Zombie Apocalypse Jodi's Story
#41
Episode 29: Sparks of Light

Jodi felt fear rise like bile, building up in a sour stomach. Twisted hands yanked at her back pack, seeking to pull her into the boiling mass of claws and maws. She strained and was nearly drawn under. The cold smell of snow warred with the fuming dank breath of death that rasped for a tasted of her. White cold snow drifted down in large soft flakes.

She did not yield to the yammering fear whose beckoning undertow would certainly sink her in dark waves of immobilization.  
She acted. 
She dropped her rifle, released the plastic clip around her waist, and attempted to wriggle out from under the backpacks drag...

Can Jodi react quickly enough to wriggle out of the backpack's straps, leaving the zeds only holding her backpack? (+1 athletic, +1 she's slender, -2 there be a whole HORDE of hungries)

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

... but what? The anticipation is killing me? She gets free but.... Is she's tripped?

(Somewhat Likely | 2[d10]) No

Jodi wriggled free at the last instant, and sprang away from the grasping greedy hands, from the howling and grunting animal noises, from the ceaseless panting of unmet desire.

[i]But what then? I'll ask the CD.[/i]

Gently / Soft

[i]Ahh... The gently soft snow... of course. [/i]She slips in the wet stuff trying to get away and they get a second chance at her.

She was gaining distance. Distance and freedom when one leg slipped in a patch soft snow and she went down.

Can she safely grab her rifle before she slips? (+1 athletic, -3 that's just crazy dangerous, girl!)

(Unlikely | 4[d10]) No

She left her rifle and scrambled forward on hands and knees as the mass swarmed after her. The rifle and backpack were swallowed up in the mob of angry arms and tireless teeth. 

She's just a few feet ahead of them. Do any of the grab her?

(+1 she has slipped, -1 she's athletic and quick, +1 she's away from most of them but some are within reach)

(Somewhat Likely | 7[d10]) Yes

Uh oh. Is it more than 1 that grabs her?

(50/50 | 8[d10]) Yes +Event: Abandon / Death

Not... good. But she's not going to give up. She's going to abandon the prospect of death and fight her way out! And her friends are going to try and help her.

Is she standing when she gets grabbed?

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

But she's almost up.

Is it her left or right arm that's grabbed (odd is left)

3 = 3[d6]

That's good. 

Jodi tried to regain her feet. She scrambled on two legs and one hand as she tried to pull pistol from her waist. She had just pushed off the ground and had her gun out, trying to stand, when one of them lurched into her and another was close behind. The first knocking her over. She rolled and felt it's pincer like grip around her left arm. It's other hand grabbed her hair and held her head back, exposing her throat. She felt the dirty yellow nails dig into her arm. She kicked and squirmed frantically as its friend came nearer. Adrenaline urged her to fight on to the very last. She felt the hot breath on her face, heard the snapping jaws. She shoved the barrel into his mouth, bashing through yellowed teeth and pulled the trigger...

Jodi yanks out her pistol puts it in the zeds face and fires. Does she blow it's head off?
(-2 head shot, +3 the head is uh right there at point blank range hard to miss it when it's trying to chew your face off, -1 the struggle is throwing throwing her aim off). She fires three shots.


(50/50 | 9[d10]) Yes

(50/50 | 4[d10]) No

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

Her first shot exploded the thing's head. Pieces of skull and gray matter sprayed outward from the exit wound but she kept firing. The other zed who was ahead of the rest of the pack had been right behind the other and her third bullet hit it. 

First shot hits and his head pops. It crumples. The third shot hits the other zed. We'll see what kind of damage...

(4 = 4[d20]) Negligible: Nick/Scratch/Bruise.

The shot blasted through its cheek, one one side and out the other, but came on heedless and fell on top of the other corpse and Jodi's breath was smashed out of her. She felt like she was at the bottom of football pile arms and hands grasping. Ichor and gore dripped onto her face. Then she heard more shots, and twisted her head. She saw through the grimy snow to the south her friends had formed a line, their guns out.

Okay. This might get bad. Someone is basically shooting at the thing on top of her. It's Catina. She's shooting at the things's head through her scope. If she doesn't hit the head, she's going to hit Jodi. Does she blow off the zed's head?

Catina braced the barrel over a sturdy section of the gate and sighted in on the bobbing head of the zed on Jodi. Snow flakes drifted large in front of her scope and it didn't help that the mass of corpses was nearly upon Jodi. She needed a clean shot...

"Fire!" she shouted and pulled the trigger. Others shot at the same time.

Okay Catina. Show us your stuff (+1 braced, +2 scope, +1 aimed, +1 shooting, -2 for the head, -1 Jodi is in close combat with zed) Head shot?

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

Jodi felt the concussive shot tremor through the bodies on top of her. Then it slumped and rolled to the side. Jodi pushed free the one atop of her and was scrambling on all fours again her fingers red from the snow and slippery slush forming from the snowfall. A horde of snapping teeth and eager fingers clutched for her flesh.

But is she free of all of them?

(Somewhat Likely | 4[d10]) No, but... +Event: Stop / Rumour

I'll modify one of Zandra003's recommended questions (Thanks by the way!): Can Catina spot anything to shoot that might help in killing a lot of zombies? Example, those incredibly convenient flammable gas cans that appear in a ton of movies?

If there is one, she can shoot that would go BOOM and "stop" the zombies? I'll say +1 because it's "rumored" that these military pre-fab bases do have some natural gas pipes, bullets hitting that and causing a spark could...boom.)

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

Drat... Even if there was one, the gas must've been long shut off. Oh well. Worth a try.

Jodi regained her feet and started to sprint, just as they began to enclose her again. Bodies started to fall as her friends shots hit home. She just might have a chance... she didn't dare to hope, but maybe... just maybe...

Can Jodi get free of them and get back to the others? Can she get away? (+1 she's athletic, and +1 adrenaline is kicking into overdrive right now and she has friends helping). 

Another rotten corpse, ridden with pustules and mucus, foremost among the horde, grabbed at her. But she was on her feet now, and the words of Coach Emmerson, her high school track coach, bubbled to the surface. "Don't think Jodi. Relax, breathe, and just run. Let it carry you..." 

And she did...

To freedom?

(Likely | 8[d10]) Yes +Event: Divide / Prison

And she makes it out of the gate the would have divided her from freedom, the gate of the prison of corpses...

The words and the sprints that Coach Emmerson had put her came back. Instinct kicked in, and she ran the 100 meter dash in record time...well, record time for someone wearing jeans, body armor, carrying ammo mags, and holding a smoking pistol. 

Behind her, more corpses fell as more bullets snapped like angry hornets and drove into faces and necks, snapping collar bones, rib cages, and femurs, causing little explosions of black blood.

Even so, more and more corpses kept coming... 

But it was enough, enough for her to breach the divide to freedom. When her friends saw her finally run to safety among them, they turned en masse, running to the ATVs and tied up horse. Then with hurried and harried voices, they bounced and jounced out of range of the wall of flesh and rode to freedom.

----

Hours later all was the stillness of a winter's night. They had ridden far and outran the horde. Now, they rested with some modicum of safety. Their current camp was in a field among the remains of an old abandoned movie Drive-In theater, the old kind found in a country field with low country hills around, where people would drive and park their cars in the field and watch the movie on a huge wooden screen from the comfort of their own vehicles. 

The little group of tired escapees had used fallen pieces of lumber from the theater's scaffolding to keep the fire bright and warm. She yawned and shifted her wight. It was her turn to be on watch.

She remembered it now... She had gone to one of those Drive-In theaters as a child. While she couldn't remember what movie they had watched, she remembered the feelings, the sounds, and the smells. The sweet smell of honeysuckle drifted in the air, mingling with the laughter of friendly voices. The patchy audio had cut in and out from the movie into the cabin of their old Ford pickup truck. She had sat up front, snuggling between her father and her mother on either side. She had been what? Maybe 7 or 8 years old at the time? She remembered the sticky taste of strawberry licorice and the buttery smell and greasy feel of very unhealthy popcorn warming fingers and her insides. (Her mom had told her not to wipe her hands on her jeans, but she did anyway.) She smiled at the memory. That had been a warm and safe time.

Could that be regained? 

She sighed and shifted, looked over at the makeshift camp around her. She saw the little group of people sleeping or dozing around her. Somehow they had all survived. 

Catina held onto to Jennifer, both arms wrapped protectively around her daughter as mother rested her cheek on the top of the daughter's head. Lillie lay her head outstretched on her left arm. Her right around her father. The man's presence was an enigma. But he hadn't spoken of it. Kristi and Ayanna lay near the fire, close enough that little singing embers burned out on their jackets and coats. If they kept the fire going everyone should make it through the night. 

Jodi tugged at her coat's collar, flipping it up against the night's chill. She looked up into the starlit sky.. and she noticed something. Though it was night, it was filled with vast array of light. The moon wasn't out, but that made the stars ever so much more visible and bright. It was a perfect dark zone for astronomer wannabes. The orbs of light above were vast and distant, but they testified as much of endless light as they did of endless dark space.

Perhaps people were like that. Points of light in the darkness? The good ones were anyway, she decided. There were plenty of bad ones out there and no law and order to keep them in check. It was a might-made-right world, where everyone, the good and the bad, lived in fear of the awful darkness from the ever-hungry waiting corpses. She decided she would be a point of light. But was that possible? Or would the hunger and cold of the bestial instincts with them eventually drive all of them to madness and hopelessness?

She shook her head at the uncomfortable thought. She thought back to her friend Barbara. She had been a point of light. When Baraba had gone hungry she had shared. When Jodi had been sick and wounded, Barbara had kept a vigilant watch, hovering like a gentle mother hen until Jodi had regained her strength. When their safe-house was overran, Barabara had given her all, allowing Jodi to escape into the night. 

Barbara had been quite devout. She claimed she followed the "truth and the light, the life and the way." And then she'd start to pray. 

Barbara had always been annoyingly cheerful. Jodi frowned. She had never figured out how she done it. Even amidst the encroaching darkness of a civilization gone dark, Barbara had somehow managed it. That didn't mean there wasn't sorrow. There was sorrow, but there was also a an abiding optimism. Jodi had asked her once... what had Barabar said? The words came back to her now, and she could almost fancy hearing the gentle voice whisper in her ear above the smoky crackle of the fire. 

"I'm his lamp, girl!" Barbara had said in her characteristic humor. "I ain't gonna keep it hidden under some dark dank bushel, no thank you very much. That don't do anyone no good at all. I'm gonna let it shine for all to see!"

"But why? What do you hope to accomplish? The world is lost!" Jodi had replied in frustration. 

"Says who? You?" Barbara had leaned forward and she touched her own chest and then Jodi's forehead. "I'm still here and you're still here! The world needs to see the light so they can be reminded who they really are. It's in the greatest darkness that we need the hope granted by even the smallest spark of light." 

And Barbara's eyes had that spark then. A spark of something more than what was reflected from their old Coleman lantern.

Jodi swallowed a salty warm tear of remembrance, and the smile lingered long on her face. She nodded in agreement and stared into the fire, continuing her starlit vigil under the billions of points of light that speckled the deep and endless vastness above.

Thus ends Season 1 of Jodi's Story.
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