Zombie Apocalypse Jodi's Story
#11
Episode 10 - Thunder and Fire

The door frames Tony. Outside wailing wind and crashing hail rattle and pound the barn.

Tony has been worked up for some time. Both Jodi and Ron have pistols. 

Did Ron bring a knife to a gun fight? Very unlikely he didn't come properly armed.

(Very Unlikely | 4[d10]) No +Event: Imprison / Love

Hmmm. Okay. What weapon would he have? I think it's likely that he grabbed Ron's rifle?

(Likely | 10[d10]) Yes, and...

...And he gets the drop on them. 
He lowers the powerful rifle and points it at Ron.

Does he start monologuing? (Somewhat unlikely, since he just wants Ron dead.)

(Somewhat Unlikely | 1[d10]) No, and...

Jodi screams when the door bursts open and Tony raises the rifle. Ron shoves her out of the way. And a plume of fire erupts from the rifle's barrel.

Ron is surprised, he had barely turned to face Tony when the flash from the muzzle went off so any sort of reaction isn't going to help him. It's down to Tony's skill and the range.
Is Tony a good aim?

(50/50 | 2[d10]) No

Does he hit Ron? (close range +1, Ron and Jodi are surprised +1, Not a good aim -1), so that's +1 total to the right. So SL to hit.

(Somewhat Likely | 2[d10]) No

He fires, more hip shooting than anything. Bullets blast through a post near Ron's head. Tony screams "Murderer!" And both Ron and Jodi dive for cover.
Tony presses the trigger again, and more fire and thunder lance from the muzzle. 
(+1 range, Ron is moving -1, Ron is behind cover -1) - SU to hit.

Does he?

(Somewhat Unlikely | 9[d10]) Yes

Since he's not aiming really and just pumping rounds one of them happens to hit. 

Hit location chart time (I use the custom table functionality for a random hit location):
Gut.
Owwww....

The bullet punches through the thin boards that Ron had dived behind. It takes Ron in the gut. 

Damage:
(Assault rifles are pretty powerful. The shock from a bullet can do some nasty things. I'll say +3 to the damage roll).
(18 = 15[d20]+3) Severe Injury: Incapacitating and may become Critical if untreated.

Ron comes up on his knee, his own pistol raised, but the shock from the blast knocks him on his back and sends his pistol flying. He lies there clutching at his middle.

Jodi rips out her own pistol through the shooting and unloads at Tony.

Is he aware of her?
(50/50 | 9[d10]) Yes

So, no flank shot, but he is turned away from her slightly.

She shoots five shots, hoping one will hit. (-1 training, -1 he starts moving, +1 range), so SU to hit him.

Round 1 - hit?

(Somewhat Unlikely | 9[d10]) Yes

Round 2 - hit? 

(Somewhat Unlikely | 6[d10]) No, but...

Round 3 - hit?

(Somewhat Unlikely | 5[d10]) No

Round 4 - hit?
(Somewhat Unlikely | 8[d10]) Yes

Round 5 hit?

(Somewhat Unlikely | 9[d10]) Yes

Three rounds slam into him. I'll say 9mm from pistol is less damage. Something like 1d20 + 1 dmg per shot.

(2 = 1[d20]+1) Negligible: Nick/Scratch/Bruise.

(15 = 14[d20]+1) Moderate Injury: Hampers action significantly; will require first aid/medical attention.

(13 = 12[d20]+1) Moderate Injury: Hampers action significantly; will require first aid/medical attention.
Hit location time. I'm using a custom chart with I put into the system:

Lower arm.

Upper arm Shoulder.

Head.

The first wings him in the lower arm gripping under the barrel.
The second hits him in his upper arm fracturing his bone.
The third hits him in the face, shattering his cheek bone.

None of these shots are show stoppers in their own right.

Did the rifle get damaged from the gun shot?

(Somewhat Likely | 2[d10]) No

Does Tony drop his gun? (likely)

(Likely | 7[d10]) Yes

Did he get any shots off towards her? (-1 for focus on Ron, -1 from getting shot at)

(Unlikely | 2[d10]) No

Did Tony fall down? (likely)

(Likely | 9[d10]) Yes

Is Tony unconscious? From the pain of two moderate wounds.... I'll say Likely.

(Likely | 7[d10]) Yes

Jodi approaches Tony at a crouch, see's the blood running from his arm, shoulder, and ruined face. But his chest rises and falls.

She considers putting a bullet in Tony's brain and ending the loser for good. But she's not a murderer. She instead, grabs the assault rifle and runs to Ron. If Tony did wake up again, she wanted all the guns on her side.

Is Ron bleeding a lot?

(50/50 | 7[d10]) Yes

Jodi's motions are frantic. Ron is on his side, unconscious. She pushes him over and sees the blood well up around the entrance wound. She drops the rifle in a clatter on the dirt floor, and kneels next to him in a patch of wet hay, examining the wound. The smell of manure and fresh cold hail mix with the taste of blood in the air. She's unsure what she's looking for and the blood is sticky on her fingers, hay and dirt stick to them. The cloying scent of copper makes her want to gag.

Is there an exit wound?

(50/50 | 7[d10]) Yes

Maybe the bullet went right through him. 
She could only hope. 
But still, there was no way of knowing how much damage it had done. 

She rips off her sweater and wraps it around his middle tying the arms of the sweater down tightly. It might help. She presses on the wound, trying to keep the precious life blood inside.

Does anyone from the house hear the ruckus and come and investigate? (+2 noise, -1 storm, -1 distance)

(50/50 | 8[d10]) Yes

Catina appears in the doorway.

Jodi looks up, her eyes frantic, her hands covered in blood as it seeps through her sweater. "Help me!"
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#12
Episode 11 - Eternal Night Redux

Catina enters slowly, her hand going to her mouth and she gags. 

"Help me!" Jody says again.

Slowly, Catina joins Jodi in the hay on the dirt floor. She kneels at Ron's side. Her hands tremble as she helps Jodi apply pressure to the wound.

"What happened?" Catina asks.

She relates in terse terms Tony's murderous rampage, and hot tears cling on her lashes. She blinks them away, struggling to hold Ron's life blood in. With every passing minute, his face grows paler, and his breathing grows ever more rapid. 

I can't lose him, her mind cries. 

He was the only bright thing left in this miserable life. If she loses him, she fears she'll lose her own mind.

Is Catina skilled in first aid, trauma? (SL being on a farm you have experience with that sort of thing.)

(Somewhat Likely | 1[d10]) No, and...

"Oh, no." Catina says.

"What?" Jodi says. 

I can't do this," Catina says muttering, raising a bloody hand to her face and brushes it across her forehead, massaging.

"What do you mean?"

"The sight of blood it makes me feel faint. I..."

Does she faint?

(50/50 | 9[d10]) Yes

The blood drains from Catina's face, and her hands start to tremble slightly. Then her eyes roll up in her head and she slumps forward on top of Ron.

"Catina! No!" Jodi cries, shaking her. "Please no! I need you!"

She runs and drags a bale of hay and props it under Catina's legs.

Is Ron's bleeding slowing (-1 no help from catina, -2 wound size, +1 Jodi's sweet mom skillz)?

(Unlikely | 2[d10]) No

The blood seeped through the sweater's greedy fabric, saturating it.

She needed help! She needed clean bandages, a clean room, hot water, an x ray, a --- She swore. She needed a hospital and a full medical staff trained to deal with this! Who could help her? Millie? Catina's daughters? Ron's pulse grew more rapid, his breaths faster, his heart trying to compensate for the blood loss.

She had to move him into the house. He was going to die here if nothing changed. 
Maybe in the house where it was somewhat warmer and cleaner, he'd have a chance. With sudden decision, she ran to get more help.

She ran to the farm house, sprinting as hard as she could, 
Ron's rife feels cold in her quickly-numbing sticky red fingers. 
Punishing hail cuts across her face and scalp as she runs the few hundred feet to the farmhouse.

"Jen! Lisa!" she screams as she slams the door open for Catina's daughters. "I need help! Millie?" 

Are any of them in the house (likely since it's storming outside).

(Likely | 6[d10]) Yes, but...

Where are they? she screams to herself feeling the seconds tick away as she rushes around the house, opening doors, calling for them.

But what's keeping them from coming? Asking complex question.
Oppress / Home

She runs up the stairs to the room Millie and Ron were sharing. She slams her palm on the door over and over. "Millie? Jen? Lisa?"

She tries the door. Is it locked?

(50/50 | 4[d10]) No

She opens the door and dashes into the room.

There she sees Millie tied to the bed, and gagged. Her wrists are raw. The girls are similarly tied and gagged next to her. Their eyes bulge in fear. Then tears of relief seep from their eyes.

"Tony..." she breathes. She yanks her knife out and slashes through their bonds. "Tony did this." She says, knowing the answer to her statement.

Millie nods amidst sobbing from the girls. "He's going to kill Ron," she says. "There was murder in his eyes. He's been so angry. So paranoid. I think he really means it."

"Too little too late," Jodi mutters. "Come on! Tony's already hurt. I need your help!"

Has the hail finally subsided?

(50/50 | 3[d10]) No

Jodi gives the rifle to one of the girls. Grabs some sheets off the bed and moments later, after dashing through the hailstorm, they arrive back to the Barn. 

Jodi and the others rush through the barn door.

Has Tony regained consciousness?

(Unlikely | 1[d10]) No, and...

... and blood oozes from his wounds, seeping into the hay, but he's not bleeding nearly as badly.

"Tony!" Millie cries seeing her husband, her face is a mixture of loathing and compassion. "He's hurt!"

"He's shot Ron, then he was going to kill me. Luckily, I got him first," Jodie says and rushes to Ron's side.

Is Catina conscious now?

(50/50 | 7[d10]) Yes

"Jodi I'm sorry," she's kneeling in the bloody hay, her face is pale. "I told you, I'm not good with blood, and--"

"Forget it," Jodi mutters and brushes passed her. "But if you can stomach it, help me move him." 

"What about Tony?" Millie asks.

Jodi's mouth turns down and she spins on Millie. "What about him?" She juts a finger at her. "You're his wife! And he tied YOU up. Ron will probably die because of him. Do you really think I'm concerned about your murdering husband?"

"I--" Millie swallows and hugs herself with her good arm. "I just thought--"

"What? That he'd go back to normal? Because that's not happening! He's snapped, Millie! Loco. Crazy. And he's a danger to the group and to you! You better start thinking hard about that, because I know I am!"

The girls, Lisa and Jen, hang back, standing close together, trembling. Lisa holds the rifle. 

"Come on, we have to move him into the house. Help me!"

They look at each other, obviously reticent to come near the blood. 

Jodi scowls. They must've got it from their mom. "You can faint later. Get over here now!" Jodi points to Ron.

Together they wrap him in a sheet. Lisa gives Jodi back the gun. She swings it over her shoulder. Then the girls each grab a leg while Catina and Jodi lift under his arms. 

"Now, lift!" Jodi says.

They heave Ron out the barn door and brave the stinging ice back toward the house, leaving Millie huddled next to her husband.

----

They strip Ron's shirt off and lie him on a bed. Catina sends her daughters her first aid kit while she heats up some water on a propane portable stove. 

Jodi leans the rifle next to Ron's bed. In twelve minutes Jodi has cleaned his wound and they've applied fresh bandages from the first aid kit.

How is he doing now. Is the bleeding stopping? (-2 wound sze, +1 Jodi Mom skillz, +1 inside, +1 some real medical bandages)... (Somewhat Likely)

(Somewhat Likely | 1[d10]) No, and...

Does he die?

(50/50 | 7[d10]) Yes

Despite their best efforts, an hour later, the room is thick the scent and sight of bloody bandages. Ron gasps his last and his breathing stops.

"No..." Jodi moans. "No. No. No. NO. NO!" she screams at him and hits his chest. 

She gives CPR.

Does she revive him?

(I'll say very unlikely)

(Very Unlikely | 4[d10]) No

His form is still and Jodi feels her heart grow cold. Ice cold like the icy wind that ravages the house.
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#13
Episode 12 - Flame On

For several long moments Jodi sits in the room. A certain darkness descends around Jodi's heart, like soft dark strands of a hidden spider awaiting its prey. The poison starts to seep into her. Jodi stares coldly into the oil lamp on nightstand. Pale flickers of light cause eerie shadows to twitch about the room and reflect off the pail of hot water. She holds a knife in her hands, rotating the handle over and over in her hands. Could she bring herself to really do this?

Is she willing to end Ron finally with a brain blow before he awakens?

(50/50 | 7[d10]) Yes

Catina gently touches her shoulder and watches with her for a moment but then, shaking her head, she gathers some bloody sheets and quietly leaves Jodi with Ron and a room full of dark thoughts.

What would she do now? What could she do? She would give him that kiss. With determination, she stood and walked to the corpse. She brushed the hair back from his forehead, then leaned down and kissed his cold flesh.

Does he start to turn?

(50/50 | 10[d10]) Yes, and...

And what happens?

Attach / Goals

The hand on Ron's corpse starts to twitch as the strange virus or bacteria begins to takes control. The eyes drift open, and as Jodi looks down into its depths, the darkness in her heart deepens. There's no life in those eyes. His hand closes around hers and he hisses at her.

Jodi presses down on him and raises the knife. She was prepared for this moment. Yet she hadn't realized it would happen so suddenly. She wishes she had more time. More time to mourn before she has to take this violent action. 

This is not Ron, she tells herself. 

But she wonders. Is he inside somehow? Somewhere still there, not able to act, a prisoner within a body controlled by an unknown host? For her own sanity she chooses not to believe that. 

The thing lifts its head slowly, opening it's mouth, hungry for more than a kiss. It's limbs begin to jerk wildly as the host spreads. 

Does she kill it without issue? (+1 she's ready, +1 it's not fully mobile) 

(Likely | 4[d10]) No +Event: Care / Environment

Before she can plunge the knife down, its arm flail about and knock over an oil lamp. The oil crashes off the nightstand, splashing fuel and flame up the side of a drape by the window. 

Jodi cusses and leaps back to avoid getting splashed herself.  

Does the thing that was Ron catch fire?

(Somewhat Likely | 4[d10]) No, but...

... but it's spreading. 

The fire eats hungrily at a flammable drape and onto the carpet. 

Is the zed fully mobile now?

(50/50 | 9[d10]) Yes +Event: Heal / Outside

The zed on the bed sits up, turns it's head, and the lips pull back from its teeth in a snarl. It lunges at her and Jodi runs. It falls off the bed and moves on all fours, animal-like towards her, snapping and snarling. Jodi makes it outside the bedroom and slams the door, holding it shut as the zed's lumbering weight slams into it, forcing it open an inch.

Why had she waited to deal with him? She was willing but had delayed and now, there was one of these things in the house.

Is Catina nearby to lend aid?

(50/50 | 9[d10]) Yes

"Catina!" she yells and the other woman rushes down the hallway. 

Together they press against the door, trying to get the latch to shut.

Do they get the door shut? 

(Likely | 4[d10]) No

Are they still holding it in?

(Somewhat Likely | 9[d10]) Yes

Its fingers wrap around the door, holding it open. It hisses and snarls, it's face a twisted mask of depraved hunger.

Jodi still has the knife. She slashes at the fingers trying to cut them off so they can shut the door.

Does she succeed so they can shut the door?

(Likely | 8[d10]) Yes

After several slashes, she cuts through the fingers, cutting some of off, before they can slam the door shut. Smoke drifts up from under the door.

Catina swears, noticing their predicament, "A fire? You started a fire in my house?"

"I'm sorry! He turned before I had a chance to take care of him. I was going to and he knocked of the lamp and--"

"You should've let me handle it," Catina said. "Open the door!"

"But you'll let him out! He'll--"

"Open it! We have to get that fire out before the whole house burns down!"

Jodi reluctantly nods and slowly opens the door.

Is Zed Ron on fire now?

(50/50 | 9[d10]) Yes

The corpse rushes out into the flames, its torso and head are on fire, a walking human torch. It's arms and legs as yet, are not flaming. The rigid fingers are outstretched and reach for her.

"Lead it outside! And deal with it!" Catina growls.

Jodi nods and backs away, urging the flaming monster to follow her.

Does she get it outside without issue?

(Somewhat Likely | 7[d10]) Yes

Jodi rushes through the open door out into the night. She runs past Lisa and Jen who are washing the blood in a large bucket a bar of soap in their hands. They notice the flaming man and screaming they and run out the back door. 

Jodi shouts for the thing to follow her out the front. 

It does. 

The minute it's framed in the door way, Jodi pulls out her pistol, sights in on its head.

"This ends here." Jodi screams in rage and frustration and pulling the trigger she slams rounds into it.

The pistol barks three times.

Hit? Hit? Hit?

(Likely | 3[d10]) No

(Likely | 10[d10]) Yes, and... +Event: Carelessness / Anger

(Likely | 7[d10]) Yes

I'll give bonus to damage for that second shot letting it get close giving her a good shot. Course if she doesn't fell it, it'll be in striking range.

(23 = 20[d20]+3) Killed.

The first shot, chips wood off the door jamb. The second shot takes the thing in the head, a spray of blood following the bullet. The monster falls forwards at her feet, burning out like a wet candle in the mud.

Do Catina and Jodi get the fire put out before it gets out of control?

(Somewhat Likely | 6[d10]) Yes

Jodi rushes back upstairs and together with Catina they stamp out the fire, smothering it with towels. The room stinks of burnt wood,  blood, and soap. Catina throws a towel covered in ashes at her and smacks in Jodi's face. "Next time, don't wait so long!"

Jodi bows her head. "I was going to do it. I had to say goodbye. I--"

"We've all had to say good bye to someone," Catina snapped. "Remember, there's more than just you here!"

Jodi nodded. Catina exited slamming the door like a thunderclap. 

Jodi sat down on the ruined bed and put her head in her hands. Ashes drifted by her face.

This was Tony's fault. All of it! She looked up and stared at the door a fierce look on her face.
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#14
I've been a fan since it was first posted so figured I'd pop in and say thank you for writing this and I hope you continue! ^-^
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#15
Hey, thanks for the response Nickel! It's good to hear from you. I wondered if anyone enjoyed it much besides myself. I'm glad at least someone does. Smile I'm planning on continuing it, at least until Jodi buys the farm. Some days I have more time than others though. In fact, I'm busy with an annual Easter musical program this week and next week, so I may not be posting as much, but I'll still try to make an appearance. Peace!
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#16
That's perfectly fine! As the saying goes, Real Life trumps all. Also that sounds pretty nifty! I used to sing in choirs a lot throughout school and we'd do these big annual holiday events. Have fun! ^^
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#17
Episode 13 - Prayer

Has it stopped hailing?

(Likely | 4[d10]) No

Is it very windy?

(Somewhat Likely | 9[d10]) Yes

Has anyone heard the ruckus -- like Mauraders? (given all the rounds being shot, +2, -1 storm and distance SL.)

(Somewhat Likely | 4[d10]) No, but...

... but zombies have, and unbeknownst to the group that huddles in the farmhouse they draw ever nearer ... 

The barn door slams open. Her faces bears smudges of ash and blood. Her hair swirls in disarray, stirred up by the storm. Hail falls off her flannel shirt as she scuffs hay from underfoot. She raises the somewhat singed but still-serviceable rifle and peers into the gloomy interior. The smell of horse flesh and blood hang heavy in the air. A nervous whiny trembles from the shadowy interior.

Is Tony there?

(50/50 | 5[d10]) No, but...

... but Millie is.

His Millie okay?

(50/50 | 1[d10]) No, and...

... and she's hurt somehow. Is she dead?

(50/50 | 2[d10]) No

Is she conscious?

(50/50 | 4[d10]) No

Jodi peers about the room in the late afternoon gloom, the rifle raised to her check like Ron had taught her on their frequent horse rides to check the fences the last few days. The horses are unusually skittish. Millie is collapsed in the middle of the room. Jodi tries to make sense of what's going on. Something doesn't seem right. Tony! Where was Tony? Had he made his escape then? Maybe he was hiding in here, ready to add another fresh victim to his list. And what happened to Millie?

Is there visible signs of a struggle?

(Likely | 4[d10]) No

Jodi checks each stalls, rifle raised, and seeing it's clear, kneels by Millie. She puts a finger to Millie's neck. She's alive, but unconscious. Her pulse is slow, her breathing erratic.

Using the MAG. Wow... Glyphs scream a zombie munch (sharp jaw teeth, eye ball and stem, a shower of saliva)... Hmmm. Was she bit?

(50/50 | 6[d10]) Yes, but...

Jodie turns Millie's body over and sees the missing hunk of flesh and fabric in her right shoulder. Hay on the floor clings to the sticky blood, absorbing the small pool from the torn shoulder. Strange. She'd seen the walkers feed before. They never left a corpse untouched without a frenzy teeth and claw, yet Millie was, aside from the obvious bite wound, untouched.

So, Jodi reasons, the zombie didn't stick around to finish Millie. Perhaps she fainted when the thing appeared. Or fainted from blood loss. So why didn't it stay? The only answer was Tony. Tony must have led it away. But how had it gotten over or through the fence in the first place?

She goes to the door and looks down at the ground to see if she can make out Tony's tracks. 

Can she see Tony's tracks in the hail/slush outside?

(Somewhat Likely | 3[d10]) No

The ground is a half frozen mess of mud, straw and multiple of footprints. It's getting darker out, and the brisk wind blows flurries of cold hail that whirl about her face, obscuring any tracks that might have been. The hail stings her face and hands as shields her face with an arm and peers into the cold afternoon countryscape. 

Does she see anything?

(50/50 | 7[d10]) Yes +Event: Praise / Hope

What does she see that offers such praise / hope? Does she see Tony?

(50/50 | 7[d10]) Yes

Is he mobile?

(50/50 | 4[d10]) No

Was that...? Could it be...? She had hoped to find him and deal with him! And well... There he was, lying fat and easy in the distance. Praise be the fates! Her mouth twists into a half smile, half grimace. She marches towards him only one purpose in her mind. 

She presses onward through the stinging hail, and sees the form of Tony lying facedown in a mixture of hail and mud.

Is he dead?

(50/50 | 4[d10]) No

Is there a zombie eating him?

(50/50 | 3[d10]) No

Is he conscious?

(50/50 | 10[d10]) Yes, and...

... And he's screaming in utter pain.

Tony screams in pain, a great ragged howling moaning sound. A bloody wound is raw and open across his gut, his insides are half spilling out, steaming in the cold. One of his thighs is ribboned down through to the white bone, flesh and tendons torn. One of Tony's fists struggles to keep his insides in. Another hand rakes a bloody furrow in the cold ground where he wore his fingers down past the skin, as if trying to crawl away from something. 

Jodi searches around and there, a few feet away is a dead zombie. It lies motionless, its head caved in on one side, a bloody rock shaped like a rough axe head is nearby. 

The pitter of hail silently begins to cover both of them. Tony is coughing and spitting up blood. His ruined face stares up into the night as he heaves great shuddering breaths that puff white around his red mouth.

Jodi carefully approaches Tony. The air smells cold and clean, adding a strident emphasis to the warm smell of blood. 

Tony hears her and struggles to flee from her. He smears red in a muddy white furrow perhaps gaining two more feet of distance from his efforts. 

"No... please! Don't eat--- Don't eat me! Don't--" He breaks away, coughing and spitting red onto the brittle field of white ice. 

His panicked eyes find hers and fear turns to puzzlement, recognition and then relief. "Jodi?"

Bile rises in her throat. Whether from the gore in front of her, or the anger at knowing what this man did to Ron, she isn't sure. She swears something ugly and vile, and looks down at the man. She wipes her mouth. "You killed him," she says simply, a dispassionate cold voice.

His eyes glance over to the dead corpse nearby. "I--" he swallows. "Don't--" he coughs again and his eyes are wild, his breathing more rapid. "Don't let them get me! Please! Don't--" he emits a spray of red into the pale white sky. 

"You're going to die," Jodi says simply. "You deserve to die! You killed Ron!" The wind threatens to take away her words. But she yells them out again, and gives great roar and shoves the rifle barrel at his chest.

He stares at her, his eyes wide with fear.

How does Tony feel about Ron's death?

Happily / Empty

Tony laughs, a hollow brittle sound, slurred with spittle and blood. "He deserved it! He was a murderer. Those kids..." He punches the frozen ground weakly. "Those kids... the poor kids..." A tear leaks from his eyes from the memory.

Jodi cusses a muttered oath into the heedless night and the screwed up world. She looks up into the sky and lets the hail sting face. The barrel drift away, and after a moment she scrubs a shaking hand across her eyes. 

What does she feel? she considers. Hatred? Yes. It's there, like a fire but cold as ice. Yet it mingles oddly with something else. Sorrow and pity. Realization hits her. Tony is sincere. He really believes it. Had she believed the same would she have done any differently? She sinks down onto the cold ground next to him, the rifle across her knees.

Does the hail shift to rain?

(50/50 | 5[d10]) No, but...

...but it changes to gentle snow...

"Millie?" Tony asks again. His eyes wide in the large falling flakes.

Jodi shrugs and shifts uneasily. "She's hurt in the barn. She... She was bit, Tony."

"No..." he shakes his head weakly. "No... Not her. Not my Millie. Please God, not my Millie!" The prayer is sincere and rich with sorrow.

Jodi stares at the gentle falling snow. She always loved the snow. It was white and clean. It was especially nice when she was wrapped in a comforter by her fireplace with soft music playing, and it was outside and she was inside, nursing a mug of rich hot chocolate. She could smell it even now oddly.

"Don't let her turn. Don't let any of us turn!" he moans.

Jodi listens. Did she hear something?

(50/50 | 5[d10]) No, but...

... but she sees something. A lone walker cresting a low rise moving towards them.

No, but she caught the sight of something coming over the snow in the distance. She stands up to get a better look. It was a mere flicker of motion against the white. She sighs another whisper into the cold air, and raises the rifle, peering through the scope. Through the magnified view, she sights in on a shambling corpse. 

So more than just that one here had gotten through the fence then.

How many are there? A lot?

(Likely | 9[d10]) Yes

She swears more heavily now and swings the rifle to the left. Another then another and a fourth. She swings to the right. More jostle into the magnified view. "A lot  more than one..." 

She had to get back to the house. Had to warn the others!

Tony senses her worry. He can't see them from his position, but he hears her uttered oaths and sense the fear. "Are there more?"

She gives a terse nod. 

Tony's face goes even more white. He moans and shudders. "Don't let them get me! Don't let me become one of them! Please!" And with surprising strength, he grabs the cold barrel with the hand that isn't holding in his guts and presses the barrel against his head. "Do it now! It'd be a mercy! Please... Jodi! Mercy! Mercy for Millie. Mercy for me! Show mercy."

Mercy? The coldness threatens to overwhelm her. She should let them have their feast of him. She yanks at the barrel, but he holds fast.

"Please. Mercy..." His face is frantic, filled with sorrow and fear.

Mercy. She remembers now. 

She hears Barabara's voice again, calmly reading outloud in her typical, quiet, reverent voice. She sees her friend wrapped in a dirty shawl in the light of a stubby white candle, the windows are blanketed. The floor is bare of carpet. Furniture is against the door, a makeshift barricade. A small cook stove heats a can of refried beans. The wind howls outside, but there's a shared warmth. A warm flame kindles from the memory. 

"Blessed are the merciful," Barabara quotes, her finger slowly moves across the page, savoring.

"...For they shall obtain mercy," Jodi finishes, letting the flame of shared memory melt the cold. Tears obscure her vision. She bows her head as if in prayer, closes her eyes, and pulls the trigger. 

Her amen is a thunderclap that shatters the still night.
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#18
Episode 14 - Hunter's Lodge

The front door to the farmhouse slams open. 

"Catina! Lisa! Jen!" Jodi calls, stomping snow from her sneakers. Despite her good conditioning over the years, her legs feel the burn, and her chest heaves from the run. She wipes her nose on her sleeve and hoped they had a enough time. The smell of soap, ashes, and blood mix incongruously in her nostrils. Soft downy flakes of snow melt on her hair. She hears the pitter of snow and in the far distance some moans. They're coming... She looks behind her again and bites the inside of her mouth, tasting blood.

She moves into the kitchen. The teenage girls, Lisa and Jen, sit at the table. They jump up in shock at Jodi's sudden entrance and Jen knocks a chair over in a clatter she has a knife clenched in her hands. Good girl, Jodi nods. She sees a pile of clothes for mending, a spool of dark thread. A few needles glint in the light of the Kerosene lantern.

"What is it?" Lisa asks, her eyes widening at seeing Jodi's face. "What's wrong?
 
She looks behind her and squints into the white darkness. Snow creates a blanket of white. She curses the loss of night vision from even the weak light of the kerosene lamp.

"They're coming," Jodi says. "Get your mother! Run!"

Jen's hands tremble as they hold the knife in a tight white grip, her face looks ashen. 

Lisa dashes to get Catina.

---

Catina dashed down the stairs with Lisa trailing behind, carrying a pair of binoculars.

Is Catina willing to leave right away when she hear's Jodi's tale of the crowd of zeds approaching?

(Likely | 4[d10]) No

"We need to leave right away!" Jodi says.

"No," Catina mutters her mouth is pinched in a tight line. "This is my father's house and my grand father's before him. I'm not just going to pack up and runaway from a few walkers!"

"There's a sight more than just a few out there," Jodi mutters, darkly. She grabs Catina's sleeve, "You need to leave!"

"And leave all this?" Catina shakes free and waves her hand around the inside of the dark kitchen. "This IS my shelter Jodi! This is my home. This IS our survival!"

"Not any more," Jodi slams the door and moves a curtain slightly to peer out the window. She whirls to face Catina, "Think about your children, Catina! Think about Jen and Lisa. They can't stay here to face this!" 

"We've weathered worse," Catina says stubbornly.

"Really?" Jodi lets the curtain drop and places both palms on the table and leans across at Catina. "You've weathered more than fifty flesh eating monsters? If you did, tell me how! Because I'd like to know how it's done."

Catina looks down at her hands and mutters something. 

The girls' eyes are white saucers at the conversation. Lisa dashes to the door and opens it a couple of feet peering out with the binoculars.

Jodi grinds her teeth and slams a palm on the table top making Jen and Catina jump. "Wake up! We can make it to the horses, outdistance them, lose them in the woods and then circle back later. Your delay might cost you and your daughters their lives! Are you willing to risk that?"

"Mom," Lisa says, a tremor in her voice. She lowers the binoculars from her face and points a shaking finger. "There's so many of them."

Does Jodi and Lisa finally convince Catina to leave?

(Very Likely | 9[d10]) Yes

Catina grabs the binoculars from her daughter and pans from left to right, uttering a muttered curse. Then she shoves the binoculars into Jodi's other hand. "Jen, Lisa, grab the go bags under the bed! Now!"  

While they run to get the bags, Catina dashes to the closet and pulls out winter coats and gloves. "That bag, Jodi. Food."

"Finally!" Jodi mutters. She takes a bag and starts shoving food stuffs into it. Then she runs up stairs and grabs Ron's things bringing them back down, his ammo vest and belt with pistol. She puts on the vest on over her sweatshirt and checks the remaining mags. Two full mags and one partially used still in the rifle. 

She shoves the belt and pistol to Catina. "Put this on. You probably need it."

Did Catina or the girls have their own weapons?
(50/50 | 6[d10]) Yesbut...


But there's not a lot of ammo. 
Lisa grabs a .22 bolt action rifle with a 10 round clip of bullets.

Not the best stopping power. But it could easily drop rabbits or smaller game.

Catina nods wordlessly and belts the Berreta around her waist. Lisa meanwhile grabs a small .22 lever action rifle from a corner. Jen stands trembling by her mother and holds the knife.

Jodi picks up the food as the girls heft the go bags. "Let's go."

Are they able to get away from the zeds? I'll say (-1 for Catina's delay + 1 for the cold that slows the zeds down. So 50/50)

(50/50 | 8[d10]) Yes

Does Catina have more than two horses?

(50/50 | 10[d10]) Yes, and...

They dash out to the barn... and hurry inside, shutting the door behind them. 

Is Milli still unconscious?

(50/50 | 8[d10]) Yes

That means she hasn't turned yet at least.

Millie lies on the cold earth breathing in harsh ragged breaths.

Do they have time to saddle the horses? (+1 familiarity but -1 for Catina's delay)

(50/50 | 3[d10]) No

Catina hefts a saddle off of a hook, but Jodi shakes her head and slings the rifle over her shoulder, "No time for that!"

Millie is already starting to twitch as the virus takes greater hold, and they can also hear the moaning growing closer, amplified by the falling snow. The horses whiny in alarm and paw the ground nervously.

They frantically put only the bits in the horses mouths and loop the bridles over their ears. Then with climb difficulty they ride bareback. Millie's eyes snap open. Catina lets out a "Hiya!" and digs her heels into the horse's flanks, leading the way, she pulls two extra mounts with them on lead ropes and the other horses are eager to get away from the hissing moaning Millie. 

They all burst out of the barn, and in a pounding of hoofs, they wheel away from the barn as a horde of walkers shamble gather around the house and begin to collapse around the barn, like a dark wave, dozens of bodies follow after them. As they gallop away they can hear the sound of bleating screaming sheep as the shadowy stooped monsters gleefully descend upon the small flock.

Jen is already crying at the carnage. Lisa's eyes are nervous and she trembles once then clenches her mouth shut. "Keep moving!" Catina urges.

Jodi looks behind in the swirling snow that is masking their escape. At least the weather seems to slow them down. Jodi breathes more easily when she can no longer make out the dark shapes. The horses easily outdistance them. Soon, they leave the horde behind.

They head out into the night away from the farm, Catina leading the way.

Is it on the way to the airport (Jodi's elusive destination).

(50/50 | 5[d10]) No, but...

Not directly. Airport is North West from their location. This is North East.

"I know a place that might be empty," Catina says, at the north east end of her property. She points to the north east. They plod along after her the frantic flight that left them all jittery and anxious. "Tanner Coombs, an elderly man, owns a small hunting lodge about 10 miles to the north east. There's an old dirt rode that heads in that direction. If we ride hard," she says in the falling snow, as the darkness of the trees crowd around them, "we should be able to arrive before it gets too dark."

"That's good," Lisa whispers, pulling her horse nearer the others. "I don't think I can take ten more  miles of bareback." Jen still seems somewhat dazed by what happened.

"Will she be alright?" Jodi asks.

"She'll be fine, won't you dear," she nudges the horse close and touches Jen's arm. The girl flinches but looks at her mom.

"What?"

"You'll be fine, right?" Catina asks.

Jen gives a slow nod. "Can we keep moving?"

Jodi's behind begins to ache all too soon, and as much as she would have wished for a longer break, she knows they need to press on. She nods to Catina. "Lead the way." Then she takes up the rear, as Catina leads out, the girls following behind.   

Do they make it to the dirt road without problems (I'll say likely since this is not a populated place):

(Likely | 10[d10]) Yes, and...

Yes and they don't encounter any difficulties on the way down the dirt road.

A few hours later, they're all shivering in the cold and dark when they see the hunting lodge. 

What is it like?

Gently / Healthy

The driveway branches off from the dirt road, and in the distance they can see the dark outline of a building. Tanner Coombs had apparently kept his property and lodge in good repair. They passed under a wrought-iron archway connected to a gate bearing "Tanner Lodge" in metal letters. The crest of the arch boasted a large rack of antlers.

Are there a lot of trees here?

(50/50 | 5[d10]) No, but...

As they move up a long winding driveway, they can see that there's there's plenty of wild bushes and tall grass that has made inroads onto Tanner's previously immaculately kept lawn.

"Nice place. Is the old man still around?"

(50/50 | 4[d10]) No +Event: Imprison / Food

Catina shakes her head. "No. When news started to leak out from ground zero, Tanner raided a grocery store to stock up. Others were also out looting, but he was slower than the others, so when the the police, arrived, they hauled him away to the station I guess. A few days after that, the police station was overun by a mob seeking weapons. I don't know what happened to him. I haven't seen him since and that was over six months ago." 

Are there any unusual geographic features near or on the property?

(50/50 | 6[d10]) Yes, but...

"That's strange," Catina said and looked at what appeared to be a dry river bed. "There used to be water running through here. It joins up as an inlet to the river that runs near the city. But it's all dried up."

"Due to the weather?" Jodi asks.

(50/50 | 6[d10]) Yes, but...

"Sure, it does that sometimes in the summer when it gets super hot. But not in the fall or winter like this. There's always water in the fall."

"So something has stopped the the water then?" Lisa asks.

"Or they're deliberatly damning it," Jodi says.

Jen looks at them worriedly and looks over her shoulder. "Can we please go now mom? I want to get inside and get dry. It's getting colder and the sun has already set."

Catina nods, but Jodi shakes her head. "I'll scout ahead," Jodi says and hands the reins to Catina. "You stay here out of sight. I'm going to use the river bed as cover and see if I can see if the house is safe."

Jodi leaves her gear on the horse and with rifle in hand, hops down into the creek bed and moves toward the house, as best she can staying hidden in the ditch.

It's dark and this place is out of the way. If anyone is living here, they're likely to have some light source... Does Jodi see any?

(50/50 | 8[d10]) Yes

She goes prone and wriggles on her belly through the tall grass and brings up her binoculars, pressing the cold eye pieces against her face. 

What does she see?
Anxiously / Lethal

As she peers through the lenses and focuses, the shapes leap to clarity. There's a group of armed men. 

Are they military?

(50/50 | 6[d10]) Yes, but...

To Jodi, the look like the like the military, with the same equipment, but after being around Ron, she can tell they're not. They must be some kind of militia group then that got organized when the stink hit the fan.

How many are there, more than 6?

(50/50 | 2[d10]) No

She watches for a several long minutes. Eventually the property reveals its contents. One man is on patrol on a wrap around balcony. He lights a cigarrette and stares out into the night then looks up into the sky and stretches, yawning. A door opens and another person is backlit with some sort of light source, a lantern or flashlight. Inside, Jodi can see a table with three others sitting around it playing cards. The man in the doorway talks with the man with the cigarrette. They're too far way for her to see, but they're arguing about something. 

Another man is up on the roof, in a sort of makeshift crows nest with sand bags even. He scans the terrain with some binoculars. 

Is the man on the roof looking in Jodi's direction?

(50/50 | 3[d10]) No

He's looking the other way and apparently hadn't seen her. 

Can she see if they have any mounts or vehicles?

(50/50 | 6[d10]) Yes, but... +Event: Fight / Emotions

Jodi looks for any form of transportation. The lodge is clearly more than what you think of with Lodge. It's a massive two-story cabin with a complete wrap-around balcony of red wood. The terrain is fairly open, without a lot of trees, though there is a copse of some thin-trunked aspens that let a few remaining yellow leaves fall into the snow. Some bushes line the round circular gravel driveway that also wraps around the property. It's the kind of thing the very wealthy can afford and the kind of thing that would attract the powerful in these dark times. She sees a garage.

Is the garage door open?

(50/50 | 1[d10]) No, and...

In the night lit up by snow, she can see that the garage door is shut and in fact there's a pad lock with a chain around the handles on the garage door. That's something you don't see every day.

Do they have any cars or vehicles visible?

(50/50 | 3[d10]) No +Event: Take / Dreams

She had hoped and dreamed they'd have a working vehicle. Something that she could just get into and drive to the airport the easy way. Things were never that simple anymore. If they had any vehicles, it's possible they were inside the garage.

Do they have any horses visible?

(50/50 | 4[d10]) No

She shifts under a bush, trying to make it more difficult for anyone who is looking in her area to spot her and she continues to study the group for some time. She shifts to turn back to Catina. 

Was Jodi noticed at all by any of them? (-1 for ditch, -1 for cover and darkness... I'm going to say Unlikely).

(Unlikely | 9[d10]) Yes

Jodi's foot kicked a loose rock free and it clattered back down into the dry river bed with a sharp clatter.
Who noticed something? The man on the roof?

(Somewhat Likely | 10[d10]) Yes, and...

The man on the roof, drops his binoculars and pulls up a rifle. "I thought I heard somethin','" he shouts. He raises his rifle in her direction. Jodi sees the motion and rolls onto her back down into the ditch, avoiding being a target at least, but he had likely noticed her. She wriggles a few yards through the cold snow, mud, and rocks, until she's out of his line of sight. 

Then she runs in a crouch back to Catina.

Does she hear sounds of pursuit?

(50/50 | 3[d10]) No

She doesn't hear any signs of pursuit, but that didn't mean it wasn't out there. 

When she comes into view, she see's Catina raise the pistol at her. Jodi raises her hands, holding the rifle high. "Its me," she says. 

Catina nods and lowers her weapon. Jodi fills Catina and the girls in on what she has seen. Catina frowns at the news. Jodi understands what she must be feeling, because she felt it too. Somewhere behind them, a horde of undead walkers was slowly moving in their general direction. In front of them, a group of hostile men had occupied Tanner's lodge, to their left, lay a city filled with death, disease, and a thousand thousand flesh eating walkers. 

She takes the reins to her horse. "We need to move on."

"Maybe they aren't hostile," Catina says.

"They raised a gun at me," Jodi says, "Do you really want to chance it?"

"We would've done the same thing if someone had been spying on us."

"Perhaps," Jodi shrugs. "But we're running out of time. It's already dark and we don't know if we can trust them. Can you think of any other place to go?"

Can she? I'll say it's likely she'd know of a place since she's from around here and I'm sure she had thought of where she would go if she ever lost her farm to the walkers and crawlers.

(Likely | 10[d10]) Yes, and...

Is it another neighbor's house?

(50/50 | 1[d10]) No, and...

Catina shakes her head. "No other homes north west for a good bit, I'm afraid. Much of the land beyond Tanner's lodge was federal property owned by the BLM. You have that map still?"

Jodi nods, and still not hearing sounds of pursuit she pulls out the map and flicks the wheel on a lighter, and a flame pushes back the darkness and reveals the map's precious symbology. The map is creased and worn, and the reddish brown streak was still there. 

"Ah hah. Here," Catina points at a spot where some faint brown lines representing less-used roads converge. "This is The Hampstead. There's a small store, and a few other business buildings where these roads meet. We'll have to back track a few miles to where this road heads east."

"Backtrack?" Jen asks. "Aren't those things behind us?"

"Probably," Catina says, "But we were moving a lot faster than they. I'm sure we'll still be well ahead of them even a few miles back."

"Then let's get moving," Jodi says shoving the map inside her jacket.

They start to wheel their horses around.

Does anything happen as they leave?

(50/50 | 8[d10]) Yes

Hmmm. What?

Release / Enemies

Then they hear the unmistakable sound of motors coming from the direction of the house, a dull roar sound as if some all-terrain vehicles are started and their engines gunned.

Jodi swears. "We can't stay on the road. They'll find us. We need a place to hide."

Catina nods. "Follow me and try to stay together."
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#19
Episode 15 - Pursuit

Catina leads the group south, down the same road they had been riding north on for the last few hours. Her horse's hooves are a dull staccato thumping up snow and icy mud.

The speed from the rushing horses sends Jodi's shoulder-length hair flailing out behind her; snow flakes sting her face, as she squints to try and follow Jen, Lisa, and Catina who are riding pell mell somewhere in front of her. 

Are the militia gaining on the horses?

(Likely | 10[d10]) Yes, and...

... and one of the militia vehicles comes into view. There are two men mounted on the ATV.

After a few moments of frantic galloping, Jodi looks over her shoulder and sees the light of one of the ATVs splash across the white road in front of her. The sudden bright light makes her squint. The noise from the engine increases as the vehicle gains speed.

Does Catina find a place to get off the road?

(Somewhat Likely | 8[d10]) Yes

"This way!" Catina shouts. She yanks on the reigns and wheels the horse to the left.

The horse's legs cut hard into the mud and snow, slipping and sliding.

Does it fall over? (+1 snowy, -2 Catina's familiarity with riding them - SU)

(Somewhat Unlikely | 10[d10]) Yes, and...

Its back legs scramble for control. It slips and slides, and then suddenly the horse rolls over on it's side.

Catina tries to get free, can she without injury?

(50/50 | 6[d10]) Yes, but...

Catina leaps free of the falling horse, and rolls out of the way, slamming into the hard frozen road. But other than somewhat dazed and bruised, she is unharmed. The horse however goes down and is injured.
 
(2 = 2[d20]) Negligible: Nick/Scratch/Bruise.

Luckily, it slides on its side and receives only a few bruises and scrapes though its legs kick in the air, struggling for purchase.

Does either Lisa or Jen or both collide into the the horse or Catina? (dark and slippery +2, -2 familiarity with riding 50/50)

(50/50 | 6[d10]) Yes, but...

Hooves flash about Catina as she rolls out of the way as Jen and Lisa churn up mud and debris in her face, but neither of her daughter are unhorsed. But they look about wildly as their reins get tangled together in the mess.

Catina was leading two horses. Are they spooked?

(50/50 | 3[d10]) No

The other two horses Catina was leading, slow down and trot off, milling around when Catina loosed them as she fell. The horse she was on finishes sliding, and gets its feet under it and manages to stand up.

Jodi, being last in line may have enough notice to avoid equestrian catastrophe, right? 

(Likely | 7[d10]) Yes

Jodi pulls her horse up short.

She's somewhat off to the left side (east) of  the dirt road. The road continues straight ahead, a canopy of trees over head on both sides, but there are more on the wooded east side that Catina was trying to escape into.

Are the men trying to attack?

(Likely | 10[d10]) Yes, and...

And both the man and his companion are armed. The ATV tries to slow down. Does it flip over from the  snow and ice?
(+1 some snow and slippery conditions, -3 good traction)

(Unlikely | 5[d10]) No, but...

The driver of the ATV slams on the breaks. The ATV skids to a halt and the man behind the driver who was trying to raise a rifle, lowers the rifle to hold onto his friend.

"Into the trees!" Jodi shouts and drives her heels into her horse's flanks, sending him leaping over a log and into the more wooded terrain beyond. She can smell horse flesh, snow, and engine fumes. She feel the horse move its powerful legs beneath her. She grips her legs more tightly around its flanks and urges it on into the brush and around trees and fallen logs.

The men behind her curse.

Do Jen and Lisa get their reins untangled quickly enough to flee before the man can raise his rifle?

(50/50 | 2[d10]) No

"Jen! Lisa! Get down!" Catina shouts, seeing her daughters who are panicking and making the tangling worse. Catina pulls out her pistol.

Then she runs to the east, holding her horse's bridle as she runs in her left hand, keeping her horse between her and the attackers. She moves away from her daughters who are still in the middle of the road, their mounts milling about, feeling the panic from their riders. 

In her right hand she raises the pistol. If the men shoot at her, it will give her daughters a chance. 

Does Catina shoot before the man on the back?

(50/50 | 4[d10]) No

The man on the back sits behind his friend. He's in the open, but is now stationary. He chooses his target, raising his rifle, training it on Catina the nearest threat. He fires at her.

Is he well trained?

(50/50 | 5[d10]) No, but...

Not but he's somewhat trained (SL -1 for Catina moving -1 for cover from the horse and -1 for darkness since she moved out of the beam).

(Unlikely | 3[d10]) No

Did it hit Catina's horse (SL +2 big target -1 darkness and moving)

(Somewhat Likely | 7[d10]) Yes

(17 = 14[d20]+3) Severe Injury: Incapacitating and may become Critical if untreated.

He squeezes off a round and hits the horse in the side of the neck. It screams, tumbling. Catina looks over her shoulders.

Can the girls get their reins free now?

(Somewhat Likely | 2[d10]) No

The girls forget the horses, leaping off of them and they run off into the west side, the opposite side of the road into the woods, Lisa carrying the .22 rifle. They soon disappear from sight.

Jodi, north east of Catina and up behind cover and on a wooded rise, wheels her horse around and hops off. She ducks behind a thick tree, and swings the rifle down. Then breathing hard, she sights her scope on the man with the rifle.

Does she hit him? (+1 he's out in the open, +1 he's near the light she can see, +1 she has some experience with guns now)

The rifle kicks three times, a flash of fire and heat propelling death from its maw. 

Blam blam blam. Hits?

(Very Likely | 3[d10]) No

(Very Likely | 7[d10]) Yes

(Very Likely | 9[d10]) Yes

Two of them hit.

Is the man wearing any sort of steel trauma plating?

(Somewhat Unlikely | 10[d10]) Yes, and...

Jodi's first bullet bounces off his protective body armor.

Does the round knock him off of the ATV?

(Somewhat Likely | 4[d10]) No, but...

He remains on the ATV, but the force of the round spins him partially and he drop the rifle in the mud. He reaches for gun reflexibly when Jodi's second round hits him.

Lower right arm.

(19 = 16[d20]+3) Critical Injury: Requires immediate attention; clearly life-threatening if not immediately deadly.

The shot punches through an artery. The man screams in pain and fear, clutching at his arm.

His friend, the driver, meanwhile, doesn't have a rifle, but he grips his sidearm with both hands and fires shots at Jodi.

Is he trained in the pistol?

(50/50 | 4[d10]) No

(-1 training, -1 range, -1 darkness, -1 cover) He fires off six snap shots.

hits?

(Almost Impossible | 6[d10]) Yes, but...

(Almost Impossible | 1[d10]) No, and... +Event: Extravagance / Status quo

(Almost Impossible | 3[d10]) No

(Almost Impossible | 3[d10]) No

(Almost Impossible | 4[d10]) No

(Almost Impossible | 5[d10]) No, but...

Bullets smack around Jodi. The man is unloading his entire clip and Jodi falls back behind cover. One of them hits, but its momentum is weakened from distance and piercing through part of the tree...

I'll say damage is -5.

(11 = 16[d20]+-5) Minor Injury: Largely superficial; painful and distracting, but not life threatening.

Where does it hit her?

Lower right leg.

The bullet smacks into Jodi's shin. It gives her a nice gash and then bounces off the bone. Jodi screams in pain and limps to her horse who is puffing steaming clouds of white into the night, its eyes wide from the loud noises and frantic shouts. 

While the driver has Jodi pinned down behind the tree, the one who was shot in the arm screams for his friend to get out, while blood seeps from his wound around his palm, stemming the flow. 

Catina, meanwhile, lies behind her screaming horse, and unloads Ron's 9mm Beretta on the pair. She has a partial clip of 7 rounds in the gun. She aims at the lights then sights just above it where center mass ought to be. 

Hits?
(+1 shooting toward the light, +1 in the open, +1 been around guns, -0 no range penalty)

(Very Likely | 10[d10]) Yes, and...

(Very Likely | 10[d10]) Yes, and...

(Very Likely | 10[d10]) Yes, and...

(Very Likely | 6[d10]) Yes, but...

(Very Likely | 9[d10]) Yes

(Very Likely | 10[d10]) Yes, and...

(Very Likely | 6[d10]) Yes, but...

With precision, Catina slams bullet after bullet into the first man. He is hit and leans backwards from the shots crying out in pain, but he doesn't fall off.

(9 = 9[d20]) Minor Injury: Largely superficial; painful and distracting, but not life threatening.

(1 = 1[d20]) Negligible: Nick/Scratch/Bruise.

(10 = 10[d20]) Minor Injury: Largely superficial; painful and distracting, but not life threatening.

(20 = 20[d20]) Critical Injury: Requires immediate attention; clearly life-threatening if not immediately deadly.

(11 = 11[d20]) Minor Injury: Largely superficial; painful and distracting, but not life threatening.

(7 = 7[d20]) Minor Injury: Largely superficial; painful and distracting, but not life threatening.

(19 = 19[d20]) Critical Injury: Requires immediate attention; clearly life-threatening if not immediately deadly.

Is this man (the driver) wearing any sort of flak vest or trauma plate?

(50/50 | 10[d10]) Yes, and...

... And the first critical injury is ignored. We'll roll hit locs for the others.

Second critical --- if it's in the chest than the vest protects him

Torso.

We'll ignore the negligibles. The minor injuries for flavor we'll see where they hit.

Right Hand.

Lower right arm.

Upper right leg.

Lower left arm.

Bullets nip at the man, two of them are absorbed by his body armor. Two more shots take him in his right hand or arm. 

Does he drop his gun?

(Likely | 4[d10]) No

Somehow he keeps hold of his pistol.

The driver has seven rounds left in his pistol. Is he going to stick around and fight. (-2 for his friend screaming for him to get out, -1 for his own injuries)

(Very Unlikely | 3[d10]) No

The driver guns the engine and attempts to wheel it around to go back the way they came. He's driving with his wounded left arm. And shooting with his slightly wounded right arm at Catina.

He's injured can he navigate and get it turned around (-1 injury)

(Somewhat Likely | 4[d10]) No, but...

No, but he guns the throttle and moves toward Catina, shooting while it rockets forward. Do any hit Catina?

(+1 light on Catina, -1 untrained, -1 moving, -1 hurt)

-1 cover

(Very Unlikely | 1[d10]) No, and...

(Very Unlikely | 1[d10]) No, and...

(Very Unlikely | 3[d10]) No

(Very Unlikely | 2[d10]) No

(Very Unlikely | 8[d10]) Yes

(Very Unlikely | 5[d10]) No, but...

(Very Unlikely | 3[d10]) No

Bullets churn up horse flesh and dirt around Catina causing her to lower her head and burrows behind the horse, seeking any kind of cover. The ATV rushes towards her and then it suddenly crunches into the horse and it flips over her, and both men and tossed into the night.

The hit on Catina.

Upper left leg.

(12 = 12[d20]) Moderate Injury: Hampers action significantly; will require first aid/medical attention.

One bullet slams into her upper left thigh. She screams from the sudden hot pain and reflexively clutches at the wound with her hand.

The light from the ATV wavers crazily.  The machine is upside down Catina. The engine is now flooded from being turned over and sputters out.

Do any zeds show up from the south west in all the commotion? (+3 from engine and bullets, -2 distance from population center)

(Somewhat Likely | 3[d10]) No

Have any horses scattered and fled from all the shooting?

(Likely | 2[d10]) No

Wow... Studly Steeds of Steel!

Catina is screaming, as blood pools around the bullet wound. She reloads her pistol.

The men will take damage from the crash.

Dmg for driver...

(1 = 2[d20]+-1) Negligible: Nick/Scratch/Bruise.

Dmg for guy shot in the arm...

(16 = 17[d20]+-1) Severe Injury: Incapacitating and may become Critical if untreated.

Are any unconscious?

(50/50 | 5[d10]) Nobut... +Event: Abandon / Fame

The man with spurting artery is screaming in pain. His right femur is jutting up white and raw from his camo fatigues. He clutches at the bone, but then goes back to holding in his spurting life blood on his arm. Blood is red on white snowy canvas in the flickering of the ATV light that has him pinned.

The driver fares better. He groggily pulls himself to his knees and starts crawling toward his pistol.

When he hears a horse trotting over to them and sees a rifle barrel swing into his field of view, he raises his hands in surrender.

"Don't even think about it," Jodi warns.

The man blinks at her, the swollen tissue on his face closing off his left eye. He spits blood from a cut inside his mouth but remains still arms raised. Blood on arms and hand.

Is there another ATV approaching?

(50/50 | 10[d10]) Yes, and...

More than one ATV?

(50/50 | 7[d10]) Yes

Jodi hears the roar of nearby engines. First one, then a second. Then the engines turn off and she hears shouts. She blinks through the snow. Were they approaching more cautiously? She thinks so. Cussing, she backs away from the man who starts to grin. 

They must've heard the ruckus and are approaching on foot, using cover. She imagined them using military tactical movement, dashing from cover in well trained maneuvers.

Jodi reaches down and pulls Catina up behind her. 

"We have to go!"

"But my daughters!" Catina says.

"If we stay here we're dead, and so are they! Come on!"

Jodi had counted six men total at the house. There may have been more, but she didn't think so. These two probably weren't a threat at the moment and one was going to bleed out any moment. That meant four more were probably out there, heavily armed. 

"But--"

"Now!" Jodi shouts.

Is Catina persuaded?

(Somewhat Likely | 8[d10]) Yes

Jodi wheels the horse to the girls horses. If she can get to them before...

Can she get their reigns untangled before the other soldiers show up?

(50/50 | 3[d10]) No

Are the other two spare horses they brought still nearby?


(50/50 | 2[d10]) No

She curses. It is suicide to stay, she knows, but some of the supplies they had were on the girls' horses and some on Catina's mount could prove their survival. 

But there's no time. 

Jodi hears shouts, and at the edges of what she can see in the snowy dark, she makes out men moving cautiously from tree to tree, weapons raised. She yanks out her knife, and in a fluid motion, slashes the bridles of the girl's horse and then slaps the horses' flanks. 

One of them shouts. 

She wheels her mount with Catina on it, and they move at a slow gallop south down the road around a bend and out of sight.

She had to put distance between their pursuers. Distance and time were their only friends now.
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#20
Episode 16 - Trapped

After thirty minutes of hard riding Jodi lets up on the horse's reigns, he's wheezing air and his flanks are trembling from the effort of carrying two riders. He was in no condition to carry this any further.

Is there any pursuit that she's aware of?


(50/50 | 7[d10]) Yes


They can hear the sounds of ATVs in the distance and catch glimpses of two headlights. They were still far away, but they'd be able to chew up the distance in a matter of minutes.


Catina leaned her head against Jodi's back, gripping her about the middle.


"You okay?" Jodi asks.

"Cold," Catina mumbles. "And I can't feel my toe in my left foot."

Jodi pulls the horse up short and hops off and pulls Catina down. The mare nickers at her sullenly. Jodi's own legs feel stiff, and the gash in her shin is still bleeding. It needs to be cleaned and bandaged. But Catina's needed more urgent care. A bullet in the thigh was no small thing, especially in this dark era of disease, filth, and danger.


Catina's face was white. She was losing blood, but thankfully not at a prodigious rate. But the bleeding had to stop. Jodie's own bag on her horse has some bandages at least. She pulls them out and with quick deft movements and some alcohol swaps, she bandages Catina's leg and her own shin.


Number of bandages she has:

4 = 1[d4]+3[d4]



She uses up two of the four bandages. Catina's leg would need future help but at least she wasn't bleeding now. The rest would have to wait until they they reached safety somewhere.


"We need to go back," Catina winces as Jodi yanks the bandage tight around her thigh. "My daughters."

"We can't. Not yet. It's too dangerous." Jodi says. 
"You hear that? The noise of the motor is growing louder."

"They're going to catch us anyway," Catina sniffs in the dark.


"Maybe," Jodi says. "We just need a little luck."


Are they close enough to find the zombie horde that had originally followed them?


(Somewhat Likely | 9[d10]) Yes


Do the zombies notice them?


(50/50 | 3[d10]) No +Event: Recruit / A project


"You see that?" Jodi whispers, pointing to a 
half-rotted corpse lumbering through the clinging branches of a tree, snapping off its dry branches. Behind him his brother was missing an arm. More were following behind them. A lot more. "That is our ticket out of here."

"You took us too far back!" Catina's voice is panicked, rising in pitch and volume. Jodi clamps a hand over her mouth. "Quiet! Now, trust me, okay. I only brought us back just far enough. Hopefully its enough to turn the tide."

"You brought us to them on purpose? You could have killed us. You could have ridden us into the thick of them."


"But I didn't."

"You're crazy," Catina says.

Jodi climbs into the saddle and helps the limping Jodi up behind her. Jodi's face is hard, unrelenting, and she nods in agreement, her nose and cheeks red from the cold. "It's time for a bit of crazy."

---


George guns the ATV, and the machine responds beautifully leaping ahead as it eats away at the snow covered dirt road. He slows then he flicks off the headlights and studies the snow, letting his eyes adjust to the darkness.


Does he see the hoof prints?


(Somewhat Likely | 10[d10]) Yes, and...


"Up there, see that? There's the horse. We've found them!" George shouts as he slows the ATV to a halt. Behind him, a second ATV pulls up beside him.

"About time," Edwin drawls, behind him bringing his own ATV along side George's. Edwin spits out a wad of chewing tobacco and swings his rifle up to his cheek. He peers through the scope. After a few seconds he spits a long stream of brown spittle, and then pans the rifle, again, looking at the horse that was tied to a tree about a hundred and fifty yards away.

George frowns, "You know I hate that stuff, right?" 
The habit of chewing tobacco was disgusting, no doubt about it. The things it does to your teeth, your gums. George had been a dentist in his past life. Sometimes memories of that time flashed uncomfortably in his head. This was one of those times. He remembered six figure pay checks, expensive dental conferences, soaking every patient he had with just that little extra fee here and there. And of course...gum disease. George was positively civilized next to Edwin and his gum disease. Edwin was a disgusting, unwashed pig, George nods to himself, but he considers with a bit of piety, perhaps he wasn't seeing the beam in is own eye. Not that he minded the beam. 

Old habits die hard, they sure do. Especially in a world with so many new and interesting habits available for the taking. Habits and addictions, he muses, slapping his gloved hands together and sucking in the cold air. 

The habits die hard, but only if you try to kill them. But, if you say, plant a habit and nurture it, just like his neighbor's well-watered garden with verdant lush red tomatoes, then the habit formed into an addiction... And addictions, especially the sweetest ones, those never die. And sure as the night was black, he didn't intend for any of his addictions to die. In fact, the garage was where they kept them safely locked and chained away. Ah, those were warm and inviting addictions indeed. And they were waiting for him. He frowned at the cold snow. Snow in October wasn't common and if was snowing already, it could mean they were in for a lean winter. Yeah, he certainly could use a bit of warm distraction after this chase in the cold and freezing dark.

"George," Edwin says and smacks up on the backside of his head. "Wake up, man. You're daydreamin' about them women back at Tanner's again, ain't ya?"

"Sure. Why not? Nothin' else to do in this 'forsaken wasteland of cold," George blows on his hands then scratches under an armpit and grins. "'sides the way I see it, if we can take the two up there alive... we could increase the quality of 'the herd', if ya know what I mean," George chuckles at his own joke.

"'The herd'," Edwin repeats, spitting again. "That's sick you know that, right?"

"Am I lyin'?"

"Nah, ya ain't lyin'. But they ain't animals."

"We're all animals now," George yawns and smiles, his teeth still in relatively good condition. One had to care for ones teeth. If you didn't have your health, what did you have in the end?

"Well, Jesse said no prisoners anyhow. He wants them dead 'cause of what them women did to Carl."

George shakes his head and wishes he had some of Edwin's tabacco just to spit. Instead he settles with wiping his nose on his hand then on his vest. "Jesse shoulda' made his kid brother stay back at the house, instead of gettin' all shot to the other side of Tuesday. We shoulda just done like I said and gone after the girls. They weren't hardly armed. But instead he sends us after a woman with a rifle."

"Jesse's the boss." Edwin says.

"Yeah, I know," George sighs. "And he's probably gettin' his pick of the women at home right now. You know I hate left overs."

Edwin grins. "Leftovers. You got a way with words you know that?"

George did know. The low drawl and accent he had adopted was really just an act to fit in. Not that he minded the act. Because if you stood out, you became a target. But now? Now he was just one of the gang. The accent came naturally to him and he could put it away if he wanted to. But it sure was easy to be lazy when there weren't any rules or laws or work days or patients to please or insurance companies or regulations or bureaucracy to deal with. 


It was funny how their little militia group had started with such noble ideals when everything hit the fan.
Reclaim the world.
Find a cure.

Rescue the weak.

Yeah that lasted about a month. It was all a distraction from the real pursuit of surviving and doing what you wanted when you wanted. Funny how in this hell hole, every day was a vacation now. He didn't have his deadbeat wife to try and please anymore, thank heavens, nor did his needy daughter require him to buy her expensive clothes now. Now he could just be... George. George in the raw, he sometimes thought of himself.



And he liked that. Raw. Unplugged. Unedited. George yawned again and squinted into the dark. Sure was cold. All you really had to worry about though were the hungry Shamblers who wanted a taste of you more than little Timmy wanted to eat his Halloween candy that mean old daddy had locked away. That and the other gangs out there who had bigger or more guns than you did. Those indeed were the main threats. Oh, and the persistent problem of food and disease. All things were in descending order of importance. Descending order of importance. Thankfully, their little group had some of the biggest guns around.


But take the Shamblers. Sometimes when he saw their rotted teeth hankerin' for a hunk of George flesh, a part of him wanted to strap them on a dental chair and extract extract extract, until all you had were teethless gummies. That was the old George though, he sighs. It was faster to just blow their brains out. As for the Shamblers. They didn't come out on this road. Those that had were cleaned out months ago. So that wasn't a worry at least.

But now there was this Zelda the Amazon Warrior Princess running around with her big boom stick shootin' up their gang. Poor Carl. Yeah he was an idiot sometimes. The kid had bled out in Jesse's arms, and Jesse had actually cried. You believe that? No one cried anymore. Well, the weak did. The women and the children and the... George shakes his head. But Jesse had cried. 


Maybe it was time for a new leader. He yawned again. Someone like me. More laid back, more mature.


 He checks his wrist watch. It was an old solar-powered one from the '90s they'd found in an old department store when they were looting a few weeks back. 


It was past 11 PM. "Any sign?"

"Nah. I don't like it though. Somethin' ain't right," Edwin says.


"Maybe we should check it out?" George sighs. "The sooner we get done here, the sooner we can get back where it's warm."


------

Jodi watches the men them through her scope. She sees the sides of their heads dip in and out of the cross hair. Ron had taught her how to calibrate the scope for range. Her finger caresses the trigger guard. The men look like normal hunters. Just regular people. The entire thing in fact looks like an add for one of those uber men-centric hunter magazines she sometimes saw when she went to the doctor's office.

But now she is the hunter, she muses. She feels the rough cold stone of a chest waist high boulder that she's braced behind. Her cross hair is dead center on the side of the head of the nearest driver. With a fresh magazine in the gun, she's ready for war. But doesn't pull the trigger. Catina sits in the snow next to her, her back to the boulder watching Jodi's flank, her eyes blinking away the snow. She holds her pistol in two hands cautiously watching, just in case any Shamblers come this way. Besides at this range a pistol wasn't going to do much .

The horse was the bait that kept the men looking in that direction.

Jodi feels a small guilty pleasure at her plan actually coming into effect.


She and Catina are on a wooded rise on the east side of the road. The walkers approach slowly from the west through the woods as the two men with motors still running, look at the horse.


----


Are they surpised by the zeds (+2 they don't think there are any. +1 they're looking the other way from the zeds approach through the woods, -1 for being wary of Jodi/Catina setting some kind of trap)?

(Likely | 9[d10]) Yes


"Did you hear that?" Edwin asks and he cocks his head.

"What?" George says.

Edwin reaches down and turns off the motor to his ATV.


"Shut it off! I can't hear myself think." 

"Fine," George does the same. Silence descends on them. And more than silence a sea of moaning groaning sounds envelopes them.

"Over there, to the right!" Edwin rotates to the right, and there not five feet away is a horde of the flesh eating corpses scrambling up the low rise to the west side of the road.


Edwin starts shooting knocking corpses back down the slight snow-covered slope.


George reaches for the ignition on the ATV.


Can he get it started and start to get away from the horde (-1 surprised and scared, -1 engine is off)


(Unlikely | 1[d10]) No, and...


George starts the ATV, but hands grab at him. His right hand twists on the throttle, as clawed hands grab and slash at his heavy coat, tugging and pulling at him. The ATV goes forward and slams into Edwin's, ATV knocking Edwin off his ATV.

George stands up and tries to get his pistol out with his left hand, but his arm is clawed. He screams as sharp nails slash through his clothing in a vice like grip. He tries to yank his arm free. Too slow! He's pulled backward off the ATV his left hand still clenching the pistol tightly. He fires shot after shot into rotted maggot ridden faces that descend on him. 


An old dentist nightmare flashes back at him. Rotten teeth and bad breath. It's the worst case of bed breath he's ever smelled. Then he screams as flashes of hot searing pain and dark dirty claws and teeth begin to feast. 

---

Jodi watches the first man go down and even knowing these men would kill them without batting an eye, she still doesn't like seeing someone die like that. 

The second man is knocked from his perch on the other ATV when the first man's ATV guns into it. He stumbles off. 

Does he sprain an ankle or something?
(Somewhat Likely | 6[d10]) Yes

The man falls heavily on a foot, rolling his ankle. 


Does he scramble to his feet to limp away ahead of them?

(50/50 | 10[d10]) Yes, and...


He makes it several feet away and reloads another magazine and continues shooting. He's still moving away faster than the monsters are gaining on him. Jodi sighs. He's using up all the ammo. She sights in on him and pulls the trigger.


Head hit? (+3 braced and scope, -2 movement and jostling zeds and general darkness)


(Somewhat Likely | 9[d10]) Yes


He crumples and falls backward. Some walkers hear the shot and start moving in their direction. Others continue to feast on the two fallen men.


"Ready?" Jodi tries to breathe out a calming breath.


"I think so."

"Okay. And remember don't move until you can't hear them any more. Once I've drawn them away, meet me at the road where it goes around that bends half a mile north!"

"I'll try."

"That's not good enough. I don't want to be corpse food. Be there!"

Catina nods wearily and peaks over the rock at the walkers coming closer. Jodi nods in return then moves north at an angle away from the rock. 

After running fifty feet or so, she kneels in the snow and with hands nearly frozen from the snow, she takes another three shots to get the horde, including the corpse munchers, moving in her general direction. Seeing the crowd of walking corpses below fall obediently into line, she swings the rifle over her shoulder and half limps half jogs through the brush ahead of them.


Jodi shivers, hearing their moans behind her. Catina better be there on time. This was one bus stop, either couldn't afford to miss.
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