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The buck goes down hard. Its final steps taking it mere feet from the kill zone. Quickly and in silence the big man retrieves his arrow and field dresses the deer. In a matter of moments it is hung, gutted, skinned, and quartered. He places the large slabs of meat in the skin, ties it up, and hefts it upon his back. The hike back to his cabin is uneventful. Upon arrival he repeats the procedure he has a dozens of times before; stashing his kill, stealthily walking the perimeter, checking his early warning devices, stalking up to the cabin to check the doors and windows. When he's sure it's clear, he does it all again. He knows he can never be too safe. Assured that no one or no thing has invaded his space he continues, he stretches the skin for drying and begins salting the meat for preservation. After finishing his task he surveys the valley below.
Once it was beautiful, a small picturesque town full of white sided homes set in the middle of a green tree lined valley. Grand trees leading from carefully manicured backyards to the majestic purple mountains above.
Now, little more than a dark scar remains. Nothing had escaped the hunger of the raging infernos. The fires had raged for weeks feeding off the homes and consuming memories of the townsfolk. Those who had survived the first wave of walkers falling victim to the blaze, their homes turned into smoldering coffins. The ones who tried to escape the choking smoke found themselves falling into the gapping maws of the infected. The remnants of the burned out residences taking on an eerie appearance from above. The blackened joists jutted out of the cinders like broken rib cages breaking through torn flesh. He knew that if he took to the streets he would see that graven vision his imagination created for real in the carcasses of the dead.
The smoke had stopped rising as fires burnt themselves after having gorged themselves on all there once was. The screams of the living no more. Tonight, even the moans of the dead, as they continue their endless quest for the flesh, didn't reach his secluded getaway, carried off by the wind.
Throughout it all the cabin sat quietly, a witness to the destruction in the valley below. It wasn't his cabin when it all started. Built far up the mountain it had been a hunters escape. In fact he was just passing through on his way to the coast. He had taken his annual leave and planned on driving from the PITT, somewhere in the Midwest, to the Pacific. His end goal being surfing days and Corona nights. He wouldn't have passed up the company of a female companion should the opportunity have presented itself, preferably in heels and a bikini. When it all went south he had reported to the nearest post in order to offer aid. It had been a small National Guard base to the west. He had strolled up to the gate in his board shorts, t-shirt, and flip flops, having left his uniforms back at the Joe headquarters, the stereotype of a Southern Cali surfer. He was stopped by the guards who didn't believe his story about being a Joe. Until he handed over his Identification Card. He was quickly ushered in to the acting commanding officer, a Second Lieutenant right out of OCS. The officer had been surprised by the arrival of the tall blonde with the long hair and beard. He started rattling off about rules and regulations to which he listened patiently while standing at attention. Upon finishing his diatribe the officer demanded his ID and an account of the his appearance. He handed it over with no hesitation. The officer quickly realized his mistake, the members of the elite Joe team played by a very different set of rules. He also understood that having one of the highly trained men in their presence would be a large moral boost to his troops, many of which were right out of high school.
At first the young Soldiers looked at him in awe. He did his best to keep spirits high all while trying to keep order in a world quickly turning apocalyptic. He'd seen enough movies to read the signs. Still, he persevered with his duties. Working longer shifts then the others, offering assistance to any who needed it, and gunning down the ever growing horde. The weapons weren't his own, but they were more then enough for him to hold back the mass of snapping jaws.
Communication was the first to go. Discipline the second. Followed closely by order. He found himself the lone representative of the Federal Government. A Staff Sergeant, he was used to giving orders and thinking on his feet in the thick of battle but this was different. He had no objective from his Commanding Officer. So he did what he thought best, he survived and tried to protect any that he could. Then the fires started.
There were no fire fighters to put out the infernos. The fire sent its children into the wind to devour, grow, and propagate. Within days the entirety of the town was lost.
Before they went AWOL those who hadn't been turned had ransacked the arsenal leaving behind the big guns in favor of small arms and rifles. That was okay by him, he had served as a heavy machine gunner in the old world. He had tried to bring a group into the mountains but there were just too many of THEM. After loading up a Deuce and a Half with supplies; ammo, MREs, water, fuel, ammo, lots of ammo, and with the mouths of the converted breathing down his neck he took to the hills.
It was several grueling days before he came upon the cabin. He was on foot engaged in the never ending game of cat and mouse, only there were thousands of cats and he was the lone mouse. A number of days past before he was able to transport all his supplies to his new safe haven, he lugged it across the landscape having learned that the giant military truck was like the Pied Piper calling THEM to his location from the surrounding area. He had attempted on several occasions to try and reach the Pitt always to be turned back by the walking corpses. At first he went to the cabin only to restock his load out, preferring to spend his day mowing down zombies. He quickly realized that his weapons of choice were not nearly effective enough against an adversary requiring expert marksmanship to kill. As time passed he spent more and more time inside his woodland hideaway. The compound bow hung on the wall, after a brief search he found a stockpile of arrows. He had spent time working with Spirit Iron Knife and his protege Dart and was familiar with the working of the silent weapon and was confident that if he could handle a heavy machine gun certainly he could handle the antiquated weapon. Good thing there was no one there to watch him, arrows flying everywhere but where he wanted them to go. He learned quickly that the bow is a weapon of finesse and skill whereas he was used to the squeeze and sweep of his large full-auto firearms.
He stopped keeping track of how long he was at the cabin after the first year. He was no longer sure when he became adept at using the bow or when he figured out the best way to make arrows. He had stopped listening to news reports after the second day of repeated pre-recorded broadcasts, how long ago that was he couldn't recall. He had even given up on his dream of hitting the surf one last time. A lot of memories and dreams were lost to him during his time of woodland isolation. These thoughts and more passed through his mind as he looked upon on the dead town below.
Just as he readied himself to return to his daily routine something caught his eye. Something was moving down the street. He pulled his monocular from the shoulder bag which contained his EDC components. Looking through the lenses he saw a large green van barreling down Route 87, the main street of the town. He saw that it had been modified, with grates over the windows, stowage on top, what looked like a plow on the front. What he couldn't see was who was driving it. At their current speed the temporary presence of the vehicle would have no affect on his existence. Still, watching the speeding van broke the monotony of his day so on he surveyed. He could see the trickle of dead following behind, the van acting like a dinner bell, alerting the foul creatures that there were living beings nearby.
"O, woe be the day the enemy descends, mourn we will, for the sake of all that's holy in this universe....
... 'cause the Alley Viper Corps is gonna fuck it ALL up!" - NFC
Out standing job. I really like the head on him.
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