A/N: Wow, have I been gone a long time! Jiminy Christmas, has it really been a year?! I've decided to start anew, my lovelies. This time focusing on my recent obsession, The Walking Dead. I've been planning this one for about a month now. But this is just a test chapter. It will be (possibly) reworked, at a later date.

~Chapter 1~

Cecelia Grimes let out a small shuttering breath, as she hugged the small, sick, boy to her side. He'd fallen asleep again, the vomiting he'd done in the last 24 hours exhausting the poor lad. She licked her dry lips, keeping her eyes on the road in front of her, the window to the massive pick-up truck down, trying to help circulate what could barely pass for air in the humid Georgia heat.

The truck was at a standstill, and had been for at least two hours. With half a tank of gas left, and no gas for God only knows how much distance, she wasn't taking any chances.

The small boy coughed, causing Cecelia to jump. She put a hand to his temple, gently pulling him flush against her, as she kissed the top of his head. He still had no fever. The relief of this simple lack of symptom still overwhelmed her, as she was sure of one thing: the little 8 year old at her side wasn't infected with this...disease. Wasn't going to die a horrible, painful death the same way his mother had. Wasn't going to rise from the dead and strip the skin from some poor person. What ever the cause of his vomiting, be it the lack of proper food, sleep, the heat, or a mix and match of all three, he'd not been bitten or scratched by one of those...things.

She let out a mirthless chuckle. If you had told Cecelia two months ago that the apocalypse would happen, in all honesty, she wouldn't be too surprised. However, if you had told her that zombies would rise up and eat begin taking bites out of people, that she would be shocked at. Zombies were for those video games and horror films she'd always loved so much, not for real life. But that's exactly what happened.

She rose up in her seat as she saw two walking figures in the distance, gripping the hilt of the machete strapped to her outer left thigh. "Aiden," she whispered to him. The boy moaned and cracked open one chocolate brown eye. "Stay here. I'm gonna go check it out, if anything happens-"

"-I don't try to play hero. I know, Aunt Ellie." He cut her off grumbling.

She smiled and kissed his forehead. "I love you," she said with a watery smile. "Roll-"

"-up the windows, yeah yeah."

She opened the door, pulling out the machete when her five foot, two inch frame stepped onto the hot asphalt. She swiftly walked towards the two figures, machete poised and ready to strike. "Whoa there, Shorty!" came a familiar voice from the taller of the two figures that were still at least 20 feet in front of her, the haze from the hot, summer sun making it hard to see. She lowered the weapon immediately, as the figures got closer.

"Goddammit, Jake, what'd I say 'bout callin' over the radio, before comin' back?!" She asked in a tired voice.

The taller man just chuckled. "Tyler here didn't notice we had low battery 'till after we'd scouted it." He clapped a thick hand on the shorter man's shoulder, that wide shit-eating grin of his damn near swallowing the bottom half of his face, while poor Tyler just looked embarrassed.

"Big" Jake Thompson was just that. Big. The man was a good six foot, five inches, and had to weigh at least two hundred and fifty pounds. He was a loud roughneck, born and bred somewhere just south of Nashville, Tennessee, and proud owner and operator of Big Jake's Bar just outside of downtown Nashville. The large man hadn't known Cecelia (who he'd lovingly dubbed "Short Stack", and various other nicknames containing the rood word 'short', in the two months they'd known each other), Tyler, or young Aiden from Adam when the three companions stumbled into his bar shortly after all hell broke loose in Nashville.

Tyler Roberts, on the other hand, had known and lived with her for five years, meeting in college, the two quickly becoming fast friends over video games, movies, and the arts. He was about 5'9, with a very slim body. With his mop of black hair always in his face, Cecelia had always teased him about having, what she'd dubbed "emo hair".

Cecelia ran her hand through her light brown, almost strawberry blonde hair, as she closed her tired light green eyes, letting out a very deep sigh, walking ahead of the two men and back to the truck.

"So?" The question from her lips was simple, as she ripped the passenger door open, then the glove box and pulling out the map she'd picked up outside the local rest area that'd been infested with those damned zombies. Aiden raised his head as she handed the kid the half full water bottle out of the glove box, the boy was obviously dehydrated.

"Where're Pretty Boy and Valley Bitch?" Jake asked looking behind the truck for the light blue Ford Focus that was supposed to be there.

"They went to that gas station we spotted about a mile back." Cecelia explained.

"They couldn't 've fucking walked?" Tyler grumbled.

She snorted. "You expect Catherine to do actual work?"

An exasperated and bored sigh came over the radio attached to the woman's hip. "Leah, we're coming back. Nothing here." Cecelia rolled her eyesin frustration.

"Come on back, you guys," she said into the walkie, trying her hardest to resist banging her head into the hood of the truck. Jake glanced at Aiden and the water bottle he'd yet to open. "Drink it, kid," he demanded softly. Aiden quickly obeyed.

Tyler grabbed the map from her hands, flattened it out on the hood of the truck, pointing to the good sized, blue spot on the map in front of his friend. "That's the quarry with the lake," he sighed.

"No shit, Dick Tracy," Cecelia grumbled.

Ignoring her, Tyler's finger slid to the left a bit. "And we're about tree to five miles all the way over here."

"What'd ya see?" she asked, looking a him.

"Someone has set up camp down there."

The woman groaned, slamming the heel of her hand into her forehead.

"So, what do'we do, boss lady?" Jake's laughed from behind her. She glared at him as a familiar sky blue Ford Focus came into view, parking behind the larger truck.

"Ugh, why does it have to be so hot?" complained Catherine, as she stepped out of passenger side of the car.

"Catherine," her brother, Jason, warned, getting out of the car and standing next to his sister.

Jason Walker and his younger sister Catherine where trust fund babies. While Catherine looked and acted the part to a "T", Jason was a tad more down to earth. Both were blonde haired and blue eyed and dressed in expensive clothing, even in the zombie apocalypse. As up to this point, Catherine seemed to moan and complain the whole way about every small chore she was given. They were nice kids, just a bit snotty.

Tyler leaned down next to Cecelia's ear, "She's beginning to make me regret saving their asses," he hissed. His short friend shot him a look he couldn't quite read.

"Suck it up, Tinkerbell," she called out to the whining blonde. "Okay, guys, here's the skinny." Cecelia said cracking her neck. "Jake and Tyler went out to the hill just above that clearing above the quarry on the map. There's already a camp set up. My plan is, me, Jake, and Ty head down there with the Wonder Twins here," she nodded to the blonde siblings, "staying with Aiden. Bright side, we run into some nice little locals that allow us to piggy back on their little fuckin' camping trip for a few days. Not so bright side, we run into a bunch of ass holes that get violent, and we're forced to compromise 'em."

"And... if the camp has those...things walking around?" Jason asked, grimacing.

"If they're not to bad, we take 'em out, and strip the camp of all it's got. We radio either way. Agreed y'all?"

"No," came Aiden's voice from the open window in front of her. Cecelia furrowed her brow. "I wanna go, too. I'll sit in the truck Aunt Ellie, I promise, just lemme come with you."

"Ah, let the brat come, Short Stack. He won't bother nothin'," Jake said with a grin.

Cecelia worried her bottom lip between her teeth for a minute, as Aiden stared up at her with his big brown eyes.

"Fine, but he's getting the knife." She said, grabbing the medium sized hunting knife from the still open glove box, handing it to the triumphant eight year old.


"Jake, stop the truck, I can't see right with it moving." Cecelia said, hanging out the rear passenger side window, binoculars focusing on the camp below.

Jake did as instructed. Cecelia squinted, trying to see without being seen. If the camp was full of hostiles, she wasn't taking chances. She took notice of the vehicles first. "Mmkay," she muttered, more to herself, than her friends. "Looks like there's an RV, a Jeep, and a truck. I can't make out the other vehicles."

Then she saw it. Movement. It wasn't the lumbering she was used to seeing when facing the zombies. No. This movement was conscious. People milling about. Smoke rising from a small pit.

"There 're people down there," she sighed. "Honest to God people." She smiled at Jake and Tyler and ruffled Aiden's hair while picking up the radio. "Hey, Jason."

"Yeah?"

"They got people. We're checking it out."

"Gotcha, we'll stand watch. Let us know if something happens."

"Roger." She cut the transmission.

"Think they might be cool?" Tyler asked.

"I hope so," she said with a sad smile. "Mmkay, here's the plan. Jake, you and Tyler go make friendly. I stay with the Aiden, so he doesn't get any bright ideas. Big Jake, you be nice."

Jake chuckled. "You got it, boss."

The truck came to a stop as Jake and Tyler stepped out of the vehicle. They were quickly approached by a few people, Cecelia not being able to see who. The rest of the camp keeping a distance between themselves and the new visitors, weapons at the ready. She could hear Jake bellowing to the person in front of him, apparently the leader deciding their fate of stay or go,"We got women and a fuckin' kid!"

Tyler was clearly attempting to play peacemaker, and it wasn't working. Jake lunged for the person in front of him, and Cecelia jumped out of the truck, running and grabbing his arm whipping him around.

"I thought I told you to play nice, Jake!" she scolded. "Take a walk."

Jake tried to ignore her, seething at the man behind him. "JAKE!" he turned to face her then. "Take...a walk." And with that, Jake stomped away, leaning against the tailgate of the truck.

Cecelia slowly turned. "Now, surely we can-" She was cut off at the sight of a familiar face. "...Shane?"

The man in front of her looked at her as though he'd seen a ghost. "Cecelia?" he croaked.

A/N: Wow, that was long chapter! Longest It think I've ever written, to be honest. I know, I know, I didn't go into detail about Rick, Lori, Carl, Shane, or Leah's relationship to Aiden, but I swear it'll happen in the next chapter. Lemme know what you guys think. I'll rework the chapter at some point. Until next time, my dears!