Jason’s eyes snapped open. It was dark. Not just because it was night, but he had closed himself up in one of the offices of the police station. It probably had belonged to someone nobody liked since it had no windows, but it was where he spent his nights inside the wall.
He put his hand to his chest. His heart was pounding. He could feel his whole body jitter like he was rushing on adrenaline. Jason waited in the dark and listened.
Jason took a couple of deep breaths and was just beginning to relax when he heard something. It was a thump, like something had fallen over. It was followed by a scream and by gunshots.
He pulled open to door to let some light in and then quickly found his gun on the floor. Jason pulled his baseball cap onto his head and stepped out into the police station.
“They’re inside,” he heard someone yelling. It was Candy, up on the roof.
“From where?” Superman was up there with her. So was Walker.
Tom and Eric were pressed up against the glass of a window on the West side of the building, looking out.
“The wall is down,” Eric said.
“Fuck this!” Tom turned from the window. He locked eyes with Jason for a moment. “Come on, E. Let’s get.”
Jason held up a hand. “Where are you going?”
“The fuck away from here.”
“We can fight them back.”
Tom walked out of the room toward where he and Eric kept their stuff. “The wall is down,” Eric repeated.
“So we put it back up.”
Eric turned to face Jason. His eyes were hollow. “No. You don’t get it.” He said everything very slowly. “The wall is down. Not just part of it, but lots of parts of it.”
“Where is everyone?”
“Some of them are fighting.” Gunshots sounded to back up the words. “Some of them have run.”
Eric bit his lip. Tom ran out of the other room with two backpacks and threw one at Eric. It landed at his feet. “We are leaving, Eric.”
Eric glanced back and forth between Tom and Jason a couple of times.
“Fine. Stay.” Tom left the police station through the front door.
Jason watched Eric as he watched Tom leave, then slowly rotated his head back to Jason. “Get on the roof. It’s safer up there.”
The two of them quickly made their way to the ladder that lead up to the roof access. As he climbed Jason thought to himself, “This is good. Ladder, not stairs, those things can’t get up a ladder.” They scrambled out onto the roof where Candy, Walker and Superman all had rifles and were taking shots at the zombies milling about on the grounds below.
They all watched as Tom, backpack on his back, threaded between the shamblers, reached a section of wall that was fairly clear, then climbed over it.
Jason waited a minute, but no one made any attempt to fill him in. Finally he asked, “What the hell is going on?”
Superman spoke up first. “Gray dropped the south wall.”
“He signaled over something about checking the wall for weakness, and about an hour later, the whole damn thing fell over.”
“Crazy sonofabitch did it on purpose,” Walker barked.
“We don’t know that.”
“Supes, you are an optimist to the end, huh?”
Jason waved them both off. “Where is everyone else?”
Candy put down her rifle. She hadn’t been firing it, so Jason assumed it was empty anyway. “Bruce, Johnny and the new girl, they got an early start and went over the wall.”
She pointed South, toward the down wall and horde beginning to pour through the opening.
“He was with Gray.”
Jason paced along the perimeter of the roof.
Eric said, “What do we do now?”
“I’m partial to getting back on the road.” Walker was nodding agreement with Superman.
Jason took off his cap and ran his fingers over his scalp. “I guess we don’t have much choice. The five of us aren’t going to clear this and fix the wall.” Candy picked her rifle back up and put on a brave face. Eric burst into tears. “We go downstairs, gather what food we can, and then we leave.”
Superman looked out over the field of fire in front of him. “I suggest we follow Tom’s trail. Looks the most clear.”
The five of them filed down the ladder and quickly gathered a few supplies. Jason went back to his room for his jacket and a few other personal items, a folding knife, an ax handle, and a picture of his wife. He lingered on the photo for a moment, running his fingers over the creases, before slipping it into the front pocket of his jeans.
He headed back out to the front doors of the police station where everyone else was waiting. There was a backpack on the floor at Candy’s feet. Jason picked it up and slung it across his back. “What am I carrying?”
“Some canned goods, a little jerky, some other odds and ends.”
Jason nodded and then looked around at the others. “We ready to go?”
Everyone looked at him but no one gave any answer, but only because they didn’t want to say it. They had only secured this place for four days, but it had been a wonderful change from the constant moving. No one wanted to lose this, but Jason looked out the front doors and could see human shapes swaying with slow steps and knew it was already gone.
Superman and Walker pushed the doors open with their rifles up. “Don’t fire unless you have to,” Walker cautioned. “We need to conserve bullets, plus avoid the sound.”
Jason stepped out between them and headed toward the section of wall that Tom had scaled. Superman followed a step behind, then Eric, then Candy, with Walker bringing up the rear. The line of them walked quickly but kept from breaking into a jog, keeping their distance from the zombies, winding around them and toward the wall.
One by one they went over the wall. Everyone waited in silence on the other side. Jason looked around for signs of Tom but didn’t see any. He saw a scattering of zombies, most of them now shambling toward them. As quick as he could, Jason evaluated the streets. “We’ll go North, around the apartment building I checked out and then head West out of the city.”
Candy looked off to the West. “Back the way we came in?”
“I figured we know those streets a little better.” He didn’t wait for people to agree and started for the apartment building. Before, he had approached the building in the day and been inside it through the night. At night, it loomed ominously. It was probably still largely empty, but the shadow it cast in the moonlight was unsettling.
Jason rounded the corner of the building and bumped into a zombie. It fell to the ground and immediately started trying to get up. Another hand grasped for him and he stepped out of its reach. A chorus of groans rose up. His vision was filled with a crowd of undead that spanned the four lane street.
It happened faster than he expected. The crowd began to surge toward him, toward the corner of the building. He kept taking steps back, though back was now North, and before he could do anything about it, the horde of zombies was between him and the rest of the group.
Walker rushed forward, he and Superman began firing off shots. Candy had her own rifle in hand using it like a club. Eric turned and ran back for the wall.
Jason started swinging his ax handle, but he kept having to give up more ground. The others were backing up too. The gap between them was getting wider.
“Run,” he shouted. “Head West! Get out of the town! I’ll try to circle around and meet you!”
“Meet at the station,” Candy yelled.
“The station,” Jason confirmed. At the edge of town, before it gave way to farmland, there was a radio station the group had spent a night in on their way in. He watched as the other three turned and broke into a run, around the other side of the apartment building to head West.
Another zombie shuffled close to Jason and he cracked it between the eyes with his ax handle. It staggered backwards but didn’t fall. He turned and ran North.
At every intersection and alley, he tried to make his way West but the path was always blocked by more of the undead. Eventually he gave up trying, settled into a comfortable jogging pace, and just headed North out of town. He spent a night in a farmhouse, and as he made a longer loop around the outskirts of the town another night in the back room of a gas station. It took three days for him to get to the radio station on foot. He stood a hundred yards away and watched as zombies shambled in and out of its wide open doors.
Kingston Falls had failed. The number of undead there seemed to be multiplying and Jason had lost the entire group. He hung his head and started walking the road away from the town. Jason’s hand went to his front pocket and felt that the photo was still there.
“I know. I promised. I’m not going to give up. I’ll find them. I’ll find more. I’ll find somewhere else and start again. I’ll survive. I promise.”
So, why the abrupt end? Well, it turns out that even though Rebuild says it’s connecting to a server and saving your game, it’s apparently saving the game in your browser cache. Sometimes, websites, like gmail, do updates and because of stuff in your cache the sites crash, so you have to clear out your cache. Had I known my game was saved there, I’d have tried to figure out a way to clear the rest of the cache and preserve it, but I didn’t know, so I wiped the cache clean and with it Kingston Falls.
I hoped that perhaps the generation of your town at the start was based on the name of your town and the name of your leader, and that I could recreate the game by using the same in both, but it doesn’t work like that. Every attempt to recreate the game resulted in a new town and new people. Of course, I could have created a new town and just lied, kept playing and you, the readers, would have never known. But I would have known. I was left with only one option: wipe the slate clean. But, I didn’t want it to be a bloodbath. In the world of random name generation, it’s possible when I start my next town – and I will be starting another town once my anger has subsided – that the same names might just pop up. This might not be the last we see of everyone.
Anyway, I’ll probably take a couple of weeks off from this and then come back to it. I really want to finish a Nightmare play-through of Rebuild, because I’m itching to play Rebuild 2.