The Walking Dead: A World's Lullaby (Reader's Choice-Driven Story)
I'm not sure how popular these "forum games" are anymore, but I'd love to try one out. I really enjoy writing, particularly when it comes to characters (relationships with other characters, development throughout the story, etc.) I'm also very invested in the Walking Dead game universe.
When it comes to writing in general, though, I have a tendency to struggle to keep a steady storyline going. I have a lot of different ideas flowing around in my head, and I debate with myself over which direction to take it in. The end result is a poorly-paced story with a good but wasted concept behind it.
So, that's where you readers come in. I'm hoping we can help each other out. If there are still folks on this board that like to participate in users' interactive stories, then I hope I can entertain you, as that's my main goal: to tell a great story and entertain my readers. In return, by submitting your choices for what to do in the story, you'll be keeping my mind busy, allowing me to take different paths.
I'm not sure if this is the standard format for these posts, because I'm very new here, but here's the way I plan to do it:
- At the end of each chapter (there will be a varying amount of chapters per episode), a choice will be presented to the main character, Adrian.
- You can cast your vote on which choice you want to go with in a reply.
- Whichever choice gets the most votes will be the choice that occurs in the story.
- EVERY choice will matter (I have a loose idea of where the story will go, but the majority of the events will be decided by the readers), but the final choice of an episode will be more impactful than others. There will be an extra post that comes AFTER the final chapter labeled the "ending", which just shows the aftermath of the choice that was made, and the ending for that episode.
One last note: The Walking Dead has a LOT of characters. I don't plan to include any existing characters from the games in this series (and I don't like the show at all, so I certainly won't include any of those characters) so if you see a name that you've seen in the series before, it's just because there's very few common names that haven't already been given to a character. There's no connection. If I do end up deciding to include an already existing character, I'll make it fairly obvious that it's them through their description.
Without further ado, I'll get started with this story. I look forward to getting feedback, and I hope that you all enjoy!
The Walking Dead: A World's Lullaby
Episode One: Burden to Bear
"Adrian, there's...there's a lot of cars outside."
The voice came from Sophia, a 16 year-old girl with blonde hair, who currently donned her uniform. She found herself at her brother's place of work- a gas station convenience store. He'd aided her in getting a job there, and although she complained at first, she eventually learned to accept it, as there were no other places nearby that were hiring. Now, she stood at the glass door of the building, peering through the mountain of ad fliers pasted onto it at the vast amount of cars in the road.
"It's just a traffic jam, Soph." Adrian replied as he walked into the room. He'd been restocking the freezer in the back. It was currently 6:32 AM, and the store was meant to open at 6:45 AM.
"I dunno. Maybe we're finally getting nuked." Sophia giggled to herself with that comment.
"C'mon, Soph, I told you to stop joking like that. It worries me. It's too...y'know, dark."
"Everything worries you, man." Sophia turned around and punched her brother's arm playfully. He let out a sigh of faux annoyance as he picked up a remote from the counter, turning on the small T.V. kept in the corner behind the counter. It was his only real source of entertainment.
"So, is it just us today? I thought your boss was coming in." Soph had turned around again, staring out the window now for a better view. "What was his name again?"
"Malcolm. And he is coming in today. We're just early." The brother replied, glancing at a mirror he'd placed behind the counter for himself. He was a 6'2 Asian-American guy with a clean-shaven face. His hair was longer than usual, as he'd decided to grow it out shoulder-length out of curiosity. He wasn't exactly satisfied with how it looked, but he'd been putting off having to go get a haircut.
"Can't imagine why." The girl said sarcastically gesturing to the immense traffic jam outside. Adrian didn't look at it, though. His eyes were glued to the television. Concerned, his sister approached him.
"Shh." Adrian cut her off as he increased the TV's volume. "Listen."
The news anchor, an ordinary-looking man in a suit, read from a paper that had just been laid on his desk. "Okay, it seems we have confirmed at least 7 of the reports that came in this morning regarding the 'incidents' with seemingly ill individuals. We're told that exact details of the case are confidential, but that all citizens are asked to avoid contact with anyone suspected to be afflicted with this disease.
A woman and another man came on screen suddenly, crouching near the man and discussing something with him for about twenty seconds before walking away.
"Uh, yes, and we've just been informed that most areas of the city are blocked off due to traffic. Anyone listening should-"
"Adrian, someone's coming." Sophia's voice caught Adrian's attention. He looked towards the door, where she was now standing. Sure enough, a figure was approaching slowly.
Adrian grabbed his sister's shoulder, gently pulling her behind him. The figure moved closer...
The man seemed to be built fairly tough. He wore a brown collared shirt and a pair of cargo pants, held up with a black leather belt. His light brown hair was unkempt, as if he'd just woke up, but his hazel eyes were wide-open, giving him an expression of pure fear. Adrian recognized this man as his boss, Malcolm. He was the store's manager.
"Malcolm?" Adrian whispered to himself quietly, reaching out to unlock the door. Sophia grabbed his wrist.
Confused, he looked at Malcolm again, who was now standing right in front of the door. He noticed that his manager was clutching his hand- and that his hand was covered in blood. A lot of blood.
"A-Adrian, thank God you're here already..." Malcolm half-shouted, so that the siblings could hear through the door. He sounded a bit distant, and he appeared to be breathing unnaturally quickly. "Please, unlock the door."
"Adrian...?" Sophia whispered. "What were they talking about on the TV...? What 'infection'....?"
"Some kind of virus, or something, I..." The boy swallowed. "I'm not really sure."
"We should let him in, right...?" His sister asked, still whispering. "He's bleeding bad..."
"Adrian, please." Malcolm spoke a bit louder. "This hurts like hell. There's a first-aid kit under the counter, I just...need to clean this up, I think."
"Malcolm..." Adrian replied, also speaking up so that his voice would be heard through the door. "How did you get injured? Did it have anything to do with what they're saying on TV?"
"Man, I have no idea what's going on. I thought it was a hoax at first, but I had to hop out of my car to jog here, because of the traffic jam..." He wiped the sweat from his forehead. "This girl came out of the woods and tried to attack me. If there's really a bug going around, she had it. I swear, though, she didn't get too close. I just...I got hurt. That's all."
Malcolm winced a bit, clutching his hand tighter than before as he looked around. Behind him was the parking lot, and just outside of that, cars were still packed tightly onto the road in one of the worst traffic jams the town of Lexington had ever seen.
"Can...can we please hurry this up? You're a fantastic employee, Adrian, so please unlock this door."
Adrian looked at Sophia. She clung to his arm slightly, looking up at him with a concerned expression. "We can't just send him away..."
He closed his eyes and thought for a moment. He thought about how morally, he shouldn't turn away someone he knows that needs help, but at the same time, he was scared. On the off chance that this "sickness" going around was something more, something WORSE than what the news said, he needed to be cautious. Malcolm would fire him if he was wrong, and if he wasn't ill, maybe not letting him in would change that.
But letting him in meant endangering Sophia.
"B-behind you!" Sophia yelled. Adrian blinked, startled out of his train of thought. He watched his manager slowly turn around. A few more people were walking towards the door.
Well, not walking, really. Shuffling is more accurate. They each seemed to have some varying amount of blood on them, particularly around their mouths, and their eyes were a yellowish tint. Adrian stared in disbelief as they entered the parking lot, about 50 feet away from where Malcolm stood.
The manager turned around, still holding his wound. "ADRIAN, UNLOCK THE DOOR!"
Sophia began to shake. "W-what are those people doing? Are they hurt too?"
"Those people are infected, man!" Malcolm yelled. "You can't leave me out here!"
Adrian looked at his sister, then at his boss, and finally, at the door's lock.
[Let Malcolm inside]
[Back away from the door]