Sorry to everyone for the delay, I've just been having some issues with this chapter. A little bit of writer's block mixed with dissatisfaction with everything that I did manage to write. Now that it's up, please enjoy and don't forget to review!
Daryl walked outside and just about had a heart attack. Carol flew through the air and landed on the type of mat that he vaguely remembered from high school gym class.
"Me next!" he heard Beth yell out even as Carol began laughing. Olivia stepped over and helped pull her to her feet.
"Not yet," Shane said. "I want to see how she does against someone bigger than her." Daryl began heading over to watch as Shane swaggered closer to where Olivia was standing.
"Bring it on," she laughed.
Suddenly Shane charged, his arms extended. Olivia ducked, pivoting away and laughed when Shane's arms grabbed nothing but empty air.
"Gonna have to be faster than that," she taunted.
Shane cocked his head to the side, "Yeah, alright. I can see that." He pushed his sleeves up, exposing well muscled forearms. "Don't say you didn't ask for it."
Like lightening, Shane's arm darted out, grabbing the front of Olivia's shirt. He pulled her forward, her feet lifting off the mat with the force of the grab. "Ugh!" she grunted as her body slammed into Shane's.
Daryl's teeth snapped together but he stood still, waiting to see what would happen.
Before Shane could spin her around to get her in a choke hold, Olivia went limp, breaking his hold and dropping her body to the ground. She rolled twice before getting to her feet.
"Nice Olivia," Rick called out next to him. "He may be bigger but you're faster. Keep moving and use his weight against him."
Livi nodded almost imperceptivity. She was too busy watching Shane's every move.
Shane sniffed and brushed his thumb over his lips. Daryl tensed, recognizing the movement as one of Shane's tells when he gets frustrated. He feigned left, causing Olivia to move right and before she could reverse directions again, Shane grabbed her wrist and pulled her towards him. Instead of trying to get her in an upright hold, he tripped her, sending Olivia sprawling face first on the mat.
Quickly Shane followed her down, pinning her under his bulk. Olivia squirmed, trying to get free. Shane pulled the wrist he already had behind her back roughly, causing Olivia to cry out.
Pissed, Daryl went to step forward but Rick stopped him. "Just wait. There's a safe word. If she wants to stop she just has to say it."
He shook off Rick's hand but before he could step onto the mat, Olivia caught the side of Shane's head with her elbow. Stunned, Shane loosed his grip enough for Olivia to free her upper body. Before she could get back to her feet though, Shane grabbed at her waist, pulling her back to the mat. She twisted over and locked her legs around his chest, squeezing tightly.
Shane grunted with the pressure she was exerting on him but grabbed her hip with one hand and her elbow with the other. He managed to pull himself up to a kneeling position. Daryl watched as Olivia hung off of him, her face pinched with concentration. "Call it or you're getting slammed," Shane growled.
Olivia's body relaxed slightly, and Shane smiled victoriously. Suddenly, Olivia's free arm shot out from where it had been gripping his wrist and grabbed Shane's ear, twisting it painfully to the side. "Ugh!" he yelled out. Instinctively, Shane let go of her hip to reach for the hand that was causing him so much pain.
As soon as her legs were free, Olivia released her hold on Shane's chest and planted her feet firmly on the ground. On knee came up and stopped just short of Shane's face. "That would've hurt," she said. "I bet that would have even broken your nose, giving me the required minute to get away."
Shane looked up at her over the leg that was still an inch from his face and began to laugh. "Damn girl, you may be tiny but you got some spunk." He rubbed his chest, "And some strong ass thighs." He gave her an approving look. "Nice job."
"That was great Olivia," Rick said stepping out onto the mats. "Who's next? Beth?"
Beth gulped. "I don't think I'm ready for Shane yet," she said her voice apprehensive.
"No problem, I think you and Carol can practice together for a bit. Have to say, I'm surprised Olivia agreed to it myself."
Olivia laughed as she pranced over to Daryl. She threw her arms around his neck and gave him a quick peck. "Did you see that?" She asked excitedly.
Daryl pushed her back gently. He wasn't comfortable with being so affectionate in front of everyone. But when her face fell ever so slightly, he sighed and tossed his arm around her shoulders. Pressing his lips to her hairline he smiled. "I have to say, I enjoyed watching you beat him." Daryl paused for a moment, "All except the part where you wrapped your legs around him."
Olivia laughed, "I'll remember that. Come on, let's go get our laundry together, looks like it's going to be another nice day."
"Daryl, wake up," Olivia said urgently.
Coming awake in an instant, Daryl sat up. "What is it?"
"I think I heard something," she cocked her head to the side and listened. "There it is again, did you hear it?" she asked when a faint metallic noise sounded.
Daryl was already pulling on his clothes. "Get dressed. I'm going to go check it out."
She reached out and put her hand on his arm. "Be careful, alright?"
Daryl touched her face briefly. "Always am."
She smiled at him. "No you're not. You never have been." She grabbed his hand and pressed a kiss into his palm.
As Olivia threw on some clothes, Daryl pulled up the storage door and stepped out into the hallway. He could see the moonlight shining in through the glass panel and swinging his crossbow into position, he started down the hall towards it.
Peaking out the window, he saw nothing, so he pushed open the door and stepped through. Just as the door was swinging shut, he heard the sound again. Without the dampening of the doors, he could tell it was a metal on metal noise, almost as if two pieces were being dragged slowly over each other. It had come from the front area of the building.
Hugging the wall, Daryl made his way down there. He could hear the occasional moan of a walker break through the silence of the night. Needing to know what exactly they were dealing with, he continued to advance.
He got to the corner of the building and glanced around it. "Shit," Daryl muttered. He had been hoping that it was only one or two, but twenty five or so walkers were pressed up against the chain link that flanked the sturdy wrought iron gate.
As the group pushed forward, the sound screeched through the air again, even louder this time. It was the metal clips that held the fencing to the posts stretching and giving way. The walkers reacted to the noise, they began to moan louder and they surged forward again. More walkers stumbled down the hill, drawn to the noise.
Daryl turned and headed back to the door. As he reached it, Rick stepped out of the building. "Did you hear something?" Rick asked.
"Walkers, all lined up on the fence. We're going to have to get out of here." Daryl glanced back as he stepped inside. "I don't know how much longer that fence is going to hold up. My guess would be not long enough."
The two ran back inside, tapping on everyone's doors. "Get up and packed," Rick called out. "We're leaving here in three minutes!"
Daryl stepped into the locker he had been sharing with Olivia to find her rolling up the blankets they had been using. Both her and his bags were packed and sitting by the door. "How bad?" she asked him.
"Not great, but could be worse. The problem will be trying to get out. Moving the gate isn't really an option, it's too heavy to be able to open it quickly enough and get back to the cars." Daryl picked up Penny where she was crying in her basket. Rocking her back and forth he continued. "Best bet is to get in the cars and wait until they knock down the chain link fence if they don't manage to do it before we can even get out there."
Olivia took Penny and placed her in her carrier. "I'm ready. I think I got everything." She glanced around the small unit. "Did we leave anything outside last night that we need to get?"
"No." Daryl said as he turned off the lantern and tucked it into Penny's basket under the blankets. "If the fence comes down before you can get to the cars, head for the bike, it's closer." Daryl told her. "Come on, let's get out of here."
"Shouldn't we wait for everyone else?" Livi asked as Daryl pulled her out into the hall.
He grabbed Penny's basket from her to try to speed her up. "Hurry, they'll all catch up. Once you're in the car, I'll go back and help the rest of them."
"Fuck!" Daryl couldn't help but swear as he yanked a reluctant Livi through the doors. The screeching of the metal was louder and there pings as the metal clips began to give way and fall to the pavement. The fences were going to go any second. "Hurry up!" Daryl yanked open the back of the SUV and shoved Livi inside. Throwing the rest of their stuff in after her, he slammed the door shut.
"Get it started!" He yelled at her. Turning around he disappeared back inside the storage facility.
Olivia watched as Daryl threw the door open to the building. How like him to go back in for the others, not just get on his bike and go. She strapped Penny into the car seat they had installed earlier that day. "Hold on baby. Mama's not going to let anything happen to you." She kissed her daughter on her forehead and climbed into the driver's seat. As she turned the key, she saw the fence bulge once, twice and then give way.
"No, no, no, no…" she chanted. Everyone else was still inside the building. What could she do though? She was already in the car and she couldn't abandon Penny. Out of sheer frustration, she hit the steering wheel. The horn gave a short honk and she saw a few of the walkers begin to turn towards her. "Come on you assholes," she growled. She threw the Chevy into 4WD and hit the horn again.
All as one, the group turned towards her. Olivia hit the gas and felt the car begin to jerk as she plowed into the first line of bodies. Quickly she reversed and keeping the pressure steady on the gas, she backed up. "Ready for round two?" She hit the horn again, longer this time and took aim.
"Ugh!" She cried out when she was thrown forward as the car ran over a group of seven or eight this time. She glance towards the door of the storage unit and swore. No one had emerged yet. "Get a fucking move on!"
The wheels spun on the dead bodies, and Olivia took a deep breath. "It's just like driving in the snow," she told herself. She put slow and steady pressure on the gas pedal and felt the tires grip. The cab of the truck bounced up and down as she drove over the corpses. The bile surged in her throat as there was the unmistakable pop of a skull under the tires. "Gross," she muttered.
Penny began to cry in the backseat, either protesting the extremely bumpy ride or simply reacting to her mother's state of mind. "I know baby girl, I know. Just a few minutes longer."
She spun the wheel, trying to turn the beast of a SUV around. The front didn't quite make it and she knocked into the gate. The wrought iron clanged loudly against the chrome of the bumper. "Crap, crap, crap. You're mama needs a bit more practice driving this thing."
With no choice, she backed up towards the flattened section of the fence. Walkers were coming through two or three at a time. The ones that had been there initially must have just been the tip of a herd. She didn't want to run any over right there because she was afraid that she might block the exit and the other cars then wouldn't be able to make it out. The Hyundai in particular didn't have much ground clearance.
She got as close as she dared, but when a walker appeared in her driver's window, she threw the Chevy back in drive. She glanced towards the door of the building and was relieved to see the rest of the group streaming out the door, Daryl in front taking the lead.
She honked her horn again, hoping to draw some of the walkers that were heading that way back towards her. With one eye on the walkers and one eye on the survivors she hit the gas again. The bodies that were strewn across the pavement were starting to pile on top of each other. Some were dead, but she saw others pulling themselves along, their legs crushed. Yet others were starting to pull themselves to their feet.
Ten or twelve walkers turned and headed straight for the group. They were too spread out for Olivia to get them all, but she swung around, trying to use the SUV as a barrier, giving everyone time to get to safety.
T-Dog, Beth, Lori, Carl and Hershel all piled into the station wagon. Olivia sighed with relief. Those were by far, with the exception of T-Dog the least experienced fighters within the group. They'd be the ones to have the most problems if attacked. Daryl began to make his way back to where his bike was standing next to the door.
Unexpectedly the passenger rear window exploded. A walker reached through the opening, his fingers stretching to where Penny laid strapped in. "NO!" Olivia screamed. Without even putting the SUV into park, she threw herself into the back seat.
Her hands closed around the walker's wrists, pulling away the hands that were now clutching Penny's blanket. "Ugh," she cried out as the skin pulled away, leaving the bone underneath exposed. Contorting her body, she brought her right leg around and began to kick at the corpse that was hanging in the window. Whether it was that she had a bad angle, or just couldn't get enough power, the walker kept coming, his fingers scraping at her clothes.
A hand appeared, yanking the walker back. "Get the brake!" Shane yelled.
Olivia looked over her shoulder and realized that the truck was rolling right towards the steep hill in the back, the one that lead straight down into the river. If they rolled over the edge, and by some miracle didn't smash against the tree, the momentum of the slide would cause them to plunge straight into the cold water.
Olivia struggled to get her feet under her, but her left foot was jammed in between the middle console and the seat from when she had thrown herself into the back. Yanking at it, she watched as the edge got closer and closer. Finally she bent herself backwards.
Shimming under the steering wheel she struggled to reach the brake. Her hand could touch the rubberized surface, but she couldn't get enough power to depress the pedal. She thought about just putting the car into neutral, but the parking lot sloped towards the edge and she wasn't even sure if doing that would end up slowing her down or speeding her up.
Out of desperation, she planted her right foot on the back of the driver's seat and pushed. She felt a slight popping in her knee, but it gave her the extra leverage that she needed. With a loud grunt, she pressed the pedal and as soon as she felt the trunk lurch to a stop, she reached above her and moved the gear shift into park.
She was trying to bring herself back to a sitting position when the driver's side door flew open. "Jesus, are you alright?" Shane asked. "Let me help." He reached down, his hands clasping her under her armpits to pull her up. Olivia could see an extra set of legs in tattered pants coming up behind him.
"Shane! Look out!" she cried, but it was already too late. A walker stumbled up and sank his teeth into Shane's shoulder before he could turn around.
Screaming, Shane punched the walker to the ground and stomped on its skull until brain tissue was spread across the parking lot. He gripped at the bite on his shoulder, disbelief in his eyes.
Olivia managed to get herself upright, and she leaned over a screaming Penny to try to yank herself free. She ended up having to grab onto the toe of her boots with her hand and pull with all her might. "Christ!" she swore when her foot finally popped loose.
Hobbling slightly, she pushed open the rear door and jumped out into the parking lot. "Here," she pressed one of Penny's blankets to the bleeding wound. "Come on, get in." When Shane tried to shake her off, she insisted. "We're not leaving you here, so just get into the truck!" Rougher than what might have been necessary, she maneuvered the big man into the back seat. Wanting to give him something to do, she told him, "I'm going to need you to watch out for Penny until we're clear."
Once he was inside, she jumped back into the driver's seat. Her eyes widened, she couldn't see any pavement at all in front of the Chevy. Another second or two, and both she and Penny would have been rocketing down the hill and into the river.
"Hold on, we're getting out of here," she said. "Is everyone else in a car?" She threw the truck into reverse and backed up.
"Yeah," Shane said. "They all got in."
"Then we're out of here too," Olivia drove around the corner and almost ran over Daryl. She gave him a slight smile and nod, hoping to let him know that both she and Penny were fine. "You first," she mouthed, indicating that he should go ahead.
Spinning the bike around, Daryl maneuvered around the both the bodies on the ground and the walkers that were milling around the parking lot. Olivia stepped on the gas and followed him over the chain link and through the posts of the broken down fence.