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Eol Fefalas
Keeper of the Kazari
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Karma: 461/28
8455 Posts


Hoooo-boy....

“Don't any of you think it...”

Murph paused at the sound of Alaster’s voice, raised in protest, behind him. Jesus, that boy’s gonna lose his mind before we make it another block… I wonder what the hell happened in his life that’s made him so… well… emo? The mechanic stifled a sigh as he turned to look back, making use of the hesitation to reload the SLP, let his eyes drift over the rest of them – Jake… Amber… Mac… Emily – before settling on the ranting Alaster.

I am not going to leave him behind to rot with the rest of them. Now get your head in gear. If he does start to show any signs or if he starts looking weary and tired then I'll carry him if that’s what it takes but I’m not going to take the life of a human and have it on my conscience. I already killed two today. Let's go.”

Murph frowned a little… thought about lighting one of the few smokes he had remaining… licked his lips instead and had opened his mouth to say something to the carpenter but…

“No one said anything about leaving him,” Amber said before Murph could sort his own words out…

One corner of his mouth flicked away half of Murph’s frown. Good girl, he thought, glad to see that Amber wasn’t letting herself fade away into her own dark thoughts, You keep that determination, sweetheart, and we’ll make that Chuck E Cheese date with the kids, yet…
“…We are going,” she continued, matter-of-factly, “To the drugstore. Get some penicillin for Emily and some bandages for Jake… some food and supplies for the rest of us.”

“Augmentin,” Emily corrected then, causing the other corner of Tommy Murphy’s mouth to tick upwards a fraction, “I think that I may have pneumonia. Penicillin will help if it's streptococcus based, but not if it's homophilus. Augmentin will kill them both.”

Ain’t that somethin’? Murph thought, blinking at the youngest and, at a glance, most vulnerable of the tiny group, The girls got their heads on straighter than the guys.
“I'm studying to be a doctor,” Emily shrugged after a moment, “These kinds of facts stick with you.”

When she was finished, Murph shook his head and chuckled a little, then let his gaze drift away from her and fix on Jake for a moment, offering the man a nod and a look that said he was on-board with the words Amber and Emily had just spoken… Don’t sweat it, Hammo, his hazel eyes flashed as Jake’s met them, We’ll make sure you’re taken care of...
He paused on Amber for a moment, then, offering the woman a confident wink and as much of a smile as he could muster.

Then he looked back towards Alaster and raised a brow; “That all right with you, Al?”

((OOC: Assuming a ‘yes’ of some sort… I’d imagine the expression on Murph’s face doesn’t leave much doubt that anything negative would be acceptable… ))

“Good,” Murph nodded, “glad we’re on the same page…

…You did good, by the way,” he added, before letting go of Alaster’s gaze and skimming the faces of the rest of the party, “All of you did… I know it wasn’t easy… and I can tell you, now, that it ain’t likely to get any easier… but if we’re gonna get through this, we have to do what we have to do and, when it’s done, we can’t let ourselves think about it too much.”

“We keep movin’, though… keep doin’ what needs done… and we’ll get out of this… find ourselves with plenty of time to think Until then, do what it takes to keep your mind off of it…” He cradled the shotgun then, coming up with something that he figured might just do that for the younger man… Murph studied Alaster for a long moment, then with a faint, sideways nod eastward towards their destination; “You wanna take point for a while? Give you a chance to think about somethin’ else?”

((OOC: Up to Alaster, there… if the guy wants to take point and give himself something else to think about for a minute, Murph will let him and play rear-guard himself… if not, Murph’ll keep the point position… Not that it matters much, anyway, because…))

*****

Other than nerves being strung on a razor’s edge, reacting (or maybe even over reacting) to every sound and shadow, and silently chewing on thoughts that would be poison if swallowed, the hike up the last stretch of Cornelia from Halsted had been uneventful. Things had actually looked a little bit better than Murph might have expected along that last block…

The calm before the storm, Sarge…
…Which is why he should have been expecting the gruesome vista of pandemonium that greeted his eyes when they, at last, reached Broadway. Burned buildings, wrecked vehicles, mangled and putrefying bodies strung from hell to breakfast…

Holy Mary, Mother of God…
…Even the sight of the pharmacy and the hardware store (with their shop fronts intact and their now somewhat disturbing semblance of normalcy in the midst of this madness) couldn’t scour the mask of awe and disbelief off of Tommy Murphy’s face as he gawked at the devastation they had walked into...

…What the hell is goin’ on?! What the hell happened out here?! There’s not gonna be an end to this, is there?
…His wide-eyed gaze swung passed the Treasure Island Foods that he had forgotten about when he first decided this route would be best given the group’s needs and circumstances. His stomach grumbled at the thought of real food, too, but even that couldn’t alleviate the numbness brought on by this amount of carnage. That only happened when Murph’s searching eyes found Amber standing not too far away… Still need to get her to Joshua… then Jake and Mac… need to get Jake’s wound cleaned up… hope Mac’s keeping a close eye on the kid… and Emily… Augmentin… and then Alaster …Coffee… maybe a nap… and some encouragement…
Murph swallowed the knot in his throat, squared his shoulders, and, trying to ignore the worst of the chaos surrounding them, flicked appraising glances at each of the three stores. The pharmacy was priority one considering Emily and, now, Jake’s respective conditions; the hardware store was next, as useful tools, makeshift weapons, and possibly some sturdier clothing items might be looted from there; and the grocery would have to be last, regardless of how desperately hungry they might have been – broken windows meant that anything could get in and out of the place at will, anyway, and, as good as a twinkie or even an uncooked can of condensed soup sounded, neither one of those things was worth dying for at the moment…

What do you do when you’re all rested and resupplied, then?

We make for Wrigley… or maybe the Harbor… or we go after Joshua… whichever is closest.

What about after that?

I don’t know… we get out…

To where? What if it’s like this everywhere?

Murph shook himself loose of the internal chatter, blowing a heavy breath across his lips, found himself looking at Amber again…

Then we go somewhere where it ain’t like this! Where there ain’t any people to be zombies…

You said the z-word!

…Shut the f*** up, would ya?

“All right,” Murph said, trying to muster up the confidence and determination he had leveled at them before Halsted, “We made it this far. I told you, people, you were the baddest in the valley…” He pointed at the Save Rite with the shotgun… “there’s our number one objective… medicine, first aid supplies, whatever we can use…” the FNs barrel panned right and stopped on the Ace Hardware… “number two; axes, machetes, boots, tools, same deal”… the shotgun nor Murph’s eyes indicated the grocery store but he did tip his head back a fraction to acknowledge it’s presence… “we worry about food after we get the rest out of the way.

We’ve got a couple of hours before sunset,” he said, already moving towards the pharmacy, a hand falling to rest at the small of Amber's back to usher her on as he moved by her, “let’s get a move on.”

((OOC: Assuming no objections or major shifts to the above, I say we get to the pharmacy, check to make sure that we’re clear, and then get ourselves inside… worry about what next once we’ve gotten that far… Edits and backposts as needed of course.))



Posted on 2010-08-26 at 22:41:08.

Tiamat5774
5 Headed Dracohydra
Karma: 80/23
1117 Posts


Mac "Going...Going...Going..."

It's amazing how some things desensitize you. Mac had seen carnage very similar to this when Katrina hit Louisiana in '05. Only the water covered most of the morbid stuff. However, when the water receded, the bloated, fly and maggot infested corpses were left behind. Those not lucky enough to get air lifted off of their roof, or trapped in their vehicles as the flood waters slammed and pushed them were finally submerged for the final curtain call.
Yeah he's seen it before. Death, nowhere near as neat and clean as taking a guy out at fifty to one hundred yards, as you see a pained look on the face and the dead man drops in the view of your rifle scope. No, Death, up close and smelly, dirty, and down right horrific. The definition of "desensitized"? Comfortably numb. Mac wasn't heartless, just desensitized to it all.


“I am not going to leave him behind to rot with the rest of them. Now get your head in gear. If he does start to show any signs or if he starts looking weary and tired then I'll carry him if that’s what it takes but I’m not going to take the life of a human and have it on my conscience. I already killed two today”, Alaster protested. “Let's go.”

“No one said anything about leaving him,” Amber said. “…We are going,” she continued, matter-of-factly, “To the drugstore. Get some penicillin for Emily and some bandages for Jake… some food and supplies for the rest of us.”

“Augmentin,” Emily corrected then, “I think that I may have pneumonia. Penicillin will help if it's streptococcus based, but not if it's homophilus. Augmentin will kill them both.”

Mac saw the start of a smile on Murph’s face. Mac spoke what he thought must be on everyone’s mind, “I’m impressed! Hey, if I ever get hurt out here, I call dibs on Emily, healing me."
Mac smiled big for the first time, in a long time. Mac knew then that he HAD to take care of her. If this is happening everywhere, the world would need her knowledge to get past this epidemic.

“I'm studying to be a doctor,” Emily shrugged after a moment, “These kinds of facts stick with you.”

Once Murph was satisfied that the group were all on the same page, he says, “We keep movin’, though… keep doin’ what needs done… and we’ll get out of this… find ourselves with plenty of time to think Until then, do what it takes to keep your mind off of it…”

Murph studied Alaster for a long moment, then with a faint, sideways nod eastward towards their destination; “You wanna take point for a while? Give you a chance to think about somethin’ else?”

“All right,” Murph said, “We made it this far. I told you, people, you were the baddest in the valley…” He pointed at the Save Rite with the shotgun… “there’s our number one objective… medicine, first aid supplies, whatever we can use…” the barrel of the shotgun moved to point at Ace Hardware, “number two; axes, machetes, boots, tools, same deal”… Murph tipped his head back indicating the food store… “we worry about food after we get the rest out of the way.

We’ve got a couple of hours before sunset,” he said, already on the move towards the pharmacy, “let’s get a move on.”

Mac preferred movement to standing still for any length of time. If he had his way, the group would defend, kill, and move. None of this mental recovery crap.

“Yes, let’s”, Mac said.

The world has obviously gone crazy. Only a matter of time before I join it.


Posted on 2010-08-27 at 04:36:45.
Edited on 2010-08-27 at 04:41:50 by Tiamat5774

malek04
Resident
Karma: 11/8
303 Posts


laughing time

Alaster started laughing softly then started breaking out in a roaring laughter. He wiped a tear away from his eye.

When he looked at the group they looked as though he were crazy.

"I'm sorry, but Murph I'm starting to think you only want me on point because of what I did to that last thing."

Alaster started laughing at this again. Not sure as to why but he just continued laughing. As though the laughter took away all the pain he had experienced in the past week and a half.

"C'mon laugh with me its good for the soul guys. Stop looking so gloom and doom lighten up a bit. I mean I know its not much but we got eachother and some weapons. Cant we all be happy about that. It heals the soul now laugh."


Posted on 2010-08-27 at 05:16:27.

Tiamat5774
5 Headed Dracohydra
Karma: 80/23
1117 Posts


Crazy in the head drunk say what?

Mac couldn't really make heads or tails of Alaster's sudden turn around.

Is the boy bipolar or something?
Mac simply harrumphed at him when Alaster said,"C'mon laugh with me its good for the soul guys. Stop looking so gloom and doom lighten up a bit. I mean I know its not much but we got each other and some weapons. Cant we all be happy about that. It heals the soul now laugh."

Mac didn't break his stride a bit, but eyed Alaster wearily and said, "Happy, no. Thankful, yes. I don't know about you sometimes, but I do plan to get in a few good belly laughs....when we are safe and sound in one of those stores and I have a full belly, and not a moment before. Then and only then will I laugh. Hell, I might lead everyone in a dirty joke telling session to relieve the stress!"

Alaster didn't know it, but he did help Mac out quite a bit. He had pulled Mac out of the vortex of depression he had only begun to spiral into. He would have thanked him for it, but he didn't want to encourage his lighthearted behavior, for there really wasn't anything lighthearted about this.

He might mention it later, but not now.


Posted on 2010-08-27 at 07:38:46.
Edited on 2010-08-27 at 07:50:42 by Tiamat5774

Merideth
Muse-i-licious
RDI Staff
Karma: 177/13
3127 Posts


Oh! A candy store!

The wink helped her gather another ounce of confidence, but looking at Tom too long wouldn’t. So she had sent him another small nod then turned her eyes to the path ahead, willing the shadows to keep bay.

“You wanna take point for a while? Give you a chance to think about somethin’ else?” Murph spoke to Alaster somewhere in the background. Small talk that really meant nothing in the end but helped to keep them together. Or so she thought until the light tittering of Alaster broke out and then built into a roaring laugh so hard it appeared to make him cry.

Her eyes widened and turned a razor thin glare at him.

"I'm sorry, but Murph I'm starting to think you only want me on point because of what I did to that last thing." This made no real sense to her, but apparently it was funny to Alaster who kept laughing.

"C'mon laugh with me it’s good for the soul guys. Stop looking so gloom and doom lighten up a bit. I mean I know it’s not much but we got each other and some weapons. Can’t we all be happy about that? It heals the soul now laugh."

The laughter began to bounce off the deserted concrete maze they had wandered into. It was eerie, but worse than that it was loud. Nervously Amber began to watch the dark shadows again, they had moved before, even if the others had not seen it she had, and they would move again.

Mac didn't break his stride a bit, but eyed Alaster wearily and said, "Happy, no. Thankful, yes. I don't know about you sometimes, but I do plan to get in a few good belly laughs....when we are safe and sound in one of those stores and I have a full belly, and not a moment before. Then and only then will I laugh. Hell, I might lead everyone in a dirty joke telling session to relieve the stress!"

Light glinted off a nearby window and behind it Amber swore she saw another one of those flushed faces looking out at her. Pausing for half a step she waited until it turned back into the sun warped version of an advertisement.

D*** it Amber! she cursed and started moving again but still found herself staring at the shadows.

“Hsssssttt!” She hissed in a hushed voice. “I’ll be happy when I feel a bit more confident one of those things isn’t going to leap out at me, or my son. Now keep your voice down before you attract one of them… or someone decides to close it permanently for you.”

It came out harsher than she had wanted it to. She did not waste a glance back at them though, the shadows were coming back and they were more important. Fingers scraped to the bone against the pavement threatened to crawl out of everyone her ankle neared, terrible flushed faces leered in windows. Anyone watching her closely then would notice that she began to avoid the slightest patch of darkness that cut through their path, likely without even knowing she was doing it.

* * *
When they rounded the corner her careful sidestepping of shadows suddenly halted. As rear guard Murph had to quickly stop his own pace for a second so as not to run her down. Carnage… death… destruction… pure anarchy.

“A real Triple B…” she muttered under her breath. The scene was truly too much to take in, and the shadows in it were too many and too dark to fully comprehend.

“All right,” Murph said behind her and she tried to focus her thoughts on his words instead of the shadows, “We made it this far. I told you, people, you were the baddest in the valley…” He pointed at the Save Rite with the shotgun… “there’s our number one objective… medicine, first aid supplies, whatever we can use…”

A Triple B… and what always went with those? her mind began to wander into the past as she stared at the red and white sign of the Save Rite. A theatrical scream rising through the cheap speakers of Daniel’s stereo system; the glass coffee table separating the couch from the torn flesh on the screen strewn with a pretty collection of colored pills; white, pink, blue, and green ‘candy’…

The FNs barrel panned right and stopped on the Ace Hardware… “Number two; axes, machetes, boots, tools, same deal”… the shotgun nor Murph’s eyes indicated the grocery store but he did tip his head back a fraction to acknowledge it’s presence… “we worry about food after we get the rest out of the way.

We’ve got a couple of hours before sunset,” he said, already moving towards the pharmacy, a hand falling to rest at the small of Amber's back to usher her on as he moved by her, “let’s get a move on.”

A slight jump rose along her spine as Murph touched her. The nerves bundled tightly together and almost reflexively she gripped the crowbar tighter. Before she actually turned and swung, though, a synapse still holding onto sanity fired and reminded her that Murph, Thomas Murphy, was standing behind her, and that those things would not be so gentle.

Amber released a soft sigh and turned her head to look at him. “I don’t like it…” she said softly, “everything else around here is destroyed, and yet the buildings we came in search for look as if they are ready to open for business as soon as the employees return and the power comes back on. They are dark… I don’t like it Tom… I’m not sure I can go in…”

Her stomach grumbled slightly as if to ask if she was sure she couldn’t go in, but it wasn’t enough to change her mind.

The thought of all the ‘candy’ laying in the dark however… Nice pretty little pills Amber. Remember what they could do? You are afraid of the dark now… how will you sleep without a nice little tranq when it really gets dark?

Don’t do this… I stopped… it’s been years. I cleaned up, I grew some balls and I’ve taken care of my son…

And what if he’s gone?

Tears began to wet her eyes again and she ripped her vision from Tom to look at the pharmacy again. “Maybe I can… It still isn’t right… something isn’t right…”

But maybe I need some of those pills… just in case…


Posted on 2010-08-27 at 15:43:54.

PrincessAli
Ody Fan
Karma: 54/39
1117 Posts


Collab finally finished!! And you guys see her break

Emily nearly hit Alaster over the head when he started laughing, but something held her back, and she gave him an open, blank stare. "C'mon laugh with me its good for the soul guys. Stop looking so gloom and doom lighten up a bit. I mean I know its not much but we got eachother and some weapons. Cant we all be happy about that. It heals the soul now laugh," and she again had the urge to smack him with the iron.

Slowly, though, she began to smirk and let out a single, harsh laugh. It sounded both fake and forced, but she did feel alittle bit better, and her hard expression slowly turned soft and she smiled at Alaster before looking at Mac chastising Alaster and saying something about dirty jokes. Well, that's one group activity I won't be participating in, thank you very much. She didn't say it aloud, just kinda murmered it to herself, in her mind. The rest of them seemed to be loosening up a little bit, why ruin that?

While she idly tried to keep on guard like Amber, Emily's thoughts kept bouncing around, from the 'zombies' to random, unimportant things, like what kind of toothpaste she liked or what time of day the sky was the prettiest blue. Since they'd completley anhilated the last attackers, she saw no reason to linger on them, and pushed the images of one of them trying to attack mac out of her head. Her stomach hurt when she thought about the bounty hunter, and that was never a good thing, because that little bit of pain always seemed to prepare her for the wave when she got blown-off or laughed at. They already had one party romance, and, what was she thinking? To him, Emily was just problably a little kid who tended to freak out too much and annoy everyone.

“Hsssssttt!” Amber hissed in a hushed voice. “I’ll be happy when I feel a bit more confident one of those things isn’t going to leap out at me, or my son. Now keep your voice down before you attract one of them… or someone decides to close it permanently for you.”

Emily looked at Amber and swallowed; she was right, after all. If they kept up the noise, she had a hunch they'd be knee-deep, and with Jake already hurt, those were chances she didn't want to take. "Yeah you guys, listen to Amber..." She mumbled under her breath before hugging herself and speeding up, to where she was standing beside Alaster.

"So, what's with the sudden mood change?" Emily looked at him sideways, like she was scared if she fully turned to him, she'd lose it. "You seemed like you were ready to cream someone back when you were beating that thing to a pulp... I didn't know you and him," Emily avoided saying Jake's name, "were close like that."

He shrugged, "I just thought Murph putting me on point after smearing that thing into a bloody pulp was... Well, kind of funny. And as for Jake-" He broke off and looked over at him, noticing how he managed to stay strong in the midst of his possibly impending doom, "I don't know if it was the stress finally getting to me, or the fact that one of the last people I may ever see had been attacked; I just couldn't stand it anymore, so I just let it out-"

Emily broke in: "All over it's body."

Alaster didn't respond, and when he started talking again, he had dropped his voice. "Emily, I'm just a scared as everyone else, but I have to be strong. Maybe laughing was a defense mechanism, maybe I'm just going insane, but I know one thing for sure," He looked at her, causing Emily to avert her eyes shyly, "and that's knowing that I'm going to protect you, even if I die in the process."

The words sank in for a few seconds, and Alaster blushed slightly and scratched his head, changing the subject; "Umm... Sorry, I feel we haven't been introduced, and seeing as this may be the safest time... Hi, I'm Alaster, age 23, carpenter and zombie beater extradoinaire."

Emily chuckled and pushed a loose strand of dirty hair behind her ear, "I'm Emily Nicole Watson, and I'm a med student at Harvard. I turned 20 the month before..." She looked down, kicking the dirt, "Well, the month before, ya know, stuff happened. But don't let my age fool you... I'm learning to slowly break the 'shell' I have, and grow up."

She looked at him with her big brown eyes, and Alaster could see the kindness and patience she had buried there somewhere. But it was outshone by the fire of survival and her new found hatred of the creatures that lurked all around them.

Emily smiled a bit, then slowly held out her hand. "Nice to meet you?"

"Its very nice to meet you. And Please," Alaster looked into her kind eyes for a moment finding new resolve ,and (somehow) contentment, with the situation, "if you need anything let me know."

"Will do!" Emily smiled softly, then Alaster took her hand and shook it, still staring at her. Emily cleared her throat and he let go quickly, looking down and mumbling an apology.

She just shrugged and looked ahead, throwing her shoulders back and getting ready to face the world again.
***
Emily's eyes resembled dinner plates when they turned the corner, and her color slowly dripped from her fast to turn her the familiar ghastly grey-tinged. She listened idly to Murph, but her breathing was quickening and hinted at a panic attack. She tried to focus on Murph's directions, but couldn't quite attach herself, so she stepped apart from the others in an attempt to hide the fact she was losing it. She avoided Alaster's gaze, trying instead to focus on her shoes, suddenly taking an interest in a scuff on her toe.

"C-co-come on," She wheezed out, but still, Emily remained frozen in place. Shivers were racing up and down her arms, only hinting at the fear that was holding her still. A cough/wheeze escaped her lips, and she went down to her knees, looking up. Emily was trembling, her free hand clenching and unclenching in the dirt; her teeth ground together.

She wasn't scared; she was full-out pissed.

"How the f*** could this happen?!?!?!" Her voice was shaking, like the rest of her, and she was paling out again, "How the f*** could there be a God if this can happen???"

Her eyes opened again, her pupils dilated with her rage, and Emily leaned foreword, bracing herself on the ground and taking steadying breaths. Slowly, she stood up again, then looked at Murph with dead eyes.

"The next gun we find, it's mine. These mother f***ers deserve to die, and I'm gonna be doing just that." Beneath all the anger that had boiled up, Emily still looked frightened as hell, but she was hoping it wasn't showing. All she wanted right now was to find one of the creatures and take out what she had pent up, like Alaster had gotten to do. And then she wanted to be alone for a long time, to cry without the others watching. Emily turned her face away and wrung her hands over the iron, twisting it.

"Let's just go, alright?" She barked, her face hidden by her hair, "I-I want to get out of here as soon as possible."


Posted on 2010-08-30 at 03:03:07.

Eol Fefalas
Keeper of the Kazari
RDI Staff
Karma: 461/28
8455 Posts


Flashback Fluff?

Backpost:
“…I'm starting to think you only want me on point because of what I did to that last thing,” Alaster tittered through the laughing fit he had mysteriously erupted into.

Murph’s brow furrowed and he glanced at the kid… Uhhhh, no, Captain Random… I thought it might give you something to think about other than the s*** that’s obviously rattlin’ around in your head… but the mechanic said nothing. He only gave a near imperceptible shake of his head, cast an irritated and impatient eye to the east, and grumbled something under his breath.

"C'mon, laugh with me,” Alaster insisted, “It’s good for the soul, guys. Stop looking so gloom and doom; lighten up a bit. I mean, I know it’s not much but we got each other and some weapons. Can’t we all be happy about that? It heals the soul; now laugh."

"Happy, no” Mac responded, not braking his stride, “Thankful, yes. I don't know about you sometimes, but I do plan to get in a few good belly laughs....when we are safe and sound in one of those stores and I have a full belly, and not a moment before. Then and only then will I laugh. Hell, I might lead everyone in a dirty joke telling session to relieve the stress!"

Murph nodded his concurrence with the bounty-hunter’s assessment, watching the others as they filed by and waiting for the last of them to go before he took up his new position at the end of the column. He watched Amber’s eyes flitting uncertainly from shadow to shadow and the look of annoyance starting to work its way into her features as she slid by…

“Hsssssttt!” She hissed in a hushed voice, responding to Alaster’s request herself, “I’ll be happy when I feel a bit more confident one of those things isn’t going to leap out at me, or my son. Now keep your voice down before you attract one of them… or someone decides to close it permanently for you.”

The kid keeps flippin’ and floppin’ the way he is, Murph thought as he fell into step behind the woman, it might just be me that does that…
Despite the concern he’d started to cultivate for Alaster’s mental health, it turned out to be an interesting and somewhat enlightening perspective from the position Murph had taken at the end of the line… Regardless of the fact that it seemed Alaster was on the verge of completely flipping out, for example, the carpenter walked point without incident and kept his senses keen on their surroundings. Jake and Emily, too, were alert and determined despite their respective conditions. Mac… well… Mac was a character unto himself, that was certain, and a touch on the odd side from Murph’s way of looking at things, but, all of that aside, Murph was glad to have the man along; he’d proved dependable and stable and, given his pre-hell profession, would probably continue to remain so as long as the need was there for it… We can hope, anyway…
And then there was Amber… of everyone in this little group, Murph had known her before this whole nightmare started…

~*~*~*~*~

December 18, 2013: O’Brian’s Pub
Tommy Murphy had been coming to O’Brian’s enough in the past few years that he was what Patty O’Brian considered a ‘regular.’ Not one of the barfly regulars, either; Murph wasn’t the type to come and sit all day at the bar drinking away all his money from open til close. No. Tommy Murphy was one of the “good regulars” – the type that was always polite enough to staff and patrons, alike; never got stupid drunk… Patty could only remember Murph getting rough once in the three years that the mechanic from Dawson’s had been a customer, and that incident had been with an inebriated customer that got a case of the gropes with one of the girls and refused to leave even though Patty had demanded it more than once. The guy had spit and took a swipe at Patty; Murph sat down his Killian’s, grabbed the guy by the throat, shoved him out into the street, and then apologized for causing a fuss. Murph’s next beer had been on the house.) And, unlike those barfly types, Murph came in on a predictable but reasonable schedule (usually Friday nights and the occasional Saturday for Tommy), so Patty found it kind of curious that the man had stopped in on a Wednesday.

“Tommy-boy,” Patty called out from behind the bar when the mechanic stepped through the door and brushed the snow from his shoulders, “what brings ya in here on a Wednesday, boy-o? No work tomorrow?”

“Plenty of work, Patty,” Murph answered, clomping towards the bar as the proprietor hauled a Killian’s Irish Red from the cooler, “Cable’s out, though, and the Hawks’re playin’ the Jackets. I was hopin’ you’d have the game on so I could see if they’d learned how to play hockey in Ohio, yet.”

Patty O’Brian had grinned, put the beer down on the bar in front of the stool that Tommy always preferred, and turned to tune in the hockey game when O’Brian’s newly hired waitress emerged from the back of the place. He thought he might’ve heard Tommy Murphy choke down that first swallow of beer before the mechanic coughed out; “New girl, Patty?”

O’Brian’s grin had stretched even wider when he turned around to see Murph wiping beer from his chin and trying his best not to stare at the new hire; “Aye. That’d be Amber. Quite the looker, eh, lad?”

“I guess so,” Murph replied from behind a sheepish smile that Patty couldn’t recall ever having seen on the man’s face before, “You know how to pick ‘em, Patty. I’ll give ya that…”

Tommy Murphy stopped in to O’Brian’s on Wednesdays much more regularly after that night and, after a couple of weeks, even abandoned his usual place at the bar in favor of a table in Amber’s section. From what Patty saw, Murph never treated Amber any different than he treated anyone else in the place (except, when he talked to Amber, his smile was a little brighter and he had a little more to say than he normally did to anyone else)… He never made any obvious “moves” on her, never really even ogled her per se… but, Patty knew, Murph was more than a little taken with the new girl and, honestly, was glad of it. It meant that the man might finally be ready to let go of what his ex-wife and former best friend had done to him while he was serving overseas…

A couple of months later, Amber had come in grumbling about how her car was running and Murph didn’t so much as hesitate before offering to take a look at it for her. She had gratefully accepted and led Murph out to where the Tempo was parked. “Good on ya, boy-o,” Patty winked as Murph followed Amber towards the door, “maybe you’ll be askin’ her out next, aye?”

The mechanic smiled that sheepish smile a second time… might’ve even blushed a little…
~*~*~*~*~

Murph had never gotten the nerve up to do that, though… not when the world was still normal, anyway… and, looking at her now, he regretted that even more than those nights back in the world when he’d driven home alone, cursing himself for letting Jenny’s betrayal scare him away from trying again…

You tell yourself you’re doing all of this for all of them, but it’s really her that’s important to you, isn’t it? Would you have been content to die in that basement if she hadn’t been there?
…The memories of how gorgeous she had looked in that little Santa Hat the first time he’d seen her, the way she always knew just how to smile or laugh or look at him when he came in to the bar, the seemingly ‘small talk conversations’ through which Murph had learned about her son and the guilt and pain that lurked beneath the glittering, happy surface of her dark eyes when the chit-chat turned to events before she ‘came home’ to Chicago; everything but the regret for not having asked her out when he first considered it almost a year ago, now, got swept up in the tempest of this new reality and flung to the fringes of his mind when her voice snapped him back from his reverie.

“I don’t like it…” Amber said softly, “everything else around here is destroyed, and yet the buildings we came in search for look as if they are ready to open for business as soon as the employees return and the power comes back on. They are dark… I don’t like it Tom… I’m not sure I can go in…”

“I don’t like it, either, ba… Amber,” he replied, realizing that his hand still rested on the small of her back, “I don’t like any of it. Given the choice, though, I’d rather take my chances in those…” he nodded to the pharmacy and hardware store “…than over there…” he tipped his head to the grocery. “Broken windows mean that anything and everything can come and go as it pleases and, since everything looks untouched over here, my guess is that we’ll only have to deal with whatever was inside before this all started; not with anything that might have wandered in afterwards…”

Tears began to wet her eyes again and she ripped her vision from Tom to look at the pharmacy again. “Maybe I can… It still isn’t right… something isn’t right…”

“I know,” he whispered, wrapping his arm around her now and preparing to hold her if she broke down into tears again, “None of this is right… but… we need to do this if we’re gonna make it that way…”

He heard her breath hitch as she tried not to cry and, without thinking about it, pulled her a little closer and leaned over to plant a light kiss on the top of her head; “…and I need you to keep me focused on that, okay?”

It was then that Emily’s rant snatched at his (hell, everyone’s) attention and, with his arm still wrapped around Amber, Murph blinked in something akin to disbelief at the sickly girl… it was hard to come up with the “right thing” to say to the scared (and, now, obviously angry) young woman… kind of like it had always been hard to really know what to say to Amber since he’d first met her.

What are you doing out here, Murph? he asked himself for about the hundredth time today, What have you accomplished aside from leading them all to the brink of insanity?
"Let's just go, alright?" Emily barked, her face hidden by her hair and her grip white-knuckle tight around the tire-iron as she reached the end of her tirade, "I-I want to get out of here as soon as possible."

“Yeah,” Murph whispered, his eyes finding Amber again for an instant before turning once more to the undamaged store-fronts, “The sooner we get in, the sooner we get out…” for a fraction of a second, he found his hold on Amber tightening a bit more “…and the sooner we get you to Joshua. You just stick with me, baby, and we’ll get out of this just fine… I promise...” then he let her go and made for the door of the Save-Rite.

If it's the last thing I do... we'll get you out of this just fine...
((OOC: Okay… as I said, fluff, filler, and random thoughts for the most part… *shrug*… Murph’ll be sure to ‘see what can be seen’ before actually opening the door to the store, of course… and then, in we go?))



Posted on 2010-08-30 at 17:34:32.
Edited on 2010-08-30 at 17:36:48 by Eol Fefalas

Merideth
Muse-i-licious
RDI Staff
Karma: 177/13
3127 Posts


This is Eol's fault...

“I don’t like it…” Amber said softly, “everything else around here is destroyed, and yet the buildings we came in search for look as if they are ready to open for business as soon as the employees return and the power comes back on. They are dark… I don’t like it Tom… I’m not sure I can go in…”

“I don’t like it, either, ba… Amber. I don’t like any of it. Given the choice, though, I’d rather take my chances in those…” he nodded to the pharmacy and hardware store “…than over there…” he tipped his head to the grocery. “Broken windows mean that anything and everything can come and go as it pleases and, since everything looks untouched over here, my guess is that we’ll only have to deal with whatever was inside before this all started; not with anything that might have wandered in afterwards…”

Tears began to wet her eyes again and she ripped her vision from Tom to look at the pharmacy again. “Maybe I can… It still isn’t right… something isn’t right…”

“I know,” he whispered, wrapping his arm around her now and preparing to hold her if she broke down into tears again, “None of this is right… but… we need to do this if we’re gonna make it that way…”

What if can’t be made right? What if it isn’t hunger that is ripping through my belly but the motherly instinct that says my baby is gone? Her thoughts began to swirl again, dancing with images of those pills and how they could take it all away. Sobs gathered in the back of her throat, but then she felt him pull her close again, and felt the gentleness in the kiss he laid against her hair.

Immediately she eased in his embrace, and found that pills weren’t the only thing that could at least temporarily take it all away.

“…and I need you to keep me focused on that, okay?”

I need you
For a moment her thoughts drifted back a few months.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
July 20, 2014
A few minutes ago Amber had tipped a smile to Murph while he dug his keys out of his pocket before heading out to his truck. Now she was entering the information off his credit slip into the register. Three beers, a burger with extra pickles (which she had never charged him extra for), and nearly a 50% tip. She smiled a little bit and entered the amounts on the touch screen.

Patty came up behind her, rubbing the inside of a glass clean with a white towel. “Another nice tip…” he said with a voice that implied more than what was said outloud.

A tap of ‘OK’ sent the credit request over the wires and she turned to give him an exasperated look. “Come on Pat. You of all people should not be trying to push anything…”

“An why exactly is that?”

“He’s a customer. And a good one at that.”

“I’m familiar with the concept of a customer Amber. Just don’t think that has anything to do with the sparks that keep flying across my bar whenever the two of you are in the same room.”

She laughed and turned from him to tidy up the bowls of peanuts sitting on the bar. “Pat… really. There isn’t anything special going on. I gave you my resume, you know that I flirt with customers to get tips, I do it with everyone, Tom is no different. I work at creating those ‘sparks’ Pat. That’s why you hired me. I’ve turned down several other offers from customers to go out, and you’ve never said a thing. Besides… he’s never asked. And let’s say he did. When would I find time to go on a date with him anyway? Although let’s say hypothetically that he asked, I said yes, and the planets aligned themselves long enough for me to go on this date… what if it didn’t work out? You’d lose a customer, and I’d lose those nice tips. Is that worth it?”

“I never said nuthin’ about those other guys because they wouldn’t be good for you. I like you, and I like Murph… and not just as a good waitress and a regular customer. There is something there… and I’d like to see you both happy. I’d like to see him get over what that ex-wife did to him… I’d like to see you with a man who would be good enough to be a father to Josh… and yeah that would be worth the risk…”

Amber set down the little wooden bowl she had just filled with peanuts by combining the remains of the surrounding bowls. The empty bowls were shoved toward Pat as she shot him a glare that said he’d gone too far. “You need some more nuts… and I’ve got beer to take to table three.” Her voice was level but edged enough to end the discussion.

* * *

Most nights Amber drove home after work, leaving Joshua at her brother’s house so he could get a full night of sleep. She would pick him up in the morning to spend those few precious hours with him before returning him to her sister-in-law’s care. On nights like these though she couldn’t bear going home to an empty house and used her key to slip quietly into her brother’s house instead. Joshua slept in the spare bedroom and she curled up on the bed with him. In a few years she wouldn’t be able to do this, but tonight she held him tightly to her, feeling the slow steady sleep breathing and the softness of his dark curls. In the darkness she cried whispering her regrets to her sleeping child.

“I’m sorry Joshua… I’m lonely… I wanted so much more than this. And you deserve a father. Not just an uncle, but a father. But I’ve never been very good at picking men. I’d rather you go without a father than be raised by the kinds of guys I’ve gotten involved with before. I hope you never have to met Daniel… as awful as that sounds. Tom seems like a good enough guy… he’s probably be good for both of us, but I’m scared Josh. One day I hope you’ll forgive me for that. It takes all my courage just to stay straight and be your mother. I do my best… and I’m sorry it won’t ever be enough…”

Eventually she drifted asleep and fell into a familiar dream:

Joshua was a bit older, but she could still recognize him. She was looking out a window into a back yard (a real backyard, not the small grassless playground behind her apartment building), where Joshua’s laughter rang out from. He was being chased through the yard by a man, they both had water guns and laughed while spraying each other. She smiled and stepped through a door into the yard, holding up her hands to show she wasn’t armed. The man looked over and smiled, “Well there is your beautiful mother…” Some nights that man had Daniel’s face, most of the time though his face was unfamiliar to her, simply an attractive ‘poster’ man… tonight though it was Tom. Tom who pulled her into his arms and kissed her, Tom who smiled down at her son as if Josh were his own, Tom who turned the small duo she had into a family.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“You know… you should…” she started to speak quietly against his shirt, but whatever else she might have said then was cut off as Emily shrieked a stream of hysterical curses.

Amber turned her head and looked at the younger woman, oddly calm yet sympathetic. Well we’ve all had our breakdowns now haven’t we? Perhaps I’m not the only one that could benefit from a little ‘pharmaceutical assistance.’ Not that I’m sure I could ever get little miss-goody-two-shoes to agree with me.
"Let's just go, alright?" Emily finished up, "I-I want to get out of here as soon as possible."

“Yeah,” Murph whispered, his eyes finding Amber again for an instant before turning once more to the undamaged store-fronts, “The sooner we get in, the sooner we get out…” for a fraction of a second, he found his hold on Amber tightening a bit more “…and the sooner we get you to Joshua. You just stick with me, baby, and we’ll get out of this just fine… I promise...” then he let her go and made for the door of the Save-Rite.

A chill washed over her the moment he no longer held her. She stared at him for a moment as he walked away. How many times had she done that in the last eight or nine months?

The sooner we get you to Joshua

I need you

You should have asked me out in January Tom; and I should have said yes.

She finished the sentence that had been cut off by Emily a moment ago. Flicking a glance to the others she started to follow Tom toward the drug store, with the knowledge that she would be following him until whatever end God had planned for them.



Posted on 2010-08-30 at 19:37:22.
Edited on 2010-08-30 at 19:37:52 by Merideth

Tiamat5774
5 Headed Dracohydra
Karma: 80/23
1117 Posts


Save rite

After Emily's rant was over, Mac walked cautiously over to her close enough for her to hear him whisper, "So, did we get it out of our system? I hope so cause like Amber, I don't like the idea of announcing our whereabouts with a lot of noise. I'll make a deal with you. You keep it together, and I'll make damn sure you get the next gun we find...ok? I hate these creatures just as much as you do, but I don't think that they are harboring warm and fuzzy feeling for us either. So let's just make it to the pharmacy, and get you and Jake taken care of, please. One step at a time."

Murph seemed to concur with what Mac said too, if only for different reasons.

“Yeah,” Murph whispered,turning once more to the undamaged store-fronts, “The sooner we get in, the sooner we get out, and the sooner we get you to Joshua. You just stick with me, baby, and we’ll get out of this just fine… I promise...”

Taking some initiative as they neared the entrance to the store, Mac broke into a easy jog to the right side of the door, motioning for Jake and Emily to get behind him.

"Murph, you and the others take the left side of the door. We'll check the situation from the doors first, then you cover me as I check to see if the door is unlocked. If no problems presents themselves, we SHOULD be alright to enter", Mac said in a semi-hushed voice.

((Assuming everyone will, for the moment, follow my lead. I check the door to see if it opens freely.))


Posted on 2010-08-31 at 00:27:20.
Edited on 2010-08-31 at 00:35:09 by Tiamat5774

PrincessAli
Ody Fan
Karma: 54/39
1117 Posts


Sorry! I just, you know, disagree

Emily glanced at Mac when he approached her, surprised to see he looked wary of her. Now that's a first...
"So, did we get it out of our system? I hope so cause like Amber, I don't like the idea of announcing our whereabouts with a lot of noise. I'll make a deal with you. You keep it together, and make damn sure you get the next gun we find...ok? I hate these creatures just as much as you do, but I don't think that they are harboring warm and fuzzy feeling for us either. So let's just make it to the pharmacy, and get you and Jake taken care of, please. One step at a time."

She winced slightly and looked down like a child who had just been scolded, then nodded slightly, "Yeah, I'm sorry... I'm just not thinking straight, sorry." Emily's shoulders hunched a bit and she avoided making eye contact with him, feeling guilty and stupid for having an outburst. Wasn't she going to have hurt Alaster for doing something similar? That most certainly was calling the kettle black, and realizing this made her flush and clear her throat, icnhing back from the group slightly.

When they really started moving, Emily picked up the pace, trying not to do anything that would de-grade her any lower. She bit her lip when Mac motioned for her to get behind him, feeling again like an invalid, but figured she'd lost her standing when she'd lost her cool, so just followed orders and stepped back to let him 'guard' her. With a slight smirk, she remembered how well that had worked the first time, but decided not to question the intelligence of the decision.

"Murph, you and the others take the left side of the door. We'll check the situation from the doors first, then you cover me as I check to see if the door is unlocked."

Emily sighed, "Mac, not to be rude, but I'm not so sure you need to be the one going first. After all, you... Needed assistance before..." She tried to put it delicatley, that she didn't have faith he could take down one of those things if he hadn't been able to previously. Then again, if she was being entirely truthful, she also didn't want Mac to be the one to be in the most danger. "I mean, that's about as smart as having me go first..."


Posted on 2010-08-31 at 00:35:28.

Tiamat5774
5 Headed Dracohydra
Karma: 80/23
1117 Posts


I knew this was going to come up....

"Mac, not to be rude, but I'm not so sure you need to be the one going first. After all, you... Needed assistance before...I mean, that's about as smart as having me go first...", Emily said.

Mac felt the beginnings of a smile work up on his face as he half way turned to see Emily out of the corner of his eye, which meant he couldn't resist the joking sarcasm that seemed to flow so easily from him,"Awwwww, I didn't know you cared so much." Then a bit more on the serious side he continued,"and I thank you for that assistance, and in this situation, I'll have assistance again, from Murph. Besides, who says I'm going in first? I'm just checking the door. When Murph and I are satisfied it's safe I'll hold the door while you all file inside, in order."

He then looks at Murph, whom Mac assumes has been listening to the back and forth between the two, and says still in a semi-hushed voice, "We have nothing but time so, do you want to cover me as I check the door, or should I cover you, and you check the door? Take your time, no rush or anything, just wanna get off the streets, that's all."


Posted on 2010-08-31 at 01:38:21.
Edited on 2010-08-31 at 01:41:06 by Tiamat5774

malek04
Resident
Karma: 11/8
303 Posts


Checking in

"Ill check it. If you all remember the last 'thing' that came near me i beat to death... Ill get the door don't worry."

Alaster had sparked up. He wasn't ever the one to go first or risk his life. But he had already prmised himself he would protect her. He glanced over at Emily and then looked down.

"alright Murph you go on the other side ill take the middle and enter first. I'll let you know if I see anything. Just wait for me to give you the all clear."

((Hoping no one decides to knock alaster down a notch. At any rate believing everyone goes with this Alaster nears the front door to see if it's open with his Browning at the ready cocked and loaded.))


Posted on 2010-08-31 at 02:34:25.

Tiamat5774
5 Headed Dracohydra
Karma: 80/23
1117 Posts


Mac

Mac still had his eyes on Murph, ready for action. Just as Murph confirmed the plan, Alaster spoke up.
"Ill check it. If you all remember the last 'thing' that came near me i beat to death... Ill get the door don't worry."

Mac still looking at Murph, at first, rolls his eyes and then turns to look Alaster in the eye and says with a certain degree of exasperation,"Well I'm not going to wrestle you down for the privilege, dude, so if you wanna check the door, get to checkin'."

Mac then looks at Emily gives a smirk and a shrug.

"Alright, Murph, cover me from the other side I'll take the middle and enter first. I'll let you know if I see anything. Just wait for me to give you the all clear."

Well, I guess Emily gets her way after all.


Posted on 2010-08-31 at 13:44:40.
Edited on 2010-08-31 at 13:49:28 by Tiamat5774

t_catt11
Fun is Mandatory
RDI Staff
Karma: 364/54
6846 Posts


at the drugstore...

October 26, 2014
Save Rite Drug - 12:50 PM

Following more meltdowns, the survivors manage to make their way to the front door of the Save Rite, where inexplicably, a pissing contest errupts as to who will go through the door first. Finally, Alaster steps up to the front door.

Surprisingly, the door itself is unlocked. For a brief moment, it is as if the entire rest of the world has gone nuts, but this little strip mall represents an island of sanity... as if business were going on, as usual.

However, the lights inside are, not surprisingly, out. At first glance, everything seems in order, and Alaster motions for the others to follow him in.

The Save Rite is a small neighborhood pharmacy that cannot boast the variety of stock that a chain store such as a Walgreens; the front area contains a very small selection of general merchandise, a larger section contains typical drugstore fare (personal hygeine, first aid, pain relievers, etc). The back area of the store is clearly the domain of the pharmasict, with rows of bottles and bins. The entire store is bisected by a laminated wooden counter that contain two cash registers and a small, hip-level gate that allows passage between the two areas of the store.

Even though the electricity is out, enough light filters in from outside to illuminate the front area of the store very clearly. There is a rack containing assorted greeting cards, a stand bearing Chicago Cubs hats, t-shirts, and backpacks, a candy counter, and two small refrigerated drink coolers - one contains soft drinks, the other bottled water and gatorade. Despite the relative coolness of the day, the interior of the store is rather stuffy and warm.

Belatedly, you realize that you are not alone in the store, as a man steps from behind one of the dividers in the back. While he is neither tall nor imposing, his wiry build suggests athleticism. His auburn hair is short into a short buzzcut, and his blue eyes shift nervously back and forth. He wears a hiking-style backpack (with aluminum frame) on his back, and carries a crowbar in one hand and a roll of gauze in the other. Upon spotting you, he flinches, looking for all the world like he will bolt and run any instant.


Posted on 2010-08-31 at 20:50:46.
Edited on 2010-08-31 at 20:51:47 by t_catt11

UncleDog
Occasional Visitor
Karma: 12/0
37 Posts


From the eyes of him...

As he walked around the corner, he was struck with an image... a bunch of worn clothing, blood, flesh and weaponry.
He froze, thinking them to be the creatures.
His eyes shifted back and forth, looking for a quick exit.

'Weapons...' he thought, 'they never carry weapons'

In what felt like a lifetime since they attacked, since his escape, he had been wandering the streets, building to building making refuge and avoiding what he called 'The Inhumans' he had never seen them carry anything more than rudimentary weapons. A stick, yes... but guns?

He tried to make sense of the situation, rolling around options in his head like pebbles in an old tin can.

'Are they here to save me? To take my goods? Can I trust them? No, N- No Steve, they cannot be as twisted as those creatures... they cannot. But they cannot be trusted to see what you have, what you own and where it all ends.'

He bends his left knee slightly, ready to run as he glances between them and the front door.

'They don't know about the rear exit yet, you might have time to run'

Running, something that came natural to him, from his days back at the track to his days as a young adult and now to running away from the monsters, the... living dead.


Posted on 2010-08-31 at 21:08:06.

   


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