November 22, 2011

Safe Haven - Cooper (NaNoWriMo update #9)

[...Posted by Ted H]

Ah man, only about 10K more to go...never been this close....a little exciting if you ask me. Winners can start confirming their word counts this weekend. I wont be ready by then but it just proves that the finish line is within sight...

Current status of my 2011 NaNoWriMo: 39,695 / 50,000 (10,308 words to go!)
Current pace has me writing my 50,000th word on: November 27th

Keep pace with me or join me if youre doing it too:


[Safe Haven - Cooper]

There are two things to know about Violet Cooper. 1) Don’t feed her bullshit and 2) Never, EVER fuck with her. Her ex-fiancé learned that the hard way the day the apocalypse started. When the dead were first rising for inexplicable reasons, Cooper rushed home from work to make sure her man was alright. When she made it, she discovered a car in the driveway she never saw before. Inside her bedroom, on the bed she shared with a man who she was going to marry was another woman fucking her man. There they were, blissfully unaware of her looking at them from the window and definitely none the wiser about the zombies.

She wanted to scream. She wanted to kick that bitches ass and kill her fiancé but she had to restrain herself. The zombie apocalypse was happening and she didn’t want to waste valuable time screaming and fighting. Instead, she snuck into the basement and retrieved her fiancés hunting rifle and snuck back out, leaving every possible door and window wide open. All that was missing was a “free food” sign for the zombies. Cooper then climbed a tree and waited.

It didn’t take long for the zombies to get inside, and when the woman came shuffling out, lifeless and naked, Cooper made sure she didn’t miss with the rifle. Her fiancé was a different story. Somehow he avoided getting killed and was circling around from the back yard to get to his car. Again, Cooper made sure to hit her target: her fiancés kneecap. He got about three feet before a group of the dead gathered around their easy meal. It provided enough of a distraction for her to jump out of the tree and run for her car.

Her plan was to drive up to New York City where her sister was, but she found out that all tunnels to Manhattan had been blocked off and the surrounding area was hopelessly gridlocked with traffic and zombies. She gave up on family and headed west, eventually ending up in a military safe zone in Indianapolis. They made her abandon her car, but she got to keep her gun. They told her it was safe, but they insisted on helping the injured and infected. A week on the road taught Cooper a lot about how the infection spread. She asked how the soldiers were going to deal with the infected people knowing that they’ll turn and the soldiers kept telling her that they “had everything under control”.

Cooper knew better than to believe that bull shit, so she hotwired herself a new car and took off before that safe zone was overrun from the inside. Shortly before taking off though, she caught wind of a place in southern California called Safe Haven. The important fact they were broadcasting was that they were not just turning away infected people, they were shooting them on sight. So after leaving Indy, Coopers next destination was a no brainer.

The trip to California wasn’t exactly easy, there was no way her old car would’ve been able to get her there, but the car she stole was one of those off road types that allowed her to drive wherever she wanted. Nothing short of a monster truck would’ve helped her more. Gas had become a problem, but by her estimations with her maps, she would only have to hike the last leg of the trip for about a day, unless she happened to run into a gas station that wasn’t either tapped dry or blown to hell, which she knew better to hope for this close to Safe Haven.

When the inevitable hike came around, Cooper came to realize just how ill stocked she was for survival in the wastelands. She took what she could sneak out when she left Indianapolis, but that wasn’t much to rely on when she made it to the address Safe Haven was suppose to be at.

Cooper knew it as she approached. Safe Haven was nothing more than a fucking bus station. She cursed the sky at how her last chance for survival was such a waste of time. She then picked up whatever things she had left and continued forward, because there was no other option.

The new plan was simple, make it to the ocean and hope for the best. Hawaii was always a good choice, but Cooper very much doubted the reality of making it that far, especially since she’d never even attempted to navigate a boat before. Days passed and Cooper eventually fired her last bullet and abandoned the rifle. She had long since run out of food and water was dangerously low. All Cooper had were the clothes on her back and half a bottle of some spring water shit she found at the “bus stop for suckers” she had disaffectionately named Safe Haven.

She could still outrun a zombie and she was smart enough to avoid them when she could, which was why she wasn’t dead yet but she rarely got enough sleep after she abandoned her car and wandering the wastelands had been taking its toll on her stamina. She had been slowly continuing her death march one night when a glow of light on the horizon caught her attention. She wasn’t sure what it was suppose to be but she felt like that might end up being the Safe Haven. Then she realized that the “bus stop for suckers” might’ve been an actual bus stop.

Cooper didn’t sleep that night as she slowly made her way for the light. She was still way too far away but it gave her hope. There were zombies but she could still jog faster than them but her alarming lack of energy was finally overtaking her as she tripped over and couldn’t get up right away. She tried to push herself up but ended up collapsing every time.

When a zombie finally came to claim her, she found just enough resolve to launch her foot into its stomach, knocking it back. She wanted so badly to sleep after that but she made herself try one more time to get up. She propped herself up to her elbows then tried moving her legs so she could at least crawl. After a few feet she rose to her feet and immediately started running.

She knew she was going to pass out, her only hope was she could lose the zombie before that happened and find somewhere to hide. That was the plan until she tripped again, and she knew she wasn’t getting up that time. She had landed on her side so she rolled just enough so she was on her back looking up. She watched as the zombie approached as she was blacking out just as a loud crack sounded and the zombie jerked backwards and fell out of view.

When she awoke, Cooper found herself inside a building. Her whole body hurt but she didn’t feel particularly eaten. She stood up and found she was inside a gas station convenience store. Outside it was raining as she walked up to the big front window, amazed it hadn’t been shattered, and peered into the dark grey sky. “I’m amazed it even rains anymore,” a voice said and Cooper spun around. Over behind the front counter was a man smoking a cigarette, gazing out his own window.

“Sorry,” he said “I saw you walking yesterday. Didn’t actually intend to help you until I saw you fall.” Cooper stared at the man for another moment. She didn’t know what to say so she decided to keep it simple. “…Thanks,” she said and was amazed at how her voice was so crackly. She hadn’t had to talk since Indianapolis, which she didn’t even know how long ago that was.

“Need a drink?” the man asked as he pointed to an opened 30-rack of beer. Cooper walked over and opened a can. She was 25, hung out with friends weekly at a bar, once dated a bartender for 4 years and both her parents were heavy drinkers who always kept cold beer in the fridge, but Cooper hated the stuff. Still, it had been too long since she drank anything and chugged the can down.

“Food?” the man asked when Cooper walked right up to him and asked “Who are you?” The man didn’t even blink as he said “Does it matter?” Cooper crossed her arms “It does to me,” she said. “Jake,” the man said as he put out his cigarette.

“I’m not gonna fuck you, Jake.”


“Just because you saved me, don’t think I’m gonna do anything to thank you.”

“Right…my master plan, ruined.”

“I appreciate it…but don’t expect much else.”

“Believe me, I’ve already been given enough shit for helping people this week. The fact that you don’t hate me for helping is thanks enough.”

“There are other people?”

“No…not here.”

“Where? Safe Haven?”

“That where you’re going?”

“Isn’t that where everyone’s going?”

“One way or another I guess.”

“You know the way? We’ll stand a better chance if we go together.”

“I’m not going back.”

“You were inside? Why the hell are you out here then?”

“I’m not wanted there. They pick and choose who they let in.”

“They denied you?”

“Ah…no. I kinda got myself kicked out.”

“Why would you-”

“I guess after everything I went through, it just wasn’t worth it. Personally, if I were you, I’d avoid it.”


Jake went on to tell Cooper about how Safe Haven was run, the people in charge and the ResEs. He told her about the shitty conditions and how it wasn’t as safe as people thought. Cooper dropped her head low. She had been bull shitted again, and this time she almost died in the process.

“So what are you gonna do?” she asked. Jake shrugged “Word was people had been gathering in Arizona, but I never heard anything solid about it. I figure if I’m gonna die finding somewhere new at this point, it’s gonna be somewhere I actually want to be.”

“Where is that?” Cooper asked. “Hawaii,” Jake said and Cooper smiled. “You don’t say,” she said. Jake turned back to watch the rain. Cooper wished it rained like that when she was dying in the wastes. “So what’s your name?” Jake asked, not turning his gaze from the window.


“That your legal name?”

“Violet Cooper.” she said “But don’t call me that.”

“There a reason why?”

“When we get to Hawaii I’ll tell you.”

Nothing more was said that day as the rain poured on. Cooper and Jake would later attempt to gather supplies to survive on when they ran into the Rogues. The flimsy Hawaii plan was scrapped and they joined up. Cooper didn’t bother to sneak into Safe Haven with Jake at first, but curiosity eventually got the better of her and she went in to check things out. It was just as Jake had described, which made her realize Jake had been the first person yet in the apocalypse to not bull shit her.

The Rogues meant well, but Cooper always had this idea that eventually they would become as bad as the ResEs. She didn’t trust many of them, not even Teto when she met him. Teto seemed to have a solid plan to bring down the city authorities, but gave off the idea that he had no clue what to do afterwards. He said he would figure something out when the situation came up, but Cooper felt that was more bull shit.

Cooper stuck around because it was something to do and she knew that even if she or Jake didn’t want to admit it, Hawaii would have gotten them killed. Over time she grew to trust and like some of the other Rogues, even Teto to an extent, but she trusted Jake more than the others because he was the only one from the beginning to keep in line of both of Cooper’s rules: Don’t bull shit her and never fuck with her.

So when Jake asked her to do this stupid trip through the wastelands with him and a bunch of others, Cooper didn’t need to be asked twice. Now he was late though as she and four other Rogues waited impatiently. Waiting with her were Teto, Jordan, Johnston and Martin. She knew about Johnston and Jordan but Martin was something of an enigma. He only talked to Teto and he wasn’t a big fan of Tucker, who Teto always hung out with.

“Bout fucking time,” Jordan said as Jake and Tucker came running. “Don’t even say it, we know,” Tucker said as he bent over and grabbed a bag and hoisted it over his shoulder. Jake dropped a duffle bag and opened it. “Grenades?” Johnston asked as Jake took them out and inserted them into his own backpack for the trip. He tossed two over to Teto who pocketed them.

“Gonna share?” Jordan asked. Jake didn’t even look up as he said “You know how to use one?” he zipped his bag up and kicked the empty duffle bag to the side. “How hard could it be?” Jordan asked as Jake smiled “That means you don’t.”

“Alright,” Teto interrupted “Quick recap. About a year ago we sent a group out east to go check out major cities for supplies. They made it as far as Chicago before heading back. They were on I40 around Texas-New Mexico when they sent a runner ahead back here. They never showed up though. We sent the runner back a few months ago and he never made it back. We’re gonna try and find them ourselves now.”

“Why do we give a shit?” Tucker asked “Why lose more people looking for dead bodies?” Martin flashed Tucker a look. “They had some serious supplies,” Teto said “Plus I don’t like the idea of losing two dozen people without knowing why.” Tucker rolled his eyes and shook his head, but he didn’t say anything. “Tell us the real reason why,” Jake said “The runner said they found some C4 and we all know how you’d love to have that handy.”

“No doubt it would speed things along, but I still want to find those people,” Teto said as he pulled out a map “We’ll find them though.” That was why Cooper didn’t like Teto and why she trusted Jake. Teto may had been genuinely concerned about the 24 Rogues who never came back, but the real reason he insisted on finding them was because of the C4. Jake was probably joking when he pointed out the truth of Teto’s plan, but she knew part of him wasn’t impressed by Teto’s fake altruism.

“Any other complaints?” Teto asked to no answer. “Alright,” he said “Lets move.” Cooper started with the others, once again reminding herself that she was only going because Jake had asked her.

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