Rob stumbled in the far woods. The ground was wet and covered in crunchy leaves. He looked forward, trying to find somewhere to sit, only to see more tall trees that could scratch they sky. His eyes were starting to turn red and his pupils dilated. His skin was pale and covered in stubby goosebumps. A glistering light blinded his weak eyes. Even though it was just the sun, he had to close them to prevent the tears from rolling out. He let slow and squeaky gasps of air every now and then. Finally, he leaned against a dry tree and tried to breathe. He turned red and started to drop as his back rustled with the tree. On the floor, he stretched his hand up to help himself up. It was impossible. Rob's eyelids dropped and sent him onto a deep sleep. Although his was still breathing, his pressure started to lower down. Footsteps were heard nearby.
Back at the camp, Alice looked around for Rob. He was nowhere to be seen. "Why are you even looking for him?" asked Delmont, roughly. "He's a piece of shit! I say we let him go explore and get the hell out before he comes back"
-"What? No! We can't just leave him behind! He's doing his best at supply runs, and he's actually helping around. Give him a chance" said Alice.
-"Do I have to remind you of how he killed your teacher and punched you in the face while his girlfriend tried to block your respiration?" snorted Delmont. "He's no good, and you know it! Let's pack the rope up, take the food and get the fuck outta here. He'll be back in no time"
-"I already said no, Delmont. He's a human being. Give him a fucking break already! You've been pushing the guy for three months now!"
Delmont chuckled and turned his back on Alice, trying to go back to sleep. He was tired of Rob, and wanted him gone already. Alice took one final look at Delmont and warned him. "I'm going out there to look for him. I fI don't find him, we can go if you wish. Happy now?" she asked. Delmont nodded and stretched on the wet soil. She kept walking towards the deeper part of the woods, where she started to see a growing trail of blood on the ground. Almost instantly, she knew it was probably Rob's, and walked faster. It was a dangerous world out there. As she went further into the woods, the blood trail became more clear and seemed more fresh. When she found herself in the middle of a clear, the blood trail stopped. There were no more drops or puddles. In the corner of her eye, she saw a figure on the ground. He had a beard and a beanie. "Rob?" she asked, turning around. "Is that you?". The figure crawled closer to Alice. Although he had the same outfit Rob had, he was grayish and had pouches below his irritated eyes. "Y-You... help me... p-please..." he whispered. Alice ran to him and helped him up.
-"What happened to you? Why did you leave the camp?" asked Alice, horrified of Rob's appearance.
The man tried to speak, but his lips wouldn't budge. "I... heard some... f-foot... footstep... footsteps..." he muttered after he was able to speak again. Alice sighed, horrified, and looked in front of her. There was a certain warmth in the clear. There was a man standing there. He had a rather round face and a clear stubble. He used a denim jacket and jeans. Held by his two hands, he had a shotgun. "You okay?" he asked, staring at the odd couple. "Need any help?"
-"Where did you come from?" asked Alice. "Why are you here?"
-"Oh, I was just on a quick supply run. No big deal. But, anyways, your friend there looks pretty bad... you know, we have a doctor back at camp. She can check on him"
-"No... we... we have a camp, too..." said Alice, stuttering. It was strange to find a man who looked so healthy three months after the apocalypse.
-"Well, I can take you guys to our camp and show you around, give you some food, get the doc to check on you and send you on your way. If you like it you can bring your other friends along and stay"
Alice smiled at the man with an expression of relieved and nodded. She found it strange how after three months of hell on Earth, she would find an open community with people who were willing to help others. The trio walked along the forest, and onto the road that drove to the school. On the way, Alice stopped and questioned the man. "Why do you do this?" she asked, staring at the man's back. He turned around, smiling at her.
-"I believe we can help other people out. Earth is fucked, and if we want to get life to the way it was before, we gotta help others out. Why watch another human die when you can help him out and bring him a community?" he stated. Alice kept smiling and walked along as the man opened the pouch that hung from his waist. He pulled a bag of potato chips out and handed it to Alice. "Here. Have some food. The camp is pretty far from here, and you guys look like you really need some food for those pale faces" he said. Rob stretched his weak, bloody arm and grabbed the package. He opened it with all his strength and feaste on the potato chips. Alice turned at him and smiled, watching him eat like a hungry bear after hibernating. Finally, they reached a road. By the sidewalk, there was a parked Jeep. The man jumped on it and invited Alice and Rob inside. "Seems like you liked the chips, didn't you?" he asked. Rob nodded as he munched on his meal.
-"So, you got any company?" asked the man, starting the vehicle. He reached out for the pedal an rolled out.
-"Yeah, there's some... guy back at the camp, sir" said Alice, looking at the corpses roaming the school by the window.
-"Oh, no. Call me Russell" he snorted, looking at the rearview mirror.
-"It's... great to meet you, Russell" said Alice, blushing. "But, is there any chance we can pick my friend up before we leave for your camp? I don't wanna leave him alone. It worries me"
-"No can do, sorry. The main guy over at the camp is kind of a huge dick, and he'll kill me if I show up late and with you guys" said Russell.
-"What do you mean? Doesn't he like guests?" asked Alice, confused. "You said you guys helped people out with food and shelter..."
-"Yeah, but he doesn't like when I show up with people he doesn't know. Trust me, he'll freak the fuck out and tell everyone. See, before all of this started I was his neighbor; and damn, did he get mad when I used my speakers. Just don't tell him I said this"
-"What's this guy's name again? He sounds like a piece of shit to be the leader of a group"
-"Ethan. His name's Ethan. Just don't try to be nice to him. Some chick over at the camp tried it, and now he rations her food when we have dinner. He's nuts"
Alice chuckled and sat back. She knew Russell would not be a threat to Rob or Delmont. After all, he said he had a big group and a community back at his camp. He couldn't be lying. And if he was, he would be pretty good at it. Suddenly, Rob started to cough. He tried to cover his mouth with his hand, only to start spitting out blood again. "R-Russell, you might wanna pick up the pace..." stuttered Alice, trying to help Rob out with his coughing. Russell looked at Rob through the rearview mirror and started to speed ahead. "It's okay, it's okay, man! Just hold it in, we'll get you to the doctor real quick!" he screamed. "Alice, try to help him out!". Alice started to panic, and held onto Rob's arm. "What do I do? What do I do?" she asked, trying to wipe the blood off his face. "Reach for the tissues I have in the backseat! Come on, hurry up! Cover his mouth and wipe off the blood while we get to the camp!"
- First appearance of Russell.
- First mention of Deanna.
- First mention of Linda.
- First mention of Ethan.
- First mention of Russell's camp.