Disclaimer: I don't own AMC's "The Walking Dead," wishful thinking aside.

Authors Note #1: Written for the USS Caryl's '25 Days of Caryl' Challenge – Day 24 – September 18th: Spring Word/Phrase Prompt Challenge. I chose: rain boots + squish.

Warnings: *Contains: fandom appropriate imagery, adult language, adult content, mature themes, character death, aspects of emotional trauma and the grieving process.

Rain boots

No one talked about the red stain.

About the way his crossbow had been left, broken wires and bent tips, abandoned on the side of a gorge a few meters away from the bloody sheen of ivory-studded bone. Away from the scraps of cloth-tangled flesh smeared across the ground. Away from filtered earth and deep gouges that had been clawed into the soil, marking where a man – a person had once stood.

No one talked about the hole he left.

About the empty sheets and hollow clothes.

About the hungry nights and the grieving that followed.

No one talked about the silence.

About how much it hurt.

But eventually, one by one, the others started talking about the silly polka-dot boots they'd found in his pack. They'd been stuffed in beside a balled up shirt – tags still on – squeaky and department store fresh. Everyone talked about how happy Judith looked squish-squishing through the muck and long grass, all toothy grins and giggles when Glenn indulged her by taking a mud-pie to the face.

It took time, but as the months passed people started making note of the good moments, of the unrestrained grins and easy laughter. Of the way Judith refused to throw the little boots away when she out-grew them, carrying them around in her princess packsack - proud and stubborn. Looking more like Lori every day.

For the others the hurt gradually eased, smoothing out into remembrance and muted grief – that odd mish-mash of emotion that inevitably sets in as the sharpness begins to gentle. Softening as the trials and tribulations of everyday life forced people's attentions elsewhere.

But not her.

All she saw was missed chances, final moments, words left unsaid, a supply run gone wrong. She saw regret and a stone marker left to moulder in the mossy forest-downs, pierced all the way down to dry Georgian clay.

She saw loss, his and hers, and refused to feel selfish over it.

Sometimes she couldn't help but look at those boots and hate them.

Just a little bit.

A/N #1: Thank you for reading. Please let me know what you think! Reviews and constructive critiquing are love! – This drabble is complete.