The Twelve

Zombie or Post Apocalyptic themed fiction/stories.

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Re: The Twelve

Post by Ponyboy314 » Thu Dec 31, 2009 7:45 pm

Mack and the gang were still barely able to speak. This was the kind of house that you people dream about living in one day, and here was a closed community full of such places. That morning, they had woken up on a lonely stretch of I-70, heading east. Here they were a few hours later, standing in a mansion, hosted by a bunch not that much older than them.

Will took them outside, joined by Alyssa, who invited them to take their bags inside, but to leave anything they didn’t think they would need for a few days, reminding them that going face-to-face with the dead was not something they should expect to do. They were lead inside and to a hallway near the parlor on the lower lever where the guest bedrooms were, the places were Will and his gang had slept off more than one night of drinking and other assorted recreational habits when they were too wasted to get upstairs to their own rooms.

Will showed them to the four guest rooms, each of which was bigger than any of their parents’ bedrooms had been in earlier times. The rooms were well-furnished, as in the manner of a four-star hotel, and Will told them plainly that this is where they would be staying for a while until they came up with an idea as to what to do with Mack and the others on a more permanent basis.

After Will left to see how Red was doing with his trademark gumbo, the gang was left alone again. Lorelai walked into her room alone and collapsed on the bed. Kris and Gwen took the next one, and promptly shut the door, lowly weeping on the other side. Mack was hesitant to cross that threshold.

Hannah said, “Michael? What is it?”

“I don’t know. I can’t understand this…I can’t believe…are we safe? Is this what we’ve been looking for? I mean, we always hoped we’d know home when we saw it…did we make it? I just…I don’t know if I can walk into that room…I still can’t believe that we’re here, you know?”

Hannah smiled and took Mack’s hand. “Come on, let’s start believing it together.”

They closed the door and put their bags down, taking in their surroundings as best they could. For both of them, it was as though the world had become blurry around the edges, as though the reality of where they were was still attempting to elude them.

They sat down on the bed, still holding hands. “Hannah, did we do it?”

“Michael, I think we did it…well, you did it. You got us here.”

“Are we…safe?”

“I think we are. I think that Will guy is right. This is as safe a place as we could have ever found, and our hosts…well, to say the least, they seem friendly. They welcomed us in here with open arms, and they sure didn’t have to do that. But here we are. I didn’t know what I would think if we ever found a place to just cuddle up and wait this whole thing out, but here we are. I guess this is what that feels like.”

“Hannah, I can’t…I mean it’s…”

“It’s okay, Michael. You can let go. You’ve earned it.”

Mack lost all control and just fell backwards, curling up on the bed in the fetal position while Hannah removed his boots. He sobbed and snorted, whimpered and muttered the names of those now long gone. He remained there for at least an hour, unable to stop the torrent, now that he could finally release it. Inside of him was six months of heartbreak and pain, loss and regret, failure and fortune. He couldn’t keep it anymore. He finally let it go.

Hannah was leaving the room to go to the bathroom but stopped in the doorway with a tear in her own eye, looking back at Mack, curled up and finally allowing himself to let it all out. Will came up just then.

“It’s Hannah, right? Sorry, I’m really lousy with names, so it’s going to take me a bit to remember them all.”

“No, it’s Hannah.” Will looked inside the room and saw Mack. He turned back to Hannah.

“Damn, is he going to be all right?” he asked.

“Actually Will, I think he is, or at least he will be when this is done. He had a lot of crap on his shoulders. He had a hell of a lot to do the last few months. No one should have seen the things we did, least of all him. Everyone forgot that he’s just a kid. Hell, we all were.”

Will alternated between looking at Mack and then at Hannah several times. “I guess…it must have been a hell of a trip, huh?”

“You might say that, Will. It was a real ride. I just can’t believe it led us here, I really can’t. I can’t believe that I’m standing where I am right now. We’d…we’d all given up hope.”

Will looked back at her finally. “You have a little more now, right?”

“Yes, I think we do.”

“Good. Dinner will be ready in about twenty minutes. None of us are in a rush, so let your guy there take what time he needs.”

“Thank you for that, Will.”

“Thank you for what?”

“I was wondering when someone other than me would say that he could take all the time he needed.”

Mack was able to get himself back up and the gang took turns in the shower. They all got dressed and headed towards where they thought the kitchen might be, where they saw Red getting ready to serve up what must have been the best-smelling food any of them had in recent memory.

“Oh hey, you guys all right? I hope this whole thing isn’t freaking you out too much.” Red said.

“No, not like that. It’s just…well, it’s been a little while since I’ve even seen food like what you’re making.” Mack said with an innocent smile. Red pointed out the dining room where the others were already gathering. It looked like the kind of place where the Rockefellers and Astors had held dinner parties and such a century earlier. It was the grandest such place to have dinner, Mack thought.

Chelsea noticed them come in. “Hey. We’re about to eat. Go ahead and sit down. I can only imagine how road-weary you all are.”

They sat down, looking nervously around themselves. Red came in a minute or so later with Marleena helping him. They were served and everything they touched was amazing. Red knew his way around the kitchen. Later, even Kris said that he was no match for Red when it came to cooking.

About halfway through, as they ate and chatted, getting to know each other, Mack noticed the empty chair.

There were twelve seats around the table.
"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 dmaxd03 » Thu Dec 31, 2009 9:02 pm

Yeti wrote:
SlapNuts wrote:
Yeti wrote:Must have Moar.

Was going to ask why no one grabbed a GPS while in some of the places. Most of the newer ones will take you to the nearest Wal-Mart/Auto Store/etc to find shit.
And most of the newer RV's (especially large ones) have it built in nowadays.
Maybe the satellites are down?
It's only been what, 6 months? Doubt there down, most have a decade or more of life left in them easily. They would become more inaccurate over time as no one corrects thier courses, but I would think they would still be usable for the first year pretty easily.
GPS is a "non survivable" system, meaning it is susceptable to EMP and other than normal environments. The system itself requires a very accurate common timing signal that is originated by the ground control station. Without power/ system maint and admin at the ground station the timing and therefore accuracy of the sattelites will degrade quickly. "Experts" say within a week it will be noticable degredation and in less than two it will be unusable. Thats assuming the gov doesn't make it encrytped use only, which despite treaties saying we won't, the gov can still do.

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Re: The Twelve

Post by Ponyboy314 » Thu Dec 31, 2009 9:04 pm

It was a few hours after dinner, and the sun was long down and the rest of the gang, including Hannah, were dead asleep in the guest rooms, having finally been defeated by their exhaustion, six month’s worth to be exact.

Mack was awake, walking around the house, unarmed, trying to get a better lay of the land. Will and his friends were still awake, greeting Mack politely as he passed them. His travels lead him upstairs and to a balcony that overlooked the incredible estate. Mack could only wonder how it looked in the daylight.

Will was on the balcony, sitting with Alyssa. Both had glasses in their hands, while their other hands grasped each other. On a glass table near them was a bottle of 12-year old Chivas Regal. A couple of empty glasses could also be seen.

Will heard Mack and turned around in his seat. “Oh, hey Mack. Come on out, sit, stay a while.”

Mack sat down and looked at the stars on a perfectly clear and pleasant night. How did he come to this place? What was he doing here? He wondered if he would ever really know.

Will said, “Mack, I don’t take you for a drinker, not at your age, but if you want…”

Mack took the bottle and poured himself a glass. “I think age is really just a number anymore, Will. I don’t know if I’ve said it yet, this day has been a real haze, you know? It’s hard to focus, but if I haven’t said so yet, thank you. Thank you for brining us here. Thank you for guiding us to this place. I don’t know if a simple ‘thank you’ is enough, but I don’t know what else to say.”

“I assure you, friend. It’s enough. Anyway, something I wanted to ask you about. First, the we were hoping that tomorrow, after you’ve all had a chance to sleep the road away a bit, that we could all get together and hear your story. I know it’s a long one, but we’re not pressed for time these days. We’re all really curious about how a bunch of kids made it all the way out here from Phoenix. Is that cool? I understand that you’re all really shaken up and everything…” Will said.

Mack smiled. “I don’t think that’s going to be a problem. It is a long story, but it’s also a really involved one. So tomorrow, you might want to sit down. This one…well, it’s a doozy.”

Will sipped from his glass, looking the part of the young gentleman. “Something I was meaning to ask you, by the way. That girl of yours, Hannah…let me take a wild guess. You and she weren’t together before all this, were you?”

Mack stopped in his mental tracks. “No, we weren’t. How did you guess that?”

“You know, I went to high school myself not that many years ago, and believe me, college isn’t that different.”

Although Mack could only guess why, he caught Alyssa smiling bashfully and looking at Will, who caught her eye and presumably smiled back.

“No Will, she was the first one I found after those things hit my neighborhood. I ran out after they got into my house and when I found her…well I recognized her obviously, but I told her that it might be best if she stayed with me. We found the others here and there after that, and the rest of that story you’ll hear tomorrow. But after a while, we just kind of found each other. Nothing that mattered so much in school really seemed to matter afterwards.” Mack thought of Colin for a second. “Well, for most of us at least. There was no longer anyone telling us that girls like her and guys like me can't get together. But still, how did you really know? I guess your high school wasn’t any different than mine.”

“Probably not, Mack. But it’s not like we didn’t see her arm, you know? I’m not kidding when I say that when I first saw here, I thought that she had a shirt on with one long and one short sleeve. Anyway, but I know what she is, or rather, what she was. I’ve seen it a thousand times. You though, you’re what? The normal one or something?”

Mack pondered that for a second. “I guess I don’t really know what I was. The loner I guess? I stuck to myself and just did things my own way. I didn’t really bother much about all those little groups and gangs and all that sort of thing, until all this happened and I found myself in one, that is. But I hated them, you know? The jocks and cheerleaders, the motorheads and rockers, all so worried about belonging to this group or that…I just walked around, thinking they were all full of it. Hannah though…there’s so much more to her than I would have ever guessed. I’ll tell you the details later, but I couldn’t have made it without her.”

Alyssa chimed in. “I think I understand that, Mack. What happened to us all…it really has a strange way of causing us to think things that we wouldn’t have before.” She smiled at Will, who smiled back.

“Sounds like you all knew each other for a while before this. The way you all talk to each other…my group didn’t talk the way you all do.” Mack waited, hoping to find out what made this other group what they were, what he once hoped his own could become, though it never did.

“Oh yeah, Chris and me? We met in the sixth grade, ten damned years ago. We became best friends pretty quickly, and sometime after that, we met Red, and that’s pretty much how our crew came together. But we weren’t like you, you know what I mean? We really depended on each other for a lot. Chris and me…if one of us got into a fight, we both did, that sort of thing. We were geeks, that was us. In high school, when Chris and Chelsea got together, and when Red met Marleena, we were a real Party of Five bunch. Always backing each other up, doing what we wanted no matter how many people told us what dweebs we were…we were a real tribe, the five of us.”

Mack looked at Alyssa and back at Will. “Five? What about Alyssa? She wasn’t part of your crew?”

Mack just smiled heartily, Alyssa doing the same thing. Will slapped Mack on the shoulder and said, “Another time, Mack. That’s for another time.”

The next day, Mack and his gang weren’t used to being safe quite yet, and certainly weren’t used to a place like this. That night, they all sat in the parlor, sipping on fancy stuff that their hosts poured for them as they related their story. They spoke of running from their homes and Mack gathering them together and making a life at the school. They talked about Reverend helping to hold them together and Colin trying to tear them apart. They spoke a great deal about their runs to Target and the gun store, about what the world looked like outside of the walls of their school. They kept going, speaking of Jason’s suicide, Colin finally breaking the group apart, the Krieger house, and life on the road. In detail, Mack and the others related how they kept going through terrible places like Provo and the mass suicide in Vernal, visiting the Grand Canyon, staying for weeks with a psychotic yet strangely polite God nut, Lorelai’s wounded arm, and the smoking ruin that used to be Salt Lake City, and their last, hopeless leg of the journey that finally led them to a sign by the side of the road, a sign that read ‘hope.’

Their story, told in great and tragic detail, had Will and his crew riveted, and at times, there wasn’t a dry eye among the eleven pairs in the room. Will’s crew sometimes looked away or hung their heads, as though somehow ashamed that they could not claim to have experienced the terrors that Mack, Hannah, and the rest of The Twelve faced. They emptied a whole bottle of something fancy that night, and after Mack got to the point where said, “…and that’s when we saw you coming down the road…” the room was silent. No one knew what to say after a story like that. It was at least a minute or two before anyone could speak.

Marleena said, “I can’t believe what we’ve just heard. I can’t believe that a bunch of kids survived all of that. I guess you really aren’t kids anymore, huh? Damn, we never went through hardly anything like that.”

Mack didn’t even realize that he had been holding Hannah’s hand almost the whole time.

That night, after most had retired to their bedrooms, Will found Mack heading back to the guest rooms, but stopped him. “Mack, want to hear something?”

“Sure, what’s up?”

“Come with me.” Will took Mack to the living room, where he sat down and invited Mack to do the same. “I just thought you might understand this somehow. Alyssa and I weren’t together before all of this. We knew each other slightly, we had a class together and we saw each other around campus, that was it. We were all still geeks, you understand? She wasn’t. We were all stuck in our dorms when that mess hit the campus and all the other idiots tried to get home when everything was falling apart. Remember that? Watching the news and every report just had worse and worse news? Washington was evacuated, New York was a slaughterhouse, the crowds that just got torn apart on the east banks of the Mississippi, and still all those kids just tried to get home. Some of them had come from the east. Some actually, I’m not kidding here, just got in their cars and headed east, hoping to get home before the end. How many could have made it? I doubt that any did. The five of us, we stayed put. We barricaded ourselves in our dorm, the men’s dorm that is, while all the crap went down outside and everyone trying to get home just made it worse. Alyssa…she was trying to get home too, but I stopped her. I told her to stay with us. I had a crush on her, and you can see why, can’t you? She was different then, she was…kind of like the way you told us that Lorelai was, but worse. That was the real reason I asked her to come with us. I thought that she might…you know…she might see me as more than a geek, but…we did find each other, but a lot of weird stuff happened before that was possible. There are a lot of details in that story and you’ll hear them all soon enough, you know, when Alyssa and I tell you together, but I understand. I understand what it’s like to only be with someone because the world fell apart. That’s why she became the sixth member of our crew.”

“It’s funny that it sometimes works out that way, isn’t Will?”

“It sure is, Mack. It sure is.”
"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 » Fri Jan 01, 2010 1:49 am

Cool stuff; MOAR!!
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 » Fri Jan 01, 2010 4:03 am

Although the gang still wasn’t used to accommodations of this type, they were slowly getting used to the idea that they were now safe and would be perhaps thereafter. Will and his crew did a lot to help them feel like this was the end of their trip and there would be no more burned-down cities, no more rest stops, no more watches in the middle of nowhere. Increasingly, the gang’s sleep came and went without such terrible nightmares as those to which they had more or less become accustomed.

After four days in Malta Mansion, Will and Alyssa told the gang to load up what they had in the house and toss it back in the RV, though no one was nervous as they clearly hadn’t worn out their welcome. They were all gathered in the parking area in front of the house and Will told them that they would be moving into the house next door, which was unoccupied and would suit them perfectly. Although Will’s crew had been genuinely hospitable and like having their new young friends around, they also knew that it might be better if they had their own place where they could be alone and possibly become more tight-knight as Will’s crew already was. Also, despite the spacious nature of the mansion, eleven people could make the place seem smaller, and Will’s geek gang liked it as it was.

The seven of them took the RV to the mansion next door, which appeared to be similar on the outside to Malta Mansion. They went in the gate and parked, with only a couple of U-Hauls and a delivery truck (a FedEx, Mack noted to his own amusement) already parked there. Will and Alyssa showed them in and the place was more or less of similar layout.

Will told them, “Well, I expect you’re going to find this place somewhat on the comfortable side.”

Gwen asked, “So, this place is ours? This is where we’re going to live?”

Alyssa answered, “That’s right. This is all yours. The five of you are now the rightful owners. Don’t trash the place, though, since we might have a party here or two. Now any personal effects of the last owners that you don’t want to keep, getting rid of those is your job. The trucks you see out there are loaded with supplies for you, but we hope that you’ll still want to have breakfast and dinner at least with us. For the next few days, I hope you’ll still hang with us in the daytime and see how we spend our days, so you’ll be able to take care of this place. Although you have your own home, we hope that we’ll still spend a lot of time together. Your gang and our crew, we should become one big one soon enough, but still, you should have your own place. It should seem more like home if you have it to yourselves. Oh, and we stocked the freezers last night. The dry stuff and all that, that’s what’s in the trucks, and as far as taking that inside, we’ll leave that to you.”

Will followed that with, “Yeah, what she said.”

Kris felt the need to ask, “If you don’t mind me asking, I’ve been wondering since we got here…how did you get all this stuff? You guys have more supplies than God, and I can’t help wondering where you got it all.”

Will was proud to answer, “You’re going to love this. What you’ve seen us doing last few days? It wasn’t like that after we took this place over. We went out there everyday, stealing trucks and loading them up until they were damn near bursting. Sometimes, we made more than one trip a day. Seriously dude, we were out there everyday. Were you in Golden at all?”

Mack said, “No, we went around it. Didn’t go in at all.”

“Well, there are three Wal-Marts in or near the place. That’s where we did our…what did you call your supply trips? ‘Runs?’ Well, that was us, too. Everyday, day after day, we went back to those places, backing the trucks up to the doors and grabbing and grabbing and freaking grabbing, and things were different back then. There were still some of those things around. We had to really watch our backs then. Often enough, we had to fight some of them. It was really hairy but we had to do it if we were going to be in a position to get inside this place and pretty much stay here. Not kidding dude, everything is either in all those trucks, in the pantries, freezers, basements, and the garage, which is huge as you saw, is close to packed. Even after months in this place, we’ve barely scratched the surface of what we’ve taken. We have it made here, but now, we’re even more glad we did it. Now we have stuff to get you started.”

Hannah mouth hung open after hearing that. “Let me get this straight, you guys cleaned out three whole Wal-Marts? That must have taken you forever!”

Alyssa replied, “It seemed like it. It took us almost three months of going out there almost everyday to get what we have here. But like Will said, those things were still out there, and sometimes it got freaky. Hell, at one of those Wal-Marts, three almost grabbed me. You should have seen Will here.” Will went beet-red when he realized what Alyssa was about to relate. “He blew one’s head off and then the other, and grabbed the third one with his bare hands and threw it face-first into a wall and smashed its head in. Damned thing I’ve ever seen. Another time, we were heading through the parking lot of a Chinese buffet and one grabbed me from a car and Will here chopped its arm of before killing it. Those were…interesting days…but from what you all said, it was still nothing compared to what you guys went through.”

Having been in here before, Will and Alyssa showed them around, and the gang was mostly speechless. None of them could believe that they now had this whole place to themselves. The last part of the tour was when they were shown the bedrooms upstairs, as elegant and grand as anything else in the house.

The rooms where Mack and Hannah could finally be together and just worry about each other.

Will finally said, “Okay, Alyssa and I are going back home. Dinner’s going to be at six tonight, and Chelsea’s cooking. Come on over, and since we lock the gate, use the bell. But don’t worry about that, I don’t think we’ll be keeping the gates to the house locked for much longer. We’d like for everyone to be able to come and go at both places, but remember, this place is yours. So, unload your RV, grab your rooms, and get settled in. After a while, start taking stock of what you have in those trucks and replenish as you go. And just so you know, come Spring, we start planting. Chelsea has some ideas about that. Oh, and there's a CB radio on a charger in the kitchen, so call us if you need anything. Remember, channel 23. So…welcome home guys.” With a wink and a few handshakes, Will and Alyssa headed back to their place.

The gang headed upstairs and chose their rooms. Mack looked at the bed in which he hoped he’d be able to spend the rest of his life, with Hannah. He put his bags down and almost fell on it, and when Hannah came up, he grabbed her and pulled her down on top of him, kissing her repeatedly.

“So cutie, want to do a little housewarming?”

“I thought you’d never ask.”

“Here or that awesome indoor pool?”

“Pool, now let’s get going, handsome. This time, we don’t have to worry about a damned thing. It’s our pool after all.”
Last edited by Ponyboy314 on Fri Jan 01, 2010 2:18 pm, edited 1 time 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 Ponyboy314 » Fri Jan 01, 2010 5:18 am

Six months had gone by and Mack was truly a man at home. He had fully come to regard this mansion as his own, and was happy to know that this is where he would be able to spend the rest of his life with Hannah. They had settled into a basic routine, where some would clean this or dust that, and the amount of books, DVDs, game systems, and games such as pool and darts would keep them active for a long time. Also, the pictures and other things on the walls had shown them one thing of interest: the previous owner had been a running back for the Denver Broncos. However, those pictures and trophies were now stored in the garage. He wasn’t coming back. This was their house now.

But their numbers had grown. Right around the middle of September, a small group of extremely lucky survivors had caught sight of their sign and Will took Mack, who Will increasingly viewed as a little brother of sorts, went down to give the same welcome that Mack and the gang had gotten a month earlier. It had turned out to be a trio, almost a family, and Mack thought at first sight that they were one in truth. The man, about mid-thirties, was Martin, a pediatrician who had found Heather, who worked in administration of one kind or another and was either forty or close to it. It was clear that just like Mack and Hannah, or Will and Alyssa, circumstances had brought them together in more ways than one. With them was Kevin, a fourteen year-old would-be high school freshman who didn’t speak much and had seen things as terrible as Mack and his gang ever had, and his two companions had found him on the road while passing through Indiana. What got them the most was that Martin and Heather had come from Maryland, as deep in zombie country as one could get without needing a boat. They had fought and cried their way across the entire country, only to find themselves going around Denver and finally to this place.

The three of them moved into the house on the other side of the one Will’s crew lived in, and everyone in this little community gathered as often as they could. What was of special note though, was Lorelai, who had over the course of the fall and winter been spending more and more time around Kevin, who visited her at the gang’s house the frequently. Martin and Heather thought it was a great thing that Kevin had found a friend, and in truth, all of Mack’s gang had been good to him, as had Will’s crew, but no one outside the house really knew, but they suspected that Lorelai had an ulterior motive for being around Kevin so much. In earlier times, this would have been scandalous, especially since November when Lorelai turned eighteen. But such restrictions now meant little, and in any event that first month here was hard on Lorelai, who was now safe but no less lonely. Having Kevin around gave her a reason to smile, and they had grown closer over the months. Things had clearly reached a new level the first time Kevin spent the night but Mack saw that the beds in the guest rooms had not been slept in the next morning.

Of course, Kevin didn’t seem to mind one bit that Lorelai had gotten close to him for certain reasons best left alone for now.

Mack didn’t think it would be long before Kevin moved in completely. That February, he had turned fifteen, and that at least made him feel better about what he was doing with Lorelai, who was in better sprits than anyone could remember.

Kris and Gwen were also now able to concentrate on each other, and what had once been a partnership of circumstance was now the real thing, and they did the usual rituals of holding hands a lot, splashing around in the pool (the heated indoor pool had been quite handy that winter), and not being apart from each other for too long. Kris began to take a big brother attitude towards Kevin, and slowly but surely, Martin and Heather were becoming almost like his favorite aunt and uncle. Gwen’s perkiness had come back fully, and was annoying as it ever was, but Mack and Hannah could only smile when she acted like her old self.

For Mack and Hannah, things were what they always hoped, and had given up on. They slept with their arms around each other every night, used the pool (and the shower, and the guest rooms, and the living room couch, and the pool table, and…) for their own “recreational purposes.” They said they loved each other everyday and to them it never got old. Hannah became, rather predictably, like a little sister to Alyssa, and the two hung out together a great deal. Their rooms and the rest of the house were now more or less rearranged and to some degree, redecorated to their own tastes. This was their home.

It was what they always wanted.

That February, Mack looked out the window of the office, which was near the master bedroom (as in, his and Hannah’s room) where Mack did a lot of his reading and enjoyed his solitude, at a lot of snow on the ground. This was Mack’s first winter, and the rest of the gang could claim the same. They had seen snow in Phoenix, but it was never like this. It wasn’t how Mack pictured winter during the apocalypse. He always imagined it as a group of ragtag refugees in tatters huddling around a small fire wondering if they were going to die of hypothermia in their sleep. This was nothing like that. Mack wore sweats and slippers, and he would wear a lot less when he got to bed. He was really learning to love the heating system in this place. Of course, he had also studied that winter. Although it was functioning the way it was supposed to, Chris had taught him how to repair it depending on the problem.

Mack felt that night as though he had come full circle in some way. It had been a year since the dead had taken his home and family, driving him to find a new version of both, but it was in this place that they had really come into their own. Now, this community was his family, but no one more so than the four asleep down the hall (five, since Kevin was spending the night…again…), and this was a real home.

His home. Her home. Their home.

And so he had come full circle. After getting to John Basilone High School a year earlier, Mack’s favorite activity was really not that active. He liked looking out his window in the classroom on the second floor that he called his own room, enjoying his alone time. Now, one year on, he still enjoyed looking out the window with only his thoughts.

But to the matter of thoughts, those had been complicated since the previous February. He had experienced a range of emotions and thoughts that could not only unhinge a person, but in his case, had done so more than once. He had seen terrible things but wonderful things as well. He had suffered terrible loss but had also found something incredible in the fair-skinned, tattooed, red-haired angel who was now cuddled up under the blankets a couple of rooms down the hall.

It was a lot to take in, a lot to live with, especially for one who had to grow up so fast and in the worst possible way, who hadn’t lived long enough to make sense of the basic human emotions as they were, let alone the heightened ones that had broken him before. Mack decided that there was only one way to really make sense of what he thought and felt, and that was to see it for himself, spelled out in plain English.

He took a legal pad from the desk and a fancy fountain pen that probably cost more than his first Xbox had. He began writing. As he had months before, his pen lit the way when words failed him.

[Note Begins]

As I sit here, looking out this window at a beautiful winter scene, I can only wonder, even six months later, how I got to this place, this place that gave us our lives back and a chance to start over. I mean, I was there for every great and terrible second of our long journey and I still couldn’t answer that question if it was asked of me. Now I understand granddad even more, here, long after I’m sure he was taken along with everyone else in this world. Now I know what he used to mean when he said that he never quite understood how he made it home from Korea, and he understood even less when his younger cousin didn’t come back from Vietnam. He was there, he knew what happened, and the memories were still vivid for the rest of his life, as mine will certainly be, but he still never knew how he lost friends but walked out of that place on his own two legs. That’s what he used to say. I never understood it. Now, I think I do. I made it. We made it. I have the house, I have the girl, I have my friends, I have my life, and although I can remember it all coming together, I can’t even look in the mirror and say how I did it. I now know that I never will. Grandad never did, and neither will I. I don’t understand why I’ll never be able to answer that question, but I do accept it.

I wonder though. Would I take it all back if I alone could keep this all from happening? Perhaps it’s a terrible thing to admit, but I don’t think so. Whatever I am now wasn’t made from the world as it used to be. I am what this new world made me, and somehow, I like it more, but especially I know that I would have never found her. Hannah and I would have passed each other in the halls and not given the other a second look. I would still be that mostly solitary misanthrope and she would just be another Goth kid, and that would have been that. Had that happened, I wouldn’t have known what I was missing. She was the freak, I was the brooding loner, and somehow she’s the perfect girl. If mom and dad are watching from someplace, I think by now they would approve of her. She makes me happy, which is something that I never thought I would find with anyone. We found each other in all of this madness, and I would not change a thing if that meant losing her.

Still, not a day goes by without thinking about those we lost. I still cry for them sometimes, and even though I still don’t believe in a world beyond and probably never will, I find myself hoping that they’re with my folks, looking down on us, smiling at what we’ve become and where we’ve come to. I must admit that I have no such pleasant thoughts about Colin and the terrible damage he caused and the pain he inflicted on us, and thus I cannot include him with my next thoughts, but the others, even those I didn’t much care for, make me cry and sometimes smile when I think of them.

I still think of Eliza, and how even in our school, our first home, Lorelai still suffered terrible loss, and how she was so young, younger than the rest of us, and how she could have looked after her big sister had it not been for that fateful trip.

I think of Jason, and how he couldn’t live in this world alone and without the bright future he had planned for himself, and how much he touched everyone’s life without us even knowing it until it was too late.

I think of Serena, and how proud she pretended to be that she was the last Mexican on earth, even though she didn’t believe it herself, and how her rough home life made her into something that she probably didn’t want to be.

I’ll always think of DJ, who tried so hard to be a rebel until he realized that it was driving us away from him, and before the end, he showed what a real heart he had, and how he was really a brave kid who died trying to protect Eliza and the rest of us.

And there was Caitlin, who loved Colin yet seemed to resent him at the same time, always seeming to wonder how she was going to explain his actions and apologize for him time after time, and that she was a really sweet girl deep down inside, but crippled by her loyalty to someone she thought really needed her.

And of course, I’ll think fondly of Reverend Darnell, who was the opposite of me in every way. He was a man of faith, while I have never been. He tried to use that to keep us all together and keep going each day. He was a better man than me, and I hope he knew before the end that we really loved him. He was the best of us.

It’s strange, sitting here now, in this place, my home, a year after we all got together to try to wait out the storm when the dead took everything from us. For much of that time, I didn’t really like most of those people. But now…

…I love every damned one of them.

And I miss them.

Life is strange, isn’t it?

Mom, Dad, please kiss Jimmy for me, and tell him I miss him.


Love to all,

Michael C. Burrows

…of The Twelve.

[Note Ends]



Mack put away the pad after looking it over, wondering at his own thoughts. He smiled and put the pad in the drawer, perhaps to be looked at later, perhaps to never be seen again. It wasn’t for anyone else.

He got up and looked out the window at the falling snow, still amazed that such a beautiful scene could exist in this world that had once given them only death and terror. He was now here, in his home, with his girl, with his friends, and his memories.

He heard Hannah walk in. He turned and wiped away tears he hadn’t even realized had been running down his face. She was wearing an oversized t-shirt and blue panties, and to Mack, she looked like his own personal idea of an angel.

“Hey handsome. It’s past two. What are you still doing up?”

“Just…thinking. You been warm enough?”

“Of course. Still, I can’t believe that anyone could be warm in weather like this. I can’t believe how much snow is out there.”

“Yeah, we had it easy in the desert, didn’t we?” Mack smiled, hoping the lighting wouldn’t betray the redness of his eyes or the tears he had just wiped away.

“You coming to bed? I sleep better when you’re holding me.”

“I’ll be right there, Hannah. I love you.”

“I love you too, Michael.”

Mack watched her leave the room and began to let his tears roll down again. He had earned them all, or so he liked to believe.

Mack turned around and put his hand on the switch for the reading lamp, which was the only light still on. He paused and looked out the window, smiling one last smile for the night.

“Good night, Jimbo.”

Then he turned out the light.



For long after the last of the dead had rotted away, Mack was home, the home he and his gang suffered so much to find, and he would spend the rest of his life always remembering to say good night to his lost friends, his parents, and of course, his kid brother.

He would never forget…not for the whole of his life.


But that…is another story.



THE END.
"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 » Fri Jan 01, 2010 6:11 am

FUCK NO!!! I mean, FUCK YEA!!!!

Such a great story and an ending, I don't know what I will do without it now. :(

Keep writing, Ponyboy. :wink:
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Re: The Twelve

Post by trevor3433 » Fri Jan 01, 2010 12:01 pm

ok, now do chapter 2!!! :lol:
great job ponyboy! i cant wait for your next literary publication!
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Re: The Twelve

Post by Samurai Penguin » Fri Jan 01, 2010 12:35 pm

((STANDING OVATION))
"Some folks just need to tuck their e-penis back in before it gets cold and we all laugh." --Brash
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Re: The Twelve

Post by Ronin71XS » Fri Jan 01, 2010 12:58 pm

Great job PonyBoy!!!
Do, Do Not, there is no try. ~Yoda

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Re: The Twelve

Post by thebigstick » Fri Jan 01, 2010 2:35 pm

slow clap

that was a great story. let us know when you start on your next piece. -TBS
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Re: The Twelve

Post by skarface » Fri Jan 01, 2010 5:55 pm

Good work!

Are you considering a MJOTZY version of how they survived until the Zombies rotted?

Also, how was the power on at the end? I'm confused.
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Re: The Twelve

Post by dasneal » Fri Jan 01, 2010 6:25 pm

Very intertaining and well written. Some of the best character development on the site.

Kudos!
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Re: The Twelve

Post by Ponyboy314 » Fri Jan 01, 2010 6:35 pm

skarface wrote:Good work!

Are you considering a MJOTZY version of how they survived until the Zombies rotted?

Also, how was the power on at the end? I'm confused.
Read the story "Death of Conscience." The answer to your question is explained 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 Kathy in FL » Fri Jan 01, 2010 6:36 pm

Really good! This ties into your other "short" about Will doesn't it? I lost my linkie to that one ... unless I've lost my mind as well and it is another story that I'm thinking about.

Ack ... you just reminded me of the title of the story before I even got a chance to post. LOL!

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Re: The Twelve

Post by Veta » Fri Jan 01, 2010 10:22 pm

•Claps•


Beautiful story, [users name edited by PistolPete]. I was starting to miss your writing masterpieces.
It's a shame you turned out like you did and left my site in a hurry. It've been running much better now, despite your constant foreshadowing that it's going to die off. I must say, you really leaft an impression on my members. Why, they still talk of you from time to time!

I do wish you would be looking for a RPG to rejoin, though. Just without the bossy part.

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Re: The Twelve

Post by Samurai Penguin » Fri Jan 01, 2010 11:06 pm

Veta wrote:•Claps•


Beautiful story, Mike Rhodes. I was starting to miss your writing masterpieces.
It's a shame you turned out like you did and left my site in a hurry. It've been running much better now, despite your constant foreshadowing that it's going to die off. I must say, you really leaft an impression on my members. Why, they still talk of you from time to time!

I do wish you would be looking for a RPG to rejoin, though. Just without the bossy part.

Umm...yeah. :shock:
"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 Ponyboy314 » Fri Jan 01, 2010 11:20 pm

Samurai Penguin wrote:
Veta wrote:•Claps•


Beautiful story, Mike Rhodes. I was starting to miss your writing masterpieces.
It's a shame you turned out like you did and left my site in a hurry. It've been running much better now, despite your constant foreshadowing that it's going to die off. I must say, you really leaft an impression on my members. Why, they still talk of you from time to time!

I do wish you would be looking for a RPG to rejoin, though. Just without the bossy part.

Umm...yeah. :shock:

Don't worry about that guy. He was the one from the Dead Rising RPG I once spoke of.

Not pleasant, he.
"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 Samurai Penguin » Fri Jan 01, 2010 11:40 pm

So I gathered. Cyberstalking is all creepy and shit, though.
"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 » Fri Jan 01, 2010 11:57 pm

It took me a while to realize that you connected characters from "a death of conscience"
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Re: The Twelve

Post by Veta » Sat Jan 02, 2010 1:45 am

You're as peasant as me yourself, Ponyboy.

Penguin, I simply stumbled upon this place while advertising.




Anyways, let's not treat each other as old enemies, but rather long-lost friends. There's no reason to ignore me. I know how you are with grudges, even if it's over the stupiest of things. Now... How've you been lately? You still retain a strong skill in story-writing. If anything, I daresay it've improved!

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Re: The Twelve

Post by Blackgunboy » Sat Jan 02, 2010 2:22 am

Thanks for the trip PB. It was a real treat. :D

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Re: The Twelve

Post by Veta » Sat Jan 02, 2010 3:15 pm

Ok, I've thought about it. I want you to apologize to a man you know as Roger Stone. You've cyberbullied him constantly and made him find RPGing unenjoyable. I've even talked to him to try to compromise to you, but you shamed him and told him the only compromise was that one of you leave, all because he tried to defend me in an argument. I'm just asking you to take the burden off, if you're going to leave somewhere else.


I'm just asking one last favor from you, Ponyboy. Post an apology as a guest on my site, in the forums. Empire Building, you know which one. To Roger. It's best you take the burden off us all.

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Re: The Twelve

Post by Ponyboy314 » Sat Jan 02, 2010 3:35 pm

Veta wrote:Ok, I've thought about it. I want you to apologize to a man you know as Roger Stone. You've cyberbullied him constantly and made him find RPGing unenjoyable. I've even talked to him to try to compromise to you, but you shamed him and told him the only compromise was that one of you leave, all because he tried to defend me in an argument. I'm just asking you to take the burden off, if you're going to leave somewhere else.


I'm just asking one last favor from you, Ponyboy. Post an apology as a guest on my site, in the forums. Empire Building, you know which one. To Roger. It's best you take the burden off us all.
Veta, this is so not the place for that discussion.

This thread was for a story, so stop using it for this.

And what happened on the other side was...on the other site. Keep it off this one.

Or are you going to try to drive me off this site like you did the last one?

Enough. I am done with the old issue so leave it the hell alone.
"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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