Thursday, 21 September 2017

A break in your regular viewing

Hi all

As you know I'm quite a prolific blogger, for a long time I would post 3x a week and recently I cut that down to 2x weekly due to my uni commitments.  Well I've finished uni now (unless I top up my degree) but sadly I'm still going to have to take a break for the rest of the month.  This is due to real life stuff, but it is GOOD stuff.

Over the next few weeks I'll be on a course where I enter an EMT and emerge as a registered Paramedic! Yes next week I'll be on my "Transition to Practice" course, where I'll be going through the last few assessments before taking up a post as a paramedic in an Ambulance Service Trust in the UK.  That of course, is dependent on my degree results which will be moderated a couple of weeks later.  

Obviously none of this is of any concern to anybody here, but I would like to tell people the reason why it's so quiet in da Grotto until next month.  I will be putting out a single post on the other blog I write on "Veni, Vidi, Nerdi", which I'm busy writing up and is a report on our first 'Ancients' battle but other than that, there will be no more posts until the start of Zombtober.

Yes I have signed up for Zombtober, hopefully I should be able to knuckle down to serious zombie painting after my "TTP" and boy have I got an ambitious project in mind.  I will be 'bending' the rules of Zombtober a little and I hope Pulp Citizen forgives me for it, but in the end I think it will pay dividends.  I will still be posting every Sunday (and only Sunday) as required by the rules and all of my painting will be dedicated to zombies. However, my posts will mostly be WiPs rather than finished miniatures as I will be attempting to paint this lot by the end of the month....

Yes, there is every unpainted zombie I currently have in da Grotto - a whooping 94!  This should be very challenging indeed considering I will be working full time.  My ambition will be to have the whole lot painted and based to tabletop standard by Halloween.  Just to break it down for you that is 40 Zombies from Mega Miniatures - an American Company that I believe doesn't trade anymore.

31 Wargames Factory zombies, three females and the rest the rather disappointing males...

and 23 Mantic zombies from "The Walking Dead" game of which I have a few sets (I still haven't done anything with yet....).

All of the zeds have been primed and I'm ready to go, wish me luck

see you on the flip side

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Urban Project - soft furnishings and playing with moulds

Hi all

Back before the summer I made some book shelves for my D&D terrain, I was pretty pleased with it and showed it on here.  Shortly after I was asked if I'd thought about making moulds of my furniture - no I answered truthfully, the thought had never crossed my mind in fact!  However from that innocent query, the thought about making moulds of some of my pieces has never really fully left my mind.... 

Fast forward to passed my degree assignments/commitments and that nagging thought is still sitting in my brain.  A little further down the line and I begin a massive undertaking, which I decide to call the "Urban Project".  For this project I want to recreate houses and businesses etc, all of which need to be furnished - for "massive undertaking" read "totally foolhardy"!  So I set about sculpting sofas and other pieces out blue foam, which takes ages even when its a fairly simple piece, like the sofas below...

I got a "Not" Dremel multi-tool for my wedding anniversary from Missus Gobbo and this sped up the sculpting process and also allowed me to add different techniques to it.

before Dremel

post Dremel!
However I still faced an uphill battle to get all the pieces scuplted over and over again.  Step forward the mould idea that had been sitting in my brain for so long...

I went on t'internet and did some research and decided to purchase some "Blue Stuff" from Green Stuff World, an excellent Spanish company.  Bluestuff is a Thermoplastic that softens in hot water allowing you to make moulds of various objects.  On the website it recommends using milliput with the moulds however for the sheer volume of furniture I require I went for the much cheaper and still just as good - 

yup at £4 per kilogram of clay,it is a perfectly good substitute for my purposes.  So after softening the Blue Stuff I created these moulds of my sofas...

which when dry became....

with a 28mm zombie for scale....

and a drop of paint....

A little rough and ready but I think good enough to pass muster

The best bit about the moulds is you stick it in the hot water and you can remould it easily.  Next up - Kitchen units!

hope you enjoy

Saturday, 16 September 2017

ATZ - an English Adventure - Anna and Chris (part 3)

Anna, stared at the gun held loosely in the hands of the muscular young woman in the back bedroom of Ray Smith's family home. Her companions huddled in the darkened room, looked on with haunted eyes as the two competent women sized each other up, taking in the way that they carried themselves even in such extreme circumstances.  Anna could see by the heavy musculature of the woman's shoulders and thick arms that she clearly enjoyed the gym but maybe she also enjoyed the boxing ring or some of the eastern martial arts.  Firearms were rarely seen in Thanet, at least so blatantly displayed, and it took the medic back a little to see one even in such unusual times, reminding her of her stint in the London Ambulance Service.  

Stepping into the room, Anna transferred the bat to her left hand and offered the other to the woman.  "Hi, I'm Anna I I guess I used to work in the Ambulance Service" pointing, rather lamely, at the uniform she still wore to emphasise the obvious statement.  "Erm... and you are?" 

The young woman, with a final up and down look of Anna stepped forward and took her hand in her own, pumping it up and down vigorously. "I'm Zoe, I would say pleased to meet you but that big stack you walked in with kinda ruined the first impression you know!"  With that she dropped the medic's (now sore) hand and looked around at the others.  "The barbie doll over there" indicating the girl with the knife, "that's Caroline". Using the pistol, she pointed at the male in the overalls "he's Matt", finally she turned to the lady with the golf club "s'Belle".   

Anna, nodded at each in turn as they were introduced.  No-one stepped forward or looked in her direction even when their names were mentioned.  Shrugging, Anna stuck her thumb over her shoulder at her hulking boyfriend " That's Chris, ignore him, he's dealing with whatever the hell this is in his own way, I guess we all are...." She finished, trailing off with a glance at her fiance. 

"So, you've no idea what this is either then?" Zoe asked, with a marked level of disappointment in her voice, obviously thinking that Anna with her connection to the emergency services would be better informed.  A deep sigh from the hallway made the women look at each in exasperation, before Anna shrugged apologetically, "He's getting a bit restless so we'd better get going, do you want to come with us? we've got a vehicle." 

Zoe stared pointedly in the direction of the big man who was now shifting from foot to foot with clear irritation stamped all over his face, arching an eyebrow at the young medic she slowly shook her head.  Again Anna shrugged, disappointed but not really blaming her for not wanting to come with them, shaking the girl's hand she wished them luck and turned to join her partner. 

He hears the voices coming from the back bedroom and exhales heavily - why do they have to bang on so much?  it's so annoying! Come on, COME ON! The pain is returning, he knows that it will only get worse until it feels like his whole body is on fire... 

Anna walked passed the big man, annoyed that the encounter with Zoe and co hadn't gone as well as it could have.  Still, she silently wished them luck again as she headed back down the stairs and out of the front door.  Behind her, she heard Chris following but she barely gave him a glance, instead getting angrier and angrier at the change in his personality, allowing the frustration to build once again.  As she left Ray's house, the scene of so much infected blood being spilled, she walked past several infected gathering in the front courtyard of the row of houses.  Turning back briefly, she shouted a quick warning to Zoe and her pals before beckoning to Chris to follow her into the final house in the row. 

Zoe heard the shout and grabbed hold of the near catatonic Matt and dragged him out of the bedroom toward the stairs, looking back she bellowed to the two other women to follow her. Practically throwing the older man down the stairs, she stumbled as she reached the hallway only the strong muscles in her legs keeping her upright as she took his weight as well as her own.  "Damn it Matt, stand up you miserable bastard!" She screamed at him, pushing him into the kitchen and toward the back door, hoping that the way ahead was clear.  Looking back, she could see the others were following behind, further away through the open front door she could see the medic and the big, angry fucker she was with being attacked by three of the infected.  As she watched, she saw them smashing their filthy attackers into the ground with powerful blows from the hulking man and skilful trips and feints from Anna, working well in conjunction with each other despite the dissention between them, however more and more of the infected came into the courtyard.  Zoe shook her head and reached for the back-door handle just as four zombies crashed through.

Stumbling backward, Zoe pulled the trigger of the old pistol she carried. She had pulled the weapon out of the dead hand of a middle-aged man who had tried to rape Caroline in the early hours of this morning.  He had used the gun to frogmarch the pretty, young executive to the nearest alleyway when Zoe had jumped over the wall to escape some infected and landed on top of him - quite by accident, snapping his neck under her heavily muscled bulk.  Easily surmising what was about to happen she had no guilt about killing the dirtbag and even stuck the boot in a few times to vent her hatred for scummy men like him.  She had had to physically lift Caroline away from the body as the young lady did the same.   

The pistol made a loud crack as it discharged harmlessly into the ceiling, the force of the door opening throwing Zoe to the back of the room.  Poor Caroline froze as two of the infected grabbed her and pulled her to the floor, biting into her soft skin and tearing at the flesh as the zombies went into a frenzy.  Belle swung her golf club trying to beat her attacker away, the blow was too weak however, bouncing off the chest of the infected.  The long club was torn from her grip and she screamed as the creature sunk its teeth into her face, tearing off a long strip of flesh and swallowing it with a gulp.  Belle's cries stung the ears of Zoe as she struggled to move around a cowering Matt to pull the zed off of her friend.   

The last zombie threw itself at Matt, who had dropped his crowbar in fright when the monsters had burst through the kitchen door.  In all his years he had never known fear like he had experienced over the last 48 hours and he was at breaking point.  Working as a gas engineer and going into all sorts of rough places to fix pipelines and appliances, he thought he had seen some shitty people on the housing estates of Thanet, real tough guys for whom fighting was an everyday occurrence, but this was something else.  The level of violence that these things used was off the chart and he was petrified.  He had no idea what had happened to his family as he had been on a call-out, trying to repair the damage caused by the storm at the time the attacks had started.  His wife and daughter had most likely been tucked up in bed when he had been swept up by the events post Daenerys.  Zoe had found him hiding under his work van while the zombies had been feasting on his workmate – Harry, the powerful woman had simply killed the creatures with her bare hands!  Impressed and terrified in equal measures he had followed her like a puppy since.   

Backing away from the zombie coming at him in the kitchen, he kicked out at the creature, trying desperately to gain some space so he could run.  His big work boots, steel toe-capped as they were, connected with the knee of the advancing infected male, crunching the joint, displacing the patella and dropping it to the floor. Adrenaline surged through his veins and he ran forward stamping on the male's face with as much strength as he could muster.   Bones crunched as the heavy boots crashed down, destroying the skull and sending the infected devil to hell where it belonged. 

Anna finished off the nearest zombie and glanced around looking for an escape route.  Behind her the door to the last house in the row stood open.  She didn't know the owner of the place, a single woman who kept herself to herself but she had said hello to her on the odd occasion as she passed her in the street.  Grabbing Chris's elbow, she pulled him away from the approaching zombies toward the house, barely noticing in her haste as he angrily shook her hand off.  Running through the darkened doorway, she ducked right and into the living room.  With the power out, and the curtains drawn she failed to notice the shadowy figure that was rummaging through the house owner's belongings until it turned around at her unexpected entrance.  What she did see, a little too late of course, was the huge barrel of the shotgun as it was leveled at her.  What she did see was that barrel flame as the trigger was pulled, then she saw nothing at all. 

He growls as she pulls at him, dragging him away from the upcoming fight – if you could call the slaughter of the infected things a fight! Still the adrenaline rush was keeping the pain at bay and he wanted more and more.  He looks back at the gathering horde of infected, promising that he would be back to rip the "unlife" from them, before following after the retreating form of the woman.  He sighs when she disappears from sight, hurrying after her - frustration and anger warring with the return of the pain. 


The shot is astonishingly loud in the confines of the house and he arrives in the front room just in time to see her falling to the floor, blood oozing from multiple pockmarks to her skin from the lead shot.  Ahead of him, his eyes pick out the form of a male in a red hoody start to reload the shotgun, thin wisps of smoke escape from the single barrel of the weapon. 

The last vestiges of his humanity rise to the surface as he sees his partner, his fiance, his soul mate collapse in a heap on the carpet.  All of the confusion of the last couple of days burns away in the clarity of this moment in time, she is gone! Taken away by some random thug, looting while the rest of humanity fights for its very survival.  Grief threatens to overwhelm him as his senses start to shut down drawing away from what they are telling him. The changes that have been taking place within his very cells kick in in response to the perceived threat and flood his system with chemicals in an attempt to counteract the grief reaction, in turn causing massive physiological changes in the big man.

His hypothalamus already engorged from recent events releases bucket loads of adrenaline into his bloodstream redirecting energy away from the organs and pumping it into his muscles, which practically bulged in response to the hormonal surge.  His pupils dilate, as the adrenaline stimulates the production of cortisol, hormone which tears through his system releasing glucose from his liver and other organs in readiness for battle.  Endorphins are produced by hipituitary gland in preparation of the pain that is bound to occur.  His entire endocrine system goes into overdrive triggering the all-consuming fight or flight reaction (naturally he chooses fight!) inadvertently overwhelming the freethinking parts of his brain and tapping into the dark, primitive regions of the human condition, where logical thought holds no sway. 

With a roar, he springs forward, catching the man by surprise. Reaching out with a massive hand he grabs the end of the shotgun barrel and lifts it up and away from his body.  Instinct causing him to duck as the weapon discharges over his head. His other hand forms a fist and punches hard into the solar plexus of the thug, driving all breath from him in an instant.  The man clutches his chest, releasing the weapon which, the being that was once Chris Parlour still holds by the barrel.   Not able to comprehend the finer uses of the modern weapon in his current state, he merely slams the heavy wooden stock into the forehead of the, now petrified human, creasing the skin and pulverising the frontal bones of his skull.  Not content with the destruction he has caused so far, he picks up the limp form and propels it with alarming force into the living room door that had swung shut, reducing it to kindling and shredding the body of the looter.  He stalks forward intent on pulping the remains of the dead man when he spots the approaching horde of infected humans.  The beast that has risen in him recognises the greater threat and he settles for merely stomping on the body as he moves to the front door.  While higher thought processes are lost to him at this present time, instinct sees the tactical advantage to remaining in the doorway, limiting the effect of the greater number of attackers.  At over six and half feet tall and wider than most rugby players, he fills the narrow space and can prevent the horde from pressing in. Raising his head high, he bellows his defiance at the mass of diseased creatures. 

Zoe nearly dropped her pistol when she heard the primal scream, the sound raising the hairs up on the back of her neck. "Jesus fucking Christ on a bike! What the hell was the that?" She yelled at Matt, who was already cowering back in the corner of the room.  The three zombies remaining in the kitchen also seemed stunned by the ferocity of the scream and faltered in their attack. Zoe raised her gun and snatched at the trigger, the bullets going well wide of the mark in her haste.  The noise of the shots seemed pitiful in contrast to the bellow and Zoe's curse at her poor aim.  However, the gunfire did seem to reenergise the infected and they charged at the couple.  Zoe punched out with the pistol grip, shattering the nose of the lead zombie and dropping it to the floor. With her free hand she reached for a full bottle of wine that was on the kitchen counter and crashed it into the infected female following behind, driving it to it's knees where she could kick it with her powerful legs. Matt was screaming now, harsh fear filled screams that grated like fingernails across the blackboard of her soul.  She could see him wrestling with the last zombie now, desperately trying to bash its head against the kitchen counter and avoid the raking of its claw like fingernails.  As she stepped closer she heard the skull give way as he drove the infected's temple into the hard surface with a strength born of pure terror.  More zombies poured into the kitchen and Zoe knew that staying to fight these new arrivals would end in the deaths of the two of them.  The thought of becoming infected with whatever virus was driving her fellow Thanetonians to this sorry state caused a shiver to run the length of her spine.  To wander mindlessly, attacking and savaging the living, to have no purpose other than to destroy and transmit the virus from host to host was anathema to a person with iron like control over every aspect of her life.  Zoe had spent years honing her mind, like her body in an effort to combat the demons of her past.  Daily gym sessions built muscles like cord wood, sinews like steel cables and a machine-like stamina.  Yoga was practiced to quiet the mind before going back to her studies – Law and of all things Religious History! Jesus (sorry) how apt was that? With what looked "the End of Days" happening all around her, it seemed like God's judgement had descended upon mankind and it had been found wanting. Well she wasn't waiting around to be judged, she was getting the fuck out of here!

"Matt, come with me if you want to live" Zoe snorted, shit had she really just said that?  Too late to take it back now, the man had sidled up to her like a lost puppy just as the nearest zombie reached out to her.  Raising the pistol, she squeezed the trigger.  At such close range, even she couldn't miss and the 9mm slug powered through the frontal bones of the zed's skull, ripping the brain matter into soup as it sped through with ease.  "Hell yeah" she breathed as she saw the devastation caused to the disgusting creature. Switching targets she drew a bead on another infected, firing a single shot that caught it in the neck, tearing the carotid artery and spraying a big loop of bright red blood across the width of the room. Grabbing the traumatised Matt's hand, she pulled him around the counter away from the advancing zombies and out of the back door. Free of the press of infected bodies she sprinted for the gate that led to the road, dragging her companion along with her. 

His rage is apocalyptic, all rational thought is gone, all he knows is the anger that pulses through every fibre of his body.  Hormones surge through his system, engorging tired muscles with fuel and firing his synapses, causing him to twitch with nervous energy. - his skin literally rippling in wavesThe dead things neither care nor withdraw from this display of primal power and close in on him, desperate to prey on the living. He makes them pay for their disregard... 

Out on the street, Zoe turned to fire the pistol back at the nearest zed.  The heavy round punched through the weedy chest of the infected and threw it backwards and away from the fleeing humans. Matt saw none of it, his head down and his legs pumping he sprinted from the slaughter house that had been Ray Smith's family home.  Zoe, normally quick despite her bulk struggled to keep up with him as he sped up, his breaths coming in harsh gulps but not slowing in anyway. Briefly looking back, Zoe hoped that the nice medic and her dick of a partner were ok, she had been decent enough and would have been useful to have around, but that man... there was something very, very wrong with him.

"Chris?"  the name whispered almost silently.  Darkness faded slightly and she shifted her head minutely, pain instantly flaring like a supernova and causing the darkness to envelop her again. 

Once again, the darkness receded and her eyes tentatively opened. In front of her lay the body of a young man or what vaguely resembled one anyway. Licking her cracked lips, she tried again, a little stronger this time - "Chris".  Behind her she could hear what could only be two armies crashing together, the sounds of thudding blows accompanied by the grunt of exertion and followed by the awful sound of ripping meat was horrendous and she briefly closed her eyes again as if that simple gesture could block out the noise.   

What the hell was going on? She remembered rushing into the house, hoping to escape the horde of infected.  She remembered coming into the living room, she remembered seeing the flame shoot from the barrel.... oh yeah, that.  With that memory, the pain come flooding back.  The memory of hundreds of pinpricks as the lead shot spread rapidly out in a cone shape, slamming into her body and throwing her backwards.  Luckily for her, the looter had pulled the trigger too early and the lethal force of the weapon had been spent into the carpet, tearing gouges from the weave.  Still she had taking quite a blow and been practically perforated by the shot and was bleeding from dozens of tiny wounds clearly visible through her tattered uniform.  Looking back at the broken form of the would-be burglar, she guessed her fiance had been responsible for his destruction and silently nodded her approval at his work, causing another wave of pain to crash through her head.  Where was the big man anyway? She looked slowly around the room, trying not to pass out at the motion. The noises outside rose to a crescendo as she scanned the otherwise empty room and she guessed that Chris was fighting some of the infected in the hallway.  Time to run she promised herself, no more supplies they just needed to get to the ambulance and get out of town.  Find Gobbo and his family, hunker down and read through the mysterious medical file.  Gingerly getting to her feet and feeling more like one of her elderly patients than the young fit(ish) woman that she was, Anna headed for the hallway calling for her fiance as she went. 

Endorphins are released as his fist smashes the jaw of a lunging zombie, huge waves of pleasure at the violence he has caused sweep through him.  Dropping his shoulder, he drives the meaty joint into the chest of another, throwing it backward and out of the front door.  He looks around at the devastation he has caused, he has destroyed many of the foul creatures and their broken remains scatter the small hallway and the porch leading to the garden.  He roars triumphantly, his primal self revelling in his victory.  He is covered in nicks and tears as the infected had clawed at him, bite marks create bizarrely patterned bruises up his arms but he cares not at all. 

"Chris" a whisper in the night, he pauses in the act of reaching for another undead neck, receiving another bite instead.  Slamming a big hand onto the head of the offending zombie, he squeezes the bones of the skull until he hears them creaking, then cracking under the immense pressure of his grip. 

"Chris" stronger this time, penetrating the fog of chemicals that tear through him.  It's her! Hormones slow as the logic centres of his brain struggle to regain control. Surely not? He saw her fall, he saw her hit the floor, blood flowing from the multiple wound sites on her body.  Another zombie rears up, but he's slower in reacting this time.  His exhausted muscles scream out to him as the adrenaline recedes a little.  He throws a punch at the infected male, still powerful but not nearly as devastating as it would have been mere seconds ago. 

"Chris" He steps back as memories of the woman flicker through his mind, like an old-fashioned projector, each one bringing him back from the brink.  The primal being recedes, exhausted from the long fight and battered by the onslaught from the conscious, thinking sections of his mind.  He slumps overwhelmed by fatigue caused by the withdrawal of the bolstering chemicals.  Wearily he looks out the door and sees more of the creatures gather in preparation of another assault.  Now reason has returned he applies his brain to the problem and not his brawn and simply shuts the door.  Looking around he spots a cabinet in the hallway and drags it to block the entrance to the house. 

Anna stepped through the remains of the splintered living room door and into the charnel house that is the hallway. Standing, blinking exhaustedly, Chris looked drained.  The only colour on him was the blood, sprays of blood covered him from head to foot, little trickles of it collected and pooled before dropping onto the beige carpet of the hallway.  Anna barely recognised the big man, his clothes were tattered and hanging from him in strips, his face and bare arms were covered in wounds of all kinds, most noticeable amongst them were the bites, lots and lots of bites!  Anna grew more and more concerned as she mapped them, there must have been over a dozen that she could see just from her cursory inspection.  She'd seen zombie films, not as many as Gobbo but a few and they all agreed that bites were how the contagion was spread. Chris threw her a tired grin and it was close enough to HER Chris that she had to go to him and throw her arms around him (as much as she could anyway). 

He stiffens as she steps close and embraces him, but enough of the old self, the rational self is present that he does not lash out in his confusion. Instead he accepts the hug and even briefly returns it before stepping away and retrieving the discarded shotgun from the corner of the living room.  The dead things are battering at the front door now and a growl builds in his throat as he contemplates rushing out and tearing them to pieces. 

At first, he didn't return the hug but eventually he softened and pulled her in tight, albeit only quickly.  Anna watched as he picked up the weapon and checked to see if it was loaded.  Walking over to the body of the looter, he searched the pockets finding a few loose cartridges and stuffing them into his own.  Anna headed toward the back door, pausing only briefly to grab some tins of food as they passed through the kitchen.  As she opened a cabinet, she spotted the bodies of Caroline and Belle lying among those of some infected. Tears spilled down her cheeks for these strangers, briefly met but vitally alive not minutes ago.  She sent up a prayer to a capricious God to spare Zoe and the sullen and withdrawn it was Matt wasn't it? Yes Matt. 

A loud crack behind her signaled the end of the front door as a barrier to the infected and Anna grabbed Chris's hand pulling him out into the back courtyard. Head down, she broke into a jog as she exited through the same gate as Zoe and Matt mere minutes earlier, bursting into the street with Chris following closely.  Looking left and right she couldn't see the other group, so hoped that they had gotten away.  Turning right toward the ambulance, she could see ahead of them a zombie that stood facing the other way and another further back.  Rushing forward she crashed the baseball bat into the back of the closest zed's skull, dropping it quietly.  Moving quickly, she lined herself for another strike for the next.... 


Anna flinched at the sound of the shotgun unloading into the body of the infected female, throwing it face first to the tarmac.  Spinning around she saw Chris reloading the weapon, a child-like grin on his face.  Furious at him, she stepped into his space poking a finger into his massive chest like a prison shiv.  The big man looked confused at the onslaught that had him to taking a step back.  "You fucking idiot!" She screamed at him.  "What the hell are you doing, I had that covered and you with your new toy" she sneered, indicating the gun that had so nearly taken her life, "you alert every fucking zombie in the area to where we are!"  Her voice reached a volume that rivalled the gunshot with each sentence uttered (accompanied by a finger poke). "WHY DON'T YOU JUST RING THE DINNER BELL YOU UTTER MORON!!" The frustration, anger, not fear - utter terror of the last few days, the transformation of her soulmate, her near death experience, the loss of her comfortable life, the loss of the promise of bright future filled with love, children and happiness, all of it came pouring out in a torrent of foul mouthed abuse aimed at the battered, gore covered giant, now looking very abashed.  The shotgun held limply behind his back, he couldn't meet her gaze as she continued the tirade for several minutes.  Finally, after she had started to repeat the insults thrown at the now sullen Chris, her anger petered out and she realised that they had stopped in the middle of the street.  The zombie that Chris had shot began to stir and sat up in a weird jerking motion that looked like a puppet with its strings tangled.  With a sigh, she jogged passed it and headed toward the ambulance that could be seen just behind the junction.  The big rig that had taken out the crossroads and blocked her last night was still smoldering and a plume of thick smoke obscured the road. 

He stands stunned by the stream of invective from the diminutive medic, he hadn't realised she knew so many swearwords. The anger that now permanently resided in him rose up and threatened violence on his attacker, but is beaten down by the reasoning, more civilising parts of his psyche holding him in check.  A war rages inside of him between the two halves of his fractured mind, torn between ripping the woman to pieces or apologising profusely, he does neither.  Instead he watches as she stomps off toward the overturned lorry and the ambulance parked just behind.  He starts to follow, stopping only briefly to smash the heavy stock of the shotgun into the head of the zombie that he had shot.   

She was yards ahead of him, so pissed off now that she wanted some distance.  Venting her feelings at Chris had been childish, but she couldn't help it and he was the obvious target.  Looking behind, she could see him standing still, shocked at her tirade - good! she snorted.  As he started forward she turned and began to pick her way around the burning truck, unaware that a pair of infected were making their way around the other side. 

He sees the woman moving into the junction and around the front of the wrecked vehicle before disappearing around the other side.  At the same time, he spots two dead things coming around from the rear of the vehicle.  He breaks into a run, raising the gun and pulling the trigger in a single motion.  A dry click and very little else tells him that the shell is a dud and he growls in frustration, reversing the heavy weapon and slamming the stock into the face of the nearest zombie.  The move, effective as it is costs him time and energy that he simply doesn't have.  His muscles, battered, bruised and exhausted don't respond as swiftly as he needs them to and he stumbles to one knee. His endocrine system, as pumped up as it is tries to release more hormones to compensate and fuel his rage, however it has very little left to give and he responds far slower than he would like.  The other infected bites down on his arm and he roars in pain as it takes a chunk of flesh out of his wrist.  In frustration, he drives his head forward in a devastating headbutt that crushes the skull of the offending zombie and throws it backward away from him.  The blow stuns him a little and he shakes his head in an effort to clear it while staggering to his feet.  Pain shoots through his whole body as he struggles to regain his equilibrium.  In his daze he fails to hear the shuffling of feet on the road, lots and lots of feet... 

Anna reached the other side of the truck and the safety of the ambulance.  Fumbling in her pocket she found the keyfob and activated the autolock, opening the doors.  Taking the now bulging "bag for life" from her shoulder, she stowed it behind the seat and looked around for Chris. 

A huge thump lands between his shoulder blades, pushing him forward and knocking him to his knees.  Another blow crashes into the side of his head, cracking into his temple and causes the world to spin around. Disorientated, he tries to focus on his attackers and makes out five of the infected. His body screams in agony as he forces his tired muscles into action, his huge hand squeezes the neck of a female still wearing her going out dress from the night before last.  With enormous effort he manages to snap the narrow neck, cracking the vertabrae and 'killing' the zombie instantly.  The other four close in on him and latch onto his limbs with teeth and claw-like hands, pulling him to the floor. 

Anna screamed as she saw the zombies drag Chris down, her fiance still fought but she could see him slowing down.  The shotgun lay on the floor mere feet from the struggling giant man, but it may as well have been miles away for all the use it was.  She stepped forward with the thought of going to his rescue, despite his recent changes this was Chris, her best friend, her lover, the holder of her heart.  Before she got two steps, he looked up and caught her gaze.  Two more steps and he smiled and shook his head, the huge man struggled to stay upright long enough as he mouthed "Love you". Another step and he shook his head more vehemently, drawing in a huge breath he said his final words to his fiance. 

He feels the pain as four sets of teeth clamp down on his flesh, the weight of the zombies is incredible but his exhausted body gives him one last surge so that he can stay upright. She’s coming closer in a vain effort to save him and he can’t have that. He tries to tell her that he loves her but his mouth is so dry and his voice cracks, more time wasted as she steps forward again. He shakes his head again and throws his shoulders back, dislodging the infected and tearing chunks from his meaty arms. Licking his lips, he draws in a deep breath and screams his last ever words to the woman he had promised himself to. 



The helicopter hovered overhead, as the MIBS stretcher disappeared into the belly of the huge rescue craft.  On the ground, an ear piece radio crackled to life. 

## - Alpha 1, Alpha 1 this is SK001 we have subject Z loaded and secure sir - ## 

Looking around at the scene of devastation, the man currently known as Alpha 1 was impressed by the sheer level of violence shown by "subject Z".  A man used to violence himself, first in the deserts of Iraq and then the mountains of Afghanistan (and some other places a little less well known) he knew what colossal strength it took to snap a neck or tear apart another human beings body.    

## - Roger SK001, no sign of the package, repeat no sign of the package, it must be with the girl - ## 

## - understood sir, satellite is still disrupted due to the storm and the weird interference so we've no imagery on the girl sir - ## 

The man paused briefly to casually shoot an approaching D-Sub in the face, before resuming. 

## - our contact stated she went west in an ambulance, last seen six zero minutes ago.  Shouldn't be too difficult to track from the air - ## 

## - that’s a negative Alpha 1 we have more weather coming in fast sir, we need to get back to the FOB at the fort - ## 

The man sighed at the thought of losing the girl and more importantly the package, the Boss would definitely be unhappy upon hearing that particular bit of news.  Still Thanet was a relatively small place and no-one was going to get off the newly created island any time soon, eventually the Boss would get what he wanted, he always did. 

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