So Comes Our Retribution: The Beginning IC

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The skies were dark, that's all the skies seemed to be these days. A drab color of grey that made one wish for the warmth of a cheerful sun upon their face from happier days of yonder, but instead they were met with a cold, dry wind blowing against their dirtied face and a post-apocalyptic world that screamed of death. There were no children laughing and playing in the streets, no passer byes saying their hellos, no ring of the doorway to a shop as a customer entered; only silence and an ever-present fear. The good old days were long since gone and instead there was simply the travesty of existence that plagued a world that was slowly dying. Yet all this was supposed to be part of some master plan set out by an entity simply known as The Red Death. In their eyes to obtain the glories of heaven, one must first travel through the depths hell.

Standing atop the remains of what might have been a skyscraper at one point in time, a mysterious masked figure looked upon the ruins of the city of Frebourne. The city was roughly the size of New York City, perhaps a bit smaller, and had all the landmarks of a once grand existence. But like everything else in the world, the glory days were over and the city was crumbling away. Through chaos comes order, and through death must come rebirth. Plans were slowly falling into place and The Red Death would see to it that things continued on unhindered. Their master plan would follow through and the world would be reborn again into it's second glorious coming of the golden days! God asks that the world become purified as he had done when he'd called upon Noah to build his ark. This time, he wants a total annihilation. A clean slate of which to work upon. His word compels me and so I shall carry on his one can stop the inevitable. With that thought, the mysterious figure turned and seemed to disappear into the shadows. . .


It was about mid-day as Kate continued to follow the abandoned road she'd been walking on for three days now. Her trusty German Shepard Orzo followed closely at her heels, stopping now and then and listening closely to whatever sounds there might be. The cracked, uneven roads could be somewhat difficult to traverse, but she seemed to have managed thus far. Soon she came upon the entrance of a large city. A long stretch of road led toward a tunnel and on the other side of the tunnel was the city of Frebourne, as the rusted sign made clear that she now was glancing at. The metal legs were corroding away, and it haphazardly dangled by a single corner ready to fall at any given strong wind. Glancing down at her companion, Kate stroked Orzo's ears, "I guess we're heading to Frebourne, think things will go any better this time around?" She asked, not expecting an answer from the dog. Orzo only yawned, his pink tongue curling back into his mouth, as they pushed forward . . .

The road was long and arduous, but she finally stood at the gaping dark hole of the tunnel that would lead her to her next destination. She was never a large fan of tunnels. They were long, dark, and perfect hunting grounds for any of the three types of monsters that plagued the earth: Zombie, Scavenger, and Dark Beasts. Orzo whimpered softly, but this was the most direct route. Kate hadn't come this far to just give up. Taking out her flashlight from her belongings she shined it down the dark passage and took a deep breath, "come on Kate pull yourself together" she said to reassure herself as she plunged into the darkness with Orzo . . .

They were about half way through the tunnel before running into the trouble. Most of the Scavengers had cleared out and gone to other places to rest for the day, but a select few, her guess about 6, had made their sleeping arrangements in the tunnel. Kate happened to shine her light upon them and almost gasped, but kept it in. However, in the process of trying to sneak past she'd hit the remainder of a rundown car that had been left to rot as the bumper fell off and clattered to the ground alerting the sleeping Scavengers there was someone or something there. Without wasting time she opened fire at the nearest ones, killing two, and took off at a sprint, "Go!" she shouted to Orzo ordering him to run forward. He did so and emerged on the other side barking in surprise as Kate followed in a mad sprint. Behind her were scattered four Scavengers awake and smelling her pumping blood. Turning her upper torso some she aimed a few more shots behind her before her gun clicked empty, "Fuck!" Climbing over a car she slid down the hood and landed taking off again as she caught up to Orzo.

The three remaining Scavengers continued the chase even as she entered into the narrow streets of Frebourne city. They stumbled and covered their eyes when they left the darkness of the tunnel, but the over cast skies allowed them enough tolerance to bear being out in the light. Their hunger driving them further. Letting out horrid hissing and cries, the chase continued. Kate glanced a second over her shoulder, I need a plan! She holstered her empty gun and grabbed her bat for her next line of defense, all the while scanning what she could to seek a window of opportunity for escape. She needed to find a patch of sun or bright light, that would keep them at bay.
Musical Score: Ich Will - Rammstein

the scavengers feet pounded the pavement as they chased Kate, following her around a corner one of them stumbled and fell, a glint of silver embedded in the back of its head.

as the other two continued onwards a something moved in the shadows behind them, very low and animal like, the shadowy figure made a throwing motion, and a silver knife slammed into an abandoned car between the scavengers, with a snarl the crouched figured moved switly, closing the distance between itself and the scavengers with a snarl of fury, twin flashes of silver left its hands and one of the two scavengers fell, the two knives embedded in its skull.
Thirty-five-year-old Malcolm Reed was drifting below a very fine line of consciousness before the first gunshot rang out. He had gone for three days without sleep. Dark circles had formed under his eyes since then, and it was a formidable struggle to so much as keep his head lifted. He'd found shelter inside of an abandoned police station one week prior, after having been involved in an unexpected skirmish on the outskirts of Frebourne. Scavengers were sneaky sons of bitches. Smart, too. He'd gotten away with little more than a few nicks and bruises. The other members in his party weren't so lucky. There had been four of them in all, but by the time all was set and done, he was the only one left.

There were other survivors, but their numbers were dwindling by the day. The gunshot that filtered through the makeshift metal barrier was a sign that there was somebody else out there, but that this somebody was also in danger. Malcolm was outside within a matter of seconds, with a Glock pistol raised and trained on the forehead of the Scavenger closest to the woman all four were pursuing. Before he was able to pull the trigger, it pitched forward and fell face-first onto the pavement. Something was sticking out of the back of its head.

Before he had time to register what it was, two more identical-looking objects careened through the air and slammed into the skull of another undead. Now there were two left, and they were gaining speed. Neither one spotted the man wearing the black tracksuit with white trim until it was too late.

Two nine millimeter bullets were spat from the barrel of his gun. The first round whistled past the woman's left ear and slammed into the Scavenger behind her. The second round sunk into the last's right eye socket. Both creatures emitted nauseating gurgles before collapsing satisfactorily to the ground.

Malcolm pulled his finger off the trigger and lowered his arm. His eyes, glazed with suspicion, scanned the girl in front of him for any noticeable marks. Bite marks, to be specific.

"Are you hurt?"
Erin had been in hiding for longer then she had remembered. She had made her home at the Frebourne Museum where she had found her katana, the very same one that could be found in her hands the moment she had heard the gunshots. In that moment Erin was torn between investigating the gunshots and running back to her shelter. The thought of others thrilled and frightened her.

After a moment of inner debate she decided to investigate the sounds of gunshots. As she wandered closer she saw a man running towards a woman firing twice and taking down a couple of scavengers that were giving chase. Erin slid her katana back into the sheath and slowly creeped around the corner of the decrepit building, her long red locks cascading behind her as she walked. She counted two of them, a woman and a man, the woman being much younger. Then her eyes flicked to the dog that was heeling at its master's legs calmly. It had been so long since Erin had seen a real dog and not one that was trying to kill her.

Erin crept slowly closer, a strange fascination with the others, her hands pressed together, fingers laced as she walked, hunched slightly and her head tilted ever so slightly to the left.
Everything occurred faster than Kate could really comprehend. She'd seen something silver flash behind her from the reflection off a broken piece of glass. Thud. One heavy body went down. Orzo began to bark and growl but Kate urged him on. Then Bang bang! Two bullets came careening toward her, one grazing just past her left ear. Now that startled her as she skidded to a halt and almost fell flat on her face. Using her momentum she'd spun partially around to see the remaining Scavengers fall to the ground with deathly gurgles coming from their lips. With noting to catch her she fell to the ground into a slightly seated position, adrenaline pumping and heart racing. Orzo continued to bark, keeping close distance to Kate and pacing back and forth.

Breathing heavily from the sprint, she looked up realizing a voice was speaking to her. Her eyes fell upon a middle aged man with a black track suit with white trim. Dark circles were evident around his eyes almost giving him a haunted appearance, but Kate knew that look all to well. He carefully scrutinized her as he spoke, "Are you hurt?" Orzo crouched low and growled, warning the man to stay at bay until his master told him otherwise. Kate gently stroked his ears as he whimpered some and calmed, licking her face contently and wagging his tail.

"Good boy" she said to Orzo first before turning her attention back to the man, "A little bruised but otherwise fine. Thanks," she said pushing herself back to her feet and dusting herself off. She hadn't been planning for quite the entrance into this strange new city. Glancing around her eyes fell upon another female with red hair, slightly hunched, and her head tilted to the left a bit. "Seems we have more company, hopefully alive company" she said nodding toward the woman. Orzo's ears flicked as he groaned a bit and sniffed the air. Kate glanced at the trail of Scavengers laying dead and walked toward the nearest with the knives sticking out of its skull. She crouched down beside it, "These yours?" she asked Malcolm, gripping the knives by the handle and pulling them out of the Scavenger.

At least two other survivors, perhaps a third, were in this city. This might be a good sign, or it could be another failure, only time would tell.
Layla was walking back to the house she had claimed as her own, she had been living in it for a couple of weeks. It was old but large and she kept it immaculately clean inside, and it was one of the few buildings still intact and standing. Her wedge tailed eagle Fawkes was flying overhead keeping an eye out for the infected, she begun to daydream her mind on her brother. She was snapped out of her daydream by the sound of gunshots, she drew her own gun and started hesitantly towards the sound. Fawkes landed on her shoulder and she emerged from behind a building and saw three survivors, a man, a woman with a German Shepard and another woman trying to hide. She pointed her gun at them all looking at them with a hard un-trusting look, "hey are you guys clean?" She asked firmly while looking them over for bite marks or bleeding wounds.
The air was thick with tension, the smell of rotting flesh rising as the scavengers corpses continued to leak dark speckled blood onto the filthy asphalt, as a gun was raised a man, for the shadowy figure was definitely a man, moved and collected his knives from the head of the scavenger, his movements silent, so as not to alert the woman that held her fellows at gunpoint.

"And Lo, the weak are sorted from the strong" he crooned, and the woman with the gun turned, pointing her weapon at his crouching form
"little one, caution is advised, these silver slivers do so love to fly" he indicated with his eyes towards the hand he held bent above his head, and the silver knife clutched by the tip, ready to be thrown. the smile that emerged from the matted hair of his beard seemed to amplify his filthy, dirt encrusted state, the pearly white teeth gleaming amidst a blackish brown clump.
"These yours?" the woman asked, pulling the knives out of the dead Scavenger. Malcolm shook his head.

"No. Whoever threw them has some damn good aim, though."

They were joined by two - no, make that three - other people. Agitated, he tightened his hold around the handle of his gun. The two women who joined them looked normal, and didn't display any physical signs of the infection. But who knew? He kept a wary eye on that shifty-looking man, though. For all any of them knew, he was criminally insane. He certainly looked like it.

"Hey are you guys clean?"

"Yeah. We're clean."
Erin watched with curiosity as the people continued to talk. There were gestures towards her and the dangling question of whether or not she was alive or...something else. Erin continued walking towards them and the dog, she always liked dogs when she was little but the ones she had seen recently were monstrous shades of their former selves.

As Erin was about to speak another girl appeared with a handgun and forced it out, demanding to know if they were clean. It seemed that the man answered for them but Erin felt that she was still a question, looking as she did.

"I am clean as well..." Erin nodded, her voice carried well despite being so quiet, it had an almost melodic quality. With her piece spoken she crouched down and tilted her head to the right while looking at the dog.
This most certainly wasn't what Kate had expected to find upon coming to this city. She had been traveling for what seemed like weeks and seen no sign of life other than wild creatures. Come to this city and it seemed survivors were sprouting out of the cracks in the streets and rifts in the buildings. Strange how life did that. It seemed they were all clean so there was no reason to really be at unease, right? Still, it was hard to gain trust in these times and Kate kept her hand tightly upon her gun, though her finger stayed along the side of the gun in a safe position.

As Erin crouched before Orzo, who sat panting still next to Kate, he tilted his head along with her in a mimicking fashion. He was just as curious as to what she was doing as she was of seeing a dog that wasn't infected. His tail began to lightly thump against the ground, his tongue lulling out of the side of his mouth some. Glancing down at her companion, Kate finally began to lower her gun, "do any of you have food and shelter? We've been traveling a while now without much of either..." her eyes scanned carefully around the rag tag group. It was sad to see what humanity had been downgraded to, this was probably part of the cream of the crop left, it was a pitiful existence.

Her eyes quickly moved over toward the Corpseman. Of the group, he disturbed her the most, but he had assisted first in saving her, so perhaps he could be trusted. Then again, someone with that good of aim and precision knife throwing was never one to fully trust.
The Corpseman, ignored by all but the dog and its master, snorted as the woman spoke of shelter and food, and as he rose from his crouched position he responded
"cowardice is weakness" he said to Layla and Malcom, before turning to Kate
"Refuge? so long as your aim is true and strength remains refuge is of no concern" he muttered, moving forwards and holding out his hand, looking at his knives
"would you deprive a painter of his brushes?" he whispered, flashing a feral grin from behind his matted beard.
Layla lowered her weapon to her side but kept it in her hand ready to use it if necessary, she looked to Kate "i have both you are welcome to it." She looked to the others "as are you if you need it." She turned her attention to the Corpseman staring at his face he looked so familiar like she knew him from years ago. "You" she said drawing his focus to her "have we met before? because i swear i know you." Fawkes spread his massive wings before landing on Layla's shoulder who didn't react in the slightest still waiting for the Corpseman's response.
Erin smiled warmly at the dog as he mimicked her movement. She liked this dog, and it was rare for her to share kinship with anything lately. The girl's owner seemed of a nice sort as well so Erin wouldn't leave them behind the others however, she didn't trust fully especially the one with the knives, he in fact, frightened her and it took all of her will not to shoot him from her position.

"A place? Of safety?" Erin asked quietly, repeating the question in her mind. "I stay at the museum..." She said quietly, tilting her head and watching the dog follow her movements much to her amusement.
As the corpseman approached Kate and asked in a rather cryptic way if he could have his knives back, she took a hesitant step back. However, he had saved her from the Scavengers that had attacked. Carefully she reached out and handed the objects back to him before glancing around the small group. It seemed more than one person had shelter and food to spare for a woman and a dog. Orzo seemed to have made a friend with one of the females, his tail thumped happily on the ground. "It seems there is more than one place of shelter, however since there seems to be more of us now, why don't we choose a location and take shelter together? Safety in numbers, right?" she suggested. Orzo continued to remain entranced with Erin, but finally he broke the mimicry behavior and moved forward licking her hand some. Kate glanced at Orzo then back around the small group. Well this was certainly...awkward.

Suddenly from the tunnel there came a loud clatter as if an animal of some sort were making its way through the wreckage. Kate became rigid as she glanced quickly around. It could be a harmless animal, or it could be something worse. She never liked to stick around to find out, "Well I vote to go to whichever place is closest, but I'm going to get moving" she said whistling a moment, "come on boy" she said to Orzo as he snorted some adn turned to follow after his master.
It had been two weeks since Kate and Orzo had their entrance into this strange city. They'd gone from place to place, but had since parted ways with the small group of people they'd ran into originally. It was usually what happened in these situations. That and the fact that Kate was looking for the source of the disease, instead of moving away from it as most other survivors were trying to do.

Currently it was mid-day, but it was a cloudy day out, threatening to rain. Kate was holding out that it wouldn't, but she couldn't be too sure. Food supplies had ran virtually out, so she was out hunting for anything she could capture. Orzo tagged close at her heels sniffing the air and keeping her alert. The place was over run with wild animals, just like every other destroyed city she'd been too, but at least she knew there were other 'normal' people about. Stalking forward in a clump of tall grass, she peered through to see a group of deer grazing along the road. Grass had grown through cracks in the pavement. Preparing her gun, a hunting rifle she'd acquired in her scavenges the last few days, she took careful aim. Orzo crouched beside her waiting patiently.

Waiting for the right conditions, she poised her gun to shoot...BANG. The shot hit its target as the other deer scattered. Moving forward, the deer lay dead before her as she crouched down to take the meat she needed, bringing out her hunting knife. Opening the deer, she began her process, Orzo keeping careful watch. Something in the air was agitating him, but Kate ignored it for the time being.
Erin had split from the group much more quickly then she should've. She was just afraid of letting others close to her. The one with the dog seemed nice enough however. She continued to hole up in the museum for two weeks but the threat was getting a bit closer each day. Soon she couldn't afford to stay there anymore and had to flee while there was a bright patch of sun. Before she left she made sure to grab her flashlight but also grabbed a large mining lamp that was in one of the childlike exhibits and made sure that it still had power to it. It was a lot brighter then her regular flashlight and would be better to keep the creatures away.

She had run through the city and had finally found an old run down apartment building at the corner of town overlooking a park. It looked safe enough so she quickly took refuge in the second floor, high enough up that the windows couldn't be smashed in but if she needed to get out it wouldn't be a fatal fall. After holing up in the apartment she heard a gunshot from somewhere outside and went to the window to look.
The Deer thundered away from the Herd, oblivious to the fact it bolted towards another threat.

a black shape lunged from a tree at the last second and the Deer moved to turn, but sharp objects lanced into its neck and it felt its entire world tilt as it was dragged to the ground.

Its panic and pain lasted only a scant second longer before something stabbed into it's head and oblivion claimed it.

The Corpseman skinned and butchered the animal, taking choice cuts of meat for eating, a few for broth and a bone or two for the dog, with whom he had built a kind of affinity, which, when one considered it, was not all too far fetched, considering that both were animals with a capacity for violence and cunning predatory instincts.

he turned to Kate, tearing a small raw chunk of meat off a bone with his teeth as he did so

"Lo, more fule for the fire that shall scour the world of the weak" he called, smiling with bloodied teeth.
Kate glanced up from her own work as the Corpseman grinned down at her while tearing into his own hunk of meat. Orzo sniffed the air and trotted contently toward Corpseman. The two seemed to have built a relationship of sorts, it seemed. Normally Corpseman's presence would unsettle Kate, but these weren't normal times. He'd come to her assistance a few timed in the past two weeks, and he had been among her original saviors upon coming to this fallen city. She stood from her kneeling position a moment to stretch, "supplies are running low, so this will last a while. Has there been anymore sight of any of the other people since I first came here? I sense that there is something bad building int he distance. Perhaps a storm? If that's the case we'll be in for a rude awakening. Storms are their friends" their referring to scavengers and dark beasts. The shadows created by stormy weather made it prime hunting time for the two groups, and they could stay out longer due to lack of light.

In one of the last cities she'd been through before arriving in Frebourne, a huge storm had rolled through casting the city into darkness for three days straight. She'd been with a group of about 6 other people, and by the end of the storm, her and Orzo were the only ones left. It was a harsh reality, but that was the world they were living in these days. All because some lunatic, or lunatics, decided the world needed to be completely purged because of 'bad behavior'. Now, Kate didn't think that evil didnt' exist in the world, but she didn't see that as a reason to bring about the end of human kind. There was good still left, and people could learn from mistakes.

Sighing at the thought she returned to her work until she had a good hunk of meat and other parts she could use. Storing them in the bag she'd brought along, she slung it over her shoulder and turned as she heard a rustling in the bushes. Orzo lifted his ears, but the rustling ceased and seconds later a small group of hungry wolves crept forward sniffing the air and snarling a bit. Kate sighed and turned, "best be on our way then" she moved forward, but the wolves didn't follow. They simply went to feast on what was left of the deer she'd torn apart. Orzo gave a soft bark before following at Kate's heels.

"Maybe if I could capture a live specimen I could try to test out some anti-serum..." She'd also been gathering some equipment to work with in her time in Frebourne. Perhaps this would be the place she'd find a cure? Any little hope she could keep was something. Glancing up at the sky, shielding her eyes from the soft light, she frowned, "shit" no sooner had the words escaped her lips that a storm cloud began to quickly roll in and the rumbling of thunder echoed through the air. A drizzle started and then a downpour as she hurried forward. Great stuck in the middle of a thunderstorm with fresh meat...I'm just screaming to be hunted myself now she thought to herself as she tried to calculated the quickest route back to her base of operation.

All the while, from the safety of the shadows, quietly waiting, eyes watched her hungrily pass.