day. Grey clouds hung heavily over the hills of the Lake District, obscuring the higher peaks. It hardly seemed as if the sun had risen at all. Cold gusts of wind blew the damp inside the girls' protective layers. After half a mile in silence, Laney realised her reluctance for the mission was making her surly.

'So, um... Where in the States you from?'

Taken by surprise at Laney's sudden interest in talking, Kiera was unsure of how to respond at first, as she still felt wary after witnessing the woman's earlier outburst. "I'm from Colorado. It's about in the middle and has the shape of a square."

'Colorado? Yeah, you're gonna... I mean, over here we know about New York and California and not much else.' She shrugged. 'Whatever's on TV. I mean, everyone was an expert about Albuquerque all of a sudden, back in the old world...'

"Well I can't say I would be much better at identifying the geography of Europe unfortunately." She replied with a short laugh.

'You know Breaking Bad though?'

"I know about that show. I didn't know it was broadcasted to other countries." Maybe this mission wouldn't turn out so bad after all, Kiera had just found a common interest with the former pop-star.

'Yeah, did you watch it? I wonder how that was gonna end."

"You bet, every Sunday evening I was glued to the tube. Me too, I always envisioned Walt getting away scott free, though that's probably not how it ended." Kiera said with a small sigh. "I guess we won't know how a lot of things turned out."

"True that. Hey, you know what I'd love?'

"I would personally love to eat a funnel cake again, dusted with plenty of powdered sugar."

'Yeah?' 'I'd love just to order a pizza and watch TV. Smoke a couple of joints and veg out. Weird, huh?'

Kiera mentally paused for a moment while she tried to remember what type of drug a joint was. "Whatever works, I guess." Kira replied while looking away, talking about drugs made her uncomfortable especially since collecting supplies for Dr. Rishi wasn't the only reason she was keen to get to Edinburgh.

Laney watched her turn away. She didn't feel like she was getting through. Maybe she'd been a bit too upfront about her party lifestyle. she'd forgotten Americans could be a bit staight-laced. How come so many teachers had made it to Haven anyway? First Callie, then Tilo, now this subdued maths teacher. Hell, even Monroe had been a teacher at heart. She remembered his praise for her at his military lessons and smiled, then recalled how poor a shot she'd been with the rifle, and the outcome of that failure, and fell quiet again. Fuck making an effort.

The silence prevailed until the road began to climb towards the crest of a hill, then a low groaning reached their ears. As they approached the top, the noise amplified and seemed to come in stereo. Kiera and Laney stopped at the top of the hill. Half a mile ahead stood the smoking ruins of the Jones farm. Around it, and dispersed throughout the farmyard, milled more zombies than they could count. The thick press of creatures had spilled out across the road and down the hill. The women scampered back into cover, shocked at the numbers massed in front of them.

'It's gonna take a long way to get round this lot,' Laney whispered eventually. 'I think we should get back to Haven.'
'What about Edinburgh?' Kiera hissed. 'What about the stuff for Dr Rishi?'

'Look, we're two steps outside our front door and there's a hundred Zeds. How many more do you think we'll see before we get to Edinburgh? How many do you think are in Edinburgh? I don't know if you were near any cities when the old world went to shit, Kiera, but you gotta know that's where you find them most.'

'So that's it? You're not even going to try?' She could feel her chance slipping away. Had she really thought the unpredictable former celebrity would be the one to help her? Pretty soon she would be forced into more drastic action.

Laney caught the pleading tone in Kiera's voice, but pushed it to the back of her mind, angered by the second suggestion of the day that she wasn't committed to Haven. She'd never say others hadn't done more, and she'd never forget the ones who'd paid the ultimate price, but she knew damn well she wasn't going the same way as Monroe, Ben or Toby just because this brainbox American wanted to suck up to the rest of what represented Haven's intellectual cadre.

'Haven't you been listening to me, White Bread? Hundreds of miles, millions of Zeds. And that's not all.' She took a theatrical look at the hills around them. 'That gang that got the Caravanners is still out there, and there'll be a lot more like that, and worse.'

'I can't believe this,' Kiera snapped back, struggling to keep her voice down. 'Are you giving up on us, on Haven? It doesn't work if we just sit there waiting for the zombies to finish us off. At least Dr Rishi is trying to do something. Monroe and Callie were trying to do something. I'm starting to think you didn't even want to come on this mission!'

'You know what? You're right! I never wanted to go with you,' Laney spat. 'Don't you think it should be the army or the government or whoever else official is still out there should be the ones dealing with anthrax and a cure and all this heavy science shit? Instead of some guy - one guy - in a shed on a farm? Don't you think "just outside Edinburgh" is a bit vague? I mean, Ben and Hoppy went looking just outside Cromwell, and only one of them came back, and all they were looking for was a fucking truck!'

As Laney's voice rose, Kiera peered over the crest of the hill. Peering through the binoculars, it looked like a couple of zombies' heads had turned in their direction, though none made a move just yet.

'Laney, keep it down,' she hissed, gesturing towards the horde around the ruins of the Jones farm.

'Fine. Fuck you, fuck this mission and especially fuck Dr Rishi. I'm going back home and put an end to his fucking science experiment before someone else gets fucking bitten.'

Taking It Badly
Laney turned on her heels and began striding back to Haven, her fingers playing across the grips of the hatchet she'd taken from Toby. Though she'd had a head-start, and she was normally fit and strong, the after-effects of the fever had weakened her, and Kiera caught up with her easily before they reached the gate to Haven. Laney scanned the farm's outbuildings.

'Which one is it?' she demanded, pointing with her hatchet.

'What are you going to do?' asked Kiera.

'I told you, White Bread. I'm going to smash its head in. Then Rishi's.' Laney stomped towards one of the outhouses.

'But he needs it!' Kiera responded, hurrying close behind. 'He's working on a cure or something.'

'A cure? You for real, girl?' Laney spun round abruptly, bringing her face to face with Kiera. 'He's working on a cure in a fucking shed?'

The American returned the Englishwoman's stare. Although she normally avoived confrontation, Kiera was beginning to feel like Laney had been unfairly blaming her all day for the troubles that had befallen Haven and its inhabitants. Annoyance at the way she was being treated began to well up inside her, a secret rebellious voice. She followed as Laney peered in the window of one of the outhouses.

The outhouse contained tools, lengths of wood, and other building materials, but the windows of the building behind it were blocked out with black plastic bags. A padlock held the door shut. 'What's behind door number 2,' Laney muttered, drawing Toby's hatchet from her belt. Unused to swinging with her left hand, and unused to the different length and weight of this weapon, Laney's strike skittered weakly off the lock and jarred her arm.

'Laney, stop it!'

Two more blows in quick succession found their mark more accurately, but still were too weak. Cursing in frustration, Laney shouldered past Kiera and smashed one of the windows with the back of the hatchet. The sharp smash of shattering glass was almost immediately followed by a muffled growling from within the outhouse. Laney ripped away the black plastic and peered into the gloom. Despite Kiera's story, she hadn't quite been able to believe someone would keep a live zombie on the farm, but there, strapped to a chair by arms, legs and neck, was a savagely writhing figure. The drawstring bag over its head couldn't disguise its hungry lunges.

'Laney!' Kiera grabbed her by the shoulder, tried to turn her away from the window, to face her. She felt her pulse jump at the prospect of physical confrontation.

Laney shrugged off her grasp with a flick of her arm, at the same time wriggling the backpack off her back. 'Get the fuck off, White Bread!' she snarled. For Monroe, for Toby, for Ben, the captured zombie had to die.

'Hey! What is happening over there?' came a call from the farmhouse itself. The sound of smashing glass had brought Dr Rishi out.

Laney dropped her hatchet, reached inside the backpack and drew out a flaregun. 'I'm gonna blow this fucker's head off.' She leant in the window and aimed, recalling all the time she'd spent at the gun range with her father. It was only a distance of feet. Even firing left-handed, she was confident of ending this threat to Haven's safety. Suddenly she was flung backwards onto the cold, wet ground, and cried out as her injured fingers instinctively tried to break her fall.

Kiera stood over Laney, shocked at herself. 'You can't...'

The pain from her fingers and the humiliation of her tumble soaked through Laney just as the mud soaked into her back. Tears of self-pity filled her eyes as she slowly picked herself up. Just then, Dr Rishi arrived at the outhouse.

'What are you girls doing here?' he cried, puzzled rather than angry. 'Why aren't you going to the Roslin Institute?'

From her half-crouched position, Laney barrelled into Dr Rishi at the waist, knocking him to the ground. All the complaints she'd made to Kiera about the mission, about the unfairness of Dr Rishi, all of her pain at the loss of Monroe, Toby and Ben, burst out in an incoherent roar. She stood over him, brandishing the flare gun, her teeth bared. Mud dripped from her hair and tears from her eyes as seconds ticked by and she stared through Dr Rishi's askew glasses. Once again she recalled the bravery, the nobility almost, of Toby's last minutes. There was nothing but fear in this man's eyes.

Kiera could feel herself holding her breath. Tempermental and distraught the former star might be, but surely she wasn't going to kill one of Haven's leaders? She was on the balls of her feet, ready to throw Laney to the ground again, but scared her intervention might trigger the flare gun.

'Laney!' The voice calling from the farmhouse was cracked and tired, but still strong. It was a voice Laney had feared she would never hear again. She flung the flare gun to one side and rushed to the farmhouse.

Kiera watched her go, then knelt down to Dr Rishi. 'Doctor, I'm so sorry about that. Are you okay?' The mission had gone badly to say the least and now she was left to explain the reason for the failure as Laney stopped suddenly in front of Ben. She looked at his bandaged hand, the dark hollows around his eyes.

'What happened?'

7 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tilo King Character Portrait: Callie Winters Character Portrait: Benjamin Kinney Character Portrait: Mark Lawson Character Portrait: Erin Hooper Character Portrait: Alison Carter Character Portrait: Shinji Yamada
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#, as written by Bosch
6th November


Ronnie and Benson were hiking their way home in silence when Benson finally spoke. “So what the fuck was that all about?”

“I know.”

“We risk our necks to save their guy and they freak out?”

“I know.”

“What was with that guy, he looked like he weighed about as much as a friggin spaniel dripping wet and he’s going all Billy Badass.”

“I know.”

“And the girl... actually I don’t know about her. Was she all there?”

“All there?”

“You know all that Eye-ah, Yew stuff. Was she like, retarded?”

“She’s Welsh. My Mother was Welsh so watch your mouth.”

“That’s unlucky.” Benson said with a frown. “Doesn’t excuse them pulling a fucking blade on me. Haven is fucked up.”

“I know.”


6th November


Jane listened as Ronnie and Benson gave their report and felt hopelessness wash over her. She had worked so hard with Callie to improve relations between the Caravaners and Haven and this latest escapade would just fan the flames.

She had no doubt Ronnie and Benson would waste no time telling all the Runners how terrible Haven was and that all the Scavs were psychotic. She decided to wait until later though to speak to Callie. She was tired and annoyed. There was no sense in speaking now.


6th November


Callie was still in bed when Gary rapped on her door.

“Callie, it’s Gary. Someone called Jane is on the radio she wants to talk to you or Monroe.”

Callie rolled over and sighed. She’d been crying but now she just felt empty. Monroe for all his faults had been her closest friend and now he was dead. Now Haven needed her but she wasn’t sure if she wanted to help.

She thought about the old adage “If you save a life you then become responsible for it.” She and Monroe had saved everyone in Haven that made her responsible for them.

It was that thought that made her get out of bed.


6th November


Jane Meadows was extremely pissed off and it took everything Callie had to calm her down, eventually she did.

“Look Callie I like you, but your people are not doing you any favours at the moment. My Runners are annoyed and sceptical, the last thing they need is your people running around pulling blades on them when they are trying to help.”

“Jane I know they were under a lot of stress. Our guy was missing.”

“And my guys helped find him.”

“I know, I’ll deal with it.”

“Ok I think it would be best if you keep you keep your people out of our area for the time being.”

“Agreed. Cuts both ways though.”

“Yeah I have them briefed, they can follow direction.”

With that the call ended and Callie felt the implication of her last comment.


6th November


"Where's Monroe?"

Callie looked up from the spot on the table she had been staring at and looked up to see Tilo standing in the doorway.

“Dead.” Callie said quietly. “How was your sleepover?” She remembered Tilo’s radio call from the previous night with a chuckle. Tilo relayed the efforts of the mission and gave Callie the contact information he had received from the Rands. She was intrigued by the mention of Richard Brand. She had never heard of the man but Tilo’s description gave her the Heebie- Jeebies as one of her old students might have said.

“Good work I’ll get in touch with them and see if we can’t work something out.”

Tilo got up from the kitchen table and said his goodbyes. Before he could leave though Callie stopped him.

“Oh and Tilo.”

He turned with a questioning look in his eyes.

“There’s no need to call me Ma’am on the radio. I’m not the Queen.”

Tilo gave his agreement with a smile and left. Callie sighed and felt a little better, at least something had gone right. Her next meeting was going to be more difficult.


6th November


Ben looked like shit but Callie found it hard to find sympathy for him. He’d been though a terribly traumatic experience but at this point it was harder to find someone who hadn’t. Jesus was shuffling uncomfortably at the back of the group and Hoppy looked a little nervous.

“Good to have you back Ben and well done taking out those freaks. Hoppy and Jesus good job getting him home safe.”

She then sighed.

“Bad job pissing off the Caravaners though. Do you have any idea how hard it was to get on good terms with them? Then you three muck it up because you can’t keep your emotions under control.”

The dam had broken and she was shaking with anger now but doing her best to keep her voice measured. “What do you think, this a game? They were there to save your life Ben. Your life that needed saving because you messed up, a screw up that cost people their lives. You got off light losing a finger. Hell you should have been happy to see them, but you got prissy because someone made a joke? Your actions may have lost us an ally and put even more Scavs at risk. Then Hoppy you pulled a fucking blade on our allies. Jesus Christ, what were you thinking? Were you thinking?”

She shook her head and tried to let the anger fade. “It’s not a fucking action movie and none of you are Bruce Willis. We have to work as a team the actions you took will have an impact on somebody down the line. Just, just... grow up.”

Callie sighed and pointed to the door. “Get out of my sight.”

They shuffled out and Callie dropped her head into her hands. She had hated being so brutal but it was true their actions had knocked Haven back.

Then Mark cleared his throat and walked in.

“Would you like a cup of tea. Kettle’s on.” Callie said trying to appear perky.

“I heard about Monroe. What happened?” Mark said unable to keep the concern from his face.

“He led a horde Zombies away from Haven and rescued the helicopter pilot. Got bit in the process.” She was speaking matter-of-factly as if Monroe was someone she had never met.

“So what, did he turn?”

“I told you he led the zombies way. Blew up the Jones Farm and drew them in for miles. Cleared the way for you guys.”

“Woah...” Mark said as he sat down at the table opposite Callie. “Are you ok?”

“Yeah fine... it’s just...”


“It just doesn’t make sense.”

“What doesn’t?”

“Who lives and who dies. I mean Monroe was worth something, he could have helped. Yet he dies and we get Ben back. Monroe dies and we get Hoppy back who can’t tell friend from foe. What do we get for his sacrifice? We get a fucking cripple pilot who crashed the first helicopter I’ve seen in months. How is that a fair trade? A useless boy, a stupid girl and a cripple in exchange for the only actual person around here worth something?”

Mark sat in stunned silence. “Callie you don’t mean that... Ben was tortured.”

“Was he? That sounds terrible.” She deadpanned. “He was the idiot who got caught. He felt his life was more important than the people who would have to go save him. That’s the reason the Scav’s have Harry’s. Nobody says it but that’s why. So the Scav won’t put anyone else at risk saving you.”

“Callie, he was drugged, he lost a finger.”

“Monroe lost his life because Ben fucked up. We lost the only person worth a damn around here because a pilot couldn’t keep her Helicopter in the air. We might have lost an Ally because Hoppy couldn’t keep her emotions under control. You think anyone here is able to do half the things Monroe could? So what you want me to feel bad because he’s got to hear high four jokes for the rest of his life? You want me to feel bad because the pilot is going to have a limp? Please.”

“That’s life Callie. We don’t get to choose who lives and who dies.”

Callie wiped a tear from her eye and shook her head gently.

“Besides Monroe was crap at carpentry.” Mark said with a hopeful smile.

Callie took a deep but didn’t smile. Instead she stood and pushed her chair in.

“It’s time to go see our guest.”


6th November


Carter woke slowly and shook the grogginess from her head. She felt like tenderised steak but at least she was alive. She was wearing an oversized tee-shirt that said “Med in Cumbria” that had a small cartoon of a mountain above it and a pair of lose shorts. In addition she had a few blankets thrown over her but her feet were cold and she when she took a look she saw a large cast on her left leg.

“Great.” She muttered. At least she had been taken care of which was a good sign. The downside was that her right wrist was tied to the metal headboard of the bed. Carter groaned again.

The room appeared to be some kind of medical centre, in the corner of the room she could see her flight suit in a waste paper bin. It looked like it had been cut to ribbons.

She then heard approaching footsteps and quickly feigned sleep.

“She’s still asleep?” A man’s voice asked

“She should be awake by now...” responded a woman.

“That’s fine it’ll mean less screams when we cut her up...”

Carter was filled with panic but remained still.

“We saw you flinch, you’re fooling nobody.”

Carter cursed inwardly and opened her eyes. She saw two women and a man standing in front of her. She recognised one of the women vaguely but the other two were a mystery.

“Captain Carter, My name is Callie Winters, this is Doctor Short and this Mark. Welcome to Haven, we have a few questions.”

Carter remained silent and just stared at Callie.

“Captain, We fixed your leg, the ropes were necessary because we didn’t know if you’d turn violent, still don’t. One of our people died saving you and you have taken up our time and supplies. I’d start talking if I were you because I’m at about the limit of my generosity.”

Carter thought quickly back to her escape and evasion training but found it lacking. It had been based on the idea that if caught a pilot would only have to hold out for a day so operational security wouldn’t be impacted. There was no operation to secure though.

“I’m not a Captain, I’m a Flight lieutenant. No such thing as a Captain in the RAF.”

“Riveting. Where were you going?”


“I don’t have time for this Lieutenant, can you be more expansive?”

“Scotland, BUTEC.”

Callie raised an eyebrow.

“BUTEC. The British Underwater Test and Evaluation Centre. It’s where the sailors test out their new toys. Submarines and that kind of thing.”

“Why there?”

“It’s the last location we received a transmission from. Sounded like they were holding out better than we were.”

“Where was that?”

“RAF Valley in Wales. We were being overrun so we pulled the plug.”

“Are there other helicopters in the area?”

“They’ll be long gone by now. There wasn’t a lot of fuel so it was rationed. Nobody had full tanks and everybody knew it was a one way trip. BUTEC or bust.”

“So do you still believe BUTEC is the best place to be?”

“I heard it was, good luck getting there though. Last we heard the place was pretty much under siege. We were only going there because we had choppers.”

“Callie I need to check her for infection.” The mousy doctor said.

“What she hasn’t been checked!” Callie said in shock as the man aimed his sawn off shotgun at Carter.

“Oh no I meant her wound.” The doctor said.

Callie and calmed down and the Doctor set about her work.

“We’ll be back later... Thank you for cooperating.”

Carter shrugged and lifted her tied hand. “I’m not going anywhere.”

Callie smiled faintly and walked toward Carter. She cut the ropes with what appeared to be kitchen knife.

Carter nodded and let the doctor go about her work.


November 8th 2013


They had been afloat for months and Shinji Yamada was starting go out of his mind with boredom. There was nobody to speak to on board and his smattering of English wasn’t enough to have a conversation with anyone. So far he had please, thank you, yes and no. It made conversation difficult to say the least, this was compounded by the fact his bride spoke excellent English.

His Honeymoon trip had been the doing of his new father in law Okamoto-san whose hatred for his new son in law was only out weighted by his love of his daughter. Shinji had to admit it was something of a Cinderella story. He had been working as an intern at Okamoto communications alongside Kaiko Okamoto, at first he didn’t make the connection between the pretty girl and corporation she was interning with. Apparently Okamoto-san believed his daughter should learn the company from the bottom up even though she was the heir apparent.

Shinji’s easy going personality and fondness for practical jokes at the expense of their stuffy manager piqued Kaiko’s interest. Shinji’s friend Jou convinced him to ask the girl out knowing full well who the beautiful girl was in the hope that he could prank the pranker. To Jou’s surprise Kaiko agreed. It wasn’t exactly a world wind romance and Shinji nearly passed out when he learned he was dating the bosses daughter. The first meeting didn’t go well due to a combination of Shinji’s fear and Okamoto-san’s intense dislike. Nevertheless the older man could see Shinji made his girl happy and he accepted him only for this fact.

It was a long relationship but the engagement was short and the wedding lavish perfectly befitting a daughter of a powerful businessman, Jou of course drew attention to how much of a fish out of water Shinji was in such decadence.

With that the pair where packed off of their travels. They had visited New York, Las Vegas, Paris, Berlin, Lake Como, London and Edinburgh on a detour. Shinji had become slightly obsessed with finding the perfect bottle of Whiskey to present to his father in law on his return knowing the man was something of a connoisseur he hoped this would make him happy.

Thus far his efforts had been in vain. It was then that he had the idea to visit Ireland in the hopes that he could find an Irish Whiskey to present the old man with. Scotch whisky was so cliché these days and a good Irish whiskey would be an interesting talking point for his father in law. Kaiko was happy to go but only if they travelled by Ferry as she was sick of flying. Shinji was happy to accept and they set sail on P & O European Highlander Ferry for what they were assured was the shortest fastest crossing from Cairnryan to Larne.

That had been four months ago when the outbreak was in its infancy. They had been refused entry at Larne due to the quarantine and when they tried to return to Cairnryan the same thing had happened leaving them adrift in the middle of the Irish Sea. In the early days some of the passengers had stolen life boats in an attempt to get to land but that happened less often now. They had heard stories of how bad things were on land and most people knew they were safer on board the Ferry.

Shinji passed the time reading books on his Nexus Seven Tablet. He’d been smart and stocked up on as many books as he could before he left, he also spent some time trying to pick up English so he would know what was going on around him. His English was still remedial though and he knew that Kaiko got frustrated trying to teach him all the time. For the time being she had to act as their voice onboard the Highlander.

Also on board and having difficulties was Alice Oakes. Alice had been travelling on the Highlander with her two young children Ben and Katie. She had booked a cabin on board was only seen on the decks to get food and never with the children. While some may have thought this strange most put it down to Alice’s fear of the other passengers. They’d seen the Walking Dead and everyone knew things could get a little strange in close quarters under such strange circumstances.

Alice however was hiding a much darker secret.

Ben and Katie were infected.

Katie had been running a fever when they boarded but back then nobody was checking for signs of illness. She’d died on the first night and attacked her brother. Alice was able to restrain the child using belts but she knew her son was infected as well. She had considered getting help but she knew what would happen to her children and she couldn’t bring her self to do it. Instead she simply tried to nurse them back to health even as they snapped at her.

In the cabin mounds of uneaten food lay in piles beside the tied children, they were hungry but not for what she offering. She had to gag the children to prevent the moaning but there was little she could do for the thrashing.

It had been four months and questions were starting to circulate that eventually came to the attention of Stephen McFadden. McFadden was a deckhand at least that’s what it said of his pay check in actuality he was a waiter. It wasn’t a bad job though kind of like being an air steward except on a boat, going to less glamorous locales, for less pay. He had wanted to be an air steward but got Airsick, for some reason though his sea legs were strong though.

McFadden had heard the rumours of the strange woman who nobody saw very much and decided it was time to do a courtesy call. Stephen knew what it was like to be different but he’d learned it was better to be honest with people as with a lack of information people often came up with their own erroneous ideas.

He informed the Captain who agreed that Stephen should check it out. He told Emma Riley, another water waiter, to help him. Stephen was pleased as he’d been trying to ensure everyone on board was kept entertained and calm. His mother had always said the devil made work for idle hands. It was about the only piece of his mother’s ideology he could agree with, the rest had driven a wedge between them the size of the Irish sea.

Emma and Stephen approached the door and gave it a quick rap. The response was a knock on the door and a muffled voice.

“That sounded like come in right?” Stephen asked.

“I think so.” Emma replied. She was only seventeen but that was same age Stephen had been when he’d started four years ago. Emma was still saying all the things he’d said back then.

“I’ll only be here of a year or two then I’m travelling...” Was a popular one.

Stephen saw a lot of himself in the young girl but the truth was they were stuck on the boat, not because of zombies. If the outbreak had never happened both of them would still be on the boat. They were victims of circumstance and apathy. The Highlander was their home.

Stephen produced a key card and slid it into the lock. “House keeping! We’re just here to make sure everything is...”

He stopped as he took in the nightmarish scene in front of him.

A woman was lying in the middle of the room with her entrails strewn liberally around the floor of the cabin. Hunched over her was a small blonde girl and boy. The girl was wearing a set of Beauty and the Beast pyjamas which were covered in blood and gore while the boy was wearing an oversized Manchester United jersey with Herrera on the back.

The little girl lifted her head and with a burst of speed neither was expecting sprinted towards Stephen and sunk her teeth into his thigh. Stephen screamed and kicked the girl away before following Emma who was screaming down the corridor. This of course led to more confusion as people exited their own cabins to see what the problem was. The children raced around the corridor causing chaos wherever they went.

Shinji was in his Cabin with Kaiko when they heard the screams.

“何?” Kaiko asked as she went to the door but Shinji stopped her.

“それは危険に聞こえる. 外出しない”


“悲鳴は通常悪いです ”

Kaiko nodded and sat beside him on the bed. They listened to the screams and held hands while Kaiko sobbed quietly.



It had been almost four hours since the outbreak and the Highlander was now firmly in control of the undead. While the crew and passengers had tried their best to contain the outbreak they had failed and now the undead were in every part of the ship.

Including the bridge.

Of course there was simply no way for Kaiko and Shinji to know this which why it came as such a surprise when the ship finally ran aground. It sounded like an explosion had gone off below them and the impact threw Kaiko clear across the room. She smacked her head with a sickening thud on the dresser and Shinji screamed as he raced to help her. She was breathing but out cold.

Shinji lifted her and placed her in the bed before spending a few moments considering what to do. Finally he decided he would need help.

He lifted a pen and some P&O trademarked stationary and scribbled a hurried note. That explained he was going for help and that she should remain in the cabin. The words were in Japanese which he hoped would prove to her he was the one who had left the note.

He was about to leave when he got an idea. He pulled on a thick Barbour coat he bought for travelling through the rainy UK. Now he wore it in the hopes the tough material might prevent anything from sinking it’s teeth into him.

He then slowly approached the door and placed his ear to it. He could hear nothing so he slowly unlocked and opened it.

The hall way was clear but he could hear faint moaning coming from every nook and cranny of the ship. The ferry was beached on its side so the hall way wasn’t exactly level as the Bow was lower than the stern but the angle wasn’t so pronounced that walking was impossible. The boat did shift on the loose sand however as waves crashed against the side.

He locked the door behind himself and pocketed the key before slowly creeping along the halls. Kaiko had her own cabin key he had set on top of the note.

Shinji didn’t like being on the cabin deck. There was nowhere to run except back the way he came and the narrow hallway meant if he did encounter something he’d be unable to get past. He hadn’t seen a real live zombie yet but knew enough from movies and what Kaiko had told him the others were saying.

He made it to the staircase when he heard a roar from behind him. He turned and saw two bloody zombies behind him.

“くそ” He exclaimed before racing up the staircase and slamming the door shut behind himself. He let out a sigh of relief and turned to see he was standing in the middle of the shopping area of the ship. There was a small shop that sold Irish and Scottish themed tat, a coffee shop and about twenty zombies.

Shinji didn’t say anything he just ran for the nearest door which led outside to the deck. There was no time to close the door behind himself and soon he found himself running for his life across the deck that was slick from seawater and heavy rain. He threw himself up a set of stairs but the undead were still on him eventually he came across a ladder that he quickly mounted and rapidly climbed. Below him at least twenty zombies were clawing after him. It appeared they had no idea how to use the ladder.

“少なくとも彼らは愚かであ” He sighed before he kept climbing.

He was about to peak over top of the ladder and take look at the upper deck when a body suddenly flew over the top of him and plummeted below. Shinji nearly let go of the ladder through fright but held firm. The falling zombie was followed by two more that landed with a sickening thud beneath him. Even on the way down Shinji could see them grasping for him.

“本当に愚か”He climbed to the top of the ladder and pulled himself up onto the deck and looked around. The upper deck seemed clearer but it was difficult to tell in the night.

He crept along the deck straining to hear of signs of movement over the lashing rain. He was making his way towards the stern when he noticed the rainwater running along the deck was getting darker. A few seconds later he found two mutilated bodies huddled together on a bench. He avoided looking at them and kept walking but one of the bodies lunged forward in an attempt to grab him. Shinji threw himself against the railing and nearly fell over while the zombie slipped and smashed it’s face off the deck with a sickening crack. Shinji screamed but the zombie was unfazed and struggled to its feet.

Shinji ran as fast as he could toward the stern but quickly ran out of boat. He was overlooking the lower deck which was bathed in darkness apparently electricity wasn’t working on all parts of the boat.

The zombie was advancing on Shinji when its head popped open in a flash of brilliant red light. And it collapsed to the ground. It landed beside the flare round that had killed it.

“Are you normal?” Emma Riley asked over the howling wind while still pointing the empty flare gun at Shinji. Her P&O uniform was soaked through and the Flare gun was shaking in her hands.

“私は英語が話せない”Shinji answered.

“I can’t hear you!” Emma called.

“ありがとう. 私が死んだと思った” Shinji replied.

“You don’t speak English do you?” Emma said as she approached the strange man.

“No English.” Shinji said. “Kaiko. 妻. キャビン内の無意識.” He then mimed hitting himself on the head and falling unconscious.

“Yes you need to hit them in the head to kill them.” Emma nodded.

Shinji, not understanding what she had said, was pleased though as it appeared the young woman was less stressed now and she had lowered the weapon.

“It’s ok. I’m going fire another flare and we’re going to get rescued “Ok?”

Shinji knew Ok but that was about it. “はい!” Then realising he had spoken in Japanese repeated “Yes.” In English.

Emma then reloaded the Flare gun and aimed at the sky. She fired the round and let out a little squeal at the recoil. She watched as the little flare hung in the air for around thirty Seconds before it fell back down to earth and the beach below. Shinji mean while had used the brief flash of light to look at the lower deck. It was swarming with zombies and all of them were straining to reach the upper deck. It was surreal because Shinji couldn’t hear them moan over the wind just see them stretching soundlessly upward in the dim red light. They would be unable to reach him but if he wanted to get off the boat he’d need to find a way down from the upper decks to the lower ones and a way to safely get to Kaiko.

“Come on I know somewhere safe and dry.”Emma said and Shinji turned. He started at her blankly and she gestured for him to follow her.


Emma had been able to survive through sheer luck, the zombie children had attacked Stephen first and soon his screams drew more people and targets for the tiny shin chompers giving her time to escape. Well escape was a relative term, she had escaped from the lower decks which were by now swarming with undead. She was still trapped on the upper deck though.

She led Shinji into the Security room where she had been able to hold up. The CCTV gave her a pretty good view of the area. She was soaking wet but the man seemed to be quite dry in his coat. She removed her polyester navy blazer that was a part of her uniform and set it on the back of the chair beside the CCTV terminal.

Shinji immediately felt chivalrous looking at the drenched young woman who had saved his life so he removed his Barbour jacket and gave it to Emma.

“Oh Thank you.” Emma said she wasn’t going to take it but she was freezing.

“Emma? Are you there? Our Scavenger saw the Flare. Help will be there soon.”

Emma ran to the survival radio she had gotten from the small wall mounted pack she got the flare gun.

“Callie, it’s Emma. Good there’s a lot of zombies here I mean a lot.”

“You’re doing great Emma just stay calm have you found the person you saw on the camera?”

“Yes he’s here with me. I don’t think he speaks English. He seems cool though.”

Shinji watched as the girl spoke on the radio but it was all just noise to him. He considered English to be such an ugly language but he would have given his right arm to be able to speak it at that moment.

Suddenly the room was bathed in darkness and the CCTV terminal went dead.

“Callie we just lost power.” Emma said she felt her heart rate start to beat faster.

“That’s fine, the Scavs won’t miss a beached Ferry. Check the emergency pack there might be candles or glow sticks.

Emma found both but only cracked one glow stick. She figured starting a fire was far too likely with the candles.

“Ok, Ok. When will you be here?”

“I’m not coming, its a few friends of mine. When they arrive give them the radio and make them confirm their identities with me ok?”

“Yes sure.”

“They’ll be there in a few hours until then you should conserve the battery. Do you have a watch?”


“Ok every half hour turn your radio on for five minutes and give me a call.”

“Ok Callie, hurry.”

“They’re on the way. I’ll speak to you in half an hour.”

Emma sighed and flicked the radio off. Immediately Shinji started talking.

“私たちは、私の妻を救うために必要” He cried. But even in the dim green light of the glow stick he could tell the woman had no idea what he was talking about.

He showed her his hand and pointed to the wedding ring.

“I know it’s pretty romantic in here buddy what with the mood lighting and all but I’m not about to come on to you.”

Shinji pointed at the ring. “Kaiko.” He said.

Emma nearly slapped her head over how dense she had been.

“Your wife? Is she alive?”

“Wife!” He nodded vigorously.

“Is she alive?” Emma said while making a happy smiling face “Or Zombie?” and she switched to a stiff armed zombie impression.

Shinji replied with a big smile on his face. “Kaiko.”

Emma then lifted the glowstick and walked across the room to a laminated copy of the ship floor plan.

“Where is Kaiko?”

Shinji didn’t know what the words meant but was able to put enough together from Kaiko’s name and the floor plan. He studied the map for a few minutes. Obviously he was having trouble reading it. Finally he produced his key card and showed it to Emma.

She looked at the card and saw the room Cabin number was 24 #1 or room 24 on first deck below the main deck. Emma sucked her teeth and made a face Shinji knew was bad in any language.

“Ok I’ll let the rescuers know.”

Shinji nodded responding to her tone rather than the actual words.

“Emma.” The girl said while gesturing to herself.

Shinji bowed slightly and then pointed to himself. “Shinji.”



The Love Boat.

November 9th 2013


Suggested Number of Scavs – 2

Area –Seascale beach

Objective- Investigate ship wrecked P&O ferry.

Information- Sorry to wake you. We just received a distress call from a ferry that has run aground near the Town of Seascale. From the flare they sent up it looks like they are somewhere near the Seascale Golf Links course which overlooks the sea. It’ll take a couple of hours to get their as their flare was pretty far out.

We’re in contact with a survivor of the crash called Emma Riley she’s apparently with another survivor who doesn’t speak any English. The Ship is firmly under the control of the dead but hopefully you’ll be able to get them out.

It’s been lobbing it down all night so you’d do well to wrap up warm at least it seems to be melting the ice but these days the snow is never too far away. I recommend you bring some blankets or something as Emma was complaining of being very cold. We need to look out for hypothermia.

There might also be some cargo worth taking like food or other supplies so keep your eyes open.


Bonus Missions.

Relight my Fire.

Suggested Number of Scavs – 1

Area – Woods around Haven

Objective- Collect Firewood

Special Equipment- Empty rucksacks.

Information- It’s cold. Real cold.

We need to get some kind of wood collection set up so we don’t end up looking like Arnie in that Batman movie. The mission is simple enough head out and grab some wood. Avoid green leaves as apparently when they burn they make white smoke. If everybody does a little soon we’ll have a stock pile going. Just makes sure you don’t carry so much you can’t run anymore.


Gone Huntin’

Suggested Number of Scavs – 1

Area –Woods around Haven

Objective- Go Hunting.

Special Equipment- Scoped rifle.

Information- Food is getting pretty scarce lately and with the cold weather it’s vital to keep our strength up. There’s a lot of animals still roaming around the place. Sadly I’m sure you noticed the farming livestock has taken a hit from the cold and the fact there is nobody there to look after them.
Wild Animals and Game are loving the new found freedom though.

I’m sending two of you out to go hunting in the woods around Haven it’s up to you whether you stick together or not. If you choose not to please ensure you wear the high visibility jackets. It’ll make you more noticeable sure but at least you can out run a Zombie, Usain Bolt can’t out run a bullet. God could you imagine what he’d be like as a Zombie?


Anyway remember whatever you kill you gotta be able to carry home so don’t shoot deer or something you can’t back.

Actually now that I think about it, there’s a strong possibility one of the local farms is a dairy. If you find a Cow maybe you could bring it back. Alive. It would be nice to have milk in the coffee. Chances are slim though given how long it’s been since the outbreak.


3 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Delaney Byron Character Portrait: Kiera Trennan Character Portrait: Rishi Sharma
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November 4th through to November 6th

Things were going swimmingly, even with the limited equipment Rishi had. Once Watson was secured, Rishi went about tailoring the surrounding with plastic bags and paper and staples to further isolate the room from its surroundings. Great care was taken so that the room could be completely blacked out if need be, and footsteps muffled out. Rishi’s adrenaline was rushing through his system, keeping him awake for longer than normal. The idea that he could be helping, contributing to the situation in some way gave him solace, and gave him excitement he hasn’t experienced since before the outbreak.

The tests were fairly simple, and they could be crucial in the creation of a guidebook or manual. Every bit of information he could garner about the subjects would be useful. It was unfortunate that he didn’t have the appropriate facilities or test groups to be able to come up with solid results, be he worked with what he had. The first thing Rishi did was leave Watson alone once the room was properly set-up. He would leave for an hour to write up several hypotheses, and return to see if the subject ceased its writhing. It could be different from subject to subject, but it would give Rishi a starting point to work with. Seeing that Watson was completely still after he returned, he lightly brushed the Watson’s left arm to see if it would elicit a response. Strangely enough, it didn’t begin writhing violently as Rishi had suspected, but it did turn its head to the direction of the touch. It looked as if it were trying to move its body to investigate the touch. It didn’t even vocalize as much as he thought it would.

That was new.

Rishi waited and watched quietly for a full twenty-two minutes before Watson began to regress into a more apathetic state. Rishi waited for a full half-hour before it returned to its apathetic state, and repeated the procedure on its opposite arm. Watson imitated its response again, but instead of calming down in twenty-two minutes, it took nearly a full hour for it to return to its vegetative state. Rishi brushed its left arm once more, in the same place as before, with the same pressure as before, and Watson once again attempted to move its body towards the feeling. Watsons activity continued for slightly over an hour, and once it had calmed down, and Rishi had repeated the procedure again on its opposite arm, it’s vocalizations became slightly louder, and it took nearly an hour and a half for it to calm down.

Interesting. There is an increase in time length of activity every time I graze its arm. It’s not aggressively pursuing interest though…Its sense of touch remains intact. The fact that it isn’t trying to engage in violent actions might be some sort of mechanism to store energy. That could mean it is able to differentiate between its target and its surroundings. Though it is likely that executive functions are absent, its actions are reminiscent of more instinctual patterns found in earlier organisms. Parietal lobe is functioning…It has a functioning brain, which means it’s getting the required fuel. Drawing breath is necessary…But…how does that explain the reanimations? Potential electro-chemical reactions brought on by the contagion itself is plausible, but that would require blood flow. Perhaps transmission vectors are different than expected? Hmm...I’ll put that aside for now.

Dr. Rishi moved onto the next part of his test, and physically grabbed Watson’s left arm. This immediately drew its full attention, and Watson began writhing aggressively and moaning loudly. Rishi let go of its arm and waited for it to calm down. Instead of regressing back into full vegetation, it gradually calmed down into its apparent ‘search mode’ after a half hour of struggling, and an hour and a half after that it completely regressed back into its vegetative state. Rishi repeated the procedure on its opposite arm and garnered a similar response, with the writhing and the searching lasting only slightly longer than previous. Dr. Rishi collected himself and withdrew into the main building to refresh himself with some water and a couple eggs. He pondered over the results as he took his time eating.

So it is able to clearly differentiate between being grabbed and simply brushing by an object. The time difference suggests that its amygdala could be putting it on higher alert the more sensory information it receives. One rustle in the bushes is something to investigate, but two rustles isn’t a coincidence. It does retain some sense of predation, basic instinctual concepts. So far, as a whole, they seem to lack idea of self-preservation, and only seem to act on some morbid sense of hunger…This seems very reminiscent of parasites. Ophiocordyceps, Paradoxum, Sacculina, these are all parasites that take control of the host’s cognitive functions in order for it to complete its lifecycle…But, where is the cycle? Maybe this isn’t parasitic…

He continued his musings all the way back out to the outbuilding, and once again quietly slipped into the room with Watson, careful not to disturb it. With him, Rishi brought his sewing needle. His next test was to determine its ability to sense pain. He quickly pricked its left forearm, and it brought Watson to its investigative state. Dr. Rishi continued through most of the night repeating the procedure in different parts of Watson’s anatomy, and it drew nearly identical responses.

Quite intriguing. Watson, and likely the rest of the reanimated population are unable to sense pain, though they are clearly aware of touch and pressure. There must be damage to that part of the brain…but if it is consistent with every subject, then that clearly shows that there is some sort of intentional re-wiring that happens after death…no, that may not be correct. Based on the reports, people expire after being bitten at different rates…this could mean that there is some sort of catalyst in the saliva that sets off the chain of events…The rewiring happens as the person is dying, which would explain the vastly different rates of expiration and reanimation. Since every brain is different based on personal experiences, the contagion would have to work through more or less connections. If what I’m thinking is true, then that means not only does body mass and heart conditions affect the rate of degradation and alteration, but also how many neural connections the subject has. Essentially, people who are generally more intelligent may take longer to turn than others, which would explain why the athletes tend to last longer than their obese counterparts…

Dr. Rishi retired for the night, content with his results. After approximately four hours of sleep, he was up again, ready to complete more tests. He moved onto testing its thermoception, and placed a lit candle underneath its hand. It didn’t move its hand away, even as its flesh began to cook. In fact, it even began to lean towards the heat, shifting its body weight towards the warmth.

You are just full of surprises aren’t you? Its sense of temperature seems to be intact, though I have a suspicion that is simply in order to find body heat of its currently living counterparts. Watson is also slightly cooler to the touch than I am, though that could just be because of the environment. Attracted to heat, attracted to feelings, but you only react violently towards something recognizably human, at least, from what I gather…

Dr. Rishi pulled the candle away after searing part of Watsons hand, and it seemed to fall back into its normal vegetative state almost immediately. Rishi waited for fifteen minutes, weighing his options, before going back to test a new hypothesis. He once again grabbed one of Watsons arms, and it immediately began to move to attack Rishi. Instead of pulling away, Rishi held onto its arm. He held its arm for a full hour before letting go, noting the lack of change in Watson’s behaviour.

Confirmed. Watson is capable of discerning my human nature, though I’m still not entirely sure how. It could be a combination of factors, but regardless, it can tell the difference between the clasps on its wrists and my own hand. This is very disturbing…

Instead of waiting for Watson to calm down, Rishi took the bag off its head and unwrapped the duct tape around its nose, unplugged its nostrils, and put the bag back over its head. He left the room and returned several hours later to a dormant Watson. He made his way into the corner of the room, and sat for approximately half an hour before Watson became active. It went into its search mode, unclear of which direction it should be heading, and after fifteen minutes of whipping its head in multiple directions, it eventually focused its attention in Rishi’s corner of the room, and began writhing. Rishi sat there for nearly two hours, and placed the plugs back into Watson’s nostrils, and left the room with more thoughts to ponder.

Sense of smell is acute. It’s able to smell my presence, and it doesn’t seem to adapt to my scent, which means my smell in particular is its main focus. Lack of sensory adaptation, as well as sensory amplification indicates a very strong change in perception of smell. Could it be because of a change in olfactory sensory neurons, or another change in the brain itself? Memory retention of smell and forms of humans is remarkable, though this could be a by-product of some sort of neural pruning…The lack of regression in terms of aggressive behaviour when in contact with a living human suggests that its ability to adapt to new circumstances may be hindered…maybe its ability to form new memories is non-existent…Too many variables to look into at this point as far as that is concerned…

He left the outbuilding to make himself some breakfast, and jotted down some point form notes from his observations.

• Three stages of awareness: Dormant, Searching, and Attacking.
• Feels no pain.
• Is able to differentiate people from objects, as far as touch and smell go.
• Enhanced sense of smell.
• Incapable of turning away from obvious human presence.
• Goes dormant with lack of stimulation within two to three hours
• Rate of change from living to reanimated could be partially determined by neural pathways.

Once he finished his breakfast, he left his notes on the table. When he came closer to the outbuilding, he hear the voices of a couple women. Why was there anybody else in the outbuilding? It sounded like the girl he met earlier and another familiar voice which he could not put a face to.

“What are you girls doing here? Why aren’t you going to the Roslin institute?” Those words landed him on his back with the dark skinned woman on top of him threatening him with a flare gun. Rishi nearly shat his pants when she pointed the weapon at him, and rightly so. Luckily for him, she threw the weapon aside and flew away in another direction shortly after. “Phew.”

After getting to his feet, he had a few questions for Kiera about the events that had conspired while Rishi was busy in the outbuilding.

November 8th

It was jarring, to say the least. Even without the events of the deaths and torture of the people of Haven, and the refusal of anybody to go on the Roslin mission, Rishi was experiencing feelings of dread. After going over several dozen more tests with Watson, he came to the conclusion that whatever it was that had decided to bring it back to life had repurposed it entirely for one mission: to spread. It may have been painfully obvious to most people that of course it would spread, but the difficulty wasn’t in the what’s. It was never with the what’s. It was in the why’s, and that was Dr. Rishi’s speciality. Why was that its mission? Why go through that process? Why go through all the work of jumpstarting a host back to life, or semblance of? Something of the level of complexity shown in the whole process would take generations and generations of evolution to come to be. There was absolutely no indication of the contagion to have evolved from anything remotely resembling anything analogous to any other human affecting contagion. Even in cross species contamination, there were no contagions that even closely resemble what was present in Watson’s case. That meant it was more than likely engineered. For what purpose remains unclear, but that hardly mattered. But that meant if it was engineered, there would be an origin source, and if Rishi were able to locate the original sample…

Of course, that was just a pipe dream. There was no way he could find it. He was more likely to be struck by lightning. Regardless, Dr. Rishi has gained valuable information based on his tests that he was working into turning into a sort of ‘zombie guidebook’ for the Scav’s to use as a reference when dealing with the undead. Of course, there was only one copy at the moment, but left it out on the table by the job board for the Scav’s to peruse at their leisure while he compiled more notes. In it contained rudimentary notes and observations regarding the entire spectrum of the undead's sensory perception, as well as behaviour patterns and likely timelines for turning into one of them, based off of level of fitness, proximity of bite wounds to major blood vessels, physical make-up, and level of brain activity.



Suggested number of Scavs – x

Area – Cromwell/any farmhouse along the way.

Objective – find devices capable of recording video, and record your surroundings on your way back to Haven.

Information – Understandably, there seems to be a lack of interest in travelling towards Edinburgh. Of course, the Roslin institute is the closest facility I am aware of to our current location, which for the time being, makes it inconvenient. The results of my baseline tests on Watson have revealed quite a number of surprising facts, which I have detailed in the pages of the ‘book’ nearby for your benefit. While I’m sure you are well acquainted with a large portion of the material covered, there are a few portions which you should read over, as I have gleaned some new information from the man in the outbuilding.

As for the mission at hand, it certainly sounds like a simple task. No doubt there are still piles of working batteries lying around, and any cellular device works wonders. The small electronics shop or the pawn shop in Cromwell will no doubt still have a decent supply of working camera’s, batteries, and memory cards available, if most people’s priorities remained reasonably intact. Gather as many as you can to bring back to Haven, and if possible, several laptops as well.

What I require is for you to take these cameras with you wherever you go. It will be unnecessary to record absolutely everything you do, but from this point forward, you should carry a recording device of sorts with you. Aside from the obvious properties of capturing evidence, depending on the device, you could create a reliable distraction for the undead or even living people, which may come in handy in certain situations.

That’s all for now.


4 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Callie Winters Character Portrait: Delaney Byron Character Portrait: Erin Hooper Character Portrait: Shinji Yamada
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#, as written by Rann
The Love Boat.

Collaboration with Faith Fanon

November 9th 2013, 0020

Part 1: Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
Laney barely heard the knock above the noise of the storm lashing Haven. She crept to the door to find Callie there, looking tired and drawn.

'Callie,' she whispered. 'Everything okay?'

Callie stared vacantly for a moment, as if looking over her shoulder, then returned to the real world. 'A ship has run aground. There are survivors. It can't wait.'

Laney flicked a glance back at Ben's sleeping form. They'd argued over the last few days about the dangers of trusting strangers. 'I'll get Hoppy. She's pretty fly at getting in and out of places.'

Soon the three women were sitting around the table in the Command Centre, the younger pair looking at the map as Callie outlined the mission. The information imparted, Laney and Hoppy spent 10 minutes around Haven gathering equipment they might need; Laney went to Monroe's armory for a scoped rifle - for all the good it would do in this kind of dark - and a flare gun; Hoppy grabbed a couple of blankets and, almost as an afterthought, a large man's full-length raincoat. She would be swamped in it, for sure, but it might do someone some good. Hoppy almost decided on ditching the cleaver - hell, she was attached to it far too much as of late. But in the end she brought it along with her, hugging it to her body as if it were a beloved pet.

Callie stopped them at the door. 'Remember, be careful with your torches.'

'We know. Light discipline,' Laney replied. She reached out and squeezed Callie's arm. 'Get some rest, okay?'

They donned waterproof layers and ducked out into the driving rain. As if by way of greeting, a gust of wind sprayed cold water straight into their faces, taking their breath away.

'Fuck it, Hoppy, we're gonna drown before we even get to the sea,' gasped Laney, turning west at the gate onto the road. 'Hey, where are you going?' Hoppy had turned east.

'Y'don't think I'm walkin' all that way, do ya?' she shot back. 'I'm usin me head, not me legs.' In response to Laney's puzzled grunt, she expanded: 'Still got that truck stashed down Cromwell. pretty sure I remember where it is.'

After a couple of minutes outdoors, their eyes had adjusted to the dark enough that they could see the outline of the road and the verges; they broke into a light jog, silent but for the rasp of their breath, until they reached the outskirts of Cromwell. They slowed to a cautious walk as Hoppy cast her mind back to the events of that traumatic day in Cromwell, and Laney, hatchet in hand, tried to stare through the dark and hear above the howling wind for dangers, dead and alive. 'C'mon, Hoppy, where is it?' she asked nervously.

'It's 'ere, it's 'ere. Stay close. It's just...'

Hoppy's thoughts drifted back to the rescue mission to save Ben. After scaring off the 'vaners, essentially, the four from Haven, after some thought, stowed the truck in a different area - still a ways from Cromwell, in a reddish house that looked oddly barnlike in its design. There was a garage there too, of course. Originally, Hoppy had wanted to just get the hell back to Haven with the truck - but Mark was in charge, and he was set on leaving it a bit away from Haven. In any case, Hoppy returned to the present, and located the quaint red house, thinking that it looked pretty different in the middle of a storm. "That'un," she pointed, anxious to find a roof to block the rain.

Laney was almost as glad to get out of the freezing rain as she was to find the truck. She threw back her hood and dragged off her woolen hat, using it to wipe the rain off her face.

'Yew wanna drive?' offered Hoppy.

'Um...' Laney paused. Oh well, there was no getting around it. 'I don't know how.'

'Heh,' cried Hoppy, secretly amused, secretly glad of this talent her friend didn't have. She shot Laney a little devious smirk; head sideways at her. "Another'un of Laney's little skills, aye?"

'What? I lived in London and I was stupid rich. I got taxis everywhere.' Somehow Laney didn't feel as defensive about this failing in front of Hoppy as she might have in front of Tilo, Callie or any of the others.

'Aye-uh, well get in then. I'll be youer taxi t'Seascale,' Hoppy teased. She started the engine, slipped it into gear, and eased the truck out onto the road. It was nerve-wracking, really, as Hoppy stared at it. Driving it out to the road, sure, why not. But actually driving it... last time she'd done something like that, it resulted in Ben... Hoppy shook her head, not wanting to fall back into the old doldrums of after the rescue mission. She had to focus to prove that she wasn't a waste of space. After a couple of minutes of silence, as Hoppy got used to the mechanics, she asked: 'Sooo... whose bed did Callie drag yew out'a tonight?'

'Hoppy!' Laney screamed in pretend outrage, laughing at the girl's cheek.

Hoppy grinned at the reaction, and that she'd guessed right. 'So it's official then?'

'Official?' Laney smiled to herself, recalling the stolen nights she'd spent with Ben. In an environment like Haven, she hadn't expected it to go unnoticed. 'I'd hardly call it that, it's just a coupla rolls, y'know?'

'Oh.' Hoppy was disappointed Laney had poured cold water on the subject so quickly. 'Was lookin' forward to knockin' 'bouts with baby Bens!'

Laney fell silent for a moment, staring out the window as they passed Haven. Light discipline seemed to be in full effect there.

'I don't know. I should be okay,' she said quietly. Hoppy glanced over. The singer had suddenly gone very serious. 'I mean, I should get my period any day now anyway, so I should be okay, right?'

Hoppy realised the reason for the sudden change in Laney's demeanour. It wasn't advice she felt particularly well-equiped to give - unwanted pregnancy in the zombie apocalypse. With an uneasy frown, and a bit of an unsettling thought - would she ever have children of her own one day?- before turning her attention back to the road, feeling slightly more awkward in the silence. She was racking her brain for something to say when, in the headlights in front of them, a zombie stumbled onto the narrow road. She fought the instinct to floor the accelorator and run it down, instead slamming on the brakes, not wanting to risk damaging the truck. There was a much better, up-close and personal way to deal with the damn thing, after all.

"This'un's mine." Hoppy said with a bit of eagerness. Gripping the black handle of her billhook cleaver, Hoppy made a small jump down onto the road and into the dark, whipping wind and rain. She shivered a bit; goddamn it was cold, wasn't it! But when she heard the characteristic moan under the storm, she knew what she had to do. The zed made an attempt at a lunge - Hoppy stepped to the side, before slamming the side of the cleaver down onto the neck of the undead monster, smashing it to the ground. She made a small celebratory sound, relishing this. She hadn't killed a zed in so long, after all. She made a few quick chops, and the head of the zed fell, severed unceremoniously. Seeing the flesh and sinew, Hoppy felt exhilirated. She'd done it, after all! The girl then pulled the damn thing off the road, with a grunt of effort - damn, was that tedious. Wasn't long, though, until she returned to the vehicle, drenched but with a new light in her eyes.

"Feeling 'bit like the old me ag'in." She said cheerfully to the singer, before revving the engine once again. Laney grinned back, pushing her previous worry to one side.

Part 2: Superzombie, Dah-Dadada-Dah-Dah!

'Gosforth Road and Cross Lanes. Turn left,' Laney confirmed, flicking her torch from the road sign back to her map. 'We can dodge the village and get to the golf club. There's a little pier where we might find a... Hang on... what the...' she trailed off.

Hoppy shot her a concerned glance. 'What is it?'

'Sellafield's just up the road.'

'The nuclear power station? Wow. Is that still... y'know... active?'

'Yeah.' Laney cast her mind back about 10 years, certainly to when she was a clean-cut child star. Her father had been invited to discuss Sellafield on a lot of serious news programmes, due to the charity single opposing nuclear power he'd written and performed in the 80s, alongside a bunch of other stars of the time. She seemed to recall the serious news programmes were discussing Sellafield's decomissioning. 'I don't know. Better ask Tilo. Or Rishi.'

'Radioactive zombies.' Hoppy chuckled. "Nuclear zombies. Superpowered zombies!"

'Like we don't have enough to worry about.' Laney sighed and folded her map. Hoppy eased the truck back into gear, and they drove down the little lane, rolling to a stop in front of the clubhouse. Laney was about to jump out when Hoppy jerked the gears again and performed a neat three-point turn, almost surprised at the fact that she'd pulled it off with aplomb. 'Easier t'get out,' she explained, using the mask to look as if she knew she could do it. 'Always plan youer way out, learned that in Cromwell with Ben.'

From the safety of the truck, Laney flashed her torch across the front of the clubhouse, picking out the smashed remains of floor-to-ceiling plate glass windows that must have afforded little protection from the undead horde. There was no reaction to the little lightshow, and the Scavs jumped down from the truck. Laney paused in thought for a moment, then slid the rifle back onto the passenger seat. The rain hammered down as they dashed to the corner, and Hoppy was just about to dart round to the back, where the pier was located when Laney grabbed her arm.

'Hold on,' she hissed. 'There's a bar in there.'

'Laney, no detours!' Hoppy shot back. 'I tol you what 'appened in Cromwell.'

'Come on, girl, when's the last time you had a drink? Come on, one bottle.' And with that, Laney stepped over a remaining shard of window and into the bar. She could feel the shattered glass grinding and crunching under the soles of her boots, but no sound could reach above the driving rain and howling wind. She flicked on her torch, and immediately wished she hadn't. The walls and the bar were all splattered with high splashes of brown - dried blood - and wide pools of the same dead fluid marred the once-plush carpet. Avoiding these, she sidled over to the bar and flashed on her torch once more, and bit down on her lip to stop crying out. Under the cash register, lying on its side, was a head - just a head - and when the light landed on it, its eyes flew open and it began to mash its jaw up and down. Not having any lungs any more, it couldn't produce the charactaristic moan, but even in this extreme condition, its monsterous instincts remained. Laney lifted her hatchet - she barely thought of it as Toby's any longer - to finally put an end to the creature, when her eyes fell on a metal icebucket.

'Look what I got,' she cheered when she returned to Hoppy at the corner. 'Vodka!' She held up a cardboard box holding three bottles and a bucket.

'What's under the towel?' Hoppy sounded cross at Laney's reckless detour. Moreover, it was for liquor. Not only did she dislike the bitter and strong taste, but Hoppy was bitterly reminded of the two brothers, and how they used beer to... get their victims, essentially.

'It's a surprise,' Laney shot back, hurrying to dump the box on the flatbed of the truck. 'Come on.'

After a few minutes pacing the shoreline behind the clubhouse, they found the pier. Several small boats moored there were half-submerged or more, but at the end, riding high on white-capped waves that flashed in the torchlight, was a sleek-looking motorboat. They stood at the end of the pier, watching the craft rock up and down. Beyond it, they could see huge bulk of the ferry ship a little way, listing slightly to the left. To port, Laney corrected herself, recalling a luxury cruise with her father. They called left port when at sea.

'Y'know anythin 'bout speedboats?' Hoppy queried nervously, clutching the giant raincoat closer to her, further dwarfing herself in its bulk.

Laney tried to make herself sound braver than she felt. 'I steered my dad's a couple of times. It was... uhhh... nicer weather.' She sat on the pier and lowered herself gingerly down, then reached up to help Hoppy in. She pulled uselessly on the starter cord of the motor with her left hand. Hoppy had a couple of turns, to no avail. Finally, taking a joint grip on the handle, they threw themselves backwards and the motor sputtered into life. Laney laughed as she picked herself up, took the handle and gunned the engine.

Her laugh was cut short as the engine screamed and the boat lurched high into the air.

'Laney, yew twyp!' Hoppy yelled from where she lay in a puddle in the bottom of the boat. 'Yew din't undo the rope tyin' us to land!'

A deft blow of her hatchet set them on their way, and Laney guided the boat out to sea towards the stern of the ship. 'I don't want to be too near land,' she yelled over the whipping wind and the roaring engine. 'Zeds probably fell off the ship, and if we're in the shallow, they can reach up and grab us.'

By the time they reached the stern of the ship they were about 100 metres from land. They were drenched from sea spray and rain, but the breakers had given way to swells of five feet or more. Hollow booms and metallic rattles emanated from the ship as it rocked gently with the power of the sea. Either side of the raised car ramp on the stern was a railed platform, pretty much at sea level. Laney brought the boat as close as she could to the starboard platform and, at the top of a swell, Hoppy reached out and grabbed the rail. The falling swell dropped the boat from under Hoppy's feet, leaving her hanging on for dear life, her feet kicking to find purchase beneath her. The boat clattered violently against the platform and caught underneath it as the swell rose again, pitching the boat sideways and throwing Laney off her feet. She grabbed at the rail as the freezing seawater rushed in around her up to her waist, shocking the breath out of her. Hoppy grabbed her under the shoulder, and together they scrambled over the rail, gasping for air, and watched the motorboat sink below the surface. A stairwell led up to a walkway that wrapped around the body of the ship at lower-deck level and they dragged themselves up it, out of the rain.

'That din't go well,' Hoppy spat out eventually. Laney already had her backpack off.

'Radio's bust. Flares are bust. Food's bust,' she said, throwing each item into the sea as she named it. 'Hey look,' she said, showing Hoppy the bottom of her nearly-empty pack. 'Water bottle's still in one piece!'

Hoppy stared back at Laney dryly, looking almost ridiculously unimpressed. She was wet and annoyed, and there was still a whole damn lightless boat to search, wasn't there? It took her half a mind to keep from freaking out at Laney, only relenting at the last moment, luckily not having grabbed at her favorite blade. Hoppy scowled and murmured something that sounded akin to 'useless twyp', but otherwise didn't respond. So they had no food, in case this damn thing would take days to search. No flares, so they can't call for help. There's rain anyways, so was there really any use in using them? No radio, so they can't report into Haven in case things go wrong. Hell, they didn't even bring any Harrys, did they? But at least they had water, something they oh so desperately needed right now.

Damnit, this was going to be tiresome. And terrifying. It really wasn't one of her favorite prospect things to do; head into an abandoned ship in the dark with enemies that could possibly be surrounding you, with no way of knowing, until it's too late. She whipped out the cleaver; of course she was foolish to even hope for a gleam to shine off of the blade, wasn't she? Everything was going wrong - going to hell, just like all her other missions. Would the same pattern follow? Would it be Laney who got hurt for her sake this time? Hoppy made a defeated shrug, trudging forwards, aimlessly, making sure of her footing - the leaning ship meant all the walkways were at an angle. Least it'd be better if she could be the one to get hurt this time. And on top of all of this was a treacherous climb. And almost as if sensing the sudden foul mood, Laney spoke up.

"Hey, c'mon. Least we're at where we wanted, right? And you still got your pack."

Yeah. There's at least that.

"Sorry." Hoppy said quickly, forcing an easy grin. "Jus' wasn't prepared fer that! Bit on edge, it's nuthin'!"

'Okay. We gotta hurry up though, I'm gonna freeze in these wet jeans.'

Part 3: Boarding Party

The two girls went navigating through the ship, ears peeled for the sound of moaning, too afraid to dare calling out to Emma. You never knew was was lurking in the dark, after all. Still, Laney looked tempted to search the rooms, just in case there was something valuable hidden away - Hoppy almost had to drag her away from looking in one port-hole; too paranoid to want to do anything but finish as soon as possible. She was freaked out and on edge, and the iron smell of the boat now seemed to mix with an iron smell of sanguine. Definitely unpleasant. Her boot kicked against the soft squish of a corpse, and Hoppy screamed immediately, blindly slashing ahead of her with the cleaver, almost knocking Laney's head clean off.

"Hey!" Laney shouted, indignant. "Be careful where you wave that thing!"

The singer felt around where she heard the squish, and sure enough, her hands touched the cold meaty flesh of the corpse. Both girls shuddered deeply as they realised what had happened.

"M-me bad." Hoppy uttered bashfully. "Dunnae what came over me righ' t'ere."

The now brown-haired girl wiped the sole of her foot on the wall, wincing at the squeak that resounded against the cold steel. And it was right at that moment that they heard that same nightmarish moan - they couldn't tell from where. Hoppy shot Laney a fearful glance. What the hell, man, how do you fight when it's so dark? She swung the cleaver blindly, not hitting anything but empty air. Sudenly remembering Laney, Hoppy sheepishly stopped swinging it, and instead held it in a defensive position, ready to lash out in case anything came out of the darkness.

'Okay, we got to stick right together, I mean right together,' Laney demanded. 'Give me your hand, I don't want my head chopped off.'

The moaning continued, but it didn't get any louder; maybe the zed just wasn't approaching them. Hoppy wanted to leave this part at least; the corpse lying there was disgusting her more and more.

"Le's get on wit'it." Hoppy murmured, pulling on Laney's finger and continuing down the walkway. "Shudn't waste time 'ere."

The growls increased as the two girls walked - just how any of them were around, anyways? Must've been a hell of a lot, just barely out of sight. Where the hell are they? Hoppy was on edge, jittery and nervous, and she had a feeling that Laney wasn't really taking this so well, either, if the tight grip on her hand was anything to go by. If they were suddenly swarmed, both of them were fucked. Utterly fucked. Nothing they can do about that either; helpless to luck right now. She had to think of a way to alleviate this tension - she couldn't damn take it at all. Talk more about Ben? Or maybe thank her for the mooncup? It had come in handy, after all. Then she thought- dude, there were so many zed on-board. If they managed to get on land... that would make everything harder for Haven in the long run. What's the best way to get rid of them, when they're all here, in one spot?

"Explosion." Hoppy muttered. She paused, to listen for any growls that might've been getting closer - none that she could tell - and extrapolated. "Dun' wanna risk more'o these gettin' on land, y'know? P'raps we culd, I dunnae, blow up the ship?" She shrugged, unsure how to even go about blowing it up, but damn wasn't it a tempting idea?

'I like your style, you fucking psycho,' Laney whispered back. 'Let's get to the survivors first. Callie said one was crew, maybe they'll know how.'

Laney tried to recall all she could about the luxury cruise liner. It had been a lot bigger than this, but surely the principles would be the same.

'The survivors radioed Callie, so the best bet is they're on the bridge or nearby,' she whispered in Hoppy's ear. 'That's gonna be up on the top deck. So all that moaning and groaning must be coming from the cabins on the other side of this wall. Or on the main deck.'

Hoppy was about to respond, when her foot slipped - for no apparent damn reason. Walking at an angle like this was exhausting, especially in the dark, with all the zeds all over the place. She grabbed onto a door handle at the last second, stopping her from completely falling and possibly slipping down to where they'd started. She cursed in annoyance, but steadied herself before catching up with Laney - accidentally pulling down on the handle by accident. Of course, as you'd expect, the door swung just a tad. And all of a sudden it seemed as if some of the groaning, at least, had lost a muffler.

"Well, shit." Hoppy sighed. "Dunnae ev'n where we are, do we? Or 'ow t'get to the bridge? Outrunnin' this many of'em in an upright ship's not my style."

'We've got to find a stairs. That'll take us onto the main deck, right where that moaning's coming from.'

'Oh great.'

'Yes, but listen,' Laney went on. 'The angle means most of them will have just naturally ended up on the lower side of the slope, so if we find a stairs on this side, we should be able to sneak right past them.'

"Unless I trip ag'in." Hoppy said dubiously, deadpanning.

'You trip again, I'll chuck you over the side. Come on, there's a stairs up ahead.'

Laney put a foot on the first step, and tried to push out of her mind what lay above them. There could be any number of Zeds immediately above them, and she could be poking her head out into the midst of them. Still, that was the risk they all took now. Stepping outside of Haven, climbing a stair, death could come at any minute. But staying put - holed up in Haven, at the foot of a stairwell - meant death too, just a slower form. She swallowed, trying to bury her fears, and climbed the rest of the stairs, hoping the dark and the howling wind would mask her whereabouts from the zombies' senses.

There was slightly better light on the deck than there had been on the ramp-level walkways, but a fresh assault from the wind and rain at the greater elevation. Laney shook her arms and legs, trying to get the blood flowing in her numb limbs again. The moaning was louder but it seemed to be coming from the port side of the deck: as Laney had predicted, gravity had naturally brought the zombies to that side. She gestured to Hoppy to follow, realized the Welsh girl might not be able to see her, and hissed back: 'All clear'

Hoppy was grateful that Laney had whispered - she was just sort of standing there, staring at nothing in the blackness. She nodded - before foolishly realizing that Laney couldn't see it, and then whispered her thanks with a hushed, 'Ta'. Carefully managing her footsteps, the younger girl took an experimental step - she was more unsteady than she thought - but she managed to follow Laney without much incidence. She took a sad look at her cleaver as she heard the moaning increase - no way the little guy could take them all on for her.

Laney took her friend's hand again and led them forward until they spied the next stairs. When they emerged again from the shelter of the stairwell, they were both nearly driven to their knees by a blast of wind; there was no more cover now they were on the top deck, and the wind was even more ferocious at this height. A metallic banging sounded ahead. Laney tried to curse, but the gusts ripped the air straight from her mouth. Instead she pointed with her hatchet at the silhouette of the bridgehouse ahead of them, a slightly darker outline against the heavy black rain clouds. Leaning into the wind, they struggled to keep their footing as they crossed the wet top deck. As they reached the bridgehouse, the wind died suddenly and, no longer pinned shut, the wheelroom door slowly creaked open. Hoppy's grip on Laney's hand grew that much tighter. The wind picked up again and slammed the door shut with an almighty clang, and both girls yelped.

'If they're anywhere, they're in here,' Laney yelled over the wind. 'Got your torch?' As Hoppy reached into her backpack, Laney yanked the door open, bracing it against the buffeting wind.. Hoppy played her torch across the interior as Laney called out: 'Hello?'

The torchlight lit up the inside of the wheelroom, and the girls just had time to see the nautical instruments drenched in blood and gore, before three zombies jerked into life and dashed towards them. Laney let go of the door and the wind slammed it shut, crunching on a dark-uniformed sleeve from which protruded a grey-skinned hand curled into a claw. Hoppy lost no time in hacking the hand off with an almost eager grin, heavy thumps came from inside as the zombies thrashed against the door. It flew open again, spilling the undead creatures, clumsy as they were, onto the deck in front of them. In a flurry of falling blades, they were dispatched.

'Now what?' asked Hoppy, almost shouting.

Laney pointed to another door on the bridgehouse. Hoppy pointed her torch at it, picking out the word 'Security' stamped on it. Laney tugged her towards it, but Hoppy pulled Laney back and gestured over the bow of the ship towards the village. 'I thought I saw a light.' The two girls scanned the village, and so were caught unawares when the door behind them opened. 'Hello, are you the people from Haven?' came an Irish accent. 'I'm Emma.'

Part 4: Shot In The Dark

Finally out of the howling wind, and with a locked metal door between them and the zombies, Laney realized how cold she was. The Asian man Emma had indicated was called Shinji went wide-eyed and turned away as Laney kicked off her boots and peeled the soaked, freezing denim from her legs. As Hoppy got on the radio to Haven, Laney dragged a blanket from her backpack and wrapped it around her waist.

'Sorry bout that,' she grinned. 'Our leader warned us about hypothermia. Didn't realize she coulda been talking about us.' She handed a blanket to Emma, taking a close look. The Irish girl was younger than her and Hoppy, although not by much, and looked tired but resolute. As she slipped the blanket around her shoulders, her mask of determination slipped, and an expression of pure exhaustion crossed her face, but the Asian man put a comforting hand on her shoulder, and she rallied.

'Callie? Callie? Haven, aye-uh, are yew gettin' t'is? Hoppy 'ere.' The radio crackled and buzzed. Clearly the storm was interfering with reception. '... ferry... Emma... back...' was all they could make out.

'Callie, if yew c'n 'ear me, We've found the survivors. We'a gun bring'em back t'Haven now."'

'... Hoppy... careful... Haven...' Then the radio cut out entirely. Hoppy shot Emma an annoyed glare, before desperately pressing the power button again.

'There's no power,' Emma said apologetically.

'We know. We just climbed it,' Laney smiled ruefully. She flashed Hoppy's torch around the security room. 'Nice place you got here. Got any trousers?'

The windowless security room was a tight fit for four people, about 10 foot square. Opposite the only door was the radio set. To its left, there was a tiny table and two chairs, and to its right were two lockers. Laney flung them open. The first contained two bottles of water, six chocolate bars, and four tins of tuna. Obviously supplies were running low, though a bottle of vodka seemed almost untouched. The second locker contained a handful of flares - Emma had the flare gun tucked into her waistband - and two boilersuits. The Asian man turned away again as Laney threw off her blanket and stepped into the boilersuit. It was much too big for her, so she improvised by tying the arms around her waist.

'Okay, let's get out of here,' she stated, dragging her boots back on. 'Know how to lower the lifeboats?'

'Yes, but...' replied Emma. The Asian man grabbed her arm and pointed to his ring finger which, Laney noticed, bore a silver wedding ring. 'Shinji's wife is stuck in a cabin. Kaiko. We can't leave without her.'

'Well, that's a 'ell of a rut.,' Hoppy grimaced at Laney. 'Fancy I shud'nt run off like last time, aye?.'

Emma pointed out the location of the cabin on the lower deck. Laney figured it was near the door on the lower deck Hoppy had opened when she slipped.

'And how many Zacks?' she asked.

Emma's face fell as she considered the question. 'It was summer when we set out, so we were nearly full. Probably seven hundred.'

'Fuck...' was all Laney could muster. She heard Hoppy's deep intake of breath beside her, who muttered 'explosion' again, almost dreamily.

'But a lot of them were in their cabins when they... when they turned,' Emma said quickly. 'And they can't open doors.'

'This ship doesn't have cabins for seven hundred,' Laney queried. Shinji's eyes darted from one to the other as he tried to grasp the tone of the conversation

'Okay, okay,' replied the Irish girl. 'But on minus one, most people were in their cabins. The biggest group of them is on the outer main deck or in the bar and food court on the inner main deck. If you avoid them...'

'Laney, we can't leave 'er there,' Hoppy said matter-of-factly. 'C'mon.'

The Scavs made for the door. Shinji followed, but Laney put her hand on his chest. 'Sorry, man, we're used to this. You're not.' He said something she didn't understand, and Laney turned to Emma. 'Look, tell him to stay here. Hoppy and I got our backs, he'll only be in the way.' He stepped forward again, and Laney raised her voice. 'No,' she shouted, pushing him in the chest.

Stepping back out into the cold and the wet and the dark, the temptation for the Scavs was to rush to the lower-deck door. But over the sounds of the ship and the howl of the wind, they could hear the moans of the zombies on the main deck, and proceeded with caution, again holding hands. At the door, Hoppy held up the torch: 'We goin' in?'

'I'm not going in there in the dark, Hops,' Laney shot back. Her teeth were chattering, half from the cold, half from fear. She pried open the door and Hoppy flicked the beam inside. The corridor was narrow and, most importantly, empty. They crept inside, glad to shelter from the elements, but hearts beating hard at the thought of exploring this zombie-filled dungeon. Hoppy shone the torch on the nearest doors.

'Room 40, 41,' she muttered. 'All the forties are on this corridor, Emma said, so all the thirties are the next corridor, and the twenties the next, and Kaiko's in number 24.'

They were passing Room 44, on their left, on the way to the main connecting corridor, which ran perpendicular to the forties corridor, when a thump came from the other side of the door, and a low moan started up. The girls froze in terror. There was another thump from 44, and the moan rose in volume, and was answered by a similar sound from Room 45, on their right. The eerie chorus was soon echoing from every room on the corridor. Hoppy flashed her torch down the connecting corridor, found it clear, and the girls scampered to the intersection with the thirties cabins corridor

Hearing a sudden voice and catching sight of beams of torchlight, Hoppy pulled her cleaver out, holding it out nervously and shushing Laney. She could almost make it out; it was somewhat of an argument, in the direction of the twenties corridor, mixing in with the steady groan of the zeds that littered the ship. As if acting as a scout, the almost-brunette went ahead, her footsteps pattering across the floor in time to catch a brief snippet of conversation.

"Dude, her accent." A gruff, loud, and self-important voice shot out. "I don't even know what the hell she's saying."

"Might be others." Another one, slightly nasally. "If we kill her off -"

A third, distinctly female voice broke out, panicked and slightly accented weirdly - was she over-stressing certain consonants? Hoppy wasn't really sure, but it wouldn't be a stretch to assume that it's Kaiko, right? The wife of that Shinji, that they left back there. "Don't kill me!" Kaiko cried. "We have food, supplies, anything but please, I -"

The sound of flesh hitting flesh, and a 'shut up, bitch". It was certain, though, that there were others here. Hoppy scowled, figuring about four or five in the other group, if you didn't count the woman... presumably Kaiko, and pattered her way back to Laney, biting at her lip, apologizing at leaving her without a torch. In a strained tone, she described what she'd just seen and heard, and then turned to Laney for a judgment. She really wanted to just lunge in and kill them - didn't Laney even have a gun? But, well, she'd learned at least a little from Callie's angry lecture - it'd be better to not act on her stupid impulses right now. "Ta," she hissed."Fer not bringin' Shinji in 'ere with us. 'E'd prob'ly rush in."

'Where the hell did these guys come from?' Laney whispered back.

'Remember tha light I saw in the village?'

'We're not the only ones who saw the flare then. They must have found the door open.'

'Can't let 'em catch us, if'n that's the way they gun' treat a woman,' Hoppy snarled. Her mind flew back to the ordeal Ben had suffered. Unconsciously or not, Hoppy's fist clenched harder on her blade.

The moaning from the corridor behind them was dying down. Maybe even zombies had an attention span problem.

"So." Hoppy took a worried glance back in the direction the voices were coming from. "What d'we do? Save 'er? Go back?" She was at least relieved that the zeds had apparently quieted down. The incessant moans were screwing with her head.

Laney hesitated. She'd come on this mission intent on saving two people. On finding there was a third, she'd resolved to rescue that third. She couldn't turn back just because an additional difficulty had presented itself. 'We gotta save her,' she replied. She knew it was what Hoppy would have done regardless, and her friend's instinctive bravery lent her courage. 'Just gotta be smart.' There was another smack of fist on flesh from up ahead, and another scream. Fuck smart, Laney reasoned. Gotta be quick. She grabbed Hoppy's hand and pulled her back to the forties corridor. Outside Room 44, she stopped and gripped the handle. She mimed counting one-two-three and swinging her weapon. Hoppy nodded and readied herself, cleaver up. Laney yanked the door open, the zombie lurched out, and Hoppy stabbed it straight through the eye, stepping nimbly aside as it fell.

'Open all the doors, then book it in here,' Laney whispered. In no time, the doors to 40, 41, 42 and 43 were open, and seven zombies were stumbling into the corridor. Laney and Hoppy had already slipped into 44, and listened as the undead passed their cabin, honing in on the sounds of Kaiko's tormentors. Once the zeds were at a safe distance, the two girls gently opened the door to Room 44. They shared a silent nod as they stalked their way down. This was going to be tough, of course; timing had to be impeccable. If they were too slow, the zeds would either be all dead, or they'd have already killed all of the new arrivals. If they were too fast, well, the Scavs themselves would be targeted, wouldn't they? It was a tense few moments; especially when the guns started firing - two shots echoed, so... two guns? Immediately upon hearing the chorus of gunfire, Hoppy let out a whimper and knelt down instinctively to block her ears; memories of Chip flashing through her mind. His suicide. The damned roar of the Harrys.

Laney noticed the shorter girl stop and turned back to help pull her up. "It'll be okay," she said encouragingly. "C'mon, Hops, get it together."

Hoppy nodded weakly, and gulped hard.

"Ta." She murmured, forcing herself to ignore the loud sounds of gunfire. She shot Laney a grateful little grin, before the two girls heard one man cry out: "Give 'em the girl! Let's just run for it!" Hoppy clicked her tongue angrily and charged forward with a sudden burst of speed - Laney not far behind, muttering 'shitshit' as she followed.

The first thing Hoppy did, with no hesitation whatsoever, was swing her cleaver into the back of the knee of one of the men holding some sort of pistol, making him cry out and buckle down onto the ground. He fired a reflex shot - and the bullet embedded itself into Hoppy's chest. She fell, back hitting a wall, and then sliding downwards, before hopping back up, silently thanking her adrenaline for blanking out the pain. She was obviously slower now, though, and heard the sounds of more struggle, and one of the zed was already chowing down one one of the men; unearthly screams shaking the slanted corridor. Did Laney even notice that she got shot? Once she found an opportunity, she swiftly eliminated the zed, as well as the man, before he could turn. Better than he deserved, Hoppy thought. It'd have been better for him to suffer as an undead.

Laney, meanwhile, after kicking a zed away from the terrified Kaiko, was met with a sudden "You look familiar." The singer glanced back and, in the intermittant light from swinging torches, saw one of the men, tall and shaven-headed looking at her in recognition. "Like a celebrity that I don't quite... Byron." He nodded. "Delaney Byron. Yeah, I remember your sex tape." Swinging a bat at a zed, the man crushed it's skull with ease, before roving up and down Laney's body with lewd eyes. "Looks like we got lucky." He said with a sick smirk. "Your friend -" gesturing at Hoppy, who gingerly slashed her way through another undead, "- isn't so bad, either. Didn't expect to see a celeb, though. Thought there was a whole high-class shelter for people like you, the 'rich' people."

"That doesn't matter now, prick" Laney spat, rushing at the man with her hatchet, only to have her swing blocked by the bat, and the man's greater strength let him muscle the hatchet back and deliver a swing to Laney's body - only just dodged with a step back, before grunting and doing an overhead swing. The man smiled cockily as he blocked that hit too, and aimed a kick at Laney's stomach, who didn't have enough time to react. She crumpled, and the man chuckled lasciviously as he leaned down to lift Laney - Kaiko, frozen in horror, could only stare at the scene - before the blunt end of a cleaver slammed into the man's arm, knocking him off balance. Hoppy grimaced as she grabbed Laney's hand.

"T'ey got all the zed already." She scowled with urgency, oblivious to the blood leaking through her shirt. "Only one'a 'em dead. I en't lettin' 'em get us, Laney!"

'Hoppy, you're...' Laney couldn't bring herself to say it. Depending on the nature of the wound, her friend could already be dead.

Hoppy seemingly ignored her and, with Kaiko between them, the three girls rushed through the corridor, going as fast as they could to return to Shinji and Emma back at the bridge, ignoring the indignant yell of the man, trying to make them come back. "We're not leaving yet!" He shouted. "We'll get you, you sluts!"

While Laney focused on her injured friend, and the careful way she ran, rather than the typical reckless sprint of hers, no one noticed that Kaiko was nervously hiding her hand under her sleeve, not letting anyone else see.

"You okay, Hops?"

"Just tidy."

Part 5: The Breakfast Queue

Hoppy looked pale, not tidy at all. It was already pretty hard to move very much; she wondered just how much blood she'd lost. Back at the bridge, the rain still slicking down, Kaiko and Shinji embraced each other in desperate relief, whispering in rapid Japanese. Although the Scavs couldn't really understand it, the most common word or phrase used was 'yokatta' or 'shinpai' or 'sukidaiyo', not that anyone really could understand it. Hoppy recognized 'arigatou', though.

'What are you doing out here?' Laney demanded, cradling Hoppy's head on her lap. 'You should have stayed put.'

Emma walked up with a worried glance and tore up some strip of plastic. In her other hand was a bottle of vodka. Hoppy recoiled a bit in Laney's arms - wasn't that going to sting like fuck?

"I only know a bit of first aid. You'll need a doctor to take the bullet out..." Emma muttered, looking at the wound after she'd pulled the shirt off. It looked pretty deep - and, well, the pain was slowly ebbing in now. Hoppy's face contorted in pain as Emma's hands prodded it. "Okay, you ready?"

"Do I really gotta?" Hoppy whined, glancing at Laney, who nodded. The cleaver girl acquiesced and stayed still, hissing in pain as the alcohol seeped into her irritated wound, mixing with the blood. It hurt. It hurt like fuck, and Hoppy flinched backwards when she felt it. She felt Laney's fingers dig into her shoulders as her friend held her down. Sure, it was necessary, but it still hurt real bad. At least she wasn't bleeding out or anything. Damn bullet's good for something, at least. Just in case, though, Emma carefully tied the strip around her waist, over her shirt.

"Why's it plastic?"

"Since it's a chest wound." Emma paused a little. "Some air might travel in and out as you breathe. It's called a sucking chest wound. I did what I could; plastic to stop air from exiting, but we should get to Haven quickly. Else your lung's going to collapse."

"Ta." Hoppy grumbled grudgingly, still smarting over the first aid. She knew she should have felt gratitude for the help, but she just glared bitterly at Emma. Goddamn did her chest hurt, and she figured it wouldn't be long until she was too weak to move and help out. A few hours at least? Calm though, despite possibly dying. Maybe she got used to it all already.

"We can't stay here." Laney said, after looking Hoppy over. "They'll know we're here; we have to move."

Emma looked up, chewing her lip. "How long until we can get off the boat?"

"Not until it's safe. Hoppy's injured, and I don't know if any of you three' - gesturing at Shinji, Kaiko, and Emma - "can keep up if things get bad."

Kaiko turned to her husband and muttered things rapidly back and forth to make sure he understood. Hoppy looked a little irritated, but, well, it was necesary, unless they were just going to keep the Japanese man in the dark. It sickened Hoppy more and more, seeing how people can get once the world more or less ends and civilized society bails out. The people get ridiculous. Disgusting. Hoppy briefly wondered if she was getting just as bad as they were too. Months ago, killing people was the farthest thing from her mind. Months ago, she was a happy, carefree university student, with tender feelings for an old friend. An old friend who could very well be dead by now. Damn if that wasn't a depressing thought.

Kaiko and Shinji turned to the group with thankful smiles.

"My husband and I would like to thank you all for saving me." Kaiko said cordially. "We're sorry for the trouble, and for you getting hurt!"

Time to use the mask. If she didn't stay energetic, everyone'd start worrying, wouldn't they? "I'm doin' fine." Hoppy shrugged, gritting her teeth. "Aye, Emma?"


"Anywhere we c'n 'ole up?"

"Just the security room." Emma said after some thought. "Yeah. We can lock the door, there, and if we're careful with food,.. yeah. Just have to wait the pirates out, right?"

'Alright, it'll do for now,' said Laney. It was time to take charge. 'But we're not holing up long. I don't know how long Hoppy's got, and I'm not risking her life for yours.'

Shock at Laney's bluntness crossed Emma and Kaiko's faces and, after the translation, Shinji's. Regardless, Laney hurried everyone into the security room, locking the door behind her.

'Emma, you know how to lower the lifeboats? Can you do it while you're in it?' The Irish teenager nodded. 'Good,' Laney continued. 'Now, are there any left?'

'There's one, maybe two on the portside main deck,' she replied. Laney rubbed a hand across her face in frustration. The same side as the mass of zombies. She looked down at Hoppy, lying under a blanket, pale and shivering. The Japanese couple were huddled in a corner, holding hands and conversing quietly but urgently.

"G'damnit, Laney," the injured girl muttered. "I'm tired."

'I know, hun. Don't worry, I'm gonna get you back home, don't worry.' Hoppy squeezed Laney's hand gratefully, and lay back down.

With that, Laney grabbed her hatchet, Hoppy's torch and Emma's flare gun and stepped back out into the driving rain. She wished she felt as confident as she'd sounded. But trapped on this giant, foreign hulk of machinery, with hundreds of zombies and an unknown number of raiders standing between her and rescue, with her friend's life depending on her, Laney felt utterly overwhelmed. As a lump formed in her throat and, as she began to panic at her indecision, Laney wondered whether this was what Monroe had felt every day. Was this the pressure Callie seemed to be cracking under?

And that thought got her moving. First she crept behind the bridgehouse to the port side of the top deck. It was still hard to see anything, but Laney fancied it was getting lighter. Certainly she could make out a packed wedge of bodies standing against the rail on the port side. In fact, they filled half the whole deck, from bow to stern. There were hundreds, as Emma had suggested, but she could only make out one lifeboat. Laney calculated she had perhaps an hour of darkness before dawn. After that, no diversion, no matter how big, would keep Hoppy and the others from being seen as they made for the lifeboat. That would mean staying in the security room for an entire day. Hoppy wouldn't last that long, even if the raiders didn't find them.

Almost as if on cue, gunfire echoed from the lower deck. The shaven-headed raider who'd taunted her as they fought had hinted that there were more of them on board, but there was no way of guessing how many. Since they hadn't appeared yet on the main deck, Laney guessed they must be looting cars on the vehicle deck or cabins on the lower deck where she and Hoppy had rescued Kaiko.

Taking a deep breath, Laney scampered down the starboard stairwell to the main deck. The moaning of so many zombies mixed with the howling wind to create a bone-chilling sound. On and on and on it droned, almost hypnotic. Laney felt like she would be hearing that sound in her sleep forever. Luckily, more gunfire from below snapped her out of her reverie, and she snuck down to the lower deck walkway and prised open the outer door to the cabins Hoppy had opened hours ago. Holding her breath, she dragged the corpse from Room 44 and wedged the outer door open. Then she dropped a flare in the doorway, fired a flare into the corridor and, ignoring the yells from within, retraced her steps to the main deck. She dropped another flare halfway up the stairs to the lower deck walkway, then, heart in her mouth, cracked as third flare and stood out in full view of the horde on the main deck.

'Breakfast's ready, bitches!' she screamed. She had only to wait a split second before the horde began to move towards her like a damburst. She dropped the flare at the top of the stairs and followed the path of flares she'd laid.

The headstart she'd given herself was only just enough. She dashed past the doorway to the cabins, remembered at the last second to vault the corpse Hoppy had freaked out at when they first boarded, and slipped more than stepped down the stairs to the ramp-level platform she and Hoppy had climbed onto from the speedboat. She held onto the rail, again lashed by sea spray, ready to jump in and take her chances in the waves if some of the horde followed her.

But a minute's wait told her nothing was coming. The shuffling and groaning from the walkway above told her a seemingly endless procession of zombies were now trudging into the lower level, following the trail of flares. If the raiders survived that, well, she'd ask to join them, no matter how sleazy they were. Laney tightened her makeshift belt, thrust her hatchet into the folds of her clothes, and then threw herself into the sea.

Even though she'd steeled herself, the shock of the water took Laney's breath away. She surfaced momentarily, gasping and spluttering, and then sunk beneath the foaming surface again. The cold seemed to have sapped the strength from her muscles, the very lifeblood from her arms. Then she thought of Hoppy in the security room, shivering and pale as shock set in, and she flailed her arms, reaching air again. She thought of Ben, sleeping with the kind of peace he thought he'd left in the brothers' barn, and she kicked her legs. Inch by inch, stroke by stroke, Laney struggled from the starboard platform to the portside platform, and hauled herself up over the railing. Safe again, she lay gasping like a fish out of water, then struggled to her knees, and finally her feet. She dragged herself up the stairs to the lower deck walkway, and stood listening at the foot of the stairwell up to the main deck. The night sky was a little lighter, she noticed, but the hypnotic stereo moaning of hundreds of zombies appeared to be gone.

As lightly as she could on legs that appeared to be turning to jelly with the cold and tiredness, she sprang up the stairs, and the next flight, and banged on the security room door.

'C'mon, c'mon, c'mon,' she urged. Slower than she would have liked, the door swung open.

Part 6: Dawn

There was blood pretty much everywhere. On the walls, stained over the security systems, the radio, pools of it covering the floor. The stink of the iron-like odor seeped through the entire room. Two bodies lay on the floor, seemingly locked in an embrace, drenched in bright red gore. The Japanese man stood over them, still as a statue, Hoppy's cleaver hanging loose in his hand. Eyes wide in horror, Laney took it in. It was, really, a scene for even the strongest stomach to churn over. Her gaze scanned quickly over the huge, blood gouge hacked into the dark hair of Kaiko, then the bloody, chewed, pulpy mess of Emma's throat. The only other girl still alive glanced over with a labored breath - her world was spinning, the edges of her vision were greyed out and fuzzy, she wanted to throw up the little food she had in her, and she didn't know how long until she fainted - but someone had to explain it to Laney, what the hell just happened.

"Fuck." Hoppy wheezed. "Kaiko... she turn'd." She gestured at the now visible bite mark on the japanese woman's hand. "Bit Emma. 'ad to kill 'er. Got... tired an' then this'n - " pointing tiredly at Shinji. "kill't her 'imself. Let it 'app'n, too, 'e let 'er turn."

Laney was speechless as her horrified gaze flitted form Hoppy, to the grieving Shinji, to the mangled bodies on the floor.

"I'd 'ave kill'd 'im, if'n I could." Hoppy sat down; legs no longer really supporting her. "'Bout to faint 'ere, Laney."

'We'll deal with him later, Hoppy. Now, we gotta move,' Laney urged. 'We don't have much time.' She tried to lift Hoppy's dead weight, but her own tiredness foiled her. 'Come on, help,' she growled at Shinji. The bewildered tourist was still kneeling by the body of his dead wife, seemingly immoveable. 'Come the fuck on,' Laney snapped again, and grabbed him by the arm. He looked over woefully, uncomprehending. Laney swore again, then began rattling off words. 'Go. Safe. Leave. Home. Haven. Fuck. Please.' At 'please', a light of recognition entered Shinji's eyes. Laney repeated herself, gesturing at Hoppy's prone form, then the door. Finally, he helped lift Hoppy, and the threesome staggered out the door.

'Gonna be alright, Hoppy, gonna be alright,' Laney found herself muttering. They reached the stairwell, and to her relief, the main deck seemed empty of movement in the pre-dawn grey light. They manouvered Hoppy down the stairs and halfway down the length of the main deck to where the final lifeboat hung. Laney was just pondering that only Emma had known how to release the lifeboats when the sound of crashing glass rang out behind them. Hoppy slumped to the ground as Laney and Shinji spun around to see zombies tumbling awkwardly out of the window of the food court situated at the back of the main deck.

'Aw fuck,' groaned Laney, drawing her hatchet. 'Get her in the boat.' Shinji's lack of movement told her he hadn't understood. 'Hoppy! Boat!' Laney screamed at him, pointing at one and then the other, and turning to face the first zombie to approach. An overhead chop split its skull, and a glance behind her revealed Shinji struggling with Hoppy.

"Yew c'n ju's- ... ju's leave me." Hoppy protested, even as the Japanese man more or less hustled her over the high edge of the lifeboat. She was trying as best as she could to not just get in; wasn't she slowing them down, anyways? And to follow with the traditions of her past missions, well, someone was going to die, or at least get left behind or something. Might as well let it be the one with a bullet in her chest.

'Stupid talk, Hoppy,' Laney growled. 'Get in the fucking boat.' The zombies were obstructing each other climbing through the broken window. The long shards of glass were tearing terrible holes in their limbs and torsos, but still they pressed on. Another flopped out, and as it righted itself, Laney darted forward and hacked at the back of its head. She danced back from the grasping hands protruding from the window.

With a frustrated sigh, the cleaver girl gave the aforementioned weapon to Shinji, and pointed him at the zombies after she acquiecsed to Laney. It wasn't really worth distracting her right now, anyways. The Japanese man took it and, looking hesitant, afraid; but also determined to avenge his wife, joined the fray, hacking off at an undead hand.

'Laney,' came a weak cry from the lifeboat. 'Look 'oo's here.'

Laney dragged herself up the side of the lifeboat. In one end lay Hoppy, looking like a rag doll. In the other, bleeding and battered, but still able to aim a gun, was the Delaney Byron fan they'd tangled with outside Kaiko's cabin. Blood was crusting up on a snarled, ragged wound on the back of his shaved head.

'Take me with you,' he panted, pointing the gun at Hoppy, who just sort of stared at the feared weapon. The barrel was long and thin. Rimfire, Laney realised. That's how Hoppy was still alive. That didn't mean the threat could be ignored, though. A headshot or a hit to a major artery would prove as fatal as the biggest caliber ammo.

'Fuck off,' Laney snapped.

'Take me with you or your girlfriend gets it.'

Laney threw herself over the side of the lifeboat, weighing her hatchet.

'Put the axe away, bitch,' the man screamed, the pistol waving from Laney to Hoppy and back. .

'Gotta get the boat loose, don't I?'

"'E's bit, Laney." Hoppy murmured, tense. "I see the teeth marks."

'Take it easy, Hoppy,' Laney soothed. 'I'll take care of both of you.' Just then Shinji launched himself into the lifeboat. His jaw was clenched, and Hoppy's cleaver held aloft. His right arm was smeared with thick gore, but there was no sign of fresh blood. He screamed something at the sky. Laney thought she made out the word 'Kaiko'. Suddenly zombies thudded against the high side of the lifeboat, arms reaching for the living inside. Shinji turned the cleaver on the arms; soon the bottom of the boat was littered with limbs. Laney looked wildly around for the release mechanism. The moaning grew louder, and as a grey dawn broke, hundreds of zombies were now visible on the main deck. They began to climb up on the backs of the armless zombies at the lifeboat; soon they would fall right in.

'Aw fuck,' Laney groaned again, and swung her hatchet at the four ropes holding the lifeboat in its cradle. The boat lurched as the first rope gave way, and everyone fell to one side. Holding on to the side, Laney severed the second rope with a single blow. Laney grabbed Shinji, pointed to the cleaver, then to one remaining rope, then to her hatchet and the other remaining rope, and held up three fingers in front of his face. He nodded, they braced themselves for the fall, and, as Laney screamed 'Three!' swung at the ropes.

Everyone screamed as the lifeboat plunged, and the screams stopped abruptly as the boat splashed down, jarring everyone to the bone.

Laney dragged herself from the bottom of the boat, scrambling for her hatchet. She spun around to face the raider with the gun. He was still pointing it, but the sneer on his face was gone. Instead, his throat appeared to be sneering; Shinji had sliced him from one corner of his jaw to the other, and blood and his last breaths made a collar of red foam around his neck. Shinji held out the cleaver, handle first, to Hoppy, and bowed his head.

'Sorry,' he stammered.

Hoppy weakly lifted her head over the lifeboat as the raider died, and let out a feeble spewing of guts; panting hard after the fact, moaning at her dizziness and her exhaustion. "Fuck," she said again, settling down, almost starting to cry. At least the gun wasn't aimed at her anymore. She gratefully nodded at Shinji, taking the cleaver and letting it rest on her lap, shivering. "I was s- scared." She admitted. With a great effort, she managed to speak again. "A-arigatou? Is that it?"

'Domo Arigatou Gozaimasu,' he replied. 'Arigatou, arigatou,' and burst into tears.

The brief respite was interrupted by a splash next to the lifeboat. They looked up and saw zombies plunging over the railing towards them. One particularly big creature fell close enough to smash its head against the side of the boat; brains, bone and ichor splashed the three of them. Laney looked wildly around for a motor, then grabbed at the oars stowed in the sides.

'Aw, fuck,' she repeated, locking her oar into place, and gesturing that Shinji do the same. 'Where's my fucking motorboat?'

November 9th 2013, 0805

By the time, they neared the shore, Laney's shoulders ached. The rest of her was numb from the cold. Though Shinji battled manfully with his oar, he was obviously tiring. Hoppy had turned pale blue and fallen silent again. Though it meant an extra 10 minutes rowing, Laney directed the lifeboat back to the golf club pier; at least she knew there were no zombies there. They bundled Hoppy out of the boat, then, gripping her under an arm each, the dragged her back to the truck, and bundled her into the cab.

'Do you drive?' Laney asked, then, noting the baffled look on Shinji' face, pointed to him, made a steering wheel gesture, then pointed to the truck. He nodded and jumped into the driver's seat. Laney squeezed in beside Hoppy, putting her arms around her friend in an attempt to keep them both warm.

With a trembling hand, Hoppy did her best to pat Laney on the shoulder for getting them out of this mess, more or less alive. Dazedly looking around at the relative safety of the truck, she let her eyes close and slipped into a fitful rest.

'Told you it'd be alright, Hops,' Laney said, her voice a whisper near exhaustion. 'Okay, Shinji, let's go.'

The Japanese man, leaning heavily on the steering wheel, looked puzzled. Laney gestured forwards with her spare hand. 'Please, arigatou.' He seemed to get the idea, and the truck rattled away from the golf club.

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The Citizens of Haven

Eden Valley

Characters that call Eden Valley home.

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Characters that are in the Rands

Eden Valley

Characters that call Eden Valley home.



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Buy, sell, and even craft your own items in this universe.

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View All » Add Character » 34 Characters to follow in this universe

Character Portrait: Callie Winters
Character Portrait: Jonathan Monroe
Character Portrait: October "Toby" Harrison
Character Portrait: Delaney Byron
Character Portrait: Benjamin Kinney
Character Portrait: Jesus "Matador" Herrera
Character Portrait: Tilo King
Character Portrait: Erin Hooper
Character Portrait: Rishi Sharma
Character Portrait: Kiera Trennan
Character Portrait: Alison Carter
Character Portrait: Ken Rand
Character Portrait: Richard Brand
Character Portrait: Mark Lawson
Character Portrait: Shinji Yamada
Character Portrait: Tam Ferris
Character Portrait: Elliot Xanshi
Character Portrait: Allison Hartford


Character Portrait: Luca Dobre
Luca Dobre

Romani Traveler

Character Portrait: Dominic Fields
Dominic Fields

The smoker

Character Portrait: Elliot Xanshi
Elliot Xanshi

Everyday is an act until night comes

Character Portrait: Tam Ferris
Tam Ferris

Ain't it cruel... Life?

Character Portrait: Shinji Yamada
Shinji Yamada

The Reluctant Linguist

Character Portrait: Mark Lawson
Mark Lawson

The Guard

Character Portrait: Richard Brand
Richard Brand

The Hunter.

Character Portrait: Ken Rand
Ken Rand

The Wheelman.

Character Portrait: Alison Carter
Alison Carter

The Fly Girl.


Character Portrait: Elliot Xanshi
Elliot Xanshi

Everyday is an act until night comes

Character Portrait: Jesus "Matador" Herrera
Jesus "Matador" Herrera

"Its time for a tide breaker"

Character Portrait: Shinji Yamada
Shinji Yamada

The Reluctant Linguist

Character Portrait: Jonathan Monroe
Jonathan Monroe


Character Portrait: Benjamin Kinney
Benjamin Kinney

The tourist on a vacation from Hell...

Character Portrait: Richard Brand
Richard Brand

The Hunter.

Character Portrait: Rishi Sharma
Rishi Sharma

Cambridge Professor

Character Portrait: Luca Dobre
Luca Dobre

Romani Traveler

Character Portrait: Dominic Fields
Dominic Fields

The smoker

Character Portrait: Erin Hooper
Erin Hooper

"So, what's going on, what can we do now?"

Most Followed

Character Portrait: Tam Ferris
Tam Ferris

Ain't it cruel... Life?

Character Portrait: Dominic Fields
Dominic Fields

The smoker

Character Portrait: Mark Lawson
Mark Lawson

The Guard

Character Portrait: Tilo King
Tilo King

The old man

Character Portrait: Luca Dobre
Luca Dobre

Romani Traveler

Character Portrait: Rishi Sharma
Rishi Sharma

Cambridge Professor

Character Portrait: Ken Rand
Ken Rand

The Wheelman.

Character Portrait: Jonathan Monroe
Jonathan Monroe


Character Portrait: Callie Winters
Callie Winters


Character Portrait: Delaney Byron
Delaney Byron

Actress. Singer. Celebrity. Doesn't matter now.

Fullscreen Chat » Create Topic » Live Together or Die Alone: Out of Character


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