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Hubby vs. Wifey Post #5: Apocalyptic Guards

We're back after a very long hiatus! It's been a crazy few weeks with traveling and preparation for traveling, but we're happy to get back into the groove and start our contests again! Hubby picked the picture this time - actually back before our trip. I started mine then, but we didn't finish until now. Let us know what you think in the comments! Is this your kind of story? Who won, hubby or wifey?

End of Days: "BioPanic - An Average Day in the #Post-Apocalypse," by artfx-9, at deviantART.

Wifey's Attempt at Apocalyptic Exposition:

“Two.” The walkie talkie crackled, and Sam jumped.

Trevor sighed, shook his head, and pressed the outgoing button.

“Got it. Be there in five. Windows?”

“Eight - two on each side. Front door, no guard. Back door boarded. Over.”

Sam looked at Trevor. Excitement shone in his bruised and dirty face.

“What do you think they’re guarding?” he asked. “Sonic weapons? Or maybe a person? The Fist, maybe?”

Trevor ignored him. They’d been over this dozens of times. He didn’t feel like conjecturing at such a critical moment.

“Let’s go,” he said curtly. They cocked their guns, checked their pistols, and looked at each other. “Now,” he said.

In a mirrored motion, they pulled their gas masks down over their weather-beaten faces and jogged down the hill. Dead grass crunched under their combat boots; grey clouds scudded across a dull sky.

“Storm’s comin’,” Sam said. His voice sounded muffled and metallic from under the mask.

Trevor didn’t bother looking at the sky. Sam, though irritating and young, was never wrong about the weather. They’d have to watch their exit. He checked his watch. Sam noticed, and his long-snouted masked face tilted upwards.

“One or two hours,” he added. Trevor nodded, his breathing echoing in the mask and warming his face, which started to sweat. They should be done by then, but they’d have to beat it out of there to miss the acid rain. He picked up the pace. Sam slid easily into place beside him.

One hundred yards from the cement building with moldy thatch for a roof, they stopped and rested behind a couple of overturned, rusty barrels.

They waited, feeling the heat fogging their sight through the masks. Then -

“Go.” The walkie talkie whispered the order, and they shot to their feet, running the rest of the way to the opening, where Trevor kicked in what remained of a door, and Sam dashed through, holding his gun aloft and breathing so heavily that Trevor could hear him over his own loud heartbeat pounding in his ears. Trevor followed, crouching slightly, listening intently, looking for the two guards.

The bullets pounded the wall just to the left of his ear, and he hit the ground, returning fire immediately. Out of his limited peripheral vision, he saw Sam on the floor, inching toward the doorway where two masked gunmen were emerging, firing from the hip, cocking, and firing again. Trevor rolled to the side. He wouldn’t recover from a shot from those slugs in a hurry. Best not to give them a target. The old wound in his thigh burned for a moment as he remembered, grimly taking aim and shooting the guard on the right in the shoulder. The guard staggered back and tried to lift his gun to return fire, but missed badly, and Trevor took the opportunity to line up his next shot carefully. It hit the guard, angling up through the cheek. He dropped, and his gun smacked the other guard in the leg as he went down. When the living guard aimed at Trevor, Sam took his chance and popped off two quick shots, one in the hip and one in the neck. Quick as lightning, Sam finished him off and jumped to his feet, running back to Trevor.

“Are you hurt?” he asked, yanking off his mask. His brown hair stuck up in all directions, and sweaty lines ran down from his hairline.

Trevor grunted his dissent and got to his feet, scanning the room.

“Just two - that’s what Harvey said,” Sam attached his gas mask to his belt and gestured to Trevor impatiently. “Let’s see what they were guarding!”

They jogged into the next room, which was empty with only a metal door on the other side. Sam reached for it, but Trevor stopped him, pressing his ear to it for a moment first. Hearing nothing, he nodded to Sam, who grasped the handle and pulled. The door creaked open toward them, and they peered inside, Trevor feeling a spark of foreboding in his belly that came and went almost too quickly for him to remember.

In the corner, under the window, sat a small boy, probably nine or ten, watching them intently with black eyes under thick, black brows. His tan hands were folded in his lap. As they watched silently, struck dumb with surprise, a kitten wound its way around the boy from behind his back, rubbing itself on his crossed legs.

“Cine eşti tu?” the boy asked conversationally.

“Sam and Trevor,” Sam responded without hesitation, pointing to himself and then Trevor. Trevor felt his jaw drop slightly. “Cine eşti tu?” Sam continued.

“Constantin. De ce esti aici?”

Sam looked at Trevor and then back at Constantin. “To get you, I guess,” he said. “Să te recupereze. De ce esti aici?”

The boy looked down and stroked the cat with one hand. “Nu știu,” he answered.

“That makes two of us,” Sam said. “Come on. There’s a storm coming.”

Constantin looked out the window. “There’s nowhere to go,” he said in a thick Romanian accent.

Sam bent down and took his arm, not too roughly. “We’ve got a ride,” he said with a grin.

Trevor found his voice. “Is there…anyone else here? Or…anything?”

Constantin looked up at him gravely. “No. Me and Boggy only.” He pointed to the cat with his free hand.

“We might have enough time to get back to base,” Sam said, frowning as he glanced out the window.

“Got the package,” Trevor muttered into the walkie talkie. He scanned the room and stomped on the floor, checking for openings. Nothing. “Pickup immediately. No danger anticipated.”

“Affirmative,” crackled Harvey’s voice.

They heard a mechanical roaring coming toward them and jogged back to the front door, towing Constantin with them. The kitten followed, mewing urgently. As Sam lifted the boy into the back seat of the Jeep, the kitten launched itself up onto Sam’s back pant leg and clung there. Sam tried to swat at it, but it hissed and clawed him. Sam swore loudly, but Trevor shifted his gun to his other hand and grabbed it by the scruff, flinging it onto Constantin’s lap. The boy looked him in the eye and smiled, his eyes lighting up his little face. Trevor and Sam jumped in on either side of him and motioned at the thunderstruck Harvey to drive.

“You’re sure there’s nothing else in there?” Harvey said.

“Positive,” Trevor replied, sighing heavily. Sam was too busy keeping his sleeves free from the kitten’s claws to add anything.

Harvey hit the gas, and the Jeep rumbled off, kicking up dust behind them.

Hubby's Post-Apocalyptic Story:

“Check the corner. Не шуми! [Stay quiet!]”

A figure covered from head to foot in dark, worn leather and thick, processed plastics stood at the ready behind a grimy, concrete column. The woman inside peered coldly out the small eyepieces of her coal black gas mask. Her combat boots scraped on the dust and rubble strewn across the floor of the abandoned apartment unit. Her deep, controlled breathing was muffled and distorted by the respirator tube attached to a half-full tank of oxygen strapped to her back. Hopefully it would be enough to get her through the day and back to the bunker. It had been almost a full day of wandering the wastes of Stavropol with very little to show for it.

“Yeah, yeah. Ok.”

Another figure casually approached a nearby window, baton in hand. The light shone through the window in thick rays as it cut through the air thick with dust and ash. The man’s grey, full-body radiation suit almost shone in contrast to the other’s full black clothing. He stared out the window, baton in hand, but he stood flatfooted and completely unprepared.

“I said the corner!” her voice was muted through the mask, but intense.

The man gave an irritated sigh and continued on to where an entry door had once stood but had rotted away long ago. “I can see fine through the windows,” he replied over his shoulder as he walked.

“And they can see you, Не шуми! [Stay quiet!]” she repeated with increasing severity.

The man stopped squarely in the old doorway and surveyed the open space that used to serve as a lawn beyond.

“Попади на землю! [Get on the ground!]” She crouched into a ready position and raised her pump-action shotgun, nearly shouting at her partner.

“Пустой [Area clear],” he shouted haphazardly back toward her, clearly bored of the entire ordeal. “Look, there’s nothing here. Let’s just call it a day and head back to the bunker. We’ve got enough to get through the night and tomorrow we can check out that old factory we passed by earlier.”

“I’m not going anywhere near that factory if you keep acting like this. You’ve got to shape up if we’re going to go somewhere like that. Apartments and neighborhoods are easiest to search with a respectable amount of gear. Specialist locations like factories and warehouses attract a lot more attention from raiders and zeds.” She thought that was enough to make her point, but he just stood there staring blankly at her. “If you can’t take this seriously, how can I expect you to keep me alive there?”

“Because this isn’t serious, this is easy stuff. I don’t have to take things seriously until we do something real.”

“Is this just some kind of game to you?” This time she was shouting.

There was a sickening gurgle and groan from one of the rooms deeper in the ruins. The two stopped fighting and turned slowly to see three half-decayed bodies slowly limp their way through a nearby doorway.

“Awesome, look what you did.” The man raised his baton and shifted his feet into a combat stance.

“Wouldn’t have happened if you had done things right.”

“Oh, just shut up and don’t miss,” he retorted as he turned to face the first of the oncoming undead.

The creature stretched out its rotting arms and shuffled more quickly as it approached the man. With practiced motions, he stepped aside and struck the zombie across the eyes with his baton, stunning it momentarily. Seizing the opportunity, the woman stepped up, placed the shotgun under the creature’s loose jaw and pulled the trigger. The now headless corpse dropped messily to the floor.

“Hey, you hit your shot,” the man teased, unaware of how close the next zombie was.

Before the woman could warn him, a zombie caught the man by the arm and beat him to the ground with a blow to the head. The decaying creature fell on top of him, gnashing at his mask. The woman sprinted up, kicked the zombie off of her partner, and finished it off with a firm stop with the heel of her boot as if it were no more than a stray cockroach. The final zombie was nearly on top of them, and the woman was forced to take a shot at it from her hip. She hit it square in the chest, but the damage was not enough to finish it off. She took a half step back and kicked the creature where she had just shot it, almost putting it off balance, before taking aim and delivering a devastating headshot.

“Thanks, now I only have three shots left. Now I guess we do have to head back whether we…Я нашел врага! [Enemy spotted!]”

The man barely had time to scramble back to his feet before another pair of zombies came up from behind. The man and woman exchanged nods and turned to the door only to find two more zombies waiting for them there while another entered through the same doorway as the first group.

“Not enough ammo - we’re in trouble.” The woman again raised her shotgun and took a few slow steps back. The man, however, raised his baton and stepped forward.

“Time for a beatdown then, I guess.” He rushed forward weapon high.

“No, no, no, it’s about to break!” Her warning did nothing.

The man met the first of the zombies and landed a hard swing to the side of its head. A second and third attack connected in the same place sending the creature battered and broken to the ground. The next zombie almost caught hold of the man but he managed to evade and continued with a series of attacks.

“I have no melee,” the woman tried desperately to catch the man’s attention, “I put everything into this gun. Входящее! [Incoming!]”

Neither the man or woman had noticed yet another creature climbing through a shattered window in the next room over. Unlike the others, this one had thick, muscled legs that bent backward and tough, green skin. The woman recognized this one as a sprinter. But she didn’t have time to warn the man. She took two of her last three shots at it, but it was too quick. Both shots hit the wall just behind it as it blitzed into the room and pounced directly onto the man, tearing into his chest and killing him almost instantly. Despite his obvious death, the sprinter continued tearing apart the woman’s fallen partner as she was left to deal with the rest of the creatures. She hesitated, not knowing whether to spend her last shot on the sprinter, on the nearest zombie, or on herself. Her cool, calculating demeanor had completely dissipated with the sudden downfall of her situation. Before she could make a move, a zombie stumbled forward and caught her by the shoulder, digging its rotting teeth into the side of her neck.

She screamed out in pain and tried to fight back in vain as the others fell in on her and mimicked the first. Her body fell to the ground as the camera panned back and the words YOU DIED appeared in blood red, dripping letters above the massacre.

Chanda wrenched off her headset and turned to her brother beside her who had already removed his and had his hand deep in a chip bag.

“What the heck was that?!” she exclaimed in an exasperated tone that felt so often used that its effect was lessening.

Alex glanced back at his sister, his face covered in small crumbs. A small burp – all that remained of the soda can beside him – slipped between his lips.

“Yeah, my bad.” He was slightly more sincere than usual, but this did not help Chanda emotionally.

She dropped her controller on the floor beside her and threw herself back, hanging her arms limply by her side. “That’s like, the fifth time today,” she mumbled in a low drone.

Alex put up his hands defensively. “Hey, I didn’t know they spawned sprinters in Stavropol before nightfall.”

“That’s what killed us last time, you moron.”

“Whoops.” Alex stuffed another handful of chips in his mouth.

Chanda continued staring unfocused up at the ceiling, her mind numb with hours of strategy and stress. Sure it was a game, but there was only two weeks left until school started back up and she wanted to beat this game, not let it beat her. Her self-pity was interrupted as Alex dropped a chip fragment in her open, gaping mouth. Chanda hacked it up and onto the floor staring daggers at her brother. Alex just wiped his hands on his shorts and took hold of his headset.

“Ok, ok. I got it this time. You ready?” He shoved the headset on and took the controller out of his lap. His fingers were clicking away at the controller and his mouth opened slightly as it always did when he was entirely focused on something. Chanda leaned over, took a chip from the bag, and shoved it into his mouth in retaliation.

Alex coughed and waved his arms in a rather unnecessary fashion, nearly falling out of his chair. Feeling a little better, Chanda slipped on her headset as well.

“Alright, ready up!”

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