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Things seem quiet in the underground dome that the five live in. Emmet in the other room possibly preparing meal proportions, David and Sallie taking a nap, and Charlie playing his gameboy. Typical morning for the group. As usual, Zeb starts his day searching the radio for any signs of life, convinced that the above ground world was wiped, yet with the possibility that somebody out there may have intel on what the hell happened. After an hour of nothing but static, he gets up from the table and walks into his room where paintings are hung up on ever inch of the wall almost. He walks to empty canvas before dipping his paint brush in water then the red paint.
"Shit, all out of red..."
Yet another color he has to stop painting with, aside from blue, red was his favorite to paint with. He's began to grow tired of the consistent routine. Glad he's safe underground, not having live in whatever hell the world outside that shelter door is now, yet he's still a man trapped in a cage. However, he still don't think he'd want to work up the risky nerve to ever open those doors. Closed and locked them on outbreak day, never opened them since. Nearly 2 and a half years later, he and the group are still living quietly underground. Zeb places the paint back into his basket and washes off the paint brush before heading into the room that Emmett's in.
"How's everything going?"
Popping the question while picking at dried up paint on his hand.
Emmett was counting all the cans and dried food packets, using the paper and clipboard to mark everything down. They were running a bit low in dried beans and it was going to require a trip to the surface soon. They had maybe a few weeks worth of beans left and she knew how vital that was for protein. Luckily enough they had lots of jerky, although she found the taste to be way to salty for her liking. She was coming around a stack of bags of rice when Zeb came in, nearly scaring her half to death in the dimly lit store room. She gasped and brought the clipboard against her chest.
"I need to put a bell around your neck Zeb. You just made me jump out of my skin."
When she finally calmed down a bit, she hooked the clipboard back up. It was up to everyone to check off what they came and got and sometimes forgetful minds left her wondering who was taking what. "Everything is fine. Nothing out of place, as usual. We're running low on beans though. Any chance of making a trip topside any time soon?"
In a way, she wanted to get out there and see how bad things were, but in another sense, she felt safe, normal and protected here. Charlie was pretty protective of her, considering he was the one that got her down here and introduced her to Zeb. She also felt pretty protective of him and his family too. Like he was her own brother.
As he stands there marking off some jerky under his name on the clipboard, taking a few bites, Emmett popped the question that she'd pop numerous times in the past. He finished swallowing the bits in his mouth before spitting out a typical response to that question.
"Emmett, you know that we can't do that. There's no radio signal meaning no life. There's a virus out there that'll make our skin melt if we are exposed to it and we only have one radiation suit. Big enough for a man and I won't go out there because I don't even think that'll work. Besides, we got plenty of jerky."
Presenting the jerky to her he can see the dissapointment on her face as she is eager to see what's out there. She's the only one besides Charlie that's been bugging the rest about it since they've gotten in there. But he knows that it's smart to stay safe until he can get a signal on the radio knowing it's say to breath in the outside air.
Emmett rolled her eyes as he spoke about them not going to the surface. He was enjoying the jerky and even offered her some that she turned away. She wasn't hungry and she didn't want to waste food if she didn't need to.
"Zeb, we can't stay down here forever. Eventually we're going to have to go up and we can't go just one person at a time. We don't know how people are...if there are any people left."
She turned back to the shelves and sighed crossing her arms over her chest. "Look, Charlie can take the suit and I'll back him up. You know I'm training with a rifle so I can take care of any threats. We're like mole people down here. We have to get more supplies."
Even though they probably had more supplies then anyone on the surface. They had an abundance that most on the surface would try to take. She had no idea how splintered morality had become or how people had become desperate animals trying to survive day to day. But they had to find out. She knew she was right about this.
Hearing Emmett's offer to go up above ground without a suit on, almost made Zeb want to tear his ears off and feed them in soup form to the others. He looked on at her as she finished her proposal, as if she's crazy.
"Absolutely not. Are you insane? Put the boy in a suit is one thing but you going out behind him with nothing on to protect yourself from the toxic atmosphere is another. That's a big no no. All the times you've bugged me to go up, this has got to be the worst proposal I've heard yet."
He takes a step forward with a concerned look on his face and a lower volume to his tone so the others don't hear him.
"I get that we need supplies, but I can't risk sending more than one at a time out. We don't know how bad it is out there. For all we know, we could all have bad reactions to the radiation and die on the spot. We...we can send Charlie out there.....but that's the only way. I won't change my mind."
Finally giving in after a long while of everybody worrying about supplies, he's decided on putting his faith in the boy to get what they need.
Emmett rolled her eyes again and pushed past Zeb heading back for one of the main chambers. "Seriously Zeb? Or we realize that there's probably no radiation up there and we finally get the balls to go topside."
She took a few steps down the corridor when he spoke about sending Charlie up by himself. That made her stop and turn around to look at him.
"You would send him up there alone? Are you sure that's a good idea? Zeb, you think that kid can handle it?"
She would be willing to let Charlie go by himself, but she wondered if Charlie would want to go by himself. Would he be brave enough? Hell, would any of them be brave enough? She knew she wouldn't want to go up alone, but with only one suit and no way to know exactly what happened up there, it may just be the only thing they could do.
Zeb leaned on the wall beside him picking jerky strands out of his teeth as he thinks on her question before answering with a solid answer. "Bingo, walkie talkies. I had some in my room. He puts on that suit. Makes his way to the tunnel that leads out so that if there is toxic fumes, it wouldn't get in here. And then, he'll see what he can find. That is if there's anything left."
Not sure if the plan would work since there's no signal from the radio nor any sort of clues as to what's going on. All they know is the world gone to shit so they hid in a hole. A hole that kept them alive for this long, surley not gonna risk it this time. But supplies are important. So Zeb takes a leap forward and puts hope in the boy. "He can do this. He will do this." With that he leaves the room in search of Charlie.
Emmett sighed as he turned and walked off to find Charlie and the suit. She hoped the kid would be able to hold himself on the surface. She made her thoughts clear to Zeb and he knew it would be on his shoulders if anything happened. Of course, she didn't want that. She didn't want Charlie to get hurt and she didn't want Zeb to be devastated if something did. She knew she had to have more faith then what was in her heart about it.
She decided to go back to her room that had a bunk bed in it. It looked like it was stolen from a jail with the sturdy steel beams that supported the structure. She used two thin mattresses to make a comfortable bed which could easily be taken apart if they had a flood of survivors. She didn't want that though. She was certain none of them did but it was getting lonely up here. She left her reasons for wanting to go up to the surface a secret from Zeb knowing she would be admonished for wanting to find company.
She picked up the book she had already three times and started from the beginning, touching her hand against the little light that worked on batteries and sitting back down on the bed. She wanted to keep her mind off that mission Charlie was about to embark on.
"WHAT!?" David said as Zeb finishes explaining his plan to the three.
"I don't like it as much as you don't David, but Charlie is fast and he's a perfect fit for this suit. He'll have this Walky Talky with him to keep connected with us. He knows his way back if..."
David steps forward as if he's attempting to threaten Zeb. "Hell no, i'm not letting my son go out there. He'll die!" blinded with anger, David begins to lose his cool getting in Zeb's face. Despite having this shelter for he and his family to survive thanks to Zeb, he can't throw away his sons life like this.
"Look, there's a chance he will die. That's a fact. But there's also a guarenteed fact that we'll all die if we don't get supplies. Down to the last shelf in the pantry. We won't last another month in here. Emmett brought that to my attention. I was blinded just like you are now. Not wanting to admit that we have to go outside sooner or later I made the decision to nominated Charlie. And quite frankly, the boy's 18 so it's not fucking up to you."
No realizing how right Emmett was he feels like there's no way he's going to back down. However, David pushes him at that last comment as the two look as if their about to engage in combat. But, Charlie steps in the middle of the two before yelling out, "I'll do it! For the good of the group, I will take the suit and gather supplies."
Not appreciative of his son's decision, David speaks up once again with a serious tone in his voice, "No Charlie, you're...."
"You have no say in this dad! I'm doing this." Determined to help out the group, Charlie has made up his mind, with nothing on the planet able to change it.
Emmett understood why David was upset. She got it. It was his son and they were putting him charge of going up to the surface without even knowing what was up there. There was no clue about what was left and what was gone. Was anyone even still alive? Was anyone still friendly? Was it a nuclear attack or biological? They didn't even have windows to know. No one knew they were here. She heard the arguing and came out to see what was going on. She already knew but she felt she had to intervene even as Charlie made up his mind to go up.
"David, he has to learn. We all do. One suit, one at a time until we can figure out what's up there. Charlie is the best fit for it. He's the fastest out of all of us. If there is anyone that can get back safely, it's Charlie."
That seemed to call David down a little bit as she gave him confidence about his son's abilities. Zeb was raw when it came to negotiating. She was willing to be the one to go to the surface, but for some reason, Zeb was dead set on letting it be Charlie. She could only assume Zeb had a deeper reasoning. She assumed it was because he didn't want her to get radiation poisoning and die a slow, sick death below the surface. That would make her a burden.
With Emmett stepping in and calming David down, Zeb looked to Charlie before handing him a walky talky and pointing to the wall where the suit is hanging up. "You can communicate with us along the way and that suit will protect you from any radiation. I will unlock the door the the entrance in a little bit, but once you go through that door, I am locking it until you come knocking." Still in shock at the whole situation, Charlie tries to understand the situation as well as he can.
"I'll give you a bit to get ready, if you want, Emmett can supply you with a gun. Just try and find any canned foods, maybe see if there's any life left." Zeb puts his hand on Charlie's shoulder before speaking again, "I have faith in you and so do the rest of us. Sorry for laying such a heavy task on your shoulders, but you're the only one that can do this." With that, David and Sallie hug Charlie as he takes the suit and begins to put it on. After having help from Sallie to finish zipping it up, he turns to Zeb and says "I'm ready now" obviously not wanting any time to regret his decision. With that, Zeb leads the way as they reach the top where there's a door that leads to a room that contains a door that leads to the outside. To keep things safe, the entrance room was built for this type of situation. They opened up the door for the first time ever after Zeb went through the trouble of remembering the combination on the lock, and in Charlie went with instructions on how to open up the vault like door to the surface.
Zeb looks over at the worried group as they no longer see Charlie, "David, your boy is doing good for the group." With that, they hear the door open up before hearing it slam shut.
Emmett was pacing back and forth as Charlie left having no idea when he would be back. She told him to not be gone longer than an hour, but she really had no idea what was going on up there. Would he only need a few minutes or would his excursion take up a majority of the day. Either way, she told Charlie to get back before the sun went down.
She decided to separate from Charlie's parents and talk to Zeb privately and quietly. "I'm nervous about this. What if something happens?"
On the surface, Charlie would see a barren landscape surrounding the small city. Houses abandoned, doors and windows broken either by looters or weather. Cars broken down and already starting to rust lined the streets as they became inoperable and the only sounds above that could be heard were the leaves as they rustled down the street. Charlie stuck out like a large, yellow thumb against the landscape of grime that lined the windows and buildings.
To his left were a row of houses that were abandoned and to his right were the strip malls where people went about their daily lives, getting their nails done, shopping, picking up prescriptions and filling up their tanks of gas. Across the street were more houses and as Charlie climbed up out of the sewers, the attention he garnered from his movements was brought to his attention by a walker that slammed up against the front door of a home with a large curtain and window. The curtain had been drawn back, probably before all this happened and the walker was gnawing at the glass with rotten hands pressing against the window. That certainly caught Charlie's attention and he went across the road to investigate why this person was unable to let herself out.
As he wandered closer and closer to the window where the figure stood, he began to notice these awful details. Rotted teeth, yellow eyes, deformed face. Almost as if this person had gotten shot in the head, blowing off half her scalp leaving the brain exposed. Not used to the image, Charlie begins to puke a little in the suit as vomit splatters down the helmet and on his shirt. He then cocks his gun as he hears a scraping sound. Sure enough the sound is coming from yet another mutant. Only this time, it's crawling on the side of the street, with the bones where it's legs should be scraping against the concrete.
Coming at Charlie full force, he fires a shot. And misses, he fires another and hits it right on the temple, blowing it's head to bits. "Oh my go.." again Charlie pukes a bit. Obviously in shock of what's transpired just shortly after stepping foot on the surface. Not entirely understanding the situation. What these things are. What even happened. It's all new to him as the world has already adapted to it. He and the others, well they were shielded from this travesty. Unable to realize the horrors of the world.
As Sallie continues to calm David down in the other room, Zeb and Emmett speak privately about the matter.
"Well, if he doesn't make it.......we just have to hope Emmett. We've done good at it so far. We wait for him to speak to us through that walkie talkie."
With that, he sits the walkie talkie on a table beside him before plopping down on a couch next to David and Sallie.
Charlie begins to wonder about the person in the house. How they were forced to shoot themselves in the face instead of die by any gasses in the atmosphere. Maybe it was alright to take off the mask. Without little thought, he decides to take chances from here on out, hoping for the best. And with that, he unclips the neck and pulls the mask off breathing in the fresh air. It was nice. For once breathing in nature, even though the life on earth has been reduced, nature was the same as it always was.
As the group continues to wait, the radio crackle through and they at last hear Charlie's voice. "Hey"
"Charlie you hear me?? How is it?"
"but..." he suddenly stops speaking as he hears a snarling sound from behind him, grabbing onto his shoulder. He panics and pushes it back towards the window where the other is. He proceeds to drop the walkie talkie and pull his gun back around to his arms before aiming at it. With one blow he shoots his gun, but misses, thus breaking the window allowing the other mutant to free itself. He stumbles to reload and drops his clip bringing him to a rush to get away. As he turns to run, he trips over the lifeless body of the mutant he had already killed, hitting the ground like a sack of potatoes. With his head smashing into the road, his vision grows blurry. Beginning to fade out of conciseness, his senses bring him back as soon as he feels teeth digging into the back of his head as well as his left shoulder. The mutants begin to feast on poor little Charlie as he screams out in horror, unable to break free of the tight hold the two mutants have on him.
Last Edit: Nov 14, 2015 19:12:56 GMT -5 by Deleted
Emmett was on the edge of her seat as she sat, waiting to hear from Charlie on the walkie talkie. When he finally broke through over the air waves, she sat up a little more and looked to Zeb. She wanted to ask him more questions, mostly about what the 'but' was, but as she started to reach for the walkie talkie, she heard the growling and sudden sounds of horror that came through. What the hell was attacking him?
"Zeb, what is it?"
Sallie and David had come into the room and immediately Sallie started to scream Charlie's name. Tears ran down her cheeks as she came to her knees and radio silence was all they heard after that.
"My God. Zeb, I have to go up there. I have to get him." Zeb wouldn't have a choice now. Whatever was happening on the surface needed to be dealt with and Zeb knew she was equipped. She worried he was being attacked by stray dogs or some sort of animal that was left in the streets. Maybe something got out of the zoo. She made sure she had a pistol at her side and that it was fully loaded as she went towards the ladder that led to the surface. None of them would have a choice at this point. She had to go rescue Charlie.
The situation seems clear to the rest of the group. They've lied dormant underground until now. Now everything is moving so fast. Zeb allowed the boy to go above ground, expecting the worse already but he can't allow the others to go. Especially Emmett. He's grown a very strong relationship with her over the time they've been held up there. Has a sense to protect her and the others. But he's afraid that they will unknowingly step into a shitstorm. He already feels so bad for sending Charlie out there just to get attacked. For all he knows, Charlie is dead. And allowing the others to go out there, means that there's a big chance they will die as well.
"No......" Replying to Emmett about going out there. This one word catches the attention of the entire group. Not understanding his logic here. "I can't allow you all....to go out there. It's...." before he can finish speaking, he hears the sound of a gun being cocked before turning his head to see a pistol being held mere inches from his face by David. Scared for his son yet pissed off at Zeb he begins to speak in a panicked tone. "You did this to him! My son is out there on his own, possibly dying by some creature and you want to stay crammed up in here like a little pussy? Well that's bullshit! You got him into this mess! I ought ta kill you where you fuckin stand!" His hand tenses up with his finger on the trigger.
With his hands slowly rising to the air Zeb attempts to calm him down..."Look David, shooting me won't solve anything...." David in an emotional state begins to develop angry tears coming down his cheek. With a huge debate about whether he should shoot the gun or not going on in his head.
Emmett watched as David angrily held the gun to Zeb's head ready to pull the trigger, yet she knew he wouldn't. This was escalating quickly and Zeb kept denying the inevitable. Charlie was in trouble on the surface and someone needed to go up. She knew she was the most capable one of doing it. Reaching down to her waist, she grabbed her handgun and released it from the holster, using the butt of the gun to smack it against David's head. It wasn't enough to kill him, but to just knock him out.
"Dammit Zeb, this is the way it is. I'm going up, getting Charlie and coming back down. You take care of David. until I get back."
She didn't even bother with trying to cover herself up. Instead, she went back to her room, grabbed a bandana and wrapped it around her face as a makeshift mask while heading to the tunnel that led to the ladder that led to the surface. It was already loosened from where Charlie went out and it was easy enough to open. She was bound and determined to find out what happened. She just hoped she found out Charlie was still alive and that gunshot wasn't aimed for him.
As David continues to point the gun at him out of frustrations towards his son being put in danger, Emmett comes from behind him with a gun butt to the head knocking David down to the floor. Sallie immediately drops to see if he's alright as Zeb focuses on Emmett who claims that the's going up to look for Charlie. He begins to speak as she leads her way through the entrance tunnel. "No Emmett you can't do this. Not on your own. Please. Emmett. You'll die up there!" He grabs her arm before pulling her to him. "I can't allow you to go Emmett......not alone...." Before he can say anything else Sallie with David holding his forehead in pain interrupts the two. "We've decided that we're going with you. And Zeb, you can't stop us." It's all happening to fast as the three proceed to open up the door as he watches. "Guys it's not safe...."
Emmett felt herself yanked down by Zeb who was pleading to her like it was more then just a simple check. He was speaking as if her life were in danger, which it very well could be, but she couldn't stay down here much longer. One bad decision was made and she didn't want another to be made.
"Stop it, Zeb!" She yanked her arm away from his as she moved back up the ladder that went up.
"You both stay down here. You're not prepared to deal with whatever happened to Charlie. You'll both be nothing but a burden to me if I have to protect myself and your asses also. Everyone stay down and that's an order!"
She moved back up to the hatch that was slowly pushed open. The stream of light poured into the underground, blinding her for a moment until she could adjust to the air. It was cloudy outside and the entire town looked gray as she looked across the street. That's when she saw the bodies shuffling across to a building, possibly a home. As she crawled out, she shut the lid down behind her and snuck over to a mailbox, crouching down so she could observe for now.
Highly upset at the fact that the day that he's been dreading for so long has hit so quick in the morning that he had no time to prepare. Lives were at stake. He knew how dangerous it would be, but knew as a leader he needed to make a decision. And once that decision backfired, his leadership over the group went south as the others wanted to go north. Emmett, dead set on saving Charlie demanded that nobody followed her. With a gun in hand, she was ready for the worst. She obviously looks to have taken in the situation pretty hard at the moment. With no hesitation of knocking David down nor climbing out of this place. She truly believes she can survive. And Zeb personally finds that foolish. He can't have anybody throwing there lives away after he's spent so much time preparing to keep them alive. Sure he's grown lazy and comfortable in the underground safezone, but it was always gonna be that one moment when his leadership was put to the ultimate test. Somebody needed to go up. He made the mistake of choosing a young boy when he should of went himself. Now a second life is being put at risk. He can't have that. He won't have that.
Emmett watched as the group of people converged on the house and they did not look human at all. They looked dead and she wondered what sort of disease had gotten them. Chemical warfare was a very real problem and threat before they all went underground and she wondered if they had been infected with something. As she stood up, she heard a growl behind her and a man lunged after her.
"Oh my god! What happened to you!" She had no idea what went wrong or what he had contracted, but he didn't respond. All he did was look at her through cold, dead eyes. His hands were coated with blood as the flesh dripped away and she started to wonder if Zeb was right. Was it too toxic to be up here? Instead of firing a shot at him, she shot up and ran up the sidewalk flanked by others that heard her cry out. She saw the legs of Charlie prone on the ground as the pool of blood crew around him. The yellow suit was an obvious sign that was him and he was not moving. Shit, she needed his radio.
Little did she know that Sallie and David were behind her, coming out of the hole in the ground and into the fray of walkers that were following her.
The screams were heard and a spray of blood splattered against the lid to the bunker before it clamped shut behind them. Zeb would clearly hear the attack above as she ran towards a nearby building, hoping height would be her friend.