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Thread: ZOMBIE ROAD IC [M] bluemoon x Siks

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    Default ZOMBIE ROAD IC [M] bluemoon x Siks

    Rated M for possible mature content including sex, violence, language, graphic situations, alcohol, and drug use.

    Zombie Road



    Take me home

    Music blared out of the speakers of a silver colored semi as it roared down the empty highways around Harper's Ferry, West Virginia. A the wheel a ginger dressed in a long gray shirt and armored leather vest. A top hat, long overcoat and birdmask hung off the back of his seat as the wind whipped through his short hair at 70 MPH. There was nothing like the freedom of the open road. Not since being a kid in the circus did he enjoy such a feeling. No worries, no bills, just you, the road, and a vague destination somewhere "out thata way!" It was pure bliss even with the looming threat of grisly death by zombie nipping at your mudflaps!

    Luckily not even the Runner Zombies could reach 70 miles an hour or match over 2,000 horsepower of pure American badassery! With Annabelle, Grizzwald Night was invincible not even the marauders had the sand to take the mad birdman and his best girl on. They zipped around in broken down pick-ups and up armored rice rockets, fast and nimble sure, but mere flies to the awesomeness of Annabelle. Moving between the few fort towns along the old Appalachian trail doing escort jobs and smuggling deals Grizz never stayed too long in one place. The Deaders weren't too common up north, but West Virginia is about where they become a nuisance. But you can normally just mow them down with your vehicle as long as there weren't any Brutes or Bonies around. The Screamers were a pain too, but only because they're like mobile loudspeakers they catch your scent or spot you and every Zombie in a two mile radius will be on your ass before you even make it one mile. Grizzwald made sure to drop those noisy bastards first if he could. Next was always the Bonies, they had the speed of a Runner and sheer stupid durability of a Brute. Living skeletons that somehow kept on going after all their flesh and tendons had rotted off. Usually took some good old fashioned blunt force trauma to take them down, but you never wanted to get that close to them. But if you shot the legs out from under them you cut their speed and thus their threat level in half.

    Everything after those two died in so many different flavors that it just depended on what Mr. Night felt like dealing with that day. Right now he was feeling good, Annabelle just got her fluids changed and brakes checked so all was well with his world at the moment. But his stomach started growling in the middle of his monthly supply run he had a few hours before the next town and the area looked kinda empty of deaders so he decided on an impromptu shopping trip. Following intuition and street signs he found a super market that hadn't been burned down. Pulling right to the door the stout man put his mask, hat and coat on before sliding out of the truck with his weapons slung about his body and ready. The magnum and tire axe hung at his belt and his trusty M-16 was in his hands at the low ready. Mag in, fire selector set to semi auto, and he was ready to go.

    One thing he learned be it from the war or living through the zombie apocalypse is no matter how good you feel never go into a danger zone casually. Danger can pop up anywhere so you keep your head on a swivel. His filtered breath came out slow and steady as he moved with slightly bent knees into the darken store. Despite not being burned down it had still been looted so the front door was busted down and signs of gunfire could be seen all over the cracked tile floors. Grizz didn't see any bodies that could be both a good and a bad sign. But that was a worry for later he needed road fuel. The fresh stuff was either all gone or rotted away so his goal would be canned goods or other non perishables. Water, toilet paper, and medical supplies would also be nice to find, but he had a nice pile of those in his truck already. This was a grocery store so ammo and weapons wouldn't be in here for the taking...well maybe a knife or something if it had a camping section. But they would be low on his list for the moment. His ears strained for the slightest noise like shuffling feet or quiet growling, but everything was blissfully silent. He relaxed a little once he walked the full perimeter of the store and saw no clear and present danger. Moving with quicker slightly noisier steps with his gun still at the low ready. He could see the canned food section and it made him smile under his mask to see some cans still on the shelf ripe for the taking.
    Last edited by SikstaSlathalin; 10-09-2020 at 04:51 AM.


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  2. #2
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    Default The road to Harpers Ferry

    Three days...that was how long she had been walking and Dawn was ready to scream out her frustration. The cold was chapping her exposed skin and her feet hurt like the dickens. She was sure her blisters had blisters by now, her feet complaining with every frickin’ step. Three days broken down into a daily course of thirty miles equaled a measly ninety. Such a distance would have only taken two hours or less by car, but her old jalopy threw its last gasket and left her stranded on the lonely road. For that, at least, she was grateful. Nothing was worse than finding yourself in a horde when your mode of transportation bit the big one. Yep, she was not in the worst situation possible, but she was still gonna complain...albeit quietly.

    A grumble was followed by a moan as Dawn took another step, her gaze fixed ahead on the hills in the distance. She would reach her destination in less than an hour. Enter in the quiet little town of Harpers Ferry, nestled into the eastern shore of West Virginia, essentially Bum Fuck Egypt. The only thing she hoped to find there was a quiet place to lay her head, because God knew she needed it. Being on the open road on foot was like playing Russian Roulette with your gun. One bad spin...and bam...game over.

    The final three miles were torture, the dark-haired girl dragging her ass over the town line with a scowl plastered on her face. She was here...if only ‘here’ could be a four-star hotel with room service...that would be worth the pain in her feet. Sighing, she ran a gloved hand over her hair, smoothing down the unraveling plaits. At least there wasn’t a welcoming party, an event she often encountered in smaller towns. One had to embrace the positive, she reminded herself. Harpers Ferry was just too small to support a survivor’s outpost, lacked enough of value for marauders, and most likely had already been picked clean of the viable food source, making even the ghoulie population nearly absent. Her chances of a good night’s sleep were starting to look up.

    With no real destination in mind, Dawn followed the main road into town, pausing briefly when she heard an unexpected sound not too far from her position. Music? Who in hell played music these days? It was akin to a dinner bell for the undead, and unless someone was trying to draw them in, it was a foolish move. Shrugging, she altered her course...why not join in the fun? Entertainment of any type was welcome at this point, she was bored beyond belief and watching someone else do the legwork and knock off the undead was better than nothing. And if by chance the person(s) lost the battle, there were always the spoils to pleifer...a win-win situation.

    It was with that mindset that the young woman continued on her path. Her gait had slowed and she had the slightest limp, but she persevered as always. What other choice was there? Her only concern was for walkers, as they tended to be the most prevalent in these types of areas. She kept her eyes and ears open, feeling mildly annoyed when the call of the piper stopped. All that was forgotten however when she turned the corner and encountered a silver beast of such beauty she nearly fell to her knees to worship it. No matter the risk, this baby had to be hers. She glanced around quickly and moved closer to the truck, her hand caressing the hood. A smile came to her lips when she felt the warmth radiating out. Movement inside a store adjacent to the semi caught her attention then, but she dismissed the possible threat when she realized it was just an unusual birdman walking around searching the shelves. She nearly giggled, then stopped herself by slapping a hand across her mouth. His loss would be her gain.

    “Thanks for the ride birdie,” she mouthed as she sneaked around the vehicle and opened the driver’s door, crawling inside. She locked it behind her, then searched for the keys, a muffled curse slipping from her lips when she realized she would have to hot wire it. Such a shame. Her tools came out and she carefully...and quietly...unscrewed the panel to expose the wires. Stripping them was the easy part, her smaller frame fitting comfortably in the space beneath the steering wheel. In no time she had the engine running, its purr the sweetest sound she had heard in some time.

  3. #3
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    Grizzwald whistled happily as he was filling up a still working shopping cart with all sorts of canned goods. The man didn't much care what types of canned goods he was grabbing, if he didn't eat them he could trade them to someone who would. Olives, peaches, carrots, peas, all of them could make good trades. With the world economy gone money of all kinds became useless aside from burning or melting down for bullet casings.

    A trade and barter system will always be the fall back for a failed economy. It was the easiest and most simple form of economics. If you have five cans of peas and someone is willing to trade two boxes of bullets for them you take it and go. Sometimes you could haggle them down, but most people didn't want to hear it so you make your first offer your best offer and roll the dice. Grizzwald liked to use his size, unhinged demeanor, and bird mask to intimidate the best deals he could out of people. It worked most of the time and he'd only been shot at once because of his bargaining tactics. In this world that was a good track record.

    Once his cart was about half full he had picked all the intact canned food up. He probably could've filled the cart up, but a lot of the cans had rust, were damaged, or well beyond the expiration date. Some were even all three of those at once, stuff separates or turns to mush which would just as likely kill him as a bullet to the face. If he wanted to he could maybe use the aluminum cans for something, but it wouldn't be worth the bother to haul them around right now. He did one final sweep of the store and was making his way to the entrance when the worst sound imaginable rumbled through the blasted out windows of the store...Annabelle's engine turning over. He quickly checked his pockets for the keys and found them. Swearing outloud he let go of the shopping cart and swung his gun around into his arms bolting full bore for the door. As quick as he moved...he wasn't quick enough...he exited the store in time to see his beloved truck roar out of the parking lot and jump on the highway heading west. He couldn't see who was driving it, but he knew they would be dead as soon as he did see them.

    His first instinct was to run after the truck thief, but the last small bit of sanity left in his head stayed his feet. There was no food in the truck and her diesel tank was about half empty as he usually didn't fill her up until he was down near what used to be Washington D.C. the nearest town with food was Freetown about five miles away down the highway his truck had just gone down. Going back into the store he grabbed his shopping cart on his way out he snatched up a couple bottles of water and some TP just in case it took him longer than a few hours to reach Freetown. He was just glad the Deaders weren't very popular out there.


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    After turning down the volume on the radio, Dawn glanced in her rearview, a smirk coming to her lips when she noticed the previous owner of the truck watching her pull away. That would teach the unlucky bastard to leave his driver’s door unlocked. She gunned the engine, feeling the power vibrate through the floorboards. It had been a long time since she had found herself behind the wheel of a big rig...much too long.

    It was just after her sixteenth birthday that her eldest brother Ricky, a truck driver by trade, had allowed her to get in the driver’s seat of his semi and motor around town. There was nothing to compare to the feeling of being a hot shot...a little girl in a big truck. Her father had originally harnessed her love of vehicles when she was only twelve, his weekends spent puttering around the garage as he worked on restoring classic Mustang convertibles. Her shortish frame would be draped over the exposed engines, absorbing every word he said and memorizing the technical terms for every part he rebuilt. They were some of the most memorable times of her life...spending quality time with her dad and then with her brother.

    The civil war had claimed them both, along with one of her other male siblings. When the shit had hit the proverbial fan, i.e. zombies, she had fought her way back to her childhood home, only to find the old farmhouse empty. There had been no sign of a struggle...no blood...no bodies...and the cars were still in the driveway, the suitcases in the closets. Dawn had made her own assumptions. She left a note in case someone had survived and returned, telling them to head north. For the first year she had left messages along the roadways, hoping beyond reason that at least one of her family members would find them. But there had been nothing. Eventually she accepted their fates and moved on, continuing down the roads on her own and looking for something….or someone...to bring life back into her existence.

    This truck was the closest thing she had found...it was her sign...a spark heralding better days. It didn't matter that she had stolen it...the laws of ownership were flimsy at best these days. Finders...Keepers...was the common thought. The guilt she felt was threadbare in comparison to the elation of having wheels again. She could do the whole 'pay it forward' retribution idea another day. The only thing that mattered currently was the semi and where it could take her.

    ---------

    The highway to Freetown was a straight shot, and Dawn rolled down the window to enjoy the fresh push of the autumn air. She put her hand outside to ‘ride’ the waves, a silly grin plastered across her face. She countered the cold by turning up the heat inside the truck, the combination of the two keeping her comfortable. Setting the speed control to give her feet a break, she ate up the road rapidly, the few undead managing to eat her grill. There was little on her mind other than making good time, putting enough road between her and birdie to keep her safe. A quick stop for supplies and she would continue on her way.

    The town came into view a short time later. It was just a small hub built around a tavern and hotel, boasting a few small shops which were nestled into a medium sized plot of land about the size of a football field. Chain link fencing topped with barbed wire was the main defense, a small cluster of men with rifles moving behind it on patrol. Dawn pulled into the main lot by the hotel and left the truck in idle as she unzipped her pack and rifled through the selection of items she found in the sleeper’s deck behind the seat. There was no food, but the supply of toilet paper was impressive. She could spare some of that. Into her pack it went, along with an adorable little stuffed duck she found in the bed. Water and medical supplies completed her findings, but these she left untouched for later use.

    A few minutes later she was standing outside the cab. The wires were disconnected and the truck sat silent. She couldn't lock the doors and anyone with any mechanical knowledge could steal it. She had already done the hard work of unlocking the steering wheel, and a simple connection was all that would be required for it to start. She huffed out a breath in frustration, resenting the birdman once again for not leaving the keys.

    Determined to be quick, Dawn went into the shops, food being her priority. She used the toilet paper as currency, amazed at how valuable it turned out to be. One keeper was willing to trade several apples for a roll and she didn’t dicker, fresh fruit something she didn’t often get to enjoy. She had seen the orchard on her way here, but had dismissed it, the trees appearing to be stripped, and now she knew why. She slipped the bounty into her pack, along with some dried meats and canned beans she had already procured, grunting her thanks as she stepped back onto the paved walkway. It was for sweets that she had saved the stuffed animal, hoping to find even a sliver of chocolate or sugar. Her craving was rarely sated, the confection not often found in the markets. Her last taste had been over three months ago, a bite size candy bar that had been well concealed beneath the counter of a convenience store, satisfying her need.

    Perhaps she would get lucky again today. She had solved her walking problem by jacking the gorgeous truck, a piece of sugary delight would round up her day to perfection. Almost an hour had already been used up between digging through the truck’s supplies and browsing the shops, she would have to be quick on her last venture, she had very little time left to waste.

  5. #5
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    By a madman's luck Grizz made good time to Freetown. Thankful for his years of military training he set himself to a dogged pace he had to ditch the shopping cart after the first mile realizing it was only slowing him down. So with some clever packing he managed to fit some of the canned food and water into his coat. He stashed the rest of the cans and the TP to be picked up later, he knew enough about cars to know that bending the side panel off an old pick-up truck leaves you a nice hiding spot for things that most scavvers wouldn't think of.

    He just hoped he remembered it for when he got Annabelle back. But he was more a marathon runner than a sprinter. The thief had a huge lead and advantage on him, he could make the five mile run in an hour, forty-five minutes, but even that would likely be too late. Freetown was small and even if you took your time you could hit up every shop and get food for the road in about an hour and fifteen minutes. His luck showed up once more though as about half way into the trip he found an old bicycle tossed over the edge of guard rail. The front tire was flat, but not punctured, he had to take twenty minutes to get it back up, but once it was good he was gone down the road burning up as much distance as he could. The rickety bike held up for almost the entire trip, but the rusted chain had been groaning and threatening to snap for the last two miles of his ride and by the time he reached the gates he was coasting and praying the frame wouldn't snap under his weight.

    He slid to a halt and waved to the guards as he ditched the bike. He tossed it into one of the scrap piles to be grabbed by someone else later and walked boldly through the gates. There weren't a lot of survivors around so most guards recognized those who came and went and Grizzwald was always one to leave impressions on people. Usually he'd stop and chat with the ones whose names he remembered, but he needed to find Annabelle and turn the thief into zombie bait. Now he just needed to find her. A beautiful truck like Annabelle just doesn't appear with no one recognizing her especially when it's not Grizz driving her. He asked around, put the fear of Grizzwald into some of them, and soon found his truck parked near the marketplace. Quickly rushing inside he was nearly brought to tears seeing the steering column ripped open and her wires disconnected. And what more his supplies had been pilfered, the meds and water were still there, but the thief had ransacked his retirement fund! Good toilet paper was such a rare commodity in this world that it sometimes rivaled antibiotics and bullets in worth!

    Luckily they hadn't traded all of it, but still far too much for the driver's liking. Adding his current prizes to his greatly diminished stockpile he put his mask and hat in his bunk and discovered the greatest crime had been committed! Admiral Ducky had been ducknapped! If he wasn't going to kill this thief now they were a dead asshole walking, stuffed animals weren't good for much unless, but Admiral Ducky, had gotten Grizz through some rough nights and as silly as it was for a grown man to have a stuffed duck, grown men who are crazy can get away with more things like that. Once the new supplies were secure Grizz exited the truck and made sure to lock her up tight this time. He stowed his rifle in the truck and checked that his revolver was loaded and at the ready. Once more he asked after who had exited the truck only having to threaten to break someone's arm instead of actually breaking it. A young woman with braided black hair was seen leaving the truck and drifting in and out of the usual supply shops.

    Following her path he soon found her heading for a small stall that sold candy. The true evil of her plan was made clear! She was going to trade the Admiral for some empty calories and cavities! Admiral Ducky was worth far more than that! Quickly approaching the girl he pulled his 44 out and cocked the hammer back aiming the barrel center mass at her back. "You picked the wrong truck to steal girly."
    Last edited by SikstaSlathalin; 10-09-2020 at 04:46 AM.


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  6. #6
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    Default Co-op Truck Wars

    Dawn froze, a hissed curse slipping from her lips as she lifted her arms up to the height of her shoulders, her hands in plain sight. She had been so distracted by the booth and what it had on display that she had dismissed the man she had noticed on the walkway when she had looked back towards the truck. He had seemed...well...ordinary...not a threat. She couldn’t have been more wrong. How dare he approach her without his birdie mask. It would have given her a heads up at least.

    Catching the attention of the shopkeeper, she rolled her shoulders and tilted her head in the direction of the man behind her, or at least where she suspected him to be, asking for confirmation with her movements. A quick nod was the response and she sighed heavily, rolling her eyes as she began to turn around to face the reaper.

    “I’m gonna spin about and face you….real slow like. Don’t do anything half-cocked and shoot me in the back. We can talk about this...possession being nine tenths of the law and all.”

    As the girl turned Grizz closed even more distance between, now a few feet away, his wide slightly crazy eyes going between the woman's face and the stuffed toy. "You stole Annabelle and were about to trade Admiral Ducky into slavery! That's...that's...rude." His voice was quiet as if rude was the ultimate swear world for him. "What game are you playing?" He looked the girl over more, she was more cute than beautiful, and small. She also looked a little bit younger than him too. If she wasn't a thief and ducknapper he might've asked her out for drinks.

    Her raised fingers patted the empty air in a calming gesture. "No games..." Oh Lord, the man was nuttier than a Snickers bar. "...I just think we can talk this over rather than jumping into a violent solution. I admit I did you wrong...but there were extenuating circumstances...and I never would have traded Ducky...Admiral Ducky...if I had known he meant so much to you."

    Swallowing back the lump in her throat, she looked hard at the weapon pointed at her, her tongue wetting her lips as she considered her chances of wrestling it from him. Zero to nil in this position. Lifting her gaze she smiled, working to get him to let down his guard.

    "There's another matter. You need me. Unless you know how to reverse the damage I did to the steering console...and get your...Annabelle...fired up again."

    Grizzwald's eyes frantically watched the girl's hands and body language gauging her for any sudden moves. He found the good Admiral tucked into the woman's belt. Keeping his gun aimed at her head he inched forward and pulled his duck free wiping it's body and head off on his coat as if to shake her cooties away before getting out of her reach again. "Yes...you hurt her greatly...a judge might even call it assault or attempted murder. You aren't the only Vehicle fixer in Freetown. Why shouldn't I just shoot you dead and use you as zombie bait?"

    Why indeed, she thought, all the while keeping herself steady, even when he approached her, his hand brushing against her abdomen as he wrenched the stuffed animal free. She had not been able to control the way her stomach tightened, but her smile remained intact.

    "You have a point...but I am offering my services for free...and I will even give you everything I received in trade for your stockpile of toilet paper. It will be like it never happened."

    Grizz tucked Admiral Ducky into one of the large pockets of his coat. His eyes wildly roamed over her face and body again and again, expecting her to try something. But he couldn't argue with her proposal, he needed food and judging by her bulging backpack she had enough to get him to the next town at least. With a quick nod he moved around to her side, still keeping out of range. "Lucky you didn't trade all of the rolls. I'll need those eventually. You walk ahead and I'll keep this bead on you." He said quickly glancing back at his truck.

    "Good choice," she said, nodding as she made her way around the crowd starting to form. She kept her hands up, despite the ache that was working its way into her shoulders. "You won't be sorry," she added, growing tired very quickly of the way his eyes continued to roam over her. He didn't trust her...and for good reason. One which she hoped to prove to him once an opening to attack revealed itself. Such a pain being the weaker sex...and smaller to boot. She needed surprise on her side plus a bit of luck. Maybe Annabelle would provide her with that.

    Grizzwald grunted lightly moving behind the woman, his eyes being unable to avoid watching her backside. It'd been a long time since he'd been with a woman, even longer since the woman was so cute looking. He shared a few nights with some local girls during the war, but they weren't all that nice to look at it. Mutual blowing off of steam he called it, and besides he wasn't much of a looker himself.

    Before he let his brain wander too much he reminded himself she was a thief and a slaver. He heard a mournful quack from his pocket and patted it softly. "It's ok sir, we'll be done with her as soon as Annabelle is fixed. We can still shoot her in the head afterwards too." He let out a manic chuckle as they approached the truck. Pulling out the keys he clicked the fob and pushed the front of the thief into the side of the truck while he kept the barrel between her shoulder blades. Ignoring how the position pushed her backside out some, he opened the door and entered first, moving slowly backwards while keeping the gun aimed at her. "Ok little miss Thief, toss your backpack into the back of the truck and fix my Annabelle." He ordered, pulling out Ducky and tossing him onto the bunk in the back.

    "Okay," she agreed, nearly fuming inside at his rough treatment and constant babbling to himself...and the effing duck. He was certifiably insane. She slipped the straps of her pack down her arms before climbing onto the seat and positioning herself on her knees, her hand reaching for its zipper before she lifted her gaze to him.

    "I need to get my tools...unless you want to do that. They're at the bottom."

    Grizzwald licked his lips nervously going over the answer in his head as scrambled as it was. He could let her get them out, but she might have a gun in there somewhere. And as quick a shot as he was he couldn't bring himself to shooting a gun inside Annabelle like this. He might miss and damage his beauty more, maybe even kill her outright if he was really unlucky.

    Moving forward he grabbed her bag and unzipped it with one hand and began pulling stuff out of it. He tossed the supplies into his bunkroom, her other items meaning little to him, but he found all the tools and tossed them onto the floor beside her, before kicking the mostly empty pack out of her reach. She didn't have anymore weapons in the bag so all he needed to worry about were the weapons about her person. The shotgun on her back, pistol at her hip, and knife in her boot. He'd be able to shoot her first so she could keep them for now. "Ok there ye go. Now fix quick. I don't wanna shoot inside Annabelle so...so any funny business will be a...k-kill shot." He threatened, gripping his pistol in both hands and moving around for a clear shot at the girl's head and a position where he could see what she was doing to his Annabelle.

    "Of course," she huffed, barely managing to keep her cool while the birdman threatened her life yet again. Her fists clenched and unclenched by her sides, but as soon as she had the means to work on the vehicle, she set to it, crawling into the space between the seat and steering wheel. It was tight, and she wiggled around, stripping off any unnecessary items so she could maneuver more freely. Her sawed-off went first, the strap pulled over her head and dropped, her hands never touching the weapon. Then it was her light armor, the leather vest and strapping, then her t-shirt. She knew she was a sight in her tight fitting tank top, the cool breeze slipping into the truck accenting the fact that she was braless. She didn't flaunt it, but it was obvious enough on its own, the girl shamelessly using what she had to distract the crazy bugger.

    "This should only take a minute," she said, reaching for the wire cutters and electrical tape. She reattached the appropriate connections, then secured them, fussing a bit as she tried to tuck them deep enough into the console so she could close it. Wrestling with it for a minute, she wiped the sweat from her forehead and looked over at her guard.

    "Do you think you could hold this back? Just for a sec while I get the flap in place so I can screw it back in."

    Grizz twitched everytime the woman moved. He quickly hooked her shotgun with his foot and skidded it across the carpeted interior of the truck so it was well out her reach. And as she began removing clothing his attention was terribly drawn to her movements. As she reached the final layer the man found himself half kneeling on the floor to keep a better eye on her work and get a more unhindered look at the woman's body. She was still more cute than beautiful, but her body itself was fit. Well-defined arms, nice flat stomach, and as the cool breeze and half tank-top told him...decently chesty, her nipples poking through the thin white fabric. The scars about her hands and parts of her stomach didn't bother him, it was expected for anyone still living in a zombie apocalypse.

    Was this part of her plan? Or was all this showing of skin necessary for her to fix Annabelle? Did she strip down like this when she first stole his baby? Did she strip down even more thinking she was alone? He quickly shook the thoughts from his mind, his different colored eyes blinking rabidly a few times as he tried to keep up with and memorize her hand movements, so he could maybe learn to do it himself should someone steal Annabelle again the same way.

    He was lost in staring at her chest again when she spoke to him, asking for help. His attention kicking right back to what game she might be playing. But she looked to be almost done, so shifting the gun to his left arm he cautiously moved closer trying to keep the gun aimed at her as he reached out with his right hand and held the panel out of the woman's way. "Ok...hurry....hurry up."

    "That's good...thanks," she said, purposely pushing herself up against his arm as she twisted to work around him. He really was more in the way, but his wandering eyes...really lovely eyes, she noted...couldn't keep from straying to her breasts. She had the bastard hooked.

    One screw was in and she leaned harder against him to reach the other, wiggling her way a bit out of the hole. "Just a sec...I've almost got it." Her breath was hot on his neck when she suddenly reached out and grabbed at his gun hand, pushing the barrel away from the intended target. He won't shoot up his beloved Annabelle, she thought with a cruel twist of his wrist. "Little perv..." she growled, using her grip to pull herself the rest of the way from the tight space. Her knees pushing into the seat, she slammed her head forward, making contact with the side of his head.

    Grizzwald swore loudly as the woman's head cracked into his own. Luckily he had a thick skull or she might've knocked him flat out. His prosthetic hand didn't have the same grip strength as his real one so the pistol easily flung free once the thief had control of it. But his free hand came up and grabbed her belt, her headbutt having sent him flying back, but he was going to take her with him.

    "Oh that was a mistake girly!" He shouted as they fell backwards. Being much stronger than her he moved around and made sure she hit the hard metal wall before him. He kept a grip on her belt, but it wasn't as tight as it should be. His hand caught and pulled the woman's pants down a little, the top part of her buttocks being exposed. It...like her chest...distracted the lonely man long enough for her body weight to pin his still stuck hand down. But his fake hand was free and was made of a nice hard wood. Making a fist he began trying to punch her head and knock her out, but his arm was pinned at a weird angle, so he only managed to strike her shoulders and back. "Why couldn't you just fix Annabelle and leave?" He shouted the question at her.

    There was shock...and pain...then anger. Dawn cried out when the man started hitting her, her movements hindered by the awkward position she found herself in. Her bare stomach was pressed against a cold surface, the bastard's hand digging into her waist where it was trapped between her belt and the truck's panel. His fingers were situated a bit lower and she tried to twist away from him, her struggles accomplishing little other than frustrating her further.

    Again she felt his fist strike her. "Ow...dammit...stop hitting me," she cried, squirming to get her leg up high enough to knee him. The blow she managed to land on his shoulder shifted their positions a bit, Dawn feeling his right hand come free and the pressure against her lightening up. She didn't wait for his reaction, her adrenaline surging as she pulled herself up and dropped onto his back, one arm going around his neck and the other grabbing his left arm and bending it behind him. She pushed her knees into his back to give herself more leverage, nearly growling as she twisted and turned.

    'The truck is mine you crazy ass red-headed fool! Give her up!"

    Once his hand was free the man grunted, pulling it to his chest to try and push himself up. But the Thief moved quicker and jumped onto his back like some crazed monkey. "You ain't earned her you little ape!" Her strong little arm came around his neck, trying to choke him out, but he managed to get his chin in the way at the last second. But as she grabbed his fake arm a new panic filled his mind. Quickly pushing himself to his feet, the girl still attached to him, he could both hear and feel the attachments snapping loose. "Hey monkey fuck let go of that you're gonna break it!"

    It was too late. As her added weight threw him off his balance, he fell backwards landing hard atop the girl and squishing her underneath his greater body weight. But the physics was already set against him, the girl's knees in his back jabbing pressure points that caused his body to instinctively rip away. The sharp bits of metal in his shoulder cut through his shirt and the contorting motion snapped the rest of the bindings free. The clockwork arm came off in the woman's hand and Grizz tumbled across the truck crashing into the wall, panic filling his mind as he looked at where the missing limb was. "AHHHHHH YOU BROKE IT! PLEASE! PLEASE! GIVE ME MY ARM BACK! IT'S ONE OF A KIND!" Tears quickly began falling down his face as he flailed about clutching at the empty space of his arm.

    "What. The. Living. Hell." the girl said, astonishment in her voice as well as on her face. She nearly laughed, her eyes glued to the object in her hand. "Your arm. You...have...a fake arm." Her breath was just starting to catch up, her voice raspy as she pulled air deep into her lungs. The bulky bastard was heavy, and his weight against her bent legs had pushed the air right from her lungs. Thank goodness she had managed to hang onto his arm...his fake fucking arm.

    "Hey Birdman. Give me the keys to Annie here and we'll talk trade," she said, trying to shout over his blubbering. She raised his arm like a bludgeon, using both hands to lift it over her head. It was heavy, more so than she could wield easily. She just wanted the big rig...the dope could have his mechanical wonder.

    The gall on this Thief! Grizzwald thought to himself as he looked up through tear filled eyes. First she stole his truck, then she stole his supplies, then she tried to trade one of his two friends in the whole world, now she was holding his arm hostage and making him choose between it and his only home. In the madder parts of his mind he admired the kind of sand, this girl was a survivor through and through. But as his hand felt the cool wood and steel of the girl's discarded shotgun the driver remembered one thing...so was he. Grabbing her gun he quickly checked the barrels, seeing they were both loaded, and slid up the wall standing to his full height. Even with tears still in his eyes he leveled the loaded weapon at her chest, letting out a loud sniffle and cocked the hammers back for both barrels. "Or, I shoot you dead and take it all back. Annabelle will forgive me for damaging her if I take care of you first thief." Tears still trickling down his face he moved closer holding the gun flush to her chest. "Might even minimize the damage at this range." While Dawn might've been bluffing about breaking his arm the emotion on Grizzwald's face and his already well-known instability made his threat carry more weight.

    Dawn cursed under her breath, realizing too late the one fatal flaw about going to war against a crazed madman inside the cab of a truck. There was no where to run. Her back up against the door, she had little room to squirm away from the barrels, her dark eyes dropping to them as she frantically tried to come up with a profitable scheme.

    A sigh preceded the lifting of her head, her gaze locking onto that of the one-armed man. She was tired of him staring at her down the barrel of a weapon...and this one was hers...another mistake on her part. It was time to accept her losses and make a deal. Keeping his arm tightly clenched in her hands, as it was her only ace in the hole, she cocked her head and clicked her tongue.

    "That would make one hell of a mess...don't you think? Two shells...all the blood and bone matter...might end up tearing the lovely upholstery...not to mention the stains. I think I have a better idea." Taking a deep breath and sucking in her stomach, she forced a half smile. "You kinda have me at a disadvantage birdie...but I have something you want and you have something I want...more than one thing actually," she amended, her life high on the list of desirable possessions. "Let's say you lower the shotgun and I'll return your arm undamaged. Plus..." And here was the kicker.

    "...we agree to share ownership of the truck. That way no one dies today. It'll still be yours in theory, but I get to ride in it. Partners like. Everyone wins."

    Grizzwald's eyes darted back and forth between the end of the gun and his arm. He had trusted this girl once before and she betrayed really quick, then tried to beat and steal from him again. But he really didn't want to shoot anything inside his baby, and as mad as he was at the woman he didn't want to kill her, if he was going to be honest with himself. He just wanted her gone so he could get back to his almost stress free life on the road.

    He didn't like the idea of sharing the truck that was entirely his with an uppity thief, who he could easily kill and be done with even without shooting her. He was close enough to her that he could probably snap her neck or something, he'd done it before...but something about having someone around to talk to, especially someone of the cute female variety, made him consider it more than he likely should've.

    He was sure he couldn't trust her to just pick up and leave if he rejected her deal and just threw her out of the truck. He spent enough time looking over his shoulder as it was, why add another layer of paranoia to his daily life? The tip of the shotgun lowered a fraction of an inch before he quickly pushed the gun into her arms while yanking his own arm away in nearly the same motion. "Deal." He said quietly, wiping his eyes and nose with his sleeve as he hugged his fake arm protectively to his chest. "Now please fix Annabelle." He said weakly as he tossed her the keys and shuffled into the small bunkroom to try and reattach his arm. The sounds of quiet sobs and the frustrated grunts could be heard as he wrestled with the straps and tools.

    Dawn stared down at the keys in her hand...and the shotgun...thinking it couldn't really have been that easy. She had already planned ahead for ideas to sweeten the deal, just in case, but she wasn't going to question it, the man obviously was at least a pack short of a carton. She could use that in the days to come...keeping him content with the deal they had made and working on establishing some shred of trust. Who knew, maybe she wouldn't have to kill him after all...and she really didn't want to...he was easy on the eyes and his strong arms...arm, she reminded herself...would come in handy. Teaming up with others had never worked for her before, but birdie seemed compliant...and a bit daft. So...who knew?

    With a glance over her shoulder at the noises behind her, she slipped the keys into her pocket and set the weapon on the seat. Her father had always said a real man doesn't cry, but so much had happened since the days of luxury, exceptions had to be made. It was possible the birdman lost his way fighting the zombies. She would just have to be patient and try to ignore the sniffling. Screwdriver in hand, she got to work, putting the last screw into the panel and giving the wheel a good twist. There was nothing else she could do without replacement parts, so no use wasting any more time on it. She set to putting the items the birdman had tossed about back into her pack, grumbling to herself about the food that had weighted it down before he had shown up. She wondered if he would share it...not to mention the possibility of allowing her to head back into the shop area to trade for the sweets.

    "Hey...you almost done in there? Need a hand or anything?" she shouted back to him. "I finished fixing up Annabelle....at least as much as I can without parts...the ignition lock is screwed, but she will run fine until we locate a truck-stop or repair shop. I can get parts at either place. In the mean time, I was hoping we could get some more supplies? My treat."

    The sound of annoyed grunts and clanking metals part were the only answers she got for a few seconds before Grizzwald's more controlled voice followed. "Almost done." There was a loud squeezing sound and a sharp intake of breath from the man. It was either a breath or pain, but soon Grizz walked out from the bunkroom his tears gone and his face only a little bit red around the eyes. But he had regained his composure, his duel colored eyes clear and staring. "We don't need much, I'm due for a fuel fill up out in Erwin, Tennessee. We have enough to get there and Erwin is a bigger safer port than Freetown. But I do need some more ammo." He said simply before picking his revolver back up and picking up the torn sleeve of his shirt. "And a new shirt." he grumbled lightly picking up his coat and slinging it on.

    "Tennessee?" she repeated, "...but I was going north." She nearly growled in her frustration as she grabbed up her discarded t-shirt and leather vest, slipping them on without looking up at the one-armed man. "Isn't there somewhere else you can fuel up...birdie?" Mumbling to herself, she reached for her shotgun and pack, pulling them towards her and scooting across the seat as she headed for the door. Her drop to the ground came with a hiss of breath, the pain in her feet almost forgotten due to their little wrestling match. She would have to address them later...once they were on the road. Which meant a clean pair of socks for her...and maybe some light wrapping. Too bad she couldn't just raid birdie's supply, but that would only work against the building of trust she was hoping to achieve.

    The red-headed man shook his head, all the redness of crying gone from his face. Letting the Thief see him cry and vulnerable was one thing. He could handle her easy enough should he need to, but letting anyone else in the outside world see it would be suicide. Fixing his coat and reaching into the cab to grab his hat, he answered. "I have a haul to pick up out there, even with the world ending you gotta have work. I'll be hauling scrap and parts out West more, and I get first pick of anything to trade for more supplies in the town. But if you insist on going North." He boldly reached into the woman's pants pocket and pulled the keys to truck out. "Then you best start walking Thief." Putting them back into his own coat's pocket he slammed the door to the truck and locked it tight. He couldn't help but grope her thigh a little as he yanked the keys out, truly a mad man. In three seconds flat back to brash and putting on a bravado of not being bothered.

    Dawn's scowl said all that was necessary, but it was accentuated by a narrowing of her eyes and a foul curse. She had tried to pull away as soon as the bastard's hand slipped easily inside her pocket, but to no avail. Damn her loose jeans...she couldn't afford to drop any more weight or the things would fall right off her hips. Nearly happened already, she reminded herself, unable to forget the feel of the birdman's hand against her lower abdomen. "Name's Dawn...not Thief...and you better keep your hands to yourself," she said, brushing the front of her pants in an agitated manner.

    "Won't be walking neither...not anymore. So you can forget that." She pushed past him, purposely knocking against his arm as she made her way back to the stores. Bastard was going to get what was coming to him if he didn't watch his attitude. The last thing she needed was another problem to worry over.

    The man chuckled. "And my name's Grizzwald Night not birdie. And you may be riding with me and Annabelle now, but we won't be stopping our jobs. Need to refill all the toilet paper you traded away!" He said quickly rolling his shoulder some feeling the tightness of his arm. He always put the damn thing on too tight, but with one hand it's hard to find that middle ground of comfort.

    And he never liked letting anyone get that close to him to adjust it for him. He'd ignore the pain as he always did, keeping the thief in sight they reached the small marketplace of Freetown. Preserved food was a must, but he also knew of a small time gunsmith around here who might have some extra boxes of ammo going missing. "Ok food first."

    "Food," she repeated, wondering just what the birdman was going to use to trade for it. She had already gathered enough for herself, with his bartering goods, but there were two of them now. She supposed it would be her penny this time around. She had little to spare, although a lot of her tools could be traded off if she was being honest. A planned stop to finish the repairs on Annabelle could bring about a chance to restock them. They could be hard to come by, but she had to have her priorities straight. Get the Grizzly bird under her wing, then strike...if needed...was the current plan.

    Slowing her step, she turned to look at Grizz, smirking at him. "You and your toilet paper. I'll see what I can do to get some of it back. Okay?" She stepped into the shop, looking over the goods she had already perused earlier. She'd let the man pick out his own stuff and play at being...nice. The best way to get him to lower his guard would be to make herself more approachable, a difficult task with his crazy ass, but she was going to have to try. She would offer up some of her best items for trade...things which she could replace at some point...and maybe he would see her as an asset.

    "Hey, you've experienced first hand how valuable that stuff is. I was like a millionaire with that stock." Still he couldn't fault her too much for using the most valuable assets to get stuff. Usually he just traded the food he didn't like or excess scrap he didn't need for stuff. There was a buyer for everything in this world, you just needed to know who to talk to, and sometimes he'd exchange favors for supplies. Fetch this object or catch this guy and bring him back. Bounty Hunter busybody stuff.

    They parted ways as they both went about gathering supplies. Using a combination of charm and business sense they met up again an hour or so later with a respectable haul of goods. The sky was growing dark so that meant it was time to head back to the truck and try to figure out sleeping arrangements.

    As soon as Grizzwald opened the door, Dawn jumped in front of him and pulled herself up, dropping her large bundle of goods on the passenger's side seat. With the truck's spacious storage area, she had decided to stock up on a few necessities, plus get some luxury items she normally wouldn't have due to space. She tossed a small pillow into the back, along with two blankets, each one a little thread-bare, but warmer than her usual coverings. Opening her backpack, she stuffed in packets of trail mix, basically dried fruits and meats mixed with various nuts. The rest of her purchases she set aside, determined to save herself a place in the bed before the birdman hogged it all.

    Sparing him a glance, she went to the back and climbed onto the bed, spreading her new items on one side and sitting cross-legged. Stripping down to just her jeans and tank top, she arranged her weapons beside her for easy access and leaned back. It wasn't the most comfortable place she had slept since the epidemic, but it was far better than her typical fare. With a sigh, she looked up at the cab's roof...she didn't dare close her eyes...there was a birdie to deal with first.

    Following the girl in Grizzwald's fists kept clenching and unclenching. This was something he had been dreading even more so than just closing his eyes around a thief who might easily slit his throat in his sleep and use him as zombie bait. There was only one bed in Annabelle and while it might be big enough for two he never tested it, and he never liked feeling cooped up even when he slept with girlfriends before the Zombies took over. He always made sure whatever bed they slept on was Queen or bigger so he could go the whole night and not worry about hitting anyone when he flailed in his sleep.

    But here he was in a truck with a bed that barely qualified as a Queen and was really just a slightly bigger full sized bed. Once she was done tearing around the cabin he set his own stuff aside making sure to lock the truck and put the E-brake on as he always did when he slept. Pulling his coat off he hung it up on a hook and moved to the bunk room seeing the Thief's clothing flung out the small door. Biting his tongue at his unwelcome and messy guest he kept reminding himself that they made a deal.

    Once things seemed to settle he appeared in the door making sure to not let his eyes linger on her as she was once again wearing that tank top with no bra. Crossing his arms he clicked his tongue looking up at the ceiling. "The fronts seats recline back and are comfy you should go sleep on them."

    Amusement crossed the girl's face, her head shaking from side to side in refusal. "Not happening Grizzwald….but don't let me stop you from enjoying them. I've been walking on the road for three days with little to no sleep...and I am not budging from this spot." She grabbed up the extra blanket she had bought and stretched it out along the center of the bed. "Just in case you do decide to lay here...in our bed...this is the middle marker. No funny business. I'm a light sleeper and will not hesitate to cut you."

    Reaching down, she pulled her blanket up to her waist, then folded her arms and put them behind her head. "So what'll it be big guy?" she asked, a smirk crossing her lips. "Gonna keep vigil from the front?"

    The man growled looking down at the floor, his fist clenching lightly as he tried to decide what to do. He was tired and sleeping in the front seats made his arm and legs too numb, plus it was too wide open for his liking. He liked feeling the walls of the bunkroom around him when he slept, made him feel safe like being in a crib or something. Letting out another annoyed growl he made a point to look away from her and began pulling off his vest, shirt, and boots. Once he got to his where he could pull his arm off he sat moodily down upon the bed.

    "Whatever." He grumped biting the straps of his arm trying to pull them apart so he could remove his arm. His teeth and gums bled lightly and the leather straps showed many signs of ill-fated tooth marks. It would seem obvious that this man has been doing this alone for far too long.

    With a bemused smile on her face, Dawn watched the birdman's antics with curiosity. Her first inclination was to offer assistance as she had before, but she couldn't deny she was enjoying his struggle. Her mind worked overtime, wrangling out ideas for improvements on the arm's attachments...both for security and ease in usage...all of which she kept to herself.

    "Glad everything's settled then," she said, rolling onto her side so she could face him. She wouldn't be taking any chances tonight. Rearranging her bedding, she slipped her pocket knife into her palm, making sure the action was noticed. "Don't forget my warning," she added, the slightest blush coming to her cheeks as her eyes drifted to his naked chest...the scars and musculature holding her interest longer than was considered decent. A fluttering in her stomach followed and she closed her eyes to shut out the view. That was the last thing she needed...to waste a few precious minutes on a quickie that was sure to disappoint.

    Having finally gotten the arm free, the man grumbled again and hung it on the wall above the bed before laying down and pressing himself more to the wall. "And I warn you, I am a fitful sleeper and a hitter when suddenly awoken, so careful with that knife or you might wind up eating it." With that he rolled to his left side staring at the wall until he could fall asleep.

    "Duly noted," she mumbled, not bothering to open her eyes. As long as he stayed on his side of the blanket, she doubted there would be an issue. She was a quiet sleeper, most often finding herself in the same position upon waking as she had started in. As her backside was already against the wall, Grizzwald should have enough room to move about some. She only hoped he didn't keep her awake with his restlessness.

    Shifting slightly, she pulled her blanket up to her chin, her hand's grip on the weapon loosening as she allowed herself to relax.

    "Happy trails, big guy," she said softly, already feeling the effects of the long day dragging her down into slumber.

  7. #7
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    The voice of a Rock Station DJ played quietly through the cabin of Annabelle hiding the rumble of the engine as the Semi rolled casually down the open highway. Mid-afternoon sun filled the interior with chaotic flashes of bright orange and yellow. The scenery was the wide open expanse of the mostly untouched countryside.

    When the Zombies hit hard the cities were the first to fall obviously. All those people in tight quarters was the perfect breeding ground for the virus once one of the sides in the second civil war released it. Suburbs and all the ill-prepared yuppies died next. Even after the Second Civil War thinned the herd alot already the zombies just dealt the finishing blow really only the country folk survived and not even all of them lived. If one was to guess upwards of 95% of the world population was wiped out. And those few left had to scramble to keep the other 5% from dying out as well.

    When things first went sour a lot of radio stations were still trying to air acting as news stations as well as rallying cries, and keeping the airwaves from going totally dark. They all wanted to be "the voice in the dark" as it were, within the first few months damn near all of them did in fact go dark. Through the many grapevines Grizz heard most were simply abandoned as the hordes encroached in on them and they're little radio tower wasn't nearly as fortified and secured as they hoped. But some stuck it out and got eaten. Now only a few stations stayed up and going and much to the one-armed man's pleasure they were mostly Rock'n'roll, Country and Blue Stations and they liked playing such a wider field of music now that most everyone was dead and you didn't have to pay royalty fees anymore. Rumors of large settlements out West have been filling the air waves for the past few hours, people have been talking about places like that since the war that single utopia untouched by strife and zombies "Retaking the Garden of Eden" was a phrase Grizzwald heard alot during his time in the army. Supposed to be the end goal of the East Side breaking the West's Capital or something, but it became a lofty ideal in itself of bringing America back to the way it was before World War II where everyone was happy and productive.

    A return to perfection, even if it wouldn't be exactly like that there would be different politics and such, but what everyone really wanted was peace and a return to normalcy. And after the world ended it became this mythical city on the opposite side of the country with high walls, good food, fertile soil, and no one getting stabbed in the back. A new version of Atlantis that people have been chasing after for centuries. The mad man supposed most people needed something to hope for. As the DJ's little new report ended the proper road music began playing again and Grizzwald turned the volume up so he could more easily sing along with the songs he knew.
    Last edited by SikstaSlathalin; 11-17-2020 at 12:41 AM.


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  8. #8
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    Dawn woke to the sound of music, feeling the vibration of the road beneath her as her face scrunched up in frustration. The damn birdman was at it again, playing the radio loud enough to call in the dead for dinner. The bass thrummed in her ears and she gritted her teeth against it. She liked rock as much as the next person, but geez, so early in the morning? Yawning, she kicked back her blanket and stretched, trying to ignore the tightness in her bladder. It was only when she sat up that she realized it was later than she thought, the sun’s rays coming in at the wrong angle for the dawn.

    Scrambling to get herself ready, she unraveled her messy braids with fumbling hands, grumbling to herself the whole time. She went through her morning ritual quickly, washing her face and arms with a damp rag, then putting on her t-shirt and leather vest-like garment. Her socks were changed out next, followed by her well-worn boots. She gave the laces a good tug, double tying the bows so they wouldn’t come undone without effort. The routine took her a few minutes and once she was done she hopped up and grabbed an apple, making her way to the front and giving the man a scowl.

    “Can you turn that down Songbird?” she asked, unable to stop herself from making a quip concerning his singing. He had a decent voice...but she wasn’t about to admit that...their relationship so far being based on sarcasm and sass. Why change now? Taking her place in the passenger seat and putting on her seatbelt, she bit into her breakfast, the crisp crunch loud in the confined space. At least some things hadn’t been spoiled by the diseased undead.

    For a few minutes she remained quiet, content to eat her apple and squint at the road signs ahead. She tried to determine their location...Grizz had said they were going to Tennessee...so she expected they would travel along the same road she had walked...maybe even pass by her abandoned car. Wouldn’t that be a trip? Suffering all that way on foot just to backtrack and end up further south that she had started. It was a damn shame. If she could get behind the wheel...

    It was an uneven spot in the road that ended her mental ramblings, a soft moan escaping her lips when the truck's wheels hit a bump. She was going to have to stop soon...or she was going to wet her pants...just another disadvantage to getting up late.

    “Hey Grizz...do you think you can pull over as soon as we come to a safe spot?”

  9. #9
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    Grizz's mood dropped as soon as he heard his unwanted guest beginning to stir. He was hoping she'd sleep the whole way to his next job and he could begin to ignore her existence and try to remember what it was like before. He was even hoping to think of a way to be rid of her. Listening to her movements the man kept his eyes on the road. He'd seen a few Deaders, but they were moving too fast to be bothered with.

    It's only when they're in horde size that they'd actually pursue them. That's why he never worried about playing his music so loud. He'd turn it down if a Horde was nearby of course, but Hordes are hard to miss so it was rarely an issue. Still with a low annoyed groan he turned the music down and kept his mouth shut. "Ain't my fault you don't have a musical ear."

    Looking down at his gauges he saw they had enough fuel to make it to Erwin. He then looked around as his guest buckled in and began crunching on an apple. Turning the music up a touch more to block it out. His eyes continued to scan the road and areas around it when Dawn asked to stop. He guessed she wanted a pee break he could use some time to stretch his legs too they've been on the road for about six hours now. With a quick nod he pointed to a dirt road turn off up ahead. "Sure that'll do." Letting off the throttle he aimed for the turn-off.


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    Default Pit Stop--co-op

    As soon as the truck came to a stop, Dawn was unbuckling her seatbelt and looking out her window for a location that would afford her some privacy. In a bit of a rush, she snatched up her pack (she never went anywhere without it) and had her door half open when she was hit with a smattering of common sense that overrode her urgency. Pausing to look over her shoulder, she gave the birdman a quick once-over. He didn't appear to be scheming, but trust was not something they had built up between them, and with her luck, he would take this moment to leave her stranded.

    Her hand went out, palm opened towards him. "Give me the keys," she said, "...and stay in sight."

    Grizzwald let out a short snort then slipped out of the truck, keys still in hand. "Not a chance, you get eaten by Deaders squatting by a tree and I'm stuck here." He slung his rifle over his shoulder and slammed the door of the truck closed, yawning loudly and stretching his arms and legs out.

    Huffing out a sigh, the young woman jumped to the ground, nearly growling in her frustration as she took long strides to bring herself around the truck and face-to-face with Grizz. "I'm not gettin' eaten...and I'm sure a big guy like you can take out a few 'Deaders' if motivated. Now...hand over the keys or..." Her pause was followed by a narrowing of her dark eyes. "...or come with me and stand guard."

    Once again her hand came out, her head tilting as she watched him closely for his reaction. His company was the last thing she wanted, but it was a small price to pay to keep wheels under her ass. The best he would get was a look at her thighs, which was nothing compared to her little show last night. If gawking was his thing, she'd endure, but payback would be a bitch.

    The stout man scoffed unslinging his rifle and clicked the safety off holding the muzzle down at low ready. "I can, but I might just let them eat you too. Ugh fine, I'll stand guard. Just make it quick, we're gettin' into Zombie hunting grounds down here where it's warmer." He then reached into his pocket and pulled out a roll of toilet paper, underhand throwing it at the woman. "Also you might be needing this, don't ya think?" This made him chuckle as he walked ahead of her his head moving along the horizon for trouble.

    She was going to kill him...yep...first chance she got...the thought running through her head as she followed along behind. Such a smug bastard! Unwinding a section of the tp and wrapping it around her hand, she chose her spot and veered off, sticking the roll on a jutting branch as she undid her pants. A leaf would have been just as useful, but this was a luxury she didn't often get.

    "Hey birdie...that's far enough..." she called out, "...just keep looking to the East...no peeking...I'll be done in a sec."

    For extra insurance that he wouldn't see her, Dawn slipped around the tree's trunk, putting it between them. It wasn't as safe, but it would keep her modest as long as he did not move to the side. She would have to trust him on that one...his first opportunity to earn some points in his favor.

    The man rolled his eyes, but did as she bid, moving a bit more up the small path keeping his back fully turned to the tree. "Whatever you say girly." Adjusting his arms to a slightly more ready position Grizzwald strained his ears and eyes trying to pick up the most minute disturbances. Despite being brain dead Zombies had an eerie ability to hunt like fully functioning human beings still. Even the Walkers which were basically just walking appetites could manage to hunt and track sometimes.

    His own stomach growled lightly and he grumbled to himself thinking of what he should eat. He skipped breakfast wanting to get on the road quickly, and he was never one to eat while driving. Too much of a distraction.

    The sound of Grizz's stomach was perfectly timed with the crackling crunch of leaves underfoot, a soft rounded object, aimed at the back of his head, sailing through the air with precision a few seconds later. Dawn laughed as the quilted toilet paper bounced to the ground after striking its target, the white sheets unrolling a few feet before coming to a stop.

    "Come on pretty boy...let's get moving. Unless you want to enjoy the sights a bit more. I think our big rig might have attracted a few stragglers," she said, the dim outline of two figures in the distance appearing over the rise of a hill at a slow pace. "I wouldn't mind a little exercise...but since I don't know your time table...well...don't want you to be late or anything."

    The stout man grumbled lightly, quickly picking up the discarded roll of TP and making sure to dust it off before securely stuffing it back into his pocket. "Such disregard for the bounty of the land." Shaking his head he looked in the direction of the distant figures. He couldn't tell if they were Deaders or just wandering humans from here. Still best to not test it. Walking around the truck he swatted Dawn's ass. "Hmm, your ass seems firm enough, I don't think it needs anymore exercise just yet." Climbing back into the driver's seat he hung his rifle on the wall peg and pulled his coat off, slinging it over the back of his seat as he waited for the woman to get back inside.

    A low hiss was followed by the narrowing of her eyes, Dawn giving the stout man a look of reproach. "Hands off Birdman!" she shouted, wiping at the seat of her pants to counter the sting. He was playing with fire, that one, and she would be sure to pay him back for it. Her brothers had learned her wrath quickly enough when they played tricks on her...nothing like ice water being poured down the back of your shirt to stir things up.

    Huffing out a sigh, she didn't waste any further time thinking about revenge...or the lumbering duo. Grizz would leave without her for sure, and she wasn't about to give him that chance. Hopping into the cab, she dropped her belongings on the floor by her feet, the core of her apple tossed out the door before she closed it. Once she was belted in, she toed off her boots and kicked her feet up on the dash.

    "I might as well get comfy, since your ass is in the driver's seat again. You just let me know when it's time for me to exercise mine. Don't want to be getting all flabby...right big boy?"

    Grizzwald reached under his seat and pulled out a can of air freshener before dosing the woman's feet and the dashboard. "My poor Annabelle is gonna stink to high heaven with you onboard." Was all he said before he fired up the truck and got back onto the road, turning the music back on to try and drown out any protests from his companion.

    "Son of a..." Dawn started, dropping her feet down and swinging them around to kick out at the man's thigh, "...fricking bitch." Without her boots, the blow was minimal, her feet taking the brunt of the strike. It helped to curb her anger though, the bastard managing to get under her skin like no other. Just who the hell did he think he was? If he wasn't behind the wheel she would jump him and rip off his arm, just like before, and then laugh while he cried like a baby.

    "You're gonna be sorry," she said, trying to be heard over the radio.

    Grizzwald sang loudly along with the music totally drowning out anything Dawn might've said. The rest of the ride to Erwin was done in begrudging silence. More country rock was playing over the speakers as they rolled through the hills and ruins of the middle south. They saw small pockets of Deaders along the way, but nothing to worry about especially with some up-armored patrol trucks barreling up and down the streets as they got closer to the town. Just around dusk they reached the gates of Erwin and after some pleasantries and show of a work receipt the pair and Annabelle pulled into the parking lot of the only motel in town, the Bellflower.

    Glancing up at the building, Dawn turned her attention over to Grizz, her expression sour. She had spent most of the ride pressed up against her door, her window rolled down and her head leaning into the cool wind. Anything to dampen the sound of the loud music and his singing. She had never been one to carry a tune well, and despite his voice being pleasant enough, she found it irritating.

    Her lovely mood continuing even now, she wrinkled her nose and shook her head when she saw the hotel. "I don't know what your plans are, but I'm staying in the truck."

    The man cackled throwing his truck into park and yanking the keys out, spinning them around his finger before pocketing them. "My plan is to pick up my work load, get some sleep, and hit the road heading West til I get to Wichita. From there....well that'll depend on if we live that long." He laughed loudly hopping out of his truck taking the keys with him.

    "I don't...damn it...what the hell is in the West?" she called after him, keeping his door from shutting by putting her hand against it. She would have to stay close to the vehicle all night without the keys in her possession. Leaving it unlocked would not be an option. She had half a mind to jump out and snatch them away from him, but that would only lead to trouble. Play nice, she reminded herself, although she hadn't been following her own advice since she had given it.

    "Can't we at least decide our destination...together?"

    Once again the madman laughed, pulling the work receipt out of his coat pocket and waving it around his head. "Sorry, Ms. Thief, we go where the work is. I need to deliver this payload of scrap metal to Kansas, from there I might have more work waiting for me or I might not. I had this all planned before you stole my baby. So sorry, but we cannot plan our destination together, at least not while I have work to do, but hey feel free to stay here, maybe you can shanghai someone else's truck."

    Putting the slip back into his pocket he entered the main office of the Bellflower. The inside of the office was rundown and stuck in the dull yellow banana décor of the late 70s. Everything stunk like either wet dog or dry dust. Tinny muzak played over half muted speakers. Inside was an old man wearing old BDU and black polished boots who gave Grizzwald a quick nod and a low garumph. "'bout damn time Night, was expectin' ya yesterday. The fuck kept ya?"

    Grizzwald snorted and jabbed a thumb back at Dawn. "Sorry Bruce, someone thought it a good ides to steal Annabelle."

    The old man Bruce hmmed and smacked his gums looking Dawn up and down. "And you didn't shoot 'er? She must be good in the sack."

    Grizzwald snorted again and shook his head. "Haven't found that out yet, but she's a grease monkey so potentially useful still. So where's my scrap?"

    It was at that point that Dawn let out a exasperated sigh, sorry now that she had decided to follow Grizz to the inside of the hotel. Her nostrils flared as she contemplated pulling her weapon, her fingers flexing near the holster at her hip.

    "Excuse me...assholes...but I am right here! You can't talk about me like that...and...any 'getting into the pants' decisions will be made by me...and I can guarantee that shit ain't happenin'." She scoffed and directed a burning glare towards Grizzwald. "Can't believe you'd even suggest there's a chance Birdie...wouldn't sleep with you if you were the last man on earth."

    The two men stared at the fiery woman then glanced at each other, completely unphased by her outburst. Bruce smacked his gums again. "Hmm she's a feisty one, quite the mouth though. As for the scrap, it's out by Nicky's garage, half trailer loaded with about half a ton of scrap. Metal dealer up in Wichita is expectin' it in three days. Fuck it up and you'll not only lose the pay, but be deep in Wicker Man Gang territory with valuable scrap and a very valuable truck."

    Grizz nodded pulling the work receipt from his pocket and slapped it down on the counter for the old man to sign before pushing it back. With a click of his tongue he pocketed it again and gave Dawn a wink as he walked past her, turning the corner and walking casually towards a run down auto shop on the back street behind the Bellflower.

    Could looks kill? If so, Grizz would have been a puddled mess of goo, Dawn stabbing him from behind with her dark eyes as she kept pace. "You think you are so clever. Show up to your buddies by picking on the little girl. Well, I'll tell you what scrap-man, your boy friends would not be thinking so highly of you if they saw the way you broke down and sobbed at the drop of a dime over your robotic arm. What I wouldn't give for a cell phone to record that shit."

    Scowling, she kept in his shadow. She should just return to the truck, but the big man had locked it as soon as he realized she was trailing him, the keys securely placed in his pocket. She could grab them, but it might be a bit of a tussle, drawing more unwanted attention to herself. Soon, she thought. I'll wait until he is distracted and get those damn keys.

    Grizzwald glared back at the woman, but bit his tongue, the last thing he wanted was to draw too much attention to them. Erwin was a small town and not everyone was as friendly as Bruce, and as loathe as he was to admit it Dawn was the closest thing to an ally he had right now. They were both at odds and back to back against a world keen on killing them both.

    With a low sigh he stopped and looked back at the woman. "Sorry, about pickin' on ya. Not used to having anyone around so my manners are rusty to say the least. Now come on, once I sign for the scrap we can get some food that hasn't come out of a can at the little dinner next door to the garage."

    Huffing, Dawn stared in turn, her eyes lowering once she was satisfied the birdman was sincere. "Hmm...well, that's better," she said, "...at least for a start. You pay and we'll call it even." What she didn't bother to mention was that she had no coin or merchandise to barter with, the last of her expendable supplies traded at the last stop. She moved up to walk beside the man, looking up at him when he wasn't paying attention. His instantaneous attitude shift was not lost on her, but she was not sure what to think about it at this point. She would have to keep an eye on him for sure...she didn't want to be caught off guard if he went all psycho.

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