Groaning, her eyes fluttered open, vision blurry, as she attempted to take in her surroundings. Her body ached, and she could feel the sticky wetness of her blood seeping through the back of her drab olive tank top into the hot Georgian dirt. Alex hissed, the wounds on her back stung something fierce and the hard ground beneath her did little to ease her discomfort.
Noise came through staticky and broken like a voice through a bad phone line. She could just vaguely hear footsteps around her followed by shouting. Despite her exigent circumstances, her vision refused to focus, and the only thing she could identify was the blue expanse of the sky above the canopy of the forest.
Alex groaned silently, her muscles whining in protest as she struggled to sit up. The nausea hit her first. Her stomach revolting at the sudden movement sent her reeling back to the ground. The world around her spun like a tilt-a-whirl at the county fair. The pounding the side of her head growing worse. A hand shot up to the side of her face. Cringing, Alex pulled it back to find her delicate fingertips coated with blood. Somewhere, in the back of her hazy mind, she remembered being thrown into the tree next to her.
Gingerly, she turned her head towards the small clearing that sat opposite of the offending tree, panic flooding her body at the sight of a familiar figure just a few yards from where she lay.
Her best friend was kneeling amongst the golden leaves, his dirty blonde hair hiding his face. Alex twisted her body onto her stomach, crying out his name, her throat dry, her voice barely coming out as a whisper. She raked at the ground, attempting to claw her way to him. Each attempt ended in agony as pins and needles shot through her body; stars dancing across her vision.
The men above him turned towards her, their lips turned up in identical smirks, before settling their gaze back on the man before them. Mark didn't move. He didn't want her to see his face. The pure unadulterated panic that had set in as he recognized his fate. The men didn't want him. They wanted her. Alex could provide something for them that he couldn't. So, he begged. Not for himself. For her. Always for her.
A desperate sob left Alex's chapped dry lips as her friend's pleading cries were replaced with the familiar sound of gurgling that came with his throat being slashed. The young red head squeezed her eyes shut against the gruesome sight, the scene replaying in her mind as she sobbed into the ground. If only she could suffer the same fate.
Fat chance. Alex thought bitterly. Panic flooded her chest as she thought about her friends back at the campsite and what those men had done to them. Nothing could accurately describe the horrendous deeds which they had all been forced to watch and endure. Alex's body was an attestation to the depraved workings of the men who had raided their camp.
When the opportunity came, Alex had ran, dragging Mark along with her. After three days of trudging through the forest she would have thought the men would have given up. She was still unsure of why they had followed in the first place. Besides the meds in her rucksack, they didn't have anything of value.
Distracted by her thought, she hadn't noticed the two men approach. A sharp scream tore from her lips, knocking her out of her reverie, as a set of hands latched onto her ankles, pulling her along the dirt. Fingernails frantically dug into the soil beneath her in an attempt to hamper her assailant's efforts to drag her towards him. She refused to go without a fight.
Sticks, stones, and clumps of dirt were among the few things she hurled back at her assailants with as much force as she could.
"Fucking grab her, Sam," The low voice of a man broke through her cries. "She's injured. How hard can it be?" His partner rolled his eyes, barely managing to dodge a large stone that had been aimed at his face.
"You wanna fuckin' do it, John?" The man snapped back irritated. Alex yelped as her assailant grabbed her waist roughly, flipping her onto her back, her head colliding forcefully with the ground. A heavy weight settled on her legs, effectively trapping them. Meaty hands seized her wrists hard enough to bruise, pinning them above her head. Alex bucked her hips in an attempt to get out from under the man, but it was no use. She was trapped.
"Come on now, girl," The one named Sam leaned forward, his face inches from hers. Alex turned her head away, the stench of his putrid breath accosting her. Her stomach rolled. "Keep bucking like that and I'm gonna take you right here in the middle of woods." Alex stilled, her breath ragged as she sobbed, his words sinking in. Had they really tracked them for three days just to rape her?
"The boss man doesn't want anyone touching her, Sam," John reminded the younger man, shaking his head. Shame too, John thought eyeing the girl. Even dirty she's a beauty. "Want's this one to himself. Now shut her up before she brings a hoard of those creatures down on us."
Sam growled in frustration as he backhanded the young girl beneath him. This was bullshit. He had spent three days in the humid Georgian heat tracking her and her stupid friend down for his boss. He was tired of playing errand boy. It was pissing him off. Even more so knowing that he wouldn't get the chance to vent his frustrations on her until the boss had his fill.
Neither of the men had understood why they had been ordered to track the pair down. They didn't have anything of value on their person and despite the fact that the copper haired beauty beneath him was worth top dollar in the old world; her camp had plenty of beautiful women the boss could pleasure himself with.
"What makes her so special, huh?" He sneered as the girl was reduced to quiet whimpers; a red handprint staining her cheek. "Think she's that good of a lay?" John chuckled.
"Hell if I know." The older man took out a pair of zip ties, applying them to the whimpering girl's wrists before tearing off a piece of duct tape and placing it over her mouth. He almost felt sorry for the crying girl. If his boss had enough interest in her to send them out on a wild goose chase to find her; then he didn't have good things in store for her.
"Let's get her up and get going," John sighed, stooping down and grabbing the girl's bound wrists. Alex let out a muffled cry as the rough pull caused a piercing pain to shoot down her back. Sam nodded as he bent down, gripping onto the young girl's thighs before throwing her over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes. Alex attempted to sit up but the forest around her was still spinning.
The two men laughed as they retraced the route back the way they had come, their strides leisurely as they swapped vulgar stories about the women they had screwed. It wasn't long before the two men had settled into a comfortable silence as they watched for danger. The forest around them was silent; the only sound were the two men's footsteps crunching against the fallen leaves. It was too silent in Alex's opinion. She had grown up camping with her father and older brother. There was someone following them. Or something. Noticing the change in the atmosphere, Sam came to a sudden halt before spinning around behind him. The movement caused his shoulder to dig painfully into Alex's stomach. The young girl heaved and for the first time in a long time Alex felt grateful she hadn't eaten in several days.
"What is it?" John followed his partners gaze. "Creature?" Sam narrowed his eyes, his brow furrowing as a shadow flickered in the distance. Alex hit the ground hard, a sharp muffled cry tearing up her throat as pain lanced through her body, her vision swimming.
The red head barely registered what was going on around her. Her body groaned in protest as a heavy weight hit her full force from above. Wide eyes stared unmoving into hers. She wanted to scream at the sight of John's dead body laying above her, his grey eyes glazed over, blooding trickling down his face from the bolt that had lodged itself in his forehead. Alex shut her eyes to block out his face as she pushed his dead weight off her small body.
Rough hands dragged her up from the ground causing Alex to let out a suppressed yelp at the sudden contact. The world around her became a tilt-a-whirl again as the stranger flipped her around to face him. The pain in her legs sent waves of sharp tingles up her spine. Firm hands held her strong, keeping her upright as the duct tape was ripped unceremoniously from her mouth before letting her go. Alex grimaced at the sensation as she licked her lips. They were blood tinged.
"You bit?" A low gruff voice broke through the silence. Alex squeezed her eyes open and shut several times trying to keep the world from spinning out of control. His rough calloused hands bruisingly gripped her upper arms, shaking her when she didn't respond. "I asked ya a question. You bit?" Alex swallowed thickly shaking her head. The man sighed as he watched her legs buckle beneath her. She hit the ground, gasping in pain as she landed on one of her open wounds, the zip ties preventing her from catching herself. The man knelt down in front of her, his eyes assessing her as he grabbed her bound wrists and sat her up.
Alex whimpered involuntarily, watching as he pulled a knife from his waist band, immediately trying to put distance between them, sliding backwards with the ground biting harshly into her lower back. The man frowned, holding tightly to her bound wrists, his Georgia blue eyes lined with concern at her reaction. Alex swallowed hard as the man brought the knife up, letting out an audible sigh of relief as he cut her bound hands.
"Ya got a group?" The man asked, his Georgia accent thick. The young red head bit her lower lip, tears gathering at the corner of her eyes as she gazed down the path the men had come, remembering that the last of her friends was face down dead in the dirt. The man sighed, rubbing his hand on the back of his neck nervously. He had come across the dead man a mile back while he had been tracking a buck.
"Not anymore." She whispered, hanging her head, hoping that he wouldn't ask her about them. Alex had no inclination to walk down memory lane when it came to her friends. Putting away his knife, he looked around. He certainly couldn't leave her here. There was no way in hell she would survive, but he couldn't risk leading any of those men back to the camp.
"Who were those men?" The girl sniffled, wiping her running nose on the back of her hand. He could tell she was trying to keep herself together.
"I don't know," She admitted, swallowing back the lump that had been growing in the back of her throat. "They raided our camp about a week or so ago." The man's face darkened. He had heard the two men talking about what they wanted to do to her. He didn't have to imagine what the other men did to those still in the camp.
Curious, Alex lifted her head a little, stealing a glance at the man crouched before her. He was wearing a pair of dark faded jeans and a brown sleeveless shirt which looked as if it had seen better days. A string of dead squirrels hung around his hips. Alex laughed silently to herself.
Fate was a bitch and her stripper name was karma.
Alex was under no illusion that it was sheer dumb luck that he had been hunting and happened upon them. If her hadn't; she would have found herself back in the clutches of those men back at camp. Death was more favorable than that.
"Ya been out here 'ere fer a week?" Alex shook her head but didn't say anymore. The man took a deep breath, running a hand down his face. She was dead on her feet and the injuries that he could see weren't good. Her body was covered in bruises. There was swelling along her lower jaw, blood was oozing from a cut on her right temple, and from the look of blood on her tank top, her side was going to need stitches. Her cooper hair was unruly and covered in leaves. Dirt marred her ivory skin and her forehead had a slick layer of sweat on it. There was no way in hell he could leave her out in the middle of the woods. She would be Walker bait for sure.
He pulled away from the girl, situating her against the nearest tree, and went to search the two dead men. He noticed a brown leather rucksack and held it up for her to see.
"This yers?" The girl nodded. The man let out a grunt, opening the top and peering inside. Medicine. At least that's what it looked like. Some of it he didn't even recognize. They weren't traditional medicines that came from a pharmacy, most of them were in boxes or small glass vials. Syringes and needles littered the pockets along with minor first aid equipment.
"What's in here? You a junkie of some kind?" The girl snorted causing the man's eyebrows to shoot up.
"No," She told him. "I'm a medic." The man nodded, accepting her answer before searching her assailants. He had already removed the bolts from their heads. Alex watched as the hunter meticulously emptied the two men of their valuable, scoring a few knives, funs, and a pair of brass knuckles. He shivered at the thought of those being used on the fragile girl that saw a few feet from him. When he was done, he strode back to her, setting her pack down next to her.
"What's yer name, girl?" He asked, crouching down again so that she wouldn't have to peer up at his towering form.
She waited a beat, but he didn't reciprocate. Alex frowned at his silence.
"Daryl." The girl nodded. The name suited the man before her.
"Think ya can walk?" He asked, leaning down to help her up. Alex bit her lip before nodding. Sitting down while he had questioned her and searched the two men had freed her body of its adrenal rush. She was now nothing more than a shaky mess, but she wouldn't let him think she was too weak to take in. Alex could hold her own. Daryl nodded and carefully helped her up from the ground trying not to aggravate her injuries. None of her wounds seemed life threatening. Her suddenly pale face upon standing told him he was missing something.
Alex had barely gotten to her feet before her legs failed her again, unable to hold her weight. Pain lanced through her body causing a weak cry to leave her lips. Daryl cursed as he set her back down against the tree. He would need to rethink this. Biting his lip, Daryl slung her back over his shoulder with his crossbow before leaning down to gather the girl up in his arms, bridal style.
There had been very few walkers in the woods on his way out here, and if he came across them, he could easily drop the girl and kill them with his knife. Not the most ideal situation but it was the only one he had. Luckily, they weren't too far from where he had parked his truck. He had been hoping to catch a buck while he was out hunting and taking Merle's bike or hunting this far out on foot would have hindered him bringing it back.
"Where are we going?" Alex asked him timidly, her voice tinged with pain. She was placing a lot of trust in the fact that he wasn't like the men he had killed.
"Back to ma group," He told her. "We're camped out in an old quarry a few hours from here. My trucks parked out on the road." Alex nodded her head tiredly. It had been three days since she had eaten, but even before that she still hadn't been given much food. Her and Mark had run out of water the day before, and she could feel her body beginning to break down.
The young girl hated feeling this weak and useless. Despite the fact that Alex had been protected most of her life by her elder brother and his best friend, she had always been able to take care of herself. When the dead began to rise, her friends and her had been out camping. Been away from the worst of it. The walking dead were easy to handle for the most part. They were primitive in their function. Slow. Incapable of complex thought processes. What they did was out of a primal instinct to hunt for food.
Men—men were different. They weren't as easy to handle and even with her training she had been no match for them. None of them were. Alex brushed those thoughts aside, tears threatening to swell. Without thinking, the young girl leaned her head against Daryl's shoulder, the smell of cedar wood and tobacco filling her senses, lulling her into sense of security.
Daryl sighed as he watched the girl's eyes flutter closed. He was surprised she had lasted as long as she had. The cut on her head didn't look too bad so he wasn't worried about a concussion, but she still looked deathly pale and her breathing was becoming increasingly shallow. The hunter quickened his pace towards the blue Ford truck that had come into view. Grasping the warm metal handle, he pulled open the door, sliding the young girl inside.
That's when he noticed the blood.
He couldn't believe he missed it. Daryl was aware she had some kind of injury on her side, but the blood on his forearm from where he had cradles her back told him that wasn't her only wound. Gently, he leaned the girl forward towards the dash, one hand bracing her chest while the other lifted up the back of her blood-stained tank top, hissing at the sight.
Thick lashes crisscrossed the length of her back, peeking up towards her shoulders. Rage filled him as he thought about ripping apart the man that had done this to her. Not many would easily recognize the strike patterns that marred her ivory skin, but Daryl was all too familiar with them. Those were belt marks. Mean ones at that. They were deep and wide and ugly. Barely looking as if they had a chance to heal. Several of them would need stitches.
Daryl leaned her back in the seat, carefully buckling her in, before he quickened his pace towards the driver's seat. If he didn't get her back to camp soon he doubted she would last long.
Info: I do not own any characters besides my own O/C. This story starts in season 1, but will cover before Rick arrives and although I follow the main plot, I do like to add in my own little plots and twist to keep things entertaining. I will also make adjustments to dialogue and interactions etc. Because no one wants to read word for word what we already know ;)
Rating: M: Adult content, sexual themes, violence, swearing, etc... I will post at the beginning of the chapter if I believe a chapter will be triggering.