Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead [Icicle x Amber Sky]

Discussion in 'ROLEPLAY GRAVEYARD' started by Icicle, May 4, 2016.

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  1. Hello! This thread was made specifically for @Icicle and @Amber Sky. If neither of those usernames are yours, then you have no business posting here. Feel free to look around, but don't ruin our fun.

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    Setting: A world-wide science-turned-terrorism organization named XEDRA developed many devices over its lifespan, including biotics, power armor, and advanced laser technology. However, their most well-known discovery to date is XE037, also known as "the blob." XE037 has the unique propensity to alter the phenotype of organisms which it parasitizes, allowing scientists to conduct research to isolate particular mutagens to induce specific mutations to those who inject the substance into themselves. If a person wanted cat ears or adamantine claws, all they needed was a hefty sum of money and government approval and they could become the test-subjects for an extremely unstable mutagen.

    However, XE037 was soon determined to be much, much more than XEDRA, or even the governments of the world, could handle. The introduction of the blob into Earth's ecosystem drew in horrors and destruction the likes of which humans were never prepared to face. Triffids, Mycus and Nethereum were the three main terrors which invaded our world. The day that they did is now referred to as the "Catyclysm."

    At first the world thought that XE037 was just a sort of mold, but it turned out to be much, much worse. The black ooze has an extremely violent tendency - if touched, it rapidly invades the aggressor's body and devours all the nerves, fats and nucleic acids it comes across, replacing said materials with it's own goop. In layman's terms, it eats people and animals from the inside out and uses their bodies as vehicles to turn them into "zombies". This material was later determined to have originated in the nether, and never travels too far from the portals from which they originate.

    National governments stepped in to stop the spread of the black ooze only to find that the ooze was the least of their problems. In addition, a form of rapidly-spreading fungus which none of the scientists of the world ever before identified, and a sentient plant species known as Triffids planted spores and hearts across the forests of the world, generating hundreds of unwilling, thoughtless allies in the process. By using its spores to infect creatures and to turn them into unthinking slaves, they managed to decimate unprepared military forces. When the blobs and other nether creatures started riding onto the surface, all chaos ensued.

    Weeks have passed since the catyclysm. The population of sentient, unmutated and unparasitized humans has dwindled to just over 20% of the previous total population. The technology, materials and efforts of the struggling world militaries and science organizations are the only reasons humankind is still capable of fighting back. Some humans claim to have achieved a "control" over certain aspects of the nether energy which leaked out from the portals, and the few outposts of survival which remain are either manned by heavily armed survivors, indiscriminately genocidal military personnel or desperate, insane bandits. The few individual wanderers which travel the outside world are few and far between.

    The world's gone to shit. What's left to do but to take it back?

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    Icicle's Character: Myles Vance

    Name: Myles Vance
    Age: 27
    Gender: Male
    Profession: Gunsmith and Firearm Designer
    Appearance:
    Picture (open)
    [​IMG]

    Myles has long, unruly and light brown hair, grey blue eyes, a stoic expression, and a slim figure. He ate well with his rations during the first two weeks of the Catyclysm, but never had much weight in the first place, weighing in at 120lbs and standing at 5"11'.
    He has moderately pale skin since he spent most of his time indoors even before retreating to his shelter, and has no tattoos, birth defects, or major skin markings/scars. His most identifiable features are his eyes, which caused his friends to give him the name, "hawk-eye" simply because they said that his eyes make his face, "resemble a bird."
    He has fairly good hygiene and dental care, but wears glasses to correct his far-sightedness when working. He shaves daily, if possible, and washes himself bi-weekly at least. He can rarely be seen dirty.


    Personality: Myles was extremely friendly, almost overbearingly so. Despite his stoic and solemn appearance, one of his hobbies used to be coming up with clever ways to greet acquaintances whom he saw often. This changed after the Catyclym since all his acquaintances became walking fleshbags and corpses. He is now far more serious on a regular basis, as if conforming to his stoic appearance. He rarely smiles, and is always wary about the slightest noise or movement. He hates killing, more than anything else, so he greatly dislikes being forced to do so by his circumstances. Each time he has to kill, his mood gets more and more sour.

    He thinks very quickly, and is a genuinely good improviser. Since he played a lot of video games and did a lot of military simulations in his lifetime, he developed his analytical thought process and became more of a thinker. His quick thinking also translated to good leadership skills, which he developed almost without realizing it. Despite all of this, he hates accepting praise, even when it is merited, since he prefers to stay at the same level as those around him. He doesn't like formalities.

    One of his greatest quirks is his sense of right and wrong. Since he's a god-fearing man, he can't stand the sight of what his gut tells him is evil, nor can he bring himself to perform evil acts easily. He doesn't think much of his moral judgement, since he knows that it has been wrong in the past, but he still adheres to them closely so that he has something to cling to. His strongest goals result from his sense of right and wrong - to help others in need, to destroy evildoers, and to save the world - if not all of it, as much of it as possible. As a result, he never kills on sight without first observing the behavior of the thing in question, and always thinks twice before choosing not to trust a stranger.


    Background: Myles was born and raised as a gun fanatic. His father loved everything about guns, so he took his son to shooting ranges, on hunting trips, to gun shopping expos, and all sorts of other gun-related things. These trips invariably resulted in Myles' fascination with weapons and his hatred for killing, which he's kept with him for his entire life. His parents also handed the fear of god down to him, which, unlike his siblings, he kept with him as he aged.

    Myles was a relatively good student, although he procrastinated a lot and rarely studied. Plenty of his teachers saw a lot of potential in him, and encouraged him to seek out engineering projects and opportunities to show his skills and creativity. A particular opportunity in weapon design competitions and internships came his way, and he hasn't deviated from weapon design since. He worked to become certified as a gunsmith and got a job as a weapon designer for a famous gun manufacturer. He spent a total of 3 years in this job before getting sick of it and quitting. He decided to try and make a gun business of his own, so he was working on that up until the Catyclysm.

    Luckily, he had all of his work materials with him in the shelter, so he was able to construct himself a firearm with supplies left over from his planning. But as soon as the first day in the Catyclysm, he started to mutate as a result of nether energy in his shelter, and discovered that he could change the composition of substances using this new ability. He called the ability "combat alchemy" after thinking of ways to use it to conserve resources, and eventually came up with a weapon design that would accomplish his goals well enough.

    The weapon was designed as follows:
    Gun (open)
    [​IMG]
    The four barrel design allowed him to get the most out of the effort he took to use his combat alchemy to reload the weapon. The barrel length was increased to 14" to fit up to five rounds at a time, and circuitry was placed along the barrel to activate firing pins in sequence so as to allow for the firing of multiple barrels and multiple rounds with near perfect synchronicity. The resulting weapon compensated for its low calibre and high penetration with a very high fire rate. He judged that this would be the best option for him since he could not aim well, and the large re-fire rate would give him many opportunities to hit his target even if he missed multiple times. The traditional problem with such a weapon would be ammunition conservation, but he was able to overcome this flaw by using his combat alchemy.

    His handgun, which he designated as the M9v2, was the sole reason that he had the confidence to venture forth into the hostile world outside of his shelter. He has kept it in hand ever since, keeping it loaded at every opportunity.

    Talents and Skills:
    Skills (open)

    Bartering: 0
    Computers: 0
    Construction: 0
    Cooking: 0
    Driving: 0
    Electronics: 1
    Fabrication: 4
    First Aid: 0
    Mechanics: 0
    Speaking: 0
    Survival: 0
    Swimming: 0
    Tailoring: 1
    Trapping: 0
    Dodge: 1
    Melee: 0
    Bashing Weapons: 0
    Cutting Weapons: 0
    Piercing Weapons: 0
    Unarmed Combat: 0
    Marksmanship: 1
    Archery: 0
    Launchers: 0
    Throwing: 0
    Handguns: 1
    Rifles: 0
    Shotguns: 0
    Submachine Guns: 0

    Talents (open)

    Unmutated:
    - No mutagens in system.
    Unmodified:
    - No bionics installed.
    Magic - Combat Alchemy:
    - User can change simple elements and substances into other simple elements and substances. Result does not account for impurities, but is thorough.
    - User can change the shape and location of small, individual objects with enough mental focus.
    - Each use of this ability increases hunger and thirst and decreases heath. If used more than twice in a minute, each consecutive use causes pain. Requires direct contact with the material, object, or container to function.



    Inventory: Myles carries ~21kg worth of stuff around with him. He hasn't been able to scavenge much in the three days he's had since leaving his shelter, and he wants to travel light as much as he can. He wishes he had something to keep himself warm during cold nights.
    - Worn: Briefs, Jeans, Tank-Top, Socks, Pair of Steel-Toed Boots, Leather Duster, Backpack, Tool Belt, Blue Bandanna(around Mouth), Ear Plugs(around neck).
    - Backpack - Contains enough food and water supplies to last three days, thread, solder, a King James Version Bible, a few batteries, and a medicine kit containing Advil, Prozac, Codeine, vitamin, and antibiotic pills, mint chewing gum, sanatized cloth bandages, iodine tablets, one dose of cough syrup, and a pair of his contact lenses in saline solution.
    - Leather Duster - Contains his reading classes and a few spare gun parts and 9mm rounds. He keeps a few spare pieces of brass and lead in his outer pockets in case he cannot transmute any for his gun. He also keeps two 100g bottles of smokeless gunpowder in his duster pockets since he cannot make it with his combat alchemy.
    - Tool Belt - Contains his pocket knife, a flat-head screwdriver in two sizes, a sewing kit, and a soldering iron.
    - He carries his gun, the M9v2, in his jeans pocket only when he isn't carrying it in his hand. He almost always has his gun ready so that if he is taken by surprise, he won't be completely helpless.

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    Amber Sky's Character: Rylee Martin

    [​IMG]

    Name:
    Rylee Martin
    Age: 26
    Gender: Female
    Occupation: Corporate and Government Hacker

    Appearance:
    Small and lithe, Rylee transformation due to the mutagens only enhanced her pre-existing speed and dexterity. Standing at 5'4 and weighting 109lbs before the cataclysm, her weight has dwindled down to 100lbs due to the lack of suitable food she has been receiving. Her skin is pale from her life indoors, and her body is now also covered with light fur that ranges from a gray-white to light brown. Her hair remains the same blonde it has always been and she prefers to tie it in braids that keep it out of her face. She does her best to maintain her personal hygiene, though the development of sharp canines have incurred some problems in dental maintenance. Her eyes are blue and are constantly darting around, not missing anything that happens around her and dark colored ears habitually twitch at any sound she hears.

    Personality:
    Rylee is incredibly Machiavellian in nature. She's always working to advance her own interests and cares little about the morality of her actions or their effects on others, instead being primarily preoccupied with her own well-being. The only problem with this is that she has no future goal to strive for, and so up until the cataclysm has been consistently striving for wealth as that is the only thing she could think of doing. This lack of direction was incredibly dangerous but luckily was never acted upon as she remained preoccupied with her hacking career, though it is likely if she had ever found herself bored Rylee might have wrecked a lot of havoc with all the secrets that have passed through her hands over time.

    However, her self-centered nature isn't to be perceived as selfishness. While she will only act to advance her own needs, if she happens to help others along the way she is perfectly fine with sharing her results to assist others. This is why she has taken in a few apprentices over time to help them follow her profession's footsteps, and also why she does have some friends here and there. In the big picture, however, Rylee is isolated within her own little technological world and seldom ventures out of it. She has never found the appeal in human contact or interaction and therefore does not actively seek it, she is much more interested in the digital world. She finds that humans are prone to being spontaneous in a way that unnerves her as she is used to everything following a strict program.

    Given the fact that she's been a recluse from human society for most of her life, Rylee can be surprisingly friendly when she does wind up talking with people. It's just that she would rather avoid getting into that situation in the first place. Her social skills are not lacking and she's capable of conveying her thoughts effectively, and her sense of manners and small talk are also acceptable. Depending on her mood she can be good company by all standards, but if she happens to have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed she will either grow very impatient or otherwise just stop talking after awhile. On occasion her delivery can be uncomfortably deadpan and this is usually a sign that she has grown tired of the discussion.

    Rylee's thought process is very logical and down-to-earth. She by no means believes in an afterlife or supernatural forces, though she does not look down on people that do. Her view on people different from her is not judgmental and instead she readily accepts all kinds of beings and begins to calculate how she can manipulate them to meet her objectives. She tends to take comments quite literally and idioms are nearly always lost on her. Similarly, Rylee finds it hard to detect sarcasm, taking words at their face value and reacting accordingly.

    Background:
    Rylee's father worked at a prestigious software designing company that created all sorts of electronic interfaces and was also trusted in constructing high-security information databases, and her mother had died while she was still young. Her father rarely had time to care for his small daughter so for the majority of Rylee's childhood she was looked after by her older brother Rege. Rege was an avid gamer who was ten years older than his child sister and a result of their father's first marriage, but he was a surprisingly caring child-minder. He was, in all regards, a kid genius however he never achieved much academically because he lacked motivation to complete school work.

    When presented with Rylee, Rege immediately began to introduce her to the gaming world. During her early years Rylee watched her brother play countless games, from dating sims to complex chess simulations to third-person shooters and more. He also taught her to read and write at an early age but once she was enrolled in school, it became clear her ability was in math. Seeing this, Rege began to teach her increasingly difficult math and she devoured it all. He attended college near their home and continued to return home to teach her until she was fifteen, at which point he left to work at a videogame design company halfway across the country.

    Suddenly finding herself with no mental stimulation, Rylee grew bored. It was at this time she began to delve into cheats on the games she and her brother had played, later turning to hacking their databases and stealing user information. The downfall was that she had nothing to do with this information and she soon got tired of it. That was about the time when she began to snoop around on her dad's computers and read the information on them when he wasn't aware and this piqued her interest. Reading about his troubles with rival companies who were developing more advanced software, Rylee turned her gaze on her newfound enemies.

    Ever since then, Rylee has been a corporate hacker. She majored in computer science while in college but turned down the multitude of jobs that were offered to her, continuing to operate in the shadows. One day in her early twenties, a government official managed to track her down with a certain offer pertaining to the weapons situation in China. Thus began her partnership with the government. This arrangement lasted up until the start of the cataclysm while Rylee was taking a break after a high-security operation in Russia. Forced to bunker down due to her lack of weapons or anything to protect herself with, Rylee tried to figure out the cause of the outbreak and traced it down to XE037 but found that all other data had been deleted. It was shortly after this discovery that she began to grow cat features, much to her distaste. She now ventures to find the XEDRA mainframe in order to access more information about XE037 and how to combat it, and more importantly how to get rid of her new cat features.


    Skills (open)

    Bartering: 0
    Computers: 4
    Construction: 0
    Cooking: 0
    Driving: 0
    Electronics: 3
    Fabrication: 0
    First Aid: 1
    Mechanics: 0
    Speaking: 0
    Survival: 1
    Swimming: 0
    Tailoring: 0
    Trapping: 0
    Dodge: 2
    Melee: 0
    Bashing Weapons: 0
    Cutting Weapons: 0
    Piercing Weapons: 0
    Unarmed Combat: 0
    Marksmanship: 0
    Archery: 0
    Launchers: 0
    Throwing: 0
    Handguns: 0
    Rifles: 0
    Shotguns: 0
    Submachine Guns: 0


    Talents:
    -Enhanced balance, dexterity and agility.
    -Improved night vision and hearing.
    -Increased cold resist.

    Inventory:

    -Semi-Automatic Beretta M9, with two 17-round magazines.
    -Weapon Supplies: 23g of gunpowder, 34 rounds of ammunition, 56 bullet shells.
    -Worn: Gym shoes, low-cut socks, jeans, a blue short-sleeved shirt, brown sweatshirt, black belt, beanie hat, ear muffs, bag that clips onto her belt (small), green/gray backpack.
    -Backpack: One change of clothes, water for four days, food for a meal, first aid kit.
    -First Aid Kit: Gauze pads, elastic bandages, tweezers, splint, elastic bandage, antiseptic wipes, adhesive tape, adhesive bandages, one flashlight with one set of extra batteries.
    -Small Bag: Weapon supplies (see above), the extra mag, a bottle of water, a piece of flint, a nail-sharpener.


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    Important Links:
    Catyclysm Wiki
    Catyclysm Item Browser
    @Icicle
    @Amber Sky
     
  2. Crash. The familiar sound of a window breaking. Anyone who survived the initial struggle for survival probably heard that noise more than enough already. But the scrawny fellow who caused the sound didn't seem like he'd gotten his fix quite yet. He winced a little after realizing how unexpectedly loud the noise was, but he didn't seem to have garnered any extra attention just yet.

    He pulled out his trusty handgun just in case. The hand-soldered barrel assembly and grip were just comfortable enough to make it feel like it belonged there between his palm and fingers. His index finger felt right at home in the trigger guard, and his wrist, despite being defenseless, was confident in the weight it supported. It was a weapon that felt and functioned in a manner that exuded trustworthiness. All the same, the man wielding it wasn't using it for it's intended purpose. Quickly now, before anything catches on... He was slamming the butt of the weapon against the glass pieces around the sides of the window he had just broken into. The house wasn't too big, but it's windows were darned sturdy.

    In fact, it took him a full minute to get all the darned glass out of the way so that he'd be able to safely enter into the building. All this for a damned blanket. I guess the end of the world has a terribly powerful effect on the economy. Once again, he looked both ways before reaching in to grab a hold of the clean windowsill. But as he did, he noticed something out of the corner of his eye. He didn't need to confirm what he had saw, his ears told him the whole story. A pack of four dogs were after him. He lept off the side of the house to get as much of a head start as he could, then immediately shifted into high gear.

    BARK! BARK! RAAAAAAAAAOOOOOOOWRRRR!

    The dogs didn't sound ferocious so much as they sounded frenzied - they had no intent, just hunger. Their voices weren't even on the same level of sentience as an animal - the beasts were little more than dolls being pulled by the strings of their primal urges. But that didn't make them any less scary.

    Five steps into his sprint toward the nearest picket fence out of the yard, he could already feel his heart beating. Looking around with his grey-blue eyes, all he could see were blurs. He needed shelter, but the world wasn't offering him any. So, instead of looking for shelter, he looked for an escape route. He spotted a sidewalk and, assuming it'd be easier for him to get footing on than the garden he was jumping into, he rushed toward it.

    Piles of car debris and shredded corpses and supplies lined the road. The chaos of the unoccupied streets was more than enough to resemble the disaster that had rendered his friend's residential district into a frenzied zombie feast zone. But the worst part of the chaos was the lack of hope it brought with it - there was nothing that he could do to salvage anything from the roads. It was all destroyed beyond repair, unusable, spoiled, contaminated. Even using it to slow down the dogs would be a feat beyond his capacity. All he could manage was to waste a few seconds of thought marveling at the sheer lack of luck he had as he saw the dogs starting to hop the fence not too far behind him.

    They're catching up...how do I get out of this? He was furiously searching for something, anything, that would clue him in on how to escape his current fate. He didn't want to resort to using his pistol since it was just a temporary fix that lead to more bad than good, and he especially didn't want to become doggy chow since he was looking to avoid an untimely end. But all he could think to do was run, so run he did. He ran and ran, through two whole streets and intersections. About 30 seconds into his sprint, he realized that it was hopeless - he was running out of stamina, and the dogs weren't far behind. He might've gained a few feet on them, but that wasn't going to last. Luckily, with the extra 30 seconds, he was able to spot a few things on his run.

    Firstly, he spotted a nice house with more pristine windows. It looked like the kind of place he'd want to come back to once he wasn't evading death. Second, he saw a very tall apartment building and a nice trash-dumping zone, with a black, metal fire escape stairway a mere 20' above the ground. The ladder leading up to it was easily within reach, so all he'd have to do was jump up onto a dumpster, leap up, pull it down, and climb to safety.

    With his solution in sight, he rushed toward it with renewed vigor. But as he did, his heart skipped a beat. He didn't realize why at first, as he was too busy focusing on reaching his destination, but once his peripheral vision started kicking in, he realized what it was that set off his heart -- it was a person.

    Whoever it was, she was still breathing, albeit slowly, and was lying on the ground. She appeared to be wearing some strange costume, but he didn't have time to think about that. Instantly, he was put in a spot to make a gut decision - save her life and jeopardize his own, or use her as a distraction and improve his chances. He barely had time to realize what decision he had made as he lunged toward her. The dogs were closing in even faster now, but he still had time, and he was determined to succeed at his new task. He violently grabbed her around her waist and toted her onto his shoulder. Luckily, she wasn't too heavy, but he wasn't particularly well-attuned to lifting heavy weights, nor did he have any idea where to hold her. He gripped tightly to her legs and waist and sprinted for the alleyway.

    The dogs howled and barked even louder as they approached their prey, but he wouldn't have any of it. He switched his gun hand to his left so that he'd be able to focus on keeping the girl safe, then he bounded up onto the first dumpster he reached. The jump was no easy feat for him - he nearly slipped on the top since there was a bit of mold and slimy gunk on there, but his boot had just enough traction to keep him upright. His next step propelled him straight for the ladder and, probably due to adrenaline-induced athleticism, he managed to reach it. The ladder gave way and caused him to unexpectedly fall part-way down onto the dumpster since it was still only partially pulled out, but once it was down all the way, it didn't budge - it was sturdy.

    He desperately started to maneuver his way around the ladder as he heard the first dog leap up onto the dumpster behind him. He gritted his teeth, preparing for the worst, and fought as hard as he could against his puny arm muscles to leap up the ladder. Rung after rung, he sailed upward with the other person dangling precariously over his shoulder. He was too focused on moving quickly to stop her legs from hitting against the ladder a few times, so he gasped, "sorry," under his breath as he climbed.

    But, as a sudden, sharp pain shot up his leg, he realized that he just wasn't fast enough. The damned dogs had caught him. He was just two rungs from the top, too! Those friggin' things have ridiculous legs to be able to jump this high... he thought bitterly, quickly kicking at his pain-struck heel. The dog wouldn't give. It kept biting and biting, sinking its teeth in and writhing around to do the most damage it could. He gritted his teeth against the pain and struggled up the remaining two rungs, then grunted as he tossed the person up and onto the safety of the ledge above the ladder. Immediately after she was secure, he immediately grabbed the top ladder rung with his right hand and aimed the gun straight between the dog's eyes with his left hand. Pain caused his hand to shake furiously, but at point blank, there was no possible way he could miss the thing.

    BANG! BANG! BA-BA-BA-BA-BA-BANG!!!!!

    He unloaded as much as he possibly could into the damned thing's skull until the weight on his leg was gone. The zombie dog's skull was a bloody mess by the time he was done with it. The creature's jaw was barely still there, so it and most of its teeth dislodged itself from his bleeding heel. He then immediately leaped the rest of the way up the ladder before the next creature in line could get a try at his leg-meat. Now that the adrenaline was starting to lose it's potency, he was starting to shake more and more. He stowed his pistol away in his pocket and quickly pulled the ladder up the rest of the way. Once he was certain that the ladder was securely out of reach of the dogs, he immediately turned his attention back over to the person.

    As he did, he was filled with even more dread. The person wasn't just in a costume - it was a mutant. Her non-human features were perfectly melded in with her human features, cat ears, facial fur, teeth and all. He could tell that she wasn't a zombie since she had put some effort into cutting ear-holes into her beanie for her new mutant cat ears, but he couldn't tell whether she was human enough to not attack him or not. I went through this much trouble to save her, so she damned well better not attack me.

    He stood there, listening to the intense barking of the dogs and the growls of other beasties from far away, thinking about what to do with her. He determined that his immediate need was to reach the rooftop and to bandage his leg, so once again, he toted her over his shoulder. This time, he held the gun up to her neck, just in case she woke up and decided to do something funny, and climbed up the fire escape as high as it would take him.

    He was happy to discover that the thing didn't stir on his way up the stairwell. Whatever it was, it was out cold. He was starting to feel the pain in his ankle as he got higher, since skin and muscle were rended by the zombie dog's jaws. But he heard the familiar buzzing and crackling sound of a shocker zombie below, so he knew that his decision to rush to safety before treating the wound was justified in hindsight.

    Once he reached the roof, climbing yet another ladder up to the very top of the building, he looked around and got a lay of the roof. There weren't any other buildings around that were nearly as high, so he didn't have to worry about getting attacked by creatures on nearby roofs. But, that said, if he managed to get there, other things could get there as well. The rooftop was very plain, with little more than a few exhaust pipes and a single roof-access hatch populating the bird-poop-covered concrete slabs which the top of the building consisted of. Nonetheless, it was the safest place in town that he could think of, so he carefully let the girl down in the middle of the area, then sat himself down a few feet away. It was finally time to catch his breath.

    He kept his gun in hand as he took off his backpack, then looked around inside of it for his medical supplies. He knew that he only had a few gauze rolls available, so he took two of them out and placed them on the ground. But his first priority, as his violently shaking hands could indicate, was pain relief. He drew out a bottle of Advil pills and chugged down three of them, hoping that it'd be enough for now. Immediately after doing so, he saw that the girl was starting to stir, so he gritted his teeth to focus and aimed the weapon as straight as he could. As he did, he half focused on the gauze rolls he pulled out of his backpack. He grabbed one of them and started taking it out of it's sanitized seal, then sloppily started trying to wrap it around his ankle.

    The damned joint was still bleeding pretty bad. The scrawny guy didn't want to loose any more blood, and the girl didn't seem to be getting up as quickly as he anticipated, so he took a risk and quickly dropped the gun, then furiously started wrapping the gauze around his ankle. Panic was slowly starting to set in as he did, since he had no idea what to do with a bandage aside from wrapping it over wounds to make the bleeding stop. All he could do was wrap up his ankle as much as he could, focusing as much of his attention on his ankle as he kept an eye on the stranger. Once he figured that he got enough of the bandaging complete, he picked his gun back up, shaking even more furiously now, and grabbed it with both hands, focusing the sights in on the girl as closely as he could.

    "D-Don't move, stranger. You're safe now, t-the zombies c-can't reach us up here. B-But I need to ask y-you a few questions..." He tried to sound as strong as he could, but his voice wavered. The pain killers may have started to have some effect, but it wasn't nearly enough. He'd be lucky to get a single bullet out of twenty to hit her at this rate, so he put his hopes in the thought that she'd be civil and not try to murderize him as she stirred.
     
  3. Perhaps it hadn't been such a good idea to come out of her bunker after all. Looking around, Rylee raised her eyebrows as she hardly recognized any of her surroundings even though she had been coming to this spot for years. Orienting herself towards a familiar-looking path, she began to walk towards what she was decently sure was going to be the city. Her summer home was a little bit detached from the main block of buildings, as she had found no need to be close to a town when she could order everything she needed online, and the first time she had come to regret this decision was recently. This wasn't the first time that she had tried venturing out of her house into the chaos, but the other times she had tried she had only ended up wasting ammunition as she attempted to save herself from the zombies that now roamed the area.

    Once Rylee had been able to find a small group of survivors, but after trying to approach them she had nearly been killed by a sudden breakout of bullets. Nowadays, she looked a lot less human than she did monster and this was not a fact that set well with her. Instead she had been forced to construct a kind of cloak that would hide her inhuman features so that at least her cause of death wouldn't be other humans. Indeed, her compulsion to return to normal had driven the majority of her effort to research the XE037 mutagen that was effecting the surroundings. Her goal now was to find the XEDRA mainframe that would hopefully have the information she needed to cancel out the effects of the mutagen.

    But before she could get to that task, Rylee was in desperate need for supplies and food. She had long since used up all the resources in her house and had put off this trip for a long time. So far she had lived off of the rodents and small animals she had managed to find in her yard, but all that had accomplished in the long run was to infect her with the mutagens that were consuming the area and cause these strange cat mutations. Thinking about the mutations made her eyes narrow in frustration, and to her even greater anger her ears pressed back to show her displeasure.

    Raising her hand to look at her new retractable nails - she was insistent on calling them nails to retain some human semblance, even though these were obviously claws - Rylee sighed. This action only served to frustrate her further as sharp canines shifted in her mouth and cut the side of her lip. "Ouch." She muttered to herself, tongue prodding the spot where she was now bleeding. At the taste of her own blood Rylee's head suddenly started to pound and the girl winced, holding one hand up to touch her forehead. "Ouch." She repeated, closing her eyes to block out the pain. It was no use and her head continued to pound painfully, even becoming more potent with the passing second. A snarl started to form at the back of her throat as Rylee shook her head, trying to shoo away the pain. It only kept increasing and she desperately started to search for the bottle of water in her bag. Water. Water would help, she must be dehydrated.

    Trembling and frenzied fingers were no match for the zipper on her bag, and Rylee's eyes started to tear up from the pain inside her head. Attempting to focus in order to get her bag open, she finally managed to pry the cloth open and clasp the water bottle. Without regard for her short supplies, she tilted her head back and started to chug the liquid and getting water all over her face and clothing. At this point she was breathing heavily as her the pain in her head continued to grow. The water seemed to help a marginal amount, but it did nothing but damper pain for a few seconds. "What kind of headache is this?" She muttered to herself between gasps of air, alternating between furiously shutting her eyes and focusing on a small point on the horizon to try and suppress the pain. Deciding that she needed some kind of medication, and quick, Rylee broke out in a run towards the city to try and find a substance to cure her headache.

    It wasn't too long after this that Rylee found herself standing among a bunch of buildings. How... How did I get here? At this point, her thoughts were hardly comprehensible to even herself as she attempted to piece her sanity back together. It was a lost cause, the pounding in her head getting to a point where she was sure she felt her skull gradually cracking as her brain went on the verge of exploding. All she could hear was the blood rushing through her head, which in another circumstance would be a relief because ever since she had grown these cat ears she her hearing had been painfully sensitive, but in this case didn't help her any. She was vaguely aware that if she stayed in one spot she would face some sort of danger, so her feet began to move a few stumbling steps forward but before she knew it she had tripped and was on the ground.

    Again, her sharp canines tore open her cheeks as they were jolted suddenly and blood filled her mouth. The pain immediately resided, though Rylee could still feel the pain at the back of her head. Pulling herself back up onto her knees, the girl realized that this was probably another component of her mutation. She was a carnivore. She needed blood. Placing one hand onto a nearby building, she slowly put herself back onto her feet. Looking around made her feel dizzy but as she realized she was in the middle of the city she recognized the need to keep moving. If she stayed in one place for too long, the zombie hoard that resided around the area would doubtless find her. Just as she managed to walk a few steps, however, the pain in her head started pounding again - this time with twice the intensity. Eyes flaring and the blood veins starting to show within the whites, Rylee realized that her own blood had been an incredibly short-lived solution. Hissing under her breath, her body convulsed with the pain and she suddenly fell still on the pavement.

    -

    It took her awhile to wake up. She wanted to stay asleep where the pain of the headache wasn't going to effect her, but it seemed like her body was insisting on making her get up. Gradually she grew aware of the fact that there seemed to be another presence there with her. Feeling a semi-familiar feeling in her face, Rylee went cross-eyed to look at her nose. It was twitching. She was processing an odd kind of metallic smell, and she flicked her ears in interest. The pain in her head seemed to have resided for the moment and she was capable of at least thinking straight as she opened her eyes fare enough to judge her surroundings. She seemed to be on a roof, which was odd. Wasn't I on the street? She wondered, but recalled how she had made it to the city itself without noticing how she had done so. Maybe she had been sleep-walking or something. Rylee quickly realized that this was not the case, however, as she turned her head to settle her eyes on a strange man that was sitting a little ways away from her.

    Staring at the stranger intently with her light blue eyes, she observed as he sloppily tried to bandage his foot. What was wrong with it? Had he sprained it? There was a gun laying on the floor near him and even as Rylee watched he finished his rushed bandage job and picked the weapon up to point at her. Staring down the barrel curiously, noting that his hands were shaking a good deal, Rylee raised an eyebrow. That was around the same moment that she spotted the red stain appearing on the cloth he had wrapped around his foot and pieced this sight together with the metallic smell she was processing. Blood. Her brief return to sanity ended, quite abruptly, there. Vaguely she could hear that he was attempting to say something but all she could understand was a bunch of nonsensical mumbled words.

    Rylee's body moved on its own accord, not taking into account the danger of the gun. She drew herself back onto her haunches and pounced, her two hands hitting the man squarely in the chest and knocking him back. Immediately her claws were out as she tore away the bandages that he had attempted to tie around his foot and she sunk her canines into his heel. Blood filled her mouth and she swallowed before suddenly pulling away. Blinking once, her gaze settled on the man's face. "Opps." She said innocently, licking the remaining blood off her mouth and offering a guilty smile. Sitting back on her heels, she regarded the stranger. Her headache was completely gone now and she felt at ease. "Thanks. That was helpful." She told him, not caring that she hadn't explained herself at all. She was about to turn away and run when she put a few of the puzzle pieces together.

    "I guess you were the one who brought me up here right? I guess I should thank you for that too." Rylee mused, more to herself than the man even though he was only a few inches away. Eyes resettling on his wound she shrugged and picked up the discarded bandages. "I don't like being in debt. Here, let me tie this up for you." She offered, straightening up the cloth and beginning to wrap it properly around his foot. "Also, it's not nice to point weapons at people. Are you even any good with that thing?" Rylee continued casually, gesturing with her ears towards his apparent weapon of choice. She was aware that he could probably shoot her now but her reasoning still wasn't completely restored. In her confused opinion, this man had no reason to shoot her. She was helping him out with his injury, after all.
     
  4. His hope was unfounded in hindsight. She didn’t offer a single word as she got up on her feet, so he drew in his breath and tried steadying himself. Damnit, this is the worst possible time for this… He watched her turn around and, after seeing the familiar look of hunger in her eye, opened fire.

    BANG! BA-BA-BA-BA-BA-BANG!

    Miss after miss after miss. The recoil of each shot threw off his aim more as his hand furiously shook. Even letting his breath out, his anemia and pain worked together to spell his doom. He wasn’t even able to get the remaining ten shots out of his pistol by the time she reached him. His eyes weren’t filled with horror as she did, possibly because he expected to fail, but moreso because he was unamused by the ridiculous turn of events. Last time I trust a fur-faced stranger…

    To his surprise, instead of instantly ripping his throat out or something similarly gruesome, when she ended her pounce on his helpless body, she used her hands to shove him backwards. Once again, his pain and anemia worked against him, and the sudden shock from her blow paralyzed him. He dropped his gun and toppled back onto the ground, dazed. The blow sent him back at least two feet, but he was more concerned with the fact that he couldn’t move or breath. A second went by without change, then, finally, he gasped, regaining control of his chest.

    Pain shot across his entire body. She had knocked the wind out of him. He wasn’t used to the sensation – in fact, he had never felt it before. This, in combination with the fact that she was now threatening to use her claws on him, made his heart pound even faster. He stared at her as she started clawing at his heel. He didn’t feel her teeth nearly as much as he felt the dog’s earlier, and he was currently focused on recovering his breath, so he watched her with a curious anticipation. It was at this point that he gave up trying to keep track of all the symptoms ailing him – he was messed up, and definitely wouldn’t be walking anywhere for a day or two, so he resigned to his fate and waited for the creature to kill him.

    But, oddly enough, the creature seemed to change after taking her first swallow of his blood. She released his ankle and looked over to his face, almost surprised. He was somewhat reassured to see that she no longer had the intent to kill on her face, but he wasn’t particularly amused by her change of heart. It was almost comical, but at the same time, really annoying.

    Then, after that look she gave him, she had the audacity to say ‘oops’. This posed more questions than answers. The stocky fellow sure wasn’t thinking clearly, but even he raised an eyebrow at this. All the tension of the situation was gone. No longer was he fearing for his life – she had sentience now. It was as if she had ‘accidentally’ not killed him. Or perhaps by, ‘opps’ she meant that she had accidentally spared him. He couldn’t tell for sure. At least she smiled afterwards. Despite the fur, her smile was pretty charming. Maybe it was his light head that made him think that. He supposed that she smiled because his blood was tasty…not that he was about to try a taste.

    Her next words finally gave him the ability to move again. She admitted that he was helpful. Well damned surely!...I saved your ass in two different ways now. He frowned. It wasn’t as if he was about to speak up, but that certainly wasn’t the response he wanted. The pain in his leg was starting to grow, possibly since he was still bleeding. He didn’t have enough energy left to panic, but he knew the urgency of his situation. Having an open injury right along a major artery wasn’t a good thing. He started moving back towards his backpack as she paused. He didn’t know what she would decide to do, but he needed bandages.

    But before he even managed to scoot himself a foot away, he heard the girl start to talk and felt the pain in his leg flare up. He didn’t dare move it any more, since it made his head even lighter. Any more and he’d topple over. This…this is new…I sure hope I don’t get used to it… As he was looking over to his backpack, he saw the girl reach over to them. The bandages. His only bandages. She wouldn’t,…would she? She picked up both of the two remaining gauze rolls, but as she did so, she seemed to be looking at his bleeding ankle.

    Finally, as she spoke, her words reassured him that he wasn’t about to die any more. He was a bit hesitant to let her near his leg, but it wasn’t as if he could do anything to stop her, nor did he want to. He felt a sting of pain as she started to wrap the bandage around his ankle. He was happy to know that, at the very least, he might not bleed out. She seemed to do a much better job than he ever could. She barely had to pay any attention to what her hands were doing, so she talked to him while doing so.

    It was hard to muster up a response to her words. She wasn’t wrong. Pointing a weapon at her wasn’t nice. Then again, one doesn’t tend to worry about being nice to zombies or monsters…not that he was about to tell her that. There were plenty of things he definitely didn’t want to tell her. But one thing he couldn’t help but respond to was her comment about his marksmanship with a pistol. “I’m m-m-much better when I’m m-more than a step from d-d-death.” His voice wavered and stammered, and was altogether weak. He had gotten his breath back from when he knocked it out of him, but he wasn’t able to control it too well yet. Yes, perhaps I am a wimp. But I'll eventually get stronger...if I live that long.

    But her comment did bring up an interesting thought. She wasn’t attacking him anymore, but that didn’t mean that she wasn’t dangerous, or that danger wouldn’t come their way. I should probably get my gun back once she’s done. And a few more Advil pills. And I should refill the ammunition cylinder. And I should eat something so that I can replenish my blood. Once again, trying to think up all the things he needed to do was dizzying. This was bad. Really, really bad. And sleeping on the roof was going to be really cold. He never got that blanket he was hoping for. Instead he got a fur-ball of a stranger who attacked him and then strangely decided to tend to his wounds.

    Nothing about it made sense, but at the same time, it was more sensible than the Cataclysm. At least she said she was doing it to return a debt. It was better than not giving a reason. He offered her a weak smile. At least she did something nice. That’s more than he could say about the zombies and the dogs. Maybe he should say something to her as thanks…but, what to say? He ran a few thoughts through his mind.

    - Thanks!

    No, too plain.

    - You’re a saint!

    She would be, if she hadn’t ripped his ankle open like a can of soda. Or maybe a jar of jam. At least she closed it up once she was done. Maybe he should use some humor. Lighten the mood a little.

    - I cat express how happy I am that you didn’t eat me, fur real.

    Except that she did. And saying that might piss her off. He didn’t want to accidentally encourage her to take another bite. Maybe he should appease her?

    - My, what nice fur you have.

    Yeah, sure Myles. And what next?

    - It goes really well with my blood….?

    As if.

    No, he had no idea what to say. He sat there with his weak smile, dumbly waiting for whatever it was that she was going to do next. Beneath his smile was a vague apprehensiveness and unease. Yeah, there’s no way I could look like I’m relaxed right now, so I guess a smile is a good first step. Once she was done dressing his ankle, he scooted back over to his backpack and, still shaking, searched for the Advil bottle. Luckily, since it was the last item he put back into his backpack, it was the first thing he found while searching through it.

    He quickly chugged down two more pills. Is it possible to overdose on Advil? He sure hoped not. He was fairly sure it wasn’t addictive either, but he had enough pills in the bottle to last him a month, so he wasn’t as worried about getting hooked. All he was concerned with right now was staying alive. He put the pills away and opened a bag of chips and some Gatorade. He didn’t have anything really filling, so snacks would work for now. Besides, he wasn’t about to pull out any sort of meat with the cat girl around.

    Once he had eaten and closed up his backpack, he scooted over to his gun. He was fairly sure that the girl would be sticking around, since the alternative was to serf the crowd of zombies below or to cause a bigger commotion by fighting through the inhabitants of the rooms below -- he wasn’t too keen on becoming her regular dinner guest. He didn’t honestly think that he’d be able to stop her if she chose to dive in for seconds, but as long as he had it, he would feel slightly safer. It’s for morale…yeah. Morale.

    Once he had the gun in hand, he looked it over. It still had a few rounds chambered, but it was nearly out. Only six in reserve. He could easily cook up 32 shoddy bullets to make up for what he used. It was just about the only thing he’d be able to do at that moment beside sleep – and he sure wasn’t going to be able to sleep. He was already shivering from pain, but the anemia certainly wasn’t helping his body temperature either. And there wasn’t a single possibility of going into the apartment complex to find a bedsheet – he’d be lucky if he could walk on his injured foot. He was able to move his foot, so the muscles and tendons weren’t severed, but it hurt.

    He took his mind from the pain by focusing on the brass, lead, and gunpowder he was carrying in his coat pockets. He liked his leather duster – it was water resistant and somewhat warm. But the best thing about it was that it had the pocket space to carry things that he could easily access. He arrayed the brass objects into one pile, the lead objects into another pile, and poured out a few grams of gunpowder and primer tabs from the box of gunpowder he had on hand. He then put away the extra ingredients and clapped his hands together.

    He was still quivering, but luckily, transmuting didn’t require hand dexterity. He slammed his hands down on the brass, then on the lead, then on the gunpowder and primer tabs. Each pile of stuff flattened as he did so, turning into a puddle of material. He then pushed the stuff together into one big blob, and pulled out the magazine of his pistol. He pulled one of the bullets out – a 9mm parabellum round – and used it as a reference as he started to pull shapes out of the orb of materials. He pulled out a bunch of bullets, one after the other, all shaped just like the one he pulled out of the gun magazine. One after the other, bullets appeared and the orb gradually shrank. Finally, when the orb was the size of a bullet, it transformed into the shape of a bullet and dropped into his hand. Now, in front of him, he had 32 bullets.

    He then went about loading them back into the magazine. He was able to do a better job molding them when he was looking at what he was doing. He still didn’t really understand what it was that he was doing, but it worked really well, and an intuitive sense of how it functioned seemed to be good enough. The only problem with it was that it always made him a bit hungrier and thirstier. The chips and Gatorade compensated for that, luckily, but he still felt that he was on the verge of blacking out.

    He looked over at the girl as he slid the magazine back into the gun, then slid the weapon into his jeans pocket and reclined, using his backpack as a pillow. He closed his eyes, hoping that sleep would come, but he didn’t put too much hope in getting rest. He was in too much pain to fall asleep. It’d still be about ten minutes until the Advil started to take effect. Might as well wait for that. I’ll have dinner later. He shivered a little, but resting felt much better. At least he wasn’t causing himself more pain by doing nothing. Perhaps the pain would die down once he got used to it. Optimism. That’s the key.
     
  5. Seeing the man raise his eyebrow at her antics, Rylee flicked her ears once in annoyance. It certainly wasn't her fault that some weird obsession had taken over her brain, this man had no reason to judge her for that particular sequence of events. Of course, Rylee was still oblivious to the fact that she hadn't explained anything to him and she was just assuming that he'd automatically know what she was going through despite not having seen him before in her life. It was strange, she was used to having to input information into a system in order for it to judge the parameters of the situation but perhaps when interacting with humans she expected a higher degree of intelligence.

    Noting that the man seemed to be in a state of shock and confusion, Rylee tilted her head to one side as she observed him. What was he so worked up about? Had she been that scary? Her mental functions were gradually starting to return to her and she began to comprehend that her actions had been rather abrupt and unwarranted. Due to this return to sanity, she started to question how he had gotten his initial wound. Looking at his bleeding ankle as she wrapped the bandages around his foot, she recognized the bite marks of a canine. Most likely a dog. The thought of the creatures made her unconsciously curl her lip into a type of snarl, and her ears picked back up as she recognized the sound of baying below the rooftop. That would explain it.

    Beginning to become increasingly concerned with her current situation, Rylee's ears began to twitch and rotate slowly. She still wasn't quite accustomed to her enhanced senses or new anatomy, but their use came naturally to her when she wasn't thinking about it too hard. Discarding the noise the dogs were making she could discern the sound of shuffling which was most likely caused by the zombies as they dragged their feet on the ground. It seemed like there was quite a mess down below, it was lucky that she was now on the rooftop. Rylee focused her gaze more sharply on the man. If the situation was as bad as it seemed, he had apparently done her a great service. But why? The question bothered her.

    There was certainly no apparent reason to save her life. If she remembered correctly, she had been sprawled out on the road after passing out from the pain in her head. Most other survivors had run away at sight of her or tried to shoot her because of her cat features, why would this man be different? At this point she remembered the cloak she had been wearing to conceal her features and nodded to herself once in approval. The cloth had been a pain to make, especially since her sewing skills were well below average, but it had served its purpose. Thinking back to the creation of the fabric she could feel the numerous pricks she had received on her fingers as she was attempting to stitch it together and her nails subconsciously extended before retracting again.

    Rylee still wasn't sure on his possible motives. Sure, she had looked like a normal human, but these were unnatural times and helping others was low on the priority list. Especially since he had seemed to jeopardize his own survival to help her, Rylee couldn't wrap her head around his actions. Shaking her head with a soft snort, she put the thought aside. It wasn't important, the main thing was that she was alive. Unaware of how it might look as she had run through her mental conversation with additional movements, Rylee finished tying up the bandage and knotted it tightly. It would probably last a few hours before needing a change, based on how heavily the wound seemed to be bleeding. After that it would probably even out some more. It seemed as if he had been trying to get away from her as she did so but Rylee disregarded it. She supposed that she had come off as a bit unstable but she would either remedy that quickly or just leave and it wouldn't matter after that.

    Hearing the man start to say something, Rylee picked up both her ears and her head to look at him as he spoke. He seemed to be pretty unstable as he stammered his way through a sentence. Taking a second to digest his words - it had been awhile before she had held a proper conversation with somebody, though this could hardly be seen as proper - Rylee nodded. "I see." She responded simply to his claims about being somewhat of a marksman. Her self-preserving instincts had kicked in and she was now analyzing this man for his possible uses. At first sight it didn't seem like he'd be very helpful at all if she decided to keep him, but perhaps he had some hidden quality somewhere that would make him useful. If anything she really needed supplies so she might be able to take a bit of his stuff.

    Rylee was quickly realizing that her quest to find the XEDRA mainframe would be slow and dangerous. Especially if this bloodlust was going to prove to be a regular thing, it would be nice to have another human around to sate it. A portable foodsource as it would be. Her reasoning was heartless but that was the way Rylee was used to operating, now even more so because of how every person seemed to be acting on their own behalf in order to survive. Thinking the possibility of a self-operating bloodbag again, Rylee regarded the man thoughtfully before realizing that with his foot he wouldn't be going anywhere any time soon. Somewhat disappointed, she then considered just heading on her way but her logic told her that it would be difficult to find another human in the area who wasn't trying to actively kill her.

    Sure, this man had taken a few shots at her as she had initially pounced at him if she remembered correctly, but he seemed to be beyond that now. Seeing him attempt to smile at her, Rylee tilted her head again and her ears - currently her most used form of communication - perked up in interest. She could vaguely sense his unease from under his smile but she chose to disregard that. Transferring her attention from his face to the rest of his body, she recognized that he was tense and obviously both weary and in pain. It was quite settled, there was little chance that this man could be of any use to her. Rylee found herself with a surprising sense of disappointment and she watched passively as he looked for something in his bag. As long as he wasn't going for his gun again she was alright with it.

    Recognizing a familiar bottle as he pulled Advil out, Rylee's tail twitched with interest. If he had a few more gems like that she might want to stick around. Maybe he had food as well. The thought made her ears pick up once again as it had certainly been a long while before she had eaten anything substantial. She had been living off of rodents and stale crackers for the last few weeks and that wasn't a lifestyle she wanted to continue. Seeing him pull out Gatorade and chips she nearly attacked him again. Those were a few luxuries she hadn't seen in a long time. About to snatch the bag of chips from his hand she stopped when she saw him him reach back for his gun. A snarl started to form at the back of her throat as he picked it back up, and she began to edge away a little bit. Now that her sanity was quite restored she recognized the danger of the weapon and wasn't entirely sure how she had managed to be so bold earlier. She started to reach for her own gun before realizing that it wasn't in it's improvised holster.

    Rylee paused for a second to take inventory. Her backpack was gone, as was her gun, and the only thing that remained was the small bag attached to her hip. It was likely the bag and gun had fallen off during the episode on the street earlier and Rylee shut her eyes as she digested that information. Her situation had gone from bad to many times worse in quite a short amount of time. Processing the information, she started to wonder if she would be able to retrieve her possessions any time soon. Without a weapon she was pretty much dead, despite the fact that her agility was way higher than it had used to be and thus got her out of a lot of unpleasant situations when escape was required. Still, the fact remained she was out of food and very obviously out of luck. How far had he carried her? Given his state she doubted it had been very far, so her bag should still be nearby. Moving to the side of the roof and looking down, her tail straightened and ears flattened as she saw the state of affairs below.

    There seemed to be a sizable zombie hoard below, and while the dogs had been on the verge of giving up as they caught a glimpse of her they went off the rail barking again. Hissing in return even though none of her sound could be heard below, Rylee backed away from the edge and back towards the center of the roof. Obviously, going back down wasn't an option. Additionally, because she had been in so much pain earlier she had no idea where she might have been and therefore had no leads on where her bags may be. Searching the streets were no longer an option, so perhaps she could do it from the rooftops? Glancing around she realized that there were no other roofs within jumping distance. They were either much higher or lower. It seemed like this man had effectively driven them into a corner. At the thought of her savior, Rylee suddenly remembered his gun.

    Looking back to the man to ensure he wasn't planning to shoot at her, she blinked as she saw him doing something strange. Her attention was immediately caught as he reduced a few different materials to liquids and she moved back towards him to intently watch. Observing the puddles of material, Rylee was tempted to reach out and touch it but he started to mold it into a blob. Curious she watched as he produced bullets from the pile and as he finished with 32 bullets she couldn't resist taking one. Flipping it over in the pads of her hands Rylee looked at the man with newfound respect. "What was that?" She questioned, suddenly finding him a lot more interesting and with a lot more potential uses. Watching as he reloaded his gun she noted that when he was not on the verge of death he did seem to be a bit more capable. Seeing him recline on his bag she continued to stare at him intently.
     
  6. .........

    He quickly chugged down two more pills. Is it possible to overdose on Advil? He sure hoped not. He was fairly sure it wasn’t addictive either, but he had enough pills in the bottle to last him a month, so he wasn’t as worried about getting hooked. All he was concerned with right now was staying alive. He put the pills away and opened a bag of chips and some Gatorade. He didn’t have anything really filling, so snacks would work for now. Besides, he wasn’t about to pull out any sort of meat with the cat girl around. But, thinking about the cat girl, he noticed her starting to stalk towards him after he pulled out some food. In response to this, he cautiously scooted over and picked up his gun. He was satisfied to see that the girl retreated after seeing him do so. With his gun in his lap, he started to quickly chow down.

    The salt of the chips was very strong on his anemic tongue, and the Gatorade was like acid. They simultaneously were very difficult to eat, and very pleasurable to consume. He crumpled up the small bag of chips once he was done with it, and dropped the crumpled bag onto the ground beside him. After that, he placed the remaining half-full bottle of Gatorade back into his backpack. He was fairly sure that the girl would be sticking around, since the alternative was to serf the crowd of zombies below or to cause a bigger commotion by fighting through the inhabitants of the rooms below -- he wasn’t too keen on becoming her regular dinner guest. He didn’t honestly think that he’d be able to stop her if she chose to dive in for seconds, but she didn't seem as eager to approach him when he had his gun on his person. But at the same time, he didn't like the thought of using the gun on her, even if she did attack him again. He rationalized the desire to have his gun as a booster for Morale. It's just for Morale....yeah.

    Once he had closed his backpack and had the gun in hand, he looked it over. It still had a few rounds chambered, but it was nearly out. Only six in reserve. He could easily cook up 32 shoddy bullets to make up for what he used. It was just about the only thing he’d be able to do at that moment beside sleep – and he sure wasn’t going to be able to sleep. He was already shivering from pain, but the anemia certainly wasn’t helping his body temperature either. And there wasn’t a single possibility of going into the apartment complex to find a bedsheet – he’d be lucky if he could walk on his injured foot. He was able to move his foot, so the muscles and tendons weren’t severed, but it hurt.

    He took his mind from the pain by focusing on the brass, lead, and gunpowder he was carrying in his coat pockets. He liked his leather duster – it was water resistant and somewhat warm. But the best thing about it was that it had the pocket space to carry things that he could easily access. He arrayed the brass objects into one pile, the lead objects into another pile, and poured out a few grams of gunpowder and primer tabs from the box of gunpowder he had on hand. He then put away the extra ingredients and clapped his hands together.

    He was still quivering, but luckily, transmuting didn’t require hand dexterity. He slammed his hands down on the brass, then on the lead, then on the gunpowder and primer tabs. Each pile of stuff flattened as he did so, turning into a puddle of material. He then pushed the stuff together into one big blob, and pulled out the magazine of his pistol. He pulled one of the bullets out – a 9mm parabellum round – and used it as a reference as he started to pull shapes out of the orb of materials. He pulled out a bunch of bullets, one after the other, all shaped just like the one he pulled out of the gun magazine. One after the other, bullets appeared and the orb gradually shrank. Finally, when the orb was the size of a bullet, it transformed into the shape of a bullet and dropped into his hand. Now, in front of him, he had 32 bullets.

    Shortly after he was done focusing on the magic, he looked up to notice that the girl was standing dangerously close. He was surprised that he hadn't noticed her while transmuting bullets. Perhaps he had closed his eyes or simply ignored her in an attempt to focus. Either way, she grabbed one and looked it over, so he watched her as she did. He almost felt a sort of pride as her expression started to show some sort of genuinely hospitable aura. After hearing her question, he commented, "I call it C-Combat Alchemy. Ever since the Cataclysm, I've been able to mold small objects into shapes and change their composition to that of other materials." His voice was no longer quite as weak since he had something to eat and his heart wasn't beating nearly as fast, but the shakiness was still there. He didn't bother asking for the bullet back, since he didn't particularly want to ask her for it. Instead, he went about loading the remaining 31 back into the magazine.

    He was able to do a better job molding them there on the roof than he had been able to when he was practicing back in the bunker since he was looking at what he was doing. He made sure to take note of this. He still didn’t really understand what it was that he was doing when he used his 'combat alchemy', but it worked really well, and an intuitive sense of how it functioned seemed to be good enough. The only problem with it was that it always made him a bit hungrier and thirstier. The chips and Gatorade compensated for that, luckily, but he still felt that he was on the verge of blacking out.

    He looked over at the girl as he slid the magazine back into the gun, then slid the weapon into his jeans pocket. He remembered that she had stalked toward him after he pulled out some food. He wasn't certain, but she looked skinny beneath her fur, and the fact that she had bit into his leg probably meant she was hungry. Either way, feeding her couldn't be a bad call. He still had a day or two worth of food on him. Feeding her could lead to more friendliness, whereas not feeding her could mean that she might try attacking him the next time he loses his gun. Besides, maybe she'll take a liking to the food and forget the taste of my own flesh. The thought was more amusing than reassuring. He vaguely remembered reading an internet article about the taste of human flesh, but put it out of his mind as he focused on thinking up what to give her.

    The first thought in his mind centered on meat. He still had a can of bacon beans from one of the houses he savaged through on the way to the city. He had planned on cooking them up in a fire, but it was better to use what he had before it was taken from him. He also rummaged through his bag and found a few energy bars, another bag of chips, two bottles of water, a box of pasta, some canned fruit, an apple, a pack of lunch meat, a loaf of wonder bread, and a chocolate bar. He also had a bag of flour, but was fairly sure that it wouldn't come in handy without a kitchen and/or eggs and water, at the very least.

    After some thought, he pulled out the package of lunch meat and the loaf of wonder bread. He then motioned for her to come over and said, "I saw you try approaching when I pulled out food earlier. Let me feed you something." He started opening the pack of lunchmeat, then placed the open package on the ground in front of him and worked the wonder bread bag open. He tried not to rip or damage the containers, since he wanted to keep any of the food that they didn't eat for later.

    Once she started to eat, he went back into his bag and pulled out the Gatorade. "You can have this, too. I couldn't finish it." He then offered it to her and closed up his backpack. He reclined as she ate, using his backpack as a pillow. He closed his eyes, hoping that sleep would come, but he didn’t put too much hope in getting rest. He was in too much pain to fall asleep. It’d still be about ten minutes until the Advil started to take effect. Might as well wait for that. I’ll have dinner later. At this, he peeked an eye open and looked over to see her progress. Once he noted it, he closed his eyes again and shivered a little. Resting felt much better than moving around did. At least he wasn’t causing himself more pain by doing nothing. Perhaps the pain would die down once he got used to it. Optimism. That’s the key.

    ...

    Before long, he realized that he had fallen asleep. Perhaps the Advil had taken affect. More likely, he had just blacked out since he was anemic. He slowly sat up, making sure he wouldn't black out again from rising too fast, then started rummaging through his bag. The girl had eaten all of the bread and lunch meat, and even drank up the bottle of Gatorade. He hadn't expected her to do anything less. Looking over at the food, then over at her, he couldn't help but picture her as an animal being tamed. It wasn't particularly hard to do so - she was furry, ate food he offered, and wasn't trying to kill him. He allowed the humorous thought to percolate for a second before reminding himself that she was, in fact, a human, then found an energy bar in his bag and pulled it out.

    The energy bar had a lot of fiber and iron in it. Iron was important, considering he couldn't make blood without it. But he knew that refilling his lost liquids was probably more important. Now that he wasn't shaking with pain, he managed to down a whole bottle of water and an energy bar. Once he was done, he scooted over to the gatorade bottle that she had left, picked it up, and put it and the water bottle back into his backpack. They were useful for storing liquids, whether they were full or not, so he decided to keep them until he could find a better solution.

    Once he had eaten, he looked around. It still wasn't even sunset. The zombie hoard seemed to be starting to disperse, judging from how he could hear a greater proportion of zombies further from the building they were on now. He grinned a bit at the thought of going back down to the street with his ankle in the state it was in. Ridiculous. I might as well go down now. He didn't even consider it. He'd survive on the roof for at least another whole day, and zombies never stuck around in hordes for long. Soon enough, the zombies would lose patience and wander over to the next loud noise. There was bound to be one eventually, given that they were right on the fringes of a large city. Still, he was hoping that the zombies would stick around long enough for him to take another shot or two at taming the cat girl. At the very least, having a companion would help him compensate for his injured ankle.

    He looked over at her briefly after this thought...
     
  7. Listening to the man as he spoke about his strange ability, Rylee digested the information rapidly. So while I got stuck with these annoying cat mutations, others developed useful skills? She wondered with a great degree of irritation as she regarded the bullets that he had made. She was still clasping one in her hand and she tested its balance. It seemed to be in functioning order and this continued to fascinate her. She wasn't an expert in weaponry, as her area of expertise was in electronics and computers, but she still knew enough to recognize that the weight seemed to be adequate for a gun of the caliber he possessed. Even though the bullets he had shot earlier hadn't hit her, she was certain that was more because of a skill flaw as opposed to a flaw due to the craft of his weapon or ammunition.

    "Combat alchemy." She repeated slowly, savoring the taste of the word in her mouth. It was definitely a useful skill, she determined. Therefore she would stick around this strange man a little while longer. She placed the bullet back down near where he had the others that he was reloading his gun with and considered the ability. If she understood the XE037 mutagen correctly, it was in no way a magical substance and would instead have physical laws and limitations that applied to each ability. For her particular circumstance, it was likely that the mutagen had leeched off of a cat as a foodsource before eventually being consumed by Rylee. After that, the DNA the mutagen had retained from the feline had been injected into her own. This was a medical feat that had yet to be accomplished in their regular world and Rylee fully intended to analyze it when she got the chance as she was certain that information on the topic would sell.

    A lot of Rylee's mentality banked on the world going back to how it usually functioned after the XE037 mutagen was either eliminated or suppressed. She had not yet considered the possibilities of having to work out a new living for herself in a new world, but looking back on it she realized that this thought process was highly flawed. It was not likely that society would return to how it used to operate for a long time, if at all, without a lot of work. She wasn't planning on sticking around for that, however. Shaking her head once Rylee turned her mind back to her current situation. She would figure out the future when it got there, for now she needed to focus on survival.

    Conveniently, a good tool to ensure that survival seemed to have just been presented to her. Regarding the man for a few seconds longer, she continued to analyze his ability. Depending on the complexity of the mutagen that was effecting him, there were a few different options that she could see. Rylee had doubts that he would be able to create substances altogether, so it was likely that he could just transform substances with the certain mass into substances of equal mass. From the materials she had observed, it seemed likely that he could only mutate 'pure' substances, so compounds wouldn't be an option. Rethinking it, however, caused Rylee to realize that the brass she had seen him construct would therefore be invalid. Simple compounds were in his abilities then.

    Rylee's thought process was broken abruptly as she caught sight of more food. When she realized that he was offering it to her, her ears perked up and her tail jumped from side to side. Eyes focused intently on the lunch meat, the moment he placed the package down she swiped it up and was quick to devour it. After downing a few bites she slowed down, pausing to sit down and wrap her tail around her knees. Rylee noted that she was giving off a strange first impression as she operated on this man's bidding, but she disregarded the thought. It would be a sunny day in hell when she started caring about how she appeared to other people. After she finished the meat, she impulsively picked up the bread and bit into it.

    Immediately, she gagged. She had been an avid bread eater in the past but it seemed like now her tastebuds were conspiring against her. Ears flattening she swallowed the bite - intent on not wasting any food - but after that carefully placed it back in its package. Wrapping it up tight so it wouldn't go stale she cautiously placed it back in the man's bag before returning to where she had been sitting. After being offered the Gatorade, Rylee took it with a nod of thanks before cautiously regarding the drink. She had been living off of water for the longest time now, and she hoped that her new tastes wouldn't rob her of Gatorade as it had with bread. Raising the bottle to her lips and taking a small sip, Rylee considered the taste for a few seconds. It wasn't bad, but she doubted she could drink much of it without choking up again.

    Holding the bottle in her hands, Rylee slowly took a small sip at a time. That settled well with her and the sugar helped to restore her energy levels to normal. As she was doing so, the man laid back on his bag again and seemed to try to go to sleep. Once his breathing had stabilized and he seemed to have drifted off into a semi-deep sleep, Rylee got up and looked at him for a few seconds. If she was going to leave, this would be the time. His bag was unguarded and she could easily take it and run - despite the zombie hoard below, it was likely that if she climbed down a few floors she would be able to jump onto a lower rooftop and make a getaway. Considering her options, Rylee's eyes settled on the gun that was loaded with the rounds that he had created with his strange ability.

    Combining his ability with his seeming willingness to help her, Rylee made a final decision to stay. At the very least, it seemed like collecting more information on him would be good. Additionally, it would be safer to have a source of blood nearby just in case the headache came back - she didn't plan on going through that episode again, and she didn't have enough information on it to make a definite ruling just yet. That left the question of what to do until the man decided to wake up. It looked like he might be out for awhile - it seemed like he had lost a good bit of blood, and in his shaken state his body was going to need a good deal of rest.

    To Rylee, it seemed like his body was still shaking. It was probably his nerves, but on the other hand he looked like he might be cold. Tilting her head to one side, she noted the fact that she didn't really need the cloak she had been wearing up until this point. With her fur she seldom got cold, the hooded cloth was just to hide her features. Hesitating for a second, Rylee shrugged. If she was going to hang around this guy, it was going to be on friendly terms so if she wasn't using the cloak she might as well give it to him. Taking a step forward, Rylee draped her cloak over the man before retreating a good few paces. With the rest of the time she surveyed the situation below the building, looking around to the best of her abilities to try and locate her bag and gun.

    A couple of hours later, Rylee sensed movement from behind her and realized that the man must have woken up. One ear turned around to acknowledge him and see if he was going to say anything, but all she could hear was the crinkling of food wrappers. From what her nose picked up however, it wasn't anything meaty so she ignored it. At this point she had finished the Gatorade and left it where it had been presented to her, and she was feeling well rested and energetic. She had slept well before coming out today, and the time she had spent unconscious seemed to have backed that up. The zombies were beginning to thin out in number but there were still a decent amount. The dogs, at least, had left - a fact which Rylee was most grateful for.

    Turning around to look at the man, Rylee saw him looking at her and caught his eye. "Sleeping beauty awakens." She remarked passively before moving back towards the center of the rooftop. "We're still looking at a hoard of thirty-one down there. They're leaving at intervals of around one per twenty minutes." She informed him, sitting down a few feet away. "At that rate it'll be another seven hours or so, but it's likely that something else will get their attention within the next four hours." Rylee yawned, despite the fact she was by no means tired. "Meanwhile, I should probably rewrap your foot. Do you have any more bandages? This time I can try to assess the severity of the injury. You might want to wash it off to avoid infection too, you don't know what those nasty dogs have had in their mouths." Her ears flattened in an obvious display of displeasure at the thought of the dogs.

    "Either way, I'd like to get moving within the next two days. That's primarily dependent on your foot, if you're not ready to go within that time-frame we'll have to fashion crutches for you. We can afford two days of rest I think, you have enough food for yourself to last that time. I'm afraid I'm strictly carnivorous so I'll have to find an alternate food source, but around here that shouldn't be too hard. In any case, we're going to have to be doing a lot of walking from here on out so prepare yourself. I've calculated that the XEDRA base is approximately 720 miles from the center of this city. It could be worse but we've still got our work cut out for us." Rylee said, looking over at the man who she had decided would be her new travelling companion. He was injured but he would have to do, she had calculated that her chances of finding another human that would accept her was very low. In any case, he would make do for now.
     
  8. ……

    Before long, he realized that he had fallen asleep. Perhaps the Advil had taken affect. More likely, he had just blacked out since he was anemic. He slowly sat up, making sure he wouldn't black out again from rising too fast. As he did, he noticed that he was covered in a peculiar cloth. Once his brain started functioning again, he recognized it as the poorly-sewn cloak rag that the girl was wearing earlier. He smiled, unsure of whether to feel happy or proud about it. He ultimately decided to just be happy. After all, she seemed to think highly of debts, so he expected her to bring this up eventually.

    He carefully folded up the cloak, placed it on the ground next to him, and started rummaging through his bag. The girl had eaten all of the lunch meat, as he had expected, and even drank up the bottle of Gatorade. He was surprised to see that she had only taken one bite of the bread, so he assumed that she only liked meat. It wasn’t very good to be picky when in the end of the world, so he thought it adequate to assume that something stopped her from eating the bread. Perhaps she’s allergic? Or maybe gluten-free? Don’t tell me she’s one of those health freaks…

    Looking over at the food, then over at her, he couldn't help but picture her as an animal being tamed. It wasn't particularly hard to do so - she was furry, ate food he offered, and wasn't trying to kill him. He allowed the humorous thought to percolate for a second before reminding himself that she was, in fact, a human. She had proven that by wrapping up his ankle in bandages. He pulled an energy bar out of his backpack and looked down at his ankle while eating it. It was still way up there on the list of the most painful things he had ever experienced, but it was way better than earlier. If he managed to get a few more medical supplies – maybe some rubbing alcohol or some 5-10% Hydroxide, he’d be able to clean it really well. He’d also need some sort of thick cast or a triangle-fold bandage so that he could keep it from moving so it could heal while he moved around. Again….so much optimism…I’m probably going to have to end up using my damned shirt for this stupid injury. Key note: never pass up medical supplies.

    He ate the energy bar after musing about his ankle. The energy bar had a lot of fiber and iron in it. Iron was important, considering he couldn't make blood without it. Refilling his lost liquids was probably more important at the moment, however, since he probably had enough iron in reserve to generate more blood over the next two or three days – if he could live that long. Based on how easily he was able to eat, his future didn’t look too bad. Now that he wasn't shaking with pain, he managed to down a whole bottle of water and an energy bar. Once he was done, he scooted over to the Gatorade bottle that she had left, picked it up, and put it and the water bottle back into his backpack. They were useful for storing liquids, whether they were full or not, so he decided to keep them until he could find a better solution.

    Once he had eaten, he looked around. It still wasn't even sunset. The zombie hoard seemed to be starting to disperse, judging from how he could hear a greater proportion of zombies further from the building they were on now. He grinned a bit at the thought of going back down to the street with his ankle in the state it was in. Ridiculous. I might as well go down now. He didn't even consider it. He'd survive on the roof for at least another whole day, and zombies never stuck around in hordes for long. Soon enough, the zombies would lose patience and wander over to the next loud noise. There was bound to be one eventually, given that they were right on the fringes of a large city. Still, he was hoping that the zombies would stick around long enough for him to take another shot or two at ‘taming’ the cat girl. At the very least, having a companion would help him compensate for his injured ankle.

    He looked over at her briefly after this thought. She had one of her large, satellite-dish cat ears pointed over at him and her other pointed down toward the street. Her large, blonde braid hung down her back as she stood hunched over along the edge of the building. The way it hung from her head, it make the beanie look like it belonged there on her head, as if it was part of her. At least it wasn’t another animal part. She already had enough of those for a lifetime. Upon looking her over a bit more thoroughly, he observed that her most protective layer of clothing was her sweatshirt. Still, it looked a lot warmer than his duster. Her jeans looked like they were loose, probably since she lost weight due to starving, and her Gym shoes looked worn. She was either purposefully dressed that way so that she could move faster, or, as he suspected, she hasn’t gotten much scavenging done yet. After all, what kind of scavenger forgets to take a backpack? All she had was a little belt pouch!

    After a few more seconds of thought about her attire, he noticed that she was staring back at him. How she managed to turn around without him noticing, he would never know. Her feline stealth once again amazed him. She made a clever remark and stood shortly after turning around, causing him to feel like reciprocating with another equally clever comeback. Unfortunately for him, his anemia made his mind dull, so all he could think to do was nod by the time she continued. She walked over to him, her tail flicking from side to side as she did. It was rather distracting. Her tail. Maybe she was doing it on purpose. Maybe he just found it distracting since it was so unnatural to see. He wondered momentarily about how she got her tail out of her pants. Did she make a hole in the seat of her pants? That would make them more prone to ripping…so, did it come out of the waistline? But she was wearing a belt…

    She sat down, causing him to focus back in on her. I’ll get to sewing later…if it comes up. He wasn’t too sure about asking her for her pants. That would probably come off strangely. Then again, it was probably better to explain himself eventually rather than nonchalantly trying to peer over at her tail to find out more about it. Why am I still thinking about her damned tail? She had luckily only just started talking again. Something about other people in town getting the zombies’ attention. He was once again distracted by her yawn. She still had a bit of his blood lining the fur around her mouth. It’d be hard to get that out without a proper face wash. What he found most noticeable about her was her sharp teeth. They were the reason his ankle still hurt so much. Well, them and the dog that had caused his initial injury. Both were equally at fault.

    After the very animal-like yawn, she returned his perception of her humanity by commenting about his wounds. She seemed to be the medical expert between the two of them, so he nodded at her suggestion. He rummaged through his bag and pulled out his last roll of sanitized gauze. Her comment about the dogs’ infection mouths was just as depressing to him as it seemed to be to her. He didn’t have anything to deal with it aside from water and iodine tablets…..Wait a second…That’s it! Iodine! I can use that! It was like a revelation. “I could mix some water with iodine to sanitize the wound. I have a bunch of iodine tablets lying around. But I only have one bottle of purified water left.”

    She seemed to like that response. That made him smile. She was acknowledging that she cared about his injuries, which implied that she had something to gain from keeping him alive. And better yet, her next few words solidified his survival by implying that she wasn’t going to leave without him. After she mentioned having to find another food source, he commented, “I have a can of bacon and beans. You can probably get a days’ worth of bacon out of it. And it we might consider searching one of the apartments below.”

    She didn’t seem to like the idea of doing that without a weapon, probably for the same reason he didn’t want to with a weapon – because there would be zombies in there. She needed meat, and he needed cloth. He’d be able to sanitize cloth for bandages with his iodine tablets and water, but he needed cloth to do that, and he desperately needed his clothes. It was nearing winter and he was already near frozen each morning.

    Once she continued, he listened closely. He didn’t understand why she wanted to go to a military/research base, but he knew that they weren’t going to survive if they tried getting there by foot. “I think it’d be easier to spend some time scavenging and getting a car operational.” He frowned. “There are plenty of parts lying around on the street, and some frames aren’t damaged too bad. If we find a guide on car maintenance and we get lucky with the parts lying around, I could get a car set up using my alchemy within a week.”

    He anticipated that she’d make a comment about danger, so he continued, “we have a good chance of finding a working car here around the city. We’ll need more quiet weapons to safely roam around without getting cornered by a hoard again, but it’s our best shot if you want to make it to that base anytime soon.” With that said, he listened to her response, then rummaged through his backpack and pulled out his last gauze roll. He gave her the roll and propped up his ankle on his backpack. The gauze on his leg was entirely red around the injury, but was only damp, not soaked. Sure enough, the gauze had done its job. But even he knew that having soaked gauze was just begging for an infection.

    As she started working on unwrapping his bandage, he pulled out an empty and full water bottle. He poured about a 3oz of water into the empty water bottle, then found his iodine tablets in his backpack and dropped one into the bottle. It dissolved over the course of a minute, then he shook up the bottle to ensure it was thoroughly dissolved and offered it to her. It was easy to shake the bottle since he had to deal with the pain caused by the bandage coming off. It wasn’t as bad as it was before he took Advil. And, on that topic, it seemed like the Advil was still in effect. He might have to take another one soon so that he would be able to sleep some more.

    Once she was done sanitizing and re-bandaging his wound, he signed. It felt much better to have the wound sanitized – a kind of sharp, but good pain. He didn’t know why some pain felt good, but he didn’t care – as long as it wasn’t as intense as it was earlier, he was fine with it. The 24 small holes and 4 big ones in his ankle were finally free of debris and shrapnel from the exploded dog jaw. The loose teeth stuck in his wounds were probably causing the intense pain. He tried stepping on his foot while still seated. It wasn’t as bad as it was earlier. He might be able to put some weight on it. It was worth waiting a day or two first, though. He noticed that he was still bleeding a little, as the middle of the gauze had a tiny spot of blood showing through, but it stopped, so it looked like he was done bleeding for the time being.

    He rested his wounded leg by crossing his uninjured one under his injured leg’s knee and resting his heel on the ground. It was as comfortable a position as he could think of. So, looking over at the girl, he offered a more genuine smile and said, “thanks for helping me. I’m kinda clueless about first aid..”

    With this said, he had little left to do but wait for the zombies to leave and for his heel to recover…..
     
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