The sky was dull, overcast, and gray, which Earl should've expected because it was the middle of autumn. He couldn't remember the last time he had fully seen the sun. The man simply sighed and continued down the side of the road, loosely gripping his baseball bat . It was Earl's occasional path, he would walk around his neighborhood a few times a week to check for survivors and sometimes just to kill time. There usually was nothing, he had already scavenged most of the houses on his block so now it was simply a possible rescue mission. The trips around his neighborhood were really the only thing that had kept Earl sane over the last few months. It gave him hope that he might actually find someone who isn't trying to chase him down and use his guts as a three course meal.
Earl approached the nearest house a few moments later and worked his way up to the porch. Examining it, he saw a few dried blood stains splattered across the tattered wood. He flinched slightly as a ghastly smell from the home entered his nostrils. After a few coughs the man raised his bat in one hand and slowly pushed the screen door open to search the vacant home. Upon entering, the door slammed shut behind him, making a large crash. Earl cursed under his breath and nervously looked around the room. Luckily, nothing had heard his mistake.
"Hello?" Earl called out.
"Is there anyone here?"
The room stayed completely silent as Earl waited for a response.
"I'm not infected. If there's anyone here, you can come out. I won't hurt you."
Still no response.
Earl sighed loudly and aimed his head to the floor. After a few moments he lowered the bat down to his side once more and turned to exit the home. Before he could reach the screen door, he tripped over a small stuffed animal and came crashing to the ground. A piece of his tooth flew out of his jaw and a small pool of blood formed under his mouth.
"Oh you've got to be kidding me." He said, his voice accented by the flowing blood.
He cupped his hand over his mouth and used his bat as a support to pull himself up. After wincing at the pain of his chipped tooth he Glanced into the kitchen. He saw a towel sitting next to the oven and quickly walked over to it, careful to avoid anymore mishaps with small toys. After successfully wiping the blood from his face he slowly bit down on the towel to stop further blood flow. Earl's heart instantly dropped in his chest as he heard the screen door creep open. Footsteps began pounding down the hall from the kitchen loudly as Earl frantically looked around, trying to find a place to hide. He had usually tried to avoid any contact with the infected. being 16 doesn't exactly make you the strongest fighter and despite Earl's larger size, he followed that stereotype very closely. In other words, he couldn't fight for shit. After a few moments of frantically scanning the kitchen and finding nothing, Earl knew that he had no other option. He slowly raised the wooden baseball bat over his head as the footsteps got louder and closer. His arms started to tremble and his knees were slightly shaking. A single bead of sweat fell from his forehead and his usually pale face was turning red. The creature responsible for the loud footsteps rounded the corner of the hallway and stared angrily in Earl's direction. It was a human, but had been long dead. The creature's jaw was hanging open and it's blank white eyes stared menacingly into Earl's. A single sustained moan erupted from it's throat as it slowly shambled over to Earl. The human was infected, there was no denying that. It was...
Earl still couldn't believe the stories were true, they had all seemed so unreal. But, with all the advances in medical science and technology, any nightmare is possible. The zombie continued approaching Earl, who only tightened his grip on the wood of the bat and prepared for a fierce swing. A few seconds later, the undead human reached its hand toward Earl and he swiftly launched the bat over his head and into the skull of the infected. It connected with a loud, sickening crack, sending a shock wave through Earl's arms. He retracted the bat after his blow and the infected human fell backwards and collided with the ground. Without hesitation, Earl quickly walked over to the walking corpse and swung the bat at it's head again.
Earl threw open the screen door to the house and charged out, his light-grey shirt was colored red with fresh blood stains. He threw his also blood-stained bat on the ground and fell to his knees on the front lawn. Everything inside of him wanted to scream after the horrific act he had just committed, but the fear of drawing more attention bottled his emotions. He began breathing heavily as tears rolled down his cheeks. He sank lower onto the soft grass and wept for a few moments, the gruesome images still fresh in his mind. He had only killed 3 of the infected so far, so he was not familiar with the situation of taking life yet. Each death caused by his hand weighed on his heart and brought him spiraling deeper and deeper into insanity. He grunted loudly to clear his throat and wiped the tears from his eyes. After a few moments, Earl regained his composure and reached for his bat. He used it for support again as he slowly picked himself up off of the cool grass. Before leaving he glanced back to the house.
"I'm sorry." He said quietly.
Over the next few hours, Earl continued cautiously searching houses, but found nothing.
"Another unsuccessful day." He said with a sigh as he made his way back home.
On the way back, something caught his eye at the playground across from his house. He let his curiosity get the better of him and quickly looked around before running over to the gate. He lifted the latch, threw the small chain link fence open, and started towards the playground. Earl's curiosity had definitely payed off because, before him layed a small purple pony.
"Well, it's a zombie apocalypse, but now I have a freakin' life-sized plushie." Earl said sarcastically as he knelled down behind the 'plushie'. Earl knew exactly what it was from and who it was.
For Earl was a brony.
He rolled the object over and examined the mark on it's flank. It matched Twilight Sparkle's, along with the colors of her mane and the color of her coat. Earl was shocked to see how much it actually looked like the real character.
"Somebody must have worked pretty hard on this one." Earl said under his breath.
He rolled it over again and looked around for some sort of tag and sew line, but was confused when he found nothing. Another confusing aspect of the situation, was that it was warm. Earl simply shrugged and threw the 'plushie' over his shoulder.
"Fluttershy's the best, but this is still pretty cool." He said to himself with a chuckle.
Happy to see that some sort of light was brought to the situation, Earl smiled for the first time in weeks as he walked across the street to his house.
He cautiously opened the door to his home and walked over to the nearby dining room to put his discovery down. After placing it on the table, he walked back over to the door and shut it loudly before turning multiple locks and dead-bolts. Content with the security of the front door, he walked back over to the table to pick up the 'plushie' once more. The man cheerily made his way through the archway that led into the living room and turned right to walk up the stairs. He rounded the hallway and continued down the corridor until he had reached his room. After opening the door, he softly layed the 'plushie' down on his bed and went to secure another series of locks.
A few hours later, Earl was balled up in the corner of the room, rocking back in forth.
"It didn't move... It didn't move Earl, you're just seeing things." He said quietly to himself.
After examining the 'plushie' for a few hours, Earl thought he could see it's chest moving up and down rhythmically. Almost instantly he chalked it up to growing insanity and convinced himself that it was all in his head. Successfully consoled, Earl stood up, shook his head, and examined the time of day outside using his window. It was getting late, the hidden sun was about to fall beneath the horizon and shroud the earth in darkness. That's when the infected are largest in numbers. Earl nodded to himself and walked over to the closet to retrieve a pack of candles. A soft glow entered the room as a flame erupted from the match in Earl's hand. He touched it to each of the candles' wicks' and the glow grew stronger. He blew the flame on the match out and began placing candles at various points in the room.
"The last thing I need right now is to go insane." Earl said to himself as he drew the shade to the window.
Content with the calming state of his room, he made his way over to the bed and crawled in. Instantly, he was greeted by the soft sensation of the sheets and his eyes grew weary after the long day. He took off the blood-stained grey shirt and threw it into the corner of the room. It landed softly on a stack of other blood-stained clothing. Earl sighed happily and put his arm around the 'plushie' before slowly drifting off to sleep.
Earl's eyes quickly shot open and he looked around the room worriedly. Relieved to see that another nightmare had ended, he wiped some sweat from his face and looked towards his window. Through a small gap in the shades, he could see a small amount of light creeping over the sky.
"Dawn." He said quietly to himself.
Earl sat up and yawned loudly before looking down at his 'plushie'. To his surprise, it had disappeared. The man raised his eyebrow and looked around his bed. Still no sign of it. He shook his head and laughed slightly.
"Maybe that was a dream."
After stretching his arms for a moment, Earl lifted himself up off of the bed and walked over to the closet. He threw the sliding door open to reveal a massive supply of food. Most of it was packaged and processed, but it could last anyone pretty much a lifetime. Weeks of looting the supermarkets had contributed to this large collection of assorted foods. Earl examined a few of the packages and reached for one that read "Cliff Bars". He ripped it open and sunk his teeth into the soft, chewy granola before approaching the door. His mouth fell open and the chewed bit of Cliff Bar fell to the floor as he examined it. Every lock on the door had been undone. After the sudden discovery, Earl walked over to a nearby dresser and set his snack food down. He then reached for a leather holster and pulled out a small pistol. After reassuring himself that the gun was loaded, he slipped the gun back into the holster and strapped it to his left leg. He reached for another nearby weapon, a sharp bowie knife. He took a few moments to swing the knife and test it's weight. Finally, the man reached for a small flashlight and shoved it into his pocket. After acquiring all the pieces of equipment he walked over to the door, knife in hand. Earl cautiously walked through his hallway and approached the stairs. Most of the house was still dark, Earl had made the decision to draw most of the shades a few weeks back. After making his descent, he stopped dead in his tracks.
A faint tapping could be heard from the kitchen directly in front of him. Earl assumed they were footsteps and tightened his grasp on the knife.
"Hello?" He called out nervously.
The footsteps stopped.
"Is there anyone there?"
The footsteps continued but started getting louder and closer.
"Hey, woah! I've got a knife!" Earl threatened.
The footsteps stopped again.
"If you can understand me I'm assuming you're not infected."
"I-infected?" A voice called out from the darkness.
It sounded like a girl's voice, but was extremely worried. Earl was instantly surprised by the fact that someone had actually answered him.
"Uhh, yeah... Infected. Hang on a sec, I've got a light." Earl replied. He reached into his pocket with his free hand and pulled out the small flash light.
He clicked it a few times but it gave know response.
"Damn, hang on a sec." He said smacking it with the handle of the knife.
After a few moments, a bright white light shined from the tip of the flashlight, right in the direction of the voice. Earl only saw a blob of purple as his eyes adjusted to the sudden appearance of light.
"Ahh! Hey!" The voice said again.
Earl quickly aimed the light to the floor.
Earl's eyes finally fully adjusted to the light and he saw what had made the voice. Standing before him was his "plushie" from earlier. The air instantly escaped his lungs.
"Twi....Twilight... Sparkle?!" He managed to say.
The purple unicorn's mouth was agape as she stared at Earl, his mouth wide open as well.
The two stared at each other for a good ten minutes before one of them spoke up.
"I...uhh..... I guess it's safe to say that you're not a stuffed animal..." Earl said, dumbfounded.