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Another morning.
The Beeping of an alarm wakes Claire up with a jolt. She reaches over to the phone sitting at the edge of the mattress, picking it up and hitting the button to make it stop. She sighs as she realises what's happened.
Claire sits up in bed, throwing the covers off her legs and yawning. Looking down, she's greeted by the usual sight - pink pyjama bottoms, her fluffy white socks, and a sight that never fails to annoy her - a pale yellow stain on the bed sheets, surrounding her backside like a warm halo. And it is still warm - she's been woke up only moments after finishing her accident.
"Again?" Claire groans. She pulls at the damp pink fabric now clinging to her thigh. "I was hoping I'd grow out of this..." She jokes to herself, rolling her eyes and kicking her legs over the side of her wet mattress. She gave up the hope of growing out of it when she was nineteen, a good four years ago now.
"I'd better get to cleaning up..." She groans to herself, sliding the wet pyjamas down her legs and letting them drop at her feet, recoiling as the cold morning air kisses her damp bare legs.

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The kettle wails as the water hits the boil. Claire picks it off the stand and pours it into her tea cup, looking away as the steam flows upward toward her face. Her hair, still wet from the shower, clings to her face as she takes her tea over to the table. She takes a seat at the table and bites into her toast.
Another usual morning. She checks her phone for the time.
Six thirty-four. She's got enough time to eat her toast before she has to leave for work. That makes a change. She usually sleeps through her first alarm and her morning pee, only waking up when either her second alarm goes off, or when the mattress gets so cold it wakes her up. This is usually followed by a rushed shower and a dash out the house before she practically sprints to work. It makes a nice change to wake up at a sensible time. It'd be a nicer change if she'd woke up dry, but you can't have everything. She drinks the rest of her tea before finishing her toast leisurely.

The walk to work seems unusually quiet. Bridgewater was always a quiet town, but there was usually someone Claire would see in the morning. The postman, the milkman, the drunk man with the beard that'd usually have passed out in the gutter outside the pub - but today there's no-one. Was Claire really this early? She checks her phone again for the time - 7:16. She's not that early. Maybe it's daylight saving? It's about this time - late October. Maybe no-one noticed.

The door to the cafe shuts behind her, hitting the chimes again as they close.
"Morning!" Claire says, walking in and heading over to the store room. "Nice out there today Pete!" She says, picking up an apron and slinging it over her shoulder.
"Pete?" She shouts again. "You in?"
When there's no reply, Claire shrugs. She walks over to the espresso machine. She hits the button on the grinder, reaches over the the milk fridge, and begins to make herself a latte.
"Could really use one of these at home." Claire says, holding the jug under the steam wand. She says it loud enough that someone might hear her, hoping Pete will show up from wherever he's hiding. She looks around. Nothing. She shrugs again. "I'll make you one too, if you want." Again, there's no response. She pours the milk onto her espresso, poking her tongue out as she tries to make a design. She flicks the jug forward slightly, leaving a little heart on the top of her latte. She smiles, proud of herself, and makes her way over to the tables, setting down the latte on the table and taking a seat for herself.

Claire takes a drink from her cup, putting about half of it down almost at once. She almost immediately begins to feel better as the caffeine enters her body. She smiles again as she puts the cup back on the table, swirling it around a little, slightly disturbing the heart on top of her coffee. She picks it up again, but the chimes to the door stop her before she takes another drink.
"Morning Pete." She says. "Bit late aren't-" She says, looking up. "Hey, you aren't Pete."

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The man at the door stumbles a little, holding onto it for balance - clearly drunk. He looks familiar too. Scraggly beard, stained over-coat. At this time in the morning he's usually curled up outside the pub in the gutter.
"Oh, it's you." She says, putting on a polite smile. "I'm afraid we aren't open yet, Pete's not showed up." She say, taking another mouthful of her coffee.
"Huurargww." He growls.
"Yeah, we'd usually be open now, but...No idea where Pete is." she tells him. He looks toward her, but his eyes don't focus. "Come on, you've got to leave." She says, before finishing her latte and standing up. She walks over to him, looking at him with what she assumes is a look of authority. His eyes seem...pale. She hesitates to take another step forward, practically flinching as he lurches himself forward by a step.
"Y-you - Ahem! You have to leave." Claire says, standing her ground and trying to sound intimidating. A foul smell comes off of him, making her more nervous still. "G-get out."
He growls back at her.

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"N-now!" She says, putting out one hand toward the door. He stumbles a little as he stares at her open palm. "You need to leave!"
He slowly looks toward Claire's face again, now close enough for Claire to see him even more clearly. His eyes don't just look pale - they're grey and empty, like he doesn't know where he is. She barely has time to notice this however, before he swings his arm at hers.
"Hey!" Claire shouts, hopping backwards. "What do you think you're doing!" She shouts. The drunk takes another lunge at her, slamming his wrist against her left arm.
"Stop that!" Claire shouts, slowly stepping backwards. She breathes quickly as adrenaline runs through her - this is the last way she wants to start her shift. "Get out, right now!"
"Hrauuur..." He growls again, stumbling forward. One step, then another before he lunges himself at her, grabbing her by the shoulders and biting at her collar.
"Hey!" Claire shouts, falling back against the counter, barely staying on her feet. "Get the hell off me!" She shouts, pushing at his shoulders while he tries to bite hers.
His face, up close to hers, is even uglier - she can make out every wrinkle, the dried stains under his mouth, and the smell is something else. Claire picks one foot off the ground and pushes it squarely into the man's thigh, kicking forward and throwing him off her.
He stumbles backward for a moment before falling onto his backside.
Claire darts behind the counter, picking something up to threaten him with.

What does she pick up?

A) The espresso spoon still in the coffee machine. It has a comfy grip, and the basket is fairly weighted, almost like a hammer. It's short, but it feels quite sturdy and easy to handle.
B) A broom. It's a long wooden broom, worn down toward the base. It's quite long, although that might make it awkward to swing around the shop.
C) A fork. Underneath the counter there are a handful of dining forks. They're sharp and pointed, as one would expect. However they're quite small and very light.

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While my first choice would be the broom for the reach, in a small space the spoon might be better. I vote A.

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"Get back!" Claire shouts as the man stumbles closer to her.
Claire shuffles her way backwards, feeling for the counter so she can get behind it. The man keeps shambling in her direction, putting an arm out as if to reach her.
"I mean it! Get back!" She shouts. The man doesn't seem to be listening. She has to do something. She turns around for a second, seeing the espresso machine, with the coffee spoon still in it's place from where she'd made her own coffee. A Portafilter, she'd been told it was called during training a week before now, but the name is the least of her concerns - she twists it harshly out of place, raising it up in the air and brandishing it at the man, tossing out wet-coffee grounds as she does. Really, she should have taken it out of place once she was done because the coffee dries up - but the shambling man in front of her is the bigger issue right now.

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"Get back! I-if you touch me again, I will hit you!" She shouts, trying to sound intimidating but more whimpering. The man seems to hesitate for a second before lumbering forward again, arms outstretched.
"I mean it!" Claire shouts. He steps forward again. "D-don't touch me!"

It's clear the man isn't listening as he takes another swipe at her - which she backs away from by an inch.
"One more time! I'll d-do it!" She shouts - the man swings at her again, catching her forearm. In anger, Claire swings the spoon forward, smacking it into his shoulder.
"S-see! Go away!"
He takes another swipe at her, slapping her across the face. She looks straight back at him and brings the spoon around, raising it behind her. In anger, she brings it back down to his head, clonking him squarely above his forehead. The man wavers for a moment, before falling to his knees. Claire looks at him for a moment, then to the spoon - now stained with dark brown blood around the notch.
"O-oh god..." She whimpers, looking back up to the man. He puts one hand on the counter, forcing himself off the ground with a rough groan.
"S-stop! Stop!" she shouts - but he doesn't. He froths at the mouth and swings at her again with a growl.
Claire pushes him back and slaps the spoon against his head again. He looks as if he's about to shrug it off before Claire thinks to slam it against his head again. It bounces off his head with a dull thud, and the man collapses against the counter. Claire gives him a kick in the ribs and he collapses to the floor, groaning softly and dripping blood from his forehead.

"Oh god, oh god....Oh god!" Claire stutters, stood over the body. "I killed him....I killed him...."
She doesn't quite know what to do, shuffling foot to foot, staring at his matted hair. There's something almost peaceful about him as he lies there. His eyes no longer twitch around, his face seems practically serene, save a single stream of blood running down his forehead.
"I....I'm so sorry..." she begins, taking a step toward him. "He's....dead...."
The man lifts his arms again, pushing against the floor and snarling.
"Are...you okay?" She asks. The man climbs back to his feet. "You're...not hurt? I-I-I have a first aid kit in the back if-"
Claire's cut off as the man's hand slams into her cheek - and this time she loses any feeling of remorse for the man - she pounds the spoon into his head, again and again. She kicks him to the ground and sits on his chest, pummeling the tool against his head. The shock runs through the handle and into her hand, each time getting softer and softer until a rather sickening crack. For a moment Claire thinks she's broken the tool. Until she looks at it.

"Bastard." She spits, standing up. She rubs her hand over her aching cheek - it wasn't too much of a hit, but it really shocked her in the moment. She looks back to the body on the floor, tossing the spoon onto the counter.
"Can't believe I just...No. It's fine. He was....he was going to kill me. I did - I did the only thing I could. I'm jus-justified, here...he was going to kill me." She stammers. "I'm...I've got to wait for Pete. Pete will know what to do - He...he always knows. Pete'll help. I just...need to wait for him. He should be here though..."

Claire picks up the portafilter and steps away from the counter, giving the body a kick for good measure. She takes her seat back where she was earlier and drinks the rest of her latte. She looks over again to the counter, now with a dead man's head poking from behind the wall. What if he gets up again? Claire puts her cup down and walks over to him. He's lying there still, forehead dented and lifeless. A strange feeling runs over Claire. She's killed him. But she's worried he'll get up again. Is he really dead? Claire puts her fingers over his neck to feel for a pulse. Nothing. She tries his wrist - still nothing. But...Claire isn't settled. She takes a spare apron from under the counter and ties his legs up, then does the same for his arms with a second.

"There." She says, standing up again. "Now he won't be getting up again." She adds, looking down at him. She looks around the shop and checks her phone for the time. Currently 7.30. "Pete should really be here by now - he's never this l-"
She's cut off by growls from the man beneath her - he's moving again!
"What....the fuck..." She mumbles, stepping back and dropping her phone. "You...You should be dead! Stay dead!"
Claire steps back further. She stands and watches as the man writhes about, eyes glazed over and frothing at the mouth as he snarls.
"What...what is going on?" She asks. "I...Am I dreaming? This is a nightmare, right?"
She kicks herself in the leg. She doesn't wake up obviously - this isn't a dream.
"Wait for Pete." She tells herself. "He'll figure this out."

Claire takes a seat again, leaving the man to snarl on the floor. Pete won't be too long now...

 

An hour has passed. Pete hasn't arrived. The man hasn't stopped snarling - but he hasn't gotten out of the apron-knots either. Claire can thank her days as a girl-scout for that. She was always among the first to get her badges - knotting, fire starting - she remembered a fair bit. Going out camping with her friends, running through the woods. Waking up early and having to see a camp guide because she needed her sleeping bag changed...Actually on that note - there's a familiar urge building up in Claire now.

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Claire's coffees have gone through her quite quickly, and now they're hitting her bladder. Time for a toilet break.
Claire stands up from her table and makes her way to the bathroom. She pushes the door open to find -
Pete.
He's stood in front of the sink, and he turns to Claire as the door opens. He has the same glazed look in his eyes as the man had. Claire promptly shuts the door.
"Pete?" Claire asks. "Are you okay in there?"
There's no answer.
"P-Pete?"
There's a slam against the door.
"Oh....god..." Claire says, stepping back. Pete continues to hit the door.
"I need...I need to leave..." Claire says, clutching the portafilter. "Where...where can I go?"
She thinks for a moment...

"I could go to..."

1) "The mechanic is just down the road...there has to be someone there, right? If nothing else, I can find something useful"
2) "Tescos - the supermarket - maybe I can find someone who can help."
3) "Home? I guess I could call someone..."

 

(From now on, I'll be keeping stats for characters under the main story, so you can keep track on how they're doing.)

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For stats, does "Low" thirst mean that there is low thirstiness for a drink or that the character needs to drink soon.

Let's go to Tescos. Maybe there are knives in the butchers area. (Does Tescos have a butcher? I'm in the US so i've never been).

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"If I went home...It'd be safe..." Claire thinks out loud. "But...noone's at home - I could go to Tescos? There's probably more of these...people...at Tescos. The Mechanics down the road though...Maybe they're doing better?"
Claire thinks to herself for a moment, looking back over to the tied up man wriggling about on the floor, bleeding and snarling.
"Maybe I should call someone." Claire thinks, taking her phone out her pocket. She swipes in her password and opens her contacts. She starts off by trying to call her mum. It goes to an automated response - 'The person you are trying to call can not be reached right now, please try again later'. She tries her dad - only to get the same response.
"What's wrong with this thing?" She asks. A quick look at the top of the screen shows that she's got no connection. No wifi either, and when she tries to connect using her data she gets the same result.
"Huh."

Claire picks up the Portafilter and looks around. Aside from the blood splattered on the floor and the man who is also on the floor, nothing seems too out of place. Claire steps outside and locks the door. Wouldn't want anything happening.
"Mechanic." Claire says aloud. "If there's noone there, then at least I can pick something up..."
She turns right outside the cafe and begins walking. The town is still empty, with noone around. A gentle wind flows down the street, flapping her apron around her legs. Aside from the silence, it looks like nothing's happened.
Until Claire gets to the corner. She turns right and begins to walk down further, before noticing a figure outside.
A young teen by the looks of it, stood on the other side of the road.

"Hey!" Claire shouts. She struggles to think of what to say. "Uhh, you okay?"
The kid turns around to her. Claire recoils when she sees what he's wearing. A dull green hoodie, and a white shirt underneath with the words 'Smeg head', and some plain cargo pants. He's standing at an odd angle with one arm hanging very limply. But the thing that scares Claire the most is what's on his shirt. Not the bit that says 'smeg head', more the blood. The shirt is caked in blood leading up toward his neck, and then his neck itself too is red with blood. All up to his mouth. Claire freezes for a moment, noticing more blood on the kid's hands. And a chunk of meat in one. Claire takes a step back, wishing she'd kept her trap shut. The kid begins walking toward her, his chestnut hair being ruffled in the wind.

"Not again..." Claire mumbles, readying her portafilter in hand, slowly stepping to one side, inching herself closer to the mechanic. The kid begins to pick up pace, going up from a slow lurch into a brisk walk, one bloodied hand raised toward her, dropping the meat to the floor. Claire brandishes the portafilter in his direction, but he isn't dissuaded. Claire thinks it might be time to run.

She breaks into a sprint down the road, only to trip up immediately on a step jutting out from one of the houses. The kid snarls and begins sprinting too until he's almost on top of her. Claire spins to her back and braces herself for him - he pounces toward her and as he does, Claire kicks her leg upward into his chin. He lands mouth-first onto her work shoe. His weight pushes Claire a good foot back against the pavement, scuffing the back of her jeans. Her leg recoils as far back as it can, her knee almost meeting her own chin - but it works. The boy stumbles and lands on the floor in a heap. He wastes no time however in scrambling to get back up.

Claire rolls back to her front and pushes herself off the ground, just in time for the kid to swipe at her chest. His forearm slams into her breasts and bounces back - Claire staggers back just enough that she manages to avoid being slapped by the kids other hand as it swings after her. As he misses he lurches forward, giving Claire a chance - she slams the handle of the portafilter onto the back of his head and he bows further down. Claire braces herself against the wall and kicks him in the backside, pushing him into the road. He lands with a sharp crack as his teeth make contact with the floor. Claire pants a little as she waits for him to get back up. He pushes himself off the ground, looking upward to Claire, now with cracked teeth and a furious glare in his dull grey eyes. Claire yelps at the sight and bolts down the road. She can hear the kid screeching as he charges after her.

"Hey you!" Shouts a girl coming out the mechanics. "Get in here!". Claire nods and keeps running toward her. She's about three meters from the front door when something big and heavy lands on her back, pushing her to the ground. She lands with her hands in front of her, dropping the portafilter. The other girl runs over and kicks at the kid, sending him back onto the road. She puts out a gloved hand for Claire, which she thankfully grabs. As she reaches her feet she feels a hand grab her ankle - and fear takes over. She screams and tries to kick it off, feeling her groin grow suddenly warm as her bladder gives way for just a second. The sight of the other girl stamping on his wrist quickly reassures her enough to halt the flow.
"Come on! Inside!"

The girl practically pushes Claire inside the mechanics, twirling around and picking up a wrench from the side. She twirls it around in one hand, holding the other out to block Claire from the entrance.
"Go on, fuck off!" Shouts the girl. The teen pays no attention as he reaches his feet. He stands unsteadily in the road for a second before he throws himself forward, arms outstretched and snarling. Claire can't force herself to look away as the mechanic girl raises up the wrench and brings it down.

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The sound of the tool crushing the boys head is sickening. Somewhere between a crack and a splatter, then a quick thump as the boy hits the ground, inches from the mechanics feet.
The two stand in silence for a second as blood spills from his head onto the carpet.
"Sorry, we're closed pal." The girl says coldly. She kicks at the kids shoulders, pushing him outside the door. Claire looks away from his mangled head, dry-heaving from the image. The girl notices this and kicks him a bit further out of view, before walking back into the shop.

"So who the fuck was he?" The girl asks. "What did he want?"
"I...I have no idea." Claire pants. "He just...attacked me!"
"Fuck was up with him?" The girl asks again, looking out through the glass window. "Like an animal. Won't be doing that again though, right?" She says with a chuckle. She puts out her right hand to greet Claire. "I'm Frankie, by the way. Apprentice here at Fixin' things."
"I'm Claire." Claire says extending her own arm. "I work over at Cost's coffee."
"Well please to meet you!" Frankie says, giving her a violently-firm hand shake. "The boss is in the toilet at the moment - don't let him out." She says. Claire giggles.
"That's not a joke, Claire - dude's gone mad. He tried to hit me earlier, so I shoved him in and shut the door. I'd lock it but he doesn't seem to be figure out how to pull the door. He just kinda slaps at it - here, I'll show you."
"No, I-I'm oka-" Claire starts - but Frankie isn't listening. She pushes the door open and points out the man huddled by the toilet. He snaps his head over in their direction and snarls. Frankie quickly closes the door again. They can hear him slam into the door and pound at it a few times.

"Any idea what's going on?" Claire asks. Frankie looks at her for a moment.
"Well my boss went nuts, I tried calling the police, I suppose you spilled tea down yourself" She says pointing the wrench to Claire's apron "and then you came running down with that chap after you." Frankie tells her. "Other than that, not too much." Claire goes bright red as she looks down at the wet patch on her apron.
"That's....not tea."
"Hey, don't feel too bad." Frankie says with a smile. "How bad is it?" She asks. Claire lifts up the apron to reveal a dark streak down to her knee on one leg.
"I was...scared and-"
"Don't sweat it dude." Frankie says. Claire drops her apron back over her legs. "You had some bloodied kid trying to kill you - I imagine a lot of people would have done the same."
"So what should we do?" Claire asks, swiftly changing the subject.
"Err, I can call the police again?" Frankie says, taking her phone out her pocket. "And then I want to try finding a toilet. That one's occupied." She says, pointing her wrench to the door again.
"Yeah, that sounds smart."

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"Well, looks like I can't get through." Frankie says with an annoyed look.
"Wanna try again?"
"Claire. I tried three times just now." Frankie sighs, sliding the phone back into her pocket. "And about six before you arrived. All I've got is voicemail and desperate."
"I'd be desperate if I couldn't get through." Claire admits.
"Oh I meant for the toilet." Frankie clarifies. "Gary's meant to arrive at eight, so I figured I'd wait but..." Frankie takes out her phone again. "Eight was almost half an hour ago. I don't think he's coming."
"So what do you think we should do?" Claire asks.
"Well police is probably a good idea. Or we could look around for someone else?"
"What if everyone else is like...those two?"
"Like zombies?" Frankie asks.

The word 'zombie' rings in Claire's ears for a while. She'd seen the movies, seen the TV series, and she'd played plenty of the games. But there's obviously something different when the local hobo tries to kill you, and when you're shouting at your friend playing Coach to stop T-bagging the dead Tank. She didn't like admitting it, but Frankie might be right - these people might be zombies.

"You alright there buddy?" Frankie asks.
"I - uhh, yeah." Claire says. "Just...thinking."
"Well don't think too long, I've got to find a toilet, and I don't think going alone is too safe."
"R-right." Claire says. She could really use a toilet too - though not quite as badly as before, as a cold streak down her leg is making her very aware.

"So what's the plan?" Frankie asks.
"I, ummm..."

1) - "We should go to the police station. It's not too far a walk down the road, just past the newsagent."

2) - "Maybe we should go to Tescos? A place like that might have someone still alive. I know for fact they have toilets...but then again, a place like that might be full of zombies..."

3) - "Maybe the town hall? Although a place that big, and in the center of town - it could be swarming..."

 

This story is set in an English village, so Tesco's won't have any guns. And you'll get ID'd if you try to buy knives - assuming there's still a cashier there.
Low for the hunger and thirst stats means that the character's aren't hungry/thirsty.

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