You Only Lived Once

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by TickingTimebomb, Feb 19, 2013.

  1. Jacob Lawrence didn't remember much about his past life. He didn't recall that he had been a student at the local community college, studying English and hoping to be a teacher someday. He didn't remember how his family had gone into hiding shortly after reports of zombies - strange, human-like creatures that fed off the brains of mortal humans and turned them into one of them - and had spent weeks holed up in a small, subterranean apartment as a little transistor radio informed his family that the zombies were growing in number by the hour. He had no recollection whatsoever of when, one day when he had gone out in search of food for his family, the zombies had taken him by surprise, ripping mercilessly into his scalp and ignoring his blood-curdling screams as they dined on his nervous system. No, he didn't remember much of anything before he had woken up on the sidewalk one day, heart not beating, face a deathly pale hue, hair matted to the sides of his face with blood and a cold sweat. In fact, it had taken him a while to realize he wasn't always that way.

    That was several months ago, and in the time since then, 'life' - if one could call it that - consisted mainly of wandering the streets, sometimes alone and sometimes with makeshift teams, in search of food. That was basically it - eating, sleeping, eating some more... it was remarkable how similar being undead was to being a newborn. Food was starting to get scarce, though, as more and more humans became zombies. Competition was growing, their food source was dwindling, and that meant things were going to start getting tense, and fast. For now, though, many zombies had all come to the same realization: that by working together, they were more likely to find and capture their prey, and could share the spoils between the group. It was a shaky construct, but it was working for the time being.

    It was during one such group hunt that Jacob and five other zombies discovered a young family hiding out in a parking garage. It was dark, dank, and fairly pungent, but Jacob did not notice much of this. If there was fear on the humans' faces, that was also unbeknownst to him. All he knew was that he was hungry, there were living humans in the vicinity, and he was going to capture them. As the zombies moved in to surround the family, Jacob could already taste the sweet, filling tissue. This would be a good meal, indeed.
  2. Ashton could easily remember a better time. A time when the lazy afternoon days were filled with playing catch with his little brother Thomas or entertaining Rebecca during her doll's 'tea time'. Little sisters could be such brats if they didn't get their way, and he was wrapped around her finger. Thomas was just as loved as Rebecca by Ashton but he was also a boy and not as cute as he wanted. Rebecca was everything Ash could have asked for in a sister, cute and sweet and knew how to get her way. Their parents didn't quite agree and thought that punishment was what the spoiled child needed. And that was something else he could remember, protecting his little sister from every threat. Even if it was his parents.

    And that was when everything went to shit, more so than it already had anyway. During his time alone in their hide out of a house Ash would often think about the first time he had heard about the strange human like creatures that were eating their fellow man. He had been sitting in class, staring out the window as the teacher let the radio blast on his favorite news station. It hadn't been a favorite of anyone else in that classroom but that day they had all listened to what the radio host was saying. Ashton's first reaction was to pack up his stuff and run out of the classroom, hoping into his car and driving down to the Elementary School. He needed to pick up Rebecca and Thomas, and make sure that his little Princess was safe. All had been well and they had met up with their parents shortly after back at their home. The last few months they had spent running from place to place, never staying for long. Especially if they heard a horde on the move.

    But finally they had been caught and Ash could tell that they were out numbered. He watched as his father was taken down by two of the reanimated corpses and knew with a sickening gut feeling that he wouldn't be alive for much longer. But his only focus was to find Rebecca, she was the one they had left behind while they went into the super market across the street to pick up a few things. A shrill scream came from across the parking lot and his heart fell as he realized it belonged to his Rebecca.
  3. The family Jacob's gang had happened upon sure as Hell wasn't putting up much of a fight. He didn't mind, though; the less they struggled, the more quickly Jacob could eat and move on. As it was, some humans resisted until the bitter end, and that was always sort of a pain. For while Jacob was incorrigible, he definitely wasn't the strongest out there. It wouldn't be the first time Jacob had been chased off by some panicking mortal with a weapon.

    It seemed like the largest person in the group - he didn't think of this as a 'family' and so didn't realize it was the father - was being taken down, so the odds of him getting any of the spoils were slim to none. Turning away from that scene, he found a small female child standing frozen, apparently having discovered this all unfolding and becoming paralyzed with terror. A small person was ideal, for it meant he likely wouldn't have to share with the other zombies of the pack. Jacob didn't like sharing, especially when there was seemingly so little food around.

    Jacob made his way as quickly as he could over to this girl, easily lifting her up to eye level. "Mine..." he murmured with a fiendish grin. He licked his lips, literally, as he gazed at the top of her head. It didn't occur to him to listen to her shrieking, or notice her tears. He only had one thing on his rather underdeveloped mind, and it was what lay underneath all that pretty hair. "All mine..." It had been a while since he had eaten - longer than usual, mostly because he was having more trouble than before finding humans to feed off of - so he had a feeling he was going to enjoy this.

    ((Sorry this is super short - I didn't want to godmod, so I left it open for Ashton to rescue Rebecca if you want that. I figure maybe something can happen that endears one of our characters to the other, so eating his sister might not be the best idea XD But I leave it totally up to you!))
  4. ((Haha~ Yeah Ashy loves his Rebecca. xD And no worries. I suck sometimes with replies anyway. Just a heads up if anything sounds repetitive.))

    Ashton only spotted his sister when she was raised up into the air by one of the monsters. He ducked under the arm of an oncoming attack from a zombie and twisted out of the way of another as he ran for Rebecca. "Put her down." The words were whispered at first, since he knew they couldn't hear him. Or maybe they were just beyond the point of carry about their fellow man. A thing that had happened long before the virus had spread. "Put her down!" He shouted as he tackled the other boy to the ground, knocking Rebecca away from him in the process.

    His shoulder hit the ground as they skidded to a stop but he easily ignored the pain from all the adrenaline pumping through his system. So he pushed up from his spot on the ground and straddled the zombie boy, pinning his arms under his legs. "Don't touch my sister!" For a moment the thought crossed his mind to kill this thing, to end the life that had almost taken his reason for living. But it was something he had sworn to never do, hurt another person no matter how far gone they were. Violence wasn't in Ashton's nature and he hoped to never have to stoop so low as to harm another person. "Rebecca." His head jerked around to look at his frightened little sister. "Go home. I'll be right behind you." He only hoped that what he said would be true.

    ((Figured I'd throw in a reason for him to not kill a zombie. xD))
  5. By nature, a zombie was able to tune out the helpless cries of a mortal victim, like a lion could ignore the deafening screams of its prey as it tore into its flesh. That didn't mean they didn't hear the screams, per se - just that they could dismiss it as white noise. But when Ashton screamed at him as the boy ran towards him, Jacob heard the words. At this part of the parking garage, there was very little going on, and it rang up into the rafters. Jacob didn't respond in kind, though, instead murmuring a simple "No," as his teeth approached the girl's scalp.

    The force of the boy's weight crashing into him caused Jacob to drop the girl, himself falling to the ground only a moment later. This was one of those times when he wished he was stronger, for while this boy was younger and smaller in stature than he was, he still couldn't pry the other male off of him. "Off," he said forcefully, voice deep and raspy. "Get off..." He kicked his legs up, squirming beneath the boy's weight. The word 'sister' hit his ear, and for a moment the zombie paused. Sister... yes, he knew that word. It was like... family. Family: he'd had one of those. Hadn't he? Didn't all people have a family? And he was a human once, that he knew. He looked towards the girl, who was already retreating into the distance. "Sister..." He groaned thoughtfully, before turning back towards the boy. It was a matter worth considering, but for now he was simply too hungry to think about anything other than feeding. So he reached up, wrapping his hands around the boy's throat. "Off!" He repeated. He couldn't eat this kid while he was sitting on top of him, so his first objective was to remedy that situation. On the other side of the parking garage, a few of the other zombies had taken notice of this scene, and were starting to slowly approach them: Ashton would soon be outnumbered.
  6. Ashton's face twisted for a moment in disgust at the creature beneath him, and at the fact that he had actually touched one. Most people in his situation would have ended his sorry existence by now, but his only reason for staying there was to give Rebecca enough time to get away. He whipped his head around when he heard some more groaning and saw some other undead members heading his way. Must have heard me shouting, he cursed in his mind as he pushed up and away from the monster. For a moment he grew light headed, swaying on his feet, and knew it was because he hadn't eaten in days. But he quickly regained his bearings and took a step back and away from the thing on the ground.

    Giving the other boy one last look he took off running after Rebecca, taking a short cut thought so that if any of the zombies followed him they wouldn't find her till way later. Ash loved running, had even been on the Cross Country team before everything went to hell. Not that his parents ever cared, or even showed up at the meets to cheer him on. It wasn't until this happened that they even noticed just how fast he was, and found it a blessing. He found it to be a curse, along with him being the oldest. Because it was always him that they sent out on small gathering missions.

    It wasn't until he had taken a sharp turn around one of the buildings that he paused, chilled to the bone. "He talked..." He whispered to himself in the deserted street. That....thing...talked to me. The very idea was stupid, and for a moment he wondered if he had imagined it. Gotten so used to them that he was starting to turn their groaning into words. It was shocking because he had never heard them speak before, wasn't sure if they even could.
  7. Zombies could talk, but only in the most basic of ways: their grasp of the English language was mostly limited to common nouns. At least, that was the way it was for Jacob: he could think a lot more than he could talk, but his thoughts weren't really coherent to anyone but himself. Up until that moment, he hadn't remembered the word 'sister,' or that he had been part of a family back when he was among the living. The sudden memory had caused him to lose focus, even if just briefly, but it had been enough time for Ashton to escape. Jacob growled with anger, maneuvering hastily to his feet and taking off after the mortal. This boy was a lot faster than he was, and not just because zombies were naturally slower than humans. No, this boy was clearly very fast, and it was evident that Jacob had his work cut out for him.

    But eventually, he caught up - only because Ashton had stopped running - and was once again bearing down on the young male. He wasn't the only one, though: by that time, some other zombies were approaching from multiple directions, and Jacob had to decide what to deal with first: his hunger, or the fact that he didn't want to share with these newcomers. Going on instinct alone, the zombie turned around so that he was facing away from Ashton and out towards where the other zombies were. "Mine," he said simply, though this didn't seem to halt the other undead beings' progress. "Mine!" He repeated, more forcefully, moving so that Ashton was directly behind him: he had no interest in sharing this meal that he'd gotten on his own. Of course, he hadn't really captured Ashton yet, but he was assuming he could and wasn't worried about that part.

    A loud churning noise coming from up above caused Jacob to look curiously upward just in time to see a large metal bar hurdling down towards them; two stories up, a zombie had found that loose medal and was apparently planning on using it to kill the human, plus the zombie blocking his way to the brain he was after. Again acting on instinct alone, Jacob raised his hands up in time to catch the large piece of metal, holding it high above his head so that it wouldn't fall onto himself or Ashton. What good was a brain if it was splattered all over the place?

    Getting an idea, Jacob took the bar and flung it out towards where the other zombies were approaching. "MINE!" He screamed a third time, and that, coupled with the blunt object, seemed to do the trick, as the zombies gave up and retreated.
  8. Ashton felt like such an idiot, allowing the zombies time to catch up with him. And all because he was freaked out about hearing a zombie say a few words. He wasn't a master on these creatures and had never stuck around for a chat, so what did it matter if they could talk? But to him it did matter, because it meant that maybe there was a way of saving them. Not that he had much time to stop and worry about that when the group from before had caught up with him now.

    And yet another surprise found him in that moment, or at least that's what he took it like. The zombie boy from before that had been about to attack Rebecca actually called him his. As if he were an object and not a human being. The very thought of it caused rage to bubble up inside Ash, making him stand his ground. He was getting tired of letting these monsters do whatever they wanted, not to mention he was to close to their family's hiding spot to not lead them to Rebecca.

    So he stood there and watched as the smaller zombie tried to send the others away, making him miss the bar that was about to split open his head. Bet they'd like that. He thought bitterly for a moment, having accepted his death a long time ago. But the boy had grabbed the bar, with a strength that scared Ash, and threw it at the rest of the group. Apparently he wasn't much to fight for because they gave up easily, retreating and probably going off to find more willing food.

    "Hey." He snapped, wondering if the zombie would respond with more than one word. It was doubtful but he wanted to see what else their kind was capable of. Plus he knew that if things got hairy he could always take off. "Say something to me."
  9. Jacob's reasoning for protecting Ashton in this instance was quite simple: he was hungry, Ashton was a food source, and the zombies were competition. Getting rid of the other zombies, then, was his first priority, for it meant he wouldn't have to share his prey when he inevitably (in his mind) caught and killed it. He was glad that the strength of his voice and the heft of the scrap metal was enough to scare off the others, because beyond that he was completely out of ideas. Maybe it was luck, or maybe zombies were just really, really stupid.

    After watching them for a few minutes as they retreated around the corner, Jacob finally turned back towards the mortal boy, subconsciously licking his lips. He was hungry - very, very hungry by now - and he had been anticipating this moment for a long time. But then the boy was saying something to him, and Jacob was... listening to it. That was very different for him, and Jacob couldn't rightly explain why this boy's words were actually making sense to him. Well, they were words, that he knew, but it took him a moment to put them all together and make sense out of them. In fact, the two were standing there for nearly an entire minute before Jacob finally replied. "...Something." His voice was low, slow, and grainy, but the word was clear. In his mind, this boy had asked him to say something, and that was exactly what he had done. Exceedingly strange, though, was the fact that he was actually taking the time to understand the boy's words and make some of his own, rather than just moving in for the kill. But when he looked at this boy, he wasn't as hungry: he was just... intrigued. Why did this boy's words register with him when a mortal's screams and sobs usually fell on his deaf ears? He couldn't even fully process the question, let alone come up with an answer. "Something..." he repeated, curiously, eyebrows furrowing as though trying to understand not the word, which he got, but why he was saying it.
  10. Fear laced through Ashton for a moment, during the entire minute that it took the other boy to say one word he had been processing just how stupid he was for even entertaining the thought that these things could be anything other than beyond help. But still, he had stay to listen, wanting to know just what his parents and the others had been killing. "Can you only say one word at a time?" The words were out of his mouth before he could even stop them, stop them and end this stupid game. But then again everything that had happened today had been a little stupid. Leaving their hide out at this time when they knew a horde was coming in, leaving Thomas and Rebecca alone and giving them the chance to try and have an adventure like kids often did. So why not talk to a living dead creature as if he could actually understand him? It didn't seem to horrible of an idea in the face of everything else. And when it came down to it Ash could always tell himself that he was stalling for time, holding off the fact that he'd have to kill this thing. So while he waited for the next response his eyes roamed the street around them, searching for a weapon. Or maybe just something to scare the thing off.
  11. If Ashton wanted this conversation to end, then asking the slow-witted zombie another question wasn't the wisest move. Jacob looked down, as though literally retreating into his mind to think over what the boy had asked him, what it meant, and how he was supposed to respond. One of his hands lifted up, rubbing the back of his neck thoughtfully - a nervous fidget leftover from his mortal life - before finally responding. "...Yes." That was a little more zombie humor: he didn't quite get the joke, to be sure, but it had seemed like the right thing to say. Despite having been around twenty years old, this was all a bit much for him to take in at once. Words, words coming from a human, words that he was understanding and responding to... he couldn't comprehend what was going on, and could only go with the flow and hope it led to some food.

    Jacob followed the boy's gaze, eventually landing on the large piece of scrap metal that had almost fallen on top of them. He thrusted one of his pointer fingers in its direction, looking back at Ashton as though calling the younger male's attention to it. He vaguely recalled saving this boy's life. The way he saw it, the human owed him. The least Ashton could do, really, was give him his brain. Was that not a fair trade?
  12. Ashton smirked a bit, finding the fact that he answered his question with one word. Kind of proving that he couldn't really say more than one word at a time, at least that was how he saw it. What his attention was mostly on was the fact that he had rubbed the back of his neck, as if considering something like a human would. It made his smirk fall right off his face and turn into a confused frown. A frown that got deeper when he watched the zombie point at the pipe from before, trying to say something else. Or so Ash was assuming.

    "Uh huh..." He said slowly, nodding a bit. His feet took a small step back as he kept his eyes on the object. Then he quickly looked back at the zombie, wondering if he could notice that he was going to start running soon. "Look, this has been...fascinating. Really." He cracked a small smile, feeling like he usually did whenever he was talking to something that he knew couldn't, and wouldn't, understand him. "But I have more important business to attend to." Another small step, this time to the side. His plan was to run around the zombie and then the block, ending back up here. He was hoping that by the time he got back here he would have already lost the other boy.