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Note: This story is a 2 part fan fiction. It has me and my friends being thrown into the Cordyceps pandemic. 

THE

REST

OF 

US

Chapter 1: Broken Dreams

    It’s early morning in New york city, I had just woke up in my shabby apartment. I drink my morning water, and have a green apple for breakfast. I slip on my collared shirt, slightly tattered and dirty. And put on my red stained tie. Fix my hair, clean my glasses, and walk out the door. I close my apartment door, the number 303 hangs on the door. Walking down the stairs I hear people laughing and arguing from inside their apartments. Walking down the dirty slum like streets of new york city. I see poverty stricken people on the side of the street, and many soldiers talking and going about their jobs. I know where I’m walking, I go there everyday. 

    The statue of liberty, a symbol of the great United States. Somehow in perfect shape after 20 years. I sit down and reminisce about old memories and broken dreams, and a huge weight of guilt is on my shoulders. For 20 years, ever since I was 15, I’ve been killing and torturing people. After sitting and thinking for an hour I get up and start heading towards Margito’s Diner. A man stops me, he’s sitting on the side of the street, his eyes blind. “Hello there sir, spare some change. Maybe a conversation?” I sit down and say, “Sure, here’s 20 ration cards. Enough for four meals.” “Thank you sir. What’s your story? If you don’t mind me asking. I understand it might be traumatic.” I start talking, telling him about my first experience with the infection. I tell him about the theater, the infected man, and the slaughtering on the streets. He thanks me for the time I spent talking with him. 

    While walking to the Diner I see a familiar face walking to me, her arms out wide. “Where have you been? Your late.” she says, I scratch the back of my head and say, “Sorry Jodes, I got distracted.” Jody looks me in the eyes and says, “I understand Brennen, twenty years of a pandemic and killing can take a toll on you. Come on let’s go.” 30 meters from the diner I look at a soldier marking off dates of the calendar, it’s August, 2033. Today is Sammy’s birthday, he’s turning 33. We open the doors to Margito’s and Jody exclaims, “I found him.” my best friend for over 24 years comes to give me a bro hug. “Hey man, where you been? You weren’t planning on missing your buddies party were ya?” I look at him and say sarcastically, “Of course that’s what I planned.” He takes me to our table, everybody’s there. Jody, Sammy, Makayle, Faith, Conner, Talynn, and me. We gave Sammy the best birthday of his life. Only to learn the next night would be one of the worst of our lives. It was any normal day, I went to the statue and did my job as a gun seller, I decided to go to bed early. Nightmares plauged my mind, reminding me of how I threw my morality away, in protection of my friends.

    I suddenly wake up to screaming and gunfire in the streets, and banging on my door. “COME ON! WE’VE GOTTA WARN HIM!” It was Conner, with serious strength, he kicks the door of it’s hinges, sending it flying into my apartment. All my friends are with him guns locked and loaded. I realize whats going on, get dressed grab my AR, my equipment, and my trusty and rusty machete. We start running down the stairs to horrific sights, people being mauled and attacked. Stage 3 infected “Clickers” somehow got into the Quarantine Zone. They are blind and use echolocation to get around, the cordycesps fungus has grown out their eyes and surrounded their head. I pull back the firing lever on my AR, turn on the EOtech, and start shooting them. But it’s no use there are to many. We run towards the gates as, they rip into peoples flesh. Once out of the gates we keep running we aren’t safe yet, once we get into one of the small town surrounding New York City, we set up camp, and prepare for the longest road trip of our lives.

Chapter 2: Hunters being hunted

    The fire crackles and sparks go off it. We’re all sitting around it discussing our next move. We decide to head for the san-fransico QZ. After our navigation route was plotted, and we were set, Jody walked off from the crowd and sat staring at the moon. I got up and walked in her direction. I sat down next to her and looked at the moon with her, after awhile she said. “Doesn’t it bother you? All we’ve done. All the violence, the killing, the torturing. Will it all be worth it? I mean I know GODs got our backs but. After 20 years I just want all to be over.” I glance over, and say, “I know, I do to. Even if you guys got infected. I could never put any of you out of your misery.” she looks me in the eyes and says, “Your sweet Brennen.” We walk back to the crowd get some rest. The next morning we pack our gear and go. You’d be suprised how much distance we covered, without any threats. About 2 weeks later we were in Nashville, on the outskirts of the city to be exact. When we see a hurt man, looks like he’s had severe blood loss. He yells, “Help me!” we all look at each other and ask if we should help him? I look at everyone, then our surroundings than instantly know what’s going on. “He isn’t even hurt.” I aim my AR-15 and put the EOtech’s holographic reticule. 

    “OH $@#^!” He says while taking out his gun, as he takes a bullet to the dome. His buddy hunters come out of their hiding places. “GET COVER!” Faith yells. We all get to cover, and faith takes the high ground with her military stolen M98B 50 cal. We all get them zeroed in and start firing. A huge firefight commences. Beside me is Sammy and Makayle, “COVER ME! MAKING A MOLOTOV!” they start suppressing. I take out a Miller 64, half full, I insert a rag and carefully light it with my lighter. I peek up and chuck it as far as possible. It hits the ground like a ton of bricks, the fires blast radius is huge. And engulfs five hunters. They start to retreat. “Don’t let those murderous jerks escape!” We gun them down only to learn they where a distraction. 100 hunters come out, and start firing. They have us pinned and all seems lost. Until I hear a sound I know all to well, that gets trapped in a survivors’ nightmares. A clicking sound. Clickers must have heard the gunfire, they came running. An entire horde of them. But before the hunters could realize what was going on, it was already to late. The first guy gets it rough, a clicker shows up directly behind him and rips into his neck, tearing his throat out. As soon as his scream is heard, all the other hunters turn around and focus on the clickers. 

    A window of opportunity shoes up and we take it, we see the sewer system and all head straight for it. Makayle is the first to get there, faith is the last. As soon as Makayle drops down, she looks disgusted at her legs. She was wearing shorts. “AGH! Gross! I hope the next place we set up camp has running water.” She says, Sammy says, “Don’t worry, I’m sure we’ll hold up in a hotel or house.” We finally find an exit and open it up, we are far from the clicker horde and hunters. And now we have to make the trip across Nashville. “Ah Nashville.” Conner says in his southern accent, “Country music capital of the world.”

Figuring we need some extra food, Jody leads us to a small connivence store, two dead hunters lie at the doorstep, and the windows are boarded. Jody flips one of the hunters on his stomach and takes the keys of his belt notch. She opens the doors, and we get a blast of the AC, and some Miranda Lambert music. We start taking food of the shelfs, and stuffing waters in our backpacks. While Conner keeps watch at the door with his Remington-870 12 gauge, hunters’ edition. Faith is standing by the radio tapping her feet to one of Lambert's songs. “I will never understand how you like country Faith.” I exclaim, she looks and says, “It’s just my kinda music I guess.” 

    We start walking out of the building, when a round kicks off somewhere, and I hear Conner groan. A marksman knocked him in the hand, sending his Remington across the floor. He runs back over and picks it up. “We gotta go.” He says, Faith nods and kicks the door down that was next to the radio, only to find there is no floor in the room. And we fall into the stores storage area, a long drop. I look up at the roof, and see it’s rigged with explosives. I hear another rifle round kick off and it hits an explosive, causing the roof to start crumbling. “GO GO GO!” I yell, as the roof caves in on us, everyone starts running. But then I hear a large thud and drop to the ground on my back, a piece of roof hit me, and sent me to the ground. I see all the roof come crashing down on me, and then before I get buried, someone grabs the collar on my Bomber’s Jacket, and pulls me out of the way, it was Sammy. I get up and start running to. I look at him and say, “I owe you one man!”

Chapter 3: Getting the heck outta’ dodge

    The roof had caved in on most of the storage room,  it seemed like there was no way out. Talynn throws her backpack off her shoulders and starts rummaging through it. “Aha! Found it!” she says with excitement, as she takes a flashlight out of her bag, none of us had said anything yet. “SOUND OFF!” I yell. Everyone sounds off and we regroup at a staircase that leads back up to the store. As we walk up the staircase with Conner on point, we are as cautious as can be, knowing that the marksman could still be in the area. When we hear footsteps, and guys talking. “Man that roof killed them, I’m telling ya. We’re going to have to  dig em’ out.” one voice says, another responds, “I hope not man, they had some girls with em’.” the other voice exclaims, “You can’t force a girl to like you man.” Conner thinks we should go in stealthily, so I unsheathe my machete, and start slowly walking up the stairs, I signal Jody to tag along, and she takes out her rusty hatchet. One of the guys has his back facing the stairs, I put my hand over his mouth and thrust the machete through his back, no noise is made. I then drag him down the stairs out of sight, Jody hides behind the counter and drops a glass bottle, one comes over to investigate. The final guy is guarding the door, with swift reflexes the Hatchet ends up in the mans head. And the only sound is his lifeless body dropping to the ground. The guard turns around, in surprise at Jody, only to learn I’m right beside him, I grab him and say, “What’s the matter man? Never seen a pretty girl before?” before he answers a Machete is coming out his back. “Clear!” Jody yells, “Hey I suggest we get out of here.” Sammy says, “Right time to-” I say when I’m cut off. “Don’t say it.” Faith says, “Time to get the heck outta’ dodge.” I say. The next part of Nashville is clear, and we’re back on the San-Francisco trail. 

Chapter 4: Fall

     After passing through poteau and seeing some old friends, we head on to colorado, it’s the very end of fall. We come through what looks like denver, we see a large hotel to hold up in. It’s about a mile or so away. But then we all hear that dreaded, horrific noise. Click, click! A constant clicking erupts through the quiet city. We hear more than one, thousands of clicks. Then the monsters emerge form their hiding places, clickers. There are hundreds, wandering around in the street, clicking away. I turn around and put my finger over my mouth in a gesture that we should all be quiet. Everyone nods, and we start slowly walking around them, out of nowhere a brick hits a car, and the alarm goes off. The clickers look in the direction and go into a frenzy, flinging themselves at the car. Once they realize it’s not food, they go back to aimlessly wandering around and clicking.

    Then we start walking again, a molotov comes out of a tall building in front of us. It’s shatter turns the clickers back into a frenzy, and they come running. We have nowhere to go, then Makayle yells at us, and points to one of the back roads. We all start to hoof it, running as fast as we can. The clickers hear us and our straight on our heels, the road we took also leads to the hotel. We keep running and running, I trip on a lead pipe in the road, and fall on my back. I wish I wasn’t such a klutz, one of the clickers flings himself on me, biting and chomping, trying to get a shot at my neck. I nearly die, until a shot crackles through the air, and Talynn and Makayle are helping me up. 

    We get to the hotel doors, they’re locked. The clickers are still coming, right on our heels, we see a back door. Conner is the first to charge to it, and he charges the door open. We soon all rush inside and lock the deadlock and bolts, then board up the door to be safe. We walk into the lobby, we hear the elevator ding. And several burly men with bats walk out. Behind them walks a man in a white suit, he’s walking with a cane, but is clear he doesn’t need it. “Well boys.” he sounds enthusiastic and his voice is at medium pitch, he kinda sounds like Troy Baker turned into a mafia dong. “We have visitors, welcome to my hotel. How can I help you?” Jody and Faith step forward, and the rest follow. “It’s good to see a friendly face.” He smiles and says, “Why yes dear I’m very friendly.” Sammy turns around, I’m still standing in the same spot. “Something wrong?” he says, the man replies. “Yes, is something troubling you my friend? What is your name? Mine is Reginald Blagard, you can call me Reggie.” I look at him in a rather distrusting way, “Sorry if I have trust issues Reggie, it’s hard to find a friendly face in this world.” he nods. 

    “All you have to do, is pay to stay here. It’s a small fee.” he says. I finally get a smile on my face, Talynn replies. “How many ration cards?” The man’s smile turns into a creepy grin, and he glances at Jody, and starts walking to her. “All you have to do is be my date, one of you women.” Jody rolls her eyes, and says under her breath, “Why is it always women with these guys.” he hears her clear as crystal. “Women are hard to find my dear. Do you accept?” I have the feeling something is about to go south, I hover my hand over my 1911, “Nope.” Jody replies, “Me and these girls are all taken.” he looks at her in a confused way, he’s obviously smarter than most guys in the apocalypse. “I can hear it in the tone of your voice, and see it in your eyes. YOUR LYING!” He forcefully grabs her arm, I quickly take out my pistol. No one notices, all eyes are on Jody and Blagard. Before he can do anything, Jody rips his arm off her, and punches him in the face. He spits out a tooth.

    “I see, playing hard to get?” he says. I have my sights right on his head, “Buddy, I’m warning you. Back off! Or I’ll kill your buddies, and you.” I say. He gestures one of his burly buddies to me, the guy is similar height to me, he notices my slender appearance, but doesn’t realize I’m stronger than I look. “Listen here pip-squeak I’ll beat y-” He’s dead before he can finish, I then kill most of the other guards. The ones with guns aim at me, “HOLD IT!” Blagard yells. “It’s a dual, you win, you get the hotel, I win, your dead.” I reply, “Whatever pal, either way. Your dead.” He takes a stance in a form used in fencing, and takes a sword out of the cane. The cane was just a sheath, he chuckles at my stance. I don’t have one. The fight starts, and it’s pretty even until he makes a mistake and I slice his leg. He falls to the ground, clutching it in agony. All of his friends have been killed by my posse, until he barks an order and a giant of a man starts rushing towards Jody with a scimitar, I run and shoulder them out of the way. What’s my reward, a scimitar through the torso.

Chapter 5: It’s always quietest before the storm

    I slide down the wall behind me, sticking out of my body is a egyptian scimitar. And a bulky man taunting me, “You hero types make me sick.” he draws his pistol. And aims it at me, I stare him down. “Do it pal, I know where I’m going. BRING IT ON!” I yell, I hear a gun shot. But instead of him firing, it was Conner, blowing the poor suckers brains out with a shotgun. My vision blurs as tears dwell up in my eyes from the pain, I see a figure shaking me. I don’t recognize them fully, but I definitely recognize her voice. It was Jody, “Brennen! Brennen! Are you okay!?” I look at her and smirk, somehow managing to retain my charisma, even in extreme pain. “Just a flesh wound Jodes, I’ll walk it off.” Sammy is running up to me, while Conner is wasting Blagard. “Thats no flesh wound.” He says, “We need to get you somewhere safe, so I can patch you up.” Sammy and Conner put my arms on their shoulders, while Jody and the other girls try and keep me awake while guarding the group. We get to a small little house, snow starts to fall, winter starts in one day. While walking to the house, I get hazy, can’t see. And then I just... Collapse. As it turns out I was in a coma, so how do remember anything? For some reason I could still hear, feel, eat, drink. But I couldn’t move myself or speak, and I couldn’t open my eyes. It was as if my brain still operated, but my nerves didn’t. I sat that way for a few weeks, no one would leave till’ I woke up, also the weather had blocked us from making any progress, the winter was harsh. Everyone would reminisce in stories everyday, and tell them to me. But one day everything changed, everyone was doing there normal thing, when the largest bandit group ever, they took everyone. Learning of my coma they thought I’d never wake up, they left me. To hear the screams, and my friends being taken. Worst. Mistake. Ever.

Chapter 6: The Rising storm

     I woke up from my coma a day later and immediately got equipped and ready to get my friends. I couldn’t track them with all the snow and weather, so I headed to a nearby town. I spent a few days trying to get leads, and eventually got one, or rather two. Turns out the bandits and militia rebels called the fireflies were fighting for the town. The fireflies wanted to unite it under freedom, while the bandits wanted oppression. I found the main head honcho bandits in charge of infantry and other soldiers in the town. I captured both, to “interrogate” them. I had a small room in a abandoned building with a dim light on the roof. I had one chained to a chair, and the other to a pipe on the wall. I lifted the bag off Greg’s head, he was the main bandit, george was the other. “What the? What is this?” He looks at the table, and I can see fear in his eyes, on the table lies, a bat, a knife, and a pistol, with hollow point rounds, the kind that expand to be a foot wide on impact. “Where is it? The bandit compound. Where Greg?” I ask, he looks at me and says, “You won’t get anything outta me.” “Very well, we’ll do this the hard way.” I pull george out of the shadows, I “interrogated” him before Greg. George is beaten and broken, physically and mentally, I shot him in the left knee with one of the hollow point rounds, and slashed the other with my knife. He can no longer walk, I also beat him with the bat. “GEORGE! WHAT HE DO OT YOU!? I’LL KILL YOU!” He yells at me, George is his brother. I shoot George, and kill him, “It’s okay Greg, he won’t feel the pain now...” Greg, looks at me with extreme fear. “Did.... Did he tell you anything?” He ask, “Yes..... Yes he did. You probably think I’m one of the good guys, don’t you Greg? I’m not... I’ve thrown away my morals, this isn’t about morality, your gang took something from me, my friends. If they’re dead, I will kill every single bandit, slower than I would if they’re alive.” Greg fearfully looks me in my rage-filled eyes. “Hey screw you man, George already told you where the encampment was, and how many men are there. I ain’t tellin’ you nothing.” I look him in the eyes and draw my Machete, “That’s alright..... I believe him.” “NO DON’T!!!” Greg yells before his demise. An hour later I’m at the encampment, with all my equipment. Ready to go, I trudge through the snow, a storm has started, and my visibility lowers. Snow flakes hit my visor and I begin to feel the winters embrace, but I do not accept it. There are several men, approximately 86, I pick the lock on the compound door. The door slowly creaks open, and I slowly walk in. I’m armed and dangerous and I’ve even made tear gas grenades, but they won’t affect me because of my gas mask. I slowly and quietly walk through the compound, making sure I don’t make a sound. I come across an office and slowly open the door, it’s filled with filing cabinets and a desk in the middle, it’s in pretty good shape. I walk in and notice a file on the desk, it reads, “CONFIDENTIAL: PRISONER DOCUMENTS” I think inside my head that it isn’t confidential anymore. I read the documents, it explains all recorded prisoners and what to do with them, while reading through it I am horrified. My friends didn’t “cooperate” with the boss, and they are to be executed. I glance at my watch, and I’m shocked, for they will be another memory in an hour.

Chapter 7: In Life and Death

     My heart beats faster than a jet, and my adrenaline starts to pump. This stealth mission just got even more personal. I start sneaking my way through the compound, I’m worried, I can’t lose anymore people in my life. I had already lost many friends and family, I wasn’t about to lose  the closest friends I had. I come across a recreation room, it’s relatively large, I still don’t know how to get to the indoor target range, so it’s time for some interrogation. I put my back up against the wall, and peek into the room, 5 targets, no problem. I toss a tear gas grenade into the room, I hear the clunk as it hits the floor and the gas comes out. I move into the room machete drawn, they can’t see through the gas and are to busy coughing to see me, one by one they fall, to my surprise one let’s out a small choke. And only one remains, he starts running towards the doorway, but I grab his coats hood and throw him to the ground. My machete placed on his neck, he can see the anger in my eyes. “Indoor target room. Where?” He gives me the map to the building, “Let me go please, I-I’ll leave.” I nod, but as soon as he gets up, he has a machete in his gut. “Sorry, I don’t make negations with scumbags like you.” I start heading to the indoor target range, it’s in my sights, I’m completely unnoticed. But I accidentally step on a piece of glass on the way into the doorway. “HEY!” One guard yells as several guns aim in my direction. I look around the empty room and see several wooden post coming out of the floor. What I see, are my friends tied to the post, they all look at me in horror, but they are unaware it’s me because of my gas mask. The gang leader looks at me, “Hmmm, let’s see here. 6’3”, lot’s of equipment, you look like an adventurer. You’ve got a bombers jacket, red shemgagh, faded jeans, combat boots. Judging by the looks of you, you’ve left some bodies in your wake haven’t you?” I say nothing, he orders one man to unstrap my mask, and they take it off. My friends eyes all grow wide, they see a face they haven’t seen in to weeks. “You really should shave.” The leader says, he then looks at my friends and realizes they know me, he pushes me in front of Makayle and Faith. “You shouldn’t have come.” Makayle says in a somber tone, I reply “And let you and everyone else die, I wouldn’t do that. You guys are the my family outside of family. I won’t abandon you, and I won’t let this jerk kill you.” smiles come onto my friends faces but quickly leave. The gang leader grabs me and pushes me to the executioner, he has a bunch of tools on a table. “Let’s make this fun, as I take your friends to different rooms so my men can... ‘deal’ with them. They will be the last thing you see, before your slow and painful death.” They untie my friends and start escorting them out, I look at Jody and say, “I’m sorry... I will get you guys out of this.” she looks at me sadly but is then forced out of the room. The executioner picks up a 2x4, he hits me so hard in the back that it breaks in two. I fall to my knees in pain, “Is that all you got huh? BRING IT ON!” I yell, he hits me in the back with a crowbar, and I fall over on my back. He smiles, and is about to bring it down on my head, but I kick him in the leg and it bends backwards. He falls to his knees, and I get up and kick him in the head. I then grab the axe, “Let’s execute.” I bring it down on his neck, you can figure out the result. I take a moment to gather my breath and gather my friends, the guys were easiest to get. “You guys go get Faith and Makayle, and Talynn. I’ll get Jody.” They nod and start moving towards their rooms. I move towards Jody’s room, two guards stand in my way, but I waste both of them with my 1911. I put my ear to the door, “He won’t be able to help you.” he says, “YES HE WILL! We have a secret weapon!” she screams, “Luck won’t save you.” he says, “It’s not luck!” Jody yells. I heard enough and kick the door open, before he does anything he says, “GOD died with the gold standard, we’re on to more concrete faiths now.” I look at him in extreme rage, he points his .44 Magnum at me, “Feeling lucky punk?” I’m going to ‘have fun with her’ and your going to watch or I’ll blow your head off.” I have my pistol drawn to, I fire before he does, and blast him in the trigger finger, knocking the revolver out of his hand. I have had enough of him, “You won’t need that finger anymore, and do you think I’m scared of you? You wanna know what this is about eh? It isn’t about you taking my friends anymore, or beating them, or insulting GOD. What you just said, it made this more personal than you could have ever imagined, you won’t lay a finger on her, because you’ll be to busy choking on your own blood!” I punch him as hard as I can in the face, and he spits out a tooth, he is laying on the ground, I then bring my foot down as hard as humanly possible on his neck. He chokes, I just crushed his throat, he can’t breath, I then slowly put the machete into his chest, and then thrust it hard before his body, he is dead. I the turn to Jody and untie her, she falls on her knees, and looks me in the eyes. “Thank god your alive.” I smile, and we walk out of the compound. The storm has stopped and we all continue our journey. 

Chapter 8: What happens in vegas, stays in vegas

    We have had no trouble getting to Las Vegas, the next stop on our road trip. As we walk the once busy streets, they now feel so empty and lonely. We find a small casino and camp in one of the rooms for the night. All seems well until the morning, I wake up first and have a drink of water, I open the door into the hallway that leads from the rooms towards the casino. I turn to my right and get grabbed by a stage 2 infected, a stalker. He chomps and chomps, trying to get a shot at my neck, I push him off. He falls to the floor and I start kicking him in the face, I then curb stomp to finish. I wake everyone up, and in a hurry we grab our equipment and get moving. We run outside the casino, while a group of infected meet us. We waste them and sprint to a safe location, but we get ambushed by bandits. They used the infected as a distraction, the firefights pretty extreme, we end up winning. And I get up and start walking, until one last guy comes out of the shadows, and puts an entire magazine into my chest. I fall to the ground trying to control the blood loss, they waste the guy. Sammy comes running over and patches me up, I’ve lost so much blood that I’m half dead. Everybody has a sad look on their face, I wag my finger telling them to come in my direction. “Guys, we had a good run. *cough* But this is it for me.” I say with tears rushing down my face, Jody comes over, tears in her eyes. “Stay with me! Please don’t you die on me!” I small smile comes over my face, “I’m glad you care...” everyone stands around in sadness. I look at all of them, “Go! Get out of here, the infected will show up soon.” Jody replies. “We won’t leave you Brennen.” I say back, “That’s nice and all, but I’m not going to make it, I’m sorry. Go! GO NOW!” they say their goodbyes and leave. I hear the infected coming, I put a magazine in my M1911. “Alright you infected scum, BRING IT ON!” I fight off the infected, somehow surviving. But I know there isn’t enough blood in me to keep me alive for much longer. So I smile, and close my eyes.

To be continued.....

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