The views expressed in this story do not reflect the views of this author or The Walking Dead creators. This is a re-imagining of the second season of AMC's The Walking Dead. There are scenes of violence, gore, and otherwise disturbing subject material. If you are interested enough to be reading or writing fan fiction about a zombie apocalypse, you probably already know this.

THE WALKING DEAD - BETTER ANGELS

Cold as a corpse, the night begged for murder and Shane Walsh humored it.

Holding his best friend at gunpoint, the malefactor marveled at how well his plan had gone considering how the odds were stacked against him. Dale, Randall, Lori - he was especially worried that a tracker like Daryl with a scary record for picking up tiny details would discover his treachery. But none of that mattered, now that the son of a bitch who'd come back from the dead was in his sights. This time nobody was around to stop him or notice him. No one around to report him to the others, send the group into a panic. Rick got bit by a walker, he'd say, Had to put him down.

Rick was already a shadow of his former self. The only two, maybe three people who could see that were Shane, Lori, of course, and his son, Carl. Shane noticed that the boy was noticing his father's irresponsible actions more and more. Carl wasn't just a little boy who needed to be protected by his mother anymore. He couldn't be that little boy anymore, not after getting shot as a result of Rick's carelessness. That only made Shane angrier.

Angrier still when Rick finally drew his sidearm. Balls for doing it while he still had a gun pointed at him, but shit-for-brains when he twirled the gun around, promising that he would die unarmed, helpless.

Shane tightened his grip on his sidearm, sensing that there was foul play at work here. Rick was a clever son of a bitch, he had to give him that. No way he'd just turn his gun over, acting this nonchalant over dying, losing his chance at Carl and Lori. Shane was able to leave men for dead, or snap a kid's neck when the safety of the group and his family demanded it, but killing a completely unarmed acquaintance made his stomach turn.

Rick slowly approached him, spewing hollow words and promises that they could still make amends after all this.

Each word patted the deranged man's shoulder, telling him that things would be all right and that his death threat would go unpunished. Soon Rick was barely four feet away from him, holding his sidearm so that Shane could grab it from him.

He almost did, but as his hand went for Rick's gun, Shane saw an image of Lori from after one of their trysts. She whispered her love to him and vanished. His swollen eye twitched. Rick noticed this and started for the knife at his side. Shane noticed this as well, and threw his arms up, backpedaling in time to avoid the cold swipe Rick attempted.

Shane had survived this close encounter, but his former friend and partner was far from finished. Rick dove after him, knife ready, and Shane's only protection was a jacket and good fortune. The two bodies collided and tangled, miraculously avoiding fatal paths as they exchanged blows. Two gunshots spilled into the night and the fight resumed, taking a toll on what little remained of either man's sanity.

Obviously, a victor was decided. Unlike the way Hollywood portrayed it, men suffer from the same mortality as everyone else in a fistfight.

The man lacking a fatal injury rose, a gun in his hand, a knife in the other. The moonlight revealed bloody, wounded features that now rested on the man's face. Shane gathered the spit from his throat and tossed it to the ground, barely an inch away from his fallen partner's face. The man he'd respected, fought alongside of, shared most of his secrets with lay there, shivering as his last breaths escaped him. Shane had gotten lucky. The knife Rick drew had come this close to piercing him through the heart, but for all may have been the wind itself leading Rick's arm astray, the knife skidded lightly across his chest and given him the time to club the side of Rick's head, stunning him. Long enough for Shane to take aim, curse Rick's name and existence, and fire. The bullet surged through the air and into Rick's heart, ending his resistance once and for all.

Rick got bit by a walker. Had to put him down.

Rage condensing, Shane pointed his handgun at the top of Rick's corpse and squeezed the trigger. The bullet blew away a good portion of Rick's scalp, indicating the man died prior to becoming a Walker. If the head is destroyed, the Walker dies instantly despite all evidence to the contrary. However, becoming a Walker first involved getting bitten in the first place. Shane bit his lip hard until thin lines of blood emerged. This plan was beyond disgusting, but necessary.

He leaned hesitantly, then knelt down so that he couldn't see the hollowed, lifeless eyes that were looking back at him, screaming "You killed me! You did this!" in pained tones. If Rick, a seasoned police officer, was caught off-guard in a Walker attack, Shane knew it would have to have been a severe Walker attack to pin good ol' Rick down.

Glaring at the corpse, Shane held his breath and took a large bite into Rick's face, chewing into his cheek so that the wound was deep and garish. As he finished creating a cheek wound, he spit out the fleshy leftovers and reeled. How on god's green earth Walkers could hunt and digest human flesh like that was a question he never wanted to hear the answer to.

The urge to vomit wrestled with his survival instinct as Shane took Rick's knife and drove it into his dead friend's shoulder, carving a miniature Texas and wedging it free from the rest of the skin. Tossing this piece away too, Shane's exhibit was now a believable cover story for a well-planned murder. Two deep bite wounds, the brain destroyed or damaged to prevent reanimation, and enough time and space for him to recover and forge his story.

"Fuck you Rick." he mumbled, suddenly shouting, "FUCK YOU RICK. FUCK YOU!" not caring who heard or saw him.

Years he could have been fucking Lori. Years she could have been sucking his dick. All those years he spent banging girl after girl were squandered when Rick married Lori, had a son with her, and kept on living the good life. Shane had just started to get those years back when Rick bit the farm on the day everything changed. The day that he first held Lori in his arms, unable to say whether his best friend was alive or dead, most likely the former. All it took was for that son of a bitch to have a lucky second wind for him to come and find them through the fucking apocalypse, weeks after they'd moved away, for everything to come crashing down on Shane.

Cold-blooded as this whole night may have seemed, this was what was right. This was the way things needed to be. Lori and Carl would need time to mourn, any human being would. But both had already lost Rick once; the only difference was that this time, Shane assured himself that Rick was gone for good.

"Dad?" a voice called out from the darkness of Hershel's farm.

In his short-lived revelry of murdering Rick, Shane took baby steps down the hill in a direction opposite the direction Daryl and Glenn had gone. He spotted the small form that was running over to Rick's corpse, regretting instantly that he'd left Rick there and intercepting the boy with a tackle. Carl cried as Shane restrained him, obstructing the boy's dead father from his line of sight. "Stop it Carl!" he shouted, face covered in sweat. "What the hell are you doing here!?"

"My dad! He's... he's...!" the boy stuttered on these words and never seemed to connect Shane's battered appearance with his father's corpse, sitting there in the moonlight in biblical poise.

Keeping the boy from getting a closer look was easy even in his panicked state, and the weary police officer maintained a strong grip on him as Carl's cries worsened. He twisted Carl around so that his face was obscured, hiding the dark satisfaction that tainted his lips. With Rick permanently out of his way, Shane didn't have to oblige Lori's selfish requests anymore. He was the only one of Carl's father figures still alive, so whether she liked it or not, she needed him to fill the void in what remained of their family.

Sooner or later, he'd win Lori back too. For now, all he needed to do was sob and keep Carl ignorant of his father's true fate.

That was the first problem Shane Walsh found in his plan. No matter how hard he tried, the tears for Rick Grimes wouldn't come to him. Even as he looked Carl Grimes, soon to be his adopted son, straight in the eyes and saw the boy's fleeting despair drain from his face, Shane felt no amount of sorrow enter or leave him. To keep up this charade, he needed to show more emotion than he did with Otis or Randall. Dale had detected the first lie from the way Shane acted, and Rick, moments before his death, apparently knew that his best friend had killed in cold blood before and planned to do so again.

In order for him to cry, Shane focused his mind on Lori - her being eaten by a Walker, but not just any Walker. No, this Walker was specifically-crafted to awaken the humanity that rested within him. The Walker eating Lori from the innards of her womb was none other than the baby he had given her. The baby, somehow, had died and come back as a Walker and instinctively began consuming its mother while she was still conscious. The horror was enough to wedge those few genuine tears from his face, elevating his performance as he sobbed along with Carl, pretending that these were pains drawn from having to shoot his best friend to save him from becoming a Walker.

Together, Shane explained the reason why Rick was laying there to his son as sympathetically as he could. Carl was a strong boy, and in-between his cries, he staggered over to his father's corpse with hatred burning inside him. Shane gazed off into the darkness ahead of them, putting his hand in front of Carl before he got too close. The second problem in Shane Walsh's plan was easy to spot from here.

A herd of Walkers, numbering in what had to be hundreds, was swiftly converging on them.