If I had to pick a particular moment where it all started, then I would have to say it started that one night.
Me and my friends were walking back together from a party down the road, heading back to our collective dorms at college. We happened to all live in the same building but different floors. Either way, I was grateful for all three of them walking me back.
"Honestly Primrose, you're such a wuss when it comes to drinking" My friend Alex joked around with me, trying to give my head a noogie, displacing my styled brown hair. I grumbled and threw his hands off me, pouting and generally avoiding his touching.
"Just because you and Michael can chug an entire barrel of beer, that doesn't mean I have to as well" I grumbled, crossing my arms in a huff. I swear, this discussion happened almost every time.
"Guys, leave her alone. She's allowed to do what she wants" Tess told both boys off as they drunkenly tried to make me promise to drink more next time. She sighed, shaking her head when she realised that her words weren't really sticking with them at all. "Honestly, all four of us came to study at college and what do the both of you do instead of studying? Drag me and Primrose off to a party"
"Would be easier to study to be a Mechanic if it was less boring" Michael hiccuped, obviously not looking too well in terms of how likely he was to throw up.
"Or be a doctor" Alex agreed with him, to which Tess glared at them both. She was studying to be a Chef, and that was quite hard for her considering she was the only girl in her class-not to mention the added sexism in the industry. "Must be easy to study game design, eh Prim?"
"It's not easy" I stood by my claim, and I added another mental note that they had brought this up again. This always seems to happen when they drink, rehashing over old things that we already did argue over before. "I just want to be able to bring joy to people with games, like so many games have done with me"
"Pssh, I bet you just want to make your own version of that game you love. What was it's name again? The Walking Dead?"
"Leave her alone Alex" Tess told him off once more, looking like she was ready to deck him. Alex only laughed before he let it go, and we continued walking in relative silence. As much silence as we could have with two drunk boys practically stumbling around the place. "Wow, would you look at that?"
What Tess was looking at became clear once the rest of us looked at her, noticing her eyes trained on the night sky. When we stopped walking and looked up as well, did we see a beautiful sight. What looked to be a giant comet of some sort lingered in the night sky, a bright white rock leaving a blue trail behind it. It was truly amazing, and I couldn't help but whistle to agree with Tess.
"Quick you guys! Make a wish!" Alex told the rest of us, already bowing his head to wish for something.
"Isn't that for shooting stars? This is a comet" Tess disagreed with him, but he just scoffed at her remark.
"Whatev's Tess, don't wish if you don't want to"
While Tess did sigh at his remark, she soon bowed her head along with the rest of us making a wish. Mine, well... it certainly felt more selfish once I had muttered it softly into my hands. I could have wished for something completely unselfish, like someone finding the cure for cancer, or some sort of solution to world peace.
But... I loved the idea of giving the people in Telltale's version of The Walking Dead a better chance. Maybe not all of them, but at least giving them a bit of hope and saving some of them. Preferably most-if not all, if I had a choice.
"So, what did you guys wish for? I asked for my Dad to be allowed to retire early" Michael told us, and I had to admit, his was very sweet.
"I wished for bitches" Alex revealed, to which everybody else just rolled their eyes at. Typical Alex, saying stupid shit like that.
"I wished for medicine to advance a lot more. That way, it won't just apply to a single disease, but hopefully a lot more" Tess told the rest of us, and I very nearly grumbled aloud. Of course Tess chose one of the ones that I berated myself for. "What about you Primrose?"
"I bet you she wished for those characters to be safe in that game of hers"
"Alex, could you cool it for once in your life?!"
"Yikes guys, calm down"
I ignored the beginning of an argument between them, starting to walk again towards our dorm building that I could see in the distance. I wasn't likely to actually tell them what my wish was, as I was old fashioned. I believed that saying that you couldn't tell anyone about your wish or else it wouldn't come true.
Besides, the most likely response would likely be them making fun of me anyway. Ugh, why was I even friends with these three?
As I kept walking, I noticed their voices start to drift off, them being too busy in their fight to notice me walking off. I just held my hand over my heart, keeping that wish close to me.
If only it could come true.
I returned to my dorm room that night, but once I fell asleep things went really weird. Despite the AC cranked to a high temperature, I could have sworn that it got very cold after a long while. I was too tired to bother to actually get out of bed and check what was wrong, I just let myself drift off to sleep.
When I finally woke up the day after, I felt as though I had been I had been sleeping on the ground. My entire body seemed to ache, various parts of my bones seemingly grinding into the floor itself. ...And why did my head feel like it had been resting on rock?
When I finally opened my eyes, I wasn't looking at the roof of my dorm room or a wall, nothing that even remotely looked familiar to me. I lifted my head to look around, only to find... that I had been sleeping on the floor?
In fact, I could see the sky right above me, it being a lovely blue with slight tinges of orange, almost as if it was starting to get late in the evening rather than the morning. Just how did I end up sleeping through the entire morning AND end up outside?
I pushed myself off the ground and looked around to see where I had ended up. I was in someone's back garden, sitting on the green grass directly underneath a tree that also contained a treehouse. Off to my right was a porch that then led to a sliding door, which would naturally lead to someone's home. Normally, such a normal place wouldn't ring any bells at all for me. And yet, I knew this back garden and I especially knew that house.
When I did stand up, the only real injury I had managed to sustain was the typical uncomfortable pain that came from sleeping on the ground. I couldn't have been kidnapped, could I?
Well, the biggest hint towards that was the fact that there was no believable way for someone to kidnap me, and then drop me off into a game. This backyard looked so familiar to me, because it seemed almost identical to the one in 'The Walking Dead', at the back of Clementine's house. I even stood beneath a tree that looked like it had been pruned and maintained exactly the same as the one that she had.
And yet, that didn't answer my question about how I got here. I had to have been dreaming, right? There was no way someone had actually managed to replicate her back garden perfectly AND kidnap me during the night. The security on our campus was bad, but it wasn't that bad. And as much as I loved that game to pieces, the people and the story did not exist in real life.
I pinched my arm lightly, just enough to hopefully check if this was actually a dream, but not wake up from it. If this happened to be a lucid dream, I would have loved nothing more than to just stay in it for a bit.
A massive jolt of pain flared up from my pinch, causing me to hurriedly pull my hand away and wave my arm like I had somehow set it on fire. Forget a dull feeling of pins and needles, which was the usual reaction when I pinched myself in a dream, this sensation almost seemed to double the pain I usually would receive. What kind of a dream was this?
I ignored that question for now, looking back around the yard for a better clue as to what was going on. All the items seemed a little run down, as though nobody had been there for several days. Eerily similar to the setting of the game.
...So if this was a dream that involved me being a part of the game's events, then where were Lee and Clementine? Did Lee already come here and then leave with Clementine? If that was the case, then the chances of me surviving this dream was very slim. I only knew how to survive due to the luck that Lee or Clementine would receive, I would likely die after encountering the first walker.
Right as I was beginning to fear the worst, I heard the sound of walkers groaning beyond the fence surrounding the backyard, sounding like there was at least twenty of them. A number of them started to get closer to the fence, and at the same time a man grabbed onto the fence and haul himself up from the other side of the fence. An African-American tumbled over the fence, his fear of the walkers being so strong that he didn't even seem to notice me hide behind the tree.
He was just starting to back away from the fence when we both heard loud gunshots off in the distance, which continued on for a little while. Those gunshots were enough to make the walkers lose interest in the man who tumbled over the fence, at first lessening their banging on the fence before all together dissipating entirely.
Once it was safe, the man managed to haul himself up off the ground despite his injured leg, before looking around him at the backyard. Every mannerism, every movement was exactly the same. Even this man's face was the same, looking exactly like Lee Everett.
I didn't even get a moment to really think about it all, as he quickly looked around him, only stopping himself from calling out when he noticed me standing under the tree house.
"Hi there" He greeted me, a warm and friendly smile being sent my way despite what he had just witnessed. Thank god, the actual Lee was a nice person. I don't think I would have liked to find out that he was actually an evil sadistic person like some people played him. "Are you alone out here?"
If I had been perfectly honest with him, then I would have told him about Clementine up in the tree. But... If I did that, then Clementine probably would be able to tell him that she didn't know how I knew that, which would give the heavy hint that I knew more than the average person. So, I decided to just pretend.
"Yeah, I haven't seen anyone else around here" I lied to him, playing with the hem of my skirt to distract myself. "I hid back here when those walkers showed up"
"Walkers? Is that what you call them?" Lee asked me, obviously confused with the name. I didn't quite understand, when it finally sunk in that they didn't start calling them walkers until episode two. Crap.
"Uh, well, it seems strange to call them undead or zombies" I explained, but I couldn't help but cringe at the excuse I made. "Because calling them zombies makes them seem way too... unreal"
Lee didn't say much on my explanation, but he soon seemed to nod his head in agreement. For whatever it was worth, it probably wouldn't stick in his mind anyway.
"What's your name?" He asked me, and I responded easily.
"I'm Primrose" I greeted him in kind, nodding my head a little in a show of respect. Despite the fact I likely knew what his name was, I decided to ask him anyway, because it would be odder to not ask. "What about you?"
"Lee Everret, former history teacher" Lee returned my greeting in kind, already seemingly thinking practically as he looked over at the closed sliding door. "Have you tried asking for help in there yet?"
"No, it hasn't been very long since I have been hiding" I lied again, trying my hardest to make all my lies match up to each other.
"Alright, I think we should look for help in there" Lee suggested, and I nodded my head and moved close to him as we headed towards the sliding door. I couldn't escape the dread with knowingly letting the both of us walk in there, especially if there was a similar zombie in there to the game, but I didn't know any other way to get Clementine to come out of her treehouse. Lee knocked loudly onto the glass, hoping that there was someone inside to hear him. "Hello, anybody home? We need a little help"
"...Maybe the door's unlocked?" I suggested, and he immediately pulled open the door with a sturdy hand. The door jam let out a loud click as it opened all the way, allowing the both of us entry into the room. Lee smiled in appreciation at my suggestion, gently patting the top of my head in a fatherly way.
"We're coming in. Don't shoot, okay?" Lee warily announced this to any possible owners inside, before taking a tentative step into the house when he didn't hear a response. "Stick close, okay?"
"Like glue" I confirmed with him, following closely behind him into the house. The inside of the house was just as ransacked like it was in the game, various pieces of furniture turned over and thrown around carelessly. It looked more like robbers had just flipped the place over for valuables, but the still present television and electrical supplies told us otherwise.
"...These people might need more help than we do" Lee mentioned glumly, something which I could only really nod my head to. Sandra, the babysitter in the game, certainly had seen and experienced worse things than either of us had so far.
Lee immediately went over to one side of the house, checking out the turned over bookshelf, while I busied myself with the kitchen. I knew everything else didn't really matter, so I ignored it all in favour of the important details. I gently tiptoed around the pool of blood that led to the kitchen, and quickly scanned the note left behind on the fridge. It contained a phone number to the Marsh House, which I knew for a fact had to belong to the hotel that Clementine's parents stayed at.
That name caused so many conflicting feelings to spark inside my chest, with the majority of them being quite negative. That stranger at the end of the game, who caused so many deaths. If only there was a way to prevent any of that from happening to these people...
Maybe Lee would believe me if I told him about the danger there? If I even managed to survive that long in this dream that is.
I randomly opened one of the kitchen drawers, hitting the jackpot on what I was looking for, the walkie talkie. I grabbed it, and was about to leave the kitchen when I spotted the cup of water near the sink.
"Hey Lee, if you're thirsty there is a cup of water here" I notified him, and I could see his face perk up a little bit with the idea.
"Thanks" He thanked me, soon beginning to half-limp his way over to where I had directed him.
"Oh by the way, there's a pool of blood there" I warned him, turning my back on him for a moment. I had warned him in time, so surely I didn't need to do anything about it? "Just be careful that you don't-
Just as I had convinced myself he'd be fine, I heard him slip on the pool of blood and land with a crash onto the floor. I winced audibly, inching towards him to double check if he was alright.
"You alright?" I asked him, and he nodded his head as he pushed himself off the floor.
"Yeah, yeah I'm alright" He assured me, and I let him stand on his own without my help. Odd, I really thought that just warning him would have been enough. Is it just impossible for the story to turn out any other way than how the original went?
With that thought in mind, I carefully tiptoed past him as he went to drink the aforementioned cup of water. I decided that I needed to make things speed up a little, even if it was just to not get ambushed by a walker.
I shuffled over to the answering machine, pressing the button to listen in to the conversations it had recorded. Just as I had turned around to check where Lee might be, I saw him limping his way over to me. We both soon started listening to the monotone voice on the machine before long.
"Message one, left at five fourty-three pm *BEEP* Hey Sandra! This is Diana, we're still in Savannah" The answering machine soon brought out a woman's voice, who sounded quite chipper despite the world we were in. I knew the words off by heart almost, and I had to stop myself from mouthing the words she would say, especially so when Lee looked at me a little confused. "Ed had a little 'incident' with some crazy guy near the hotel so we had to get him back to the ER and have it checked out. Anyway, he's not feeling well enough to drive back tonight, so we're staying an extra day. Thanks so much for looking after Clementine and I promise, we'll be back in time before your spring break"
The first message ended cleanly, and the following one started as though things were perfectly fine in the world, as though life was still normal for these people. Oh how wrong it was.
"Message two, Left at eleven nine-teen pm *BEEP* Oh my god, finally! I don't know if you've tried to reach us; all the calls are getting dropped" The same woman as before, Diana, spoke but her chipper tone had dramatically changed to a scared and frightened version from before. "They're not letting us leave and they won't tell us anything about Atlanta. Please, please just leave the city and take Clementine with you back to Marietta. I've got to get back to the hospital, please let me know that you're safe"
The second recording ended just as smoothly as the first one, but I couldn't help but turn my back on the machine as it prepared for the next one. I knew it was coming, yet that didn't make listening to it any easier.
"Message three, Left at six fifty-one am *BEEP* Clementine, baby, if you can hear this, call the police. That's nine, one, one" Diana spoke, but her words were completely garbled due to the bad audio and the way she sounded like she was going to cry. Her final words on the answering machine were pleading, desperate for the little girl she loved to hear them. "We love you... We love you... we love y-"
The call ended abruptly, the machine announcing that there were no more messages for us to listen to. I could barely manage to look at Lee after it, as he picked up a picture frame that contained a family of three on it. On it was Ed and Diana, both parents lovingly holding onto their little daughter, Clementine.
Lee couldn't seem to find it in his heart to say anything to me, and I honestly had to admit that I couldn't either. Even without knowing these people, I could feel the emotions in this house.
Before long, the walkie talkie I had pinned to the waistband of my skirt flared into life, a scared little girl's voice coming through.
"Daddy? Sandra?" She asked us both, and I was a little shocked about how things had changed already. I was so used to Clementine just asking Lee if he was her dad, that being compared to Sandra myself threw me for a bit of a loop. Did I look like Sandra to her?
I pulled the walkie talkie off my waist band, speaking into it as Lee looked over nervously.
"Hello?" I whispered into it, purposely speaking into it with the same words as the story did. If I did change the story... then what was I supposed to do with moments that were destined to happen?
"You're not Sandra" She seemed to realise, and I nodded my head without really thinking about how she couldn't see me.
"No, I'm not" I agreed with her, soon directing my eyes to Lee to try and keep him involved. "And I don't think the man with me is your father either"
"Yeah" She agreed as well with that statement, but her voice fell short soon after. It was like she was afraid of me, which I couldn't blame her for.
"Are you okay?" I asked her, my eyes looking out towards the kitchen. Lee looked confused with why I was looking that way, and I gestured for him to follow towards the kitchen.
"I'm okay" Clementine said, whispering intently through the walkie talkie. "They tried to get me, but I'm hiding until my parents come home"
"Who is this?" I asked, mentally kicking myself for asking a question I already knew about.
"I'm Clementine" She answered, and I smiled at her introduction. "This is my house"
"Hi Clementine" I said, gesturing to myself and to Lee when I introduced both of us, despite the fact Lee didn't know she could see us. "I'm Primrose, and the man with me is Lee"
"Okay" She said softly, her voice still telling me she was afraid out of her mind.
"How old are you Clementine?"
"And you're all alone?"
"Yes, I don't know where anybody is" Clementine said, her voice still in a low whisper. "How old are you?"
"I'm twenty one and Lee is thirty seven" I told her almost fluently, only really noticing something was amiss when I looked at Lee's face. It was the moment I realised I had messed up, as Lee had yet to tell me his age.
"Okay" Clementine told me, but my focus was completely looking at Lee, who had now directed a very skeptical and wary look at me.
"How do you know how old I am?" He asked, his voice betraying the fact he had already pinned me as a stalker, or worse.
"I, uh... I might have seen you in the newspaper" I lied to him once again, noting how pissed he was starting to look. I double checked that Clementine couldn't hear either of us, the receiver being shut off on our end for the moment. "I don't think you're a bad guy though"
His face softened, even if it was just a little bit, and I thanked my lucky stars that he seemed to believe me. I mean, what else was I going to tell him? "Oh hey, I know you from a video game in my world"? As if.
"Are you safe?" I quickly changed the subject, talking to Clementine on the radio rather than what me and Lee had been talking about.
"I'm in my tree house, they can't get in"
"That's smart" I said, tensing up because I knew that Sandra was nearby.
"Can you see me?" said Clementine, opening the door to her tree house ever so slightly, and then waving at us. "I can see you two through the window"
I sent a quick wave, before turning around, seeing a zombified Sandra directly behind us both.
"Watch out Lee!" I yelled at him, to which he swiveled around fast enough to catch her shoulders before she could take a bite out of him. He struggled with her for a moment, harshly showing her against the stove top.
I turned and ran, practically leaping over the pool of blood on the floor towards the sliding door. I expected Lee to be directly behind me as I turned around, but I was surprised to find I was the only one there.
Reality bit me in the ass, because I hadn't told Lee about the blood again. Just as I was hoping he would make it to me, he slipped over on the blood and banged his head heavily against the counter.
I could hear the door behind me slide open, me noticing Clementine standing there in fright straight away. I grabbed the hammer she was meekly holding, and I turned around...
...Only to see my worst nightmare.
Sandra had caught up to him, and was viciously taking a bit out of his neck. I didn't even have to doubt that he died pretty quickly, with the way the blood spurted out all over her face. I could only stare for the longest time, wondering how in the hell he didn't manage to kick her off and make it over to me, until it hit me.
In the game, Lee is controlled. He doesn't act of his own accord to save himself, it requires the player to act to save his life.