Today’s snippet, titled “Mid-Week Blues”, 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 awoke to the sounds of birds singing. Day Three, she thought, rolling to a seated position on the edge of her bed. I wonder what new horrors today will bring, eh?
She woke Victoria on her way to the bathroom, then – still dressed in the tiny boy shorts and thin cami she wore to bed – carefully removed her heavy luggage and opened the heat door. No zombies, thank God, she chuckled mirthlessly, padding down the steps. The fridge still worked, and the gas stove; Helen made scrambled eggs, again, using up the last of the heavy cream and fresh red bell peppers in her fridge.
“Gonna miss cream in the coffee,” she said, pouring herself a cup of steaming black liquid.
“Go back to tea then, like a proper Brit,” Victoria said. The girl grinned. “I’ll take Earl Gray, hot.”
“Two lumps of sugar?”
Helen shook her head ruefully. “Four, eh? Good Lord, girl, you’ll be sweeter than a peach if those zombies ever do get ahold of you.”
“Nah,” she scoffed. “Thanks, Helen. I’m going to feed Chops and check for Uncle Jack and Aunt Starr. ‘Kay?”
Helen shook her hair out with one hand as she carried her mug out to the porch. She sat in her favorite Adirondack-style chair, pulled her knees to her chest, and watched as Maple Lane came alive with people bustling about.
There’s gonna be a lot of of work to do, Helen decided, letting the steam roil up to caress her cheeks. Someone is going to need to get an inventory together; figure out where we all stand with food and water and-
She glanced toward the source of the voice. “What’s up, duck?”
Victoria came loping over, her graceful stride ample evidence of the gymnastic prodigy she had been. Aleksandra, the Russian ER doctor, wanted to make a “run” for supplies. Victoria insisted upon coming with, and though she wanted to take bikes, because they were quieter – Helen decided they would take her Lexus SUV.
The day was a blur of activity. The streets were crammed with wrecks and abandoned vehicles. There were no sirens, no gunshots, no sounds of traffic. In fact, it would have been one of the most peaceful, beautiful days she had ever experienced in New Cumberland… were it not for the moaning, shambling ghouls.
They looted a gas station; Bode, the mechanic, had emptied a police car’s trunk of weapons and ammunition. And, best of all, to her mind, body armor. Unfortunately, the things they were able to get from the store itself were less impressive.
Helen suspected she was going to tire of ramen noodles and packaged power bars real damn quick.
The worst part of the day was not the fact that they had now seen so many of the undead that they could no longer pretend things might one day be normal again, but the evidence they had seen of people trapped in various places… surrounded by zombies… helpless… hopeless…
Fuck me, I pray that doesn’t happen to me. I’d eat a bullet before I’d let those abominations nibble on me gigglebits…
As she crawled into bed that night, a strange bed in a guest room at Victoria’s Aunt and Uncle’s house, Helen felt an odd sort of relief. She had allowed a family of so-called “tent people” to move into her home; she had brought nothing but the essentials with her. Her most useful clothes, her canned food, her french press coffee pot and her old fashioned campfire kettle with a large stash of tea, her bottled water, and her weapons.
All the rest of it… everything… she had let go of it.
In a way, it was liberating.
Its not like the power will be on forever, she consoled herself as she lay in bed with a cooling fan blowing across her bare thighs. What do I need with a gold-plated straightener or that beautiful blower with diffuser comb and four heat settings, anyway?
Helen woke again to the sound of birds singing. She rolled onto her back, pushing her thick, dark hair out of her eyes. She was clammy and her hair was damp with sweat. Queer. Its so quiet. The A/C must have stopped…
And even as that thought crossed her mind, Helen realized that she could not hear the CD Player she had left playing in the bathroom either. In fact, except for the chirping outside her window, she heard nothing else. No sirens, no white noise from fans and electronics, nothing.
Welcome to Day Four, Helen stretched languidly, reaching for the ceiling and then for her toes. No more adventures in zombie-dodging today… I think I shall speak with that idiot, Simmons, and Corporal Cooper about setting up some sort of inventory system. Collective goods and all that. Figure out what supplies and stuff we have. Let the big boys keep their guns and whatnot…
She dressed in jeans and a tank, with her knee-high motorcycle boots and a cropped leather jacket. It was hot – and humid – and she was miserable, even with the arms of the jacket tied around her narrow waist, but Helen was no stranger to zombie films and she was not going to end up a meal of the undead because it was too bloody hot to wear thick garments.
Once her list was complete, and she was grateful for the help from the somewhat wimpy accountant, Al Lopez, and her tennant, Tammy McCadden, Helen retired to her room at the Honeywell house and collapsed into bed.
Surviving the fucking apocalypse is hard work, even when its just bloody paperwork…
The birds did not wake Helen on Day Five. Instead, she woke to the crushing and crashing of vehicles as the National Guardsmen used Bode’s rollback to stack cars in the vague shape of a wall. It would eventually line both perpendicular streets, protecting their block of Maple Lane from uninvited people and zombies.
Helen found it endlessly amusing that Victoria’s weird dislike of “tent people” had already seemed to spread. Especially amongst the young folk. They were worried about the excess waste, the drain on already short supplies, the ‘outsider’ factor. Helen had been over the inventory she, Al, and Tammy had worked on so diligently several times already this morning – they had a lot of useful things, and a good bit of food, but it would not last.
Not for long.
Helen sat on the Honeywell’s porch as the heat of the afternoon swelled, and wondered how much worse everything would be come winter. Gods, Helen, you’re depressing today. Look, they’re parking that bread truck at the gap to use as a gate. That bloody brilliant… or maybe idiotic. I guess time will tell, eh?
She wandered the block a bit, not really caring about what people were up to, yet observing the various groups as she passed. Victoria was learning to shoot; not using live rounds or actually firing, just aiming, squeezing the trigger, all that. Helen supposed she should sit in a lesson. Though she had not made it known that she carried a pistol, the skill could certainly save her life one day. She was afraid to let anyone know about the gun, lest they try to remove it from her as a precaution or as a necessity of war – to put it in the hands of a more skilled marksmen. Fuck that. It is mine and they’ll pry it from my cold dead hands…
Helen paused, sipping from an aluminum water bottle. “What’s tomorrow?”
Aleksandra, Bode, and Scooter were standing beside a monstrosity – the jacked up El Camino was strange enough normally, but the two men had welded seven push-mowers to the back-end of it.
Scooter lifted the dirty trucker’s cap from his sweaty head and rubbed his damp hair with a grease-stained hand. “Going to rescue them poor fuckers what are in that house. You’re in, yeah? Figured you two-”
“Three!” Victoria insisted, stridently.
“-would follow us. We’re taking Travis and Jerry, I think.”
“Yeah, yeah, of course,” Helen said, without thinking. “Its only right – gotta try and help them. Would hope someone would were it me.”
Naturally, despite what seemed like a fairly solid (if risky, for Travis and Bode and Scooter) plan, nothing went as intended. By the time they returned to the block, hours after leaving to help the family in the car, Helen could hardly remember the sequence of events.
Yet when she curled up in bed that night, she was sort of proud of her ‘friends’ from the block. They had rescued a sweet young mother, Sue Park, and her poor, dehydrated little girl, Ji-Tae. They had had nearly lost Travis when the poor kid hopped the median on I-83 and broke his ankle, but he was okay and between Aleksandra and the paramedic Bode had rescued – Ezra, was it? – he seemed likely to recover. Plus, Bode had managed to score a sweet military-grade Humvee.
Not bad for a day’s work… Tomorrow, we’ll go to that house that was totally surrounded by zombies. Must’ve been a hundred of them… more even… Helen closed her eyes. She could hear Aleksandra moving around in the next room. The Russian surgeon had sacrificed her own apartment so that Sue Park and her daughter had a safe, quiet place to recover. That second floor apartment is as safe as anywhere on the block, I guess. I do hope Alex and Ezra can help that poor child. She is such a dear…
Helen opened her eyes, staring at the shadowy ceiling above her. She had never really considered being a mother. Never really imagined she had much by way of a maternal instinct. But her girls, the ones who dubbed her Mama Oso and who loved her, would insist that she was not only possessed of one, but that it was strong.
Guess its too bloody late to start wishing I’d found a decent sort of person to settle down with, make babies with… Wouldn’t do to get knocked up now, would it? Didn’t do Laurie much good, eh? But… still, it might be… nice…
Note: Image is “notes” by Just4You from SXC.hu