tagErotic HorrorThe Dead World Ch. 07

The Dead World Ch. 07


The scent of smoke was the first thing Lorenzo noticed when walking out of the greenhouse. It was late, but they hadn't needed a fire since they'd come upon the resort... it wasn't a familiar scent on the wind, not like this. Campfires were one thing. Dark, stinging smoke like this was something else entirely. In haste Enzo moved into the lobby of the Northern tower, and was assaulted by thick clouds of it, and the crackling sound of burning wood. "Mierda!" His dark brown eyes went wide, dropping the apple he'd retrieved from the green house as he jolted across the room to snatch the two-way radio where it was positioned on the wall.

"Uh, Boss?! We've got a REAL BIG fuckin' problem down here! We need everyone back at homebase, stat!"

It didn't take long for the men to all gather to battle the fire, which had surely started in the kitchen. Negligence, more than likely.. Someone left an eye on or something in the oven... it could've been faulty wiring from years lacking maintenance—there was no telling. In any case it was a bitch and a half to stop the fire from spreading, and they were fortunate enough to be equipped with running water otherwise it might've been a lost cause completely.

When the blaze was tamed, half the kitchen was in ruins—what was worse, the fire had spread into the store-room. Oz and Diablo made an attempt to save what they could. Majority of the time, Skully stood back, stoic and irate, not seeing a point in helping. He was adamant that they needed to leave this place, still. This was a clear sign to him they needed to move on, as infuriating as it was... it would mean things went further in his favor. When the fire was finally extinguished and the men all coughing a lung, they made their way back to the lobby and closed off the wing leading to the kitchen and store room... well over half of the stored and salvaged provisions Charlie had stockpiled was now gone. Mostly everything that wasn't in the greenhouse, or canned. It did not go unnoticed that a certain set of young men weren't in attendance, either.

"Where the fuck is Dog?!" Skully demanded, "Anybody seen Charlie?! When was the last time anyone saw the boys?"

"Probably South Tower together, Dog likes to share the graveyard watch shift with him—"

"I told him to stay from down there." The venomous tone his superior brought toward him had Diablo throwing his hands up and lofting his brows as if to say he was not the one to be reprimanded for it. He took a step back and shrugged dismissively, "Don't look at me, ese, that's between you and him."

"This isn't just some fucking coincidence, somebody started this shit and I'll put anything on it that Charlie's responsible for this—"

"You don't have any proof of that... why don't you just shut the fuck up, and sit the fuck down? Why're you always looking for a fight?" Oz's patience had been run thin, as well, and his brother responded by shooting a nasty glare toward him, crossing his toned arms over his chest in a clear challenge of his brother's commands. He stood his ground, smirking at the older man crudely.

"The little shit has been sneaking around causing all sorts of problems since we got here. Oz, why the fuck do you keep on defending him?"

"Excuse me?" Oz started toward the younger man, eyes narrowing dangerously, not at all appreciating the blatant disrespect his brother was exhibiting now. The only man bigger than Oz stepped between them smoothly, patting his leader on the shoulder gingerly with a smirk. "Don't kill little yapping child. He is child, this we know."

"Nah, Ruthless, I'm really fucking tired of everything going to hell around us and my big fucking brother is running rescue missions and putting us ALL in danger. He's supposed to be in charge, right? Then tell my why the hell we're down to scraps for rations, our fucking vehicle needs hauled off the edge of a bridge with two blown out HMMWV tires and we've LOST two of our fucking men?!" He took the opportunity to lunge across the way, held back now by Ruthless, who's expression eased in the slightest.

Skully for once had all very solid points, even he couldn't argue. Oz drew back a fist, ready to plant it firmly into his younger brother's jaw, and Diablo stepped in to prevent a full on brawl between the two brothers. He aided the taller blonde man in separating their first and second in command away from one another.

"I swept the South tower down to the barricade... ain't go no further. They put down what's left of that herd and slipped off... can't say what for, though." Slash had rejoined the men from outdoors, wiping the soot and sweat from his brow. He grinned and looked between the two brothers whom had yet to stop glaring at one another even at the distance they had moved. "Well damn, what I miss?"

"We need to recover the Hummer before we do anything else. Ruthless, with me at sun-up. Slash... I want you to get after the boys and get them back here. I'm not sure why they're gone, they could just be out hunting or looking for supplies. Regardless it isn't safe for them out there by themselves, that horde of wasted is still crawling over the coast... they couldn't have gotten far. Skully... bring your ass with me, do something useful for a change. Diablo, I want you here... in case the boys come back." He growled the final statement to which his brother shrugged and waved a hand dismissively, throwing his arms up above his head as he spat back his infuriated reply. "Whatever you say BOSS!"

Oz had already started toward the door to the stairwell, letting it slam unceremoniously at his back. It seemed every few moments these days Skully wanted nothing more than to undermine his commands. It seemed more every day he had a desire to run the show, and honestly, with the way things had been for so long Oz was tempted to let him. He was tired. They'd lost good men on his judgment in the past. It seemed civilization became more and more of a fantasy than a possibility with each passing day.

His only true concern was that his brother's moral compass had become horribly corrupted with every passing year roaming the wilderness and fighting other groups of living humans for survival, and that he would inevitably drag the rest of the men down with him. He tried not to think about it as he climbed the stairs to the second floor, and made his way to the suite he had claimed for himself, closing the door behind him and locking it securely, in the event Skully thought to come up and bother him any further.

"This shit is getting out of hand... he knows it and I know you all do, as well. So the only question is how much longer do we sit around, waiting to die? If we leave, now, we could all be better off in an actual fucking community not hiding out waiting for a larger group who had the numbers and ammunition to stumble by and slaughter us all in our sleep."

"He has point." Ruthless shrugged.

"We've got enough juice to get through winter here, though... the area around is pretty deserted. Not likely to be many travelers, everyone's gonna settle for the season if they wanna make it through winter." Diablo murmured hopefully.

"There's not enough food... not anymore. Not without huntin' and fishin' the whole fuckin' winter through... gonna need those boys back for that. Dog's the best shot, Charlie's good at dryin' the shit out and makin' it last.."

"We need everyone here, working together, to make it through the winter no matter where we are... here, on the road, or Raleigh. Raleigh could be burned to hell for all we know. Those boys aren't going to make it a winter alone if they're trying to break off by themselves..." Skully's tone had eased now that Oz was no longer among them, seeming to win the agreement of the rest of their group with his feigned concern over their youngest wards state of wellbeing. The men mumbled their quiet agreements.

"I should be out there looking for them in the morning too but we all see Oz would rather throw tantrums and have Ricky out there by himself with a herd of deadheads bumbling around the area... we used to live around here, Oz and I, back when we were boys. I know the area. It makes sense."

"Sleep off... your head is too hot." Ruthless's monotonous, heavily accented advise was met with a light smile, and a nod from Skully. He clapped the younger man on the shoulder before heading toward the stairwell himself, not wanting to linger around any further—the smell of smoke was heavy on him still and he meant to clean his weapons before bed and heading out to help retrieve the Hummer. "Take some time, find nearest military base, da? We will need tires... when we go."

"You're not wrong." Skully mused, and watched as Diablo too waved them off.

"Guess I better get to sleep, the sun'll be up in no time."

As the room empied, Slash and Skully were left sitting across from one another, and Slash already knew what was to happen next.

"I'll find 'im."

"I know. When you do, kick his ass for me for whatever hand he had in this shit... but bring him back here. As for Charlie... kill him." Skully had none of the kindness or mirth in his tone any longer, his sharp blue eyes watching his right-hand man's expression as he grinned slowly, and nodded his head. "I mean... if you want to be merciful, just make sure you lose him on the way back. We can send Dog to see where he goes after he gets an attitude adjustment. I'd prefer him dead. I don't like the way he sways Dog. If we're going to survive we need numbers... not liabilities."

"Say less... he's as good as dead."


Under the cover of darkness, it wasn't hard to make way back to first camp. The old, rusty pick-up sat as expected, without the keys with it... he figured Slash had purposely gone back to remove them for whatever reason or another, a long while ago. He might have anticipated Charlie would try to slip off once again. In any case, he made certain to keep her near to him. She wouldn't have many bullets left and they might be better saved for any survivors she happened by as she made her way upstate. He could practically feel the anxiety radiating off of her, and some part of him felt the tendrils of fear himself, letting her leave like this.

Dog didn't doubt everything would go wrong if they tried to plan things out thoroughly again... they planned well last time and saw it fail in a matter of seconds. He'd seen an opportunity and took it on a whim, as quickly as the idea came to him. He made sure that his comrades were distracted while they slipped away, and they wouldn't come looking in the darkness with the clusters of dead still milling around, clustering along the coastline and into the forests surrounding. It was now, or never. At least she would have a good head start.

If she got far enough, they wouldn't bother to follow her, having their own worries and turbulence. The brothers had been fighting more by the day on whether to stay or to go. There was a deeper division between them than there had been anywhere else... the pressing issue to come to an agreement on what fate lay ahead for their group would be more important than recovering a boy who clearly didn't want to be found.

"Won't they notice you're gone?" Charlotte whispered to him as they neared the vehicle, the gravel crunching hard beneath their boots. She tried not to look over her shoulder more than necessary, and stood at the side of the door as Dog dropped the backpacks he'd had into the into the bed of the pickup unceremoniously, drawing a few choice items from his own bag. A pair of wire strippers and a screwdriver, as well as a rather hefty black flashlight, moving into the driver seat, and tilted his head down. He fumbled for a moment with the screws before ripping the panel the rest of the way off the damn near ancient Ford, passing the flashlight to Charlie.

"I figure they'd have been after us by now... you'll get punished if we're caught." Charlie's fearful whisper was met with a soft smile, and Dog glanced to her through the mess of dark hair falling haphazardly over his eyes. He nudged a set of fingers beneath her chin to perk her head up, and gestured for her to shift the light. The quicker he got this done, the better.

Messing with wires wasn't his expertise. In fact, he'd done this shit one time, and one time only—Slash had showed him a year or so ago, in the event that he was ever in a bind and needed a sure and quick way out. It was really only possible now with old pieces of garbage, like this pick-up, and it wasn't exactly a quick process.

"Thank you... for helping me," She blamed her inability to be quiet on her nervousness, the sounds of crunching leaves and the snarling, wheezing dead stumbling about nearby most unsettling. She didn't want to rush Dog, or draw any more attention to them out here than need be, especially with the dead still heavily numbering the area.

He worked for perhaps thirty minutes or so before taking in a deep, frustrated breath. He brushed his hair from his eyes with slender digits, and tried again the next bundle of wires, having turned on half the lights and the static-laden radio. The wire colors were different from the first car he hotwired, but sure enough as he stripped back the protective coating and began to carefully twist a set together, he watched the dash illuminate and the headlights flicker on, quickly dimming them out with a smile.

"Did you get it?" Charlie piped up hopefully, and tried not to lean too entirely into the vehicle as to not crowd the younger man. She saw sparks begin to flicker as he teased the live wires together and heard the engine grumble several times before roaring on. He pressed his foot into the gas pedal to rev the engine, and force the power to flow better, quickly twisting the wires together and carefully sliding the panel at least somewhat back into place. Now was the hard part. The steering wheel was locked, as any cars would without the keys in the ignition. He slipped out, and gestured for Charlie to get in.

"You aren't going back?"

Dog's expression was unreadable in the dark. He had yet to decide, honestly, if he was going to return, playing a million and one scenarios in his mind. He'd never contemplated abandoning the group before... but... he'd never had a reason to want to, he'd never had any other purpose other than to remain loyally at the side of the brothers to show his gratitude with the way they'd brought him back to the world of the living. It did not sit easy on Dog's conscious. He gritted his teeth, and grasped the steering wheel hard, jerking it to the left, and then the right.

"...they're getting closer!" The woman at his side blurted fearfully, and he grasped the wheel and yanked it hard to the right, trying to break the lock. "Danny..." It had yet to budge, causing him to slam a hand into the steering wheel in frustration, and reach for the screwdriver. "DANNY, WATCH OUT!"

Without warning, one of the corpses lunged against the driver door, slamming it closed and fighting viciously to make its way through the window. It snapped it's rotted jaw several times, snarling as it attempted to clamp a mouthful of any part of the slim male in the driver's seat it could with ferocity, and Charlie fumbled for the gun as he fought to avoid its jaws. Dog had already handled it, driving the Philip's head screwdriver through the grotesque, mangled eye-socket of the corpse, causing it to cease all movement and slump down against the side of the car lifelessly. The stench of the rotter he could've done without. He yanked the screw driver free and decided they needed to be moving, immediately.

"More are coming! Dog, we should just run! Let's go, before we get stuck inside—" He grasped the handle to roll the window up, and after one turn, it snapped off. Tossing it out toward another of the sunken bodies in the slowly growing crowd, Dog jammed the screwdriver into the ignition, still dripping blackened, stagnant fluid that had once been blood, and popped the metal seal clear off. He grinned wide, feeling the resistance in the steering wheel release immediately and without a second thought, he put the car into gear and the old pickup lurched off down the gravel path. A slow moving herd of twenty or so corpses lazily shuffled along after the glowing red tail lights as they sped down the gravel path back toward the main road.

Charlie looked back through the old, dirty window of the pickup, sliding her backpack from her shoulders into the passenger seat. She eased her way closer to Dog, and turned to look forward down the long and empty, pitch black road. Above, it seemed thousands of stars glimmered, twinkling in the inky black sky, strangely beautiful in the chill winter night. He fiddled with the heat, and was pleased it kicked on without needing further attention. Charlie's anxiety was slowly subsiding. She settled in the center seat, near him, and he dared to loop an arm around her waist and draw her closer. His boot pressed down a bit heavier on the gas, wanting to put as much distance between them and the Resort as possible.

"...you're not... going back... are you?" She was almost certain as she questioned him, and afraid of herself to be hopeful. Dog was sullen as he shook his head slowly, but definitely. He had made up his mind though his decision did not sit easy on his conscious. She needed him... more than the men in his group. It wouldn't have been the first time he disappeared for some time. They'd lost Dog the full winter last year and stumbled back across him in the ruins of New Orleans, as comfortable as ever. He told himself that once she was safe, he'd make his way back to the brothers and hold strong to his debt.

He couldn't leave her out here alone... some part of him was certain that Charlie would remain that way, and that her entire plan of traveling to a remote cabin in the mountains was one that would likely end with her living once more in sorrowful solitude. By now, Dog blamed his rash, impulsive behavior entirely on the effect Charlotte had on him. The unexpected infatuation that had come over him in the weeks surrounding their meeting had yet to fade, and seemed only to strengthen with each passing day.

Dog encouraged Charlie to doze off for a while, knowing she hadn't been resting too well in the recent week. As the sun began to brighten the dark sky, the deserted roads became speckled with the odd abandoned car here and there, graffiti plastered on the highway signs convincing Dog such detours would be best avoided. They'd barely made it fifteen miles out, moving slowly through the dark, barren roads when the pickup began to sputter. Dog furrowed his brow... what luck that something would go wrong with the engine of the old piece of shit.

It had probably been sitting too long, he surmised. Surely enough the engine began to overheat, and in a matter of moments, they were stuck on the side of the road with smoke billowing from beneath the hood. He stirred Charlie as gently as possible, and hopped from the vehicle, moving around to the bed to grasp his rifle, military pack, and the pack of provisions they'd brought.

With a set of fingers he gestured first toward the green highway sign reading 'Georgia Seaturtle Center', and then pointed toward the forest. They weren't far from a town. The sign had been all but blacked out, leading Dog to be weary of who may be inhabiting such a place, but to get off the road right now would be their smartest move. Cutting through the forest would shorten the trip, and make them much, much harder to track.

"Looks like we're walking from here..." Charlie murmured as she slid her slender arms into the loops of her backpack and pulled it up onto her shoulders, rubbing the sleep from her eyes with a yawn. The sun was still tucked just beneath the horizon. She tugged the dark beanie she felt had become a permanent fixture on her head off for the first time in days. Her hair was a matted mess by this point having been braided into coils and piled atop her head. Dog smirked a bit at her beautifully disheveled appearance, pinching her cheek playfully before fixing the beanie back on her head firmly.

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