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Post  darkriddle1 on Wed Feb 29, 2012 5:24 am

Disclaimer: This is strictly a fan-fiction story featuring original characters based in the popular Walking Dead Universe.


The Walking Dead: Outlands

The quest to rescue an asylum patient brings on an odd partnership between a 10-year-old girl and an 80-year-old preacher during a time where the walking dead rule the nation.

WALKING DEAD: "OUTLANDS" FAN-FICTION 618wthewalkingdeads02e0

Bloodstained faces, lipless mouths, and milky-eyed stares haunted the warm dusk. The inner roads of Kansas were as rural as they ever were, more so now, that the plague had decimated so many, so quickly. Along the fields of wheat and the long stretches of dusty roadway, small bands of shambling ghouls could be seen treading the paths. These were a grisly lot; degenerated to primal, human beasts, ever lusting after warm flesh.

The ditches of the countryside were not just littered with still corpses, burnt and mangled, but also reanimated ones, grotesque puppets of rotted flesh and scorn, all hell-bent on devouring the living, and thus came a new age for mankind, an age of the dead.

“Remember, you’re very special. The world belongs to you now.”

The cute brunette with the dark bangs across her young face recalled her mother’s last words. They were more than familiar to her, as she had heard her repeat that very sentence hundreds of times. Indeed, little Penny Sterling believed them; she believed them not as an opinion, but as a fact, pure and simple.

“We have to find Mink, Teddy. We have to get to him; Momma said so, and Momma was never wrong!” Penny muttered to her mangy-looking Teddy Bear.

The young girl kept to the roads, darting from barn house to cornfield, hiding behind overturned cars and covering her face and arms in noxious smelling fluids like alcohol and motor oil. She had watched her uncle do the same to knock the walkers off his scent. That was before the big fires separated her from her kin, before she got lost. Yet little did she know, Penny was about to be found.

Coming from across the wooded areas, a triangular vehicle of odd make was slowly driving down the dark road. The evening moonlight shined down on the bizarre car, highlighting the many fortifications on it with waning light. A prided property of the WGB Channel 7 News Station, the heavy “Storm-Chaser” was just that – a vehicle built to service the station’s Tornado Hunters, namely the late Jerome Wilkes, former weatherman and celebrated meteorologist. However, it wasn’t Jerome who drove the blue and grey speedster, but his elderly father, this due to a grim set of circumstances, which left the father alive and the son dead – or undead as the plague would have it.

“Lord, help me through the night.” The old man spoke while peering through the thick windows of the speeding Storm-Chaser. “The moon sure looks ornery this night – Sure enough, gots to be a bad omen. …A red-light moon ain’t never been good to no one no how!”

Penny Sterling and Walt Wilkes had little in common, not even before the plague. At 10-years-old, wealthy and white, Penny Sterling seemed to have all a little girl could ever want. In contrast, Walt was an 80-year-old black man who had to fight for most everything he ever gained in his once impoverished life. A preacher from the Church of Living Waters for over thirty years now, he woke up one day in his secluded home in Detroit, to find most of his family and flock being rounded up by the military. The outbreak was in full force before it was ever understood. Still, Walt was one of those that slipped between the cracks. While government factions tried in earnest to quell the pandemic, many were hastily left behind. This included the old spinster, Walter Wilkes.

WALKING DEAD: "OUTLANDS" FAN-FICTION Thewalkingdeadseason2tr

Walter took possession of his son’s career vehicle, namely the Storm-Chaser, after he witnessed Jerome’s death. Being left behind, the two men were ambushed in an alleyway, where his son had sacrificed himself for Walt, throwing his body across three walkers, making way for the old man to run. Walt rubbed his head in somber frustration whenever he thought about that dreaded day. It was the one thing he felt his son did wrong in life. Why sacrifice yourself for a man who had already lived his life? As for the running part, Walt recalled just barely being able to keep up the pace. His old bones slowed down his stride nearly as much as the death plague had the walkers.

“I don’t know how I could ever live that down,” Walt said as he gazed at a small picture of Jerome that was hanging from the dashboard. “The lord works in mysterious ways, I am alive, but I’m still dieing – dieing of guilt.”

As Walt mumbled and sped down the lonely, desolate streets of post-apocalyptic Kansas, he found it harder to keep his eyes open. Still, he wanted to find a more secluded region to park his unique car. Despite being far too fortified for even a mob of walkers to penetrate, the last thing the old man wanted was to be swamped by a mob of cannibal ghouls. As it was, he had yet to test the Storm-Chaser against any heavy rot-mobs, and he sure wasn’t looking forward to that. As his reddened eyes darted from shadow to shadow, searching for a stray barn or grain silo to park behind, a sliver of light suddenly got his attention.


“Sweet Jesus!” Walt yelled out as he stepped on the brakes.

The Storm-Chaser lurched forward, sending the senior driver crashing up on the super-thick windshield. With a busted lip spurting blood, Walt steered the car just in time, propelling the tank-like vessel to near tip-over point. Luckily, the Storm-Chaser just buckled a bit and then set to rest on the dusty grass curb. It was then that he saw Penny and she wasn’t alone.

“Help! Help me, Mr. Man. They’re gonna’ gobble me up – please help me, they’re gonna’ gobble me up something bad!” Penny cried out.

Walt opened the car door and leaned his body on its side. He glanced past the darkness and through the wan moonlight to see a small child running his way. She was being closely pursued by a skinny female ghoul with one arm, and more distantly by at least seven more walkers. He took his son’s 45-Revolver and let loose three shots. The young girl screamed and he felt the kick of the firearm creak his arthritis-ridden elbow.

WALKING DEAD: "OUTLANDS" FAN-FICTION Thewalkingdeaddsc0111ph

To his unfortunate surprise, he realized he missed the ghoul with all three shots. Taking a better aim, he fired again, targeting the she-walker’s head. To Penny’s salvation, his shots landed, but nowhere near the reanimated woman’s skull. Instead, the bullets tore into her knee and leg, dropping the ghoul to the earthy road. This gave the girl enough time to flee the oncoming walkers behind her.

“Come on, child – you gots to move!” Walt yelled to her.

A few seconds later, Penny leapt into the car, and Walt slammed the door and began to drive away. However, it wasn’t fast enough to completely avoid the walking dead, as two grisly ghouls banged against the strong windshield of the Storm-Chaser.

“Y’all get behind me, devils!” Walt shouted as he stepped on the gas, bashing the bigger ghoul to the side with the armored car, while crushing the other under his wheels.

The two of them sped into the dark of night, leaving the unruly mob of flesh mongers far behind. After he reached a more open roadway, Walt tuned to address the pint-sized survivor.


“You alright, girly? I mean you ain’t been bit, are you?” He asked.

“No. I kept ahead of them. Gee whiz, Mr. – I sure am glad you showed up when you did. I – I thought I was a goner for sure!” Penny answered, clearly in appreciation of Walt’s coincidental, yet well-timed appearance.

“Heh, what’s your name little girlie?”

“I’m Penny. My mom was a soldier. She got bit, but told me to keep walking west.” The girl explained. “She think’s Mink might not have gotten out of the hospital yet. We got to find Mink. I have my momma’s map. It’s where they kept them. --- But my mom…I think she’s gone now; gone to see Jesus.”

Walter felt a pain in his chest, just a shock of emotion, which he struggled to keep at bay.

“Well then, we’ll look for this Mink fella’ soon enough. Meanwhile, child; Jesus ain’t bad company, girlie. All the same, it might be the best. – It might be the best for the whole lot of us.” He added in a veiled whisper.

“Who are you? …And what kind of weird ice-cream truck is this?” Penny asked.

“Heh, just call me Walt. And, this is no ice-cream truck, little lady. It’s a bonefied tornado chaser, the kind of hotrod those crazy fella’s use to track twisters and the like.”

A few moments passed before Penny asked a queer question.

“Are we chasing storms, Mr. Walt?”

The old man narrowed his eyebrows in abstract thought.

“Little darling, we’re just trying to wriggle free from a storm of another sort.”

Sunny Meadows Mental Health Facility: Wichita’s State Asylum

Jake M. Vess tossed and turned on his bunk. The night guardsmen that usually patrolled the asylum hadn’t come to check on him yet. He hadn’t eaten in a full day and his stomach growled from hunger. Over the last night he’d heard thundering explosions in the distance and billows of smoke rising from far off. That was what he could see and hear from the tiny square view port of his locked cell. Being ever weary, the former Navy Seal now shut his eyes and drifted into a tired state, half asleep, yet half awake. He gazed passed the rustic ceiling of his locked quarters and thought back, back before his dishonorable discharge, a time when he expected too much of himself and everyone else.


Three Days Before The Plague

“Don’t sweat it, Mink. Everything is going to be fine. Just let go of your nerves, the general only means to evaluate you. They’re sending me to Sunny Meadows for a short stint – after the encampment explosion Dr. Garcia said I might be schizophrenic, or leastwise shell-shocked. I mean after Restrepo a lot of us got stressed.” Miriam Sterling said as she comforted Jake with her softly spoken words.

Jake/Mink considered her words. He wasn’t surprised that Miriam was evaluated as schizophrenic. He had seen the sassy redhead do amazing stunts in the field, experiencing the kind of gore only battle-hardened soldiers could endure. She was always a bit eccentric, but Mink still loved her just the same. Sanity didn’t matter much – not when it came to war. This was a grim secret only certain soldiers in the trenches knew well.

“I’m alright Miriam. I’ll do fine in there.”

“I hope so, I don’t want to see you transferred off the team, not after...well, all that has happened.”

Mink paced the floor nervously.

“I think they want to send me off base, Miriam. I won’t let that happen.”

“What’s the big deal? Most of us are being assigned duties stateside anyway. It seems the National Guard needs all the help it can get with that plague business back home.” She added.


“Plague, what’s that about?” He asked in puzzlement

“Who knows? It’s probably some freak strain of SARS again. Hey, at least we can be together, together at home.” Miriam flirted. “…And I’ll get to see my daughter. We hadn’t seen Penny for almost a full year now. That would be nice, right?”

“Well, yeah, I’d certainly like that.”

Jake entered the decorated office and stood in salute to the older general who gestured for him to sit down.

“First off, I want to say how sorry I am about your parents, Lieutenant Vess.” The general started. “I know how trying these times are. And to have -- ”

“To have found my parents burned to a crisp, because of faulty wiring and a botched home?” Jake finished.

The general fought to muffle a sigh.

“I’m going to be frank with you, Vess. I realize the trauma you must have faced when you discovered your parents demise back in the states. Now, I did try to keep you off of the L.E.D bomb runs, after all, you’re actually a counter-insurgency man, but you wouldn’t listen to me.”

“With all due respect, general, I did what any other soldier would do – perform my duties.” Jake shot back.


“Your duties were to follow my orders, NOT to get the base psychologist to write you a clean-bill-of-health permit, not only a week after your parent’s death.” The general cited. “You came back too soon; you should have stayed stateside. You were nervous, on edge – not mentally stable enough to run the gauntlet for road bombs. That’s why Martinez lost an arm, Vess. Your inability to realize that you needed time to muster back to health caused a horrible mistake.”

“What was I supposed to do? Was I supposed to stay at home, that burnt shell of a place, while my partners were here, fighting the good fight, America’s grand mission?”

“You should have taken time to heal, Lieutenant Vess. I’ll be straight with you; I always felt you had a certain amount of mental instability, and, a strong flare for insubordination. Now listen up; I’m sending you back stateside. There, you’re to be evaluated by civilian doctors this time. You can rest assure that I won’t be holding you responsible for the damage that Sergeant Martinez took at your last outing. Be very grateful for that.”

“I don’t quite understand, general. What are you planning for me?”

“You are being discharged – leastwise temporarily so, until I get credible and reliable credence that you are indeed fit to serve our grand Navy. Do you understand, Lieutenant?”

“And if I refuse?” Vess dared.

“Now you listen here, “Mink” or whatever your partners call you in the field; if you give me any trouble, I will HANDLE you personally, and then you WILL be dishonorably discharged and court marshaled for insubordination!”

After a long moment, Jake finally submitted to the general.

“So, how’s the food in the nuthouse? …Good I hope.”

The Present

Sunny Meadows was not a maximum-security outfit. It was quite docile most of the time, but it did share what most others asylums had, specifically rooms that can be locked from the outside. This was mostly due to unruly patients that couldn’t control their compulsive anger. Jake, or Mink, as he was more known, had been locked up for that very reason. He’d been angry over his superiors stalling him from reenlisting in the Navy. As a seasoned operative and Navy Seal, he was genuinely confused as to why they’d let a small incident in Afghanistan cause such a serious impediment to his military career. So, he yelled, threw a fit, and scared a few staff, thus he found himself presently locked in his quarters.

“Hey, soldier boy – you still in there?” A crackling voice echoed through the tiny screen of his large door.

Mink recognized the voice. It was Stan Carrington, skinhead and local white supremacist ideologist of the asylum grounds.

“What’s going on out there, Stan? I have been locked up for almost two days without food. Do me a favor and unlock my door, will you?”

“If I do, what will you do for me, soldier boy?”

“Come on, this is no time for games, Stan. I hear weird crap out there – all kinds of moaning and stuff.”

“There’s a lot more than just moaning going on outside. If I let you out you best promise to join me. I need people like you Mink; the great race war has finally begun. You’re a good white man – a skilled soldier of fortune from what I hear. What do you say, Minky – you in with us?”

“I’m not some bigot bastard, you moron. I’m an American God-damn-it. I fight for the nation!”

“Whoa, now slow down there, Mink – right now it looks like your nation has dumped you, left you to rot in here. Don’t be a fool. I have Russ and Sims backing me up outside this monkey farm of an asylum. With you on our side, we can start the revolution in earnest.”

Mink decided to play along; at least until the hate-monger finally unlocked his door.

“Yeah, whatever you say, just open the damn door, we can talk more when I’m out.”

The skinny bald man unlocked his quarters and Mink quickly leapt out. He noticed right away that the entire building was in shambles. Medical equipment and a whole bevy of paper files where strewn sloppily along the littered floors.

“Where is Miriam?”

“Who?” Stan blinked.

“Miriam Sterling; the other soldier they sent here with me. Where did she go?”

“Oh, you mean the foxy redhead? …She bolted as soon as the dredges came to munch on the staff. She said something about finding her daughter. Sims told me she thought you were already out. Hell, we were the only ones left in this joint.” Stan explained.

A stout, but muscular man joined them as they walked downstairs to the lobby. It was Sims. In tow, another white man drew near them. He had a riffle strapped to his back and a long strand of wheat dangling from his mouth. Mink recognized him as Russ Harlow, one of Stan’s skinhead cronies. Still, he couldn’t understand where the staff had gone, or what Russ was doing with a loaded firearm.

“Alright what gives?” Mink asked. “The asylum is a mess and it's clear the faculty took the high road out of here.”

“Hell, man, it’s the dredges, Mink. They’re a nasty bunch – they’re damn mud-people for sure, let me tell you. They got dank stink on ‘em like nothing I ever smelled before, too.” Sims answered.

“What the hell are you people talking about?” Mink spat.

Stan, Russ, and Sims gestured for Mink to follow them to the wide glass foray of the building's entrance. Once there, Mink stumbled back at what he saw.

“Jesus Christ, what’s wrong with these people?” The tall soldier gasped.

WALKING DEAD: "OUTLANDS" FAN-FICTION Thewalkingdeadthewalkin

Slumped along the shatterproof glass, a wide mob of walkers scratched at the window pane, trying to get in the locked asylum grounds. Many were plagued with advanced rot, some were missing fingers and lips, and others wobbled about with their innards hanging out. It was truly a ghastly sight. So much so, that even Mink’s war-hardened mind fought to keep back his nausea.

“Them damn plaguers is kinfolk of the egg-plants, man. They stone coon-folk for sure. We been waiting for somethin’ like this to happen. Ain’t that right, Stan?” Russ waved in anger toward the wild-eyed mob of dissidence beyond.

Mink stepped back a bit. His mind was racing. He recalled something about a plague making its way from the east coast, but knew very little if anything about what or how it was transmitted. One thing was sure though, the current company he kept was all wrong; wrong about whatever horrors awaited them outside, and even more wrong to think he would join their campaign of ignorance end moronic bigotry.

Mink’s Seal skills took over and he gave into his military instincts. In a flash of arm twists and low kicks, the Navy Seal dropped Russ to the floor and commandeered his weapon. It was done so fast, that all three skinheads were momentarily shocked by Mink’s amazingly quick maneuvers.

“Hey, hey, hey; is you plum crazy, soldier boy?! We done got you out of the damn hole up there, is this how you gonna’ treat your brothers?”

“You sons of bitches aren’t my brothers!” Mink barked back. “I saw a truck out back when I first came here, where is it now?”

“We ain’t telling you nothin’ no how!” Sims squawked. “Not until you stop pointing that rifle at me.”


A bold round of gunfire blasted into Sims’ foot, taking off a couple of the raunchy skinhead's toes in the process. Mink doubled back, he was surprised at the firepower of the old rifle, as he hadn’t used anything older than a Mac-10 in over six years. Still, he kept his forceful resolve.

“The next one goes into your head, bigot.” Now tell me where the truck is. I won’t ask again!”

Stan reached into his pants-pocket and Russ immediately tried to stop him.

“Don’t you give that coon-loving Yankee squat!” He pressed. “He can’t kill all three of us, not if we rush the fool.”

Stan thought otherwise.

“Hell, the truck's still out back in the lot. ...Besides, ol’ Minky here is Navy Seal. Shoot, you just saw what he did to ya’ Russ. The man’s a God-dang, high fallootin’ war hero – more than likely a real crazy one to boot. Why do you think they dumped him in this crazy monkey farm with the likes of us?” Stan reasoned.

After a brief moment of silence, Stan threw a set of car keys on the lobby floor. Mink cautiously picked them up and headed for the exit of the asylum’s back lot. Sims, Russ, and Stan hurled threats at him as he raced out of the building.

“You’re dead, Mr. Ain’t no one gonna’ make it one cotton-pickin’ mile past them dredges, ya’ damn fool. You’s gonna’ get ripped bad – turned into monster chow, ya’ crazy Yankee bastard!”

WALKING DEAD: "OUTLANDS" FAN-FICTION Besttopdesktoptvseriesw

Mink dashed to the car, as several bands of frazzled ghouls noticed him and took to a slow chase. He started the old pick-up and sped off onto the main road. A few moments later, he pressed the brakes and gazed over a notorious-looking fork in the road. He was banked by two roadways: each going in the opposite directions. Mink got out of the truck and peered hopelessly over the dreary, desolate landscape, wondering where Miriam could have gone.

“Am I dreaming?” He shook his head in somber bafflement. “Is this really America?!”

Mink’s glazed stare stretched across the Great Plains, taking in the distant silhouette of burning cities in the backdrop. As much as he hated to admit it, he finally conceded to the dire, terrible truth of it all.


“…By God, this IS my America!”

Continued in The Walking Dead: “The Opossum Kingdom”

Fan-Fiction story by Dark Riddle based ON and IN the Walking Dead Universe from Robert Kirkman. All images of The Walking Dead are copyright of AMC.


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