Robert Neville awoke with surprise and immediately checked himself over – he hadn’t really expected to wake up at all, and as far as he could tell, his body seemed to be fine. He rose to his feet and quickly looked around. Near his feet lay his rifle, but Sam was nowhere to be seen. A pang of fear gripped him and he instinctively began moving.
Rick Grimes was moving cautiously through the streets, trusty magnum pistol in hand. The last thing he remembered was being on watch in the forests of Georgia, and now he was definitely in a city – or what remained of it. Rick was all too familiar with the look of this place – it was in exactly the same state he had found Atlanta. He hadn’t seen any Walkers yet, but he knew that never meant too much.
Neville had also found himself in the streets, a clear night sky above him. He quickly realized that this was not New York City – not the one he had left behind, anyway – but the streets still appeared empty. However, a low growling moan from behind him caused Neville to spin quickly, instinctively bringing up his rifle to fire. It was not a nightwalker like he had ever seen before, however, the creature certainly was no longer living. What had once been living flesh was rotted away, covered in thriving maggots. Lidless eyes peered out from beneath a bony brow, filmy with cataracts. Neville took this in for only a moment before pulling the trigger. A loud report cracked from the rifle, and he turned and began running further up the street.
Ahead he saw a long line of suburban looking houses, grossly overgrown with weeds and shrubs. That would do for the night.
Rick heard the unmistakable crack of a gunshot clearly in the otherwise eerily silent night air. Immediately he began running in the direction of the sound – he’d never known walkers to be able to use guns, so that could only mean other survivors. Maybe one of them would know what was going on, how he’d gotten to this place.
Unfortunately, several small herds of slumbering undead also heard the loud shot of the gun, and roused themselves, shambling out onto to the street.
Rick paused. He heard the all-too familiar sound of the groans and shuffles of a walker. He turned around slowly and was faced by a growing group of the stinking undead. 30, 40, 50 of them stumbled out of the various alleyways. Looking ahead, Rick saw that more walkers were beginning to close off his escape. With no time to waste, he ran for the closing gap between the groups. His own gun raised in his hand, years of training allowing him to aim quickly and surely, taking down the closest walkers. He narrowly made it through the bunch and continued running up the street. Further up ahead he saw a row of houses – and one of them had smoke coming out of the chimney.
Neville knelt on the sidewalk before entering the house. There was no mistaking which dog was lying before him in a pool of its own blood. Sam. His companion for years, through so much, was dead. A huge, messy bullet-hole gored right between the dog’s eyes. Tears of disbelief, loss and rage streamed down Neville’s face. Nightwalkers didn’t use guns – couldn’t use guns, as far as he knew. Another person did this. Someone killed his best friend. He carried the body into the house before proceeding to set up a number of traps and snares around the perimeter of the home. Finding some firewood next to a fireplace, he set up a fire and prepared himself for the night.
Rick ran for his life. He had left most of the walkers behind, but several remained on his tail. He knew that whoever was inside the house with the chimney was his only chance. As he ran up the steps to the wide porch, his foot caught on something and he was pulled up into a snare. He dangled, frantically pulling at the cable around his foot, as he watched the remaining three walkers approach. Suddenly, a series of loud gunshots took them down.
“WHY DID YOU KILL SAM? What the hell is WRONG with you??” Neville shouted hysterically. Rick spun, taking in this stranger. He certainly wouldn’t have been his first choice of aid.
“Look mister, I don’t know what you’re talking about, or what’s going on. What even is this place?”
Neville paced back and forth, fuming. “It had to be you! Nightwalkers don’t use guns! Why would you kill a dog??”
Rick used this moment of opportunity to swiftly raise his gun and shoot the cord around his foot, dropping him free. He scrambled to his feet but looked up to find the barrel of a rifle pointing directly in his face.
Rick slowly dropped his gun to the ground and raised his hands. “I don’t want any trouble and I didn’t kill any dog. The last thing I know I was in Georgia, with my family, with my SON, and the next thing I know I’m here, alone.”
At the word “son”, a pang crossed Neville’s face. Rick lunged forward, knocking the rifle aside and pulling the other man into police hold. Neville cried out “Wait!” but Rick wouldn’t take chances. A sharp blow to the back of his head knocked the scientist unconscious.
Neville is a great survivalist, however his years of isolation have made him prone to being slightly crazy. As a scientist, he likely doesn’t have a great deal of fighting ability, despite being in excellent shape. The advantage goes to Rick, who, as a police officer, has trained to deal with people in desperate situations and take down armed opponents.