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Dead Heart: DigitalSiren X Pox

Dr. Pox

Super-Earth
Joined
Jun 18, 2019
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How long has it been? Three years? Four? It probably doesn't matter. The World ended. No more. No less. Everyone that cared as to how and why is long dead. It's not something you could fix. It was just that one new fact of life became the norm. If you died by anything other than a shot to the head. You became one of Them...

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Whether it was some kind of prion, virus, fungus, whatever. A person would die, and then just get right back up, and start eating another people. One bite, then a day later, they would do the same thing. Rinse Repeat. Despite the guns, despite the tanks, the aircraft, the bombs. You couldn't contain this thing. It was everywhere. Society collapsed in a few days. Morality in a few weeks. A month later, the dead outnumbered the living.

Entire cities silent, save for the moans.

Hiroki Sakimoto at the time of the outbreak was 17. Thankfully, he was the athletic outdoorsy type. His father gave him a gun before getting himself killed keeping the peace. His mother and sister died fleeing the city. He managed to get back home, back to his apartment. He lost touch with his girlfriend. Grandparents. The TV went out, then the internet, and finally the power. He was alone in a new dark world. But Hiroki was nothing, if not a survivor, and luck of his situation rendered him the perfect hide out. An entire mostly empty apartment complex with big heavy fire doors. He could clear out one floor for supplies to last him a week, then move onto the next. Then secure a whole wing of the building. Then move onto the others. Bit by bit, floor by floor, thinning the numbers on the apartment grounds until he managed to get to the gate. Thick bars and concrete walls. He fought to make the complex his fortress, his haven.

Solar panels provided power... Tarps and buckets caught rainwater. He'd need the occasional supply run into the city, and ward off the occasional raider and looter. He was a survivor, and as the years passed, it only cemented that fact.

Present Day:

Hiroki had rolled a T-shirt down his chest and abs inside of his dank apartment room. He was going to go out today. He needed more copper wire the panel. Plant food for his little rooftop garden. Maybe a replacement radio. He had gotten a signal, an SOS before but it was so muddled and scratchy he couldn't get them back. The signal is still there, he wondered if there was actual survivors still in the city. He'd also hit some of the convenience stores three blocks over. Probably expired candy bars, but they were still good despite being discolored.

He dipped a toothbrush into a glass of water and began to brush, his long messy red hair almost completely covering his eyes as he looked back at himself in the mirror. He didn't know why he still shaved, waste of water, but it was part of the ritual, part of looking like he had his shit together. He took his brush to the balcony, sliding the door and looking out into the courtyard below.

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Same cars. Same parking lot. Same wall and same gate, most of it covered to keep the undead from looking inside. Avoiding hordes had been his key to his peaceful little mundane life. He took a set of binoculars off of the nearby table and scanned the street outside of the wall from his room on the 10th floor. There he caught a familiar sight.

There was one of them, a girl. Probably his age, a little younger maybe when she was bitten. He'd seen her out there, on the street on occasion. He swore she was looking up at him sometimes. It was... strange.
 

DigitalSiren

Some girls have always had a thing for the wolf...
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Jan 8, 2020
Time stood still when you were dead, for that is what Mirai was. Dead, at eighteen. There was a foggy memory of what it had once been like before. There had been more people once, a bustling crowd. She could sort of recall it, though when she tried to focus on the brightly colored memories they vanished into smoke. She didn't remember how she died, but something inside told her she was no longer what she had once been. It was hard to hold thoughts for any period of time. In the stream of her mind her thoughts were like bright colored koi, but as she reached out to capture any one thought, the shadow of that desire frightened the thought away and it sped off.

There was another time she could remember too, one less shiny and bright and not all together that long ago. Screams, the feel of her teeth biting into... The memory faded and Mirai felt a small flicker of relief. Those memories she didn't like. There had been a time when even in those memories she wasn't alone. She was alone now though. It wasn't so bad, most of the time at least.

--past--
She could hear noises outside, people screaming. She'd gone to 7-11 for some snacks before studying, thinking maybe it would help her keep focus. Now, Mirari wished she'd stayed home. She'd dressed for a quick run to the store. Pale yellow tank top, a pair of comfy jean shorts and a pair of converse. Now she was hiding in the freezer with the cashier, hoping no one else would try and get in.

She didn't understand what was happening. A woman outside had been slammed against the front glass of the store while another woman bit her. There had been more screaming after that and the cashier had grabbed her arm dragging her towards the back. More screams had echoed around them as the two sat huddled together, their breath coming out in little puffs of fog. She had been wondering how long they could stay in here when the freezer door opened. A man fighting to close the door, something on the other side growling.

What happened next was like a blur. She'd run for it, managing to get past the man and his attacker, but she didn't make it much further. In the street a little girl had bitten her on her thigh and then the world had gone fuzzy.

--now--
Gazing up at the apartment building Mirai wondered if the man would come out today. She liked him. The feeling was a baser emotion most of the time. However, there were flashes of something more every so often. She'd followed him here, shambling after him at a slow pace. Something about him drawing her in. Wind rustled through the parking lot, lifting her matted hair on the breeze, the once shimmering silver dingy from years of dirt and grime.

Most of her was covered in such to some degree, her yellow shirt stained with dried blood.. and other things, part of it missing, baring the slender intake of her waist. At some point she'd lost a shoe too. It didn't matter to her, such things didn't occur to her. Most things actually didn't occur to her. He did though. So she waited to catch sight of him again. Sometimes she moved, she didn't know why, but never did she stray too far.
 
OP
Dr. Pox

Dr. Pox

Super-Earth
Joined
Jun 18, 2019
She was in her spot like normal. There on the street just outside the gate. He thought about offing her a few times. Shed be trouble if he got out through the front gate and into the parkinglot. But as luck would have it, he didnt need to go out when he first noticed her. She was out there for like a week, leaving for a few hours, then coming right back. Even the occasional horde which gathered up the zombies didnt seem to budge her. If anything it was her patient still form that made her stand out to him.

Hair like silver. Accented with faded yellow tank top and ratty shape forming jeans. Must have been a sexy little thing at one point. The more he looked, the more cute he thought of her. It seemed as if she was still fresh, no decay or anything. At one point, he didnt think of them as people anymore. It helped what needed to be done, but boredom, tedium, and just plain longing for a connection made him give her a name. Hoshi. It meant star. Her silver hair reminding him of it... he wondered if death faded it. Poor girl.

He got ready. He wore a gray vest with pockets for his food, water, maps, tools, mirror, and other odds and ends. He had some belt straps for his arms and legs. This carried his knife, multi tool, first aid kit, fire crackers, a heavy sharpened screwdriver, and a 9mm with two extra clips. Last resort. The last thing was an empty backpack for stuffing supplies, a crowbar, and a hunting lever action rifle. This was for any game he came across. The occassional deer, raccoon, or dog was worth the noise and bullet for the meat, if it wasnt too big. This was all over a dusty coat. He lined the exterior with paper and duct tape making makeshift armor on his wrists, forearms, shoulders and collar, to match the thick pants on his legs. He only wore a headband to keep his hair from his face. Thick gloves with the ends cut for manipulation. He went for light but practical.

He descended the stairs, moving his barricades and out into the lobby. The front door was stuffed with furniture and taped over. The heavy fire escape on the side of the building was one of his main entries. He walked over to the front gate, more things piled up to keep peering eyes from looking inside. He had a couple of places to mount over the wall, but getting back was a bit trickier. A day trip was worth keeping the front gate unlocked when he came home. He moved one of the cardboard boxes.

Hoshi was standing there, only a few feet apart, cast iron gates and a pile of junk separated then. "Morning Hoshi." He said to the zombie girl as he went through the effort of unlocking and unlatching the gate, checking a moment if it would slide to let him in but just for a sec before closing it again. As far as he knew, doors, even sliding ones were beyond zombie understanding. "How's it going?" He asked her, not expecting an answer.

He then went nearby, a step stool set up to allow him to vault over the wall. Atop it, he checked the street and lot one last time. It was only Hoshi, maybe another one off in the distance. He rather not risk a kill on the open streets, even if hes become pretty good at it. A mistake could summon more.

He kept a very healthy distance between her as he jumped off into the parking lot and turned toward the open street. "Have a good one." He said with a slight wave and a grin, knowing full well she'd probably be in hot if shambeling pursuit. He was confident to be able to lose her by the next block.

Humanizing the dead, maybe he was going a bit crazy.
 

DigitalSiren

Some girls have always had a thing for the wolf...
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Jan 8, 2020
She could hear him long before she saw him, his feet sounding on the empty stairwell. She watched soundlessly as he moved boxes, though watching is a bit of a stretch. She stood there soundlessly, facing towards the gate. Marai was aware of things that happened around her, but her thoughts were like mashed potato, rather than soup. Wading through them was difficult, if not downright impossible sometimes. Something about him though made it a bit easier. Like she was aware he'd spoken, what he had said was less easy to peace together, but the tone had sounded friendly.

Marai was not aware of how broken she was as a zombie. She had the understanding of a puppy, perhaps and that might have been generous. She no longer had the urge to feed on flesh, which is what made her so docile. There was more too. She had taken a shine to Hiroki, though she didn't know his name. She didn't even know what drew her to him. That was far too complex for her to handle. She found him cute, but there was more that her zombie brain couldn't process. He didn't kill her, he was almost kind. He greeted her. True, he likely thought himself insane, but to her virus riddled brain it made her.. happy.

When he was near, she felt more like she had before it all had gone pear shaped. She made a sound in her throat, her vocal cords rough from years of disuse. "Urrrgh" It was a response to his own words. Shuffling some, she made another noise and then another. It almost seemed like she was trying to converse, but she also would make noise even if he hadn't said anything. There was a hint though of what her voice might have sounded like once upon a time. Sweet and soft, though now it was husky and low.

Eyes seemingly watched him. In her brain, she knew he was safe. How did she know? She couldn't have told anyone had she been able to speak. It was like sense, knowing when others were near. Most of the zombies closest to where Hiroki lived were in the same sort of confounding position she was in; not all though. There were packs of feral zombies that still herded through the city, they had no interest in Marai or others like her, but Hiroki would be in danger. They were almost like a pack of rabid dogs, working together as they hunted. Mostly at this point they went after animals unlucky enough to stumble into their path.

As Hiroki set off, Marai waited for a few moments before following him. It wasn't the first time she'd followed him around like this. She kept her distance and seemed more than happy to just observe. Watching what he picked up, or seemed to look for. As she followed him, like every time before, she never seemed to get too close, almost like she didn't want to scare him. Normally at least a bus length away from him, always near, always seeming to watch.

She really was like a brain dead puppy as she stalked his steps. Sometimes he would ditch her and rather than try to find him, she'd head back to his apartment to wait for his return. When he ditched her, it made Marai nervous. At least, it felt like something resembling nervousness. She knew others were out there and when he wasn't home or was out of her sight, she worried for him. That worry dimly known for what it was, though what could she do with such a feeling? Marai barely knew what most of her feelings were, if at all.

As they walked Marai stopped, looking at a flower that was growing at the base of a tree near the edge of his parking lot. It's bright blue petals drawing her attention. Pausing she stared at it for a long while. Pretty. The thought was basic, but for the moment, she could put the feeling to a word. However it quickly slipped away and she started following him once more.
 
OP
Dr. Pox

Dr. Pox

Super-Earth
Joined
Jun 18, 2019
Despite simple pleasantries, Hiroki didn't last this long by being careless. His head on a swivel, keeping away from any potential hiding places like cars, trash cans, and even then would take a moment to check his corners before winding around them. So far, so good. Things were hectic in the first months, not only getting used to things, but because the hordes and the looters. It was a hot bed of gunfire and regular fire. After the first year, there was a noticable decline. The dead had wandered out of the cities. There was less survivors. Less supplies. The next year, he suspected that decay was settling in. He had his eyes on a nearly mummified woman across the street, he waited, crowbar in hand but the zombie's attention went elsewhere, looking at a poster, almost bewildered by it.

He also had to keep an eye on his... friend. She was following him, the noises meaning she went back to life in his presence. He 'activated' her and she was on the hunt... but that wasn't quite right. She should be a little faster. A little more direct but she staggered after him, slowly. Slow enough that he could take his time going from hiding place to hiding place. He was definitely puzzled when her attention went to something on the ground. Nature had retaken much of the city, and the asphalt was cracked crab grass shooting up. The flowers that adorned his apartment had grown into patches at the roots of the tree. It was enough to give him a second glance, take a mental note. Maybe with the decay they lost interest, or couldn't see or hear him quite so much.

He was back on course when Hoshi peered up from her distraction and closed the distance. He rolled his eyes and smirked. Blue flowers. Maybe he should just get a bunch of bright paint and use that to lure them away. His problems would be over. Still it was worth an experiment. He left the complex and was heading east, moving away from the skyrises towards one of the larger streets.

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Not two blocks away did he get to the remains of the market district. There was a time he didn't head in this direction. The gunshots that came from here were deafening, maddening. But it's quiet now. Alot of looters in the early days, but bodegas and shops were crammed onto streets next to department stores, strip malls, cinemas, and arcades. There were busted open windows, but some of these places had their shudders down meaning their interiors might be a treasure waiting to be uncracked.

Hiroki went through one alley, passing a corpse that was finished off and left to rot. Another pile of gnawed bones lie just at the end of the alleyway. He looked onto the street and saw a potential place for a bit more food. It was just a simple little convenience store between a clothing shop and a massive multi floored department story. There was scratches, indents, the odd grafetti, but he figured out where you could put a little leverage to bust the lock. It would be tough to open the shudders if they weren't greased, and most importantly loud, but then it was a matter of just smashing through the front door. Still kind of loud.

He looked back over his shoulder, almost forgetting his shadow, Hoshi wouldn't have too much difficulty following him, cause he seemed more focused on other threats. They'd pass over graffetti murals and the remains of long fought battles and the remains of barricades. He was expecting every corner to have an undead that he forgot to give her the slip. Still she hadn't approached. Did.. did she know better? He counted himself lucky, he hadn't needed to risk cracking a skull.

He then noticed the fire escape, and a moved dumpster seemed close enough to it. He gave Hoshi another passing glance as he approached her, closing their distance by half, but only so he could climb the dumpster. He stood upon it, and then effortlessly, he made the jump, grabbing a rung and pulling himself up, staring with his own bicep before hooking a foot. He pulled himself onto the first landing and exhaled. He clamored a bit, making some noise, but it seemed like the alley was clear. He looked down at Hoshi from above and gave her a little wave. "Just going in." He whispered, the echo of the alley carrying his voice. "Stay out of trouble." He would then use his crowbar to jimmy the window, and then make a slow cautious clearance of the room.

The building that Hiroki broke into was the second floor of a petstore, cafe, and phone kiosk. The second floor seemed to be the homes of the shop owners or were just smaller apartments themselves. The place was pretty cleaned out, the owners leaving in a hurry. He scrounged what he could before moving downstairs and entering the pet store, or more like a pet bakery. Frankly he was a little surprised. The place was untouched. Cans of dogfood and kibble. Cat Litter and leashes, there was even doggie bakery cookies, or what was left of them. No body would raid a pet store for supplies, but food and meat were hard to come by, even if it was pretty disgusting to eat. The exterior wasn't shuddered, its window wide open with friendly pink letters to the front of it. If anyone was so inclined, one could look through the storefront windows and seeing him check out the sealed cans and bags of food with friendly cartoon animals on them before placing a few in his backpack.

With atleast four walls around him, Hiroki didn't need to be so quiet, and it was possible that something outside could hear him rummaging. One such thing was another zombie, an older man in a ragged suite, completely stained with blood as most of his face and his neck was ripped off. He tilted his head behind him slightly when he heard some noise, but for the most part seemed content to sit on his park bench, his milky eyes seemingly to be staring at a movie theater across the street, his hands at his sides. He was groaning something to himself, rythmically, as if trying to catch a tune. He was like Marai, finding some sense of peace and sad lonliness in a mind that can't comprehend it. He is passive, groaning as he sits on his bench.
 

DigitalSiren

Some girls have always had a thing for the wolf...
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Jan 8, 2020
Bright blue paint wouldn't be enough to distract them, as it wasn't the color that had drawn her away, not entirely at least. The delicate petals dancing in the breeze had caught her eye; maybe it was they looked like a group of fairies bending to and fro, though Marai didn't know what had attracted her. Pretty was the closest thing to a reason she had. Her dalliance didn't last too long and she was able to catch up to him once more, keeping her normal distance away from him. Her shambling steps were slow, and other than that flower, she didn't seem aware of much else as they walked beyond his progress. Marai seemed almost like she was playing follow the leader; what he did, she did. When he paused, even though she was quite some distance, she also stopped and waited until he moved once more.

When he moved closer to her, her shambling footfalls came to a halt. She purposely didn't come closer as she watched him climb the dumpster. Cloudy amber eyes watched him as he made the jump with little effort and climbed well above her head. No noise came from her as he spoke to her, the words mostly lost on the poor zombie girl. Some part of her brain understood the gist though. Watching him disappear she waited for a few moments before shambling back down the street. What drove her to move, she didn't know. For some reason, she wanted the blue flower.

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The small patch of blue was charming, the blue deeper towards the edges of the petals with a vibrant white center. Crouching near the flowers, she watched them dance on the gentle breeze for a little while, easily distracted by their frolicking. Something in her mind connected the blue to Hiroki and drove her to do something she never had before. Fingers reached out, brushing against the petals before finding the stalks. Three flowers were picked before Marai unsteadily rose to her feet. Flowers in hand, she moved back towards where she'd last seen him.

She might have missed him, had it not been for the noise. It drew her, somehow she knew it was Hiroki. Standing before the window, she held the flowers out to him. Still like a statue until he noticed her. What could possibly be going through her brain? Honestly not much, her actions were unknown to her. Had she still been human, she might have picked them for him because she wanted to see him smile as she stood outside of the shop. They would have had to have been close for that though and even before the apocalypse they had never met. Marai had been a shy girl before, she'd never really even dated. She hadn't been one of those girls who had sent or received letters admitting feelings. It hadn't been that she wasn't beautiful or smart; Marai had just been shy.

Being a zombie seemed to have cured her of that affliction, at least in part. Watching him as he picked through the store, her hand still held aloft. Things like weariness didn't seem to bother her, the pain or feeling of burning that would have occurred had she still been alive non-existent. She could see her reflection in the store's window and for a moment she seemed lost in it, as in what could only be considered a smile curled at the edges of her mouth. It was a tiny smile, but it softened her face slightly as her eyes found him once more.
 
OP
Dr. Pox

Dr. Pox

Super-Earth
Joined
Jun 18, 2019
He turned his head after filling what he could into his pack. Her motion, her shadow silhouetted into the store. Hoshi was there. His shadow. His strange friend. She should have been banging on the glass, but her hand seemed to be holding something. He might not have even noticed it were it not for the sun shine glowing down the street. Something small... blue. He stood up, getting a little closer and putting the bag back around his shoulders. He had the crow bar in his hand just in case something surprised him.

While Marai was looking at herself, he actually got closer then they ever had, his face coming clear into the window as his eyes focused on what she held. A flower... a flower and holding it up at shoulder level. His first thought was... what the hell? He never seen zombies actually grab things, much less carry them, hold them up. They only used their hands to grab, to bang, to tear down, to reach their target. He was... almost stunned. He looked at Hoshi face, a look of strange calm on her face. Almost... contentment. She found a flower but as she looked in the window at herself, then him. He, couldn't help but smirk himself. "Bringing me a flower huh Hoshi?" He grinned and put a hand on the window, taking a moment how she would react, see if he could get that reaction, that sudden bite and reach if even through the thick reinforced windows.

If he got a less then usual response, he had to wonder what was up. Was this some kind of, new tactic? Were they- no, getting smarter. This was just a coincidence, but Hoshi had been acting weird, not normal since he noticed her. He lowered his hand with a little huff. "You asking me out or something. A couple of years ago, I would in a heartbeat." He sighed and shoke his head. "Really hope I don't have to-" As cute as she was, she was still one of them. He knew as long as he was talking to her, as long as she was around, he'd have to 'free' her at some point. He thought he should now, but her smile. It was refreshing despite everything.

All he could do was turn deeper into the store, make his way behind the counter to the kitchen.

Little did he know, the front door was unlocked, and one simply needed to push inward to enter the store.

-----

Meanwhile... just down the road.

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A growing moan was uttering followed by hundreds of footfalls. A horde. A hunting pack of them, all walking together. A massive wall of flesh and rigid claws and gnashing teeth. Many zombies weren't like Marai, still feeling the hunger. But some of them went so much worse. Their desire for hunger was so great that they could almost jog towards their prey. A horde always had one of these types, like their rage just caused others to fall in line. The biggest ones had a bunch of these beserkers, all of them somehow leading and directing their horde through the dead cities and country sides. In a few minutes they'd be filling the streets, the alleys, they'd be bumping against doors and window and swarming at every sound and sign of motion. Their passing could be from a few minutes, to days depending on the size. Hiroki was always in his home during a horde, this was the first time his... his luck might finally run out.
 

DigitalSiren

Some girls have always had a thing for the wolf...
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Jan 8, 2020
It was as close as they had ever been, a thin sheet of glass the only barrier between them. Something within Marai shifted slightly, but it wasn't the zombie like urges that had once been her only drive. It was something softer, more like the human she had once been. Like most feelings, thoughts it vanished quickly enough and as it did her arm lowered, the flower with it. Her eyes moved to his hand, and for a moment, just a moment a thought filtered through her undead brain; placing her hand across from his own. Her hand even rose to start when she heard the first sounds of the horde. If she'd had a heart that still beat, her heart rate might have spiked in fear.

They were a little ways off, the building acting like a sound tunnel, pushing the sound of the horde ahead as like a warning siren of their approach. Turning she looked off into the distance, knowing what the sound heralded. Abstract thoughts like jagged glace skipped along the surface of her mind; Marai knew the horde would have little interest in her, she was much like them. However, Hiroki would be in danger. That was all she really understood, not the how or why of it, but danger. It alone spurred a new feeling in her, to protect. It was as if, for a moment, the fog cleared and she knew she needed to protect him.

Shuffling away from Hiroki, she moved towards the door. It was the first true sign of something other than the oddities she'd presented thus far; Marai leaned against the door. Underneath her weight the door slid inwards with a chime and she shuffled into the store, the same chime sounding as the door closed behind her. She didn't move from in front of the door. That protective clarity quickly vanished. She'd wanted to get inside with him, to protect him, but where did she go from there? Even against a horde she wouldn't be of much help. She didn't register that he'd have heard the bell and would come to investigate. What it might mean to him she was now inside with him. The danger it put her in.

That light was fast fading in her brain and she turned to look out the window. How she knew the horde would be here soon, she didn't know. It wasn't like a hive mind or if it ever had been, she was no longer a part of it. Marai didn't crave human flesh and even knowing he was within the store did not drive that once old urge back to the forefront. Looking to the door, with the last of that spark, Marai found the lock. She was trying to lock the door, making soft sounds. The sounds sounded... scared. He would soon enough see the reason for her fear. The bright blue of the flower in her hand flashing for a moment as she slid it into the hole where a pin should have slipped, but Marai's flash was officially gone.
 
OP
Dr. Pox

Dr. Pox

Super-Earth
Joined
Jun 18, 2019
Ding ding
ding ding


"Shit." He didnt check the door.

He ran back into the main room, the store. Hoshi's gray hair and bits of yellow and blue could be seen but her back was too him. He didnt see what she was doing, but knew that he would be cornered and stuck if he didnt deal with her now. He raised his crowbar and apologized silently. He would be doing her a favor.

Then came the growing moan... then movement outside. He immediately knew what was happening. He felt his blood run cold as he had to make a decision. If any of them saw him, theyd alert the others and hed be in this building for hours, if not days, provided he could barricade the stairs in time. He was far from the stairs on one side, but close to the counter. He made a split decision and dived over the counter with a pretty loud thud.

By some miracle... her pawing at the door actually locked it- and just in time too. A zombie at the head was shouldering the window and then ended up in the nook where the door lied. The bald man without lips caught a glimpse of Marai past the door with white eyes and immediately dismissed her before continuing on, though there would be dozens others who would do the same as like a parade or a riot, they filled the streets, casting their shadows into the remains of the store.

They were alone now, Hiroki was sitting behind the counter, his hand placing his crowbar down for the quieter screwdriver shiv. He looked around him, only finding a box of replacement dog toys, one of them squeaking gently when he moved it. He cursed himself, but kept his mouth shut. It would only be a matter of time hed have to slay Hoshi. He prepared himself.

Wait a moment, she got in, doors unlocked. The chime resounded twice.... but it was quiet aside from the incessant groan and shuffle just past the window.

The door is unlocked with a push... why isnt the door opening? Hoshi's back was to him... no way. No way. He mentally wrestled with logic. She locked the door? That's no possible.

But that still didnt fix the issue. He was crouch sitting by the counter, technically trapped as moving could mean someone could see him. The stairs were across the store some 10 meters away... it was risky.
 

DigitalSiren

Some girls have always had a thing for the wolf...
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Jan 8, 2020
She would have never seen the blow, had Hiroki followed through, too focused on her single minded goal of protecting him. Marai didn't even know that she'd managed to lock the door, she just watched with dead eyes as the horde hit the street they were on. Marai couldn't tell their numbers, but by the sounds of undead as they passed by, the footfalls and sounds of the dead, it was not an insignificant number.

There seemed to be enough forethought to not move, though when she heard the soft squeak of the toy her head turned slightly. Her eyes focused on the toy and she shook her head just once, before turning to keep her vigil at the front of the store. The shambles of the horde moved past the windows like a river, some would pause to look at her, but soon lost interest when they noticed she was dead just like them.

The noises slowly began to fade, time ticking by at the same glacial pace in which her kind moved. Nearly fifteen minutes had passed before she made a sound in her throat. The horde was still close, but the intimidate danger had passed, at least for the moment. Turning, Marai moved to one side of the door, as if letting him past, should he wish to.

Dead brain cells flickered and she turned her head to look out the window, only looking back as she heard him move. There seemed to be a light in her eyes, if just a dim one as she watched him as he emerged from his cover. The fear she should have had wasn't there, not at the moment at least. In her sweet little zombie brain she was just happy he was safe. She didn't see the very real danger he likely saw when he looked at her.

That was the odd thing about how her brain worked, when it worked. She saw things they way a puppy or even a toddler might. In simple colors and shapes. She'd been scared for him, he was now safe. Happy Marai. It was quite that simple. The one problem was now done with and others faded.
 
OP
Dr. Pox

Dr. Pox

Super-Earth
Joined
Jun 18, 2019
Seconds ticked by, then minutes. The rush of adrenaline faded as his heart beat slowed. He was afraid to move, to even breath, but over time, just seeing the shadows drift by, he began to feel the sweat of his heavy clothes, and the aches of his kneeling position. He eventually settled to slowly get into a sitting position, but his head remained fixed on the counter knowing any moment Hoshi would come find him.

Then the shadows stopped their shuffle, only ones and twos, then nothing. There was still a presence. Something groaning and shuffling.

Hiroki began to get up, gripping his shiv, he peered over the counter. A single silverhaired figure by the door. She barely moved... but seemed to be looking at him, but, not approaching. He felt like she was waiting for him. There was an odd serenity about her. She reminded him of a manequin that smiled at customers. Something approachable if uncanny.

He got up slowly, his eyes glancing at the room for a moment to make sure nothing else got in. He approached, seeing the flower wedged in the door, the deadbolt in place.

"Okay..." he said quietly. "Okay." He held a hand up open palm as if approaching a strange dog. His other hand had thr shiv. He was torn. Kill her was the safe way. But there was too many strange things about her. He had at times wondered if the dead could remember themselves, strange behaviors hed seen on occasion, but she was very deliberate, direct, and hadnt threatened him unlike the others.

Dare he test it? Experiment? See if theres something more then coincidence? He looked around. Dog toys, leashes, dried chewy treats like pig ears. One of the toys with a knotted rope for dogs to pull on. It was about a foot, foot and a half long. If... he had a crazy idea. If he could get that rope in her mouth, tie it off, hed have essentially a gag for her, a muzzle. Then the leashes would make bonds. If he planned this right, he could render her harmless.

He reached for the rope, a long knotted piece of bright striped colors. He had the screwdriver in one hand, but stretched the piece of rope taut between his hands. His fingers and his face would be the points hed have to protect. Now to make her come forward. "Hey, Hoshi. So umm." He grinned nervously, then making a big toothy smile. "Why not, uhh chew on this okay?" He said to her not really knowing what to say, but prepping for her to lunge at him. "Come here." He made motions with his hands as if to beckon her.
 

DigitalSiren

Some girls have always had a thing for the wolf...
Staff member
Moderator
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Jan 8, 2020
She might as well have been the mannequin Hiroki pictured, for even when he cautiously peeked out she didn't move. There was some sort of survival instinct buried in her dead brain that was reappearing as her desire for flesh faded. Without knowing how she knew, Marai knew better than to move. Sudden movements would be met with hostility. Like a small child knowing that the glowing red of a stove would hurt, without trying to touch. Beyond tracking his movements with her eyes, Marai didn't move a single muscle, that was at least until he approached her.

She turned to face him, her movements slow. This was than deliberate, her body just slow to respond. The connections everywhere, much like her slow absent thoughts finding it hard to connect. Her eyes rested on the outstretched hand, watching as he neared her. The words he spoke were still unknown to her, but the tone clear. At least for her. He meant her no harm. Though her eyes shifted at one point to his other hand and she took a step backwards, eyes on the shiv. The reaction was involuntary, her body knowing something her mind couldn't piece together.

She watched him, almost as if she was puzzled as he looked about the store. Her mind honestly didn't process any of it, at least not like it would have, had she been human. Her head tilted to one side as he lifted the bright colored rope. Her eyes draw to the colors; it didn't have the same effect as her flower did. Her eyes shifted to him as he spoke. Though she looked at him, for a moment it was as if no one was home. His smile was the focus of her eyes next. She wasn't aware, but Hiroki had a nice smile, even if he was nervous. She couldn't fully appreciate it though. When he spoke, she shifted slightly, looking at him. What he said made no sense to the poor little zombie girl.

What did, was the motions with his hands. Something in her eyes seemed to light up, and she looked to him for a long moment, as if debating listening. In truth, it wasn't some internal debate, but rather her brain trying to function once more. Like a care trying to turn over, there was a lot of nothing and then, that spark. The words still wouldn't make sense, but she was able to recognize the come here motion. Even after her mind put the two together she hesitated, her sense of self preservation at war with his desires. Something in her mind, warned her to be careful, that he held a weapon. Not that she knew what a weapon was, it only recognized the danger present. Moments would pass before her first hesitant step.

As she closed the small distance, at the crawl of a zombie, her eyes would shift just as slowly from him to the weapon and back. It was clear at least on some level, she noticed the danger, but still decided to talk closer. She stopped within arms reach, unwilling to step closer. Whatever it was within that knew the danger prevented her from taking that next step. Before him, she met his eyes. There was still that sparkle of life, if not faded and dim that lingered. For whatever reason, Hiroki brought that spark out in her. The closer she got, the more she seemed to have it. Or, it wasn't him, it was purely time. It wasn't like she knew.

Once more, she was still, as if waiting for his next command. Had she been able to speak, or process what he might be thinking, she likely wouldn't have been a fan. But, she was a zombie. Such feelings, care were beyond her. Had she been human, she might have still understood the need though. It mattered little. She was not and while some neurons were firing, there were not enough for her to have proper feelings or to voice them.
 
OP
Dr. Pox

Dr. Pox

Super-Earth
Joined
Jun 18, 2019
A little closer.
A little closer.
And then she stopped...

It was a rather surreal moment, him holding a long piece of chew toy, not within arms reach of a dead girl. Her looking slightly up at him with what he could only describe as... knowing eyes. Her silver matted hair. The discoloration of her skin. The various stains and tatters on her clothes. No blood on her mouth though, or on her nails. In a strange way, she was pure, cute even. Her eyes were a pale yellow but she was looking into his face, almost staring. Maybe in her motions she might have looked at his hand and the rope but, he'd never been this close to one of them without it attacking him. Maybe she just, wasn't very good at this whole zombie thing, or she was deviously smarter then the rest of them. So many questions, and it would kill him if he just ended it right now. He had occasionally juggled with an optimistic thought. A cure. Someday this ends.

"Okay. Good." He finally relented, his mind thinking of ways to possibly do away with this. He still had the rope... He could close the distance, wrestle her down and gag her... It was an option, if a little risky on its own. He had a less violent idea, but this was riskier. Still, he might have been a little over confident. He had dealt with plenty, bigger then her, surprising him. He had the muscles and size to over power Hoshi. But one scratch and it would be over for him.

He caught sight of something on the counter, his eyes wavering on it for a moment. He took a breath, letting the rope fall, and slowly moving his hand, and his shiv to the counter top. He unarmed himself, open hands. A moment later, frozen as if she was going to attack any moment. When it didn't happen, there was a noticable relief as he spoke. "So, you're- you're not going to attack me?" He smiled with a little chuckle. "A little weird, but uhh good weird." He didn't know why he was talking to her, and it was obvious he hadn't spoken to anyone in a long time, understandably. "Why are you following me then? Do you know how dangerous it is? For you, and me." He asked losing a bit of his smile, more conflicted, confused. "Probably not... but still-"

He wanted to try something, and this was going to be all or nothing. He raised his left hand up, to chest level. His right hand was tensed up, ready to push her back if she tried, or grab for the shiv. He reached out slowly. "Sorry Hoshi... I just need to make sure. Can't keep following me if you're going to bite me." If she didn't respond, he would actually be reaching to put a hand on her head, but meanwhile his eyes went to her neck, her chest, watching her mouth, her arms, ready to jerk his hand back if she made a move. His calloused hand would rest just over her forehead, warmth pressing against her pale, pastey skin. The spot warming as heat transfered, even through his glove. He still kept her at arms length but he let a quiet moment pass, seeing what she would do, meat in front of her, within reach.
 

DigitalSiren

Some girls have always had a thing for the wolf...
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Jan 8, 2020
It was possible she had never been very good at being a zombie, but it was untrue. When she'd first turned she'd been no different than the horde that just passed by the store. She couldn't recall what it had been like, tearing into another human being. There had been no taste, no feelings about her actions; just the need to feed. Marai wouldn't have been able to tell him how long it had been since she'd tasted or desired flesh... She just one day, didn't need or crave it. Like a switch being turned on in her brain. She also, at the moment wasn't smart enough to be so devious, though, she likely did have more synapses firing than the horde that had passed, not that it meant much either way.

She watched the rope fall, her eyes and head moving to track it's progress. Slowly she looked back up, catching the end of him unarming himself. She never seemed to be tense, but she relaxed as his hand came away empty. Had she been able to, she might have smiled at him, a sweet curl of lips. But her mind didn't work that way at the moment. Marai liked his voice, the cadence of it as he spoke to her all she understood. It was kind, if not a bit unsure. His smile faltered and her head tilted ever so slightly to one side. She didn't know. She liked him though. Not that she could answer him, explain her actions or even what about him she liked. Was it as simple as he was the only human she'd seen? Was there more to the attraction that drew her to him?

She didn't move, didn't answer as his hand rose. When the palm of his hand rested on her forehead, her eyes closed and Marai leaned into him like a puppy might have, eager for the touch. Marai didn't move any more than to gently lean her forehead against his palm. A sound left her, though far from her normal zombie like sounds, it was almost a content sigh. Marai... was happy. Her eyes would slowly open when his hand eventually withdrew and that smile she might have had before, curled at the edges of her lips, just at the edges, indicating her happiness.

That touch awakened more within her than either of them knew. It would take time for whatever it was to surface, but whatever was making her less like the horde and more like the woman she had once been seemed to respond to his touch. The warmth of his body. The kindness? She still didn't move, as she stood there smiling slightly at him. Had Marai a tail, it might have wagged at him eagerly.
 
OP
Dr. Pox

Dr. Pox

Super-Earth
Joined
Jun 18, 2019
Her reaction was... startling. A closed eyed, a very slight pressure, a sound, her mouth curling into a grin. She didn't reach for his hand, nor did she try to bite. He let the hand linger as slowly, cautiously he let the moment happen... It felt nice. It felt like he was doing something that made her happy, and though her hair was dry, her skin pasty, the texture was, undeniably human.

He withdrew his hand, and she was as motionless as ever but her look told him that there might be something going on here. It wasn't his imagination. "Okay... Okay." He said with cautious enthusiasm. He smiled down at her through his messy crop of red hair. "That wasn't so bad." It really wasn't. In fact it was better than wasn't bad. "Hoshi... I might be crazy, but I don't know. You're- different from them. Maybe, you're... getting better?" He asked, the words not quite believable on his tongue. It didn't seem real, but that just happened. He gave another deep breath and then raised a hand, upright. He did talk a bit more casually now, maybe actually desperate to have someone to talk to. "It's a little too early to say but, I mean, if I can get you home. We'll experiment a little bit. Maybe you can, I don't know. Learn again?" Be human, he could only hope.

He turned his shoulder a little... he went for his bag, putting the shiv on his belt, and the rope in his back pack. Then he looked back at her, namely her mouth, and then the rest of her. His head flushed with things he might need for this idea. Something to keep her mouth stuffed. New clothes. New shoes. He might have seen the remains of her bra at the top of her tanktop and didn't know how to feel about changing her. He found a toy, a little duck with a squeaky toy. He squeaked it, making a sound before showing her. "I figured we get a few things. If you need to chew on something..." He put the duck head in his mouth, making the squeak as he bit down. He offered it to her... but if she didn't make a move for it, he'd stuff it in the bag.

He did much the same for a can of dehydrated strips of pork. It was dry, salty, but it was preserved meat. He knew the dead would eat whatever they could catch, didn't matter if it was dog, bird, cat, whatever. He showed her this too, "See, if you need to bite, just bite this." biting down on the pork and immediately regretting it, sticking his tongue out. He would offer this as well, his hands stretched out to her, giving her the chance. He remembered the flower... and that was another thing. He moved past her, though gave her a bit of a wide berth before pulling her flower from the door. It was no worse for wear. "You wanted this too right?" He asked, a boyish charm to his look.

He wondered about the collar, the leash. Would he need to make sure he didn't lose track of her? She did follow him on his own. Still there was a bunch of cute designs and collars. He would take a set just in case, pink with fake diamonds in it. Considering her attire, he figured Hoshi did at one point like to accesorize but he was only speculating.
 

DigitalSiren

Some girls have always had a thing for the wolf...
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Jan 8, 2020
Was she getting better? The words made no sense to her, but in truth, somehow she was. It wouldn't be a fast process based just on what he might have known of her. She'd been following him for how long? Just being a constant shadow that wandered behind. Then today there seemed to be more, but how long exactly had that taken? The touch of his warm hand had seemed to affect her as well. Like the Grinch, but rather than her heart growing three sizes, her brain just seemed to light up. If she'd been in an MRI scan, with contrast, the surface of her brain might now show blues rather than just the purple. Signs that it was coming to life.

The duck toy that he offered her was looked at quizzically, but she reached for it. She'd seen him put it in his mouth, but within her hands, she cradled it to her chest. When the strips of pork were offered, even though he'd shown disgust, which didn't register, Marai reached for it with her free hand. Pulling it to her mouth, she munched on it, almost happily. It didn't make a difference to her, the parts of her brain that controlled taste not quite working.

She was gnawing on the strip of jerky when he came back with the flower. Her eyes focusing on the pretty color reaching out for it, she paused looking to him. There was a clear indication that she was aware he was scared of her. Though, at the moment, it was curious as to why. The rubber ducky cradled to her breasts, a strip of dried jerky hanging from her mouth. Her pale yellow eyes wide as her hand shifted. Part of what she did, she didn't understand, like turning her hand palm up for him to drop the flower into her upturned palm. If he handed it over, he might get the confusing show of her trying to find a way to put the flower on her ducky. Clearly she wanted the two together, her treasures.

In the past pink had not been her color, but she'd have liked the collar he had picked out. It was more the thought than the collar itself. Had Marai been a living, breathing girl and not a zombie, she would have loved the thought he'd placed in it. It wasn't a large expenditure of effort, but he'd clearly taken her into consideration. What else could a girl want? Zombie or otherwise.

She was still trying to put the flower on her ducky when she made a small sound of distress; in her efforts she'd crushed the flower. Marai couldn't cry, but she might have, had the option been available. She was still very much like a puppy. Her face was almost distraught as she looked back to him.
 
OP
Dr. Pox

Dr. Pox

Super-Earth
Joined
Jun 18, 2019
The duck was as surprising as the flower. Peacefully offering her alternatives to flesh, god forbid this condition be temporary having her take it to her chest reminded him of something inherently childlike about it. She was hugging, holding a toy. His hand closed as his mouth twisted a bit then grinned. "Eh. That works." The very fact of communication via offering it was just more good news. He couldn't help but giggle when she chewed on the piece of pork like a cracker. "Yeah, that's it." He didn't know if they needed to eat. He swore he saw a few with bursted stomachs before, but tried not to think about it. He nodded when she managed to pantomime him. Copying too. He could teach her. Maybe this could work.

He gave her the flower when she made the gesture. Her hands were full, well they were as the piece stayed in her mouth. It would keep her hands busy which meant she was less of a threat, both physically and psychologically. If anything he made her look cute, well, cuter he had to admit. She tried sticking her toy and the flower together, and figured she was just trying to figure things out.

He was about to unlock the door, continue on his little shopping trip, figuring what he should risk with the horde nearby when he heard the squeak nearby. Hoshi was looking at him, petals and stems falling at her feet. Her eyes shimmered with confusion, maybe even disappointment. She ruined her flower, the one she plucked. It was bound to happen, but he felt a pull to address it. Let her know it was alright. "Your flower." He said, before taking another chance. He took the collar from his pocket and held it up to her. "It's alright Hoshi." He smiled, the pink collar unclipping in his hands. He walked up to her slowly, his eyes going down to her mouth, her shoulders as he unfurled it, to put it around her neck. He spoke gently. "There's flowers back at the apartment. So we can-"

He was taken aback a little. He managed to catch her yellow eyes, the shine and glimmering reflecting his own blue back at him. For the briefest instant, a split second, he forgot she was one of them. Just a girl, looking up at him for comfort. He was close enough that she could try to bite him right now, make him exactly like her. Only her craddled toy and his hands separating them. It made his face go a bit hot and his heart thrum- "C-Can," he coughed, trying to force reality back. "Collect whatever you want." He caught a whiff of her musty clothes, and amazingly not of any rot. "You're going to need, clothes, a shoe anyway. Maybe a little jewelry." If she could feel, the collar went around her neck like a choker. "I know its not a flower... or real but- eventually." He took a step back, seeing the bright pink clash with her deep pale skin. "There. Better already." He gave a big grin to her. He knew he was talking too much, but he wasn't going to have alot of opportunity until they were back at his complex.

He turned back towards the door, he pushed on it, causing the jingle which this time, he tried to silence with his hand. His voice was a bit quieter. "Okay Hoshi. We're going to get a few things and then head back. We have to be quiet though okay?" He didn't know how to make that apparent, since he would make more noise then she could. He took one last look out on the street for any stragglers before walking back onto the main street.
 

DigitalSiren

Some girls have always had a thing for the wolf...
Staff member
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Jan 8, 2020
Of course she didn't understand the ducky, something in her brain marking it as cute. She didn't require food, she'd not had anything to eat in a long while, as the only source of food was humans or animals. Neither option seemed to kick start that drive once more. It was why she never bit Hiroki or seemed interested in the prospect. That will, that drive seemingly gone. She'd been focused on her task, one of her own making as he went about whatever he was doing. He was near her, so she didn't need to follow him yet. The words of comfort, more the tone seemed to soothe her, even as she still felt sad.

These emotions were new and very basic. She felt the collar around her neck, but what it was, or it's purpose, was lost on her. He smiled and she made a sound, almost like a sniffle and she tried to mimic his smile. Her lips curled slightly. While his words were almost all lost on Marai, she liked that he was talking to her. His voice soothing her. She didn't understand when he told her to collect what she wanted. Hiroki had given her the duck and nothing else had appealed like the flower. When he walked, she followed, closer now. She didn't do this with purpose, but the little bells that had gone off before, telling her to stay back seemed silenced. He hadn't killed her, which made him a friend! Very much like a puppy, he'd show her affection and kindness... he was truly stuck with her.

She didn't understand to be quiet, but she was unlikely to make noise. The only thing that might make noise was in her arm, still cuddled close; the duck. It might have been wiser for him to remove the squeaker, though, she was unlikely to squeeze it for noise as her brain didn't know it could do that. Had she, he might have been in trouble. The happy sound might have appealed to her. Sure, he'd made it squeak, but how he had was beyond her.

She'd follow him, far closer than she ever had before. She still kept a bit of distance, like a puppy on heel. She'd follow him where she could, if he went into a store, she'd follow. If he went somewhere she couldn't like before she'd wait, though now there seemed to be another emotion. Anxiety at being separated. Her mind was slowly trying to process what was happening to her. It wasn't easy, a deep fog still around her thoughts. Some things were easier though. He was easier, now that she could follow closer. Her desire to keep him safe animalistic, but from a pure place. Her love for the ducky which rested in her arms, both now cradling it.
 
OP
Dr. Pox

Dr. Pox

Super-Earth
Joined
Jun 18, 2019
cbfca217c7f7a80a5fe26bc24deedcb6.jpg

He might regret his mistake with the Ducky, but honestly he wasn't thinking about it, particularly when they had to go back out into the street. For the most part it was bare. There still could be remnants, got caught or lost somewhere and that's why he was on guard, keeping a hand on his crowbar and running his hand over his shiv just to make sure.

He had an easy time in the radio store, alot of its contents long since looted, but he needed wire, repair kits, and getting them off the shelf was a quick in and out operation. He passed by Hoshi with a couple of the computer chips and spools of wire, just giving her a quick smile before going back out again.

The next store, some kind of convenience store had an occupant, a zombie lost in the store and coming out when he disturbed some of the rocks. He raised his crowbar waiting for the rotten woman to come into range. A clack and a wet splorch and the poor woman fell to the ground. He yanked it out and looked at the street, Hoshi actually causing him a bit of a jump since she was so close. He took a deep breath, his face determined and stoic, but she could see the regret, as if he didn't want her to see that. This store was looted on more then a few occasions, or the remains had long since rotted. There was a couple of bottles in a box in the back, another few boxes of what appeared to be, Pocky, other sweets and candy. He appreciated the taste but- "Not exactly a meal." He whispered, showing her the brightly colored packaging. He stuffed what he could into the boxes.

When he came back out, he had attracted a bit of attention, and could already see movement on the streets, coming out of the alley ways. Not the horde, but enough that it gave him pause. They'd have to end the shopping trip early.

He gave Hoshi a look before he hitched up his bag and started back for the alley way they came, thankfully it was still open. He walked with a rather quickened pace up until the market was far behind him. Then he slowed, giving Hoshi a chance to catch up. They walked by the fliers, the mural he gawked at before, then the overgrown blue flowers at the edge of the apartment complex. He looked back over his shoulder, seeing if she would take another. "Sorry Hoshi, I wanted to get you some fresh clothes, but there should be enough in the other apartments. We'll find something."

He walked through the parking lot, getting to the gate to the complex, he pulled the gate which rumbled as metal scraped against metal. He waited for Hoshi, "Come on. Hurry." He beckoned her.

The Apartment Entrance was over covered with the bushes and grass and ivy that once decorated the grounds. There was junk set up as make shift barricades, but for the most part, the grounds had been cleaned and cleared... save a black spot, a spot where a number of bodies had been dragged and burned, but even here nature had reclaimed it.
 

DigitalSiren

Some girls have always had a thing for the wolf...
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Jan 8, 2020
Anxious was likely the best way to describe her feelings, beyond happy. It was a confusing jumble of emotions; happy to be near him, anxious because the horde had passed. Like usual, none of this really made sense to the poor girl, it didn't change the fact that she was indeed feeling. Any time he paused to smile at her, he'd find a small echoing smile on her face. Standing outside she watched Hiroki go inside, however when he killed the other zombie, Marai flinched. A look of what one might call horror on her face. Wide eyes rose to his and she took a step back, perhaps a bit afraid of him. It was hard for her to know the difference, the other had been a threat, she was far from one. All her eyes saw was Hiroki killing a zombie. When he came back out, she seemed a little uneasy around him, however, she took a step into him; the look of regret had not gone noticed.

She could sense the others and she followed behind him, slower than he'd likely prefer but faster than normal, as if she didn't understand the reason for his haste, she knew he needed her to move faster. She stayed close all the way up to that patch. Stopping she made a soft sound, and knelt to grab another flower, looking up at him with a smile as she rose or rather her version of a smile. She shambled after him trying to catch up, her limbs stiff. Slipping in after him into the building she'd never been in she paused, just within. She wouldn't wander off without him and she'd never been inside before. She'd only stared up as if waiting for him to come to her.

However, when she spotted greenery, she shuffled closer. Looking around, she seemed to be in clear pursuit of flowers, her new one held tightly in her hand. She didn't seem eager to repeat her mistake with trying to combine the ducky and flower together. She'd follow him all the way to the stairs, watching him as he climbed them. A frown seemed to form as she watched him climb, a soft sound of distress leaving Marai. She tried to follow him, but stairs were a foreign concept to her now. As a human, she clearly knew how to use them, but as the undead, that skill had been lost. In truth, stairs were not that hard, but like a puppy, she gazed up at him confused. Lifting her foot she was able to mount the first handful, but almost caught up, she looked up at him as her foot rose and suddenly Marai was tumbling forward.

She hit the stairs hard, had she been a living being, it might have knocked the air from her. The cheerful squeak of the duck was heard and the reason for why she'd hit the stairs so hard quickly became apparent; she'd twisted to protect her flower. It's delicate bloom held aloft, safe from the fall. However something that had never happened before, at least not while she'd been a zombie, Marai hurt. Whimpering she curled up as the pain, though dulled due to her nerves just starting to work, rand through her. Tears shimmered in her eyes again and she tilted her head, looking for him.
 
OP
Dr. Pox

Dr. Pox

Super-Earth
Joined
Jun 18, 2019
The interior of the wall would incidentally have flowers, but its only cause a bush had grown without limit, only the perenial bushes remaining. Hiroki would wonder if he would have to plant some in his garden on the roof. Hoshi seemed to be attracted to them. He readjusted his bag and watched her as she had fun, slowly moving his way across the courtyard to the interior of the apartment, another barricade set up. The door windows were covered with newspaper, and there was benches, mattresses set up as makeshift walls. He held the door for her, beckoning her to follow. It was a quick walk across the Lobby. "A bit of a walk right. And my place is on the forth floor." he had to do the same with the stair well, the elevator was not working, the power turning off ages ago.

The stairwell was pretty clear, save that there were mutliple baricades of furniture set with bungee cords and string to secure the pieces to the hand rail. He began the walk up, he looked back to her at the bottom of the stairs. He had seen zombies climb stairs, when they were active, on the hunt. He expected Hoshi to not have similar issue. She managed the first few steps and he was content. The first landing, onto the next and then...

The sound of a thump and a squeak, caused him to look back, Hoshi face planting into the first landing. At first he saw her, holding the flower up and was concerned, he turned back to help her up. But then, a whimper, a shake. Was she... was she hurt? "Hoshi! You okay!?" He nearly jumped back to the first landing, he kneeled next to her, his hand on her arm and her hair. "I'm sorry, I thought you could-"

He caught another look in her eyes, a soft... shimmer to them. Tears? Tears... that's not possible. But alot of what she did wasn't possible. He ran his hand through her hair, feeling the dryness, but the motion was more of a pet, trying to encourage her to look at him. His hands would reach for her face, he was looking for damage, and yes there was a scuff on her cheek, uncomfortably close to her mouth. His hand seemed to twist her head slightly to show him. "Im sorry. I thought you would be alright... guess not. Just a scratch though." He thought a moment. "Im, not sure if It'll be able to heal, but honestly, I wouldn't be surprised anymore by you."

He looked up the stair well, sighing. There was no way he was going to leave her, curled up and tearing, whimpering. She knew how to cut right to the crux of the matter and play on his emotions, his lonliness. He smiled at her and made the motions. "No choice then. Elevator up." It was a little awkward at first, but she was scooped up in his arms, hands going under her legs, around her back, craddling her. With a grunt he lifted her. She wasn't heavy, but it was still off just carrying a girl. "Here we go." He said to her in a soft tone, a smirk looking at her as he held her to his chest. Catching her like that, feeling her light frame, the cool clamminess' of her skin on her back, their eyes would meet again and she would see his face turn as red as his hair. He'd avert his eyes with a blush as he began to trek up.

It was a quiet moment, climbing the stairs. If she noticed, she would feel his heart beating through her arm, perhaps from exertion, perhaps from a nagging 'please dont bite me please dont bite me' thought lingering at the back of her mind. He tried to catch a peak from her, and each time he was just was taken aback by how... alive, feminine she looked. Curled up in his arms, he never expected this. But just as it seemed to start, he reached the fourth floor, another barricade that he had to set up. "There we go..." He helped her, slowly get to her feet, setting her safely on the landing. "Almost- home." He spoke normally, softly, kind of nervously, his cheeks still red as he took a step away, opening the door to his level.

The door opened to a walkway, not overlooking the courtyard, but the buildings behind the apartment, and the rest of the complex. There was even a pool, still covered with a tarp.
 

DigitalSiren

Some girls have always had a thing for the wolf...
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Jan 8, 2020
Looking up at Hiroki, Marai lifted her flower to him, proud she'd saved it. The touch on her hand and hair was gentle and she was unable to help the way she curled into him a little, taking the offered comfort. Had Marai been human, she'd have been horribly embarrassed face planting like she had and likely in a lot more pain. The pet was leaned into and she pulled her ducky closer to her chest. She gave it a little squeak and a dry almost laughing sound left her. She now knew it squeaked and Hiroki would have to make her leave her ducky at home in the future. Her brow furrowed as he turned her head and she reached up to touch the pained area. The skin around her eyes tightened slightly as if she was flinching.

Scooped into his arms, she'd have blushed if her body was capable of such things. She moved, every so slightly to lean into him. Why? perhaps she felt a bit precarious in his arms or perhaps she was snuggling closer. She didn't know. Human Marai would have wrapped her arms around his neck and likely nestled her face into the crook of his neck, blushing, shy and still very embarrassed. Had zombie Marai done that, it likely would have only served to freak him out. A zombie that close to his neck with her mouth? Her eyes were focused on his face, the tears still lingering making her eyes almost look like gold as they shimmered with them.

As he climbed the stairs she kept hold of her treasures, though her mostly free hand curled against his chest some. She could indeed feel his heart beat, the soft thrum of it increasing. She didn't know the cause had she wondered about it, but Marai found she liked the strong thrum. A small frown on her face as her hand moved to her own chest, pressing against her the upper curve of her left breast, nestled almost between them. Her hand moved back to his, the beat of his heart still going. Marai clearly knew there was a difference, even if she didn't understand why.

Slowly set on her feet, she looked around. Shuffling closer to him, Marai waited for him to lead on. However, she did take a step further to look out over the rail of the walkway. Her body didn't seem to like this as a small spike of fear went through her. Moving back to Hiroki, the hand with the flower grabbed on one of the tails from the backpack. It was like a child or a woman touching something to be sure they didn't get lost. Much like the instinct that the rail could be dangerous, she sought out the person who she felt would keep her safe. She didn't even realize she was doing it.

Some changes were happening faster, but most, if not all were unknown to her. Her instincts took over while her mind was left to play catch up. When he walked, she trailed just behind him, like the lost little puppy she was. Allowing him to lead her where he wanted, she'd heard words, even if she didn't get them. Clothing could be found here. Perhaps he'd go there first. Wherever he went, Marai was content and more than docile as she followed him.
 
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Dr. Pox

Dr. Pox

Super-Earth
Joined
Jun 18, 2019
Her curiosity and slowly forming manipulation continued his encouragement. She hasn't bitten him, hasn't even tried, and more and more she seemed to showing some semblance of comfort and recognition. He felt a slight tug behind him as he stepped, she was holding onto his backpack. He sighed happily, the image reminding him of a little girl holding onto her mom's hand. Childlike... worthy of guidance and protection. "I wonder if you were shy when you were alive." It made him wonder a bunch of things. Could she, would she ever remember who she was? Ever talk? Ever feel. It was a step in the right direction but he wondered if he should get his hopes up. Atleast he had someone to talk to. He would have even accepted a dog at this point.

He brought her along the walkway. "I know you don't need anything but I figured it might be nice. Get you a mattress, new clothes. Heck you could have your own apartment if you wanted." There was a last temp wall, a couch turned over that he could throw down as he passed or crawl underneath. They had doors ajar as they passed and then finally they reached his door.... 411. The door created open, heavy, reinforced, a couple things to keep others out.

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The Single bedroom apartment looked more like a prepper's bunker. The windows were boarded, covered in curtains save the door that looked out on the balcony. Dining room was where most of the items and tools were, the dining room table like a a tool or a work bench, heaps of supplies all stacked around it in shelves that looked more like a garage. This led to the kitchen which used propane tanks to cook food, alot of wires across the walls and ceilings to power the refridgerator which held various bits of food and leftovers and hunted meat. There were tanks for water, very little dishes as most of the kitchen was stuffed to the brim with whatever cans he could find, this is where his backpack laid, getting out the dogfood (which was still food) and treats he picked up. "Home sweet home."

Further into the main room was a couch, table, and entertainment system with more wires, a gas generator next to it and the balcony. Guns and ammo and other weapons laid here. There was another hallway of various shelves, an open closet with more supplies, mostly toiletries for the nearby bathroom. And finally his bedroom, with his personnels and clothes. It was fully stocked, if a little cramped. A hundred little things to see.
 

DigitalSiren

Some girls have always had a thing for the wolf...
Staff member
Moderator
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She had been. Marai would have blushed something fierce had Hiroki approached her; he was really cute, borderline handsome. She would have been flustered and her cheeks would have matched his hair. Though had they managed to get past her awkwardness, Hiroki might have found that Marai was incredibly sweet. The kind of girlfriend who would have gotten up early just to make him bento. Bento had been a passion of hers and when she had felt up to it, she had gone all out, making cute characters out of rice or sandwiches. She also tended to be clumsy. There was so much about her that neither of them knew.

She trailed behind him, just a few steps behind while he talked. Honestly, Hiroki had no idea what he was in for. Marai was much like a puppy.. He could dress her and get her a mattress or even try and put her in an apartment, though it was very unlikely she would accept the latter two. She wanted to be close to him. Being close made her feel nice; more human. She looked up at the numbers of his apartment. She didn't know what numbers were, but she reached up and traced them. While their meaning meant nothing, she knew it now as a landmark. Much as she had learned her way back home (outside his apartment building) the same way.

When he removed his backpack she made a small sound, but let go. Cuddling her ducky close, she watched as he unpacked, head tilted to the side. Like the numbers none of this made sense, but she seemed to be marking them for some reason. At first she stayed close, but as he didn't seem to be leaving she finally set her ducky next to his backpack, because clearly, that is where they put their things. Flower still held and she wandered in further into the apartment. Marai seemed attracted to the most random of things.

She did seem attracted to brighter colors or shiny objects. Each new one was given a sound of pleased delight, a gurgle of happiness. Some things she could pick up were now hers. Such as an old brass Zippo. When Hiroki came to see what she was up to he'd find Maria opening and closing the top of the Zippo. Sitting on the floor, legs on either side of her small form, her eyes rising to meet his as his feet came into view. Lifting it she showed him almost eagerly. It was his, but to her, it was like the flower or ducky; her treasure.
 
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Dr. Pox

Dr. Pox

Super-Earth
Joined
Jun 18, 2019
The copying action caught his attention. The Ducky down next to his bag on the counter. He figured that was going to be his following days. He'd take a moment to show her, talk to her, teach her. He wasn't going to expect miracles, but considering the amount of junk he collected over the months... years even, he was actually kind of excited for it. He went around the counter to the kitchen nook, grabbing the cans and other pick ups and setting them up into the space in the cabinets. Most of the can's were empty, but the metal would be useful. "Sorry for the mess." He knew she probably didn't get what he was saying but reasoned that it was interaction with him that helped her along. She seemed to pick up on things easily enough just by words. "I keep a bunch of other apartments for additional storage, and you have to see the roof."

After disappearing for a moment to put the cans away in a lower cabinet, he rose again to see Hoshi going around the apartment, probably taking in as much as she could from the random knick knackery he had on display. He secretly hoped she wouldnt go for his gun collection, but that hardly seemed a realistic concern. As her dull eyes drifted, she made little pitched noises and gurgling. He couldn't tell if it was her trying to communicate, or showing her true feelings through her dulled but pure attempts. She seemed to lay claim to some of his things, which he didn't mind. He just smiled, watching her as he went through the process of stipping off his layers of clothing, and makeshift armor, leaving him only for a tight fitting short sleeved black shirt (with faded portions.)

When she sat down, the soft *ting click* of the lighter, he came over to teach her how it worked. She looked up, brightness, joy in her eyes, showing him what she found. "It's a lighter." he said flopping down next to her on the carpet. He began to start undoing the laces of his belt. "Very useful in a pinch. I actually had to burn a building down once. Well, I was just making a distraction really... Lucky it didn't spread." He sat cross legged next to her, a playful smile as she kept playing. "Here let me show you."

Hiroki leaned over, his chest pressing against her shoulder as his hands wrapped around hers to hold the the lighter still. His arms were around her, an odd semblance of a hug, but after the stair well, he was sure she wasn't going to try. "Watch this." He flipped it open, and then he turned the wheel, striking it, causing a spark to ignite. Another time... then thirds a charm.

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The light danced in her hands. "Easy. Don't touch it." He moved his fingers over it, almost touching it then withdrawing them. "Ouch." He made an effort to show her that it would cause pain, even though he didn't actually burn himself. He shoke his finger, putting it in his mouth. "It burns. I'm not sure if you'll feel it... but like, its not like you want to get hurt either." He smiled at her, giving off a toothy grin.

He let her go, making sure the fire was turned off with a snap. "And don't drop that either." He kneeled then, showing her. "You can put it in your pocket." He pulled the front of his jeans, to show her what she had... He suddenly had a thought. He touched her on her thigh, feeling her own worn pants which had remained intact. "Hoshi, let me just..." Bingo, she still had her wallet... though it was in her back pocket... meaning his hands had gone around her lean waist and he gave her another moment of bodily contact to his chest and then a hand was on her rear as he fished her wallet from the back pocket. Hiroki had to turn his eyes up as he put hands on her, and he tried to look away, giving her a soft. "Sorry." As he got his thumb and fore finger on it.

He gave her her space when he pulled his hand back out, the piece of leather which had been with her since the morning she got bitten. He held it between the two of them. "Hah! This great." he smiled. "We can find out what your name is." He opened it... A little clear piece of plastic showing her face, a cute bright eyed girl looking back at him. More importantly, it had her name. "Mirai..." he whispered. "Your name is Mirai." He said to her with a chuckle. "Wow, I was way off." He held the wallet to her, her own pristine face from a previous time, looking back.
 
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