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The Mutant Dead

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Episode 1: Days Gone Bye

 

Outside of Atlanta, Georgia a reinforced van drove down the street which was full of abandoned and/or destroyed cars. Corpses littered the road, and there was the occasional walker. However, the driver didn’t bother to avoid the walker and instead ran the walker over snapping the neck in the process. As is usual with walkers, it slowly got up from the ground as the van left it behind. The driver had black hair and sideburns, light brown colored eyes, and was 6 feet 2 inches. His apparel consisted of a white muscle shirt under a light blue button-down long sleeve shirt, a blue leather jacket with three yellowish stripes on each bicep. In the backseat was a bald older man in a wheelchair. He wore a brown tuxedo over a white button-down long sleeve shirt and had a red tie on. These two men were Logan and Charles Xavier. They are all that is left of the X-Men. Just as they reached the outskirts of Atlanta, Georgia the car began to stutter which meant that they were running on fumes. Thankfully, there were a few cars around that looked to be in great order. There was even a gas station.

“Shit,” Logan said when he looked down at the gas meter. He then slowed the car to a stop on the side of the road.

“What is it, Logan?” Charles asked.

“We’re out of gas,” Logan replied as he unbuckled himself from his seat, “I’ll be right back.”

“Be careful Logan,” Charles said as Logan exited the car, “Not even you can survive a horde of the undead.”

“A lot of people and things have been trying to kill me over the years,” Logan reassured Charles, “and I’m still here. The world’s not done with me yet.”

He then shut the driver’s side door and headed towards the trunk to remove a gas can and a hose before heading towards the nearest car.

“I fear you’re wrong, Logan,” Charles said quietly as he nodded off to sleep. He hadn’t been able to sleep the past few nights as Logan didn’t bother making camp. Logan had explained that there was no reason to make a camp as they weren’t going to stay for a long period. Logan didn’t have a plan other than to survive. Charles had suggested that they go for a boat to head out to sea towards Genosha where Magneto was last seen heading. However, Logan had no desire to head to an island where a fair amount of his enemies were more than likely located.

“Dammit,” Logan cursed when every car he found seemed to be dry. 

He was undoubtedly not the first person to come up with the idea of draining cars. When he turned around towards the gas station, he figured he may as well try. Once that inevitably failed, he headed into the gas station’s store to grab them some food for the road. He looked down the aisles of the store until he found some food that wasn’t rotten, melted, or just plain old expired. It was a bag of chips that happened to be the new kind of nutritional chips. From what Logan heard, they tasted horrible. Suddenly, he heard the sound of vehicles coming up. He quickly got away from the window but stayed close so he could peer outside. They seemed to be military vehicles, but they had graffiti all over them and had lots of blood covering the fronts. He narrowed his eyes as about 21 men wearing military fatigues climbed out of the vehicles with M16s slung on their shoulders, 9mm semi-automatic sidearms strapped to their thighs, and had machetes sheathed on their waists. These men were probably not the friendly kind. That guess was confirmed when the soldiers aimed their rifles at his armored van and the leader spoke unkindly.

“Come on out with your hands up old man, and give us everything you have!” the leader shouted, “If you don’t comply we’ll shoot!”

That prompted Logan to run out of the gas station towards the men. One of the soldiers noticed this and immediately turned towards him to shoot. However, Logan got to him first. He grabbed the M16, bashed the soldier in the face before wrenching the M16 out of his hands and firing it into his skull point blank with a bang. As the newly made corpse fell to the ground, the other soldiers aimed at him, but didn’t shoot as the leader held a hand up while he regarded Logan.

“From your stance, I’d say you were a marine before the dead started walking?” the leader asked.

“Get away from my van, bub,” Logan snarled, “If you don’t leave us be, I’ll kill all of you and take your ATV for myself.”

That prompted the soldiers to laugh as they found his threat ridiculous. Especially, since they outnumbered him 20 to 1.

“I think you ought to do your math again,” the leader said wiping the tears of amusement from his eyes, “We have you outnumbered, so we’re going to kill you and then your dad. After that, we’ll take everything you have.”

The leader then looked at Logan with murderous intent as he unslung his M16 to aim it at Logan.

“Fire!” the leader yelled. At that, the soldiers all fired their automatic rifles at Logan forcing him back a few steps. As he was knocked back, his rifle flew out of his hands and to the cement ground. Once the soldiers stopped firing, their smirks vanished as Logan healed right in front of them. They all watched wide-eyed as the bullets fell from his body, and the wounds closed. Logan then allowed what looked like three knives to extend from each fist.

“Holy shit!” cried out one of the soldiers, “It’s the Wolverine!”

At that, some soldiers ran away. They have heard of all he has done, after all. The rest on the other hand just reloaded their rifles. As they did that, Logan ran towards one soldier and stabbed him in the throat with his left claw before running towards another. The soldiers gave up on their rifles as they realized that they wouldn’t do any good. Instead, they pulled out their machetes and charged at Wolverine. The leader, on the other hand, ran to his truck and got inside. One soldier slashed down at Logan with his machete, but Logan quickly blocked it with his left claw before swinging upwards with his right claw and stabbing the soldier through his bottom jaw and out the top of his head. As Logan did so, he slashed at another soldier across the face killing him with his left claw. There were only three soldiers left, and they quickly ran off. Logan, however, wasn’t going to let them. He ran after them, and as they jumped over a car Logan jumped onto it before leaping towards them with his arms out to the side and forwards a bit. He roared as he flew towards them, but only stopped once they were on the ground dead. He quickly removed his bloody claws from the bodies and retracted them before he pulled out one of the 9mms from its holster. He aimed it at the last of the three before firing. The third soldier immediately fell to the ground dead with a bullet hole in the back of his head and his forehead. Logan grabbed as many firearms, ammo, and food that he could before he returned to the van, He wanted to take the ATV but he had no idea how to get Charles inside. Especially, since Charles needs his wheelchair. Fortunately, the ATV had been modified to use the same kind of gas that the van needs. After the van had been refueled, Logan got back into the driver’s seat once all the weapons had been stored in the trunk.

“You alright back there Charles?” Logan asked as he started the van.

“I’m fine Logan,” Charles replied after a minute of silence, “I won’t tell you that you didn’t have to kill those men, especially after how humanity has turned out ever since the outbreak. However, you didn’t have to kill all of them.”

“I didn’t,” Logan said as he put the car in gear, “fourteen of them ran away.”

Silence then ensued as the van drove off leaving the dead bodies behind.

*intro begins*

Soron66 Presents
(imagine the walking dead intro music)

Hugh Jackman

Patrick Stewart

Andrew Lincoln

Jon Bernthal

Sarah Wayne Collins

Laurie Holden

Jeffrey DeMunn

Steven Yeun

Chandler Riggs

Based on the tv show by Frank Darabont

Based on the Graphic novels by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard

Based off of the Marvel Comics and the movie Logan

THE MUTANT DEAD

*intro ends*

Four to five weeks earlier…

In King County, Georgia, two police officers were sitting inside their police cruisers eating lunch while listening to the police radio. These two officers wore short-sleeve button-down shirts with star-shaped badges on their left pectoral muscles. One of them had a cowboy hat with a golden star badge on his hat and golden tassels, while the other had a baseball cap and a jacket. Neither of them had on their hats though. Their pants were black and had a belt with spare ammo holders on them. The one with the cowboy hat wielded a revolver while the one with the baseball cap wielded a semi-automatic sidearm. Each sidearm was holstered. Their names were Rick Grimes and Shane Walsh

“What’s the difference between Men and Women?” asked Rick.

“This a joke?” asked Shane as Rick handed him a napkin.

“No,” Rick said, “I’m serious.”

“I never knew a woman who knew how to turn off a light,” Shane offered as they both ate some french fries, “They’re born thinking the switch can only go one way…”

“On,” Shane finished as Rick chuckled.

“They’re struck blind the second they leave a room,” Shane said as he placed his elbow on the cruiser’s window sill, “I mean every woman I ever let have a key…” 

“I swear to god,” chuckled Shane, “it’s like I come home, house is all lit up.”

“And my job apparently,” Shane continued acquiring cowboy hat’s attention, “you see because apparently, my chromosomes happen to be different… is I’ve then gotta walk through that house, turn off every single light this chick left on.”

“Is that right?” Rick asked.

“Yeah, baby,” Shane nodded, “Mmm.”

“Oh,” Shane said, “Reverend Shane is preaching to you now, boy.”

They then both laughed as they looked away from each other as they shifted around to get comfortable again in their seats.

“Then…” Shane continued his story, “the same chick, mind you… she’ll bitch about global warming.”

“You see,” chuckled Shane, “This is… this is when Reverend Shane wants to quote from the guy gospel and say, ‘Darling, maybe you and every other pair of boobs on this planet just figure out that the light switch, you see, goes both ways.’” 

“Maybe we wouldn’t have so much global warming,” Shane continued as Rick chuckled.

“You say that?” Rick asked.

“Mmm,” Shane replied making himself laugh, “Yeah, well, a polite version.”

“Still, man,” Shane continued, “that earns me this look of loathing you would not believe. And that’s when the exorcist voice pops out.”

“You sound just like my damn father!” Shane said in a deeper voice making both him and Rick laugh, “always yelling about the power bill, telling me to turn off the damn lights!”

“And what do you say to that?” Rick asked.

“I know what I want to say,” Shane replied, “I want to say, ‘Bitch, you mean to tell me you’ve been hearing this your entire life and you are still too damn stupid to learn how to turn off a switch?’”

They then laugh again.

“You know, I…” Shane said, “I don’t actually say that though.”

“That would be bad,” Rick said understanding.

“Right, right,” Shane said agreeing.

“Yeah,” Shane continued, “I go with the… I go with the polite version there too.”

“Very wise,” Rick said nodding his head.

“Yes, sir,” Shane agreed again.

“Mm-hmm,” Rick said as he looked out the windshield.

“Well,” Shane said as he looked out the side window.

“So, how’s it with Lori, man?” Shane asked as Rick messed around with some things.

“She’s good…” Rick replied making Shane chuckle a bit, “she’s good at turning off lights. Really good. I’m the one who sometimes forgets.”

“Not what I meant,” Shane said as he chewed on some food. Some silence followed as Rick did what he could to bring up the nerve to talk about what was going on at home.

“We didn’t have a great night,” Rick admitted as he threw some trash onto the floor.

“Hey look, man,” Shane said noticing how closed up Rick was being, “I may have failed to amuse with my sermon, but I did try.”

“The least you can do is…” Shane finished, “is speak.”

“That’s…” Rick spoke up unhappily, “that’s what she always says. Speak. Speak. You’d think I was the most closed mouth son of a bitch ever, to hear her tell it.”

“Do you express your thoughts?” Shane asked. Rick didn’t answer that question and instead stared out the windshield.

“Do you share your feelings,” Shane pressed, “that kind of stuff?”

“The thing is…” Rick finally spoke up as he looked towards Shane, “Lately, whenever I try, everything I say makes her impatient. Like she didn’t want to hear it after all.”

“It’s like she’s…” Rick continued looking out the windshield again, “pissed at me all the time and I don’t know why.”

“Look, man,” Shane said consolingly, “That’s just shit couples go through.”

“Yeah,” Shane continued, “It’s a phase.”

Rick chuckled at how ridiculous he found that, because right now… he didn’t believe it at all.

“The last thing she said this morning,” Rick informed Shane with an unhappy expression, “‘Sometimes I wonder if you even care about us at all.’ She said that in front of our kid. Imagine going to school with that in your head.”

Silence once more took over as Rick let Shane process what he told him.

“The difference between men and women?” Rick said as he turned towards Shane, “I would never say something that cruel to her… and certainly not in front of Carl.”

Shane then messed with the police radio till it beeped as a dispatcher’s voice could be heard.

“All available units, high-speed pursuit in progress. Linden County units request Local assistance.”

Shane quickly grabbed a pen and paper to write down the location the dispatcher was about to give them.

“Highway 18 eastbound,” the dispatcher continued, “GTA, ADW, 2-17, 2-3-4. Advise extreme caution.”

Rick quickly started the car as Shane threw all the trash into a bag before Rick drives them near a trash can which Shane threw the bag of trash into as they drove by with the siren blaring. They sped off down the road towards the location alongside another police cruiser that met up with them halfway. Shane was currently in the process of putting on a pair of black gloves.

“Suspects are two male Caucasians,” the dispatcher informed them, “be advised they have fired upon police officers. One Linden County officer is wounded.”

Once they reached the location, the second cruiser stopped in a way that the cop could use the car as cover while Rick drove his car further up. Shane quickly ran out and opened the trunk as the dispatcher spoke while Rick unbuckled. They were at a road between some grass and trees.

“Unit 1, unit 3,” the dispatcher said as Shane pulled out one of the tire-shredding devices, “to eastbound Route 18 two miles west of Interstate 85.”

“Will patch in Linden County sheriff radio,” the dispatcher said as Shane and Rick ran to set up the device.

“Roger that,” a Linden County officer said over the radio, “We’re five minutes south of the Route 18 intersection.”

“Dispatch,” a second officer said, “unit 1 and unit 3…”

“We are 10-97 and code 100,” said an african American officer revealing himself to be the second man, “highway 18 E.B of Interstate, please advise.”

Now that Rick and Shane were done, Rick quickly backed up their cruiser back to the other one to wait for the incoming criminals.

“10-9,” the dispatcher said which both Rick and Shane could hear inside their cruiser, “we just got word from Linden County that they’re off 18, now southbound…”

The rest of the information couldn’t be heard as Rick skidded the car till it too was sideways. All of the officers proceeded to exit their cruisers and pull out their firearms. In the background, the dispatcher could be heard still speaking.

“Old French Road is closed down there so they’re gonna head back onto 18.”

Shane pulled out a shotgun and removed his baseball cap. They all cocked their weapons as Rick walked around the cruiser till he was next to Shane.

“Sounds like they chasing those idiots up and down every back road we’ve got,” the african American cop said as Rick knelt next to him.

“Maybe we’ll get on one of them video shows, you know?” asked another cop who wasn’t very smart, to be honest, “Like ‘world’s craziest police chases.’ What do you think?”

“What I think, Leon,” Rick said with his revolver raised, “is you need to stay focused, make sure you’ve got a round in the chamber, and the safety off.”

Rick returned his attention to the incoming criminals that have yet to be seen by them as Leon did just as Rick had told him to do.

“Would be kinda cool,” the dumb cop stated his opinion while annoying Rick, “getting on one of them shows.”

A few minutes later, they all tensed as they saw the incoming criminals rise over the hill before they drove through the tire-shredding device causing their car to skid a few feet. It proceeded to flip over and over causing pieces of the car to go flying off till it stopped on the grass next to the road with its shredded wheels pointing skyward.

“Holy shit,” Shane said as he wasn’t expecting that to happen. 

The Linden County officers got out of their cruisers and walked forward slowly as they too aimed their firearms at the criminals’ totaled car in case there were any survivors. Rick led his cops slowly to the car to check it out, and when they saw one of the doors being forced opened. The survivor lurched out of the car with a gun raised prompting the officers to yell.

“Gun gun gun!” yelled one of the Linden County officers as he ducked behind his car door.

“Put it down!” Rick yelled.

The survivor fired his weapon prompting the Linden County officers to fire back as Rick continued yelling for him to put it down. Rick gave up on trying to show mercy and instead joined in on firing at the criminal. Rick suddenly spun onto the ground as one of the criminal’s bullets grazed him. Fortunately, the criminal got what was coming to him. The criminal ended up riddled with holes as he died before he fell to the ground. Another criminal quickly showed his face and fired a shotgun at the officers before he too was killed.

“Rick!” Shane yelled before he slowly walked to his partner thinking that the situation had been handled.

“I’m alright!” Rick yelled back as he reloaded his revolver while wheezing.

“I saw you get tagged, man,” Shane said when he reached Rick who was slowly getting up, “That scared the hell out of me.”

“Me too,” Rick admitted as he looked at Shane, “That son of a bitch shot me. Can you believe that?”

“What?” Shane asked making sure, “it catch you in your vest?”

“Yeah,” Rick replied.

Unknowingly, at the car, a third man was crawling out of the car.

“Shane,” Rick continued, “You do not tell Lori that happened… ever.”

“You understand?” Rick asked just before he was shot by the third gunman. Shane instinctively gunned the criminal down with his shotgun. 

“Police!” shouted one of the cops, “Move in!”

“No no no no no no no,” Shane panicked as he went to Rick’s aid. 

“Shh shh shh shh,” Shane continued to calm Rick down as he began removing Rick’s shirt to get to the bloody wound.

“No no no no,” Shane panicked some more when he saw the blood, “no no no no.”

“He’s hit!” Shane yelled as he did his best to stop the blood flow, “Leon! You get that ambulance down here! You tell them there’s an officer down! You do it now!”

“Okay,” Shane said quieter to calm Rick down while Leon did as ordered by Shane, “Shh shh shh shh. I’m here. Hey, you look at me. You stay with me. You hear me? Shh shh shh. Okay. I’m right here, Rick. Stay with me. You hear me? Shh shh. That’s it. Do you hear me? Shh shh shh. Okay. I’m right here with you. Stay with me. Shh shh. That’s it. I’m right here…”

Shane went on like that for quite a while till the paramedics arrived, but he stayed worried throughout the whole ride to the hospital. On the way, he called Lori and told her of what happened with Rick.

In the present…

Rick woke up from a four to five-week coma, and only remembered one thing that happened during that time. However, he thought it was happening right now which prompted him to speak.

“That vase…” Rick said as he stared at the ceiling with one of those breathing things connected to his nose, “That’s something special. ‘Fess up. You steal it from your Grandma Jean’s House?”

“I hope you left her that spoon collection,” Rick laughed. He then coughed due to the pain laughter caused him.

“Shane?” Rick asked as he looked to his right but saw that nobody was there, the machinery was dead, and the flowers had dried up. However, the only thing that registered to his brain currently was the first thing.

“Shane,” Rick called with his voice sounding rough, “you in the John?”

However, when nobody answered he looked to his right again and registered that the machinery was deactivated and that the plants had died. He reached to touch it to make sure he wasn’t seeing things, and when the plant crackled under his touch he looked to the clock and saw that it wasn’t ticking. He grunted as he rolled onto his side and pushed himself into a sitting position. He grabbed the I.V stand to try and stand up but immediately fell since the stand had wheels on the bottom.

“Nurse,” Rick called out weakly, “Help.”

He tried again one more time but stopped when he realized that nobody was there to help him. Eventually, he managed to make it to the bathroom door and when he opened it he immediately tore off some of the things that were on him. He saw that he had grown a short beard and wore nothing but hospital clothes. A few minutes later, Rick opened the door to his hospital room and saw the abandoned hallway of the hospital. Lights were flickering and papers, pencils, and lots of other stuff were strewn about on the floor. There was also a hospital gurney in front of his room which he immediately rolled out of his path. He looked down one side of the hallway before turning the other direction and headed that way. 

Once he made it outside, he saw corpses everywhere lying under sheets on the parking lot in the back. He quickly got out of the parking lot and up a hill, but when he got to the top he saw a military camp… destroyed. Eventually, he found a bike which he figured nobody would miss. He picked the bike up and stood it up, but the noise acquired the attention of a walker that had half its body missing and was ugly. The walker.... actually, the crawler rolled over scaring the crap out of Rick prompting him to fall onto his ass as he dropped the bike.

“Ah,” Rick exclaimed, “Ah. Oh shit.”

Rick quickly got back to his feet as the crawler reached for him and picked the bike up again. He proceeded to ride the bike as far away from the crawler as he could. He only stopped riding when he reached his house. He allowed the bike to fall onto the ground as he hurried to his house’s front door.

“Lori,” he said as soon as he opened the front doors and stepped inside.

“Lori!” he called when there was no response as he rushed into another room. He spent a few minutes searching before he decided to leave the room.

“Carl,” Rick called for his son as he rushed through the house, “Carl!”

“Shoot,” Rick said when he didn’t find Carl.

“Lori!” Rick called out again as he walked into the living room, “Carl!”

When he realized that nobody was there, he feared the worst. That caused him to fall to his knees as he sobbed for his family.

“Lori!” Rick cried, “Carl.”

A few minutes later…

Rick walked out of his house and slowly sat down on the steps leading to the steps to his house. He looked around till he saw a guy in a black outfit. The guy saw him as well and started stumbling towards Rick who merely waved at him, thinking he was a normal human being. Suddenly, a twig snapped behind him attracting his attention. He turned to look just as a shovel hit him in the face knocking him to the floor.

“Daddy!” his attacker shouted revealing himself to be an African American boy, “Daddy!”

The boy had short curly black hair, wore a maroon or burgundy shirt, and blue jeans.

“Carl,” Rick said quietly attracting the kid’s attention, “Carl, I found you.”

“Daddy, I got the sumbitch!” the kid shouted, “I’m gonna smack him dead!”

Rick turned his head and saw another African American, this time a man, shoot the walker that was heading for Rick in the head. The man wore a long-sleeve button-down shirt that was unbuttoned, a light grey t-shirt, and pants that were grey-ish in color. He had black running shoes on. He also had a shaved head. Rick turned his head just as the man hurried up to them.

“He say something?” the man asked the boy as he kept him from killing Rick, “I thought I heard him say something.”

“He called me Carl,” the boy replied.

“Son,” the man reminded the boy as he looked at Rick, “you know they don’t talk.”

“Hey, mister,” the man said urgently, “what’s that bandage for?”

“W-what?” Rick asked confused.

“What kind of wound?” the man reiterated as he aimed his small revolver at Rick’s head, “You answer me, damn you. What’s your wound? You tell me… or I will kill you.”

Instead of answering, Rick fell unconscious due to getting hit on the head and from exhaustion.

Later…

Rick woke up and found himself inside a house and on a bed with flower patterns on it. However, he didn’t care about that since the boy who had whacked him was standing there with a baseball bat. He heard the sound of a rubber glove snapping which prompted him to turn his head to see the man from earlier standing next to a bowl.

“Got that bandage changed now,” the man said with a glance towards Rick, “It was pretty rank.”

“What was it?” the man continued as he cleaned his hands, “The wound?”

“Gunshot,” Rick replied.

“Gunshot?” the man asked while drying his hands.

“What else?” the man asked again as he mopped his forehead with the hand towel, “Anything?”

“Gunshot ain’t enough?” Rick asked confused.

“Look.” the man said displeased with Rick’s response, “I ask and you answer. That’s common courtesy, right?”

He then leaned closer to Rick and looked at him straight in the eyes.

“Did you get bit?” the man asked slowly.

“Bit?” Rick said confused.

“Bit,” the man confirmed, “Chewed, maybe scratched… anything like that?”

“No,” Rick said as he looked at the man, “I got shot. Just shot as far as I know.”

The man then went to touch Rick’s forehead, but Rick instinctively jerked his head away.

“Hey,” the man said, “Just let me.”

He then checked Rick’s temperature and with relief, he looked towards his son.

“Feels cool enough,” the man said before he explained to Rick, “fever would’ve killed you by now.”

“I don’t think I have one,” Rick said shaking his head.

“Be hard to miss,” the man said sternly. He then pulled out a pocket knife and brought out the blade which Rick couldn’t help but notice.

“Take a moment,” the man warned Rick, “look how sharp it is. You try anything, I will kill you with it. And don’t you think I won’t.”

He then cut the bungee cords he had used to restrain Rick before heading to the room’s door. Rick in the meantime moved his hands so he could put feeling back into them.

“Come on out when you’re able,” the man said before he exited the room.

“Come on,” the man added to his son.

His son then followed him out of the room while Rick rolled onto his side with an unhappy expression on his face. A few minutes later, he walked out of the room to see the man handing food to his son with a ladle. Rick had wrapped himself in a white sheet or blanket. The man looked up at Rick and nodded once before Rick moved into another room and looked around. The room was full of pillows and had a couple of futons on the ground. The man put the ladle down and watched Rick as his son sat down to eat his food.

“This place…” Rick asked, “Fred and Cindy Drake’s?”

“Never met ‘em,” the man replied.

“I’ve been here,” Rick said as he took a few steps deeper into the room, “This is their place.”

“It was empty when we got here,” the man informed.

Rick didn’t say anything in response as he walked over to some blankets that were covering the windows. However, when he touched the blanket to pull it aside the man interrupted him.

“Don’t do that,” the man said acquiring Rick’s attention, “They’ll see the light.”

“There’s more of them out there than usual,” the man gestured with his arm.

“I never should’ve fired that gun today,” the man berated himself as he turned back to the table.

“Sound draws them,” the man explained as he moved the pot containing food, “Now they’re all over the street.”

“Stupid…” the man berated himself again, “using a gun. But it all happened so fast.”

“I didn’t think,” finished the man as he sat down at the table.

“You shot that man today,” Rick said with an unhappy tone to the African American.

“Man?” the African American adult asked.

“It weren’t no man,” the boy blurted catching his dad’s attention.

“What the hell was that out of your mouth just now?” the boy’s dad asked.

“It wasn’t a man,” the boy repeated using proper grammar.

“You shot him,” Rick repeated as he took a few steps closer, “in the street out front… a man.”

“Friend,” the African American said slightly amused, “you need glasses. It was a walker.”

“Come on,” the African American said to Rick who had his left hand on a chair, “sit down.”

“Before you fall down,” the man added as he put some food onto a plate in front of Rick. Rick then sat down and picked up a fork, but before he could start eating the boy spoke up.

“Daddy?” the boy reminded his dad, “Blessing.”

The African American looked at his son before he looked at Rick and said, “yeah.”

Everyone stopped what they were doing at that point, and grasped hands as they said their prayer before they could eat.

In the morning…

The sun was shining, the horde of zombies that had gathered during the night had vanished. All of them, except for one that had elected to plop down against the edge of the short white wooden fence. Rick slowly walked out of the house now in brand new clean clothes. He wore an untucked white t-shirt, blue jeans, and probably some running shoes. He had a baseball bat in his hand and wore a hat with a plastic face shield on to protect him from the splash of blood.

“Are we sure they’re dead?” Rick asked the African American man he’d come to know by the name of Morgan. His son was reintroduced to him as Duane.

“I have to ask,” Rick said as he looked at the unmoving body at the fence, “at least one more time.”

“They dead,” Morgan replied as they continued away from the house, “except for something in the brain. That’s why it’s got to be the head.”

As Rick, Morgan, and Duane got closer to the walker, it noticed them and hissed and growled as it got to its face. It stumbled towards Rick, while Rick went towards it with the bat raised. As soon as Rick got close enough, he hit it three or four times till it died. As it died, Rick fell to his knees in pain as his wound acted up again.

“Y’all alright?” Morgan asked in concern as he walked around the dead walker and looked at Rick with Duane doing the same.

“I need a moment,” Rick replied as he stared straight while shifting around a bit.

A moment later, at Rick's house…

Rick led the two into the house and threw the face shield hat onto the ground without caring. He began speaking to them as he glanced over his shoulder.

“They’re alive…” Rick said, “My wife and son. At least they were when they left.”

“How can you know?” Morgan asked as he followed Rick into the dining room, “By the look of this place…”

“I found empty drawers in the bedroom,” Rick explained as he looked at Morgan, “they packed some clothes… not a lot, but enough to travel.”

“You know anybody could’ve broken in here and stole them clothes,” Morgan reasoned, “right?”

“You see the framed photos on the walls?” Rick asked as he gestured with the bat. When Morgan didn’t answer as he looked around Rick took that as a “no” and continued, “Neither do I. Some random thief take those too, you think?”

Rick then opened a cabinet to continue proving his point before heading towards the dining room table.

“Our photo albums,” Rick said, “family pictures… all gone.”

“Photo albums,” laughed Morgan as he sat down at the table. 

“My wife…” Morgan explained at Rick’s confused look, “There I am packing survival gear, she’s grabbing photo alb…”

Now that the mood was soured everything went silent. The only person to end the silence, surprisingly, was Duane.

“They’re in Atlanta,” Duane said as he took a few steps closer to his dad, “I bet.”

“That’s right,” Morgan agreed thankful for the change of topic as he leaned towards whatever was on the table.

“Why there?” Rick asked as he looked to see what Morgan was looking at.

“Refugee center,” Morgan explained, “A huge one they said before the broadcast stopped. Military protection, food, shelter. They told people to go there, said it’d be safest.”

“Plus they got that disease place,” Duane put in.

“The Center for Disease Control,” Morgan explained what Duane was talking about, “said they were working out how to solve this thing.”

At that, Rick walked over to the cupboard where he kept his keys and picked up a specific pair before leaving the house with Morgan and Duane close behind.

Later, at the abandoned police station…

Rick opened the door to a room and shone a flashlight inside to see if any walkers were there. He then led them cautiously through the police station till they found the showers.

“Gas lines been down for…” Morgan told Rick after Rick turned on a shower, “maybe a month?”

“The Station’s got its own propane system,” Rick informed them. 

“Pilot’s still on,” Rick said after he put a hand into the running water.

After they had all showered and Duane was busy getting dressed a freshly shaven Rick turned to Morgan.

“Atlanta seems like a good deal,” Rick said as Morgan was messing with his grey shirt, “safer anyway… people.”

“That’s where we were headed,” Morgan said, “thing’s got crazy. Man, you wouldn’t believe the panic. Streets weren’t fit to be on. And then my-”

“My wife couldn’t travel,” Morgan continued after a minute of silence, “No, not with her hurt. So we had to find a place to lay low. And then after she died, we just stayed hunkered down. I guess we just froze in place.”

“Plan to move on?” Rick asked.

“Haven’t worked up to it yet,” Morgan admitted before he put his shirt on.

A minute later at the police armory…

Rick now wearing a fresh cop uniform unlocked the padlock that was hooked in a couple of chain links and opened the metal door as he walked in.

“A lot of it’s gone missing,” Rick said as he picked up a rifle from one of the gun racks.

“Daddy,” Duane said watching his dad and Rick gather weaponry, “can I learn to shoot? I’m old enough.”

“Hell yes,” Morgan said as he looked at his son, “you’re gonna learn. But we gotta do it carefully, teach you to respect the weapon.”

“That’s right,” Rick agreed as he looked at Duane with a serious expression, “it’s not a toy. You pull the trigger, you have to mean it.”

“Always remember that,” Rick added as he touched the boy’s shoulder, “Duane.”

“Yes, sir,” Duane said.

“Here,” Morgan said as he pointed to some duffle bags while Rick picked up a sniper rifle and aimed it so he could look through the scope, “load up.”

As Morgan reached for a weapon next to Rick he was handed the sniper rifle.

“You take that one,” Rick said, “Nothing fancy. The Scope’s accurate.”

Once they had acquired all the weapons that they could, the exited the building and headed to the cop cars.

“Conserve your ammo,” Rick said now wearing his cowboy hat, “It goes faster than you think.”

“Especially at target practice,” Rick added looking over his shoulder.

“Duane,” Morgan said as Rick headed to a car.

“Uh-huh?” Duane replied.

“Take this to the car,” Morgan said handing a duffle bag to Duane without stopping.

“Okay,” Duane said doing as he was told. 

“Are you sure you won’t come along?” Rick asked while Morgan placed another duffle bag on top of Rick’s car and removed his baseball cap.

“A few more days,” Morgan replied as he looked at Rick, “by then Duane will know how to shoot and I won’t be so rusty.”

At that, Rick opened the passenger side door and picked up a walkie-talkie. As he activated it to see if it operated Morgan watched Duane open the back of a jeep. Morgan looked back at Rick when he heard a whining sound.

“You’ve got one battery,” Rick said as he handed the walkie-talkie to Morgan, “I’ll turn mine on a few minutes every dawn. You get up there, that’s how you’ll find me.”

“You think ahead,” Morgan said as he began walking towards his jeep.

“Can’t afford not to,” Rick replied as he followed him, “not anymore.”

“Listen,” Morgan said as he turned to face Rick, “one thing… they may not seem like much one at a time, but in a group, all riled up and hungry… Man, you watch your ass.”

“You too,” Rick returned.

“You’re a good man, Rick,” Morgan smiled as he grasped Rick’s hand, “I hope you find your wife and son.”

“Be seeing you, Duane,” Rick said as he shook Duane’s hand as well, “You take care of your old man.”

“Yes, sir,” Duane said before he and his dad turned towards the jeep. However, they stopped when growling could be heard. All three of them looked and saw a cop walker stumbling towards a fence that was between them and it.

“Leon Basset?” Rick asked recognizing the walker.

“I didn’t think much of him,” Rick said to Morgan who held his son close, “careless and dumb, but…”

“I can’t leave him like this,” Rick finished as the walker pressed itself against the fence.

“You know they’ll hear the shot,” Morgan said, making sure.

“Let’s not be here when they show up,” Rick said as he headed towards the walker.

“Let’s go, son,” Morgan said, “come on.”

Rick pulled out his revolver and aimed it at the walker’s forehead before he fired causing its rotten brains to go exploding out the back of his head.

“Goodbye, Leon,” Rick said as he holstered his revolver before heading towards his car.

Later in the day, with Logan and Charles…

Logan and Charles had just made it to the perimeter of Atlanta, Georgia when Logan slammed on the breaks. He stared out the windshield in annoyance as the road was filled to the brim of abandoned cars, trucks, and motorcycles. There was absolutely no way to get into town on this road. However, there was a clear path. That path leads away from the city and into a field that was in plain sight with nowhere to duck for cover. Logan suspected that was a trap, and instead turned off the van.

“What’s the matter, Logan?” Charles asked yawning as he woke up.

“We’re on foot from here,” Logan replied as he unbuckled himself before exiting the van.

“Logan,” Charles said as Logan opened the side door and grabbed the folded up wheelchair, “without the van I’ll slow you down.”

“I will not lose anyone else,” Logan said sternly as he unfolded the chair on the road, “The only clear path undoubtedly leads into a trap. The only safe bet is going through the city.”

“Logan-” Charles began.

“I know the undead are always in greater numbers in cities,” Logan interrupted him, “I just don’t see any other path.”

Logan then unbuckled Charles and put him in the wheelchair. He looked towards the trunk where he had placed the weapons. Unfortunately, there was no way he was going to be able to take them with him. 

He then looked forward, but before he started them forward a voice sounded on the com unit he installed in the van when he was reinforcing it. Good thing he also installed an alternate power source for it too otherwise they wouldn’t be hearing the voice.

“Broadcasting on emergency channel,” said the voice, “will be approaching Atlanta at Highway 85. Anybody reads, please respond.”

“Hello,” the voice said, “hello. Can anybody hear my voice? Anybody out there? Anybody hears me, please respond.”

“You should respond, Logan,” Charles said.

“Only person I’m interested in helping is us,” Logan grunted without doing anything, “besides that voice could belong to one of the goons that attacked us earlier today.”

“It doesn’t matter if it's a normal civilized world or a post-apocalypse world, Logan,” Charles chided him, “as the strong, we have to help the weak. We have to take a chance, because if nobody else does, who will?”

Logan grunted before he reluctantly opened the driver’s seat and reached for the com unit.

“I hear you,” Logan said into the com unit.

At some survivors’ campsite…

An old man wearing a fishing hat and a Hawaiian shirt turned quickly in his lawn chair to look at the ham radio. He then got up to head to it, but a young blonde got there first. She dropped some sticks she was carrying and picked up the device to speak into it.

“Hey,” the girl said, “Hello?”

“Who’s this?” said a male voice on the radio.

“My name is Amy?” the girl replied thinking he was talking to her.

“Name’s Logan,” said another male voice.

Amy fell silent when she realized that neither of them could hear her as the old man got closer.

“My name is Rick,” the first male voice said, “Are you anywhere near Atlanta?”

“Yes,” Logan replied vaguely.

“Is there anything I should be aware of when I arrive?” Rick asked.

“Road’s packed with abandoned vehicles,” Logan replied, “so, if you’re coming in one… you’ll have to abandon it as I did.”

“I don’t think either of them could hear me,” Amy said when she noticed the old man, “I couldn’t warn them.”

“Try to raise them again,” the old man said. Amy tried to do as asked, but she didn’t really know what she was doing and so didn’t get a useful result.

“Come on, son,” the old man said to Shane who was nearby, “you know best how to work this thing.”

Shane hacked his hatchet into a tree stump as he knelt next to the ham radio. He was now wearing civilian clothing.

“Hello,” Shane said into it, “hello. Is the person who called still on the air?”

Shane then released the button and allowed static to be heard for a few seconds before he pressed it again.

“This is Officer Shane Walsh broadcasting to person unknown,” Shane said, “please respond.”

“I’m trying to abandon my van,” Logan said annoyed, “You’re not making it easy. What do you want?”

“I have a group just outside Atlanta,” Shane said, “we set ourselves up here so we could warn people not to go into the city till it was time to move on.”

“City’s the safest bet,” Logan countered, “the only clear path leads off into a field that was in plain view. Said path more than likely leads into a trap.”

“Your concerns are understandable,” Shane nodded, “However, Atlanta is a death trap. If you have anyone you care about, avoid the city.”

There was the crackling of static for a few minutes after Shane released the button, and it didn’t seem to end until Logan finally replied.

“Copy,” Logan said before static was the only thing that could be heard for a while till Shane spoke up.

“He’s gone,” Shane said as he put the com device down.

“There are others,” said a brunette woman in a white tank top, “There are others. It’s not just us.”

“We knew there would be, right?” Shane reasoned, “that’s why we left the C.B on.”

“A lot of good it’s been doing,” the woman said unhappily.

“Okay,” Shane said not bothering to argue.

“And I’ve been saying for a week we ought to put signs up to warn people away from the city,” the woman continued.

“Folks got no idea what they’re getting into,” Amy put in.

“Well,” Shane said as he stood up, “we haven’t had time.”

“I think we need to make time,” the woman said.

“Yeah, that…” Shane said as he rubbed his bristles on his face, “that’s a luxury we can’t afford. We are surviving here. We are day to day.”

“And who the hell would you propose we send?” the old man put in.

“I’ll go,” the woman offered, “give me a vehicle.”

“Nobody goes anywhere alone,” Shane said scratching his neck, “You know that.”

“Yes sir,” the woman said unhappily as she walked off.

“Hey hey hey,” Shane said as a boy followed the woman, “Go on, take a seat, bud.”

“You’re alright,” Shane continued as the boy stopped moving, “Go on. You’re alright.”

He then walked off to follow the boy’s mother.

Later, with Rick…

Rick sat in the driver’s seat of his car now that it had run out of gas, and pulled down his sun visor to look at a photo paperclipped to it. He then picked it up and placed it in his jacket’s inside pocket. He then popped the trunk and grabbed his duffle bag before exiting the driver’s side door. He pulled the gas can and another duffle bag with rifles poking out from the back of his trunk and began walking down the long empty street.

Eventually, he arrived at a white house with gardens. Rick began to hope that someone was around. For all he knew, it was the same man he talked to on the C.B.

“Hello?” Rick called out as he dropped his bags, “Police officer out here.”

“Can I borrow some gas?” Rick asked as he walked up to the house. He lowered the gas can as he got closer to the house. Right before he reached the stairs, he took off his hat.

“Hello?” Rick called again as he hurried up the stairs towards the front door.

“Hello?” Rick called as he knocked on the front door while looking through its window, “Hello? Anybody home?”

When he didn’t receive an answer, he moved to another window but didn’t see anything. The third window he looked through made him a little sick. Through the window, he could see a room, and on the wall, GOD FORGIVE US was written in blood and flies flew around decaying corpses. A man lay on a couch with the top of his head blown clean off with a pump-action shotgun loosely aimed at himself. On the floor was a dead woman with maggots crawling out of her cheek.

Rick backed up and walked as far from the window as he could and just sat down on a bench where he stared at the ground. He spat and massaged his face before he picked his head up and looked to his left where he saw a truck.

With Logan…

Logan was back in the van, and so was Charles. They had taken Shane’s advice and elected not to enter Atlanta city. They instead took the path that leads away from the city.

“Charles,” Logan said with his eyes looking forward, “Keep your mind peeled. I don’t want to head into what could be a trap without being ready.”

“Don’t worry, Logan,” Charles said as he looked out of the window to his right, “I am not ready to be the victim of some bandits. When I feel something, I’ll let you know.”

Half an hour later, with Rick…

Rick had finally arrived at Atlanta, but he sat astride a horse instead of his car.

“Let’s go,” Rick said after he clicked his tongue twice.

That guy, Logan, must’ve arrived at the city from another direction, thought Rick as he looked around. The road he was on was completely clear, undoubtedly because it was the road in and all people would be forbidden from entering a city during an evacuation.

Once he got a fair way into the city, he saw that a crisis had gone down. There were downed choppers, abandoned cars, some with broken windshields or windows, and all were dirty. It was as if whatever went down, happened months ago. It was also quiet… too quiet. He looked to his right as he passed a bus, and it was filled with corpses that looked like they had been chewed on. He didn’t even notice as two of the corpses got up and headed towards the exit. The horse’s instincts did, and it spazzed about as it let out a scared whinny informing his rider of his desire to get as far away as possible.

“Whoa,” Rick said calmingly as he looked towards the bus, “steady.”

“There’s just a few,” Rick added when he saw movement, “Nothing we can’t outrun.”

The horse then galloped away with Rick looking backward for a few seconds to look at the two walkers as well as a third that made its appearance that was slowly following.

“Whoa,” Rick said to slow the horse down for them to turn to the left. He continued riding down the street after he paused at a military tank. Suddenly, he heard a helicopter sound and looked around once his horse came to a stop. When he looked at a very tall business building with windows that reflected the outside, he saw a helicopter. It was very high up as the reflection was tiny, but that meant there was some sort of survivor base somewhere.

“Hyah!” Rick said prompting the horse to run full speed because he wanted to follow the chopper. However, he’d soon learn that’d be his fateful mistake. A mistake that will have both good and bad repercussions.

He turned to the left to keep following the chopper, but as soon as he looked down towards the street he saw a gigantic horde of zombies as the horse skidded to a stop. Unfortunately, the zombies had already taken notice of them due to the horse hooves clopping on the road and the horse’s whinnying. He turned them around as fast as he could and urged the horse to run as if its life depended on it, which it did. Sadly, that wasn’t enough as they had to stop in their tracks as the way they had gone now had loads of undead walking around and noticing them.

“Oh, shit,” Rick said before he turned the horse around. Unfortunately, they couldn’t get far as the zombies had already reached them. The zombies pulled and pulled until the horse fell to its side and Rick fell off. They began feasting on the horse immediately while Rick crawled away backward. He had lost his duffle of firearms and his hat, but he didn’t care as his life was the most important thing. A zombie tried to get onto Rick, but he forced it back with his right foot. As soon as he turned around, he saw more zombies in his way.

“Shoot,” Rick said before he crawled under the tank.

“Oh god. Oh god,” Rick fearfully panted to himself as he crawled. He then came to a stop as he saw zombies kneeling and looking under the tank. He rolled onto his back and looked in the direction he had crawled. The zombies had almost reached him. He fired his six-shooter at any walker in the head that got too close.

“Lori, Carl, I’m sorry,” Rick said as he aimed his revolver at his head once he realized he couldn’t fight them off and survive. However, when he did so he saw that a hatch under the tank was open. That allowed him to not kill himself, and live some more by crawling through the hatch and shutting it. He crawled back from the hatch quickly and ended up sitting next to a corpse. Specifically, an armed soldier’s corpse.

“Oh… god,” Rick said to himself when he looked to his right and then forward. He sat there as he allowed his breathing and heartbeat to slow down. However, he didn’t allow himself too long as he reached out and grabbed the semi-automatic sidearm from the dead soldier’s holster. He had to yank it free from the holster, but that woke the walker up. It turned to look at Rick and growled. Rick began to panic, but that didn’t stop him from firing into the walker’s head with his six-shooter. Fortunately, that meant he was safe. Unfortunately, the gun fire’s noise was more or less confined to the tank’s interior and so echoed. That also meant he had an annoyingly loud and painful ringing in his ears.

The ring wouldn’t begin to stop until he managed to get his head outside of the tank through the open hatch up top. He looked around and saw the undead were still going for the horse mostly, but some of them were heading towards the tank. Especially, now that part of him was outside. He also saw that his duffle bag of firearms was still on the road. He managed to close the hatch just before the advancing undead could reach him. He fell to his butt and just sat there as he listened to the pounding outside. Eventually, he grabbed the semi-automatic sidearm from where he dropped it and pulled out the magazine to see how many bullets were loaded. Once he had, he placed the magazine back into the sidearm. After a few seconds of listening to the undead pound on the tank, he began to lose hope that he’d ever make it out. However, the radio inside the tank suddenly began crackling which caught his attention.

“Hey, you,” a voice said through the radio, “Dumbass. Yeah, you in the tank. You cozy in there?”

Back with Logan…

Logan knelt on the ground with his hands on his head while some random men and women began to loot his van. He moved his eyes to his right and saw that one of the men still had a rifle aimed at Charles. Even though Charles had sensed them, Logan was still unable to prevent them from being looted.

“Now then,” said a voice as it's owner walked around to stare at Logan, “I’m going to do you a favor. I’m going to spare you, but my men will blow your dad’s brains out. He is just slowing you down after all. Spread the story. The Reavers own Atlanta and the territory around it. Nobody comes or goes without our say so, and we won’t say so until we get everything of value from all passersby.”

“Bub,” Logan said darkly, “You do that, I will hunt you down and kill you.”

“How will you do that if you can’t find me?” the head Reaver said as he raised his right fist which happened to be robotic and punched down at Logan’s head.