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     Sanctuary, tag ken w/ mike
    McKenna McBride
     Posted: Oct 3 2014, 06:08 PM
    Quote Post
    Kenna
    Surgeon
    Smith & Wesson M&P40C Compact Pistol
    N/A
    Smith & Wesson Tactical Folding Knife
    Female
    1-October 14
    18 posts
    played by chelsea
    Awards: None
    Offline


    SIEZE THE DAY OR DIE REGRETTING ,
    the time you lost It's empty and cold without you here Too many people to ache over I see my vision burn I feel my memories fade with time But I'm too young to worry These streets we travel on Will undergo our same lost past I found you here Now please just stay for a while I can move on with you around I hand you my mortal life But will it be forever? - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    Just keep running. Don’t stop. Gotta keep going.” McKenna silently reminded herself as they ran through the woods. Branches repeatedly smacking her in the face but her hands were too full to block them. Ken looked behind her at Alex. She was back a little bit but keeping up. Her eyes fell down to the little girl who was desperately clinging to Kenna’s hand. Emily. She was a sweet girl, too young for to be through all of this shit. She was fortunate to have made it this far. Her family, the ones that took in Alex and Kenna, were good people. They had gotten separated from their group a while back and had held their own in a house. A house who’s owner had fallen by the blade of Ken’s knife. Things had gotten hairy for a bit and when it was too much they left. Where they were headed, neither of them knew, but they were on the run for their lives.

    After a bit McKenna stopped. She dropped Emily’s hand and supported her weight on her knees. She was trying to catch her breath. Panting, Ken stood up and shed her backpack from her shoulder. She pulled out one of the liter bottles of water and handed it to Emily first before taking a drink. ”You alright?” She asked between pants. Emily nodded and sat down on the ground to rest. McKenna looked around and took in the sights. It was quiet, no creepers around. For the moment, they were safe. McKenna looked at Alex and then down at Emily. How did things go from not bad to total shit storm in the matter of a few hours. ”Where do we go now?” She asked rhetorically. There was no where to go, nowhere was safe or so that was the general feeling the older girls were getting.

    Ken gave Emily the water bottle and one of the protein bars that she had scavenged. Apparently, many people didn’t think to check gyms for supplies. Alex and Ken found a few bottles of water and boxes of protein bars which they split and carry with them. The girl tore into the food and guzzled half the bottle of water like it was nothing. McKenna sighed and picked up the bag to put back on her shoulders. ”We need to keep moving. We’re exposed out here and it’s not safe.” Alex helped Emily up from the ground and the group of three started walking. It didn’t take them long to find a road. The older girls agreed to stay off of it and walk along side of it, hidden in case anyone was to come by. Little by little the sun started to set and it was getting darker by the minute.

    ”Someone’s coming.” Emily said startled. McKenna grabbed her shoulder and moved her between the two older girls’ bodies. ”Get down.” She whispered. They squatted behind the branches and waited as the large SUV passed by quickly. McKenna signaled for them to wait just in case another one came behind it. “They might have a camp nearby. Let’s go.” They stood up and took off down the road in the direction the car had gone. The sun was just about to set behind the tree line when the fence rows came into view. Cautiously, McKenna lead them up to the gate. ”Hello? Is there anyone in there? We have a little girl and no where else to go. Please… help us.”

    KEN • OUTFIT • ILY
    TEMPLATE CODED BY LOUISE OF CAUTION
    ^
    Artemus Keith
     Posted: Oct 4 2014, 12:37 AM
    Quote Post
    Reluctant Shepherd
    Gen. Manager, McMillian Construction Co.
    Common Sense...hopefully
    56
    N/A
    Male
    11-March 14
    37 posts
    played by Ken
    Awards: None
    Offline


    Art was sitting at the far end of a large table set up in the communal area of the Warehouse. He was quietly helping Rondell and Terri sort through the spoils of today’s foraging parties. The pickings seemed to be getting a bit slimmer these days, which meant they’d have to start relying more on the food they were growing and raising. It was that, venture into parts of the town they typically avoided, or push out further towards places like Scottsville, Chesterfield, and Society Hill. Sooner or later it would have to come to that, whether they had the resources or the strength to do so or not. They had lost a lot of good people lately, and most of the others weren’t too tempted to get far from the compound. Tommy was laid up with his gout again, and Charlie had picked up a stomach bug. Worse still, morale was in the toilet. For the last couple of months they’d suffered some bad luck or twists of fate or whatever one cared to call it. The attack by Los Dementes had been bad enough, but then Jake got bit, Elliot disappeared, and even Rondell there fell and broke his arm escaping biters. There was still bad blood between Mike and Dave, and getting them to work together was close to impossible. Then, of course, everyone was still looking at him to fix things when he could barely scrape up enough food and medicines to keep going day-to-day. If there was one saving grace it was the change in the weather. Fall was well on its way now, and the oppressive heat of the day had given way to cooler nights. Longer cooler nights, which meant even less time to forage, chop wood, hunt, and fish. The cold weather would bring about its own set of challenges, but for the time being what little crops they had were in and with the generator they recovered from downtown...electricity wasn’t going to be a problem anytime soon.

    He shoved the sad remnants of the cigar he’d been chewing on back into his mouth and went back to the task at hand. These days the foragers grabbed anything of value, where as before they looked for certain things. It would come back stuffed in trashbags and bedsheets or whatever they could find to carry stuff in. A bottle of Excedrin went into the medicines pile; a traveler’s pack of toothpaste went into personal hygiene; and a book of matches went into his pocket. There was some food, like packets of instant grits and a huge can of tomato sauce, but most of it was dry goods. No ammunition and no batteries. Art checked his watch. It was twenty minutes before the change of guards, which was something Mike normally handled. Tonight, he’d stand watch too as they were a bit short-handed. The two of them were long overdue for a heart-to-heart as well, and he could use the younger man’s advice. Just as he stood up to get his coat and rifle, Gary Holsten rushed in with a shocked look on his face. “Art! There’s people at the gate!” Those words energized everyone in earshot, and those that didn’t hear it reacted the excited motions of the others. Art ran through the front office area and grabbed his gear and naturally expecting the worse. The last people that came to the gate ran over it with a semi, and everyone was extra wary of another attack. “Rondell!”, he barked at the black man, “Get the exterior lights on. Alyssa...pass the word and get the kids to the bunker. Terri...you’re with me, darling.” The small walkie-talkie he always seemed to carry now came to life.

    =Art. We got people at the gate. Looks like two women and a kid.=, came Silas’ voice.

    “They armed?”, he asked back.

    =Can’t tell. No long weapons, though. What you want us to do?=

    “Make sure they aren’t decoys. Might be others in the tree line or just out of site. I’m on the way,” he replied. Quickly, he was out the front doors and into the parking lot. The gate was now bathed in light provided by a recently installed spotlight. Darkness had played a role in the successful attack on the compound back in the summer, and they were determined that it not happen again. It was used sparingly to obviously conserve power, but also because it drew walkers like moths to a flame. When he got there, Henry and Micah both had their weapons drawn on them. As was typically his way, Art was more cordial and kept his weapon down but his eyes were straining beyond the women for hidden dangers. When he didn’t see any, he addressed them directly. “Evening,” he said sternly. “Under normal circumstances we’d be happy to oblige you ladies. Problem is...folks ain’t as nice as they used to be.” The blonde standing in the center appeared the less afraid of the group, so he assumed she was the honcho. “Ya’ll survived a year in hell like the rest of us, so I assume you’re smart enough to know being out after dark ain’t the best place to be. Care to tell me how ya’ll came to be here? And...I’d move slowly if I was ya’ll.” Being a father, the girl drew his attentions. She looked...familiar. Very familiar. Taking a couple of steps to the side and forward so he could see her better, Art suddenly realized where he’d seen that face -- in a picture by Mike’s bunk. “You, little miss,” he said...his pulse suddenly racing. “You’re name wouldn’t happen to be Emily, is it?”

    The ten year old gingerly stepped out from behind the blonde. She looked up at the two other women, seemingly unsure if she should answer. After a long pause, she nodded. “Yes, sir. Emily. Emily Cleyburne.”

    The night went completely silent. Every person on the inside of the fence was entirely stunned, if not outright shocked. “Oh sweet Jesus,” Art finally said, and pulled off his hat. His mind still wouldn’t process it for a moment. Reality snapped him back finally and he waved for the others to lower their weapons. “Henry,” he said...his voice almost cracking. “Open the gate for these ladies. Gary...run go tell Alyssa and Camila we got company and from the looks of it...they could use a good meal. Terri,” he said with a big smile of relief over his shoulder, “Go get Mike. Tell him to hurry.” As everyone sprung into action, the gate slid open and Art waved them all in. He had an excitement in the pit of his stomach he’d not felt in a long, long time. “Come on in. It ain’t much, but it’s home. Name’s Art Keith. I guess I’m the closest thing to a leader we got around here.”

    Art's Outfit

    --------------------
    user posted image
    ^
    McKenna McBride
     Posted: Oct 4 2014, 01:33 AM
    Quote Post
    Kenna
    Surgeon
    Smith & Wesson M&P40C Compact Pistol
    N/A
    Smith & Wesson Tactical Folding Knife
    Female
    1-October 14
    18 posts
    played by chelsea
    Awards: None
    Offline


    SIEZE THE DAY OR DIE REGRETTING ,
    the time you lost It's empty and cold without you here Too many people to ache over I see my vision burn I feel my memories fade with time But I'm too young to worry These streets we travel on Will undergo our same lost past I found you here Now please just stay for a while I can move on with you around I hand you my mortal life But will it be forever? - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    McKenna stood with Emily behind her. Never was her hand not on the little girl. It seemed like everything was taking forever. In the distance Ken could hear the moans and groans of the creepers. She glanced over to Alex who was keeping a mindful eye, but was also nervous as can be. This was not their ideal situation but they didn’t have a choice. Night was falling too quickly for them to move on down the road. Bright lights flicked on causing the three of them to cover their eyes quickly. She turned and pulled Emily tighter. Voices could be heard over the wall and Kenna turned her head back towards the gate in front of them. ”HELLO!?” She yelled out again.

    About that time two men appeared with large guns pointed at them. Turning quickly again she made sure Emily was covered with her body , as well as most of Alex. ”Please, we’re not armed…” She said holding up her hand that wasn’t pulling the little girl closer to her back. A man in a cowboy hat walked up between the other two. All three of them heavily armed. McKenna held her ground. Even with her heart about to bust through her chest she had to remain calm. He made his statement about people not being as nice as they used to be. She cocked her head up a notch to show that she was just as strong as he was. ”You’re right. They’re not.” Her voice was steady even through the quaking her in mind. He wanted to know how they found the camp, how they had made it so far. McKenna looked over her shoulder at Alex and then back to the man. ”We followed a car that passed by. Listen, we just need somewhere to stay…” She noticed the way the man was looking at Emily and didn’t like it in the slightest. She moved her body to cover her a little more before he spoke directly to the girl. He knew her name? How could he know that?

    Emily stepped from around Kenna and answered him. The blond stepped up and put her hands over the girl’s chest to pull her back. She didn’t know these people and even though they had only known Emily for a short time, McKenna felt as though she had to protect her. She was going to protect her from anything or anyone. The reaction that the man had given wasn’t what Kenna had expected. ”What’s going on?” Alex whispered. Ken just shook her head and watched as the guns lowered and the gate opened. With a sideways stare she watched with caution. There wasn’t a sinking feeling that this was a bad idea. The overly cautious nature that has come to be a sixth sense to everyone anymore wasn’t alarming McKenna to run for it. The moaning coming from the woods behind her was, however, pushing her into the gate. ”C’mon.” She whispered. McKenna pushed forward, still holding on to Emily, and together they walked into the gate. ”It’s more than what we’ve had for a while. I’m McKenna. That’s Alex and apparently you already know Emily.” She looked down at the girl and then back up to this Art fellow. ”How do you know her? Where are we?”

    KEN • OUTFIT • ILY
    TEMPLATE CODED BY LOUISE OF CAUTION

    ^
    Mike Cleyburne
     Posted: Oct 5 2014, 04:30 PM
    Quote Post
    N/A
    Teacher/National Guardsman
    Seven-six-two millimeter...Full Metal Jacket
    N/A
    .45ACP Pistol
    Male
    7-March 14
    93 posts
    played by Ken
    Awards: 1

    Offline


    Mike's Attire


    Art ushered the three females into the gate, and nodded at Henry to close it. He gave them all a big, fatherly smile...which he hadn’t the opportunity to do in a very long while. He followed that with a warm handshake for both, holding his hat over his heart as he did so. “The answer to yer first question will be answered in a minute. As far as where ya are...welcome to Bridgend, or what’s left of it. I used to be the manager here before the apocalypse. Now, it’s home or at least sanctuary.” Naturally, he looked them all over but his eyes kept coming back to the girl. The two women were both young and very attractive...the last of which was more a liability given the depravity of the living monsters that still roamed the earth. The fact they’d made it this far said a lot about them, and even moreso that they arrived at their gate alone. They were all on alert -- eyes moving from person to person and checking out the compound, which was expected. The blonde especially seemed brave and unflappable. Their clothes and gear wasn’t too worse for wear, but it was obvious they’d been wandering for a while. Like everyone that lived day-to-day outside a fence, they were tired, ragged, hungry, and cautious. “Now that ya found us, y’all are welcome to stay as long as ya like. We got plenty of space. In fact, I’m pretty sure one of us’ll insist on it,” he chuckled lightly. “All we ask is that you behave yourselves, respect others, and pitch in with the chores. Other than that, you can come and go as ya please.” Just as he finished, two biters stumbled out of the darkness and against the gate. Art nodded at Henry, who shouldered his shotgun and picked up a sharpened metal rod. The undead were quickly dispatched.

    “Dad”, came the ever familiar voice from behind him. Art did a half-turn toward the approaching woman. “You can talk them to death while they rest and eat,” she chastised him. “Not to mention its getting a little chilly out here.”

    “Alright, sweetie,” he said with a nod. He looked back at the new guests. “This is my daughter, Jenny. Luckily I have her around to remind me of my manners. Jenny...this is McKenna, Alex, and...Emily.”

    “Emily…”, Jenny said inquisitively and clasped her hands in front of her. She seemed to study the little girl’s face hard. “Not the Emily that…”

    “Yup,” her father said and put his hand on her shoulder. “Met Emily Cleyburne.”

    Jenny’s eyes went wide and she quickly covered her gaping mouth with her hands. “Oh my,” she managed to whisper...and tears began to fill her eyes. “Mister Mike…”

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Having some folks in the sickbay meant the Warehouse was shorthanded on the guard watches, which meant everyone still able had to stand guard a little longer. Mike, Dave, and Samuel were walking the fence perimeter although at different parts and different times. Having Dave around with a weapon made him wary. Art had went out of his way to keep the two of them separated, but there was nothing he could do about it tonight. Since escaping Columbia, Mike kept a third eye in the back of his head anyway. In fact, he welcomed Dave to try something so Cleyburne would have one less problem to worry about. Neither Truett nor evil lurking outside the fence occupied his thoughts this evening. He thought about Becca Woodward and Jackson Shaw, and how they continued to live outside fences. Sometimes he wondered if they shouldn’t be trying something similar...sending out expeditions to make contact with other cells. It was obvious that there were other survivors, and surely some of them had to be willing to share resources and manpower. In the end, even Bridgend could only last for so long without more food, more supplies, and more people. The commotion up by the gate immediately put him on alert, and he eased over toward the Shop. Other than the distant moan of walkers, the night had been drearily quiet. This time of the year there were no nocturnal insects or chirping birds...nothing that broke the monotonous darkness. It made paying attention difficult, especially after a day of cutting wood or trying to hunt up supplies and exhaustion began to sit in. But now indiscernible voices drifted across the yard, and Mike leaned against the corner of the shop trying to listen. His eyes continued to scan the darkness, but other than an impaled walker flailing mindlessly down by the ravine...nothing moved.

    The spotlight came on and Mike had to shield his eyes for a moment until they adjusted. It was only supposed to be turned on in emergencies, so now he was really concerned. Flipping the safety off of his rifle, he saw a dark form sprint his way. It was Terri. When she got to him, she was breathing hard and smiling from ear to ear. She pulled on his arm in some crazed desperation to get him to come. It was almost comical since she couldn’t talk, but Terri didn’t act this way unless it was damn important. She lead off back toward the gate, waving him to follow. Mike frowned and jogged slowly behind her. He still felt uneasy and turned his head left and right repeatedly to check the fences. When he got there, everyone seemed to be mulling around in a good mood...which was something long missing in the compound. All eyes and smiles fell on him and his uneasiness now became more a curious suspicion. The last time he saw something like this, Heather had thrown him a surprise birthday party -- after he asked her not to. Mike’s eyes fell to the strangers taking to Art. Two women out here all alone?, he thought. But it wasn’t that strange. They’d found were three teenagers had survived out in the river swamp, so anything was possible. Even with a young girl…

    He suddenly held his breath. The image his eyes was sending to his brain registered, but there was some part that didn’t believe it. But it was her. He’d recognize that face, hair, and silhouette anywhere. Even though all he had was a picture now, she had been the face he rose to the sun with and closed his eyes at night. Yes, it is her! His brain was screaming at him now, but Mike instantly felt drained. Emotions that had haunted him...others that he’d buried or thought he’d lost...they all rushed forward and hit him like an ocean wave. The last time he’d felt such a overwhelming sensation he’d been kneeling at the graves of his wife and father. But that was pain, sorrow, and despair. This…this was a resounding joy that took several moments to seep into every fiber of his being. It was his daughter. “Emi?”, he managed to whisper. Still, it sounded like a shot because everyone had went silent. Finally, he exhaled deeply. “Emi!”, he repeated much louder. His whole body seemed to quiver at what he was certain was a miracle. Legs that felt like lead weights were made to move slowly at first, but finally into a run. SHE’S ALIVE! was all that kept repeating in his head. The dirty blonde ten-year old turned to him at the sound of her name....a voice and a nickname that only one person possessed. “DADDY!”, she screamed instantly recognizing him. She zig-zagged around the other adults and charged right at him. Mike dropped his rifle on the run, as tears were already blurring his vision. She leapt into his arms and called his name again. “Emily!”, he cried and clutched her tight to his chest. His heart swelled to the point he thought it would burst. It felt hard to breath and even harder to talk. He buried his face in the crook of her shoulder and neck as tears of sheer happiness flooded down his face. Emily likewise sobbed uncontrollably...her little body shaking with every breath. Mike may have gotten five steps before he dropped to his knees...the emotion too much to bear him physically. Everything around them slowly evaporated until it was just the two of them, father and daughter rejoined at last. He pulled back and searched her pretty face. She’d always looked like her mother, but had his father’s eyes. Stroking her hair, he kissed her cheek again and again before cradling her once more.

    “I knew you’d come back,” she whispered in his ear. Mike closed his eyes and shamelessly let the tears roll.

    Art turned from the scene sniffling and wiped his eyes with an old handkerchief from his pocket. Finally...a little hope, he said to himself. As a father, he could well imagine the feeling the two of them were experiencing. He managed a smile and put his arm around Jenny, who immediately hugged him back tightly. “Praise the Lord,” he said lowly and composed himself. “Let’s uh...let them be to themselves for awhile,” he told the others. He and Jenny drew closer to the two women. “I wanna thank you two for taking care of Emily. She ain’t mine, but Mike...he’s an important reason we’ve lasted this long. He deserves his daughter and his happiness. As far as I’m concerned...ya’ll both got a home here,” he said with a firm nod. “C’mon, we’ll get ya settled and fed. I’m sure we all got stories to tell.”

    --------------------
    user posted image
    ^
    McKenna McBride
     Posted: Oct 5 2014, 05:57 PM
    Quote Post
    Kenna
    Surgeon
    Smith & Wesson M&P40C Compact Pistol
    N/A
    Smith & Wesson Tactical Folding Knife
    Female
    1-October 14
    18 posts
    played by chelsea
    Awards: None
    Offline


    SIEZE THE DAY OR DIE REGRETTING ,
    the time you lost It's empty and cold without you here Too many people to ache over I see my vision burn I feel my memories fade with time But I'm too young to worry These streets we travel on Will undergo our same lost past I found you here Now please just stay for a while I can move on with you around I hand you my mortal life But will it be forever? - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    Being a part of her own group, her family, for a year was easy. They worked together before the fall out and even lived together for the most part. Being a part of something new was terrifying. McKenna and Alex didn’t know these people from Adam and they sure didn’t want to leave Emily with the. They seemed to know her by the way they used her name. It was strange how connected all survivors in the area were. At one point or another they have crossed paths. Made things a little more difficult when you saw them stumbling around in an undead state. Art gave them a speech about what was expected of them. It was nice to not have to think but McKenna had learned to be afraid of what she didn’t know. This place had rules, structure, and an authority. None of which had survived outside of those gates. People killed for lesser reasons than they had before. If you say the wrong word in a cross manner you could have been shot and not given a second thought. McKenna held onto Emily a little tighter. The older man was telling them they could stay. That people would want them to stay. Something was a bit off by that offering but Ken didn’t know why her subconscious was scream at her, yet.

    A girl walked up and exchanged words with the man. McKenna took the time to look around her. Apparently, they were the biggest commotion to happen to this sleepy little town for quite a while. He introduced the girl to the new group. McKenna nodded in acknowledgement of her name as did Alex. Emily beamed when he got to her name. “Why do you keep saying her name like that?” She asked. Something was going on that the blond didn’t understand. About that time he could hear someone behind the crowd that had gathered call the little girl’s name. Her grip tightened for a split second before the girl pulled away and took off running. McKenna followed her through the people who parted for her to see the scene play out. Her mouth opened slightly in disbelief. Emily’s father was alive?

    She couldn’t help but tear up at the sight. Clearly, both of them had given up hope that the other was alive. To witness the reunion was actually something special. Alex walked up to join McKenna as they stood there watching the father and daughter. Art appeared with Jenny in his arm. Even though it was a happy moment McKenna couldn’t help but feel jealousy and sadness. Her family was all gone. Even though she hadn’t made it home yet she knew they couldn’t survive. Hope wasn’t an easy thing to come by. Even with her devout faith it was tough to hold out the insane notion that they were still living.

    Art told the group to basically disperse. When he thanked the two women for taking car of Emily McKenna shrugged. ”I wasn’t about to leave her. I just hope someone would do the same for me.” She left out the part that she has kind fallen in love with the little girl. Being a mom was out of the question for her so Emily was as good as she will ever get. Now, she was gone back to her real father. Slowly, McKenna turned from the two people embraced on the ground. The leader told them that they were going to get settled and eat. At the sound of the word McKenna’s stomach growled with hunger. ”That sounds good. Thank you.” Alex said as she hoisted her pack on her shoulders a bit more. Even though they were both weary of the situation they knew that they had to stay, at least the night. Being out there in the dark wasn’t safe and like Jenny had said the temp was dropping dramatically. Tomorrow, the two girls would figure out what to do next.

    KEN • OUTFIT • ILY
    TEMPLATE CODED BY LOUISE OF CAUTION
    ^
    Artemus Keith
     Posted: Oct 6 2014, 04:42 AM
    Quote Post
    Reluctant Shepherd
    Gen. Manager, McMillian Construction Co.
    Common Sense...hopefully
    56
    N/A
    Male
    11-March 14
    37 posts
    played by Ken
    Awards: None
    Offline



    Art sat quietly with his legs crossed and his hat dangling from his boot. He watched the two women wolf down the food that had been put in front of them. The dining area they were in was once the company’s conference room, with a huge round table in the center. It wasn’t quite big enough to get everyone in at one sitting, but then, they never got to. Someone was always sleeping, working, or standing guard so the table rarely saw more than five or six people at a time. The food was that evening’s supper, which was still warm on the custom made wood stoves they cooked on. That seitan recipe was worth its weight in gold and then some. Fried up in some pork fat and you’d swear it was bacon. Throw in some locally grown green beans and red potatoes, add a hunk of cornbread...and one might even start to feel like they were home. Or at least that this wasn’t the end of the world. It wasn’t every day they got to eat so well, but their first summer crop was in and it was better to eat it up than to let it rot. Jenny had graciously offered to stand Mike’s watch while he and Emily bonded. Just about everyone had come in to introduce themselves, except Charlie who was still down with that stomach ailment. Alyssa, who was acting as host, chatted with the ladies and made sure their gear had been stowed and their plates and cups stayed full. Terri stayed as well, but kept looking out the window and wiping her eyes.

    He waited patiently until they were about done, sipping his near-coffee in the meantime. “Well, now that the newness is worn off y’all,” he grinned, “I guess we can chat a bit. I’m guessing y’all were part of a larger group somewhere. Not many folk survive alone or in pairs for any length of time anymore, unless you’re Tarzan or Rambo.” Art studied them both as he spoke, as was his way, to see if he could read into their characters. Outwardly, they seemed decent enough people. A ten year old out on the road was an unfortunate liability in the cold reality they lived in now, so for someone to step up and care for one spoke volumes. The pretty blonde especially seemed capable and strong-willed. The proof was always in the pudding, but for the moment he didn’t see an reason to be uptight or suspicious with them here. “We get a few strangers every now and then, but they’re usually not the friendly kind. We’ve found out the hard way that the living can be monsters, too. Don’t be surprised if a few of us act a little wary around y’all.” He glanced over at Terri, who was forever distrustful of people that didn’t belong. Usually she’d watch newcomers like a hawk, but this time she seemed uninterested.

    Micah walked in with an unlit pipe clenched between his teeth, and propped his rifle in the corner. He was older than Art was, and as such moved slow and deliberately. But he was easily the most positive and upbeat of the group, if one couldn’t tell by the little twinkle in his eyes as he spoke. “Got you ladies a couple of nice spots to sleep in now. Used to be storage racks, but they got soft mattresses and clean blankets on them.” He pulled out a chair, dropped into it, and took off his hat. “So...did I miss the good stuff? Where they from, where they’re going, what they did before...that sort of interesting conversation?”

    Art chuckled and shook his head. “Nah, you didn’t. We were just getting ta all that. That is...if they don’t mind tellin’ us,” he said and folded his hands into his lap.

    --------------------
    user posted image
    ^
    McKenna McBride
     Posted: Oct 7 2014, 05:28 PM
    Quote Post
    Kenna
    Surgeon
    Smith & Wesson M&P40C Compact Pistol
    N/A
    Smith & Wesson Tactical Folding Knife
    Female
    1-October 14
    18 posts
    played by chelsea
    Awards: None
    Offline


    SIEZE THE DAY OR DIE REGRETTING ,
    the time you lost It's empty and cold without you here Too many people to ache over I see my vision burn I feel my memories fade with time But I'm too young to worry These streets we travel on Will undergo our same lost past I found you here Now please just stay for a while I can move on with you around I hand you my mortal life But will it be forever? - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    McKenna followed her leader. She was still skeptical and watching everything they passed that she could see. The sun had sunken behind the curve of the world leaving the small camp dark. Within some of the windows she could see the flicker of candles and lamps. Someone was burning something, probably for warmth as the temp had dropped. They walked into a larger building and was lead down the corridors. "Is there anywhere we can wash up?" McKenna asked as she sat her pack down in the room the were left in. The two women were directed to a bowl with a pitcher in the corner. A half used bar of soap was on the table beside it but it was better than nothing. She washed her hands after Alex and wiped them off on a towel. The food, whatever it was, smelled so good. It had been such a long time that they ate something that didn't come out of a can and was luke warm.

    McKenna and Alex threw manners out the window. She had no idea how hungry she was until she put the first bite of the meat in her mouth. Meat was a term used lightly as it had a very odd texture that wasn't meat but it was filling. Ken was almost done with half her plate when Art started asking them questions. She swallowed her bite hard and nodded. "We were. There was four of us that moved together for a long time. They were killed a few weeks ago." She said solemnly. The guys had become their friends before the fallout, and the fact that they worked tirelessly to protect the girls made them closer. There may have been a night or two that McKenna and Todd, one of the residents, hooked up to make the world seem not so terrible. But the next day just reiterated how terrible their lives had become. Eventually, the hook ups stopped because Todd was killed and McKenna was back to being alone. Art spoke how how the living can be worse monsters than the dead. The only thing Ken could do was look over at Alex and then back to the older man before nodding. "We've met some of those monsters so don't take it the wrong way if we are a little stand off-ish as well."

    She pushed her nearly empty plate back and leaned back in the chair. She felt sick to her stomach with all the food that was in it. She had eaten more in that one meal than she has in the last two weeks. An older man walked in with a pipe telling them that they had beds for the night. Best words she's ever heard. "Thank you, so much." She said with a face full of gratitude. She didn't trust many people lately but it seems that they had found somewhere they could stay. Of course, she would have to talk to Alex but it seemed like a God send. Something of higher power must of brought the three girls to the gates of this small community. McKenna's faith had never faltered since day one and because of it she felt this was meant to be. "Where we are from?" She repeated. Alex sighed and excused herself to the little girls room.

    McKenna leaned forward and rested her elbows on the table. "I suppose you want the whole story.""We were doctors in Chapel Hill. Surgeons. And when the shit started to hit the fan we locked down the hospital and survived there for a while. The doctors that were left tried to take care of the patients the best we could but we were out number and under supplied. We ended up having to leave after the last patient that lived had opted to make a run for it. We decided to try and find each other's families, one at a time. Each time we stopped at a house we found the family members had died. Most was suicide but a few had turned. We would stay in the houses for as long as the supplies last and then move on. Somewhere along the way we accepted that our families were dead, but we were going to keep searching. It was easier to have no expectations than be surprised than let down. After Alex's house we crossed into South Carolina and was headed for my parent's house since it was the furthest south. We stopped along the way for supplies; guns, clothes, ammo, when we found a small town about two hours north. There was a small group there that had gotten stranded and separated. They took us in and we stayed with them for a few weeks. They had Emily. Long story short we were attacked by a mob of creepers. The three of us ran for it and kept running for a while. Tonight we got lucky and your caravan passed us and we ended up at your gate."

    KEN • OUTFIT • ILY
    TEMPLATE CODED BY LOUISE OF CAUTION
    ^
    Artemus Keith
     Posted: Oct 8 2014, 04:04 PM
    Quote Post
    Reluctant Shepherd
    Gen. Manager, McMillian Construction Co.
    Common Sense...hopefully
    56
    N/A
    Male
    11-March 14
    37 posts
    played by Ken
    Awards: None
    Offline


    Art listened carefully to the two women tell their story. He rocked his elevated foot and glanced more than once toward Micah. Everyone’s survival story was a sad, sometimes gut-wrenching -- one, and worse still...it was a story without an end these days. Those still living woke every morning with one purpose in mind, and that was to live to see the next sunrise. In the process you had to adapt, or you died. Many gave up their humanity in the interest of self-preservation, which in the end made them more animal and really no better than the biters anyway. He remembered the early days of the outbreak, where panic, uncertainty, and fear reigned. It had been so sickening to watch people he knew well like friends and neighbors turn on each other, or ready threw one another to the wolves when faced with life and death. On a certain level he could understand the will to live, but the cost of living without compassion or dignity would certainly spell the end of mankind. People now were too selfish and scared to see that far ahead. “You’re welcome. Least we can do for ya’ll helping Emily,” he said with a kind nod. Alyssa gathered up their plates and returned with a pitcher of water and a treat -- two cans of Pepsi.

    “If ya’ll will excuse me...I need to help Camila get the kids settled.” She reached over and squeezed both of the women’s hand. “God bless you both,” the black lady said with a tearful smile. “I hopes you’ll stay with us.”

    “Amen,” Art added. “Appreciate the help. Goodnight, Alyssa.” When Alex asked to go to the bathroom, Alyssa volunteered to show her where it was. He figured neither of them has seen a functioning toilet or shower in awhile, either.

    The moment McKenna said “doctor” both Art and Micah sat straight up in their chairs. He listened to the rest of her story, but that word just hung in his head. How many people had they lost simply because they couldn’t get proper medical attention? And now they had two of them inside the compound? Art looked over at Micah, whose mouth was so wide open he had to catch his pipe before it fell out. Most of the people that had medical training in town were at the hospital when the outbreak came to Bridgend. They were almost immediately quarantined by the state and the military. Those that remained were faced with an onslaught of panicked civilians who began to fight authority and each other over precious resources at first, and then for simple freedom after the town had been locked down. They didn’t know of any that had survived the first couple of weeks. Tommy Groghan was the closest thing they had, and he replied more on home-grown remedies and “voodoo” medicine (as he called it) than anything scientific. He waited patiently for her to finish, then gave her a brief history of what the apocalypse had brought to Bridgend. Specifically, it involved the sixty or so original survivors that had camped at the Pee Dee River bridge. He explained of how it was overrun on night, and that everyone that could scattered. A handful followed Art in swimming across the river and ultimately they came here because of the protection of the fence. They found Tommy and his tiny band a couple of weeks later. “As for Mike, Charlie, and Terri...I’m sure Mike would probably want to tell you that himself.” Folding his hands in the table, the elder man switched subjects. “You have to know that doctors are worth their weight in gold these days,” he said more seriously. It was strange to say that now. Nobody really gave a shit about gold now. Food, shelter, ammunition, maybe...but precious metals? No. The real value in paper money now was that it was good for starting a fire.

    “We’ve been stockpiling medical supplies for some time,” Micah chimed in. “Medicines, bandages, instruments…most of it we don’t even know what it’s for. Might be that you two could put it to some good use. Couple of us know basic first aid and that’s about it.”

    “We got a couple of sick folks right now,” Art said as he fidgeted with his cup. “Not to mention we could probably all use a good check-up. If you and yer friend don’t wanna stay, that’s up to y’all. But maybe we can do some tradin’ at least. Yer expertise for some supplies.”

    Micah gave Art a sort of stunned, incredulous glare. “Don’t you think we oughta talk it over with…”

    “No,” the leader said resolutely. “We ain’t kidnappers or tyrants. People have always been free ta come and go as they please, and that ain’t changin’...I don’t care how badly we need ‘em around.” He shifted his gaze from Micah to McKenna and brought the smile back. The older man bit down on his pipe, shrugged, and folded his arms across his chest. Terri came over, handed Art a note, and stood next to the doctor for a moment. She had a concerned look on her face. He opened the piece of paper and nodded at Terri before speaking to McKenna. “She was wonderin’ if you’d be so kind as ta look in on Charlie. Poor fella's had stomach issues the last coupla days. We think it might be dysentery.”

    --------------------
    user posted image
    ^
    McKenna McBride
     Posted: Oct 11 2014, 11:26 PM
    Quote Post
    Kenna
    Surgeon
    Smith & Wesson M&P40C Compact Pistol
    N/A
    Smith & Wesson Tactical Folding Knife
    Female
    1-October 14
    18 posts
    played by chelsea
    Awards: None
    Offline


    SIEZE THE DAY OR DIE REGRETTING ,
    the time you lost It's empty and cold without you here Too many people to ache over I see my vision burn I feel my memories fade with time But I'm too young to worry These streets we travel on Will undergo our same lost past I found you here Now please just stay for a while I can move on with you around I hand you my mortal life But will it be forever? - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    McKenna could feel the genuine good will towards the two women from the woman. She sat down a can of Pepsi in front of both girls. She was kind, clearly a good person. There wasn’t really a bad feeling that came from anyone. McKenna knew that taking care of Emily was the right thing to do but she had fallen in love with the little girl in the few weeks. Now here they were being taken in by these strangers for something. ”Thank you.” Ken said softly. She looked from the woman to the can of soda and then back to Art.

    She knew that her skills were valuable. They were needed everywhere and helped when they could. Most of the times, however, they didn’t have the proper medication to take care of common things. The fact that their supplies were low meant that people died of simple illnesses and nothing could be done about it. It was almost as if they lived in the era before modern medicine. The exchange between the two older men had McKenna bit uneasy. She looked over to Alex when he offered them the deal of supplies for their help. It would make sense for them to help these people and be offered supplies, safety, and food in return. Of course, they had yet to have time to talk over what they were going to do but it made sense.

    There was so much going on between the people coming and going that McKenna found herself letting her mind wonder. She was curious as to where Emily was but was brought out of her thoughts when she heard the words dysentery. She snapped her head up and looked from Art to the piece of paper and then up to the girl. ”I’m sorry, what? You want me to examine him?” She asked with a sigh. McKenna ran her hands over her face and nodded. ”Yeah, absolutely.” She agreed with a weak smile. ”Where is he or they, rather?”

    KEN • OUTFIT • ILY
    TEMPLATE CODED BY LOUISE OF CAUTION
    ^
    Mike Cleyburne
     Posted: Oct 14 2014, 05:24 PM
    Quote Post
    N/A
    Teacher/National Guardsman
    Seven-six-two millimeter...Full Metal Jacket
    N/A
    .45ACP Pistol
    Male
    7-March 14
    93 posts
    played by Ken
    Awards: 1

    Offline



    Mike came into the Warehouse through the northern entrance beside the docks. Emily was in his arms...tightly hugging him as if he’d disappear again if she let go. He didn’t know how long they’d been out there, but they must have walked the perimeter together a dozen times. The father’s emotions had run the gauntlet from extreme happiness to profound sadness, and he felt drained. Having his daughter back instantly triggered hopes and dreams of having his life back whole again...which was beyond any possibility. Everything had changed this past year -- even him in some ways. Mike had never given up hope completely that he’d find his daughter, but his hope had honestly run very thin the last month or so. The camp’s luck had seemingly took a downward turn, especially with the loss of several people. With all the death and destruction coupled with the daily grind just to stay alive had simply numbed him to the possibilities of ever seeing her alive again. Once he saw her though, a year’s worth of emotion poured out and Mike couldn’t stop it. For too long he’d been holding back his anguish and hurt...mostly because he was needed here and had no time for a father’s or husband’s sufferings. He found he could hardly keep a thought in his head at the moment out of sheer excitement. There was so much he wanted to say and do...but it would all come in time.

    Mike sat Emily down on the vanity in the bathroom and began to wash her dirty face. It seemed like a lifetime ago since he had -- his daughter was a very precocious ten-year old that needed very little help or prodding in doing things herself. The dirt had mixed with tears, covering her face in gray streaks. She clutched the front of his jacket and refused to completely let go of him. Carefully, he brushed back her hair and wiped slowly over and over. The more he did the more Heather’s face shown through. Mike’s lip began to tremble, but he swallowed the sadness. He’d gotten Emi back, which was far, far more than he ever expected this cruel, shitty world to do. They had spent their brief time back together talking, with the daughter doing most of it. She’d very clearly and bravely described some of what happened after he’d been called up for duty. For about a month after the town was quarantined, not much happened up at his Dad’s place near the lake. Then as supplies and fuel ran low, people in the neighborhood had ventured out -- and brought death back with them. By the second month they had begun seeing the undead wander into the neighborhood. Some of his father’s neighbor’s panicked and left; the rest sort of banded together in a group. Looters came next, under the guise of wanting to help. There was a fight of some sort, Emi had explained, and Papa John took Heather and his granddaughter back home to hole-up. Another smaller group lead by Emily’s school principal Tobey Williams and Heather’s best friend Nancy Colgate followed and stayed at the house for a few days. Then, a horde of walkers from Bridgend swept through and scattered everyone. Mike’s father and wife were killed then, and Nancy took Emily and two other survivors northeast in hopes of reaching Fort Bragg. Along the way they met her two saviors and their group. Another fight with a swarm of ghouls left the three of them alone.

    Daddy,” Emily said in a somber, low voice, “We need to go see Kenna and Alex. They’ll be worried.”

    “Ok, sweetheart,” he said with a weary nod. “We will...after we’re done here and you eat. Hungry?” Emily nodded her head. As he was wiping the back of her neck, Mike noticed a small bandage just over her right shoulder blade. “What happened?”, he asked with concern as he lifted up the back of her shirt. Carefully, he examined the skin surrounding the bandage but didn’t see any redness or swelling.

    “I got a cut crawling through a window,” she said in a surprisingly calm tone. The young girl turned her head around as far as it would go to see, but it was too far down her shoulder. “We were running from those lurkers a few days ago. Kenna had to put stitches in it,” she said much softer and sorrowful. “But it’s better now.”

    “That what ya’ll call ‘em?”, he asked. Everyone new that came through seemed to have their own name for the creatures...all equally fitting. “Stitches? Damn. I mean,” he said, trying to correct the wrong of cursing in front of his child. “Wow. Yer friends look like they took good care of you.”

    Emily pulled her shirt down and nodded. “They did, Daddy. And they’re doctors, too. Kenna and Alex are good people. They try to help everyone...even the bad ones. They told me the same thing Mama and Papa John did: you can’t help the dead and not to hurt anyone living unless you have to...right?” She sounded as if she was trying to convince him, which given that there weren’t many “good” people left anymore that seemed an appropriate thing to do.

    Mike smiled warmly and touched his daughter’s cheek. “Yes, ma’am...that’s right.” He wasn’t sure he truly believed it was that black-and-white anymore, but that wasn’t a discussion for a ten-year old to get into.

    “I’d like Kenna and Alex to stay with us,” she said bluntly, with a bit of a twinkle in her blue eyes.

    Her father sighed and nodded. That was something that wasn’t up to him, but he owed them both for his daughter’s life and his continued sanity, in part. He didn’t even know where to start repaying a debt like that, but offering the safety and community of the Warehouse would have to suffice for now. “Yeah...so would I.”

    ___________________________________________________________________

    “We call it tha ‘sickbay’,” Art explained as he sipped his coffee. “Jake named it that after somethin’ he saw in a sci-fi show he liked. It just stuck.” It wasn’t much more than a few makeshift, free-standing walls they’d thrown together and some old heavy curtains and sheets they’d hung up. It was located in the far northwest corner of the Warehouse, away from the sleeping and dining areas...yet closer to the bathrooms. It was the best they could do to isolate the sick from the healthy under one roof. Stacked next to it were boxes of medical supplies and equipment, some of which Jenny had been trying to sort and catalog. He was hoping that they’d have a new medical staff soon that could fix it up to suit their needs. He was already having thoughts of one day opening the gates for other groups of people, offering them needed medical care. That would at least give a few more years to hopefully fight off the biters and work toward getting things back to the way they were. It was something that wasn’t going to happen in his lifetime -- too much had been destroyed and people had changed for the worse to make that dream happen anytime soon. But it was a start. “But yeah, if ya’ll would be so kind ta look at ‘em I’d be much obliged.” Art got to his feet, as did everyone else. “If ya’ll will follow me, I’ll show…” When everyone’s eyes turned past him, he turned around in the chair to see Mike and his little girl standing in the doorway. The man had a subdued, even humble look in his face which was an improvement over the brooding one he’d kept the last couple of weeks.

    “Kenna! Alex!,” Emily cried and rushed into the room. She wrapped her arms around the blonde doctor’s waist and buried her face into the woman’s shirt.

    Mike eased in a couple of steps and got his first good look at the two women that had brought Emily back to him. He figured they were younger than he was, despite the fact that this world seemed to age you faster than it had before. They were both very attractive and according to Emily, both doctors. He couldn’t even begin to contemplate the odds of having two beautiful physicians showing up at your doorstep in the middle of an apocalypse...much less with his missing daughter in tow. It had to be nothing short of a miracle. Surely the two of them had to be tough and resourceful beyond the normal survivor. They both carried around two precious commodities that others would readily kill for, not to mention hunt and hold captive. Every night Mike had prayed that Emi was alright and in the hands of people that would care for and hopefully love her someday. But there was always the worst-case scenario. In it, she was being brutalized and victimized in every conceivable way or walking around feeding on the living. Every day that passed, he knew that the odds shifted in favor of the worst cases. His daughter had beaten those odds, though, and the reason was standing right before him. “Art, would you and others excuse us? I have some things I need to say to these two angels of mercy,” he asked without taking his eyes off the women.

    “Of course,” the elder man said with a nod. He waved Alyssa and Micah towards the door.

    “I’ll come, too,” the brunette said and grabbed up her gear. She exchanged looks with the blonde woman and grinned. “I’ll take care of our patients. Join me when you’re done.” Everyone walked out and when the brunette doctor approached Mike, she thrust out her hand. “Name’s Alex. Emily’s a sweet kid, by the way.”

    Mike passed her an atypical friendly smile and shook her hand. “Thank you. I don’t…”

    She threw up the same hand to cut him off. “Kenna’s the one that deserves most of the thanks. She’s kinda the Mother Hen of our group. Me...I’m like the older sister. Besides, I’ve got people to go treat. You can thank me later,” she mused and patted him on chest. With a parting look toward her companion, Alex slipped out of the room. Mike stood there a moment, not completely sure what she meant by that last comment, but deciding not to read anything into it. He turned and faced the blonde with a smile, but still wasn’t sure what to say to her. Luckily, it was Emily that provided the start.

    “Daddy, this is my friend McKenna,” she professed proudly. “I get to call her Kenna because she said it wasn’t safe to call her Doctor McKenna out loud. Kenna,” she grinned and looked upward into the blonde woman’s face, “...this is my Daddy.”

    “Mike,” Cleyburne offered instead and took a couple of steps closer. He ran a hand through his hair in a failed attempt to be presentable. He tried to say something and it got caught in his throat, then taking a deep breath he tried again...but there weren’t words for what he was feeling at the moment. Instead, he just stepped forward and slipped his arms gently around her upper body. His motivation was purely appreciative, but he was lying to himself if it didn’t feel good to have a woman in his arms again. It was awkward for her obviously, but Mike just squeezed her a little tighter until she relaxed and returned the embrace. Closing his eyes, he tried to organize what he needed to say. Breathing her in for a moment, Mike allowed himself the enjoyment of being held in a lovely woman’s arms. “I prayed that someone like you would find Emi if I didn’t,” he whispered next to her ear. “Thank you. I don’t know what else to say but that,” he finished just as his voice started to crack. He stepped back, still holding and rubbing her arms as he stood up straight and got his composure back. The only thing that betrayed him was the lone tear that ran down his cheek, which he ignored.

    “You didn’t just give me my daughter back...you gave me my life back as well. For those I’ll be eternally grateful.” Mike tried to smile, but he’d already shed enough dignity and pride in front of Kenna. He finally dropped his arms to his side and cleared his throat. “Emily says you and...Alex, was it?...are doctors. Must have been terrible for ya’ll. I know they leveled a hospital in Columbia with an airstrike to contain the outbreak...even after they were advised people were still working inside. Can’t imagine it was easy in the beginning.”

    --------------------
    user posted image
    ^
    McKenna McBride
     Posted: Oct 18 2014, 09:52 PM
    Quote Post
    Kenna
    Surgeon
    Smith & Wesson M&P40C Compact Pistol
    N/A
    Smith & Wesson Tactical Folding Knife
    Female
    1-October 14
    18 posts
    played by chelsea
    Awards: None
    Offline


    Alex joined the group back after not long. They were back up to their feet and McKenna grabbed her backpack with her supplies. She listened as Art explained the naming of their ‘sickbay’ and smiled softly. It didn’t really matter what it was called as long as it was separate from the healthy people. Even the most simple of sicknesses could create an epidemic and wipe out their little group of people. She’s seen it before the outbreak and that was when they had ample supplies and antibiotics. Now that those things were hard to come by it wouldn’t take long for it to happen. She removed the hair band from her hair. McKenna’s eyes were focused on the floor until she had the band wrapped around her thick blond hair. Everyone was silent which made her a little concerned when she looked up.

    The girl was wrapping her arms around McKenna’s waist. She was surprised but returned the action quickly. She gripped Emily’s body tightly, holding her against her. Ken bent over slightly to hug her even tighter. She stood up when the man that was Emily’s father walked into the room and spoke. He wanted to talk to them? McKenna stood up straighter and then looked to Alex as she spoke. She was leaving her alone with a strange man? Of course, Emily was in there so he might not try anything but it was still uncomfortable. It the matter of seconds everyone had left the large room except for the three of them.

    Emily introduced McKenna to the man and then proceeded to talk about why she couldn’t call her Dr. Kenna. The blond woman gave a half smile and shrugged as she glanced down at the little girl. She looked up at the man and the look on his face was something she hadn’t seen in a long time; sincerity and appreciation. She gave him a soft smile and nod, “McKenna.” He shocked her by his next move. Mike’s arms were around her shoulders in a solid hug. Instinctively, she lifted her hand and rested it on his back to return the hug. It lasted more than just a typical hug and McKenna found herself enjoying being touched in such a kind way. It was something that was missing from everyday life. He pulled back and her hand dropped back to her side, instantly sliding into her front pocket. “You don’t have to thank me. It was no trouble.”

    She imagined what it would be like if she reunited Emily with her father several times. Every time they were grateful and she would be accepting of their gratitude. Now that it was happening McKenna felt a little awkward about it. She wouldn’t have left Emily ever. He asked about them being doctors and McKenna nodded with her lips pressed into a straight line. ”Yeah, we’re both surgical residents, or we were, rather.” As she spoke McKenna’s fingers ran through Emily’s blond hair as she had done so many times before. ”We were on lockdown but got over run with bodies and then we just… we couldn’t stay. It was tough, hell even, but the will to live is a strong power.”
    ^
    Mike Cleyburne
     Posted: Oct 18 2014, 11:32 PM
    Quote Post
    N/A
    Teacher/National Guardsman
    Seven-six-two millimeter...Full Metal Jacket
    N/A
    .45ACP Pistol
    Male
    7-March 14
    93 posts
    played by Ken
    Awards: 1

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    Mike listened carefully as he slipped his hands into his jacket pockets. The woman doctor was being awfully modest about taking care of Emily out on the road. He’d come over a hundred miles with two adults and it was a chore to keep them alive, so he could only imagine what kind of effort it took for a near-helpless ten year-old. Too many people would have left her to her fate, or done things much worse to her than a walker ever could. The very thought of that turned his stomach, but those where the monsters that inherited the Earth. But none of that mattered now, because she was here safe and sound. He would protect her now and always in hopes that she might have a better future than the present. His eyes drifted back to his daughter. It saddened him that she’d had to endure watching her mother and beloved grandfather die and the world as she knew it was this inescapable hell. But he couldn’t ponder things like that. All Mike could do was keep her safe and made sure she grew up strong and healthy. He’d prepare her as best he could for the dangers outside these fences, and pray to God that these days would pass before it was her turn to be the protector.

    It was odd to see Emi embracing a woman that way who wasn’t her mother. Perhaps it was just the memories that always lingered of the three of them being together. With Heather gone, he supposed it was only natural she clung to the next mother-figure she came across...someone she trusted and cared for. It was obvious that McKenna had taken a liking to his daughter, and that spoke volumes to Mike as to the kind of person she was. Maybe he should have been bitter or freaked out about it, but in all honesty he was quite relieved. He loved his wife and would forever cherish her memory, but she was gone now. Emi needed a female presence in her life and a friend more than ever. God or Fate or something had brought his daughter and McKenna together and then delivered them to his doorstep. No, he’d never say or do anything against the bond they’d formed. Whether she realized it or not, the moment she decided to take care of Emily was the moment she became part of their family. “The world’s a horrible place now,” Mike commented with a nod. “Most folks...they just accept it and wait to get eaten. They survive, but stop living. The stronger of us though, we fight. We fight to get back what once was.” He shifted restlessly on his feet and looked down at the floor. It was too late in the evening to be philosophical or even inspirational.

    “I see Art’s made sure ya’ll been fed. I’m guessin’ he’s also got ya’ll a place to sleep. If he wasn’t told ya...we also have a working bathroom and shower. If you wait until morning, you and your friend can have a hot one.” Mike reached up and scratched the back of his neck. The surprised look on her face begged further explanation. “Yeah, we have a couple of generators that we manage to keep going. Sparingly, of course.” He smiled at Emi and held out his hand. She came over and hugged his waist and looked up at him to return the smile. “There’s some friend of your Daddy’s I want to introduce you to, ok? Once that’s done, we’ll get you settled.”

    “Is this home now?”, she asked innocently.

    “Yeah, sweetheart. It’s home,” Mike smiled. He looked over at McKenna and nodded. “It’s home to us all. I know yer probably more than a little apprehensive ‘bout being here. But these are good people. We look out and take care of each other. We got fences and traps all the way around the perimeter and it’s guarded. Hopefully you and Alex can get a decent night’s sleep for a change. Now...I think I heard something about the sickbay. Let me show you where it’s at.” He took Emily by the hand, who immediately lifted her other out for the beautiful blonde doctor to take. The two adults exchanged looks before Mike spoke up again. “Please. It’s OK. We may as well get used to it. She’s going to need us both for awhile.”

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    ^
    McKenna McBride
     Posted: Oct 23 2014, 12:33 AM
    Quote Post
    Kenna
    Surgeon
    Smith & Wesson M&P40C Compact Pistol
    N/A
    Smith & Wesson Tactical Folding Knife
    Female
    1-October 14
    18 posts
    played by chelsea
    Awards: None
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    There was something behind his eyes. Something that made McKenna curious about him. They were deep and sad. Sure, everyone was sad but Mike was displaying it much more than what she had seen. Most of the time she sees anger on people's faces, anger and desperation. He was clearly happy that Emily was home safely but he had done things that McKenna couldn't comprehend. Emily told the blond about how her mother and grandfather were killed and turned. That only left Mike to kill them like the rest of the monsters in order to protect his daughter. Mike's hands dropped from her shoulders and her hands rested on Emily's. The little girl had become so important to the blond that it felt natural. She knew that she couldn't replace her mother but she could at least love her. Love was something major that was missing from the world. McKenna found that some people were still deserving of love, this little more more than any of them.

    Mike spoke about how most people behaved and McKenna gave him a crooked grin. "I'm not most people." He was hiding something or maybe not but McKenna was somehow drawn to him. Maybe it was their shared love for Emily. Granted, his was a much more powerful kind of love but both of them were just as trapped by it. Maybe trapped wasn't a good word but it has felt that way. Some people might call McKenna an idiot or foolish for taking a small child on the road with them. Alex had fought her on it in the beginning but McKenna is a very strong willed individual. When she wants something she doesn't stop until she makes it so. The world going to shit didn't change that little thing about her. It changed a lot of things but not that. She had sworn an oath, even though that was voided right now, but she still wanted to live by it in some aspects. Protecting a small child was only the beginning. "We're in the world now, make the best of it because its all you have." She glanced down at Emily and smiled before looking back up to Mike.

    " Yeah, it was...filling." It didn't take much to fill people up these days. They've all learned how far their bodies will go without food before it starts to shut down. No one had the options of being picky in this world so you ate what was given to you and were grateful for it. He spoke about the showers and bathrooms and McKenna's jaw dropped. A warm shower would make her feel almost human again. They've been bathing in brooks and streams for so long now a shower would probably feel strange. "We've waited this long, a few more hours won't hurt." Emily left McKenna's side and joined her father. Kenna couldn't help but give a soft smile at the sight. She was home. After all they had been through McKenna followed through with her promise of getting her back to her father. McKenna was going to follow them out but then Emily extended her hand. She wanted to take it but didn't want to cross any lines. Apparently, Mike knew what she was thinking. Slowly, McKenna put her hand in Emily's as her eyes didn't leave Mike's. They were all going to need each other it was just neither of them knew it yet. Kenna glanced down at Emily and smiled. "Let's go!" She said happily.
    ^
    Mike Cleyburne
     Posted: Oct 24 2014, 02:34 PM
    Quote Post
    N/A
    Teacher/National Guardsman
    Seven-six-two millimeter...Full Metal Jacket
    N/A
    .45ACP Pistol
    Male
    7-March 14
    93 posts
    played by Ken
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    Mike sat wearily in an old wooden office chair propped up against one of the Warehouse’s walls. He had a re-used bottle of water in his lap, which he sipped in between talking with the well-wishers of the group. The shift for guard duty had changed, so Silas, Dave, and Camila had come inside. Dave tramped off to his room in the back office as always, but the other two sat and chatted about Emily and her two companions. Mike generally filled them in, but they had more questions that he had answers for. Jenny had also come back in and went about showing Emily around the interior of the building, with the other three kids in tow. Dennis had once been a classmate of hers, but he didn’t seem in that much of a hurry to re-acquaint. Instead, he lingered behind the others more out of curiosity than anything. The rest of the group hovered around one of the building’s wood stoves...a common sight now that it was turning cooler. They were also talking and laughing. Everyone’ spirits had gotten a much-needed boost this evening, between Emily and Mike being reunited and the two new doctors. He hadn’t seen them this stirred since the Los Dementes attack. Silas yawned and stretched, triggering similar yawns from both Mike and Camila. They all laughed.

    “Think I’m gonna head over and see how Charlie and Tommy are doin’...now that they in good hands,” Silas said as he got to his feet. “Ya’ll wanna come?”

    Camila nodded, but Mike politely declined with a shake of his head. “I’ll look in on them in the mornin’,” he replied, “Right before my run. I need to round up Emi and get her settled. Gotta get back in the groove of being a daddy again.”

    “I could not imagine life without Taylor,” Camila said with a hint of sadness in her voice. “It is horrible what this world has done to the children. Perhaps that is God’s plan,” she sighed and crossed herself. “To take the little ones so they do not suffer this hell. That would be mercy...but also like a little death to us, the parents left behind...yes? We do not know His plan, but we must walk the path He has put before us.” She looked up at Silas and then to Mike, who was scratching his head. It was too late in the evening to talk theology and faith as far as he was concerned.

    “All I know is that she came back to me,” he shrugged and tried to smile. “No matter where yer faith lies...that was a miracle by any name.” With a nod, Camila leaned over and hugged Mike. As she pulled away, the smile finally came. Once he was alone, the former teacher pulled off his jacket and rubbed his tired face. His reunion with Emi had been thoroughly draining emotion-wise. He laced his fingers together into a big fist and propped his face mouth-first into it. Closing his eyes, Mike made an honest attempt at prayer -- something he’d not done in a long, long time. This world made you question everything now, including your faith. He tried but the words simply won’t come. All he could think of was Emily and how she’d have to grow up without a mother she’d loved so dearly. Having his daughter back safely made him miss Heather even more, but he sat there with his eyes closed and told himself she was gone forever. Dwelling in the past was something no one could afford now, especially not him. Like Art said, he had to look not toward rebuilding what was gone, but to just building a new future for the next generation of survivors to live in. Mike dropped his hands and swallowed hard. Sitting on the floor next to his chair was a well-worn green-and-tan bookbag that Emily has been wearing. He sat it in his lap and began to search through it slowly. There was a change of clothes neatly folded and sealed inside a gallon-sized Ziplock bag, a small heart-shaped box packed with Legos, a plastic garbage bag that had holes cut out for arms and a head, two paperback books with the edges bent and torn, and several packs of crackers. There was also a small notebook with a pencil stuffed in the spiral binding. Opening it up, he saw where Emily had drawn and sketched various things. The front of it was all about their home and her family, her friends, and her school. The last couple of pages were more dark and ominous in her subject matter: walkers, fires, skeletons, people with angry faces, and so forth. Her last entry was dedicated to McKenna and Alex with their likenesses adorned with flowers, butterflies, and little hearts. Stuffed in between some pages was a 2X3 picture of Mike’s family. He pulled it out and studied it...letting his thumb wander over Heather’s image. It seemed like so long ago, and he couldn’t even remember where it’d been taken. Maybe that was a good thing. Knowing would probably only make it worse.

    Mike packed it all back up, stood, and started after his daughter. There was still some things to do yet to get her squared away. He headed toward the front offices and met Micah coming out. “Hey, Mike. So happy for you, my friend. She’s quite the little lady.”

    “Thanks,” he replied. “Um...how's Charlie?”

    “Dysentery...like we suspected. He’ll learn not to drink outta the streams around here,” the older man answered. He pushed the stem of his unlit pipe into the corner of his mouth. “Our new doctors have an IV in him and found some meds that would help. Should be on his feet in a day or so. Ya should have seen their faces when we showed ‘em the supply room. Probably looks like a mini-pharmacy. Oh...and Alyssa and I laid down some bedding for Emily as well in your room.”

    Mike smirked and glanced back toward the sickbay. “Appreciate that. I’ll see ya in the morning.” Micah patted him on the shoulder and left to go smoke his pipe.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Emily had been completely restless the moment she’d gotten ready for bed. It didn’t take her long to find her father’s comforting arms, but she fidgeted endlessly...tossing and turning. Mike was so tired he kept drifting off, only to be woken again when she moved. It was something they both weren’t used to. Emi hadn’t slept with her father since she was two years old, and since then she’d obviously grown accustomed to life without little sleep. Living on the go when you didn’t know where you’re next bed would be made one like that. Plus, the Warehouse was built for working in, not living in. Mike’s room had once been someone’s office, but all the furniture was gone now save a single chair and small table. A queen-sized mattress was pushed into one corner, which served as his bed. There was another, much smaller one on the floor beside it now. It looked like it came from a crib, but it was still plenty big for Emi. It wasn’t a house, but it wasn’t up in a damn tree or under an abandoned car. Mike sighed and stroked her hair, hoping that would calm her. Instead, it made him slip off again. Emi whispered something about going to the bathroom, which he answered with a grunt. Sleep pulled him complete under shortly after.

    Every parent has a built-in kid alarm, and Mike’s went off like a siren used around nuclear power plants in his head. EMILY!, his mind screamed the moment he reached out and didn’t feel his daughter’s presence. He sat up quickly...heart pounding from the sudden rush of adrenaline. For a split second, he thought it must have dreamed it all. But the mattress and her bookbag suddenly made it all real again. He reached up and turned the wick wide open on the lantern sitting atop the table. The small room lit up brightly. She wasn’t here....and he wanted to panic, but instead Mike forced himself to stay calm. The cobwebs were quickly brushed away as he got to his feet. Slipping on a pair of old flip-flops, he grabbed his .45 and tucked it into the small of his back. With the lantern in one hand and a small flashlight in the other, he hurried out the room towards the back of the Warehouse. The interior was dimly lit with the flickers of embers from the wood stoves and the occasional lantern. There was rarely anyone up save those on guard duty this time of the morning. Finding the bathroom empty, Mike became a little more nervous. Still, she had to be here somewhere. Even if she went outside, there was no leaving the compound unless it was through a gate -- a guarded gate. He wanted to check one last place before he started to wake others to help him. He turned up the aisles of racks along the western wall. This is where all the newcomers had bunks, which were mostly sheets of plywood laid across the steel arms of the racks. Mattresses and bedding sat on top of the wood, and some of the occupants had hung sheets and other makeshift curtains for some privacy.

    Halfway up the aisle, Mike found her. She had climbed into bed with McKenna. The two of them were snuggled tightly together, front-to-back, with the blonde’s arm securely draped over Emi’s body. A heavy blanket was pulled up high enough until only their heads could be seen. They were both sound asleep. It was actually a very peaceful, heartwarming thing to see...even though he did feel a little jealous at the moment. He had no doubts McKenna insisted they sleep that way. Holding the lantern a little closer, he also that she kept her weapons within easy reach -- even though they were safe inside the building. After a sigh of relief, Mike rubbed his eyes. There would be no going back to bed after that. Best thing he could do was find some coffee or a cola, and get ready for the rest of the day. He looked back down at Emily and chewed on his bottom lip. There was already one issue that needed to be addressed with the doctors if they decided to stay. Hopefully, it could be resolved easily with everyone that was involved.

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    McKenna McBride
     Posted: Oct 24 2014, 10:02 PM
    Quote Post
    Kenna
    Surgeon
    Smith & Wesson M&P40C Compact Pistol
    N/A
    Smith & Wesson Tactical Folding Knife
    Female
    1-October 14
    18 posts
    played by chelsea
    Awards: None
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    McKenna followed her leaders into what they had called the sickbay. Emily hadn’t left her hand until the woman insisted that she stay outside of it. She wouldn’t be able to stand it if Emily got sick from something just from being in the room. Anymore sanitation wasn’t exactly a priority. They didn’t have the ventilation or disinfectant that was needed but they seemed to have made due. ”Go with your daddy and I will see you later, okay?” McKenna kissed the top of her blond hair and they parted ways.

    Diagnosing the older man wasn’t hard. The people that had been taken care of him had done the best that they could but they didn’t know how to do certain things. Starting a large bore IV was one of them. Mixing antibiotics was another thing. Maybe the two doctors could train some of the women to be makeshift nurses. Everything around here was makeshift. While they were taking care of Charlie another man came in with a nasty cut on his leg. He had fallen on a piece of metal and sliced his calf. He told McKenna his name is Drew. He didn’t hold back on the southern charm but something about his twang let Kenna know he was from further south than where they were. After 9 stitches and a round of prophylactic antibiotics he was on his way. McKenna had a feeling that she would be seeing him again.

    They finished their ‘rounds’ and was shown to where they would be staying. Alex opted for taking a shower right away and McKenna thought about it but laid down on the makeshift bead instead. It didn’t take her long to fall completely asleep. Her sleep patterns had been worked around where they were sleeping and who was on guard. Since the addition of Emily into her life her sleeping had become even more light. She pretty much rested but never really slept. Her ears were constantly listening for anything that could pose a threat. Anymore, that meant she was listening for everything. Emily was hers to protect out there and she was going to do what it took.

    When Alex got out of her shower she woke McKenna up. Instead of showering then the blond opted for changing her clothes and just going to sleep. Sleeping on something that was softer than the cold ground was a luxury that they weren’t used to. She stripped down to her tank top underneath and black boy short underwear. They climbed into bed and drifted off to sleep. She didn’t now how long it had been or even what time it was when she heard the soft voice calling her name. McKenna turned over and found Emily standing beside her head rubbing her eyes. ”What’s wrong, sweetie?” She asked, pushing the blankets back and sitting up. ”I couldn’t sleep. Can I sleep with you? Please?"

    McKenna looked through the darkness to the innocent little face staring back at her. She knew with everything in her that she should send the little girl back to her father’s room but she just couldn’t. Sighing, McKenna nodded. She moved back to where Emily could climb into the bed with her. The settled in the position they had slept in so many nights before, but this time they had a blanket to cover with instead of a thin jacket. Easily, the two of them drifted off to an easy sleep. The smell of Emily’s hair was something that McKenna had gotten used to, and even though she fell asleep without it she definitely missed her.

    With Emily in her arms McKenna was back to her old habits of sleeping very lightly. The snapping of flip flops could be heard approaching but it wasn’t in a threatening way. She had to remember that they were in a safe place. Right? She could feel the person walk up behind her and stand there. Her eyes opened slowly and she rolled back after playing possum for a few minutes. The view of the person that was standing over them came into focus in the dark. ”Mike?” She whispered. ”Wh-What’s going on?” She asked softly so she didn’t wake the sleeping child.
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