A weed is a plant that has mastered every survival skill except for learning how to grow in rows.

Doug Larson

Chapter One

Merle was starting to think he was well and truly fucked this time. As he ran, he could hear the faint moaning of the geeks behind him as background noise to his own tearing breaths. They were too fuckin' close, and he knew he'd need to stop before they did.

He ducked left down an alley, pausing only to slam the fire axe down into the forehead of a geek that lurched at him from behind a dumpster. He had long managed to ignore the disgust he felt as rotten black matter spurted towards him. The real challenge was quickly yanking the weapon out of the goddamn thing's skull using his left hand, but after a week without any other alternative he was getting used to it.

Skidding on a piece of long discarded cardboard, he wheeled right into another alley. He was fifty yards in before he realised that there was no way he was going to be able to climb the high wire fence at the end with one hand. There wasn't even a fuckin' dumpster he could use to climb it or to hide in. He chanced a look back as he considered his options; he knew he wouldn't have time to make it back out of the alley before the geeks were on him, and summarised his feelings in one short and breathless sentence.


It was his own fault, he knew that much. He'd been ransacking a pharmacy, getting some meds for his stump, now a week old and just starting to heal rather painfully. What pissed him off more was that the fuckin' thing was burning and itchy, which meant it was probably infected. He also felt nauseous and light headed, though that could easily be coming down off the coke. Either way, it made sense to risk the raid.

Then of course he'd stayed on, looking for any shit that would help with the comedown or just get him nicely tweaked. Xanax or something similar would be good. By the time he'd shoved a couple of likely looking bottles into his duffle bag the geeks had picked up on him. He'd busted a few of their heads and made it out of the store, but there were now about thirty of the filthy fuckers trailing him through the suburbs…

There were two doors in the alley, one on either side. He sprinted to the nearest one, maybe twenty yards down on the left side – it was a steel security door and pretty solid, so really it was a crying shame he was on the wrong side of it. It turned out to be locked from the inside and he aimed a few angry kicks at the handle.

"Goddamn ya, ya motherfucker! Shit!"

He gave up and ran for the next door further down the alley. It was equally solid and equally unresponsive. Desperation began to take hold as he heard the first few geeks stumble into the alleyway. As they saw him, their groans grew louder and their speed increased.

Now in a full panic, Merle began ramming the door with his shoulder. 'Goddammitmotherfuckincunt." he yelled. "C'mon, c'mon, ya fuckin' bastard…"

Suddenly, there was another voice carrying over the clanging metal and groaning.

'Hey! Hey, quick, over here!'

He was still bodyslamming the door when he realised he'd heard another human voice; at least one forming words. Looking round, he saw a figure standing in the shadow of the now open security door. The figure quickly leaned round the edge of it to see the geeks rapidly approaching, before turning back and observing he was still standing motionless.

"Shit! Move, fuckwit! MOVE!" the voice yelled again with a rising note of panic.

It wasn't exactly a tough decision, though every instinct resisted running towards the herd of geeks. Merle sprinted back and the figure stood aside to let him through the door before immediately slamming it behind him and sliding the bolts back into place. His ragged gasps didn't mask the pounding on the door, as the geeks expressed their displeasure at being denied a good meal in the only way they had left.

"Jesusfuck!," said the voice, "that was too close. You alright?" His brain noted two things about the voice; one it was female, a fact that he might be more interested in later, when he was less exhausted. Two, it was… odd. Make that three; odd and oddly familiar.

Merle had about caught his breath so he looked up, trying to make her out in in the dim light coming from a small window. It shone more on his face than hers, and Merle saw her silhouette jerk in recognition. "Oh! Hang on…fuck, it's… err…oh, I can't remember, but it is you, isn't it?"

"Merle," he replied as recognition suddenly hit. "Fuck me, that you, Sugartits?!"

"Awww, you remember…"