|12-25-2009, 08:39 PM||#1|
Join Date: Feb 2009
The last hunter...?
Inspired by mistahph33r's epic tale, I wanted to contribute something of my own to the L4D lore.
There are threads of it in mistahph33r's story, but I wanted to explore further this idea of the infected still possessing some humanity. So for this, I chose the hunter, since he seemed the most likely to still be able to do this out of all the special infected.
I have notes and an arc sketched out, but the story could change dynamically as it progresses. For those of you that enjoy these types of works, this is for you!
MEET THE CAST:
Chapter 1 First Breath (This post)
Chapter 2 The Safe House, Part 1, Part 2
Chapter 3 Little Sister, Big Brothers, Parts 1 & 2
Chapter 4 Mulch, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
Chapter 5 The Hunter Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
Chapter 6 Rebirth Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4
Chapter 7 Judgment Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4
Chapter 8 Karma Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5
Chapter 9 Shelter Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
Chapter 10 Penance Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5
Chapter 11 Juncture Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5
Chapter 12 A Bang and a Whimper Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6
Chapter 13 The Passing Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
Consciousness hit me like a body slam, like I had fallen ten stories onto concrete. I opened my eyes to blackness, but the cacophony flooding my ears was overwhelming—gunshots, crickets, cries of rage, my heart beating, the scrambling of footsteps, a piercing klaxon.
Then there was the pain. Every part of me burned like a charley horse. Nearly every limb felt like it was being ripped from me. My head was ready to explode. I tried to cover my ears to drown out the gunfire and the alarm, but it was useless. Only a cool breeze seemed to have mercy—
And then there was hunger. For a split second there was no pain. Then as it returned, the pain couldn’t even compete, as an agonizing emptiness shoved all pain aside and sprung me to my feet. The pain, as excruciating as it was, fled my consciousness as an afterthought.
I could eat.
I could smell them even before I heard their cries of exertion and desperation. I knew exactly where to go, and the urge to trace it was so unbearable that I jumped.
A scream filled my ears as the air surged against my body, but I landed. I didn’t know where, but I knew I was closer to where I wanted to be.
Dear God, where did that scream come from? Was it me?
“♥♥♥♥! There’s one of those pouncers around!”
“Just keep firing! We’ll kill if it comes near.”
Their voices shook me. Too many things weren’t making sense. The hunger was strong, and it was dulling the pain, but it couldn’t suppress another crippling sensation: guilt—gut-wrenching, mind-numbing guilt.
The guilt brought me to my senses, and as I felt the concrete below my knees, I realized I was on the edge of a very tall building.
I sifted through all the sounds hammering my ears, and I understood there were slobbering, vengeful grunts accompanying scurrying footsteps all around me. I opened my eyes to see figures all around me scrambling towards the direction of the voices. They kept clear of me as they jumped from the rooftop onto the streets below, and they were running towards the epicenter of the commotion.
A few blocks down, the gunfire was concentrated inside a building that must have been a convenience store, a dim EASY MART sign announcing its function. All the windows were shattered as its alarm wailed away, and swarms of people were flooding into it from all directions. Constant flashes of gunfire lit up the streets.
I understood what they were all running for. I also understood that they were no longer human, just as a part of me realized I was…
No! It couldn’t be true—it wasn’t. I wasn’t thinking straight. I had to eat, and then I could sort everything out.
Last edited by pappaskurtz: 11-28-2011 at 12:02 AM. Reason: chapter links
|12-25-2009, 08:40 PM||#2|
Join Date: Feb 2009
Yet as I tried to focus on the hunger again to clear my mind, the guilt would not subside. Instinct told me to jump. It told me follow the scent, to find a good vantage point. It told me I was no longer scared of heights. It told me to eat, as food was readily available.
But as I thought through exactly what I was supposed to eat—what I desperately craved—the guilt and the horror returned with a vengeance, and another scream filled my ears.
This time, I knew it was me.
“There it is again! It’s getting closer!”
“I heard it! Kill this zombies first, or we won’t be able to deal with it at all!”
Zombies. The word helped alleviate some of the guilt as memories flooded me—CEDA, green flu, official instruction, safe houses. I knew I had to help them, but I also knew I couldn’t let them see me. I wasn’t the same anymore. There was pain, and hunger, and guilt, but I wasn’t going to let those feelings cripple me or control me any longer.
I leapt to my feet and swung at a zombie running past me. He collapsed in a putrid heap and I realized my left hand had grown claws, but not my right. I leapt at another, using her as a spring board to bash into another, and another.
They cried out in listless moans as I cut them down, and I jumped and slashed at everyone in sight. When the rooftop was finally clear, I was covered in blood, blood that smelled of a disgusting stench worse than a dozen dumpsters.
I leapt down to the street to follow the others, managing to silence my cries. The trail of zombies was sizeable, but the horde surrounding the store was enormous. I jumped and slashed my way to the store, and they all fell without a fight, but another scent forced me to change direction. It was a harsh, stifling scent that burned my throat, and I grew angry as I saw a tall, lanky figure crawling towards the roof.
He stood on top and I realized there must have been a hole in the roof. I heard him begin to hack and cough.
He was about to strike.
“We’ve got to turn off the alarm, or they won’t stop coming!”
I crouched with the lanky bastard in my sights and leapt. It was almost exhilarating to feel the air rush past me, but it was over too soon as I landed just behind the zombie. He turned to me, startled, and gazed at me with red eyes and a bloated face. He grunted, then quickly turned back at his intended targets.
Their scents were overpowering. Hunger raged into my throat as I was blinded with the image of devouring their warm, succulent flesh.
I forced open my eyes to look at them through the collapsed segment of the roof. They were hunched in a corner blasting away with submachine guns—one with a hoodie, the other with a baseball cap, both with jeans and bloodied T-shirts.
I wanted to leap at them, but my instincts told me to wait. Let the tall one strike first.
With a gooey explosion, the lanky zombie shot out his tongue and wrapped it around the one with the hoodie.
“No, no no no!” he screamed. The zombie yanked him from the corner.
As I watched the one in the hoodie get dragged towards me, my initial glee was supplanted as guilt flared inside of me, pinning down the hunger and letting the rage pierce through. I screamed and slashed at the zombie, who cried out in pain and stumbled backwards. His tongue snapped and burst with putrid blood as the victim dropped to the floor.
The zombies all turned to swarm him.
“No!” the one in the baseball cap cried.
The lanky zombie expelled a cloud of smoke at me that paralyzed my senses. I gasped for breath, but before I could choke I leapt away and found myself down on the street.
“Eat this you zombie bastards!”
Even through the darkness, I could see the piercing red light of the pipe bomb as he threw it out of the store. But with the wailing of the store’s alarm, even I had to focus on hearing it. I stood and looked at the wires flowing from the store, and followed them to a street pole. I leapt to the pole and slashed the wires, and the night finally fell silent.
Except, of course, for the beeping of the pipe bomb.
I hung onto the pole and watched as the horde quickly diverted to the bomb glistening in the center of the street. They stumbled and trampled each other to get to it as the beeping and blinking pulses accelerated. When both had become practically steady, I leapt from the pole in time to shield my ears.
I felt the ground rumbling as I landed, but the smell of the zombies disintegrating was much more disgusting than even the sensation of their zombified remains raining down on me.
I stood and looked upon the destruction, and a new emotion took me—satisfaction.
“Oh God, Charlie…”
I hunched low, and crawled to get a view of the two survivors. I made my way gingerly through the bloody bodies and the broken glass littered on the ground.
Last edited by pappaskurtz: 12-25-2009 at 10:57 PM. Reason: typo
|12-25-2009, 08:41 PM||#3|
Join Date: Feb 2009
The one in the baseball cap was kneeling on the ground, holding the other in his arms.
“What happened?” he asked. “I thought I kept most of them off you.”
The other coughed, shaking his head. I bit my lip. Full of mucus and throaty, that cough was bad news.
“No, it wasn’t them, or the snake zombie.”
The first one cleared his throat. “You’re sick,” he said, but his voice broke. “I should have known something was wrong when your aim started to go.”
“I didn’t want to tell you. I knew the pills wouldn’t work forever, but I had to see you through as far as possible.”
“Why didn’t you tell me? We could have gotten you help! We could have—”
Charlie grabbed him. “Andy, listen to me. We’re not far from the safe house. You’ve got to keep going before another horde comes.”
“I’m not leaving you here,” Andy said, clearing his throat. “I can’t do this without you!”
“Yes you can—you have to!”
Andy started to sob. “No, not like this. Not like this!”
Charlie shoved him aside and tried to sit up, but only fell to the floor. Andy jumped to hold him up.
“Listen to me,” Charlie said, “you’re not sick. You remember those posters? You can do a lot more good than I can, but you’ve got to get to that safe house!”
“Bull♥♥♥♥! Don’t you remember the rumors too, of them rounding people up and executing them in cold blood?”
Charlie coughed again, blood starting to drip from his mouth. “We don’t know what’s true now, but that’s why you have you to keep going.” He took Andy by the shoulders. “Please, I promised Dad I’d watch after you, but the only way he’ll go easy on me when I see him is if you keep going.”
The harsh, raspy coughs started to overwhelm him. Andy tried to hold him, but he himself was starting to shake.
“I can’t do this without you! I can’t! If I get caught by one of those snakes or pouncers…”
“Just—just keep…” Charlie replied through coughs, “just keep your ears open. I promise you—you listen hard enough…it starts to sound like music—when you hear them.”
He gave Andy a small smile. Andy could only look back with tears.
“I was never good at that stuff like you,” he said.
“You can do this. I believe in you.”
Charlie pulled himself from Andy and started to fumble with something on his thigh. Something unclicked, and then he aimed a pistol at his own temple.
Andy stared at him in terror. “What are you doing?”
“Go, please,” Charlie said, coughing. “I don’t want to do this in front of you!”
“No!” Andy lunged forward and knocked the pistol from Charlie’s hand. Charlie collapsed as the pistol slid across the floor towards me.
“We’re going to get you help! We’ll cure you! I promise!”
Charlie growled in response, and anger shot through me. Didn’t he see what was happening?
“It—it has…” Charlie coughed, “I’m gone—it has me!” He stood in a surprising burst of speed, towering above Andy. “I don’t want to hurt you! Go!”
Andy merely shook his head. “I can’t…I can’t!”
“♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ it!” Charlie screamed. “Shoot me!”
When an inhuman scream escaped him, Andy finally started to raise his gun, but Charlie knocked it aside. Andy fell back on his hands and started to back away.
“Charlie—I know you can fight this! You’ve got to hang on!”
Charlie screamed again, and all familiar overtones of his voice were gone. He lunged at Andy and rammed him against a wall.
“No!” Andy screamed. “Fight it! Fight it!”
Rage and guilt boiled over inside of me, and I lunged at Charlie. We flew across the store before I finally landed on him. I tried to hold back, but his scent—though slightly spoiled—overwhelmed me. I fell to my hunger and began to claw him in earnest.
“No!” I heard Andy scream, but even the guilt couldn’t stop me now. “Oh, ♥♥♥♥—no—no, no no no!”
The first bite did.
His flesh tasted absolutely putrid. He was spoiled. I leapt from his body and screamed, the guilt rending my body and making me want to rip at my own flesh.
|12-25-2009, 08:41 PM||#4|
Join Date: Feb 2009
A familiar musty and burning smell caught me, and I flung my eyes open to see Andy bound in the tongue of the smoking zombie. I shoved my guilt aside and jumped out of the store onto the street. The zombie was standing atop the apartment building I had launched from, with Andy grappling helplessly as the zombie drew him closer.
I lunged straight for the zombie and once on him, I let my rage take over. He was too stunned to fight me off, but even as he started to struggle, I clawed into his cold, soggy flesh over and over again. The rancid smell of his blood drowned me, but I didn’t stop until he finally stilled.
I leapt from its body to another building to clear my senses, but to my disappointment, Andy was still in the store.
He was sobbing over Charlie’s body. His cries echoed in the dead night air.
Get to the safe house! I tried to shout, but my throat fought me, and the result I heard was only pathetic, doglike mumbles.
Andy stirred, stifling his sobs. He looked around him, and finally stood.
He looked down at Charlie. “I won’t let you down,” he whispered. “I promise.”
He packed his pistol and picked up a rifle from the ground. Before stepping out of the store he looked around once more, then proceeded slowly around the bodies down the street.
I watched him as he walked cautiously down the street. Once he was far enough, I crawled down the building and ran to Charlie’s corpse. My instincts told me I needed something better to hide myself. Despite its tears and its rankness, Charlie’s hoodie felt like the best thing I could use.
As I held the hoodie, I looked down at Charlie’s still form. For a moment, all emotions within me dissipated.
For a moment, there was only grief.
I slipped the hoodie over me and leapt back to the rooftops. Andy was shivering as he looked constantly around him, his pistol cocked before him.
I couldn’t remember who I was, or where I came from. But I knew I had to help this poor sap.
It’s what she would have wanted.
|12-25-2009, 09:41 PM||#8|
Join Date: Dec 2009
|12-25-2009, 10:56 PM||#11|
Join Date: Feb 2009
Whoa, thanks for the responses so far! I'm open to comments and suggestions, and my goal is to have the next part up after 24 hours from now (basically tomorrow night).
Have to fix some typos, too...
|12-26-2009, 02:52 PM||#14|
Join Date: Feb 2009
I am retroactively naming the first chapter "First Breath." I'm planning on splitting the second in two parts mainly to save work on my part, but perhaps it will make the sections more digestible.
|12-26-2009, 02:59 PM||#15|
Join Date: Dec 2009