It always fucking smelled.
Vegeta had become tolerable of many things since the start of all of this. But the odor, the constant smell of rotting flesh, it burned his very sensitive nose to no end. It was a suffocating scent, that crept its way to the back of one’s throat if one was inexperienced with the proper breathing techniques to deal with such a ghastly stench. Seven months, seven long months , and he still hadn’t become nose-blind to it yet. Vegeta was never much of smiler before the world went to hell, but it seemed the foul smell was making it that he wear a permanent scowl forever.
He was on one of his scouting missions, he needed to re-up on supplies before traveling further west towards the coast. He came across a rundown small town. It screamed of your typically rural middle-class family town, where everybody knew everybody and the people made it their business to make sure that they had no dealings with what went on in the outside world. Probably took pride in being its own warped version of a utopian society, Vegeta mused. As he tracked through the alleyway, trying to remain as undetectable as possible, he wondered what was the moment the ghosts of this place first realized that their untouchable society, had been tainted. Little Sally, probably came home with a tummy ache and mommy thought it was just a fever, well until little Sally was biting a huge fucking hole in her neck , Vegeta thought somewhat bitterly.
There was a crash that alerted Vegeta’s attention to his left, he found himself staring at one the Carnies—a name he had given to the undead—lodged in between the security gate of the town’s pharmacy. The fucking abomination had somehow entrapped its fleshy accuse of an arm in the gate’s hole. Not being a creature of much thought besides eating, the thing didn’t even try to dislodge it’s arm at all. The Carni just sat there, making disgruntled gnawing sounds into the air. This is what angered Vegeta to end about these creatures. No thought, no plan, no strategy, nothing but the incessant desire to feed on flesh had to move these things to the top of society’s food chain. The brainless bastard would crash there way through a door, simply because they lacked the ability to turn the fucking knob. And here he was, in all his prestige and glory, hiding from fucking creatures such as them.
Jumping out of his self-deprecation, Vegeta realized something. The crash indeed did come from the pharmacy, but that Carni wasn’t doing anything that would cause such a loud noise. Someone was inside that pharmacy . Another scavenger, Vegeta supposed. If that’s the case he almost felt bad for the individual, because they would encounter something just as dangerous as a Carni or sometimes even worse, him. Now, Vegeta wasn’t a sadist, like some individuals who were using this chaos as an opportunity to bring to life their darkest fantasies to life. Using the anarchic way of the world to prey on the weak.
No, Vegeta wasn’t like that, but he definitely believed in the “self before others,” motto. So, whatever supplies this scavenger thought they had found, as of now had just become the property of Vegeta. If the idiot was brave enough, they would probably try to put up a fight. Vegeta let out a dark chuckle, he wasn’t exactly interested in killing the poor fool, but if it had to be done than it would be done.
He made his way to the side of the pharmacy, given the front door was indeed not an option. At least for someone conserving their energy to deal with a live-bait later. He noticed a window was left cracked open, escape route . Vegeta wasn’t a man of much height, but he made up for it with sheer ability. He could easily just jump and crawl in, but the key to survival was always stealth. He scanned the alleyway for anything that would give him the boost he needed to get into the building. As if the God he didn’t believe in wanted to convert him over this very moment, a small crate was located near two feeble Carnies. The two corpses obviously hadn’t taken notice of Vegeta’s presence yet. Easy money , Vegeta thought. Smirking, he removed the switch-blade that was tucked away in his combat boot. The key to most kills was silence. Outside the smell of fresh blood, the only other thing that alerted these creatures was noise. Two Carnies, Vegeta could deal with, the masses of Carnies that would come if he used his gun, he could not. Also, he didn’t want to let that scavenger scurry away with his supplies, of course.
He crept towards the one furthest from the crate. He sucked in a breath and held it, not only because of the smell but also in hopes to not alert the creature of how close he was. In one swift motion, he punctured the temple of the Carni and removed his blade with ease. Like a trained assassin, he gently laid the Carni down. Without a second thought, he pounced towards the other Carni and replicated the same attack he used previously. Though pleased that his plans were going rather smoothly, he couldn’t help but frown. He noticed his heart rate didn’t increase like in the beginning when this all first took place. His heartbeat this time, he begrudgingly admitted remained rather stable. Dammit, he was getting too used to this fucked up shit . He could accept that this was the way things were for now, but he couldn’t become complacent in this way of the world. If he did then he would lose his drive and accept a fate that seemed easier rather than just inevitable. He wouldn’t go out like that, he’d never go out like that.
Circling back to the window with the crate for an added boost, Vegeta could now focus on any noises on the inside. He entered through the small, yet big enough for someone of his stature, window and found himself in what looked to be the supply closet. The door was cracked, so he decided to make out what he could see before walking out. The place was surprisingly not a complete wreck and still had some light to it, even though most were out. As quiet as possible, he pushed the door further open hoping to maybe to get a glance at the scavenger inside. But he saw no one and was starting to think the crash he heard earlier was a figment of his imagination.
No, he wasn’t crazy. He definitely heard something someone was here. Oh well, it was in the fool’s best interest to remain hidden anyway. Vegeta walked into the main area of the shop and did a quick look around from where he stood. Most of the shelves were bare, but still gave off the vibe that they had look that way for some time now. So whatever the scavenger made off with wasn’t much, to begin with. Vegeta notices a sign above one of the aisles was labeled “OTC”. Good, hopefully, there was some over-the-counter painkillers left, Vegeta own supply wasn’t running low and his headaches had become frequent since the start of this mess.
He took a deep breath and grab the handle of his blade, stalking over to the medicine aisle. Okay, now there’s God was definitely trying to win Vegeta over. There were at least five bottles of 500-mg of acetaminophens, Vegeta struck gold. Maybe there wasn’t a scavenger or at least a very bad one considering that they overlook such useful supplies. Confident that no sane person would skip over such valuable items, Vegeta concluded that no one was in the pharmacy with him. Lowering his guard so he could quickly stuff the medicine into his knapsack and went to check the other aisles. Everything was going rather smoothly until Vegeta tripped over something heavy. Agitated, Vegeta turned the upper half of his body to see the culprit that caused his fall, sight before him practically made him do a double take.
In front of him was two live Carnies, both of which had been gagged and hogtied. Who the fuck— Quickly, scrambling to his feet Vegeta immediately went on alert. But apparently, it was a little too late, because the second Vegeta found himself on his feet another rope was hastily laced around his neck in a death grip. Vegeta went into a panic and started thrashing around to loosen the chokehold. Whoever this was was a stubborn bastard and was doing everything in their power to not loosen the reins off Vegeta. Going completely off instinct, Vegeta twisted his body slamming back into the nearest counter. The force knocked both himself and the assailant to the ground. There was also a huge crash from the various products and the domino of counters that fell over as well. Welp, there goes the whole stealth part of the operation. Vegeta could only make out a soft grunt from the scavenger, outside the crashing and his own gagging. Seriously, even on the ground the son-of-a-bitch still refuses to let up. Feeling their body heat rather close, Vegeta released a sharp elbow into his attacker’s rib cage. Vegeta noticed that his opponent’s flesh felt— soft? Whatever, that didn’t matter because the blow had been effective and Vegeta finally felt the rope loosen from his neck.
Quickly scrambling to his feet, Vegeta decided that a bullet was definitely going through his attacker’s head. They had already alerted every fucking Carni within 300 ft radius that there was live-bait inside. So, no need to keep things quiet anymore. Personally, if Vegeta had it his way, he would’ve much rather beat the individual within an inch of their life. But Father Time thought differently— how lucky for them— Vegeta thought, bitterly. He reached to his waist, where he kept his .22 and his heart practically stopped. The usual bulge felt fairly flat, which meant—
“Lookin’ for sumthin’?” said a feminine hick accent.
A female. His attacker was a fucking girl. Vegeta promptly turned around and nearly growled at the sight before him. There, pointing his .22 at him was a raven-haired girl, who had to be no older than 18. She had on baggy cargo shorts, a beige cami, with a flannel secured tightly around her waist. With a bookbag doubled-strapped onto her back. He was strong-armed by a fucking child. Okay , he was definitely putting a bullet through her head.
“Give that here, little girl,” Vegeta demanded. His tone remained solid, despite his raising agitation. He took a step forward, instinctively the girl took one back.
“Look, I don’t wanna hurt ya’. So take ya medicine n’ go before dem freaks show up,” The girl, despite her youth, seemed rather sure of herself.
“Ha! Hurt me? You think because you surprised me in a scuffle, you can seriously hurt me,” Vegeta, if not so irritated, would’ve laughed in the girl's face for a such a ridiculous statement.
The girl cocked an eyebrow, “Uh, I have the gun…” was this guy demented, she thought.
“So?” Vegeta again took another forward.
Oh. The girl sighed, he was one of those types. Welp, if that’s the way things have to be, then so be it. Before Vegeta could register what was going on, there was a loud bang followed by a sharp stinging pain in his left shoulder. Did she just —
“FUCK! You bitch!” Vegeta screeched in pain, his right hand reached instinctively to clutch where she had just shot him.
Ignoring him, the girl reached down and snagged the switchblade she saw peeking through his boot. Completely dazed, Vegeta realized a second too late that the girl had completely disarmed him. Apparently, he misjudged her, because even after taking away his weapons the girl still had the gun sternly pointed in his direction.
“Alright…I figur’ we got bout five minutes til herds barreling their way through dat dere front door. So let’s just go on’ n head out that back window again.” The girl directing the gun towards the location both of them originally used for entry.
“You shoot me and now you want to help me escape?” Vegeta asked, in disbelief.
“I wouldn’t call it—nah I’m just not into loose ends.”
The girl released an agitated grunt, “Just get to da back window.”
Vegeta gave the girl an odd look but said nothing else. If the girl was foolish enough to give him the time he needed to enact his revenge, who was he to stop her. He’ll play along with her demands, find an opening, kill her, bandaged his wound(which luckily wasn’t bleeding too bad), and be on his merry way. He gripped his knapsack and trudged back to the supply closet, annoyed with the gun pointed at his back, and even more annoyed with the individual holding it. Vegeta found himself clutching the hole in his shoulder even tighter, one for the additive pressure, two to restrain himself from losing his temper and completely obliterating the girl behind him at that very moment.
“Yeah, yeah, you wanna kill me. Jus’ hurry up out the window,” The girl gave Vegeta another shove in the back, inching him towards the window. He was going to kill this girl.
Four hours had passed and he still hadn’t managed to kill this girl. Not after she practically shoved his injured self out that tiny window, not after she made him lead them to his car, not after she forced him to patch himself up—because obviously, he was going to be her fucking chauffeur, demanding he drives to Kami-knows where. Nope, she was still breathing his air, pointing his gun at him, and seemingly making him drive around aimlessly.
“Where the fuck are we going?” Vegeta growled, his hand tightened around the steering wheel.
“Y’know I thought you’d be too stubborn ta ask,” the nameless girl chuckled. Vegeta shot her a look, showing that he was in no mood for light banter with her. She noticed but only shrugged in response.
“Ma daddy owned a piece of property not too far from here. It ain’t much, just a small cabin with a lil’ lake out front. He used ta take me out there during the summer when I was little,” Her voice took a softer tone towards the end of her speech.
“Yeah, okay whatever. But why the hell are you dragging me with you?”
“You rather I leave ya defenseless and wit’ out a car?”
Vegeta grunted as a response. As much as hated to admit it, what the girl was implying was extremely true. What good would it have done for him to be stranded without protection and his car? Either way, he was frustrated with the idea of being at the mercy of some child.
“I’m Chi-Chi, by the way,” Vegeta just give her a blank stare, before returning his eyes towards the road.
“Soooo? You don’t have a’ name?” The girl named Chi-Chi egged on. Vegeta just scoffed, no need to exchange names with the soon-to-be-dead.
“Alrighty then…You’re gonna make a left down this dirt road right hur,” Chi-Chi explained. Vegeta appreciated that the brat knew when to drop a conversation at least.
The dirt road trailed on for at least two miles but what Vegeta saw at end of the road, left him with a sense of relief. The girl had not been lying about the cabin’s size, it probably held no more than two bedrooms. But the quaint place had certain serenity to it that just left even someone as pessimistic as Vegeta to marvel at it. A place that was seemingly untouched by the disaster that is the outside world. Even the lake water a regal hue of blue to it. Vegeta just might make his place here for a while, after getting rid of the girl of course. He’ll make her death painless since she did find him such a luxurious place. Speaking of said girl, Vegeta turned his head to the raven-haired girl and what he saw almost made him want to run away from this, away from the intensity of all the emotions he was feeling in this very moment.
Her eyes, while not directly on his but on the cabin before them, her onyx eyes glistened at the sight before them. Her pupils Vegeta noted, seemingly got bigger, and there was a fresh air of optimism and innocence in them that Vegeta had ever seen on only one other person in his lifetime. She turned to him offering him a smile that would make someone think that didn’t just meet and she hadn’t shot him and practically kidnapped him. Shoot, even Vegeta at this moment wasn’t sure anymore that he hadn’t voluntarily come along.
“Come on No Name, let’s go inside! I know you’re tired,”
Chi-Chi ran out of the car towards the cabin before Vegeta could even utter a response. Watching her fleeting disappear into the cabin, Vegeta found himself unable to look away. A strong sense of nostalgia had crept upon him and needed a minute or two to gather and return to his normal self. Seeing that girl like that a named flashed through his mind, one of which he had buried in memory a while ago. Along with all the emotions and feelings that came with that name, he had no use for those anymore. But here they were again, rushing in like a flood and a named he swore off for the rest of his existence, came spilling from his lips as if he never made the promise never to say it in the first place;