After the Outbreak
The sun was high in the sky, with not a cloud to shield him from it's bleating heat. Beads of sweat slathered his forehead, dripping down his neck and into his eyes. Alex White cursed, wishing he had a friggin headband. He sighed, taking a long draft of water from his canteen. He gazed at the urban metroplis looming before him. Well, it was a metropolis anyway. Now, it was a shell of it's former glory. Skyscrapers were now shattered, collapsed, piles of rust and metal. Buildings were overgrown with weeds and plant-life trying to make sense of their chaotic world. Wild, dangerous beasts roamed the broken highways and streets. And men roamed too, people long insane from the Sickness.
Alex shielded his blue eyes with his left hand, holding his Winchester rifle in his right, gazing at the rugged skyscape of the city. He needed supplies. He needed to get food, and he needed to hunker down for the night. The sun was setting; crimson ribbons blossomed beneath the bright orange orb of the sun. He headed forward, footfalls picking up little plumes of dust as he strode on through the empty wasteland. He wondered if he would find anything there. If you knew what to look for, even the long dead cities could provide something to scavenge. Even if there was nothing, he could kill something, skin it, and roast it over a fire. And he'd have shelter, instead of sleeping in the dirt. Yeah, Alex thought to himself, Melbourne would be a damn good place to rest up for the evening.
a scream, the 22nd time this week, most likely an other girl getting attacked by a group of rapers.
slowly i walked towards the edge of the roof, looking down, it was on only 2 floors up and, is was right, an Asian girl getting assaulted by a group of men, from the looks of it, they were still sane, all 3 of them, just loving the chaos, horrible grunts.
i jumped down, drew my sword, how many times have i done this last couple of years?
i crashed on the tallest one with both my feet, slamming his face at the ground while a slashed one of his friends, the other started to run, scared enough that a brown spot covers the back of his pants while the other 2 were lying, bleeding on the floor.
i grabbed the girls bag and presented it to her, she grabbed it and ran as well, at least she was not scared enough to run straight a way and accept her bag back, something i have began to take as a sign of thank you, trough i know its not, it is just the closest i can expect.
i walked back down the street, a park, closed off as it seems to be the only area that is not struggling, it is the only area i have found that is still the same as it is supposed to be, a bit overgrown, but save.
i looked around and started to clime over the fence, dropping down on the other side and proceeding to the center, a small camp, big enough for just 1 person seem to be set up with, it did not look like much, but for me it was my home..
What Blade Shuriken didn't know was at that precise moment, as he walked towards his camp, the crosshairs of a sniper rifle were trained at the base of his neck. Of course, Miles didn't have his fingers on the trigger. Yet. He saw what that man had done, saving the girl. At least, he thought he saw it. Miles couldn't be sure of much anymore, because of the disease. It had taken a foothold on him, lodging itself in his brain. He couldn't entirely trust what his brain told him he saw anymore. Or heard. Or felt. He blinked from behind the scope, blinked HARD. The fucking headaches. AGAIN. He hated the onset of the headaches. He couldn't stand them, they made him want to blow his own head off. His vission blurred slightly, but he forced himself to focus, to watch the man with the sword. Something was different about him. Something...off. The way he killed those men, they didn't even get the chance to fight back.
Miles sighed, pulled his gaze away from his scope, looked around at the tattered room he was sitting in, in a room almost half a mile away from the park. He loved his rifle, the feel of it's stock against his shoulder. He loved the booming sound it made when the bullet was ejected from the barrel, flying towards it's target, striking with pinpoint accuracy. He hated people in general, though he also longed for human contact. But being infected, he was a danger to anyone. He couldn't trust himself with a companion. He wanted to find that man, tell him how good of a person he was to save an innocent life, to shake his hand. But then he might kill him. Up here, in the window, gun in hand, he felt he had some control. But suppose he and the man became friends? Suppose they traveled together, survived together? He would probably end up killing him in his sleep, thanks to his friggin disease. Shit, he hated his life.
Miles stood to his feat, leaned his gun against the wall next to a rolled up mat that was his makeshift bedding, and sat down. He pressed his palms against his temples, willing the headache to go away. Vissions would come next, hallucinations. He hoped they wouldn't be horrible. He hoped he could keep in mind they weren't real; he didn't want to waste ammo anymore. Last time, he shot up an entire building, thinking it was full of those insane murderous infected, like him. It had been completely devoid of life, save for a few animals that got in the way of his bullets. Sitting there in the corner, head in hands, Miles tried to fight the disease that was slowly driving him insane.
Isabelle had been walking close to the walls of a building, or the ruins of one at least. Her dark hair bounced lightly in the wind behind her as she trudged forward, head down. The less eye contact she had the made the better. She couldn't help but jump when a rush of upcoming footsteps filled the silent air. She went still, hand on the gun in her jacket. However, it was only a frightened man. From the looks of it, he had been so scared he crapped himself. Isabelle shuddered. "Gross." She muttered to herself. It would only make sense for her to turn the other way and go opposite from what that man was running from but she couldn't help but be curious on what would frighten a grown man that much. Isabelle moved forward, staying close to where no one could jump her from behind. She had to take care to take long strides so the heels of her boots wouldn't click as often. Two bloodied bodies came into view. Bingo. Whoever the attack had been, they were gone. She assumed that those must have been the sissy boy's friends. Unfortunately they hadn't been as lucky to escape as he was.
Isabelle shrugged it off and jogged over to them. Dead bodies meant potential supply sources. She kicked the guy's pockets, trying to see if anything worthy was inside them. They looked to have been a couple of dirt bags and they carried nothing of interest. With a sigh, she began to examine the area. There seemed to be something on the other side of the fence. It wasn't anything too large though. She ran a hand through her hair, brushing it away from her face. Food would really be nice about now. These buildings could have something interesting but there was no point in trying to climb through a bunch of scrap metal to find at best some expired cheerios or something. She probably would have to hunt tonight.
A lone German Shephard was sniffing the ground, picking up the scent of men. And...something else. Then gunfire errupted close by, from where the scent came. His head jerked up, ears erect and tail as still as a statue. It looked towards the sound, and heard screams. He sniffed the air, catching the smell of the not-so-human thing. The dog's eyes narrowed. It was looking for food. Food for HER, his companion. he lowered his nose to the ground and suddenly perked up once more, ears flopping forward. He smelled a woman's scent, and not that of his friend. He shuffled forward, following his keen nose. And there he saw her, long hair, shimmering eyes, scowl on her face as she kicked two bodies. He liked her, but didn't know why. She wasn't infected, though someone not terribly far away was. He could smell the disease, like other dogs could smell cancer. She didn't have that scent, nor did she smell evil.
The dog made himself visible, stepping from the shadows. His fur was long and black, his stomach and paws white as snow, and a thin white stripe down his snout. In his ear was a grey tag, the numbers 7115932 etched in black. There was also a barcode beneath the numbers. It's eyes were green, flecked with bright golden specks, and it gazed up at Isabelle, wagging his bushy tail. He barked once, more of a yip really, and stepped forward, nudging her hand with his cold black nose. It was dry and slightly cracked, but the dog seemed in good shape. He barked again, licked her hand, and sat down on his haunches, looking at her expectantly.
"Son of a -" exclaim Yocta suddenly and quite involuntarily, her pants getting caught on a nearby section of downed, twisted fencing. She was constantly on edge even when in the safety of her hideout, let alone wandering this far out of central Melbourne in broad daylight. For a moment she could have sworn the metal lattice was shaped like a horrible claw, her condition and the winter sun playing a trick on her perceptions. Dr. Chetti lowered her knife, replacing it in its holster under her army coat and trying to breathe slower, carefully disengaging her clothes from the debris and moving on. Not that she would ever admit that she had been infected, though in the depths of her mind she suspected it - She had contracted it from her mother in the womb and in truth many of its effects were subsequently diminished though paranoia and delusions still plagued her in stressful times. For some reason the sun always help clear her head.
Yocta wondered briefly why she was doing something so stupid - leaving Flinder's St. Station, albeit careful not to be seen exiting it, and hiking down through the former Gardens surrounding the now further putrefied Yarra River to Richmond. But another pang of physical craving struck her and she continued, now nearly past the overgrown parks to the once impressive MCG. She had these cravings on occasion, not for food - she rarely ate and didn't really need to. She always made up excuses for herself as to why she wasn't eating but these desires - to eat dirt or, in this case, garden growth promoters - were somewhat harder to justify. Nevertheless Chetti shook off these thoughts and continued to pick her way carefully through the ruined streets.
Isabelle looked down in surprise when she felt something press against her glove. A dog? where had he come from? "Hey there buddy." She greeted softly and rubbed the dog's head gently. The tag on his ear must have meant he had an owner. He or she couldn't be too far if the dog had wandered here. But what was with the bar code? It must be nice to have a companion even if that companion was a dog. Isabelle didn't like being alone all the time. Sure, she could handle herself just fine but having someone to talk to wouldn't hurt. Of course the dog wouldn't talk back but maybe he'd listen. She took a water bottle out of her back and filled a large cap of water and set it down on the floor. "There you go." Isabelle would have gave it something to eat but she only had a couple of chocolate bars which if she remembered right, made dogs sick.
The dog looked down at the cup of water. He was thirsty, but he could always drink from a stream--dogs being immune to the disease and all. He liked Isabelle's voice, it was soft, almost musical in nature. He couldn't drink the water though, not when the girl needed him. Woman, really. He cocked his head to the side, and then slowly, deliberately, shook his head side to side. Then he yipped, and gently clasped her hand with his teeth, every so careful not to pinch her hand too hard. He gently tugged in the direction of his companion. Some would say owner, but he had no owner--he was his own dog, as it where. He stopped tugging after a second, looked up into Isabelle's eyes, and yipped, his forepaws leaving the pavement as he barked. He swished his tail a few times, threw a look over his shoulder, and sat down once more, staring at Isabelle.
Alex White was wandering the streets when he heard the screaming, the sudden fire and then silence of gunfire, and then nothing. He frowned, but wasn't really worried. All it meant was someone else was here. Didn't mean much, really, people wandered around all the time. Might be a trader or a hunter. Still, didn't sound like someone firing at an animal. He continued forward--carefully, sticking to the edges of the buildings in shadows. Then he heard barking. His eyes widened in surprise; he hadn't seen a dog in years. peering around the corner of a building, Alex saw them: the woman and a dog behaving quite strangely. The woman, for her part, seemed to be trying to give the dog some water. The dog, for it's part, seemed to be losing it's furry little mind. He watched, staying silent, staying hidden.
Isabelle glanced down at the dog. He seemed to want her to follow him somewhere. Isabelle stumbled forward when he tugged her. "Okay. I'll follow you." She took back the cap and the water. She reluctantly began going the way it seemed to want her to go. Then she paused. Something in her gut told her they weren't alone. Isabelle turned around and inspected the surroundings. "Someone there?" She called, keeping a hand on her gun.
Alex ducked back behind the building. He was watching, but didn't want to be discovered himself. Instead, forcing his breathing to be slow and quiet, he stood back against a brick wall. He heard her call out, asking if there was anyone there. He kept his silence, hardly daring to breathe. What was going on, anyway? He'd never seen a dog act like that before. Then again, the only dogs he'd seen in his life were the feral kind, the ones that roamed the land like the wolves of the time before. He stayed against the wall, hoping against hope she would not see him.
The dog leaps into the air at her words, wagging his tail frantically. He'd made himself understood. The two-legs often had trouble understanding what he wanted, but this one actually *listened*. In a manner of speaking. he turned around, fully prepared to lead her back to his starving companion, when he felt Isabelle's hesitation. The dog turned, watching her; heard her ask if anyone was there. The dog cursed himself, sniffing the air. There *was* another scent, and nearby too. How did he not notice this a minute ago? He chastised himself in his mind, calling himself a "dumb mutt." He was supposed to be smarter than that. He concentrated on the scent, could tell it was another uninfected. That was good, but it didn't mean the man was safe. He could sense something about the scent. First, it was a man; he could tell from the hormones in the smell. Two, he was nervous. He could smell the fear. Well, not fear precisely, but an emotion close...what did humans call it? Apprehension? He didn't think the smell represented a threat, but he wasn't going to just walk away with a potentially dangerous 2-leg watching them. He turned his head towards the building, looked at Isabelle, then back towards the building about 25 feet away. He started barking like mad, his ruff furrowing. he hoped she'd understood.