Today’s snippet, titled “トイレはどこですか”, is a piece I wrote about an NPC in Paul’s new Zombie Campaign (using GURPS for Session One, but we’re moving to All Flesh Must Be Eaten for future sessions. The intention behind this was to recap events occurring in the world, from the point-of-view of my PC, Helen Poots.
Be forewarned, there are mature themes and naughty language below.
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What? Morning already? Helen grumbled as she woke to the sounds of movement outside. Fuck me, its nearly 8. I can’t believe they let me sleep in!
Outside, the ninth day had dawned and the National Guardsmen were moving about in a flurry of activity. They had planned another excursion to Home Depot or Lowe’s or something; plywood and tools for fortification. Naturally, they left the practical needs of the lot of us to the tiny minority that is willing and able to go out. All those big, armed gents and they send two ladies, a half-crazed redneck and a little girl – no offense, duck – to get food and supplies.
Helen, Bode, Aleksandra and Victoria were going to Giant at the end of Bridge Street once more. Though she wondered why they had not even tried to go toward the Weis Market, Helen did not push for the possibility. That grocery shop was much closer to I-83 coming directly out of the city. It was likely to be filled with the undead.
By the time she arrived downstairs to ready her Lexus, it was nearly 11 am. Helen had Bode fill her tank – Cooper insisted she not leave with just a quarter of a tank – and she donned her leathers. The National Guardsmen had fashioned a bunch of makeshift bayonets, duct-taping the biggest, sharpest knives they could find to broomsticks and rake handles. Helen claimed one skeptically. I’d be better of dodging and running than trying to stab one in the eye this way.
Ms. Poots had no idea just how right she was.
At Giant, things were a clusterfuck. Their plans had been vague at best and the situation was slightly different this time. There were dozens, maybe hundreds, more of the undead in the area. The airport was overrun – a huge horde of them gathered around one building in particular. Helen shuddered at the very thought of being trapped inside that glorified shed. Hopeless. Utterly hopeless.
Sal was a welcome addition to their group; he had been a battle surgeon once upon a time. Having both he and Alex along, Helen felt that she could not have been in better hands – if things went to shit.
First, they had to first run in through the front to open the loading bay doors. Then, they had to move the vehicles around to the back to load everything onto Bode’s rollback. Of course, it could not be so easy. Biters, walkers, lamebrains… everywhere.
“Should have brought The Eviscer-”
Alex clicked the engage button on the walkie and cut him off. “Da, it would be helpful for distraction, but we brought rollback instead so tell me, Bode, how shall we distract them to clear this area?”
There was a pause and Helen could see the two men discussing it in the front seat of the truck. Her Lexus was running like a champ, quick and quiet, but she wondered how long that would remain true. It had taken her an hour of scrubbing to get the brains and blood off it’s interior after the last excursion.
“A’ight. Let’s try this. Circle around in front of us, we’ll get a bit ahead of the herd, right? Then you three hop out and we all climb on the back of the rollback to thin their numbers with these poke sticks.”
Victoria gasped audibly, scrunching her nose up. Helen hid her dislike of the suggestion somewhat better. Aleksandra just sighed. “Da. We circle up now.”
The doctor pressed her dainty little foot to the accelerator and they shot around the men and parked hastily. In a few heartbeats, the five of them stood atop the truck with haphazard polearms. They were just high enough to be fairly safe, but Helen felt awkward with the weapon and her jabs were really only half-hearted.
“C’mon, Helen!” Victoria shouted, hopping from foot-to-foot behind her. “Just bloody STAB them!”
Gritting her teeth, Helen did. She scored a beautiful hit, the blade of her spear piercing her target’s milky, dead eye. Then she gave it a yank. Her brain hardly had time to register what happened as her heart stopped and dropped to her belly.
Zed went down and his stupid eye socket somehow clung to her weapon. As he crumbled, the spear went with him. Stupidly, Helen tried to hang on. She lost her balance and in an instant that lasted an hour, she felt herself falling forward into the mosh pit of gnashing teeth.
Almost, they grabbed her.
Almost, they sank those broken, evil teeth into her flesh.
Almost, she joined the ranks of the unliving.
Somehow, she managed to throw herself backward. Helen caromed into Victoria, who squealed but did not fall.
“I lost my stick,” she said, a pathetic understatement if ever she had made one.
With no weapon, she pushed her way behind the others and wrapped her arms around herself.
Helen squeezed her eyes shut behind her big sunglasses. She was shaking. She could not catch her breath. She felt that bowl of cereal sitting in her gut like a lead weight.
The scene played over and over on the inside of her eyelids. Stab. Twist. Stuck! Yank. Falling. Chomp, chomp, squish…dead. Helen doubled over, certain that she was going to hurl, that she was just about to yak up every last drop of that weird reconstituted milk. Oh my God.
Oh. My. God…
Humiliation flooded her being; her cheeks went red and she cringed with every minute shift of her body.
I cannot fucking believe this… Helen pressed her lips together and prayed no one else noticed her situation, that the stench of the rotting creatures trying to kill them was greater than the malodorous putrescence that wafted around her.
Suddenly, she was back in Grade One on the day she’d gotten food poisoning with brown liquid dribbling down her leg and all the other little children were jeering at her. Poopy-Pants-Poots! Helly-belly-fatty-fat-fat shat her pants and that was that! Nyah nyah! Lady Poopsalot! Nyah nyah-nyah-nyaaaaaah!
In that moment of utter terror, when she truly believed her life was going to end, when the snarling teeth were centimeters from her flesh… Helen Poots had evacuated her bowels.
Minutes or hours or seconds later, she really was not sure, the small herd had been put down and there were thirty newly re-dead corpses around the truck. No one commented on her circumstances – perhaps they did not notice, or maybe they were just too polite to say anything. Helen kept her mouth closed and stayed to the back. I hope I’m downwind, she thought with a mirthless chuckle.
The store stank much worse today; all the meats and seafood and produce had gone off. When those rank, noxious smells mingled with the scent of the decaying corpses that lay all around the store, the resulting odor was enough to upset even the strongest stomach. Helen had no idea how the others managed to hold down their breakfasts; she was heaving with each step.
Fortunately, the utility sink in the back room still functioned. She supposed it was supplied by a gravity tank somewhere in the building, but she did not think too hard about it. Instead, she stripped off her boots, pants, and underthings and rinsed them as well as herself. Wet jeans – commando style, no less – and soggy feet inside her boots made everything even more uncomfortable, but the heat of the day would dry her in time. Besides, it was better to be wet than… covered in shit.
It took them several hours of constant, sweaty labor, but they managed to load entire pallets of goods onto the rollback. Helen, Alex and Victoria ensured that there were practical things added – feminine hygiene, the remaining drugs from the pharmacy, a slew of rubbing alcohol and hydrogen peroxide, cleaning products, every drop of drinking water in the building. Helen herself cleared the shelves of condoms. It was only reasonable, after all, to assume that people would have sex and that many would not want pregnancies… not just now, anyway.
It was actually, a fairly astounding haul.
“Let’s give the Liquor Store one last go-over.”
Helen agreed, shaking the cheap flashlight Sal had given her. The batteries were fresh and inserted correctly, but still it fluttered and failed. Bloody made-in-China junk! She cursed. Won’t miss wasting money on this crud now that the world is over.
How casually she thought that now. How easily her hope had dissipated. How quickly she had come to accept that no matter what, their civilization, such as it had been, was over.
Sal is right. I do sound bitter and hopeless… am I? Is there nothing left in your cold, black little heart Helen Jubilee Poots? Nothing at all?
“Ah, Helen! Look, there is some vodka left on the shelf back there.”
She followed Aleksandra’s gaze and smiled in relief. Daintily navigating over corpses – some which appeared to have taken shotgun blasts to the head rather than being ripped apart and eaten – Helen made her way to the wrecked shelves on the back wall where all the flavored, cheap American Vodkas had been stored. She opened her backpack, a hot pink thing she had borrowed from Aunt Star’s hiking supplies, and carefully packed the two remaining bottles of Stoli Salted Karamel and three of Stoli Whipped Cream inside. These should be sweet enough for the girl, if… liquor is needed.
Helen hated herself for even thinking these things, but she had read post-apocalyptic novels and dystopic stories as well. It was not out of the realm of possibility that eventually, female survivors could be… required… to use their bodies as a form of currency. Whether it was willing or coerced. Helen knew, from experience, that a few shots of liquor did wonders to lubricate a person’s brain, if not… the rest of them.
“Let us keep these in the Lexus for now. We can unload under cover of darkness, da? To keep some things just for us.”
Though it felt quite wrong, it was prudent. She nodded. “Yes, absolutely. Come on, duck, we’re going. Stay close, yeah?”
“Duh,” Victoria said, rolling her eyes. She had been holding Helen’s polearm and handed it back. “Hurry up. I can hear more coming from the lower lot.”
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Note: Image is “restroom” by tome213 from SXC.hu