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Thomas Wynn

"Sure everything is ending, but I'm not going down just yet."

0 · 383 views · located in Earth

a character in “Nervous”, as played by Dreamalot106

Description

Image
Image

Name: Thomas Wynn
Age: 19
Gender: Male
Previous Occupation: Trustfund Baby
Place of Birth: New York City, New York
Place of Residence: __ City, USA

Height: 5’11”
Weight: 183lbs

History:
Thomas lived in a bubble most of his life. A trustfund baby allowed to do whatever he wanted, it was just him and his friends on the top of the world. No one (and nothing) could ever touch them. With the outbreak of the virus, or whatever it was the spores brought with them, Thomas's world was shattered. His friends, his family, all the people he'd ever known became infected around him, and he had to learn to survive. Thomas didn’t understand why he didn’t become infected himself, but he refused to question it either, not wanting to jinx his chance of survival.

When Thomas's four closest friends became infected, he followed them. He watched their movements through the city and then out into the woods, how they wandered aimlessly about searching for… for whatever as the infection took over their bodies. Thomas was startled when the group stumbled upon a girl who appeared similar in age in a clearing in the woods. When it was clear she was not planning on defending herself, Thomas sprung from him hiding place in the bushes and took out his former friends. The girl collapsed in the mean time, and, despite better judgment, Thomas scooped the girl up, taking her with him. He knew wouldn’t be able to live with himself if he just left there in the clearing, so back to his hideout with him she went.

Her name was Devon. Her parents had been destroyed by the infected and she was on the run. She had no supplies other than the handgun she clasped tightly to her chest.

Thomas watched the girl carefully for several days, keeping an eye out for signs of the infection as she recovered from her shock and hysteria. When it became evident to Thomas that Devon was not one of them, nor would she become one, he shared some of his gathered supplies with her with the intent of parting ways.

It was the terrified look in Devon’s eyes when he handed her the backpack that made Elias change his mind.

The two made a pact then to fight together and find any other survivors that may have survived the spores. They left their hideaway the day after.

Personality:
Before the outbreak, Thomas used to be very much a playboy and trustfund baby. He relied on others to do his bidding and was very expectant of girls to just fall at his feet. Needless to say, he was a complete ass. Now though, with his friends, family and admirers gone, Thomas's personality has done a full one-eighty. He is completely self-dependent, refusing to rely on Devon for anything unless agreed upon beforehand. (And as beautiful as he thinks Devon is, he has not made a single move on her, caring more about survival than reproduction or the likes right now.)

Before, Thomas used to see people not directly in his inner circle of friends as not worth his time; now, he's grateful for any human contact, no matter whom it may come from. He's extremely happy now that he changed his mind about parting ways with Devon when they met. If Thomas had no contact with any other people, he has no idea what his mental state would be like at this time.

Weapons/Equipment:
Sig Sauer P226 x2
Ammo
Stiletto
Survivalist Backpack containing-
Duct Tape
Climbing Rope
Heavy Duty Carabiner Clips x6
Canteens x6 (2 filled with water)
Gloves
Walkie Talkie
Flashlight
Batteries (multiple sizes)
Dried food
Rolled-up Blanket
Rain Jacket

So begins...

Thomas Wynn's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Devon Marshall Character Portrait: Thomas Wynn
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

#, as written by Script
[post written by Dreamalot106]

“Come on Dev! You’re going too slow,” Thomas cat-called from the opposite roof. “I’m gonna eat the last granola bars stuffed in the bottom of your pack if you don’t hurry up.”

“Ha ha ha. Very funny, Thomas. And who was it that had to wait while someone else finished climbing up the last wall?” Devon called back as she stepped back a few paces.

“I told you it was ‘cause my clip got stuck.”

“Mmhmm. That’s what you keep saying. Or maybe it was because you were too-,” Devon cut herself off as she flung her body forward, rushing the edge of the apartment rooftop. She shoved one foot against the front ledge, the opposite leg extending forward to catch her on the lower roof of the opposite building. Her leg bent neatly and she rolled out of her landing, popping up next to Thomas. “-Tired. I think that’s what it was.”

“And yet it wasn’t.” Thomas offered Devon her backpack. The other teen brushed herself off before taking the satchel back and slipping it on, clipping the buckles around her waist securely. “I told you you didn’t need those extra paces. You almost over extended your jump. It could’ve been bad Dev.”

“Yeah, well, after that one jump I almost didn’t make, Tommy, I like to think the worst I could do now is just fall in between two buildings and, well, die. I’d rather over jump than under.”

Thomas chuckled; he couldn’t help it. “That may be the worst, but there’s still a lot of other stuff you could do to yourself.”

Devon sighed and turned towards Thomas. “Yes, yes, I know.” She drew out the end of know. “You really don’t have to lecture me about it. Again. It’s getting annoying. Just so you know.”

Thomas sighed in return and hung his head. “Sorry Dev. I don’t mean to.”

Devon knocked a knuckle lightly under Thomas’s chin and gave him a smile. “I know. But hey, let’s start walking, shall we? I feel like zombie bait just standing here.”

“Alright. Onwards!” Thomas pointed forward and moved his legs stiffly like a toy soldier as he walked. Devon laughed quietly. Thomas grinned proudly. “I knew I could get that out of you again.”

Devon shoved Thomas sideways. “Whatever. Let’s just get moving, seriously.”

“Yes ma’am!” Thomas saluted Devon.

“I’mma shove you again if you don’t quit it, this time off the side of the building.”

Thomas put up his hands in surrender. “Alright! Alright! I’m walking. I’m walking.”




“Ugh. We’ve been climbing for ages. Aren’t you tired, Devon?” Thomas plopped down onto his elbows and gazed down at the street below. There was no response from his female counterpart. “Devon?”

Devon stroked the carving in the stone under her calloused fingers. Small tears sprang to her eyes.

“Devon?” Thomas repeated. He turned and faced Devon. She stood on the opposite side of the roof, her back to him. “Dev? You okay over there?”

“Hmm? Oh, yeah. I’m fine. I just.” She let out a huff of relief. “I know where we are.”

Thomas raised an eyebrow. “You’re kidding right? How could you possibly know that? These rooftops look exactly the same.”

Devon ran her thumb over the carving again. “I’ll prove it. Turn back around.”

Thomas rolled his eyes and sighed. “Whatever. I think you’re mistaken but-“

“There’s a flag pole almost directly straight out ahead of you, probably, oh, three blocks away, correct?” She continued on before Thomas could respond. “Well two blocks to the right of it is the parking lot to the middle school. That’s the big clearing. And a block and half towards us from the flag pole is a purple house. I kid you not, it’s purple like the dinosaur.”

Thomas squinted, looking for the purple house. Sure enough it was there. He turned around and faced Devon again. “You could’ve seen all that-“

“Mrs. Watkins lived in that purple house. It was her favorite color. She wore purple everyday to school. How do I know? She was my freshman history teacher. The high school is about eight miles or so past her house. We want to head in the complete opposite direction. So, shall we keep moving then?”

Thomas studied Devon for a minute then pushed himself off the ledge. “Yeah, I guess we’ll go. But we need to start looking out for some place to make camp for the night, okay?”

“’Kay. Got it.”

Devon and Thomas scrambled from one rooftop to the other in silence for a while.

“I know something you’ll probably get a kick out of.” Devon broke the silence between the pair.

“Yeah? What’s that?”

“I knew someone who lived in the direction we’re headed. I doubt he’s still alive, not that that would bother me any-“

“Whoa! Devon! What did this guy do to you? Don’t tell me he hurt your feelings rejecting a kiss or something.” Thomas laughed at the absurdity of the thought. Devon just glared at her survival partner. Thomas raised his eyebrows. “Don’t tell me that’s actually what happened! Oh, that’d be too good to be true.”

“We were just science partners. One day we had to finish a project at his house and, well, things didn’t end very well.”

“Dev, what happened?”

“Let’s just say we were no longer science partners when we went back to school the next day.”

Thomas laughed. “Oh, the dude totally rejected you. That’s definitely what happened. Man, I’ve got to meet this guy.”

“I seriously doubt he’s even still alive, Thomas.”

“You’re still alive, Dev. And so am I. Who’s to say he’s not, too?” Thomas asked seriously.

Dev bit her bottom lip. “You know, I knew I never should’ve told you.”

Thomas shook his head. He ignored that Devon avoided his question and merely gave her a small grin. “Whatever you say, my dear.”

Devon rolled her eyes. “Hey, look ahead. I think we’re gonna have to rig up to get across there.” She pointed to a gap ahead where a building had partially collapsed in on itself.

Thomas nodded in agreement. “You wait for me there. I’ll find a way around and get to the other side.” He waited for an agreement from Devon. “Okay, Dev?”

“Yeah, okay Thomas.” Devon eyed the gap ahead of them.

“Devon. Don’t try to cross that without me. Okay?”

“Yeah, okay Thomas,” Devon repeated. Thomas sighed and trudged off, hopping down off the roof ledge to the adjacent building. Devon waited until Thomas was across the lower roof before jogging to the gape ahead. “Pfft. Don’t cross it alone. I’m not twelve anymore. I can handle myself.”

The brunette dug her carabiners and rope from her backpack. She fastened one end of rope to a carabiner, made a loop and let out some of the rope into the hole beneath her feet. A slightly angled steel girder looked a sturdy enough anchor. Devon gripped the carabiner in one hand and half-way down the loop with the other. Ready. Aim. Fire. Miss. She tried again. The loop fell on top of the girder. Devon gave the rope a snap; it fell around the piece of steel.

Letting go of the carabiner, Devon pulled the rope tightly and wrapped some of the rope on her side around a beam, securing the line tightly in place. Moving further down the length, Devon wrapped the rope into a makeshift harness around her thighs and waist. She fastened some clips and coiled the remaining feet of rope at her waist, clipping it in place with her last carabiner.

Devon looked at her zip-line-esque contraption spanning the thirty foot or so hole in front of her and strapped her backpack back on, securing the clips at her chest and waist. She stepped forward, gripping the rope tightly. It always terrifying stepping off the edge of a building, no matter how safe she thought her or Thomas’s rig may be. Things could still go wrong. She slid the control carabiners ahead of her along the line, swallowed, closed her eyes and took a large step off the broken roof.

“Hmmph. And he thought I couldn’t do it,” Devon muttered, opening her eyes. She looked up at the line above her head. So far so good, only twenty-something feet left to go. Pulling herself up on the top line, Devon released some of the rope coiled at her waist and slid the control clips along the line, moving herself forward. She continued this, alternating arms.

“I thought I told you to stay put.”

“Wha-?!” Thomas’s voice on the opposite building startled Devon out of her concentration, causing her hand on the top line to slip as she attempted to re-clip the coil. Suddenly Devon dropped, the entire coil at her waist unraveling. Devon stopped with a great gasp, the harness catching her after she dropped nearly three stories. The carabiner from her other hand clattered loudly to the debris pile several more stories below.

“Devon?! Devon?!” Thomas called down anxiously. Devon groaned and slowly gripped the rope she was hanging sideways from.

“Thanks a lot Thomas. I am going to be severely bruised from this now. You have no idea how bad that hurt,” Devon shouted back up. Thomas’s chuckling floated down.

“Good to know you’re okay. Just hang in there. Let me harness myself up then I’ll be right down to help.” He paused. “But, uh, can I ask something first?”

“What is it, Thomas?”

“Are you-?” Thomas had to stop to let a laugh pass. “Are you upside down? From up here it looks like you are.”

“I might as well be. It’s ‘cause of my backpack.” Devon could hear Thomas laughing from the roof. “Would you please just hurry up? I don’t like just hanging here like a butcher’s hog.” She only received more laughter from that comment. Devon sighed. Thomas had the right to laugh; he had told her to stay put after all.

Devon heard a low grumble. “I know belly, I know. Once Thomas helps us out of here we’ll eat.” She patted her stomach and sighed again, this time merely in boredom. What was taking Thomas so long?

Devon’s stomach grumbled again. Louder. Only this time, it wasn’t her stomach. Unless of course it had suddenly transported itself out of her body and to the rubble covered floor behind Devon.

Devon froze. Of course she would happen to fall almost even with the one floor that hadn’t completely caved in with the rest of the building. That was just the kind of luck she had.

The grumble came again. This time it was echoed.

“Oh, that’s not good.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Devon Marshall Character Portrait: Thomas Wynn Character Portrait: Matthew Walker
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

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#, as written by Script
Across the street from the dramatic scene unfolding from on high amidst rubble and sheer drops, a somewhat less high-octane battle was taking place just inside the doorway of an old gas station store. Pushing an old trolley laden with three squat white gas tanks with one hand, the short figure of a teenager was wrestling in mortal combat with a packet of salt and vinegar chips. With the bag clasped in his teeth, Matthew Walker - somewhat unorthodox and unlikely survivor of the alien flora invasion - was tugging somewhat ineffectually at the plastic wrap which was proving a more worthy opponent than any of the vegetable-brained psychos that had become commonplace these days.

It was with a loud crackle and a subsequent explosion of salty and fatty goodness that Matt finally wrested the bag open, spraying chips all across himself and the concrete. "Bugger." he cursed through the scrap of wrapper that was still clasped in his teeth before he spat it out with a grimace. The mouse-brown haired boy picked lamely at the pieces of chip that had clung to his sweater rather than cascading to the floor below, popping them into his mouth.

It wasn't until he wheeled his trolley and the hoard of propane gas and snack foods it carried out past the long-since-emptied gas pumps and into the street that he noticed the debacle going on across the road. Thomas and Devon's shouts, along with the small cluster of zombies lurching up a pile of rubble, drew his attention.

'Is that..?' he thought to himself, before shaking his head. Nah, what would be the chances of that? It was probably just him projecting a relatively familiar voice onto the panicked yells of a stranger. A psychological thing, most likely. Not that he knew anything about psychology. It wasn't proper science anyway.

Grimacing, Matt pulled his handgun out of his bag and abandoned his trolley at the side of the road to jog across towards the rubble pile. He took a few moments to stare at it bleakly, musing on gym class and how he'd always maintained that in the real world he'd never need to climb a sheer surface or a rope or anything stupid like that, and how much of a colossal waste of time it was.

They never seemed to mention how many annoying scrapes and grazes you got during such activities in movies or video games. It was a detail that was very much a notable concern in reality. Concrete was an unforgiving and surprisingly pointy thing when it broke.

Upwards, Matt climbed, until he was within a floor of the clambering zombies and their unfortunately snared potential prey. He found himself some relatively level rubble to stand on, lifted his gun and aimed carefully at the back of the closest dead man walking. From behind, the thing's greasy ponytail reminded him of a boy from school - spotty and seemingly perpetually stoned. Matt had sat next to him in English class and listened to him wax lyrical about anything and everything from start to finish. It was a miracle he'd learned anything other than what went on in the inner workings of the guy's mind over the entire year.

Bang!

The gun fired and punched a neat hole through the back of the zombie's upper torso. It staggered forwards, groaning, as both it and its companions turned to face the threat that was approaching from behind. Matt gulped, and fired a second time. This time a spray of green-tinted crimson burst from the same zombie's leg, and it stumbled, falling forwards and beginning a long and painfully bouncy decent down the jagged rubble pile to the ground below.

Something in the back of Matt's mind reminded him that you were supposed to shoot them seven times in the torso and then knife them for the killing blow to get the most points during the first round. He, for the umpteenth time since this horror story had started, lamented that the rewards mechanics for real life were so much more unforgiving than the ones for Call of Duty. Where was a pack-a-punch machine or a nuke power-up when you needed one?

"Oi!" he called past the zombies to the dangling girl, who he still had yet to properly identify as Devon, "If you're quite done hanging around and want to shifty yourself into a less useless position and help me save your ass, it'd be fucking marvelous!"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Devon Marshall Character Portrait: Thomas Wynn Character Portrait: Matthew Walker
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

#, as written by Script
Devon bit her lip. What'd did smart-aleck think she was trying to do, charade as a pendulum? Grabbing the rope with one hand, Devon leaned back and wrapped a leg around the rope above her. She hooked her ankles and let go. Now truly upside down, she could see the fish she had inadvertently lured in and the rescuer she wished she didn't need.

"I refuse to be made into a freakin' damsel," Devon muttered under her breath. Where was Thomas?

"Hey! That's no way to speak to a lady!" Thomas shouted down as he descended quickly into the collapsed building. There he was, being his usual ass-self at that.

BANG!

The infected thing closest to Devon stumbled.

BANG! BANG!

The thing stepped forward too far. It rolled down the debris pile in front of it.

Devon placed her hands on hips. "Those were really close to my head Thomas." Thomas just shrugged. He waved his pistol at the young opposite the zombies.

"Thanks for helping out my ungrateful girl here. You think you can hold them off long enough for me to get her down?"

Matt had snorted at Thomas' yell. Chivalry four months into a zombie apocalypse? That was novel. As the would-be spiderman descended downwards and spoke again, the younger boy shrugged his shoulders. "Don't have much bloody choice now, do I? They can stumble down a hill faster than climb it."

Indeed, it seemed the semi-brainless infected were at least smart enough to take the path of least resistance, and were clumsily making their way down the rubble pile towards him. There were three left, since another had joined ponytail-guy in a crumpled mess at street level. The teenager started to backpedal carefully down, doing his best not to escape the zombies only to suffer death at the hands of gravity.

His first shot missed - firing while moving, probably not the best idea for someone who hadn't fired a gun at all before this mess, and had hardly had to do it since. The second - taken after a pause to steady his aim - struck true, shearing off a good portion of a female infected's upper face and dropping her like a sack of potatoes.

Matt wasn't sure he'd be able to take the other two out like this, however. Every time he stopped to shoot, they were rapidly gaining on him - they weren't quite the shambling, trivial threats of classic dawn-of-the-dead rip-offs. They were clumsy, but more than capable of keeping up.

"Aaany time now..." he called up to the pair at the top of the pile.

Thomas dropped quickly down to Devon as the other boy seemed to take charge of the situation. "Ah-hah, look! You really are upside down!" He got an ugly look from Devon.

"Just get me down, Thomas. This isn't any fun,"

"I disagree." But the dark haired young man had already lowered himself below his survivalist partner. He looped his arm around her and she sat back up, untangling her legs from the rope only to wrap them around Thomas's waist. Thomas waggled his eyebrows at Devon. She snorted ungracefully and reached around him to the pocket knife strapped to her ankle.

"And why couldn't you have used that before?" Thomas asked as Devon made quick work of the rope suspending her.

"If I could've survived the fifteen plus foot fall to rubble sideways, I would've cut myself down a while ago." Devon freed herself as the teen below let off his second shot.

The pair dropped to the broken, zombie littered floor. Thomas cut himself free from his line, and the two scrambled after their helper. They paused only long enough for Thomas to retrieve Devon's own pistol from her backpack.

Devon aimed for the infected closest to her and squeezed. Its shoulder jerked forward from the momentum of bullet hitting it. She pulled the trigger again. The zombie jerked forward again. Unable to regain its footing, it went tumbling down the side of the pile.

The last infected lurched down the rubble, kicking up loose rocks, as it moved towards Matt. The teen went to fire his gun, only to be rewarded with the 'click' of an empty magazine. He swore under his breath, reaching to try and pry free the spare he was carrying in his pocket. It was a tight enough fit, though, that tugging it out was proving challenging.

"Mother fuck god shit balls damn fuck, come on, come on-" he cursed.

BANG! BANG! BANG!

The infected fell still at the third teen's feet. Thomas clicked the safety on his gun then twirled it around his finger. He grinned. "Got it. You're welcome."

Devon rolled her eyes. "You can be such a cocky prick sometimes, Thomas."

Thomas shrugged. "So, uh, now they're all dead, can we leave?" He looked at Devon and the new teen pointedly.

Matt shot Thomas a dry glance, finally wresting the new magazine free and moving to reload the gun. He ejected the old magazine, slipped the new one in and pulled the slide back in a smooth movement.

Smooth apart from the part where he caught his finger in the slide snapping back, biting back a curse and nearly dropping the gun. He wasn't exactly well practised. "Yeah, uh, thanks." he muttered, before his eyes went over to the girl who'd been hanging upside down.

They widened in recognition. "You've got to be kidding me," he said, gaping, "Devon?"

The brunette paused, her hand halfway through her hair. "You know, I knew I remembered that accent," Devon commented almost bitterly. "Hello again. Matt."

Thomas glanced between the two teens. "You two know each other?"

Devon nodded. "You remember that guy I was telling you about on the way here? Well, he's him." She gestured towards Matt.

Thomas looked at Matt in disbelief. He laughed. "Oh, this is too good to be true." He extended a hand out to Matt. "I'm Thomas."

"You were talking about me?" Matt raised an eyebrow, "We're in the middle of a zombie apocalypse, and you were talking about... me? Like, really? Come on. Aren't there more pressing matters?"

Matt took Thomas' hand and shook it, before shaking his head. "Matt. I'm Matt. Soo... what version of events have you gotten?"

"Not much. Just that-"

"You know what! It doesn't matter," Devon interrupted. She ran a hand through her hair again. "Can we just get out of here already?"

Thomas repressed a grin. "Whatever Devon. You know we're gonna talk about it at some point." He looked at Matt. "Although she is right, we should probably get out of here. What do you say?"

Matt nodded his head with an awkward glance away, back down at the trolley across the street. "Er..." he sighed, "I guess if you two want to come back to my place, you can. I think I'm the only person still around my neighbourhood. I have things fairly well set up."

He turned and started to make his way carefully back down the pile of rubble, shoving his pistol away.

"Yeah right-"

"We're definitely up for coming." This time it was Thomas who did the interrupting. Devon shot Thomas a dirty look. He just grinned broadly. "We have some dried food and Devon has granola bars I know she'd be willing to share."

Thomas side-stepped out of range of Devon's swing. She was brooding furiously.

"Maybe while we eat we can talk about what life was like before the outbreak, eh?" Thomas watched Devon for a reaction. He chuckled as she merely crossed her arms and looked the other way. "What's the matter Dev? Not feeling sociable today? That's fine. I'll just talk with your old friend, Matt, here."

Thomas stepped forward and clamped an arm around Matt's shoulders. "So Matt. You - uh - play any video games?" Thomas chuckled again at Devon's attitude.

Matt raised an eyebrow for a second time as Thomas caught up to him and slung his arm over his shoulder. He glanced up questioningly at the slightly taller man. "Uhh, yeah? Yeah, that's pretty much ninety percent of what I do these days. I figure going outside isn't as healthy as it used to be. A lot more death going around." The teen flashed a lopsided grin, "The other day I caught myself playing left for dead. It was a weird moment, playing a zombie apocalypse game in the middle of the zombie apocalypse."

He glanced away with a laugh, "I'm just glad there aren't any tanks in the real version."

It had been a fair while since Matt had had any company - close to the full four months since the outbreak - and he was quite happy to finally have people to talk to ... even if one of them was Devon. As a result, he was decidedly less disgruntled than the girl herself.

"Yeah. Tanks would be kinda bad. I'm jealous though! I haven't played any video games since this whole thing began. I haven't even stayed in one place long enough to try and scavenge for things like that." Thomas paused to reflect. "I think since Devon and I have joined up, the longest we've stayed anywhere has been four days. We're constantly on the move. Isn't that right, Devon?"

Devon nodded. "Yeah. It's always seemed safer to just keep moving," she added.

"When we get back to your place, you've got to let me play something with you. Although I'm sure by now you're hella awesome at everything and will kick my butt." Thomas grinned at Matt. "Sound like a plan?"

"Sure," Matt said, grinning back, "But, just to note, I was already hella awesome before all this. I'm just sayin'."

It took around fifteen minutes for the three to walk from the gas station where Matt retrieved his trolley of supplies to the smaller suburban neighbourhood where his house was. The area seemed, as he had said, totally abandoned. The few cars left there had clearly been ransacked for whatever was inside, as had many of the buildings.

Matt led the other two teens to a two-storey house about halfway down the road, much the same as all the rest on the street. The only oddity was that the house next door was entirely barred up on its bottom floor - the windows, the door, everything was barricaded shut.

The door to the house they approached wasn't locked, and Matt left his trolley outside, hauling one of the propane tanks out, before glancing at the other two. "If you guys wanna take the other two, that'd be great. Would save me making three trips."

Devon and Thomas each grabbed a propane tank. They followed Matt towards the house, but Devon stopped before entering. She glanced at the house he was leading them into and the boarded up house next door.

"What is it, Devon?" Thomas asked, turning around to face her.

"Matt, I thought that was your house. Not this one. Why are we going in here?" Devon gestured to the boarded up house.

"I haven't lasted this long by making it easy to get in," Matt replied, heading straight for the stairs of the obviously not lived-in house, "Most people would consider a house that boarded up too much effort to try scavenging from, and would assume nobody lives there. Haven't been murdered in my sleep yet, to my knowledge, so I'm guessing it works."

He led the way up the stairs and across to a room on the side of the house facing his home. In the hallway outside was a long stretch of wooden planks, nailed together. Matt set his tank down and maneuvered the haphazard D.I.Y project over to the window.

"I made this myself. Can you tell from the jutting nails and unevenness that I'm a natural at woodwork? They should hire me to rebuild this place if they ever get rid of the zombies." he said as he slid the boards out towards the opposite window.


"That's really smart," Thomas commented after Matt explained why they were entering the empty house and not his.

When Matt pulled out the planks, Devon couldn't hide the worried look that came across her face. She put down the propane tank she was carrying. "Umm, Matt? Are you sure that's going to hold all three of us crossing?"

"You just dangled in the middle of a building, multiple stories up and down, but you're scared to cross a wooden plank only one story above the ground?" Thomas asked Devon, his eyebrows raised.

Devon shrugged. "I'm just... You know, worried, is all. I'd rather not break a leg here of all places."

"If you're worried," Matt said, giving Devon a dry look, "Then, I dunno, maybe wait and go one at a time? I mean, that seems really obvious to me, but I'm sure you'd have figured it out in about five minutes, so don't feel too bad."

The boy rolled his eyes as he turned, grabbing his tank and pulling himself up and out the window onto the plank. He carefully made his way across, staying low. The plank creaked a few times, but held as he reached the other side and slid the window of his house up fully and dropped in.

"Alright, follow across," he called back over, "If you've trodden in zombie, leave your shoes at the door... window. I don't want dead person walked into my carpets."

Thomas glanced at Devon then the plank. He grabbed both propane tanks and rolled them ahead of himself as he crossed. Thomas passed the propane tanks to Matt before dropping into the window. Despite her inhibitions about the makeshift bridge holding up, Devon crossed the plank quickly. Thomas helped her through the window. The two unlaced their hiking boots and deposited them by the window, as requested.

"Now that that's done, where would you like us to put these tanks?" Thomas asked Matt. "And is there some place we can possibly put our backpacks? I need a break."

Devon just rubbed her shoulders. The straps were digging in and she was ready to cut the remaining harness off as well. She was going to be bruised everywhere tomorrow.

The interior of Matt's house was, by and large, fairly normal for a small house in the suburbs. It was also, as one might expect from a house lived in by a lone teenager for the last four months, somewhat cluttered. There wasn't a great deal of order to where various supplies, tools and other belongings had been shoved, and the rooms that Matt didn't use were immediately apparent as the majority of their floors were covered in such things.

"Just uh, shove them in that room there," Matt said, pointing off in the direction of the smaller room that had been his before he moved everything into the larger room that had been his mother's. "And you can dump your packs... uh, wherever. Maybe downstairs in the main room, there's plenty of space there."

Matt himself made his way through into the bedroom, where a mid-sized propane generator was perched by the window - the edges of which were slightly stained black from exhaust fumes. A few moments of fiddling with the fuel line and the new tank was hooked up, and power reacquired. Of course, he didn't switch it on yet.

The teen peered out of his window down at the yard below, grinning as he spotted something. A lone zombie, both of its arms sheered off at the elbow, had trapped itself inside a few weeks ago, and he hadn't had the heart (or the spare bullets) to finish it off. He just let it wander around the fenced and barricaded garden, and occasionally tossed it a piece of jerky.

Thomas took the propane tanks into the room Matt pointed out. He happened to glance out the window after putting down the tanks. What he saw made him take a second look.

"Uh. Matt? Is that? In the back? What-? Uh? Is that an infected?" Thomas asked, half aghast, half laughing at the zombie's plight.

"Oh, that's just Derrick," Matt replied cheerfully, "He's harmless, mostly, unless you get through the planks all over the back door and decide to feed yourself to him. I figured it was easier to leave him there than go out and deal with him."

"You have a pet zombie?" Devon asked in disbelief. Thomas just laughed.

"I'm starting to like you more and more," Thomas said to Matt. His sides were beginning to ache from laughing so much.

Devon shook her head and let out a breath. "You boys are so weird. I'm going to put my backpack down. And I'm taking this harness off, too." She left the room and went downstairs.

"Oh, yeah! I'd forgotten about that." Thomas looked down at the harness still wrapped around himself. "Oh well. It can wait until later. Hey Matt. Where are those video games you were talking about?"

Matt grinned as Devon left the room, shaking his head after her. "What is there not to appreciate about a pet zombie? It's like ... a guard dog. Yeah. And it probably makes more people think this place is deserted."

He turned his attention back to Thomas, nodding towards a cabinet off to the side. There was a TV set against one of the walls of the room, hooked up to an xbox, with a variety of other consoles laid nearby. "Right here. I've uh, expanded my collection a bit since things went to hell. Nobody else seems to be looting Gamestop. Can't imagine why."

Priorities, maybe? Psh. What were they?

Matt pulled the cabinet open to reveal a not unimpressive stack of games, most looking like they'd been pulled straight from the shelf - a lot still in their wrappers. "So... Thomas," he began as he started to flick through the games, "I already know Devon, unfortunately, but if you're both gonna be hanging around here, I figure I should get to know you too. Where're you from?"

Thomas was mightily impressed by the sight multiple consoles and the many, many games. He unclipped his backpack and let it drop to the floor with a solid thud before moving to browse through the games along side Matt. The harness was forgotten about again.

"Me? I'm from Kansas originally. But then my grandpa died and my mom got some huge windfall from that - she was an only child. And my dad apparently made some good stock investments, so we moved to New York, New York. The Big Apple, baby. That was when I was six or seven. Huge change, but one I liked. Lived there until, well, all this happened. Couple days in, maybe a week or so, I ran into Devon, and she and I joined up. We've been traveling around ever since." Thomas paused in his browsing and talking. He turned towards Matt. "You're actually the first person either of us have run into. I mean, there was this one person a month or so back, but she ended up infected like the rest of 'em."

Matt listened with interest to Thomas, nodding along at appropriate moments. "The same with me. That you guys are the first people I've really met since everything happened, I mean. I've run into a few people here and there but never for long and I never trusted them further than I could throw them."

Thomas shrugged. "But enough about that. Your turn to answer a question." He continued browsing through the games, repressing a grin. "What exactly happened between you and Devon? I want to know your side of the story. I'll never get it with her around, and, well," he pauses and gestures, "she's not up here right now."

A dry smirk found its way to Matt's face at Thomas' question, and the teen shook his head with a sigh. "It's ridiculous, honestly. Petty, stupid, high-school drama that I'm embarrassed to be involved in." he said. "The long and short of it is this: we had a science project together last year, she had a thing for me but I bat for the other team. She didn't take it very well and decided she was going to be a bit of a bitch about it from there on. Used to get on my case all the fucking time for the stupidest things."

He rolled his eyes, "I like to think maybe we've grown up enough to just pretend it never happened, but I don't hold out much hope."

Thomas looked blankly at Matt. "Bat for the other team?" he repeated quietly. He thought it over a second. His hand resounded smartly on his forehead when he realized what Matt meant.

"Right, right, right. Makes much more sense now." Thomas chuckled, he couldn't help himself. "I can definitely see Devon overreacting over something like that. Dang. That sucks that she's still grudging about it."

Thomas grinned, bemused, at Matt. "That must mean she was crushing hard on you. Wow, and you completely put her down, too." Thomas chuckled again. "Now I understand why she got so worked up when I teased her about it earlier. You know, when she first brought you guys up."

Thomas dropped down to a squat. The tightness of the rope around his thighs reminded Thomas of the harness he had still yet to cut off. "Ah, crud. Forgot about this thing again." He checked his pockets quickly. "And Devon took the knife with her."

Thomas looked at Matt. "You wouldn't by any chance have a knife on you, would you? Or be any good with untying knots? That's typically Devon's domain. I just tie them. Undoing them is not my thing." He let out a short, embarrassed laugh.

"I have a knife downstairs, but I mean, I can't imagine untying a knot can be that hard," Matt raised an eyebrow, smirking, "Since by the time I go down there and get the damn knife Devon will probably come back anyway, with hers, I might as well give it a shot..?"

He shrugged, "What's so bad about them anyway? Are they like ... monkey-pigmy-barrel-sailor's-windsor-gordian knots? I uh, never did scouts, if you can't tell."

Thomas laughed. "Something like that. Did I mention that my other grandfather was a scout master? I never did scouts either, or at least, not officially. Heh."

"That beats my granddad," Matt replied, snorting, "All he ever did was swear at nurses and fail to recognise us when we visited. Grumpy old git." He crouched down beside Thomas, taking an experimental tug of the first knot at the older boy's waist. "Hrm. I'll give it ago, but no promises."

The thing was fiddly and the rope was thick, which only made the job harder. It was after about a minute of tugging and adjusting the thing a few millimetres at a time that Matt finally managed to undo it. "You know," he remarked as he moved onto the next one, "From the door, this probably looks dodgy as fuck."

"What in the hell are you two doing?" came Devon's dumfounded voice from the door. Her southern drawl was amplified by the slow drawing out of her question.

Thomas's face turned red, but he burst into laughter anyway. "Matt, you must've had some sixth sense she was coming up or something."

Devon leaned against the door frame, arms crossed. "Why, Thomas. I didn't know you swung that way, too. Things make so much more sense now."

Thomas shot Devon a nasty look. "It shouldn't matter to you whether I do or not. But, for the record, he's helping me get my harness off since you ran off with the knife."

Devon just shook her head. She took the pocket knife out of her back pocket and tossed it to Thomas. "Here then."

Matt had half-turned, half-fallen to the side when Devon appeared in the doorway, ending up sat cross-legged next to Thomas with a goofy grin on his face - only ever so slightly tinged with red. "Would that be making it a theme, I wonder?" he asked nobody in particular, chuckling. He gave Devon a mock salute, "Just helpin' out, y'know?"

Devon rolled her eyes and stepped away from the door. She joined the guys on the floor. "I thought you two were going to play video games. I wasn't going to come back up here except I'm cold and I don't remember where you keep your blankets, Matt. Plus, I'm hungry and I kinda figured we'd all want to eat together."

"Ah, yes. Your weird thing about eating alone," Thomas commented, flipping the pocket knife open. He cut through the rope still holding on to him. "Although now that you mention it, I'm hungry, too. Matt?"

Matt nodded, "I'll cart the generator downstairs then, microwave something. Shame I can't figure out how to hook the oven or the cooker up to it, but I guess hot food of any sort is better than what most people have these days. Not looking forward to the day I can't find any more fuel..."

He grimaced. "No more microwave, no more video games. A sad sad day." He made his way over to the generator and hefted it, and the small tank in his arms. "Let's go then, ladies first."

Devon placed a hand on Matt's arm. "Thank you," she told him honestly. A half smile was all Devon could truly muster for Matt, but it was more than she'd given him in a long time.

Matt looked back at Devon with genuine surprise, hesitating for a moment before nodding. "... I'm just doing what anyone half-decent would." he replied, before returning the half-hearted smile.

Thomas raised an eyebrow at Matt as Devon left the room to return downstairs. "Is it bad if I say I'm impressed?"

The other boy gave Thomas a confused glance, obviously somewhat bemused by Devon's uncharacteristic moment of sincerity. "Impressed?" he questioned.

"Mmhmm. By both of you, really. Mainly Devon though. It took a lot for her to suck up her pride and do that. In the few months that I've known her, she has never done that. Hell, she almost died today because she refused to put aside her pride and wait for me. So yes. I am very impressed with my partner." Thomas nodded as he reflected.

"By the way, you want help with those?" Thomas gestured to the generator and propane tank.

"That'd be helpful, yeah," Matt laughed, "I'm sort of a wuss and this is kinda heavy, so, y'know."

He nodded his head slowly, "Yeah, you're right, I guess. I mean, it was hardly a big deal... Or, it never should have been. Maybe a few months apart in the middle of an apocalypse helped put it in perspective. I think romance is far from anyone's priority these days."

Thomas took the generator from Matt. "Yeah. Romance. Definitely not a priority." Thomas cleared his throat and shifted the generator under his arm. "C'mon. Let's get downstairs."