8 Ways To Survive The Apocalypse Part 1: Dipper Dipper is somber as he pulls the drawstrings shut to the bag.
He stands up and mentally lists everything in it.
Mace, cans of fruit, cans of vegetables, cans of meat, cans of imitation meat, canteens full of water, a first aid kit, a gas mask and a fire kit. They should be able to survive for a few weeks if they can't scavenge supplies immediately.
It's taken a week after their great uncle's death for them to discover how to unlock the vault and prepare for the ruined world outside the bunker. He and his twin grieved for a day before incinerating his body, loading up backpacks and investigating the secrets of the rooms Stan had never let them enter, one being a private bathroom. What really intrigued them was the supply room, filled with guns, blades, gas masks, dried food, maps and charts.
He pats down his cargo pants, finding duct tape in his right bottom pocket, a pocket knife in the left. Higher up is a small gun and the other has some sentimental pictures and jerk.
He joins his sister in front of the vault door. They each flip one of the two switches on either side of the vault. He grasps her hand and gives it a reassuring squeeze. She returns his gesture with a crooked smile and his nerves dissipate.
Dipper doesn't calm down until they find shelter that night.
Part 2: Wybie
Wybie really, really hates guard duty.
Being outside the walls is enough to make anyone nervous but with recent outbreaks, his paranoia levels are off the charts. He strains his ears for the groans and moans of the infected and jumps anytime his fellow guards shuffle their feet through the dry, baked earth.
He envies the scientists and doctors within the walls who work on machines and cures for the zombie virus. His skills are wasted on wielding weapons and shooting down approachers. He isn't even a good shot.
They don't want the young and able bodied down in the labs however. If you have all your limbs and senses (minus sense of smell which is almost an advantage in a world of rotting corpses and unshowered people) you are out doing supply runs in groups or running the walls perimeter, shooting anything that moves and then roasting it over a spit after you've removed and tried to salvage the bullets you put through it.
The one advantage is the view from outside the walls. The stars stretch just as endlessly as the land seems to during the day. He watches them every night and remembers the times he and his grandmother sat outside on clear nights and she'd teach him the secrets of the cosmos.
He passes the light to his fellow guard for the night and crawls up the ladder to his shack. Under a burlap blanket, he dreams of the days where he and his grandmother would find the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper, laughing into the popcorn bowl and he'd fall asleep on the checkered blanket they'd set out, but wake up the next morning curled up on the couch.
Wybie really only sometimes hates guard duty.
Part 3: Dib
Dib tentatively runs his fingers over the metal door.
He scrabbles to find some sort of weakness in solid surface, a bolt that could be loosened, a dent to hammer in. He finds nothing, he never finds anything.
The walk back down the hallway is quiet. He enters the kitchen and presses the cereal button, out of habit. The machine has made it minutes earlier, it knows his routine. He's running late, he notes. There's a second bowl now and he grabs it, figuring that Gaz will eat it if he doesn't.
It takes minutes of convincing to get his sister to open the door and let him in. She promptly plugs back into her console and he sits on her bed, putting the cereal bowl down on the end table. He has a moment of déjà vu before realizing there is actually another bowl there and he really has done this before.
He lays back and stares up at the celling and rambles about the compound, dad and how they never seem to do anything different day to day. Gaz grunts at that comment and Dib takes that as a queue to keep going.
"It's like we're in a rut, Gaz." He explains, "We've been doing the same routine things everyday for years. We never do anything constructive with our lives." He shifts over to look at his sister. "I don't know, maybe Dad didn't make the best decision putting us in this compound." He pauses, piecing together his words. "Maybe the world's changed. We've been down here so long the world must have at least SOME sort of order by now. We should be out there." Gaz stays quiet.
He sighs and leaves the room, the cereal still uneaten on the nightstand.
Dib goes back to his room, not caring that he's had the same conversation for days now.
Part 4: Norman
Norman isn't a zombie.
He acts like them and lives like them but he is not one of them. He repeats this, like a mantra, while he goes through the motions.
Every morning, he wakes up on the bedroom floor. He walks down the creaking stairs in to the kitchen. He eats the stale cereal he took from the supermarket and covers his face in the bathroom with muck from a plastic bag.
When he's finally ready, he leaves the house and heads into the town, groaning and shuffling. He rarely encounters zombies in the suburbs, the ones he does are teens or children, that stagger by and he can breathe again because if they can't smell him, the others won't.
He joins the mob downtown. He rifles through the grocery store displays, pharmacy aisles, department store shelves, and gas stations counters.He leaves town an hour before sunset with fresh Zip-Lock bags full of pond mud, and a backpack full of jerky and cans.
When he gets home it's dark. He lights candles in the kitchen and eats his some of his spoils then loads a few more into the pantry. He carries his candle upstairs into his room, dumping off the mud bags in the bathroom to be used tomorrow.
Once he's in his own room, he lays on the floor and stares up at the yellowing zombie horror movie posters and quietly wishes he could be like heroes in those movies, clean, heroic and badass with some sort of plan that's better than simply surviving.
Norman feels like a zombie and sometimes he thinks he's no better than one.
Part 5: Raz
Raz remembers his head pounding, when he woke up.
The world was foggy, the air was thick and burned his lungs. His mind was slow and he struggles to remember where he is, what happened and how did it happen. In the next few days he tries to piece together the way this new world works.
The air is toxic now, he learns this painfully, after a coughing fit leaves him breathless. He has a bandana over his mouth now and combined with his red goggles, he doesn't need a mirror to know he looks intimidating.
There are faded newspapers in gas stations and restaurants with headlines that scream LAST DITCH HOPE? GOV PREPS DESPERATE MEASURES FOR OUTBREAK PREVENTION AND CONTAINMENT. He personally isn't sure how to react to this but it explains the boarded up windows and angry graffiti.
Days later and something is getting to him. He's dizzy and sweat pours down his forehead. He overheats and takes longer and longer breaks in the shade until he can't convince himself to get back up. When he wakes up again its much later in the day. Is it even the same day?
He feels better he supposes. His mouth is sticky and dry and he reaches to grab his canteen. His hands come back empty and he spies it a few feet away, just out of reach. He sighs in relief and focuses on the bottle, willing it to fly into his hand like he used to when he was younger. To his surprise, it moves and he whips his head around. Did anyone SEE that?
He goes on thinking it was some fluke, but it's getting harder and harder to ignore the thoughts of other survivors he can suddenly hear, the claims from said survivors that he floats above the ground when he sleeps and the way some things tend to catch on fire when he get angry.
Raz takes a long time to accept the way his world has changed.
Part 6: Gaz
Gaz is aware of the world that she lives even if her brother thinks she isn't.
She wouldn't have bothered looking into the outside world if the games had kept coming.
It was fun the first few months, every game she could have ever wanted at her fingertips, new ones being generated by the computer when she ran out. It took a month to realize that the games were just one templet copied over and over with different names and different graphics. She gets bored of saving character B from character C and retires her role as character A.
She decides to lay off video games for a while, explore the compound she's explored more times than she can count. This lasts for only a few days before she goes back to the console, preferring endless games of Bejeweled and Tetris over looking at dusty exercise machines and pressing buttons on a stove that makes foods she hasn't heard of.
It's during this time, Dib first comes to her. He's very vague at first. "Do you think zombies are easy to fight?" She grunts at that comment. If you know where to shoot, she thinks. "What if the doors don't open?" It's too late for this but she lets him in anyway and he talks endlessly about everything that could go wrong until he falls asleep on her bed. When he leaves the next morning, she curious.
The compounds computer is equipped with backups of internet pages from before the outbreak. She hasn't used them until now, she never cared about most of the sites in her old life, why care about them now when they aren't updating?
News sites tell her where the infection starts, how it travels, where drastic measures were taken and the people's reaction to them. Conspiracy sites speculate who was behind certain drastic measures and mystical ways to avoid infection.
She starts out her journey with a notebook but ends up crossing off any notes and scribbling DO NOT GET BITTEN in large red letters.
Gaz, slowly but surely, maps and plans her and her brother's escape.
Part 7: Coraline
Coraline clutches her knife as the gate opens.
The gate creaking open is like a shot of adrenaline. Her heart goes into overtime and her muscular legs quiver, awaiting the long run to come. The guard blows his whistle, short repeating blasts, counting down their time until the gate closes.
She sprints down the roads others have gutted already. There aren't any zombies in this area anymore. Her team and others have killed any stragglers.
She's learned to ignore unimportant things like newspaper and books, you can't eat those and if you want to learn you talk to the elderly within the walls. She keeps them sometimes and has newspaper clippings plastered on the wall, that spell out CORALINE and pictures of luxury items she can't have because they are long rotted or melted.
She breaks into people's houses and grabs warm clothes, medicine bottles, nonperishable food, tools and blankets. Once she's loaded up a bag she runs back to the wall, dumping out its contents in the collection bin then running back to the same house if there were still more supplies or an adjacent one.
Her house this trip is fairly new, a carbon copy of the others around it. A small family lived here, she decides after looking at the photos on the fridge. There's cake mix in the pantry which she doesn't keep, but one of the kids must have had a birthday because there's wrapping paper in the trash cans and streamers on the floor.
She's examining the crocheted blanked on the couch and is debating on taking it because her bags almost full and she won't have time for another raid, when she hears noises. Her breath hitches in her throat.
She pulls out her knife and silently heads toward the noise. Her head is screaming at her to fly rather than fight but she's been told to kill any zombies she finds and she's in no position to question orders.
The noise is coming from the garage and she grabs her matchbook and lights a match as she opens the door. Coraline finds a pair of wide eyed twins that stare at her.
She stares back and suddenly everyone is screaming.
Part 8: Mabel
Mabel loves her new life within the wall.
She spends her first night in a quarantine ward with her brother after the runner Coraline had found her. The next morning is spent explaining how they have survived the treacherous world between the wall and their bunker. That afternoon they are released and assigned a shack and a guide. The guide explains the rules and schedule of their new home and announces they will be assigned a job in about a week so they had better decide which job they think they are best suited for.
After taking to guards, Dipper decides. He starts training almost immediately and gladly donates his supplies to the survivors.
Mabel catches up with Coraline at the mess hall one night and asks her endless questions and she decides as well.
Her first day passes uneventfully. The more experienced runners head out further while new runners stay close to the wall. She doesn't find anything in the cleaned out houses.
She slowly inches further out each day and by the end of the season she and Coraline run through uncharted area with the others. She expertly dodges the zombie limbs that grab at her from broken windows. She slashes at the ones that lunge at her and stabs their rotting torsos until they don't get up.
She comes home sweaty every night and exchanges stories with her brother while fixing dinner. They curl up in their respective cots and fall asleep almost immediately.
Mabel dreams about zombies and new beginnings.