tagGay MaleSurvivors Ch. 01

Survivors Ch. 01

bykitten2010©

Welcome once again to the wonderful world of Kitten and Gweall.

Have you ever wondered what it's like when two authors work together? Tune in to my blog for a special interview with Gweall and visit his blog to see his interview with me!


****************

Gavin threw another newspaper on their tiny fire. The scared faces around him were illuminated for a moment. He wasn't sure why he had been shoved into the leadership role and he was having a hard time adjusting to it. Of course, nothing was the same anymore.

No one could have guessed what would happen. They'd all just thought it was another drug fad. Those things came and went. Drain just looked like another one of those things. Gavin didn't really know much about it. He'd never been part of that scene. Of course, before the disaster he'd seen a few of the people under the effect of it. People dubbed them the Drained, because it seemed they had all lost that spark that made them human. They were empty shells, standing on the streets until something provoked them and madness overtook them.

The Drained were a danger to themselves and others. The drug was becoming a factor in more and more murder cases. When people started running in front of trains and cars, there was no doubt that it was Drain. They all thought the worst had come, but they had no idea.

Desperate to get Drain off the street, people started to dispose of it in anyway they could think of. Some flushed it down the toilet, some threw it in the trash to be sent to landfills, other just dumped the dangerous liquid straight on the ground. Some said it had started in the Great Lakes, others said in California, and still others blamed the Everglades, but somehow, Drain had seeped into everything. Water supplies were poisoned by it. No one was safe.

Gavin was one of the few who had been lucky enough to avoid it, but he knew it was only by chance. When Drain started to strike his city, he'd been out of the country. If he'd had any way of knowing, any sort of foresight he wouldn't have come back home. In fact, the next week no one was coming or going. The United States was one big quarantine zone.

"Quit hogging the water!" Mel grumbled.

Gavin's eyes darted to the scared face of the ten year old who was the target of the grumpy old man's comments. Emma slowly moved the plastic bottle away from her face and her lips started to tremble. Everyone was staring at Gavin, waiting for his verdict.

"She hasn't gone over her share," Gavin said. That was the end of it.

It felt strange to have authority. Gavin still felt like he was one of the least deserving of the power. He wasn't the oldest, in fact he was only twenty-five. He was a child compared to most of the others. He didn't have any special skills that set him apart. For some reason though, they all listened to him.

"OK, I've had enough!" Rick shouted. "She's been drinking more and more of the water. The rest of us are thirsty here. We're the ones who have to carry it! She's a freeloader!"

"She's a child," Gavin shot back. He didn't raise his voice at all. "She's drinking from her mother's share. If Dana wants to give part of her water to her daughter, then that's her business. No one is taking anything more than they deserve."

Gavin hated having to moderate arguments like that. When it had first started, he'd never had to do it. Looking back, things had been pretty good, though it hadn't seemed that way then. The small group had come together purely by chance while trying to survive. The warehouse store they had found was like a Holy Grail of hiding spots. They'd wasted no time scouting the area and found it free of Drained, probably because electricity had long since gone out and there was no light or movement there.

Alongside the others, Gavin pried the doors open and they carefully made their way inside. After finding it empty, they'd barricaded themselves in. They'd all been clinging to the hope that things would change. It seemed like they would be fine. With plenty of food and bottled drinks, they were sure they could ride out the scourge of Drain.

Time lost meaning. Gavin couldn't remember how long it had been. The food and drink that had once seemed so plentiful now could be contained in two shopping carts. Gavin had to keep giving out smaller rations, just to be sure there would be enough. They'd all lost any excess weight. Tempers ran hot. It wasn't a good sign.

Gavin wondered how much longer they would last.

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

Pike walked through the streets quietly, on the lookout for any Drained. The streets were mostly quiet. He could hear a few screams in the distance but, as he had grown used to doing, he tuned them out. He didn't want to think about if they were the last breaths of a person, or the war cry of one of the Drained. The only thing he carried was a small backpack, one that a teenager would have used in high school. None of that even existed anymore. School, kids, life. It was all gone. All except for him and Mongo. Mongo was the raggedy old tomcat that had taken to his side at the beginning of the mini apocalypse that affected North America. The cat trotted by his side as if it were a dog, meowing occasionally and shaking its head, which only had one ear.

The backpack contained a few sacred bottles of water, and some food. Though the food had gone stale a long time ago it was still edible. Besides that, two shirts and an extra pair of jeans. He wasn't really concerned with clothing and other material possessions. He could always loot one of the hollow stores if he needed something new to wear, which he usually did. The backpack was for carrying things he would always need and would need quickly. over his jeans were two identical black thigh holsters, each holding one browning hi power 9x19 mm pistol. The weight of the guns was reassuring and made him a little bit calmer as he passed through the street. He knew he would empty at least one of the guns to stop even one of the Drained.

As he touched the guns on his legs for reassurance, he heard a strange sound. Like a mix between a roar and a screech. He put his back to the wall as he peeked around the corner. There, yelling at a wall, was a Drained. Pike drew his pistols slowly, careful to not make a sound. The poor shell of a man was kicking and scratching at a wall with a never ending fury. Pike frowned, before realizing what had provoked his attack. Above him, was an open window. In the cool breeze of the afternoon, it had flown open and was swinging back and forth making a quiet sound.

His time surviving on the street allowed him the chance to learn about the Drained. They were very calm and mellow, until they saw any form of movement or sound. This one was probably standing in the middle of the street for days before the window blew open. Pike guessed he had been clawing at the creaking window for days because he had long since scratched away the skin on his fingers. Now jagged bone and scraps of flesh dangled from what used to be his hands as he clawed at the blood covered wall.

Pike swallowed, and slowly stepped out around the corner, Mongo following close behind. He looked down at his feet quickly, making sure he didn't kick anything, before looking back up at the Drained who hadn't noticed him. He curled his hands into fists and banged at the wall with another roar. Pike's pistols were at the ready, but he prayed he wouldn't have to use them. He walked behind the Drained quietly, halfway to the next corner where he would be safe. As he took another step, his toe tapped an empty soda can. It clinked quietly, before settling again. He froze, and so did the Drained. The Drained man stood there quietly, searching for any sound with his ears. Pike raised the pistols, ready to fend off the attacker. After a terrifying thirty seconds, the drained went back to scratching at the wall.

Pike sighed as quietly as he could, and continued to walk. He reached the corner and smiled. He was so happy about his narrow escape, that he didn't see the other Drained he ran into. He hit her chest and stumbled back. She turned her head to the side like a confused puppy, before opening her mouth and screaming. The scream echoed off the empty buildings of the city and they both stood there and stared at each other, shocked at the others appearance. Finally, Pike snapped out of his trance and bolted. He heard the man behind him leave the wall to pursue him with the woman. Their bare feet could be heard on the ground behind him, frantic to catch up to Pike. Mongo ran alongside him, meowing as they ran.

Pike kept his pistols in his hands, but didn't use them. He ran around the next corner quickly, disappearing behind a tall building but he knew the Drained would follow him. They growled and roared as they chased him around the building. Finally, Pike gave in and turned. He fired his pistols quickly, while trying to run backwards as best as he could. A few bullets hit them, making them stumble and trip from the force, but not slowing them down any more than that once they got their balance again. Pike cursed and continued running. He jumped onto the trunk of a car, before using his momentum to carry him up and over the hood, landing on the ground again. He was beginning to run out of breath, and knew in no time they would catch him. He turned another corner and stopped. He raised his pistols and listened to them approach around the corner. Seconds behind him, they turned the corner. He unleashed a torrent of bullets into their bodies, aiming at their heads but missing his mark for the most part. The man stumbled back and fell, chest destroyed by the bullets. The woman still reached for him, staggering through the impact of the bullets. Her pale fingertips brushed his cheek as he fired a final round into her head. She fell back, and he was splattered with blood.

He reached into his bag and pulled out a small rag, and wiped his face. He reloaded his guns, realizing he had used the last bullet in the last gun he had to end her. He thanked a god he didn't believe in for his survival, and stood up. He walked over to the woman, who was dead on the ground a few feet from him. He looked down at her as he wiped his pistols down. Mongo hissed at the corpse.

She looked like any of the other Drained. Her skin had taken on the sickly gray pigment of one of the Drained. Her hair had begun to fall out and places, and what was still there was gross and matted with dirt and grime. Her eyes were open, and Pike had to keep from shivering at the gray eyes. The gray liquid that was Drain caused the affected people to turn the sickly pale gray color much like the liquid itself. They're hair, skin, and eyes were all a cold charcoal gray. But the thing that made him shiver the most was the eyes. The clouded gray eyes were blank and cold. Except for the small red ring that made up their iris. It was an eerie sight to look at. Her teeth had been broken from chewing on something that probably wasn't meant to be chewed on. Her nails were broken, but everything else seemed to be in one piece.

Pike was relieved, if she had been an original user, she would have been faster. When the epidemic hit, it was made clear that there were two types of affected people. The first were the people exposed to the drug when it got into the water. These people made up most of the Drained. They were deadly, and fast, but not as fast as their cousins. The original users, the ones who came into contact with the drug itself and not the watered down version, were terrifying. They were ten times faster, deadlier, and smarter than their still terrifying counterparts. Pike didn't think he could survive an attack from even one of the original users, much less two. He searched them quickly, and came out with a new pocket knife from the man, and a thing of pepper spray from the woman's back pocket. He doubted they would need it now.

The pepper spray wouldn't work on one of the Drained, but it would work on the many looters and other survivors of the mini apocalypse. He picked up his bag, and holstered his guns, before continuing on his way.

The buildings were all hollow and dead looking. A few fires burned, but none were too large. Pike looked up at the sky and saw it was about to rain. He paused, and climbed through a broken window of a department store. He walked carefully through the dark store, until he found what he was looking for. He quickly pulled off a rain coat in his size and slipped it on over his backpack, before heading for the window again. He hesitated again, and then decided to head back. He hadn't heard the labored breathing of one of the Drained, even an idle one made a little noise. The building was as safe as anywhere else. He sat down in a corner in the back, and covered himself with a few thick jackets, using two rolled ones as a pillow. Mongo curled up on his chest, and fell asleep. Pike was asleep in minutes.

****

Gavin woke up before the others, as was his habit. He liked to run laps around the shelves to stay in shape. Before the dark times, he'd been a marathon runner. That was probably the thing he missed the most. It was hard to get that runner's high when he didn't have the fresh air to breathe and the sun on his face.

One thing that hadn't changed, though, was that running cleared his mind enough for him to think. The issue that was weighing the heaviest on his mind was the food and water situation. The more he thought things through, the more hopeless it felt. They couldn't just stay in the store forever, but the dangers of the outside world were way too risky. He found himself remembering high school and the parts in his history book about castles under siege. That was what it felt like. They would starve to death if they didn't find a way to replenish their source of food.

The only solution was for one of them to venture out. Gavin knew right away that it would have to be him. He didn't trust Rick, Mel was too old, and he wasn't going to make David go and risk his life while leaving behind a family.

It had been a long time since Gavin had been outside for real. For about an hour each day, they would all labor out in the garden section of the store, protected by black mesh and sturdy wire fencing as they catapulted bags of garbage out of the opening at the top. But that was disgusting and hard labor. He thought it might be nice to actually run for real again, but the danger of it still worried him.

The idea of slowly starving to death was obviously more unpleasant to Gavin than the risk of being attacked by the drained. He slowed his pace and started to gather supplies from the other departments of the store. There were many things that he thought he might need, but ultimately he wanted to travel lightly. Once he had gathered enough supplies, he went to the school supplies section and wrote out a note. He felt like it would be easier to just leave, without explaining to the others. That would waste time and they might try to talk him out of it.

He left the note on his bedroll and headed to the door. It took all of his strength to budge the barricade of shelves enough to squeeze through. He hoped that the others would wake up soon, because the small gap in their defenses left them vulnerable, though he doubted any of the Drained would be smart enough to shimmy through the space.

Gavin squinted at his surroundings. His eyes took a long while to adjust to the sunlight. His knuckles were white from the tightness of his grip on the ax he carried, but his panic was for nothing because he seemed to be very much alone.

Cars were abandoned, some even in the street. Every building had fallen into some form of disrepair. Trash littered the streets. Nothing grew but weeds. The city that had once been his home was now nothing more than a wasteland.

Gavin tried to think of something close by that may have something he could bring back. He remembered that the dining district wasn't too far away. Optimistically, he grabbed a shopping cart and started to push it north. The wheels were rusted and turned with loud, tiny cries that were bound to attract something unsavory.

He had made it almost halfway without incident and the thought crossed his mind that this might be easier than he expected. At that moment, he heard the screech of one of the Drained. It was coming at him, fast. Gavin didn't know what to do, but instinct took over his body. He hurled the ax at his attacker and felt his stomach turn when the heavy metal head of it split the Drained man's skull.

Heart still pounding, Gavin looked around for any other source of danger. Once again, the world was still and abandoned. He approached his fallen enemy carefully. It had been a long time since he had dealt with the Drained, but he hoped that this one was actually dead and not just stunned. He threw a few rocks and was satisfied by the lack of a response. He tried not to look at the corpse as he pulled his ax from the carnage. Despite his efforts, he gagged a little.

On edge, he continued his journey. He saw his destination before him. Gavin sped up, recklessly abandoning caution. The thought of food was so exciting that he could almost smell it cooking. He froze when he realized that it wasn't just his imagination. The aroma of food was in the air. Someone was cooking.

~~~~~~~~

Pike woke up and stretched. He pushed the pile of jackets off of him and stood. He stretched again and cracked his back before walking towards the broken window. He looked outside and the sun was shining. Birds flew through the air and chirped happily. This particular part of the street was clear of corpses and cars and debris. If he hadn't known any better, he was just looking outside a boutique store window after a morning shopping trip. Everything seemed so peaceful. The only thing even slightly out of place was the pale dead hand of a corpse from an alley across the way. A normal person, back in normal times, wouldn't have even seen it. But he had grown used to seeing such things.

Mongo meowed loudly as he ran up to Pike's feet. He purred and rubbed against his leg happily. Pike reached down and pet him once behind his one ear, the other long since ripped off. The cat meowed again as it ran inside and jumped on Pike's backpack.

"You already ate, did you?" Pike asked, his own voice sounding odd. "Where's mine?" He scratched the cat again. He had been a teacher before all of this happened. Juniors in high school. Unlike the other teachers, he enjoyed teaching, and loved his students. But when the shit hit the fan, he was surprised how prepared he was. With an unusually calm demeanor, he grabbed a bag, some food and water from his home, and left. He didn't know why he hadn't gotten sick. A lot of the people who remained healthy and Drain free were those who were paranoid about tap water. The ones who drank bottled water were the safest. City filters didn't remove the drug from the water and those who drank water from the tap were the first to go. Eventually, people were forced to drink or die of dehydration. Some chose death, others chose Drain.

Pike had never been one of those people who only drank bottled water. He usually drank tap water. But he was never affected. When everything went to shit, word spread fast that it was only South America up to the United States that were affected.The other countries had quickly quarantined off everything. The affected areas were turned into one big quarantine zone. Some people who hadn't been affected had decided to stay and hold out in whatever spot they were, waiting for help. But Pike knew better. As much as people liked to pretend that the world was a good place, where strangers helped strangers, he knew otherwise. He knew that those who decided to stay and wait, would die. He wasn't willing to be another number in the growing body count.

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bykitten2010© 15 comments/ 22111 views/ 27 favorites

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