Lost Days; Dead Days

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Re: Lost Days; Dead Days

Post by Loki on Sat Jun 04, 2011 7:02 pm

"And I really wish my car hadn't run out of gas..."

A small smile spread across my face at that comment, welcoming the change of topic. It wasn't the first time I've been called emotionally cold in one manner or another, even before the zombies seated themselves firmly at the top of the food chain. I've established that long ago as one of my predominant character flaws, even if it does serve me well in this new world. At least for the most part.

"I hear that. Even if it didn't have the ability to move, I would love the luxury of climate control and a soft seat for even a few hours."

I glanced back and watched as two figures were gradually closing the distance between us, the overtaken town now a thinning line over the horizon. We continued at a steady pace for a few hundred more yards before stopping to allow the others to catch up. I wasn't sure how keen the zombies' eyesight was, but if even one of them spotted us in the distance it would cost us a few nights sleep as we attempt to shake them. This far away, I couldn't make out anything in particular of the town and with any luck we will be indiscernible from the dried plant life that spread throughout the plane. Plus, I felt more than a little guilty for having left them behind and wasn't sure how they'd react to me doing so.

"Hey." I said without any real inflection as they finally caught up. With a forceful shove of my nerves, I gathered the will to try to clear the air in case there was any hard feelings. "Sorry I left without you..." My voice had the faintest tone of timidity as I apologized, mostly towards Shadow. "I just couldn't.... stay there."

"Don't be. You did what you had to." Shadow coughed hard to clear her throat and turned her head to spit. "We're fine."

The actions that followed her words threw off my ability to read her sincerity. Was that a sign of her bitterness or simply a result of her hustling in this environment. I've never been good at reading these sort of things and simply accepted it for her word. If she had not she accepted my apology, I wouldn't be able to change her mind by pressing the issue. I let out a short sigh. "I'm glad you guys made it." With a quick glance in the general direction of their destination, I returned to looking around at the others. "Did you want to take a quick breather or are we good to press forward?"
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Re: Lost Days; Dead Days

Post by Shadow Moonseye on Wed Jun 15, 2011 9:27 pm

“Did you want to take a quick breather or are we good to press forward?”

I swallowed and sucked in a deep breath, taking a moment to adjust the straps on my pack before answering. “I say we mush on. Put as much distance between us,” I closed my eyes, taking another deep breath as tears once again threatened to spill. “and them before it gets too hot out.” Quaker and John quickly weighed in, and it was decided that we would press on. “We should stick to the road. Land’s confusing and looks the same once you get off the pavement. Not much in the way of landmarks out here. Easy to get lost.” I sighed and started forward at an easy jog, taking the lead. “Eventually we’ll hit the Snake River. There’s only two bridges across it anywhere near here and I’d rather not try to swim it in the middle of spring.” I shot a look back at the guys. “We should be able to hear anything coming before it gets too close, so if you hear anything that sounds like a motor get off the road and find the nearest patch of sagebrush to hunker down behind.”

There was some murmured assessments and muttered comments before we fell into silence. The wary traveler on foot learned to go in silence. Easier to be aware of your surroundings when there’s no talking to distract you. Wasted less energy too. Unfortunately, with no distractions the mind liked to focus on things that were best left for secure camps. Not traveling through unknown territory--no matter how familiar that territory was.

I had traveled the road countless times. I knew its twists and turns like the scars decorated the back of my hands. I had driven its length to go camping with my family, to see my grandparents, to go fishing, to hunt, to work on weekends… I bit down sharply on the inside of my cheek, blinking rapidly to stall tears. Could they have gotten out alive? Dad and Alexander…they had been there! Alive and unharmed and I had been too fucking late to see them. Too late to help them. Too late to do anything! It couldn’t have been more than a week since the attack, two weeks at most. If only we had traveled faster…Not hunkered down for a four days in that house, then I could have been there!

I sucked in a shuddering breath, my shoulders trembling and my hands clenched so tight my nails dug into my palms. I stumbled; but kept my balance. Another sharp bite on my cheek and I tasted blood; the fresh spike of pain giving momentary respite from the turmoil threatening to boil over in my mind. Shaking my head, I squeezed my eyes shut and kept moving. A moment later I opened them and fixed my gaze on the horizon, where the far reaching road seemed to stretch out into infinity.




“Hey.” A hand landed on my shoulder and I jumped.

“Shit!” I bit off the rest of my curse, willing my suddenly racing heart to slow itself.

“We’re stopping here.” The hand dropped from my shoulder and footsteps moved off. I didn’t turn, instead casting a weary glance up to the sky. The sun was high over head, having burned off all but the thinnest clouds. I blinked, eyes watering, and dropped my gaze to the road; suddenly acutely aware of the heat beating down on my shoulders and radiating up from the pavement below. Heat waves danced and shimmered on the horizon, promising water that I knew wasn’t there. I sighed and closed my eyes for a bit longer than a standard blink, then turned to see where the guys had decided to stop and get out of the heat. It took only a moment to recognize it from memory. I had driven by it hundreds of times, the grey siding and tin roof of the two story house stood out against the dull brown and silvery green of the surrounding landscape. It was the last building for a good stretch of the road.

Long strides carried me over to where they stood at the edge of the driveway. We all exchanged glances and a silent understanding passed between us. As one we moved up the driveway and began our search of the property. The shed had been looted long ago--the door raised high; it was trashed and devoid of life or undeath. The house itself was wide open. The door was flung open, the windows lacked any form of barricade. I assume whoever used to live there bailed right at the start of the first major outbreaks. We worked quickly through the house; no room or closet was left unsearched. Thankfully, it was clear. No one living or dead or otherwise had been in there for months. It did look like it had been looted at least once. Like at the same time the shed had been.

Our search finished, we made a barricade of furniture at the bottom of the stairs, then retreated up them. The master bedroom was still in good shape--the windows were still intact even--we decided to hunker down there. I watched as the guys got comfortable and felt the burning pressure rise behind my eyes again. I licked my lips and muttered: “Need to be alone.” Before whirling and fleeing the room. The closest room was a few steps across the hall and it was there my feet carried me. The door was shut as quietly as I could manage and I unceremoniously dumped my pack in the middle of the floor. Vision blurring, I backpedaled until my back hit the wall. I lost the battle with gravity and slowly slid down until I was sitting. I buried my face in my hands, knocking my hat off in the process, and squeezed my eyes shut. Hot tears cut trails down my cheeks and I let out a long, shuddering breath.
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Re: Lost Days; Dead Days

Post by The Melancholy Spirit on Thu Jun 16, 2011 11:08 pm

I was standing silently, staring at a window and pinching my lower lip between my left thumb and index finger when she spoke. I need to be alone. The words echoed in my head, in her broken voice, like a deafening, whispered scream. I blinked, turning my head to watch her leave. My hand lowered to my side and I glanced at Ben and Riley. I swallowed, my eyes going back to the door. I licked my lips and sighed, my head drooping and I raised my other hand to cover my face momentarily. I knew what she was doing, why she left us. She needed it, but she didn’t need to go through it alone. Memories flooded my mind and I shook my head. She had been alone for far too long in her life before the outbreak.

Saying nothing, I crossed the room to the door and entered the hall. It was enough time to see door shut slowly. I paused, giving her at least a moment to herself. A moment she well deserved, but a moment was all she needed. More than a moment could be dangerous. After that moment I quietly crossed the short distance to the room, my hand hovering over the knob for a moment. Eyes closed, I sighed deeply, then touched the relatively cool metal and turned it. I pushed it open gently, just enough to slip inside and closed it as quietly as I had opened it. The first thing I saw was the pack slumped on the floor, and then the figure folded against a wall with her face buried into scared hands. I sighed heavily and moved further into the room.

Coming to her pack I leaned down and picked it up, setting it gently next to mine at a foot corner of the bed that occupied much of the space. My rifle I set against the dressed. Then, slowly, I moved to sit next to her. I said nothing, but moved her hands from her face and offered a less-than-half smile, a reassurance of something. Of what, I wasn’t quite sure. It just happened. Traces of tears marked her cheeks. I held tight onto one of her hands, wrapping my other arm around her shoulders and pulling her close. More tears fell from her tired, swollen, and weary eyes. It pained me, though I knew the pain was nothing compared to hers; a mere taste of a raindrop from the torrential hurricane that flooded her mind.

Still I said nothing, leaning my head against hers and nuzzling gently. Still holding her hand I lifted her chin, half-smiling this time I leaned my forehead into hers for a moment before licking one of the fresh tears before it fell beyond her cheekbone. With a light sigh I kissed between her eyes and pulled her closer to me.
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Re: Lost Days; Dead Days

Post by quakernuts on Sun Jun 26, 2011 12:37 am

The road to ruin was a bit longer than I would have liked, and at the moment, was wishing I had turned into a track star before this all happened. My legs were burning, and my breath was short, but I could get by it. If anything, I was able to push myself much longer than even some of the big shot athletes that I used to go to school with. Mel and Shadow had managed to catch up to us, and while I was happy to see they made it, Loki said all that needed to be said. He apologized, Shadow shoved it aside, everyone went quiet for awhile. I didn't mind. Most people end up thinking about things they don't want to think about. Me? I was so cold mentally when it came to that it was like the past never happened. Truth be told, I knew how to throw up mental barriers, and I knew how to not activate the keys to those locks. So the silence was welcome, enough for me to concentrate on simply pushing forward until someone else decided to stop.

It wasn't long until we managed to spot a lone house along the road, the only building that seemed to be standing for a few good miles. I had no idea how far we were from Bruneau, I was never really that great with measurements. After everyone else also decided the same thing, we quickly made our way to the structure. Personally, I was happy to be able to rest. Not because I couldn't keep going, but if something happened where I needed all my energy, cramping up in the middle of it would be a really bad thing. We reached the door, and all together searched the house and the surrounding area. To our relief, no bodies, live or otherwise, were wandering around the house. The bad thing was that someone had obviously looted the place already, and I doubted we would find anything worthwhile in this structure.

After the quick search, we barricaded the stairs, retreated upwards, and I flopped myself on the bed that was still in the bedroom. Bad idea as I sank nearly the entire way, the mattress having been eaten by some sort of bugs, and I hit my back on the springs. Not painful enough to warrant a yelp, but definitely enough to make me flinch and grit my teeth. I hopped up quickly, looking around as if nothing happened. "I was testing...suspension...In case I need to do a flip out the window or something. You know how it is. Yeah..." About a second after that, Shadow excused herself from the room for a reason I knew all too well, and Mel followed her soon after that. Staring at the door, I gave a deep sigh, and sat down in a corner, the 9mm in my hand providing a distraction from everything else. Ben was silent for the most part, which was good I guess. I wasn't really one to get emotional, but I didn't care to talk about past events or, hell, present ones really. You put on a face, you survive, and you hope your life may change something. The more I thought about this, the more I hoped it was true. For some reason, my mind ran back to a random little song I remembered my dad teaching me, and I quietly started singing it.

"The restroom door said gentlemen, so I just walked inside.
As soon as I walked in, I was taken for a ride.
I heard high voices crying out the place was occupied.
By two nuns, an old lady, and a nurse.
What could be worse?
Than two nuns, an old lady and a nurse.

The restroom door said gentlemen, it must have been a gag.
As soon as I walked in, I was attacked by some old hag.
She sprayed me with a can of mace, and hit me with her bag
I could tell, this just wouldn't be my day.
What could I say?
This just wasn't turning out to be my day.

The restroom door said gentlemen, I'd really like to find.
The crummy little creep who had the nerve to switch the signs.
Now I've two black eyes and one high heel...stuck up my behind.
Now I can't sit with comfort or joy.
No I can't sit with coooooomfort or jooooooy."

The song over, I simply gave myself a smug smile at being able to remember the entire thing, and stared out the window. I was ready to get moving again, but I knew the others would still need time, possibly the night. So, I settled in as best I could, and looked around, pausing to look at Loki. "It's the restroom song!" I said, stating the obvious in the hopes of grabbing a smile from anyone really. I hated being around depressed people, it made me more irritable than anything, even if I could understand and rationalize it.

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Re: Lost Days; Dead Days

Post by Shadow Moonseye on Wed Jun 29, 2011 7:31 pm

It can be so hard to not give into despair. So hard to muster the will to constantly be on guard, to keep pushing, to wake up every morning and start walking, to resist the impulse to press that barrel against your temple and blow your brains out. Sometimes I wonder why I bother. Everything I knew, almost everyone I loved was dead. My old life, my old wishes, my old desires, my friends, …most of my family. Gone, turned to deadheads, killed, or simply destroyed in the aftermath of the outbreak.

I tried to keep my voice down, choking on every sob that threatened to shake my frame. I didn’t want anyone to hear and come investigate. I didn’t want anyone to see me like this--crying and weak. Some leader I was turning out to be. Not even twenty-four hours in and I had lost it three times and gotten into a shouting match with Riley. I slammed my head back into the wall then dropped my face back into my waiting hands, the next wave of tears starting to fall.

A moment later I heard the door open, but kept my face firmly buried in my hands. I didn’t have the energy or will to tell them to piss off and give a girl some space; whoever it was could wait. I listened to his movements: footsteps on carpet, shift of fabric, the thunk of metal on wood. Then he was next to me, slowly sitting beside me. Hands gently moved mine from my face and my eyes met the blue green of John’s.

He offered the faintest of smiles and wrapped an arm around my shoulder, pulling me close. I looked back down to the floor and sighed softly. It wasn’t long before he lifted my chin and half-smiled at me; then licked one of the tears from my cheek, kissed between my eyes, and pulled me close again. I chuckled under my breath and sighed. Leave it to him to only give me a minute or two alone. I didn’t really mind though. I got so tired of constantly wearing the tough bitch attitude 24/7 that being able to let him see the cracks in the façade was almost…comforting? I don’t know, but his presence was welcome none the less.

I dropped my head to his shoulder and closed my eyes, content to just be held. How long we stayed like that before I spoke, I don’t know. The tears had all but subsided and I was breathing normally for the most part. I sighed heavily, my eyes still closed, and half-muttered: “I’m so fucking tired…”

John sighed deeply and nuzzled his head against mine, pressing me closer and rubbing my upper arm. “I know…I know.” He kissed the top of my head and then rested his head on mine. “You okay?”

I sighed again, softer this time. “I’m tired of everything. Constantly being on the move, never knowing when we’ll hit a deadhead, or run into a group of assholes. Never knowing where’s safe and where isn’t. Or if we’ll be able to eat. Or if my family…” my voice cracked and I have to swallow a few times before I could speak again. “is alive or dead or not. I’m tired of having to be the hard ass bitch all the fucking time. I’m just…” I sighed and opened my eyes. “I’m just tired of all of it.”

He sighed again, then lifted my chin and smiled faintly. “I know…We’ll keep looking for them, okay? I promise, I’ll be there right beside you searching.” He kissed my nose and forced a bigger smile. “And hey, you can be the softest-assed bitch of all time around me at least.” He nuzzled me then leaned his face into mine. “Sorry.” A sigh escaped his lips and he shook his head, swallowing. “I love you.”

I chuckled and cracked a half-smile. “Don’t be sorry. I love you too.” I planted a soft kiss on his lips. “Thanks. For not leaving me alone and shit.”

He lifted a hand to lightly hold the side of my face and returned the kiss, and sighed through a smile. “You’re welcome. Always.”

I smiled and nodded, then rested my forehead against his. I wanted to stay like that for as long as were could. The whole world condensed down to just us in our own little bubble of safety, temporary though it might be. An idea struck me, more of an impulse than anything, and my smile grew. “John, tell me a story.”

“A story?” He smiled and chuckled lightly before kissing me again, taking a moment to nuzzle me. “Alright…”

I smiled wider and rested my head on his shoulder again, closing my eyes and listening as he started his improvised tale.
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Re: Lost Days; Dead Days

Post by Loki on Tue Jul 05, 2011 6:40 pm

As far as abandoned structures went, the one we stumbled across was so-so. It lacked any pre-existing defenses, anything that would qualify as being salvageable, significant structural compromises, and meandering undead. At a glance it scores a 50%, but given the state of the world, I've instated a generous curve that makes that score marginally above average. Granted, the curve isn't as liberal as the one for my Calculus II class back in college, but things haven't gotten that dire just yet.

After the preliminary and secondary checks of the building's interior and perimeter, it was widely accepted that it would be commandeered for us to make camp within. I mused for a moment as I considered if commandeer would be applicable given that, in all likelihood, the original owner is either dead or not alive. Once we finished establishing rudimentary strategic barricades, I nearly collapsed to the floor as my legs became over eager for a chance to rest. I let out a chuckle as Quaker had nearly been consumed by a bed that had only appeared to be a solid rather than something more strongly resembling a non-Newtonian fluid.

"I was testing...suspension...In case I need to do a flip out the window or something. You know how it is. Yeah..."

"Heh, from the looks of it the suspension, transmission, and engine block are all blown. I'd suggest we take it to the shop for maintenance, but I'm thinking it would be far more economical to take it out back and shoot it."

Following the quip, Shadow exited the room only to be followed out by Mel. I blinked in confusion then frowned. "It wasn't that bad of a joke, was it?" It had been clear that Shadow had seen something on that camera back at the barracks that had haunted her; I could probably take a few guesses as to what she had seen, but it wasn't my business and I felt she would appreciate it more if I stayed out of her personal affairs. With the two of them gone and the room having descended into silence, I decided to use that time to relax and do some meditating. Well, I referred to it as meditating even if it was more on par with reflecting upon recent events. I assumed my standard pose of sitting cross-legged, head lowered, eyes closed, and my arms crossed over my chest. I used to sit like this every morning for a few moments at least while showering, at least when there was still such a thing as hot water. Ultimately, the post allowed me to focus entirely upon my thoughts and organize my mind without having to worry about drifting to sleep. At most I would doze, but the sudden drop of my head would jolt me back awake.

So much had happened in the past twenty-four hours. For the first time in a while I had traveling companions, which was fortunate because I couldn't shake the loneliness that had crept over me upon separating with Takun. I still missed him, even with human friends present in his place. The two years following the end of the civilization, the two of us had sealed ourselves within my parents' house. Once the power went kaput, it left us with lots of free time and no obligations aside from surviving. The bond between us had from being firm to something clad in iron. Looking back, I still don't know what had come over me to decide to part ways with him.

The sound of Quaker singing pulled me out of my thoughts and I looked at him with a raised eyebrow and an amused expression as he eventually finished his song.

"It's the restroom song!"

I let out a laugh at that. "And here I was thinking it was a chapter of your autobiography that you had been turning into a musical in your spare time."
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Re: Lost Days; Dead Days

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