"He's up top again, isn't he?" I ask, watching as the sunset beats off of his forehead; revealing a big, nasty-looking scar that stretches from just below his eye down to the bottom of his jaw line. I had never noticed it before, but whatever wound he suffered through must've been really painful.
"Hasn't come down for a couple of hours," Lilly comments, shaking her head. "I don't know why, though. He finished up his guard duty and even brought some of the guys a rabbit for dinner. He didn't eat any of it though."
"Maybe I should go talk to him," I comment, shrugging my shoulders.
"Suit yourself," the older woman replies; her eyes droopy and worn-down from years of stress. "Are you walking around okay though? It looked like you were still limping this morning."
"I'll be fine."
"That's what you always say," Lilly sighs, waving goodbye before retiring to her tent. Sometimes it seems like she tries to carry the weight of the world on her shoulders – I can't imagine what that'd be like. The least I can do is not to burden her with my problems too.
Hobbling my way over to the metal staircase, I climb upwards as the crutches bang against each step. If he doesn't know that it's me who's coming, then something's definitely wrong.
"Lee?" I ask worriedly, setting the crutches down as I sit beside him. "I wanted to check on you… make sure you were okay."
Giving me a half smile, Lee waves it off and tries (but fails) to reassure me that he's fine.
"No, you're not," I say defiantly, swinging my good leg back and forth in the air while my arms rest on the railing. "You've been here at the camp for a whole day and we haven't talked at all. What's going on?"
By sitting on his left side, I can get a better view of his… injury, and I still shake my head in amazement. How he was still alive is completely beyond me, but the fact that I'm able to sit beside him… the fact that despite all the odds, we both ended up at the same place… that's going to take a while to settle into my brain. Don't get me wrong, I was overjoyed when he showed up yesterday, and I wanted to smother him when he started crying uncontrollably.
But right now… he seems, different. He looks a lot more distant than he used to, and the burning hatred for Kenny came back even stronger than what I remembered (though thankfully Lee had just walked away from him without a word). Lee Everett is definitely not the same man that I knew two years ago.
"You always were the perceptive one, Holmes," Lee jokes, referring back to that one day at the motor-inn. "I'm just trying to figure things out, that's all. I'm not used to being in a big group like this."
"But we were in one before," I remark, confused as to how this could be much different. We sure as hell fight amongst each other as much as before.
"I barely even remember what that was like, to tell you the truth," he says, resting his chin on the metal bar. "Hell, I barely remember who I was before all of this."
"What happened… Lee, where have you been this whole time?"
Staring off into the sunset, his eyes grow focused and dark, as if bringing back a flood of bad memories that he tried to keep buried for a very long time.
Figuring that he'd talk when he was ready, I let the subject drop as I re-examine my foot… or what used to be my foot. Now it's just a mangled stump. Kenny tried to put something on it when we first got here, but apparently I was in so much trauma and flailing about so violently that he couldn't set it straight on me. Arvo mentioned that he might try his luck with putting a replacement on soon, and frankly I can't wait. I feel useless like this.
I guess Lee kind of feels the same way.
"I'm so sorry, Clementine," he whispers, looking down at my leg. "You shouldn't have ever had to go through something like that – not at your age."
"Yeah, well… I guess we're both a couple of cripples now," I joke, trying to lighten the mood a little bit. Thankfully, it seems to work, as Lee chuckles slightly while nodding his head in agreement. "At least Kenny cut it off me in time; otherwise I probably wouldn't be here."
Instantly, Lee's expression darkens again, and I can see a faint frown growing upon his brow. I know that they didn't get along much, but what the hell could've happened to spark so much tension here?
"Lee," I say gently, placing a hand upon his stumpy arm, "What happened with you two? You can tell me, I'm your friend."
"It was just after you had left," he begins suddenly, placing his chin in his hand. "I figured I was a goner no matter what, so I wanted to take the easy way out…"
"Damn it… fuck…" I swear, cursing my misfortune as I gaze down at the bite wound upon my arm. Clementine's parents are laid in a heap beside me, and the gun rests in my other hand while the hatchet sits a few feet away from me. I can only see one option from this – and it's the way it's gotta be.
I've already said my last goodbyes to the people that matter, so all there's left to do now is to end it.
But there's still a big part of me that wishes it could see Clementine's cute, smiling face one last time. God, I hope they'll be alright…
Raising the barrel of the gun to my head, I close my eyes and try to picture the happier times in my life. Getting married, buying a house, landing my job at the university… meeting Clementine.
God, that little girl just became my entire world.
Taking a deep breath, I turn the safety off and…
"What the fuck are you doing?!"
Instantly opening my eyes, I can't believe what I'm seeing. The same asshole that I literally thought had died is standing right beside me; looking as angry as ever.
"Kenny, I – "
"I told you to take care of the fucking kids! What the hell did you do with Duck?! Where is he, you irresponsible, prick?! WHERE'S MY SON?!"
"I'M BITTEN YOU SON OF A BITCH!" I scream at him, standing up and shoving him out of my face, fists clenched at my sides. I'm pretty sure that if I spend one more minute with this asshole, I'm literally going to lose my mind. "I told Lilly to take the kids with her… to get them somewhere safe. So don't go blaming this shit on me, because I'm fucked either way!"
"…how the hell did you manage to do that?"
Not the response I was hoping for at all, Kenny. He doesn't apologize or even look remotely saddened by the fact that I'm going to die. Instead, once again he points out what a colossal failure I am.
Maybe he's right about it, too.
Gesturing to the two dead bodies on the ground, Kenny just shakes his head and huffs out a sigh of annoyance. Of all the people to be stuck with on my last day on Earth, it just had to be the one I despise the most.
It wasn't always this way, of course. During the first couple of weeks, believe it or not, Kenny and I were like the best of friends. We helped each other out, watched each other's backs, and even joked around when things got light. Hell, I even remember when I shared some of my food rations and a spare beer with the guy.
But then it all started to fall apart at that fucking dairy.
Lines were drawn and crossed over, friendships were replaced with distrust and anger, and people were isolated. I can't remember the last time I talked to Katjaa before she died, and the only conversations I'd ever have with Duck were about food.
And don't even get me started on what talking to this guy was like. That last supply run before he took off in the RV was just awful.
"So… what? You're just gonna end it? Just like that?"
"What other choice do I have, Kenny?" I ask, relieved that he's calmed down a little bit. Maybe the realization's kicking in. "I've got my hatchet for chopping my head in case I'd rather go that way, or the gun which would be quick and painless. Seems pretty obvious to me."
"Jesus Christ…" he murmurs, placing his hands on his hips as he examines the hatchet. "Well, what if you tried cutting it off? What harm could it be in just attempting, especially if it actually works?"
"There's a hell of a lot of harm to be done!" I yell incredulously, though pondering the idea for a moment. What if I'm quick enough? Maybe I'd end up dying later anyways, but perhaps it could at least buy me some time. Though I'd absolutely hate travelling with the man, Kenny and I might be able to catch up to Clem, Lilly and Duck… if we can find out where they went, of course.
"Fuck it," I announce, rolling up my sleeve with a little hesitation. "Cut it off. If there's a chance, then I've gotta take it."
"Why can't you do it yourself – "
"Just cut the damn thing!"
Swearing under his dirty moustache, Kenny orders me to lay my arm against the wall so that he won't miss. It certainly doesn't encourage me by any means, but reluctantly I do it anyway.
This is really going to hurt…
"Ready for this, asshole?" Kenny asks, holding the hatchet in the air.
Nodding quickly, I squeeze my eyes shut as hard as I can and brace for impact. "Just make sure to find some bandages and shit to cover this up afterwards, alright? I don't want to bleed out or anything."
All goes quiet for a moment, and it's almost as if time itself has frozen. The anticipation is killing me, and I want this to be over as quickly as possible.
The first thing I feel is fire – blood-soaked, burning in my arm that absolutely destroys my nervous system as it reacts to the blow. I know that I'm screaming, but I can't even hear myself think. My body's going numb with electricity at jolts of pain spread throughout me, and right now I would want nothing more than to just turn all of my senses off so that this nightmare might end.
Two more blows to my arm is all that it takes, and as I collapse against the wall in sheer agony, I clutch my limb in shock. What used to be a hand and a forearm is now a big, bloody stump that's erupting like a volcano. It's so disgusting to look at, but for some reason I can't turn away. It's like one of those horror movies that I used to make my brother watch with me growing up, except this time the horror is real.
The proof rests on the ground beside me, as the fingers still twitch even though they've been cut off from the rest of my body.
How I haven't passed out yet from blood loss is shocking, but as my screams get more intense as the pain increases, I notice that Kenny is actually telling me to shut up. Yeah, that's right – I get my fucking hand cut off and he expects me to keep quiet. I swear, the nerve of this guy…
"OH GOD!" I scream out, my words garbled and mashed together.
"Shut the fuck up, Lee!" Kenny yells, pulling his gun out, "You're bringing them right on top of us!"
Sure enough, the sound of my wails has sent over dozens more lurkers towards the fence; their combined weight will soon bring the whole thing down. Their deformed, undead limbs are poking through the chain-link fence relentlessly as they try to snatch me up. I wonder if they can smell the blood on me, too.
Kenny fires a couple of bullets before reloading and preparing to shoot again, when for some reason he stops. Looking up at him, I can tell that he's nervous about what's going to happen next. Is it the walkers he's afraid of? That they're going to have us surrounded soon enough and that he won't have enough ammunition to kill them all off? Or is there something else going on here?
Taking one fearful look towards me, I know exactly what he plans to do.
"I'm sorry," he whispers harshly, not meaning his words, "but you're on your own, pal."
"WRAGHHH!" I scream out bloody murder, watching as he quickly starts to make a beeline into one of the alleyways nearby. "KENNY!"
The groans of the walkers get louder as I yell after him, vowing revenge if I ever get lucky enough to make it out of this shit. Clem was always my good luck charm, but she's not here anymore. Nobody's around at all. I'm stuck here with a chopped-off hand, a big group of walkers trying to eat me, and no help whatsoever.
And yet the only thing on my mind right now is how that bastard screwed me over once again.
"KENNY YOU FUCKER!" I bellow, my voice echoing off the buildings. "ROT IN HELL YOU SON OF A BITCH! YOU HEAR ME?! FUCK! YOU! AGHHHHHHH!"
Feeling the energy slowly slipping away, I realize that I must be passing out from the blood loss. Hmph, it's about time, too, because I probably would've gotten strep throat from yelling at the old bastard so much.
The last thing I see before I black out is a blonde girl with a grappling hook at her side slowly approaching me.
"You aren't dying on my watch, big guy," she says as I fade into darkness.
"…" I struggle to find any words to say, as everything gets stuck in my throat. How could that have happened? What drove Kenny to the point where he'd leave him behind like that? So that's what he meant when he said he'd done this before… but he wouldn't have even thought of leaving me behind.
"It was Molly who found me," Lee explains, continuing as if nothing big had happened. "She heard me yelling after Kenny and came rushing over. She brought me to a room, patched me up and waited with me for a time. We stayed in Savannah for about two months until we couldn't find anything left worth taking."
"Where is she now?" I ask, not really expecting a good outcome to this story. Lee's lowered head answers that question.
"It was my fault, I… I couldn't save her from those monsters…"
"No, people, if you could even call them human. It was a year after we left Savannah. Tracey, Marco, Greg, Morgan, Joseph…" he spits, hissing their names as if it's a poison in his mouth. "They… they shot her to pieces. I should've known not to trust those kinds of people, not after the St. John's… They stuck me outside a van and made me watch as they beat her before finally ending it… It was horrible, and I couldn't do a damn thing!"
Lee's POV… Again
"How, do you like it, bitch?! That'll teach you for taking shit that don't belong to you!" Joseph sneers, hitting Molly in the side angrily while she squirms trying to get away. But it's no use. They have her surrounded with no hope of escape, while Greg holds my shirt collar and makes me witness the whole thing.
"Get the fuck off of her! I swear to motherfucking Christ I'll bury you all in the – OOF!" I don't get to finish my sentence as Greg smacks me over the side of the head with the butt end of my pistol, which he had abruptly taken away after noticing I still had it on me. Once I'm on the ground, I grunt out painfully as he takes a knife and cuts deep into my skin. It leaves a long, jagged cut down the side of my face that will never properly heal, resulting in a huge scar that will never go away. Greg is by far the most brutal of the bunch, as even though he isn't actually hurting Molly, he had originally suggested the idea. He fancies himself as the leader of this gang of trash.
"Keep it goin' boys! Let's see how many swings you get in before this here egg cracks!" he snickers evilly, rallying his troops as they prepare for another assault. I have to stop this somehow, even if it's the most below-the-belt, cheap trick I can possibly come up with.
This has to work, and I need to kill them all.
Tripping Greg is easy enough, as I simply swing my legs back and forcibly knock him off balance. The others are too interested in killing Molly to notice me, so I punch him with the only hand I've got left. I don't stop until his face is a bloody mess… but I let him live. Just long enough to see how his world is crumbling around him.
Picking my pistol back up, I fire at Morgan and Tracey's throats, who both go down quickly while succumbing to their wounds. Marco pitifully tries to fire at me, but he's too shaken up by his buddies' deaths to really get off a decent shot. Two shots to the chest takes him down, but Joseph…
He take his rifle, aims it at Molly who's helplessly trying to get away, and fires – two rounds in the legs, one in the torso and one in the shoulder. Molly's no longer moving.
"NOOOOOOO!" I scream out, rage painted on my face as I tackle Joseph to the ground; pinning him down with my body weight while strangling him with my right arm. I see his eyes go wide as he struggles for air; clawing at my sides pathetically as the life drains away from him.
As soon as I'm finished with him, I sit down right beside Molly as she utters her final words to me.
"Wellington… remember… go there… safe…"
"I… I will, Molly. I swear I will. I'm so sorry this happened to you."
Weakly, she points towards her grappling hook, which is sitting in a pile along with all the rest of our stuff.
"Take it… with you… good luck…"
Collapsing, the life dims from her eyes, and I quickly fire a shot to her head. For some reason, it isn't quite as impactful as I had previously thought. No tears, no anguish, no getting swallowed up by grief. It's as if I've… just come to accept that this is the way the world works now, and I've just been tempered so much by the cruel reality of our world that I've become almost immune to death and destruction. It's all around us, and it's just a normal part of our lives now.
Picking up my backpack and dumping the remnants of Molly's in as well, I pick up the hook and debate on whether or not to end the rest of them.
I slowly walk towards the broken heap of Greg, who's basically pleading for his life.
"Come on, man…" he begs, blood trickling out of his broken nose, "Don't do this shit! I can… help you out! I'll make it up to you somehow, just… don't let them get to me."
Hearing the low moans of his fresh-faced walker friends, I go down a path that I've never travelled before. I swore back in Macon, that I'd never let darkness consume me ever again – that the man who killed the state senator and his ex-wife was dead and gone.
But that night, I realized that he had never left.
Walking away, I let Tracey, Morgan, Marco and Joseph feast upon Greg as he screams into the night.
"I didn't even hesitate…" Lee reminisces, his words full of regret and self-hatred. "The only thing on my mind was getting revenge. I thought that I did Molly a service by letting him get killed like that, but it just made things worse… I spent the next year completely alone – no groups, partners, nothing. Originally, Molly and I were planning on heading up here after seeing a bulletin board sign, so that's what I planned to do. Walked all the way here - hardly slept, ate only if I had to, and didn't interact with anyone until I came here."
"…well, you're not alone anymore," I reply, still absorbing all of this information. "You're not a bad guy – you took care of me for all that time and never once let me down."
"Clem… sweet pea, you don't get it. That night… you don't get to take something like that back. I can't forgive myself, and I don't think I'm ever going to."
"Well, I forgive you," I say soothingly, placing my hand upon his knee in a comforting manner. "We all make mistakes, Lee. It doesn't have to make you a bad man… even though it's hard…"
I swallow a little bit guiltily, still thinking about the whole Carver thing that now seems very similar to what Lee went through. I don't plan on ever telling him about all that – it'd just confuse him and make him worried about me.
"Heh, you sound like Carley," he notes, drumming his fingers along the railing.
Sighing slightly, I lean my head against his shoulder sadly, drawing from his warmth as the sun slowly dips under the horizon.
"I missed this," Lee comments, frowning slightly as he sees some of my friends go into their tents. "I'm glad you're with me again, Clementine. God knows I needed you back."
Sighing contently, I nod my head against his arm and close my eyes, not wanting to ruin this moment.
"I missed you too."
AN: How's it going, my favourite people! I'm baaaaaaacccccckkkkk! Due to popular demand, I'm going to try and create a part three! This chapter was just mostly focusing on what Lee had to go through, but don't worry. I'm going to try and put in a bunch of new stuff with Wellington – it won't just be Motor-Inn 2.0
Anyway, let me know what you guys thought of this so far! Reviews are always awesome, so keep doing them! Please? I'll be your BFF!