Today’s snippet, titled “Nothing Here For Us”, 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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Bang! BANG! Bang! BANG!
“Already? God, you twats, let a lady sleep!”
Helen pulled the sides of the pillow up around her ears and flipped over, trying to block out the sound of construction. She was done with physical labor for a day or two. Yesterday’s shitty – literally – adventures had drained her utterly.
Eventually, she rose and washed and dressed. Her work for the day included making another round of inventories with Alphonse and Tammy, plus trying to conduct a census to get a feel for the numbers they were working with.
“It’ll be important to really work the numbers,” Al said. “We will have to ration for the whole group and we can’t estimate properly without reliable data.”
Right, Helen rolled her eyes at Al’s back. His slumped posture always seemed to improve a bit when he was working with Helen and Tammy – perhaps they did not quelch his spirit quite as quickly as his wife. There’s nothing more important for surviving a fucking apocalypse than reliable fucking data.
By the time she crawled into bed that night, Helen could not care if she never saw another grid-line inventory sheet or can of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup again. Day Ten, she thought, closing her eyes. I’m glad to see the end of you.
“Bring me to liiiiiife.”
Helen growled. “Its too bloody early for old Evanescence, duck, turn that down.”
Still Amy Lee sang on and Helen groaned, sitting up. I always hated that bloody song. It- Wait – there’s power this morning?
Immediately, she plugged her iPad in and watched the green charge bar flash as it began to retain all that juicy energy. When it was full, she swapped it out for her phone and let that charge as well. In the bathroom, she switched out the MP3 player with her own and tapped to start her favorite song, Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk. Bopping along, she brushed her teeth with bottled water and the soft, flattering pinkish light made her skin look so healthy and normal that she couldn’t help herself. She spent the extra time to doll herself up – to don the warpaint, as her friend Amy used to say.
It was about 8:30 when she took a seat at a table in the common area. Victoria surprised her by coming up behind her with a hug. It was cooler this morning than it had been and when Aleksandra brought out steaming mugs of coffee – it tasted divine.
“We are going to go rescue whomever is trapped in that airport,” she said matter-of-factly. “Bode is getting his monstrosity ready. What do you need, Helen?”
“You sure look pretty, this morning, honey,” Ezra said, and yawned. “Forgive me, you all, but this chick has got to get some rest. Sal, honey, will you take the day shift since Aleksandra is heading out today?”
“Sure,” Salvatore said, “I can sit at the tent today.”
Ezra smiled and patted his hand. She was wearing bright pink eyeliner today, with turquoise eye shadow and blue mascara. Helen supposed that if she had such rich coloring, she might be able to pull off all those neon hues, but she doubted she would. She wasn’t fifteen anymore.
When she finished her coffee, Helen stood and looked around for Alex and Bode and Victoria. Ah, there they are. And Alex is definitely chatting up Cooper, whether she intends to or not. This is happening. Hah!
Helen approached the Corporal and his harem, her hands her back pockets, and paused a few steps away, just listening.
“…is it really? A grenade launcher?” Victoria was asking. “Can I touch it?”
Snorting, Helen placed a hand on Victoria’s shoulder. “You ought not touch a man’s gun, duck, unless you’re looking to touch a man’s other weapon. And if you do, don’t you forget your condoms, yeah?”
She tried to conceal her smile when the girl’s face flushed and she flung her hands into the air. “I don’t bloody need CONDOMS to learn to shoot a GRENADE LAUNCHER, Helen! God!”
Cooper cleared his throat and excused himself. Aleksandra put an arm around the girl’s shoulder and led her toward Bode’s garage. She was playing the part of sympathetic ‘cool Aunt’ to Helen’s mortifying ‘Embarrassing Mother’. Helen didn’t mind; she knew the girl would forgive her soon enough and besides, there were so few pleasures left in this ruined world, she couldn’t possibly pass up such an opportunity to tease Victoria.
The plan was simple. They were going to let Bode enter the airport grounds first, turn on all seven of his Evisceratus’ mowers, and lead the deaders far from the shed. Then the three ladies would swoop in with Helen’s Lexus, bust down the doors if neccessary, and escort who ever was in there, out. Simple.
And it worked well enough, for once. Those brainless bastards trudged along after the noisy machine, shuffling and stumbling all the way. As soon as they were far enough away, Alex maneuvered the SUV into position and Helen moved to open the door so she could leap out and knock on the door.
Before she could set foot on the tarmac, the door burst open and a sweaty, blood-soaked man in a rumpled suit dashed out and slammed into the car.
“Let me in, let me in!” he cried, scrabbling at the back driver’s side door.
“Unlock the doors, Alex!” Victoria was bouncing in her seat. “Hurry, hurry!”
“Who are you?” Helen demanded, her grip on her knife so tight that her knuckles had gone white. “What’s your name? Who else is inside?”
“I- I-” he stammered. “I’m Alex, a lawyer. I- there’s no one else. Just me! Let me in.”
The door opened and he climbed inside. Helen frowned. There was something about him she did not like – perhaps it was just because she could smell the attorney on him. She opened her own door and slid out.
“What are you doing, Helen?”
“I have to be sure. I’m going in.”
But she was already gone, dashing across the tarmac with her flashlight in one hand and the knife in the other. She pushed inside the door and nearly vomited; there was shit, literal shit!, everywhere. The poor bastard must have been in here the whole time, shitting and- eating the fucking paperwork? What the hell? She buried her face in her shoulder and made a run for the exit. There was no one else inside, no bodies, nothing incriminating. Just a poor fellow who had been trapped for days and was probably half-mad from it all.
Ezra had not slept much and when they returned with Alex the Lawyer, who Helen took to calling Sam to differentiate between he and Doctor Alex, she immediately joined Sal in treating their new friend.
“Exhaustion, dehydration, extreme hunger. Oh honey, you’ll be fine. Soon as we get you hosed off and fed, anyway. C’mon with Sal and me, honey, we’ll get you fixed up.”
“That was a disappointment,” Bode said, picking his teeth. “Figured maybe we’d find a pilot or something.”
“Yeah, or a hot chick or two.” Scooter had the courtesy to cringe when Helen and Aleksandra glowered at him. “Hey, I’d save ‘em even if they were ugly.”
“You know,” Aleksandra said, pointedly ignoring Scooter. “We should check out the High School.”
“That was my idea, Doc,” Bode said, “And its a good one.”
And then came the arguing. Logistics, transportation, weaponry, strategy. Helen tuned it out. They would let her know what to do and when, when they were ready for her. Until then, she returned to the Honeywell house for food and water.
“We’re going to take bikes, Helen!”
She looked up from her book and smiled at Victoria. “You mean they finally decided?”
“Yep. C’mon, get your jacket and boots on, let’s go!”
Helen could not manage to match the girl’s level of enthusiasm, though she had to admit she sort of smugly enjoyed the way a few of the others looked jealous that she was going out on a run. When the Lendsoller girl pouted a bit and told her mother, within Helen’s hearing, that if Ms. Poots and the Honeywell girl were old enough and capable enough to join in the supply hunt, so was she, Helen cast a wink down at Victoria. “To the High School this afternoon, is it, duck?”
“Mm-hmm,” she said and tugged on the waist of her jacket. “Gotta see what is going on in the area, that’s what buttface-Bode and the other guys were saying.”
Buttface Bode? Tsk, such language, duck. Though I cannot admonish you for it – he really can be quite a… buttface… at times.
The ride was further than Helen had anticipated and she was sweating like a pig on the spit before they reached the High School.
Never were more eloquent words spoken, to Helen’s mind. The high school grounds had previously been rife with FEMA tents and people camped out thinking there was safety in numbers. There had been fire engines and ambulances and police everywhere trying to guard what must have been a quarter of New Cumberland’s population.
Now, there were smoking remnants and what Sal referred to as crispy critters. Most of those were laying in heaps around the blackened tents, but some horrifically burned people – dead, naturally, but still walking around – were looking for food.
“Thank God we’re downwind,” Helen said to Victoria. “That many of them following us back would be a total clusterfuck.”
“Total.” Victoria nodded, dumbstruck by the horrors in front of them.
Blood had sprayed across one of the fire engines and walkers milled around the building. They were not pressed up against it, not trying to get in to get at the tasty, beating-hearts within, which made Helen quite positive that there was no one left alive in there.
“Let us go back,” Alex said. “There is nothing for us here, da?”
As they pedaled back, Bode talked about finally going door-to-door on the block – and then strategically through homes around it – looking for supplies and stuff.
“We can get to a few around Maple Lane yet this afternoon, make sure we don’t have any walkers hanging around our area.”
The rest of the afternoon passed in a blur. Helen was numb to the horrors today; nothing could phase her. Not finding that one of their neighbors had opted out days ago. Not finding out that the virus – or whatever it was – had spread to animals after all. Nothing.
Helen curled up in her bed – no, not my bed. Damn it, I miss my bed – and closed her eyes. Nothing about the day was worth remembering and she wondered if there ever would be anything good, anything joyful, or fun, or memorable in a pleasant way.
Somehow, I doubt it. Fuck you, day eleven. Fuck you…
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Note: Image is “camp” by Filou from SXC.hu