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Adventure! RPG: American Revenants - American Revenants


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A week ago, New York's human population was a little less than 20 million.

That was last week.

Now it seems like there are more corpses on the sidewalks than there are stopped cars and taxis in the streets. The only things more numerous are the pigeons and herring gulls swarming in the air, picking a once-in-a-lifetime feast from the bloated flesh of the Big Apple's citizens.

Barr Longley sits on the step of a church and cries to himself.

He's not homeless anymore. There's homes everywhere; everyone is dead. New York's dead. He's still poor, still ugly. But everyone else is dead.

He coughs loudly into the sleeve of his jacket, an Armani tuxedo he's taken from a shop on Main Street. Nobody had stopped him. He'd have liked it if they did.

The cough echoes, reverberating off buildings and coming back even more ragged and sick-sounding than before. Still, as sick as Barr is, he knows he's getting better, not worse. And he's a damn sight better than the rest of New York.

New York's dead.

* * *

In another part of the city, Lieutenant Gerald Myers surveys the carnage. His sinuses feel like they are burning. The metal of his semi-automatic's grip is painfully hot against the calloused palm of his right hand.

Nothing is moving at all, except the birds. The f!cking scavengers.

He opens fire. Gulls and pigeons take to the air like an ocean wave slipping away from the shore. A deafening RAT-A-TAT-A-TAT resounds off the concrete and glass and metal that was Times Square.

Nothing happens, really. Myers lifts his black walkie-talkie from his utility belt to his ear.

"White?"

"Yes, sir?" The response crackles instantly over the line. It sounds loud over the little speaker.

"Keep trying to contact the Pentagon, or any other military base across the country. In the meantime, quarantine New York City. Post guards in the tunnels and on bridges, and don't let anybody in or out."

He pauses.

"Well, just don't let anybody out. Anyone wanting to come in must be a madman, but we needn't stop them."

There is silence over the line for a few seconds. A gull squawks and Myers smiled a grim smile.

"Sir?" hisses the walkie-talkie. "What about the creature that Jenkins found?"

Myers slowly nods. Yes, that would require his attention.

"Are any of our survivors any kind of scientific personnel?"

"No, sir, not at all. I mean, Perry and I went to college, but this is just..."

The line falls silent again. Myers nods to no one again.

"You keep that thing from going anywhere, and wait 'til I get back, Private."

He takes a long, deep breath through his nose, filling his big lungs slowly.

He's gotten used to the smell already.

* * *

What should I do, Lord?

The church's silence is so painful. Sister Jane wonders how many silent churches she has been in over the years. Now, perhaps the whole world is full of them.

A sick-sounding cough comes faintly in through the thick doors. Sickness is another thing there's a lot of, now. Sickness and death.

No answer seems forthcoming. Sister Jane runs her fingers over the cool metal beneath her pew.

* * *

Michael Trafton makes his way across the road, weaving through stopped cars and gingerly stepping over corpses rotting in the road. He's not too worried about what's coming.

After all, if he survived this plague, chances are there will be others. Enough for a whole new civilization, probably. Maybe even one without all the bullshit the old one had.

And in any civilization, there has to be trade. And he has something to trade: a practical knowledge of karate, for one, and of how to teach self-defense to complete novices. He wonders if there'll be any need for that kind of thing in the new world.

And he's not bad with cars, either. He wonders how long it will be before the streets are cleared off.

He surveys the road up ahead and sees someone moving around. He'll talk to them, once he gets there. Too far away to tell, but it looks like it might be a lady. That would certainly be nice, because for Michael it's been a long time since he had a woman's company, or any kind of company, for that matter.

He continues walking through the cars. He can see now that she (he thinks it's a she) is also moving, actually, moving faster than he is, towards him.

Michael places his hand on the hot hood of a red Honda next to him. She looks like she's walking quickly, even running. Well, he loves a lady in good shape. He grins and throws a couple of punches in the air, showing off to no one in particular.

She's behind a big stopped Mack truck; when she comes around it he'll be able to see her. He turns to head around its front and meet her on the side.

"Hey, you!" Michael says, enjoying the sound of his own voice in the warm air. "Man, am I glad to see another human be--"

She walks into view. Michael screams.

Something is really wrong. The girl's eyes have no pupils or irises; her face is bruised and bleeding; patches of her long, black hair are coming out, especially in the area of a large, messy wound in her temple. Her fingers and nails are black and gangrenous, and her right arm meets her shoulder at an unnatural, painful angle.

Michael stops screaming. The girl cocks her head slightly, as though sizing Michael up.

Michael loses control. He responds to the terror in the only way he knows how. He throws a punch, pouring his weight in behind it, supporting the blow - strong enough to knock a man's head clean off.

The girl's mouth opens. Mouths shouldn't open that wide. He feels her jaws around his fist, her broken teeth digging into his wrist. His blow lands against the back of her throat, but it's not where he thought the blow would land and feels almost ineffectual.

He starts screaming again. The girl digs her sharp teeth into his wrist; he knows he's bleeding. He pulls it out in a swift moment of agony; he feels like his hand will never be the same. And for a moment, he makes the mistake of looking at the bleeding circle of cuts on his wrist, and away from her.

She lurches forward, and he feels her jaws around his throat.

Michael stops screaming.

* * *

Barr stops crying. He surveys the man before him. His voice cracks when he talks, but steadies itself.

"Shit," he says to the beat-up, injured looking being with no eye, "I thought I was the ugliest f!cker still standing in this city."

The thing groans loudly at him. Barr uneasily retreats a few steps up.

The thing lunges. There's an explosion, like a clap of thunder went off just a few feet from Barr's head. The thing's head explodes, spraying all over the cars and corpses in the street behind it.

Barr turns around.

A slender black woman wearing a nun's habit and brandishing a big shotgun (with two smoking barrels) is standing in the door to the church. She pats Barr on the back.

"On your feet, Mac," says the woman.

"We got work to do."

* * *

[Watch this space.]

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Bunny is officially ready to wake up.

For about a week now, the world has been absolutely crazy. Everyone she knew, everyone she saw on a daily basis, had just stopped showing up... At work, one of the last girls to stop coming in had keeled over in front of her. They had called 9-1-1, but no one had answered. She'd died within the hour.

Bunny stopped going to work shortly after that. There was enough cereal, peanut butter, jelly and bread in her apartment to feed her for almost a week. But recently, she'd been running low.

So the first time she had heard a knock at her door, she had come almost two feet short of actually answering it. But someone beat her to it.

"Oh my God," she'd heard from almost next door, "I hadn't realized anyone else was still alive! Hello, who's there?"

Bunny had recognized the voice as her neighbor, Tina Wong. She hadn't realized that Tina was alive either, until that moment.

She heard a door open. Then a loud, eardrum-piercing scream. Then several loud thumps, more screaming, a loud crashing thud. Then silence. Bunny sat just inside the door, terrified, and resolved not to leave her room.

The sound of irregular, dragging footsteps outside the door came frequently now. She hasn't opened the door since then.

Now, she picks a napkin up from her dinner table and wipes peanut butter and jelly off her lips. She is now out of food.

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Two weeks ago...

"and the moment you've all been waiting for...she's HOT, she's WET and she's YOURS..."

A spotlight illuminates her through the haze on stage. Black stiletto high heels and legs that went on forever...black skirt and a bodice that pushed up her gazungas til they seemed ready to explode. ::drool

"BUNNYYYYYY!"

The music started, Paula Cole's "Feelin' Love"...dropping into a low squat she gyrated right and left. A sommersault (in heels, no less!) brought her to the pole. Arms reaching up above her as she squirmed under the music's words

You make me feel like the amazon's running..between my thighs...

With a tug she pulled herself upward until she was upside down, back to the crowd, and made a split with her legs...on her left butt cheek the onlookers could see the Playboy logo tattooed to it. Rumor had it that she'd gotten it done while Hef watched...Sliding down the pole face first, she crawled towards someone in the crowd once she reached the floor.

and the show goes on...

Later

She threw her keys on the table as she got home. The apartment was luxurious, if a bit small, and the maid kept it clean. She dropped her purse on a sofa and made her way to Trevor's room. She left the light off as she went in and looked at him in the dark. Her nine year old "accident", she loved him dearly. Leaning over she kissed him on the forehead.

"Hi mom..."

"How're you feeling kiddo?"

"I think I have a sore throat."

"You think?"

"I feel weird"

"Alright, well get some sleep...I love you."

Trevor mumbled something back as he promptly fell back to sleep. With a smile Cindy aka Bunny had a shower and went to bed.

A week ago

She wasn't going back to work, Mandy died backstage and the customers were few and far between. Trevor was also feverish and the hospitals were swamped. She gave him lots of water, made him instant soup and held his hand for most of the day.

Two days ago

He'd stopped breathing...tears were rolling down her cheeks but she was expressionless. She felt numb...she'd filled every container she could find with water. Seeing how the city was turning out, it was bound to give out sooner or later. Her last loaf of sliced bread was thawing on the kitchen counter...

Yesterday

The noise was starting to get unbearable. The scratching and banging from Trevor's room just wouldn't stop. She'd moved the dresser against the door as well as a couple of boxes full of books, just to be safe. She tried to imagine that someone or something else had gotten in the room...but there was no window in his room.

Out of food

and something goes tilt...

She washed herself in the bathtub with most of the water that was left. Patting herself dry as she stepped out, she put the last batteries in her portable boombox and put a cd in it. The meanest and baddest of George Thorogood...The thudding from Trevor's room continued...she turned it loud. Real loud.

Bad to the Bone

She zipped up her thigh high boots. Looking herself in the mirror she decided that if she was gonna go, at least she'd look good when she went. She put on her makeup and molded her hair just right as she sprayed it. She stuffed her makeup and hairspray in her duffel bag as well as a few changes of clothes...just in case.

Bag on her shoulder she went to the kitchen and grabbed anything that seemed like she could use...the knife set, a jug of water, her last pack of cigarettes and zippo lighter. She grabbed the flashlight as well.

Just about to leave, she could hear the thudding from Trevor's room. She screamed at it, through the door.

"F@@@CK YOOOOOOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUUUUUU"

The thudding kept going as if nothing happened but somehow she felt better. Grabbing Trevor's baseball bat from the living room closet, she smashed the TV...

CRASH!

She swung it at the cupboard where kept her plates

BOOM!

She plates tumbled out and she smashed them

CRASH!

Finally she took a swing at the radio and there was silence...

She breathed in and out...

in and out...

She put hand through her hair, shaking it right. Grabbing the duffel bag, she stepped out.

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…And found herself looking out on the familiar sight of the public hall leading to the stairwells at the east and west ends of the building. The stairwell on the western side (Bunny's right) was the Lift Lobby, and contained the building's two elevators, while the stairwell on the eastern side (left) was primarily an emergency exit or for those die-hard fitness freaks who liked trudging up twenty-five flights worth of stairs (or more, since Bunny's floor wasn't at the top, by any means). Bunny's apartment was one of fifteen on this floor, and was one of the two middle apartments, her's being on the northern face of the building, that were more or less equidistant between the two stairwells.

Until just now the sight that met her outside her own front door had always seemed perfectly normal and natural, even boring. But not anymore. Aside from the fact that several of the other apartments' front doors were hanging open, or perhaps because of it, the empty hallway (still brightly lit, at least the power was still working, that had to be a good sign, right?) radiated a cold malevolence that sent chills up Bunny's spine. To make matters worse, only about half of the open-doored apartments were lit from the inside, all the rest were as dark as death, the same death that seemed to lay like a heavy, fetid blanket over everything. Or at least they seemed that way. Bunny had to remind herself it was daytime, she could see ambient light filtering out even from the unlit apartments. The darkness, she realized, had nothing to do with the light, or lack thereof. She could almost feel the darkness coming out of those doorways. And she could definitely hear noises coming out of more than one of them. And, just like the sight of the once-familiar hallway suddenly seeming so foreboding, those almost-familiar noises somehow failed to conjure images of anything natural being the cause of them.

Tina Wong's apartment was two doors down to her left, and Bunny could see from where she stood that the door was still hanging wide open, with the lights on inside. As she looked, she thought she saw a flicker or a shadow pass briefly across the lighted threshold, but she couldn't be sure. Almost simultaneously – and much more jarringly – there came a decidedly human-sounding shriek ('EEEPP!!') from the opposite direction (Bunny's right) and across the hall. Following the shriek was the sound of scuffling, or perhaps muffled thumping, followed shortly thereafter by a muffled pounding that sounded disturbingly familiar to the thudding that (she now realized) she could still hear behind her, inside her own apartment.

Looking in the direction of the disturbance Bunny saw an open apartment three doors down on the southern side of the building that appeared to be its source…

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Tina Wong's apartment was two doors down to her left, and Bunny could see from where she stood that the door was still hanging wide open, with the lights on inside. As she looked, she thought she saw a flicker or a shadow pass briefly across the lighted threshold, but she couldn't be sure. Almost simultaneously – and much more jarringly – there came a decidedly human-sounding shriek ('EEEPP!!') from the opposite direction (Bunny's right) and across the hall. Following the shriek was the sound of scuffling, or perhaps muffled thumping, followed shortly thereafter by a muffled pounding that sounded disturbingly familiar to the thudding that (she now realized) she could still hear behind her, inside her own apartment.

Looking in the direction of the disturbance Bunny saw an open apartment three doors down on the southern side of the building that appeared to be its source…

Started by the sound of live person, Bunny immediately runs towards the source, baseball bat at the ready!

::getsome

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Bunny's speed as she ran was impressive, all the more so considering her footwear. The smell assaulted her nostrils before she had even reached the doorway. It was even worse than the smell in her own apartment.

She reached the open doorway in no time and stopped to look inside, bat at the ready.

Immediately inside the door was the living room, and to its left was a kitchenette area. Continuing on from there was an L-shaped hallway that continued out of sight in a westerly direction (Bunny's right). At the end of the hallway that she could see was an open door, and through it she could faintly make out one of the apartment's two rooms. There were no other doors along the sides of the hallway leading up to it that she could see, so she assumed that another door(s?) was around the corner.

The lights in both the kitchenette and the living room were on, providing ample illumination in both of these areas, but the lights in the hallway had apparently been left off. There was some light filtering out of the open bedroom that she could see, but it looked like someone had pulled the curtains closed over the windows, and the light that filtered through was minimal and gloomy. There didn't seem to be any light coming from around the corner. There was no sign of life (or movement, at least) that she could see, but the thudding sound, which was much louder now, was obviously coming from around that corner.

Now that she was actually standing inside the apartment, the smell was almost unbelievable. It was hard to imagine that anything could smell so horrible, so foul! It gave the entire apartment a feeling of thickness, of oppressiveness, as though there were some invisible barrier warding her off. Looking at the space beyond the open doorway at the other end of the hall, the image that popped into Bunny's head wasn't of a bedroom, but of an empty tomb.

The thudding continued however, marring the image (and somehow making it worse). And now that she was so much closer, Bunny could make out the sounds of whimpering and crying, muffled but distinct.

Just as she was about to step all the way through the open door, she suddenly became aware of a faint noise back the way she had come and, turning around, she saw that the shadow had returned in the doorway to Tina Wong's place...

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Tharn

"Hello?"
"Uunnggh..."

The pounding stops.

A few seconds later, a dark man-shaped silhouette fills the half-lit doorway. It seems to stare at Bunny, and says nothing. It takes half a step towards Bunny, when a small voice from the other end of the L-shaped hall cries,

"Ohmigod Ms. Lewis is that you? Please don't leave me!"

The man-shaped shadow in the hall looks back towards the source of the young-sounding voice. Something about the way his head hangs, and the way his head slumps slightly instead of pointing straight at where it's looking, makes it seem almost inhuman, even from the shadows... ::lookaround

"Don't let him get you Ms. Lewis!"

He looks back at Bunny, then looks back down the hall. With a trudging, limping step, it walks slowly back, out of sight, towards the source of the voice.

Suddenly, Bunny is surprised by a bump to her pleasantly rounded behind. She had half-closed the door behind her, but now it's pressing hard against her, as though someone on the other side was trying hard to open it... ::ohmy

[sky, your post is ready, except that I don't know your character's new name yet. PM it to me or Cottus and we'll post your intro.]

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A Rude Awakening:

The past few days had been a blur for Karen Di Silva. She’d been feeling lousy even before her fiancé had called to tell her he was still stuck outside city limits, but afterwards she’d felt like she was going to die. Literally. Nothing she’d managed to get down had stayed, and she’d spent more time kneeling in front of the toilet than she cared to think about. Shortly thereafter her fever had reached new heights of unpleasantness and after that it seemed like all she’d done was sleep.

She couldn’t be sure, but she didn’t think the phone had rung in at least two days, but it may have been as much as four, which worried her.

Before she’d become nearly comatose Karen had spent nearly all her time in front of the television, watching reports of sickness and death around the world and worrying about her family and her fiancé. Now that she was up and moving again, and felt almost normal again, there wasn’t any news at all. Well, there was static, lots and lots of it, but she didn’t really want to think about what sort of news that was.

The internet still worked, and was plastered with websites and blog posts proclaiming the end times, government conspiracies, alien invasions, and nearly everything else in between. But these all seemed to be at least four days old, with most of them being older. Online news reports had stopped before at about the same time, and some of the major pages, including at least one major search engine, were offline or seemed glitchy.

Her computer’s clock function was still working perfectly however, so Karen was able to verify that it had been almost a week since her fiancé had last called, which was even longer than she’d feared. Which meant he was probably still stuck outside the city.

Or dead (god, no!).

And she had no car…

Suddenly realizing how isolated she felt from everything, she walked to the front windows of her apartment, which sat on the first floor of a brownstone building inside of Prospect Heights in Brooklyn, and pulled the shades. Ignoring her still throbbing head, Karen looked out her windows onto Decatur Street.

Something was wrong, though at first she couldn’t figure out what. Little details of the scene spread out before her weren’t adding up somehow. Then her eyes fixed on the police car across the street. The driver’s-side door was hanging open, and there was something lying next to it. Squinting her eyes at the dark, oddly shaped lump, she suddenly realized it was a body! There was a police officer just lying in the street right across from her apartment!

((Ok Heritage, there ya go! You’re officially placed in the story. Decatur Street is about a block north of Eastern Parkway, a major thoroughfare in the Prospect Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, itself just north of Prospect Park. You’re on a pretty typical street of brownstone buildings being used as apartments. The Brooklyn Tunnel, which crosses the Buttermilk Channel and connects to Battery City in Lower Manhattan, is perhaps 2 miles north, northeast.

Feel free to write yourself an intro post expanding on your character’s background, or not, as you see fit (like how Zeke expanded on his intro post to more thoroughly flesh out his character). Then react to the scene I’ve described in whatever way Karen would feel best.))

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A Toast to the Dead:

John Beer took another sip of beer, and sulked.

He sat in McMahon’s, a nice pub he and his friends had liked to frequent, and had, for the last hour or so, tried very hard to get drunk. Surprisingly, there had only been one body in the pub when he’d arrived, some poor soul who seemed to have had the same idea he did: to toast the dead with a good, long Drink.

As a fireman (well, a former fireman now) John had probably seen the very worst the world had to offer during the last week. He, and the rest of his crew, had been on-call almost nonstop for almost three days. Curiously, John had been one of the very first people to become ill, and he and all of his friends and family had feared the worst. But then he’d gotten better again after only about a day and a half. Everyone had seen this as a good sign, but it had turned out to be a false one instead. During the next few days it had seemed like all John saw was sickness and death.

Then, almost before he realized it, everyone was dead. His coworkers, his friends… he still hadn’t worked up the willpower to go home and see the corpses he knew were there…. There hadn’t even been any emergency calls to take his mind off things in days. Everything had stopped, and the streets were lined with bodies and abandoned cars, many serving as makeshift coffins for the dead inside them.

McMahon’s sat on Woodhaven Boulevard and was only a few blocks south of Queen’s Center. He’d come that way before arriving at the pub, and had lost count of the number of corpses he’d seen. He was almost used to it by now.

Years ago, so many pedestrians had been killed while trying to cross Queens Boulevard that people had begun to refer to it as “the Boulevard of Death”. But then the City had taken measures to increase safety and driver awareness, and pedestrian deaths had dropped down to almost nothing, so the nickname had fallen out of use. If only people could see it now. “Boulevard of Death” indeed.

Sitting inside of the darkened pub, John Beer brooded about all this as he nursed his beer. Damn thing didn’t seem to be working. Neither had the umpteen bottles before it either. A man likes to think he can hold his liquor, but this was getting ridiculous!

As he looked out the pub’s window onto Woodhaven Boulevard what he’d assumed was just another corpse started moving!

What appeared to be a middle-aged man of medium height and build pushed himself up off the ground and stood facing away from John, his head turning uncertainly from right to left. He looked very shaky on his feet. For some reason the fireman’s axe leaning against his leg suddenly seemed heavier….

((Ok Alex, there’s your write-in. John Beer is sitting in a pub in the Elmhurst district of Queens. He’s a few blocks away from the intersection of Queens Boulevard and Woodhaven Boulevard, site of the Queen’s Center Mall which is the most profitable mall per square foot in America. Or was anyway. Go ahead and write up an intro for yourself. Fill any details you feel need filling, and all of that, and then get to the action.))

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Paging Dr. Shaw

David wakes up with a spasm of his neck and upper back that brings him to a sitting position.

It's dark. David's laying on his back on what feels like a steel table.

He feels like a nail's been driven into his skull. Every bone, every muscle in his body feels like it's been taken off and then reattached as painlessly as medical science knows how [i.e. not very].

David lays back and tries to find the most recent things in his memory, wondering if they account for any of this...

[skylion, that's your cue to make your intro post you told me about. And when that's done...]

David suddenly feels something pulling on his right sleeve.

Too dark to tell who, or exactly where they are. Can't see your hand in front of your face.

It's utterly silent.

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"Don't let him get you Ms. Lewis!"

He looks back at Bunny, then looks back down the hall. With a trudging, limping step, it walks slowly back, out of sight, towards the source of the voice.

Suddenly, Bunny is surprised by a bump to her pleasantly rounded behind. She had half-closed the door behind her, but now it's pressing hard against her, as though someone on the other side was trying hard to open it...

"Let her go!"

The stripper hits the door with the full weight of her body and quickly turns the lock before running towards the "man" in the hallway, bat at the ready for a swing at his head!

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A Toast to the Dead:

John took another drink and tried to convince himself that he was feeling a buzz, but couldn’t do it. It appeared that somehow someone had slipped him some alcohol-free alcohol as a practical joke. It wasn’t as unlikely as it seemed, McMahon’s was ‘his’ bar and this was ‘his’ brand of beer, and there was his last name as an encouragement. Obviously one of the guys had been planning something. John glanced down at his arms, held up one middle finger and successfully balanced his fire ax on it. Yep, still not drunk. Despite the thickness of his arms he just seemed to attract this sort of thing.

John flexed a thick arm and brushed back brown hair, a touch longer than regulation. His hands were strong. He was almost but not quite handsome, had a laugh and personality that could fill a room, and tended to think with his muscles. Before… everything… in due course he’d have taken his ‘revenge’, something involving make up and silent ridicule, but obviously that wasn’t going to happen now. The entire crew was gone; he’d seen most of them first hand and heard about the others. No one of his family, heck, no one whose cell phone number he had stored, was picking up. It was looking more and more like a clean sweep, and if one of his fellows could somehow pull one over him from beyond the grave, he’d take it. Salute.

As he looked out the pub’s window onto Woodhaven Boulevard what he’d assumed was just another corpse started moving!

What appeared to be a middle-aged man of medium height and build pushed himself up off the ground and stood facing away from John, his head turning uncertainly from right to left. He looked very shaky on his feet. For some reason the fireman’s axe leaning against his leg suddenly seemed heavier….

John watched the ‘corpse’ move for a moment and briefly wondered if the beer was having an effect after all. Then he glanced at the beer and relaxed. It appeared he’d been the third, not the second, guy to make a toast. Getting so drunk that you fell asleep on the sidewalk lacked class, but since he’d been planning something like that himself he couldn’t point fingers.

John yelled,

“Yo! Drinks are still free my man! Come on in and let’s talk!”

John reached over and knocked on the window with the handle of his ax several times to attract the newcomers attention.

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Paging Dr. Shaw

David wakes up with a spasm of his neck and upper back that brings him to a sitting position.

It's dark. David's laying on his back on what feels like a steel table.

He feels like a nail's been driven into his skull. Every bone, every muscle in his body feels like it's been taken off and then reattached as painlessly as medical science knows how [i.e. not very].

With a tremendous gasp air reenters Davids lungs for the first time in days, muscle spasms jolting him ramrod straight. The darkness is all pervasive, cloying, suffocating. There are a few terrifying moments of disorientation; nothing makes sense and it takes a moment for him to realize that he is breathing, a person. For a moment, it seemed like he had forgotten everything, even his own name...

*David...*

The word echoes in his mind, bringing him back to himself. Unfortunately his full return to conscioussness brings with it unimaginable pain, shocking him into full awareness of the body he still posseses.

"Awwww...." he moans, hands clutching at his face and skull.

David lays back and tries to find the most recent things in his memory, wondering if they account for any of this...

*Oh no...*

The nightmare was real. The Plague. Within the first few days they had realized it was an epidemic, and moved to quarantine but it was too little, too late. They were already overrun. As worldwide news reports continued to pour in, it became clear that this was no epidemic, but a pandemic. No way...no way any normal virus could spread that far so fast...many of his colleagues had speculated some kind of bio-weapons attack, and many governmnet officals and the CDC were reacting as such, but again too little too late. So far the blood work they had performed had been at best, inconclusive.

So David did what any man would do...his duty. He had been born to practice medicine. Not from any great genius..he had worked very hard to get to where he was...but from the great wellspring of compassion he had always felt. That deep desire to help those who needed help most had brought him through the trials of med-school, his devotion finally landing him a job in the ER of prestigous Mount Sinai Hospital.

*Overrun...*

So many sick people. He hadn't slept for days. The ER had a priority system of course, treating the most accute cases first, but it soon became clear that there was a point of no return. Orderlies did their best to make people comfortable, fever medicine was distributed, and he and his colleagues grappled with the frustration of useless toxicology reports.

*Inconclusive...*

He had done everything he could, moving from patient to patient...the damn thing spared no one. He remembered one little girl...Samantha. Even through her fever she had smiled at him, trusting him. He was the Doctor, he would make her all better...

*Damnit!*

His head throbbed.

*Am I...?*

That's right... After three days of ceasless, futile effort, he had finally succumbed. He hadn't wanted to admit it...when the first unmistakably nagging cough had entered his respiratory system, he had locked himself in his office and quietly sobbed.

*Futile...*

They were fast being overrun with bodies. The morgue had filled up, and temporary wards were being set up until emergency workers and the national guard could evacuate the bodies to quarantine zones and sort them out.

*So many...*

Soon the other doctors were coughing too. When it became difficult to stand or move he had retired to his office. Nothing they could do was working. All those years, all those classes. The late nights, the long hours...all added up to nothing. He couldn't help himself, let alone his patients. Feverish and weak, his body finally collapsed from exhaustion, plunging him into darkness. And in Darkness he remained...

David suddenly feels something pulling on his right sleeve.

Too dark to tell who, or exactly where they are. Can't see your hand in front of your face.

It's utterly silent.

...save the sound of his own breathing and the sudden pounding of blood in his ears as his adrenaline spiked in response to the sudden unexpected contact.

"JESUS!" he exclaimed in surprise, jerking away. The sudden movement brough renewed pain to his aching skull.

"Ugh...Who's there?" he asked into the impenetrable darkness.

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Buddy

It used to be an underground parking garage, but the plague - and the immediate need for mass graves, early on, before such things ceased to be important - has made it into a two-floor deep quarry of concrete, cars and piled corpses.

Well, this isn't good. Earlier this week, back when it was "lots of folks" who were getting killed and not quite yet "everyone," someone had called Buddy's apartment to tell him that his cousin, Tyler Johnson, had fallen sick and died. He remembers hearing from the tired-sounding woman on the phone that Tyler would be buried in an ad hoc mass grave. They were burying people down by Hoyt-Schermerhorn up in northern Brooklyn. Buddy was welcome and encouraged to come by and make his peace.

Well, he hadn't then, but now that people had stopped moving around on the streets entirely Buddy'd become curious as to whether the "disaster response" was still in motion.

Flies buzzed. The many corpses were apparently fair game for flies, birds and various small mammals.

Buddy sighs and steps over a corpse wearing a yellow penny-jacket and rubber gloves. Apparently not.

Actually... are the heat waves rising from the broken pavement playing tricks on his eyes? Or are one or two of the corpses occasionally twitching, or rolling over?

David

As David flinches away from the pull, his arm jerks free.

For a moment, or what feels like several long moments, David is left there in the dark, wondering if he hadn't just snagged his coat on a lever.

Then his neck feels an ice chill. From behind, he's being grabbed there by two small, cold, clammy hands...

David feels something heavy land on his gut, taking the wind out of him. What's going on?

Bunny

Bunny successfully slams and locks the door. An angry moaning begins anew from outside!

She runs into the hall. The 'man' is there, trying to force the closet door open while something holds it shut from inside. He shuffles around at the sound of Bunny approaching...

...and takes a baseball bat to the neck! It's intercepted by the shoulder a bit, but it is a good solid blow, and a satisfying crack sounds out.

"Aaahh!" the girl screams from the closet.

The broken-looking man's neck is now at nearly a 45-degree angle to his shoulders. It makes his dull, angry stare - and the fact that he's still on his feet - all the more frightening. Her baseball bat still balanced on the thing's shoulder, Bunny hesitates for a second...

...and the creature lunges forward, butting its jaws into Bunny's shoulder and biting down! Bunny feels a wet warmth running down her chest, of mingled blood and saliva...

[bunny's now Hurt with Lethal damage.]

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Stimulus-Response

,,,,
As David flinches away from the pull, his arm jerks free.

For a moment, or what feels like several long moments, David is left there in the dark, wondering if he hadn't just snagged his coat on a lever.

Then his neck feels an ice chill. From behind, he's being grabbed there by two small, cold, clammy hands...

David feels something heavy land on his gut, taking the wind out of him. What's going on?

,,

This is too much!

,,

Bolting upward in fright bordering on panic, David pushes whatever landed on him off and jumps off the table.

,,

Arms outstretched in the darkness he yells, "THIS ISN'T FUNNY! STOP IT!"

,,

He starts to step carefully away, reaching out to find tables or the wall.

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Ground Zero

Burt stares into the wreckage.

He remembers when it was not wreckage, but a construction zone, with bustling workers and towering cranes. And he remembers before that, when it was wreckage again.

And before that, of course, the twin towers.

There are corpses in the wreckage. Some bloated, discolored - the ones killed by the disease. Others healthier, no less dead - the crumpled bodies trapped under the toppled crane. Burt wonders what made it fall.

Knock knock

Before John's eyes, the man - who seems drunk from his bleary expression and staggering gait - approaches the window.

He stands there for a second, looking at John, but not directly meeting his eyes. He draws in a breath through his nose, then exhales through his mouth.

Ignoring John's greeting, staring blankly at him, the man inhales deeply again, his mouth hanging agape. Then he meets John's gaze...

...and comes crashing through the window, lunging straight at him!

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Knock knock

Before John's eyes, the man - who seems drunk from his bleary expression and staggering gait - approaches the window.
John calls out through the glass,

“That’s right, I’m in here! Had quite a bender I see! I’m still getting started! Call me John!”

He stands there for a second, looking at John, but not directly meeting his eyes. He draws in a breath through his nose, then exhales through his mouth.
“Hey! Are you all right!”
Ignoring John's greeting, staring blankly at him, the man inhales deeply again, his mouth hanging agape. Then he meets John's gaze...

...and comes crashing through the window, lunging straight at him!

John swears and tries to grab the aisle end of the anchored booth table he’s sitting at and throw himself away from the window.

(OOC: Athletic Dodge to move away and roll to his feet.)

(Assuming John ends up on his feet and keeps his axe in hand)

John gestures with the axe and says,

“Don’t make me bust you up man!”

His thoughts awhirl, he thinks,

“That’s a movie quote. Right, Ginger’s boyfriend said that to the Terminator right before he got killed.”

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John rolls away from the window with a speed and grace that seems almost impossible. Not that he notices or cares at the moment. He comes to his feet just as quickly, his ax instantly at the ready.

His assailant, having come crashing through the glass only to find the space where John had been a moment before was empty, has fallen flat on his face amidst what seemed a veritable avalanche of glass.

As John watches the man struggle to pick himself up off the floor it is obvious that he's been badly cut by the glass. Already John can see blood running out from underneath his body and his hands and forearms are already a mass of bloody wounds. There is also a smell coming off the man that is simply astounding. It's to be expected that a man who passes out drunk in the street is going to smell bad when he wakes up, but the odor that is currently invading John's nostrils surpasses anything he's ever encountered before. It even manages to overwhelm the massive stench rolling off the street full of corpses outside.

As the man struggles to pick himself up, his hands and the undersides of both arms are ground with seeming abandon into the glass shards around him. It is hard to tell, but it seems like his legs and knees are being subjected to a similar shredding as well.

But as John gestures with his ax and makes his movie-quote threat, his attacker finally manages to pull himself up on one hand and an elbow. He looks up at John with a terrible expression of such dull hatred and unmistakable need (for what, John had no idea) that he can feel his usually calm state of mind threatening to crumble.

For the briefest instant they face each other, and what feels very much like a ten pound brick made of solid ice drops heavily into John's gut.

Then his attacker's eyes bulge almost straight out of their sockets, and his mouthed gapes in a gruesome snarl as he lets loose a horrifying and strangely voiceless scream. At the same instant he lunges across the floor towards John with an amazing burst of speed, leaving a trail of bloody glass behind him.

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Ground Zero

Burt stares into the wreckage.

He remembers when it was not wreckage, but a construction zone, with bustling workers and towering cranes. And he remembers before that, when it was wreckage again.

And before that, of course, the twin towers.

There are corpses in the wreckage. Some bloated, discolored - the ones killed by the disease. Others healthier, no less dead - the crumpled bodies trapped under the toppled crane. Burt wonders what made it fall.

But he doesn't wonder for long. He doesn't have time. Fear should be ruling him, terror and despair at the carnage and death across the city. After the thirtieth body or so that he'd helped hurl into one of the many industrial-sized dumpsters usually used for construction wreckage, he was just sort of...numb. The fatigue didn't help. He hadn't really slept for days now, just caught naps when he could. Finally he couldn't hack anymore nights in the truck, deciding instead to treat himself to a real bed. Gettin' home wasn't an option with the roads the way they were. He grabbed a hotel room instead...maybe the city would cough up some per diem after all this.

Now, this morning? Looking out at the site, the rest of the city...he didn't think per diem was something he should be worried about anymore.

He glanced around. Up, down the street. Nothing moved. "Shit."

Only one place to go now. Back to the house, the bunker. Get on the radio, see if there was anyone out there at all. Wait. The radio at home had better range, better reception...but the one in truck worked well enough for the city. He knew the frequencies, he had to learn them as part of crisis response. Maybe he could raise someone; a cop, a firefighter, paramedic, something. Any emergency personnel might have some more information.

Alright, to the truck then. Checking around himself one more time, he headed across the street, eyes peeled. Hopefully the truck was still where he left it.

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John watched the man struggle with the glass and booth and was seriously frightened. There was something seriously wrong and John didn't have any backup, or possibility of backup, or even any possibility of any kind of suport. Even beating the guy unconscious and dragging him to the hospital wasn't an option. Dealing with this guy was up to him and him alone. His medical skills were quite limited but this was obviously more than a case of "too much drink". John wracked his mind for an explanation, any explanation. The explanation he comes up with is less than comforting.

*Rabies?*

But as John gestures with his ax and makes his movie-quote threat, his attacker finally manages to pull himself up on one hand and an elbow. He looks up at John with a terrible expression of such dull hatred and unmistakable need (for what, John had no idea) that he can feel his usually calm state of mind threatening to crumble.

For the briefest instant they face each other, and what feels very much like a ten pound brick made of solid ice drops heavily into John's gut.

*What is the cure for rabies again? Oh yeah, there isn't one. You strap the guy down, pump him full of pain juice, and wait for him to die. With dogs you just shoot them.*

John tightened his grip on his axe. This could go one of two ways.

Then his attacker's eyes bulge almost straight out of their sockets, and his mouthed gapes in a gruesome snarl as he lets loose a horrifying and strangely voiceless scream. At the same instant he lunges across the floor towards John with an amazing burst of speed, leaving a trail of bloody glass behind him.
John attempts to step aside and swings out with his axe.

(OOC: Split action; Dodge and axe).

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Bunny

Bunny successfully slams and locks the door. An angry moaning begins anew from outside!

She runs into the hall. The 'man' is there, trying to force the closet door open while something holds it shut from inside. He shuffles around at the sound of Bunny approaching...

...and takes a baseball bat to the neck! It's intercepted by the shoulder a bit, but it is a good solid blow, and a satisfying crack sounds out.

"Aaahh!" the girl screams from the closet.

"Stay in the closet!"

The broken-looking man's neck is now at nearly a 45-degree angle to his shoulders. It makes his dull, angry stare - and the fact that he's still on his feet - all the more frightening. Her baseball bat still balanced on the thing's shoulder, Bunny hesitates for a second...and the creature lunges forward, butting its jaws into Bunny's shoulder and biting down! Bunny feels a wet warmth running down her chest, of mingled blood and saliva...

"AAAAAAUUUUGH!!!"

Bunny's scream pierced through the room as she intuitively thought of the wounds the would-be rapist was causing...only to realize that he was biting down on the leather strap of her duffel bag! Quickly stepping back, the stripper swung the baseball bat back down and up, between the man's legs!

[ooc: will keep a defensive action this time, if he bends over she'll also bash him over a second time on the head...and as many times as it takes for him to stop moving...;)]

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Ground Zero

Burt recalls that the truck is in the northeast area of Ground Zero, and it would take him no more than a few minutes to reach it, but just as he reaches the middle of Church Street he's brought up short by the sound of gunfire.

Three shots ring out, clear as day. Oddly, the gunfire sounds both muffled, and very near. Something to do with acoustics perhaps.

While Burt is still trying to figure out just where the shots came from a fourth shot rings out, followed a second or two later by what was unmistakably a scream. Even heard from this distance, the scream carries such a note of... horror that it sends a chill down Burt's spine. What's going on over there?

By this time Burt has the direction and source nailed down. The shots (and the scream) definitely came from the direction of Vesey Street, less than half a block from where Burt was standing. There is a small grove of trees growing between Burt and the street itself however, so whoever was doing the shooting (and the screaming) must have been on the other side, or possibly even within the trees themselves.

He hears another scream, short and sharp, that cuts off abruptly before it could be completed…

Knock Knock

As his attacker lunges across the floor at him, John sidesteps so quickly and gracefully that his assailant misses by what seems like a mile.

Simultaneously, he brings his axe down in a sweeping arc with lightning speed. Despite the erratic movements of his deranged opponent as he slides across the floor, John’s axe lands with perfect accuracy. Directly across the man’s neck.

It all happens too fast for John to really see it in action, but he definitely feels it when the axe suddenly meets the floor on the other side of the man’s neck with a solid *TUNG*!

His attacker jerks once, violently, and then is still. Leaving John to figure out to try and figure out what the hell just happened…

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Ground Zero

Burt recalls that the truck is in the northeast area of Ground Zero, and it would take him no more than a few minutes to reach it, but just as he reaches the middle of Church Street he's brought up short by the sound of gunfire.

Three shots ring out, clear as day. Oddly, the gunfire sounds both muffled, and very near. Something to do with acoustics perhaps.

While Burt is still trying to figure out just where the shots came from a fourth shot rings out, followed a second or two later by what was unmistakably a scream. Even heard from this distance, the scream carries such a note of... horror that it sends a chill down Burt's spine. What's going on over there?

By this time Burt has the direction and source nailed down. The shots (and the scream) definitely came from the direction of Vesey Street, less than half a block from where Burt was standing. There is a small grove of trees growing between Burt and the street itself however, so whoever was doing the shooting (and the screaming) must have been on the other side, or possibly even within the trees themselves.

He hears another scream, short and sharp, that cuts off abruptly before it could be completed…

He didn't even realize he was moving until he noticed the grove of trees getting closer. He couldn't help asking himself why he was running towards the gunfire instead of away from it, like a sane person would. *You know why, you ass...you couldn't leave someone out there hurting.* Sucking air through his teeth as he sprinted, he muttered to himself. "And it's not like 911's an option right now!"

Eyes wide, he searched for danger as he ran. If something was in the trees, something might come out of them too.

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Bar Room Fight

John stared in horror at what he'd done and looked around, half expecting a dozen cops to show up and arrest him. Then he took a full breath, and the smell got to him and he threw up messily next to the corspe. Walking to the other side of the bar, John rinsed his mouth out in the bathroom and considered.

*Chances of getting away with murder? Pretty high if I walk out of here and don't come back. McMahon's? Corpse? Axe? It never happened. No, wait, first I'll drag him by his feet back outside. Wipe the axe off too.*

John went back and retrieved his axe, then took it back into the rest room and washed it off.

*Hell of a thing. New York hasn't had a human with rabies like that for decades. Really good time to get lucky with the ax, thank god for adrenoline... wait a moment. Rabies drives you insane, makes you want to bite, gets you to attack people, stops you from drinking or talking, so all that tracks, but he'd have had to have it before the super flu.*

John continued that train of thought uneasily,

*It takes weeks, or months to do it's thing. Even I know that. But... don't the early stages look a lot like the flu? Or maybe that's, like the super-flu? Could papa-death-virus have been some combo of the flu and rabies? So... he's like me?*

John looked in the mirror and tried to convince himself that the guy staring back looked heathy. It was easy, he did look heathy.

*No. Plague just didn't kill him. But he didn't get all better either.*

John digested that thought and had another.

*I wonder how many others like him there are out there?*

John hefted his ax and felt an intense desire to be heavily armed.

*Leaving anyway, so let's get some guns. No shops around here. One next to China town but the island is a fair hike. No, wait. Cop shop has got to be loaded with guns, and the 110th precinct is only a mile north of the mall. For that matter, the Mall would have bikes and backpacks and it's on my way.*

John left the corpse where it was and ax in hand, started to walk briskly, but uneasily, towards the Queen's Center Mall.

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About to operate

It's totally dark. As David steps out, he realizes that whatever room he's in, it hasn't been cleared of corpses yet. It's hard to balance for a minute, but then his bare foot slides off of someone's dead, fleshy back and onto the chilly floor. He regains his centeredness.

But before he steps off, David feels something grab him from behind, and bite into his side! He feels jagged little teeth against his flesh, and although it doesn't feel like they broke the skin, the jaws hurt like hell…

Below the belt

Bunny swings the heavy bat upwards, nailing the creep right between the legs with a satisfying thunk! But as the man disengages from her shoulder, one look at his glassy eyes tells her that he barely felt the blow… He must be high on some drug. That always works… doesn't it? ::unsure

Bunny's opponent lunges for her again, but this time she's ready: she raises her bat and he runs right into it. It hits him on the nose, deterring his attack enough for her to back off a little, out of immediate biting range.

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Buddy

It used to be an underground parking garage, but the plague - and the immediate need for mass graves, early on, before such things ceased to be important - has made it into a two-floor deep quarry of concrete, cars and piled corpses.

Well, this isn't good. Earlier this week, back when it was "lots of folks" who were getting killed and not quite yet "everyone," someone had called Buddy's apartment to tell him that his cousin, Tyler Johnson, had fallen sick and died. He remembers hearing from the tired-sounding woman on the phone that Tyler would be buried in an ad hoc mass grave. They were burying people down by Hoyt-Schermerhorn up in northern Brooklyn. Buddy was welcome and encouraged to come by and make his peace.

Well, he hadn't then, but now that people had stopped moving around on the streets entirely Buddy'd become curious as to whether the "disaster response" was still in motion.

'Ah,' thought Buddy to himself, 'there's nothing like heading into an enclosed space full of rotting human remains to make you feel healthy... It's not like I even liked Tyler that much... but I'll be damned if he gets to die on me & not pay back that twenty I loaned him at the last family Thanksgiving - bloody cheapskate...' ::sly

Flies buzzed. The many corpses were apparently fair game for flies, birds and various small mammals.

'Ooh... small mammals...' Buddy swung the tape-covered whippet-style lever-action shotgun up from where it was holstered on his thigh & took aim... then shrugged & lowered the gun... 'I'm sure rat-meat is going to be on the menu soon enough, ' he mused as he went back to looking for his cheap-ass cousin's remains (&, more importantly, wallet), 'after all, what sort of post-apocalyptic world doesn't end up with people eating rats? Still, maybe I'll stick to the beef jerky until I my choices run a little thinner...' ::wink

Buddy sighs and steps over a corpse wearing a yellow penny-jacket and rubber gloves. Apparently not.

Actually... are the heat waves rising from the broken pavement playing tricks on his eyes? Or are one or two of the corpses occasionally twitching, or rolling over?

'Hmmm...'

A series of possible scenarios ran through Buddy's mind: all fuelled by liberal amounts of B-movie & comic-book 'wisdom'. It was the end of the world, that much was obvious, even to a Joe Nobody like Buddy, so the creepy post-mortum kinetics must be due to: a) aliens, B) mutants, c) zombies, d) some sort of ooze which only Steve McQueen can kill, e) all of the above... either that or, you know, gas from rotting entrails or something... Damn, he knew he should have watched more CSI...

Levelling his gun with one hand, & unlimbering his handy chainsaw with the other (what? Of course he has a shotgun & a chainsaw! It's the end of the world, dude - didn't you ever watch late night TV? ::devil ) he follows the lead of a zillion dead slasher-flick teenagers & edges closer to the 'totally innocent, honest - would I lie to you?' twitching & calls out a quote from the Duke,

'What are you? Some sort of bottom-feeding, slime-sucking, algae-eater?'

::getsome

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Below the belt

Bunny swings the heavy bat upwards, nailing the creep right between the legs with a satisfying thunk! But as the man disengages from her shoulder, one look at his glassy eyes tells her that he barely felt the blow… He must be high on some drug. That always works… doesn't it? unsure.gif

Bunny's opponent lunges for her again, but this time she's ready: she raises her bat and he runs right into it. It hits him on the nose, deterring his attack enough for her to back off a little, out of immediate biting range.

Bunny gapes at the lack of reaction but easily bunts the Zed back when he lunges forward.

"Take that, Farinelli!"

She swings at the head again, hoping to knock it at an even more awkward angle...

OOC: Will keep a defensive action. In fact, will always keep a defensive action unless I say she goes all out for a hit...

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Into the woods

Nothing jumps out at Burt, and he crashes through the tree-line and into Vesey Street.

The street comes into view just in time for Burt to see a fight break out! A man is being tackled backwards by another, slightly larger man. The two roll around, tussling on the ground, but two or three other people fall onto the fighting couple. Burt could be wrong, but he thinks he sees blood being shed...

On the ground, about a meter in front of the melee, Burt can see a small, black pistol lying on the ground. He feels a gust of wind tease the hair behind his neck.

Suddenly, in unison, all five of the people on the street stop their fighting, and look straight at Burt. None of their stares look particularly friendly...

From under the pile, the man who was first knocked over gurgles,

"Help me..."

My name's Bud

'What are you? Some sort of bottom-feeding, slime-sucking, algae-eater?'

Staring down the short stock of his sawed-off shotgun, Buddy watches.

From the blood-drenched, stinking pile of corpses, a blood-drenched man rises. He stumbles slightly, looks around... and spots Buddy, and lurches towards him. He steps off the fleshy mound and onto terra firma, and continues walking towards Buddy with a quick, limping step...

Mall rat

It's several minutes' walk to Queen's Center Mall. It's not particularly enjoyable for John, but no real ordeal - the worst problem he encounters is having to step around discolored, mushy-looking bodies on the sidewalks and in the streets.

It's dark inside the mall. The big revolving doors are locked, but the big doors on either side of it swing open easily when John pulls. A welcome gust of cool air greets him - it smells a bit rancid, but the same smell is everywhere these days, and already, John barely notices.

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Mall Rat

Entering felt vaguely wrong. Or maybe "wrong" wasn't the right word. On a primal level it felt like he was entering the jungle knowing that there were man eaters around. Law had been stripped away and the darkness of the unknown was rushing back. John was serious tempted to yell out that he was here... but he found himself sneaking instead. Some instinct he guessed. On top of that he dispised looters... or at least he always had.

John stepped into the Mall, moved to one side so he wasn't back lit by the door and waited for his eyes to adjust. He'd been pretty fortunate that the whole mall had the 'and you can see the sun' theme. He'd been even more fortuante that Modell's Sporting Goods was on the Concourse level and was big enough to have it's own enterance*.

While he waited for his eyes to adjust he plotted out what he'd do. Flashlights and batteries would be next to the cashiers, which would be close to the enterance. Sporting good place this big would have backpacks and carry bags. It'd have really good work gloves and bottled water. It might, but probably wouldn't, have guns and ammo. It might even have bikes but if it didn't then JC down a bit would.

Of course if he was going to do this Leather Studio was only a few stores down. His fireman's jacket was tough but he suspected that a 800 dollar leather jacket might wear better and ride better. As long as he was going to become a looter he might as well do it in style.

John told himself that the Mall was probably, mostly, empty of corpses... most people chose to die at home. He told himself he had nothing to fear... he wasn't doing anything wrong... then he still found himself sneaking up towards the cashiers counter looking for a flashlight.

(OOC: *That's not dramatic editing, that's me reading the Mall's floor plan).

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Into the woods

Nothing jumps out at Burt, and he crashes through the tree-line and into Vesey Street.

The street comes into view just in time for Burt to see a fight break out! A man is being tackled backwards by another, slightly larger man. The two roll around, tussling on the ground, but two or three other people fall onto the fighting couple. Burt could be wrong, but he thinks he sees blood being shed...

On the ground, about a meter in front of the melee, Burt can see a small, black pistol lying on the ground. He feels a gust of wind tease the hair behind his neck.

Suddenly, in unison, all five of the people on the street stop their fighting, and look straight at Burt. None of their stares look particularly friendly...

From under the pile, the man who was first knocked over gurgles,

"Help me..."

"Uhhh...."

Not really sure what to do at this point, Burt decides to just keep making it up as he goes along. With a wild yell, he charges towards the group, hoping the obviously insane maneuver might give the assailants pause. At the last moment, he drops to the ground in a 'going for home' baseball slide, letting his trailing hand close around the pistol lying there. Dropping his left heel to dig in, he tries to pop himself up back into a lurching run to get clear of arm's reach.

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10-53

At first Officer Alexander can’t remember where he is, or figure out why he’s so stiff. But as he lifts his head off the steering wheel of his cruiser and looks through the cracked windshield in front of him it all starts to come back. Suddenly remembering where (and why) he’d been driving before his accident Alexander jerks upright in his seat, an action which he immediately regrets as he winces at the pain shooting through his neck and head.

Brushing off glass shards from his pants as he pulls himself out of his car, Alexander tries to stake stock of his situation. The first thing he realizes is that the driver of the vehicle that hit his is unmistakably dead, and he looks away in disgust. The next thing he realizes is that he’s still sitting at the corner of W228th St. and Broadway. Good, that means he’s only a little more than a mile or so from Washington Heights. That’s not so bad. It could be worse.

The third thing Alexander realizes as he’s looking around is that he’s obviously been out for longer than he’d feared. There are abandoned (or in some cases, not abandoned but still stopped) cars here and there as far as he can see. After another moment of looking he verifies that those are indeed corpses that he can see laying on the sidewalks, in the cars, and even right out in the middle of the streets. The smell assaulting his nostrils is further proof of how far things have progressed.

He’d thought things had been bad before. This was obviously worse.

The fourth thing he notices is the people stumbling towards him from several different directions. Not walking, stumbling. And some of them look much worse than he feels. There’s about five total, with the furthest being at least a hundred meters down W228th, and the closest only about five meters away. He hadn’t noticed at first since he’d been looking down towards Broadway and the train tracks running overhead, and the three closest were stumbling up behind him from further down W228th.

The final thing Alexander notices is that there’s something really different about the three closest people coming towards him. He’ll be damned if he knows why he thinks this, but he suddenly knows, without any doubt, that there’s something… unnatural about them.

The hairs along the back of his neck suddenly stand on end.

Game Over!

Bunny swings with all her might, the bat connecting with brutal force just above her attacker’s left temple.

A spray of blood splashes across the nearby wall as most of the top of the man’s head is literally knocked right off! The strong odor of freshly spilt blood assaults Bunny’s nose, along with the already horrific odor filling the apartment it’s enough to make her gag.

As the man hits the hallway wall and begins to slowly slide down to the carpet, and Bunny tries to keep her bile down, she hears a small voice coming from behind the door at the end of the hall.

”…hello? ….Ms. Lewis?”

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Officer Alexander Holden takes a quick second, running his hands over his face in a feeble attempt to shake the cobwebs, as he moves back to his cruiser to use the radio. Even though he knows in his heart, that there will be no answer.

"Three William Fifty-Six to dispatch, we've got a mess down here..."

The static on the other end sinks his heart into his stomach.

"Three William Fifty-Six to dis-"

His second attempt is cut short as he stares out the cracked windshield of his damaged cruiser to see several people slowly making their way towards him. He has a feeling nothing good will come of this.

Though still, as a good man, he makes an attempt to see if he can do anything to help. Tossing the useless radio microphone onto the drivers seat, Alex takes a step clear of the open car door to make himself visible to anyone who may need assistance.

He speaks to the person standing a mere 15 feet away. Making note that a few trailed not much further behind.

"Sir, are you alright? Do you need medical assistance?"

His right hand instinctively moves towards his holstered weapon, the left extended in front of him.

Noting the lack of response, he moves a few steps closer, he doesn't know why.

"Sir...Do you need help. I can provide medical ass-"

The rest of the words become lost in his throat as he takes inventory on the approaching civilian. He'd seen enough corpses to recognize one, even from this distance.

Moving purely on reaction, he draws his pistol and crouches behind the open driver side door of his cruiser, using it as cover. Levelling his pistol through the shattered window, at the approaching few.

He opens his mouth to speak...but nothing comes out.

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From the blood-drenched, stinking pile of corpses, a blood-drenched man rises. He stumbles slightly, looks around... and spots Buddy, and lurches towards him. He steps off the fleshy mound and onto terra firma, and continues walking towards Buddy with a quick, limping step...

'Wow,' mutters Buddy, with little emotion, 'dude - do you realise you're blood-drenched?' Keeping the shotgun aimed at the guy's head (always aim for the head, right? ::sly ) he thinks for a moment then adds, 'If you're a killer alien mutant zombie slime-creature in desperate need of having its head blown off, then just keep shambling towards me. If not, then... do anything else...' ::unsure

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About to operate

It's totally dark. As David steps out, he realizes that whatever room he's in, it hasn't been cleared of corpses yet. It's hard to balance for a minute, but then his bare foot slides off of someone's dead, fleshy back and onto the chilly floor. He regains his centeredness.

But before he steps off, David feels something grab him from behind, and bite into his side! He feels jagged little teeth against his flesh, and although it doesn't feel like they broke the skin, the jaws hurt like hell…

David's mind reels, but he surprises himself in that he does not scream. The rising panic he felt a moment ago breaks...or perhaps his mind does, and he finds himself reacting with calm, fluid, and lightning fast action.

The feeling is new and unatural, as if he were merely observing his body act of it's own accord. His arm already bent, it swings in an arc through the darkness, connecting a strike elbow first into his assailant. Although having never studied martial arts or any form of self-defense, his form is clean as he strikes through the target, allowing the arc of movement to complete the natural range of motion. That same arc of momentum spins him on the ball of his foot touching the ground, pivoting him in a circular motion to plant his other foot in a balanced stance.

With that same strange sense of fluid disscoication he moves away from the attacker, one arm held defensively in front and the other reaching back in search of the nearest wall.

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Game (not quite) over!

Bunny swings with all her might, the bat connecting with brutal force just above her attacker’s left temple.

A spray of blood splashes across the nearby wall as most of the top of the man’s head is literally knocked right off! The strong odor of freshly spilt blood assaults Bunny’s nose, along with the already horrific odor filling the apartment it’s enough to make her gag.

As the man hits the hallway wall and begins to slowly slide down to the carpet, and Bunny tries to keep her bile down, she hears a small voice coming from behind the door at the end of the hall.

”…hello? ….Ms. Lewis?”

The stripper tries to sound reassuring as she gags from the unbearable smell...

"Stay in the closet Mandy...just *retch* wait a minute"

Cindy collects the covers from the bed in the bedroom and swings them over the corpse in the hallway. Pillow in hand she gives two wipes at the blood on the wall before dropping it on the heap and and looks at the hallway door...

"I'll only be a minute Mandy...just stay there and I'll be right back to get you..."

Bunny reaches in her duffle bag and takes out two kitchen knives, listening to the moaning outside the door.

"I may be Bunny..."

she drops the bag to the floor and holds both knives in her left hand by the tips of the blades...

"but I sure as hell ain't fluffy..."

She turns the lock and quickly opens the door while taking a big step back and throws the knives at whatever's on the other side

OOC: Trickshot...gonna try to get both eyes of the Zed with the thrown blades... ::ultracool

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Shop Till You Drop

Just as expected, the flashlights are right where John had thought they’d be, and he immediately sets about grabbing what he needs.

As he’s finishing up however John’s nostrils began to tickle, and he suddenly realizes that he’s been smelling an increasingly fetid odor for several seconds now. Simultaneously, he becomes aware of a soft rustling sound coming from behind him.

Turning, John is shocked to see a girl, hardly even a teenager from the look of her, pulling herself down the center of the aisle immediately behind him on her stomach. Even from this angle John can tell that she’s hurt. Badly. There’s a thin smearing of blood trailing off behind her, and a sprinkling of it along one cheek as well.

For an instant, John’s mind is taken back to the pub, and the trail of blood on glass left behind as his attacker dragged himself along on his stomach in an effort to attack him. He remembers that look of mindless hatred and another chill runs down his spine.

But then the girl looks up and sees John crouched near the registers, and she looks directly into his eyes he sees no look of dull hatred. She only looks to be confused, desperate, and in pain as she raises one shaking hand towards him and lets out a brief moan of suffering before lowering her hand again and continuing her slow, relentless crawl. John can’t help but wonder who or what did this to her.

A man steps around the corner of the aisle behind the girl with a suddenness that requires all of John’s not insignificant self-control just to keep from clawing his way right out of his own skin in shocked surprise. But he reigns himself in and stays motionless for just a second longer. The man stands there a moment, just long enough for John to see that this one does have that look on his face. The same one as the man back at MacMahon’s. The one who’s dead now.

It’s also obvious that this man is, if anything, in much worse shape than the girl on her stomach. It’s not that he has any obvious or serious wounds on him, though he does seem to have a few small ones and he is covered in blood, it’s more of an all over effect. He looks, well… dead. For lack of a better term.

The newcomer doesn’t seem to have noticed John at all. Instead, his dull, lifeless eyes fix on the girl in front of him he lurches after her with a disturbingly disjointed gate. The girls seems not to notice, and continues her slow crawl towards the entrance. It will probably take her pursuer no more than a second or two to catch up with her.

As John considers his options, a small part of his mind notices, with a grim sense of irony, that one whole side of the aisle the girl and her pursuer are coming down is taken up with a display of backpacks and carry bags. Well at least that’s one less item he’ll have to go searching for….

((Just to note: I did notice that you were trying to sneak Alex, but the girl did very well on her awareness, while you didn't so great on your sneak attempt. The *ahem* "man" behind her did abysmally on his awareness roll however, so he hasn't noticed you. But I didn't want you to think I'd ignored or misinterpreted your wording.))

Repeat, We have a Definite 10-50, Possible 10-66: Unruly Band of Corpses Approaching

The dead-looking people just keep right on coming, either ignoring, or just oblivious to his drawn weapon. They’re not moving very fast, but then they’re not moving all that slow either.

In a scene straight out of a George Romero film, the closest one to Alexander raises both arms towards him, pulls back dry lips, and lets out a wet, disgusting groan that sounds more like gasses escaping from a corpse. He’s less than two meters away now.

For some reason it’s not until precisely that moment that Alexander notices that the sky above them is filled with birds, and there are almost as many on the ground. Gathering around the corpses.

They’ve come for the carrion feast, and judging by the noise, it's a cause for celebration.

Target Practice

In the brief moment between when Bunny opens the door and when she throws her knives, she’s greeted with the oddly comical, and yet still entirely unpleasant view of a very unhealthy looking man (she doesn’t remember seeing him around before) standing in the doorway. He stares at her with a look of complete and utter incomprehension for about a half a second, then gets about half way into what would undoubtedly have been a fierce snarl. He never gets the chance to finish it though, as two knives suddenly embed themselves handle-deep in his eye-sockets.

Bunny’s blades hit with the force of bullets, sending a spray of blood and gore from the back of her target’s head as they punch out the back of his skull, and sending him crashing down on his back in the middle of the hallway where a pool of blood begins to collect from under his hair. He jerks once, and then is still.

((Yeah, not only is that zombie Dead. Twice over. If zombies have an afterlife, its frickin’ ghost is now Hurt with Lethal damage. You rolled a lot of damage successes!))

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Shop Till You Drop

John walks up to the cashier and finds some flashlights with batteries right where he thought. He makes a little noise opening one of the plastic sealed containers and lets his mind wander while he's putting it together.

*Thank you. I'll take two. Now... I'm a really good looking naturally blond 20 year old woman who moved to New York in search of a rich husband. The world just ended, the question is, where do I go? Here maybe? Hmm... maybe I'm being a little overly selective? OK, fair is fair. Dyed Blond would do. And speaking of dyes I could use some more make up.*

Just as expected, the flashlights are right where John had thought they’d be, and he immediately sets about grabbing what he needs.

As he’s finishing up however John’s nostrils began to tickle, and he suddenly realizes that he’s been smelling an increasingly fetid odor for several seconds now. Simultaneously, he becomes aware of a soft rustling sound coming from behind him.

John pockets a flashlight in his coat and picks up his axe from the counter as he turns.
Turning, John is shocked to see a girl, hardly even a teenager from the look of her, pulling herself down the center of the aisle immediately behind him on her stomach. Even from this angle John can tell that she’s hurt. Badly. There's a thin smearing of blood trailing off behind her, and a sprinkling of it along one cheek as well.

For an instant, John's mind is taken back to the pub, and the trail of blood on glass left behind as his attacker dragged himself along on his stomach in an effort to attack him. He remembers that look of mindless hatred and another chill runs down his spine.

But then the girl looks up and sees John crouched near the registers, and she looks directly into his eyes he sees no look of dull hatred. She only looks to be confused, desperate, and in pain as she raises one shaking hand towards him and lets out a brief moan of suffering before lowering her hand again and continuing her slow, relentless crawl. John can't help but wonder who or what did this to her.

John thinks,

*Too young, but we don't throw back the young ones. Hurt pretty bad. Desperate too. Now why didn't she just yell out?*

A man steps around the corner of the aisle behind the girl with a suddenness that requires all of John's not insignificant self-control just to keep from clawing his way right out of his own skin in shocked surprise. But he reigns himself in and stays motionless for just a second longer. The man stands there a moment, just long enough for John to see that this one does have that look on his face. The same one as the man back at MacMahon's. The one who's dead now.

It's also obvious that this man is, if anything, in much worse shape than the girl on her stomach. It's not that he has any obvious or serious wounds on him, though he does seem to have a few small ones and he is covered in blood, it's more of an all over effect. He looks, well… dead. For lack of a better term.

*Oh. That's why.* John's eyes narrow and his grip tightens on his axe. *Bet that's not your blood. Not looking good. Don't know exactly what the problem is, but I'm sure it's terminal.*
The newcomer doesn't seem to have noticed John at all. Instead, his dull, lifeless eyes fix on the girl in front of him he lurches after her with a disturbingly disjointed gate. The girls seems not to notice, and continues her slow crawl towards the entrance. It will probably take her pursuer no more than a second or two to catch up with her.

As John considers his options, a small part of his mind notices, with a grim sense of irony, that one whole side of the aisle the girl and her pursuer are coming down is taken up with a display of backpacks and carry bags. Well at least that's one less item he'll have to go searching for.

*Great. Found the bags, but now what I need is first aid kits. But this is a good place for those too. But first things first. Oh, look, he doesn't see me; Now the fair thing to do would be to let him know I'm here.*

Without warning or yelling, with a single bound John leaps forward to close the distance and lashes out with his axe.

(OOC: Attempted Ambush Attack (pg 201))

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Repeat, We have a Definite 10-50, Possible 10-66: Unruly Band of Corpses Approaching

The dead-looking people just keep right on coming, either ignoring, or just oblivious to his drawn weapon. They’re not moving very fast, but then they’re not moving all that slow either.

In a scene straight out of a George Romero film, the closest one to Alexander raises both arms towards him, pulls back dry lips, and lets out a wet, disgusting groan that sounds more like gasses escaping from a corpse. He’s less than two meters away now.

For some reason it’s not until precisely that moment that Alexander notices that the sky above them is filled with birds, and there are almost as many on the ground. Gathering around the corpses.

They’ve come for the carrion feast, and judging by the noise, it's a cause for celebration.

The eerie nature of the bird infestation and bodies registers with officer Holden all at once. This approaching civilian is obviously sick and a danger to him. He reacts how he is trained to react when he feels threatened...He defends himself.

Issuing one final warning to the approaching threat.

"Get down on the ground NOW or you WILL be fired upon!"

The command did not register a hint of hesitance on the part of the approaching man. Officer holden wipes his mind of guilt and opens fire.

(( Three shots please. Two to the chest, one to the head. Alex will remain behind the cover of his drivers door for the shots. Ready to move should the need arise. ))

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KAMZoS

'If you're a killer alien mutant zombie slime-creature in desperate need of having its head blown off, then just keep shambling towards me. If not, then... do anything else...'

The gory figure keeps shambling towards him... for just a few seconds. Just as Buddy's finger tightens on the trigger, it stumbles to a stop...

...and puts up its arms.

"Doh-hck..." it gasps, its comment interrupted by a violent spasm of violent coughs.

"Don't shoot!" rasps the 'walking corpse'. [How silly... ::wink ] "What is a killer alien... what?"

The dude sounds seriously sick, but maybe some decaying body fluid made its way into his airway. At any rate, he's definitely human... ::unsure

'Fluid dissociation'

Swinging his fist behind him, David realizes - with sinking spirit - that he actually failed to put any real weight behind the blow... He feels his fist impact something fleshy and clammy, but it seems to withdraw instantly, leaving David once again lost in the darkness...

Almost instantly, David feels something hard and sharp clamp down on his upper arm! Again, nothing pierces the skin, but the sheer force of the attack [is he being bitten?] hurts like all hell, and he feels like at the very least, his arm's being badly bruised.

Another toothy thing clamps down on his rib cage, but isn't able to get much purchase on the wider surface, and it doesn't hurt much before David pulls out of the way.

Somewhere in the back of his mind, David's organizing the room according to where he thinks he might be. If this is the morgue-room he thinks it is, he has a good idea where the door leading out might be - and next to it, the light switch - but he's not exactly sure where in the room he is, or which direction he's facing...

With a rebel yell...

Seagulls scatter as Burt sprints for the weapon, leans over backwards and grabs it, then straightens up, using his extra momentum from skidding to a halt. He barely managed not to trip and fall on the pavement, but he pulled it off - it probably even looked kinda cool.

Balance regained, he looks around, getting his bearings. The people assaulting the man on the ground are all looking at him in surprise - and they look significantly deader up close.

Then two of them lunge straight at him! The other three renew their attack on the fallen man...

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