Does this darkness have a name?
"Are there memories left that are safe from the clutches of phony anniversaries?" - Pope Paul VI
Daryl hoisted his latest kill onto his shoulders. It was a large buck and probably weighed about a hundred and sixty pounds. The antlers were large, at least twenty points, but those didn't matter anymore; just the meat did. All in all, it could have been Bambi's dad.
Daryl was less than a quarter mile from the camp that the group had set up. It was in a large, beat-up house, deep in the heart of Alabama. The original plan had been to head as far west as possible and find a boat. Then they could anchor off shore and only go to the main land when they were low on something. But they had been at the house for a week and a half so far and didn't seem like they would move.
'They' consisted of Daryl, Maggie, Glenn, T-Dog, Carl, Lori, Dale, Rick, Carol, Andrea, and the newest member, Suzie Grimes, Lori's newborn. Shane had left the group when Hershal's farmhouse had been evacuated of anyone but his family. From what they knew, he had headed to Fort Benning.
The camp came into view through the trees, the RV, the old house, and Daryl's Truck and the Grimes' family car. He could see Dale perched on top of the RV with his rifle in hand. He got inside camp and dumped the deer next to Rick.
"You wanna help skin this thing?" Daryl asked the ex-cop.
Rick whistled admiringly. "Sure. You must've been tracking this thing for miles."
"Nah. Found it 'bout a half mile out, scared it back this way. Got it downed in two shots," the hick explained.
Rick started to reply, only to be interrupted by a very distraught Maggie running into camp, shouting to them. Rick stood, directing his attention to the woman. Glenn came out of the house at the sound of the commotion. "What is it? Where's Andrea?"
Maggie practically collapsed into Glenn's arms. "He took her...!" She replied shakily, barely able to form the sentence. The others began to surround them, Lori coming out of the house holding her daughter in her arms followed by Carol and T-Dog. Daryl stood with a scowl on his face.
"Maggie, calm down. Tell us what happened," Glenn spoke, holding the woman gently as she shook.
"Andrea and I had found an old apple tree... W, we were p, picking apples and... A guy came up... He, he tased me!" She pulled the sleeve of her shirt up to show two circular burns.
"Well, where the hell is Andrea?" Daryl demanded, surprisingly calm. Andrea was his closest friend out of them all. Their friendship had really been an accident. After Sophia's second death, she had helped him get his mind off it, asking him to teach her to track and hunt and just about anything else. She definately wasn't the annoying lawyer he had used to think she was. And he wasn't happy with the fact she was missing.
"The g, guy... He took her..." Maggie buried her face against Glenn's neck, done speaking. Everyone else stood shocked into silence by her story. Taken by an unknown man?
Daryl swore aloud. "What the hell? We gotta get the fuck out there, see where they went! Track down the bastard and kill him!"
Silence. Until Lori spoke, that is. "He's right. Maggie, sweetie, I'm sorry, but you're going to have to go back there. We need Daryl to help track her down."
Maggie nodded. "I will." She stood, still trembling with a combination of fear and the shock from the taser.
"C'mon. T-Dog, China. Let's go," Daryl grumbled, following Maggie as she led the way into the field behind the house.
Ten minutes later, on the edge of the woods, Maggie pointed at a tree. "That's... That's the tree. It was right here."
Daryl knelt by the base of the apple tree. After a moment of study, he stood again. "You fell there?" he asked, pointing at a spot on the ground. She nodded. He glanced around for a moment. "China, bring the girl back ta' camp. T-Dog, your coming with me."
"Got it," the African-american spoke.
"I'll tell them where you are," Glenn reassured. "Be careful."
Daryl nodded and led T-Dog in the opposite direction of camp. He followed the obvious marks in the dirt. They led into the woods, following no particular path from which Daryl could tell. Broken foliage was abundant and practically screamed to the hunter which way he should go. T-Dog followed behind, barely comprehending the marks the Daryl pointed out, but trusting the man before him.
"What messed up sonovabitch does this kinda thing?" T-Dog wondered aloud.
Daryl shrugged. "An idiot, that's for sure. Andrea is a crazy bitch when she wants to be, and not even I'd wanna be on that side a' her."
"Pssh. I'm sure there's another side you'd rather be on," T-Dog replied half suggestively.
"What the hell is that supposed ta' mean?"
"Nothing. You two just spend alotta time together. With how the world is, it's gotta mean somethin' in the end."
"It don't mean nothin'. She an' I are friends, that's all." The hunter stopped, looking at a large piece of bark that had been torn off a tree's trunk. "She put up one helluva fight up until here."
"No one would blame ya, ya know. It's not like there are many options these days in women."
Daryl didn't reply, only looked down at the scuffs in the dirt as though they were the embodiment of sin. "Shit. C'mon, we're catching up." He started a slow jog, making sure that he could clearly see the path he was following.
A small warehouse came into view, a long stretch of empty street with no houses or other buildings. Daryl held his crossbow up and T-Dog readied his small hatchet as the proceeded foreward. "They should be in here..." Daryl mumbled, lightly pressing the door open. The warehouse was completely empty except for a small area that seemed to be lived in (complete with sleeping bag and fire pit), and a man with shaggy brown hair, holding a knife to Andrea's throat.
He was murmuring into her ear, and her eyes were wide in fear as she looked to see Daryl and T-Dog in the doorway.
"H... Help...!" She managed to say. Blood was pouring from her right arm, causing the fabric of her shirt to cling to the wound, dripping down to the binds on her hands.
The man realized she wasn't speaking to him and looked up, eyes falling on the two men at the door.
"Let 'er go," Daryl commanded, his voice hard and cold.
The man's eyes went wide, crazed and desperate. "N, no! I won't let her leave again!" He hugged Andrea closer to himself, his knife drawing a pinprick of blood from her throat. "She was already gone once... But I found her! My Debbie..." Daryl raised the crossbow, waiting for a clear shot at the man. "My Debbie... She fell down the stairs and forgot about me! She bit me and ran away! But... But I have her again! She'll remember me soon..." That's when Daryl noticed the concrete steps behind the man, leading down into a deeper part of the warehouse. He also saw the wound on the man's arm. A walker had gotten him, and recently too. "Debbie bit me... But I forgive her! My arm doesn't hurt anymore! She and I can be together now!" The man tensed suddenly and pushed Andrea towards the stairs. She stumbled, unable to stable herself. She couldn't bring her hands up to catch herself and she fell down the hard, concrete stairs.
"Fuck!" Daryl spat, aiming his crossbow at the man who had sent her down them. A moment later there was a crossbow in the psycho's neck and Daryl was running down the stairs, followed by T-Dog.
A body lay at the bottom of the concrete killers. "Andrea!"
The ties on her hands had seemed to snap on her way down, letting her arms lie outward. Daryl kneeled down next to her, slipping an arm under her torso. There was a large bump on her head, close to the temple.
"Is she okay?" T-Dog asked.
"I dunno," the woodsman replied, placing a finger under her chin. He found a pulse beating unnaturally fast, but it was there. "She's alive. T-Dog breathed a sigh of relief. Daryl shook the woman's shoulder gently, but she didn't stir. He took out a rag from his back pocket and wrapped it around the bloody wound on her arm. "We gotta get her back to camp. I can carry her, but you gotta watch for walkers." T-Dog nodded. Daryl slung his crossbow onto his back and carefully lifted Andrea. She was limp in his arms as he carried her up the stairs. Passing by the dead man on the ground, he told T-Dog to get his bolt.
The three headed back to camp, Andrea not so much as twitching during the journey.
Choas seemed to explode at camp on their arrival. Maggie broke down into sobs as Daryl carried the limp Andrea in, believing her dead. Lori handed off her daughter to Carol and tried to help, clearing a path to an empty bed where the blond could sleep until she woke again. Rick and Dale, of course, approached Daryl as soon as his arms were empty.
"What happened out there?" Dale asked.
Daryl collapsed into an armchair in the corner of the room as he replied.
"Me and T-Dog followed the guy that took her to a warehouse 'bout a half a mile from here. The guy had gone pycho. Kept calling Andrea Debbie and claimed that she had been lost, is all, and forgot who he was."
"But how'd she end up like this?" Rick questioned, confused by what he was hearing.
"The bastard pushed her down some concrete stairs. Tryin' to get her to remember him, or somethin'." He wiped his forehead with the back of his hand. Alabama heat was just like Georgia's. Overwhelming.
Both men nodded. "You should get some rest. You've had a long day," Rick commented.
Daryl shook his head. "Nah... Still half the day left. I'm gonna go huntin'." He stood and walked to the door. Pausing, he looked back at them. "Could ya... Could ya tell me when she wakes up?"
Daryl walked out without another word.
Early the next day, Carol found herself seated in the room that harbored Andrea on the bed. Nobody else had really been in there, save for Daryl, who only glancing in the door to see if she was awake. Andrea's silence scared Carol. The blonde had been there for her after Sophia's death and had helped get her mind off things.
Maggie entered through the door, seeming to have just woken up.
"Hi, Carol..." the girl greeted. She took a seat on the couch, bringing her knees up to hug them. "Has she changed at all?"
Carol shook her head. "Afraid not."
Maggie was silent for a moment before mumbling, "This is my fault."
Carol was taken aback. "Don't let yourself belive that. This was just an accident," the older woman reassured.
The brunette seemed to have refused the statement. "No. It was my idea to look through the fields. I'm the one that asked her to go with me."
"Maggie, you aren't at fault here. It's the man that did this who is." Carol reached over and patted the girl's shoulder, doing her best to comfort.
There was movement from the bed. Andrea was slowly stirring, slowly waking up. Her eyes opened and blinked slowly. Carol turned to Maggie and spoke quickly. "Maggie, could you go get Daryl? He wanted to know when she was up."
The brunette nodded and left the room. Carol moved closer to the bed, taking Andrea's hand in her own two. "Andrea, sweetie, how do you feel?"
Andrea's blue-green eyes were wide as she looked at the older woman at her side. She spoke. "Who's Andrea?"
I'm not quite sure how I thought of this, but I'm semi-happy with it's result. I realize that the last line is quite a cliche. But, I had nothing else to get the point across as well. I've already started chapter two. Yes, this will be a story based on Daryl and Andrea. I'll also be including a quote about memories at the top of every chapter. If anybody would like to suggest any quotes, I will consider them.
This, of course, will be continued.