"Go, go! Check inside, I got the outside!"

Ellis ran inside the small, beat down, semi-dark market with a pistol and flashlight in hand. He slowly made his way through the maze of aisles and ruble as he checked the shelves for food. He scanned the mostly empty shelves with a sigh as he moved on. It was a wonder they still hopped to find anything in the infected city, but they had to try in order to survive. A glint on the shelve suddenly caught his attention. Wondering over to it, he found five cans hidden in the back with the labels still intact. He reached forward, pulling them towards him so he could read them.

"Corn, carrots, corn, peas, green beans," he muttered as he read them to himself. "Eh, I'm sure Ro' can do somethin' with them."

He pulled his half full knapsack off his back and gently placed them in the bag, pulling it back on.

'Now to check the back'

He climbed down from the shelf looking around before heading towards the back of the store, scanning the cold boxes for drinks that might be left. He knew they really weren't allowed to be much picky at this point, anything would do. He paused, hearing a low groan. Spinning around, he spotted an infected, staring at the wall, infatuated at nothing in particular. Ellis assumed it to be one of the clerks that used to work there, because he still wore the tattered remains of the clerk uniform, or maybe it was to something else and the Infected had wondered? He didn't know, all he knew was that he had to take the thing out of its misery, because it wasn't fair.

'Though, sometimes I wish someone would take us out of ours'

"Trust me, yur goin' to a better place" he muttered as he switched from his pistol to his oh so famous bat, swinging at the creature. There was a snap, a crack and a splat as the creature fell into a heap, its head slightly detached from its body. He sighed as he spun around and continued his search. He could remember when life was good, when he didn't have to watch his back as often and when he and Keith would spend time together.

'Fine times those were' he thought with a pitiful look, shaking his head again and searching on. He had to get pasted that fact that his friend was dead. He was gone and not one of the others, he knew for a fact he wasn't one of the others. Pausing, he flashed his light over one of the cold boxes with an excited look.

"Holy cow!" He exclaimed to himself. "Well sir, gawd does like smilin' on me ta-day!" there were several cans with labels intact and several bottles of water. It might not have been the ideal survival food and it might not make a meal, but it sure in hell made a difference. He reached back into the freezer, which was missing its door, and grasped the cold, dusty cans, pulling them towards him and shinning his light on them.

'Carrots, corn, peas, anchovies, corn, corn, peas, carrots, oh! Looky here! Fruit!,'

He smiled as he loaded the cans into his bag and continued to read them.

'Tangerines, peaches, pears, pineapple, apple sauce, apple sauce, weenies? In a can?'

He shrugged with a smile He had hit the pay load! This had to be the most food any of them had found on supply run, let alone the state at this point. He laughed inwardly and shoved the cans into his knapsack along with the unopened waters. He felt kindly accomplished as he slid the slightly heavier pack on his back once more.

'Nick's never gon' believe this!' he thought with an excited look as he made his way back towards the older man.

'I feel like this run just might be ma best one.'

And he was right; normally he never found more than he just had. Maybe a few can's here and there but never anything like he had just found. It made him wonder if maybe someone had stashed them there and had intentions of coming back. If that were the case, then why hadn't they ran into the other survivors yet?

'Maybe I'm just too hopeful'

He smiled a little at the thought. Of course he was too hopeful and he knew this. But that was ok, because without a hopeful person, at least one, how could anyone go on? He spotted Nick as he exited a shop across from the one he just checked and frowned at the semi sour look the older man had on his face.

"Well, that look sur' don' suit ya. What's wrong Mr. Fancy suit?"

"Nothing," Nick grunted. He then shook his head and sighed. "What did you manage to find kid?"

"Eh? Are ya sur' nothin's botherin' ya?" Ellis said ignoring the new topic.

"I said I'm fine" Nick muttered. "I don't like repeating myself. Now what did you find?"

"Ok, ok, well, looky here!" He said sliding his bag off and opening it to show the other his findings. "I ain't ever got this good a find! I think this is best yet!"

Nick looked inside the bag with a semi-impressed look and nodded.

"Alright, I'll bite, I have to admit, that is a pretty good haul. I checked a few shops along the way and didn't find much 'cept for the normal few infected and maybe a few cans. This is getting pretty bad. If we're going to leave, we need to leave now before we can't find any supplies anymore."

"Oh, it won't be like that, Nick. Trust me. We'll ration out and make the most of what we have before we ever run out." Ellis said optimistically. "Besides that, I think we've all grown used to not eating our fair shares anyway."

Nick had to agree on that note. He and the rest of them had lost several pounds that they needed, not to mention they had gained muscle that they couldn't balance out evenly among the body and it just threw them all off balance. Still, he looked over at Ellis letting something like worry flicker over his face. The young man was skinny to begin with, even before the food shortage, he was a pretty slender man, but since the food shortage, he seemed to be slowly turning into a skeleton.

'Maybe even a corpse' he thought sadly as he continued to survey the young man.

"That maybe be true, but it doesn't make it right" Nick said stubbornly, crossing his arms.

"Ah hell Nick, we all know nothin' ain't right out here, we get used to it. Besides that, maybe we'll move on somewhere where there will be a little more food, even if we have to go searching for it again"

"Yeah I guess you-"

Nick suddenly paused, perking up like he heard something.

"Nick what is i-"

Nick placed a hand over the young man's mouth startling him.

"Shh, you hear that?"

Ellis tried to focus on what Nick heard, rather than the faint thumping in his ears from his heart. He heard what he thought was faint sobbing, like a woman or a girl, out in the distance.

"It's a witch," Nick muttered, pulling his hand away from the others mouth.

"How long til ya think we'll run inta her?" Ellis asked softly.

"Not too far, but not any time soon." Nick said in more of a riddle than an answer.

"Great," Ellis said sarcastically. "Any who, we ain't too far from ma place, just a few more miles."

"Good, because I'm getting tired of-"

He suddenly paused and startled Ellis for a second time as he flung his arm out in front of the young man who's eyes went wide. Something long and slimy wrapped around the others arm and wouldn't let go. He followed the slimy rope like object up to where it ended; at a Smoker.

"S-Smoker!"

"Shoot it dumbass!"

Before either one could truly react, the Smoker unwrapped his tongue from around Nicks arm and wrapped it around the man's torso, pulling the gambler towards it.

"Fuck! Ellis!"

"Hold on! I got ya!"

Ellis switched from his primary weapon to his secondary, his pistol, and raised it as he chased after Nick who was drug away.

"Ge'd back here slimy bitch! HA!" Ellis hooted, getting a luck shot at the Smoker right between its eyes. He watched as the infected exploded, pleased and as much shocked he had gotten such a lucky shot.

Well, I'll be damned"

The tongue curled around the older man dropped, leaving him ass down on the ground. He looked around dazed for a moment before pulling the nasty thing off of him.

"Nick, are you ok!" Ellis asked as he stopped at his side, offering the older man his hand.

"There goes my ten thousand dollar suit" he muttered sarcastically standing up. Ellis couldn't help but chuckle a little.

"Ah, Nick-"

Before he could finish his sentence, the ground shook. Both men looked at each other for a moment, eyes going wide, had they ran into a tank? There was no way; they would have had a warning beforehand if that was the case. Then, there was only one other infected that could shake the ground like that.

"It's a boomer!" Nick said with relief, more or less answering the question on both their minds at the moment.

"Oh! Oh! I got this!" Ellis said excitedly running off towards it.

"No! Idiot! Kid get back here! ELLIS!"

No matter how many names Nick called Ellis, the young man still bounded towards the infected with an odd stream of glee.

"God dammit Ellis! Are you trying to get us killed!?"

"Naw! I won't!" Ellis shouted back. "I'll kill the boomer then we can head back!"

"Ellis! Boomers-!"

There were gun shots, a squeal, then, what sounded like someone dropped slimy jellow on the floor.

"-Explode"

Ellis was covered In Boomer vomit and not the least bit happy.

"Ah, dammit," He moaned. "Nick…."

"What the hell do you expect me to do!?" Nick demanded, crossing his arms. "You're the fuck-tard that went for the boomer! I tried to warn you to back up!"

"But I-"

"Fuck, Ellis, you're such a damn child"

"But, you love that about me, right?"

"No! If we're going to survive, you need to learn to grow the hell up! Ellis, this isn't your home any more, and I'm not Keith! He's dead! So start acting like the adult you ought to be!"

Those words stung Ellis for a couple of reasons. One was the mentioning of Keith in such a harsh reality, no matter how true it was. No one wanted to hear the truth about a dead friend. Ellis never told Nick what had truly happened to Keith on Christmas, so he decided to be lenient on Nick about it, considering that if the older man did know, he wouldn't have mentioned Keith. The other reason was less serious, but it still hurt.

"Well, golly, Nick, lemme tell ya something," He said pulling his hat off and flinging the boomer bile off of it. "Wha' ya don' understand is that I know that I'ma adult,"

He sighed and pulled his hat back on, looking the con-man straight in the eye.

"But, I act like I do to keep everyone else in good spirits 'cuz I love them like family, understand? Without it, I would…..I would…..I dunno, I wouldn't be around, ya hear? Means that if ya really want me to act like the rest of ya, then tell me that again, but, I warn ya, ya won't like it"

With that, shrugged and placed his gun on his belt, walking past a silent Nick.


*NOTE: This may be my last chapter for awhile becuse i have ended here in my typing and I am a slow typer. BUT PLEASE continue to look for and read my chapters when they do come out! THANK YOU ALL FOR READING! It truely does mean a lot~!