The first report of the virus was in 2016. By 2017, nearly three quarters of the world's population was infected. Informally referred to as "Strain Z", the virus causes its victims to become increasingly aggressive over the course of three days. The victim eventually succumbs to madness and ultimately death, before re-animating within 24 hours. Transferred by any and all fluid, Strain Z was prolific and successfully destroyed civilization as it was within a few short years. Thirty years later, society has only begun to put itself back together. Rural areas have begun to see small towns and trading posts crop up, though cities still largely remain abandoned due to high levels of Infected. Most survivors live in isolation or in small groups, doing whatever is necessary to survive. --------------------------------------- Luke had been walking for two days before he saw the Hope General Store. Well, it was called a store. It was more accurately a shack, thrown together with some wood and rusted metal. Surrounding the store were a variety of equally dilapidated shacks with haggard folks standing outside. There was soft chatter in the background as bargains and deals were being struck, but each Hope inhabitant regarded the other with tired eyes and a wariness formed by years of practiced distrust – an irony, given the town's name. A soft whine grabbed Luke’s attention and he looked down at the brown and black mutt beside him. "Shhh, Fox. You’ll be okay." The words felt hollow though. Fox’s ragged breathing and limp were getting worse. The piece of glass embedded in the dog’s leg was now covered in white and green pus. Luke knew his time was running short. With any luck, the General Store would be his answer. If not, things were not looking good for Fox. Luke approached the shack, intentionally avoiding the guarded gazes of onlookers. Luke didn't imagine he looked much better than Fox. His dark brown hair, usually a pleasant chestnut color, was matted with dirt. His skin and clothes fared no better, both covered in dust. Only his bright blue eyes were clean, and they seemed to pop with color compared to the rest of Luke’s unexciting outfit of grays and browns. With a sharp inhale, Luke grabbed the door knob to the General Store and walked inside.