Thank you for the reviews on my previous chapter. I hope you also like this one:
Glenn felt himself trembling as he forced his fingers to release their death-grip on Daryl's shirt. Now that they were away from the walkers, back to the relative safety of the open road, and now that he was back in his right mind, he was shocked at himself for having grabbed onto the man like that. Daryl had threatened to cut his throat earlier today, and yet Glenn hadn't hesitated to grab onto him as though they were long time friends... He was lucky the older man hadn't punched him for that.
Still out of breath and with his heart beating hard enough he could swear he actually heard it, Glenn looked over at the truck's passenger-side window. There were bloody finger-shaped smears all over it, and a very slight crack half-way down the middle. That wasn't good. That meant the window was a lot closer to breaking than it had been before. If they encountered any more walkers like the ones back at the gas station, they'd have to be more careful. Getting into a window that was already cracked would be much easier for the geeks.
He scooted back over so that he was in his own space again and glanced over at Daryl, who had his eyes fixed intently on the road. Surprisingly, Daryl had completely ignored the fact that Glenn had grabbed onto him and cowered down against Daryl's arm. The older man hadn't said a word about it. He didn't insist that Glenn get the hell away from him... He hadn't pushed Glenn off him. He didn't even make fun of the younger man, which was the most surprising of all. Glenn scanned Daryl's hands and then his lap and pockets. Where had his knife gotten to?
He tried to be as subtle as possible as he peered down at the floor-boards of his own side of the truck. The knife wasn't there either. Maybe Daryl had folded it up and put it in his pocket. Was it even a pocket knife? It seemed pretty big, but pocket knives didn't have a size limit, and it would be just like Daryl to carry around a ridiculously huge pocket knife.
"We'll keep drivin' for maybe an hour or two," Daryl told him, "an' then we'll need to look for someplace to camp. Gotta find somewhere safe before it starts getting dark. We'll need to look around and secure the place before we settle in, an' we're gonna wanna do that while it's still light out."
Glenn nodded, "that makes sense," he forced himself to say. Really, his mind was elsewhere, but he felt the need to say something. If he could get the upper hand on Daryl, he could force the man to drive him back... Or he could at least take the truck back himself. He didn't know if he could live with himself if he left Daryl behind though. Leaving him alone without the truck would be equivalent to killing him. He'd either need to find his own means of transportation, or somehow convince Daryl to drive him back to camp.
Glenn looked over as he heard Daryl chuckling.
"What are you laughing about?" Glenn wondered. He hoped the man wasn't laughing at his expense. Daryl always seemed to be making jokes about everyone but himself. He'd make fun of people for just about anything... Because they were scared, because they weren't good at something, or even because of their race or gender.
Daryl shook his head as he continued to smile, "the gas pump's hose is still hangin' out from the tank," he gestured toward the mirror on his side of the truck, "we must of pulled it off the pump when we drove off. We've been draggin' it this whole time."
Glenn smiled. It was nice to see Daryl behaving like a normal human-being, laughing about something he thought was funny but that wasn't hurtful to anyone else. Glenn wasn't sure if he'd ever seen the man smile about anything that wasn't simultaneously making someone else frown.
"Maybe we could find a motel or something so we can sleep in beds instead of on the ground," Glenn offered, "we don't have an established camp anymore, so it would be just as safe as anywhere..."
Daryl nodded, "I was actually thinkin' the same thing. They build those doors pretty strong. It's gotta be safer than sleeping in a tent. We'll have to judge if the window situation is safe enough though. We can look around and see if there's any without swarms of dead bodies all over them - walking dead or just regular dead... I don't want to sleep right next to a bunch of corpses either way."
... ... ...
By the time Daryl and Glenn had finally found a motel that seemed completely deserted, the evening sky was starting to grow dark.
"We need to check the area fast, but carefully," Daryl instructed, "there ain't no cars around, but that don't mean others couldn't have walked here, camped here, and gotten killed here... There could be walkers in any of the rooms, or living people, which is potentially just as bad."
"We can't check all of the rooms though," Glenn frowned.
"I know," he glanced in Glenn's direction, "we'll go into the lobby first and grab a room key to one of the rooms on the back. If anyone's driving by, I don't want them to see our truck and know we're here."
Glenn nodded as Daryl pulled up to the front door, "stay here," Daryl advised. He took the key out of the ignition and hopped out of the truck. He clearly didn't trust Glenn to be left alone with the keys, and Glenn didn't blame him. The younger man didn't want to leave Daryl behind, but he certainly did wish he could go back to camp. Glenn watched as the man walked up to the door and pulled the handle. Apparently it was locked, but that didn't stop him. The door was glass, and Daryl smashed a hole in it without even hesitating.
Wincing, Glenn looked around. Surely that sound would have attracted walkers if there were any nearby. But he didn't see any right away. Maybe the little town truly was abandoned, by both the living and the dead.
Before long, Daryl was running back out with a room key. The key was hanging on a little plastic red diamond shape which had a little white number 13 etched on it. Daryl tossed it to Glenn and hopped back into the truck.
"Lucky thirteen," Glenn mumbled.
"Yeah," Daryl scoffed and drove back around to the back of the motel, "I'd have gotten one on the second floor, but I want to back the truck up right against the window so we can get out of the room and into the truck fast if we need to, and also so the truck can kind of block the window in case something wants in."
He backed the truck up as he'd explained and then hopped out. Glenn followed.
"Get whatever you need out of the back," Daryl advised as he snatched the key back from Glenn, "and make sure to bring your bat... If we need to fight off some zombies, I want you to be able to take care of yourself. I ain't your babysitter."
Glenn frowned. He wouldn't even be here if Daryl hadn't forced him to be. But he could take care of himself and didn't need the older man talking down to him. He'd been living in this world long enough to know you don't go anywhere without a weapon if you have any choice in the matter. Even if you're traveling with other capable people, you've always got to watch your own back too.
"I'm checkin' inside. Be careful and keep your eyes open till I get back. I don't want you gettin' yerself killed. I trust you ain't stupid enough to die just by me leavin' you alone for two minutes. And don't try nothin.' I still got the truck's key, and I can shoot this crossbow a mile without missing," Daryl threatened.
Glenn glared at him as Daryl made his way over to door #13, unlocked it, and peered inside. Glenn wouldn't dream of running off just yet. It was getting dark, and without a vehicle, he'd almost surely be killed. If he was going to make his escape, it sure as hell wouldn't be now.
Using the truck's tire as a sort of ladder, Glenn climbed into the back of the pick-up. He'd need his backpack, his baseball bat, and he guessed he'd take in one of the jugs of water. The water in the room probably had gone dry by now. He wondered what Amy had stuffed his backpack with. He could feel it was full of cans. Hopefully something that didn't require cooking. Starting a fire inside the room wouldn't be a good idea.
He undid the back pack and peered inside. There was a can of pineapple. That sounded good, and wouldn't require any fire. He was pretty sure he had a hand-held can opener at the bottom of the bag. He stuck his hand down further, feeling around for the can opener. He certainly hoped he had one. If he hadn't, they'd be getting hungry pretty fast. Unless Daryl wanted to try to cut the cans open with his knife. The crazy man probably knew how too... He'd probably done it all the time, with his out-in-the-woods, surviving-off-the-land life style.
Eventually, Glenn felt something other than cans. But it wasn't the can opener. It was cold and metallic though... He felt his breath hitch when he realized what it was. It was a gun. Amy must have put it in there... It was her way of trying to help him.
Glenn looked around himself. There weren't any walkers visible, so that was good. And Daryl was still inside the room. Glenn wondered what was taking him so long. Maybe he was checking every nook and cranny, as slowly and carefully as he could.
He could feel his heart pounding in his chest. He felt relief that he had found a potential way out of this and back to the group, but he also felt cold fear and dread in the pit of his stomach. He wouldn't shoot Daryl. He couldn't. Bullets were reserved for bad guys - walkers and people who tried to kill other living people without good reason. Daryl wasn't either. Glenn didn't think the man would ever kill a living person unless he absolutely had to... In self-defense or something. So Glenn wouldn't kill the older man... But he could threaten to.
Would Daryl be able to see in Glenn's eyes that he could never actually pull the trigger? Glenn would have to keep up his threat until they made it back to camp, because he couldn't leave Daryl behind. Could he control the older man for that long? He had to try...
He pulled the clip out of the gun. It held eight bullets, and they were all still there. He wondered where Amy had gotten it. It didn't look like a gun a police officer would carry, but he wasn't really a gun expert. He had no idea what the thing was called or who would have had use for it back before the dead started getting back up. Maybe it had been Dale's, or Andrea's... It didn't much matter really. Nowadays, everyone seemed to carry a gun, even unlikely people like Amy.
He pushed the clip back in and tucked the gun into the front of his pants. He'd wait until he had a good opportunity before making any threat. His timing was going to be crucial. One wrong move and Daryl might claim the gun. Glenn didn't even want to think about what could happen then...
"All clear," Daryl called out as he emerged from the room, "you got any candles in that bag of yours?" he asked.
Glenn nodded. He'd actually just picked up a bunch of candles right before they'd found Rick in the city. He'd never gotten around to taking them out of his backpack, so he assumed they were all still in there.
"Good. 'Cause it's dark in there," Daryl walked up to the truck, "hand me whatever you can't carry. We got to get everything we need inside. Don't want to dick around out here all night."
Glenn handed him the jug of water and swung his backpack over his own shoulder. He held onto his baseball bat as well, "that's it," he told Daryl, "we didn't really bring much. Unless you want to bring anything in just in case it rains or something."
"All that's left is an empty gas tank, a tent, and water. It'll be fine out here. Don't look like it's supposed to rain anyway. ," Daryl assured him. He reached his hand up as if to offer it to Glenn to help him down.
The younger man hesitated for a moment. He really wanted Daryl to stay away from him. If the man saw the outline of the gun under Glenn's shirt, he might be angry enough to kill him. But he didn't want to refuse the kind gesture either, so he let Daryl grab onto his forearm and keep him upright as he jumped out of the back of the truck and onto the ground.
He followed Daryl inside the room and lit one of his candles, "this isn't going to provide much light," he said as Daryl closed the door and locked the bolt lock, "but I don't want to use these any faster than we have to. We should try to conserve them."
"Yup," Daryl agreed, grabbing the backpack off Glenn's shoulder. Glenn was so glad he'd taken the gun out of it before Daryl had a chance to find it. What would the man have done if he'd found the gun first?
"Pineapple or peaches?" Daryl asked.
"Pineapple," Glenn responded.
"You got a can opener in here?" Daryl asked as he sifted through the bag.
"I'm not sure," Glenn told him, "I usually do... but I'm not sure when the last time we used it was... It might not have been put back."
"Nah. It's here," Daryl pulled it out of the bag and waved it about briefly. He tossed Glenn the can of pineapple and began working on the can of peaches for himself, "I know this ain't much," he explained, "but your girlfriend didn't really pack ya much... Guess she assumes that since she barely eats anything, neither does anybody else. Maybe we'll look for some shops along the road tomorrow and find something that don't need cookin, chips or somethin."
Glenn nodded as he remained ever aware of the cold metallic object under his shirt, pressed up against his stomach. When would be the right time to make use of it? He was so scared of what might happen if he threatened Daryl like the older man had done to him. Glenn hadn't been entirely sure if Daryl would actually deliver on his threat. But Daryl might know Glenn didn't have it in him... What if Daryl didn't take him seriously? What if he just walked up and took the gun away? What if he was so angry that Glenn had stood up to him that he stopped pretending to be half-nice? What if he got so fed up that he actually did kill the younger man?
"You listenin' ta me?" he heard Daryl ask.
"What?" Glenn looked over at him. He had been zoned out, apparently.
Daryl held up the can opener, "I'm tossin' this over to ya," he stated, "didn't wanna smack you upside the head with it while ya weren't payin' attention."
Glenn forced a smile and caught the object as Daryl tossed it over, "thanks," he breathed out nervously.
Daryl didn't seem like such a bad companion right now. Glenn's life didn't really seem to be in danger while he was under the older man's watch. It wasn't as though getting out of this immediately was a dire necessity. But the further they drove away from camp, the more likely Glenn wouldn't be able to make his way back for whatever reason... Maybe he'd get lost. Or maybe the others would have been forced to move on... Or maybe Daryl wouldn't let him leave, or would actually end up killing him. Or maybe they'd run into walkers at some point that would be too much to handle. He really wanted to get back to the camp he thought of as home as soon as possible.
"Kinda weird ta have a bed again," Daryl commented.
"Yeah," Glenn agreed. Fortunately Daryl had chosen a room with two beds, so they each had one. And the bed Glenn had seated himself on felt so comfortable.
"I ain't used to havin' a bed. Even before all this shit hit the fan, I didn't usually sleep in a bed," Daryl confessed.
Glenn frowned. Was Daryl actually going to talk to him about his life? That was new... He thought the man wasn't willing to speak about himself, especially not to Glenn. But if Daryl actually wanted to talk, Glenn was certainly willing to listen, "why not?" Glenn wondered, "why didn't you usually sleep in a bed?"
"Didn't have one," Daryl shrugged, "I slept under the stars some nights if my hunt went too long. Or in a tent if I was lucky enough to have one. But even when I was home, I usually just slept on the couch. I remember having a bed for a while when I was younger though."
"You just didn't feel like buying one when you got your own place or what?" Glenn asked. He could understand why Daryl wouldn't have had a bed if he was a child and his family couldn't afford one, but why woudn't he have bought himself one as an adult?
"Guess I got used to sleepin' on the couch or the floor. Bed seemed like a waste of space," Daryl shrugged, "It's like buying a van to drive when you don't got a family. Why waste all that extra space? I can sleep on a couch just fine."
"Oh," Glenn looked down, "well... I don't think they're a waste of space."
"You ever gone without one besides recently?" Daryl raised an eyebrow, "I think once you find you're able to function without a bed, you'll see how worthless they really are."
"I didn't even have my own house for a while before this," Glenn admitted, "I got myself really far into debt and had to sell everything and stay with friends... So yeah... I went without a bed. I slept on the floor, in the bath tub, on the couch... pretty much wherever I'd fit, with whoever would have me. Sometimes a bathtub was seriously the best they had to offer. Sleeping in a tub isn't really that bad, but I prefer a mattress. I still appreciate beds very much."
Daryl narrowed his eyes, "really? You let yer life get that fucked up? I wouldn't peg you as the type who'd let himself go into debt," he commented, "thought you'd be smarter than that... What with you bein' a Jap an' all."
Glenn frowned and shook his head, "that's just a stereotype... And I'm not Japanese."
"Whatever ya are," Daryl sighed, "I thought you people were smart."
"Only some of us are," Glenn glared at him. He did feel a little ashamed bout getting himself into debt. Of course, none of it mattered now, but he still felt like an idiot for letting it happen back when it did matter. Maybe he shouldn't have mentioned it... He probably should have known better than to assume Daryl would be at all understanding of anyone's mistakes.
Daryl laughed and shrugged his shoulders, "Everybody's got flaws, right? But you're not completely worthless. Yer good at runnin' around collecting stuff," he offered. Maybe Daryl wasn't going to be such a jerk about this after all... "Which, come to think of it it, seems more like what a Jew would be good at," Nope... The older man wasn't through yet.
Glenn just stared at him. Why did he delight so much in making fun of absolutely everyone he could? The more rude things Daryl said, the more Glenn thought the guy was saying them just for shock effect. There was no way he could be stupid enough to believe all of those stereotypes. And he couldn't have possibly really hated every single thing about every single person he met... "You should be grateful I collected that stuff. Or else you wouldn't be eating peaches right now... And we wouldn't have any other canned food. Or candles... I may not know how to hunt like you, but what I do is still important, and you shouldn't talk down to me..." He wasn't sure why he didn't just shut up and let it go. It wasn't like he was going to change the way Daryl saw the world. But for some reason, Glenn couldn't help but to try to talk sense into people who seemed to need it. Even intimidating people like Daryl.
"You're not a Jew, are ya?" it seemed Daryl wasn't done being an ass yet, "Don't think I ever saw a Chinese jew. Aren't they usually white people?"
Glenn sighed and shook his head, "I imagine they can be any race... But no... I'm not Jewish."
Daryl shrugged, "we're gettin' up early tomorrow," he informed Glenn, "blow out that candle before you go to bed. Don't want to have made it all the way through this shit just to die in a motel fire," he laid down on top of the covers on his bed and turned over on his side so that he was facing away from Glenn.
The younger man frowned. Daryl sure wasn't very socially acceptable. But at least he hadn't snapped at Glenn for talking back to him.
"And don't try nothin' stupid," Daryl advised as he still faced away from Glenn, "I got the keys, an' ya can't get anywhere without the truck... If I wake up to you tryin ta steal them from me, or you tryin' ta get out the door, you'll regret it."
Glenn didn't say anything. He wouldn't try anything just yet... But he might tomorrow morning...
Just so you know, guys... I feel like Chapter4 and on is where the story really starts to get interesting... If I was going to re-read my own story just for fun, I might skip over chapters 1-3... They are there to put things in context and to build a little character, but if you already know what happens in them, they aren't so interesting... You get the picture - Daryl's kind of a jerk. Glenn is a little scared of him... They are both sort of starting to feel like the other isn't so bad, but are still both a little uneasy around each other too.
So if you've been waiting for things to get more exciting, hopefully the next chapter will be what you've been looking for. I'm always so worried about disappointing my readers... I want to write the story how I want it, but I still worry about what you guys want too... *closes eyes and wishes* Please like it. Please like it! Please! Please please please! COME ON, READERS! Please like it! PLEASE!
If you do like it, please review... I know I promised you in the author's notes in the first chapter that I'll end up posting the whole story no matter what, but when I hardly get any reviews, it's really discouraging and makes me not even feel like reading over and posting the next chapter. When I feel like I'm being ignored by most of my readers, I lose a lot of motivation. A LOT of motivation... Tons of it. Seriously. TONS. I end up with negative motivation. It makes me want to un-publish chapters instead of post new ones. So please review if you're reading this. It means the world to me.