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Corpse World: Road to Nowhere

The eponymous Little Boy that El Guapo and his friends encounter.

The Zombie Horror campaign continues in Amorset, somewhere in the Northwestern U.S.A. This time around, three new recruits join the fray. It has been a single day since all hell broke loose within the city limits of Amorsetville and those that are able have fled, spreading out into the suburbs and surrounding rural county. The radio and television have been broadcasting a general emergency signal stressing all citizens to remain where they are at as the army deploys from the Amorsetville base in a rescue capacity.­

Street Walkin’

Three figures trudged, loping with exhaustion through a sea of boiling air dancing over the hot pavement of the Old County Highway in the midday sun. All three puzzled by the complete lack of traffic along the road. It was terribly quiet, even the sounds of nature that should be abundant out here were non-existent. They could feel the alien silence pressing on their eardrums save for the soft scraping of their feet over the rough road. A couple of hours previously, the motley trio had leaped into the older guy’s car and fled the city during a chaotic night of blood and fire. Their car, an old surplus police car, stranding them on the old road after parking for a brief respite. When the older fella tried to turn it over, he found the battery dead. Thus, they abandoned it knowing that there was a junkyard “somewhere around here”.

The elder car owner, Steve McCullen (played by Cris) was a Supernaturalist convinced that the outbreak had a supernatural origin focused in the old cemetery that was also located in the rural county. His companions were Kenny Logan (played by Carlitos) an off-duty soldier from the Amorsetville base and William Fodder (played by Carlos) a quiet survivalist that actually lived just off the road in the hills. After what seemed like ages, baking under a hot afternoon sun on the blacktop, Kenny spotted what appeared to be a biker at a distance of a few hundred feet shambling clumsily towards them. He was on foot, dressed in a bloodstained denim vest and equally stained denim bell-bottom pants. He also appeared to have several large bullet holes in his chest and belly.

Steve kissed one of the charms amongst the various religious symbols he wore around his neck, pulled his bow from his back, and knocked an arrow. The three stopped.

Kenny (pulling his M-16 from his shoulder): “Is it one of them?”

In response, William got in a squatting position and scoped the biker out with his deer rifle. He could see that the biker’s belly was bloated and seemed to pulsate and move as if something were crawling inside of him. His eyes were yellow and dead, blood crusted around his nose and mouth stiffening a scabby beard.

William: “Yup, it’s a zombie alright.”

Kenny unleashed a 3-round burst into its head bursting its skull like a hairy rotten maggot-filled watermelon.

Quickly, William and Kenny jogged up to the headless corpse intent on looting it. However, Steve remained about a 20 ft. distance behind them. William saw a .22-semi-automatic pistol in the back of the biker’s jeans and reached for it with the intent of tossing it to Steve. Meanwhile, Kenny saw that the biker had a hunting knife in a hip-sheath. As the two manipulated the corpse to grab the loot, the biker’s stomach at the belly button split and burst open in a gross, gory gush of blackened organs.

The organs moved of their own accord like a disgusting blob and similarly, it tried to engulf William. An arrow flew into it with no effect. Shots rang out. Kenny had shot the Viscera Blob a couple of times but to little effect. William dodged and started to run away farther down the road until his disgust got the better of him and he nearly vomited forcing him to stop mid-flight.

Kenny saw that his bullets and Steve’s arrow had little effect and so pulled out a hand grenade, another bit of equipment he had “borrowed” from the base and shouted “fire in the hole!” One end of the creature lifted up like a tentacle and vomited forth acid, spraying William down, he screamed. Kenny tossed his grenade and ran, Steve ducked where he was and William dove away to the side ditch.

Cris: “You have a GRENADE!?”

Carlitos: “Well, yeah.”

Cris: “Your on leave from the base?”

Carlitos: “Yes.”

Cris: “What were you planning?”

Carlitos: “You know, whatever.”

Their ears ringing after the small but intense explosion, the creature liquefied. Black foul-smelling bile splattered everywhere. Steve ran over to William using the water in his canteen to wash the acid from William’s torso preventing further damage. The crisis over, they continued their trek after it was determined that William could still keep up despite some pretty painful and deep chemical burns.

It was nearing dusk when they arrived at the wrecking yard fence, the dirty old sign proclaimed Fletcher & Sons Wrecking & Repair since 1965. As they neared the gate, they could hear an argument in midstream, “Hey don’t knock out my father!”

Starting Foreground Left going clockwise: Carlitos, Cris (hidden), Carlos, Isis, Jenn, The GM (me), and Gil.

Junk Yard Dogs

Wesley, El Guapo, and Lilith were standing by the front chain-link gate of the junkyard trying to decide where they were going to flee to in Lilith’s armored car. All three were debating their “options” when Lilith’s father emerged from the garage. He mumbled as he strode to the gate, mumbling about “nobody here” at work, “lazy S.O.B.’s”. At the same time, the debate became especially heated between Lilith and El Guapo. Meanwhile, Wesley noticed the old man approaching the locked gate and pulling a cluster of keys on a zip-line. He fumbled to find the right key for a few seconds then went to unlock it.

Wesley: “Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! No-no-no!”

She grabbed the old man away from the gate and he spat a nasty sexist insult in her face. Wesley slapped him, hard.

Jenn: “Hey my girl assumes the old guy’s hysterical. So he has to be slapped. Also for what he said.”

The old man stepped back, his face frozen in shock. Lilith and El Guapo were staring caught off-guard by the sudden situation. The old man started to throw a punch at Wesley. She immediately knocked him out with a perfectly timed jab to the jaw.

Lilith: “Hey! Did you just knock out my father!”

Wesley: “Hell yeah! He deserved it!”

Lilith: “Hey don’t knock out my father!”

Wesley: “He threw a punch at me!”

Steve (hanging on the chain-link): “*Ahem* Hey! You open? You guys got any car batteries!”

After a brief bit of talking with the three at the gate and assessing the situation, Lilith decided to let them into the yard. Parked in the yard to the side of the main dirt driveway in a space allotted for a parking lot was two custom choppers and a pickup truck with its windshield shot out. Steve, Kenny, and William noticed there was shattered safety glass all over the driveway outside the gate. El Guapo shared the story of the gunfight the previous night with the outlaw bikers.

Steve was talking to Lilith. Her “goth senses” were tingling and she found the longhaired Supernaturalist very appealing. Kenny talked with El Guapo and Wesley. He wanted to get himself back on base thinking the military probably had a plan. At a minimum, that would be the safest place to be, as close to the army as possible. William remained silent but was extremely distrustful of the government and was not going to go with that plan.

Carlos: “Yeah dude, I’m not gonna go with that plan man. Sorry.”

After all, William believed the military was responsible for this in the first place. He hugged his rifle tighter than usual.

Eventually, Steve and Lilith decided to take the yard “wrecker” and a charged battery to go and get his car. He would then follow her back. At this point, the entire group had decided that there was “strength in numbers”. The round trip would take anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour. They soon left and Wesley took William to the office to try to treat his acid burns with the first aid kit located there.

Meanwhile, El Guapo was bragging to his eager audience of Kenny about the biker gunfight. They walked around to the rear of the garage where they had dragged the corpses. There were five corpses lying there.

El Guapo: “Um. Wait. Something is weird here.”

Gil (to me): “Wait, how many bikers did we kill?”

The GM (me): “The four that walked up on Lilith and Wesley and three in the driveway, then you dragged two from the driveway and the four corpses in behind the garage.”

Gil: “But. I shot ‘em all in the head. Right?”

The GM (checking notes): “The driver from the pickup was the one you guys shot in the face and the other four… Yes, double-tap situation.”

Gil: “That’s six right? And five in the head?”

The GM: “Yupperooni.”

El Guapo: “Uh-oh.”

EL Guapo and Kenny barged into the office and warned William and Wesley that there was probably a walker loose in the yard. They were to stay put and watch the monitors while El Guapo and Kenny tracked it down. Eventually, after several tense moments, the pair of hunters picked up a trail of blood. As they stalked between rows of the high stacks of crushed cars, pillars of old tires, and mountainous piles of scrap, they had a softly spoken conversation. As a result, they realized the biker that Kenny and his two companions had met on the road was probably a biker killed by El Guapo and the two women during the shootout. They had just forgotten the corpse by the driveway outside of the fence.

El Guapo tracked the blood trail further into the maze of junk. Eventually, he lost it. Kenny tried to keep an eye out but started to try to help El Guapo to find it again. They were out of the view of any cameras. Both were kneeling studying the ground when Kenny, by chance, heard a slight noise behind them. A zombie in leathers was stumbling from behind a mound of rusted engine blocks.

Carlitos: “Well, there’s the stealth zombie.”

Jenn: “Hee hee. Ninja zombie.”

The GM: *cough*cough* “No yet.”

Everybody at the Table: 😐

After a three-round burst to the creature’s head, the pair let out a sigh of relief.

Road Rage

Meanwhile, Lilith and Steve made it to his stalled out police car on the side of the road without complication. However, by the time that they arrived at the vehicle Steve’s non-stop blathering about the supernatural cause of the zombie outbreak had gotten on her nerves. Any attraction that might have squirmed in her breast at the sight of his pagan-symbol inscribed charms was stone cold dead.

Isis (exasperated): “Aw gawd, I hate this guy.”

It was not long before Lilith had the car hood up and replacing the battery in lieu of any conversation. Steve was just standing around awkwardly trying to keep watch for any trouble.  Lilith was almost finished when Steve spotted several zombies filtering out of the woods onto the highway some badly rotted. “Damn, it must be the old cemetery.” Lilith finished, slammed the hood, and they got into their respective vehicles. Getting the lead out and into their gas-pedal, the pair made it back in half the time to the wrecking yard. However, before he had completely left the zombies in the dust Steve had seen through his rearview mirror that the road was filling up with zombies, it was a large horde. “Aw man! They’re gonna follow the f*&#@ing cars!”

It was already dark by the time they had got back and alerted the others. They decided that Lilith would finish her car ASAP and create a portable makeshift flamethrower for Kenny (he could use one after all), and three others would take turns keeping watch from the garage roof. Kenny was already there though it was not yet first watch, he would stay until the watches started. After William relieved him, he went into the office and decided to try to get in touch with the base and let them know his location using the CB.

Kenny was soon able to get in contact with his base. At least they had the proper code words. Through intermittent static, he got orders to stay put and got some information about the checkpoints at the borders of the county and other side of the city having problems. The communique ended abruptly, the signal dropped and Kenny was unable to re-establish communications.

Suddenly, William shouted from the rooftop. Ten Zombies were at the chain-link gate. It looked as if it were going be pushed down at any minute. Fortunately, the rest of the fence had an outer shell of old aluminum siding and was plenty sturdy. The metal gate groaned.

Fight with Fire

The group of zombies at the gate pressed themselves into the chain-link seemingly oblivious to the presence of the living within. That was until El Guapo and Kenny ran into the driveway before the gate shouting. Immediately the zombies surged and the gung-ho pair could hear the metal gate strain.

Gil: “We probably should have stayed out of sight.”

Kenny readied his M-16 and El Guapo his AK-47. Atop the garage, William put a foot on the elevated edge of the roof and got into firing position with his rifle at the ready. Steve ran around and stayed half-hidden around the corner of the garage knocking an arrow to his bow. Lilith and Wesley stayed inside of the garage still rushing to finish building the flamethrower having finished upgrading Lilith’s Chevrolet.

Kenny and El Guapo swept the driveway area at a 45-degree angle at head level taking out only about three zombies in total. A shot rang out, a halo of blood and brains around a blonde head, a single zombie dropped. William’s carefully aimed shot had paid off. El Guapo slung his assault rifle onto his shoulder and pulled his machete from his belt. He did not want to do another spray and “waste bullets”.

El Guapo: “Machetes don’t run out of bullets.”

He then doused the blade in gasoline from a container by the gate and lit it ablaze.

Gil: “I’m going to stab them in the head through the gate.”

The GM: “Um, a machete blade is not going to fit through the hole of a chain-link fence man.”

Gil: “The hell? Yeah, it will.”

The back and forth on the machete debate went on for a few minutes until Gil showed me the picture on his phone. “This is what I was thinking.” The picture was of a very fancy custom blade being sold as “the ultimate machete”. I have to admit, it was nice. Eventually, I relented. His argument: “I’m an awesome bounty hunter, so I need an awesome machete!”

The GM (me): “Yeah, whatever. Go ahead and do your thing.”

The Machete Debate

An arrow thudded into a zombie temple, another zipped into a forehead and came out the back of the skull. However, Steve had failed to drop either zombie with his archery. Another shot cracked from the roof of the garage and yet another halo of blood and brains signaled the demise of yet another zombie. El Guapo rammed his flaming custom blade through the fence flamboyantly slaying another creature. Zombies continued to drop as the gate continued to hold them back. Then a shot cracked out again from William’s hunting rifle. Kenny’s right thigh exploded, he screamed and dropped to the ground.

William’s misfire had hit Kenny in the back of the thigh crippling his leg. El Guapo finished off the last zombie with a flaming stab through the gate. He then turned and offered to cauterize Kenny’s leg wound. El Guapo wisely decided not to do that when Kenny loudly objected, as did the rest of the group.

Carlitos (to Carlos): “Dude! You shot me? You shot me in the leg!?”

Carlos (shrugging): “Um yeah, I guess so. Um. Oops I guess, heh heh.”

Carlitos: “Dude you owe me man! You owe me.”

Jenn: “What!? Why does he owe you!?”

Carlitos: “He shot me in the leg!”

The zombies destroyed, El Guapo helped Kenny into the office. There, Wesley stopped the bleeding from the bullet wound; the bullet had gone straight through but it had still broken the bone. He would need a splint to walk. As a result, Steve, Lilith, and even Kenny himself had tried to splint the leg but it still took several tries before Lilith and Steve in a conjoined effort finally got it right. Fortunately, no one had further injured him.

 Afterward, Steve went outside the gate. He took out a can of silver spray paint from his backpack and spray painted protective magical runes on the aluminum sheeting of the fence.

Steve (admiring his handiwork): “There, that’ll protect us for a while.”

Little Boy

By the next morning, the gang was ready to move out. El Guapo was ready to leave his custom chopper to ride in the wrecker with Kenny and his flamethrower. However, before they left, Lilith was going to mount a few plates of armor on it as well bolt the snowplow on the front. While she did this assisted by Wesley, Kenny and El Guapo decided to make Molotov cocktails. By the time the wrecker was armored, by early afternoon, the pair had produced about 5 Molotovs apiece. They put four cocktails in Lilith’s car.

Steve’s old police car, the wrecker with Kenny and El Guapo, and Lilith in her armored Chevrolet sedan began to move out convoy style. However, during their eagerness to leave, somehow Wesley, Lilith’s father aka the Old Man, and William wound up in Lilith’s car along with a substantial load of supplies. Steve was left riding alone.

All of them noticed that a deep thumping sound began to beat on their eardrums and into their chests. This sound was growing more intense by the second until it began to jostle the junk strewn around the vehicles. The caravan of cars pulled to the front gate slowly and stopped. Lilith’s car was in the lead with the tow truck at the rear. Lilith got out of her car to undo the lock on the gate. The thumping was shaking the cars. Kenny shouted. They could all see a large green helmeted head above the tin-sheet fence. It was moving up and down in time with the thumps. The thing came into full view slowly. Lilith ran back to her car and shut the door. The tow truck tore off in a U-turn and took off in the opposite direction.

A 12-ft tall creature made of solid muscle towered over the gate. Its head encased in a green helmet with a single blinking light at the center of the smooth faceplate. The barrel-like torso was encased in a cuirass of similar material, it looked like tank armor. It was humanoid but it was not in human proportions, its legs were short and thick and its long heavily muscled arms hung down to the ground. Following this thing were dozens probably more, zombies undulating to the pace of the blinking electric eye. Some of the pathetic creatures had small red lights, like LEDs, embedded in their heads and temples, all blinking in unison with the large tank-zombie’s light.

The thing flung the gate a hundred feet behind it without effort. Thinking quick, Kenny fired his M-16 at the oil barrels and gas containers near the front gate. Miraculously they exploded and spread burning oil over the driveway. The giant monster stopped and flung an overlong arm seemingly to protect its non-existent face. However, during this brief respite, Lilith panicking had a hard time trying to three-point turn her way around while the other two vehicles were turning around and going out the rear off-road exit to the yard. Staring at that massive zombie-tank, Kenny had a sudden flash of memory.

Weeks ago while jerking around on base; Kenny had stumbled into a “secure area” run by both the government and some corporation. He wandered down the wrong hallway and through an open bay door where he spotted pieces of armor identical to those on the large zombie he currently faced. From around a corner, he had also heard a conversation about a “probably illegal” bio-weapon program and remembered seeing several corporate types in suits strutting around the on-base labs.

Jenn: “I knew it! The damned military sent that thing!”

Carlitos: “Well, let’s not get ahead of ourselves now, there could be a good explanation behind this. Right?”

Lilith just had gotten her car around to face the right direction when the big guy hurdled through the fire grabbing her reinforced bumper. Screaming Lilith tried to maneuver her car to try to free it from the monster’s iron grip. The creature lifted her rear wheels off the ground. Kenny fired another burst at the creature but his bullets did nothing barely even scratching its armor. Wesley tossed a Molotov into its face from the passenger side window. It took a step back and let go. All of the cars began to move in a nerve rackingly slow convoy. As they proceeded, Steve saw the creature pat out the flames on its armored face. Galloping on hands and feet, it began to charge the last car, Lilith’s Chevy.

Lilith: “Oh no, oh no, oh no!”

Carlitos: “Wait! I have an idea!”

This time Kenny took careful aim with his M-16 and emptied his clip on one of its unarmored legs, specifically to the left knee. The sound of roaring engines and shouting drowned out the impact of bullets smashing into the bone of a giant kneecap and tearing through the tendons and flesh. The leg fell free of the beast and it stumbled and fell forward crashing into the ground with a tremendous thump. Lilith had just avoided the monster’s mass as it fell heavily into the dirt and the caravan proceeded to the rear of the yard as zombies flooded in.

Eventually, the lead cars moved aside to let Lilith’s vehicle speed ahead to lead. Soon they were out and away via the rear exit, a dirt road that led to a series of off-road paths that eventually led back to the main highway.

Slow Ride

The three-vehicle convoy wound its way back to the County Highway continuing west. They were looking for William’s home. He had a well-equipped bomb-shelter.

Cris: “Damn. We’re gonna run into those zombies.”

Isis: “Uhg, I forgot about those.”

Gil: “Wait. What? Weren’t those back there at the junkyard, the group you guys saw?”

Jenn: “No, but the ones they saw were 11 hours away.”

She had calculated the time that the zombie horde Steve and Lilith had seen would take to get to the junkyard on foot.

Carlitos: “So those zombies came from the other direction then. From the direction of the checkpoint!?”

Carlos: “Wait. What checkpoint?”

The convoy slowed as a dense mass of about 60 zombies came into view, clogging the road.

Lilith: “Screw it! I’m going through ‘em!”

El Guapo: “Hell yeah! We’ll lead with the wrecker and if anybody gets stuck we’ll hook you out!”

El Guapo stomped on the gas and plowed the tow truck right through the center of the crowd mashing every creature in his way, bodies shattering on the angled steel of the snowplow. In turn, Lilith hit the gas and got a corpse stuck in her wheel well stopping her dead in the middle of the gore trail surrounded by several zombies. Steve hit his gas trying to connect with Lilith’s bumper in an attempt to push her out but he only succeeded in getting himself stuck as well.

Seeing this, the tow truck backed up while Kenny climbed out of the window onto the wench with flamethrower on his back. He lowered the hook then used his flamethrower to keep the horde at bay away from the cars as El Guapo leaped out and hooked up Lilith’s car. A few seconds later and Lilith and her passengers were free of the zombie hoard. However, Steve was still stuck, his wheels spinning uselessly in a slick mass of mangled human flesh. All the others could do to help was to keep the zombies away until he could get himself loose. Fortunately, that did not take long and they all sped away at top speed soon after.

*****

After about an hour’s drive up into the foothills and trees, they pulled up to a high barbed wire-topped chain-link security fence. The warning sign stated DANGER – Electric Fence! All was well. However, Kenny was still thinking about rejoining the military somehow, William would probably not want to leave the safety of his fortress home once ensconced, and Steve believed the tank-zombie was a “true undead” calling all of the zombies to him, the reason that his protection runes failed to work on it. Wesley was utterly distrustful of the government at this point and planning to murder Kenny before he could contact the army again. Lilith glanced at her father in the backseat he was asleep. She resolved to get some sleep finally.

After the third session of the Zombie Horror game (the Corpse World campaign), my wife Jenn and I were driving home on the 10 freeway going into Cherry Valley. We had just entered a stretch where it sank into the rising hills and where lights other than on the freeway were sparse. I was drunk and pleased that I had got through all of my bullet points slouching in my seat ready to sleep staring out at the black silhouettes of hills racing by. As we passed under a brightly lit overpass, she turned to me.

“You know. Maybe you should kill at least one of us next game, to make it more suspenseful!”

End of Part Two (Session played 9/7/19)

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