Valley of Death: The Forest

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Professor Crane

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The mud is thick around the forest. The first sign some might say, as to what the forest is like now. The edge of the forest immediately grows darker. The trees have not changed though, they are as they were before all of this.

Probably the most disturbing aspect is the quiet. The packs don't make a sound as they roam the forests. The brutes slumber throughout, waiting for something to disturb them. The monsters won't be heard until the deeper parts, where they roam.

It's what could be closest to what is called dawn. The deepest darkness that exists now is starting to lift, but no light shines through, it is only different in that extra light is not always needed. The mud clung to the group as the moved closer to the forest, the only thing making a sound.
[ame=""]YouTube- Apocalyptica - Pray![/ame]

Evy tried her damned hardest to keep up with the rest of the group, her small, narrow feet padding as quietly as they could through the thick, dark mud; its grip trying to pull her in, it seemed, and would let go with a sucking sound, like a hungry animal, she cringed at each footstep, hoping it would not be heard. She suddenly softly cursed, trying to keep her voice down, a over-grown root that was sticking out of the mud dragged along her calf, gashing it. It hurt, gods, it hurt, but she knew that it wasn't deep enough to worry about, or to stop and take care of. But, even though she tried her best to fight it, those few tears stubbornly fell down her cheeks as a small trickle of blood ran down her leg. She tried her best to keep the pressure off that leg, and at the same time, keep up with the rest of the group. Her fear of infection was not nearly as big as the fear of being left behind and facing what was in this forest by herself.

Evy shifted the pack on her back, trying to keep herself from getting too sore, which was a objective she was quickly failing in reaching. Her bangs were plastered to her forehead with sweat, her eyes were bloodshot with stress. She had been quiet since they had said that they were taking care of this forest first. She hadn't said a word to anyone, which worried her now. Were any of them suspecting her for keeping quiet, thinking that she could be somehow infected? If she was asked, she would tell the truth, She was afraid of wolves.... she was afraid of the pack.... she was damned afraid of getting killed by them more than anything else. And she only had supplies, really, to take care of other people, she couldn't turn a tool used to save, into something to use to defend herself. It would feel wrong to try and use a scalpel to try and defend herself. It wasn't enough, anyways. And she wouldn't know how to... She never took defense classes, really, and she didn't even know how to fight. She knew she was the weakest link, but she prided herself on the redeeming factor of being able to help the other people in the group if they needed tending to.

Evy watches the others in the group trudge through the same muck as her, watching the strain on their faces, wondering about the mental and physical impact that this horrid apocalypse had taken on them, how everyone's mental state had weakened in ways no one could have wished on anyone. How the physical impediments such as wounds and broken bones could have killed them off if not in this group. She already knew enough of how these things felt. Some of her fingers in both of her hands had dislocated or broken, and she had twisted her thumb in a way it wasn't supposed to go. As for mental ailments, she was still twisted up over how her husband had tried to leave her.... taking their only child with him. He had said, that she, SHE was to blame for a failing marriage, for not being at home, with him, trying to help keep everything ok, to help reassure their child that everything was fine. But she couldn't have! She was trying to save lives at the hospitals! Trying desperately to save people! She was doing a job she knew that she could do! She had to do it! But.... he left, with their little girl. Where? There was no where to leave to, no where to possibly go, but still, he had tried. And figures that the last time he came to see her, a mutant has brutally destroyed him and Natalie.... She had no doubt that this all combined, had lead to a very unhealthy outlook on life, but there was a little silver lining in the fact that she wasn't dead yet.
Joseph panted, a hammer being twirled in his hand, the only thing making sense to him in the world. His legs, strong from the natural lifting he did in his job and pastime, moving refrigerators, furniture, etc was paying off for him, the mud a little more than an annoyance. Mud squelching beneath his boots, he looked back, seeing Evy slowly falling farther and farther behind them, slowing down a bit so she could catch back up, knowing that while she was the weakest out of them, she was also the only one that could do something should a serious injury present itself. Luckily, no such event had passed, all of them in relative good health, at least physically.

The hammer Joseph held in his right hand twirled around, his weapon of choice as the mallet was a bit too heavy for him to constantly hold. If it weren't for the tricky footing in this dense forest, he'd most likely be fiddling with some sort of contraption, but he had to make do with what was available. Unlike Eve, he had manage to sustain conversation with the rest of their group, coming up with the plan to clear out the forest first. The place offered protection and the possibility of food, hence making it an attractive option.

As Joseph mulled over past events, the utter silence of the forest shocked him. Not a damn thing, other than their own ruckus, could be heard. Not the birds, or insects, or even a stray deer. It was as if the forest was watching them, waiting for them to leave themselves vulnerable, if they weren't already. Breath quickening, not from exhaustion but from fear, Joseph had to focus his mind to block the fear from overwhelming him, the hammer twirling ever faster.
It's been one week.

One week since the unit was wiped out by those monsters. Three days ago my spotter was killed by a Sleeper. I've kept to myself since then, save for when I came across these two.

Evy, a medic, worse for wear and falling behind.

Joseph, a handyman and the stronger of the two.

If given the option I would have left them both to the elements but my mission.

The battalion's mission was to preserve as many lives as possible. Over six hundred men killed. Six hundred well armed, well trained soldiers, dead.

And I'm the sole survivor. Trudging through the forest with a pair of civvies, all of us worse for wear.

I'm going to tempt fate.

What's the worst that could happen?
Evy stopped suddenly, her eyes twitched around, head on a swivel. Frantic.

"I.... I.... think I heard something...." She meekly said, trembling. Her whole body showed that she was scared. Frightened beyond belief. She stared around them, expecting something to leap out at them, but nothing came.... Was she going crazy? Did she actually hear something? Paranoia? She tried to breath, her whole body tensed up to fight or run. She then listened, trying to ignore her pounding heart.


Evy sighed, realizing it was probably nothing, muttered "sorry" and followed after the other two. All she had ended up doing, was slow everyone down. She walked quicker, then looked up at the others, trying to hide her embarrassment at what she had done. She tried to focus, tried to walk faster, finally catching up with the two. Joseph seemed to be going about this methodically... he didn't seem to be trapped in his head, he just walked and.... twirled that hammer.... But the soldier, the look on his face almost scared her. Ever since they all joined up, he had a way of making her feel almost inferior for being a civilian. She finally caught up, only a few steps behind Joseph. Already trapped in her head again.

She was thinking about her husband, how things were, their marriage, the birth of their child, birthdays, anniversaries. And her last words to him was "Fuck you". Her heart was in her throat, ashamed of all that had happened.
Joseph tensed up as Evy cried out, his ears straining to hear the sound that had set Evy on such high guard, but unable to pick up anything. He looked around, seeing hearing sensing nothing, as if they had walked into a void of the undead, the landscape a dull grey from the lack of penetrating sun, as if the underworld was sucking the life out of this forest. He sighed as Evy decided that she was mistaken, continuing on deeper into the forest, following the lead of the soldier, the land getting a little firmer, the squelching that had accompanied them so far slowly dieing, as if an old friend was departing.

The hammer, never still, just twirled and twirled, representing the chaos that he was trying to avoid in his head, the twisted vortex of agony that threatened to overwhelm him every moment he was conscious. It sometimes got to the point of where he wanted to just give up, but he had to keep fighting, if not for his life then the life of his 2 companions. And the hammer, ever twirling, his anchor to the real world...
One of the packs was watching the group. They were coyotes, they backed of at Evi's cry. How could they know? the pack communicated to each other. The leader looked at one of the coyotes and it ran off. Let's get them nervous before we start the attack. the leader communicated. After that the pack scattered.

Shortly after two coyotes were on the other side of the group, across from the majority of the pack, let out a howl.
Evy screamed immediately, hands over her ears, falling to her knees. This was beyond fear. This was a phobia come true.


She screamed her religious spiel as only an atheist would. She had no faith, lost it more than ten years ago, but her extreme fear pushed her to find some reasoning for the hell they were enduring. It was the only bit of solace she could find, that she could blame this upon some being or entity. She sunk into a curled up position, sobbing and screaming, trembling as well.

"Oh god..... Oh god..... Oh god.... Oh..... Oh.... FUCKING DAMMIT! WHY THE HELL DO WE HAVE TO DO THIS?! I'M SICK OF ALL THIS SHIT!"

Evy screamed hoarsely as she grabbed a large part of a dead tree, it came off easily and she threw it in the direction of the howl, although, the branch didn't travel nearly as far as she wanted it to. Her anger grew by tenfold.


She grabbed anything within reach and threw it in the howl's direction, finally she exhausted, but her anger refused to be deminished, so she pushed her body forward, this time catching up with everyone and coming a little behind the soldier.

"I fuckin' hate canines." She muttered angrily.