Don't Play With Your Food

1: Arriving in Andale

The survivors struggled to walk under the intense Wasteland sun. By the time they had reached the small town of Andale, Louis was making sure Bill didn't fall over and the indestructible Francis carried a near-fainting Zoey.

The biker firmly knocked on the door of the best looking house they'd seen all day. A bald man answered.

"Hello there, stranger!" He greeted. "Name's Jack Smith. What can I do for you?"

"Oh my God, you mean, you're not another raider I have to strangle the life out of with my bare hands?" Francis exclaimed.

Louis stepped forward to shake the man's hand. "Forgive Francis, we've been through a lot to get here. I'm Louis, great to meet you!"

"No worries, friends! Welcome to Andale, the best little town in Virginia!" Jack grinned, leading the group into the living room.

As Bill sat down, resting his old bones, he noticed a delightful aroma wafting in from the kitchen. "Say, Jack, something smells fantastic!"

Mr. Smith jumped up. "Of course! You must be starving, where are my manners? Let me go fix you folks up!"

Zoey raised an eyebrow. "He's awfully nice. Too nice!" She giggled nervously. "Well... I really have to use the washroom. I'll be right back."

She called for Jack to ask where it was, but he didn't reply. Not having time on her side, she ventured upstairs and found it on her own. After finishing her business, she splashed cool water over her face.

The water, unsurprisingly, was still disgusting and had trace amounts of radiation in it; but it would have to do. Purified water was expensive and they had just recently found themselves in this strange world after hiding in a closet that just so happened to be an alternate dimension/time machine.

At least, that was Zoey's theory. Bill thought it was a military experiment and they were the test subjects. Louis couldn't think of an explanation; only thanked the Director that at least he didn't have to deal with hordes of zombies anymore (though, he found Radscorpions to be formidable opponents as well). As for Francis: he really digs raider chicks. Too bad almost all of them shoot first and don't ask questions later.

Her train of thought was broken when she heard what sounded like fighting from downstairs. Assuming it was only Francis being his loud and clumsy self, she put the negative thoughts out of her mind and continued to fix her rugged appearance and cool herself down.

She returned downstairs, there was an eerie silence; except for the sound of footsteps upstairs. Francis, Bill and Louis were no longer sitting in the living room. She began to feel uneasy, though her time dealing with a zombie apocalypse had somewhat toughened her up. Her eyes caught a few dark stains on the hardwood flooring, undoubtedly blood. Had that been there before?

A hand landed on her shoulder and she jumped, turned on her heel and saw Jack Smith smiling at her. "Sorry, did I frighten you?"

She rubbed that back of her neck. "A little... uh, where are my friends?"

"Oh, they just went to pick up supplies from Canterbury Commons. They didn't want to bother you! Francis — is that his name? — said that you should rest up for now."

Zoey was taken aback. "That doesn't sound like something they would do... are you sure? They just... left?"

"Cross my heart and hope to die!" He said, grinning at something behind her.

She turned around to see a tall man. Clean cut, brown-haired and wearing a sweater vest. The man patted down his clothing sporadically, as if trying to rid himself of something. Zoey was not getting the best vibes from the situation.

"I'd like you to meet my friend and brother, Willy Wilson!" Jack said.

"Hey, Jack! You know I don't like to be called that. The name's Bill." He looked at Zoey. Welcome to Andale, the-"

She cut him off. "Yes, thanks, but can you please tell me where Canterbury Commons is? I really need to find my friends."

Suddenly a short haired woman in a dress entered from the front door, already talking. "So I hear you've got some fresh mea-" She stopped when she saw the young woman. "Oh, ha ha! I was about to say meaple! I mean people, of course. Fresh people. Uh... new people! New visitors! Welcome to Andale-"

Bill Wilson grabbed her by the waist, pulling her close. "This is my lovely wife, Martha!"

There was a moment of silence before Jack spoke up. "Thanks for showing up. We were just answering our new guest's question." He turned to Zoey. "Now, you can't just go out there yourself. They'll be back in a few days. Until then, let us prepare you... I mean, let us prepare dinner for you!"

Zoey bit her lip anxiously. She could see that there was no reasoning with these people, as kind as they were. She was awfully exhausted, and if her guys had already left without her...

Bill Wilson laid his hand on her back, moving her towards the dining room. "Your comrades will be fine! Let's play some cards until dinner is ready."

She gave in and indulged in a few rounds of Crazy Eights with the strangely courteous men while their chipper wives cooked.