Today’s snippet, titled “All We Have”, 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.
– – – – – – – – – – –
Helen blinked, sitting up in bed.
“OH MY GOD, AUNT STAR! Where are you? … What? … Okay, okay! No, I’m fine! Miss Poots and Doctor- … Yeah, they’re staying with me. The whole block is- … Yeah, but-”
She lifted her arm, squinting down at the tiny hands of her watch. Its five in the bloody morning, duck, what ever are you screaming about?
“Okay, okay Aunt Star! But where are you?”
Oh. Her Aunt and Uncle are alive. Excellent. She yawned, quirking a brow even as her mouth opened uncontrollably. Hope they don’t put us to the street when they get here.
“Aunt Star? Aunt Star? Hello? HELLO?”
Helen picked up her iPhone and turned it on. It had a full battery at the moment, for she had been charging it every time the power popped on for a bit. No signal. I must’ve missed the window. Damn…
But it wasn’t a big loss for her. Helen had spoken to Irene once more since the that first call on Day Two and the young woman was holed up with a good-sized group in Enola. As far as she could tell, Irene was the only one of her girls who had survived. Helen had no family of her own left and she had lost track of the Cumberbatch girls years ago.
There was no one to call and check on. No one to worry about. No one who cared to hear that she was all right.
Helen was alone.
“Helen! Alex! Helen! Alex!”
She smiled a bit, reaching the robe hanging from the bedpost. Not entirely, I suppose. Victoria’s a good girl. And Aleksandra, I can call her friend. Even Bode and Scooter… sort of.
The last of the Life cereal, moistened with reconstituted dry milk, sat unpleasantly in her belly all morning. Helen was sitting on the porch with Alex and Victoria just before noon, when they heard three gunshots in quick succession.
“Those are close,” Alex said, frowning.
A fourth shot rang out and the three of them rose from the Honeywell’s porch. Helen jogged toward the wall with Alex at her side; Victoria grabbed her bike and pedaled like mad. The three of them joined the growing crowd just in time to see a man sprinting for the entrance. Cooper’s men had made way for him.
“Woo! Run boy! Go Long!” Bode, shirtless and in good humor, had a football in hand and mimed throwing a pass to the new-comer.
People were hesitant; even the National Guardsman were loathe to approach him. Helen wanted to tell him – for reasons aside from the prudent, for he was both fit and attractive and somewhere close to her own age – to strip and prove that he had not been bitten. Leave it to the little paramedic woman, with her shocking lime green eye-liner and big feather earrings, to approach him fearlessly with a bottle of water.
“You okay, honey?” Ezra asked him.
He managed a nod and before long, Alex had joined Ezra and the two women tested and recorded his vitals, got some additional cool water into him, and learned his name.
The tag on his BDUs read “Salvatore” but he had folks calling him “Sal”. He didn’t look like a Mexican or a Dominican or a Puerto Rican, Helen decided, but perhaps Italian or Spanish or Portuguese.
His face was rife with nasty ulcers caused by the painful bite of those enormous horse flies that hovered around the corpses. Helen sniffed the air and nearly wretched. Someone has gotta do something about that Dump Truck, today. It is filled to the brim with the dead undead and they fucking reek.
Later, as they sat on the picnic tables that had been hauled into the center of the street to act as a common area, someone began talking about preparing for the future and wondering what all could be done to set things right again.
“Better to focus on the now,” Helen said, hopelessly practical. “Why worry about a future we can’t even begin to hope for.”
“Why not?” Sal gave her such a look. His eyes were green and somewhat sad, yet despite having probably seen so many terrible things during his years in the military and since the outbreak began, seemed warm and kind.
“Things will never be as they were. The bombs… the undead… This whole event, even if it ends now, has changed things irrevocably.”
“Yes, but perhaps we can turn it all around. Make the new world a better place.”
Helen sighed. “I haven’t enough hope left to bother dreaming of some grand new society.”
He lifted the water bottle to his lips and closed his eyes, drinking deeply. Then he opened them again and met her gaze. “Hope is all we have.”
– – – – – – – – – – –
Note: Image is “Picnic Table” by canjosh from SXC.hu