Hiya everyone! So just like pretty much every other female viewer of the Walking Dead, Daryl Dixon has stolen my heart! So I thought I'd try my hand at a fic about him. Also, with the *Spoiler* birth of Judith, it kind of made me wonder how a much younger kid than Carl or Sophia would fair in an apocalyptic world. Someone at an age that doesn't understand. That doesn't know how vital it is to keep quiet when walkers are nearby. And who is unable to protect themselves. So hey, this is just two birds with one stone!
Starting from Season 1
Hope you like! Please let me know what you think in a review! Feel free to leave any suggestions you may have!
"No!" Hailey shouted, slamming her hand down on the dash board. "No! No! No! Please, come on. Please just start… Please!"
She jiggled the car key desperately and held her breath as the engine gave a feeble gurgle and died once again.
"No! God damn piece of shit!" She shouted and banged her forehead down hard on the steering wheel.
"Language." Came a feeble voice from the back seat.
She lifted her head from the steering wheel and took in a deep breath to compose herself. Turning to look over her shoulder at the tiny three year old strapped up in the back seat, she offered a tired smile.
"Sorry Lacey," she said gently, "wasn't thinking."
Lacey scrunched her lips together and gave her older sister a disapproving look, the same one she herself and received from Hailey only hours earlier when she'd been heard using her 'potty mouth'.
Hailey bit her lip as she studied the tiny girl, her little dress covered in dirt and grime. Her blonde hair dulled and her usually bright brown eyes rimmed red from crying. It had been a tough couple of days. To say the least. The things that poor little girl had seen…
Hailey fought against the lump building in her throat. "How you doing back there, baby?"
"Good." She answered gently. "My eyes are just getting sleepy."
She rubbed her eyes with a chubby fist.
"Why don't you try and have a bit of a rest then?"
Before the sentence was even out Lacey shook her head adamantly. The fear was back in her eyes again. Lately, the only sleep she was getting was when she passed out from exhaustion in Hailey's arms, and even then her nightmares woke her.
"Ok," Hailey whispered, reaching back and giving Lacey's leg a soft squeeze. I'm here. "Listen, I've just got to check the engine. I want you to stay in here for me, alright?"
Lacey nodded. "Maybe we just runned out of gas?" She tried.
Hailey glanced back at the orange arrow pointed at the 'F' on the cars dashboard. They'd passed an abandoned gas station only four miles back. By some miracle there had been enough for Hailey to be able to fill the tank. She turned back to her sister with a soft smile.
"Yeah, that's probably all it is. Stay here, alright?"
No sooner had Hailey grasped the door handle did every nerve in her body scream in protest. Animal instincts awakening within her, telling her not to open the door, telling her not to go out there. It had been the same at the gas station. Her pulse had quickened, adrenaline had coursed through her and all the oxygen in the world wouldn't have kept her from feeling as if she were suffocating. It wasn't safe out there. They could be out there. Anywhere. At any given time.
Hailey pushed open the door and cringed at the deafeningly loud sound her feet landing on the gravel of the road seemed to make. She scanned her surroundings as she closed the door behind her. All seemed quiet. All seemed still. After all, they were stopped on a winding road miles from anywhere. Nothing but trees to the left and nothing but trees to the right. Still, Atlanta sat just on the horizon behind them. What if they weren't just in the city anymore? What if they'd started to spread out?
Hailey moved slowly towards the front of the car, continuing to glance around her nervously as she popped the hood. When she looked down at the engine, hopelessness pulled at her chest. As far as she was concerned it was just an engine. She had no clue what she was looking for and even if she did, what did it matter? She couldn't fix it. They were stuck in the middle of nowhere with a useless car, one bottle of water and her good intentions.
The lump in her throat was back and this time Hailey let the tears come. She leaned over the engine, grateful that the hood of the car hid her from Lacey's line of sight as sobs shook through her body. She needed to be strong, but how? How could she? She had no idea what to do. They had barely made it out of Atlanta alive and now their only hope of escape had just died on them. What the hell was she supposed to do now?
Pushing her fingers into her temples, Hailey took a deep breath and evaluated her options. They could wait there and hope that someone who could help them would come along. She didn't like that idea much. It was far too hot out with the sun beating down on them, not to mention they hadn't passed a single car yet. Not likely anyone was heading their way anytime soon. Option two was to go looking for help. She didn't like that idea too much either. Going back the way they'd come wasn't an option, there was nothing left for them back there, and forwards… they had no idea what was in that direction. Just walking that way… exposed, vulnerable. Hailey's stomach churned at the thought. But still, help could really just be up around the corner for them… And so could more of those things.
Ok, so going to look for help, that was it. Next decision to make though was Lacey. Did she leave her here, hidden in the car or did she take her with her? Those things could be anywhere and it was downright dumb to have her walking about out here… but leaving her in the car – alone – in this heat. That was just as stupid. She'd be scared and vulnerable and all by herself. And what if something did happen and Hailey never came back for her?
Hailey wiped away her tears and took a breath to compose herself. She shut the hood as quietly as she could and rounded the car to Lacey's side.
"Ok button!" Hailey said as she pulled open the car door, doing her best to sound cheery. She winced inwardly, hearing just how fake her positive attitude sounded. Anyone older than Lacey would have detected just how put on it was. "Looks like you were right! Out of gas again."
Lacey gave a dramatic groan though there was a small smile on her face, she was just a little proud that she'd been right.
"So," Hailey said, leaning over and undoing the small girl's seatbelt, "You and I are gunna have to go for a little walk to find the next gas station!"
"How far away is that?" Lacey asked as Hailey scooped her up into her arms.
"I don't know, honey. It won't be far though, we just have to walk until we find something."
She set Lacey down beside her and reached back into the car to retrieve the small backpack filled with a very limited supply of water and food. She took the grey hoodie that had been beside it and tied it around her waist, put the backpack on and took Lacey's tiny hand in her own. She stilled for a moment as a thought awoke within her. She was quite literally holding everything she owned anymore. It all suddenly felt very heavy.
"You ready Button?" she asked, giving Lacey's hand a comforting squeeze.
"Ready." Answered the young blonde girl determinedly.
And so, hand in hand, they began walking.
An hour later the sun was still beating down on them relentlessly. She had sweat trickling down her back and pooling in places she'd much rather it didn't. She glanced down at Lacey. She was burnt, and she looked so tired, but she hadn't complained once. Their pace had slowed for her sake, but there hadn't been a peep out of her. The poor kid just needed to sleep.
"Lacey, come here." Hailey lifted her up and settled her on her hip. "Take a break, sweetie. You're doing so good, you know that?"
Lacey rested her head on her sister's shoulder. "Are we nearly there yet?"
"Someone will pro'ly find us soon." Lacey said gently.
"You think so?"
"Obi Kenobi lived in the desert." She pointed out matter-of-factly. "And he's a hero. He would help us."
Hailey smiled gently. "That's a good point, kiddo."
And that's when she heard it. The groaning, the growling, the scraping. Her heart stopped and she turned, watching as it emerged from the tree line. She hugged Lacey closer and pressed her head into the crook of her neck.
"Lacey," she whispered, "I want you to hold on tight to me, and keep your eyes closed, you understand?"
She felt Lacey nod and slowly she began to back away from the thing moving slowly towards them. It dragged itself, most of it's left leg had been eaten, slowing it down. It's face was ripped apart and from beneath the ragged shirt it wore, remainders of it's intestines hung, draping against it's thighs. Horrible teeth nashed at them. It was slow, but it was vicious.
Holding tight onto Lacey, Hailey turned and bolted into the woods, stumbling as she went over the fallen branches and jagged, uneven rocks. She could hear it moving behind them, chasing them. This thing was hungry and it wasn't going to stop.
Hailey looked around desperately for something to use as a weapon. There was nothing. Nothing she could use while she was holding onto Lacey and judging from the kid's grip, it wouldn't be too easy to pry her off of her.
The trees, they were the only option.
"Ok," she whispered to herself. "Ok. Lacey, you holding on nice and tight?"
"Yes." Lacey whimpered, clutching on even tighter.
"Alright. We're going to climb this tree until he gets bored and goes away."
And with that she moved to the largest tree in their immediate vicinity and hauled them upward. It was difficult to find and good grip and awkward with Lacey latched onto the front of her. Hailey's feet slipped several times and she hissed in pain as each time her ankles would scrape against the rough tree trunk, tearing back skin. Sweat beaded on her face and still she continued to reach for the next highest branch, and the next.
She heard its guttural sounds only moments before it's cold rotting hand curled around her leg. She screamed and tried to pull herself up higher. It's grip was far too strong, she couldn't shake it off.
Her limbs began to tremble. Pulling Lacey's weight as well as her own was too much. She was going to fall.
Hailey gritted her teeth. No. It was not going to end like this. She and her sister were not going to be eaten by some thing in the middle of the god damn woods. She looked down at it pulling at her leg again and with everything she could muster, she planted and almighty kick square in it's jaw. There was the telltale crack of something breaking and the thing fell to the ground beneath them. Hailey managed at last to haul herself and Lacey onto a branch and to temporary safety.
Her chest heaved as she leaned back against the tree and hugged Lacey who was still latched onto her for dear life.
"It's ok." She whispered to her. "We're safe up here, Lacey."
Lacey started to sob, and Hailey fought tears of her own as she held her closer.
"Shhh, it's ok Lacey. I'm not going to let anything hurt you, ok? I'm here. I'm right here."
Hailey's stomach churned as she glanced down to see the dead man pull himself to his feet once again. It's head hung against it's shoulder and ugly lumps protruded from it's neck. It seemed Hailey had managed to break it's neck, but it still got up. It just kept coming. The thing approached the tree and scraped up against the trunk. It was all it seemed to be able to do. Hailey had done enough damage to prevent it from climbing up after them. She breathed a sigh of relief but still never took her eyes away from the thing. They weren't safe, they were trapped.
Lacey's sobs pulled her from her thoughts and she gently stroked her hair. She hushed her gently, rocking her as best she could up on their perch and sang her a soft lullaby, praying that she'd soon cry herself to sleep.
"If you be my star,
I'll be your sky.
You can hide underneath me and come out at night.
When I turn jet black and you show off your light,
I live to let you shine
I live to let you shine
But you can skyrocket away from me,
And never come back if you find another galaxy,
Far from here with more room to fly.
Just leave me your stardust to remember you by…"
As Lacey finally settled, despite the snarls sounding down bellow them, a tear slipped down Hailey's face. God help us. She begged. Please just send someone… anyone to help us.
Hailey looked down once more at the thing bellow her, just in time to hear the thwk! as an arrow bolt shot through and embedded itself in the creature's temple. It fell to the ground with one last deathly gurgle.
"The hell you doin' up thur?"
Her eyes shot up, trying to locate the owner of the voice.
So! Chapter 1! What did we think? I'd love to know, guys! Thanks for reading, please review! :)
Song: Boats and Birds by Gregory and the Hawk