Mandatory Disclaimer: All of the characters are owned by their creator, Robert Kirkman, and/or AMC. I own nothing. I just use them for my own stories from time to time. I do promise, though, to return them in pristine condition.
This was something I came up with after watching the mid-season finale. It really bothered me that we never knew what happened to Sophia. This is my take on it. There will probably be season 2 spoilers, so if you haven't watched it yet, stop now. I'd hate to be the one to ruin it for you.
For those of you that read my other stuff, I promise I'm not jumping ship completely. I do plan on continuing-I just wanted to play in this sandbox, too. :)
A huge thanks goes out to BellaSunshine for agreeing to be my beta on this story. She's awesome. Also, I want to thank Acinadisme and DivineInspiration for prereading.
"Which way? Which way?" I whispered, looking back and forth as I stood still, unsure. The sun—Rick had said something about the sun, but I'd forgotten exactly what it'd been. When the walker had seen me start to crawl out from under the car, all I could think about was getting away from him. And then, out of nowhere, another one joined the chase. I'd gone the only way available…down the ravine.
I was tired and hot as I ran from them, and then all of a sudden, Rick appeared, picking me up and running away with me. He'd hidden me inside of a nest-looking thing, telling me to stay silent. I didn't want him to leave but understood when he explained that he got tired and walkers did not. He wanted me to keep the sun on my shoulder and run back to the highway when everything was clear. I'd made sure they'd followed him before I came out of the safe spot and ran.
I couldn't remember now what shoulder he'd said—left or right.
A twig snapped in the distance, and I had to cover my mouth to keep from screaming. The woods were eerie, quiet, and scary. They looked like something out of a horror movie I'd seen once after I'd snuck downstairs and watched from around the corner. That place was just like it, and…
I wanted to cry, but I had to get out of there. Left or right. Left or right. Picking up a flower by my foot, I decided to let it choose which way I went.
I pulled off the first petal. Left. A second petal. Right. I alternated direction with each petal until one remained: right.
I let the flower fall to the ground and started walking.
I looked around as I continued on, clutching my doll tighter. Nothing looked familiar, but then again, I hadn't really been paying attention when I'd been running for my life. I wished I could have gone with Rick, because maybe I wouldn't feel so scared.
With each step I took, I tried to be as quiet as possible. I'd learned long before that any sound would attract the undead, and without anyone to come save me, I didn't want their attention. My heat thumped loudly in my chest, and I was sure it echoed through the trees.
I shook my head, trying to take my mind off of my fear. Instead, I began making a game out of my walk back to the rest of the group. For every twig I missed, I got a point. Running from tree to tree without being seen gained me another five. Pretty soon, I all but forgot the reality of my situation.
A loud, rushing sound met my ears, and I thought that it was coming from in front of me. I didn't know what it was, but I prayed that I'd finally found my way back to the others. The sight of the water in front of me had me in tears. This wasn't right. I'd moved away from the water, yet there I was, right in front of it. Again. Only that time, it was in a different location.
I wanted my mommy. She'd tell me that everything would be okay and would be able to find the way back to the group. Collapsing to my knees, I sobbed loudly.
I lost track of time as I kneeled on the ground, crying. The light was beginning to fade, and the fear returned. Wouldtheyfindmebeforeitbecamedark? Standing up, I wiped my eyes and tried to decide what to do now. I was lost, and I didn't know how to find my way back.
Muffled footsteps came from my left, getting louder with each second that passed. I trembled, not knowing where to run or what to do. I didn't want a walker to find me, but I couldn't make my body move. A loud moan broke me out of my frozen state, and my feet began to propel me in the opposite direction, away from the river. I didn't know where I was going, but what I did know was I had to get away from there.
Trees passed by in a blur of color as I moved further and further away from the sound, loud cries falling from my lips. I was just a little girl. I wasn't strong enough to take a walker out, but I'd try if I had to. I'd seen it done lots of times, so I was sure I knew where to strike. Though, nothing caught my eye as I slowed.
And then I saw it. A tree with a branch low enough I could climb. Hoisting myself up, I grabbed it and moved upward to the next. I kept going until I felt I was a safe enough distance from the ground and then listened. Heavy pants escaped me as my eyes darted back and forth, but I couldn't see anything. There was nothing.
The first thing I did notice, once I'd calmed down a bit, was that the light had faded further, and it was almost dark. WhereisRick?Didheleaveme? He promised he'd come get me, but I hadn't seen him since I'd left my hiding place. And now…now I was far enough away from where I'd started that I was afraid he'd never find me.
A chill in the air made me shiver as I thought about the real possibility that I was on my own. That he wasn't coming to get me, after all. I wanted to cry, yet again, but I had no more tears left.
Thinking it would be safe for me to climb down, I started to make my descent. During my freak out on the branch, the light had completely disappeared, painting the forest in darkness. I leaned against the tree and tried to figure out what I should do next. WhichwayIshouldgo? I wrapped my arms around myself, noticing something was missing.
She was gone.
Theriver. I must have dropped her when I ran from the sounds at the river. I had to find her, because she was the only friend I had left in the world. Taking a deep breath, I turned and started walking in the direction I thought I'd come from.
Something grabbed a hold of me, stopping me from going any further. I screamed and tried to fight against whatever refused to let me move. A gurgling groan made me look up, and I screamed louder as I saw the walker's face. It was missing skin on its cheekbones, and its teeth were black. I kicked, hit, and punched at it, hoping to knock myself loose. It was no use, though. The thing would not release its grasp.
Its head lowered, and then there was a sharp pain in my shoulder. A shrill cry escaped me, and I thrashed harder, finally breaking its hold on me. I ran—ran as fast as I could, hoping to put enough space between me and the walker that had tried to eat me. I heard its screech become fainter as I darted further away.
My body was beginning to feel heavy, making my pace slow considerably. I was hot and sweaty, and it was getting harder and harder to breathe. Before long, my shoulder was throbbing, and I couldn't go any further. I fell to the forest floor on my hands and knees. A sticky, wet substance trickled down my chest, catching my attention. Sitting back on my heels, I raised a shaky hand to my shoulder and wiped it across it, wincing and moving it toward my face.
"No," I cried, knowing I was in trouble. "No. No. No. No!"
I realized I'd been bit the moment I saw it was red that coated my hand. That thing had sunk its teeth into my flesh, and I was well aware what happened when someone had been bit. My daddy had been eaten by a walker, and at the time, I'd been happy that mean and evil man had died. As I cried harder, I wondered if this was my punishment for not being sad he was no longer living.
I stood up, determined to keep going. With each step I took, it felt like I was walking through water. I swayed to the side, stopping to catch myself. The trees became blurry and started spinning, giving me a headache.
It made me sad, knowing I'd never see anyone from the group again. I'd come to think of them as a makeshift family, one that was better than what I'd had before the walkers came. I wished I could see Rick, Lori, Glenn, Dale, Daryl, Andrea, T-Dog, or Shane one last time.
The one person, though, I'd miss more than anyone else, besides my mom, was Carl. He'd become my best friend, and someone who understood how scared I was of my own mother dying after my father had been devoured. I knew it was because he'd thought his own dad had passed away, but he'd been lucky in more ways than one. Not only did Carl's daddy find him, but he was a kind man that loved his son. My dad, on the other hand, only knew how to scare my mom and me. I loathed him, and even if this was my punishment, I didn't care. I was still glad he was gone.
A wave of dizziness hit me, and I had to lie down. I lowered myself onto the ground and curled into a ball. A fresh bout of tears fell from my eyes, and one thought repeated itself over and over in my mind.
I want my mommy.
I want my mommy.
I want my mommy.
It took me a while to realize I was saying it out loud, not just thinking it. Keeping my eyes open became a challenge and every breath I took felt like someone was sitting on my chest. I was so tired…so very tired.
"I'm sorry, Mommy," I whispered, hoping, somehow, she could hear me. "I'm so, so sorry."
My eyes closed, and everything went black.
Adjusting my rifle on my shoulder, I whistled as I walked. I hated this part of my duties, but when Hershel had put me in charge, I couldn't say no. There had been many reasons why—the admiration I'd held for that man had been the main one. He'd been there for me when I'd needed someone the most…someone who would have been straight with me and lead me back to the light.
It wasn't just because he was a godly man, but because he was a man that commanded respect. And, by god, he'd earned it. He had been the first person the folks of the community turned to when they had a problem, and he could always find a solution.
That had been why, when the world had gone to hell, Patricia and I had headed to Hershel's farm without question. We'd known if there was an answer to the chaos we'd seen playing out on the television, he'd have it. Hershel's guidance, as well as his fenced-off land, had kept us safe during those trying times. Now that we'd lost all contact with the rest of the world, it was him we looked to for survival.
A high-pitched snarl caught my attention, and I headed toward the river. As I broke through the tree line, the sight that met me almost stopped me in my tracks.
Another child, a little girl, had caught the infection. She was flailing and thrashing while also trying to break free of the mud imprisoning her feet. I closed my eyes, saying a little prayer for her while hoping that it hadn't been too painful when she'd been contaminated.
Sighing, I stepped closer to the girl and gripped the snare pole tightly in my hand. Her dirty, stringy blonde hair hung over her eyes, and the cloudy blue stared back in hunger. She lunged as I drew closer, and I looped the rope around her neck. Pulling it taut through the pole, I tugged, and she began to step forward. It was a slow process, but I managed to release her from the muddy embankment and led her toward the farm.
The rest of the group watched from the porch as I guided her to the barn. Blessthischild'spoorsoul. I hoped, more than ever, that Hershel's belief that a cure would be found was correct. It was heart wrenching to see children gnashing, clawing, shuffling, and trying to cannibalize everyone they came across. It just wasn't right.
The sounds of sobs followed me to my destination. Each of us was distraught over every person who had met that same fate and had to be placed in the barn. Hell, it could have been any one of us—we knew how precious life really was.
I motioned for Jimmy to come help me open the doors. Even though they were still human beings, we didn't take chances with the infected. I watched as he ran across the yard, mindful to keep the little girl a good distance from my body. She growled her displeasure of being trapped by me, but I ignored her cries.
Once Jimmy was next to me, we went to the side door. It was smaller and easier to control the ones already inside. He unlocked the padlock, took it off, and opened the door a small amount and I pushed, releasing the rope and pulling it from the girl's neck. Moving fast, I helped Jimmy shove the door closed, ramming myself against it to make sure it latched. We made sure the lock was put back on tight, and the moans and groans of the people inside could be heard through the walls.
"I think seeing the kids like that is the worst…" Jimmy began to say.
"I know. I hope to God this ends soon. I don't know if I can take seeing one more child like that." I threw my arm over his shoulder in comfort.
There had to be something, anything, which could cure this retched disease. I couldn't comprehend anything else.