June Westbrook // Cheyenne Sioux - Oh, Ohio!
Cocnenendndntb Narrative Exploration Megathread
1.) Cheyenne Sioux - An exploration on the concepts of American anarchism and Zen and how they interact with each other in the context of a zombie apocalypse.
August 15th, 1999, 4:05pm
Sunlight pours through the crossed wires in the window of the heavy metal backdoor. The golden light paints trapezoidal panels across the chipped white walls, casting small shadows behind the chipped sections. Chey kicks the door open as usual, letting the muggy air into the air conditioned alcove. She stands still for a second, savoring the last second of sweet, sweet AC before braving the outside.
“See yous guys tomorrow!” She shouts as she crosses the threshold out of the diner.
“Fuck you close the door I’m dyin’ in here!” Jokes Jack from the dish room.
August 15th, 1999, 4:17pm
Step after step, worn soles on worn asphalt, car after car. After car. A police cruiser, ambulance in tow, sirens howling their urban song. The procession of cars haphazardly peels to the right, making way for the emergency vehicles. Both of them screech to a halt at the 4-way stop. Watching out of morbid curiosity. Chey takes in the scene at the intersection. The two cops have exited their cruiser on opposite sides, both pointing pistols at something just out of view, obstructed by the police car itself. Rising up from behind the police car, a form emerges. Hair, matted and grimy. Eyes, glazed and white. Nose, missing the tip. Mouth, lips pulled back, teeth bared in a feral sneer, covered in blood.
keeping my eyes on this one
The truck stalls one last time, the engine having fallen into a state of disrepair. Spluttering its dying breath, the vehicle grinds to a halt. Ahead, silhouetted by the headlights stands tall a figure wielding a machete against an unstemming tide of undead. Staunchly committed to life, he chops and hacks, tearing limbs asunder. Wordlessly, Cheyenne jumps from the too-high cab, closing the door behind her and drawing her own weapon, a cordless drill gathering an unsightly smattering of blood. Step by step, yard by yard, shoes on the ground, swing connecting to flesh, the two of them forge their way into the city proper.
It stood there on the side of the road, crimson, cadmium, chrome, a car of another caliber. Gleefully, Chey approaches the vehicle. Testing the door handle, ever so slightly applying pressure. More. It gives, the sleek black interior seeming ever more inviting in the tenebrous night. Maybe it’s too much to ask for? Chey’s hand quickly finds itself inside the glove compartment, sifting past band-aids, string, registration, finally, a key.
“She’s in” says the man with the military helmet, lowering his rifle from his shoulder. Easing up only slightly, Chey follows the helmeted man and the doctor into the house, an upscale river side property. Inside, all over the ground are rifles, books, ammunition, pieces of metal. Music faintly drifts outside from somewhere upstairs. The smell of half-smoked cigarettes wafts in from the kitchen. Home it seems.
Splut kff One last pull. The motor is stubborn, coughing in protest, but at last purring to life. One by one, the lights flicker to life. Already a far way out from the Mauser family mafia, it seems like either Chey was able to escape the attention of the family or simply nobody cared. With the push of a button, the garage door drags itself upwards, bringing in the smell of dew on the ground outside. Standing for a moment, Chey enters her Corolla, intent on finding her contact, a mechanic by the name of Jeanne who claims to be able to install the parts the Chey had machined at home.
A City Upon a Hill
The walls are taller than anything she ever imagined could have been built out of 2x4s and wood screws. Across the top of the wall spans a catwalk, complete with a fence around the edge. A fortress of a home. “Hello? Anyone home?” Chey shouts out of her car window. “Gimme a minute!” responds a heavily drawled voice from within the compound. She sits in the driver seat, the fading sunlight drawing stripes across her face through the bars across the windows. The doors, massive, heavy, and wooden, at least 10 feet high slowly swing open on both sides. On one side stands a formidable, heavyset man in a baseball cap, clad in makeshift armor. On the other side stands a stout red-headed woman. Waving her in, Chey gingerly presses the accelerator, bringing the car into the compound.
“I am convinced that if all men were to live as simply as I then did, thieving and robbery would be unknown.” - Thoreau
This Is the Police
Ears ringing from the blast, Chey glances at the horde at the door, previously attempting to break open the police station now all laying dead on the ground. Pain courses through her body from a fragment of shrapnel in her leg. A trail of blood runs onto the ground, leaving a carmine trail on the pavement. Not far behind her trail at least 9 dead, like sharks to the scent they pursue her in the dark. CRACK CRACK CRACK One, two, then three drop dead. A group of armed survivors stands around a fire, engaging the encroaching contenders. As the last shambler drops to the ground, someone finally speaks up. “Anyone hungry?” asks a man in a welding mask as he waves a can of food in the air. “We gotta move” says another, anxious to check on the police station, the location of a recent distress call regarding the horde. Cautiously sidling across the street, the group reaches what used to be the front door, now a pile of splintered wood and glass on the ground. “Anyone alive?” someone asks. Brushing past the desks, one of the survivors opens the only other door, one leading into a corridor. At the end of the hallway stands a doctor, stained in blood with a pained expression besetting his face. At once, one of the survivors begins to grab things off the shelf, boxes of bullets, food, firearms. “Doesn’t someone live here?” Chey pipes up. “Well they don’t anymore” responds the man nonchalantly while still snatching up food. Anguished, defeated, the doctor shouts “What the fuck, that’s mine! Put that back, you can’t just come into my house and take my shit!” The man slowly places the can of food back on the shelf. “This is all your fault! Chef! Maxton! They’re gone because of you! If none of you showed up this wouldn’t have happened!” The distraught man draws a pistol, pointing it at the group of survivors. His finger quivers over the trigger, slowly tightening every second. CRACK CRACK CRACK The room lights up with muzzle flashes, the acrid smell of gunpowder pervades every crevice of the room. The doctor falls dead on the ground, still clutching his pistol.
"The people is dead! Good-day, Self!" - Stirner
Racing up the next flight of stairs, Chey and the man burst onto the fourth floor of the hospital building. Flashlight slicing through the dark like bullets through flesh, 2, no 3, no 4 silhouettes in the hallway snap towards the light source. CRACK CRACK The muzzle of her weapon flashes, momentarily bathing the ward in light. CRACK CRACK With two more shots the remaining dead fall to the ground. Almost slipping on the streaks of blood running along the sterile tile, Chey rounds the corner to find a makeshift barricade. Breached and laying by the wayside, the path to the laboratory is paved with corpses and flies. Carefully stepping over the bodies, she reaches the door of the lab. Waiting for the man to catch up, Chey suppresses the urge to vomit, saved only by her rebreather, which would only serve to hold it in. Readying her firearm, she kicks in the door.
Nothing. Nobody. The lab stands empty, save for the body of an infected person laying discarded in the corner, long dead.
Poring over the rest of the notebook, it mentions things like leukocytes, antibodies, none of it making sense to her. The only right thing to do it seems is to find someone, find another doctor who can understand these notes and continue where Dr. Palmer left off, for the good of humanity.
Rain beats down on the roof, brushing through the trees, shattering themselves against the pavement. Such is the ephemeral life of a raindrop, smashed on the asphalt, guts flowing out through the cracks in the streets. Sitting on the cold linoleum, leaned up against the wooden counter, Dr. Malone studiously scans through the large text, the remainder of Dr. Palmer’s life combined with Dr. Ivan’s findings. The final piece in an all-black 2000 piece jigsaw set, maybe, just maybe Dr. Malone can salvage something of this.
This Car is a War Machine
Releasing the clutch, the car shakes, flying forwards into a mob of dead, rolling over the hood, grinding under the wheels, flying off to the side, crawling over the roof. Forcing her way through the crowd like a belligerent drunk at a Reds game, the car emerges on the other side, just in time to light the fuse, toss the bomb, peel off. One. Two. Three. Four. BANG The powder ignites, sending a hail of nails and aluminum flying into the air, decimating the horde from within. A confluence of metal and flesh rains down onto the red paint, for a moment emulating the sound of rain on the roof. Banging the wheel left like a belligerently angry corporate dad in rush hour I-64 traffic, the car swings around. Through the barred windows, Chey watches in dismay as her client, Smokey who was just minutes ago, valiantly chopping away at the conflux, machete in hand, is dragged down by the mob, flailing as he falls. Her heart sinks as she watches them crowd over him. Stomping the gas and slamming the stick into 3rd, Chey plows the car through the horde, emerging on the other side in time to see Smokey spring up from the ground, clothes tattered, wearing a wreath of entrails. With a herculean shove, he pushes one, two, three, four off of him, resuming his cleaving practices.
From somewhere outside the walls, the crickets chirp, carrying on with their short lives unaware of the pandemonium unfolding around them. In some harmonious otherworld, the crickets care not for the biting of flesh, the snapping and cracking of bullets, they only sing their sonatas, a melancholic melody of a world long gone reverberating through the still night air. A crisp autumn breeze pushes itself against the windows as if to remind the two occupants of the house of the true imperishable ways of nature. “I think you best have these back” Chey extends her arm, clutching in her palm a set of dog-tags bearing only the word “Wyoming”. “Thanks, you have no idea how much shit I got in with my commander for losing these” responds Madison. After a pregnant pause, Chey continues, “Ya know… I think it’s time I came clean about something”. Intrigue sparks in Madison’s eyes, the lighting of a candle in a window on Halloween, anxious, expectant. Chey breathes a sigh, “You know the man hitting the convoys, Kristian? I sold him a box of 5.56 before he hit that first convoy. The bullet that went into your commander’s head… that was mine”.
It Runs on Nicotine and Gasoline
Once again, releasing the clutch, the car trembles under the power of 300 horses, launching itself into a tidal wave of undead, crashing around the car haphazardly, leaving their crimson-brown trails over the hood. Hurtling past trees, Chey tosses one last explosive into the crowd before cornering into the parking lot of the Ameriglobe Communications building. BANG The once shambling legion drops to the ground in an instant, their ceaseless moans and groans tapering off one by one, until all is quiet. Almost. Behind a battered wire fence it stands, stark white in contrast to the encroaching deep blue twilight, a prison bus belonging to Regan, the man who had put out the distress call that brought her here. Throwing open the door, Chey slams her feet onto the pavement, shouldering her rifle in anticipation. In response, a congregation immediately gathers, pressing their mangled faces against the wire, shoving their butchered hands through, threatening to knock the whole fence down. CRACK CRACK CRACK One by one they fall, the recoil hammering her shoulder. The night stands quiet. Finally. From a pile of bodies on the ground, Regan emerges, holding his head in confusion. Tattered, concussed, but nonetheless alive.
Something stirs within Knox County. An outbreak, not one born of biological invasion, not one born of panic or hysteria, one born of violence. A man and his crew, a crew and their subjects, the subjects and their victims, a new ecosystem evolves. The harsh, uncaring ways of nature determine that there must be a top and a bottom of the food chain. Those who scavenge, who roam, are picked off by hawks and bears, uncompromising, forced to do the bidding of their bandit overlords. It will be a bloody day, if not the next month.
“Those who are capable of tyranny are capable of perjury to sustain it.” - Spooner
The rifle is longer than he is tall, fashioned out of old disused gun parts and pieces of junk metal. It is poised, ready, pointed and ready to kill. “Strip down” Kurtis barks to the man, William, a wanderer who stumbled in not two hours ago. “Now” he says tersely through gritted teeth, his eyes reflecting a shade of anger never before seen. “Okay, okay, just don’t shoot me! Please!” William removes his jacket, falling out of the inside pocket are two walkie talkies. One has been hastily retrofitted with the remains of a condenser microphone and several pieces of exposed wire and circuitry overflowing out of the disemboweled plastic case. As he extracts himself from his shirt, Chey leans down to examine the ramshackle device. What’s left of the frequency selector seems to be dialed all the way up to 500 mHz. “What’d you find?” Kurtis inquires, momentarily averting his gaze from boring into William. “It’s a radio of some kind, tuned inna 500?” Chey says, looking back up at Kurtis. “Explain this. Now.” Kurtis growls at William. “I-I wasn’t even going to plant it I swear! They told me if plant it here they’d let my family go!” William stammers as he speaks, quivering as Kurtis curls his finger around the trigger. “Please! I just need to plant it! You can say whatever you want but if I don’t pull through, they’ll kill my family too!” he continues, growing more desperate by the second. Slowly, so as not to startle him, Chey moves between the muzzle of the rifle and William, facing Kurtis. “We’re not gonna shoot him. No matter how scummy, this’s still a man. With a family.” “Fine. You planted your bug and I spilled bourbon on it because I’m incompetent. Fatty’s got nothing to worry about. Just get the fuck out of my face. Grab your stuff and leave. I don’t ever want to see you again.” Kurtis concedes, lowers his rifle as Chey steps out of the way, allowing William to gather his things again.
“The cost of justice can be justly paid only by the invader.” - Tucker
“Friend of mine said there is boat somewhere in Louisville” states Sehil matter of factly. “This isn’t going where I think it is.. is it?” Chey inquires. “I will take boat, leave Kentucky, leave United States through Louisiana” Sehil continues. “Kentucky is no place for me. I have family, same of soul in Turkey.” “Well, if it’s what you want, I’ll help. I been all up an’ down the Ohio and I haven’t seen a single boat, but if we ever do find one, I’ll do what I can fer it.” CRACK A single gunshot rings out through the forest. “The fuck!” Chey exclaims. “Sounds like west side!” Sehil shouts as he shoulders his rifle. “I will check west side” “Okie, I’ll stay up here, ’n watch the front” Chey affirms, shouldering her own rifle, watching down the sights for any sign of whoever had just fired that single shot.
Fight. Like. Hell.
Pain surges through her body, flashing white-hot with every breath she takes. The steering wheel is warm, slick and red, smudged and smeared with crimson-brown. The overpowering smell of copper pervading every crevice of the car. Her grip weakens, eyes grow heavy, arms become burdensome, the world fading. Faced with terrifying vistas of emptiness, Chey slumps over onto the steering wheel, waiting for the end. As the circles of black in her vision propagate exponentially, she wishes one last wish. “I hope everyone else makes it.”
It’s dark. The swirling blackness surrounds her on all sides, threatening to swallow her whole and devour her into oblivion. Existence may forget her but Kentucky will not. Pressure pushing into her ears, pinpricks and bullets in her arms and legs, the screaming of nerves, like the souls of the trapped, those in limbo force to walk the earth as husks of their former selves. Pain. In her arm. Dry. Mouth. Water. Eyes. Closed. Open them.
And at the end of the tunnel is a light. Blinding white, sterile, bathed in halogen glow. Shutting here eyes almost immediately, she slowly opens them again, this time, there is a curtain, a sterile blue. An IV drip machine chirps its dutiful beat as sound returns to her hears. The rushing of wind past the trailer, oblivious to her plight, the incandescent hum of the lights in the room. Pain returns to her head, searing, tangible, overwriting every thought she could have at the moment. Alive.
“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.” - Emerson