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Basic Roleplaying System: Deadworld Session Nine - Roanoke at Last

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Monday, June 26, 2017

(After playing the Basic Roleplaying System original setting “Deadworld” with Ambralyn Tucker, Ashton LeBlanc, and Collin Townsend Saturday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.)

On the morning of Saturday, August 15, 2015, the ragged band of survivors of the meteor-created zombie apocalypse got up. They had spent the night in some peace at the Pirate’s Cove Marina on the east end of Roanoke Island in some of the abandoned condos there. One of them had been shot by the man guarding the bridge to the outer banks and she was still unconscious. The others fared only somewhat better.

It was eventually decided most of the crew, including the two doctors, would stay at Pirate’s Cove while a few of them would scout out Roanoke Island. In the end, Lisa Weiss, Manuella “Manny” Rodriguez, and Jonathan Franks took the white SUV Manny always drove and headed down Highway 64 onto the island. The handsome Franks had taken the shotgun position and napped. Manny drove, still unhappy about the broken window on the driver’s side. Lisa sat in the back seat, looking around nervously and drowsily.

It was overcast and had threatened rain all morning. It was hot and humid, despite the air conditioning blowing in the vehicle. They couldn’t see too far in the gloom. The GPS in the vehicle was working, though it was sporadic. There didn’t seem to be much to look at anyway, though they passed a darkened building to the right a half mile or so beyond Pirate’s Cove, and came to a wide intersection where the stoplights still flashed red, yellow, and green. Another wide road ran perpendicular to the highway they were on and they could see more structures to the north. To the south, the road headed into a wooded area.

In the center of the intersection was a big yellow arrow, spray painted, pointing to the south.

Just as they stopped in the intersection, the weather broke. It started raining heavily, water pouring out of the sky in buckets, making it hard to see very far. It crashed on the roof of the car and splattered on Manny through the broken driver’s side window. The roof rattled when hail struck the car and crashed off the pavement.

Lisa looked around, startled. She had been napping in the back seat a little bit. She wondered why they were stopped.

“Oh my God,” she said. “It’s ridiculous out there.”

“Manny, you driving over gravel again?” Franks muttered.

“Where should we go?” Manny said.

She turned on the windshield wipers, setting them for the highest setting. They tore across the windshield, whipping the water off.

“Jesus Christ!” Lisa said as hail clattered against the roof.

Manny turned on the lights and turned right, heading for Manteo, according to the GPS. They passed darkened buildings on the right and left, mostly set back from the road but were unable to make out the darkened signs due to the pouring rain.

They had only driven a quarter mile or so when they saw a lit building on the right, behind a parking lot. A vehicle was parked just off the road in the driveway of the building, crossed by an asphalt sidewalk or bike path. Though the sign by the road was dark, they could make out a lit sign on the little brick Dunkin Donuts shop behind the small parking lot. A drive-thru ran around the building, disappearing in the back.

The car was pulled over, partially blocking the main entrance to the parking lot. Manny pulled up behind it. She was unsure if the car were running, the sound of the rain on the roof drowning out any other sounds from outside. Her left side was getting increasingly wet from the rain.

“Hey, Manny,” Franks quipped. “Why are you all wet?”

“Do … do you want to go check out that car?” she replied. “Maybe there’s stuff in it.”

“Why do both of us have to get wet?”

“Well, I mean …”


“Do you really want me to go check it by myself? I’m the driver here.”

Franks sighed.

“Yeah, I’ll go check it,” he finally said.

He took his pistol and his baseball bat out before climbing out of the SUV. He was almost instantly soaking wet due to the pouring rain.

“Do we not have an umbrella?” he muttered.

“If this was my car, it would have umbrellas,” Manny said. “But it’s not my car. Because they left my car when they tried to chop off my foot!”

Franks went over to the other car, a hatch-back, and found it empty, though there was a copious amount of dried blood on the driver’s seat. The door was slightly ajar and he noticed the dome light wasn’t on. He looked in the back seat but saw nothing. He went around it and opened all the doors, quickly looking in the back and the front. He found nothing of value though the glove compartment was locked.

He went back to the car and asked to borrow Manny’s crowbar. She handed it out through the broken driver’s side window.

“It’s a freakin’ Dunkin Donuts,” he said as he took it.

“Now I want doughnuts,” Manny said.

“I don’t,” Franks replied.

He took the crowbar back to the other car, pried open the glove compartment, and was disappointed to find it only held the registration, the instruction booklet for the car, and some old maps.

“Who locks their glove box?” he muttered as he walked back to the SUV in disgust.

He thought he saw the hint of movement from inside the Dunkin Donuts as turned away from the car. He looked at the building but couldn’t see anyone within.

* * *

“God, some coffee right now would be amazing!” Lisa said, looking at the building from inside the SUV. “Are they even open?”

“Why would they be open?” Manny said. “I don’t see the ‘open’ sign on.”

“Well, yes, I can see that,” Lisa said.

She slipped up to the front seat to get a better view of the building. They both wondered why Franks had stopped by the car. He finally returned to the SUV and Lisa climbed into the back seat once again. Franks, soaking wet, handed Manny her crowbar.

“So, apparently the Dunkin Donuts is still open,” he said.

“What do you mean?” Manny said.

“Are they?” Lisa asked, peering through the window.

“Yeah, sure,” Franks said. “All the … nah, I saw something move in the window. Should we go check it?”

“I mean … are zombies really worth some coffee?” Manny said.

“I haven’t had coffee in weeks,” Lisa said. “I’m ****ing tired of this.”

She got out of the SUV and walked in the pouring rain to the Dunkin Donuts.

“Man, she really wants that coffee,” Manny said.

Manny pulled the SUV into the parking lot.

“Why are you taking us closer?” Franks said.

“Well, let’s get her coffee,” Manny said.


“I didn’t say we were going in! I just said we were parking closer.”

“We just watch.”

* * *

Lisa reached the large double front doors of the shop. She leaned against them to look through the window and felt the door move. It wasn’t locked. She peered in through the glass. It was very dark within and she saw the counter and little tables and chairs within. Another door led to the back. She didn’t see anyone in the place so she pushed the door open a crack.

“Hello?” she called.

There was no answer.

She turned back to the SUV, which was parked in the middle of the parking lot.

“Guys!” she called. “Help me look around!”

“I’m not looking for damned coffee!” Manny called back.

“**** you, mate,” Lisa muttered under her breath.

* * *

“I’ll rock-paper-scissors you for it,” Franks said.

“What?” Manny said.

“Who goes in the house.”

They played rock-paper-scissors in the front seat. Manny lost.

“Well, if you want a quick getaway, I guess that’s out of the question now,” she said.

* * *

Lisa walked to the right side of the building as Manny got out of the SUV and walked to the front door. Lisa looked back at her but then went around the side of the building.

“I thought you wanted help …” Manny muttered.

She walked back to the SUV.

“Why are you back in the car?” Franks said.

He’d been keeping watch.

“Fine,” Franks said. “I’ll go.”

He was actually curious and wanted to look inside.

* * *

Around the corner of the building, Lisa found a drive-thru lane and followed it. There was an older-model station wagon sitting in the lane behind the building near the back door.

“Guys!” she yelled.

She heard the engine of the SUV and saw it pull around the side of the building in the drive-thru lane.

“Guys!” Lisa called again. “There’s a car back here!”

“There’s cars everywhere,” Manny said under her breath.

* * *

Franks entered the Dunkin Donuts and found the interior dim, only lit by the murky light coming through the front windows. The building sat on a slight rise, giving a view of the parking lot, porch, and street, but little else. A counter ran along the back of the room and a door obviously entered the kitchen in the back. The glass-covered counters were filled with doughnuts. He noticed the cash register on one side.

He thought he heard a rustling noise from behind the counter somewhere. Though it was mostly glass, there were also plenty of places to hide.

* * *

“I thought you wanted coffee?” Manny said to Lisa.

“But there’s a car back here,” Lisa said. “I’m sorry I yelled. But they might have more useful things in here.”

“Yeah, that’s fair,” Manny said.

She got out and walked over to the station wagon, Lisa following her. The car wasn’t locked and she leaned in, crowbar in hand. The older-model station wagon was dirty and filled with empty fast-food bags. There was the smell of old food and the interior was dusty. Dirt lay on the floor. It looked like it had never been cleaned. The glove compartment had two more McDonalds bags crumpled up inside, as well as a registration and a shake-light flashlight.

“Here’s what I found,” Manny said, handing her the shake-flashlight.

“Thank you,” Lisa said.

She turned on the light and it was very dim. She shook it for a while and it lit up for a few moments before almost immediately dimming again.

“Bullocks!” she said.

Manny moved to the back door and found it unlocked. She carefully pushed it open.

* * *

In the front, James crept around to the side of the counter, his Glock in his right hand and his baseball back in his left hand. He looked down the length of the counter and noticed one of the sliding doors on the back of one of the display cases had been opened and there were several doughnuts on the floor. It looked like a single bite had been taken out of each doughnut and then dropped on the floor. The little bites were also on the floor, as if someone were sampling the doughnuts, taking a bite of each, and then spitting out their bite.

No one was there.

It looked like there was a place under the cash register in the counter where someone could hide. Otherwise it was all glass display cases.

He picked up a napkin holder on the counter and chucked it at the register. He overshot and it crashed against the far wall. He thought sure he heard more noise coming from underneath the cash register.

“If there’s anybody under the cash register, come out!” he called. “I’m tired of this shit!”

Something came out from under the cash register, running at him. It was a short figure, head down, and running. Franks fired his Glock at it.

* * *

The kitchen was very dark because there were only a couple of small, high-set windows in the back. The room was filled with all the items and paraphernalia for making doughnuts and coffee. It looked very clean. A large walk-in freezer was on the wall to the left, the door slightly ajar. Manny noticed a draft of cold air coming from it. Across from the door they’d entered was a door that probably led into the dining area.

Manny glanced around for coffee and she and Lisa realized it was probably stored in the walk in refrigerator. As they went that way, Lisa also noticed the cold air coming from the slightly opened door.

They had just about reached it when they heard the gunshot from the dining room.

“Shit!” Lisa whispered.

She ran towards the door between the two rooms.

“I thought we were just coming for coffee,” Manny said, limping after her.

* * *

The bullet crashed into the far wall, shattering the plaster and tile. Franks realized the running figure was a kid with short-cut hair. The child was Caucasian and probably about 12 or 13 years old. He was dirty and wore somewhat tattered though tight clothing. He sidestepped and the child ran by him without a word, turning and heading for the front doors. As the child went around the corner, his feet slid on the tiles and down he went, crashing to the floor as he continued to scrabble for the front door, obviously terrified.

The door to the kitchen burst open and Lisa ran out.

“Are you okay?” she called when she saw Franks. “What the **** happened?”

“It’s okay,” Franks said. “It’s just some stupid kid.”

“A kid!?!” Lisa said.

The child regained his feet and ran towards the front doors. Franks ignored him and headed for the cash register. Manny came out of the kitchen.

“Wait wait wait!” Lisa called to the child.

She ran to the end of the counter.

“Hey!” Manny yelled. “We’re not going to hurt you.”

The kid stopped at the front door, looking back at Lisa and hesitating.

“Hey hey hey,” Lisa said. “Hi. We’re not here to hurt you. Wait. How did you get here?”

“Who?” the child said.

“Do you have any parents?”

“Who are you? I was looking … looking for the …”

The child pointed at the doughnut case. They thought she was a little girl whose hair had been cut very short. Lisa looked down at the case and saw the doughnuts on the floor with a single bite taken out of each.

“Oh, were you looking for some food?” she said.

The little girl nodded.

“Well Jeeze,” Lisa said.

Franks, meanwhile, found the cash register locked up. It looked like it was made out of plastic.

“Hey Manny, can I see that crowbar?” he said.

“Why do you want money for?” she asked.

“You never know. What do you want drugs for?”

“For trading! People actually want drugs. Why would they want money?”

“Find someplace where money’s still worth something. Or a sucker that still thinks it’s worth something.”

“Just came for the damned coffee and … the kid …”

“I was in favor of letting the kid go.”

Lisa, meanwhile, had moved out from behind the counter, hands at her side.

“What is your name?” she said. “Do you know your name?”

“Yeah, I know my name!” the little girl said. “I’m Jamie.”

“Your name is Jamie? Okay. Okay.”

Jamie was soaked and wore tight shorts and a tight shirt that had seen better days. Her sneakers were very wet too and she’d obviously been out in the rain.

“Where are your parents?” Lisa asked. “Do you know where your parents are?”

“They’re down at the fort,” Jamie said.

“At the fort.”

“Yeah, the fort.”

“Do you know the name?”

“Down at Wanchese.”


Lisa turned to the other two, still arguing by the cash register.

“Guys, do you know of a fort nearby or …?” she asked. “Wanchese? Are you familiar?”

“Wen-what?” Franks said.

He had gotten the crowbar from Manny was prying the cash register open. It gave way with a snap and a metallic clang. He took the cash in the box. There was over $700 there.

Lisa turned back to the child, moving closer to her and kneeling down.

“Okay Jamie, my name is Lisa,” she said. “This is Manny and this is John.”

“What’re you doing here?” Jamie asked. “Wait! Are you - are you - are you here - are you the rescue?”

“We wish, kid,” Manny said.

“You’re not the rescue?”

“Nope. We’re waiting on that too.”

“Are you hunters?”


“No,” Lisa said.

“Well, he said there’d be hunters,” Jamie said. “Whenever there’s … whenever there’s vampires, there’s hunters, right?”

“Who? Hunt? Wait. What?”

“The Professor said that.”

“Professor … Professor what?”

“He just calls himself the Professor.”


“His last name wasn’t Wolfgang, was it?” Franks said.

“No,” Jamie said.

“Okay, then you’re fine.”


“It’s not that drunken idiot.”

“Well, I guess we’ll give you a ride,” Manny said.

“The doughnuts are all stale!” Jamie suddenly said, tears in her eyes.

“Okay, we─” Lisa said.

“I came up to look for stuff. They don’t know I’m here. I don’t want to get in trouble. They - they - I don’t wanna …”

“You’re not in trouble, sweetie.”

“Yeah, I wasn’t supposed to come. I was told to look. Because it’s day. We’re safe in the day. And I was just coming─”

“Okay okay okay, who─?”

“But I heard something in the back and I was leaving and I saw him: that man with the gun.”

“Okay, well, he─”

“He tried to shoot me!”

“He was scared. We’re all scared, okay?”

“I’m scared.”

“We are not going to hurt you, okay?”

“Okay. You’re not marauders, right? ‘Cause the Professor said marauders come after the apocalypse. There’s going to be marauders.”

“No no.”

“They’re on bikes and stuff.”

“We’re just trying to get out of this, just like you are.”

“You’re not wearing all the spikes. He said they wear spikes.”

“No. We’ve got some food and water back in the car.”

“He’s been watching Mad Max too much,” Franks quipped.

“And we can get you some dry clothes,” Lisa went on.

“I just wanted to take some doughnuts back,” Jamie said. “‘Cause I was gonna share doughnuts with everybody ‘cause we haven’t had any good food in a long time.”

“Well … I’m … I’m not sure …”

“They probably have coffee in the fridge,” Manny said.

“It’s dark back there though,” Jamie said, shaking her head.

“Well, I got a flashlight.”

“Okay … I don’t like the dark.”

“Manny, can you go back and check what’s in the fridge, please?” Lisa said.

“That’s what I was gonna do,” Manny said.

“Be careful, Manny!” Jamie said.

Manny went into the kitchen again. Franks followed her.

“Just don’t let the kid bite you!”Franks called before he went into the kitchen.

“I’m … I’m not a vampire!” Jamie called after him, watching the kitchen door carefully. “God. Your friend is dumb.”

Lisa nodded. She put her hands on Jamie’s shoulders.

“It’s gonna be okay,” she said.

“You’re not a vampire, are you?” Jamie asked her.

“No. No, sweetie, I’m not.”

“You don’t have red eyes, so that’s good.”

Lisa showed the little girl her neck and Jamie looked very closely at it.

“Okay, Professor says they don’t act like regular vampires,” Jamie said. “They don’t … they don’t suck your blood. They just … they just kill you.”

* * *

Manny and Franks approached the refrigerator where cold air was still coming out. They realized there was still electricity in the building. They opened the door and Manny turned on her flashlight and shined it into the room. She reached to the right of the door and flicked on the switch. The florescent lights flickered but didn’t come on completely as they warmed up. They obviously needed to be replaced.

Manny shined the light around and saw two people lying on the floor. Two others were standing in the corners, leaning back against the walls. A shelf full of coffee stood against the far wall of the walk-in refrigerator, just between the two standing corpses. There were dozens of two-pound bags of the stuff, all marked with their flavor.

Manny turned the lights back off. Franks reached in and turned them back on though they didn’t really come back on, just flickered. Manny turned them back off again.

“Just grab the coffee and go,” Manny said.

Just wanting them to shut up about coffee, Franks crossed the room very quietly, reaching the coffee. He filled his arms with bags of coffee, getting about 10 bags of various flavors.

Manny noticed one of the men in the corner open his eyes. In the dimness of the room, they seemed to glow red.

“****,” Manny said. “Get away!”

The thing lurched towards Franks who glanced the thing’s way. It tried to grab him but he turned and ran away, not dropping any of the bags of coffee. He ran past Manny and to the door between the front and the back.

“Bye Manny!” he called.

The thing in the corner followed Franks with its eyes, which stopped on Manny. Then the other zombie leaning in the opposite corner opened its eyes. Then the ones on the floor opened their eyes.

“I’ll meet you out front in the car!” Manny shouted.

She turned and ran towards the back door.

* * *

Lisa heard the shouting from the back. She grabbed Jamie by the shoulders. The little girl looked towards the back of the building, terrified.

“Okay, we’re gonna go now, okay?” she said. “We’re gonna get in the car─”


“─and we’re gonna leave here, okay?”


Lisa tried to pick Jamie up but the girl was just too heavy. The little girl struggled against her.

“Okay!” Lisa said, putting her down. “Okay. Just walk with me, okay?”

“Okay!” Jamie said.

“Hold my hand,” Lisa said.

She pushed open the front door. The rain was still pouring down.

Franks burst out of the door to the kitchen, his arms filled with big bags of coffee.

“Nice job,” Lisa said to him, leading the little girl out of the building.

Franks ran along the counters and around the side, slipping on the damp floor right where the little girl had fallen earlier. He didn’t drop any coffee though! He scrambled to his feet.

* * *

Manny ran to the SUV and flung open the door. She jammed the key into the ignition and started it up. She looked over her shoulder and floored it, backing up down the drive-thru and increasing speed as she tore around the side of the building.

* * *

Lisa grabbed onto Jamie as the SUV roared out backwards around the side of the building and spun, turning and backing up past the front of the building, stopping about three feet in front of the two and coming to a stop. Both the woman and the girl watched, jaws dropped. Lisa flung open the back door and helped Jamie into the SUV, then climbed in herself, pulling the door closed.

Looking back, they saw Franks slipping and sliding towards the slowly-closing door. He hadn’t lost any of the coffee but stumbled towards the front door clumsily. Lisa climbed out of the back of the SUV and headed for him.

“Jesus, mate,” she said.

“Will you come here and take your God damned coffee!?!” Franks yelled.

“God, you absolute ledge!” she said, grabbing about half the bags of coffee.

Franks was finally able to get his balance.

The back door opened and they saw a man standing there wearing a Dunkin Donuts uniform.

“I took your money and your coffee!” Franks said to him. “What you gonna do about it!?! Nothing!”

Lisa noticed the man who came out of the kitchen had red eyes. He stumbled to the counter and climbed over, falling unceremoniously to the floor on the near side.

Lisa and Franks fled, Lisa leaping into the back seat again while Franks ran around the front of the car and got in on the passenger side in the front.

Lisa saw the man climb to his feet and walk to the front door of the building and then just stare at the SUV.

“Manny, let’s go!” Franks shouted.

Manny stared at the man in the shop for a moment but then put the car in gear and floored it. She tore out of the parking lot, turning right on the street, drifting but in complete control the whole time.

“Seat belts!” Manny called.

“No!” Jamie cried out. “Don’t go that way! The vampires are there!”

“What, do you mean there’s more vampires?” Manny said, slowing the vehicle.

“That’s where they live!”

“Then where are you from?”

“I’m from Wanchese! Fort Wanchese!”

Jamie pointed behind her, back the way they’d initially come.

“Are there car parts there?” Manny said.

“I … guess … I …” Jamie said. “I don’t … maybe?”

Manny slowed and made a u-turn in the center of the road.

“Oh my God, Manny, just go!” Franks said. “There’s probably cars that you can take parts from.”

“Yeah,” Manny said.

They drove past Dunkin Donuts a few moments later. It looked exactly as it had before. Franks flipped off the building as they drove by, laughing insanely. Lisa gave Jamie a towel.

They soon arrived at the intersection they had gone through before and Jamie pointed south, the direction the big yellow arrow pointed. They passed a pole barn or warehouse on the right and noticed a water tower over it. They drove by other scattered houses though the bulk of the road ran through woodlands with stunted trees common in the outer banks. It was about three miles before they saw more concentrated buildings and houses.

The Wanchese area consisted of widespread houses though they did pass a post office and three brick buildings connected together that almost but not quite could have been the downtown of any small town. Otherwise, the place was completely residential, though they had passed a church as the houses and buildings started to get more prevalent.

Jamie told Manny to turn left on Harbor Road. She did so and they passed some larger buildings on the left. Lisa took off her soaking wet shirt.

“Stop stripping in front of the kid,” Franks quipped. “You’re gonna give her ideas.”

Harbor Road ended when a makeshift wall made of various materials loomed out of the pouring rain where the water came closer on the right. They could see a few boats at docks down there. The wall ran across the road and ran across a portion of land with wetlands on the left.

“That’s it!” Jamie said. “That’s Fort Wanchese!”

“I’m tempted to just drop off this child,” Manny muttered.

“You will not hurt this child!” Lisa said. “This child is mine!”

“Well, she has people to take care of her!” Manny said.

“Uncle Ben,” Jamie said.

They slowly approached the rough wall and it looked like the gate was made of two low-slung automobiles that had some kind of warehouse siding welded and bolted onto them to make the entrance. They were pulled towards each other, obviously, to close it. A platform was over the gate and a few men stood behind a short metal wall there with rifles. They saw other men behind the top of the wall as well. Many of them aimed the rifles at their vehicle as it approached.

Manny pulled the SUV to a stop only a few yards from the gate. They all heard a banging noise that only lasted a few moments. Manny got out of the car.

“Hey!” she called. “We’re just giving a ride to this child we found in the city up north.”

“Stay there!” someone called.

Five minutes or so went by before the two cars making up the gate were each pulled back. A few more men came out of the gate, all of them armed with hunting rifles. They waved them in while looking around nervously.

“You want me to bring the car in?” Manny called.

“Yes!” one of them yelled.

She got back into the SUV and drove in through the narrow and roughly made gates. Once they were in, the drivers of the two cars pulled forward carefully, bumper to bumper, which closed the gates. There were braces made of two-by-four on the roofs of the cars, bolted into place, to brace up the back of the 10-foot tall siding that made up the gates.

Everyone looked nervous and everyone was armed. Jamie flung her car door open and jumped out.

“Jamie!” Lisa called. “Wait!”

The people seemed surprised and happy to see the little girl, calling to her and asking where she had been. Lisa climbed out of the back seat into the pouring rain. When she saw the people were greeting the little girl warmly, she climbed back in.

The north side of the “fort” consisted of several large buildings, probably storage for boats or possibly boat building businesses. They guessed boats might have been stored there in the winter. One of the men waved their SUV to follow him around a building and by a gate and then pointed them to a large, open warehouse door where they drove in to see some space where they could park where it was dry.

It was loud in the warehouse with the rain pouring down. There were places where boats had obviously been stored but it was, overall, fairly clean. A few other vehicles were pulled into the place and apparently under repair.

“We found this child,” Manny said as she got out of the SUV. “We were up in the city up there, looking for─”

“You were in Manteo?” someone said.


“You shouldn’t be up in Manteo! Especially when it’s this dark. They’ll get ya!”

“What? Who? The zombies?”

“Zombies? Ain’t no zombies here!”

“Have you seen any zombies?” Manny said to Franks.

“She thinks there’s zombies,” the local man said.

“You mean those *******s who I stole that money and the coffee from in the coffee shop?” Franks said. “That was good.”

“I mean … they were zombies, right?” Manny said.

“Wait!” the local man said. “Who are you folks?”

“May have been a wendigo,” Franks said to Manny. “It was cold.”

“That’s true,” Manny said.

They told the man their names and that they’d come from the Raleigh Durham area. When Manny asked them if there was a car parts store anywhere, the local men looked at each other.

“You gotta talk to Bob and Jimbo first,” one of them said. “And Tyson. And Cooter.”

Franks started laughing.

“Excuse me?” Lisa said to them.

“They’re in charge,” the man said. “They were all military, so they know what they’re doing.”

They were eventually taken up the road a little ways, past what appeared to be a restaurant or store with “O’Neal’s Sea Harvest” on the sign. They passed more pole buildings, one with the words “Briglia Boatworks” on it. They eventually came to a smaller building marked “United States Coast Guard Engineering Services Division” It appeared to be some kind of office though it had been converted over to living quarters and storage. It looked like two sturdy bars had been added inside the front door. Sandbags were around the outer walls and makeshift shutters were attached to the exterior over the windows.

There, they met four men in their 40s whom were gruff-looking. Tyson was missing his right leg and wore a prosthetic. Jimbo had a nasty scar on his face. The other two both had short-cut hair.

“Who are you folks?” Jimbo asked. “What you doing here? They put us in charge … ‘cause we kind of know what we’re doing. Where are y’all from? What’s going on? We’ve been kind of cut off.”

Manny told them she was from Durham and was told to come to Roanoke Island as it was some kind of safe haven. Shortly after their arrival, they found the little girl but they were just there looking for supplies. They noted she had found Jamie.

The men laughed when she mentioned a safe haven.

“Obviously that is not the case,” she said.

“I told you we shouldn’t follow some damned coke-head,” Franks said.

“Coke-head?” Jimbo said. “Wait a minute. Y’all know Skadooter?”

“Oh, God damn it!” Franks said.

“Is he here!?!” Manny said.

“That ******* came through here!?!” Franks said.

“No, he’s not here,” Jimbo said.

“You threw him out, right?”

“Yes, we threw him out!”

“Good,” Manny said.

“Dumb ass driving up and down the streets, blaring his horn!” Jimbo went on. “Yelling ‘Doot Doot!’”

“Oh, thank God,” Franks said.

“We started taking shots at him just to get him the hell out of here!” Jimbo said.

“Actually, by the way, where’d he go?” Franks asked. “Like, which direction did he go?”

“He went north, towards Manteo, but I think he was heading for one of the bridges,” Jimbo said.

“Ah, he’ll be fine.”

“If he went to the north bridge, it’s gone. They blew it up.”

“He’ll find a way across. Trust me.”

“There’s another bridge that goes to the mainland.”

“Like I said, he’ll find a way across.”

Jimbo cursed, using some nasty racial slurs.

“You will not find any coke for 40 square miles with that dude,” Franks said. “Unless of course, he finds out we have some.”

“He kept yelling ‘Where’s Floyd? Where’s Floyd?’” Jimbo said. “Who the hell’s Floyd!?!”

“What’s going on out there?” Cooter asked. “Is it vampires everywhere?”

“Well, I mean, I guess those were vampires in Manteo, but we mostly seen zombies and plants,” Manny said. “That’s what’s all over my car.”

“What are those dog things?” Franks said.

“Oh, triffids?” Jimbo said. “You saw triffids?”

“Where is that?” Manny said.

“They got a few over on Pond Island,” Jimbo said.

“Where was that?” Franks said. “About 20 miles back?”

“Those should be harmless,” Jimbo said.

“What about those dog things?” Franks asked.

“They attacked us,” Manny said. “That’s why my window’s busted.”

“Well, they been docked,” Jimbo said. “They should be fine. They cut off the stingers every year or so. And they’re harmless. Well, I guess it’s been about a year.”

Franks asked about the dog things and Manny noted they looked like some kind of monkeys. Franks said they meeped but Jimbo had no idea about that at all. There hadn’t been anything like that in Roanoke.

“Back in July, there was this meteor,” Jimbo told them. “It hit the elementary school up in Manteo. I mean, dead center, blew the whole frigging building to pieces.”

“Sucks to suck,” Franks quipped.

“It does,” Jimbo went on.

He told them the meteor hit around 11 p.m. The whole island shook. When people in Wanchese phoned up to Manteo and didn’t get any answer, they went up to investigate. There were fires and the people of Manteo had been turned into vampires. They thought they were zombies at first.

“Me and the boys, here, we came through a little later,” Jimbo said.

But the next morning, all the walking dead went to ground and those caught in the sunlight burned. Their skin turned black and they were terribly injured. Then the Professor showed up.

“He’s got his own little place down at the end of the marina,” Jimbo said. “He said he knows all about vampires. He’s been fighting them all his life is what he said. I dunno about that. But these people here think he knows what he’s talking about. He said stake ‘em, and we tried staking ‘em. That don’t really do nothing. But chopping their heads off helped.”

“We can do that,” Manny said.

Franks realized the thing that had attacked him Dunkin Donuts had not had the sharp fangs or canines vampires were traditionally supposed to have.

Jimbo told him many of the people from Wanchese, which was mostly residential, had gone up to Manteo to help after the meteorite hit. They got wiped out by the things. The fire department and police department, both in Manteo, were gone.

“All the departments?” Lisa said.

“Everybody who was called to help died,” Jimbo said. “Except for some people up there. Some people lived! There was dozen or two people who were in town who … what they did was they … they … a lot of them came down here. There might’ve been more.

“So, at some point, it was decided ‘We gotta stop ‘em from escaping … or getting anywhere.’ So, they blew up the Mann’s Harbor Bridge, to the north. They took all the explosives up there. And then old Carl, he went to the east bridge. He said he was gonna barricade it so nobody else could come here and suffer like we suffered. We ain’t heard nothing from him. So, no telling what happened to Carl.”

“That guy!” Franks said.

He laughed.

“Wait, you know Carl?” Jimbo said.

“Oh … wait …” Franks said. “Who?”

“Carl!” Jimbo said. “He said he was going to blockade the bridge, make sure nobody else came and got themselves murdered by vampires.”

“Never heard of him,” Lisa said.

“Carl?” Franks said. “Carl? There was a guy who was shooting at us and shot one of friends and almost killed her, but …”

Jimbo sent someone to find out what Carl looked like. They soon established it was probably Carl they had shot and killed on the boat the day before.

“Y’all should have sent a better guard,” Franks said. “Holy crap.”

“We didn’t send him!” Jimbo said. “He volunteered. Carl was always a little weird.”

“You should’ve had somebody volunteer to go with him,” Franks said.

“They probably would’ve been dead too,” Manny said.

They explained about the drawings and writing they had found in the cabin of the boat about Virginia Dare. They figured Carl had gone crazy.

“We just didn’t want marauders,” Jimbo told them. “The professor says marauders will come too.”

“Fair enough,” Franks said.

“Professor?” Lisa said.

“Yeah yeah yeah,” Jimbo said. “He’s got a place on the south side, the other end of the marina. He says he’s an expert on vampires. He’s been right about a lot of things, like chopping their heads off and burning the bodies. So, we’re just trying to survive here. Manteo is lost. There’s hundreds of them but they go to ground during the day. Can’t stand the sunlight.”

“You think they have tunnels underground?” Lisa said.

The men all looked suddenly very frightened.

“God damn it,” Bob said. “I didn’t think about that! Are they digging?”

“So, we can raid safely during the day,” Manny said.

“During the day is pretty safe,” Jimbo said. “Well, unless you got weather like this. They don’t like the light. Any kind of sunlight at all really … puts them off.”

“Well, you’re fine then,” Franks said.

“No, not when it’s like this! They might be able to get out in this stuff. I don’t know.”

“They didn’t come out for us.”

“We’re looking for car parts and clothes,” Manny said.

“We’ve been trying to get Wanchese back,” Jimbo said. “Because they kind of spread this way, fast. But it takes going into houses during the day, chopping heads off. We burned down a few houses because they were full. These things go to ground, they find a basement or they find a dark space or they find a fridge. They hide in refrigerators. They’re kind of smart! They know where they can hide. They’ll hide in a fridge or they’ll hide in a basement or even a crawl space. Sometimes they’re getting in cupboards.”

“So, there’s an infestation,” Lisa said. “Almost like rats.”

“All of Manteo was turned. I don’t even know what the population was up there. We ain’t no internets here now. But we still got fresh water. Apparently the pumping stations are still working.

“That’s good at least.”

“And we do have some electricity.”

“You need to burn that God damned Dunkin Donuts, then,” Franks said.

They were questioned about how many of the things were in the shop and they told him of the four they saw. Jimbo noted Jamie was a sweet kid. She just wanted to get some treats for everyone.

“See, I was in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Jimbo said.

“You need to tell her not to run at people,” Franks said. “Or guns or something. I almost shot the … kid.”

“Better running towards people than vamps.”

“Yeah, but she didn’t know that.”

“Well, I dunno. If you came in the front door, even raining out, she probably figured you were alive. Bless her heart. She was in 6th grade before all this happened.”

“You know, I’ll let her slide on that.”

“She’s just a kid.”

“Fair enough.”

“She’s a good kid. We told her ‘Cut your hair short so they ain’t got nothing to grab hold of’ and she did it. And she wears tight clothes so there ain’t nothing loose to grab onto. She’s a smart kid.”

“Y’all done good.”

“She’s a smart kid, but she probably panicked.”

They hadn’t heard of the Floyd fellow Skadooter was yelling about. However, they did offer for them to stay in the fort if they wanted. Franks asked if they were interested in trading and Manny mentioned they could stay there at least until it was sunny. When they asked for trade again, they told them there was probably things they could trade and they could help fix their car if they wanted too.

They learned Wanchese was safer than Manteo but there were vampires there as well.

They also learned a helicopter was up by the elementary school in Manteo. It had landed the day after the meteor struck and was full of army troops. They lasted until nightfall. They weren’t sure exactly what happened, as they had not arrived until a couple weeks later. However, they had heard the soldiers were overrun at nightfall and all of them were wiped out. The Chinook helicopter was up there and Jimbo guessed there were fully automatic weapons scattered up around there somewhere. He guessed there might even be some light machine guns, but it was right next to the elementary school, right in the heart of that place. He noted they hadn’t explored that far north yet. The helicopter had landed in the parking lot of the school.

He said they should probably get some boys on the bridge to watch it. There was still a bridge to the mainland as well and he noted the Professor said there was going to be marauders with the collapse of society.

“He says he’s read about this kind of shit,” Jimbo said. “Sooner or later, we’re going to get a group of people with good weapons who decide they’re going to prey on other people. We ain’t seen it yet, but we’re kind of secluded here. So, we’re keeping our eyes out. I’m glad Jamie fell in with folks who were nice to her rather than someone who would try to do something terrible to her. She might be young, but … I seen some bad things in my day.”

* * *

The three decided to stay in Fort Wanchese. They traded some of the food and drugs they had for some fresh clothing. They also traded some of the coffee they had recovered. The knowledge there were more bags of coffee was also of some value. Their main medical personnel there was a male nurse named Guy who was willing to take the cocaine, valium, and morphine in trade. It was enough for some car parts. Guy was referred to by the residents of the place as the “Chief Doctor” though he had been a nurse before the meteors fell. He was about 30 and had been a nurse for several years. He did the best he could.

They also told the residents of the fort about the group they had left at Pirate’s Cove Marina.

* * *

Lisa found the Professor was not what she expected. He had taken over one of the pole barns on the south side of the marina, near the water tower and not far from another called Blackwell Boatworks. He had the place set up with a small, enclosed office as his bedroom and the rest of the place filled with plastic bins filled with books.

The Professor was an 18-year-old boy who wore graduation robes, probably from when he graduated high school. She learned he had been watching zombie movies and playing tabletop role playing games since he was eight years old. He was not a goth or emo but had been a dungeon master playing Dungeons & Dragons for years and did a lot of research of vampire lore. He had also played a post apocalyptic game called Twilight: 2000 and played a lot of Vampire: The Masquerade. Though he was a geeky kid, when he talked to her about vampires, he came across with a confidence beyond his age.

When she asked about the things, he noted not all of his information was completely accurate. At first he thought staking them through the heart would be enough. When it proved not to be, he had people do it anyway, if they had to, to nail the vampires they encountered down in a position where leverage would not allow them to get up, then chop of their heads. He had also learned garlic didn’t work on the things.

He also had a lot of information on zombies as his father had made him watch zombie movies since he was very little. He had read Lucifer’s Hammer, a book about a comet striking the Earth, and he was trying to collect as much information as he could about farming, metalworking, and other important trades and crafts. They were mostly textbooks and library books about engineering and other important things.

He was very polite to Lisa and seemed a little nervous in her presence; she got the idea he was attracted to her. She intentionally bent over facing away from him to look in one bin and saw him sweating and nervous as he tried not to stare.

He was willing to take her on as a student or apprentice as he needed help collecting more books. When he learned she was a writer, he was very impressed. He told her they needed to get as much textbook information as they could to survive so society would have something to guide it in rebuilding someday. Realizing the youth could be an asset, she offered to help him, acting like a tease the entire time.

She later learned he showed up about three weeks before on a motorcycle with a sidecar. He was heavily armed and had come all the way from Raleigh by himself. He had been wearing biking leathers and a helmet. He had been on his high school football team as a running back before the whole zombie apocalypse happened.

He was also adamant about the lack of fossil fuel. He told her gasoline was only good for about a year before it went bad and was useless. They didn’t have a good way to refine more crude oil into gasoline. That was a problem to look forward to the following year. However, he had a solution, as did the military men they had put in charge. A lot of diesel engines could be modified to run on ethanol, which meant they needed the vehicles to modify and crops to process into ethanol. Many military vehicles were built to be modified for ethanol if need be.

She never learned his real name but he didn’t mind people calling him Prof. He talked about role-playing games a lot.

Jamie also spent a lot of time with Lisa, having grown attached to the woman after their first encounter.

* * *

Over the next few weeks, Manny worked on replacing the driver side window of the white Honda Pilot they were driving and cleaning up and repairing the car in general. She also heard what the Professor had said about diesel engines and learned how to modify a diesel engine to run on ethanol. She worked on other vehicles and machines that needed repairs at the place.

They contacted the group still at the Pirate’s Cove Marina to tell them what they’d found. They said they’d stay at the marina for the time being and loot as much useful stuff as they could.

* * *

They met some of the other members of the fort over the following weeks as well.

Katana Jimmy was a hobo from Asheville who had made his way all the way to Roanoke on foot with a shopping cart filled with katanas, or so the rumors claimed. He had tried to pull his hair into a top knot but it was too short and so it was kind of sloppy. He wore as much white clothing as he could. He thought of himself as a samurai. He was also an expert scrounger and very good at finding useful or valuable things.

He had all the Samurai Jack videos on VHS. Since the series had ended so vaguely, he thought of himself as making it up every day of his life since he’d found the katanas. He was certain Aku was behind everything.

He had a little mutt named Mange (or sometimes Sugar) that followed him around. The dog was a corgi/retriever mix and had spiky hair coming out in patches. He hated zombies. Katana Jimmy claimed Mange would attack zombies, ripping at their throats until he tore their heads clean off.

Jimmy actually had a place to live, but kept his shopping cart. He even put chicken wire around the little niche wherein he had his cot, hanging his katanas from it. “It’s like living in a shopping cart,” he would tell people.

When Lisa learned about him, she approached him to get a katana, as she knew how to use one.

May Eldridge was an older African-American woman of 56. She was missing her left arm, it having been cut off at the elbow sometime after the meteors fell. She had two children but had lost one in the Iraq War and one since the zombies rose from the dead. She usually said she lost one in that war and the other in “this war.” She always referred to what was going on as a war. She was fairly disenchanted but took care of people in the fort. She had been a nurse before being married and having kids and used her medical knowledge as best she could. She also tried to keep the kids there educated and teach them what she could as well.

She had made her way down the coast from New Jersey to Roanoke, looking for her younger son, who she had not yet been able to find. He had lived on Roanoke Island before “this war” as she put it. No one was sure what had happened to him and she assumed he was dead. She had lost her arm on her journey when, having been bitten by a zombie on the hand, she had been unable to cut her arm off herself and relied on another person to do it. She regretted her weakness. She only carried a harmonica and a pocketknife.

Lisa got along well with her. They became close enough that she learned a little about it. It further spurred Lisa to want to find some kind of cure for the virus or do something about it. When she talked to the Professor about it, he noted the place for that was probably the Center for Disease Control which was headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, though he knew there was a center located in Raleigh as well.

Bartholomew was a farmer boy from just outside Fayetteville. Everyone called him “Bolt.” He was blonde, skinny, and had just finished his senior year of high school before everything went to hell. He had been in track and field in middle school but then had to work on the farm instead when he got to high school. He had wanted to be a track star but his father had discouraged him, telling him he wasn’t good enough. He had a best friend who was a mechanic who taught him some of the basics of car engines.

Manny found a lot in common with the youth and the two soon found themselves getting along together well.

The three contributed to the fort as much as they could, Lisa working with the Professor, Manny helping with making various mechanical and electrical repairs, and Franks learning first-aid from May.

“Can I help you, son,” May said to him when he approached her.

“I want to learn first-aid,” Franks said.

“Oh, you want to learn first-aid?”

“I want to learn first-aid, ma’am. Yes.”

“Anything specific or just first-aid?”

“Just first-aid.”

“All right.”

* * *

In early September, a few weeks after they had gotten to Fort Wanchese, Franks, Lisa, and Manny all volunteered to go out and hunt vampires. Each of them was armed with a handgun. Lisa also had a katana, Franks was armed with his baseball bat, and Manny also carried her crowbar and shotgun. Franks, wondering if reflected sunlight would hurt the things, also took a small mirror. Since all of them wanted new clothing, they were told of a thrift store in a row of two-story buildings that had recently been built next to the post office. There were three of the buildings, all connected and set up like a small downtown. If they cleared a store, they had first dibs on what was taken out of the building and then others would loot the place for everything useful, which was often everything.

They talked to one lady who had lived in Wanchese. She knew there was an apartment on the second floor and a small basement under the thrift store. She wasn’t sure about the stores on either side. She knew there was a pump in the basement to keep it from flooding but no one was sure if the pump was still working. Others guessed there was probably a firewall between the three buildings so there was no access of one to another.

They picked a nice, sunny day to raid the place. They went on foot as it was not terribly far and soon arrived. The building was actually perpendicular to Mill Landing Road, sharing a parking lot with the U.S. Post Office Building. They first walked around and found doors on the front and the back. One door in the back probably led to the thrift store while the other, they guessed, led to steps up to the apartment. A narrow fire escape was connected to the second floor. The front of the place was a large, glass window with a sign over it that just said “Thrift Store.”

Franks decided he wanted to take the fire escape to the second floor. He tried to climb up the wall without luck, falling a few feet and hurting himself. Lisa then gave him a leg up. He reached the ladder and pulled it down with a loud rattle. He climbed up and got to the fire escape. There were darkened windows there and he could see a dark kitchen through one. He shattered one of the locked windows, reached in, unhooked it, and opened the sash. He used his mirror to shine around the room a little bit as Manny climbed up the ladder. Franks offered for her to go first, telling her he’d cover her with the light. She crept in, flashlight in one hand and crowbar in the other.

* * *

On the ground, Lisa found the back door locked but realized it had a cheap latch. She kicked it and the latch broke as the door swung open.

“If you find a leather jacket, please save it for me,” Franks called down to her.

She gave him a thumbs-up and walked into the dark shop.

The room ran to the front of the building and she could just make out dim light coming through curtains over the glass there. The place was cluttered with various bins, racks, and hanging clothing, making it feel claustrophobic and close. There were shelves and bins filled with a jumble of stuff: books, shoes, appliances, and the like. She drew her katana and looked around carefully.

* * *

The kitchen upstairs had a tiny table, cupboards, and shelves. An archway led into the rest of the upstairs apartment. Manny looked through the dim place for food and valuables in the open. She ushered Franks into the room and then headed through the archway. She found a landing with steps going down to the ground floor. Off to the right, it led to a living room while to the left it headed back to a hallway and three open doors that probably led to bedrooms and a bathroom.

She went to the living room and found it contained a television, couch, an easy chair, a few shelves, and a window seat. The curtains were drawn back from the windows, letting in a good amount of light.

Franks looked towards the back of the building. The rooms were quite dark, as if the curtains were closed.

* * *

Lisa soon found the men’s section. She looked for a big baggy shirt. As she crossed the floor, she heard a strange thumping below. She was unsure what it was so ignored it. She found a shirt and pulled it on.

* * *

Franks headed for the bathroom in between the two bedrooms. The narrow room had toilet and sink, with a bathtub running crossways along the back wall. The shower curtain was closed. There was no window in the bathroom so it was very dim.

He quietly opened up the medicine cabinet above the sink and found aspirin, Band-Aids, toothpaste, floss, and a used toothbrush with bent bristles. He looked at it and tossed it aside. As he reached for the other stuff, he heard the swish of the shower curtain being shoved aside. He turned towards the bathtub and fired his Glock.

* * *

Manny went to the first bedroom. The curtains were closed and the room was a little messy with bed, desk, and small shelf. She noticed the closet door was closed.

There was a gunshot from the next room.

Manny flung the closet door open and found a man in there. He lunged at her.

* * *

Franks blasted the man standing in the bathtub, the bullet striking him in the right leg as he panic-fired.

“Son of a *****!” he yelled.

There was a splatter of blood against the tiles on the wall behind the bathtub. Franks saw the man had red, glowing eyes.

* * *

“Guys?” Lisa called, running towards the back door.

“There’s shit up here!” she heard Franks yell.

“****!” she said.

* * *

The vampire or zombie or whatever it was climbed out of the bathtub without slowing and grabbed Franks, pulling him close. He pushed the gun up under the other man’s chin and pulled the trigger. The blast burst out of the top of the man’s head and the man’s eyes seemed to bulge from their sockets. That splattered Franks with blood and gore. The smell was terrible.

Mind blown, Franks thought.

The thing let him go and stumbled back, crashing into the bathtub.

* * *

Manny heard another gunshot and swung her crowbar at the red-eyed man. The weapon merely struck the thing a glancing blow in the shoulder. It came at her again but she fended it off as she backed away.

* * *

At the bottom of the ladder, Lisa heard another gunshot from above and quickly sheathed her katana and climbed up to the open kitchen window. She climbed into the kitchen and went through the archway onto the landing. She could hear the sounds of a struggle towards the back of the apartment.

* * *

The zombie in the bathtub climbed to its feet again, grabbing at the shower curtain and pulling it down, falling again. It grabbed the spigot and pulled itself to its feet. Franks noticed it wasn’t looking at him but was starting at the mirror on the wall. Its eyes were not facing the same way either.

Franks put the gun to the front of the thing’s head and fired. The blast knocked it back into the tub again. There was a spray of blood that splattered all over the tiles behind the thing.

“Shoot ‘em in the head!” he shouted.

* * *

Manny dropped her crowbar and pulled her shotgun from where it was slung on her back. She fired at the thing, the blast striking it in the left arm, which was blasted off and flung back into the closet. It tried to grab Manny again but merely slapped an arm against her.

* * *

Lisa drew her semiautomatic pistol and rushed towards the back of the apartment. She saw Manny in the nearest bedroom, working the action on the shotgun, which sent a smoking shell flying across the room. A man with red eyes stood just in front of her. Lisa thought she could hear something in the bathroom too.

As she stood there, looking around and trying to decide what to do, she saw the other bedroom door creak open. She headed into the first bedroom and shot at the zombie. The bullet struck it in the right foot.

* * *

Franks had heard a lot of gunfire from the next room but bent over to search the now-unmoving corpse in the bathtub. He knelt next to the bathtub and started going through the man’s pockets.

* * *

Manny backed away from the struggling zombie and aimed more carefully at the dead man’s head. It lunged at her, clutching at her with it’s one arm, scraping across her chest and practically groping her.

Lisa shot at the thing again and the bullet crashed somewhere in the back of the closet.

* * *

A bullet crashed through the wall, shattered the tile, whizzed by Franks’ face, and crashed through the tile on the opposite wall. He let out a shriek and then a gasp.

“Sorry John!” he heard Lisa call from the next room.

“God damn it!” Franks yelled. “That was good tile!”

He found a wallet in the corpse’s back pocket. It was very thick. He pulled it out and found over $700 in cash, credit cards, a safety deposit box key, and driver’s license with the name Gregory Smith on it.

“Well, thank you Greg,” he muttered to the corpse taking the cash and the key. “I’ll take that.”

* * *

Manny calmly shoved the shotgun into the zombie’s face and fired. The thing’s head exploded like a bomb going off in a pumpkin. Both she and Lisa were covered in blood and bits of bone. Lisa looked down at the new red shirt she had gotten below, now covered in gore.

* * *

With a second thought, Franks took the license and tucked it into his pocket. Then he felt someone grab him from behind. He shoved the gun behind him, near his own head, and fired it blindly. The blast nearly deafened his right ear. The ringing didn’t stop after he felt the thing fall away behind him. He leapt to his feet.

* * *

Manny and Lisa, hearing the gunshot from the bathroom, ran to find Franks. Another zombie lay splayed out on the floor, practically in the hallway, bullet through its skull. Franks stood in the bathroom, gun in hand, clutching his ear with his left hand and wincing in pain. He was covered with blood.

Lisa ran into the room to administer first aid to Franks, but she could not find any wounds on the man.

“Man!” Manny said.

“Damn it, Manny!” Franks said. “You’re supposed to kill these things. I ain’t bit, I just blew my eardrum out!”

Lisa backed away from the man.

“Now we’re equal on our kill ratio!” Manny said, disappointed.

She was upset. She was ahead on the kill ratio until that day. Then she heard something scratching on the firewall between their building and the next one. Lisa heard it too. It sounded like someone was trying to get through the wall. Lisa put her pistol in her belt and drew her katana again.

Manny ignored the sound and tried to remember how many zombies she’d killed as opposed to how many zombies Franks had killed. She was pretty sure he had surpassed her.

Franks clutched at his ear, still in intense pain.

“Well, there’s probably a zombie in the next building,” she said.

“Well, why don’t you shoot through the wall like that last one!” Franks said loudly. “Or was that you?”


“Wait, that wasn’t a shotgun shell …”

“There ya go!”

“Wait a minute. Damn it, Lisa! What are you doing? You almost shot me through the wall!”

“Christ, I didn’t know you were there!” Lisa said.

Franks searched the dead body. The man was wearing pajamas and had nothing of value on him. Franks kicked him in the head.

“God damn worthless vampire … zombie … whatever you are!” he said.

Manny went to the other room. The closet door there was open and the curtains were closed, making the room very dark. She went to the kitchen to loot it and found spices and food, though everything in the refrigerator was out of date. There was electricity though.

They searched the entirety of the apartment. There was nothing of any great value but there was plenty of possible use for the fort. They gathered what they could and Franks cut off one of the more intact heads. Lisa got a “Life is Good” tote bag from the thrift store and they put it within. They went down to the thrift store and got some of the clothing they wanted, Lisa finding a leather jacket for Franks.

“I thought this was your size,” she said to him. “Sorry about your ear, mate.”

He gave her a fist bump.

They could hear something bumping under the floor. Something was in the basement.

Manny packed more clothing for herself, as did the others. Lisa put together a whole new outfit in addition to her other clothing. She found a pair of jean shorts, blue men’s t-shirt, and tall black, somewhat-tattered rain boots. They also recovered several umbrellas.

They found a door that led to the basement steps and Franks barricaded it, nailing it shut. He found a Sharpie and wrote “Vampire Inside” on one 2x4 and “Do Not Open” on the other. Lisa, meanwhile, opened up the old-fashioned cash register. There was a little cash and homemade coupons inside.

They headed back to Fort Wanchese and reported the place was cleared except for the basement, warning that there was something still down there. Several adults and children headed over to loot the place.

Lisa took the head to May, Guy, and the Professor to try to see what they could do to test it. They told her they needed better equipment.

When Lisa told them she had been a kidnap victim during the meteor shower, they told her what had happened on July 21. The meteors had been unpredicted and had come down in the thousands, blanketing the earth. Wherever one hit, everyone within a few miles died and then stood back up, seeking the living and trying to kill them.

Both May and Guy were curious as to whether cutting the head off without injuring the brain would leave it alive.

* * *

Over the next month, they considered what actions they could best take to help the little community or on a larger scale perhaps. As they went about their daily chores and duties, they discussed the possibility of going back to the CDC Center in Raleigh, raiding Outer Banks Family Medicine in Manteo, or even returning to Dunkin Donuts.

May looked at Franks’ ear but was unable to help the man of the damage he’d caused to himself when he fired the pistol right next to his own head.

Lisa became closer and closer to Jamie, whom she saw on a daily basis.

Manny was interested in converting as many vehicles as possible to diesel but they simply didn’t have many of those kinds of cars. There was some talk of a trip to Fort Bragg to look for military vehicles that would be easier to convert, but rumor had it from survivors who had crossed the state the military base had taken a direct hit from one of the meteorites.

They also heard stories about people from Manteo who had survived the meteorite strike and the ensuing zombies or vampires or whatever they were. One man was wasted drunk and lived alone. When he woke up the morning of July 22, he found the entire town deserted, apparently. He explored a little but made his way quickly south to Wanchese. Another man said he had stomach problems and was on medication. He had stayed in his house until dark the next night; it was then people came out of the surrounding houses and buildings. He had hidden in the house, listening to the things wandering the streets until morning, when they all apparently went to ground again. He left Manteo as quickly as he could that next day.

They met Billy-Joe, who had come to Manteo driving a combine harvester. He was cockeyed and a little off.

“I just drove down the road and zombies went in the front,” he said, “and pieces CAME OUT THE BACK!”

* * *

Franks was determined to go back to the Dunkin Donuts. He had been uninjured since they had left the experiment at Duke until he had hurt himself falling in Manteo and he wanted revenge on the dead inside the building. When he realized there was plenty of dough and sugary stuff in the refrigerator, as well as more coffee, he was even more adamant to go.

Lisa was hesitant but Franks was determined. Manny figured it was a good start but thought they should move on to the hospital next, then get a diesel truck and head for Raleigh to the CDC. Lisa eventually decided she wanted to bring back some kind of doughnut for Jamie.

September 28, 2015, was a warm sunny Fall day. Lisa, Manny, and Franks borrowed a flatbed truck and drove to Manteo in the morning, pulling into the parking lot of Dunkin Donuts. They had brought another resident of Fort Wanchese: Billy Blue, a somewhat secretive, decisive, and ornery older man. They didn’t really know anything about his past at all or if Barry Blue was even his real name. He was a gruff fellow with a shaved head and no facial hair. He had a deep, rough, voice and was skinny and of average height. He wore blue jeans and a blue jean jacket and carried a double-barrel shotgun.

Nothing had apparently changed at the shop. The lights were still off in the place and it looked as abandoned as ever. Franks and Manny had told Lisa and Barry Blue what they had run into in the refrigerator so they were all prepared.

“Dunkin Donuts?” Billy Blue grumbled. “Why we getting’ Dunkin Donuts? Jamie don’t need no doughnuts. She’s good with carrots.”

He complained constantly. He had grumbled about not wanting to take a vehicle all the way up to Manteo.

Once they got there, they drained the gasoline from the two cars near the building. The one out front was practically empty. The one in the back was also empty as well. They used the little bit of gasoline to top off their truck.

They went in through the front of the store and first searched the small bathrooms off the dining area. The lights were on in each and each was empty. They took the hand soap, toilet paper, paper towels and everything else they could carry from the rooms. There was also a little storage room off the dining room with more toilet paper, paper towels, hand soap, and cleaning supplies. They took everything.

They peeked into the kitchen and saw the refrigerator door was ajar but not as open as it had been when they’d been in the place before.

“Time to make the doughnuts,” Barry Blue quipped, thinking he was funny.

“Shut up, Barry,” Franks said.

“Hey! **** you, *****! I’ll murder your ass in the back of your head, boy. Let’s go!”

“That’s a good one, Barry.”

Franks clapped him in the back.

“Yeah, you too,” Barry Blue said. Then he muttered to himself. “God damned beautiful mother ****er.”

They opened up the back door of the building and then crept to the refrigerator. Franks flung the door open and Manny shined her flashlight into the place. Only one of the zombies was there, standing in the far corner of the room.

“There’s that ****er wearing the Dunkin Donuts uniform!” Franks said. “What the crap!?!”

He squinted to see the man’s nametag read “Bob.” Franks reached over and flipped the light switch. The fluorescent lights started to flicker and the man across the room opened his eyes. They glowed red.

“Go gettum, Barry!” Franks said.

“I ain’t gettin’ nothin’ you son of a *****, you call me Mr. Blue,” Barry Blue said. “You God damned mother ****ers!”

He poked Franks in the back with his shotgun.

“You’re funny, Barry,” Franks said.

“You get in there, do it yourself,” Barry Blue said.

“C’mon Barry,” Franks said.

He put an arm around Barry Blue in false camaraderie and pulled him towards the zombie. Barry Blue flung the man’s off him.

“C’mon Barry, we can do this,” Franks said.

The thing in the refrigerator shambled towards them.

“C’mon Barry, let’s level this thing with our guns,” Franks said. “You got your gun, I got mine. Let’s just pop it.”

Franks had his Glock in his hand and fired at the zombie, missing even at such close range.

“That was a shitty shot,” Barry Blue said. “You’re a shitty shot.”

Manny aimed her shotgun at the zombie’s head.

“I’m gonna give this sonuva***** both barrels!” Barry Blue said.

He blasted away with both barrels, missing. The blast also missed the shelves of dough and coffee, crashing against the far wall and scattered buckshot everywhere. He was knocked back several steps.

Lisa stood behind the others, katana in hand, looking around nervously.

Franks shot the thing in the left arm with his Glock, doing little harm to it, seemingly. He shot at it again, the bullet smashing between the shelves. Manny finally fired the shotgun, blasting the thing in the head. Unfortunately, the blast also blew apart several bags of coffee.

“That’s pretty good,” Barry Blue muttered. “Pretty good. Better ‘n him.”

“Shut up, Barry,” Franks said.

“What’re you doin’ tomorrow night?” Barry Blue muttered.

Behind them, Lisa thought she heard something in the bathroom and thought she saw someone duck out of sight. She exited the kitchen, walking over. She pushed open the bathroom door but nothing appeared to be in there. The stall door was closed.

She strode into the room and kicked open the door. No one was in there.

* * *

Back in the kitchen, Franks complained about the destroyed merchandise. Barry Blue grumbled and then let out a shout as a zombie grabbed him from behind. When they looked back, they realized there was an open cabinet amongst the doughnut-making machinery in the room. It had been hiding in there.

“Dang it, Barry!” Franks yelled. “Why didn’t you clear those!?!”

Barry Blue had just reloaded his shotgun.

“Get this God -damned …” Barry Blue shouted. “Get it off! Get it off!”

“Barry, just put the gun to its head!” Franks shouted.

“Get it off of me!” Barry Blue shouted.

“C’mon Barry!” Franks said.

He shot at the thing but missed completely.

* * *

Lisa had come out of the bathroom when she heard Barry Blue yelling. A bullet flew out of the wall of the kitchen near her.

* * *

Franks aimed at the zombie’s head and Manny worked the action on her pump shotgun and did the same. Barry Blue yelled and struggled against the thing gripping at him.

“God damned vampires!” he shouted. “I hate vampires! Sonuva*****!”

The zombie bit him on the lower neck near the shoulder. Barry Blue let out a shriek.

“You sons of *****es!” Barry Blue screamed.

He passed out and sank to the ground.

“God damn it, Barry,” Franks said.

Lisa burst into the room and saw what was going on. She hesitated, not wanting to get in the way.

Franks fired and missed. Manny also fired, blowing the thing’s head off with her shotgun. Blood splattered everywhere.

“This is the third set of clothes I ruined, Manny,” Franks said. “Third set of clothes. Third set of clothes. I’m glad I didn’t wear my leather jacket.”

Franks tried to bind up Barry Blue’s wound but didn’t seem to help the man much. Lisa considered waking him up but wasn’t sure if he would still be alive if he woke. She worried what woke up might be the undead.

“He’s gonna turn!” she said. “He’s gonna turn! I just know it!”

“Well, let’s take him outside,” Franks said.

He suggested tying him to the flatbed or laying him in the sun so if he did turn into a zombie, he would burn in the sunlight. Lisa didn’t believe the man.

“Yeah,” Manny said.

“You can stand over him with your katana if you want to,” Franks said.

“I agree with that,” Manny said.

“No!” Lisa said. “That’s not gonna work!”

“I got bit. I’m fine.”

“But your leg is horribly mangled!”

“Well, that’s from the cut, not the─”


Lisa sighed.

“Do we have any rope?” Franks said.

“He got bit on the neck!” Lisa said. “You-you-you can’t just cut that off!”

“Well, the sunlight kills them so if we just tie him up outside …” Manny said. “… and give him time.”

“Yeah,” Franks said.

Lisa breathed heavily, backing away.

“You can keep guard over him with the sword if you like,” Franks said. “If he starts acting weird, chop his head off. Do whatever you want.”

“By then, don’t you think it’ll be too late?” she said.

“No, he’ll be tied down. You’re fast with a katana, aren’t you? You impressed Jimmy. He doesn’t usually let his katanas go lightly.”

She stared at him, backing up to the wall.

“Heck, I tried to take one from him and he almost cut my damned head off,” Franks went on.

“Okay,” Lisa said quietly.

She slid down the wall to a sitting position, holding her katana between her legs.

“C’mon,” Franks said. “You can follow me.”

He dragged Barry Blue unceremoniously out of the Dunkin Donuts by his feet.

“C’mon Barry, you dumbass,” he said to the unconscious man. “You silly kidder, you.”

He lay the unconscious man in the sun in the middle of the parking lot. Lisa followed him. Franks told her she could guard him and if he started acting weird to cut his head off. He started to look around for something to tie him up with and Manny, seeing him do so as she started hauling things out of the kitchen, suggested using one of the seat belts in the truck. He found a carving knife in the kitchen, cut off one of the seat belts, and brought it Lisa. She just stood there, looking at her katana.

“You’re that worried about him, you secure him, you guard him with the sword, he starts doing anything weird, kill him,” Franks said.

She pulled the unconscious man to a sitting position and then tied his hands in front of him and tied his feet as well. She thought he was tied fairly secure.

Manny moved the truck to the back and she and Franks took everything that was not nailed down out of the Dunkin Donuts: kitchen appliances and machinery, dough, sugary stuff, coffee, and everything they could find, carting it out to the flatbed truck. It took them four hours to get everything they could carry.

They left by around noon. Barry Blue was still unconscious and now very sunburned. Franks managed to wake the man up and he growled.

“What the hell?” Barry Blue muttered. “What’s going on? What’d you do to me?”

“How you feeling, Barry?” Franks said.

“I don’t swing that way! Get off me! God-damned mother ****er.”


“Get off me! Get them girls over here!”

“How you feeling, Barry?”

“Ow! My shoulder hurts.”

“Is that all?”

“What’d you do to me?”


“Don’t touch me! What’d you do to me?”

“Well, gosh dang it, Barry. You were just not paying attention and one of those danged ****ers grabbed you. I just don’t know what to tell you.”

“I felt it grab me! It bit me! Sonuva***** tried to suck my blood!”

“Yeah, do you feel okay?”

“I feel like shit! Something bit me!”

“But is that all? You don’t feel like sucking blood yourself?”

“Wha? Shuddup!”

“Well, we can put him in the flatbed,” Manny said. “He’d still be in the sun.”

“You’re so stupid!” Barry Blue said to Franks. “I hate you!”

“Naw, he can─” Franks said.

“Don’t talk to me!” Barry Blue said to him.

“He can ride with Lisa, right?” Franks said. “You still want to keep an eye on him, right?”

“Sure,” Lisa said.

“She’s just going to keep an eye on you, Barry,” Franks said. “Just ‘til we get back and the medical people can take a look at you.”

Barry Blue growled at him.

“You’re fine,” Franks went on. “We’re sorry you’re a little sunburned but … just a precaution.”

“What do you mean I’m … Ah! Augh!” Barry Blue said. “AH!”

“You’ll be fine, Barry. It’s just a little sunburn.”

“It burns so bad!”

The man, who had been laying in the sun for four hours, was beet red.

“You’ll be fine, Barry,” Franks said again.

Barry let out a cry of pain.

“It hurts so much!” he said.

“I’m sorry, man,” Franks said. “But … it happened. I know you would have done the same for me had that happened.”

“Give me some water you stupid ****!” Barry Blue said to him.

They got him some bottled water. His lips were chapped and the sunburn was severe. He probably had sunstroke.

“I feel like I’m gonna puke!” he cried out.

“Ah, Barry, you’re such a kidder,” Franks said.

Lisa got a wet cloth and put over his head.

“Ah!” he cried out. “It still hurts!”

“Such a tough guy,” Franks said.

“Shush old man,” Lisa said.

“I’m only 27,” Barry Blue said to Lisa.

“This is nothing for you, man,” Franks said. “You got this. C’mon, let’s go back.”

“I hate you so much,” Barry Blue said to him. “Get my shotgun, you *****!”

Manny got some aloe from her medical kit and put it on Barry Blue. He cried out in pain at that as well.

They went back to Fort Wanchese. Barry Blue was treated for extreme sunburn and heat stroke. They locked him up in a large cage with a cot and a few amenities.

“See Barry, we were nice to you,” Franks quipped. “We didn’t lock you up in a cage.”

May noted the cage was just a precaution and Barry Blue would be exempt from his regular work and chores for a week or so until they saw what happened to him.

* * *

A day or so after their raid on Dunkin Donuts, the supplies and equipment they found was used to cook up a good deal of doughnuts and coffee for everyone in the fort as a little celebration for their windfall. Lisa handed Jamie a doughnut personally and hugged the girl. Jamie was very happy everyone got to have a little sweet treat.

* * *

Barry Blue’s health declined rapidly through the month of October. He had been given a slew of what antibiotics they had available at Fort Wanchese and tried to keep the wound clean. Unfortunately, it got worse very quickly. Both May and Guy were at a loss as to why he sickened so quickly. In mid-October, he died, passing away in his sleep in the night. He rose the next evening as one of the vampires or zombies or whatever it was infesting Roanoke Island.

“I ****ing told you guys!” Lisa yelled at the others. “You didn’t ****ing listen, did you mates!?!”

Guy wanted to experiment on the horrible thing as they’d never captured one of the vampires before. He wanted to get a sunlamp and a tanning bed to see if they would affect it. Franks wanted to try reflected sunlight to see if it hurt the things. May was on the fence, wanting to keep the thing contained but ready to destroy it if it escaped.

Franks was also for experimenting on it, saying Barry Blue would want that. Lisa was very uncomfortable having the thing around. Manny thought they should keep it around after experimentation. She reasoned if they went to Raleigh, they might need it for the CDC.

The cage with the terrible thing that had been Barry Blue was moved to one of the outlying buildings on the east side of Fort Wanchese. Then the experiments began. They got a tanning booth from somewhere and found the thing was injured by the light from it. Sunlamps worked the same. Even reflected light from a mirror could burn the thing, Franks found out. Otherwise, the thing didn’t seem to feel pain at all. It also avoided the sunlight as best it could and fled from an obviously sunny area.

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