Disclaimer: I do not own Left 4 Dead, Valve does. If I did own the game, Zoey wouldn't be so polite ("You are welcome, sir." Seriously, you expect this from an 18/19-year-old?), Louis would have an animation whenever he would "sense" pain pills (thieving bastard always taking my peelz!), Bill would die more often (every time his character shouts at me, I just feel like setting him ablaze with a Molotov), and Francis would actually like something other than vests (like the cheap exploits that Valve keeps fixing -.-).

No Man's Land

By: Confused Confusion


Inspired music: "Ain't No Grave" – Johnny Cash

"…CEDA President Alice Richmond issued a statement earlier today regarding the Green-"

"These are not the walking undead, they are people, like you and me, who are merely sick and are in need of help-"

"CEDA has issued the following precautionary steps in the wake of Green's pandemic risk for the east coast:

Report any suspicious activity.

Barricade your homes.

Avoid contact with infected individuals.

Await official instructi-"

"Reports have flooded in involving large-scale protests on CEDA centers stationed across the country…wait a moment. We have just received word that rioters have set fire to CEDA's headquarters in Washington D.C., this is not a hoax, CEDA's HQ has been burned to the ground. We now take you live to the grim scene-"

"General Steele has just released word that in the wake of CEDA's lack of effect, the US military will now be taking over the operations of large-scale evacuations, quarantines, and maintaining stability during this time of cris-"

"As a general of the United States army, I vow to the citizens of this nation that I will do everything in my power to protect you from the threat of the Green Flu. I assure you, everything will be alrig-"

The loud and insistent drone of a testing channel filled the air as the Infected bumped its head into the television set once more. Dead, milky eyes shifted slowly to a blotched red as quiet snarls emitted from the gray throat. With a scream of agitation, the former human smashed both its fists into the monitor, causing sparks to fly from the now black opening. With a roar, the Infected ripped the device from the wall and threw it to the floor of the destroyed apartment. Kicks and punches assaulted the television mercilessly for several minutes. The Infected ceased its actions, its eyes once again returning to their milky hue, certain that the object was now "dead."

A young woman rounded the corner of the deserted city street quickly, her breathing hitched and eyes wide with fear. Her clothes were in tatters, barely clinging to her frame as she ran with every ounce of energy she possessed. She turned her head around frantically, eyes searching for her unseen pursuer. An inhuman howl echoed across the tall brick buildings, causing the woman's breathing to quicken in horror. Tall, shifting silhouettes of innumerable count streaked across the walls of the dimly lit city block at a predatory speed.

Dead, milky eyes glared with an unspeakable rage as the footsteps of the Infected pounded against the pavement. The young woman turned her attention back to her front, unaware of the hooded figure leaping gracefully from rooftop to rooftop above her. Turning another corner, the young woman sped past the burning wreckage of a fuel truck that had crashed into a nearby chain of buildings. Skidding to a stop before the side of a building, she placed her hands on the cool surface, as if attempting to pass through it.

"No!" she whispered fearfully while glancing around quickly, desperately searching for another way out of the dead end she had run into. The snarls moved closer, causing her to turn around, unconsciously pressing herself into the wall. The swarms of Infected peeled around the corner, sprinting toward her in a mad frenzy. Above them, the crouching Hunter pounced on its unsuspecting prey.

The woman's screams reverberated throughout the air…

Inside the American Safety Zone, a few miles outside Pittsburgh, gunfire ripped through the air, temporarily drowning out the blood-curdling screams and howls. The large gated entrance lay in a crumpled heap on the road, courtesy of the rampaging Tank the military was attempting to gun down. Hordes of Infected came teeming into the town through the shattered opening, quickly spreading across the sheltered area.

The Tank roared and barreled through the small cluster of soldiers, arms flailing in every direction. The large, meaty fists tore through the contingent, swatting them away like rag dolls. The Tank lifted its arms once more, bringing them down upon a fallen soldier, crushing him instantly. More gunfire rang out, slowing growing weaker as the Tank moved from target to target.

One of the fortunate soldiers who had avoided the Tank's first strike quickly moved toward a nearby building, kicking the door open before ducking inside. Spinning around quickly, he came across a fatigue-dressed woman sitting in the corner of a glass-covered hallway, her back facing toward him.

"Hey! We need to get…" he began, but trailed off as his vision fully adjusted to the new lighting.

The woman was hunched over the body of a man, cradling his head while rocking back and forth, quiet sniffles wracking her form. The man was nothing but a corpse, a large pool of blood surrounding his body.

"What the hell?" the soldier whispered quietly while taking a step forward.

His heavy boot crushed a nearby shard of glass, causing a sharp crack to fill the air. The kneeling woman's head snapped up, her body twisting around, revealing twin orbs of glowing orange fury. She let loose a scream before rising with haunting grace, razor-sharp claws ripping out of her fingertips. The soldier cursed and raised his gun, but the woman was before him in a flash, her claws tearing through his abdomen like a hot knife through butter. Blood splattered across the ceiling and walls as horrified screams echoed through the open doorway. Moments later, the air quieted, still as a pond.

In the tranquility, the long, mournful weeping of the Witch sang out...

A small group of planes flew over the ruined city of Fairfield, the metropolis long since taken by the Green Flu. Various doors opened from the bottoms of the large aircraft. As they crossed into the city limits, several small bombs fell from the planes. Impacting into the ground, the explosives burst into storms of flame and heat. The planes continued their course, firebombing the entire city in hopes of purging a "hotbed" for the Green Flu. Columns of inferno erupted through the Infected-filled city blocks, bringing a figurative, and almost quite literal, Hell on Earth. Mercy Hospital burst into flames and debris as a line of shells slammed into it. The skyscraper stood for a moment before collapsing to the ground, sending destruction and chaos throughout the surrounding area.

From a distance, it looked as if Hell was already here…

"I don't know what to make of them, Miles. These guys just sprung out of the blue, one minute no one's heard of them and now I've got rumors and half-whispers flying around about this group called 'Penumbra.'"

Miles Anderson sighed on the other side of the computer monitor, "Sergeant Guilford and all of his higher-ups say they know nothing about Penumbra, but I'm unsure as to how much of that is truth."

Anderson's colleague frowned, "You'd figure a group claiming to be on the hunt for this virus' cure would want to team up with us and the military, right?"

"Yes…and that's what's weird about this whole thing…where did you last see them?"

The other man picked up a report from his desk, "According to the army's scouting team, the last of the convoy was seen moving across Canada's border into Quebec a few hours ago."

Miles sighed once again, "Send me word if you find anything else on them; Guilford's going into 'forced march' mode on us until we reach the airport, so I won't be able to contact you for a while."

Miles received a nod from his colleague, "Stay safe out there, Anderson…don't tell Amy this, but you probably have more info on this thing anyone else in CEDA. I just don't know what we'd do if all your work was lost."

"Wow, nice to know my work means more than my life," Miles replied sarcastically.

The other man waved his hands frantically, "No! I didn't mean it like that!"

Anderson chuckled before waving him off, "Yeah, I know what you meant, relax."

"Seriously though…stay safe."

"You too."

Major Henry West stepped inside the communications tower for one of Liverpool's many docks. A thick fog had rolled in overnight and brought a small sense of dread with it. Ever since NATO had stepped into the fray of minimizing the damage caused by the Green Flu, Henry's single largest fear was that the outbreak would find its way to his beloved country of England. His anxiety had reached new heights when the collaboration of nations had created an "Atlantic Evacuation Plan" for uninfected American citizens on the east coast. Liverpool, unfortunately, was designated as one of the European cities to house a refugee camp for the US civilians. Breaking his train of thought, Major West stepped up the man sitting behind the control panel.

"Any word from the next US vessel?"

The man gave a quick shake of his head, the impact of the month's events weighing on him too heavily to bother saluting his superior. "Not recently, sir; the last transmission we got from the captain was hours ago. We've tried getting a hold of them, but no one's responded."

Henry felt his eyes narrow in a mixture of suspicion and anger.

The seated man waved his hands defensively, "It could be this fog, though, it wouldn't be the first time it's messed with our communication line."

The Major snorted but said nothing, choosing to stare through the glass pane that overlooked the port instead. It seemed quiet, a little too quiet since the last ship had dropped off its batch of Americans. Henry was about to comment on it, but a loud siren filled the air, cutting him off.

"What's going on?" Henry demanded quickly while snapping his attention toward the seated man in front of him.

The man began flipping switches and pushing buttons with a frown, "I'm not sure…"

A wave of static pierced through the room, replaced quickly by the frantic gasps of an obviously distraught man.

"Tower, can you hear me?"

The seated man pushed a button labeled 'Talk,' "Yes soldier, we read you. What in the bloody hell is going on down there?"

The man on the other end sputtered while trying to futilely catch his breath, "Th-The evacuation ship…it's coming right for us and it's not stopping!"

Henry threw himself against the window; his eyes squinted as they attempted to see through the thick fog. Sure enough, in the gray wall of condensation, the large silhouette of a ship was moving rapidly toward the dock's station. The Major's eyes widened in horror as the vessel barreled through the dock, crushing the tent under its massive hull. On the line, static erupted from the speakers as the radio down below was crushed under tons of floating steel.

The large ship screamed loudly as it slowly came to a stop in the port, nearly half of it pitched up on the dry land. The siren didn't relent, and soldiers scrambled about the docks, searching for injured and attempting to secure a perimeter around the boat. Henry was quick in reaching the scene, immediately shouting orders to the groups and grabbing a firm hold on the situation.

"Ashford, you and your men find any survivors and get them some medical aide! Farrell, your unit's with me! We're going to see what in the hell happened on this boat!"

"Sir!" the soldiers all shouted in unison before moving to their assigned tasks.

Inside the bridge of the crashed vessel, a man wearing a bloodstained captain's uniform slowly rose from his position on the floor. Hoisting himself up, the captain turned toward the cracked glass pane, spotting several small lights moving toward his ship. Mouth agape, the captain continued to stare at the moving lights, his dead, milky eyes never leaving them…

A man, clad in street clothes, set the large box down with a grunt before standing, clicking his spine back into place with a long stretch. Another man, wearing fatigues, placed a similar sized box on the ground as well, standing up to give the other man a look of appreciation.

"Thanks Phil, you're really been a life saver these past couple of days. I'm pretty sure this place wouldn't have lasted if it weren't for you."

The civilian shrugged good-naturedly, "No problem Private Dan, I'm more than happy to help."

Dan nodded, "And the entire Midwest Safety Zone thanks you for it. I don't think I've seen any other volunteer work as hard as you do."

Phil remained silent, offering the Private a weak smile before gently bringing a hand to his forehead.

Dan noticed the movement, "You okay?"

"Yeah, just a headache…may go sit down for a bit," Phil answered with a shaky breath, not noticing his skin growing pale. A moment later and he collapsed onto the ground in a fit on convulsions.

"Phil? Phil!" Dan called while attempting to still the other man's shaking form.

Veins running underneath his skin protruded as Phil's heart-rate skyrocketed. Foam began to bubble from his mouth and Phil became painfully aware of the agonizing burning sensation that was spreading across his entire body. The stricken man started to claw at his flesh in a futile gesture to ease the burning. Several other soldiers in the area ran toward the distraught Private, but immediately backed away at the sight.

Phil's body began to expand, his clothes tearing at the seams with the size increase. His breathing came out as a mixture of gasps and primal screams as his skin began to stretch in protest to his ever inflating frame. Through the immense pain, Phil was indistinctly aware of the loud snaps emitting from his legs as the kneecaps all but shattered. He continued to grow, the layers of skin splitting away to reveal the bloody gore that was his muscles.

The crowd continued to back away, Dan included, as the screams fell silent. The creature that was once Phil stirred, planting its hands and inverted legs onto the ground. Wide, lidless crimson eyes stared at the fearful crowd before them. The monstrosity breathed in and let loose a roar that shook the very ground it stood on. Some of the better trained soldiers quickly pulled their sidearms from their holsters, firing entire clips into the red beast they had surrounded.

The large Infected, unfazed by the lead raining into its body, gave a snarl before dashing through the crowd, razor sharp claws tearing through the bodies effortlessly. Those in the monster's way who were lucky enough to avoid the deadly blades at the beast's fingertips were merely thrown into the air like rag dolls. Gunmen in the nearby watch tower shot down at the leviathan with various mounted guns, causing the Infected to turn its attention upward. A soldier inside the tower quickly sprinted over to the radio on the table.

"Hello! This is the MSZ in Norfolk, Nebraska…we're in serious trouble here! There's this thing, I don't know what the hell it is but it's definitely not a Tank…it's ripping this place apart and-"

The soldier's message was cut off as the red Infected plowed through the wall, killing the mounted gunmen almost instantly. Without pause, the beast dashed toward the soldier at the radio, removing his abdomen from the rest of his body before the man could even reach for the pistol at his side. An alarm and several shouts from below the tower forced the creature's head to snap in attention.

With another devastating roar, the gruesome horror leapt from the tower and charged the armed soldiers with unimaginable ferocity…

"Hello, I'm Sharon Owens with KFDA News here on the streets of Amarillo, Texas where hundreds of protestors have gathered to form a mob outside the CEDA Research Facility," a middle-aged woman with long black hair recited into the microphone in her hand.

In the background, a wall of a people were shouting, flipping off, and throwing various items at the line of riot police stationed in front of the CEDA building.

"For any viewers unaware of the current predicament, let me bring you up to speed. Earlier today, CEDA representatives announced the largest fear that officials have been speculating ever since Green's outbreak began in Fairfield, Pennsylvania: the risk of Carriers. In the building behind me lies the first announced Carrier that CEDA hopes they can somehow find links to a vaccine from."

The cries of the crowd became more fevered, forcing the line of police officials to ease back slowly. The reporter approached the back of the mob with visible nervousness.

"With the crowd becoming more unsettled, let's get some personal views on the issue."

Sharon tapped a man on the back of the shoulder, causing him to whip around defensively. "Excuse me, sir, but what are your thoughts on the Carriers?"

The man stared at her before snatching the microphone from her hand, earning cries of protest from the KFDA member. Bringing the device to his mouth, the man glared into the camera lens.

"The only good Carrier is a dead Carrier!"

Shouts and screams of agreement echoed around him…

The sound of gunfire reverberated in terrifying repetition around the outskirts of New Orleans. Army personnel, safely secured behind a tall fence, shot through the openings between the chain links at the oncoming crowd. Given the recent events, such a sight, disturbingly, would not be uncommon, especially with half of the city overrun by the Green Flu. However, unlike the previous situations where soldiers were gunning down Infected, this group was shooting live, uninfected human beings.

"You can't do this to us, we're not infected!" one woman screamed, her eyes wide with terror as lifeless bodies fell around her.

The statement did nothing to ease the barrage. One soldier glanced at her, raised his rifle's scope to his eye, and pulled the trigger. The woman fell to the ground in a heap, blood pouring from her head.

To the average person, these were innocent human beings who were being slaughtered without remorse in the most unjust of fashions. To the military stationed in the crumbling city of New Orleans, these were caged animals, animals that were trying to escape, animals that would soon become sick anyway, and would only help in spreading the virus across the remainder of the country.

A small group of people ducked behind a nearby house, traveling out of sight as the roar of gunfire grew further away. A heavyset man with medium-length curly brown hair leaned up against the house, gasping for air while attempting to ignore the large blood splatters on his clothes.

"They…they actually shot at us. They actually killed innocent people!" the large man shouted, aghast.

"Would you keep quiet?" An elderly man hissed while glaring at the loudmouth. "There's no telling if other patrols are out and about!"

"What are we going to do?" a tanned woman asked quietly, hugging herself gently in a futile attempt of consolidation.

"Shh, did you guys hear that?" the last member of their group, a tall man wearing a backwards ball cap, shushed quickly.

"Hear what?" as soon as the words left the old man's mouth, a curtain of red exploded from his chest.

The others stared in horror as the man slumped onto the grass, blood quickly pooling around his corpse.

The woman brought a trembling hand to her mouth, "W-What in the-"

Brain-matter and bits of bone erupted from the side of her head before the woman could finish her question. She stood for a sickening moment before crumpling to the ground. The hat-wearing man immediately scrambled behind a nearby garage, leaving the plump man in the opening, too stunned to move.

"What are you doing? Hurry up and get over here!" the taller man ordered while frantically gesturing with his hand.

His companion merely stared at the two bodies before him, shaking his head slowly as if to deny the previous of ever happening. With a frightened scream, the larger man suddenly turned and started running in the opposite direction.

"No, don't! You idiot!" the other man roared, but it was too late.

A barely audible gunshot rang out and the fat man collapsed, skidding to a stop as a crimson fountain spewed from his back. The hat-wearer slammed his eyes shut in helplessness, fighting back the urge to make a run for it. First thing was first, he needed to find where their attacker was, and then try to sneak past him. Before the man could begin to formulate a plan, a snarl caused him to spin around. A pale, blood-covered Infected sprinted around the corner, stopping when he caught sight of the man.

The tall man stepped back a bit, "Oh, no…dear God, no."

The Infected let loose a screech before tackling the man out from behind the garage. Screaming in terror, the man did everything he could to keep the former human away. Another shot rang out, and the hat-wearing man grew still, forcing the Infected's head to snap up toward the sound. A moment later, its head exploded as a large bullet pierced through it. A block away, on the second story of a charred house, the blinds shifted closed.

The tip of a lit cigarette glowed brightly as its user inhaled the nicotine. Sliding a new magazine into his sniper rifle, the man set it down by his cot, picking up a sharpie instead. Popping the cap off, the man added four hash marks below a regular stick figure, and one below another figure with slanted lines for eyes and a scribbled mouth. The sounds of movement outside the window caused the man to set down the marker. With a sadistic grin, he once again lifted his firearm and pulled the blinds open.

There was nowhere left to run; the pair had cornered themselves on the rooftop of a two-story restaurant on Bourbon Street. Turning around, the older of the two checked the contents of his pistol's magazine: one bullet. Cursing quietly, he knelt down before his son, the child nearly on the verge of tears. Pulling the young boy to his chest, the father lowered his face to the top of the child's head. The boy buried his face into his father's chest, fearful tears streaking down his cheeks.

"Hush now, Ryan, it's going to be okay," the father soothed quietly while slowly raising the pistol.

A loud roar called from in front of them as a Charger leapt onto the rooftop, dashing toward the pair with frightening speed.

The father put the barrel to Ryan's head, "This is all just a dream, so just close your eyes."

As dawn basked the once bustling city in its light, a lone gunshot rang out through the quiet air…

Man's time as the dominant force on this planet…has come to an end.

Weathered eyes gazed down at the terrified brunette on the floor as the biker stood at the doorway of the dorm room, keeping watch…

Only a few days after the first official case of the Green Flu was reported in the United States, an outbreak of unimaginable proportions took place. Spreading across the nation, the virus tore through the population like the plague. In the days to follow, despite the world's best efforts to contain it, Green swept across the planet like wildfire, touching the four corners of the very globe. The surviving populous barricaded themselves in Quarantine Zones in a desperate bide to outlast the viral outbreak. Their efforts…were done in vain…

Rain pounded relentlessly against the rooftop of Mercy Hospital…

In merely half a month, the Green Flu had mutated and evolved to the point where scientists were having trouble keeping up with its many strains and variants. It wouldn't matter how tightly the so-called "Immunes" locked themselves in, Green was changing at a rate faster than that of the Common Cold. However, in the face of doom, something emerged from the darkness. A privately owned military faction known as "Penumbra" appeared in eastern Canada shortly after Green's outbreak in the US. Their intentions and agenda: to find a cure for Green.

A fire-stricken sky…furious milky eyes glared at her…alarms…the deafening whirling of the helicopter blades…the crash…

As for us, well, it turns out that the American Safety Zone was indeed still intact when they sent out the APC to Point Echo. After a small mishap on the outskirts of Pittsburgh, we hoofed it to the ASZ site, and, knowing our luck, it had been ripped apart. Apparently the infection had somehow slipped in and took the city out from the inside. Those, if any, who managed to escape it, scattered to the wind. After Bill and Francis had finished nearly an hour's worth of cursing, we decided to make our way north, toward Canada. Our theory: the colder it is, the less likely it was for Infected to be running around. After all, they weren't the walking undead, they were still living, breathing organisms, and there was no way an Infected could survive the desolate cold of winter by shambling about.

The pilot's shouts were swallowed by the enraged roars of the Tank as it charged toward the prone businessman…

After entering the Pittsburgh area, we blasted through the city, eventually coming across an abandoned semi-truck depot that was used as a temporary evacuation point. Although we didn't find any usable semis, we did come across a decked out van that looked like it was built for the very zombie apocalypse we were experiencing, what a coincidence. Helping ourselves to the armored vehicle, we mowed through the Infected and headed for the border, where we hoped our salvation would be.

A flying rock…broken fuel line…emergency landing in a field…a highway…endless howls…approaching footsteps…

Bill had always mentioned we were running on borrowed time, and now, I'm beginning to feel the same way. It's as if we're trying to run a race that's already ended, we're just in last place and, like the sore losers that we are, refuse to accept that we've lost. Everywhere we go, things seem to become more helpless, as if there's no safe place to hide anymore. Whatever Quarantine Zones have been established have all been abandoned or wiped out by the newer variants of Green.

She had always liked touring the Main Street as a child when her parents brought her here for vacations…

Now, looking out the latched panel beside me and seeing the cold desolation that Canada had brought, I finally felt the weight of Bill's words. Winter was rapidly approaching, and I knew, along with everyone else I was sharing this small, metal box with, that if we couldn't find safety here, we were, well…screwed.

Slater…a friendly face that wasn't screaming in rage…the dock…Alleghany…abandoned military post…Point Echo…

Louis, being the optimist of our ragtag band of Survivors, kept a smile on his face, offering helpful looks whenever he caught one of us glancing at him. Bill remained the somber leader that he was; only now he was out of cigarettes, which could be almost as bad as Louis without pills or Francis without alcohol. Speaking of the biker, he was keeping his eyes glued to the road…I'm not sure how he managed to convince the others into being the driver for this shift…or any shift for that matter. Meanwhile, I was propped up against a pillow; a cynical smile on my lips while thumbing through a 'Zombie Survival Guide' that I had looted from a bookstore while we were in Pittsburgh.

Glanced back just in time to see Francis leap out the window and onto the roof, the Witch hot on his heels…

Supplies: Dangerously low.

Sanity: What sanity?

Morale: Ha. That's a good one.

Chance of survival: Near-zero.

The APC…Pittsburgh…Tank…driver's lifeless eyes…semi-truck depot…hopelessness...

Were we scared?

"…We never had a chance at surviving this…did we?"

…Hell no.


A/N: Well...there's a lot of things to explain for this baby. I sort of wanted to capture a sense of what the rest of the nation, and consequently, the world was experiencing during both L4D and the time gap between the two games. I've already mentioned that I'm a sucker for the L4D graffiti, which is what most of the prologue was inspired by. The new Infected spawning in Nebraska was brought on by the second Crash Course Map in the saferoom, where all the safe zones are either circled or crossed out...except Nebraska, which is scribbled for some unknown reason. The news reporter bit was, somewhat obviously, inspired by the graffiti written out in the Park's starting saferoom of The Parish. The two parts in New Orleans were brought on by more grafitti in The Parish: the fence-hopping plan and the stick-figure hash marks. The stick figures always bugged me to an extent, just for the sheer fact that the whole thing could represent so many things...but I chose to go with the sadistic possibility and introduce the sociopathic feel to the zombie apocalypse.

As always, reviews and feedback are greatly appreciated.