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Cry rode down the empty road, her bike growling. She was coming into a small town, hopefully abandoned. She rode slower as she neared closer. She looked around to make sure she was alone.
Leigh Darling|Mood: Anxious|With: Bethany
Leigh carefully watched outside the small house he and a girl were occupying. Her name was Bethany, and they had found each other. Deciding he wanted at least someone else to be around, they went together. And she was hot, he enjoyed looking at hot ladies. He looked back into the house for a second, noticing she was still asleep. When he looked back outside, he got tense as a figure came into view. However, it was riding a bike. As far as he knew, zombies didn't ride bikes. He looked over at Bethany again, and went over to her. "Hey." He shook her awake. "There's a person outside, I'm gonna go check it out." He told her, grabbing his gun. He quietly made his way outside, raising the gun. He stayed hidden, not planning on saying anything unless she stopped.
Ramon Alvarez|Mood: Joyful|With: A Dead Zombie
One earbud in his left ear, Ramon practically skipped down the highway, trying to find a car that actually had gas and wasn't wrecked. He had a backpack on his back, and his spiked bat in his right hand. A CD player was attached to the strap of his pack. He looked around, hearing a banging down the road. He made his way over, finding a woman belted into the passenger seat of a blue car. She was obviously dead, and for a while too. He opened the door, smashing her head in. One less opportunity for it to join the horde.
Bethany Owen|Mood: Tired|With: Leigh
Bethany awoke with a start when her partner shook her. She looked up, nodding to what he was going to do. She scurried to the window with her pistol, aiming it outside. She wouldn't shoot unless an actual shootout occurred. She yawned a bit, still a bit drowsy from just waking up. She watched Leigh, staying quiet. She didn't like Leigh. He was a jerk. He was likely going to stab her in the back when he had the chance, but she had a plan to run away if he became too suspicious.
Cry stopped and parked her bike. She slowly took off her helmet and ran a hand through her messy red hair. She set it down and grabbed her crossbow, looking around to make sure there where no zombies around. She pulled out a bottle and took a sip of water.
Bryyan took another drag. It had been weeks sine he had his last cigarette, but thankfully his most recent quarry just so happened to have been carrying a pack when they were taken by the infection. The aforementioned quarry sat slumped against the wall, solemnly quiet, beneath a large red splotch that was once a person's brain matter. The smoking gentleman stared at this splotch trying to read any patterns, any clues to what may come next. But the gods were fickle that day. A low grumble issued from outside, stopped shortly as the engine cut. Another traveler. That motorcycle would be invaluable. So would the supplies. Hopefully, the poor soul would be taken by the horde, and not looters. He tapped the last ash from the butt and ground the smoldering tip against the hardwood floor. He himself would likely not interfere with the traveler's goings-on, unless this traveler proved to be a potential ally. Humans were dangerous and untrustworthy. As spiteful as they were, he could at least trust the Unrested.
She sees movement and puts her helmet on, heading toward it quickly and quietly. She held her crossbow out and looked around. She glared as she saw anoyher zombie. She shot it in the head quickly and walked over. She stepped on its jaw as she pulled out the arrow. She had her hair up so they couldn't tell her identity, since she was very flat chested. She sighed, wiping the blood off on her pants.
Briar Rose coasted to let her trike and trailer slow to slightly faster than a walking pace before pedaling slowly to maintain that speed. Up in the road ahead was a human form with its back to her. Human or zed? Shading her eyes, she could see that he was skipping, odd round-ish white things bouncing at his waist as he did so. Man, then. The jolly act of skipping almost made her speed up a bit and call out to him, but something held her back. I'm noticing confusion, she thought. The white things didn't look like any model of bag or canteen that she knew of. He had a stick or bat, but she reminded herself that being armed and ready was simply a necessity these days. He wore a backpack--again, a necessity. The rest of his clothes seemed nondescript at this distance. He looked around warily, but thankfully didn't turn all the way around and thus spot her.
His face looked oddly pale from the side, but she'd only gotten a glimpse. Perhaps he was wearing some kind of mask? That's actually not a bad idea, she thought. If one gets into a melee with zeds, there's a non-trivial risk of blood splatter hitting one's face. She shuddered. I think I should try to find something like a set of safety goggles and a filter mask as soon as I reach a town.
The man directed his attention to a car up ahead. Motion inside the car: almost certainly a zed. A person could either get out of the car, or get into the driver's seat and drive it instead of flailing at the passenger's window. The man opened the door dispatched the zombie with brutal efficiency. Briar Rose felt a chill at the sight. But it's something people have to do, she reminded herself. Since his attention was on the car, she decided to risk getting a little closer. With a little luck, she'd be able to steer the Golden Lion off the road and hide it, and herself in the bushes before he got the car going, if she decided to avoid him.
Electric terror shot through her when the man's grisly trophies became recognizable. Images of cannibal headhunting flashed through her mind. Briar Rose felt her gorge rise; she only barely managed to lean over in time to throw up on the pavement instead of on herself or the Lion. Her head snapped back toward the man, eyes wide with terror. There was a good chance he'd heard her...
Leigh Darling|Mood: Guarded|With: Cry and Bethany
When the person stopped, and killed a zombie, Leigh walked out from where he was hiding, clicking the safety off on his gun. "Hands where I can see them." He ordered, finger on the trigger. "Place your weapon on the ground. No sudden movements, or I light you up." He glared behind his sunglasses. He wasn't about to get shot by this person. He also wasn't about to get robbed by this person. He hadn't finished looting the houses yet.
"Now, what are you doing here?" He asked, slowly walking forward. She'd probably have something of use on her, and that crossbow would make a nice secondary weapon. He could search her, and then either finish her off or send her on her way to her very likely doom. Or, if she was lucky, he could use her in future endeavors.
Ramon Alvarez|Mood: Wary|With: Briar Rose
Ramon snapped his head in the direction of retching. He pulled out the ear bud, and turned off his music. That could have been anything. He had heard worse noises from the zombies, so it didn't cancel out the fact that it could have been one. However, it also didn't mean it wasn't human. Keeping his bat at the ready, he walked forward to where he heard it. Soon, he noticed a young girl on a trike. It was a pretty pimped out trike, too. He lowered his guard a bit, staying where he was. He wasn't going to completely lower it. He knew that people could be crazy, even little kids.
"Hey, you shouldn't be by yourself." He spoke to her, voice a bit muffled from his costume. He gestured around the area with his bat. "Place is crawling with these things." He then held out a hand. "Call me El Hueso." He spoke with a smile, though it couldn't be seen. "You can come with me. I don't hurt the still living." He knew she was likely still wary. He wasn't going to force her to come, that was for sure.
Bethany Owen|Mood: Scared|With: Leigh and Cry
Keeping a lookout, Bethany kept her gun raised. She was starting to get out of her haze. She listened to Leigh, not liking that he was threatening the person. She knew allies were important, and any potential ones should be treated with respect. She shook her head, watching the two. It was then she noticed a shambler behind Leigh. It was still a ways away, but it was moving towards him. She was torn. Shout and give away her position? Shoot and lure the horde their way? Leave and try to get to it before it got him? She wasn't sure. She pulled the hammer back, ready to take a shot if it came to that. "Leigh!" She tried to call soft enough that he would hear. It didn't work.
"We're both survivors kid..." She said. She had a voice box that made her voice sound low and deep. "You should just put down the gun. We can talk. I'm guessing you want the bow? Or the bike? I'm sorry but you can't. These where the last things I got from my dad. And if you even try to steal them, I'll kill you." She turned around. Her visor was tinted so you couldn't see her face. "Believe me, I really don't have anything you would want. Maybe some water and a couple of candy bars, but that's it." She slung her crossbow over her back and crossed her arms, tapping where her chin would be. "Oh and I think I have a couple comic books too..." She mumbled. "Oh, and you should be careful." She took out a hand gun with a small silencer on it. Before he could react she shot the zombie behind him, dead in the center of his forehead. "You keep threatening people and you'll get yourself killed."
Tatterdemalion frowned. The wheelbarrow was really quite hopeless. Oh, she could paint it with colorful patterns, and perhaps drill holes around its edge to hang feathers and fetishes from, but it would never be a thing of beauty or charm to pass on to progeny. If it would even last that long. Like nearly everything else created by the lost civilization she was looting, it possessed not one iota of the romance that came with the words "lost civilization." Starkly, brutishly utilitarian. Meant to be used while it lasted, thrown away, and replaced with another, its loss never mourned. Not worth repairing or keeping around. So it was for everything in every corner of the garden supply store she was in, and everything around it. Every house, every street, every building, every vehicle and artifact, every sign and billboard and all the things they'd once hawked: all of it, created to be garbage. Not one thing that would say to future generations, "a great and mighty people once walked here."
It was not as if the people of that world had truly possessed no capacity for grandeur. Tatterdemalion could remember as if it were yesterday, seeing close-up pictures of Pluto as an active, dynamic world. The creation of those pictures had been an act of utterly staggering competence. Even the tiniest error at any point in an incredibly complicated process of design, manufacturing, launch and execution, iterated over incredible speeds and distances the human mind literally could not comprehend except as mathematical abstractions would have resulted in pictures of empty space, or no pictures at all. There weren't even any metaphors that could serve to describe such a feat. Even now that machine, and others like it sown throughout the Solar System--throughout the Solar System--waited loyally for further instructions from departed masters.
So many great deeds, accomplished on budgets amounting to a rounding error of the money spent on military force, or advertising ugly disposable things like this wheelbarrow. Deeds that couldn't live on, even in legend and myth! How could she look into the eyes of her grandchildren and tell them about 'pictures of Pluto' or 'the discovery of the Higgs boson' or 'planets in other solar systems' in a way that would make any sense at all? It was not as if she'd be able to give them this wheelbarrow as an example of the heights their ancestors had once reached. By their time, its pneumatic tire would have fallen flat long ago, the relatively complex devices required to pump it back up themselves broken. It would look like exactly what it would be: salvaged and re-purposed garbage, and so would everything else remaining from this fallen world.
It was not as if it was impossible to make mundane objects beautiful and worth keeping. One could look at a Victorian-era steam engine, a medieval sword, or a spoon from King Tutankhamun's tomb and be disabused of that notion. A wave of sadness swept over her, and she wiped a tear. What wonders might they have accomplished, if they had but tried, as a civilization, to accomplish wonders? What beauty might they have created, if they had cared at all about beauty?
Tatterdemalion pushed those thoughts aside and resumed her task of filling the wheelbarrow. Leather work aprons that could be turned into leather armor and other useful goods once the pernicious brand names printed on them could be removed or painted over, sets of work gloves, a shovel, hoe, and rake, a pruning hook that just might be reworked into a spear or najinata, and most precious of all, seeds for tomatoes, cabbage, lettuce, carrots, and--
Engine sounds, getting closer. She froze, and listened. A motorcycle...one motorcycle, not a gang. No cars or trucks following along. One or two people then. The machine stopped, probably a block or two away. A motorcycle rider wouldn't want garden supplies; no place to stow them. They'd be planning to hit the grocery store and restaurants for canned food, checking the abandoned cars for gasoline, and probably rooting around for whatever guns and bullets might yet remain to be found. Not a competitor for her current haul then, but still a potential threat. Best to find out what she was up against before trying to get the wheelbarrow out of town.
Silently, Tatterdemalion headed for the door, stepping gingerly over the corpses of ghouls she'd slain on her way in. She slipped out of the store, checked both ways, then scurried to snug herself up against the building on the other side of the street, crouching a little so she wouldn't be seen through the windows of the hulking SUV's parked next to the sidewalk. Thwack-squish! Probably a ghoul being killed, by a bow or crossbow most likely. Tatterdemalion slipped her own bow from her shoulder, quietly drew an arrow and nocked it to the string.
Area check: one ghoul, drawn toward the sound of the bike, shuffling down the middle of the street. Keeping low and quiet, Tatterdemalion followed it. It would serve as a meat shield and distraction; if necessary she could shoot it before it harmed the rider.
"Hands where I can see them," a male voice said. "Place your weapon on the ground. No sudden movements or I light you up." Tatterdemalion clenched her teeth, feeling anger rise. Our whole species on the brink of extinction, and they still can't fucking cooperate?! But that's why they died, isn't it? The same scientific community that gave them pictures of Pluto had also given them repeated warnings over decades, about what they were doing to the climate, to biodiversity, to the oceans, to topsoil, to the fresh water aquifers. They had treated everything around them as things to be used up and thrown away, just like their own creations, without any real thought to the future of their world or their civilization. They never even thought of themselves as members of a civilization did they, much less as members of a biosphere...just Rugged Individuals competing in a free market for money and status. 'The one that dies with the most toys wins!' Well, they got their wish, didn't they? Consumers...being consumed.
The ghoul ahead of her shambled around the corner. Tatterdemalion sneaked up and peered around the corner with one eye, crouched low; a peeking head at head height was more likely to be noticed than one peering from a lower, unexpected height. The male had some kind of assault rifle, a physical manifestation of the concept of industrialized death. Tatterdemalion would almost have been less disgusted if he'd been holding a loop of intestine. "Leigh!" the young woman with him hissed, noticing the ghoul. No accounting for tasted, I guess, Tatterdemalion thought.
On the other hand, Motorcycle Woman was calmly trying to talk some sense into him, offering negotiation and cooperation. Then, with an impressive quick-draw, she whipped out a silenced pistol and downed the ghoul, a precise head-shot. She was dangerous, and like the man, a wielder of industrialized death. Even so, it wasn't hard at all for Tatterdemalion to know which side she was on. Area check: no ghouls ready to sneak up on her while her attention was on the man. She drew her bow back, then aimed it around the corner right between the man's shoulder blades. She kept half her body behind cover, confident that she could loose her arrow and duck behind the building before his companion could take aim. Motorcycle Woman could take care of the girl, if it came down to it.
"I suggest ye put your shootin' iron on th' ground, boyo," she said, "before I put ye down like a mad dog. Oh, an' 'put yer hands where I can see 'em. No sudden moves or I light ye up.'" Her Irish lilt dripped with mockery as she quoted the man's words back at him.
The man turned around, and started coming her way. Now she could see what he was wearing: a skeleton costume shirt under a khaki vest, torn pants and a skull mask. Briar Rose was torn between being even more creeped out, and hoping that just maybe, he wore the costume to scare bad people away, and the skulls and bones rattling at his waist were fake. Such was her cognitive dissonance that she hadn't realized that she'd continued rolling slowly toward him, neither stopping nor turning around to flee, until he was almost on top of her. She considered stopping the Golden Lion so she could grab for her slingshot, but she wasn't sure she could actually draw and fire on a real live human being.
Then he started talking in a friendly voice. "You shouldn't be by yourself." As if I have a choice?! A lump formed in her throat, but she choked back tears; now would be a rotten time to start crying. Belatedly, she braked the Lion so she could at least free her hands for defense. The man's tone of voice, his words, were exactly what she'd been aching to hear...in essence, all of her life. But as he drew closer, those skulls and leg bones at his waist, and the mounted hand he wore for a necklace looked and sounded more and more real.
She let out a tiny strangled squeal and tried to shrink away as he reached for her. Her mind whirled in search of a good course of action. Reach for the pannier-mounted holster behind her and draw the fireplace poker? But she was at a massive disadvantage tactically, and he was bigger and stronger. She doubted she'd even be able to parry that big heavy bat. He said he didn't hurt the living--but maybe he just wanted to lure her someplace where it would be more convenient to kill her and cook her up for dinner? Or worse? One mustn't talk to strangers. Except...what if he was telling the truth? Wouldn't it be nice to...not be all alone against the whole world?
She wouldn't take his hand though, absolutely not. Once he grabbed her, she'd be at his mercy, and it didn't seem likely she'd get a lot of that from someone who went to the trouble to garland himself in human bones. They made noise, and would add to the difficulty of squeezing through tight spaces, not to mention the unnecessary weight and general awkwardness. So, she estimated a low prior probability of it being some kind of weird joke or passing fancy.
"You--you really wouldn't want to kill me sir," she stammered at machine-gun speed. "Th-this trike would never fit you, it's--it's sized for me and so are the shoes that fit the pedals, and, and, I'm sure I'd taste terrible, everyone knows that British food is rubbish!" He didn't need to know that she wasn't actually British, even if she did have the accent. All her tutors and the house staff had been British, and her favorite television programs were all on BBC, back when there was a BBC. Briefly, she made a wish that 'the help' had all found their way to their loved ones, and someplace safe. Then, a moment of heartache as it hit her that she'd never get to go to England, never see another new episode of Doctor Who. Even if she did survive the present encounter...
"Back down kid. This isn't your fight." She said to the girl. "It's between me and this boy." She said.
More voices. From his position on the second story of what was probably a child's bedroom in a medium house, Bryyan could see the whole scene. The Rider has dismounted, and was discussing an armistice with a peculiarly colorful gentleman and his female companion, as a cloaked woman with a bow and perhaps a sword emerged from the garden center of a supermarket. He heard voices- the rider was a woman, and the medieval one was, perhaps, Irish or Scottish. It was difficult to make out words, but his vantage point was uncanny. The few Returned around had been dispatched, and the situation seemed to escalate with the emergence of the cloaked bow-wielder from the shadow. They were all stupid. The rider, for driving a loud, low-protection vehicle. The man and his companion, for trying to assert superiority over this Rider. The bow-woman for thinking she could take out three people with guns, after announcing her presence. Bryyan decided it was best to stay exactly where he was- safe.
Leigh Darling|Mood: Angry|With: Bethany, Cry, and Tatterdemalion
Leigh glanced back at the sound of a rather Scottish or Irish voice, and as a bullet from the woman in front of him killed another zombie. He was immediately reminded of his sister with that accent. Her and her stupid fake accent. "You're a pretty brave lady." He muttered, still keeping his gun on the woman in front of him. "Though I wouldn't exactly be threatening a guy with a gun and backup. Especially with just a bow." Deciding the woman in front of him likely wouldn't do anything stupid, he lowered his rifle to a more neutral stance.
"Though so long as you guys just get outta here without an issue, then I don't have to worry. Me and the girl were here long before you guys showed up." He gestured for Bethany to come down from the house. "This is our turf." He mostly liked it here because it was close to his old house. He needed that ammo and other guns that his dad kept. And he wasn't about to share it with a couple of intruders.
Ramon Alvarez|Mood: Confused|With: Briar Rose
Ramon looked quite confused when she mentioned eating her and taking her trike. "Christ kid." He muttered, shaking his head. He figured the mask wasn't helping, so he quickly took that off. "I'm not gonna eat you." He smiled a bit. "And I'm not planning on killing you." He reached around to his backpack, unzipping it. He rooted around, finally finding what he was looking for. A broken Hershey's bar. He held it out to her. "Here." He said, taking a piece himself. "Not even poisoned." He told her, putting the small piece in his mouth.
"Now, do you want to come with? I'd feel pretty guilty about leaving you here by yourself. You can't be any older than... 11? 12?" He kept glancing around, making sure there were no zombies about. He wouldn't want to be killed this early into the game. Besides, he still needed to find more ammo and preferably another gun. He had a single bullet left. After that, the rifle he found would be useless.
Bethany Owen|Mood: Scared|With: Leigh, Cry, and Tatterdemalion
Bethany was about ready to take a shot at the woman with the bow. However, Leigh gestured for her to come down. Deciding that he probably knew best in this situation, she holstered her gun, and grabbed her aluminum bat. She'd leave their supplies up there for now. They had been there for a good while, so their stuff was a little scattered. She made her way down the steps quietly, and opened the front door, stepping outside. She eyed the bow woman with a bit of anger, and refused to let her fear show.
"Yeah, we were here before either of you got here." She added, keeping her bat at the ready, in case she needed to smash some skulls. Not that she wasn't dangerous even without it, but she would prefer having a weapon versus not. Her strength would only get her so far against a gun.
Tatterdemalion laughed mirthlessly, backing away behind the corner of the building. "If ye want t' fight o'er each other's things, I'll leave ye to 't," she said. "'And so, the last o' the Consumers dinnae wait for th' ghouls, but consumed each other,'" she narrated, as if quoting from a tale yet to be told. "'And the very last one, in their very last moment, piled th' dead world's rubbish 'round about their body up t' their neck, scooped up as they could with both arms and held it tight, and said, "I've got th' most toys! I win! I win!" The End!'" Tatterdemalion didn't know if she wanted to laugh, or cry. Probably both; but later, when she was safe. With any luck, the gun-wielders would keep each other busy long enough for her to get back to the store, get her wheelbarrow, and return to the forest where she belonged. Area check: no ghouls, a clear path back to the store--
Curses! In her peripheral vision, she caught sight of a silhouetted form in a second story window. She rolled her eyes for a better look, careful not to turn her head to the window. The head and shoulders, probably of a man. A ghoul wouldn't crouch low for cover. He didn't have a weapon she could see, but the fact of the matter was, he could have sniped her before she'd even known he was there. He still could, if he had a hidden gun. The big bay window was a perfect vantage point; he could easily watch the others, and her all the way back to the store. Had been watching, most likely.
Should I warn her? If it's a 'her,' she thought. At first she'd guessed that the motorcycle rider was a woman due to hir petite build and the size of the bike, light enough for someone not a weightlifter to set back on its wheels if it tipped over. On second thought, the motorcyclist could be a short man of modest build, or an inhabitant of some other place along the gender spectrum. The deep-ish voice, sounding a bit hollow from inside the helmet, could have been an affectation to disguise femininity, or not.
Tatterdemalion backed away enough to put an SUV between her and the window. So far, the watcher had not done anything to earn her ire. If she warned the rider, would the three gang up on him so they could have the town and its loot to themselves? Not an impossibility. If she didn't, the watcher could just wait and pick off the winner, claiming their 'toys' for himself. The rider's cooperative attitude deserved some sort of karmic recompense, did it not? On the other hand, the watcher had as much right to continue living unmolested...
Not my circus, not my monkeys, Tatterdemalion decided. Keeping her bow at the ready, she backed away quickly from car to car, keeping a wary eye on both the window and the street for any sign of attack or pursuit.
What would the Doctor do? Briar Rose thought, struggling for some semblance of calm, or better yet, a plan. It was one thing to enjoy watching a television show about a hero who could prevail in a hostile universe through sheer wit, ingenuity, and a bit of Sonic Screwdriver every now and then. It was quite another to do it in reality, without a Sonic Screwdriver. In the real world, he'd have probably died a million times if his enemies had decided to Just Shoot Him instead of giving him a chance to talk!
Skeleton Man tilted his head quizzically. "Christ kid," he said, then took his mask off. "I'm not gonna eat you," he said with a brief smile. Somehow, for no particular reason she could identify at the moment, he managed to remind her of Deadpool. But he is giving me a chance...so breathe...and think. Think. What would Harry Potter do? Not the Harry Potter of J.K. Rowling's bestselling books; rather, the one from the most widely-read fanfiction thereof, Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality. That story was crafted around the question, 'What if Harry Potter had been a genius raised by scientists who loved him, instead of the Dursleys?' It had also been intended to use Rowling's characters and setting to teach the reader how to employ 'the methods of rationality.' Like most fanfictions, the story had its flaws, but it had introduced her to things like Bayesian reasoning, cognitive biases and various ways to identify errors in one's thinking.
Meanwhile, the man was fishing about in his backpack, taking a careful look around from time to time. Briar Rose did the same, snapping her attention quickly back to 'El Hueso' each time. Situational awareness was a matter of survival in these times. Finding what he was looking for, he extracted it and offered it to her: part of a candy bar! Once upon a time, Hershey's would have been well down the list from names like Lindt, Ghirardelli, Cadbury or Dove, but now? No one made chocolate anymore. It was irreplaceable! If she managed to grow up and have children someday, they would never taste chocolate; nor would their children or theirs or theirs or theirs, most likely.
I shouldn't take candy from strangers...except...that's obsolete isn't it? If he wanted to do something horrible to me, he'd just do it. There aren't any cops or concerned citizens anymore. I'm pattern-matching the skulls he's wearing to 'cannibal headhunter creepshow,' but he's not acting that way even though there's nothing to stop him. She gingerly took the candy bar with a trembling hand, willing herself to listen carefully to his words and tone of voice, and observe his movements.
"T-ten sir," she said softly. "Thank you sir." She checked the area again for zeds, then hesitantly broke off a tiny bite; hesitant not because she expected poison, but because the chocolate was so precious. No matter how small the piece, that much chocolate would be gone forever. She put the fragment in her mouth and closed her eyes briefly, savoring it, then snapped them open again and looked around. A tear broke free and slipped down her cheek. "We can...we can share this. Briar Rose, sir. My name is Briar Rose. I promise I won't be a burden." She carefully wrapped the rest of the candy bar and held it back out to him. "I can make things. I made this," she said, patting one of the Golden Lion's steering grips. "Well, mostly. My family's groundskeeper did the welding, but I designed it and assembled the rest." Inspiration struck, and she brightened. "Would you like a riot shield? I could make you one from a car window! I made myself one once, but it was too heavy for me so I didn't keep it. But one wouldn't be too heavy for you, I don't think."
"Fine. Just know you won't make may friends acting like that." She said, heading back over to her bike. "I'll just go look for supplies in another town." She said. She had a gash in the back of her leg. She didn't seem to notice it.
She took off her helmet slowly and took a deep breath, sighing. "It gets stuffy in there..." She mumbled to herself. "I'm Cry, by the way." She said. "I ho-" suddenly she put her helmet back on quickly. "Shit!" She said, getting on her bike. A hoard was coming and quickly.
She pulled out her gun quickly and started shooting. "Dammit..." She mumbled. "Are you guys gonna sit there with your guns up your ass or are you going to run!" She yelled. "Get somewhere safe and I'll lead them off." She said, starting her bike up.
Bryyan continued to watch the situation fold out. The green one's companion emerged wielding a bat, and the bow-armed girl began backing away- to a point he no longer had her in his view. She likely had noticed him, even crouched as he was. Not much matter. Especially with that horde approa- OH SHIT A HORDE! he thought loudly to himself, pulling the attic door and ladder down. he climbed quickly, closing it behind him. Turning on his flashlight, he got a good look around the room. The first thing he noticed was a clothed skeleton, a gun, and a red spot on the ceiling-wall. This had been a hideout, and the previous occupant had taken the coward's way out. It was surprisingly well stocked- food and water for the next week or two, ammo, the gun they used to off themselves, clothes, a sleeping mat, and some reading material. If he found nowhere better, this would be his new home.
For not, though, he peered out of the attic window cautiously, surveying the area, making sure no Returned entered his house. If they did, it was no big deal. The real question was if one of those people entered it...
Leigh Darling|Mood: Freaked Out|With: Cry and Bethany
Leigh said nothing as the two wandered off. His head snapped to where Cry had been looking when she exclaimed a horde was coming. "Fuck!" He hissed, running back towards the house they had been staying in. "Beth! Let's go!" He told the dark skinned woman. He got into the house and up the stairs, ready to start dismantling the steps that led up. It was the only staircase that led to the second floor, so at least there was that.
The day they had arrived, they had worked on tearing out the rug from the steps (which made for some comfy beds) and being able to tear off the boards that were each step, and tear down the sheet rock underneath them. It would have just made for a ramp. What was left was slits for the steps, small enough that no human, let alone zombie, could climb. However, with enough patience, they could now be taken apart and put back. He knew he took that stupid high school construction class for a reason.
Ramon Alvarez|Mood: Hopeful|With: Briar Rose
Ramon watched as she took a little, then gave it back. He took it, and put it back. "We'll save some for later then." He told her, nodding. "Good to meet you. No need to call me sir, I ain't that old." He joked, standing back up from his crouched position. "So, ten. You've got a good head on your shoulders for ten. Created a neat ride and survived the apocalypse so far? Damn kid, you're a tough one." He put his mask back on, then looked down at her. "Maybe in the future. For now, a riot shield might be too heavy for travel. Nice to see I've found another innovator though." He patted his pack. "I make bombs. Not as much finesse required, but a lot more caution. I don't have any made right now. Too risky to have them bumping around back there."
He glanced around once more, then gestured for her to follow. "Well, we had better get going. Wouldn't want to be set upon by these creeps." He started back to the main road. "I was hoping to find a car that works. Haven't had much luck." He scanned the horizon. "Though maybe down the line further, where not as many have crashed." He slung the bat over his shoulders a bit like a yoke. "By the way, my real name's Ramon. I go by El Hueso when it comes to other survivors. Makes me seem more intimidating." He laughed a bit. "Though I'm sure the bones themselves do that on their own."
Bethany Owen|Mood: Still Terrified|With: Tatterdemalion and Leigh
Bethany nodded, following Leigh for a bit, before she remembered the strange Irish girl with the bow. She had seen her skulk off, and now went to find her. "Bow girl!" She called, soon spotting her. Risking no time, she ran over to her, and grabbed her arm. "Horde's coming. We have a safe place." She told her, dragging her along. "You can do what you want after, but you should at least stay safe for now." She told her, nodding towards the house Leigh had run into. "There. We have a setup in there."
"Come on losers! Come at me!" She yelled at the horde as it grew closer. She shot a few more times, running out of bullets. "Shit!" She yelled. She made loud noises with her bike before speeding off toward the horde. She swerved and pulled out a dead squirrel. "Goodbye dinner." She said softly. She cut it open, the scent of blood filling the air. It was somewhat fresh. She made loud sounds and slowly started going through the town. I hope they're all inside. Or this'll never work... She said in her head.
That didn't take long, Tatterdemalion thought mournfully when she heard shouting, and the first burst of gunfire. She scurried diagonally across the street in the opposite direction, to place herself outside of the second story window's firing arc. One less set of bullets to worry about. Area check. Bugger all! A knot of ghouls shuffled out of the cross street she was headed toward, blocking her escape. Quickly, she replaced her arrow in her quiver, shouldered her bow and drew her sword. There'd be no time to recover arrows, especially since a glance backward revealed even more ghouls shambling down the street closer to the shooters. A whole horde then, flowing into the town. The rider was gunning her bike and firing her gun. The male in green was running for a house, and Tatterdemalion didn't have time to look for the other girl.
She raised her longsword into the vom tag guard position as she approached the shamblers; crossguard next to her head, blade high and angled slightly back. Entering into measure, she lashed out with a swift schaytler strike, extending her arms and levering the hilt to bring the blade down to smash through a skull. She backed up a step, raised the blade, and repeated the attack on the next ghoul, and the next. More kept coming, reaching for her with gnarled hands. Others spread out across the street and sidewalks, offering no quick way around the central cluster. If she kept giving ground, she'd be driven back toward the shooters (who might well decide that a bullet in exchange for her sword was a good trade), or whatever ghouls overran or got past them.
A house? she thought, but decided against it. Any unbroken door would likely be locked, trapping her until she could bypass it. A broken door she could not lock herself, and could conceal more ghouls lying in wait. Or worse, a house could hold defenders covering the door with shotguns, or booby traps. Even if she survived all that...she'd be trapped in a house, trusting in flimsy late-Consumer construction for as long as the ghouls cared to besiege her, instead of returning to the safety of her forest. She aimed a low cut at the back of a ghoul's knee, sidestepped it as it fell, then did the same for the one next to it, and the one next to that one. Unable to walk on two feet, they'd become crawlers. Since they were still able to move (but more slowly) they'd remain in the way of the ones behind them longer than still corpses, tripping them up with their movements and--if she could make enough crawlers in time--cause the others to start bunching up and getting in each other's way. Slow the majority enough, and she might be able to make an end run around them--
A hand seized her arm from behind. She was just starting to step back and twist her body while pulling her arms back and up to smash the grabber's face with her sword's pommel when words stopped her.
"Bow girl!" Tatterdemalion froze briefly, angled the tip of her blade higher, and thrust forward through a ghoul's eye socket instead. "Horde's coming. We have a safe place." The young woman who, last time Tatterdemalion had seen her, had been starting to aim a gun her way. No time for surprise; the horde was already cutting off her last hope of escape, and the girl was starting to drag her, presumably toward the promised shelter. "You can do what you want after, but you should at least stay safe for now," the young woman said, nodding towards the house Leigh had run into. "There. We have a setup in there."
"Aye, lead th' way, I'll cover us," Tatterdemalion said, following the young woman with reversed steps as she slashed right and left with high horizontal zwerschau strikes for lopping off heads. And then, as fast as it had begun, they were inside the house. Tatterdemalion kicked the door closed behind them, then slammed her body weight into it to keep it shut until her rescuer could secure it.
"I...I am in your debt lass," she said uncomfortably. "I swear on me honor t' lay no hand on any o' what is yours, an' t' defend your lives so long as I am under your roof. I'll not give up me weapons nor me clothes nor me womanly dignity, but there's skills I can teach an' things I can' make that'll serve ye long after I return t' me forest, t' recompense ye for your kindness."
Outside, she could hear the growl of the motorcycle and its rider's shouts—definitely those of a woman. She's luring them away? Tatterdemalion felt her spirits lift; these people had found it in themselves to cooperate to mutual benefit after all. "Would ye trade places with me? So ye can be ready t' open th' door an' let her in if she returns, an' I can see that no ghouls follow her inside?"
Briar Rose listened to 'El Hueso' as he spoke, and started pedaling when he suggested they get going, matching his chosen pace. Funny, she'd never thought of herself as 'tough,' not in the slightest. 'Good head on her shoulders'--well, she liked to think so. She smiled up at him. It felt strange, to receive such compliments and kindness from a still-rather-scary stranger, when nothing she could ever do could win such from her own family.
"By the way, my real name's Ramon. I go by El Hueso when it comes to other survivors. Makes me seem more intimidating." He laughed a bit. "Though I'm sure the bones themselves do that on their own."
"Oh yes, quite brilliantly!" Briar Rose said, glad that there was a sensible and, she hoped, probable explanation for his choice in fashion accessories consistent with the hypothesis that he wasn't some kind of psycho with horrible things in mind for her. Uh-oh, she thought, realizing that a problem had just presented itself. "Except...having me along will rather ruin the effect I'm afraid. I mean, if the baddies can see that you'd not harm a little girl... I doubt there's anything I could ever do to look intimidating." Right, be useful!
"If you don't want a riot shield, what about a lorica segmentata? That's Roman armor. Whenever I eat something out of a steel can, I cut it up and save the metal. I think I might be able to make a passable lorica segmentata with enough cans, a fitted sweatshirt and a heap of shoe laces or a roll of strong cord. It wouldn't be any good against bullets of course, but I expect it should be able to stop a zombie bite. Come to think of it, Samurai armor was made of bands of metal fastened together with silk cord, and that's wicked intimidating, though I'm not sure I'd be able to make the helmet and mask, at least not properly. Too much compound curvature.
"Hmm. Planning Fallacy. I'm going to have to find a way to test to see how much armor it takes to stop a zed's bite. It's a good thing we evolved from gracile Australopithecines instead of one of the more robust hominid lines; less musculature in the jaw, and atrophied canines. I would hate to see a Giganthropithicus zed--or any of the extant great apes for that ma--" Briar Rose cut herself off and pointed to some rustling bushes up ahead. A legless upper body pulled itself up onto the road by its arms, staring hungrily at the pair with milky white eyes. It was followed shortly by several other shamblers emerging from a copse of trees.
By habit, Briar Rose braked the Golden Lion, shifted a lever to put on an 'emergency brake,' then twisted her feet to unhook her cycling shoes from the pedals and stood up. She reached into the handbag she had hung around her neck, which had been sitting in her lap, and pulled out her slingshot. She reached back in, and pulled out a small, rounded river pebble. The purse also contained what remained of the steel ball shot she'd grabbed with the slingshot. That was accurate at longer range, but she couldn't count on being able to replace it without difficulty. Recovering steel shot from a zed's skull--when she had the opportunity to attempt it--was just plain gross.
There were six of them so far, five walkers and the crawler. Briar Rose was just starting to calculate whether she should try to stand and shoot them down, or choose an angle of retreat to draw them away from the Lion as she shot them, so she could take off and circle back to the trike once they were few enough and far enough away, when it occurred to her that there was now a grown man with her who might have plans of his own. Plans that had a non-trivial chance of being better than hers.