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Aisha Karimi

B-girl paintballer extraordinaire

0 · 896 views · located in Zombie Apocalypse

a character in “The Days That Follow”, as played by Black Hoodie

Description

Name:
Aisha Karimi (eye-E-Sha Kah-Reem-E). Sometimes she lets people call her “Ash”, but only the ones that are too retarded to properly pronounce her name. Her b-girl name, "Rotor", was given to her by some fellow buskers for her propensity for transitioning to and from helicopters. After the apocalypse she has taken to hiding both her identity and her gender; because of her paintball mask, people who catch a glimpse of her or who don’t know her or haven’t hear her speak, simply call her “Skullface”.

Birthday:
October 31st, 1988

Place of birth:
Khamis Mushait, Saudi Arabia. Peachy little city.

Parents:
Ghalib Karimi was Aisha’s father, and Afra Shafiqa was Aisha’s mother. They met through an arranged marriage, and originally they hated each other. Over time however, they began to slowly fall in love. By the time Ikraam was born, they were bound together like a fat kid on the cake diet.

What was important to the people who raised her:
Ghalib wanted his daughter to be disciplined and focused, and Afra wanted her daughter to be well mannered and sophisticated. Neither of them really lived to the point where Aisha actually became those things, but Aisha likes to think they are smiling down upon her.

Siblings:
Ikraam Karimi was Aisha’s brother and only sibling. Smug bastard too. He attempted suicide once in highschool, which nobody expected. Everybody became concerned with his health and well being. For some reason, he kept on being the tightwad he always was, right up until he killed himself a number of years later. Either way, Aisha never really got along with him. There was no love/hate relationship like people see on television. It was just a hate/indifference type of thing.

Economic/social status growing up:
Because of her father’s job, Aisha was raised as part of the upper middle class. It came in handy quite often, what with Aisha's obsession with books, and her love for paintball.

Ethnic background:
Aisha is 100% Saudi.

Places lived:
Aisha was born in Khamis Mushait, but has moved quite frequently throughout her life. She has a dual citizenship in Saudi Arabia and Canada, and has had working visas for multiple countries throughout Europe, Eurasia, and Asia. Aisha has also travelled throughout North and South America, Africa, Oceania, Australia, and has even had two trips to Antartica.

Place of residency shortly before the apocalypse:
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Pictured above: Somewhere just to the east of Keswick.

Education:
Aisha graduated from a Canadian high school, with mostly average marks. She also has her driver’s licence in three countries and a gun licence in one country. Because her parents always spoke Arabic growing up, and because they always travelled back to Saudi Arabia, Aisha speaks both fluent Arabic and English, the latter being her second language. She also continued her French classes throughout junior and senior high, so although she isn't quite as eloquent, she can also speak the redneck version of French. She also knows a myriad of phrases and conversation starters and important nouns in other languages, due to her frequent travelling growing up.

Favorite subject in school:
Social Studies; even though her marks were minimalistic in school, Aisha took a keen interest in the world at large, learning about different cultures, history, geography, and anthropology.

Special training:
Since joining the Canadian Armed Forces, Aisha has completed her BMQ, SQ, and MOC. When she was discharged due to her incident, she began looking for something to occupy her time, and joined ARMA as a Scholar. She is currently a Free Scholar, having passed ranks in long sword, dagger and spear. Whilst pursuing her studies with ARMA, she has taken various courses such as ProServe, Flair Bartending, Skidsteer Operation, and Ground Disturbance Training.

Jobs:
Aisha’s first real job was with the Canadian Armed Forces. Since her discharge, she has moved onto doing volunteer work through WWoofing programs throughout Europe, and has occasionally picked up odd jobs here and there; She has tried bartending for clubs, she has worked in a warehouse for industrial supplies, and has taken a summer job in road construction. Sometimes she busks for money, showing off her sick dance moves.

Salary:
None; she mainly lives off inheritance and income from odd jobs. Or, used to, that is. With her father's job as a consultant/liaison with big oil companies, Aisha's inheritance was pretty darn big. Of course, she never let it get to her head, preferring to use the money mostly on her bills, which were minimal. When she does spend money for herself, she usually just buys new books or plane tickets. In an attempt to be prudent with her cash, whenever she travels she prefers to stay in hostels, or do home exchanges, or wwoofing; any way to save money and get to know the locals at the same time is not only handy, but much more exciting.

Travel:
Aisha’s parents first moved to Canada when she was 3 years old. She has lived in Canada as her main home, but has taken two weeklong trips every year to visit family in Saudi Arabia. In addition, since she was five years old, she has been on trips with her parents and her brother roughly two times every year to a new location. She has been to Paris, Chiang Mai, Lisbon, Sydney, Budapest, Cape Town, Dubai, St. Petersburg, Barcelona, All over Germany, All over Japan, All over Brazil, All over Canada and the United States, and even in Ushuaia. Right before the apocalypse, Aisha was Wwoofing in the UK. Though she was only deployed once, she has also been to places around Afghanistan.

Friends:
Aisha was always a bubbly person growing up, and has had no trouble making friends wherever she went. In recent times however, her bubbly and open personality has subsided, and after the apocalypse her social whimsy disappeared entirely. She had a group of friends in highschool that she always partied with. When she went back to Saudi Arabia, she had cousins to visit and hang out with. Whenever she travelled somewhere new, she and her brother always made a friend or two with the locals or other tourists, and even kept up with some of them over social networking. When she joined the military, her squad became just as close to her as her family, and she keeps regular contact with most of them through old fashioned letters. After her discharge, she made friends with several ARMA groups, and has kept on moving forward meeting new people since her induction. Other than her cousins, her squad, and one or two other specific people, Aisha has had no real close friends in her inner circle.

How do people view this character:
That depends. If they have spent little to no time with her post-apocalypse, then they’d probably think she’s either A) scary, B) not to be trusted, C) a man, or D) all the above. If they knew her beforehand, they’d probably think she turned into a different person completely.

Lives with:
Right before the apocalypse happened, Aisha was living with Bill and Mary Lucy and their two teenage daughters Kylie and Breanne Lucy, the local farmers living near Keswick. She had been there for nearly two months, feeling like she was a part of the family. When the outbreak happened, they were all together. Of course, things happened, and Mary turned. That caused some trouble, and the group had to split. Aisha hopes that she'll find Bill and his kids alive and well.

Fights with:
When Aisha was in high school, she fought quite a bit with her parents. To her, her parents were overbearing and unable to understand her problems; she always got less attention and less praise than her brother. She never had good enough grades, she partied too much, she was never home early enough, she never spent as much time on her homework as she should have…these were all the things she felt she was being persecuted for, and she quite often verbally retaliated against her parents. This all changed when her brother first attempted suicide; Aisha suddenly gained a new perspective. In order to make up for all the things she said, to make things right, she decided to enter the military. At first her parents disagreed, but slowly they began to come to her side with supportive attitudes.

Years later, once she was finally deployed to Afghanistan, she fought against the Taliban in her armoured division for one successful battle. It was on the way back to the base her tank was struck with an IED, killing the Geoff, the driver, and incapacitating Aisha, Benjie, and Marsh. When she regained her senses, Aisha pushed up through the hatch and was set upon by a rebel ambush. She jumped on the gun and a firefight ensued, in which she was struck with the brunt of a rocket propelled grenade. She fought for her life, suffering third degree burns on one-third of her body, a concussion, burst eardrums, broken ribs, a collapsed lung, multiple flesh wounds, a missing pinkie, and a broken arm.

Just over a year later, when she joined ARMA, she continued to spar with her fellow scholars. Now she fights murderers, cannibals, bandits, and the walking dead.

Spends time with:
Whoever is around that’s not trying to eat her.

Wishes to spend time with:
Her squad, her cousins, or anybody else in her close circle of friends.

Who depends on her and why:
Aisha doesn’t have any children, nor does she have any dependants.

What people does she most admire:
She admired her father for his unyielding strength of character, her friend and squad leader, Benjie Israel, for his unending support and loyalty, as well as a myriad of historical figures, each for their impact on her virtues and ideology.

Enemies:
Zombies, rapists, murderers, clowns (They are freaky, okay?), cannibals, terrorists (in particular, the Taliban), the grade 8 social studies teacher, and anybody who decides to insult her honour or downplay her skills.

Dating, marriage:
During high school, Aisha dated a handful of boys, and had even more promiscuous relationships, partially because of peer pressure, partially to spite her parents, and partially because of hormones. When she joined the military, she developed more of a mature outlook. She once considered asking Benjie out, but quickly squashed the notion when she found out he was gay (and that he had a crush on their Leopard driver. Poor Benjie took that one pretty hard). After her discharge, she hasn’t really taken an interest in the dating scene, preferring to see the world and take in its many wonders.

Children:
Aw hell naw. Hell naw.

Relationship with God:
Aisha isn’t religious, but she believes there is some higher power. Somewhere. Laughing.

Overall outlook on life:
At the moment, pretty bleak. The only things that really keep her going are her basic soldier training, and the hope she has that she'll meet up with the people who matter in her life.

Does this character like herself:
Hell yeah she does. Some days though, she would like to see her face without her terrible burn scars. They remind her of the terrible things she's had to do to survive in the both the war, and the apocalypse.

What, if anything, would she like to change about her life:
She would like to get rid of her scaring. She still has an amazing body, but sometimes she has flashbacks when she looks into the mirror. She would also like to change her last words to her mother; she deeply regrets leaving on bad terms before her mother’s accident.

What personal demons haunt her:
Every time Aisha looks in the mirror, she sees the young boy aiming the launcher at her convoy, right before she cut him down with machinegun fire. She sees the rocket heading towards her position, and she remembers being lit on fire and being thrown down into the armoured transport, superheated metal perferating her body armour and flesh. She had seen only two battles firsthand in her short tour of duty, but that second engagement left its mark on her. Other than the physical scars she carries around, she carries the burden of seeing the hate in the eyes of the young boy. It gives her shivers to think that not only did she kill a boy no older that fourteen, but that he lived such a short and ignorant life full of anger.

She also carries with her the burden of having not said her peace with her mother. She died, the last words from her daughter being in anger. If Aisha could turn back time for only a moment, she would go to that moment in time where she cursed her mother, and take it all back.

Is she lying to herself about something:
Nope. She has a fairly well-developed sense of self-awareness.

Optimistic/pessimistic:
A bit of both.

Real/feigned:
Real emotions, feigned identity.

Morality level:
After the apocalypse, Aisha’s first priority became survival. If morality could be measured on a scale from 1 to 10, 1 being a completely merciless psychopath asshole, and 10 being the altruistic self-sacrificing saint, then Aisha would probably rate at a 2. Pragmatic realism will get you pretty far when you’re dealing with a world full of armed men with nothing to lose.

Confidence level:
If confidence could be measured on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being the wimpy worry-wart afraid of human contact, and 10 being completely shameless, Aisha would likely rate between 5 and 7, depending on the situation. Without thick metal plating encasing her in a bullet-proof shell, she does feel vulnerable at pretty much all times, but her basic survivalcraft and experience in combat scenarios keep her keen.

Typical day:
Wake up and check surroundings. Once she’s confident that she is secure enough, Aisha commences calisthenics, and then practices her footwork and techniques. Once she’s worked up a sweat, she has something to eat. Afterwards, she cleans up and reads for a bit, then checks and performs maintenance on any of her equipment, no matter how small. Once she’s satisfied her gear is in working, pristine condition, she does basically what everybody else does (Pre-apocalypse, do some volunteer work, go to her temp job, or just travel around; Post-apocalypse, scavenge for materials, dodge the raiders and walkers, find a safe place to sleep for the night).

Physical appearance:
So picture this:
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With one third of her body, including nearly half her face, covered in this burn scar:
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And instead of those stick arms and legs, she has these muscular appendages:
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And now picture her doing this with those strong appendages:
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Body type:
Aisha has maintained a regular fitness routine since her discharge, and thus is in incredibly good shape, with little body fat and defined musculature. She has the body of a b-girl for sure.

Posture:
Even when she is relaxed, Aisha’s posture remains rigid and ready to get the hell out of dodge at a moment’s notice.

Head shape, Eyes, Nose, Mouth, Hair, Skin:
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Tattoos/piercings/scars:
Aisha has taken some punishment. She has heavy burn scars covering nearly half her face, neck, and left shoulder that run down the length of her left arm all the way to the fingernails. It trails down her torso, covering a large swath of her back, and part of her chest and abdomen. The scar ends partway down her thigh. She also has a missing pinkie on her left hand. She also has a number of circular scars, representing bullet wounds she suffered right before the explosion; one in her abdomen, one in her right bicep, and one through her left ear lobe. On top of that, she has several shrapnel scars dotting the left side of her body, and several surgical scars around her body. She has a small tattoo under her bullet scar on her right arm of a pixelated Final Fantasy Dragoon, a cute representation of the regiment she served in, the Royal Canadian Dragoons.
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Voice:
Smooth, quick, and bursting with confidence.

What people notice first:
If Aisha sees them first, they won’t notice anything because she mostly tries to keep her distance from people. If they manage to see her first, then immediately people will notice that she is covered from head to toe in some form of clothing or accessory, including her paintball mask. Her paintball mask is was custom fitted for her, the ironically named "Demonic Zombie Mask", which has earned her the moniker “Skullface” to people who only manage to get a glance of Aisha.

Clothing:
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How would she describe herself:
“Me? Oh, well I’m totally a free spirit. Tempered, maybe, but free like the wind nonetheless.”

Health/disabilities/handicaps:
Aisha suffers post-traumatic stress disorder from her encounter with a grenade. On the physical side of things, she is missing the pinkie on her left hand. Otherwise, she is a perfect physical specimen.

Personality type (choleric, sanguine, phlegmatic, melancholy):
Choleric Dominant.

Strongest/weakest character traits:
Aisha is in top physical shape, and is capable of compartmentalizing her emotions till a valid time arises. She is tough as nails, with the scars to prove it. Of course, all of her training, all of her experience in loss and regret, have made her cold and disconnected.

How can the flip side of his strong point be a weakness:
Because Aisha keeps her emotions pent up without the ability to express them like she used to (Through dancing in a crowd pulsing to the beat of the DJ, of course), she tends to shy away from contact with people for fear she might blow up on them the way she used to fight with her parents.

How much self-control and self-discipline does she have:
Some who know her might say a little too much. Of course, this is post-apocalypse. Things may have been quite different beforehand.

What makes her irrationally angry:
People hurting children infuriates Aisha to no end. She sometimes ponders as to why most of her friends now have kids when she doesn’t, and every time she came to the conclusion she couldn’t bear to see her kid hurt. She used to beat herself up quite a bit for killing the Afghan child, but Benjie helped her come to terms with that situation. Mostly.

What makes her cry:
Losing a loved one will set off the waterworks. Even though she has been numbed to death and destruction, even before the apocalypse, the death of someone she cares about won’t stop her from shedding tears.

Fears:
Aisha has the same fears as anybody else, she is just better equipped to deal with them than most other people. In particular, she is afraid of bees and wasps; she’s never been stung, so she doesn’t know if she is allergic or not.

Talents:
Aisha can read pretty damn fast. She also has wicked aim, as her paintball opponents can attest to, and can bust a move like the best of them.

What people like best about her:
Her positive attitude attracts people like drunken people tongues to a bug zapper. Of course, in recent events, she doesn’t really show that side of her; the cold calculating warrior takes the forefront. So really, at this point in time, most people like the fact that the masked weirdo hasn’t gone all Jason Voorhees on them.

Interests and favorites:
Aisha is interested in the history of the people and the places around her. Whenever she goes somewhere new, she loves to ask questions, to mingle with the locales, and to visit historical places and museums. Her favourite location so far has been, strangely enough, the Antarctic. To her, the untouched landscape, the silent calm, and the exuberant nightly light show uttered nothing short of beautiful. Someday, she will make her super-secret uber invincible stronghold of villainous villainy there. Someday.

Political leaning:
Straight up Anarchist.

Collections:
Aisha has a collection of books, a small library really, back in Canada. She loves to read, and she sometimes sketches pictures when she has the time.

Food, drink:
Cold Pizza and Warm Beer.

Music:
Dance and club music get her in the mood to dance and drink, and heavy rock music gets her in the mood to drink even more and mosh like the best of them.

Books:
Aisha has too many books to list off in an efficient manner; they are all types of books, ranging from historical European martial arts manuals, to cookbooks, to cheesy romance novels, to books on well-being. She even has a substantial collection of comics, manga, and manwha.

Movies:
The Expendables, Evil Dead (2013), Tropic Thunder, No One Lives, REC, Spirited Away, Akira, Pan’s Labyrinth, Ong Bak, Silent Hill.

Sports, recreation:
Aisha was an active member of ARMA before the apocalypse, and while she was attending high school, she participated in paintball quite often. Other than ARMA and paintball, the only sports she has engaged in was the breakdancing done in front of the mirror and in the clubs, sometimes while busking. Other recreational activities included, at one point or another: Reading, sketching, carrom, drinking with friends, singing, horseback-riding, soccer, frisbee, drunk frisbee, quadding, drunk quadding, origami, balboul, bike riding, motorcycle riding, sidewalk skiing, airsoft, LARP, hackeysack, and longboarding.

Did she play sports in school:
She played paintball quite a bit, when she wasn’t out partying. Sometimes though, she would play paintball while partying.

Color:
Red.

Best way to spend a weekend:
First step: Crack a beer, put on some tunes, have a shower.
Second step: Toast off the beer, get out of the shower, get dressed and put on leathers.
Third step: Crack another beer, get on the bike, end up at some random bar.
Fourth step: Toast off the beer, get off the bike, go inside the club.
Fifth step: Crack the beer stashed in the bag, talk to the people in the line and make new friends.
Sixth step: Toast off the beer, take off leathers in coat check, get on the dance floor.
Seventh step: Crack another beer purchased from the bar, keep dancing with new friends.
Eighth step: Toast off the beer, do some shots with new friends.
Ninth step: Crack another beer, wake up on somebodies couch, wonder what the hell happened.
Tenth step: Toast off the beer, tip-toe over passed out party goers to get to the bag.
Eleventh step: Crack another beer stolen from the fridge, grab leathers, call a cab.
Twelfth step: Toast off the beer, get in the cab, hand the cabbie a beer, get back to the bike.
Thirteenth step: Crack another stolen beer, get on the bike, go back home.
Fourteenth step: Toast off the beer, go through phone, and realize the party lasted three days.
Fifteenth step: Crack a beer, toast it off, and pass out on the floor.
Sixteenth step: Wake up on day four with a massive hangover, post facebook pics, order pizza.
Seventeenth step: Read a book, eat the pizza, read a second book, turn off the tunes, go to sleep.

A great gift for this person:
A book, to most people’s surprise.

Pets:
None.

Vehicles:
None. Because she travels so much, Aisha usually just rents or borrows vehicles.

What large possessions does she own (car, home, furnishings, boat, etc.)
and which does she like best:

Aisha owns plenty of large items, but all of them are back home.

Typical expression:
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When happy:
She tends to smile and laugh quite a bit; in recent apocalyptic times, however, she tends to simply wear a faint, barely noticeable curved line that could almost pass as a smile.

When angry:
Aisha tends to take after her mother when she gets frustrated, and throws things. Of course, being through the military has tempered this habit a little, but it won’t stop her from throwing a T.V. out the window if things get too out of hand.

When frustrated:
Aisha balls her fists and pouts for a few seconds, dwelling on the subject of her frustration for a long time. “Ooooh, this is so frustrating!” She might say while flexing both her arms straight down, shaking them in protest.

When sad:
Aisha doesn’t cry when she’s sad. The time for crying has long since passed. Instead, she does her best to hide her sadness, and puts it off to the side for a later time. She doesn’t have time to be sad when zombfags are trying to eat her face.

Idiosyncrasies:
She won’t take her mask off around other people, and nor will she look relaxed.
Whenever something goes her way, she fist pumps the air with her right hand.

Laughs or jeers at:
Dudes getting knocked in the junk by random objects spark a snicker or two.

Ways to cheer up this person:
Give her a book, give her a positive compliment (flattery goes far with Aisha, especially with the insecurity she has about her scars that she won’t ever admit to anyone), tell her a good joke, share a beer with her.

Ways to annoy this person:
Bother her while she is reading. Or bathing. Or listening to music. Or trying to grind her on the dance floor without her permission. Or getting all up in her grill while drunk. Or trying to eat her face. Or having to wear the typical female garb back in her birth-country.

Hopes and dreams:
Aisha hopes to one day get to see the people she cares about. It’s a fools hope, but she still imagines the day her squad would greet her with open arms and bad jokes. Besides this, Aisha just hopes that she survives till the next day, really.

How does she see herself accomplishing these dreams:
By avoiding Zack, and finding somebody who can fly. And finding a working plane. And damnitwhydoeseverythinghavetobesofaraway?!

What’s the worst thing she’s ever done to someone and why:
Before her deployment to Afghanistan, her mother became worried that she might not come back. Aisha brushed it off as baseless paranoia, and her mother hounded her not to go. Aisha became upset, and eventually vented some steam on her mother right before she deployed. Right after her arrival in Afghanistan, she received the news that her mother had passed away, and she broke down into tears. The last thing her mother would remember her by, Aisha thought, is that she was an ungrateful child who hated her mother. This haunts Aisha to this day.

Greatest success:
Completing basic armoured training would have to be her greatest success. Not because it’s anything special on its own, or because that was one of her big goals, but because it was completely against her character before joining the military. She had to force herself to think and act a completely different way than usual, and it wasn’t easy. The fact that she not only completed the basic courses, but was accepted into an armoured regiment, was a testament to her will.

Biggest trauma:
Taking a grenade to the face (not really the face; more like 5 to 10 feet away from where she was standing, but you get the idea).

Most embarrassing thing that ever happened to her:
When she was back in high school, she was invited to a bush party out near the host’s farm. Of course, there were tons of cute boys there, almost as much as there was booze. Aisha had a bit too much to drink after arriving, and when she was making out with a guy from her class, she threw up into his mouth. Of course, this also caused the boy to regurgitate his stomachs contents all over Aisha, which caused a couple nearby people to throw up as well. Needless to say, the whole thing got real messy after that. The next school day, there were whispers in the hallways and quick glances in her direction. When she sat beside the guy in class, her face couldn’t have gotten any redder.

What does she care about most in the world:
Currently, her wellbeing.

Does she have a secret:
Because of the nature of things after the apocalypse, Aisha generally tries to keep her gender a secret, being careful not to speak when wearing her mask.

If she could do one thing and succeed at it, what would it be:
Juggling ducklings. Apparently people do that somewhere.

She is the kind of person who:
Enjoys a good book, going out with friends, is committed to personal fitness and wellbeing, gives 100%, and has a good time.

What do you love most about this character:
She is a headstrong, capable character who, despite her flaws, manages to forge a path for herself.

Why will the reader sympathize with this person right away:
Aisha is a human being, just like everybody else, who has flaws, and who has her own personal demons. She is trying to deal with just like everybody else. She isn’t the war-hero that went on multiple tours of duty and came out unscathed, she was the soldier who was discharged on her first tour due to medical reasons. She isn’t the post-secondary educated student, she is the world traveller who is simply living life the way she knows how, picking up useful skills on the way.

How is the character ordinary or extraordinary:
Aisha is a bit extraordinary because she can drive a tank. KA-BOOM baby!

How is her situation ordinary or extraordinary:
Aisha is in a flippin’ zombie apocalypse. Of course her situation is a bit extraordinary.

Core Need:
Safety.

Anecdote (defining moment):
As sickly sweet as the aroma was, she had to keep breathing through her nose. If she started sucking air, it would be all over. “Aaah, it hurts, it hurts” Aisha thought to herself, the fire in her lungs and her legs protesting her pace with zeal. She chanced a quick look over her shoulder. Four of them left. One must have fallen through the hole in that last bridge. Lucky her. One or two she could handle by herself, but four would overrun her in a heartbeat. She had been sprinting for what felt like half an hour at least, and the pain was nearly overwhelming. “Should have joined the infantry” her thoughts continued as she ran. “At least this would have been a little easier. Hell, maybe I could have just snapped their spines and been over with this running.

Aisha spotted another farmhouse nearby, just off the road. There was a waist-high wall and a small roundabout right outside the front door, trees dotting the yard. It was a dangerous proposition, but she needed a chokepoint of some sort. The wall could slow at least one of them down too. In one swift motion she monkey vaulted the cobblestone barrier and made her way to the far corner of the building, taking the corner wide so as not to be surprised by any lurkers. When she saw the path was clear, she leaned back and spun on her right foot, coming to a sliding halt as she sized up the situation. Three of the runners had fallen over the wall, but were quickly recovering. The fourth one had less trouble, and was closing the distance quickly. Aisha braced herself, and readied her screwdriver.

Once it got within arm’s reach of her, she stepped forward into the runners’ embrace, her left hand extended. She placed her open palm on its chest, and slid her hand upward till her thumb and index finger were on opposite sides of its jaw, forcing its head upwards. She shifted her weight to her right foot, twisted her hips, and brought her screwdriver down into its left temple. The momentum from the zombie, and the corkscrew motion from Aisha twisting around sent the zombie flying past her. It was dead before it hit the ground, but the screwdriver went with the zombie.

“Kaifa haluka!” she exclaimed as she re-engaged her sprint past the body. She didn’t have time to look back at the other three, because she knew they’d be up and running already. She dug around in her hoodie for her last screwdriver; before she fled the farm, she stocked up on the essentials. She had used the exact same technique three times already, and each time she lost one of her screwdrivers because they wouldn’t give her enough time to retrieve them. When she rounded the second corner, Aisha breathed a mental sigh of relief. There was a small porch with a few steps leading up to the open back door. She’d have no idea what she was going to find in there, but she knew what was behind her. The odds were fifty/fifty that she’d run into a safe, non-zombie infested building, and that was better than nothing.

She leaped up the steps and nearly tripped over herself as she tried to decelerate before clearing the doorway. As soon as she did, she turned and slammed the door shut. Of course, just like some b-rated movie, the sound didn’t resemble wood on wood so much as wood on flesh and bone. “Assam alaykom, asshole!” she muttered between breaths as she whipped her head back and forth, taking in her surroundings as she tried to stop the zombie from breaching the door. To her right was the kitchen, straight ahead was the hallway leading to the living room and the front door, and to her left was a hallway leading to more unknown places. The door pulsed inwards, and one of the zombies’ heads popped into view. Right away, Aisha plunged her screwdriver into its skull, sending it to the floor. She couldn’t hold the door closed any longer with its body slumped in the doorway, so Aisha made the snap decision to head into the kitchen. She rolled over the table and readied herself for the last two runners. The first one came straight at her and ran directly into the table, pushing it into Aisha’s gut and sending her backwards, pinning her to the refrigerator. The second one came around the side, and while Aisha was struggling to regain her breath, she plunged her last screwdriver into the cranium of the zombie in front of her. Of course, it slid backwards off the table, taking the screwdriver with it. Aisha would have cursed again if she hadn’t needed to suck in a large breath.

Quickly, Aisha spun around and opened the refrigerator door to stop the last zombie from reaching her. She fell to the floor, but managed to hold the door open with her feet as the zombie flailed, struggling to make its way over top of the door. With her second breath, Aisha sucked in the putrid stench of spoiled food, and she puked inside her mask. Struggling to find her next breath, Aisha grabbed her mask and tossed it aside, trying to simultaneously hold the door open and wipe the contents of her stomach from her eyes. She shrieked as her legs gave way, the refrigerator door slammed shut, and the zombie fell onto Aisha. She jabbed her right forearm into its throat, and with her left hand she grabbed a clump of its hair, trying to pull its head back. The zombies hands latched onto her hair and began to pull her face towards its own. The flesh on its scalp began to peel backwards as it continued to snap its jaw open and closed, its breath more foul than the stench of the rotten food. Aisha slid her right hand towards its jawbone and with a quick burst of strength twisted its head as hard as she could. She heard a dull snap, and the zombie collapsed onto her. With her last bit of strength, she pushed the corpse off of her, and proceeded to cough and suck air.

She laid there for a good two minutes, just trying to bring her breathing back down to normal. Her adrenaline was still pumping through her system, and her skin began to feel cold and clammy. Shock began to set in as she began to vibrate. “Oh fuck that was close…” she whispered to herself. Slowly, she rolled to her stomach, and pushed herself up off the floor. Since she hadn’t been approached by anybody in the time she used to regain her composure, living or dead, she figured the place was devoid of any immediate threats. “Finally” she thought. “A break. A well-deserved break.” With a rag that was hanging off one of the cupboard handles, she cleaned her face off and wiped down her mask. After she was satisfied with the clean-up, she retrieved her last two screwdrivers and wiped them down before putting them back in her hoodie pocket. She needed another weapon of some sort, the screwdriver trick just wouldn’t cut it if she ever got in that situation again. For the time being, however, she needed to eat. Over a can of preserved peach slices and a bottle of water, Aisha replayed the events of the day in her mind.

Mary had been bitten, and she turned while inside the house. The house was being attacked by a group of freshies, which didn’t help matters. When Aisha looked at Kylie and Breanne, she couldn’t bear the thought of them being eaten alive. Without a second thought, she jumped into action. “Bill, take your daughters and run!” Aisha screamed over the voracious moaning. “I’ll distract them! Go!” Aisha had essentially shoved Bill through the back door as she turned to face down Mary, Bill’s wife. She had been such a pleasant host, always offering Aisha cookies after dinner, and tucking her in just like she did with her own daughters when they were little. She was so motherly, so nice. What Aisha had to do wasn’t nice but it was necessary. She had to…

Thinking back to that time, back to what she felt she had to do to protect Kylie and Breanne...Aisha put her head into her hands and began to sob lightly, and collapsed against the cupboards in the kitchen. “Why? Did I do the right thing?” Aisha wondered in her mind as she quietly shed the first tears she’s shed in years. “Why did this have to happen? I…Fuck my legs hurt…I can't...I can't do this...

Aisha continued to cry, straight into the night, her head hung low.

History:
Is written by the winners.

So begins...

Aisha Karimi's Story

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aisha Karimi Character Portrait: NPCs Character Portrait: Michael Rowan
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#, as written by Messiah
Gas Required

Collaboration with Black Hoodie


Part One: New Faces, New Places


June 26th, 2014

Around 6:00 AM


When the sun finally rose on Chol Castle, Michael was already awake. But soon, he would have no more reason to keep lying around. That was one of the problems with living with a big group like this; they expected you to do things and to be a responsible member of the group. He couldn't just go around doing his own thing, minding his own business. Not anymore. It wasn't for a lack of trying, though. A few people had come up to him and tried to ask about him since he arrived, but he had only told them to "piss off" and nothing else. What the hell did they expect? Even in the two or so months since everything had gone to shit, things were rough. Why would they expect people to want to talk about those things?

And then, of course, every time he saw them from then on, they looked at him like he was the one who was at fault. God damn idiots.

Regardless, the other night, he'd gotten wind that some people would be sent out on runs, and he figured he would be one of the ones included. It was just as well, since there was no way he was going to be able to sit around forever - that much was obvious. As much as he complained, he knew that it would take effort to keep things up around here. Besides, if he just sat around doing nothing, what reason was there to keep him around? He would just be another mouth to feed without contributing anything. In that case, kicking him out would be the only smart thing to do, he knew that, and he didn't particularly feel like being out on his own again. For now, he'd just have to grin and bear it.

Michael rolled out of bed and pressed his feet down against the cool floor and stood. With a yawn and a stretch, he picked out some clothes from a pile and got dressed. It was chilly, especially for the summer months, but it was nothing he couldn't handle. He'd grown up in New England, and the winters there could get pretty bad. They often did, in fact. Still, he grabbed a slightly wrinkled red zip-up hooded sweatshirt and pulled it on over his t-shirt. And then, as he turned towards his backpack, he grumbled, lamenting the loss of the tools he'd brought with him. It was for the good of the group, he'd been told, that they have the tools in case they needed them. He'd still be the one they'd ask to use them anyway.

He still had the fire axe from his first encounter at the bar he was working at when this all started, but if often proved itself to be slow and unwieldy, at least compared to the hatchet that he now had on his belt - a valuable weapon that he'd found on his way up here, which had proved to be able to do just about anything the larger two-handed axe could do but better. At least in most cases.

So, he picked up his backpack and turned towards the door. With all he needed in-hand for the day, he left his room and made his way to the kitchen where a cheery woman greeted him. She'd introduced herself a while back as Alia.

"Hi!"

Michael simply grunted in response, but she was still as cheery as before.

"I made breakfast. Want some?" She nodded towards one of the bowls of porridge she had nearby.

He looked between her and the bowl. Porridge. Not his favorite, but he wasn't going to turn down free food, so he uttered an affirmative and took the bowl. Quickly, he ate the contents of the bowl and set the remains in the sink before he finally headed outside.

After a few minutes of wandering around outside, Mike finally found what he was looking for, an indication of what they were being asked to do. One of the jobs caught his eye in particular; retrieve propane for the generators. Seemed that this was his best choice, and he took down the piece of paper with the details of the job written on it.
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Aisha enjoyed staying up late, and as a result usually ended up sleeping in. At least, that’s how it was before the outbreak. Ever since then, ever since danger constantly loomed over her shoulder, Aisha couldn’t sleep in, let alone sleep well. She woke up slightly before the sun began to cast its light over the horizon, but didn’t get out of bed right away. Fatigue from lack of sleep was really starting to get to her. She couldn’t help it really, what with all the things that have happened since she left the farm. After tossing and turning a few times, she groaned and pushed herself out of bed.

“At least they actually have beds.” She whispered to nobody in particular. That, and private rooms. With doors. And big stone walls.
Aisha let out a long groan as she stretched, trying to get the restlessness out of her bones. The room was barely lit, with the sun trying to pry its way through the windows. She kept the curtains mostly closed, and kept the lights off most of the time. Candles wouldn't bring as much attention at night if somebody were looking for trouble. That, and she preferred her food to be cooked in the kitchen. Fuel could be put to better use in the kitchen than to light the rooms when it was dark.
With a quick crack of her neck, she commenced her daily routine: stretches, calisthenics, inspect her gear, get dressed. It became a ritual she had stuck to, which helped immensely in recent times. She hasn't come across too many obese people during the last two months, and with good reason. The oversized targets probably saved her from catching any unwanted attention from the recently deceased. Or raised. Whatever. Once she was finished inspecting her gear, the sun had risen enough to shine through her curtains, casting a dull glow against the opposite wall. With the new light, she made her way over to the large, antique looking mirror. A deep sigh escaped her as she shook her head. All the thoughts from the night before came rushing back to her, the whispers of people going outside of the walls to acquire supplies at the forefront of her mind. When she was on watch the night before, Antonio came to the fortifications to see how she was doing. He brought up a valid point about the finite amount of supplies they had at the castle, and that they would likely need to acquire more at some point. Aisha knew what he was doing, in his roundabout fashion, and had simply said that she'd go. Of course, staring into the mirror, she was feeling regret about her decision. Memories of fear and adrenaline were all coming back to her. She would have to go back out there...

She shook her head, snapping out of the daydream. It wouldn't help matters to dwell on things. With another heavy sigh, she turned away from the mirror. Ever since her incident, she has forced herself to look in the mirror every morning. She didn't like to see herself the way she was now, but it was just another hurdle she had to overcome.
"Vanity isn't going to help anything when people are trying to eat your face off" She muttered. When she first came to the castle, she was covered entirely, from head to toe in clothing. Not even her eyes could be seen through her mask. It was extremely suspicious with her keeping all covered up the way she was, and in order to gain Antonio's trust, she discarded the face she showed the world for the face she hid underneath. He was the first person she actually spoke to in two whole months, and her voice at the time was weak, and even cracked when she spoke. She didn't wear her mask inside the castle, and so she attempted to avoid contact with the others. Only Antonio and Cameron had really seen her face, and a few others have heard her speak, her preference for ducking out of view taking preference over any meaningful contact. Antonio mentioned to her, before they parted that night, that there was a possibility that she would have to work with another resident of the castle. Not only would she have to go back outside, she might even have to introduce herself to somebody else.
"Whatever. Let's get this over with."

Aisha turned away from the mirror and resumed her ritual. When all was said and done, she was dressed in the red camo pants, which were more for comfort than anything. Her black hoodie came with a built-in poncho and had a massive hood she could put up to block out glare from the sun. Her boots and her gloves were what really accented her tough-girl look; carbon-fibre reinforced Kevlar and leather gloves for riding motorcycles, and a pair of functional tie up combat boots she picked up at curio shop. Preferring to keep her face as covered as possible without actually covering up, she had wrapped her shemagh around her neck. Since she was leaving the protective walls of the castle, her mask hung at her left hip, tied to her belt. Content with her coverage, Aisha grabbed her backpack, her screwdrivers, and her makeshift wrench-chucks. With her pack and her weapons ready, she made her way down the hall and towards the kitchen. Normally, she'd have waited until the kitchen had cleared out before grabbing herself a quick bite to eat, but since she had a mission to complete, she couldn't get picky. She walked into the room and saw Alia cleaning some dishes in the sink. Without saying a word, Aisha moved to the stove and made herself a bowl of slop.

"Oh!" Alia exclaimed. "You snuck up on me!" she said with a smile.

"My bad" Aisha replied, her voice tense, her head turned away. "I'm just going to grab this and go." She continued quickly, before she turned completely away from Alia. She took a seat with her back to the woman and scarfed down the meal like it was her last.

"Worked up an appetite?" The woman seemed to be in an unnaturally good mood. She gave Aisha the creeps.

"Sure. Here you go." She said flatly before depositing the bowl in the sink, and shirking out of the room to avoid any further contact with the woman. Antonio never mentioned where to go to look for the missions, so Aisha wandered around for a bit. At first she looked around inside the halls, but failing to find anything of note, she decided to take a gander outside. Perhaps there was some sort of bulletin board by the gate or something? As she stepped outside, she unclipped her paintball mask from her belt and strapped it to her face. It was a sort of unintentional habit she developed post-zombie apocalypse, but it calmed her down for when she needed to focus. As she made her way down the steps, she tucked her hair back beneath her paintball shemagh, so that she was entirely covered up. It wasn't until she looked up that she saw a man staring at some paper. Ugh, do I really have to?" Aisha thought to herself. Although she was hoping that it wasn't what she thought it was, deep down she wanted to say hello. She had seen the man around the castle a few times, but never really spoke to him. She never spoke to anybody for that matter. It was time to dig deep, back to her roots.

"Hey!" She blurted out, with a slight wave of her hand. "Name's Aisha. Is this where we're supposed to go to for the missions? Antonio never told me where it was he'd be setting this up." She was a bit worried that she came off a bit too strong, sounding almost like that chef girl in the kitchen. Of course, she had forgotten that she was wearing her mask. "Damnit! Hopefully I didn't come off too strange. Ah, who am I kidding/? I'm a new-age Michael Myers as far as other people are concerned." She thought, eagerly anticipating his response.

Michael turned around at the sound of a voice. For a while, he didn't say anything, instead just taking in the sight of its owner, all covered up. Even her face. It was that that caught his attention to begin with. A mask with a skull painted on it. He folded his arms across his chest, holding out the piece of paper towards her that he had in his hand, "Seems that way. Take a look for yourself." He took a step to the side, giving her room to look at the board, in addition to the piece of paper he'd offered her.

He wasn't quite sure what to make of her yet, only that the way she was dressed, with her mask, meant that she was planning on going out. Since he hadn't noticed anybody else approaching, he figured that he might end up having to go out on this job with her. Whether he would get along with her, it was hard to say, but he wouldn't show too much of himself. Not yet. Not when you could be dead in a few hours time.

For now, he'd just have to wait and see.

Aisha acknowledged him with a quick nod, taking hold of the paper and bringing it up to read. It mentioned another group of people holding dominion over the area that was intended to be raided for resources. That was something that brought back some memories of a time long passed. She stood there for a moment, thinking about the mission details, before offering the paper back to the man. Curiously, he never mentioned his name. It was probably for the same reason that Aisha didn't like to show her face. One of them, anyways.

"Yup. Seems that way indeed." She took a quick glance in both directions. "Nobody else is around. Did you want a hand with this one? It mentions the ideal number is two."

Michael sighed and shrugged, stuffing the piece of paper into his pocket, "Why the fuck not. I'm not really interested in becoming someone's lunch. Not today, at least." He smirked in her direction, "Tomorrow? We'll see. Two heads are better than one, right?" He commented dryly as he hiked up his backpack and turned towards the gates of the castle, "Got anything else you need to take care of? I'm headed to the gates. The sooner we get to it, the sooner we're done."

Truth be told, it might end up being a long day. Going to town and back with bikes and carrying propane tanks with them would probably be time-consuming anyway, but now they had to worry about the dead, and maybe even the living - these guys who called themselves the Crusaders. Who the hell comes up with these names, anyway? What better to name a group after than a group of Christians who traveled thousands of miles, slaughtering everyone they came across along the way, right? That sure gives everyone a good first impression.

Aisha gave a half-smile inside her mask as the man jested.
"Unless they're attached to the same person, I would imagine so. I don't have anything else that needs tending to, so we can make like babies and head out." Aisha turned away from the man, and began to walk towards the gates. While she was walking, she turned her head and inquired about the other faction. "Have you ever met one of these 'Crusaders' before?" She hadn't dealt with many large groups before she came to the castle, mostly just zombies and thugs, both of which she tried to avoid. She didn't want to start any trouble with another group, and thought it was a bit ironic that they were about to go and 'unofficially' steal from them. The more information she had about them, the better.

"Nope. Never met them. Kept to myself since I got here." He approached the gates, "I'd rather keep it that way," he added.


Part Two: The Morning Commute

Around 6:45 AM


When she made it to the gates, Aisha noticed the two tanks sitting on the ground, each with a one inch ratchet strap sitting on each of them. Next to the tanks were a number of bicycles and several vehicles, making it look like Antonio, or somebody else with a head on their shoulders, had planned to disperse in the case of trouble. Without any pause, she grabbed one of the tanks and the accompanying strap, and began working on attaching it to the rack on the nearest bike. It was a bit annoying to have to heft one of those around, especially when murderous intent was lurking behind every tree.
"So, they mentioned the place was in a small warehouse yard. I don't know this part of Britain very well, if you can't tell by my accent. Do you know where this outdoor tank might be? Or even where this invisible line dividing the Crusader's territory is?"

He hefted up the other propane tank and copied Aisha, attaching it to the rack. "If I had to guess, it's probably like other places - around the back of the building," he remarked, a bit of. sarcasm leaking into his words. "No idea where the line is. At least that way, if we get caught, we can act like we didn't know we were in their territory." He'd rather they not get caught at all, but it was good to have some sort of back-up plan, at least. For all they knew, these Crusaders could be the kind of group that looks for any excuse to start something. Itchy trigger fingers. Mike had definitely come across his fair share of them since this all started, even if it hadn't been all that long.

"Right." Aisha whipped her map out of her backpack, double checking where they were going. She made a quick note of where it was, folded up her map, and stashed it.

Once they had everything ready, they headed out the gates of Chol Castle. For a while, it was silent as he wheeled his bicycle along the road with Aisha just a little ways behind. Occasionally, he would glance back, each time expecting himself to say something, but each time, nothing came out. He didn't quite know where to start. Anything he'd ask, he was unlikely to answer himself if he were asked. Maybe just start simple.

Finally, he spoke up, "Michael, by the way."

"Took you long enough" Aisha thought. She didn't put it in such harsh wording when she spoke aloud. "Nice to finally meet you, Michael." His accent was a bit strange. Aisha figured it was as good a time as any to start some sort of conversation. "Where you from?" She asked casually, as if the apocalypse wasn't a thing. They had a while before they came anywhere near the town, so maybe she could find out more about the people living in the castle with her. Never hurts.

Briefly, images of his old life flashed through his mind. Family. Friends. And then he gave his answer. "Grew up in Boston and I was living in London when all this shit went down. I also lived in Dublin at one point. Yourself?" He figured it wouldn't hurt to tell her, even if either of them ended up dead by the time the day was over. It's not like that told her much about him. Other than where he was from.

It was one thing to be the one asking the question, but it was a bit different to be on the receiving end. Her mind went blank, and she just started talking. Some habits were harder to break than others.
"I'm originally from Saudi, but I lived most of my life in Canada eh. Much colder than this place most of the time. Comes in handy." She paused for a half-second. "I was living up here on a farm most recently. Have to say, I could have picked worse places to be during times like these." She wasn't sure if he was catching most of what she was saying she was talking so fast, nearly mashing words together. Maybe it was just due to actually having somebody to talk with, instead of the half-hearted attempts she's had with Cameron and Antonio. "I heard London was pretty bad." She kept moving along at a decent pace, trying to stay close.

"Explains the accent then, don't it?" He smirked, "Ever seen a New England winter? Those can get pretty shit." It was a rhetorical question, just for the sake of making conversation. And then she mentioned London. He didn't respond to that for a few moments, and then finally, he nodded, "Yeah. It was pretty bad. Lots of people died. I was lucky to get out." He thought back to his time in London; part of his life that he would much rather forget and move on from - at least after the apocalypse started. "Would've liked to be at a farm when all this started, instead of the biggest god damn city on the island," he said bitterly, scowling at the ground in front of the tires of his bicycle.

When Michael's tone changed, Aisha began to regret asking about London. She was regretting saying anything more and more as he went on. She wanted to offer some sort of consolation, but stopped herself. What would be the point? Sure, she may have stepped on a sore point, but everybody had their moments. Everybody had experienced some sort of loss. What could she possibly offer him to make things better? Mentally she scolded herself. "Fuck. You just had to open your damn mouth..."
For the remainder of their bike ride, Aisha decided to hold her tongue, lest she say something to worsen the wounds she may have just re-opened for Michael.

Michael noticed her silence and his scowl deepened. He wasn't a child. She didn't need to tip-toe around him. But, still - what did she expect? He didn't say anything about her time at whatever farm she was at. He didn't have to. She wasn't there anymore. Obviously something happened that caused her to leave. If he'd asked about it, he wouldn't expect her to react any differently. At the very least, he wouldn't expect her to answer. With a scoff, he shook his head, but he held his tongue. It wasn't something he was accustomed to doing, but he found himself doing it more and more recently, especially in the last couple months. Nobody wanted to hear it, and everybody was armed. Too many times he had to keep quiet when he didn't want to, just because he might get fed to the dead if he didn't.

Up ahead, he spotted some movement and he stopped, and glanced back, "Hold up," he said to Aisha, waiting to see what the noise was. From out of the trees emerged a pair of zeds, groaning. They ambled from the trees and into the road. It took a moment or two but they finally turned and faced the living pair and immediately picked up their pace. Michael kicked out the bike's stand and stepped away from it, backing up to give himself enough time and room to act.

He drew his hatchet and raised it in preparation to swing as the closest zed moved towards him. As it neared, it held out his arms, bared its teeth, and lunged at him. But, he was prepared. He took another step back and it stumbled slightly, having over-stepped itself before he brought his hatchet down, burying it into the top of its skull. The limp weight of its body fell and dislodged itself from the hatchet and hit the ground heavily.

When the pair of figures emerged from the tree line, Aisha shook her head.
"[i[Already crawling out of the cracks?[/i]" She slowed down and imitated Michael, dropping her kickstand and stepping away from her bike. She took a quick look behind them, checking to see if anything was going to sneak up on them while they dealt with the shufflers. Content with their surroundings, she turned back and watched as Michael dispatched the first shuffler. "No hesitation hey? That'll come in handy." Her thoughts continued as she took out her nunchaku imitation. She wasn't really proficient with any sort of chained or linked weapon, and she wasn't flashy like all those martial arts chuckers, but she couldn't deny the sheer crushing power her weapon delivered. All she really needed was one clear shot. She stepped past Michael as his axe came dislodged, the fing fing fing of the wrench displacing air as she spun it up for extra momentum. With a wide arc over her head, she brought the business end down on the skull of her opponent, the wrench essentially cleaving its skull open on the first strike. The corpse fell forward, and Aisha stepped once to the side, letting gravity wrench her weapon out of its skull, just the way Michael had done with his axe. One, maybe two walkers she could handle herself, and with Michael's lack of hesitation, and his direct approach, she could tell it was the same way for him. They were lucky they weren't fresh though, it could've been a different story.

Aisha grabbed a rag out from her back pocked, and began wiping down the bloody wrench as she glanced around, making sure no more ghouls would pop out to attack them. Once her weapon was dry, she grabbed a wet nap from another pocket and gave it a quick second wipe down. One could not be too sure with those kinds of things. She stowed her wrench-chucks back into her belt, and proceeded to search the corpse. It looked like the corpse once belonged to a lumberjack or something, the plaid flannel coat lending itself to the image. Nothing but a wallet full of lost memories, a set of keys, a broken cell phone, and a handful of cash. She left the wallet, cell phone, and keys on the ground beside what once used to be a man, and stashed the cash in her left side pocket. Paper money wasn't good for trading anymore, but it was good for burning and starting fires.

"What about yours?" She said without much emotion.

Michael turned towards his partner just in time to see her drop the other zed. Briefly, he smirked to himself, inwardly grateful he hadn't found himself with some blithering idiot who didn't know what the hell she was doing. But, he wasn't particularly surprised. You had to have some way of dealing with the dead. You didn't survive if you didn't.

He held his hatchet idle in his hand as he looked around, waiting a minute or two until he was fairly confident that nothing else was going to sneak up on them from the trees. Finally, he tucked his weapon back on his belt and hooked the toe of his boot between the dead man's chest and the pavement. For a moment or two, he just stared down at the thing, a look of contempt on his face. They showed no remorse to the living, so why should he show any remorse to them? Then, with a swift movement of his leg, he roughly flipped the body over onto its back and began to check the pockets. In addition to the pockets in his pants, the man was also wearing a fake leather jacket. By the way he patted the man down, he gave the impression that he'd done this a few times before. One of his front pockets held a wallet, which Michael searched through. There was no cash, no credit cards, no pictures. It held nothing but an identification card.

James Myers.

"Fucking bum," Michael scoffed, tossing the wallet away and continued his search. His other front pocket had an object which, when he pulled it out, revealed itself to be a multi-tool. "Could be useful," he commented idly, putting it into his own pocket. And then, as he felt along the body's chest and reached into one of the jacket pockets, he laughed and grinned to Aisha.

"I don't fucking believe it," he said, still grinning, as he pulled out a shiny metal flask and looked it over. He held it up to his ear and shook it. There was still some left. But, instead of taking a drink, he uncapped it and poured the remaining contents out onto the pavement. "God only knows what shit's in there. I'll scrub it out when we get back." He stood back up, "God damn good find, though."

Aisha walked back to her bike, watching Michael as he searched the body.
"Crude." Aisha's thought. "It looks like he knows what he's doing though. Police? Whatever, it's not like it matters. Not unless we run into more trouble." She moved swiftly back onto her bike, and pedaled up beside him.
"If you say so. That's kinda..." She shuddered a little, involuntarily thinking about where the flask had been. "Gross"

As she waited for him to return to his bike, she re-checked her map. They weren't far from the town.
"We're pretty close now. Nice to see you can take care of yourself, there's probably more of them in town. You ready?"

"I wouldn't have survived this long if I didn't know how to take care of myself," he said as he stepped back over to the other bike, "Of course there's more. There's always more. Let's go." In the few short moments between discovering the flask and returning to the bicycle, his tone had turned from muted excitement and turned towards almost flat annoyance - maybe even outright anger. Though, it wasn't really directed at her, just at the thought of finding more of those dumb dead bastards.

Aisha didn't have anything else pertinent to say, slightly bothered by her partner's attitude, and just kept pedaling till they came to the edges of outskirts of town.
"Maybe he's just on edge?".


Part Three: Brampton

Around 7:30 AM


When they approached, it was eerily quiet. It was always like that in all the horror movies she'd seen, right before the monsters started crawling out of the woodworks. She just hoped it wasn't going to turn out that way in real life. When she was close enough, she broke off the path and went up into the hilly area to her right, and parked the bike. She wanted to get a good view of the place first, instead of blindly heading in. Without checking to see if Michael was following her, she stepped off her bike and took her binoculars out from her pack. She wouldn't be able to see the whole town from her position, but her spot wasn't bad. She'd be able to see within the immediate area. There wasn't much activity; shufflers seemed to be dormant.
"Maybe they moved on?" A thought which brimmed with baseless hope.

"It looks all clear from what I can see. We'll be sailing smoothly for the first bit at least." She said aloud. "There doesn't look to be any industrial looking area's on this side though. Did you want to circle around?" She asked, pretty much expecting Michael to be nearby.

"Smooth sailing?" He glanced at her, his thought unfinished, but it was apparent by the look on his face that he wasn't particularly convinced. Like there was no such thing as 'smooth sailing' anymore. Everything always seemed to go bad. If he were a more well-read man, he might have quoted To a Mouse, but he wasn't. But, he didn't have to be well-read to know that plans can and often do go to shit. Still, there wasn't much choice in the matter but to keep going, so he nodded. "Yeah. Let's circle around, see what we see." He rested the bike against his hip and took a look around for himself, "Do we want to be wheeling these things around in the middle of town? Might just slow us down if we get into a situation we need to fight out of."

"Hmm. Not a bad idea. We can take a look around, and once we have an idea of where we're going, we can stow the bikes. Let's go."

After stowing her binoculars, Aisha jumped on her bike and began moving parallel with the edges of the town. She continued up and around, always glancing into the town trying to pin down a good point of entry. After nearly 10 minutes, she was on the opposite end of the town, and sighed in relief when she spotted an area that looked like it could house their objective. Once again, she stopped her bike, and took out her binoculars. After a few seconds of scanning, she found what looked to be their objective. The area surrounding it looked much like the first area she scanned with her bino's. It would be stupid to assume the place was empty, but if there was an apparent opening, they had to take advantage of it.

"Looks like we have the right place. I don't see any stiffs around though." She put the binoculars away, and unstrapped the propane tank. "Bike's gonna get in the way if we need to move fast. I'm gonna leave this here for the time being." She explained, gently setting the bike on its side. The path that seemed the best to take, providing the most cover if anything went wrong, looked a little winding, but it'd work for her. She paused, checking to see if Michael had any objections.

By the time she looked over, he had also begun to set down his own bike and soon unstrapped the propane tank from it as well. Apparently he had no objections, as he headed down towards the warehouse, holding the tank on his shoulder, motioning to her with the other. "The sooner, the better, right? I don't want to be here any longer than I need to."

"Right."

Without further conversation, Aisha moved in unison with Michael as they approached the large tank that had what they needed. It was mostly uneventful, for once, as they came close to the re-fill station. The station itself was just a large fenced in housing tank on a cement block, just across the parking lot from one of the industrial shops. It was nearly four or five blocks away from where the pair left their bicycles, which was a bit unsettling, but they had a clear field of vision of their immediate surroundings. If something popped out, they would know about it long before it became a threat. Aisha set her propane tank down as quietly as she could, and began to go to work filling them up. It wouldn't take long.

"Maybe this'll be easy. No more zombies, no more assholes, no more running for my life. Who knows? Maybe this Michael guy'll calm down, and we can kick back with a pair of beers to celebrate when we get back?" Aisha's thoughts began to wander as she finished filling her tank. She turned and grabbed Michael's tank, checking to make sure he was keeping watch. It wasn't really like they specified their roles beforehand, but they seemed to work well together so far.

He was keeping watch, his hatchet drawn, but resting near his side. His gaze was directed outside, towards the street. He puffed out his cheeks and sighed, he looked to Aisha as she filled up the tanks. As he was opening his mouth to say something to her, a sound from outside interrupted him. Quickly, he jerked his head back around and looked outside. Several zeds had wandered out from their hidey-holes and had decided to lounge in the middle of the street.

"Great. Something must've brought them out," he muttered, taking a step back from the door, just to avoid detection. Again, he directed his attention to his partner, his voice low, "Might want to pick it up. We've got company."

"Living or dead? Whatever, I just barely started filling this one, can you take care of it? I can meet you back at the bikes once I'm finished." She said in a hushed tone.

"I got this. I'll keep them busy. Just give it a minute or two." He didn't need to tell her to stay low and keep quiet until then. She'd made it this long. And if she drew attention to herself and got killed, that's on her, not him.


Part Four: On the Run

Around 8:15 AM


He stepped away from the filling station and into the street, eyeing the wobbly walkers out of the corner of his eye. This is where he really shined; either when he was on his own, or when he was allowed to take charge of a situation. When he turned towards them, he didn't do anything, just grinning and raising his hatchet slightly.

"Hey!" he called towards them, his accent becoming more noticeable as his voice raised. A few of the zeds turned in his direction. There were still a few of them who hadn't quite turned, so he called again, a little louder this time, "I'm talking to you!" which caught the attention of the remainder.

Once he had their attention, he began to back away slowly, waving his arms a few times, just to be sure they kept their attention on him.

"Come on, you bastards," he muttered, glancing over his shoulder every once in a while; he didn't want to run into any of them sneaking up on him.

He continued on for a few minutes more, until he came to an intersection. It was there he stopped and turned to his left, heading down the intersecting street. Before he got too far, a scream tore through the air, coming from somewhere near the center of town.

He wheeled, looking in the direction the sound had come from, "Fuck!" he whispered to himself, his eyes searching the nearby buildings for the source. As he was debating his next move, another scream sounded, earning another curse from the Irishman.

The pair of sounds had started to draw the attention of the nearby dead, including some of the ones that had been after him before. The others remained focused on Michael, who was the closer and much more tantalizing target. It wasn't long before more and more of them came out of the woodwork from up the street, down the street, and in the direction he'd been heading before. Soon, what was once seven, had become fifteen or twenty or maybe even more

Thinking quickly, Michael headed straight for a nearby house and tried the door, but it was locked. He cursed again and turned around just in time to see a zed lunging for him. Michael stuck out his leg, causing the thing to catch on his foot and tumble to the ground. Without any other option, he skirted along the front of the building until he came to the corner and darted through the opening between that house and the next house over.

Pushing his way through some trees and bushes, he finally came across an open grassy field, and he immediately began sprinting across it, heading for a house on the other side. A couple minutes later, he came upon the house and stopped, affording himself a brief look backwards in the direction that he'd come. A runner or two had followed and were closing in on him, but they weren't anything he couldn't handle.

The first one, who had been a young woman with blonde hair, came at him, snarling and baring her teeth. Michael allowed it to get close, but took a step to the side at the last second and gave her a shove in the back as she passed. It sent her sprawling, and he casually stepped over to the zed, putting a boot into the middle of her back, which was enough to hold her down.

Meanwhile, the second runner had closed some of the distance between him and Michael, but it hadn't gone unnoticed by the Irishman. As it got nearer, he turned his body, keeping his one boot in the back of the first runner, and kicked out his other foot, striking at the second's knee. The blow sent the runner's knee in the opposite direction with a harsh crack, and caused it to fall heavily to the ground.

"I'll be with you in a second." He looked from the male runner to the female one, the latter still struggling against the weight and force that he was putting on it. He drew his hatchet and buried it into the back of her head, ceasing her struggling. The other runner snarled, crawling closer to Michael, still with its useless leg, "Oh, was that your friend?" Michael taunted, stepping away from the lifeless body and towards the snarling, grasping crawler, "Well, too fucking bad," he growled, raising his boot up and bringing it back down onto its head, and repeating the action until there wasn't much left but a red stain and some bits of brain and skull.

A quick scan of the area that he'd come from revealed that a few more runners were heading his way; more than he wanted to try and take on on his own, so he put his hatchet away and darted to the house behind him and he tried the back door. And luckily, it wasn't locked. It was there he would stay until the heat died down.
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Footsteps could be heard shuffling about from all around. Once Aisha finished filling the second canister, she slowly put the hose on the ground, trying to not make a single sound. Any little thing could attract them to her position, and the less she did, the better. Time seemed to stand still, each moment passing by at a snail’s pace. Patience was not one of her strong suits.
"Shit, these are going to be annoying as hell to carry. I hope he can make it back to the bikes, or else this is going to be a long day." The sound of shuffling footsteps died down after what felt like hours. It probably wasn't more than five minutes, but Aisha didn't see it that way. After poking her head around the corner to see if there were any zeds left, she confirmed there weren't any more hanging around. She picked up each propane tank, one in each hand, and began to waddle awkwardly back to their bikes. At the edge of town, a sound nearly made her drop the tanks as she spun around to find the source. It sounded like a scream. Shrill, as if the owner of the voice were experiencing both pain and terror. It was distant, but still clearly audible.
"Michael..." Aisha considered following the source of the scream, but after a moment of contemplation, she decided against it. Although it bothered her, she couldn't really see herself being that much help when somebody already sounded like that. She's heard that sound many times, usually right before some poor soul turned into human steak. A pang of regret put a knot in her stomach as she turned back around, and continued on towards the pair of bicycles. Her first priority was to return to the castle with the propane. Time resumed its regular schedule once again. Once she was near her ride, she set the tanks down, and rubbed her hands. She looked back to where Michael took off.

"Thanks bud. I owe you one." Without daring to ponder the situation any longer, she picked up one of the bikes and opened the kickstand. She couldn't strap both propane tanks down, so she'd have to carry them in her hands while she hung onto the handlebars. The second bike had to be left behind; it didn't sound like it was going to be put to use anytime soon.

"This is going to be a long ride back. I'm definitely going to need a hand massage by the time this day's over."

She grabbed the tanks, stood on her pedals, and began her journey back to Chol Castle. It was long and uneventful, thankfully, but she eventually passed through the castle gates.
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Around 10:30 AM

In that house, Michael waited. He waited for probably an hour, maybe two. It was hard to tell these days, not without a watch or a cell phone to tell him the time. Finally, he decided that he would brave the streets of Brampton again and peeked out the front door. The street was deserted, save for a few zeds standing idly in the street. Where they'd come from or where they were going, he didn't know, but he didn't particularly care to find out. All he wanted to do was get the hell out of Brampton and back to the castle where, hopefully, his partner-in-crime was already waiting.

The zeds in the street had their backs to him, giving him free rein to go out the door and down the street. When he felt he was a comfortable distance from them, he began to run, continuing along the road out of town.

The trip back was longer than the way over, but there were no interruptions from any zeds, which Michael was thankful for inwardly. Finally, more than an hour after leaving Brampton, he pushed through the gates of Chol Castle. He could only hope that Aisha had managed to get back as well, for the sake of not coming back empty-handed.