Important Note: I am not working for Telltale Games or have any official dealings with The Walking Dead series in any way. This story is only written as if you were playing the game.
This game series adapts to the choices you make.
The story is tailored by how you play.
In association with
THE WALKING DEAD: REAL MONSTERS
It was a shame that Nate wasn't at a party. Not with Vaughan's neighbors, those people were dumbasses and from what he could hear from across the street they were having a lame ass party, but the day was far too hot to be stressing. Nate wasn't stressed himself, he had no need to be, but his friend's anxiety was radiating off of him in such powerful waves that Nate felt on the verge of distress.
"Okay," Vaughan said, slapping his hands on the kitchen table and causing Nate to flinch. "We need to come up with a lie. It has to be something so bad it makes what I have to tell her not as bad." Vaughan paused, his legs bouncing on the balls of his feet in a subconscious need to pace around the room. "And I need you to do it because I'm horrible at lying."
| Why do I have to lie? |
| A good friend wouldn't |
| Sure, whatever |
| … |
"A good friend would tell you not to do this." Nate began, moving away from the window and closer to Vaughan. "A good friend would tell you not to take the roundabout way and just tell your girlfriend the truth." Nate stood beside his younger Asian friend and frowned down at him. Vaughan looked up with wide and startled eyes.
Nate smiled mischievously. "Fortunately, I am not that friend. This sounds awesome. Pass me the phone." Vaughan blinked in confusion before laughing and passing the cellphone. Nate dialed the number and placed the phone to his ear. Vaughan stood up, succumbing to the urge to pace around the room. He took his glasses off, wiped them, and placed them back onto his face.
| Relax already |
| Stop pacing |
| Head's going to explode |
| … |
"Your head's going to explode if you keep stressing like this." Nate told Vaughan, following his movements with his eyes. Vaughan stopped pacing and stared at him, his brows furrowed and eyes glaring. Nate looked away.
"Probably shouldn't have said that. Sorry." Nate mumbled.
"…It's okay." Vaughan said softly, shoulders slumping. He fidgeted his glasses closer to his face, ran his hands through his hair, and resumed moving around the room.
"Hello? Vaughan?" A voice from the phone asked.
"Hey Charlie. I need to tell you something." Nate said.
"Hi Nate. What is it?"
"It's about Vaughan."
"…Is that so?" Charlie's voice took on a suspicious tone. "What did he do?" Vaughan stopped. He stared at Nate, pulling at his hair as he waited for him to respond.
| [Lie] He's been 'doing' me |
| [Lie] He got someone pregnant |
| [Lie] He wants to break up with you|
| … |
"He's been 'doing' me. Your boyfriend is having an affair." Nate lied, surprising himself with how serious he sounded despite trying hard not to laugh. There was a dead silence in both the kitchen and the other end of the line. Nate was about to ask Charlie if she was still there when Charlie began screeching.
(?) Charlie and Vaughan will remember that
"What!? What!?" Charlie screamed acid in his ear. "Nate are you fucking-"
"Yes, actually." Nate interrupted, using all of his willpower not to start cackling. "I have been for a while. I'm at his house right now and-"
"I'm going to fucking kill you!" Charlie screamed so loudly that Nate jerked the phone away from his ear. He glanced at Vaughan who was sputtering half sentences and broken off words. Vaughan looked around the room in disbelief, as if there were an invisible group of people in the kitchen that he could ask why Nate had used that lie.
Nate put the phone back to his ear, but there was only the dull ring of the dial tone. Nate laughed, pressed the end call button, and tossed the cellphone back to Vaughan. The phone bounced off his fingers and Vaughan did a pathetic juggling act before grabbing a firm hold of the phone.
"She'll be here soon." He told Vaughan. He went into the fridge to get them both beers.
"Why!?" Vaughan asked.
"Why is she coming?" Nate asked back, glancing at Vaughan before turning his attention back to the fridge. "Isn't that obvious? She's pissed."
"Why did you have to make that your lie!?" Vaughan said, his voice shaking and his brows more furrowed than before.
| I know what I'm doing |
| You wanted me to lie |
| You're going to have a heart attack |
| … |
"Vaughan, I know what I'm doing." Nate responded, suppressing a yawn. He took the cold beers out of the fridge. Vaughan dropped back into his chair, resting his arms on the table and covering his face in his hands. Nate sighed and continued. "Look, if I had said that you were cheating on her with some bimbo, Charlie wouldn't have come here right away. She would have looked for the woman, beat her up, and then come to your house." Nate placed both their beers on the table and searched the drawers for a bottle opener.
"Then why didn't you say the girl was here?" Vaughan groaned through his hands. Nate took the opener out of a drawer and turned back to his friend.
"Because if Charlie thinks we both wronged her then she'll come here faster. And also that… didn't occur to me as I was telling the lie." Nate admitted with some humor. Vaughan groaned again.
"Let's go outside." Nate said, passing the opener to Vaughan and picking up the two beers. "It's better that we wait for her there than have her come and break the door down looking for us."
Vaughan nodded, pushing the glasses upward and following Nate out of the door.
The two men sitting on the stairs in front of the house were not assaulted by the sun's heat. The shade did not, however, block them from the smells. The rank and musky sweat of the people running around; the strong, burning charcoal that overpowered the meat cooking from across the street; the cut grass; the wooden frames of old homes; and even the heat itself had a smell, something hard to describe but undeniably there.
All of this went unappreciated by Nate, but he could tell from the forlorn look on Vaughan's face that he cherished the sights, sounds, and smells of the area. When Vaughan wasn't drinking his beer, his barely visible Adam's apple moved up and down as if he were trying to swallow a stone.
(o) Look at house
The house across from them looked like all the other houses on the suburban street. The only thing that differentiated it was the charcoal smoke drifting off from the back.
"They didn't invite you to their party?" Nate asked Vaughan. The younger man moved the bottle away from his mouth.
"They did." Vaughan answered. "I just told them I couldn't go because I wasn't feeling well. I had to talk to you and Charlie so… I wouldn't be good company anyways. The guy who invited me, Tom, said that this lunatic bit his brother and now he isn't feeling well. But despite that he still managed to make it to the party."
"…Tom was trying to guilt trip you into going?" Nate asked, taking a drink of his beer.
"Yeah." Vaughan said, his shoulders dropping as he averted his eyes from the house.
"You shouldn't feel bad about not going. Those people are fucking stupid." Nate said.
"What? No. They're not stupid. I mean they're not that stupid." Vaughan said, brows arching upwards. Nate stared at him and Vaughan paused. "…Okay, yeah, they're pretty stupid." He admitted. They both chuckled at this.
(o) Look at children
The children were playing tag, tackling each other and running around. Nate rolled his eyes at the display, but Vaughan smiled.
"It's like they can't feel the heat." Nate muttered around his bottle.
"I think I want children." Vaughan said.
"To eat?" Nate asked without missing a beat. Vaughan spat out the beer and coughed.
"No!" Vaughan exclaimed after he caught his breath. "Not to eat!"
| Kids are okay |
| You shouldn't have kids |
| Children are gross |
| … |
"Children are fucking gross." Nate said.
(?) Vaughan will remember that
"They're not that gross." Vaughan disagreed. "And if they were, why would you want me to eat them?" Nate shrugged and continued drinking.
(o) Look at public flower memorial
It was attached to the light post across from Vaughan's house. The flowers were weaved together to form a large circle. There was an assortment of flowers that made up this circle; though it looked aesthetically pleasing despite the apparent randomness in the selection of the plants.
"What happened there?" Nate asked, pointing to the memorial. Vaughan looked up and frowned.
"Hit and run. It was done on purpose from what I heard." Vaughan said, the muscles in his face tightening.
"Did you see it happen?" Nate asked.
"No, but I heard it happen. It was the middle of the night. I heard someone scream and tires screeching. By the time I went to look the car was gone. The guy who got hit was… God." Vaughan squinted his eyes and shook his head. "I hope nothing like that happens again. We don't need any more violence here."
| There's violence everywhere |
| He probably deserved it |
| Maybe nothing else will happen |
| … |
The flowers swayed in the wind. Nate took a big gulp of his beer. "He probably deserved it." Nate said nonchalantly. Vaughan gawked at him.
(?) Vaughan will remember that
"No way!" Vaughan objected. "How could you say that?"
"Come on man. No one kills people in the middle of the night for no reason unless they deserve it." Nate said.
"Or if the killers are horrible people!" Vaughan insisted angrily.
"Whatever man." Nate replied, bored of the conversation. He burped loudly.
"Ew." Vaughan said, irritated. He looked away from Nate and cleaned the invisible dirt off his glasses.
(o) Look at truck
Nate's truck was in fine condition. He had finished fixing and upgrading it with a wax treatment, a new engine and fixed lights on top of the roof. He wasn't the type of man who fell in love with vehicles, Nate thought people who did were fucking stupid, but he liked his truck and was pleased he was able to afford everything that he had done to it.
It was sitting in Vaughan's driveway. Vaughan didn't have a car because he never learnt to drive.
"You want to wait for Charlie inside the truck?" Nate asked. Vaughan inspected the truck for a moment before shaking his head.
"That's alright." Vaughan said. "I'd rather wait out here. Your truck looks sweet by the way."
"It damn well should, I paid a shit ton of money tweaking it." Nate replied, smiling.
"I can tell." Vaughan said.
(o) Look at Vaughan
Vaughan's shoulders were slumped. There were bags under his eyes. His throat still made swallowing motions when he wasn't drinking. He kept on moving the glasses on his face even when there was no need to fix them. When he wasn't looking at anything specific, Vaughan looked as if he were staring into a void.
Nate noticed all of this and was more worried than he would have admitted.
(o) Talk to Vaughan
Vaughan sighed, an action that made his entire body expand and then shrink to a size smaller than it originally was. He put down his beer, took off his glasses, held them in one hand, and covered his eyes with the other.
"I can't believe I let this happen…" Vaughan uttered. Nate looked at his friend incredulously, shaking his head.
"Let this happen?" Nate repeated. "Yes, because you 'let' yourself get brain cancer."
"I know." Vaughan said. "I know it's not my fault. I know there was nothing I could have done to prevent this but… it still feels like I could have done something, you know? Maybe I could've eaten healthier or… maybe I could have gone to the doctor more or… God." Vaughan moved his hand away from his eyes and wiped his mouth. "I don't…" He sighed again.
| What did the doctor say? |
| Do you have a chance? |
| About Charlie… |
| Exit |
Nate rubbed the back of his neck and looked up at the sky. The shade no longer felt as adequate protection from the heat. Though Nate wasn't sure if it was due to the day getting hotter, or if the subject the two of them were talking about made him more aware of the cruel weather.
"What did the doctor tell you again?" Nate asked.
"The doctor said that it was at stage 3, a regional spread." Vaughan told him. "Which means that the original tumor is growing and moving throughout my brain but it hasn't gone anywhere else yet. I think."
"You think?" Nate repeated, dumbfounded.
"…I didn't listen much after she told me I had cancer." Vaughan said.
| You need to pay attention |
| You can find out later |
| She? |
| … |
"She?" Nate asked, smiling. "Your doctor's a woman? Is she hot?"
"Nate. If you try to hit on my doctor I… please, can you just keep it in your pants? Please." Vaughan pleaded.
(?) Vaughan doesn't appreciate that
"Okay, okay." Nate said, raising his hands in surrender.
| Do you have a chance? |
| About Charlie… |
| Exit |
Nate drank some of his beer and wiped his mouth. He rubbed the back of his neck again and frowned at the ground. "You never told me what your chances are at beating this. Is it too late or… whatever?" Nate said this without looking at Vaughan.
Vaughan sighed again. "The doctor said I should have come sooner." Nate spared him a quick glance before looking away. "But," Vaughan continued. "She also said it wasn't too late. If I took chemo it would be difficult to get rid off, and my chances aren't as positive, but it's not impossible that I'll live."
Nate looked at Vaughan and nodded. The younger man nodded back at him.
| About Charlie… |
| Exit |
"What are you going to tell Charlie went she gets here?" Nate asked, smirking.
"I'm going to tell her that you and me are not having an affair!" Vaughan retorted, drinking a large gulp from beer in an angry and embarrassed manner. A few of the children playing outside stopped to look at the two of them.
"Shh! Shh!" Nate hushed, laughing.
" Don't 'shh' me, my girlfriend thinks I'm gay!" Vaughan said, even more embarrassed and angry than before. Nate laughed harder, covering his eyes with an arm. The children continued to watch them for a while longer before getting bored and going back to their own games.
| Exit |
"It looks like we both could use a refill." Nate said, motioning to their beer bottles. Vaughan looked at his own as if he forgot he was still holding it. He shook the bottle back and forth listening for the last bit of beer to knock against the insides, but no sound was made.
"Well," Vaughan said, "If you're going to get some more, be quick. I don't want to be on my own when Charlie comes." He looked at both ends of the street. Nate rolled his eyes.
"What? You're not afraid of your girlfriend, are you?" Nate teased, starting to stand up.
"You've known her longer than me and you're not afraid of her?" Vaughan asked.
| You're a pussy |
| Women don't scare me |
| I can take her |
| … |
"Women don't scare me." Nate replied, his tone suggesting that being afraid of women was ridiculous.
(?) Vaughan will remember that
Vaughan gave Nate a deadpanned look. "Women will kick you in the balls if you have that kind of attitude." He warned.
"Then I'll kick them back." Nate said.
"Nate." Vaughan groaned, the words 'please don't say that' went unsaid but heard in his tone.
"What? I don't go around beating women, but I don't fucking care what gender you are, if you hit me first I'm hitting you back." Nate said defensively.
"Nate." Vaughan groaned again. Nate ignored him and made to turn towards door when he spotted Charlie's convertible speeding down the road.
"She's coming." Nate told Vaughan. The younger man flinched. He fidgeted with his glasses, placed them back onto his face, and stood up along side Nate.
"I'm not ready to tell her." Vaughan admitted. He ran his fingers through his hair and flexed to hands. "I know I have to tell her, she's my girlfriend but… fuck, I don't want her to know I have cancer. God. Fuck."
| You want to keep lying? |
| Better get it over with |
| Stop freaking out already |
| … |
"Better to get it over with now than later. It'll be much harder if you put it off." Nate said. Vaughan nodded distractedly.
Charlie's car nearly hit Nate's truck before it screeched to a stop in front of the curb. The playing children were startled by the noise and screamed, running away from the stationary convertible. A few of the neighbors peeked passed the blinds of their windows and opened their doors to see if an accident had happened. Noticing that nothing was out of the ordinary, they quickly went back to their own lives.
Charlie's car door opened and the woman stepped out. She had a weapon in her hand.
"Is- is that a sword!?" Vaughan stammered out in a low voice, his eyes widening.
"It's a butcher's knife, actually." Nate said, his voice equally as low. "I wonder how she got that…"
"Did you know she was going to do this!?" Vaughan asked.
| The weapon choice is a surprise |
| I had a feeling this would happen |
| I won't let her kill you |
| … |
"Don't worry, I won't let her kill you." Nate reassured him. "Besides, nothing is going to happen."
Charlie was four feet away from them now. Her face was red not from crying, because Charlie never cried, but from the blood going to her face due to her rage. Nate realized that he must have hit a bad nerve with his lie if it made her face change color. Her complexion was dark despite her half Asian background.
"Nate." Charlie hissed at him. Nate stepped forward and in front of Vaughan. "You have five seconds to tell me what the fuck is going on." Nate looked at the hand holding the butcher's knife and saw she was flexing her hold on the weapon.
| I lied |
| Only five seconds? |
| Not much to say |
| … |
"Only five seconds? We're going to need more time to tell you everything." Nate said. Charlie glared at him.
"I guess that's true." Charlie said with barely veiled resentment. "Seeing as it took you more than five seconds to call me and tell me that you were sleeping with my fucking boyfriend!" Nate couldn't help himself, and though he tried to stop, his smile turned into chuckling which turned into a bout of hysterical laughter. Charlie was now shaking with fury and raised the knife.
"Wait! Charlie stop! He was lying on the phone! I-" Vaughan's words were cut off as another car came speeding down the road. The three of them watched as it swerved between both lanes before clipping the side of Charlie's car. Charlie screamed indignantly but the roar of the car's engine drowned it out. The car continued to drive in erratic circles; running over lawns, sprinklers, scraping against a fire hadron, flattening children toys; until it drove into the house of partying people across the street.
The sound of glass and metal crumpling as the car collided with and through the wall of the house was explosive. Parents brought their small children inside as entire families left their houses to see what havoc had come to their street once again. No one, however, made a move to see if the person in the vehicle was still alive, or if any of the occupants in the damaged house were hurt. Everyone looked at everyone else or at the house or what could be seen of the car, waiting for someone, or the police, to help.
"My fucking car." Charlie hissed under her breath. She turned away from scene and walked towards her convertible, fuming as she got closer to it. The sight of his girlfriend walking away distracted Vaughan long enough to snap him out of his shock.
"Nate!" Vaughan said, shaking Nate's shoulder. "We need to help them!"
| Wait for the police |
| Fine, let's go |
| YOU can go |
| … |
"Vaughan, wait for the police to come. They'll know what to do more than you will." Nate told him.
"But…" Vaughan said, distressed. "But what if someone's been hurt?"
"What will you if someone has been hurt? You're not a doctor." Nate pointed out. A rebuttal was about to leave Vaughan's mouth when the screaming began. The crowd that had gathered around the house began to back away as horrible crying, pained shrieking, gunshots, and an unexplainable moaning and hissing polluted the area. A bawling and bleeding man holding a gun tried to leave the house through the hole in the wall but was pulled back in by a dark hand, releasing the gun as he went howling for help. The gun he dropped went sliding onto the driveway.
The crowd backed away even farther, some ran into their homes but others were too stunned. Charlie shot the house a confused but ultimately disinterested and peevish look.
"Okay, the police aren't going to come on time." Nate breathed, pulling at the collar of his shirt. "We need to do something."
"Yeah…" Vaughan whispered back, his voice shaking. Nate turned away from the house of screaming and moaning voices.
"Do you have your bow and arrows?" Nate asked.
"They're inside." Vaughan said, still staring at the house.
"Get them." Nate ordered. "Being an archer is going to be useful outside of competitions for once." Vaughan nodded and broke his gaze of the house to look at his friend.
"What are you going to do?" Vaughan asked.
"A man dropped a gun on the driveway. I'm going to take it and shoot these fuckers." Nate answered.
"Have you used a gun before?" Vaughan asked, worried.
| It can't be that hard |
| Maybe |
| Nope |
Nate didn't answer that; instead he smiled awkwardly at Vaughan.
(?) You somewhat reassured Vaughan
"I'm going to interpret that as a yes." Vaughan said. "Be careful." Vaughan ran back into his house. Nate watched him go in before walking towards the driveway.
(o) Move through crowd
A section of the people who hadn't left were in his way, standing in front of Vaughan's driveway. Nate grabbed the shoulders of whoever was blocking him and lightly moved them. One of the people he touched squealed in surprise, causing the rest of them to turn around and look at Nate, unconsciously clearing a path for him. He overheard a few whispered comments of people asking their neighbors what he was planning to do, ridicule about how he was crazy, and the hopes that the police would come before he got hurt. Nate ignored them.
"They're like fucking sheep." He murmured under his breath.
The air smelt like exhaust, burned tires and, for a reason that Nate couldn't explain, rotting flesh. He felt the number of broken pieces of metal, glass, and wood under his feet increase the closer he got to the house. As he reached the driveway of the former house party it occurred to him that he no longer heard crying or screaming. It wasn't silent; there were strange chewing, crunching, and gnawing noises; there were groaning and moaning; but no crying, no yelling, and no sounds of the partygoers trying to fight back.
Nate realized he was scared and fought the feeling down.
(o) Look at gun
"There's the gun." Nate told himself.
The gun, a glock, was lying beside a large piece of the car.
(o) Look at car piece
"What part of the car is that?" Nate asked himself. "It might be apart of the door, but I can't fucking tell… Maybe I could use this as a melee weapon."
(o) Pick up car piece
He took a handful of his shirt and ripped it off. He then held the car piece and wrapped around the part that he would hold. Nate squeezed it tightly to make sure it wouldn't cut him and nodded when it didn't.
(o) Pick up gun
Nate bend down and picked up the gun. Nate had held fake guns before but never held, let along fired, a real one. Now he was going to try and shoot dangerous people with one.
"It's too late to back down now." Nate murmured to himself. "Besides, there are people watching." He looked behind him and saw the crowd of people staring back at him expectantly, fearfully. Hopeful. All he needed to do was get the attention of the bastards inside of the house. Nate inhaled.
| Come out! |
| Hey assholes! |
| Fuck you! |
| … |
"Hey assholes! I hope you like heat because you're all going to hell in five seconds!" Nate yelled. He held the gun in what he thought was the correct one-handed aiming position and waited for them to come out. All noise in the house stopped and Nate fought the urge to shout out again. He heard concerned muttering from behind him but ignored it. He began to wipe his forehead with the back of the hand holding the car piece.
Before he had finished wiping, he heard someone behind him scream. He turned quickly towards the crowd, thinking that they were being attacked. However, to his unease and confusion, they were unharmed. Instead, the crowd was looking behind him, wide-eyed with fear. Nate turned around and nearly dropped his gun.
What came out of the house wasn't a gang of insane thugs. It was rotting flesh, split skin, bloody drool, and angry eyes. It was dragging feet, gashing hands, hissing and groaning voices, and dangerous thoughts. These we're fucking people once. Nate knew this. He recognized some of Vaughan's neighbors in the growing gang of monsters. They were people once so how the fuck did this happen!?
"What the fuck." Nate whispered shakily. One of them was getting close to him and he back up, nearly tripping over his feet. He raised his gun and car piece and prepared himself.
Nate upturned his left arm and brought the car piece down on the zombie's neck. Black blood sprayed out, hitting him in the face. The zombie tried to grab at him and Nate put a bullet through its head.
A zombie of someone he had never seen before stumbled towards him. It's face was smashed in and pieces of glass protruded out of different parts of its body. Nate distractedly wondered if this had be the driver before impaling its eye with the car piece.
One who might have been Tom lashed out at him. It took Nate three bullets to put it down.
Another monster shambled toward Nate, haphazardly stepping over the one that had just fallen. Nate shot it in the chest, expecting it to fall down. The force of the bullet caused it to stumble back, but it did not fall. It continued its way hissing and moaning towards Nate no more disturbed than it had been before.
Nate tried to shoot it in the head and missed. He fired again and missed again. He backed up, raising the car piece to hit the damn thing when a butcher's knife sliced through the side of its head. He turned to his right and stared at Charlie as she put her foot to the zombie's side and kicked it away. Charlie said nothing and went after the other monsters.
He turned his attention back to the rest of the zombies, but he did so far too late. One of them grabbed hold of Nate.
"Fuck!" He screamed. Nate jerked and the gun flew out of his hand. "Fuck!"
The zombie held Nate's shoulders, its hands digging into his skin, and attempted to bite down on his neck. He turned the car piece horizontally against the creature's chest and pushed, straining against the weight and force of the zombie to keep it from biting him.
He shoved hard against the monster. It staggered back but did not let go. Nate yanked his arms towards himself in an attempt to pull free, inadvertently dropping the car piece, but the zombie did not release its hold and was brought forward into Nate's body. This caused them both to fall down. Fear kept him from feeling most of the pain as his body hit the pavement.
Nate took hold of the monster's neck and strained to push upwards and keep the zombie from biting the flesh off his face. The weight of the zombie's body was intensified now that Nate was supporting it through the neck. Nate's muscles tensed keeping the zombie's head from lowering. It's lips parted and the thing bared its teeth, snapping them together as it got closer. Nate felt its bloody drool run down his face. His eyes burned as it hissed hot breath into them. Nate turned his head and felt its nose touch his check and-
It stopped moving. Nate slowly turned his head back to look at the zombie. Its jaw had gone slack, its eyes stared into nothing, and an arrow was coming out of its ear. Nate threw the thing off of him and looked in the direction the arrow had come from.
Vaughan stood frozen; his stance fixed in the position he was in when he let go of the arrow. His eyes were so wide and frightened in that moment that he briefly looked more than three years younger than Nate. The older man stood up, his legs shaking, and wiped the muck off of his face with a trembling hand. This action took Vaughan out of his stunned state and the younger man ran towards Nate.
"Are you alright?" Vaughan said. Behind Nate, Charlie was killing the last zombie, stabbing it through the neck and up into its brain. The thing went slack and Charlie yanked the knife out. Its body fell heavily onto the ground. Vaughan looked at the fallen body, deeply disturbed. Then he looked at the one he had just killed, his aghast growing, and turned his attention back to Nate.
"Nate? Did…" Vaughan quivered. "Did I just kill someone? Did we just kill people? I shot someone in the head… but it doesn't look human anymore. I mean they kind of do, but not really? Fuck…"
| Yes we did |
| No we didn't |
| High five |
| … |
"Give me five." Nate said, willing his hand not to shake as he raised it. Vaughan reluctantly slapped his hand.
(?) You didn't answer Vaughan
"…Did we just high five to us killing people?" Vaughan asked. Nate's face twitched as he attempted to smile at Vaughan. He wasn't successful.
(o) Look at arrow
The clean surface of the arrow was in stark contrast to the rotting thing it had impaled. Blood trailed out of the ear of the zombie and down its face, making a pool around its head. The blood was black and smelled rancid. Nate involuntarily shivered. That fucking thing had been on top of him!
"Nice shot." Nate murmured.
"Thanks?" Vaughan said, unsure if he should accept praise for killing something that might have been human.
(o) Take arrow
Nate inhaled through his nose and walked closer to the impaled zombie. He placed his foot against its head.
"Nate what are you-" Vaughan stopped talking as Nate grabbed hold of the arrow with one arm and pulled. There was a squishing, sliding noise as metal brushed against flesh. There was also the sound of bones snapping as Nate moved the arrow around. Vaughan covered his mouth and gagged but could not look away. Nate released the arrow, rotated his right hand to keep it from cramping, and grabbed the arrow again with both hands. He pulled, and the arrow came out with a popping noise and a small spray of blood.
"I will not throw up, I will not throw up…" Vaughan told himself. He slowly removed his hand from his mouth. Nate turned towards him and passed him the arrow.
"Here," Nate said. "You might need this later." Vaughan hesitantly took the arrow from him and put it in the carrying bag with the rest.
"Wait. Why will I need this later? I mean it's over. Right?" Vaughan asked, looking hopelessly at Nate. Nate's face twitched again. He didn't know what he meant by 'later'. Maybe he was referring to future competitions and not the possibility of more monsters. That was the last of them, wasn't it?
(o) Look at Vaughan
"Your glasses are crooked." Nate told him.
"Oh." Vaughan said lamely. As Vaughan fixed his glasses with a trembling hand, Nate noticed that his friend no longer looked depressed. He did, however, look scared out of his mind. Nate wasn't sure which one he preferred less.
(o) Look at Charlie
Charlie was examining the bodies of the zombies with cold fascination. Her head tilted to the side as she kicked one over onto it's back. She flipped her knife, making sure to hold the blunt side of the blade, and began to prod it.
"Shit, she's not even fazed by any of this." Nate muttered to himself. "I don't know where she's hiding her balls, but they're made out of steel. Fuck."
Nate heard foots steps behind him and turned. The crowd was now walking closer to the scene. A woman pushed through the crowd and ran towards the house.
"Where are you going?" Vaughan called. When she didn't answer, he ran after her. Charlie ignored them as they passed by her and entered the house. Nate started walking after them when an arm touched his shoulder. He unconsciously jerked away before turning to look at the person. It was a man, another one of Vaughan's neighbors that he didn't know.
"What's going on?" The man asked. The other members of the crowd looked at Nate expectantly.
| They're monsters |
| I don't know |
| Thanks for helping |
| … |
"Thank for helping everyone. Seriously, you were all such a big help. Just standing there, doing fucking nothing." Nate sarcasm was venomous. "Thank you." (?) You didn't answer the crowd
A wave of shame passed over the crowd. Nate shook his head and looked at the ground. He saw where the gun landed and bent to pick it up. As he was rising, he looked up in time to see the woman who had run in carrying someone. A small group of people came to her aid. Nate walked forward to make sure the injured person wasn't a monster.
"Are you alright?" The woman asked, placing the injured woman onto the ground. "Someone get her some water!" The injured woman looked around in a panic, shaking as her eyes darted back and forth between the people around her, the zombies on the ground, her own injuries, and back to the people again.
"Ma'am? Are you al-" The woman began.
"I haven't been bitten! I haven't!" The injured woman cried, her voice cracking. The other woman and Nate look at each other, puzzled.
(o) Talk to injured woman
Her clothes were torn, her skin was cut and bruised, but from what Nate could see there were no bite marks. Nate crouched down until he was on the same level as the hysterical, bleeding woman sitting on the ground. She looked and him, head hilted and twitching.
| What your name? |
| What happened? |
| Why bites? |
| Exit |
"What's your name?" Nate asked. The injured woman looked into space for a moment before answering.
"It's Anya." She said.
"How old are you?"
"What country do you live in?"
"Do you remember how to breathe?"
She paused. "…Yes, I do."
"Then breathe. You're safe now." Nate said. Anya looked at Nate, wide-eye and almost hopeful before the muscles in her body tensed. She cupped her hands to her face as shook harder.
"I don't think any of us are safe yet." She cried. The other woman looked up at Nate appreciatively. 'You tried', her eyes said.
| What happened? |
| Why bites? |
| Exit |
"What happened in there?" Nate asked Anya. "How did this happen?" The injured woman shuddered. Her lips made a tight line on her face. Nate thought she wasn't going to answer until he heard her clear her throat. Anya looked passed Nate, the other woman, and the crowd of people slowly gathering around her; staring into a dark space only she could see.
"A party." She began. "It was Tom's birthday today. We didn't have many people come but he didn't mind. Tom wanted a small party, at least that's what he had told us. We didn't have much entertainment but it was fun. We were having fun and then…" She trailed off, tears streaming down her face. The other woman rubbed her back.
"Then… then the wall exploded. No one was on the first floor; Tom's brother was upstairs sick and we were all at the back waiting around the barbeque, so no one got hurt initially. But when we heard the noise we left the backyard to see what happened. That's when everything went to hell."
"A woman stumbled out of the car and slammed the door behind her. She had bite marks all over her; on some places there were chunks of flesh taken out. The right side of her check was just gone. I could see her teeth!" A few people in the crowd gasped and groaned at this.
"She wasn't one of them, not at that moment, but she was in shock. None of us knew what to do but we tried to help her. And then Tom noticed that there were some more people in the car, so he flung open the door to get them out. He wanted to know if they were okay. But they weren't okay and they weren't people. They were monsters. There was three of those things and they looked… they looked like they were dead but they couldn't have been because they were moving and…" Anya started sobbing. "Then they started attacking everyone…"
The crowd spoke to each other in startled whispers. Nate looked back at the house and realized Vaughan hadn't come out.
"Everyone, please give Anya some space." The other woman commanded. The crowd slowly backed away from the sobbing woman, giving the bodies on the ground wide girth. Nate didn't move, but a nod from the other woman told him that he was fine where he was.
| Why bites? |
| Exit |
Nate looked at Anya again and still didn't see any bite marks on her.
"Why are you so fixated on bites? I don't-" Nate started.
"Because that's how you turn!" She cried. "They bite you, you die, and then you come back as one of them!" The other woman's eyes bulged in surprise.
| Are you sure? |
| That's crazy |
| Fuck |
| … |
"Fuck…" Nate hissed. If that was true, then he had a close call when the monster jumped him. He could have turned into one of them. Nate kept from shuddering at the thought.
"Are you sure?" The other woman asked.
"I'm positive!" Anya wept. "I saw it happen! My sister… one of those horrible things bit into her throat and tore it out. She bled to death so quickly. But then she came back as that!" Anya pointed to one of the bodies on the ground. Both Nate and the other woman looked at it. It was the one that had been shot by the arrow. The rotting face of the zombie looked eerily similar to Anya's.
"It wasn't just her." Anya bawled. "It happened to Tom and Jared and the woman who crashed into the house. It happened to everyone at the party. Oh God!" She placed her hands to her face and wailed harder. Her entire body heaved and shook violently. It looked as if she would fall apart on the pavement, piece by piece, and become debris as useless as the fragments of the house, the car, and the bodies of her dead friends.
| Exit |
Anya put her knees to her face and wrapped her arms around her legs. She rocked herself slowly and tried to keep from hyperventilating. Nate nodded to the other woman. She stared back at him, tears falling from her eyes. He rubbed the back of his neck and stood up.
Screaming came from the house. A group of people gasped and backed away. The other woman tried to move Anya farther from the house, but Anya sat frozen where she was. Vaughan came out, struggling with another monster. It had grabbed hold of his upper arms and was trying to pull Vaughan closer to it. Vaughan pushed back on its chest, trying to keep it away from him.
"Vaughan!" Charlie screamed and ran towards him. Before she had gotten close enough to help she tripped on a piece of car and fell. Her knife went flying into the house.
Nate raised his gun. He moved it constantly, trying to follow the zombie's movements as Vaughan twisted his body and shoved against the monster. Nate fired and missed. He swore and aimed again.
Charlie pulled herself up from the ground and ran over to Vaughan. She grabbed hold of the thing's shoulders and pulled back. The movements between the three of them were still erratic but lessened now.
Nate held his breath and fired. The zombie's head exploded. Charlie and Vaughan both screamed and let go of the body. Nate jogged over to the both of them.
"Are you alright?" Charlie asked Vaughan. He didn't reply, his eyes twitching and staring into the blood splatter on his glasses. Nate touched his shoulder and he flinched.
"I… I thought he was passed out." Vaughan whimpered. "I went up the stairs because I didn't find anyone alive on the first floor, and I saw Tom's brother laying outside of one of the bedrooms, like he were trying to leave and lost consciousness. So I picked him up and carried him downstairs. By the time I got to the bottom he woke up. I put him down and I… I was about to ask him how he was when he lunged at me." Vaughan shook his head. Nate squeezed his shoulder. Charlie took off his glasses and wiped them clean.
"He's been bitten!" Anya screamed. The other people around them made startled noises as they looked between Vaughan and Anya.
"What? No I haven't!" Vaughan said. "Why does it matter? If I had got bitten I could just go to the doctor."
"No! If you get bitten there's nothing doctor's can do! You turn into one of those fucking things and eat people!" Anya hollered. "We have to get him before anyone else get killed!" Charlie glared at Anya, handing Vaughan his glasses before waking into the house.
| He hasn't been bitten |
| Is she right Vaughan? |
| Have YOU been bitten? |
| … |
"Have you been bitten?" Nate asked, crossing his arms. "You look far worse than he does. For all we know you're hiding the bite somewhere."
"I wasn't bitten! Don't redirect the problem!" Anya said.
"You're the fucking problem!" Nate argued.
"No I'm not! He is and he's going to attack all of us!" Anya cried. Vaughan stared at her, overwhelmed. She faced the crowd of her frightened neighbors.
"None of you tried to help us when we needed you before, and I understand why. I really do. But now you have to step up before more of us get hurt. Please." She begged. The group of people murmured to each other. Some shook their heads, a few nodded in agreement, others tried to step forward but were held back by family members.
"Bitch, you better shut up. Right. Now." Charlie said, leaving the house knife in hand. She tried to walk past Vaughan but he grabbed her arm and whispered something in Japanese. She frowned at him but stopped moving.
"Bitch? I'm a bitch because I'm trying to keep everyone safe?" Anya whined.
"He wasn't bitten, you bitch!" Charlie said. Vaughan said something to her in Japanese again and she responded in an agitated tone.
| You ARE a bitch |
| Vaughan, strip |
| Charlie calm down |
| … |
"Vaughan, strip." Nate ordered. Vaughan sputtered out alarmed noises before he was able to speak.
"What!? Why!?" Vaughan asked, face reddening.
"Because she won't stop bitching until she knows that you haven't been bitten." Nate explained. "Don't be a pussy and just take off you damn clothes."
"No." Vaughan said.
"C'mon man!" Nate said, irritated.
"No." Vaughan said, crossing his arm.
"Vaughan." Charlie growled. "Stop being so-"
"I am not taking off my clothes!" Vaughan said. Nate and Charlie rolled their eyes.
"You see!" Anya said, pointing towards Vaughan. "He won't try to prove he's not bitten. He's hiding something!"
"No I-" Vaughan tried to explain.
"Please!" Anya pleaded to the crowd. "Get him!" The ones who agreed with her began to walk forward.
Charlie snared. "Now you decide to do something!? Fuck you!"
| Police can handle this |
| You're all sheep |
| Fuck off |
| … |
"You're all a bunch of goddamn sheep!" Nate yelled. "The only reason why you're doing anything now is because you don't think he'll fight back. Well screw all of you! At least Vaughan fought when it fucking mattered!"
(?) You sided with Vaughan
The steps of the oncoming mass began to falter, but as they looked at the bodies on the pavement, the hole in the house, and the bruised and broken girl, they came to an unspoken but unified agreement. They would take out this man. They would kill him humanely, but he would die. They would no longer be sheep. They would step up to protect their town and their families.
| Fight back |
| Do nothing |
(?) You chose to fight back
There was a loud bang and everyone stopped moving. Anya looked down at her shirt as a red dot began to form. This dot started at her navel and grew until it encompassed her entire stomach and ran down her pants. Nate realized that this red dot was blood, the blood was coming out of her because she had been shot, and the bullet that had entered her came from the gun he was holding.
He had shot the poor, broken lady.
Anya pressed her hands to her stomach, held it there, and raised them to her face. She looked at them in great confusion, as if the blood leaking out of her body wasn't real and she couldn't understand why her hands were so dirty. She stood that way, swaying as she looked at her hands, until her eyes rolled up and she fell gracelessly to the ground.
The other woman who had been at her side the entire time began to scream. This causes the others to panic, wanting to run away but fearing the man with the gun too much to move. Nate distantly heard Vaughan's horror filled mantra, a string of whispered no's as he trembled in place.
| [Point gun at crowd] |
| We're leaving |
| Help me Charlie |
| … |
"Charlie, help me out here." Nate said. Charlie nodded and lunged at the crowd of frightened people. They screamed and backed away. One person wasn't fast enough and the side of his neck was sliced open. Blood sprayed out of the wound and the man fainted. Vaughan screamed. Nate grabbed hold of his arm walked briskly towards his truck. Charlie led the way, swinging her knife at people but hitting no one else.
Nate opened the passenger door and pushed Vaughan inside. Charlie followed in after him. He closed the door and made his way towards the driver's side. Before he went in, he spared a glance at the people still around the house.
Four people were crowded around both Anya and the man with the sliced open neck. The ones around Anya were trying to see if the bullet had gone through her or was still in her body. The ones around the man were trying to stop the blood flowing out of his neck. Everyone else was either staring and the bleeding people or watching Nate, praying that he would go away. Nate got into his truck and drove off.
They drove without incident until Nate turned to leave the residential area. What he saw almost caused him to slam on his breaks, but he had the mind to slowly come to a stop.
It was the same monsters from before, only now there were hundreds of them. They moved around like crazed vultures; lurching, grasping, and eating people.
"Oh my god." Vaughan whispered. "Where did they all come from?"
"The city. The must have come from the city." Charlie answered, fighting to control her voice. Nate's eyes darted around to every zombie in view.
"Nate." Vaughan said. "Nate! We need to go back and find another way out!"
"There's no point. If they're coming from the city then all the exits are going to be like this." Charlie said. Nate placed his head on the steering wheel.
"Then what are we going to do!?" Vaughan cried. There was a moment of silence before Nate spoke.
"I'm going to drive through them." Nate muttered. Charlie and Vaughan stared at him.
"What?" Charlie asked. Nate raised his head from the wheel, reversed his truck a few meters and stopped.
"I said I'm going to drive through them." Nate repeated. Vaughan stammered as he tried to object to this idea. However, it dawned on him that there was no other way out of this situation. He took of his glasses, rested his elbows onto his knees and covered his eyes.
"Can the truck take much damage?" Charlie asked.
| I think so |
| I don't know |
| Maybe not |
| … |
Nate paused before slowly shaking his head. "Maybe not." He told her. "But I'd rather try to go through them than wait to die. I'm not going to let them eat us without a fight." Charlie nodded. Vaughan placed the glasses back onto his face and raised his head. His lips trembled as he looked straight into the hoard.
Nate tightly grasped the wheel and drove forward.
It was an hour before they got to the cliff overlooking the city. Less than half of that time was spent driving through the hoard of zombies, yet it was the longest period of time any of them had experienced. The bodies hitting his truck, their bones braking, and their blood splashing on the window was something Nate could still hear in his head.
He stopped the truck a few meters from the edge of the cliff. The second the truck stopped moving, Vaughan took off his seatbelt and crawled over Charlie to get out. Charlie swore in surprise. He ignored her. Vaughan staggered out until he met a tree. He leaned his back against it and slid slowly to the ground, hugging himself when he reached the bottom. Nate and Charlie looked at him and then at each other.
"We should leave him alone for now." Charlie told him. She got out of the truck and walked to the edge of the cliff. She stayed far left of the truck, giving Vaughan as much space as possible. Nate rested his head against the steering wheel before existing.
(o) Look at truck.
There were fragments of clothes, blood splatter, and chucks of flesh and hair all over his goddamn truck. Any hint that it had ever been waxed was gone. The lights onto of the roof looked loose but he could fix it. If there was ever a time to be glad that he was not a vehicle lover it was now. Otherwise he would have been dismayed. Nevertheless, Nate was irritated by the state of his truck.
"If I had known my truck would end up looking like this, I would have never bothered tweaking the fucking thing." Nate grumbled. "Then again, maybe that's why it doesn't look too bad now. Still, shit… where did the 'v' go?" The 'v' in the Chevrolet logo was missing. "Cherolet?"
(o) Talk to Vaughan
Vaughan's glasses were crooked and he was shaking badly. He was murmuring; Nate couldn't make it out until he got closer.
"Don't throw up." Vaughan whispered. "Don't throw up, don't throw up, don't throw up."
"Vaughan…" Nate started. Vaughan glared up at him.
"Why did you shoot her!?" Vaughan yelled suddenly.
| They were going to kill you |
| What would you have me do? |
| Why didn't YOU defend yourself? |
| … |
"Vaughan, I had to do something. They were going to kill you." Nate said.
"You don't know that!" Vaughan argued. He grabbed hold of the grass and pulled at it.
"Yes I do!" Nate said, irritated. "They thought you were infected, they were going to murder you!"
"So she deserved to die? Like that man who died from the hit and run?" Vaughan asked bitterly. He was bringing up dirt now. "What are you going to do when another misunderstanding happens? Kill more innocent people?"
| No |
| If I have to |
| I'll make you kill them |
| … |
"I'll make you kill them next time, you ungrateful piece of shit!" Nate roared.
(?) Vaughan will remember that.
"Fuck you Nate!" Vaughan screamed back.
"Fuck you asswipe!"
"Leave me alone!"
"Fine." Nate growled. He turned around and stormed off.
(o) Look at city
The city below them looked normal. The building weren't falling apart, nothing was on fire, and the sky was clear. It was almost impossible to believe that down there, the dead were walking.
(o) Talk to Charlie
"Hey…" Nate muttered.
"I told you not to talk to him." Charlie said without looking away from the view.
"Charlie, don't start." Nate sighed.
"Do you feel bad about what happened?" Charlie asked. She spared a glance at him.
| I think I do |
| Not really |
| Feel bad that it's bothering Vaughan |
| … |
"I think I do." Nate said slowly. "It's not like I didn't feel anything when I shot Anya but… I don't feel as bad as I think I should. I always heard that having blood on your hands was the worst feeling in the world." Nate looked at the palms of his hands. They were dirty and smelt awful. "I feel fine though. A bit sad, but fine… Is there something wrong with me?"
(?) Charlie will remember that
"You don't count the monsters as people?" Charlie asked, ignoring his question.
| They're dead |
| They're monsters |
| A little bit |
| … |
"You just called them monsters." He said. "I have no reason for feeling bad about killing monsters. Besides, they're already dead." Charlie nodded and turned towards Nate.
"You shouldn't feel bad about that woman." Charlie told him. "You did it to protect Vaughan. He'll understand that eventually." She paused. "…Thank you for saving him."
| You're welcome |
| Don't thank me |
| You're not mad? |
| … |
"You're not mad at me anymore?" Nate asked, wondering how the phone call earlier that day felt so far away. Charlie frowned but shook her head.
"No. I believe Vaughan when he said that you were lying. Besides," She looked back at the city. "You two would be the worst couple ever." Nate laughed at this much harder than he should have, but it was nice to laugh after all the craziness he had gone through.
"I want to know why you were so quick to believe I was telling the truth?" Nate mused aloud. "Like damn, most people would chalk that up as bullshit. Not you though. You get angry right away and pretend like you're going to kill people."
"Pretend?" Charlie repeated.
"Oh shut up Charlie, you weren't going to do anything." Nate laughed
"I got mad because Vaughan is my shit. You don't mess with my shit." Charlie explained. Nate blinked.
"…I'm sorry? Did you just refer to Vaughan as your 'shit'?" Nate asked, brows furrowed.
"Yes. Like my… car… it's still down there, Goddamn it." Charlie said. She peevishly kicked a stone down the cliff. They both watched as it bounced down and out of view.
"Speaking about down there, we need to make a plan about what we're going to do and where we're going to go." Charlie said. Nate nodded, but at that moment he felt so drained. Everything had gone to shit so fast. He just needed more time to breathe.
"That sounds great but could we do that later? I just need to rest for a while." Nate said. Charlie looked him up and down.
"Alright." She said agreeably. "This place is safe enough. We don't need to rush." Nate sighed. He sat down on the edge of the cliff. Charlie sat with him.
"As long as we're together, we'll be alright." Nate said.
"I agree." Charlie said. "As long as we take care of each other we-"
"Nate! Charlie!" Vaughan yelled. They both turned towards him. He was standing up and backing away from the trees. "We got to go! I see more of those things coming!"