Hey yous! I'm back with a brand new chapter! It might seem a bit odd because I had some slight trouble getting back into it, but I'm pretty sure I'm gonna get better at the whole thing with every new chapter I'm gonna upload. I'm superuber busy with all the university stuff atm (radio, post production AND newspaper stuff as well as all the classes), but I'm still uberwilling to finish this fic. I got a plan on how to end it and everything, and don't be confused by the fact that I'm gonna change a couple of things about the last couple of episodes. I won't be writing the finale because I didn't llike it, and I'm probably gonna change the order a bit. Just a heads up. Anyhoo, new Connaryl material, new bite stuff, and one flashback!
setting: episode 11 "I Ain't A Judas"
Chapter 46 - Echoes
It got worse when Daryl opened the door. Just like last time when he had come across a larger herd of walkers Connor had trouble concentrating on anything, because once again all the undead around him wouldn't shut up. It was like in a horror film. It took a lot to scare the Irishman, but this was more than enough to freak him out. It wasn't like they were screaming at him, and their mouths were not really moving, he knew that. But there was something incredibly weird going on, because he could hear their voices, no matter if it was just in his head or about something more.
It didn't just scare him, it also annoyed the crap out of Connor. Because he couldn't concentrate. It was distracting, and he prayed to god that it was just a side effect of the recent infection. He had been bit two days ago, and he was still in pain, still felt dizzy and sick most of the time, so he blamed it on that. There was no way he was gonna listen to that whispering crap forever. Daryl snapped him out of it again when he called his name and grabbed him by his shoulder.
"Hey, that ain't funny anymore" he said and Connor shook his head and massaged the bridge of his nose for a moment.
He tried to concentrate on the here and now, the feeling of Daryl's hand on his shoulder, his breathing, the rhythmic pounding in his bite wound.
He tried to just blend anything else out.
"It's alright" he muttered and then massaged his wounded shoulder, but it was obvious that Daryl didn't buy it.
"You gotta concentrate, man" he murmured and Connor shook him off with an annoyed growl.
"I fuckin am, alright? Let's just get te car. It's that one over there" the blonde answered and pointed at a silver vehicle on the other side of the parking lot.
He started walking and grabbed the knife which Daryl had given him, and he kept ignoring all the voices he could hear in his head. One good thing about the whispering was that he could actually make out the presence of the walkers, and that partly even before he saw them. Both men made their way through the center of the parking lot. There were about 30 cars that were still parked there, and at least half of them were police cars.
They could see several walkers staggering around the area, some were closer, some were far away, some were staggering between the cars and a few were kneeling between two because they were eating what looked like a cat. Daryl aimed his crossbow at some of them because they tried to clean out the parking lot as they made their way to the car they wanted. The hunter had just shot the two walkers by the carcass when he decided that it was safe enough to talk.
"So about your plan" he muttered as he got his arrows back.
"How the hell do you wanna get inside their camp and inside that sick fuck's apartment?"
Connor, who was killing walkers on the other side, turned around to look at his friend with a frown.
"Well, we sneak in. Just like last time. Same way, same house, and straight up te stairs or through a back door or something."
Daryl approached another row of cars to check for walkers.
"Yeah, except that they gotta have about twice as many guards since last time. They're expecting visitors now."
"Where there's a will there's a way. Don't underestimate my creativity" Connor countered and Daryl snorted.
They killed another two walkers and then the older of the two turned around to look at his friend.
"First time we killed some people we used a fuckin toilet."
The other man frowned.
Connor chuckled and nodded.
"Aye. A fucking toilet."
"And whose idea was that? Let me guess. Yours."
The Irishman shrugged.
"Well I had no choice. Fuckers cuffed me to it, I ripped it outta the ground, thought I might as well use it ta bash their brains in, aye."
Daryl snorted and shook his head.
"You're fucking nuts."
"Aye. After that we got inta one location using the air shafts, and then one time we got ta another location with a forklift. And another time we jumped off a cleaning platform of the Prudential tower and crashed right through the windows. So trust me, getting in there will be the least of our problems."
The hunter looked at his friend with a raised eyebrow.
"You're entering dangerous places with forklifts, toilets and cleaning platforms. Yeah, no reason to worry about safety. Not at all."
Connor frowned and walked past a car to get back to the center of the parking lot.
"Oh come on, where's your fucking sense of adventure?"
Daryl approached his friend so they could walk down the rest of the parking lot together.
"There ain't no adventure these days. It's serious shit, kill or be killed."
"It's always been kill or be killed fer me. And I'm still alive, ain't I?"
The younger Dixon snorted.
"Oh fuck you, I think it's a good..."
"Shh!" Daryl suddenly hushed him and ducked down. He grabbed Connor by his shirt to pull him down with him. The Irishman didn't get what was wrong at first, but after being still and listening up for a while he could actually hear what was going on. The rattling of chains, the endless moaning about, and it didn't take long and he was zoning out again. He could hear the sound of voices calling out and begging, and he knew what it was about. Another whole bunch of walkers was near, maybe even right around the corner.
"Sounds like a shitload" Connor muttered as they snuck their way behind a car.
"Want me ta have a look?" he went on and Daryl shook his head. They had a look across the roof the car to see how far the one was for which they had the key.
Only three other cars separated them from their destination, which wasn't too far, but it were the all the noises that made them hesitate. They remained there for about a minute just to try to make out how many walkers there where and where they were, and it didn't take long and the Irishman zoned out completely. He rubbed his forehead and squeezed his eyes shut, not only because of the pain in his shoulder but also because of the talking. It sounded like they were all begging for something, but not the same thing. He believed to hear some of them begging for something to eat, others were begging for something to drink. then there were the ones who were screaming and shouting, who wanted to be let in or who needed help. All the voices were driving him nuts, and he shook his head with an angry growl, because just for a second all the screaming and begging was actually reminding him of something else.
10 months ago...
And yet another camp he could cross off the list. Only that this time the refuge camp was way larger than the last couple of places he had visited. Fort Benning. Overrun. He did not even dare entering the grounds, because he could hear them across the wall. The screams, the shooting, the begging. And he could also see them. Countless undead who were staggering around the walls and through the crushed gates. He could see them walking past the countless cars all around the location, so he figured that he certainly had not been the only one to come here before the place had fallen.
He just happened to be late, which, in his case, was a pretty positive thing. Well, he didn't think it was a good thing, considering he still hated to be here on this stinking rotten world in the first place. But it was true that if he had come here earlier when all those people had still been alive he would've been overwhelmed just as much. Another bunch of survivors, attacked and who were probably eaten alive right now. He honestly wanted to help them, but there were too many undead all around the place, and going in there would be suicide. It wasn't like he didn't want to die, but he had promised Murphy to stay alive, so there was no going in there. Fort Benning had fallen.
It had been two weeks since he had last come across living people.
He honestly didn't know how much longer he could take it.
The good part about the whole thing was that he could hardly feel anything these days anyway. Sometimes it was like he was a robot. Eating. Sleeping. Killing. Moving. The same schedule everyday. He did not speak and hardly ever moved a muscle in his face, and he was pretty sure that should he ever meet people again they could actually mistake him for a walker. Because he felt dead inside.
It had been 56 days since Murphy had died.
Once again he had to fight really hard not to start bawling again. It wasn't like he didn't do that at all. He did it every day in fact. During the nights, which were still the worst part about the whole apocalypse thing. He hardly ever slept these days, because the nightmares tortured him every single night, every single time he just closed his eyes. He could still hear his brother's screams, still hear how he had been yelling his name over and over again. And when he looked down on himself he could still see the blood on his hands.
Connor swallowed hard and took a deep breath. Right. This was exactly the point. He had promised Murphy to keep going. Fort Benning was just another set of imaginary letters on his imaginary list. There were a lot of other places he could go to. A lot of other military camps and forts and refuge centers. Only that he knew that they were going to be just as messy. A couple of bone chilling loud screams startled the Irishman and made him grab his brother's bowie knife. He didn't have much bullets left, which was pretty ironic. He had four guns and but hardly anything to use them, which was another reason why the Fort had been so important. Connor instinctively ducked down and hid behind a tree. He tried to make out the spot from where the screams were coming, but it was rather hard since they were echoing all over the surrounding woods. And it wouldn't stop. It only got worse.
"No! God, oh my god, please! No! Let her go, LET HER GO!"
And then there were gunshots. Connor started running. He could hear the screams and begging of a woman, and when he got closer he could actually hear that there were even more screams. There were people! Finally! He supposed that the gunshots were probably there because of some walkers attacking them. Maybe some people had managed to get out of the Fort? Maybe there was another camp?
He just wanted to find people because he was so lonely.
The blonde MacManus ran even faster, only to come to an abrupt halt. He could make out a small camp not too far away from the Fort. There were two military vehicles and a couple of tents, which should be a good sign, but it wasn't. Because there was a massacre going on. Three men were lying on the ground, shredded with bullet wounds. Then there were two women and one teenaged girl, who was being brutally raped by two men by some of the bushes on the other side of the camp.
The other women were yelling and screaming at the army men. The males were laughing and kept firing at the dead bodies on the ground, which made them shake and twitch with every rifle bullet that hit them. Before Connor even got the chance to actually do something one of the army men suddenly lashed out and pointed his rifle at the screaming women, who were crying and holding on to each other, begging them to stop. As soon as they faced the muzzle they tried to run away, but then a hail of bullets already rained down on them, knocking them off their feet and down to the ground. Just then another one of the army men lost it, only that he was attacking the man who had just shot them.
"What the fuck was that about?!" he yelled and shoved the other, causing him to drop his gun.
"I shut those bitches up! They were fuckin annoying with all their screamin about! They're gonna draw even more of those dead psychos to us!" the slimmer shooter of the two justified his action and shoved the other buffer army man back, but the man wouldn't have any of that.
"And how the fuck are we supposed to get laid now, you fucking moron?! It's been months since I last got the..I mean just look at this fucking mess! The serge is gone and we finally get the chance to do this shit, and the first thing you gotta do is fuckin shoot 'em?!"
"Fuck you! They were annoying and just another buncha mouths to feed! We ain't got..."
Right then a bullet went straight through his head, causing another dead to fall down on the already bloodstained soil.
"Now we got another one less you piece of shit" the buffer man said and cocked his gun, but not without spitting on the other man's corpse first.
Connor, who had been watching the whole scenario without even getting a chance to step in, ducked down when the man suddenly turned around and scanned the surrounding area, while chewing on something what looked like a gum.
"Asshole" he muttered and then made his way to the other two men, who were still busy with the remaining screaming and crying woman.
He had just turned his back on Connor when the Irishman drew one of his guns and pulled the trigger, killing the man before he got to the other two men. Because of all the screaming and chaos around them, and because of the fact that the blonde still had the silencers on, the two remaining soldiers did not hear the shot or how Connor finally stepped out and made his way over to them. And once again his mind was not working at all, as if his body was just carrying out the orders, the job God had given him and that was even more relevant now that the world had ended.
Destroy all that which is evil.
Undead people, rapists and murderers, it didn't matter anymore. This was his life now. Kill or be killed.
And most of the time it meant kill now. Even more than in his past life.
He made his way over to the men and placed himself behind them. The screams had stopped by now and only their filthy and disgusting talk and laughing could be heard, and Connor did not waste a second longer. He pulled another gun and pointed both his weapons at their heads, and when they finally noticed him it was already too late. Two bullets hit the back of their heads, killing them immediately. One of the men fell right on top of the woman, the other right next to her.
For a moment Connor stood there, both guns raised and still pointed at the dead bodies. He knew that he was supposed to say the prayer, give them pennies, but somehow he couldn't do it any longer. Ever since he had last spoken the prayer back in Boston he just couldn't do it anymore. No pennies, no prayer, not even the rosaries, which he kept in his backpack now instead of wearing them. He still loved god and deep down inside he still believed in him, but ever since he had shot his brother he had forced himself not to pray for a while, to be mad at god for taking his twin but forcing him to stay on this rotting world. The Irishman let out a gentle sigh and put the guns away, and then he knelt down to get rid of the bodies and check on the woman.
She was already dead. And once again he was all alone.
No screams, no breathing, just another bloody mess all around him. Connor let go of the woman with a frustrated growl and got back up to check out the whole camp. He could see the bodies of the soldiers he had killed, but also their victims. Three men, three women, with the youngest getting raped. Another woman had ripped clothes, and all the females had been shot in their backs just like he had witnessed. Then he could see the men's wounds. It looked like they had been shot in the front. The Irishman supposed that they had tried to stop the military men from attacking their women, only to get mowed down by bullets.
When the two other women had been too loud they had been shot as well. Connor closed his eyes and swallowed hard. It was like he could still hear their screams in his head, and once again he cursed himself for not being there in time to safe them. But he also cursed himself because he didn't even care anymore, didn't even feel anything anymore. No regret, no disappointment. Just the utterly dark and deep grief. He walked past all the bodies and searched the camp for something useful. He found some ammo and a little bit of food, but it looked like the small group had just escaped the bloody mess at the Fort, that they had been trying to set up another small camp. It was absolutely useless, and once again those evil thoughts crossed his mind when he saw all the dead bodies all around him.
Might as well shoot yourself.
Just so he didn't have to hear Murphy's screams every night, just so he didn't have to watch him and all the other people die ever day and every night.
He was all alone everytime, and no matter what he did, he could never save anyone, never help anyone, never be with anyone.
He was so incredibly lonely and depressed.
For a second he actually considered pointing the gun at himself. Pull the trigger and end it, just like he had wanted to do it right after Murphy's death. He stood by the bodies and froze completely, his fingers twitching and almost urging to take his gun. Just when he was about to actually do it the radio inside one of the cars came to life.
"...fuge camps in Atlanta. We offer food, shelter and protection by the national guard and military. I repeat. The city center of Atlanta is completely safe and protected. We offer food, shelter and protection. Please stay off the major roads and stay safe. We are one of the three refuge camps in Atlanta. We offer..."
Connor looked up and stared at the car as he listened to the emergency broadcast that kept repeating itself over and over again. He knew that maybe it was just another dead end, but right now he didn't care. He needed someone to guide his way and make him do something. He needed god to tell him what to do. Because without any guidance he would just end up doing something very stupid. He just knew it. The Irishman grabbed his bag and all the things he collected and approached the car with the broadcast because he had a new plan, a new destination.
The begging and screaming of women and men in his head wouldn't stop. And then there they were: Murphy's screams, calling his name, shouting and shouting. A violent pull on his shirt snapped him out of it and he realized that it weren't the people of Fort Benning, and it certainly wasn't Murphy who was shouting his name. There was a violent ache in his shoulder because the man next to him was grabbing his right arm and kept pulling. No, Murphy's screams weren't back, it was Daryl who was shouting at him.
"Do something!" he yelled as he kept kicking and moving, and just then Connor could see what was going on.
When he had zoned out a walker had crawled out from underneath a car and was grabbing his friend's leg, trying to bite him and attack him.
The walker didn't get to do it because Daryl kept kicking and fighting, and the hunter didn't get to kill the undead because of the angle.
"Do something!" he yelled once more and Connor finally reacted.
He darted forward and started kicking the undead hard, and then he lunged out and stomped the walkers head, forcing it to crack and split wide open with guts and pieces of his skull and his brains raining down on the asphalt. Both Connor and Daryl were panting because of the attack, and the hunter looked both furious and confused.
"What the hell was that about?! That geek could've chewed on me, yah moron!" he complained and hit his friend's injured shoulder on purpose.
Connor just winced and placed his broken hand on it, whilst using his other hand to place it on his throbbing and warm forehead.
"Fuck, 'm sorry man. I just zoned out."
Daryl frowned and Connor took a deep breath. He pointed at the corner from where they could hear all the moaning.
"It's just that there's a fuckton of walkers over there, and they won't fucking shut up. They keep begging and shit like that."
The hunter frowned even more.
"Aye. I fuckin told ye, ever since I got bit two days ago I can hear all that bullshit in my head whenever walkers are close and it's driving me nuts, man" he muttered and started rotating his shoulder again to relax his tensed muscles a bit. Daryl watched him just a bit longer, then he approached his friend, grabbed his hand to drag it away from his forehead to place it on it himself.
"That's cos your melon's still being fried in there."
He let go and shook his head.
"Why the fuck did yah say yes to this shit then? Been here for two days and all I see is you running around and doing shit.
You got bit, and your shoulder and hand's fucked up. You should rest, man."
"There's a fucking war going on here, alright? I need ta make a plan, make this work" Connor muttered and then turned around to head for the car.
He ignored the fact that he felt like shit right now, and he also ignored the walkers that were close by and kept walking.
"Connor!" Daryl yelled after him but the Irishman just waved his friend off.
When he reached the car and all the shouting and groaning got louder he decided to walk past the vehicle, making it only worse for his friend.
"Hey, where are yah going?"
"'m gonna have a look!"
He could hear how Daryl ran after him, but he kept going. As soon as he walked around the corner he could see that there were a whole bunch of walkers piling up on one fence that separated another prison yard from the parking lot. There was no getting in and they all were just standing there, moaning and reaching out and gasping and shaking the fence. Daryl eventually caught up with his friend.
"Hey, what the hell did we all agree on when we were talking about running of on our own?" he growled and hit his friend once again, who kept staring at the walkers with a blank look on his face. It was obvious that there was something going on, and truth be told, it freaked Daryl out a bit. There certainly was some weird shit going on with his friend, and part of the hunter was actually scared.
Connor had been bit two times now, and two times all that infectious walker stuff had entered his body. He didn't know much about all that anatomy and medical bullshit, but he was pretty sure that there had to be some percentage of walker stuff that was still inside his friend's body, because otherwise the walkers wouldn't react to him that way, wouldn't see them as their own. What if this time there was some part of his friend that was now actually connecting to those undead pricks? Or even worse, what if his brain was somehow damaged or slowly dying off because of all this? He had seen the video back at the CDC. How the virus had entered the brain and killed it, switched it off step by step until it was just the infection operating the brain. The whole brain stuff could also explain his friend's hallucinations or whatever it was. He prayed to god that Connor was alright.
"Maybe we should just get the car for Andrea and head back" he muttered, trying to get his friend away from the walkers.
Not only because the fence could give in any minute, but also because the Irishman was acting super weird around them lately.
"And when we're done we can work on the tat, just like yah said back inside. Maybe we.."
"I think we should use those dead fucks somehow" Connor suddenly spoke up and put his healthy hand in his pocket.
"Lead them inside certain parts of te prison as protection from any sort of attack by te people of Woodbury. Just like I told ye about the tombs and the yard.
I mean just look all around us, there's thousands of those fucks. And maybe fer the first time they're actually useful. Like cattle."
Daryl examined the walkers a little closer. He knew that his friend got a point and that it was actually pretty smart, but he still didn't like it.
Walkers were a double edged sword, and just because they didn't attack Connor it didn't mean that they wouldn't attack them.
"Let's just..let's just get the car outta here and deal with Andrea first. We can sort that out later" he muttered and grabbed the keys from his friend to get back to the car.
Connor watched the undead a little while longer and then followed Daryl. As the two men made their way back to the car the hunter still kept looking at his friend with a worried look on his face. He tried to distract the two of them from everything that was happening around them right now, so he started talking.
"I talked to Merle when yah were talking t'Andrea" he muttered and Connor looked at his friend.
"He's sorry 'bout your picture and everything. Really."
Connor smirked tiredly.
"And you think I don't know ye well enough ta know that yer just saying this ta make him look better and gimme some peace? We both know that he didn't really say that."
Daryl chewed on his lips and shrugged.
"Yeah, well maybe he didn't say that. But I know my bro and he's real sorry."
"And I think yer trying too hard ta make us like him."
Daryl sighed. They had almost reached the car and slowed down.
"Merle just...he just does some shit sometimes without meaning anything by that. And I told 'im to leave yah be. He's an ass, but he ain't no bad guy. "
"Aye, he tortured and nearly killed Glenn outta the goodness of his heart. Not ta mention that he threatened ta kill me if I get close ta you."
"Well, you didn't tell him anything else yesterday. Besides, he's just as jealous of yah as you are of him. Cos I told 'im that you were a better bro to me than he ever was."
The older of the two looked up with a surprised smirk.
Daryl avoided direct eye contact and grabbed the keys to get the door open.
"If he's smart he'll try to live up to that now and shouldn't be no problem anymore" he muttered and tried to insert the key.
Right then the car alarm went off. Both men widened their eyes in surprise and the hunter was furious in a matter of seconds.
"I thought it's this one, yah moron!" he yelled and tried to shut the car alarm up by clicking some of the buttons on the car keys.
Right then they could hear the sound and flickering of lights of another car, which was actually on the other side of the parking lot and way closer to the exit.
"Well it looks like it's the other one! Fucking kill it!" Connor answered and turned around.
He could already see a couple of walkers from the road making their way towards their prison. He didn't even need to see them, he could already hear them anyway.
He could see them reaching out for him, trying to get to him, talk to him.
"Kill it!" he yelled once more as Daryl kept pressing the button in confusion and panic, but nothing would happen.
The Irishman then drew his gun with a growl and shot a bullet at the window to make it break.
His friend used the time to position himself by the back of the car to take aim at any walkers that got too close.
"Hurry, this is your fault you dumbass!" he yelled over his shoulder as Connor disappeared inside the car so he could open the engine hood.
"'m fuckin trying! Why are those things so fucking loud?!" the blonde yelled back.
As soon as the hood was open he jumped out of the car so he could get to the cables of the battery.
"Those dead freaks broke through the fence! Hurry!" Daryl yelled once more and shot the first two walkers that got too close.
After a couple of seconds of fumbling with the cables Connor finally managed to cut them and the alarm finally died.
But a whole bunch of walkers were still staggering in their direction.
"Come on, let's go!" the hunter shouted after getting one of his arrows back and then making his way back to the exit and car they wanted to take.
They could already see that Rick, Glenn, Maggie and the others had opened the steel doors back to their yard so they could cover their backs and give them some cover fire if needed. Both Connor and Daryl started running, and when they had almost reached the gate the younger of the two suddenly heard a loud thud behind him, making him turn around. He let out a surprised gasp and shouted "No!" when he suddenly saw that his friend was lying there on the ground, unmoving and unconscious by the looks of it.
"What's wrong with him?!" he heard Glenn shout, but Daryl was already on his way back to get the Irishman, ignoring all the walkers that were coming closer and closer.
"Daryl!" he heard Rick yell, and a few seconds later he could fast footsteps behind him.
Just then he reached the blonde who was still lying on the ground, and his heart nearly missed a beat because he didn't know what was going on.
"Hey, hey! Come on, man! We gotta go!" he muttered and hit his friend's cheek a couple of times, but without any luck.
Connor was still knocked out completely. A couple of seconds later Rick already reached them and helped the hunter to get his friend to the other side of the gate.
"What happened?" he asked as he shot another walker with his gun and then grabbed Connor's arm to lift him up.
"I... I don't know! We were just talkin and he..he was fine a minute ago and then he just dropped!"