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
9. BURT MAKES HIS RUN
With his soul on fire, his M-16 slung over a shoulder, pistols on his hip, and his KA-BAR concealed against his hand and arm, Burt left his apartment.
Locking up his home, he could feel the tension of the city wash over him. He could hear television sets behind closed doors rattling off the news he was just watching. Even muffled, he could still hear the urgency in the voices.
Cracks of gunfire danced in the air. Burt could identify pistols and sub-machine guns. Shouts, cries, and screams sang a song of terror accompanied by the music of the firearms.
There was no doubt about it. Los Angeles county had fallen into the depths of chaos. Burt sighed. It was a sad and familiar sound that danced over the cityscape, one he hadn’t heard in years.
It was the sound of a battlefield.
Before Burt could make his way down the stairs to his vehicle, a hand grabbed his jacket sleeve. It took Burt by surprise. His training took over as he twisted his hand away. He shoved the attacker away and positioned his knife to jab once he identified his attacker.
“Please, don’t hurt me,” shouted the lady with fear. She held up her hands. Sweat laced her brow, making some of her middle-aged blonde hair stick to her forehead. “I need your help.”
Good God almighty, thought Burt to himself. Jerkoffs and idiots of the riots he could deal with. These so-called cannibals or risen dead? He’ll have to wait and see for himself.
But desperate people, people outside of the chaos looking for help? This would be tough.
“Please. My boyfriend…one of those people bit him. He’s sick. I need your help.”
She needs my gun, Burt thought to himself, watching her eyes fall to his sidearms. Stay focused, Burt, he said to himself.
“I can’t help you, lady. I’m sorry,” he said, moving down the stairs to his car.
The lady made a desperate move, grabbing his coat.
“Please! Help me!”
Burt snatched her hand away quickly again and shoved her away. Burt couldn’t believe how desperate she was, having already threatened her with the knife. He had enough sense not to stab her, even though his conditioned impulse was there. This didn’t need to escalate. The lady needed to get the message.
“I said no, lady!” shouted Burt. “Now get the hell away from me!”
Suddenly, three flights above them, something snarled with primal anger. They both looked up to see what appeared to be a drunken man. Saliva dripped from his mouth, and he looked at Burt with bizarre anger.
“Jimmy,” shouted the lady. “No!”
The woman immediately rose to her feet, running up the stairs.
Burt wanted no part of the domestic dispute and ran down the stairs to the parking lot.
Clearing the apartment building, he was able to look out on the city. Plumes of smoke drifted into the sky like toxic smoke from the mouth of a dying dragon. The same symphony of mayhem Burt heard as he left his apartment beat its steady rhythm. The gunshots and shouts of terror were the classical music of human-made pandemonium. A variation on a theme of conflict played throughout the course of human existence, as conducted by Toscanini, Solti, Williams, or even James Levine or Leonard Bernstein. The sound and the fury.
Dashing to his car, he could feel the adrenaline pushing him forward. It was providing energy he was going to need.
As he got to his car, he looked out toward the street. It was packed with cars honking in a cacophony of fearful frustration.
“I’ll never get out of here,” Burt groaned. Standing still in a line of cars would also leave him vulnerable to attack or carjacking.
“Goddammit,” he groaned.
A set of hands grabbed him by the shoulder.
Burt growled, knocking the hands away and shouting, “Lady! I already told you…”
But when he turned around, it wasn’t the lady. It was a man. But it wasn’t any ordinary man. This man had thick red slime around his mouth that Burt could only deduce was congealing blood.
“Shit!” he shouted as it grabbed him again, opening its mouth wide for a bite. It’s one of them.
The monster shoved Burt into his own car, pushing him down on the hood. It snarled as it tried to bite him.
Burt was strong enough to hold the monster off with one hand while stabbing it several times with its knife. Blood dripped from its wounds and it backed off against an adjacent car.
Burt drew his M-16 when he heard a blast. The monster’s head burst, splashing all over Burt and the cars.
“Jesus Christ!” shouted Burt. He watched the executed attacker fall to the ground.
“I tried to tell you,” said a voice. Burt turned around to see Guerra, brandishing the shotgun he had sold him.
“Jesus, Mike,” said Burt. “You just killed the guy.”
“He attacked you.”
“Was that one of those…”
“Cannibals? I’m pretty sure it was.”
Burt looked back at the body. It’s arm was quivering as blood poured out of its wounded head.
Burt couldn’t take it. He ran to a bush by the apartment complex and threw up. It was more of a dry heave as he had hardly eaten.
“You’re going to have fun today,” said Mike.
“Fuck you, Guerra,” said Burt, pulling himself together. “What the hell are you doing out here?”
“Corner store,” he said, holding up bag filled with sodas. “We needed something to drink.”
“There was water. But I figured I should grab the RC while it was still on the shelves.”
Idiot, thought Burt. “Good one,” said Burt.
“Where are you going?” asked Guerra.
“Locked and Loaded.”
“Good luck with that. They’ve been looting that area for the past hour.”
Burt groaned. “Thanks for the intel.”
“I’m going back up to the apartment. Come by if you make it back,” said Guerra running off.
Burt turned around and looked at the street again. It was as if the street found a way to get more congested between the time he was looking at it up to now.
“Here goes nothing,” he said, trotting toward the street. It was only several city blocks away, but considering the danger in the streets, it might as well have been in Temecula or Fresno.
But his drive was still unaffected. Nothing was going to stop him from getting to ‘Locked and Loaded’.
From behind a car, a teenager jumped out at Burt, pointing a gun at him.
“Drop the knife, old man!” he shouted, “and give me your shit!”
Not again, he thought to himself. “You need to take a minute, kid,” he said, raising his hands. “Do you see what’s going on out there?” The boy was about to get a surprise. He was just a boy. Burt had put himself in a game of life and death on the streets. But unlike Guerra, he didn’t want blood on his hands. Especially with an idiot kid he could handle.
“I’ll shot you in the face, motherfu…”
All Burt heard was Lombardo’s voice saying one of the most basic fundamentals of hand to hand combat: Commit.
And he did.
Burt grabbed the barrel of the pistol and moved it away from his face, out of the line of fire with only a move of a few inches. Simultaneously, he popped the boy in the face multiple times. Burt’s massive fists turned the boy’s nose and mouth to mush.
The second punch had already knocked him out. And when the back of the boy’s head hit the pavement, his arms and legs froze in an awkward and stiff position. He looked like a red-headed Ken doll that had been discarded by a child.
Burt picked himself off the ground, checking the requisitioned weapon for ammunition.
It was empty.
“Stupid child,” he muttered, discarding the weapon.
The boy was puffing with an awkward breath, still stuck in the awkward pose as Burt dashed off, leaving the kid behind.
As Burt turned a corner, the boy was attacked by one of the ghastly cannibals as he lay on the ground, helpless. Though he was completely healthy and alive, he was still paralyzed by the concussion. The infected monster grabbed his still-stiff arm and bit. The pain made the boy respond, but only with a grunt. He began to pant, perhaps in a seizure.
The ghoul simply chewed on the chunk as the boy bled from the now-shaking arm.
The road to ‘Locked and Loaded’ was littered with catastrophe. Cars stood idle. Cars wrecked. Cars burning. The drivers burned beyond recognition, black silhouettes of humans who had been alive, perhaps only minutes before.
People were running and shouting at each other. People were fighting each other. It was every man for himself on the streets of Montebello. The same fearful desperation that hid behind apartment doors was now unleashed on the city streets.
Burt made it to a street corner when he heard a shout.
“Hey! Gimmie that gun, mother fucker!”
Burt turned to see a gang of four street thugs race at him with knives drawn.
“Goddammit,” thought Burt. His knife was drawn, but he needed something more. His M-16 would mow them down, but there were so many others who could be hit by his fire. He didn’t want to do it, but it was his only choice.
Before he could unsling his M-16, gunshots were fired. They were flying from behind him. Burt fell to the ground, unhurt, and scrambled for cover behind a city trash can.
Burt watched as two of the gang thugs were hit, falling to the ground, wounded. The other gang members ran, or just dove for cover as Burt heard another voice.
“Hey, old man! Let’s get out of here!”
Burt looked up to see a man in a Navy blue F-350 waving him in.
“C’mon, guy,” said the man, firing more rounds at the gang.
Burt knew he could not trust the man at this point, but the guy had wheels. He could still get him out of the tight spot, and maybe drive him to the shop.
Slowly getting up, Burt ran to the truck after unholstering one of his pistols. If this guy was going to blast him, he would be ready with an answer of his own.
Burt noticed his equilibrium was off as he stood up. He was light-headed.
The crackers, he thought, keeping his pistol at ready as he kept an eye on the guy that was still firing out his driver-side window.
As Burt passed by the front of the vehicle, he couldn’t help but notice blood lining the hood. There were several dents in the hood, too. A patch of hair was visible on the grill guard.
Goddammit, thought Burt, hoping he made a good call.
Burt jumped in the vehicle.
“How the hell did you get this far?” asked Burt. “The street is bottlenecked with traffic.”
“Sidewalks make great roads,” said the guy.
Jesus Christ, thought Burt. This guy is a certified maniac.
Burt reached into his jacket. While he had the moment, he might as well pop some crackers into his mouth. Most of the crackers had crumbled into small pieces, so he scooped what he could into his mouth.
“It’s a field day for dumbasses,” shouted the man. His eyes were wide and bloodshot. He was wearing a stylish button-down shirt that was opened wide. A medallion hung around his sweaty chest. His scruffy blonde hair had not been washed in days. Burt observed several tiny plastic ziplock bags scattered on the seats and floorboards. He imagined the remnants of white powder in the bags were not flour.
Bastard’s coked up, he thought to himself.
“It’s like Baby Jesus come out of the sky and unleashed the dumb fucks,” shouted the man. “You can shoot ‘em now. You know that, right?”
“No,” said Burt. “No, I didn’t know that.”
“Destroy the brain, they said,” shouted the man, indicating his gold-plated custom .44, waggling it in his hand. “Destroy the brain!” he shouted, firing at people out his window.
Christ, thought Burt. Who the fuck is more dangerous? The people or those cannibals?
Burt tumbled against the door as the man swerved to hit two people with his vehicle.
“Fuck yeah!” shouted the man as Burt was bumped up in his seat as the truck rolled over the two pedestrians.
“Christ, man,” shouted Burt. “Were they even those cannibals?”
“Probably,” said the man. “Better safe than sorry, right?”
“Right,” said Burt with a grim nod.
The guy started to reload, using his knees to steer the truck. It rocked violently, hitting the side of vehicles on the street as it moved forward relentlessly. He put his hands back on the wheel just enough to regain control of the vehicle.
“I brought you on so you could use those guns of yours. Why don’t you have at it?” he said, looking menacingly at Burt.
Bastard’s going to shoot me, thought Burt. “Good idea,” he said.
The man flicked back the .44, loading the first round as they neared an intersection. “Let ‘em have it!” shouted the man, pointing his gun out the window.
Burt’s eyes widened as he saw an out of control big rig speed into the intersection as the Ford did, too. The big diesel beast was knocking cars out of the way like a shark fin through water. It clobbered the F-150 right at the driver side door he had just pointed his gun out of.
The truck forced the guy’s wrist to turn inward. It was moving so fast that his arm could not stand the force. Though his body shifted to absorb the collision, his arm snapped just below the elbow, splintering bone and jamming it up and out of his flesh. Bone tore through his skin like two hands tearing fabric.
The rig smashed into the truck, sending the guy face-first into the rig. His nose and cheek were smacked by the steel workhorse, sending blood splashing out of deep wounds in his face. He was flung towards Burt as his driver side airbag blew open, smacking him on his rebounding face as the truck spun near 180 degrees, shucked aside by the rig as it proceeded on its out-of-control demolition derby.
Rattled and surprisingly not injured, Burt knew this was his chance to make a break for it.
As Burt opened the door, the man groaned, reaching out to Burt with his good hand, coated red with his own blood.
“Hey, dude,” the guy groaned. “Help me.”
Without a word, Burt just slammed the door and ran off.
Burt was now only a few short blocks away. But more chaos was just ahead as well, waiting for him.
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