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Rowdyland

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Despite it being the end of the world and walking nightmares roaming the streets and countrysides, a group that had named themselves the Rowdy 3 had managed to survive the last six years by sticking together and causing a little hell now and again. The four of them rarely argued unless it was over who was sleeping where in their van, or who got the most zombie kills that week. They had become family to one another, and being in such close quarters, traveling for the next safest location they had become like a hive mind. Anticipating the other’s needs when it came to defending the group had them flowing together like chaotic dancers, wrecking anything in their path. Survival was the main goal, but it didn’t stop them from having fun now and again.

Martin usually drove the van, often embellishing about how he knew every road in America but he never steered them wrong. After the first few years together it felt like fate had always guided them to whatever they needed most. Food, shelter, entertainment, one another. The pieces always seemed to fall into place when they least expected. It was something they had just grown to accept. However, with the way things were working lately it felt like fate had all but abandoned them.

“Keep it down, will ya?” Martin hissed over his shoulder as Vogel continued to complain. They had been walking nearly five blocks down a forgotten town. The sun had the four of them baking in the summer heat, which was enough to break the youngest of the Rowdy 3 as he ranted on about how fate had forsaken them.

“I’m just sayin’! Van breaks down! Nearest place that’s got a fan belt is five blocks away! It is ten million degrees out!” Vogel huffed and puffed as he tried to keep up with the others. Gripps looked back at him holding up the sole of his shoe. “Gripps broke his shoe! I’m tellin’ you man! We got jinxed or something!”

“I forgot my wallet,” Cross noted as they spotted the grocery store over the crest of the steep hill.

“Cross forgot his...wait.” Vogel turned his head up to look at the brunette, face scrunching up in confusion as he tried to catch his breath.  “Why do you need a wallet? It’s...They don’t sell stuff anymore. You just take it now.” Obviously over exhausted, Vogel spoke a little louder than he intended, over exaggerating with his arms out of frustration at the lack of logic.

“Nobody steals stuff from the quarter machines.” Cross just shrugged taking a sip from his water bottle. Martin hushed them again, this time putting a hand over Vogel’s mouth before he could retort.  Instantly the others fell silent. The crack of a branch had them turning their heads in unison towards the noise, which was shortly followed by a low growl. Teeth hissed and snapped, the creature sniffing the air. It’s eyes had gone blind with rot ages ago and it had begun to smell out it’s prey. Martin stepped forward slowly so as not to make a sound.

He tightened his grip on the bat, giving it a swing or two before letting out a loud whistle. “Hey, Pretty Boy!!” He smirked, getting it’s attention. It snarled back, feeling it’s way over to him with what fingers it had left. “Little closer!” He gestured with the bat as he swung a few more practice hits. “Close enough to read the fine print!” He pulled his arms back, sending the end of the bat sailing into the creature’s skull, and sending it hurling down the hillside.

“Home run!” Gripps noted, peering over the hill. The group moved onward towards the store with little struggle with the locals. It wasn’t until they got closer that Martin began to understand why the streets had been so clear. A hoard of the undead had collected around the grocery store after a car had crashed into the side of the cement building. Not enough to break a wall, but enough that a fire had broke out where it cracked the gas tank. The light of the flames and the horn blaring had drawn in a crowd. Even more unfortunate, a sign clearly posted a surplus of fan belts in the auto parts section that had been taped to the window of the store.

“Damn it.” He sighed as he fished out a cut in half straw from his pocket and put it between his fingers like a cigarette. A trick Gripps had taught him to help people when they quit smoking. It didn’t help the cravings but simulating the sensation helped him think. “No reason not to check it out.” He drew a breath in through the straw before breathing as if there were smoke.

“Except, ya know...dozen or so zombies waiting to greet us,” Cross noted, raising his brows. He knew what his leader was about to suggest and though he’d follow the man through hell and back, it didn’t mean he didn’t have his doubts about survival. “And then whatever is locked up inside.” He pointed to an office window on the side of the building where a single shadow paced past a window. Looking to the shadow, Martin’s eyes lit up and it took less than a second for Cross to figure out what he was thinking. A hand moved to his face letting out a heavy sigh. “You’re going to try and break in through the office window and sneak past them aren’t you?”

“Last time we tried that I nearly lost my favorite jacket to a bunch of those brain munchers!” Vogel pouted giving his jacket sleeve a rub where there were still bite marks.

“It’s your only jacket.” Gripps gave the boy a look.

“Yes, but did you die?” Martin asked dryly as he took another fake puff from his fake cigarette.

“No..” Vogel shrugged with his head low.

“Do you guys want to go find a new van and-”

Hell no !” Vogel interrupted. “Our van already has all our stuff in it!  It’d take forever to get it to smell right again! Plus moving is sooo boring.” He groaned childishly. Martin’s grin grew wider, knowing Vogel was already starting to see his point.

“That’s what I thought. So ‘f we wanna keep the van, we need the fan belt. We want the fan belt we gotta go in without dying. We don’t wanna die, we gotta break in through the only way in that ain’t overrun with zomb’s. Got it?” He twirled the straw between his fingers before putting it back in his pocket.

“Yeah...Just don’t wanna.” Vogel pouted with his arms folded across his chest. “Zomb’s give me the heebie jeebies up close. “Like why do they never have lips? Is it like a snack to them?” Cross put his hands on the boy’s shoulders to help calm him down before he got too hyped up.

“Try not to think about it too much.” He patted Vogel’s back as they began sneaking down the hillside to the side of the grocery store. The honking of the car horn covered any sound their feet might have made. The flames had entirely engulfed the car by now and the few that had become too decayed to feel pain were simply walking into the fire like a moth to a flame; which seemed to solve their problem of how many to fight if they were heard or seen.

“Must have been recent.”  Gripps pointed the brick in his hand towards the flames. “Car’s still burnin’ hot. Person most likely died on impact...” He shook his head and removed his hat. “At least, I hope they were that lucky with a crowd like that. Never stood a chance.” As he spoke, Martin wrapped his jacket around the end of his bat and broke the glass as quietly as he could. Since this had been his idea, Martin felt it best he go in first to make sure whatever had created the shadow could be dealt with.

His large frame squeezed through the small window, hand reaching to move the blinders out of his way only to have them catch on his fingers and send him tumbling onto the hardwood floor with a painful thud. In an instant he scrambled to his feet, grabbing his bat to greet the shadow in combat as it tried to strike at the same time.

The pair froze in the last instant. Even behind the filth of his glasses he could make out a pair of the angriest, most beautiful brown eyes he had ever witnessed. The woman behind them was holding a kitchen knife in her hand and looked just as shocked as him, but the glimpse of beauty was quickly tarnished when he noticed the blood caked against her face, the gash on her head and the woozy look that pulled on her features as the rush of adrenaline was over. “ Shit… ” she whispered. The beautiful brown eyes blinked lazily a few times before the knife fell from her hands and she started for the ground.

Seeing her knees buckle, Martin was quick to stop her from hitting the floor completely.  The boys poked their heads in when they heard a scuffle and it wasn’t long before they were all clambering to get inside. “Boss?” Vogel asked crawling in last. “Why you holding a dead girl?” Martin had already lowered her to the ground gently and begun to tear the fabric of his sleeve off under his jacket to wrap around the gash on her head.

“Ain’t dead. Dyin’ maybe, but ain’t dead,” Martin mumbled as he focused on trying to stop the bleeding. “Vogel, hand me that ugly ass sweater.” He pointed to a piece of neon green purple orange and brown fabric hanging on a dusty coat rack. Something that had been left behind during the outbreak no doubt. Martin began rinsing the wound with the water from the canteen on his hip. “Must be the one who wrecked the car.” He noted while wiping the blood away. He placed the sweater under her head to elevate it. In his search, Cross found an office first aid kit that would have been difficult for anyone shorter to see on the shelf above the office desk. Martin took the kit, seeing some change in their fate after all as he started to properly clean the wound and wrap it with gauze. The tape had lost some of its stickiness in the last six years on a shelf but tying a knot would hold enough to get her back to the van where they could set her up properly in a position to rest and heal.

While Martin was busy tying her bandage, Vogel had already lost interest and started looking through the room for anything that could be of use to them when a black strip of rubber caught his eye. “HOLY SHIT BALLS!” The boy let out a loud and giddy laugh as he grabbed the fan belt and held it in the air like a trophy. Together Gripps and Cross jumped to hush him but it was already too late. They all knew he had a habit of getting excited when there was a need to be quiet and the others never got upset or angry so much as concerned. And as of right now, the Rowdy 3 had need for concern.

The sound of the boy’s shouting had drawn the crowd to their side of the building. Already an idea had begun to form in the leader of the Rowdy 3’s brain. He handed the girl over to Cross, knowing he was the fastest runner next to Vogel. “Vogel! Keep it up! Make as much noise as you can!” Martin ordered as he grabbed his bat.

“What are you doin’, Boss?” Cross asked, not doubting his leader so much as the man’s sanity. However Gripps got the idea before he could.

“Call ‘em out to the side and we can run out the front!” Gripps snapped his fingers at Martin, insinuating that it was a good idea. Vogel understood, shouting and clapping for the zombies to “Come get it while it’s fresh!”

“Count a’ three we bust down the door, start swingin’ at anything that comes our way and book it for the van.” Martin howled as he hyped himself and the others up before Gripps broke down the door on the count of three. The moment the hinges broke the five of them came charging out. Their goal was clear and thanks to the misdirection there were only a few stragglers that needed clearing out with the help of Martin and Vogel’s bats and Gripps’s use of a brick.

They didn’t stop running until they reached the van. As gentle as they could Cross got the girl in while Vogel and Gripps slammed the doors shut before the undead had a chance to get inside. The van had already been modified for the apocalypse, making it impossible for even thieves or those looking to do them harm. Despite not being able to run at the moment it was the safest place to be. In time the zombies would get restless and move on to where they could find food, and until then the Rowdy 3 had a very different problem than they were used to dealing with to keep them preoccupied.

“Passing out for a long time is a bad sign. I read it in a newspaper one time!” Cross anxiously bounced his knee as he sat next to her on the floor. “Somethin’ about brain damage and…” No sooner had he spoken than the girl's expression contorted in response to the voices waking her. Eyes shot open fearfully, flicking between the four sets of eyes staring back at her. In the same breath she scooted herself back against the doors while they moved back towards the driver’s seat. Seeming to pull another knife from thin air she pointed it at Martin, recognizing him first.

“Who the hell are you guys?!” She demanded an answer. Clearly she was fighting off the aching pain of her injuries but had quite a bit of fight left in her. Martin looked to his brothers and then back at the woman holding a knife to him with a smile.

“We’re the Rowdy 3. Who the hell are you?”

Chapter Text

“This sucks.” Amanda spoke breaking the last two hours of silence. Todd turned to her from the driver’s seat of the car with and let out an exhausted sigh. They had been on the road for days now without any sign of a safe haven or a place that hadn’t already been raided of supplies. They had already run out of water the day before and the raccoon meat Amanda had caught and prepared wasn’t sitting well with the two of them. Todd knew his sister was getting cranky from the heat wave and lack of nutrition and he couldn’t really blame her. The only reason he stayed so calm was he felt like he had a mission to keep her safe.

Even before the outbreak, Todd had always felt the need to protect her from the world. Their bond had been what kept the pair alive for the last six years. Todd trusted few to none when it came to his sister’s safety. He had a habit of keeping anyone they met at arm’s length when they met another person and never took his eyes off of Amanda. Todd even went as far as making sure a limb was always near her when they slept, for fear he’d sleep through a zombie chomping on her flesh.

Though the concern of others had begun to fade since they hadn’t seen another living person in the last three months. Neither of them talked about how the last group they were with had been slaughtered in the night, and they especially didn’t discuss how Todd left the others to die as he chose to save Amanda instead. It was just the way the world worked now. Look out for your own. It was their only code.

“I know this sucks but I’m sure we will find something in the next town.” Todd did his best to sound hopeful, giving her an optimistic smile as he turned down the road into town. Still looking out the window, Amanda huffed and folded her arms across her chest.

“Not the dying of starvation and dehydration. I’m talking about that .” The girl reached her arm out to gesture vaguely at the desolate town and the stumbling corpses scattered across the streets. “In the beginning I knew it was going to be Hell on Earth, but I didn’t expect it to last this long. I thought that’s why we had bombs and you know…” She shrugged. “The government and stuff to take care of this, but it’s half a decade later and this is just the way things are. It feels like we are just waiting to die. Isn’t that what we’ve been doing? Just moving place to place until one of us becomes zombie chow? You never let me get close to anyone even when we did have a group and I get you being protective but we could have made it further if you had just...” She stopped herself knowing how sore the subject of their last group was.  “Don’t get me wrong. I know you just want to keep me safe but look around you, Todd. This,” She gestured to the street again . “Isn’t safe! It’s never going to be safe! Sometimes…” She let out a heavy sigh. “Sometimes it feels like mom and dad were the lucky ones.”

The car fell silent as Todd tried to think of something to give her hope, something to keep her spirits up but as the gas light blinked on Todd knew they both were wearing thin on hope and silver linings. “Don’t give up.” He answered finally. “We-We’ll be...fine. Everything is going to work out. You’ll see…” Hands tightened around the steering wheel as Todd tried to convince himself that it was the truth. He swerved around a few bodies in the road towards the gas station, but to his dismay someone had posted a large sign in red spray paint reading “EMPTY”. The siblings let out a defeated huff in unison as the car rolled to a stop. Todd looked to the decaying heads that turned their direction as the car stopped. “Shit.” he muttered to himself upon seeing the others that had started to gather.

“What the hell is that?” Amanda asked, getting Todd’s attention to see a cloud of dust in the distance. Looking closer her eyes widened in confusion and panic. “What the...Is that the Military ?!” She got closer to the window to make out a government jeep as it drew closer, plowing down the bodies in their way and was headed straight for their car.

“R-relax.” Todd’s voice shook. “Maybe they’re friendly. It is the military after all. They’re probably just looking for survivors to take to some safe haven that…” He stopped as the jeep halted to a stop and several men in black gear hopped out. They gunned down the few remaining zombies that lingered after the others had been run down. Both Todd and Amanda jumped at the sudden gunfire and the unsettling chuckle the leader of the soldiers let out. He turned to their car pointing his machine gun before lifting his mask to show pale skin and light blue eyes staring back with something wicked hiding behind them. The name “PRIEST” had been sewn into his uniform along with the initials “B.W. Initiative” on his shoulder and back.

“NOT FRIENDLY!” Amanda shouted shifting the car into gear. “NOT FRIENDLY! DRIVE! HE HAS A FUCKING GUN! DRIVE! DRIVE!!” Todd panicked at her sudden reaction or what the man with the big gun was planning but he wasn’t willing to find out. The car sped off out of the gas station parking lot but another jeep slid around cutting them off. Seeing that Todd was panicking again she grabbed the wheel at the last moment swerving around the jeep and over the hillside. They screamed as the car careened down the hill towards a solid wall. Finally pulling himself together in the last moment, Todd put an arm in front of Amanda, knowing she never wore her seatbelt just as the car made contact with the wall. For a moment everything was happening at once. Todd watched as Amanda pushed past his arm and slammed her head off the dashboard. Glass shattered around them with a loud bang and the clatter of broken glass falling and Amanda’s screams stopped with the sudden impact. Then there was blackness.

Todd woke, blinking through the pain in his neck and shoulders, eyes instantly turning to his right. “Amanda?!” He shouted trying to reach for her crumpled body but someone had already opened his door and began dragging him out of the car. “ AMANDA ! NO! LET ME GO YOU ASSHOLES ! THAT’S MY SISTER! AMANDA !!” The shouting grew louder as he was pulled further away. Looking up he saw the sinister man from before smiling down at him as if this was a game to him.

“No use, kid. She’s dead...or on her way to it anyways. Blackwing needs healthy soldiers. Not broken ones.” The man’s words only had Todd fighting harder until a something sharp pricked his neck. Whatever was in it burned and the light of his vision faded along with his cries. “Toss ‘em in the back with the others.” The man ordered with a sniff as he tried to get some of the dust out of his nostrils.

“And the girl, sir? She’s still alive.” One of the soldiers pointed to the car door opening. Flames had already broke out of the engine block, drawing in a crowd of the undead. Priest smiled watching her struggle to crawl out of the car and onto the ground.

“Leave ‘er. Monsters need to eat too, right?” He chuckled turning his back on her before climbing into the jeep and leaving a dust cloud behind them.

Amanda had no sooner hit the ground when she saw the jeep pulling away. “Todd? T-Todd !” She tried to shout but her head was aching and her vision was starting to blur. The only thing keeping her upright at the moment was pure adrenaline. The sound of feet shuffling and the undead hissing for freshly spilled blood was enough to snap her out of her daze enough to stand upright. The hoard drawn in by the chaos blocked her only exit causing her to retreat into the grocery store she’d crashed in. The glass doors had been broken ages ago but if she could just get in a broom closet or something she could try to wait it out before bleeding to death. Her brain was still trying to process what had just happened and why they only took Todd, but Amanda had to focus on staying conscious long enough to get to safety. A few had followed her inside, sniffing the drops of blood she was leaving behind.

After six years they had learned as the undead decayed so did their senses. When the disease first broke out all anyone knew was that you had 48 hours before the fever and fluid retention melted your brain and filled your lungs. The first 24 hours of being infected, people started to experience insanity and hallucinations followed by violent outbursts and a fevers reaching over 113.0 °F . By that point the infected person had already begun to drown in the fluid filling their lungs before finally dying. The heart would stop but the way the virus affects the brain it continues to animate the body’s muscle functions, leaving only one primal instinct, feed. The fresher ones were more like rabid animals, running, thrashing. Some were even rumored to be smart enough to open doors, but as they decayed they began to lose speed, vision, hearing until they were just half a body crawling on the side of the road.

Rushing through the kitchen supplies Amanda quickly rummaged through what hadn’t been taken. Looking to her right, she found a kitchen knife that had been jammed into one of the bodies left behind. Her hand gripped the handle, turning in time to execute the two closest to her.  Limping to an office door another was closing behind. She tried to shove the knife in it’s skull again but it managed to grab her by the wrist, shoving her up against a shelf of Auto-supplies. Reaching her other hand out for whatever was closest she wrapped her hand around plastic and shoved it in the zombie’s face. It stumbled back trying to grab the plastic giving her the chance to drive the knife in it’s temple and run for the office door. She fought the pain and dizziness as she shoved the office desk in the door’s path before collapsing on the floor with a hard thud after tossing the now blood covered fan belt on the desk. The holes in the knees of her jeans exposed her skin to the rough dusty carpet, burning as she fell. Her head was pounding now and all adrenaline had worn off pushing the desk. Hands covered her face trying to stay awake but she was already drifting in and out.

It was difficult to tell how long she’d been in the room the way her eyes would open and close but the smell of the car fire had already made it to the office. She leaned against the desk with her shoulder, pressing her stinging head to the cool of the metal, wondering if this was how it would end. She still had no idea who took Todd and why and now she was going to die with nothing more than the memory of him yelling her name and the mystery his captors.

The sudden sound of glass breaking woke her from her blackout and with the sudden clash of glass hitting the ground and a body dropping inside, Amanda was on her feet again. If those bastards came back for more, she wasn’t going down without a fight. As the person moved to strike he froze in place causing her to do the same. He wasn’t dressed like the soldiers, and he sure as hell wasn’t here looking for brains. At least she hoped. Amanda wasn’t about to find out anytime soon. Whatever energy she had saved for the attacker was gone and the weight of her body was pulling to the ground. “ Shit… ” she mumbled, not knowing what she would wake up to, or if she would wake up at all.

 

_____

 

The voices could be heard first, like mumbles in the dark until Amanda started to wake up. Instinct kicked in and eyes shot open, looking to the four men staring back at her. Hands dug into the floor of the van, shoving herself back against the driver’s seat. “Who the hell are you guys?!” she shouted, finally fed up with the day she was having. The blonde from before looked between the others before back at her.

“We’re the Rowdy 3. Who the hell are you?” He looked just as confused as she did, but she could tell they were giving her space, and he held his hands up to show he had no weapon. Her features relaxed along with her shoulders and Amanda let out a deep breath.

“So wait...you aren’t with the military guys? The ones that took my brother?” Her nose scrunched up still trying to figure out who they were. The four men looked between one another again, shaking their heads.

“Military guys?” The youngest bit his lower lip in thought. “Like those G.I. Joe types we met back in Washington?” The other two nodded, pouting their lips out in thought before looking to her to confirm. The blonde cleared his throat, offering her a bottle of water.

“We ain’t part’a Blackwing.” he spoke in a gruff tone. Clearly there was some hostile feelings about whoever took Todd.

Blackwing ?” she repeated, still not taking the bottle from him. Setting the bottle down he rolled it over to her, seeing she was still cautious. Smart , he thought, still admiring her spirit.

“After the world went to shit an’ the government basically burned to the ground some people got the bright idea of startin’ a new military,” he explained as eyes watched her reach for the bottle and take a very eager sip. It was also clear that she hadn’t had water in quite some time, judging by how quickly the bottle went down. “They take whoever’s livin’ an make ‘em fight the dead.” He turned to the others with a smug grin. “Tried to get us to join, but Blackwing ain’t no match for the Rowdy 3,” he chuckled.

“You keep calling yourselves that.” Amanda couldn’t help but smile despite still being confused. “What are you, like some kind of gang that goes around picking up dying chicks?” She let out a laugh only to find it making her head ache more.

“Somethin’ like that.” The blonde ran a hand through his hair as he smiled to his brothers. “We figure there’s enough death and destruction in this world and not many people doin’ the right thing. We aim to survive but our code is simple, protect those alive, cause a little Hell while you do it.” At this the other three cheered, shaking the van excitedly. The action had the zombies outside hissing in return, sounding like a crowd cheering them on. Already Amanda had begun to relax a little more, sitting up away from the driver’s seat. “I’m Martin.” The blonde introduced himself before pointing to the others behind him. “That’s Gripps. He’s the one that patched you up. Guy’s a genius when it comes to wrapping a head wound,” Martin boasted, slapping Gripps on the chest who just smiled shyly, not seeking praise.

“This here’s Cross. He mostly handles supplies so anything you need, just ask.” Martin pointed at the tallest member before turning her attention to the boxes of supplies strapped to the lining of the van interior.

“We got Lady stuff too just in case we run into any girls on the road.” Cross waved at her with a wide grin, pointing to a tupperware container filled with pads, tampons and what looked like q-tips and cotton balls. It was almost laughable at how enthused he was to show her the supplies, but it was also the first Amanda had seen honest to god hygiene products in ages. If the situation had been different she might have jumped up and hugged the man. Martin tapped Cross’s chest again, silently telling him there was a time and place for bringing that up.

“I’m Vogel!” The youngest piped up. He couldn’t contain himself much longer at the prospect of meeting a new person. “I’m the explosives guy!”

No you aren’t! ” All three men said together as they looked at him with frustration.

“Vogel, just because you keep starting fires and blowing things up, don’t make you our explosives guy.” Gripps rolled his eyes. “I lost my favorite hat in that fire.” A hand reached to the top of his head, patting the top where a hat once belonged.

“Yeah, but I’m real good at it, and she don’t need to know all that.” Vogel pouted as he flicked a lighter in his hand. Cross quickly took it from him, giving him another look. The smile on Amanda’s lips grew as she watched the four of them interact.

A strange sensation filled her chest, something she hadn’t felt in too long. Hope. Hope for those left in this world, and the hope to keep surviving. The feeling faded quickly as her thoughts turned back to Todd. “I..” She took a breath, fighting the pain of her hope dwindling. “Thank you for saving me,” Eyes turned to Martin with a soft smirk. “But I need to find my brother. Blackwing or that Priest guy have him and I need to get him back before they hurt him or he dies fighting for them.” Martin’s eyes lit up at the mention of Priest before brows knit together.

“You say, Priest ?” He asked. Amanda nodded, wondering why that mattered. He bit his lower lip as if trying to restrain himself. “We know where they’re takin’ him.”

“You do?!” Amanda sat up, leaning in with anticipation. Martin nodded and the tone of the van shifted. Their smiles faded and Vogel tucked himself into the corner of the van and balled his hands into fists. “And..and you would take me there?” Her tone insinuated that there would of course be a price for helping her. “What’s the catch?” Martin pursed his lips as he cracked his knuckles and neck.

“No catch.” Martin chuckled

“We’ve been lookin’ for an excuse to pummel that guy into paste!” Cross slammed his fist into his other hand. “Blackwing ain’t no place for people…”

“An’ Priest ain’t people.” Gripps shook his head before moving to comfort Vogel. Whatever this Priest guy had done was enough to rattle them, but Amanda didn’t pry after seeing Vogel close down so quickly.

“You still haven’t answered our question.” Martin turned to her, looking over his glasses. “You still haven’t told us your name.” He glanced over to Vogel, hoping the change in subject might help him. Amanda caught on to what he was doing, nodding to show she understood.

“Amanda.” She continued to nod. “Amanda Brotzman, but before all this my friends called me Drummer. I was in this lame ass band with my brother and I played the drums. We mostly just played basement shows and the music was crap but...it was ours.” Amanda kept talking, watching as Vogel glanced up to her in interest. She hadn’t told anyone about her old band in years and even now she wasn’t sure why she brought it up. These guys were complete strangers, but something inside of her felt an instant connection.

“Drummer’s a cool name.” Vogel finally lifted his head to smile at her. Amanda returned the smile, hoping the friendly gesture would help.

“Well, Drummer,” Martin offered his hand slowly. “Til you tell us to fuck-off we’ll take you as far as it takes to get yer brother back.” Her small soft hand slipped into his as she tightened her grip for a firm handshake. “Welcome to the Rowdy 3.”