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The three teenage girls or nearly three teenage (María won't officially be a teenager until Fall this year), trudged their way onto the small town airport. It had been fenced off and cleared of what few walkers by a mysterious group of people that had abandoned it and all their preparations after the latest wildfires last Summer. Their signage and even a few papers these people left behind indicated they called themselves F.C.S.F. or the Free City of San Francisco. Everything they had done to the airport, made it look like they were meaning to stay a long while, before the wildfires got a little too close for comfort. They left in a hurry too, leaving behind at least one old working crop duster biplane among other things.
The girls knew had been working, because they had all seen it flying around a time or two. The worrying thing was, who knew if these people were coming back. For now what they left behind would be more than enough for three girls and a couple toddlers to lay low, and hope the Thorne brothers would be able to find them.
Clem lead the way to one of the few hangers, making sure there were still no walkers around. It was all clear so she gave the whistle and the others soon followed in. Glancing back out toward the cabin they had left, hopefully only temporarily behind, Clem spoke softly as if the Thorne Bros. could hear her across the few miles wooded hills.
"I hope you guys are alright. It's bad enough those bastards got Mikey.. I don't know what we'll do if it turns out they got you too."
Post by Fr. Thomas Burns on May 28, 2018 21:47:30 GMT -5
An airport on the other side of the country wasn't where Father Thomas Burns imagined he'd wind up in his search for his brother, Anthony. He'd had run-ins with the worst sorts, detours with other groups, and even found a priest or two along the way. He'd been making runs in and out of the airport for some time--when the apocalypse struck, it seems airports weren't high on peoples' priority list, as many of the convenience stores had food and bottled drinks still inside. Thomas was not so unwise as to make a permanent home of the airport, but would return there from time to time if he needed food or water. Every so often, he'd find a soda--a special treat.
Thomas walked along the terminal, glancing at the old advertisements for local hotels and restaurants. What a different time. But, it made no matter now--the advertisements weren't important. The stores were. Thomas stepped inside what appeared to be an old news station store--the kind owned bt NBC or something. Wonder if they played FOX news out here in California, he mused to himself. As he began scouring the shelves, Thomas noticed it: a bottle of Dr. Pepper. His eyes widened. He hadn't had a soda in moths. Although Dr. Pepper was far from his favorite, and this would invariably be flat, he quickly snatched it. What a treat! He couldn't help but smile. Quickly, he turned and snatched--a bag of potato chips. A delicacy in their own right nowadays, but nothing like a soda. For good measure, Thomas grabbed a bottle of water as well, as the soda would dehydrate him. The treat was worth it, though.
Because he'd never had a run-in at the airport before, Thomas decided to enjoy his small victory in the moment. Before opening the bottle of delicious soda, he kneeled an clasped his hands together, as he would before any meal, large or meager. "In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit", Thomas whispered, making the sign of the Cross over his body. "Bless us, oh Lord, for these, Thy gifts, which we are about to through Thy bounty. Through Christ, our Lord. Amen." Making the sign of the Cross once again, Thomas couldn't help to think of Anthony--Anthony would always mock Thomas, jokingly, for praying before meals. He couldn't help but smile at the memory. His older brother, perhaps more intelligent than Thomas, was certainly more cynical, too. At least, he was before the apocalypse. Maybe the end of the world made Anthony Burns a Saint--Thomas snorted at the thought.
Just as Thomas moved to open the Dr. Pepper, he heard it. A whistle, followed by a girl's voice. He grabbed his food and scuttled behind an attendant desk, not knowing where the voice came from.
"I hope you guys are alright. It's bad enough those bastards got Mikey.. I don't know what we'll do if it turns out they got you too."
Thomas froze--what to do? He hadn't encountered people while alone in quite some time. People tended to be softer to him, given his status as a priest. Even the nonreligious looked to the heavens in the apocalypse, and Thomas had received them all. It was worth a chance here. "Hello? Hello?! Who's there?" He called out, awaiting a reply.
Post by María Vallejo on May 29, 2018 21:29:04 GMT -5
((These are a couple pictures of the RL Lampson Field I meant to post before to give a better idea of the airport's scale.. It has one runway and serves mostly small single prop private aircraft. Though there pictures of larger twin prop sea planes being kept there and has at least one Italian and steak house restaurant, maybe a couple more stores. In the over head shot, I believe the few fields around the airport that are green are neighboring vineyards. RL wildfires didn't really come that close to it, but for dakota adn Clem's I fudged them a little closer storywise, so the hills would bear scarred trees and maybe a some buildings on neighboring land would still stand as burnt husks with a while rainy seasin's worth of winter rain and growth erasing the scorched look of teh ground around them.))
Post by María Vallejo on May 30, 2018 20:37:12 GMT -5
María had found the office in the back of the hangar, and was just picking out a corner to get Tina and Lee settled in. That's when she heard a couple gun shots and Clementine.
Clementine:"We got company!"
Clem's pair of shots weren't aimed directly at Thomas, more just in the general direction of his voice to cover her retreat in and deeper into the hanger. María dashed to the office doorway in time to see Dakota and Clem taking cover behind a steel tool storage cabinet they had wheeled away from the wall."How many are out there?"
Clementine:"Don't know! No time to count. There's at least one of them."
Not so luckily for Thomas, he came upon three teenagers forced from their home that very morning. All except for Clementine hadn't time to change from pajamas, and gather whatever they could carry. Clem was only dressed because it was her turn to get up early and make breakfast that morning. They were separated from the Thorne brothers, Wyatt and Jesse, the next best thing to uncles to all of them. Worst of all, one of the younger members of los Canejos Vampiros, 8 year old Mikey, took a fatal shot in the back in their flight from the bandits raiding their cabin. They hadn't time to bury let alone process their adopted little brother was gone. Thomas had found them in full on survival mode, uncertain they hadn't been followed.
Dakota: "Is there another way out?"
Clementine:"Don't know. Maybe the office."
María glanced back to the window behind the desk. "Sorry. It's all boarded up." She closed the office door to focus her attention back on Tina and Lee. Gunshots and walkers didn't bother these tots. Those things were just a part of the world as they had always known it. The rising tension in each of the girl's voices was what got them upset. María offered the best smile she could, setting her father's old doctor bag by the desk. She was desperately trying to think of any way to distract them. Word games might work, but then she might lose complete track of the voices outside the office. A quick survey of the desktop provided her two pens and a little paper for them to scribble on.
Pulling the silver crucifix from the neck of her oversized t shirt as nightgown, she clasped the family heirloom between her palms to pray. Oh Mi Dios, yo Te adoro y Te amo con todo mi corazón. Te doy gracias por haber creado a mí, por haber hecho de mí una Católicos, y por haber visto más de mí en este día. Perdón por el mal que he hecho este día; y si he hecho bien, Dígnate aceptarlo. Reloj sobre mí y mi familia y líbranos del peligro. Puede tu gracia sea siempre conmigo. Amén.
Post by Fr. Thomas Burns on May 30, 2018 23:01:47 GMT -5
Before Thomas could process the words that had even come out of his mouth, two shots were fired in rapid succession. Although already behind a desk, Thomas ducked down even further, his hands wrapped around his head. After the shots, the first voice he'd heard once again.
"We got company!"
The voice Thomas heard next was what most astonished him--a girl. Younger than the first voice. A child. Thomas' eyes widened as he began to grasp the situation. There were children here--and, so far, Thomas hadn't heard a single man's voice. It was hard to determine the age of the first voice, but the second was a young girl, no doubt.
Then a third voice, more mature than the second. Still female. These three girls were desperate. This was not their home, given that they didn't know their way around and which rooms were shut and locked. Thomas had scared them, he realized. If his voice alone could scare these three, Thomas gathered that there probably wasn't anyone leading their group--at least no adults. But, a gun's a gun, no matter who's holding it.
"Don't--don't shoot!" Thomas called out, remaining behind the desk. "I'm not here to hurt anyone. I--I'm here looking for something to eat. I can leave if you want me to, and what little I found is yours! Please, just do not shoot!"
Thomas paused, considering his next words carefully. "My name's Thomas. I'm here alone. I..." He trailed off, deciding whether to tell three girls who grew up in this hell that he was a priest. Adults, who had a life and faith before the world turned to hell, could appreciate Thomas' vocation. But children? Thomas sighed. "I'm...I'm a priest! I'm a priest and I am here alone! Please--I promise you I will leave if I have your word that you will not shoot!"
"I found some chips and some water--and a soda. Dr. Pepper. It's not much, but it's yours," Thomas called out, doing everything he could to extend the olive branch.
Post by Dakota Snow on May 31, 2018 0:16:26 GMT -5
Dakota watched Maria close the office door before turning to Clem behind the cabinet they now crouched down behind. She slipped her youth rifle on over her shoulder, exchanging it for Ash 's old crossbow. The 15 year old handling the old weapon like a pro these days. Bullets were precious things these days, so she loaded her crossbow with one of her homemade bolts, for Thomas there was sudden silence from the girls, but the good news was there was no further gunfire.
She lowered her voice to a whisper, "Another priest? Just our luck. Those bandits are probably his cannibal assassins or something too. Ugh I mean I know a year of almost normal living was pushing things.. But did the Universe have to bring more cannibal Jesus freaks?"
Clementine:"I know right?.. But I mean no. let's not jump to conclusions. Let's make sure he's got nothing to do with those bandits, because if he does.. It doesn't matter if they're cannibals or not. They're gonna pay for taking Mikey away from us."
Dakota nodded, "Then we should see what he knows.. right. For Mikey.." She took a breath, fighting back some tears. Pausing to dry her eyes on the back of her hand. She gave a bird sounding alarm whsitle, to signal to Maria of one known potential threat. Creeping to the side of the hangar, Dakota found one small window, and peered out. She didn't see much, but she also hadn't heard much of anyone but the one man they heard talking. Dakota pointed to Clem and then to a aspot just off to the side of the hangar door, where she could ambush anyone who entered. Daota switched back to her rifle, shouldering her crossbow. This called for higher rate of fire ..if Thomas wasn't alone after all. She aimed at the door and called out, "What do you want, old man? Tell any friends you got out there to back off. we got you covered. If any of them show their face, your dead. If you're really alone, lay any weapons you got on the ground and kick them inside. Then bring in that food and Dr. Pepper. we've got some questions... if you don't want Clem to shoot.. I suggest you answer them truthfully."
She was lying about having a bead on him, but Dakota learned sometimes you have to bluff to survive a world where you can trust flesh-hungry dead better than you could the living. Dakota, standing 5'2" these days was almost as tall as she was going to get, dressed in a pink tee and plaid pajama bottoms. She wore Ash's old hat and crossbow over one shoulder, while also barefoot. Her rifle aimed for the doorway. The 15 year old was just barely shorter than the almost 14 Clementine standing hidden off to the side of the door.
Post by Fr. Thomas Burns on May 31, 2018 17:31:01 GMT -5
Thomas waited to hear the girls' response. The silence was deafening. Were they truly alone? Should he have just made a run for it? It was too late now--he'd find out whether he made the right call soon.
Finally, one of the two older voices spoke up. "What do you want, old man? Tell any friends you got out there to back off. we got you covered. If any of them show their face, your dead. If you're really alone, lay any weapons you got on the ground and kick them inside. Then bring in that food and Dr. Pepper. we've got some questions... if you don't want Clem to shoot.. I suggest you answer them truthfully."
Better than expected, in truth. One of their names was Clem, too--probably the other older voice. "I have no friends!" Thomas shouted, unaware entirely of the comical nature of his comment. "I am alone, and I will come out now with my hands above my head. In my right hand I will be holding the food I found and the two bottles!"
True to his word, Thomas grabbed the bag of chips and used his fingers to grip the tops of the water and Dr. Pepper bottles. He then sat for one more moment, sighing, and stood, exposed for the first time. He turned to meet the voice--a girl. Teenager--in pajamas, it looked like. With a crossbow over her shoulder and rifle aimed at Thomas. A puzzling sight, but Thomas didn't let the girl's appearance fool him. A gun's a gun, and a crossbow's a crossbow--no matter who's holding it.
Thomas forced a smile. "Hello. Here's the food, and drinks. There's more water and food back there, actually. Nonperishables. This was the only soda, though." Thomas took a few steps forward, slowly. He didn't want to ask too much of the girl yet, for fear of overwhelming her. It was only then Thomas noticed that the owner of the other, older voice was nowhere to be seen. "Where's your friend? Is her name Clem?"
Post by Clementine on May 31, 2018 21:52:55 GMT -5
Clementine spoke up so as not startle the man as she approached from the side. From the angle she came, it might be clear she could not have had a bead on him before he came in, but they both did now. She kept her pistol squarely aimed at him. That would be me. But introductions can wait. Now keep your hands up and don't move or both of us will shoot."
She was the only one of the two dressed normally, dark curls up in pigtails under her trademark hat. Clem edged herself sideways around and behind Thomas. She freed her left hand, to close and lock the hangar door. Using free hand, Clem frisk his left, then right for any hidden weapons, one side at a time. When she was satisfied he had nothing hidden on him that she could tell, Clem edged back around to join Dakota standing in front of him. In case she missed something she reiterated her earlier warning. "Try anything and we will still shoot you."
Dakota gestured with the tip of her rifle toward the cement floor. "Sit. Get comfortable. This might be awhile."
Clementine, with both hands now on her pistol's grip raised her aim to Thomas's head. "Go ahead leave your stuff sitting in front of you. If everything you tell is the truth, including the non-perishable stuff you found, then you might keep it. We'll just take anything you left behind. So... if you don't have any friends, then you don't know anything about the bandits that raided our cabin around dawn this morning?"
Post by Fr. Thomas Burns on May 31, 2018 22:29:29 GMT -5
Thomas turned as the other girl showed herself, holding a pistol aimed squarely at him. His demeanor didn't change much, considering he already was staring down a rifle. As instructed, Thomas sat down and placed the food and drinks on the floor in front of him. He kept his arms raised above his head as he sat cross-legged on the floor.
"...So... if you don't have any friends, then you don't know anything about the bandits that raided our cabin around dawn this morning?"
Apparently their home, or wherever they were staying, had been attacked by a crew of bandits. Maybe these bandits were the same one who killed...what was his name? Mike? Mikey? Things began to add up in Thomas' head--these girls had just been forced from their home, and had lost at least one person close to them. They probably had to leave in a hurry, which would explain their frazzled behavior and the pajamas worn by the girl not named Clem.
The next wave of implications felt like a gut punch--this area wasn't safe, and was occupied by bandit groups. Maybe these girls weren't the enemy, but there were apparently bad folks in the area. "I know nothing about any bandits--I promise you. I've been in the area for a while, and I've made supply runs back here for food. I grab enough for a few meals, and I leave." Thomas paused, glancing at the girls.
"I'm Father Thomas--obviously, I'm a priest, even though I haven't had the collar in a while...I've traveled with folks before, but got separated. It was my plan to get to Savannah, Georgia, to meet with my brother, but a group I was with got swarmed by a herd of the forsaken, and we had to change course. Days turned into weeks, and into months, and into years. And now I'm out here on the West Coast."
Thomas paused once more, considering what more to say. "The first words I heard you say," he referenced to Clem with a tilt of his head, "were about losing someone. Mike? Mikey? I'm--I'm sorry. I'm sorry if he was taken from you. And I don't blame you for being cautious of me. Ask your questions."
Post by Dakota Snow on May 31, 2018 23:20:48 GMT -5
Dakota narrowed her gaze, mentioning Mikey clearly getting to the girl. She fought back her tears and doubled down on her rifle, ”I swear if it turns out you are one of them...” She trailed off and glanced over to Clem to let her continue with the questions, but Clem needed a moment longer to compose herself. Dakota took a big, deep breath, ”but you can put your hands down. Just don't get up and you'll be fine. Savannah huh?”
Clementine finally brought her full focus back, not giving into her grief as much as she may want to.
Clementine:”Yeah. You might be alive because you didn't get there.”
Dakota raised her rifle up to her shoulder to aim down the barrel, ”Don't try to distract us. And if what you say is true.. then that means you aren't from that group of people from San Francisco we saw flying around last Summer in that bi-plane? They used this place as their base before the wildfires last fall. That only leaves cultist.. We aren't gong back to Colorado. You sickos can't make us marry you Or eat the flesh of anyone you think a heretic!” She felt Clem's hand on her shoulder.
Clementine:Slow down, Kota. Let him answer before you shoot. we.. promised ourselves... not..to go that way again... Remember?
Clem's touch and words seemed to do the trick as the rage that had been rising in her voice and young eyes eased enough that she lowered her rifle, though Clem kept her pistol aimed at him.
Post by Fr. Thomas Burns on May 31, 2018 23:32:20 GMT -5
The mention of Mike/Mikey clearly got to the first girl--apparently named Kota? Probably short for Dakota. Thomas still didn't know what Clem was short for, if anything. Thomas immediately regretted saying anything, as Dakota turned more hostile, accusing him of trying to distract them. "No,no--I wasn't trying to distract" Thomas made eye contact with Dakota and spoke slowly. "I am not trying to harm you, child. I would never dream of it. I apologize for bringing up a...sore subject." Thomas paused and looked to Clem, who'd remained largely silent besides calming Dakota down.
Listening to Dakota become unraveled caused Thomas' eyes to widen. What kind of sick people had she encountered? Eating people? Marrying children? Thomas' bewilderment was clear on his face as he decided to elaborate on Savannah.
"Yes--Savannah. I was in DC with some others from my Congregation, and my brother lived in Miami. Just after the outbreak, we spoke on the phone and agreed to meet in Savannah. A relatively small city on the coast. We thought it'd work. I don't know if he made it there, but I didn't...we got diverted by a herd, and then began hearing word of a settlement in Colorado...Bear Lake, I believe. We moved out west before hearing word that someone had burnt it to the ground, so we kept moving west onto California."
Telling the story so rapidly, Thomas realized how far he'd come these past few years--but the anguish knowing that Anthony could still be waiting for him pulled at him. "Now...now, it's just me," Thomas said. "I stay out in the woods, keeping a low profile. I've been using this airport for supplies and food--I had no idea bandits were afoot."
Post by Clementine on May 31, 2018 23:55:39 GMT -5
Clem squeezed Dakota's shoulder, allowing the slightly older teen to take a couple steps back. She brought both hands back onto her pistol. "Savannah was overrun by one of the largest herds I've ever seen just a few months into the New World. I'm one of only three people I know that made it out alive..at the time. This area is actually been pretty safe for at least a year. It's probably just small group.Don't now about these people with the plane. If you know what's good to eat, the woods are probably the safest place to be."
"You will have to forgive us, if we still don't quite trust you... we're all survivors of a cannibal cult whose leader who called himself the Second Coming. And as far as Kota and me are concerned that wasn't the first cannibal reverend we ran into..."
Last Edit: May 31, 2018 23:57:44 GMT -5 by Clementine
Post by Fr. Thomas Burns on Jun 1, 2018 0:06:39 GMT -5
Cannibal reverend? What on earth? Second coming? “Clem—it’s Clem, right? We await the coming of our Lord. But the world will know when He comes. He has not come yet.” Thomas’ tone became more confident and less nervous as he spoke on such theological matters. “One day, He will return. And all this shall be made anew.”
“I cannot speak to the monsters of your past. But I am sorry for them. And as for Savannah...I’m sorry, too. I hope—I hope my brother didn’t go there. He’s smart. I’m sure he didn’t...” Thomas trailed off, unable to think of his brother overwhelmed by the forsaken as he waited for Thomas.
“I have a small camp in the woods—not much, but we can manage. It’s just me right now. I have wood for a fire, and a few blankets, too.”
Post by Dallas Hatcher on Jun 1, 2018 0:24:48 GMT -5
Dallas had been hiking through the woods for... days now? Weeks? He'd lost count to be honest. He had begone to think he was never going to get out of these woods. And that's when it happened, a clearing! Thank the stars above, an actual clearing! He was free of the blasted woods.... That had been three days ago... The sun was hot, he was out of water, and he was tired. Finding himself longing for the woods once more, Dallas began to chuckle. "What a cruel joke this all has been. Real sick sense of humor ya got there big guy..." He said in a near horse voice as blue eyes glanced to the clear skies. "Could at least make it rain..." He had heard it rained here in the winter, rather than snowing. Shit, he missed Kansas City.
He was pulled from his thoughts by the sound of two gun shots off in the distance. By the sound of it, a hand gun. He couldn't quite make out the model. He was slipping. These days so much shooting had been done with bow and arrows. And fighting was done with his machete. Bullets were hard to come by. He had a gun, sure. Almost everyone did these days, but with only two bullets left to his name, he didn't want to risk them. It was easier to just bluff his way close enough to fight, or avoid it all together. That was rare, but he was always thankful when he could avoid conflict. But that was neither here, nor there.
Two shots, in the distance, the building ahead... They had to come from there. He knelt down, but in this open field, there was no where to hide. Not wanting to be killed in a field by an unknown shooter, he decided it best to press what luck he had left and moved towards the buildings, arrow notched, should it come to that. He knew a gun would have a longer range than one of his arrows, but he had become a pretty damn good show over the years. And if he could get in range, he felt confident of his chances. And so he made his way towards the only building that made sense.
He kept low as he made his way to the building, not knowing who was inside. If he had known.... but he didn't. He made it to the building door just as it was closed. At this distance, he could hear the deadbolt turn, locking everyone inside. "Shit..." He cursed silently. He would need to find another way in, perhaps a window? He knew he should just count his blessings and move on while he could. A smart man would have, but Dallas wasn't a smart man. He was someone who felt the need to stick his neck where it didn't need to be. All in the name of making a better world, right? Did that even apply anymore...?
He would move around and find a window to climb through. Once inside, he would assess the situation and go from there. If only he had a shotgun. A shotgun and his old ARMY team. Shoot the door supports and clear this building in no time then. The thought made him smile.
Post by María Vallejo on Jun 1, 2018 1:07:11 GMT -5
María sat quietly watching Lee and Tina scribble. She kept her ears open tot he talking going outside the office. Though she hated using her own gun, she kept it at the ready. María just wished they would whistle the all clear. Things were supposed to quiet down once they got to the air port.
The youngest of the three oldest was 12, and the unofficial main babysitter of the younger Canejos Vampiros. She drew her doctor bag closer, when she thought she heard or saw a shadow move across the smallest crack of light in the offices boarded up window. It was probably nothing, but she ahd a bad feeling. She made the bird like whistle of warning every older Canejo Vampiro knew, drawing both Dakota's and Clementine's attention away from Thomas.
”¡Peligro! ¡Peligro! I know heard something outside the window! Or someone.”
The hangar and many of the buildings around Lampon Field had been recently boarded up, if you count recently as last Summer, so the wood had only endured one rainy season. That was enough to warp at least one of the boards in the window to the main hanger that Dakota had spied out of earlier. Perhaps a two-way window to what lay inside the hanger to prying eyes.
Post by Dallas Hatcher on Jun 1, 2018 1:18:23 GMT -5
Dallas moved until he saw a window that looked both large enough to fit him, and weak enough he could move the boarding without causing much sound. He removed his bag, setting it on the ground and then did the same with his bow and arrows. Once that was done, he set to removing the board from window. Little did he know, the room was already occupied. This wasn't turning out to be his... Let's just say month. The board came out easily enough, which left him looking at two small children. His eyes went wide. There were children here!? He let go of the board with one hand as quickly as he could and raised a finger to his lips as if to ask them not to make a sound. Granted, he had no idea they were not the ones in need of saving...
Post by Dakota Snow on Jun 1, 2018 20:48:20 GMT -5
Dakota hung back until she could stop stewing or at least hide it better. She slowly slipped back by Clem's side while Thomas was talking.
“Clem—it’s Clem, right? We await the coming of our Lord. But the world will know when He comes. He has not come yet.”
“One day, He will return. And all this shall be made anew.”
“I cannot speak to the monsters of your past. But I am sorry for them. And as for Savannah...I’m sorry, too. I hope—I hope my brother didn’t go there. He’s smart. I’m sure he didn’t...”
“I have a small camp in the woods—not much, but we can manage. It’s just me right now. I have wood for a fire, and a few blankets, too.”
Clementine:"That's kind of you to offer, and maybe we can all head there for a couple days if this all works out. Though we would like to wait for our uncles Wyatt and Jesse. Even of we can't we will need to head back to the cabin and see what's left...give Mikey a proper burial like we promised him. We can't just leave our little brother laying in that foxhole.
But one more thing... you know about Bear Lake? We were supposed to be there, but we got a little... held up by cannibal cult.... weather.... and more than our share of psychos. Psychos with too many guns playing army. By the time we got there almost a year late, it was already in ruins."
Dakota uttered flatly, "Wouldn't be surprised if the psycho who led our friends there burned it down himself. I n-"
María:”¡Peligro! ¡Peligro! I know heard something outside the window! Or someone.”
Glancing to her younger adopted sister, Dakota was momentarily stunned silent. Silent for barely a moment, when 2 year old Tina, followed by 3 year old Lee, came out of the office behind María. Both Tina and Lee were mimicking Dallas, putting a finger to their lips and going, presumably to help everyone be quiet. They were hardly quiet in their imitations of leaky tires.
Tina: "Shhhhh! The man by the window says Shhhh!"
That one little line was all the girls needed to know María wasn't just seeing things. Those words also staued Clem's hands from trying dissuade Dakota what she did next. Clem even renewed nthebaim ofnher gun which jad gone slack. When María ushered the tots away from the office doorway, a kind of panic began to race through Dakota's mind. It served as confirmation of all their worst fears. They all had learned to defend themselves to some degree, and were quite capable of taking down even the most experienced adult with time to prepare a proper ambush. A straight out firefight would not end well for them, especially with their lack of firepower and most of the their ammo stashed back at Dakota's great-grandpa's fallout shelter back at their cabin. Ammo was scarce, but if the bandits were willing to use it, they might not stand a chance. They were surrounded, Dakota couldn't help but think their only chance was if the bandits valued their inside man's life.
Dakota vented her terror into anger at the man who lead them to this. She snarled at Thomas and raised her rifle aiming to bring the butt of its stock against his cheek. Whether she whiffed and missed of struck true, she glared at him and growled, "No friends, huh?! Then who the hell are they?? Some coincidence they just happen to show up now! And to think I was starting to believe you. Go tell them if they wanna see you outside this hanger alive again, they better back the fuck off!"
Post by Fr. Thomas Burns on Jun 2, 2018 0:57:14 GMT -5
Thomas considered Clem's words. They wanted to give this Mikey a proper burial. "I'd be happy to help with the burial of Mikey. It violates proper theology, but if you'd like me to read him his Last Rites..." Thomas let the offer hang in the air a moment before continuing, and smiling. "I really am a priest," he warmly smiled at Clem, and then Dakota. "He was your brother--I know what it's like to lose a brother...I will do this for you, if you wish."
Clem then asked about Bear Lake, and what happened there. Of course, it was all hearsay--but these girls actually went and found the rubble of the once-large community. "Word travels quickly between groups," Thomas offered. "From what I heard, some man named...Adolf? Dol...Something. Adolphus? A man who led a large group of people burnt it to the ground while searching for a group he was after. A vendetta he had against some members of the group, apparently."
Just then, the younger girl called out, followed by two even younger children--toddlers! What happened next caused Thomas to grow cold. Another person? Telling them to be quiet? Oh--no. Oh no. Before he could process further, Dakota turned on him once again, attempting to bash him with the butt of her gun--she nicked his cheek. Thankfully she barely missed and failed to strike a blow that could have broken his cheekbone.
In spite of his fear, Thomas spoke deliberately and clearly. "Dakota--look at me. I do not know this man. I do not know him. I do not know if he's one of those bandits, or if he's entirely independent of all that. I do not know. I am here alone--I haven't traveled with a group in months. Please, Dakota--Clem, please." Thomas turned his gaze to Clem. "Girls, please--I do not know this man!"
Fr. Thomas reached for his rosary, instinctivey. Instead of reciting his Hail Mary's as he ought, Thomas burst into his own prayer--praying for mercy both from the girls and from God. His voice was hushed, but loud enough to hear. "Dear God, please welcome me into Your Kingdom, please render Your judgment upon me. Please watch over my brother Anthony and all members of my Congregation. Please watch over these girls and keep them from danger. I ask this in Your name. Amen." With that, Thomas looked up to Dakota, ready to die if she did not believe him, or if this new man decided to kill all of them.
Post by María Vallejo on Jun 2, 2018 4:25:20 GMT -5
María's young heart broke watching the man plead for his life and pray. Almost the same prayer she had given back in the office. She knew then in her heart this man was nothing like the monster who had her parents slaughtered and butchered for daring to show lack of public faith in him as their Lord and Savior returned. They may be all about to die, but she couldn't let either of her older sisters be the ones to take this man's life.
She moved to interpose herself between Thomas and her two older sisters. The toddlers followed at her side, both quiet out of fear. Tearfully she pleaded to Dakota, "Dakota... Clementine... Please don't kill him. He's not a bad man. Padre Thomas wouldn't hurt us. A bad man would not pray for us. He is no Brother Brett!
To María's relief she was not scolded or even receive an angry glare from either of her older sisters. She had at least expected the glares, but she could see the guilt on Clem's and even Dakota's faces. She was glad, maybe they didn't need any convincing from her after all. María moved in to offer and give them each a reassuring hug, starting with Dakota then Clementine.
Dakota:"You're right, sis. He's no bandit."
When she went to hug Clem, María watched Dakota stoop to pick up and offer Thomas's food, water and Dr. Pepper back to him as a peace offering.
Dakota:"Padre, we're... I'm sorry. Brother Brett made it hard to trust any priest. But it seems these bandits don't give is much of a choice. Especially since you don't really seem like one as much as we thought."
Clementine:Yeah. I'm sorry too. Brother Brett took a lot from us. But his followers excommunicated and cast him out as a false prophet because of us. We'll find a way past these bandits too. And uh.. before you said Adolphus or a dolphin?"
Dakota:"Except since the Padre isn't one of them like we thought, we also don't have the leverage I thought we had. And... I'm pretty sure he was talking about the Masked Man. there's monster I never thought I hear about again."
María now kneeling to comfort Tina and Lee best she could. She glanced up between her two older sisters, "The Masked Man? Who is that? And of the bandits want us dead. Why haven't they started shooting yet? What are they waiting for? They already got our food and stuff. What more could they want?" Dakota:"Girls..."
At that sobering thought there was moment's silence among the girls, chills and dread going through María having thought she left that possible fate behind in Denver. Lee and Tina both seemed to sense a sadness in their big sister because they both hugged to María.
Clementine:"If that's what they really want, then we won't get any of us. Remember, no one will separate us ever again. Live together or die together. If that's what it comes to, take as many of them with us as we can. Padre, if you wanna prove you really on our side. Make sire Lee and Tina don't get hurt. Now we... just have to find out what they want."
María and Clem readied their handguns and Dakota her rifle, the three girls taking up position around the office door. Clem calling out on their behalf.
Clementine:"Los Canejos Vampiros are ready for you bandits! What do you want!"
Post by Fr. Thomas Burns on Jun 2, 2018 11:25:58 GMT -5
Although the prayer truly was not an attempt to save himself (in this world), Fr. Thomas would be lying if he said he wasn't happy that it worked. The younger girl intervened on Thomas' behalf, and convinced the other two that Thomas truly was alone, and was not there to hurt anyone. Apparently the girls had heard about this Adolphus character, which surprised Thomas, though perhaps it shouldn't have. In many ways, the world became much smaller after the apocalypse. A few groups throughout the country all trying to find the even fewer large camps, all communicating with each other (if they weren't killing each other). In a way, it made sense. Still, Thomas hadn't run into anyone who knew about his brother. Yet.
When Thomas heard Dakota and Clementine essentially say that these people possibly wanted child slaves (for whatever purpose), another side of Thomas began to appear. He stood and walked in front of the two toddlers, and María. "Behind me. Now." He didn't have a weapon, but he was a full-grown man, and if nothing else, at least he could buy the children some time if need be. Then, he looked to Maria and tilted his head towards her gun. "Sweetie--give that to me," he reached out his hand in hopes that María would comply.
Thomas stood next to Clementine and Dakota, and cleared this throat. His left hand gripping the rosary more tightly than before. "Thank you, girls." He said softly before raising his voice. "You, there!" Thomas called out. "We're armed, and there are many of us! State your business!"