Today’s snippet, titled “Last Will & Testament”, 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 woke early. She had not believed she would be able to sleep at all, but when her eyes opened and she saw warm summertime rays sifting through the blinds, she realized she had made it through the night.
She and Victoria said little over a plate of scrambled eggs and immediately after her plate was clean, the girl raced off to check for her family and to feed Chops, their big, beautiful golden retriever.
Simmons was up early as well – dictator of his own little world. As they had suspected, Bridge Street was a parking lot. Some folk were going out for supplies again today; others were going to begin trying to clear crashed cars. Weapons and ammunition were foremost on most people’s brains; they were talking about trying to get to a Walmart or other big-box sports store. Helen thought – bugger that, those shops’ll be utterly empty. I wonder if there’s a good pawn shop around?
When she suggested visiting a pawn shop, several people groaned as if it were the worst idea ever. Only little Victoria, whose Aunt and Uncle were still missing, offered to join her.
“You can ride Aunt Starr’s bike. We’ll be quick and quiet that way.”
Helen felt half-a-fool; she had not ridden a bicycle in years. They made it only a few deserted blocks before she caught sight of National Guard vehicles in the distance.
“We gotta get back, duck. They declared martial law and told everyone to stay in their homes. I imagine we’ll be detained – and probably deported – if they find us out.”
Victoria had pouted a bit, and sighed, but quickly turned around and led the way back to the neighborhood. A whole group of new people had arrived in the hours they were gone. At least ten or twelve people were setting up tents in a couple of the yards. She overheard one of the ‘tent people’, as Victoria immediately began calling them, talking about how they had tried to join with the people at the High School, but it was full, and how this block was the first one they had come across where people were working together. Helen had to admit – grudgingly – that her neighbors had pulled together admirably.
Armored Personnel Carriers arrived toward noon.
Helen hardly noticed; she had finally gotten a phone call from one of her girls. The relief was short-lived. Irene had not been in Harrisburg – she had gone to party with friends in Enola and was trapped there.
“I’ll come for you as soon as I can, kotyonok,” Helen had lied quietly, Yelena’s thick Russian accent slipping from her tongue. “Just, sit tight. Mama Oso will come for you.”
Helen felt like a real bitch, lying to the poor, scared girl that way. But there was no way she was getting to Enola today – maybe ever.
“…there are gonna be too many people.”
Helen paused, crossing from her own driveway to join the crowd around the National Guardsmen. She was not naturally curious, but something about the young Honeywell girl caught her attention and she wanted to know what the two teenaged girls were talking about.
“I wonder where they’re all gonna poo?”
Smirking, Helen shook her head and left the two girls to their conversation. Somehow, within the course of a few hours, Victoria had decided that the folk who were camped out on lawns around the block were “others” and had begun referring to them as The Tent People. Already, others had joined her.
Popping sounds echoed around the area. Helen could not tell exactly where they were coming from, but she knew what they were all right. Gunshots. Lots of them. And a few loud BOOMs as well.
Some of the National Guardsmen were throwing around words like geeks and walkers, biters and infected. Others used a term that seemed to cut right to the heart of the matter.
“They can’t really be zombies, right? That’s- that’s just- Silly, right?” One of the young women said to Bode. Helen was walking past at the time and stopped to take a good look at the girl. It was the doctor with the Ducati – Alex, was it? – whose Russian accent had been diminished by years in America.
Helen wanted to shake her and flash images from the television set at her. Those things in New York, eating the living as they fled the grey haze. Of course it was zombies, of course it was! All those years making films and television shows and books and comics about them – talking about how insane and impossible and stupid it all was – and now it was happening. The end of the bloody world and what else could it be? Motherfucking zombies! Naturally…
“Everybody inside Bode’s garage! The guard’ll keep ‘em out!” Simmons was barking orders again.
Before she knew it, Helen was bustled inside the cinderblock building. The lights were out and there was nothing to do but hold tight and wait.
And they did. Forty or so people huddling together amongst the grease rags and motor parts. Victoria was at her side and she took comfort in knowing that the girl was safe. Helen wondered where her Aunt and Uncle really were and if they had already been killed or were just stranded somewhere, desperate to reach their niece.
Two hours later, they all filed out of the garage. Helen was a little disappointed, to be honest, that after all that terror and anticipation, nothing happened.
“Maybe we should load up a car and just get out of here, yeah?” Helen said, looking over at Victoria. “Rendezvous with your family somewhere?”
Victoria never got a chance to answer. Gunshots erupted from the makeshift barricade and the guardsmen took up positions behind the cars again. “More coming, more coming! Fuck! Geeks on the street!”
When the little British girl climbed up the ladder to watch from the safety of Bode’s roof, Helen fled upstairs, latching and blocking the heat door once more. She hid in her closet, clutching her pistol.
With her revolver resting on her lap and her maglite between her teeth, Helen sat cross-legged and began scratching out her Last Will and Testament in a small notebook. I, Helen Jubilee Poots, being of fucking terrified mind and shaking body do hereby bequeath all of my worldly possessions to whoever the fuck steals them. If you are reading this, congratulations, you have survived and I have (probably) not. There is fifty thousand dollars in cash in a safe beneath me in this closet. It is probably useless to you, since the world is over, but – enjoy!
A volley of gunshots shattered the sunset and Helen was ashamed of herself – for she wept the whole time. When Victoria came pounding on the heat door to let her know that it was safe to come out, Helen took a full five minutes to compose herself. She dried her eyes and brushed her hair, then threw on her trademark sunglasses and emerged to find that it was not yet 9pm.
“It is only 8:45? How is that- I mean- I was up there for hours… It felt like… a bloody year.”
Victoria nodded sympathetically and then bounded off to find her best friend. There was a ruckus at the makeshift wall and Helen moved closer. She pushed past the entire Indian family – six of them, plus the weird white boy that was dating the elder daughter – who lived in a two-bedroom in the same split-up apartment house as the Russian doctor. There was quite a crowd gathered around Corporal Cooper and his radio.
She did not really care to hear what was going on. Helen was not the curious type, after all, but as she looked for friendly faces she could not help but eavesdrop on the superior officer ordering Cooper and his men to join them in Carlisle.
“…respectfully, sir, I must decline.”
“That is not a request, Corporal.”
The Corporal’s head was high. “I know, sir. But my duties here are not fulfilled.”
With the receiver at his side, mic disengaged, Cooper turned to his men. “I will not order any of you to defy orders. The decision to stay is mine alone. But any of you who are willing to defend this block, to chose-”
“I’m with you, Coop,” one of the young men said. A few others joined in. Helen rolled her eyes. Sure, let’s stay and baby-sit the last group of survivors trying to hold onto their homes in this stupid, bloody-
“Good. Let’s get an inventory of our weapons and rounds; you boys can take the deuce, the rest of us will…”
Helen tuned the Corporal out and headed back to her house. Ten p.m. on day two- TWO! – of this whole fucking end-of-the-world scenario, and it feels like a week. A month… How in all the Hells will we survive?
Note: Image is “My Next Trip” by Nicole_N from SXC.hu