Off the Record: Dead Rising

by Metal Harbinger

Author's Note: And so I have returned loyal Dead Rising readers!

My last effort ended up getting a little too jumbled for my liking as I obsessed over how I would include new elements into the events of Willamette and it ended up driving me crazy to the point I was forced to hit the breaks and go back to the drawing board.

But I'm hoping that the second time can be the charm and that things will go about more smoothly.

Once again this story is intended to be my answer to "Off the Record," which features Frank West in the Fortune City locale. In this case I will try to answer the question "What if it was Chuck Greene in Willamette?"

As always feedback is greatly appreciated, so don't be afraid to drop a review or just drop a line and say hello.

Now on with the story!

Chapter 1: The Beginning of Heartache

Chuck Green exhaled deeply as the cool mountain breeze flowed through the opened window, ruffling his sandy blond hair and filling his nostrils with pure mountain air. He was forced to slow his truck to a gradual halt as a small herd of deer bounded across the mountain highway and it was then he had his chance to stop and admire the natural beauty around him.

The late morning sun shone proudly over the ancient mountains, evergreen forests and crystalline streams, bird songs filling the air, the natural aroma of mint and pine...it all had such a tranquilizing effect upon him, reminding him of all the camping trips he and his father would go on when he was little.

"Pam loved the outdoors too," he thought to himself, feeling a fresh tear creeping from the corner of his right eye.

A sudden cacophony of electronic beeps and zaps followed by a cheesy superhero theme distracted him from his train of thought and he looked over to the blonde haired girl strapped into the passenger's seat, staring intently at the red device held in front of her.

"Daddy, look! I just reached Level 8! Now Mega Man can use the 'Fire Storm' attack!" 8-year old Katey Greene triumphantly exclaimed raising her Joy-Boy 3000 so her father could see the screen.

The former motocross champion felt another wave of emotion wash over him as his beloved daughter's beautiful blue eyes fell upon him and he took a deep breath to calm himself.

"Yeah, I see that! That's terrific! I'm so proud of you. Keep up the good work," he blurted out wanting to do whatever he could to prevent his daughter from making further inquiries.

He was thankful to be wearing shades so she wouldn't be able to see the tear he was forced to blink away. There was no way he could allow himself to break down in front of her after everything that had been going on recently.

"You need to stay strong," he had told himself over and over again, "If you can't do it for Pam, do it for your daughter. She needs a father now more than ever."

"Daddy, why are we stopping?" Katey asked as a semi-truck rounded the winding trail from the opposite lane.

"What?" Chuck blurted out, jumping as a horn blared from behind him and he looked into the rearview mirror to see an auburn-haired woman in a station wagon, a child of her own in the passenger's seat.

"Oh! Oh yeah!" he said stepping on the gas and rounding the trail.

They drove along in silence for a few more miles until a town came into view from a distance, a nearby road sign telling him the next exit would take him to a town called 'Willamette.'

"Continue northbound for another quarter mile, then take the Exit 28-S and continue following for 3.5 miles," the electronic female voice called out from his G.P.S., telling him he would be passing through the community.

Looking down to the gas meter he saw he would be due for a refill, so a stop would be necessary.

XXXXX

According to another sign greeting him on his way in, Willamette, Colorado was a town of 53,594 people, yet it held a surprisingly laid back mountain atmosphere he didn't expect in a place larger than the sign suggested.

Chuck drove down Sycamore St. where several residents could be seen going about their daily routines, some of them taking notice of the tourist passing through and stopping to offer a friendly wave which he was all too happy to return. All seemed normal until he looked over to his right on Forest Avenue.

A squad car was parked at an angle barring access to the side street and an officer was present to hold several curious onlookers at bay. Behind him he saw the aftermath of an auto accident where a white sedan had crashed through the front window of a clock store. A team of paramedics emerged from the small building and were leading a covered figure to a waiting ambulance.

The former motocross champ looked down to Katey, who was still thankfully engrossed in her hand held game.

"Thank God," he muttered to himself, her young eyes spared from the distressing sight. A flood of bad memories came back to the young man and he sped away wanting to get what he needed and get out. Eventually he happened across the Tornado Gas Station and pulled up to one of the pumps.

"Alright, you just stay in here," Chuck said to his daughter as he switched the truck off and made his way to the pump. He reached into his wallet and pulled out his credit card to swipe through the pump's card reader. When an electronic beep followed he reached for the pump and pulled back the flap to open his gas tank and slid the nozzle in, punching in what kind of gas he wanted and clicking it into place.

He looked around while waiting patiently for his tank to fill up and looked across to see a sleek red convertible that almost made him drool.

The car's owner stood next to it pumping gas, a man of Latin descent who appeared around his age with jet black hair that fell to the bottom of his neck, an expensive-looking white dress shirt with wasp-like designs on it, black dress slacks and matching loafers. The top buttons of his shirt were open to reveal the medallion he wore underneath.

Whoever this man was he stood out like a sore thumb in a sleepy community like Willamette, looking more so like he belonged in some palatial tropical estate, relaxing by the pool with a martini in hand and two women at each side.

"Daddy, I have to go to the bathroom," Katey called out, distracting him from his current train of thought.

"Okay sweetie, just a sec," Chuck replied as he waited for the pump to click, signaling that his tank was full and he slid the pump back into place then waited for his receipt to print. "Okay, c'mon."

He waited for his daughter to unbuckle her seat belt and followed her inside, watching as she disappeared into the ladies' room.

The smell of freshly-cooked pizza wafted into his nostrils and he looked over to a nearby grill. Knowing the noon hour was fast approaching and feeling his stomach rumble on cue, Chuck decided he would get some snacks for the trip ahead of them and walked over to lift the lid, pulling out a cheese and sausage pizza for himself and then a pepperoni and sausage one for Katey, her favorite, then making his way over to a nearby rack to grab some snacks for her and then over to a nearby cooler to grab two bottled sodas, one a Highland Mist and the other a Diet Fizzy Cola.

He waited for Katey to make her way out and then made his way over to the cashier to pay for his food.

"Ooh, Daddy look!" the 8-year old suddenly called out.

"What is it-" Chuck asked looking away from the cashier, only to gasp audibly and have his blue eyes nearly bulge out from behind his shades.

Taped to a nearby window was a flier prominently displaying the grinning visage of a red-haired circus clown with two large chainsaws in hand. The big bold text underneath read "PERFORMING LIVE AT THE WILLAMETTE PARKVIEW MALL ON SAT. SEPT. 20TH, 2014: BEBOP THE CLOWN!"

"That's today Daddy! Can I go? Pretty please!" the child pleaded tugging away at his racing jacket's sleeve.

Chuck swallowed hard.

He had been terrified of clowns ever since getting lost in that carnival's fun house when he was around Katey's age. All he could remember were those clowns leaping out at him from every direction: their bright, garish costumes, the greasepaint, those big red noses, all that jarring laughter...

It was a horrific incident that had given him nightmares for weeks and even to this day he would find himself getting anxious whenever seeing one.

"Please Daddy? I promise I'll behave if you let me!" Katey shouted.

Chuck removed his shades and looked down into his daughter's big, bright blue eyes, their hue matching his own. It was a disarming sight that opened a new conflict within his mind.

Sure he was scared of clowns, yet at the same time the more logical part of his mind reminded him she would need some form of distraction following what had happened to her mother. He could use the opportunity to walk around and explore some of the mall's shops too, having been on the road for nearly three hours straight.

"Well, we've got all day to get up to Mt. Buckingham," he said taking his daughter by the hand, "I guess we could manage a little detour on the way," he finished, not sounding too sure of himself. His only motivation was the sake of his daughter.

"Oh, thank you Daddy! Thank you so much!" Katey Greene triumphantly whooped squeezing him tightly around his waist. "You're the bestest Dad in the entire world!"

"Anything for you sweetie," he said ruffling her hair as they made their way outside and back towards his waiting truck.

"Come on Chuck. You can do this," he told himself as he briefly stood in place, hoping the cool breeze would have a calming effect.

Instead he was again distracted by a faint buzzing from above that gradually grew louder as the owner drew nearer and he barely ducked in time before the large bee could connect with his head.

If there was one thing else he hated aside from clowns, it was bees.

"Gah! Get away!" he shouted forcing the bee away with a swipe from his left hand. He missed and the large bee only seemed more emboldened, attempting another dive bomb interrupted by a back hand from the former racer.

"Good riddance," Chuck spat before quickly pulling himself into the truck and slamming the door shut behind him, wanting to be out of here before anything else could get to him.

Little did the unsuspecting Chuck Greene know, he hadn't stricken the bee hard enough and it survived. Instead it would go off in search of a new host. It had a mission to carry out for its queen and it would do so until it had finally died.

It wasn't the only one. Swarms of its brothers and sisters were present in the sleepy mountain community and in the end, Willamette, Colorado would never be the same.

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Author's Note: And so concludes the first chapter of my rebooted version of "Dead Rising: Case Greene."

As of right now that fic is discontinued and ALL reviews are to be forwarded here! The original will remain posted until I have caught up with it.

Aside from the ending I didn't make too many other changes aside from grammatical ones. I plan on doing what I can to make this better than the original. I'm still wanting to add original touches, but when and where I don't know for sure. Just hoping it is better than the original.

They never came out with an "Off the Record" version based upon the original so I'm taking it upon myself to do so.

Once again the title's chapter is an opposite word play on the Killswitch Engage song "The End of Heartache."

Well I hope you all enjoyed so until then please read and review! This is Metal Harbinger saying SPREAD THE SICKNESS, ONE MIND AT A TIME! \m/