Hey ya'll! Ever have one of those moments where you start posting a story, you look back at it and you realize you posted the rough draft instead of the final cut? Well, that's what happened in this story, so, I took down the other chapters, I've replaced the original chapter one, and here you go. My computer charger broke again, so I'm posting this on my roommate's computer, I'll be able to post more when I've got access to my own computer again which should be soon, so in the mean time, I hope you enjoy this revised version of the story, and I hope you have an amazing New Year!
Disclaimer: I don't own Walking Dead. Just my OC's
It would take him a long time, but Daryl admitted to me once that he was surprised when Merle pointed my figure on the side of the road. The fact that we were all headed to Atlanta was a surprising one if I was honest. I never thought I- let alone the Dixons (Once I got to know them) would ever listen to a voice on the tv or the radio telling me that my safest bet for survival was to go to the city. I had taken my mom's old station wagon the day before and packed it with what camping gear I owned and set out for Atlanta, the way I had seen it was if the base wasn't what we wanted it to be, once I found my brother, we'd get out of there and figure out what to do from there. My plan had become null and void after the old station wagon had crapped out on the side of the road, and for once no amount of swearing and fucking with the wires would get it to start up again. It had been late and I was taking the back roads, hoping to avoid seeing as many of those things as possible.
It had started with reports like the one out of Florida, someone getting high off of some new drug with some stupid name sounding like something out could pick up at bed bath and beyond, making the person attack someone and try to chew off the faces of their victims, but then the victims started to get sick. After they died that's when the cameras would find focus somewhere else, talking to the families of both the victims and the attackers. They never responded when people would report that the victims would come back after death, they didn't listen when it was reported that they would become the ones doing the attacking. For longer than most would care to remember it was blamed on drugs, people would bitch about the states where pot was legal, others would blame meth addicts, but then people started to realize these weren't just over entitled teenagers getting sick off of whatever they took at their latest pharm party, this wasn't just some lunatic redneck on PCP, it started happening to people they knew, someone close would get scratched or bit, then they'd get the fever, a fever so bad you would think it wasn't physically possible for them to survive, which, I guess it wasn't considering the next step as I've mentioned in this haunting process was death. It didn't matter if they were hospitalized or if they had been treated, they would die within the day or two of getting bit or scratched, and after a small time of mourning them their friends or family would be distraught, they wouldn't know what to do after a point, especially when communication lines were already busy, as most were those days, and then, they would come back. But they wouldn't- Just as their friends or family rejoiced in the miracle they had just witnessed, their recently deceased loved one would open their eyes, they would stand up and they would walk. They would seem quite briefly like someone you had known your entire life, and just as you would reach out to hug them, just as you thought life would go on, they would try to take a bite out of whatever body part of yours they could get their teeth on.
Janice and I had met in kindergarten. I hadn't been to a school before, my mom had decided to forego preschool, so this was my first time around so many people my own age. I'd soon learn not to be so excited. My older brother Cal had brought me to my first day in his trusty truck, Old Blue. Cal was 22 and as far as I knew he was the only person who cared about me. Cal was starting his first day of his senior year at the community college in town, even though he had told me he would never leave town until I could take care of myself. He had accepted a long time ago that it wouldn't be anytime soon.
I suppose- looking back on it- I didn't have anything going for me. I was small for my age- even then- though I had learned from my mom and her boyfriend at the time Eric that you shouldn't let your size keep you from taking care of business when need be. My long red hair had been washed, though not properly combed, though I was lucky I had thought ahead enough to wash it. Cal had been the one to come into the bathroom and lather it up for me and then help me wash it out so soap didn't get in my eyes. I was wearing a pair of dirty capri pants that were a size too tight and left the impression of the metal button right under my belly button when I took them off, and a too big tee shirt that had the name and logo of the tow truck company Eric worked for. I think everyone else already knew they weren't going to be friends with me since that first day. No one sat near me on the carpet, I didn't have a backpack to hang up on the hook in the back, just a plastic back the teacher had given me when she saw the look on my face when I had nothing to put all of my papers into on that first day. We were given a recess time to go out and play with each other, some of the girls in my class were lined up for the monkey bars. I remember how easily they went by on them, and I remember watching before I decided to give it a try myself. After stepping onto the highest rung on the ladder up to the bars I grabbed the first metal bar and swung myself off of the lader, two more rungs later and I hung there over the wood chip covered playground, terrified to let go.
"Go already!" one of the girls from my class shouted at me from the ladder. When I neither went nor dropped she took it upon herself to vacate me from the monkey bars. Olive Nelson. She and I would have many classes together through high school. After being knocked off the monkey bars by the girl who looked like a doll I had seen once in a catalogue, I swore to myself I'd never be in a situation like that again. I practiced those monkey bars for weeks, making Cal take me to the park while he studied and I would just go on the monkey bars over and over and over, falling and falling and falling until I had a lot more upper body strength, someone I wouldn't give up later in life, but I'm getting ahead of myself here. That day after the recess we were brought back to the classroom and as I sat on the multi colored carpet glaring holes into the back of Olive's perfect head someone sat down next to me.
"I'm Janice." she introduced herself. She had curly blonde hair that her mom had tied into a half ponytail and these incredible blue eyes, she smiled at me and I stared at her for a minute before looking at my feet.
"Lizzie." I told her softly and she grinned.
"I don't like Olive either, her daddy is my daddy's boss and he thinks he can make my daddy work every single day. Even on Saturdays!"
"My mommy works on Saturdays." I said looking up.
"What does she do?"
"She works at a diner."
"Cool!" Janice grinned and I smiled lightly.
"Sometimes, my mommy brings me home pieces of pie." I told her. "They're not bad or anything, they just look a little funny, and they can't sell them if they look funny."
"Why not? It just gets chewed up anyways." Janice shrugged and I giggled. "And after it gets chewed up it gets made into poop." Yeah, the basis of my only real friendship started with a conversation about poop. What can I say, we were kids, we were easily amused. After school that day I got to meet Janice's mom, Mrs. Washington. She had come to pick up Janice who told her excitedly about everything we had learned, and then grabbed my hands and brought me over to meet Mrs. W. "This is Lizzie, she's my best friend." I was startled. I had never had a best friend before, was there some special protocol I was supposed to follow for this?
"Nice to meet you Lizzie," Mrs. W said to me with a smile. "Is your mom here?" she looked at the remaining parents who were leaving and I looked down.
"My brother is picking me up." I told her.
"Well why don't Janice and I wait here with you until he gets here?" she asked and I shrugged my shoulders.
"I think he'll be here in a minute."
I took Cal nearly thirty five minutes to get there, that time was spent on the lawn outside of the school while Mrs. W asked me a ton of questions, I wouldn't figure it out until later but she had figured out my home life almost as soon as she saw what I was wearing. She would never say anything to me about it, but through the years she would make sure if she was buying Janice clothes to pick up a few things for me, or to split up the hand me downs she would get from Charlotte, Janice's older cousin, between myself and Janice, though somehow I always ended up with more. Santa would visit me both at home, though looking back on it, Cal was the one who was trying his hardest to make sure I had a childhood, the year I was eleven and found a light beer in my stocking because Cal was away was the year I figured out the truth about Santa. Mrs. W did everything she could, and even though Mr. W never said anything I'm sure he wished his daughter had become friends with Olive over me. if she had he'd have been able to get closer to his boss through the kids. Sadly for him, though luckily for me, Olive and Janice hated each other the moment Olive lied and got Janice banned from the swing set for a good week. I accidentally dropped a glue stick on Olive's seat on a hot day when the air conditioning was broken in the class room, thus resulting in the greatest rivalry the small town we lived in had ever seen- at least until we were older, then it would go to Cal and two stupid cops, but until then it was me and Janice versus Olive Nelson.
Janice and I would stay best friends through high school and even when she decided to go to nursing school and I became a waitress for a little while, before realizing there was better money in bar tending When I turned 18 and living with my mom had become so unbearable I was allowed to stay in the guest bedroom at the Washington's until Janice and I had enough money between us and we got an apartment together, she had a couple long term relationships, I had some short term ones. Janice became the sister I never had, so that night when she came into the bar looking like fifty shades of tired and weary I knew something was up. She had gone with her pink scrubs that night which were supposed to be her lucky scrubs, and she had decided to pair 'em with a long sleeved blue shirt underneath the shirt. The sleeves were rolled to her elbows and I noticed a large piece of gauze taped to her arm when I walked over.
"What's a pretty girl like you doing in a rough place like this?" I teased and she smiled at me wearily. She wasn't wearing makeup and her blonde hair was pulled back in a ponytail. Even though she was just out of work, I wasn't kidding about the place like this line, the Silver Spoon, where I worked was like one of those old timey bars you seen in movies that only the toughest of the tough go to, and yet more of the regulars were used to seeing her there after a rough night. It was one of those regulars- Dirk Stevens that had pointed her out to me. Dirk, the bear of a man, had nodded his head in her direction and roughly asked me to inform the drunk man at the jukebox that if he listened to that god forsaken Journey song again the midget nurse at the end of the bar would be picking up his pieces and putting him back together with pieces of fishing line and staples from behind the bar.
"You know those crazy people we've been hearing about on the news?" she asked and I nodded. "We got a few cases like that in at general today." she told me and I winced.
"Yikes." I muttered before I poured her a shot. She tipped it back and made a face before handing me back the glass. "Are you working tomorrow?"
"No, not unless they absolutely need me." she shook her head. "The way Becca and Tasha were acting, they may need me though," she sighed. "Hey bar keep, how about a cosmo for a weary woman?" she asked with a smile and I snorted.
"I don't think half the men in this bar knew what a cosmo was until you started showing your little blonde face around here." I told her as I mixed the drink. "Happened to your arm?"
"Hm?" she looked at the guaze. "Oh, a uh, patient scratched me." she told me and I frowned.
"How old were they?"
"Old enough to know better." she said with a small smile. I put the drink down in front of her and she took a sip before grinning at me "Ahhh." she said loudly and I laughed before moving down the bar to refill someone's drink. As the evening went on Janice had complained about not feeling well, she left to go home and I promised I'd be as quick as possible when I cleaned up. Nearly an hour later Dirk Stevens decided to take himself up on the offer to punch out the drunk guy playing Journey all night. He walked over to the guy who was standing in front of the jukebox and roughly shoved his shoulder, the guy turned around, his head was ducked, he looked up at Dirk. "Ya mind tonin' down the Journey?" Dirk asked. The guy just stared at him and I moved around the bar to try to calm them down. As I got to the jukebox I noticed something.
"Dirk, it's not him, god, the stupid thing is on repeat." I said as I swiftly reached down and tapped the button, putting the jukebox on random. At least it would calm him down. I felt someone grab my arm and I turned around in surprise, the guy was moving towards my arm and Dirk grabbed him, pulling him away from me. The guy turned his head and bit down into Dirk's hand, Dirk dropped him in surprise and I scrambled away from the guy who was lunging at me. one of the other bikers, someone I didn't know shoved him away, onto his back, the guy snapped his jaws, trying to bite at the guy holding him down. "What the fuck man." I panted. I jumped up and went to Dirk who tried to shove me away but I grabbed his hand and looked at it. "Shit he bit you hard." I muttered.
"No shit." he growled. I moved over to the bar and pointed at everyone.
"Stay away from his mouth, and keep him down." I said.
"I got some handcuffs." one of the biker girls Roxx said and I nodded to her.
"See if you can get them on him, but if he tries to bite or anything, keep back."
"Let me do it." Dirk moved to Roxx. "If he tries again I'll knock his head right 'cross the room." he moved forward and got the cuffs from Roxx who stepped away, Dirk moved over to the guy.
"Hey D, he's ona them drug addicts on tha news!" one guy shouted and I looked up from where I had the phone cradled between my head and shoulder.
"You call the cops yet Liz?"
"I did." I said as I hung up the phone. "It's busy."
"Ya hear that?" Dirk asked the guy who was on the ground, as he cuffed the guy's wrist to a pipe running from the ceiling to the floor. "Ain't no one's comin to help you." with that he kept his knee on the guy's chest, holding him to the floor, the guy tried to struggle, snapping at the air, someone else held down the guy's other hand as I dialed the number to my house.
"Guys, wait!" I called and they looked at me. "Let me call Janice, maybe she knows what to do." I tried to reason with them. Dirk hesitated, his fist in the air, over the guy's face.
"Call her." he ordered. I dialed Janice's number and waited a few minutes. No answer.
"Nothing." I said and the seven people in the bar looked at Dirk who was still holding the guy down. He swung his fist down, connecting with the side of the guys face. The guy's head spun to the side, but he looked back at Dirk, trying to bite him again.
"Sonuvabitch didn't even feel it." someone said and Dirk shot them a look before taking another swing at the guy.
"Dirk, you've had your fun, let him go!" I said quickly as I moved around the bar. "You were bit." I walked over to him and he looked at his wrist before looking back at me.
"Ain't nothin' I can't handle." he told me.
"Haven't you been listening to the news?" someone, not a regular, asked. "Its passed through the bite."
"Son of a bitch!" Dirk shouted as he got off of the guy he had been pinning down. He swung his leg back and kicked him hardly in the stomach, the guy didn't respond the way any normal human would.
A few other guys started to kick him too, three of them kicking the crap out of him, I stood there helplessly as one of the other guys held me back, but no matter how much they kicked him, no matter how much they beat him, he didn't respond, just growled and tried to snap at people.
"The head man," the guy who had spoken up before grumbled from where he was sitting at the bar. Everyone turned to look at him. It was then I really took him in, he was wearing scrubs like the ones Janice wore every day. He was hunched over the bar, not looking away from his gin and tonic. He looked up at us and then sighed before reaching over the bar.
"Hey!" I shouted as I walked over to him quickly.
"Relax." he drew his hands out from under the bar, holding the bat. He walked over to the guy handcuffed to the bar. He was standing up and staring at all of us, like he was trying to decide which one of us to go for when the nurse stepped up.
"What are you doing?" I stepped in front of him.
"You think I haven't been dealing with cases like this for the past week?" he asked. "There's no cure, there's no cure because he," he pointed the bat at the guy handcuffed to the pipe. "He is already dead."
"How is he dead if he's looking right at me?" Roxx asked.
"I don't know." the nurse shrugged. "All I know is, he's dead, and so are you." he nodded to Dirk.
"I ain't dead! Do I look dead?!" Dirk shouted.
"You look like every other patient I've seen." the nurse replied. "You look like you've been bit, and you look like you'll get a headache, you look like you'll get the fever, your bones will feel like glass, and you'll be in so much pain, and you look like you'll die. Then, you'll come back, like him." he said pointing at the guy cuffed to the bar again. There's no cure for what he is, and he's only got one thing on his mind. Doing to all of you what he just did to Paul Bunyan over there."
"So what do you know about it?" Roxx asked.
"I know that there's only one way to end it." he said before he walked over to the man handcuffed to the bar. the nurse swung the bat back and smashed it into the infected guy's head. He continued to do it, over and over, beating him in the head. one of the regulars, Shawn went to the door and closed it, locking the door. The nurse stood there panting, the bat and his clothes covered in blood and splatter, the guy on the ground's head bashed open. "If I were you," he told us all. "I'd start heading to the base in Atlanta. They say it's safe." he looked up at us all. Everyone was stunned silent.
"Now wait just a damn minute doc-"
"You want to end up like him, you just say the word, and you can stay." the nurse pointed to the bloody mess where the guy's head used to be. "But the rest of you, out, now!" he ordered. his eyes connected with mine and I stood there staring at him. "Get out." he ordered darkly and I stepped forward.
"No." I said quickly. "No, this isn't-"
"Isn't what? Isn't my problem?" he asked and I set my jaw. "That's what everyone at the hospital said, and you know what's happening there now? Involuntary evacuations. All of the patients are being brought to Atlanta and all of the doctors, nurses, everyone else are being told to leave." he informed us. "The entire city is filling up with those things."
"Forget this." Roxx said as she moved away from the group. "Come on Daddy." she said to her boyfriend, he nodded and followed after her. "I'm gettin' my kids and we're gettin out of here."
"Shouldn't we all stick together?" someone asked.
"I'm goin' for my kids!" she shouted at him and he held his hands up in surrender. "I'm-"
"Go on Roxx," I said to her. "I'll see ya'll in Atlanta. You see my brother up there, you tell him I'm comin." I told her, she put her hand on my shoulder and held it there before she nodded and then turned away, grabbing Daddy's hand and leading him out to their bike.
"You goin to Atlanta Liz?" Shawn asked and I nodded.
"I ain't goin for no base," I told him. "I'm goin' for Cal." everyone at the bar knew Cal. He had been the one who helped get me the job there.
"Liz, you ain't gonna let him kill me, are ya?" Dirk asked and I swallowed as I looked down.
"You been bit man." Shawn said softly. Dirk looked down before he stepped over to the bar and sat down on his seat. I looked at everyone else before I walked over to the bar cautiously, and stepped behind it.
"You know, I always wanted to order a shot of the good stuff." he told me as he pulled his wallet out. "Even now, I ain't got enough."
"Well, if what the doc over there says is true," I said as I picked up the bottle of whisky I knew he was talking about. "Money ain't gonna be a problem for much longer." I pulled out enough shot glasses for everyone at the bar and filled them with the best quality whisky we had. Everyone moved over to the bar, the doc met my eyes as I handed him his and I picked my own up, and threw it back. Everyone did the same and Dirk sighed before looking at me.
"Think you can give me just one more of those Lizzy girl?" he asked and I filled his shot glass up again. He sipped the liquid into his mouth slowly this time, and then swallowed it after a moment with his eyes closed.
"Are you one hundred percent sure this is going to happen to him?" I asked.
"A hundred and ten." he told me and I nodded grimly before looking at Dirk who didn't meet my eyes, just nodded, his head down.
"My head's already starting to hurt." he admitted softly. "Go find your brother." I nodded and put my hand over his for a moment before moving around the bar. I grabbed my purse and coat and pulled my car keys out of my purse as the rest of the patrons left the bar.
"What was your name?" I asked the guy in the scrubs who looked at me.
"Sylvester." he admitted. "Sylvester Monroe."
"Good luck Sylvester." I told him and he nodded to me.
"Good luck to you too Liz, oh and uh- If you run into any more of those things, they aren't people, they're not your friends or family anymore. You need to destroy the brain and do it quick, because they won't hesitate to do this to you too." he said. I walked out of the bar and was struck instantly by how quiet the streets seemed. With everything Sylvester had told me I'd have figured it to be a lot more chaotic. Just as that thought crossed my mind I heard a scream, a woman was running down the street, three people were gaining on her, they pulled her to the ground and started to pull at her flesh, biting her, ripping at her skin and clothes with their teeth and nails. I stopped where I was standing and looked at Shawn who was staring at the same thing, the others had already taken off.
"Git in your car." he told me and I nodded. I got to my car and unlocked it before putting the key in the ignition, he got onto his bike and started it up, drawing the attention of the people attacking the girl on the ground who had since stopped moving. One of them stood up and I started my car, Shawn looked at me and leaned down next to my open window.
"See you in Atlanta." he told me and I nodded before he pulled away, I drove off in the opposite direction, my apartment was less than a mile from the bar. When I got home I could hear gunshots and screams, maybe things were as bad as Sylvester had claimed, things didn't seem to be calming down.
"Janis!" I shouted into the apartment. "Janis, get your shit, we're goin' to Atlanta!" there was no answer and I wondered if maybe she had gotten called back into work, but then I remembered what Sylvester had said, they were sanding people who worked for the hospitals home. I frowned and looked out the window, Janis' car was there. "Jannie!" I called. I heard a thud from the other room and I frowned wondering if she was possibly drunker than I thought. Maybe she had taken something for how she was feeling and mixed with the alcohol in her system is wasn't agreeing with her. She normally was a lot better about stuff like that. I walked to the room and pushed open the door. "Janis?" I asked and she turned around, her blonde hair was plastered to her skin from sweat, and she stared at me, her eyes were cloudy and she was hunched over slightly. "Janis?" I asked softly as she stared at me, she stepped towards me, reaching her hands out and it was then I noticed the gauze on her arm. "Oh no." I said softly. "No, Janis-" I covered my mouth as she stumbled towards me. I stepped back to the living room, looking for anything to defend myself from my former best friend. Sylvester's words were ringing around in my head, I had to take care of the brain. I went to the kitchen off of the living room, as she followed behind me I used the second hallway to slip down to my room with Janis right on my tail. I slammed the door to my room and locked it with her slamming her hands against it. I went to my closet and reached up to the top shelf, where I kept my hunting gear. I chose my knife, the rifle was no good anyways, Janis was pissed enough about having the gun, but since I convinced her it was just for hunting trips with Cal, she made me keep my ammo with Cal. I went back to the door, her scratching and hitting at it was enough to drive me crazy, it reminded me of how she would knock at my door playfully on the mornings she knew I would be so hung over I could hardly see straight, but she'd always come with a big cup of coffee, four advil, some gatorade and a ton of bacon and eggs. This time she was loaded down with pure evil and a need to feed on my flesh. I unlocked the door and swung it open, she fell to the floor making me realize she was putting her weight on the door. Without thinking I climbed on top of her back, straddling her as she tried desperately to turn around and sink her teeth into my skin, I held the knife with two hands, the knife had seen plenty of blood, deer, squirrel, beaver, fish, and on occasion human when I nicked myself with it, but this would be the first time I used it to kill something, and the first time I had ever even thought about killing a human. With that thought in mind, I brought the tip of the knife down, into the back of her skull, cracking through it, and burying the blade deep in her brain. I felt everything I had eaten and drank that day come up the moment Janis stilled and I threw up on the carpet next to her head. I panted a few times before throwing up again. Tears rolled down my face as I moved across the room. The only friend I had ever had, and I just shoved a hunting knife through her skull. My phone vibrated in my pocket and I pulled it out.
"Cal?" I whimpered as I answered it.
"Hey kiddo." he said into the phone. "Wonderin' if you'd answer."
"Where are you?" I asked.
"Atlanta, I- I'm in Atlanta. Listen and listen close, we ain't got much time 'fore the phones go, are you bit."
"Good." he sighed. "They say it's safe here, I'm not too sure, but I reckon between the two of us, we got enough to survive on our own if need be."
"I was- I'm comin out there Cal." I told him.
"I know." he told me.
"I'm gonna go to mama's-"
"No, don't, it's too dangerous." he told me. "Just take whatever camping gear you and Janis have and come out here, I'll see what this base is all about, and if it's bullshit, do you remember where we used to go fishing?" he asked and I nodded even though he couldn't see me. "We meet there." he said.
"Okay." I told him.
"Okay. How's the uh nurse, she okay?"
"No." I said softly and he was quiet for a moment.
"You take care of it?" he asked.
"I had to." I told him and I could just picturing him nod in agreement. "Cal- What about mom?"
"I'll take care of it." he told me. "Just get out here as soon as you can. Take the back roads, and get the hell out of dodge."
"Okay." I said and cleared my throat. "Cal, I-"
"I know kiddo." he told me. "I'll see you-" the line cut out.
"Cal? Cal!?" I shouted into the phone, but there was no answer. I put it into my pocket and went to my closet. I got my camping gear and threw it on the floor of my bedroom. I stepped over Janis as I went to her room and pulled out a suitcase, I had never left town, Janis on the other hand had been all over the world. I got her bag and walked back into my bedroom and quickly grabbed some clothes, underwear, socks, jeans, shirts, a pair of sweats, a jacket for the cold, I threw in my toiletries, hairbrush and grabbed my small photo album, I looked at it, it had no real survival value but I tossed it into the bag anyway. I got the knife sheath and attached it to my thigh with the buckles attached to it, before moving over to Janis. I pulled the knife from her head and cleaned her blood off of it before putting the knife away. I put my rifle over my shoulder and carried my camping gear out to my mom's old station wagon I had been driving around for the past few years. The paint was peeling and it broke down constantly, but it got me from point a to point b. Usually. I threw my stuff in the back, then went back inside and threw in my suitcase and a box of food I had brought, mostly canned stuff, with the last of my gatorade supply, some water bottles and a case of mountain dew on the seat next to me. Lord knows I would need it. After looking around the apartment one last time my eyes caught the small shrine Janis had made in the living room.
"The fuck is this sparkly spider web?" I asked Janis as I stared at the wall. She dropped a box of stuff labeled "Kitchen" with a laugh as I looked over at her. She was so organized about things, her hair pulled in a perfect ponytail and all clean and relaxed looking in her perfect track suit while I stood there with a pair of raggity jean shorts and a tank top, a cold beer in my hand. I took a swig of it as she stepped up next to me.
"Well, as you know I'm a Cherokee."
"Whitest Cherokee I know." I told her and she grinned before stealing a sip of my beer.
"It's a dream catcher. It keeps nightmares away. I figured, I'm not gonna hang it above my bed because Richard doesn't like to look at it-"
"Richard's a pussy." I shot back and she shrugged, used to hearing me call her boyfriend a pussy. "So what, just 'cuz he's got some sort of white guilt trip goin', you're lettin' him banish all your Indian shit to the living room?" I asked and she looked over at me.
"You're so charming." she sighed and I smiled at her before she shrugged.
"Way I see it, it was either the dream catcher, or the beer can trophy you won becoming queen of the frat when you came to visit me at college."
"Woah woah woah, that's still going up!" I shouted as I followed her into the kitchen.
I went to the living room and pulled down the dream catcher. I ran my thumb over it and then took it out to the car, I hung it up on the rearview mirror and then started my car. It took a few tries, but when it did start I started to drive, pulling out of there, and making my way through the chaos that was my town. I drove to the back roads, the ones hardly used by anyone else and I drove for awhile, listing to the radio telling me to go to Atlanta, telling me that my best bet was Atlanta. I told myself everything would be okay once I got there and I found Cal. Then we'd be together and we'd figure this whole thing out the Mason way. As I assured myself of this, the car started to shake a little like it did right before it crapped out. And as if on que, it shuttered to a stop. I pulled the emergency brake and looked around the dark road, nothing seemed to be around for miles, but I didn't want to risk it. I popped the hood, and clinging to my knife I made my way out of the car and swung open the hood quickly. The wire that had been coming loose and I had been too broke to fix was loose again, and try as I did, none of the usual tricks seemed to be working. I slammed the hood down and stood there for a minute, trying to decide what to do when I decided to do what I could. I grabbed my suitcase and picked up my camping backpack, my gear was packed away in it as perfectly as I could, my rife, useless as it was, was slung over my shoulder and I grabbed a bottle of gatorade. I paused once more staring at the dream catcher before I swore and grabbed it, throwing it on top of my clothes in my bag. I zipped up the bag, mindful of the feathers and then I slammed the station wagon closed and started walking. I must have gotten about a mile before I heard the sound of tires. I turned around, a pair of lights were coming right at me, and I stared for a moment before I turned back around, and continued to walk. I was a Mason, there was no way I was going to ask for help, they could stop, or they couldn't, either way. I wasn't surprised when they slowed down, but I was surprised when I heard a shot ring out, landing about a foot in front of me. I jumped back, dropping my bag, stumbling over my feet as whoever shot at me howled in laughter.
"God damnit Merle, you said it was ona them things!" the other voice said.
"Aw shaddup Darylina." the voice I assumed was Merle said as a car door opened. I turned around, scrambling to my knees as I drew my knife and held it out. "Hoo lookit ya, got a little fight in ya huh?" Merle- I guess it was Merle, the voice matched- stood with his legs spread apart, his hands on his slightly bent knees, staring down at me. His hair was cut close to his skull, and he was looking me over for a moment, he looked to be in his forties maybe fifties, and he reminded me of every greasy member of the usual suspects that made up the regular customers in the Silver Spoon. "You bit girl?" he asked and I stared up at him, my eyes flickering between him, and the other member of the car who had gotten out and was standing to the side. He was younger, with a small goatee, he was squinting at me slightly, his arms crossed over his chest as he watched the exchange. "Talkin' to ya Girlie. You bit?"
"No." I told him finally and he nodded before jerking his head back the other way.
"Yer car back there?" I nodded. "Where ya think yer goin' alone with no protection?"
"I've got a gun." I said and he scoffed slightly.
"If your gun were fer more'n' show, you'da pulled that 'steada tryin' ta stick me." he nodded to the knife. "Now, us here, we sure 'preaciate the food ya left in the backa yer car. Way I see it, ya got two opetions. Ya put yer knife away and ya git in the truck, we'll call them supplies there payment. Way I see it, you're headed to Atlanta." I nodded. "We drop ya off there, ya don't make no fuss or nothin, don't think I'll mind havin' a pretty little ass like yours along for tha ride. You decide to stay out here on yer own, we'll see how well you do 'gainst them dead folk." I stared at him for a long moment. Was he offering me a ride to Atlanta? I guess I was taking too much time to decide because he shrugged and straightened up, moving to the truck.
"Thanks fer the food-"
"Wait," I jumped up quickly. "Wait, I'll go!" I pointed the knife at him, and then the other guy. "No funny business though, y'hear?" I asked.
"Wouldn't dream'a' it sugar tits." he winked and I looked at the driver who rolled his eyes and got into the truck. I slowly put the knife away and I picked up my bag before bringing it to the truck, I tossed it into the truck bed along with my backpack full of camping supplies and noticed the older of the two, the one I was still assuming was Merle holding open the door, he had pushed forward his seat for me to get into the back. I eyes him wearily, I had dealt with guys like him before, but he stayed silent as I grabbed a hold of the seat and the side of the door, I started to pull myself up with I felt his hand connect with my ass, pushing me into the back of the truck. I turned around, shooting him a dirty look making him laugh in response.
"God damn Daryl, she got a tight ass." he said and I narrowed my eyes but didn't say anything. There was nothing stopping either of them from throwing me out and keeping all of my gear, leaving me alone and unprotected to fend for myself. My rifle sat across my lap, and I stared down at it. I didn't feel the truck start to move until we hit something. Merle let out a laugh and I looked up as the one driving, Daryl muttered a swear word under his breath. I was silent through most of the ride, the two seemed to appreciate that until Merle looked back at me. "God damn girl you don't talk much do ya?"
"Just had ta kill my best friend. What do you want me to say?" I asked and he looked at me before nodding lightly.
"Shit, we know what that's like don't we Daryl?" he hit the driver's arm.
"They ain't people no more." the quieter of the two told me. I nodded in agreement.
"She's the reason I don't have any bullets."
"You used tha last of 'em on her?"
"She wouldn't let me keep 'em in the house." I told them. Merle scoffed and I looked down at my rifle again.
"What's your name anyways sugar tits?" he asked and I rolled my eyes.
"Liz Mason." I told him.
"Merle Dixon, this'ere's Daryl." I nodded to him and he nodded back.
"You think there's any merit in that whole Atlanta thing?" I asked.
"You?" Daryl asked and I shook my head.
"I'm gonna find my brother and we're gonna go out on our own."
"How far ya think you're gonna make it with no bullets?"
"Cal's got bullets, Cal will know what to do." I told them strongly. "We can make it on our own."
"Cal Mason?" Merle asked and looked back at me.
"My brother." I nodded with a small frown.
"Well… Sure sounds like ya got yer mind made up." Merle said and I nodded without looking away from the window. The ride was silent for awhile longer before Daryl swore suddenly. We were on the main highway to Atlanta, and it was packed.
"God damn it's like a tail gating party." I muttered as Daryl pulled up behind someone. We sat in the car for awhile, inching along, before we weren't even inching anymore. Daryl shut off the truck, leaving the radio on, while Merle's good mood seemed to go south. He got out of the truck and was smoking a cigarette when I crawled into the front seat and looked at Daryl who looked over at me curiously.
"I got some food in that box in the back. Figured we ain't movin' for awhile, want something?" I asked and he seemed to mull it over for a moment before he nodded. I got out of the truck, Merle hardly looked over at me as I moved to the back of the truck and lifted the tarp up, I pulled the box over to me and settled on a few cans of Chef Boyardee, something that was a guilty pleasure of mine, I liked to eat cans of the stuff when I was sick. I grabbed three cans of mountain dew that I noticed they didn't seem to have a problem taking from my car, and I was about to turn back to the truck when I heard a small voice.
"Mom, I'm still hungry."
"I know Carl, we'll find something to eat when we get to Atlanta." the woman I assumed to be his mother said and I looked at the box. It wasn't much, but...
"Hey." I called to the woman who looked over. I tossed a can of the canned ravioli to her and she caught it with a look of surprise. "Ain't much." I shrugged. "But it'll tide your boy over."
"Thank you." she said with a small smile. She opened it for him and he frowned.
"It's cold." he whined and she rolled her eyes.
"Carl Robert Grimes, you mind your manners and say thank you." she ordered and he looked over at me with a bashful look.
"Thank you." he said softly.
"You're welcome." I said to him. He smiled at me and I nodded to his mother, but keeping a mindful eye on her. Once she said her kid's name the wheels in my mind had started spinning and I realized why I knew her.
"I'm Lori Grimes." she introduced herself with a smile and I nodded.
"I know who you are." I said and she stared at me in surprise.
"Name's Liz Mason. If you're the Grimes I'm thinkin' of, the name Mason should mean something to you." I said to her. A look of realization crossed her face and I nodded. "So where's officer friendly?" a look of hurt crossed her face and I nodded softly. "Well I'm sorry."
"You're not sorry about anything." she said and I stared at her before I shrugged and turned back to the truck. I grabbed another can of food and closed the box, pulled the tarp down and shut the tail gate. I went back to the truck where Merle was smoking a new one, I handed him a can of food and a can of mountain dew, he pulled the top from the can of food and dug in with his fingers while I slipped into the truck and handed Daryl the can of chef Boyardee and a can of mountain dew. He nodded his thanks to me and did the same thing as his brother. We were stuck in the traffic jam for awhile, I met some other people from around cars, a kid named Glenn had a map he let me see for a little bit, he looked over my shoulder as I looked at it on the hood of his red car. "What are you trying to find?" Glenn asked and I looked at him before looking back at the map.
"Trying to find where the hell we are." I told him. He pointed to an area on the map and I nodded.
"We're right there. Just outside of Atlanta." he said and I let out a small hum as I looked over the map.
"So we're not too far." I muttered.
"Not too far from what?" he asked.
"This place me'n' Cal used to go when I was younger."
"Well that's great." he said as I looked over the map, trying to memorize it.
"Why's that?" I asked.
"Well, see that RV over there?" he pointed and I nodded as I looked at it. "The driver, Dale, he was talking about maybe finding somewhere to camp for the night if we can't get into Atlanta right away, you know, and then trying tomorrow." he said and I looked over at him momentarily before I looked back at the map.
"I haven't been there in awhile." I said as I looked the map over. "I ain't makin' any promises over how great of an area it is." I told him and he shrugged with a carefree smile like it was the greatest idea in the world.
"There ya are." a voice behind me said and I turned to see Daryl Dixon with what looked like a cross bow over his back.
"Need me for somethin?" I asked and he shook his head as he moved over to me.
"Jus' wonderin' where ya run off to." he said and I shrugged before he looked over my shoulder at the map.
"My brother used to take me there as a kid." I told him as I pointed to the area. "If we weren't able to meet in Atlanta, he said to meet him there. You think it's worth looking into?" I asked and he looked at the map.
"I dunno. Suppose if we can't get inna town tonight it'd be best to get out of this spot. Could be bit people all over the place, they just ain't tellin us about it."
"Isn't that a little paranoid?" I asked and he scoffed lightly. "Time is it anyway?" I asked and he shrugged.
"Woman I ain't got no watch." he said and I smiled lightly.
"Guess not." I said and started to fold up the map again. "Thanks Glenn."
"No problem Liz."
"Well if you and ya little boyfriend're done makin' googly eyes, Merle's been askin' where ya run off to." Daryl said and I rolled my eyes.
"Glenn is hardly my boyfriend, besides, what is he, like twelve?" I asked and Daryl snorted lightly.
"I'm twenty two." Glenn called after us and I shrugged.
"You're still in college." I called back. "You think we'll make it into the city tonight?" I asked Daryl who sighed and looked at the city. At that moment about three or four low flying black helicopters flew over us, making their way to the city where everyone on the road watched in horror as the helicopters started dropping bombs. There were screams of shock and horror, I watched in surprise, the only thing going through my head was Cal as I started to step towards the city. Daryl caught me and pulled me back. "Cal." I said weakly.
"Ain't nothin' ya can do." he said to me lowly, not loosening his grip on me as I stared at the bombs being dropped on the city, people were screaming, crying, asking why, praying, and no one was paying attention to the real problem.
"Walkers!" someone shouted and I looked up, it was a frenzy, people were screaming, running around, shoving, I don't even remember making it back to the truck, but next thing I knew I was squished between Merle and Daryl Dixon while Daryl pulled off the highway.
"Where are we going?" I asked and he looked over at me.
"We're gon' check out yer camp for a few days." he said decidedly and I nodded as I looked back out the window at Atlanta, smoke on the horizon, blacking out any last chance I had of meeting up with my brother.
Okay, I hope ya'll liked it, that's the first chapter, and it is literally the longest chapter I've ever written for something. I'll be able to post again when I have my computer charger again, so in the mean time, have a fantastic New Years!
And please don't forget to review!