Mah Writings

Namira
Mr. Danya
Joined: May 28th, 2007, 12:31 pm

June 11th, 2010, 2:38 pm #1

Just a little place for me to show off whatever random writing excerpts I feel like flaunting. Here isn't the only place I RP, so I figured you might like to see some of the stuff I've done elsewhere.

Feedback entirely welcome.

This is the profile of a character for a superhero RP I finished writing just today. Looking at her... I'm tempted to steal her for a original story I had in the works.

Well, anyways, here you go.
[color=0D4742]Anayama, Keiko[/color]
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[color=0D4742]FOR THE RECORD[/color]
it's the look of a killer, a madman, ye better watch her closely
ALIAS: Cleanse
GENDER: Female
ALIGNMENT: Villain
CUSTOM TITLE:
CANON / ORIGINAL: Original
FACE CLAIM:
Chiaki Kuriyama
[color=0D4742]PSYCHIATRIC FILE[/color]
the human mind is amazing in its natural evil, this one's no exception
    [font=tahoma][b]DESCRIPTIVE WORDS:[/b]
  • Calculating
  • Methodical
  • Callous
  • Fanatic
  • Resentful
  • Racist
  • Self-Loathing

    PERSONALITY: Keiko is a very cool and calm woman, going about her business with an attitude that is both professional and efficient. She tries not to let emotions cloud her judgement and whilst mostly successful in combat situations, in ordinary social interactions Keiko can be highly-strung, stubborn and somewhat irrational - a clear indication that she much prefers working by herself. In spite of this, if forced to work alongside another, Keiko will remain a consummate professional. Notably, however, if her status as a mutant is mocked or occasionally even raised, Keiko is liable to lose her temper, which usually serves only to make her more dangerous.

    Cold-blooded, Keiko has no qualms with attempting to kill any and every superhuman (especially mutants), no matter who they are, their age or whether or not they've done anything to her personally. She tries to avoid harming bystanders, but wouldn't shed any tears for collateral damage and would have no problem with gunning down somebody who tried to obstruct her. Although capable of improvising on the fly, Keiko much prefers a patient, logical approach to her killings, preferring to work out the method which will allow her to achieve her goals with the minimum of fuss.

    All the same, Keiko is not a machine and she does have genuine feelings, although you'd be hard pushed to get her to reveal them. On occasion her unfeeling facade may crack a little, revealing an insecure, vulnerable woman who hates what she is and has deep seated issues with it. However, it's unlikely dealing with those in any other way than she currently chooses is going to appear on her agenda anytime soon.

    MENTAL NOTES: Keiko tries to keep her own mutant status under wraps, avoiding revealing it to anybody unless absolutely necessary, especially her telepathy, which she hides even from those who are aware of her other superhuman traits. Keiko also refuses to allow anyone to know more than essential details about herself and her past. [/font]
[color=0D4742]PREVIOUS CONVICTIONS[/color]
history's our only way of knowing what a woman might do again
AGE: 24
CURRENT RESIDENCE: Keiko's homebase is New York City, but she spends most of her time on the move.
BASIC HISTORY: Born and raised in the USA, Keiko showed no signs of being any different from any other young girl throughout her early childhood. She played, she learned and she befriended, just as all average people do. Her family life was healthy, with her parents doting upon her and both bringing in a steady enough income to ensure a comfortable environment for Keiko to grow up in. In short, prior to her teenage years, Keiko's life was no different from that of any only child in a middle class family.

When Keiko hit puberty, however, things started to become rather more complicated. It was at this time that Keiko's mutant abilities began to manifest, a change which for Keiko most assuredly was not for the better. Development of her superhuman talents came slowly, but consistently, never stalling or spurting. As such things do, it started small; hearing a conversation on the other side of the room with clarity, smelling smoke on another's clothes from a distance away, getting that much better at dribbling the ball in soccer. Indeed, it stayed small for some time, the enhancements taking place over a matter of years rather than days or months. Keiko soon became acutely aware of the changes, but not precisely what was happening.

Steadily, her abilities became more powerful, a march throughout Keiko's teenage years. Whispers became audible, tiny details came into sharp focus, her reactions grew faster... and things started to hurt. A scratch would make her cry out, a headache was agonising, a gashed leg in soccer caused her to outright collapse. By the time Keiko was 16, she, her parents and a large proportion of the people she knew were aware that there was something abnormal about her. It didn't take long for a verdict to be drawn. Superhuman abilities? Emergence in puberty? Keiko was a mutant.

And how she hated that fact. Already beginning to get ostracised by her peers, this only continued as she grew older and her powers grew more and more pronounced. Keiko loathed them for this, wishing more than anything that she could just go back to being ordinary with her friends and her sporting passions (Keiko had at this stage been banned from competing, as allowing an abhuman to do so was considered unfair on the others). At this, the worst possible time, her telepathic powers decided to emerge from latency. All of a sudden, Keiko couldn't only hear what people were saying, she could hear what they were thinking. The thoughts regarding her... were often far from pleasant.

Weirdo.

Throwback.

Mutie.

Freak.

Monster.


Worst of all, these thoughts were not only limited to her peers. More than once, Keiko 'heard' one or the other of her parents wondering why their daughter couldn't have just been ordinary rather than abnormal, that they wanted things to be back the way they were before Keiko became what she was. After a tormenting, traumatising week, Keiko finally figured out how to 'turn off' her telepathy (and has barely touched it to date), but the damage had already been done. Everyone believed that she was an unnatural freak, and before long, Keiko came to share this view.

At the age of 19, Keiko's parents sent her to therapy with other young mutants struggling to come to terms with their nature, with minimal usefulness. Keiko's view of abhumans, including herself, was already sealed in stone. Their talents weren't gifts, they were affronts to the natural order of things. It didn't take long before Keiko was kicked out of that particular group for disrupting the sessions and causing fellow group members distress with her profoundly racist outlook towards mutants.

It was when she was 20 that Keiko finally snapped. It was really just an innocuous remark, not intended offensively but perhaps a little tactless, which proved to be the trigger. Her mother asked her if she was thinking about employment and that she 'Was sure there are jobs for mutants out there'. 8 years of being excluded, frustration and hatred simply exploded. In her rage, Keiko murdered both of her parents with her bare hands and upon calming down... didn't feel the barest hint of regret. The blood of her mother and father was on her hands and yet guilt didn't trouble her.

That was the night that Keiko discovered her calling.

Keiko began to offer her powers to others by working as a mercenary, taking up jobs with anybody that would pay and not caring a whit exactly what the tasks involved. Although to begin with she lacked skill in combat, Keiko was a quick learner and could compensate for her deficiencies with her abilities. After a number of years doing this, Keiko had gained enough resources and developed enough skill to strike out on her own, becoming a hitman for hire as well as a sellsword (or rather, gun). However, in addition to her paid work, Keiko began to act on the last (and ongoing) stage of her plan.

The first step had been to learn how to fight, honing her skills with firearms, in hand-to-hand and in exploiting her powers. The second was to obtain the money and resources she needed. The third... was to attempt to eradicate mutants and other superhumans. Keiko was far from stupid, she knew that superpowered individuals didn't go down easily and didn't attack on the spur of the moment. Her strikes against other mutants were pre-mediated, tailored to give her the best possible chance of success and her target the very minimal chance of surviving.

Keiko hasn't looked back since.

[color=0D4742]MEDIA CLIPPINGS[/color]
nothing gets the word around like a poorly written newspaper
POWERS & ABILITIES:

Superhuman Senses: Sight, Hearing, Smell, Touch, Taste - You name it and for Keiko, it's considerably enhanced. Keiko can pick up a whisper or a footstep at quite some distance, increasing if she is actively concentrating on listening. She can detect minute details of an object or person from a spot-check and can see much further than the range of an ordinary human. Furthermore, Keiko's sense of smell allows her extensive capabilities to track or detect others via scent.

Superhuman Agility/Reflexes: Although in terms of direct speed, i.e. running, Keiko is no better than your normal human, she possesses an uncanny ability to dodge and evade a majority of what might be thrown at her - for example Keiko would be able to weave through a crowd, or avoid punches with ease. That said, Keiko is unable to avoid extremely fast things without sheer luck, although her ability to quickly react to stimulus means that she would have a better chance than a normal person.

Hyperflexibility: Keiko's skeleton is able to contort and bend in ways the human body was never meant to be capable of with minimal discomfort, allowing her a much larger range of movement (as well as further increasing her ability to evade attacks). She's far from made of rubber, however, and can't twist or bend too far or for too long without hurting herself, just as a ordinary person would.

Telepathy: Keiko holds untapped potential in this area, as it is the only element of her powers which is voluntary and as such the only one that she can actively refuse to make use of. Keiko figured out how to 'switch off' her telepathic abilities not long after their manifestation and they lie almost entirely dormant, as she is loath to utilise her mutant powers any more than necessary. Unbeknowst to Keiko, they have the passive effect of muting (to an extent) the sensory overload which would result were she left unprotected from the full potential of her enhanced senses.

Combat Training: Keiko is proficient with firearms and in hand-to-hand fighting, although she has a preference for the former in the fight. All the same, against very strong, fast, or durable opponents, these skills are of rather limited use.

Specialist Equipment: Every gun which Keiko uses has been modified in order to suit her purposes. However, without exception, all the firearms which Keiko owns have had one very specific customisation - they are as silenced as is technologically possible. This is due to the fact that were she to use ordinary, unmuffled weapons, Keiko would be likely to deafen and/or hurt herself with the noise of the gunshots.

WEAKNESSES:

Hypersensitivity: This is Keiko's biggest and most debilitating weakness and is a direct consequence of her own powers. Her enhanced senses mean that even quite minor hurts and ills (for example a small scrape or a cold) are keenly felt and can be extremely painful. More major injuries can cause Keiko to lose consciousness or go into shock through an overload of her senses. Similarly extremes of any stimulus, such as very bright lights, loud noises or especially pungent smells can have a serious effect on Keiko, possibly disorientating her, probably paining her and again having a chance of causing her to faint. Needless to say in a combat situation this is a considerable liability and why Keiko attempts to avoid being hurt at all costs.

Mental Weakness: Related to her hypersensitivity, should Keiko be subjected to a mental attack (or potentially even a probe) of any kind, it is very likely to cause her passive 'shielding' of her enhanced senses to drop, resulting in a complete sensory overload and almost certainly knocking Keiko out for the count.

Shunning of Telepathy: Keiko absolutely despises the thought of using her telepathic abilities and is extremely reluctant to do so, often looking for any other options than to utilise them - frequently in situations where they would be far the best solution to the problem at hand and ultimately just making things a lot more difficult for Keiko. Her insistence on their use as only an utter last resort means Keiko hampers her own effectiveness considerably.

Sickness: Again related to hypersensitivity, every time Keiko gets ill she is sure to have an utterly miserable time of it due to the fact that her body makes her acutely aware of every ailment she is suffering from. This can result in something like a cold or headache being utterly crippling.

Crowds: They are more or less the embodiment of sensory overload. The myriad of different voices and multitude of smells amongst a large crowd will almost invariably, if she walks into one unprepared, cause Keiko to develop a massive migraine. At the very least, should she be attempting to use her enhanced senses, a crowd will distract her from the task or even force her to give it up entirely.

Bigoted: Keiko holds a strong hatred for any and all mutants, something which extends to anybody with superhuman powers or any aliens. In practice, this means that Keiko can't stand cooperating with other abhumans and would only do so if she saw a distinct advantage (e.g. being able to kill or injure more mutants that she would on her own) in it and even so, would be looking for the best opportunity to murder her allies the entire time. A team player, Keiko is not.

SAMPLE POST:
wrote:Routine. Routine was dangerous. You fell into a comfortable pattern, into complacency. You forgot to look into the shadows and the corners, because they became familiar to you, lost their threat. Until the day that the boogieman and nightmares you feared the very first time you travelled this path were there after all.

Perhaps that was an unfair expectation from Keiko Anayama of the man whose death was imminent and growing closer by the second. Marcus Cadre had no reason to suspect anybody wanted him dead. He was just the amicable bouncer of a popular downtown club. And a mutant. Out late one night, Keiko had picked up the sounds of raised voices. At first, she hadn't really paid much attention - it had just sounded like your typical nightclub fracas; The bouncer wanted a couple of rowdy party-goers to leave, whilst they rather objected to this request. But then, something had piqued her interest. A calm voice had said 'It's time to move along, gentlemen'... and the argument had ended just like that.

Keiko had wondered exactly what could diffuse such a intense disagreement with such ease. Either the man that had spoken was built like a mountain, or he had some kind of ability to influence others... She'd resolved to find out, because if the latter was correct, a fresh target had just appeared on her radar.

It took Keiko a few days to locate the nightclub in question and around another week before she finally gained proof of her suspicions. In that time she identified the man who had ended the argument (via his voice) as, of course, Marcus Cadre, one of a team of bouncers that worked shifts at the club. It hadn't been a fun experience, with the loud music really doing a number on Keiko's head and resulting in numerous headaches, but at last... a breakthrough was made.

A fight had broken out over some triviality, Keiko had observed Cadre's behaviour as he attempted to stop the brawl. First he had tried to separate them physically, but when that had failed... in the same tones as that voice on the air all those nights back, he had said 'Let's just cool off a little, shall we?' and... the two of them had. No doubt about it, Marcus Cadre was a mutant, probably a telepath of some description. How powerful, Keiko couldn't say, as he wasn't exactly flaunting his powers. But for her? Well... he was a mutant. That made him fair game.

Keiko had spent another week figuring out Cadre's schedule. When his shifts ended, when he left the club and in what direction as well as which exit he took. Once she was sure of where he'd be and when, Keiko acted.

Bringing her to the present moment.

Keiko Anayama stood in a dark alleyway, into one wall of which was set a door - the back entrance to the nightclub. The staff entrance. Both of Keiko's hands were in her coat pockets, her left gently caressing the grip of a pistol nestled there. She had arrived there early, a contingency unless Cadre had managed to wrangle a shortened shift from his employer. Keiko didn't want to turn up only to find her target was already gone. Keiko looked the alleyway up and down and smiled to herself. This was really an ideal location. Secluded from the main street, dark, unlikely for anyone else to stumble upon...

Cadre wasn't going to stand a chance.

Keiko waited patiently for a little while longer then checked her watch. 12:05 AM. Cadre's shift should have just finished, which meant that any second now... The door opened and out stepped Cadre. A large man, he stood at around 6ft 3" with a muscular build. His frame might have been intimidating were it not worn by a person with such a ready smile and open, honest, face. Keiko had had a lot of time to watch this man over the time she had been planning this. She knew him well.

The bouncer shut the door behind him, not seeing Keiko in the shadows and starting a little when she stepped out of them right in his path. Cadre was momentarily taken aback, but then he flashed that disarming smile, seeming quite genuine.

"I'm sorry miss, you startled me. Uh, can I help you?"

Keiko nodded, clenching her gun tight. "Yes, yes you can. You can die, aberration."

The pistol came out of the pocket in one smooth motion and Keiko shot Cadre in the head from point blank range. The smile didn't even have time to fade from his face before he pitched over backwards, dead. Keiko looked down at her victim for a few moments then gave a very slight grin.

Returning her gun to its spot in her coat, Keiko turned on her heel and made herself scarce. By her calculations, one of Cadre's fellow bouncers wouldn't be along to discover him for another three hours. By then, Keiko intended to be long gone.

One less freak for the world to handle...

SotF: Mini - SCdoes a-rolling! - PV3 Prologue ongoing!
Draw Thread! - Pathfinder! - Writing Thread!
[+] Spoiler
13:58 Gianni Oh come on you broke someone's heart
13:59 Gianni you are proud, not embarrassed
13:59 Christian Yes
13:59 Christian Be proud
13:59 Christian Do we not all strive to break a human soul?
[+] Spoiler
Vincenzo/a 'Vinny' 'Enzo' Gatti | DO IT FOR THE VINE.
Toby 'Noodle' Andreasson | :|
[+] Spoiler
G008 - Kammy So'oialo | wants a new script
G062 - Becca Everett | was a damn superstar
G071 - Sunshine Cho Lee | trusted
[+] Spoiler
G026 - Rosalia Fiametta | Found it. | Walkie Talkies
G014 - Yelizaveta 'Bounce' Volkova | Out of here | Gasoline
B060 - Brock Mason | Thump. Thump |
G029 - Kristina 'Kris' Hartmann | Put Down. | Drama Bombs [∞], M79 Grenade Launcher [x6 grenades]
G117 - Jessie Anderson | Still Smiling | Faith
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Slam
Mr. Danya
Slam
Mr. Danya
Joined: August 11th, 2009, 7:39 pm

June 11th, 2010, 4:20 pm #2

Now see, if that was an advertisement I'd follow it through.

Ye read the tagline and ye just think 'Oh look, crazy psycho chick', but then you read her biography and she becomes a very fleshed out psycho chick. Makes me wanna read more of her.
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Namira
Mr. Danya
Joined: May 28th, 2007, 12:31 pm

June 13th, 2010, 9:06 pm #3

This requires sexplanation.

* The character depicted here suffers from MPD - split personalities. One is incredibly violent, the other calmer and more cynical. The violent one tends to be 'let loose' in stressful situations or fights, as well as occasionally being triggered off at random.

* He, having accidentally killed a man during one of these spates, is currently in a Siberian jail, wherein the warden forces the inmates to compete in wrestling matches for money (much akin to bloodsport).

* In addition to this, the character has been recently suffering from migraines and bleeding from his nose and ears, and has been seeking treatment, which can only come from outside of the facility.

* The title he is competing for has a clause attached which allows the holder to get day passes outside of the prison, so long as they return for their matches. He recently held this title but lost it due to a 24/7 rule (a stipulation meaning he can be pinned at any time and lose the title)

* He's coming up to a match with El Mundo (the title holder) and the Crimson Shadow (a second challenger). After this match, the facility is closing for good.

* The backstage interviewer character is incorrectly called Belov when he should really be Belova because she's a woman. That was a gaffe on the part of the guy who created her originally.

* Also, the deal with the three quotes at the beginning - traditional in this guy's pieces I would do a series of quotes, one somebody speaking of him, one somebody speaking of his condition and one from the man himself. You can see an obvious difference,

Spoilered for huge length.
[+] Spoiler
"..."

"..."

"You're dead men! You hear Mikhail!? Each and every last one of you dogs is DEAD!"


~*~


Dukov lay sprawled across his bed, an arm and a leg dangling off one side of it. His eyes stared up the ceiling, glazed and unseeing. He had been in much the same way for the course of the past week. Ever since that prison-wide brawl masquerading as a match, ever since he had been informed that a pin in that match counted as a DMW loss - a loss of his title. Ever since they had taken his freedom from him. Dukov's hands twitched, clenching into tight fists, absolutely unconsciously. He was lost in the memory, the frustration. The disbelief. The bitter draught of defeat and the despair of knowing that he had let his grasp slip from the one thing he desperately needed to keep hold of.

So he'd been lying there on the bed, listless. Jibes from his guards had been ignored or more accurately, had gone entirely unnoticed. Dukov hadn't struck his punching bag a single time after the previous week, when it was usually the target of vicious attacks many times a day. Perhaps most disconcertingly of all, he hadn't flipped out, not even once. Not verbally, not physically. It was almost as if he'd cut himself off from reality.

Interestingly enough, he'd also stopped bleeding randomly. As for the migraines, well... if they were afflicting him, Dukov wasn't saying.

But what a man says and what a man does are far from the same thing, and a man's thoughts are his own and his own only should he choose not to share them.

Dukov was a private man.


~*~


Mikhail Dukov sat calmly, legs crossed, in what seemed very much like a meadow, stretching for miles upon miles, lush grass and vegetation for as far as the eye could see. His attention was on a bright blue sky, marred with but a few clouds that did little to obscure the blazing sun. It was comfortably warm without being stifling, a breath of breeze maintaining a pleasant temperature. His attire was much the norm for him; a wife beater and faded jeans, a long coat folded up and placed to one side. Notably, however, his shirt had no hint of dirt or bloodstains upon it, nor were his jeans torn. Upon closer examination, these characteristics followed through to the rest of Mikhail's appearance. He was clean-shaven, his hair was trimmed and there was a distinctive absence of the grime that had ingrained itself into his skin in his months behind bars. A smile was on Dukov's face, one that those who paid to watch prison inmates brawl had never seen. It wasn't a savage grin, or a smirk at some snide remark; it was genuine, happy. Carefree, you might venture.

That smile flickered a small amount when the sound of heavy footfalls reached his ears. A couple of seconds later, a shadow fell over Mikhail. Whoever the person who had approached from behind was, however, Dukov wasn't paying them any attention, having gone straight back to sky-gazing.

"I finally found you. When you want to be, Mikhail, you are one elusive man."

Mikhail conspicuously ignored the speaker, whose voice held a hint of exasperation. His eyes tracked the path of one of the trio of fluffy white clouds coasting across the sky.

"Mikhail, I am talking to you."

The irritation in the tone grew more pronounced. Dukov let out a deep sigh, continued smiling, then leaned over to his coat. He went rummaging through the pockets and after a couple of seconds produced a pack of Ziganovs and a cheap gas lighter. Dukov lit up, then tossed the box and lighter back on top of his coat.

"Are you finding this amusing, Dukov?"

"No mulak, it is pitiful. There is a hint here which you are not taking," Mikhail took a long drag on the cigarette, then let out a hacking cough. He looked down at the stick and smiled ruefully. "This, I suppose, is one bad habit prison helped to dissuade me from."

"You are living in a dream world, Mikhail!"

Dukov didn't seem at all fazed by the angry accusation, instead simply shrugging laconically. "Da. And I do not care. Now move, you are blocking my daylight, dog."

A hand fell on Mikhail's shoulder, clamping down hard. He looked across at it. It was stained red with blood. Dukov gave a world-weary sigh, took his cigarette from his mouth and stubbed it out on the grass before taking hold of the hand and removing it firmly.

"Desist with this hiding!" the visitor snarled. "You cannot avoid me by indulging in fantasy!"

"That exactly what I intend to do," Dukov replied, snatching up his coat before standing and slinging it over his shoulder before beginning to walk purposefully away. A few seconds later, Dukov heard a set of footsteps on the grass, twin to his own.

"This will not stand!" The frustration in the other's voice was growing. "You may have eluded me this long, but now I've found you, there is no sense resisting!"

For the first time, Dukov turned and regarded his unwelcome guest. His smile returned, this time, slightly melancholy.

The figure trailing along behind Mikhail was... another Mikhail. Naturally, following the stock cliché of multiple personalities, this Dukov was everything that the first was not. Including his hands, he was blood-splattered all over, his hair unkempt and his stubble unshaven. He wore a coat, much like the other Dukov, but this was black, with the shirt underneath it barely resembling its original white colour.

"I have no business with you." Mikhail told his doppelgänger firmly. "Be on your way, mulak," he turned and continued walking. If one were observing closely, they would perhaps detect that he was moving the slightest bit faster now than before...

"Oh but Mikhail, on the contrary you and I have all the business in the world! We are one and the same!"

Dukov stopped walking again and looked at the other over his shoulder. "Far from it, dog. Far from it. Your speech differs. Your attitude differs."

"I am different because you want me to be different!" the clone said as Dukov started moving off through the grass again. "You wish to demonise me, to distance me from yourself! Well Mikhail, you can't! You CAN'T keep me at arm's length because I'm HERE! I'm inside of you and inside of your head and no amount of denial will EVER change that!"

"You are beginning to bore me," Dukov said resolutely, stopping yet again to turn and watch his incensed double, folding his arms. "I care not for what you think. You are a figment of the imagination. By definition, nothing you speak is of worth."

The other Dukov suddenly threw back his head and roared with laughter. "That is your belief? Truly?" His dirt-smeared face broke out into a wide grin. "Mikhail Dukov, you are nothing more than a fool."

"A fool," Mikhail gritted his teeth and for the first time, his smile entirely faded. On the contrary, his double's grew larger than ever.

"Precisely. I exist Mikhail. Every time you black out. Every time you lose control. Who do you think is there to fill the void. It is me, but not only that. It is YOU."

Dukov's fists clenched and he scowled. "You think it is I who enjoys the violence, it is I that remorselessly beat a man to death!?"

"I don't think that, dearest Mikhail. I know that."

"We are not the same person, dog."

"No?" the doppelgänger began walking towards Dukov, whose breathing was beginning to get heavier, sweat beading on his brow. "We share a body, a mind. If what you say is so, why are we imprisoned together? Why am I not interned and you free?"

"...Shut. Up." Dukov snarled.

The double's smile became narrower, more sinister. He stood right alongside Dukov and murmured into his ear. "Oh? Have I touched a nerve? Feeling... angry?"

For a second, the idyllic meadow with its sunshine and grass... wavered. It seemed indistinct, intangible. Then it solidified again.

Mikhail took a couple of deep breaths and his expression relaxed. "I am calm. You cannot break me."

"That, Mikhail, is quite provably false," the doppelgänger shoved Dukov, leaving a bloody smear on his wife beater.

"Don't touch me dog."

Another shove, harder this time. "I'm afraid I didn't catch that."

"Stop."

Dukov stumbled and almost lost his balance as the double followed up with the hardest push yet. "Make me Dukov! Make me stop!"

"No!"

"Then enough with the complaining!" Oddly, the clone appeared to be the one getting riled up, as opposed to the man he was imitating. Frustrated at the lack of a rise, he gave Dukov a ringing slap across the face. Mikhail winced, but then merely regarded his double coldly.

"I know what you intend. It will not work."

"We shall see," the clone kneed Mikhail in the gut, the air rushing out of him in an 'oof' sound. Dukov straightened and looked at the other with contempt.

"Finished?" his answer was a punch square to the jaw. Mikhail staggered, then laughed. The doppelgänger stepped forwards and laid into him with another.

"Defend yourself!"

"No."

A third punch.

"Fight back!"

"No!"

An elbow to the face.

"Retaliate damn you!"

"NO!"

A vicious headbutt.

"HIT ME YOU DOG!"

"I WILL NOT!"

Mikhail's double stopped wailing on him and stood a metre or so away, breathing heavily from the exertion. Dukov himself was in a bad way, blood streaming from a broken nose and cut lip, his right eye swelling.

"Sooner or later Mikhail... Sooner or later, you will break. Only a matter of time."

Dukov spat blood. "Do your worst."

"Be glad to."

And the doppelgänger struck again. He hit Mikhail with blow after blow; punches, kicks, elbows, knee strikes, everywhere he could. Shots to the face, the body, limbs. Dukov didn't even attempt to fight back, just took the beating like he didn't even care that he was having the living crap knocked out of him. The scenery, however, told an interesting story. Grey clouds began to roll in over the spotless sky, the sun's light dimming as it was obscured by what looked like harbingers of a storm. The meadow's grass began to wilt, lose its life. In the places closest to the two Dukov's, the plantlife was withering altogether, dying in mere moments as the original Dukov was driven back and back.

Then gradually, a change. Arms which had been used only to shield as best as they could began to actively block, parry. Punches were turned aside before they could reach, attacks turned back and knocked away. Dukov's expression did not change through all of this, remaining stoic, emotionless. The clone pressed and pressed, but abruptly found that no blow than he could launch was getting through. He paused a moment in surprise and was entirely unprepared for Mikhail to lash out with a right hook, flooring him.

The double lay on the dead grass for a second or so before chuckling, rolling over and smiling up at Mikhail, whose fists were raised and ready. Absently, he wiped blood from his chin with the back of his hand.

"Excellent Mikhail, excellent. Now, we both know how this goes... Just relax," the doppelgänger held up his hands in reassurement. "You've run from me for a long time, but you deserve to rest. Let me take over, deal with the dogs snapping at your heels."

Dukov smiled, yet another different smile. This one was utterly cold. "That, I have allowed too many times."

The clone frowned. "But it works Mikhail. I take care of the things that you don't want to. You pass the anger and the violence on to me, I handle the problems and you don't have to suffer any of the guilt for your actions. It's an ideal arrangement!"

Seeming to consider that for a few moments, Dukov shook his head. "No, mulak, it is not," he turned away and began walking.

"Dukov! Dukov come back! You can't do this! I'm as much a part of you as your hands or your head! I am just another side to YOU! Do you understand me!?" still on the ground, the clone was ranting and raving like a madman. He was practically foaming at the mouth. "Without your 'other self' you have nothing! Nothing!"

Mikhail paused, turned. "You are an animal. Violence should not be blind. It should be calculated. Like this."

He started to run towards the doppelgänger, whose eyes had time to widen before Dukov's boot struck his face and him into oblivion.



~*~


Dukov's body spasmed on the bed and his head snapped up, eyes coming into focus. His cell. He was back in his cell. It felt like he hadn't been here for weeks. Pulling himself up into a seated position, Mikhail scowled. How had he allowed himself to mope for so long? That was... unacceptable. This all was. Where had he gone wrong?

"Mikhail... the beast. That should not have been tolerated," Dukov sighed and shook his head. "Why keep thought and violence separated when together... they can accomplish so much more?"

"Dukov? Wow, you've finally come to your senses? A pity, I was enjoying the quiet."

It was Nikolai, the man responsible for the well being (i.e. stopping them from dying) of the prisoners. Just about one of Mikhail's best friends.

"Funny, mulak. Has your comedic career taken off yet?" Nikolai started to reply, but Dukov cut him off. "I wish for an interview. I fight Mundo and Shadow, correct?"

"Urgh yes. Come on then... I'm sure I spotted Belov about..."

Dukov grinned and got up from the bed as the cell door swung open. As he'd hoped, the long period of placidity from Dukov had made Nikolai complacent. He was already running when Nikolai appeared in the doorway and the guard had no hope of defending himself as the prisoner smashed into his knees, sending him sprawling into the corridor. Immediately, he set upon the hapless Nikolai, straddling his chest and laying into him with rights and lefts, over and over again until the guard lay senseless, his face a bloody mess. Just as Dukov was rising, he heard a curse. He looked around, grinned.

Vladimir.

Yet another person he liked a great deal.

Mikhail stood passively over the unconscious form of Nikolai as his comrade approached, baton in hand. Vladimir looked equal parts horrified and angry, with perhaps a hint of fear thrown in for good measure.

"Dukov!? What... what the FUCK did you do!?"

The only response from the prisoner was a look and then very slowly, a smile.

"Fuck... you lost it again. Get the fuck back in your c-" Vladimir was cut off mid-sentence, as he'd strayed within arm's reach. At that moment, Dukov had struck and had seized hold of him by the arm and the shirt. The guard yelped as Dukov used the leverage and element of surprise to swing him around... and smash him face first into the door of the cell. There was a sickening clang and Vladimir's legs gave way. Were it not for Dukov's vice grip on him, he would have fallen. Mikhail shifted his grip, grabbing the guard by the head and beginning to slam his head repeatedly against the cell door, that same dull sound of bone against metal resonating time and time again. He didn't stop until long after Vladimir went limp, not until, in fact, another voice echoed through the corridor.

"Mikhail! Calm yourself!"

Dukov stopped what he was doing, letting go of Vladimir and allowing him to drop to the floor. Then, he glanced up. It was Ivan. The ash-blond mop was unmistakable. Ivan, another guard. More importantly perhaps, Ivan, the only man who had ever tried to treat Dukov with any degree of kindness, or like a human being rather than a caged animal. Dukov gave the sole person in Siberia he could consider to be a friend a warm smile and walked up the corridor towards him.

"Ivan my friend... Mikhail has not been this calm in years," he clapped Ivan on the shoulder and the guard relaxed very slightly.

Then Mikhail's other hand fell on the opposite shoulder. Ivan stiffened, and had just opened his mouth to cry out when Dukov wrenched down on his head and struck him with a knee to the face. The guard hit the floor lifelessly. The prisoner regarded his victim impassively for a few seconds.

"He is perfectly calm."


Dukov wandered through the halls of the prison for a short while, trying to recall the location of the room Belov usually conducted her interviews in when they were not 'in-cell', so to speak. At length, with a couple of doors opening into storage cupboards or empty spaces, Dukov struck gold. Entering yet another room, he saw inside not only the backstage interviewer, but a camera and a companion in the shape of a prison guard, too, most likely there to protect her from any wayward inmates... such as Mikhail.

"Dukov? W-where's your escort?"

"I'm afraid the dogs have found themselves otherwise occupied..."

That was quite enough for the guard in the room, who chose that moment to go charging towards the prisoner. Dukov waiting until the guard was almost upon him, kicked his would-be attacker square in the kneecap. A crack sounded and the bodyguard dropped to one knee, bellowing in pain. Mikhail then bunched his fists together and swung, striking his victim in the back of the neck and putting him out for the count.

Belov cowered in the opposite corner of the room. The door Dukov had entered through was the only exit and she knew full well that there was no way past him. She could do nothing but wait fearfully as the prisoner stalked across the room towards her, his face utterly emotionless.

"N-now Dukov. L-let's be reasonable here," she stammered once Mikhail was within arm's reach.

"Reasonable? Reasonable is sending a man with split-personalities to an institution Belov! Reasonable is at least ATTEMPTING to provide care for the mentally ill! Reasonable is NOT FORCING THEM INTO A PRISON TO FIGHT LIKE DOGS YOU HEARTLESS WHORE!"

Dukov seized the interviewer by the throat with both hands, choking her. Belov grasped at her neck, but it was to no avail, the much stronger Mikhail maintaining his iron grip. After a couple of seconds, the prisoner lifted Belov bodily by the throat, slamming her up against the wall and continuing to choke the life out of her. Once her struggles grew more sluggish, Dukov hurled the woman to the floor with disdain, sneering as she gasped for breath. He walked over to the camera, fumbled around with it for a second, then managed to get it switched on. Casting about, Dukov located a chair, which he placed in front of the camera before sitting.

"So. In a short while. This ends. One way, or another. One of Dukov, Mundo and Shadow will take the title back to their cell. Will take freedom. Funny, really, how much I used to care. My belief was that to be cured, I required the doctors of another country, or at least... better than the butchers calling themselves professionals in this prison. Now, I know differently."

Mikhail smirked, leaning back in the chair.

"The only problem was myself. The approach was wrong. Instead of looking inward, I looked outward. The root of my suffering was the beast. The rage. I believed it tamed, but tame was not what was needed! What was required was not a caged beast... it was a dead beast."

He gave a shrug. Suddenly, his face spasmed and a look of slight concern came onto his face for a few seconds before he schooled his expression.

"That was truly how simple it was. Shoot the dog. Do not attempt to ostracise the anger of Mikhail, to shunt it off into some unused corner of the mind to emerge whenever control was lost. Instead... embrace it. Use it. And just like that... there goes the sickness. The beast controlled me but I... I have learned. The violence is a tool, not something to be dreaded. I was a fool to think otherwise."

Leaning forward, Dukov stared into the camera. He blinked a couple of times, frowning, as if there was something bothering him about his vision.

"Freedom is not needed. Nor are warnings. Dukov will not go into this match attempting to ward the others off. They have chosen what they wish to do, so they shall live with the consequences of their choice. They have seen what a raging beast is capable of, and now they shall experience first hand what that power can do with a thinking mind behind it. The title is insignificant. Mundo and Shadow think to stand against me for petty rewards... which not only will they not gain... but they will lose... so very much more."

Mikhail flinched a moment and touched a hand to his face before shaking his head and looking back to the camera.

"Come Lockdown 50... I will not do this for the title, or because I am being forced. Mikhail will step into that ring... because he wants to. A wild animal merely showed mindless violence and were it not for that... Dukov would never have been here in the first place. So now, I shall merely use the control I should have exhibited all along... to visit my vengeance upon everything this place stands for. Mark these words. Mundo. Shadow. Mark them, and remember them when you lie broken on the ground."

Dukov's face flickered, then relaxed. He didn't even seem to notice that blood was beginning to stream from his eyes and down his face.

Cured?

Not a chance.

SotF: Mini - SCdoes a-rolling! - PV3 Prologue ongoing!
Draw Thread! - Pathfinder! - Writing Thread!
[+] Spoiler
13:58 Gianni Oh come on you broke someone's heart
13:59 Gianni you are proud, not embarrassed
13:59 Christian Yes
13:59 Christian Be proud
13:59 Christian Do we not all strive to break a human soul?
[+] Spoiler
Vincenzo/a 'Vinny' 'Enzo' Gatti | DO IT FOR THE VINE.
Toby 'Noodle' Andreasson | :|
[+] Spoiler
G008 - Kammy So'oialo | wants a new script
G062 - Becca Everett | was a damn superstar
G071 - Sunshine Cho Lee | trusted
[+] Spoiler
G026 - Rosalia Fiametta | Found it. | Walkie Talkies
G014 - Yelizaveta 'Bounce' Volkova | Out of here | Gasoline
B060 - Brock Mason | Thump. Thump |
G029 - Kristina 'Kris' Hartmann | Put Down. | Drama Bombs [∞], M79 Grenade Launcher [x6 grenades]
G117 - Jessie Anderson | Still Smiling | Faith
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Namira
Mr. Danya
Joined: May 28th, 2007, 12:31 pm

June 18th, 2010, 10:17 pm #4

My first RP for a competitive writing site revolving around zombies.

- Graphic made by a friend of mine for my character on said site.
[+] Spoiler
Good fucking god but this was boring.

David Sasaki sat slouched in his chair behind the register in a poky little store with delusions of grandeur. He wasn't really supposed to lounge around on the job, but damn, it wasn't as if there was anybody to give a bad impression to. The last customer in had been and gone what felt like days ago and Sasaki's boss - the store owner, had taken off 'for ten minutes' over an hour and a half previously. So fuck it. As far as Sasaki was concerned, with the way things were, he deserved a medal for even coming in. Or extra pay, that would be good, though it was so much wishful thinking on his part.

The situation... well, it sounded pretty fucked up from where David was standing; a lot of his experience of the whole deal with the 'infected' had been via the news on TV, but this new curfew, the packed hospital... they were real and personal enough. Sasaki wasn't sure what to make of it all. It obviously wasn't a small problem, but was it really as much of disaster as people were making out? He had his doubts. On the one hand, how bad could everything really be? Stations were still broadcasting, the politicians were still arguing about the problem, as they did every last little damn thing; fuck, for all this hype about how dangerous the 'infected' were, Sasaki hadn't even laid eyes on one firsthand. All the same, on the other hand... there was that incident down in Alabamba with the national guard. Much as Sasaki wanted to put that down to military overreaction, you were talking kids here. What kind of lunatic ordered soldiers to open fire on school children without the best damn reason in the world? Doing it for the wrong one was asking for a fucking crucifixtion.

Added to that there were... other things. Small, isolated incidents. Little episodes that whilst noteworthy, weren't anything to get up in arms about, not on their own at least. But added together? Well, they certainly contributed to the sense of unease had about the current crisis. Stuff like people coming in and buying a shitload of groceries (or on a couple of occasions, beer). David's coworker announcing he was feeling rough and thought he'd better go to the hospital; a week had passed since then and there'd not been a sign of him. That guy that had come in with something which looked horribly like blood splattered all over his clothes, who Sasaki had just served as quickly as fucking possible to get him out of there. Fuck, even stuff like David's boss being late back from his break; the guy was a stickler for punctuality, once getting on his back for being all of two minutes late. Him being gone so long was yet another thing making life right now... less than normal.

Still, other than these few misgivings, Sasaki was mostly content with life. People were making a massive fuss over this new illness, but so did they all the time. They sensationalised a kid coughing in Thailand into a pandemic. Doubtless once this all blew over it'd be forgotten within two weeks and the media circus would find some new supervirus to seize upon and herald as the end of days. And he didn't doubt that it would blow over. These things always did. Even though trivialising the sickness was stupid because of the obvious evidence of the effects it was having, if society was collapsing, David couldn't see it happening.

Although the rows of barely stocked shelves told an interesting tale...

Sasaki sighed and leaned forwards, putting his elbows on the counter to prop up his chin in his hands. Manning a store single-handedly on a slow (practically dead) day really was mind-numbingly dull and Sasaki didn't have much of an attention span to begin with. For a few moments, he toyed with the idea of taking out his sketchpad, but then decided against it; he wasn't much in the mood for drawing. Then again, since he'd left college, he'd never really been in the mood. He cast about, looking for at least something to do, but turning up nothing more than the little radio stashed behind the counter. He hesitated for a second, then bent down to it and twisted the dial to switch it on. Reception had been pretty shit recently, but Sasaki could deal with some static if it relieved him of this crippling boredom. There was a wash of white noise and then voices, crackling but distinct.

"-I'm saying is that a curfew isn't going to make people calm down! You've seen what some of the infected are like - they're aren't exactly acting rationally!" the voice had an irritated tone to it, Sasaki figured he'd tuned in to some kind of debate.

"The President had to enact some kind of countermeasure though; this is the best course of action to avoid another San Francisco," a second voice, more reasonable in demeanour yet still communicating some exasperation.

"By gunning people down in the streets!?"

"Well, not exactly but-"

"This curfew is going to do little more than replicate Mobile on a national scale!"

"Now hold on just one second!"

Sasaki rolled his eyes. Typical. Some sort of debate show, perhaps even political, naturally concerned with nothing more than the virus. Not exactly his idea of something too stimulating. For every point that these two guys raised, Sasaki had heard the exact same argument - if worded a little differently, a dozen times over. So much for that ide-

Ding.

David's head snapped up and miraculously his ears hadn't deceived him. That was the bell on the door going off! An actual real live customer? Say it ain't so! The newcomer was a man in his twenties, his hair buzzed and jaw unshaven. Both of his hands were shoved firmly in the pockets of a pair of green cargo pants. Catching Sasaki's eye, he politely inclined his head and went wandering off into the shop proper. Just before he disappeared behind a row of shelves, David noted that the customer had a neatly bandaged forearm. It didn't look to be bothering him very much, but there was blood visible that had partially soaked through the bandage. Still, Sasaki didn't care about that; having somebody in the store was at least something to break up the monotony of the day, even if only for a little while. However, his brow furrowed when the newcomer returned to him at the counter in what seemed like record time. Okay sure, they were understocked, but how could he have had time to check the whole store so quickly?

"Can I help you?" Sasaki asked as the customer looked towards the rows again, then at the door.

"Uh... yeah," said the guy, approaching the clerk. He hesitated for a second, then one of his hands snapped up, holding a pistol he must have had in his pocket!

"Fuck!" Sasaki yelped, jumping back and colliding with the display behind him, sending packets of cigarettes flying everywhere. The pistol remained trained straight at him, albeit with its barrel wavering somewhat. Obviously this particular robber wasn't feeling too confident right about now.

Having said that, Sasaki was assuredly feeling a hell of a lot worse.

"The register - open the fucking register!" the guy waved wildly with his gun at David.

Sasaki swallowed. "Uh, dude, there ain't dick in the register," he didn't want to rile the guy up, but it was the honest to god truth. "Nobody's been in man, we got nothing but pocket change."

The would-be bandit swore loudly, taking another wild look around. The sidewalk outside of the glass storefront was utterly deserted - no help was coming from that avenue, at least not immediately. Fuuuck. Of all the days to be manning the store solo, it just had to be the one where some nutcase with a gun came charging in, didn't it?

"Just give me what there is - alright!?"

Sasaki held up both hands and popped the register. He wasn't some kind of ninja action hero, hell if he was going to risk getting shot dead for the sake of what couldn't amount to more than ten dollars. Gathering up the meagre pickings the register held, Sasaki handed it over to the buzz-haired man. Snatching it from David, the other quickly counted up his 'takings', then snarled in frustration and pocketed it anyway. The clerk watched as his 'customer' went roving into the shelves again, though being sure that he didn't stray far enough to allow Sasaki out of his sight... or his crosshairs.

After a few seconds of watching the robber pace back and forth agitatedly, Sasaki called out to him. "Far be it from me to criticise the guy with the gun... but dude, it's broad fucking daylight. You're fucking lucky somebody hasn't already seen you and called the police. In f-" Sasaki was cut off by a snort of laughter. The shaven guy looked both amused and incredulous.

"You kidding me man? Real life been passing you by or something? Here," the man with the gun walked back over to the counter and handed David a cell phone. The clerk looked at it with confusion. "Call 9-1-1. Go on, I'll wait."

Sasaki looked at the other man with first disbelief, then trepidation. Either this guy was fucking insane... or something was horribly wrong. Nevertheless, David dialled the number, held the phone to his ear, and...

"You have reached the emergency services, please hold the line until we connect you to an operator," after about thirty seconds of that message looping, Sasaki hung up and returned the phone.

"Everything's gone to shit. You see all that infection stuff on the news? It's worse than they're making out. A lot worse. I'm just surviving here."

"If things are so bad, why the fuck are you robbing corner shops!?" Sasaki, feeling there was a flaw in that logic somewhere, didn't hesitate to make his feelings known.

"Never know wh-"

David never got his answer, because at the moment, there was the sound of shattering glass and half a scream, abruptly terminated. Both Sasaki and the man with the gun whipped around. A pair of men had come crashing through the shop window, one having apparently tackled the other clean through the glass. Then ripped his throat out with his teeth. Sasaki's jaw dropped as the soon-to-be-dead party twitched and gurgled on the floor and his assailant looked up from his victim, displaying a crimson maw and a pair of soulless dark eyes. There was a surreal moment as Sasaki and the robber stared at the bloody-faced man, and he stared back at them and then... he lunged forwards.

The 'customer' swore and fired off a wayward shot at the advancing... man? Creature? Monster? - missing entirely. Sasaki, not being much for valour, decided this would be an ideal opportunity to make himself scarce. Vaulting the counter as the guy who'd held him up raved incoherently at his attacker, Sasaki didn't waste a moment in dashing over to the sizeable hole in the storefront, leaping through it and booking it up the street as fast as his legs could take him. No destination in mind but away from that fucking store.

As his feet pounded the pavement, Sasaki looked left and right, up and down. All around were the signs of something having gone terribly wrong. Boarded up windows, abandoned cars, even the occasional dead body. How in the fuck had he missed all of this, living in his comfortable bubble of scepticism? How in the fuck?

Sasaki found himself wishing for the comfortable boredom to return, knowing in his heart that for him, nothing was going to be quite the same way again.

SotF: Mini - SCdoes a-rolling! - PV3 Prologue ongoing!
Draw Thread! - Pathfinder! - Writing Thread!
[+] Spoiler
13:58 Gianni Oh come on you broke someone's heart
13:59 Gianni you are proud, not embarrassed
13:59 Christian Yes
13:59 Christian Be proud
13:59 Christian Do we not all strive to break a human soul?
[+] Spoiler
Vincenzo/a 'Vinny' 'Enzo' Gatti | DO IT FOR THE VINE.
Toby 'Noodle' Andreasson | :|
[+] Spoiler
G008 - Kammy So'oialo | wants a new script
G062 - Becca Everett | was a damn superstar
G071 - Sunshine Cho Lee | trusted
[+] Spoiler
G026 - Rosalia Fiametta | Found it. | Walkie Talkies
G014 - Yelizaveta 'Bounce' Volkova | Out of here | Gasoline
B060 - Brock Mason | Thump. Thump |
G029 - Kristina 'Kris' Hartmann | Put Down. | Drama Bombs [∞], M79 Grenade Launcher [x6 grenades]
G117 - Jessie Anderson | Still Smiling | Faith
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Namira
Mr. Danya
Joined: May 28th, 2007, 12:31 pm

June 26th, 2010, 11:32 pm #5

Sasaki is a fun character.
[+] Spoiler
Trudge. Trudge. Trudge. Just putting one foot in front of the other. Wanting to stop for a rest but being too damn afraid to halt. Nervous glances being fired every which way, every fibre hoping against hope that they would find nothing.

This blew chunks. Hard.

Just a day ago - one fucking day ago, David Sasaki had been sitting behind the cash register in a dingy little drugstore with ideas above its station. Sitting there thinking that there was just no way that things were as screwed up as the doomsayers were claiming. The lights were still on. People were still going about their daily business. Maybe there were a lot of folks in the hospital and a distinct lack of customers in the shop, but if the end was coming, surely it would come with a bang and not a whimper? To suggest that the world as he knew it was about to come crashing down was laughable.

A day ago.

Then there was the gunman. Then there was the infected smashing through the store window and Sasaki's panicked flight from the scene. The running through those desolate streets. Being so blindly afraid he'd almost been hit by a car. Finding the sanctuary offered by the deserted radio shack...

Sasaki stopped walking for a couple of seconds, his eyes clouding over. Finding the place was nearing the understatement of the century, right up there with 'Some people are a little ill at the moment' and 'The situation is a bit messy right now'. David thought back... and remembered how close he'd come to dying.

~*~

It was broad daylight, about 4 o'clock in the afternoon and the sun was blazing. It would have been a gorgeous day but for the eerie absence of anyone on the sidewalks. The streets should have been bustling with activity. Instead, Bakerfield felt like a ghost town. Sasaki was understandably on edge since going through his first encounters with an armed robber and an infected (and that murderous dude with the bloodstained mouth had definitely been infected, he had no doubt about that any longer) in the space of about ten minutes. Added to that, he had no fucking idea where he was headed right now. Whilst running, he hadn't been paying the slightest bit of attention where he was going and now he was in a part of town that he wasn't too familiar with. What could he say? Sasaki barely left his apartment but to find bars, so his navigational knowledge wasn't exactly too great.

Still, he could console himself with the fact that it was early yet. Things were 100% fucked up, but at least he had plenty of time to find somewhere to keep his head down for the night before some trigger happy soldier ventilated his sorry ass. So in summary, he was up shit creek, but at least he didn't have to paddle with his hands. Wow, some second prize that was.

After wandering a little further up the street, casting furtive looks this way and that, Sasaki hit upon something else to be glad of. Since that incident in the store, there hadn't been hide nor hair of any other infected. He could see (and as he noted this, David felt a chill running down his spine) a couple of dead bodies sprawled in the street or on the sidewalk, but there was no sign of any ravening psychos.

"Touch fucking wood," Sasaki muttered to himself. He was far from eager to meet another disease-ridden lunatic.

He stopped walking, sighed and shook his head. He couldn't just keep going around aimlessly. Some kind of plan of action was needed or he'd wind up going in circles up until Private Smith showed up to put a hole in his head. Plotting a course wasn't Sasaki's strong suit, but even a guy as laid back as him understood the necessity of it. Strolling over to a building and putting his back against it such that he could keep an eye out and think at the same time, the Japanese man began to ponder.

Priority number one had to be finding some means of defending himself. Even if he wasn't fat, Sasaki was out of shape - he'd almost thrown up when he'd finally calmed down enough to stop running earlier. He couldn't hope to just outrun everything that threatened him. In truth he was a lousy fighter too, but he figured he had a better chance of laying out an assailant than evading them. Besides, there was such a thing as being cornered. Sasaki didn't want to be relying on his fists and prayers in that case.

Transport would have been a nice one, but Sasaki couldn't drive for shit. Any vehicle operated by him was liable to be discovered mysteriously crashed into a wall. Or two. Unless he could find somebody to tag along with, a concept that Sasaki wasn't particularly enamoured with. When the going got rough, you had to look out for number one and number one only. Any smart person would be doing the same. He was rather edgy about having his back watched by either an idiot or somebody that was likely to leave him in the lurch. Best to count on the guy he knew was 100% reliable. Himself.

Well. Maybe 85%...

Supplies had to be next on the list. No sense in finding somewhere to hole up if you didn't have anything to eat whilst you were there. That would be a potentially hairy one. A lot of people had sensed which way the wind was blowing before David had and no doubt the shelves of many supermarkets were standing bare right now. All the same, it could be worked around. A lot of people would overlook things like delivery vans to begin with, and if any were left abandoned... Sasaki would be all over that like a fucking rash. He'd unloaded enough of them in his time at the store to know what they looked like and he knew it wouldn't occur to people to look in vehicles for food. That gave him an edge.

Then, shelter. Sasaki was in two minds about. On the one hand, the familiarity of his apartment would be a comfort to him, especially if he wound up stuck there. He knew the place backwards and would be able to organise things effectively without much difficulty. But then... this was a town. If the disease was really as bad as it seemed, did he really want to be in a population centre? If all the infected were as crazy as that one that'd smashed its way into the store, then Sasaki was fucked if he ran into a mob of them.

Any decision was forestalled when movement caught Sasaki's eye. Turning, a shiver of fear ran through him as he spotted somebody stumbling up the street to his right. They were still a distance away, but David could clearly see bright crimson bloodstains all over his shirt. They looked fresh. The man looked up, noticed Sasaki, and with a howl began charging towards him. The dark haired man swore and took to his heels. Kung fu master he wasn't, no way in hell was he taking a guy in a fight unarmed. Fortunately, he had something of a headstart on the infected man, allowing him to keep his pursuer at safe distance.

Unfortunately, the man on his tail wasn't falling behind either.

Sasaki would have been swearing as his feet pounded on the sidewalk, but he was too out of breath to manage it. He wanted to look over his shoulder to check on the infected's position, but didn't dare, fearing that it would give it the opportunity to catch up to him. Sasaki could hear it grunting and growling somewhere behind him, but it wasn't in his ear... not yet. The problem was that he had nowhere to fucking go. Everywhere he looked, the buildings seemed locked or boarded up, and Sasaki wasn't about to try his luck, knowing that picking the wrong door would mean him being caught... and if that poor bastard in the store was any indication, David did not want that happening. Making up his mind that just running in a straight line wasn't going to work (the infected was just as fast as him, if not quicker), Sasaki made a sharp left at the next corner.

And slammed straight into a teenaged girl who looked like she'd been on overtime at the abattoir.

Exceptionally luckily, this second infected had neither been aware of Sasaki nor was particularly large, and his running into her sent her sprawling. This meant that he wasn't dead, but it also cost him any time he might have gained from his manoeuvre. Oh, and the female infected started chasing him too. Fun times all around.

Sasaki's heart was yammering in his chest fit to burst and he had a ribcage full of stitches as he continued to run. They were getting into the suburbs of Bakerfield now and the distance between buildings was growing. Before long, the town was going to give way to roads. He'd surely be caught on the straights. He needed to come up with something and fast. He looked left and right desperately, seeking a way out. The pair of infected were right on his ass and fuck if he could keep this pace up for much longer.

He was starting to regret ditching track in favour of photography club...

Up ahead, Sasaki spotted a radio shack, its parking lot bare. It offered the only sanctuary he could see and he made a beeline for it. He just hoped against fucking hope that the doors were open. There was a howl at his heels and something snagged at his ankle, very nearly bringing David down. He stumbled for a few steps, but managed to regain his balance just in the nick of time to keep running. He risked a look back and saw the first infected picking itself up off the ground. It must've tried to tackle him, and it'd damn well near succeeded.

That encouraged Sasaki to dredge up what remained in the tank for another burst of speed. As he charged into the radio shack's parking lot, the exhausted man spotted a holy grail. There was a rusty ladder extending down from the building's roof. It didn't reach the ground, but it certainly looked within grasping distance of the ground. He hoped it was.

Sasaki didn't much want to be chow.

As the ladder grew closer, it looked higher and higher up and Sasaki grew more and more panicked. This was really his last throw of the dice, fuck this up and dinner was going to be fillet of clerk. Closer. Closer... The timing had to be perfect.

JUMP!

David made the best leap of his life and just snagged the bottom rung with both hands before the whole of his body slammed into the wall behind the ladder, knocking what little wind he had left out of him. He had just about enough presence of mind not to let go of the rung, even as his shoulder screamed in protest at having all his weight suspended from them. Sasaki managed to make up two rungs before he felt something grab on his foot, causing him to scream like a little girl. He looked down. The teenaged infected had a vice grip on one of his sneakers and was pulling with all her might. How the fuck was she so strong!?

Just when he thought he was about to be yanked clean off the ladder, Sasaki's shoe came clean off, abruptly freeing him. He didn't waste the opportunity and scaled his way up the building like his ass was on fire. At the top, Sasaki sprawled out onto the roof, panting like a dog and relieved beyond any and all measures.

Too. Fucking. Close.

"I could... do with... some pot right... about now," Sasaki wheezed to himself. "Think... I'll settle for... being alive ... time being."


~*~

It didn't rank amongst his fondest of memories, that was for sure. The pair of zombies had eventually wandered off, giving Sasaki the opportunity to get down from the roof and explore the area (after retrieving his lost sneaker, of course), his search turning up some minimal supplies before the approaching curfew had driven him back to the sanctuary roof. The night air had been rife with screams and gunshots and Sasaki was sure he wasn't the only man it had been a sleepless night for.

The following morning, he'd resolved to get the fuck out of Bakerfield, at least until things calmed down a little. Those two infected had damn near killed him, any greater number and he'd have been dead for sure. A second close shave was quite enough to convince him of that. Only trouble was that he had little more than the clothes on his back and a gym bag full of some miscellaneous junk. A little food, a little water, a sleeping bag. Nothing more than that.

Well, apart from...

Sasaki weighed the rusted object he'd found on the roof in one hand. At some stage, somebody had abandoned a crowbar up there. Sasaki couldn't guess why, but he wasn't complaining. It would certainly come in handy if he ran into any other infected. There was nowhere to run on this road.

Sighing, the young man stopped in his tracks again, staring at the cloudless blue sky. Where the fuck was he going anyway? He had no destination in mind, no objective further than staying breathing. No direction and no star to steer himself by. The definition of wandering.

"So long as you're alive, Davey-boy. Nothing else matters. Not people, not direction and not the world. If yours truly is still kicking, then there's nothing else you need to worry about than keeping it that way," Sasaki's eyes narrowed as he dropped his gaze back to the road. "I'm surviving this, no matter what it takes."

SotF: Mini - SCdoes a-rolling! - PV3 Prologue ongoing!
Draw Thread! - Pathfinder! - Writing Thread!
[+] Spoiler
13:58 Gianni Oh come on you broke someone's heart
13:59 Gianni you are proud, not embarrassed
13:59 Christian Yes
13:59 Christian Be proud
13:59 Christian Do we not all strive to break a human soul?
[+] Spoiler
Vincenzo/a 'Vinny' 'Enzo' Gatti | DO IT FOR THE VINE.
Toby 'Noodle' Andreasson | :|
[+] Spoiler
G008 - Kammy So'oialo | wants a new script
G062 - Becca Everett | was a damn superstar
G071 - Sunshine Cho Lee | trusted
[+] Spoiler
G026 - Rosalia Fiametta | Found it. | Walkie Talkies
G014 - Yelizaveta 'Bounce' Volkova | Out of here | Gasoline
B060 - Brock Mason | Thump. Thump |
G029 - Kristina 'Kris' Hartmann | Put Down. | Drama Bombs [∞], M79 Grenade Launcher [x6 grenades]
G117 - Jessie Anderson | Still Smiling | Faith
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Namira
Mr. Danya
Joined: May 28th, 2007, 12:31 pm

July 5th, 2010, 10:41 pm #6

Pops, Momma & Junior
[+] Spoiler
Sasaki was really starting to hate this goddamn highway.

He knew where he was going, of course - this road was as straight as it got - but he hadn’t really taken into account the differences between travelling on foot and travelling via vehicle. Even though he didn’t drive, Sasaki had a good idea of the distances between places... at least in a car. All those miles seemed a hell of a lot less significant when you were blazing along the road doing 90 miles an hour. On foot, lord ALMIGHTY was it a task. San Francisco had seemed like a reasonable goal back in Bakersfield when he’d flipped that coin to determine his direction, but in practice... it was looking more and more like an impossible objective.

Naturally being out of shape wasn’t doing Sasaki too many favours on his trek. His legs and feet were screaming blue murder with every step and he found himself having to stop every few miles to rest his aching limbs. The consolation was that it wasn’t like he was in any great hurry to get anywhere, so long as it was away from Bakersfield. In fact, though the walking was straining the limits of Sasaki’s endurance, he knew that being out here on the highway was safer than being in town. He hadn’t been chased since the day he’d taken shelter on the roof of the radio shack and he’d barely laid eyes on any infected in almost as long. Sasaki had spotted figures that had looked those cannibalistic lunatics away in the distance a couple of times, but they’d never noticed him, which was certainly a relief. David would take soreness and boredom over running for his life every day of the week.

Still, the monotony wore on him. Even keeping alert for danger had faded into a sort of complacency. Sasaki knew that he’d see any trouble coming from miles off, because this highway was straight as an arrow. Now and then cars drove past to break things up a little, but they were becoming less and less frequent as Sasaki continued walking, only making him more uneasy over time. Of course, he’d experienced how fucked up things were first-hand, but that didn’t make dealing with the reality of the solitude any easier.

Sasaki stopped and squinted into the distance. Huh... there looked to be a car stalled in the middle of the highway. That was a new one. He felt a vague sense of trepidation as he started walking again, his step a little faster than before. Somebody had just probably ran out of gas and abandoned it, that was what his head was saying, but his gut had other ideas. Oh yes, allll sorts of ideas, and none of them were the slightest bit pleasant. But hey, one way or another he was going to have to walk past it, because no way was Sasaki turning back. Besides, he had his crowbar, right?

...Though the length of metal was suddenly feeling a hell of a lot less like security.

As Sasaki grew closer to the car, his grasp on the weapon became tighter and tighter. The abandoned vehicle was a red four-seater Ford, facing towards him. The passenger’s side door stood wide open and it looked as though the windshield had cracked. The body of the car itself was surprisingly intact, no scrapes or dents that Sasaki could see; odd, given it was practically right in the centre of the highway. He was a few metres away when he stopped dead again, looking at the asphalt.

There were bloodstains on it.

“Ooookay. Take five here. Ain’t no gas leak I’ve ever seen that made the car bleed out,” Sasaki crouched down and examined the blood. There was a considerable amount and though dried, it was unmistakable. A trail led off the side of the highway, the nature of the tracks doing nothing to ease Sasaki’s disquiet. He was no park ranger, but it looked to him as if somebody had almost dragged their way from the car off the side of the highway, bleeding heavily all the while...

Logic was telling him that his best option would be to stand up, walk to the other side of the road and press on until the abandoned ford was nothing more than a memory. Curiosity was notifying Sasaki that it was fully prepared to bug the living shit out of him if he didn’t at least take a look at the car to see if he could figure out what had happened. Standing, David found himself slowly walking towards the car, though he made sure to circle in such a way that he wouldn’t be within easy reach of it. The last thing he wanted was any unpleasant surprises...

Wait... is somebody in the back seat? Looks small... slumped over. Shit, is that a dead kid in there?

A sort of morbid fascination drew Sasaki closer. The blazing sun was doing a good job of making the Ford’s windows reflective and he could only really see a vague shape through the glass, but it certainly looked as if somebody was sitting there. Sasaki couldn’t think of anything else that would give that sort of silhouette, not unless this was an urgent delivery of mannequins gone horribly wrong. Dammit, he still couldn’t see properly, maybe he needed to open the door and just look, whatever the grisly details. Closer. Now he could see inside the open passenger’s door, the seat stained dark with blood.. Just beyond, another figure, adult-sized, slumped over the wheel. Closer. He could smell the blood now, pungent, sickening, but was there something else, maybe? Sasaki couldn’t tell. Closer. Trying to peer through the-

“HOLY MOTHER OF FUCK!”

A boy’s face with empty staring eyes and lips pulled back in snarl slammed against the Ford’s window. Sasaki fell flat on his ass and scrambled back as fast as was humanly possible. The infected inside the car let out a horrible little screech, pulled back, and slammed its face into the window again, smashing its nose to a pulp. Child’s hands scrabbled at the window, failing to gain any purchase as the rabid kid lunged at Sasaki in a frenzy.

His heart was hammering so hard he thought it might pop clean out of his chest, breathing shallow and rapid. Sasaki had come very close to needing a fresh pair of shorts.

This little boy couldn’t have been more than ten years old, yet this... infection, virus, whatever it was, had turned him into a mindless animal. Those eyes... so pale, so hungry, they locked onto Sasaki’s and he shuddered. They were utterly devoid of all humanity. Whoever that kid had once been... his hopes and his dreams and his memories... had been utterly wiped out. Replaced by this ravening monster that didn’t even care it was beating its own head in attempting to get at him.

Sasaki raised himself to his knees and was violently sick.

*

Eventually, David managed to get ahold of himself enough to look at the infected child again. His - No, it. That isn’t a person anymore. - its posture struck Sasaki as odd. It seemed to be straining at something, struggling to manoeuvre its body in such a way that it could actually get at Sasaki. After a couple of second’s deliberation, an idea came to him that very nearly made him crack a smile before he remembered the situation, the humour fading in an instant.

“You’re not still strapped in, are you?” Sasaki steeled himself and walked up close to the window again. The infected’s struggles grew fiercer than ever, as did its little shrieks, but Sasaki reassured himself it wasn’t getting through that glass any time soon. Sure enough, looking in, David could see a seatbelt extending across the infected’s chest, effectively restraining it. He breathed a sigh of relief. That thing wasn’t going anywhere fast, so he could feel free to examine the corpse in the driver’s seat. Sasaki was entirely sure that was a corpse, too. The infected child was raising hell, if the driver were one of those things too, it would certainly be making some noise. The body’s stillness assured Sasaki that this was one cadaver which would be staying dead.

Heading over to the driver’s side door, the dark-haired man tried it and found it unlocked. Opening the door, another wave of nausea struck Sasaki and his stomach roiled as the horror inside was revealed. The old man sitting in the front seat was about the deadest person David had ever seen. Somebody had planted a hunting knife in his neck, just below the jaw, and if the amount of blood were any indication, they’d done it repeatedly. Leaning slightly to one side, Sasaki could make out a pistol clenched tight in the corpse’s right fist. His brow furrowed in thought. Walking back around to the front of the car, Sasaki examined the windshield again. It was cracked, sure, but there was also a small round hole in the centre of it. A bullet perhaps?

Sasaki formulated a possible scenario in his head.

Okay so let’s say pops here picked up Junior and his sweet mommy in his car whilst they were hitch-hiking. That can’t be the kid’s dad... he’s too old. Well along the way, either the kid turns savage or momma lets spill that Junior’s infected. Pops doesn’t like the sound of that too much and brings the car to a stop, tells ‘em they’ve got to take a walk. Wait no, tells momma that she’s welcome to stay, but the kid has got to go. That’d sure push her buttons. Momma’s pretty desperate, maybe in denial about the whole thing and see, she’s got this hunting knife she brought along and she ain’t taking no for an answer from pops. Thing is, pops is a wily old geezer and he brought along some ordinance. Momma sees pops going for his gun and panics, stabs the poor bastard, but because she ain’t no green beret, doesn’t finish the job. Pops gets the chance to bring his equaliser out and shoots momma in the guts, Junior screeching his little infected head off the whole time. Now pops tries to cap momma for good, but she’s still got that knife and she stabs him again and he winds up putting that bullet through the windshield. So pops is wasted and momma’s bleeding out, so she opens up the door and staggers out, maybe falls over, drags her way off the side of the highway. Looking for help? Maybe, doubt somebody with a bullet to the stomach is thinking straight...

“Or,” Sasaki concluded brightly. “I just made up a crock of bullshit and that’s not what happened at all.”

Still, one thing was for sure, Sasaki had to do something. Every fewer infected in the world increased the chances of him surviving, and that little piece in pops’ hand was looking a hell of a lot more attractive as a main weapon than his crowbar. He’d keep the latter of course, no telling when ammunition would run out, but Sasaki sure knew he’d feel more confident if he was packing heat. Gingerly, Sasaki reached into the car and groped as the hand of the driver. Rigor mortis had set in and breaking the death grip on the pistol was a fucking awful task, Sasaki eventually having to resort to prying each digit off with his crowbar (accidentally snapping two of them sickeningly). Taking a peek in the glove compartment, he saw that the old man had been storing some spare boxes of ammunition in there, which Sasaki was glad to loot too. Finally, the Japanese man grasped the hilt of the knife in pops’ neck and extracting it, wincing as it came free with a sloppy wet sound, coated in congealed blood. Waste not, want not.

“Most obliged, pops,” Sasaki told the corpse. “I’m afraid your loss is my gain. Should learn ya not to pick up hitch-hikers. Or well, it would, if you weren’t dead and all,” Turning to the infected kid in the back, which hadn’t stopped trying to get at him since it had seen him in the first place, Sasaki frowned and sighed. “Sorry junior, but your number was up the second you got bit,” Sasaki walked to the rear door on the opposite side to the child’s seat and opened to door before levelling the pistol at it through the gap. “Hope you get to meet your mommy with the man upstairs, but excuse me if I don’t plan on joining you for a long while.”

The first shot David Sasaki had fired in his entire life rang out on that deserted expanse of the I-5.

He didn’t regret it for an instant.

SotF: Mini - SCdoes a-rolling! - PV3 Prologue ongoing!
Draw Thread! - Pathfinder! - Writing Thread!
[+] Spoiler
13:58 Gianni Oh come on you broke someone's heart
13:59 Gianni you are proud, not embarrassed
13:59 Christian Yes
13:59 Christian Be proud
13:59 Christian Do we not all strive to break a human soul?
[+] Spoiler
Vincenzo/a 'Vinny' 'Enzo' Gatti | DO IT FOR THE VINE.
Toby 'Noodle' Andreasson | :|
[+] Spoiler
G008 - Kammy So'oialo | wants a new script
G062 - Becca Everett | was a damn superstar
G071 - Sunshine Cho Lee | trusted
[+] Spoiler
G026 - Rosalia Fiametta | Found it. | Walkie Talkies
G014 - Yelizaveta 'Bounce' Volkova | Out of here | Gasoline
B060 - Brock Mason | Thump. Thump |
G029 - Kristina 'Kris' Hartmann | Put Down. | Drama Bombs [∞], M79 Grenade Launcher [x6 grenades]
G117 - Jessie Anderson | Still Smiling | Faith
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Namira
Mr. Danya
Joined: May 28th, 2007, 12:31 pm

July 13th, 2010, 9:57 pm #7

Encounter
[+] Spoiler
Sasaki didn’t really know what he had been expecting when he had walked up to the farmhouse. Okay sure so he was running low on water and needed somewhere to replenish it, but approaching the building by the front entrance hadn’t been the smartest idea he’d ever had. Casing it would have been wise, a little bit of stake out just to check it wasn’t filled with either ravening infected or trigger-happy farmers. Allthough after all those miles of walking up one highway, Sasaki could perhaps be excused for a lapse in judgement.

Still, that excuse wasn’t giving Sasaki very much comfort as he stared down the twin barrels of an old pump-action shotgun, on the other end of which was a haggard man with dirty blond hair and a heavily stubbled jaw. He looked pissed.

Sasaki held up both hands desperately, very glad indeed that he’d chosen to tuck the pistol he’d taken from Pops into his trousers rather than holding it. He didn’t doubt that the guy with the shotgun wouldn’t have hesitated to shoot if he’d seen Sasaki with a gun.

“I’m David Sasaki, I walked up the I-5 from Bakersfield,” Sasaki told the blond man, amazed that he was managing to keep the tremor from his voice. “I was just looking for somewhere I could grab some supplies before moving on.”

“So you thought you’d loot my pa’s farm?” the gaunt man asked coldly, the shotgun not budging.

Sasaki swallowed, then gave a shrug. “It beats drinking out of ditches man.”

The other cocked his head to one side and frowned before reluctantly lowering his weapon. “S’pose when you put it like that... You bit?”

David shook his head. “You can check if you like. Barely a scratch on me.”

“Don’t really care either way. If you’re lying you’ll be fevered soon enough, and I got no problem with shooting a stranger dead if they’re gonna turn into one of those things.”

“Fair enough,” Sasaki replied, taking a liking to this guy’s practical attitude. His trio of close encounters with the infected thusfar had been far from pleasant. Euthanising those with the disease that weren’t yet psychotic was the only sensible course of action, especially if what he’d heard about it being incurable was true.

The blond man made to turn, then paused, seeming to reconsider. “You armed?”

Sasaki pulled up the hem of his untucked shirt, displaying the pistol. “You want it? I ain’t looking for trouble.”

Again, the other stopped to think that over before eventually replying. “Nah. If you had bad intentions you wouldn’t have come straight to the door.”

Considering the fact that he’d been chastising himself for doing just that, Sasaki opted to remain silent.

“Marty!” Sasaki’s head snapped up at the sound of a voice from within the farmhouse. The blond man looked around as the speaker continued. “Everything okay out there?”

“Just fine Brennan! We’ve got a visitor!” Marty looked at Sasaki. “David, wasn’t it? Name’s Marty, you should come in ‘fore we attract some unwanted guests.”

“I sure won’t say no to that.”

Marty stepped to the side, allowing Sasaki to enter the farmhouse. The former clerk noted to himself that the blond-haired man still held his shotgun ready. What trust existed here wouldn’t be wise to test - not one bit. Hearing the door close behind him, Sasaki found himself in a porch of sorts and his way obstructed by a barricade constructed of what seemed to be everything but the kitchen sink. It was so high that David couldn’t see light beyond it and giving it an experimental push, found that it didn’t even budge. Turning, he gave Marty a questioning glance.

Smiling, Marty motioned for Sasaki to move to the side. “Security first, friend. A door ain’t no barrier at all,” reaching down, Marty grabbed hold of a rug in the middle of the porch and began lifting it. Sasaki’s brow furrowed at the obvious effort being exerted by the blond man; he was clearly well built, it couldn’t be THAT heavy, could it? Eventually, it came up and with it a trapdoor, somehow attached to the bottom of the rug.

“Huh... clever.”

Marty nodded. “There’s two entrances to the cellar. Other one’s on the opposite side of the barricade. The rug was Brennan’s idea - said that it was all well and good if infected broke in, but people are smart enough to use trapdoors. Follow me, just mind your head and remember to close the entrance behind you,” Marty walked over to the void in the floor and descended into the square of darkness, Sasaki following once his companion was out of sight and pulling the trapdoor down on top of himself.

The basement was dim, but there was a light coming from the opposite side of it, enough for David to continue after Marty without much trouble. In a few moments, Sasaki was scaling a set of steps and emerging through a second trapdoor into a living room of sorts. It was sparsely furnished, most of the contents having obviously gone towards creating the barricade (which Sasaki couldn’t see from here) Looking around, he noticed a bespectacled man with dark looking at him with interest. That had to be Brennan. The pair regarded each other for a few seconds, weighing one another up, before Brennan gave a barely perceptible nod.

Sasaki felt as if he’d passed some sort of hidden test.

“Say, Brennan can I-”

“Go ahead Marty,” said Brennan, not taking his eyes off Sasaki. Marty laid down his shotgun on a coffee table, one of the few surviving items of furniture, then left the room. Brennan regarded David for a little longer, then sat back in his arm chair, seemingly satisfied. The Japanese man noticed that his ‘host’ had a hunting rifle laid across his lap.

“You guys seem pretty well set up here,” Sasaki ventured after a couple more seconds of uncomfortable silence.

Brennan shrugged. “I had my way, we wouldn’t be here. Marty...” he hesitated. “He’s pretty attached to his family’s farm. Both his parents died recently, before all of this, which I suppose is a mercy, but it’s made him sentimental.”

Hm. Friendship. It wasn’t like Sasaki didn’t have any friends, but he’d be lying if he said he’d spared any of them a single thought since shit had really hit the fan. David had more pressing concerns than if his drinking buddies were alright. He was priority one and he couldn’t afford to worry about anyone else. If friends were stopping you from doing the smart thing, then as far as Sasaki could see it, they needed to be cut loose.

However, Brennan wasn’t finished and now leaned forward. “That’s all well and good, but holing up here isn’t going to work. The building isn’t defensible enough and we don’t have enough access to supplies or ammunition. The sole reason I haven’t left is that I refuse to travel without a wingman.”

Sasaki looked at Brennan incredulously, and the other obviously picked up on it. “I see you’re sceptical, but think about it a second. If you don’t have two people, who is there to stand watch? It’s foolish to think you’ll be able to spend every night in a secure place,” thinking back to some of the sleepless, fearful nights Sasaki had spent camped out on the I-5, not knowing if he was going to hear a moan in the darkness, he had to concede that point. “There are many things which can be done with two people that are impossible with one.”

Beginning to see where this was going, Sasaki shook his head. “I’m not much for watching other people’s backs; I’ve got this far on my own. I know I can rely on me to do everything it takes to save my hide, I can’t be sure about anybody else. Fuck, I wouldn’t do the same thing for them.”

“Oh?” Brennan had a twinkle in his eye. “And how many infected have you dealt with on your no-doubt skillful lonesome?” Brennan gave a little smile and Sasaki scowled, refusing to answer. “Look at it this way... In this situation, watching another man’s back is watching your own back. You’re both attempting to maximise your chances of survival and you both know that it’s in their best interests for the other to be alive.”

“Okay... enough skirting around this. Are you asking me to come with you?”

Brennan nodded. “That is exactly what I’m doing.”

Sasaki scoffed. “So you expect me to believe that you’d just up and leave your buddy Marty in favour of some dude you don’t even know? What’s your angle?”

“Honestly, I have none. Believe me when I say I’d much prefer to bring Marty along than you - no offence intended, but he has made up his mind and he refuses to budge. I confess to having a certain amount of sympathy for him, but as it isn’t looking as if he’s going to change his mind any time soon...”

“Yeah, he’s right, David,” Marty walked back into the room, eyes looking slightly red, as if he’d been crying. “I ain’t budging. Brennan’s eager to go and I say more power to him. Wouldn’t want him staying here just on my account.”

“Not any longer, at least,” Brennan said, a smile playing across his lips.

“Hmph,” Sasaki still wasn’t sold. Things seemed a little too convenient for his liking, but then, if any foul play was going on here either man could have shot him dead long ago. Perhaps Brennan was so anxious to go he’d accept any partner, but Sasaki didn’t rightfully know if he wanted to be somebody’s backup. The man in the glasses made some good points, but Sasaki sensed a kindred spirit. And said kindred spirit, in the right circumstances, would save his own skin above anybody else’s. Relying on Brennan would be a calculated risk, just as relying on Sasaki would be one.

He needed some time to run the numbers.

“Any chance of sleeping on this?”

Brennan and Marty looked at one another, then Brennan gave a slight nod. “Very well. The supply situation isn’t yet critical, so you have some time to make up your mind about it,” the dark haired man smiled that little smile again. “It may interest you to know we have a jeep and a chevy parked behind the farmhouse, if that goes any distance towards persuading you.”

Sasaki raised an eyebrow.

Potentially getting left in the lurch down the line versus being able to rid himself of walking down that fucking highway...

That was a toughy.

SotF: Mini - SCdoes a-rolling! - PV3 Prologue ongoing!
Draw Thread! - Pathfinder! - Writing Thread!
[+] Spoiler
13:58 Gianni Oh come on you broke someone's heart
13:59 Gianni you are proud, not embarrassed
13:59 Christian Yes
13:59 Christian Be proud
13:59 Christian Do we not all strive to break a human soul?
[+] Spoiler
Vincenzo/a 'Vinny' 'Enzo' Gatti | DO IT FOR THE VINE.
Toby 'Noodle' Andreasson | :|
[+] Spoiler
G008 - Kammy So'oialo | wants a new script
G062 - Becca Everett | was a damn superstar
G071 - Sunshine Cho Lee | trusted
[+] Spoiler
G026 - Rosalia Fiametta | Found it. | Walkie Talkies
G014 - Yelizaveta 'Bounce' Volkova | Out of here | Gasoline
B060 - Brock Mason | Thump. Thump |
G029 - Kristina 'Kris' Hartmann | Put Down. | Drama Bombs [∞], M79 Grenade Launcher [x6 grenades]
G117 - Jessie Anderson | Still Smiling | Faith
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Namira
Mr. Danya
Joined: May 28th, 2007, 12:31 pm

July 19th, 2010, 8:05 pm #8

A segment in the results for that week, written obviously in that style.
[+] Spoiler
David Sasaki's eyes blinked open. It was the middle of the night and the farmhouse slumbered. He could've sworn though, that he'd just heard something, loud enough to rouse him from slumber. Sasaki lay awake, staring up at the ceiling for a few minutes and just as he was dozing off again, the sound came again.

SASAKI: "What the fuck was that...?"

A low moan, definitely coming from a person. It sent a chill down his spine as he remembered Junior. When it hadn't been shrieking, it had made much the same sort of noise. Heart hammering wildly, Sasaki retrieved his pistol from underneath his pillow and got up.

SASAKI: "Surely would've heard a break in. Don't tell me these guys have an infected in the house..."

Sasaki stood there in his boxers for a few seconds and then the moan sounded again. It was close by. Swallowing, David left the room, clutching his gun tightly. In the corridor, another moan allowed him to pinpoint the location they were coming from. Another room.

Not knowing what the hell he was thinking, Sasaki opened the door to the noises' source and peered inside. The room was bare save a bed, under the covers of which he could see a slowly moving shape.

SASAKI: "Fuck me sideways."

With shaking hands, he levelled his pistol at the bed. His finger tightened on the trigger and-

MARTY: "DROP THAT GUN OR I BLOW YOUR FUCKING BALLS OFF!"
Pursuit
[+] Spoiler
"DROP THAT GUN OR I BLOW YOUR FUCKING BALLS OFF!"

Sasaki just about wet himself at the warning. The voice belonged to Marty, but it was so twisted by utter fury that the familiarity was no comfort to him. Feeling the dual barrels of Marty’s shotgun pressed against his spine, Sasaki opted to drop his pistol, the weapon falling to the floor with a clunk.

The form hidden by the bedclothes ceased to both move and moan, Sasaki watching it with rapt attention. It surely must have heard Marty yelling, any moment now it would spring up and Marty would shut the door, leaving him shut in the room with a ravenous infected. Those moans were engraved into his memory. When pursuing him back in Bakersfield, the creatures had made much the same noise. So to had ‘Junior’, the little infected kid still strapped into that car he’d found back on the highway. What the fuck kind of moron kept something like this in their house anyway!?

“Uncle Marty?” Sasaki’s train of thought screeched to a halt. The voice, somewhat muffled and incredibly forlorn, had come from the bed. The covers shifted and Sasaki quirked an eyebrow to see a young girl with long blond hair, no more than 10 years old, pop up from underneath them. She had dark rings underneath her eyes and was drawn and pale, but for all that... seemingly uninfected.

“Yeah sweety?” said Marty, not budging from his spot.

“Who’s that man with no clothes?”

Hey hey, he WAS wearing underwear, at least.

“This is David, honey. He’s...” Marty hesitated for an uncomfortably long time before settling on “A friend.”

“Hiya David,” said the girl with genuine enthusiasm. “I’m Isabelle,” she looked over Sasaki’s shoulder, presumably at Marty. “I don’t feel so good, Uncle Marty.”

“I know sweety, just try and get back to sleep, alright?”

“Okay...” Isabelle looked at Sasaki a little longer, gave him a weak smile, then pulled her duvet back up and rolled onto her side.

When Marty spoke again, it was as a whisper in Sasaki’s ear. “I ain’t got no idea what you’re playing at an’ I don’t trust you after that kinda stunt. Get downstairs and don’t try nothing or you get to say hello to my buddy Mr. Buckshot. Got it?”

Sasaki swallowed and nodded, turning around with glacial speed so as to avoid provoking Marty. Looking at his ‘friend’, Sasaki’s composure slipped yet further. The shotgun-toting man’s expression trembled with barely-suppressed rage. Whatever this guy’s berserk button was, Sasaki had surely not only hit it but spent the last five minutes mashing the thing merrily.

Marty gestured towards the door with the shotgun, indicating he wanted Sasaki to go first. Stepping past the other, David walked to the room’s entrance, a slight scrape sounding from inside as the stubbled man picked up his pistol. A couple of seconds later, Sasaki felt the shotgun jab into his back again, and he headed out into the corridor.

He ran smack into Brennan, whose eyes looked tired behind his half-rim spectacles. The slight man frowned, then glanced past him, jaw-dropping.

“Marty? What on earth are you playing at?”

The blond-haired Marty shouldered Sasaki out his way, glowering, to regard his friend. “I caught him in Iz’s room, he was carrying his gun.”

As if in response to hearing her name, Isabelle let out that horrible little moan again. Brennan frowned.

“Was she doing that?”

Marty nodded. “I was getting up to settle her when I spotted Sasaki snooping around the hallways.”

“Remember what I told you it sounds like?” Brennan said, folding his arms.

“I...” Marty fell silent.

“She sounds infected, Marty.”

“She’s not infected!” the gaunt man’s protest probably would have been an explosion were it not for the fact they were right outside Isabelle’s room. As it was, he spoke in an angered stage whisper.

“I know that,” Brennan said reasonably. “But can you blame David for jumping to conclusions?”

Marty glared at Brennan for a few seconds, then let out a frustrated growl and stalked off. The bespectacled man turned to Sasaki.

“For what it’s worth, I apologise about that,” Brennan looked a little sheepish. “I probably should have been more up front with you. Care to come downstairs? I’ll explain everything.”

Sasaki considered things for a little while. A part of him was saying that he should get the hell out of there, away from the lies and the trigger-happy hicks. On the other hand, that would put him back to square one on supplies and there was still the matter of Brennan’s earlier offer to think about. A companion was beginning to look more and more appealing a proposition.

“Alright... make it quick.”

Without a word, Marty turned and headed towards the stairs, descending them rapidly and closely followed by David. Soon, they were back in the barren living area. This late at night, the lack of furniture was mildly creepy. Marty flopped into an armchair with a long sigh, whilst Sasaki threw himself onto the sofa. Both men, having been woken in the small hours, were more than a little tired.

The Japanese man was the first to speak. “Okay, spill the beans Brennan. Who’s the kid?”

Brennan closed his eyes then looked up at the ceiling. “Short version?”

“I don’t want her fucking life story.”

“Isabelle is Marty’s niece. She’s also sick - not infected, we’re not stupid, but sick.”

“So sick, I take it, that she’s keeping the two of you here?”

Brennan glanced back to Sasaki and smiled. “Now you’re getting the picture. Marty refuses to leave the house until she recovers a little and whilst I can’t blame him, I’m getting itchy feet. We need to be moving and Isabelle is a millstone. Don’t misunderstand me, Marty and I are friends, but surviving must be a priority. As of right now, my chances are better on the road than staying here.”

From his sprawled position on the couch, Sasaki allowed his eyes to meet Brennan’s. “You told me that already,” stretching, he sat up. “You know what? I’m thinking I’ll take that offer of yours, Brennan, if only because I’m fucking tired of walking.”

“That’s a good enough reason for me. Welcome aboard Mr. Sasaki.”

“Yeah yeah, whatever. Can I go back to sleep now?”

~*~

The following morning...

Sasaki stifled a yawn as he hauled a box into the back of Brennan’s jeep. They’d been loading the silver grand cherokee for most of the morning with various supplies. Food, water, ammunition. There was quite a lot lying around the house, although Brennan was of course adamant that they left Marty and Isabelle plenty. David privately believed that they could have taken more of a share without any problems, but he wasn’t about to argue, especially with Marty still treating that shotgun like it was his best friend.

Still, when Brennan announced “We’re done here,” with a good deal of room still left in the SUV, Sasaki couldn’t help but raise a slight objection.

“Done?” Sasaki frowned and gestured to the space in the back of the vehicle. “We could fit a ton more into here.”

Brennan shot Sasaki a knowing smile. “So speaks a man that has never driven before. The heavier your load, the more fuel you consume. If everything is as bad as the news has been making out, that’s soon to be a hot commodity. Put simply, it’s not a great idea to use more than is necessary. What supplies we have should be more than enough to see us to the next place we can restock.”

“Alright. Your call. But just so you know, if we run out of food, I’m blaming you.”

“Your dessicated corpse can claim the moral high ground over mine, in that case,” Brennan said with a wry smile.

“Deal.”

“Before we set off, you know how to use all the weapons right?”

Sasaki rolled his eyes. This had to be the fourth time that Brennan had asked him that and he was about as proficient with any of their armoury as he was going to get. He was most comfortable with the pistol he’d taken from the corpse of ‘Pops’ (Brennan had identified it as a M1911A1, which meant nothing to Sasaki) but he was capable enough with a second pistol (A Beretta M9) and could at least point and shoot with one of the other pump-action shotguns. However, he couldn’t use Brennan’s hunting rifle for shit and he struggled to compensate for the recoil of the final weapon, a colt SAA.

Brennan had insisted Sasaki practice a little with all five of the guns, even the ones that he wasn’t going to have on his person. He’d told David that there was no telling when they’d get into a tight spot and need to use different weapons on short notice and if that was the case, he’d rather Sasaki were NOT using any of them for the first time.

“I know how. No promises to be able to hit anything this side of Kansas, but I know how.”

“If I’m the one in trouble, you’d better be able to hit the target. Otherwise I swear I’ll ensure that you’re the next on the menu.”

“That winds up happening, I’ll become a damn sharpshooter.”

David smirked humourlessly and Brennan returned the mirthless smile. Neither was joking.

“This it?” Marty had come outside and approached the pair of them. He had helped them loading the cherokee, but had been periodically going back inside to check on Isabelle.

Brennan nodded. “We’re just about to get underway.”

“Alright then.” Marty looked down to his feet awkwardly, then walked up to Brennan and gave him a friendly hug. “See you around man.”

“Perhaps we’ll meet again,” Brennan didn’t sound particularly hopeful, but he was obviously trying not to upset Marty. The latter looked to Sasaki and gave him a slight nod.

David raised a hand of acknowledgement. “No hard feelings, Marty?”

The blond man sighed, then nodded. “You seem an okay guy, Sasaki. Look after my buddy, you hear?”

“Like a brother.”

“Well... we’re burning daylight,” Brennan walked to the driver’s side of the SUV and hopped in, Sasaki going around the vehicle to the passenger door. Since he couldn’t drive, he’d be riding shotgun for Brennan, though he had serious reservations about his ability to hit anything in a moving jeep.

Brennan started the cherokee and steered it up the driveway towards the I-5, north it was again. Behind them, the figure of Marty standing outside the farmhouse began smaller and smaller before finally disappearing into the distance.

~*~

Some hours later...

The thrill of moving along the highway that had been thwarting Sasaki for so long at such a high speed wore off quickly. It wasn’t that David wanted to be walking again - anything but that, but there wasn’t anything much to do in the jeep. Even the element of being on edge, looking out for any sign of the infected, was gone. Unless the rabid lunatics had suddenly figured out how to drive cars, they were currently under no threat. They’d see anything coming for them a mile off.

He’d tried keeping an eye out for the infected, but other than a couple of vague shapes off in the distance, there just hadn’t been anything. Sasaki found himself wishing he’d brought along a sketchbook when he’d left Bakersfield. At least doodling would have passed the time a little better. At last, Sasaki couldn’t bear it any longer. He turned to the driver.

“Hey Brennan?”

“What?” the man in the glasses sounded as out of it as Sasaki felt.

“What’s your story?”

Brennan looked at his companion and raised an eyebrow. “It depends what you mean by my story, David.”

“I don’t know. I just wanted to know a little more about you. Besides, I’m bored.”

The driver smirked. “I’m not sure exactly how riveting it will be, but I’ll give it my best shot. I’m 27, born and raised in Carson City in Nevada. I was pretty close to my family, but they didn’t really have a lot of time for me. Both of them were pretty career orientated and my younger brother monopolised most of their time. I studied psychology at California State in LA but then dropped out after a year or so because of a few personal issues. I ended up working as one of your typical office drones all the way up until my boss attempted to eat my face and I killed her. Then I realised she was a zombie.”

Sasaki laughed. “So I take it you knew Marty already?”

Brennan gave a slight nod. “He might not strike you as the type, but Marty is a very intelligent man. He attended the same university as I did, took a major in engineering. He isn’t the fastest witted man in the world, but he’s a wizard with a machinery,” he sounded almost rueful.

“Too bad you had to settle with the art grad then, eh?”

“You’re another pair of eyes and hands, I’ll regret it when we need a car fixed and you can only draw me one. At least you don’t have any commitments weighing you down.”

“You’re a hard man Brennan,” Sasaki said, mock-reprovingly. Much as the risk of his partner selling him out was still very real to him, he knew that Brennan was about the only type of guy he would team up with. The man knew the score, much as David did, and was prepared to do whatever it took to stay breathing. Much as he’d said the previous day, watching each other’s backs was watching their own. Their best chance of surviving was as a duo and that made any backstabbing a bad idea.

“I’m also a living one. If I’m not mistaken, you share both traits.”

Sasaki regarded Brennan for a couple of seconds. Huh, he wasn’t the only one to have sussed somebody out. “That I do my friend. That I d-”

There was an ungodly pair of bangs, rapidly followed by a second, and the cherokee spiralled wildly out of control, going lurching all over the highway as Brennan wrestled with the wheel, swearing profusely. Sasaki was first slammed into the passenger side door, then very nearly flung into his companion’s lap at the car’s careening. The jeep was spinning first one way then the other like some kind of demented fairground ride, a horrible screeching emitting from whatever was left of the tires after a quadruple puncture.

“Some asshole laid stingers on the road!” Brennan screamed, still fighting a losing battle to steer the jeep. “All four of the tires are blown to hell!”

Whatever response Sasaki might have formulated to that was cut off as the vehicle struck something in the road, sending it beyond all hope and momentarily into the air.

“FUCK!”

The cherokee landed with a bone-juddering crunch on its roof in the centre of the highway before teetering with its momentum and falling onto its side with another crash. After a few seconds, all was still again.

~*~

The eyes of David Sasaki blinked open and he groaned, tasting blood in his mouth. His seatbelt was constricting his chest horribly, and as he came to, he realised it was because it was suspending him in midair. David was hanging suspended in his seat, the jeep resting on its opposite side. Below him, Sasaki could see the form of Brennan, just now stirring with a gory cut visible on his forehead. Miraculously, his glasses had somehow remained intact.

Fuck. This was messed up.

Carefully, Sasaki shifted his body around, every movement sending shooting pains to what felt like just about every part of him. He didn’t feel as if anything was broken, but mother of fuck was he hurting bad. As soon as he figured releasing himself wouldn’t send him crashing on top of Brennan, Sasaki disengaged his seatbelt and let it slide away. He was now holding himself in the air in his seat above Brennan.

“Only one way out...” Sasaki muttered, painstakingly reaching up to open the vehicle’s door, the angle making it very awkward to raise it up, especially since he had to keep hold of the handle to prevent it from just swinging shut again. That done, Sasaki managed to clamber out of the jeep, such that he was on ‘top’ of it. Looking back inside, he called out. “Brennan! Hey, Brennan! Come on man! You’ve got to get your ass in gear!”

“Fuck off...” Brennan growled, he himself now together enough to pick himself up out of his seat. “I’m going to need a hand down here, my head is killing me,” blood was dripping into his eyes from the cut and Sasaki winced. That definitely bore checking out. Still, he said nothing, simply reaching down into the cherokee and hauling Brennan up and out of it.

The pair sat on top of the jeep for a couple of moments, catching their respective breaths, then jumped down to the ground on the highway. The two men looked at their transport, utterly wrecked, before Brennan spat on the floor.

“Somebody sabotaged us purposefully, or at least, were looking to do that to any vehicles. I’m amazed there aren’t more destroyed cars around here.”

“Guess we get to be the lucky warning sign. Look, if somebody laid a trap then chances are they’ll be around to check what they’ve caught. We need to get off this highway.”

Brennan nodded. “There was an exit half a mile back from here, give or take. We could head for that. First, we should unload what supplies we can carry from the jeep. I doubt what is in your backpack will be sufficient.”

A long wail cut Brennan off. The two men regarded each other with a sort of sick horror, then as one, turned to look up the road. Ahead of the jeep, some way from where they were standing, was a group of infected. And they’d noticed them both.

Without any further consultation, Sasaki and Brennan turned tail and fled up the road. With a unified roar, the pack of rabid infected took off after them, a race of life and death.

Don’t gotta be faster than the infected, just gotta be faster than Brennan...

SotF: Mini - SCdoes a-rolling! - PV3 Prologue ongoing!
Draw Thread! - Pathfinder! - Writing Thread!
[+] Spoiler
13:58 Gianni Oh come on you broke someone's heart
13:59 Gianni you are proud, not embarrassed
13:59 Christian Yes
13:59 Christian Be proud
13:59 Christian Do we not all strive to break a human soul?
[+] Spoiler
Vincenzo/a 'Vinny' 'Enzo' Gatti | DO IT FOR THE VINE.
Toby 'Noodle' Andreasson | :|
[+] Spoiler
G008 - Kammy So'oialo | wants a new script
G062 - Becca Everett | was a damn superstar
G071 - Sunshine Cho Lee | trusted
[+] Spoiler
G026 - Rosalia Fiametta | Found it. | Walkie Talkies
G014 - Yelizaveta 'Bounce' Volkova | Out of here | Gasoline
B060 - Brock Mason | Thump. Thump |
G029 - Kristina 'Kris' Hartmann | Put Down. | Drama Bombs [∞], M79 Grenade Launcher [x6 grenades]
G117 - Jessie Anderson | Still Smiling | Faith
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Namira
Mr. Danya
Joined: May 28th, 2007, 12:31 pm

August 8th, 2010, 2:08 am #9

Providence
[+] Spoiler
Brennan Connolly wasn’t quite sure that he wasn’t hallucinating.

There was a strong feeling of the surreal as he and David approached the pulled over car at the side of the highway. It was a Dodge Viper - a damn nice car - and outwardly there didn’t seem to be the slightest thing wrong with it. Either the pair of them had just landed the mother of all jackpots, or fate had decided to throw in a little taunting to go with the threat of imminent death.

They seemed to be riding a streak of fortune here and Brennan felt uneasy as to its chances of remaining intact for much longer. Okay sure they’d been in a car wreck after the incident with the spikes laid in the road, but hadn’t the two of them both made it out of that relatively unscathed? Other than a few bruises and the cut Brennan had sustained over an eye - something which he’d need to treat sooner or later - all they could complain about was the loss of the transport and some supplies. Given he’d been doing ninety-plus over the spikes that had burst the Cherokee’s tyres, that was damn lucky. Furthermore, what were the odds that the pair that had laid the spikes in the first place were not only on hand to rescue him and Sasaki, but were people that he knew? Brennan didn’t doubt that if he hadn’t attended high school with Chrissy - a woman with more facial hair than him - the two of them would have found themselves abducted in a hurry.

There had to be something wrong with the Dodge, Brennan reasoned as the two of them made it to the vehicle. Either it was out of gas or the engine was burned out or something... Logic dictated that no sane person would just leave a car like this at the side of the road unless they had a damn good reason for it. Especially since it was a prestige car of sorts, no doubt the owner would have assigned considerable personal value to it. The whole situation didn’t add up without some kind of defect not evident from merely looking.

Sasaki made to open the driver’s side door then hesitated before opting to look in through the windows instead. That was smart; no telling what might be inside, waiting to lunge at the first person to give them an opportunity. In the meantime, Brennan walked over to the other side of the Viper, inspecting the bodywork for any flaws. All the tyres were intact and since there wasn’t any smoke emerging from underneath the hood, Brennan was forced to conclude that again, on face value the car was fine.

“It’s completely bare,” Sasaki called from the other side of the car. “Can’t see a thing.”

“Entirely abandoned then...” Brennan checked the passenger door and found it unlocked. Pulling it open, he took a look inside the vehicle himself. Just as David had told him, there... wasn’t anything there. No bloodstains, no possessions. The car might as well have been in the garage on display, it was that pristine.

“Uh-huh,” David cracked open the driver’s door and poked about around the wheel before looking up and flashing Brennan a smile. “Key’s are still in the ignition. Paydirt.”

Straightening up, Brennan shook his head. “I don’t like this. It’s a little too convenient. What does the gas meter read?”

Sasaki leaned into the car and squinted at the dashboard. “Says it’s still got a half tank. We’re in luck.”

Brennan was bewildered. What moron just left a perfectly serviceable vehicle in the middle of the road like that? The car was in perfect shape, so that ruled out any kind of foul play, otherwise he would have been tempted to guess this might have been Chrissy’s doing. Damn vulture. Still, even though his paranoia was raising a storm, he was drawing blanks as to any reason not to take the car, especially since Sasaki would no doubt raise a shitstorm if he refused. As the only one out of the pair that could drive, Brennan obviously had the final call, but he didn’t exactly want to piss off the man he’d be travelling with for the foreseeable future. If he was to rely on David to watch his back, then annoying him probably wasn’t the greatest idea.

“Let’s not get ahead of ourselves quite yet. Maybe there’s a fault that we can’t see. I’ll check if it starts before we start getting excited.”

“Pessimist.”

“Realist.”

“Touché.”

Sasaki sat on the car’s bonnet whilst Brennan went back over to the driver’s side and clambered into the Viper. It took him a few moments to get his bearings, as the layout was a far cry from the jeep he’d been driving earlier, but after that, he reached for the keys and started the car. It roared into life like a dream. Brennan felt a smile creeping onto his face. Maybe they could count on luck for a little longer.

Killing the engine, Brennan shifted to look at David.

“Alright first thing’s first, we need to figure out our priorities. On the move was all well and good previously, but now we don’t have the luxury of a jeep full of supplies any more. We need to take an inventory and work out what our first objective has to be from there. What survived the crash?”

Sasaki shrugged his sports bag from his shoulder, then began emptying it and after stepping out of the Dodge, Brennan did the same thing with his backpack. Once everything was laid bare, it became clear that one thing they had plenty of was munitions. The only firearm to have been lost in the wreck was Brennan’s hunting rifle, with the shotgun, two pistols and SAA having been brought along either in bags or in belts - and they still had plenty of ammunition for all of the guns. Even so far as weapons in general went, they were sitting pretty. Brennan had a KA-BAR knife and a pair of heavy-duty knuckle dusters about his person, whilst David was packing a rusted yet dangerous looking crowbar.

As Brennan had anticipated, the problem was with supplies. They each had a couple of days worth of rations with them, but most of their food and water had been stowed in crates in the Cherokee, which was now a lost cause. They’d encountered that group of infected in the vicinity of the crash and there was no telling what other traps Chrissy and her cronies might have laid around that area. They’d have to scavenge up some more rations, and soon too. Hopefully there were some gas stations along this highway that hadn’t been looted, otherwise their only options lay in towns and cities. Brennan didn’t want to even think about how bad the infection was in population centres; it was best to avoid that eventuality at all costs.

“Say...” Sasaki spoke as if an idea had just occurred to him. “You don’t think there might be anything in the trunk, do you?”

Brennan shrugged. “It might be worth a look. Let me crack it open,” he did so as David trotted to the rear of the Viper. Once there, he let out an appreciative whistle.

“It ain’t a hoard, but there’s a good amount of stuff stashed back here,” Sasaki peer around the edge of the car and flashed Brennan a broad smile. “Add a couple of hot chicks to this mix and I’d say we were the luckiest men alive Brennan my man.”

“I’ll settle for this.”

The way things were going, Brennan was beginning to wish society was still intact enough for him to gamble a little, because he would be certain to be making a killing.

~*~

“So, what’s the story with that Chrissy ...thing?”

“Hm?” they’d been driving along the highway in silence for about half an hour now and Brennan had been concentrating intently in the road. The last thing he wanted was any unpleasant surprises, especially whilst driving a sports car. This vehicle wasn’t anything close to as sturdy as the jeep and he didn’t like his chances for making it out of a second wreck in one piece. The cut on his head, now hastily bandaged, was a throbbing reminder of that.

“You know, that woman in the truck who looked as if not only were her father and grandpa the same person, but a grizzly bear too.”

“Oh, Chrissy,” Brennan gave a little shrug. “There isn’t exactly much to tell. We went to the same high school, shared a few classes, then I graduated and was content in the knowledge that I would never have to see her again.”

“No, really?” Sasaki said in mock surprise.

“You know some people don’t have the looks, but they have at least a decent personality?”

“I’m sitting in a car with one of them.”

“...There’s a backhanded compliment in there, somewhere. Anyway, she has neither. Truth is, she probably let us go because she saw our weapons and didn’t like the odds.”

“Lovely company you keep, Brennan.”

“Didn’t I agree to travel with you?”

“Oh snap. Add ice to our shopping list, we’re going to need it if this keeps up.”

The pair of them shared a look of mutual friendship. It was odd really, Brennan considered as he looked back to the road. They’d only met three days previously, but the two of them had already grown attached to one another, perhaps because of all the time spent in the close confines of vehicles together. In this case, familiarity hadn’t bred contempt. Perhaps it was because they had an objective in common and hadn’t yet had much scope for disagreement. It was hard not to get along with somebody doing their best to help you out.

The drive continued in silence for another few minutes before Brennan’s ears picked up a persistent scratching sound. Looking around, he saw Sasaki busy scribbling away in a notebook of some description. He seemed quite intent on his work and leaning over a little, Brennan was surprised to see a very good rendition (or at least, half-rendition) of himself. David looked up as the bespectacled man leaned back into his seat.

“I got bored,” Sasaki said by way of an explanation.

“That’s quite impressive, did you ever draw professionally?”

David scoffed. “Hardly. My art degree got me squat.”

Brennan glanced at the sketch again. “Then you were unlucky, because that’s excellent,” a thought came to him. “Where did you get the notebook? I didn’t see it earlier.”

“In there,” David gestured towards the glove compartment. “It was bare apart from this,” holding up the notebook, a folded sheet of paper suddenly slipped out. Frowning, Sasaki set the notebook aside and bent down to pick it up. Unfolding the sheet, his eyes met Brennan’s.

“What is it?” Brennan asked, feeling his earlier paranoia resurface.

“It’s a letter...” David cleared his throat. “To whomever this note may find...”

It seemed the Viper’s story was about to get told after all.

SotF: Mini - SCdoes a-rolling! - PV3 Prologue ongoing!
Draw Thread! - Pathfinder! - Writing Thread!
[+] Spoiler
13:58 Gianni Oh come on you broke someone's heart
13:59 Gianni you are proud, not embarrassed
13:59 Christian Yes
13:59 Christian Be proud
13:59 Christian Do we not all strive to break a human soul?
[+] Spoiler
Vincenzo/a 'Vinny' 'Enzo' Gatti | DO IT FOR THE VINE.
Toby 'Noodle' Andreasson | :|
[+] Spoiler
G008 - Kammy So'oialo | wants a new script
G062 - Becca Everett | was a damn superstar
G071 - Sunshine Cho Lee | trusted
[+] Spoiler
G026 - Rosalia Fiametta | Found it. | Walkie Talkies
G014 - Yelizaveta 'Bounce' Volkova | Out of here | Gasoline
B060 - Brock Mason | Thump. Thump |
G029 - Kristina 'Kris' Hartmann | Put Down. | Drama Bombs [∞], M79 Grenade Launcher [x6 grenades]
G117 - Jessie Anderson | Still Smiling | Faith
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Namira
Mr. Danya
Joined: May 28th, 2007, 12:31 pm

August 8th, 2010, 2:09 am #10

Shatter
[+] Spoiler
“To whomever this note may find…” Sasaki looked up at Brennan, who had one eye on the deserted highway and was regarding him with the other. “You think this is from whoever left the car back there?” The two men had been heading up the highway on foot when they’d seen a seemingly pristine Dodge Viper dumped at the side of the road. After verifying that there was in fact nothing wrong with the car, the pair had appropriated it, making their travels a hell of a lot easier.

“Unless there’s somebody wandering around that takes delight in leaving messages in abandoned vehicles, I’d say that’s a pretty safe bet, David.”

Sasaki cleared his throat and returned to the piece of paper he’d found in the Dodge’s glove compartment. “My name is Andrew Caldwell, and I suppose if you’re reading this, you’re the fortunate new owner of my car.”

“Oh that’s good, I was starting to get a conscience about stealing it,” Brennan remarked sardonically, causing David to chuckle.

“It used to be my pride and joy, something I used to show off to the guys at work to inflate my head, but that all seems so unimportant now. Gee, I’m glad that he managed to get a handle on his priorities.”

Brennan nodded. “I don’t think many people would be smart enough to put avoiding a horrible death in front of stroking their ego.”

“In any case, I don’t have long, so I wish you the best with it. Aw. That sure was nice of him.”

“Manners are always in the last place you look.”

The two men grinned at each other, knowing that they shared the exact sense of dark humour. Sasaki knew that joking about the last message of a dead man could be considered pretty macabre, but he wasn’t about to shed any tears about somebody he didn’t even know. His loss had ultimately been their gain and it wasn’t as if they’d caused Caldwell’s death personally. David looked back to the note and found that it continued.

“Like most people, I guess, I didn’t see any of this coming.”

“I did,” Brennan muttered.

“I watched the news, I saw them all talking about this new sickness and laughed along with everyone else when that comedian referred to the sufferers as ‘zombies’. I was stunned by the rioting in San Francisco and appalled by the incident in Mobile, but like an idiot, I never thought that it could affect ME.” Sasaki stopped talking for a moment. That hit one hit a little close to home. He remembered that day in Bakersfield, the day that something actually happened in the place where the primary recreational activity was watching grass grow. A man who’d seen which way the wind was blowing holding him up at gunpoint before an infected came crashing through the window of the drugstore he worked in. That had jolted him out of complacency in a hurry.

“I went to hospital because I cut my finger – just a stupid slip when I was making dinner - and found it was fucking chaos. The place was frantic, screaming everywhere, packed full, everyone trying to get OUT just as I went IN. Can you believe that timing? It all went to shit right after I walked through the front doors. It was a total stampede, people running every which way, and in amongst it all were the infected. I don’t know how the outbreak started, but I got to the hospital just as it was exploding beyond containment. One of them took a chunk out of my shoulder and that was it for me. Call time on Andrew Caldwell because he’s a dead man walking.”

“Literally.”

“I made it out of there somehow, ran the couple of blocks back to my place the fastest I’ve ever done in my life. I bandaged myself up, but I already knew in myself that I was fucked. I didn’t have the balls to end it myself, so I went to my car and just drove. I figure if I get far away enough from the cities, I won’t be able to hurt anyone when… well, it happens. Whoever you are… I hope you’re luckier than I was.… That’s it.”

“Luck doesn’t enter into the equation,” Brennan’s expression was grim. “There’s a disease going around and he went to a hospital? Andy-boy was obviously not thinking too sensibly. At least he had the courtesy of trying to prevent himself from becoming a nuisance.”

“We ain’t all Mr. Spock. Not everyone can be as logical and calm as you all the time.”

Looking to Sasaki, the bespectacled man raised an eyebrow. “Not everyone can be alive and breathing, either.”

“Point,” David stowed Caldwell’s message back in the glove compartment and went back to sketching in the notebook the letter had originally fallen out of. He hadn’t drawn this much in a long while, not since college, in fact. After his art degree had come to nothing, Sasaki hadn’t really seen the point in keeping up with his work. It was somewhat gladdening to discover that even after all these years, he hadn’t lost his touch.

He wasn’t sure how long they were driving for, but throughout that time, David lost himself in the notebook. After completing the half-finished drawing of Brennan, the artist moved on to others he’d met since all of this had started. Scowling, desperation written clear across his face: the gunman in the drugstore. Haggard with worry and stress: Marty. Pale and drawn, but still mustering a smile: the little girl Isabelle. Looking in dire need of a razor blade: Brennan’s ‘friend’ Chrissy. The sketches weren’t masterwork, but they were good. Sasaki had drawn the very beginnings of an outside view of the farmhouse where he’d first met Brennan and Marty, when the driver spoke up.

“Alright Michelangelo, time to put that pencil down. The first stop is only a couple of minutes away and I want you to be ready.”

“Enlighten me, oh mighty driver, as to what the first stop actually is,” David’s tone was good natured, but it had en edge of irritation. They were supposed to be working together here, after all. He didn’t appreciate Brennan leaving him out of the loop, particularly where their destinations were concerned.

“Well, this thing didn’t have a full tank when we found it. I’ve had it in mind to stop off at a gas station and fill up for a while now. Plus, they sell all kinds of stuff in those places, I figured that we might be able to pick up some more supplies.”

Sasaki nodded. “I won’t argue with that, but hey… Keep me posted next time, okay?”

Brennan grinned and gave a quick little salute. “Aye aye captain. It’s just you were so wrapped up in those sketches of yours that I didn’t want to distract you from them.”

“What a Samaritan you are.”

“I agreed to bring you along in the first place, didn’t I? My specialisation is in hopeless causes.”

“Ouuuuch. So before my poor ego gets any further shit kicked out of it, what’s the plan?”

Brennan’s expression sobered. “Right. Well, fingers crossed the place is deserted, but where infected may be concerned I have no intention of gambling. First, I’ll drive straight through the gas station whilst you take a good long look at the area, see if you can spot any unwanted company. If there are infected present, then we’ll pull back and plot our next move from there, depending on whether they number few enough for us to handle. If there aren’t any, then I’ll circle back around and park inside the station. Then we can check the pumps and hopefully at least one of them will be working. If not…” Brennan frowned. “Well, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. Any questions?”

“Works for me.”

“Alright… do you have your gun?”

Sasaki rolled his eyes. “No, I decided it didn’t match my shoes too well and threw it away. Do me a favour and stop trying to hold my hand, Brennan. I’m a big boy and I can look after myself,” to punctuate the point, David pulled his Beretta out of his belt and showed it to his companion.

“Take it easy, I was just checking. Anyway… here’s the turnoff, we’re nearly there.”

Nodding, Sasaki looked up at the road and saw the gas station in front of them, closer than he’d expected. Brennan slowed the Dodge as they reached the building and David leaned forward, trying to get the best view of their surroundings that he could. As the car crept between the rows of pumps, he let out an inadvertent gasp.

Corpses lay strewn across the terrain, more and more everywhere that Sasaki looked. In amongst the machines, out in the little parking lot, a couple right outside of the station itself. Gore was splattered all over the place, leaving sinister dark stains on the concrete and a congealed mess on some of the pumps. The further the car moved, the more bodies came into view, haphazardly scattered all around. From what David could tell about such things, some of the dead must have been there days, whilst others appeared relatively fresh. Looking beyond simply the bodies, Sasaki noticed that there were a number of cars sitting abandoned in the parking area, some of them also bloodstained. That was odd. There weren’t enough bodies nearby for how badly spattered the vehicles were. He frowned, beginning to notice other areas with the same disparity. Blood where there weren’t bodies. Bodies, but no blood.

Look at the wounds. They were shot. I can’t see bites on these ones closest to me. Were these people even infected?

David turned in his seat, distinctly uneasy. This wasn’t adding up at all. Almost thirty corpses, from his count and in addition to all the rest, he realised not one of them was carrying anything. None of the dead had more than the clothes on their back and when you considered how the stains and the corpses didn’t match up, it was almost as if they’d been moved from where they’d fallen. Or, Sasaki considered, looted.

Something on the ground beside a body glinted, catching David’s eye as the Dodge edged towards it. Frowning, he wound down the Viper’s window and leaned out, squinting to see what the object was. It took him a couple of seconds to identify the little piece of metal, but when he did, the bottom dropped out of his stomach. It was a shell casing. David looked closer; saw that the one he’d first spotted wasn’t the only casing lying on the ground. The realisation that had already been on its way hit him like a freight train. These people had been shooting at somebody when they were killed.

Sasaki whipped around. “Brennan get down!” he screamed, just as the world erupted in a hail of gunfire.

SotF: Mini - SCdoes a-rolling! - PV3 Prologue ongoing!
Draw Thread! - Pathfinder! - Writing Thread!
[+] Spoiler
13:58 Gianni Oh come on you broke someone's heart
13:59 Gianni you are proud, not embarrassed
13:59 Christian Yes
13:59 Christian Be proud
13:59 Christian Do we not all strive to break a human soul?
[+] Spoiler
Vincenzo/a 'Vinny' 'Enzo' Gatti | DO IT FOR THE VINE.
Toby 'Noodle' Andreasson | :|
[+] Spoiler
G008 - Kammy So'oialo | wants a new script
G062 - Becca Everett | was a damn superstar
G071 - Sunshine Cho Lee | trusted
[+] Spoiler
G026 - Rosalia Fiametta | Found it. | Walkie Talkies
G014 - Yelizaveta 'Bounce' Volkova | Out of here | Gasoline
B060 - Brock Mason | Thump. Thump |
G029 - Kristina 'Kris' Hartmann | Put Down. | Drama Bombs [∞], M79 Grenade Launcher [x6 grenades]
G117 - Jessie Anderson | Still Smiling | Faith
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Namira
Mr. Danya
Joined: May 28th, 2007, 12:31 pm

August 21st, 2010, 10:43 am #11

Forgot about this, not one of my stronger pieces but decent I guess.

Firefight
[+] Spoiler
The Dodge’s windshield exploded in a shower of glass, scattering all over the dashboard and the two men seated in the front. Even as he’d warned Brennan, Sasaki had ducked as low as he could go, his timely warning saving both of their asses as automatic gunfire shredded the upholstery of the seats’ headrests.

David wasted no time in getting the hell out of the car after the initial volley, figuring he’d much rather be mobile than trapped inside a vehicle in the process of being riddled with bullets. Hunkering down, Sasaki discerned that the gunmen had to be in the vicinity of the gas station building, maybe even inside it. Otherwise, his position would have seen him used as target practice. Brushing some glass from his jacket, David swore, groping for the pistol at his hip and wandering what the fuck this bullshit was.

Meanwhile, Brennan was in a world of trouble because he couldn’t do a whole lot more than keep his head down in the driver’s seat. Getting out of his door would leave him directly exposed to however many shooters there were out there, and he couldn’t climb over the passenger seat without showing himself above the dashboard, which was most definitely in the line of fire. Instead, he opted to start yelling.

“ARE YOU MOTHERFUCKERS ON CRACK!?”

Eloquent.

Sasaki just stayed put and didn’t try to do anything. The gunfire had let up from the first ferocious storm, but he was in no mood to check to see if their assailants had run out of ammo, nor to return fire. He was a store clerk with an art degree, not a marksman. He’d be lucky to hit anything this side of Minnesota. There were few options here, and none of them struck him as good ones. A shot rang out and he flinched, in spite of the fact it had come nowhere near hitting him. The attackers were resorting to potshots, now.

“SERIOUSLY ARE YOU FUCKING INSANE?” Brennan was still occupied with screaming his head off. “INFECTED DON’T DRIVE CARS YOU BRAINDEAD FUCKTARDS!”

“Brennan can we maybe not shout at the angry people with guns?” it was almost a plea. Diplomacy sounded a long shot, but Brennan cursing up a storm was only going to make the odds of it working more slim.

“Can you maybe GET OFF YOUR DAMN ASS AND HELP ME OUT OF HERE!?”

David was starting to get pissed off. His companion was freaking out when ideally, they needed calm. “Do I look like a fucking ninja?” Sasaki snapped. “I can’t dodge bullets!”

“Can you dodge explosions!? These morons are going to hit a pump the way they’re going at it!”

“Yeah and that sucks except I’m freaking stuck as well here so I can’t DO anything!”

“...Fuck you David!”

“Fuck YOU Brennan!”

There was a few seconds of silence, then another hail of gunfire erupted, pummelling the Dodge to within an inch of its life, punching holes in the bodywork left right and centre. The car suddenly sagged as the two right hand tyres were punctured, making the whole vehicle lurch to one side. Soon enough, the sustained fire stopped again.

“You know...” Brennan muttered. “It’s a good thing that these guys are fucking lousy shots.”

All of a sudden, a voice called out from the building in front of them.

“Stop wasting your ammo! Nothing’s moving in there! They have got to be toast.”

A pause. “Want me to check it out?”

The first voice again. “Of course I fucking do you idiot!”

Then, there were footsteps on the concrete. Somebody was emerging from the gas station and walking towards the crippled Dodge. Still hunched over in the driver’s seat, Brennan grinned to himself. The engine was still running, just about. He couldn’t go for his gun from here, but if the gunman got close enough...

A man with an assault rifle stopped in front of the Viper, head cocked to one side. He could have sworn that he could see some movement behind the car’s shattered windshi- Brennan hit the gas and the car surged forward, gaining enough speed even with the damage dealt to it to drag the assailant straight under the vehicle’s wheels. There was half a scream and then the car lurched as it bumped over the shooter. Inside the car, Brennan whooped.

“That’s for wrecking my car you motherfuckeohshit!” going too fast and having not really been able to see where he was headed, Brennan sent the Dodge crunching into the wall of the building, sending a painful jolt through his entire body.

In the meantime, Sasaki was busy cursing Brennan’s name for leaving him bereft of cover, particularly as moments later, the voice from before starting shouting again.

“Dammit! Jimmy! Bob! Get out here, we’ve got live ones!”

David scrambled to his feet and took a flying leap behind one of the gas pumps as bullets assailed the spot where he’d been seconds before. Clutching his Beretta so hard he thought that he might crush the grip, Sasaki quietly started swearing to himself. Were all the rabid infected out for their blood not enough? Did the living and breathing people have to start killing each other, too?

Kill or be killed, David. They fired the first shot, you’re just doing what you have to.

That thought didn’t make it any easier as Sasaki took a deep breath and leaned around the corner of the pump to draw a bead on a guy lurking just inside the gas station’s entrance, holding a gun. David hesitated. That was just a man, just another man like him. He probably had hopes and dreams and aspirations before all of this and now he was doing just the same as Sasaki, all he could to survive. Could he...

Sasaki closed off the voice of compassion by reminding himself that it was currently ‘him or me’, steadied his aim, and fired.

Missing by a country mile.

David swore and began to duck back into cover, already knowing that he wasn’t going to have enough time. The other guy had started aiming as soon as he’d spotted the Japanese man and was now poised to fire on his exposed bo- The guy jerked back in a puff of blood and Sasaki’s head whipped around to see Brennan crouched alongside the wrecked Dodge, a grim look on his face.

The two of them shared a meaningful look before a second shape appeared in the entrance way of the gas station and Brennan raised his pistol and killed him, too. Damn, that guy must have taken shooting lessons, because he was far more accurate than Sasaki could ever have hoped to be. The bespectacled man gestured towards the doors, indicating that they should both approach and David nodded. There was one other gunman around, they had to neutral-

Gunfire, Sasaki could have sworn he felt a bullet buzz past his ear. He hit the deck and stayed down as Brennan whipped around and fired once, twice, three times. Then, silence until his companion spoke up again.

“Fucker tried to flank us. You realise how damn lucky you are, David?”

David picked himself up. “Yeah, yeah, I’m a fucking leprechaun. What now? The car’s totalled.”

Brennan shot Sasaki a smile and inclined his head towards the station. “I say we find out what was worth such a fuss to defend.”

Guns in hand, the duo slowly approached the bloodsplattered entrance to the gas station...

SotF: Mini - SCdoes a-rolling! - PV3 Prologue ongoing!
Draw Thread! - Pathfinder! - Writing Thread!
[+] Spoiler
13:58 Gianni Oh come on you broke someone's heart
13:59 Gianni you are proud, not embarrassed
13:59 Christian Yes
13:59 Christian Be proud
13:59 Christian Do we not all strive to break a human soul?
[+] Spoiler
Vincenzo/a 'Vinny' 'Enzo' Gatti | DO IT FOR THE VINE.
Toby 'Noodle' Andreasson | :|
[+] Spoiler
G008 - Kammy So'oialo | wants a new script
G062 - Becca Everett | was a damn superstar
G071 - Sunshine Cho Lee | trusted
[+] Spoiler
G026 - Rosalia Fiametta | Found it. | Walkie Talkies
G014 - Yelizaveta 'Bounce' Volkova | Out of here | Gasoline
B060 - Brock Mason | Thump. Thump |
G029 - Kristina 'Kris' Hartmann | Put Down. | Drama Bombs [∞], M79 Grenade Launcher [x6 grenades]
G117 - Jessie Anderson | Still Smiling | Faith
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Namira
Mr. Danya
Joined: May 28th, 2007, 12:31 pm

August 22nd, 2010, 12:06 pm #12

Pact
[+] Spoiler
The second the pair of them made it outside of the gas station, Sasaki rounded on his companion, his earlier panic evolving into rage.

“What the fuck, man!? What’s your problem?”

Brennan’s eyes, which had been looking dull and dead behind his glasses, suddenly sparked to life. “My problem?” he growled. “My problem is where you started yelling at that poor woman for something she had no part in! That was her husband I killed for Christ's sake!”

David laughed right in Brennan’s face. “So boo-fucking-hoo that we knocked off her hubby! The last time I checked, they’re the ones that started shooting! So what if the guy had a family - maybe he should have thought a little harder about who he fucked with!”

Sasaki couldn’t believe this sudden conscience attack. Brennan had just killed four people without breaking a sweat, four living, breathing people, not disease-ridden maniacs and he hadn’t had the first problem with it. But now, the knowledge that one of the armed psychos had been a daddy was enough to make him wracked with remorse? Fuck, maybe they weren’t as similar as he’d first thought.

“Don’t you get it? We’ve left them with nothing, David! Nothing!”

“Yeah, and her husband and his buddies would have done the exact same thing to us if we hadn’t killed them first! Those bodies didn’t appear there by magic!”

“We don’t know what the situation was!”

“We know what THIS one was you fucking moron!”

Things had degenerated into a full on shouting match. Brennan and Sasaki were right in each other’s faces, both pissed off. David didn’t get what the hell his partner’s beef was, they’d pretty unequivocally been attacked and so far as he was concerned, the guy Brennan had killed (was it Hank? That’s what the woman had said earlier) had brought his fate upon himself. Yeah it sucked for the wife and kid, but the attack had been one hundred percent unprovoked.

“This is still something we have to try and make right!”

“How the fuck do we need to make DICK right you bleeding hea-”

Sasaki would have liked to claim that it was the unexpectedness of Brennan’s lashing out that caused the blow to knock him to the ground. However, the true explanation was probably more along the lines of David not being able to take a punch for shit. On the ground, the Japanese man simply gaped at his companion, whose hands were still balled into fists.

“Those people need help now, do you understand that? It doesn’t matter who did what to who. Do you think that little girl is responsible for what her father did? Does that woman look like she was the one shooting at us?” David opened his mouth, but Brennan cut him off. “So far as I’m concerned, there are two living people in that building right now and it is our job to make sure they stay that way. Any person that’s breathing is a friend, David and you need to get that into your head right this fucking second!”

David picked himself up off the ground, glowering all the while. “Whatever happened to the two of us being priority number one, huh?”

Brennan’s expression turned incredulous. “Are you really that fucking self-centred, Sasaki? Priority one doesn’t mean we don’t help other people if we get the chance! Do the math, David! Everybody we can keep alive is one less of THOSE things to deal with along the line.”

“Yeah? And you want to be hauling a kid around, do you? Jeez, and here I was thinking you actually wanted to get through this.”

The other took a step forward, seized Sasaki by the lapels, and hauled him in until they were nose to nose again. “I put a bullet in my girlfriend’s skull. I bailed out on my friends and family. I left my best buddy to look after a sick kid by himself. I murdered four people in the space of two minutes. Don’t you ever DARE suggest that I don’t care about surviving. If and when they become liabilities, we cut them loose, but it is the LEAST we can do to attempt to get them to safety.”

For the very first time, Sasaki was honestly scared of Brennan. This was the man without his mask of friendliness, of jibes at David’s expense. This was the person he was deep down inside with all of the veneer stripped away. Brennan intended to survive, just as Sasaki did; they shared that goal. The difference was that the former was a lot more ruthless and a lot more skilled. David had got this far through a combination of luck and instinct, Brennan by being exactly as clinical he’d needed to be. Those words just solidified Sasaki’s notion that when the stakes were high and their backs were against the wall, his partner would look out for number one only.

That was fine. David would do the same in that situation.

“Yeah well, in case you haven’t noticed, the car’s totalled. I’m no mechanic, but I’m pretty fucking sure those things don’t run off two wheels. Especially after being rammed into walls.”

Brennan turned and gestured towards the row of cars parked outside the gas station. “Take your pick. They don’t look too wrecked. My bet is that those guys killed the former owners and parked them there in case they were needed.”

“Funnily enough, that isn’t making me more sympathetic towards Mrs Killer and Killer Jr.”

“Unless you feel like trying to teach YOURSELF to drive, David, you should shut the fuck up! They’re coming with us!”

“You... you’d do that?”

Both men looked around to see the woman from before standing at the entrance to the building. The little girl was holding her by the hand, still sniveling. In the light, she looked haggard, pale, almost emaciated. Her dark hair hung limp around her shoulders, yet surprisingly, she didn’t seem too old. Early twenties, at best. Underneath the careworn exterior, David was sure there was a pretty woman waiting to break out, though that probably wasn’t the best of thoughts to be having right about now. Then, her eyes locked on his and he took an involuntarily step back. Those were haunted, hollow eyes, something that somebody as young as her shouldn’t have had.

They’d seen a hell of a lot more and a hell of a lot worse than he had. Or maybe she was just somebody who couldn’t deal with it as well.

Brennan was the first to speak. “We don’t hold grudges lady. We just did what we had to, just like I’m sure your husband and his friends were doing.”

“I... don’t understand.”

Sasaki rolled his eyes. “He’s saying that we’re not bandits and we weren’t setting out to kill anyone. We just defended ourselves, got it?”

The woman flinched from David’s aggressive tone. It was becoming clear that a fighter, she wasn’t. “I’m s-sorry. Hank and the others, they-”

The bespectacled man stopped her. “Hey now. I know it’s hard, but you need to try and put this all behind you. I lost somebody close to me too, but if you want to make it through this, you need to focus on living and holding back the tears. I know it hurts, but for your daughter’s sake, you need to stay strong.”

“Tastes like fucking diabetes...” David muttered, beginning to walk towards the cars. The woman was starting to look a little less forlorn and a little more together now, but he still wasn’t thrilled with the idea of playing babysitter to a kid and her mother, the latter of which seemed half shell-shocked.

In the meantime, Brennan kneelt down next to the little girl. “Now who’s this pretty little thing?” he said with a warm smile, tickling her under the chin. She shrank back from him, giving her mother an anxious look.

“Her name’s Annette. I’m Sandy.”

“Annette is a cute name. For a cute kid.”

Still in earshot, Sasaki let out a little scoff. Brennan was really laying it on thick now. The little girl might have been young, but David doubted she was stupid. Strange guy turns up combined with sudden lack of her father? Even six year olds could put two and two together.

“I’m Brennan. That over there is David. You got anywhere to go near here, Sandy?”

As Sasaki approached the first of the vehicles to check if the keys were present, he heard the answer to that question. “We lived in Roseville... I want to go home.”

SotF: Mini - SCdoes a-rolling! - PV3 Prologue ongoing!
Draw Thread! - Pathfinder! - Writing Thread!
[+] Spoiler
13:58 Gianni Oh come on you broke someone's heart
13:59 Gianni you are proud, not embarrassed
13:59 Christian Yes
13:59 Christian Be proud
13:59 Christian Do we not all strive to break a human soul?
[+] Spoiler
Vincenzo/a 'Vinny' 'Enzo' Gatti | DO IT FOR THE VINE.
Toby 'Noodle' Andreasson | :|
[+] Spoiler
G008 - Kammy So'oialo | wants a new script
G062 - Becca Everett | was a damn superstar
G071 - Sunshine Cho Lee | trusted
[+] Spoiler
G026 - Rosalia Fiametta | Found it. | Walkie Talkies
G014 - Yelizaveta 'Bounce' Volkova | Out of here | Gasoline
B060 - Brock Mason | Thump. Thump |
G029 - Kristina 'Kris' Hartmann | Put Down. | Drama Bombs [∞], M79 Grenade Launcher [x6 grenades]
G117 - Jessie Anderson | Still Smiling | Faith
Quote
Like
Share

Namira
Mr. Danya
Joined: May 28th, 2007, 12:31 pm

August 29th, 2010, 2:32 am #13

Memory
[+] Spoiler
Back on wheels. Back moving again. It felt good to be on the road after that utter disaster at the gas station. Four people dead, just because somebody panicked and decided that any people had to be attackers. Brennan wasn’t about to shed any tears over what he’d done back there, but that wasn’t to say he didn’t regret it. He’d done what he’d had to do to keep himself and Sasaki alive, no more than that. Brennan didn’t enjoy killing, but he enjoyed being dead a lot less.

Well, he assumed so, it wasn’t like he had any experience to draw from in the latter field. All he knew that he wasn’t going to let anybody, human or infected or otherwise, kill him. Not so long as he had a damn thing to say about it. Brennan knew he was different from the others in that respect. Sandy, who was sitting just behind him along with her daughter... she wasn’t a fighter. She was fully prepared to go out with a whimper. Weren’t mothers whose daughters were threatened supposed to be like, superhuman or something? Not this one, apparently. She hadn’t given up, exactly, but she sure wasn’t about to defend herself OR Annette.

Brennan hadn’t bothered giving Sandy a weapon, partially because he was pretty sure she wouldn’t be competent enough for it to be worthwhile and partially because he didn’t trust her not to do something stupid in her grief. Sandy had seemed resigned to the death of her husband, Hank, had seemingly understood why Brennan had done what he’d done... but he didn’t want to take any chances, especially with automatic weaponry. Their armoury had bulked up considerably with the addition of the guns they’d taken from the gas station crew, it was just too bad that none of them could fire an assault rifle for shit.

Sasaki, who was currently sprawling in the very back of the car, sulking, was more in line with Brennan, but there was a streak to the man that he didn’t like one bit. Sure, they both cared about survival first and foremost, but Sasaki’s priorities differed. Whilst Brennan knew that a person, any non-infected person that wasn’t immediately trying to kill you was better than another infected trying to eat your face, Sasaki was more self-centric. He wanted to give himself the best chances of survival possible, and though Brennan could see his viewpoint, to an extent, it made him uneasy to think Sasaki didn’t give a damn about human life further than his own.

All the same, Sasaki knew the score. He knew that he was alive due to one part luck and one part Brennan. He had the determination to survive and the tenacity to stick to that through all adversity, but he flatly didn’t have the skills to back it up. Hell, Sasaki had told him himself that the first he’d REALLY known of the virus was when an infected had come smashing through the window of his corner shop. That was a far cry from Brennan.

He’d realised early the truth of what was going on. Whilst everybody else was still talking about the new ‘super-bug’ and wandering whether it was just another bird flu style spook, Brennan had been faced with the realities of the disease. When that comedian was pulling out his zombie jokes (and, things having turned out the way they had done, that was one person Brennan sincerely hoped had been eaten alive), Brennan had been making preparations for the end.

Even as he kept the bulky Volkswagen they’d lifted from the gas station going steady along the highway, Brennan could recall the memory as vividly as if he’d been living it all over again.

He didn’t want to, but every time his mind wandered, it sauntered unerringly up to that night back in Sacramento. The night they ruined his life.

~*~

March 13th, 2011.

It’s late out, damn cold too, making his step slightly hurried. In spite of that, Brennan isn’t in too bad a mood. Heck, he’s in a great mood. Whenever he’s with his girlfriend, he always is. They get on like a house on fire, with a near-identical sense of humour and worldview, but with just enough differences to keep things interesting. Maria also happens to be his boss, which certainly keeps them on their toes. Didn’t somebody once say that the forbidden fruit tastes the sweetest?

It’s for that reason that the pair of them are walking along the street at an hour so late at night it practically qualifies as morning. Neither of them are particularly ashamed of the relationship, it’s just that they both agree that things will be a lot less complicated if it isn’t common knowledge.

She’d been shivering, so Brennan has gallantly given up his jacket for her to drape over her shoulders, although that means the cool breeze is now cutting directly through his flimsy shirt. All the same, the discomfort is well worth it to see Maria smile the little smile that, to Brennan, is just about the most beautiful thing in the world (the most beautiful thing is her naked, but that’d hardly be appropriate and even colder to boot). Right now, she’s nestling into his side as they walk, his arm wrapped firmly around her shoulders, pulling her tight to him. It’s more protective than possessive. Maria loves it when he’s affectionate, but can’t stand being treated like arm candy, and Brennan wouldn’t have it any other way.

“We should do that more often,” he tells her as they emerge into the pool of light cast by a street lamp.

Maria chuckles. “Sorry Bren, but I think people are going to notice if we both are always ‘coincidentally’ absent from the poker nights.”

Brennan gives a wry smile. The romantic nights in are fun and all, but sometimes it’s hard not to be able to go out with Maria. They’ve been dating for almost a year now and they’ve managed to actually go ON dates a grand total of seven times. It’s the smart thing to do to be cautious, of course (hell they’ve both almost slipped at work and called each other pet names on more than one occasion), but that doesn’t mean Brennan has to like it. He’s longing for the day he gets that transfer he’s been after and can finally go public about Maria.

They have something special, something Brennan has never expected he would ever get. It seems somehow wrong to keep the knowledge of it strictly to themselves.

“Breeeennaaan.”

He blinks, then looks vaguely sheepish as he realises he’s been staring into space as they walk.

“I was just thinking, sorry.”

“You think too much,” says Maria with an adorable pout. “Sometimes you need to switch off upstairs and enjoy the moment.”

“In my defence, I was thinking about us.”

“Naughty.”

Brennan laughs. “Not in THAT way... but since you’ve mentioned it...”

“The second we get back to your place,” Maria immediately replies, causing Brennan to do a double take. She smiles softly. “It’s been too long since we spent the night together, Bren, I’m not wasting the chance.”

“I love you.”

“Oh so I see, it takes a promise of sex to get that from you, does it?”

“No, I really mean it,” Brennan leans across and kisses Maria on the top of the head.

She smiles that little smile one last time. “I love you t-”

There’s a bellow of sorts and in a blur of motion, something comes flying out of an alleyway to their left, slamming into Brennan and knocking him from his feet. He goes down heavily, grip on Maria loosening enough that he doesn’t pull her down with him. He’s slightly dazed for a second or so, but every trace of that is burned away by one awful sound.

Maria shrieks. It’s the worst thing Brennan has heard in his life. Pain, anguish, fear... three things that he’s never wanted to see from Maria, they all stack up at the same time. As Brennan scrambles to stand, his hand falls on something; a loose brick, crumbling but very much intact. He grips it tightly as he stands, a horrible sight greeting his eyes. Maria is grappling with a pale, dirty looking bum, or rather, he’s grappling her. His hands are on her shoulders and his mouth and face are a startlingly bright crimson. Maria is choking, grasping at her throat.

He’s taken a bite out of her neck.

Brennan lets out a yell and swings the brick with all his might. The blow connects and something crunches. The hobo goes down without a murmur and is instantly forgotten. Maria, reeling, collapses into Brennan’s arms, bleeding from her neck at an alarming rate. That crazy bastard ripped a hole in her goddamn throat!

“Oh shit. Oh shit oh shit oh shit,” Brenann mutters, doing his best to support Maria’s weight. Home, he needs to get her home. That way, he’ll be able to treat her injuries. Or try, at least. The decision is made in moments, because he simply can’t afford to wait. He heads up along the street, murmuring to Maria all the while.

“I love you, I love you. Please don’t die, please, please, I love you...”



~*~

Brennan shut the memory down, hard. He didn’t need a reminder of what had happened next, not now, not ever. If what had happened in the street came back to him whenever his mind wandered, the conclusion was burned into the inside of his eyelids. Brennan saw it whenever he closed his eyes. The blank face, devoid of humanity, those outstretched arms, the gunshot...

He gave a little shudder. Now wasn’t the time for this. He had to pay attention to the damn road. At that moment he happened to look up and spot a road sign. A small smile came and went on his lips, barely touching them in the end. Nice timing.

“Hey guys... welcome to Roseville. Weather... cloudy with a chance of zombies.”

The least he could do was try to save them. The least he could do was to stop any others from losing a loved one to this damn plague. One hand slipped from the wheel to touch the chain he wore around his neck. At the end of it was a simple band of gold.

To give them that chance... to say how much love really means to them.

SotF: Mini - SCdoes a-rolling! - PV3 Prologue ongoing!
Draw Thread! - Pathfinder! - Writing Thread!
[+] Spoiler
13:58 Gianni Oh come on you broke someone's heart
13:59 Gianni you are proud, not embarrassed
13:59 Christian Yes
13:59 Christian Be proud
13:59 Christian Do we not all strive to break a human soul?
[+] Spoiler
Vincenzo/a 'Vinny' 'Enzo' Gatti | DO IT FOR THE VINE.
Toby 'Noodle' Andreasson | :|
[+] Spoiler
G008 - Kammy So'oialo | wants a new script
G062 - Becca Everett | was a damn superstar
G071 - Sunshine Cho Lee | trusted
[+] Spoiler
G026 - Rosalia Fiametta | Found it. | Walkie Talkies
G014 - Yelizaveta 'Bounce' Volkova | Out of here | Gasoline
B060 - Brock Mason | Thump. Thump |
G029 - Kristina 'Kris' Hartmann | Put Down. | Drama Bombs [∞], M79 Grenade Launcher [x6 grenades]
G117 - Jessie Anderson | Still Smiling | Faith
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Namira
Mr. Danya
Joined: May 28th, 2007, 12:31 pm

September 5th, 2010, 10:00 am #14

Deja Vu
[+] Spoiler
Sasaki didn’t know exactly what Brennan was playing at, but what he did know, he didn’t like. As they’d rolled up into Roseville earlier in the day, they’d encountered a group of guys loading up a few trucks with supplies, apparently intending to leave the place. From what Sasaki had gathered, they’d been driven from their stronghold by some asshole with a hell of a lot of guns, trading the sanctuary for the vehicles and supplies. Apparently, they’d called it a fair trade. He wasn’t so sure if that was the case. Sasaki hadn’t yet tried to hole up anywhere, but that was for a simple reason: nowhere had been secure enough. If the church was as much of a fortress as those guys had been making out, they could well have been completely dicked over.

As for Brennan’s plan, to actually try and negotiate with the dude that had been quite happy to kick the others out of their own fort... well, Sasaki wasn’t sure that was the brightest idea. It took a certain sort of ruthlessness to simply steal in that way, offering a lopsided trade as compensation. Sasaki style ruthlessness that, in spite of him never truly showing it alongside Brennan, lurked just beneath the surface.

Initially, David had thought that his travelling companion had that edge too, but since then, he’d refined his opinion a little. Sure, Brennan had the balls to go a lot further to survive than most others would, but he was also one hell of a bleeding heart. He was too compassionate. A life was a life, sure, but if said life was deadweight? Not on Sasaki’s watch. He had too much at stake in protecting himself to be trying to pick up the slack of somebody else. Brennan, though... he had a hero complex. Sooner or later, that would strike back with a vengeance.

Heroes only existed in the movies. Try to fight the good fight against the infected, and your uplifting story was liable to end up as a horror show. Surviving was priority number one and the only person that mattered, when it came down to it, was you. Brennan seemed to be losing sight of that a little.

Maybe more than a little.

In the car, Sandy finally seemed to be displaying an interest in something other than Annette, a turn up for the books in itself. This situation was a new development and a welcome change of pace. The previous day, Sandy had been crushed to discover that her sister’s place in Roseville was long abandoned. More than likely, she’d never see any of her relatives beyond her daughter again. The discovery of the church was an opportunity to concentrate on something else.

“So, what’s happening?” she asked, watching Brennan mulling things over, seated on the car hood.

Sasaki shrugged, not paying the bedraggled woman too much mind. “Some dude stole the place of some other guys. Brennan’s gonna try talk things over with the king of the hill.”

Sandy looked slightly alarmed. “Isn’t that dangerous?”

“Yeah, probably,” Sasaki said with a considerable air of disinterested. Sandy seemed to take that badly.

“Isn’t Brennan supposed to be your partner? Don’t you think you should back him up?”

David sighed. “Listen, Sandy. Brennan’s a big boy and he doesn’t need me to babysit for him. Realistically, he’d probably kick my ass if I even tried. This ain’t a situation that I can back him up with. If shit goes down, another body out there won’t do jack. I’d much rather lose one man than two, especially if the second of the pair is me.”

“Coward,” Sandy said with some venom. Sasaki just laughed it off.

“Courage is overrated. I prefer living.”

“If you two are done bitching...” Brennan called from the front. “I’m going to go talk to him. And you guys come too. Might as well lay all our cards on the table, show him that we don’t have anything to hide. Hell, maybe having a kid with us will swing the man.”

Sasaki sighed again. “Fine, whatever. C’mon then, we’re burning daylight.”

The quartet got themselves ready, Sandy pulling the ever-quiet Annette from the car and the men making sure they were locked and loaded. Going out there bristling with weaponry probably wasn’t the best way to present a diplomatic front, but they had no way of knowing if there was going to be infected around the next corner. Besides, if they went unarmed, the guy holed up in the church would probably take them for utter fucktards and refuse to negotiate at all. In this war-torn day and age, only idiots wandered around weaponless.

They set out for the church, Brennan leading, Sasaki taking the rearguard position with Sandy and Annette in the centre. It was probably the best option, though David was still pretty pissed at the young woman’s inability to handle a gun. In the car, handing her one hadn’t been a great idea, but an insurance policy out in the open would’ve been nice. Grief stricken or not, Sasaki didn’t think Sandy was dumb enough to try and spring revenge on her husband’s killers when it could set her daughter on the chop block too.

Reaching the churchyard, Brennan stopped, looked into the grounds and winced. As he caught up a few seconds later, David could see why. The place was a miniature warzone. Those gunshots they’d heard earlier in the day had clearly been a sign of some serious violence. Fortunately it seemed like no infected had been attracted by the fracas, but that could change in a hurry. Right now though, the place was deserted...

Brennan risked calling out. “Hey! Church! We know somebody’s in there, we want to talk with you!”

There were a few long seconds of violence, and then a slightly tremulous voice responded. “I’ve got enough weapons in here to take on an army! You aren’t intimidating me!”

Brennan took another risk (they were stacking up way too quickly for David’s liking) and stepped out into the open, hands empty and spread wide in front of him. “We aren’t here to bust into your place. We want to make a deal.”

There was another pause. When the man in the building responded, he sounded suspicious. “How do I know that you’re being honest? You said ‘we’ - who else is there?”

Brennan gave Sasaki a look, the other man rolling his eyes before cautiously stepping out into the yard, gesturing for Sandy and Annette to follow. Like Brennan had said earlier, they had to lay their cards on the table.

David didn’t like being referred to as a playing card. It made him feel expendable.

The man in the glasses glanced back to the church. “There. Happy?”

“...Alright. Make it quick, what do you want?”

Brennan smiled to himself. “Well, seems to me like you’ve found yourself a pretty nice shelter there. Surviving on the move is pretty damn hard, as I’m sure you yourself can attest to unless you were hideously lucky, in which case I envy you pretty hard. What we want is pretty simple; we want a piece of that security. Way I figure, if it’s just you, then needing more people is a lock. Up to a point, your chances increase with every new person you have that can pull their weight.”

Again, after Brennan concluded, the silence stretched long. Finally... “I’d like to believe you, I would. But I need something from you first, something substantial. Just to make sure that you’re genuine.”

The bespectacled man gave a slight nod. “We’ve got a fair amount of firepower back in our car, we could give yo-”

“I told you, I have a huge armoury in here. Weapons are the one thing I don’t need.”

Brennan looked slightly put out at being cut off like that, but he recovered reasonably well. “Alright, that’s your call... but can we compromise a little?”

“...I’m listening.”

“Two of us aren’t exactly too good for a scavenger hunt. I’m sure you can see that we’ve got a lady - one that can’t fight at that, and a little girl amongst our number. If we trade you our excess weapons, would you at least take these two in? We can get something for you, man, but if these two come with us, all of our chances of surviving drastically decrease.”

One last pause. This one was the longest yet.

Finally...

“Okay, you’ve got a deal.”

~*~

Three hours later...

Scouting out Roseville had taken awhile, especially with Brennan’s refusal to use the car (too low on gas was his reasoning, they’d just wind up stranded), but the two of them had finally found a likely target. A supermarket, built into a row of buildings. On the face of things, it didn’t look completely ransacked, nor infested with infected.

Neither did Roseville in general, it seemed.

That actually had David on edge, but then, it didn’t take a whole lot to set off his finely tuned sense of paranoid these days. Sure, hordes of infected would have been much worse, but such a total absence of them... it didn’t sit well with him. Much as they were mindless lunatics, it made Sasaki think that they had to be planning something.

They couldn’t really do much so far as casing the supermarket went. That it was integrated into the other buildings on the street made scoping it out pretty impractically, which meant that the only option was to plunge headlong into danger. Again. What fun this all was.

Each man had two weapons. Sasaki had his ever-reliable M1911A1, along with the SAA that he’d never been able to use with much effectivity (well, in fairness he’d basically failed with the M19 too, but he was even worse with his second gun). Brennan was toting his beretta, along with a pump action shotgun. They were travelling pretty light, with the weapons they were most comfortable with. Everything else - all the automatics they’d taken from Sandy’s husband’s group at the gas station, as well as all their sidearms, had all been given to the guy in the church in exchange for his taking in Sandy and Annette. Brennan was glad they were safe, David was glad they were out from underfoot.

“Ready for this?” Brennan asked, finishing checking his guns out.

Sasaki smirked. “Nope.”

Brennan cracked a smile. “After this, we can both take a breather,” he took a step closer to Sasaki and clapped him on the shoulder. “We’ve come a long way since you showed up on the door of that farmhouse, buddy. This is the home stretch. Let’s do it.”

David nodded. “I’m with you.”

This was better, this was more like things had been when they were setting out. Just two guys relying on each other to survive. They had each other’s backs not through friendship or true heroism, simply through necessity. Somewhere along the line, a relationship had developed and they could call themselves friends, but ultimately...

They were just two men with common ground. The drive to live.

~*~

The supermarket’s automatic doors, unsurprisingly, were out. No electricity, no motion-sensitive doors. The pair of men pried them open without much difficulty and stepped inside the building with more than a little apprehension. David took a slow look around, trying to spy any potential threats. Some of the tiles were bloodstained, some of the merchandise ransacked, yet for all that... the place was surprisingly intact. It seemed that during the early chaos, the building had escaped serious damage.

All the same, David found himself thanking the daylight that was illuminating the place. The silent ranks of shelves were unnerving him, but it would have been much worse in the dark. Somewhere like a supermarket was supposed to be bustling. For it to be empty and entirely devoid of life and motion... well, chalk up yet another item on the list of things that could creep David Sasaki out.

Sasaki and Brennan moved forward, cautiously. The Japanese man noted that his partner in crime had drawn his Beretta, and it actually took David a second to realise that he’d instinctively pulled his M1911A1 out too. There was certainly something off about the building, for both of them to have reacted in such a way. ...Or maybe David was being a pussy and Brennan was just trying to be careful. Either way.

They advanced down the first aisle, looking at what was on offer. Whilst they’d been searching for a likely target, they’d been thrashing out a plan of action (which mostly amounted to Brennan telling Sasaki what they should do and David agreeing with him). First, the place had to be scouted. No good trying to loot when who-knew-what could be lurking around the next corner, waiting to rip you a new one. Then, once it was deemed safe (or as safe as anywhere was liable to get right now), they could begin their search for the appropriate items. David wasn’t quite sure why, but he found it vaguely amusing that in such a place, their go-to option on transporting whatever they took would be shopping trolleys.

Reaching the end of the aisle, something caught Sasaki’s eye. “Check it out,” he murmured to Brennan. “They diced the meat on site,” he gestured towards a large plastic curtain in the rear of the building, something which cut the supermarket itself off from the butcher.

Brennan nodded, without paying much attention, then stopped dead. He swallowed, then pointed with a shaky finger. It took Sasaki a moment to realise he was motioning to the floor around the slaughterhouse.

They whole area was absolutely swimming with blood, some dried, some apparently fresh. A long silence allowed the two of them to hear the sounds of many mouths chewing away at something. The rotting meat within the supermarket was a veritable feast to the infected. At this realisation, David took an involuntary step back...

...accidentally upsetting a display of tins of beans, sending them scattering every which way with an ungodly clanging sound. Brennan and Sasaki exchanged looks of horror, and were already sprinting when the first infected poked its head through the plastic curtain and let out a howl.

The curtain parted again, and again, and again. A wave of infected emerged and as one, they noticed the fleeing pair, and as one... they took off in pursuit.

The hunt was on.

SotF: Mini - SCdoes a-rolling! - PV3 Prologue ongoing!
Draw Thread! - Pathfinder! - Writing Thread!
[+] Spoiler
13:58 Gianni Oh come on you broke someone's heart
13:59 Gianni you are proud, not embarrassed
13:59 Christian Yes
13:59 Christian Be proud
13:59 Christian Do we not all strive to break a human soul?
[+] Spoiler
Vincenzo/a 'Vinny' 'Enzo' Gatti | DO IT FOR THE VINE.
Toby 'Noodle' Andreasson | :|
[+] Spoiler
G008 - Kammy So'oialo | wants a new script
G062 - Becca Everett | was a damn superstar
G071 - Sunshine Cho Lee | trusted
[+] Spoiler
G026 - Rosalia Fiametta | Found it. | Walkie Talkies
G014 - Yelizaveta 'Bounce' Volkova | Out of here | Gasoline
B060 - Brock Mason | Thump. Thump |
G029 - Kristina 'Kris' Hartmann | Put Down. | Drama Bombs [∞], M79 Grenade Launcher [x6 grenades]
G117 - Jessie Anderson | Still Smiling | Faith
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Namira
Mr. Danya
Joined: May 28th, 2007, 12:31 pm

September 22nd, 2010, 4:07 pm #15

[[I didn't write this part, credit is Jesse Gunn of The Sanctuary. Only posting it cause the subsequent piece requires some context.

...Also it was pretty awesome. On another note, David Sasaki has now won two Sanctuary seasons in a row. ^^]]
[+] Spoiler
IX.

Brennan looked up, seeing David climbing the ladder to his own safety. He should have known it would be this way. That chicken shit wouldn’t risk his neck for anybody. Brennan let go of the ladder, causing the infected to lose their grip of him. He tumbled ontop of them, then stood up fast. He raised his gun, and from this range a blind person would have trouble missing. Blam! Blood splattered everywhere from such a close distance. It covered Brennan’s shirt and face. He aimed at the other. That one hit the ground as well. Brennan backed away, reloaded the gun. His last clip. He fired at three more that made their way into the alley, then four more entered. He took down the first three, but only clipped the fourth in the shoulder. That one dove at him, sinking its teeth into his arm.

BRENNAN: “Argghh!!!”

Brennan emptied the clip into that one, killing it and then some. Brennan fell back onto the ground, leaned his back against the back wall. This was it… his last moments. He was out of ammo, couldn’t do the right thing and simply end his own life.

He was bleeding heavily. That last bite from his shoulder was bad. He held it with his arm, knowing it was futile. It was just instinct. You bled… you applied pressure. Didn’t matter that he’d be dying soon, and likely turning into one of those things.

BRENNAN: “That fucker…”

Brennan was pissed. He had trusted David, and now he paid the price. He thought of Maria. He had left her there. He hated to think about it… the pain was so strong.


X.

Sacramento, March 13th. Brennan cursed himself for not having a cellphone. It was 2011, what kind of guy doesn’t have a cellphone? Nevermind that Maria didn’t have one either. He got home, sat Maria on the couch and picked up his landline, dialing 9-1-1.

OPERATOR: “911, what is your emergency?”

BRENNAN: “My girlfriend… some homeless man attacked her and bit her on the neck. She’s bleeding really bad.”

OPERATOR: “Did you say she was bit?”

BRENNAN: “Yes, she’s bleeding. We need an ambulance fast!”

There was silence on the line.

OPERATOR: “Sir, can you hold for a moment?”

BRENNAN: “WHAT!?”

Brennan was furious, but he heard the sound of jazz music in his ear. Meanwhile, Maria was calling out to him. His phone wouldn’t reach, so he sat it down and went to her.

BRENNAN: “They’re coming, they’re coming…”

MARIA: “Brennan… I don’t think…”

She didn’t get a chance to finish her sentence as the life left her body. Her muscles went still, a haunting breath escaped her lips.

BRENNAN: “No, no, no!”

He lifted her into his arms, sobbed while he held her.

BRENNAN: “This can’t be happening… this can’t be happening…”

One hour later, Brennan was upstairs showering. He had gone back to the phone some time later and found it disconnected, the 911 operator apparently having hung up on him. He waited a long time afterwards, simply watching Maria lie there… dead. An ambulance never arrived. He had decided that he needed to get cleaned up. He went upstairs, took off his clothes and began to shower. He had to get her blood off of him.

He was in a bit of shock at that moment, not really feeling anything. The warm shower felt surreal. The blood pooling at the bottom of the tub looking alien and unnatural. It would be some time before he could grow accustomed to the sight of blood. He got dressed and went back downstairs, discovered Maria’s body missing.

BRENNAN: “What the-“

His first thought was that the ambulance had arrived and taken her away without coming to get him. He looked around, the door was locked… from the inside. That was impossible. He stared at the door, dumbstruck for a few minutes before he heard a sound coming from the kitchen.

He walked in and nearly had a heart attack. Maria was standing by the counter, staring at the cupboard, her back turned to him.

He couldn’t form words. His jaw shook as he tried. He breathed her name.

BRENNAN: “Maria…”

She turned, a cold and frightening look on her face. This was not Maria. This was a monster wearing her skin. She snarled and dove at him. Brennan stood there, confused and frightened. She tackled him to the ground, clawing at him and trying to bite him.

BRENNAN: “Maria… maria… what’s wrong? Oh God, what are you doing?”

He held her away, not wanting to hurt her. The wound on her neck looked hideous and was oozing green colored puss. He pushed her off and quickly scrambled to his feet. He held his arms out, as if to show that he meant her no harm.

BRENNAN: “Look, let’s talk. What’s wrong? Why are you doing this?”

She ran at him again, this time he grabbed her by the wrists and flunger her away again. He felt bad, seeing her small frame topple onto the kitchen floor. But still, she got back up and charged at him again. He went for the front door, unlocked it and ran out. He shut the door behind him, and she slammed herself into it. She didn’t even try to turn the knob, though it wasn’t locked. She simply threw her body into the door, over and over. Brennan sat on the porch… his head in his hands. What the fuck was happening…


XI.

Brennan now held the gun. He felt himself drifting away, the blood pooling beneath him. With all he had, he willed himself to try and keep one last bit of motivation inside of himself as he slipped away. He had to find her. If he had any form of consciousness or sense of self once he crossed over, he simply had to find her and be with her. Sacramento wasn’t too far. How long would it take for a walking corpse to get there? A few days, a week? Was it even possible?

His breaths were quick, shallow… each one hurt. His neck pulsed and his head was pounding. The bite on his leg didn’t seem to hurt much, maybe it wasn’t that deep. Vaguely, he wondered if he would have survived if it had been just that wound. Probably not… but he couldn’t help but think about how little they all knew about what was happening. There was no government to lead them. Nobody to tell them what was happening. No scientists to come up with a cure. It all happened so fast… civilization had crumbled.

He wondered how other countries were doing. Wondered just how far things had spread. He recalled that in the early days, places like Hawaii had cancelled all incoming flights. That was smart. Did it help?

He focused on Maria now, kept her face the last thing on his mind. So that as he slipped away and gave his final breath… it was hers that he saw when he died.
Confession
[+] Spoiler
It was odd, really.

It had been so long since David Sasaki had felt properly safe that the sensation was almost entirely alien to him. When was the last time he'd had such peace of mind? The opportunity to heave a huge sigh of relief and just relax? Bakersfield, before he'd even encountered a single infected, before his life changed into a living hell. Though, given how mind-numbingly boring his job had been, it perhaps MORE of a living hell would have been a better way of putting it.

The Sanctuary, as people had taken to calling it, gave him security. Roseville wasn't safe, but the compound? That was as sheltered as anywhere was likely to get these days. He'd only been there a short while, but... Sasaki had relaxed his guard. The miniature town was practically deserted, but for the odd straggling Infected, as relayed by some of the others. David haven't even seen one of the disease people up close since Brennan had... since he'd... since what happened with Brennan.

Brennan...

Capulet, the de facto leader of the ragtag band of survivors, had inquired after David's partner in crime after he rolled in not with Brennan but with the group Gordon Fisher, the old man. Sasaki had done little more than shrug his shoulders and Capulet had nodded, understanding, asking no further questions. Nothing more had needed to be said. Sandy, the woman that David and Brennan had brought with them to the Sanctuary, hadn't been much more inquisitive. They'd saved her and her daughter, refusing to abandon them in a gas station in the middle of nowhere, but ultimately, Brennan had been responsible for the death of her husband. You weren't much of a rescuer if the situation you saved somebody from was one you put them into yourself.

Other than that, Sasaki had been left more or less to his own devices. Capulet and the Reverend that always seemed to be complaining about something or other had both asked him to help out with the occasional task, but he'd still had time free for himself. He'd probably be set to doing something full time sooner rather later, but Capulet seemed to recognise that he needed to take five. Perhaps the guy thought he would be cut up over Brennan.

David didn't quite have Capulet's measure. So far, he hadn't blundered, but Sasaki didn't exactly have complete confidence in the man's leadership. It was another case of sensing a kindred spirit. Capulet wasn't like the old man, Gordon Fisher, helping everybody he could, he was looking out for number one, and in looking out for number one, he'd stumbled upon a goldmine. There was something vaguely familiar about Capulet, as if Sasaki had seen him somewhere before, but try as he may, the Japanese man couldn't remember where he recognised Capulet's face from...

In any case, Sasaki was reserving judgement, but he wasn't about to laud the guy as a saviour like a couple of the folks that had drifted in over the past couple of days. Capulet hadn't set out to establish a safe place for all, he just wasn't enough of a cold bastard to turn people away when they were knocking at his door. Maybe David was just cynical, or maybe it was because he knew that Capulet had got ahold of the Sanctuary at gunpoint. That he'd moved in whilst the guys who'd worked hard to secure the church were out, then sent them packing with threats, stealing the shelter for himself. That knowledge, so far as Sasaki was aware, belonged only to a pretty exclusive club, Brennan, Sandy and himself, and Brennan was dead.

Perhaps it would be something worth filing away for the future... Having dirt on the man on charge, so long as he was careful with it, could only be a good thing.

But at that moment, there was no need to scheme. Sasaki just needed a rest.

~*~

"David."

Sasaki lay on the edge of a rooftop, panting heavily. A silver glint could be seen just before the sheer drop between that building and the next. On close inspection, it was the very top of a ladder, bolted securely to the side of a building. Beneath it, presumably, was a fire escape. Sasaki had little eye for this detail, however, he was exhausted. He'd been fleeing, he knew, then... well, somehow he'd ended up here.

"David!"

Somebody was calling. The voice was faint though, so far away, so easy to try and block out. The speaker wasn't up here with him, not in the safe place, they were somewhere below...

"David you chickenshit asshole, stop ignoring me!"

Sasaki sat bolt upright, and his eyes flickered towards the edge of the roof, the top of the ladder. He tried to convince himself that the voice was just an echo, a wraith that could safely be put to one side. This couldn't be real, David knew exactly what had happened.

"Get down here right now, you son of a bitch."

Reluctantly, David stood up and walked towards the ladder. He peered over the side of the building briefly, but couldn't make out anything in that alleyway between this building and the next. It was too dark, and the metal platform surrounding the fire escape obscured most of it from view. It didn't matter, Sasaki knew who that voice belonged to. Had belonged to.

He stood there for a long while, then turned around, such that he could descend the ladder better. There was chuckle from soewhere below him. David, limbs feeling like lead, went down the ladder, one painstaking rung at a time. After what felt like years, he was finally stood on the platform of the fire escape. Tentatively, with the slowness of a man walking to the gallows, David stepped up to the railing, looked over...

"Hey partner."

David let out something approaching a scream. Beneath him was the grinning face of Brennan Connolly.

Except it wasn't. His glasses were shattered, he had a chunk missing from his face. He was bloodstained, torn apart, his eyes had that awful stare of the Infected. His smile revealed bloodied teeth, chunks of something unidentifiable stuck between them. Brennan reached up at David.

"They don't know me and they never will. But I won't forget, David. Not now. Not ever."

To his horror, the platform beneath Sasaki suddenly shook, fell away. As he plummeted groundwards and everything went dark, Sasaki heard one last thing whispered from the blackness.

"And neither will you."


~*~

"Jesus Christ!"

Sasaki flung himself up so hard he almost gave himself whiplash. His head snapped first to one side, then the other, breathing rapid and panicked. For a moment his eyes were wild, then as they focused on his surroundings, they calmed. It was the church, just the church. There was the row of pews, Capulet's barricades. There was the wall that Fisher had put all of the IDs up on. There was... somebody sitting opposite, watching him.

Reverend Samuel Price had a frown on his face, one part concerned, one part disapproving. He hadn't been happy with people bedding down in the church, but David had argued that the houses weren't all yet secured and Capulet, ever eager to please, had placated Price by telling him that Sasaki could find someplace else to stay the following day. Price's eyes now met David's.

"My son, please don't take our Lord's name in vain."

Sasaki stared at the priest stupidly for a second, then realised what he was referring. "Oh... right. Yeah. Sorry man..."

Price inclined his head to one side and continued watching him. Sasaki felt awkward, particularly because he was shirtless. It almost seemed like he was trespassing.

"Are you troubled?"

The question was unexpected. "Huh?"

The Reverend steepled his fingers. "You were moaning in your sleep. Murmuring something indistint. I felt eavesdropping would be rude."

...Awkward. Sasaki scrubbed at his eyes with the back of his arm. "Bad dream Reverend, that's all."

"Really," Price sounded very sceptical. A second or so later, he shook his head. "I apologise, that was unkind. I understand if you don't want to talk about it."

On another night, at another time, in another place, Sasaki might have said nothing more, and that would've been that. He didn't know Price, he wasn't somebody that he would confide in. David had never been particularly inclined to religion, nor spilling his guts to others. Yet this man, gentle... but somehow naive, having emerged through hell with his ideals still intact... he was the right person.

So David told him everything. Oh he ommitted some key details. He left out some of his own cowardice, he left out that incident on the I-5 where he had shot a child Infected, still strapped into a car, he glossed over some of the death. But for the most part, Sasaki gave Price his entire story. From Bakersfield to Roseville, and everywhere he'd made his way to in between. He twisted what had happened with Brennan slightly, neglecting to mention he'd hesitated too long over deciding whether to help him out, meaning that the Infected had caught him, but the rest... that remained the same. Once he had concluded, the night had advanced into the small hours of the morning. Price had remained attentive throughout.

"Grief is a hard thing to overcome, my son," Price said after a little while. "Simply remember... it is a sickness. Put your faith in God and look forward to the day that a cure will be found and your friend restored to you."

Brennan's voice resonated in Sasaki's head.

"Back in Sacramento, I heard some people calling them sick, that they should be contained whilst scientists work on a cure. Well I'll tell you now that you and I are a lot smarter than that David, aren't we? We know that the only cure to this disease is a bullet to the skull."

And, with that faint echo going through his head, David knew what he had to do.

It was insane. It was beyond stupid. But if he didn't? ...Well, he could have fun having nightmares for the rest of his life.

SotF: Mini - SCdoes a-rolling! - PV3 Prologue ongoing!
Draw Thread! - Pathfinder! - Writing Thread!
[+] Spoiler
13:58 Gianni Oh come on you broke someone's heart
13:59 Gianni you are proud, not embarrassed
13:59 Christian Yes
13:59 Christian Be proud
13:59 Christian Do we not all strive to break a human soul?
[+] Spoiler
Vincenzo/a 'Vinny' 'Enzo' Gatti | DO IT FOR THE VINE.
Toby 'Noodle' Andreasson | :|
[+] Spoiler
G008 - Kammy So'oialo | wants a new script
G062 - Becca Everett | was a damn superstar
G071 - Sunshine Cho Lee | trusted
[+] Spoiler
G026 - Rosalia Fiametta | Found it. | Walkie Talkies
G014 - Yelizaveta 'Bounce' Volkova | Out of here | Gasoline
B060 - Brock Mason | Thump. Thump |
G029 - Kristina 'Kris' Hartmann | Put Down. | Drama Bombs [∞], M79 Grenade Launcher [x6 grenades]
G117 - Jessie Anderson | Still Smiling | Faith
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