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Members' Choice Voting #2: June - Sept

View Poll Results: Please Pick Your Favorite!
Legendary Monsters Vampire - EndlessPoss. 0 0%
Bright Eyes - rosiewriter 3 37.50%
Sarah and Mary by Owen 0 0%
Death by J.P. Clyde 0 0%
La Casa de los Ancianos by TheRunoff 1 12.50%
Sam by Reddy Dean 4 50.00%
Voters: 8. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 09-15-2010, 12:43 AM
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Default Members' Choice Voting #2: June - Sept


Time for voting on the Members' Choice Nominations! Please vote for the piece you feel deserves recognition in WBQ as our Members' Choice Winner! Don't forget to browse through the first Members' Choice thread.

Voting will end at midnight EDT on September 23rd.

Good luck, and thank you again for your nominations!

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  #2  
Old 09-15-2010, 12:51 AM
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Default Legendary Monsters Vampire by EndlessPoss.

Legendary Monsters
Vampire

There’s a young kid in London, Texas and his name is Dave and it’s his 10 birthday He’s about also about to discover a variety of changes in his body and his life.

“Mom, mom”, Dave shouts to his mother from his bedroom.

“What is it honey,” said his mother.

“I need you. Where are you?” said his mother.

“I’m in the kitchen dear,” said his mother.

Dave rushes to go to his mother downstairs to the kitchen.

Dave asked his mother, “When are the guest supposed to arrive?”

“In an hour so you better get ready Dave!” said his mother.

“Thanks Mom and I will get ready!” said Dave.

Dave rushes back up stairs to his room. He opens his closet and he can’t decide what to wear. There’s a girl that he likes from his class named Hope that’s coming to his party. Hope’s mother and his mother work in the same office together and his mother invited both Hope and Hope’s mother to his part.

He finally picks out an outfit for his party. He looks in the mirror so he can see how good he looks but when he looks in the mirror he sees him but then his reflection disappears in the mirror.

Knock. Knock. He hears at the door.

“Just a minute,” he shouts and then looks back at the mirror and see his reflection again.

He thinks to himself, “What’s going on here? Did that really happen? Nah it’s just my imagination playing tricks on me.”

He opens his door and it’s his Grandpa.

“Howdy, my boy,” his Grandpa said and then they hug each other.

Dave asked, “Grandpa what or you doing here? I thought that you were still on vocation overseas.”

“Well, I couldn’t miss my very own grandson’s 10 birthday now could I?” said his Grandpa.

They both laughed and hugged each other again. His Grandpa set him down on his bed.

“Now son as you get older there are going to be a lot of new changes in your body,” his Grandpa said.

Dave asked, “For what example?”

His Grandpa said, “Well, well for example, mood changes. Like one day you’ll be in a good mood but then you might have a sudden outburst when you at least expect it.”

Then Dave has a concerned look on his face.

His Grandpa continues to say, “And also you might be seeing things that aren’t really there.”

“Are really there?” Dave said confused.

“Like, well, did you see anything out of the ordinary today?” his Grandpa asked him.

“What do you mean out of the ordinary, Grandpa?” Dave asked.

Then Dave remembers his reflection disappearing in the mirror earlier.

“Nope there was nothing like that Grandpa. No sorts of any kind!” Dave smiles

Ding. The door bell goes off.

“You wouldn’t being lying to me son now would you?” asked his Grandpa

“No sir.” said Dave causally.

Dave and his Grandpa go down stairs do open the door. Dave sees that Hope and her mother are the first to arrive.

Hope hugs Dave and said, “Happy birthday Dave!”

Dave is confused because they barely know each other. Dave can’t stop thinking how beautiful Hope looks. She looks just like her mother. Hope has blonde hair, green eyes, and skinny legs. She is wearing a pink sweatshirt, a pink headband, and blue sweat pants. But he still can’t help but noticing how beautiful she is.

On the other hand Dave doesn’t look so good in his mind. He has a square head, black curly hair, dark blue eyes, and he is very skinny and not that strong at all. What he picked out to wear was a suit with a black jacket and a brown shirt with black pants and a white belt and black shoes.

“Wow your son looks so handsome June,” said Hope’s mother.

“Why thank you Betty!” smiles June.

“Well he takes after his father,” said June

“Doesn’t he look handsome Hope?” asked Betty

“Yes Mom he does,” Hope smiled.

Dave blushes.

“Oh, how cute he’s blushing,” Betty smiles.

“Now why don’t you kids go one off and play? So us adults can have a girl talk.” said June.

“Ok Mom,” said Hope.

Hope grabs Dave’s hand as he is still blushing.

“June I don’t know how you do it being a signal mother and having a full time job. Just how do you do it?” asked Betty.

“With hard work and hard devotion and since Dave has no father it gets real hard to find a real father figure for Dave,” sighs June.

Hope takes Dave out in the back yard as Hope starts to squeeze his hand.

“Ouch. Why are you hurting me?” asked Dave.

“Oh stop being a big baby,” said Hope.

She pushes Dave in front of of her and gives him a kiss.

“What was that for?” asked Dave.

“What does it really matter? I know you always wanted a kiss from me?” said Hope.

“Well, well, umm. It’s just that you barely know me and you never even look at me at school or barley even talk to me at all ever,” said Dave.

She points her finger at him and starts to shove him.

“Listen you little weasel. The only reason why I am at this lame birthday party is because both of our mothers just happen to work at the same office together,” she said.

“So as long as we’re together you will smile and play with me because I promised my Mom that I would have a good time together,” she continues to say as she shoved him on the ground.

“Ok we will and I will,” he said.

He looks in toward his kitchen as he saw his mother and Hope’s mother having a good conversation. Then he saw his Grandpa staring at him and Dave smiles back at him.

Then Hope said, “What are you laughing at little baby?”

“Ahh nothing, nothing at all Hope,” he said while shaking his head no.

Then the door bell rings and it turns out to be three more kids. The kids are all boys. Two of them are very small and bulgy looking. The third one was a very tall one he was a somewhat skinny one but that didn’t matter because he was so tall. The tall one was also very cute and the girls thought so. Their names were, Doug who was the one on the left, Fred, was the one on the right, and Geoff was the one in the middle. Dave didn’t like them at all because they always bullied him.

Dave went to the door and asked in a rude voice, “Who invited you dummies to my party?”

“I did,” said Hope as she pushed him away.

She kissed Geoff on the cheek and said that Geoff was her boyfriend.


“Aren’t you a little young yet to have a boyfriend?” asked Dave.

“No and I certainly would never be your girlfriend,” said Hope.

Dave got back up and his mother said, “Honey go play with your friends outside ok?”

“But there not my friends,” Dave yelled back to his mother.

“That’s enough honey. Now don’t act so rude to your guest ok? Now go play outside,” said June.

“Yeah why don’t you take us out said honey?” chuckled Doug.

“Yeah take us outside Dave,” shrugged Fred.

“Easy boys, after all this is his 10 birthday,” said Geoff politely.

“Now that’s my nice boyfriend,” Hope said holding Geoff’s hand and kissed his cheek again.

Dave was starting to get angry. When his tooth popped out all sharp and his eyes were going black.

“You get your eyes checked,” said Doug.

“Yeah and your teeth tooth,” said Fred.

Dave’s teeth and his eyes went back to normal. Dave’s Grandpa was looking on from the kitchen as he got worried and put his drink down on the counter. Dave and the other kids went back outside as both Doug and Fred were shoving him. Dave just got angrier and angrier. Then his teeth went sharp again and his eyes turned black again.

Dave was in a sitting position when Geoff, Hope, Doug, and Fred looked scared for life. Dave’s Grandpa came running outside.

“Dave stop this at once,” Dave’s Grandpa yelled at Dave.

Dave then got in a lower sitting position as his eyes were still black, and still his tooth were sharp, he started to growl.

“What is he a vampire or something?” cried Doug.

“Be careful you kids because Dave is not himself right now,” Dave’s Grandpa shoved Doug and Fred out of the way as he grabbed Dave.

Dave’s Grandpa went through the kitchen and upstairs.

June asked, “What’s going on Dad.”

“I’ll tell you later honey,” he said.

Dave’s Grandpa opened Dave’s door and closed it and locked. He set Dave on Dave’s bed. He was shaking Dave as he told him, “Snap out of it Dave”.

Still shaking Dave and Dave was still growling and now snarling.

“Snap out of it son,” Dave’s Grandpa said.

Then Dave finally snapped out of it and turned back to normal. Then Dave hugged his Grandpa.

Dave asked, “What’s happening to me Grandpa? I’m scared.”

“You’re in shock because what happening to your body,” said his Grandpa.

“Shock because what is happening to me and what exactly is happening to me? Am I? Oh my God,” said Dave

There was a knock on the door.

Dave’s Grandpa said, “Not now, we’re busy”.

“Dad it’s me. May I come in?” said June

Dave’s Grandpa opens the door to let June in.

She comes in and asked her Dad, “What’s happening to my son Dad”.

“Mom what’s happening to me? Am I turning into a vampire or something” Dave cries.

Dave’s Grandpa then looks behind him at June. Then June calmly crosses her hands and smiles.

“Yes Dave you’re turning into a vampire because we are a family of vampires,” said his Grandpa.

“Are you sure Grandpa? Maybe this is all a bad dream,” asked Dave.

“No son it is very much real. Can you feel your heart beating faster and faster?” asked his Grandpa.

Dave wipes away his tears, “Yes I can.”

“Well that’s because you are getting hungry and that you need food,” said his Grandpa.

“What do vampires eat Grandpa because I thought that vampires drink blood?” asked Dave.

“Yes they do and they also eat human flesh,” said his Grandpa.

“Human flesh but we don’t have any of that,” said Dave

Both his Grandpa and mother smile at Dave.

“Oh yes we do. Downstairs there’s plenty of fresh meat and human flesh and blood. Can’t you smell it son?” said his Grandpa.

“Yes, yes I can Grandpa,” smiles Dave.

“Then let’s go have ourselves a quick snack son,” his Grandpa also smiles.

They go back downstairs.

“Is your son all right?” asked Betty.

“Oh Dave is just fine Betty,” smiled June.
“Good because your son was acting like weird or something like a vampire almost,” said Doug.

June got down the stairs and asked, “Did say vampire?”

Then June and her Dad turned into a vampire.

“Come on Dave you can do it to. You can turn into a vampire to son,” Dave’s Grandpa smiled.

“Ahhh!!!” the rest of them screamed.

Betty tries to reach for the door but June being fast as she is because she’s a vampire and vampires are faster than humans, June gets to the door first and locks it as she gets in her sitting position. June is growling and snarling as does her Dad. Then Dave is watching on and is confused. Then Dave looks at Hope as she is scared but then Dave remembers that he used him and turns into a vampire himself.

An hour later the living room and kitchen are full of dead bodies and blood all over the walls and ceiling. Then the door bell rings.

“Ahh!!! More guests to eat,” June smiles while snarling and growling and so are Dave and his Grandpa.
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  #3  
Old 09-15-2010, 12:52 AM
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Default Bright Eyes by rosiewriter

It’s 2 o’clock and the club is closed and we’re up the block. His hands are all over me and I don’t care where they’ve been before. Maybe it’ll feel good, so I’ll just give it a try. That kid earlier, with the chemicals, she made my mind go all dark. To hurt and to get hurt: that’s all love has given me so far so I let him stick his tongue in my mouth. Through his jeans I can feel him pressing hard against me.

This isn’t me and I don’t care.


Earlier, in the club, we drank wine and he asked me my name. I thought I'm Imogen, but all I did was tell him the time. He doesn’t care, and he doesn’t care to know. Bad habits. They’re playing havoc with my head. It’s all foggy and my hands are numb but I’ll just keep touching. I’m spinning, but I’m not spinning away.

This isn’t me and why don’t I care?

Something is digging into my back and his car smells of stale cigarettes and other backseat mistakes. We’re so drunk and he doesn’t talk. I’m so....


Such pretty stars! My mind is playing tricks on me. I think I can touch them if I just reach high enough. We are done and I am stumbling away. Every place he touched me is burning red hot. His taste in my mouth is bitter. I retch and vomit in the gutter. The ground is cool against my cheek.

This isn’t me and now I care.
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Old 09-15-2010, 12:52 AM
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Default Sarah and Mary by Owen

Sarah Morris loved cats. At twenty years old, she had already decided to dedicate large amounts of her time to charity work for the local rescue centre. She loathed animal cruelty and made regular donations to the RSPCA. She loved cats because they were peaceful, wise and comforting. Her own cat was her best friend.

Mary Harper loved her baby. At thirty-five years old, she had almost given up hope. Yet, just in the nick of time, she had met George, a man two years her senior. They got married, she became pregnant, and nine months later she held little Adam Harper in her arms. Adam was perfection personified. Innocence immortalised.

Sarah sat alone in her kitchen, gazing out of her window. She watched the traffic speed past, the people going about their business, the children walking to school. She sipped her tea. Max, her ginger tomcat, entered the room. He chirped a greeting and jumped on her lap. In Sarah's eyes, tears threatened to drop. But Max purred, rubbing up against her cheek, and the tears did not come.

Mary sat alone on her bed. In her arms, she cradled a small white bundle. She rocked herself back and forth, singing gentle lullabies. Gazing out of her window, she watched crows land on the open grassland, some fluttering away as a man rode past on a lawnmower. Somewhere outside, a lorry pulled up, its engine roaring. A driver got out, and slammed his door shut. Mary jolted a little from the noise, then calmed herself, smiled, tickled the soft little bundle in her arms.

Sarah stroked Max for a while, and was comforted by him. But eventually he jumped down from her lap. And then, his comfort gone, the tears came. A scene replayed itself in her head. Over and over and over again. The screech of brakes. The world, spinning, spinning. The crash. The crush. The crane. The pain.

Mary pulled the bundle closer to her chest. “Oh Adam,” she said. “You are so much like your father it scares me.” She thought of George. Handsome, witty and quiet. She gazed across the bed, to the cabinet which held George's image in a framed photograph. A scene replayed itself in her head. Over and over and over again. The screech of brakes. The world, spinning, spinning. The crash. The crush. The crane. The pain.

Sarah had been told that she must not feel guilty. Accidents happen. Her friends told her she must learn to let it go. Anyone would have done the same thing. Anyone would have swerved to avoid that cat. That stupid little moggie which darted out from the hedge. Hitting the kerb was not her fault. When her car flipped, it could have landed anywhere at all. Sarah had been told it was an accident, and she must let it go.

Mary heard muffled cries from the bundle in her arms. “There, there,” she said. “It's alright, Adam. Mummy's here.” She gazed at the lawnmower outside, transfixed by the sound of its engine. It reminded her of the sound which had hummed and roared inches above her head. The car had come out of nowhere, knocking her over and pinning her under its bonnet. Funny thing, just before it happened, George had kissed her. Seconds later, his body was crushed under the roof of that car.

Sarah recalled the moment the paramedics hauled her, upside down, from the broken window. Once outside, she had seen busy groups of firemen and doctors scurrying around her upturned car, and had thought it absurd because, well, she was out, she was fine, there was nobody else inside. But then she realised they weren't looking inside. They were looking underneath. A crane was eventually used to lift the vehicle and reveal what they were looking at.

Mary had been told that she must not feel guilty. Accidents happen. Her family told her she must somehow let it go, move on. It was not, after all, her fault. She could not have known. George had wanted to stay home and watch football. But Mary had dragged George along with her to the shops that day, and made him carry Adam in one of those strap-on harnesses around his chest. George hated those things, but Mary had thought he looked funny with Adam clasping his chest. They had argued playfully, and then he had kissed her, and then it happened.

Sarah wheeled back from her kitchen window, rubber tyres squeaking on ceramic tiles. She opened a draw and pulled out a sachet of Whiskas Gourmet Tuna. “Max! Dinner time!” she called her best friend back to her, while pouring the meat into a dish. Max appeared immediately. Sarah sobbed as she watched Max while he ate and purred, ate and purred, ate and purred.

Mary eventually stopped rocking. A door opened, and somebody told her it was “time for her afternoon rest”. Gently, Mary's arms were unfolded, and the pillow prised away from her. Misshapen and soaked in tears, it was beaten back into shape and laid flat at the end of her bed. Mary sobbed as she fell asleep wondering what if, what if, what if.
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  #5  
Old 09-15-2010, 12:53 AM
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Default Death by J.P. Clyde

Death

Don't cry tears life isn't
worth your tears
all life ever did to you was
throw you into terrible situation
after terrible situation

To teach you a lesson
to make you a better person
and now life throws one final
hurtle in your face
the word starts with a C
and it's hard for anyone to utter these
words

Do not grieve that you are
to leave this world
Be acceptant and sickeningly optimistic
make everyone think when you faced
death that you went bonkers

It's a lot better than being a
sentimental human being who cries
at his death bed

Cause no one cares really
about you
They want to see all the stuff
you got
That's why funeral can be a
early Christmas

None of them care about you
none of them care a single damn
thing about you
You cry in your bed
Instead they whisper when you aren't
around about when you'll croak

They aren't worth your tears
none of them love you
None of them care about you
Why waste your last breath crying?

All death does to you is make
you decompose till your
flesh rots

Are you crying for me?
Daddy
Or are you crying for them?
Daddy

Will you remember the child
you left in the closet?
To watch as you choked and died
and heard such despicable comments
even from their own mother

Are you crying for me?
Are you crying that you won't get
to see me?
Daddy
Or are you crying about them?

If you are I can make it
all better
I can make them follow
you
Daddy
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Old 09-15-2010, 12:53 AM
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Default La Casa de los Ancianos by TheRunoff

Arturo and his sixteen year-old daughter drove Avila and me to help at a house of the elderly in Atlixco. We rode in his ancient blue Chevy truck inscribed with El Pollo on the door, a name which came to refer to Arturo himself. We flew past palms that line the old road to Axocopan and past the lush hills and rich lime colored milpas with rickety seats rattling. Avila sat on a seat of wood fashioned to replace the broken seat springs. Juliana, El Pollo's daughter, sat in the truck bed holding down the supplies.

I sat in the middle of the cab knocking the stick with my knee. He pointed the way to that far side of Atlixco to a home for older, abandoned seniors, fitted within a contiguous block of lemon and mango hued buildings.

An iron gate sealed an opening a little wider than the breadth of a car, and we approached it. A priest opened the gate when we knocked. He knew our companion and was visibly pleased to see him.

"You're here again, are you Arturo?" the priest asked. A short, stocky nun in her habit came out of their living quarters and joined the conversation.
"It's been some time since you've both come hasn't it?" the nun began, referring to El Pollo and Juliana.
"Sí, sí...we have been busy."
"This place doesn't stay clean by itself .." she trailed off, realizing that the cleaning of the home was in the end her responsibility and no one else's.
"Si, si...we know," said El Pollo.

El Pollo was a good man, he'd founded the Alcoholics Anonymous group in Metepec, our pueblo outside of Atlixco, and was tireless in his service to his community. He was not a man without error. I admired him. His work in this home for ancianos had been his project, and it was difficult. El Pollo was a Mexican Jean Valjean, and he had taken it upon himself and his daughter to care for the dying ancianos.

We entered the home's courtyard of the colonial style, gray cobblestone groundwork with a large stone well of water in the center and a faded rainbow of drying clothes stretched across between opposite roofs. In each room around the courtyard, with no doors or curtains, the boarders moved slowly in the shadows. In the first of the rooms I reeled from the stench of waste and decay.

I convulsed, heaved spontaneously but contained the urge to vomit. Since arriving in Mexico and passing countless days of food poisoning and intestinal infection, I had a weak stomach. Avila, my friend, saw this and pushed me back out the door to get my breath.
"Careful, cuate! Get some air." he said.
"Yeah, I'll be alright, thanks." I responded.

I regained my composure, breathing shallowly so as not to catch the room's odors and looked around. Two mattresses were on the floor; one was on a bed frame. Each mattress was alive with the sheer number of flies. Urine, feces and blood were smeared all over the elderly women's beds. One was sitting up, and two were lying.

These three women lived in varying states of incomprehension and did not immediately acknowledge our presence. The sitting woman accosted me after a moment, calling me by her son's name for not having visited and having abandoned her in this place to die.

"Hijo, son,...why did you leave me here?” she pleaded.
"¿Cómo?" I asked, bewildered.
"Why did you leave me, hijo, do you have no love for your mother?"

She wore an old, dirty green and blue plaid dress with an apron and nodded to herself, muttering continually about her son or her husband things we couldn't understand. I have never seen someone so sad. Even so, she was the most capable of the three and was fully dressed.

The señora in the bed parallel to that of the sitting woman - Pilar - was dressed with a t-shirt, a shawl and nothing more. There was a bunched up blanket soiled with weeks of fecal matter that she pulled slowly over herself when we she finally saw us.

We stepped around the puddles of urine on the floor and we watched with admiration as Juliana took charge and began cleaning rooms, changing the ancianos and feeding them. She gently directed us to take the señoras, one by one, undress them, shower them, and then redress them. We started with Pilar. She spoke with fits of nearly unintelligible Spanish.

"What are you doing to me?" she demanded.
"We're going to bathe you, señora" Avila said.
"No, no, no, no, no, no..."
"It'll be alright, don't you worry, you'll be fine," I said. We began undressing her.
"No no no nonono..."

She was humiliated and I was ashamed. Pilar had lost her family, the integrity and clarity of her mind, certainly any shred of dignity she had ever possessed. We humiliated her one bit more by stripping her emaciated body naked, smeared with excrement, encircled by flies, and walking her across the courtyard to the shower in view of everyone in the home. I helped her while Avila prepared the next señora.

There was no other option. On our way to the shower as we inched our way over the uneven stones, lifting Pilar's feet up lightly at some points, higher at others, something beautiful and surprising happened. Leaning upon the stone and concrete framework of the gray, massive well, there was a small old bent-over man with a cane, wearing no shirt and only tattered, frayed briefs.

He spoke to Pilar in a way I recognized instantly and as they exchanged awkward, tender words something wholly unexpected appeared in the home's cloud of dementia.

"How are you, my lovely Pilar?" he asked her.
"I'm fine! And how are you?" she responded, momentarily radiant.
"I feel good too!" he said, quivering subtly.

This old bent man fancied Pilar and she him. They spoke like shy children but as if both were fully clothed and in charge of their mental faculties. I doubt each noticed that the other was nude or nearly so or any detail of the circumstance they were both in. Between a naked old woman held up only by my right arm, perhaps in her mid eighties, who moments before had been lying in her own waste, and this doubled and nearly unattired old man came something inexplicable.

In their shared and mutually understood lives, in the most unexpected of places, sprung what appeared to be love.

We finished bathing her and her room companions in the shower. The abandoned mother - whose son I was - cried and muttered "no..no..no.." for the duration of the shower. The last was silent and docile. Either she did not understand what was happening, or had resigned herself to this routine performed by new strangers each time and had come to accept it.

Juliana cleaned their room and mattresses and changed their blankets, then came to assist us in the shower. With effort we finished and quietly rode back home to Metepec.
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Old 09-15-2010, 12:54 AM
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Default Sam by Reddy Dean

Sam

“Free beer is the best kind of beer. Wouldn’t you say so, Sam?”

Aaron knocked back his ninth beer of the evening, watching Sam with a close eye. He knew his friend was indifferent to the art of beer-drinking, but nonetheless the question arose every time Aaron drank. Which was usually every night… and day… and sometimes in the morning if he got up in time.

“The streets are empty, my friend,” Aaron said. “Beer will be free for a very long time and you won’t hear me complain a bit. No government to stop me. No vendors to take my money. Deadbrains and their stupid infection are good for something, I guess. He sat the empty bottle on the nightstand, grabbing another and twisting off the cap. Throwing it out the window of his seventh-story apartment, he stuck his head out into the cold and watched it float down amongst the falling snow. He lost sight of it halfway down before bringing his head back inside and closing the window. “It’s far too cold, Sam. What is it now, February? Bah, who knows! No electricity, no clock… lost my cell phone a few months ago… I have no idea what month it is, let alone what day. Do you?”

Sam sat on the couch on the other side of the room, staring at the wall past Aaron as if in deep thought. Aaron got up to stretch his legs. He’d been sitting most of the day and he didn’t want to get too stiff in case he had to make a raid later on that night.

After a few minutes he sat back down and leaned back in his chair, gulping the rest of the beer in a matter of seconds. He sighed. “Bad thing about these beers is that they’re so small… and kinda weak, too. During our next raid we’ll have to find some better stuff. Won’t we, Sam? I know you’ve told me you don’t drink, but you may wanna try. Helps fight back the loneliness and the… other stuff.”

Aaron looked away from his friend, looking instead at the picture frame upon the wall above his bed. There she was, beautiful Dani in her yellow and white polka-dotted dress. The one he’d bought her just a few days after she said yes. She wore her ring in that picture, but now it lived on Aaron’s finger. As he thought about those sorrowful details, he began to cry. It started slow and quiet, so as not to disturb Sam, but eventually he broke loose, letting his tears run wild. He used to hate crying in front of Sam. It made him feel little. Sam never cried, after all. But he didn’t care anymore.

“You never had a girl anyway!” Aaron screamed at Sam as if it were his fault Dani was gone. “So what do you know about tears? Huh? I don’t care what you think! What have you had to cry over? Nothin’, that’s what! Nothin’!”

Sam watched all of this from his seat, his shoulders slumping. The day was getting older. Soon it would be nightfall, though it looked as if Sam wanted to fall asleep earlier than usual. He leaned over on his side, but still facing Aaron.

Aaron sighed and rolled his eyes. “If I’m boring you so much you can just go to bed. I don’t care.”

Sam gave no reply, so Aaron opened up another bottle of beer, chugged it, opened another bottle, and then chugged it as well. That made eleven for the evening… so far. If things went the way Aaron wanted them to (and they would, for who would be there to stop him?) he’d have many more.

But an hour passed by and Aaron didn’t pick up another bottle. Instead he stared out the window. It was no longer snowing and the sun was almost gone, yet there was just enough sunlight for sightseeing perched in his downtown Chicago apartment. He heard noises outside from below him and all around him throughout the city’s inner sections: grunts and other noises from the deadbrains, random screams here and there from what he suspected were people idiotic enough to go outside without a gun, as well as the barking and growling of animals both infected and uninfected. He could tell because the uninfected barking always sounded so sad.

So frightened.

“Just like me.”

He turned around to see Sam smiling at him. “What’s so funny?” he asked, his anger rising. “Why are you smiling? You think it’s funny that I’m sad?” After receiving no response, Aaron swept his arm across the nightstand, knocking off all the bottles. A couple bottles were smashed as they hit the wall on the other side of the room, just to the right of where Sam was resting. “There!” Aaron screamed, now standing up and pointing his finger at Sam. “You gonna smile now? Huh? Are you?”

He started to cry all over again, the frustration and anger and nostalgia all flooding back at once. He sat down in his chair, his head in his hands, sobbing like a big baby. When he was finished, he looked back at his friend.

“I know it’s not your fault, man,” he said. “None of this mess is. It’s… oh, I don’t know… I think it’s the President’s fault. He said he’d have us ready to fight the infection, but… but now look at us! Well… I guess there isn’t an “us” anymore. Just you and me, Sam, and whoever else is out there. No more president… no more government… no more civilization! Just… everybody for themselves… as far as we know, huh?” He sighed, that all-too-familiar feeling of loneliness and depression settling in once more. He looked at the numerous empty beer bottles and shook his head, forcing a chuckle. “I got a drinking problem, don’t I?” Sam just smiled and Aaron couldn’t help but burst out laughing. “Yeah… dumb question, huh? Hey, man, I… I’m sorry, okay? I shouldn’t have yelled at you. It’s not your fault.”

He opened the top drawer of the nightstand, looking for something. Finally he pulled out a bottle of Vicodin, but to his dismay the bottle was empty. “I’m out of candy, Sam. You don’t have any, do you? Nah, of course not. Guess I gotta go do a quick raid. Haven’t had candy all day. Need some now.”

He rose from his chair, strapped on his snow boots and put on his Green Bay Packers coat. After grabbing his rusty shotgun, pistol and gear bag he was just about to leave when he turned back and looked at Sam. “Wanna come? I could use some company right now.” He waited for a response… and never got one.

Seething, Aaron left the room, slamming the door behind him. Seconds later the door reopened with him standing in the doorway. “You know what, Sam?” He yelled. “I hate you!” He left yet again, slamming the door even harder than before. The picture of Dani fell from the wall, crashing to the ground and chipping at the upper right-hand corner.

Meanwhile, Sam just sat there on the couch, stuffing seeping out from under his left armpit and the black button missing from his right eye.
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