“Who are you!?” Kimiko asked
“Your saviours and recruiters!” the black clothed figure delightfully responded, “Now can you save the questions till later? You’ve got bigger problems.” he pointed out into the distance; the 3 looked at the town and saw that a large undead mob making its way.
Vincent quickly ran to Kimiko and Karl and asked the 2 men, “What you want from us?!”.
The figure chuckled at what seemed obvious “For you to join us of course, now are you coming or not?!”.
Tim noted his superior’s rather delighted tone and asked him “What’s got you so cheery?”
With a grin on his face he answered “I think this lot have some promise, if my gut is right, Daniel is going to be rather grateful.”
Tim looked at him questioningly, “Not sure what you’re seeing but, okay.”
Meanwhile Vincent told Kimiko and Karl, “I think we better go with them. I doubt they rescued us out of kindness.”
Karl nodded while Kimiko pointed out “They said ‘recruiters’ I think they could be….”
Vincent was thinking the same thing “You’re not the only one.”. Seeing the mob getting closer they saw their best option was to approach the two figures.
They ran to them and once they were close the muscular figure told them “We’ll talk once we’re out of sight.” then followed them.
After running deep into the dry, green and brown forest for a solid 15 minutes they stopped at a small grass hill covered with twigs and dead leaves and made camp, Vincent, Kimiko and Karl were sat on a log opposite their rescuers. After catching his breath Vincent showed his appreciation for the rescue “Thanks for earlier, I would have been dead if you hadn’t been there.”. As he said that he noticed how that seemed too convenient to be a coincidence “Wait, were you two watching us?”.
Sat against the hill with his rifle at his side the ‘Stalker’ smirked “Yes we were, in fact we’ve been stalking ya since, not long after you put down Dwight.”
The name not ringing any bells Vincent asked “Dwight? Wait you mean the guy who had a wolf on his clothes?”.
Tim answered “Ya him, he was my guard, went to take a piss and wandered off too far. Idiot may have got us killed if you lot didn’t get the attention of the deadies.”.
Vincent then asked ”Wait, you said you stalked us since after we kill him? Why?”
The ‘Stalker’ then answered “Well, I had to be sure you lot weren’t surviving simply because of luck. After seeing your recent accomplishments, I can say you’re no doubt what my superiors are looking for.”
Kimiko shanked as she heard the words, “Accomplishments? We….”. Thinking that her murder of a mother was considered an achievement she suddenly stopped talking.
The ‘Stalker’ continued “Yes, to get as far as you did as well kill those….”.
“Hey shush!” Vincent aggressively ordered.
“Huh? What?” The stalker looked at Vincent confused then to Kimiko, seeing her visibly shaken “Oh. Sorry. I take it you’ve never…” .
Vincent again ordered him, “Shut up, now.”. He then looked at Kimiko and sorrowfully sighed as he could see she was already reliving the incident, “Karl will you take her to sleeping bag, please.” Karl looked at Kimiko in dismay then walked up to her and put an arm over her shoulders while guiding her to sleeping bag, “Hey.” Vincent and Karl then looked at each other in the eyes Vincent worried about Kimiko’s mental state, said “Watch over her, I’d really appreciate it.” even though Karl’s eyes made it clear he didn’t have to say anything.
Karl nodded with unsettling look on his face as he walked Kimiko who kept repeating words along lines of “I didn't have a choice.”.
Vincent then scowled at the Stalker who backed off a bit, he was expecting hardened survivors, “Sorry, I thought you lot were…”.
Vincent held back his growls as he explained “No, up until now the only one of us who had actually killed someone was our newest guy, Jake, even though he’ll deny it if you bring it up, it’s obvious he did.”
The Stalker noticed how the man in front of him wasn’t even fazed in comparison to the woman “You seem well adjusted however.”.
Vincent just told, “You go through a lot, eventually even killing isn't a hard task, even your first one. Let’s leave it at that”.
While Tim was a little unnerved by those words, the Stalker just gave a curious “Mmmm, I see.” in response. “Anyway, my superiors are in fact looking for people like you to join us.”
Vincent curiously asked “And who is ‘us’?”
The ‘Stalker then realised he hadn’t yet introduced himself “Oh yes, forgive me, my name Josh Porter and this is my subordinate Tim O’Neil” Tim gave a wave as Josh continued “and as you’ve no doubt gathered, we’re both members, of a group called the ‘Black Wolves’ hence our clothes and markings.”.
Vincent observed their clothing noting that both their bandannas had a white set of teeth painted on, he pointed out “Dwight had a wolf painted on the back of his clothes.”.
Josh explained “He was of lower rank, a wolf, Tim here is a hunter aka, a scout, and Dwight was his guard. Tim is up for a promotion, so I, a Stalker, that’s the highest scout rank FYI, was tasked with seeing if he was worthy of it and Tim was doing the same for Dwight. Our markings are different per rank.”. He then briefly held on to his bandanna, “Before you say anything, they let me keep this; my actual marking is on this.” He then grabbed his rifle which was a SVD (Dragunov) sniper, and showed the stock, it had a black Wolf with dark yellow eyes crouched down in the middle of green grass, with a white moon slightly to the upper right of it, the background was a circle of grey with small white dots as stars.
It was clear that a lot of work was put into it, which Vincent commented on, “That’s some precise painting there.”.
Josh smiled as he told him, “Even an artist has a place among us, It’s not just paintings either, tags as well.”.
Before Vincent could comment further, Karl came back, Vincent looked at him annoyed “Why are you…” until Karl put his palms together then against his head as he tilted it and closed his eyes, “oh…, how’s she doing?” Karl took out a pen and paper and wrote down ‘coping’. Vincent’s shoulders suddenly felt heavy as did his heart. “Karl I know I can see her from here but…”.
“Wait.” Josh interrupted “Tim you watch her.”.
“What?” Tim questioned.
“Just do it.” Josh ordered, as Tim obeyed even though the order confused him, Karl kept glancing towards Kimiko.
Noticing Karl’s glancing, Vincent told him “Will you stop please, you’re making it worse for us both.”. He then groaned before continuing his comments, though his tone had gotten more worrisome with Kimiko more on his mind, “Anyway, you make your group sound rather organised, markings, chain of command what are you ex-military?”
Josh laughed with a complete lack of surprise, “Well, I am, Tim isn’t, a lot of others aren’t really, we’re a collection of folks who’ve banded together to survive, our leader and founder is called Daniel.”
Vincent then asked “So you’re just a bunch of organised people surviving?”
Josh laughed again and cheerfully answered, “Well I wouldn’t put it like that, I wouldn’t have travelled all the way from fucking Union City if we were….”
“Wait what?! Union City!? That’s miles and miles away!” Vincent exclaimed as both he and Karl looked at Josh in disbelief. Everyone then heard Kimiko shuffle about in her sleeping bag; Vincent cursed himself for almost waking Kimiko up.
Josh continued his explanation “Sorry, I forgot to mention that. As hard as it is to believe, trust me, I’m telling you the truth. Also to clear up the confusion, we actually have two small outposts, both handle the recruitment of others outside the city.”
Vincent grew suspicious of Josh’s clams, “That’s a lot to swallow.”
“I understand completely, I’d be thinking same as you if I was in your shoes.” Josh stated. “Anyway, I could go one, but I’m sure both our people are wondering where we are, see ya.”
Vincent put his hand out, “Hold on. You’re just going to go?”
“Ya, despite what I said earlier, I don’t actually recruit, I find them then give reports, it wouldn’t normally take this long, but I prefer to make sure I find quality, rather than a bunch of lucky simpletons.”. Josh then looked at Tim, “Let’s go, our CO is no doubt waiting.” then back at Vincent “We’ll meet ya back at the lodge in 2 days, with others. Make sure your friends know.”.
Vincent was in shock “You can’t just leave. The least you...”
Josh just smugly told them “I can and I will. Just watch. ” As he walk away northeast with Tim following he said “Oh and again, sorry about your woman.”
Vincent and Karl just watched as they walked away, Vincent then got tapped on the shoulder and saw ‘What an asshole.’ written on a piece of paper, “teh understatement.”.
Deciding it was best to let Kimiko rest, the duo stayed at their camp, their earlier conversation had attracted a few curious shamblers much to their annoyance. As Vincent kicked away a corpse down a small ditch he commented on the black clothed duo, “Uhhh, leave us with questions and to take care of these buggers, pricks.”. After disposing of the pesky shamblers, Karl and Vincent went back to see Kimiko still sleeping. They moved the log closer to Kimiko and started a campfire as they saw the sun setting. Once the fire was lit and everything was quiet Vincent sat next to Kimiko and stroked her hair as he whispered to Karl “Christ, what a fucking day.Karl, how you holding up?” Karl put a hand out and tilted it left and right, “Better than her at least. They could have come back with us, but no they had to be paranoid, goddamnit I didn’t want to but they…” he then sighed as he rubbed his face, “what's done is done.”. Karl gave Vincent an unsettled look, “Sorry, I’m not normally like this but, truth be told, I am little scared about how easy it was. I’m barely sad, killing them was like doing a tedious job and one of them was a fucking kid.” he then noticed Karl’s disturbed face “I’m not helping am I?”, Karl shook his head, Vincent’s face only showed a hint of sorrow. “Don’t worry okay, I didn’t enjoy it, lets be clear on that, I’m no monster.” Vincent took a quick look at kimiko as he changed the topic, “Anyway, what do you think of what those two said?” Karl rubbed his chin as his face showed confliction, he eventually wrote down ‘Sounds too good to be true but if Josh was being honest, then I think we’re best joining his group. (Even if he seems an ass)’. Vincent felt the same way, “Ya, even if its a huge exaggeration we’d be better off teaming up with them, I’d rather not risk us getting killed….. not like we’d stand much of chance if they don’t take no for an answer.” Karl looked down as he nodded “Karl, I’ll take first watch, you get some rest. I need to think about a few things.”. As Karl slept and silence fell, Vincent thought hard about the events that transpired and how things for him were likely about to change. Vincent looked at Kimiko with worrisome eyes then down to ground as he quietly mumbled "You're still in there. Well, in a sick way...things turned out better and worse than 8 years ago." He then couldn't help but smile at his circumstances "Guess I should thank ya then.". The smiled then disappeared and fear quickly fell down his spine as a sarcastic voice echoed "Awww thanks bro." in his head.
The next morning before the sun could even be seen, Kimiko awoke to find a hand around her and turned to have her face covered in pitch black hair, as she quickly pushed herself up to see her boyfriend sleeping like a log, she turned to her left to see Karl wave and mouth 'morning'. Kimiko yawned and rubbed her eyes as she waved back. As she forced herself up she noticed she couldn’t even smile without it feeling forced, she asked Karl “You need some sleep? I can stand watch, feel like I slept for a whole day.” Karl shook his head he then looked and nodded at Vincent, “Nah, Lets give him a rest."
She then heard, "You can start by keeping your voice down." in a groaning fashion from behind her.
After she turned around and said "Oh, sorry Darling."
Vincent got up, and yawned like he was among the undead "No worries.... how you feeling?".
Kimiko just plainly said "Better.".
Knowing that was best answer he would get, he “Okay.”.
“Lets, not talk about it okay. I’m not...” Kimiko went silent and looked to ground.
As Karl just looked at her worried Vincent assured Kimiko “I won’t.”
Kimiko needed to change subject as the weight of the killing weighted heavily than it did before, she noticed her two saviours were missing and asked “Where are those other men?”.
“They left not after you went to sleep, they said they’ll be back. They’ll be at the lodge by tomorrow apparently.”.
“What, why? Why didn’t they, wait they know of lodge, what if they, why did you?” Kimiko said in a fit of paranoia.
“Calm down!” Vincent exclaimed as he quickly grabbed her shoulders. He put his right close to his mouth and slowly breathed to calm her. “I didn’t tell them, they’ve been watching us since we got attacked. Don’t you remember? They said be… They already knew. They saved us, so they're obviously not out to kill us.”
Putting his hand to her cheek, Kimiko closed her eyes and breathed “Okay, okay. Ya, you're right, I need to relax." As she wiped her face she remarked "So I was right. We were being watched.”.
Vincent replied “Yes.” and his mind wondered once again about him concealing what he say, as prove had stood right before him.
Kimiko, after calming herself down, started to remember what Josh had said, "The man said recruiters. So they want us to join them. Did they tell you much about their group?". After Vincent told her everything he was told, just like them, she was conflicted. "So, they travelled from city and set up two outposts so they could get new people? For that to be true they'd have to be ridiculously big.".
"Or well organised." Vincent added, "You don't buy it?".
Kimiko looked at him unconvinced "No, maybe there's a big group, but they would have to be hundreds. I don't see how they could that large. But.... we'll see when/if they come back. Maybe they just wanted to pull off a sick joke and get our hopes up."
Vincent had considered that, but he was less skeptical. “Perhaps but, they spoke of ranks and markings, must have put some thought into their joke and why would they rescue us just to mess with our heads?”.
“You have a point.” Kimiko admitted.”Lets just head back to Lodge and tell them, see what they think. Victor is no doubt worried.”.
Vincent nodded and they soon packed their bags and set off.
At the lodge, on the back Balcony Victor’s eyes were wide open as he paced side to side watching every inch of the forest for movement with a rifle in his hands. “Will you stop pacing like you’re gonna shit your pants?” Victor tried to keep his cool as he turned around to see Kimberly against the door.
“Don’t please. I don’t need it at the moment.” Victor then looked back out to forrest.
Kimberly just rolled her eyes at sight of Victor, “Tch, its Vincent and Karl for fuck sake, they work hard and know what they’re doing.”
Victor noted a certain someone was missing in her sentence “And Kimiko?”
Kimberly sighed and reluctantly added her, “Yes, and her. Seriously though, stop being a paranoid fart. They’re likely on their way back now. Its a long way there and back and they’ve no doubt had to rest.”.
Victor ignored her point and focused more on the insult “Stop being a paranoid…. oh excuse me for being worried. And I’m not a ‘fart’, I’m 46 for fuck’s sake.”
“Time has been horrible to you then. What with that grey hair and beard, you look 70.” Kimberly added.
Victor was just baffled “How do I?.... Oh forget it. I’m not interested right now.”
Kimberly however continued anyway, “Look, all three of them are tough and smart, they’re not gonna get killed by a bunch of half dead fuckwits. Just cool your tits and wait. I doubt they found weapons anyway, probably got food instead, come on, Whistler's grove for weapons? No chance. Quite frankly it was a stupid idea.”
Victor’s fuse when it came to Kimberly was short, “Oh really? What the fuck would you do if they was a potential threat, that we may not be able to take on?”.
And vise versa, “Get the fuck away from there, the only reason I’m here is because I don’t buy it. If I did, I’d try to get Karl, Vincent, his annoying Girlfriend and Jake to come along and leave you and that stupid fuck Michelle behind if I could help it.”
Victor held his voice down, “Why the fuck do you hate me so much? I kept us together, and why Jake? I thought you wouldn’t want a timid man with ya.”
Kimberly didn’t however “Because you keep bringing my spineless husband up, and do I need to remind you of the 4 other deaths we’ve had under your leadership? Besides Jake has done more for me in 5 days then that fucker did for 12 fucking months!”
Victor’s temper was at it lowest as he clenched his fist. “First. We’re in hell on earth, I think losing 4 people is not much compared to what could have happened, its been, 4 months since we lost James. Second… take that fucking back.”
Kimberly just bluntly told him, “Like fuck. You know all he did was take space and whine at how blink things are. He tried to convince me to kill myself with him. Why should I respect a man like that?”.
Victor face was full of rage and he slowly approached Kimberly who didn’t even flinch, “By being a better wife.” Victor was then swiftly punched in face.
Kimberly then just walked away, “You fucking asshole!.... I did everything I could for him.”.
As Victor rubbed his cheek, he then noticed 3 figures coming from trees, “Vincent!?”. After getting a wave back he announced “They’re back!”
as he jogged down stairs, Kimberly quietly remarked “Told ya so you fucking prick.” .
Victor ran down towards trees, while he was they found weapons and more, he noticed his friends looked like they had been through hell even more, specifically noticing Kimiko’s lack of a smile and giving off a depressing vibe. Vincent noticed the red mark near his left cheekbone “What happened to you?”.
Victor just plainly said “What do you think?”
Vincent just sighed “Oh for god’s sake victor. She’ll eventually kill you in your sleep.”
Victor immediately changed subject, “Never mind that. What happened, you all look terrible.”
After looking at Karl then Kimiko, Vincent sighed and told him “It’s a long story.”.
- James (Confirmed fate)
- Its revealed the Black Wolves have ex-military within their ranks.