It had been five days with no proper food or water but it felt like weeks and it really started to take its toll on me. I hadn't eaten anything since the raspberries I had discovered yesterday evening and that wasn't a lot but it was everything I had found. Hunting was out of question since I knew nothing about hunting and I had no weapons suitable for it. I only had a knife I had found from some cabin I had stayed in two nights ago and my messenger bag full of my personal items which were useless nowadays. There was absolutely no use for an iPhone, money or anything else that used to matter in the world. I could feel the tears of desperation sliding down my cheeks as I crouched down next to the roots of a huge fallen tree.
Everyone was dead now because of the things, the zombies. I had seen my sister and her husband get eaten alive by them and there had been nothing to do. My dad and I had escaped the scene as fast as we could after the screaming had stopped. Tears were falling faster and faster, making wet spots appear to the knees of my forest green cargo pants as I went through the horror of the past few weeks. I wiped the tears away with the back of my hand messing up the little make up I had put on days ago. I clenched my left fist and bit it, trying to muffle the sound of my sobbing. Even though I had nothing, no parents, no family, no friends, it didn't mean I wouldn't want to keep living instead of ending up zombie food. I started to get up from my hiding place as I heard a small noise, like a footstep. I quickly ducked down under the same roots. I waited for at least 5 minutes and nothing happened. I let out a relieved sigh and stood back up.
I looked down at my shirt and pulled it lower. It was a little too small but it was the only reasonable shirt I had found from the cabin after I had gotten my own shirt dirty after killing a zombie with a brick. As I raised my head back up I heard something behind me. I turned around at the same time as I pulled out the knife from my belt and held it in front of me my hands trembling. All I could see at the moment was an arrow pointed straight into my face. I backed up dropping my knife and hit my back to a nearby tree. My eyes focused on the person holding the black crossbow. He was tall and looked angry. His light brown hair was messy and he was covered with dirt and leaves.
"Ya been bit?" He asked. He was definitely from around here according to his southern accent.
"No! Don't shoot me, please!" I replied sliding down the tree. Soon I was sitting on the ground my arms around my knees. The man lowered his crossbow and glanced at me.
"Git up." He ordered as he started to walk away picking up a dark lump from the ground. I squinted my eyes trying to see what it was. Maybe he's a murderer and is disposing a body! I felt the panic rise and the adrenaline kicking in preparing me to run for my life. I slowly stood up leaning to the tree as he turned around slowly motioning at me with his crossbow. "Ya comin'?" He asked. I could now see that the lump was a dead deer. I felt so relived I wanted to laugh. Like come on, if he were a killer he would've killed me already. I stood up and started to walk towards him. He threw something at me and I caught it. It was a bunch of dead squirrels tied together by their tails. I felt like throwing up but I acted strong and held them away from my clothes and followed the stranger in complete silence.
After about an hour I started to get nervous again. The uncomfortable quietness was messing with my head. I picked up his speed and placed my hand on his arm. He turned around unbelievably fast dropping the deer and pointing his bow at me.
"Never do that again, woman!" He snarled angrily and dropped the bow down after he saw my shocked face. "What is it?"
"I… I just wanted to know where we're heading." I said quietly staring at the arrow in his palm. I really needed to be more careful around him. He threw the deer on his shoulder again and started to walk.
"There's a camp 15-25 minutes from here depending on how slow ya are. We've got couple survivors there. Come on, we don't have the entire day to just stand here." He replied as I kept following him through the woods.
Just like he had said, 15 minutes later we approached a campsite, which was full of cars and tents. It was wonderful to see that many people after being alone in the woods for days. Many curious pairs of eyes followed the man and I closely as he demanded me to pass the squirrels and walked away leaving me alone next to a big and old RV. I looked around seeing a young boy on the other side of the car. He was wearing that type of hat sheriffs wear, or wore, before the world went shit.
"Oh dear! How did you end up here? Let me come down and I'll get the others!" An elder man called from the roof of the RV. He was sitting there on a lawn chair holding a shotgun. "Maybe I am too old for keeping watch." He chuckled as he climbed down. "I didn't see you coming. I'm Dale Horvath and this is our camp and this here," he said patting the hood of the RV "Is my home. So, how did you find here?" The man asked taking off his hat.
"I was brought in by a man. Didn't catch his name but he was dirty and had a crossbow…" I began but was interrupted by a woman.
"That had to be Daryl, Daryl Dixon. He's our hunter." I turned around to see a really skinny woman with white short, and by short I mean really short hair. "I'm Carol Peletier and this is my daughter Sophia."
"I'm Alexis Valeria Bextor, nice to meet you all." I replied smiling at the little girl why was standing next to her mother. The woman motioned me to follow her and soon I had met everyone at the camp. There was Rick Grimes who seemed to be the leader of the group, his wife Lori, a tall and beautiful brunette and then there was their son Carl who had been the kid wearing the sheriff's hat. I met T-dog who seemed like good guy and Andrea who also seemed nice but had a little tomboy act going on. I could see she wasn't that into having new people around. I had also met Glenn, an Asian guy who I liked instantly. I knew we could be great friends. Last one I met was Shane. He was strongly built and he had short buzz cut hair that went together with his clothes that were a little army-like. They all demanded to know my story so as some of them gutted the squirrels I sat down next to them and told them how my sister's wedding ceremony was attacked by some zombies and how my dad and I were able to escape together. We had ran to the forest and came across with a house which we raided since there wasn't anyone. About a week after that a zombie got my dad and I was alone in the woods until Daryl had found me.
The darkness had arrived and the only light was the fire Andrea had started for Carol to cook the squirrels Daryl had caught earlier. I hadn't seen him since he disappeared after leaving me to the others. I wanted to tell him how grateful I was and I was getting a little worried. I tried to ignore the bad feeling since everyone else was okay with his absence. As I was thinking about Daryl Dixon I was handed one of the squirrels I had carried in in the woods. I stared at it with disgust but since it was the only food I had, I bit into it. It wasn't that bad after all I had to admit after the first bite.
"It's no minute steak but better than nothing." Carol said smiling as she started at me.
"No, no! You have no idea how good this is after nearly starving to death in the woods." I replied returning the smile and taking another bite. She was still smiling as she stood up and walked to a bucket and dropped her plate and fork into it. She took Sophia's hand in hers and announced she's off to bed. Everyone said their goodbyes and then everyone fell quiet. Only noise in the dark was the sound of the cracking fire and random munching of the people eating. Soon they struck up a conversation about CDC and how it had been a disappointment. I had no idea what they were talking about so I turned to Lori and asked her if I could wash up somewhere. I hadn't cleaned up myself for days and I had started to disgust even myself. Lori stood up and walked to her tent giving me some spare clothes, a towel and an electric lantern and walked me to a small lake.
"This is it! Our luxury shower" She joked as I placed the clothes on a rock. "Here's some shampoo and conditioner for you as well as some body soap. Take your time but watch out for the walkers."
"Walkers?" I asked.
"The walking dead, the zombies." She replied and started to walk away. "I'll be by the fire waiting for you." And with that she disappeared to the darkness. I took a look at the clothes and saw a pair of black skinny jeans, green tank top, underwear and on top of them the toiletries. I started to pull off my shirt and dropped it to the ground as I heard a rustling sound from my left. I grabbed my knife and the lantern and pointed them at the intruder. I was met with a pair of blue eyes and messy hair. I could make up his facial features thanks to the bluish moonlight reflecting from the lake and the lantern I was holding.
"Jesus, woman!" He said as he came completely out of the woods. I wrapped my arms in front of me trying to protect my half naked chest from his eyes. "Yer crazy if ya think 'bout skinny dippin' in the dark alone." He continued as he walked closer.
"What's that supposed to mean?" I asked warily when he was only few feet from me. He sat down to the rock where my clothes were piled and faced away from the lake.
"I'll keep watch. Hand me the lantern and go ahead." He replied. I understood what he meant and I realised how stupid I had been when I hadn't asked anyone to keep watch. I gave him the lantern over his shoulder and started to strip down my jeans. My eyes stayed focused on his back. As I was positive that he wasn't trying anything funny I took off rest of my clothes and stepped into the lake. It was just the right temperature. Soon I was neck deep in the water and dived to get my hair wet. As I surfaced I realised I had left the soaps by the rock. Awkwardly I cleared my throat trying to get Daryl's attention. Nothing. I tried again and this time he turned around a little, his side facing me.
"Yea?" He asked leaning to his knees.
"Could you pass me the soap and shampoo?" I pleaded quietly.
"Sure." He responded throwing the bag at me. He turned back around and allowed me to finish washing my long red hair.
Five minutes later I was standing by the rock wrapped in a towel.
"Thank you." I said before he turned around.
"It was nothin', just sum soaps." He responded standing up.
"No, thank you for saving me. If you hadn't been there and took me with you I'd probably be walker food by now. So, thanks Daryl." His face stayed expressionless as he handed me the lantern.
"Yer turn to return the favor." He replied starting to unbutton his sleeveless button up.
"Excuse me?" I stuttered as he walked past me dropping his shirt to the ground next to mine.
"Ya stay on guard? If ya see or hear anythin' strange just call my name." I stared at him open mouthed -and relieved- but turned around as I saw his hands moving to his belt buckle.
"Yeah! Sure! I will!" I responded as I sat down to the rock. I started to pull up the panties Lori gave me, still holding the towel around me. I didn't want to give the man a private show. Soon I was dressed and I wrapped the towel around my damp hair.
"Hey girl" Daryl yelled from the lake. I turned my head at him and couldn't help but admire his toned arms and chest. I think I even saw few tattoos but it was hard to tell because of the lack of light. "What's yer name?"
"Alexis Valeria Bextor." I responded staring at him. He chuckled a little and I believe I looked kind of lost because he explained.
"Alexis means 'a defender' and Valeria means 'strong'. Ironic much? Yer parents did have hopes for yer future."
"Hey!" I yelled as he kept chuckling as he bathed in the lake. Suddenly I heard a twig break on my right and I screamed.
I have this bad habit of starting new stories before completing the old ones... but I've wanted to write a Daryl/OC fiction for so long and now I finally got something written! I hope that you guys like this so I'm going to sleep tonight with my fingers crossed.