That was the last thing Blake heard.
The rush of air and the sound of a blunt object hitting her over the back of her head.
And then, for what felt like an eternity. there was only darkness.
She was present for all of it….feeling like she was sinking…falling into the endless blackness….almost sure that this was it…that she would wake as one of them…half-conscious but desperate for the taste of blood….of human flesh….
So it came as a surprise to her, when she blinked open her eyes to find that she was still shrouded in darkness….cold and bruised.
Blake gave a groan, scrabbling at the cold concrete floor beneath her, trying to heave herself up into a sitting position, gazing around, through the gloom.
Where was she?
And what had happened?
She turned her head at the sudden sound of footsteps, noticing suddenly a crack, beneath, what must have been a large steel door to her left, where a bright shaft of light poured from underneath.
She had been outside the walls to Alexandria when it had happened…foraging for, well, anything…
Times were hard and desperate. If only they could find some fruit, some seeds to plant….a farm nearby maybe? But they had tried all that. Anything to try and fill their quota to the Saviours this month.
While Rick and Michonne were out there trying to find guns, Blake was trying to get by…to not see anyone else killed for the sake of pride.
Her and her team had been picked up seven months ago by Aaron…they had been wandering the woods…hiding out and scavenging for food and sustenance where they could, for what felt like years.
Had it been years? All sense of time had seemed to slip through their fingers. Now it was just them and a sunset….tolling the days.
"David?" she croaked, clutching at her sore ribs as a voice that didn't sound like hers, escaped her lips.
Where was she? And why was she here alone?
She sat up, pushing her long caramel hair from her face, as a shadow of feet and the sound of footsteps once again passed the door.
She had been walking on her own when she had heard the sound of trucks entering the gates of Alexandria. The Saviours most likely. Blake usually kept her head down when the brutish men made their way into their camp, plundering everything they could get their hands on.
But she couldn't remember what had happened next. Only that sound, and the blackness….
Where was David?
She gave a gulp, her throat feeling dry and sore and slid herself back against the cold bare wall.
She had on just a white t-shirt, tight fitting jeans and boots….but compared to the humid temperature in the sunlight outside, in here in was cold and drafty and damp.
Her hand slipped down to her side where her knife usually sat but it wasn't there. Blake vaguely remembered having it in her hand when she had been struck, so god knows where it was now.
But before she could think on anything more, the door was wrenched open and a harsh artificial light streamed over her eyes.
Blake squinted, lifting a hand over her face for a second while she adjusted to the light. But she didn't have time to do anything more, as she felt two pairs of rough hands grab her beneath her arms and pull her to her feet.
She stumbled unsteadily feeling for the first time how sore and bruised she truly was. Had she really fallen that badly?
Then she remembered …
It had been a few days ago now…. another of David's angry outbursts. She had almost felt it coming….his irritated tone…the scowls over dinner with Tara…like an oncoming storm…
It hadn't been the first time, and she knew it wouldn't be the last. But since, well, everything had gone to shit, it was common…people were angry…bitter that this had happened.…and were taking their anger out on those closest to them.
David used to apologise…but these days….the 'sorrys' were few and far between.
If she had been talking to anyone else, she'd have told them to run…..to get out….to leave….but they had been together for years before all this had started….and anyway….who else did she have?
Two of the five she had started out with, since arriving in Alexandria, were now dead, so she would stay with David….her fiancé.
Because she was terrified and because she knew there was nothing else. Was having something as horrible as it was, worth it?
And at the end of the day, he loved her….right?
The two men either side of her yanked her forwards painfully.
Blake didn't recognise them, but could guess from the burly characteristics they both shared, it was likely they only hailed from one group. And that group was the Saviours.
Was that really where she was right now? Their camp?
No, no, no, no, no….
She hadn't been involved…she had stayed out of Rick's politics…this had never been her fight!
"Come on, sweetheart," growled one of them men, as they pushed her down a dingy corridor and through a large set of doors.
In a matter of moments Blake had found herself inside a large hall, surrounded by long canteen-style tables and low industrial lighting.
But she wasn't alone here….
Blake got given a sharp shove into the centre of a large group of men and women of all shapes and sizes, who merely leered at her menacingly, some of them brandishing weapons of varying degrees of unfriendliness.
She didn't doubt that the infamous Negan wasn't part of the crowd too.
But despite the descriptions of him, people banded around camp, Blake had never laid eyes on him. Trying to keep away from the Saviours as much as possible.
She gave an instant gulp, twisting her head around, this way and that, her heart thudding inside her ribcage.
She felt a swell of nausea hovering in her oesophagus.
Was this it?
Was she about to find that her fate was to be the same as Glen or Abraham's? Two men she had barely met, and yet their demise was the stuff of gruesome legend, still whispered around Alexandria daily.
Blake could feel all eyes on her. Everyone watching her…all of them eerily silent.
As if waiting for something…
But her questions were almost instantly answered when a figure stepped forwards and causing her to take a step back in fright….
She turned her head and blinked for a second…freezing in place….like a rabbit in the headlights…
She could barely get out the word.
For there he was her fiancé of three years.
With his sandy hair and piercing blue eyes.
Blake gave another uncontrollable gulp and took a sudden step back.
What was going on?
Why was he here? Why were the Saviours letting him speak like this?
"Hi baby," he said, his voice steady, and his tone firm. Looking like this was the most natural thing in the world for him.
Blake peered up at him…the man she loved…and yet right now…he looked just like the other men here….he looked at home….
Her green eyes flickered over his features, her eyes filling with worry, her heart still hammering.
She didn't answer him.
But his smile barely flickered.
And that made her uneasy.
"I've made us a deal," he said after a moment or two had passed, and the people standing all around began to stir. "Negan and the Saviours here have said that they'll give us sanctuary if we give us some information on Rick…and the rest of his people….. back there in Alexandria."
Blake felt her heart plummet into her stomach.
Her eyes widened as she stared up at David.
What was he doing?
"Information?" she said almost bitterly, a frown appearing between her brows.
What was his MO right now? He didn't particularly look scared…scared enough to be trying to think of anything to save their lives. No, he was standing there being allowed to speak. As if they had already accepted him as one of their own.
Blake scowled, breathing hard, her hands balling into fists at her sides.
David stood his ground, giving a small sigh.
"Negan has offered us-" he began, his words slow and patronising.
But Blake was angry.
She wasn't Rick's biggest fan, but his people were good and kind and only wanted what was best for one another. Why after they had taken them in…fed them…clothed them… So why would David turn against them like this? Offer up information they didn't have?!
Neither David nor Blake were involved in Rick's meetings….neither of them had any more information than the Saviours did.
What kind of game was he playing?
"I don't give a fuck what Negan has offered us!" Blake snarled furiously.
And with that she took a step forwards, glowering at him.
The woman stood almost nose to nose with him, tall and blonde and angry. She could feel the fire burning inside her…
…More angry than she had felt in a long time….
But she should have known what was coming….she always knew what was coming…..
And before she had time to say anything more, David had struck her sharply across the face with the back of his hand.
Blake gave a small whimper but didn't scream, instead just doubling over and clutching at her painful cheek, as jeering and laughs were murmured from the crowd of surrounding people.
"You realise they've offered us a choice?" said David in incredulous voice, taking a step towards her, causing her to stare up at him darkly….. just as the two men from before grabbed her arms once again, twisting them both up behind her back. "And they don't do that lightly either. I've had to negotiate for this, y'know!"
The men, of course, sensed her hostility and her unwillingness to obey, and so began to pull her backwards, back out of the room once again.
Blake stared up at her fiancé in disbelief, his blue eyes steely, his jaw now set.
"Either we give them the information they need," David continued, shaking his head. "Or they keep you locked up in that fucking cell until you do."
Blake paled, her mouth feeling dry.
She had nothing to give to them. No information of any sort.
Even if she lied, they would see through that sooner or later.
She was of no use to them. Why had David even told them she was?!
"There's also a third choice," he called after her, just as she was roughly pulled back through the double doors. Losing sight of David and the crowd instantly.
But what Blake hadn't noticed, was one person watching the commotion from the balcony high above ….
…a man who blinked his chocolate eyes…his lips twitching up into a grin….as he watched Blake get dragged from sight…
…..a man with a baseball bat covered in barbed wire, swinging limply from one hand….
Would you like me to carry on?
Might change the rating to M for later chapters.