Chapter 3: No Matter What
A few hours had passed, and the ragtag caravan was making their way towards D.C. Right now, they had set up camp in an old quarry outside of Atlanta. Right now, Brian was standing watch by the fire, his one good eye staring out into the dead of night. But as tired as he was, he knew that trouble was always waiting just around the corner.
"Hey, one eye. Get some rest, I'm taking over."
Brian glanced over to find Abraham walking over to his spot, motioning for Brian to disappear.
"Can't sleep either, huh?"
Brian shrugged, not even flinching when Abraham sat down next to him.
"Saw you playing with that little girl earlier. Megan, right? She yours?"
"No. I just met her a few weeks ago."
"Heh, could've fooled me. Reminded me of my little ones. Back when..."
Abraham drifted off, painful memories flowing to the forefront. Ordinarily, Brian would've just nodded and silently walked off. But something in him resonated with Abraham's sorrow.
"If you don't want to talk about it..."
"Ah hell, might as well. We're in this for the long hull, might as well know what to expect from each other."
Brian conceded the notion, allowing Abraham to continue.
"I had a family once. A beautiful wife, two beautiful kids, and the best damn job in the world serving my country. Then the shit hit the fan. When this whole motherfuckin hell broke loose, my family and I, a couple neighbors, holed up in a grocery store. Managed to keep it well defended too. I thought we might actually make it through this shit. How fucking wrong I was."
Brian nodded silently. He could already tell where this was going.
"I'd gone out on a supply run. Whole time though, I couldn't shake this feeling that something was wrong, like I shouldn't have left. I get back, and I instantly know why. These four sick fuckers, four people I thought I could trust, raped my wife right in front of our kids. And at that moment, I just saw red. Picked up the closest thing and started bashing heads, over and over. By the time I came back, I'd caved in all four of their heads. Popped them like they were watermelons. I didn't regret it, those pieces of shits got what was coming to them. But my family, I could tell by the look of their eyes the damage was done. I tried to talk to them, explain myself, anything, but they wouldn't have it. Next morning I wake up and they're already gone. They left a note saying not to follow, but I did. When I found them...the dead had gotten there first."
Abraham's tough exterior finally broke, and he laid his head down in his hands and sobbed. Brian sat there in silence, letting the man grieve.
"After that, I just...drifted. Wasn't even fully there, just kind of wandered around. By the time I found Eugene, I just wanted to die. But then he told me he was the key to winning this, and...I felt like a goddam kid on motherfucking Christmas morning. Like maybe this was my destiny or something."
"Aw, how sweet. Don't worry, you'll be seeing them again real soon."
Brian whirled his head around, only for it to meet the butt of a shotgun, dazing him, By the time he had collected his bearings, he was in a choke hold. Abraham reached for a gun, only for another man to drag Eugene to the forefront.
"I wouldn't do that if I were you. See, you might get a bullet in me, but then my friend here will go right ahead and put one in him right back."
Realizing he couldn't risk it, Abraham retracted his hand, while a third man grabbed the gun from his pocket. By this point, the rest of the marauders had already rounded up the rest of the group.
"Well, what do you know about that! See, we were about to turn in for the night, but then we found the goddam motherload with you people! But where are my manners? Name's Joe, and your stuff? The cars, the truck, and even the fucking tank over there? Claimed."
Brian struggled to free himself, only for Joe to move the gun closer to his head. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a big, fat man struggling to get a hold of Megan, who was clearly terrified. Then Brian saw the look in the man's eyes, the hunger, the...
"Now, I'm sure you're all reasonable folk. So we'll take all your shit and if you're nice we might-"
Joe was interrupted by a wild headbutt, kncoking him off his feet but not before the gun going off right by Brian's ear. Ignoring the ringing in his ear, Brian marched over to him and brought him to his feet. And then, he did something that surprised even him...
He dug his teeth deep into Joe's neck and ripped it right out, causing Joe to collapse in a heap before choking to death on his own blood. In the confusion, his group managed to overtake the attackers, save for Megan.
"Let me go, please!"
"No way, you're mine! I claimed you!"
"Claim this, you sick fuck!"
The gross man turned, only to catch a fist to the face, sending him to the ground. Quickly, Brian leapt on top of him, strangling him in a fit of rage. Once the man was dead, Brian allowed himself to calm down before turning to Megan, who quickly ran into his arms.
"Shh, shh. Its okay, Pumpkin. He didn't hurt you, did he?"
Megan shook her head, still in shock. Before the group could calm down, the all too familiar groans of the undead filled the forest. Knowing that time was limited, Brian's group made a run for their vehicles, leaving the marauders to deal with the walker herd.
"Hey, get back here! This isn't o-"
The defacto leader's rant was cut off as a bearded, baseball capped walker grabbed him from behind and bit down hard on his neck, causing him to scream in pain while more joined the buffet. The rest of his group either joined his fate or fled as Brian's group made their escape, leaving the Quarry to the undead.