DISCLAIMER: I do not own any part of The Walking Dead. This is for entertainment purposes only.
A/N: I have created a playlist of songs from The Walking Dead. Needless to say, I am very content.
As expected, the walkers were relentless. They might have been considered mindless creatures—only seeking out their next meal—but once they caught a glimpse or whiff, they were attached. The sun had gone down long before the walkers even began to disperse. There was still a good handful pounding away at the front of the pharmacy in desperation. But since the group lost the light of day, they had to make do with staying the night there. Traveling at night was out of the question.
Daryl rubbed his face and debated on getting up. At the moment, he wasn't sure he could get up. He had fallen asleep sitting up with his back propped against the back door. His body was far from thanking him as his back and neck ached. He slept there as a precaution though. There was no telling if those three men were alone or not, and Daryl didn't want to risk it.
He sluggishly climbed back to his feet and stretched, feeling a little better once he was able to pop his back to relieve some of the pain. He grabbed his crossbow and headed around the corner that led out into the store itself to find Maggie still curled up with Judith on the floor. Carl was on his feet and already rummaging through everything.
"How long have you been up?" Daryl walked over to join Carl's side, rubbing at the back of his neck. Carl was on his knees digging through the backpack in front of him.
"Not long. Couldn't really sleep." Carl sat back and huffed with a look of defeat. He glanced up at Daryl and cracked a grin, "You look like shit."
Daryl lightly smacked him upside the head, "Yeah? Well look who's talkin'." He couldn't help but grin a little in return. "So what is it that you're diggin' for?"
"Nothing really, just trying to get a count for how much stuff we have. It's not a lot for four people. Er, three and a half…" Carl shrugged. He stared down at his feet, fixated before continuing his thoughts, "I think we should try to go back. We could at least get some of the stuff we left behind. And maybe the others thought to do the same."
Daryl buried his face in his hands and paced back and forth momentarily. It was too early for Carl to start in on this. "We can't," he sighed. "Those guys are either still there or they've already taken everything of any value."
"But the others—" Carl persisted.
As much as Daryl wanted to agree with Carl, he wasn't sure that he could. Carl did have a point that the others might have gone back after the attack. But there was also the dreaded fact that they could all be dead. There could be nothing left. Daryl wasn't sure he was ready to face that, or drag any of them into it.
"Look, I don't think Rick would stay put. After these guys coming through like they did… Rick would have evacuated the area."
"Daryl has a point." Maggie was now awake and standing slightly behind him, off to the side.
Before Carl could continue on the tirade, Judith squeezed through everyone and pounced on him. She giggled as she rested her head on his shoulder and Carl couldn't help but smile and wrap her in a hug.
Daryl dismissed himself and walked over towards the pile of bodies in the corner. He and Carl had dragged the two walkers and three men that they had killed out of sight for the most part. He never did retrieve the bolt he shot at the man as he gripped it in his hand and hesitated. As gruesome as it was, he couldn't help but stare at the bodies. Three of them were human. What was worse was that they didn't even hesitate. Their lives were at stake and they killed those men without a second thought. Daryl grimaced and yanked the bolt from the man's head before he worked on cleaning it off on the rag from his back pocket.
"There's some medication over here. And there's a handful of bandages and gauze," Maggie's voice resounded in the bare store. Just as Daryl returned to where he left everyone Maggie shot him a devious look, "With you around, Lord knows we'll need all that we can get."
"Shit happens," Daryl retorted. "I don't plan on acquiring any new injuries."
Maggie picked up a small orange container that looked to be a prescription drug, twisting it in her hands to read the label. "I don't have a clue what half of this even is." She frowned and lowered it back down to her lap, "My dad would…"
Daryl leaned against one of the shelving units and averted his gaze to the floor just by Maggie as she sat with her legs folded up in front of her. Carl stopped pilfering through the shelves and even Judith fell silent. Her curious eyes bounced from figure to figure trying to pin what happened. But Judith must have picked up the fact that Maggie seemed the most upset as she crawled over to her side and leaned against her.
"Don't be sad, 'kay?" Judith glanced up at Maggie.
Maggie forced a laugh as her voice cracked. She hugged Judith to her side and briefly rested her head on top of Judith's. It was hard to believe that Hershel was gone. Just like that, like a snap of fingers, one crack of a sniper rifle.
"Should we head out?" Carl asked after a moment of silence.
Daryl glimpsed down at Maggie and Judith before nodding. "We should be able to get out the back. I doubt the geeks were smart enough to actually surround us." Crossbow in hand, Daryl walked towards the back of the store and cracked the door. Other than a cool breeze and a couple of walkers, nothing else seemed to obstruct the back alley to freedom.
Daryl shut the door and walked back to the others. Maggie was shoving a bunch of medical supplies into the backpack and Carl was opening a can of peaches. Judith lingered by her brother as she watched intensely.
"Wha's that?" Judith stood on her tip toes to try and see into the can that Carl was working on with a utility pocket knife.
"Canned peaches. Sounds like the most appetizing thing we have for breakfast," Carl muttered. He finally managed to wedge the top of the can off as it clang to the floor. "And we just so happened to be lucky and have a box of plastic forks." Carl smirked as he opened the flap on the box sitting on the shelf and pulled a fork from it, sticking it into some of the peaches that were on top. He handed the can to Judith as her eyes lit up, immediately grabbing the fork by the handle and shoving a peach slice into her mouth.
"So now what's our plan?" Maggie got back to her feet after she zipped the backpack up and looked to Daryl for an answer.
"Uhh…" Daryl chewed on the side of his mouth. He still wasn't used to them looking to him for answers, it felt weird. "Maybe get a glimpse of the town, see if there's anything else that looks worth stopping for. Otherwise we'll probably just head out and try to find the next town."
"If that's the case, then we better get a move on. Who knows how far the next town could be." Carl took the can from Judith and took a couple bites himself before passing it to Maggie. She accepted the offer with a disgusted face but still ate a couple slices. They were pretty much beyond the point of disgusted from eating the same foods over and over for the past few years. When Maggie tried to pass the can to Daryl he just shook his head.
"You're not going to eat?" Maggie questioned, handing the can to Judith.
"Nah, I'm good. Not really hungry…" Daryl shrugged.
"Can't blame you." Carl grabbed the pack on the floor and adjusted it onto his back.
Once the three had finished off what was left of the can—which Daryl noticed was mostly Maggie and Judith as Carl left more for them to eat—they headed out. Daryl led the way with Judith right behind him, followed by Maggie, then Carl. They felt like that was the safest way to travel down the alleyway. Carl wanted Maggie and Judith to be protected just as much as Daryl did. With Daryl taking the lead, he dispatched the two walkers in silence using his knife.
The group approached the end of the alley that led out into the middle of the town. They took in the sight, their eyes running over each and every individual building with careful thought. There didn't look like there was much left. There was hardly anything left in the pharmacy so they figured the rest of the town wouldn't be worth the trouble having to try and fight off the walkers. So they quietly made their exit and left the town limits.
"I'm bored." Judith drug her feet which in turn slowed everyone down to keep her close.
"Come on, Judith. You have to keep going," Carl gave her just a little push on the back to keep her feet moving.
"But wha's there a do?" Judith grabbed her brother's hand and followed along at the normal pace.
"I'd say we could play I Spy but I guess that would be a short game considering there's nothing around us but trees, a road, and grass." Maggie smiled, "I used to play it with Beth when we were younger. We'd go on road trips every so often with mom and dad to see our aunt and uncle. They lived in Alabama, so it was quite the drive."
"I used to play it with my mom and dad. And the alphabet game. The one where you find something that starts with A and you go down the alphabet. Whoever finished first won." Carl laughed, "Stupid game, really."
"I could play those?" Judith looked eagerly between the two.
"I don't think you're old enough yet, Judith." Maggie ran her hand over her head with a smile.
"What about you, Daryl?" Carl asked.
"I know my alphabet, thank you very much," Daryl replied. This got a laugh from Maggie and Carl.
"I believe he was asking if you had any stories to share. You're awfully quiet. And besides, the more we talk, the faster time will go by." Maggie tried.
"Ain't really one for talkin'. 'Sides, ain't a whole lot to say. Hung out with Merle a lot when he was 'round," Daryl shrugged. The one thing he really didn't want to talk about: Merle. He never really even took the time to think about it, to grieve. At the time, his injury had taken quite a toll on him. It was just one thing after another.
Maggie frowned, having realized by Daryl's tone what was on his mind with that response. After all, she had been right there when it happened. It pained her to revision it in her mind so she could only imagine what Daryl was thinking and feeling. Maybe talking about their families wasn't such a great idea. It was depressing overall.
"Tag—you're it!" Carl shoved Daryl's back, stifling a laugh. Maggie grinned once she caught on to what he was doing and she was thankful for it.
Daryl stopped walking and turned to look at him, eyebrow raised. "What the hell're you doin'?"
"Playing tag, what's it look like. You're it," Carl beamed.
Daryl shook his head and continued to walk onward. It was silent after that and he let a minute pass before he whipped around and tagged Carl back, "You're it, no tag backs."
"Wha—" Carl looked dumbfounded as Daryl now grinned. "Hey!" Maggie laughed as Carl turned to face her, "You're next!"
"Oh, no you don't—" Maggie quickly stepped back as Carl swatted out to tag her arm and missed. Maggie let out a squeal as she hurried away. They ended up making a full circle around Daryl and Judith before she came to a stop and tried to use Daryl as a shield.
"Excuse me?" Daryl tried to glance behind him but Maggie kept turning him to face Carl as they walked in a circle, her hands gripped onto his sleeves.
"Daryl can be base," Maggie breathed, trying to catch her breath from running.
"No way—" Daryl tried to interject.
"One, two, three, get off my father's apple tree," Carl challenged, folding his arms in front of his chest.
"Aw, shit..." Maggie tried to make a run for it but Carl got her, ending in more laughter. She casually walked over to Judith and tapped her shoulder. "You're it, Judith."
Judith's eyes lit up, "What I do?"
Maggie and Carl exchanged glances and with a smirk playing on Maggie's face, she bent down beside Judith and whispered in her ear, "Go after Daryl."
Judith smiled and nodded her head enthusiastically. She ran for Daryl but he could overhear Maggie as he jogged backwards a few steps making Judith giggle as she still tried her hardest to pursue him. He came to a stop and put his hand up for a high five, Judith slapping her hand to his, "You's it!"
Daryl narrowed his eyes as he looked back and forth between Carl and Maggie, a smirk slowly creeping across his face.
"Uh oh…" Carl's face fell. "Run!"
Carl and Maggie split and Daryl set his crossbow down on the pavement and chased after Carl. Maggie veered off and crouched behind Judith, "You think he'll catch him?"
"Mhmm," Judith nodded. "This is funned!"
"It is pretty fun, huh?" Maggie smiled.
"Augh!" Carl groaned once Daryl caught up to him and smacked him on the back.
Maggie quickly grabbed Judith's hand and ran towards them, "Daryl's base, go!"
Judith threw herself at Daryl and wrapped her limbs around his left leg, sitting on his foot. She initially collided into the back of his knee almost making him lose his balance but he caught himself just as Maggie wrapped her arms around his right arm. Both of the girls clung to him as Judith giggled even more at Carl's frustration.
"You people are nuts," Daryl shook his head, trying to hold back a grin.