Actually, the title is slightly misleading. Some of your ZSC commanders are always on the road. Traveling from city to city to touch base with brigadiers not only across the United States, but world-wide at numerous conventions. This time around, four of us are converging on Phoenix, Arizona for Phoenix Comicon. The event begins on Thursday, June 5th at 4:00 PM inside the Phoenix Convention Center.
Yellow Brigade commander Jinxie G and Orange Brigade commander R.C. Murphy will be in attendance Thursday through Sunday for the event. You can find them at booth 793 throughout the weekend (coffee runs are one of a few exceptions to this). Red Brigade commander Juliette Terzieff and Special Forces Commander Michael Rooker plan to roll into Phoenix for Sunday only. Keep an eye out for them. Shouldn’t be too hard to find those two, right?
This is a huge event, and a first-time trip for some of us. If you plan to attend, make sure to come find us. Even if it’s to say hi. Mostly, we want to make sure everyone survives the insanity sure to follow once the convention doors open. Kinda like when someone opened a certain barn we all remember from that one show. You know, the one with the staggering, rotting folks on it. Catch our drift?
We put the vert in covert… or maybe not. Any time the Zombie Survival Crew hits a new city, we tend to draw attention.
Hard to hide when arriving alongside Special Forces commander Michael Rooker, Blue Brigade commander Norman Reedus, plus first lieutenants David Della Rocco and Sean Patrick Flannery. And of course ZSC CIC and Red Brigade commander Juliette Terzieff, with yours truly scrambling to keep up.
Hey, your Orange Brigade commander is no slouch, but Juliette moves quickly. Blink and you miss her darting through a crowd of thousands. Which happened. Several times. Like a flesh and bone version of “Doctor Who” baddies, the Weeping Angels. Sacramento had no clue what hit them when Wizard World Comic Con rolled into town.
Once the shock passed, the locals and those who traveled from out of town to attend the event embraced the insanity and ran with it. The show opened Friday evening to a huge crowd, with many, many more folks to visit over the weekend. We saw tons of creative costumes, homemade fan shirts, and beautiful artwork. The massive crowds inside and out of the convention center attracted a herd of zombies—well over a hundred in the pack—leading Wizard World to call in the God of Thunder himself, Chris Hemsworth, who helped in the good fight to save mankind.
Everyone’s efforts were repaid with smiles, kind words, hugs, and a lot of good local food to fuel us throughout the long weekend. We take pride in personally ensuring the safety of the folks in California’s capitol city.
Just another stop in the ZSC’s bid to prepare and protect the world from the undead hordes!
As part of our collective efforts to prepare for the z-poc ZSC command has undertaken a mission to bring you a series of recipes to keep the body strong and the spirit lifted during dark times. In the last few months we’ve brought you recipes for z-poc ready dishes including blackberry jam, dried meat and squash soup. Which recipes you’ll be able to use will depend in a large part of where you find yourself in the midst of the infection and how easily you can get to fresh ingredients.
And if you find yourself near a lake, stream, ocean or river, fish should be in plentiful supply. So here’s a quick, easy, and ever-alterable, recipe from the Red Brigade that will work with virtually any fish you can catch and can be tailored to fit your immediate environment, available ingredients and personal tastes.
You’ll need an 12″ square piece of tinfoil (heavy duty if you have it) and butter or some oil. Add enough butter or oil to keep the fish from sticking to the foil. Take your fish fillet or whole, cleaned fish and put in the middle of the foil. (In case you missed it, Lt. Blue Brigade provided a quickie lesson in cleaning fish)
Add choice of sliced vegetables, garlic, lemon juice, spices or other items for flavor. Whatever you can find in you Go Bag or surrounding environment, it’s hard to go wrong here.
Fold the tinfoil to contain the heat and juices…this is important. A loosely folded or crumbled tinfoil ball will take longer to cook and a lot of flavoring and moisture will escape through the cracks and holes.
Place the foil in the hot campfire coals. For small fillets bake on each side for approximately 3 minutes. Larger fillets can take as long as 10 minutes per side.
Allow to cool a few minutes before eating. Open the packet carefully, there will be hot steam.
What does it take to survive the Zombie Apocalypse? Weapons? Combat training? A bright yellow humvee with a backup supply of fuel? An underground bomb shelter fully stocked and able to support at least twelve lucky survivors for an indefinite period of time? How about the ability to rub two sticks together and produce a flame? If you answered yes to all of these things, you’re not incorrect… but you’re missing the two most important items for your best chance at ZA survival: friends, and a go-bag. The go-bag is a separate matter entirely, so let’s focus on the other.
Friends are the difference between those who watch your back and those who might trip you to escape a sticky situation themselves. Friends are the most valuable of all your survival needs, and this week’s Commander Monday spotlight is on one of the Zombie Survival Crew’s most devoted and loyal friends, Red Brigade’s First Lieutenant Neil Brown, Jr.
Actor, martial artist and self-proclaimed “knucklehead,” Neil hails from Orlando, Florida and has studied Shotokai Karate, Jujutsu, Judo, Tae Kwan Do, Capoeira, and many more disciplines that this writer cannot pronounce. He bobs, he weaves, he dodges and roundhouse-kicks better than Chuck Norris on his best day. It is a little-known urban legend that at the age of four he roundhouse-kicked a car and walked away with little more than a few bumps and bruises.
Neil’s extensive martial arts training unexpectedly paved the road to acting when he appeared on the TV show WMAC masters at age 14. In addition to portraying Guillermo, the unlikely leader of a band of survivors in The Walking Dead, Neil has appeared in multiple television roles, including the series Harry’s Law, Suits, Castle, Borderline Coyotes, Weeds and more recently on NCIS. He has also done his part to save the world from aliens in Battle: Los Angeles.
Between acting and roundhouse-kicking, Neil devotes time to his family and friends, and can also be found making appearances on the comic-convention circuit. Keep an eye out for Neil in Bayou Tales, currently in production. Don’t forget to stop by his website to see what’s happening, and above all don’t miss out on the ongoing web series Heroic Daze!
__________________________________________________________ If you are just joining us for this series, please check out our previous Commander Monday reports!
Because we believe it is important to know exactly who will be leading you forward after the dead have begun to walk the Earth, The Zombie Survival Crew will be bringing you weekly updates with vital information regarding your commanders. This information is equally important to members and prospective members, because… well… because Our Fearless Leader SAID so, and she’s never wrong. Hang around for a while, you’ll see for yourself.
This week the Commander Monday spotlight once again returns to Red Brigade Commander Juliette Terzieff.
Able to leap the counter of a Starbucks in a single bound, more powerful than the Energizer bunny on a double-shot espresso, Juliette weaves the perfect balance of sass and class, compassion and humor, gentleness and strength. Most importantly, she never leaves home without crossbow in hand, and always knows exactly where to find a roll of duct tape.
Photo by Kelley Malott
We live in a world where challenging events appear to be accelerating in frequency. From hurricanes and earthquakes, and wars and terrorist attacks, to struggling economies and elevated unemployment rates, more and more people are looking to ensure they are prepared to survive. While the real-world events and fear that they cause are tragic, this reality also represents an opportunity for individuals to get more involved in protecting what they hold most dear. –Juliette Terzieff, Dark Media Magazine 9/14/2011
A former foreign war correspondent with combat training, journalist, fiction and non-fiction writer, public speaker, and self-described “avid monster freak from birth,” Juliette is a force to be reckoned with, and there is not a single person on the planet better suited to lead us forward in the coming days. Before the formation of the Zombie Survival Crew, Juliette could be found in various locations all over the world, including war zones in the Balkan, South Asian, and Middle East regions, flexing her journalist muscle to cover complex political, globalization and human rights issues. Her website will tell you that she is a public speaker who has covered a wide range of topics from human trafficking and child labor to American politics and international relations. We’ve read her in Newsweek and the San Francisco Chronicle, heard her live on CNN International and All American Talk Radio.
She has been interviewed by Alternative Revolt (page 60-62), Dark Media City and The Throw Down with JB Maddawg. She was also spotted on the red carpet not long ago under the pretense of attending The Walking Dead Season 2 premiere in Los Angeles, although her true mission remains fully classified to this day. Juliette recently completed work on Robert “IronE” Singleton’s biography Blindsided by the Walking Dead, released in March of 2013.
At any given time, Juliette can be found attending conventions and events, keeping those under her watchful eye safe from the shambling hordes and constantly scouting for new recruits. In her spare time she writes ZSC command memos without the use of Spellcheck, makes the impossible probable and continues the endless battle against the daily to-do list.
As part of our collective efforts to prepare for the z-poc ZSC command has undertaken a mission to bring you a series of recipes to keep the body strong and the spirit lifted during dark times. Now, don’t go thinking you’ll be cooking these up in the early days of the infection. You’ll be too busy slaying walkers on the move for this kind of fare. But once the initial dust settles and you’re in the fight for the long haul, you’re going to want something other than the beef jerky, energy bars and chocolate you’ve got stashed in your Go Bag.
Red Brigade is first out of the gate for our new Tasty Survival Skill series of recipes ZSC brigaders can use to prepare for and survive cataclysmic events up to, and including, a full blown zombie infestation.
Blackberry preserves may not seem like the most intuitive survival recipe, but when the world falls apart having something sweet on hand is never a bad plan.
Preserves can be made in advance, stored for long periods of times, and best of all, the United States is one of the largest producers of blackberries in the world. Blackberry varieties can be found in almost every State. If you don’t prepare preserves in advance of a cataclysmic events, once the dust settles, it won’t be hard to find them in farming country close to almost all of the ZSC’s designated meet up points, or anywhere you decide to hold up for the medium- or long-term.
1. Rinse the berries in cold water and drain
2. Put berries into a stock pot and mash to extract juices.
3. Add sugar and mix. Add cinnamon and/or nutmeg, as desired.
4. Bring to a boil over a high heat, while stirring constantly.
5. Add pectin and return mixtures to a full boil for one minute.
6. Skim off all the foam.
7. Ladle or pour the preserves into sterile Mason jars. Leave at least ½ inch empty at the top. Make sure to wipe clean the rims before you cap and seal.
8. Place filled Mason jars in a stock pot with enough water to cover the jars by 1-2 inches. Cover and bring to a boil. When water is boiling, set your watch for five minutes.
9. Remove jars and place off to the side. Allow to sit for at least 12 hours, preferably 24. Check the seals and remove bands.
10. Consume at will!
Red Brigade, salute your Second Lieutenant, the lovely Viviana Chavez! She’s always there, always watching and always ready to lend a helping hand… even when you can’t see her. Undercover operatives are vital to the survival of any organization, and Viviana’s extensive behind-the-curtain experience makes her the perfect candidate for the most top secret of missions. From wardrobe to art department, casting coordinator to producer, Viviana has tried her hand at almost all aspects of the industry before stepping into acting.
Viviana hails from Atlanta, Georgia and earned her stripes at zombie preparedness as Miranda Morales on The Walking Dead, To the eye that knows no better, she is a hard-working television actress with a brilliant smile and a loving, gentle personality. After the Morales family separated from the Atlanta survivors in The Walking Dead, Viviana moved on to appear in the television series Necessary Roughness and Showtime’s Emmy-winning series Homeland. She has also been spotted in the made-for-television film A Cross to Bear and Hallmark Hall of Fame’s Firelight. In 2012 she worked on several episodes of the TV comedy Bethany, and also appeared in fellow ZSC Commander Anthony Guajardo‘s short film Arose the Coward.
Viviana with fellow commanders Anthony Guajardo and Addy Miller.
Viviana has also been known to venture into the convention circuit, appearing at Wizard World and other public events. Whether these appearances are simply opportunities to meet fans and her fellow actors, or part of undercover missions or recruitment work with the Zombie Survival Crew is anyone’s guess.
Able to leap a convenience store counter in a single bound, more powerful than a Zombie Energizer Bunny on a double-shot espresso, our Commander-in-Chief and Red Brigade Commander Juliette Terzieff weaves the perfect balance of sass and class, compassion and humor, gentleness and strength. Most importantly, she never leaves home without a crossbow somewhere in the back seat, and usually knows where to find a roll of duct tape. A former foreign war correspondent with combat training, journalist, fiction and non-fiction writer, public speaker, and self-described “avid monster freak from birth,” Juliette is a force to be reckoned with, and there is not a single person on the planet better suited to lead us forward in the coming days.
Juliette with Sgt at Arms Lora Lapoint
Before the formation of the Zombie Survival Crew, Juliette could be found in various locations all over the world, including war zones in the Balkan, South Asian, and Middle East regions, flexing her journalist muscle to cover complex political, globalization and human rights issues. Her website will tell you that she is a public speaker who has covered a wide range of topics from human trafficking and child labor to American politics and international relations. We’ve read her in Newsweek and the San Francisco Chronicle, heard her live on CNN International and All American Talk Radio. Recently she was interviewed by Alternative Revolt (page 60-62), Dark Media City and The Throw Down with JB Maddawg. Juliette writes and edits newsletters for Smartbrief on development, humanitarian aid, public health concerns and international policy; and heads up the communications team for the Future 500, headquartered out of San Fransisco and Tokyo. Most importantly, she works tirelessly to organize and lead fellow ZSC Commanders Michael Rooker, IronE Singleton, Neil Brown, Jr and dozens of other actors, writers and musicians in preparation for the dark days to come.
With Green Brigade Commander IronE Singleton
Our fearless leader has been busy lately. Over the last year her travels have carried her North, South, East and West on missions too numerous to count. From Canada to Texas, Kentucky, Florida, Virginia and Philadelphia, Juliette has scouted new recruits far and wide. She participated in the Run for Your Lives 5K race with Green Brigade Commander Irone Singleton in March of 2012, and more recently completed a mission in Cherry Hill, New Jersey despite numerous failed attempts by the UGA to place tracking devices on her vehicle. Fortunately, Juliette was not alone in this particular mission, and her loyal recruits foiled the UGA’s plot by relocating the vehicle at twice a day.
Juliette is currently on a very special mission in the South. While we are not able to divulge the exact nature of this mission (she forgot to tell us), we have learned that she has successfully tracked and located a rarely-seen wild rooker in the Atlanta area, and was able to secure a steady southern-style food supply while away from ZSC Command. Whatever her goal on this mission, we are confident that she will succeed and remain watchful for her next update.
If you are just now joining us for this series, please check out our other Commander Monday reports!
MISSION: Rescue one Moira Jones from 6th floor of over run hospital. OBJECTIVE: Search for and rescue Moira Jones and bring to safety. STRATEGY: Rendezvous with fellow members of the ZSC and use skill sets to bring Moira Jones to safety.
Emma’s POV (With Apryl): We moved slowly through the darkened hospital. I tried to steady my frayed nerves and ordered myself to get a grip. Purple Brigade prides itself on the ability to think clearly in any situation, and I needed to be on top of my game for this mission—even if I’d forgotten my go bag in my haste to get to the hotel. Luckily, Jess remembered hers and so I’d been able to receive a bit more information from the Purple Brigade leader, the Oracle. No one knew how many walkers there were, but the situation didn’t look good. Walkers had easy prey in a hospital, and so far there had not been one single report of anyone making it out alive. Still we had two powerful zombie-killing positives on our side: Blue Brigade Leader Norman Reedus and the Leader of Special Forces, Michael Rooker. With them leading us, we had hope. But each moment intensified the danger Moira faced, and there were so many questions swirling through my brain: Where did she end up? How much food did she manage to grab? Were there other survivors with her? Had she been bitten? I shook my head. I needed to make sure we got the first level clear before we could really begin looking for Moira. Out of the whole group, I was probably the newest and greenest. Sure, I’d taken on walkers before, but nothing of this magnitude. Frankly, in terms of combat skills, Luna, Jess’s zombie-killing dog, surpassed me by far. I was glad I’d been paired with Apryl. The woman could wield her Desert Eagles like no one’s business. She made that clear when she took out a walker reaching for Norman by firing an impossible shot right over his shoulder and directly into its head.
I tightened my grip on my full Tang 440, twenty-inch blade. At least I knew how to use the thing. It was light, easy to swing, and razor-sharp. We couldn’t get in and out of the hospital without a fight. Our entrance alone made that quite clear. “All right people,” Michael whispered, loud enough for us to hear but quiet enough to keep any nearby walker from hearing us, “you all know what to do. You still have your walkie-talkies; so don’t forget to keep us informed as to where you are. We can’t help you if you get pinned down by walkers and we don’t know where you are, and we’re not going to go running all over the hospital looking for you when we’re trying to find Moira, got it?” We nodded. He looked each of us in the eye, and I held his gaze, drawing encouragement from his determination. We were usually a light-hearted and cheerful bunch, especially amongst each other, but not now. Finally, Michael gave a satisfied nod. “Let’s go get her. Just remember to watch your partner’s back, and if one of you gets bit…well, you know what to do.” I swallowed and glanced at Apryl, who nodded to Michael. I knew that if Apryl got bitten, I’d have to put her down, but I wasn’t sure if I could bring myself to do it. Cross that bridge if you come to it, I told myself. “Take out any walker you see as quietly as you can, if it’s in your way.” Michael whispered, lowering his weapon again. “And don’t forget, we’re headed for the sixth floor, ward six. If you find her before the rest of us, let us know and we’ll hurry up there.” We all nodded again. Everyone began to split off into their respective groups: Michael and Tiffany, and Apryl and me. But as we started to move apart, spreading out, our phones suddenly crackled to life and we all stopped short, looking at each other, then hurriedly each of us scrambled to answer. There was only one possible explanation for all of the phones going off at once: news from HQ. The ZSC managed to set up a fairly stable system of communication that allowed a single call to be made to up to sixteen people, so no doubt Norman’s crew were receiving the same call. “You have Rooker, Tiffany, Apryl and Emma,” Michael said into his phone. “Go ahead.” “And you have Norman, Eve, Jess and Rebecca. Go ahead.” Norman’s voice came in over the phone. “Rescue team, this is Yellow First Lieutenant Sean Patrick Flanery.” Each of us looked sharply at each other. A sense of foreboding settled itself into the pit of my stomach but I tried not to give in to it. “We’re reading you, Flanery,” Rooker said. “What’s the problem?” “ZSC HQ just received a call from Moira.” Sean responded, and I felt my breath suddenly cut itself off. Moira called? She was alive? “Moira contacted HQ?” Norman asked, sounding as relieved as I felt, “Is she all right?” “I don’t know.” Sean said. I could hear the tenseness in his voice, which made me worry. He wasn’t one to get worried easily. “What happened?” Rooker asked. “Is she in a secure location?” “She said she was, but now I’m not so sure. While I was on the line with her something happened, it sounded like glass breaking and I think something grabbed her. I couldn’t make out much more before the line went dead.” Silence fell. No one said a word. Finally Norman spoke, softly, but determinedly. “We’re going after her, anyway,” he said. “Did she give you a position?” “She said she was still on the sixth floor, and she said the only way up was the stairs.” “Then we’re taking the stairs.” Michael said, “Can you give us any more info? “Sorry, that’s all I got before the line went dead,” he answered. “Stay safe. Flanery out.” He hung up and we slid our phones back into our pockets. We split up and hurried off in different directions while I conjured up in my mind the map of the hospital Jess showed us. The nearest stairwell lay beyond the critical care ward, through another hall. Apryl unsheathed her hunting knife and I readied my blade as we fell into step beside each other. Power was out in the building. Very little light illuminated our path. We peered into darkened offices and patient rooms as we passed, ready to strike if we saw any movement or heard any moaning. Dark smears of blood covered the walls and floor. I could dimly make out what looked like dismembered limbs littered across the cold marble floor and occasionally a shredded corpse. Luckily the corpses in the corridor were just lunch, no coming back. I shuddered at the thought that this was the new normal. What was around us—this eerie quiet, this feeling of apprehension…of being hunted, this was our reality—a dark new world extending towards a grim a future we were hard-pressed to escape. Unless we could stop the outbreaks. That was what the Purple Brigade worked on. If Jess and I made it out alive, we’d have a good field report to make back to The Oracle. We reached the doors to the critical care ward and paused, listening to the hall that lay beyond it. We couldn’t hear anything. Apryl looked at me. “You ready?” I nodded, tightening my grip on the blade. One… She raised one of her silenced Desert Eagles and switched the safety off. Two… I grabbed the door handle and tensed. Three… I jerked the door open and we rushed into the critical ward. I’d never seen such carnage before. Ever. Blood, guts, flesh… all caked on the walls and floor, and strips of something I didn’t care to identify hung from the ceiling. Blood dripped from the ceiling tiles. The emergency exit light glowed red, making the whole place seem to be nothing but blood. The stench was unbearable. The smell of rotten flesh, of death, wafted through the air and I wrinkled my noise, swallowing to keep my stomach under control. “Oh, man,” Apryl muttered. Bodies of patients and doctors alike littered the floor, most torn apart, their intestines strewn across the cold floor, their muscles and organs exposed. Through it all waded fourteen walkers. The one closest to us—missing an arm and an eye—lifted its head and looked at us. A guttural hiss emitted from its disfigured face. The others turned to look. Their soulless, lifeless eyes bored straight through us. The unnatural glint of an insatiable hunger brightened their gaze as they spotted new prey. Together, we rushed the walkers. She took down the one missing an arm with a clean shot through the head. I swung my sword through the neck of what had been a doctor. His body crumpled, but his head clacked its jaws together as it tried to get a bite of my boot. I stomped down, feeling the sickening crunch of bones snapping, and turned my attention back to the others. Apryl felled two more as they approached. I took down two patients and a nurse. Apryl marched forward, duel wielding her Desert Eagles now, putting a walker down with each shot. She took down four more. I got another two, but as I swept my arm back from a stroke, I lost my footing on the slick, blood-covered floor and stumbled against a walker. It grabbed hold of my arms and growled. I tried to jerk free, but it wasn’t letting go of its food so easily. I pulled against it, harder this time, trying to kick myself free at the same time. It wasn’t working. “Down!” Apryl barked and I obediently lowered my head as the walker snarled. Blood and bone fragments splattered all over my face. The walker suddenly dropped, shot through the head. There was no time to wipe my face or thank Apryl. I quickly drove my blade into the face of another nurse and then pulled it free and spun, sword outstretched, and swiped off the head of another’s head. That’d been a close call. Very close. I turned to Apryl, shaken, but alive. “Thanks,” I said, wiping the gore off. “Are you okay?” She nodded, but looked me over worriedly as she approached. No bites on either of us. I needed to step up my game if I wanted to get through this. I looked down at the walkers, now still, on the ground as Apryl took out her walkie-talkie. “Apryl and Emma,” she said. “In the critical ward. Squirrel.” We grinned at each other and hurried back down the hall. Some of my confidence was restored as we made our way down the corridor and the other teams continued to check in. Not one had given the ‘Oreo’ alert, much to my relief. I kept reassuring myself that we would find Moira. She would be fine. There were more walkers in the next hallway, but not as many as in the previous one. I let Apryl handle it and instead pictured the layout of the hospital once again, placing our teams in the wards and corridors they’d last radioed in from. We were all still on the first floor, but judging from where Jess, Luna, and Rebecca’s reports, they were fast moving up. We were making headway. We paused by the stairwell door, hearing a slow shuffling coming from the other side. I nodded to Apryl and she gave a quick, powerful kick. The door slammed back, straight into two walkers. While they were dazed, she unsheathed her knife and took them out. “Apryl and Emma, entering a stairwell. Squirrel so far, we’re going up.” It looked like some debris was blocking most of the doors. We’d be doing a bit of climbing to get over it, but it wasn’t anything we couldn’t handle. Everyone radioed in that they were heading up. The higher we climbed, the darker it became, and soon we were in almost complete darkness. “We can work around this.” I murmured to Apryl as I heard her stumble over a piece of debris. “We’re to the third floor I think, so we’re half way there.” “I’m all right,” she said. “It’s just annoying. We need to move faster. I’m worried sick about Moira.” “I know,” I answered, trying to see her in the darkness, “I think we could try and go a little—” Something suddenly grabbed my leg. A growl rumbled in the darkness. I yelped and fell back, banging my head against a stair. “What?” Apryl called out. “Where is it?” My head spun. The walker tugged on my leg. I tried to pull free from its grip, and surprisingly, my leg lifted it up, so it was a small walker at least. Apryl rushed over and lashed out with her knife, but missed and slashed my leg. I clenched my teeth to keep from crying out as the skin split apart. Instead, I reached for my own knife. “I got it,” I told her and slammed my leg back down. The walker growled but let go. I spun my knife and drove it into its head. “Are you okay?” Apryl asked, rushing to my side. “Y-Yeah,” I assured her, wincing at the stinging pain in my leg and covering the wound with my hand, “I’m okay. Could you reach into my bag and get out the bandages? I think you cut me.” She quickly handed them over. I wrapped up the wound as best as I could, hoping that the scent wouldn’t alert any walkers or leave a trail for them to follow. I pulled out my flashlight and flipped it on to take a quick look at the walker, to make sure it was dead.
“Oh my…” Apryl breathed. It was a toddler. Or, had been a toddler. Its neck and part of its leg bore huge bite marks—a little girl with pretty, long brunette hair caked with blood. Her little hands were dirty and covered in blood as well. Neither Apryl nor I spoke for several minutes. We resumed our silent ascent up the stairs. We finally made it up to the sixth floor and approached the door, relieved, but wary. We slid our weapons out in preparation. Apryl went first. There was an odd sound as she yanked on the door. She gave a sort of chuckle and whispered, “You have to push it open.” I laughed a little and waited for her to push it open, but something was wrong. She grunted as she shoved against it as hard as she could, but the door didn’t budge. “Give me a hand,” she whispered. I edged in and shoved against it with her. It was no use. The door wouldn’t budge. “Oh you have got to be kidding me,” she growled. I wasn’t much happier about the situation. “I guess they locked it or barricaded it. We’ll have to go back down and try the fifth floor.” “Such a waste of time,” Apryl said as we started back down. I nodded, not that she could see me, but she expressed my sentiments exactly. If this door was barricaded, what about the fifth floor door? We’d probably end up having to double back and find the other stairwell, which would cost us a lot of time. Time we didn’t have. Both Apryl and I rushed back down to the fifth floor door and tried it. It too was barricaded, but gave way a little as Apryl leaned against it, so I helped her and together we shoved against it as hard as we could. After shoving and grunting for several minutes, we managed to push the door open wide enough to squeeze through. For a moment, I thought we were alone and somehow stumbled across an area that didn’t have any walkers. But just as Apryl started to reach for her walkie-talkie, we heard it. A sickly groan came from one of the rooms. A walker in a hospital gown emerged, staring at us. Apryl started to go for it, but I caught her arm and stopped her as more walkers emerged from the other rooms. Their moans grew louder. More and more began to issue forth. “We’ve got this.” Apryl raised her Desert Eagles while I unsheathed my blade. The thought that one of these things might be trying to get to Moira filled me with disgust and anger. We’re coming, I thought. We’re coming, Moira. Just sit tight. “You take the left side, I’ll get the right, okay?” I nodded, then we both rushed forward. Walkers fell with every bullet Apryl fired and with every swing of my blade. We’re not going to let these things stop us. They’ve taken enough from us already: our families, our homes, and our security. We’re not about to let them take Moira, too.
MISSION: Rescue one Moira Jones from 6th floor of over run hospital. OBJECTIVE: Search for and rescue Moira Jones and bring to safety. STRATEGY: Rendezvous with fellow members of the ZSC and use skill sets to bring Moira Jones to safety.
Jessica’s POV (With Rebecca): Rebecca, Luna, and I slowly started making our way toward the hallway directly in front of us. Rebecca was a new recruit in the Red Brigade of the Zombie Survival Crew and incredibly grateful that her machete arrived in time for the rescue mission. She ordered a special-made Billhook Machete and also brandished her desert eagle with silencer. I carried my cast iron skillet, a sword that I’d commissioned, and also a gun with a silencer. Luna had her unmatched keen senses of smell, hearing and sight even in the dark, and of course, her fangs and powerful bite. We halfway down the hall when all of the sudden Luna stopped in her tracks and let out a soft growl. “Jess, I see something down there in the hall,” Rebecca said, tightening her grip on her machete. I squinted made out a dark figure hunched over another dark figure. We inched closer. Slurping and crunching noises filled the hall—definitely a walker enjoying a meal. “I got this,” Rebecca said and moved forward. As she approached the walker, it lifted its head up and sniffed the air. Before it could even turn around, I heard the machete swing through the air, and thud—the walker’s head smacked the wall. I moved closer. Rebecca smiled and said, “Four!” “That would’ve been a hole-in-one, right there,” I joked. Surprisingly there weren’t any other walkers the hallway. We made it to a set of stairs.
“Rebecca and Jess, squirrel. We’re at the stairs.” I paused. Something didn’t feel right about how quickly we made it to the stairs. Only one walker, and that was it? “We are heading up.” I put the walkie-talkie back in my pocket. Rebecca, Luna and I made it safely to the top of the stairs and headed down the hallway. We came to a door, and we pushed it open, walked through, and froze. “Oh my God,” Rebecca said. My eyes stung with tears and I knew I couldn’t keep them from pouring down my face. Rebecca and I embraced one another, sobbing quietly. Then we heard a very soft snarl. We pulled away from each other. The tears fell even harder as we moved toward the sound. There it was, in an incubator, probably not even a week old when it had been bitten. Its entire left arm and part of its face had been ripped off. It snarled as loudly as it could—barely louder than a whisper. Rebecca and I looked at each other and knew what we needed to do, but my heart broke. I lifted my cast iron skillet over its tiny body and as I brought it down to end it’s suffering, it snarled. I fell to my knees and wept. Rebecca crouched down and we tried to comfort each other, but there was just no comfort to be had. Rebecca pulled me back to my feet. We searched the room now filled with tiny growls and snarls. There were probably twenty infant walkers in incubators. Helplessly, they all reached, hoping for something to satisfy their longing. Rebecca and I looked each other in the eyes and said at the same time, “They are not alive.” I lifted my cast iron skillet above the nearest incubator and I brought it down, before moving to the next one. Rebecca watched with tears flowing and stepped toward a snarling little body. She pulled up her machete and brought it down, ending its suffering. Our tears never ceased as we made our way around the room, and before we knew it the room fell silent. My hands trembled as I looked at the mangled and cut up bodies. “We had to do it, Jess,” Rebecca said, tears still flowing down her cheeks. “I know, but…” my voice trailed off. A noise came from the hallway. We wiped the tears from our eyes and moved slowly toward the hall. We pressed against the doors to listen and heard the shuffling of feet. I pulled the door open. Rebecca, Luna and I slipped out. We stayed against the wall and moved quietly down the hall. Something grabbed my leg and I fell to the floor hard. “Oh, crap!” A sharp pain shot up my side. I’d fallen onto my sword. Blood ran down my side. “Luna, get it!” I said as I tried to kick at what latched onto my leg. Luna snarled and growled as she pounced my attacker. She bit into it. A sickening crunch sounded as her teeth tightened down on its rotting skull. Its hand released my leg.
“Jess! Oh my gosh, are you ok?” Rebecca knelt down beside me. “Yeah, just kinda stabbed myself,” I said, feeling like a fool. Rebecca reached into my backpack and found some first aid items to mend my wound. “You’re going to have to do it.” Rebecca’s eyes widened as she looked at me and she knew what I meant. I needed her to pull the sword out of my side. “Bite down on this,” she said as she handed me a towel from my bag. I closed my eyes tightly as she gripped the handle of the sword. I pictured Moira. Saw her fighting off walkers, trapped in a room with little to no provisions. Anger built up in me and I felt no pain as Rebecca pulled the sword from my side. She quickly bandaged me up and helped me to my feet. We pressed on and came to some more stairs. I pulled the walkie-talkie out of my pocket, “This is Rebecca and Jess. Squirrel, and we are about to head up another set of stairs.” I turned my flashlight on for a second to read the sign posted by the stairs. It said: “Take these stairs to get to the 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th floors.” I looked at Rebecca and she looked back at me. “You ready for this?” “Hell yeah, I am,” she responded “Are you?”