After some bitter arguing and wondering over what the marking on the black clothed runner could mean, eventually the group got to burning the bodies of the now permanently deceased.
Vincent and Michelle had the misfortune of dragging and burning the last of them, the smell of burning dead flesh that could be close to a year old could make any person, with a decent sense of smell vomit. “Ahhh christ, I swear the smell is getting more and more rank. How many more are we going to drag and burn?” Michelle complained
Vincent answered “Just a few more and then we’ll be finished”.
“Why did we have to strip the black clothed guy again? Sure you may like to see a guy with hardly any clothes on but I figured you had limits”
“oh ha ha” Vincent sarcastically responded, he then answered his next question “Kimiko and Victor are suspicious about it, think if it is a gang marking then we should keep a hold of it”
“Why?” Michelle pondered
Vincent continued to answer “I assume so we can recognise anymore of them, (if theres more).”.
While Michelle was still skeptical over why they had to keep the clothes, the answer was enough to satisfy him “fair enough”. As they threw a body into the bonfire of corpses Karl appeared from front of the lodge, once Vincent noticed him, he made a carrying gesture with his arms and then a throwing one, “It’ll be appreciated” Vincent answered, Karl then went off to drag one of the bodies.
“Can’t speak a word but he can still say a lot can’t he?” Michelle commented
Vincent added “Yep, his hard work is just him trying to make up for it I bet. What a way to lose your voice though”
Michelle guiltily laughed “Ya, I know right? You dump a woman and she responds by taking out your vocal cords... no offence Vincent but relationships are overrated”
Vincent understood his friend’s statement “Sometimes I feel the same way. Up and atem”.
They tossed another body into fire, Karl cut their trekking by dragging the bodies to them. Michelle added “Call me crazy, but most of the time I would prefer a hot cappuccino to a smoking hot woman like yours”
Vincent smiled as he spoke, “I’ll take that as a compliment”
Michelle told him “It kinda was” and smiled back.
As they were about to burn the last body, Vincent couldn’t help but think about the glimpse of light he saw earlier, “Say Michelle, you feel like we’re being watched recently?”
Michelle was puzzled by his question “Errr no, why? You thinking that the guy’s buddies stuck around?”
Vincent wasn’t really sure of what he saw so his answer was “I’m not really sure, I feel I may have seen someone after we killed all these guys” he looked at the lodge windows, on lookout for Victor “I haven’t told Victor because I don’t want him paranoid, and forget telling Kimberly”
Michelle couldn’t be more happy with Vincent’s decision “Good, Victor would have us on double shifts and Kimberly would….urrgghh, they already argue enough, I mean don’t get me wrong. I’m glad Kimberly is with us, she’s a right crackshot and Victor is the kind of leader I can rely on, to say he doesn’t like it, but, they both have a different kind of stick up their ass”
Vincent somewhat agreed, “I wouldn’t say that but ya, they’re both as stubborn as it gets when it comes to each other. Kimiko’s comment would have been more appropriate for those two”
Michelle just laughed out loud, knowing how right that was “Maybe, but I’m sure, even though life is pretty shit these days, she likes living”. The two then remembering Karl no doubt heard everything, looked to see him smiling and zipping his mouth much to their relief, they both thanked him, Michelle said “Thanks buddy” while Vincent gave a smile and two finger salute.
“Sundown at last, time went flying today until it came to body dumping duty” Michelle then noted;
Vincent was so caught up in everything he hadn’t even noticed time passing by “Wow, nearly a whole day has gone by already?".
Karl pointed to the lodge Vincent exhaled “Yeah we’re done here”. The three then made their way to lodge and along the way, Vincent figured now was best time to ask something “Michelle, why the hell do you have the manager’s tag on?”
Michelle had forgotten he had it on and looked down “Huh? Oh yeah, I planned to mess around and pretend I ran this place, but it seems even those beyond the grave didn’t want to bear such a sight”
Vincent just shook his head “You’re a strange guy. also you’ve now got me thirsty for a coffee… thanks alot”
Michelle smiled like he just accomplished a mission “Don’t mention it”
Michelle stretched as he walked inside “Oh, I needed that, your’s and Kimberly’s shift, right Karl?” Karl nodded as Michelle twisted his neck “Alright, I’m gonna crash on my bed. Hopefully Jake doesn’t have nightmares and wanders around again”.
“Alright guys” Vincent gave a quick wave with his hand as he was about to head to bed before he was prodded by Karl “Huh?” he looked to Karl who made a V with his hands and then pointed left. “Victor wants me? Okay, thanks” Karl nodded and then ran to his post. Vincent walked into Manager’s office and saw Victor looking down thoroughly at the map on desk. “You wanted me?” Vincent checked
“Ya” Victor answered as his eyes scanned the map. “Sorry I had you burning rest of bodies, but you know I can’t play favorites”
“Ya, ya, I know, I prefer you didn’t anyway, what you thinking anyway?” Vincent’s attention was drawn to map as Victor’s finger was going back and forth between two places; ‘Jonestown’ and ‘Whistler's Grove’.
“Well I’m thinking that if they is a group and we heard them, then I’m thinking if they’re… well not friendly, we’re going to need to be better armed. All we have in terms of firearms is rifles and pistols, well and a shotgun, thats hardly much compared to a bunch of people who could be carrying M4s or something.”
Vincent’s mind wondered if he it was actually better if he told Victor about the possibility of being watched as Victor spoke. “I’m also thinking though that, would it actually be worth risking going to Jonestown….. that place may no doubt be only the outskirts of hell compared to Union city but still…. Whistler's Grove doesn’t exactly guarantee us finding guns though.”
Vincent thoughtfully stroked his short beard as he said “mmmm well, how does splitting up sound?”
Victor shook his head “Not a chance, if it was between Whistler's Grove and Glendale then maybe, but if we’re going to Jonestown, its all of us or not at all. I was at Whistler's Grove when it began and that was crazy enough. The brief time I spend in Jonestown…. you were there Vincent, do I really have to explain?”
Vincent felt stupid for a moment, “yeah, you’re right. So what? We all go to Whistler's Grove or?”
Victor’s face grew with trouble “I don’t want to risk this place being taken though… we could be done for if we left, only for someone to take this place. Vincent, how does you, Kimiko, Michelle and Kimberly check Whistler's Grove for anything and rest of us staying here sound?”
Vincent thought for a moment and came up with a slightly different plan. “you’re not going to like this but, I think you should keep kimberly here, me, her and Kimiko are your best shots, you need one of us to stay and replace Michelle with Karl…. Michelle and Kimiko will no doubt fill the journey with…. sexual tension.”
Victor closed his eyes for a moment, the thought of that could almost make him cringe. “I see your point, those two really encourage each other”.
“Yeah” Vincent’s head just filled with the possible ‘banter’ he would have to endure being alone with them two. “No doubt me being with them would encourage them more”.
Victor put his hands out for quick second “I get the picture, so you Kimiko and Karl will investigate Whistler's Grove while rest of us stay agreed?”
Vincent nodded in agreement “Agreed”.
“That’s all” Victor said as he rubbed his face.
“Alright. Well goodnight then” Vincent left the room after getting a wave from Victor as he rubbed his eyes and sighed. Vincent went past the 2nd floor hallway and into his room, consisting of a large bed with two small drawers at far end, and a pair wardrobes face the large window opposite. Vincent saw Kimiko was already asleep and had left cover ready for him, “heh” Vincent gave a small smile and then looked out his window, and scanned the forest, he then shook his head “nah” then carefully got under the bed covers.
The next morning as Vincent woke up from bed he saw Kimiko looking out through window, into the slowly lighting up trees, “Mōningudārin” she softly spoke as he got up.
Vincent stretched as he noticed she was wearing only her underwear “Mor… kimiko do you have to be at the window with your…”
“Sorry, I just can’t shake feeling they could be people looking for us” she apologised, later adding “besides not like I have to worry about any…. ‘peeping tims’ as you call them and...”
Vincent’s first instinct was to correct her “It’s ‘peeping toms’ and are you sure? Michelle would no doubt like to see those.”
Kimiko looked down and thought for a moment then shrugged “Oh well, they could be last he sees anyway,”
Vincent smiled and rolled his eye before changing the subject, “Victor tell ya his plan last night?”
Kimiko turned to face Vincent with her arms folded beneath her chest “Said some of us would be going to either Jonestown or Whistler's Grove. Hadn’t made up his mind though”
Vincent yawned before he spoke “Ya, its going to be me, you and Karl and we’re heading to ‘Whistler's Grove. I’ve been there a few times so I know it well. Lets get dressed”
After getting dressed, the couple headed downstairs to see Victor had everyone gathered in main room, Michelle, Jake and Karl were sat down opposite Victor, who was standing and looking over the map, “There you two are, I just briefed everyone about what we’ll be doing. Kimiko, Vincent tell ya everything?”
“Ya I know the plan” Kimiko answered as she looked to see Victor had his plan laid out, a blue pin was on Whistler's Grove, a white pin on where the lodge is and small pebbles showing a path between the two places, with a large X on the upper right, large red dot with ‘Union City’ underneath it.
Michelle had a curious and slightly bothered face “Why aren’t I going with them exactly?”
Victor just bluntly told Michelle “Because frankly, I feel like taking a bullet for Vincent.”
Michelle laughed “I’m a terrible shot! And I won’t be that bad!”
“Yes you will be, and even so, 4 people look more threatening than 3” Victor quickly replied
“But..” “We’ve already decided Michelle and thats final” Victor stopped Michelle from complaining anymore making him reluctantly accept the decision, “fine” he looked at Kimiko and smiled “Guess that threesome will have to wait sweetheart”
Kimiko delightfully responded “Awww, it would have been perfect opportunity as well”.
Vincent just sighed and shook his head, while Victor’s reaction was less subtle “Ugh!” he then looked at Vincent in a way that basically said ‘You better come back with weapons you son of a bitch’ Vincent grew slightly nervous the moment he gazed at Victor’s face.
After the plan was told and everything was decided, Vincent, Karl and Kimiko stacked up on food and then went to manager's office to load up. Kimiko took a scoped hunter compact, a hunting knife and a Glock 17 while she was loading her sidearm, she asked Vincent about her suspicions “You have a hand in Michelle not coming along?”
Vincent didn’t even attempt to deny it “Yep.”
Kimiko smiled and called Vincent a “Kill joy”
Vincent just replied “I’m only saving my sanity”
Karl, being last in terms of firearm skills of the three took the Mossberg 590 shotgun and what shells they were, along with a hunting axe and M9 pistol. Vincent took a baseball bat, along with hunter compact and M9 pistol.
While they were loading their ammunition Kimberly walked in and told them “good luck. Wish I could come with ya, feel like I’ve just got my thumb up my ass while you do the hard work”
Vincent checked his rifle as he spoke “Sorry you feel that way but, of all of us you’re probably our best shot and we need one of our best to stay here just encase”
Kimberly made her difference of opinion clear “To be honest I think its a load of shit, If they were multiple people, then if they have any sense they’re gone now and even so they were no doubt passing though, theres no other place for miles, if they were planning to come here, they’ve no doubt cancel their plans.”
Kimiko naturally was skeptical of her opinion “You saying that just because Victor thinks otherwise?”
Kimberly responded “No I just think hes being paranoid and we should be out on different reasons”
Kimiko firmly stood by Victor’s decision “And what would you do? Have us constantly out there gathering supplies? We’re not all work alcoholics”
Kimberly retorted “I know, but shouldn’t we stack up before things seem urgent, we’re getting better weapons now, now when theres a possible threat, shouldn’t we have got them sooner? When they were less likely to be taken?”
Kimiko reasoned “the chances are slim, anyway, you remember how things were back at Jonestown I mean your...” she quickly stopped her next words falling out.
Kimberly’s eyes were now locked on to kimiko “My what?”
Vincent quickly intervened, “kim, lets just forget it please, can’t do anything about it now, Let us focus on getting guns now, okay? We’re wasting time staying here right now”
Kimberly agreed “Yeah, you’re right, go on, good luck” then stepped aside
Vincent thanked Kimberly “Thanks, come on guys” the trio then set off.
As they made their way to the front entrance Jake waved and said “See ya, good luck, hope you get back safely” Kimiko gave him quick kiss on cheek causing him to blush.
Victor just behind Jake, looked at Vincent puzzled to which he just got a shrug in response. “Be sure to be back within two days, I don’t want to be stuck here worrying, I’m sure Jack doesn’t either”.
“We won’t let ya down” Kimiko assured
Michelle overhearing the conversation yelled “Hey they’ll be fine, no need to worry! Oh and Kimiko be sure…”
“Don’t you dare start!” Victor interrupted. Michelle laughed and then remained quiet. Victor then nudged his head to right as he continued "Okay, get out of here".
The trio gazed at the pile of what was mostly just bones and ash as they began their journey south towards Whistler's Grove. As they began their long trek Vincent looked out into forest, unaware that he was directly within the crosshairs of a scope as two men, laid flat on the ground were watching them, both with nearly identical clothing. As they aimed at the trio, they conversed with each other “What you thinking?” the man on the right wondered as he aimed.
The more muscular one on left answered “I’m thinking they’re gathering supplies, lets see what they’re like out there before giving our report to Daniel.”
The right one observed the lodge windows “Got it”
As the left one shifted his aim towards Kimiko he answered “Remember, you’re still a stalker in training, Dwight let his guard down and now hes ash. I don't want another Wolf getting killed because they were reckless”
The left assured him that "I won't let you down"
To which the left one responded "Good, you show promise. You found this place. Come on, let's hurry before they're out of sight, follow my lead." they slowly crept back before setting off to stalk the trio.
The three made their way through the woods, occasionally avoiding or eliminating a wandering corpse. As they trekked the forest that was slowly feeling lifeless as the sky turned dark, Kimiko noted how she little she knew of the area "You know Vincent, its dawned on me that the lodge is the most I know of this.... state."
Vincent had forgotten how little Kimiko knew of the state, having only spent a short while in America before the dead refused to stay dead. "Yeah, had things turned out differently, this would have been more of a date."
Kimiko didn't want the journey to be dull so she asked "What was Whistler's Grove like before all this?"
Vincent answered "Hadn't been there much, though the few times I were there were always pleasant. People were nice enough. I'll tell ya one thing, they had good repairmen, they even got their own book about it. Say Karl, you're Grove born and raised right?" Karl turned and nodded, he then spread his right arm out, pointed all around the woods, followed with a walking motion before shaking his head. Vincent responded "You should have travelled around mate. Trust me, you'd be surprised what you were missing out on." Karl briefly tilted his head to right acknowledgingly before turning and readying his axe, spotting a dead woman coming.
While Karl took care of it, Kimiko continued the topic “So you would have took me there then?”
Vincent answered “Of course, I mean Jonestown was nice but, it isn’t only place in the world right? I’ve been all around the state, from union city all way to Glendale, I even went to Aspenwood once, that's mostly farmland though. Anyway, once we get to Whistler's Grove, I’ll tell ya more about what it was like if its not too bad there”.
Kimiko smiled “Arigatō, be nice to forget the dead are walking every once in a while.”
Vincent smiled back “Ya, somewhere other than Lodge would be nice”.
Whistler's Grove was in fact a small town, its population being just above 10,000 while nothing of it was noteworthy on the inside, its reputation for good repairmen was well known. What was once just a simple town making a name for itself was a place of death and decay.
As they neared the necrosis town. Vincent coughed as he suddenly caught whiff of a incredibly foul smell. “oh good god, we must be getting close, the smells’ normally this bad when theres a bunch of them.”
Kimiko covered her nose as she also coughed “yeah” The three pull out scarves from their backpacks, and covered their lower faces to protect themselves from the foul stench of decay. As they got within eyesight of Whistler's Grove they saw the walking dead were no doubt in the hundreds, mourning could be heard clear as day, the darkest only made the town seem more dreadful as the dead wandered without cause or purpose.
The 3 stared at the dead town as Vincent said “This is not going to be easy”.
- The Book Vincent refers to is Whistler's Grove Handyman; a resource book in The Last Stand Deadzone.
- Glendale, Whistler's Grove, Jonestown and Aspenwood are all locations in the Last stand 2 
- First appearance of Josh Porter.