Romney, West Virginia, Two weeks after Z day +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Eric leaned against the dark red wall of the decrepit Chinese restaurant, peeping into the building. The chairs and tables had a fine layer of dust over them, and what food that remained on the tables had turned rotten. The fox sighed and sat down at a chair, his paw moving back into his pocket.
"Hey Eric," A masculine voice called from outside, "We ok to go in?"
Eric jumped, his paw going down to the cane knife on his belt. He sighed, and called back.
"Yeah Jason," He replied, "It's clear."
A German shepherd strolled in, wearing a white tee and denim jacket, along with a pair of baggy jeans. He stopped before leaning on Eric's table, lighting up a cigarette and puffing lazily. Eric sighed and stood up, looking around.
"What's that horrific stench?" John asked, looking around the restaurant.
"I'm amazed you can smell anything puffing on that death stick," Eric replied, getting up and walking around the restaurant, "Damn zombies all around, and you try to kill yourself by smoking those things.
John chuckled and put out the cigarette on the table. He sniffed again, deeply, and gagged.
"And I thought Chinese food smelled bad when it was fresh!" He exclaimed.
Eric sighed rubbing a decorate pattern on the wall. He closed his eyes for a moment, imagining himself back home. He sighed happily, seeing his house, his old neighborhood, his friends, and his... Jason. He snapped out of it, looking over at John.
"I love Chinese food," The fox began, "You know I had my first date at an all you could eat Chinese buffet."
"Mine was at a Burger King," the German shepherd mused, murring, "He was damn good looking, not as sexy as you though."
"Mine was back in high school," He began, "W-with my m-mate Jason."
John's tough guy façade faded, and he walked over to Eric, getting him in a hug. Eric sniffled, resting his head into the German Shepherd's shirt. John rubbed the vulpine's back, he then kissed the smaller male's forehead, making the fox look up.
"Look Eric," John began, "Jason is dead, ok, but you have me ok, and I love you, and I'm going to take care of you."
Eric sniffled and nodded, kissing John's cheek.
"I know John," He replied, "I know, I promise I'll put it out of my mind."
"Remembering what was isn't going to help us now," John said, "Now let's get these supplies and be done with it ok?"
Eric nodded and gave John another kiss, breaking away from him. The pair went behind the counter, opening and looking over the drawers. Eric sighed sitting back.
"Nothing here but stationery and money," Eric scoffed, "The real stuff has to be in the kitchen."
"Why the hell Alfred asked us to scavenge this shit-heap is still bothering me," He began, pushing open the door to the kitchen, "There cant be any good food."
"Well the sign said Chinese-American," Eric replied, "Maybe we can get some veggies and canned stuff."
Eric began rummaging through drawers, while John opened up the fridge. He looked through, picking out all the stuff that was still good. He sighed as he finished, looking down at a half full bag.
"We need to hunt more," Jason began, "Most of the food in town is already gone, and what is left wont last."
Eric got up, holding some bags of potatoes.
"This should last us a while," Eric replied.
"What," John scoffed, "You want to feed a dozen people with two bags of potatoes?"
Eric sighed, grabbing some canned goods.
"It's better than nothing John," Eric began, stripping the drawers clean.
A low groan sounded from deeper in the kitchen. Eric froze, not daring to breathe. John came over and held him close, kissing him tenderly. Eric sniffled in fear, nuzzling in close to John. The sheppie started to move back towards the sound, slowly drawing his gun.
"John," Eric whispered, "Be careful."
John nodded, taking the safety off of his gun. He looked around the corner, seeing a body lying in the middle of the floor. He sighed, letting Eric go and moving up to it. It was a female husky, lying in a puddle of blood. Eric looked over her, jumping and suppressing a scream as it turned to look into his eyes.
She was dead, her abdominal cavity scooped clean out. Her hips looked to be gnawed on as well, teeth marks peppering them. She looked to have been beautiful back before Z-Day, her once living, shining eyes replaced by the yellow pallor of death. She reached up with her slender arms, clawing at the air.
"Damn, it never gets easier," John began, raising the gun.
Eric reached for his shoulder, grabbing him.
"Wait," Eric began, "They might hear it."
"Good point," John began, holstering his Beretta pistol, "Are you ok Eric?"
The fox nodded, tearing his gaze away from the dead female on the ground. John patted the foxes shoulder, pulling an entrenching shovel off of a shoulder strap. He sighed, kneeling down beside the woman, her lipstick smeared lips drawn back in a permanent snarl, trying desperately to sink her sharp teeth into John's arm.
"I'm sorry ma'am," John began, raising the shovel up.
He stabbed it down just above her eyes, making her contort and lay still. A dribble of blood trickled down her forehead, then followed by a small spurt of fluid and brain matter as John pulled out the shovel. Eric plastered his hands over his mouth, sitting back against the wall terrified.
"Eric," John began looking over at him, "I thought you said you dealt with these things before."
"This is my first time out since then though," Eric began, "I've been recovering, that and I was so jacked up, I don't think I knew what I was doing."
John sighed and moved over to comfort Eric, stopped in his tracks by a large dragon. His snout was cut down the middle, the blood from the wound now dried on his face. He was shirtless, his pectorals riddled with bullets, his rotator cuff visible. He turned to look at Eric, and roared, advancing on him.
Eric screamed, puling out his cane knife and slashing at the dragon. His blade sliced through the left ankle, the reptilian continuing to shamble on towards him. John snarled and shoved the zombie across the kitchen, it's shoulder snapping out as the dragon hit the oven. Eric crawled over to John's side, covering his ears as a bullet went through the zombie's skull.
Eric started to cry in fear, trying to wipe the blood off of his face. John got down on a knee and held him close, rubbing his back soothingly.
"Shh baby shh," John began, "They're dead now, they're all dead."
Eric looked up, his face streaked with tears.
"That was the first zombie I've seen since Z-day," Eric began shakily.
"I know Eric I know," John began, getting up to turn on a sink and wet a towel, "Here clean yourself up."
Eric sniffled, starting to dab off the blood. He closed his eyes and mouth, feeling it soak out of his fur. He finished, throwing the towel in the sink. John helped him to his feet, cleaning the fox's knife for him. A loud bang resounded outside, and a voice sounded out from the kitchen.
"Eric? John?" It began, "We heard gunfire, you two ok?"
John called back.
"Yes Kelly," He replied, "We're coming out now."
He held Eric's paw, starting to lead him out of the kitchen. The fox looked over the bodies one last time, shaking his head and going out of the restaurant. It was midday, and the sun was currently hiding behind heavy grey clouds. Kelly looked the pair over and shouldered her hunting rifle, handing John a sack of canned food.
"What did you guys find?" Kelly asked, adjusting her ripped blouse, "Oh don't worry about this, just got caught on a doorframe."
John chuckled and Eric smiled slightly.
"What's the matter Eric?" Kelly asked, rubbing his shoulder and looking to John, "Shellshocked?"
John nodded and Kelly cooed, giving Eric a hug. A blue pickup truck rolled up, being driven by a brawny otter, wearing cargo shorts and a muscle shirt. He readjusted the crucifix on the rear-view mirror, and put his shotgun up on the dashboard.
"Well hello there Mrs. Kelly," He began, "You ready to head out?"
"Yes we are," John began, helping Eric into the bed of the truck.
"I don't believe I was talking to you faggot," The otter continued, "Just because the world went to shit doesn't mean I think any better of people with your ailment."
John growled, throwing the sacks into the bed. He got in, putting an arm around Eric and holding him in close. Kelly shook her head and got in, sitting and putting on her seatbelt. The otter started the truck, beginning to drive out of the small town. He swerved around some haphazardly parked cars, most of them containing dead bodies.
"What is your problem Trevor?" Kelly asked, "John and Eric are good guys, just let them be. Life is hard enough already."
Trevor shook his head.
"Just because the world ended you think I'm going to give up my morals," He replied, "I was studying to be a preacher, and I do not think that gay people have or ever will have a place in this world."
John growled and shut the window between the bed and the cab. He then relaxed, Eric layed his head on the sheppie's chest. The fox sighed, looking up at his mate.
"I hate Trevor sometimes," Eric began, "Well a lot of the time."
John nodded, kissing Eric's brow.
"Don't worry about it," John replied, "Alfred keeps him and his father in check."
Eric sat up, looking at the passing forest. John sat up too, wrapping his arms around the fox's midriff. The vulpine smiled, and kissed John's paw, wincing a little as the truck hit a pothole. John kissed over his mate's head, holding on tighter.
"How long will it take?" Eric asked.
"How long will what take love?" John asked. "Before there's nothing left?" Eric asked, looking back, "Before the Earth just... swallows it all up."
"Look we're back," John began, pointing out the sign that once read "Entering George Washington National Forest."
Trevor turned up onto a dirt road, steadily going up hill. Three hours passed before the truck finally stopped, last in a train of four other parked cars. John got out of the bed, shouldering the sacks of food and supplies and offering a paw to help Eric down. Trevor pocketed the keys, and began to lead the trek up a forested hill.
The camp was fairly large, with five tents surrounding an old cabin. Furs were moving around the campsite, going about their daily business. The younger children continued to play and rough house, which Eric was thankful for everyday. An older bear, named Cassidy, walked up to the returning group, looking over their supply sacks.
"What did you bring us today?" Cassidy asked, adjusting a knee length floral dress.
In the prior world, Cassidy was a lunch lady at a local elementary school. Alfred had picked her up a week after Z-day, where he found her holed up in a janitors closet. Her previous occupation made her the de-facto cook of the camp. She scoffed, her impatient and sassy side coming through.
"Well come on," She began, "I have a meal to cook."
John chuckled, handing her his and Eric's sacks. She went over them, mumbling to her self. She shouldered them, shaking John's paw.
"This should do," Cassidy continued, "Maybe I could make something work with those ducks Father Clinton shot earlier."
Father Clinton was an otter just like his son, Trevor. He and his son were one of the first to join the group, and both proved themselves worthy assets. Clinton was a crack shot, and was the best hunter out of everybody. He also proved to be a well of spiritual relief, leading Sunday services and even performing a wedding between a young couple who was unfortunately, no longer with them.
"Eric why don't you head up to Alfred's with Kelly and Trevor," John began, "I'll meet you at the tent."
The fox nodded, heading up to the cabin to give Alfred a rundown on what happened. John went over to Clinton, sitting beside him on a stump. The otter looked over, and grunted. "So, when are you going to teach me to hunt?" John asked, prompting the otter to look over, "I mean you are getting on in years, and I can bet it would be nice to have someone else to help carry game out."
"When Alfred isn't asking you to scavenge I'd be glad too," Clinton looked over at the cabin, his son shoving his way past Eric to allow him and Kelly to be the first in, "I trust Trevor wasn't too bad."
John shook his head.
"He's been worse," The German Shepherd began, "Even though I'm not a religious man, I really liked your sermon the other day."
"Well, sometimes a reminder that there's someone above watching you can do a world of good," The otter began, "Believe it or not, this, this hell on earth has it's benefits."
"Like what?" John asked, "All I've seen is us fighting on."
Clinton chuckled again.
"Really?" The otter asked, "I see that this apocolypse has brought a group of people, all with very diverse ideas and perspectives, and have enabled them to work together and be friends, not to mention it brought you and that fox together as well."
"You have a point there," The German Shepherd replied, "You know, I would never have expected such... well openess from a man of your profession."
The otter laughed loudly, slapping his knee.
"Just because I'm a minister doesn't mean I don't have an open perspective," Clinton began, "Besides close-mindedness is the type of thing Baptists and Evangelicals use to sell their points."
"So wait," John began, "Why did you get into trouble with Alfred?"
"Well," Clinton replied, "I thought he wasn't Christian enough, I know now that he would make a better leader than I ever could, regardless of his beliefs."
The otter got up, shaking John's paw and leaving for his tent on the right side of the cabin. John chuckled and got up as well, moving to Eric's tent on the other side. It was a red 6 person tent, which enabled lots of extra space for belongings and even a small loveseat.
The German Shepherd sat on the bed, thinking to himself on how he came to join the group. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Two Days after Z-Day
John ran through the forest, his heart pumping loudly. He had been running for two days, soon to be three judging by the position of the moon. His hometown had burnt to the ground, a last ditch attempt to quell the overwhelming hordes. His flight had taken him to the George Washington National Forest, and he had finally stopped for breath, hiding on the back side of a stump.
He became aware of a rustling sound, and looked to his right. A fox had come out of the bush, sighing as he unzipped his fly, and began to urinate. John cocked his head, wondering to himself, "Did Zombies drink?" He pulled out his pistol, slowly advancing on the fox.
"You alive boy?" The Shepherd began, putting the barrel against the fox's head.
The fox made a whimper, making John growl and tackle him to the ground. The fox had tried to fight him off, but couldn't, looking away from the German Shepherd. The canine growled again, forcing the fox to look him in the eyes. He faltered, dropping his gun as their eyes met.
"P-Please sir," The fox began, "D-don't kill me."
John got up off of the fox, helping him up.
"I'm sorry," John began, "My name is John. Are you out here alone?"
The fox shook his head.
"I'm Eric, and I'm with a group," Eric replied, "Come on, I'll take you."
"John?" Eric began, closing the tent door behind him, "You ok?"
John shook his head, coming out of his daydream.
"Yeah," John began, "Just remembering how we met."
Eric chuckled and sat down beside him.
"You scared the living hell out of me," The fox began, poking into John's side.
"Too bad you cut off the good part," The German Shepherd replied, "When I caught you watching my sexy naked body sleep."
"Don't I see that enough?" Eric said, sitting on the bed next to John, "Like every night."
The German Shepherd stroked the fox's muzzle, moving in for a tender kiss. His other paw moved down to the fox's thigh, playing with his pocket and fly. Eric moaned quietly, moving the other canines paw away. John whined, his forehead touching Eric's.
"Who's going to see us?" The shepherd asked, "Come on, we have time before dinner."
"It's not that," Eric sighed, looking away.
John frowned, holding the fox close.
"Then what?" The German Shepherd asked, "Still shook up?"
Eric shook his head, making the other male chuckle.
"I'm not playing 21 Questions with you Eric," John continued, making the fox smile and giggle, "Now come on, tell John everything."
He laid down on his side, pulling down Eric to lie beside him. He kissed the fox's brow nuzzling into the back of his shoulder.
"Well," Eric sighed, looking straight ahead, "Trevor cussed Alfred out, and I tried to defend him, so he said some stuff to me?"
"Well what caused that?" John asked, getting up on an elbow to look down at the fox.
Eric sighed again.
"Alfred wanted to hear from me first," The fox began, "Trevor didn't like that, he thought I was taking all the credit."
"Really?" John scoffed, "And tell me, what were Trevor Clinton's great accomplishments?"
"He saved Kelly," Eric replied, "Found medicene."
John sighed kissing his mate's cheek. Eric sniffled a little, gripping John's paw. The German Shepherd's ears perked up, and he held his mate tighter as he continued.
"After I got in the way," Eric paused, wiping his eyes, "He said he'd kill me next time we went out."
"He threatened you in front of Alfred," John began, nodding slowly, "He makes a move, I splatter his brains across the ground. I don't give a damn if every damn zombie hears it."
"Let's just go to dinner ok," He replied, "I don't want to talk about this."
John took his sleeve and wiped Eric's eyes, pausing to look the fox over. He leaned in to kiss Eric's cheek, taking the fox's paw and rubbing it. Eric nuzzled the German Shepherd's cheek, licking as he pulled away.
"I love you," John said, getting up off of the bed.
Eric smiled, getting up as well.
"I love you too John," He replied, taking the canine's hand and starting out of the tent, "I hope those potatoes we found were good..."