I take no claims for any Walking Dead themes or characters.
Thanks for hanging on there guys! Sorry this took a little while to come out, I was busy with family and holiday stuff. Well anyways, here you go. Thank you to everyone who reviewed, you guys rock! Reviews keep me going! Please tell me what you think!
Rick Grimes led the way through the trees in the late morning sun, Glenn and Daryl following behind. In the past Glenn had always been good at getting in and out of Atlanta so he was an obvious asset for this trip. Daryl held his crossbow in front of him, fully stocked with arrows. He watched for anything that may sneak up behind them while following at the end.
The three men each had their own bag strapped to their back so it would be easy to get what they needed and run, nothing to drag or weigh them down. They walked silently but quickly through the abandoned forest with their eyes peeled and ready for anything they would come across. The shopping center slowly came into view as they made their way closer.
Eve sat on the bed of Daryl's truck, reorganizing her piles and writing down different instructions on some sheets of paper she had gotten from Lori. Only women would think to collect a bit of paper during the apocalypse, and Lori had offered it up when she spotted Eve's work. The girl had smiled graciously before smiling to herself and slightly chuckling at the thought of how Lori had managed to carry this with her for this long.
A voice interrupted her thoughts, "That's some mighty fine script you've got there."
Eve looked up when she heard the voice. Dale stood by the side of the pickup and smiled as he usually did.
Eve paused what she was doing to examine her handwriting on the paper in her hands. It was loopy with flourishes every here and there. She had been taught script from a very young age and been forced to practice it daily. It was one of those things that had stuck around with her. Slightly bowing her head, Eve spoke, "Thank you, Dale."
Changing his attention, Dale clapped his hands together and gazed at the organized mess in front of her. "Oh wow! I see you've been busy!"
Eve laughed, "Yes, I have! I'm organizing everything based on what they do, like all the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, like ibuprofen, piroxicam, nabumetone, or naprozen, are over there. Then I've got the anti-allergy meds like cetrizine, loratadine, and some epinephrine injections in the middle. And then the antibiotics like azithromycin and amoxicillin are over there, you know?" Eve pointed out a few of the piles along the way and finished with a smile.
Dale looked bewildered but nodded. Looking at one of the piles in the far corner, Dale pointed towards it and asked somewhat suspiciously, "That pile looks a little suspicious." He laughed.
Eve's smile vanished a bit and a slight flush came to her cheeks. Embarrassedly, she replied, "Oh. That's what I'm calling the 'miscellaneous' pile."
Raising an eyebrow, Dale questioned further, "Hmm… and what happens to be in there?"
Eve looked down and started cleaning her nails nervously, then spoke in quiet tones, "Just some things I'm not really sure what to do with… It looks like we have some bupropion and sertraline, which are anti-depressants. And someone picked up some sildenafil citrate, which is an impotence treatment antibiotic, like Viagra…" Eve chuckled awkwardly then continued, "And that unmarked bottle over there is something I'm guessing to be a psychoactive, like ecstasy. The only way I can really tell is because if you look close you'll see playboy bunnies imprinted on them. That's not particularly common with pharmaceuticals." Eve laughed at her small sarcasm.
The both of them sitting in silence for a moment awkwardly, the both of them staring at each other, waiting for the other to act. A few seconds later Dale snorted and broke out in laughter. "Oh, wow! Looks like we're covered for any situation, right?"
As soon as Dale snorted laughing, Eve broke a grin as well. "Where on earth did all of this stuff come from? I mean… ecstasy?"
Dale calmed himself before shaking his head and looking up towards the sky. "Well, Daryl's brother was one hell of a character, I'll tell you that."
Furrowing her brows in through, Eve nodded, "Hmm… Okay, I'll buy it."
"Any other interesting finds?" Dale put his hands on his hips.
Eve nodded and pointed to a few bottles while she spoke, "Yeah. We've got some serious pain medication with some sedative properties; sufentanil. That could come in handy if something particularly bad happens. There is also some heartburn medication, maybe Lori could use that as her pregnancy continues; pregnant women tend to get a bit of heartburn in the beginning stages. That clear bottle is benzodiazepine, which is an extremely potent sleeping pill. That could also be of some assistance. You really only need a half of one of those at a time though just to get a good night's sleep; they are very strong. We also have all the usual stuff; Motrin, Advil, Tylenol, and some Robitussin as well. I'm not so confident about using the liquid cough medications though; they could be infected."
Dale looked at the petite girl in awe, "You certainly know your stuff, there. I'm glad we came across you, Eve."
Smiling, Eve looked down, "You're too kind, Dale. Thank you."
Dale held his hands out in front of him, "Don't thank me Eve. You need anything, let me know, okay?"
The girl nodded, then got back to work making individualized labels for each bottle listing out possible uses and directions to make it easier for everyone to understand. Underneath the shinning rays of the early autumn sun, Eve felt content with herself at that moment. She felt like she was actually making a difference here and like she was contributing what she could in return for these people's hospitality. All she could do now was continue her chore and wait for Daryl and the others to return.
At the edge of the trees, Rick, Glenn, and Daryl stood in the cover of the shade behind some wide tree trunks. The complex was in front of them across the parking lot. It was a single story strip mall of sorts with a generic drug store on the end, a Kinkos next, an expensive feminine boutique, a jewelry store, a nail salon, and a cozy looking coffee shop on the other end. It wasn't exactly what they were hoping for, but at least they could stock up on some of the items they needed.
The problem wasn't the lack of gun store or other diverse Wal-mart type store; it was the walkers in front of it. About a dozen walkers hobbled around the front parking lot, slow moving with limp limbs and gashed faces and skin. Since it was broad daylight there was no sneaking around them. It was too close quarters anyways; even if it had been dark there was too much of a chance that the walkers would hear them and attack. The men didn't know what was inside the stores either, so they couldn't just run and dive inside. Chances were that there weren't any walkers inside the complex, but for all intensive purposes they had to assume that was the case.
From behind the tree trunks, Rick turned to the other men and spoke in a whisper, "The stores are separate, and I'd like to go into a few of them. We'll have to kill them all so we can freely access everything."
Glenn sighed with a worried face. He shook his head. "Aw god damnit."
Daryl quietly scoffed at the scared man and examined at his crossbow, "I've got six arrows. If we get 'em over here one at a time I could shoot 'em down and get the arrows back."
Rick nodded with a blanched expression, and then turned to Glenn with a look of assumption. Glenn noticed the way Rick was staring at him and sighed again, putting his hands over top his head. "I know that look, Rick. Why me?"
"You're experienced with this, Glenn. You're the only guy I trust enough with this kind of job," Rick spoke to him encouragingly.
Glenn rolled his eyes, "Yeah yeah yeah, whatever, I'll play zombie bait again."
The young man stood with his eyes closed for a few moments, his hands still on his head. He was mentally preparing himself. After a short time, Glenn opened his eyes and sighed again. Holding onto the trunk of the tree with a pained look, Glenn popped his head out towards the shopping center to see what was around. There was one female walker who was within twenty feet of them. She had a few golden bangles on her emaciated wrists and a disheveled looking pearl necklace hung over her withered décolletage as she hobbled around aimlessly looking for the source of her next meal. Almost immediately when Glenn wiggled his hand towards her she belt out a raspy screech and shuffled towards them desperately.
With a limp in her step, the walker rushed towards Glenn, unknowing of the others silently hiding in the trees waiting to attack her. Her rotting arms reached for the young man and he noticed how she was missing a few fingers, bloody holes in their place. Glenn grimaced and sat still. "C'mere zombie, zombie, zombie," Glenn taunted in a whisper.
The taunt made the walker rush faster, scream, and start grabbing onto the air in front of it. A few other walkers looked over at the direction of the noise and mindlessly studied what was going on.
Daryl noticed the change in the walkers' demeanor and cursed Glenn's stupidity, "Fuckin' christ."
As soon as she was almost too close for comfort, Daryl shifted positions so he could neatly see around the corner of the tree trunk, aimed, and let go of the bow string; effectively shooting her in the eyeball so that she dropped dead to the ground. A few spurts of mucky blood oozed out over the arrow as she hit the dirt.
Daryl rolled his eyes and glared at the young Asian man, "Yeah, that's right. Let's fuckin' make 'em mad while they run over to us!" Daryl sarcastically reprimanded Glenn's jeer at the walker.
Glenn held his hands up in innocence, "Geez, I was just trying to get it over here."
Daryl shook his head with an unamused look.
Rick, who still had his eyes on the shopping center, discreetly pointed out another walker who was getting close. Sighing, he spoke, "One down, ten to go."
Daryl leaned over and yanked his arrow out of the walker's skull, unfortunately taking the eyeball with it like a piece of meat on a shish kabob. He held onto the back of the arrow and whipped the front towards the ground, allowing the graying and withered eyeball to slide off and bounce to the ground, rolling into a small ditch filled with leaves. Looking up and reaiming, Daryl spoke gruffly, "Let's get this shit over with."
Eve was in the camper, gently placing the newly organized medications in a small cabinet in the central living area. Each bottle was labeled accordingly. Once everything had been put away carefully, Eve stood back and smiled at her work before closing the cupboard and leaving the Winnebago into the afternoon sun.
Lori spotted Eve walking out of the camper and waved her over, noticing how delicately she walked with her injury. The older woman was sitting on a folding chair in a patch of grass a little pulled back from where Carl sat on the ground playing cards with Dale, who sat in another fold out chair. They were too preoccupied in their game to listen, and not particularly in hearing range anyways. Eve came over and sat on a chair next to Lori while she gazed at her son with an expressionless face.
"How're you feeling?" Lori asked Eve, a hand up to her eyes to block the sun.
Eve looked down at her ankle, "It's feeling pretty good today, I think."
A soft laugh came from Lori. "No. That's not what I meant. How do you feel about Daryl being gone?"
Eve furrowed her eyebrows, "Oh. I hadn't really thought about it until now. I was kept busy before, but now that I'm done and you brought it up…" Her thoughts trailed off and she nervously brushed some hair behind her ear.
Lori nodded. "Sorry." She looked down for a moment before sighing and putting on a half smile, "That's usually how I feel. Watching Carl keeps me occupied, but I can never really shake it."
Eve glanced over at the boy quietly playing go fish with the elderly man, the both of them blurry in her vision. Embarrassed at her condition, Eve flicked her eyes to her lap, making sure her condition hadn't degenerated that much more and that she could still see that far from her eyes properly.
Lori continued, "I used to be angry when he kept leaving. But he came back every time." Lori scoffed and rolled her eyes, smiling. "Every time. There was a point when I thought I had lost him, but he came back to me. I guess I'm just not used to it. I mean, before, when he used to leave, he would be going to the grocery store, or going out for drinks with some of the guys from work. But now… Now he's leaving to kill zombies. To collect food for us so we don't starve. Things aren't like they used to be…"
Eve bit her lip and nodded. "I try not to think about how it used to be. It doesn't matter anymore, right?"
Lori looked up, her eyes catching something moving in the distance. Shane walked into camp from the trees looking slightly tired and sweaty. Blinking, Lori responded, "Right."
"Haven't seen you in a while, stranger," Andrea called to Shane from the top of the camper.
With a straight face, Shane looked up at the flirty Andrea and said nothing, brushing her off and walking over to where the fire pit they built last night was. The fire was out since it was too warm for one. If the sun wasn't beaming down on them it would have been colder, but the sky was clear and the sun was shining. Shane stalked over to the small table that had been hastily placed by the fire pit and sat down in a chair, grabbing the squirrels Daryl had caught before he left and yanking a knife out of his boot. Quickly, Shane skinned the animals and started cleaning and preparing them for lunch.
Andrea rolled her eyes and placed her hand on her hip, quietly responding to being ignored, "Whatever." She sat back down in the camping chair and looked through the binoculars, making sure the camp was safe.
Sleepily, Maggie Greene walked out of the camper, rubbing her eyes. Lori waved her over after she and Eve had watched the exchange between Shane and Andrea from the other side of the small yard. Maggie walked over and sat cross legged in the grass. The three women started chatting quietly, waiting for their men to return. Shane glanced over at the women every now and then from lowered brows, slicing the meat into pieces and sweating under the beaming sun.
The parking lot was clear, the bodies of dead walkers piled up near the three men behind the trees. Daryl yanked the last arrow out of the head of one of the dead, wiping it off on their slightly dirty shirt before reloading and turning to Rick.
With his hand on his hips, Rick spoke, "Alright. Now that that's done, let's say we do some shopping."
Daryl nodded with a small grin. "Sounds good to me, officer. Let's get the fuck out of here."