This is the twenty-third chapter of Wake of the Undead.

"Woah, easy there," Theo tried to calm the man down. "We were just travelling when we came across this place. We needed some place to stay."

"I ain't want you here," the main replied very harshly. "Get the fuck out before I kill all o' yous."

"Please, sir, we have children and women."

"There are plenty o' more houses down there. Go pick yer fave, and get outta here, now!"

"You have food and guns though, sir. We barely have anymore ammo. You have your windows all boarded up, plenty of food stocked from the looks of it. We could help you out. Please. It's gotta be awfully lonely being here by yourself."

"I ain't need company, and sure as shit not from you folks. Now, 'ma say this one last time, mister, get outta my damn house 'fore I shoot ya'll."

"We can't go back out there."

"There's some cabin out over yonder by a lakeside. Y'all can go there, just leave!"

"Please. We have been running around looking for a place for weeks. We are all exhausted and tired of searching. We need somewhere to rest up, even for a few days. We have a little six year old, young teenagers, women. We can't go back out and search, and your house has food, guns, and protection from the zombies. We were just at a place about a month ago, and we got attacked. We lost a lot of people. We can't risk it again."

"You'll only be here for a few days?"


"Alright, but only because ya'll gots kids and ladies. Make yourselves at home, but y'all are gone in three days, okay? Ya hear me?"

"Got it. Thank you so much. William, Hannah, you go back and get the others. I don't know what we are going to do about the cars though..."

"You from that road just over there?" The man pointed from the direction they had come in.

"Yeah, that's the one."

"That's Hermes' Road. It leads up here, c'mon, I'll go with you and get y'all up here." He went downstairs with William and Hannah, but turned around suddenly.

"The name's Clifford Johnson, by the way, mister." he told them. The others introduced themselves, and the three left to gather the others.

"You're just gonna let him leave with them?" Ron questioned Theo. "You saw what he was doing, he was going to shoot all of us, and you let him go with a little girl?"

"William's with them," Theo reassured Ron. "William isn't about to let anything happen to Hannah."

William, Hannah, and Clifford arrived several minutes later at the road. They rounded them up into the cars, and Clifford got in the truck with William and Reuben.

"We goes north up that road," Clifford informed Reuben, who was driving. "Eventually ya'll will get to a four-way, take yer right. Follow the road down a ways, and then yer right again. When ya'll hit the woods, turn left. Them buildings will be the place."

"So, right, right, left?" Reuben asked.

"Yeah, you could dull it down like that." Clifford angrily folded his arms as Ron took off, the others following behind.

About 15 minutes later, they pulled in to the little complex. Theo, Ron, and Quin were waiting outside of Clifford's house. Reuben hit a zombie that was roaming the streets, and pulled up to Clifford's house. The others did the same, and all got out. Reuben ran back to the zombie, pulled out his knife, and put it down. Clifford walked over to Theo.

"I never knew ya'll had so many," Clifford said with a slightly annoyed tone.

"You never gave us a limit," Theo sarcastically replied. Clifford gave him a quick glare and walked back inside his house. The others unpacked their gear and went inside too.

"I gots two extra rooms upstairs," Clifford told them. "And then there's the livin' room and the kitchen and such. Go on, make yerself at home."

William, Hannah, and Quin took one of the rooms upstairs, while Megan, Cleo, Morgan, Drake, and B took the other. Ron plopped his stuff in the corner of the living room, and Theo did the same on the opposite side. Tyreese made himself comfortable in the kitchen pantry, and Reuben took the spot by the front door. They all put their stuff away, and met Clifford in the kitchen.

"I'm hungry," Cleo announced. "What is there to eat, mister?"

"Well," Clifford started. "There ain't a whole lot. I gots a few dozen cans of vegetables, some stale bread, frozen juice, and stale crackers. Anything ya'll would like?"

"Can I have some crackers?"

"Sure. I got veggie crackers, that alright with yous?"

"Unhuh." Cleo nodded, and Clifford handed her a handful of crackers.

"Thank you!"

"No problamo."

A few hours later, Clifford cooked up a few cans of corn and peas for everyone. It wasn't the most amazing meal, but it was enough to keep everybody satisfied and full. After dinner, Clifford disappeared upstairs. Theo went up, and found him sobbing on his bed.

"Clifford?" Theo asked. "W-what's the matter?"

"I ain't never had company before," Clifford told Theo. "Not si-since my wife and son....not since they passed. I ain't seen nobody since then. Never talked to nobody. It's awful stressful. Seeing all you folks and talking to y'all's made me miss them oh so much. I can't live life like this anymore." Clifford picked up his shotgun and cocked it. "I'm optin' out."

"No! Please, no. I know how stressful life is, but you can't kill yourself over it! Think of how it would affect us."

"You're right, I'm sorry."

"It's alright," Theo started walking down the stairs, until he heard the shot. He ran back inside Clifford's room and saw him laying on his bed, dead, with a giant, gaping hole in the side of his head.

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