Gener@tion Z - Day 2 - 11:29am
Another gunshot rang off in the distance as Woodrow pulled the trigger, sending a sharp piece of lead down into the brain of a lone zombie like a smite from heaven. Its dark brain juice spilled onto the street, which was painted with splotches of blood in an abstract pattern that nearly covered the entire surface of the road in front of the Parks and Rec Center. Woodrow smiled to himself as he pulled another round back into the chamber and spotted another zombie coming out of the park across the street. This one was much farther in than the others he'd taken out, but he knew it wouldn't be a problem. He caught its forehead in the scope, its absent, hollow face and orange eyes in plain sight. Without a touch of remorse, Woodrow pulled the trigger, but there was only a clicking sound. He pulled it again and got the same result. He looked up from the scope and pulled the rifle back in from the window, then took off the magazine and saw that it was empty.
"Shit," he swore loudly. "Down to one last mag."
"Finally," Jay muttered from the floor he'd slept on the night before. He'd tried to get a few more hours of sleep in, since they were holed up tightly and safe from harm, but Woodrow had decided to start off his morning by filling the majority of the downtown area with the sound of gunshots, empty bullet shells, and rotting human carcasses. Jay leaned up, pulling off the towels he'd used as blankets and stood up, stretching and yawning as loudly as possible. "Epic yawn, for the win."
"We need to go to the Gun Store on Woodlawn and 5th to stock up," Woodrow said, standing up and setting his rifle up against the wall before heading for the refridgerator to grab a donut from one of the boxes.
"You mean YOU need to go to the Gun Store," Dylan muttered, rubbing his eyes in exhaustion as he sat up. "We need to take some showers and stay our asses here."
"And who's going to keep you guys safe?" Woodrow asked, taking a bite out of his donut lazily. "Jay gave the only other weapon to Jonah, so none of you have anything to defend yourself with."
"We've got these dumbbells," Dylan responded, pointing behind him. "And a bunch of other weights to crack open some heads."
"Right," Woodrow shrugged. "I wonder how long that would last against a horde. Swinging heavy objects at them, little by little. That'll take out probably three before they start their feeding frenzy."
Jay sighed inaudibly and stood up, stretching once again. "Whatever. Let's get going so we can get back."
"Chances are we won't be back," Woodrow said, finishing off his donut. "The Gun Store is ten times safer than here. They actually have a lockable gun range and a chain link fence in front of the register to prevent robberies."
"Again, whatever," Jay shrugged, walking his way to the locker room in the back, taking one of his towels with him. "Going to take a shower and put on the same sweaty clothes I slept in afterwards like a boss."
"Where'd Francine go?" Dylan asked, looking around curiously.
"Who?" Woodrow responded.
Dylan rolled his eyes. "The girl Phillip saved yesterday."
"Oh. She went into the bathroom a while ago."
A deafening shriek rang out from across the workout area followed by a deep voiced scream, which caused Dylan and Woodrow to react militantly. It wasn't until their attention was turned to the bathroom that they realized that the shouts were coming from the back and a second later, Jay sprinted out of the locker room, out of breath and his eyes wide with fear.
"She was in there," Jay sighed, his heart still pounding through his chest. "Why the hell didn't anyone tell me?"
"Ask him," Dylan said, motioning back at Woodrow, who had already turned his attention elsewhere.
By the time they'd cleaned up and gathered their supplies, the four of them were on their way down the scortched morning streets of Ocean Valley's downtown area, which was now void of activity of any kind, alive or undead. Woodrow carried the rifle vigilantly, leading the way down the sidewalk, his eyes darting back and forth across the landscape watchfully as if the slightest movement would set him off. Dylan, Jay, and Francine, walked several feet behind him, quietly conversing as they continued onward for a few more blocks.
"Sorry about earlier," Jay apologized, rubbing the back of his head awkwardly.
"Its okay," Francine replied sheepishly. "You didn't know."
"Yeah, stuff like that ends up happening when I hang out with this guy," Jay mentioned, pointing upward towards Woodrow, who turned around slightly and gave him a dirty look before looking back onto pathway. "He apparently knew you were in there and didn't tell me."
"Its fine, really," Francine assured. "It was actually....I mean, yeah, no harm done."
"Yeah, excuse Jay if he seems a little shaken up," Dylan said to her, eying Jay with a grin. "He's not used to seeing naked women very often."
"Oh man, that is so hilarious, you funny funny man," Jay responded with a load of sarcasm, playfully smiling back at him. "Why are you not on somebody's stage? You are the next Steve Carrell."
"Thanks bro!" Dylan shouted with fake enthusiasm, reaching up for a high-five as Jay returned it just as jovially, the both of them shouting a melodramatic "Yeah!" as they did so. Francine chuckled nervously.
"I honestly um....wasn't completely naked."
"What're you talking abou - Oh...." Dylan said, realizing what happened. "So you were-"
"Using the bathroom, yeah," she said embarassingly.
"Yikes," Dylan said, quivering slightly at the thought but then stopped and looked off. "Yet strangely kinky."
"Hey!" Woodrow turned, shouting at the group. "Enough with the chatter, you know noise draws them. Keep quiet."
Jay sucked his teeth and shook his head, turning back to Francine. "So tell us about yourself, San Fran. What's life like for you on the surface? Is it weird being surrounded by a bunch of Seniors this early?"
"Well, to be honest, not really," she answered. "I mean, I'm always interacting with Seniors because I'm in a lot of AP and Advanced classes. In all honesty, I had to sign up for them because my dad wanted me to."
"Did you actually want to?" Dylan asked.
"Honestly, no I didn't but he's the one that sets the rules. I've been an exceptional student most of my life, but honestly, I never wanted to be that. That's what my parents wanted. I honestly wanted to have a social life, you know, make a few friends, but my parents have always gotten on me about the importance of education and how it trumps everything else that I want to concern myself with."
"Well thats not fair," Jay responded. "I mean, school is about much more than education. Its about social interaction too. Otherwise, everyone would be home schooled."
"I honestly was home schooled, a lot. I've been home schooled every other year since I've been studying. My parents have a lot of funds, so they could honestly get me the best that money could offer. Except recently, they've said I'd have to do my whole four years of High School here, so thats not an option anymore. I'm honestly glad of that though. At least now, I can interact with people more, even though I don't talk much. This is honestly the most I've talked with anybody in school. Ever."
"You know, I just noticed, you use the word 'honestly' a lot," Dylan said after analyzing her statement. "Have you ever picked up on that?"
Francine shrugged. "Sometimes. I just like the way it sounds. Did you know that the word, 'honestly', was invented by Shakespeare."
"Really?" Dylan answered. "I didn't know he invented words. I just thought he made an endless string of strange phrases that gave me the ability to resist giving a fuck about it."
"He actually created a lot of words," Jay said, shaking his head at Dylan's sarcastic ignorance. "The words, 'eyeball', 'puking', 'negotiate', 'obscene', 'hot-blooded', 'advertising', 'wormhole', 'alligator', and the age old phrase from the late 2000's, 'swagger', all came from Shakespeare. Thing is though, I don't think 'honestly' was one of the words that came from him."
"Yes, it did," Francine countered, turning to him. "I know for fact."
"You're probably thinking of 'lonely'. That one was invented by Shakespeare."
"No, its 'honestly', I'm telling you," Francine said with a confident smile. "I know better than anyone. I've studied Shakespeare for many years now."
"I'm sure you have, but I also know Shakespeare pretty well and I'm pretty sure it was 'lonely' that he invented. Not 'honestly'."
"Maybe he invented both."
"I don't know. I had to memorize the list they taught us in Drama class during my eighth grade year and I don't remember-"
"Hey look," Francine snapped at him, suddenly becoming slightly angered by Jay's persistence. "I said I know what I'm talking about. It was 'honestly' that was invented by Shakespeare, not 'lonely'."
"Okay," Jay said, holding his hands up in defense. "Let's just agree to disagree."
"No," she said, shaking her head in irritation. "I want you to admit that I was right. It IS 'honestly' that was invented by Shakespeare."
"I'm not going to admit anything, all right?" Jay replied. "Chill out."
"I think you're just upset because I'm smarter than you," Francine said, looking away with her arms crossed.
"Damn, whats with the attitude all of a sudden?" Dylan asked. "Why do you have to be right?"
"Because I've been beaten into being right, thats why," Francine answered frustratingly. "I've got the scars to prove it. When I say I know what I'm talking about, I know what I'm talking about. As far as my father is concerned, I have to know what I'm talking about or he'll get on me. I'm not even allowed to fail this class. If I do, they'll come down on me harder than ever before."
"Well I'm sorry to hear that," Jay answered somberly. "That's not fair, especially when this class involves you having to know and have learned things in the past that your parents have neglected to teach you, so if you failed, it wouldn't be your fault. But back to the subject at hand, I know that I'm right. I'll look it up on the net when we get back up on the surface so I can prove it to you."
"Fine. You'll be sorely disappointed though."
"HEY!" Woodrow snapped, becoming increasingly more belligerent. "I TOLD YOU GUYS TO SHUT THE HELL UP!"
"Why don't you mind your own business!" Jay shouted back at him, his face becoming red as he spoke.
"Easy now," Dylan muttered, lying a hand on Jay's shoulder.
"You know, I'm starting to get tired of you, Jay," Woodrow said, stopping his stride and turning to the group.
"Well, let me knock you to sleep then," Jay growled. He slowly cracked his knuckles as he walked closer to Woodrow. Dylan stepped into action, jumping in between the two defensively.
"Come on, please. Can we have one freaking group in this story that does not have some type of tension between them. I mean, jeez. Let's be mature for once."
"I agree," Woodrow muttered, keeping his eyes trained on Jay, who stared back at him coldly. "I'll be back. I've got to take a piss. Stay here."
Woodrow turned away from the group and slipped into an adjacent alleyway to the right of them. He disappeared around the corner of it and Dylan turned cautiously back at Jay, who was breathing heavily as he stared blankly at the spot in the alley where Woodrow had disappeared.
"Are you okay?" Dylan asked with concern.
"Yeah," he said, calming his breathing. "I don't know how much more I can take from him though. I'm sick of him trying to tell us what to do."
"Just hold out for at least another day, man. If we can....wait a second....what happened to Francine?"
Dylan gazed around curiously, Jay scanning the area as well with no sign of her in their immediate surroundings. In the alleyway, Woodrow stood by the side of a graffiti-covered wall and leaned his head back as he drained the lizard, sighing in relief. There were sounds that he could hear coming from his side, but he was too engulfed in the euphoria of the moment to care if it was real or just his imagination. It wasn't until he heard the sound of a bottle being kicked aside that he realized that it was real and sprung into action, looking to his side to see Francine staring at him from the opposite end of the alley that he'd entered from. How she'd gotten on that side of him in such a short amount of time without him noticing was beyond him. He quickly scrambled to shove his junk back into his pants as he shielded his torso away from her shyly.
"What the fuck are you doing?" he shouted at her, zipping his pants back up without the opportunity to shake.
"I just thought....you might want some company," she muttered modestly.
"Um, in case you haven't noticed, this wasn't exactly a moment I needed company for, Francine."
"I'm sorry," she said, looking down quickly. "But I mean....I couldn't help but notice...."
Woodrow turned to her curiously with a confused look. "Notice what?"
"How you are....down there."
"Oh," Woodrow said, chuckling evasively. "Right. I'm guessing you were impressed, huh?"
Francine nodded sheepishly and Woodrow walked toward her with a flirtatious stride. He was by no means going to try and hit on her; she wasn't exactly flattering to look at in his opinion, nor was she anywhere near his type, but even he wasn't able to resist the chance to woo a female, even one that he had no intentions of pursuing anything with. It also was apparent that a sexually deprived and borderline perverted young girl like Francine would eat up anything he would say to impress her.
"You should be glad you got to see a part of me that some girls wish they get to see," Woodrow said as he approached her. "Its like seeing a Shooting Star. Its a once in a lifetime opportunity-"
Without any warning at all, Francine reached forward and gripped Woodrow by the groin with all her might, grinning wildly as he screamed with a high-pitch and pulled her hand away from him. He held on to himself tightly, squinting his eyes in pain and looked back up at her.
"What'd you do that for?" he asked with a strain in his voice.
"Can I have a kiss?" Francine babbled with lust in her eyes, no longer paying much attention to his words.
"Please," she said, leaning toward him, grabbing hold of his cheeks with force as she tried to press his lips against hers. Woodrow pulled her hands from his face and pushed her away.
"I said No!"
A torrent of liquid suddenly splashed across Woodrow's face, nearly getting into his eyes and mouth. Woodrow shut them immediately and just as quickly moved to wipe away whatever had been sprayed on him so violently. When his hand went over the surface of his face, his finger grazed over a sharp object that was being held closely to his head, Woodrow believing that she was now holding something in front of him that would spell trouble in some way after she'd just most likely blown chunks all over him. However, when he opened his eyes to see her, he suddenly and wholeheartedly, wished he hadn't.
The sharp object in front of him was the razor sharp point of a spear, literally milimeters from the bridge of his nose as it protruded directly from Francine's forehead. Woodrow backed away quickly to see her lifeless eyes staring at him absently. Blood trickled down from the white spear sticking out of her head, having entered from the back. What had splashed onto his face was her blood and most likely some brain and skull fragments as well.
Francine's body collapsed forward, landing on the bone-white staff, which jerked her neck back gruesomely before it toppled to the ground. With her down, Woodrow spotted the source of the attack. A lone zombie stood at the opposite end of the alleyway. But it was different from the others. This one was naked and skinless. Its decaying muscles were grey and green, its orange eyes and yellow teeth displayed sinisterly with the absence of lips.
Woodrow, eyes wide with shock, acted fast and grabbed for the rifle he'd laid by the rusted trash can beside him. In response, the lone zombie tensed its eroding muscles until a white object began to emerge from its back, followed by several other white objects. Woodrow could see that it was a sharp slab of bone that was extending to approximately two feet or more. The other objects were the same, all projecting from its back together in a straight line down the surface of its spine. His spine. That was it, Woodrow thought. It was ejecting spears from its spine. Like some type of twisted porcupine-like creature.
The zombie reached back and broke off one of the bones from its back. Woodrow lifted the rifle as quickly as he could and aimed the creature down in his sights as it stood nearly twenty yards away from him. As soon as it was inside his scope, the creature reared back and hurled the bone spear directly at him. Woodrow obeyed every instinct in his body and immediately dropped to the concrete completely as the spear flew over him and out of the alleyway, drawing Jay and Dylan's attention as soon as it embedded itself into the concrete. Woodrow, lying on his side, aimed the gun down from a sideways position and captured the creature in his sights once again. He pulled the trigger three times and all of the bullets plugged the zombie's skull before it fell to its knees and then down to the dry alley floor.
Woodrow was nearly out of breath when he got back up, wiping the blood off of his face with his shirt. He stared down at the fallen zombie that lay on the other end of the alley, not even giving Francine a second glance.
"What the fuck happened?" Dylan exclaimed, entering the alleyway and stopping once he spotted Francine's dead body.
"What does it look like?" Woodrow answered, still breathing heavily. "We need to go."
Woodrow turned around and headed in the opposite direction with his rifle up, a touch of paranoia creeping upon him. Dylan reluctantly turned and joined him but Jay stood where he was, staring down at Francine, like she was his closest friend and she was gone forever.
"Come on," Woodrow shouted back at him. "She's back on the surface. She's out of this mess. We're not. Let's get moving."
Jay swallowed hard as he turned and followed the others out of the alley's exit. Several minutes passed without activity before the group, now reduced to a trio, walked the rest of the way to the Gun Store and arrived. They entered through the back door, breaking it open and using the shelves of ammunition on the inside to block the door they'd entered from. The place was less professional of a setup than what was usually seen from a Gun Store; it almost resembled a type of decrepit back alley illegal gun supplier collection of some kind. However, Woodrow was right about the caged bar that surrounded the register. Around the front of the shopping area, there were shelves of guns and ammunition organized based on the sections they were labeled under. The three of them surveyed the gold mine intently as they walked through, Woodrow nearly jumping in excitement when he spotted the exact set of rounds he needed in one of the aisles.
"Pick yourselves a weapon and load up, boys. We're sitting on a jackpot right now."
"So the shooting range is in the back?" Dylan asked curiously.
"Yeah, near the way we came in. Can't wait to get out there on it."
"Wait, hold on," Jay said, turning to him. "You can't use the shooting range. You'll draw the zombies' attention."
"Uh so?" Woodrow said casually. "We're sitting on the greatest line of defense in the city, dude. You didn't seem to have a problem with my shooting at the Parks and Rec."
"That's because we were above ground and sealed in tight. Here, we're in a leveled building. The chances of us getting overwhelmed are higher."
"Um again," Woodrow said with annoyance, gesturing at the weapons behind him. "Mountain of weapons here. We can hold our own."
"No, you can," Dylan countered. "In case you hadn't noticed, Woodrow, we don't know how to use most of these weapons. Hell, Jay only knows how to use a basic pistol, I don't even know how to do that."
"Well if you two would stop being a couple of pussies all the time, maybe I would find it in my heart to teach you. I mean, seriously, I have never heard you two whine and complain this much until we got here. You're really starting to kill my buzz."
"What are you going to do when your 'buzz' is all gone, huh?" Jay asked, slightly threatening. "You going to ditch us? Maybe go behind our backs and fuck our girlfriends like you did to Phillip?"
"You're still on that, huh? And my feelings on the situation were just completely disregarded because I don't matter. Your loyalty to that loser is sickening and pathetic. You actually take his word over mine; Him! The weak link of our group from the very beginning."
"He's our friend, Woodrow. He WAS your friend, but you fucked that up."
"Alright," Woodrow said, throwing up his hands in defeat. "I can't deal with this anymore. Let me know when you learn to let go of the fucking past. Then maybe you won't turn out like the rest of your family, huh?"
"Woodrow," Dylan warned, stepping forward, as he gazed back at Jay to guage his reaction. It was much calmer than he had expected from such a sting of a comment. He simply shook his head and looked off in another direction. Woodrow shrugged and walked out of the room, waving the two off as he went into the back, where the bathroom was located. Dylan turned back to Jay and started to address him when he was cut off.
"Its okay, man. I'm pretty much at the point where Phillip is now. I'm done with the guy. The sooner we ditch his ass the better."
"That's the idea, dude," Dylan said, lounging back. "Before we know it, he'll be out of our hair and we can get back to it being the three of us, like back at the Parks and Rec."
"Yeah," said Jay, walking past Dylan to the display model of a 1911 pistol that was hanging over one of the shelves by itself. He took it and opened the clip, surveying it as he walked to the ammo shelf and grabbed the box of rounds to go with it. "Might as well assemble some line of defense before he starts drawing infected attention."
"Right. You need any help?"
"No, I've got it," Jay said, opening the box of bullets and pouring some out into his hand. As he placed them into the clip of the gun individually, he spoke. "You know, its probably too early to be saying this, seeing as I have yet to see much action here in the Scenario after just two days, but I've got to say, I'm actually starting to enjoy my time here, despite everything thats been going on lately. I don't know what it is about it, but getting to walk down the streets of downtown with all of that silence, all of that peacefulness; its amazing for such a big city to be so quiet. I mean, I know its not really peaceful with the zombies and what not, but in an environment like this, its like every little thing counts, even the brief moments of peace, you know? Its just something to cherish. Especially when you know its not real. Its like the hectic times of teenage and high school life can all be dulled down for a little while at least when we're in here. Sort of makes me want to survive that much more in this place. Do you know what I mean?"
"Yeah, I do," Dylan said, staring off into space as he took a seat down in a wooden chair that happened to be lying against the wall next to one of the shelves. "I also know how you sound like you're high right now."
"Hell, I wish I was high," Jay said, slipping the clip into the pistol and cocking it back expertly. "I could actually get baked without getting into trouble in this place."
Dylan began to laugh as Jay joined in. The two were in hysterics by the time Woodrow had returned from the bathroom. But then something unexpected happened. As soon as Woodrow emerged from the back of the store, Jay, in mid-laughter, turned his new pistol on him and fired down, hitting Woodrow in the right thigh. He hollered in shock and grasped his leg tightly as Jay's smile disappeared and quickly formed into a scowl. He walked quickly over to Woodrow.
"Jay, no!" Dylan shouted, standing up, but making no real move to stop him this time. Part of him didn't want to. This wasn't real and as long as Jay knew not to kill Woodrow, it might as well be fair game, along with the fact that Woodrow would deserve every minute of it. He still couldn't help but look on aghast as Jay pistol whipped Woodrow in the face, knocking him into one of the shelves.
Jay stepped up to him and grabbed hold of his shoulder, pulling him back to face him. Woodrow looked on with mercy in his eyes, forming his mouth to say the word "No" before Jay brought his fist across and knocked him farther down the aisle. Jay chased after him as he staggered forward and shoved his foot into Woodrow's back, his head jerking as he flew forward and collapsed onto the caged counter of the register bar. Jay reached forward and grabbed Woodrow by his hair, yanking it back and slamming it onto the counter with as much force as he could muster. Woodrow's head bounced onto it freely as Jay manhandled it with ease, slamming it twice before tossing him across the room by his hair and watching him collapse against one of the shelves, knocking it over.
Jay stepped over the fallen boxes and bullets that rolled out on the floor around him and kneeled down toward Woodrow, who was slumped over the fallen shelf weakly. Jay turned him over and drove his fist down, closing his eyes as he continously struck Woodrow as hard as he could. His jaw was clenched firmly and he could feel the force surge throughout his body with each strike. Blood was spewing from Woodrow's lips, nose, and head, his face turning redder and redder with each blow.
"That's enough, Jay," Dylan said softly but loud enough to be heard. Jay didn't listen and continued to pummel him until he was completely disoriented. "That's enough!"
Jay finally stopped and stared Woodrow in his bruised, bloody, and tattered face. His eyes rolled around in his head aimlessly as blood seeped from his mouth, his mind completely knocked senseless. Jay stood up from where he was squating and pulled Woodrow to his feet by the collar of his shirt, hoisting him up and stepping over the fallen shelf as he shoved Woodrow toward the entrance of the store. He growled angrily and with all his might, forced Woodrow through the glass window, shattering it completely. He tumbled through and landed on the concrete sidewalk beside it, rolling to a stop with his face planted on the ground.
"Don't bother coming back. Don't bother calling. Don't bother speaking to me again. I will fuck you up just as bad." Jay stepped away from the store's window, heading for the back. He passed Dylan on the way by, who nodded to him with assurance as they began to make their way into the shooting range; the only place for them to be safe from the zombies while they laid low, now that the window had been broken. Outside, Woodrow stood falteringly from the sidewalk, swaying as he attempted to stay on his feet. He directed his gaze to the empty Gun Store and pointed to it angrily.
"Fuck you, Jay!" he shouted waveringly, blood and saliva dripping from his lips and onto his shirt as he spoke. "Some friend you assholes turned out to be! You think you can just kick me out and then you're done?! I'll be damned if I let you get rid of me that easily. You're fucking with Woodrow Gould, bitch!"
Woodrow gritted his teeth and felt an intense pain as one of his canines broke loose from its root after the abuse Jay had given his face. It dropped into his mouth and he spit it into the palm of his hand, gazing at it dismally. Finally, he collapsed to his knees and began to weep openly in defeat. This was it. He'd effectively ruined his own life. His best friends had turned their backs on him. Everyone had. And all because he wanted to prove to them that he wasn't the weak broken man he constantly felt like on a regular basis. All because he didn't want to admit that his remorse over betraying his own best friend was weighing him down more than any mistake he'd made in the past, and he couldn't, for the life of him, admit that he was wrong to anyone but himself behind closed doors. Now, with no one by his side, he was a useless shell of a man; he'd hit rock bottom and the insecure thoughts that led him to make these decisions in the first place had done nothing but leave him feeling worse than he'd ever felt in his life before. Now he was done.
Behind him, he could hear the low grumbles of a figure that he could tell had been stalking him. He whipped around and could see an infected individual standing in the middle of the street. It was by its lonesome, breathing heavily as it began to lick its lips with vicious hunger, staring at the unarmed and beaten human that lay crumbled before him.