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This is the twenty-second chapter of Wake of the Undead. It is the first chapter in Part Four: Comfort.
Theo, Ron, Reuben, Zach, and Cole sped through a forest. They were keeping low and had their guns out. Theo shot two zombies, and Zach jabbed his knife through a zombies' head. They ran further into the forest and it got darker, as the trees got thicker and taller. They came across two more zombies, and Ron took them out.
Back on the side of a deserted road, resting in a ditch, were the rest of Theo's group. Tyreese was sleeping inside of one of the cars. Morgan, B, and Drake were relaxing while keeping watch around he vehicles and Cleo was playing with Quin and Megan, while Hannah and William watched.
"Why are you so damn unfriendly?" William questioned Hannah. "You're fucking sixteen years old, and all you do is mope around and be miserable."
"I think you may have forgotten," Hannah snapped back. "That my parents are dead. My siblings are dead. My friends are dead. I watched them all die. I have never liked life, and this world of death is depressing, even to me."
"We have all lost family and friends, Hannah! That's what this world is-death. But that doesn't mean you can't enjoy the life you still have! Quin was your best friend before shit hit the fan. You two should do more together instead of you sitting in the shadows and watching her live a regular teenage life with the rest of us." Hannah shot William a look that said "How dare you", and walked away, leaving William feeling like shit.
Meanwhile, in the forest, Theo and his group were devising a plan to scout the area.
"Ron, Reuben, you come with me," he decided. "Zach, Cole, you scout the area around here, we are going ahead. We can't keep driving around hopelessly trying to find a place to live. We have already had to gas up nine times in the past three weeks. Winter is at it's coldest peak. I think it's early January, maybe even later. We need to find somewhere safe and livable. Someplace where we won't be attacked like the last two times. Somewhere like Puslinch...just, without Victor, and with better protection.
"We are running out of ammo too. We need to conserve what we have and get more. Otherwise, we are going to have to risk getting up close to zombies and hitting them with knives or crowbars. There has to be somewhere. There has to be. Devon's place, it just...just seems like a lost cause. He haven't seen any sign of him, so we need to find somewhere else. C'mon, lets go."
Hannah sneaked off, and marched off into the forest that Theo and the others were in. She, as with all the others, had a knife with her at all times, due to the lack of guns and ammo. She walked over to a tree and yanked it out. She stared at it. It was a large, Swiss Army knife. It had a long, smooth handle wrapped in leather strips. It was easy to grip, but the weight of such a small object made it awkward to hold in a defensive position.
She looked up at the tree, and started to silently cry. She raised her arm and slashed the tree with the knife. It made a deep cut in the rough, thick bark, and felt good. She hit it again, and again. She cut the tree for several minutes until she saw what she had done. The cuts formed a giant ball of lines that went deep into the tree - almost an inch. She breathed deeply for a few long seconds, then looked past the tree. She saw a zombie in a tuxedo and broken glasses. It's face was pale and bloody, and drooped a great deal. She walked up to it, raised her arm, now sore from all the slashing, and dug it deep into the zombies' head.
She yanked it out, and the zombie fell. She looked off into the distance, and saw several more. She killed a few of them, and then realized that they were dressed very formally, and all coming from the same direction, so she decided to follow the trail.
Zach and Cole stumbled through the forest, which continued getting darker as the sun now began to set. It was late in the day, almost evening, and after searching for almost 6 hours, they had not found any sign of a proper home.
"It's getting late," Cole pointed out. "Maybe we should call it a day and go back."
"I agree," Zach replied. "Let's go find Theo." The two of them walked back to where they had split up.
"Theo!" They yelled. "Theo! Ron! Reuben! We're heading back." They heard a faint yell in the distance, and a few moments later, the others revealed themselves.
"We were just going to do the same," Reuben told them.
Hannah continued through the forest, slashing and stabbing numerous counts of zombies that seemed to be spilling from one area. She came across a slightly steep hill. When she made it to the top, she found a path of stones that wound around large evergreen trees.
"What the hell is this?" she asked herself. She slowly walked along the path, holding her knife out in front of her at all times, just to be safe.
Theo, Ron, Reuben, Zach, and Cole returned to the others.
"So," Morgan asked as she ran up to them. "How did everything go?"
"Not good," Ron admitted. "We didn't find anything."
"Oh, well we can try again tomo-"
"Where the fuck is Hannah?" William blurted out. "I haven't seen her in a couple hours. Thought she went off to be by herself, but I don't see her anywhere!" He frantically looked around again, feeling guilty that he let her out of his sight.
"We'll go find her," Zach said. "Well, I will, if anybody else wants to join."
"Of course I will," William said.
"And me," Quin announced.
Hannah walked for what seemed like hours across the stone path. She was considering giving up until she saw it. She stopped in her tracks; her mouth hanging wide open. She stared ahead at a small, deserted little neighborhood. She spun around and ran back to tell the others.
Just as the others were about to leave to find her, Hannah burst out of the woods.
"Guys! Guys!" she screamed.
"H-Hannah?" William said, surprised. "Where the hell have you been?"
"I went to be by myself, but then I found it!"
"Found what?" Theo asked.
Hannah brought Theo, William, Ron, and Quin into the forest with her. She lead them up the path, and took out a few more zombies that had recently showed up. When they got there, they were all shocked. The five of them slowly stepped past the fences that surrounded the place and stared in awe. It was a small little neighborhood, only about 5 or 6 houses, but they were something the group hadn't seen in a while. Aside from Puslinch, they hadn't really seen any hospitable places before.
"We need to make sure this place is safe," Theo told them.
"But it's getting dark," William objected.
"I brought flashlights. Wouldn't you rather sleep in a nice, warm house than crammed in a car with five other people?"
"Then come on! Let's check this house first. It's the closest." Theo pulled out two flashlights, and handed one to William. Theo took the lead, and William stayed at the back so he could keep an eye on Hannah. Theo kicked the door open, and they saw the house was completely abandoned. There was still furniture, but nobody inside. They heard a noise upstairs, and ran up.
"There's something up here," Theo said. "On three. One, two, three." They pushed a bedroom door open, and were surprised at what they saw. An old, chubby man was sitting on his bed with a shotgun pointed at the five of them.
"What the hell you doin' in my house?" he asked them.