No Despair: The First Chapter of the Written Version of Alberto's Comics

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No Despair: The First Chapter of the Written Version of Alberto's Comics

Post by AlliKat on Tue Nov 15, 2011 5:19 pm

Okay guys, so Alberto and I are teaming up on a SNUG joint to write very REAL, very serious apocalypse stories featuring Snugglers. In line with Alberto's comics, I write the straight prose version of each chapter. This is the first chapter in prose form.



Day One: Outbreak

It was only meant to be a mall trip… just a regular mall trip. Nothing odd about it, no impromptu laser tag afterwards, no costume shopping—just going to the mall to pick up a few new clothes with some extra cash that Taylor, Alberto, and I just kind of had on hand. What ended up happening wasn’t supposed to happen. Not that day, hell not ever. But oh dear god it did, it did and there’s no going back now. Normal mall trips are a thing of the past. I wish I’d appreciated it when I had the chance. I remember it in the stark clarity that only comes when you realize that a memory is so much more important than it first seemed.

Taylor was in the back, saying some comment about magic like normal. Alberto was debating the finer points of Taylor’s magic with him, as well as occasionally gangster ‘prrrring’ (No I don’t know why gangsters would purr. I already tried asking, it’s from some comedian). I was focused on the road, grinning to myself as the debate on Taylor’s magic grew more ridiculous. I turned up the music to cover up the amusing, but tiresome banter. That’s when I heard it.

He was crying, the reporter. It was hard to understand him as he interrupted the rock song I was listening too. Something had gotten out, escaped from wherever it was kept. One of the secretive military bases in Savannah I assumed. It was attacking others, and they were changing. It didn’t take long for me to put two and two together. I shushed Taylor and Alberto in a panic, yelling at them to shut the hell up or I’d do it for them. I listened intently for the punch line, the joke. I wracked my brain trying to figure out if today was some weird holiday. It wasn’t April Fool’s, nor Halloween, nor any horror film anniversary. It was just a normal day.

Right as this realization began to hit me and my mind tried desperately to rationalize it, we arrived at the barricade that was blocking the street. They weren’t allowing cars to go downtown. We were being redirected to the air field base. They cited an outbreak of some sort, a dangerous one that they weren’t sure how to contain. The epiphany happened instantly then, the radio report and the soldier’s.

It was real. The zombie apocalypse was happening. Taylor and Alberto had finally caught on and quit talking. We all looked at each other in horror. It was the emptiest, coldest deadest I’d ever felt in my life. My family. My friends. My job. My education. My future. It was gone, all gone in that instant. I just prayed that my parents had found somewhere safe. I felt the tears pool at the edges of my eyes, felt that tight thick feeling in my throat. I was about to fall into sobs, but I remembered that I was driving and our lives depended on our safe arrival to the base. And so I redirected my path and drove onto the place that would be my new home for an indefinite amount of time.

Once we reached the base, I called my family and talked to them for a long time, telling them both how much I loved them. I was sobbing nearly uncontrollably during this entire process. My mother and stepdad were all right- he had prepared for something like this. But my mom was so worried, and her words brought me no comfort. They only broke my heart more. I realized I may never see them again, and suddenly coming to Savannah for school seemed like such a stupid idea. My dad and stepmom were all right too. They were in Atlanta, which had great emergency infrastructure so they were safe underground. He was calm, but I knew him too well to believe his stoicism. I don’t know how many times I told him I loved him. I called Austin, my brother in Portland. He didn’t pick up, I feared for his life already. I desperately hoped that he was okay, just in an area where there wasn’t signal. I couldn’t bear the thought of his death, I wouldn’t allow myself to even consider the possibility. I loved them all so dearly, it nearly broke me to be away from them in this time.

I was going to dial someone else’s number, but I felt a hand on my shoulder. Casting my gaze, I saw Taylor staring at me. He shook his head, told me to put the phone away. I yelled at him to let me be, my family mattered more. My shoulders began to shake with the growing strength of my tears. Seeing this, Taylor pulled me against his chest, telling me I needed to calm down. It was time to report to the base commanders, get our weapons. Apparently it was serious enough that they were giving us guns, or at least knives. After holding me there for a few minutes, I calmed down and he released me. Alberto walked over next to us and together we went to the assigned meeting place. It was beginning.

Day Two:

Overnight. That’s all it took. We were awoken by them thrashing at the gates. Alberto, Taylor,
and I didn’t even have time to mourn our lost friends- or more to try and figure out if we needed to mourn them. We were all rushed to a meeting place again. Me, Taylor, and Alberto had some of our gear in my car, so we grabbed it before we were rushed off. It may not have been bought for military use, but it was made for it—so we figured it was worth keeping. It was explained to us that the outbreak had come crashing in on us. The gates were secure, but they might not be for long. The soldiers were split between going to aid the resistance in other parts of the outlying areas and air lifting civilians to safety in larger cities. In all the push and shove of the panicking people, myself and my companions were unable to board any of the aircrafts. We’d already somewhat collectively decided to stay and fight though—we had friends in this city and they needed our help.

In the mass confusion, the three of us found our way to the armory. Once there, we proceeded to raid it for as many guns and as much ammo as we each respectively could carry. It wasn’t anywhere near as much fun as I thought raiding an armory would be. It was a cold, sobering experience. And each time we all looked at each other, we knew it may be one of the last. I was doing my best to hold myself together, but I was on the brink of tears consistently. Weakness seemed like my new default, but as Alberto reminded me, I was allowed to show a little emotion right now. The world was ending around us, and I’d have to be crazy not to feel something. The two of them looked the darkest I’d ever seen them look. Their eyes showed the stress and hidden terror that they didn’t want me to see. They wanted to be strong for me, for each other, for themselves. But I could feel it. We weren’t just college kids anymore. We no longer had that luxury. We were warriors and very well could die any moment. It was a hard fact to face, and I never believed I’d be so close to staring down my own death at the age of twenty.

But I guess that’s just how it goes. Life doesn’t let you do things your way, and the world was going to end. We all knew it, but we hadn’t expected it so soon. I thought I’d have time to fall in love, get married, have a career, see the world, and love everything I do with everything I had. But it had all been ripped away from me in that one radio announcement. There would be no white wedding, no love to defy all odds. No one to hold me on summer nights as we lay lazily in the grass. There was only this. Only zombies and death. Only loneliness and the fear of never seeing the only people I had near me alive again. At least we were together.

I wasn’t really sure what the plan was after raiding the armory, but Taylor and Alberto led me somewhere else on base. We stopped at a hummer. It was armored, looked pretty tough. I smiled to myself, figuring we were going to get in it and ride to the aid of our friends. I ran my hand along its side, reassured of its strength. I turned to them, bearing a smirk—after all with this thing we just might make it. But then I saw their faces. They looked pained. They exchanged a glance and nodded. Taylor walked up to the hummer and opened the door.

“Allison, you need to go. Get in the hummer and drive as fast and as far as you can towards downtown. Others should be there. Maybe even some we know.” He wouldn’t look at me as he said it. He was staring at nothing in particular, his eyes glued to the door. His face was angled down. He wouldn’t let me see it.

“Wait… wh-what?” I stammered out, a panic starting to seize me as my eyes darted from Taylor to Alberto “You can’t… I can’t… I’m not leaving without you!” I continued to pass my hurried gaze between them, those insidious tears starting to prickle at my eyelids again.

“You need to be safe. Go find the others, help them. If we don’t clear some of these unmentionables out for you, you’re never going to make it out of here. They’re breaching the gates, I can hear them.” Alberto said, his tone even as he held my gaze, doing his best to make me listen.

“NO! I’m not leaving you. You two are all I have, I can’t just watch you die here!” I argued against them, slamming the door Taylor had opened shut as the tears decided to finally make their appearance. I was so tired of crying, dammit. “You two cannot just abandon me in the fucking apocalypse! Separating is the worst decision at this time. Get in this damn hummer with me and we’ll go together. If we survive, we’ll survive together, if we die, we die together. That’s what should happen!”

“No Allison. If we all went together, we would die. They have to be cleared; you have to go- let us go. We’ll find you. Come on, you know Taylor and I won’t abandon you. You’re not going to be alone forever. Just long enough for us to clear them. You’ll be okay. We’ll be okay.” Alberto said, looking at me. He was trying to be reassuring but I could see the fear in his eyes. He didn’t know if he was going to survive either. I looked to Taylor, he was just as unsure.

“I’m not going. End of story. We clear it together, we ride into town together. That’s FINAL.” I said, placing my hands on my hips and doing my damnedest to look intimidating. The tears rolling down my cheeks probably didn’t help however. “I refuse to get into this thing until you get in first.”

“Allison, dammit we don’t have time for this! They’re closing in and you need to get OUT. Get in the fucking hummer, we’ll find you I swear it.” Taylor said, moving to where his blue eyes stared right into mine, he was saying a thousand things with that gaze and I could read them all “Do you really think I’d leave you to die…?” He asked, his voice and expression suddenly softening.

It caught me off guard, the softness in his face. I bit my lower lip lightly, unsure how to answer that question, that gaze. He took my surprise as a chance to reopen the car door and physically put me in there himself. And then I realized what he’d done. He’d tricked me so I wouldn’t fight him as he put me in the car. I went to get back out, to leap out and grab him, but he caught me by the arms, embraced me and let go. Alberto then stepped up and embraced me as well. The battle had been lost, and I knew there was no reasoning with them. I had to fight this alone.

“We’re not going to abandon you Allison, we’ll be back. I swear it. Now just do your job, survive. We will see you on the other side.” Alberto said, saluting me before shutting the door. I started the car and did all I could do for the moment, stare at them as they ran off to kill the zombies that had begun closing in on us during my battle. They were doing well, killing them quickly and efficiently. They knew what they were doing; apparently those stupid fake nerf battles we fought had done something good. A moment later, Alberto and Taylor disappeared into a bunker and I have no idea what happened to them next.

And so I drove. I floored that hummer’s gas pedal and ran over those disgusting zombie bodies, crashing through the entrance gate of the base and speeding down Abercorn as fast as I could towards downtown. It wasn’t like speed limits mattered- there were no cops to catch me, no traffic to fight. There were just bodies. Everywhere. My heart was sick with the sight of it, and with the loss of Alberto and Taylor. I ran over every fucking zombie I could—it satisfied me to feel the crunch of their bodies under my tires. They had taken everything from me, and now it was time to take a few things back.

With a new determination and strength from some unknown place, the tears dried. About five miles down the road, they dried. Anger was all I felt. Anger, determination, hatred, and above all the desire to live. I would show these fuckers exactly what they were messing with. A zombie decided to hobble into the street. I crossed the damn median and hit him at seventy miles an hour with the hummer. I watched him die. I smiled. I was starting to scare myself. And then I looked at the gas light. And I was scared even more.

Days 3-9

Seven days was how long it took, which is why this is dated across so much time. I guess I’ll start where I left off. The hummer ran out of gas on Victory. I managed to make it to a gas station, but the unmentionables had already destroyed the gas lines, and the pumps weren’t working. I couldn’t fill it back up. I knew about how far I was from downtown- it was only a walk of maybe an hour. The area seemed quiet, so I picked up my weapons and ammunition and began the trek to Oglethorpe House. I was on my guard, of course, but the speed was good.

About five minutes in, right when I was starting to believe that perhaps downtown had been left alone or abandoned already, I heard them. I heard the moans and scuffling about. I froze in my tracks, peeking around a corner. There were dozens of them, mulling about in the middle of the street. A few dead humans surround them; their corpses looked to be fairly fresh. I bit my lower lip, looking around for another way down the street. I ran to the other end of the building that was my cover, an old Victorian house, and I looked around that corner. Dozens were mulling about on that side as well. I knew I couldn’t take them all. Besides, I had to survive for Taylor and Alberto. They’d risked their lives to save me, and I couldn’t very well go and throw it away by being reckless.

I ran back to the middle of the wall that was my cover. Fortunately I was on a side with a door. After fiddling with it for a few moments, I was able to work my way inside. Those old Victorian houses don’t have much security. Once inside, I listened. The only moans I could hear were coming from outside. Still cautious, I barricaded the door with furniture and then went across the house, berretta aimed and poised to shoot anything that moved. Fortunately, nothing moved. The house was quiet. It was messy, I assume from the family evacuating—or being killed, but I didn’t want to think about that part. I set myself up near a window on the second floor where I could see the street below with relative ease, though it took a few steps to another window to get the full view. I kept myself low, crawling around and only walking when there was no window to see me. I doubted the monsters were intelligent enough for it to matter, but I didn’t want to take any risks.

I stayed there for hours, eating some of the food that was left in the kitchen. After barricading the other doors on the bottom floor and boarding the windows with two-by-fours that I found in a workroom, I decided it was safe enough for me to sleep for a few hours. I had been in there for at least six hours and the zombies hadn’t come anywhere near the house, so it seemed that had no idea I even existed. And sleep was absolutely necessary if I wanted to survive. So I found the room in the house upstairs with the fewest windows, plugged in my phone (somehow I’d been intelligent enough to grab my charger from the cooper before abandoning it at the base), and went to sleep.

According to my phone, I was out for a good eight hours. I hadn’t meant to sleep that long, but I knew I needed it. It was a stressful time, and my body had had a lot of emotions to process the past few days. I felt a lot better when I woke up. My mind was calm. Somehow the emotional fervor of days earlier had subsided into a cool calm logic. I knew where I needed to go. I had plotted the route to get there, and the journey was going to happen. I looked out the windows that I hadn’t boarded, and saw that it was night. Listening closely, I realized that I could no longer hear the close moans from outside. I ventured a closer look before coming to the conclusion that the street was, in fact, clear.

I wanted to stay here. It was safe. They’d never have found me. The gas station and grocery store weren’t far; I could occasionally make raids to them for food. I could easily survive here. For a few minutes I strongly considered ending my mission there and waiting for Taylor and Alberto to find me. But then I realized that they weren’t going to find me if I was holed away in some house in the middle of the Victorian district. I had to go where we agreed to meet. I couldn’t sustain myself here indefinitely, and I knew I couldn’t live alone either. I sighed to myself. As badly as I wanted to safety of this place, I couldn’t reasonably remain here. Besides, the zombies could break in at any moment if they so desired. And if the same number of zombies broke into this house that were in that street, I would die.

I sighed to myself again, sitting against the wall. Opening my phone, I was surprised and worried to see that I didn’t have a message from either Taylor or Alberto. It was time to call them. I hurriedly found Taylor’s number in my contacts and hit call. An error message popped up, informing me I didn’t have a signal. Frustrated I turned the phone off and turned it back on, hoping that somehow it would fix itself. It didn’t. I had no way to contact anyone, except to hope that I found them or they found me. I threw my phone across the room and was very unsatisfied as it landed softly on the best.

After a few more minutes of seething I walked back over to it and grabbed it again, silencing it and placing it in my pocket. Perhaps the signals would pick back up, and if they did, I would need it. I packed my charger as well. Thank god electricity and water still worked. After finishing up at the house, I removed the barricades from the door and slunk outside as quietly as possible. It was a quiet night. There wasn’t much sound around me at all. The silence was eerie. It clamed me too though, silence meant they weren’t around, and perhaps I could finish my walk in peace. I started walking down the road, making it several blocks before I heard it.

It was a lone moan, just one, just one creature. I turned around rapidly, seeing it skulking up to me from the right. In an instant I aimed the berretta and shot it in the head. My aim was better than I’d been expecting, and he fell to the ground dead. Unfortunately, guns are extremely loud, and unmentionables know that noise meant food. I heard moans picking up around me from all directions. Cursing to myself I bolted to the closest house I could find and barricaded myself inside once more. I was faster than them, and they didn’t see me. They hunted around pathetically for an hour or so near the house before growing board and wandering off to eat a squirrel or something. I would stay here the rest of the night.

And so the journey went, very much the same way, for another five days. I’d walk until invariably a large group would show up. I’d barricade myself until they dispersed. Thankfully they weren’t all that intelligent. It got frustrating, maddening really. I was constantly hiding, ducking, running, shooting, then having to bolt in the opposite direction. I just wanted to drop a bomb on the entire city and blow them all up, but that wasn’t exactly possible. Besides, that would kill anyone that we hoped to find. It would kill Taylor and Alberto too. And I couldn’t let myself think of that—the knowledge that they would find me was keeping me going.

And so I continued going, slowly, through the Victorian district. On the final day of this journey, the sight of the civic center was quite possibly the best thing I’d seen. The parking lot was clear, save for corpses. I was used to those by now though, as gruesome as it was the sight of them was now as common to me as the sight of a squirrel was before the outbreak. I felt a smile cross my face for the first time in days. I was dirty and a bit scraped up, but dammit I was almost home. In that building, across a parking lot and a square, sat my companions and allies. From what I’d been told, it was full of my friends too. They’d been together when it happened and had all holed up in Oglethorpe house. They’d contacted Taylor by the phone right before the lines went out, and I was about to see them again. My heart was warm with the thought. And so I began to run.

Across the civic center parking lot I bolted, leaping over the curb and bodies with ease. I was silly with happiness. My stride crossed the threshold between the square and the parking lot. Twenty more yards and I’d be there. Twenty more. I froze in my tracks. That awful noise, it had started up again. I had been so overwhelmed with happiness I hadn’t taken the time to question where all the zombies that should be here. And so, instead of caution and me finding them, they found me. I looked around me, a panoramic view. I was in the center of Orleans Square, where I had seen countless weddings take place. From all sides they closed in. They had come streaming out of the streets nearby, having heard my steps.

I pushed through a few of them towards the side of Oglethorpe House. One grabbed me. I turned and shot it in the head. He hadn’t bitten me, thank god. My chest heaved up and down as I gasped for air, shooting and backing up simultaneously. I shouldn’t have been backing up, but I couldn’t turn my back on them. My heel caught a root of one of the huge live oaks, and a second later I was on the ground. It was over. I was done. I couldn’t breathe, my heart froze in my chest. The tears came back as I watched them close in; there was no point in trying to get up. I couldn’t kill that many. I was so close, so close. But I was going to die in the middle of Orleans Square. I was going to turn, or be eaten. Probably the first. I recognized some of these zombies, and as odd as it was, they seemed to recognize me too. I wasn’t going to be food, I was going to be a companion.

No. I wasn’t going to let that happen. I looked down at the berretta in my hand, and I knew exactly what I needed to do. Time stood still, my breathing returned slow and deep and even. There were going to be my last breaths, so I had to make them count. Hands shaking, I began to raise the gun. I wasn’t going to let them take me; I wasn’t going to reunite with my friends by trying to kill them. I would reunite with them on the other side. They’d understand; they would be proud of me. My life was going to end at the age of twenty. I couldn’t even legally drink, I hadn’t met my significant other, and I wasn’t going too. My family would never have the chance to say goodbye, I’d never be able to tell them how much I loved them.

And I cried, in those split seconds that felt like an eternity, I cried. I’d made my decision; I was going to be gone. Those of us left would see my body as one of the hundreds of corpses across the city. Maybe they’d recognize me, I didn’t know. I wasn’t going to die a hero, I wasn’t even going to die a martyr. I was going to die because I had no choice. I was going to die because I had to, to protect and myself. I couldn’t fight them, but I sure as hell wasn’t going to let them win. The zombies had me cornered, but they would never have me. Freedom was the most important thing to me, and this was the only way to guarantee it.

Would they be proud of me? Would my dad remember me as his little girl, who worked so hard and did so well? His girl that did everything she could to make him proud, and was equally proud of him? Would my mother remember me as the friend and confidante I had been? Would she remember my smile? And my brother, would it destroy him to know I’d killed myself? Would it shatter what little personal strength he had left? Would someone even be able to tell them, or would they be left wondering what had happened to their girl, their Allison with the bright smile and the determination that bordered on obstinance?

I wasn’t that girl, not anymore, not now. I was hardened. I was cold, and empty. I was a shell of the person I’d been nine days earlier, it was all gone. I was gone. I don’t know how I had time to think all of these things in the time it took to load that gun and put it to my temple and take a few more breaths. But somehow I managed to do it, I guess time really does slow down when you know you’re about to die. I was ready. They would have so many unanswered questions, but I could no longer answer them. I was in the middle of the valley of the shadow of death, and the beasts were closing in. No prayer could save me now; no God could make them disappear. I still believed in Him with every ounce of my being, but it was time for me to go home. I’d lived twenty pointless years, not yet old enough to make a difference, and I was going to die by my own hand. With a final whispered ‘I love you’ to people who couldn’t hear me and never would again, I released the safety and went to pull the trigger.

And I was gone.

But not dead, or was I? It felt like something grabbed me just before that trigger was pulled. I felt myself grasped and snatched into a vehicle. My head struck the side of the vehicle as I was pulled in. I heard the gun go off and I blacked out. I didn’t even have time to figure out if a zombie had grabbed me or if someone had finally found me after all these days. Had I actually been saved? I got my answer soon enough.

I don’t know how many hours after that event I woke up, but I did wake up. It took me a few minutes to even realize I was alive. I had been knocked unconscious so close to when I pulled that trigger that I didn’t know. I looked around, trying to see where I was and what was happening around me. I was in a bed, I’d gathered that much. And I wasn’t in Oglethorpe House, it looked like a hotel. It was quiet, there were no moans, but the aching in my body told me that all of it had been very real. Especially the part where I was knocked out by a truck door, my head was throbbing terribly. Then my eyes finally rested on my savior.

Christos. There he was, just standing a respectful distance from the bed and gazing out the window. He turned to me and went to say something, but I didn’t even give him time to form the words. I leapt at him and wrapped my arms around him, burying my face in his chest and tearing up just slightly. He had found me. Someone had found me. He was alive. I felt him wrap his arms around me, and I honestly have no idea how long I clasped onto him, grasping him tightly. I wasn’t dead, and neither was he. There was hope out there. After calming down from the initial relief, I pulled away to look at him.

“How many are alive? How long have you been here…. H-how did you find me?” I asked, searching his face as if he eyes would answer my questions.

“Several are alive, almost everyone we know. We’ve been holed up here for several days now. What about you? Why were you out there alone?” He asked, looking quite concerned and like he was questioning my sanity. Which meant that Alberto and Taylor hadn’t made it back yet, because they would have already told him if they had.

“Taylor, Alberto, and I were on Abercorn when the outbreak happened, so we went to the base for safety. The base was attacked and they sent me off in a hummer to find you guys while they cleared the way for me. I lost sight of them very soon after that, and I got stranded on Victory and slowly made my way here on foot. It was a long journey, they’re everywhere in the Victorian district.” I said, shaking my head. I wished that Alberto and Taylor were back I was still worried sick over them.

“That sounds like quite a journey. How did you do it?” He asked, moving towards the window.

“Survived. I just survived. That’s all I could do.” I said softly, walking up next to him and looking down at the streets below us. Corpses, more of them. Always there were corpses. But at least this time as I gazed at them I wasn’t alone, and I wouldn’t be again for a long time. I was safe, or at least as safe as I could be in these times.
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Re: No Despair: The First Chapter of the Written Version of Alberto's Comics

Post by Scar on Tue Nov 15, 2011 6:41 pm

We already talked, but I thought I'd put this out in the ether. I really enjoyed it! It came across very grounded and I got a little moist in the visual area during several parts.
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Re: No Despair: The First Chapter of the Written Version of Alberto's Comics

Post by teddybeast_01 on Wed Nov 16, 2011 12:58 am

This is so good!

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Re: No Despair: The First Chapter of the Written Version of Alberto's Comics

Post by NESS on Wed Nov 16, 2011 3:38 pm

DEUS EX MACHINA

haha, i'm interested to see Alberto's pages for this!
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Re: No Despair: The First Chapter of the Written Version of Alberto's Comics

Post by AlliKat on Wed Nov 16, 2011 8:11 pm

they'er somewhere on the SNUG group if you go back. The pages don't cover the hummer theft, his next chapter covers that. I went into more detail than he did, but the pages are still awesome.
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Re: No Despair: The First Chapter of the Written Version of Alberto's Comics

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