Disclaimer - All rights belong to Teletoon, Cartoon Network, and the creators of TDI and TDA. No profit is being made in the making of the fanfiction. This alternate-universe episode of TDI contains stunts performed by written teens. Do not try any of this at home.
TKN's Message - This one was a long time coming, wasn't it? I know it's been a while, and I know most of you prefer that I do TDBG instead. But I promised CuttieArtGirl to finish this, and I don't want to break that promise to her; it's over-delayed as it is! And breaking a promise is the fastest way to lose a friend's trust…
Chapter 03 - Fight the Dead, Fight the Living More
Noah hated the outdoors. Especially at night, he hated being outside, even if it meant most people would be asleep at night.
This hatred double over the fact that zombies didn't sleep. It tripled when he came to terms that he was spending all night awake, and not over a computer game. It quadrupled over the fact that he hadn't slept, he barely had a moment to rest, ever since he experienced a volcano eruption, a hurricane, and nearly being eaten by zombies.
All the hatred could be pushed aside when with Leshawna, who he was becoming more and more grateful to be stuck with.
The two of them had been trekking through the neighborhood when they had seen the flare. At first, all was going well, especially since the katana they had discovered was proving to decapitate zombies (first was horrific for her, after that, she was uncomfortably comfortable with doing it).
A car crash had stopped their progress along the road. They had to deviate to a dirt road that led right back into the forest. Noah found a sturdier branch, and gave it a couple practice swings as they walked.
"Okay, I think I get the gist of it," Noah said. "Swing for the temple, make a wisecrack involving busting heads, and we're good."
"You start with a bunch of head puns," Leshawna remarked, "I'm going to knock some sense into yours!"
She said it more in jest than threat now. Deep down, she was glad Noah could joke about this, because she sure couldn't. He was a lot stronger mentally than she had ever thought.
That was the thing about dire situations: you get to learn who someone really is. Leshawna had learned that Noah, deep down, was more brave, loyal, and tough than she believed him, or any normal person, to be.
Here in the forest again, she needed that kind of tenacity. She had no idea that he was relying on her just as much for the same reasons.
Kauda's forests were amazingly dense, no matter if they were outlining the beaches or inland like they were. The trace amount of light that made it through was only just enough for them to see the path ahead of them.
Undead howls could be heard in the distance, sometimes echoing so powerfully that it felt like the ghouls were right on top of them. What made it worse is that their steps on the dirt path seemed to scream their presence out to the undead.
When one came out of the forest, reaching at them with blood-soaked hands, Leshawna went at it in a mixture of fury, fear, and anxiety. When she swung the katana, she missed its neck.
She instead slashed the top half of its face, slicing open both its sunken eyes. As eye juice streamed down the ghoul's face in the most macabre crying anyone had ever seen, she dove to the side to avoid its lunge.
The undead stumbled blindly forward, and walked directly into a tree. It even started to gnaw on the back, its limited brain power unable to quickly distinguish what it was eating.
Noah kicked the back of its knee, making it fall down on its rotting legs. Then the egghead lifted his foot, and bucked the beast against the tree. Teeth were smashed out in the first kick, and then the head caved in with the second and third blows. Huffing and puffing, Noah stepped back.
"I don't know whether to laugh or barf," he admitted, patting his chest to get his wind back.
"That was one way to finish him off," Leshawna said. Then she managed to smile, and add, "You just bucked him against the tree… are you sure you're not a Brony?"
"Oh for crying out loud, we're going there again?"
"Anything to keep up from having to deal with the madness around us, short stuff."
"Yeesh, fine," Noah muttered. He started to walk down the path again, glancing from side to side. "I just hope we're heading in the right direction of that flare, and not deviating too far."
"Just keep putting one foot in front of the other, and we'll get through this."
He wanted to say something sarcastic over that, but he didn't have to energy, or the desire, to snark her at all. Funny, he never felt like resisting snarking anyone before. She was a first.
"So, um, home school," Eva muttered, "how come you're back to normal?"
As Gwen's rescue team walked through the town, the group was quiet for the most part. The flare lighting up the sky had long since died down, and luckily, one of the roads seemed to lead in the direction it was in.
They stayed on the sidewalk. It seemed stupid at first, especially with how abandoned the city was. But even with no cars, no lights, and not a living soul in sight, they had good reason to: the more spread out and in the open they were, the more chance the undead would see them.
"Pardon?" Ezekiel asked, shying away a little from Eva.
The fitness buff was having a hard time believing that this was the same boy who… well, actually, she didn't know Ezekiel at all. First she thought he was a sexist hick, then she thought he was an idiot who had determination that rivaled hers, then he was a freak who was mutated by his stupid decisions.
Now here he was, holding a machete in his hand, stained with zombie blood, and acting shy when she talked to him. He had just slashed down a bunch of those brain-munching ghouls, without any pause, and he was nervous of her?
Eva didn't know if she should feel flattered, enraged, or both. Normally it would be the second, but now, now that she saw death and was still in the most perilous situation she could imagine, she didn't want to rage.
"Your skin and such, it looks better than when we saw you last," Eva pointed out. "But that was only a day ago. Or was it two?
"Honestly, feels like years ago," Trent spoke up. "So much as changed."
"Darn true," Bridgette muttered. She had been furiously trying to rub out some blood from her jacket. Eventually she stopped with a frustrated grunt, and Trent tried to comfort her.
The two stopped when a particularly sad sigh made them forget their own troubles at the moment. Ezekiel was staring at his hand, which no longer was a feral claw. His skin was pale, with only the lightest green tinge to betray what he was before.
He felt his head underneath his hat, the last few hairs not much comfort. "Um, yeah, how bad was I when you last saw me, eh? I didn't have a mirror…"
"Ever see Lord of the Rings?" Harold asked.
"I… read the books."
"Try to picture what Gollum looked like, then. And you read the books? I'm so proud of you, dude."
The nerd's praise did little to improve Ezekiel's mood. He sighed again, feeling his scalp. "Do I, uh, look any better now? "We've just seen a bunch of undead bastards walking around, their flesh rotting off their faces," Eva said. "You look… slightly better than them."
"Eva," Izzy exclaimed, "be nice!"
"No, she's probably right," Ezekiel said, a small, mirthless laugh escaping his lips. "I mean, when I woke up, I was on this island. There was a treasure trove of mushrooms and fungi growing a little bit into the woods.
"I started eating, and it seriously helped me with the Vitamin D issues… I wondered how I remembered they weren't poisonous or anything, maybe I just ate them because I was famished, eh."
"We saw you fall into a volcano," Eva said.
"Really? That soo'nds dangerous," he balked. "Um, okay, I just remembered feeling rejuvenated, and I ate so many of them that my mind cleared up. What happened to me?"
"I doo'nt remember that, eh. I doo'nt remember anything, after Chris locked me in the plane's luggage compartment-"
"He did what?" Bridgette exclaimed.
Her voice drew attention to a zombie inside a nearby clothing store, and a zombie that they had mistaken for a window mannequin smashed through the glass. The terrible gashes, and near severing of its left hand, didn't slow it down as it came at them.
Most of the teenagers leapt back, shouting in fear. Eva and Ezekiel were the only ones who weren't. The fitness buff swung her foot around, connecting with the back of the ghoul's knee. Off-balance, it fell down on its knees.
Ezekiel lifted his machete, and swung at the back of the ghoul's neck. With a cleaner slice that one would expect, he decapitated the undead being.
The two started at each other as the rotting head rolled into the street. Ezekiel stared at it for a moment, and said, "Maybe we should joo'st hurry to that flare, and then we can talk, eh."
"I'm with you, home school," Eva muttered. "But one more question?"
"Where'd you get the machete?"
"Found it in this backyard, someone was maintaining a rather croo'ded floral arrangement… thick bushes, maybe used it with some passive-aggressive-"
"Yeah, that's nice, but I thought we were going to wait to talk."
Courtney walked over to them. "Look, talking or not, we need a plan. We cannot just go running to the area that a whole bunch of those things might be heading."
"They're zombies," Gwen muttered, not spitefully, just tired.
"I'm not calling them that," the CIT shot back. "I know you all have been calling that, but I don't want to hear it like if it's normal. There's a reasonable explanation-"
"No, not right now."
The goth girl approached her former friend, firm in her tone though exhausted physically. "We saw them walk when they should be dead. Courtney, trying to ignore reality won't help us. Trust me, I would know…"
Courtney glared at her, but her anger died. "But what are we doing? We're looking for Leshawna and Noah, and now we're heading to a flare? Are we about survival or rescue?"
Gwen was about to reply, when she noticed that the road they were traveling on had a dirt path to the south. In her head, she tried to think about all that was discussed on this fatal day.
"Harold," she said, turning towards the nerd, "didn't you say with the water currents, Leshawna and Noah should have washed up around the shore near here?"
"I don't know, and to be honest," Harold admitted, "I was thinking we would have run into them by now. They were either ahead of us, or far, far behind in the opposite direction."
Gwen swallowed, glancing behind them, then at the dirt path. "They might be where that flare was fired, or even further away from it."
"We got to pick what way we're going to go," Cody said. He pointed down the road, which was heading into the forest, a paved nature trail for cars. "I mean, this seems the best way."
"Though it is open," Izzy observed. "I am all for being on the road again, just hanging with my friends and Cody again, but when we got zombies chasing after our rear ends, I don't think we should go on the dirt path again."
"Clever, Izzy," Trent said, him and most of the others waving off the crazy girl's impromptu parody. "But seriously, Gwen, we might want to go towards the flare, instead of going out to search for Leshawna and Noah; for all we know, they could have been the ones who fired the flare."
Gwen scratched her arm. She couldn't believe she was thinking what she was, especially since she was such an horror movie aficionado. Every part of her plan would spell certain death for her; she was amazed that she wasn't dropping over dead right now.
"If you all want to investigate the flare, go scout ahead without me," she said, glancing over her shoulder before staring at the dirt path that was leading towards the dark, scary forest. "I need to search down this road first."
"Gwen, seriously," Bridgette exclaimed, the first to speak over the shocked party. "We cannot split up more! If you go alone, what will happen if zombies attack you? Why do you even want to go down there?"
"I have a strange feeling," Gwen said. "If Harold is right, then Noah and Leshawna might be traveling up this road. I need to go see if they are there, see if they are alright.
"Just go on without me. I'll head up that road after I check out this one. I just need to make sure, okay? Every road we've passed so far, to me, has felt like a missed opportunity; I'm not missing this one."
She approached them, and they could see in her eyes that she wasn't going to be talked out of it. "I'll catch up with you. Just go see what that flare was about!"
The group all exchanged glances, which gave Gwen the chance to approach Trent. The goth girl glanced at Bridgette, then whispered to her ex. "Make sure she goes with you and doesn't come after me," she requested softly. "Please, you keep her safe, okay?"
"I will, Gwen."
"Thank you, Trent. And take care of yourself too." Gwen turned and started walking down the dirt road, armed only with a blood-caked branch. Before she made it to the forest, two people flanked her.
"Like hell you're going alone," Eva commented. "Hell, I came this way because I thought you knew what you were doing, and if you want to go this way, I'll go this way too.
"And I think home school is coming with us because he doesn't want us women going alone."
Ezekiel blushed at this, and glanced away. "No! It's joo'st… joo'st…"
While he remained sullen, Gwen whispered to Eva, "Lay off him, okay? He embarrassed that Bridgette sees him like this; you know he fancied her before what happened to him."
"Whatever," Eva said, though not as dismissively as one would normally use that kind of word. "You think it's true, what he said about Chris locking him up in the airplane's luggage compartment?"
"Keep a contestant he hates in a place where he slowly but surely turns into a monster, so that he can abuse him further as his mental health deteriorates?" Gwen said with a bitter scoff. "Honestly, I'm surprised he didn't try it sooner. That man thinks he can get away with anything."
"Aw man, you gotta be kidding me!"
Chris had reached a dead end as far as the beach was concerned. A river was emptying out into the ocean, but that wasn't the worst part. On the other side was a collection of zombies, feasting on a dead animal of some sort; it was impossible to tell with how much they had already consumed.
With a scoff, the host of the show headed off into the woods, staying near the riverside. He figured these undead freaks couldn't swim, thus he had protection on that side.
"I swear, I'm not getting paid enough for this," he muttered. "I'd give a few of those lobster dinners back for having at least one helicopter on stand-by when the volcano went off. Maybe that way, Zeke would have been turned into fish food when he came shooting down."
He laughed at the though, and wondered if there was any way to get that kind of footage to air. No, real deaths would never be allowed on television, under normal circumstances. Then again, Zeke wasn't human anymore, maybe they could get away with it in a documentary?
Chris thought about that kind of documentary as he trekked through the forest. He would have to tell the story of how he bravely tried to save those stupid teens, but they all were eaten in the attack. If any of them did survive, he would just say he thought they were dead.
Things were looking up for him, though it was mostly his ego that made him feel so comfortable with the circumstances. It was his ego that had led him to believe there would be no consequences for locking Ezekiel up in the airplane's luggage compartment; he reasoned that everyone would believe the home schooled boy wanted to participate so badly, he stayed down there himself.
Chris hated Ezekiel, he reminded the host of smart kids when he himself was in high school. Smart kids were the bane of his life, as they could make careers out of their smarts, not looks and charisma like he could. It annoyed him greatly that ugly people could prosper.
That was also why he hated Gwen, and delighted in tormenting her. She was a smart girl who gave him sass, calling him out on his rules, his way of doing things. It was incredibly annoying to have to deal with that, when he, Chris Maclean, had made it big by doing things his way.
After this unfortunate shipwreck, he was going to start a new show, and abuse the hell out of the contestants. It'd be a perfect way to vent his frustrations about him, Chris Ma-freaking-clean, having to hike through the forest to find civilization.
Beth stood in place, holding a branch that was caked with all kinds of gore. She was panting, staring at the collection of dead zombies with crushed noggins. DJ was shivering behind her, unable to move on his own.
"I… I think that's the last of them," she said, in a voice that was so rough, she didn't recognize it as her own.
Tyler nearby collapsed. Like Beth, he had been swinging branches at ghouls to kill them, like a sick game of baseball. His adrenaline gone, he hadn't the energy to stand. Sadie rushed to his side, trying to rouse him.
Geoff threw up, away from the others. He had helped, but the smell had overpowered him at the end. He had thought being on Total Drama Island would prepare him for the gross and unbearable, but nothing could prepare a human being for his; not a sane one, anyway.
"We," Beth stammered, "we have to keep moving. Those things might come back."
"I need some help with Tyler," Sadie pleaded. "Could someone please help me? I don't think I can carry him."
When Geoff recovered, he hauled Tyler onto his back. Sadie thought of asking DJ to do it instead, but the gentle giant was shaking so terribly, he appeared to have forgotten how to walk.
It was Sadie that managed to get him going again. She took Beth's free hand, and slipped it into DJ's. She didn't know that she had given Beth the ability to carry on too.
They thought of calling out for Duncan and Alejandro, but abandoned that idea when they heard zombies from behind them, in the woods. They were hurrying again, keeping as much distance from the trees as the beach would allow them.
After a few minutes, they were right back where they shipwrecked. It was the only way they knew to go, to head in the direction of the flare. They all felt incredibly stupid now for not following Gwen, but tried to convince themselves that hindsight is 20/20.
Dead bodies littered the beach, the handiwork of the first group to make it through there. They didn't, however, stop to go to the spa, which still had a blaring alarm going on. They carried on, trying to ignore the sound of zombie moans mixing with the blaring alarm.
The five were quiet all this way. Tyler eventually could walk on his own, and he stayed close to Sadie. The trek made their feet throb like crazy, a hike from hell, especially with the grating sand in their shoes. Still, it was that or they would die.
"If I get out of this alive," Sadie said all of a sudden, trying to drown out the distant howls of the undead with a conversation, "I think I'd like to hold some kind of remembrance service for everyone that died."
"I'll do that too," Tyler said, patting her shoulder. "Good plan, Sadie."
"Heck, I think we'll all do it," DJ said, finding his voice at last.
"Assuming the rest of the world isn't like this," Geoff muttered. He kicked at the sand, saying, "Will we get a chance to mourn?"
"There's always time to do that," Beth said. "All you need is… hey!"
She pointed with the branch towards to a paved pathway that led into the forest. It had been hard to see in the bad moonlighting, and though the group didn't know it, Chris Maclean had missed it altogether as he had been walking and plotting.
"Shall we head up this?" Sadie asked. "It looks uphill, can everyone handle that?"
"You're kidding, right?" Tyler remarked, managing a little laugh. "We've been fighting the walking dead for the past few hours, and you think stairs are going to be tough?"
They all managed to laugh, and started to hike up that paved pathway, taking on the stairs as they came. At the top, they found themselves in a parking lot. It was connected to a road, one that was pointed in the same direction as the flare was.
"Holy cow," DJ said, spitting out a few more laughs. "We made it. We found a way."
"Let's go then," Beth exclaimed cheerfully. "We can find out who shot that flare, and…"
She trained off when she saw a rather large collection of bodies near the end of the parking lot, right out of the light of the streetlamp. They all hesitated to approach, but soon realized that the bodies were slain zombies. Someone had been here, and left quite a few dead heads.
Though the thing that caught Beth's eye was a familiar switchblade in one of the ghoul's eye sockets. After spending some time with the owner at the end of Total Drama Action, she would recognize it anywhere.
"Duncan's been here," she exclaimed.
"How did he do that?" DJ asked. "Did he really run back here when we were attacked?"
"The zombies were heading towards us, like some kind of 'wrong way' trap," Tyler noted. "He double-backed long before us, and… and…"
He trailed off when he noticed something sitting down on a tree, on the opposite side of them. It didn't appear to be just another zombie casualty, not with how it was still writhing around. The person's back was to them, and Tyler saw something rather unnerving.
A trail of blood that started at the collection of dead bodies led to that being that was leaning against the tree.
Tyler sprinted forward, finding new energy in his feet. The others all approached too, thought the sporto spoiled the surprise.
"Duncan," he shouted.
"Quit, jock boy," the punk muttered, glancing up at Tyler. "If there are more around, you'll alert them here."
Duncan hissed in pain as he tried to adjust himself, and the sporto could see why he had been writhing so much. The punk was using his lighter to try and cauterize a major bite wound on his leg. He didn't seem to be succeeding, unable to bring the fire close enough to his bleeding injury.
"Aw hell," Duncan groaned, "I thought I could do this. Guess I'm not as tough as I thought."
"Hey, come on man," DJ said, walking up to his friend's side. "Let's get you out of here."
Duncan barked out a laugh, then glanced up at him. DJ tried not to recoil when he saw the punk's face, but he did so anyway. They all gasped when they saw the bloody scratches, mixed with a fair share of blood, over his face.
"You really think I'm going to make it out of here?" he asked. "The fuckers bit me several times. Got a couple on my back, my legs… this one won't stop bleeding."
"Don't you dare give up," Beth ordered him, putting on her best tough face. She knelt down in front of him, and said, "You saw that flare, right? We're going to take you there, and-"
"Stop. I cannot even feel my legs."
The punk glanced down at them, as if seeing old friends passing away from his eyes. He groaned and rested his head against the tree. "I really, really fucked up. Should have stayed with someone… should have been with you all… we could have handled them together-"
"Dude, stop talking like that," Geoff pleaded. "We cannot leave you here."
"I cannot believe you still care, after all I said and did," Duncan muttered. "I ditched you guys, left you to die. You should be laughing at me… go on, laugh! I'm going to die because I'm a fu-"
He coughed, hard, spitting up blood. Sadie grabbed his shoulders to make him stop spasming, and he dropped his lighter. When she picked it up to give it to him, he weakly pushed her hand away.
"Like I said, ain't gonna make it. I can feel it."
"Dude, no," DJ whimpered. Tears were stinging his eyes, and he wasn't the only one.
"I'm not letting you die here," Beth exclaimed.
Duncan shivered. "I'm losing feeling all over. And we all know what's going to happen. Will you just go? Get the hell out of here, and save yourselves… just leave me, I ain't worth it now."
"Everyone's worth it," Geoff exclaimed. He stooped down to pick up his friend, but a scream of pain from Duncan made him stop. The party animal noticed then and there how mauled his friend's side was, and blood was pooling there too.
"Just go… tell my family, if you see them, that I will miss them, kay?" Duncan said, wincing through the pain. He hacked up more blood, and added, "And… tell Gwen… tell Courtney too… man, dying sure makes you reflect on life, you know? Stupid-ass me, taking this long to realize things…
"Tell them… I'm sorry. I should have handled things better. I was just… being me. Sorry…"
With these words, he shivered violently, coughed, and then his body appeared to be going into shock. They tried to rouse him, but he didn't respond. And then, he was gone. No pulse, no response, nothing.
They hurried on their way. They didn't want to be there when he turned, or they'd have to deal with his zombie; after that, none of them were capable of hurting Duncan.
The splinter group from Gwen's expedition walked up that road that felt like a giant death trap. With thick forest on both sides, and zombie corpses littering the ground on the way there, they wondered in fear how many groups had made it through alive.
No zombies had attacked them along the way, which brought a terrible idea that they were due.
"I sure hope we're making the right decision," Bridgette said. "I just keep thinking about going back for her… I cannot believe we aren't… that I'm not-"
"Calm down, it's okay," Trent assured her. "We're going to find help for her, that's what we can do."
"I know it feels bad," Courtney said, "but if we find whoever's there, we might find real help for Gwen, and the others."
"Besides, she's got Eva and Ezekiel," Cody said. "Those two will easily keep her safe from any ghouls."
"And vice versa," Izzy chimed in. "I think they will be safest with her, she's got some awesome mojo. Eva too! And Zeke's a cool cat, he'll do right by her."
The group was quiet for a moment, then Harold spoke up. "Izzy, when you said 'Zeke will do right by her', you did mean Gwen, didn't you?"
"Of course, who did you think I meant?"
The group's silence spoke volumes to the eccentric redhead. "Oh come on! Just because I'm mushy with Cody now doesn't mean I think only of romance like I'm some kind of funny-headed shipping maniac! Back me up on this, Big-O, I'm not a crazy romantic, just crazy!"
When no response came, she asked, "Big-O? Owen? C'mon, I need you to back me up."
The silence persisted. They all stopped and looked around for a very large teenager that should be there. He wasn't.
"Where did he go?" Bridgette almost shouted in her terror. "How did we lose him?"
"How is right," Courtney exclaimed. "How do we lose track of that big guy? It doesn't seem possible!"
"Did he go with Gwen without telling us?" Trent asked. "Oh man, what was he thinking?"
"Everyone calm down," Cody cried out. "It won't do us much good if we stand around here shouting-"
"I don't want to shout freeze," Izzy protested. "I want to shout, 'Owen, where the blue bloody blazes did you go?!'"
"Everyone hold it!"
Izzy glanced at her friends, who were all holding up their hands and staring at something down the road. She turned to see three soldiers, pointing assault rifles, at them.
"Hi," she said cheerfully, waving.
"Hold still there," the soldier in the middle ordered her. "Don't make sudden movements!"
"Can I still breathe?" Izzy asked oh-so-innocently. "I mean, if I gasp, that's a sudden movement-"
"Can the chitchat, red!"
"My name's not Red!"
"Calm down, Keith," the soldier on the right said. "It's obvious she's fine if she's joking at a time like this."
"I'd say the exact opposite!"
The right soldier sighed and approached the teens. "Have any of you been bitten?"
"No," Bridgette managed to speak, still keeping her hands up. "Please don't shoot, we're not infected!"
"We just need to take you back to base to verify that. Walk slowly now, with us."
The walk to the marine base was tedious, to say the least. The only distraction was Izzy, who kept asking the soldier addressed as Keith all kinds of questions ("You got any tear gas?" "Is the Air Force bomb this place?" "Keith's a boring name, can I call you Bob?")
The marine base at the harbor was quite the spectacle. Zombies were heading up the beach, and armed soldiers were taking care of them. Canadian and USA troops, uniforms recognized by Harold, were using their melee weapons, and guns with silencers, to dispatch the wandering dead.
"What's Canada's military doing here?" Harold asked the leading soldier. "Did they hear about our shipwreck?"
"Y'all got shipwrecked?" the soldier asked. "Damn, talk about shitty luck!"
"Yeah, you don't have to tell us twice."
"Well, this epidemic is getting rather tense, and Canada has been asked to help with some of the troops. I don't know all the details, but maybe it has to do with a large amount of Canadians who fled to Kauda when sightings of undead were discovered on your west coast."
"No," Courtney exclaimed. "They're on the continent?!"
"Very few sightings these days, but I have had to fight some there. Now come on, we need to check you all for wounds."
Past the sandbag barricades and chain-link fences that had been set up in a surprisingly sturdy defense, they were led to a part of the camp that appeared to be the medical section. Though one glimpse of a tent that had blood soaking on the inside walls made all of them panic.
"Cadet Brick," Keith shouted, "get your ass out here and handle these newcomers!"
The cadet stepped out of one of the tents, one not caked with blood thankfully. His eyes widened, and he exclaimed, "Hey, this is the cast of Total Drama! What the hell are you all doing here?"
"Chris Maclean got us shipwrecked," Trent said. "But listen, we need your help, there's no time to lose!"
"We have some friends back out there," Bridgette exclaimed. "Please, we need you go help them-"
"We cannot go out there," one of the soldiers said. "Kauda is a heavily-populated island, and it's a death trap out there, even as well-prepared as us."
Bridgette paled, and gripped Trent in her grief. Cody also almost collapsed, and Izzy had to help steady him. Harold glared at the soldier, who shrugged and said, "Well, I'm just saying that you all are extremely lucky to be alive. What, these friends of yours from that show?"
"Enough talk," Keith exclaimed. "Brick, get them prepped for cleaning and inspection, we don't have much time! The boat is leaving soon, remember?"
Brick nodded, saluted, then turned to the camper survivors. "Okay, everyone, we're going to need you in this tent here."
He led them to a particularly large tent, one free of bloodstains, and pointed to a few stalls. "On the far left are some replacement clothes. Pick out your size, set them on the table outside the shower stall, and then throw your bloody clothes out before you start scrubbing up."
"Wait, we're showering here?" Courtney balked. "With no doors?"
"Decency is something to be sacrificed in these conditions, sorry," Brick apologized. "We only have two shower stalls, so two at a time."
"Why do you want our bloody clothes?" Bridgette asked.
"We have to burn them. Blood from zombies, which you obviously have all over you all, is highly infectious. I don't think you all want those clothes back anyway, right?"
They all nodded somberly, and Brick gestured towards the stalls again. Cody was pulled over by Izzy, who suggested they share a shower stall together, just to see the big blush on his face.
"When you all are done," Brick said, loud enough for Izzy and Cody to hear as well, just wrap a towel around yourself, and come to the other end of the tent. We have a couple field medics, one woman and one man, for inspection. Sorry again, but we need to make sure you're not bitten."
"Some of us are injured, but not bitten or scratched," Harold said. "What's going to happen?"
"If the medic feels your injury is of concern, I'm to watch you to make sure no changes happen."
"And," Courtney dared to ask, though she resented herself for doing so, "if we do change?" Brick paled, and looked away. "It's… not going to take long. We have to do this, to make sure infected people don't try to sneak onto the ship; we cannot risk the survival of the others, or the troops-"
"What happens," Courtney repeated, stronger this time, "if we start to change?"
The young soldier swallowed, as if fighting the urge to throw up. "I… I promise to watch over you, and give you every chance to fight this virus. But if you don't… I'll put you out of your misery, so that you don't become one of them."
The silence that followed brought even Izzy down. She and Cody were preparing for the shower, as Brick instructed, "Wash your hair thoroughly. Make sure not to let blood get in your mouth, or if you can avoid it, in your eyes and nose. It's not a sure thing, but please don't take any chances."
Bridgette collapsed in a chair, with Trent trying to comfort her. The surfer girl had broken into tears at all this, the idea that her friends were out there without help coming for them. Courtney walked away from them, trying not to think of the inevitable.
Only Harold remained calm, and turned to Brick. "How long does it take someone infected to turn?"
Brick drummed his fingers on his crossed arm, sighing heavily. "It ain't like the movies, man. Well, the movies do vary in ways, don't they?"
"Everyone has an idea how the virus works fictionally. How's this real one work?"
"Depending on how much they've been bitten, I'd say between one and three hours," Brick said. "Most people just start to lose their energy, then parts of their body, like their legs and arms, lose feeling.
"After that, they slip into a coma or shock or something, and die. But… it isn't always that easy."
"How is death ever easy?" Courtney snapped angrily.
"Because when they die, they die at least without much pain or suffering. There are different cases."
"What do you mean?" Harold asked.
"Well, I've had to deal with some people who were infected, but they were violently against being restrained. They'd fight us, screaming that we couldn't treat them like that. And…"
Brick shivered violently, enough to make all of the teens realize just how serious he was. "They'd change. Instead of going numb and into a coma, they'd fly into a rage that only grew. They'd try to bite people, claw at them to escape. And if they weren't killed resisting, they would start to convulse, die, and then come back."
Harold winced. "You're telling me this kind of zombie virus paralyzes those that are weakened by it, and strengthens those who fight it?"
"It makes no sense, I know."
"Actually, it does."
"How so?" Courtney asked. Her voice wavered, like if she didn't know whether to be impressed or angered by Harold's statement. She stared at him, a look on her face that he never thought he would see on her: confusion mixed with hope of understanding.
"A virus does all it can to survive and spread," Harold explained. "When it infects a host, it only thinks of spreading to other hosts. Lifeforms that are weakened by the virus's effects are killed by putting it down with numbness, to prevent it from finding a way to stop the virus.
"But if the host is acting aggressive, adrenaline rushing through the veins and making him or her like a beast, the virus is either tricked or taking advantage of this. If the host infects others during the rage, the virus spreads."
"That's… horrifying to think about," said Courtney.
"It's just a theory."
"But it's a good one, Harold, don't dismiss it so quickly."
"Wait dude," Brick said, holding up a hand. "You're telling me that this virus is knowingly spreading itself? Is it… is it the reason people try to hide their wounds?"
"If people are aggressive when it comes to that, the virus might be fueling the illusion that they can survive the bite," Harold theorized. He glanced out of the tent, and muttered, "I'd sure hate to think of what would happen if there were more people out there, trying to fight off anyone who stopped them from something because they were bitten.
"Only rats try to hide something as fatal and dangerous as this. And a cornered rat is one of the most lethal creatures in this world."
Leshawna was starting to worry about the katana's cutting power. It had taken three swings to properly decapitate a ghoul, and she wasn't going to blame it on the fat zombie's neck.
"That undead man made Owen look like a twig, Leshawna," Noah was trying to assure her. "Look, sometimes, you don't get it at the right angle. Don't start worry about it, okay?"
"You sound more like you're trying to convince yourself than me," she muttered.
"Let me put it this way then: even if the sword is starting to get dull, you're still going to do better with it than me."
Leshawna let out a small laugh, and pat his shoulder. "Now c'mon, no need to boost my ego. I thought you were the king of put-downs."
"Dethroned temporarily," he said, miming throwing a crown off of his head. "I will rise again when the world around me returns to being less negative than me."
"Dang, almost makes me want to see it stay negative, just to see you nicer, string bean."
"Haha, you're so funny, but don't think you can usurp me even if I'm-"
He stopped mid-sentence when he could hear something in the distance. When both he and Leshawna remained quiet, they could hear it much more clearly: a rushing river, up ahead.
They broke into a light jog forward, terrified at the thought that they might be cut off by a large river and have to deviate from the trail. What was actually there was ambiguous in terms of how they felt about it.
The river rushed in a deep valley, the water churning from all the rocks and rugged edges of the cliffs, making it one frothy, raging stream. A rope bridge, one professionally built, connected the two sides.
"Okay, you first or me?" Noah asked, trying to hide his fear.
"You aren't scared, are you? This bridge looks very secure."
"Yeah, well, with how this day has been going, forgive me if I feel like there's a jinx haunting me."
Leshawna sighed as she silently agreed with him. "I'll go first, and alone, if you're afraid of it collapsing."
"I wasn't implying that-"
"Better safe than sorry."
Leshawna started the trek across the bridge, going rather slowly. She looked down, she really wish she hadn't done that. Part of her couldn't help but be fascinated by the rushing river, the steady stream of nature making her forget the God-forsaken, walking corpses. She was gripping the bridge's handrail rope with only one hand, clutching the katana tightly as if it would steady her.
The bridge seemed to extend in miles when she started walking it. Noah was glancing around behind him, hoping there wasn't going to be a swarm of zombies coming up after them. He also strained to see if they were on the other side.
When he saw movement, he nearly freaked. The scream that left his mouth that was intended as a warning to Leshawna, came up much more high-pitched than he would ever care to admit… again.
"In front of you," he was shrieking. "Leshawna! Leshawna! Stop looking down, damn it, forward!"
Somehow, she heard him, and looked ahead. She could see some figures up at the other side of the bridge. Squinting, she tried to make out who they were.
"I think I really do need glasses," she muttered. "Is that more zombies-"
She'd recognize that raspy voice anywhere, and her heart stopped sinking into her stomach to soar. "Gwen," she shouted back. "Gwen, is that you?"
"Oh my God, it is you!" Gwen couldn't hold back her elation, practically crying as she called out to her. "Oh thank God! You made it!"
"Girl, when I get over there, I'm gonna hug the hell out of your scrawny, white butt!"
Gwen glanced at Ezekiel and Eva, who gestured for her to go on. The goth girl started to walk down the bridge.
"Wait, careful," Leshawna called out. "Rope bridge and all!"
"It's sturdy enough!"
As she hurried towards her best friend, Gwen's travel companions exchanged a look. "Well, gotta thank you for this, home school," Eva muttered, staring at the reunion in the making. "You certainly came through to save our asses."
"I, um, I did my best, eh."
"Hey, take it from me, if someone pays you a compliment, you take it and like it-"
A rock was bashed against the back of Eva's head, knocking her to the ground. Her vision went dull, and she couldn't even think straight, as she collapsed and curled up defensively, hand on her bloody wound.
Before Ezekiel could react, the bloody rock was chucked at him. He ducked at the last moment, and then saw Alejandro baring down on him.
"Fucking zombies," he shouted, lunging at Ezekiel. The home schooled boy lifted the machete in defense, but as he recognized the manipulator, he didn't strike. Thus, Alejandro grabbed his wrist and tried to wring the blade from his hands.
"What are you doing?" Ezekiel screamed, alerting Gwen and Leshawna. "We're not dea-"
Alejandro kicked him in the gut, knocking the wind out of him as he successfully pried the machete from Ezekiel's hands. He raised the blade, staring viciously at the fellow teenager. Ezekiel could barely recognized him as a human being with a good look.
Blood and gore stained Alejandro's clothing all over, his hair torn short or out. Scratches covered his face and arms, and he had terrible wounds on his sides, legs, and shoulders. Though all of that was rather unimportant to Ezekiel, as the fire in the manipulator's eyes shot fear deep in his heart.
Alejandro heaved deep breaths, unable to hear Gwen's desperate screams. He managed to snap out of his bloodlust long enough to notice Ezekiel wasn't undead. "What? Oh, you, the monster," he spat. "Guess I have to put you down-"
"Alejandro, stop," Gwen was screaming. "We're not infected! Stop, Ezekiel's not infected!"
The manipulator glanced at the goth girl as she made it back to land. Leshawna was clinging to the bridge, trying to keep her balance as Gwen had unintentionally shook up the ropes when she sprinted back.
"Oh, you," Alejandro snarled at Gwen. "What are you doing?"
"What am I doing, what are you doing?" she screamed at him. "You attacked Eva and Ezekiel!"
"Thought they were zombies."
Eva moaned in pain, still not standing up. Gwen rushed over to her side, inspecting the head wound. Ezekiel, struggling to breathe, stared at Alejandro more. His eyes narrowed as he inspected the smooth talker.
Ezekiel didn't remember Alejandro that well, but from what he remembered when he was stuck in the plane, he hated him. He overheard some confessionals, and remembered Alejandro bragging about using Bridgette.
"Still, I cannot hold a grudge like that under these circumstances," Ezekiel thought bitterly. "No matter what kind of a cad he was, we need to survive, and he already seems to be on the edge…"
That's when the prairie boy noticed how badly Alejandro was injured. Zeke's eyes widened in terror when he saw those bloody injuries with more focus.
"Have," he asked as he started to stand up, "have you bin bitten, Alejandro?"
Gwen turned at Ezekiel's words. A moment in time froze up for everyone: her trying to tend to Eva, Ezekiel struggling to get to his feet, Leshawna watching on the bridge, Noah on the other side, and Alejandro staring at Ezekiel.
Gwen didn't even see Alejandro kicked Ezekiel in the stomach again, then punted the home school back. As Ezekiel screamed out in pain, Alejandro barred down on him.
Gwen launched herself at him, grabbing his shoulders and pulling him back. He twisted around and punched her in the gut, knocking her down as she tried hard to breathe, even harder to not pass out from such a blow.
Alejandro heard Leshawna scream, and then saw her rushing across the rope bridge at him. He glimpsed the katana blade she was holding, and reacted. Glancing at the thick ropes tied to the posts, he lifted up the machete and started hacking at them.
One of those ropes, the right handrail, was sliced before Gwen managed to, through sheer adrenaline, tackle Alejandro. Leshawna gripped the other handrail, the bridge dipping to the other side dangerously.
"Leshawna," Noah cried out.
Then he did the stupidest thing he had every done in his entire life, and he was partly conscious of it. He started to head down the teetering bridge, over the long drop into the rocky river, towards Leshawna.
Gwen kicked and punched at Alejandro, until he managed to shove the goth girl away from him. She was practically half his size, as far as height and girth, probably weight too. Still, she wasn't backing down, and managed to grab a large branch that had fallen from a nearby tree.
"You aren't stopping me," Alejandro snarled, heaving every breath. "You all want me to stop getting off this island, but I'm a survivor! That's what I do!"
"We don't," Gwen shouted back, "know what a bite will do-"
"You fucking think you do, you pale skank," he roared at her, spit flying from his mouth. His normally handsome, dark tan face was nearly red in his rage. "You'll try to tell the authorities, and have them put me against a wall and shoot me!"
"We aren't able to do anything, we're as helpless as you are!"
"You're right, you cannot do anything."
He pointed the machete at her. "Because I'm not going to let you. I'm going to survive, even if I have to hack off your head!"
He charged at her, swinging the machete. She leapt back, panic nearly seizing her body. He was coming at her like a madman, and she could barely defend herself. When she swung her branch at him, his machete cut it in half.
She tripped and fell back, and he lifted his machete up for a fatal blow. Managing to fight off the panic, Gwen kicked her foot up, nailing his crotch. He cringed and wobbled back as she rose back to her feet.
Noah had made it to Leshawna during this. "Move forward," he shouted at her. "She needs your help!"
Leshawna didn't answer, she stared back at Noah in primal terror as she clutched the rope bridge for dear life. Noah gripped her shoulder, and hissed, "Gwen is going to die if you don't move! We are all! Going! To DIE!"
That's when he heard the moans of those that already he had. Zombies, ones that had been hunting the two of them down throughout the forest, were heading towards the bridge at them. Noah said a lot of really foul words, shaking Leshawna's shoulder and demanding she move.
Gwen was swinging at Alejandro with her branch, him now on the defense. He started cursing at her, a mixture of English and Spanish, as she came rather close to hitting him.
Throughout this, Leshawna snapped out of her terror of the unsteady bridge. That was when about seven zombies started their way on the rope bridge, and made it shake more.
The strain was too much on the far side of the bridge. If zombies could read, they would have noticed the sign at the beginning that said that no more than four people should ever be on the bridge at once. Thus, the wooden poles that the bridge was tied to on the far end cracked from the weight.
Noah saw it, and screamed at Leshawna to hold on. When she herself noticed the bridge buckling from the side they had been traveling, she moved. Hollering at Noah to move too, she was moving as fast as she could to the other side.
The bridge broke on the far end, and thus swung down to the other side of the cliff. Zombies tumbled into the water below, smashing against rocks in the process. Leshawna was nearly at the other end as she managed to grab the wooden planks of the bridge.
The impact against the cliffside made her drop the sword, but she didn't care as she pulled herself up the bridge. It was creaking with nerve-wracking noises, only suspended by one wooden pole.
Noah was almost knocked off when the bridge slammed against the cliffside. He saw Leshawna drop the sword, and, in what felt like slow motion, he did the second stupidest thing he'd ever done. As his right hand let go of the cliff due to the impact, he reached out to grab the katana.
In proof there was a God to him, he grabbed it by the handle.
Leshawna, blinded to everything except saving Gwen, pulled herself up on solid ground. She watched Alejandro, who had gained the edge, slamming Gwen against a tree.
The impact dazed the goth girl, and she barely could see from how bad it was. But she could see Alejandro, snarling like a feral animal, closing the distance between her face and his. "You know what?" he hissed as his hand squeezed her neck. "You still smell good…"
He lunged forward, teeth at her neck. She didn't have time to seize up, barely even felt anything except hot breath on her skin there. At that moment, her body felt cold, and she realized that dark desire that she would die was going to happen.
Blood splattered all over her. She winced, feeling shooting pains in her body. Gwen's eyes widened, and then noticed Alejandro wasn't in front of her anymore.
He was reeling from the blow to the head Leshawna had given him. Blood had spurted from his, clearly broken now, nose on her.
"Get off of her, you freaking monster," Leshawna hollered. She kicked at him, knocking him back more.
"Bitch," Alejandro shouted, then managed to recover from the blows. Feral instincts and bloodlust aside, he still had his incredible flexibility and athleticism. "You're not going to have me hunted down like a dog! I'll kill you first!"
"We're not going to kill you," Gwen wheezed, trying to catch her breath.
"I'll… I'll kill you! I WILL KILL YOU!"
He lunged at Leshawna, swinging the machete like if it was a baseball bat. She backed up, almost tripping over Eva in the process. She found herself at the edge of the cliff, just as he had to pause for breath.
When they both stopped, heaving for air, he managed to look her in the eye. A cruel smile spread across his face. "I am not going to die, you fat ass bitch. I will survive this! And no one…"
He approached her, machete raised, "… is going… to stop me!"
Ezekiel jumped at him, screaming at him to stop. This alerted Alejandro, who swung back in a spinning arc. The machete struck Ezekiel in the side of the head, and he fell to the ground, bleeding.
Leshawna heard someone screaming, maybe her, maybe Zeke, as she grabbed Alejandro's arm. She kept him from swinging at her, and he attempted to head butt her. Pulling her head back, he missed as she brought his knee up to his groin. Something down there must have been damaged badly, because soon blood stained his pants.
Alejandro, snarling and heaving like a wounded animal, backed off. He grabbed his bleeding crotch, then howled in agony. With a hateful glare at Leshawna, he chased at her, swinging the machete like crazy.
"I'm going to kill you, bitch," he screamed. "You're dead, you're dead, you're-"
A steel blade poked out through his chest, coming from his back. Alejandro stared down at the sword poking through him, and heard Noah snarl from behind him, "Shut. Up."
He yanked the katana out of him, and blood shot out from the wounds, not to mention Alejandro's mouth; the sword had cut through his lung. He stumbled to the side, dropping the machete, and fell off the side of the cliff.
Noah glanced over to see him being dashed out the side, a rather painful sight. Then Alejandro landed on his back on a large rock in the river, and though he couldn't physically hear it, Noah mentally heard the manipulator's spine snap at the impact.
And the worst part of it was, that didn't kill him. It was only when he fell into the water, that the merciful grasp of death claimed Alejandro. He turned into one of the undead as he was washed down the river, and then had his once handsome face smashed into his head by a rock, crushing his brain.
Noah almost fell backwards, panting hard. He stared down at the katana, and collapsed on his hands and knees. He heaved, puking slightly. "I… I killed… I killed him… oh God."
"You did," Leshawna said, coming to his side, "what you had to do."
He glanced up at her, wincing as he wiped his mouth. She saw his jaw quiver, and he muttered, "I… still killed him."
"It was self-defense, and…"
She pulled him in for a comforting hug, until he stopped shaking. "No one will have to know."
Gwen, who had managed to recover too, stumbled over to Ezekiel. She saw the blood on his head wound, and feared to look further.
Then she heard him groan, and tried to pick himself up. "What happened?" Zeke asked. "Oh God, where's Alejandro?"
"He's dead," Gwen assured him, helping him up. "Oh, thank God, he hit you with the blunt side of the machete; we just need to get you some first-aid for that injury, you're going to be fine!"
Gwen and Zeke helped Eva up, as she groggily tried to stand on her own. Soon, she admitted defeat, and allowed Ezekiel and Gwen to help her. The three were soon joined by Noah and Leshawna, who had the katana and machete respectively.
"Gwen, girl," Leshawna said, "just… give me a minute on that hug."
"Please tell me you found something, maybe where that flare came from?"
"The others must be there by now, and we'll-"
Then something burst out of the woods, screaming. The five all hollered in surprise, and the something shrieked right back.
"Owen," Noah shouted. "What… the… fu-"
The big guy picked up Noah and hugged him in a wonderfully tight squeeze. "Oh, little buddy, I came back for you! But I got lost and scared and I think I tore my pants off in the process of trying to find you-"
"I'm fine, I'm fine!"
Owen looked him over after setting him down. "You… you don't look well. Do you need me to carry you?"
"No, no, I'm fine! But Eva might need help."
Eva glanced at the dirty, pants-less Owen, and muttered, "Oh… I don't care anymore." She collapsed in his arms, and thus the big guy carried her as gently as possible along with them. It was then that Leshawna and Gwen could finally have that hug, and both broke into tears.
Courtney and Harold were the last ones to shower off at the marine's beach base. It had felt like a long time for both of them to shower off, both having self-conscious convictions on hygiene and health. Being splattered with contaminated blood had put both on the edge, and they had wondered how they had not had a breakdown over it by now.
They were under the water for so long, Brick had to call out to them. "I don't want to rush you, but you're going to use up all the hot water, not to mention we may have to move out soon!"
"Is the boat leaving the island soon?" Courtney called out from her shower stall.
"We may, at any minute! The zombies could swarm our location, thanks to the flare we sent up a while ago. You and your boyfriend should be dressed before then!"
"He's not my…"
She never finished the sentence. Harold, who wondered she would stop that mid-sentence was rather confused. Though he couldn't just peek over to see if she was okay, since he was naked, and he knew Courtney was too (and he could see her outline faintly through the stall's fabric, which made him turn the water in his stall to much colder).
"Are you okay?" he asked.
"I'm fine, just fine."
"Why'd you stop mid-sentence?"
"I'm… just tired of arguing, that's all. After all this crap, I just don't want to be arguing with people."
"Wow, this all must have done a number on you," Harold said. "I always pegged you as someone who liked to argue."
A small laugh escaped her lips. "Yeah… maybe I was before all this."
They finished up, then went through the inspection by the army medics. With no injuries, they passed and dressed up. Courtney saw Harold had chosen a jacket with army camouflage, and was fiddling with the zipper.
"Here, let me help," she said, walking over. She managed to connect the zipper, which seemed infuriatingly unwilling to cooperate normally. When their eyes locked, both noticed the other was blushing.
"Gosh, um," he muttered his favorite word, "thanks."
"You seeing okay without your glasses?"
"Kind of, I think I-"
A tremendous shout outside alerted their attention. The soldiers were scrambling towards the barricade at the front, guns raised.
The alarm was caused by a soldier who had spotted a small group of teenagers running towards the camp. Brick tried to lead the six TD contestants towards the boat, but they were adamant to see if it was their friends or not.
Sure enough, it was. The five who had originally gone the other way at the campsite were running as fast as their aching legs were taking them. The soldiers pointed their guns at them, and they raised their arms in surrender. Though when they were escorted in, they were embraced by their friends.
"You made it," Izzy exclaimed, hugging DJ. Beth and Cody embraced in a hug as well, overjoyed to see the other alive. Geoff, Tyler, and Sadie also received their fair share of elated hugs and embraces.
Courtney was inspecting them, and her face dropped. "Guys, where's Duncan? And Alejandro?"
Tyler bit his bottom lip, and stepped up to deliver the news. "We don't know where Alejandro is, and Duncan…" He thought back to the punk's last words, and he felt like bursting into tears then and there. A glance over at Sadie, who still held Duncan's lighter, almost did it for him. He covered his face as he managed to say, "He didn't make it." Courtney felt like her gut was kicked in, which was amplified from all the death and difficulty they had already experienced. She almost collapsed, but Harold managed to catch her.
"We… we need to tell Gwen," Tyler asked. "Where… where is she? Guys, where's Gwen?!"
The first group barely had time to answer him before the five who just arrived were escorted over to the medical tent. Bridgette and Trent were holding each other, and Izzy tried to comfort Cody, who had also sunk into a sad state.
"I used to hate the guy," Cody admitted to her. "I resented him so much, but now that he's gone… why do I feel so bad?"
"It's because you're human."
The conversation carried on, as Brick sprinted back to his superiors, spluttering, "Sir! Sir! The five that just arrived, they said there's a huge mob of undead heading up the road! They'll be here soon!"
The captain ground his teeth in frustration. "We'll need to slow them down as much as possible… don't have time to headshot a whole murder of those things. Brick! You and some of the others are going to go slow them down!"
The last thing that Gwen, or any of her friends with her, wanted now was to see Chris Maclean. The man had been foremost responsible for where they were now, the deaths of everyone who had died, and had left them to die at the first zombie attack.
So when he saw them and said, "Oh good grief, you freaks are still alive? I mean, I know you can survive a lot from the show, but I would have thought you would have kicked the bucket by now," and added his sadistic laugh, it took a lot of effort for Gwen not to beat him to death.
The effort on the most part was due to Leshawna and Noah holding her back.
"I'm going to kill him," Gwen shrieked, struggling against the two. "At least let me hit him once!"
"Nice to see you too, Gwen," Chris remarked. "Seriously, is it that time of the month for you still? Zombies can smell that, maybe we should leave you behind! Heh heh!"
It was very tempting for Leshawna and Noah to let go of Gwen, and let her pound the arrogant host. Hell, they both wanted to do it too. But with Ezekiel and Eva injured, the latter barely conscious, they didn't want to risk any more conflicts.
The host was also holding a sturdy branch, and even with them being armed with blades, having to kill Alejandro had taken a lot of fire out of their fight.
"Let's all just keep heading down this road, okay?" Owen pleaded. "Come on, Chris, we all just want to go home."
The host snickered unpleasantly, glancing back at the part of the woods he had just came out of. The trek through the trees had led him to the road, and right into this group. He didn't want to be stuck with them, he knew how needy and demanding they were; he hosted the show, and they were always…
"Chris, you changed the rules to the game with no explanation! Chris, this food you want us to meet is still moving! Chris, that challenge has a high chance of having fatal injuries involved! Chris, we want a rescue team in case the volcano erupts because you didn't pay any attention to what makes it erupt!"
What a bunch of greedy whiners. At least if the undead attacked, they'd take forever to finish Owen.
The host nodded to the large distraction, and the group started to walk down the road in silence. Leshawna still held onto Gwen's arm, she didn't trust her friend to not lunge at Chris; after a while, both girls came to realize it was Leshawna's way of preventing herself from hitting him too.
Chris wasn't even trying to pleasant, either. Everyone deals with stress, fear, and frustration in their own ways. The host dealt with them by trying to make others feel worse than him, and it worked very well when degrading Gwen and Ezekiel.
"So you somehow survived," Chris was saying to the homeschooled boy. "That's actually impressive. Maybe there actually is cockroach in your blood, you sure as hell look like one now, Zeke."
"Will you just," Gwen snarled, "just… please stop talking, Chris?"
"Hey, I'm just making observations here, rag girl," he said, shrugging and gesturing towards the road ahead of them. "We're going to be walking for a while here, and-"
"There's no cameras here," Leshawna snapped. "There's no one watching but us. We don't want to talk to you, white boy."
"Oh my, being racist now, are we?
"You'd be surprised what I am holding back on what I do want to say to you. After all you put us through, you may want to desist insulting us."
"Oh please, you of all people, I would know never hurt someone during these dangerous times!" He laughed, then tapped the side of Leshawna's head. "You know, with all the zombies around here, I cannot believe you and Owen's fat asses haven't been eaten. What's the matter, they don't like dark meat, Leshawna?"
Then someone slugged him as hard as one could, right in the gut. But it wasn't Leshawna, who had rolled her eyes and looked away. It wasn't Gwen, who was mentally counting to stop herself from screaming in outrage.
Chris fell on his knees, gasping for air. Noah stood over him, poking him in the forehead. "You know, I was never one for manners, Chris," he said, "so I have no problems hitting you while Leshawna's too good of a person to worry about the consequences."
"You… little… fu-"
Noah grabbed his hair, that precious hair that he would spend more time on than Lindsay, and made him stare up at the bookworm. "Shut. Up."
"He means it," Eva mumbled, stirring in Owen's embrace. "You don't want to know what happened to the last guy he said that too." Ezekiel shook his head, gesturing ahead of them. "Guys, please, we need to hurry, eh! In case you haven't forgotten, we're in the middle of a zombie-infested island."
"Tell that to this prick," Noah said as he let go of Chris Maclean and walked away. "He has been making this harder for us since before it began. And if he insults Leshawna one more time, he will have to pray Owen is in the mood for carrying his sorry ass…"
Noah rounded a particular sharp turn of the road, and came face-to-back with a large horde of shuffling zombies. The group had been arguing with Chris so much, they had missed the macabre symphony of their moans.
One of the zombies turned around, swiveling on its rotting foot, and saw Noah. It moaned loudly, catching the attention of several other zombies. They too turned around, as the bookworm started walking back.
"EAT HIM," Chris shouted, and pushed Noah as hard as he could towards the zombies. The bookworm stumbled, dropped his katana, and fell down on his chest.
Just as the group scrambled to try and either help Noah, retreat, or find a way to run around the zombies with such a tightly-packed forest around them, they heard shouting from the other side.
"Hey, are there people over there?" a young man's voice called out over the baying of zombies and frantic cries of the living.
"We're here, we're here," Leshawna shouted.
"GET DOWN! GET TO THE SIDES! WE'RE MOWING THEM DOWN IN THREE SECONDS!"
Noah held his head, and suddenly felt someone holding him, laying down by his side. He glanced at Leshawna, who held him tightly. Gwen was by her side, as Ezekiel led Owen and Eva to one side of the road, pressing against a tree as if it was a wall. Chris was on the side, considering bolting through the trees.
That's when assault rifle fire vibrated throughout the trees, almost amplifying the already loud noise. Zombies were hit and knocked back, limbs and heads were almost severed by the hail of bullets, and vital areas of the torso and legs, needed to walk even in death, were destroyed.
The zombies fell down to the road, the ones still standing taken out by precise headshots. The seven marines, one of them Cadet Brick, were taking careful aim at those.
Chris Maclean waved at them, laughing victoriously. "Man, it is good to see you men in green! I love you all! Recognize me?"
"Not particularly," one of the marines called back to him.
"Well, I'm Chris Maclean, famous celebrity! You all are gonna be heroes when they find out you saved me! I'll even give you a reward for all this!"
As he tried to consider if a gift certificate of twenty or thirty dollars would be good enough, the same marine replied, "Just doing our job, sir! We just want to get you and the others to safety!"
"Oh, them?" Chris said, pointing over at the six teens who were recovering, staring at the pile of zombie bodies in front of them. "They've all been bitten! Shoot them! Shoot them now!"
The host knew it was, even for him, cruel and wrong, but he couldn't take the chance: witnesses to his actions when they marooned on the island would ruin his career, not to mention he knew at least three of them were going to try to destroy him.
"We're not bitten," Ezekiel screamed, holding his hands up. "Please, doo'nt shoot!"
"Totally bitten, they'll say anything to live," Chris shouted, feigning some hysterical acting that he had used in his old acting days. He walked towards the marines, trying to step around the bodies gingerly. "Shoot 'em in the head, they're bitten and will spread the infection of whatever the hell this is!"
"Sirs," Leshawna called out, standing in front of Gwen and Noah. "We're not bitten!"
Keith, the soldier from before, raised his rifle at the teens. He glanced between Owen carrying Eva, who certainly looked in a bad enough state to have been fatally injured; Leshawna shielding Noah and Gwen, something the marines had sadly seen parents do to defend bitten family members; and Ezekiel, pleading loudly over Chris's insistence.
"We have to take care of this," Keith said to the fellow marines. "We know what happens to those who get bit!"
"Everyone calm down," Brick shouted.
"You're just a cadet, you don't give orders!"
"We cannot just shoot them!"
"You have to," Chris shouted as he hurried to the marines, walking around the undead bodies. "I saw them get bitten!" He could practically see his career being rescued as some of the soldiers raised their guns at the teenagers. "Shoot them, SHOOT THEM!"
"Sir, get back," Brick was hollering, "those zombies we shot!"
"Yeah, you got them, now shoot those little-"
One of the zombies lying in the street, a bullet in its chest and not in the head like required, grabbed Chris's foot. It reached in and bit into the tendon on the back. The host screamed in agony as he fell down.
The zombies, who had only been crippled and damaged by the attack as was planned, crawled to him. They bit off his digits, parts of his face, tore at his skin and hair. Chris could almost feel the bones in his arm being clenched by zombie teeth.
He thrashed, screamed for help, but no one was going to risk rescuing him… even if they wanted to. The zombies tore his stomach open, but before he went into shock, he felt them tearing into his crotch, and rip him apart down there.
The shrieks were inhuman, and barely registered mentally as a being that the teenagers knew. Even Gwen and Noah were unnerved by this, it wasn't the revenge they wanted.
When the screams finally died into death gurgles, the marines on the other side stared at the consumed host, then at the teenagers across the collection of dead bodies. "Are any of you bitten?" one shouted.
"No, we are not," Ezekiel shouted. "We're telling the truth!"
"He's right," Owen added. "Come on, guys, you cannot just leave us here! We got injured!"
Brick waved at them. "We'll head over to help you, just stay calm and don't try to cross without us!"
Keith scoffed. "Man, they really could be bitten. We have to go soon, we should-"
"You shut up," one of the other marines snapped at him. "You know the procedure, but you wanted to just shoot them. When Cadet Brick volunteered to do the hardest job, you weren't raising your hand; what, now you're comfortable with it, when you don't have to do it right in their face?"
Despite the arguing amongst them, the marines started to head towards the survivors. They shot, stabbed, and stomped on the undead in their way, making sure none could grab them.
Two marines helped Owen, who was still carrying Eva and not letting her go despite them asking to help. The trees on the side were on a steep hill, but Owen stayed close to the side to avoid as many zombies as possible.
Another marine helped Ezekiel across, and the prairie boy was rather surprised to see it was a female soldier. Luckily, she missed the slight blush on his face when she assisted him; he was really starting to develop a thing for tough women.
The majority of the soldiers were able to help Leshawna and Noah across the sea of bodies. The two saw Chris's body along the way, so mutilated that they couldn't recognize him if they hadn't seen him a mere minute ago.
Brick had gone to help Gwen, who was shaking from Chris's inhumane death. The cadet helped her up, escorting her through the pathless maze of dead bodies. "Hey, you okay?" he asked her. "You there?"
"I'm not okay, but I'm here," she managed to say.
"Good, just keep focused, we'll get you out of this-"
A zombie that the marines had missed grabbed his boot, tripping him. He twisted his foot on the way down, and the intense pain made him wince more than the impact. The zombie tried to bite his foot through the boot, but Gwen was faster.
She stomped on the zombie's head until the skull cracked. The zombie twitched violently, and lay still. Brick muttered a thanks as he tried to stand, but found his foot hurt too much.
Gwen helped him up, lending him her shoulder for support. "Come on, we cannot have you die here, hero."
"Aw, this won't look good when we get back to base," Brick managed to joke, smiling at her.
"On the contrary, I think you'll be treated as a real hero."
Gwen was right. When they made it back to the marine camp, Brick's superiors praised him for his bravery despite the injury. The six survivors, along with him, were inspected and treated.
Bridgette was the one to break the news of Duncan to Gwen. She gave her his lighter, saying that he would have wanted her to keep it, to remind her of him in better times. Gwen, who had helped an injured soldier and fought so many zombies, lost all her strength. She was sobbing into Bridgette's shoulder as her friend did her best to comfort her.
Eva and Ezekiel had their wounds cleaned and stitched, then they were kept under watch by the marines, in case either had been infected when they were injured. Since the signs of infection had always shown after an hour, and nothing happened, they were free to go.
One might have expected a big finale, an epic fight against a last swarm of zombies, a violent bunch of survivors, or some other disaster to make for a gripping escape. The truth was, nothing like that happened. Any zombie that had found its way to where the flare went off arrived after the boat had pulled off, taking all the survivors and marines with it.
On the sea, the former contestants found solace in each other when they weren't being talked to by the marines to account for the day's happenings. Eva and Ezekiel, who finally had received proper treatment, fell asleep in chairs next to each other; if anyone had a camera, they would have taken a photo of when Ezekiel's head rested on her shoulder in slumber.
Gwen was being comforted by Bridgette, Leshawna, and even Courtney. The goth girl kept staring at the lighter, unable to fully believe Duncan had died on the island.
"I still cannot believe he brushed you off, though," Bridgette admitted. "I wonder… no, I'm sorry, Gwen."
"I know what you're trying to say, and I understand," Gwen muttered. "Duncan… wasn't himself when he told me off, he was afraid. We all were. And even after that, I cannot hate him."
"Yes, I think it's best," Courtney said, "that we remember the good in him… I know I will. Just like maybe Alejandro?"
The group that had come in last had said that Alejandro had died out there on Kauda. They left out having to kill him, however. Gwen pursed her lips as she remembered what he had done.
Brick hobbled over to them, still trying to walk despite his fellow marines telling him to take it easy. He sat down next to Gwen, saying, "Hey, just wanted to check up on you."
"I'm okay," Gwen said, not very reassuringly. She glanced at her three friends, and managed a much more genuine smile. "I'm with my friends again. I'll be okay."
"Oh good, because I was a little worried. You looked rather upset." Brick glanced at the lighter she was holding, and asked, "I'm sorry to ask, but, did you lose someone?"
"Yes, I did."
As they conversed, Noah approached the small group. "Hey," he said, as casual as one could after such a traumatic day. "They're not going to let me keep the katana."
"Seriously, string bean?" Leshawna said with a small laugh, standing up and approaching him. "You thought they would let you keep what was, realistically speaking, stolen property?"
"Hey, the army doesn't need katanas, why do they want it? I don't see it standard Canadian military equipment, not even Japanese military equipment."
"Oh, you crazy boy, you," Leshawna guffawed.
The two looked at each other, and he scratched his arm as he started to say what he actually came over to say. "Listen, Leshawna, I just… yeah, I just wanted to apologize for being a pain in the ass along the way, annoying you so much." She gripped his shoulder. "Sugar, don't you dare apologize. I'm only alive now because of you."
"Hey, I'm only alive because of you, even more so!"
"Yeah, I guess your pony-loving keister would be toast without me, huh?"
"Oh, for the love of!" He threw his hands up, then let out a defeated sigh. "Okay, okay, I'll let you tease me about it. Just… just thank you, okay? For everything, Leshawna, thank you. I meant that."
"Thank you too, Noah." The two stared at each other for a few more seconds, and then kissed. Actually, both of them hadn't planned on the other doing it, Noah thought it was a proper thank you, and Leshawna had wanted to surprise him. It was a few seconds into the kiss that they realized the other one was returning it.
"Whoa," Leshawna exclaimed as they pulled back. "What… you-"
"Were you," Noah stammered. "Now that… that was my idea!"
"It was mine, string bean Brony!"
The two couldn't continue the argument, over the laughter of Bridgette, Courtney, and Gwen. Now they both were embarrassed, but not in the worst way.
Kauda was now a great distance, almost on the horizon. Tyler was watching it go, thinking of Lindsay. Sadie, also thinking of Katie, couldn't bring herself to look at the island go. Instead, she took Tyler's hand for support, and he squeezed it reassuringly.
Cody and Izzy also watched the island go, her holding him from behind. He clutched her hands, and whispered, "Good-bye, Sierra. Thank you… for everything."
Geoff cast a salute out to the island, for Chef Hatchet. "Dude, I didn't get to know you," he said, "none of us really did, but I'm sure as hell we all did now. And Justin, man… I hope you're charming them in heaven now; you probably make one handsome of an angel too."
DJ and Beth cuddled up on the deck, falling asleep together after paying their respects too. Bridgette and Courtney did the same, and when Trent joined them, the surfer girl found herself closer to the musician than ever before. He held her as the two and Courtney watched Kauda disappear over the horizon.
Harold approached them, and Courtney found himself close to him again. She still didn't understand why, and neither did he, but they weren't going to mentally debate it, at least not today.
Owen, a little sea sick, was being watched over by Gwen and Brick. The large teen had found food for everyone, and, in a move that surprised them at first, he shared with everyone before he ate himself.
Gwen was still clutching the lighter, and wondered if maybe, in a romantic gesture, she should toss it in the ocean towards Kauda. But she decided against that, and thought Duncan's family might want it more. Brick stayed by her, and she found his company much more tolerable than she would have guessed a young soldier's to be.
Noah and Leshawna found themselves together again after they had checked on all their friends. The two talked for a few minutes before their energy, completely gone now, left them too tired to stay awake a minute longer.
They were asleep, holding hands, as their boat left the zombie-infested Hawaiian island far away and headed to Canada.
In the weeks that followed, the infection on Kauda became public knowledge. Zombies existing shook the world, especially when reports of them popped up her and there around the globe. Hollywood tried to capitalize, of course.
Eventually, a cure was discovered, as the undead infection had been contained on the island instead of ravaging the world. Thus, the world managed to get back on track with much less dread over a possible zombie apocalypse. Details of how and where the virus originated are confidential.
When the TD contestants made it back to civilization and a media very hungry for details, their lives were in a huge whirlwind. The company that produced Total Drama, unable to dodge this massive bullet, had to pay huge compensation to the families of those who died, and those who lived for putting them in such a dangerous place without any support to begin with. Thus, the company, especially without Chris Maclean, went bankrupt after having to pay such massive debts.
There was a large funeral service for the ten who had died. The survivors managed to meet the families of their departed friends, and embraced each other in comfort.
Sadie knew Katie's family all her life, and had already seen them before the funeral for a more personal remembrance. Lindsay's family met with Tyler, Beth, and the blond's other friends. Even Heather's parents were there, and the former contestants managed, with some sincerity on their part, to say how sorry they were for their loss.
Justin and Sierra's families were there, and managed to meet most of the others. Sierra's mom was especially grateful to Cody, who gave a wonderful eulogy for her daughter.
Duncan's family were never told what he had done wrong on Kauda, but they were told what his last words. Gwen had tried to give them the lighter, but they insisted she keep it; they had enough to remember him by, it was hers for him.
Alejandro's family was there too, and the six who had been with him in his last minutes had tried to stay away. What he had done would never be known, but, amazingly, Ezekiel was the one to say the nicest thing about him from the contestants.
"He was put in an impossible situation, 'oot of his element, and in dire peril a'geen and a'geen," he had said to his friends. "If he hadn't bin bitten, he would never have acted like that.
"I pity Alejandro, and if he had made it, maybe he woo'd be here mourning with us, sincerely. I'd like to think that, eh."
Chef Hatchet had a brother, who the former contestants told that his little brother (yep, Chef was the younger, smaller brother) that he had died a hero. His older brother couldn't hold back the tears over this.
Blaineley was mostly recognized by the media, and her co-anchor Josh. Chris Maclean was hardly mentioned, as his deeds, especially his gross misconduct that had led the contestants to be marooned on the island, were now publicly known; he would be remembered as the horrible man he was.
After the funeral, the contestants went to go have normal lives, or at least as normal as one could. DJ and his mom restarted their show, and it did much better second time around; Beth joined the show, and soon she and the gentle giant were closer than ever. They started writing a cookbook together.
Izzy and Cody kept in touch, and she somehow found ways to go and see him, despite the distance. They managed to go to the same college together.
Owen and Geoff were more than happy to guest stars on several shows, usually as judges or contestants. Their fame and gusto got them far, helping them recover from their terrible experience on Kauda. Eventually, they started a charity to feed starving people around the world.
Tyler and Sadie kept in contact, at first just for support in their loses. Eventually, they started seeing each other, and a relationship become official when Tyler's sisters loved Sadie. Though Tyler and his father had to sometimes wear ear plugs when the girls started squEEEEEEaling in delight over girly things.
Harold and Courtney had the most awkward of relations, messaging each other as casual as possible. Trent and Bridgette, who also stayed in close contact with each other, were a bit more open with how they felt about each other. Eventually, the four went to college together, but when Bridgette finally managed to get the nerd and CIT to admit their feelings instead of dodge them, it was hard to keep the two off each other.
Eva wasn't interested in a relationship, but she definitely did want to keep in contact with Ezekiel. They were in constant communication, and it was because of him that she decided to go to college. After realizing how much he had helped her, the fitness buff started to reconsider her standpoint on their friendship.
Gwen kept to herself for a while, needing some therapy to help her after the whole ordeal. Eventually, Brick came around to see her, having left the military to join fashion school. When they started working on a gothic camouflage line in joke, they realized how well their talents blended. They were the second most unusual, but wonderfully cute, couple people had seen.
And of course, Noah and Leshawna took first place in unusual but still adorable couples. Everyone they knew said how weird it was for them to date, being such opposites in so many ways. And yet, it still worked out. Imagine that.
The contestants kept in contact with each other through messages and emails, though drifted apart for the most part, aside from the relationships and closer friendships that had formed. Owen would always consider Noah one of his best friends, Bridgette was friends with too many of them to lose contact, and Izzy liked to drop in on Ezekiel from time to time.
But every year, they would all come together at a harbor, and give tribute to those that passed away. They would never let the memories of their friends die, and they'd always remember that, during the worst, they had stuck together and survived.
They all were alive today purely because of each other.
"It's always nice," Noah said, "when a zombie outbreak can bring out the best in people, despite the worst happening too."
"You getting sentimental, Brony boy?" Leshawna teased him.
"Damn right, my sugar plum, damn right."
In Memory of:
No, Chris doesn't get a mention, good riddance to him. *troll grin* Though I will apologize to Alejandro fans a little, in that I may have been a little too harsh on him. Still, I would like to end on a positive note for him, but none for Chris. *troll grins again*
Well, that's all for this zombie island. I have many other projects to work on, especially something else bigger, also involving zombies! CuttieArtGirl, hope you enjoyed!