The Twelve

Zombie or Post Apocalyptic themed fiction/stories.

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Re: The Twelve

Post by Ponyboy314 » Sat Dec 26, 2009 5:09 am

Mack had woken up that morning in Valle with a smile over the previous day’s sexual interlude and a dream about his brother that didn’t involve him getting torn apart. Now, as the afternoon grew late, their trip north was starting to seem like a death march. All five had made it out of the state, but for what? This one was bound to be just as infested as Arizona, and just how far north could they go? Montana? Canada? Alaska? Where would it end? How long could they keep going before there was no more gas to siphon? No more food to pick up? No more hope to keep them going?

It would be nearly half an hour before everyone was able to calm themselves, as they cried it out of their systems. They were all heading back to the RV when they heard a sound in the bushes, not far from where Mack and Hannah had been sitting. With the grunting and shuffling, it didn’t take long to figure out what it was.

“Shit, let’s fucking go.” Kris said.

“No.” Mack replied, stunning everyone.

“What the hell? Let’s just get the hell gone!” Lorelai screamed.

“No. Get in. There’s something I have to do.” Mack didn’t reveal one trace of emotion.

He shoved the others into the RV and reached for what was propped by the table, even though he had his revolver holstered on his belt. He grabbed his bat, still unused after it had ushered Colin to where he belonged. Mack got out and twirled the bat around like he was last batter up and the game could be won or lost on his swing.

Mack pointed the bat like a sword at the approaching corpse, a middle-aged female with most of the flesh on the lower part of her face missing. It raised its arms as it got closer, while the others in the RV banged on the windows and screamed at Mack to get back in. Hannah was halfway out the door with her revolver in her hand when she saw Mack take a two-handed grip and prepare to swing.

“Fucker, can’t a guy speak to his girlfriend in peace?” Mack took a strong swing, connecting with the zombie’s neck, breaking it instantly. It dropped hard on the ground. “What the fuck, huh? You have it all! It’s all yours! You killed our families, our friends, and now you want us too? It’s never enough, is it? You want to eat something, bitch? I’ll give your ass something to eat!”

Mack proceeded to give the zombie a mafia-style beating all over its body, everywhere but its head, which kept its jaws snapping at him the whole time. He smashed what must have been every bone in its dead body, from the legs and arms to the rib cage and pelvis, destroying its body so completely that only it’s jaws and eyes seemed able to move. He screamed like a Viking in a berserker rage as he pounded the dead thing into, quite literally, pulp.

Mack stopped himself, taking this one last chance to issue a hearty farewell.

“I killed two of you fuckers today, bitch. Not so tough and scary now, huh? Fucking bitch.” Mack swung his bat downwards like a lumberjack, destroying the zombie’s head so utterly that his bat actually struck the ground beneath it. There was not one intact part of the zombie’s head above the lower jaw. Mack walked into the men’s room and irreverently wiped the bat clean with wet paper towels. He said not one word as he returned to the RV with a shocked Hannah staring at him. He put his bat back, grabbed his shotgun, and headed back outside while they followed him and tried to see what was happening.

Mack, without warning, blew the lock off the storage room of the rest stop, entering and exiting a few seconds later with a medium-sized trash bag, which, when he got closer to them, was revealed to have some quantity of bottles of hand soap, paper towels, and toilet paper. He tossed it in the RV by the bed as the others followed him in, unable to speak.

He turned and said, “There, let’s call this another successful supply run.”

Everyone sat down and Mack got back behind the wheel. They drove off to the northwest again.

After a few minutes of silent driving, US 89 veered off directly north again and Mack stayed on it, seeing little reason to turn onto State Highway 9 to the west. To say that this was a quiet trip might make the skeptical underestimate the meaning of ‘silence.’ No one spoke, sneezed, or farted as Mack piloted the RV up the highway, passing more than one small town, not slowing down for anything. He was almost a dead man at the wheel, driving without concern for where the road was leading them or what they would find when they got there. It was a few miles north of a town called Panguitch that Mack decided to simply stop in the middle of the highway and call it a day. As the sun went down, they began to interact more and more as they showered, ate (Mack had more than a few of those Slim Jims), and settled down to watch ‘Tropic Thunder’ on the TV/DVD player (totally overruling Gwen’s hope of watching ‘Twilight,’ which no one else wanted) after Mack thumbed through the manual again and saw the basic procedures for using the electricity with the engine off. That was when he learned that the electricity was fed by the diesel in the engine, not the battery, and the amount they would use to see a movie was acceptable to him.

And, Mack just needed to laugh at something, and Jack Black had never failed him before.

Nothing came knocking, not out where they were. The night passed without incident and the sun rose over a gorgeous landscape of rock, sand, and low scrub, a landscape that Mack was already learning to despise.

He had taken the last shift and brewed coffee a couple of hours after the sun came up, the smell of which caused the others to slowly begin waking up. They all had dark circles under their eyes, which were themselves quite bloodshot. No one slept particularly well, but everyone was at least being a little more sociable this morning. Mack pondered apologizing for his actions from the previous day, but discarded the idea, as that might imply that he had done something wrong, and in any event, he felt as though there was much he did after passing Kanab that he really needed to do at that moment, lest the pressure build up and cripple him at a critical time when he needed to be on the ball.

Lorelai took over driving, and after a while on north 89 (during which time the others watched ‘Transformers 2’), and after passing the towns of Junction and Sevier, and Richfield, she came upon Interstate 70. Mack told her to head east, which she did without objection, though he added that she should head north at the first chance she got. Although she was able to pick up north 89 after only twenty five minutes, that was enough time for them to see something terrible, something from the worst of nightmares.

They saw a school bus flipped on its side, the roof facing the RV as they passed it. Dried blood, baked into the paint job after months in the sun, covered it so terribly that more red than yellow could be seen. All around were the rotted parts of bodies and sun-bleached bones. The windshield was smashed (Mack thought it might have been broken from the inside) and a mostly skeletonized body was halfway through. Lorelai who obviously had the best view, forced herself to believe that the body parts and bones they saw weren’t smaller than those of the average adult.

She, just like everyone else, choked back the urge to puke all over the steering wheel. She focused on the driving, taking the exit in a town called Salina to 89 north as she had been told. Mack told her to go ahead and slow down in Gunnison, a handful of minutes and miles north of Salina. They had allowed themselves to be spooked enough to pass a few towns that might have had something. He was determined to get them all back on track, himself especially. In Gunnison, State Highway 28 headed off to the northwest, but Mack had her stay on 89.

Gunnison was a quaint place, and was probably a pleasant place to live before the end came. It looked like a town of perhaps a few thousand, and the main roads were lined with trees, while the streets were amazingly clear, though there was much around that showed that this was not another Sedona. A few cars were in the road with their doors opened, and here and there a window was shattered or a door caved in, but traveling was not difficult. Still, it would be really easy to get trapped here if they were careless, and Mack, now in the passenger seat, had Lorelai keep going until they reached the northern edge of town, where he saw a small Save-Mor grocery store.

“Mack, that place probably smells like ass and skunk shit,” Kris said.

Gwen voiced her own opinion. “But there’s got to be food in there. There’s nothing around here. We didn’t see a single one of them passing through.”

Mack simply told them “We’re going in there. Hannah, you’re keeping watch again. You know what to do. You guys, don’t be dumb. If we hear the horn, we run for the RV and don’t even try to grab anything else. We go in, we get out. That simple.”

They moved in with their weapons out and found the doors unlocked. They also found something else.

The place was empty. Although the store hadn’t been much larger than the average one-story house, it was completely bare. The place clearly hadn’t been ransacked. Whoever cleaned this place out did so methodically and in no rush.

“Well fuck me golfing.” Mack blurted out.

Gwen replied, “I hate golf. Let’s go. This is giving me the creeps.”

They all agreed on that and headed back, shrugging at Hannah in the driver’s seat, whose disappointment at this failed haul was evident, even through the windows.

The gang departed Gunnison and continued north, heading towards Mount Pleasant. It was a place they didn’t reach that day.

The area in between the two towns offered nothing, but as Lorelai passed a series of high rocky hills, she saw something that made her say, “Holy fuck me…”

On the left side of the road was a small RV park, surrounded by a steel fence, not unlike the one surrounding the dealership where they got their RV back near the school. The fence reached a solid rock cliff that rose high behind the place, and a few, perhaps five or six RVs were still inside, as were a couple of small cabins. That, however, was not what got Lorelai’s attention. Mack and the others saw rather quickly what caused her to stop and gasp.

Out front of the gate was a young man in a folding camp chair, with a wooden recurve bow at his side, waving at them.
Last edited by Ponyboy314 on Sat Dec 26, 2009 3:02 pm, edited 4 times in total.
"If you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and there's a straw, there it is, that's a straw...and my straw reaches...acrosssssssss the room, and begins to drink your milkshake. I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE! SLURRRP! I DRINK IT UP!

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Re: The Twelve

Post by trevor3433 » Sat Dec 26, 2009 5:24 am

:shock: :shock: :shock:

:D
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Re: The Twelve

Post by Ponyboy314 » Sat Dec 26, 2009 6:42 am

The whole gang crowded around the windshield like children at the front window of a toy store as Christmas approached. Of all the surreal things that had happened to them all the way back to their arrival at the school months earlier, this one trumped them all. The man just sat as though nothing of the last few months had happened, waving like two old neighbors getting the morning newspaper at the same time.

Lorelai spoke first. “Are we really seeing this? I mean, I know it’s fucking hot, but…am I…”

“No Lorelai, you are totally not hallucinating, unless I am, too. Shit. There’s a fucking guy…a fucking living guy…right there, right out in the open.” Hannah said.

Lorelai turned the engine off, still staring, unable to believe what she was seeing. Mack finally decided that he just had to know what this was all about, and told the others he was going to see this whole thing closer up.

“Michael, are you crazy? That guy could be totally batshit. He could be a fucking cannibal or something like that. You want to go out there?” Hannah asked, with obvious tension in her voice.

“He’s the first living person we’ve seen in how long? My God, I can’t believe he’s just sitting out here in the middle of nowhere, right outside a goddamned RV park. This is too weird. I have to know what the hell the deal is here.”

Hannah continued, “Well, you are going armed I hope.”

Mack left his rifles and shotgun inside and checked his revolver. He headed towards the door. “Lorelai, keep your hand on the keys. If something gets all fucked up, well…just get the hell out of here. If you can’t do anything to help me, just go.”

Hannah was hardly impressed. “Michael, you watch too many movies. This is not where the good guy tells his buddy to go on without him and all that shit. If something happens to you, we’re not leaving. I’m going to go out there and blow that motherfucker’s head off.”

“Fair enough, cutie. If something happens to me, go out there and blow that motherfucker’s head off.”

Mack got out with his hands spread apart, hoping that this strange man saw that he had no hostile intent.

The young man was dressed in gym shorts and a black t-shirt, with a backwards baseball hat and tennis shoes. He looked quite ridiculous, but his expression was still friendly. He also made no move to grab his bow as Mack approached him. He looked young, not much older than Hannah, perhaps twenty or twenty-one, though the unwary eye might mistake him for much older than that. As they got closer, the stanger spoke first.

“Well ‘hello dere, friend, what you all doin’ way out’n deese parts?” He spoke with such a country boy accent that he made Jeff Foxworthy sound like a Harvard-educated physicist. That by itself struck Mack as amusing, though he hoped that this would end on as friendly terms at it was beginning.

“Just traveling, friend. The road just led us to you, I guess.”

“What your name dere, friend?”

“Mack, well, Michael, but most call me ‘Mack.’ What’s yours?”

“Oh, dey used to call me Jesse, ya know? But dese days, dere ain’t no one ‘round to call me mucha anything, ‘cept ‘till you got here.” Jesse offered his hand, which Mack nervously took, shaking so heartily that it almost shook Mack’s whole body.

“So…Jesse, can I ask what you’re doing all the way out here? I mean, how did you find yourself in this place, with all that’s been going on?”

“Oh, deese place? My folks, dey owned it, an’ we all lived here ‘til when deese things, dey started showin’ up and messin’ with folks, right? So we shut the gates and den dey couldn’t get in, see? We’d go’n drop dem when dey showed up, but den my folks, dey said dey was headin’ into Gun’son to get us’m food, right? Dat was sometime back’n I ain’t seen dem since den. I guess dey went got caught out dere, right? It’s been just me out here since den…” Mack had to stifle his urge to laugh. This was the most pronounced redneck accent he had heard in the whole of his short life.

“So den, dat’s ‘bout my story, so dere Mack, what ‘bout you? How’d you get all da way out here? Where you from?”

“We’re from Arizona, Phoenix, actually. We’ve been surviving on the road for the last few days, grabbing what we can. We tried to make a stop in Gunnison, but the store we stopped at was cleaned out. So we kept heading north hoping to find something, food, gas, whatever.”

“Oh, dat’d be da Save-Mor, right? Sorry ‘bout dat. I done cleaned that place out, you know, when my folks dey didn’t come back. When dey didn’t come back, I went’n decided to take care of myself, right? I been out here, hopin’ to see someone, and dey ain’t been much ‘til you showed up.”

“Is there anything you need? I mean, we don’t want to get in your way there, Jesse, but we don’t want to leave you out here with nothing, you know? If…”

“Naw, naw…I gots me da stuff I need. I’m wondern’ ‘bout you an yer friends…you guys on da road? You all need’a rest, get off yo feet. I’d be happy for da company and all dat. It’d been lonely out here, and I’s hoping you all might wanna stick ‘round for a bit. Ain’t seen no faces what wasn’t them freaky devil things in since don’t know when.”

“Well, my friends are probably a little twitchy, you know, they haven’t seen anyone in a long time, just ourselves. I want to know what they think.”

“Sure dere, Mack, you ask’m what dey think, I be right here, just waitin’.”

Mack, with every nerve ending in his body firing off from this unexpected and utterly unusual development, climbed back into the RV. “So, you all heard that?”

Kris said, “Hell yeah. We hung on his every word, those we could understand that is.”

“So what do you guys think? Should we chill here for a while? He says he has everything he needs, and he just wants some company and all that. I won’t make this decision for you. What do you want to do?”

“Mack, we need to get off the road. These last couple of days have been really fucked up,” Hannah was quick to say.

“Yeah, let’s just spend a night or two outside of this rattrap, huh?” was Kris’s input.

“I’m with them,” was all Gwen had to say.

“Let’s stick around.” Lorelai said, though she was looking outside the windshield at Jesse when she said it.

“All right, let me tell this guy. He’s a little weird, so…you know, don’t freak out.”

Mack got back out and walked over to Jesse. “Jesse? My friends, well, they want to stay for a while, but they don’t want to impose or anything. They just want you to know that they not going to get in your way or be rude or anything…”

“Naw, I wouldn’t think dat. Y’all kin make yourselves at home. Lemme open da gate.” Jesse opened the gate and Lorelai pulled the RV in, parking at a convenient space. Mack walked in with Jesse, who took up his bow and strode in like all was right in the world.

“Jesse, let me ask you. What were you doing outside the gate? I mean, with those things all over the place?”

“Aw, doze things? Doze nasty devil childrens? Dey don’t come ‘round here much none, not no more. Dunno why. I used ta see dem lots, Ya know? Used ta was I saw like a bunch every day, but lately, I ain’t seen but one in da last two or three weeks. I guess dey just don’t got no reason to be hangin’ ‘round here no more. But dat fence? Steel, dey can’t get in. I know, dey tried. You go’ be safe here, you’n your friends. Anyway, da reason I was outside da gate was ‘cause I heard you all comin’, right? Ain’t nothing makin’ no noise these days, so I heard y’all when you was long way off. I figured I’d need ta be where y’all could see me if I wanted ya ta stop, right? An’ I was tryin’ ta look friendly, see? Ya stopped.”

The others got out and Jesse walked with Mack for some introductions. “’Ello, I’m Jesse, n’ I live here in deese place. Y’all welcome to stick ‘round for a while, I been getting’ bored n’ lonely for da last while here, so I’m glad dat some company done showed up.”

Mack was glad that Gwen was able to force down her own urge to laugh. Mack caught it but was pretty sure Jesse hadn’t.

He then introduced Jesse to the gang.

“This is my girlfriend Hannah, that’s Kris, that’s his girlfriend Gwen, and she’s Lorelai.” Jesse walked past them, shaking hands as he went.

“Well, it’s good ta meet y’all, n’ I’m glad you all got here. Now just come on over here by da fire pit, n’ take a load off a’ yer feets. You goin’ be nice’n safe here.”

The gang sat in mostly camping chairs around an iron fire pit, not caring that the sun was hot enough that shade would have been a nicer option. Being outside without having to worry about a set of teeth tearing their necks out was enough.

“So Jesse,” Hannah began, “did I hear correctly? You lived here? Your family owns this place?”

“Yea, doze two cabins? Dat one was my folks’ place, and when I gots to be outta school, like a while ago like, dey let me livin’ dat one over dere. Dat’s where I sleep, right? An’ I sleep good, right? I sleep good cause I know dat dey, you know, doze devil spawn things, dey can’t get me.”

Kris had his own curiosities. “What about water and all that? I mean, I’ve heard you have plenty of food and such, but there’s no water around here.”

“Hell if dey isn’t friend. We gots us a well over dere between da cabins. I ain’t run outta water yet, and it’d be a long time ‘fore dat happens, I think. But y’know, if ya want to shower’n all dat, we got doze, them showers like at da beach? We gots ‘em, pumped right outta da well, right? Dey’s other campers, an’ you wanna sleep alone and all, you kin have any of ‘em. Dey just sitting here. Dey owners, dey took off in other stuff, right? They what was hauling cars and ‘cycles on trailers? Dey drive off in dose. Anyone what didn’t have dat, dey took dey campers n’ split long time ago. Dey was still stuff in them things, an’ some still in dere. I was savin’ it for when some folks show up, and now dey has. I hope you gonna stay for a while, cause I don’t wanna be alone out here no more.”

Mack and Hannah lit up smokes, and upon seeing Jesse’s eyes go wide, offered him one. He took it thankfully.

“Anyway, I’m gonna start cuttin’ up dinner soon, an’ deys plenty go ‘round. I got me a good one t’day.” Jesse proudly said.

“A good what? Did you find something?” Lorelai asked, her eyes never leaving Jesse for a second.

“Yeah, sumbitch came right up to da gate this mornin’. Nice deer lookin’ thing, like what my dad used ta call a pronghorn or somethin’ an all dat. Since dey ain’t no people ‘round here no more and da devil things ain’t much come ‘round, dey all kinds of stuff worth huntin’ these days. I sees ‘em all da time out here.”

“You brought down a pronghorn?” Mack asked.

“Yep, got’em behind dat camper right dere, already took the stuff outta him. I’m a gonna cut ‘em up here soon n’ start makin’ us somethin’ ta eat, if you wanna.”

Mack smiled and said, “Jesse, I think we will join you for dinner, and thanks for the invite.”

Mack looked around the place. It wasn’t much of an RV park, and he sure wouldn’t even think of laying down any roots in this place, but it had its perks. He could see electrical outlets and taps by each RV, and in the corner of the place was a decent-sized wooden building that he couldn’t see from the outside that, had he to make a bet, served as the office and probably a gift shop too. Here and there along the fence, solar panels gave the place power, and he could see that a whole pickup truck and trailer, as well as a sheet metal shed, were loaded with what he had taken from the Save-More back in Gunnison. As if that wasn’t enough, there was an above ground pool about ten feet across with water still in it in a play area near the middle of the place.

This RV park wasn’t home, and Mack certainly wasn’t worried about falling into that trap again, but for a while, it would certainly do.

He believed that even more later as the sun started to go down over the rocks and the smell of cooking meat filled the air.

Yes, it would do for now.
"If you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and there's a straw, there it is, that's a straw...and my straw reaches...acrosssssssss the room, and begins to drink your milkshake. I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE! SLURRRP! I DRINK IT UP!

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Re: The Twelve

Post by Wrecking Ball » Sat Dec 26, 2009 12:14 pm

MOAR NOWWWWWWWWW!!!!
Finch wrote:i sometimes hope zombies come so i dont have to go to work
Finch wrote:i don't keep sharp things near me when my wiener is out of my pants
-Finch, you are a funny man.

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Re: The Twelve

Post by LemmeHitYa » Sat Dec 26, 2009 12:47 pm

Yay! Now Lorelai can have a man friend. :D :wink:

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Re: The Twelve

Post by eazy » Sat Dec 26, 2009 12:53 pm

LemmeHitYa wrote:Yay! Now Lorelai can have a man friend. :D :wink:
:lol: I thought so too but, is she that desperate yet? :lol:
bonanacrom wrote:When I bite into a York Peppermint Pattie, I get the sensation of the life draining out of a man's body as I crush his windpipe, silencing forever his irritatingly cheerful banter, when all I wanted was to pay for my coffee and leave. Get the sensation.
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Re: The Twelve

Post by Samurai Penguin » Sat Dec 26, 2009 1:25 pm

Ponyboy314 wrote: A semi was left abandoned on their side of the road, the first time they had seen anything on their side since leaving Sedona.

Kris then performed the unpleasant task of sucking through the garden hose he had taken from the Krieger house and began to fill the can. The tank was full before Kris realized that he was now covering the outside of the can with gasoline and stopped.

NITPICKER ALERT:
No semi in America runs on gas--they run on diesel, which is definitely not compatible. :evil:

Otherwise, I'm hanging on the edge of my seat here. 8)
"Some folks just need to tuck their e-penis back in before it gets cold and we all laugh." --Brash
"Here's something every ZS'er can agree upon; no matter the situation, the individual who KEEPS THEIR WITS during a panic always comes out ahead." --prebans

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Re: The Twelve

Post by Wrecking Ball » Sat Dec 26, 2009 2:36 pm

Samurai Penguin wrote:
Ponyboy314 wrote: A semi was left abandoned on their side of the road, the first time they had seen anything on their side since leaving Sedona.

Kris then performed the unpleasant task of sucking through the garden hose he had taken from the Krieger house and began to fill the can. The tank was full before Kris realized that he was now covering the outside of the can with gasoline and stopped.

NITPICKER ALERT:
No semi in America runs on gas--they run on diesel, which is definitely not compatible. :evil:

Otherwise, I'm hanging on the edge of my seat here. 8)
Are you for real!?!? Wow, this story is terrible now.....[/sarcasm]

:D :D :D
Finch wrote:i sometimes hope zombies come so i dont have to go to work
Finch wrote:i don't keep sharp things near me when my wiener is out of my pants
-Finch, you are a funny man.

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Re: The Twelve

Post by Samurai Penguin » Sat Dec 26, 2009 11:17 pm

Wrecking Ball wrote:
Are you for real!?!? Wow, this story is terrible now.....[/sarcasm]

:D :D :D
I'm a trucker and a gearhead. When there's a mechanical flaw in a story, it bugs me.

But it's a minor flaw in an otherwise spectacular yarn.
"Some folks just need to tuck their e-penis back in before it gets cold and we all laugh." --Brash
"Here's something every ZS'er can agree upon; no matter the situation, the individual who KEEPS THEIR WITS during a panic always comes out ahead." --prebans

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Re: The Twelve

Post by Wrecking Ball » Sun Dec 27, 2009 2:58 am

Time for MOAR pl0x.
Finch wrote:i sometimes hope zombies come so i dont have to go to work
Finch wrote:i don't keep sharp things near me when my wiener is out of my pants
-Finch, you are a funny man.

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Re: The Twelve

Post by Ponyboy314 » Sun Dec 27, 2009 3:39 am

Within a few days, Mack was quite used to his surroundings, but the fact that the highway could be seen from just about everywhere in the RV park made it easy to not fall into lazy habits. He knew that a hundred could materialize any minute with rotting arms reaching through the bars of the fence, and so he never went anywhere or did anything without at least his revolver on his belt or within easy reach. However, four days had come and gone and none had appeared.

That particular day, Mack stayed in the RV mostly trying to stay out of the burning sun that reflected its heat perfectly off the rock wall, running the air conditioning at full blast. He could imagine how easy it was to be afraid of the night in the last few months, but now, he looked forward to it as long as he could stay cool. Still, the watch hadn’t been slackened, even though Kris and Lorelai complained about it when Mack said that everyone would have their shifts each night. Of course, he told them that if they didn’t, he’d have to stay awake every night, all night, himself. Guilt was his only way to convince them.

On the fourth day, Hannah walked in, sweating buckets. Mack had been alone on the bed of the RV, reading his book on conspiracy theories.

“Hey Michael, goddamn, real scorcher today. It’s a damned good thing we have this thing hooked up to the outlet outside, or we wouldn’t be able to use that air conditioner worth a damn.”

“I know it. By the way, where have you been?”

“Oh, shooting hoops with Gwen. We played a game of Horse or two.”

“You win?”

“Once.”

Mack got two bottles of water out of the refrigerator, since they could now run it with the power hooked up to the outlet. Hannah took hers and downed it quickly.

“So Michael, we haven’t tried the pool yet, and considering how fucking hot it is, we might as well. I’m going anyway. You coming?”

“Damn right.” Mack put his book down and jumped up to change. He didn’t have any trunks, but a pair of gym shorts he used to use for going to and coming from the showers at the school sufficed. After they changed, they headed off to try and cool down.

After reaching the pool, Hannah took off the ‘Slayer’ t-shirt she wore over her other attire and kicked off her sneakers. Mack was staring and not making any attempt to hide it. She was in a black two-piece, after all.

“Damn, Michael, you’re slathering all over yourself for someone who’s seen me naked more than once.”

“Yes I am, and I never get tired of it.”

They climbed in and just splashed around for a while before just leaning back, grabbing what enjoyment they could out of the place. An hour or so passed before Mack had an idea, considering that everyone else was doing their own thing and couldn’t be seen.

“Hannah, I have an idea, and…hmm…” he whispered it in her ear.

“Michael, you’re a horny bastard.”

“Only because you made me this way. I am the monster you created, so live with the beast.”

They put their arms around each other and began to slowly reach for certain drawstrings and snaps, but literally within seconds, Kris, with a running start, cannonballed in, throwing water everywhere.

“Damn, after that, I needed some cooling off. I hadn’t even thought to try this thing. Good idea you two. Why didn’t you call the rest of us?” Kris said, genuinely innocent of what he had interrupted.

“Er…we didn’t really think to,” was all Mack could say. After a few minutes, Gwen had changed into a t-shirt and some panties and joined them. Unlike Hannah, she didn’t have anything to swim in, apparently forgetting that piece of attire when running for her life months earlier.

It was mostly dirty jokes and other nonsense for the next few minutes until Mack asked, “Where the hell is Lorelai? I haven’t seen her in a while and this place isn’t that big.”

Gwen answered that. “She’s over by Jesse’s cabin, hanging out with him, or at least she was a few minutes ago.”

Mack wasn’t shocked, and certainly neither was Hannah. She had been spending more and more time around Jesse since they arrived, not passing up a chance to talk to him or simply be in his presence.

“Goddamn, she is lonely these days,” Hannah remarked.

“I don’t know, Lorelai told me that she thinks Jesse’s actually kind of cute, and she thinks his redneck accent is…I don’t remember what she said…charming? Cute? Something like that.” Gwen replied.

Mack wondered aloud what would become of this if something developed. They all already knew this wasn’t going to be for long. They would have to leave and take to the north again, hoping to find more to keep them going and hopefully a safe haven, or at least a better one than this. What would happen if Lorelai and Jesse got closer? What if Jesse refused to leave, since this had been his home? What if Lorelai decided to stay with him rather than leave with the others? What if Jesse wanted to come with them?

These questions swirled around in Mack’s head and he put voice to them as best he could, but no one had much in the way of answers. Kris suggested crossing that bridge when they got to it, while Gwen thought that after a time, they should ask Lorelai what the deal was between her and Jesse and decide then what to do. Mack didn’t like ignoring potential problems for the sake of the moment, but it was the only real choice for now.

They all kept talking, joking, and splashing around for a while until it got to be late afternoon, with the resultant drop in temperature. Jesse came up around four in the afternoon as the gang was getting out.

“Hey y’all, I was just wonderin’ what you all wanted ta have with tha dinner I was makin’ for tonight, right? That pronghorn thing goin’ on the grill soon, an’ I didn’ know what veggies or nothin’ you was gonna want with it an all, so…”

Jesse saw something that made him take a step back.

Hannah got out of the pool and the tattoo on her back was plainly visible to him. Only Mack knew that she had one of a fanged skull with wings on her shoulder blades, with Gothic lettering underneath it reading, “Have no Fear.” Even Kris and Gwen were surprised, as when they had seen her totally naked the morning of Mack’s birthday at the Krieger house, she hadn’t turned around.

Jesse, looking nervous, said, “Damn girl, what’s dhat thing you got on yer back? Dat look like some kinda devil thing or somethin’. What dat all ‘bout?”

Hannah was not shy about it, though Mack was wishing that she was at that moment. “Oh, that’s just something I had done a while ago. It’s reminder to not be afraid, to deal with whatever happens.”

“An’ what’s the story wit’ dat skull thing wit da wings? Dat look like da devil hisself.”

“Oh, that’s just how I always pictured the incarnation of death. You ever hear the song ‘Don’t Fear the Reaper?’ It’s like that. We’re all mortal, so don’t worry so much about it and just live. That sort of thing.”

“So dat ain’t da devil? He just something’ meaning dat we all gonna die one day?” Jesse replied.

“Something like that. It’s not supposed to be Satan or anything like that.”

“Oh den dat okay. I just learn ta be ‘fraid of da devil, right? I think he da one what sent this all on us, rising da dead from dere graves and sickin’ dem on us. It’s like what dey say in Revelations, about da dead risin’ from the grave and da end of da world?”

“Nothing like that, Jesse. It’s just something personal to me.”

“Okay, but could ya cover yerself or somethin’? I don’ want ya thinkin’ I’m one of doze guys what ain’t a gentleman an’ just stares at a girl when she ain’t wearin’ much an all dat…”

“That’s okay, Jesse. You don’t seem like a pervert or anything.” Hannah said.

They got dressed and had dinner with Jesse at one of the picnic benches that dotted the place. It turned out to be a lovely sunset and Mack savored it before he walked into the RV, as the gang was planning on watching ‘American Pie’ this night, but not with Lorelai, who decided to keep Jesse company for the evening, which made Mack more than a little nervous.

And that wasn’t all that did.

Before climbing in, he took a long look at the fence. There weren’t any of them of course, but he knew that somewhere, perhaps not far away, they were still out there.
"If you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and there's a straw, there it is, that's a straw...and my straw reaches...acrosssssssss the room, and begins to drink your milkshake. I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE! SLURRRP! I DRINK IT UP!

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Re: The Twelve

Post by Ponyboy314 » Sun Dec 27, 2009 4:41 am

A couple of days after splashing around, Mack was visited by Jesse at the RV. He was going somewhere and he wanted Mack to go.

“So anyway Mack, I was gonna head out, up north n’ all dat, ‘cause I was thinkin’ dat dere might be some game up dere, right? I done dis before, and I was wonderin’ was you wantin’ ta come wit’ me? I don’t know how many dey is up dere, an’ I’s wantin’ dat you should watch my back n’ all.”

“Sure, anything you need. So, you want a rifle or something? We have a few, and…”

“Naw, I ain’t much fer usin’ doze things, what make lotsa noize n’ all dat. My dad once told me dat when you do a huntin’, you should use what don’t make no noise so ya don’t scare away anything’ what you wanna hit next, right? But I was hopin’ dat you could use one of them rifles to make sure none of doze devil spawn things sneak up quiet like on me.”

“Cool, let me grab some stuff and tell the others where I’m going.”

Hannah was not happy to hear this. “Michael, I don’t think you should be going out there, not with Jesse.”

“Why? He let us in this place, and if he’s going to risk his neck to get us some fresh meat, I think the least I can do is look after him out there.”

“I know, and I understand that, but he weirded me out a couple of days ago with those questions about the tattoo on my back. This guy, he seems nice, but I think he’s a Jesus freak, and that, well, freaks me out.”

“Reverend Darnell was a Jesus freak, Hannah.”

“Yeah, but he thought that he could use that to look after the rest of us.”

“I think Jesse’s doing the same basic thing, but just in a different way.”

“Probably, but I’m worried, that you might run into something out there. Something bad.”

“Hannah, I’ll be okay. I’ve fought these things before.”

“Fought them right outside an RV or a delivery truck where you could get away, and remember how you felt after all those?”

“I’ll come back. Don’t worry.” Mack knew that it was a futile request, and knew that Hannah was placating him by agreeing to it.

Later, Jesse was at the wheel of a beat up Ford Ranger heading north, with Mack riding, literally, shotgun. They turned onto a dirt path by the highway and stopped after a mile. There were coniferous trees off in the distance, but the area around here was mostly rock, sand, and scrub. It wasn’t the kind of place where Mack liked to be when the dead were likely to be around.

“Now we gonna see what we kin get ‘round here.” Jesse said, stringing his bow and fixing his quiver to his belt. Mack checked the chambers of his shotgun and revolver. He was ready, or at least he was ready to move. Ready to fight if a hundred of those things showed up? That was a different matter.

Jesse led Mack into a shallow ditch, making virtually no noise as he moved, while Mack was able to tap into what his grandfather had taught him and kept admirably quiet as he moved. Of course, he saw nothing. No game, no dead, nothing.

After a few minutes, Jesse stopped and took a knee, motioning for Mack to do the same. Despite his curiosity, Mack knew better than to speak, though Jesse did.

“Dey’s somthin’ up ahead. You go an’ stay behin’ me dere, Mack. You jus’ keep an eye on what’s aroun’ me an’ I’ll get it.” Mack slowly followed Jesse as he moved ahead, stepping knee deep in the brush, where a corpse with no legs might be dragging itself on the ground, ready to bite ankles and calves. Mack wanted to grab Jesse and slap him, telling him that the inability to see a zombie hardly meant that none were around, but he kept his mouth shut.

Jesse froze again and Mack did the same. Jesse fingered the nock of his arrow and let out a low whistle. Within seconds, a pheasant of some kind took off and tried to fly away, but Jesse, lightning quick, brought it down with one hit from his bow. The weight of the arrow dragged it back to the ground instantly. Another such bird tried to take off and it was similarly brought down. Mack had never seen or even heard of archery like that before. William Tell would have pissed himself if he had had occasion to witness such control and precision as Jesse had shown.

Jesse picked up the two birds and led Mack back to the ditch, then threw them in the back of the Ranger. They were on the road again, headed back.

“Jesse, how the hell did you get that good with that thing? I tried archery once or twice, and I can’t even imagine doing what you did.”

“Oh, dat’s ‘cause you can’t do dat wit’ jus’ once or twice usin’ it, right? My old man, he was a straight shootin’ kinda guy, he could drop a snowflake blindfolded n’ all dat. He was a good hunter n’ all, an’ he tol’ me dat I had to learn da bow an’ all, ‘cause if you can’t go out an’ find somethin’ fer yer family ta eat without havin’ ta go to the store, you ain’t no kinda man. I done tried ta do him proud, right? He was prouda me when I done brought down my first big buck. I been usin’ this thing since I could walk.”

“Ever brought down a zombie with one?”

“Zombie? Is dat what you n’ yer friends been calling ‘em?”

“I guess. We don’t always. It sounds sort of dumb. We usually just reference them without calling them anything, but we do talk about them, we say things like ‘walking dead’ and ‘dead guy’ and things like that. At least we can call them that without feeling retarded.

“Oh, well dat ain’t what I call ‘em. I don’t even think dat dey really zombies or nothin’ like dat. I remember what dey said on da TV ‘bout dem, how dey was just dead people, walkin’ ‘round, eating up on folks, and dat no one knew why dey was doin’ dat, like some lab guy done made ‘em, or somethin’, but I got my own ideas what dey is.”

Now Mack was curious. “Really? What do you think they are?”

“Well you know ‘bout that thing, dat thing dey call da rapture? I think dat’s what done happened ta us. I think da lord went an’ took da faithful up to heaven an’ jus’ left some of us down here, right? Dat’s why everyone’s dead, because da lord took dey souls up to heaven to keep ‘em safe when da devil ready to make his war, his war against da lord.”

Mack’s eyes widened a bit, since even though he was an Atheist, he knew perfectly well what the rapture was supposed to be. He weighed his words carefully, knowing how easily the faithful could be offended that some had been known to react…rather violently.

“Okay, but why are the dead walking? Why are they attacking and eating people?”

“Dat? I think dat da devil, he now ready to go to war wit’ da lord, an’ he’s usin’ all da dead bodies what ain’t got souls in ‘em no more, he putting his folk, doze demons of his an’ takin’ dem bodies over, ‘cause he wanna take over da world an’ all. You see, dis was da lord’s green earth an’ da devil, well he gots it now, ‘cause he never could get hisself back into heaven, right? So he gonna take over da world and grab hisself what folk ain’t already in heaven.”

Mack pondered his next words, but hadn’t formed them yet when Jesse began speaking again.

“I was wonderin’ why, if dis is da rapture and the lord done taken his folk up to heaven, why I was still here. I always been a good Christian, right? I thought I shoulda been up there wit da lord, but since I still down here, I now figurin’ dat he got some purpose for me n’ all. Dat he wants me to fight da beast when he come. Dey ain’t nobody but us an' prob'ly some other lost folk, ‘cause da lord done took his folk up and da devil done used his demons ta take his folk down. But dey ain’t got me, so da lord, he got reason for me here. I think he wants me to be strong an’ help who I can, help ‘em stay safe from da beast. Dat’s why I wanted y’all ta stop, so I kin finally start doin’ da work of da lord.”

Mack knew this not only could, but probably would cause severe problems later. He was sweating, and it wasn’t all because of the heat.

“So Jesse, does that make my friends an me bad people? I mean, we’re not…”

“No, I think dat da lord got reason for you here, too. I know you all ain’t church-goin’ folk, ‘cause I kin tell when people follow da word, but dat’s okay. My dad, he done tol’ me dat da lord smiles on doze who have a good heart n’ all, and if dey isn’t what goes prayin’ and churchin’, he still love dem and wanna take dem into his arms. He tol’ me dat bein’ good folk was first, an’ bein a good Christian was second, an’ dat we can’t be lookin’ down on such folk, ‘cause dey good folk, an’ da lord loves all good folk. I don’t think dat’s why you an’ your friends ain’t up in heaven. ‘Cause you Mack, you good folk. I see how you are wit’ dat girl of yours. You treat her good, an’ she treat you good, jus’ like my dad done treat my mom good. I think dat maybe da devil done got ‘em, but maybe da lord just took ‘em, took ‘em ‘cause he knowed dat you was comin’, and dat you was da one supposed ta help me.”

“Help you do what?”

“Dis is da devil’s world now, an’ I think da lord wants you an’ yer friends ta help me stand up to da beast, ta make a home for doze what da devil can’t have. Da lord want us ta fight fer him, since da devil’s now gone an’ made war on da lord. He wants us ta gather as many good folk as dey is left and den go out dere and find da one who done serve da beast. I dunno when, but da lord will send me a sign. I think dat it might be soon. He already done sent me you. He sent me some good folk ta help me take back da world from da devil, an’ now dat you here, we can’t start workin’ towards fightin’ the servants of da beast.”

Mack went dead cold.

“Now den Mack, you think yo’ friends gonna like what we bringin’ ‘em? We had us a good hunt. But soon, you an’ me an’ yer friends, we gonna hunt the devil’s children. Da lord needs us, an’ we ain’t gonna let him down.”
"If you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and there's a straw, there it is, that's a straw...and my straw reaches...acrosssssssss the room, and begins to drink your milkshake. I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE! SLURRRP! I DRINK IT UP!

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Re: The Twelve

Post by Ponyboy314 » Sun Dec 27, 2009 5:41 am

Mack sat on what he had heard on the trip back once they returned, unsure of what to do. What was clear is that something was going to happen, something bad. Mack was an Atheist and nothing anyone said was going to change that, let alone a lone freak who thought that he was the post-apocalyptic sword of God. He did his best to keep his newfound anxiety down, and hoped that he was doing a convincing job. Dinner went well at least, as Jesse hadn’t said anything like what he said in the truck, but he knew that it wouldn’t take long for Jesse to wake them all up for some Saving Private Ryan-style briefing about his campaign to wrest the world away from the devil and all his minions.

Even the dead hadn’t caused his stomach to knot up like this.

Late that night, Mack woke from a nightmare, one that clearly was based on his new fears, but he couldn’t remember the specifics, for which he was glad. He saw Hannah up front, performing her watch. Mack got up and told her, “Hannah, I need you to come with me, right now.”

Confused though she was, she woke up Gwen to take her shift and followed him barefoot across the asphalt and gravel of the RV park to another RV, which they entered. Mack closed and locked the door, glad that he had taken the first watch. They sat on the bed and Mack was ready to tell her what was going on.

“Michael, what the hell is wrong?” Hannah said in a groggy voice that showed how much she just wanted to fall down and get some sleep now that Gwen was on watch.

“Hannah, you need to know this. Shit’s about to go down soon around here. This Jesse guy, you’re right, he’s a total Jesus freak, but I don’t think you know how much of one he is.”

“What did he say?”

“The way back today, he started talking all kids of weird shit, about how this is the rapture and all that. Like, everyone’s dead because God and Satan are taking all the souls away and Satan is having demons possess dead bodies and all that sort of shit. He thinks that God wants him to fight some kind of fucking war for him, to take the whole world back or something, and he thinks God sent us here to help him.”

Hannah went from groggy to fully alert in about one second.

“What the hell did you just say?”

“I’m not kidding. He thinks that we’re here to join God’s army or something. Jesse thinks that God’s going to send him a sign and we’re going to go out there and kill all of the goddamned dead all over the fucking planet, and sooner or later, we’re going to come across the agent of the devil, the anti-Christ or something and kill him. You ever read ‘The Stand’ by Stephen King?”

“No, but I saw the mini-series on the Sci-Fi network once.”

“Like that. Remember when some of them went to Vegas to face Randall Flagg and all that shit? How they established some kind of community in Boulder? He thinks this whole thing is kind of like that. This fucking RV park is the community of God’s children and somewhere out there is the devil’s personal bitch or something, and we’re supposed to fight our way to him and win God’s war for him. This…fuck me, this is really happening. We have a one-man cult on our hands.”

“What did you say to him? You didn’t tell him that we’d help him or anything, did you?”

“He didn’t ask. I think he just believes that we’re going to regardless.”

“So you didn’t tell him that we’re not about that sort of shit?”

“No. It didn’t come up. I just stayed quiet mostly. I think something bad’s going to happen. I think we may have to think about getting the fuck as far away from here as possible. Just get away from this guy and let him play Kingdom of Heaven, the Home Game all by himself.”

“What about Lorelai?”

“What about her?” Mack didn’t get the gist of her question.

“She’s spending all her time around Jesse now. She really likes him, and I think she’s going to make a move on him. Fuck, that’s going to complicate things. This couldn’t have come at a worse time.”

“So, we grab her and throw her in the RV. She tries to get out and run back to her Redneck Romeo, we throw her back on the couch and sit on her until we’re away.”

“Michael, I don’t think it’s going to be that simple.”

“Well then, we have to play it by ear. What do we tell Kris and Gwen?”

Hannah said, “We tell them what you told me. They’re smart, they’re not latching themselves onto that freak like Lorelai is. We tell them, we make sure they play it cool, and then we leave when we have the chance.”

“Maybe we should just leave now.” Mack hoped that was an option.

“I said, let’s play it cool. If we start up the RV, Jesse will be out here before you can even get the lock off that gate. What will he think? That we’re deserting him? That we’re spies for Satan or some such shit? We need to leave when the time is right, and if he can try to stop us, the time isn’t right.”

“If that’s your criterion, then the time will never be right. We’re going to have to deal with this…with him.”

“Michael, we wait.”

They fell asleep on the bed in the other RV, holding each other, both apprehensive about the bad news that still managed to find them in this remote place.

The next two days, Mack couldn’t look at Jesse without remembering the line Elwood said repeatedly in The Blues Brothers, “We’re on a mission from God.” Still, Jesse wasn’t speaking about it. Things went on normally, or as normal as they were ever going to get. They ate and shot hoops, read, and splashed around in the pool, trying to act as though nothing about this was strange when Jesse was around. It was the afternoon of the second day after Hannah was told that they convinced Kris and Gwen to hang out in the pool with them and talk about the whole situation. From where they were, they could see Jesse, preparing something involving the pheasant they he had brought down, and Lorelai was with him, speaking and smiling. Every few minutes, one or the other would look their way and wave, but they were out of earshot.

“So that’s it in a nutshell, guys. This whole thing is about this fuck everything up.” Mack said, after informing them of every detail of Jesse’s idea about his role in the devil’s world.

Kris was livid, though he had the presence of mind to watch his movements and decibel level. “Mack, why the fuck did you wait two days to tell us this? We should be way the hell away from here by now!”

Hannah calmed him down as best she could. “Because we can’t just lose it and try to get out of here. If we try to leave, what’s Jesse going to think? He already thinks that God sent us to fight for him, so what happens when we split? You think he’ll just believe we went out for pizza? He’ll come out with that Robin Hood thing of his and waste us all! He’ll think we’re trying to avoid fighting for God, and that’s not a smart thing to do around a God freak, especially one where there’s no fucking cops to call!”

Gwen was almost shaking. “This is what you walked out of the RV a couple of nights ago for? To talk about this? I thought you two were going to another RV to screw or something. So, what do we do? What about Lorelai?”

“We grab her when we leave. I don’t have an elaborate plan, and if you think that sucks, try thinking up one yourself. I don’t have any answers here." Mack looked down. "This is fucking delicate. Goddamn, I wish Reverend Darnell was here. He’d know what to do.”

That night, no one got any sleep. No one, that is, except Lorelai, who drew the second shift. Mack drew the last, and he did the usual, brewing coffee just after sunrise. He saw Hannah get up, go to the bathroom, and get dressed without a word. Mack walked over to her and said, “Hannah, are you all right?”

“Michael? No, I’m not. I need you, right now.” She led him outside and behind the office. No one else was awake yet.

“Hannah, what can I do?”

“Just hold me.”

Mack did what was asked, unable to think of anything else. Hannah sobbed in his arms, wiping her tears every few seconds before speaking again.”

“Michael, remember that last day at the school? When I got that feeling that something bad was going to happen? The same one I had when those things got into my house?”

“Yeah, I remember. Why?”

“I have it again.”
"If you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and there's a straw, there it is, that's a straw...and my straw reaches...acrosssssssss the room, and begins to drink your milkshake. I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE! SLURRRP! I DRINK IT UP!

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Re: The Twelve

Post by Ponyboy314 » Sun Dec 27, 2009 7:05 am

There had been two occasions since the rise of the dead that Hannah’s instincts had saved her life. The first was when the dead had crashed through her window, devouring her screaming parents while she alone escaped, leading her to Mack and thus beginning their long, strange trip together, but Mack wasn’t there when her home was lost and took it on faith. The second was their last day at John Basilone High School, when she just felt that something terrible was imminent, prompting the others to load up the RV, which had saved her again as well as four others when the dead came pouring onto the school grounds and Colin chased Mack down the halls after murdering Reverend, and that one Mack remembered all too well. When Hannah said that something bad was going to happen, Mack absolutely believed it.

But as morning came and went, there was nothing in the air that Mack felt indicating that this day was going to be the one where Jesse’s delusions of divine grandeur would rear its head in front of the others, drafting them into God’s army to take the world back from the devil’s undead minions. But that meant little to Mack. Hannah had her instincts, and that was enough for someone who was only able to stay with the perfect girl because they had already been spot-on when they needed to be.

The gang and Jesse had what passed for a normal morning at the RV park. Mack and Hannah went about their normal routine, making sure the water bottles were refilled, checking the gas cans (for the hundredth time), and munching on dry breakfast. Mack then proceeded to head into the RV to lie down, feeling as though he was about to crash after not getting a wink the night before. As he was about to take his boots off, Hannah walked in, looking as afraid as she had that morning behind the office.

“Michael, I just saw Lorelai, walking into Jesse’s cabin.”

“Huh, what are you thinking here? You think she’s going to throw him on his bed and try to do nasty things to him?”

“I seriously doubt that she went in there to help him dust.”

“That could mean anything, Hannah. I have no doubt that something’s up, but this might not be it.”

“I heard her earlier, talking to Gwen. She said plainly that she likes Jesse and she’s tired of waiting for him to make a move. This is it, I fucking promise you.”

“But that still doesn’t mean that this is going to send everything off the rails. How do we know that Jesse doesn’t like her back? Just because he thinks he’s God’s personal John Pershing doesn’t mean that he’s immune from a boner. You heard him yourself. He’s been lonely out here. Maybe he was just too shy to tell Lorelai that he liked her or something. We don’t know what’s going on in there, we just don’t. You were the one who said we should play it cool.”

“I know that, Michael, but that feeling? It’s worse now. I feel like I could puke all over you.”

“Well then aim that mouth somewhere else, cutie, but for now, be cool. For my sake though, wear your gun. Don’t do anything or go anywhere without it. In fact, sling your carbine over your back. Just be ready in case shit does go down. And one more thing. Don’t be closer to Jesse than I am. Whatever happens, make sure that I’m between you and him.”

“That doesn’t do me any good in here.”

“Then stay in here with me. Where are Kris and Gwen?”

“They were talking about hitting the pool.”

“Are they nuts? Fuck that. Let’s go get them. I think, until we know what’s going to happen, that we should all stay together. This is going to make everything even more tense. I hope you’re right about this.”

“I hope I’m wrong.”

Hannah slipped her revolver in her waistband and slung her M1 Carbine across her back as she was instructed. Mack of course already had his .357 within reach. He also grabbed his double-barrel shotgun, hoping that he wouldn’t need them.

They left the RV and began looking for Kris and Gwen, who they found in the same place where Mack had held a scared Hannah that morning, though Kris and Gwen were not engaged in the same activity, though holding each other was certainly part of it. They had their hands in each others’ clothes and mouths all over each others’ faces.

“Ahem.” Mack interrupted.

“For Christ’s sake, Mack, we don’t bother you two when you’re doing this.” Kris said, clearly annoyed.

“No time for this shit, guys. Lorelai is in Jesse’s cabin.”

“So, what do you want us to do about it? Smoke her out like in the Bugs Bunny cartoons?” Kris indignantly replied.

“No. For now, we stay together. Get back in the RV and grab your guns. Just look cool. If Jesse comes out and asks why we’re strapped, we just say that we thought we heard something out there and wanted to be ready, that’s all. He’ll believe that. Now get your hands off each other.”

They did as they were told, though Kris was not shy about shooting Mack an insulted look as he passed. Gwen slowed to say to Mack, “You know, a suspicious person would think that you’re being protective.”

“Lorelai is a pain in the ass, Gwen, but she’s still part of the gang.” Mack said back.

“Not her, me. You’re playing big brother a lot these days. Big brothers are always getting in the way when kid sister is fooling around with a guy.”

“You are my kid sister, Gwen, and the fact that we aren’t related doesn’t change that, but right now, big brother is saying that shit’s probably going to happen, and I want us all together and ready to deal with it if it does.”

Gwen went inside and came out with her Beretta in the back of her belt, followed by Kris, who carried his CZ75.

Mack remained in command mode. “Put that thing away, fool, or Jesse will think that something’s up.”

“Something is up, dude.”

“Just put it the fuck away, okay?”

It seemed like hours though only fifteen minutes had passed. Kris had gotten them all water bottles to combat the oppressive heat and the shade didn’t help much, though no one knew if the heat or apprehension was the greater source of the sweat beading up on their faces.

They didn’t say much, but mostly just loitered around looking like the lame version of the cast of Red Dawn. Mack was about to pack it in, believing that whatever was happening in Jesse’s cabin with Lorelai was nothing that was going to push everything over the edge.

As they say, timing is everything.

Mack opened his mouth to tell everyone to just go inside and chill out in the RV when the door to Jesse’s cabin flew open. Lorelai ran out screaming something incoherent, wearing nothing but a pair of black frilly panties, the kind women wore when they wanted to make the point abundantly clear to a man that she had sex on the mind.

Jesse had other ideas.

She ran towards them, not seeming to care that she was almost totally naked, screaming bloody murder as Jesse came chasing after her, with his bow in his hands and an arrow already nocked.
"If you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and there's a straw, there it is, that's a straw...and my straw reaches...acrosssssssss the room, and begins to drink your milkshake. I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE! SLURRRP! I DRINK IT UP!

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Re: The Twelve

Post by Blackgunboy » Sun Dec 27, 2009 12:06 pm

A cliffhanger? Say it isn't so.

Thanks for the new posts. Great stuff.

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Re: The Twelve

Post by Wrecking Ball » Sun Dec 27, 2009 3:41 pm

Awww fuck, I want MOAR!!
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Re: The Twelve

Post by Samurai Penguin » Sun Dec 27, 2009 10:55 pm

Wrecking Ball wrote:Awww fuck, I want MOAR!!
Seconded!
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Re: The Twelve

Post by Ponyboy314 » Mon Dec 28, 2009 12:06 am

No one was really certain what was going to happen that day, but after Hannah’s gut told her to expect something in the extreme negative, they all braced for the worst in their own way. The problem with bracing for the worst is that one cannot truly be prepared for it unless they have some idea what form it will take. Whatever their fears might have been that morning, no one could have expected a mostly naked Lorelai tearing ass across the RV park, screaming herself silly while being chased by the self-proclaimed soldier of God with a bow in his hands and a laughable redneck accent.

Mack was the only one who didn’t stare in utter shock as the situation exploded. Instead, more out of habit than anything else, just started trying to get a grip on the others and what was happening. Not that Jesse was making it easy for him.

“Whore of Babylon! You done brought a servant of da beast into my home! Come back here, slut of Satan!”

Before Mack or anyone else could react in the slightest way, Jesse drew his bow and released. Lorelai, still running, still screaming, had to dodge just slightly to the left to get around a picnic table as she moved, and Mack knew, having seen Jesse’s skill with the bow for himself against more elusive game, that had Lorelai continued in a straight line, that arrow would have stuck her right through the back and she’d be dead either instantly or very soon. Instead, the arrow punched right through the meat of the bicep of her right arm, not stopping until there was as much of the arrow sticking out the front of her arm as the back.

Her screams of terror were replaced by more horrifying screams of agony as she stumbled forward and finally landed in Hannah’s arms, crying and shrieking as blood poured all over Hannah’s clothes.

Mack began yelling, “Hannah, take her inside, Gwen go with her…Kris, you stay with me, I need your help. Go!” Hannah with Gwen’s help did get Lorelai inside, while Jesse came to a stop and nocked another arrow. Mack and Kris readied themselves for a fight, not unlike the way they had when Colin returned without DJ and with a mortally infected Eliza. This time, though the odds were actually in their favor, Mack was far more afraid than he had been the previous time. Few things are as scary as someone who not only views themselves as an avenging angel, but insists on acting upon it.

“Y’all, what have you done? Dat bitch, she done got da devil in her! Da beast, he sent her here to tempt me off’a da lord’s path! Y’all got ta bring her out, so we kin deal wit her! Da lord don’t want her kind on dis earth no more! Lemme send her down ta hell where she done belong!”

Mack was shaking as he unconsciously cocked both barrels of his shotgun. “Jesse, what the fuck is wrong with you? She liked you! She’s not evil, she’s just lonely you psycho mother fucker!”

“What? Den you best git outta my way, so I kin do what I gotta do! Don’t y’all know what been goin’ on? Flesh is da weapon of da devil an’ doze dat done offer it, dey be his servants, right?”

“Jesse, calm down. She’s not working for the fucking devil! Just put that bow down! For Christ’s sake, she has a fucking arrow in her arm! Stay where you are!”

“Don’t you blaspheme in da house of da lord! You protectin’ her? You takin’ da Whore of Babylon away from da angry hand a’ God? I done thought dat da lord he sent ya ta help me, but you ain’t wit’ da lord! Now move, I gotta cleanse myself from da sin of temptation! Only by da blood of da wicked can da righteous do right by da lord! Get outta da way!”

Mack raised his shotgun and leveled it at Jesse. “Jesse, don’t do this. You’re crazy, you’re sick, you don’t need to do this! You need help, we can help you! This isn’t the fucking war between God and Satan! You’re not the sword of God! She’s not the devil’s whore! The things out there are not from hell! Jesse, don’t! She’s just a scared girl!”

“You speak wit’ da mouth of da beast! Y’all come ta drive me off da path of da righteous! Wit da hand of da lord, I gonna smite thee!”

Jesse came at them at a run, about to draw his bow, when Mack just squeezed both triggers.

Both loads of buckshot struck Jesse in the lower torso, spraying guts and blood everywhere around him. He flew backwards as though hit by a speeding bus and landed on his back with a thick, wet plopping sound. Mack could barely register what he had just done, and ran up to where Jesse had landed, Kris, whose face betrayed his utter horror at what had just happened, stopped behind him. Mack’s ears were ringing as though his head had been inside a church bell on Easter Sunday, but he could still hear barely enough to understand what Jesse was saying, coughing up blood and tissue as he spoke.

“As I walk through…the val…the valley of the shadow of death…I shall fear…fear no evil, for thou art with me…thy rod and…thy staff, they…they comf…”

That was as far as Jesse got before spitting up a chunk of pulpy blood and dying where he laid, his eyes still open, staring up at his God. Mack didn't notice it at the time, but he would remember soon enough that Jesse's dying words were not in the accent to which they had all become accustomed, but in a neutral accent no different than any of them, and grammatically precise.

Mack began to stagger and let his shotgun slip from his grasp. He stumbled backwards before falling on his ass, his vision blurred and his breathing barely controllable. He was muttering, unable to form words or even think of what he could say. He was in a dream, a haze, another world. Kris just dropped to his knees and threw up all over what remained of Jesse’s midsection.

Mack was still in a dream a few seconds later when me staggered to his feet, which he was barely able to keep. He turned and headed to the RV, the world out of focus and his head pounding. He fell into the RV more than he climbed into it, almost crawling up the steps until he was behind the passenger seat. He needed all his strength to even get back up, looking at the back where the girls were. He could see Gwen crying, holding down a bleeding Lorelai, and Hannah yelling at him in a panic.

In a pathetic, almost childlike voice, Mack could only say, “I can’t hear you Hannah.”

He kept forcing himself to the back of the RV, where the sight of Lorelai, who was usually a bitch but was now just a terrified, wounded little girl, acted like a boot up the ass, kicking Mack out of his dream world and back to this terrible reality. He was able to force himself to focus, and was finally able to determine what was being said to him. Not that it mattered. He tried to gain control of the situation as best he could.

“Get her outside, get her on the picnic table! Go!”

The girls half carried, half-dragged Lorelai, who dripped blood in her wake, outside and laid her down on the table as she screamed and struggled, leaving her right arm to hang off the edge.

“Gwen, get Kris off his ass and on his feet!”

Hannah screamed at Mack, “Michael, what the fuck are we going to do?”

“I don’t know! Do I look like a fucking doctor? I’ve never done this shit before!”

Gwen brought Kris over, but the color had gone out of her face. She looked faint, and after a few seconds, she staggered off a few feet and puked all over the ground.

“Kris! Get inside the office and get me a wrench or something! See if there’s a first aid kit in there! This is a business, so there has to be one! Then get me some rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide! Fucking move!”

Kris didn’t move. He was still giving that thousand-yard stare.

Mack slapped him hard across the face. “Fucking go! Snap out of it! Go get the shit! Go!”

Kris came back to his senses somewhat. He ran off to the office and was gone or a minute, while Mack looked at the arrow in Lorelai’s arm, the wound still dripping blood.

“Kris, whatever you’re doing in there, move your ass!”

Kris came out with a beat-up old first aid kit that could have been sitting in the office for years for all anyone knew. The wrench was at least brand-spanking new.

“Kris, where’s the fucking rubbing alcohol?”

“How the fuck should I know? There wasn’t any back there! You want me to fucking shit out a bottle of that stuff?” Kris had an idea though. He ran into the RV and came out with the Scotch that they had used to commemorate Mack’s birthday a couple of months earlier, which hadn’t been touched since. The road in this world was no place for that.

Gwen was under some semblance of control, but not as much as might have been helpful. “Mack, can’t you do anything?”

“I’ll do what the fuck I can, but it’s nothing more than you can do! I’ve never done anything like this before! You think I’m going to know what I’m doing after all those seasons of watching ‘Scrubs?’ Just hold her down!”

Lorelai wasn’t screaming anymore, but she was clearly in agony. She got her breathing under control and tried to speak. “Mack? Where is he? Is he still coming? Is he…”

“Don’t worry about that now, Lorelai. Don’t look at your arm. I said don’t fucking look at it! Hold still!”

Lorelai braced herself. She knew what was about to happen. “Let me guess, this is going to sting a little, isn’t it?”

Mack didn’t even look at her when he said, “Acutally, it’s going to hurt like a mother fucker. ” Hannah and Gwen held her down hard.

Mack, not knowing what else to do, used the wrench to untwist the arrowhead from the shaft, as he had seen numerous times Jesse twisting them on. It came off, but every turn caused Lorelai to shriek. He threw the arrowhead on the ground and took hold of the fletchings after raising her arm.

“Girls, hold her down like fuck…”

He pulled the arrow straight out from the back of her arm. She screamed so loudly that Mack was already back to barely being able to hear. Blood spurted in his face. He spat out the thick, coppery taste of it behind him on the ground.

“Okay, now what?” Hannah said.

“I’m flying blind, cutie. Just…shit, I guess it’s time.”

Lorelai stopped screaming long enough to ask, “Time for what?”

“Kris, give me that goddamned bottle!”

Mack unscrewed the cap and poured a large quantity into the wound, which was so clean that scotch dripped out the other side. He then proceeded, to be on the safe side, to pour the rest of the bottle. Lorelai turned and twisted so hard that Hannah and Gwen were almost thrown off.

Mack thought he had heard the loudest screams possible months earlier as the living dead tore through his neighborhood. He was wrong.

Still basically doing what made sense as opposed to anything based on actual knowledge, he wrapped gauze around the arm, covering both wounds at once. He was forced to wrap another length around it as the first became soaked in blood. There were only four packets of gauze in the kit.

“Shit, it won’t stop bleeding!” Gwen screamed. “What are we going to do?”

Mack yelled back, “Shutting up would be a good start!”

Before it was over, Mack had wrapped all four lengths of gauze around Lorelai’s arm, who was now screaming with a little less intensity. Only a few spots of blood showed themselves on the last wrap, which Mack assumed was a good thing. He didn’t really know. This situation was completely outside of his scope.

“Okay Michael, now…what do you think we should do?” Hannah asked. Lorelai was now quivering and issuing a low whimper.

“Let me think. Okay, if there’s only a little blood on the last wrap, that means…fuck, I don’t know! Wait, if the blood dries under it, then…it can’t bleed anymore, I think. Goddamn! Okay, we wait.”

Kris, who was now fully alert and trying to figure out what was going to happen, inquired, “Wait? What the hell do you think we’re supposed wait for?”

“I think after a while, we’re supposed to remove the gauze and wrap a new bandage around it. I think we need to do that everyday or something, I don’t know! I only know what I saw in the fucking movies!”

Gwen yelled, “What? Didn’t your grandpa teach you this shit? Wasn’t he in Vietnam?”

“No, he was in Korea, and he wasn’t a goddamned medic! Now, we put her to bed and let her rest and shit, and we check the wound later…get her inside…”

Mack, Kris, and Hannah carried a whimpering Lorelai into the RV where they laid her down on the bed and stepped away. She had no more energy left to cry. She passed out from the pain within a matter of seconds.

“I hope…fuck me, I hope she wakes up.” Gwen said.

Mack replied, without looking at her, “I hope so too, but I don’t think it’s in our hands.”
"If you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and there's a straw, there it is, that's a straw...and my straw reaches...acrosssssssss the room, and begins to drink your milkshake. I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE! SLURRRP! I DRINK IT UP!

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Re: The Twelve

Post by Ponyboy314 » Mon Dec 28, 2009 1:18 am

A while after Lorelai fell asleep, Hannah found Mack sitting at a bench on the far side of the RV park, staring off into nothing, smoking a cigarette, with two empty water bottles beside him. Other than inhaling and the flickering sound of the burning end of his smoke, he wasn’t making a sound.

“Michael?”

“Hey cutie.”

“What are you doing out here?”

“I didn’t know where else to go. I can’t believe what I did. I can’t believe that I actually did that. I killed that man. Heh, man? He wasn’t but a couple of years older than you. I shot him. I blew his guts all over the ground.” His voice was a perfect monotone.

“It wasn’t the first time, Michael. You did worse than that to Colin.”

“But Colin…I haven’t given that a second thought. I don’t know why. Maybe because he killed Reverend while I fucking watched, while Kris watched, then chased me all over the goddamned place trying to kill me. He also killed Eliza, Caitlin, Serena, Dj…he didn’t do to them what he did to Reverend, what he tried to do to the rest of us. But he still killed them. He did something really damned stupid and they all died because of it. It was no different than if he’d shot them in the face. He was a piece of shit who was willing to throw the rest of us into the shit for what? His ego? Because he wanted to be top dog? He wouldn’t have known what to do with it. Hell, I didn’t know half the time. It sucked and he would have gotten us all killed if I had let him take over. Instead, he broke away and formed his own little gang and got them all killed. Fuck him. I can’t feel bad about that. I feel bad for Reverend and DJ mostly, but not Colin. If I had done worse than what I did, I still wouldn’t have cared. And I didn’t kill him. He killed himself, or at least I think he did. I know that he’s dead because I made it happen, but who cares? He’s dead, he had it coming, and that’s all there is to that. Jesse on the other hand…” Mack trailed off.

“Why are you beating yourself up about Jesse? You know what he did to Lorelai, he put a goddamned arrow through her arm, and if there hadn’t been a table in the way, she’d be just as dead as Reverend Darnell, and for more or less the same reason.”

“Jesse wasn’t like Colin. He wasn’t a preening alpha male who wanted everyone to either worship him or be afraid of him. He didn’t act the way he did because he was a sack of shit. Far from it. I think that Jesse was a good guy, a good guy deep inside who genuinely thought he was helping us, and he did help us. He was alone out here in this place after his parents didn’t come back. He had nothing and no one. No friends, no girl, no gang like ours, and probably no hope for anything. He thought what he thought and believed that it was right. Colin wasn’t like that. He knew he was a fuckwad. Jesse, he was a true believer. He thought he was doing right, even if we knew better. Jesse was probably a scared lonely kid who didn’t know what else to think or do. I know he would have killed Lorelai if we had let him. He said so. I had to make a choice. There was just no right thing to do.”

“Protecting the group was the right thing. We all trust you, we all respect you, and you’ve said it a thousand times, we have to look out for each other. It’s the only way we’ve made it this far.”

“Perhaps, but it doesn’t make it any easier to look at that poor guy, all torn up on the ground because I shot him. I could barely hear him because of the noise from the shotgun, but his last words were a prayer.”

“Which one?”

“I don’t know what it’s called. That “Shadow of the Valley of Death” one. That was what he did in the last seconds of his life while he lay there on the ground with his guts all over the place. You want to know what’s weird?”

“Tell me.”

“When he was praying, he wasn’t talking like he did before, not like a redneck. He talked…like us I supposed. His speech was totally neutral. I don’t get it. Since we got here, he talked like he was chewing on shit or something. What the hell could that mean?”

“Think he was a schizo? I mean, what about that? Did he have multiple personalities or something?”

“I don’t know, Hannah. I just don’t know. Maybe something changed in him when all this happened. Maybe he did have another personality in him. Maybe it wasn’t a personality, maybe it was just a persona, you know? Maybe he pretended to be a hick or something. I can’t say. It just weirds me out. If I had to make a guess, I’d have to think that maybe this whole thing fucked his mind and something else, some other Jesse came out of the blue and took over. Jesus, how fucked up can all this be?”

“Easy. Lorelai could be dead.”

“Good point. Have you checked on her recently?”

“Just before I went looking for you. Her wound hasn’t bled since she passed out, or at least I don’t think so. Oh, I have Gwen washing some of the sheets from the beds in the other RVs. After they dry, I’m going to cut them into strips and use them for bandages.”

Mack forced a smile. “That’s a good idea.”

“Michael, what do you think? Should we just get the fuck away from this place?”

“Nope. We need to stay put. We can’t go anywhere unless Lorelai is doing better than this. And anyway, what’s out there? More walking corpses? More psychos like Jesse? More empty grocery stores, ghost towns, and car wrecks? No, we can’t go. We need to stay in this fucking place until Lorelai is on the mend. We can use what Jesse had stashed here for a while. I think we should pack up the RV with whatever it can carry and when everything else is gone, we go. We keep the water tank full, we see how much gas we can strap to that thing, and we get gone, but this place at least gives us a place to chill. I hate it here, but we might as well use what we have while we have it.”

“I don’t disagree. This is a lousy place to be, but we have a fence they can’t get over, a gate they can’t break down, and whatever food is still in that shed and in the back of the truck. Also, we have that other truck, Jesse’s, the Ford Ranger, in case we have to make a short run.”

“Not bad, Hannah. I hadn’t thought of that. I don’t know what we’ll use it for, but it might be good for something.”

“Michael?”

“Yeah?”

“What about the body? What about Jesse?”

“I hadn’t thought that far ahead.”

“We need to get rid of that thing. We need to bury or burn it, or haul it far enough away that it doesn’t stink up the whole place. Imagine that, in this heat…”

“You’re right. I think we just found a use for that truck.”

Mack pitched his cigarette butt. He leaned against Hannah for a time, unable to cry or anything over what this day had brought. His tears seemed to have finally dried up.

Later that afternoon, Mack took Kris with him and they took the Ranger down the road a few miles before dumping Jesse’s body on the side of the road. Just another dead man, just another rotting corpse, just another anonymous stiff in a world that had no shortage of them. He didn’t even get a burial or a cross over his head. The crows would see to Jesse now.

After their return, Mack went into another RV after checking on Lorelai, who still had color in her skin, and was clearly going to spend a while snoring the afternoon away. Mack collapsed, still unable to cry. Hannah found him and cuddled up next to him before they both fell asleep in a hot RV in the afternoon of a scorching day. Mack didn’t dream. He was too weary for those.

What they didn’t bother to do, since there was no reason, was to check around for anything that indicated who Jesse was. If they had, they might have run across things like a few ID cards of various type, particularly driver’s licenses. They would have perhaps learned from this that the dead man out collecting dirt by the highway was no one named Jesse, but Kenneth Bettany, whose address was in fact the same as the RV park, and that he had come from this area where people did not speak the way Bettany had when he had somehow and for some reason become Jesse.

Had they cared to keep looking, they would have seen that his mother was named Kathleen, and she had been from Vermont.

But if they had looked further, leaving no stone unturned in the whole place, it might have surprised them to see that he looked nothing like his father, who long before exiling himself to the middle of nowhere as the owner of an RV park, had once been a preacher but had been defrocked long ago, long before Kenneth Bettany had been born.

A preacher named Jesse Bettany.
"If you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and there's a straw, there it is, that's a straw...and my straw reaches...acrosssssssss the room, and begins to drink your milkshake. I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE! SLURRRP! I DRINK IT UP!

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Re: The Twelve

Post by Wrecking Ball » Mon Dec 28, 2009 6:05 pm

So, from what I understand, "Jesse" is the persona that Kenneth created to live out the life that his father lived after being defrocked??
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Re: The Twelve

Post by Ponyboy314 » Mon Dec 28, 2009 6:34 pm

Wrecking Ball wrote:So, from what I understand, "Jesse" is the persona that Kenneth created to live out the life that his father lived after being defrocked??
Who knows? Truthfully, I don't even know. What you read is all the information that the gang would have found, and it probably wouldn't have done much to make sense of who this guy was.

So, you and I both know as much as they would know if they were to look. Anything else is simply a mystery that will remain forever.
"If you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and there's a straw, there it is, that's a straw...and my straw reaches...acrosssssssss the room, and begins to drink your milkshake. I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE! SLURRRP! I DRINK IT UP!

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Re: The Twelve

Post by Wrecking Ball » Mon Dec 28, 2009 9:15 pm

:D

I have a feeling that YOU might know....I don't know why. MOAR please. :o
Finch wrote:i sometimes hope zombies come so i dont have to go to work
Finch wrote:i don't keep sharp things near me when my wiener is out of my pants
-Finch, you are a funny man.

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Re: The Twelve

Post by Ponyboy314 » Tue Dec 29, 2009 1:45 am

Lorelai slept through the night, not whimpering or anything, and barely even moving, though her breathing was regular. Mack had to rethink the watch as only four of them were available for that, and they would have to keep sharp eyes and ears out for anything that approached as usual, but now they had the added responsibility of looking after Lorelai, in case the wound started bleeding again or something of that sort.

As he had months before, Mack wound up keeping watch the whole night, unable to even try to sleep. His head pounded and his hearing still hadn’t come back fully, forcing him to use his eyes more than his ears that night. He found himself wondering how soldiers in combat throughout history didn’t go completely deaf after being around so much gunfire.

Gwen and Kris were, as usual, holding each other in the sleeping berth above the front seats, while Hannah had crashed on the couch. These sleeping arrangements were increasingly restrictive, or at least Mack thought so. He decided that night, as he stared out at the stars and hills, to start allowing more breathing room, meaning that it was perhaps time for Kris and Gwen to stay in one of the other RVs, allowing them to have a bed of their own. Lorelai would have to wait.

When dawn came, Mack brewed coffee as usual and checked on Lorelai. She was in a deep sleep, but nothing appeared to be wrong with her apart from the gauze wraps on her arm. She slept on top of the covers, the top one having been removed the day before, heavily stained by Lorelai’s blood.

Mack grabbed a change of clothes and had a turn in the RV park’s showers. After changing into a new set, he sat on top of the picnic table and sipped his coffee, smoked his cigarette, and did his best to enjoy his solitude. He managed an hour and a half of undisturbed peace and quiet before someone else woke up.

Gwen came out, wearing sweat pants and a t-shirt with black bedroom slippers, with her own cup of coffee. She sat down next to Mack.

“Mack, is she going to die?”

“I doubt it. She took that thing through the arm, not the lung or anything. I mean, it just went through meat. No organs or that sort of thing. The only concern we have is infection.”

“I thought that you took care of that, when you poured that scotch in her wound?”

“I probably did. I don’t know. I guess we’ll see sooner or later. If it turns green and gets all nasty, we’ll know it’s infected.”

“And if it does?”

“Then she’ll die, unless you want to take a crack at chopping her arm clean off. No way in hell I’m going to try that.”

“But you said it yourself. You doubt she’ll get infected.”

“But what do I know?” Mack got up and refilled his cup. Kris began to stir in the berth. Hannah was still out but shifting around as though in a dream. Lorelai was snoring.

Mack decided to have a look around since the others were slowly waking up, effectively meaning his watch was over. The sun was higher now and it was getting on to nine in the morning. He checked out the cabin where Jesse’s parents had lived. It was about the size of a small trailer home, not unlike the one they had visited in Valle, Arizona. Mack had never entered it obviously, but now that Jesse was a slab of meat on the side of the highway and a hosed-off bloodstain on the asphalt, Mack and the others had run out of restrictions. The place was almost immaculate, if one doesn’t count the need for a good dusting. It was a simple place but a several days on the road and several more days crammed together in a parked RV with a strange but seemingly friendly young man nearby made this little cabin seem especially hospitable.

Mack went back outside and headed for the other cabin, the one where Jesse had lived. It was much smaller, but one person, two if they were in a relationship, could find it habitable. Mack was now seriously considering the possibility of not spending their nights in the RV anymore. If they had to stay until Lorelai could travel and the food they wouldn’t want to waste was consumed, they might as well be able to walk five feet without getting in anyone’s way. What really got his attention, however, was that both cabins had small kitchens. Jesse had cooked outside, using either a grill or a tabletop propane range. These cabins would do for now but not for long. Mack didn’t worry one bit about anyone getting too comfortable in this place, Lorelai least of all.

That afternoon, Lorelai finally woke up. She staggered to her feet and got out of the RV with a t-shirt on that hadn’t been on before. The rest of the gang was shifting around here and there near the RV, not having much to do and not wanting to go too far anyway. They sat in Jesse’s camp chairs in the shade, draining water bottles and taking turns running to refill them, eating what lunch they had the energy to put together.

Lorelai said, “So, who’s idea was it to let me sleep that whole time topless?”

“No one’s. You were already topless. We patched up that fucked-up arm of yours. Did you need us to dress you, too?” Mack said, not looking at her. “Oh, and while I’m thinking about it, how do you feel? How’s the arm?”

“It hurts. Actually, it fucking hurts. I can’t move it for shit.”

“Come here, sit in this chair. Let me have a look at it.” Mack told her, which she did. He cut away the gauze wraps and checked the wound, after telling Lorelai to look away, which he was quickly glad she did. The wound was already starting to scab over, and Mack was pretty sure that was a good thing, that infection wasn’t going to happen. Still, it was a large wound through her arm and it wasn’t pretty.

“Well, good news. Looks like this isn’t going to get infected, so you’ll be all right. You will have a couple of nice little scars, but that’s about all.”

“What? I’m going to get scarred up for this?” Lorelai said, as though it was genuine surprise.

“Lorelai, you took an arrow through the arm, and we happen to be without a fucking plastic surgeon at the moment. So you’ll have a couple of nickel-sized scars on your arm, whoopie-fucking do. It’s not like he shot you through the eye or cut your face apart a thousand times. It’s a really small price to pay for not being dead. If you hadn’t had to go around that picnic table right there, it would have nailed you right in the back.”

“So, I guess I have you to thank for taking that thing out and patching up my arm, huh?”

“Something like that. But don’t worry about it.” Mack had Gwen run and get one of the bandages she and Hannah had made from bed sheets. He tied it around her arm. “Now then, keep this on. Until that thing really starts to heal, we need to change the dressing everyday.”

“How do you know that?”

“I don’t. I’m guessing. We’ll do it that way unless you have a better guess than me.”

Gwen had also managed to make a sling, though certainly a crude one, out of some of the sheets. Mack helped Lorelai get her arm through it.

“Also Lorelai, keep your arm in this thing unless you’re showering or sleeping. Don’t use that arm for anything. It needs to start healing, so don’t fuck with it. After it heals, we’ll have to start exercising it or something so you can use it better.”

Lorelai allowed herself a smile. “Well Mack, thank you. Thank you for dealing with my messed-up arm. Also, thanks for dealing with that guy. I know that he…”

“Let’s not talk about him right now, Lorelai. Just chill for a second.”

Later in the afternoon, Mack talked to Hannah about the possibility of moving into the larger cabin, and he found her receptive. Hearing this, Gwen and Kris asked if that meant they would be taking Jesse’s cabin, to which Mack replied that he wasn’t their mother, and they didn’t need to ask his permission. That left the question of what Lorelai was doing.

“Does that mean I have the RV to myself?”

Mack shut that idea down quickly. “No. You out here all night alone? What are you going to do if something comes knocking? You need to be inside with the rest of us. Either stay in their cabin or in ours. I don’t like the idea of you being out here at night with no way to defend yourself or anything, unless you suddenly became a lefty.”

“So what? I’m sleeping on the couch again? Haven’t I done that enough lately?” Lorelai didn’t look pleased.

“No, the larger cabin has two bedrooms, and one’s just smaller than the other, that’s all. That’s where you ought to stay.”

“For how long, Mack? How long until we leave this place?” She asked.

“As long as we can. Until your arm heals and you can use it again, and until we’ve used up whatever we can’t take with us. Every mouthful we eat in here is one we don’t have to get out there.”

Hannah around that time came out of the RV with all of her things in bags. “Well, are we doing this or what?”
"If you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and there's a straw, there it is, that's a straw...and my straw reaches...acrosssssssss the room, and begins to drink your milkshake. I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE! SLURRRP! I DRINK IT UP!

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Re: The Twelve

Post by Stumpgrinder » Tue Dec 29, 2009 10:14 am

This is outstanding work my friend. I love the name of our new, recently gut-shot character. You cheeky devil... :wink:
Vicarious_Lee wrote:We'll get by.

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