11/16/2011

Gener@tion Z - Day 1 - Morning



The piercing sound of an electronic alarm filled Phillip's ears and in an instant, his hand flew into the air and slammed down on the snooze button.  He flew up from his bed.  The room was pitch black; the sun had yet to rise and the sound of rain pounding on the roof was an indication that it most likely wouldn't be seen at all today.  Everything around him felt real.  He caressed his hands across the bed sheets.  He felt his face.  He pinched himself and he felt pain.  It seemed so incredibly real.  But he knew better.  He'd heard the rumors about how realistic this course was.  He couldn't be fooled by any of it.  And like a locomotive, every little detail he'd learned about the course hit him.  This was the first day of a Zombie Outbreak.  He was now in the middle of hell on Earth.

With this in mind, he reached to his side and flicked on his table light.  He surveyed the room suspiciously, half-expecting to be awakened in a cesspool of infected.  There was no one in his room but him.  It wasn't enough to say he was relieved.  He still knew what was out there.  Most importantly, he knew that his parents would not be the same people when they woke up, as far as he knew.

Phillip stepped out of his bed and tiptoed to his door, locking it slowly before walking back to the other side and peering out of the window.  He stared out into the rainy night, the street lights illuminating the block.  There was no sign of infected activity anywhere.  Not yet.  From the top floor of the two-story house he lived in, out of the window of his room, the view was impeccable.  The one thing Phillip admired the most about this fantastic view was that he could see the skyscraper skyline of Ocean Valley perfectly from that spot.  In the distance, the gleaming metropolis would sometimes shine bright enough to light up the sky at night.  This was no exception, except this time, it gave him confirmation that things were definitely unraveling.  As Phillip surveyed the cityscape in the distance, red light and smoke could be seen rising into the sky in front of the buildings.  Chaos was transpiring downtown.  It wouldn't be long before the entire city would be engulfed in the violent storm of the Beelzebub Flu.

And then he saw it.  One lone figure staggering in the middle of the suburban neighborhood street, sillouetted by the darkness and only coming into view when it walked under the street light.  Phillip only got a quick glimpse before it immersed itself back into darkness, but he could clearly see a look of anguish on the man's face.  He recognized him.  One of his neighbors from around the block.  His skin was pale and his jaw was shifted, grinding rhythmically with each step he took.

From the distance of the corner, a car turned down the road and continued along the same street as the lone man, its high beams bright.  It slowed to a stop in front of him and more of his features came into view.  There were dark spots all over his soaked jacket and when he turned around, there was a strange orange tint in his eyes that could be seen even from Phillip's view by the glimmer of the headlights.  The driver honked the car's horn several times and the man jerked forward violently at the sound.  As the horn continued to blare, the man angrily slammed his palms on the hood of the car and staggered to the driver door, prying it open.  The rest of the scene was slightly out of Phillip's view, as a large tree branch was blocking part of the car, but from what he could see, the man seemed to be struggling with the driver until he pulled him from his seat and threw him to the ground.  The man hopped on the driver and leaned down over his neck, shifting about aggressively until the driver stopped struggling and laid still on the wet pavement.

Holy shit, Phillip thought.  Someone had been killed right before his eyes.  It might as well have really happened, because he still felt the same effect he would have had it actually transpired.  It was suddenly becoming ironically surreal, as if for a short time he wouldn't be able to tell the difference between this fictional world and reality.  This was going to be far from a pleasant experience.  Phillip shook his head of his negative thoughts.  This was just a class.  He needed to pass it.  That was all he needed to focus on.  He turned back and looked around the room, thinking over what he'd collect before he got the hell out of there.  First thing was his clothing.  He was still in his pajamas.  He needed to dress accordingly and disappear in the darkness of the morning until he was safe.  He went over to his closet and picked everything out that he was going to wear, which included a simple black hoody and jeans.  When they were slipped on, Phillip began to relax a bit, calming his mind of the anxiety that was strickening his confidence.  He tried to prepare himself mentally for what he may witness in the next few hours but was brought out of his mind immediately at the sound of bumping outside of his room.

He whipped his head over at his door.  Over the shower of rain that pounded on their roof, he could hear movement coming down the hall outside his room.  He froze and listened.  There were heavy reckless footsteps slowly creeping down the hall.  Part of him couldn't believe what he was hearing, couldn't believe what was happening around him.  He no longer wanted to be here.

BANG!  Whatever was behind the door of his room slammed on its surface, causing Phillip to jump in surprise.  Immediately following it was a low growl that clicked in the throat of a creature out of view.  The doorknob turned slowly.  Phillip stared at it as if he were taking in the last seconds of his life, but saw the knob turn in the opposite direction, realizing that he'd locked it earlier.  He'd bought himself some time.  His eyes darted around the room and fell on the perfect weapon.  The metal baseball bat he'd borrowed from his garage for no particular reason.  It was there in his room that morning before he left for school and it was still there in this hypothetical world inside his mind.  He ran past the bed and grabbed it.  It was heavier than he'd expected and he figured his adrenaline rush had yet to kick in to give him any superhuman traits so far.  He wielded it freely, practicing his swing several times before another bang came at the door.

The growl suddenly grew very loud and echoed down the hallway and behind his door.  'Terrified' couldn't accurately describe what Phillip was feeling.  He swallowed hard and gripped the handle of the baseball bat tightly, his palms sweating in between his fingers.  He hoped it wouldn't slip out of his grip when he smashed it across his parents' head.  Phillip crept slowly toward his door, trying desperately to milk the moment that might be the last he'd ever experience.  No.  This isn't real.  I have to remember that, he kept reminding himself.  If he did die, he'd wake up in real life and go back home to his real parents and sleep in his real room.  This was just a class that he was required to partake in and pass.  That's all it is.

As Phillip grew closer to the door, the creature banged on it once again, causing him to jump once more.  An inhuman shriek sounded behind the door and Phillip closed his eyes tightly as he almost literally felt his soul drop from his torso and his gut churn in terror.  He could hear scraping on the door's surface.  He reached out to the knob and saw that his hand was shaking wildly.  He unlocked the door, swallowed, and readied the bat in his hand as he turned the knob...

The door busted open and the shriek filled Phillip's ears.  The demonic figure shot through the doorway and tackled him to the ground hard, pinning him tightly to the carpet.  He recognized the creature.  It was once his father, now ravaged with the plague of the Beelzebub Flu.  His teeth were rotten and his hair gone, his skin shriveled and pruned.  The cracks of his eyes were blood shot, his pupils were a bright orange tint, and thick bloody saliva dripped from his mouth and onto Phillip's face.  Phillip struggled to hold his zombified father back with his bat and when he was back far enough, Phillip pushed up violently, hitting him in the face and knocking him off.

As soon as his father was out of view and Phillip struggled to his feet, the sight of his mother, her hair wild and bloody orange eyes wide and hungry, rushed in his direction before he could stand.  He took the bat and swung it across her leg causing her to fall forward right beside him.  He rolled away, used the momentum to get him back on his feet, and brought the bat down onto her head.  Though blood seeped from her pale face, he knew that it was a weak blow.  She struggled to attack him once again.  He lifted the bat above his head.  This isn't real, he thought.  I'm not really going to kill my own parents.

He cracked it across his mother's head and watched her skull implode.  He slammed it several more times and blood flew across his carpet as well as the mush of brains that leaked from the back of her broken cranium.  Phillip was nauseated at the sight but shifted into gear at the sound of his father getting back up to retaliate.  His instincts obeyed him and he swung the bat hard and fast, sending a vertical blow to his father's temple.  Blood sprayed against his closet door, which was right beside him and his father's head bounced on it as he slid to the floor.  Seeing that he was still moving slightly, Phillip walked up to his body, raised the bat again, and brought it down as hard as he possibly could.

His father's head exploded in a grand shower of blood and skull fragments that flew across the room.  A handful of blood and flesh sprayed into Phillip's face, causing him to fall onto his back in surprise.  He quickly leaned to his side and spit as many times as he could, as some of it had gotten in his mouth.  With his eyes closed, his hand found the surface of the t-shirt he'd just taken off and he used it to rub the blood off of his face as quickly as he could.  He continued to spit onto the ground.  If any of their blood got into his system, he'd be infected too.  He couldn't tell how much blood had gotten in there but he couldn't take any chances.  He stuck his finger down his throat.  It was the only way to make sure his mouth was rinsed of any toxins and any that made its way down his throat wouldn't infect him.  He gagged several times before he emptied his gut onto the floor, coughing rhythmically and wiping his mouth as he used the bat to pick himself back up.  So far, so fucked up, he thought dismally.

Phillip could already feel his muscles tightening up.  He should have stretched before he opened the door.  He was fit because of Parkour, but he knew he should have known better than to engage in physical activity without limbering up first.  As he crept back out into the hallway, he looked down either ends of the hall and saw nothing but darkness.  He surveyed his surroundings and kept the bat out in front of him as he tiptoed quickly but carefully towards the staircase.  There were no more sounds coming from inside the house but Phillip was not about to let his guard down in anyway.  When he reached the bottom step, he turned and walked into the kitchen.  There were a few snacks in the cabinet and he knew he needed to fill up for later.  He grabbed several energy bars and two gatorades from the refridgerator and stuffed them into his hoody pockets before turning back and leaving.

Phillip walked straight for the door, unlocked it, and pulled it open.  His plan was to circle the house as quietly as possible and grab his bike from the side where it was chained up, then ride to the closest place he knew where to hide and figure out his next move.  It was apparent that his house wasn't safe, not in such a populated neighborhood as this, where the majority of inhabitants would become infected if not already.  As he opened the door, a piercing siren tore through the silence.  Fuck, Phillip thought.  He should have known better.  The house security system was still set.

Phillip scrambled towards the security control panel and typed the code into the keypad.  The alarm finally stopped and Phillip took a breath of relief.  He turned around slowly....and the lone zombie from outside stood right behind him.  As soon as he appeared into view, he growled viciously and reached out at Phillip.  Phillip swung the bat, knocked the man away, and sprinted for the door, not caring if the zombie was still after him.

He lifted his hood over his head and ran into the shower of rain.  The car was still functioning and he realized taking it would be a much better idea than getting the bike.  As he ran out towards the vehicle, he heard footsteps splashing from behind him.  He stopped in the front of car in the middle of its headlights and turned back to see the wounded zombie staggering toward him recklessly.  He readied the bat in his hands and gripped it tightly as he watched the infected creature rush toward him, its mouth drooling with hunger and bloodlust.  As soon as it was within range, Phillip swung with as much force as he could muster...

...And the zombie dodged it.  It juked backwards just as the bat swung in its direction.  Phillip was baffled.

"What the hell?" he muttered under his breath.  How was this mindless creature clever enough to dodge one of his blows?  As soon as the zombie evaded the attack, it pounced forward and struck Phillip in the face, knocking him aside, where he collided with the hood of the car.  He was now completely vulnerable to attack.  He needed to act fast.

As soon as he turned around, he directed the top of the bat in the opposite direction.  The zombie rushed toward him, but Phillip jammed the top of the bat right into its face as hard as he could.  Blood squirted from its nose and it fell to the ground.  Phillip lifted himself from the hood of the car, turned the bat around in his hands, and smashed the top of the bat onto the creature's face with one fatal blow.  It's head imploded from the force and blood squirted out onto the street from the top of its head, oozing from its ears.  It's eyeballs popped upward and fell by the zombie's body, rolling to a stop by Phillip's feet, the strings of meat still hanging behind them.  As Phillip pulled the bloody bat from the zombie's crushed head, which now resembled something close to a smashed-in pumpkin, he just as quickly smashed the eyeballs that were now staring up at him weirdly.

In the midst of the rain that was pounding over him, Phillip pulled the hood off of his head and lifted his face to the sky, letting the drops wash whatever blood was left from his father's head off of him.  He couldn't believe what he was capable of doing under these circumstances.  He almost felt as inhuman as the creatures that nearly tried to kill him.  He looked around and saw no more activity, but knew that soon it would change.  He walked over to the driver's seat of the car, past the dead driver, who's blood was being washed into the storm drain by the sidewalk.  His throat was torn open and his eyes were still ajar as the rain drops fell into them.  Phillip ignored the body and peered into the car, looking for the ignition.  He felt for it and his fingers rubbed across a sharp, jagged piece sticking out from it.  He tried to pull at it but it seemed to be jammed in there tightly.  Obviously during the struggle with the zombie, the key had broken inside of the ignition.  That meant the car was useless.  He'd have to stick to the bike for now like he'd originally planned.

Phillip got out of the car and looked at the body of the driver.  Judging by the bite, it was apparent that in a few hours, or as early as a couple of minutes, he'd be back.  No.  He wouldn't be back.  But something would, using his body.  He needed to leave before that happened.  Phillip left the car and ran to the side of his house, where his bike was chained against a pipe that trailed alongside it.  He spun the combination on the lock and pulled the chains from it before mounting it.

Phillip looked around, his eyes wide with fear as his mind raced, trying to think of a place where he'd be safe for at least enough time to come up with a plan.  The idea of teaming up seemed very distant at this point.  He knew Dylan and Jay would accept him with open arms and he knew where they lived, but they'd most likely enlist the help of Woodrow.  And at this point, teaming up with him would be the worst idea.  If he was willing to betray him in real life through a simple fling, it seemed very evident that the same thing would transpire in this hypothetical city.  He had no one he could confide his trust into.  He was on his own.  As he pedaled his way into the woods behind his house, he found himself more alone than ever in this shattering city that was slowly being torn apart by the hands of the infected.

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The surface of the shovel smashed into the side of the zombie's skull.  Since it was swung virtically, the sharp side embedded itself into the creature's temple, sending it sprawling to the ground with blood flying freely from its cranium.  Louis put his foot on its fallen body and ripped the shovel from its head, swinging around and smashing it against another zombified creature behind him.

"Die!" he screamed as it cracked the creature's skull.  "Stupid fucking zombie."

With his back turned, Louis didn't see the infected monster sneaking up behind him and was caught off-guard as it grabbed him by the waist.  It embedded its teeth into his shoulder quickly and Louis gasped in shock.  He screamed at the top of his lungs and stabbed the shovel into the horizon of the zombie's face, where it nearly traveled past its ears into its head.  As it fell to the grass behind him, Louis rubbed his shoulder furiously, feeling for any bite marks.  He was lucky enough to strike at the creature before it broke any skin or thread on his shirt.  Unfortunately, he saw more where it came from and even more in the opposite direction.  He was in between his house and a large wooden fence and now he was surrounded.  There was no choice but to get across that fence.

He took a running start and stepped up on the surface of it, grabbing hold of the top.  As he scrambled over, the creatures grabbed at his clothing in vain.  He fell over the other side, stood up, and sprinted as fast as he could across another vacant lawn, now abandoned by its currently infected occupants.  Unlike Phillip, who's neighborhood was quiet and had yet to erupt in an infected volcano, Louis' was in an uproar and trying desperately to break down the door to his room as soon as he entered the Scenario.  Now he was fighting for his life and doing quite well so far, except for the fact that he was quickly getting tired as he sprinted down the neighborhood with an army of infected zombies right behind him.

He stopped at the street where his neighborhood ended and the road began.  Adjacent to his neighborhood was another one that was likely to be just as unrested as his own.  No luck heading there.  And to either side of both neighborhoods was a road that went for miles in either direction, with only trees surrounding it for a good five minutes by car.  The woods around there were bound to be filled with many other zombies.  And he was currently unarmed.  The rain didn't help too much either.  Yep.  I'm fucked, Louis thought.

He decided to continue to run anyway, if only to stall for a miracle of some kind.  Out of the corner of his eye, a piercing light stretched around the corner, coming down the road as Louis walked out of his neighborhood.  Wait a minute, he thought.  Zombies don't drive.  That meant whoever was driving wasn't infected.  It was too early to tell if it was one of his classmates or a Wild Card, but he decided to flag them down anyway.  He stepped a little ways into the road and waved his arms wildly to get them to stop.  The zombies were far enough behind for him to escape if the driver pulled over.  But they would have to willingly give him a ride and if they chose not to, outrunning them from that position would be a dim option.  At a closer view, he could see that the glare of bright light was only singular, meaning it had to be a motorcycle.  He could confirm this when he heard the tremendous sound of its engine echoing across the forest.  As the cycle began to slow down, Louis looked behind him and saw several of the infected ganging up on his position.

When he turned back, he watched the rider jerk to their side and skid to a stop.  Shifting into position, the rider whipped a Pump Action seemingly from out of no where, cocked it once, and fired directly beside Louis.  He jumped in surprise and hit the ground as the zombie closest to him tumbled to the grass.  The rider pumped more lead into the horde of zombies, dropping them one by one as Louis held his hands above his head to protect himself.  When the gunshots subsided, he peered up at the rider with the shotgun.  He stood up and studied the figure, slowly realizing by the curviness of their body that the rider was a woman.

She pulled the visor of her helmet up and revealed herself.  "Louiz?" she said in a Russian accent.

"Hotness?" Louis said with wide eyes.  "I mean, Kristy?  You did all that?"

"Not time to talk," she said quickly, cocking the shotgun and firing right next to Louis once again, hitting a lone zombie that was creeping up from behind.  Louis jumped again in surprise.  "You need to hop on me."

"I need to do what now?"  Louis said in shock.

"Hop on me, now!"

"...You mean hop on the bike"-

Another shot went off, slaying another zombie and Louis jumped in frustration.  "Stop that!"

"Get on ze damn bike!"

Louis kicked into gear and sprinted forward, hopping onto the back of Kristy's bike and she revved up the wheel.  He held on to her waist tightly as she gunned the bike down the road, leaving the rest of the zombies behind who were trying in vain to chase it down.

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As Francine emerged from her parent's apartment where she had been left alone for the night, she found herself immersed in a firestorm of chaos and destruction.  The streets were lit with flames that illuminated from the buildings in the downtown area.  People were sprinting across the streets, some bleeding profusely from various parts of their body, others covered with soot with terrified expressions on their faces.  There were horrifying events occuring around her; she could see people being devoured by their own on the sidewalk and others being tackled to the ground and beaten to death.   But the worst part of it all was that Francine could not tell the difference between friend or foe.  Not in this lighting and with it all being obscurred by the falling rain.  Everyone running looked as if they ran with a purpose, which meant it was hard to tell the hunted from the hunters.

In the midst of all this chaos, Francine sprinted as far away from it as she could, but it was impossible to escape it all.  Gunshots were going off in the night and screams could be heard for miles.  She ran along the sidewalk and searched for a way out of all of this.  So immersed in her thoughts, she was nearly caught in the crossfire of a large rock that flew directly in front of her and collided with the glass of a nearby electronics store.  Francine jumped in surprise as the man who threw the rock jumped in front of her and grabbed at the first television he saw on display.

With it in his hands, he turned back to Francine with a devious grin on his face that was just as quickly knocked from it when someone jumped him from behind.  The television flew foward, nearly falling on Francine's toes but she stepped back just in time.  The man fell to the ground as the figure that tackled him from behind dug his teeth into the back of his neck and pulled at it with all his might until it tore from his skin.  The man screamed in pain as the veins of his neck were chewed between the teeth of the zombified figure above him.  The zombie looked up slowly with orange-tinted eyes and growled at Francine, who backed away quickly.  When she was slightly out of view, it soon dove back down onto the back of the man's head, ripping the hair and skin off of the back of his skull.

As soon as Francine stepped off into the street, she could see a pair of headlights headed in her direction.  She ran out of the way and could see that it was a truck, ablaze and out of control.  One wrong jerk sent the vehicle flipping onto its side and sliding down the street, colliding with several zombies and humans on its journey before hitting a fire hydrant and flipping a few feet into the air.  It finally rolled recklessly to a stop before a large explosion rocked the city street, sending every standing figure to their feet as they ran for cover from the flying debris.

Francine ducked down and continued along the sidewalk before spotting another pair of headlights down the road from another out-of-control vehicle.  However, this vehicle seemed more tamed than the truck and was closer to the ground as well.  It was a black Corvette that hit whatever was in the street at the moment, whether zombie or human.  When it zoomed by Francine's location, the remains of the fire hydrant caused the car to momentarily spin out of control and do a complete 180 donut before it stopped.  As the driver, tried to get the car's momentum back up and head back down the road, Francine recognized who it was at the front wheel.  The guy with glasses and long hair from the classroom.  His name was Sid.  

Francine got to her feet and ran to the door, putting her hands on the driver's window.  Sid jumped at the sight but relaxed when he recognized her.  He motioned for her to head for the passenger side and she obliged, running past the front of the car.  As she made her way over, a zombie rushed towards the vehicle, trying claw their way at Sid in the driver's seat.  Sid opened the door quickly and smashed the zombie in the face, watching it fall onto the pavement before he closed the door back.  When Francine was in the car, Sid burned out and zoomed down the road, hitting several more figures on the way.

"Do you even care what you're hitting?" Francine stuttered to ask in the heat of the moment.  "You could be hitting humans!"

"Who cares?" Sid said with determination, staring at the road as if it were the most magnificent spectacle in the world.  "None of them are real anyway."

"Mr. Glass said to treat them as if they are."

"Yeah, I'd be doing the same thing if this were real," Sid said, turning hard onto another street.  "If it cools your conscience any, I'm only deliberately killing the ones I'm sure are zombies, the rest are accidental."

The street dipped down into a hill, causing the car to fly off of the surface for a short time as Sid plowed the vehicle through the blurring images of fire and rain.  Up ahead was the city train station, which was positioned over the street as an overpass.  As the Corvette stormed through the rain in the direction of the station, Sid could see a disturbance up ahead.  Sparks were flying into the air and the train that was about to pass the station was derailing.  In an instant, it slid off of the tracks, rolled onto the platform, and smashed through the railing of the overpass, out onto the street and directly onto the oncoming path.  Sid's adrenaline spiked, causing him to jerk the wheel around the oncoming metal snake that slithered onto the pavement and sent a flurry of flames and debris expanding out onto the block.  The Corvette plowed through the fire and emerged on the other side of the overpass unscathed with the exception of a few scrapes.

"Holy shit, did you see that?" Sid shouted with a large smile as he looked back momentarily at the wreckage he'd just avoided.  "Fast and Furious style, right?"

"Wow," Francine said with a hypnotic voice, as she looked at the wreck and then back at Sid.  "That was amazing..."

Sid looked back at Francine several times, trying to keep his eyes on the road.  "Y-yeah, it was awesome," he said awkwardly.

Francine adjusted herself in the chair to get a better look at him.  "Can you....maneuver that well with....other things?" she asked rubbing her hand over her thigh softly.

Sid continued to glance over at Francine with a degree of uncertainty.  "Um...look, you might want to put on your seatbelt.  We're going pretty damn fast."

"I bet you can go faster," Francine said in a voice that, to her, probably sounded seductive, but was the familiar language of a creeper in Sid's ears.

"You know you could go flying through the windshield if we crash, right?"

"It'd be so worth it," she said, reaching over and rubbing her hand on Sid's shoulder.

"Uh," Sid said, jerking his shoulder upward quickly to get her off.  "You're going to fail this class."

Whatever was muffling Francine's ears was the same thing giving her the sudden arousal and attraction to Sid that could not be denied, no matter how many times Sid moved to avoid her.

"I'm fucking driving, what the hell are you trying to do?" he said, knocking away her advances.

"Do you have any idea how amazing it would be to drive this fast and fuck at the same time?" Francine asked, caressing Sid on his chest.

"Bitch!" Sid shouted, knocking her away as she began to pounce on him.  Now on the abandoned freeway that diverged off from the downtown area, there was a lot of room for the car to tear across the road without having to avoid much, aside from a few cars left abandoned and the wandering infected.  Unfortunately, with Francine providing the perfect distraction, Sid was unaware of one of the abandoned vehicles right in the middle of his path.

The Corvette smashed into the car head on, flipping through the air violently until it collided with the side of the traffic median and rolled to a stop on top of it.

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Sid shook his head awake and woke himself up inside a blurry topside world.  He could hear movement around the car as he hung upside down by his seatbelt.  Now he could barely see, as his glasses had flown off during the crash.  He turned to his side but couldn't spot any sign of Francine.  Because he was nearsighted, he knew he'd at least be able to make her out amongst the broken car parts.  The windshield was completely shattered, so maybe she had been thrown from the seat like he warned.  Served her right.  Dumb bitch.  He'd have actually shown remorse if he didn't know she wasn't really dead.  Still, he knew it would hurt like hell, because even he was feeling the blood rushing into the cuts on his head, putting pressure on it and causing it to bleed profusely over his hanging hair.

Sid unlocked his seatbelt and let himself fall to the roof of the car.  He crawled over to the passenger seat and opened the glove box above him, letting the .38 Pistol fall from it along with a few bullets and a flashlight.  He grabbed it and examined the cylinder.  Ammo was full.  He picked up each of the bullets, a total of seven, and slipped them as well as the flashlight into his pocket as he crawled towards the passenger side window.

BANG!  A knock came at the side of the car door as a zombie bent down and stared into the car, directly in front of Sid's face, its orange eyes blazing in the darkness.  Sid jumped and pointed the pistol right at its right eye, pulling the trigger.  The back of its head spilled blood onto the street and it fell to the ground right in front of the doorway.  Sid was forced to crawl over its fallen body as he maneuvered his way out of the wreckage and back out into the rain, which had now subsided into a light drizzle.

As soon as he was out, he could make out the images of many more zombies headed in his direction.  He lifted the gun at them but soon realized it would be futile to fire.  He could barely see and he needed to save the bullets.  He looked to his side and saw that beside the median was a hill that led down into a wooded area.  It was his best bet at this point.  He took out the flashlight and flicked it on as he hopped over the median and slid down the hill into the woods.  

The flashlight lit the way as he sprinted into the forest, dodging the trees and any obstacles that occupied the ground.  He narrowly missed fallen tree trunks and branches that tripped him up slightly but he continued on.  Sid ran for approximately twenty minutes before he emerged on the other side and found himself in a suburban neighborhood.

"Fuck," he said under his breath.  He knew that this was the exact opposite of where he wanted to be.  He'd just escaped from his last neighborhood which was crawling with infected.  It was obvious that the suburban neighborhoods were the most frequently populated areas in the city at the moment, since the Flu had stricken it over night.  Realistically, the Flu must have infected most of these people earlier that (fictional) day and it would take until the late night and early morning for it to turn them into monsters, thus unleashing the chaos that Sid was currently embroiled in.

Sid, without an idea of where else to proceed, headed forward into the neighborhood stalling for time.  As he analyzed his surroundings the best that he could, he suddenly recognized something familiar about it.  Then he realized it.  He was in the same housing complex as Siobhan and Beatrice.  He had been by here several times to pick the two up for various social occasions and now he at least had a lifeline, a goal to shoot for instead of running aimlessly in the mass of blurry objects in front of him.

Sid sprinted between two houses and tried his best to make his way in the right direction.  Out of no where, something caught hold of his foot (most likely a loose water hose or tree stump; he couldn't tell without his glasses on) and sent him face first onto the wet grass.  In the tumble, his gun had flown from his hand.  As he lifted himself from the ground, he could see two zombies up ahead on the sidewalk headed right in his direction.  Sid felt around on the ground for the gun and picked it up quickly, aiming and firing at one of the zombies.

"OW!" It screamed as it fell to the ground.  Uh oh, he thought.  It wasn't a zombie that he'd shot.  "What the fuck was that?"

He'd recognize that voice anywhere.  Sid ran in the direction of it.

"Oh shit, Siobhan, is that you?" he asked frantically just to make sure he wasn't mistaken.

"No, it's fucking Santa Claus and you're not getting shit for Christmas!" Siobhan shouted with a strained voice as she stood up, holding her left arm, which was bleeding heavily.

"I don't have my glasses on, I thought you were a zombie."

"No time to talk, let's go!" Beatrice commanded, sprinting in their direction.  She motioned for the two to follow her.  The local pool house was their primary location and as rain finally came to a stop, the view of it came a bit clearer into view for Sid.  When they reached the end of the block, feet away from it, they quickly climbed the fence separating the pool from the street with time to spare in between the horde that was running after them.   The three of them burst through the door to the pool house and shut it.  Beatrice headed for the light switch and flicked it on, searching around the room for something to board up the doors with.  "The broom!  Hand it here."

Siobhan, who was the closest to the broom that lie against the wall, handed it to Beatrice, who put it in between the two handles of the door.  This would help for only a short time, although the doors had windows on them that could easily be broken out and the broom could be pulled out of its position.  Out of the windows, they could see that most of the zombies had crowded around the fence, trying to pry themselves through it.  It would only be a matter of time before they figured out that they needed to climb it.  It was obvious at this point that these monstrous creatures were capable of learning things over time, a trait not evident in the zombies of popular culture.

"We need to head up to the roof," Siobhan said loudly, as she watched the zombies reaching their arms out in between the fence and growling menacingly.

"What will that do?" Sid said breathing heavily.  "It won't stop to them when they figure out how to climb that fence."

"Yeah, we need to find a way to get rid of them," Bea said, her eyes darting around the room for some form of offense they could use to their advantage.  She soon lit up when she noticed the case of alchoholic beverages that were stacked up against the wall behind the bar in the corner of the room.  She walked over to it and tried to move the handle but found that it was locked, so she stepped back and kicked the glass as hard as she could.  It shattered and crumbled to the floor as she reached in and grabbed several bottles, examining them in the light.

"You guys are fucking lucky," Sid said with an unnatural calmness.  "Living in this rich ass neighborhood.  We don't have a pool or a pool house in mine."

"Sid," Beatrice said with authority, turning back to him.  "Shut your trap and grab those cloths on the counter over there.  Twist them and curl them."

"What're you-" Sid started, but stopped himself when he looked at the bottles in her hands and realized what she was about to do.  "Are we doing what I think?"

"Most likely, I know how your mind works.  Siobhan, hit the lights, we're heading to the roof."

"Did I miss something here," Siobhan said confusedly, completing her task and engulfed the room in darkness.  "What're we about to do?"

Beatriz pulled a lighter from her back pocket.  "Light up the streets," she said simply and the group prepared to construct an arsenal of molotov cocktails to set the zombies ablaze.

--------------------------------------------------

Gustavo pressed the button that lifted the garage door to his house.  From it, a set of headlights illuminated the driveway, which was already filled with the infected.  Gustavo flipped on his Hornet MP3 Player, which was connected to his radio and switched through his playlist until he found the Nirvana section.  He flipped it over to the song, "Breed" and lost himself in the intro riff as he wrapped his hands tightly around the steering wheel.  As the zombies began to rush towards the car, he wrapped his hand around the gear and switched it to Drive, flooring the gas pedal and sending his Dodge Challenger flying out of the garage.  It collided with the zombies in the driveway and spun out onto the street, zooming down the road.

His house was very close to the local airport and after a few minutes, he was out on the freeway that led to it.  In the distance, he could see a nearby plane taking off.  It made no sense; In this chaos, the possibility of the airport still being operational shouldn't exist.  After a few minutes, Gustavo could see by the current altitude and instability of the plane itself that this had to have been an attempt to escape that was about to become disastrous for whatever reason, whether they'd accidentally let on a few zombies or the pilot was just inexperienced.

The plane flew extremely low and passed directly over Gustavo's car, only a few yards above it.  On the right side of him was a large three story DMV building that stood right in the path of the low plane.  In an instant, the plane collided with the building and a blinding explosion shook the streets with force, a thunderous sound blowing out the windows of the Challenger.  Gustavo shielded his eyes from the glass and light, as the flames spilled out onto the streets just out of the reach of the car.  He was forced to slow down a bit as smoke billowed from the explosion, covering his side of the street and obscurring his vision.  Once it subsided, he looked over his shoulder slightly to see that the building had been completely demolished and the remains of the plane stretched out onto the street.

Gustavo turned his attention back to the road and let out a sigh of relief.  The city was literally falling apart before his eyes.  The sky was beginning to brighten up a bit, igniting a peculiar purplish grey tint onto the damp war-torn city under the heavy clouds.  Gustavo looked at the time on his Hornet Player and saw that it was almost 8 O' Clock.  He'd spent most of his time in his house collecting his valuables and stocking them in the car.  His uncle, who he lived with, wasn't due to be home from work (his second job on the side of being a mechanic) until about 10, so he was fortunate enough to have the house to himself for the Scenario.  Gustavo continued along the road, his destination being his Uncle's mechanic's garage, which was most likely abandoned with the exception of a few unwanted visitors most likely.

When Gustavo pulled into the parking lot of the garage, he could see that there were no zombies of any kind anywhere near it.  He was lucky, but there was no telling if there might have been a few that had gotten inside from here.  He reached into the backseat and grabbed the shotgun and pistol he'd brought with him, along with a bag that held his other belongings including food and other beverages.  He took everything and exited the car, surveying every crack of his surroundings before he proceeded onward.  When he reached the door, he noticed that it had been left slightly ajar.  With this in mind, he pulled a flashlight from his bag and turned it on.

Counting to three, he kicked open the door vigilantly and shined the light into the front office.  It had been relatively untouched since he'd been there the day before (And after this particular class was over, he'd spend his time here again).  He closed the door behind him and continued on through the building, searching for activity.

"Hello!" he said loudly.  He knew that if there was a chance of drawing out whatever creatures were hiding in this place, he'd have to be the one on the offensive and try to startle them before they tried to catch him off-guard.  He spotted the body of a recently deceased man in the back with maintenance clothing on him and a large bullet hole in his forehead.  Someone had gotten here and wasted a zombie.  When he finally reached the garage area of the building, he was beginning to think he was alone and whatever assailant that did the zombie in had fled.  That was good.  He could use it as shelter for a time while he considered his next move.

Something clanked to the floor behind him.  Gustavo whipped around with his pistol in hand and pointed it directly in the face of a black man that stood before him with a gun and flashlight pointed at his face as well.  It was Lamar.

"Good thing you called out," Lamar said, lowering the gun and flashlight at the sight of him.  "I was very close to taking you out from long range."

"You're that good?" Gustavo smirked with a raised eyebrow and a touch of sarcasm.

"I'm that good," Lamar said, smiling.  "Did you close the door on your way in?"

"Yeah.  How'd you know to come here?"

"My brother gets his car fixed up here," Lamar said, leading the way to the other end of the garage.  "You?"

"My uncle owns this place.  I work here after school.  What's your brother's name?"

"Darryl."

"I know him.  He's one of our best customers; worked on his Ford Explorer a few times in the past."

"Is it clear?" said a female voice near the red tool drawer in the corner of the room.  She stepped out from it just as Gustavo hit one of the switches near the wall, shining light on the entire area.  It was Cecillia and she was accompanied by Jeremy.

"Yeah it's fine, babe," Lamar said, walking over to comfort her.  "It's Gustavo.  His uncle owns this place."

"Oh thank God," Jeremy said with relief, putting a hand over his chest.  "I thought it was over for all of us.  Those ugly bitches get dangerous in groups."

"Did you bring anything?" Lamar asked curiously.

"Just some guns and some beverages.  I only brought enough for myself though."

"That's all right, I brought enough stuff for at least four people.  How'd you get out of your side of this shithole?"

"I plowed through with the car my Uncle got for me.  Dodge Challenger.  Didn't even leave a dent.  You?"

"Same here, I drove.  Went to go pick up Cecillia here, then the car broke down for some strange reason.  Should have known though, it was my brother's car.  That piece of shit's always breaking down.  Could have used you there to fix it.  But anyway, we had to get away on foot, then Cecillia begged me to head over to Jeremy's place, which, lucky for us, was empty of any zombies.  He wasn't there but we caught up with him in the street a little while later then we found this place and decided to stow up here.  There was one zombie custodian I wasted in the back over there but that's about it.  Figured we'd stay here for a while and decide on what to do next."

"Yeah, I think that's everybody's current objective right now," Cecillia said, speaking up.  "Find a place to lay low until they figure out what to do."

"Well what we need to do is obvious," Gustavo said, lying his things down by another tool box near the garage door.  "We've got to find some way to get in contact with the Army or Government or whatever."

"Well, I've got my cellphone," Jeremy suggested.  "I don't know if it works based on the way things are out there."

"I don't think that'll make much of a difference if we don't have a specific number to contact somebody with.  I don't think it would be that easy anyway.  I think some place with a radio or something would work out the best.  We can contact anybody operating on a radio frequency."

"I don't know much about that," Lamar shrugged.  "Only place I know that has a radio is the WKRB1-The Fire Radio Station and that's all the way on Griffin Boulevard in the Westland District across town."

Gustavo sat down on the tool box, staring off into space as he thought.  "There's a hospital nearby, right?"

"Yeah, St. Meriam's Presbyterian," Jeremy mentioned.  "It's a couple of blocks away.  What does that have to do with anything?"

"They should have a radio or something there, I think.  They have to have some way to contact other hospitals outside of the city to get medicine and stuff when they run out.  I think that's our best opportunity.  They probably have a lot of Flu Deterrent there too, just in case one of us gets infected."

"Yeah, because I don't have the Sickle Cell Traits," Cecillia said.  "I brought one can of bug spray, but that's it.  We'll have to be careful and get that medicine as soon as we can."

A Pop song ringtone began to blare from Cecillia's cellphone, which was in her pocket.  She took it out with a surprised look.

"Didn't think the cellphone service would work in this mess," she said, answering the phone and putting it to her ear.  "Hello?....It's Robyn."

"Robyn Cohen?" Jeremy asked in surprise.

Cecillia nodded her head and addressed the phone.  "Hey Robyn, where are you right now?....Oh my God....Well is there anything you want us to....Alright, let me call you back in a little bit, we'll see what we can do.  Alright, bye."

Cecillia hung up the phone and put it back into her pocket.  "Glad that was over quick," she said with a bit of relief in her voice.

"What'd she say?" Gustavo asked curiously.

"She's stuck in her basement and bawling her eyes out.  Who does she think we are?  She lives all the way in Moon Park."

"What're you talking about?" Gustavo said with confusion.  "You're just going to leave her there to die?"

"What do you expect us to do?  We don't have any weapons and she lives several miles away; we can't do anything.  I don't know why she bothered calling me anyway.  We need to focus on ourselves."

"You're serious, aren't you?" Gustavo said, squinting his eyes and shaking his head with disapproval.  "And you guys are going to side with her?"

"She's kind of got a point, man," Lamar shrugged.  "I mean, you said it yourself, we need to get to that hospital as soon as possible.  We need that Flu Deterrent before daylight or those flies are going to be all over the place."

"I don't believe this," Gustavo said, shaking his head.  "Mr. Glass said to show some humanity."

Cecillia shrugged apathetically.  "Humans are selfish.  What do you want me to do?"

Gustavo chuckled humorlessly and grabbed his bags beside him.  "Karma's going to be such a bitch.  When you find yourself in a similar situation and nobody's around to help you, I hope you remember this moment.  I know that if I was in a bad position and I asked someone for help, I'd want them to actually help, not say they will and then leave me out to fucking dry.  So I'm going."

"You're sticking your neck out for that girl?" Jeremy asked with raised eyebrows.  "Knowing what's out there?"

"Of course I am.  I have a fucking conscience."

"What about us?" Cecillia asked sternly.

"What about you?" Gustavo countered, shrugging.  "You're here, you're safe.  Don't complain.  I'll be back in a bit.  Give me your phone."

Cecillia hesitated and exchanged nervous looks with Lamar before pulling her phone back out and handing it to Gustavo.  He took it and slipped it into his pocket.

"I'll call Lamar when I've got her.  I would have gone out by myself anyway and I would have left my bag of beverages, but now I don't think you selfish assholes deserve it.  I'm taking it with me.  Goodbye."

Gustavo slipped his bag over his shoulder and headed straight for the door, slamming it behind him, leaving the three of them there to wallow in their self-grief but at the same time, fearing for the safety of a noble man in the most dangerous human safari that now surrounded them at every corner of the city.

--------------------------------------------------

The majority of the morning had passed by and Latasha still sat in her room, holding her knees against her chest as she gasped and cried.  Her door was locked and a harmony of growls and bangs came from it as her infected relatives tried their absolute best to reach her, enticed by her clean human aroma.  She'd been contemplating her options for hours and none of them were fool-proof.  She was too scared to fight against her family and too scared to escape through her window.  The latter was the most plausible route of escape, but after that, she had no clue of what to do and where to go.  She'd just run until she got tired or something miraculous happened.

Finally, she climbed off of her bed cautiously, darting her eyes back and forth between the door and the window that led to the side of the house.  She moved to lift the window up.  Insantly, a zombified face lifted itself into the air and scratched at the window's surface, sending her falling back onto her bed in terror.  She screamed at the top of her lungs and watched as the zombie banged on the window until it shattered in front of her.  As it began to climb through, she got up from the ground and ran towards the television on top of her drawer.

Latasha picked it up, the adrenaline allowing her to carry it with ease, and tossed it directly at the zombie's head.  As it ran in her direction, the television knocked it off its feet and sent it to the ground.  She ran over to the fallen creature as it struggled back to its feet and picked up the TV that had rolled behind it.  Before it could get up, she lifted it once again and dropped it on the zombie's skull.  When it fell again, she lifted it once more and this time, slammed it down.  She repeated the process until the zombie was completely immobile.  Then she finally stopped screaming, realizing that she had been belting her lungs out non-stop since laying eyes on the demonic-looking creature.

With one of the zombies disposed of, Latasha headed for the window, knocked off the glass that was still sticking up from the borders, and climbed outside quickly.  She looked around from her position and crept as quickly as she could up to the front of the house.  As she peered around the corner, a zombie of rather large figure stepped into view, inches away from her.  She screamed at the top of her lungs once again, jumped in the opposite direction, and sprinted as fast as she could as the zombie, now accompanied by others at the sound of her shriek, staggered after her.

Latasha headed down a hill located in her backyard and continued on until she reached the street.  She was fortunate enough to live in a housing complex very close to a local strip mall across the street from her house.  She headed over and continued along the strip, which was shaded by a brick covering, held up by pillars along the walkway.  The stores were to her right and she noticed that one had its door unlocked.  She dipped right inside and realized that she was in an vacant CVS Store.  Latasha traveled a bit farther into the store and looked behind her, figuring that the zombies were no longer giving chase, but the door was still unlocked, which meant they could be headed in at any moment if they knew how to open the door.

Latasha circled around several aisles until she found one containing a lone figure.  The sight of it caught her off-guard and made her jump but she calmed down when she recognized that it was one of the girls from her class.  Tammy was her name.  There was broken glass skewed across the floor and she was digging into a previously locked case, pulling out what looked to be a Blu-Ray player, which, during this period, was nearly obsolete due to the various electronic devices that succeeded it in value, most of which were manufactured by the Hornet Company.  As soon as she took it out, she looked up to see Latasha and was equally caught off-guard herself, causing her to slip on one of the glass shards.  Before she collapsed, Latasha reached out to grab at her and break her fall.  

"Whoa there, girl," Latasha said with a smile.  "What are you trying to do?  Did you forget where you are?  What do you need a Blu-Ray player for?"

Before answering, Tammy laid the Blu-Ray player on the top of one of the shelves and turned to Latasha with a blank look.  "None of your business," she scowled menacingly and she took a large swing at Latasha's face, sending her to the floor, unconcious.

--------------------------------------------------

When Latasha opened her eyes again, she could see someone standing right over her.  She screamed at the top of her lungs and struck the figure in the leg.

"Ouch!" he shouted as he fell over onto a shelf, knocking several appliances down on his way over.  She recognized this kid too.  His name was Royce, that Struckcore Kid with all the yellow attire.

"What the hell is wrong with you?" Latasha exclaimed, getting to her feet.  "Standing over me like some kind of stalker or something."

"I was seeing if you were all right," Royce said in a strained voice holding his shin tightly in pain.  "God, that fucking hurt.  Why were you unconcious?"

"That...." Latasha started, slowly realizing exactly what happened.  "That bitch knocked me out!"

"Who?"

"That Mexican girl.  The one who looks like she's got a stick up her ass or something."

"You mean Tammy?" Royce asked, standing up after the pain in his leg dissipated.  "She's not Mexican, she's Spanish."

"What's the damn difference?"

"You're kidding, right?" Royce replied with a bit of annoyance.  "Spanish is from Spain.  Mexican is from Mexico."

"Then what about that Spanish boy in our class?"

"He's not Spanish, he's Latino."

"Again, what the fuck is the difference?" Latasha asked, rolling her eyes.

Royce pinched the bridge of his nose and shut his eyes tightly.  "Latinos are from Latin America, Latasha."

"How do you know my name?" Latasha asked suspiciously, looking him up and down.

"You said that in your introduction to the class."

"And you remembered my name, specifically?"

"Yeah, I remembered everybody's name."

Latasha rolled her eyes again.  "Whatever.  I forgot everybody's damn name.  In fact, as far as I'm concerned, your name is White Boy."

Royce shrugged and began to lead the way out of the store.  "Whatever works for you."

"You got weapons, White Boy?  You didn't exactly come in here strapped."

Royce pulled out a large kitchen knife from behind his shirt where it was tucked into the back of his jeans.  "Just this for now."

"What's that going to do?  Slice into a few of them before they tear your ass up?"

"That's the idea," Royce said with sarcasm as the two left the store and walked back out into the empty parking lot of the strip mall.  There was a single vomit green Ford Pinto in the middle of the lot and as they walked closer towards it, Latasha began to shake her head.

"Oh hell no," she exclaimed.  "That's not your car, is it?"

"Yeah it is, why?"

"'Why?'  It's a damn Ford Pinto!  It's 2022, fool, they stopped making them over thirty years ago!"

"What?" Royce shrugged.  "It's a classic."

Latasha snorted.  "Classic piece of shit."

As they entered the vehicle, Royce turned the ignition and the radio came on.

"Please tell me you've got some good music to listen to, at least," Latasha said hopefully.

"Good to me.  Do you like Struckcore bands?"

"Never heard any of it."

"Well Struckcore music is usually all about the lyrics, you know, like Beatnik stuff but with modern genres.  The sound is usually something akin towards a cross between Alternative Screamo and Alternative Rapcore, with a touch of Folk Metal, Crust Punk, and Psychobilly, but with a Queercore style.  And sometimes Post-New Wave or Avant-Garde Chicano Punk, but that depends on the artist usually."

Latasha gave Royce the blankest face she could make.  "I have no fucking idea what's coming out of your mouth right now."

"Just listen."

As Royce turned the music up, he pulled out of the parking lot and headed for the street nearby.  He'd gotten the bug spray he needed from the store and now he had an ally.  Where to go from here was a mystery but he figured they could decide on something on the way out.  Royce had always been a bit of a reckless driver, but because there was no traffic, he didn't think twice about looking before pulling out onto the streets, since they were empty anyway.  However, as soon as he did, he was T-Boned at full force by a red Pick-up Truck, which came seemingly out of no where.  The wreck sent both vehicles flipping through the air and they rolled to a stop approximately five yards from each other.

A few minutes into the crash, the door to the pick-up truck flew open and a tall blonde-haired guy stepped out of it, wearing a plaid shirt and torn jeans.  Austin McGowan.  "God, it's end of the world and you still can't go 80 on a regular road without consequences," he said with his usual southern accent.  "You okay?"

"Fucking Dandy," Ross said with sarcasm, bleeding from his head as he struggled to pry himself from his seatbelt.  "It's what I get for letting your dumb ass drive."

"Hey, my daddy taught me how to drive when I was twelve and he died last month, so watch your damn mouth."

"Stop being so sensitive, you damn pussy, I was joking," Ross said, limping away from the pick-up truck.  He motioned over at the totalled Pinto across the street from their position.  "Hopefully you didn't kill anyone."

Royce stepped out of the Pinto holding the side of his head with a strain.  Latasha soon followed in the same condition and Ross spotted them.

"Ah, it's Royce," he said with a smile.  "Hey man!"

Royce looked up to see the last two people he wanted to run into in the Scenario.  Out of all of the massive space in this damn city and all of the cars I could have crashed into, I had to have collided with Edward and Jacob minus the unattractive chick, Royce thought to himself.

"Who are these fools?" Latasha asked bitterly.

"The worst people in the world to me right now," he said simply, as he watched them from across the street.  He refused to walk over to them and after a few minutes, Ross and Austin made their way over instead.

"How's it going, bro?" Ross asked, smiling brightly and chewing the gum he had in his mouth far too wildly as he held his hand up eagerly for Royce to slap.  Royce lifted his hand reluctantly and Ross smacked his hand down onto it with unncessary aggression.  "Sorry about the wreck, man, you know this guy can't fucking see where he's going half the time."

"You guys totalled my car," Royce said with obvious irritation in his voice.

"Yeah, sorry about that, man," Austin said, examing the damage.  "Yeah its fucked up pretty bad.  I don't think its going to be going anywhere anymore.  Good thing it's not like this back on the surface, right?"

"Uh huh," Royce said, nodding his head and looking away as he continued to bite his tongue.

"Where were you guys headed anyway?"

"I don't know, we hadn't decided."

"Well, my Step Dad's got a pretty hefty gun cache across town," Austin informed.  "That's where we were headed."

"They're divorced but its okay because they're siblings," Ross said with a smile, while Austin hit him in the arm sternly.

"Aren't we all supposed to be trying to contact the government or something?" Latasha asked looking back and forth between the two of them.

"Um hello," Austin said with unneeded sarcasm.  "Everybody and their mother is going around trying to contact the government.  We need to keep our minds on the offensive: trying to get rid of these damn things."

"If we don't try to contact the government, how are we supposed to figure out where to meet them or whether or not they're even coming?" Royce asked, his annoyance highly evident now.

"We'll talk to somebody back on the surface."

"That's cheating."

"And?" Austin said, shrugging.  "The students that cheat together, graduate together.  Now the pick-up will still run.  You guys should hop in the back so we can get rolling."

"'So we can get rollin'," Ross repeated, mocking Austin's accent.  "'Git R' Done.  Turner 'round and brand dat sumbitch'"-

"Shut the fuck up, Ross!" Austin shouted angrily.  "Damn!"

Royce exchanged annoyed and equally worried looks with Latasha as the four of them walked across the street and headed for the pick-up truck.

11/11/2011

Gener@tion Z - 3. Entering The Scenario



Phillip opened the door to the trailer and saw that everyone had arrived, sitting on the floor in the room.  There were no desks like there were on Friday; instead they were replaced by long soft blankets arranged in rows of six by six.  Each of the students were sitting on the blankets and conversing with one another.  By the feel of the atmosphere, most of the students had been speculating for quite some time how exactly the Scenario would work and what the process would be like to enter it.  The sight of the blankets emphasized that and the growing tension of excitement, anxiety, and subtle frightfulness could almost be physically felt as Phillip entered the room.  He dropped his books at the back of the class by everyone else's things, then took the only vacant blanket in the corner of the room and sat alone, leaning against the wall patiently.  Looking over to his side, he could see a pair of rather large headphones lying next to the blanket.  They were large enough to cover both of his ears entirely and closer observation showed him that the rest of the students had wireless headphones accompanying them by their blanket space as well.

"Alright, everyone is here," Mr. Glass said, clasping his hands together as he stood up from his chair.  "We're almost ready to get started.  First off, I'm going to give you a few tips before we get into it.  There are various clauses that will play a part in your activities throughout these next fifteen days.  The clauses will determine any kind of circumstances that will have an effect on the outcome of your official evaluation in this class.  The final evaluation you get will determine how much time you have to spend in Apocalypse 101 before you can complete that course, in the event that you don't survive the Scenario.  That said, it must be noted that there is a chance that no one in this class might survive the next fifteen days.  It's happened many times before, so I'd take that into consideration when you find yourselves getting too comfortable.  Other than the rules mentioned yesterday, everything is fair game.  If you happen to get infected, most medical kits of today are outfitted with Flu Deterrent, which will hold the virus at bay as long as it's administered to the victim every 4 hours.  If you run out, the chances of you succumbing to the virus are 99% likely, although the time it takes for it to take over your mind varies from person to person.  After you've failed the course and you are no longer attending this class, your zombified corpse will still remain in the Scenario if infected prior.  Just a little heads up for the lot of you who plan on meeting up together and find out that one of your own is infected.  It will come back to haunt you if you're soft.

"At the beginning of the course, you'll find yourself surrounded by your general zombie infestation but as time goes on, you'll discover that the mutation will begin to evolve and lead to the creation of many other zombie types that are more lethal than you can imagine.  On top of that, there's another factor that plays a very large part in the game.  As part of regulations, I'm actually not supposed to relay this information until we've reached a certain point in the course, but you'll find yourselves interacting with it to a limited extent from the very beginning.  I've never truly understood why they wait until later in the course to explain this to you guys since it's something that would be vital to an actual Zombie Outbreak from the start, but I guess they have their reasons.  There are factors within the Scenario called Wild Cards.  Basically, these are hundreds of hypothetical AIs that are unique to every Scenario Trial.  They can vary from lone survivors, to small survivor settlements, to infected-but-not-yet-turned individuals asking for help.  They can even go as far as being unique and dangerous mutations within the zombie infestation that have not been recorded by us experts but have a small chance of actually taking form in an actual event like this.  The purpose of having Wild Cards is to ready you guys for things you may not expect in a Zombie Outbreak.  Fleeing Wild Cards are going to be pretty frequent during your first day in the Scenario, so be wary of how you interact with them, as they can have a profound effect on your evaluation and there are also varying clauses concerning them that will play a part in the final outcome of your time in the class.  Basically what I'm saying is show some humanity, even when you know they're not real, and it could go a long way for you when the class is over.

"All right," he said, grabbing the papers off of his desk and walking to the center of the class.  "Here are your blood test results from yesterday.  There's a positive and negative sign in the corner of your report.  If you have a positive, it means that you have Sickle Cell Traits and you don't have to take any extra precautions in the Scenario.  If you have a negative, it means that you don't and you may be endanger of being infected with the virus via insect bite if you're not careful."

Mr. Glass walked down the aisles in between blankets and passed the test results out to each individual student in the room.  They took it cautiously, examining the results.  A few sighed in relief at not being forced to handle an unwanted burden; others showed visible signs of discouragement.  Out of the entire class of twenty-four, only eight of them did not carry Sickle Cell Traits: Jonah Thao, Cecillia Greer, Latasha Shields, Royce Ferguson, Tammy Camacho, Francine Griffin, and Sarah Lowe.  When all of the sheets were passed out, Mr. Glass walked back to the front of the class to address them once again.

"Dying the first day will cause you to receive the lowest grade of 5%, which will lead to the maximum 101 participation of eight months.  I don't mean to alarm you guys but the chances of most of you not surviving the first day are 75%.  That's just based on general statistics.  I'm here to tell you not to let that have any effect on you guys.  The way I see it, statistics and calculation of the odds for an outcome are all bullshit.  It's humanity's way of trying to predict the future, but I'm going to tell you today that past events do not determine future events.  There's no way any of you can determine the outcome of this course, so you should go in it with a level head and do the best you can.  That's all you really can do and all you really should do.  Without further nonsense, I think it's about time we got started."

As Mr. Glass walked to the back of the classroom, the anxious chatter of the students filled the place, all equally anticipating the fabled experience of entering the Scenario, an event of which they had been speculating of since the project began in their middle school years.  Mr. Glass directed everyone's attention to a large stereo that was located on a table in the back of the classroom.  He picked it up by the handle on top of it and hauled it to the center aisle between the students, lying it down directly in the middle of the room.  The letters "FEVAR" were engraved just above the Power button.  He turned around to the students once again.

"This stereo-looking device is called a F.E.V.A.R Machine.  F.E.V.A.R stands for  'Frequency Emitter of Virtual Ambience through REM'.  It sends out a highly focused frequency to the wireless headphones that lay beside you.  This frequency, when transmitted through your headphones into your brains, puts you all in a hypnotic state of mind until you lose conciousness and immediately enter REM Sleep.  The particular frequency being transmitted is unique to Ocean Valley.  It works almost like a tightly woven equation, unlocking parts of your brain that creates the virtual world of the Scenario and recreates the city of Ocean Valley based on your memories and knowledge of this town.  Because you all will be sharing the same frequencies through your headphones, the frequency will adjust itself accordingly to the activity being registered from all of your brains and connect it together within the Machine itself, allowing you all to interact with each other in the same world.  The frequency is ever-changing, so it's never the same Scenario over and over again.  It's always different for every class across the country.  Now I know all of this is very confusing, but I figured you'd probably want a formal explaination for how this works before we get into it.  All you need to know is that when you put on your headphones and I turn on the Machine, you'll enter a deep sleep and wake up at exactly 7am, most likely in the comfort of your beds at home.  The Scenario will end at Midnight on the first day and it will feel as if you've experienced 17 hours of a day in only two hours of class, real time.  Now, any questions before we get started?"

Louis raised his hand from the same spot he'd sat the previous day, minus the desk.  Mr. Glass called on him.  "How will you be able to monitor our activity?" he asked curiously.

"I have my own set of headphones by my desk that the F.E.V.A.R Machine will emit a unique frequency to once it registers that you all are unconcious.  It won't render me unconcious, but it will put me in a hypnotic-enough state to monitor most of what goes on in the Scenario.  I can't monitor every single bit of your activity or hear the conversations that you have with one another, but I can keep tabs on developments.  Afterwards, I write a report on the occurences that took place and send it to my superiors at the end of the day.  Anything else?"

Sid raised his hand behind Mr. Glass.  Mr. Glass turned around and addressed him.  "Yeah, if everybody in the room is going to be hypnotized or whatever, what's stopping a killer from running into this place and murdering us, or a thief coming in here and stealing our shit?"

Mr. Glass chuckled.  "You don't need to worry, Sid, the doors to this trailer are locked tight.  If it gives you more reassurance though, I will be in a hypnotic state, but all of my basic cognitive functions will still be prevalent and I'll be aware of my surroundings to a limited extent.  If anything were to happen, I'll still be able to notice it, bring you guys out of the Scenario, and evacuate for any emergency accordingly."

Sid nodded in approval.  Mr. Glass surveyed the students once more.  "Anything else?"  The students were silent.  None of them knew what to expect from this, but it was clear that they were as ready as they would ever be.  "Alright, good.  Now I need you all to follow my instructions carefully, understood?  First step is to take your headphones and put them on your head.  Make sure the Left/Right Ear Icons are correct."

Each of the students grabbed hold of the headphones that were lying beside them, checked the sides to determine how to put them on, and clamped them over their ears.  Many of them expected for the sound around them to be muffled, but they found that they could hear everything in the room even clearer, as if a microphone was currently being emitted through the headphones, amplifying every sound around them.

"Okay, now.  There is a knob on either side of the earphones.  They're the volume knobs.  I want you to click each knob on and turn it until it's at maximum volume.  This will allow you to recieve the transmission in full and at a quicker pace, so it gets things started faster."

Each student turned both of the knobs by the sides of the earphones but there was no change from the sounds they heard in them.

"Halfway done, guys," Mr. Glass said peacefully, sensing that the majority of them were seconds away from a nervous breakdown as a result of the building tension.  "You're doing great.  Now, I want you all to lay down flat on the blanket that you're sitting on and relax.  Just let every muscle in your body lay loose.  You can go ahead and close your eyes if you want, but just relax and think happy thoughts, okay?  I'll help you."

As each of the student layed back on the blankets, they were already feeling a strange peaceful sensation coasting through them.  It was something about Mr. Glass's soothing voice that immediately calmed down their anxious minds and allowed them to enter a relaxed state.  Mr. Glass leaned down slowly and pressed the power button on the F.E.V.A.R Machine, then turned the knob on it to 'High.'  He then walked away and headed for his desk, sliding his chair in front of the white board, where he sat and surveyed the sleepy students from that spot.

"Now I want you to tense up every muscle in your body as hard as you can," Mr. Glass said softly but loud enough for everyone to hear.  "Tense up every muscle: Your biceps, triceps, thighs, toes, abs, face, everything....hold it there for thirty seconds...keep every muscle in your body as tense as you possibly can, it builds up the energy....that's it...now release....you feel that fluid flowing through, cooling your body?  Focus on it.  It's soothing, isn't it?  Now I want you to imagine yourself on the beach in the middle of a hot sunny day....There's a gentle breeze blowing in the wind...you're wearing loose clothing, standing on the lukewarm wet sand...You hear the rushing waters of the ocean as the undertow brushes up against your toes....You're completely at peace now...."

Mr. Glass reached into his pocket and pulled out the two pound Queen Elizabeth coin.  He stopped talking and flipped the coin in his hand continuously, its hypnotic, high-pitched, and rhythmic sound putting the students into a trance.  It amplified in their headphones as the ambient white noise of the Scenario frequency seeped into their minds, although it was too high to be conciously heard by human ears.  One by one, each of the students slipped into their unconscious mind, shutting out the world around them and entering one that was slowly slipping into chaos.  So much for being peaceful....