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The Crawlers

Chapter Text

I sucked air in through my teeth, creating a whistle that was carried away by the wind. I listened to the cracking sound of the music emitting from my MP3. My boots hitting the ground, creating muffled echoes that rang throughout the empty streets. The world was quiet, beautiful, peaceful. To an outsider, this would be picture perfect. Overgrown grass, vines climbing the sides of glass skyscrapers, Rabbits, Tigers, Elephants and Tasmanian devils' running around in harmony. Not to mention that since they broke out of the Zoo I'd never missed a meal. I would love to say I continued on my serene walk around the deserted city and on with my life but no. This is the apocalypse baby, shit happens.

A scream tore through the air, fuck they defiantly heard that. I turned around and ran towards the sound of the screams, my feet barely touching the ground. Once I skidded around the corner of a high-rise office building I saw five different boys backed into a corner being surrounded by... zombies.

Yuck, how cliche zombies, like seriously? I mean really, couldn't have I been more original and called them, I dunno, the Venoms or the Crawlers? But I guess we're stuck with this shitty name, I'm sure the rest of the survivors have named them this too.

The zombies were limping and throwing themselves at the boys, their grey skin dripping off the bones to reveal chalk white skulls beneath. The growls that they let out would turn your blood to ice. I headed towards them, silently cocking my gun, one of the boys was fighting furiously with a splintered bat and another two were pushing them back with javelins. They were doing well but the amount of Zombies outnumbered them. "Come on Khal just kill it already or we're all gonna fucking die!" one of the boys screamed, he was cowering behind a thin boy in a green jacket and red hair who seemed thoroughly pissed.

"Shut the fuck up, Fatass!" He yelled back, his face contorted into a grimace as his spear slid through the empty eye socket of one of the monsters.

A small blond quaked on the ground clutching his hair, screaming out a garbled version of: "Fuck. FUCK. FUUUUCK!"

Another blond in an orange parka who was swinging the bat back and forth was bellowing at the zombies. "GO TO FUCKING HELL YOU PIECES OF SHIT!"

"OH MY GOD!" another screeched, "STOP FUCKING SWEARING!"

I sighed, as fun as it was to watch them squabble in a literally life-threatening situation, I would have to eventually start to save them, y'know...for moral.

Bang, bang, bang. Shot after shot I fired. One down. Two down. Three down. Four down. Five. Six. Seven. Eight. Nine. And ten. Their bodies littered the ground. The five boys looked up at me slowly, then down at the bodies and then back at me. Silence. Then one of the boys threw his head back and laughed loud and fiercely. "Ha! Take that you un-dead pieces of shit! How d'ya like being dead now?" He kicked at one of the bodies laughing hysterically as it rolled on its side lifelessly. The redhead, Khal, stepped forward.

"Uh, don't mind Kenny he's not a big Zombie fan." He stuck out his hand, "Kyle, (ohhhhhh) I thank you greatly for saving our lives." I nodded stiffly.

"Mn, No problem." We stared at each other awkwardly.

"And your name is...?"

"Craig Tucker, Zombie killer at your service."

"I LIKE THIS GUY!" Kenny, who was doing the chicken dance over the dead un-dead bodies, called out. We lapsed back into silence the wind blowing around us.

"Well, um, thanks again for saving us, we'll just be, on our way..." Kyle trailed off. "Come on guys lets go, not much further." My hand shot out at the speed of light, grabbing Kyle by the back of his collar.

"Don't bother. You're heading to the safe zone right?" Kyle gulped.

"Y-yeah..."

"It was broken into two years ago. No one got out. And it's obvious you're all useless at fighting- I mean he's pretty good," I gestured towards Kenny who was now reciting the national anthem, one leg on top of a Zombies' head and one hand over his heart, his eyes closed. "But the rest of you need help, you're comin' with me."

"Are you sure?" He earned a short jab in the ribs from a tall black haired boy but Kyle rolled his eyes and continued, "We're not the fastest runners all we'll do is slow you down."

"If you don't talk to me then we're cool. Also,"- I strapped my gun on to my back and dusted down my jacket-"I give the orders, what I say goes." Kenny jumped of the Zombie (not before repetitively jumping on its face) ran up to my side, spread his legs into the at-ease position and saluted.

"Yessir!"

Chapter Text

They chattered ceaselessly behind me as we all trooped back towards the bunker. The buildings and plants were starting to cast long shadows across our path while the sun set in the distance, reflecting pinks, red and oranges off the glass buildings. Piles of red, rusted cars were stacked leaning like the tower of Pisa, they really helped create the 'abandoned' ambience. The sound of our combined footfall and speech formed into a faint buzz. I was once again in my own world, a place where I could think clearly.

What was I doing? I fucked up royally this time, it was too late to send them back around and pretend I never saw them. I know from experience that Humans are much more dangerous than Zombies. You know what you're getting with Zombies but humans are unpredictable. You can never tell where they stand. They can lie steal and murder just so that there are fewer mouths to feed. And yet here I was directing not one, not two but five of them towards my bunker. I placed a hand to my forehead, at least they're all shit at fighting...

I lifted my head. The bunker was looming closer, I can't turn back now.

I ignored the numerous questions that they threw at me as we reached the hotel. The words 'No Vacancy' blinked above our heads. I ran my hand along the bricked wall of the building until I reached the metal scaffolding. I slung my gun holster around and onto my back. Grabbing one of the metal bars I swung my leg over and heaved my body up, the others followed suit. Except for Cartman and Tweek. Cartman's fat ass had to be hauled up by Stan, Kyle, Kenny and I. Tweek was just too weak to climb up, all I had to do was monkey grip his arm and yank him up, light as a feather. Not surprising really considering we're in the apocalypse, duh.

We continued in this fashion, proceeding higher and higher until we reached the tenth landing. The boys lay in a tired sweaty lump on the landing while I walked over to the wall and slid open one of the windows. Getting inside the actual hotel proved to be a more challenging task than I had initially expected. I had previously covered all existing windows of this building in hard industrial floorboards, to keep out Zombies, obviously. The window that we were stuck at was the one I had to slide into every day through a small crack between two planks of wood. It wasn't difficult for Kenny, Tweek, Stan, Kyle or I. It was... you guessed it, Cartman. Once again with his big, stupid fat ass, he slowed us down. I was beginning to think that pushing Cartman out and onto the streets below was quite an appealing idea.

When Cartman finally came loose we continued our way down a dark corridor that held virtually no light. I only realised that no one else knew the maze of corridors like I do when I started hearing strings of profanities echoing behind me. When I finally reached my bunker I waited for others to arrive. Once they did I slid my key, which I keep hanging around my neck, into the grimy lock. The door swung open to reveal the 'Bunker'.

The Bunker consisted of one L couch, a small cupboard, a bathroom the size of a doormat and a mini set of stairs that led to a kitchen suspended above the rest of the room. I chucked my keys onto the couch and slammed the door shut with a bang. The boys splintered off in search of I dunno, adventure? Buried treasure?

"Ugh, Your home is a wreck... you could've had at least cleaned the bathroom!" I heard Kenny call out, I turned on him.

"Had I known I was going to have guests at three o'clock in the morning I'm sure I would've."

"Oohh we have a snarky one don't we?" I ignored him and proceeded to collect extra blankets and pillows from the cupboard. Once I had set down all the materials every single one of the boys promptly claimed a space on the couch, a pillow and fell asleep. I heaved a deep sigh, grabbed one of the scratchy woollen blankets and dragged it upstairs to the kitchen. There was no way I was gonna sleep with those bimbos, I swear the fat one, Cartman, would likely molest me. I was prepared to sleep on top of the stove to avoid that.

The floorboards creaked under my weight as I slouched up towards the kitchen. The floor would have sufficed and maybe the table top if it wasn't covered in blood that is. I threw the blanket over the hot plates and scrambled on. Resting my head on an upturned cardboard crate I closed my eyes and listened to the haunting cries of the Zombies.

They banged against the metal gate that covered my door and the pulled at the industrial wood that sealed the windows. I watched as their hands slipped under the cracks in the window and claw at the wood. Sighing, I turned away from the window. After seven years of research, I had come to the conclusion that they gained a specific amount of strength after a meal that provided enough stamina. Since I was the only survivor, until eight hours ago that is, they hadn't had a meal in a very long time. So the number of defences that surrounded the bunker sufficed.

Just as I was nodding off I felt a soft tug on my sleeve, my eyes flew open and I spun off the stove grabbing my gun (that was hidden safely under my pillow), pointing it directly between the eyes of... Tweek? "What the hell dude?! What are you doing up?" I hissed lowering my gun. He just bit his lip and squeezed his eyes shut, obviously trying to banish the tears that had formed while I had held a weapon of death to his forehead. "Ugh, what do you want Tweek?" I groaned this was becoming bothersome, maybe I should have left them to deal with Zombies.

Tweek just gestured towards the sounds coming from outside, jumping at each bang or growl. "Scared?" He nodded. "Well, what do you want me to do about it?" Tweek looked down at his feet, even in the dark I could sense his unease washing off him waves. "Twitch-a-lot it's 4 in the morning, I'm sure you can survive, but if you don't get enough sleep that's the real killer."

I hopped back onto the stove and snuggled down listening to Tweek's footsteps patter out the kitchen and down the stairs then – "WHAT THE FUCK DUDE?!" – Trip over Kyle. This will take a while to get used to.

 

The sunlight filtered through the planks of wood, my eyes cracked open. I threw myself to the side of the couch, which I promptly realised wasn't my couch when I hit the kitchen floor. I blinked up at the ceiling...owwwwwwww. I slowly pushed myself onto my knees, steadied my legs up and hobbled over to the cabinet to scrounge for a decadent breakfast, maybe tuna?

The metal top peeled off slowly as I avoided contact with my figures, don't need those Zombies to turn up again at the smell of my blood. The smell of canned fish wafted up into my nostrils, it smelt like heaven, it's incredible that after two years on rations anything will seem delicious and edible.

Before I could even take a spoonful of it into my mouth Kenny swung into the kitchen, his eyes bright and wild.

"Foooooooooooooooooood!" He lunged himself at me, arms stretched out wide, I grabbed the meat knife on my right and held it up to his neck.

"Don't. Even. Think. About. It," Kenny put his hands up in the air in surrender.

"Jeez, dude fine I won't take your dead fish." My eyes narrowed as I placed the knife back down on the table, never looking away from the wild blond.

"It's not just the fish, I'm not ready to trust you at all, any of you for that matter."

"Ooh so mysterious. Dare I ask why?" I clucked my tongue, obviously, these kids have been privileged for the last seven years.

"I've been alone for almost seven years, do you understand the excitement I experienced when I saw you five? I acted on impulse, not my best move. However, I would not hesitate to throw you all back out there if you dare mess up."

"Okay man, cool, cool. You didn't need to present me with a monologue though," I have never wanted to strangle someone so bad. "Oh and Cartman ate all your previsions last night, except for that." He gestured at my tuna can.

I froze.

"CARTMANNNNNNNN!" I screamed, sprinting downstairs to pummel that big, fat oaf. Kenny's laughter followed me.  The boy's head popped out, up from a half-demolished pillow fort.

"Wazzat-?" Grabbing his collar and pulling him up to my face so our noses almost touched.

"You piece of shit. Are you some kind of stupid cartoon character that can inhale anything put in front of him? You have no idea what I had to go through to get that. Now we have to go collect more resources," I pulled away from his face, his breath stank too much for me to handle. And threw him back on the ground. "Get dressed, all of you, we're going on a shopping trip thanks to this idiot."

Stan shook his head, "don't you think that's too dange–"

"NOW!" I barked, sending them all to run in order behind me.

 

We trooped out of the hotel silently, every time one of them would open their mouths to say something I would shoot them a dark glare making them quickly shut their mouths. The early morning sunlight glared off Starks Pond bathing the area in a cool glow. I used this time to once again second guess my decision of saving the boys.

Of course the day I get new 'housemates' I run out of food. I shivered at the thought. Costco was a nightmare when I first went there, everyone was trying to get something and fighting over it. Over 200 people were trampled to death within those few days. Woolworths was worse and don't get me started on Walmart.

It was a half an hour long walk of uneasy silence and awkward glances when we reached the string of deserted coffee vendors, collapsing stores, abandoned and decayed retail and big box stores. This place was one of the most dangerous places in South Park. Because of the panic at the beginning of this horror story, everyone rushed here to gather provisions. Not everyone got out alive, the Zombies found the crowds of people and began one of their first devastating rampages. This seemingly quiet deserted market place was in reality littered with Zombies, hiding, waiting, planning for attack.

We edged slowly into a rotting building that seemed to resemble a Walmart, inside wasn't the sparkling clean, with shiny floors and huge ceilinged building that used to stand here years ago. The escalators were still, their plastic handrails melted, the air-con ducts were hanging from the walls and the crumbling ceiling was caved in revealing a gaping hole, serving as an amateur sky-light... save our souls.

Chapter Text

I splintered the group off into three, Kenny with Stan, Kyle with Cartman and Tweek with me. I decided to stay with Tweek because he seemed the most mentally unstable. Also, he sort-of attached himself to me. He was clutching onto my sleeve until his knuckles turned white, his eyes never leaving my face, I would be lying if I said that it didn’t make me uncomfortable. The only real problem was with Kyle and Cartman, they were already screaming at each other because Kyle had caught Cartman still snacking and reminded him that it was his fault that they were here and Cartman retorted with the fact he should shut up and mind his own business like the “faggy Jew” he is. Stan was trying desperately to comfort Kyle by whispering inaudibly into his ear. I wasn’t able to catch what he said but it seemed to calm Kyle down enough for Kenny to let go of his jacket (which he was holding in fear that he would pounce on Cartman and rip him to shreds).

We split off, Kenny and Stan to the non-perishables i.e. canned food, Kyle and Cartman to the highly debated sweets aisle and Tweek and I to the drinks aisle to collect some fresh containers of water.

The drink aisle was dark and wet, to elaborate, the lights were obviously completely blown out and a few sodas and water bottles had once tipped over. This caused a sticky, damp and mouldy floor covering. I could feel Tweek shaking violently by my side, when I turned to look at him I was worried that his eyes would bulge out of his sockets and fall onto the floor. Weak kid.

I nudged his shoulder, “Hey Tweek, why don’t you go over there and grab two of those water containers.” I whispered gesturing towards the self of water coolers. Nodding quickly he released his death grip from my sleeve and shuffled towards the self.

I made my own way towards the liquor shelves. Many of the glass bottles lay in broken shards across the tiled floor. Carefully picking my way across the floor I reached the rows and rows filled with matured wine and strong liqueur. I had known the boys for a day but I could already hear Kenny’s voice in my head yelling advice at me about the best drink to acquire. 

I was reaching out to grab a glass bottle filled with a deep brown liquid when a scream pierced the silence. Dropping the bottle, letting it shatter on the ground, I sprinted towards the direction of the scream.

Tweek was laying on his back, pushing himself away from a… monster. Who am I kidding? It was obviously a Zombie.

It was crawling towards Tweek at an alarming pace. Its eye sockets were empty, its legs were reduced to a brown pulp that created a trail of slime behind it and its fingers had evolved into long claw-like sticks. The fingers were the most unnerving feature of the Zombie’s appearance. The claws were stretched out in front scraping the ground, creating a sound like fingernails on a chalkboard. Tweek was swinging an empty plastic bottle in front of himself to no avail. Every time the plastic hit the Zombie it seemed to have no effect, unfazed.

I slipped my hand under the waistband of my jeans, my fingers finding their way to the hilt of my dagger. I quickly unsheathed it and pounced forward onto the Zombie.

Rule 13: Never hesitate. Even if the plan is shit, your chances of survival will lessen in each passing second.

I landed on the Zombie, straddling it’s back, my arms winding around its neck and pulling towards the ceiling. Its back arched as it tried to turn around to see its new attacker. Its fingers were clawing at my ankles; its demolished leg pulp was flailing sending bits of slime everywhere. A chunk slime landed on my cheek. I brought my arm around and flipped my blade into my palm. Slicing the blade across its neck I left the head to fall limp on the floor. The skull hit the floor with a dull thud. I shot up, grabbing Tweek by the arm and pulling towards the end of the aisle where, Stan, Kyle, Cartman, and Kenny stood. Their arms, full of food and their mouths hanging open.

“GO, GO, GO!” I screamed rushing to the exit.

Rule 4: Leave immediately, if there’s one, there are hundreds.

Stumbling, pushing and cursing we rushed through the mall. The sounds of gnashing teeth, guttural growls, low moans, falsetto screeches, and stomping feet were starting to pile up behind us. But we kept running never looking back.

Rule 7: Never look back. Despite the popular opinion Zombies are fast as fuck. Looking behind yourself can slow you down more than expected.

Tweek was sobbing and spluttering beside me. His feet were tripping over themselves. And his hand never leaving my arm. Groaning I swept him up into my arms and threw him over my shoulder. Now was not the time for a cry-baby.

We sped around the corners of shops, around ‘cleaning in progress’ signs. Our feet slipping and sliding across the marble floors. Ghostly sounds forever gaining on us. When we finally reached the food court we were met by the beautiful sight of sunlight. Directing the group, I headed towards an upturned trailer. I threw Tweek off my shoulder and onto the roof of the trailer, scrambling on after him, the others following suit.

The boys stood on the rusted roof clutching their valuables (the food), and me who was clutching Tweek who had found his way back into my arms, whimpering. We watched as the Zombies stood at the entrance of the mall screaming and scratching the air but not daring to take a step closer. A few of the Zombie pack pushed their way out of the group and ventured their way into the light. They collapsed in agony only a few feet into the light, screaming as they squirmed and rolled on the ground. Incapable of moving as the others watched from afar making zero effort to assist. We watched as the helpless Zombies scratched at their skin, pulled at their few strands of existing hair and bit their flesh, tearing themselves apart until there was nothing left except some piles of bones and rotting flesh.

Rule 22: Sunlight. It’s your ultimate weapon.

I sighed, “Should have taken the car.”
Kenny turned to me, “THERE WAS A FUCKING CAR?!”

Chapter Text

Over the next five days, I had become the boy’s surrogate soccer mum. The first lesson I had to teach myself was feeding my kids, whenever one of the boys requested food I had to first count everything we had, tally it, create a mathematical equation and contact the space team on Mars. Okay, maybe not the last one, but it was a long and tiring procedure that I did not enjoy.


The information I gathered about the boy’s diet habits helped me in no way except that if Kyle pissed me off and I wanted to become a murderer I’d just spike his food with salt.


I organized the food every morning with Kenny leaning on the counter beside me giving a dramatic play-by-play of Kyle and Cartman’s WWE match.
“Oh, and Kyle’s really belting Cartman over there, and a nice left-hand hook from Cartman, a real nice trick he learned in 2016, a horrible year that was, utterly atrocious – oh wait! Kyles fighting back with a kick to the – no Cartman caught his foot and flipped him, should’ve really thought that through my boy Kyle, but we can’t blame you with Mister Hunkster Stan over there – and Stan looks like he’s gonna attack me, I take back everything I said – and Kyle has pounced at Cartman with a flying punch, since Cartman was so distracted by me, I don’t blame him tbh – Cartman looks enraged, he’s going to pun- no, stopped from Kyle’s arm block, excellent move there –that’s the Jew’s favourite redhead there, nice sidestep from Eric Cartman, up and behind Kyle and – OUCH – that must have hurt, slugged in the back of the head, Kyle looks like he’s out cold! And medic, Beef Mister Stan has run onto the field to check him out – he's raising his arm, look at those muscles, I mean damn, Kyle if you ever get bored can I have a turn – and Mr Spicy Stan is flipping me off, I deserve that, but Kyles OUT – this looks like an unexpected win for Eric Cartman today, his cheers are audible across the whole living room!”


Polite applause was presented by Tweek, who viewed the match from the corner of the couch, a large mug of steaming coffee nestled between his knees and stomach.
I made my way over to him with my own mug. Over the past few days I found his attachment to me endearing, I guess you could say I enjoyed the attention since living in solitude for the past seven years.


I stayed on the couch with Tweek’s folded legs and watched Stan tend to Kyle while Cartman continued gloating until the clock struck 9 am. I lifted Tweek’s legs off me, dumped my cup in the sink and made my way upstairs.


Upstairs there was this square panelling that pushed upwards onto the roof. Using the wall and grabbing the rim of the hole you could pull yourself up and onto the flat roof. I went up there every Tuesday and set up my equipment for the night. I would assemble my collapsible telescope, spread out my rolls of graph paper and suspend the rusted steel bowl that balanced on four prongs. The bowl was so old rusted there were holes forming at the bottom. I would stack the wood right next to it and place it all on the spray-painted X. The sheet of durable plastic leaned against the wall where I sat waiting for the first signal.
The signals didn’t start until 6 pm but I set up my equipment prior so I wouldn’t be late. When I lived at the bunker all by my lonesome I would practice my fighting and train for the next eight hours, however now that I had roommates I had to split up my practice time to train them. Ahh, the joys of parenthood.
I now had the job of placing down several yoga mats, a punching bag, and the weapon selection. Pack-up wasn’t my duty though, one pro of having children was that the chores get split.


At ten the boys appeared out of the manhole. None of them seemed very excited. On the first day, the seemed absolutely enamoured with learning how to fight effectively (especially Cartman), but that excitement only lasted around two days. The training was hard enough for them but that plus the gymnastics, parkour, sword practice, wrestling, gun shooting, karate and javelin they seemed, sorta worn out.
The training was split into two separate days; day one would consist of the weapon practice, swords, javelin, and gun shooting and then day two would focus more on hand-to-hand combat i.e. wrestling and karate but also on agility and reflexes, gymnastics and parkour.
I lined them up and yell commands and movements which they would follow in a synchronized pattern. The first two days were a bother, but they loosened up quickly when they found out that I would not hesitate to hurt them.


“One! Two! Three! Four! Switch feet!” I yelled at the group, “Come on Eric! Those fat rolls won’t disappear themselves!” I put one leg in front and leaned down as if doing a half lunge, “Zenkutsu!” The boys switched their legs into my position. “Kokutsu Dachi,” the boys once again followed my lead, hovering over their left leg, their right leg stretched out to the side. “Faster! You have to move between the two fluidly!” Continuing to switch between the two for ten minutes with no break sure worked up a sweat.
After the intense workout we stretched our sore limbs, listening to the creaking bones and watching the skin crack from lack of hydration, instead of being a disgusting view, creates the feeling of accomplishment, the cuts and bruises that scattered the boy’s bodies made them feel strong and powerful, I knew this without them telling me, I was like them once too.


Tweek and Stan rolled up the yoga mats and hung them off the edge of the roof so that they could hit the sun. Kyle and Cartman were chasing each other around the wide, empty, white-washed rooftop hurling profanities at each other, only to have them carried away by the wind. Kenny stood on the cement fence overlooking the cityscape. Spooky, I ain’t gonna disturb him.


It was around a quarter to six when I was finally able to usher them all down the manhole. I had to gain Stan’s help to catch Kyle and Cartman, then I had to convince Tweek to talk to Kenny to get him downstairs (I was still spooked by his strange lapse of existence earlier). That turned out to be easier than I had expected, Tweek seemed to do anything my heart desired if I requested him to. Cute.


I slammed down the cover and made my way over to a small room that jutted up from the roof, it held mops, brooms, and other cleaning implements, before the apocalypse that is.
I snaked my arm around the gutter and pulled myself up on to the battered metal. I filled over to view the sky, my arms folded comfortably under my head.
The sunset came, the dusty orange ball sinking beneath the clouds. Lying on the flat roof of the bunker, my back pressing against the cool metal, waiting for the sky to burn. There is something satisfying about seeing out your day in the fresh air, under the diamond sky, feeling like the king of this world and utterly insignificant in the same moment.

Chapter Text

The sudden shrill scream from my alarm clock jolted me out of my doze. The numbers: 6:00, blinked in green light on the face of my digital clock. Smacking the snooze button down I reached, with my other hand, for the gasoline.

Slushing it over the stacked wood in the metal bowl, I set it alight. Just as the flames licked the edges of the wood-stock then swallowing it whole, a small orange light flickered at the far edge of the east tower. A reflection on the tenth landing, the GK’s. I heaved up my sheet of plastic and hovered it in front of the flames, blocking out the light, then removing it again.

H. E. L. L. O.

The reflection wavered slightly as if someone was passing in front of it, then the messages began.

_..... _.__ ._._.. ……_..

They are here.

…._..._. .._...

Save us.

__._.._.._._._._

Quick.

I sucked in my breath. Their camp had been penetrated, that meant that it was only a matter of time before... I replaced my sheet preparing to send a message of my own when their last code flashed before flames engulfed the reflection.

._.

.._

_.

 

 

Run.

 

I basically flew done from the roof and into the bunker, my feet barely touching the ground. I ran into the kitchen and started shoving all of the provisions into a worn, green knapsack. Tugging the zipper close, I hurled it onto the couch and began rifling through the cupboards, closets, and drawers looking for all weapons and ammunition. By now all of the boys had awoken and were looking around fearfully.

“No time to explain,” I yelled, jamming pistols and daggers into brightly coloured shopping bags, “Grab your nearest weapon and meet me at the car!”
The group looked at each other awkwardly.

“You never showed us the car.”

“I didn’t?” I tried racking my brains to see if I had, presumably I hadn’t. “Down to the third level there is a fire escape to your right, go through that and you will see my car, put all belongings in the trunk, hurry.”

Pulling on pants and sticking an assortment of knives and guns into their belt loops they made their way to the door.

“Wait!” I huffed out, did you know that you can’t fit ten machine guns into the same extra-large ‘Typo’ bag? You learn something new every day. “Doors, 31, 12 and 9 host at least four Zombies each, watch out for them.” I had rid the rest of the building from Zombies, but the few that remained were faster and better developed than the rest. I assumed that they ate the remaining people that lived in the apartments, and, in turn, gained more abilities.

The boys left leaving me with quadruple my weights worth in tactile weapons, ahh kids, what can you do?

I stumbled down the six flights of stairs it takes to get to floor three. I wasn’t afraid that Doors 31, 12 and 9 Zombies were going to attack, they usually came out around seven thirty but I carefully aimed my gun around each corner before I stepped out, you can never be too careful.

I burst through the double doors of the fire escape, heaving along the artillery, to find the boys surrounding the car with their own bags at their feet.

“I thought I said to put the bags in the trunk!” I screamed, mainly from annoyance but also from the pain of the bag straps on my arms cutting off my blood circulation.

“We don’t have the keys!” Kenny yelled back as Tweekster rushed to my aid grabbing some of the bags from me, almost being crushed under the weight of them, poor little thing.

“Oh,” I fished around my back pocket, with my newly freed arm. My fingers clenched around the cold metal of the keys. I pulled them out and chucked them at Kenny, “Here!”
Catching them, he ran towards the car and jammed them into the lock. He popped the boot and started heaving the bags into the back. I dropped my load next to him and jumped in the car. I unlocked all the doors and turned the ignition. The engine roared to life blowing puffs of black smoke into Kenny’s face as he slammed the boot shut.

“Ahh! What the fuck?!”

I pulled Tweeky into the car by the cuff of his sleeve to make sure he got priority seating. I just wanted to make sure it was him and not Cartman. Yes, no ulterior motive here.
Cartman, Stan, Kyle and finally Kenny, after wiping the black smog off his face, filled into the backs seats. It was so cramped that Kyle had to sit on Stan’s lap, but even though of the complaints that flowed out of Kyle’s mouth I had a sneaking suspicion that he didn't really mind at all for the situation.

I reversed out the parking lot and screamed down the levels of car parks until we reached the exit. As we reached the opening a cold breeze flew through the open windows freezing us all half to death, forcing Cartman and Kenny to quickly wind up the windows.

The skylight above us showed the twinkling stars and the bright, full moon as if someone had cast a wheel of white cheese into the sky and shone a flashlight on it.
It was as if leaving the vicinity of the hotel was the cue to start bombarding me with questions.

“Where are we going?”

“What are we doing?”

“What happened?”

“Did you bring the food?”

And a flurry of hand gestures from TweekOnceAWeek.

As we sped down the empty freeway I answered all their burning questions. I explained that I knew another group who had found me at the beginning of the apocalypse and had taken me in, the GK's. They taught me how to fend for myself and then left me to fight on my own. They couldn’t keep me in case I turned against them, which isn’t uncommon in time like these. However, I talk to the once a week through Morse code to share info and keep each other updated. I also see them once a month to exchange provisions and stories. I told them how only half an hour ago they had sent me the messages; They are here, Save us, Quick, Run. And yes, I packed the food.

Tweek-a-roo shivered next to me and huddled into himself, leaning against the door, his eyes trained outside the window and onto the dirty view. I desperately wanted to hold onto him and tell him that everything was going to be all right, but that would be a lie, nothing will ever be “all right” again.

I heard a sigh from the back.

"I've always hated Tuesdays."

Chapter Text

It was a normal night, as long as you ignored the five-story mansion that was currently engulfed in flames.

Before we pulled up at the curb, we could see and feel the searing heat from the multistorey bonfire.

“Anyone got some marshmallows?”

“Not now Kenny.”

I almost kicked down my car door in my rush to examine the scene. I stood watching the house burn, logs of wood crashed down, making sparks fly up into the air and float around me. I felt my skin shrivel and contract from the heat. My head started getting heavy and blocked as if made from lead from the black smoke entering my lungs. I could hear growls rumble up from inside and the unmistakable sound of Zombies grinding their teeth after a meal.

“Leave. Run.”

I felt a tug at the bottom of my pant leg. I looked down into the wide terrified eyes of one of my old friends, Pete.  I almost threw up at the sight of him.

His skin had peeled away to reveal a raw, red, blistered covering. Purple veins laced his skin, leading directly from a bite mark on his lower back. All of his hair had been burnt away and the left half of his body had literally been melted into the sidewalk.  

As he lifted his torso to get closer to me, I watched as his skin grabbed onto the ground and slowly flaked off. “It was Firkle,” he croaked out hoarsely, his voice barely audible. The sounds from the burning house grew louder as the Zombies found their way out dragging the bodies of Craig’s former friends behind them. Pete met Craig’s eyes with a fierce passion and lowered his head expectantly. I didn’t know I could do it, my body felt like mush. But ever slowly I reached for my gun. I aimed it between his eyes, his eyelids fluttered closed.

“Goodbye, old friend.”

 

 

 

With the dead body of my friend lying at my feet, I was feeling more nauseous than ever. Tweak-my-nipples had rushed to my side and was gripping my sleeve in fear. It wasn’t long before the recent meal the Zombies had indulged themselves to would disappear from their stomach acids and they would be hungry again.

“Unless you guys want to become sauté sticks; I suggest we get a move on before we get barbequed,” Kenny called over to us. Nodding my head slowly, I dragged Twinkle-toes back to the car. Falling over ourselves to let the other in first, Twinkerbell caved in first as I climbed in after him.

Stan offered to drive for me, so I sat in the back and Kyle rode shotgun. I would like to say the car ride held un-punctured silence, however, Cartman was happy to fill it with his opinions of the Holocaust and how it’s lasting effect shaped the world for the better. So as his incessant chatter formed a hum in the back of my mind I focused on where we were going to go. The Zombies that penetrated GK’s base would be more evolved than ever. It doesn’t take much of a meal to improve themselves. And a whole camp? I did not want to know what the Zombies were going to look like now.

We drove on and on. None of us really knowing where we were going. Occasionally we would stop for a piss break and for Stan to switch driving with Kyle. Stan was dozing off in the passenger seat, Kyle sat rigidly in the driver’s seat, his knuckles white from gripping the wheel so tightly, Kenny had re-wired an old DS 4 and the frequent ping of a Mario Coin would bounce around the walls of the car, Cartman was slouched over himself, an empty packet of stale tortilla chips in his hand. And as for Tweeny and I? Well, the fretful blond was resting his head on my lap, his fingers picking at the lint on my faded football jersey.

 I could hardly believe that I had only known him less than a week but I already had the yearning desire to comb my hands through his blond mop of hair. I would never though, that’s gay, and he was just a friend. Not even that. He was an expendable acquaintance. I shifted my body to face the window and watch the rolling hills of dry, dead grass. As we drove, the sun sunk beneath the hills, casting a warm orange glow upon us. The iridescent glass crystal that hung over the dashboard caught the light of the sun and cast fractured rays of rainbow light. The bands of colour fell softly on Twitches face, curving around his cheeks, that was the last image I saw before falling into a much-needed sleep.

 

“Rise and shine sleeping beauty!” I opened my eyes slowly to see Kenny with an ear-splitting grin bending over me. The early morning light shone behind him, creating a halo around his head. By this time, I had come to realise that I was lying on hard dirt next to the car. I sat up, my back aching from lying on stones for the past few hours.

“Where are we?” I croaked out, my through was raw and dry.

“Ahh my young lad,” Kenny said. “We are at the one, the only,” he paused and spread his hands out for dramatic purpose. “Random place under a tree in the middle of nowhere!” He spun out of the way revealing what he had previously been obscuring from my vision. We were indeed at a random place, under a tree, in the middle of nowhere.

A large oak tree grew next to where I was lying, its branches were overhanging us, tightly woven to create a make-shift canopy, but apart from that, there was nothing really notable about our temporary camp. The same dead, brown hills that we had been passing in the car surrounded us, like the peaks of a meringue pie.

I brushed the sleep out of my eyes and then turned to Kenny, who was now sitting next to me crossed legged, leaning back on his arms. “How long have we been here?” I questioned. Kenny shrugged.

“I don’t really know man; I just woke up myself.” He plucked a blade of long brown grass and began chewing the end of it. “My best guess is, that Kyle pulled over this morning while the sun was up, ‘corse, he ain’t no idiot. And Stan chucked us over here with those bulging muscles he has.” He jabbed his thumb at the car, “Their behind that red monstrosity of yours.”

I stood up slowly, listening to all my joints squeak in protest. Stretching my arms over my head I squinted at the sun. “Where’s Tweek…and Cartman at?” I added as an afterthought. Kenny’s shit-eating grin spread across his face.

“Oh, Cartman you ask? He’s over by the fire pit, Kyle wouldn’t let him near the provisions again,” with Stan glued to his hip 24/7 I doubt Cartman would even try, I thought. “And that adorable little ray of sunshine that you referred to is still asleep,” Kenny sent me very a subtle wink. “You should go wake him up. He’s in the car.” I raised an eyebrow at him but headed off to the car.

The peeling red sedan reflected the suns harsh rays, practically blinding me as I made my way to the back seat door. With a few jiggles of the handle, I pulled it open to reveal Twister. He was curled up in a ball at the far end of the seat. His head rested on a neon pink linen shopping bag and his legs were twisted up in my jersey, it practically covered his whole body. Does it feel hot to you?

I shook the sleeping tiger’s shoulder, admittedly rougher than I should’ve but we can look past that. He leapt up making a strangled gurgle. “Chill Tiger, it’s just me.”

“Yeah it’s just your friendly neighbourhood bro, ready to fuck on your command,” I heard from behind me.

“Shut up Kenny!”

“Shutting up.”

I looked back at Keewt to see him red with mortification, spluttering furiously.

“Ahh, don’t mind him he’s been like this all morning,” I grumbled, Kenny could really be a pain.

Tweek rolled his eyes and made a gesture by touching the side of his forehead with the tips of his fingers with the flat of his hand. It was at times like these that I really wished that I took my old primary school up on the offer of ‘after-school sign language lessons’. But with my rough translation, I pieced to together this sentence. Yeah no shit dickhead, I’ve known him much longer than you.

While pulling the Blond Bunny out of the car I hear shrieks and swearing from behind the car.

“WHAT THE FUCK KENNY?”

“Oh, you are so getting punched.”

I watched an orange blur speed away from the car in the opposite direction screaming, “AND THAT IS MY CUE TO LEAVE.” While being chased by an equally fast blue blur. Kyle emerged from behind the car leaves stuck to his red curls and dry dirt falling off his face.

He grabbed a towel and started to wipe himself down. “Kenny couldn’t dunk us in water, because we need it, so he settled with natural dry matter,” he said while pulling twigs out of his hair. “It’s all natural,” he mimicked cupping his hands around his face to represent Ken’s trademark parka.

We joked and laughed on our walk to the fire pit that held a large boy captive and by ‘we’ I really mean Kyle and Forever Tweeky One. I didn’t have much to contribute to the conversation since it was literally a talk to the hand situation. “What took you fags so long?” Cartman groaned when we reached the pit, “I’ve been sitting here, like a slave, wasting away trying to cook these fucking eggs.” He held a blue plastic plate in front of us. Lying upon it was six crispy black eggs. They were so black they didn’t even resemble eggs, but I guess the gesture was nice enough. Twinkle placed his hands over his heart and the signed a few gestures to Cartman, who’s face morphed into disgust. “What, no. These are for me you guys can make your own,” suddenly the gesture didn’t seem so nice.

But his stubbornness let up when Stan arrived back to camp, dragging a fairly bruised Kenny behind him. We all settled for one of Cartman’s “eggs” each.

Bad News: It was like chewing on dry carpet.

Good News: We didn’t have to compliment his cooking abilities.

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Additional Bad News: I think I got indigestion.

Chapter Text

Being the young rebellious teens we are, we immediately left the one-night-stand camp after breakfast and got on the road again. It wasn’t as unbearable as the last drive though. Kenny had chosen the first class seat – the roof of the car.

 Somehow speeding down the roads and 70km per hour, with the use of the grate strapped on the roof, he kept his balance. Occasionally I would tilt the rear-view mirror up to see him leaning back, his hair whipping around and an eerie sense of calmness. When he first requested to sit on the roof no one questioned him, except me. When I asked who in the fuck scrambled his brains in a metal bowl, creamed it and then spooned it back inside his head, to think that was a responsible idea, all the boys sent me warning glares. No more questions asked.

Unlike like the relative quietness of the previous drive, Stan had set up the Disc Player and had found several scratched albums. While zooming along the freeway, passing the occasional degenerate Zombie, AC/DC – blasted through the speakers. With the thumping music and Stan and Kyle (and Kenny but his voice was whipped away in the wind) screaming along with the lyrics, I had no brain space to think. I just steeled my eyes on the road and tried to block everything out.

When we had reached an abandoned town, I slowed down to take in our surroundings. The sight was so dismal, Kyle reached over and turned down the music. In silent awe, we rode through the narrow streets watching the empty houses and newspaper pages’ pin-wheeling down the roads. The quiet beat of the drums drifted faintly from the speakers and filled the empty lots. Echoing around the village. It felt empty.

Now you may be wondering, Craig, listen, you’ve been virtually living on your own, in an empty city, for seven years! How is this any different? Well, my young dreamer, South Park City, has been empty since the beginning. The overgrown grass and escaped wildlife show this too in the surrounding nature. You can feel the presence of living things, animals, trees, me. But here? It feels so…empty. As if all surrounding life had evaporated. The roof of the car creaked and Kenny swung his head down and into the car, through the open window.

“Uh, guys? I don’t mean to freak you out or nothing but-” he jerked his head towards a dark alleyway. “They don’t look like they’re here to party.”

Craning our necks through the windows we saw, dark figures shifting in the shadows, rumbles of groaning seeped out and to our car.

“Don’t worry, It’s daytime. They can’t get to us in the light.” Kyle said hopefully as the sounds from the opening increased and the figures inched forwards. “Right Craig?” doubt was making its way into his voice. I said nothing and kept my eyes trained on the cobblestone alley.

A few minutes passed, my eyes started to water but I refused to blink, I couldn’t miss anything. Everyone held their breath as if the oxygen had been sucked from the air. My hands gripped the peeling leather wheel harder, just a bit longer…

Then a sudden movement caught everyone’s attention. A long thin tendril creeped its way out from the darkness and into the light. It was a dark grey colour and dripped thick balls of brown sludge onto the stony path, splattering and sending small droplets onto near surfaces.

Once it seemed to determine it was safe to venture further forwards, it shot out at an alarming pace. That was when I twisted the key and stepped on the accelerator and sped away, the back wheels screaming on the tar. Avoiding overturned bins and crushed bones. Glancing in the rear-vision mirror I could see the tendril chasing after us but that wasn’t what got me jumpy.

The tendril further down got thicker and thicker until it had reached roughly the size of a school desk. Attached at the end of it stood a child. A little girl in a torn, grubby white dress. Under her right arm, she clutched the body of an old teddy-bear. Its stuffing fell out with her every movement, the white cotton floated around her, like small white feathers. And the sickening tendril protruded from where her left arm should have gone.

Where the tentacle left her body, I could see the skin beneath it moving and stretching, as if, the tentacle was coiled up inside her. But her face was defiantly the most disturbing aspect of her.

Her hair seemed to have come off in patches leaving multiple bald spots on her head. Where the bald spots where ripples of pink flesh showed – her brain. If the emerging brain didn’t do it for you, her eyes would make you do a double take, no doubt. As black as ink, the darkness covered her whole eyeball and they were large. Larger than human eyes at least. You ever seen one of those Alien Sci/fi movies, where the Extra-Terrestrial has eyes that cover half of its face? Yeah? Well, it was basically that.

The girl stood in a protective stance, her dress lifted and shifted from the wind the tentacle was producing. She had her mouth upturned into a snarl, showing off her selective pointed teeth. Defiantly a Zombie.

The faster we left and the distance I put between us and the Zombie it seemed to tire, but it didn’t let up.

“Cartman!” I yelled over the roaring of the engine and our collective beating hearts, “Grab one of the automatics and pass it to Kenny!” Thank god he didn’t ask any questions or be his usual infuriating self.

He wound down the window and thrust his arm out. Almost immediately he yanked his hand back inside and closed the glass screen. Kenny obviously had got the message. I heard a piercing battle cry then an eardrum-shattering shot.

Somehow he got the Zombie down in the first try, I chalked it all up to my incredible training. I swung the car around and stepped out to admire Ken’s handy work.

The Zombie was sprawled on the ground the tendril twitching every so often. Headshot. Of course. My boys would never do a half-assed job. The others had scrambled out of the car and were leaning against its side with me. Twiddle turned to Kenny with a smug smile. He placed his left hand in front of him, palm up and moved the flat palm of his right hand across his left The pointing in the direction of the dead Zombie he cocked his thumb once while also adding a forward movement of his hand. Which I could determine it only meant, nice job you fucker. You killed it! Drinks on me.

Kenny beamed, “Thanks bud. I try.” Tweek-my-pay-check shook his head. He signed a loose claw hand then pointed upward with the index finger of his left hand, slid it down to his thumb, taping it then placed two of his right-hand fingers against his palm. I was lost, no incorrect translation could help me with this. Kenny pushed Tigger’s shoulder, “Shove off mate. I thought we promised not to talk about that!” Tipsy shook with gurgled laughter.

I guess joking around is a way to release their nerves. Though judging by the current situation they would need to keep their nerves. The sinking sun had caused the shadows of surroundings to stretch. The darkness engulfed the dead Zombie. Moans started to bubble up from the dark narrow roads. My group stiffened, the light was fading.

We all jumped back into the car at the speed of…well…light. It was obvious that the, now dead, Zombie had had a meal. A meal that provided it with light resistance and a deformed tentacle, no one had any desire to see the other Zombies transformations.

We sped off into the darkness. But I couldn’t resist swivelling my head around to glance behind us. In the rapidly receding background, I saw the Zombies surrounding the dead body of their own lifting up their heads to the sky and screaming. A scream so full of grief and remorse it almost sounded human.

Chapter Text

Okay, usually when you encounter a mutated child of five, there’s gonna be some shocked silence. Right? Right? No sooner than getting in the car, conspiracy theories where being thrown around like a hot potato. But here’s the twist, they are very likely not conspiracy theories considering our situation. Well, I mean…except for Kenny’s idea that termites were taking revenge for being exterminated all the damn time so they were taking over the bodies of everyone who has called an exterminator. He happily imputed this slice of information by hanging his hands over the roof, in front of the car, and signing his ideas. Which I, of course, needed a translation to or I would be questioning why pimply cow bladders are the cause of hay fever, the root of the apocalypse. Not that the actual interpretation made much more sense.

Kyle suggested that the passing of mutated bacteria into our blood streamed could have caused a flux in growing or dying hormones. Stan said that it was like the classic zombie horror movies where they bite the people and they turn, which seemed to be the case but why was the unanswered question.

Cartman didn’t say shit, big whoop. Neither did Twiddles. Get it? Get it? Cause he doesn’t speak? Okay geez, I’m not planning on becoming Billy Conelly or nothing, chill. But he did sign that he agreed with Kyle. When it came to my turn to share my thoughts (what is this pass the parcel?) I told them what I knew.

“Seven years ago, I was thirteen years old, I sat at my window in my room watching the people on the street below rip each other apart.” The memory was as clear as if it happened yesterday – it was still just as painful. Painful? I meant numbing. “There was no rhyme or reason. Three people on the crossing just started going crazy, only three. Every time they attacked someone they went down and devoured them. Few people were able to fight them off, not without being bitten themselves.” I could feel everyone in the car tensely listening, even Cartman had awoken from his “beauty sleep”, “I always found it strange that no one turned instantly – from my extensive research of Zombie horror at a young age, that’s what I expected to happen, but it didn’t. As I stayed holed up in my room, not letting anyone in, not even my-” I stopped myself. It wasn’t that cliché thing of: oh no my dark past. My friends can never know my secret and treat me differently…actually, that’s exactly my point – I didn’t want to show my sad life because they will pity me and pity is useless in this new world. “…anyway, I waited for five days, I could see the infections manifest. On the first day you start to feel nauseous, I watched people lying on the street throw up their guts for twenty-four hours. Day two, blotches start to appear on your skin, blue and purple dots that spread around you like nerve endings. The third day is when the signs are clear. I watched people stand up crying with joy thinking that they were finally cured. I then watched people stare at their hands, horrified. Their fingers had turned coal black. I watched these people, wretch up molasses. As I sat in my room living off Mountain Dew and Lays I watched people start the cycle over again, tearing each other to shreds.” I was shaking by now. I was so naive, I did nothing. I left the people outside to die on their own. I huddled under my blankets at night, listening to my family throw up, scream, cry and finally pound at my door clumsily, growling my name. Tweek-that-screw-it’s-loose rested his hand on my thigh.

He sent me a small nod to continue, he was so kind and caring I almost smiled. Almost. “I don’t know what causes this,” I said shakily. “But whatever it is I don’t want to go through that. We should take all precautions like shaving, clipping nails, washing thoroughly anything to prevent the…” I trailed off again, damn this weak state.

“…Inevitable,” Kyle finished for me. “That’s what you were going to say wasn’t it?” I didn’t say anything, “Well fuck you.” He spat, “We’ve lasted too long to give up now so shut your goddamn mouth unless you have to say something productive.” Tweek-that-leaf turned sharply to face Kyle and signed rapidly. “I don’t care about his problems Tweek. He’s with us now and he needs to learn to not be a dick and only give shits about himself.”

I came here to have a good time and honestly, I was feeling so attacked right now.

“If we’re going to do anything about this I’ll start us off with hygiene issues to work out, Stan, pass me that pad.” Stan bent down and pulled a slightly damp, yellowing notepad from under T-bag’s seat. Kyle began jotting down his notes on the columns furiously with a leaking pen he found between the seat covers.

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An awkward silence hung in the air, filled only by Kyle’s scratching pen. I swear this car was like the most awkward place in the fucking world.

It only took half an hour to ease up though. Kenny swung into the car, found a plastic, blue computer that was doggedly fixed with duct tape and a worn yellow extension cable. He attached it to the car’s battery and climbed back onto the roof to muck around with it. Stan was handed a copy of Pride & Prejudice by Kyle, who told him he needed an education. Sarcastic comments ran off his tongue the whole while as he read it, most likely just to piss-off Kyle.
“Fuck off Charles, you’re nowhere as near as hot as Darcy!”

“‘I love you’ my ass

“Stop being a dick, Darcy!”

Really Elizabeth? That dress with those shoes, oh honey.”

“SHE’S AN INDEPENDENT WOMAN WHO DON’T NEED NO MAN! EXCEPT DARCY HE IS ONE FINE PIECE OF ASS!”

Cartman did nothing. He was snoring loudly in the back, an up-turned chip bag over his face and fingers covered in the orange dust from Cheetos. I, myself, was doing something productive, unlike the others. Every ten minutes I would tap into the radio and call out a message. “Hello? I have un-tainted passengers, we need help,” and again and again I sent out this message, no reply. The time in-between sending out S.O.S messages Taco taught me some simple sign language gestures.

T-Money used a torn page from Kyle’s notepad and wrote down words in a broken purple crayon. Words like, “hi”, “bye”, “how are you?” and “thank you”, and then signed them to me. It was lucky we were driving on empty roads because then I could lift my hands and try to sign back. He also, as per my request, taught me how to cuss. Fuck you is, holding your middle finger towards someone and then pointing it at them and shit is giving the ‘thumbs up’ and then slotting your thumb into the fist of your left hand. I came to the realisation that sign language was pretty fucking vulgar. And much to my disappointment, he didn’t cuss that much himself, so all my previous translations were far from the truth.

The crayon smudged on the damp paper as Sparky wrote down some more words and lifted them up for me to read.

Zombies can suck my dick,” I read out smiling. “Now that’s something I could get used to signing.” Just before Toastmaker could even spread out his hands Kenny slid into the car landing on Cartman with an ‘oof’ (Kenny crushing my dreams since 2023). It was at times like these that I truly questioned Cartman’s sleeping habits, he didn’t even make a noise.

“Ewwww, gross. I had to land on that?” Kenny flailed trying to squirm his way off the big oaf. When he finally settled between Kyle and Stan, he opened his laptop and started it up. “Okay so as I was checking this out guess what I found,” he didn’t even leave us time to actually guess, so I don’t know what was the point of asking us to. “MOVIE FOLDER!!” He screeched, “This shit has so much stuff on it, Game of Thrones, Hunger Games, The Simpsons and…” he wriggled his eyebrows suggestively.

“For the last time Kenny,” Kyle said exasperatedly after ten minutes of Kenny trying to convince him otherwise. “I don’t care if Pingu is an international icon, we are not watching that!”

“Hello, Hello? Anyone out there I have survivors,” I called out on the radio for the twelve-millionth time. No petty argument was going to prevent me from trying to find somewhere to fucking sleep.

A crackling of the radio cut-off Kyle and Kenny’s argument. I had been voicing on the radio for three hours, we had nowhere to go and the sun was setting which was making everyone’s nerves become jittery. Finally, someone was coming through.

“Hello? Yes-” the radio dropped in and out of the connection. “Wassily Faux…clearing the way for you…Over”

I grabbed the speaker and fumbled with it, “Yes, we hear you, uh, I mean, Copy. What are your coordinates? Over.” The radio was silent, a faint buzz hummed from the speakers. Everyone held their breath. One, two, three minutes passed, no answer. Then Finally.

“41°24'12.2"N ….” The radio fizzled out.

“One more time,” I called.

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“Copy. 41°24'12.2"N 2°10'26.5"E. Over.”

Chapter Text

I would like to begin with, this was not my fault.

We were hurtling down the road, away from the Zombies that were emerging with the sinking sun – as you do – when the car had the absolutely brilliant idea of flipping.

Have you ever seen those action films where the bad guy’s car flips and then the film slows down and you watch it in slow motion? Well, picture that. Everything to me slowed down, I watched Toidi fly in the air, hitting his head on the roof and crumpling. I watched as Stan flew out his hand to cover Kyle and the pain in his face when it got crushed. I watched Kyle bend over and cover his head. I watched Cartman roll, he basically stayed attached to the floor, perks of being obese. I saw the glass of the car explode sending out, shining daggers to bite into our flesh.

Then, as soon as it had started, everything returned to real time. The screeching of metal on gravel was all I could hear. The car skidded, the was no loss of time sense, it felt just as long as it should – a few seconds. When the car finally halted I felt groggy. No, not just groggy, I felt like I was going to puke up my guts. It felt like my arms had been sawed off then re-attached, my head felt like Teletubby Custard and my right leg felt like it had been skinned and then thrust into hot sauce. I looked down at my body.

I was covered in small cuts as if I had been attacked by an army of paper cranes leaving small shallow lines, crisscrossing over my skin. Every time I shifted, my skin glinted, upon closer inspection, I found that hundreds of small grains of glass were embedded in my body. There were also larger pieces, some the size of my fist, sticking up out from my arms. I watched as my blood began to form beads on the surface of my skin and dribble down leaving trails of red. I tried to sit up and steady myself but a shot of hot white pain run up my side from my leg. By now I was thinking, don’t look down Craig. How could it possibly get worse? It’s probably nothing. It wasn’t nothing.

Leg? What’s a leg? I don’t have one. Yep, you heard it here folks, I had no right leg. Y’know I really didn’t know the meaning of, how could it get worse, until that moment. My vision began to blur and a sense of sleepiness took over my mind.

“Craig! CRAIG! CRAIG!” An orange blob pulled at my door until it gave up and kicked it down. A strong hand gripped my arm and pulled me out, creating waves of pain to cover me. “OH MY GOD, CRAIG!” The blob set me down outside on the ground and ran back to the smoking car, “I’LL GET THE OTHERS!”

I drifted in and out of consciousness, the blob dragged more and more bodies next to me. The next moment the roar of a large engine growled towards us. People filed out of a neon purple bus and ran towards us. I felt a canvas stretcher being placed under me. Flickers of yelling and commands flew through my ears.

“Grab the other!”

“Get the blond one here!”

“Immediate attention on this one!”

A huge explosion shook the ground; my vision was engulfed in flames. I heard a few screams and shouts, “There was someone in there!” I pushed myself up onto my elbows and tried to escape the stretcher. I felt two pairs of hands hold me down.

“Stay down!” after I didn’t comply, a brown belt was tied around my waist and onto the canvas sheet and its metal poles. I thrashed around but I couldn’t get up, my heartbeat started quickening, what if someone had died? I was the one in charge of them. It would be my fault. A needle pricked my arm and a substance was injected into me, my eyes began to grow heavy. It felt as if I was in a dream. My stretcher was lifted, it felt like I was flying. From the scrape of metal, I heard and the clang of two doors closing I pieced together I had been put in the back of a truck.

I strained my eyes open and lolled my head to the side, a small boy was lying next to me his eyes wide with fear and pain. At the back of his head, a large, jagged slip of glass protruded. His eyes rested on me. Slowly he reached out his hand and pointed at me then his thumb and index met to make a circle. He then softly grabbed my thumb and smiled.  I finally felt safe enough to close my eyes and drift away.

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 When I woke, I found myself covered in blue and white, paper sheets. I sat up my head spinning, I lurched to the side and threw up the non-existent contents of my stomach onto the marbled floors. I heard footsteps clicking against the floor from the far end of the room. A tall, dark-skinned young man stepped through the door and made his way over to me, his mouth was pulled into a tight grimace. He unclicked a Walkie-Talkie from his belt and spoke into it.

“Craig's room clean up. I repeat, clean up at Tuckers, Over.” He let go of the button and paused, waiting.

The radio crackled then a sweet female voice rose up from the static, “Copy.”

The man made his way over to me, “Hello Craig, I’m Token, Token Black.” His voice was crisp and formal, just like his white overcoat.

“Yeah, the fuck are you?” I looked around wildly, “And where the fuck is Tweek?” I made a move to swing my legs over the edge and march off on my own, but Token grabbed my arm.

“I – I don’t think that’s the best idea, Craig,” He gave me a strained look. “I don’t think you are quite prepared to start strenuous actives yet.” I scoffed.

“What are you, a doctor? Show me your handwriting then I’ll believe you. Now let me go!” I pushed his arm away and jumped to the floor (missing my, uh, stomach bile, of course) and let my sheet fall of my body.

I chocked back a sob.

 It was hideous.

.

.

.

Who is the fashion designer here? Can they turn on their location? I just wanna talk.

I was robed in a white paper dress, much like my bed sheets, that had no back. From my rear everything would be visible – all that was holding it together was two flimsy strings. My feet were clad in knee height dark blue socks that irritated my skin. All together it looked like an utterly atrocious fashion show gone wrong.

Oh, yeah, the peg leg didn’t help the look.

Chapter Text

“Craig, I know this may have come as a shock but please listen to me. You need to remain calm-”

I spun around to face this, “Token”, my dress spun with me like a cape, maybe I could get used to this?

“Then what do you propose I do Mr Black? Because as far as I am concerned I have lost a leg, been kidnapped and forced into a dress. All things which I consider a reasonable thing to not be calm about!”

He raised his clipboard into the air as a sign of defence. “Please Craig listen,” he said his eyes flashing in annoyance. “You have not been kidnapped, that dress is for us to examine you for further injuries with less struggle and your leg was amputated because,” he paused, swallowing. “You were bitten before we could get you into the van. You were in such a state of confusion and shock that you didn’t notice. We are not certain whether amputating your leg or not will stop the flow of the infection or not but we couldn’t risk it.”

At this point I could feel the blood drain from my face, my legs start- my leg started to wobble I was on the verge of collapsing.

“Craig!” Token lunged out to catch me but just as he leapt forwards a pair of strong arms caught me from behind.

“Careful now, we don’t need any more accidents now do we?” A sweet voice whispered in my ear. I pulled myself out of their grasp and stumbled forwards. When I turned to face my saviour I was met with a young woman in a crisp white jacket of her own. She smiled at me with blood red painted lips it was almost threatening. She had long golden hair that curled just below her shoulders and light grey eyes that just screamed, serial killer!!! Very much like her counterpart, she was wearing a white overcoat and holding a chipboard clipboard – I know I’m the millennial Shakespeare, ladies, ladies hands to yourselves. The only difference was that Token wasn’t sporting a tight red cocktail dress, thank the gods.

She extended her perfectly, red, manicured hand. “Hello Craig I’m Bebe,” I didn’t take her hand so she let it fall to her side. “I was assigned to clean up your mess.” She gestured weakly towards the lining of my stomach.

“Yes, thank you, Bebe. I still have some issues to clear up with Craig here. Can you please...” He waved his hands towards the “mess”. Bebe huffed loudly but walked away, her red stilettos clicking against the floor. “So Craig…” Token trailed off expectantly.

“Tucker.”

“So Craig Tucker…” He scribbled my name onto his board. “You are the first of your case here but I’m sure we can figure out everything in good time,” He smiled sweetly – but dropped if after I didn’t reciprocate it. “You friends are currently being held in different wards, they are all in stable condition,” He raised an eyebrow and smirked. “Even Tweek.” He tapped his pen against his chin, “There were however two problems, but I didn’t address it immediately because the others didn’t take it badly.”

I was mentally prepared for anything this wack-ass doctor was about to present. If Twitches wasn’t involved, then I was sure it wouldn’t be too bad.

“Your, uh, car mate, um, Cartman? He died in the explosion after Kenny dragged you and the others out, he wasn’t gotten to in time. I’m sorry if this was in any way a loss to you.” Cartman? He was dead? It was hard to believe anything could kill that tub of lard. But I’m sure an explosion could do it.

I shook my head, a way of showing the cosplaying doctor that he wasn’t needed for condolences.

“That is all well and good but you haven’t answered my most pressing matter,” Token nodded for me to continue. “Who are you, where am I and are you really a doctor?” What was this, Twenty Questions?

Token whistled lowly, “I said before, my name is Token Black. I am a science graduate and have a PhD in medical science. You are at the hospital at the edge of town, The Wesley. It was shut down immediately when the virus first started to occur. We have sanitary requirements that you will have to follow after being discharged from the ER. And last but not least, yes. My medical degree gives me an official reason to call myself a doctor, but I don’t flaunt it.”

Bebe scoffed from where she was squatting swabbing up my puke, “Yeah it’s only every second minute no biggie.” Token blushed darkly. Gross, I don’t need to be stuck in the middle of a soap opera. All I wanted was to get out of there. I coughed.

“Oh yes Craig,” Token brought his clipboard to his eyes and then lowered it. “Lunch will be in fifteen minutes and you can meet up with your friends. Until then I’ll get Wendy to get yourself dressed,” He then strutted out of the room, Bebe following him closely behind – she’d finished mopping up the spill, the bucket filled with the contents swung by her side.

No sooner than they had left, another person in a white lab coat walked in. A tall woman with long black hair sweeping behind her came up to me, her lips pulled thin. She wasn’t as glamorous as the last female who had entered my room, ooh look at me, such a playboy. She was wearing something much more suitable for working with sick people, pants and a shirt, I was glad that at least she had some common sense.

“Wendy Testaburger, I’m not here for chit-chat, I’m here to dress your incapable ass so strip. Now!” I’m in love.

Body image problems have never been an issue of mine if you know what I mean, so I easily stripped down and let her examine me.

She switched between clothing racks and my body parts, feeling me up so much I was close to filling her for molestation. “I know everyone keeps saying, “Wendy don’t dress them up, this is the apocalypse” and “Wendy this isn’t a catwalk” and shit like that but-” She placed a flaking pencil between her teeth and measured my limbs as I silently stood, listening to her rant, “Don’t you think that we all ought to die in, style?” The tape measure snapped back and she stood up, smiling.

Oh, boy.

Chapter Text

You know, it's fucking surprising how little can happen in a Zombie apocalypse. Hear me out.

Me and (now) four fucking dumbasses are placed in a shit hole, filled with dead people. Who not only are un-dead but - get ready for this - kill you too! How fucking great is that? At this standard, it's slightly better than an economy class cruise. 

The people left in this world have to literally fight for survival now, ahh first world problems. But not today Philly boy. Not today. No, I was dressed by a glamorous young woman, whose fashion choices are slightly - just slightly - inconvenient for the apocalypse. Then I was sprayed in AXE deodorant, the worst form of torture but it was the only kind left in stock and it was better than smelling like sweat, blood and vomit...barely. And finally, I was shoved downstairs and into the "cafeteria". 

The first thing I noted was, not everyone got their personal Wendy, I was definitely over-dressed for this dismal venue. 

Here I was, standing, in ripped skinny jeans, a white shirt and a black leather jacket. Not too bad, am I right? BUT WAIT! There’s more… Before this day I had assumed that knee-high lace-up converse was only female attire but according to Wendy I looked like “bad boy”. I don’t think she’s ever seen a bad boy because I looked like a fucking pimp.

How the goddamned hell do people walk in those skinny ass pants? My legs were locked an I couldn’t bend them, I ended up swinging one leg in front of the other when I walked.

I swear to god my life is so cliché. I lose food when I get new guests, one of my guests is mildly arousing, I lose a leg, then promptly thrusted into skinny-fucking-jeans. I bet my left leg that Twoodles will walk into this shit-hole of a cafeteria and I’m gonna fall in love or some shit. I’m not saying that’s going to happen, it just seems to be where my life is heading right now. It’s like my life is some shitty fanfiction that is written by a pubescent teenage boy who doesn’t know hOW TO FUCKING PLEASE EITHER HIS CHARACTERS OR READERS! All metaphorical of course.

Sorry to disappoint the thirsty peeps out there, that didn’t happen. No one even really had a make-over, except Stan but I’ll get to him. Everyone’s clothes were freshly washed and dried, all the holes and tears were sowed and patched up. The only real differences were that Spaz’s green flannel shirt was buttoned up, Kenny’s unruly hair was washed and combed back with a liberal amount of wax applied to keep it down and Kyle had a new dark blue ski jacket. However, now we reach Stan. Oh, Stan, who hurt you?

Picture this: pin stripped overalls clashing horribly with a neon green crop-top with the words, Sleep & Swag, embroidered across the chest and, the cherry on top… light-up Sketchers. Yeah so the expected happened, we all, par Stan, rolled on the floor laughing yadda yadda yadda. That didn’t mean I didn’t get my own share of teasing. Stan was obviously relieved when the attention drifted from him and onto me.

Kenny was the last person still laughing when Bebe strutted in. It took a whole five minutes when he stopped pointing at me, wheezing through breaths of air something about being a “Korean Boy Band Idol”. Yeah, didn’t get it but I rarely got any of his references.

Bebe tapped her foot impatiently as his chuckles slowly disappeared. She then produced what must have been the seventieth clipboard I had seen that day.

“Hello dweebs, you are all probably very confused so I will proceed to explain the situation,” she said her nails softly tapping against the board. “We received your radio call yesterday and were waiting outside for your arrival.”

Kenny snickered, “I feel famous.”

Bebe rolled her eyes and continued, “I would like to thank you on behalf of all the current residents at the Wesley Hospital for bringing a whole colony of Zombies to wait outside our doors.”

Is it just me, or are we receiving some hostility?

“Um, I’m sorry that we just happen to be delicious to Zombies?” I spat back if the truth be told, I wasn’t enjoying Bebe’s company. I was willing to throw myself outside into the hoard of malnourished Zombies to escape this snake.

Another white clad dickhead walked into the “conference room”. Oh, wait! I know this white-clad dickhead!

“Now, now, all of you. I understand today has been a stressful day-”

“To say the least.”

“However,” Token moved on. “To stay here in the provided safety I am obliged to tell you what’s going on.”

Kenny stood up from his metal chair and opened his arms as if preparing to be nailed to a cross. “Yeah, we all know what the fuck is going on!” He turned slightly so that he could face everyone, “We are fighting ravenous Zombies who honestly should go get a better hobby rather than feasting on old ladies’ toes!”

Kyle grabbed the back of Kenny’s jacket and yanked him back into his seat, “Now is not the time for your tasteless jokes.” He hissed, Token seemed taken back, probably doesn’t have a sense of humour, I thought.

“So as I was saying before I was rudely interrupted,” Kenny poked his tongue out and slumped back into his chair, arms crossed. “Here at the Wesley, we are experimenting on Zombies to see if the virus can be redacted.” This piqued my interest, I sat up straighter and leaned forwards, lacing my hands together.

“Do you have evidence to prove this theory?” Kyle prompted, he also seemed newly invested.

“We have been experimenting on different variations of Zombies for the past six years,” Token pulled a chair out from the table behind him and sat down, placing his obnoxious board on his lap. “With the necessary, uh, sacrifices we have determined the connection between our DNA and the mutations of the Zombies who devour the DNA,” Token had everyone’s attention by this point, even Kenny had his eyes on the doctor. If the DNA was really connected to the mutations that could mean a lot more danger for everyone.

It was at this moment that the bitc- whoops, I meant Bebe, decided to step up.

“Wouldn’t it be better if we explained the situation with the patient?” Bebe’s voice seemed to strain at the word ‘patient’.

“Ah, that would be for the best, wouldn’t it?” Even Token’s voice shook, oohh, Craig is intrigued.

We were lead down the mopped floors of the white building, I almost believed that the apocalypse never happened. This place was too clean for it to be the end of the world.

No one spoke as we went down the dark fire escape stairs, not even Kenny. The atmosphere was as tense as The Rock’s left calve.

At the bottom of the stairs, we were met by an industrial red door. Token unlocked the three locks that hung around the edge and shoulder slammed the door, forcing it to swing open. I was momentarily blinded by the white as fuck lights and shielded my face from the light.

When I peeked my head out from my arms I was looking at that scene from the Exorcist.

 

A young boy was chained to an operating table. He thrashed and screamed. Tears were rolling down the side of his face. His skin was clinging to his bones. His red shirt was torn and covered in blood.

“Everyone,” Token spoke up, his voice unsteady. “I would like you to meet our eighty-second patient, Clyde Donovan.”

The boy on the table stopped thrashing around. His head turned to look at us. Just his head, not the rest of his body. He twitched and then a smile spread from ear to ear, literally. His teeth then bent out and curved around his lips. His mouth stretched and grew, his jaw had dethatched itself. Then his head shot out at an incredible speed, his neck stretching behind it.

 He was heading straight for Tweek.

 

Chapter Text

My vision tunnelled. I couldn’t think of anything. My mind had gone blank. As If I had no control, my body thew me forwards. I connected into Twizzeler and we hit the ground, my body shielding his.

Except for my pounding heart, there was only silence.

I tentatively looked up. Everyone was looking at us me. To my right, I saw Clyde. His mouth was rubbing helplessly against, the pane of glass separating us from him. His saliva, pouring out of his mouth, his teeth, grazing the glass to no avail.

Slowly, I turned my head back to look Tiddles in the eye. His eyes were like saucers, large and round. His breath was ragged and shallow. He looked so scared. Like a frightened puppy. Almost subconsciously, I leaned in. His murky green eyes tried their best to look everywhere but at me, but that wasn’t what caught my interest. Freckles. Dusted across his cheeks were hundreds of cute, small, brown dots. Huh, I never noticed that.

An awkward cough from behind me snapped me to attention. I threw myself off Twaddle, sliding across the floor and hitting the industrial glass.
Tide-Pod sat up immediately. His gaze finally meeting me, I looked away hurriedly. Now, I couldn’t see myself but I bet my left leg, I was as red as freshly cut pastrami. Tinsel, definitely was at lest.

“Oof, rejected,” Kenny started cackling across from me, his own face flushed. Not from embarrassment, but, entertainment. “Better luck next time Tweek.” That was when Tangerine proceeded to give him a hand gesture that doesn’t take sign language to understand.

Meanwhile, my mind was spinning. What the fuck was that? What the fuck Richard?  There was only one way to break the tension…

I sprung off the ground and strode over to Token, “So this monster is inside the vicinity, huh?” My voice shook with the nerves from the recent situation, “Do you really believe that this is ethical?”

Oblivious to the events that took place less than thirty minutes ago, Token replied in a monotonous voice, “He’s not a monster. He’s - he’s Clyde.” Token seemed to be in a different universe, away from the apocalypse in a peaceful wonderland. If so, I wanted in. Fuck this world. “He’s our subject,” Token said, composing himself. “We place experiments on him to see if the brain dead activity can be reversed,” He straightedges and flipped through his papers before finding the one he was searching for. “Here,” He handed me a slightly crumpled typed document. It read:

Test subject 64, Clyde Donovan
Age: 18
Blood: AB+
Days turned: 234
Subject has shown increasing violent habits. His appetite still hasn’t been “quenched” raw meat - preferably pig. Sources running low…

The document went onto describe the zombie’s behavioural attitude and what to do if it started convulsing or fighting back. The document had mess scribbles in the margins that consisted of ideas and theories of reversal methods and how to sedate it. The numbers next to “Days turned” were smudged and the paper was slightly torn and crinkled. It was as if someone had come down every day to increase the number by one. Not insinuating anything. Just saying

Token continued to explain the situation with the zombie patient with the rest of the group.
“This is Clyde Donovan, and since he’s been in our possession, we have reason to believe…” He took a deep breath and rubbed the bridge of his nose. He had the whole group hooked, from Kyle to Kenny. Token had completed a feat most men dream of. “We have reason to believe,” He began again. “That zombies shouldn’t be hunted. They have functioning brains.”

“You’re fucking kidding me-“ Kenny began, but Kyle quickly cut him off.
“What is your proof to back-up this claim?” He sent a warning glare to Kenny who, stiffly, backed down.

Token, pleased to have us listen started eagerly, “Clyde here has shown signs of emotion that were previously deemed impossible since the brain dead “thingy”.” Token said, providing air quotations. “His memory seems to be slightly intact and shows signs of recognising some of the staff members here at Wesley Hospital-“

“Hold up,” I put up my hand, bringing the attention towards me. “You're saying you know this monster, personally?”

Token bristled at my words, “He is not a monster, his name is Clyde and yes. I did- do know him, he was a, uh.” He paused searching for the right word, “Coworker.”
I waved my hand loosely for him to go on.
“It’s a long story but Clyde, offered himself, in a way,” Token said his voice low. “We needed a new subject and he offered,” I knew this wasn’t the whole story but who was I to pressure him? “And thanks to him we can now tell that from his reactions to familiar faces and smells his memory may be degraded but some are still there,” he pulled out another document and scanned over it. “This leads us to believe that they, “Zombies”, can live on as another form of humans. Have families and build a life.”

“So basically,” I said. “What you’re saying is, you guys at this hospital, are the hippies of the apocalypse?” I gained a few chuckles and Table-tennis as well made a small gurgling noise that mirrored a giggle. He looked up at me before quickly looking back down at the ground. A blush forming on his cheeks.

“Ha, ha very funny. I would love to continue this conversation with you Mr Tucker but,” Token motion towards the boys behind me. “I believe the rest are losing the race with sleep,” indeed the nodding heads from both Kyle and Stans said so. Kenny’s eyelids were drooping and Twenty-Øne-Piløts was pinching the skin of his forearm to stay awake.

“No worries, can you guys head back upstairs and I’ll stay here with Mr Fancy Coat?” The boys mumbled in agreement and left the basement, not before Kenny shot an unreadable look at Token and running his finger across his neck. Sorry about him.
Turning back to Token I opened my mouth when I felt a tug on my sleeve. Tamaki was beside me, shuffling his feet awkwardly.
Thank you for- he made a sign I had never seen him do before, he crossed his arms across his chest, his hands in fists. Then he pointed towards himself, me. I blinked dumbly at him, just look like you know what he said and everything will be fine.
Turning on his heel Tangled stumbled out, his whole body shaking. Man, where was the “Sign Language for Dummies” book when you need it?

Chapter Text

Hey, do you know what the positives of living in a mental facility, surrounded by zombies, are to your brain? None. Fucking nada. Three days trapped in a whitewashed building filled with the dead corpses of the elderly rotting and the constant groaning of zombies 24/7. Not the best ambience. At least it wouldn’t make it on to Lo-fi beats channels on youtube.

One of the things I thoroughly enjoyed, however, was the constant drama. It made every day feel like an episode of Home and Away, or for the Americans out there: The Bold and the Beautiful.
I watched Stan and Wendy send each other “secret” glances across the dining room. It had only been three days and the sexual tension was so tight it could be the material for a high-class trampoline. I also watched Kyle peek over his copy of Arms From The Sea, sending a certain girl with black hair and a purple headband, death glares. It was from Wendy. He was sending Wendy death glares. But that ain’t none of my business. Especially since I was contained in the white walls of hell I had gotten to know Tinsel better. After rigorous training during the past three days, I could roughly translate anything he signed. With a few more days of solid practice, I would be a pro. T-Series, no wait scratch that, Timtam had once again brought out a UHU Glue Stick and glued himself to my side. Well, not literally but you get the gist.

He could now sign to me and I could clumsily compile a sentence. He told me all about his parents and their old coffee shop. He explained that he has extreme anxiety and constantly experience sleep paralysis. He said that when he was younger his mum would shake him awake during an episode and warm him up a fine ground coffee. This was a common occurrence so he started to connect the dots between coffee meaning calmness. Twig was around seven when his mum sent him to school with a flask of coffee for the first time. Ever since the apocalypse, he had been containing his emotions with no escape.
I came to the realisation that he went through most of his life with his parents as supporters, but ever since the beginning of this shitty version of Wheel of Truth, he’s had no one. No coffee to calm down. No mum to rock him to sleep. No dad to slap him on the back with words of encouragement. No one.
Yeah sure, he had Kenny, Kyle and Stan to do the same but they never fully understood.

It took not too long for Tig-tag to almost fully open up to me, but there were a few missing pieces to the most unusual puzzle I had ever seen. Questions that may never be answered. Where was he the past seven years? How did he meet the rest? How did he escape the apocalypse? What happened to his parents?
But I wasn’t going to ask. However, it turned out I didn’t need too. Twelve days later Kyle would spill.

Apart from Stan and Wendy’s high school romance, Kyle’s tsundere mind and TwitchStreamer and my honeymoon - I’m not suggesting anything! But that’s just how we were acting. Kenny and Bebe were hitting it off. Trust me the boys were very discouraged when they found out that even here training was compulsory. Except for Kenny that is. Almost every minute of every day he was practising in the morgue with Bebe - yes the morgue. His yells, shuffling feet and body hitting the ground could be clearly heard, if you pressed your ear against the tiled floor.

Bebe trained him. I’m not jealous! But he’s my student. He’s my boy.
Basing on what I heard Kenny was doing well. I taught him everything he knows - just saying. He would come up but only momentarily to grab a bottle of water and an apple, sweat dripping down his back. His eyes burning with hatred and determination every time I saw him. I thought I was supposed to be the scary one of the group. I steered clear of him when he was in this mindset. This proved to not be a difficult task, no one had really seen him the past three days, I was starting to believe he was a figment of my imagination. But when floorboards would creak and his heavy breathing would fill our shared A&E room, my previous thoughts would be banished.

In the morning light would filter through the stained glass. Outside from Kenny and mine’s shared ward was an outlook onto the street. Every morning I would inch up the blinds peeking out to check if any mutated zombies were roaming around nearby. There still hasn’t been but I wouldn’t take the chance to be spotted.

Rolling up the metal blinds I headed out to the showers. When I say showers, what I really mean is a trickle of water used for armpits and genitals but when that’s all you have its a blessing.
I cupped my hand and caught a few drops then rubbed it under my arm, I then did the same with my, uh, yeah. We each received designated towels when we arrived. I was stuck with a dark blue hand towel with yellow pompoms hanging off it. Not that I’m complaining, I would rather this towel than Stan’s anyway. His was a light blue monstrosity with eyes and a mouth. It didn’t help that the anthropomorphised towel looked stoned.

I bent over and grabbed the deodorant, our compromise for body soap. The hospital had hand soap but we couldn’t afford using it in case we ran out and since we don’t fully understand how the infection is spread, we couldn’t risk our only health and safety regulation.

Getting dressed in a fresh pair (I love it when there are clean provisions, who’s with me?!) of checkered flannel pants I trudged out. The food wasn’t much of a step up from what there was originally but across the road, there was an apple tree, abundant with fruit that was often ravaged by us. So fresh fruit and a can of capers? Best breakfast I had in years. So that’s exactly what I made a bee-line for that exact meal - set out on a pink collapsible table.

After I snatched up my capers and the last apple I spun around, on my way to see Doctor Black, to discuss business, and by business, I mean plans for escape. Not everything is sunshine and rainbows in the apocalypse. But my plans were pulled to an abrupt halt. A blond gremlin by the name of Twoon, well his name is Tweek but… get off my back! I can call him what I want!

His blond mop was sticking up in all directions, nothing new, and his eyes were bleary with sleep. He looked up at me blinking slowly, the blinking rapidly and blush quickly spreading across his cheeks. I was slightly confused, it wasn’t like I was naked or anything. I wasn’t wearing a shirt but that’s no biggy. That's not to say I don’t have the body of a GOD! Just kidding.
I guess anyone would blush when bumping head-on into a shirtless man so I let my concentration focus back onto him.

Tap-dance focused his gaze onto the floor and signed me a message, are there any apples left?
I chucked him the apple in my hand, “Here you go champ.” I sidestepped him, ruffling his mane of hair, “See you at lunch.”

I walked down the dark fire escape trying to focus on my capers. But even the salt wasn’t able to distract me from my growing worry. I reached the end of the escape and pushed the door open. Inside was Token furiously jotting down notes and Clyde absentmindedly humming Mozart, don’t question it. I slammed down the now empty can of capers next to Token making him jump.

“Hey Doc, how're the defences?”

Chapter Text

I had two things on my mind on the sixth day at this white hell;

What do Twinkies taste like again? And, Kenny’s sex life.


Okay, no. I’m not being a creep but lately, instead of hearing the pants from a hard day's work of training, I instead heard pants, for sure, but mixed with grunts? Groans? When I caught sight of Kenny he was his normal red-faced sweaty self but when I bumped into Bebe, there’s a different story.

I saw her on the fifth day. She was red as a lobster, sweat trickling down her forehead, her shirt was undone five buttons down, her hair was a mess, sticking up every which way. And that wasn’t all, she was wearing the biggest fucking smile. I quickly slid past her, desperate to get away from the reeking smell of sex.
And here I was, the sixth day, I tallied it, across the hall from Miss B herself. She was desperately trying to grab Ken’s attention, a slip of a sleeve, an undone button, hair swept over the shoulder, but nothing she did, caught his eye. Personally, from here, sipping on my cooling instant coffee, Bebe looked like a slut. I’m sorry but it had to be said. She was constantly flirting to no avail. However, thanks to my keen hearing, I knew the truth: Ken’s the dick. He fucked her and threw her out. Well not completely.

I started walking out, heading back to the fire escape, I still hear constant groaning from the lower levels, from time to time. Bebe seems to have become Ken’s cum bucket. Not the most pleasant of thoughts, and to a degree, quite sexist. On the bright side, Bebe didn’t seem to mind too much… I wouldn’t admit it at the time, but if anything unjust was happened to anyone, even if it was one of my boy’s fault, I would step in.

Like clockwork, I barged into the room, slammed my empty cup on Token’s desk and threw myself on the ratty crunch in the corner of the room. A bit too close to Clyde than I would feel comfortable with but, hey, I’m not complaining. Token then spun around in his chair to face me, flipping through his notes as always.
“Just in time Craig,” He spoke from behind the notepad. “The defences are worsening by the day.”

I leaned forward on the couch, hunching over and placing my chin on my hands, “How much longer do you think we’ve got?”
Recently a pack of deformed zombies had surrounded themselves around the outside of the hospital. There was around five or six with small mutations like sun resistance and advanced smell, not enough to get inside, but at night they gathered forces with unmutated zombies. The cries of pain and hunger could be heard in the dark and tens, sometimes hundreds, of zombies would take running leaps at the metal fence surrounding the vicinity. This was not a new development - zombies trying to penertrate the vicinity - , but what was new was the cement pillars holding the metal fence forming cracks. Defiantly not something to pop open a bottle of bubbles over.
“Considering our supplies and the strength of the cement,” Token put his notepad down and took off his glasses, rubbing them on his shirt. He placed them back on his face, his eyes screwed shut in thought. After an eternity, I was prepared to take a nap, Token opened both his eyes and his mouth. “A fortnight,” I jumped up from his words.

“Two weeks?!” I yelled, “What the hell can we do in two weeks!” Slamming my fists on his workbench, my apathy levels hitting an all-time low.
Token raised his hands up in defence.

“Woah, Woah, don’t shoot the messenger!” He placed his notes on the table. Pages upon pages of lined paper and graph paper littered his desk. Some of the paper held my messy scrawl of ideas but the majority was of Token’s elegant script, sprawled across the pages. We had been spending every day down here, discussing the mutations, how they form, and what differentiates mutated zombies to other zombies. 
Two days ago we had (finally) narrowed it down to the molecule structure of each person.

Before I continue with this “doomsday” story let me catch you up:

Every person alive has a different molecule structure, something unique. Atoms and molecules strengthen and grow with exposure to viruses, diseases or just normal illnesses. Some people are very susceptible to catching these things and their chances of dying are higher than someone who doesn’t catch it as easily - or have been vaccinated, (I'm looking at you Karen...).

Mine and Token’s theory, suggested that the first people to become zombies were the ones with the weaker immune system. Then, when the “virus” was directly injected - biting - that’s when the people with the stronger immune system contracted it.
Now, that the world contained billions less people than what it used to, the people who have lived this long had the most “supreme” DNA.Imagine this "surpreame" DNA is a five-course buffet  and the "original" DNA is a Maccas run.

This was then dubbed as the Atom Mutation Factor (AMF), by our dear Dr. Black. AMF was the mutation that a zombie would obtain when it has consumed a human who has survived for a while in the apocalypse.

Not all people hold the same mutations. For example, after Token took some blood tests from all of the alive residents here at the Wesley Hospital. From Token’s rough readings he placed us in order from “expendable” to “If they get ate - we get ded”, well, maybe not exactly those words… Oh? You’re interested in seeing who has the best DNA? Well then, drumroll please...or not.

Expendable
-Token
-Bebe
-Kyle
-Stan
-Wendy
-Kenny
-Yours truly
-Tweek
If They Get Ate - We Get Ded

That's right ladies and gents, you heard it here. If our dear Tweek Tweak is eaten by the zombies, we’re fucked.
Not only did the readings tell us how expendable we all are it also gave rough estimations of what most likely AMF’s we carry. If I was eaten or bitten, the zombie who ate me would become more analytical and could form plans, it would grow extra limbs and have elongated legs. I would tell you more about the others and what AMF’s they hold if I could, but as Token explained these are sensitive topics. If I turned out to be a traitor I could use their AMF’s against them, by threatening to kill the one with the most dangerous AMF (not always the highest on the previous list are the most dangerous to humans but they most likely to be). Not that I would ever kill Tweek! But I saw where Token was coming from, so I didn’t argue.

Now that there were strong sun resistant zombies loitering around outside day and night if any of us got bitten trying to fix the defences or get resources than everyone inside would be f u c k e d. So I was freaking out just enough for the current situation.

“Craig, listen,” Toke began, shuffling his papers. “I have a plan.”

“That's not as reassuring as you think”

“Shut up,” Token said sternly. “We have two large hospital vans down in the carpark, what I’m thinking is - we make a run for it, in those vans after spending the remaining days we have here, collecting provisions,” Token paused looking at me for agreement.

“Well,” I sighed, mentally preparing myself for yet another road trip. “What are we waiting for? Let’s go all 'Dawn of the Dead' on them.”

Chapter Text

Wow fuck, I sure do miss the outside world. I had never thought that that sentence would cross my mind, but I was slowly going insane. Nothing had been happening for the past two days especially, it was like my life was filled with filler chapters and nothing else. If I had an author creating my life I would like to meet him, a gun pointed at his head. Because my life was a l i v i n g  h e l l .
Since the apocalypse didn’t originally stop me from venturing outside I’d taken it for granted, but now all of our resources were sitting in the building opposite us, separated by a small but deadly wall of zombies.
Let me break this down for you.

This hospital was situated across from a grove of apple trees that are, for some reason, flourishing during this reign of terror. Maybe the apple trees are the cause of this…
Conspiracy over, this apple grove was very near a coffee plant farm that used to sell those little cups of instant coffee - which never go off, caffeine for the win! And both of these, dead, businesses had the biggest fucking water tanks that caught the rain.
But now there was a horde of murderous zombies outside while we were slowly starving inside.

TEEL’s anxiety had spiked dramatically recently so he’d opted to sleep with me. Three days ago, in the middle of the night, I felt my bed dip suddenly and then I had a fur-ball of yellow in my arms.
He somehow smelled of coffee and fresh bread which was incredible since we were all washing with a millilitre of water a day, I guess that’s just the Table-Tennis guarantee: Smell like heaven while everyone else suffers around you.
It was the tenth night when once again I heard the creak of my door and the padded footsteps on the carpet that was thrown across the floor. My bed dipped down and the sheets moved slightly as another body joined me. He curled into a ball facing my chest, his quick short breaths warm against my skin. I doubt Twoosy knew that I knew he slept with me, he always left just as the sun peaked over my window sill, and made his way back down the hall.
I slipped my hands under him and pulled him closer to my body, in a comforting way - I swear! He nuzzled into me, muttering words that weren’t audible. Not that his words were ever audible. As much as I understand and preach how important sleep is during the apocalypse, I couldn’t waste a second when there was the personification of sunshine and warmth in my arms.

It was the blinking of the analogue clock next to my bed that I noticed first, not the sun rays - I had a much more superior sun resting next to me.
The numbers on the clock read 3:12 am. I felt the midget squirm out of my grasp and listened to him walk out of my room. After an hour I got up myself and headed to the bathroom.
Lets fast forward past me taking a shit, washing my hands and having a sad excuse for a shower.

I walked out of the bathroom only to run into Kyle, “Wassup?” I slurred out, my tongue still numb from sleep.

“Nothing, I just got up - ‘bout to take a shower,” He paused. “Waddabout you?”

“Just slayed a fucking dragon with a bowl of pasta balancing on my head.”

“Sick dream, huh?”

“You think I’m kidding,” I said lowly staring into his eyes, before losing my cool and chuckling. Kyle joined me in my light laughter.

“Nice, better than my dream at least…” Kyle trailed off his smile dropping. I would have asked what it was about - but it turned out I didn’t need to. “I have, had, a little brother, Ike-“ His voice broke and he shook his head. “Another time, another time,” He said softly. I wasn’t going to pressure him, I was proud enough as it is that he tried to open up to me - I felt like an accomplished father.

“Nah, it’s fine,” I said, placing my hand on his back and steering him towards the bathroom. “On to another topic - honestly, what’s up? You’ve been down more so than usual.” Kyle stopped in his tracks, his face draining of colour.

“Why would you care?” He said, his voice suddenly tight, “We never actually got along, did we? It’s always everyone else.” I was taken aback, had I really ignored Kyle to the point that he actually felt left out? “Just run along and preen your little yellow mascot, I’m sure he misses you,” and with that Kyle stepped into the bathroom and shut the door on my face.

Back at the “Dungeon”, as I had dubbed it, I was still mulling over Kyle’s words. I had an inkling suspicion that those words weren’t directed at me, but as the honorary father that I am, I would have to tell him that he can open up to me.

“Hey, Tucker, snap out of it!” A voice called, I jumped up from the couch when a pair of fingers snapped in front of my face. Token was leaning over me, his face pretty white for a black guy. “What do you think you’re doing Tucker?! This is a life or death situation!”

I swiped my check, rubbing off the excessive amount of saliva coating it and the couch pillow. “For you maybe,” I said coughing slightly, my throat was burning.

“This isn’t a time to joke around here Tucker we-“

“You’ll be fine,” I interjected. “Stop being such a big baby!”

“I’m going outside with mutated zombies, I will be so far from fine!” Token was getting on my nerves by now. We had been planning this for days, and this has to be the time he pulls out? Not on my watch.

“Look either we all live or you die and everyone else won’t - which won’t happen. I’ll be at the window with a gun. I’ll have your back.” Token’s face got even whiter if that was possible, today was the day and there was nothing we could do to avoid it and he knew it. The defenses had been weakening every day for the past week and a bit, if he left it any longer the hospital would be infiltrated and there would be nowhere to run.

Chapter Text

If Twitter was still a working app, the hashtag - #BrokenToken would be trending. Or in a minute it would be because this couldn't end well.
It’s impressive that it was when Token was already hanging out the window tied up with a yarn rope held by Kenny, Stan, Kyle, and Wendy that we realised our idea wasn’t the brightest.
At dinner the night before, Token and I announced our fear for the defenses and our plan. I believe that the lack of sunlight and fresh air turned the brains of my fellow comrades into mush because they didn’t even look up. They just nodded. Except maybe Kyle, who looked up with an expression of confusion and horror - but his concerns weren’t enough to break his ‘No Talking To Craig’ pact. So he was with us. Dangling Dr. Black out of a window. Above a cluster of zombies.
Luckily these zombies had mutations focused mainly on speed and smell - nothing too strong. Still a threat though. Obviously.

“Lower!” Called out Token, his voice slightly shaking from nerves. The plan was to hover him above the fence and wrap some extra industrial chains with locks. It would buy us time to think of an escape plan, not totally protect us.
The rope team shifted their position with Kenny almost hanging over the edge of the window sill. It took all but three years. I’m kidding, but it took a fucking long time. Almost as long as my di-
“FUCK!” I heard Token scream from below. I ran to the edge basically climbing over the rope team. Token had successfully locked the fence with the chain but now he was flailing in the air - the zombies trying their best to jump to his height. Their white eyes were wide and their unearthly mouths stretched across their faces, saliva dribbling down their chins. And Token was hanging above them, clutching onto the slipping knot of the rope - his only support.
“Token!” I yelled, leaning over the window with Kenny. “Stop moving!” Token snapped his neck up to look at me.

“ARE YOU FUCKING INSANE?!” He yelled back up to me, his voice almost stolen by the wind.

“Hey, hey, now. We don’t have any need for such language in this fine establishment!”

“SHUT THE FUCK UP KENNY” Everyone shouted, trying their best to focus on Token’s shitty situation at hand.
Tweek slapped his hand across Kenny’s head and shook his own. Kenny sniggered and switched his focus back to the slipping rope.

“Token, listen to me,” I said as calmly as I could, placing my slightly bulky 12-gauge shotgun on the floor beside me. “Hold the rope above you hand lift yourself.”
Token reached above himself and wrapped his hands around the rope, his muscles straining to keep him above. “Okay,” I said, moving Kenny aside slightly and grabbing the front of the rope myself. “If you let go now, you will fall - the rope can’t take that much shock.”

“WHAT?!” Token pulled himself up higher, lifting his feet away from the jumping zombies. Oh boy, let me tell you if these zombies had pogo sticks Token would be fucked even more than he was already.

“On three guys!” I called out behind me.
“And girls!” Bebe yelled back.
“Now is not the time for a feminist riot,” Kyle grunted, his knuckles white from holding the rope so tight.
“Okay! On three guys and girls,” Kenny did the count and on three we all heaved backwards, leaning back so far that Stan was almost lying on top of Kyle.
I saw top black hands grip the edge of the window sill and I hurriedly let go of the rope and grabbed his hands, hauling him up. I pulled Token up and onto the sill where he sat, panting for dear life. Everyone themselves let go of the rope, leaving it to poor TidePod to keep up, and ran over to Token.

“Oh thank god you’re alive!” Kenny exclaimed, “We can’t lose our token black!” Token punched him on the shoulder.
“Don’t fucking remind me what my name is.” I had to admit to myself at the time, I don’t know how his parents thought that name was a good idea - it wasn’t wrong though.
“Yeah, mate sucks dick I tell ya’” I pushed Kenny aside and towards Kyle hoping that he would shut him. I knelt down and hiked up Token’s trousers to study his legs for bite marks. I was pleased to announce to the group that all was fine when I heard a strangled gurgle. I spun around to see (Human) Trafficking struggling to hold onto the, now, tight rope and slipping down I rushed to his aid while Wendy stuck her head out the window to scope out what was going on.
She shrieked. “THEY’RE CLIMBING IT!”
Fuck, that never occurred to me.

“Tweek! Let go!” I called at the top of my voice. Trelawney shook his head and tried to lift up his hand, “Tweek, let go now.” I said much more sternly. The sounds from the zombies were getting louder and louder. Closer and closer. Tangled once again shook his head this time gesturing towards the window. But by now everyone else had started yelling at Textbook to let go, tears were starting to stream down his face. Exasperated enough I stalked over to him snatching the rope out of his hands - as soon as I did he started signing furiously, but I couldn’t look. The immense weight that the rope held was what I had to concentrate on.
“Move outta the way!” I shouted, and everyone splinted off except Token, but I noticed too late. I had already let go of the rope.
Twitches lept forwards but fell short of Token.
We all watched in horror as the rope fell out of the room pulling Token along with it - his leg still tangled.

The screams from Token rang in my ears. The gleeful growls from the zombies shook my body. And the sobs from Tangerine squeezed my heart. However, my legs were still able to lead me to the window. I looked down to see a pool of blood with a shattered Token lying in the middle - his chest still rising and falling. The zombies had gathered in a circle and seemed to be picking which limb they wanted to start from.
I felt a tug on the back of my shirt. I knew it was Twigger who would try to convince me from the inevitable, so I didn’t turn around. I kept my eyes trained on Token’s body that was already being utterly destroyed by the jaws of the zombies. I hoisted my shotgun up and pulled the trigger. A cry of horror sounded behind me, Wendy had her head buried in Stan’s chest, Kyle had plugged his ears, Kenny had his head turned, Bebe hugging his arm sobbing quietly and Tidbit was on the floor at my feet gasping for air between sobs.
He lifted up his arms, and without looking at me shakily signed: It’s all my fault

Chapter Text

Stupid. Stupid. STUPID! I thought grabbing at my hair - a habit I picked up from Spazzy recently. “You fucking idiot, idiot, IDIOT!” If only you had listened to him none of this would have happened! I was standing in my empty ward, thunking my head against the cement wall every third second. My stomach was growling and my blood was pumping. I hadn’t eaten since Token’s accident, and I felt weak but I wasn’t hungry. I would look up these symptoms on google if it was still running. It would probably tell me I was depressed or some shit. Big surprise.
I had been acting like this since yesterday, I couldn’t bear to face Tazor. However, there was nothing I wanted more than to hold him by his shoulders and apologise. Apologise for not listening to him. Apologise for not noticing him more. Apologise for letting him take this on as his own fault. Apologise for being such a fucking wimp that I wouldn’t leave my room to actually goddamn apologise.
I was a fucking coward.

It was around six pm when I heard a knock on my door. I stayed silent. The door opened anyway. And a soft voice called out.
“Uh, hey Craig.”
“Oh yippie, it’s Super Bitch.”
“Fuck you, Craig, I’m here to thank you, you dickhead!” Bebe said, her voice not quite as soft as it began.
“Thank me for what, exactly-“
“You fucked up Craig,” Thanks, I wasn’t aware. “But what you did was good for him,” Bebe’s voice shook slightly. I still didn’t turn around. I stoically looked at the wall, feeling my back prickle from her stare. “You see, Token would have wanted you to shoot him. Despite his tireless efforts with work around zombies, there was nothing he hated more, zombies that is.”
“Wow, how unique.”
She decided to ignore me. I heard the creak of my bedsprings as she sat down. My back stopped prickling, I assumed she looked away. Her loss. I’m an incredible view.
“He was prepared to dedicate his whole life for a cure. I guess he did, didn’t he?” She was sniffling into a tissue by now, I finally decided to turn around, my back leaning against the wall. The sight of her was pitiful, let me tell you. “You remember Clyde-“
“I have to kill him soon,” I said my voice croaky from crying. That’s strange I don’t remember crying. “Since there will be no more experiments conducted upon him we can’t risk having him in the same vicinity as us.”

Bebe shook her head and smiled softly, looking down at a crumpled, dirty tissue in her hand, “That’s the right thing to do but please let Wendy and I say goodbye before you do. He was our friend too, y’know?” I had figured as much. The trio (Wendy, Super Bitch, and Token) seemed very close to Clyde. Or were before he turned into a flesh-eating monster and Token was thrown out of a building, eaten by zombies and then shot by a virtual stranger. It’s little things like that that can destroy friendships.
“Token was closer with him than Wendy or-“ And that’s when she broke down. I don’t know what was it about that sentence that. Tore her apart but now she was sobbing into my pillow, her body half lying on my bed and half on the cold marble floor.

I walked over to her and placed my hand on her back feeling her back rise and fall at a sporadic pace. She was weak and I knew it. She probably knew it. It was her own fault for developing such a deep relationship during the apocalypse. The human mortality rate had dramatically spiked since the apocalypse. It took her a few minutes before she took a few shuddering breaths and continued with talking.

“I’m sorry that was weak of me,” yes it was. “It’s just so hard with Kenny and Token and everything," Oh, now she’s talking about herself. “I don’t even think he likes me,” Of course, he doesn’t he’s using you as stress or maybe anger relief. I wouldn’t know, but I do know he doesn’t love you. Emotions like that are useless. However, what would I know? I don’t talk to him about his sex life.
“Anyway,” Bebe waved her hand as if brushing away her previous statement. “Token and Clyde were closer with each than they were with either Wendy or me,” She clutched my pillow to her body and curled herself around it. He skirt rode up further than what even Bebe was most likely comfortable with. Not that I was looking.
“Closer than best friends too, there was,” She paused biting her nail, thinking. “There was something special between those two. Something special enough for Token to keep Clyde in that state and work for so long-”
“Look,” I finally said my voice firm. “I get that you are here to thank me for killing your friend, but I don’t want to hear your fucking life story. So is there a fucking point for you to still be here?” I was bored and had more to contemplate than the relationship status of Token and Clyde.

Bebe shot up from the bed her face red with anger and wet with tears, not that I cared.

“You know what Craig? Fuck you! Fuck you and your stupid emotions! I was going to tell you that if you’re desperate to save humanity like the rest of us there could be answers in Token’s office!” She stalked over to the door and yanked it open but not before spinning around and yelling, “You think you’re so much better than everyone else because you “don’t attach” yourself to people but let me tell you no one thinks that makes you impressive. You’re just a sad, lonely sack of shit!”

And then I was suddenly alone in the room.
Alone.
Again.
Huh.

.

.

.

.

solum negavit nisi per verum

Chapter Text

I don’t know how it happened but after two days of “grieving,” everyone became super proactive.
I had told Stan about the hospital vans kept in a locked off carpark under the building. We were eating our canned peas and a soggy apple, each when Stan brought up Kyle’s distance between him and the group.

“I dunno man, we just used to be so close,” He took a spoonful of beans and shoved it in his mouth. “I mean, I know the apocalypse isn’t great for maintaining friendships but this was just so…. sudden,” He looked across the white, plastic, table to me. I said nothing. How could I help him? The fuck do I know about “friendships”?
“Anyway, sorry to bother you with that stuff, “ you should be. “But Wendy is incredible right?” That was sudden. Honestly, I would rather you go back to the friendship topic, not the relationship one. “We haven’t gone too far because I get nervous quickly and-“ A deep blush settled on his face, I didn’t know what happened when he got nervous and I didn’t /want/ to know. “Uh, yeah,” He cleared his throat and giggled sheepishly. “Yesterday I kissed her, on my own volition! It was wow-“
I have to shut him up.
“We can leave in a few days,” I said quietly, watching a pea I had balanced on my apple slowly roll off and drop onto the table.
“Wha-?”
“There are extra weapons and ambulance vans stored in the carpark under the building.”
Stan jumped up, his dopamine levels almost skyrocketing. “That's awesome dude! How many days till we can leave?”
I pierced the pea with my fork and pushed it around in circles, “The minimum amount of time we can leave in is two days. Two days to prepare the vehicles and stock up on supplies.”
Stan’s grin grew even wider, “Sweet! I gotta go tell Wendy- and, ah, the others of course.” And he took off out of the dining room and along the hall.
I listened to his footsteps as they padded away, that wasn’t how I was planning to tell everyone but I needed him to shut the fuck up.

And then here we were with everyone crowded downstairs and a giant hospital van getting completely renovated.

When we first got down there and switched on the lights a few shrieks at the far corner near the gate told me that there were some zombies hiding down here. But not anymore buddy boy! As I went closer to investigate I found two zombies who had already turned to a greenish brown goo from the light.
I had also found some builders uniforms, orange vests and brown khaki pants, which Stan gratefully traded for his crop-top and suspenders. He seemed oddly attached to the pinstriped pants.

We had decided to re-design the vans specifically for fighting off zombies. Kyle had drawn out his plans on large sheets of greaseproof parchment and my breath was taken away. It was… beautiful.

The driver and passenger spot was connected to the back, the separating wall was taken down, there were tin extensions covering the perimeter of the roof, the driver and passenger doors were soldered on so that nothing could enter, a long strip was taken out from each wall for chainsaws and guns to fit through, the doors at the back were kept the same except for extra bolts and locks added, and the icing on the cake; long spikes were created and stuck to the front of the truck to drive effectively through words of zombies.

The extensive plan meant, however, that my original estimation had to be recalculated. But that was an issue to resolve later for the time being I was watching over my team work non-stop on our new monster truck. I almost mean this literally since the paint designs gave of monster truck airs. Not that I wanted that horrible art on my truck but I couldn’t be bothered to argue with Kenny.

“But it looks sooooooooo cooooooooool,” He had whined clinging to my shirt sleeve. “It would definitely give us street cred.”
“Who needs street red in the fucking apocalypse?” I asked honestly confused.
“Us, duh,” He said flicking my forehead. “Since we are some of the only survivors of this terrible, terrible situation. We may as well flaunt it!”

Sometimes, I just couldn’t understand Kenny.

I watched him as his sauntered back to the old spray cans he had found, evidently taking my silence as a, ‘yes’.
As I watched Kenny spray reds, blues, and yellows onto the van, standing on the tips of his toes and arching his back to get specific shapes or letters, I spotted Twink.
He was curled up against a pillar watching intently as Kyle and Stan argued passionately over serrated edges for the spikes that would run along the front of the van.

I slowly shuffled my way over to him. I knew that he didn’t blame me, but himself so I wasn’t expecting a cold shoulder. As I edged closer to him, he scooted over to make some room for me. My back slid down the pole and I landed next to him, our knees touching.
“Hey,” I said softly looking down at his hands. I was prepared to see what he had to say but not to see his face.
Hello, how are you? he signed quickly, moving his hands closer to my field of vision to make it easier for me to see.
“I’m okay, thanks, uh, you?” I stuttered out, my eyes not leaving his hands.
I’m fine, I’m sorry about Token I should have-
I placed my hands on top of him, cutting him off. “You shouldn’t have done anything, it wasn’t your fault Tweek.” My voice came out more forceful than I had planned but TikTok didn’t seem to mind. He pulled his hands out from under mine, I felt a small drop of my heart.
Thanks, Craig.
And we sat like that for a while. Our hands lying next to each other. Our shoulders and knees touching, watching Kenny curse at the empty spraypaint cans and Stan try his best to show off for Wendy, who had her head buried in a book and Bebe curled up on her lap examining her nails.
Even though we were most likely going to lose another of our crew from our daring escape, the kids dismissed it until the time was right.

A sense of calmness bathed the carpark and its inhabitants in a warm blanket.
.
.
.
.
Fuck I’m hungry.

Chapter Text

This vegan diet makes me want to throw up, where’s the meat.
At this point, I would eat any animal and just accept the risk of salmonella.

Three full days of constant working and it was the day before we took our leave.
During these three days, I had spent overtime directing the group with where to put what and how. If I had a penny for every time I broke up a fight between Kyle and Stan I would be… still poor. This is fucking America, we don’t use goddamn pennies and who needs money in the apocalypse. Motherfuc-
Anyway, I also spent my free time with Tinder, wait- no. I also spent my time with Grinder- hang on…
I also spent my time with Theicecapsaremeltingweareallgoingtodie, and he taught me about nicknames. Obviously, I’m aware of nicknames but he was teaching me sign language nicknames. Apparently, it becomes annoying to spell out anyone’s name every time you mention them! Who would have guessed?

So he began showing me his nickname, a gesture where you bring up your left hand and pull gently at your hair.
Stan’s was placing the back of your right hand in a fist against your lips and then opening it. Kyle’s was the diamond shape pressed against your forehead and Kenny’s was clenching both hands and placing the right one above your heart and the left one on top of the right.

Triangle explained that there were meanings within the nicknames that resonate with the person and the people that know them. So he began thinking of a nickname for me.
I didn’t have enough time to sit with him and mull over what hand gesture would encapsulate who I am. So as Twinkle Twinkle sat with a book propped against his legs and his hands in the air signing words I didn’t know or couldn’t make out, I helped Stan and Bebe rim the roof edges with tin.

We had found heaps of junk in a chained off area in the car park including, metal scraps, roofing, cement mixes, two chainsaws, a box of bent nails, hard hats, a soldering iron, an empty flame thrower, five hammers, three work vests, two work pants, six head torches, a pair of underwear, three full gasoline containers and six, and a half, full gas cans. There were many more things for sure under the miscellaneous debris but I feared what we would find if we scavenged any further.
So from the many items, we discovered we were able to accurately complete the truck to its new found glory.

And there it stood. After seventy-two straight hours of hard work, our baby stood, still glistening from Kenny’s wet paint that had yet to dry.
At that moment standing with the group, blood, sweat, and tears running down our bodies I had to admit Kenny’s art was the crowning jewel.
It was like the graffiti from a skate park was slapped onto the sides of our truck. However, instead of a personal tag, written across the truck were the words, ‘The Crawlers’ written in dark blue paint dripping from the top a halo of yellow surrounding it.
“The Crawlers?” I said, my brain itching to remember where I had heard the name before.
“That's us,” said Kenny slinging his arm across my shoulders. “I had originally wanted to call the ‘Zombies’ ’The Crawlers,’ but it didn’t catch on.” He sighed and shook his head
“I thought of the same name,” I said realising I had thought this in chapter one.
“Wow, really?” Kenny exclaimed, clapping me on the back, “Great minds, amirite?”
“Yeah… why would we put the zombies' name on our zombie killing truck?”
“Ahh,” Kenny scratched his head and released my shoulder. “I just wanted to show them who’s boss, y’know? We take their name, we take their power- ugh, it’s stupid I kn-“
“No, it’s not. It’s brilliant.”

Before Kenny and mine’s conversation could progress any further, I felt a tug on my arm. Twaddle stood in front of me, his gaze averted and his hands lacing together.
I have a name for you
“Ohh, yippie!” Kenny said clapping his hands, “Give me a second I have to get a chair.
After a few seconds, Kenny was already back with half a pair of sunglasses and a broken lawn chair. He waved his hand extravagantly, “Proceed.”

Tanktop continued showing his hands and signing my nickname. Feel free to follow along if you want to.
Place your left hand down, palm facing up towards your chin. Now, with your right hand, flip off the left hand and place your rude finger onto the flat of the left hand. It’s not complex, nor is it deep but it was mine. I owned that sign and Tight-rope made it, for me. That thought gave me this strange feeling, like… champagne bubbles fizzing in my belly.

“I, uh, thanks Tweek,” I said, I bet my left leg (I know the jokes' getting old, get off my dick) that my face was the colour of a beetroot stain. Before I could express my thanks anymore he ran off to Kyle, burying his face in his hands. I stared after him, did I do something wrong? 
I felt a bump on my hip, I looked down to see Kenny lounging in the lawn chair but now with a pink feather boa around his neck and a dusty, empty margarita glass in hand. I don’t know how he got that stuff but he has his ways. “You’re in it deep my man.”
“Wha-“ Kenny brought his finger up to my lips.
“Hush my child.”
“I’m older than you…”
“I R R E L I V A N T!” He tilted his head back and “drained” his empty glass. He threw it aside letting it shatter against the cement floor. Not even flinching from the crash that resounded from the glass he stood up slowly and slung his boa around my neck.

“I know what you want from him,” He whispered huskily into my ear.
“I don’t know what you mean Kenny,” I protested leaning away from his face that was inching ever closer. Luckily no one could see this scene since we were hidden behind a large stack of rusted hubcaps.

“We’re leaving this place tomorrow and we don’t know what’s going to happen to any of us. Why not take a leap while you can?”
I gulped, I couldn’t act like I had no idea what he was insinuating, it was too late for that.
“Why now Kenny? Why today?” I asked my voice lowered to such a low tone even I could hardly hear it.

“Don’t throw bullshit at me, Craig, you know that this is the last time we will have somewhere privet to do, who knows what…” He yanked the boa closer to him, causing me to stumble forwards and push him against the wall. “Now don’t get confused, I’m not interested in you in the slightest,” He pulled a face and pushed my chest slightly, okay, rude.

“Then why don’t you go fuck Bebe then? She seems to have enjoyed it.” Kenny giggled softly and tapped my nose.
“Oh don’t get me wrong Tucker, you will enjoy it too,” He said his eyes flashing with humour. “But that’s not what I’m saying, what I’m saying is you want this too.”
“I don-“
“Not with me Tucker, no no, I know that. Don't pretend that you don't want me, I do know you like ‘em pretty and blond.”
My face went hot and Kenny buried his face into my chest trying to smother his laughter. “Come off it Craig, we all see how you look at him,” Kenny said, his voice slightly muffled by my shirt.
“Tonight I can be your precious Tweek Tweak and you can be my Marj, how about it?”
I didn’t know who Marj was, but it wasn’t my time to ask. I understood that we would both gain from this and I was in no position to ask questions.
“You wouldn’t want to dirty that innocent, innocent, innocent boy, now would you?” He said pointing at Twizzeler, who had just come into view - clutching his notebook close to his chest.

I hurriedly pushed Kenny off me, letting the pink monstrosity float around my shoulders.
Trampoline turned at that exact second and ran over to me flipping through his notebook to find a page. He got up to me and flipped around his book to show a rough sketch of us all, Kenny, Stan, Kyle, Bebe, Wendy, Twinkietoes and me. The drawing wasn’t anything incredible but it warmed me from head to toe to think that I was the first person he wanted to show. Sure he was kind of childish but that just made it cuter. This was when I realised Kenny was right, I didn’t want to dirty Tweek, especially in a world like this.
I looked over TwinTowers’ head to see Kenny signing a message for me.
See you tonight, big boy, and with that, he flipped down his shades and walked away.
.
.
.
.
Should I tell Tweek that after tomorrow he might have to scribble out some of the people in that drawing…?

Chapter Text

Mould.
It was climbing down the walls. Circling the bedsteads. Creating strange floral patterns on the ceiling that I would stare at night. But I wasn’t me who was staring at it tonight.
Sweat.
It clung to my forehead and dripped down my back. I felt it run down my arms. And run down my face. It glittered from the fluorescent lights.
Nails.
Scratched my back drawing blood. They caressed my face softly. They traced patterns on my chest. They clicked against the bed frame. Chipped, black, polish rimmed their edge. I don’t know where he found polish in the apocalypse but he has his ways.
Knotted hair.
In my mouth. Tied around my fingers. Bouncing on his head. Tickling my neck. Nuzzling into my chest.
Creaks.
Creaks from the bed as it rocked. Creaks from the gate outside that zombies were currently shaking. Creaks from the house settling. A creak that sounded oddly like a door closing.
Moans.
Moans of pleasure. Moans of pain. Moans of names. He wasn’t moaning my name, nor was I moaning his. We were in our separate worlds.

Kenny was gasping for air as my arms held his hips in place, restricting his movements. A moan bubbled up from his throat and I paused for a second, covering his mouth with my hand. “Be quiet.”

I continued to rock my hips as Kenny pressed himself closer into the bed, his hands gripping the sheets. He panted heavily into the bedclothes, his saliva coating my pillow.
I finally took my hand away from Kenny’s mouth.
“Harder,” Kenny groaned.
I didn’t say a word and slammed into him at a faster pace. He moaned and his eyes rolled back into his head.
“Oh, fuck Tweek,” I winced feeling a heavyweight of bliss build in the pit of my stomach. Soon, our pants and stifled moans grew thick and we both grunted as one final jolt of pleasure shook through us to our core.

“Holy shit,” Kenny grinned, running his fingers through his tangled hair messing it up more. I groaned as Kenny peeled himself off me and walked out to clean himself off.
I let my legs hang off my bed and lent back, listening to the soft trickle of water from Kenny washing himself.

Only half an hour ago Kenny was sitting on my bed with me listing off rules.
“Okay, first of all, no kissing, that’s for people who are in love, and these lips are reserved for someone special,” Kenny said, blowing a kiss at me.
“Understandable.”
“Cool, second rule, no moaning my name.”
“I wasn’t planning on it…?”
Kenny rolled his eyes and looked at me smugly, “That's what they all say, Craig.” I decided not to protest him on this.
“Third, no breaks. I’m a one time guy - not stamina here.” I wasn’t annoyed by this. I wanted this to be over as soon as possible, I just needed a quick outlet.
“And finally, no falling in love, but I’ve seen the way you drool for Tweek. So that shouldn’t be a problem, but better safe than sorry.” He winked at me.
“Also,” He leaned back into my bed and propped himself up with his elbows. “I’m not used to being a bottom, but we can’t avoid it. So be gentle on me won’t you, Mr. Tucker?”
I nodded stiffly, my throat raw.

I sat on my bed once again but this time I was hot and sticky. The smell of sex hung around me like a heavy cloud. A few minutes later Kenny walked back in, an orange towel wrapped around his waist. I admired his chest for a second. If there wasn’t a different fuzzy blond in my life I might have fallen for Kenny instead.
Kenny caught my eye and smirked. “No looking, as you said your self this was a one-time thing,” he walked over to his scattered clothes and picked them up, bundling them into his arms. “Don’t be having second thoughts…”
“As if!” I said, crossing my arms and turning away from him. I could never have a serious fling with someone so flirtatious and dirty minded.
“Ahh well there goes my chance,” Kenny chuckled and made his way over to my door. “Sleep well Craig, don’t let the bed bugs bite~” He sung and closed the door, an odd look of sadness in his eyes.

I had my own shitty version of a shower and fell asleep almost immediately.
The next morning my whole body was in pain. Especially my shoulders and legs, I just figured it was from my sexual escaped last night. But I couldn’t lie in bed and complain about my muscles today, because the day had finally come. By the time I had gotten up everyone was already congregated in the dining room.

“Wassup sleepy head?” Kenny called from across the room his legs propped up on the table.
I glared at him and made my way over to Tootyfruity, “So what have you guys been discussing?”
“Just business, what time to leave, where to go and how to order rations.”
I sat down slowly, thinking for answers to Stan’s statement.
“The earlier the better I think, less chance of zombies,” I said digging into a soft apple. Before I could continue Trainwreck stood up and moved from the table over to Kyle. He didn’t even look at me. What did I do wrong?
I decided I would ask him later, now was the time for planning. But I couldn’t completely ignore the heavy weight in my stomach.
“And Token had mentioned how a fewer amount of zombies could win so he advised me that when we do leave we should head for an island of some sort.”
“Hey, I know just the place!” Kenny yelled.
“Not now Kenny,” Kyle hissed loudly, pulling on Kenny’s sleeve.
“Get off me,” he said darkly yanking his arm out of Kyle’s grip. “I’m not lying Kyle.” Kenny spat sitting back down in his seat.
“Um okay,” I said awkwardly breaking the silence. “That's great Kenny, are you able to give us directions?”
“Head south.”
“Wha-“
“Head south, you’ll get there eventually.”
I nodded and wrote a note saying that Kenny would be our navigator. I didn’t have time to pick fights, if Kenny knew where he was going then we would follow.
“Hopefully we’ll pass more stores and shit on our way, but we’ll stop by next door to grab some apples and soda.” The apple farm across from us was flourishing from the cold weather that was creeping upon us. I also knew from Token that there was a large fridge in the basement that held cartons upon cartons of Creaming Soda, Sprite and Coke.

“So,” Wendy spoke up, closing the book that was open on her lap. “What definitive time are we leaving at?”
“I think one pm would be a good time,” said Stan, desperately trying to catch Kyle’s eye. “It's early enough for the sun to be directly overhead and late enough for the day to have warmed up a little, don’t you think Craig?” Stan twiddled his thumbs and looked up at me as if asking for my approval, which I guess he was.
“Yes I agree, Stan,” Stan light up quickly but then saddened just as fast when Kyle sent him a glare. Stan hung his head as Wendy rubbed small circles on back.

After the small meeting, we all went our separate ways to prepare for our departure. I jogged out of the room to catch up to Trooper who sped walked out of the room but once I had exited through the door, he was gone. To this day I have no fucking clue how he did that.

And it went like that all the way up to 12:30 as we were all packing in our stuff.

It was 12:32 when I grabbed Trapdoor by the shoulder and brought him out of sight of the others.


It was 12:33 when I whispered harshly to him, “Tweek what’s up? You’ve been avoiding me all day?”
Tweek stayed silent, of course.


It was 12:35 when I opened my mouth to speak again, “Hey Tweek, please tell me what I did wrong, we were getting along so well-“ and my voice broke.


The clock then clicked over to 12:36, at Tweek, signed. He signed so fast, but even if he slowed down I wouldn’t know what he was saying because I was too busy staring at his face. His face was getting redder and redder, small tears welled up in his eyes and rolled down his cheeks like small crystals. Then when he was done he just stood there, shaking.


It was 12:38 when I realised I should be comforting him, but when I opened my arms he flinched away.


It was 12:40 when Tweek ran. He ran away. Away from me.


It was still 12:40 when I heard someone say, “dude…”
I had looked up to see Kyle who had evidently been there the whole time. I opened my mouth to say something but he cut me off.
“Don’t even try Craig, you were never nice but this was too far, even for you.”
And I stood there, shellshocked.
What just happened?


It was 12:58 when I was called to attention by Wendy and I snapped out of my stupor.


It was 1:00 when we opened the gates.

Chapter Text

“In, in, in!” I yelled pulling Wendy and Kyle by their arms and throwing them behind me. Stan was chucking boxes at Bebe who was catching them and placing them in order at the back.
I heard the clink and clatter of the chain falling off the car park gate. Seconds later Kenny came speeding around the side of the truck and catapulted himself inside. The engine revved and I turned to see Wendy, her hair pulled back and a determined look set into her face, sitting in the driver's seat.
Tweek was the last to get inside, I let out my arm for him to grab but he turned away and scrambled in himself.
This is really infuriating, I thought.

I spun around and ran to the passenger seat. I hoped in it and Wendy looked at me. We nodded and looked out the window.

In front of us were four zombies scratching furiously on the gate. They were all this horrible yellow colour. One had a melting eye, another had a long tongue that was pushed through the holes of the gate and was whipping back and forth furiously and another had the longest neck I had ever seen. Its head was hanging over the fence, its arms swiping wildly at the chains below.
Not the most comforting sight.

One last look into the back to see everyone huddle together in the corner, prepared of the jolt of their lives and Wendy stepped on it, full throttle.
The gates stood no chance against our zombie destroying machine.

The truck bounced and clattered. A small squeak was audible from Kyle, but when I turned to check on him I saw him safely wrapped up in Stan’s arms.
I turned back to the road and the sunlight seared my eyes, I had forgotten how astonishingly bright it was.
Wendy glanced my way, ready for instructions. I knew that I wouldn’t be easily heard over the rattle of guns, growls of zombies and the roar of the engine, so I just pointed towards the apple farm.
Twisting the steering wheel, Wendy spun the truck around. The tires squealed against the asphalt, leaving skid marks.
The sounds from the zombies were faint and we assumed that they must have given up on chasing us.
“You guys good back there?,” I called out, over my shoulder.
“Yeah man, all good!” Stan called back, I didn’t check but I guessed that he and Kyle were still clinging to each other.

The rest of the short ride to the apple farm was quiet. All that could be heard was our collective heavy breathing. Wendy pulled up to the abandoned parking lot, and Kenny unhooked the roof hatch, sticking his head out to check for any threats.
As he looked I unbuckled my seat belt and walked to the back of the truck to see if anyone was wounded.
As if my brain was hardwired to do so, my legs lead me straight to Tweek.
I knelt down next to him and leaned forward.
“Hey,” I said softly, signing my words as I went along, hoping that he would at least check my hands to see what I was saying. “Is everything okay? Did you get hurt at all?” Tweek looked away from me completely, pouting.
Kyle slid over to us and slung his arm around Tweek pulling him closer.
“Not right now Craig, you have no right,” He said, his eyes narrowed.
No right? No right! How fucking dare you. I don’t know how I fucked up but if you dare tell me that I can’t talk to MY Tw- I cut my thoughts off quickly, however, I stood up, I would ask Tweek again how, when we’re alone. 
I scratched the back of my neck, my eyes refusing to look away from Tweek. Until that is, Kyle brought him even closer so that Tweek’s head rested on his shoulder. A wave of red, hot anger washed over me. I tore my gaze away from them and stalked over to the hatch.

“Kenny!” I snapped, “Do fucking you see anything?!”
Kenny’s head pooped out of the hatch upside down, his hair almost tickling my face.
“Damn, chill. I was just admiring the view,” He said, a cheeky grin plastered on his face. “And-“ He swung into the van and landed perfectly before me, “The zombies are in the distance walking the other way, we’re safe.”

I decided to ignore Kenny’s gymnastic skills and moved forwards. “Okay, guys lets get out of the truck,” I clapped my hands and rubbed them together. “Bebe, Wendy, Stan, and Kenny you’re coming with me.” I said, pointing them out, “Kyle and Tweek, you stay here.”

“Why?” Kyle asked his brow furrowed in annoyance, “Do you think we’re weaker than you guys?”
“Honestly, yes,” I began. “But, if I was going by strength, I would have just brought the girls, however,” I continued, realising that my explanation was longer than necessary. “The more numbers the quicker we’ll be, Tweek can’t come because if we split up and he needs help he can’t call for us. And since you two seem to be having some “bonding time”, I thought that you would want to stay. Or was I wrong?”

Kyle scratched his head, probably searching for a smart ass comment he could slap me in the face with, but evidently, he found nothing.
Tweek, however, was signing very angrily at me, I could almost see a throbbing vein in his temple.
He was signing things like, I can protect myself and I’m not weak, Craig
Unlike the other times he’s signed before, this time I’m sure I saw a few swear words in his sentences but I won’t say what they were, PG13 and all that shit.

I just turned away from him, unlocked the back doors and jumped out. If he wasn’t gonna talk to me, I won’t talk to him. I was Swiftly followed by Bebe, Wendy, Stan, and Kenny.
Stan shut the door and we listened to Kyle bolt it from the inside. Then we all walked to the side door of the big old factory.
What a factory was doing on an apple farm, I would never know.

“Torches,” I whispered to the group and we all unhooked the torches we had gathered the night before, from our belt loops and flipped them on.
I walked ahead of everyone else and made my way up to the door.

It was made of roofing tin that was completely rusted but somehow still held together. I pushed to open and it slowly swung inwards, squeaking loudly. I cringed at the noise but my heart stayed at the same beat.
I had been told by Token and Bebe on multiple occasions that they had visited this wear-house to collect apples and water. So the risk of zombies was low, but you can never be too sure.

I lifted up my hand and motioned the others to follow me. We all piled into the small room, most likely originally used to change in and out of work clothes.
“So guys, Wendy will give us the directions, since she’s been here the most often,” Wendy nodded in agreement with me. “I know you guys are capable to look after yourselves, so use your strengths,” I stepped back and lined the group up. “Bebe, you’re agile so Wendy will send you where you can lose a Zombies easily between pipes and shit, Wendy, you’re Wendy Testaburger, I don’t need to elaborate. Stan,” Stan shuffled nervously under my gaze. “You’re a strong fucker, beat the brains out of those motherfucking zombies, if you come across them, okay?”
“Okay,” Stand said, clenching his fist determinedly.
“And Kenny,” I turned to where he should have been, but he was nowhere to be seen.
“Aye, aye cap’n!” Kenny called swinging down from the support beams.
“You… just. Just, fuck shit up,” I said, exasperated, Kenny wore me thin.
“Certainly sir!” He said, pumping his chest before dropping back onto the dusty floor.

Quickly, everyone started leaving the room one by one, after being given directions by Wendy. First Wendy left, then Bebe, then Stan, until it was just Kenny and me standing in the hay fever inducing room.
“Nice pep talk today sir, where did the positivity come from, may I ask?”
I slouched and rubbed my shoulder, “It wasn’t positive, Kenny.”
“Well, it sure sounded positive to me, or were you just flirting with everyone.” Kenny let out a gasp and fell backward, into my arms, “Oh gracious, how could you Craig!” He wept into his hands, “I thought I was your one-and-only but now you’re trying to bed Mister Stan instead.” Kenny’s acting stopped abruptly, “Not that I would blame you, his big strong arms make me think things that-“
“Get off me,” I said letting go of Kenny. He yelped when he hit the concrete ground.
“Fucking rude, glad you ain’t my Prince Charming,” He said, rubbing his backside, frowning at me.
“I thought you we were distraught over me, only a few seconds ago?” I asked, amused by his sudden change in character.
“Oh, Craig, sorry to crush your hopes, I was just acting,” Kenny said, making jazz hands in the air. “But anyway, what was with the positivity before?”

It wasn’t positivity I thought, but it was no use saying that again, he wouldn’t get it. I guessed I should just tell him upfront.
“Now that we’re out in the open, the likeliness of one of us dying has risen drastically. And, I needed to raise their spirits so that they have confidence when they are face to face with a zombie in real life.”
“How sweet of you.”
“It isn't sweet!”
“Whatever you say, dude,” Kenny brushed off his pants and walked over to the doorway which held nothing but darkness on the other side.

He smiled at me, his eyes seemed kind of misty as if he was about to cry.
He held out his fist towards me.
“What are you doing?”
“Bump it.”
“I’m not gonna bump it-“
“Come on man, think of it as my last wish.”
I groaned and rolled my eyes so far back, I saw the inside of my skull. I slowly put up my fist and gently bumped Kenny’s.
“If you say a word of this to the others, I’ll slit your throat.”
Kenny held up his hands in defense and laughed. I had a thumping headache by this time, so his laugh was most defiantly not appreciated.
“All good boo,” Then he walked backward, letting the darkness swallow him. “See you soon.”
.
.
.
.
The next day, there were fewer people than what we began with.

Chapter Text

So it all came down to this, weeks of training with me and weeks of training with Bebe and hundreds of warnings and rules. We still all ended up running towards the scream.
Runaway
Runaway
Turn around
She’s gone already
And still, I kept running. Around corners, over broken pipes and fallen chairs, juggling a bottle of Pepsi and a tin of dog food. When I reached the opening every was already there.

All of us were panting but we all dropped what we had found and left at the zombie that was attacking Bebe.

It was Kenny who killed it. He jumped at the deformed figure and wrapped his legs around its neck, yanking his body backward and snapping its neck.
It collapsed to the floor with Kenny rolling off it and standing up. He spat in its face, an odd fire burning behind his eyes.

Everyone was silent, staring at Bebe. She was standing in a corner shaking. She had sure put up a fight judging by the blooming bruises and scratches.
I placed down my findings and sprinted over to her, Wendy meeting me at Bebe. Bebe dropped to her knees and Wendy went down with her.
“Come on Bebe, take off your clothes we need to check you for bite marks. Bebe nodded, her eyes glassy as if she was reliving what had just happened, on repeat.
We had to act fast because if there was one zombie, there was more. Like cockroaches.
Wendy helped Bebe take off her shirt and tracksuit pants, and examined her.
“She’s all good,” Wendy said forcing Bebe’s shirt back on her. “But we better leave quick, they have probably already noticed us.”
As if on cue, a low guttural growl bubbled up from a dark empty doorway.
“Fuck,” I grabbed Kyle’s hand and pushed him forwards out of the room, Stan and Kenny following closely behind, their hands filled with apples and canned soft drinks. I turned to look at Wendy and Bebe, Wendy had Bebe on her back and their supplies in a moody plastic bag, held by her teeth.

I took the bag from her, “Run.” And she did, off into the blackness towards the light. The growls grew louder, and I took off following the sounds of everyone's footsteps.

Once I hit the light my eyes stung from the brightness but that didn’t stop me or anyone else. Wendy and Bebe were already being helped into the van by Stan and Kyle when I arrived.
I chucked the supplies I was carrying into the back and jumped in my self. I slid over to the passenger seat and hopped in, Wendy flew into the driver seat and started the engine in record time.

Before we took off she turned around to check the doors. Kyle and Kenny were struggling to close them. We would have waited for the doors to be fully closed but just then a zombie scrambled onto the edge of the truck entrance. Wendy slammed her foot onto the accelerator and we sped off, watching the zombie fly off the truck and hit the ground letting out a cry of pain.
With the doors being open as we sped away at a ridiculous speed, this meant that there was a significant amount of pull. Wendy and I were pressed against our seats, Kenny was shielding Tweek, Stan was holding onto the rail, Kyle wrapped up in his arms and Bebe was on the opposite side of the truck clutching onto her own rail. But here’s the issue, she was very close to the back of the truck and was slowly sliding closer and closer to the banging doors. She let out a panicked shriek before letting her right loot slip out from under her and falling out of the truck. Even over the noise of Stan’s yells, the roar of the engine and the happy growls from the zombie I could hear her head hit the ground and crunch under the impact.
The sound alerted Wendy and the van screeched to a halt. But by the time she had fumbled with her seatbelt and clambered out of her seat the zombie was already covered in Bebe’s blood and was digging into her stomach for more.
Wendy cried out and pushed through Stan and Kenny’s arm and jumped out of the van towards Bebe.

The zombie looked up gleeful that he had another meal to snack on. However, Wendy was blind to its yowls of happiness and kept sprinting towards Bebe’s mauled body.

“Fuck it,” I muttered loading my gun.
Milliseconds too late Stan noticed my actions and left at me, knocking me and my gun to the ground, but they were already dead. Bebe, Wendy, and the zombie.

The bodies lay on the ground as if frozen in motion, Wendy was on her knees as if she was sliding over to Bebe and the zombie lay across Bebe reaching for Wendy, preparing to take her down too.
But then Wendy’s body went slack and she fell, slowly at first but then enough speed to hear the sickening crack of her nose as in hit the cement. With the momentum of Wendy’s fall, the zombie’s arm dropped and its head lolled on its side.

It was at that moment that the realisation of what I did hit everyone at full force, they all turned their heads to look at me, disgust etched upon the faces.
“HOW COULD YOU?!” Stan yelled, throwing his fist into my face. Crunch, there goes a tooth. Smash, there goes my jaw. My nose was surprisingly unaffected by this unnecessary violence.
“STAN GET OFF HIM YOU KNUCKLEHEAD!” Kyle shouted pulling Stan off me by his collar. Stan hung limp in Kyle’s arms, “Why did you do that?” He whimpered staring at his scuffed sketchers.

“It was necessary,” I stated as I brushed myself off and closed the gates. The clank of the blots sounded loudly throughout the van.
“I don’t see how that was neces-“ Kenny started.
“If that zombie was able to keep up such a persistent chase with a goddamned vehicle then the moment Wendy stepped outside the van she was a goner. I was unable to get to my gun intake to shoot just the zombie before it got her since my buckle had jammed,” by now Stan had fallen to his knees and was fiddling his thumbs, listening intently to my explanation. “If we had just left Wendy there she would have died or become a zombie herself and the zombie would have morphed into a more dangerous animal with both the AMFs of Bebe and Wendy,” Once I finished the van fell silent. Even though no one said a word I knew that they forgave me. Call it telepathy if you want, but I knew my boys.

I made my way over and strapped myself into the driver's seat, Kyle sat opposite in the passengers, his eyes locked on the road ahead.
“I understand why you did that,” He said his voice tense. I started the car and gripped the wheel tight enough for my knuckles to turn white.
“If you guys didn't run to Bebe when she screamed, Wendy would still be alive now,” I said through gritted teeth, how dare they say they forgive me when they're in just as much fault, if not more?!
Kyle's eyes narrowed, he unbuckled himself and stepped around preparing to go back to Stan, Kenny, and Tweek who were sitting in a circle in the middle of the van. "You know what Craig? You disgust me because you care for us all and you're too afraid to admit it." Kyle hung his head and looked over at Tweek, "You ran to Bebe's screams too, we all did, because we all care- cared for her." Kyle sighed and let his hand slip from the back of the chair, "You just keep letting us down, Craig. All of us."
And with that Kyle walked over and sat next to Tweek after room was made for him. His back was faced to me but I could still feel his glaring burning a hole in my chest. He grabbed Tweek's head and let him lie down on his lap, stroking his hair. He must have thought that that was going to get me to admit my fault, he was wrong. Not that I was in fault.
I felt the hum of the engine through my body, it was my only comfort at this time. I let out a growl in my throat and stepped on the accelerator, and the van took off.
.
.
.
I wasn't crying but my vision was blurry as if someone blew smoke in my eyes.

Chapter Text

The sun was starting to set sending out warm orange rays. I took a sip from my stone cold coffee, we had stopped an hour ago with the gas and portable stove that we nicked from the apple farm and made us all some instant coffee. Tweek had appreciated it more than I had anticipated.
The boys were in the back playing blackjack and losing horribly to Stan who was still sulking even when surrounded by his new riches, which consisted of; a broken watch, a Cavetown CD that was snapped in half and Kenny’s pink feather boa. Kenny wasn’t happy about this.

We had reached an area, once again, where there were hills as far as the eye could see, zero chance of being found. From what Token and I had discovered, when zombies hadn’t been previously encountered and weren’t in sight then unless one stumbled upon you accidentally, there was no chance of danger.

I took another sip of my coffee, feeling my eyes droop. My jaw was throbbing, I'm pretty sure that Stan fractured it, and my eye was blooming into a beautiful purple bruise. Kyle had stiffly offered if I wanted to take a break from driving but I declined both his and Kenny’s offer.
“Come on man!” He whined covering my eyes, “Chill dude, I have a license.” I heard Kyle scoff quietly behind his hand of cards. I snatched his hands away and straightened the van.
“No,” I growled with annoyance lacing my voice. Kenny groaned and flopped on the ground, he proceeded to roll back and forth winning loudly. Everyone else in the van just looked at him, judging him silently.
“Fine,” I muttered, I couldn’t take any more of his high pitched complaining. I watched him in the rear-view mirror spring up, his eyes sparkling.
“Really?!” I rolled my eyes.
“Yes, but tomorrow. Okay?” Kenny hopped up smiling ecstatically.
“Whatever you say, master!”
“And don’t call me Master!” I shouted, feeling my cheeks burn red.

The road was long and seemed to stretch for so long that we would reach the rainbow road by its end. But at least I could have some entertainment in the form of Katy Perry’s 2011 album.
Pictures of last night
Ended up online
I’m screwed
Oh well
It’s a blacked out blur
But I’m pretty sure it ruled
Damn
Maybe I should have just killed myself.
The headache that I had had for around three days now was spiraling out of control. I could see my vision blurring and feel my muscles spasming.

I guess Stan had noticed because he placed his hand on my shoulder and looked at me, concerned.
I didn’t expect that after what I did he would care about me. He surprised me.

“Are you okay, man?” He asked softly.
“Nah, man,” Kenny called from the ceiling where we had installed monkey bars for him. “He looks like death Itself”
“Thanks, Kenny,” I said grumpily, taking another sip of my cold coffee.
“You know what I think?” Kenny said swinging down and landing beside Stan.
Kyle groaned behind the two, looking into the depths of his canned corn his face looking as bored as a student in an ancient history class.
“Kenny, I cannot,” He said between mouthfuls of his corn. “Even begin to adequately convey- how little- I care.”
Kenny waved Kyle away and continued.
“We should, get this, have a party,” He opened up his arms and nodded as if he had just solved the meaning of life.

“Kenny,” I began, trying my hardest to keep my eyes on the road. “I knew you were the sharpest tool in the shed, but really-“
“No!” He cried out gleefully, “There ain’t no zombies in sight and we all really need to boost our moral because I’m aging rapidly from this toxic energy.” Kenny flipped his blond hair and battered his eyelids, “And that really isn’t acceptable.”
I could hear the mummers of disagreement bubble up from the other boys but Kenny had swayed me, surprisingly.

I put my hand in my pocket and squeezed Token’s notebook, was it really okay to put it off?
I decided that we should relax, Kenny was right - the moral was low, and low morale meant bad performance in times of need.
I voiced my opinions with the group and let me just say it didn’t go down all too well, to begin with.

“Are you serious, Craig?” Kyle said accusingly, “after what you just did?”
Stan nodded weakly in agreement with Kyle, his face still flushed and his eyes damp. “Are you seriously expecting us to go and have a party? You astound me!”
I had parked the truck so that I was free to meet this challenge head-on.

I rubbed the big of my nose in exasperation, “They're gone, Kyle, and we need to understand that. Moping around will do us no good.” I looked at Stan who had his head buried in his knees, soft sobs emitting from him, “particularly you Stan, get over yourself.”
I was eventually able to convince the rest to Kenny’s idea, something that I never thought would happen.

So, we drove for another ten minutes until Kenny declared that, this place is fine proper! Or whatever.

We parked the car next to a small babbling brook and set up our shit before it got too dark. Kenny and I set up these large industrial lights, we took from the hospital, in a circle surrounding a large patch of grass. It was found a little difficult since I had to place the light down every ten seconds or so to hack up one of my lungs.
Kyle and Tweek placed coloured sheets of cellophane over the lights basking the area in red, blue and yellow. Stan sat outside of the circle and on the edge of the truck, swinging his legs back and fourth, his eye looked sort of puffy. Useless.
When we were finally done setting up Kenny brought out his fixed up radio and plugged it to the car battery with an extension cable. He went back into the van again but this time when he came out he had around ten disks in his hands.

“Where the absolute fuck did you get that?” I asked staring blankly at his full arms.
“My secret,” He said winking and dumping all the disks on the ground. “They’re all old mixtapes from old residents of the hospital, except for these -“ He picked out the Katy Perry album, a Pitbull album and one of the white mixtapes. It was covered in small crayon drawings of flowers, birds, and butterflies. I noted that Kenny held that one closer to his chest than the others, almost like he thought that if it even slipped from his fingers he would lose it forever.

Chapter Text

It was like a low budget house party. Kenny was somehow able to fix the lights up to make them strobe, the lights bounced off everywhere and the music was so loud it vibrated through the ground. Kenny, Tweek and a begrudging Stan, danced widely to California Girls. Kyle bobbed up and down awkwardly at the edge of the party. I was on the opposite side, a cup of tequila in my hand. Yes, you heard right, a whole cup. I was planning to get fucking hammered.
The coloured lights and the erratic dancing made me feel like I was tripping on LSD. To be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised if I was, Kenny could get anything from anywhere and he could have spiked my drink. For what reason? I don’t know, but he did seem to be a bit loopy in the head.

“Hey!” I heard him call out, waving at me, “Get in on this, big fella!” I shook my head and raised my cup, signaling that I was drinking. Kenny rolled his eyes and danced his way over to Tweek. He grabbed his hands and they started to frogmarch to ’Time of Our Lives’. I had never seen Tweek smile so widely, it gave me this warm fuzzy feeling.
I wished so bad that I could spend this night with him but I was still walking on eggshells around him ever since he started ghosting me.

I took a larger gulp from my cup than I could handle, I hunched over and started coughing, my eyes tearing up from the heat that was burning through my chest. By the time I had finished dry heaving into my hands and I opened my eyes, Kyle was standing in front of me,
“Hey,” He mumbled looking into his cup.

“Was that to me or your drink?” I asked, my voice still croaky, it sounded like I had just been gargling sand. Kyle scoffed, his eyes narrowing in annoyance, he grabbed my arm and dragged me out of the ring of lights and into the ink black darkness.
“Okay, listen- I’m not gonna suck your dick-” I began.
“What- no!“ Kyle whispered harshly, his face flushing so red it almost illuminated in the darkness. I could feel the heat waves flow off him.

“Then why else would you drag me into a dark secluded area away from everyone else?” Kyle groaned and slapped his hand on his forehead.

“I feel like you’re spending too much time with Kenny,” Kyle stated, lifting his head to look at me with utter disappointment, a look I was used to him giving me. “Anyway, I’ve finally decided that you really don’t know what’s going on, with Tweek,” Oh my god, fucking finally, I thought, I will now know what the fuck is going on.

Kyle sat down heavily on the slight incline of the hill that was directly in front of the party. I followed him and placed my drink beside me, I kicked one leg over the other and leaned back. We sat like that for a while, Kyle hugging his legs close to his chest looking out over the sweet commotion below us.
When finally,

“He saw you,” Kyle said, not making eye contact with me, but what’s new?
“Saw me what?” But I already knew the answer and my heart was plummeting into my stomach.

“With Kenny, he saw you with Kenny. He confronted you about it you know?” Kyle shifted uncomfortably under my piercing stare. I didn’t remember him confronting me until Kyle continued with his explanation.
“I only now realise that you might not have understood what he was saying, he was signing so fast - he does that when his emotions are strong,” I started to recall the day after my night with Kenny, Tweek did come up to me, didn’t he?. “I, uh, saw what he said to you,” Kyle started picking at his fingernails awkwardly.
“I’m sorry if that was a breach of trust, but since I’ve known him for so long I can read his signing really well so it didn’t occur to me that you didn’t understand what he said to you," Kyle sighed and hung his head lower, if that was even possible. “He saw you when you were, um,” Kyle stopped, struggling for the right word. “‘Doing it’,” What is he? Twelve? 
The blood drained from my face, I had just left Tweek to his own assumptions for so long without explaining the situation. How did this not occur to me?
My whole body felt heavy, all I wanted was the earth to swallow me up.

“I have to tell him,” I said standing up, but before I could move Kyle jumped up and gripped my shoulder.
“Not now dude, look at him,” Kyle pointed to where Tweek and Stan were awkwardly doing the Charleston whilst Kenny cheered in the back. Tweek’s face was alive and glowing with happiness, “You don’t want to ruin it do you?”
I shook my head. If Tweek was happy without me then I should stay away. Who knew how long he had left anyway? How long any of us had left.

“I’ve known Tweek for nine years and this is probably the happiest I’ve ever seen at him,” Kyle’s voice was just above a whisper as if he was entranced by the scene that we were witnessing.
“Wait, nine years?” I asked, confused. The apocalypse started only seven years ago.
Kyle nodded, wistfully.

“We were all in the same hospital, we were admitted into wards really close to each other,” I decided to let Kyle speak. I was finally finding out the history of my boys but I didn’t want to pressure him.
“We were originally forced together by the hospital nurses so that we could be friends, but none of us were very sociable. It was Stan who took charge since, he’s the oldest,” Kyle paused, bathing us in comfortable silence. He fell back into the grass and looked up at the night sky, I followed suit.

The sky was covered in thousands of small dots that shone above us, when I shifted slightly to look at Kyle I could see their reflection in his eyes. As if he held the secrets of the universe.
“It took us only a few weeks to bond together like brothers, all of us, Cartman and Marj too,” Kyle closed his eyes and drifted off into the past, I was there along for the ride.
“I was ten at the time, and having friends was such a new experience for me,” I stared up at the sky, listening to Kyle’s soft whisper like he was a podcast playing in the back of my mind as my thoughts swirled in my head.

“We quickly adopted roles, I guess you would say, Stan was the mum of the group, and we were his kids - that was until we were finally able to form our own identities,” Kyle said, his voice was slightly forceful, he was trying his best to not reveal too much, but I soon learned he completely failed.


“I don’t know if you understand this, Craig, but,” He let out a breath of hair, blowing his hair out of his eyes. “We’re all fake. We’re all just characters that we designed to hide our pasts and sometimes,” Kyle’s voice broke slightly. “We slip up,” He let out a shuddering sob, I kept my mouth shut but I grabbed his hand and squeezed it as support. I'm here for you, Kyle. He squeezed back,
“It’s mainly me, I’m weak compared to the rest. They’ve all been through so much and I’m just the weak link.”

“No, Kyle,” I finally said. “You’re strong, please believe me. If anyone is weak here, it’s me.”
Kyle let out a whimper of a giggle and squeezed my hand again. We were finally understanding each other.


“We were able to survive for so long in the hospital without leaving because as you saw, at The Wesley, the provisions and defenses are the best and highest at hospitals,” A tear slipped from Kyle’s eye. It ran down his cheek leaving a light track in its wake.
“For seven years we were trapped in that white-walled hell, I can only imagine what that did to Kenny’s head,” My spine quivered in sympathy. The time I was in the Wesley for turned my own brain inside out with insanity.

“But during the nine years we were there, those seven were some of the best of my life. No nurses to tell us what to do, no doctors to deliver bad news and no parents to tell us our worth,” Kyle’s grip on my fingers tightened, he was only just able to hold it all in. I could tell.

“We all escaped,” I felt a lump rise up in my throat but I swallowed it down, now wasn’t the time. I had to help Kyle through this, not myself.
“We were all in this children’s hospital specifically for kids with troubled minds,” He shot up and grabbed my hand, I could finally see his ruddy face streaked with tears. “But we were all fine Craig!” He cried clutching my chest, “Why didn’t they understand that? We weren’t- aren’t sick!” He started sobbing, his tears staining my shirt.

I patted his back and pulled him close, “It’s okay you don’t have to tell me-“
“No!” Kyle interjected, his voice slightly muffled, “I want to tell you.”
I rubbed small circles on his back, I would wait for him. “You deserve some explanation.”

“I- Kenny was abused by his family horribly, his father raped him and his mother beat him constantly. In order to make money to feed himself, his brother and his sister he had to sell his body. He was a street prostitute,” Kyle’s voice was so hushed I was afraid it would be swept away by the slight breeze that was blowing around us.
“When Kenny was found and admitted to the hospital with his sister, the doctors discovered fairly quickly that he suffered from claustrophobia from hiding in small cupboards for sometimes days on end, away from his family. It was so bad that he would bite and tear at his skin until they were forced to let him out of his ward.”
Kyle took a deep breath, calming himself.

“Stan, on the other hand, had a typically normal family life, it was his state of mind that made him end up there,” His voice was more steady and his grip on my shirt had loosened.

“He was so depressed he could have left this world any day. Multiple attempts were made by him, scars his body show his history. A scar around his neck, scars on his wrist and permanently destroyed organs. So, instead, he decided to drink himself to death. Fucking idiot." Kyle mumbled that last part under his breath, I almost didn’t catch it.

“However, we were able to help him. I don’t know what it was but he started to grow stronger. But, not for himself -for someone else. Almost like he wanted to keep living for them so they wouldn't get hurt. I don’t know who it was but I will be forever grateful to them.” That person was probably closer to you than you realised Kyle.


“Cartman was never really special to us but he had his place. He was found an orphan - he refused to talk about his past saying that he, ‘must keep his secret identity hidden'. We never truly found out what was up with him but he was an asshole anyway,” Kyle giggled sadly as I focused on not letting the contents of my stomach bubble up and project upon Kyle.

While my boys were suffering directly in front of me I did nothing to help, I only thought of myself. I was fucking useless.

“Then there was Marj, Kenny’s hospital sweetheart. She didn’t belong there but she didn’t have a choice. Her parents chucked her there and left her to rot, demanding the doctors fix her or “him,” should I say. She didn’t need to be fixed, she was perfectly normal but no one listened. Kenny loved her from the moment he saw her, he was only thirteen at the time but it was true love. That’s why it ruined him when she was taken away by zombies, three years ago. Kenny hates nothing more than zombies, he thinks that if he kills enough he’ll finally get her back. But he won’t. As you say, she’s gone for good,”


I wanted to fucking punch myself.

“Her death shook us all, Marj was the only light left in our existence. She was always so positive and self-assured. We still miss her.
Sometimes, at night I hear Kenny talk to her. I think we all do, we need her back.
Ahh but, now’s for the main attraction,” Kyle pulled away from my shirt and turned back to the party that had quietened down. Instead of shitty 2011 pop songs play sweet acoustic notes drifted out from the stereo. Kenny, Tweek, and Stan sat next to it playing blackjack and swaying side to side to the beat of the music.

“Tweek was a punching bag, we were all admitted at the same time but he was the youngest, being only eight. He was raped by his uncle and violently abused by his father until he coughed up blood or couldn’t move anymore.
When we first saw him I almost threw up, he was beaten black and blue, multiple, if not all, of his ribs were broken and many of his muscles were torn beyond repair. His mind was also fucked up, suffering from night terrors, paralysis and anxiety his screams at night kept us all up.
That’s not even the worse of it." Kyle let out a bark of a laugh that was void of all humor.


"You have to remember that we were only kids. Us forcing him to show us is still not acceptable but- anyway.
We pestered him about why he couldn’t speak and why did he sound like a Martian when he laughed until he opened his mouth a showed us.
His tongue is just a small jagged stub like someone had ripped it off,”
My stomach was churning unbearably.

“We couldn't understand sign at the time so we forced him to write down what happened. He didn’t know how to write - he'd never attended school. His nurse on the other hand was happy to fill us in, nosy bitch." Kyle's brow furrowed.


"It was both his father and uncle. Tweek had finally decided to speak up for himself but instead of getting a reply his father slowly sliced off his tongue as his uncle watched, laughing.”
I slapped my hand to my mouth as bile rose to my throat and tears stung my eyes.
“So,” Kyle sighed, pulling away from me. “Now you know what’s up,” Pieces were finally falling in place like a jigsaw puzzle. Everything slightly strange that I had questioned now had had meaning to me.

It was at that moment that I finally understood what these boys truly meant to me. I mentally kicked myself, losing them now will only mean more.

But I won’t lose them, I thought, shutting my eyes, letting the darkness swallow me up.  I can’t.

Chapter Text

Life was sweet, like watermelon lollipops, warm milk, pink bubblegum, and broken candy canes.
Soft music was wrapping us up in its melody. The glowing embers from the dead fire warmed our toes. And tears from laughter rolled down cheeks.
The moment was picture perfect. If I could, I would freeze it, wrap it up in paper, put it in a locket and keep it close to my heart forever.
But I knew.
And they didn’t know I did.
Except for Kyle, who kept giving me side glances - judging my actions.

I knew about their lives, and I knew that I cared. It was a foreign feeling and I didn’t enjoy it - don’t recommend it. I knew that they were hiding and I knew that I didn’t know what to do.

“I’ll stand.”
“Craig?”
Craig!
Stan waved his hand infant of my eyes, snapping me to attention.
“Uh, sorry what was it?” I asked trying to gather my thoughts, get it together, Craig!
“Will you stand, or keep going?” Stan asked, his words slightly slurring together. His cheeks were flushed and his eyelids were drooping, he'd obviously drunk enough to forget about the recent event. I almost smacked away his drink remembering what drinking had gotten him into before. But I controlled myself.
I checked my cards, Queen of hearts, eight of spades and two of diamonds. 20.
“I’ll stand.”

Kenny and I placed down our cards.
Fuck.
Kenny’s hand was perfect, King of hearts, nine of hearts and two of diamonds. 21.
“Ha!” He cheered, slamming his cards down sending them flying, “Suck on it, pretty boy!”

It was hard to believe that this was all a façade hiding his past.

After a few more rounds of Blackjack Kyle announced that he was tired. I had a suspicion that it was Stan who was tired since his head was resting on Kyle’s shoulder, his eyes now completely shut. I brushed it off.
Kenny jumped up and announced that he had a brilliant idea.
“Not another one,” Kyle groaned.
This better be good, Tweek signed.
“Guys, guys!” Kenny said putting up his hands in defence. “Why don’t you trust me? My first plan turned out great!’ He gestured at our “camping ground”.
“Whatever, screw you guys, you’ll just have to go with it,” and with that Kenny disappeared into the truck and emerged with the collapsible king sized mattress that we stole from the hospital.
I rushed over immediately to help him. Whether I approved of his idea or not I had to help him with that hefty ass mattress.

. . .

“One rule, if you guys plan on an orgy, wake me up,” Kenny said sternly. “I don’t want to miss out on that action, especially if Señor Stan is involved,” He blew a kiss down to Stan, who was still asleep on Kyle, but Kyle noticed. He pretended to grab the kiss and crush it under his boot, whilst maintaining eye contact with Kenny.

Kenny shivered and stepped away from the edge of the roof.

We were standing on top of the mattress that we had laid out on top of the roof of the van. What was the motherfucking point of this, you may ask? Well, it was actually kinda nice.

“Hey, Ken, why do you want to sleep on the roof tonight?”
Kenny rubbed the back of his neck and looked at his feet sheepishly.
“It’s the five of us again, we’re back to the beginning and that means it’s only downhill from here,” his hands fell from his neck and down to play with his jumper drawstrings. “I don’t know how much longer any of us are going to be together, so I wanted to make tonight special.”
Kenny pulled the strings together, closing his hood up, “Cheesy, I know. Don’t bother telling me.”

“Nah mate,” I slung my arm around his neck, startling him. I had never seen him this venerable. Classic timing. “I get you.”
Kenny relaxed into my arm, letting his hood fall off.

“Marj liked the stars,” Kenny murmured.

. . .

By the time that we were all lying down, I understood what Kenny meant about an orgy. The space between everyone was very intimate.
Because there were five of us we had to sleep on the mattress horizontally, mine and Stan's legs hung over the edge.
The sleeping arrangements were kind of rushed but despite Tweek’s protesting, I was next to him (and Kyle).

Tweek had his back turned away from me, his hair tickling my face.
“Hey Tweek,” I whispered. He didn’t move.
“Tweek,” I whispered again, prodding him in the back. He still didn’t acknowledge my existence. I couldn’t be angry with him, what proof did he have to prove that I’m wasn't harmful to him. I might never be able to build up his trust again.

I rolled onto my back and traced out constellations with my eyes. “I know that you saw me with Kenny,” I felt Tweek stir slightly, but ultimately stay still. I continued, “It’s not what you think. “ I paused, “actually, it’s exactly what you think, however,” I felt Tweek shift slightly further away from me.
“No feelings were involved, Kenny made that clear too,” My heart was thundering in my chest I knew that Tweek was listening and this was my one and only chance to clear things up.
“I don’t like him, Tweek, never did, never will. We did that because we have needs -we all have needs, Kenny and I just had the same mindset.”

Tweek rolled over and started to look up at the sky with me.

I Inched my hand over to him and tapped his hand with my index finger. After a few moments of consideration, he rolled his hand over and open it. I slid my hand into his and our fingers linked together.
I rubbed my thumb up and down his in calming circles.
We stayed like that.

I felt Kyle shifted slightly next to me, he was awake. I mentally thanked him for not interrupting my one-sided conversation with Twiddles.

Just before I was about to fall into a much-needed sleep, I felt Twitchstreamer move slightly, again. I turned to see him looking at me.
It’s okay, I forgive you, he mouthed to me before his eyelids finally fluttered shut.
I studied his face that I could hardly see, illuminated by the soft glow of the moon. I reached out and brushed his hair out of his face and traced the outline of his lips.

I knew about his past, I knew I cared for him but I didn’t know this feeling.

Chapter Text

I kissed the back of his hand just before the sweet release of sleep swept me away.
.
.
.
Well, can you believe it? Kenny’s plan had worked!
Apart from the occasional sad frown from Stan, all of our spirits were lifted. Spirits high. Mortality low.

A few days had passed and it was impressive that we still hadn’t reached our destination. Kenny’s island that he told us about was nowhere to be seen. But I trusted him.
What I was more worried about was our supply of water. We filled up our water tanks every time we passed a stream but we hadn’t seen a stream in the past three days and the water was rapidly depleting. Mainly from me. Whoops guilty as charged.

You can’t really blame me, my throat was as dry as the Sahara desert. I was trying my best to not drink too much but I couldn’t help myself. My throat would burn until my eyes watered.

“Switch!” I called out after three hours of driving.
“On it!” Stan called back, letting me pull the van onto the side of the road and switching seats with him.
“Aw come on guys, let me drive, I’m a confident driver!" Kenny whined behind Stan, bending over the seat and letting his long blond hair flop in Stan’s face.
“The last time we let you drive, you almost crashed the van,” Stan said through the hair that was undoubtedly getting caught in his throat.
“Uh yeah,” Kenny said, swinging back up and wrapping his arms around Stan’s neck. “Confidently, though,” At least he made Tweezers giggle.
“Get off you fucker,” Stan chuckled lightly, pushing Kenny off.
Kenny groaned, rolled onto the ground and started to kick his legs like he was having a temper tantrum.

I smiled at the scene from where I was sitting at the back, Twitch-a-roo lying on my lap and next to Kyle, who was reading Sherlock Holmes.
I ran my hand through Toodle’s hair my fingers getting caught in the knots.


I was too scared to touch him more than that, not that I didn’t want to but he was so pure. I didn’t want to ruin him, even if I dreamt or fantasied about it didn’t mean I would.


To distract me from my wandering thoughts I focused on Kyle, watching how his eyes sped across the pages at an alarming pace, how he would tuck his red locks behind his ear when they fell into his feel of vision and how he would look up quickly, catching Stan’s eye in the rear-view mirror and burring his head back into the pages.
Stay cute you two.

Only downhill from here…

“Hey, guys!” Stan yelled out to us, slowing the van down and turning around, “You might wanna check this out.”
Intrigued, I quickly lifted up Toot’s head up and placed it back down on my jumper gently and rushed over to Stan - Kyle and Kenny right behind me.
Stan didn’t have to point out what we were looking for, it was quite obvious in an apocalyptic wasteland.

A peeling green Honda was driving slowly towards us. 
Inside were two boys frowning darkly at us, a stark contrast to the Hawaiian bobblehead doll dancing in front of them. We watched them and they watched us as we passed each other. I nodded at the boy in the yellow shirt, he nodded back and kept moving forward. As they continued past I saw shoved into the boot was a wheelchair and a pair of crutches, the lid of the boot was held down by three, taut, fraying, Occy straps.

“Hang on,” Kyle exclaimed jumping forwards and placing his book aside. “Aren’t we gonna stop ‘em?”
Everyone turned to me for an answer, damn guys, I ain’t goddamned Janet. Get your own all knowing robot!
“No, of course not, didn’t you see?” They all looked at me, blinking slowly, “Fucking idiots,” I whispered. “They were disabled, most likely both of them. They would only slow us down, and if they have survived this long by themselves I’m sure they don’t want to waste their time, effort and supplies on us.”
Kyle looked away, nodding. I felt a huge sweatdrop fall from my forehead, thank god I’m not the antagonist today!

“I don’t think they’ll last much longer anyway,” mused Kenny from a perch he made on the passenger seat back.
“Why’d ya say that?” Stan said, speeding up and getting back into a nice pace on the road.
“Eh, well, if they’re disabled and the zombies are mutating with every meal, it’s only matter of time before they’re too slow to run away-” Kenny suddenly stopped, his eyes widened and his mouth hung open a little. “Ah, Craig, that’s not, you know I didn’t mean you." The awkwardness hung thickly around the van, even Twaddle had woken up and was looking cautiously over at us.

I rubbed my leg, or not leg I guess. “It’s fine Kenny,” I said forcing out a (hopefully) convincing smile, part of my world crashing down on me. “I just need to take a rest,” I flashed them a smile before I walked- hobbled over to the opposite corner of the van and rested my head on an upturned milk crate. I could hear Kyle sternly whisper to Kenny and a slap was audible.

I hadn’t noticed, or I had just ignored my differences. I wasn’t walking like the others, each step I took shuddered through my body, but I dismissed it. My clothes would hang slack around the leg but I pretend not to notice.

At night I could feel it itch or move slightly like a real leg. In reality, it was just a phantom limb.


I kept unconsciously telling myself that I was the leader of this group, the protector, the strongest.

I wasn’t. I could be dragging them down with me.


I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I was the reason for their separate demises.

I was the weak link.

.

.

.

But not for long.

Chapter Text

I didn’t actually sleep, who would have guessed?
Fuckin’ me.

Anyway, life had thrown me a curve ball by reminding me about who I’ve become. Guess who had one leg and depression!
This guy!
All that work Kenny had put into lifting our morals had fallen flat on its face in regard to me. And it would only get worse…

“Eye spy with my little eye, something that begins with… W,” Kyle shouted out to Kenny who ran back up to him and stuck his head out the window.
“Water, water, water, water!” He chanted.
“Fuck yeah!” Stan said back taking his place next to Kenny, craning his head to see. Train-wreck joined them quietly clapping his hands together as he bounced on the balls of his feet. They were clustered right next to Kyle pushing him to the far right causing him to pull the van in prematurely.

The gleeful chattering between the boys made the guilt I held settle even deeper into me. It was my fault that they wanted water so bad, they could drink any since I had drunk almost 80% of it.
I sighed and stood up, stretching widely, and shook away my intrusive thoughts. I’ll use this time for a piss break, I decided.

. . .

A stream of amber water bubbled beside us. I was kneeling in the soft damp dirt with Twilight next to me. We had pulled the short straws in deciding who was going to do the water pick up. There were twelve five liter containers that we had to fill up, and that shit was heavy. Therefore it was no ones favourite job. Though, admittedly when I saw Trumpet pick the short straw first try, I did my best to follow in his footsteps. Even if our alone time was spent knee deep in mud at least I was with him, my personal ray of sunshine.

I lent over the edge and dipped the plastic container into the water and waited patiently for it to fill up. Then, I heaved it out and placed it next to me, the water sloshing over the edge. Tulip would then do the same, struggling a tad more than me and more than once requiring my assistance. I was happy to comply.
Speaking of tulips, there was a small cluster of purple ones growing at the far edge of the stream. Bending over, their petals almost touching the water as if trying to have a drink.
Unfortunately for them, it was in close proximity to where Stan, Kyle, and Kenny had decided their ledge for skinny dipping jumping was.

I smiled while I watched them, letting my leg dangle in the water. How I wished I could join them. Mine and Teenage-mutant-ninja-turtle’s now full tanks sat behind us in a crooked row. I lent back and rested against one of the tanks, I had taken my time for climbing trees, swimming in lakes and dancing under stars for granted. Only now, watching my boys, did I realise not only was I dragging the group down, but I was also missing out on life.

Tikking must have heard my wishes because he tapped me on the shoulder.
I turned to see him smiling softly, his hair falling slightly infant of his eyes - obscuring my view of the murky, green, depths of his eyes.
He pulled up my trouser leg and placed his hand on the skin just above the metal peg. I shivered at his cold touch, his fingers slipped underneath the leather straps and slowly unbuckled the leg.
He bent down and picked it up, the strain in his face showed the weight was slightly too much but he was able to put it down before he could topple over.

Tigger stood up and reached his hand out for mine. Dazed from his beauty, aura, kindness and just every inch of his being, I took his hand trying to not put too much of my weight on him as I stood up.
As I stood up and looked down at Transit I noticed how much taller I was than him and also, how the light from the sun bounced off his hair and showed his light brown roots - the latter revelation seemed much more special. I lightly patted his hair, my fingertips felt like they were brushing across fairy floss.

Tomato lifted his head and smiled at me, only this time it was different it was more…wicke/. I only noticed how his expression changed moments too late. His little hands pushed against my chest and my whole world toppled over, figuratively and literally.

I was in love.

I hit the water and sank before I came to my senses and kicked off the soft floor and my head broke the surface. On the shore stood, Kyle, Kenny, and Trumpet, Stan was in the water next to me. They were laughing uproariously.
Kenny wiped a tear from his eye with one hand and the other clutched his chest, “he totally got you, bro!”

“I don’t think so,” I muttered, I leaped out of the water and grabbed Tartar’s arm, dragging him down with me. He teetered on the edge before finally, his legs gave out and he fell into my arms, into the water.

We all laughed again but only this time Toot’s little arms were wrapped around my neck and his head was buried into my shoulder - trying to escape the cold water. I wouldn’t let him. I took a deep breath and plunged underwater, drifting to the bottom.

Trinket’s eyes shot open and he looked at me widely. I placed my hands on both his shoulders and silently told him to calm down. He nodded visibly relaxing to my touch, then we both heard a sudden splash and then another. Bubbles blew up next to us like an explosion of small round diamonds. Through the cloud of bubbles, Kenny and Kyle’s legs emerged, kicking, keeping themselves afloat. They had jumped a little too close, my heart had decided, it was beating so fast it could have power the electricity in New York for a month.
I dragged Toodles and I back up to the surface, and the moment we both caught our breaths, gulping in the fresh beautiful air Tinny swam over to Kenny and Kyle and pushed his hands down into the water creating the tsunami of all tsunamis.
They both chuckled darkly and returned the favour.

It didn’t take long for a whole battle form between us -Stan, Tongs and Me Vs Kyle and Ken. It was the war of the century - Avengers Endgame, who?

There was only one problem.

We splashed around the water for too long.
If only I remembered.
It was my fault.
It will always be my fault.

It started out with one growl drowned out by our screams of laughter, but then it multiplied until we were surrounded.
.
.
.
Five.
One for each of us, yay!
Grey, people looking like they were made out of mud. Holes where their eyes should be. Legs fused together like fish tails. Fingernails so long they should be classified as talons.
Long story short.
Zombies.

By the looks of how their mutations had formed, they had likely collectively eaten someone who had been living near the water for some years during the apocalypse. Probably fishermen. They had probably survived long enough for their AMFs to form this genetic mutation. It was ghastly.

Two were sliding across the ground on the back and the other three had us trapped from behind and both sides.
“Cel-e-brate good times, come on!” Kenny whispered behind me. Oh, how I wanted to punch him but none of us dared to move a muscle.

Slowly ever slowly, we drifted into a line. I glanced down the line looking everyone in the eyes. I nodded. They nodded.
I lifted up my hand showing three fingers.

Three.
Two.
One.

“Charge!” Kenny screamed, and we all rushed out after him.
Without prompting we had all grabbed sticks from the muddy floor.
We slashed at the two on the land and made a break for the van, Stan bringing up the rear.

I positioned myself at the front of the group so that I could bend down and sweep up my leg while being forced along by the others. I paused for only a second to loosely fasten my leg and I started running as if my life depended on it. Which it did.

Luckily for us, they were slow on the land. Just rolling along the ground like they were playing a bad game of roly-poly.

I yanked the doors open and ushered everyone inside.

One
Two
Three 
Four
Fi-
Where’s Stan?
I spun around, Stan was courageously fighting one of the mud monsters with half a stick - the other half being broken off.
He looked at me, dropped his stick and threw himself inside - hitting the ground hard. I jumped in after him and closed the door on the faces of three mud monsters.
How rude of me. They had come here for a nice time and, honestly, they were feeling so attacked right now. Literally.

I practically flew to the driver's seat, but before I could start the engine I heard a swear sound out from the. I twisted around preparing to make a sarcastic comment about, ‘no swearing in my van,’ but then I saw him.

“Fuck!” Stan laughed, tears brimming in his eyes.
He was slouched against the wall clutching his arm.
Kyle stepped towards him, knelt down and grabbed his arm.

On Stan’s right forearm was a large red gapping dip. Almost like someone had taken a bite out of his arm. Not someone, something.
The blood was gushing out of his arm like water from a broken hose. It was getting everywhere, staining everything. Already Stan’s face was disturbingly pale and his eyes too were losing their colour and brightness.

“It got me during the jump, little bugger.
.
.
.
Instinctively I reached for my gun and aimed.

Chapter Text

“I can’t believe you’ve done this,” I groaned, gripping my burning cheek. The cheek that Kyle had lobbed his fist at.


“Why is your fucking answer to everything murder?” Kyle said, shaking. He was standing in front of the bleeding Stan positioned in a martial arts stance (not flexing but I taught him that). If anyone fucked up he would snap.
“Kyle listen to me,” Stan sat up straighter clutching his red arm. “Craigs right,” Never did I think the day would come when I would hear those words. “There’s no way around this, just shoot me and start the van,” I hadn’t noticed but Stan was right.
I doubted that the zombies could get in but the shaking of the car was more and more violent.

I stumbled up and dragged my gun up with me.
“No!” Kyle screamed kicking my gun out of my hand. I watched it slide across the floor at hit the wall with a bang.

I looked back at Kyle slowly, “really?
“Just start the car, Craig. We can talk about this later,” Kyle hung his head linked his hand with Stan’s. “I just- can’t we wait a little longer? It’s not instant,” he wasn’t wrong.

I shrugged in annoyance, “God fucking damn it, fine.“

.

Twenty minutes later and Kyle was kneeling next to Stan, dabbing his head with a wet cloth and constantly taking off his bandages and applying new ones to avoid infection. Which was a bit late to do so, if I do say so myself.
The worst part was when Stan would throw up.

After the first time, Kenny had fetched him a purple, plastic bucket. It was a shame we weren’t able to get him one sooner. Trippy had surrendered from everyone’s complaints and cleaned up the mess himself. It reminded me of how Bebe had to do the same, not all too long ago.

“How much longer Kenny?” I asked over my shoulder. I didn’t ask too often because I remembered how my dad told me that it was annoying to do so. A few times I pushed my luck and let me just say, a belt buckle to the back don’t feel too good.
Kenny spun over to me, in only his briefs. Since we had left all our clothes at the spring except for TwirllyWhirlly and me, Kenny had opted to only wear a pair of underwear.
“I would wear nothing,” he had said. “But I like to keep my decency,” however, you see the issue was that we had fresh clothes that we had packed but Kenny refused to wear them. So much for "decency."

“I would say in our situation,” Kenny lifted his head towards the sky and scratched his stubble. “Two more days,” I sighed and nodded.
It was true, the reason that we hadn’t gotten to his place sooner was because of our situation. We were drifting along at a pace between 30 and 45 kilometers per hour. We would stop every so often to fill the tank slightly with our scarily light petrol can. To make a long story short, we were most defiantly possibly almost fucked.

But still, we undauntedly ventured forth. Okay, maybe a little daunted.

.

It wasn’t long before I pulled the van to a stop so that Stan would stop complaining about how the sounds were making his headache worse.
We set up camp inside the van that night. We were all still little shaken up.

Kenny had, unbeknownst to us, strung up fairy lights on the overhanging monkey bars. No, I don’t know where he got the lights or the batteries for them and yes, I wasn’t going to ask.
See, you guys!” Kenny said lightly, skipping around in a blue bathrobe that he had swapped in exchange for his previous briefs, “we’re still under the stars!”
I prayed to god that he was still wearing those briefs.

What’s Kenny’s obsession with the stars? I signed secretly to Tintin.
The night sky, he corrected. Kenny and Marj would sneak out of their wards to go and see the sky, Tippy paused and thought before continuing. I followed them once and I found them lying on the hospital roof, naming constellations, He smiled softly, I was pretty certain that he must not have disturbed them. Something like that was too delicate and precious to destroy.
I guess our thing can’t be the night sky, I would like to say I signed that well but I'm pretty sure I signed something along the lines of -we have no sky?
At least Tadpole understood and replied, after laughing cutely behind his hand.
No one owns the sky, Craig, he rolled his eyes as if I thought you had to sign a legal document to have the sky. It can be anyone's thing, it can still be our thing, Tabs put out his hand, showing me his pinky finger. It can be our thing, I promise, and I took his finger in mine.

.

Moans sounded throughout the night, no one could sleep - especially Kyle. He never let his eyes even flutter close. He stayed up stoically through the night, holding Stan’s hand and only letting go when Stan needed something. 
It was when Stan started arching his back upwards, screaming in pain and purple blotches were forming on the surface of his skin that we all jumped to attention. 
It was the second sign and everyone knew it.

“Kill me!” Stan screamed over and over again his head whipping back and forth as Kenny held him down on the floor. “Kill me!” I glanced at Kyle who shook his head darkly continuing to dampen Stan’s head towel.
It went on like that till the sun peaked over the horizon.

.

Stan had reached a state in which he lay still, his eyes glassy and only giving sudden outbursts of screaming.
He would beg me to kill him but every time I would look at Kyle for agreement and he would stare me down.
I let it go at the time, know eventually he would have to give in eventually. Stan was a lost cause.

It was three in the afternoon, day two on the road, still.
I was driving since I was now the only unoccupied person in the car with experience. Toddler was lying in the passenger seat next to me, the window down and his hair flopping in the wind.
He was humming a sweet tune to himself with his eyes closed, he was drowning out the sound of Stan’s moans.

He had obviously gotten no sleep that night, his dark bags made my heart sting in sympathy even though I probably looked even worse.
I kept my eyes off the road praying that there were no obstacles. I lent over and touched my knuckles to Trooper’s forehead.
He jerked awake, his eyes were still bleary from sleep.
His face softened and he leaned into my touch.
We kept driving.