March of The Dead 2
After the events of the first March of the Dead, The Dead returned to their home of Dunell Hills. For the next three years, The Dead succeeded in holding the suburb as their own, preventing many attempts to reclaim it by the Dunell Hills Police Department and their allies. In early March 2011, the DHPD again sought to force The Dead out of Dunell Hills and formed a coalition of several of the largest survivor groups, including The Fortress, Knights Templar, Army Control Corps, and the Soldiers of Crossman. By the end of March the suburb was primarily in survivor hands. This prompted a resurgence in the number of members and activity of The Dead, who came to be known as The Dead 2.0 - despite still wearing the original group title of The Dead.
Within days, Dunell Hills was again in a state of ruin. Survivor counts had rapidly dwindled to zero and all buildings had been broken into and ransacked. The Dead quickly destroyed the rest of the Dunell Hills Military Zone and then set their eyes on the rest of Malton. By the third week of April, the entire western half of Malton was wrecked and survivor numbers began to drop rapidly. Less than two weeks later, and despite survivor efforts to rebuild, the majority of the city had been laid to waste. Survivor numbers were lower than ever while the zombie count was still rising. The ratio of the two reached an all-time low of 1:4, as standing survivors fell to less than 15% of the population of Malton.
During the March of the Dead 2, suburbs reported as safe disappeared for weeks. The number of Very Dangerous suburbs reached an all-time high on May 12, 2011, when 80 suburbs were reported as Very Dangerous. At that time, only two suburbs were reported as Moderately Dangerous. Standing survivors throughout most of Malton survived by hiding in ruined buildings. Looting ruined buildings became a viable alternative, as the search rates skyrocketed along with zombie numbers.
A less verbose description of events
Testimonial from Good Poster™ Tomn
We thought we were safe.
It's been six years since the outbreak began. Six years since the dead rose to their feet. Six years since I the last time I felt any fear.
We were terrified at first. Seeing your father gnawing on your little brother's face tends to do that. We ran, we hid, we fought, and we died and we prayed to God for a miracle. And then the Necrotechers threw open their doors, what doors that remained intact, and told everyone they had a foolproof cure to zombiehood.
Suddenly, a zombie was just a friend waiting to be revived. Suddenly, seeing grandma lurching towards you slavering for your brains meant that you could talk to dear old Nanna again. Suddenly, we soon found out, we were immortal. Whether we died from zombie bite, knife fight, gut shot, or plain old heart attack, we'd come back as a zombie. And the Necrotech needles worked on everything, however the person died.
There was talk, at first, about taking back the city, de-zombifying everyone and convincing the military to let us go, spreading word of our secret to eternal life. That didn't work. It turned out that a number of the zombies were too far gone to revive, and many others suffered permanent mental damage, usually manifesting in some form of psychosis. They'd kill themselves, or they'd turn on us until we were forced to put them down. So we settled down, got used to the quarantine, and carved out a new life in the ruins of Malton.
We threw up the barricades. We formed little towns and outposts, beacons of civilization in the wastelands. We had lights, running water, radio, most if not all the amenities of life. We had all the resources of a dead city to satisfy our every desire. Above all, we were immortal. Invincible, untouchable. Any sickness, any harm or pain, any ill was only a buckshot blast and a needle away from being cured. And so we grew bored.
Some people tried to rebuild society, recreating as far as they could a little slice of civilization among the city's bones. While the zombies moaned outside they chatted, laughed, joked, gossiped, and loved. Some people went hunting for zombies, telling everyone they met that it was the best sport in the world. Some people tried to seize power, carving out military fiefdoms in the suburbs, locking themselves into bitter wars with their rivals over conquest. Some people turned to hedonism, throwing parties and orgies that would make Caligula blush. I even heard stories of sex with zombies, and it didn't surprise me a bit. Everybody tried to divert themselves somehow, and I was no different.
Six years. Six years of the strangest, most depraved party that history had ever seen. Six years of knowing that nothing could possibly harm you and then going out to prove it.
We weren't always safe, of course. Every so often the zombies would mass in a horde and fall upon our barricades, knocking down our little cities and forts and brothels and overrunning our defenders. But the zombies were never really organized, even at the worst of times, and pretty soon they'd fade away into the mist, and the survivors would brush themselves off, laugh, talk about what good fun they had beating off the horde, and then go stick needles in their friends. Perfectly safe, we knew. Whatever happened, as long as we had the needles, we could recover. Death and undeath were all just part of the endless life we enjoyed in Malton. Life would go on.
I guess the outbreak had other ideas, though. It took six years to happen, but finally, something happened. It mutated, evolved, turned into something horrifying. The zombies didn't get any more fearsome, individually. A lot of them were still the same weak, unevolved shambling dead that comprised the bulk of the zombie population. But these new zombies were different. They moved together, acted together, fought together. If any one of them found a survivor, every other one would know. And they acted with a purpose - they attacked strongpoints, corralled us, sent us all fleeing into the same place, wondering what had changed in these new zombies.
We still thought we were safe, even then. It was the biggest attack any of us had ever seen, but we'd get through it. The hordes were everywhere, but we could survive, one way or another, come out, and rebuild, reclaim the city from the hordes, and then we'd all laugh and smile fondly when we remembered the days of this attack, reveling in our tactics and our heroics and our exploits. Even when our last strongholds came under siege we told each other "You know, this will probably be the biggest gathering of survivors ever in all our six years. This is fun, this is great, this is really contributing to our sense of community!" We made plans, figuring that if the barricades ever went down, we could cut and run and hide out in small groups in the suburbs behind the hordes, and wait 'till the new hordes dispersed and we'd slowly reclaim and rebuild and head back to revive all our friends once we were safe.
It's been three months since the barricades went down, and I've been back to the site of our last stand six times over now. But it wasn't to rebuild, to reclaim, or to revive. It was to run, run like I had for the past three months, running one step ahead of the zombies that always managed to track me down somehow, to run and run and never, ever, ever, ever stop. The hordes didn't leave anything in the city. Every building was a shattered hulk, and every attempt I ever saw to try and restore them ended the very next day in a screaming red and grey ruin of dead and dying flesh. Four times I was involved in those attempts to rebuild, and four times I've fled past the questioning, curious faces of my undead former friends, minds mostly gone but aware that I should be trying to help them somehow but I never had time because I had to run, just keep on running. I don't try to rebuild anymore. Most people don't. Most people run like myself, nodding to each other in passing as we ran our separate ways to avoid us both dying at once when the zombies found us. Sometimes I'd run across a handful of stubborn, brave, idealistic idiots still hoping to recover what they'd lost, telling me I should come rebuild their dreams with them and that I was a coward to run. I've never seen the lights still on the next time I ran past them, and I've only seen one group trying to recover last week, smaller than any other I've seen before. I don't suppose I'll see any more groups in the next few weeks. And I'm starting to see fewer and fewer runners, too.
I'm not going to run forever, I know. One of these days I'll trip, or I'll run down a dead-end by accident, or I won't be paying attention or I'll just get unlucky. But maybe that's not how it'll end. Maybe one day I'll just stop, turn around, spread my arms wide, and wait for it all to catch up to me. Maybe I'll be the last living human in the city by then. The thought's almost funny. I'd laugh if I didn't need all the breath I can spare.
For now, I'll just keep running. Running until the day I stop and rise again to shamble on, just another of the urban dead in the eternal purgatory of Malton. Just another undead in an undying city. Just one more voice crying out for brains where there aren't any - and in which, perhaps, there never really were.