Emma sighed heavily as she and Daryl walked to the tenth house of the day. They were looking for large structures, on big pieces of property. So far they had found none that would be easy to protect. The sun was beginning to go down. Emma didn't want to get left out in the open.
"Maybe we should start looking for a place to rest for the night, instead of a place to move the whole group."
"Sounds like a good plan." He said. "If this house I clear we'll stay."
"Even if it's not I say we kill what's inside and stay anyways."
"Makes sense." He said. As they moved through the house they found nothing. Not even a blood stain.
"It's too bad this place is indefensible, it would have made a great place to move the others and someplace to stay…" She said as they came down the stairs.
"Who ever lived here knew how to take care of their house." Daryl commented as he grabbed a sleeping bag and threw it out across the floor. Emma threw hers out and instantly laid back on the ground. "I don't know what's wrong with me, I'm so freaking tired."
"Well you worked out a lot today with the kids." She laughed as she stretched.
"Yeah they really gave me a run for my money." She said with a smile. "Soon those kids are going to surpass me in skill."
"Never happen… You're the best."
"You know ever since I ran into that woman while searching for the first aid kit I've realized I'm probably not."
"You handled yourself okay." He said.
"Yeah I nearly got my head sliced off more than a few times though… I part of me wishes I knew what happened to her… After all she was good." She laughed. "Oh man she was good… We could have learned a lot from one another…"
"Know her name?"
"No, but she was wearing a necklace with an M on it… So maybe… Mary… Or Maddie… I don't know she didn't look like either of those."
"Did you kill her?"
"Again I have no clue…" She said with a troubled look. "I hit her over the head pretty good, knocked her out… left her there… I left a note though told her other places she could find what she needed… I hope if we meet again she remembers that instead of just instantly trying to cut my head off." She turned on her side to face him. "Daryl?" she asked after a long moment and he looked to her. "Thank you for last night…" He slowly nodded.
"It was nothing."
"No… It was something amazing…" Daryl watched as Emma wrapped her arms around his body and rested her head on his chest. Daryl smiled before moving his arms around her tightly. "I had a… Strange thought as we were pulling away from the school."
"Was it that you didn't want to go back again?" She looked up at him.
"Is that awful?"
"No… I had the same thought."
"You did?" She asked with a hopeful expression and he nodded.
"I feel awful for thinking it."
"I don't." he said.
"No?" she asked.
"You've been through a lot-."
"We've been through a lot, I'm not the only one who lost a baby here." She said and he took on a soft expression.
"I'm not the one who is getting treated differently because of it."
"That's starting to go away, though I wish Lori would be a little bit more considerate." She said her jaw clenching. "I want to say it's just hormones but then I can't help but wonder if she's not just a spiteful bitch deep down." She looked off. "That was really awful of me to say."
"No… You two have been going at it a lot… Well she's been starting it."
"We have to go back though." She said. "We can't just run away."
"Yes we could."
"No… There's Beth and Carl and-."
"Beth has Hershel and Maggie, Carl has his mom and dad." She looked to him.
"I… Can't leave Beth and Carl." She said.
"They aren't your sister or our baby Emma." He said and she shifted.
"I know." Emma said quietly.
"You can't replace the baby or your sister with them."
"I know." She said softly. "But… I don't know I… Kind of love those kids."
"You can't get attached Emma." She looked to Daryl.
"I got attached to you… I hope you got attached to me."
"You know I have…" He said pushing a strand of hair and tucking it behind her ear.
"You know this is your fault right. Before I met you I just wondered the woods, no attachments, just survival, then you came along and I thought I needed something more than my bo staff and some clean water."
"No you're not."
"No I am not." He said and she couldn't help but laugh. She moved up his body and kissed him deeply.
"I do love you so very much…" She said.
"Yeah, I know." He said. "I love you too…" he kissed the top of her head.
Beth spun and slammed the back of her fist across the standing bag. She smiled as she heard it give a sharp popping noise before she leapt up into the air and kicked it before landing easily on her feet. She took a deep breath before spinning around.
"Hey there." Maggie said and Beth relaxed.
"Hey Maggs, I was just working out."
"Emma ask you to do that?"
"Of course not, she'd kill me if she knew I was working out for a second time in a row…"
"Then why are you doing it?" She asked crossing her arms over her chest.
"Need the practice. Need to improve."
"Beth this… Is the fifth night in the row you've done this…" Beth shifted on her feet as she looked over her sister. "I've see you sneaking in when Emma is asleep or taking watch…"
"Just… Trying to stay in shape."
"You're a string bean Beth-."
"Well I don't want to be a string bean I want to be like Emma… Strong." She said.
"If Emma were here she'd tell you, you are strong."
"No she'd tell me I could be stronger, and that so could she… Look I need to work hard if I'm going to get to her skill level and be able to protect myself."
"Look you don't need to achieve that now-."
"Yes I do." She said. "You just don't get it Maggie…"
"Then help me understand." She said.
"I don't get a gun. Dad won't give me one. So if we're attacked by a group of guys again I'll be just as helpless, or if a walker gets the jump on all of us and comes after me I won't be able to protect myself. But if I keep working out if I keep doing everything Emma has taught me eventually I'll get just as good as her and I'll be just as invincible. I won't need a gun all I'll need is a stick."
"Invincible?" Maggie asked. "Did you see her after those five guys? She could barely walk."
"But she was alive. And so were we thanks to her." Beth said.
"You want a gun, I'll get you a gun." Maggie said. "Glenn and I can-."
"I don't want to have to use a gun… I want to be like Emma." With that she brushed past Maggie and out the door. Maggie ran her fingers through her hair at a loss. Her sister had changed so much in the past few weeks and she was just trying to keep up.
"I'm gonna have to have a talk with Emma…" She muttered before walking off.
Emma smiled as she got off the motorcycle. They had one more place to look before heading back to the school. She stared up at a large cast iron gate behind it was a winding road leading towards a large plantation house.
"That looks interesting." She said before looking at a padlock on the gate.
"I could break it."
"No I don't want to break it…" Emma said. "We want to be able to keep this place secured until we can move all our supplies and our people." Daryl nodded.
"Then how are we going to get in to check things out?" She smiled as she backed up a good five feet. She rushed forward towards the corner of the gate that latched into a brick wall. She kicked up the ten foot brick wall before grabbing a hold of the top and pulling herself up. She smiled and turned to look at Daryl.
"That some ninja shit." He said and she laughed.
"Here kick up and latch onto my arm I'll pull you up."
"Take the cross bow first it will lessen the weight." He said tossing it up to her. She caught it easily along with his backpack and set them aside. "Ready?" he asked.
"Sure am." She said putting her hand out. Daryl rushed forward and kicked up the wall clumsily, still Emma latched onto him. "Kick up kick up." She said as she pulled his dead weight up. He did as she said and together they got him to the top. "Well done." She said clapping him on the back.
"I know I didn't look half as good as you did doing that."
"Well you don't have my amazing ass." She said with a wink and he smiled as he watched her jump down to the other side.
"Calling me fat?" he asked and she laughed.
"Calling you fluffy." He grabbed his crossbow and backpack before jumping down to her side. As they headed towards the plantation house Emma extended her bow. Daryl smiled as he looked her over, she was starting to turn back into her old sarcastic self and he couldn't be more pleased. "It looks like it's a three story, with a possible basement you want to search it side by side or take it in level?"
"Side by side." He said.
"What's that sound?" Carol asked as she and Maggie walked by the gymnasium baskets of clothes held in their arms.
"Probably Beth slamming into the bag again."
"Again?" Carol asked. "She was just doing that this morning."
"And late last night. She says she wants to be like Emma."
"Don't we all?" Carol asked with a smile.
"Not me I'm just fine the way I am."
"Let me guess you're upset Beth is trying to become a super soldier like Emma instead of like you?" Carol asked.
"I'm her older sister, it's me she should be looked up to."
"She does look up to you… She also looks up to Emma not in a sisterly way though, but in a way a student looks to a mentor. You're still her number one."
"Don't feel like it."
"Well you don't really go out of her way to spend any time with her do you maggs?" She looked to Carol.
"My meaning being you're too busy sneaking off with Glenn to find an empty classroom to do the mattress mambo or in this case the on top of the desk mambo…" Maggie looked off her jaw clenching. "Just saying…"
Emma and Daryl slowly moved up the stairs into the attic. So far the whole house had been clean. Dusty and full of furniture covered in dingy sheets, but clean. Near untouched. It seemed whatever rich family had lived there had shut up the house and moved on with all intention of coming back to their homestead. Emma had to wonder how it had stayed so untouched. Daryl came to a stop making her do so as well.
"You hear that?" Daryl whispered. She bowed her head and closed her eyes. She could hear it now, shuffling. She slowly nodded. Together they moved up the stairs to the door and Emma gave the signal that she would kick it open. Daryl nodded in agreement and backed himself up against the wall.
"One. Two. Three!" She kicked open the door. She heard a familiar click and dove to the ground grabbing onto Daryl as she did. Instantly a loud bang went off. A shotgun went off above their heads making their ears ring. Emma looked up and saw two feet rushing forward. She kicked up onto her feet and grabbed a hold of a walker and slammed him up into a wall.
"Down Emma!" She let go of the walker and dove out of the way as Daryl fired an arrow into the walkers head. The corpse collapsed to the ground instantly. Daryl ran to Emma and lifted her up onto her feet. She instantly pushed him down as a man came running from the corner of the room. She spun her Bo in the air before slamming it across the mans face knocking him out cold. Emma looked back to the walker to see he had a collar and chain going from his neck and connecting to the wall.
"Are you alright?" Daryl asked walking to her.
"Fine." She said. "Just one walker and a starving man I'm fine…" he looked her over. "Daryl I'm fine. What are you doing?" She asked as he took her arms in his hands.
"Looking for scratches that things hands were all bone." She looked to see he was right. "What are you doing blindly rushing in like that?"
"All I saw was feet rushing forward I didn't know if it was a walker or an actual human not with that booby trap that had just gone off." She said. "I'm sorry. Am I alright any scratches?"
"I think you're fine…" He said. "Just… Don't do that again."
"What?" he asked. "Were you bit?"
"Look…" he saw she was gazing wide eyed over his shoulder. Daryl turned his jaw clenching to see a group of naked female walkers hanging by chains connected to the rafters of the ceiling.
"Jesus…" Daryl said.
"So pretty…" They looked down to the man whose head was bleeding he was crawling slowly towards Emma. "I'll add you to my collection." He reached for Emmas ankle to touch her and Daryl stomped down on his hand making him cry out. "It hurts!" He yelled. "It hurts!" Emma walked to the female walkers who were hissing and growling. She took out her knife and stabbed the first of six through the head. "No my lovelies my lovelies!"
"Shut it." Daryl said pointing his crossbow at him. When Emma stabbed the last one through the head she gave a disgusted shudder.
"Daryl… Do you hear that?" Emma asked and Daryl shook his head. Emma slowly began to move around the room.
"Bad lovely… Bad lovely."
"I said shut it!" Daryl yelled stomping his foot down on his hand harder. At the sound of him yelling Emma had heard a small yelp of fear. She looked over the wall she had been standing before. It was new brick. Her fingers touched it and she found the cement between the brick was wet. She put her ear to the wall her eyes widening. She could hear it, sobbing.
"Oh my god…" She tossed her bo aside along with her backpack while pulling her dagger.
"What are you doing?" Daryl asked.
"There's someone behind this wall, they're crying." She slammed the knife into the brick and popped one out.
"Are you sure?" She shown a flash light inside.
"Oh my god… Oh my god." Emma started pulling at the bricks like a mad woman throwing them behind her as she did before finally climbing into the wall and pulling out the naked body of a young woman. She was filthy and bloody. Emma grabbed her bag and pulled her canteen full of water.
"Please." The woman choked.
"It's okay sweetheart." Emma said. "It's okay…" She put the canteen to her lips and poured a bit of water inside her mouth. The girl sputtered before gasping. Still she clutched onto the Canteen for dear life.
"Daryl get on your bike and get Hershel." Emma said.
"What about this asshole?" Daryl asked. He jumped when a dagger slammed into the unknown mans head killing him instantly.
"Hershel." Daryl looked to her. "Now."
"We'll take her with us-."
"We only have the bike, Daryl there isn't enough time please." He looked off. "Daryl she's going to die please!"
"You go I'll stay-."
"Daryl please! I… I have to save her." Daryl looked at her for a long moment. "Please." He pulled his firing weapons and set them down beside her.
"I'll be right back." he kissed the top of her head before running off. "God damn it Emma." He said to himself as he ran down the stairs.
"It's okay Sweetheart, you're safe now…" Emma said as she pulled her sleeping bag from her backpack and put it over the girls naked body. The girl coughed as she stared up at her with crystal blue eyes and dirty white hair.
"Thank you…" She whispered her voice hoarse before her eyes drifted closed. Emma slowly looked around the room full of hanging corpses
"What the hell was this place?" She asked softly before looking down at the young woman in her arms. "I'm getting you down stairs… out of this place." she lift the girl in her arms and stood up straight before carrying her out of the terrifying room. She carried her to the first bedroom she saw and laid her down on the bed. She then went to a bathroom and grabbed a rag making sure to shake the dust off before grabbing an emergency water bottle from her backpack and wetting the rag. Carefully and with gentle hands she began to wipe the dirt, blood, and grime away from the young woman who seemed to be right around her age. It would be a full body cleaning, knowing Hershel would want her in pristine condition if he was going to attend to her wounds which were many.
The woman seemed to have been beaten, flogged, and maybe even canned by the state of the back of her legs. Whatever this young woman had gone through it had been torture at the hands of a sadist. She couldn't imagine what the young woman had been through, and truthfully she didn't want to. When she was done, one water bottle, three towels later. She tucked the woman into the bed covering her naked body with the sheets she had dusted off in the corner of the room. Then she waited holding onto her hand which was twisted thanks to unhealed breaks.
"Helps coming…" Emma said. "Help is on its way any time now."
Daryl came to a halt before the school and jumped off his bike before rushing forward.
"Hershel!" Daryl yelled.
"Hey everything alright?" T-dog asked coming out of a classroom. It was late at night after all. Many people had gone to bed.
"No! Hershel!" Daryl called running through the halls T-dog running at his side.
"With the girl. Hershel!"
"Man I'll explain later get the truck ready!" Daryl yelled and T-dog nodded before rushing off. "Hershel!"
"What is going on?" Hershel asked coming out of the nurses office. "Dear lord what did Emma do to herself this time?"
"We found a girl, she's hurt, bad, Emma is with her now. She needs your help."
"Who's this girl?"
"Man we ain't got time, Emma is all alone with her let's go!"
"I swear to god old man I'll drag you there with that pony tail your growing let's go!" Hershel instantly grabbed his kit and quickly followed Daryl to the front of the school.
"Where the hell are you guys going?" T-dog asked.
"Wake Rick. Tell him Emma and I found a place off Cherry ridge road. An old Plantation house with tall cast iron brick fences." With that Daryl jumped into the truck along with Hershel and sped off into the night.
"What the hell?" T-dog asked feeling like he'd just been thrown into a tornado full of information.
"Someone want to explain to me what all the shouting is about?" Glenn asked stumbling groggily from the school as T-dog rushed past him.
"It's alright help is on the way…" Emma said softly as she smoothed a damp towel across the girls head. She was burning up. She was dying. Emma wasn't sure why but she couldn't fathom watching this young woman die. She had seen so much death as of late, now she only wanted to see life. "We'll get you through this… I promise…" The girls eyes fluttered open and she looked around the room in a confused state.
"Don't… Don't hurt me…" The request broke Emma's heart.
"I'm not going to hurt you sweetheart." She said softly. "Have some water…" she put the bottle to her lips and the girl took a small sip before coughing. As Emma pulled back her hand the girl took it in hers stopping her movement. Emma slowly looked to see her clear blue eyes staring at her with all the pain a human could feel held within them.
"They… Did things to me."
"They?" Emma asked.
"Tortured me…" She said softly.
"You said they?" Emma asked a new concern rather than the girls death raising into her mind.
"Raped me." Emma took a shaking breath
"Who were these men who hurt you?" she asked. "How many were there?" She slowly held up four broken fingers. Emma looked from the hand to the girls face to see tears rolling down them.
"They'll come back… They'll have us both."
"I promise you here and now that no one is ever going to lay a rough hand on you again… I won't let them…"
"What's your name?" she asked softly.
"Emma…" She said with a soft expression. "Emma Jameson. What's yours?"
"Rainy… Rainy Dae."
"You're safe now Rainy…" Emma said and the woman smiled softly as more tears rolled down her cheeks. Her head lolled to the side as she once more slipped away into sleep and Emma took her hand in hers. She stayed like that for a long while. Seconds turned into minutes. Minutes into two hours that's when she heard it. The front door downstairs open up. Emma heard rapid footsteps come up the stairs she ran to the door hoping to see Daryl and Hershel. Instead she spotted two men rushing up the stairs. she jumped out of sight as they ran past.
"Pa' we got no luck with any new lovelies but we found a school full of women! Nice looking women too!" She heard them yell as they headed up to the attic. Emma felt her jaw clench and she looked back to the young woman who lay helpless and dying in the bed just a few feet away.
"I'm going to set right what they did to you…" Emma said softly before extending her bo staff and walking out into the hallway while closing the bedroom door.
"Pa!" She heard one of the men scream. Instantly she smiled before hiding behind in a door way her bo held in her hands like a bat. Her eyes closed and she counted the descending footsteps from the attic. When they were right on her she swung the Bo knocking the wind from the man in the plaid shirt as she forced all the air from his body.
"Jerry!" He yelled hoarsely.
"You like to hurt women huh?" Emma asked. "Funny, I like to hurt men!" She pulled her six shooter and shot him right in the leg making him scream in agony.
"Ben!" She heard a man yell. She kicked Bens shot gun up into her hands and fired just as the man named Jerry came into her sights.
"Jerry!" Ben yelled as Jerrys leg came clean off thanks to the shotgun blast. "Jerry!" Emma kicked him across the face knocking him out cold.
"Shut up." She said before walking up the stairs to Jerry who was already slipping into shock.
"You know I'm trying to decide…" Emma said as he stared wide eyed at her. "Do I shoot you in the head and end it… Keep you from becoming a walker…" he nodded quickly. "Or do I strip you naked and hanging you from the rafters and let you turn like you did to all those poor girls?"
"Please…" He said. "Kill me…" She placed the gun against his head and he smiled as tears rolled down his cheeks. "Thank you…"
"I'm not going to kill you Jerry…" She said with a smile. "I'm going to put you on display for your brother to see while I carve him to bits…"
"No!" he shouted as she grabbed onto his hands and dragged him up the stairs leaving a bloody trail in her wake. "No!"
"What the hell?" Daryl asked as he drove up to the gates of the plantation house. The pad he had intended to break open was un fastened, the gate laying half way open. That's when he saw it an old Cadillac parked out front the plantation house. "Emma…" He raced forward Hershel holding onto the dash to steady himself as he did. Daryl grabbed his crossbow and leapt out of the car before running into the house. "Emma!"
"Up here!" They ran to the fourth floor and came to a stop seeing blood leading to the attic.
"Here." They turned to see Emma in a bedroom. "Hershel come on hurry." He rushed into the room and Daryl walked in to see Emma had cleaned up the young woman.
"You brought her to a bedroom." Daryl said.
"I didn't want her waking up in that dungeon." Emma said.
"Want to fill me in?" Daryl asked motioning to the blood.
"You need to head back to the school and inform Rick that it's being watched by a very dangerous man whose sole purpose is to kidnap one of the women, maybe all of them." Emma said.
"What?" He asked incredibly confused.
"Two men came running in here, the sons of the old man I killed upstairs. They were yelling to their father about the fact they had found a school full of young women all ripe for the picking… I think what was going on here was a family of men who took however many female survivors off the street and made them into sex slaves."
"Sex slaves?" Daryl asked.
"She woke up Daryl… One of the first words out of her mouth was that she had been raped."
"Jesus…" He said.
"You have to go back to the school, bring everyone here where I can protect them. If Rick won't let you take everyone I need you to convince him to let you bring at least Beth and Lori here."
"They're the most vulnerable."
"Alright stay safe." He kissed her cheek before rushing down the stairs.
"You too…" She said as she watched him run off. "Daryl wait!" She suddenly ran after him. He came to stop in the middle of the stairs. "You stay here."
"No… If that girl said she was raped she's not going to want to wake up naked in a bed with two men in the room…" Emma slowly nodded. "She trusts you, you saved her, she'll want to wake up with you here…"
"Just… Be very careful." Daryl moved forward and kissed her deeply.
"I will be…" She kissed his cheek as he rushed off. Emma slowly headed back to the bedroom and stopped to see Hershel covering Rainy with a sheet.
"What are you doing?" Emma asked.
"She's passed." Hershel said.
"What?" Emma asked.
"She's passed…" He repeated as he looked to her.
"No…" Emma said shaking her head and moving forward. "No."
"Emma-." She brushed past Hershel and pulled the sheet down to reveal her chest. Instantly she began performing CPR.
"You did not survive getting beaten, raped, tortured, and buried alive in a fucking wall to just die!" Emma said and Hershel shook his head.
"She was dead when I got here."
"No she wasn't she was alive!" Emma said. "I talked to her!"
"She's been dead for a while Emma."
"Yes at least a few hours."
"You don't know!" Emma yelled looking to him. "She talked to me!'
"Are you sure-."
"Of course I'm sure." Emma said. "She told me what they did to her, she told me her name, she told me how many there were just please fucking wake up Rainy!" Emma yelled. Hershel jumped as the young woman sat up gasping for air as she did.
"Good Lord." Hershel said before rushing towards Rainy to start checking her over. Emma pulled back her jaw clenching.
"Did you even try CPR?" Emma asked.
"I guess I wasn't as driven." He said and she shook her head. Hershel tilted his head seeing how hard Emma was breathing.
"Emma." She looked to him to see he was holding out one of her inhalers.
"I'm okay…" She said. "I can slow it down myself."
"You sure, we're in the middle of winter your asthma is bound to flare up."
"I want to save my medicine for when I really need it."
"Alright…" He said. "I wish I had some more IV's."
"You know there was this room that looked like it had been used as an at home care facility, I could look from some old supplies in there. When my mom had cancer she had a set up just like it with IV bags and all. I didn't take her to that room because honestly it looked kind of scuzzy… I think someone died in there."
"Go look for any supplies you can we'll need them anyways." She nodded and ran from the room.
"Daryl!?" Rick called as he came out of the school and Daryl drove up in the truck. "You want to explain to me what's going on?"
"It's a lot." Daryl said jumping out of the car and running to him. "But basically all the women here are in trouble. Emma and I we found this huge plantation house perfect to move to. We searched all through it everything was fine till we got to the attic. We found this old man who had surrounded himself with naked walkers and this poor girl he buried inside a fucking wall who Emma saved."
"That's who needed Hershel."
"Exactly. While I was here getting Hershel Emma was waiting with the girl. While she was two guys came in yelling to their father how they found this school full of pretty girls. They left one of their brothers behind to watch it…"
"Jesus." Rick said looking all around.
"We need to get all the women out of here and to the plantation house, or at least allow me to take Lori and Beth to Emma who can protect them."
"Get Maggie, Carol, Beth, Lori, and Carl out now… back up the truck to the school act like you're making a supply run and we'll sneak them under the tarp."
"Hide them from sight, smart." Daryl said.
"T-dog, Glenn and I will follow shortly."
"No way I'll stay here have Glenn drive them."
"The only other people I trust the safety of my wife and child to other then me is you and Emma… and Emma isn't here."
"Right… Okay I'll back up the truck… Maggie get the bags ready I'm going for a supply run!" Daryl yelled as he headed to the truck and Rick headed inside the school.
"What's going on?" Maggie asked walking to Rick.
"Get your sister, Lori, Carl, and Carol together now." Rick said.
"On it." She said before rushing off.