A few years back, I was commissioned to write a story for the 'We're Alive' podcast.
Long story short, it didn't pan out.
But I spent a very long time writing it for it to languish in my computer. I spent that time not only writing it for the 'We're Alive' folks, but mostly for my readers.
So what I've decided to do is publish my initial story here, via my blog, as a work of FAN FICTION, a completely unofficial piece about a character from the series. This is completely unofficial and unauthorized, but I think my work and time spent on this project deserve to see the light of day.
I would like to encourage everyone who might enjoy this fan fiction to check out the officials 'We're Alive' website HERE. It is a fantastic and well-developed world created by a group of professional writers and expert voice actors.
In the meantime, here's the completlely unofficial, unauthorized 'We're Alive' fan fiction, originally entitled (WORKING TITLE: BURT)
BOWIE V. IBARRA
From an idea from the creators of the
“WE’RE ALIVE” podcast
Copyright 2011 PRODUCERS OF “WE’RE ALIVE” PODCAST, BOWIE V. IBARRA
10. INTO THE EYE OF THE STORM
As Burt ran deeper into the madness, things were getting much, much rowdier. He had never seen so many fistfights in his life. It was as if the city itself was the source of the problem. The fiery cars and frightened people were the manifestation of the metaphorical spell cast on the city, sending everyone and everything into complete and total pandemonium.
Not since the boy he had knocked out with his big fists and the thugs demanding his weapons had anyone challenged him. In spite of his sputtering energy, his knife, firearms, and size found people actually moving away from him. It was pretty obvious to the people around him that it would not be worth messing around with him for anything. The juice would not be worth the squeeze.
That kind of social power, even in the midst of the chaos, put him in a different position. Though he walked around as a kind of brute capable of swift and brutal offense, he also had the capacity to defend. But he was not about to grant that power for any grown adults who were more than capable of defending themselves.
The problem was seeing children put in this chaotic situation.
Burt watched a trio of older teens brutalizing a kid who couldn’t have been more than ten years old. He already passed up a lot of bad situations, but he couldn’t pass this up.
Burt dashed to the group. He wound back his fist and smashed the nearest one square in the mouth, knocking the boy against a nearby wall and out cold. Burt slashed toward the next closest adversary with his knife, cutting the boys arm. He could have easily killed the kid, but that was not his goal. He had the power, self-control, and was magnanimous enough to give the kids a choice. He had to set examples first.
“Fuck!” shouted the third boy, turning and running. The cut boy was too shocked to say anything. He just cried out, clasping a hand over the wound and took off. The boy who was KO’d lay face first on the pavement. A small patch of blood was forming on the pavement near his nose.
“Get up, son,” said Burt to the young boy, offering a hand that was gladly accepted. The boy was weeping. He was doing his best not to completely break down.
Burt looked around, anxious. He needed to get to the store. But he’d committed to helping the boy now, so he had to finish the job and hope there were no more complications. He was running out of energy and needed to rest. The added stress wasn’t helping.
“What’s your name, son?” groaned Burt.
Through whimpers, the boy said, “Ronnie.”
“Where are your parents, Ronnie?”
“In that apartment complex,” he said, pointing to a building just down the street.
As he pointed, he couldn’t help but notice blood pouring out of a wound on his arm. It was a bite.
“C’mere, son,” said Burt, pulling him close to him and away from the madness. Burt reached down and ripped a piece of t-shirt off of the poleaxed thug. He had nothing to clean the wound with, so he just wrapped the wound with the shirt.
“Hold my hand, Ronnie. And don’t let go,” said Burt. The duo started running to the apartment complex.
A pawn shop was being looted. Burt couldn’t help but imagine (know!?) his own store, Shirley’s store, was suffering the same fate. He had to hurry and deliver this kid and get back to his goal. They weaved through the bevy of thieves running out with televisions, DVD players, even movies.
A large crowd was gathered on the sidewalk. They all seemed to be looking at something on the sidewalk.
As the duo edged closer to the group, they could hear general chatter.
“… killed that mother fucker.”
“What the fuck?”
“Damn. That’s all messed up.”
“He ate him?”
Burt could see brief glimpses between the crowd of two bodies lying on the sidewalk. One was a bloody carcass torn open at the stomach. Blood entrails had spilled out around the body.
Beside the body was yet another. This body was dressed in slacks and a dress shirt. Its head had been smashed to a pulp, unrecognizable as even a human head. Brain, bone, and blood sat in a puddle by its remains.
“Don’t look, Ronnie,” said Burt, gagging.
Ronnie only needed a glimpse to comply as they passed the people. The sight charged Ronnie with fear that Burt could feel when the boy grasped his hand even harder.
As they passed the group, a man ran past them. He was holding his arm. Blood was seeping from under his hand and fingers. The man was followed by a group of youths with bats and lead pipes. They knocked Ronnie out of Burt’s grip, but ran past them.
“C’mon, Ronnie,” said Burt. They were only a few yards away from the apartment building. But more to the point, Burt was only a few blocks away from ‘Locked and Loaded’.
They entered the lobby to the complex and were greeted with more mayhem. People ran to and fro. A young Asian child stood frozen in fear and crying amid the crowd. Another two bodies lay with completely smashed skulls up against the wall.
“At the end of the hall,” said Ronnie. Burt could tell the boy’s spirits had been lifted. There was now an air of hope in the little boy’s voice as they made their way through the crowd. It gave Burt hope that this run was not futile in spite of the boys growing pale complexion.
Before long, they were at the door. Ronnie began to knock furiously.
“Mom! Dad! It’s me!”
The door was unlocked and thrown open to the grateful faces of his mother and father.
“Ronnie!” shouted his mother with tears of joy shooting out of her eyes like a leaky pipe.
Ronnie’s father offered a hand to Burt. “Did you help him?” he asked.
“Yes,” said Burt. “You need to look at his arm, though.”
The mother immediately checked the boy. “Oh, God,” she said, but regained her composure. “It’s no problem. We can take care of it,” she said, taking him to a kitchen just a few feet away from the door.
“Thank you, sir,” said the man. “You can come in with us if you’d like,” he offered.
“No, thank you. I’ve got to check on my store,” said Burt.
The mom grimaced in the kitchen, where she was already treating the boy’s wound. “News has nothing but bad news. So good luck,” she said.
“Thanks,” said Burt, turning to leave.
“Thank you, sir,” shouted the lady. Burt just waved and nodded as the door closed.
Burt moved only a few more paces down the hallway when he began to feel dizzy again. He eased himself against the wall to take a moment to catch his breath. His vision was blurring.
Reaching into his pocket, he put the last of the crackers into his mouth. A water fountain nearby helped him wash it down.
Turning and looking at the lobby, it was a maelstrom of panic. People dashed all about. People were yelling. There was yet another vicious fight in a corner. The small Asian child still stood alone, frozen in fear and crying. That was before a blonde man picked up the boy and dashed to a nearby door. The man threw it open and went in, the child crying in terror.
It took a moment for Burt to absorb what just happened. All he wanted to do was leave. He was running out of energy, and he still needed to get to the shop. Who knows what it was going to be like there. But he couldn’t. The moment he witnessed was just too strange. Too creepy. Too wrong.
Complications, thought Burt. He needed to investigate.
He walked to a nearby lobby water fountain and splashed his face with water. Then he walked to the door and knocked. “Hello in there,” he shouted.
“Get away from my door,” he heard the man shout. The boy was still crying.
Burt didn’t know what to say, and contemplated walking away again. But he’d already commited to action, like with Ronnie. His head ached. His eyes burned. You’ve got to finish this now, he thought.
“I just need to know… if the kid’s okay.”
What the hell kind of question was that? he thought to himself.
The door chain-lock rattled against the wooden barrier and the door opened.
“What do you want?” shouted the man.
Burt couldn’t finish the statement. Behind the man, he saw the small boy tied by a belt to a small chair. He was weeping in fear. It was a very different fear than in the hallway. This was a fear without hope.
There was no need for words anymore. With a burst of adrenaline, Burt rammed the door open with his shoulder. The movement knocked the man back. Burt was in the room.
The man swung at Burt. Like an old machine being kicked back to life, Burt caught the wild and desperate punch under his arm. Then, with a sweep of the blonde’s leg, Burt Judo-tossed the man to the ground, just like Lombardo had taught him years ago.
Burt immediately pulled his sidearms and pointed them at the man. He had the blonde dead to rights. The man froze in fear on the floor.
“What the hell’s going on here?” asked Burt.
“Listen,” said the man, weeping like a child caught in the act of wrongdoing. “Please, just… please.”
“Johnny,” came a voice from the door. Burt and the man turned to look.
At the door was an Asian woman. She stood in horror at the door, looking at the scene, stunned.
“Is that your child?” asked Burt.
“Yes,” she replied. “What’s going on?”
“Is this the boys father?” asked Burt, glaring at the man. He already knew the answer, but needed confirmation.
“No,” she replied.
Burt waved for her to untie her child. “This guy grabbed your kid out of the hallway.”
“What?” she cried, unbuckling the belt to the grateful embrace of her child.
“Please,” begged the man. “Please.”
Burt groaned. Crisis averted. He had to make his move. This was now out of his hands. He had somewhere to be. This had to be sorted out now between these two people.
So Burt washed his hands of the situation.
“I’m not the guy you need to be talking to, dirtbag,” he said, offering one of his pistols to the woman. “You two need to sort this out.”
The woman took the pistol. Her face had melted into the perfect picture of murderous maternal rage.
Burt stepped out of the room.
As Burt walked away from the apartment, he could hear the man cry out before three gunshots rang through the air. It was followed by the terrified cry of the child. Some people who did hear it were startled, but it was only a symptom of the sickness that was enveloping the city in terror. They all had heard gunshots throughout the day. It was now commonplace, nothing new.
They all had places to be.
So did Burt.
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