After The Storm: NonPlayerCharacters Introductions: Zombie-Sam

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Originally posted on the IC thread, page 15 post 144

Brother Artur pulls a photograph from under his robe. It is of a young black man with a hawk-like nose, apparently it is a high school graduation photo. “Meet Samuel Bennett. He lived with his mother and worked in Walmart. According to the people who knew him, a nice guy, if unremarkable. He died during the Storm. He was walking home from work when the Storm hit and chaos ensued. A car out of control plowed into the sidewalk and hit him. Apparently he died instantly. And then he got up and walked home.”

Brother Artur nods. “Yes, I know what it sounds like. Obviously he couldn’t have been dead. But according to his mother, his heart was not beating, he did not breathe unless he needed to speak, and his injuries were terrible. She said that his skull was cracked open and she could see his brain. I believed her too. Yet he was neither bleeding nor healing. Not at first. Apparently he has a power too. Like your young friend drains electricity, Sam drains – something – from people. He accidentally used it on his mother. She described it as a feeling of terrible pain and coldness. But not normal coldness. Like a coldness that is inside you. He let go instantly, but his injuries were a bit better.”

“She let him slowly heal himself off her over the next few days,” Brother Artur continues. “In the end he was healed, but his heart did not resume beating. He did not breathe, eat, or sleep. They were afraid to contact anyone, so she hid him in the apartment, hoping that he would get better in time. At first he was close to his old self, but as time passed he became sullen, stopped talking. I think he was suffering from depression on top of the trauma his incident caused. Then, a few months ago, his mother arrived home from work and found him gone. No message or anything. At first she tried to find him herself. That failed, but she did not know who to turn to, who to trust. Eventually she told all of it to a priest at a confessional. The priest, Father Washington, from the Church of Saint Hyacinth here in Bronx, knew of our order from his days as an army chaplain. He knew that we would at the very least send someone to investigate. So he contacted the order.”

“Although we have a home base, we are an itinerant order, dispersed and on the move, We do have ways to contact each other, but it has become more difficult after the Storm. The people at the castle are the more venerable members of our order, whose traveling days are behind them. But they are very learned people, in experience and education, with members of various fields in their ranks. They had a meeting.” Brother Artur taps his head. “The brain is the most important part of us, and very vulnerable. No matter what your religious views are, the brain is where we, as a person, reside. We do not die right away if our heart stops beating, but we do die if our brain stops. So if Sam walked home, something was keeping his brain alive. Despite the damage, despite the lack of oxygen. Also, brain activity drains a lot of energy. Ever had a day when you did not do much physical activity but used your head a lot? Whether a long day at the office or studying for an important exam. You spent most of the day sitting, but ended up really exhausted. Brain. Normally, we need to keep our brain oxygenated and fed with nutrients, and let it rest regularly, yet Sam did not breathe, eat, or sleep. Either he was somehow feeding on ambient energy – or he fed through other methods. Your young friend fed on electricity. Sam apparently feeds on people. There is a possibility that even before his disappearance, he kept going out when his mother was at work. If so, whatever he did then may have contributed to his apparent depression. If so, that is something he would have kept secret from his mother. Perhaps he eventually could not bear to face her anymore and just plain stopped coming home.”

“As you can see, the order took the matter seriously. In the end, they sent me. Yes, this is a classic case from a movie. A priest learns of an undead being on the prowl in the city and calls in a mysterious investigator from Europe. Only, I am not a vampire hunter, I am a psychologist. The poor young man does not need a stake and bonfire, he needs therapy. Once he is found. And that is why I went looking for you. I had no clues to his whereabouts so I did the next best thing. Looked for other people like him. People with abilities that are nothing short of supernatural as far as our current scientific understanding is concerned. Because if this is not a worst case situation, Sam may eventually look for answers. Look for other people like him. So I needed to get the word out.”

“But if this is a worst case situation – Sam is depressed and traumatized. He may try to kill himself. But will it work? Even if he decapitates himself… You must have heard of the phrase ‘running around like a headless chicken’? Well, it has been tested on people. World War II. Nazi scientists. And let’s not go any further into it. The important thing is, both the head and the body live after a decapitation. Normally, we are talking about an extremely short time, but in case of someone like Sam? There is a good chance that if he hurts himself, it does not kill him, unless whatever power keeps his brain alive runs out. Instead, it might just knock him out. But he does not sleep. Does he fall unconscious, or just keep running on instinct like a headless chicken. The young lady apparently fed on a bus by instinct. Sam feeds on people. Even if he attempts to starve himself, it might just cause him to go into hibernation until some poor soul finds him and triggers an instinctive feeding response. In other words, we believe he is dangerous, and not just to himself.”

Brother Artur sighs. “To put it simply, I am alone in a large city, trying to find a depressed, traumatized young man who feeds on life before something bad happens. That is another reason why I went looking for other people with powers like he has. I need all the help I can get.”