*Author's note: This is a short story concerning the events that led up to Kenneth's introduction in Dawn of the Dead Remake. I originally started this story for a contest at www.thenewdawnofthedead.com but I never finished it. Well, here it is! I hope you like it! Critiques and comments welcomed!
Tired he laid down in the backseat of his friend's car. The two of them were joking and laughing at him on how he couldn't hold his liquor. Tired he was drowsing off to sleep was about to reply and tell them to go and perform a sexual act upon themselves when a loud boom sounded and shattered glass rained down on him. Then he felt wet chunks hitting his face. He heard his other friend cursing out, "Oh shit! Fuck!"
Then short pops like firecrackers could be heard, more shattering glass. He's realizing now it was gunfire. His other friend groaned. More wetness splashed on his face. Thinking fast he opens the car door he's facing and starts crawling out. Then it felt like a cannonball slamming him between his shoulders. He slammed into the street struggling to breathe. Everything sounded so far away, he's trying to crawl away but his limbs feel like lead. Everything is going dark, going dark…
He woke up sweating profusely. "Goddamn! That was bad!" he muttered. Then he realized the phone was ringing. He glanced over at his clock and squinted, 5:35AM. What the fuck? Picking up the phone he croaked "Hello?"
The voice coming through was screaming in desperation. "K-Ken? Ken? Talk to me Ken. Say something!"
Kenneth Robeson turned on his lamp becoming more alert now, "Yeah, it's me! Who's this? What's going on?"
"It's me Chuck!" Chuck? Oh, thought Kenneth, it's his turn working desk. "What's going on? Christ! Just turn on your television! Get the fuck here to the station now! Oh Christ oh Christ oh Christ!" Kenneth heard gunfire in the background, screaming and yelling.
Kenneth got up holding onto the phone. Kenneth spoke calmly into the phone, "Chuck, calm the fuck down! Just tell me slowly what's going on!" The line went dead. Kenneth stared at the phone. He tried calling back to the station but the line was busy. He tried a few more times with the same result. He quickly then turned on the television. The emergency broadcast signal greeted him. It was like that for several stations until he saw one with a newscast going on. Some of the newscasts show cops in riot gear being overwhelmed by what looked like a mob gone wild. The anchorwoman's voice sounded frightened and in panic, "There are scenes of chaos and total disorder in the streets! Reports are coming in that the police are being overwhelmed! There are reports that the military are being mobilized! Officials are theorizing it might be a hallucinogenic substance causing dementia…" Kenneth was reading the scrolling marquee reports. Federal emergency has been declared. People are warned to lock doors and not to open them for any circumstance, if already outside or on the road proceed to the nearest military base.
Kenneth heard a crash from outside. He ran his window and opened the shade. The sky is a bluish gray the horizon brightening with the rising sun. Also highlighted against the sky are columns of smoke. He could see fires breaking out. There were people running in the street. Cars were speeding and careening out of control, sideswiping parked cars or hitting others and kept speeding away.
Kenneth's eyes widened then ran to the phone his eyes going to the picture hanging nearby. It was a picture of Kenneth when he was 12 with his 8 year old brother. Joe was the only family he had left that he cared about, his sole reason for joining the Marines. To set an example so his brother wouldn't turn out what he almost became. Kenneth ran to the phone and called his brother, Joe, who lives only in the next county over, near Fort Pastor. He tried several times but the lines were busy.
Cursing he quickly grabbed his uniform and dressed quickly. He double checked his side arm and made sure it was loaded. He also brought out his shotgun and made sure it was locked and loaded. He grabbed a small belly pouch that he usually keep spare ammo, extra clips and shotgun shells. He rushed out but glanced at his picture of him when he was 18, he was in his Marine blues. How slim he was then! The Marines gave Kenneth focus and discipline in his life.
He looked out to where his car was parked he cautiously opened the door. It looked clear. He could hear sirens in the distance, screaming and shouting from afar. Gunshots also could be heard. Kenneth held his shotgun ready then ran to his car. As he was opening the door he felt a tingling on the back of his neck. He spun around and brought his shotgun up. In the dim light someone was shuffling towards him, taking broken steps like he was drunk.
"Stop right there! Who are you?" Kenneth shouted. The figure continued towards him as if not hearing. Closer now Ken could see dark spots on the shirt. Ken now recognized a neighbor from a few houses down. A young teen named Pete. Now the streetlight shone on Pete's face. Ken now saw with horror that half his face was ripped away. With a snarl Pete now propelled himself at Kenneth. A single shotgun blast to Pete's chest knocked him back to the ground. Ken was heading towards Pete to check on him until what he saw stopped him in his tracks. Pete was getting up slowly.
"What the fuck?" muttered Kenneth. He knows about some drugs that can eliminate pain or some seriously fucked up EDP (Emotionally Disturbed Person) will ignore gunshot wounds, but a shotgun blast to the chest? Pete was now making a sickly wet sucking sound from the blood filling his lungs. Kenneth shot him in the chest again. Pete went down hard. Since Pete didn't move Kenneth thought he was down for good and headed towards him. But Pete started to get up again. This time Ken just blasted Pete's head clean off. The brain and blood pattern decorating the sidewalk like some strange artwork. Kenneth was heading towards the body when he caught movement from the corner of his eye. He spun towards it. Someone was running towards him, probably drawn by the report of his shotgun. A quick scan around told Kenneth more was running his way. Something told Kenneth he shouldn't wait for them to get here. He ran to his car and locked the doors. The first runner reached his car as he was peeling out. He could see blood all on the woman's face and could hear her screeching and snarling at him as she pounded on his car. Kenneth knew something was wrong. Peeling out Kenneth avoided a few cars stalled in the middle of the road. He looked into his rear view mirror and could see the EDP's were chasing his car. Kenneth turned on the radio.
"…please stay indoors and lock and secure all doors and windows. Turn on your televisions and pay attention to your emergency broadcast system for further instructions."
Kenneth slowed down when he saw a police car ahead of him, its door was open. Blood was smeared all over the car. He was about to get out when a slam from the other side of his car startled him. He turned towards it. A snarling demented face of a black man with blood all over its front shirt and mouth. Kenneth pulled away speeding towards the highway.
Kenneth made a decision. He was going to go to his brother. While heading down the highway he notices a car about 500 yards up ahead of him stopped behind a school bus. He then sees someone trying to get into the driver side of the car. The car pulls away to its right throwing the man away and crashes through the guard rail. Kenneth slows down as he nears the man. Then from the school bus emerges two what appeared to be EDP's.
The man noticing them starts screaming and seeing Kenneth's car ran up and screamed out, "Oh God help me please! Oh Jesus!" The man was wearing a bus driver uniform.
The EDP's were still about 50 yards away. Kenneth gets out, grabbing his little belly pouch of extra ammo. He then racks his shotgun. He tells the man, "Get behind me! Stay calm!"
The EDP's now noticing Kenneth and the man ran towards them, not at all alarmed about Kenneth being armed with a shotgun. This time Kenneth blasted the first one right in the head. Pumping the shotgun he promptly shot the second one. Suddenly screeching past him was his car. The man had commandeered his car.
"Hey!" Shouted Kenneth and ran a few steps then stopped. He brought up his shotgun but his car was already a hundred yards away dwindling into the distance.
Fuck! Goddamn it! He looked around, Kenneth feared his gunfire would draw some of the EDP's . First thing he thought of was to get out of sight. No need to draw unnecessary attention. Kenneth then thought about the car that crashed through the guard rail. Proceeding cautiously he went through the hole made in the rail and followed the trail of car as it went crashing through the brush and grass, he could see the car about 200 feet down crashed into a tree, wisps of smoke was coming from it. Kenneth could tell he couldn't use the car even if he were able to get it started let alone back up the steep hill. He approached the car carefully noticing through the side window that the air bag activated and a blonde woman was slumped into it.
He reached for the door handle…
*The next events are when Kenneth meets Ana and together heads towards the mall that he sees in the distance past the brush.