Author's note: My last fanfic didn't get any reviews, so I'm shelving that and lowering the rating (I think M was too high). Now I'll be restarting will a new fanfic which should include more description and better characterization. Again, this takes place in the Left 4 Dead Universe but will not feature Left 4 Dead characters as main characters (they may or may not appear, though). My previous character, Marcus Voyavich, will be carried over from the previous fanfic. You could see this as an alternate version.

Disclaimer: The Left 4 Dead Universe is owned by Valve Software. I only own this fanfic.

One is the loneliest number... Such a true statement. Even more true in a zombie apocalypse. In what song had he first heard that phrase? He didn't remember and, frankly, it didn't matter. Marcus shook his head. He entered a safe room and quietly locked-and-barred the door. Sitting down, he looked around the grimy, damp safe room. Nothing much was expected - this was the worst part of Los Angeles, after all - but the room was ugly and disgusting even by his standards. A few rats could be seen peering out of the darkness in one corner of the room. When Marcus turned his head to face them, they scurried behind an old stove, out of sight once more.

Marcus lit up a cigarette and took a good look around. Near the corner where he had seen the rats he saw an old, rusty stove that probably didn't work anymore. Near it was a preparation table stained crimson with human blood, as well as a wood table filled with guns and ammunition. The entrance door was opposite of him, and to the left of it was a shelf with four health kits. The door on the other side had a table with K- and D-rations next to it, as well as several water bottles. He got up and walked to the water bottles...

"Doesn't seem clean," he muttered to himself, opening one bottle and smelling the liquid. He retched slightly, pouring the rancid liquid all over the floor. Leaning against the old stove, he reminisced about his past life. Sergeant Marcus Voyavich of Fire Team Zulu in the U.S. Army. A man who led one of the finest fire teams in the western sector of the U.S. He slowly slumped until he lay on the floor. His eyes drooped, despite his brain's protests to keep them open. Slowly, ever so quietly, he fell asleep.

Flashback

"Sir, we've got people trying to cross the line!" Marcus' newest private pointed to a stream of people climbing the fence which surrounded Fire Team Zulu's perimeter. The only evacuation bus left was behind the perimeter, and it was already filled to the brim. The fence creaked under the weight of the hysterical mob. Marcus nodded to his lieutenant, who was manning an M60, to open fire. The mob began to fall in a rain of crimson. Inside the bus, the driver nodded to Marcus as the bus began its journey to Sacramento, the last remaining safe haven in the Western states. The perimeter fell as the bus slowly shuffled out of the parking lot...

"Pull back, pull back!!!" Marcus' lieutenant yelled as the unruly mob slowly transformed into a horde of infected. It all began with the fat woman who was complaining of a headache a few hours ago. She began puking up red chunks onto the people around her during the mob to try and get to the bus... and the rest is, well, history.

Marcus' troops slowly pulled back, still firing their assault rifles, to form a tight circle in the center of the perimeter, where the bus had once been. The infected kept coming and coming, with no end in sight. The fire team ended up splitting up, with Marcus, his lieutenant, and three privates going towards the apartments nearby. The rest of the troops chose to head to the garage across from the apartments.

"Good luck!" Marcus yelled as he directed his team into one of the apartments. As he closed the door, he got a quick glance of the other team. They were being quickly ovverun, with only two men left. One was firing the M60, and the other was puking on the floor, slowly turning into a mindless infected. Marcus shook his head and motioned for his teammates to head upstairs. He followed them, closing the door behind him.

"Alright, everyone take positions!" Marcus ordered. Two of the three privates took positions by the single door leading to the room. His lieutenant took a position by him, each of them covering the two windows, and the final private took a position by the bookcase, facing the door. Only one, peeling wall, to the left of the door, was left undefended. Marcus would realize that mistake far too late...

At first his team made quick work of any infected who came upstairs. Then the peeling wall began to rumble. One of the privates scratched his head in confusion.

"What the -- Oh shit!" he realized what was going on. The infected broke through the wall, climbing up from the first floor, and swarmed the remenants of Fire Team Zulu. The two privates by the door were quickly overwhelmed, as was the private by the bookcase. They screamed in agony - in pain and horror - as their living flesh was torn. Their brains, their hearts, their arteries: all torn from them and thrown to the side. Marcus could only watch in horror, but his lieutenant kept firing and grabbed his collar.

"It's now or never!" she yelled, smashing her elbow against one of the windows. She dragged Marcus and jumped out, both of them landing on top of a parked car. Luckily, its alarm was off. Marcus groaned slightly, thinking that bruises would probably color his chest soon enough. His lieutenant, however, was in far worse shape. She barely looked human anymore. Her eyes were -

End Flashback

Marcus woke up, his arms flailing. His mind was cloudy and at first he had no idea where he was. His eyes soon ajusted to the dark, though, and he realized that the sun was peering over the horizon. He had slept well over 8 hours! He pushed his thoughts of the past out of his mind and got up, his limbs aching slightly. Looking to the table, he saw that an assault rifle, a SCAR Close-Combat, was laying. His own weapon - an AK-47 that he had scavenged off of his late lieutenant, was out of ammunition. Upon further inspection of the table, he saw that there were no magazines compatible with his AK. Sighing, he picked up the SCAR and slung it. He paused for a moment and grunted, picking up his empty AK-47 and slinging it next to his SCAR.

After watching the sun's few rays peaking over the buildings for a few moments, he grabbed a K-ration and cut it open with his Swiss-Army knife. It was standard stuff: crackers, cheese, a small can of tea to mix with water, and instructions. He discarded the instructions and stuffed his mouth full with the crackers and cheese - it had been a while since his last meal. He poured the tea into one of the cleaner water bottles and mixed it together. Taking a quick drink, he spat but kept the bottle anyway. Looking out onto the other door, he saw it was devoid of any infected.

"Strange," he muttered to himself, "I could've sworn --"

He cut off his rantings as he heard crying. Clearly someone was still alive - unless zombies had learned to cry? He dismissed the thought and decided he had to try and rescue to the distressed survivor. He took a closer look outside. He heard the crying echoing from a nearby townhouse. It had seen better days: its windows were all broken and the bricks that lined its walls were whitish and pale. It was slouching to one side and he hesitated. Did he really want to enter a building that could fall in on him at any moment? No, he couldn't hesitate. He could never live with himself if a survivor he could have rescued ended up dead.

Unbarring the exit door, he unslung his SCAR. He brushed his fingers against his waist, reassured by the cold metal of the Magnum that he felt slung on his belt. Smiling a bit, he opened the door and walked out into the cool dawn. He crept around carefully, lest he should alert a horde. As he approached the townhouse nearby, he saw something that caused his jaw to unhinge.

There was an SUV there. He couldn't tell what make or what brand - he wasn't into cars - but it seemed like it was fit to drive. It only had a couple of dents, and there were even gas cans nearby. The prospect of escape seemed like a wild fantasy now, but there it was! However, it wasn't the car that had made his jaw hinge. Right in front of it was...

A witch. He had no idea of the danger he was in. Assuming it was just a survivor who had cracked, Marcus took slow steps towards her. She was a pale grey and had long grey hair that shaded her face from the sun. Her sharp claws were covering the rest of her face as she cried, and Marcus shuddered when she let out a long howl during the brief moments when she stopped crying. He raised his SCAR, its lazer sight accidently shining in her eyes.

"AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!" She burst off sprinting after him. Marcus took off running for the SUV. It was his only chance. As the witch neared closer and closer, he could almost feel her sharp, jagged claws sinking into his flesh. He ran into the open SUV door and slammed it shut. Just in time, too. The witch's arm dangled out in front of him, broken away from the rest of her body. He shot the quivering arm with his magnum and sighed uneasily. Groaning, he looked to his chest and saw the witch had left a sizable slash on it. Reaching for his medkit, he pulled out bandages and some alcohol to clean his wound. The witch was still outside, banging against the SUV with her emaciated body. After washing his wound off, he pulled out his SCAR and shot the witch several times until she ceased to move. Carefully opening the door, he threw the witch's arm out. Marcus proceeded to bandage himself.

"Huh," he got out of the SUV and looked at the gas cans, "I wonder..."

He walked towards the cans and picked them up. Marcus popped open the gas tank and refilled the SUV. It seemed strange to him that someone would leave a perfectly good SUV and gasoline during a zombie apocalypse. But, then again, now wasn't the time to question his good luck. He sat back into the driver seat and looked for a key.

"Nothing," Marcus muttered, disappointed, "If John were here he could've hotwired this. Damn..."

Marcus looked to the passenger's seat and saw a zombified body that lay, shot, with a gun in its hand. He realized what had happened. Shaking it off, he pulled out the wirebox in the car and began his many attempts to hotwire the SUV.

Two hours earlier...

Marcus was still sound asleep in the safe room. He turned over slightly, trying to drown out the faint buzzing noise that was coming from outside. He turned over, trying to get the buzzing sound out of his head, and awoke. Bleary-eyed, he could see the shadow of headlights approaching him, but he soon fell asleep again. Outside the safe room, a brand new, polished SUV was humming through town. It had two people inside - both young teenagers with guns. The driver was a dashing young man - blonde-haired, blue-eyed, the sort you see in the movies - and the passenger to his right was a girl - not beautiful but not ugly by any standards. Both were giggling and generally having a great time as the blonde man drove through the deserted city. They were survivors, of course, but they tried to make it seem like the apocalypse was a good time. They tried hard to take their minds off of the impending doom.

"Hey John," the passenger, Mary, smiled at him, "Where are we going?"

"There are rumors that a 747 - one of those giant jetliners - is leaving for Pittsburgh from LAX. From there we can drive over to Allegheny National Forest where the military's gonna pick us up," John responded. He leaned back as he eased the car into a left turn near the safe room where Marcus was resting. All those months he racked up in Marcus' squad sure did help him when it came to nerves.

"Why not somewhere closer, like near California," Mary leaned her head on John. She sighed quietly as John continued driving. Suddenly, she let out an ear-piercing yell.

"THERE'S A ZOMBIE!" she screamed. John kept his nerve and veered away from the zombie. But it was too late.

The SUV roared as its driver turned too hard, too fast. Skidding, the vehicle slammed into a nearby tree, denting it slightly in the front. John groaned, dazed and confused, but his hands found their way to the clutch. Switching to reverse, he ran right over the incoming zombie, crushing it with a sickening 'SQUELCH!' As the SUV backed up, the back popped open and several full gas cans fell out, rolling to a stop a few feet away from the vehicle. He breathed hard, trying to calm down from the adrenaline rush he had, and trying to better assess the situation.

"Okay," he thought, "Zombie's dead. We'll be fine. Why does my arm hurt so much, though?"

John gulped. In a sudden, unexpected move he feverishly pulled up his right sleeve. Horrified, he rolled it back down before Mary could take a good look. His right arm had had a small slice in it an hour ago. Now, the wound was swelling and had puss. His thoughts began to cloud and he began to mumble incoherently. Pulling the key out of its slot, John jammed it in his pant pocket without a second thought. His mind was running on adrenaline now, and his thoughts began to fog as his brain slowly hemorraged and died.

"Gotta get out. Gotta get out. Gotta get out," John mumbled under his breath, violently lashing at the seatbelt, trying to get it off. Mary looked at him with a puzzled and slightly frightened look.

"John," she said seriously, "John are you alright?"

John calmed down a bit and leaned back against the chair. He stopped mumbling and groaned.

"Yeah," he said shakily, "Y-yeah I'm..."

John tilted his head back.

"I'm... I'm oh..."

Growls began to emate from his mouth. John opened his eyes quickly and shot a look at Mary, who screamed in horror. John's eyes were milky white, and his arms were scratching her. In a rare moment of strength, she yanked the pistol from John's belt and shot him in the head. Shaking, she dropped the pistol and screamed, this time even louder than the last. Unbuckling herself, she unbuckled John, opened the door, and dragged his body to the passenger's seat. Fearing that someone would think she was a killer, she took the pistol and lay it in John's hand. She began sobbing uncontrollably and her fingers began to ache. Dragging herself away from the SUV in pain, she sat down nearby and brought her hands up to her face. Thoughts were meshing together and she was losing her mind. She suddenly saw a bright light coming towards her. Raising her head, she began to walk towards it. It was warm.... Comforting... Peaceful... Oh so very peaceful.

As Marcus began to greet the morning sunshine after his rest, a Witch could be heard crying. There was no soul in this body, just an angry, diseased brain. The soul had departed a few hours back to live with John, her mother, and her father on a nice farm away from the city. That soul had been a happy, carefree one up until tonight. Now, only skin upon a bony skeleton remained.

Present time...

"Goddammit!" Marcus threw the wires down in frustration. He had tried for two hours to hotwire the car without success. Grabbing the wirebox, he carefully set it back in its original position. Looking to the dead body with the gunshot wound, he snaked out his arms tentatively. Upon seeing it was really dead, he began searching pocket after pocket for the key. After finding it in the body's pant pocket, he inserted it into the key slot and found, much to his delight, that it worked!

"Alright, time to get down to business," Marcus knew that the longer he stayed here the higher the chance that zombies would find him. Running to the safe room, he grabbed all the rations he could carry, as well as several water bottles, and threw them in the back seat of the SUV. He then closed the trunk of the SUV, which he had mysteriously found to have been opened, and dragged the shot body from the passenger's seat to a nearby bush outside. Closing the passenger door with a satisfied smirk, he jumped in the SUV, laid down his weapons in the passenger's seat, and drove off. As mile after mile of road passed him, and the sun began rising higher in the sky, he wondered where he was going to go. Slowing to a stop near a highway on-ramp, he opened the glove compartment and looked inside.

"Nothing useful, that's disgusting," Marcus haphazardly tossed the objects inside onto the car floor. He then caught a glimpse of a map underneath all of the other objects.

"Hmm..." he unfolded the map, "Now THAT'S interesting."

The map was torn in many places (not that it mattered; the only spots left were California, Lousiana, and Pennsylvania), but he could make out a clear path to Los Angeles that was marked in bold, red letters:

"GO TO LAX AIRPORT FOR EVAC. 747 AVAILABLE FOR TRANSPORT. LIMITED SEATS. FIRST COME, FIRST SERVE."

"Looks like I'm getting out of here after all," Marcus grinned. He sped up and dodged the cars that filled the road, driving on sidewalks and into destroyed buildings as detours on his way to LAX...

Meanwhile, at Allegheny National Forest...

"Goddammit Bill!" Francis threw his arms up as the APC jerked from side to side, "Don't you know how to drive? I thought you fought in 'Nam!"

"I was a gunner in 'Nam," Bill responded, his cigarette flaring up slightly as if it were angry, "I'll be damned if I know how to drive this thing!"

The APC jerked wildly as the old veteran tried to tame it. Unlike a car, this APC had insensative steering, so Bill ended up swerving left and right as he attempted to dodge zombies and other obstacles... This was gonna be a long few days...

Author's Note: So, what do you think of it? I spent three days writing it, so if there's any mistakes or universe errors that's probably why. Anyway, review please! If you're going to flame, stay the hell away! But, if you didn't like it for good reasons, please explain in your review what I should improve and what you didn't like. First reviewer gets to pick how the survivors and Marcus meet up! Also, please vote on whether you would like the Left 4 Dead 2 characters (Nick, Coach, Rochelle, Ellis) to make an appearance in the fanfic. I'll continue writing when I get at least 5 reviews - whether positive or negative. :3