Chapter One: 3 hands are better than one.
"You sonsa'bitches!" Merle shouted as he struggled to free himself from the handcuffs Officer Friendly had put him in. "Droppin' the damn key...they better hope I don't run into them anytime soon."
It had been a whole day in the hot sun and Merle found himself becoming delirious and dying of thirst. All he could think about was how his group left him there to die and the group of walkers trying to get onto the rooftop. His eyes fell to the tool bag sitting just out of his reach. A hand saw, that would work.
Merle took off his belt and threw it towards the handle of the saw hoping it would catch. After a tenth throw it finally was dragged close enough that he could grab it. Merle bit down on his belt and took a deep breath and brought the teeth of the saw to his skin.
His screams of agony could probably be heard all across Atlanta and walkers in the countryside were probably now heading towards the city. Merle didn't stop, if he stopped sawing it would only mean he would have to start up again. Blood gushed onto the cement below him, it was when he reached the bone that the awful sawing sound began and made him feel faint.
"Almost done…" he told himself. Within minutes his hand fell to the ground and his arm slipped out of the cuffs. He took a ripped portion of his shirt and belt and made a makeshift tourniquet for his arm to stop the bleeding from getting any worse. He first walked around the rooftop surveying a safe place to climb down as the door wasn't really an option. Before leaving he grabbed up a few tools to keep with him as weapons if needed.
"God damn assholes left me up here to die like sum animal. I oughta kill every one of 'em" He grumbled and finally came across another door. As he entered the room appeared empty. He walked down the stairs as small droplets of blood fell to the floor, he felt like he was losing conscience but soldiered on not wanting to become walker bait.
He made his way through another door and saw a walker stumbling around on its own. He reached for a wrench in his back pocket and approached it from behind quietly. He slammed the wrench to the walkers head and it fell to the ground. Without sparing a second he brought the wrench to its skull again, and again, and again until blood pooled out from its head. "Still got it…" he laughed to himself.
Merle found himself in a kitchen and the blood was soaking through the material and his shoddy bandage was beginning to fail. He looked to the stove and found a small press. He turned on the burners and place the press over the flames to heat it up. He listened for more walkers as he waited and mentally prepared himself for the pain he was about to endure. When the press began to turn orange he knew it was time. He removed the belt and cloth around his wound and with his free hand began to bring the press towards his skin.
"What the hell are you doin'?" A small voice came from behind him. He slowly turned to find a small woman holding a sawed-off shotgun to him.
"Easy girl." He held up his arms, revealing his wound to her.
"...Jesus...what happened?" She dropped he gun on the prep table beside her and ran to inspect his sawed-off hand. "Did...did you do this?" She questioned, still examining the mutilated limb.
"Yeah, kinda had to. Officer Friendly and his gang of pricks left me for bait on the rooftop. I either could have starved to death or sawed my own damn hand off." Merle explained, "I need to cauterised it though, so if you don't mind girly…" He turned back and grabbed the press once again and shoved it to his arm.
The girl cringed almost feeling the pain herself as she looked at Merle's face twisted in anguish. He slid down to the floor taking in deep breaths, "So what's your name?" Merle asked trying to distract himself from the pain.
"Joanna. Everyone calls me Jo though. Yours?"
"Merle, people call me Merle. You alone or somthin'?"
Jo was hesitant to give him an answer, as far as she knew the living were just as dangerous as the dead. Still what harm could a one-handed man do?
"Yeah. Came in here for some supplies, nothing is really left though." She picked up her shotgun from the table and held it by her side. "I heard of a place around here, some sort of town where survivors are."
"This might be too bold but what is the possibility you would let me join ya dear? I mean, three hands is better than one in a world like this." He laughed and Jo allowed herself to laugh lightly as well.
"I have a car in the ally. You help me plunder this place for all its worth and you're welcome to be my company." Jo offered holding out a backpack.
"Yes ma'am." Merle grinned.
Jo looked around the kitchen and found some spices and canned foods and stuffed them into the bag. Merle looked her up and down and let a sly smile play across his lips, "Nice lookin' girl. That's the kinda company every man should have…" He concluded.
"Okay, let's go, it's getting dark." Jo ordered as she squeezed her way through a broken window onto a fire escape, her car sitting below. Merle followed after her admiring her agility and grace as she ran down the stairs and jumped onto the pavement beside her car, ripping the door open and hopping in.
"Damn…" He mumbled as he tried his best to keep up. When he got around to the passenger side and climbed in Jo started up the engine and they fired out of the ally. "How's this thing for gas?" Merle examined the dashboard gauges.
"Full. Have 4 full gas tanks in the back as well. If you look in the black bag on the floor behind you I have some pills you can take for pain and some ointment and meds for preventing infection. Take what you need." Jo weaved her way down the avenues, dodging cars and shuffling, decaying bodies.
"Where ya from? Don't sound like you're from 'round here." Merle reclined his seat after popping a combination of pills.
"Detroit." She spoke quickly, keeping her concentration. Her goal was to get out of Atlanta as quick as possible. "You know where your group is?"
"Yeah, but I ain't goin' back to those assholes. They've probably picked up and moved camp elsewhere in case I ever found them." Merle sighed thinking of his little brother.
"One. My brother Daryl. Wimpy and emotional sonofabitch but damn good with a crossbow." He beamed. As tough as Merle Dixon was he was sure proud of his little brother, "You?"
"No idea. I was visiting a friend when all this began. Chances are they are dead though…" She sighed and fought back the tears welling behind her eyes. "I need to make one more stop." She peeled into a variety store parking lot and grabbed her gun, quickly exiting the vehicle.
Joanna pushed open the door and the bell chimed. She grabbed a broken piece of wood from the counter and hid behind a shelf as she heard a walker rushing towards the door. She swung the wood forward slamming the walker in the face and continued to bash its head in.
"Anyone else?" She called out.
Merle spoke up, "Damn Jo. You's a real bitch ain't ya?" he chuckled stuffing food and booze into the backpack.
"Saw that huh?" She smiled and grabbed multiple bottles of whiskey and vodka off the shelves and piled them into a large weapons bag.
"Have a drinkin' problem?" Merle joked.
"Nope, but if I am going to die, I'm going to get really drunk first." She reasoned.
"Where have you been all my life." Merle smiled.
The two gathered all they could and headed back to the car, filling the backseat with pills, booze and canned food. They laughed as they thought to any wandering stranger this car looked like an addicts car.
"How is your hand, er, I mean your arm…" Jo corrected herself and looked over to his wrapped arm. It was no longer bleeding but he smelt like burnt flesh.
"I think I'll live." He said as he took more pain pills and slumped into his seat.
"Get some rest. I'm going to try to find a safe spot to park and get some sleep myself." Jo reached into the backseat and grabbed a blanket. "Here. I don't use the heat or air conditioner because it takes away from the gas."
"Thanks. Say, how old are you?"
Merle scoffed, "Much older than you."
"C'mon, tell me." She begged.
"You look good for 48." Jo blushed.
Merle felt awkward, usually he would make some sexist comment about her tits or ass but he stopped himself and thought about what his brother would say instead, "Thanks. I'm, uh, gunna sleep now. Think these pills are kickin' in."
Jo kept her eyes on the road, slowly the city began to turn into the countryside and the day turned to night. She thought to herself at least she wasn't alone anymore, she had the company of a Southern man and a lot of booze to keep themselves entertained until she could find this town she heard rumours of.
Note: So what do you all think so far? The next chapter will be split between Rick's group and Merle/Jo and things might get a little intense for the two. Please read and review, if you have any improvements I could make let me know! :)