After a half hour of silent walking and sneaking through the backyards our group of four ended up back at the house we essentially designated as our base of operations; 124 Pine Grove.
We didn’t talk at all on the way back for fear of being heard by roving cadavers, but now that we were here, we felt a bit safer with it.
“So, thanks for saving us,” Jenny said to the other duo once we got back. I sat down on the living room couch, exhausted. Meanwhile, the three of them congregated in the kitchen, which was right nearby and open to the living room, so I could stay in the conversation.
“No problem,” the man said, as he laid his messenger bag on the table. “We’re just glad to find some survivors.”
“Eh, we found quite a few before,” Jenny said, in her usual cheery tone.
“Oh? Where are they?” he asked.
“Half of them are dead, the other half were slavers. Who are also now dead.” The fact that she kept her cheery tone for this, like she was just making a flippant remark, unsettled me a bit.
“…Oh. Uh, well, I suppose introductions are in order. I’m Michael, and this is an emotionless doll I found,” he said, waving towards his friend.
“Ha ha,” she responded unamused. “My name’s Elisabeth, and I do happen to have emotions, thank you very much,” she said in a deadpan voice as she adjusted her glasses, not really lending much credence to her statement.
“Suuuure you do, Liz. You show them off less than you show me your breasts.”
“I’ve never shown you my breasts,” Elisabeth replied. She didn’t blush, didn’t sound angry, nothing. I’d hate to play Poker with her.
“My point exactly.”
Jenny chuckled a bit at their exchange. “I’m Jennifer, nice to meet you.” she stuck out her hand to shake.
They shook hands. “Jennifer, huh? That’s a pretty name,” he replied.
I noticed Jenny blushed a bit. “Uh, thanks, but I don’t go that way.” Oh?
“Er, men. I don’t go for men. Just, uh, letting you know.”
“Oh, uh, right. Sorry.” He awkwardly scratched the back of his head.
“You’re a lesbian?” I asked.
“No, I’m a necrophiliac,” She responded, with lighthearted sarcasm. I just chuckled.
“Well, my name’s Anthony,” I said, getting off the couch and shaking Michael’s hand. “Not to sound needy, but do you guys have any water? My throat is dying.”
“Oh, yeah, just one sec- Ow!” He yelped as a water bottle hit him square in the head. I turned to where it came from and saw Elizabeth sitting there, nonchalantly reading a book next to Mike’s open bag.
“Was that for the boob comment?” Mike asked.
The four of us then sat down at the kitchen table together. Mike brought out a few cans of food, explaining that he had just recently found a pretty good stash of water and food out of luck. It was just in someone’s basement; presumably a survivalist shelter or something.
It felt surprisingly normal, sort of like having a family dinner, except with cold canned food and random strangers instead of a home-cooked meal and annoying siblings.
“So, for curiosity’s sake, what weapons you guys have?” I asked.
“We don’t have much; we tend to travel light so we have more room for food. I have an old lead pipe and she has a hunting knife.” They pulled out their weapons and laid them on the table.
Just for comparison’s sake, I put my knife next to Elisabeth’s. Hers was longer by half an inch.
“Well, I have this knife and my handgun. She has a crowbar and some fancy crossbow that can be folded into the size of a brick,” I explained.
“Cool. I’m not much for fighting, though,” he said. “I prefer to avoid them.”
“Aw, buth thash no fun!” Jen said, mouth full of food.
“Less dangerous, though,” Elisabeth replied, with better table manners. “I’d rather live bored than be a fun zombie.”
“Heh, you just put the image of a new type of a zombie in my head,” Jenny replied. “The ‘fun zombie.’ It goes around with balloons and causes parties.”
I snickered. “Except they only do that during the evening. All the rest of the time they’re either asleep or hungover.”
“How would you be able to tell the difference between a regular zombie and a hungover one?” Mike asked.
“By the smell of liquor on their breath, obviously,” deadpanned Elisabeth. So she did have a sense of humor.
“Yeah, have fun getting that close to a zombies mouth while keeping your own nose intact,” I smarmed back.
“They’ll be all, ‘Got your nose!’ and you’ll be like ‘GAH FUCK MY NOSE WAS BITTEN OFF!’” Jenny said, with elaborate gestures acting out someone who had indeed had their nose bitten off.
We all chuckled at this, even Elisabeth, for a change. Sometimes it was nice to be able to sit back and relax, instead of always being uptight and tense due to hungry things trying to eat living things.
“So, not to sound rude, but you guys are very willing to share your supplies,” I said.
“You wouldn’t?” Mike replied.
“Uh… Probably not, especially since food is so hard to come by nowadays,” I replied honestly.
“Pbbbft, well excuse me for having a conscience,” he said. “It’s just we had the extra food. We probably have enough for at least a week or two, even with you guys.”
“How much food do you have in that bag?” Jenny asked.
“We don’t keep it all in the bag, ya doof. We travel around from town to town by way of van. We have it parked over on the other side of town.”
I looked at him incredulously. “That doesn’t do us a whole lot of good, not, ya know, being on the other side of town.”
“Relax, we can get to it easily,” he replied. “It’s just that we only recently got to this town, and wanted to loot it thoroughly before leaving. ‘Cides, it’s safe. What, are you afraid a zombie will carjack us?”
“Oh, yeah,” Jenny said. “Those zombies have been playing lots of GTA 5 recently. Don’t know what they’ll do.”
He chuckled. “Well, fuck then. I’m now expecting a zombie to just hijack a plane and ram us with it for giggles, then.”
“I am totally lost here,” I said.
“What, never played GTA 5?” Jenny asked.
“Pbbbft. You’re boring. What did you do in your free time?”
I scoffed. “I slept. I was one of those people too busy for free time. What’d you do aside from ram planes into things?”
“I liked to play videogames, read manga, watch anime, and occasionally write terrible fanfiction.”
“Oh, god,” Mike chuckled. “I bet it was like erotic slash-fic stuff that you wrote, wasn’t it?”
“I can neither confirm nor deny this. But yes,” Jenny replied. Mike just burst out laughing.
“The confused old guy is still here, and still confused,” I butted in.
“Er, it’s an internet thing. She liked to write stories in or about the universe and characters within a particular work. Fanfiction being fiction by the fans, and all,” Mike helpfully explained to me.
“Okay then… What’s this slash stuff?”
“In other words, her fanfiction was porn.”
“Very well-written porn!” Jenny interjected.
“Uh…” I wasn’t sure how to respond to that. “Alrighty then. Mind if I change the subject?”
“So, how’d you two meet?” I asked.
“Oh, she was locked in the highest room of a castle, and I rode in on my horse, and laid siege to the castl-“
“Okay, sir Lancelot. What actually happened?” I asked, wanting to get to the point.
He just looked at me like I was a boring old guy spoiling his fun. “I met her a month ago while travelling around in my Mystery Van. She was on the side of the road, I offered her a ride, and then a blossoming relationship formed, though it has yet to lead to the sex I thought it would.”
“The sex that you’ll never get,” Elisabeth replied.
“Ouch, that’s harsh.”
“Is she at least straight?” Jenny asked. “So you know you’re not at least barking up the wrong tree?”
“I never asked, but I assume so. She doesn’t flirt with anyone, though.”
“I’m just an enigma like that,” replied Elisabeth. “I also like how you can turn any conversation into one about sex.”
“That’s because sex is fun,” Mike replied.
“I second that,” Jenny added.
“I concur,” I said, because why the fuck not.
“See? Even the old guy agrees,” Mike said. Elisabeth just rolled her eyes.
“So, before you all have an orgy behind my back, how’d you two meet?” She asked, directing the question back at us.
“I’m his wife from before the cataclysm,” Jenny said before I could say anything.
“Wouldn’t that mean I’m a girl?” I asked.
“A very manly girl,” she replied.
“Uh-huh. The reality is, we both escaped from a slaver den together, and just sorta happened to stay together simply because of carpooling.”
“Oh? How recent was this?” Mike asked.
“Yesterday, I believe.”
“Oh, wow. So you two don’t really know each other?”
“Not a whole lot,” Jenny said. “Except that he’s surprisingly over-protective or something, since he really didn’t want me to fight any undead at all.”
I shrugged. “I’m an overbearing old man, what can I say?”
“You’re, like, 30-something. That’s not very old.”
“I’m actually 46,” I replied.
Jenny nearly choked on her food. “Holy fuck! You don’t look near that!”
I shrugged again. “Good genes, I suppose.”
“So, how’d you guys escape the slaver den?” Mike asked.
“There was a massive riot and the prisoners out-numbered the guards, and we sorta just left,” I replied.
I noticed something odd then. Jenny looked rather sad.
“Hey, you okay?” I asked her.
“Hm? Oh, just remembering something from the escape. Forget it.”
The fact that her usual cheery demeanor had vanished so quickly for that instant made me realize that it must’ve been something big. Probably had a friend that died or something. Poor girl.
“Well, uh, do you think that there are still survivors there?” Mike asked, bringing the topic back on track.
“Oh, uh, yeah. I believe they said that they were trying to start a settlement there, but we both left since we didn’t think it’d last.”
Both of our new friends looked to each other. “You have to take us there!” Mike said at last, excitedly.
“Uh, okay, if you want,” I replied. “Just make sure to guard the van so someone doesn’t actually carja-“
“No!” I heard Jenny shout. I nearly jumped out of my skin.
“What? Why?” Mike asked.
“No, I’m not going!” Jenny repeated herself.
“Hey, calm down, Jenny!” I replied. “Why aren’t you going?”
“Because I fucking… Because my gi-… Maria-…” She tried to speak in between sobs. She eventually just broke down and started crying into the table.
“Maria? Maria who?” I asked, trying to be gentle.
She lifted her head off the table. “Maria. She was my girlfriend, and after the revolt I found her dead. Just lying there, with a bullet in her head,” she replied, bitterly. “I don’t want to go back and see her dead body again, I just can’t.”
“Hey, they probably cleaned it up. And you can wait in the car or something. I didn’t plan on staying there, either,” Mike said. “I just need you to lead us there.”
Jenny blew her nose on a tissue and wiped the tears off her face, trying to calm down. “…Okay, fine, we’ll take you there. But I’m not staying.”
“Thank you. We just want to go to see if they have any supplies to trade, since I share your concerns that it won’t last too long,” he said. “Anyway, it’s getting late; let’s head to bed, and then go get my van tomorrow, alright?”
I suppose I needed to put a chapter up, seeing as I am a month behind. On the plus side, you guys are the most patient viewers anyone can ever ask for, so thanks for putting up with the infinite delays.
On the plus side, wrestling ends in a few weeks. Yay! And then track starts. Boo! But at least Track has shorter and easier practices, so yay again! I might actually get some writing done!