Hey look, I'm still alive!
Just insanely busy. Work has been picking up and it's been next to impossible to find a break to write. Haven't even had time to read up on others stories I've been following.
I know this isn't much, about half the size of a regular chapter, but seeing as how I just realized that tonight Walking Dead was coming back on, I had a crazy idea to be crazy and attempt to write something. I figured, with the episodes back, it would be great if I could write something. And, without knowing how this new episode would be, I thought it best to try and write something before eventually watching it since it could possibly just irritate me and make it difficult to write anything new.
As I've babbled about before, apologies for the delays between updates. Work has been hectic and there's just no way around it. Well there is, but the means having to find a way around not having any money, and I have a holiday to plan so money is a wee bit of a need.
Thank you to everyone that has stuck around, to the newcomers that have wandered over. Glad to have you all aboard. I'll warn you all now that I have nothing planned out far as outlines go for the next few chapters since originally I hadn't intended to take the story in this direction. But since I lost the second half of a previous chapter and was unable to rewrite it in any manner that I was comfortable with, I've had to take some detours until we reach our final destination. What I hope to do is use these new episodes as a sort of bouncing board for ideas and to determine if I will keep my original ending for this story or continue on further into the comics/show.
Alana found herself climbing the remaining steps, coming to stand before Hershel, using the railing to brace herself. All were numbly quiet while they watched Rick carry the small girl out, Carl trailing behind him. Inside the cell, Glenn sat with Maggie. Hershel turned to them, telling Glenn to take her away. Head to the cafeteria. Or anywhere really. Just away from there. Give her a chance to shake this off, if at all possible. Glenn nodded and helped Maggie rise from the mattress. Alana stepped aside to allow them space, waiting until they were on the first level before turning to Hershel. Behind him stood Lucas, shaking the sleep and shock from his mind. As Hershel began to speak, a few of the others came closer; climbing the stairs or straining to hear. Andrea and Daryl were the closest to Alana.
Hershel shook his head as he absorbed the moment. Lucas asked quietly what had happened.
"Crib death," Hershel answered, shaking his head once more. He looked forlornly to the others. "There wasn't any way of knowing." He looked vaguely into the cell to the makeshift crib. "We took what precautions we could."
As everyone remained silent, Alana's mind returned to the two strangers outside. She turned on the stairs to face Daryl. "Let everyone know what's going on outside and get them back in their cells," she told him as quiet as possible while she guided him to follow her down the stairs. He asked of Rick. "I'll get him up to speed," she answered after thinking it over.
"Ya sure about telling them?" Daryl whispered, looking over the others.
Alana kept her eyes set ahead, not focusing one anyone. "Things have gone to hell already as it is," she muttered in a dry tone. "Might as well finish it off." She stopped at the entrance to the hallway. "Keep everyone inside." Taking a breath to steady herself, Alana turned and continued on her own. Daryl remained in his spot, watching her until she turned the corner and was out of his sight.
Alana gripped at her side, missing the rifle in her arms. Wishing she had carried a sidearm, Alana balled her fists. A determined echo of steps behind her began to grow. Alana turned to see Michonne coming up behind her, carrying her sword and a handgun. She handed the latter over to Alana and fell in step beside her.
Her face was neutral, eyes set ahead on the floor, everything pushed away and out of reach of emotion. "What's the plan?" she asked.
Alana bit at her lip. "Keep them here for the night, figure the rest out tomorrow. Not much else we can do right now."
Michonne then asked, as if she had meant it as the actual question, "What about Rick?"
Shaking her head, Alana took a moment to reply. What about Rick? It was likely they were all wondering the same thing. Even the man himself. He'd just lost his wife and newborn, both instances being ones where he was not present at the time. The realization stung Alana. She had been there with Lori. Could have saved her. Could have kept the walkers from getting in. Could have kept Heath alive. But every choice she made kept coming up as the bad ones. The stinging translated to her eyes and Alana set her face straight.
As the silence continued on, Michonne spoke. "Manage all this hell till Rick comes around?"
Alana nodded numbly, slow to verbally agree. "Yeah. Figure everything out till he…comes around." She wondered if that was possible at all now.
The two exited C-block, surveying the grounds quickly. Seeing no sign of Rick or Carl, Alana and Michonne made their way over to where Merle stood watching the newcomers.
Sasha sat in the back seat of their car, door open. Tyreese stood beside the car, doing his best to block the wind from her. Merle leaned against the hood in front of the driver's side. Seeing them all standing there, Alana cursed, slowing her step.
"Head back in, grab some blankets for them," she said to Michonne. "And have Dale come back out. Got to finish our damn shift." Alana sighed, running her hands over her face.
She asked Merle where Rick and Carl had gone off to; she knew they were not in C-block. She'd heard the doors open.
Merle nodded over to B-block. "Officer looked mighty bloody."
"Well, yes, that tends to happen when you shove a blade in a baby's head because they turned," Alana bit back harshly to him. Without thought, only venting anger, Alana slammed her fist at the side of the car. She quickly held her hand up, turning vaguely to Tyreese and Sasha. "Sorry," she muttered. Taking the rifle back from Merle, she told him to go back inside and to stay there. She waited for his comeback, for him to say something biting. But Merle walked away without a word. And Alana was grateful.
Awaiting Michonne to return with the blankets for the two, Alana rested the rifle on the hood of the car, planting her palms on it as well. She stood, favoring her braced knee, head down. She began to speak, not looking to Tyreese or Sasha.
"You picked a bad time to show up." Alana tapped her thumbs against the hood. "Show up two…three months ago, things would have been different. As it is now, you two are out to kill us for all we know." Tyreese made a movement to speak and Alana stopped him with a shake of her head. There was no sugarcoating things, no making things nice and easy. "There's another group out there, looking for us. They want what is ours and they want us dead. Now, you're either telling the truth and you were just…on the road and found us here. Or, you could be part of their group, sent to find us." Alana smirked and chuckled with irony. "Or you could be on your own, but if we force you from here, you just might come across the other group, tell them where we are." She raised her eyes to them then, looking between brother and sister. "So you may be sleeping out here tonight, under the pretense that we'll let you leave come tomorrow. Give you supplies even. Fuel. But the truth is," she spoke quietly, "that you might as well be prisoners here because we're not going to let you leave. That man you saw walk out here, with the kid, that's Rick. He's in charge here. Till he's ready to decide what we're going to do with the two of you, we'll have eyes on both of you at all times."
Tyreese wore a look of comprehension and concern. "We understand," he told her, nodding. His eyes moved over B-block. "I'm sorry you lost someone. A baby? Had a wife and a little boy…lost them when this all started. Only had Sasha since."
Alana looked up to see him glancing at his sister. A grotesque bile grew in her stomach and echos of Wilhelm floated to the surface of her mind. The faintest whisper of jealousy. The doors to C-block opening tore her attention away; Michonne came out along with Dale, both carrying blankets and pillows.
Tyreese and Sasha stood with apprehension. The items were handed over to them as Dale spoke quietly, pointing out which blankets were best for layering and which were best for covering up with. Tyreese thanked him, never short on gratitude.
Alana and Michonne stood back, speaking lowly.
"I don't think they're coming out," Alana said in regards to Rick and Carl, the two women watching B-block. Turning to Michonne, Alana saw the solemn shade that hung on her face. Her eyes were vacant, as if she was far off, stuck in a past moment. "Michonne?" she asked, brow furrowed. She began to reach out to her when she jerked herself, returning to then and there. Taking a deep swallow, swallowing the memory away, Michonne nodded towards the building.
"Just…leave them be. For now. It's the only thing we can really do."
Alana agreed to it, not questioning Michonne. She turned to begin heading back to the guard tower, but was stopped. Michonne shook her head, daring to look over her shoulder to C-block. "Dale and I have it covered." She looked haunted, as if she didn't want to go back to the cellblock. Not now, at least.
"All right," Alana said. Sparing a look over to Tyreese and Sasha as they prepared to sleep in their car, she added for Michonne to come get her if needed.
Alana glanced once more to B-block before heading back inside. Still Rick and Carl had not come out. Her steps were slow and heavy as she made her way down the halls. Nearing the cellblock, she could hear the others faintly. They must have head her as well, for when she entered they had become as quiet as possible. Everyone was back in their cells, trying to go back to sleep. Or, in truth, pretending to go back to sleep. It would be a long while before any of them would be able to sleep that night. Glenn and Maggie had still not returned from wherever they'd gone. Likely the library. Hershel, with help from Axel and Lucas, had set up a bed in a different cell, in case Maggie and Glenn returned.
Andrea came out from her cell on the bottom as Alana reached the stairs. Before she could say a word, Alana told her that everything would be sorted out in the morning. Her tired tone drew a nod from Andrea. She backed away and headed into her cell again.
Alana pulled herself up the steps, hands gripping the railing tightly while she hung her head. Her feet took her past the various cells. She was nearly to the end, to her temporary cell, when she realized the silence.
No crying. No wails from the baby.
The silence was not welcomed. Alana cringed, taking a shallow breath. She continued on to her cell, entering and doing her best to keep her legs steady as she leaned over, collecting her things. The spare items she'd brought were placed at the center of her layered blankets. Bunching it all up, Alana picked up the bundle and took wavering steps back down the walkway.
She did not look to Daryl, or to see if he was even in there to begin with, when she entered their shared cell. She moved to the wall and placed her bundle against it. Leaning against the cold stone, she shrugged out from her jacket, removing the excess layers. Her eyes never focused on anything, only staring numbly outwards. She picked one foot up, undoing the laces, repeating the action with the other, kicking the boots off.
The cellblock had fallen into silence and by some ill fate, Alana caught the echo of a sob as it moved down the hallway. Maggie.
Alana froze, though her chin betrayed her and began to quiver. Her eyes slowly burned and breathing threatened to rise in panic.
And then a shadow came over her, blocking out everything. It guided her towards the mattress, hid her under the covers.
Daryl pulled her so close that they shared the same pillow. He felt the shudders shake through her and moved to lay on his back, pulling her against him. He wrapped an arm tightly around her waist while the other held onto her shoulder. Brushing her hair back, he turned his head, resting his cheek against her temple. He breathed deeper than normal, giving her something to match her own to.
Her breathing steadied and neither spoke a word though both were still awake. Daryl's grip of her remained tight and Alana did not unclench the fabric of his shirt. He could have said something, but he knew by then that it wouldn't do much good. No amount of comforting words would do away with having to still deal with the situation. Another one of them was gone. Dead. Holding Alana there against him, Daryl found himself thankful that it wasn't Alana. And though he felt guilt over it, no amount would stop him from being thankful that he still held her against him. Alive.
Again, thanks to everyone for still reading!
To hopefully help me along with plotting out the future chapters, it'd be great to get some feedback from you all (:
Far as the current season goes, what did you all like about it? What didn't you like?
Are there bits, events, etc., from the season that you'd like to see translated over into this story?
And, turning to the story itself, thoughts on Tyreese and Sasha? How do you think the group will react to them? What will it take for the group to accept them?
Pretty much, just what are your thoughts on everything (:
I'll do what I can to get something else written for next Sunday if I'm able to catch some spare time. It may end up being about the same length as this chapter, but I'll do my best to write more.