Life in the Aftermath

America was reborn after the apocalypse, nothing was the same as it had been before 'the end'. Instead of a democracy, we have the militia; instead of people being divided into famous and infamous, we have survivors; and instead of the dead staying dead, they come alive.

For some the change between the old world and the new world, was simple. Those who had nothing when the apocalypse came, had nothing to lose. For those people, this was a start over, where they could use the mistakes they had made to keep them alive, instead of becoming another of the undead.

Read as two girls, best friends and partners in the art of slaying the undead, and their unexpected companions face Militia, Rebels, disease and the undead.

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2. Familiar Faces

Hollywood’s P.O.V-

        Louis took a hold of Vegas’ hand and led her down the drink aisle. I followed close behind them. Even though she told me over the radio that there were no zombies, you couldn't be too careful about roamers though. They always tend to pop out in random places, when you least expect them. He turned down some different aisles and we finally arrived at the back of the store. We came to a door that was marked with a sign as the staff lounge, except it was faded and hanging sideways. There was a barricade of couches flipped upside down and chairs stacked around it. 

        Louis removed one of the tiny chairs and it revealed a clear pathway, that he walked through and we followed while he continued to hold Vegas’ hand. He finally let go of her hand, but only to raise it to the door. He knocked twice in a row then he knocked three times, a pause in between each. The door was slowly opened to reveal a pair of dark brown eyes underneath thick black eyebrows. The person on the other side of the door opened it a little wider. He smiled at Louis then noticed Vegan and I.

        He looked confused and looked at Louis again, “Lou who are these girls?” He asked still staring at us as we all walked into the room.

     I looked around the room, amazed; it was full of everything you would need: there were couches covered in pillows and blankets, a ping pong table in the back part of the room, and food stored up in a corner; along with tons of drinks. I looked around and saw four other boys who had only just noticed our presence. They all stopped what they were doing and looked at us. The one who had opened the door closed it and proceeded to lock it. He then continued to drag a table in front of it, just as safety measure which relaxed me a little. Vegas and I just looked at each other, rather than at the boys. They all slowly walked over to us and just stood there.

        “Louis, who are they?” the boy who had opened the door asked again.

        I just sighed and slung my gun to my other arm; it gets rather heavy after a while. One of the boys, one with blonde hair and blue eyes, looked at my gun then at me with his eyes wide. I just bit back a smirk, knowing he was probably surprised to see such a petite girl with such a big gun, and looked over at Vegas. “You or me first?” I asked jokingly and she rolled her eyes at me.

         “You’re attempts at being funny, have crash and burned horribly.” She added and then looked at the rest of the group. “I’m Vegas and this is-” 

         “And I’m Hollywood.”  I cut her off before she could say anything

         “Those aren't really your names, are they?” Another boy asked. He had curly brown hair that was a bit of a mess and bright green eyes.

        Vegas just him a coy smile and winked. “Sure they are. As far as you know.”

        Soon Louis had introduced us to his friends. The blonde one with blue eyes was Niall, the one with the deep brown eyes who had opened the door was Zayn, and the boy with the curly hair and green eyes was Harry. The last one he introduced us too was Liam, he had a brown buzz cut and cute brown eyes that reminded me of a puppy. Soon we were just chillin’ on the couches and making  small talk. That’s when it hit me though; all of their names suddenly made sense to why their faces looked so familiar.

        “Sweet baby Jesus!” I exclaimed aloud, forgetting that I wasn't just in front of Vegas anymore. It was one of our inside jokes that we used all the time. Everyone just stopped talking and looked at me with odd expressions.

        “What's with the epiphany face and the outburst?” Vegas asked me, her face quizzical and not understanding my outburst.

         “I know who you guys are! I can't believe I didn't realize it before” I said with a little too much excitement, ignoring Vegas' remark at my epiphany.

        The boys just chuckled, “Well it took you long enough.” Zayn said while grabbing a water bottle from the pack in the corner. I glanced over at Vegas and saw that she didn't understand what we were getting at, god damn she’s slow.

        I turned my attention back to him, “You guys are One Direction aren't you? Or... or you were One Direction” I asked and Liam just smiled at me. 

        “You would be correct.” He smiled at me, obviously suppressing a laugh. But none the less, his smile still had my stomach in a frenzy.

        Vegas just looked at me and then back at them. “No way! Holy crap, that's why you guys look so familiar.” She just laughed and I laughed with her. It was weird meeting someone famous; especially under these circumstances.

~~~~

        We had  been with the boys for almost a week now, and we were all becoming good friends. Apparently the boys hadn't seen many people before us, and they were starting to loose hope in there being anyone left that wasn't the walking dead. We shared stories about our pasts and spent a lot of time together, in the confines of what we knew was safe. Today had been just like the last few, except yesterday we had found out that a few stragglers had gotten into the store. So instead of me gathering supplies with the boys, while Vegas did her 'after-lunch-run', we stayed in the room together. Louis had just shared a story about before 'Z-day', with Harry doing something embarrassing- as usual.

        Causing us all to laugh and Harry's cheeks to turn pink, as he shyly avoided our gazes. In the midst of our laughing there was a loud crash from outside the door. Every one of us froze and watched the door. There was another crash that made me jump. I could hear a few faint moans and then more crashing.

        “They’re getting past the barricade.” Niall whispered.

        We exchanged glances, an unspoken plan already formulated between all of us. Vegas got up and covered the right, while I got the left. Guns in hand we looked at each other and then at the boys. They were scrambling around finding their own weapons or things to defend themselves with. Zayn reached behind one of the couches and pulled out a small gun. I looked at the others and noticed that they just had knives and such.

        “God help us.” I heard Louis whisper in the looming silence.

       I looked at Vegas, giving her a worried expression. She just gave me the thumbs up, our signal telling the other person to go on, with a confident and reassuring smile on her face. At least she could still be positive, even when the odds clearly weren't in our favor. I slowly turned the doorknob and peeked out of the crack in the doorway I had made. There were 13 dead heads surrounding the door, they were all ripping away pieces of the barricade and getting closer.

         I closed it and turned around to look at the others. “There are 13 outside.” I said, everyone’s face fell a little at the number. “Around 7 are gimps and the rest have full on bodies. If we don’t get out of here soon though, we will be trapped behind our own barricade.” Being the bearer of bad news was not a job I liked to have, but someone had to do it. We all stood a little straighter and looked around.

        “That means once we kill them all grab any supplies you can find; food, water, ammunition or anything that can be a weapon and follow Hollywood and I out to our truck.” Vegas added, I didn't want to tear their spirits down but I had to say something else. 

        Clearing my throat, I added shakily, “If one of us doesn't make it we have to leave them behind, being bit by a zombie only leads to more dangers for the group and we all know that there is nothing we can do to stop the infection.” I told them.

        It was a problem that sat in the back of everyone’s mind when you traveled with another person, although Vegas and I had already come to terms with the thought of the other being infected. The thought was always looming over us, like knowing that someone close to you could die at any moment from a terminal illness or such. Over the course of our meeting before the apocalypse, we had become inseparable. Vegas was the only person I could trust, we were practically blood now. We all looked around at each other and then to the door. The moans were getting louder and I could hear the gimps dragging their bodies.

        “I'll see you on the other side, babe.” Vegas said to me with a confident wink and I turned to look at her again.

        “You bet, just try not to show off in front of the boys too much.” I turned around, making sure the guys were all prepared. They had just gotten done saying there good byes to each other, in case one of them didn't make it, and we went ahead with the plan.

        On the count of three Vegas ripped open the door and we took positions. Two stragglers were climbing over the last wall of defense; I aimed and shot one in the chest while Vegas shot the other in between the eyes- her signature move. We stayed back in the room and shot at the others. The problem was all the furniture blocking our way. I couldn't get a clear shot and neither could Vegas or Zayn. I growled in frustration as I realized what we had to do.

        “Follow me!” I yelled as I jumped over the upside down couch and quickly climbed through the mess of random furniture that was piled in front of the door. I heard the others behind me. Shots rang out as we fired, 3 more went down. I ran for the nearest aisle to get some cover and out of the corner of my eye I saw Louis stab one with his knife. I crouched in the aisle and shot off about 3 rounds into one dead head. It just kept on coming at me; I got up and started to run to the front of the store.

        “No don’t get separated! Liam yelled.

        I threw a glance over my shoulder at him, giving him a knowing look before glancing at Vegas. She was fending off two at the same time: one was a gimp that was missing a leg, so it was limping slowly to her- menacing, I know-. While she hit one with the butt of her gun before shooting it. The boys were also busy fighting. I was impressed about how Louis had taken a chair and smashed it over one of the roamers.

        The one was still chasing after me as I ducked behind another aisle. My plan was to circle back around to the group, but this bastard was definitely ruining my idea. I took a deep breath and hid behind an old display that was knocked over. I waited a couple of seconds but he wasn't there. Suspiciously I got up and looked around. That’s when I felt two dead hands grab my back. I screamed and whipped around, the dead head was trying to grab me but I swung the barrel of my gun into his chest and knocked him backwards. I tried to run, but clumsy me, tripped over the display I was hiding behind and fell over.

         My gun flew out of my hands and slid under the aisle wall. “Damn it!” I screamed in frustration as I pulled myself up. 

        The dead head was already ahead of me though and he started to attack and grab at me. I panicked; I was pinned underneath a roamer that I had already tried to kill with numerous shots. I struggled with it for a couple of seconds before an idea hit me. I kicked as hard as I could and the dead body that was attacking me flew to the side a couple of feet. I got to my feet and slipped my bag off of my back.- See the thing is I always carry this bag around; it has everything I need; my book, knives, ammo, food, and some medical stuff in it. As long as I have it I feel safe; although, with all the stuff in it though it gets pretty heavy.- I swung the bag around and nailed the dead head right in the neck and his head flew clean right off his body. I was a little shocked, nothing like that has ever happened before, yet again nothing really fazes you during an apocalypse.

        I got a grip and searched underneath the aisle for my gun. Finally, my fingers met the cool touch of its metal and I was off running towards the group. I turned down the aisles and made my way to the back. It was turning dark outside so less and less light was streaming through the window. After turning down more aisles I found them all standing around, out of breath and shaken just like me. We looked at each other and inspected our own bodies. Nothing was wrong with is just some bruises and scrapes; although Harry did have a nasty looking black eye forming.

        Vegas came up to me and her face was a little pale at the sight of me. “Why are you covered in blood?” she asked a little worried.

        I looked down at myself, I didn't even realize that I was soaked in blood and it wasn't my own. “Dead-head blood.” Was what I told her; she looked at me worried.

        “Start loading up the truck with supplies.” Vegas called out to the boys as I walked past her to help. Her voice demanding and irritated. “Hollywood, come with me.” She gave me an ugly glare and pulled me with her to a private place, behind a wall of toys and teddy bears.

        “Now what is it?” I asked annoyed with her.

         “God damn it Sam you don’t run off like that!" She tried to keep her voice down but it wasn't working well, as I heard the quiet talking of the boys in an adjacent aisle stop. We each knew that when we used the other’s real name it was some serious shit about to go down.

        “I was fine Maya; you don’t have to yell at me like I don’t know what I’m doing and what I’m supposed to do.” I told her.

        Her temper got even worse and she kicked over some toys that were on the bottom shelf. “But if you got infected? Then what huh? Then what would I have done?” She yelled getting all up in my face.

        I just glared back at her. “Remember when we first met and we both agreed on ‘every man for himself’ well what happened to that?” I asked while yelling right back at her. her face softened, and she tried to interject something, but I beat her to it. “I care about you, but it comes to a point where I hate it when you try to tell me what to do!” I screamed and walked away from her not being able to handle my emotions.

        I loved Vegas with all of my heart, she was the closest thing I had to family. But her overbearing personality was too much for me to handle at the moment. She was practically my mother sometimes, or at least she liked to act like it. She was constantly cleaning up after me, scolding me, restricting me, etc. And although we didn't argue much, all of our built of stress was just cast out at each other.

       I couldn't help the feeling of guilt that washed over me. Vegas was only looking out for my well-being, and hell... I'd be scolding her the same way if she had done what I did. The first rule of Zombie combat within a group: Never stray from the group, you're always better off being with others than by yourself. And although I didn't have much of a choice earlier, I had still broken the number one rule.

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