The ever vigilant darkness slowly wraps itself around the land. The darkness is so great that even the smallest candles of hope appear to be a beacon.
I realize the number in the screenshot is wrong. When I made this originally I planned something else entirely but plans have changed. I don’t see it worth the hassle of reediting this one photo though. I have stories to write! We now join the survivor as he rests under a tree during a late and eerily calm night.
The groans of the undead grow too loud so I decide its best to find somewhere off the road to rest for tonight. Unfortunately there are no nearby caves or uninfected structures to take refuge in. I put myself on the highest snow covered hill in a spot that is the furthest from any path around me. Not the best accommodation but I make do with what I have, I always have. I do feel too exposed so no torches tonight which only makes me even more restless. You never know what may be hiding in the shadows or what your imagination may perceive. I hold out as long as I could but eventually fatigue wins against paranoia. I fall into a light slumber under the maddening moonlight.
Before I fall into a deeper sleep I hear a sound that wasn’t a groan. I’m used to being jostled from my sleep by now. I spring into action brandish my sword ready to defend myself. “Woof”, I hear above me. I notice a wolf residing in the tree I’m under, yet he doesn’t appear like he is going to attack. He walks a perimeter in the branches… not unlike a guard but what would he be defending from the tree? The wolf appears concerned as he looks down upon me. Somehow he knows that he isn’t trusted as he climbs off the tree slowly. He cautiously makes his approach towards me and sends a greeting via a happy bark. He takes advantage of my stunned response by nudging me back towards under the tree. Reluctantly, I follow but I don’t put away my sword just yet. He sat under the tree near the spot where I was previously lying in the snow. He points his jaw to my “camp” as a way of telling me to sit back down. “My name is Samuel and I want to help.”, I hear him say as I settle into the snow.
“Help with what?”, I say as I begin preparing to defend myself. He notices my hand and stops me by saying, “Hold on, I saw how weary you were and you lacked pack-mates to look after you through the night.” He doesn’t take his eyes off my hand but I slowly relax myself. “You want to watch over me while I get some sleep?”, I ask putting heavy emphasis on my disbelief. “Yes, I mean no harm. Please rest until the moon is gone.” Samuel says to me with a smile on his face. “…Okay but don’t approach me while I rest. Alright?” He yelped back at me, “That will not be a problem! Please sleep.” I lay back in the snow keeping my eye on Samuel as he darts back into the tree. The little guy has very strong legs its no wonder how he survived this long. My sword does not leave my hand but my eyes finally close. The remainder of the night goes by uneventfully as I gain an uneasy rest.
My mind stirs from slumber as I become more aware of my frozen limbs. It feels like my eyes are covered in icicles and I dare not open them just yet. My back is rather unhappy about sleeping on the harsh ground. Suddenly I become aware of the world around me. Mostly, the wet nose pressed against my face which is unexpected and frozen. Samuel is waking me up before the sun has fully appeared. “Sleep well?” he asked me with a tired grin I proceed to crack some joints as an answer. “Thank you.”, I force my mouth to form out which was more difficult then I thought it would be.
I dust off the thin layer of snow on my bag and reach in. Normally I would save these supplies for emergencies but I had to thank him somehow. I show Samuel the two steaks I pulled out my bag with a bit of a grand gesture. He attempts to maintain composure but his tail involuntarily wagged like a propeller. It’s been a while since I ate breakfast with someone so I enjoyed the serenity while it lasted. “Woof!” he declares to the world as he finishes his food. “I would like it if you called me Sam, all my friends call me Sam.”, and I brush off some of the mess I made with the food.
Suddenly Sam grows anxious and looks down in apology. “..I..I have a favor to ask. I’m sorry to mislead you but I thought if I helped you then you can help me.” Sam says while staring at the ground. It would seem that Sam shook my hand for me in this deal so I decide to hear him out. “Please help me find them! I must find them! Please help me locate my family!”, Sam howls as the sun begins its ascent.
Gather around, let me take of a photo of everyone.
It took us a couple of days but we managed to find them, mostly unharmed. We started our search where Sam lost them in the first place. They were being attacked by a horde of zombies and Sam knew that they couldn’t escape this by running; his wife was wounded so it prevented this. Sam barked at the two, “Hurry run for that hill! I will hold them off for as long as I can!” His wife howled out, “No! You are coming with us! You have to!” Sam looked at his son with strong resolve but through tears. The boy looked at his mother knowing what he had to do, “Mom, please we have to get away from here.” She stood there in shock but a very loud and very hungry groan brought them back to the situation at hand. Sam quickly turned to see the horde approaching at a quickening pace after smelling blood. He sprung into action and leaped at the lead zombie. Quickly knocking him over due to the rotting of its body and he tore its leg off to hinder its mobility even further. The boy and his mother continued without looking back until they reached the hilltop. She stopped her son for a moment and howled at her husband, “I love you!” Sam turned and she could see the tears streaming down his face. He was torn between chasing after them and protecting them. He wanted nothing more than from them to live on. He turned back to the horde and they ran.
After Sam finished his story I told him to let me take a look around while he sits for a bit. It took a lot out of Sam to tell me this so I focused on the task at hand. After around a half hour I had my first break by finding some fur laying on the grass nearby the hill. “Sam, they headed east!” We steadily continued after an unspoken agreement to keep silent. The best indicator for where they were was the small patches of blood on the ground. Sam was able to tell it was his wife by smelling it. I then wondered why he didn’t do this in the first place but his answer shot down any further speculation. He told me its basically impossible to track by scent alone now. He summed it up simply by stating, “Too much death.” Night fell too soon upon us but Sam wanted to continue searching. “We can’t risk it, the trail is right along the road and we would be overrun in no time. The stampeding zombies would erase any further clues.”, I told him. Sam looked defeated and agreed to find some shelter for the night.
A really unstable building was our hideaway for the night for it housed no monster homes and offered a good viewpoint of the jungle we resided in. If it came to it we could climb to the trees through the windows and escape. Sam was too uneasy and paced everywhere he could so I stayed up most of the night watching over him. I was afraid he would continue searching without me in the dark. When the moon was highest in the sky he told me that he will be back later. I told him to not to leave the building before he left the room. He quickly ran up the ruins to whatever was left of the rooftop. I heard howling for possibly two hours but he was too weary to continue so he returned. It was almost morning and I heard the howling once again. I decided I should talk with him to make him more assured of this situation. Suddenly I noticed Sam at the other side of the room fully tensed like a spring and barring his teeth. Then I became aware of the growl, (or was that a howl), building in his throat. “Sam… what is it?”, My words seemed to take minutes to finally reach him. He snapped his head at me and growled out, “That..is.. my.. son. He is northwest from here! We are leaving, now!” Sam was crying.
We had stopped in front of the looming building before us and it appeared to be awaiting our arrival. There isn’t much else for the building to do then rot and wait for visitors though. Luckily it was noon and the area was completely clear of any hostile beasts. The familiar cross of red hung high on top of the building. What once was the protector of lives has now become the graves of so many. Sam growled at me, “Here, they are here! I have to go get them!” I put my hand on his shoulder, not taking my eyes off the cross, and told him to wait. “We have to be smart about this, there are no lights in the building. That means there will be plenty of opposition “, I told him. It would appear my words were able to reach his ears. We scouted the building and decided to go through a side window that led into a small room. It appeared to be a small storage closet which was already picked clean of anything useful.
Once inside I could hear the dreadful clanging of bones and more moans. I also heard small footsteps which I feared the most. I put up a ladder and went up to the ceiling of the room. After getting my pickaxe I proceed to bust down a chunk of the wall. I saw a couple of creepers, three skeletons, and I saw one zombie far down the hall. When there is one… I put aside my fears as I put back the piece of wall I took down.
I looked at Sam and he nodded silently at me. BAM! I threw the door open and went out brandishing my sword. Sam was much faster and he charged into the furthest skeleton. He hit the monster so hard that the bones collapsed onto themselves and it fell! He quickly began to weave around the other archers’ shots. This gave me the freedom to take care of the walking bombs. I pierced the rib cage of the beast and kicked the second one back from me. While it stumbled I charged at the green monster. The second green creature fell just as fast as the first. The room was quiet but then a group of zombies poured into the end of the hall. Sam leaped into action before they can gain any ground. He slammed into the side of the hallway with as much force as he can muster. I thought he got for a second but then the ceiling came down.
I’ll have to finish telling you this story later because dawn has just broke. We are getting ready to move on.
END OF PART ONE