26 Chapter 25: Getting Nathan Caught Up and Quietly Nipping a Future Problem in the Bud
Joshua walked out onto the balcony on the backside of the Mansion. It was late at night and he could see the stars lighting up the night sky better than he had witnessed in a long time. He had just finished his shift and was tired from all of the stress he had gained through out the day. This time around more people were put on patrol along the fence for safety purposes. After what had happened earlier many people were on edge at night and didn't want to risk being unaware of another hoard assault.
Although Joshua was planning to get some sleep soon he had found his way outside on to the balcony after noticing Nathan wasn't in his room. At first he had a hard time thinking of where the kid could have disappeared off to, but after thinking about it he decided to head up here to check first. If he wasn't on the balcony then at least he would get a good view of the surrounding areas. Luckily for Joshua after taking a quick look around the place he could see the small figure of Nathan standing near the railing on the balcony as he looked over the backyard of the farm. He was wrapped up in a blanket but even though it was fairly warm out he was still shivering a little bit.
"Here you are Nathan. What are you doing out of bed while sick so late at night?" Joshua said as he walked up to stand beside him. For a moment Nathan was silent as he continued to gaze at the stars, then he turned to look at Joshua.
"I'm sorry I couldn't help at all." Nathan said quietly turning back to look at the stars before continuing. "Even if I did warn you guys like Natalie said I still feel like a burden."
"Your warning is the reason the hoard was only two hundred zombies attacking a group of waiting individuals instead of five hundred taking everybody by surprise without me being able to do anything about it." Joshua explained before patting Nathan gently on the back. He didn't want to put too much pressure on the bruises Nathan must have gotten from being ganged up on by those three idiots. Just thinking about that caused Joshua to get angry.
"But that's all I did. I couldn't help defend the camp like everyone else." Nathan replied still a little downtrodden.
"That's not all you did. From what Natalie tells me you did something far more courageous." Joshua said before seriously looking towards Nathan.
"What would that be?"
"You were willing to stand up for yourself and for us. If you had gone along with what Jacob and his two cronies were trying to pressure you in to doing, then it would have put the rest of us into a bad situation." Joshua said as he started to imagine what would have probably happened. "If you had gone along with them then knowing myself, I would have followed along with you and trusted your suggestion. Laura and Madalyn might have been suspicious while Natalie could have read your mind to warn us, but I doubt she would have. In the end we would have all been stuck in a situation scouting out an area right next to a hoard of five hundred zombies without any prior knowledge. We would have been taken by surprise and one or more of us could have easily been killed in that situation."
Nathan looked towards Joshua in surprise at how far ahead he had thought of the circumstances. He was starting to appreciate how right everyone was to name him leader of the group from the get go. "Well I'm happy to help out…I just wish I could do more you know." Nathan said as he started to realize how much his standing up to Jacob had changed things.
"Well I'm afraid to tell you this Nathan, but people don't become strong overnight. I've been training in martial arts since I was five years old. Most of the guys around here have been working in hard labor as farmers for years building up their strength to a degree. Some of them even know how to hunt after living this type of life for so long. The Carsen brothers are trained fire fighters who have to be able to handle many different types of situations. Lastly you know that all of the girls of our group are basically cheat codes in comparison to us right now." Joshua started to explain as he tried to figure out the best way to express his thoughts.
"What's your point?" Nathan said getting a little agitated.
"My point is all these people you're trying to compare yourself to either have an enormous head start or a completely unfair advantage. It would take you months at the least to be good enough to consistently hit zombies with a bow and that's from close range. Right now you need time that you don't have to catch up with everyone else in terms of fighting capabilities, but there are other things you are good at." Joshua stopped and waited for Nathan to take the bait.
"Like what?" Nathan asked almost pleadingly as he looked up towards Joshua. For a moment Joshua felt like he was trying to tell some depressed girl about her good qualities to get her out of her funk. Nathan's frail looks and small frame made it seem even more like that was the current situation.
"You were the only person here that could have found that broadcast station online. Everyone else here doesn't seem to be all that up to date on technology and I hate to admit that I was never really one to have computer smarts myself. If it isn't something that works in a hospital then I'm not the best person to try to figure it out." Joshua explained getting a small chuckle out of Nathan. "Then your gaming knowledge has definitely helped us all out. If you hadn't brought up the topic in the first place back when we were first talking to Laura and Natalie then we would still be in the dark about what was happening. You might not be a fighter Nathan, but not everyone is. Use that great mind of yours to help out and leave the heavy lifting to us."
"I get it, but after this mess is over the first thing I'm doing is learning how to fight properly. I want to be able to protect my sister in the future if something like this happens again." Nathan said as he proudly puffed his chest out.
"Considering that women all seem to be getting super powers I wouldn't be surprised if she's the one protecting you in the future." Joshua joked.
"Ha, ha very funny." Nathan pouted.
"Well let's head back inside and get some rest." Joshua started to say before he thought of something. "Oh and by the way after today's events we were able to find out something interesting. Even though Natalie was over here killing zombies she still gained experience from the zombies that we killed miles away."
"Oh my gosh we've landed upon the partying system. This could be so useful if used correctly. Though it's surprising it could still be connected from such long distances, so will have to test…" Nathan started to go into one of his long rants about gaming mechanics causing Joshua to smile as they headed back inside to go to sleep.
At the same time in a place far away from the farm one man could be seen being chased by a large group of zombies. Unlike before where he and his friends where half scared to death as they ran away from a hoard of zombies this time he ran away with a crazed look as he lead the zombies towards a row of storage buildings off the side of the road. When he approached the final storage building that he had already had waiting wide open for him, he lured the heard of zombies inside before going out the back exit and waiting until all of the zombies had funneled inside. He quickly locked the door behind him before using a remote to control the shutters at the front side where he had originally come in from.
Just like that Jacob had trapped another hoard of zombies inside one of the storage houses. The zombies continued to wail and scream as they banged against the sturdy metal shutters, but to no effect. Now Jacob walked around the building and headed out in front of the five storage houses. Each one was now holding at least two hundred feral zombies and the thought of unleashing all of them on those bastards back at the farm brought a cruel smile to Jacob's face.
"Those assholes won't know what's coming for them." Jacob said as he started to break out in mad laughter. "They dared to treat me like that. To humiliate ME! I'll enjoy watching them all get eaten alive." His fist clenched so hard that the whites of his knuckles could be seen. His anger had reached a new high as his mind was starting to titter on insanity. All he could think of was how to get back at Joshua, at how he should have been the leader from the start, and at how fun it would be to watch Joshua and all his friends die.
While Jacob laughed and talked to himself out in front of the storage houses a silhouette could be seen emerging into the moonlight nearby. The figure was feminine and from the shadows along her face you could make out a mocking smile and cold eyes that were glaring into the back of Jacob. The figure, put her hand in front of her face as she conjured a green mist in her palm. It grew larger until she was satisfied and blew it in the direction of Jacob who still hadn't noticed her.
The green mist floated over toward Jacob and surrounded him causing him to breathe it in before he could react. For a moment he coughed trying to get rid of it while having a shocked expression on his face. He turned around to see where the mist had come from only to see a woman standing behind him just at the edge of his sight in the dark night. He grew angry at being attacked and was about to charge over towards her when his limbs froze up and he fell over on to the ground. He tried to turn his head to look up, but his body was completely paralyzed.
"I knew you would try to do something stupid for your petty revenge." The woman stepped completely into the light so that Jacob even in his frozen state could see her and make out her face. Madalyn had a teasing smile as she looked down on the crazed boy. His eyes shot open in recognition as he figured out who had attacked him. "Your type are all the same. Always wanting everything to go exactly your way. I've lived with a much older and more spoiled version of you for the past decade so I could see the signs right away."
Madalyn smiled as she walked around in front of him and squatted down so that her face was directly in front of his. "Your kind always has to get even. It doesn't matter if you were wrong, or if you're weaker than your opponent. You will always try to find a way to get back at those who you think offended you. No matter the cost. The fact that you even thought for a moment you were leader material is also hilarious. After all a leader, puts the well-being of the whole group before his own. Last time I checked leading everyone who trust you to their deaths does not make a good leader." Madalyn teased him as she poked the bruise on his forehead from where Joshua head-butted him.
"I….I…" Jacob started to stutter out. Although his face was paralyzed for the most part and he had a hard time moving his jaw, he still tried his hardest to speak.
"Oh go ahead and try to speak. I'll make sure to pass the message along." Madalyn said as she leaned her ear towards him in a mocking fashion.
"I…w…will…ki…kill…you…a…all." Jacob stuttered as he tried to sound as menacing as possible. His crazy eyes locked on to Madalyn as they almost seemed to be bulging out in his raging state of mind.
"Oh sorry, but I won't be dying any time soon. On the other hand you will be joining my dear husband in hell in a few minutes." Madalyn said as she stood back up. "I'll be letting Joshua know about what happened here. Heaven knows he needs a kick in his backside so he never makes the stupid decision of letting someone like you go off on their own again. Oh and I'll tell him you're to thank for gathering all these zombies for him. Of course I can't tell you why he'd be thankful, but that doesn't matter."
As Madalyn started to step away from Jacob she turned to see one stray zombie that was missing a leg. It was crawling in their direction as she explained things to him. "Well look what we have here. It seems you missed one Mr. Wrangler." Madalyn said as she giggled a little bit at her own joke. She stepped back and watched as the zombie quickly crawled towards Jacob. Madalyn could see fear fill his eyes as he struggled to scream for help, but could only make muffled sounds. Within seconds the zombie had made its way to Jacob's neck and took a large bite.
Jacob's attempts at screaming in pain only seemed to energize the zombie as it latched on to him and continued to bite him in multiple places. The entire time Madalyn watched until Jacob's screaming stopped and his minor movements completely ceased. Although his eyes didn't close Madalyn could tell that he was now dead. With the job finished Madalyn threw one of her daggers into the eating zombies head killing it instantly. She walked over and pulled the dagger out before wiping it off on Jacob's shirt. "Well I'll just leave you here to rot for a while. You won't be coming back anytime soon so be a good boy and keep watch for me, ok?" Madalyn said before laughing and walking off into the night.