Chapter 5 - Holding the Fort


A note from rykov00

I know most stories jump right into the system, but part of the point of this story was for the characters to slowly discover what was going on with the world. Hopefully the pacing is working for folks, but feel free to comment with your thoughts. Also, doubling up today's posts to get both sides to this story.


As Liz and Dad headed out, Mark started to worry. Well, in all honesty, he had started to worry since he woke up and was late to school, but this worry was deeper. He loved his family, and had always figured they would be fine no matter what. After all, his Dad literally wrote the book on surviving five different types of apocalypses. When monsters started appearing though, the idea that something terrible could happen got stuck in his head, and he was having trouble getting it unstuck. Sighing in frustration, he proceeded to scan the perimeter. Nothing good would come from idle worrying, so he might as well do something productive.


A few circuits of checking windows along the house later with nothing going on caused Mark’s mind to wander. Generally, it didn’t take much for that to happen, but practicing meditation techniques and martial arts seemed to help him manage. He could actually get through a day of school now while maintaining his focus. Well, maintaining it at least half of the day. A quick glance revealed nothing was out this window either, but it faced the woods behind his house. That was a nice view, one of his favorites. Mark noticed he could make out his reflection in the glass.


His dirty blond hair was long, and getting into his eyes like usual. He sported the same indeterminate look his sister had, but lacked freckles. He poked his nose, that wasn’t quite as angular as his sister, and looked over to his mom. Liz got gotten Dad’s pointy nose and chiseled cheekbones. Everyone told him he looked more like his mom more than his dad, and he figured it was probably because of his nose. Even he could tell it was pretty much exactly like hers. All it in all, he though his face came together pretty nicely. It would be better if he were taller though. His sister was always just a couple inches up on him, but he was pretty sure he’d catch up in a few more years and then he’d laugh and laugh.


Mark walked over to next window and his mind had jumped over to thinking about what he would eat for lunch when something moving in the pond across the street caught his eye. He pulled up his binoculars to get a better look. In magnified glory he saw a hippo giraffe monster crawl out from the pond there, sniff the air, and chomp down on a Fuuzer, crunching it up in a few bites. It then looked across the street to the bodies that had been left by his Mom earlier in the day and started to wander over.


“Mom! Giant Hippo Giraffe Monster on the way! What should we do!” He cried out louder than he meant. The volume startled his Mom as she rushed over to look.


“Ok, first off, looks like we can’t leave corpses around. We’ll have to make sure we’re cleaning things up going forward. That thing looks like it could do some damage to the house if it wanted. If it starts getting close, I think we might be able to scare it off.” she handed Mark a loaded crossbow and went to collect the rest of them.


“You’re a much better shot than me love, but will you be ok with this?” Mary said with a worried voice. Even though he was excited about learning self defense and martial arts, Mark had always been sensitive about hurting things. She treasured his empathy but worried it might make surviving in this new crazy world that much harder.


A few seconds of contemplation later, Mark nodded and simply stated “Yeah, I can do this.”


They lined up next to the window with the best view of the pond where the Fuuzer corpses were. Mary silently thanked her husband’s paranoia again. The windows were horrible for views, as they bent and distorted light a tad along the edges, but the things could shrug off a .45 at point blank range. The swivel mechanism on them allowed them to lift inwards and up as well as sliding to the sides, allowing for modular access to the window if you needed an escape hatch or a slot for sniping.


The Hipporaffe chowed down on the three remaining corpses outside, and for a moment, it seemed like it was going to wander back across the street, but then it picked up the trail of the Fuuzer Mary had dragged back to the house.


“Mom! It’s coming! I think it’s following the blood of the Fuuzer downstairs!” Mark whispered in alarm. His mom nodded, and got ready to hand another loaded crossbow to Mark. Mark exhaled, releasing the tension in his shoulders and fired a shot at the head of the beast.


Apparently, he hadn’t done a very good job of releasing his tension, as the shot flew high, not even causing the thing to blink. “It’s okay Son, you got this” his mom encouraged. She passed him a loaded bow and proceeded to reload the spent one. The thing was now 40 feet out and getting closer. “I can do this” Mark repeated to himself.


The next shot he aimed at the body, hoping the pain would make the thing go away, and a thunk later showed it easier to hit a eight foot long body than a two foot long head. Rather than scaring it away, however, the thing seemed to just get pissed off, and started charging towards the house.


Mark, in a panic, shot three more times quickly, but the thing shrugged off the hits and even sped up. His Mom was furiously reloading bolts, but Mark new he would only get a couple more shots before he’d have to wait for reloads, so he needed to make the next shots count. He looked at the legs of the thing, and while they resembled a hippos, there were clearly bulging knee joints. He figured he’d have one more shot before the thing crashed against the house. Taking an extra moment to still his mind, he took aim at the kneecap. The bolt flew true, and the thing staggered on it’s next step and crashed to the ground.


It’s rage seemed forgotten as it got up, sniffing around it’s knee. Now that the thing wasn’t moving, Mark aimed for the head again, and this time struck it in it’s cheek. The bolt didn’t penetrate more than a few inches, but it obviously noticed that, as it threw its head back and bellowed in real pain for the first time. It turned it’s head and seemed to notice Mark and his mom in the window for the first time. It didn’t look happy.


Mark had fired all the crossbows at this point, and rather than wait for his mom to finish reloading one, he opened the window, and grabbed the pepper spray can at his side. He pushed the glow stone they had found earlier against the can and tried to replicate the sensations he felt with the cell phone.


“Mark! When did you grab that! It could be dangerous!” his Mom said in an alarmed voice. At this point the Hipporaffe had gotten back up and seemed pissed.


Mark simply concentrated, hoping his theory was correct. He imagined energy flowing from the stone to the can and suddenly he felt that vibration he noticed earlier in his phone. “Fire in the hole!” He cried out, chucking the can towards the face of the monster.


As the can finished it’s arc it exploded right in the face of the thing. It’s skin visibly reddened as the harsh chemicals went to work. At this point, the beast had enough. It turned and ran back across the street to it’s starting pond, ducking its head underwater and disappeared from sight.


Mark looked at his Mom who seemed to be in a bit of shock, but he had a grin plastered on his face.


“That. Was. AWESOME!” He whooped, giving his Mom a hug and taking a moment to enjoy the fact that they were both alive. His Mom sighed at his recklessness, but was glad that episode was over.


A few seconds later Jason walked in and noticed the scene, “Everything OK?”

A note from rykov00

Also we hit 1000 views! Thanks all! If anyone is interested in what the weapons people are using, please feel free to comment and we'll post the pictures of the items we're basing this off of. Mr. Fluffers can be found in Chapter 4 comments. He's huggably cute!

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