This is the third issue in Volume 1 of A Long Road to Fortune. It is titled Return.
Ashton sprinted back to the hardware store as fast as humanly possible.
"I need to hide, or something! I just need to avoid being seen right?" said Ashton. While he was brainstorming ideas, the dead started catching up to him. Ashton panicked even more now that the dead had a clear view of him. "No use in hiding now I guess..." Ashton said, as he held out his machete in front of him. Ashton was ready to run away to a different area of the town but quickly stopped when he noticed that a rope ladder had been lowered from the top of the hardware store.
"That wasn't there before! But I'm not about to complain!" Ashton made haste and climbed the ropper ladder all the way to the top of the hardware store. He was now out of the dead's reach. As soon as he reached the top, Ash pulled the rope ladder back up to the roof since he wasn't about to find out if the dead were capable of climbing a rope ladder or not. Ashton let out a sigh of relief before hearing a gun's safety be removed behind him. Ashton turned around to see a mysterious cloaked figure pointing his gun at him.
"Hey, what a minute. Mr. Chet, is that you?" said Ashton.
"Well I'll be" replied Mr. Chet. "It really is you Ashton. I thought that young man sneaking around down there looked familiar. I'm just glad you didn't decide to hide inside the hardware store, you would have been dead for sure."
"I am very glad to see you. I mean, I have not seen a single soul since I woke up from my coma" said Ashton.
"I heard about that". replied Mr. Chet. "I was one of the few that was worried about you. The rest of the town, was more than happy, to say the least. Your aunt was checking on you everyday. I haven't seen her since this whole thing started."
"Yeah...me neither. And I can't say I blame them" replied Ashton.
"Come on, that's no way to talk" replied Mr. Chet.
"Anyway, how did this whole thing get started? I wake up and I find the world has turned into something else, something even darker." asked Ashton.
"Word on the news was, a virus spread around the planet like zancudos. Now the dead want the land back, and they will either make us join them or feast on us. Tch. Darker times indeed. As if it wasn't hard enough for one to find good fortune before." said Mr. Chet "Big cities went down first, small towns followed soon after."
"Well, damn." replied Ashton. "What are you doing up on this roof anyway?"
"I'm actually staying with a group of people over in the marketplace." said Mr. Chet. "I was about to come back from my supply run but then a herd showed up and started circulating around the marketplace. I came here to wait them out."
"I see. Other people then, huh? That's a relief!" replied Ashton.
"And thanks to that car alarm you set off, the herd from the marketplace was attracted to the sound I bet. Come on, let's see if it's safe." replied Mr. Chet
Ashton and Mr. Chet made their way through la Reforma from atop the buildings. The buildings were uneven and forced the duo to jump from one another. Only a few of the dead spotted them, but they were out of their reach. Ashton and Mr. Chet soon stopped in another building, one much closer to the marketplace.
"This looks a like a good place to peek" said Mr. Chet. Mr. Chet had taken out a pair of binoculars from his large backpack and peeked around the street. Mr. Chet was right, the herd from earlier had left to investigate the noise. Only 7 of the dead stood in the way. "Time to get back down to street level. You ready Ashton? We're about to kill us some groseros!" said Mr. Chet
"Groseros? Why call them that? replied Ashton.
"Because. The way they snarl and attack you, it's just plain rude." replied Mr. Chet.
"Can't argue with that logic." said Ashton.
The duo made their way down to street by sliding down a roof that was built at at a 135 degree angle. When they were close enough to the ground, they leaped off of the roof and landed safely on the street.
"Now then." said Mr. Chet, as he pulled out his gun. "This is what not to use. You should only use guns when you're cornered and have absolutely no other weapon on you or near you." said Mr. Chet. He pulled out an ice pick. A sharpened, blood-stained ice pick. "There's only 7. I'm thinking we each get 3 and whoever finishes first, gets the last one." said Mr. Chet.
"Fair enough. Ok, I'm ready" replied Ashton.
The duo went their separate ways and confronted their groseros. Ashton dove his machete into the head of a grosero and pushed the corpse and top of another one. He then proceeded to swiftly kill the next grosero with his combat knife. Ashton came back for the last grosero and finished her by sticking his knife in her eye socket. Ashton recollected his machete and moved on.
"Finally, you're done. I was getting a little tired of waiting for you." replied Mr. Chet, who had already killed his groseros and even the leftover straggler.
"Wow." replied Ashton.
The duo proceeded down la Reforma and made it to the front door of the marketplace.
"Now" said Mr. Chet. "They will only let you in if you do the secret knock. Watch me" Mr. Chet knocked on the door 4 times, with a delayed fifth knock after that. A tall, muscular man with very brown skin opened the door for them. "Make haste" said the man.
Ashton and Mr. Chet were glad they were finally in the marketplace. However, the man grabbed Ashton by the collar and glared at him. "Out of all the people in this town, it had to be you to get such good fortune".
"Hey, put him down Daniel. That boy isn't exactly a threat now." said Mr. Chet to Daniel, the man.
"Hmph." Daniel placed Ashton back down the floor.
"Cheer up. Here, take these supplies back in. They should be enough to last us a few more days." said Mr. Chet, as he handed the backpack to Daniel. Daniel walked down a very small hall and into the main part of the marketplace, where the rest of the survivors were.
"I haven't been completely honest with you Ashton." said Mr. Chet. "There are 2 people here who will be very happy to see you."
"Really? That's great!" replied Ashton, in joy.
The duo walked into the main part of the marketplace.
"I'm back, and I brought a guest!" announced Mr. Chet. Ashton revealed himself to the rest of the survivors. There looked to be around 45 of them. Of course, their response to Ashton's presence was not amazing.
"Ashton? No way!" said a young man, who was around Ashton's age. He had a short head of brown hair and a bit of a stache going on. He was a little shorter than Ashton.
"Valdez! Great to see you man!" said Ashton, in excitement.
"So am I buddy, but there's someone else who is going to be even more thrilled about seeing you." said Valdez, as he stepped to the side and revealed none other than Liza. Liza was happy and was even crying tears of joy.
"ASHTON!" said Liza, vey loudly. She sprinted up to Ashton and kissed him right in the mouth. After that, she hugged Ashton and Ashton hugged her back. "I'm so glad to see you're ok!"
"I'm very happy to see you too." said Ashton, in an uneasy tone. Don't get him wrong, he was extremely ecstatic to see his childhood friend again but the welcome kiss, that was something Ashton was not expecting.
"Uh, Ashton? You're looking a little stiff." said Valdez, who was trying not to break out in laughter.
- The title of the issue refers to Ashton's "return" to civilization.
|A Long Road to Fortune: Volume 1|
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