Pyrrha cursed silently as she watched more and more of the undead coming towards the church. Though the question of whether or not they're coming for them was still on the table. In either case, it seemed their stay in the town was over.
"Shit, what do we do?" Yang asked as she looked over the side next to her.
"Gather our stuff and get out of here." Pyrrha replied.
"Now? I think it would be better if we just hunkered down until they stopped coming then make our move." Yang said but Pyrrha shook her head.
"If we wait too long then they might just end up dwelling around the same area as the pickup."
"You don't know that but besides that instead of risking ourselves going straight towards the direction they're going, we should wait here till they calmed down then head further into town to look for a new ride to use that to get back to Mountain Glenn."
"That actually might not be a bad idea, go find your uncle and the others I'll keep watching up here." Pyrrha said as another firework went off illuminating the sky.
"Actually, Qrow's not here." A new voice spoke up and the two girls looked to see Arslan sticking her head up from the hatch.
"Wait, what do you mean he's not here?" Yang asked and Arslan nodded towards the fireworks.
"He's out there."
"Fuck me." Qrow whispered, below him he could hear what could easily have been a hundred or more undead running through the street. The moaning was easily as loud as the fireworks which seemed to be progressively going off further and further away from the town into the mountains.
He needed a way to get off the roof but he was sure that if he tried going back down into the streets below he would just get torn apart. Clicking his tongue he looked around, there were more rooftops to the south; he might be able to find a street where the undead weren't going through.
Jogging up to the edge of the roof he grimaced at little as his flashlight revealed that the gap looked to be just as big if not bigger than the one he barely made before.
"I'm so going to regret this." He said as he made his way back, the fireworks were even farther now to the point that they were well into the mountains. Hopping up and down he took a deep breath before taking off.
As he neared the edge of the roof he leapt forward and realized that he might have made a mistake. He started to panic as he could see that he wasn't even going to be close.
His arm hit something, he yelled both in surprise and pain as whatever he hit gave way to him. The sound of glass shattering was all he could hear before he smashed into something hard, pain flaring all over his body.
"Fuck!" He shouted on the floor before he fished around for his flashlight, he winced as he cut his hand on something sharp before finding his flashlight. Raising it up he could see the lens was cracked and it was flickering a little.
Standing up, he winced and nearly fell over as two particular spots sent a wave of pain throughout his body. Raising his left arm; he could see a piece of glass was sticking out of his forearm. Looking around he found himself in an office of sorts, somehow he managed to miss the edge of the roof only to go through a window.
"Talk about good luck." He whispered then set the flashlight down on the table that he had slammed against coming in through the window; he gritted his teeth as he pulled an inch of glass out of his arm.
"Ffffffffffffffffffffffffffuck." He hissed as he clamped his hand over the spot, he needed to cover it up fast. When he looked down however he could see another piece of glass that looked much larger was sticking out of his left thigh.
Leaning against the desk he took three deep breathes before beginning to pull it out as well. His breathe came in deep gasps as he continued pulling it out and after what felt like forever he pulled the piece out then held it up to his face. This piece was nearly two inches long and nearly an inch wide.
He dropped it as he realized how cold he felt; he needed to cover the two sites. Pulling his backpack off he set it on the table, his hands were starting to shake as he unzipped it then fished for a few seconds to bring out a small blue packet that was supposed to be a medical kit that Ruby had found for him.
Once he had it open he could see what looked to be antibiotic ointment, two gauze packets, a few band aids, a finger splint and some surgical scissors. He spilled the contents on the table then looked around for a chair as he needed to sit down.
He spotted it on the floor; he reached down to set it up right then lowered himself in it. Looking down he reckoned he should do the leg first as he could see the blood flowing freely from it.
Sticking his fingers into his pants he ripped them a little to get a better sight then cursed as he figured he should probably wipe it up as it was covering his leg in his own blood.
It was at that moment that he heard something, looking up he spotted a door and realized there was a high chance that a zombie could have heard him crashing through the window. As he tried to shut out the now distant moaning from outside as he swore he could hear footsteps coming.
Taking a shaky breath he opened the drawers to find something to wipe his leg with, he managed to find a tissue box.
Grabbing a handful he then reached into his bag to take out his water bottle to pour some water on his leg before wiping it down, wincing whenever he got near the cut. By the time he was satisfied the handful of tissues was stained red.
Tossing it aside he grabbed the ointment and unscrewed the cap before squeezing it out onto his leg. Pursing his lips he spread it around on the wound before exchanging the tube for one of the gauze packets.
Opening it with his teeth he took it out then held the folded square gauze firmly on the cut with one hand as he reached for the other gauze to use it to wrap his leg. Once thoroughly covered he took the accompanying pin then clamped it on the gauze.
Sitting back he looked down at his arm, it was a bit difficult to see in the dim light of his flashlight but it didn't look so bad. Looking back at the table he could see he used up both of the gauzes but he still had some band aids. So he set to work applying more ointment before covering it with band aids.
Sighing he stood up, feeling a twitch of pain as he set weight on his leg but it wasn't unbearable. He looked up as the sound of running got closer; he bent down to grab his rifle then brought it to his shoulder.
He aimed at the door and waited for the sound of something crashing against the door. Instead the running sounded as if it went past the door. After a few moments Qrow released a slow breath, he needed to get out of there fast.
Looking behind him he went to the window and was careful not to touch the jagged glass as he looked out. Raising his flashlight he could see that the alley below didn't have any zombies but he could still hear them.
He looked to either side and stopped when he saw on his left side that there was a fire escape about three windows down from him. Nodding to himself he turned back towards the door and rolled his shoulders before walking up to the door.
Pressing his ear against it he held his breath as he listened for movement but he couldn't hear anything. He hoped that whatever that was running around looking for the noise had given up. So he gripped the handle and turned it but it didn't budge.
The door was still locked; he rolled his eyes then unlocked the door then opened it. He let the door swing inward where it thumped softly against a door stop. He let go of the Stag rifle then pulled out his Glock before crossing his forearms in a Harries technique.
Looking left and right he cleared the hallway before heading left. He counted the doors before stopping on the third; he tried the door handle and cursed softly since it was locked as well.
He could only think of one thing that would get him inside. Locating where the handle was he stepped back then kicked with his right leg, there was a jarring impact and the sound of something cracking but the door wasn't open so he kicked away and the door swung inward with a thud.
Without pause he went in flashing his light and gun around for targets before turning to the door. He had doubts that nothing heard that so he needed to block it with something. Looking around he could see that he was in another office.
He closed the door then turned around to see a desk like the one he slammed into before. Knocking the stuff on top to the ground he got around behind it then pushed forward till it was up against the door.
Looking around he spotted a file cabinet and pushed it towards the desk as well. Once that was up against the desk he leaned against the desk, it felt like his lungs were on fire. He supposed falling through a window and slamming against a desk would tire a person out.
At that moment something smashed against the door which creaked loudly. He swore loudly, the door wasn't going to hold long so he ran towards the only window then fumbled for the lock before pushing it upwards.
Leaning his head out Qrow could see the metal of the fire escape. There was a loud crack behind him and he turned out to see that that there was a woman with the skin missing from the lower half of her face. She apparently had knocked the already weakened door off its top hinge and now was trying to claw her way over it to him.
He didn't even spare her a second glance; he didn't have time to try killing her as he had no idea if there were more behind her. Nor could he afford to use a bullet on her as that would definitely draw more of them to him.
Once he was out of the window he had to quickly think about trying to go back up to the roof or just heading ground level. Both had their cons, if he went to the roof he doubt he'd be able to get back down safely in his condition but if he went street level then the chance of getting run down then eaten was very likely.
Yet he needed to get back to the church and the best way to do that would be heading street side again. In the room he could hear the shifting of furniture, the time for a decision was now.
So he headed down the fire escape, he didn't know if his age was catching up to him or his body was just too beaten up as sweat poured down his face as he made his way down to the last platform.
Once on the ground, he kept his light low as he looked around, he needed to get out into the street to get his orientation again. So he crept forward, when he got close to the street he turned off his flashlight tucking it along with his handgun away.
He could hear movement nearby but he wasn't sure if it was coming to or away from him. Moving slowly forward he could barely see anything in the dark which would make find the church difficult to find but he couldn't use his flashlight until he was sure it wouldn't get him killed.
It was at that point that he heard a crack in the distance followed by several more cracks. His blood froze at the sound; there was only one place that was coming from.
"They're not leaving." Sun noted as he could see more than a dozen shaping moving in the soft candle light of the parking lot.
"I'll start packing our stuff." Pyrrha said as she began to climb back down.
"Let me help." Arslan said but Yang grabbed her arm.
"Wait, no, you need to back up and explain what you just said."
"Qrow's out there." She said simply.
"But why?" Yang asked, her voice rising, Arslan shrugged her hand off.
"Look, he said that he needed to go figure out what Father Absalom told him earlier so he told me that he'd go and check it out."
"Why didn't you tell us?" Yang demanded, Sun traded looks with Arslan they could tell that Yang was getting angry.
"Yang, I'm sure Qrow had a good reason, let's just get ready for when he comes back." Sun said as Yang ran a hand through her hair.
"Yea, fine but if he doesn't come back, this is on you." Yang said glaring at Arslan.
"Fuck off Yang." Arslan snapped back.
"Don't blame me just because your uncle doesn't trust you." Yang faced the girl with her fists clenched but Sun got between them.
"That's enough, we don't have time for your bullshit, there's a shit ton of zombie outside that want to rip us apart. I for one would rather get back to the city alive and not as a corpse."
"Fine." Yang said as she went back down the ladder, Arslan simply turned away to continue looking back out at the parking lot just in time to see several of them running towards the front door.
Pyrrha was going over the group's belongings as Father Absalom knelt in front of the crucifix praying out loud. She was never much of a religious person, sure she believed in god but she didn't go to church or anything like that.
Now though when she thought about what she had seen of the world outside these walls, she'd found it both harder and easier to believe in that stuff. As she couldn't think of what else besides Hell would allow soulless creatures to rise from among the dead in order to hunt the still living.
"So, uh, Father, are you coming with us?" Pyrrha asked looking at the old man.
"Do not worry for me child, I am where I need to be."
"You do realize that if the zombies do come in here with force we won't be able to defend this place."
"No man is meant to live forever; such things are reserved for God, his Angels and those that dwell within the Kingdom of Heaven."
"Sure but I rather live for as long as I can." Pyrrha said really unsure of how she was supposed to respond to that.
"Do not fear what is natural as the sun or the wind young one."
"Isn't fear just as natural? The fear of pain or death helps keep people alive."
"True but there's a point in which one must realize that struggling forever isn't the answer sometimes letting go is the only solution."
"That sounds a little pessimistic."
"It's in fact acceptance, I know what awaits me but I do not fear it as I know that is what I deserve."
"What about those that don't deserve it." The old man looked at her, a sad smile on his face.
"There is no such thing as innocence, only degrees of guilt." It was at that moment that something started pounding against the door. Pyrrha squeaked as she jumped back, fumbling to get a good grip on her rifle.
"Pyrrha! Pyrrha! Can you hear me!?" Sun's voice called out from her bag, it was her radio. She knelt down and opened it up before digging through it to grab it.
"I'm here Sun!"
"They know we're here!"
"I know just get down here before they break in; we have to defend the church."
"Come up here, we can funnel them in."
"No! If we lose control down here then we'll just be stuck in the tower."
"Damn it girl! Stop saying stuff that makes sense!" Yang's voice came over the radio.
"Shut up and get down here." Pyrrha snapped back as the pounding at the doors grew louder. She turned to the pews then looked at the priest but he was still kneeling. She sighed loudly then slung her rifle as she began to drag one of the pews towards the front door.
By the time she managed to get the pew up against the door, Yang, Sun and Arslan were down from the tower.
"What are you doing?" Arslan asked.
"What does it look like?" She replied as she began dragging a second pew over, the three of them ran over and with the four of them they began just lifting the pews into a pile in front of the door. Soon they managed to get almost a dozen pews into a pile.
"Think that will hold?" Yang asked as the four of them sat down, Pyrrha was about to respond when the sound of something breaking could be heard from the back of the church.
Pyrrha didn't even say anything as she jumped up with her rifle in hand before heading towards the back area. Going through the door of the small kitchen she wasn't surprised to see the jawless face of a man trying to climb through the window, there was at least two more behind him trying to get through the window as well.
She did the only thing she could think of and fired.
Jaune watched from the roof as a crowd of people overturned a car in the middle of the road, a handful of them even climbed up on it and one of them began to make some weird speech.
From the gist of it, it sounded like they were blaming the auxiliary groups as complacent in whatever government conspiracy they thought was going on.
"They still out there?" Weiss's voice asked from behind him.
"Yea, though I don't think they're agitated enough to come for us." Jaune said as he watched the guy giving the speech pointing towards their building.
"You think they'll attack us?"
"I'm not sure, I think the guy is trying to egg them on but most of them look sort of confused."
"So we won't have to defend ourselves?" She asked but Jaune shook his head.
"I didn't say that, I just don't think they'll attack for now. If this rioting lasts any longer than they might attack if not that I'd say that a smaller group might try." Jaune said looking back at Weiss as Ren and Ruby came out onto the roof.
"We boarded up all the windows from the ground up to the third floor." Ren said as he stood next to Jaune to look down at the street.
"He's really getting worked up isn't he?" Ruby noted to which Jaune had to agree as they could hear him yelling fairly well from the rooftop.
"I don't know what I hate more, people taking advantage of this terrifying time or those that are trying to blame others of the cause of it." Weiss said after they stood there silently for a few moments.
"Well there's not much we can do but stay the course." Jaune said.
"Speaking of which, I've got a question, it's been sort of on my mind for a while now." Ren started and Jaune looked at him. It was a little difficult to see his friend's face in the night with only streetlights along with a few distant fires to illuminate him. Yet Jaune could tell something was bothering him.
"What is it?"
"Do you think we should have a bug out plan?" Ren asked.
"A bug out plan?" Weiss asked.
"He means having a plan to use in case we need to get out of the city fast." Ruby clarified.
"What makes you think that would be necessary?" Jaune asked as he sat down on the edge of the roof.
"I mean, I was always thinking about what we would have to do if the city fell to the zombies but I never really took that idea seriously, well until now that is." He said gesturing back down to the street where they could see the rioters turning over another car. However there was something off, they were turning over cars at either ends of the street.
"Something's up." Jaune said as he stood up again, the other looked to where he pointed.
"Are they…blocking the streets?" Weiss asked as they watched more and more people pile into the street. The man that had been making the speech earlier was now gesturing or guiding people with an aluminum bat.
"Ren, get Nora, Bolin, Nadir armed and meet me downstairs. Ruby I want you to go get your rifle and come up here. Weiss grab my sister; Blake, Penny and Reese then bring them up here as well." Jaune said as he reached down to grip the handle of his Glock. Heading down the roof access, as Weiss and Ruby broke away Ren finally spoke up.
"What's the plan?"
"Oh right, a plan."
"Look I'm just gonna head out there but I want you and the others acting as backup in case I can't dissuade them from doing anything reckless."
"That seems like that would backfire very quickly." Ren said as they stopped on the second floor and Jaune simply shrugged.
"I know that but I honestly don't know what exactly I could do to stop a potential storm of rioters from trying to break in and loot us or whatever." Ren opened and closed his mouth a few times.
"I guess you have a point there." Jaune just laughed softly as he began to go down the stairs.
"Just get the others ready for my signal!"
"What's the signal?"
"It's simple, if they try to kill me then back me up." He called back and realized that it probably wasn't the best signal but he really didn't know what to do. Nor did he understand why he thought he could actually dissuade of group of angry looking people from storming the building.
As Jaune reached the bottom floor, he went into one of the side rooms. They had boarded up all the windows on the first, second and third floor but some of them had gaps to look through.
A number of people were arrayed in front of the apartment; most of them were holding rocks, bottles, sticks, bats, metal pipes and even mining tools. Some of the more extreme looking people however were holding pieces of wood like shields.
"So are you really planning on going out there?" Bolin's voice asked from behind.
"Yea, I don't think you should go out there, holding up in here seems like the smart idea." Nadir said but it was obvious that he was nervous by how his voice trembled.
"It's not the smarter idea but neither is it dumber than what I am about to do. So just, watch my back will you." Jaune said as he rolled his shoulders before grabbing the door handle but Nora grabbed his arm.
"Jaune, please don't do anything stupid. Pyrrha might kill us if you get hurt again." The shorter girl said and Jaune simply smiled back.
"Come on Nora, what's the worst that can happen?"
Pyrrha felt the incredible urge to sigh as she put down a third zombie; the kitchen was completely lost at that point. The window boards were completely gone and the back door was shattered by the running weight of the undead.
However the small table along with the dead bodies on the floor slowed the zombies down that they couldn't swarm her. Arslan was also behind her ready to take over in a pinch as Yang and Sun held the main hall.
"Fuck, how many more of these assholes are there?" Arslan hissed from behind as Pyrrha switched out with her.
"I don't know but we need to hold them of as long as we can." Pyrrha said as she pulled the empty magazine out of the Model 10 before exchanging it with a new one. Counting that she only had five left which seemed like a decent amount but they held only a third of what would be in the Model 3 rifles.
Ruby had explained to her that the Model 10 used a more powerful round than the Model 3 but it still took at least two or three shots just to put one down for good.
That wasn't even taking into account where she hit, a head shot would put any of them down but they can soak body shots pretty well. Arslan fired thrice, the first catching a mauled man in the chest sending him back while the second blast took off the arm of a fat woman before the third one shattered the left side of her head.
"Hey Pyrrha!" Yang called out from behind them, Pyrrha looked to see Yang holding her Shockwave shotgun.
"Something a matter?" Pyrrha asked turning to her.
"No I was wondering if we should take one of the pews and break it down so it can fit in front of that door." Pyrrha waited as Arslan fired off a few more rounds then stood back so she could take the spot.
"How would we do that?" She asked as she raised her rifle, three more of the zombies were coming in now. She fired once taking a young girl in the head killing her before switching over to put three rounds into a lanky shirtless man whose guts where hanging out. The last one coming through stumbled over the corpses that were piling on the floor and fell face down to which Pyrrha quickly put three rounds into its back.
"I don't know I was thinking maybe breaking it with a few blasts of the shotgun." Yang said but Arslan clicked her tongue.
"Yea, I'm not sure if we should do that. We'll need every round of ammunition we have just to keep the zombies at bay."
"I don't know it looks like you're handling it just fine." Yang said.
"That's because we have them in a good chokepoint but if they breach anywhere else then we'll have a problem." Pyrrha said before firing two more times at an old man, the room was thick now with bodies thus making it difficult for others to come at them without falling.
Pyrrha was completely glad for that as she fired at another pair of zombies. She killed one but she couldn't kill the other one as her magazine was empty but it tripped over a corpse falling down and struggled to get up.
"Switch!" She said as she moved back letting Arslan take the spot, she fired hitting the zombie in the chest as it finally got back to its feet sending it flying backwards to slam the back of its head against the kitchen counter.
As Pyrrha exchanged magazines, there was a loud crash from behind her. She jumped up to see Yang running back to the main hall.
"Stay here!" She said before going after Yang, when she entered the main area she could see that one of the shutters for the tall stain glass windows was being pushing inward. Sun however was pushing against it trying to keep it closed.
"Shit! Shit! Shit!" The blond hair teen was screaming as Yang came over to help him keep it closed. Father Absalom however seemed to finally be done praying as he stood on the other side of one of the pews that they had yet to use. He knelt down and grabbed it from the bottom before lifting it up.
"Would you kindly help me?" He said evenly at Pyrrha, she rushed forward and the two of them raised the pew to stand on its side.
"Yang!" Pyrrha shouted as the pew began to tip towards them, the blonde girl let go of the shutters leaving Sun to struggle in keeping it closed as the three of them lowered the pew right above Sun. He moved aside as the pew came down to rest against the shutter.
The four of them watched with obvious concern as the shutter and pew jumped a little from the undead as they beat against it.
"We're running out of time." Sun said as he picked up his Stag rifle.
"He's right we need to figure a way out of here." Pyrrha said looking at them.
"The front door and kitchen doors are out of the question, we might be able to use a window but we'd have to get them all on one side while we head out the opposite end but we don't know how many there are out there." The red head looked towards the priest.
"Is there any other way to get out of here?" She asked and he nodded before gesturing for them to follow him. Pyrrha followed Father Absalom as he led them to a small door on the far right side. Inside was a small hallway with three doors, one on the left, one to the right and one straight ahead of them. He stopped and turned towards them before pulling out a set of brass keys.
"The door on the left leads into the basement; there you may find another exit that leads outside of the church." He said.
"Okay but that doesn't mean that there might not be any of them hanging near it." Sun pointed out.
"True but the basement entrance isn't located next to the church, it's in fact located near the graveyard which is at least four or five hundred feet away from here. I'll be staying here so there won't be any need for them to lose interest here and wander near the graveyard."
"Well that's cheerful; in order to escape the undead we need to go underground near a graveyard." Yang said.
"I'm pretty sure that's the opposite of cheerful but I guess in retrospect I rather be surrounded by coffins with skeletons than the walking dead." Pyrrha said and she could feel Yang glaring at her from behind.
"Guys! What's the hold up?!" Arslan screamed and they turned to head back out. Pyrrha jogged over to see Arslan holding her handgun, as she didn't have the time to reload her shotgun. Arslan moved aside as Pyrrha took her spot with her rifle raised, there was several more bodies on the floor however the zombies were pressing them harder now.
She lined her rifle up and fired three times taking a woman in the chest before switching to another woman. Pyrrha put a round in her head but backed up a few steps as the woman fell forward a small teenage boy came next with two men shortly behind him.
"Get ready!" She called out as she emptied her magazine into the trio. The boy fell down but the two others were stilling coming at her though she could see them struggling to move forward as they stumbled over the two body high pile of corpses.
Arslan tapped her arm and they switched. She pumped two shells into the first one sending him backwards onto the pile before putting a third shell into the head of the other man.
"What happened out there?" Arslan asked before firing another shell at a woman that appeared in the doorway. Some of the pellets nicked the doorframe but most of them hit the woman squarely in the chest sending her out of sight.
"They tried getting in through one of the windows and Father Absalom has a way out for us."
"A way out?" Arslan asked after firing again but missed as the zombie tripped over some of the bodies. The dark skinned girl stood up and fired again hitting the zombie in the top of its head. The twelve gauge shell shattered the skull sending a cloud of gore into the air to splatter the other bodies.
"When should we leave? I'm running low on shells already." Arslan asked as she took the time to slide more shells into her shotgun.
"I don't know, the way out the Father gave us lets us out by the graveyard but I rather not go out there in the open in the middle of the night with zombies probably all around us." Pyrrha said as Arslan fired two more shells.
"You think we can hotwire a car or maybe the Father still had those car keys from the people that came here before us. We can use those cars to get out of here." Arslan said and Pyrrha had to agree that sounded like a good idea.
"We can't leave until Qrow comes back." Yang said from behind them.
"But we don't even know if he's still out there, maybe he got swarmed by zombies." Arslan pointed out and Pyrrha couldn't help but feel that wasn't the right thing to say.
"Hey, fuck off." Yang said before looking at Pyrrha.
"Do you agree with this bitch?" Yang asked and Pyrrha raised a hand.
"Come on Yang, don't be like that."
"Don't be like what? I'm not going to just stand here and listen to this ugly bitch telling me my uncle is dead." Yang said and Arslan stood up but Pyrrha stepped between them.
"Alright that's enough, both of you are out of line right now and if the zombies weren't trying to kill us I would knock you both out but I can't so you either apologize or walk away from this." Pyrrha said slinging her rifle to put a hand on both of their chests stopping them.
"Fine, you're lucky she's here to save you." Yang said before spitting to the side.
"Yea whatever, you dumb blond bimbo." Arslan said before turning back to watch the kitchen. The zombies didn't seem to be coming at them as much.
"Think we should use this time to block this door?" Pyrrha asked and Arslan merely shrugged.
"Fine, stay here, I'mma go talk with Sun about blocking this door." Pyrrha said leaving the sullen dark skinned girl to guard the kitchen.
Out in the main hall Pyrrha could see Sun and Yang navigating the last of the pews to be braced against the last shutter. There were only so many pews so they had to take some from the front door to block the shutter as such only six pews were left to block the front door.
"Hey Sun!" She called out walking up to the pair of teens.
"I need your help getting one of those pews back to the kitchen; I want to block the door with it so Arslan and I don't have to spend anymore ammo killing zombies." Pyrrha said pointed towards the door and Sun nodded.
"Right let's get going then." The two of them went over to the front door. As Arslan watched over the kitchen she counted her ammo, finding that she only had about a dozen shells left; she might be able to get some off Yang or more likely the old man.
The kitchen looked like a nightmare come true, more than two dozen bodies were piled around it. The collective blood soaked their clothes or pooling out from underneath them on the tiled floor.
Arslan couldn't help but notice that the blood looked a little off; if she had to compare it to something it looked a lot like strawberry jam that had been heated up to a point that it was a runny.
When she looked up however she was startled when a flurry of bodies threw themselves at the kitchen from the outside. As she raised her shotgun she could see three pairs of arms clawing from the window as they tried climbing through it along with zombie after zombie coming through the back door.
"Hurry up!" She shouted as fired then racked the slide before firing again and again. The first shell took the lead zombie in the chest as it tried to climb over the bodies. The second shell was a little to the right mauling the left shoulder of the zombie that it looked like it was barely hanging onto its torso.
The third shell however hit it in the stomach and a puff of blood shot out as the zombie fell forward. The fourth and fifth shells each killed a zombie. The last shell took the face off another zombie but more of them were still coming so she dropped her shotgun in order to pull out the handgun that she had taken before they left, a Berretta 92FS.
She fired twice and missed both shots fear stabbed at her as Arslan pulled the trigger four more times. These rounds at least connected, one went high hitting the lead zombie's shoulder while two struck it in the chest with the fourth hitting the throat.
As it went down she continued firing at the zombies, but she didn't know how big the magazine was nor did she think that she'd be able to hold them off.
"Move!" Sun's voice called and she jumped to the side as he began to fire. In close confines his rifle was just as loud if not louder than hers; the concussive sound of automatic fire indoors sent brief vibrating pain into her ears.
"Arslan get out of there!" Pyrrha shouted from behind Sun, she turned to see Pyrrha and Yang behind a pew that they were pushing up behind Sun. Arslan wanted to go and grab her shotgun but Sun was in the way so she opted to just quickly get over the pew to get out of the way.
Sun could feel his body perspire as he fired another burst into a zombie. The three rounds each sent a relatively tiny puff of dark blood into the air.
"Sun!" Yang called out and he glanced over his shoulder. The pew was in position to block the door, so he emptied the rest of his magazine into another zombie then grabbed the door then slammed it shut.
Though as he closed the door, he could feel slight resistance, he had to assume it was either a body that landed to close or a zombie trying to force it open. The moment the door was in place he twisted the lock on the doorknob then turned to climb over the pew as Yang and Pyrrha moved aside for him.
Once he was over, the two girls pushed the pew as hard as they could up against the door. The sound of fists beating it could be heard as they backed away.
"We've got a problem!" Arslan called out from behind them, the three of them went back out into the main hall. There they could see Father Absalom holding his double barrel shotgun and Arslan was exchanging magazines in her handgun.
Every pew that was barricading the shutter was jumping under the impacts of what they could only assume were zombies outside. Even the front door was being pounded on as they stood there.
"These won't hold forever." Yang said as she held her Shockwave with both hands. The five of them stood in a circle facing the various windows. To Pyrrha it felt as if the air within the church was warm and suffocating as they watched the pews shifting under the weight of the undead outside.
"Yang!? Pyrrha!? Anyone there?" Qrow's voice interrupted them however, and Pyrrha yelped as she turned to look for the voice.
"The radio!" Sun hissed pointed at their bags which were piled together by their feet. Yang ran over then fished through the bags for a radio and pulled her own out.
"Uncle Qrow, where are you?"
"I'm not that far out but there's so many zombies and abandoned cars that it's making it difficult to go straight there. What's the situation at the church, I keep hearing gunshots."
"Zombies are storming the place and we're about ready to bail out of here. The Father has a basement passage that leads to the nearby graveyard. We're planning to use that to get out of here; can you meet us near there?"
"I can and I'll let you know when I'm near there. Can you hold out till then?" Yang looked at them.
"We can try but please hurry up." She said just as one of the pews holding a shutter fell to the ground. Pyrrha who was the closest knelt down as she aimed with her rifle, the candles around the window had gone out but she could still see arms flailing through the broken stained glass window.
She fired twice, the first shot missed, taking a chunk out of the wall while the second struck the arm itself. The arm seem to bend in a weird way but it still continued to wave around as whoever it was attached to came crawling through the window.
As the body hit the floor Sun fired a quick three round burst the stitched a bloody path across the fallen body. Pyrrha moved to the left as Sun pressed forward, she fired two more times after he fired another burst.
It almost looked like they could hold them off when another pew, the furthest to their left, fell over. This time Father Absalom reacted, moving slowly forward firing one then two shots before pulling out the spent shells and replacing them in an almost casual motion.
"Ms. Nikos, catch." The Father said turning to her and throwing the ring of keys at her. She fumbled a little as she caught it.
"The time has come, lead your friends out of here." He said before firing both barrels again. The successive shotgun blasts took chunks out of another zombie that was climbing through the window.
More pews started to fall and more windows were broken open. Pyrrha felt her heart hammering and sweating soaking her clothes as she fired randomly at them. Sun, Yang, and Arslan were also firing their weapons. The collective noise was starting to hurt her ears as they fought them off.
However by this point almost all of the candles illuminating the room had gone out save for those near the crucifix.
"We need to get out of here!" Arslan screamed and Pyrrha had to agree with her. She glanced over at Yang who caught her eye.
"Grab the stuff and let's go!" Pyrrha shouted as she ran towards the doorway that led to the hallway with the basement door. Yang wasn't far behind her followed by Sun and Arslan.
"What about Father Absalom?" Yang called out as Pyrrha stopped in front of the basement door where she inserted it into the door then pushed it open.
Pyrrha didn't answer her as they could hear him screaming, but it wasn't a wordless scream, he was yelling what seemed to be quotes from the Bible at the top of his lungs. It didn't last long however as the screaming soon turned into cries of pain then nothing.
"They're coming!" Arslan yelled as she began to fire the way they came. Though unlike the kitchen there wasn't anything save for the door itself to slow them down. Pyrrha stepped to the side allowing Yang to go through the door first.
"Sun! Arslan! Hurry up!" Pyrrha screamed back and Arslan switched with Sun as he emptied an entire magazine at the doorway before stepped through the doorway. Pyrrha followed suit empting her own rifle at the mass of zombies.
She could feel herself shaking in terror as they came step by step closer as the bolt clicked dry she went through the door, slamming it shut behind her before using the key to lock it again.
Not even a second later the hard impacts could be heard as the zombies beat against the door. Arslan had turned on a flashlight and they could see the door jumped violently under the impacts.
"Okay let's find this exit." Pyrrha said as she joined them below but she could see that they looked distraught at leaving the elderly man behind. None of them made the move to start looking around, she frowned.
"Guys?" Pyrrha asked.
"Just give us a second Pyrrha, we just let someone die." Yang said.
"No, someone died so we could live. He didn't have to stay behind, now stop wasting time and let's go." She said as she glanced back up at the door, the hinges were starting wobble a little.
"Seriously guys, now is not the time for this shit, I don't want to die so fucking move." Pyrrha snapped but walked away from them to investigate the basement. The basement seemed to have rows of books, Christmas decorations, bake sale signs, and a relatively small pile of canned food.
After what seemed like forever she found a door, she could only assume that it was what she was looking for so she tried to open it but it was locked. Taking out the key the Father gave her, she found that it fit in the door's lock.
Opening it she could see that there was a long, dark hallway but she could feel a small breeze. She had found the way out.
"Guys! Over here!" She shouted, the only reply she got was grumbling as they walked to her.
"Let's go." She said raising her rifle, now Yang, Sun had their flashlights out as well along with Arslan as they walked into the corridor.
"Yang? Are you there?" Qrow's voice came suddenly over the radio making them jump.
"We're here Uncle Qrow, where are you?" Yang asked.
"I'm about a minutes out, get ready to come to me." Qrow said and Pyrrha felt a wave of elation. Though it didn't last long as at that moment they heard the sound of wood splintering and the sound of feet running down the steps.
"Run!" Arslan screamed as she spun around, shining her flashlight back at the door they had just come through. She hadn't closed it behind her and she was too far away to go close it. It wasn't long before the first face of a zombie appeared in her vision. She fired twice and the others behind her started to run.
"Hurry up! We're running out of time!" Yang screamed into the walkie talkie before tucking it away. There was another set of stairs nearby with a metal hatch above it and she could only assume it was their way out.
"Get it open Pyrrha!" Sun yelled as he dropped his flashlight then he turned to fire but Arslan was in his way.
"Arslan get down!" He screamed and she dropped in a crouch. Sun fired, some of his shots went wide but most of them found their mark. However in the tight corridor, the bullets mostly hit the first two zombies but they kept the others behind them safe.
"It's open! Come on!" Pyrrha shouted behind them as she pushed the hatch open to get outside. The smell of blood and decay was heavy in the air. She turned around looking for any zombies and looked at the direction the church was but it was difficult to tell without a flashlight as she didn't have time to take one out.
Yang stood with one foot out of the hatch as she looked back down. Sun was slowly backing up as he fired but Arslan seemed to be stuck, as she had yet to start moving back towards them. The zombies weren't far from her.
"You gotta get out of there!" Yang yelled and she could hear Pyrrha hiss in annoyance but she ignored her. If being quiet was important then shooting guns had already given them away. Sun was next to her, he had dropped his flashlight in order to operate his weapon with both hands.
"Come on Arslan!" Sun shouted as well, Pyrrha began to shoot behind them and Yang panned her light around to see a few zombies coming at them from the direction of the church.
"Damn it! Someone get her out of there." Pyrrha said as she fired a few rounds at what she assumed were zombies coming towards them.
In the distance, a car horn honked. Yang felt relief flood her briefly as a pair of headlights appeared to their right.
"Arslan! Qrow's here, let's move!" Sun shouted and Arslan finally stood up only to kick a zombie back as it lunged at her. Yang felt what relief she had wash away as she realized what she was looking at.
As Arslan tried to back away she stepped on the flashlight that Sun had dropped, the girl yelped in surprise as she slipped back. Fear rammed her heart and she voided her bowels as she fell on her back. In less than a second her vision was filled with the faces of the dead.
Pain erupted from her leg and she realized that a zombie had bitten her. Another one reached down at her and she tried to shoot it in the face but it grabbed her hand. She screamed in pain as it bit down on her fingers, her scream rose as it ripped two of her fingers off.
"Stop! Stop! Stop!" She started to scream in panic, she was vaguely aware of shooting but it didn't matter they were all over her. As she tried to pry the zombie off her right hand with her left arm a zombie reached in and bit her forearm before pulling away.
The pain was mind-numbing as it pulled back and she could feel her skin being ripped off her arm. The last thing she was aware of before blacking out from the pain was something dull but painful clamping down on her left cheek.
Jaune stepped out of the apartment building. He could smell smoke in the air along with the overwhelming sense of anger which thankfully didn't seem to be entirely directed at him.
However he could see people stopping to look at him, a few people looked a little nervous some of them even backing away. Yet there were more than a few that eyed him with suspicion or even contempt.
"I would ask you all to cease this destructive behavior!" He called out, gathering most of their attention now as people began to crowd around him. His throat felt as dry as sandpaper while sweat pricked his skin but he knew he needed to at least sound calm.
"Who are you to order us around?" Someone called out and the people murmured their agreement.
"I'm just a fellow citizen and human that wants us all to be at peace with each other. We have enough problems as it is that we don't need to be attacking each other or destroying valuable items or materials." Jaune called out.
"Then why are you in that building?" A voice called out.
"Because I live here, why else would I be here?" Jaune replied.
"The people who live in there are fascists that support the Government, so if you live in there you must be a fascist!" A deep voice bellowed.
"I'm not a fascist, I simply want to protect those that I can which means accepting the offer to help the Army clear out or fight the undead."
"You mean helping cover up their mess?! That's all those bastards are doing, playing god and causing the end of the world!"
"Where the hell is that coming from? Do hear yourselves? Do you really think anyone is capable of making people come back from the dead?"
"They're not dead! They just need help, this country has always hated the mentally ill but this is straight up murder!" A woman said near him and Jaune wasn't sure if they were just fucking with him.
"Have you seen what those, mentally ill, people have done? Ripping and eating people apart? That's not a mentally ill person, that's a monster."
"Of course the fascist would label people monster to justify killing them." A thin looking man dressed in black jeans and hoodie called out before spitting on the steps.
"Fine then, instead of taking your anger out on the people residing in this city why don't you go out there and rehabilitate those, people, you call mentally ill. Show us that have doubts in what you say is true by putting your money where your mouth is."
"What? So you can simply lock us out then kill us under the pretense that we're so called monsters?"
"Words mean nothing to me; you want to prove us wrong then show us by giving results not by burning cars and looting other people."
"We're not looting! We're protesting peacefully against the injustices that are being done to us!" The thin man shouted back at him.
"That's not what I've seen, hell you over turned a bunch of cars right here on the street how's that not a sign of unwarranted violence."
"Holding materials above the betterment of your fellow people is obviously what a capitalist supporting fascist would say." Jaune rubbed one eye in annoyance.
"Do you even know what you're saying anymore? Because honestly I don't think you understand what you're saying but merely quoting some hipster philosophical book you read at some point in your life." Jaune said, he could feel his annoyance rising and it worried him. If he couldn't afford to lose his cool as there would be no way he could keep violence from happening.
"Why? Are my words too intelligent for you to understand?"
"No, I simply don't speak your faux convoluted virtue signaling." The man seemed to bristle at that and other around him seemed to be talking amongst each other. It seems a calm voice speaking counter to the man's hot rhetoric was making people hesitate. Jaune could see that the man knew he was losing the attention of the mob.
"Why are you fighting against us then? You have weapons you can help us get justice against those that caused this or are you fine with being a pawn as long as you have special rights and a roof over your head."
"We're not pawns, we do this by choice and even then we're far from being safe. In fact I'm more likely to die then you are as I'll be sent to help reclaim territory while you stand there complaining at being kept alive merely because you think your moral superiority puts your above those that have to fight."
"You wouldn't have to fight if they didn't start this mess." The man replied and Jaune sighed.
"Okay, a show of hands if you're not from Mountain Glen or the surrounding cities and towns." Jaune called out and he wasn't surprised to see that most of the people raised their hands. He pointed to a middle age man with a bandaged right hand.
"You sir, where are you from?" Everyone around him turned to look at him and the man seemed to squirm under their eyes.
"I'm from Vale." He said.
"Speak up my man." Jaune asked and the man looked at the ground with wide eyes.
"I'm from Vale!" Jaune nodded.
"And good sir, tell me, what was Vale like before you got here?" He was silent for a moment then spoke up.
"It was a nightmare." Jaune nodded sympathetically.
"And who did you see standing between you and death in this nightmare?"
"How many others here know of what this man talks about? You've seen people rise up from injuries that should have killed them only to see them chase down and kill others indiscriminately. So how can you truly believe this man when he says that they're simply mentally ill? Do the mentally ill eat the faces of those that they called friends or family? Do the mentally ill charge regardless of their injuries into a line of riot police before eating said police? How can you all trust a man that lies to you saying that none of the pain you experience happened that it wasn't their fault but instead the people who are risking their lives to save you every day? Can you stand here with the threat of violence against regular people like yourselves that simply want to help out even if it means risking their lives? Who are the real monsters? Some man who gives a beautiful yet comforting lie or those telling a harsh but honest truth?" Jaune could see some people in the far back walking away from the group now. The man that had been arguing with him seemed to be trembling then reached behind him to only pull out a knife. The people closest to him back away as he spun on them.
"Don't let him fool you!" He turned towards Jaune again but he just sighed.
"I suggest you put that away before you get hurt."
"The only one here that's going to feel pain is you fascist." He said as he moved up the steps but Jaune simply pulled out his Glock. Even in the low light of the city at night people could see that he had a gun in hand.
"I'm armed and will defend myself accordingly." Jaune warned and the man hesitated.
"I've put up with your attitude so far but you've crossed a line but there's a second line and I assure you the moment you cross it you won't live to regret it." Jaune said before turning on his handgun's flashlight mount.
"The same goes for everyone else here! There will be no looting or rioting on this street if we see you committing any illegal acts we will respond with lethal force. Now disperse!" Jaune yelled and he could see the collective mass of the group break away. However there was still a few that seemed to be barely holding their ground but as the light from his gun passed over them they'd all cringe back.
"Disperse!" Jaune shouted but it seemed like that wasn't the right idea as more of them look to steel themselves at his command. He felt the urge to pull the trigger starting to build up within him.
"You heard him! Get out of here!" A voice yelled out from behind him, looking over his shoulder he could see Nora and Ren standing behind him with handguns as well. This finally broke the resolve for those that remained though Jaune could see two people of note.
One was the man that he had seen giving the speech on the overturned car. He hadn't come forward during the confrontation but seemed to be just watching Jaune. The second person however was someone he had hoped he wouldn't see so soon.
"Neptune?" Ren muttered aloud as the dirty blue hair teen walked up to them.
"Is Weiss here?" His voice croaked.
"What does it matter to you?" Nora asked and the three teens could see the flash of anger on his face before it disappeared.
"I just want to talk with her." He said.
"No, I have enough trouble on my plate as it is I don't need you harassing Weiss at this moment." Jaune said.
"I know, I know but please I just need to see her even if it's one last time." Neptune pleaded but Jaune wasn't sure what to do. After their fight he didn't exactly trust the guy but turning him away might cause problems later down the line. Though what sort of problems he wasn't sure so Jaune looked at Ren and Nora then nodded towards the front door.
The three of them backed away from Neptune then gathered in a huddle in front of the door and out of his hearing.
"What do you guys think? We should let him see Weiss?" Jaune asked.
"No, there's no point in dragging this along. She wanted him out after what he did so there shouldn't be any discussion." Ren said and Nora looked at him surprised.
"How can you say that Ren? Neptune's a teenager just like us and we all can be a little irrational at times but I think he's being genuine. Besides that I think the choice ultimately falls down to Weiss herself." Nora argued and Jaune reluctantly nodded.
"Fair enough, we'll let them talk but Nora you'll accompany them in case Neptune does do something stupid."
"Sounds fine to me." The shorter girl said and the three of them looked at Neptune. The blue hair teen looked to be in total despair.
"You can go in Neptune but I'll be escorting you so if Weiss refuses to talk to you or if you do anything stupid then I'm breaking your legs." Nora said and he nodded.
"I understand." After the two of them went inside Jaune sat on the steps feeling completely exhausted.
"I can't believe I talked them out of doing anything to us." He said even with the smell of smoke in the air, the night was cool and relaxing which only made him realize how fast his heart was beating. He could see the stars overhead even with some of the street lights still working and fires raging in the distance.
Jaune could feel himself losing himself in watching the night sky though a passing helicopter shattered that image. He sat up to see Ren sitting next to him.
"Well I think pulling your handgun out kind of dissuade them more than your words, were you really going to shoot them?" Ren said without looking at him, the stoic teen was looking out at the street where the overturned car still lay in the middle of the street.
"No, my Glock isn't even loaded. I cleared it before coming out here." He said much to Ren's relief but the more he thought it about, the more he felt a little uneasy with himself about it.
He wasn't sure why, he only drew his gun and aimed it at the crowd. Which seemed like it was the right idea but from how Ren sounded it made him think that his friend thought it was in fact the wrong idea.
As he looked up at the night sky again he leaned back onto the ground. He could feel the edge of the top step digging a little into his back while the cool concrete sent tingles from the back of his head down his spine. A wave of fatigue settled over him, his mind felt addled and his body wanted nothing more than to sleep.
"Jaune?" Ren asked but he didn't look at him.
"I'm just tired Ren."
"I guess I'm just tired of this Ren, I just, don't know anymore."
"Maybe you should turn in for the night Jaune."
"A body can be broken more than once Ren, I can fracture every bone in my body and most likely come back fine given time. Yet a mind broken will remain broken as the scars and wounds inflicted upon it will never fade no matter how much time passes." Jaune whispered he didn't know what was coming over him but he was aware that his fatalistic mindset was bad not only for him but the others as well. Yet it felt as if it was in response to something he knew but just wasn't aware of at the same time.
Taiyang eased the bike to a stop on the right shoulder of the road. In the distance he could see Mountain Glenn but what drew his attention were the several fires that were visible from even outside of the city.
"Do you think the dead are attacking here as well?" His traveling partner asked from behind him.
"I'm not sure, I see some helicopters but I think we should stay out here for the night. Then we'll see what it's like in the morning." He said as she got off the bike and he followed suit. Reaching into his jacket he pulled out a flashlight then clicked it on. Panning it around he couldn't see anything indicating zombies have passed through the area.
He turned the flashlight over to his companion; he had found her some new clothes. Instead of bloodstained scrubs she now wore a pair of black jeans along with an open leather jacket over a grey shirt underneath. Taiyang couldn't help but linger a little around her chest but averted his eyes when she looked up at him.
"You think we'll find them here?" She asked and he shrugged as she took out a flashlight of her own from the large mountain pack that she carried.
"I can't say for sure but I think this is the best bet. The Army's been broadcasting for almost a week that Mountain Glenn was safe and I hope they weren't just lying." He said as he began to walk the bike further into the trees before parking it behind a bush. His companion handed him a black blanket which he threw onto the bike.
They moved further into the forest, carefully navigating the steep terrain until they reached a relatively flat area. They set up their flashlights to face inwards to illuminate the area as they began to set up camp.
Due to the limited space of the mountain pack along with his Honda's saddle bags they didn't have a lot of supplies left. Taiyang knew that they only had enough food for two days maybe three if they stretched it along with only four bottles of water left.
In addition he had lost his Model 1887 and now was left with the Kahr CW40. His companion didn't have a firearm since she had somehow made it out of Vale using only a scalpel which he found rather amazing.
They worked well together, as he cleared the ground then began making a hole lined with rocks she was gathering twigs and logs for the fire. After lighting it they sat side by side eating out of the canned leftovers from that afternoon.
"Do you think we'll find them there?" She asked after finishing off her canned food then setting it aside.
"I believe so, my kids are way smarter than me plus they always look after each other so I wouldn't be surprised if they out live me in this new world." She looked at him and shook her head.
"Don't say that you're fully capable of handling yourself as well." She smiled as she looked into the fire. Taiyang however could see that she looked rather sad.
"My daughter is intelligent and strong as well. Plus I know she can survive on her own as my poor parenting has already set her up to be used to being alone. I imagine she didn't even give me a second thought when this all happened." She could feel her eyes tear up as her heart clenched within her chest.
"I mean, only a bad mother could live with seeing her child as sparingly as possible, only seeing or hearing her voice every few days as she struggles with her own life with no true guidance or support." Taiyang wasn't sure what to say in that but he did have a hint at what it might be like for the child.
When Raven left he knew Yang stayed up for nights asking where her mother was or why she left. After a while she would wake him up late at night crying asking if he hated her or when he will leave her and it made his heartbreak every time.
Then after Summer died it was like a double blow for her, first her biological mother left without saying why making her feel responsible for her leaving. Then a woman who showed the young girl true motherly love died, robbing her of that experience that she so longed for.
Taiyang didn't know what this woman was like before all of this but he knew that in the end no matter her flaws as a parent she was still a better mother than Raven.
While he would admit that he still had feelings for the woman even when he was with Summer. Even understanding her reasons for leaving it still didn't mean he agreed with them, he had hoped that one day she would understand what should have been more important to her.
Now that dream was shattered much like the lives of those that lived in this cruel new world. Looking back over at her, Taiyang could practically see the despair oozing off her now.
"Don't worry, I bet when you do find her she'll be happy to see you no matter what." Minerva Nikos looked at him.
"Do you really think so?"
Another bites the dust...
Well there isn't much to say about this chapter so i'll just skip to the important part.
This will be the final chapter, I won't be continuing after this...
Just kidding but I won't be updating this story anytime soon. Now it's not because I'm tired of it, more like I need some extra time trying to gather my thoughts. As such don't expect a new chapter until after October at the very least.
So feel free to leave your thoughts about the chapter, the story overall or even what you think about this temporary break. I would love to know what you all think and am more than willing to talk in length.
Anyways, that's it.
Till next time!