Rick Grimes, Buffy Summers, Leon Kennedy are all that remain after Dr. Neville sacrificed himself for the group. But what is this place? Why are there zombies everywhere?
The three undead hunters stood on the front lawn of what once seemed like a fortifiable home. It was now destroyed, surrounded in splinters of wood, destroyed furnishings, shell casings and the scattered corpses of undead. After Robert’s sacrifice, the group had picked off the remaining few walkers and reconvened to discuss the next step. The siren wailed in the background all the while.
When they stood together, breathing heavily, Buffy was the first to speak. “Well, what now? The crowd seems to be pretty well gone… but we’re still no closer to getting out of here. And just what the hell do you suppose that siren is?”
Leon stared off into the distance. “I think we might have to come to terms with the idea that we might be here awhile.”
Rick responded with ferocity, “No. I have to get back to my family. I’m not going to be stuck here a minute longer than necessary. I plan on getting out of here just as soon as possible. Which means we’ve got to figure out what’s going on around here.”
Leon found himself moved by the man’s dedication in spite of himself. He was committed, that was certain. He looked at Rick for a few moments before nodding. “You’re right… we can’t give up,” he said, “but where do we go from here?”
“I say we investigate that siren. Could be someone there that set it off… right?” offered Buffy.
The men looked at each other before shrugging. It was as good a start as any.
The group headed off towards the apparent origin of the siren, making small talk while they walked. Rick told the others of his family and of the infection that had spread across America, which must be what infected this city as well. Buffy told them as much as she felt comfortable about her past, and her run-ins with the undead. Leon was tight-lipped and offered little, but the others seemed to just appreciate the chance to talk and relax. Before long, they found the source of the noise.
The siren wails were coming from a tall pole in the middle of a large courtyard. Before the destruction of the city, it was very likely some sort of park. There were four entrances, from each of the cardinal directions. One building, to the north, remained remarkably intact in comparison to the crumbling remains of the others. From a balcony a few stories up emerged a cloaked figure.
“Greetings, warriors!” he cried, his voice carrying curiously well, “welcome to the final test. You’ve all done extremely well so far!”
The trio looked at each other. They certainly hadn’t felt like this had been some… ‘test’. Before they could voice their opinions, however, the man spoke again.
“However, this final portion will push you to your ultimate limits! Soon, the courtyard will be flooded with the creatures you’ve spent your time killing up until this point. Your task is simple: stay alive! Survive against all odds and prove yourself to be the very best at what you do. I shall be awaiting those of you who manage to survive. I will return in one hour.”
With that declaration, the flood gates seemed to open. A cry erupted from all around the survivors and the tell-tale sounds of shuffling began. The three stood back to back in the center of the courtyard and all hell broke loose. As the flood came around the corner, the three realized what sort of game this was. They were not intended to survive, that couldn’t be possible. There were simply too many.
“What… what do we do!?” cried Buffy, a stake in one hand, knife in the other.
In answer, Rick fired his weapon at the nearest walker, taking it down. “We can’t stay here,” he said, “It’s just too open, we’ll be overrun in seconds.”
Leon was blasting his shotgun into the crowd, thinning the herd to the south before they got to close. “I think he just wants us to fight for his amusement. I say we bring the fight to him.”
All three of them looked toward the entrance of the building the man had addressed them from. It was a fair distance and there plenty of walkers in the way… but it was worth a shot. Buffy nodded at the two men, who ran ahead, firing their weapons. Having no long range weaponry, she wanted to be sure to be out of the fire zone. Following close behind, she used her stake to cut down any zombies that got too close, keep the men’s rear secure. As they approached the door, the crowd in front of them began to thin. Before long, the trio had carved a path to the door.
“Buffy!” cried Leon, “Get this thing open, we’ll cover you.”
Leon and Rick took a stand in front of the door and began firing expertly at the approaching dead. Buffy tugged on the door, but it didn’t budge. She aimed a few powerful kicks at the door, but it barely moved. “Leon,” she said, “I’m gonna need a little more firepower here.”
Barely pausing, Leon spun and fired two quick blasts at the door, blowing a small hole in it. Buffy tried once again, but the door barely moved. “We might have a problem here, guys…” she whispered.
After firing another shot, Rick turned and looked at Buffy. “We’ve got another problem,” he said, “I’m all out.”
He holstered his pistol and began kicking at the door with Buffy while Leon fired his pistol at undead that came too close. His shotgun lay at his feet, expended. Rick pounded at the door with growing desperation, “This can’t be how it ends!” he cried.
In the distance, a high pitched whining began to sound, growing louder by the moment. The survivors stared into the distance and even the dead seemed distracted. “What the hell is that?” said Rick, “it sounds like…”
“A chainsaw.” Leon finished, with a smile.
From through the crowd came a blood-soaked Ash Williams, swinging his chainsaw arm wildly. Rick backed away and made room for the mad man. “Sounds like you folks need a… hand” said Ash, with a smirk.
Ash’s massacre had bought the group some time, so Leon took the time to catch up with Ash. “What happened, Ash? I thought you were done for.”
“Took a mean beating from that thing… and I’m still hurting. Losing a lot of blood… figured the siren might have been you guys though.”
Buffy looked at the gaping wound in Ash’s thigh. “Let’s get in this building… then we can patch you up, Ash”
Ash raised the chainsaw above his head, and in a few seconds, there was a hole large enough to duck through. “After you, folks,” said Ash.
Buffy was the last through. She turned and looked to Ash and motioned him to come in, but he shook his head and smiled. “At this point, little lady, a ‘patch up’ is only gonna buy me a little time… besides. I’m havin’ a ball.”
With that, he revved the engine of the chainsaw and charged once more into the horde. “Who the hell was that!?” asked Rick.
Leon stared out the door in disbelief. “That’s the king, baby.”
Suddenly, a crash from upstairs brought them back to reality. With a jolt, they all ran up the nearby stairs and found themselves outside a large bedroom. Inside stood a cloaked figure. Leon ran ahead and grabbed the cloak, tearing it from the man. Underneath… was a young child. Leon stepped back in shock.
The boy turned, tears in his eyes. “I’m sorry! I didn’t think this would all be so real… I thought he was nice! He told me it was just a game!”
Rick moved to the young boy and knelt by his side, placing a hand on his shoulder. “Slow down, son. Who told you?”
“The man I met… I never saw him, but I could hear him and he made whatever we wanted to come true happen. He just told me to call him ‘General’… but he’s gone now and I just want to go home!”
After this information, the boy began crying in earnest. The three survivors looked at each other in confusion, still not understanding who this ‘General’ was and how the boy had seemed to have such a commanding presence earlier… But before they could voice their confusion a bright flash sent them all reeling backward. As they floated through nothingness a voice spoke to them.
“I’m weak, and this was nowhere near what I’d hoped to create… but you all did well, despite the fact that you managed to break the rules of my training camp. I was only expecting one of you… I will call on you, soldiers. When I’m stronger. And when I do, you’ll be part of the greatest army ever assembled!”
As the voice faded away, so too did the consciousness of Buffy Summers, Rick Grimes and Leon Kennedy.