A/N: It's been a long time coming, and with the new season finally in full swing, it was about time I brought this fic back from the brink as well. And last time I made an update I promised a few changes that you may or may not have seen coming. And it's about time I delivered.
Disclaimer: I don't own the Walking Dead.
Chapter 9: The Long Road Ahead - Part 1
The streets of Macon were silent, considering that the residents of the small town were no longer a part of the living it was to be expected.
However, two forms could be seen running through the vacant alleys. Keeping to the shadows to avoid any walkers that could have been laying in wait for something to come their way. Both stopping at a corner leading out into the street and peering out into the open.
Jason raised the rifle in his hands, looking down the scope and searching for movement. Stacking up behind him was Kenny, pistol in hand with a backpack as they scoured the town for what little supplies there was left.
It had been two weeks since the incident at the St. Johns farm and when the fighter had assumed his role as leader of their group. In that time there had been significant changes with the survivors.
They had split up their supplies evenly in half, some being kept in the designated storage room they had and the rest being sealed in the RV just incase. In addition, Jason had kept to his word about teaching Clementine and Duck self-defense. Having the kids doing light exercises to increase their stamina and endurance in the morning, then moving on to finding the proper style they could be trained in.
He could immediately tell that Duck was a brawler type, but also light on his feet. So he started to teach him a bit of kickboxing to increase his speed and strength. Clementine, was a lot more nimble and quick, so judo with a mix of muai tai was the best for her. Both taking to it rather quickly and with enthusiasm. More often than not, the adults would watch them all train with rapt attention at various parts of the day.
Ben had been a different story, the teen wasn't used to fighting in any context so Jason had to go from the ground up with him. Teaching him a few techniques for close quarters and giving him a crash course in how to deal with walkers.
Save for the amped up training regiment, other things around the motor inn had changed a bit. The biggest one being Jason's relationship with Carley. Ever since that first night, the two were almost inseparable. Spending time together and with Clementine every chance they had to the point where the fighter sat down with his charge and told her that he and the reporter had been getting closer.
Clementine had just smiled and said that she was happy for them which took a large load off his mind. Of course he still took his position as her guardian very seriously, but now there was two people looking closely out for her now instead of one.
The other thing that had changed, which was more or less expected, was that the bandits had come knocking at their boarders more than once. Without warning one day, a handful began firing at them from the treeline forcing them to fight back. Jason, Mark, Lilly, Carley and Kenny fighting back while the others took refuge.
The first confrontation resulted in the death of three bandits. Driving them off for a few days, only for them to attack again two more times. Ever since the survivors had been on pins and needles, beefing up watch shifts and staying on guard more often than before while pushing twice as hard to repair the RV and get out of town before something worse happened.
Though in recent days, they hadn't seen hyde nor hair of the bandits which didn't do well for their anxiety. The fighter wondering what had drawn them off all of a sudden and what they could be planning next.
"All clear." Jason said over his shoulder as he and Kenny moved out into the open, weapons up as they moved farther up the street. Staying low to the ground as they stopped at the edge of a building and peered out again.
"Looks like this is our lucky day." said the fisherman as they moved again, going up the familiar road toward the pharmacy they had been at months prior.
Jason swept his eyes over the vacant buildings and derelict cars around them. "Don't get too comfortable, bastards like to jump us when we least expect it."
Kenny nodded in agreement, "Well, the less I see, the happier I am." They checked the boarded up windows, looking into the shadows within and not seeing any movement before pushing onward. The older man grunting and holding his side when his still healing wound flared up.
"You good?" asked Jason.
"Yeah, still tender, but I'm managing." replied the fisherman as the pain passed. "Kat says I'm healin' up nice though, so that's a plus. I'll just be glad when we leave the motor inn behind us."
The fighter nodded, "Now that we got the RV completely repaired, we can head out tomorrow after we gather what little supplies are left. Gotta make sure that we have everything we need for the long hall incase it takes us a while."
"True enough, man. I can't tell you how much things feel better since you took charge." said Kenny. "Things are just falling into place now. If only we can get Lilly to stop sniping at you every chance she gets everything will be great."
Jason sighed, one constant that had been in place since he became leader was that Lilly was still sore about it. Though her hostility had calmed down in the past two weeks, she wasn't taking to his ideas and plans as well as the others. She remained a good asset to the group, but her attitude was affected morale more often than she realized.
"She's still grieving about her father, that much is understandable. But she's stubborn and stuck in her ways. If she doesn't break out of it soon there could be problems later down the road." said the fighter after a moment. "Hopefully that will change once we get out of here."
"Hell, if she's so dead set on staying here, well, then that's how it goes." said the fisherman.
Jason shook his head, "I'd rather not leave her behind to fend for herself, but I'm not exactly forcing anyone to stick around."
Kenny nodded, "We all made our choice, Jase." he grinned, "Duck's excited about your next teaching session, he was up half the night last night practicing the moves you've been showing him."
"Clementine's been doing the same. Good to know that they're taking this as seriously as I had hoped." They approached the pharmacy and looked around at all the damage. At some point in the last few months, the military must have come through and found themselves in a bad spot.
A helicopter had crashed through the roof of the building, debris scattered everywhere in the street blocking the entrance and the sides of the building itself were scorched from the fires that had raged. A damaged jeep was parked out front and an eighteen wheeler's trailer was blocking off the street that led to the back of the pharmacy.
"Same plan as last time?" asked Kenny as they approached the trailer.
"Yup. Up and over, grab what we can, and bail out." said the fighter as his friend grabbed the ladder and began to climb up while he stood watch. Eyes scanning every building and alley and finding everything just as quiet as when they arrived.
He didn't like it. Unless the local hordes had moved on they should have at least encountered at least one walker by now. There was a loud metallic clunk followed by a curse. "Shit!"
Jason looked up and saw the metal ladder they'd been using just barely hanging to the side of the trailer. The wear, tear and rust finally winning out causing it to break. "What now?" asked the fisherman.
The fighter tossed the rifle up making him catch it, "Improvise." he said taking several steps back, taking a deep breath before sprinting toward the trailer. Jumping up and pressing his right foot down on the small edge just above the rear tires and launching himself upward, grabbing the ledge above and pulling himself up on top.
Kenny chuckled while handing the rifle back, "Damn, wish I was young enough to do shit like that." Jason smirked back at him as they moved to drop down the other side.
"NO! GO AWAY!" Both men spun around hearing the screams and saw a shop door burst open. Someone, looking vaguely like a woman despite the dirty and torn clothing, came running out into the street. A walker coming out behind her in pursuit, several more coming out of the nearby shops hearing the sounds of her screaming and boxing her in with no way to escape. "SOMEONE HELP ME!"
"What the hell is that?! A walker?!" asked Kenny.
"Walker's don't scream. Or call for help." Jason replied looking down scope. The woman fell to the ground, kicking at the walker that was grabbing at her leg as she got up and tried to run away again. The undead on the ground grabbed her leg, sinking its teeth into her calf and tearing a bloody chunk away and making her scream even louder. A second walker came up and forced her head back, biting into her shoulder deeply before she managed to shove it away.
"She's dead...either way." he thought aiming the crosshairs at her head. "Jase, wait!" Kenny said grabbing the barrel. "We could leave her alive, let her draw them all to her."
Jason shot him a wide-eyed look. "I'm serious." said his friend. "We're always worried about the ones we can't see. She'll draw them out of their holes and give us time to grab what we can and get out of here." he clarified.
A sinking feeling hit the younger man's gut as the woman's screams reached louder. The walkers had her surrounded on all sides, she was bleeding badly from the wounds as the rotten hands reached out and grabbing her, pulling her to the ground as they began to close in on her.
Looking down the scope again, he sighted her head as the walkers began to bite into her. He made his choice quickly and pulled the trigger. The woman's head exploding in a fountain of blood and her screams were immediately silenced while the undead feasted on her remains.
Kenny shook his head, "What the hell man?" he saw the look Jason was shooting him and fell silent.
"Let's go." the fighter said without another word as he strapped the rifle to his back and hopped down into the ground by the back entrance to the pharmacy. Kenny right behind him as they went through the door and into the building.
The darkened storage room greeted them, the walls cracked and debris scattered everywhere from the helicopter crash. But thankfully, the pharmacy itself was undamaged, the two men headed to the door and went inside. "Those freaks will come this way any minute, spread out and grab everything you can." said the fighter while moving a toppled shelf back upright.
Kenny dropped his backpack to the ground and opened it as he began gathering medicine, bandages, and energy bars that were around the counters and shelves toward the back. Jason picked up similar supplies around the racks on his end, piling them into his arms and dropping them into the pack before looking for more.
Outside, the sound of groaning and shuffling feet could be heard in the streets. A loud bang at the back door they had come through making them snap their heads in the direction to the door behind them.
"Keep gathering." Jason whispered as the moved to the door, grabbing an empty shelf and pulling it down to the ground to block the way just as a walker's face appeared in the small window. The door rattling on its frame as the undead began to pound on it.
"I think that's everything!" Kenny said over all the noise as he dropped the rest of the supplies in the bag, zipping it back up and shouldering it before running to the counter and leaping over it. The fighter right behind him-
-The other door leading to the back room bursting open just as his feet hit the floor allowing a handful of walkers to spill out on to the floor. Jason's foot lashed out and kicked the closest one that reached for him, his steel-toe causing the head to snap back. "KENNY MOVE!" he shouted as he ran toward the other side of the room. The fisherman firing his pistol, taking down three walkers before crouching by a hole in the wall that led back outside.
Making it halfway, the fighter was cut off when another walker came stumbling out of the crashed helicopter. The helmet on its head and the bloodied uniform revealing it to be the pilot as it growled ferally and shambled after him.
Jason ducked under the grasping hands and punched it in the sternum, the walker stumbling back from the blow allowing the young man to kick it in the stomach. Reaching behind and pulling out a knife from the sheath on his belt, he grabbed the walker's helmet and forced it back enough to get a clean shot before stabbing up through its jaw into its brain.
Going still, the fighter pulled the blade free and hip-tossed the corpse into the oncoming horde, making a few trip and having the ones behind them slow down giving him the time to reach Kenny's position and squeeze through the hole in the wall and taking off in a dead run.
"Gonna be glad to leave this place behind us." said Kenny as they followed the same trail they came through before, being sure to avoid any walkers that were now out and about.
Jason nodded in agreement, bloody knife still in hand and ready as they made their way home.
The motor inn was much like the rest of Macon, having seen better days after everything that has happened.
The surrounding walls that protected the survivors were covered in bullet holes and arrows from the few attacks made by the bandits. A few parts had begun to fall apart and had to be hastily repaired or what little defenses they had would fall.
Coming up the road, Jason and Kenny looked over their so called 'home'. Finding Ben sitting atop the RV with a rifle in hand as he kept watch over everything. The duo nodding to the teen as they opened the makeshift gate and stepping inside, closing it behind them as they headed toward they stored the supplies.
Jason looked over by the stairs leading up to the other rooms, he saw Clementine with her walkie-talkie in hand. She smiled as she spoke softly into it making him tilt his head, she'd been doing that a lot the last couple days. But she was still a kid, so playing pretend with the broken device wasn't took uncommon.
The girl looked up and saw them, grinning widely as she ran over to them. "You're back!" she exclaimed happily.
"Was there any doubt?" asked her guardian with a grin of his own as he ruffled her hair through her hat and making her giggle. He once almost shoulder-length curly hair had been cut a bit shorter and was tied back in two small braids. Carley had done it last week as a way to help her avoid being grabbed like she had back at the dairy farm. Clementine wasn't too keen on it at first, but after a while she came to like the new look.
"Ben found some stickers in a drawer and I put them on my walkie, see." she said holding up the device and the new decorations that had been added to it.
Jason smiled, "Looks good, sweetheart. I'll come find you in a bit, Kenny and I just have to put the stuff we found away." Clementine nodded and went over to where she was drawing with her chalk, the two men heading over to the supply room to unload their new inventory.
Entering the room, they checked their weapons and set them in the proper places before sorting through what they had gathered. "What'd you manage to get?" they looked up and saw Lilly enter the room.
"A few odds and ends, put at least it's something." said Jason as he looked over their haul. "Macon's completely dry of stuff, just walkers now. How were things here?"
The woman leaned against the door frame, "Quiet, so no worries. Those bandits haven't shown their faces in days."
"At least we were given the window to get more supplies." said Kenny. "Now we can focus on getting out of here."
Lilly narrowed her eyes at him, "I still don't see why we have to leave, we're perfectly safe as it is."
The fisherman scoffed, "Safe? If you haven't noticed, princess, but this place is the farthest from safe. Or did you miss the bullet holes and arrows sticking out of the walls outside?"
"The decision has already been made." Jason said heading off an oncoming fight. "Everyone voted to leave, it's what's best for the kids."
"It's suicide out there!" Lilly exclaimed.
"We'll die in here." Kenny fired back. "This is why you're not in charge anymore, someone needs to make these kinds of executive decisions for the group and you just weren't able to follow through."
From outside, Katjaa, Mark and Carley approached hearing the commotion. "At it again are we?" asked Carley with a shake of her head.
"But out, Carley." snapped Kenny before glaring back at Lilly. Missing the small glare Jason sent him for snapping at her.
"Don't order people around, or is that the position given to you by our so-called leader?" asked the woman snarkly.
Jason stepped between them, "Enough." he said icily making everyone clam up. "Kenny, go take a walk. Have Kat check your wound to see if it's still clean." The older man looked to want to say something, but stalled and sighed before heading off with his wife. Mark and Carley took the que to leave as well, the reporter sending Jason one last look before heading off.
The fighter closed the door and turned to Lilly, "Alright, enough bullshit Lilly. What the hell is the problem? Ever since we got back from the dairy you've been sniping at everything and everyone. I know you're still upset over what happened to your father, I understand that. But going on like this isn't helping our group's situation."
"You want to know what my problem is?" she asked gritting her teeth. "My problem is the fact that no one had a problem with me in charge. But the minute things started getting bad everyone turned tail and ran to the next possible person to make decisions for them."
Throwing her arms up, she stomped to the other side of the room, "Don't be surprised that somewhere down the road they'll replace you at some point. It's just pathetic! Everyone can't always have it their way!"
Jason watched her rant and pace, getting out her frustrations and getting a small handle on why she had been acting the way she had. "I wasn't expecting to be thrust into it, Lilly. But everyone believed that I can do this and I promised to do the best that I can. But I need to have everyone work together if we hope to survive this at all."
He leaned back and crossed his arms, "And as for the choice to leave, you know as well as I do that this place won't last forever."
"WHAT I KNOW, IS THAT IT'S NOT MUCH SAFER OUT THERE!" she shouted while rounding on him. "I also know that somebody is stealing our supplies! That's right, STEALING! And if you were so much of a 'good leader', you would have known this by now!"
Jason stood, face a mask even though he was reeling from what she had just said as he looked her in the eyes. "What do you mean? The last time I checked them everything was in order."
Lilly tilted her head, "You should really have double checked, then. A few things have gone missing from this room's inventory. Everything in the RV is still the same, but someone's been dipping into the pharmaceuticals we have stashed with the medical supplies in this room."
"Tell me everything that you know." the fighter demanded, anger burning in him knowing that someone was doing this within their group behind their backs.
The woman sat down on the bed, he took up the chair across from her as she began explaining. "The counts off, and it's the good stuff. Antibiotics, oxy, anything with opium in it." She put her face in her hands and sighed, "Look, Jason, I know I'm a mess and everyone thinks of me as a bitch. But I'm not stupid. And I know that you've been busy with everything else around here, if I start a witch hunt, people will just turn on me more. I was hoping to come to you about it when you got back...but..."
Jason nodded now understanding, "What do you have to go on." she stood up and left the room, coming back a few moments later and handing him a yellow flashlight with a shattered lens.
"I found this in the trash last night." she said sitting back on the bed. "You know as well as I do that Mark's able to fix anything we break. And if he can't we salvage it for parts. So whoever did this wanted to make sure that it was hidden."
It was definitely suspicious. None of them wasted anything with what little they had. The fighter handed the broken flashlight back, "I'll look around and see if I can dig up anything." he paused a second, "How come you're telling me everything anyway? I thought you didn't appreciate my leadership and would assume it was me."
Lilly gave an uneasy smile, "You're not the type, Jason. Despite what I say, I know you're one of the rare few that can be trusted. And you really do what's best for this group...I'm just..." she trailed off but looked up when there was a hand on her shoulder.
"Lilly, you're just as important to this group as anyone else." Jason said honestly. "You're military experience helped train some of us with firearms. But I need you to work with us more instead of shoving us away like you have been. I know you haven't really grieved after what happened to Larry, he and I may have had our issues, but he didn't deserve the fate he was given."
The woman looked to the floor, tears sliding down her face as she clasped her hands together and pressed them against her forehead.
"Take time for yourself." said the fighter squeezing her shoulder reassuringly. "And I'll listen whenever you need to talk, okay?" She nodded and he turned to head out of the room.
"Jason." he looked back and saw her looking at him with red eyes. "Thank you. And I'm sorry for...everything."
He smiled back at her, "In the past, Lilly. Work on the present and the future for now." with that he left the room and closed the door behind him.
Leaning against the door, Jason took a deep breath. "This...is bad. If there really is a traitor in our midst, then we need to deal with it fast before they realize we're on to them." he looked around at everyone. The people that he had come to know and trust over all these months. The thought of one of them a thief grinding his insides. "I can't jump to conclusions...gotta play it by ear and look for evidence first."
"A mystery." The fighter's eyes widened and looked to his left to see Duck looking up at him with a grin.
"...Duck. How much of that did you hear?" he asked already knowing the answer.
"Sorry, I just heard you guys talking. Can I help?" the boy asked then grinned again, "You can be the world's greatest detective, and I can be Dick Grayson, your ward!"
Jason chuckled, then started to think about it. Having Duck running around asking questions would look strange, but maybe he could help in another way. "Alright Robin, you can help. But it's a secret, so don't let no one know what your doing."
"Secrecy." said Duck bouncing from foot to foot. He paused and furrowed his eyebrows. "What do i do?"
The fighter crouched down to his level, "I want you to look around the motor inn, look for anything out of the ordinary or out of place and come tell me. But remember, tell no one." Duck nodded and jogged off to begin his 'investigation'. Jason shook his head and stood back up.
"He seems excited." he turned around and found Carley there. "Is something going on?" she asked.
"Yeah," Jason said looking around to be sure no one else was listening. "Someone's been stealing meds from our supplies. Lilly's been going over what we have and the numbers aren't adding up, that and she found a broken flashlight in the trash the other night that didn't belong there."
Carley looked concerned, "One of our own? That doesn't seem right." she looked around as everyone went about their business. "Any idea who it could be? This is serious."
"No idea yet." replied the fighter. "I know it's not you or me, for obvious reasons. Clem and Duck are too young, Lilly's still a mess so I'm not counting her out yet, Katjaa's too responsible, and I don't want to think about the idea of Kenny being the one. As for Mark and Ben...I don't have anything to go on to prove much yet."
The reporter looked at him with a raised eyebrow, "How are you sure it's not me?"
Jason gave her a look, "Other than the fact you pretty much moved in with me and Clem last week? I just know you that well." Carley blushed softly. A week after their 'encounter', she found herself crashing in the room next to hers every so often. They hadn't done anything but sleep, given that they shared a room with a 9-year-old, but they were just comfortable enough to share a bed and warmth together. And Clementine didn't seem to mind the extra company either when she saw the older woman coming to spend the night.
"So, what will you do?" she asked after gathering herself.
Jason looked around again, "I'll do some poking around. But if you happen to see or hear anything let me know, better to deal with this now." Carley nodded and gave him a quick kiss on the cheek before heading off.
Taking the time to watch her leave, the fighter headed toward the other side of the motor inn to begin his search. Walking along the wall of doors to the other rooms when he felt a soft crunch under his foot.
Bending down, he found a small cluster of glass scattered along the side-walk. When he picked one up, he noticed the non-jagged side was rounded. "Looks like it came from the flashlight." he muttered to himself, he looked over the other pieces and saw that they formed a small trail to the corner of the motel.
Following them, he rounded the corner and saw nothing strange in the small alcove between the wall and the fence...until he looked at the wall itself where a bright-pink 'X' had been drawn on to the surface. Jason ran his fingers over the drawing and rubbed them together. "Chalk...?"
"A clue." said Duck seeming to appear right next to him. "What do you think it means?" he asked.
The fighter narrowed his eyes at the 'X'. "Could be something, or nothing. Though it is strange...almost as if someone was marking for a reason."
"Maybe it's a sign?" offered the boy.
Jason shrugged and glanced down at the asphalt next to them, seeing the chalk drawings that Clem had made a day ago before looking in the direction where she was drawing on a makeshift table. "Duck, why don't you keep looking. I'll be over here." he said getting a nod form the boy before he ran off.
Looking back over to his charge, he headed her way and knelt down next to her. "Hay Clementine." he said getting her attention.
"Hay, Jason. Do you want to see the rubbings I've been doing." she said holding up a sheet of paper that had pencil marked all over it in the shape of a leaf that was under the paper. "My teacher was showing me and the others in my class once. See, they look the same...almost."
"Looks great, baby-girl." he looked over at the box of chalk she had next to her, "Listen, Clem, do you have any pink chalk?"
She shook her head and looked confused, "No, it's gone somewhere. I tried looking for it but it doesn't seem to be anywhere." she pulled out a blue colored one and held it out for him. "You want blue instead?"
Jason shook his head no, "That's alright, I was just checking is all."
"Psst." the fighter glanced over his shoulder and saw Duck waving for him to come over.
"I'll be back, alright?" Clementine nodded and went back to her artwork while her guardian headed over to Duck. "What is it Duck?"
"I found something." the boy reached into his pocket and pulled out a piece of pink chalk. "I found this and a scuff of it on the ground over by the gate."
Taking the chalk, Jason looked to the gate and back at the boy, "Show me." Duck led him to the gate he and Kenny had come through earlier. Being mindful of Mark who was on the other end repairing what damage he could. Standing by the opening, Duck pointed at the ground where the wheels of one of the dumpsters that made up the entrance had pink marked under it.
The fighter pushed the gate back a bit and looked more closely at the scuff, humming to himself as he stood up and looked outside the fence. "See, I did good, huh." said Duck.
"You did good Duck." Jason replied giving the kid a high-five when he raised his hand. "You stick around inside, I'll go out and have a look around."
"Okay." the boy nodded and headed off, Jason looked back at the gate and grabbed the edge. Pulling it out of the way enough to slip through the small opening that was made, glancing around to be sure the coast was clear, he moved the gate back into place. Everything was still quiet, and save for the damage done to their fences nothing looked out of place.
Keeping his senses on high alert, he moved along the outer perimeter for any more clues that could have been laying around. Exchanging a nod with Mark when he moved past him, the fighter began making his way back the other direction. Checking over the walls and sidewalk until he reached the side of the building.
Jason paused, eyes locking on to a smudge of pink chalk that was on the outer frame of a metal grate on the low wall. Kneeling down, he grabbed the grate and pulled it open revealing a small alcove within...with a small brown paper bag sitting inside.
"The hell?" he muttered taking the bag out and opening it. His teeth clenched together when he discovered bottles of medicine, painkillers and other items that had gone missing. "Motherfucker." he growled before making his way back into the motor inn and heading straight for the supply room where Lilly was going over their ammo supply.
Her eyes were still red from the small crying session she had when he left. but looking a bit better than before until she saw him enter and the expression on his face. "What is it?" she asked now serious.
"I found this." he said handing her the bag. "Full of our missing meds, hidden in a grate on the outside wall of the motel. There was also a sign marked on another wall facing the opposite direction. Someone's doing this for a reason and had a plan."
Lilly shook her head, "Holy fuck," she looked up from the bag at him, "What's your plan?"
"I've ruled out a few people, especially the kids. Needless to say we need to gather everyone together and confront them." said the fighter crossing his arms. "Stealing supplies when we're in dire need like this is beyond criminal. We can't have this happening within our group, especially with winter coming soon. We wouldn't last no matter where we are."
The woman nodded, glancing past him a moment before her eyes widened. "What the hell?!" she said standing. Jason turned around and looked out the window through the gap in the curtain and felt his blood freeze in his veins.
Outside, the rest of the group was on their knees with their hands behind their heads while a three bandits stood around them with weapons aimed at them. A fourth one, looking to be the leader of the group had his gun trained on Kenny's head. "YOU DON'T FUCKING STEAL FROM US!" he shouted before pistol whipping the fisherman hard enough to knock him to the asphalt.
Another slammed the butt of his crossbow into Carley's lower back dropping her down like the others. "WE MADE A FUCKING DEAL! WHERE'S OUR SHIT?!"
"Fuck! How did they get the drop on us like this?!" Jason whispered.
Lilly grabbed the rifle he had brought back from his and Kenny's supply run and opened the window in the bathroom that led outside. "I'll head to the balcony, can you distract them?"
The fighter nodded serious, grabbing a glock from the drawer close to the door and three clips of ammo. Slipping the weapon in the back waistband of his jeans beneath his jacket and the magazines in his pockets. "You get the shot, take it. I'll keep them from pulling triggers as long as I can." The woman nodded back and disappeared.
Jason looked toward the door, taking a deep breath before opening it and stepping outside. "Enough of this bullshit!" shouted one of the bandits. "Drew, start putting your boots to these doors!" He snapped his head up when Jason came into view and pointed his pistol at him. "Hold it right there asshole!"
"Easy..." the fighter said holding his hands up. "What's the problem man?"
"THE PROBLEM IS THAT YOU ASSHOLES FUCKED US!" said the lead bandit. "WE WERE PROMISED SUPPLIES! AND YOU FAILED TO COME THROUGH!"
Jason kept his hands up, but noticed Lilly crouched low on the balcony to the left. Moving along the low fence and getting into position. "What do you mean? We had more than enough supplies for the deal." he said playing along. "Who were you dealing with?"
The man twitched, telling Jason that he was either on something or withdrawing from it, as he moved along the group and reaching out.
Ben yelped as he was yanked to his feet, gun barrel pressed to his temple as the bandit started shouting again. "This little fucker here! He said he'd make sure the supplies were in place so we could get 'em! THEY WEREN'T FUCKING THERE!"
"BEN?!" the fighter thought in shock as the teenager quivered in the man's grasp. He schooled his features and went back to playing his part. "There's your problem there, you were dealing with a kid. He obviously doesn't know the game." The bandits looked to one another giving him the chance to continue. "We can still keep the deal going-"
"Too late shithead!" the leader shouted while throwing Ben to the ground again. "We ain't giving second chances!"
"Then how bout a better deal than before?" Jason offered making the man pause.
"...I'm listening." he said lowering his weapon slightly.
The fighter lowered his hands, "We're the only ones left in town to get your supplies. Think about it, would you rather be out there with the corpses? Let us live, and well be sure that there's plenty to go around. We're no good to you dead."
There was a long, tense silence. The lead bandit lowered his arm completely. "Alright...I suppose we oughta hash out some better terms, then!"
"I don't like no hash." said one of the other men keeping his weapon trained on Jason.
"SHUT UP!" demanded the leader. "OR I'LL-" he was cut off with a gunshot. The front of his forehead exploding in a fountain of blood and grey matter.
Jason grabbed his weapon and raised it. The others ran for cover as he opened fire, punching two holes through the chest of one of the other bandits and putting him down. Carley dove and grabbed his dropped pistol and shot another in the head while Lilly sniped a fourth from her vantage point.
The last bandit ran for the fence, Jason raised his glock and fired, clipping the man's shoulder and sending him tumbling over the top and on to the ground outside. He gave a loud whistle which caused a dozen more bandits to come running out of the woods.
"Fuck!" Jason fired three more shots before running behind the RV, two bandits pushing into the gate and forcing it open allowing them on to the property as they spread out and fired at the survivors.
"We gotta get outta here!" shouted Kenny, running out of the supply room with a back up rifle and the rest of the supplies in three backpacks.
A bullet bounced off the side of the RV forcing them deeper into cover, "No shit!" Jason shouted back before leaning out and firing his weapon, one of the attacking bandits going down. "I'll cover you guys, get inside!" Kenny nodded and tossed him the rifle he had before jumping on the vehicle.
The fighter leaned back out of cover, using the RV to steady the weapon as he looked down scope. When one of the men stood up he pulled the trigger, hitting him right through the left eye. One of the thugs next to the one he shot stood up to fire but was taken down by Carley who used the last of the rounds in the gun she had pilfered.
"GO NOW! MOVE!" Jason called out. The reporter and Ben came running their way, jumping on to the RV while he moved to the other side where Katjaa was hunkered down with Duck and Clementine. Mark was beside them firing his own pistol at the invaders and managing to take two down before having to reload.
Aiming over the hood, Jason watched a walker come up behind one of the bandits and. Yanking his head back and biting into his neck while dragging him to the ground while he fired wildly into the air. He could see more walkers starting to shuffle up the street, drawn by the sounds of gunfire as they began to converge on the motor inn as well.
"WE GOT WALKERS! STAY SHARP!" the fighter called out, targeting one of the invaders outside the fence and shooting him in the leg. The man went down screaming in agony the undead turning and falling on the easier meal and dividing the rest of the bandits' attention.
The sound of Lilly's rifle registering again and again on the other side of the lot rang with the rest of the rounds flying through the air. Jason took down another bandit and shouted to the others. "COME ON! KATJAA GO!"
Clementine was up and running as fast as her legs could carry her, "Jason!" she screamed wrapping her arms around him making her hug him back.
"You're okay, Clem. Get on the RV, now!" he said pushing her toward the opening just before Katjaa screamed.
A walker having come up behind her and Duck, knocking them to the ground causing her to smack her head on a piece of wood as the corpse fell on top of both mother and child. The fighter raised his weapon to shoot when Mark ran up and kicked it off them. "Move! I got you covered!" he called out while shooting two other walkers.
"LILLY! LET'S GO!" the fighter called up to her as he stood by the open door of the RV. The woman firing a few more times before running for the stairs. He turned back to Mark who emptied the rounds left in his clip. He waved him over, the older man standing and making a break for it.
There was another gunshot, and the man spun in place a half-turn and hit the pavement a foot away from safety. "MARK!" Jason shouted dropping the rifle and running out into the open, grabbing the man by the arms and pulling him behind the RV, Lilly coming down and helping him pull Mark inside. Blood gushing from a wound in the side of his neck he was feebly covering with his hands.
Kenny started the large vehicle, shifting it into gear and punching it. Running down a handful of walkers before smashing out of the weakened fence and speeding down the road.
Onboard, Jason and Lilly were on their knees doing what they could for Mark while his wound continued to gush. The fighter pressing a rag to his neck in an attempt to stop the bleedin, the man's skin already becoming pale. "Dammit!" he said as the cloth stained dark red and began to cover his hands.
"He's bad." said Lilly digging into a medical kit they had on hand. Carley sat with Clementine on the nearby bench, the little girl curled in the older woman's lap with her face in the crook of her neck while her guardian tried desperately to save the man's life.
Mark coughed wetly, crimson liquid spraying free and splashing on his face as he tried to breathe. "Hang on Mark! Just hold the fuck on!" Jason said as he applied a little more pressure, but deep down he knew that it was all for nothing.
The wound was mortal. The amount of blood he was losing being the best indicator for that even though he tried his best to prolong his life. Seconds ticked by like an eternity until Mark's breathing stopped, head falling to the side while his eyes remained open and becoming glossy.
A cold silence filled the RV as Jason moved his hands away from their dead friend. Blood staining his hands as he bowed his head.
"Kenny..." he called just loud enough for the older man to hear him. "Stop the RV."
Kenny looked back, his eyes widening when he saw Mark's body with a dark stain spreading along the carpet beneath it. Knowing the severity of the situation, he pulled the vehicle to the side of the road, the skies darkening with each passing minute as the cool night began to set in.
When they came to a complete stop, the door opened and Jason stepped out. Taking a deep breath, calming his nerves and pushing down his emotions as he prepared for what needed to be done. He turned and began pulling the body out, Lilly and Carley helping him as they moved toward the woods.
Laying Mark down in the nearby ditch, lacking the tools and the time for a proper burial, the fighter reached out and closed the man's eyes before taking out his pistol and flicking the safety off. "I'm sorry, Mark." he said lowly before raising the weapon and firing a round into his forehead. Ensuring that he didn't come back.
Jason looked down at the body for a couple of moments longer before closing his eyes and shaking his head. A hand on his arm caused him to look over at Carley's saddened, concerned eyes. Neither said anything as they headed back to the RV together, Lilly casting one last look back at their fallen friend before following after them.
"What do we do now?" asked Carley.
"The plan hasn't changed." replied the fighter, burying his emotions deep and focusing on the task ahead. "We head to Savannah, find a boat..." he paused mid-stride, his eyes hardening like ice when he saw Ben stepping off the RV.
It happened in a blur. In the next moment Jason had the teen against the wall of the vehicle, hand around his throat and gun pressed into his forehead.
Ben turned as white as a sheet, frozen in fear as he looked into the fighter's eyes. His instincts telling him that his death was all but imminent from the look alone, unconscious of the dark stain appearing on the front of his pants.
"Start talking," Jason growled, pulling the hammer back on the glock. "Now."
A/N: And a typical cliffhanger famous to the franchise. Given how the game went, I figured a good amount of change was in order to keep it original while sticking close to the script at the same time. A new moral choice is coming up next, and you, my faithful readers, have an opinion in this. So speak your mind via review and I'll update soon.