Days since the outbreak: 0
Clarke watches in horror as her patient, little Charlotte Jones, only eight years old, comes back from the dead and bites the nurse who was covering her with a sheet. From the doorway, Clarke can hear the crunch of the girl’s teeth through the man’s bone, and she staggers back in horror.
Later, after the room has been locked, both patient, nurse and doctor that was bitten too still inside, and covered with police tape, Clarke leaves work.
She doesn’t go to her shoe box apartment that she’d earned herself, instead of using her parents’ money – she goes to her childhood home, one town over. There, she creeps in while her mother is at work at a different hospital, and unlocks the gun cabinet. They are for decoration, really, but the guns work and Clarke takes one before leaving into the night.
Days since the outbreak: 3
She’s holed up in a holiday cottage that her family owns. It’s on the outskirts of a small town named Ark, and Clarke keeps all the doors and windows locked. The coming-back-from-the-dead thing that Charlotte had seems to be spreading, according to the news. No one’s popping out of the ground like in Michael Jackson’s Thriller video, but everyone’s pretty sure they’re zombies.
Clarke doesn’t know how to deal with zombies, so she hooks up her laptop to the wifi, and streams every single zombie movie she can find. She doesn’t watch with headphones, and pauses the film every thirty minutes to check all the windows.
The movies claim that they can sense humans by their smell, or by noise – sometimes nothing attracts them at all. They all agree that they have to be shot through the head though, and that’s what Clarke takes away from it all.
Days since the outbreak: 12
Clarke returns home from scavenging through a corner shop and finds a car parked outside the cottage. She doesn’t recognise it, and Clarke creeps through the house, gun cocked, waiting for the strangers.
She runs into them in the upstairs bedroom: a man and a woman, a few years apart in age. The man’s holding an axe, and the woman a knife, and Clarke holds the gun steadily.
“Who are you?” Clarke asks.
“Who are you?” The woman counters. Clarke huffs.
“This is my house and I asked first – who are you?” The man and woman glance at one another before lowering their weapons. Clarke does after a beat.
“My name is Bellamy,” the man introduces. “This is my sister, Octavia. This house has always been empty, so we were hoping to hide out here.”
Days since the outbreak: 20
Bellamy and Octavia are not bad house mates, but after only a week, they have to leave. Not just them – but Clarke, too. The entire town is becoming overrun with zombies.
They take both cars with them, trailing one another and talking through radios that Octavia swiped from a toy store in town. They move from one place to the next, attracting as little attention to themselves as possible.
Clarke likes them – they’re good people. They’re fun and strong; Octavia’s a hurricane and a force to be reckoned with, and Bellamy is quiet and sarcastic. While Octavia is always looking for a fight; fitting in with the apocalyptic world this is sure to become, Bellamy is okay to sit and read and act as if the zombies aren’t real, as if the world isn’t going to shit – and Clarke loves the escapism that comes with him.
He reminds her of a better time, and she finds herself wishing that she had known him before the outbreak.
Days since the outbreak: 31
After a month, the three of them meet a group of bandits, as the locals call them. They, though, call themselves Trikru, and have a camp in the woods. Clarke meets their leader without meaning to; running into her as they hiked – the cars having run out of fuel, and the gas stations empty, too.
Lexa agrees to take them back to their camp for the night, and Clarke watches her bristling whenever their shoulders brush. Lexa’s attractive, but Clarke’s mind can’t be on women when the world is full of the dead. The camp reacts badly to the outsiders – apparently they’re brutal there, kill or be killed, and Clarke sits quietly at the fire during dinner, while they’re heckled.
Bellamy is solid, next to her, while Octavia sits a little way away, deep in conversation with a man she met, who doesn’t seem to care that they’re not part of their group. In the evening, Bellamy heads off to the tent they’re being loaned, and Clarke relieves herself in the woods.
As she returns, Lexa finds her.
“How have the three of you survived all this time?” She asks, as if she’s amazed they can even get themselves dressed in the morning. Clarke straightens, holding her head up higher, feeling like she needs some equal footing with the woman.
“Because we’re survivors,” she replies. She and Lexa lock eyes for just a moment before Clarke turns away and enters the tent. Inside, Octavia is asleep and Bellamy is waiting for her, in his sleeping bag.
“Are you okay?” He asks as she sits down next to him, crawling into her own bag. Clarke nods, flicking off the torch, as she lies down.
“I’m okay,” she tells him, and she is.
Days since the outbreak: 32
Lincoln, the man Octavia had spoken a lot with since they arrived at camp, leaves with them. He and the rest of Trikru do not get along, and he claims to be going for a walk, and meets them along the ridge. Bellamy glares at him as Lincoln walks along with his sister, and Clarke frowns. She nudges his arm with her own.
“He’s a person, not a zombie,” she says. “If you glare much more you’ll burn a hole in his back.” Bellamy sighs and nods, busying himself with the map instead.
Days since the outbreak: 47
Bellamy swears, running after a kid with his axe at the ready. “Get back here, you fucker!” He screams. Clarke winces, imagining how many walkers heard him. Eventually, the kid has disappeared and Bellamy returns to them. Lincoln comes back from another direction, holding one of their backpacks.
The two thieves – both called John, they’d told them that morning – had split up in different directions, after stealing all of the group’s supplies. Lincoln sighs, holding up the pack.
“I got this, but that’s because he threw it at me,” he shrugs. Bellamy clenches his fists around the handle of his weapon.
“If I ever see them again, I’m sticking the axe in their brains.”
Octavia grumbles that he doesn’t mean it, but Clarke studies the look in his eye. The epidemic changes everything; people slowly turn and become only shells of their former selves.
Bellamy stalks off ahead when they get moving again, and Clarke jogs to catch up with him. She curls her hand around his arm.
“I wish I’d known you before,” he tells her. “Then you’d know I’m not like this.” Clarke nods.
“I know what you’re like,” she agrees. “But who we are, and who we have to be to survive are very different things.” They meet each other’s eyes for a moment, before he nods.
They walk in silence after that.
Days since the outbreak: 62
There’s the sound of an engine in the distance, growing closer. It’s a human, a real live human, and Clarke is both ecstatic and annoyed. They haven’t seen someone else alive in a week. But here one comes and the four of them freeze, not knowing what to do. Do they hide and let it pass them by? Or do they stand out in the open, and risk them being seen?
In the end, they just move to the side of the road, and the car pulls to a stop some twenty metres away.
There are two people in the car, but only the driver gets out. She’s beautiful, brunette, with golden skin and a lean body. The woman stands there, leaning on the car and waits for them to approach.
When they do, she smiles.
“Hey,” she greets. “I haven’t seen anyone around here in days.” She slams the door shut and Clarke glances at the figure in the passenger seat. Whoever it is seems to be asleep. The woman saunters over. “Raven Reyes, nice to meet you.” They introduce themselves one by one, and Raven smiles each time.
“The town’s pretty much deserted,” she explains to them. “Has been for about a month. All the zombies got killed off, and then the survivors left to do the same to other towns.”
“And you stayed?” Lincoln asks. His arm is wrapped around Octavia’s shoulder, and Bellamy has long stopped glaring at him for kissing his sister since he saved her life from a walker attack.
“Someone’s got to look after the place,” she replies. “If you guys wanna get in the back of the car, I’ll take you to where I’m staying? I’ve got running water and you lot look dead on your feet.” None of them have it in them to argue, so they follow her to the car. Clarke climbs into the middle, Bellamy on her right and Lincoln on her left. Octavia sits on her boyfriend’s lap, and Clarke shuffles closer to Bellamy.
When Raven slams the door shut, the person in the front wakes up.
He does it with a jump; starts moaning, pushing himself forward and struggling at whatever binds Raven has kept him there with. His hair looks limp and lifeless, his skin grey, and his jaw dislocated. Blood and drool pours from his mouth and he makes awful groaning sounds.
They all jump back the second he turns on them.
“Jesus Christ!” Bellamy complains. “Why do you have a zombie in your car?” They watch for a moment as he struggles at the rope and duct tape that holds him in place. Raven tears her eyes from him, to the four in the back, before starting up the car.
“That’s Finn,” she tells them. “We grew up together, and got engaged about four or five months before the epidemic – he’s like a guard dog now, you know?” They’re all silent for a moment.
“And he doesn’t hurt you?” Octavia asks. Raven laughs as she drives, glancing back in the rear view mirror.
“Not when he’s tied up – but yeah, he’d eat my brains if he could.” She seems fairly light-hearted about it all, and when she parks outside a nice, large house, she spends a few moments fussing over him in the front seat, before pulling on a rope and dragging him out of the car.
It’s a mixture of fascination and horror that keeps Clarke watching. Finn is tied up in the living room by a chain, and he sits there as Raven chucks a raw steak over, before eating it ravenously, loud growling and moaning coming from him.
Raven just seems resigned to this being her life.
Days since the outbreak: 65
They’re still at Raven’s when she slams the front door shut, waking up Finn, and runs through the house.
“Shit, shit, shit,” she complains as she goes. Raven switches to swearing in Spanish and Clarke slowly gets up from the sofa.
“What’s going on?” She asks. Raven stops and looks over – she does this a lot; forgetting their presence after being so used to being on her own.
“I did my drive around,” she explains after the pause. “There’s a group of bandits or something – I watched them for a little while, and they crowded around one of their own and shot him in the head.” The four of them are all paying attention now, and Finn howls in the corner.
“Did you see any faces?” Lincoln asks, hurried. Raven shrugs.
“They had war paint – it was weird.” Lincoln swears then.
“It’s probably Trikru. They’ll kill me on sight if they find me.” They’re all silent, and Raven picks up the rifle that she’d been searching for.
“I guess you guys are leaving then,” she says.
“What about you?” Bellamy asks, standing and ready to pack their supplies.
“I’m protecting this town,” she tells them. “If I have to kill them to do that, then I will – I won’t have them taking this place. It’s mine, and I do not have room for assholes who shoot their own, here.” Clarke and Bellamy exchange a glance, before they’re all sent running in different directions.
Raven hotwires a car for them, tank full of fuel, and they tear off down the road. Clarke looks out the back window, watching their friend disappear into the distance, armed and ready for battle. She makes a mental note to stop by that town, when things have calmed down and the world is a little less crazy – she wants to make sure Raven and Finn are still in that house, still protecting their home.
Days since the outbreak: 70
The car rolls to a loud, clunky stop and Bellamy swears. He hits the wheel with the flat of his hand and the horn blares quickly. Clarke doesn’t say a word and neither do the others.
“We’re out,” Bellamy tells them after a breath. “I guess we walk from here.” They pull themselves out of the car, slinging on their backpacks and picking up their weapons as they go (Bellamy still has his axe, and Octavia’s upgraded to a machete – but Clarke is a fan of her rifle that she found and Lincoln has a varied selection of weapons that he carries with him at all times).
“Where are we headed, anyway?” Octavia asks as they set off. Around them is the bare shell of a town. Clarke thinks it’s Polis but she’s never been before and many of the signs are broken. Windows are smashed and shops have been looted – she can hear distant groaning, like a large group of zombies are together, and they’re probably headed their way because of the noises of the car.
“Nowhere, really,” Bellamy replies. “All the camps we’ve seen are bogus, and I’m pretty sure that place we drove past yesterday was a cult.” Clarke snorts.
“That would explain a lot, actually,” she agrees. Clarke glances back at Octavia as she speaks. “There’s the option of joining more survivors, if we find any? With a bigger group we might be able to sort out our own camp.”
“With a bigger group we’ll need more food,” Octavia sighs.
“We’ll attract walkers easier, too,” Lincoln agrees. Clarke frowns and turns away.
“It was just a suggestion,” she mumbles.
They walk in silence after that, going in a different direction to the noises made by herds of walkers, and they keep going until the light fades. Bellamy points ahead.
“The pharmacy hasn’t been broken into yet,” he tells them. He’s right – the shutters are still down and the lights are out. Bar the graffiti across the front of the store, Green Pharmaceuticals looks mostly untouched.
“How are we supposed to do it?” Clarke asks as they head over. Around them, the town is silent. She can’t hear the zombies and the only sounds are of their feet on the concrete.
“There’s probably an entrance up there,” Octavia muses in response. Clarke follows her eye of sight until she’s turned to the roof.
“Okay, but how are we supposed to get up there?” Bellamy questions. Lincoln shrugs, looking around.
“There’ll probably be a fire escape or something,” he replies, nodding them around the corner.
There isn’t a fire escape, but there’s a van that they climb onto, a window ledge from there. Bellamy uses the butt of his axe to smash the window – it’s up on the second floor and slightly difficult to reach – and they all climb in that way.
They’re in an office, and slowly make their way through the building, looking around. Clarke finds the steps to go downstairs and she takes them slowly, sticking to the outside of the steps because they creak less.
Half way down she freezes. Then she glares a little, eyes shifting across the store.
“What is it?” Lincoln asks, a few steps up.
“Someone’s definitely here,” she decides.
“What? Why?” Octavia questions, up on the landing. Clarke doesn’t look up at them, doesn’t move at all.
“We thought this place hadn’t been touched yet – but there’s nothing left in here.” Lincoln moves down a few steps and leans past her for a second before swearing.
“She’s right, it’s been looted.”
“But the outside isn’t touched?” Bellamy asks. Clarke nods, descending the rest of the stairs, keeping her gun up. The others follow, all silent. There isn’t a single noise in the room – no air conditioning or heating, no running water. It’s just them and the air.
“Come out, come out, wherever you are,” Clarke says in a sing-song voice, stepping further through the pharmacy. She’s unaware of how tough she looks in that moment; how hard and ruthless the apocalypse has made her. She was all soft edges and healing hands before, but now she carries a gun and glares into darkness.
She stops in the middle of an aisle, looking around. “If you don’t come out, I’ll shoot you on sight when I find you.” Clarke doesn’t know if she’s telling the truth or not, but she doesn’t have to find out. A few seconds later there’s the sound of shuffling, and she glances back at her friends to find them perfectly still.
Then, two boys open a door from behind the counter and step out. One’s tall with closely cropped hair, and the other’s shorter and Asian. The latter of the two turns on the lights and Clarke notices the disgruntled look on the former’s face. They’re both carrying guns – small pistols like the one she had at first – and neither look older than seventeen.
“You’re not gonna shoot us, huh?” The taller asks bitterly. Clarke raises an eyebrow and the shorter glares at him.
“Shut it,” he hisses. “I’m Monty – this is Jasper. We live here.”
“You live in a pharmacy?” Octavia questions, stepping forward. Monty shrugs.
“My parents own the place – it’s got good security.”
“Where are your parents now?” Bellamy asks, his voice softer than Clarke’s heard it in a while, and she glances over to him. He seems a little worried for the boys, and she recognises it as the same look he gives Octavia when she’s tired or hurt. It’s his brotherly instincts shining through his dark exterior.
“Jasper’s parents turned pretty early on,” Monty says, and Clarke watches Jasper slump over the counter, clearly not caring about their presence. “Mine were at a conference on the other side of the country – they haven’t come back yet.”
“And you haven’t left?” Clarke asks. He shakes his head and she gets it – what if his parents returned? She had only seen Abby briefly after the outbreak, and that was when she was on the news on the second day, claiming that they would find a cure. She hasn’t phoned Clarke and Clarke hasn’t phoned her. It’s a mutual understanding, even in an apocalypse.
Jasper looks to his friend before turning his eyes on the strangers, dryly.
“You haven’t told us your names,” he says, and Clarke nods.
“You’re right – I’m Clarke. That’s Bellamy, Octavia and Lincoln.”
“Are you guys just all fucking or something?” He asks. Clarke’s eyebrows shoot upwards and Bellamy coughs, looking away. “Maybe you should be – releases the tension and all that.”
“Like you would know,” Monty tells him quietly, bitterly, as if he’s already done with this kid’s shit. “I’m sorry about him,” he directs to the group.
“I’m not sorry about me,” Jasper corrects, straightening and pushing his way back into the office they came out from. He stumbles a little and Monty goes to help, but is pushed away. He shakes his head, sighing, before looking back to the others.
“Seriously – I’m sorry about him.”
“Why is he still here?” Lincoln asks, wandering down an aisle and looking at the mostly empty shelves.
“We grew up together – we’re best friends. I swear he wasn’t always like that.”
“Why’s he like that now?” Octavia questions next. She runs her fingers along the counter, tapping her fingernails on the wood.
“He had this girlfriend,” Monty tells them, quietly. “Maya. She was great, but she was never made for an apocalypse. She died, like, a month in. He’s been like this since.” They’re all quiet then, and Clarke locks eyes with Bellamy.
He may be angry and she may be dangerous, but they will not turn out like that. Even if survival calls for it, they will not be like Jasper, and they will not lose hope.
Days since the outbreak: 73
Monty shows them his moonshine still in the cellar. They get drunk and Octavia giggles a lot. Lincoln falls over with every step he takes and Clarke clings to Bellamy tightly.
“I like your freckles,” she whispers loudly, before snuggling into his body. Bellamy just laughs and it’s a laugh she rarely gets to hear – he’s full of mysteries and wonders and their lives before the epidemic. Clarke wishes once again that they’d known each other before, that they’d have been there for each other and getting drunk together, and-
Clarke falls asleep wrapped in his arms and Bellamy stays awake, watching the light filter through the tiny window on the wall, just above street level – the sky turning from black, to pink, to yellow and blue.
Days since the outbreak: 77
Jasper hates the sunlight and so they leave him inside when they go to sit on the roof. Clarke’s sure she can hear him crying when they walk up the stairs.
They’re in Polis – Monty confirmed it – and the buildings are just crumbling remains of what they used to be. They point out the herd that moves around town; apparently it just goes in circles, picking up stragglers and tearing out flesh.
“It’ll be here by tomorrow, probably,” Monty says. “They’re slow, stupid, and never have a game plan.” Octavia snorts. Clarke leans into Bellamy a little – since they got drunk together, they’ve been more openly affectionate, and Clarke likes how Bellamy’s body is always warm, and how his arms feel pressed up against hers.
“What happens when it comes around?” Clarke asks. Monty glances over.
“We can’t really leave until it’s gone,” he says. “Going outside just makes them notice us, and they probably won’t leave if that happens.”
“So we wait them out?” Clarke can feel the vibrations of Bellamy’s voice in her skin.
“Yeah, wait them out and then you guys can get going if you want.” They’re quiet, because none of them know if they want that or not. They’ve discussed it, they like the pharmacy, they like Monty, they like feeling safe for once.
No one responds to that, and Octavia’s the first to speak after.
“Yellow car punch!” She grins, punching Lincoln in the arm and pointing out the grimy yellow Beetle, a few roads over.
Days since the outbreak: 78
Clarke’s awakened by two noises: that of the zombie herd (the constant moaning and growling is unforgettable) and that of the metal shutters rising at the front of the store.
She’s up in a heartbeat, shoving the others awake and running through the store.
“What the fuck?” Someone asks from behind her, and she hears their footsteps, too.
“How do I turn it off, Monty?” She calls. Outside, she can see the waist-down of the herd; she can see their legs shuffling towards the window, and their noises grow louder. “Monty!”
“There’s a lock by the right hand window!” Clarke turns, looking for it, and when she zeros in on it, she runs. Clarke slides over the desk, to find a lock for a key, and no key to be found. She rummages across the counter, scouring the floor.
“The key’s not here!” There’s more swearing and everyone’s up. Bellamy’s by her in a second, eyes wide. The shutter is most of the way up, and the zombies are banging on the window.
“Monty, is there another way?” He asks. Monty appears beside them, face grave, and shakes his head.
“The key does it. There isn’t another way.” For a moment, the only sound is that of the walkers and Clarke’s heart in her throat. Then Octavia speaks.
“Guys? Where’s Jasper?” They turn around, finding only five of them in the pharmacy. Monty swears, ducking into the office, and Lincoln races upstairs. But they don’t find him, because Clarke does, crouching in the aisle by the front door.
She skids down to a stop beside him, and only a metre away, walkers are banging on the windows.
“Jasper, Jasper,” she hisses. “I need the key – Jasper, I need it.” He just stares out at the zombies, arms clutching tightly around his legs. He doesn’t seem to register her speaking. “Jasper, we’re all going to die – we need to close the shutters and get to safety.” He mumbles something and she leans closer. “Come again?”
“There is no safety anymore,” he breathes. “We’re all going to die.” Clarke refuses to let her eyes widen or her heart beat falter, she just follows his gaze to the walkers, and sits down by his side. At the front, only a metre away, snarling into the glass, is a girl. She has knotted black hair and only one arm – her clothes would have been pastel colours if it weren’t for the dried blood, and Clarke can see bite marks on her shoulders, legs, the remaining arm – as if she was attacked by a hoard of them.
“Is that her?” Clarke whispers, but she doesn’t need an answer. Jasper just stares and Bellamy finds them a moment later.
“We need to go,” he tells them. Clarke nods and stands, but her eyes are still drawn to the girl – to Maya. Bellamy follows her gaze and stops for a moment. “We need to go,” he repeats, slower, quieter. She moves to follow but he crouches down next to Jasper. “Come on, man.”
Jasper just shakes his head, and Clarke watches as Bellamy scoops him up into his arms, as if the kid weighs nothing.
It’s a valiant effort at saving his life, but Clarke watches as Jasper’s face goes from passive to furious, and he pulls out a switch blade, embedding it in Bellamy’s shoulder. Jasper’s dropped and Bellamy stumbles, swearing.
He turns back to Jasper, but Clarke tugs on his non-injured arm.
“This is not the time,” she tells him. The window is starting to crack, and the moans are getting louder. Bellamy meets her eyes before nodding.
“Fine,” he agrees.
“Jasper, you’re either with us or you’re not,” she says. Jasper doesn’t look at them, just moves back into a seated position, staring at his dead girlfriend. “Then we can’t do anything,” she says lowly to Bellamy. He nods, and they turn, running through the store and up the stairs.
They make it to the window, where the others wait, and Monty jingles a set of car keys in his hand. The van below is his families, and he knows how to drive it, but he stops to look around.
“I thought you found Jasper?” He asks. The sound of the window smashing is deafening. Clarke winces and looks to the blade in Bellamy’s shoulder.
“He won’t come with us,” she tells Monty quietly.
“He stabbed me when I picked him up to carry him out,” Bellamy adds. They look between themselves for a moment, and it takes Lincoln forcing the crying wreck that is Monty out the window to get them all to safety.
In the van, Octavia comforts Monty in the back, and Lincoln speeds away from the store, from the herd that tries to follow, from Polis – Monty and Jasper’s home. Clarke tends to Bellamy’s wound and none of them speak for hours.
Days since the outbreak: 79
Monty cries, Clarke drives, Bellamy sits with his arms around his sister, refusing to let go.
Days since the outbreak: 80
Monty throws up when they stop at a gas station. Lincoln cleans him up and Clarke goes inside the shop, to see if there’s any food left. She shoots three zombies while she’s in there, without blinking. She doesn’t even feel the jolt that each shot sends through her arms.
There’s a few cans that rolled under shelves and when she returns, Monty is back in the van and Bellamy is standing outside, waiting. Clarke holds up the cans.
“I heard gun shots,” he says.
“And you didn’t come running,” she replies, mock annoyed. He smirks.
“Figured you could handle it yourself.” She nods, and he holds out his backpack. She stuffs the cans inside.
“We need to have a game plan,” Clarke decides. Bellamy nods with a sigh.
“I know – maybe if we decide on a place then Monty might feel a little better.”
“He’s not going to feel better for a while,” she responds. “His best friend is dead.” Bellamy studies her for a second and Clarke looks away – to the trees on their left; a woods lining the motorway. “My best friend died when I was seventeen. It takes a while to move on.” Bellamy doesn’t say anything – he doesn’t say that he’s sorry, or that it sucks, because she knows it all already. He just pulls her into a one-armed hug, and they climb into the back of the van with Monty, and sit with her head on his shoulder.
Secretly, inside Clarke’s mind, she thinks Bellamy is probably the most beautiful man she’s ever seen – bloodied and all. But she doesn’t say it out loud, because they’re in an apocalypse, their friend just died, and it’s not what anyone needs to hear right now.
Days since the outbreak: 83
They first meet Wick only briefly, as he volunteers to fix up their car. Monty helps, which is surprising, because he hasn’t spoken in days – but he was training to be an engineer, like Wick already is, before the world went to shit, and it’s nice to see him interested in something.
Octavia and Lincoln go for a walk, to clear their heads, while Clarke and Bellamy look around. Wick hasn’t been holding down his town on his own, like Raven had. There’s little groups of resistance scattered throughout Tondisy, and Clarke recognises the place from trips as a kid. They’re only some hundred miles away from where she grew up, and Clarke belatedly realises that she could go home – she could see if her mother is still alive, even if they hadn’t spoken in years.
As they’re looking about the garage, a girl trots down the stairs and raises her eyebrows at them.
“Are you guys new or did I just not notice you before?” She asks. She has hair like the sun – a golden orange that burns – and it’s braided into three separate plaits.
“New,” Bellamy replies. “Just passing through.” The girl nods, and shifts her gun in her hands. It’s a rifle, like Clarke’s, but looks as if it’s seen better days. Another girl appears from upstairs, this one with light brown hair and a bandana. She stops when she sees them, but the first girl speaks.
“They’re new,” she explains.
“Oh,” the second girl nods. “Have you seen Miller?” She directs this to the first girl, and is pointed in the direction of Wick, Monty and the van. There’s a dark-skinned man standing with them now, toting a gun and a bullet proof vest, and Monty smiles over at him. The second girl goes over and the first girl smiles.
“Monroe,” she introduces, shaking both Clarke and Bellamy’s hands. “That’s Harper. We’re a part of the resistance here.” Clarke nods.
“Are there lots of you guys?” She asks. Monroe shakes her head.
“Tondisy got hit so fast with the virus, you know? We lost almost everyone within the first few weeks – no one knew how to take them down, what made them tick. We’re lucky to have the fifty or so we do have. Are you guys from another resistance?”
“No,” Bellamy responds. “There are more?” Monroe smiles, nodding.
“All over the place – we try to keep in contact with them, but it’s difficult.”
“Have you heard of Trikru?” Clarke asks. Monroe pulls and a face and looks away.
“They passed through here a few weeks ago. Right assholes they are – shot four of our men, and a herd of bodies followed them here, for us to take out. Do you know them?” The two nod.
“One of our guys used to be one of them – he ran off with us.” Monroe quirks an eyebrow.
“Didn’t seem like the type to let anyone run away.”
“They’re not – they’ll kill him on sight,” Clarke agrees.
Monroe shows them around, and Clarke asks quietly of her hometown, Alpha, and if there’s a resistance over there. Monroe nods. “Holed up in a hospital, I think – we would’ve taken ours if it wasn’t the first place to fall.”
Days since the outbreak: 84
If Clarke was a spur-of-the-moment type of person naturally, she would have planned her leaving better. But, as it happens, she’s a planner by nature, and getting up at five AM because she has the urge to go and see if her mother is alive was not thoroughly planned out.
It’s why Bellamy finds her in the van.
“Planning on leaving us?” He asks, huffing as he lands in the passenger seat. Clarke swears under her breath and looks over to him. “I get that it’s been three months, but I thought you’d deal with us for longer than that.” Clarke stares resolutely out of the front window.
“I know,” she says quietly. “But I have to do this – I have to go.”
“Where are you gonna go, Clarke?”
“Alpha, and then – then, I don’t know,” she sighs. “I’ve got to find my mother, though.”
“It’s been three months,” he repeats. “Why now?”
“Why not now?” She counters. “I’ve been putting it off for so long. Why don’t you go and find your mother?” Clarke doesn’t mean for the words to come out harshly, but they probably do. Bellamy doesn’t react though, just stares out the front, too.
“She died long before the apocalypse,” he replies. “Why don’t you go and find your dad?” It’s a cold thing to say, but she deserves it, so Clarke nods.
“I’ll visit his grave whilst I’m there.” They’re silent for a moment.
“You’re going to take Monty’s van?” He asks. Clarke sighs.
“I don’t have anything else.”
“Will you come back?”
There’s a hint of desperation in his voice and Clarke clings to it; grasping it with her fingers and squeezing. She will not leave him forever, she decides. She doesn’t know how anyone could leave Bellamy Blake forever. So she nods, and hears his sigh of relief.
“When I’m done, I’ll be right back,” she promises, looking over at last. Bellamy’s already watching her, and they lock eyes for just a moment. She moves forward and kisses his cheek, knowing they have nothing else to say. Bellamy opens the door and climbs out.
Before he shuts it, he looks back up at her, his eyes begging her to stay.
“Be safe,” he says instead.
Clarke begins to drive and she doesn’t stop until the sky turns dark.
Days since the outbreak: 85
Driving by herself is boring. She misses her friends. The radio doesn’t play music, just the same notice over and over to get to shelter, to find water, to stay alive. She turns it off.
Days since the outbreak: 86
Clarke makes it a game, when she passes through towns with bigger amounts of walkers. She sees how many she can crush under her tires in a row. Her record is sixteen, and she leaves a mangled trail of bodies in her wake.
Days since the outbreak: 87
She sees the Trikru before they see her, as she shoots down three walkers in a row. They’re driving into town, and Clarke swears. She runs, climbing back into the van and speeding off down a side alley.
They don’t spot her, and Clarke gets out of town.
Days since the outbreak: 88
Alpha is no longer the place she remembers from her childhood. Instead of neatly groomed and perfect houses, everything is crumbled and the windows are smashed. Bodies litter the streets – some with gaping holes in their torsos, where they’ve been eaten by the zombies.
Clarke drives past her childhood home, finding the windows broken and the door off of its hinges. She doesn’t bother to go inside because she doubts anyone is home. Abby Griffin would never set foot in her house if it looked like that.
Instead, she aims for the hospital.
It’s largely fortified, but there isn’t a walker in sight, so Clarke pulls the van up right by the front gate, manned with guns.
“State your name and business,” one of the gunmen orders. She has three rifles trained on her and Clarke lowers the window and leans out of it.
“Clarke Griffin – is my mother still here?” They talk amongst themselves, quietly, before nodding.
“Open the gates!” Someone yells. Clarke drives through and is shut in behind her. She follows their instructions and parks where she’s told. When Clarke climbs out, she takes her gun with her, the strap slung over her shoulder.
She remembers Mount Weather Memorial Hospital from her childhood, but it looks more beaten now. There’s dirt on the walls and some of the windows are boarded up, but there’s people – people everywhere, toting guns and carrying radios.
“Your mother’s Abby Griffin?” A dark-skinned man asks. Clarke nods. “I’m David Miller, head of the guard.” They shake hands and he nods her forward.
“Is this one of the sections of resistance?” Clarke asks as they walk. David nods.
“You’ve been to another?”
“Yeah, I just came from the one in Tondisy.” David smiles, and Clarke recognises it as fond.
“My son’s there,” he replies. She raises her eyebrows and David goes on to tell her about the resistance – about how they convened at the hospital and the zombies were taken out, one by one, until it was clear. They made contact with other groups, and sent some of their own out, to colonise other walker-infested land.
Eventually, they find Abby.
She’s standing with a clipboard in what obviously used to be the ICU. Now the beds are lined differently, and much of the equipment is gone. It looks less like the state of the art hospital Clarke remembers it as, and more like a camp.
“Abby,” David calls, and Clarke’s mother looks up. Her eyes snap to Clarke, and David bows out of the conversation.
“Clarke,” she breathes, surprised, relieved – it’s a mixture of it all. Abby runs forward, enveloping Clarke in a short-lived hug, before pulling back. “Where have you been?”
“I’ve been travelling around,” Clarke replies. “Keeping alive, mainly.”
“Are you on your own?” Abby looks about and Clarke nods.
“I left my friends at the camp we’re staying at right now.”
“Tondisy.” Abby makes a face.
“That place is run by children, Clarke – you would do better to stay here.” Clarke rolls her eyes, looking away.
“It’s fine there, Mum. We’re okay there.”
“We have more room here,” Abby insists. “I want to you be safe.” Clarke freezes, before turning to her.
“Safe? You haven’t gotten in contact with me once over this time! And I would know – up until those thieves stole my phone, I didn’t have one call from you at all!” Abby’s lips tighten.
“Well neither have I,” she retorts. “But I did notice one of the guns from the cabinet missing on the first day? I assume that was you?” Clarke doesn’t reply and Abby huffs. “Exactly. You’re okay to take the gun but not to see me?”
Clarke takes a long, deep breath, and they’re both silent. Being here reminds her of one of the many reasons they hadn’t talked in so long in the first place. It may have started with Abby not resuscitating Jake, Clarke’s father, when he was in a car accident, but they grew apart too easily, fought too naturally.
“Will you at least stay for the night?” Abby asks. Clarke nods, wordlessly. “Good, I’d like you to meet Marcus while you’re here.”
“Who’s Marcus?” Clarke questions.
“He’s my husband, Clarke.”
Days since the outbreak: 89
Clarke’s thankful to get out of there. Mount Weather loads her up with supplies, and she takes off down the road, reliving the memories of the night before.
Marcus was fine, really. They’d been dating for two years (six months shorter than the amount of time Jake Griffin had been dead) and they’d gotten married after the apocalypse started. “We could die any day,” Abby had explained. “You can’t not go after what you want, when that happens.”
She understood the reasoning perfectly well, and Clarke was annoyed to find that it related to her own life, too.
She pushes those thoughts out of her head, running over a walker in the middle of the road.
It’s a long way home.
Days since the outbreak: 95
Clarke pulls up at the camp in TonDc, and there’s shouting that she’s returned. She sees Bellamy first, running out of the building, grinning.
Clarke climbs out of the van and lets herself be tackled into a hug; holding him tightly and squeezing him until she thinks he might burst.
“Welcome back,” he says into her hair. Clarke grins.
She goes through the formalities; saying hello to her friends, checking up on Monty, meeting Miller properly (“I met your father,” she tells him, and he raises his eyebrows. “How is he?” “He seems fairly happy – when he found me in the evening, he couldn’t stop talking about you.”).
The five of them – the five that travelled together and found Tondisy with one another – sit together at dinner, as the sky darkens above them.
“What’s it like here, then?” Clarke asks, spearing her food with her fork.
“It’s actually pretty great,” Octavia replies. “We don’t have to stay here forever, but it’s as good a place as any to settle down for a while.” She glances over to Monty, who’s nodding along. He seems better. She’s glad.
The others leave one by one until it’s just Bellamy and Clarke sitting at the fire. An orange glow spreads across his face, and Clarke rests her head on his shoulder. He doesn’t tense or push her away, so she relaxes into him. Eventually, his arm comes up around her shoulder.
“I know you said you didn’t get along with your mother while you were there,” he says quietly. “But did you enjoy any of your time away?” She pauses, staring at the flames; sparks rising in the air.
“I learnt something that, really, I already knew,” she responds, her voice just a whisper.
“We’re in an apocalypse, we’re probably going to die – we should do what makes us happy before then.”
“Yeah?” He asks, and Clarke shifts to look at him. Their faces are close together, only a breath apart. She watches his eyes flicker to her lips and they quirk up at the sides into a smile.
“Yeah.” When she pushes forward, he meets her in the middle. Their lips move slowly together, at first, testing out the new ground, trying to find the rhythm, but once they have it, her hand snakes up his arms, to his neck, his hair, her fingers carding through it. There’s a moan at the back of his throat and he presses further against her.
Clarke wonders why they haven’t been doing this all along.
Days since the outbreak: 96
Clarke wakes up in Bellamy’s bed. They’re fully clothed, and the room has seven others staying in it, but she loves the heat he radiates, and the feeling of his whole body pressed up against all of hers. She gently kisses the hand in front of her face – where he’s wrapped his arm around her small frame, and smiles into his skin.
Days since the outbreak: 98
A large herd of walkers approaches the camp, but no one is particularly worried. They stand on the roof, with snipers and guns, competing to see who can take out the most. Clarke doesn’t know who wins – she thinks it’s Miller, but she can’t tell – and later they all sit around the fire, telling their apocalypse stories.
“And he just chops off his own arm!” Wick finishes with a laugh. Clarke scrunches up her nose and leans further into Bellamy’s hold. “What about you, blondie?” She glances up at Bellamy.
“Have you told them about Raven yet?” She asks. He shakes his head and she looks back to the others, all waiting patiently. “We met this woman, about a month ago – she’s holding down her entire home town by herself, and when we meet her she’s got her fiancé-turned-zombie strapped in the front of her car…”
Days since the outbreak: 99
Bellamy takes her to the library that the Tondisy resistance have made. It’s not particularly extensive, and it’s just a room of books, but Clarke smiles widely and drifts her finger tips along the spines anyway. They spend the day reading out excerpts from the novels that they enjoy, and later Bellamy locks the door and lets her straddle his waist, her lips fervent on his.
Days since the outbreak: 100
There are six of them that go out on the walk around Tondisy: Clarke, Bellamy, Octavia, Lincoln, Monty and Miller, who Monty asked to join them, and who responded enthusiastically. Clarke and Miller tote their rifles, and Monty’s stuck his pistol into the waist band of his jeans. Octavia has her machete, and Lincoln, his assortment of weapons strapped to different body parts (Clarke’s seen him carry a chain saw before, and she wouldn’t be surprised if he did it again). Bellamy hefts his bright red axe – the one he’s had since the beginning, and they wander through town.
Clarke shoots down a walker, hunched over a dead body and eating the insides. They keep walking and Clarke’s hand joins with Bellamy’s and they swing it between them.
Eventually, they find an off-license store, and step through the broken shards of window. After wandering around for a moment, Octavia lets out a cheer.
She returns with a bottle of whiskey, and shakes it at them happily. It’s not particularly good quality, nor is it very old, but none of them mind. They find shot glass in the flat upstairs, and hold the glasses up to one another.
“To the apocalypse,” Octavia says.
“To survival,” Bellamy replies.
They clink their glasses together before drinking, and Clarke smiles as the alcohol burns her throat. Bellamy grins back at her, and she doesn’t even mind about the pain.