Welcome welcome welcome. This story was meant to be about the delectable Daryl Dixon but my recent obsession with the fabulous writers (and even the not so fabulous) of Fan Fiction has converted me wholly and fully into a 'Caryl' devotee and I just couldn't imagine anyone else in his life. But inspired by a couple of other writers (thanks Jaded79 and Praxid) I was reminded of another bad boy redneck – and you know what, he offered some more possibilities. I will try to be in character – but I will no doubt get the southern dialect wrong, despite watching reruns of TWD until October 2012 comes along.

I welcome any enthusiasm and constructive criticism of my first fan fiction attempt – but please be gentle.

Obligatory (and really?) disclaimer – I do not have any rights to TWD or its characters – they have just obsessed my every waking moment since the Season 1 marathon that fateful Saturday. I hope I haven't trampled on them too much.


Chapter 1

"Stupid fuckin' car," he cursed under his breath as he jogged along the road. His backpack bounced uncomfortably across his shoulder, but he just couldn't be bothered to get his shortened right limb through the other strap to contain it more securely. Not that there was much to it anymore – he had used up almost all of the cans of food that he had managed to scavenge and all his spare ammo was gone –all he had left was what was in the pump action shotgun he carried in his left hand and the knives, one at his waist and one in his left boot – something he was still getting used to. There was a callous on this right ankle where it had used to sit, but trying to draw from across his body just hadn't worked and he had transferred the sheaf to his left ankle. It had blistered the first week, popped and blistered again. He was hoping that this next layer of skin would be tougher.

He could hear the cars in the distance – ambient noise now comprised only the odd bird unless there were walkers about and sound could be heard over greater distances. He estimated the distance from what he could hear and doubled it – he reckoned he still had a while before the pricks caught up with him "All for a box of food and bullets, dumn fuckers" he muttered breathlessly, ignoring the fact that he had almost beat the man to death to get the car keys off him. The keys to the car that had had less than a quarter of tank of fuel and had coughed its last a couple of miles back up the road. A car that still had the box of food and bullets sitting on the front seat because he couldn't carry them.

The town appeared as he crested the hill, nestled in a slight valley before the next hill a couple of kilometres ahead. He stopped for a moment, wiping his forehead with his stump to remove the sweat, breathing hard. Fuck he thought I need to get some goods. He listened to the approaching vehicles – something heavy by the sound of it and looked around. The land around the town was bare grassland, would only offer him protection if he lay on his belly and Merle Dixon would be damned if he just lay down waiting for death. The town was small, there wasn't too many houses, but surely he could find a place to hole up in – he still had a few bullets left anyway and Merle Dixon could at least take some fuckers out with him.

He passed by the first few houses with only a glance to see whether there were any geeks hanging around. He didn't see any as he entered what had to be the main area of town – a post office, a bank, what looked to be a grocery store. Fuck, place doesn't even have a McDonalds he thought in disgust. He glanced around, thinking that he should get off the main drag to hole up – no point making it easy for the wankers. A high fence caught his attention and he jogged down the street past what had been a luminous sign.

The Georgian Palace had apparently offered cheap rates, queen beds, cable tv, pool, spa, in house restaurant and boasted it was eco friendly. It didn't really look like much of a palace he decided as he walked along its wall. It looked like it had been shabby even before the end of the world, but despite the peeling paint and patches of crumbling mortar the wall was solid and the metal entrance gate was securely locked from the outside. He spent almost a full minute looking through that gate, examining each of the windows of the two storey building – searching for any movement, any hint that the fence would be more of a death trap than a boon. He saw nothing and looked around – he pushed a skip bin from an adjacent business to the wall and threw his bag and gun up on it, using his good hand to pull until his stump braced him and pushed to get himself all the way up. He reached up to his length and placed the shotgun along the wall – butt closest to him. His bag he flung it over the wall. It landed with a thump and he jumped up – his good hand straining to hold him as he flung his leg up and over the wall.

It wasn't something that many men could have done one handed but Merle had always been built like a tank and despite his use of drugs and alcohol, he had spent a lot of time at the local gym and was as strong as ox. Plus of course Merle had always be an ornery son of a bitch and he wasn't about to let only having one hand get in his way. Not that he had comes to terms with it – more that he wanted to stay alive to carry out his grudge.

He landed with a thump with the gun in his hand but pointed away from him and stayed still for another moment, poised ready to run or to shoot – whatever was required. There was nothing. He picked up his bag, which meant he had to put his gun down first and then pick it up after the bag was on his shoulder. The bag fell forward as he leant to get the gun and he swore "fucking pig – wouldn't be so fuckin' tough without his cuffs", kicking it back with his shoulder before squatting down to reach for the gun.

Behind the wall he couldn't hear the approaching vehicles – but his sense of time had been made acute through the years of breaking and entering – he reckoned he had a good 20minutes to go.

He walked along the pathway, peeking through a small gap in the curtains and then testing a door of room 113. It was locked, but he didn't try to force it open. He wasn't really all that keen on having a lower storey hideout and a locked door would make those pursuing him kick it open in case he was in there. Not only would they waste time looking for him, but he would hear them coming. He kept on walking, around the corner towards the back of the Palace where there was a pool, a spa and a sorry excuse for a children's play set. A large shed with some wires was set in the far rear corner and he hesitated for a moment before shaking his head and continuing on. The white wall continued around the back, some creepers cascading over its top, an iron man gate also securely locked and showing only a glimpse into some trees beyond.

Everything was clean and quiet and something in him tingled. There was something wrong with this place, but time was ticking so he kept on walking. He found the back stairs and started up them, pausing at the landing for only a moment to look over the back wall into the stand of trees around what looked to be a small creek. Whoever had been in here had barricaded themselves in good – but are they dead dead or just half dead he wondered, his finger tightening on the trigger.

The first room that he tried was locked too and he kept walking, the second was locked and the third – his hand froze on the fourth. Wha' the fuck? He wondered. Music? It was something he hadn't heard for a long time – even the radio in the cars he had found or liberated, as he liked to class it, hadn't had anything except static. The Mercedes he had found, after dragging its geek owner out of the seat and kicking its brains in, had had a cd player in it – but without his hand he hadn't been able to press any buttons and he had been in too much of a rush to quit driving for the minute it would have required to use his left hand. He had gotten used to the silence.

He concentrated, almost stopping breathing. The tune was familiar – it was an old song by that pussy Prince, but that wasn't the voice he could hear. He started moving towards the sound and the noise cleared up into words "I just want your extra time and your KISS".

The music stopped suddenly and he stopped, shaking his head at even the thought of Merle Dixon chasing music from a hip pumping faggot like Tom Jones – then "You don't have to be beautiful to turn me on" the music started up again and he tensed. He pulled his rifle up, tucking the butt under his arm to stabilise it and stalked forward, past about five rooms before he was on top of the noise. "I just need your body, baby, from dusk till dawn."

Even on top of it, the music wasn't that loud. But there was something else – some other sound. He took another step forward, past the door to the window – like the other rooms the curtains weren't fully drawn and he looked in – expecting to see an empty room with a faulty cd player with long lasting batteries.

That wasn't what was in the room and he stared, his gun dropping at about the same rate as his jaw.

She was half dressed, wearing only a black utilitarian bra – the kind that holds them in, not throws them out for admiration – and tight fitting shortettes and tiny little socks above what looked to be combat boots. She was built generously, although if he'd been making real observations he would have noticed her ribs weren't covered by much flesh and that her abdomen was tight with muscle. He might have noticed that her hair was short, but slightly overgrown for its style and that her earrings were a gawdy set of parrots. He might have noticed that she had high cheekbones and a slight nose, but that her lips were thin and her chin too pronounced for real beauty. But all he noticed was the slight sheen of sweat on her skin, especially on the smooth white skin above her chest, and a silver necklace which bounced up and down in a hypnotising manner as she danced and sang to the music, kicking out her hip, slapping her hand on her butt and then bending over, her head coming up as her hand started at her throat and wiped all down her chest, down her stomach and onto... He stared into her eyes – wide brown eyes.

"I just want you extra time and your KISS." Her breath died all of a sudden, frozen in horror. Shit she thought, mesmerised by his blue eyes, only a part of her mind taking in the rest of the details. His face was round, covered with a short sharp stubble, the hair on his head barely any longer. He was built like a brick shithouse, his chest as deep as it was wide, the muscles in his arms defined and bulging. His chest too was fully defined, a B cup prompted some impish part of her mind, over the top of what could only be described as a six pack on steroids. He was filthy – what had used to be a white shirt was now all types of shades of grey, brown and rust probably blood she thought. He wore a battered leather vest overtop of the shirt, the handle of some type of rifle could be seen held loosely against this arm, the strap of some type of bag over his left shoulder.

Merle took her in, drinking in the sight of some female anatomy after such a drought. He smirked slightly and took a step forward.

An explosion of white teeth suddenly erupted in front of him, shattering the moment with a thwack against the glass panel of the window. "Fuck!" he shouted and stepped back in reflex.

She bolted, spinning on her heel and racing through the open door behind her, grabbing her clothes with her left hand as she passed them.

"Hey!" he yelled as he saw her spin. "Git back 'ere bitch!" Last thing he needed was some screaming wench telling those others where he was. He tried the door – it was locked – but a shoulder punch with his weight behind it was enough the shatter the lock from the frame and he stumbled in. He absorbed his surroundings as he ran through the open doorway – the music still blaring with the end of Tom Jones, the piles of books and movies, the kitchenette stocked with a number of jars, tins, dishes draining at the sink and luminous clock blinking from the microwave. Through the door was the bedroom, queen bed neatly made with a couple of suitcases sitting on the bench next to the cupboard, a handbag and book on the bedside table. She wasn't there and he spun, found another shut door and pushed against it. It gave in easier than the front door and he burst into a one room bathroom – shower, toilet and basin – just to see her legs disappear out the window. He grabbed and missed "Damn it sugartits – wait up!" he called but she didn't stop, hitting the outside verandah and racing away. He snarled – he was too big to get out the window and retraced his steps, barrelling out of the room and using his stump as leverage to spin him to the right.

He rounded the corner of the building – she had her shirt on now and was working on the pants, hopping along with one leg in while she forced the combat boot through the hole. She glanced around at him and started running again.

"Oh come on honey," he called. "Ol' Merle won't hurt you!" She kept running and he snarled "until I catch you bitch!"

She dove into another room and he followed, only a few metres behind her. He flailed abruptly, his upper body continuing forward even as his lower skidded to a halt on the threshold - his weapon hitting the door frame and jolting out of his grasp. It fell, bouncing once on an exposed floor beam before dropping to the ground one storey below. There was slight puff of ash as it landed amongst the remnants of what looked to have been a pretty serious fire. "Fuck" he screamed and looked up as she finished tiptoeing along the beam and faced him.

"Leave me alone mate – I'm not worth it." She told him.

Something was wrong with her voice but he was too angry to hear it. "Damn bitch – that's my gun. You're going to get that for me."

"Get it yourself arsehole" she snapped at him and turned.

"Bitch," he snarled and started along the beam without hesitation, despite the blackened sections through the middle, using his arms to balance. She didn't hang around to wait, but spun again, stepping through a hole in the brick wall into another room and disappearing. He followed her more slowly this time, spitting when he saw that there was virtually no floor in this room at all and edged his way along the half piece of timber around the edge of the room until he could stand on the one beam left. She was already across it and opening the door to the other verandah, she flashed him one glance before stepping out and turning to run again.

"When I get my hands on you," he muttered furiously, stepping carefully along the beam and opening the door to follow her.

The frying pan hit him flat in the face, not quite breaking his nose with the impact but sending a spike of pain right up into his sinus and starting a ringing in his forehead. "Fuckin' bitch," he howled, grabbing at his head.

"Go home you bastard – leave me alone!" she hissed at him and he heard her steps getting fainter, before a door opened and it was silent again.

Except for the noise of a vehicle.