A burnt out husk that was once the post office of the town of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania sat quietly. Not a soul in sight, save for the dark figure, slumped moving against the back wall behind the counter. It shambled forward falling over the locked waist high door that separated the areas from behind the desk to the space where the citizens of the city once stood. The figure landed with a wet, resounding crunch. It struggled, moving in sharp, slow jerky motions as it pushed itself back up. The silhouette from the street portrayed a broken frame of a man. The being stumbled through the broken pane glass window of the post office. A man, once in his middle forties of short stature stood looking blankly into the sky. His clouded eyes shielding any sight of lucidity in thought of the man. His skin a pale, with tints of jaundice. Around the man's chest and torso were blossoms of crimson that revealed his postal uniform had been torn away by tooth and nail. His lopsided jaw hung slack as vacant air flowed from his crippled lungs. A low hissing of shallow exhalations that formed a pitiful moan of the damned. His head turned to scan the area about himself. His arms rising to balance him, as though he was a toddler learning to stand again on his own two feet. He shuffled for the length of the building, stepping slowly, occasionally dragging a foot causing him to stumble along the way. He covered the fifteen foot gap and turned as he reached the corner of the road. As he turned the corner it was clear what was driving him along. A narrow city street, a lane and a half wide lined with apartments and town homes populated the area. Caught in the middle of the street a small group of people that had fell prey to the hands of the man's compatriots. The man slowly joined them after staggering over to the group of the fallen. Falling to his knees he grabbed a young man's arm pulling it to his putrid lips, that curled back revealing blackened semi-rotted teeth. He breathed his curdling breath before sinking his broken teeth into the flesh tearing it away in long strips to get to the sweet, metallic meat that hid beneath the soft coverings.
Years prior, a brilliant man championed by every nation for his dedication to alleviating the suffering of mankind, soon found himself after three decades of curing illness and disease sickened of what he was doing it for. Human beings, the most rational and intelligent creatures the planet Earth had borne into existence had polluted, destroyed, spreading and killing what they touched. This man, Doctor E. P. Worhol saw the race of human beings for what they were. A virus. They consumed, destroyed and propagated their kind. His stomach churned violently when he realized what he had been doing. Helping spread their disease from shore to shore. A fateful night he had perfected his solution. October 31, 2034 he infected his patient zero, on Halloween night. Within six months countries had failed, governments went underground, the human population dwindled from the twelve billion height to an estimated one and a half million world wide. Pockets of humanity strive on a day to day basis. Some blessed with fertile ground and the safety of four walls grow small villages and try to survive. Parents pining for yesteryear when things were easy. Children never knowing what running water or plumbing is. It is now six years later, October 31, 2040. The largest pocket of survivors known in the north east is nestled in the once great steel capital of the United States. On the fringe of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in an abandoned steel mill a group of one hundred and thirty five people have thrived. The massive mill had been secured and was safe from immediate danger. However, unbeknown to the inhabitants, just as they were adapting and growing, so was the infected hordes. Mutating in unseen or documented ways. Now, on the most celebrated day of remembrance in the small village of New Pittsburgh, a three man team was selected to travel the farthest any scouting party had gone in search of others, Philadelphia, well over three hundred miles. These three men departed on that Halloween. Now on the eve of November 15th they stand in awe at the cityscape of Philadelphia.
The trio of men, clad in leather, canvas and other cloth prowled to the edge of the row homes. Each wearing a thick coat that was layered, by the look of them they were soiled from the half a month of travel across the state. They wore their own tailored clothing they had made for their dangerous profession of the village, collectors. Men and women charged with seeking out goods, technology and other things to better village life. The three stopped on the edge of a hill that overlooked the town homes, one taking a set of binoculars from his pouch. Saul peered through his binoculars at the burnt husks of some of the row homes. Most of which had long crumbled to ashes. He pulled the binoculars down and stashed them. He was a man of lean frame from the life he led. Well into his late twenties with a short cropped hair cut on his chestnut colored hair, his eyes a bright aqua. "No horde in sight, we should be good" he said looking back at Devlin and Kim. Devlin, a hefty man in his mid thirties with a solid stout frame stood a hair over Five-eleven and sported a dark auburn bushy beard. "Now, that's no fun!" he chimed with his slight cockney accent. Kim stayed crouched and silent, a balding Asian man that was thin and frail looking and no taller than Devlin's shoulder. Saul pulled an old .22 rimfire rifle from his shoulder, holding it up to the crook of his shoulder peering through the scope before letting the scope drop down, "Devlin you and Kim move to the third house up there on the left and see if the bastards are playing dumb" he ordered him. Devlin cocked his home brewed weapon, an old Ithaca shotgun that had been retrofitted with a revolving barrel for a clip. The two men tore off down the hill to the home. The air was still ripe with the scent of the dead and roasting flesh. The timbers were still hot from the fire that must have occurred in the past few days. Saul watched them run, crouching he exhaled pulling the scope to his eye and watched the two take cover by a fallen brick chimney. A small child, barely more than five crawled into view of his cross hairs, she was wearing a blood stained night gown, her light blond hair smeared and caked with her blood. Her left cheek was torn from its place giving her the visage of a twisted smile beckoning her prey to come closer to her. The light orange sights fell over her right eyebrow. Saul inhaled, then slowly exhaled pulling the trigger smoothly. the small caliber rifle had hardly a kick to it as it fired the round. It struck it's mark leaving a dark dimple above her right eyebrow, which a dark, chunky fluid oozed out before she fell face down in the street. Saul pulled the rifle from the crook of his shoulder and pulled the strap back around to criss-cross over his chest as he jerked a compact handgun from his thigh holster. The trio of men pushed deeper into the darkened city, as the sun drifted behind clouds hazing out the streets below in the shadow of the giant crumbling towers that once attested to the grandeur of man.