Z-DAY: Undead Apocalypse

"Long Road to Ruin"
Season 1: Pilot Episode


Jake Bernardino and Father Hoffman heard the two people before they saw them through the thick fog.

Once they got close enough, they spotted two people on top of an overturned bus.

A woman and a young boy, probably no more than twelve years old.

The woman held a pistol. The boy was wielding a police baton.

The bus was on its side. It sat on a stretch of highway somewhere in what used to be the state of Kansas.

The two on top of the bus stood with their backs to each other.

They each had a backpack on.

The area wasn’t safe.

Jake and Father Hoffman also spotted at least a dozen zombies in the area.

The zombies, slow-moving Shamblers survivors of the undead apocalypse called them, were trying to make their way to the trapped woman and boy.

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“I have an idea,” Father Hoffman offered.

Before Jake could ask what it was, Father Hoffman was on the move.

When Father Hoffman was a good distance away, he aimed his shotgun, a Remington Model 870 Father Hoffman was never seen without, into the sky and fired.

The shotgun’s blast was like a clap of thunder.

Father Hoffman had gotten the zombies’ attention.

The undead all turned towards the direction of the shotgun blast. Each began to slowly make its way towards Father Hoffman.

Father Hoffman kept moving.

Despite knowing how slow Shamblers were, he wasn’t about to get them close enough to surround them.

If that happened, he knew he was as good as dead.

If he even died, that is.

Most likely, he’d come back as one of the infected. And for Father Hoffman, returning as one of the undead was something he’d been dreading since Z-day, Zombie Day, the beginning of the undead apocalypse.

He knew what was happening in the world was God’s response to the multitudes of sins humanity had been making for centuries.

The first time God decided to cleanse the world of it sinners, He sent a great flood of water to cover the Earth.

Father Hoffman knew that God had decided to cleanse the Earth once again.

This time, God had sent a great flood of the undead to cover the Earth.

However, it didn’t end in forty days.

It had been over five years since God brought down His wrath upon the people of His world.

**

Jake Bernardino, an ex-con with a rap sheet longer than the highway he was standing on, saw his chance to act.

He waved his arms to get the woman and boy’s attention.

They both looked at him, unsure of what to do.

He signaled for them to stay where they were.

As fast as he could run, Jake made his way to the bus.

He scrambled up the bus’s chassis.

Once on top of the bus, he was able to get a better look at the woman and boy.

The first thing he noticed was that if the boy was the woman’s son, he didn’t look like his mother at all.

They both had dark hair, but that’s where the similarity ended.

The woman was not, to Jake’s less-than-discerning taste, completely unattractive. She looked to be in her mid thirties. She was physically fit.

“Look, we’ve got to get out of here,” Jake said with urgency. “In a few minutes, there’ll be a lot more zombies in the area.”

“We’re not leaving until we search the bus,” the woman said.

“Didn’t you hear what I just said?” Jake said. “Father Hoffman’s shotgun blasts will attract every zombie within a mile of here. We don’t have much time.”

The woman clearly understood.

But she wasn’t budging.

Meanwhile, the boy had moved to take a closer look at a hole made by large section where the bus’s window had once been.

But as he got closer, the side of the bus the boy was standing on gave way.

With a scream, the boy plunged into the interior of the bus.

“Bryan!” The woman yelled.

She moved to the edge of the hole where the boy had fallen through and looked down.

“I’m alright Mom,” the boy said from below.

Jake slowly moved to the edge of the hole as well.

He could see that the boy was lucky. He had fallen on top of a large cushioned seat that had come off the floor.

The woman was relieved to see the boy unharmed.

“What do you see down there?” The woman asked.

“It’s a bit dark down here, but there are some passengers still trapped in their seat,” Bryan said. “They’re mostly skeletons now.”

“What else do you see?”

“There are bags all over. I’ll check them.”

“OK, honey. Be careful.”

Jake stood next to the woman. “This is crazy. We really need to get out of here.”

“We’re running low on supplies,” the woman said. “We need to search this bus. Nobody asked you for your help, you know.”

Jake was getting annoyed.

Even if she was attractive enough, he didn’t like her tone.

He considered climbing back down and leaving the two behind.

After all, he and Father Hoffman had survived well enough on their own for some time.

Jake remembered Z-Day.

It was the day he had just posted bail after being caught driving across two states with his stash of marijuana in the car.

The stuff was legal in one state.

But not the other.

After posting bail, the judge had given him a date to appear in court.

But then Z-Day happened.

The court date didn’t matter anymore.

All’s well that ends well, Jake heard it said.

It definitely ended well for him.

Or so he thought.

The next few years became a matter of survival.

Jake, who never really had a place to call home since his parents’ bitter divorce when he was barely a teenager, moved from state to state.

He tried to find any of his contacts he knew or owed him a favor.

But the world as he knew it had gone to Hell.

There had been mass rioting leading up to Z-Day. Jake didn’t care for watching the news much.

He didn’t care. The news was always full of sad stories about sad people.

The Jerry Springer Show. Now that was entertainment!

He missed watching trashy-looking people fighting with each other.

Every episode was the same.

But he never got tired of it.

Trailer park people seemed to pride themselves on cheating on each other, living off welfare, and trying to raise more kids than they could handle.

Maybe he liked watching The Jerry Springer Show because in a way, it reminded Jake of his own life.

In some sick way, he felt a kind of kindred connection to those people he felt sorry for.

About two years ago, while high as a kite in a run-down apartment Jake had made sure was free of zombies, Father Hoffman found him.

Jake thought the old man, who proclaimed himself a preacher whose duty to God involved making sure he could save the living sinners of the world while putting to rest the undead who still walked the Earth, was some serious nut job from a nearby asylum.

It didn’t matter though.

Father Hoffman, crazy as he was, was a Hell-raiser with the shotgun.

That meant if he stuck around with the preacher, Jake stood a better chance of surviving in this new world.

**

“Alright, Bryan,” the woman said. “Hand me the rope from your backpack and I’ll pull you up as soon as you’re done.”

Bryan spent about half-a-minute rummaging through the bus before he made his way back to where he fell through.

He held a large bag. “I put the stuff I found in this bag, Mom.”

“Good work, Bryan. Now throw up the rope.”

Bryan did as he was told, but he wasn’t strong enough to toss the coil of hemp rope up to the woman.

Jake couldn’t believe what he was about to do.

He jumped down into the bus. He landed next to the boy.

He then took the rope and tossed up to the woman. She quickly wrapped around her waist and waited for Bryan and Jake.

Ryan climbed out of the bus, while Jake did some searching of his own inside the bus.

An addict, Jake needed to find some drugs—particularly some marijuana—soon.

All he found was a box of ammo.

Not wanting to risk staying too long, Jake climbed up after Bryan.

Once up top, Jake took the rope and wrapped it around the bus’s rear tire.

Testing to make sure it was secure, he and the others lowered themselves to the ground.

Fortunately, Father Hoffman’s shotgun blasts kept the undead focused on him. At the edge of the fog’s visibility, Jake could just make out the old preacher staying as far ahead of the zombies as he could.

With no zombies near enough to threaten the three, they quickly ran as far from the bus as they could.

Soon, Father Hoffman rejoined the others.

When they were far enough away, they stop to catch their breaths.

“My name’s Sarah James,” the woman introduced herself. “This is my son, Bryan.”

“Nice to meet you both,” Father Hoffman said while reloading his shotgun.

“I’m Jake Bernardino.”

Bryan rummaged through the bag he took from the bus. Inside was a football helmet. The logo on it indicated it probably came off a high school football player.

Bryan tried it on.

“Perfect fit for you, son,” Father Hoffman said. “You know, I used to play a little football in my younger days.”

Bryan also took out another shotgun, a plug-in radio, and enough supplies of food and water to last a week.

“I think someone else tried to search the bus before,” Bryan said. “There was body there that wasn’t a skeleton yet. He had pretty bad looking wound on his side.”

“You were very brave, Bryan,” Jake said.

“Thank you both for helping us,” Sarah said.

“You’re both welcome to join us, " Father Hoffman said. “Where were you headed?”

Sarah looked past Jake and Father Hoffman.

“Somewhere south of here,” Sarah began. “to a place called Stadium City.”

“We’ve heard about such a place,” Father Hoffman said. “It’s supposed to be in the vicinity of where East Texas used to be.”

“But the place probably doesn’t exist,” Jake added. “We’ve heard about it from a few we’ve ran into before. East Texas is outside Rotter Land. There’s nothing there.”

Sarah looked disappointed by what she had just heard. “We’re hoping Jodie may have made there years ago.”

“Who’s Jodie?” Jake inquired. “Your sister?”

Sarah wasn’t sure how to answer him. Sometimes people had a hard time accepting others for what they’re like.

“Jodie’s my…wife,” Sarah said. She looked to Father Hoffman, who gave her a look she couldn’t quite figure out. “Jodie and I adopted Bryan when he was about five years old. About a month before Z-Day.”

“So what happened to Jodie?” Jake asked.

“She was on a business trip in Angel City when Z-Day happened. I tried every way possible to contact her, but I couldn’t get a hold of her.”

“What makes you think she’s still alive? It’s been over five years.”

“I don’t know for sure. It’s…it’s just a feeling I guess.” Sarah’s eyes began to tear. “Maybe she’d heard of Stadium City and may have made it there.”

“So that’s why you’re headed that way?”

Sarah nodded, fighting back a surge of tears threatening to overwhelm her.

She pulled her son closer to her in an embrace Jake couldn’t remember ever having received from his own mother.

“It’s getting late, folks,” Father Hoffman said. He started to walk south. “Best find shelter before nightfall.”

The four gathered their gear and walked into the fog.

And into a future of uncertainty.


Survivors:

Jake Bernadino

Father Hoffman

Sarah James

Bryan James


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"We are the Champions"
Season 1: Episode 2


In this episode, it had been a week since Jake and Father Hoffman came upon Sarah and her son, Bryan along a stretch of highway somewhere in what used to be the state of Kansas.

The four survivors had managed to survive by avoiding as many of the undead as possible.

Wherever they found shelter, they stayed there as long as possible.

At one point, they heard a feral growl coming from somewhere near. It didn’t sound like anything they had ever heard before.

It may have been a wild animal of some kind. Ever since Z-Day, many of the zoos throughout the country had been abandoned. Many of the animals died, trapped in their pens or cages.

Some escaped and survived off other animals and humans alike.

Not wanting to find out what the thing that made the noise was, the four kept moving for the next few days.

Until they sighted something in the middle of a grassy field which caused them to stop in their tracks.

A military supply crate.

The survivors knew that in the past, military transport planes would fly through the Rotter Lands from the east and make supply drops.

It was an effort of what was left of the federal government to help the remaining survivors in America.

However, about a year ago the planes stopped flying across the Rotter Lands. The supply drops had suddenly and inexplicably stopped.

News was that the government had broken into two factions.

One was known as the Federal Commonwealth which was trying to rebuild the country starting from the east coast.

The other faction was called the United Protectorate, which established itself on the west coast.

**

The four carefully made their way to the supply crate. Even from a distance, they could tell that it was primarily intact. The nearby shell of a house was just a stone’s throw from the crate.

Suddenly, from across the large field, the four heard the sounds of others people.

There were six of them; five men and one woman. Each one wore regular clothes so clearly weren’t part of the military. All but one had pistols. One held an M-16.

“That crate belongs to the Governor and people of Dalesbury!” the man with the M-16 yelled from across the field.

The six then opened fire and starting rushing to the supply drop.

Jake, Father Hoffman, Sarah, and Bryan immediately returned fire and sought cover.

The firefight started to draw the attention of every infected in the area.

However, luck was on the survivors’ side.

No one was injured in the gunfight, while four of the others lay dead in the field. The man with the M-16, who was wounded in an exchange of bullets and shotgun shells with Father Hoffman, and one other managed to escape.

The M-16 man vowed to return and find the survivors and kill them all for what they did to the others.

Not wasting time due to the zombies attracted by the gunfight, the four survivors quickly opened the supply cache.

Inside they found enough MREs and water to last them a week. Included in the supply drop were an AK-47 (fully loaded), extra ammo, RPG 7 with 2 shots, and 3 frag grenades.

Because the RPG 7 was too bulky for the four to carry, Jake buried it in a spot he could remember.

They then took the rest with them and left the field, and the dead members of Dalesbury, behind them.


Survivors:

Jake Bernadino

Father Hoffman

Sarah James

Bryan James


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"Hunting High and Low"
Season 1: Episode 3


“Looks like a perfect place to set up camp for a while,” Sarah James said. “There’s two intact buildings fully surrounded by a chain link fence.”

The four survivors stayed hidden behind some bushes. They were yards away from the edge of the fence. The buildings were the only structures in the area. They also spotted a ruined farm house about half-a-mile west of their location.

“Maybe,” Jake said sounding cautious. "It’s Charlie’s place, alright. But those six zeds wandering the area worries me. "

“Who’s Charlie?” Bryan asked. He held a Glock 17 at the ready. He and his mother, Sarah, found two of them in an abandoned apartment they searched months before.

It was the only time Bryan remembered his mother thanking anyone for practicing their “right to bear arms”, as she put it.

Bryan knew his mother hated guns. But that was before Z-Day.

His mother said that after Z-Day, guns were a necessary tool for survival in a world full of infected undead and other dangerous survivors.

“Charlie and his brother, Sheen, used to own that auto repair shop,” Jake explained. “They were good at what they did. A friend of mine would always bring his car here. I’d tag along when I was visiting the area.”

“Did you just say, “Charlie” and “Sheen” were brothers?" Sarah asked with a smile. It was probably the first time Jake had seen Sarah smile since he and Father Hoffman ran across her and her son on the highway nearly a week ago.

“Sure did,” Jake said. “Their mother was a big fan of the actor.”

“I bet they never forgave their mother for that,” Sarah said.

“Nope, they didn’t,” Jake said.

“I can draw them away,” Father Hoffman offered. He had his Remington Model 870 in hand, ready to deal out damage to both the living and the dead sinners of the world.

“Wait, Father,” Jake stopped him before the old preacher could move. “I have an idea. You three wait here. Besides Bryan, I’m the fastest runner here. I’ll draw the zeds away from the area without firing a shot. When the zeds are far enough away, make your way to the fence line and find a way in.”

The three couldn’t argue with Jake’s idea.

Shooting the infected undead meant drawing more of them into the area.

Going up close and attacking them with melee weapons was scary too, considering all it took was a single bite from any of them to be infected.

And the survivors know enough that once bitten, you’re guaranteed to turn into a zombie.

It wasn’t a matter of if you’ll turn.

It was simply a matter of when you’ll turn.

**

The three waited a while longer before they made their way to the fence line.

Jake, who was fast on his feet, led all six zeds away from the area before making his way back to the group.

However, Jake wasn’t alone.

Eight other people were following him.

Three were women. One was a boy, about Bryan’s age.

They looked liked that they had just been through a lot.

They were dressed in normal clothes. Each was armed with simple weapons they may have scrounged up from just about anywhere.

Except for one. The youngest of the men had a Katana sheathed on his back.

When they got closer Father Hoffman raised his arms wide in greeting. “Welcome, welcome. You all look like lost sheep. God in His infinite mercy has made sure you brought to us. You are safe here. You are among friends.”

The new survivors introduced themselves.

They all claimed to have escaped from the town of Dalesbury, about two days walk northeast.

“A few days back, we ran across six well-armed people who said they were from Dalesbury too,” Jake said. He described the people he and the others fought against.

“The M-16 guy sounds like Jed,” a woman who introduced herself as Leann Hopp said. “He’s one of Governor Lewis’s follower.”

“Ya, sounds like him,” a man named Tom Cook added. “He was one mean son-of-a-gun . He was one of the reasons we escaped from Dalesbury.”

Each then began to tell their stories of how, at first, Governor Lewis and Dalesbury seemed like a Godsend. Within months, however, the reality of what the Governor was like became clear.

The women spoke of the Governor claiming ownership of every woman in town. The other men in town would have to “earn” their women if they wanted to marry one.

Even the men were treated no less as slaves by Governor Lewis and his close circle of followers. People were forced to work the fields or be beaten and not given food or water.

Anyone who opposed Governor Lewis was killed in the town’s square as a warning to others.

The town had existed for less than two years.

But for most in Dalesbury, it seemed more like an eternity in Hell.

Sarah couldn’t believe what she had heard. She knew the world had become a harsher place to live.

But she couldn’t believe that humans could ever be worse than the billions of undead out there.

Until recently.

Sarah and Bryan had heard rumors about a place called The Pits, a dark place where children were taken to battle for sport in arenas filled with the Living Dead.

No one knew exactly where The Pits was, or if it even existed.

But it was one of the many reasons Sarah wanted to leave the Rotter Lands and find Stadium City.

Stadium City, for many, was like a mecca for survivors. A safe place to start all over again in a world full of devastation.

**

“We better get inside that fence line before those zeds come back,” Jake insisted.

The group, now twelve people strong, followed the fence line.

The front gate—the only entrance they found—was locked tight.

Luckily, they found a part of the fence that looked like it had been pushed in far enough that it left an opening wide enough for a person, or a zombie, to enter.

Once inside, they carefully looked around.

There were two buildings on the property. One, clearly the main repair shop, was a two-story structure made of some pre-engineered steel.

A large rolling industrial garage door allowed vehicles to enter the shop from the building’s west side.

A smaller door stood at one end of the shop’s southern face.

The remains of three zombies laid on the grass in front of the door.

By the looks of them, someone had taken a large blunt weapon to their heads.

Jake tried the door.

It was locked and barred from the inside.

The other structure may have served as a storage shed. It was easily the size of a traditional garage.

There was a large closed padlock on its old-style steel door that had to be lifted outward by hand.

Father Hoffman gave the door to the shop a strong shove.

The door pushed in a few inches.

He then peeked in.

And heard the moans of two zombies inside!

“I think Charlie and Sheen have been turned,” Father Hoffman said to the others. “They have paid for the grave sins of the actor they’ve been named after!”

Jake told Father Hoffman to push the door open all the way and let the zombies come outside.

Father Hoffman did and as soon as both zombies emerged, Sarah, Bryan, Jake and Father Hoffman surrounded them and put them both down as quickly as possible.

Satisfied that Charlie and Sheen were no longer a threat, the group carefully made their way inside the repair shop.

Inside, they found a large shop.

Two vehicles, a mid-sized Chrysler 300 and an older model GMC delivery truck, sat in the shop’s repair bay.

The door they entered from led into the shop’s office.

They searched the dead brothers’ bodies and found the set of keys they needed.

Meanwhile, Isabella Blessing, one of the survivors from Dalesbury offered to inspect the vehicles. She said she had worked as a mechanic before Z-Day.

They opened the storage shed outside and found it stock full of water in barrels. There were boxes of non-perishable food stuff and canned goods. There were also rolled up pieces of chain-link fencing, which they immediately used to close the part of the fence they came through.

It looked like the brothers could have withstood an undead siege for weeks!

Back inside, Isabella said that both vehicles needed some repair work. Luckily she had all the necessary tools at hand. Both had gas in their tanks.

However, the GMC truck needed new tires.

Both needed batteries, which the shop didn’t have.

Jake asked if either one was a manual transmission. They could then roll it out and start it on the move.

Isabella shook her head.

One of the Dalesbury survivors, a man named Ron Rosen, said that Dalesbury had some cars. It was certain to have the batteries they needed.

Jake asked just how well-defended Dalesbury was.

After the others told him, he decided that it was far too dangerous to try and get a car battery from Dalesbury.

“We can search the nearby farms for those,” Sarah offered.

Someone found a map of the local area in the office. The map showed a nearby town and the larger town of Fowler several days walk south of the repair shop.

“We can hold up here for a spell,” Father Hoffman suggested. “It’s safe enough. There’s ample supplies to last at least a week.”

“Yeah. Good idea,” Jake added in support. “At least until we figure out what to do next. We can sleep in the truck and on the floor. There’s plenty of room for everyone.”

Everyone was happy to be safe for the moment.

Jake even started up some small-talk with Storm Wright, a young twenty-something woman, who along with her son, Richard, had escaped Dalesbury after enduring being treated like a concubine by Governor Lewis.

Although Storm didn’t mind Jake’s company, Jake knew that it was too soon to try and make any moves toward her.

She was attractive, he’d giver her that! And she was into men, too. That was a plus for Jake.

After eating what was left of the MREs they found in the supply crate as well as some of the food and water form the shed, they settled in for the night.

Jake decided it would be best if they took turns on watch. Despite there being a fence surrounding the property, he didn’t feel comfortable enough to sleep through the night without anyone on watch.

**

The first half of the night was quiet enough.

During the second watch, they heard what sounded like someone climbing over the fence outside.

Quickly checking through boarded up windows and the office door leading outside, they spotted four armed individuals inside the fence perimeter.

“Looks like Dalesbury folk!” Father Hoffman said. “Wake up the others!”

The survivors began breaking off wooden boards that blocked their line of sight through the windows.

Outside, the four from Dalesbury ran for cover.

One, a man armed with a bow, was giving orders for the other three to surround the shop.

He then yelled for the people inside the shop to surrender peacefully and they would be spared. He said he and the others with him had tracked the survivors to this place.

He added that they weren’t going back until they completed their assignment.

Father Hoffman told the bow man they would never surrender to anyone from Dalesbury.

That’s when the shooting began.

**

The survivors held off the attackers who tried to storm the repair shop.

At one point, Father Hoffman had someone opened the large rolling door leading outside.

As soon as he could see one of the attacker’s legs, his shotgun tore through the attacker’s legs. The woman dropped dead.

He then ducked under the door and stepped outside.

From the sounds of it, all but the bow man was dead.

Knowing he was beaten, Bow Man ran to the fence and started to climb over.

Father Hoffman warned the others that Bow Man was trying to escape!

Jake rushed outside to join him.

By the time he got there, Bow Man had made it to the other side and was trying to get away as fast as he could.

Jake hoped that the dozen or so zombies attracted to the area by all the gunfire would take care of Bow Man.

“So much for ‘completing the assignment’,” Jake said.

Both he and Father Hoffman took shots at the fleeing man.

Despite having only the moon to see by, they managed to wound him.

That slowed him down enough for one of them to finish off Bow Man with another shot.

He dropped.

Within seconds, three zombies were feasting on him.

**

Jake and Father Hoffman rejoined the others.

Fortunately no one was hurt.

To make sure none of the attackers rose again as an undead, they crushed in their skulls.

It was disgusting work. But it had to be done.

After taking the bodies outside the fence line, those who didn’t get enough sleep tried to. It was hard falling back asleep after what had happened.

But soon, all those except on watch were fast asleep.

**

After everyone woke up, Jake suggested moving on.

Some argued that the repair shop was a perfect to set up camp. Others feared more from Dalesbury would eventually find them.

Meanwhile, zombies which had been alerted during the battle, had surrounded the place.

About a dozen of the undead were gathered together along one part of the fence.

Jake was worried that if the zeds started pushing through the fence, it wouldn’t hold.

After discussing the dire situation, everyone agreed that it might be better if they all followed the map. They could first head to the nearest town indicated on the map. The name was illegible.

They then agreed to make their way to the town of Fowler, the next closest town on the map.

Gathering everything they could carry, the twelve survivors left the repair shop and followed the map.

As they quickly made their escape, thanks to Jake and Bryan leading the zeds as far way from the others as possible, everyone couldn’t help but wonder if they would someday find a safe place they could call home.


Survivors:

Jake Bernadino

Father Hoffman

Sarah James

Bryan James

Allies:

Leann Hopp, Tom Cook, John Buckley, Ron Rosen, Storm Wright (mid 20s), Richard Wright (Storm’s 11-yr old son), Isabella Blessing (Repair d6), Chris Bell


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"Real Wild Child"
Season 1: Episode 4


It had been nearly two weeks since Jake and Father Hoffman first met Sarah James and her son, Bryan.

And just a few days before, their group of four motley survivors had turned into a large group of twelve motley survivors.

While investigating an auto-repair shop near a stretch of highway, Jake ran into eight people who shared horrific stories of their mistreatment at the hands of Governor Lewis in the nearby town of Dalesbury.

After a short firefight with four attackers from Dalesbury, the twelve survivors decided to follow a map they found in the shop’s office.

The map indicated two towns were nearby. The nearest was nameless. The next town was called Fowler.

They followed the map to the first town.

They arrived in town at night, sometime close to midnight.

The town’s square, or what was left of it, was deserted.

A couple of restaurants, a church, shops, and a few houses were left in ruin. Every window on any of the buildings’ first floors had been destroyed.

Worse, the group couldn’t shake the feeling they were being watched.

Some even saw small shapes—smaller than an adult person—darting from shadow to shadow inside some of the nearby structures.

Tired and not wanting to stay outdoors, the group made their way towards the remains of an old Mexican restaurant, but not before they spotted a small figure dart into the restaurant’s dark interior.

Flashlights at the ready, the group entered the building.

Inside, they ran across five shamblers but no sign of the fast-moving figure.

None of them could understand how the figure could have avoided the shamblers.

Working together, the group took care of the zombies. After disposing of the bodies outside, they then barricaded the front door.

They each picked spots in several booths near the windows to guard against any attack from outside.

But before they could settle in for the night, they were suddenly attacked from outside.

Within moments, the group found themselves surrounded by seven children!

They looked as though their ages ranged from nine to twelve years old?

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Who were they? Where were their parents?

And how did they manage to survive on their own?

The children looked feral. Their clothes were a motley assortment of colors and sizes. Some had strings of toys and stuffed animals hanging from their belts like some trophies from their past.

Each was armed with a sling and a bow which looked like it was fashioned from pieces of wood they found in town.

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Father Hoffman tried to persuade the children to lay down their weapons and join the rest of the survivors.

However, the children weren’t convinced and threatened to stay and pick them off one by one, no matter how long it took.

Chris Bell, a young man from Dalesbury who looked like he was barely out of his teen years, told Father Hoffman to tone down the religious rhetoric.

Chris said that as a kid, he hated hearing his parents talk about religion. All he wanted was to be loved and cared for by them.

Father Hoffman decided to try a new approach.

This time, he promised the children that they would be safe and cared for if they joined the group.

It worked!

The children lowered their bows.

After telling an incredible story of surviving without any adults for over four years, the feral children were invited to join the survivors.

The children talked about how the adults eventually became sick and turned into zombies. The other children either left town or died, leaving only the seven of them to make it on their own.

The children survived by using the ‘adult’ shamblers as guardians whenever others came into town. The children got pretty good at avoiding the shamblers’ attacks and would then lure unwanted guests into houses to be attacked and devoured by the undead.

The children were glad to have been rescued.

Now nineteen strong, the survivors decided to make their way towards the next town on the map.

They traveled to Fowler.


Survivors:

Jake Bernadino

Father Hoffman

Sarah James

Bryan James

Allies:

Leann Hopp, Tom Cook, John Buckley, Ron Rosen, Storm Wright (mid 20s), Richard Wright (Storm’s 11-yr old son), Isabella Blessing (Repair d6), Chris Bell, 7 Feral Children


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"Know Your Enemy"
Season 1: Episode 5 (Midseason Finale)


RIP Jake Bernadino


“What do you think of Fowler?” Governor Mary Yardley asked Father Hoffman.

The two were taking a casual stroll through the town’s vegetable gardens on a late summer afternoon.

“It’s a good place,” he said in approval. “The people seem quite happy. The Lord has certainly provided them with a safe haven against the evils of the world beyond the wooden walls of this town.”

“Amen, Father,” Governor Yardley said.

Father Hoffman looked at Governor Yardley.

As far as he could figure, they were about the same age. Her skin was the color of dark chocolate.

Her deep wrinkles seemed to carve a map of her life on her still agile and mobile facial features.

When she spoke, she spoke slowly. Not because she couldn’t speak faster. Rather, whenever she spoke she chose her words carefully.

And her voice.

Father Hoffman had been expecting the croak of old age but her voice was more like that of an abbess he once knew, strong and distinctly upper class.

She was well-loved and respected by the hundred or so folks in Fowler. In a former life, Governor Yardley was an elementary school principal.

She definitely ran Fowler like a well-managed school, Father Hoffman thought.

Before he and the other survivors arrived in Fowler nearly two months ago, life had been a series of day-to-day survival in a world God saw fit to cleanse.

Now, he and the others felt safe for the first time in years.

Father Hoffman was even given the charge of being the town’s Spiritual Leader. In return for helping tend to the spiritual needs of the townsfolk, he was given a monthly stipend in the way of ration notes.

Created from clay in the shape of small coins with the value of each coin inscribed on both sides, Ration Notes came in denominations of 1, 5, 10, and 20. The creation and distribution of Ration Notes was highly regulated by all members of the Unified Towns.

Barely a year old, the Unified Towns were the main political body in the Rotter Lands, determined to build what they call a New America.

Each Governor in the thirteen towns that made up the Unified Towns was also a member of The Council.

The Council determined laws and punishment, which must be implemented by all member settlements.

The Council was the final authority over all member settlements. The oversight process didn’t appeal to everyone, however, and many settlements in the Rotter Lands refused to recognize the Unified Towns as an authority.

This had led to friction, and rumors persisted of covert operations to weaken outside settlements enough that joining the Unified Towns became the only choice.

Others claimed The Council had made arrangements with various raider groups to harass and attack specific settlements.

Despite the rumors and conflict, those within the Unified Towns led a better quality of life compared to other settlements.

All in all, Father Hoffman was quite happy to play a part in the spiritual growth of Fowler.

The politics of governing didn’t concern him.

Let them all believe they’re in charge, he quietly thought to himself. For it is written in Proverbs: “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand”.

Father Hoffman knew that God wasn’t done with the world yet.

**

On the other side of town, Jake was also enjoying a leisurely stroll with Storm.

Storm Wright and her son, Richard, were among the survivors he ran across outside of Charlie’s auto repair shop.

In the time since both of them arrived in Fowler, they had gotten pretty close. Her son, Richard, didn’t seem to mind either, which made it all that much better.

Yes, living in Fowler was alright with Jake.

Although he didn’t like working, Governor Yardley insisted that everyone did their part to help.

Naturally, Jake tried to take on the easiest job he could. He did manual jobs around town.

But mostly, he tried avoiding any kind of work.

However, in return for helping in the fields, Jake was able to keep some of the marijuana plants being grown for medicinal purposes.

Governor Yardley didn’t approve of recreational drugs.

So he convinced them that he needed the plants to ease the pain left from an old wound.

All around him, the hustle and bustle of the settlement brought an assortment of sounds. The laughter of children, the clanging of the blacksmith, the whinny of the horses.

It was a rough life in the Rotter Lands, but the town of Fowler had done well for itself.

Though not one of the larger settlements out there, the people had always pulled together, and relations with New Dodge to the north had also given the town a solid trade partner.

Suddenly, Jake’s thoughts were invaded by the ringing of the alarm bell.

In the distance, a military model helicopter, quite possibly a Huey, was spotted coming towards Fowler from the east.

Just as Jake began to see the speck take greater shape in the distance, a trail of smoke rushed from the ground and a large explosion blossomed at the rear of the chopper.

Black smoke trailed in the air as the helicopter spun toward the ground, disappearing behind a distant treeline.

**

Governor Yardley stood in front of City Hall.

It had been less than fifteen minutes since the helicopter was seen crashing into the woods outside of town.

“My friends,” Governor Yardley began. “As you are aware, a military helicopter was seen headed towards Fowler. For reasons unknown, it seemed as though it may have been shot down.”

There were murmurings in the crowd.

Parents pressed their children closer to them.

“Although we are not sure if the people in the helicopter are friendly or not,” Governor Yardley went on to say. “we must investigate this incident. For the safety of our town and that of the Unified Towns.”

The crowd voiced their agreement.

The Governor raised a hand towards Father Hoffman. “Father Hoffman has already volunteered to help lead the investigation. Are there those among you willing to join him?”

“What about the ones in our town’s defense force?” Someone in the crowd asked out loud. “Shouldn’t they go?”

“Due to the nature of the situation,” Governor Yardley responded. “I am ordering our defense force, led by Defense Commander Clint Highway, to remain in town to ensure the safety of our citizens.”

More voices of agreement from the crowd.

“I’ll go,” Jake Bernardino said. He stepped out of the crowd and looked towards Storm and Richard.

Storm wiped a tear from her face.

“Excellent,” Governor Yardley said. “You and Father Hoffman should assemble a team to go with you. Take horses. Commander Highway said it would take you about thirty minutes on horseback to reach the crash site.”

Jake and Father Hoffman turned to the crowd and began assembling a team to brave the dangers of the Rotter Lands.

They needed to find out who shot down the military helicopter.

They also needed to know where the helicopter came from.

**

When they arrived at the crash site, they saw nearly a dozen shamblers in the area.

The helicopter’s impact gouged the earth until it finally came to a stop. It formed a small impact crater, over ten feet deep at the front of the helicopter.

It looked like the soldiers tried to escape the wreckage. But the shamblers got to them before they got far.

The group tied the horses, then made their way closer to the wreckage.

When they got close enough, they got the shamblers’ attention and attacked.

During the attack, one of the survivors heard a faint rustling in the bushes nearby. Hidden beneath the foliage, barely conscious, was a solider from the crash.

His chest was a bloody mess, and his left arm suffered from a compound fracture.

Father Hoffman kneeled next to the man. “Be still my son,” he tried to calm the soldier. “You’ll be al—.”

The wounded soldier suddenly pulled Father Hoffman closer to him.

Blood flowed out of the man’s mouth. “They . . . they took it,” he gasped. “Bastards . . . shot us down . . . and
took it. Left . . . rest for . . . dead.”

“Who?” Father Hoffman asked with urgency. “Who shot your helicopter down? And what did they want?”

“Cylinder for . . . Beacon. For Ollie Resnick. Code . . . liberation day of Helltown. Unified Towns in . . . danger. They’ll . . . conquer them. Headed south. If Beacon falls . . . Unified Towns fall . . . then the other settle . . .” and with those last words, the soldier’s eyes stared forward and his breathing stopped.

Father Hoffman offered a prayer for the man’s soul.

He then put the barrel of his shotgun to the soldier’s head and fired.

He turned Jake who standing nearby. “We need to destroy the rest of the shamblers and find out who did this.”

Jake nodded.

He then turned to rejoin the others still battling the living dead.

**

After they had put down the living dead, the survivors searched the wreckage.

But not before everyone found out that Jake had been bitten by a shambler after being surrounded by the living dead.

By the look of his wound, Jake knew that it would have been only a matter of time before he turned into one of the living dead.

While everyone else were busy fighting shamblers, Jake took one of the horses and rode as far away as he could.

“Shouldn’t we go after him?” Isabella asked. She started towards the horses.

“No,” Father Hoffman said with authority. “We saw him get bitten. He knows his fate. He’s in God’s hands now. We need to continue without him.”

The others regretfully had to agree with the priest.

It looked as though the soldiers were traveling light or had left wherever they came from in a hurry, for there were no extra ammunitions in the helicopter.

And by all the empty casings they found scattered throughout the crash site, it looked as though the soldiers had gone through all of their rounds in the firefight.

“Hey,” John Buckley yelled trying to get everyone’s attention. He was pointing at where Kratos stood some distance north of the crash site. “Looks like Kratos found something.”

When they got to Kratos, he was pointing to what appeared to be a trail left by a several fast-moving people headed north.

“Let’s mount up and follow the trail,” Father Hoffman told everyone.

**

Within minutes the survivors, now on horseback, reached an open field.

Not far, they saw what appeared to be a group of seven undead running as fast as they could. They spotted, on one of the undead, a metallic cylinder strapped to the thing’s waist.

Everyone couldn’t believe what he or she was seeing. The survivors had never heard of any living dead that could run.

They quickly gave chase.

However, luck was not with the survivors.

At one point, they got close enough to attack the undead with the cylinder. But the attack didn’t injure it enough to slay it or slow it down.

Several minutes into the chase, the undead were able to escape by sliding down an embankment and fleeing down a dry creek bed.

“Kratos,” Father Hoffman turned to the young man. “See if you can follow their trail. We’re not giving up that easily.”

Kratos dismounted and made his way down to the creek bed and began looking for signs as to where the fast-moving undead went.

**

Elsewhere, Jake slowed his horse to a trot.

He had ridden for what seemed like miles.

He was at the top of a small hill. From atop his horse, the view of the valley below was breathtaking.

He stopped the horse.

Jake slowly dismounted and made his way to sit on the ground next to a tree.

He grunted. The pain on his chest where a shambler had taken a chunk of his skin was extremely painful.

He looked at his wound. He knew what was going to happen.

He knew there was no cure.

He began to think of Storm. For once in his life, he had finally found someone he could possibly love.

Amazing how bad life can get just as it was getting better.

He had heard that some people, after being bitten by an undead, can go for days before turning.

Some, he heard, turned in minutes.

It depended on the severity of the bite wound.

How much time did he have?

Then what?

He couldn’t allow himself to spend the few remaining days, hours, or minutes he probably had left hoping for a miracle that even Father Hoffman couldn’t deliver.

So just like he had learned to do since his parents abandoned him to his own volition so many years ago, Jake took matters into his own hands.

He wasn’t going to let the infection turn him into one of the undead.

If he was going to die, it would be on his own terms.

He took the gun and pointed it at his temple.


[Screen turns black]

[Before the credits roll, we hear the sound of a single gunshot ]


Survivors:

“Kratos”

Jake Bernadino

Father Hoffman

Allies:

Tom Cook, John Buckley, Ron Rosen, Isabella Blessing


View
"Fight the Good Fight"
Season 1: Episode 6


(RIP) John Buckley (NPC Ally)


Without Jake, the other survivors continued following the fast-moving undead north.

After having briefly lost sight of the fleeing undead, the group found them again.

To everyone’s horror, the seven undead had joined with seven more!

Just as terrifying was the fact that the undead horde was armed.

Each held a crossbow.

The survivors saw the undead taking the tips of their crossbow bolts and lacing it with infected fluids from their bodies.

This horrified the survivors. But thanks to Father Hoffman sharing a joke about vegan zombies, they were able to remain calm.

Just as the survivors were about to move, five of the undead left the other nine.

The five headed west.

Among the undead that remained was the one that held the metal cylinder.

The remaining nine seemed to be communicating.

The survivors had for years heard about Rotters but had never been this close to them before.

Now they knew just how bleak the future was considering just how many of these intelligent undead were in the Rotter Lands!

**

The survivors opened the attack by taking shots at the nine Rotters.

The Rotters immediately took cover and returned fire.

During the battle, the survivors’ gunfire drew shamblers into the area.

Kratos, who was fast on his feet, charged at the Rotter with the metal cylinder.

He tried to take the cylinder but the Rotter held tightly to it.

With shamblers coming closer, Kratos, now surrounded by two Rotters tried again and this time managed to wrestle the cylinder from the Rotter’s hands.

Kratos then quickly ran back to the horses as fast as he could.

The others kept fighting the Rotters.

Unfortunately, John Buckley, one of the survivors from Dalesbury was bitten and killed by a Rotter. The same Rotter was later put down by Father Hoffman and Ron Rosen.

With all of the Rotters slain, the group were able to make it to their horses and escape without having to deal with the shamblers.

The group would later report to Governor Yardley back in Fowler, that besides the Rotters being difficult to slay, they witnessed—first hand—how shamblers had not attacked Rotters.

In fact, the rotters communicated with the shamblers and ordered them to help!


Survivors:

“Kratos”

Isabella Blessing

Father Hoffman

Ron Rosen

Ally:

Tom Cook


View
"Man Against the World"
Season 1: Episode 7


To be continued…


Survivors:

Father Hoffman

Kratos

Patrick Henry Mullen

Ron Rosen

Ally:


View

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