This is the story of five friends trying to survive the zombie apocalypse in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, using only the skills they posses and their wits.
Each chapter is a gaming session I had with my friends of a game called “Z-DAY”.
It’s an RPG set in a Zombie Apocalypse which takes place in the city you are currently in. The best part for me about the game – no it wasn’t the zombies – is that the character you play is you. That’s right, you. Not some tricked out fantasy person but a character who is you. I won’t get into all the mechanics here (they are still being worked on to a degree) but you play yourself which includes all your knowledge and skills, as well as a few “tweaks” from the rules. Another cool part about the game – for me – is that the Game Master can play as well.
Z-Day Regina: Chapter One
As far as anyone knew it was going to be just a regular night of gaming that Thursday in late August.
There were very few patrons in the Club that night. Two older men sat drinking at the bar and swapping stories of the good old days, a couple of younger guys were playing foosball and a cute young couple played pool.
The usual assortment of weekly gamers was there too, sitting around the big conference table and the two tables on the small platform behind it, playing games and chatting.
Five friends were seated at one end of the conference table playing a game.
“Whose turn is it?” Jason asked, looking pointedly at Bob since it was his turn.
“What’s that horrible smell?” said Bob, ignoring Jason. “Does anyone else smell that?”
“It’s called the kitchen,” offered John. “Now you know why I won’t eat here.”
“Very funny, but I’m serious. Can’t you guys smell that?”
Before anyone could answer, the guy sitting next to Parker grabbed his head and fell to the floor screaming.
“What the hell is the matter with Lance?” asked Stu, who was sitting at the end of the table.
“I’ll check him,” offered Parker who bent over Lance’s body. “Hey Lance, you OK?”
Parker reached out to turn Lance towards him.
“Don’t touch him!” yelled Bob, “Look around! They’re all covered in some weird yellow goo.”
The friends at the table looked around the Club.
The bartender had fallen screaming to the floor behind the bar and the two older guys were leaning over it trying to see what happened to him. The people playing foosball were rolling around screaming and holding their heads. The young girl who had been playing pool with her boyfriend was on her knees beside him, trying to figure out why he was screaming as well.
One look at the people playing games at the other end of the conference table and on the platform showed the same thing – people were either screaming and falling down or sitting around looking confused and concerned for those around them.
Every single person who was screaming was covered in some noxious yellow goo that seemed to be oozing out of their pores.
“What the fuck?” said Jason standing up.
As Parker looked back down at Lance he could see that his friend was covered in the foul smelling yellow puss. Lance suddenly stopped screaming and went still.
Without warning Lance turned on Parker and tried to claw at his face.
“Holy shit!” yelled Parker, jumping back after getting a good look at Lance’s face which was contorted into a hideous snarl.
“What the hell is going on?” said John as he jumped up from his seat beside Stu.
Lance slowly stood up and glared at the five of them. Yellow goo dripped off his face and body in large blobs, landing on the floor with a sickening splat. His face was contorted into a snarl, teeth bared and gnashing. Worst of all were his eyes which had turned a deep red, making him look like some demon from hell.
Lance snarled and grabbed Parker’s shirt at the front, pulling him close.
Lance bent forward and tried to bite Parker’s face but Parker was faster and managed to pull his head away so that all Lance ended up with a mouthful of shirt collar.
“Help me!” Parker shouted, pushing at Lance with both hands.
Bob grabbed the game box off the table and threw it at Lance, trying to distract him. Lance didn’t even notice as it bounced harmlessly off his head.
“I got this!” hollered Jason picking up his chair and stepping forward.
Jason leaned back and put all his weight into his swing…. WHAM! He hit Lance in the side of the head with the chair.
“Arrrrrgh!” screamed Lance, trying to pull Parker closer.
“What the fuck – he didn’t even flinch!”
“My turn!” said John, running around the end of the table towards Lance and Parker.
Swinging his steel toed biker boot as hard as he could, John landed a solid kick to Lance’s knee. There was a sickening crack and Lance went down screaming, finally letting go of Parker.
By now there was total chaos in the Club. Those people who had not been screaming from the pain in their head were now screaming in pain and fear as they were being attacked by those around them.
The bartender had one of the older guys pulled halfway across the bar and was chewing on his neck. The foosball players were cornering the other older fellow in the corner while he held them off with his barstool. The young girl was trying to keep her boyfriend away using a pool cue as a club.
As they watched, the girl hit her boyfriend so hard that the pool cue broke. As he rushed at her she held the end of cue in front of her like a spear. Her boyfriend ran straight at her and impaled himself on the broken cue until it came out his back. By then he had her head in his hands and was trying bite off her nose.
The other gamers in the Club were faring no better. People at the other end of the conference table and on the platform were fighting, either biting and clawing or trying to push those people covered in the yellow slime away from exposed faces and throats. No one was very successful at keeping those who were infected at bay.
“This place is going to hell, let’s get outta here!” Jason yelled.
“Good idea, let’s head for the stairs”, agreed Stu.
The five of them ran for the stairs hoping not to be noticed in all the confusion. Jason stopped and turned around, grabbing a chair.
“What are you doing – let’s go!” Bob said as he ran past.
“I have an idea, just keep going!”
Once they were all through the narrow doorway and heading up the stairs to the main floor of the Club, Jason slammed the door and jammed the chair under the knob.
“There! That should stop anyone from following us.”
At the top of the stairs Parker had just come face to face with more chaos and horror.
The doors to the main hall were open and there were two women there on the floor, kneeling beside the remains of a third, fighting over the bits. Another woman was being chased from the hall by two figures covered in yellow slime.
“Oh – damn!” he said, stopping short.
“Move it!” yelled John, running past Parker and colliding with the woman being chased from the hall.
Parker ran for the door to the street and went through, holding it open for the rest. He was quickly followed by Bob, Stu, and Jason. Bob ran down the stairs of the Club to the sidewalk scanning the street for trouble.
“Come on!” Parker screamed at John.
“I can’t! She’s got a hold of my damn jacket!”
“Help me!” she screamed.
John gave the desperate woman a shove, breaking her hold on his leather biker’s jacket. She stumbled back into the arms of the person chasing her who bit her in the neck sending a spray of blood over the ceiling. The other one giving chase ran around them and headed for John.
“Holy crap!” John said too stunned to move.
“We need to go!” Parker hollered grabbing John’s arm and pulling him outside.
“Help me hold this shut!” he said, slamming the heavy wooden and steel door closed.
John and Parker put their shoulders to the door just as there was a massive hit to it from the other side.
“Find something to jam this with!” yelled Parker.
Looking around Jason saw the wooden wheelchair ramp.
“Stu! Bob! Help me get this over there.”
Unfortunately the attempts to move the ramp were something straight out of a Three Stooges movie.
If Jason got a hold of his end, Stu would drop his.
Once Bob and Stu had the ramp up and Jason dropped it.
After watching the three try several times to pick up the ramp and move it with comical yet useless results, Parker had had enough.
“STOP! FOR GOD SAKES STOP AND LISTEN TO ME!”
“Stu – grab that end. Bob – grab that other end. Jason – grab the middle. Now lift it up and bring it here. Good. Now jam it up against the door and the railing. OK. Let’s see if that will hold.”
Parker and John eased off the door slowly. There was another terrific crash against it, but it didn’t move.
“OK that should buy us some time. Now what do we do?”
“Well we can’t stay out here. It’s all clear right now but who knows how long that will last? We have to get inside somewhere and out of sight. Who lives closest?” Bob asked.
“I think I do,” said Parker. “I’m only 8 blocks away or so.”
“I dunno where you live, someone will have to come with me in my van,” said Stu.
“OK, Parker you lead in your car, Jason you follow in your truck, Stu and I will come after you and John can follow us,” said Bob.
This time the hit on the door was accompanied by the sound of the wooden ramp starting to break apart.
“Let’s get going!” said Bob. They scrambled for their vehicles.
Parker led the way in his car.
As they traveled the few blocks to his house they marveled at the carnage and chaos around them. It was slow going in some places due to the crashed vehicles that they had to maneuver around every so often as well as the all the people running everywhere. Yet other streets were nearly empty.
There were sirens blaring from all over the place – police cars, vehicle alarms, house alarms, you name it. Some houses were on fire while others had windows smashed out and doors torn off hinges. Other houses looked just fine, like nothing was going on.
Up ahead a man covered in the foul smelling yellow goop and chewing on what appeared to be the leg of a small child stepped out in front of Parker’s car. Without even slowing down he ran him over with a thump.
“I guess he shoulda stayed on the sidewalk,” Parker said to himself with a grin.
Stu was watching out his side window at the carnage as he drove, totally engrossed in how crazy it seemed.
“Look out!” yelled Bob.
A woman holding her child had run into the middle if the street in front of the van, screaming for help. Stu swerved at the last second but ended up losing control and crashing into a telephone pole.
John, driving behind them in his car stopped to see if he could help. He ran up to the driver’s door and opened it.
“You guys OK?”
“I’m fine but I think Stu got hurt, he isn’t moving.”
John took a closer look at Stu who was slumped over the steering wheel.
“I think he got knocked out. Here let’s get him into the back.”
“I don’t think we’ll have time – look!” Bob pointed into the street.
The woman and her baby were surrounded by people covered in the yellow goo who were grabbing and tearing at them. Some of the people on the outside of the crowd had turned towards the van and were starting to take notice of John standing in the street.
A little further up the road, Parker and Jason had both noticed the accident and stopped beside each other.
“Should we go help?” asked Jason, rolling his window down.
“I don’t think we can, look at that.” Parker had noticed the crowd of people in the street starting to move towards the van.
“I have an idea!” Parker said.
Putting his car in gear he leaned on his horn, getting the attention of the crowd as well as a lot of other infected people on the block.
“I’ll lead them away. Bob knows where I live, I’ll meet you there!”
Still leaning on the horn Parker started to drive away.
The infected started to run after Parker’s car screaming in rage and hunger.
Seeing them leaving John started pushing Stu into the middle seat of the van.
“Give me a hand here!” he grunted.
“Oh man is he heavy!”
Eventually the pair got Stu into the back of the van, and Bob got into the driver’s seat.
“It’s still running, let’s get going!”
John got back into his car and they drove past Jason who pulled in behind John to follow them to Parker’s.
A few minutes later Bob pulled over in front of a row of townhouses on an oddly silent street.
After looking around and seeing no one in sight, they got out of their vehicles.
“That’s his place there,” said Bob, pointing to one of the middle houses. “But I don’t have the key.”
“Let’s give him another minute or two to get here while we check out Stu,” said John.
Opening the middle door of the van, Bob leaned over Stu, checking him out.
“I think he hit his head but there is no visible damage or blood.”
“I have a First Aid kit in my car, I think it has smelling salts in it,” said John. I’ll go get it.”
He was back a few seconds later.
“Yep, I found some. Here let me try them out.”
John held the smelling salts under Stu’s nose. There was no reaction.
“That’s weird. I’ll try again.”
“Ahhh! Phew! What the… Oi! Why does my head hurt so much?” Stu said, sitting up and holding his head in his hands.
“Kill him! Kill him now!” Jason screamed.
Everyone turned to look at him.
“Well, he said his head hurt. Just like all those people, the infected ones.”
“Or maybe he just hit his head in a car crash”, offered Bob.
“Are we at Parker’s?” asked Stu.
The group filled him in on what happened.
“Looks like we owe Parker big time,” said Stu. “And here he is!”
Parker drove up and got out of his car.
“Let’s get off the street,” he said walking up to the door.
A few seconds later the five of them were standing in the kitchen.
“We should cover the windows and secure them somehow,” suggested Jason.
“Also, we don’t know how long we are going to be here, how much food and water do you have?”
As Parker started to answer Stu interrupted him.
“That won’t be a problem, at least not for a while. I got groceries just before gaming. Lorna and I were going camping this weekend with friends and I was in charge of the food. The back of the van is full of food and water, enough for 6 people camping for 4 days.”
“OK, let’s get that in here! What else we got?” asked Jason.
“I have a ton of stuff in the trunk we can use: rope, chain, extension cords and some walkie talkies too I think,” said John.
“Awesome! I was going to the cabin this weekend to work on it so I have all my tools in my truck, a chainsaw, gas, you name it. Oh, and generator as well,” Jason added.
After a few minutes of discussion it was decided not all the supplies and tools should be brought into the house in case they had to leave in a hurry. A few minutes more and enough food and water was brought in for a couple of days.
Fifteen minutes later and the house was made secure and shut down. Curtains were drawn and furniture was piled in front of windows and doors.
Standing in the living room looking at the supplies and their handiwork on the doors and windows, the group took a second to relax.
“I’m checking on my family,” said John turning on his cell phone.
“They don’t work, I already tried,” Jason said.
“What about a land line?” Stu inquired.
Thirty minutes later they had all had a chance to use Parker’s phone.
Jason’s wife Danielle was safe at their cabin. Stu couldn’t get a hold of his wife Lorna and wasn’t sure if that was good or bad. Parker and Bob couldn’t get a hold of anyone either but the worst news was John’s. His wife and oldest son were fine but his youngest boy had been infected and was locked in his room.
“So now what?” Stu wanted know.
“We’ll have to lay low here for a while; there is no way we can try moving through the city in this,” Bob stated.
“I know one thing though,” said Jason as everyone looked at him, “we can’t stay in the city.”