Author's Note: Hello there, lovely readers, and welcome to Spare Me! If you're rereading the story and wondering where the prologue is, I deleted it; it was implying a direction that I decided not to go in, so I decided to just start the story with this first chapter. This means that the chapter titles after this are really screwed up, so for that, I apologize. But if this is your first time reading, I hope you enjoy the story. xo.
Spare Me: Chapter One.
Daryl Dixon had heard countless times, mainly from women, that you always remembered the first time you met your one true love. Although he usually just nodded his head and kept his mouth shut, not wanting to ruin his chances, he personally thought that such a statement was nothing but bullshit. For one thing, the notion of love at first sight was positively sickening; there was absolutely no way that you could fall in love with someone without even knowing their goddamn name. Now lust at first sight; that was something entirely different, something he knew all well in the time before.
But the first time Daryl met Glenn, he felt neither love nor lust for him. What he did feel was a rush of adrenaline, almost masking the tiny twinge of disgust that seemed to have taken up residence in his stomach since the world had completely fallen apart.
This was due to the fact that, until Glenn turned around and practically screamed, Daryl thought that he was a walker.
Him and Merle had been picking their way around Atlanta, trying to avoid wandering too far into the interior; even from their position, they could hear the moans of the dead echoing through the streets, intermingled with the occasional scream and, once, a gunshot. Merle had just laughed, saying some crude comment about someone kicking the bucket and continued on his merry way, beckoning Daryl to follow him. His brother was just having a hell of time with the apocalypse, enjoying being able to shoot anyone, so long as they were already dead. He wasn't thinking about the logistics of the situation, about how quickly they'd run out of bullets or if they'd have enough gas to even get their truck out of the city's limits.
Then again, Merle had never done much thinking. He was more of an immediate gratification guy, wanting whatever would feel good at the time. Daryl supposed this was how his brother had ended up addicted to drugs and with a STD. He, on the other hand, wasn't stupid. He hadn't gone to university or even college but he knew enough about life to realize that they needed to get as much food as possible and get the fuck away from Atlanta.
"Merle, stop pussyfootin' around!" he hollered as Merle stuck his head inside the window of an abandoned car, poking through the glove department. "Let's just find this goddamn store and get the hell out."
"Jesus little brother," Merle muttered, although he did move away from the car. "It's the end of the fucking world, I just want to have some fun."
"Well you need to have some goddamn respect," Daryl snapped back, adjusting his crossbow on his shoulder. Turning his eyes back to the road ahead, he finally located the grocery store that had been in one of the tourist guidebooks they'd had in the information office back home. Further up the road, at an intersection that appeared to have been the site of a multi-car accident, there were a dozen or so Walkers roaming around, although there were none in front of the store itself. Thankful that Merle had finally shut the hell up, Daryl picked his way around the debris and abandoned vehicles, slowly carving a path to the front door. The automatic doors were half open and just inside them, surrounded by a cloud of flies, there was what used to be a young woman, her arms only attached by thin tendrils of sinew. She showed no signs of movement but, just to be safe, Daryl pulled his buck knife out and quickly shoved it through the back of her skull, splattering his wrist with warm blood.
"No different than a deer, ain't it?" Daryl merely nodded because to be honest, he was really not in the fucking mood to argue with Merle. If he had to speak the truth, it was completely different than killing a deer. A deer was just an animal, something that was meant to be killed and used by humans. A human was just that; someone who, at one point, lived and worked and breathed and ate and did everything that he did. He could feel that twinge of disgust settle in his stomach again and he took a deep breath, re-sheathing the knife and stepping over the woman's body.
Although the shelves had already been picked over a bit, things weren't nearly as bad as Daryl had expected. There were more bodies littering the checkout area, including that of a teenage boy still wearing his uniform. From the gaping bullet hole in his forehead however, he'd been one of the lucky ones. The other people hadn't been that fortunate; some of them were so chewed up that you couldn't even tell what gender they were. Merle seemed quite intent on examining them, poking the bodies with his toes so that their twisted faces would be upright. Bringing his crossbow up, Daryl slowly started advancing down the darkened aisles, eyes squinting to read the labels, ears listening for even the slightest movement.
It was when he reached the back of the snacks aisle (which was relatively unscathed; apparently no one wanted potato chips at the end of the world) that he saw movement behind the doors that led to the loading bay. It was just a quick flash, something that he could have been imagining but he wasn't going to take any chances. Finger slowly stroking the trigger, he bumped the door open with his hip, ready to fire.
If the kid hadn't have screamed, he would have been dead. As it was, he'd made this noise that made Daryl think for a second that good God a girl survived. Instead, he was rather disappointed to see that the only other survivor they'd met so far was an Asian boy; even though he must have been in his early twenties, he was too freshfaced to be called a man. He had a ridiculous baseball cap jammed on top of his head and he was holding a baseball bat in both hands, arms rigid.
"What in the fuck are you doing back here?" Daryl asked, lowering his crossbow slightly. "You almost got yourself killed!"
"I thought you were a walker," the kid muttered, slowly loosening his grip on the baseball bat. "You wouldn't be the first one who's wandered in here."
"Yeah, I saw that already," Daryl answered, glancing back to where his brother was undoubtedly still desecrating the bodies. "How long you been here for?"
"A few days? Not sure really. Kind of lost track of time. You?"
"Just got here today. Getting food before moving on." Both of them knew where the conversation was going; the kid was going to ask if he could tag along and Daryl would have to say no. It wasn't that he was totally opposed to the idea of company but the fact was that he didn't want to have to deal with any stragglers, people who might slow him down in the long run.
Besides, Merle had a thing against Asians. Daryl wasn't exactly sure why he had a thing against Asians but his entire life, he'd had to listen to his older brother spout off bullshit about how 'them yellow people' were good for nothing dogeaters. Personally, he didn't quite give a fuck what color a person was, so long as they were useful and could hold their own when it came down to it.
"Look kid, I'm sorry but-"
"Well, would you look at that?" Daryl couldn't help but wince slightly; he'd been hoping to end the conversation and get out before Merle even realized anything was amiss. However, his brother must have gotten bored because now he was standing beside Daryl, all six feet four of him towering over the kid. Merle definitely didn't appreciate the art of subtlety.
"Looks like we got ourselves a chink," Merle said, positively leering. For his part, the kid stayed stone faced, holding Merle's gaze.
"Actually, I'm Korean," he said. "But it's understandable that you'd make that mistake." Merle's grin actually faltered at that statement; he wasn't used to his victims actually talking back to him. For a second, Daryl was afraid that he was going to start swinging but he backed off, raising his hands.
"Well, we've got ourselves a Korean then. Suppose you want yourself a ride, do you?" Daryl tried to send the kid a warning look but he just nodded, lowering the baseball bat completely, although his grip was still tight around the handle.
"A ride would be nice."
"And what exactly are you going to bring to the plate?"
"I know Atlanta like the back of my hand and I have an CB radio." Merle snorted and turned around, walking back to the front of the store. Picking up a tattered old backpack from the floor, the kid swung it over his shoulder, grinning widely.
"Kid, what in the hell do you think you're doing?" Daryl muttered, glancing at his brother again.
"I've also got a carton of cigarettes. And I don't smoke." That was enough to make Merle stop in his tracks and look backwards, one eyebrow raised.
"Pussy cigarettes. But I guess that they'll have to do." With that, Merle kept walking, plucking random cans off of the shelves and tossing them into his own backpack. For a few moments, Daryl could only stare at his brother's retreating back. If he was ever going to wake up and find out he was just having a really long, fucked up whiskey induced dream, it would be this moment. But nothing. Merle was actually letting the kid come with them, in exchange for cigarettes.
He supposed that, somewhere out there, stranger things were happening. Shouldering his crossbow again, he slid his own backpack off his other shoulder, nodding his head at the shelves.
"You got some room in there for some more food?" The kid nodded and Daryl realized that he had absolutely no idea what his name even was. The question was forming upon his lips when it was answered for him.
"It's Glenn, by the way."
"Daryl. He's my brother, Merle. No point in telling him your name though, he'll just call you whatever he damn well feels like."
"I've heard worse before." Glenn smiled quickly before setting off for the furthest aisle, leaving Daryl to pack his bag with canned meats and bottles of water. When he met up with Glenn again at the front of the store, they both watched as Merle quickly dispatched a walker who had ventured too close to the front doors. Once he had pulled the knife out of the back of the Walker's head, he set off again, not bothering to look back to see if he was being followed. Daryl spared a glance at Glenn, who looked decidedly pale.
"Just keep your mouth shut and you'll be fine," he muttered, following after his brother. "And you better have those goddamn smokes on you."
"I'll get them out," Glenn said. "I think I'm going to need one too."
"I thought you didn't smoke."
"I don't. But today seems like a good day to start."
Daryl had a feeling that, between the three of them, those cigarettes weren't going to last very long.