Jax had the strangest dream. He saw three people, but it was pretty blurry and he was pretty far away so he tried to run closer and get a better look at them. They laughed, and only seemed to move farther away. Zombies began to shamble towards them, and Jax tried to yell a warming at them, but he seemed to have lost his voice. As soon as the first zombie made contact, the dream changed. Now he was behind an african american boy, with a bandaged back and black pants. "Show me how to fly again," he said, not noticing Jax. Jax realized he was talking to someone, a tall black haired boy wearing a grey skirt and a white tank top. They stood on what seemed to be a cloud. "Show me how to love," the black haired boy retaliated, leaning towards the african american seductively. They pulled in, just about to kiss, when the dream changed yet again. Now he stood in front of a little redhead girl with flowers all around her, in the middle of a meadow, painstakingly sunny. The girl seemed to be a cyborg, half of her face, one of her arms, and her whole torso was mechanical. The flowers flew about in the wind and the girl opened her eyes to look up at him with nothing but sorrow. Then, she screamed. She screeched so terribly, so loudly, that Jax was sure that he would never hear another sound again. It continued and it echoed, and it brought nothing but death and misery.
Ezekiel mumbled for Ivy to come back. Oh f---.. Ingrid was gonna obliterate him. Ivy had crawled through the exit and was probably about to run away, unsupervised. Ezekiel closed his eyes and teleported to the exit. It was much faster than walking. He shimmyed his way up, finding it unsurprisingly difficult to go through it when Ezekiel's head was throbbing and his vision was terrible. Ivy's back was to him. They seemed to be in blue fog and she seemed to be attempting to run away, though she was in very slow motion. "Ivy," he tried to say, but instead of words coming out, the blue fog came into his throat and began to fill his lungs. It was obviously a classic magical murk witch trap, and Ezekiel wondered who Ingrid must've angered in order for it to be used.
Okay, so Ingrid found two people. Ava and Andy, a strange duo. Ava was some kind of a descendant of a unicorn (which Ingrid would definitely not be asking about) and Andy was probably a wizard or something. Ingrid assumed so, atleast. "There's some kind of infection going around, you guys know anything about that?" Ingrid asked them. "See, that's the strange thing. You seem to know about an infection, but you don't know any details," Ava said, slightly suspiciously. Ingrid raised an eyebrow at her. "Well, my parents are some pretty powerful people. They set specific alarms for specific situations. I heard the infection alarm at my house, so I took my little sister to.. a hideout," Ingrid did not trust these two enough to reveal that they had a secret bunker, "And now I'm just trying to get more information so I can go back to my sister and know exactly what we're up against," Ingrid said, staring icily at Ava. Ava glared back. It was inevitable conflict, two powerful and independent girls vying to be top dog. Andy cleared his throat. "I would ask more, but I don't really care about your background, nor do we really have the time to just sit out in the open and chitchat. The infection that spread was a zombie one. Total apocalypse. End of the world, that kind of thing," Andy said, using lots of hand motions to really get his dramatic point across.
The redhead paused a moment to let the new information seek in; but they didn't have time to be pausing. "We have somewhere to be, and my friend just kinda saved your ass so if you're coming with us then you better get a move on," Ava said, standing up. "Your friend was the one who threw the fog bomb in the first place so.." Ingrid grumbled. Andy and Ingrid stood up and started to follow Ava. "Didn't you say you had a sister?" Andy asked suddenly. "Yeah, but she should be fine right now," Ingrid's tone of voice and attitude clearly suggested that it was a lie. She was awfully worried about her sister. Ezekiel was someone they had only just met, but when it came down to the options; take Ivy exploring with her out into the world that was plagued with an infection that Ingrid didn't know anything at all about, that could've possibly been airborn and really pestilent; or leave her with an angel that had the power to heal people and intended to protect her from harm.. well, the better route seemed quite clear. Now that she was away and thought about it some more, Ingrid wasn't sure if that was the right decision since Ezekiel was essentially a stranger and Ivy had never been left alone with an older male since the incident. "Here," Ava said sharply, which snapped Ingrid out of her thoughts. They hadn't walked far, in the distance she could still make out the blue fog, now at it's peak in density. It would probably be fizzing out soon. She hoped for God's sake that Ivy stayed in the bunker. The place Ava led them to was a small cave that looked like it went deeper into the ground once you went inside. Meanwhile, Andy was super excited. "It's just like you told me about! I would be so happy that you finally got to let me see your kinda-sorta-but-not-really-a home if it were under different circumstances..." Andy's smile began to falter as he thought about all of his friends who were probably deadless right now, but then it perked up again. "Ava never showed me because we barely had the schedules to see each other for even a few minutes, much less have her show me her home! Also, my mom's an ass and she's sooooo strict," Andy said to the confused Ingrid. Ava pouted, "Stop calling it that! I sleep here sometimes, I put my stuff here, but that's it! Geez!" Ava said defensively. She was known to be wild like her unicorn side, but Ava couldn't help but domesticate a few things like a human would.
Jax sat up quickly. The scream from his dream had startled him so much that he woke up. This was awfully strange.. Jax had never had a a dream before. He asked his grandfather about it once, but he quickly explained how some people just don't dream at all, and that their dreamless nights ran in the family. In the silence of the dark room, Jax wondered why he had to have his first one today, of all days ... wait, silence?! Jax looked at the TV in alarm; it was off. He got up and opened the mini fridge, but no light came from inside it. Jax ran a hand through his hair, now fully awake. Okay, so the power supply would more likely than not be completely cut off from now on. He walked over the the circular window of the attic and looked out. In his very yard stood atleast three zombies; they surrounded his entire neighborhood. Some he, sadly, recognized, others he did not. Still no sight of his grandfather. Jax then checked the old clock that his grandfather had kept on the wall for as long as he could remember, claiming that it was Jax's dad's, and checked the time. It was a little over one in the morning. Luckily, the clock ran on batteries, not electricity. Jax wished he could do something, but he could only sit down and meditate more before going back to bed. He would make a plan in the morning.
Ezekiel and Ivy froze in their pursuit. The magical trap was at it's densest now; they would be stuck there for a few minutes until it began to fizzle out. Ezekiel wished he could check to see if Ivy was okay but her back was to him. Their breathing was extremely slow-going but the thing about magical murk trap is that you would be okay since the gas still had oxygen in it. It would just be difficult since the stuff is so dense and tends to get stuck in your throat or lungs until you're able to cough it out. And of course, you definitely wouldn't survive if you had some kind of lung sickness that labored your breathing, like asthma. Ivy tried to move but only successfully moved her mechanical arm, which was strong enough to easily break through the gas that was basically a solid now. It did no good, though. Anything her arm cleared away would fill up again in it's place. They would have to wait it out.
"Bienvenue," Ava said, picking away the vines that revealed an entrance to the cave; almost unnoticable if you weren't looking for it. She crawled inside, not waiting to see if Ingrid and Andy were following, but they were, of course. Inside it was too dark to make out anything, so Andy took out his wand and muttered, "Lumos," as a light suddenly shone from it. Ava laughed, and Ingrid looked at them in confusion. "It's kind of an inside joke," Andy explained, Ava still laughing. "I technically don't need to say an incantation to summon light, I'm just that good of a witch I guess--" this earned him a little punch from Ava, "Okay I'm not an expert.. but I've been practicing! I just say it as a reference to Harry Potter, the greatest wizard basically ever," Andy sighed, his eyes dreamy. "He has a total crush on a fictional character," Ava said with a sigh. "Oh don't get me started on all the characters Ava has a crush on," Andy in quick retaliation. Ava gave a little shout at Andy to silence him, and they began to play-fight. Meanwhile, Andy had dropped his wand, that also doubled as a flashlight now, so Ingrid picked it up and began to look around.
(Skipping Jax cause he's being your average day to day sleepy boi now)
Ezekiel waited patiently, do bothering to try and fight through the murk. Ivy, however, having the stubbornness of any child, fought against it as much as she could. She didn't understand what was happening, and not having Ingrid by her side made it all the more terrifying. Their stance was comical, actually. Like a classic looney tunes episode with Tweety Bird and Sylvester, except paused mid-action... Two minutes passed. Now that Ivy had calmed and had time to think about what she's done, she felt pretty bad for hitting Ezekiel like that. He was only trying to help, and Ivy could've killed him had he not had the power to self heal. She tried to look at him but couldn't turn her head around.
While Ingrid heard the grunts and hits behind her, she walked inside deeper to explore Ava's kinda-sorta-home. With the help of the flashlight wand, she looked around on the walls, an interesting sight. There were so many things Ava had seemed to have collected over the years. Old pictures, stamps, weird rocks, old automobile parts, nuts and bolts, random gadgets, old books. Collectors had nothing on Ava, she collected a little bit of everything.
Ingrid pause in her adventuring to stop and admire two katanas aligned in an X shape on the wall. They seem to be collectibles, but all those years of fencing classes made them almost call out to Ingrid. She reached her hand up slowly and inched it towards them, almost unable to look away. They were beautiful, ancient engravings and carvings made them exude power. "Carrot top!" Someone yelled, making her jump backwards before she could touch them. "I wasn't touching anything!" Ingrid said defensively, which was technically a truth. Ava jogged up next to her. "Where's Andy?" Ingrid asked. "He's fine," Ava said, waving it off, "You really shouldn't touch those swords, legend says that they're cursed."
Ezekiel counted the seconds away in his head.. He moved a little. Finally, the murk was seeming to disperse a little bit. The process was very slow, though. As soon as he realized he could inch a little, he went back to his pursuit of getting Ivy. He tried to reach a hand out for her, but it moved painfully slowly. It was so fustrating how she was an arm's reach away but he couldn't get to her. She had broken the bunker doors, which would be a huge problem that they'd have to deal with later on. Ezekiel certainly didn't expect her to get as angry as she did. He assumed that the two sisters must've been closer than most.
"Cursed?" Ingrid ask, raising an eyebrow and motioning for Ava to elucidate. Ava shook her head sadly. "I don't know much about it myself, just that they're cursed. I'd rather not say how I acquired them," Ava said. "Mhmmm," Ingrid said, then grabbed the hilts of the two katanas. "Hey!" Ava said in surprise. They both paused to see if something would happen, but when nothing did the girls sighed in relief. "When you die and the swords do some magic voodoo s---, don't come screaming for my help," Ava said with a chuckle. Ingrid half smiled again, beginning to like these two, however syrange they may be.
"I have to go now," Ingrid said, frowning. "What? But you just got here!" Andy said, limping towards the two, holding onto one of his arms. "What did you do to him? Geez," Ingrid asked Ava. "Oh, shush. I barely did a thing, he's just very weak in general," Ava said defensively. "I'll still tell you all of Ava's fictional character crushes," Andy said with a playful wink, earning him a middle finger from Ava. Ingrid took the scabbards off a nearby table and sheathed the katanas. "Do you have a baldric I can use?" Ingrid asked Ava. "You're really leaving," Ava said with a frown. "Remember that sister? I kinda have to get back to her," Ingrid said with a sad frown. "This is the apocalypse, people!" Andy intercepted the goodbyes, "In horror movies they always split up, and they always die. For some divine figure's sake, why can't we just stick together?" Andy asked, plopping down on a chair, tired of standing.
Ivy wanted to cry but the murk would just absorb the tears. She felt so trapped. Ivy supposed this was her fault for breaking open the bunker to get to Ingrid. She could barely breathe, the little oxygen that the murk let through would also bring in gulps of the murk itself into her lungs. The gel-like substance would build up until there was no more room for oxygen. Suddenly, Ivy felt something touch her arm. She couldn't look back to see if it was Ezekiel, but she assumed that it was. He was moving his hand, with much strain and ever so slowly, onto her arm. Only the tip of his finger was touching her, but it seemed to be enough for him since he simply closed is eyes and they teleported away, just outside of the murk. They both fell to the ground, drained and tired and finally out of the trap.
Ivy coughed. Ezekiel coughed. Ivy began to cry and grabbed onto Ezekiel's arm. "I want Ingrid," she said between sobs. Ezekiel patted her head. He talked to her with a soft tone, just as a non fallen angel would, "It's okay.. You're gonna be okay, Ivy. Ingrid could be coming back any second now, she just went to ask someone for information on what was happening in the world. You're okay."
"Maybe you guys could come with me," Ingrid said, more of a thought than a suggestion. The room fell silent for a hot second.
"Why not," Andy said, strugging.
Ava frowned, "I only trust you.. like.. 34%. You could be lying about having a sister altogether. You could be trying to get revenge on me for taking those swords and you could try to kill us both-" "Taking the swords?!" Andy interjected with surprise. Ava shook her head. "Long story."
Ingrid sighed. "I get that you guys don't trust me. I don't exactly know you guys either.. but c'mon, I wasn't lying about Ezekiel! And I could be an asset, I'm actually really good with swords.. I mean, well, I took that fencing class, which I know doesn't make me a professional or anything, but I was the top in my class for a while before that scumbag Kevin had to-- Oh, sorry.. um.. I'm only asking you this because I'm desperate. I just want to protect my little sister." Ingrid explained. "No pressure though, I understand if you decide not to come with me."
Andy did a little shake of his head, a weird quirk of his that he did to shift his hair. "Well, I'm going," He said stoicly. "It's probably safer here than wherever she's trying to go, 'secret hideout' my ass," Ava said with a scoff. "On contrare-" Ingrid started to say when the sound of a frighteningly close zombie moan was heard. Everyone became dead silent. It lasted for about 10 seconds before Ava finally whispered out "It's okay. Probably not close. Caves echo."
The light was dim and the shadows played tricks on them with the wand flickering out the magical light. The shadows casted on their faces was so sharp that it could cut clean across this facade of calmness they all tried to put on. Who knows what really lurked, meters away from them, where the light began to disperse out into the darkness? This whole situation was suddenly remembered to be very serious. Everyone was only lasting through the night on adrenaline and sheer terror at the thought of being bitten and become the living embodiment of the things only heard of in movies and books labeled as fiction.
"I haven't been away from her for months," Ivy said, hiccuping and trying to catch her breath from the crying and the weird after-murk effect. "In her defense, she thought you would still be in your state of.. ah, distress.. until she returned," Ezekiel explained. "She should be back by now," Ivy said, whimpering quietly. Ezekiel lifted his head and looked at his surroundings. Ingrid really should have been back by now.. he looked back a Ivy. Ezekiel didn't exactly know what they were dealing with, all he knew was that Ivy would need his full protection if Ingrid possibly never returned. "Close your eyes," Ezekiel commanded Ivy. Ivy did so. "I've only ever done this one other time, but here we go," Ezekiel began to chant in another language. Ivy rocked on her heels nervously, not sure of what he was doing. She hoped Ingrid would come back soon. It didn't matter if Ezekiel was an angel, she wanted to be by her sister's side, not anyone else.
"I'm getting chills," Ava said, standing up straighter and rolling her eyes. She let out a slightly nervous chuckle. "If you wanna sign your own death warrant, then go," Ava said to Ingrid, "I still have supplies that I need to go ahead and get from here, anyways, I'm not leaving for atleast another half hour." Andy did a little squeal of excitement. "So you are coming with us?" He asked. Ava scoffed. The mood was back to normal by now, the moaning subsided. Probably a passing zombie by the cave entrance. "Whatever, Ms Lone Wolf. I don't have that kinda time. It's been atleast two hours since I left the b-.. uhh.. the.." Ingrid still wasn't sure if she could tell them about the bunker. This wasn't some circus where she could just pick up acts along her journeys, she had to think about supplies and food.. and Ivy.
"I've been meaning to ask about that, actually," Andy said, as Ava took his wand-flashlight and walked around a bend of the cave into her 'room' of sorts, leaving them in darkness. "There's no houses around this forest for atleast another hour.. but we ran into you a few hours ago. Now you're saying you wanna get to your sister, and that you left her around the same time we found you. Where'd you come from?" Andy asked.
"Damn you, math," Ingrid muttered.
"What was that?" Andy asked, motioning for Ingrid to speak up.
"Oh, uh.. nothing," Ingrid said. "But yeah, you're spot on. I obviously didn't part with my sister and Ezekiel in the middle of the forest. We have a secret place of sorts.. like, a bunker," Ingrid said, just as the light moved towards them again and Ava was in their sight, wearing an old backback. "Why didn't you say so then, Carrot Top? I sorta figured that's what you meant when you said hideout, but damn your folks gotta be rich to make that actually happen."