So yes, this is an AU about Shane being the victor in his battle with Rick at the end of Season 2. By a stroke of luck, Rick dies and Shane manages to clear himself in time for a good ol-fashioned Walker invasion.

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.

BETTER ANGELS - PART TWO

Run, Shane thought, ushering his son to the safety of the farm to the south. If he had to take on a hundred Walkers all by himself to protect Carl and Lori, he'd have done it. But add another four hundred to that and Shane accepted just how hopelessly outnumbered he was. He checked his gun as he urged Carl to sprint faster. His Glock 17 had only fired four rounds including the one that "destroyed Rick's brain". Then there was Rick's gun which Rick had chosen not to fire, so that one still had a full clip. Whatever extra ammo he might have had on his person, Shane was too preoccupied with putting distance between them and the mass of shadows emerging from the night to check.

Had a couple of shots really attracted so many of them? How the fuck is that even possible, Shane's mind raced, Fucking Rick, all he ever does is bring trouble into town!


Shit, Daryl scowled when he and Glenn returned to Hershel's house, Shane's been screwing with us.

The walk back from the woods where Shane had gotten "jumped" by Randall was an excruciating one, laced with questions and paranoia that the hunter couldn't answer. He had been content to stomach Shane's deceit so long as it meant there was an extra gun protecting the camp, the farm, or whatever place they happened to call 'home' these days. Shane had led their group for a short time, before Rick stepped in and took over, and Shane had led them toward Atlanta, toward guns, toward security and stability. The worst Daryl ever picked up on was Shane sacrificing Otis, but even that was to bring back the respirator that Hershel needed to save Carl's life.

Their hunt for Randall was a failure, but Daryl knew why. The tracks he'd found were too close for Randall to have snuck up on Shane, and Shane definitely wasn't a hunter so it probably wasn't the vice-versa. To top things off, Randall's neck was broken, turning into a Walker just in time for them to run into him. There wasn't a bite on the boy's neck. Maybe they should have checked longer; it was dark after all, and the blood from the machete wound might have smeared any bite marks, but still, the whole thing was giving Daryl a headache.

When they heard the gunshot back in the direction of the farm, Daryl and Glenn rushed back there and walked inside where everything looked somber, but normal. Daryl and Glenn relayed the news to everybody. Rick and Shane were no-shows, and for some reason, Carl wasn't standing by his mother in the living room. Despite this observation, Lori approached Daryl with a worried look on her face.

Her concern was elsewhere, "Would you please get back out there and find Shane and Rick and find out what the hell is going on?"

The gravity of this situation made Daryl nod to her compliantly. He sure as hell wanted some explanations for all of this too.

Explanations would have to wait of course, judging from all the howling coming from outside. Daryl followed the others onto Hershel's porch. There was a horde lingering around the farm. He hadn't seen a number this huge since Atlanta, and that was during the daytime. No telling from what corner of the world these freaks turned up from.


Shane Walsh and Carl Grimes ran for their lives from the walking dead.

Walkers in packs were dangerous in close combat, and a horde of Walkers at night was ten times worse. Shane saw only one way out toward the barn. Somehow, their retreat was being blocked as Walkers slowly enveloped the farm. Running towards the barn and barricading themselves inside it was the best available course. Carl wanted to warn the others, but Shane shot the idea down at the sight of a conga line of Walkers surrounding Hershel's house.

"This way!" Shane ordered, pointing at the barn where Hershel had kept a stock of Walkers not long ago. The irony was sweeter than the odor.

Inside, the barn was rusted and old. Stable, strong enough to wall in over a dozen Walkers and some chickens. Farm equipment decorated the stables, unused for obvious reasons. There was a clicking sound when Shane slid the lock on the barn door, followed by a hurricane of hungry moans and gunshots. Hershel's family and the rest must have been out there already, fending off the invasion. Shane had counted the guns and ammunition himself; they could burn through all of it and still not put a dent in this horde. Fortunately, there were two things sitting inside this barn that could.

"Carl, give me a hand!"

There were cars far-off in the distance and the gunshots started getting louder and closer. For a moment, Shane felt like he was being abandoned, betrayed by the group for killing their leader. It would have been impossible for anyone else except for Carl and himself to know of Rick's demise. There was nothing to fear, nothing except for the way the barn walls rattled. His plan could still work out in the end.

Carl was finished with his gasoline can at the same time as him, so Shane tossed their cans away and guided Carl up the stairs. Reassuring the frightened lad of his plan, Shane told him to head up the ladder while he dealt with their Walker problem. He sprinted over to the barn doors, unlocked them, then pounded on the doors a few times to gain attention. The doors were pushed in by nine or more hands, all reaching for human flesh.

"Come on, you want this!? You want this!?" he chided them, begging the monsters closer. "Come and get it!" He drew his Glock and put two rounds through two of them. His vision blurred with rage, but he kept goading the Walkers further and further into the barn, scurrying up the ladder as they cornered him, until the barn was flooded with Walkers.

A lighter fell from the darkness, hitting the floor through the sheer number of Walkers.

Underneath the Walkers lay a slick of gasoline, now burning brighter than before. The trap he and Carl had set ignited, sending a furious beacon of light all across the farm, a message to retreat.


Walkers bloomed across the farm. A fire raged within the barn where Glenn found all those Walkers and later Sophia. Daryl scoped the area, taking pot shots now and then to ward off any monster that came too close.

Once he'd picked a path, he drove through the howls, groans, and screams until he was a safe distance away. It was hard enough finding a safe spot to shoot from; darkness covered the farm. Hershel's daughter made sure to turn off the lights so as not to attract any Walkers from the herd, so the only lights out here were the farm, Daryl's headlight, and the faint taillights of Dale's RV.

In the front seat was Jimmy, putting down three more Walkers all by himself. Refusing to be outdone, Daryl bagged another three before he rode up to the side of the RV. "Must of been Rick or Shane that started that fire, maybe they're trying to get around out back!" he shouted, remembering how terrified Lori was to see that Rick and Shane weren't back yet.

Jimmy complied and took off towards the farm in the RV. Daryl drove back to the house and followed the dirt road away from the farm. He was running out of bullets and the horde wasn't letting up anytime soon. Driving away from the raging fire, there were two pools of Walkers near the side of the barn, right where the RV was, and another pool that was next to a blue truck. Both were probably feeding... he didn't want to know who.

Atop a grassy grade thinly cradled in moonlight, Daryl slowed and watched the flames grow higher, seizing the night.

A woman's voice pulled his attention away from the ruined sanctuary to a fence that led to the outside. There he saw a defenseless Carol running into the darkness, pursued by a squad of Walkers.

This farm was obviously lost, so Rick and Shane would probably lead the others back to the highway. Daryl snorted as he drove towards Carol. "Come on, we ain't got all day!"

The widowed mother deliriously latched onto him with more speed than he knew she had. She urged him, "Go! Go!" and he obliged.

They got away from the farm in less than a minute.


"GET OVER HERE!" Shane thundered, waving over the driver of the RV to come and pick them up.

They'd gotten here in the nick of the time. Escaping from the lower part of the barn was impossible, and just as soon as the fire started, more Walkers surrounded the barn as if they expected for two human meals to have an ultimatum: burn to death, or jump down and be eaten alive.

He watched Carl pick off a couple of Walkers then pulled him forward to the edge of the barn's roof. Shane went first, then helped Carl hop to the roof of the RV. Shane knelt down, banging and yelling at the RV's current driver to let them know that they were safely onboard. The only response he received were the ravenous cries from the mass of Walkers below.

Things went from bad to worse; Carl had used most of his rounds sniping at Walkers in the darkness, and Shane kept Rick's revolver hidden, a testament to his guilt. If they didn't move soon, more Walkers would surround the RV, blocking their escape the same way the Walkers around the barn did. He tried to open the RV's roof hatch, but the hatch was locked for some reason.

The air thick with rot, lucky were they that the hatch was opened from below - Jimmy, the boy who lived with Hershel's family, hurried with them into the RV, slamming the hatch shut.

Inside the RV, a mist of hands reached through the unlocked doors.

'Course, the hatch is locked and the doors aren't, Shane cursed, pulling Rick's gun from his jacket to knock back an unlucky Walker. The body limped and stalled the Walkers trying to break in, but not for long. Shane started to say they should climb back up and look for another way out, just as a gunshot came from behind him. He spun around, catching Carl with his gun aimed at one of the RV's windows. Carl fired again, shooting out another window in the back area. Shane smiled, impressed by his son's ingenuity, then took one of the pillows from the back area and cleared some of the glass from the broken window.

He handed Jimmy the revolver that Rick carried, "Here, you've got four shots, make'em count kid. Stick with us!" accepting it, Jimmy nodded and stood back.

Shane climbed through the broken window first, checking their surroundings before he helped Carl exit from the same window. Jimmy struggled getting out of the other window as a mass of hands scratched at him, having found their way past Shane's blockade and into the den of the RV. He landed on his knees, but nothing had taken a bite out of him so he was no worse for wear. The trio fled into the darkness together.

"Carl, where's the last place you saw your mom?" asked Shane.

"She... she was in the house!" The boy answered.

Following the dirt trails north would bring them back to Hershel's house, hopefully to Lori and the others. Jimmy suggested they head east, find another car or some of the horses and high-tail it. He was alone on this of course.

Shane and Carl both demanded to know about Lori's location, so Jimmy opted to find a car and come back from them while they searched. There were three cars circling around the farm, pecking at the herd of Walkers. One of them, a blue truck, turned around and raced away from the barn. The truck drove around the opposite side of Hershel's house and missed Shane and Carl completely.

There were a few more gunshots ringing from the front porch of the house. It sounded like somebody firing a shotgun, apparently without even needing to reload. Shane searched the exterior of the house, spotting the lone figure firing with professional skill into oncoming Walkers. Hershel, the son of a bitch, was a damn good shot it seemed. Shane kept Carl close as they witnessed Hershel strafe backward, finally pulling some extra shells from his pocket. A Walker drew closer to Hershel, still focused on what lay before him: a burning farm and the very monsters responsible for all his misery in the past few weeks... well, most of it. If not for Carl's presence, Shane briefly considered leaving Hershel to his fate.

Hershel whirled around when the head of a Walker exploded right behind him. Shane and him locked eyes, but their hostility was matched by their desperation.

"Have you seen Lori!?" yelled Shane.

"I haven't." Hershel said, breaking the line of sight so he could take another shot at a Walker.

"Don't screw with me Hershel, have you seen her? Where's Glenn, Daryl, the rest of them!? What the hell's going on!?"

"I don't know what happened!" Hershel shouted. "They just keep coming, it's like a plague! Where's Rick!? Did you find that boy!?"

"No time for that!" Shane opened fire, dropping a Walker with his Glock's last round. "We're going to find the others! Move your ass Hershel!"

"You might have ruined my farm, but you're not spiriting me off of it." Hershel growled.

"Now is not the time-!"

"Go! Go find your family so you can stop slaughtering mine!"

Hershel had a death wish. Shane wasn't above granting an old man, the old man who pissed him off only slightly less than Dale his final wish, but he couldn't. Not with Lori expecting a baby. They needed a doctor, any doctor, and they'd have to settle with a veterinarian if need be. As much as it irked him, Shane needed Hershel alive. He grabbed the old man by his suspenders, tugging him towards the car.

"Let go of me!" Hershel almost took a swing at him with his shotgun, stopping only because Shane let go.

"You want to die old man?" Shane asked, sweat pouring down his face.

"IT'S MY FARM!"

"Look Hershel, the group needs you, your family needs you! This farm? Ha, this farm's gone! Over! Wake up and face the truth!"

This seemed to stifle the old doctor enough for Shane to lead them to a station wagon parked nearby. Carl looked and pointed into the darkness as a shadow sprinted for them, a bag jiggling at the person's waist.


Elsewhere, only moments before, figures ran away from the silo. Carol and Andrea, pursued by a fresh wave of Walkers.

Andrea had gotten pinned underneath a Walker that tried to jump her. By the time she pushed the monster from her, Carol, T-Dog, and Lori had disappeared. It was too dark to see where she was going except for where the barn glowed like a funeral pyre. A couple of taillights swam through the night far-off from Hershel's land. Everyone was gone, they'd left her behind. Immediately, she went for her gun, but it had fallen when the Walker fell on her. Walkers circled her, but through the bleak setting Andrea's eyes spied the bag of guns that Rick had brought to the group sitting in the moonlight. She dove for them, snatching the bag on her wrist, whipping out the first handgun she could grab.

Shooting her way through this catastrophe was futile. All of the ammunition in the world wouldn't have helped her now. She blew away several Walkers, running back toward the house, hoping to at least find shelter. As she did, she noticed Hershel standing near the silo, blasting away Walkers with his shotgun, vigilant. She started to run towards him, but a Walker tried to clip her. She backpedaled, blasting the monster's face to smithereens.

But when she searched for Hershel again, the old doctor was gone.

Red lights peered at her through the darkness. The havoc around the farm, shadows shuffling along the grass drawn by unseen forces, was disrupted only by the noise of the final getaway vehicle speeding off into the night. The Walkers heard the engine. Dozens were summoned by it, hobbling in Andrea's direction while she drew her handgun in defense.