Poison in the twelfth episode of the prequel series Roots of Decay.
Struggling to put the demons of the past to rest one man will find the only way to survive the world's new horrors may be to sucumb to the madness within.
We open in darkness. It's difficult to hear anything but muted sounds of combat and voices soon become clear.
Man's voice: S... S..... Sir?
Blackness is snapped away in the blink of an eye we find Nathan Holt, sitting in the back of a bus; head pressed against the window having fallen asleep. His eyes turn to face the concerned looking middle aged driver.
Driver: You ok Mr?
Nathan (blinking sleeply): Yeh... um which stop is this?
Driver: 45th Avenue, end of the line.
Nathan nods relief event he is at the right stop. He picks up his bag and walks past the driver.
Driver: You best be carful out there son, its a rough neighborhood out there, even with the attacks the news has been talking about.
Nathan: Don't plan on staying to long, perhaps a few hours, the last bus is at 10 right?
Driver: Ten sharp but we will be heading out earlier than that, can't be to careful these days.
Nathan nods and steps off the bus into the evening lit street. He stands for a moment getting his bearings and jumps a bit at the sound of the bus pulling off.
Nathan: Get it together... you've been in worse places than this.
Nodding to himself he starts walking down the street and we see much of the neihberhood looks rough; several shops are either boarded up while a few more appear ransacked. In one shop; an electronics shop a TV is broadcasting the news.
Newsman: In other news more reports on the riots in Atlanta, we now go live to...
Nathan walks past and is distracted by his mobile ringing and takes It out to see Sally is the one calling. He does not notice a trio of teens; rough and hardned taking note of this clean shaven and nervous man. In other words easy prey. The silently approach the man who is deep in conversation with his fiancé on the phone.
Nathan: Yeh, I know don't worry Sal I should be home before nine, don't worry....
He can't finish has the phone is plucked from his hand by one of the teens.
Teen 1: Nice phone mate.
Nathan has been shoved into the wall by the two other teens. Taken by surprise and winded from the impact into the wall he can do little at the moment to resist.
Sally v.o: Nathan what's going on...
The teen smashes the phone under foot.
Teen 1: Woops sure hope it was insured pencil pusher.
Nathan: Please.... I don't have any.
Teen 2: Shut it.
His friend has let go of Nathan's arm only to deliver a punch to the gut followed by a puch to the face. Has Nathan goes down the second teen has grabbed his bag and the tree proceed to search through it a few inches away leaving the man winded and dazed on the ground.
Teen 1: Score
They have his wallet along with a few other valuables which they start stuffing into their pockets. They are completely ignoring the man who is coming to himself again. Fearful at first he watches them tearing into his things.
He is hit by a sharp pain in his head and looks up at the teens again but this time anger is starting to blaze in his eye and a familar dark look starts trying to worm its way onto his face. Before anything can happen a voice breaks in.
Man: Hey you little shit heads.
We turn to see a tough looking guy in a police uniform. If that's not enough to make them run its the fact the guy if wielding a big gun and his clothes are splashed with blood that causes them to run.
Man: Bunch of pansies.
He goes over to Nathan and starts to help him up. From his smile its apparent both men know each other.
Nathan: Joel.... perfect timeing has ever.
Joel: Save your words Holt before you fall over. He picks up Nathan's bag and stuffs the few items that were not stolen back in. Now Nathan has managed to catch his breath he notes the blood on his friend's clothes.
Nathan: Joel, is that... blood.
Joel does not answer at first, turning with Nathan's bag in hand and indicates the other man to follow him.
Joel: I'll explain on the way.....
Nathan does not move the sight of the blood making him uneasy
Joel: Now Holt this isn't up for debate soldier.
Something in his tone gets the man to move and follows the other man a few blocks to a squad car. The radio is balring crazily. Joel rips it out irrated and get in the driver seat indicating Nathan to get in passenger seat. The man complies and both sit in silence for a moment before Joel starts driving back the way Nathan came.
Nathan: J... what's going on?
Joel: You remember the bar we were planning to meet up at a few blocks from here.
Nathan: Yeh what of it?
Joel is trying to stay serious but from the look in his eyes is obvious bad stuff has happened. It a look Nathan has seen on his own face since coming home and it keeps him quite to listen to Joel.
Joel: We need to get out of here now... shit, they send us to the club next door for a drug's bust... the people there... god they were... they wernt human.
Nathan: Joel what I don't....
Joel stops the car suddenly eyes frozen on a scene outside the car.
Joel: It's spreading.
Nathan follows his gaze and we see illuminated in the light of the car lamps one of the teens who attacked Nathan beeing eaten by two walkers.
Nathan: What the hell.
Joel gets out of the car gun raised and without warning shoots the two walkers. Nathan shocked by his friend's action gets out to check the kid.
Joel: Get back from him.
Nathan: He's still alive! We need to get him to a hospital now.
Joel: No we need to put him down.
He chucks Nathan a gun.
Nathan: What Joel I....
Joel: Nathan you saw what those things were doing and trust me that kid gonna turn into one you need to put him down now.
Nathan: Joel I.... not again I cant do something like that to people.
A groan from the kid who's eyes flutter open to show the eyes of a walker, its a bit sluggish giveing Nathan a chance to scoot away. Yet his eyes are fixed on the monster.
Joel: Look at it Holt it aint a man no more.
Nathan's hand's are trembling has he brings the gun up.
Nathan: But he... it's
Joel: You saw what those things were doing to him's he's gonna do it to, to other people if we don't put him down.
Nathan is still hesistant but finaly he lets out a breath and shoots the walker wich fall backward. Joel finishes it with a head shot. Joel: Got get them in the head.
Nathan is mute to what he has done and absently reaches into his breast pocket for his pills. Joel shakes his head.
Joel: Save em sodier your gonna need a clear head tonight.
Nathan (suddenly realizing): Sally, she's at the mall.
Joel: Well lets go get her then.
We switch to their car has they drive off.