| S u r v i v e | |DefinitelyNotGuns & Nogyseo |

Discussion in 'ONE ON ONES IN CHARACTER' started by DefinitelyNotGuns, Oct 10, 2016.

  1. April 27, 2019.

    Hot. Fever. Rising. 104.8.


    Patient is highly alert. Irritable.

    His skin is pale, his heart beat is slow. Despite the fever patient is cool and clammy to the touch. Pupils dilated. I’ve secluded myself from him- placing him in the apartment across from me. It’s not safe. I’ve bolted both locks. No sleep. At night he comes out and just slams the door. Sometimes there are screams, but I can’t tell if it’s him or if they are coming from somewhere else in the complex. I want to leave, but I can’t. I’ve seen people run, drive, scream running by, wearing masks to hide their faces or to stay away from the infection. I should’ve known this small college town would be the first place where shit would hit the fan. Phones still in service.

    Mom

    Dad
    Caden

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    April 30, 2019.

    Patient temperature reading 109. Not sure if real or if the thermometer is broken.


    Wasn’t able to do full assessment.

    Sclera of eyes crimson red. Bloodshot. Pale. Light red rash around eyes. Sick. Pale lips.
    Screaming. I’m not sure if I’m thankful for it- I think it keeps others away. Patient vomiting blood. Mental state unable to asses. Patient shows signs of schizophrenia.

    Time of death: 14:42

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    May 1, 2019.

    Phone service has been cut off. Last phone call from Caden received yesterday, April 30 at 16:07. Alone.

    Mom
    Dad
    Caden

    Eliza read the journal entry. It had been two weeks since all phone lines had been cut down, and a month since all of this had started. There had been news reports of a sickness that had flu-like symptoms spreading throughout large areas and some colleges throughout the country. It hadn’t phased her much. She thought of all the times where people had been paranoid about illnesses in the past. The swine flu, bird flu—what would this one be named? Well that was the problem. It was revealed that there was no specific known cause for it. It didn’t resemble any type of illness that had been treated or seen before.

    The idea of that had this twenty-three-year-old graduate student perplexed. She began taking notes on the people around here. The first two days students began skipping their classes, before the fourth day where the University started cancelling the classes themselves. Stay home, they urged. It was a time where Eliza was thankful for her small apartment off campus. It was set just off the main road of the town, making it a quick target point for some of the looters and graffiti artists who wanted to let it be known that the illness was the end.

    The second week of the illness her boyfriend had fell ill. It had only been a few months into their relationship but she knew that the man over-exaggerated about nearly everything, so his small temperature didn’t make her bat an eye. Then his health depreciated quickly. Within the week, he and many others in the complex had either fled for their families or were dead. Occasionally she would hear footsteps, but she wasn’t sure if it was someone who lived there or those who were searching the building for supplies.

    While it wasn’t a CDC approved preventative for the illness, she wore a medical mask daily in the complex. When she came to think about it—she hadn’t gotten the chance to leave. After David died she’d packed her bag, ready to go. After the phones went out she stood at the exit door of the complex, ready to leave. Chicken.

    Two weeks. She hadn’t heard from Caden in two weeks, and it was beginning to eat away at her. It was either that or the bit of hunger that had set in when she’d gone through her last bit of canned soup. Hunkering down as graduate student wasn’t as easy as it seemed, especially with lack of funds. She wasn’t even sure what was going on much in the world at this point. Being in a college town was great for all of the crazies coming out. It was what lead her to keep her pages of notes of the activity she’d seen, and characteristics of the illness in others as they passed by. 305 pages of notes to be exact over the course of the month. Some were just random thoughts of what might happen, but most had to do with research she’d done in her own textbooks, relatable symptoms, etc.

    Liza scanned over the page again, looking at Caden’s name not crossed off. She brought her pen to the page, and hesitantly put a question mark next to his name. It was what would drive to get her out of there. The only weapon that she really had was a kitchen knife, which she reluctantly wrapped in a towel and threw in her backpack. She shoved the two large notebooks and pens into her bag as well. The young woman thought fighting was a foreign concept, but before the lines had gone out her mother had told her that things weren’t exactly going well in some parts of the country, and she needed to stay where she was (and be prepared). Her mother was dead now though, and for two weeks the question mark next to Caden’s name had driven her mad. She hadn’t had any human contact since David had died, and dammit she wasn’t going to die in this apartment building alone.

    Eliza stood in front of the side exit door leading to the outside, medical mask still on. She wore a plain back t-shirt and black shorts. Thankful in her bag she’d prepared for a bit of colder weather at nights, but in the late afternoon it was pretty hot that day. The girl pulled her maroon beanie down, for once, a sense of determination in her green eyes and---

    As she stepped outside she pulled the mask down. The door slammed with a loud click. Deep breath. The air felt… Fresh. She was shocked when there was, well, no one to be seen… Yet. A big billboard off the in distance read ‘Oaklahoma is OK’.

    “Far from it…” She whispered to herself. And then it dawned on her… How the hell was she going to get home alone?

     
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  2. There was a woman in much the same situation as Eliza. Twenty-Five year old Alexis had herself holed up in her family's old home, where the corpses of her parents once laid when she first came to check on them at the start of the outbreak. She had long since given them proper burials, after killing the infected psycho who had ended their lives. For the weeks after, she had allowed the guilt to get to her, and she had all but broken down completely. Only recently had she finally put it all behind her, and begun to look toward the horizon. Nothing would come of grieving any longer.

    Alex filled a tote bag with what provisions were still left in the house: a few bottles of lukewarm water (the power had been out for a week after a man crashed into the pole and severed the lines supplying the neighborhood), a pouch of 'trail mix', and what remained of a bag of beef jerky which she had been snacking on since arriving. It wasn't much, but when it could be the difference between starving to death or dying of dehydration, and living another day, it meant something. She also packed changes of clothes and a flashlight. As for a weapon? The rusty shovel she'd laid her parents to rest with would serve her well.

    There was nothing left for her here. She had to move on, and so she steeled herself and kicked open the front door, bag slung over one shoulder and shovel propped up on the other. She tightened her grip on her weapon and headed toward the center of town. There very well may have been more survivors. Maybe Alex was no hero, but she felt certain her dad would have wanted her to make a difference.

    This college town's biggest feature was--big surprise--the university at its heart. Alexis had never attended. Her family didn't exactly have the funds. But, if there was anyone left that wasn't sick or insane... it was probably a safe bet they'd be there. And speaking of the insane... a crazy turned the corner of an old abandoned house and intercepted Alex, pulling her out of her thoughts. Its wild, maniacal grin was matched only by her cocky smirk. "Don't worry, pal," she spoke, hefting the shovel from her shoulder and into her hands. "I'll put you out of your misery." What had once been a man shuffled toward her with twitching, animalistic movements. There was a hint of sadistic laughter rising in its throat. But, just as it lunged, Alex brought her makeshift weapon down on its head with enough force to crack the skull. Prying it out of where it had been embedded was like pulling Excalibur from its stone. She made note not to do that against multiple opponents, lest she be rendered defenseless against the second.

    Soon enough, she was approaching the college's main entrance. Surprisingly, there seemed not to be any infected people in the area. Alex had let her guard down for a second when she suddenly heard a loud thud. It sounded like a door closing, and it put Alex back on edge. She headed toward the sound and gripped her shovel in both hands, ready to cut down another crazy. But she stopped mid swing when she realized the woman didn't look crazed at all. Alex's eyes shone with apology as she lowered her weapon and thrust it into the dirt, resting her palm on the erect handle as she gave the woman a once-over. "Whoops. Thought you were one of 'em," she explained after a second or two of silence. "Didn't expect to find any other survivors so soon. Name's Alex." A rough, dirty hand was offered for a shake, but she wouldn't have blamed the stranger if she'd refused. Alex had almost just killed her, after all.
     
    #2 Nogyseo, Oct 10, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2016
  3. The graduate student wasn’t as lucky as some others had been. She didn’t have a car on campus, but David had his truck. It was an old Ford that was loud and clunky, but it would do if needed. The keys were still in the apartment he’d been in, and she had no intention of going back in and getting them. If only reception had still been a thing, maybe she could have looked up a tutorial about hot-wiring a vehicle. But no luck there. The first few minutes of standing there and she was beginning to think that coming out of the apartment complex was a bad idea until--

    Eliza’s eyes widened as the shovel came towards her face. She threw her hands up beside her, showing that she was both unarmed and hoping that the gesture would show the person that she wasn’t ill herself. Her breathing was quick and heavy for a moment, having been jumped by the other woman. Liza watched and listened as the woman introduced herself. She looked around the same age, but wasn’t a familiar face from the college. Having gone there for her undergrad and now graduate school, she knew a fair amount of the people who attended, or at least knew their faces.

    Much to her own surprise, she extended a hand out to shake the woman’s. Something she didn’t think would be common practice anymore with everyone scared of the illness. She made a mental note of it, wanting to write the simple handshake in her notes for later. If she got sick it would be something to trace back to at least.

    “Liza.” She spoke hesitantly. How much did people tell one another nowadays? Were things still the same? The poor girl had gone from an extreme social butterfly that thrived off of human interaction to an unsure hermit in a matter of a few weeks. “No, I’m not one of them. I haven’t seen much movement for the past few days. Most people skipped the campus area 2-3 weeks ago.”

    For having been living a few weeks without water, the young woman was still very well groomed. She knew that keeping up with herself would be a key to making sure she didn’t go insane. However, when she stepped out the door she knew she was most likely throwing those luxuries of baby cleaning wipes and dry shampoo out the window.

    “You can usually tell they are sick by their sclera of their eyes, erratic movements, irritability… But at that stage they’ll probably die shortly.” Eliza stated softly, not sure if she was giving too much of what would be considered ’textbook knowledge’. “I’m sorry- but, I really haven’t seen anyone here. Some looters every few days but-- why are you here?”
     
  4. Alex took a sidling step so that the shovel was directly in front of her, such that she could rest both palms on it as she leaned forward to give the other woman a skeptical gaze. "Sclera? The hell is that?" she eventually blurted with a raised brow. "I'm not about to sit and look at a loony's eyes to try and figure out if its dangerous or not. Sorry, but I swing first and ask questions later. You know that first hand now." She couldn't help snickering as she finished speaking.

    After listening to the rest of what Liza had to say, Alex yanked the shovel out of place and balanced it on her shoulder again, one hand draped over the bottom as a counter weight to the blade. "Well, I wasn't really lookin' for anyone in particular, see?" she eventually replied. "I just came by to see if there were any sane people left. To lend 'em a helpin' hand. I mean... What else is there for me to do?" There was no fear or melancholy in her words; they were said simply as matters of fact. "So, you got somethin' you're workin' toward? Someone you're lookin' for? All my ties are cut, so if you need help, I've got nowhere else to be. And uh... No offense, stringbean, but you don't really look like you'd be able to hold your own in a fight. Unless the kooks challenge you to a spellin' bee." She smirked briefly, but she hadn't spoken with any malice. She really had come to help.

    This baren landscape had shook her to the core, moreso than she was willing to let on. The town was small, sure. But, there were always people in the streets... animals climbing in the trees... just... activity. Alex missed that activity. Everything was so... stagnant, anymore. It was chilling. Alex may not have been a social butterfly but this kind of isolation really makes a person appreciate companionship. In other words... she wasn't about to take 'no' for an answer. Liza was stuck with her.
     
    #4 Nogyseo, Oct 10, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2016
  5. “Sclera? The whites of the eyes?” Eliza used a quizzical tone as if she was trying to jog someone’s memory while studying for a test. She sighed. While she wasn’t one to judge off of looks, Alex didn’t exactly seem like part of the crowd she went to school with. The fact was, Oklahoma was an interesting place for such a prestigious school. At least, for her program. When she’d told her mother and father it was where she wanted to go, they couldn’t help but laugh. There were suggestions for east coast programs, something closer to home, but she refused for this chance. A lot of good that choice was doing her now.

    Alex wasn’t exactly what Liza expected to find with her first steps out into the world, but she didn’t quite have the right to be picky at this point. She wasn’t going to make verbal confirmation of it, but the woman was right. There was no way Liza would be able to defend herself, and she didn’t have much. The only thing they would need to be wary of was if either of them started to get sick. Again, her notes would be useful in those situations. If those situations arose.

    “Know how to hot wire an old ford?” Eliza asked with a tilt of her head. She didn’t want to cause too much trouble for the woman, and didn’t want to take up much of her time. Plus if she told Alex that she was looking to head for North Carolina, she wasn’t sure that the woman would want to go with her on the 1200 mile journey. She’d seen disaster movies, and those scary zombie movies. The journey itself felt like she would be on a suicide mission, and someone would be crazy to agree to that.

    She pointed to the small parking lot next to the apartment complex where an old blue beat-up Ford was parked. “I need to find my brother, and that’s going to be my first step. I haven’t heard from him since the lines went down two weeks ago and I can’t sit on my ass anymore moping about it. I just need to go.”
     
  6. "Ah-ha!" Alexis uttered in response to Eliza's first words, condescending as they were. "So that's what they're called." She grinned impishly as if she had known all along and was just trying to get a rise out of the other woman. Whether or not that was the case was a mystery. Regardless, Alex may not have been very book smart but she was definitely street smart.

    During the short silence that stretched between them, Alex looked to the sky and shifted her feet. Was it such a difficult question to answer? But, she understood. How do you trust anyone in a world like this? Eventually though, Liza gave in. And Alex snickered at her question.

    "Take one look at me. You tell me if I can hotwire an old ford," she replied with a brimming, confident smile. "Answer: yes." She took in a breath then, preparing to tell the story of the time her father dropped his keys in a sewer grate and she had to unlock his door with a wire hanger and hotwire the car so they could get home. Granted that was years ago, but it's not the kind of thing you forget. She didn't get to start though, because Liza then began elaborating on her situation.

    Alex let her smug expression fade as she listened. So, it was a missing family member. That was a worthy cause. Following Eliza's gesture with her eyes, Alexis flexed her fingers and nodded. "Take me to the ol' girl. I'll get her runnin', don't you worry." She had no intention of parting ways once she did, either. "How's it doin' on gas? You know? There's a gas can at my folks' old shed. Still has some in it. Good for a pinch. I was gonna use it to make a fire some night, if it got cold enough. But, I guess that's what bundlin' up is for. Priorities..." She just went on and on. It was obvious that she had been socially deprived.
     
    #6 Nogyseo, Oct 10, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2016
  7. Eliza felt like she could hug the unknown woman at the confirmation that she knew how to hot wire the truck. Her next question though made her excitement quickly fade. Gas. She wasn’t sure how much gas the truck had, as it wasn’t even hers. There was also the problem of finding 1200 miles worth of gas along the way. It wasn’t like gas stations were still open, and she still wasn’t very fond of the idea of looting like others had taken to. It was something that would have to eventually happen though as a loud growl of her stomach reminded her of her hunger.

    “Gas, right.” She snapped herself back to the question. Eliza began leading Alexis over to the beat up truck, jigging the handle a bit and giving it a hard kick on the bottom right of the driver side door before it popped open. “Well, it’s not even mine. David wasn’t much for keeping the thing filled up, so if we’re lucky I’d say there’s a quarter of a tank in it? Guess there’s only one way to find out…”

    Eliza moved out of the way for Alex to “work her magic” on the truck, hoping that she actually knew what she was doing. “So you live around here?” She asked, feeling like it was a stupid question. “I mean, I guess it’s a small town and I haven’t seen you before so…” Her voice faded away. For some reason not talking with anyone for a few weeks made her feel that her conversation skills weren’t quite up to par. Regardless, she was happy to have someone sane to talk to at the moment, and even more thankful that the woman was helping her.
     
  8. Alex nodded sagely, crossing her arms as she walked. "Right. A quarter tank won't get us far. We're gonna wanna stop 'n get that gas can, for sure." There she was, making this a 'We' when Liza probably wanted it to be a 'Me'. But, it was too late for that.

    When they got to the truck, Alex smirked, kneeling to take a look at the undercarriage and patting the vehicle on the hood when she rose back to her feet. "She's seen better days, ain't she?" she eventually uttered, clapping her hands together to free them of any dust or dirt. "Oh well. A clunker that runs is still better than walkin'. Let's get to it then."

    Cracking her knuckles, she poked her head into the doorway after Liza got it open. Without much hesitation, she reached over and pulled the lever that adjusted the seat's back, pushing on it with her other hand to get it to lay as flat as possible. Dropping her things on the ground at her feet, she hopped into the truck as her shovel still danced and sung on the pavement.

    Her heels dangled over the back of the seat and she laid facing the headliner. They didn't have any tools at their disposal, so she'd have to do this with her bare hands which would take time. Just as she pryed her nails under the steering column's front panel, she heard Liza speak again.

    Blowing a stray strand of hair out of her face, she glanced at her and shrugged as best she could in her position. "I never went near the college much," she responded, swearing under her breath as her fingers slipped against the panel. When she went back to trying to remove it, she chuckled. "I don't live far. Been here all my life."

    Finally freeing the face of the steering column, she tossed it to the passenger side floor, beginning to carefully sift through the wires. "So, what's your story, while we're askin' questions. How long you been takin' classes? What's your major? Somethin' sciency I'd bet..."

    Pausing, she recalled Eliza's grumbling stomach and propped herself up on an elbow to face her. "Hey," she spoke as she pointed to her bag. "There's some edibles in my bag if you wannna go through it to find 'em. A woman's gotta eat, right?" She snickered slightly and then plopped back down to return to work.
     
    #8 Nogyseo, Oct 11, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2016
  9. Every mention of ‘we’ was taking a stab at her heart, but she wasn’t letting it visibly show. We. The word felt like such a foreign concept even at the very beginning of this. So many promises thrown around and all of them turning to dust quickly. We will make it through. We will survive. We will be ok. The only we she wanted in her life was to be back in North Carolina with her brother at her side, fighting whatever the hell was going on off and staying healthy. Still, the notion of we, as scary as it sounded at that point in time, would probably be one of the keys in her attempt to make it halfway across the country.

    The truck was old, and there was nothing about it that said otherwise. She thought about how David even had a name for the old thing, but couldn’t quite remember what it was. Eliza was just thankful that Alexis knew what she was doing, and she wasn’t going to interfere with that if it got her out of there. Her head tilted to the side slightly as she watched Alex dig about and fiddle with the wires. It was a foreign concept to her for sure, but it was something that she wanted to pay close attention to. One couldn’t count on someone being around the next day and each skill that she could remotely acquire could have meant surviving or being killed.

    Eliza wasn’t all that surprised when Alex said she’d been there all her life. It was a small town, but she knew that the folks of the town and the college crowd seemed fairly segregated. Not to mention when the college students wanted to go somewhere, they skipped to the nearest city. Liza was surprised by the woman’s questions though. Where these seemed like normal questions a month ago, it seemed like they would be less so now.

    “I am a… Well, I was a graduate student here. I just finished my undergrad with a double major in Psychology and Biology, concentrating in biopsych and neuroscience last year and was finishing up my first year doing research but…” Her voice trailed off. There was a lot that she saw for her future that rapidly depreciated over the past few weeks. The dreams of making in big with her education and getting some fancy job quickly flew out the window, and that was a hard reality to face. “So yes, I guess you could say it’s something sciency.” Liza couldn’t help but laugh at herself with the last line, because there was nothing else more for her to do besides laugh at what would never happen. Plus, people always said that was the best medicine, right?

    “I’ll pass for now,” She said softly, thinking more about getting away from the main area of the small town before anything else. “Thanks though, I appreciate it. I’ll wait ‘til we’re back at your parent’s place. Did they make it out or…?” It was an awful question to ask, but she was curious why else the woman would have abandoned her parents’ home to find other survivors.
     
  10. Alexis shrugged again when the other woman refused her offer. "My folks?" she then spoke, running the question through her mind over and over. Did they make it out? "Hm... I guess you could say that," she eventually resolved. "They're gone. So, I guess they made it out of here, if you wanna look at it that way. I just didn't get to them in time."

    It did still eat at her. She had walked through the door in time enough to see the man who killed them deliver a kick to what she could only assume was her father's corpse. It turned on her once she showed up and she almost let it win; the sight of her parents was such a blow to her will. But, she found her courage and fought it and won. 'To what end?' she'd thought at first. But, even though she had nothing left, she could still help someone who did.

    She fell silent for a while as she used her nails to rip a bit of the coating off of three wires, twirling the exposed copper ends of two of them together. The truck's dash lights flickered to life then, and Alex laughed triumphantly. "Alright, this is the dangerous part. Let's hope I don't mess up..." Taking the third wire carefully in one hand, she touched it to the other two and the engine could be heard attempting to start. "Come on, ol' girl..." she murmured as she tried again. After a few goes at it, the truck finally roared with power. Alex snickered again and flipped herself over to step on the gas and give the engine a few good revs so it wouldn't stall.

    "One last thing," she added, sitting up on her knees. Grabbing the steering wheel in both hands, she put all her weight into pushing on it until she heard a snap. "There she goes." Grinning, she hopped out of the vehicle and collected her things. "You can drive it fine now. And it's low on gas, but I guess we already had that figured. If it comes to it, we can try 'n find a way to siphon gas from cars left here 'n there, and the gas can will help with that, too."

    Wiping her hands, she then rounded the front of the truck and plopped herself down in the passenger seat, kicking the panel she tossed to the floor earlier. "Well, come on, boss. Ain't you drivin'?"
     
    #10 Nogyseo, Oct 11, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2016
  11. Eliza wasn’t going to lie, she was thoroughly impressed with how the woman had started the truck. It starting gave her a glimmer of hope that the journey would be possible. Maybe not the whole way in the truck, but some of it.

    “Thank you so much!” Liza smiled, tossing her bag on the seat in between them. She hopped up into the truck and closed the driver side door. The clunker wasn’t exactly the quietest thing in the world, and for that she was worried, but she hoped it wouldn’t be too much of an issue. If the world was really that bad they might be able to say… ‘borrow’ another car from someone at some point, but she didn’t want to think about it quite yet.

    It had been awhile since she’d driven stick, but it was one thing that her dad was adamant that she knew how to do. She popped the stick to the side and forward. Gas. Thank god she at least partially remembered how to reverse. From there it was smooth sailing out of the parking lot. Driving felt fine, but she realized it might not have been the best idea when she didn’t know where she was going to get to. “So Alex, I can’t be much of a boss if I have no idea where the hell I’m supposed to go. Wanna help a lady out?” She looked over at her new companion.

    Something sounded like a loud screech. Her attention quickly turned by to the road and the breaks as someone ran in front of the truck, being hit at enough speed to still startle the poor girl. The man, looking to be in his early twenties was throw to the tar, but was quick to stand up and make a charge at them once again. Eliza looked at the stick shift, then back in front of them. It didn’t take much for her to kick it into gear and barrel forward, hitting the man and throwing him under the vehicle. The action was a bit shocking, considering it was the first time she’d ever intentionally hit someone before in her life with a moving vehicle, but desperate times called for desperate measures.

    She kept the truck moving down the main road, taking in a deep breath. “… Fuck you, Peter Lynwood. Not better than anyone else now are ya?” Liza said in a matter-of-fact tone, the mention of a name being someone that she’d gone to school with.

    Eliza looked in the rearview mirror to see the body lying in the middle of the street motionless. For now. Thank goodness for that. She sighed, “Well boss… I think we’re good for directions now.” She wasn’t aware that when she stepped outside of the apartment complex her first moments outside would have been filled with so much… action.
     
  12. Alex put on an overly proud expression when Liza thanked her, going so far as to flex her shoulders and lean back in her seat. "No biggie," she replied, putting her hands behind her head in the ultimate show of casualness. But, the woman's other question took the air out of her sails when she realized she never told her where her parents lived. She did appreciate the bit of wit, though. The girl had some fire in her after all, and Alex was just about to see how much.

    Right when she went to give her an equally tongue-in-cheek response, she was thrown into the dash as the brakes were floored. She braced herself in time enough not to rocket out the windshield, but she was rattled enough that she didn't even know what was going on. One glance out the window clarified that for her though, and she even grinned and cheered when Eliza gave the truck gas and charged into the crazy in the road. "Hot damn, girl!" she uttered, playfully punching her on the shoulder. "Remind me not to make you mad, would you?"

    That bit of fun out of the way, Alex snapped her finger as she remembered what she was going to say, nodding when Liza spoke. "Not far down this way, then you're gonna wanna take a left right there." She pointed, and then added, "The house is the second one on the right." Really, she still had some adrenaline pumping, and she didn't really realize it, but her right hand was gripping her shovel so tight that her knuckles were turning white. Had she maybe been a little scared? She would never admit it.
     
  13. Having been so focused on the road and the… Well, whatever he was in front of them, she was unaware of the impact her short stopping had on the woman beside her. It felt like her brain was being pinged thousands of times over with different responses, sending millions of different scenarios and images to her mind. A few deep breaths were all she could do to set herself partially back on track.

    Right. Alex’s house. She gave a nod in response, not being able to say much else at the moment. A left down the road and, there it was. She pulled into the driveway of the house. It was interesting to her- it wasn’t too far from the school, and still for her to never have seen the woman despite her five years in the area. It wasn’t due to the lack of time spent outside of the college, but perhaps an unwillingness to interact with anyone outside of the prestigious school.

    “I don’t get mad often, but man he really pissed me off on a few occasions. Still a part of me feels bad for the guy…”

    All in all, this town in Oaklahoma was scary to her for one reason: it did feel like home. She’d drawn herself away from a place very similar. It was something that kept her going on the high road she had been traveling on. Every day she got reminders of home and how she didn’t want to wind up back there.

    "Nice place," Eliza said as she put the truck in park, opening the door and hopping out without paying much attention to her surroundings. It was a little thing that could mean a big deal in surviving this place. “Do we shut it off somehow or does it just stay running? Nothing makes me feel more useless then a.. well, whatever the hell is going on here.” There was a reluctance to calling it an apocalypse, the end of the world, whatever anyone would call it. Calling it that would mean less of a chance that Caden would still be alive and she sure as heck wasn’t going to give up on that so easily.
     
  14. "Huh, you don't say," Alex muttered to herself, beginning to contemplate on what Eliza had said. Still a part of me feels bad for the guy. Alex hadn't really thought about it, but... earlier when she cracked the skull of that loon before she met her partner in crime here, she'd said something similar. I'll put you out of your misery. She wasn't entirely conscious of it until this moment, but she really did feel sorry for the people who'd gone mad. Her parents died at their hands, but she didn't resent them. She caught herself wondering if the people still retained some semblance of their former selves in their diseased state. Did they remember who they were? Their families? Were they fully cognizant while they helplessly watched their bodies move against their will? Is that what ultimately drove them insane?

    Then, she was brought back to reality when Liza spoke, complimenting her on her parents' house of all things, when really it was a run down mess. She had told her father that she would lend him a hand doing repairs and work toward getting the place looking up to snuff, but all they ever actually accomplished was cleaning the gutters. The ladder was still up, propped against the house as a semi-permanent fixture, its legs long having been sunken into the soft earth and sealed over with cement-like mud. It made her chuckle to herself honestly, how her father could have just left it there and not bothered to remove it for such a long time.

    "Eh, it's alright," she finally replied, fondness in her tone. But, Eliza's question rang in her ears. "Well, seein' as how we're plannin' to fill 'er up, I'd say shuttin' 'er down would be the best idea. Wastin' what little gas we got just sittin' there." She laughed then and shook her head. "But, oh well. To cut the ignition I'd need to separate the wires and if I tried doing that with my bare hands I'd be fried." Not entirely bare hands, what with the gloves she always wears, but still. Shrugging indifferently, she added, "We won't be long, anyway." There was the chance that by some stroke of unluck another survivor might surface and try to steal the thing while they were occupied, but that was very, very unlikely. Alex hadn't seen anyone else before Eliza for days.

    She started to make her way toward the shed when she heard Liza voice some doubt in herself. She whirled around to face her, and kept walking backward toward her destination as she replied, "You ain't useless. Brainy types like you help in all sorts'a ways. I know a thing or two about makin' do on a tight budget. Jury-riggin' things so they work just enough. That's about it. You won't catch me sayin' I know much about nothin' else." She paused for a moment, stopping mid stride to add, "Well, 'cept fightin'. I know a bit about that." She chuckled and gave a quick wink before turning back around and throwing the shed's doors open. That gas can was around here somewhere.
     
    #14 Nogyseo, Nov 11, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2016
    • Bucket of Rainbows Bucket of Rainbows x 1
  15. Even as a rundown mess it did nothing but remind her of home. Home. Dammit, the place where she was bound and determined to get. The small obstacles of the near thirty minutes she’d been out in this new world she’d both found a new friend, despite her wants for an actual new friend, and killed a man. No. He wasn’t a man anymore. Was he? Eliza shook the thought off quickly and hopped out of the truck, trying not to slam the door shut but the thing was already running so the extra noise shouldn’t have been an issue.

    While Alex had started to walk off she faced away from the shed, looking out at the other houses in the area. Even with whatever the hell was going on things looked like they hadn’t changed much. If someone had told her otherwise it almost looked like, besides a few small things out of place, everyone had gone on vacation at the same time. It was morbid to think, but she wondered how many people made it out and how many had probably fallen ill and just died in their homes. Another thought to shake off.

    Eliza turned to Alex and started to follow her across to the shed. With the woman walking backwards it was easy for her to catch up. She slowed down to walk in pace with her. As much as she didn’t want to admit it, Alex seemed to know a lot about nothing Liza did, and Liza probably knew things that Alex didn’t. A full compass of knowledge would hopefully be what would keep the two of them alive. The woman had shown her that she knew a bit about fighting when she nearly got a shovel to the face upon exiting her apartment building.

    “Maybe it’s a good thing you’re coming along then,” Eliza smiled as they entered the shed, and as they began looking her eyes darted up from the dust that was shifting around to Alex. “You should wear a mask,” The words seemed quick and like the woman had just had a sudden epiphany of life itself. While she assumed many had made it out of their homes and maybe, just maybe, were surviving out there, she knew that in her research there was a potential for whatever it was to be airborne. The further away from her apartment they had gotten the more thankful she was getting for her own mask, even to help with the dust.
     
  16. Alex snickered at Liza's comment, puffing her chest out to really make herself look tough. She then proceeded to strut over to a table in the corner and begin rifling through whatever was on its surface. But, Eliza's next words gave her pause. "A mask?" she questioned, whirling around to face her with a quirked eyebrow. It wasn't really until then that she noticed the blatant white mask covering the other woman's mouth. Well she had noticed (it was right in the middle of her face, how could she not) but she really didn't think about why it might be there. It was part of the reason she assumed Liza had been majoring in 'something science-y' before. But, now she understood what it was really about, even if she was right about the science-y bit. "Right... a mask..."

    It didn't take a genius to know that pathogens could be in the air. There wasn't much understood about this particular disease, what caused it, or why. So, safety-precautions were definitely a must. But, a mask... Where was she going to just find a mask? Here in her parents' shed, she wouldn't. That much was for certain. That being said, Alex wasn't really the worrying type. After a second or two of pondering on it, she shrugged indifferently and pulled the collar of her shirt up over her nose and mouth, exposing her abdomen as she just went on about her search. They were on a time constraint after all. The truck was just blowing gas into the wind while it sat out front, so they needed to get back to it as quickly as they could.

    "I'll figure somethin' more permanent out later," she assured Eliza. She understood her concern, it just wasn't really high on her list of issues that needed dealing with at the time. That being said, as she continued going through the various tools and boxes scattered around, she recalled one of her father's hair-brained schemes from before she was even out of the house. They had quite the crabgrass problem then, and the lawn had always been a bit of a pet project of his and he poured hours into tending to it. Theirs was always the best looking grass in the neighborhood, but not when it was covered in weeds. So, extreme as he always was (Alex had to get it from somewhere, right) he made a trip out to buy some heave-duty, chemical weed killer spray, and threw down a hundred and some dollars on a fancy gas-mask to protect himself from the fumes. Over-the-top as his methods were, the lawn was looking tip-top again in a matter of days. But, Alex really just wondered if that mask was still around.

    It wasn't long before she found the old thing propped up in the corner, a layer of dust caked over top of it. She was dubious of wearing it, not so much because of the dust which could be easily wiped off, but moreso because it would make her look ridiculous. She assumed though, that perhaps that also ought to be low on her list of concerns that needed to be promptly dealt with. A few minutes longer of searching, and they found the gas can as well. Alex held a finger up to Liza and muttered, "Be right back," through the fabric of her shirt as she toted both items with her to the inside of her house. She cleaned the mask, popped it on, went through the kitchen drawers to get herself some tools for the road, then cradled them all against her chest with one arm as she rushed back out with the can in tow. "Okay, all set," she said in a muffled voice, looking all too absurd with her mask and her surplus of supplies and her heaving chest as she let her breath catch up to her.

    She grinned and headed to the truck. Throwing the door open, she stuffed all the newfound items into her bag, then rounded the vehicle to start filling it up with the little bit of gas sloshing around in the bottom of the can. It was better than nothing, but they'd definitely need more if they wanted to get much of anywhere. That, however, was for them to worry about when the time came.
     
    #16 Nogyseo, Nov 14, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2016
  17. “I don’t want to bore you with random science jargon, but with some of the research I’ve done there is the potential for it to be airborne, and dammit I’m not going to let the first person I’ve seen in weeks die on me.” Eliza followed up her horrid stab at a joke with a light-hearted laugh. She turned away to keep looking around the shed for anything that might be deemed useful, and her small smile turned downward once more.

    I’m not going to let the first person I’ve seen in weeks die on me… Again.

    Despite the fact that there was nothing she could do for him, she couldn’t help but feel a sense of guilt over his prolonged inevitable death. Instead of spending his last sane moments caring for him, she treated him like an alien—a test subject from another world, taking notes on his every move. Now instead of having any sort of memories over their short relationship, she could only look back on the time she’d poked and prodded him like his fading health would bring her and her alone some magical cure or answers to what was going on in the world.

    As Alex went off into the house she found a pile of tools towards the back of the shed, one of which was a rake and the other a small gardening spade. The only thing she had at the moment was the knife she’d stuffed in her backpack, and she wasn’t to stay as distant as possible from the things as possible. She looked the rake over, wondering if Alex would say much if she brought it to the truck so they could bring it along. Eliza started off to the truck when she saw Alex coming out of the house. She couldn’t help but burst out laughing with the mask that was over the other woman’s face.

    If Alex had given her the time and if she herself hadn’t been trapped in her own thoughts she could have told Alex that she had another mask in her bag, but this brought some comic relief to the day and would do for now. Perhaps the large mask would have to be humorous another time, because the thought that fighting or the need to run might occur more often than not made her realize it might make it harder to breath or be heavy on her.

    Eliza moved quickly to the truck, “Hope you don’t mind if I borrow this?” She motioned to the rake, knowing that if she really needed she wasn’t sure she would be able to swing it at someone like Alex had done with the shovel to her. Liza dug into her bag and took out the other small mask.

    “This might suit you a little better,” She grinned under her own mask. Eliza gently pulled the large mask off of Alex’s head and put it into the back of the truck. She faced the woman and twisted the elastic sides, looping them behind her ears as the mask covered her nose and mouth. While the bit of human interaction was distracting her, she finally snapped out of it when animalistic sounds started coming from down the streets.

    “… I-I think we need to go…”