It wasn't long before we heard the alarm of a car echoing off the hills around us. But there was something off about it. It sounded like I was moving.
Everyone ran to the "driveway" of the camp right behind the RV and saw someone in a red sports car pull up, alarm still blaring. The door opened and Glenn stepped out.
"Glenn," I whispered to myself, hardly believing my eyes. I ran forward, along with Amy, Shane, and Dale. I gave Glenn a hug, a single tear finding its way down my face.
Amy was right behind us, firing questions at him, asking about Andrea. Shane was leaning over the hood of the car yelling something I could hear over the car's noise.
Dale was closer than Shane, so I could hear him yell, "Turn that damn thing off!"
"I don't know how!" Glenn yelled back.
Shane banged on the hood and screamed, "Pop the hood!"
Glenn jumped and scurried into the car, opening the hood so he could pull the wires out and cease the blaring alarm.
"Where is she? Is she okay?" Amy asked.
Her questions didn't stop until Glenn answered exasperatedly, "Yeah, she is. They all are."
"Where are they? They're okay?" she asked, looking up the road where he had come from.
"Yes. Yeah they're fine, everybody is," he hesitated a second then corrected himself. "Well, Merle, not so much."
Oh God. Daryl was gonna flip out.
"What happened to Merle?" I asked, just as Shane started speaking.
"You crazy drivin' this wheelin' bastard up here? You tryin' to draw every walker for miles?" he yelled, leaning against the front of the car.
"I think we're okay," Dale said, looking up the road.
"You call being stupid okay?" Shane asked, looking over his shoulder at the old man.
"Well, that alarm was echoing all over these hills, it'd be hard to pinpoint the source." Dale muttered, looking around. Then he caught the challenging glare Shane was giving him. "I'm not arguing, I'm just saying!" Dale defended. He lifted a finger to point at Glenn. "It wouldn't hurt you to think things through a little more next time, could it?"
Glenn apologized sheepishly and pointed to the car. "I got a cool car."
I rolled my eyes and smiled.
Then a big white cube van pulled up. I assumed it was the others. Everyone turned to watch them pull in and Glenn smiled smugly at me.
The passenger door and the back opened up and people came pouring out, running up to their friends and family, hugging the life out of them. Andrea swung out of the side, running straight to Amy, who caught her in a hug mid-stride.
"You scared the shit out of me!" Amy accused, laughing. "She told me you'd make it, though."
Andrea must've known who she was talking about. She smiled at me over Amy's shoulder and mouthed a thank you. I nodded, throwing her a smile.
Morales got out of the van, too, his children and wife running to him.
I saw Lori bending down to talk to Carl. By the tears on both of their faces, I assumed it was about his father. I had heard Lori talk of him. He had been a police officer, partners with Shane, before all this zombie business. He had gotten shot and slipped into a coma. He had been gone before all this had even started.
"You are a welcome sight," Dale said, smiling warmly at Morales and giving the younger man a friendly embrace. Morales laughed and returned the hug. "I thought we had lost you folks for sure," Dale continued.
"How'd y'all get out of there, anyway?" Shane asked, shotgun in hand.
I was curious as well as to how they had gotten out of the trap they had informed us of, but I thought now, the time for reunion, was hardly the right time to talk about the monstrosities roaming Atlanta.
"New guy," Glenn said as T-dog and Jacqui walked up to the rest of the group, laughing and hugging everyone. "He got us out."
"Yeah," Morales said, looking back at the white van. "Crazy vato just got into town. Hey, helicopter boy! Come say hello."
I was a little confused by the nickname, but I turned along with everyone else to watch for the man accompanying the slamming of the drivers side door of the van. It was a rather tall man with short brown hair and blue eyes.
"Guys a cop, like you," Morales said to Shane as the new guy walked up.
He was wearing a police uniform and when I saw Shane's unbelievable expression, I knew this was him. Rick Grimes. Lori's husband was alive.
The new guy gave Shane an equally unbelieving look and put his hands on his hips, seeming to be emotionally overwhelmed.
I turned around to see Carl still talking to his mom who was kneeled in front of him. Carl's attention slowly drifted over to the new addition to our ragtag group of survivors. Lori caught his change in interest and her head turned too. Both of their eyes widened in shock.
Rick took a deep breath, his eyes meeting theirs. He took an involuntary step back and pointed up at them, looking like he was fighting back tears. Then he started moving forward.
Carl smiled widely and started running towards his father.
What a relief it must have been, to think that your father was dead and then to see him, walking up to you without so much as a scratch.
"Dad!" Carl yelled as Lori ran after him.
He reached Carl and enfolded him in his arms, holding him to his chest as he collapsed on the ground, Lori standing and watching only a few inches away with indecision in her eyes. He stood, carrying Carl with him and walked to Lori, tears now dripping down his face.
I felt myself smiling and I didn't care to stop. It was a beautiful thing to see.
Lori grabbed him and hugged both of them.
I looked up at Glenn, still smiling. He smiled back.
In watching a man being reunited with his family, especially in times like this, I felt hope. And as I looked around at all the other campers, I knew they did, too.