Part 2 >
With 14 men, all fully armed standing right before them, the entire cast of lodge survivors both were surprised and shocked at what they were seeing.
Vincent was the first to speak “Well, this is a surprise. I didn’t think...”
Amused, Josh told them, “Well, no doubt you had doubts about if my claims were genuine, soooo we decided that this kind of entrance would put those to rest, at least somewhat.“
“Certainly put mine to rest.” Kimberly stated as she looked in a almost admiring fashion at how organised the group seemed. Michelle and Karl also admired the sight, while Kimiko, Jake and Vincent were in awe, but also intimidated by it.
“Pleased to hear that, now then which of you is the leader of this small group?” Victor reluctantly stood forward, his eyes showing he was nervous looking at what looked like a infantry unit, “I assume you are?”
Victor nodded “Yes, name’s Victor, Victor Betrigo.” and lent out his name.
Josh shook his hand “Russian I assume? Pleasure to meet ya, I’m Josh Porter.”
Victor responded, “Pleasure to meet you too, thanks for saving my friend by the way, guess it was mistake sending him.”
Josh wondered what Victor meant and raised an eyebrow, “Mhn?”.
Victor explained “We figured they may have been a group of Bandits nearby, judging by the uniform your guy was wearing…. Dwight wasn’t it Vincent?”.
Before Vincent could answer Josh exclaimed “Oh! Thats why you sent them scavenging? I thought it was a normal trip.” his smile grew slightly bigger, “That’s good to know, very good.”.
Victor curiously looked at Josh “Whys that?”.
Josh maintained his smile, “Well, it shows you address possible risk, which means you’ll likely be a good addition.”.
“We haven’t joined anything yet.” Victor pointed out.
Josh briefly chuckled, “Oh of course, I’m getting ahead of myself. Victor do you have a 2nd in command? Me and my associate would like to discuss parts of our offer, and to show you we are trustworthy, me and my partner are not carrying any weapons.”
Victor looked briefly and slightly to left, towards Vincent “No. Are you coming inside?”
Josh shook his head “No, but he is. Also may I request your friends just wait outside?”.
Victor wasn’t sure why but nonetheless agreed “Alright.”
Pleased with the steady progress so far, Josh looked to man beside him “Pack leader, may I recommend you send one of your squads back to the outpost?” he then looked at the audience with a prideful smile “I think we’ve impressed them enough.”.
“Yes sir.” the pack leader turned to face his men, specifically one of the men wearing improvised armor “Wolf Dante, take your men back to the outpost, the rest of you keep watch, can never be too sure if a deadie didn’t catch sight of us.”,
Stood firm like a soldier, the blonde man Dante said “Will do, pack leader,” he then turned around and stuck out his arm, arming northeast at the forest, then he and his squad headed out.
As the squad left, the ‘pack leader’ looked at Victor then laid out his palm towards the lodge entrance “Shall we proceed Victor?”
"Ya," Victor nudged his head to right, "after you.".
After the pair got inside Vincent questioned Josh, “Wheres the other guy?”
“Mhm? Oh him, well he proved himself so I sent him to our other outpost with a document of prove.”
“Are you guys military? You seem so… disciplined?” Kimberly asked curiously.
Josh laughed “No, no, no Vincent asked me that already, I’m the only one of a military background. Everyone else here just got trained at the Union City stadium.”
Kimberly's eyes widen but she then lent back, as quickly got skeptical. “Hold on, the stadium is a training ground for you lot?”
Josh chuckled “I’m giving too much away, best you see for yourself.” then smirked. Vincent sensed something was off about Josh, his cheerfulness didn’t seem right like they was something more than just fresh recruits in it for him.
Michelle then popped a important question, “How is union city? If you’ve got a big community then it must be safe?”
Josh hesitated for a brief moment before answering, “Well, I wouldn't say its safe, we only control the northeast of Union city, even so theres still a lot of the deadlies around, but however we’ve come up with a system so we can navigate through parts of the city with minimal risk.”.
Vincent then prompted the question “You plan to take over the city?”
Josh then pointed at Vincent in a congratulatory manner and said “Yes, exactly.” in which he got rathering questioning looks in return.”Well, north of the city at least. Theres a lot of us but hardly enough to repopulate the entire city.”
Jake wasn’t so confident about their plan, raising his hand slightly, before speaking “Errmmm, sounds rather.. errr crazy. How has your group not been… devoured? Surely theres over a hundred thousand of those… things.”.
Josh again hesitated before answering, albit vaguely “Well, thats a very good question, lets just say things were convenient for us.”
Vincent then eyed Josh, very skeptically. “How so?”
“Well, the majority of the deadies are in southeast of the city.” Josh could see the skepticism in their eyes so he dropped his smile “Look, I’m not gonna bullshit ya, luck is a big reason we managed to get as big as we are. Had the dead not drifted there, we wouldn’t be as big as we are.” Vincent picked up on Josh’s slightly nervous tone and also noticed some shifting among the men behind him.
Kimberly then asked “So what exactly do you have in mind for us?”
“Well, it depends on what you tell us; background, role in your group. Some farm, some make weapons, maintenance and of course, be part of our militia,” Josh answered.
“How about doctors?” Kimiko asked
“Obviously we’ll take anyone with medical experience, even now theres still bandit groups in the city, though not near us, they’re smart enough to know to stay away. We medics both on field and within our boundaries.”
Vincent then asked “How big is your militia?”
“Mhmmm.” Josh put his hand to his chin, “Not counting non-combatants, about…. thirty percent of our community, to give ya a better perspective, thats just over six hundred.”
“So you’re community has what, nearly two thousand people?” Kimberly skeptically blurred out.
Noticing how he wasn’t helping with the credibility of his story he answered, “Yes, how else do you think we could control so much of the city, look I know how unbelievable it sounds just take my word for it. Ahhh” Josh then looked to lodge, the rest following suit to see Victor and the ‘pack leader’ with a file in his hand.
The ‘pack leader’ approached Josh as he said “Give us a moment please.” and walked towards the other men.
As they conversed Victor approached Vincent who asked “What you two talk about?”.
The entire group listened carefully as Victor explained “He asked me, how long we’ve been here, our roles, skills, what you’re all like etc. Said they need to hear details from the closet a group has to a leader alone and compare them to what their scout reports says, after that they’ll then use those details to determine our role if we join.”
Michelle then stretched “Did you tell them I can’t hit for shit with a gun?”
“Yes I did.” Victor truthfully responded.
Michelle then looked at the two men and saw they were looking back, “well I guess I’ve not got a good first impression,” he then pulled a cheeky smile “unless you said I could do stand up comedy.”
Victor sighed, saying “I think they go through enough hell already.” causing Michelle to chuckle. “I’m not saying we’re certainly joining them but, that man thorough with his questions. I’m still unsure but, they seem okay. How about you lot?”
Kimberly, Vincent and Kimiko, said they were “Skeptical.” Karl raised his hand to his neck and tilted it left and right, effectively saying same thing. Jake wasn’t fond of them “Erm I think theres something really off about them. I don’t think… they’re good people. I can’t explain it.”.
Michelle was only one to have a positive opinion, “Honestly guys I think we’re best off with them, maybe he's exaggerating but, I think staying here has run its course.”.
Victor glanced at Michelle believing they was another motive. “What else Michelle?”
At first Michelle insisted “Nothing, noth..”. but realised Victor wouldn’t buy it “Okay, okay, I’m just tired of the bullshit between you two, think about it. Hundreds of other people, different kind of roles to do? You just bitch at each other so often I feel I owe my ex an apology for saying she was so irritating I wouldn’t even endure her screams in bed.”.
“Michelleee…” Victor rubbed his head trying to keep the disturbing image out of his head.
“Sorry, but come on you two, you’re both are like that couple that people suspects sleeps separately with a knife ready. Maybe being in this group will keep you separate, which will be good for everyone.” Kimberly and Victor looked at each other in acknowledgement.
“That may be true but…”
Michelle interrupted, looking and aiming his palm toward Kimiko making her feel uncomfortable, “Heck, think about Kimiko, you think your arguing will help her?”
Jake raised an eyebrow while Vincent told him “Michelle they told me they’ll stop arguing for now, for her sake.”.
“Really?” Kimiko asked
“Yes” Vincent answered adding “I thought it’d help.”.
Kimiko looked to Victor and Kimberly “Thanks you two, I appreciate it.”
Before Michelle could go on Vincent told him, “Don’t make this about her.”.
“Sorry, but admit it you really think they’ll hold on to that?”, Vincent hesitated to answered “Thats my point.” He then looked to Victor “I heard your argument yesterday. That was low.” Victor was lost for response to that and sighed, “Just think, they may be our escape from all that.”
Before they could continue the conversation Josh and the ‘Pack Leader’ approached with the ‘pack leader’ saying “Sorry to interrupt but me and Josh have talked and we feel you’ll make a good addition to our community. But I understand theres still some skepticism. How about we take you to our outpost and see it for yourself? Will be roughly an a hour and half trip.”
“Come on guys, can’t hurt.” Michelle encouraged
Victor after some thought answered “Okay, let us get some things from inside.”.
The ‘pack leader’ noded “Alright.” and the group headed inside.
As they got inside Victor scratched his head “What was that Michelle?”
“What?” Michelle asked back.
“That, back there.” Victor answered.
Michelle then answered the original question with full honest “Look, staying here with the same people is a bit dull after over six months. No offence, I enjoy being with you guys, but I just think meeting some new people will do us all some good.”.
Kimiko stated to Michelle “You didn’t have to bring me up Michelle.”
Michelle responded “Sorry.”
“Anyway, we’ll get what we need then head off.” Victor announced.
While the group was packing what they needed Jake approached Vincent and Kimiko asking them “H-hey Vincent, can we talk?”.
“Sure.” he replied.
Jake looked behind to see if Michelle was around “Hey, I think Michelle was just using you Kimiko to guilt trip.”
Vincent responded, “I think so too.”
Jake added “Last night when I asked if he's thought about you kimiko, he just shrugged it off saying… “Vincent’s got it covered””.
“First I’m told its an accomplishment, now my friend uses my sorrow…” Kimiko responded sadly, she then went silent for a brief moment, “He didn’t have to use me.”
Vincent looked at Kimiko, seeing her slightly upset got him annoyed, “I understand what hes saying but, yeah they was no need for him to do that. Thanks Jake, I’ll speak to him later about that when we’re done with this.”
Once they were packed, they went outside. Once Josh saw them he asked “Have everything you need?”, Victor and rest said they did “Alright then lets go.” and they then set off northeast into the woods.
As the entire group trecked through, two of ‘Wolf’s’ men were way ahead of the rest to acts as scouts while the rest followed behind. During their journey Victor conversed with Kimiko for a moment, concerned about her health “Hey Kimiko, how you holding up? Sorry, I haven’t had chance to ask till now.”.
Kimiko sighed “I’m doing okay, feeling better slowly, I just hope no one dies by my hands again.”
Victor apologetically said “I’m sorry, if I knew what would have happened I wouldn’t have sent ya.”
Kimiko faced the ground “I know Victor. Sorry, but can we just not talk about it? I don’t want to think about it… surprised I can even sleep at night.”
Victor apologized “Sorry”
“Its alright Victor, Vince is helping me feel better, so you don’t have to worry about me. I can manage.” Kimiko said appreciatively.
Victor nodded, “Alright, so long as you’re okay.”.
Meanwhile Kimberly talked to Josh out of curiosity to how he became to be a member of these so called ‘Black Wolves’. “Black Wolves huh? So how exactly did you become a part of them?”
“Well, after spending only a week in Union City some of us including me were starting to think it was lost a cause and went AWOL, I was a sergeant back then, me and everyone in my squad weren’t exactly big on zombies but we knew the drill, aim for the head and shoot. Unfortunately… we weren’t prepared for anything like this, people panicking and running for their lives while the dead were eating the living, some of us were too caught in shock that we became easy prey, even when we manage to make a stand, every one less of us meant, one more for them. Getting headshots isn’t easy when you’ve got over fifty undead bastards charging you at once. Compared to now, groups of runners like the one that I saved your friends from are a rarity. I haven’t even answered your question, sorry, I went AWOL after one of the containment zones was getting overrun, lost a lot of my squad there they were only 4 of us left….soon only me. I eventually found myself in a large office building, And thats were I found a bunch of people who were preparing, they told me they knew the city was going to be lost, so they were stacking up for when the military would leave.” Josh answered thoroughly.
“So this was planned in advance?” Kimberly assumed.
“Believe it or not yes, trust me when I say our leader knows how to plan ahead. We would have had maybe another thousand people, if military hadn’t of bombed us. I understand why but, it still pisses me off.” Josh answered.
“Mhmn, well I can’t deny that your leader must be a smart man to organise this.”
Josh smiled and said “Heh, he is I could never have achieved this” in honestly.
Once the group had reached the outpost they were once again surprised. The look of place suggested that they had been around for some time. east of the camp were various tents each capable of holding 2 or 4 people, west was a group of tables, with 8 people eating and chatting amongst themselves, and north was large tent with a large table visible from outside. “Like what you see?” Josh asked?
“Yes I do.” Michelle answered.
“Good, come inside.” As Josh and the others entered the large tent inside one could see a man wearing armor the exact same as the ‘pack leader’s’, along with a large map of the entire state and one of Union city which Josh quickly moved out of sight. “Why is that still here?”.
“Sorry, I wasn’t expecting ya back so soon.”
Josh quickly got frustrated “You should have moved it once I left.”
Vincent in suspicion looked around to see he couldn’t spot the blonde man Dante from earlier “Hey, I just noticed the man you sent back here, Dante I think, hes not back, mind if I ask where he is?”
Josh hesitated to answer “Shit…. I didn’t think you’d remember…”
Overhearing what Josh said Victor asked “What's going on here? What was on that map?”
“Okay what the fuck is going on here?” Kimberly added.
Josh’s tone changed to slightly aggressive at an instant, “Okay.” He look at the Pack leader, who stared backed, with eyes covered in fear, “I should have you beaten for incompetence.”
“I’m, I’m sorry.” the Pack leader apologised.
Taking a deep breath, Josh looked at the lodge group and spoke in a clear professional manner “I didn’t want to tell you this now but, we’re at war, now listen…”
“Hold on what?!” Michelle exclaimed in anger.
Michelle wasn’t going to give him a chance to explain “No, we’re not taking part in a war count me out, we thought…”
Vincent looked outside and saw the people outside, readying their weapons. “Michelle shut up.”
“No, fuck you guys, we should go back to lodge, forget….” Michelle was then silenced by a quick bullet to head. Victor, Kimberly, Karl and Kimiko jumped back and looked at Michelle’s body in shock, and Vincent just stared and slowly breathed while Jake let out a brief scream. Attention was soon back at Josh “Okay, Let me make myself clear, they wasn’t a choice; we just hoped to get you here without a fuss. Second thanks Victor, thanks to the info you gave, I could kill the annoying useless one without regret, Lastly, “ Josh smiled, but this time sadistically, “whether you like it or not, you work for us, objection will be met with death. Now any questions?” As blood slowly left Michelle’s body, the group stayed silent and Vincent held Kimiko in his arms.
Part 2 >
- Michelle's death and reveal of the Black Wolves' true nature was originally meant to be shown on part 4.
- First appearance of Isaac.