Sunday, October 26, 2014

As The World Dies: Fighting to Survive (Book Two, part 1)

Part 2 of As The World Dies opens with Jenni's nightmare that she was the zombie that destroyed her family. She wakes up to find she's still in Ashley Oaks, she's in her tent with Juan and they have cots connected with bungee cord. We learn that Juan doesn't have much insight into her nightmares because she's mourning in her own way (but considering her nightmares, he's better off).

Jenni is able to drift off back to sleep and we shift over to Katie on sentry duty. Katie is reflecting on her situation while enjoying a cigarette, something she had given up when she met Lydia. After reflecting on the past, she starts to move towards her disbelief in the here and now- hell is full and the dead are walking (shamelessly ripped from Dawn of the Dead, but in all fairness, Katie does mention how she can't believe she's living in the equivalent of a Romero movie).

She thinks about how things have changed and new families have formed within the survivors and then she lands on Travis. She knows she has a connection to him, but she just can't quite get over how loving someone else would be when she's still haunted by a wife who took out the mailman in a way the mailman fears a dog will.

Travis arrives on the scene and after some talking with Bill, the cop from Ralph's store, who was on the roof with Katie, we come to learn about what will be the main threat in this book besides the zombies- living and breathing braindead redneck assholes. That's right- the men Nerit took out at place she shared with Ralph were not the only one, there's a whole colony of them out there somewhere.

Travis takes over sentry duty, so Bill takes off. Katie realizes she can't stay there, so she leaves too. She stops to cry over the guilt of her feelings and Travis remains on the roof due to the seriousness of the duties at hand. Travis begins to think about the task of taking the hotel, but before he can really get too serious in thought, a lone zombie appears and he ends them.

The next morning, we find Juan in preparation for the group to take over a Dollar Tree. Not only will this provide them with supplies, but it will serve as a holding spot while the hotel is retaken. While blockades are being put into place, we have a brief interlude with Jenni and Katie disussing the taking of the Dollar Tree and the eventual taking of the hotel. Jenni also talks about whipping out and breaking her new toy- a fire ax. Dork status is established, final preparations are made, Jenni indirectly kisses Juan's ass and we're off!

Bill shows off his mad lock picking skills that some cops apparently learn during their time on the force and the group starts to enter the store. A quick "HEY!" is given (and thank gods it's not given by some irritating fairy....oops, wrong story) and the zombies respond, as if the smell alone wouldn't alert you that something might be various stages of dead or undead.

A zombie is located in a rather uncomfortable place (not unlike the back of a Volkswagen) and they have to determine how to get it out in order to kill it. A small stepladder is found and through the power of teamwork, the uncomfortable zombie is put out its misery. Jenni's mention of job well done brings out some moaning from the back of the store. Cautious movements through the store slip us to the back where we find a zombie with comedic timing! Zombie with comedic timing comes complete with foot in trashcan to hinder movement and fire ax to the head. Two sweeps of the store later, the group returns to the street, breaths in the clean air and signals for legal looting to commence.

Some bad news comes along in the form of spineless rich man and bitch queen trophy wife. Wife wants to continue being vain and believes the hotel is necessary for this, so she needles husband into needling the mayor into needling everyone else to take the hotel back. Thankfully the mayor has grown a pair and tells them to knock it off. Then we're treated to even worse news in the form of Mother Nature- she sent a tornado to wipe out a settlement. Even though the storm that drove it isn't going to be near them, the possibility of it springs "Operation Take Back the Hotel" into action.

Another interlude in town brings us the next chapter of "Travis and Katie-will they or won't they," Jenni and Juan having a moment while enjoying Doritos and Katie coming clean to Jenni (who immediately tells her friend to go jump Travis).

Morning finds preparations under way for the popular "Operation Take Back the Hotel," which will be followed by the less popular "Oh Shit, We Have to Clean The Hotel." Those going into the hotel are attempting to zombie proof themselves and those not going pile up in the Dollar Tree (complete with bitch queen trophy wife telling spineless rich man to do something about the bleach smell).

Clearing the hotel starts with a chapter appropriately named "Check-in Time." Those going after the zombies are told to stay to their routes, the work crews who will wall off the main floor begin their preparations and we begin.

Moving through the hotel is quiet at first, until they reach the hotel's dining room. Small batches are quickly dealt with, but soon they find themselves dealing with a large group of the undead and find another use for banquet tables (pressed zombie!).

In the lobby area, the group assesses their next move- clearing the floors of the hotel. Sadly, they lose more people when someone who got infected during the earlier melee bites them after the famous last words "What else could go wrong?" (see, Zombie Murphy and his law!) Travis finds himself unable to shoot his now zombified friend, leaving Nerit to finish them off and states anyone who fails to do this will be shot.

Everyone now splits into groups and begins their search of the hotel. More lives are lost to zombies behind doors and zombies falling down through stairwells. The groups reform and continue on their way before things take another turn on the sixth floor.

Based on information gathered in the lobby, it was expected the sixth floor might be a hot spot, but what they anticipated were a couple of plumbers, not zombies in the wardrobe. After a knee jerk reaction, Jenni finds herself trapped in a room with a soon to be undead, an undead and an undead with a metal plate in their head.

We cut away from this heart stopping moment to flip back to the Dollar Store once more to find people on edge while they wait to hear how the hotel operation is going. News of the breakfast meeting increasing the number of undead leads to an increased sense in panic since they know there has been some more death. We also learn that it has began raining while the hotel operation is under way, which has to add an extra level of creepy to everything.

Cutting back to Jenni, who's having a moment with the ghost of her late husband, she begins to figure out what her options are. A tiny freak out moment leaves her gun out of reach, so Jenni escapes to the balcony of the room to buy herself some time. Time runs out quickly when metal plate zombie crashes the patio door, so Jenni takes action and leaps to the next balcony. Metal plate zombie takes the same action, with the same results as Jenni, but since she made it first, she proceeds to attack metal plate zombie to make them let go of the balcony.

They're soon joined by newly undead, who attempts the leap, lands on metal plate zombie and thanks to gravity, both fall to the street below. Newly undead hits the road and attempts to keep going by dragging themselves and metal plate is impaled on a streetlight, but is also making futile attempts at continuing to attack the living. Jenni watches the scene below for a moment before realizing there are undead in the room of the balcony she's currently on. Further contemplation of her situation leads her to her only course of action.

We cut to Katie's group meeting up with the remaining members of Jenni's group- Mr. Freak Out and Cop #2. Everyone gets upset with Mr. Freak Out and open the door to the room to find the remaining undead making their way to a figure on the balcony. Undead is quickly dispatched and while trying to figure out who should end the figure on the balcony, the figure reveals themselves to be Jenni, who has lept back to this balcony in order to get her gun. A quick look outside reveals company has arrived and the work crews are advised to get the main lobby blocked off quickly.

The work crew moves in and begins walling things off while the other group reaches the top of the hotel (after a final zombie scare involving Katie). A few more zombie scares later, everything is declared clear and over five long hours later, the hotel is deemed safe. The dead are announced to everyone at the Dollar Tree, Katie and Travis end the "will they/won't they," and Operation "Oh Shit, We Have to Clean The Hotel" gets underway.

Soon it's time to move in and what happens afterwards is exactly what you'd expect- time to get cleaned up...and then get dirty again (happy ending! HA!)

Nerit teaches Mr. Freak Out a lesson he won't soon forget. Mostly because he's not around much longer to put the advice into action. The group learns they have a vigilante in their midst with more coming on the horizon.

ok, so that's part one. part two will probably be out later today after i have a chance to have some munchies and organize my thoughts into something vaguely coherent. thanks for reading and stay tuned!

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