Chapters 1 & 2
End Of Days: Plague of Death
Summary: Faith wakes from a coma to find the world has up and changed completely. AU from Graduation Day Part One, and the altered timeline will be explained in flashbacks.
Disclaimer: I don’t own BtVS or Angel, Joss does. I also don’t own any zombie fandoms, just my ocs.
And I looked and behold a pale horse,
and the man that sat on him was death.
And Hell followed with him.’
Sunnydale – February 9th, 2004 (5:37 pm)
If the blood splattered hospital hallways weren’t an indication, Faith Lehane knew that something was terribly wrong as she stepped out the front doors of Sunnydale Memorial Hospital and took in the sight of the piles of human bodies and the dozens upon dozens of abandoned cars that littered the streets.
She took a sweeping glance around the area as she slowly made her way down the small stairs that led down to the street, and quickly walked over to the nearest of the seemingly abandoned cars, quickly discovering that they weren’t all as abandoned as they appeared, when as she reached into the backseat of the Buick through the open window did she see the dessicated corpse of the driver, slumped over the steering wheel.
Faith was no doctor, or even a medical student, but was fairly certain that the man had been dead for at least a month at the minimum, and that raised all sorts of questions in her mind. The first of which being how was she even alive, with anyone that may have survived whatever it was that had happened having seemingly fled quite some time ago, and no one checking her.
As she began to ponder the possibility that she actually was dead, and this was some kind of hell, brought on by her accidental murder of the deputy mayor, even if she’d pulled back from the dark side at the last moment to help save the life of her sister slayer Buffy’s friend Xander, pushing him out of the way of the transformed mayor’s heavy tail as it launched both her and that football jock Larry off the ground and that had been the last thing she remembered before waking up in the empty hospital.
Shrugging her wandering thoughts to the back of her mind, Faith tore her eyes away from the form of the dead man, then grabbed hold of the duffel bag by the handles and hauled it out of the car.
Quickly moving to the back of the car, she set the duffel atop the trunk and unzipped it before letting a relieved grin onto her face as she grabbed the oversized AC/DC t-shirt and replaced the hospital issue smock, letting the offensive smelling garb fall to the ground, carried slightly on a gust of wind to fall on the pavement a few feet from where she stood, and she pulled the tee down over her head to cover her nudity once more.
Doubting that she’d find pants that fit amongst the dead man’s clothes, she quickly abandoned the bag filled with clothes as she spotted a cop car parked haphazardly on the corner, and began to make her way over.
Finding blood smeared on the exterior of the closed driver’s side door, she takes another look around the area, some nagging buzz at the back of her mind screaming at her to run her ass off, away from what ever had caused all this.
She doubted it was the mayor, who’d have likely finished the job of killing her had he survived that day. Certainly she’d not have made it to the hospital and been giving a chance to survive her own injuries, not after her betrayal of the evil, yet doting politician.
Again she pushed the nagging thoughts and doubts down, feeling annoyed with herself for the inability to focus on the situation she currently found herself in. She lets out a couple deep breaths, attempting to center herself and at the same cursing herself silently for not having cared enough to pay attention to Giles as he’d tried to teach her and B the proper techniques.
Her right hand came up to the handle on the driver’s side door of the police cruiser, pulling it up and opening the door. She leans into the car and begins fumbling with the lock on the plastic ‘box’ that held several police-issue Glocks and a shotgun, using the paperclip she found on the floor as she’d leaned in, to make short work of picking the padlock.
Normally she’d just use her slayer strength to simply rip the lock from the mechanism, but as she still felt the disorientation from however long she’d been comatose, she decided to just do things the normal way until the weakness and fatigue she felt went away. She hoped that it would just take a decent meal, and maybe a real night’s sleep for her slayer healing to kick in and do its work properly.
She pushed open the lid of the plastic box, quickly grabbing the two smaller guns from the box and shoving them into the waistband of the thin cloth pants that were pulled with around her slim form so the guns wouldn’t slip down, making sure that both were secure and then she grabbed the shotgun.
At the sound of a growl from behind her, she pulled back out of the car, and spun to face the seemingly dead woman that was hobbling towards where the slayer stood, her profile a truly gruesome sight, between the woman’s half rotted flesh, the blood dribbling from her mouth and the pupil-less milky eyes.
Faith ponders running for half a second, leaving the apparent walking corpse to hobble off elsewhere, but is surprised into pulling the trigger on the shotgun, catching the zombie in the chest as it suddenly lunges at her, hands held out like talons in front of it, and bloody teeth bared and gnashing.
The blast met the zombie full on, exploding the ribcage and sending the walker to the ground, the impact of the shot launching it off its feet to land on it’s back with a thump that echoes against the store fronts that lined the street ahead.
The dark slayer quickly reloads the chamber, her hand pulling the sliding piece of the shotgun back and then pushes it forward again to prime another shot, in the likely chance she’d need it.
Her eyes widen almost impossibly as the woman she had just blasted starts to pull itself up on it’s useless legs, and then when that fails to work, begins crawling toward Faith, snarling and growling as it pulled itself along the concrete road.
Faith levels the shotgun at the zombie’s head as she maneuvers her way around it, deciding at the last moment to save the remaining shotgun shells for the time being, and pulls out one of the handgun.
She clicks the safety off as she quickly comes up behind the downed zombie, pressing one foot into its back and pushing it down against the street before pressing the barrel of the glock in her hand to the back of it’s skull and pulling the trigger.
Blood and viscera sprays in an outward arc from the front of the zombie’s head, the being in question collapsing to the bloodstained pavement, not moving at all now.
“Hmmm.” Faith muses as she takes another glance around the area, worried that the loud shots that were still ringing in her ears hadn’t drawn any more of the creatures to her. “Guess Romero was right on a few things.” She remarks to herself, deciding to take the opportunity to find a safe place to hide out for the night.
With the sun looking close to setting on the horizon, she didn’t much like her chances of survival remaining out on the streets after darkness fell upon the town, things were dangerous enough in these parts, even without the added threat of zombies roaming around unfettered, and her desire to not become the victim of mindless cannibals.
Deciding to speed up her pursuit of finding a safe haven, she quickly returns to the cop car, quickly pulling the plastic covering off of the underbelly of the drivers side dashboard, quickly working to spark the engine to life by fiddling with the wires until she hears the telltale rumbling of the motor slowly coming to life.
She lets out a subdued cry of satisfaction as the rumbling turns into a light roar and smiles as she pulls the door shut, pressing her foot on the gas and pulling out onto the road, heading in the direction of Buffy’s house on Revello drive.
She doubted that the Summers’ would still be at the house, but hoped that she’d find something that would give her a clue as to where B and the others had gone.
Provided, of course, that they’d even survived whatever it was that had happened here.
When she pulled the police cruiser to a stop at the curb in front of 1630 Revello drive, she realized that her doubts of Buffy and her family being long gone were proved to not be unfounded, the overgrown grass in the front yard of the house, as well as those of the neighboring houses, and the lack of Joyce Summers’ car parked in the driveway.
She contemplates staying in the home of the other slayer for the night at least, but changes her mind as she takes notice of the fact that at least three of the windows on the front side of the house alone were broken, and the door seemed to have been kicked in at some point, more than likely from looters.
Letting out a sigh, she turned her head away from the house and pressed down on the gas again, pulling away from the curb and back onto the street.
A quick check of the gas meter told her that the tank was three quarters full, just about enough to make it to Los Angeles if the roads weren’t blocked too bad. She made a decision then and there to do just that, pressing firmly down on the gas pedal as she picked up speed.
Feeling some odd urge as she reached the town limits, with the desert spanning out as as far as she could see in the distance, she suddenly swerved the car off the road to barrel over the wooden sign that proclaimed ‘Now Leaving Sunnydale, come back soon’, reducing the wooden sign to splinters and chunks as the car crashes through it.
Clearing the explosion of wood, Faith raised her hand behind her, giving the spot where the sign had stood the one fingered salute as she sped onward, kicking up dust and dirt from the rear tires as she swerved back onto the road, and sped in the direction of the City of Angels.
She hoped desperately that it was only Sunnydale that this had happened too, but somehow knew that the path ahead was gonna be one hell of a struggle.
The gas meter, as it turned out, had been lying to her. The slayer realized this little fact as the car rolled to a stop just outside the far limits of the town of Oxnard, which as she drove through, had also seemed to be completely devoid of any life.‘Well, human life anyways.’
She corrected herself mentally and allowed herself a small smile at the thrill that had come with running down a couple of the walkers on her initial drive through the town’s center, remembering with some fondness the crunch that the zombies had made under the weight of the tires rolling over them, and then let out a groan as she reached the top of the hill off the highway.
Deciding that the trip into town would be too risky with limited light and sparse ammunition, Faith rested the shotgun against the base of the tree, obscuring it from view with some dead branches that had fallen from the tree above. She then used her slayer stamina to launch herself off the ground, just high enough to grab hold of a thick and sturdy looking limb about eight feet off the forest floor, her fingers easily finding a firm purchase on the branch of the pine.
She pulls herself up, and climbs about twenty feet up to nestle herself in a split in the actual trunk, thankfully wide enough to get a couple hours of sleep without the fear of tumbling out of the safety of the high ground she’d found for herself.
She watched the stars for a few moments after she was satisfied she was secure in the spot, then fatigue finally caught up to her and her eyes closed as she fell into a deep slumber.
End Chapter One
Dawn came much to quickly for her liking, the rays of the sun shining through the gaps in the branches above her, bathing her face in it’s bright light and the heat of it waking her from her slumber.
Blinking a couple times to clear the sleep from her eyes, Faith took a quick glance around, remembering with some difficulty the events of the previous day, and prayed she could find a doctor of some kind still alive in the near future, and that there wouldn’t be any lasting effects from her coma.
She took a quick look around the forest floor below, happy to see that none of the ‘walkers’ had come up to lay in wait for her, and started climbing down. She reached a thick branch about ten feet off the ground and decided to quicken her descent by jumping down the remaining distance, landing in a crouch that she remains in for a couple seconds before she rises and knocks the branches that are covering her shotgun away, and grabbing the weapon.
She frowned as her stomach growled suddenly, and she realized just how hungry she was. Shaking her head slightly to clear the last of the fatigue, she begins walking down the side of the hill, intent on reaching the limits of the town in the valley below as quick as she could, and hopefully find food.
It was about fifteen minutes later that she came up to the edge of the forest where it met the town limits, finding herself in the backyard of a fairly large blue house. She quickly strides across the expanse of the yard, and walked up onto the slightly raised porch on the back end of the house, quickly crossing that as well and trying the sliding glass door.
A frown comes back over her face as she finds it to be locked, and gives a good long look around the area, making sure that the area is clear as she doesn’t want to attract any of the walking corpses that might be hiding nearby, and then she pulls back the butt of the shotgun before thrusting it through the glass and pulling herself back to avoid getting cut by the shattered glass, remembering that in a couple of the horror movies she’d watched with Xander prior to her brief foray into the dark, that zombies were attracted to the scent of fresh blood.
Waiting a couple seconds to ensure that the noise hadn’t attracted any unwanted attention, she decided that the coast was clear and stepped through the door frame, and into the dining room that lay within.
She quickly crossed through a gap in the wall and entered the kitchen, setting to work searching the cabinets for anything of use, and a grin comes over her face at the sight of a couple dozen assorted cans of food.
She steps back from the cabinet and crossed into the adjoining hallway, pulling open a door in the middle finding a closet behind the barrier, and to her delight a couple of backpacks that lay on the floor of the closet, half hidden by the coats hanging from above.
She grabs hold of both the backpacks by the handles at the top of each with her free hand, pulling them out of the closet and carrying both back into the kitchen, She places the shotgun on the counter, and unzips the first backpack, quickly filling it with the canned food.
Given the larger than average size of the first backpack, she has more than enough room for the extra changes of clothes she finds in an upstairs bedroom, the previous occupant having sizes damn near those of Faith herself, and she tossed the two handguns from her waistband to the bed.
She shrugged out of the hospital drawstring pants and pulls a pair of jeans off a hanger in the bedroom closet, quickly slipping into them and buttoning the waistband with a pleased look on her face as they fit her snugly, and knows that they’ll be much easier to fight in if the need arose.
Grabbing a few more pairs of pants, including one that was leather, which had her grinning wide as she stuffed that pair and the others into the first backpack, filling up the rest of the available space inside, before zipping it closed, and beginning to load the second bag with t-shirts from the closet, more ending up on the floor than the pile that was slowly growing atop the bed where the two backpacks were lying, as Faith decided that she wouldn’t be caught dead in the majority of the shirts in she was browsing through.
Finally with about ten different ‘acceptable’ shirts in the pile, Faith gives up her search and quickly stuffs the shirts into the second backpack, also stashing the two Glocks inside and zipping it up as well as the first.
She throws one over each shoulder as she strides out of the bedroom, stopping at the top of the staircase, pausing before she began her descent, quickly turning where she stood and walking into the bathroom, grabbing a couple bars of soap, a half a bottle of shampoo and a razor blade from the shower, a quick examination showing that the razor appeared to be unused. She grabs a couple of towels also from the bathroom closet, and stuffs all the new items into the backpack with the t-shirts and guns, filling up the rest of the space.
She’s about to close the bag up when what sounds like a car door slamming draws her attention and she whips her head to the side on instinct, grabbing hold of one of the guns and creeping over to the top of the stairs, listening intently in case there were more of the zombies creeping around the house.
Using her heightened sense of hearing that came with the ‘gift’ of being a slayer, she strained her ears but couldn’t pick up any further noise within the near vicinity aside from her own breathing and the slight creaking of the floor boards as she returned to the bathroom and zipped up the second bag before throwing each over a shoulder once again and then she quickly descended to the first floor.
Holding the Glock in both hands, ready to fire at anything that might lunge out from around a corner, she reaches the bottom of the stairs and strides back down the hallway to the kitchen, stopping briefly to grab the shotgun off the counter before making her way over to the broken door, kicking the glass out of the way as she went.
Just as she’s about to cross the threshold back outside, she suddenly lets out a curse and throws herself to the side of the door as she catches sight of a male zombie stumbling out of the woods on the edge of the backyard. A quick glance out the back a couple moments later tells Faith that the back door is no longer a feasible exit, not without making too much noise, as the zombie continues to amble closer.
She quickly re-enters the kitchen, opening a different door, which to her luck leads down into the basement garage, which she finds as she closes the door behind her and quickly makes her way down to the stairs, finding an SUV parked around the corner of the small hallway that led into the actual garage section of the basement.
To her stunned disbelief she finds the keys already in the ignition of the vehicle and quickly gets into the car, dumping the two backpacks onto the bowler hat on the passenger seat without a further thought, then reaches up and presses the button on the garage door opener, starting up the car as the door is pulled upward, allowing the sun to shine into the previously shadowed area.
Her eyes go wide at the sudden reveal of a couple dozen zombies milling around the street at the end of the driveway, quite a few of which turn to face her, drawn by the sound of the garage opening, and the low rumble of the SUV’s engine.
She stares ahead blankly for a few moments, as the numerous zombies begin stumbling towards her, and she throws caution to the wind, slamming on the gas. The car shoots forward, mowing down five or six of the zombies, crushing them beneath the weight of the large vehicle, and flipping another two up over the hood and top of the car to fall onto the street behind.
Faith speeds onward, clipping one of the zombies that ambles to far into her escape route, launching the hapless walking corpse into a row of plastic green recycling bins and metal trashcans, letting out a chuckle as she catches the incident from the passenger side mirror.
She presses hard on the gas as she retraces the route she’d taken through town the night before in the cruiser, reaching the spot on the road where the car in question had broken down the night before, pulling the SUV to a stop next to the broken down vehicle and opening the drivers’ side door to get out.
She makes her way over to the trunk of the cop car, shooting the lock on it with the glock and flipping it open, the small smile on her face widening considerably as she takes stock of the useful goodies inside.
She grabs hold of one of the duffel bags that are flattened against the side of the trunk, shaking it open before loading it up with the various police goodies, including a couple of road flares, ten extra clips for the glocks, a box full of 25 shells for the shotgun, about a twenty foot length of thick rope, a flashlight and even a few zip-tie restraints on the off chance that she might find use for them.
She also grabs the fireman’s axe that was fastened to the ceiling of the trunk hatch, pulling it free of the clasps and then decides she’s looted all items of use from the cruiser, and returns to the SUV, dropping the third bag and the axe into the back, also grabbing the first two bags and moving them to the backseat as she catches sight of the piece of paper and the bowlers hat beneath the packs.
She stares at the hat for a few moments before reaching out and picking up the piece of paper that had been beneath the odd hat, which would have been more popular in 1940’s Brooklyn. Her eyes widen in shock as she begins to read the contents of the piece of paper.Slayer,
You can find a small group of survivors on Alcatraz Island. Do not under any circumstances attempt to enter Los Angeles, it’s a death trap.
Faith let the note fall to the floor of the SUV, taking another look at the hat on the passenger seat, then turns to face the road ahead, starting the car back up and continuing her drive south, with a new destination in mind.
End of Chapter Two
To Be Continued…