Going out for cigarettes?

The world outside their safehold isn’t changing. It’s as if the undead–the zombies, rather– simply keep coming back, no matter what they do to stop them. One day there are none outside, and just a few hours later the moans are back, exhausting, overwhelming, constant. The locals have told them over and over there is simply no way out of Solomon Island. She’s not ready to believe it, though. There has to be something, some road or path, some place the fog isn’t quite so thick. Supplies are running low again, too; food, bullets, and medical equipment quickly go when you spend all your time in survival mode. It’s taking its toll on both of them. There has to be something else out there.

“I’m going out for supplies,” she announces one evening, already dressed for the occasion.

Brydon is sitting on a beanbag chair in the living room of the house they’re occupying, still in the clothing he’d slept in. He starts to rise from where he’s seated. “I’ll come with you.”

Marie shakes her head. “It’s too dangerous,” she says. “I’m gonna venture a little further this time… See if I can find anything.”

He watches her curiously, but doesn’t say anything just yet.

“I might be gone for a few days,” she states quickly, “I don’t know if we would find adequate shelter or what else is out there or if I could protect you from, well… whatever is out there. If we went together, I mean. You’re safe here. Mostly safe.”

“Oh,” he says simply, looking somewhat confused.

She hesitates a moment, but finds her voice again. ”I want to see if I can find us a way out of this place. We… We can’t just stay in this. It’s… too much.”

Brydon releases a slight, knowing sigh. “Yeah. It’s really bad.”

“Do you think you’ll be OK for a few days if I’m gone that long?” she asks. “Food should be good and I can set new traps before I leave…”

Brydon nods quickly in reassurance. “Yeah, yeah. I’ll be fine.”

Marie gives a soft smile. “I know you’re tough.”

The girl moves for him, leaning down to press the gentlest of kisses to his forehead.

“Be careful out there,” he says quietly.

She nods, still close. “I will. And… you too. If… if anything happens? Don’t… don’t try to do anything crazy and heroic. Save yourself. I’ll be OK.”

Brydon nods again and Marie starts down the hall. They use the attic for entry and exiting the home since reinforcing it.

“Marie,” he calls quietly after her. She turns, looking back at him.

“Don’t get eaten.”

She grins, showing the sharpened points of her fangs.

“Never happen.”


There are too many of them. She can handle a few at best, but there are easily a dozen of these things, the walking dead, all in various states of decay, wearing what looks like construction clothing. It’s dark and she hurries up a low hill. Soon, she’s dodging wood piles and debris, scrap metal… Suddenly, one of the piles of scrap seems to come to life right before her eyes. It’s too unexpected. She’s not even sure how to react as it grows to about seven feet in front of her, some sort of mechanical saws noisily buzzing to life on its ‘arms.’ She takes her moment, though, even as the zombies move in. Marie drops down, sliding baseball style right through the legs of the thing before it’s fully aware. The zombies aren’t so crafty. Several of them run right into the moving blade of the saw, sending bits of them cascading about, the smell of rot immediately intensifying.

She’s not in the clear just yet. The other zombies quickly shamble around the giant scrap metal golem in pursuit, even as the mechanical monstrosity slowly maneuvers around. She stumbles suddenly over what appear to be train tracks, and nearly collides with some sort of large cart, managing to dodge around it. The tracks continue, though, and for a moment, Marie is confused. Ahead of her, a building rises out of the darkness. The tracks seem to lead right to it. A mine? The idea seems almost primitive and unexpected, but this place hasn’t exactly proven to be predictable.

In the distance, a strange, guttural scream sounds. Whatever it is, it draws the attention of the zombies and the strange metal thing. Marie is not about to wait around. She hurries toward the entrance of the mine, deciding to try to hide out inside there maybe for just a bit until things clear up outside…



It takes Marie’s eyes several moments to adjust after entering the old mine. It’s dark and musty and there’s a strange stench that seems to envelop the entire cavern. She’s immediately thankful she doesn’t need to breathe. As she starts to step forward, some sort of sigil etched into the ground starts to glow ahead of her, a big ’NO’ sounding in her mind. She edges around the marking, stepping toward what looks like the main path. She can already hear an echoey wind in the area, probably from the shafts going deeper. Something else, though: a mechanical sound. It’s distant, but the volume is slowly increasing in such a way that she knows whatever is making the sound is slowly growing closer.

She decides to venture in the opposite direction of the sound first, stepping toward the left through a tunnel that leads into a separate chamber. The smell of age is strong, and the musty, dank smell of the mine. There are leftover pieces of equipment mixed in with dust and rubble, and she’s certain she senses a body or two buried in there. Something else, though: a presence. She’s aware she’s not ‘alone,’ and can almost feel spectral eyes upon her everywhere she steps. A chill runs down her spine as she walks toward a particular spot, and she can feel wispy, ghostly fingers grasp through her arm, Marie instantly freezing. She fights the urge to scream, though, realizing the mechanical sound is practically on top of her now, heading into the cavern she occupies. That wispy, grasping feeling again, and she’s aware the spirit is beckoning her away from where the sound comes from. Marie nods obediently, creeping toward a darker, more secluded spot. She starts to speak and the words seize in her throat as if grasped by a hand, held in place. She immediately goes quiet, watching as the odd machine, another strange golem with blades for ‘hands’ and made up of old signs, scrap metal, and other random bits, enters the chamber. It seems to be ‘searching,’ possibly aware of her presence, but after several minutes creeping along a well-worn path in the ground, it leaves from the chamber. The feeling of the ghostly presence fades with the departure of the golem, and Marie is suddenly alone again, left to question if going into the dark, dank mine was really the best course…