Set in AMC's The Walking Dead, one of Axel's earlier adventures, long before he met Rick Grimes and his group.
Axel's Journal Part I
Day 511, two and a half year since the dead began rise, 49 days since I got separated from my group, the first group of decent people I knew since the end. My journey continues in the now eerily quiet world and sadly, so few people were raised as I was, fewer still if any are those with the skills to survive in a changed world. My road now takes me to Carollton, Georgia, to see what pickings I can scavenge, it is hoped my presence will go unnoticed. Walkers are fairly simple to evade, the living, are a wild card, if indeed Zombies are not the only threat in this changed world, then I am bound to find out. How I ended up in the predicament I would at West Georgia Processing was unclear, but my hunters had the numeric advantage and element of surprise on their side. One minute I was searching places for goods and boom, I felt like Thor's Hammer hit me in the had really good. The next minute I awaken in the back of a delivery truck, a refrigerated one at that, it was moving, and it was cold inside. With me were several other unfortunate souls, all beaten worse and more terrified, they claimed to be part of a group themselves, and were on their own scavenge. One thing was certain, we didn't know who got us or their intentions, but it couldn't be good. Being herded from the van and into a meat cooler that still had power to it, I managed to glimps the name of the former business as we entered, and based on screams heard somewhere inside inside, I knew this was no place to be. Seeing one of the others taken from the cooler several hours later, kicking and screaming, along with her brother, who was knocked out for trying to save her and also taken out, I knew for sure then the denizens of Carllton, Georgia, apparently headquartered here at West Georgia Processing are cannibals. Both fellow captives were gone and I was alone, but resolved to break out and deal out some serious punishment. These bastards had now idea who they are messing with. Those savagess may have taken away my trenching tool and gear, but they didn't take away my chewing gum.
Walkers Aren't The Only Threat
After hours in the cooler, Wysten, a mechanical engineer of the old world, was more dangerous than these cannibals seemed to think. One, he knew cooling and refrigeration tech like this, it was part of the core curriculum at MIT. Two he was Spartanesque with survival skills most people of the old world lacked, the skills of a pioneer before the dead rose and the skills of an insurgent since. Higher education and rare lifestyle mixed with survival smart and resourcefulness, he had a tactical edge here these people didn't suspect, or so he hoped. His martial arts included meditation and focus, which helped him regulate his body and breathing, slowing the effects of the big chill in this room. He observed what happened to the others in here, once they got too cool and thus weak, they were soon taken, except for the brother of of the pair. Wysten observed the surveillance camera in his cooler, and figured it was how they were watching for him to weaken, so once he found a good blind spot behind old crates, he pretended to faint from the cold collapsing behind it, out of sight of the camera. True enough, his captors came to process what they thought was a carcass or soon to be one in the far corner. Only one problem, the would be food was standing behind the crate with a big hunk of wood off it, and his would be collector was cold dead, but not enough brain trauma to prevent undeath. The same fate awaited his partner, both of the chilly people eaters would soon reanimate. Wysten observed both bodies for signs of initial reanimation, it was time, he came out of hiding briefly and waved at the camera flipping it off, before going back into hiding and out of reach of the soon to be fresh Walkers.
Those new Walkers surprised the six baddies who came in after Wysten, who had by then braced himself on the ceiling sides and corners above them, having inched his way braced on the ceiling out of sight of the camera and over the door awaiting his exit moment. As the five men sent in entered and went to the corner on the monitor in the security office, an upside down face of Wysten came on screen and blinded the camera, with the old gum up the lense trick, before grabbing the top of the door and swinging out of it, then closing it up, locking the men inside. He then taunted the angry cannibals, who were muffled by the thick steel and small thick glass window. He waved a grenade pin at the men in the window, who's eyes went scared, as smoke inside spewed into the fridge, he'd taken some smoke bombs, and a gun off the two that went in before. He found that carbine and ammo nice, it even had a silencer on it, so they may be old, but they would be useful. Now the muffled protests became not so muffled by screams of agony as the two new Walkers inside had reanimated and their former pals blinded by the smoke bomb were being torn limb from limb and blood splattered all over the little window. Once the screams stopped, Wysten listened for footsteps, true enough, more villains were coming and the Walkers inside had at least two more of their own in the cooler. Wysten opened the cooler door and ran like hell toward the bad guys coming for him. "Hey you shitfaced people eating assholes, here I am!" he shouted their way before veering hard to the side down a hall. In their angered distraction, the Walkers who were chasing Wysten were upon his pursuers before they could shoot at him down the hall.
Wysten continued on his way, opening doors to the outside as he went, hollering loud as he went, calling in reinforcements from the Undead Army in the streets outside, the locked gate was not locked anymore, he used the scope on the carbine he took, he shot the locks off the gates, allowing the Walkers to break in more easily. This was one time he was going use the Walkers rather than kill them. They provided a distraction for the people eating denizens of this former meat processing facility, while he searched for the two from earlier. He got to the processing area in time, to shut the machines down before they could really harm the others he met earlier. Using the carbine he'd taken earlier to shoot back at the cannibals when they opened fire. Wysten took up a firing position nearby, hard to reach now, the silencer made him all but invisible to the Walkers, but the non-silenced guns of his attackers were like ringing the dinner bell for them. Once the Walkers had the cannibals busy, he made his way over to their would be victims, picking up fallen enemy guns as he went, and freed them, tossing them the weapons to use. Together the trio, in a back to back triangle, fought their way out of the meat plant, doing more evading than shooting, as they went. As the now trio of allies headed out, Wysten's new pals held the exit near, while Wysten opened the door to their would be eaters' armory, a former freezer full of scavenged ammo and fuel. Wysten took a grenade off one of the fallen cannibals who had reanimated after giving him a third eye socket. He pulled the pin and threw the grenade in the storage room, and together he and his two new friends ran like hell out of there. They all managed to get to minimum safe distance when the grenade went off and the fuel and ammo supply with it, followed by the whole former meat processing plant shortly after.
However, the surviving cannibals who managed to escape the blast were on our tails before we could catch our breath they fled into a ruined athletics store. We were soon out of ammo, and had to fight hand to hand. One of them came at the woman Wysten saved earlier, so he put his last bullet in his skull, while one who targetted Wysten was popped by her brother's last shot, and two that each targetted the men were popped by the woman's last two rounds. There were five enemies left now, one of whom had a pistol Wysten knew about from studies for a history essay at old world MIT.
Wysten's reflexes were fast enough to grapple the gun arm before the attacker could pull the trigger, resulting in one of the cannibal's pals being given one through the temple instead of Wysten. "I'll take that," Wysten taunted his foe as he took the gun and killed his opponent with it, one shot to the head. Then with his free hand, he grappled the shaft of an entrenching tool, the one taken from him earlier, also taunting by saying "That's not yours," as he yanked from his attacker's hand and giving him a splitting headache with it. The pistol was out of ammo, so Wysten pocketed it, then it down to the last two surviving Cannibals. Two big ones giving his two allies a hard time, Wysten threw his trenching tool like a tomahawk, giving the one attacking the woman a splitting headache, instantly killing him. The other tried to shoot Wysten in retaliation, only to be punched in the nuts, by the man he tried to shoot moments ago, after bringing him to his knees.
Wysten got to the last cannibal, apparently the leader just in time, grabbing his gun arm and slamming it on a shelf hard enough to disarm him. The surviving cannibal now recovered enough from the groin strike by the other man attacked Wysten now, this one had fighting skills, delivering a solid punch to Wysten's face, catching the usually combat sharp mixed martial artist by surprise and putting him in a brief daze, long enough to follow up with a kick to the gut, then before Wysten stand up straight again and go into full combat mode, his attacker floored him with with an elbow strike to the back. Normally, the other two would turn and run, but felt bad about that, whoever this guy is saved their lives, now they had to save his. The man took up a leftover aluminum baseball bat while his sister picked up a metal golf club. They attacked their rescuer's attacker, who turned out to be a trained martial artist, who quickly recovered from the surprise attack, kicking the woman in the gut, sending her down while taking her club, and delivering a hard hit to her brother's head. He took up the metal bat now, and prepped to finish off these two, they would all pay for destroying his group.
By then Wysten recovered enough by force of will, to show this martial arts misuser who he's dealing with. He roundhouse kicked the bat from the man's hand sending across the old shop, followed by a three punch combo, first to the face, second to the gut, third to the nuts, and concluded by a swift tackle slamming the man into several looted shelves, knocking them down with him. Wysten had this cannibal in a head lock working to outright strangle him, only to his horrific surprise, to get bitten by him. At first the bite hurt enough to make Wysten let go, but much worse, his opponent rolled him over, and bit him again, this time taking a chunk off him, which made Wysten scream horrified in pain.
Now Wysten was really pissed off, Walkers were bad enough in that department, he rapidly elbowed his foe in the face several times, forcing the man off him enough for him to roll over, bring his knees to his chest, and with both feet kick the living biter off him. Wysten was on the barbarian again as he got to his feet, Wysten was in no holds barred combat mode, his gaze was hot with brutality in his eyes. His opponent now fearful for the first time since this scuffle started, threw another punch at Wysten. Wysten swifly grappled that punch with one hard swift motion, broke his foe's upper arm broken to the point of jagged bone protruding from his flesh. The man screamed in agony and even more so, when Wysten followed up with a downward kick to the man's leg busting the fibula to the point of flesh breaking and blood spattering as well, sending the man to the floor. Wysten wasn't through with him yet, for he stomped on his other leg, adrenaline still pumping in his veins, breaking both the tibia and fibula and causing the lower leg to fold a full ninety degrees. The man screamed in agony like a big fat baby, shouting all sorts of profanities at Wystem, swearing that would put Joe Pesci to shame.
Wysten then took a big bottle of BBQ sauce from his drypack he planned for a future venisin catch, but this seemed appropriate. "What's that for?" the man asked him with a curious look on his sister's face too that ended with the sound of Walkers coming, who heard the battle. Wysten stopped the others from finishing the man off and said, "It's a fitting punishment for his crimes" he said as he poured the BBQ sauce all over the cannibal leader making him cry like a bully who got bested. Wysten had a bit of an evil grin now as he threw the empty bottle through window to tell the Walkers exactly where they are. He then took up his gear ready to leave. The other two figured out his end game, and had similar grins now, what better way to punish a living cannibal then to feed him to the undead ones. The savage leader's face went pale, not just for loss of blood, his eyes were filled with true blue terror now, now he was begging for mercy.
"Let's get out of here," Wysten said collecting his trenching tool, and what ammo and mags his two new firearms could use, greatly the same bullets and mags at that, letting his two allies do the same before leaving. As they left Carollton, they could hear their fallen enemy now screaming in agony as the Walkers were upon him, tearing him up like Army Ants.
Once the trio got near their the other two's respective group, some group in the distance protecting some town, and in the process of walling it up as much as they could. The pair assured him, their leader would accept a fighter like him in their ranks, they could use him. Wysten politely declined, saying he still hadn't given up hope of finding his group again, but said he would keep that in mind when told the offer stands. However, the injuries Wysten had sustained needed to be taken care of by more than just his own survival skilled hands, several were serious, and the group had some medical professionals with them. He didn't have to stay with them indefinitely, just until his wounds healed, one of which was cause for alarm, a bite, but Wysten said it was one of the cannibals, which was confirmed by the pair he saved from them.
Recovery was long and serious, the cannibal bite might as well have been a Walker bite, Wysten almost died from it anyway. The cannibal bite resulted in serious infection that would have killed him, if not for the resourcefulness of their group's doctor combined with helpful medicinal botanicals in the area Wysten pointed out before losing consciousness. Recovery was hard, but thankfully the group saved him. Once he was ready to go on the move again, he stated his next scavenge was in Atlanta, which was near the route for another of that group's scavenge run, so he tagged along until close to the city, and from there, Wysten set out on his own again.
Axel's Journal Part II
I honestly am too mistrustful of strangers, even though they were sincere offering me a place with their group for saving their lives. However, I could observe some of their fighters in the distance, even with high power weapons, they looked friendly enough if I wasn't being aggressive. As much as I would have liked to move out on my own, the pair I saved insisted I get looked at by their doctor, all three of us were injured and it was the least they could do. I might as well have been bitten by a Walker, the bite from a cannibal got seriously infected, and I almost died. The doctor's quick thinking and resourcefulness allowed him to recognize the infection and my knowledge of botanicals helped, I told him what local flora could be used before I blacked out, they got the concoction I mentioned in the nick of time, an hour or two more and it would have been tool late for me. After I recovered fully, I proceeded back on my own journey, heading for Atlanta, another scavenge run I needed to try. The group had a picking run of its own in an area passed Atlanta to do, so I rode along with their convoy and got off at the outskirts of the Georgia State Capital, from there we went our separate ways. The harsh lessons learned from that ordeal is that there are still good people in the world, but yet few and far between, I still have mistrust cold and hard in me, but the warmth of hope is once more kindled and burning brightly within. In my near death experience, I believe I saw a vision, not just of the afterlife, but of what could be in this changed world, if I can learn to find and keep a balance between my light, dark, and neutral sides, and use the latter's ability to go light or dark as needed wisely. I made a dangerous mistake of taking pleasure in killing the cannibal leader in Carollton. Sure it had a purpose, but killing the living, even if necessary, is bad enough for the spirit, but taking pleasure from it is worse in hindsight. I must strive not to cross that line again.