Monument to the Walking Dead: An Interactive Story (Ongoing)



  • I think I created a new character not sure if she went in yet

  • Received and accounted for! Though, I need to ask you to cool it with the submissions for now. You've nothing wrong, of course—but too many characters submitted by one person can cause problems! I hope you understand. :)

    kalebSiNn posted: »

    I think I created a new character not sure if she went in yet

  • Yes sir,I understand

    NoHopeLeft posted: »

    Received and accounted for! Though, I need to ask you to cool it with the submissions for now. You've nothing wrong, of course—but too many characters submitted by one person can cause problems! I hope you understand.

  • Update:

    I apologize for the recent delay. My attention has been divided between this and Silicon County, and I've been devoting more time to the latter. I don't necessarily feel the need to apologize for that, exactly, but Monument has suffered delays in part because of it, which is unfortunate. Part of the problem would be the diary entries, which I'm finding difficult to write. However, I have been writing other things that do relate to Monument. I mentioned an upcoming one-shot about James and his community, which is more than half finished. I've also almost finished writing the first part of chapter 16. And I have some other ideas for the holiday season.

    We'll have to see, but this delay shouldn't be any more close to being as long as some in the past. And I'll hopefully have some more stuff to show you in the near future! I'll talk to you again soon :^)

  • edited December 2016

    I apologize for the lack of a continuation. If it's any consolation, I'm writing a Christmas special that is 1/4 done... but for now... a poll...

    I'm sharing this on both of my stories to gauge interest and nothing more. Don't worry—I'm not planning to jump the gun on a third story. Again, this is strictly to gauge what would interest my lovely readers the most, and, should the stars align, the results will factor into any future decisions regarding what I tackle next.


    Edit: Also, this is entirely optional, but I would love to hear your opinions on why one option would interest you more than the others!

  • Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas: A Monument to the Walking Dead Christmas Special, Part 1

    (This all takes place during the time skip between chapter 10 and chapter 11)

    Maria Espinosa: Maria and Danny left through the northern gate of the Laredo community at 09:15 riding rusted bicycles that wouldn’t survive a trip of particular length, but served their crosstown excursion well. Maria led the way down the cleared streets. They left the frequented roads for ones that were still crowded by vehicles that had not been towed and shattered glass which hadn’t been swept up. They weaved between abandoned cars and scatterings of glass until both became too dense and impassable and they were forced to dismount, chaining their bicycles to a parking meter.

    “It’s not far now,” Maria whispered solemnly, a puff of vapor escaping her chapped lips.

    Danny cast her a worried glance. “Are you sure about this?” he asked again. “It’s okay if you’ve got cold feet.”

    She nodded, then licked her lips nervously. “It’s not like it’s haunted. Let’s get a move on. It’s a little more than a block ahead.”

    They stuck to the glass-strewn sidewalk. Shards that reflected the clouded sky cracked beneath their sneakers but were otherwise harmless. Maria didn’t hold Laredo in too high regard, nor did she like to think of it nostalgically, but it was still the city she’d grown up in, and it pained her to see vast sections still in such a ruined state. It was a small comfort to know they’d be working toward further restoration of the city, but there was still a long way to go and so much that was irreparable.

    “We’ll here,” Maria announced rather suddenly after about five minutes of walking.

    Danny had come to a stop several paces ahead and now sidled up next to her to look at the unassuming ruin. It was an apartment complex. It seemed like it was a little ratty even beforehand. The buzzer appeared to have been tampered with, hanging on by a mere two wires. The window in the door’s frame had been smashed, and when Maria twisted the doorknob, the door opened without a hitch.

    Neither of them said anything as they slipped inside. Maria led Danny to a flight of stairs, up to the second floor, and down a short hall. They arrived at a door of muted red. She stood there for a moment in contemplation, and Danny cast her another look of concern before she reached out and pushed the door open.

    It slowly creaked opened, revealing the near pristine interior. It had been searched thoroughly, quite evidently to Maria’s eyes, but was nowhere near ransacked. A frown crossed her expression—like she was picking up an unpleasant scent, though the air was only stale and dusty—and she entered warily. She took it all in with a strained glance, from the stout entryway to the living room which transitioned to a cramped kitchen.

    “Have you visited since you came back?” he asked, following behind her.

    “Once,” she replied. “Just to be sure.”

    He nodded understandingly, not pressing for details. A hallway broke off from the living room and presented several closed doors. She stopped there, opened one and grimaced at the near empty closest. Once again, she wondered if the various jackets and shoes had been looted, or if her family had bugged out with them in tow.

    She hoped dearly, all things considered, that it was the latter. Even her mother—her mother, who had harboured a deep disdain for her due to the turbulence her birth had caused between her mother and father, which had ultimately resulted in her father’s departure because her father believed her mother had cheated on him, which Maria knew to be true regardless of whether she was born from that. Her true father still remained a mystery, but it was, in all likelihood, not the man her mother had married. But despite all that, Maria still hoped they were all alive and well. Or, if passed away, at peace.

    She took a cardboard box from the top shelf of the closet, sat it on the living room floor and stared at it for a prolonged moment. In the dead silence, in the stale air, Danny put a hand on her shoulder. She smiled glumly, terribly thankful for his presence but not facing or saying anything to him. She was sure the coming evening would be something special.

    Josephine Harper: She watched him work with a wary smile on her face while she put on a jacket. She shouldered her backpack, noted how light it was at the moment, and suspected she would never be able to fill it in today’s world. Especially in and around Laredo, where things had been picked clean by the previous occupants. No form of government had yet been established. They were picking up the pieces of the fallen safe zone and were in the process of assembling the puzzle… but all the pieces had been chipped and warped.

    Jake looked up from loading a magazine and gave Josephine a small, wry smirk, and she diverted her eyes to the only window of the armory, suppressing a larger smile, feeling a strange brightness and levity despite handling an activity that usually unsettled her. Scavenging tombs (which was what they were, in her mind) wasn’t her idea of a good time. And she doubted it was his either. So why, she wondered, were they in such a positive mood?

    Was it because of Christmas Eve?

    It was possible. Tonight was to be special.

    Josephine unholstered her inherited revolver, popped the cylinder and inspected the unspent rounds. Her thoughts drifted down the rabbit hole of memory that was almost as distant as a past life. She thought of her early Christmases at her parents in Harvest Hills. But mostly, she thought of Anthony, and she wondered with a sudden pang of sadness what her brother would have thought of Jake.

    She didn’t cry then, but she damn near did.

    It was almost humorous: Had he survived, Anthony wouldn’t have liked Jake. At least not at first. Jake’s involvement with Zafir would have severely complicated things. And perhaps, had her brother lived, she wouldn’t have even gotten together with Jake.

    She found it hurt to think about. Whenever she thought of it, she found herself balancing the pros and cons of reality and something nonexistent. Still, she wished he could see her now, could see them all now.

    Her sadness must have shown because she heard muffled footsteps crossing the small room toward her. She didn’t turn, even as a hand came to rest on her far shoulder, an arm wrapping around her back.

    “You gonna be sad every Christmas?” Jake asked softly, kissing the side of her head. His tone was sarcastic, but there was a clear layer to his voice that told her he’d listen if she needed a shoulder to cry on or a place to vent.

    Her smile returned. And she knew, with absolute certainty, where the warmth in her heart that cold winter’s day had come from.

    “You know, I’ve kept a dastardly secret from you, Josie.”

    She turned a little, narrowing her hazel eyes and faked an accusative glare. Her brow furrowed.

    “I used to rob banks,” he whispered into her ear.

    “But you’re still a horrible liar, it seems.”

    He grinned. “Think what you will, Josie. But I was a grade-A criminal.”

    “Sure thing, sweetie.”

    She looked back to the gray window with its melancholic lighting and pretended to ignore him, stealing a glance as he shrugged and went to find his pants. She smirked a little as he bent to slip them on, watching while his back turned. He wasn’t so much a slow dresser as he was a rambunctious undresser.

    She snapped the cylinder in place, holstered the revolver, then tied up her sneakers.

    Anthony was dead, but his brotherly love still lingered like the persistent ember of a candle wick that glowed in the encroaching darkness despite have been snuffed out, killed, and it was only getting brighter now. Brighter and stronger.

    If Anthony could see them, even in death, she imagined with certainty that he’d be happy.

    Jerry Stewart: Jerry had all but exhausted his options of exploration of the Gilbert Hotel. He had wandered the corridors for a solid month following his rehabilitation, which had followed his operation, and now knew it as if he’d worked there himself. Physical therapy had gone by with relative ease after he’d gotten back into the motions, and when he wasn’t reading or sleeping, he was making use of the exercise and weight rooms. Mental therapy, on the other hand, was much more tedious because neither himself nor Calvin were prepared for the task.

    And it was the mental stuff which scared him the most, and perhaps his frequent occupation of the weight room was an attempt to compensate for that. He was in better shape than he had been in forever, even before the onset of the apocalypse. He could curl a heavy dumbbell with ease for hours at a time, but drop him in a room with more than three other people and he was usually beset by anxiety. There was also a kind of social ineptitude which, to his frustration, he couldn’t help and didn’t always notice until after the fact—he often came off as outspoken, and at times, he feared, rude.

    He knew his suffering and mental fumblings could be traced back to the pull of a trigger. And if you looked back further, you’d see it originate with a bunsen burner that had a chemical compound suspended above it, and a once handsomer man not thinking straight as he turned up the heat.

    Jerry lowered the dumbbell and went to find a drink, massaging the side of his forehead in a vain attempt to clear away a piercing pain (and perhaps the reminiscing) which came and went as it pleased, becoming especially prevalent when he exercised. Calvin, much to Jerry’s dismay, wasn’t entirely sure it would ever go away completely.

    He could feel along the rim of a small metal plate which protruded from his skull but remained under a slightly raised and paler patch of skin.

    He stopped rubbing and prodding the differently textured and discolored protrusion, knowing Calvin had advised strongly against it, and resisted the ever present urge to scratch at it. The stitches were out, but he it was still healing.

    He consulted his wristwatch and confirmed the time. 05:42 PM, Christmas Eve. He had almost an hour and a half to get ready to leave—he would use that time to take a much-detested sponge bath with frigid water and change out of his pajamas he wore around the hotel. He returned up the stairs, disappointed that his visit to the weight room hadn’t eased his jitteriness and had only served to reignite his headache, and began to climb. He scratched the beard he’d grown for the occasion, anxious to be rid of the damned thing.

    Part 2, Below!

  • Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas: A Monument to the Walking Dead Christmas Special, Part 2

    Daniel Martinez: The fact that today was Christmas Eve was a very difficult thing for Daniel to grasp to such a degree that it worried his adoptive parents. He didn’t refuse to accept the possibility that, just maybe, the tides of the reanimated corpses had relented just enough to allow for a holiday, but he was extremely skeptical.

    His somber reaction to the Christmas tree (bare for the time being of decorations) erected in their living room, a few presents beneath it, was also a subject of concern for Atlanta, who wished to try to remedy the situation; Ashley, on the other hand, advocated that they didn’t push and just let Daniel warm up to the return of the concept of Christmas on his own, and she was sure he’d open up once their guests arrived.

    Daniel stood at the end of the hall on the second floor. He stood in front of the window located there, a hand pressed against the cold glass, his breath creating a film of condensation in which he drew shapes with a finger from his other hand. His expression was a reflection of the dull gray sky and drab, empty neighborhood below. His eyes seemed a little unfocused.

    He continued to create shapes in the fogged glass despite the cold which permeated the area near the window. His finger created the thickly lined silhouette of fox, which was startling well proportioned for the simple doodle it was. He gave it a small nose, beady eyes, and a maw which turned upward into an unintentionally leery grin.

    The window overlooked the street. Daniel was watching for their guests.

    He began on another doodle, but stopped upon seeing the two bicycles cruise down the street and arrive at their driveway. The fox doodle’s grin encapsulated one of the figures as they crossed the yard toward the front porch, several droplets of condensation cascading down the glass and over its face and maw, as if it was salivating or crying.

    That thought disturbed Daniel. As he turned to leave, his hand swiped across the glass, brushing away most of his unintentionally creepy doodle and getting his hand significantly damp in the process. He wiped his hand on his pajamas bottoms and walked on. He stopped suddenly.

    Philip the Cat was sitting outright with his forepaws placed in front of him at the precise threshold of cold caused by the poorly insulated window, his narrowed gaze looking somewhere past Daniel. Daniel failed to reassure himself that faulty insulated was the reason and wondered for a tense moment if Philip knew something that he didn’t.

    Ghosts? he thought, shuddering. It wasn’t a stretch, it seemed to him, since the original owners of the house were most certainly dead… or perhaps they were reanimated. All the more worse. All the more supernatural.

    Then Philip looked up at Daniel, with no evidence of his previously rigid gaze, and meowed insistently.

    Daniel scooped Philip into his arms and held him close, warming his cold fingers by digging them through Philip’s soft orange fur. He negotiated the steps while looking over the large mass in his arms, planting each sock with care as not to slip while holding the cat.

    Daniel slowed before the stairs ended and leaned out from behind the corner. Philip peaked out with him, and they watched his parents greet the first two guests.

    “It’s Maria and Danny!” Daniel exclaimed in whisper, and he ducked back behind the corner, realizing there was a slim possibility that Maria had glimpsed him.

    Philip twisted his head around at him at the sound of Daniel’s voice and sudden movement, casting him a confused, agitated glance. Daniel gave him an apology pat (because Philip was the coolest cat) and the cat was contented, having never stopped purring.

    In deciding whether or not to hide from the newly arrived guest, and a little worried by a sudden silence, Daniel (and Philip) took another peak. Maria, having had the nerve to shed her boots, stood just beyond the corner in socks, smiling maniacally. Daniel squealed as she grabbed and pulled him into a hug, the bundle of orange fur purring happily despite between sandwiched. Daniel continued to struggle as she carried him into the living room.

    “Let me go!” he cried.


    “You mean sure!”

    “Only,” she told him, laughing a little as she held him, “if you promise not to run off!”

    “I won’t!” he replied, having difficulty keeping his face straight. “I promise!”

    She set him down gently in the living room, where Ashley and Atlanta were standing at the far side, smiling. The moment Daniel’s socks touched the floor, he made a break for the doorway… where Danny stepped out from behind the corner and caught him before he could utter more than a surprised gasp.

    “You don’t break promises,” his captor scolded lightheartedly.

    Danny was grinning as he brought him back over to Maria. He put a hand on Daniel’s shoulder, reached down and rubbed Philip’s chin, the cat still in the boy’s arms. The cat extend his neck and rolled back his head to follow Danny’s moving finger, his purring intensifying.

    “If you hang in the living room,” Danny told Daniel, “you can open your present from us.”

    Daniel narrowed his eyes with suspicion and looked up at Maria. She nodded, saying, “Yeah, but you have to make good on that promise. Trust me when I tell you it’s worth it.”

    Daniel turned his torso from side to side for a moment, his barely suppressed grin betraying his curiosity. “What is it?” he asked at last.

    “Why don’t you find out?” Danny picked up a large, decoratively wrapped box from where it was sitting on the couch and presented it to Daniel after getting an approving nod from both the boy’s parents.

    Daniel sat Philip on the arm of the couch, where the cat tucked his paws in and sat happily, his tail wrapped around him. After tearing off the paper to find a giant Lego City set, Daniel the foreman and Danny and Maria, the crew members, all sat around the coffee table, spread the separate baggies of bricks on the table, and poured over the instructions as they began assembling the base of a building.

    They had constructed about half of first floor when there was a loud knock on the door and Atlanta and Ashley went to answer. A moment later, Josephine and Jake entered the living room, each carrying a large stack of presents that they left under the tree, and were followed into the room by Daniel’s adoptive parents. Daniel’s mood had regressed to a more somber tone in the past fifteen minutes, becoming quiet and deep in concentration, but his smile was nonetheless broad when Aunt Josie crossed the room and put an arm around his shoulders.

    “We’ll gonna decorate the Christmas tree now,” she was telling him as Jake was giving Maria a giant hug, Immediately afterwards, Jake pulled Danny’s outstretched hand (who had it presented with the intention of merely shaking) into a hug as well. When Jake was through with Danny, he plucked Daniel off the floor and spun him for a bit, depositing him a little roughly onto the couch, the young boy giggling happily regardless.

    The general mood was bright and cheery—a surprising breath of fresh air and thankful departure from the recent hardships ushered on by winter—and Daniel probably wouldn’t feel the melancholy descend upon him again for some weeks. Together they plundered a box of decorations brought by Maria and Danny and set about decorating the tree with strings of colorful tinsel and sparkling ornaments.

    Calvin arrived a little later and contented himself with watching the activity. When Daniel asked him why he arrived so late and where Uncle Jerry was, he was suspiciously tight-lipped, but a glowing air of anticipation pervaded him. Growing tired of dressing the tree, and physically tired as his usual 8 o’clock bedtime approached, Daniel returned his legos to his room before returning to the living room himself.

    The Christmas tree glistened with—and a few particularly pretty ornaments prismed—the fireplace’s flames and the flickering lights of candles which were spread across the living room and, to a lesser degree, all around first floor of the house. Maria and Danny were helping Atlanta and Ashley make the last preparations for dinner.

    There came a knock from the back of the house and the night’s proceedings paused abruptly. Atlanta and Ashley approached the threshold across the hallway, while Maria and Danny continued from it and down the hall. For a second, to Daniel, it was oddly ominous, but then Josephine and Jake rose from the loveseat in the corner and there was absolutely nothing fearful about their expressions.

    “Who could that be?” she whispered to Daniel while passing him, not able to contain a wide grin.

    The couple left the living room and entered the hallway, and being clad in festive socks, their muffled footsteps disappeared a moment later. The only sounds were the soft creak of floorboards, the licking flames from the fireplace, and Philip’s meowing as he climbed into Daniel’s lap. Feeling a tad nervous, he scooped Philip into his arms again and pulled the purring furball close.

    Daniel turned, putting his knees on the couch, and watched the hall intently. There was some commotion out of sight, a rattling of bells, and several whispered curses. Soon, the loud rattling coincided with more creaking boards and muffled footfalls, drawing closer and en masse.

    Aunts Josie and Maria and Uncles Jake and Danny—dressed in hastily thrown on elf costumes, joking with and jostling and teasing each other at their own expense—parted in twos to either side of the threshold to allow a bearded man dressed in red adorned with white fur entry into the living room. It was Santa.

    Daniel squinted past the poor dye job that was the white beard and through the lensless glasses into Uncle Jerry’s brown eyes. Daniel cast Calvin an uncertain look, received an encouraging nod, and returned the old man’s cat before he climbed over the back of the couch ran into his uncle’s arms.

    Jerry was a little taken aback, but smiled and returned to the act, saying ho ho ho and lugging Daniel to an easy chair. He sat the boy on the arm of the chair, then sat in the chair itself. Jerry felt, for the first time in a long while, at ease.

    The preceding dinner was delicious, and helpings were refreshingly normal for a change, not rationed as of late (though, in keeping with a growing list of mandates, it would return to the new normal as soon as the following morning). At about ten, the night dissolved into an exchange of gifts. Daniel received a multipurpose wristwatch from Jerry. He couldn’t even begin to guess the uses of some of its many dials and needles, and stared at it in wonderment. He was told, by Jerry, that it was waterproof. He could only recognize the clock itself, a compass wrapped with small numbers (different degrees?) and a turnable dial, and very little else.

    That night, everyone wore smiles of various intensities. Daniel felt he probably smiled more then than he hadn’t ever smiled in his life (so much so that his face would be sore the following morning), and the levity it provided wasn’t anything but fleeting.

    Their first Christmas together, as a strange and new family, was strangely normal. Daniel wondered if they would have Christmas next year, but didn’t ask any of the adults, nor Maria and Danny.

    The End

    Post-part Notes:

    • I hope everyone found some enjoyment in this. I know it was decidedly focused on older characters, so I'm afraid it may be a little alienating to new readers. It really served no purpose in moving the story forward. However, I had a great time filling in that period of time in the story, which had been skipped over, and had fun writing a Christmas special, so it was worth it in my mind.

    • I'm afraid to say the main story of Monument won't continue this month. In the meantime, I do have another one-shot I plan to release around New Years, starring James, which fills in segments of his backstory and his departure from Colorado Springs. I've also taken some time to write some preliminary stuff for chapter 16. In particular, I've written the first and parts of the second, concerning separate storylines, one of which is starring an old character in need of some screen time, Daniel, who featured predominantly in the holiday special. The other is a new storyline! I've also written the first draft of an interlude which will excite one of you who is perhaps a secretive individual, capable of pulling coverup.

    • Additionally, if you look at the main post, you'll see a listing for a one-shot called Rustic Roads which is written by the wonderful @RenegadePoncho! I've been given permission to post it and plan to do so as soon as the main story continues. Next to it, you'll see a listing for Rustic Ruins, which is a direct continuation written by me, and which is also more of a mini-series/mini storyline complete with its own choices than it is a one-off. It'll be posted along with Rustic Roads.

    • Lastly, I want to say thank you for reading and thank you all for your incredible patience! I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday!

  • I really enjoyed this. It's great to see a fun, light hearted part.

    Merry Christmas!

    NoHopeLeft posted: »

    Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas: A Monument to the Walking Dead Christmas Special, Part 2 Daniel Martinez: The fact that today was

  • edited December 2016

    This was beautiful! Hell, it was my favourite part in the entire story! God this was so... nice. I swear, reading this has made me just a little bit teary-eyed. Yes, just... just a little bit, I swear :bawling: Oh man, this was the perfect christmas special for the story. It made me so warm and fuzzy and emotional. Maria and Danny were a nice beginning for this part, I'm liking these two so much. Josie's part obviously made me incredibly emotional, happy and sad at the same time, but mostly happy. The feels have been real. Jake has been adorable here and I can't stress how happy it makes me that he makes Josie so happy. Jerry meanwhile was a bit harder to read, especially after the avalanche of emotions I had from the part before. I think this is the first glimpse we got of Jerry during the timeskip and well, he obviously improved a lot between this part and the current timeline of Act 3. I really felt bad for him, but I admire that he still had the strength to carry on there. And man, Daniel's part was the perfect finale for this special! It really showed how they grew together as a family, with him seeing them all as honourary uncles and aunts and this was really beautiful. Jerry as Santa was so nice. And well, seeing Calvin again was legitimately sad, because we know that this was his last christmas. I feel afraid to think of whom may or may not be there for the next christmas out of this little family, but I have the bad feeling that they are going to be fewer by then. However, to counter any potential heartbreak, I'm just going to read this wonderful part again!

    There is exactly one thing I do not like about this part and it is actually something very serious. Listen closely, because this is a real problem! No matter how hard I try, I find myself unable to like the first part of this special. It's not that I'm not enjoying it, I am simply literally unable to like it. I don't know what it is, I have tried for several minutes to increase that like counter on the upper part, to no avail. It did not work on my phone when I first read it, it doesn't work on my PC now. So, what I did was, I found one of your older posts here in the thread which I hadn't liked before and liked that one instead. Still, it is bothering me immensely that the upper part has less likes than the lower now. Argh, I guess nothing can be done against it :s

    Ah well, thank you for this gift, it really warmed my heart and it made me really excited for the next parts, even more than I have already been. I wish you a Merry Christmas!

    NoHopeLeft posted: »

    Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas: A Monument to the Walking Dead Christmas Special, Part 2 Daniel Martinez: The fact that today was

  • edited December 2016

    I've gotta agree with Liquid on this one, this is my absolute favorite part of the story since I read it.

    I've been reading it over and over since it came out, trying to find the words to explain how happy this one-shot makes me, and I really can't. Like it's unspeakable happiness, I can't keep myself from grinning every time I read it.

    Also, I only physically liked the first part, since Liquid couldn't, to make it even, but overall I loved the whole thing.

    Merry Christmas, Hope!

    NoHopeLeft posted: »

    Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas: A Monument to the Walking Dead Christmas Special, Part 2 Daniel Martinez: The fact that today was

  • Great part! It was great seeing the characters so happy after all they have been through, they really deserved this peaceful christmas. Reading this makes me very happy ^^

    NoHopeLeft posted: »

    Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas: A Monument to the Walking Dead Christmas Special, Part 2 Daniel Martinez: The fact that today was

  • We’ll Meet Again


    James did not spend his last night with Jessica sleeping. They enjoyed every moment to its fullest extent until the night’s pleasures had exhausted both of them and they collapsed into the receding darkness.

    The couple were dragged from the enveloping grasp of sleep by the 6 o’clock alarm that rang outside their building. The usually insistent if tiresome bell seemed to have become a head-splitting noise that drove them to seek comfort in each other. James slipped an arm around Jessica’s back and drew her closely, she buried the side of her face into his neck and shoulder, and they both looked toward the popcorn ceiling for patterns, for answers, for things left uncontemplated.

    The day loomed like a long shadow cast from a doorway. A silent anxiety prevaded the two of them. They clung tighter, staring upward in thought. There were a million ways to connect the ceiling’s kernels into a million diverse images, yet it was home only to a hundred peppered stars and a crescent moon applied with glow-in-the-dark paint that appeared a deathly pale green in the light that seeped through their window.

    This was their final hour to themselves. They spent it in silence, heartbeats close, memorizing the rhythm and tune of one another’s breath, the temperature and sensation of their embrace, so they could think back to the other’s presence when their days apart seemed withered.

    Nothing was said until James’s wristwatch chirped among the covers, indicative of the hour’s passing. He retrieved it, clicked it off, and set it on the nightstand, whispering halfheartedly, “It’s time, Jess.”

    They rose wordlessly and gathered the scattered articles of clothing to toss in the laundry hamper before showering together—as much for the preservation of water as the company they provided each other, James supposed. He finished first, drying then wrapping a towel around himself so no one could see him indecent as he looked through the window. He placed a hand on the cool glass, tracing the eastern skyline which was silhouetted by the rising sun. Even from the third story apartment complex, which offered a good view of the community, it was difficult to grasp how large a city of a mere three hundred people were in these times. If James squinted, through the sun’s glare and the rise of intrusive buildings, he could just make out the eastern section of the wall over two blocks away.

    James stopped admiring the skyline, as he felt it was just another attempt to delay the inevitable, and got started on getting dressed. He raided a wooden dresser set into an alcove in the wall. It was filled with differing gear for their separate excursions. He spread a lot of it out across the room, on the bed, on the floor. Jessica joined him as he was buttoning up a thick pair of cargo pants and they began dressing together.

    In a matter of twenty minutes, James had dressed his tall figure in heavy cargo pants and a brown flannel shirt interlaced by a latticework of gray lines, and adorned himself with an empty holster attached to his belt, a strap that wrapped around his chest and a sheath that buckled around his thigh. Jessica dressed her smaller frame in similar fashion—red-and-black flannel, cargo pants, various straps and holsters. They laced their boots and pulled on light jackets, leaving them open—his was gray with blue and white designs, hers was blue and decorated with black. They put on gloves last.

    His last action before following Jessica out the door was strapping the watch to his wrist, which displayed the sobering digits 07:33. He closed the door behind him and followed her down a brief hall. She almost seemed ghostly in the dim light, moving with an unnatural grace in the heavy boots. Instead of descending the stairwell, they ascended another level, then up the remaining stairs that led to the roof.

    James stepped out after Jessica onto the rooftop garden, a thousand green leaves shivering in the cool breeze, set in the foreground of the rising sun. They gathered a modest amount of vegetables from their building’s community garden, sat on the edge of the two-foot wall that wrapped around the rooftop, and ate a quick meal of fresh, ripe greens along with some jerky and cheese that they had brought with them.

    When they’d finished their meal, she rested her head on his shoulder and they both became very still and very quiet, enjoying the last minutes of solitude. For a moment, James believed she was asleep and was afraid that he would let her sleep, even as their transport pulled to the side of the road far below them.

    She took his hand in hers and that thought dissolved. She grimaced, but the corners of her mouth were also upturned in a half smile of conflicted emotions. “There’s a long road ahead of us,” she mumbled.

    He didn’t respond. Instead, he held her tighter. The tides of responsibility rose in him, tides of grim resolve. They both had a job to do. In the past, they’d always done that job to the fullest of their abilities. They weren’t the best, but they were close.

    They would do their job.

    “Don’t worry,” she whispered, nestling her face into his chest and smiling fully, managing to nudge a smile out of him. “We’ll meet again.”

    He repeated her woods softly and they were lost to the wind.


    Their plunge downstairs was quick and unhalting. Jessica descended with the noiseless qualities of a spectre. James followed closely behind, fascinated, focusing more on her movements than his own, nearly missing a step more than once due to his absent train of thought. Her steps were a muffled tapping off-kilter with his loud footfalls, their echoless properties causing his skin to prickle with goosebumbs..

    The tank-like humvee waited for them by the curb. As they approached, the back door facing them was swung open by Vincent Hale, who returned to his seat while greeting them with a subdued but inviting gesture. They clambered in, James shut the door, and the humvee moved.

    “Big day today, huh?” James said, settling in by the door.

    Vincent nodded gloomily, the sad look on his face perpetual, giving Jessica a unenthusiastic high-five without comment when she beckoned with a raised and open hand. He shook hands with James.

    “How’s the east looking today?” Vincent asked softly as the humvee took a turn. The lobby-levels of Springs's tallest buildings drifted outside the window, then the skyline began to shorten in size as they progressed.

    “Sunny with a few clouds,” Jessica replied.

    “You look south recently?” James asked.

    “Yeah. Just clouds.” He glanced out his window, as if double checking, without twisting his neck. “Some of them are dark, though. I dunno how it’ll be crosscountry.”

    “I guess we’ll find out together, Vince,” James said. Forgetting himself, he smiled momentarily.

    Vincent puffed air through his nose in lieu of any other outward sign of amusement. “For a time,” he agreed. He was correct. They would be splitting up in New Mexico.

    James watched the last of the tall buildings recede with a dim reverence when he realized he wouldn’t see them again for a long time. The largest could house every member of the community, but instead the populace was thinly spread over a great many cells—an understandable decision with its own drawbacks. Each cell—like their apartment complex, which was capable of producing the majority of their diet through rooftop gardens and gathering their own water through rain collection. Maintaining such a large number of buildings was the main downside alongside many smaller difficulties.

    But James thought it was an interesting factoid about their community. Separately, they were builders, bureaucrats, farmers, guards, planners, plumbers, scouts, smiths, soldiers, and technicians. Some individuals laid claim to multiple titles. Some of them were employed by their government while others worked privately or commercially. Some provided nothing more than recreational services, which was strange given the circumstances. But all of them, in some capacity, were gardeners

    It was also a place of many names. He prefered its straightforward and pre-apocalypse title of Colorado Springs. Springs if one wanted to be brief. A minority of people had taken to calling it Fountain, like the Fountain of Youth and/or the Fountain of Life. An even smaller, possibly even more romantic minority called it the City of Gardeners.

    James lost this train of thought when the humvee turned the corner and the massive wall filled the windshield.


    The humvee rolled to a stop in front of the monolithic wall and gate which towered in front of it. The wall spread across the street and between two multi-story buildings. It extended skyward twenty feet, where a one-foot concrete lip jutted outward on both sides. A wooden frame threw the lip out an additional two feet, and upon that rested a wooden, roofed walkway that connected to both buildings by way of an entrance. Beams required for reinforcement and stability were suspended diagonally between platform and wall. The walkway added another eight feet to the wall’s height for a grand total of twenty-eight feet.

    Two people of indeterminate sex, armed with automatic rifles and dressed in heavy clothing, stood guard upon the walkway. Their attention was glued to the vast area outside. On interior side of the wall, there was a cabin set in the center of the former highway. The three of them sat quietly in the backseat while a guard leaned out of the checkpoint’s open window and conferred with their driver.

    The sight either afflicted an immediate reaction of awe or, for those who had worn of that effect, a response that strangely bordered on respect. For James, frequent trips to and fro the community on scouting and scavenging excursions had dampened the former effect. He had fallen into the latter category. Whether that respect lied with the craftsmen who constructed such a behemoth or, oddly, with the wall itself, he did not know. Now, however, it instilled an unusual reaction in him, not felt since his first excursion beyond it, which was anxiety.

    The fear manifested as a sickly tightening in his stomach and he felt a frustrated moan preparing to leave his throat. He didn’t realize he’d taken Jessica’s hand until she squeezed it soothingly, and that settled him.

    The driver’s brief exchange with the guard came to an end. The guard at the checkpoint turned a key, pressed a button. There was a rotary whine, the outbound gate swung slowly outward, and the guard waved the humvee through.

    The humvee bucked once, then twice on its way over the flat metal hump and ramp that ran the length of the threshold. From there, it was smooth sailing down a well-maintained, six-lane highway, the emptiness of which was unsettling. James resisted the urge to watch the receding community, whether it would have turned him into pillar of salt or not.

    But Vincent watched. Once the wall had slowly fallen out of view, he turned back and met James’s eyes. His expression didn’t seem a degree graver than it already did. Not for the first time and not for the last, James wondered what had imbrued those eyes with melancholy.

    Vincent was among the fourth batch of survivors to arrive at the then blossoming community. James and Jessica were both sevenths, arriving mere days apart. Batches were simply determined by month. The current month’s new arrivals—part of the ninth batch—was a grand total of two. Those two had been brought in by Vincent a week ago and were now being integrated into the community. That number stood in stark contrast to the previous month’s eighteen. James had contributed six that month.

    “There’s no going back now,” Vincent whispered, interrupting James’s thoughts unexpectedly. “Got any misgivings to speak of?”

    “I’m a-okay,” Jessica lied.

    “I’m alright,” James lied as well.

    The truth was transparent. Vincent nodded, then smiled unpleasantly—it didn’t mix well with the discolored scar that slashed across his fading laughlines. “That’s fortunate,” he whispered, looking out the window. “Me, I’m not so sure.”


    They reached outer perimeter of Fort Carson after a few minutes of driving. It was mostly constructed from a ten-foot-tall chain link fence—interspersed with wooden support struts and a concrete border which filled the gap beneath the fence—and the structures of many pre-existing buildings, encompassing a large portion of the surrounding neighborhoods. It was far more simple than the main community’s setup, but was nonetheless adequate.

    Upon arriving at the preliminary gate, an armed guard stationed within rolled open the chain link gate by hand, waving the humvee before pushing it shut behind them. They left the public road a moment later and arrived at the fort’s entrance. Their driver once again conferred with the guard outside, and this one simply pushed a button from inside his booth, allowing entry into the compound.

    They made a brief stop by the eastside storeroom where they picked up backpacks filled to the brim with pre-requisitioned rations. Finished, the humvee pushed into the busier sections of the base on its way to the armory. Once there, each of them filled the empty holster on their waist with a pistol, the sheath on their thigh with a knife, and the harness around their chest with a spare pistol, extra magazines and ammunition. James took with him an automatic rifle that he would mostly tout on a sling when traveling and Vincent requisitioned his personal sniper rifle from storage. Jessica packed along no additional firepower besides a spare pistol, despite James’s insistence she should. She replied that it would be deadweight. James couldn’t argue.

    With the three of them fully equipped for the extended excursions, they left the building to find a second humvee had already pulled up behind the one they’d rode in on.

    Our paths split, James thought bitterly.

    The couple took each other’s hands and gripped fiercely while Vincent walked off to the new humvee to allow the two of them some privacy before their imminent, and possibly permanent, departure. Vincent made absentminded adjustments to his rifle, checked its safety, and generally kept himself occupied, his expression strangely like that of a man handling something vile.

    Both hands held, facing each other, Jessica stood on her tiptoes to plant a kiss on his lips. She pulled back slowly to look at his face, running a gloved hand from his ear, over his jawline, and stopped at his chin. Tears were welling in both of their eyes. They embraced simultaneously. She whispered her hopeful mantra, and then she withdrew toward the first humvee.

    She paused there, smiling as the wind blew her hair across her face, a glove on the door handle.

    He matched her sad smile. Tears formed reflective fractures on his pained face, then she was eastbound.


    James and Vincent’s humvee drove them about eighty miles south of Colorado Springs, to a small town called Walsenburg, where the last safehouse in that direction was located. It was four in the afternoon upon their arrival. This was where they would begin their long journey together to the border, and from there, Vincent would diverge to a southwest heading and James would continue straight south on his own.

    James was unsure and conflicted. He didn’t want to be alone. But knew the choice he’d made. And turning back just wouldn’t suit him.

    He’d go south to the border, to the Rio Grande, to Mexico, to see the ruins of a dead and at times still dying world, to maybe find decent people who, too, lingered in a world that had moved past them and onto a new era. He recognized and dreaded the possibility of utter failure, of death, of a fate worse than death, and whatever really awaited him. And he wondered—neither hopeful nor unhopeful, but with curiousity—what the others would learn in a nation as large as America, what secrets they would find, and what he himself would discover in the south.

    Setting Sail, Coming Home


    • This concludes Monument for 2016. The story was off and on this year more than any, and I'm happy that I've been able to get it somewhat back on park. Chapter 15 of the main story will continue in January. RenagadePoncho's Rustic Roads will be posted as soon it continues and the Rustic Ruins miniseries will be up very quickly after that. Despite its inconsistency, this year has been a wild if at times uneventful ride for Monument. Big things are in play now, such as the Laredo's community's possible exodus, the grim expedition with James to Colorado, Josephine's pregnancy. I'm hoping that things will move along easier once I'm past this most recent hurdle in the main story.

    • I'm very interested in hearing your thoughts on this one-shot in particular, as there might be similar ones for different characters in the future. Here's a wild question: What already introduced characters do you think should star in their very own one-shot?

    • I've been reading pretty actively for the last several months and I'm planning to do a reading challenge, the goal of which is to read a book every week. That comes up to 52 books. The question here is, does anyone object to me including what I've been reading in the notes at the end of parts? It wouldn't be anything too extensive. It would pretty much amount to "Hey, I read this and it was pretty neat" or "Uh, I read this and it was pretty uh." Reading has been a real inspiration for my writing. They kind of get me juiced up creatively, so I pretty much burn books for creative fuel. Just this month, I read The Stand by Stephen King. It's freaking monster in size, but it really got me juiced to write more for Monument and Silicon County. I digress. I know there won't be any objections, but I thought I would mention it and hear your thoughts.

  • Every time I get a notification, everything in my notifications gets scattered, so I almost missed this had I not known the one-shot was coming today.

    This was a great one-shot to end the year with, so here's to Monument's 2017, and Hope's as well.

    I can't really answer the one-shot question so allow me to jump past that. I've got no problem with you including what you read in the notes, and I think it'd actually be pretty cool, since I don't really know what to watch or read until I hear something positive or negative from someone other than a critic, my reading life is at a stand still, to be honest.

    NoHopeLeft posted: »

    We’ll Meet Again 1 James did not spend his last night with Jessica sleeping. They enjoyed every moment to its fullest extent until the

  • edited January 2017

    This was an amazing one-shot and a great way to conclude the story for 2016. By now, I must say that James is no longer growing on me because he already has become one of my favourite characters and this part made it only more solid. He is a great guy. And it was amazing to see Vincent again, it has been a seriously long time since we last got an update from him. The part itself was incredibly well-written. Though we only just now met her, I think you managed to flesh out the relationship between James and Jessica really well. I have to wonder if she is still alive, though with the likely state of the community, things look grim for sure. Speaking of, to make things even darker, this community seems hugely well-defended! If someone can take it down and conquer or destroy it, then who could possibly stop such a force? Surely not our Laredo crew and even less our small expedition group.

    As for the question, this is complicated. The biased little arsewipe inside of me screams for my favourite characters to get such a one-shot, but at the same time and to answer things a bit more seriously, I believe this format can hold a lot of potential for lesser developed characters to get fleshed out, especially those whom you might not be able to give the same screentime as others in the main story. I suspect there has been a scrapped storyline about Lindsay and Keith, as one small Next-Time snippet from ages ago seems to have hinted at, maybe you can include that one in such a one-shot. Or other smaller side characters like Tommy, or Stephen, or Jefferson, or Nightcrawler, or even that creepy kid Freddie Gomez. Maybe a one-shot about one of the characters who are already dead, like Jordan, or Clarice or the Martinez family, or even Anthony, even if he's featured in that one-shot part I'm still writing (and be assured, I am still writing it, it's just the time that keeps preventing me from the final step I need to finish it). Just not Trevor, I'm glad that guy is dead and gone =) Anyways, so much potential and I think no matter what, you will make the right decisions there!

    Finally, Happy New Year 2017 to you and to Monument! Here's to a great year for all of us and for the story. The last year has been amazing, including many of my absolute favourite scenes so far. At the same time, it included so much build-up and that has me hyped already. I am so excited to see where you'll take this story in the coming months. The same goes for Silicon, I look forward for both so very much :)

    NoHopeLeft posted: »

    We’ll Meet Again 1 James did not spend his last night with Jessica sleeping. They enjoyed every moment to its fullest extent until the

  • Only just now got the time to write a comment for the part XD I liked it, that part fleshed out James a lot. He is a nice character and I like him a lot. I also am curios about his community and if it is really overrun and who could do this.

    With your question, I agree with Liquid that this one-shot could help with fleshing out minor characters that you want to flesh out but dont have the room for in the story. This also applies for events you want to show or wanted to show but cant do it anymore. One thing I am still interested in is how Keith got Josephine and Lindsay out of Zafirs mall and why he did it. We never learned much about him or how his thoughts on his father were and this could be a chance. Is just one idea ofc, you can write what you like there. Just the first scenario that came to mind.

    With the second thing, I would like to know what you are reading. Maybe it is something I was reading too before or something I want to read in the future.

    NoHopeLeft posted: »

    We’ll Meet Again 1 James did not spend his last night with Jessica sleeping. They enjoyed every moment to its fullest extent until the

  • Hey Nohope, I've finally finished reading/catching up on Monument! I really like the story, so far. Earlier in the story you said that the police car crash from the beginning of the story is going to be important later. Has that been scrapped or did I just miss or forget the consequence of that? I agree with the others about the one-shots fleshing out minor characters. I'm particularly interested in Keith's reaction to learning about his father's death. Anyways, I plan to submit a character or two to this story soon.

    NoHopeLeft posted: »

    We’ll Meet Again 1 James did not spend his last night with Jessica sleeping. They enjoyed every moment to its fullest extent until the

  • This is unexpected! Welcome abroad! I look forward to seeing who you come up with! :^D

    I'm surprised to see the car crash being brought up. It was scrapped for a time, but have some deliberation, I've decided to revitalize it in some shape and form. We'll get a glimpse of what I have planned in one of the interluding segments between acts 3 and 4. The old scene in chapter 1, for all purposes, is no longer canon. As for its revitalization... let's just say San Antonio hasn't been put to rest yet.

    Hey Nohope, I've finally finished reading/catching up on Monument! I really like the story, so far. Earlier in the story you said that the

  • James Wilson, 15-03: James ignored the worried—and perhaps curious—looks tossed by his companions as he strolled back to the center of the room. He sat the book on the control panel, leaning on the panel while staring out the west-facing observation window; outside, a railed pathway led past it and connected to the deck; past that, real mountains rose in the distance that were nothing like these false hills; behind them, the sun was disappearing.

    He tampered his expression into one that conveyed seriousness but wasn’t overly grim, then turned slowly, trying to speak calmly but unable to remove the edge from his tone. “We’ll stuck between starvation and a big unknown, between here and Springs is Fort Carson—the longest secondary base we had and what has always been our destination. We’ve got a day’s worth of food to get us there, regardless of what’s in our way.

    “By tomorrow morning,” he continued, eliminating the hesitation from his voice, “we’ll be forced to leave this station and face whatever uncertainties lurk in our path. We don’t have many options. We’re running on fumes. But what we do have—” he showed the charred pocket book for everyone to see, flipping to his place on the seventy-sixth page, burnt flakes cascading “—is this, a window in the vast unknown, and some desperately needed perspective. We’re delaying our decision until we’ve read it. Gather ‘round, fellas, it’s story night.”

    He sat in the office chair, Asher retrieved then handed a lantern to him, and he sat it between his legs and leaned forward so the pages caught the light. His face was inadvertently lit from below, like he was telling a ghost story at a campfire. “Before we start, does anyone need to a bathroom break before we start?” Everyone was silent, listening expectantly, attentive despite their conditions.

    “Alright, then. It’s dated about two months ago, the day after the last entry. ‘Entry 66,’” he read. “‘I recorded the message. Now it’s broadcasting and hitting half a dozen radio relays in half a dozen different directions. I’m doubtful we will hear anything from our missing scouts, but I don’t consider it a waste of time. I still consider such a massive, expansive push in so many directions to be a poor decision.’” James found himself agreeing with the voice of the diary.

    Entry 67 (Written 59 days ago)

    I was surprised to see Bobbi coming up the path late this evening. She stopped by after she had finished her delivery run. No packages, just a friendly visit of her own accord. She’s only done this once before.

    I stepped out of the cabin as she was coming through the gate.

    She smiled, said, “You don’t mind entertaining a guest on short notice, do you?”

    I didn’t mind, of course. Human interaction, even uninitiated human interaction, was a godsend. Most people would think the isolation would make me socially inept. There’s a little truth in that, perhaps. But really, it has made me socially starved.

    I invited her inside. Monitoring the various lights at the control desk with one eye, I helped her assemble six kabobs to roast on the fire, then went outside to affix the grill attachment and lit the fire. It was about 5 pm when we were settling in around the fire pit. We put the kabobs on the fire and delayed any major conversation until they were ready. Once they were, while we ate, she updated me on everything the people who wrote my updates deemed insignificant, which included most things unrelated to my job.

    As it turned out, nothing insignificant escaped a courier’s perception. She told me about the Mr. Quarterfield’s new kitten—a half-starved, scrawny female that he was nurturing back to health. A brown-black tabby, Bobbi said, that they were calling Penny. Mr. Quarterfield had brought her to the eastside storeroom, where he worked in requisitions, and she was already tackling a persistent mice problem while earning her keep.

    Finally, as was dusk was beginning to settle, Bobbi asked me, “Hey, Adam, do you mind if I come out again next week?”

    That suited me fine, of course.

    Entry 68 (Written 57 days ago)

    There’s been a development that I’ve been informed of. The retrieval team sent to bring back a cache as returned with an interesting message. The scout bound to the northeast found traces of a small group’s passage through that corner of Colorado and into Kansas and made note of it when planting their cache. He noted campsites, homed to stomped out fires and discarded trash, and—what I consider the interesting part—evidence that suggested a kid was there.

    Northern Kansas is in an very bad state. The situation there has only deteriorated. Even our eastbound scout was staying far away, sticking close to the Oklahoma border, at least until contact was lost.

    The scout’s gone AWOL, so to speak—he’s left his assigned path with a stiff apology in his last cache in an attempt to get to them. Campfires were only several days old, so he expected to catch up before they encounter any of the ‘wildlife.’ He’ll catch some flack for that if our leaders ever hear from him again.

    Additionally, I’ve received acknowledgements from northwest-bound scout. He’s still kicking. But he can’t seriously be all that’s left. Christ, that’s only one out of seven.

    Entry 70 (Written 54 days ago)

    I’ve received acknowledgement squirts from due west. We’ve been in contact, so it’s not much of a surprise, but it’s certainly a relief. I’m hopeful more have lived and just aren’t capable of radio acknowledgements anymore.

    Entry 72 (Written 50 days ago)

    I’ve received a squirt from the north and another from the northwest scout. Old North has been out of contact for the better part of a month. We eradicated the north of those things masquerading as people (cannibals, can you believe it?) but I was worried he got picked off by some straggles. It seems he’s alright.

    That only leaves both southbound parties—one heading southwest and the other straight down with the long term goal of reaching Corpus Christi (let’s hope he ain’t a ‘corpus’ either)—and our lone east-walker. I’m doubtful we’ll hear from any of them anytime soon. It’s very unfortunate.

    Entry 76 (Written 44 days ago)

    Well, fuck me sideways!

    I’ve received an acknowledgement from the scout heading straight south. I was doubtful for a moment that it was him. He’s been missing the longest, after all. The messages are pretty much a series of beeps, like morse code, so those worries we put to rest when he sent the correct identification code.

    Never before have a series of beeps relieved me so much. Problems, though. They’ve hit a dead end and have requested transport back to home base. He’s gonna meet them halfway.

    Christ, this makes we hopeful that we’ll hear from the southwest. East-walker, too.

    The wheel of the upturned office chair still spun, gradually slowing as James fumed heavy breaths with his palms pressed so tightly against the control panel that his fingers were white. His face was bright red and he looked on the verge of tears.

    “Fuckin’ foxface,” James muttered. “Foxface,” he repeated into his near perfect reflection caused by the interior lighting and exterior darkness. He grasped the blinds and pulled them over westen observation window with a violent tug, then stomped around the cabin and systematically did the same to the other windows.

    His companions followed him with their eyes.

    His sudden burst of anger had woken everyone who was half asleep up. Kurt was nursing his battered head after being woken from a state of half sleep, jumping and hitting his head on the cabinets above his perch. Maria and Danny looked a little frightened. Domenick was studying the situation with a raised eyebrow, and Jerry had moved closer to the group, now leaning on Sasha’s folding chair.

    Maria winced as James kicked a cardboard box set in his path and vanished beyond a corner. Two more blinds were pulled down aggressive. Beyond their gaze, James grew terribly quiet, and for a moment one could have cut the nervous tension with a knife. Then James returned, sulking a little, and pulled his chair back upright.

    Everyone watched him attentively.

    Finally, Danny spoke: “Foxface came here and killed this Adam guy?”

    “It was Foxface,” James repeated weakly. He buried his face in his hands and may have been weeping. “It’s my fault this happened.”

    “One man could’ve taken this station,” Jerry said, speaking up suddenly, “but the community?”

    “No,” Asher agreed, but his voice lacked conviction.

    “It’s impossible for a one man to do that,” Domenick agreed as well. However, there was very clear a but. “But there’s the horde to think of. He could have directed it in someway. Used it like a battering ram.”

    “Oh god,” Maria whispered.

    “This is a shit show,” Tom hissed softly.

    “James?” Violet questioned. She had stood and now cautiously placed a hand on James’s shoulder. He was bobbing up and down and quivering slightly. “James, we need to read on.”

    James drew a shaky breath and nodded. He wiped away the tears and looked up, revealing a blotchy red face. He stopped crying, stopped shaking, and took the diary from Violet when she handed it to him. He resumed.

    Entry 80 (Written 36 days ago)

    Someone sabotaged my systems. Whoever it was snipped a critical line and made off with about fifty feet of fucking cord. I’ve been quite literally cut off from Springs, Carson, and everyone else I was maintaining contact with.

    I’m effectively blind to the goingson elsewhere.

    For the time being, I’m gonna bunker down. It’s a 5 mile walk to Fort Carson—easy peasy—but I don’t want to jump the gun. If it’s just an isolated case of vandalism, they’ll notice I’m off the air real quickly and send someone to see what’s up.

    Maybe they’ll send Bobbi.

    Entry 81 (Written 34 days ago)

    (The handwriting is sporadic—written with a trembling hand)

    I think it might be over. Jesus Christ. I think Colorado Springs is done for.

    Oh god, I’m getting ahead of myself. Okay. I waited for almost two days and then finally got tired of waiting. I packed the bare minimum of supplies into a backpack, suited up, and began walking east to the highway with the intention of following the road up to Fort Carson.

    But the largest goddamned herd I have ever laid eyes on was there. And in truth, its size is untold and its ranks were disappeared over the far off hills, so it could be much larger than that even. Those fences they’ve got at Fort Carson won’t hold. I can’t imagine they’ll do much against the wall around Springs, but it’s not good either.

    I’ve hightailed it back to the radio station. I guess I’ll be holding out here as long as I can.

    Entry 82 (Date unnoted)

    (Handwriting is nearly incomprehensible. Small stains dot the pages here and there, possibly blood)

    He used a severed head Oh god I’ve been bitten It used a severed head as a weapon. It was still moving and snarling and snapping It was alive It latched onto my neck and he torn it away he wearing a fucking mask a fox mask

    Meds are making me loopy. Painkillers. Christ. I was sleeping lightly and got up and walked by the controls and he was behind me with a goddamn fucking severed head for christ's sake. I’m going to die. I’m going to reanimate. I could hardly look at it, my neck, it’s horrible, bleeding so badly. I feel an absence even if my hand is just hovering over it, a dent.

    A chunk is missing. Christ. Jesus Christ. I’ve been killed by a fox wielding a severed head Jesus Christ this is funny this is not funny. Sleepy from blood loss? Sleep.

    Entry 83 (Written 32 days ago)

    (Writing has normalized to a degree—is still written by an unsteady hand)

    i’ve bled all over my fucking diary.

    i woke up late this afternoon feverish and caked with my own dried blood. the injury will likely kill me before the fever can worsen, but I’ll reanimate all the same. christ. i’m weak. i can’t stand for any amount of time without feeling dizzy. the wound is an ugly thing. i had to change the gauze, and it’s a wonder i didn’t bleed out in the night, it was applied so poorly. FUCK, the wound is ugly. there’s pieces me-meat dangling around the edges. that head took a good sized chunk. i wonder if it tried to swallow. maybe it’s around here. that’s nasty.

    i took enough painkillers to numb the pain. it’s also a wonder i didn’t overdose last night. i took too many pills then. would an overdose result in reanimation? probably. fuck.

    Entry 84 (Date unnoted)

    (The coherence of the writing has worsened considerably)

    im going to die a bullet is going to be kill me im going to kill myself with the bitch gun they left for me but i don’t wanna rot maggots are nasty bugs would be crawling all over it would be horrible

    im too weak to dig a hole and i probably couldnt stand well enough at the foot of my shallow grave to bite the bullet and fall in right

    ill build a fire but the firewood is too heavy fuck but wait the recycling hasn’t been picked up! fuck yes fuck yes thats what ill do ill give myself a viking funeral ill soak myself in lighter fluid and the recycling too and ill grab some stuff from the pantry but ill leave the basement storeroom alone all i need is some kindling for a adam drawford roost and a bullet haha

    oh god

    (The remaining three pages are a collection of incomprehensible handwriting. The final sentence that was written appears to be a foreign language, possibly Japanese, but it is unreadable.)

    To be continued…


    • I apologize for such a long delay. Writing the diary entries kind of threw me for a loop as I'm unfamiliar with that style of writing. I'm not sure I would attempt it again. Anyway, I also apologize for the lack of a choice—I had originally said this part would feature an important choice, but I've decided to save that for the next part because I just wanted to get this segment over with. The next part will feature these choices that will determine a lot of stuff (perhaps it's a matter of life and death?). This chapter isn't going to be much longer, and this is both unfortunate and fortunate. Unfortunate because it's a shame to end something so quickly. Fortunate because it means we'll zoom on into chapter 16, standing with an interesting interlude, and onto better things. This expedition started as a tangent thing, kind of our of nowhere, but it served the purpose of getting Monument back on track for a time. Recently, however, the expedition has been hindering me more than it has been helping me. It's kind of like being trapped in a corridor that I gotta get through, but it's surprisingly narrow and only got confining as I went on, but there's a door at the end that will open to a much more expansive space. Chapter 15 will continue soon, with perilous choices and perhaps better things beyond it. Thank you all for your patience.

    • I've read a lot this month and I'll try to go over it quickly.

    Summer of Night by Dan Simmons — This is the fourth novel I've read by Simmons (my favorite author) and it didn't disappoint despite a few problems with the perspective jumping around too often, interrupting the action, and at times being a little ridiculous. It draws a lot of comparisons to the Body (which was adapted into the movie Stand by Me) and It by Stephen King, but has its own identity. It opens a window into what it was like to be a like a kid on summer break in 1960s Illinois. It's about a group of friends teaming up to fight an ancient evil threatening to destroy their town.

    Mayan and Aztec Mythology by Michael Schuman — I believe I've mentioned I take a class in mythology. We were doing Japanese mythology the last few months, and I must say I enjoyed that more, but I'm still pretty into it.

    The Shining by Stephen King — I think most people know about the Shining due to Stanley Kubrick's adaption (which I haven't had the pleasure of seeing yet). I hear the book differs in a lot of ways. Anyway, if you didn't know the plot, it's about a family snowed into a haunted hotel, but that's really only the surface. I won't say anymore if, by some miracle, you haven't been spoiled yet (I'm not sure how my opinion would differ if I hadn't heard all there was to hear on it, but I can imagine it would have been a lot more scary). Anyway, I enjoyed it a lot! It's probably my favorite full-length novel by King that I've read so far, surpassed only by Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, an incredibly good novella of about a hundred pages which I recommend if you're nervous about starting a larger novel by King.

  • edited January 2017

    You telling me there's some asshole swinging around a stick with a zombies head on it?

    Great part, btw. The diary entries were a cool way to show us what happened.

    NoHopeLeft posted: »

    James Wilson, 15-03: James ignored the worried—and perhaps curious—looks tossed by his companions as he strolled back to the center of the r

  • Whoa, whoa, wait, whoa, shit :o That was unnerving! Like seriously, nothing bad happened in the part itself, but these diary entries were chilling. This part was terrifying and terrific and I can only say that the time you put into this clearly shows, as it was absolutely splendid. The slow build-up of these diary entires really got me and by the time we got the juicy stuff, I was already pretty freaked out, which I am rarely even when reading the more nerve-racking parts of Monument. I think the last time I had such a reaction was ages ago, when Trevor and Clarice made their move against Josie and Jerry. This time it's a bit different of course and not quite as terrifying, but scary in a different way, a way more subtle horror. And holy hell, we just learned more about Foxy the Foxface. It appears that guy honestly is the most creepy and evil character in the entire story. Like, using a walker head as a weapon? That is honestly terrifying the shit out of me. It makes me wonder though, why did he left James alive? Was it sadism, since he likely didn't consider that anyone would save him? Or part of a larger plan? Whatever it was, I am sure James and Foxface are not done with each other yet.
    All in all, this was a wonderful part to kick off the new year for Monument. I am looking forward for the way this chapter will play out, so very much :)

    NoHopeLeft posted: »

    James Wilson, 15-03: James ignored the worried—and perhaps curious—looks tossed by his companions as he strolled back to the center of the r

  • This part was extremely intriguing. I wonder what this Foxguy's goal and reason is in trying to destroy this community. Also, I sent you a pm about the new character I submitted for this story.

    NoHopeLeft posted: »

    James Wilson, 15-03: James ignored the worried—and perhaps curious—looks tossed by his companions as he strolled back to the center of the r

  • Man, this Foxface guy is a lot more fucked up than I originally thought. But, if I may make an observation:

    for a adam drawford roost

    There's an Adam Drawford in the awaiting introduction list, if I'm thinking correctly, Adam Drawford's the first submitted character to be confirmed dead on introduction. (Not counting Gregory since we never really learned his fate.)

    NoHopeLeft posted: »

    James Wilson, 15-03: James ignored the worried—and perhaps curious—looks tossed by his companions as he strolled back to the center of the r

  • edited January 2017

    Nevermind. My question was already answered.

    This part was extremely intriguing. I wonder what this Foxguy's goal and reason is in trying to destroy this community. Also, I sent you a pm about the new character I submitted for this story.

  • Rustic Roads — Written by @RenegadePoncho — Introducing Rusty Slater

    “Do you think you could make it?” she asked. He narrowed his eyes watching his breath curl upwards in the cool air. He lowered his rifle as he looked over at her.

    “No.” That was his only answer, or the only one he could think of. “It’s too far and the roads are far too dangerous.” She sighed as she leaned against the steel railing, gazing out into the vast open area head of them which was coated in at least a foot of snow.

    “If it counts for anything, I’m sorry,” she said. “And to be honest, I’m about in the same position as you.”

    “Yeah?” he asked, “How’s that?” For a moment there was silence, minus the sound of the wind whipping its way through the camp. She tapped on the steel bar for a moment, her brown eyes looking out upon the tundra ahead.

    “I’m from Ohio,” she said. “I never made it back before it all went to hell in a handbasket. I guess all we have now is hope… If that means shit anymore.”

    “Kelly,” he said. “Hope might be the only thing we have left at this point.” She smiled shyly. Sometimes it was hard for Rusty to think of her as any older than just a girl. She turned twenty a few days ago, poor girl.

    She never said much about why she came to Montana, all he knew is that she was just as unlucky as him at this point. He watched her hand slip into the pocket of her parka, only for a moment, before withdrawing a small bloom. It was a small white flower, easily hidden in the palm of her hand.

    “What’s that?” Rusty asked as he eyed the small flower. She smiled as she tucked the stem into his armor, the small white bloom sticking out.

    “Snowdrop,” she answered, the childish smile still on her face. A fever of hope in her eyes. “It means spring is coming.”

    “You know a lot about flowers, don’t you?” he asked. She shrugged.

    “Not much else to do, is there?” she asked. Rusty turned around with a sigh, leaning back against the railing and turning his back to the tundra. Instead, he looking in on the camp that spanned a good distance. As far as he knew now, the people here were the only survivors left.

    “I wish things were different,” he muttered. “This is only the kind of shit that happens in movies, not real life. I’m supposed to be back home… I’m supposed to be with…”

    “I know,” she said. “I know how fucked up it all is, and I know how easy it would seem to just give up. But, after a while, you find that there’s a trick to it.”

    “And what advice would a young girl give a hardened soldier?” he asked with a smile. She placed a hand on his arm, dropping her voice to a whisper.

    “Find out what it is you’re fighting for,” she answered as she began to walk away. He heard her footsteps echoing off the metal steps that lead off the wall to the ground. He watched her begin to walk away, back towards the center of camp. Back towards the warmth.

    But something caught his eye, a group of people. No, guards. Armed guards, making their way through the camp towards the command center.

    “Shit,” he muttered the gritted teeth as he slung his rifle over his shoulder and barreled down the stairs. He began running, easily catching up to Kelly. He grabbed her by the arms, speaking directly to her.

    “What’s wrong?” she asked, her expression shifting as soon as she saw the sustained panic in his eye.

    “You need to come with me… I think there’s about to be a riot,” he said.

    “What do you mean?” she asked.

    “Just get inside and don’t come out until it’s safe, okay?” he asked.

    It wasn’t ten minutes later he was hunkered behind a jersey barrier, resting his rifle on top as he peered down to scope. The wind had died down, stopped flinging snow everywhere. He could see clearly across the road where the mutineers stood.

    He knew he was out numbered at least three to one.

    “No one needs to die today,” spoke a mutineer. “Just step aside and let us in.”

    “Like hell I will,” the commander said. “For the past three months it’s been me who’s been keeping this place alive and I’ll be damned if I step aside and watch you tear it apart.”

    Rusty couldn’t tell where the first shot came from, his side or theirs. All he remembers was hell opening up and death filling the camp. He watched the commander get shot and fall backwards off the platform he stood on. He felt a sting on the side of his head, he felt blood run down his face.

    He opened fire.

    “Cease fire!” the call rang out. “Quit shooting for God’s sake!” He didn’t know what possessed him to do so, but he let go of the trigger. Hands above his head, he stepped out from his cover.

    Not an hour later they stood at the main gates, anyone who backed the commander. Held at gunpoint, the gates swung open. They marched out into the cold, leaving the only home they knew in this new and unhospitable world.

    Lost without a clue as to where he was, he wondered south. Maybe he could somehow get back to Texas. He found himself lost in Wyoming, holed up in some department store on the street side.

    He heard a scream from outside, and he was on his feet in an instant. He burst through the glass door back into the cold, He scanned the street to find a man surrounded by walkers, holding a young girl close to him.

    Rusty quickly brought up his rifle, and dispatched the undead with deadly precision. The man looked up at him, covered in blood. Rusty approached slowly.

    “Are you alright?” he asked, looking at the dead.

    “We are now, thanks to you,” the man responded. “Thank you so much, I thought we were dead.” Rusty nodded.

    “Looks like you got lucky,” he said.

    “My name’s Will. This is my daughter, Molly,” he said. “Is there anything we can do for you?” he asked.

    “Got any food?” He asked.

    “Not much,” Will answered. Rusty shrugged.

    “Keep it then,” he answered.

    “Look, we’re headed south. I’ve got a truck not far from here, you’re welcome to come with us if you’d like,” Will said.

    “How far south?” Rusty asked.

    “I was thinking we wouldn’t stop until we hit the border,” he answered.

    “Are you sure you want to give me a ride?” he asked.

    “You saved our lives, it’s the least we can do,” Will said. Rusty nodded, a small smile forming on his lips.

    “Yeah, alright,” he said. “I think I’ll take you up on that offer.”

    Days later, Rusty now stood, his back pressed against a steel door as a wave of the undead pressed against him.

    “Hurry up, damn it!” Rusty yelled. Moments later Will jammed a steel bar between the handles of the door. Rusty sat back as the dead banged on the steel. “That won’t hold for long.”

    “Shit man, what are we going to do?” Will asked. Rusty shook his head as he looked around the room, it was small, underground with only a small window up at the top.

    “I think I have an idea, but I don’t think you’re going to like it,” Rusty said.

    “What do you mean?” he asked.

    “I’m going to draw them away so you can escape. Head directly east after you get out of here until you hit Junction City, then continue heading south on 77,” Rusty said.

    “You can’t go out there, man. It’s suicide,” Will said. Rusty looked at the small girl huddled in the corner, in one hand holding a sock monkey, and in the other a switchblade.

    “It’s suicide if we stay here,” Rusty said. “Get your girl safe.”

    “But what about you?” Will asked. Rusty smiled.

    “When Molly gets older, just remember to tell her the story of how I fought of a thousand of those flesh maggots one-handed so she could grow up to be a badass just like me,” he said. Will managed a weak smile.

    “I will,” he said.

    “You’re leaving?” Molly asked, as she appeared next to him. Her big blue eyes beading into him. He nodded.

    “I am,” he answered.

    “Why?” she asked.

    “I’m a Marine, Molly,” he answered. “Sometimes I have to do things I don’t want to do.”

    “If you don’t want to go, then stay,” she said. He smiled.

    “I can’t,” he said.

    “Why?” she asked.

    “I have to keep you safe,” he said. “It’s my job.”

    “Why?” she asked. He patted her on the head.

    “You’re just full of questions, aren’t you?” he asked. He knelt down next to her, pulling her close. “I’m gonna a need you to do something for me, alright?”

    “What’s that?” she asked.

    “I need you to take care of your dad,” he said.

    “My dad can take care of himself,” she responded.

    “You’re dad’s a fighter,” he said as he took off his ball cap and lowered it onto her head. “But you… You’re a Marine.” He stood up, looking towards the window.

    “You stay safe,” he said.

    “Wait,” Molly said. Rusty looked back at her, she reached out handing him the sock monkey she’d been toting around since day one. “Just in case you need backup,” she said.

    “Thank you,” he said. He buried the monkey into his pack and brought up the rifle, smashing the glass window. “I’ll miss you guys,” he said as he crawled out onto the street. Behind him he could hear Molly crying, begging him to come back.

    Once again. He was on his own. But now, now he had something he didn’t before. He had something to fight for. He fought for Kelly, for Will and Molly, for his wife and child back home. He fought for those he lost, and those he loved.

    Continuation is below...

  • A direct continuation of @RenegadePoncho's Rustic Roads

    Rusty Slater — Rustic Ruins, 01: The moment his feet hit the ground, Rusty dropped to one knee and brought the butt of his rifle into his shoulder. He scanned the herd with his flashlight attachment, bringing their decaying faces into stark clarity as they surged toward him. He pointed the barrel where the horde appeared thinnest and unloaded his automatic rifle one bullet at a time into their ghoulish foreheads. Their heads exploded into chunks like rotten melons.

    You gotta shoot ‘em in the goshdarn head, he thought lightly.

    They were closing in like an ever tightening noose. His expression became steely, and just a little frightened. He dropped one last walker then broke into a sprint, stumbling over the corpses beneath his heavy boots. Dozens of hands slipped off his leather jacket. His left boot fell into a corpse’s chest cavity, snagged, and brought him to his knees. His ankle was sprained, but he hardly felt it over the rush of adrenaline and anxiety. He ripped his boot free—the horrible sound just barely audible over the herd’s collective snarls and gargles—and resumed running, bulldozing walkers like the football player he once was and smacking them with the butt of his rifle like a baseball bat.

    Freaking freaks-- Oh, screw me.

    He came to a stilted stop, stumbling into a parked car. He muttered slang, feeling the pain in his ankle for the first time. He stood at the edge of the parking lot, his forehead dripped sweat into his eyes, and he looked down at his gore-covered boot. He imagined the treads looked like they had Play-Doh stuck between them, and that made him feel a little sick.

    Ahead of him, more clusters of walkers shambled toward him. He wasn’t confident he could break through their steadily advancing blockade. The walkers behind him hadn’t ended their pursuit.

    He sighed, untwisting the silencer from his rifle with shaking hands, feeling the heat radiate through his gloves. He cast a brief glance to the window he’d broken and climbed through, reminding himself that this was for Will and little Molly, then shoved the silencer into a breast pocket and slapped the flap shut. Its warmth was a pleasant sensation on his chest.

    Rusty heaved himself onto the abandoned car, the hood caving in beneath his boots. He moved up to the roof, unshouldered his backpack, and popped three unsilenced rounds into walkers before exchanging his spent magazine for a full one. Twenty bullets.

    I’m gonna draw them away, I said. Yeah, I think I’ll accomplish that. This, this is the home stretch. So here… goes… nothing…

    A long lawn of overgrown weeds and periodically planted trees separated the parking lot from a street just adjacent to it. A few dozen walkers approached the commotion from that direction, but the congregation was far thinner there than anywhere else. Rusty shouldered his backpack, braced his rifle’s bloody stock against his shoulder, and popped three melons in that direction.

    Seventeen rounds left, he thought dryly, an uneasy smirk crossing his expression. This might actually work.

    The progression of walkers approaching the other sides were a meter away as he hopped down from the car, the opposite side from which he’d climbed up, and hit the ground running and muttering as his pain in his ankle flared in its boot.

    A walker’s head caved in upon being bludgeoned with his rifle. Rusty staggered away from the encounter, breaching the sparse treeline and stumbling into the street. He wiped sweat from his eyes and uttered something that was part animal grunt and part manic laugh, reaching the middle of the street as walkers were closing in. He raised his rifle to a sixty degree angle, pressing the stock firmly against his hip, and fired a shot into the air.

    If he didn’t have their full attention beforehand, he was now the proud owner of a truly captive audience. The walkers shambled toward him with a renewed vigor. But they weren’t the only one on the move. Rusty’s ankle had gone a little numb following the excitement and he was able to break into a jog down the street dark street.

    It’s working, alright. Maybe a little too well.

    “Come and get it!” he shouted into the ravenous night, the muzzle flash illuminating his sweaty face as let off his next round into one of its thrashing maws, which exploded into a shower of gore. “That’s right! Right this way! Yeah! Oh, jeez. It’s gonna be a long night...”

    It would be the longest night of Rusty’s life. Upon leaving the parking, he wandered in the inky darkness using the flashlight attachment to light the way. He zigzagged around the dead whenever possible, bashed their heads in if they came too close, and only used his rifle when it came time to yet again ring the dinner bell.

    The place was swarmed with the buggers. His flashlight cast shadows that shifted as he moved, and most of those shadows shambled after him as he past. Looking back, he couldn’t see exactly how many were in pursuit. He saw the vague outlines of those in the lead, which was an ever changing crowd as new walkers joined the mob.

    He had ran at least a hundred feet since his last shot. To be dead certain he was bringing the city on top of him and away from Will and Molly, he slowed and pulled the trigger on the first walker that appeared in his cone of light, converting its melon into paste while shouting at top of his lungs, “Come out and join the club!”

    He resumed running, the whole exchange lasting less than four seconds. It had left him with either nine or ten rounds left. He’d unfortunately lost count. To stay on the safe side, he went with the lower estimate. He would rather switch out a near-empty magazine than pull the trigger to discover it had been one less after all. A mistake like that was potentially fatal. But he was particularly concerned, considering how fatal the situation already was and the grimness of his chances.

    He seemed to think he was heading back up north, but couldn’t be positive. Limited to a pale beam of vision, there wasn’t much to differentiate the streets from one another, and he saw nothing recognizable. He pretty sure he wasn’t heading east—and that was what mattered the most.

    Assuming he survived the night, he had half a mind to confiscate some form of transportation, do a quarter loop, and search for Will’s truck to the east… but that wasn’t feasible, was it? It was forty miles to Junction City, where he instructed Will to go. And they weren’t supposed to stop—upon arriving, they were to head straight south.

    He’d said his last goodbye to Will and Molly. Hopefully, by now, they were on their way to Oklahoma and happiness. Rusty, he felt like he had one foot in the grave.

    He slipped through a walker’s reanimated grasp, used his rifle like a club to perform a blunt-force driveby on another as he passed, and nearly tripped in an attempt to stop running, aggravating his sprained ankle. His flashlight revealed the approaching assault like a spotlight. It cast the first dozen deranged faces up front in pale light, painting the receding, thickening waves in dimmer illumination. The street ahead was filled to the brim.


    He turned around and shined his light on the walkers behind him that were gathering in a similar fashion. He looked left then right at the stragglers closing in from the sides and muttered frustratedly under his breath.

    The street was lined with the windowless, doorless brick walls of nonresidential buildings, offering virtually no escape.

    Maybe the night was gonna be a lot shorter after all. Well, he wasn’t about to put the barrel in his mouth and spare himself the agony. He would exhaust his options, then go down fighting. He was lugging some pretty heavy hardware for such an occasion…

    He continued toward the right side of the street, toward one of the buildings that created this deathtrap while dodging the sad attempts by the stragglers to grab him. There was a lone green door, it looked heavy, and the lack of any reflection from hinges indicated to him it opened inward. Maybe he’d caught a break. He was sprinting toward it, dodging the outstretched hands of walkers, unsure how he was going to tackle this problem even as it drew closer...

    [Kick the door.]

    [Shoot the lock.]

    [Use your shoulder.]

  • [Use your shoulder] He said it was a heavy door so kicking it might hurt him and do more harm than good. And it's not a very good idea to be shooting locks.

    Well this guy has found himself in a rather precarious situation. One wrong move and he's goner. I like this part. Rusty's pretty likeable and I like his relationship with Molly.

    NoHopeLeft posted: »

    A direct continuation of @RenegadePoncho's Rustic Roads Rusty Slater — Rustic Ruins, 01: The moment his feet hit the ground, Rusty droppe

  • Heh. I'm going to be more cagey about the choices in the future, and I'll explain why in a just a bit. I don't want to dissuade you from making your decision, but, if given the option, I myself would take a leg injury over a back injury every time.

    I'm glad you like it! It's gonna be pretty interesting. This one-shot series is going to reek of experimentation. For one, it stars a character whom I'm essentially writing as a G.I. Joe thrown into an ultra-violent situation. For two, every choice is going to be a life-or-death choice—that's pretty much this series's gimmick.

    AgentZ46 posted: »

    [Use your shoulder] He said it was a heavy door so kicking it might hurt him and do more harm than good. And it's not a very good idea to be

  • This is a very interesting part! I guess it's more than the ordinary one-shot, considering that we even got choices. I got to wonder though, will Rusty eventually going to be featured in the original story? Your comment towards Agent seems to imply that he can die at any time.

    Anyways, I greatly enjoyed this part, as Rusty is a pretty interesting character. It was the first real glimpse we got of the military and as it seems it also explains what happened to many of these military groups, that they were taken over by renegade soldiers. It makes me hope that people like the ones that took over Rusty's camp will never stumble upon the Laredo community, even if they couldn't possibly hope to get much there. I mean, given the lack of soldiers so far, I guess they have abandoned that area long ago. Rusty meanwhile, I surely wouldn't oppose of him making his return to Texas, he seems like an alright guy. I definitely look forward for more of these parts!

    [Use your shoulder.]

    Well, I fully agree with Agent's reasoning here. A kick could damage his leg, but as far as I know, a shoulder also can apply way more force on an object like that, as he can throw himself at the door with all his weight. And shooting the lock sounds stupid, as he probably would want to at least somewhat be able to close it later on. He definitely can't do that if he outright shoots it.

    NoHopeLeft posted: »

    A direct continuation of @RenegadePoncho's Rustic Roads Rusty Slater — Rustic Ruins, 01: The moment his feet hit the ground, Rusty droppe

  • edited January 2017

    You know, I get Liquid and Agent's reasoning. But when you think about it, a shoulder or back injury can really fuck him over in the long run. Sure, he'll get through the door, but if he pops his arm out of socket by applying too much force, unless he knows how to pop it back, there's an entire arm that he can't use, which is going to get in the way with any fights he might get in. I say that, because with a walker, they'd probably use one hand to hold a weapon and the other to hold back the Walker while they make the kill. But with an arm or back injury, you can't really do much of pushing away with anything.

    So I say [Kick the door.]

    Also, it was a good part @RenegadePoncho

    Edit: I just now thought of this, he's already got a sprained ankle. Well, it'll make kicking a problem, but I still don't want to risk further injuries.

    NoHopeLeft posted: »

    A direct continuation of @RenegadePoncho's Rustic Roads Rusty Slater — Rustic Ruins, 01: The moment his feet hit the ground, Rusty droppe

  • edited January 2017

    I'm going to pick the unpopular choice and say... [Shoot the lock.]

    I've got a few reasons for this. The first reason is because it is the quickest way. The herd may be a little behind him, but who knows how long it would take and how much closer the herd will get to him if he attempts to kick or use his shoulder to get the door down. Plus, to Liquid's point, he could block the door with something if he needs it to stay closed. Secondly, kicking the door will probably result in an even worse leg. He already has a sprained ankle. Lastly, Nohope hinted to Agent that using his shoulder would result in him injuring his back. This is a detrimental injury to have while trying to survive the zombie apocalypse. Therefore, out of the options, shooting the lock seems to be the fastest and least painful way to get through that door.

    NoHopeLeft posted: »

    A direct continuation of @RenegadePoncho's Rustic Roads Rusty Slater — Rustic Ruins, 01: The moment his feet hit the ground, Rusty droppe

  • [Use your shoulder.] What AgentZ46 and Liquid said makes sense to me. Kicking is dangerous and shooting is a dumb idea and will only attract more walkers. Lets hope for the best :)

    NoHopeLeft posted: »

    A direct continuation of @RenegadePoncho's Rustic Roads Rusty Slater — Rustic Ruins, 01: The moment his feet hit the ground, Rusty droppe

  • Voting is closed!

    (!) Rusty will attempt to knock the door in using his shoulder

    I'm afraid, in the interest of continuing to write this mini-series, I must retract my previous statement that all the choice here will be life-or-death. Using your shoulder to knock a door in, a heavy door in particular, is typically a very bad idea and not advisable as a back injury is practically debilitating. I'm going to be merciful this time around, though there will certainly be consequences. It can also be said that shooting his way in or kicking the door in were valid and perhaps even better choices. However, let me reinstate that every proceeding choice from now on will be life-or-death.

    I finished reading something recently:

    Drood by Dan Simmons: It's historical fiction on Charles Dickens, with an emphasize on being very fictional, though I did learn a ton about Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins (Dickens' friend and collaborator who narrates the novel), which is a merit. Unfortunately, in addition to being long winded, it was kind of pointness and very meandering. There are plenty of positive and interesting moments, but they're marred by the fact that it was almost completely irrelevant in the end. Ultimately, it was only okay, but definitely not horrible. I still wouldn't recommend it.

  • I tried to warn them, Nohope.

    NoHopeLeft posted: »

    Voting is closed! (!) Rusty will attempt to knock the door in using his shoulder I'm afraid, in the interest of continuing to write th

  • Wait a moment, did we seriously just almost managed to get Rusty killed with that choice? Holy shit D: That would have been embarrassing! I actually did put a lot of thought into the choice and thought I had chosen wisely, now you've really shocked me. I just did not expect him to suffer a back injury from that, as it is the sort of stuff you always see on TV. I never thought it could be that dangerous and it sounded wiser than risking further injury to his already damaged leg or wasting a bullet on it. It appears I stand corrected then and it means I really have to be even more careful.

    NoHopeLeft posted: »

    Voting is closed! (!) Rusty will attempt to knock the door in using his shoulder I'm afraid, in the interest of continuing to write th

  • James, 15-04: It was more of a crawl space than a basement, but it was a godsend nonetheless. An entrance was discovered in the form of a removeable panel in the floor, leading down into the dark recesses of the station’s raised foundations. Due to their height, Danny and Maria were sent down with flashlights. What they found was a sectioned off area with a dirt floor wherein were masses of cobwebs and a second pantry. When she realized what she was looking at, Maria enthusiastically grabbed Danny by the shoulders and kissed him on the lips. She withdrew, and Danny remained propped on his elbows, dumbfounded for a solid five seconds. Those looking in through hole laughed or smiled—among them James, who bore a happy, hopeful expression marred by the knowledge of Adam’s suicide and the great unknown that still lay ahead of them.

    Their journey had been perilous up to this point, and these last few miles perhaps posed the greatest potential for danger yet, but there was suddenly hope. This led him to a thought, a thought which he wouldn’t have permitted if the atmosphere hadn’t livened up so much and so well: Maybe we won’t die.

    Maybe, James thought again, looking at the back of the boy’s shaggy head while the boy began to stammer something and utterly failed to form a coherent sentence. Maybe we’ll get through this in one piece. We’ve kept our heads above the water this long already. Fives miles is nothing after the multitude we’ve walked.

    “There are several things we need to consider before we make our decision,” James explained in the main room. All the blinds were closed and the curtains were drawn from his previous outburst about one and half hours ago. Then, many his companions had looked on the verge of passing out. Now, however, they were wide awake, listening intently, having resumed their original seats around the room. “First things first,” James said. “The horde passed through here and likely moved onto Fort Carson. We’ve seen evidence of its migration and Adam saw it in the flesh. I don’t believe Fort Carson could withstand it, and I think looking for refuge there is going to be a lost cause, which means we’re setting our sights on Springs and Springs alone.”

    “Let’s not count the fort out just yet,” Domenick said. His expression was still gloomy despite the recent surge of hope among them, his arms crossed as they typically were when he spoke in front of the group. “It’s a military base. It’s too valuable to pass up.”

    “It would be dangerous,” Kurt said.

    “No risk, no reward, nowadays,” Jerry murmured, frowning as he said it. He was leaning on the back of Sasha’s chair, and now she reached up and touched his hand affectionately.

    “I don’t like the idea of leading us all into a place that has in all likelihood been overrun,” James said, his voice definitive.

    “Vultures don’t have the luxury of picking and choosing meals,” Domenick said. Though the extent of his argument was brief, it was also very accurate.

    “But we can,” Danny spoke up from across the room, a fair distance away from Maria. The blush had yet to clear from his face. “We can pick and choose, a little at the very least, thanks to finding the second pantry. Yeah, our situation isn’t that much less dire, but we have options.”

    “Do you have a suggestion?” James asked.

    Danny shrugged. “Not really,” he said, lowering his head apologetically. “Just saying we don’t have to take unnecessary risk.”

    “I have a suggestion,” Kurt said. “You’re probably not going to like it, unfortunately,” he added quickly as heads swiveled to face him.

    “What?” James asked.

    “Well,” he explained, “we simply can’t pass up the fort. I think most of us can agree that we’re going to have to check it out to some capacity no matter what. The food we found here is a luxury which won’t last long, so, yeah, there’s not much choice there. Since we have to search the fort, well...” He swallowed, expression stiffening. “We can minimize the risk.”

    “You’re right. I don’t like where this is going,” Maria said softly, then she let Kurt continue.

    “We split up,” he said. “Ten is too large of a crowd for scouting. If we split up evenly, five or so each is still a significant force. This would let half of us, preferably those of us who are worse off, avoid a risky gambit and the allow the other half to poke around the fort without impediment.”

    “Trying to keep your sleepy ass out of danger, I see,” Tom said jokingly.

    “I had yours in mind, actually,” Kurt replied smartly. He scratched his arm, his countenance once again one of seriousness. “I wouldn’t suggest it if I wasn’t willing to go myself. If we’re going to do this, James, I request to check out the fort with whoever else.”

    James nodded, then turned toward Domenick. “Dom?”

    “I’ll join them,” he said simply. “I’ve got one suggestion, though. Stagger the numbers. No more than three need to go to the fort. Less than that, and I’d feel like sure of a chances against this fox guy. So, Kurt and me. I take it you’d be the third?”

    James once again nodded. “Yeah, if no one sees a problem with that.”

    No one spoke up.

    “So,” he said weakly, “is the decision being left to me, then? Head to Fort Carson en mass or split up with only a few of us picking up.”

    Indifferent shrugs, mostly. A few more nods that were somewhat certain. There was trusting silence which no one broke that did more to unnerve James than assure him. They were relatively complacent with having their lives in his hands.

    [Go to Fort Carson together.]

    [Split up—himself, Kurt, and Dom go to Fort Carson while the others go around toward Colorado Springs.]

  • [Go to Fort Carson together.] I'm going by horror movie logic here, but if there's a psycho skulking around I feel like splitting up is a bad idea. And if the plan goes badly they'd have a tough time reuniting again. I say always stick together no matter what. We're strongest together and all that. Besides, as far as I know Fox guy is just one person, I doubt he'd try to take on the whole group while they're all together.

    NoHopeLeft posted: »

    James, 15-04: It was more of a crawl space than a basement, but it was a godsend nonetheless. An entrance was discovered in the form of a re

  • Maria enthusiastically grabbed Danny by the shoulders and kissed him on the lips.

    D'aaawwww :relaxed: I mean, they sort of were together before, weren't they? I just got the impression that it has been more of a very close friendship before, with both having feelings for the other but neither acting on them, so it is super cute to see something developing in the situation. And Danny's reaction, man :D

    [Go to Fort Carson together.]

    Yeah, splitting up is almost always a terrible idea. As Agent said, Foxy is one guy, a threat to small groups, but not the kind of person I'd see attacking half a dozen people at once. On top of that, there are other dangers that can be easily overcome by a larger group, but which pose a threat to smaller amounts of people. I don't see a good reason to split up, as it would merely make them weaker. Of course, this could avoid danger for those who go directly to Colorado Springs, but at the same time, I fear that this could make them more vulnerable and actually endangered at the same time. Because the way I see it, James, Nightcrawler and Dom are at the moment the best fighters they have, so without them, the remaining group could be overpowered by danger. Who knows what happened at Colorado Springs, this might be even more dangerous than Fort Carson. I wouldn't feel good sending them there without the necessary back-up from the most capable fighters of the group.

    That said, I'd honestly prefer to skip Fort Carson altogether and go directly to Colorado Springs. I don't think the risk they have to undertake to get anything valuable from the fort is worth the reward they get for it. Going there with three people is dangerous, just like going there with ten. But in the end, going there with only a small group sounds even worse for all of them, as it will weaken both groups and put them at danger.

    NoHopeLeft posted: »

    James, 15-04: It was more of a crawl space than a basement, but it was a godsend nonetheless. An entrance was discovered in the form of a re

  • [Go to Fort Carson together.]

    Since, I am pretty sure that both Fort Carson and Colorado Springs were overrun, I think splitting the group up will only weaken them and put both groups in danger.

    NoHopeLeft posted: »

    James, 15-04: It was more of a crawl space than a basement, but it was a godsend nonetheless. An entrance was discovered in the form of a re

  • So I've been rereading this part all day, because it honestly makes me feel great, so I believe it was perfectly executed.

    Anyways, the choice

    [Go to Fort Carson together]

    Because Agent and Liquid have a point. Dom, James, and Kurt are among their best, and if I'm doing my math right, they're leaving the youngest, weakest, and the most vulnerable of the group.

    NoHopeLeft posted: »

    James, 15-04: It was more of a crawl space than a basement, but it was a godsend nonetheless. An entrance was discovered in the form of a re

  • Voting is closed!

    (!) The group will travel to Fort Carson to together

    Next time, on Monument to the Walking Dead, we'll what this choice brings...

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