What do you do, when the world is overrun by the dead?
When the living are outnumbered by corpses, intent on eating them alive?
You find like-minded survivors, band together and work together to scrap together some sort of normality together and rebuild.
That's what you have to do, but in this new world survivors are as rare as a fresh potato growing, or a fresh apple falling from the tree.
I found her less than a month after the Outbreak, she was hiding under a bed when I came storming into the empty house looking for supplies.
I must have looked terrifying, in my combats and military webbing I had stolen from a gun store, wielding a Fire Axe and wearing a military grade gas mask.
In all honesty, I didn't blame her for jumping under the bed in fear; I was either a crazy, a raider or some former soldier out to make his own path.
Either one of those three possibilities were bad news for her, so she stayed under the bed for most of the time I was emptying the house.
Her position was given away when she coughed, most likely from dust that gathered beneath the bed.
I turned and ran from the corridor back into the bedroom where she was hiding, and it must have seemed I was coming to hurt her, but I was fearful there were raiders hiding in wait for me.
She jumped from beneath the bed, pleading with tears in her eyes and looking up at me scared shit-less.
I decided to remove my gas mask, and she calmed as I began to put her mind at rest.
"Its alright, I'm not here to hurt you. I thought the house was unoccupied, that the former residents were gone." I said putting down my axe.
She stopped crying, and wiped her tears away.
She stood at only about 5'5 in height, quite petite and small in fact but that didn't alter her beauty one bit.
She was a black beauty, with dark brown skin and short brown hair.
She wore spectacles, that gave her a quirky yet sexy appearance.
She was a mess, from moving house to house searching for shelter and food, but her jeans were now dirty and torn in places, as was her simple red top.
The dirt on her top, make the red appear a lot darker like blood.
"Listen, I'm not going to hurt you." I said pulling from my holster on my hip, my hand gun and placed it on the bedside cabinet nearby.
Her eyes watched me put the gun down, and she turned back to me.
"I'm James." I said putting my hands up in neutral pose.
She looked bewildered, as if torn between fleeing whilst I was unarmed or to speak.
"I'm... I'm Naomi." She shivered.
Naomi, a lovely name I thought to myself.
She could have only been in her thirties, maybe a mother... once.
Now she was a fellow survivor.
I nodded, and moved back away from her.
"How long have you been holed up in here?" I asked moving to the window of the room overlooking the street below outside.
There were a few zombies, or what we preferred to call them 'Walkers' for short.
"Just last night, and today." She said in a quaking voice.
I nodded, making a mental note of how many Walkers were outside.
I counted about several, but none seemed overly interested in the house we were in so I relaxed.
"No wonder most of the supplies I found were untouched." I said simply and grabbed my axe, and gun again.
Naomi breathed hard watching me.
"You're leaving?" She asked me uncertain.
I looked around the room, and in the corner was a few blankets and some empty tins of food I assumed was Naomi's rest spot since yesterday.
"Well I'm heading in the direction of Atlanta, I'm not sure that's where you're headed." I said simply, wondering what she wanted.
Naomi stood, and looked at me hard.
"I have nothing, I've been using a kitchen knife to protect myself. I can fight, if it comes to it. Take me with you, we are better traveling together." Naomi said.
I sighed, taking a few steps to the door leading out to the corridor.
I looked back and Naomi was quiet, looking at her feet and turning to go back to her corner of the room.
Something gnawed at my mind, even my heart.
If I left her here, she would soon enough be attacked by Walkers or worse, fellow humans.
She wouldn't last, nor survive.
I turned back to her.
"Grab your stuff, get it in a bag and be ready to leave here within ten minutes." I said simply, heading off to the kitchen again, to grab what was left.
I heard quick footsteps, and assumed Naomi was willing to come with me and I grabbed what little there was of tins, and fresh foods in the kitchen for supplies.
I shoved them in my bag, and threw it over my shoulder as I heard Naomi come down the stairs and stood with her own stuff, packed away.
"You ready?" I asked her, and she nodded.
Before we left the safety of the house, I handed her my handgun assuming she was better with it than me, as I was used to using the axe.
We quickly exited the house, and began making our way along the deserted back streets towards the interstate leading out of the town.
The town was desolate, like the rest of the world.
Buildings were partially destroyed, streets and roads were obstructed by abandoned cars and bodies littered the streets.
I thought maybe by the time we hit the interstate, Naomi would want to go her own way perhaps on her own journey.
But as we passed the interstate, Naomi was fast behind me following.
"Where are you from?" She asked, her voice low due to our dangerous surroundings.
"Outside Chicago." I said gently, as I climbed an overturned car blocking the interstate.
There was an eerie silence, not even the birds were chirping as I helped Naomi onto the car behind me.
She glanced around her taking in the devastation around us, burnt out cars and bodies of those who either succumbed to the attacks of the Walkers, or died naturally.
"It's going to be like this, everywhere isn't it?" She asked, looking out afield.
I nodded, mainly to myself and spoke.
"Yes, pretty much." I said low.
Naomi said nothing, and breathed hard as she followed me.
We walked for a while, at least an hour or maybe even two as we began to see afield that we were crossing into heavier countryside.
We could see some farm houses, but we had to avoid them for the moment as any Walkers could be in the area, attracted to the structure in hoping there were humans.
Naomi was still quiet, and I was worried, perhaps she hadn't seen as much as we had since meeting and it was affecting her.
A damaged mind, was far worse than a bruise.
I could see around us there was fencing, and we were protected.
I couldn't see any Walkers approaching from afar, and even if they did we would see them in plenty of time and the fencing would stop them briefly.
I sighed, and leaned against a tree we were near and pulled from my own bag, a bottle of water.
The water was boiled, and bottled.
I didn't trust drinking from any sink or tap now, especially since it could have been tainted with blood or feces, that were infected.
It was also why I boiled any water not bottled already, and sealed.
I took only four mouthfuls of the water, to conserve it and held it out for Naomi to have a drink of it.
She slowly took it from my hand, her eyes on mine still weary.
"Relax, I'm not gonna snatch it from you as you have a drink of it. I promise." I said trying to put her at ease.
Naomi took a small mouthful, and then one large one before handing it out to me.
She wiped her mouth with her palm.
Naomi watched me seal the bottle and put it back in my bag, and then she spoke gently.
"Where do we go from here, its going to be night soon." She stated.
I looked around, we didn't have many options.
I spotted a farm house, but afar in most of the directions of the structure I saw Walkers wandering aimlessly around.
"That's pretty much our only option, we can't get caught out in the open at night. We'll be ambushed too easily." I said, and began to walk towards the farm house.
Naomi began to follow me, and spoke.
"I guess there won't be a working shower in there?" She asked heatedly.
I smiled, I had to admit I liked her voice.
"I doubt it, but I can spare a cup or two of our water you can wash with. Hopefully there are clean women clothes inside, you can change into." I said in a friendly tone.
Naomi said nothing, as we eventually made it to the house's front door.
It was locked, a good sign considering there were no signs of Walkers forcing their way inside.
I checked the lock from the inside, it wasn't tampered with or damaged in any way.
"Seems safe enough, let's get inside." I said stepping in.
Naomi followed, and as she stepped inside past me I closed the door behind us.
I activated all three locks on the door from the inside, and now we had to choose a room and if clear we could hole up there for the night.
"Room from room, stay behind me. I need to make sure the house is safe for us to travel around it." I said gripping my fire axe in hand, ready to strike any Walkers inside.
Room to room we went.
Kitchen was clear, as was the lounge.
Apart from an overturned chair in the lounge, it was clear enough for us and we next went upstairs.
Room from room we continued, even into the bathroom upstairs which was clear except for a bloody smear on the marble floor. It looked to be a misshaped palm print.
It was unsettling, but we had found no Walkers within, nor even any corpses.
"It seems clear." I said, dropping my axe to my side.
"Pick a room, we'll hole up in there for the evening." I said to Naomi, next to me.
Naomi nodded, and pointed to a door ajar and within we could both see a large double bed, within the room.
I nodded, and entered it as it was the first room we cleared when we came up the stairs.
Naomi crossed the room to the window and looked out through the curtains, as I closed the door of the room and locked it from the inside.
"You sleep first, I'll watch the door." I said finding in the corner of the room, facing the door I had a full overview of the room, and could respond to any threat.
I sat in the chair, holding my axe as I kept my eyes on the room door.
Naomi hadn't moved to the bed, to lay down and continued to look at me.
"That's not fair on you, we should share the watch. You will be too tired, to be able to function." Naomi tried to negotiate with me.
I had to admit she was stubborn, but I agreed.
"Alright, I'll take first watch for two hours. I'll wake you up when its your turn." I said gently.
Naomi nodded, and standing near the bed she took off her red top without warning. I quickly averted my eyes, in respect as I saw her bra come into view against her beautiful brown skin.
"Am I so ugly to look at?" She asked, glancing over her shoulder at me as she opened the large closet against the wall searching for clean clothing.
I was now looking at the dull, bland wall to avoid looking at her.
"Far from it, you are quite beautiful even. I just want to show you respect." I said gently, emphasizing the first few words I said.
Naomi smiled I think, and a few seconds later found a simple women's white vest in the closet, and pulled it over her head and on herself.
"Some clothes in here, slightly larger than my size. Must have been a couple that lived here, they must have fled for safety." Naomi observed, turning to me, now wearing the clean white vest, that shone against her dark, exotic skin tone and the torn jeans on her legs.
"I doubt that." I said gently, now turning to her fully since she was dressed.
"Why?" She asked me, confused.
"That smear mark in the bathroom, it was a bloody palm print. Either they were attacked, and escaped from this house another route instead of the front door or, one of the couple became infected and attacked the other." I said simply, gripping the handle of the axe more firmly.
Naomi looked around the room, and I watched her wrap her arms around her protectively, as what I said sunk in.
"I'm sorry, I know it's the truth... but I should never just throw it at you, like I just did." I said apologizing.
Naomi swung her head gently.
"No it's alright, better the hard truth than a lie to make me feel better." She added.
I nodded, and watched as she lifted the clean covers on the bed up, and slid under them wrapping them around her.
Outside it was dusk, a warm orange light came through the curtains of the window, but the room was dark without any lights or electricity.
I could hear the gentle breathing, that indicated Naomi was sleeping away.
I kept hold of the axe, and watched the door.
Hour flew by, only a few moans and groans from outside from Walkers, so I assumed they weren't aware of our presence in here.
By morning, I could hear the birds outside chirping, and new day light would be breaking soon.
I stood, still nothing from outside to signal our presence had been found.
I decided to take a more, in-depth search of the property, perhaps find some more weapons.
I slowly stood from the chair, trying to not wake Naomi.
I made my way over to the door, and gently opened it.
There was no sounds, no intruders, I could stay on the top floor of the building in case Walkers did force their way inside, making for Naomi's room.
I went from the spare bedroom, which was empty to a closet that was ajar on the stairwell landing.
I slowly approached it, with my axe in hand in case the residents of the property were inside the closet.
I slowly pushed open the closet, and with a small flashlight I kept with me, I turned it on and the light illuminated the closet.
The closet was partly empty, other than some bottles of cleaning liquids you would find around the house.
I was about to give up on the closet, when on one of the shelves I saw a metallic case about the size of a TV's front screen pushed to the back.
I pulled it loose, and free turning around I laid it on the floor, using my flashlight to illuminate it.
I opened the case, it wasn't locked nor bolted closed.
I opened it, and inside surprised and stunned me.
A mild length pump-action shotgun, Remington in make and a small 32. Revolver.
There were two boxes of ammunition alongside both weapons within the case, a box of shells for the shotgun, and bullets for the revolver.
This was a find, I assumed the owners of the house were not gun owners, but this surprise was good for us.
I closed the case, and carried it with me, entering the room Naomi was inside sleeping.
I stepped into the room, closing the door behind me.
I sat back down in the chair, and opened the case on my lap.
I removed both weapons, putting them aside, leaning up against the chair.
I took the revolver, and quietly loaded the gun with six bullets.
Putting it aside, I did the same with the shotgun shoving several shells into the chamber, and cocking back the pump on it.
I could hear Naomi moaning in her sleep, and I gently stopped what I was doing to not wake her.
As her labored breathing slowed once more, I slowly checked both firearms again, keeping my ears open to the sounds outside.
I didn't want the Walkers coming in on us, as Naomi slept and I was too busy checking the new weapons we had.
I continued to check the weapons for the next hour, making sure they dry-fired, and reloaded them again and again, becoming accustomed to them.
Eventually the day light outside began streaming through the curtains, and I could hear Naomi stir in her bed.
Slowly she raised herself from the bed, and Naomi's eyes opened gently looking around the room.
"Hey." I smiled gently at her, as her eyes focused on me.
Naomi focused her eyes once more, and forced a bleak smile that faded quickly.
"You bastard, you were supposed to wake me up to take my watch." She sighed angrily, rubbing her eyes with her palms.
I looked at her, she was waking up fast.
"I did a sweep of the house as you slept, found two more guns and ammo for them." I said, waving my hand to the revolver and shotgun at my side.
"That don't change shit, you were supposed to wake me. If were gonna travel together, we have to work together." Naomi barked angrily at me, her eyes aflame.
I put my arms up to silence her.
"Keep it fucking down will you! the Walkers ain't aware that we're in here but they soon will be if they hear you." I said sternly.
We both went silent, opening our ears to any, and all sounds around us.
The Walkers gave off grunting, and groaning sounds if they became excited and if you heard that, best to run as far as you could away from them.
There was low moaning, and it was growing louder.
"Shit, they can sense us. Grab your stuff now, we need to get out of here. Move!" I ordered her, shoving the weapons into my duffel bag and we left the room scrambling. I decided to keep the loaded revolver in my hand however, just in case.
We were both panting as we literally jumped three steps at a time down to the ground floor, and then we heard it.
I snapped my head in the direction of the front door, and the panes of glass around the door were broken and hands, bloody and torn were reaching through towards us.
"Move it! To the back door!" I screamed, my voice hoarse and hot.
Naomi was running through the rooms, of the back of the house towards the patio.
As she ran I followed her, a loud crashing noise came from her right and I saw her halt abruptly and to her right two Walkers came reaching for her.
"Get back from them!" I shouted to her, as around us the entire house was aloud with breaking glass from all points of entry, and we had to be fast.
I brought the revolver up to bear on the two Walkers, one of the two missing most of it's face and torso jumped at Naomi.
As quickly as I could I unloaded a single shot at the Walker's forehead, splattering the wall behind Naomi with gore.
I turned the revolver back onto the second, and final Walker coming down on us.
It was a woman, missing most of her face too and her right arm.
I gritted my teeth, and pulled the trigger.
The bullet struck the Walker in the forehead, and she slumped to the floor unmoving.
"Keep moving now!" I barked at Naomi once more, as she seemed stuck to the ground she stood on, not moving.
She didn't budge, I grabbed her by her arm roughly and pulled her along with me as I took a final look over my shoulder.
From the front door, the wooden door caved in from the weight upon it from the Walkers outside.
It came crashing down inside the house, with splintering wood and more glass breaking.
About four Walkers began to enter the house at a slow pace, I turned back and we ran for the patio door.
I hit it first, mainly out of the speed I was running I couldn't brake in time.
I opened the door as fast as I could, hitting the latch on it so hard my hand quickly began to sting in pain.
We were soon out of the house, onto the wooden patio and we scrambled off of it onto the grass.
"Run, keep going!" I ordered her, as I was no longer in my normal thinking. I tore open the duffel bag, throwing the revolver inside. I pulled from it the Remington shotgun.
I swung the duffel bag back around my shoulders, out of my way and cocked the shotgun pulling on the pump of it, entering the shotgun shell into the barrel.
I aimed it at the patio door we had just come through, whilst as carefully as I could I backed away following Naomi.
"Come on, you fucking dead bastards." I grunted to myself, aiming my shotgun at the first Walker coming out of the patio door.
I fired, and the shot spread striking the Walker in the face, upper torso and arms.
The pellets didn't penetrate the skull of the fucking thing, and I knew it was still coming for me.
I pulled on the pump hard, ejecting the shotgun cartridge from the breech into the air.