5 Arriving In Atlanta And The Mysterious Helicopter

Rick tried to get some response through the emergency channel but we couldn't get a reply - no doubt the radios still around either being too beat up to consistently work or it could have something to do with the weather. Thunderstorm just off to the left of Atlanta.

I tried my shot at trying to contact the survivor camp I knew was outside Atlanta but I couldn't get anything even when I continued trying to hail them after Rick had given up.

Nothing worked, however, and seemed to be more like external forces were stopping us from communicating - not that our radios were broken.

As we came to a stop, eating some canned spam, Rick was gazing up at a picture of his family held to the sunblock thing by elastic bands. Seeing him stare so much, I put my plastic fork down and turned my head toward him, "That you family? Your wife and kid?" I asked, making some conversation to pass the time and trying to distract him from his melancholy.

"Yeah," he gave an affectionate smile, still looking at the picture, "That's my wife Lori and my son, Carl," he took it from behind the elastic bands and passed it to me so I could get a better look.

I gave it a once over and cracked a grin, "Lucky for your son he took after your wife. Probably have a chance with women when he's older without having your mug," I joked, handing the photo back over to him, "How you end up with such a pretty wife anyways, Rick? She pity you or something?" I kept up the banter and Rick laughed in reply, rolling his eyes.

"No, actually. She spoke up to me first," he recounted with a look of nostalgia, "She's pretty now but back then she could get a reaction out of a corpse," he said before stopping himself and realizing our new reality, "Uh, yeah, bad example," he trailed off with an awkward laugh before settling back into his seat and story, "So, this pretty lil' thing comes up to me and asks me out on a date. She sure was aggressive, even back then," he gave a light laugh, "I was enamored in the first second. The rest is history, as they say. Fell in love, got married, had a son together, went about our lives. God...I wish things could just go back to before. That this whole thing never happened."

"Yeah, I get what you mean, Rick," I nodded along, swallowing some of my rations, "But there's no point crying over spilt milk. Just gotta adapt. Besides, your wife sounds like a capable woman, Rick - I'm sure she and your son are fine," I tried to reassure him, which seemed to thankfully work.

He nodded and then gave me a smile, "Yeah, I hope so," he said before smirking, "What about you, Harry? Remember any special someone's?"

I shook my head with a chuckle, "Nah," I waved him off with a hand, "I remember a bunch of casual relationships over my lifetime but I never found the one, you know? All of 'em were just missing that spark. Didn't mean I didn't enjoy whatever happened in them relationships though," I gave him a cheeky grin and he scoffed and rolled his eyes in a good-meaning way.

Still, he nodded and replied, "Yeah, I get what you mean. Guess I was lucky with Lori and finding a girl like her in highschool," he mused before finishing off his spam and threw it out the window before turning to engine back on, "Anyways, let's get ourselves to Atlanta."

I nodded, finishing my own spam off and throwing it out my passenger-side window.

And off we went.

. . .

"I don't know, Rick...Atlanta don't seem so safe," I mentioned, gesturing to the other side of the freeway - the part of the freeway leading away from Atlanta, "If it were, why were all these people trying to leave? Best to consider this place just as dangerous or even more dangerous than King County."

Rick gave a sullen nod, his face set like stone as we traveled down the freeway at a casual pace. There were literally no cars on our part of the freeway into the city.

No one wanted to enter Atlanta, after a certain point. They only wanted to leave.

Even Rick could understand what that meant, especially with me bringing it up and reinforcing his doubts. Still, Rick looked over at me, "We're still going into Atlanta, though. If you want out, I can split the ammo with you and drop you off to the side," he offered but I shook my head in dismissal.

"Nah," I said, grinning, "I'm with you, Rick. Just wanted to make sure you realize we can't act all willy nilly when we get in Atlanta. Best to get as close as possible and then leave the car outside of Atlanta. Last thing we need is pulling a whole bunch of them walkers to us with the sound of your cruiser's engine."

Rick smiled, seeming relieved, and gave a nod.

We traveled down the freeway until we were just inside Atlanta and then Rick pulled over. We exited the vehicle and I took the duffel bag of guns and ammo - I don't mean to only see Rick's negatives but the man trips over like a highschooler in a slasher film. That is to mean, he falls over practically nothing and at the worst of times. I ain't losing my guns and ammo just because he's got two left feet, you know?

Handing him a shotgun and a belt of shells to replenish himself if he runs out of the already loaded ammo. Even then we both agreed to try and use melee weapons as much as possible.

On the way here, I got Rick to stop off at a nearby fire station. It was a bit risky to clear it but I managed and I gained a lot of goodies.

Rope, a head-mounted flashlight and batteries for it, and I raided their pantry. They had a hell of a lot of preserved food. I don't get an idea why they had that stuff but I'm thankful they did nonetheless. Which is why I had an extra duffel bag of food and other supplies slung over my shoulder and nestled next to the weapon duffel bag. In my hand, however, I had what I loved most about getting from the fire station:

A sturdy flat headed axe. Heavy and durable. Perfect for some of my strength.

Even got a halligan tool for opening doors and such.

Rick settled with the baseball bat we'd got off of Morgan and Duane. The metal headed axe was a bit too top-heavy for his still recovering body, so he chose not to take one from the station.

His loss, I guess.

As we entered deeper into the city, we discovered just how deserted the whole place was...and also how much destruction had happened while people were here. Buses and cars were wrecks, charred black from fires, shops had been looted with their display windows smashed open - not to mention the droves of dead bodies stacked at every corner or so. All of them with bullets in their heads, thankfully.

Not to say we didn't run into any walkers. Because we did. But their were only a few of them. The biggest group we'd ran into was five walkers and we quickly took care of them. A few swings of my axe and Rick's bat and we had five dead-dead walkers.

It was good practice as well. I'd been taught how to use practically every weapon by Lady Shiva and even taught how to use everyday items as weapons. But that didn't mean I could just pick up a new item and be perfect with it. All it meant is that I require much less time to adapt to a new item - to it's weight, size, how to best swing/use it, it's durability, whether it's well-balanced or not and if I need to compensate for any issues it has.

But with walkers every now and then, I definitely wasn't in desperate need for practice dummies.

"You sure you're good with all those bags, Harry?" Rick asked me out of the blue as I pulled my axe from a walker's forehead, his tone somewhat worried.

"I'm good, Rick. Besides, worry about yourself - I ain't the one sweating like a cow in a slaughterhouse," I joked in good nature and Rick replied with a sarcastic guffaw before he turned away and we got to walking again. Quickly we came upon a military blockade - one that'd been overrun and abandoned.

I saw a few tanks and some Humvees. Shame I didn't know how to work a tank. Those Humvees are wrecked to shit as well. Even then, I did see some things I wanted to check.

"Loot ahead," I chimed in, getting a nod from Rick as the two of us crept up to the abandoned blockade. Once passed the barbed wire, we got to looting stuff - well, I did, anyway. Rick just watched my back while I did so.

I found some goodies. Mags filled with ammo. Assault rifle ammo, that is. And moments later, I found myself an M4A1. No scope, just the iron sights - but it was good enough in my books. I guess the herds of walkers along some of the streets practically killed anyone who came for this, huh? Luckily I'm with Rick 'Lucky' Grimes.

Though sometimes, that luck doesn't turn out to be good luck.

The sound was what first reached my ears. Just after I passed Rick his own M4...I heard a helicopter. Loud. Very loud. Rick heard it too. Then we saw it, flying exceptionally low. After that, it started blasting 'Flight Of The Valkyries'.

Rick and I shared an odd look before looking back to the helicopter flying right toward and above us. Then my eyes caught sight of something.

Then my eyes widened and my body acted on instinct, pushing Rick to the side and throwing myself in the other direction.

Not a second later, the side-mounted LMG on the chopper sprayed down where Rick and I had just been, littering the tarmac with bullet holes.

Rick hit the ground with a thud, coughing up lungful's of air that my push and his subsequent fall had forced out of him. Meanwhile, I got into a roll, forcing my body to move even despite the extra weight I was lugging around. Coming to my knees, I spun around and slung my bolt-action rifle off my shoulder and brought the scope to my eye.

I didn't need it. Not really. I could shoot a fly off a cow's ass with my eye's closed.

But I wanted to see who'd shot at us. The gunner had blond hair, his eyes were covered in wielder goggles and he was a skinny fucker - the type that just gave off the image of a rat or a weasel. His hair was greasy and slicked back, which just solidified the whole sleazy image I had of him.

He was trying to force the gun to point at us again but he couldn't as the veered to the right, limiting his range. He peered over his shoulder and went to shout something to the pilot.

I didn't let him.

I knew where to aim, I knew when to shoot...and so I shot. Moments later, a bullet went through the back of his skull and killed him.

Hey, I've got the moral high ground. They shot first. That was just self-defense.

I did try and aim for the pilot but he seemed experienced and instantly swerved to duck behind the cover of the high-rise buildings that surrounded us. In the split second I knew I wouldn't be able to hit him, I fired a shot off at a different place - the helicopters fuel tank. Now, this didn't make the heli go up in a ball of flames or anything that dramatic.

No, it didn't even take it out of the air. But what it did do was make sure he'd have to land soon and that that heli would never be able to fly again unless they could properly repair it.

I doubt he'd be able to repair it either. He'd probably have to make an emergency landing in Atlanta. Which means he'd probably be eaten alive sometime soon.

Smiling darkly to myself, I turned to Rick who was slowly getting up, clutching at his side.

Giving him an apologetic look, I went to apologize - I'd acted instinctively to the danger and I didn't limit my strength all that much which meant he'd just been ragdolled and slammed into the ground below. A real 'ouch' moment when it's done by someone with my prodigious strength.

But before I could apologize, I noticed something rounding the corner.

...Ah, for fuck's sake.

Slinging my rifle over my shoulder again, I picked up my M4A1 and stepped toward Rick, grabbing him by the shoulder and picking him up fully. He gave a rather unmanly yelp as I pulled him over to the tank, just as the walkers began picking up their speed - their bodies were still fresh enough that they could probably be called joggers instead of walkers.

Rick went to ask me why I was doing this but the chorus of groans and growls caught his attention and I only needed to point at the tank and say, "Get in," for him to nod and clamber up the side of the military vehicle.

As he did, I looked around and saw what I knew would be the case - we were surrounded. Where did all these fucking walkers come from? A crowd of 'em was coming from where Rick and I had arrived at this place from. From in the buildings, maybe?

I put that thought out of my head and hopped into the tank, sending the two duffel bags first before dropping myself in. As I sat there, I saw the corpse of a soldier and sent a kick out, crushing the head of the docile/sleeping walker inside. I didn't wanna be deaf, thank you, so I just used my boot.

As I did so, Rick hopped in and closed the hatch after himself.

While he did that, I couldn't help but wonder who those dickheads in the helicopter were. I remember Rick saw a helicopter in the first episode but I don't remember the flying vehicle swooping down and trying to gun him down. Something's changed and it's very different - there's two possibilities.

One, that group is just them. A pair of bastards who fly about in a heli, shooting at people.

Two, however, is much worse: They might be a part of a larger group. If there's a group out there that has access to helicopters and who knows what other vehicles and the fuel to use them regularly...well, I've got my work cut out for myself if that's the case.

I really hope it isn't the case, though. For the most part, anyway. It could kinda be fun--but let's hope it isn't the reality of the situation.

...I never was an optimist.

Rick and I sat there and he looked to me, his brow covered in sweat brought on by adrenaline and fear, his face twisted in panic, "...What are we gonna do, Harry?" he asked and the banging of the walkers on the tank's armor rang through the enclosed area we now found ourselves in. Every bang caused Rick to jump a little, his eyes taking on a dazed look - one out of fear.

I can't blame him. Am I that fearful? Not too much. The idea of fighting a horde of zombies is actually getting my blood pumping a little. Then again, what can you expect from an adrenaline junkie like me?

Still, I had to think about more than myself right now. Rick was here.

I could most likely (most definitely) make my way out of the horde as long as I purely focused on escaping instead of fighting the horde. Rick, however...not so much. I wasn't worried though.

The reason why soon came.

Though my thoughts were cut off before I could even formulate a response for Rick, as the radio for the tank fizzled and a young, sassy voice came through the speaker, "Hey you two," the voice intoned, "Yeah, you two dumbasses in the tank. You cozy in there?"

I grinned and grabbed the radio, "Anyone ever tell you your bedside manner is appalling? Least you could do is call us handsome dumbass, you know?" I chuckled, gaining a 'Really?' look from Rick who was trying to silently gesture to me that I should be a bit more polite to the person on the other side of the radio. I just waved him off dismissively.

"Well, I could, but I'm not gonna," the voice scoffed, "Look, I can see you two and I can see the massive horde surrounding the tank you're in."

"Really?" I asked sarcastically, "I hadn't noticed them," I joked.

The guy on the other side laughed and then replied, "Yeah, well that's the bad news...There isn't any good news either, actually," I rolled my eyes at that point and just continued listening, "I've only got some advice for you two: Make a run for it. The walkers are pretty focused around the back of the tank and the ones coming from the surrounding buildings are really only limping along. You've got a window to run right now. You got anything that can cause a distraction?"

I looked around and then caught sight of a grenade. Clicking my finger to get Rick's attention, I pointed to the grenade when I did. He nodded, got it and I gestured for him to give it to me while I answered the radio, "Yeah, I've got a grenade in here. It'll either kill a majority of 'em or the sound can distract them."

"Save it," he gave a reply, "You two got any guns?"

Looking to the duffel bag, I smiled and replied, "Oh yeah, you can say we've got 'some' guns."

"Good, make sure to use them. You're gonna need them," he said before adding with a much more urgent tone, "You're gonna need to get on your way now. Jump off the right side of the tank, keep going in that direction and you should see an alley up the street about 50 yards that way. Now, get going!" he shouted and the radio fizzled out.

Nodding, I chucked the grenade over to Rick who caught it. I rushed over to the dead soldier on my hands and knees and began the process of quickly ripping off the vest he was wearing. Pulling it on after pulling it off, I began slipping clips for my M4A1 into the holders. All the while, I was speaking to Rick, telling him I'd give covering fire while he got the duffel bags out of the tank.

"You ready, bud?" I asked him and got a solemn nod in reply.

Taking a few deep but quick breaths, I gripped the rifle in my hand and rushed up and out of the hatch.

I saw two walkers right in front of me and two headshots later, they were down. Getting onto the top of the tank, I pivoted on the balls of my feet, spinning round and firing bullets into each and every walker that was either too close to me or the tank. I didn't miss a single shot - I was deadly within 200m, easy, let alone the few yards between me and the walkers next to the tank.

...Who said the apocalypse is boring?

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