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June 21, 2015

Race for Safe Haven - We Had a Talk About You

[Posted by Ted H]

2 jobs....one of them is 2 different locations.....fun minus the n.
...but hey, it's summer now!
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[Race for Safe Haven - We Had a Talk About You]

"Nice car," Matt said as Mike stepped out of an old tan station wagon. "Where did you get that car, the 70s?" Laura said with a disgusted look on her face. "The keys were in the car and it has trunk space," Mike said as he made his way to a gas pump "If you wanted something more stylish, you should have tagged along." Mike proceeded to fill the station wagons gas tank while the coast was clear. Steve stood by and looked out while Jason headed inside the station.
            Inside was Rhett and Tara loading a couple baskets into Rhett's car. "Energy drinks?" Jason asked as he looked at the contents "30 racks of beer and a bunch of cigarettes? Does Mike know you're packing this stuff?" Rhett smiled as he opened a pack of cigarettes. "Mike can load his car however he wants," Rhett said as he popped a cigarette into his mouth "This here is the party car, and I decide what's important." Tara pulled a cigarette out and waited for Rhett to reveal one of his many disposable lighters that he took.
            Mike later came in and called a meeting of the group. "Using the tanks, we'll fill up Rhett's car, then we'll refill the tanks. Otherwise, we're all full on the gas front. We'll load up the supplies in both cars at dawn tomorrow and be off. I know where most of the barricades are set, so getting out of the area won't be a problem. We should be in Albany by the end of the day if all goes well.
            "Let's all turn in early and get some sleep. No drinking or anything else like that. We're not that far from the end, let's just get there and survive this." Everyone nodded towards Mike and dispersed. It was mid-afternoon and no one felt like sleeping just yet, so Rhett gave the gas station one last once over for things he wanted to take. All the food and drinks worth taking were gone. At this point there was just odds and ends stuff up front that Rhett would find amusing, not vital.
            "I want you to take first watch tonight," Mike said causing Rhett to flinch at the company he didn't know he had. "Uh, sure," he said, but Mike did not leave. "Something you need?" he asked. Mike took a breath before talking. "We had a talk about you," he said "About what happened between you and Eric yesterday."
            "Oh boy," Rhett said, annoyed at the idea of another judgment being talked down to him. "Eric was an important member of this group and some people are uncomfortable with you after what went down."
            "I guess no one thought much about that Sarah chick then," Rhett said as he put a finger on his forehead to show where Eric had shot her.
            "Look," Mike said with an uneasy tone "I honestly don't know what we would have done about Eric after he killed Sarah, I'm not okay with that, there's no way I would be. But the reality is this: someone we didn't know until yesterday killed one of our own. We don't know you, all we know is you're looking out for your own best interests. That doesn't mean you're out to kill anyone, but it also means I can't have you apart of this group once we get to Albany. And I know you're okay with that, because you've got your own thing going on; Tara told me about your friend."
            "You must know I had no intention in killing Eric," Rhett said "He tried to kill me though. What would you prefer? I lay down and die and you can have a talk with Eric about how he can't keep killing strangers?"
            "I don't know what happened to Eric. I don't know if he snapped or if you just rubbed him the wrong way. I've seen your vest and your bruise. In your spot, I probably would have shot back as well. But this group, my group, I need to keep them safe. In order to keep them safe, I need them to trust in me. And in order for that, I need to deal with this situation. Half of them want you gone. Half of them want you around."
            "And what do you want?"
            "You're useful. I can get us to Albany quicker with your help. A temporary partnership is the best compromise I can offer. I'm not sending you away, but you can't stay."
            Rhett looked at Mike a moment, the light from the setting sun shining bright on his features. "Like I said before," he said "Albany, then I'm gone. You idiots can get killed however you want after that." Mike slowly nodded and turned. "Remember, first watch," he said as he walked away "Wake up Jason when you want to switch."

June 14, 2015

Race for Safe Haven - Scavengers

[Posted by Ted H]

Not a big fan of character building, but I know it's necessary. Just wait til the gang gets moving again...

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[Race for Safe Haven - Scavengers]

            The next morning, Rhett woke up in the front seat of his car. He had a mild headache and couldn't understand the cause of the munching noise he was hearing. He was on his side and facing the door when he slowly rolled over and raised his seat up. Sitting in the passenger seat next to him was Laura eating a bag of potato chips. "Morning," she said as she shoved her hand into the bag and retrieved a fistful "Want one?"
            "Out," Rhett said plainly, causing Laura to frown. "Awe, c'mon," she said "This seat is the only comfortable place to sit." Rhett deadpanned a look to Laura as he repeated himself "Out." Laura huffed as she crumpled up her chip bag and brushed off her lap, sending crumbs everywhere. "No chips for you then," she said as she opened the door and climbed out. Rhett sighed as he rubbed his eyes. He checked his watch to find it was around noon. "Another successful night of drinking," he said to himself as he opened his door and stood up outside.
            Inside the garage was dark, as the lights were off and it was a cloudy day outside, all to Rhett's liking. By the garage door standing guard was Matt, not even bothering to turn around to regard Rhett. He slowly made his way to the door to the gas station, each slow and dragging step sending an eerie echo through the garage that made Rhett feel like he was a zombie.
            Inside the gas station, Jenny was sitting on the front counter reading a magazine while Laura was sitting on the floor nearby, still with her chips. "Hey," she said "You kick me out and you weren't even staying in there?" Rhett shook his head "I don't need you greasing up my car seats," he said. "Oh please," Laura protested "Like it matters how nice you car looks." Jenny looked up from her magazine long enough to roll her eyes at the two before returning to her article.
            It was then a smell his Rhett's nose. It was a chemical and coffee smell, mixed with fire. "Who tried to make coffee?" he asked. "Mike," Jenny said without looking up "Have some if you want. I wouldn't suggest it though." Rhett looked to the pot of black sludge next to the coffee maker and decided to walk back to the drink aisle. There he found a whole section for energy drinks, untouched from the previous days scavenging.
            "No one thought to grab any of these?" he asked aloud as he opened the door and grabbed a can. It was still cold, as the stations emergency generator was still powering the coolers as well as the gas pumps. "You should be drinking a water or something," Tara said as she walked up to him. "Yeah, that too," Rhett said as he cracked the can open and gulped down the beverage "How come we didn't grab any of these?"
            "Same reason Mike won't let us pack booze," Tara said "It's not vital. Most of the food and water from here is packed up, getting those would just take up precious space."
            "Screw that," Rhett said as he walked over and grabbed a basket "Where is Mike anyway?"
            "Well, while we slept off our booze, Mike and some people took some empty gas cans from around here and filled up on fuel. He, Steve and Jason then went off to find a decent car so we're not all cramming into yours."
            "Wait, Steve is up doing stuff. Correct me if I'm wrong, but he was drinking with us last night."
            "Yeah, he had more than both of us combined and he's fine while I woke up a wreck. The guy's a tank, what can I say?"
            "Clearly," Rhett said as he walked the basket back to the energy drinks and loaded a bunch in "So how long have the three of them been out?"
            "A while," Tara said as she walked to the water and grabbed a bottle "You know what's fucking bull shit though? Mike thinks we'll make it to Albany in a matter of hours, even though we hit nothing but resistance on our way up here."
            "So?" Rhett asked "Isn't that why he's insisting on vital supplies?"
            "Well we don't have much in the way of food. We've got snack cakes and junk food shit. This gas station won't have actual food. We should spend some time tracking that kind of stuff down." She handed him the bottle as Rhett gave in and opened it to drink. "So what are you saying?" he said "We should go scavenging for some food while the others track down a car?"
            "I just need someone dumb enough to go with me," Tara said with a smile "I saw Mike's map last night and there's suppose to be a small neighborhood not too far from here. We hit up a house or two, load up on some food and head back before Mike comes back." Rhett chugged the remainder of his water before tossing the bottle aside. "Well what are we waiting for?" he asked.
            They returned to Rhett's car as he retrieved the last police flare he had left, as well as his shotgun and two handguns. Tara grabbed her magnum and all the ammo from Eric's bag. Jenny insisted on tagging along and Rhett gave her one of his handguns. "You sure this is a good idea?" Matt asked as the trio finished gearing up. "It's no big deal," Tara said "We'll be super careful and be back soon. We'll even go out the back."
            "What about me?" Laura said, wanting in on the mission. "Guard the chips," Rhett said as they walked away from her. "And stay out of my car," he said as he hit the button on his remote to lock his car's doors. "You're an ass!" Laura yelled as Rhett smirked.
            The back of the gas station was abandoned as the trio made their way out, handguns drawn. Rhett had taken the straps he had from last night and fastened them around the shotgun, allowing him to sling it around his back and keep his hands free. Jenny and Tara wore empty bags on their backs to put food in. Tara led the way down a side street.
            They came up on a short street with a few houses on it. "I don't see anything around," Tara whispered "In an out real quick." They went up to the first hour and crept up the front stairs. Tara tried the front door but found it locked. "You don't think people just left their houses unlocked, do you?" Rhett asked. Tara flashed him a sarcastic grin as she took off her pack and opened it to reveal a crowbar and said "You don't think I came unprepared, do you?"
            Tara stepped back and thrust the crowbar into the doorframe, wedged where the door latch would be. She began to push and pull, trying to break the door down. "You've never done this before, have you?" Rhett asked. "Fuck you, you try it then," Tara said as she stepped back and motioned to the crowbar sticking out of the door. "Guys?" Jenny asked, interrupting them "Why don't we just try that house?" She pointed down the street to a house with the front door wide open. "Fuck you, too," Tara said as she pulled out the crowbar with some effort and the three made their way down the street.
            There was blood splatter on the front porch and bloody footprints leading away from the house. "Think anything is inside?" Jenny asked as Tara poked her head in and shouted "Hello?" They tensed up and waited a moment, but nothing came. "Rhett, stay here and guard the door," Tara said as she motioned Jenny to follow her inside.
            "Rhett seems okay," Jenny said as they reached the kitchen and started opening cabinets. "Yeah, he's good," Tara said.
            "I mean," Jenny said "No one else seems to like him. Mike wants him gone, Laura thinks he's a prick and Steve doesn't entirely trust him. But you seem to like him."
            "I don't see what the problem is."
            "I dunno. He doesn't seem like he wants to be here. Like we're twisting his arm to have him around."
            "He's got a friend in Buffalo he's trying to reunite with."
            "But we're going east."
            "And they're both going to Safe Haven like us. He's just trying to figure out the easiest way there."
            "That explains it."
            "Explains what?"
            "Mike said he's only putting up with Rhett for now because after Albany, he'll be gone."
            "What if Albany is zombie-town?"
            "I don't think he cares. You're the only one who seems to like this guy."
            "I don't like him that much, but I also don't see why we need to chase him off the first chance we get."
            "I don't know either. It's a Mike issue. Rhett's got a gun, he's not afraid to fight zombies, or anyone else with a screw loose for that matter, and he doesn't have any reason to stick around but he does. He could have left already for Albany and make it by time the rest of us finally get moving. But instead he's here, helping us find food and shit so we all might make it."
            "Like I said, he's good. Don't knock him like that. Would you rather still have Eric?"
            "I'd rather no one died. Yesterday was tough on all of us. Eric wasn't himself. Yeah, shooting Sarah was inexcusable, but we would have dealt with it; Mike would have dealt with it. He didn't deserve to die for it."
            "Remember what Steve said he wanted to do?"
            "And Steve's wrong, too. We can't just kill each other. We're no better than those things then."
            "It's not the same," Tara said but Jenny wasn't talking anymore. They searched the kitchen cabinets and loaded up what they could in silence. Tara opened the refrigerator but found the food inside had become rank from the power being out too long. "That's all I think we'll find in this house," Tara stated as they made their way back to the front.
            "Rhett?" Tara asked upon seeing an abandoned doorway "Rhett, where are you?" Rhett came jogging in from outside. "What the hell? she asked. Rhett pointed into another room. Tara turned the corner and saw a motionless body in the next room. "Oh shit," she said. "It's got a steak knife rammed in its eye socket," Rhett said "And a fuck ton of blood. Footsteps then lead away, too small to be made by that thing. Whatever happened, someone got hurt, and everyone left in a hurry to get help. Footsteps lead outside and to the driveway where a car would be."
            "How long ago?" Jenny asked. Rhett shrugged "Can't have been that long ago."
            "So..." Jenny said as she nervously gripped her backpack "These people are coming back."
            "Probably not," Rhett said.
            "They left to get help. They're coming back."
            "They're not. They left with an infected to get help they'll never find."
            "I'm not stealing from these people," Jenny said as she marched back to the kitchen and dumped the contents of her bag onto the table. "What are you doing?" Tara asked. "These people are alive and might come back," Jenny said.
            "We need that food," Tara reminded her.
            "We have enough. We don't need anything," Jenny said as she swung her empty bag around her back and stared at Tara.
            "I'm not dumping this shit out if that's what your waiting for."
            "If these people come back and find their food gone..." Jenny started but shook her head. "It's just as good as us trying to kill them."
            "If we have to confirm the demise of everyone living at every house we loot before we actually take anything, it's gonna be a long God damn day," Rhett complained.
            "I know you wouldn't have a problem with this," Jenny snapped.
            "Yeah, I don't have a problem with trying to stay alive."
            "Guys, don't" Tara tried to intervene, but both sides ignored her.
            "You're essentially trying to kill these people, and I know how comfortable you are with killing people," Jenny said, her tone raising as she talked.
            "The people who lived here are essentially dead," Rhett said back "If you're so concerned about them, why don't you stick around and wait for them to come home."
            "We can take from other places."
            "We just got done robbing a fucking gas station!" Rhett shouted "Where do you draw the line? We do what we have to in order to survive!"
            "That doesn't mean we become monsters."
            Rhett shook his head "If you think we're monsters now..." he said.
            "Not us," Jenny said as she walked passed him for the front "Just you."
            Tara stood uncomfortably by and waited for Rhett. "I'm sorry," she said "We should have tried to get into that first house."
            "Doesn't matter," Rhett said as he grabbed a can of food on the table and opened it "Albany, then I'm out. Any longer and I'll be pissing off too many of you fuckers."
            "No," Tara said "She's wrong. But we're not exactly right. I dunno."
            "What do you think about what I did to Eric?"
            "I don't like to think about it."
            "Shit's gone to hell out here and he tried to kill me. I don't owe any of you a God damn thing, so when he tried to kill me, I fucking made sure he didn't get another chance. I'm not trying to make any friends out here, I'm just trying to stay alive. I don't give a fuck if none of you idiots like me."
            "No one's asking you to be the nicest person here."
            "Tell me to leave, Tara. Tell me to leave right now and I'm in my car and gone in the next five minutes."
            "No."
            "Mike and all them are finding a new car for themselves anyway. Tell me to leave and I'm history, just another face in the apocalypse."
            "I won't."
            "Why not?"
            "Because I don't want you to go!" Tara shouted "I don't want you to go after Albany either, I don't want you to go at all. I don't care if nobody likes you and I don't care if you hate everyone here. We're in this together and I don't give a shit about who likes who. No one makes it if we don't help each other. I don't make it without you.
            "I was there when Eric shot Sarah. I saw the look in his eyes when he turned and shot you. I tried to kill him. I raised the gun you gave me and I aimed and I just...couldn't do it. And I saw the look in his eyes, like he had changed. He was someone different, and I was afraid of what he was going to do, to me. I couldn't pull the trigger.
            "I've never killed anything before, never shot a gun. I thought maybe it was his gun, like the magnum gave him confidence to go out and kill anything without worry. I'm terrified of all this. I'm still terrified. This whole situation feels hopeless. But you show up and I feel like maybe we can make it. We, not you, we. You alone are going to get killed. I don't want you to die any more than I don't want to die."
            Rhett stood there with his jaw set. Tara kept eye contact with his, waiting for a reply. "I don't go anywhere after Albany without Jake," he finally said. "If Albany is legit and we can get to Safe Haven from there..." Tara said "Then I'll wait with you until he shows up. Or go with you to get him, wherever that is." Rhett smiled as he nodded. "Deal," he said.

May 31, 2015

Race for Safe Haven - The Most Important Knowledge in the World

[Posted by Ted H]

God help us all, the Alabama Hot Pocket story is true......and somewhere, it's an actual thing...

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[Race for Safe Haven - The Most Important Knowledge in the World]

            As night fell, most of the group found a quiet spot to spend the night. Matt had volunteered for the first watch, and had set up right at the garage door peeking out. He lost count of the hours passing as he watched zombies occasionally wander by, blindly making their way to where they thought a new meal waited.
            Closed in the office, lit up with flashlights and electric lanterns found in the station, Tara, Rhett and Steve sat enjoying the beer. They tried to keep the noise down for the sake of everyone else sleeping, but also in case any zombie was nearby. As Steve stated before, Mike wouldn't allow any beer to be packed, so they decided to drink it all now and spend the next day hung over before leaving the following day. They were only a couple cases into the beer and already feeling tipsy.
            "So this chick," Steve said, continuing a story while trying not to laugh "She's missing pretty much her entire left arm. I mean it was wrapped up and everything, but you could tell it was torn to shreds. She's infected out the ass, sweating and puking up a storm."
            "There's a joke in there, right?" Tara asked as Steve put his hand up and nodded at her vigorously. "Yeah, yeah, yeah," he said "Like I said, she was dead and she knew it. And at this point it's just us. And she looks at me and says she needs me to do her a favor. Now I'm thinking she wants me to put her out of her misery or something like that. I don't think I could do it, I start to freak out and shit because she's dead anyway and all she wants me to do is make it suck less.
            "So anyway, I decide to help her out. I tell her "Anything," and play it up all dramatic, right? And she just looks up at me, pale, dying face and all. I'm bracing for it, that moment when she asks me to take her life. And she says...you know what she says? She says..." Steve stops talking to suppress a laugh as he tries to finish.
            "What did she say?" Rhett said, bracing for the end to the story and annoyed that Steve couldn't finish without laughing.
            "Okay, okay," Steve said as he composed himself "She looks up at me and says that she doesn't want to die a virgin." Steve and Rhett break out into laughter as Tara smiles and shakes her head. "Oh my God," she said as she opened another beer "That's horrible."
            "So I have no idea what to say," Steve continued "I mean, I was mentally preparing to kill this chick, and here she's asking me to bone her before she dies."
            "Did you do it?" Rhett asked.
            "Look," Steve said "This chick is infected with whatever the fuck that virus is called. I'm pretty sure it might also spread like an STD. So I look back at her and say she just needs to rest or something. Luckily, she passed out a few minutes later."
            "Should've gone for it," Tara said.
            "Hey," Steve said "I know my chances of staying alive long out here are slim. I mean, I'm a fat guy in the apocalypse, I know I'm living on borrowed time. But really, I don't need to intentionally get myself killed."
            "Oh man, what if she died while you screwed her," Rhett said with a wide grin and bright face "And then she went all zombie without you knowing it and bit your dick off?"
            "Shut up," Steve said while pretending to throw his drink.
            "Was she at least hot?" Tara asked.
            "Yeah, she was cute," Steve admitted "In retrospect, she would've been down for pretty much anything. Dying girls might be kinky like that. Might've tried an Alabama Hot Pocket."
            "What the fuck is an Alabama Hot Pocket?" Tara asked while Rhett gave an intrigued look.
            "It's disgusting," Steve said "You don't want to know."
            ""Now I gotta know," Rhett said while Tara egged Steve on. "C'mon, you have to tell us," she said "You can't do that; say something like that and not explain it."
            "Alright," Steve relented "Not that I've ever done this, but an Alabama Hot Pocket is when you hold a girls vagina open and take a shit right inside it."
            Tara dry heaved a little. "Awe man," Rhett said while laughing "I've seen some shit today and all through this apocalypse, but I draw the line at that."
            "Why would you want to do that?" Tara asked.
            "I never said I'd enjoy it," Steve said as backed from the table "But hey, if she would try it, who knows?"
            Everyone finished their beers and cracked open new ones as Matt entered the office. "What's wrong, Matt?" Steve asked. "Nothing," Matt said "Just, I need a break and Laura's taking over. I don't think she'll stay awake long though." Steve nodded as he stood up. "I don't think she'd stay awake neither," he said "Hell, it's a bad idea to trust her alone to begin with."
            With that, Steve left and headed to look out with Laura, leaving Matt with Rhett and Tara. "Hey Matt," Rhett said as he reached into his back pocket and pulled out a wad of cash "I owe you for the gas." Matt stared in disbelief as Rhett dropped a handful of twenty dollar bills on the desk. "Are you serious?" he asked as he walked to the desk and looked at the money.
            "What's the problem?" Tara asked. "How can you think that money is anything more than glorified toilet paper now?" Matt said as he sat down. "I dunno," Rhett said "Never know. What's really bothering you?" Matt sighed as he buried his face in his hands. "It's the end of the world," he said "And only a select few will have what it takes to survive."
            "You've made it this far," Rhett said "Think of all the people you've outlived."
            "Yeah," Matt said "Because of other people "On my own? I wouldn't last two days."
            "Don't be so hard on yourself," Tara said "None of us would last long on our own."
            "What were you before the world ended, Rhett?" Matt asked.
            "No one important," Rhett deflected.
            "But you look like you could make it," Matt said "You were smart enough to do things like get a weapon, take equipment from a cop car and even take money in case the world could still be salvaged. You know what I did? I left my home without supplies like a sheep because the television said to. And when things got bad, I hid in the comic shop where I worked. I hid under a rock and waited for someone to save me. And when that person died, only then did I think to take his gun and defend myself."
            "Don't be so hard on yourself," Tara said as slid a fresh beer over to Matt "I ran into Jenny and we hid together in an outlet store. We weren't exactly thriving on our own either."
            "You don't understand," Matt said "I don't have any special skills or knowledge that'll help me survive out there. Do you know what it's like for 99 percent of your acquired knowledge and skill set to suddenly be rendered useless?"
            "Can't be that bad," Rhett suggested.
            "I have a detailed knowledge of Captain America's back story, I can recite the Green Lantern oath in my sleep, I know every X-men team configuration through the 1990's and I can identify and list every bat symbol style chronologically including non-canon versions. All of that is pointless now."
            "It can't all be useless," Tara said as she leaned on the desk, struggling to find something to say "You...uh, you look like you eat healthy. I bet you know a healthy diet that's viable for the apocalypse."
            "I don't know any diets," Matt said "Well...one, but no, it's useless."
            "What's the diet?" Rhett asked as he went to drink.
            "It's a diet to allow natural breast enlargement in women. A bigger boobs plan."
            Rhett almost choked on beer as Tara laughed. "Are you serious?" she asked "That's awesome!" Rhett coughed a few times to clear his windpipe. "You my friend, contain the most important knowledge in the world," he said "Especially now since I'm sure plastic surgeons aren't exactly practicing anymore. We need to keep you alive."
            "How do you even know that?" Tara asked. "My brother had a girlfriend who had a breast reduction procedure," Matt said "He wasn't exactly too thrilled about it, but he said he had a plan. He secretly put her on this diet; bought her the right foods, cooked her specific meals. I didn't believe it at first, but lo and behold, she was back to double Ds in no time."
            "You need to share this secret," Tara said as Matt finally laughed and opened his beer. The rest of the night was filled with drunken exchanges and stories, before everyone finally called it a night and retired to their own corner of the gas station to sleep.

May 25, 2015

Race for Safe Haven - Only the Essentials

Hmmmm, been forgetting to update lately. My bad...

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[Race for Safe Haven - Only the Essentials]

            After slipping his shirt back on, he moved to get up. "Oh, this is gonna hurt for a while." he noted as every motion on the way up sent waves of pain through him all the way to his back. After standing, he walked his way to his car. Looking out the garage door, he noticed how quickly it was getting dark out. He opened the driver's side door and retrieved his keys, still in the ignition. "Only I get to drive from now on," he said as he closed the door and went to the trunk to get something before joining the others inside the gas station.
            Various bits of food and equipment were being gathered by the register. Mike was coordinating it all into three piles; car supplies, food and everything else. Steve and Tara were meanwhile carrying all the alcohol they could find into the back office. "Just the essentials, eh?" Rhett asked as Steve walked by. "Mike won't let us take any on the road," Steve responded "So drink them while you got them."
            After everything was sorted, Mike and Steve sat in the back office discussing their next plan while standing over a map. Rhett walked in carrying some straps he found. "We have three handguns and Eric's magnum," Mike said as Rhett walked over. "Two more and a shotgun," Rhett reminded him. "So you changed your mind?" he asked, not too thrilled with what he heard. "Yeah," Rhett said "At least to scout ahead to Albany. After that, I'm going to find my friend in Buffalo."
            "That's a day or two at the most," Steve said "I think he should stick around for it." Mike slowly nodded. "Absolutely," Tara said, carrying a final case of beer. "Fine, fine," Mike said, surrendering to the idea "Rhett can stay, but just watch where you aim from now on." Rhett frowned. "You make it sound like I have a habit of shooting the living." Mike ignored him as he returned to the map.
            "The interstate is probably hopelessly congested," he said as he trailed his finger along the map, showing the road "We're gonna have to stick to back roads."
            "Should we hit up Utica for supplies, or try to power through to Albany?" Steve asked.
            "I don't want to stop at any more cities if I can help it," Mike said "We almost didn't make it out of this one."
            "But what if Albany is gone just like here?" Tara asked.
            "How long do you think it'll take us to drive to Albany? We'll be fine." Mike said.
            "It took you a week to get here from Harrisburg," Steve reminded him.
            "Let's just play it by ear for now," Mike said "We head out tomorrow."
            "Is that a good idea?" Steve asked.
            "We have a car, we have supplies. What more are we waiting for?" Mike asked.
            "We might not have enough gas to make it to Albany, even if we start with a full tank," Steve said "We need to fill all the extra gas cans we can. Also it wouldn't hurt to find a second car."
            "You aren't so keen on having me around, yet you forget whose car that is in the garage," Rhett said, earning a look from Mike.
            "We can't afford to wait forever," Mike said, crossing his arms.
            "One day," Tara said "It won't kill us. I'll give you a chance to find a good car, and some of us could use a day to get our bearings after today."
            "Fine," Mike said, realizing no one else shared his view "One day. After that we double time it to Albany." Mike's statement was received with shrugs and nods as he left.
            "Is he ever in a good mood?" Rhett asked. "He's just...you know," Steve said. "Being in charge has its pressures," Tara added. Rhett shrugged and reached for a beer.
            "Why is he the one in charge?" Rhett asked.
            "He knows how to get to Safe Haven," Steve said "He keeps a packet of information on him detailing how to get there, he knows what stuff is needed and when."
            "It's complicated," Tara simply said.
            "What if something happens to him?" Rhett asked.
            "Well he was teaching..." Tara started "Uh, he was teaching Eric what he needed to know, just in case."
            "Lovely," Rhett said as he took a swig of beer.
            "Matt too," Tara continued "He knows a few things."
            "Why doesn't he teach everyone?" Rhett asked.
            "Insurance I guess," Tara said "As long as he alone has the knowhow to get there, then it keeps him in charge and keeps us from ditching him."
            "Mike's the one who knew about the pickup locations," Steve said "Picked each of us up and accumulated the group along the way. You're just the latest entrant."
            "Really?" Rhett said "No one here knew anyone else before?"
            "Nah," Steve said "When he found me, it was just him, and Matt. We found Eric not long after, then Tara and Jenny. Next we ran across Sarah, Jason came next, Laura a couple days ago and finally you." Rhett looked to Tara. "You and Jenny knew each other?"  he asked. "Nah," Tara said "Not before the apocalypse. We kind of ran into each other and had each other's back until Mike and them showed up."
            "That reminds me of this guy I met," Rhett said "The day everything started going to shit, I headed for my local bar, don't ask why. Anyway, there was this guy there, Chris..."

May 10, 2015

Race for Safe Haven - Another Gas Station?

[Posted by Ted H]

Yes....2 different bars and 2 different gas stations before Act 1 is even over.....for the record though, I don't plan on there being another bar in the near future....but I always envision gas stations as being prime looting points in an apocalypse. End of the world happening? 1st place I'm hitting up is a gas station...followed by a drug store...

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[Race for Safe Haven - Another Gas Station?]

            "Another fucking gas station?" Laura asked as she tried to adjust herself squeezed in the backseat next to Steve. It wasn't comfortable, but it seemed better than the back where Rhett, Tara and Jenny had to situate themselves  with all the bags of supplies and equipment. "This one has a garage we can hide out it," Mike said as he folded up his map. They were out of the city and in to the more sparsely populated rural area.
            Jason stopped just short of the garage portion. "We need a way to open this," Mike said as Matt volunteered to look. Jason stayed in the car while everyone piled out and Matt went to get into the station. "What happened?" Mike asked Steve. "What more do you need to know?" Steve asked. "Eric obviously made it out of there," Mike said "How did he get swarmed?"
            "I killed him," Rhett said plainly as he walked by.
            "What?" Mike yelled as he reached for his weapon.
            "Eric shot Sarah first," Steve said, stepping between the two "Then he shot Rhett. Eric went fucking crazy, I was about to put a bullet in him myself."
            "I don't understand," Mike said as he dropped his hand from his gun.
            "Sarah was bit. Got infected."
            Mike closed his eyes and sighed. "Eric wasn't gonna let her live long like that," Steve continued "Killed her. Rhett stood up to him inside the club, so I guess he figured Rhett needed killing too, I dunno. Like I said, he went fucking crazy."
            "It's true," Tara added as she walked over "The last day was tough on all of us, but I bet Eric just couldn't deal with it. Did a lot of stupid things, some things we stupidly went along with..." Mike looked passed Steve to see Rhett, who looked back at him with a calm look. "What do you have to say about it?" he asked. Rhett shrugged "I did what I had to," he said "I'm just trying to survive this, like everyone else."
            Mike shook his head as he walked away. Matt had gotten into the garage and was now raising the door. "Inside!" he called as everyone followed Jason as he drove the car into the garage. Rhett looked about before the door lowered closed; nothing was around or approaching. "This is where we're spending the night?" Jenny asked Mike, who said nothing.
            In the back of the garage was a desk with a rolling chair behind it. Rhett made his way over to it and sat down. He pulled his shirt over his head and took it off to reveal the bulletproof vest. He held up the shirt to examine the hole in the chest. "Damn," he said as he ran his finger through it. "Too bad about your shirt," Tara said as she walked over and sat on the desk in front of Rhett. "You kidding me?" he asked "It's lucky. If he shot me anywhere else, I'd be dead."
            "That's...one way to look at it," Tara said as Rhett dropped the shirt and opened the vest to take off. "You make it a habit to wear clothes over things like that?" Rhett shrugged. "Fooled Eric," he said as he dropped the vest. All he had left was a white t-shirt that he pulled up to reveal a large, dark black and blue bruise on his chest.
            "Owe," Tara commented as Rhett dropped the shirt back down, covering the mark "That looks painful."
            Rhett smiled. "That bullet hit me so hard, my back hurts. I swear I thought it went through me at first."
            "Where's the bullet?"
            "In the vest I think. I've never been shot by a bullet before, but I didn't expect it to be that painful."
            "Eric did always go on about how awesome his gun was," Tara said as she held up the magnum.
            "Yeah, .357 is defiantly up there with the worst things I've been hit by."
            "You've been shot by something else?"
            "Paintballs," Rhett said with a grin "My buddy Jake and I knew this kid growing up. Every week during the summer, he'd drag us to this paintball park and we'd spend hours just running around and shooting each other."
            "Must have been good preparation."
            "Something like that. Though getting hit by a paintball is nothing like a bullet. But you know what's worse? Steel ball bearings."
            "What's that?"
            "What the name implies. Sometimes they come the size of a paintball. Some kid with psychological issues snuck a bunch into his  batch of regular paintballs one day. Went after me and Jake. Nailed Jake right in the mask, couple inches from hitting his head. Shattered the corner of his mask, cut him too."
            "That must've hurt."
            "Maybe. I wasn't too concerned since he nailed me in the knee with one of them. Fractured it and everything. Don't remember too much after."
            "I bet you were walking funny after that."
            "Nah, but I don't think I healed all the way neither. Every so often it'll hurt for a while. And if I take a nasty fall on it, it hurts so bad I can barely walk."
            "What happened to the kid who shot you?"
            "Banned for life. Never saw him again. Jake did run into him one time after that. Took a rock and hurled it at his crotch. Then he jumped on his knee and spit on his head to remind him who he fucked with."
            "Oh my God."
            "Yeah...good times."
            "Well, good to hear your friend had your back."
            "Speaking of which..." Rhett dug into his pocket to retrieve his phone. On it was an unread text. "Rochester is fucked. Any luck back home?" he read from the message. "Shit," he said as he texted "nope."
            "I don't think many of the shelters made it long," Tara said "At least around here." Before Rhett could respond, his phone started ringing. "What the fuck, Jake?" he asked as he looked to Tara. "What?" Jake said on the other line. Tara gave a quizzical look and Rhett put the phone on speaker mode and placed it on the desk.
            "I thought we agreed to text only?" Rhett said.
            "That's a stupid rule," Jake responded.
            "What if I was trying to hide from zombies?"
            "You texted. That meant you were safe, right?"
            "Maybe I just texted to check in, but was still vulnerable."
            "Then your phone would be off or something."
            "You know I never do that," Rhett said "Though, probably would have been smart to do that before." Tara tried to stifle a laugh.
            "Oooo, you ain't alone, are you," Jake said.
            "Nah," Rhett responded "Found some people."
            "What, no introductions?"
            "Don't matter. They're heading to Albany. We're meeting up somewhere between here and Rochester."
            "Ah, point taken. How come they're going to Albany?"
            "Good question," Rhett said as he looked to Tara "Hey Tara, why Albany?"
            "Hi Tara! I'm Jake!" Jake yelled through the phone.
            Tara laughed before answering "Fastest way to Safe Haven."
            "What the fuck is Safe Haven?" Rhett asked before stopping himself "Wait, you mean that place in California?"
            "Yeah," Tara said "Mike has all the details. I'm just along for the ride, you know?"
            "Jake, you idiot," Rhett said to his phone "It's not a safe haven, it's called Safe Haven."
            "Same fucking difference," Jake said.
            "Well if you guys are trying to get there too, just come with us," Tara offered.
            "Why Albany?" Rhett asked.
            "State capital," Tara said "Apparently it's the last evacuation location that'll be operational in the state."
            "Well shit," Rhett said "Jake, let's meet up and head for Albany."
            "Sounds like a plan!"
            "So you're coming with us?" Tara asked.
            "No," Rhett said "Not without Jake. We'll meet up and catch up to you guys."
            "Well," Tara said "We're not actually sure if Albany's still operational."
            "You just said..." Rhett started.
            "I know," Tara said "But I haven't been with this group as long as Mike has. He came from Harrisburg and it was gone. Albany isn't his first attempt at getting to Safe Haven."
            "New plan?" Jake asked.
            "I have no idea," Rhett responded.
            "Then we recon some more!" Jake announced.
            "No," Rhett protested "I still have my car. I'll come pick you up and we'll hit up Albany together. Regroup with the rest of these guys then."
            "And what if Albany's lost too?"
            "You got a better idea?"
            "I read a lot of wall scribbles about Buffalo still being viable."
            "Man, fuck Buffalo."
            "Hah," Jake laughed "But seriously, I'll check that out, you look at Albany. We'll figure our next move from there."
            "I'll be in Albany long before you even get to Buffalo," Rhett said "Hell, I can go from Albany to Buffalo in my car faster than you can get there on foot. And is splitting apart more really the best course of action?"
            "Probably not, but I had a mob of zombies chase me far west anyway. And I bet I can find a working car before long anyway," Jake said "If Albany's legit, I'll come right over. If not, meet me in Buffalo. Easy shit."
            Rhett groaned "Fine," he said.
            "Great!" Jake said "I'm gonna pack it in now, head out tomorrow. By the way, what's your kill count?"
            "I have no idea," Rhett said "Haven't been really keeping count."
            "Well start!"
            Rhett rolled his eyes "Fine whatever," he said "Try not to die."
            "Stay frosty!"
            "I like your friend," Tara said as Rhett put the phone away. "Yeah, he's a riot," he said as he sat back in the chair. "So you coming with us?" Tara asked. "Maybe, I dunno," Rhett said "Half your people aren't exactly crazy about me."
            "Oh, don't worry," Tara said waving her hand in the air to dismiss the thought "They'll get over it." Rhett shrugged. "You don't want me around," he said "I'm an asshole. I also killed one of your own."
            "Eric was an asshole," Tara responded "And Mike's butthurt about it now cuz they were becoming buds like he and Matt are now, but he was borderline psychotic and Jenny and I were scarred shitless around him half the time. You could only imagine how fun it was being all cooped up with him in the strip club. You're not an asshole though."
            "I have it on good authority that I am," Rhett said.
            "Whose authority?" Tara asked.
            "Some guy who was infected early on, commenting on how shitty of a person I was before he asked me to help him kill himself."
            "Did you?"
            "...No. Took him home to his family instead."
            "See? You're a good guy. There's that, you care about your friend, you even cared about perfect strangers in a strip club."
            "Yeah, well..." Rhett shrugged as he looked away.
            "I never did thank you for that," Tara said as she leaned over and kissed Rhett on the cheek. "Uh," Rhett said, caught off guard "You're welcome?" Tara smiled. "Stick around," she said as she got up and walked away "Asshole or not, some of us want you around." Rhett waited a moment after to pick up the vest and examine the hole in it while feeling the bruise on his chest. "Worth it," he said as he dropped the vest onto the desk and grabbed his shirt.

April 26, 2015

Race for Safe Haven - Who's the Boss?

[Posted by Ted H]

Interviewed for a FT job last week. Still plan to keep the PT job if I get it, meaning 60 hour work weeks. Yaaaaaaaay adulthood!

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[Race for Safe Haven - Who's the Boss?]

            Rhett returned to the window to see the effect of the flare tossing. The far end of each end of the street was littered with bright red flares. The dead flocking to each flare as a potential meal, parting the area of the street the club was in like the Red Sea. Tara walked up to him to also check out the scene. "This is gonna work, right?" she asked.
            "Probably," Rhett responded.
            "Sorry about Eric. He's kind of...intense sometimes."
            "Sometimes?"
            Jenny was getting Sarah up and bringing her to the stairway entrance while Steve and Eric were pulling the last parts of the barricade away. Rhett pulled out one of his handguns and offered it to Tara. "Just in case," he said. "I'm Tara," she said as she quickly took the gun and concealed it before Eric saw. "I'm Rhett."
            "Just try not to provoke Eric too much," Tara said.
            "Don't worry. Once we're done here, we're probably going our separate ways."
            "Well," Tara said after a pause "Try not to piss him off in the next five minutes."
            "No promises."
            "We ready?" Eric announced, the door to the stairway now unprotected, some zombies pounding on the door outside. "Sure thing, boss," Rhett said with some sarcasm. Tara flashed him a worried look, then went to help Jenny with Sarah. "Steve, cover the back," Eric instructed "I'll get the door. You can take point, cowboy." Rhett smirked as he walked up and readied his shotgun. Eric pulled the door open to reveal three zombies trying to get in.
            Rhett fired and all three were thrown back and down the stairs. One was dead immediately, another broke its neck on the fall. One zombie was still alive, but tangled in the bodies of the others with a broken arm. Rhett flew down the stairs, ready for anything else that wanted to attack. "Why are two of these dead girls topless?" he asked as he looked around at the first floor.
            A bar sat nearby, stocked with bottles and glasses all marked for nonalcoholic beverages. Behind the bar was a stage with poles lining all the way back to a small DJ booth. In the back were booths and chairs, all decorated with tacky designs. The entire area was lit up by light coming in through all the broken windows in front. "We're at a fucking strip club?" Rhett yelled out, prompting a barricaded door to the back to be pounded on. The door inched forward a bit to allow arms to reach around and try to push it away. "Zombie strippers?" Rhett asked to himself with a smile.
            From the other side of the club, several more zombies took notice of Rhett and the sound of everyone else coming down the stairs. "Ladies," Rhett said as a few topless zombies made their way forward. They would have to traverse around the dance stage that was cutting the two sides off from each other. By time they arrived, Rhett and the others planned to be long gone.
            "C'mon!" Eric yelled as he came down the stairs, the girls stumbling down behind him. The front door was right in front of them an unobstructed. Rhett moved forward and opened it to reveal nothing trying to get in. "Go make sure it's clear to the street," Eric said as Rhett nodded and ran forward outside. Everyone else filed out and shut the door behind them.
            Sarah was allowed to sit down on the front steps and hold her throbbing leg while Jenny and Tara stepped away. "We're out of sight right here," Steve said as he ventured forward a bit to try to see how far Rhett had gone to scout. Eric nodded approvingly at how smoothly things had been going to this point, but he knew the hard part was still ahead.
            Sarah was infected, and there was no way he could allow for her to remain a potential danger to the group. He could explain that to Mike, but he knew Mike could be coaxed otherwise by Tara and Steve and maybe the new guy. But Mike wasn't here, and he decided he needed to make a battlefield decision. Eric turned to regard Sarah and aimed his gun at her. He shot her right in the forehead before she could even get a word out in protest.
            He whirled around and aimed at Steve next, who had just realized what happened. "Don't do anything stupid, Steve," he said as Steve could only look at him with a dropped jaw. "Now then," he said as he turned to see Rhett sprinting back at the sound of a gunshot. Without hesitating, he aimed and shot Rhett, causing him to suddenly stop and sprawl backwards.
            "What are you doing?" Jenny screamed as moans of the dead taking heed to the gunshots were now approaching. "I'm not looking to kill anyone else," Eric said as he noticed Tara pull out a handgun and nervously aim it. "You're not going to do that," he said as he calmly walked up to her "Sarah was already dead, and that asshole was a danger. I just took care of business for the good of the group." He casually placed his hand on top of Tara's gun and pushed it aside.
            "I told you I'd get us out of here, didn't I?" he asked.
            "You also said that to Sarah," Tara said back.
            Eric sighed. "There was nothing we could do for her," he yelled "Not anymore. When we get back to Mike, that's what we're gonna tell him."
            "And what about Rhett?" Tara asked.
            "He sacrificed himself," Eric decided "So that we could get away. Nobody say a word about me killing him."
            "Sure thing, boss," someone sarcastically said behind him. Eric spun around to see Rhett ready with his shotgun level. He winked and pulled the trigger, blowing a hole into Eric's chest and sending him backwards onto the ground, right at the feet of Sarah's body. Rhett dropped his arms and coughed out a laugh as he walked up to Eric's corpse. The others just stared at him.
            Rhett grabbed his shirt collar with one hand and pulled down to reveal the bullet proof vest he had. "So glad I pillaged that dead cop's stuff," he said as he released his collar and grabbed Eric's leg. "C'mon," he said as he started dragging the body. He brought the body to the middle of the street as zombies approaching the gunshots could see it; an easier meal. Steve meanwhile led Tara and Jenny to the corner where Jason was suppose to be picking them up at. Tara ran back to Eric's body and began digging through his pockets. She had picked up his magnum and wanted any spare bullets he had on him.
            Crashing out of the strip club came several more zombies. Some stopped at Sarah's body, but others pushed passed on their way to where Rhett was. A majority of them were strippers, in various stages of undress. Rhett stood in the middle of the street and made no effort to move; partly because of the pain he was in, but also because he was sure this was one of his fantasies, minus the zombie part. "This is how I die," he said with a smile as a mob of nude women were rushing their way to him, arms outstretched and looking to rip him apart.
            "Rhett?" Tara yelled as she grabbed the man's arm "Let's go!" Barreling down the road was a red SUV with Jason, Mike, Laura and Matt inside. Once it skid to a stop, Matt jumped out and opened the trunk, ushering everyone over. Jenny dove into the backseat while Steve aimed his gun and readied to cover.
            The majority of the zombies giving chase stopped for the meal that Eric was providing, but enough were giving chase for the living to still be a problem. Rhett and Tara arrived at the car and jumped into the back, Matt jumping in behind them and closing the truck with him. Steve got in the backseat with Jenny and slammed his door shut. "That's all of us, let's go!" he yelled and Jason backed the car up through the street before turning it around and speeding away from the dead.
            Mike had been up front giving Jason directions, but he turned around a moment to double check everyone who had added themselves recently. "Eric and Sarah," he asked aloud "What happened to them?" No one said a word until Steve spoke up. "You might have noticed a big ass cluster of them in the middle of the street?" he said "That would be where Eric was. Sarah had her own pile not too far away."
            Mike sighed and slowly turned back around. "Jason, just get us out of here," he said. The rest of the trip out of Syracuse was in silence as they sped out of the area, the mass of zombies trailing them slowly and surely fading away. The sun was beginning to set, and they still had to find a safe place to spend the night.

April 19, 2015

Race for Safe Haven - Big Man in Charge

[Posted by Ted H]

Everything hurts...Why do I work? Why can't I play the lotto or rob a bank like normal people?

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[Race for Safe Haven - Big Man in Charge]

            "Next time I'm staying in the car," Steve said as Rhett looked around the roof. The area they were on was flat and it extended to the other side of the building. "Gotta be a way off this roof," he said as he began walking. "Besides the expedient way?" Steve asked. "We need that cable," Rhett said "There's no other way to climb down."
            Rhett returned to Steve and the two of them tried pulling the cable away from the zombies, but they wouldn't let go. Both pulled back with all they had only for the cable to snap, sending them flying back. "Fucking zombies," Rhett said as Steven pushed him away and stood up. "Now WE need rescuing," he said as he put his hands on his sides and sighed. "It's just a two story drop," Rhett suggested "Can't be that bad."
            "You're an idiot," Steve snapped. "Yeah, let's just sit up here and wait to die instead," Rhett yelled. He stormed off to the other end of the roof. Looking down, he noticed two things; there were no zombies on this side of the building, and there was also a window ledge just below. He sat down on the edge and hung his legs down.
            "What are you doing?" Steve asked as he ran over. "There's a window here. Might be no zombies on this end after the commotion we caused. Either way, it's less of a drop down if we jump from this ledge." Steve made a face, but nodded as Rhett dropped himself on the edge and held on with his hands. Even dangling as low as possible, it was still a bit of a drop to the ledge that Rhett could swore looked bigger before.
            He dropped himself onto the ledge and gripped the shutters on each side of the window when he landed. "Easy," he told himself as he then began to wonder how he planned on opening this window, or how to turn himself around if he had to jump to the ground. As he glanced down to the window, he realized someone was looking out at him from inside.
            "Uh...hi?" he said to the woman looking up at him. For the moment he wasn't sure if it was another zombie, but her eyes were normal looking. "Lil help?" The woman immediately began messing with the window until she was able to push it up. Rhett was able to crouch down and slide into the building.
            "Holy shit!" another woman said as Rhett stood up. "Hold it!" someone yelled. Rhett looked to see a man pointing a gun at him "Where the hell did he come from?"
            "The sky," Rhett said pointing up.
            "Were you the one making all that noise up on the roof?" the woman at the window said while pointing up. "Yeah," Rhett said as he put his hand up to calm the guy with the gun down "You guys must be the rest of Mike's group."
            "How the fuck," the man said while he walked closer, gun still raised "Do you know about us?"
            "Because I'm here to rescue you, dipshit," Rhett said.
            "Eric, put the gun down," the other woman said. "Shut up, Jenny," Eric shouted "I don't trust this prick."
            "Rhett!" Steve called from outside "What's going on down there?" Rhett put his hand up to Eric. "Hold that thought," he said as he went back to the window. "Drop the shotgun to me and come on down," he said while looking up "It's alright. They're here!" Steve dropped him the shotgun before preparing to drop down himself while Eric and Jenny continued to argue. The sight of Steve suddenly dropping into view ended the argument. Steve almost fell backwards after landing, but Rhett was able to reach out and grab his arm. He crouched and tumbled in through the window. "Graceful," Rhett commented, earning a middle finger from Steve.
            "Holy shit, Steve!" the woman said as she helped him up and hugged him. "Hey, Tara," he said as he looked around and smiled. "What is happening?" Eric asked as he finally put his gun away and walked up to Steve. "The shittiest day of my life to date," Steve said "Is everyone alright?" Eric shrugged "All things considered? Yeah."
            "Sarah's been bit," Jenny said, pointing to the blond in the corner with her head down, a trail of blood leading from her to a larger puddle. "Damn," Steve said, his smile quickly fading. He walked over to Sarah and forgot all about the rest of the room. Eric looked back to Rhett. "Rescue, huh?" he asked "So you two have something planned?"
            "Something like that," Rhett said as he looked out the window for the building Mike said he'd be waiting in. There he spied in a window Mike watching with his binoculars. Rhett flashed a thumbs up. "Now we wait for the right moment to escape," Rhett said. "Escape how?" Jenny asked "Jump out the window? We already tried heading for the fire escape."
            "Yeah, we know that isn't an option," Rhett said "We could always try the front door." Eric shook his head. "Absolutely not," he said "We were chased up here and had to barricade the doors." Rhett looked to the stairwell barricade. "More than there were heading for the fire escape?" he asked.
            "No," Eric said "But there's only so much we can do when all we had was my one gun." Rhett smirked "I got a shotgun," he said "You got a gun, Steve's got a gun. We got guns now." Eric stared at him a moment before sighing. "We don't have a choice here, do we?" he asked. "Nope," Rhett said "You want out of here, now is the time."
            Tara walked up. "Got any guns for the rest of us?" she asked. Before Rhett could answer, Eric stepped forward. "No," he said "I can handle things."
            "Are you serious?" she asked as Jenny grabbed her shoulder. "Don't worry," she said "I need your help carrying Sarah, anyway."
            "She's not coming," Eric said as everyone looked at him. "Why?" Jenny asked after a pause. "She's infected," Eric said with a serious look on his face "She's just holding us back at this point."
            "I'll carry her myself," Steve said as he offered his gun up. "No," Eric said "I need you up front, helping us push through or no one makes it."
            "I'm not leaving if Sarah's still alive," Steve said, locking stern looks with Eric. "She's as good as dead," Eric said "We only have one shot at getting out now, I'm not letting her jeopardize our chances." Steve shrugged his shoulders. "Tough shit," he said.
            "Fine," Eric relented "But I need you shooting." Steve nodded as he gave Sarah a reassuring smile.
            Rhett knew these people for only a few moments, but he already didn't like most of them. "I just had to stop for gas," he said to himself. Outside, the sizzle of a flare sounded, and Rhett looked to see the diversion tactic already starting. Mike with Laura were tossing flares on one end of the street while Matt was doing the same on the other.
            "Alright," Rhett said "Let's get this-"
            "Who the fuck put you in charge?" Eric snapped "You want to stick around and survive with us? Fall in line!" Everyone else in the room grew silent. "And what if I don't?" Rhett said as he stepped to within a couple feet of him. Eric smirked as he reached for his gun and went to point it at Rhett again. Before he could snap his arm into position, Rhett grabbed the gun and pulled it from his hand.
            An initial shock washed over Eric's face as Rhett brought his arm back around and smacked Eric in the side of the head with the handle of his own gun. Eric was about to recover himself and rush Rhett when he noticed the man had flipped the magnum around and was now pointing it at him. Everyone else kept their distance and Steve had his hand on his gun just in case.
            "Let's get one thing straight," Rhett said "You want to be the big man in charge? Fine. But you pull a gun on me again, I can promise you it'll be the last fucking thing you ever do." Rhett dropped the magnum back on the ground and walked away. Eric just stood there, fuming, as Steve went over and picked the magnum up. "We don't have a lot of time," he reminded him. Eric snatched his gun back as he stared. "Help me open up the stairway," he said sternly as he and Steve went to work.