Chapter 1: "End"
It was June 3rd, 2016, and a group of friends would soon become a group of survivors. They had just graduated high school in Hobbs, New Mexico, and were celebrating with a road trip across the United States. Driving the car was Robert Hutchins, a thoughtful young man who was basically the leader of the group. He was slender, brunet, and had stunning green eyes. He was dressed in tight maroon pants, a black shirt that red 'Sinister,' and a pair of black boots he adored fondly.
Next to him in the passenger seat was his best friend, Lily King, who was a very smart, short girl who was quite talented at telling jokes. She was adorned in a loose purple dress with flip-flops.
In the back seat were two girls named LaRissa and Lyrik. LaRissa Masterson was a moderately funny girl with high hopes for her future, hoping to go into nursing at Texas Tech. She was wearing a sheer pink blouse with a white undershirt, matching pink tennis shoes, and blue jeans. Lyrik Bernthal was a black girl obsessed with music, pop culture, and being right. She was wearing tight black pants, black sneakers, and a royal blue top.
The foursome was just coming from Dallas, Texas, after having spent the last few days there. They were just arriving in Senoia, Georgia, headed for Atlanta, and they were running low on gas. Robert pulled into the first convenience store they found, a quaint little blue and white building on a crowded block in the middle of the city. "All right," he said, "LaRissa, you stay here and pump. I'm gonna go in and get drinks, do you guys want anything?"
"Um..." Lyrik started, "I'll just go in with you."
"Me too," Lily said.
"You know what I want," LaRissa told Robert. "Just coffee."
Robert nodded his head, and they all exited the car. LaRissa readied the pump and went right to her phone, texting her family and playing Candy Crush.
Lily, Lyrik, and Robert entered the gas station and immediately split off. Robert went for the coffee, getting himself and LaRissa one. For himself, a caramel espresso. For LaRissa, a French vanilla frappe. Lily went to the fridges in the back to get a drink, and Lyrik went straight for the candy. "No Faygo!" Lily moaned loudly from her aisle. After the coffees were filled, Robert met her in the drinks section. "There's no Faygo," she said dejectedly.
Robert smiled at her, rolling his eyes. "I heard."
She smiled at herself and continued eyeing the shelves. "Should I get water or Sprite?" she asked.
"Well, whatever you do, don't get that," Robert said, pointing to an orange liquid with red and yellow chunks floating around in it, appearing to be bottled vomit.
"Ew," Lily said. "I think I'll just get a Sprite." Lyrik came around the aisle, her left arm incapacitated, filled with candy; Skittles and Nerds falling out from between her fingers. She bent over and grabbed a Dr. Pepper, encumbering the last free limb she had. Robert and Lily rolled their eyes jokingly at her.
The three went for the counter to check out with their items. Lyrik dumped her armful of candy onto the counter in front of the only cashier on shift. He was a middle-aged Latino with squinty brown eyes and lots of prison-style tattoos, but was pretty short for a guy his age. His name tag read "Javier, yo." Lyrik seemed to be very attracted to him, judging by the way the two were eyeing each other up.
As he was ringing them up, a scrawny man with wild blonde hair and big green eyes burst through the doors and ducked into the closest aisle. The expression on his face was of pure horror. "Get down!" he yelled to them, to which the cashier and Robert lifted their brows. As the cashier was about to speak, presumably to ask him to leave, a shrill scream was heard outside. LaRissa had fallen, her leg tangled in the gas pump. Her phone was lying in front of her, cracked into pieces, and she was struggling to free her leg as a group of crazy-looking people approached. Some were missing fingers, walking with a limp, or had huge, open gashes on their bodies with blood staining their clothes and skin. There must have been at least twenty of them, and they were pretty close to LaRissa.
"What the fuck are those?" Lily asked as Robert and Lyrik ran to the door to help LaRissa.
"No!" Screamed the man cowering in the aisle. Robert and Lyrik staggered in shock, and he jumped in front of the door, blocking the way of anyone trying to get in or out. "They're monsters! I heard someone call them walkers. They're like mutations of humans or something. Whatever they are, they're dangerous. I barely escaped them," he said as he pulled up his dirty sleeve, revealing a huge gash on his left arm. "They bit me. Their want is to eat. They don't think, or care," he paused. "I should know. My girlfriend did this to me."
Everyone else looked on in horror. Lily and Javier looked like they were about to puke. "You're going to die, aren't you?" Lyrik asked him.
"I don't know," he said, looking quite sad.
"What's your name?" Robert asked him.
"Jackson, but that doesn't matter. What matters is that you don't go outside! And that she doesn't get in! She's on her own now. If those things — those walkers — see us, we're dead!"
"We can't just leave her out there!" Lyrik said. Their attention was drawn back to outside as LaRissa had freed her leg and was nearly at the doors. She went to the handle and the doors opened slightly, but then Jackson threw his weight back onto them. LaRissa peered in and saw the man, and looked past him to us. She screamed to get him off and to let her in. Lily didn't budge, believing the strange man. She wasn't about to get herself killed. Robert thought that Jackson's words held some weight, as well, but he and Lyrik did their best to get the man off the doors.
"No!" Jackson yelled, grabbing a display case full of lighters and flinging them at the two. "I'm sorry, but you don't know what you're doing! Would you rather one die, or all of us die?!"
"I'd prefer if none of us died," Robert retorted. He looked to the cashier, "Are you just going to stand there the whole time or are you going to do something?!" The teen looked to Lily, continuing. "Help us!"
The man behind the desk looked nervous and bolted to the back, opening a door that led out to the alley and escaping. Lily watched and took a step towards the door, but could not leave her friends like this, so she turned back and began trying to get to Jackson as well.
The walkers outside were getting dangerously close to LaRissa as she put all of her weight against the doors. She grew desperate, and began banging her fists against the windows of the door, hoping to knock out the glass and get in. The walkers could now reach out and touch her. Finally, the three were able to get Jackson off the doors, and LaRissa fell to the ground as her weight swung the doors open.
As she was trying to get herself up, a walker fell on top of her, and she screamed in panic. She scrambled, trying to get to her feet, but the walker chomped down into her right leg, ripping right through her jeans and pulling out veins and muscles, viciously digging into her calf. Robert and Lyrik dragged her in while Lily and Jackson kicked at the walker on top of LaRissa, flinging it back into the crowd of walkers. Lily, Lyrik, and Jackson tried closing the door again, but the weight of about twenty undead corpses wasn't helping much. Robert was on the ground attempting to help LaRissa, and told Lyrik to run and get stuff to help LaRissa out while he did his best with what was near him. Quickly, she bolted off into the aisles, searching frantically for something help LaRissa with. Lily and Jackson were struggling to keep the doors closed. The wild-looking man told Lily to hold onto the doors while he gets something to put against them. Lyrik returned to Robert with bandages and alcohol. Robert did his best to use the bandages to stop the bleeding, as she was hemorrhaging blood and was now barely conscious. She was now barely conscious. Suddenly, the doors burst open and Lily fell onto a knee and scraped it open, but quickly got up and screamed, "We have to go! Now!"
Jackson was dragging the ice cream fridge to the doors when Lily fell, and he cursed under his breath. He ran to LaRissa and helped Lily and Lyrik get a good hold on her. Jackson told them to go on without him. Robert refused to let him go, but Jackson jumped into the crowd of walkers. They began devouring him, and Lyrik and Lily could only watch in horror. "Come on!" Robert yelled, and they stumbled out of the back doors as Robert ran ahead to find help. They went down the alley in the opposite way that the walkers were coming from and made it to the door. They struggled to keep LaRissa up, and two walkers had followed them out of the backdoor by the time they were halfway down the alley. When they made it to the street, LaRissa fell, and the walkers were coming quickly. A car was coming down the street, and Robert and Lily boldly in front of it. It came to a sudden halt and Robert opened the back door as Lily went back to Lyrik to help LaRissa to her feet and out of the alley. Walkers were beginning to appear from other sides of the streets, as well.
Robert opened the back door and saw that the back seat was filled with groceries, and he pushed them to the floorboard. "Hey!" said the old man driving. "What are you doing?!"
"My friend is hurt and we need help. If anything back here got damaged, I'll pay you back. Just take us to the hospital."
Robert ran back to help them carry LaRissa, and Lyrik got in first. The three cooperated to gently get LaRissa in next to Lyrik, and the bitten girl's torso fell limply onto Lyrik. Robert jumped into the passenger seat as Lily tried her best to gently get LaRissa further in so she could get in as well. They took off with walkers all around them, headed for the hospital.
"Thanks, sir," Robert said. "My name's Robert Hutchins. That's Lily," he gestured to them, "that's Lyrik, and my hurt friend there is LaRissa. What's your name?"
The man looked a bit nervous, unsure of what exactly what was going on. "H-Hershel," he stuttered out, "Hershel Greene. So, if you don't mind me asking, what happened to your friend, there?"
"I'm not exactly sure," Robert said. "A crazy man locked her out of this convenience store we were in, and those things back there, 'walkers' he called them, there were more of them. A lot of them. One fell on top of her, and it bit into her. She nearly died of blood loss, but we managed to get the bleeding to stop before the doors burst open and we had to bolt."
The car swerved around a corner, dodging a walker in the road. Just a few blocks farther and they were in front of the Senoia hospital. There were people inside in police uniforms shooting at the ravaged people, which were everywhere. "Fuck!" exclaimed Lily in anger. "Looks like we need to go somewhere else."
In a random blow of kindness, Hershel opened up to them. "I'm a veterinarian. We can go back to my farm outside of town and I can help your friend there."
"Thank you so much," Lyrik said to him.
"Just don't make me regret this," he said, looking up in the rearview mirror to them.
They made it to his farm about twenty minutes later, and were met at the driveway by his son, Shawn, and two daughters, Maggie and Beth. Shawn asked what happened, and Hershel told him to help us get LaRissa inside. He picked her up in his arms, and Hershel and Robert's group followed. Maggie and Beth were told to get the groceries from the car and to bring them inside.
When they entered, LaRissa was laid onto the couch, and Hershel's wife approached from the kitchen. "Honey, what's happening? Who are these people? We already have guests over, dear." In the kitchen was two fat men and an old lady who looked oddly like Beth. One of the fat men resembled Maggie, and had moderately long, deep black hair. The other one was wearing camouflage, with stubbly, balding hair. He was sat next to his aging blonde wife. They looked on in worry and confusion.
"Hello, Otis. Patricia. Arnold," Hershel said in a rush. They nodded, feigning smiles, still looking confused. "Annette, get me some peroxide and bandages," he said to his wife. She turned to the couple at the kitchen table and smiled politely and awkwardly as she excused herself to go upstairs. She came back down shortly afterwards and the couple tried to help the injured stranger.
After doing the best they could for LaRissa, Hershel invited Robert, Lily, and Lyrik to join them for dinner. The three were all quite taken by Shawn, as he seemed very kind and handsome.
Otis and Patricia left shortly after to their home in town. Annette and Hershel apologized for ruining their night, and they talked about the monsters that hurt LaRissa and apparently killed a man that Robert and his friends had met that day. Otis and Patricia thought they might be lying, but Hershel vouched for them, seeing the strange people himself. Annette suggested that the clearly-damaged people might just be sick and desperate for help.
After a few hours, LaRissa remained unconscious, and Hershel decided they should move her to a bedroom. He invited the teenagers to stay the night with him, and gave them rooms to sleep in. Robert shared his room with LaRissa, while Lyrik and Lily shared a room together.