A/N: I'm so sorry, I just got totally uninspired with this and I wanted to write but just kinda lost the plot. I'll try and get something down and wrap this up before Season 4 starts.
One way or another.
Rick's boots pounded against the road as he ran as fast as he could manage.
He could barely push on any further, his legs felt heavy, tired but he had to push on and kept putting one foot in front of the other. His mind was flooded with thoughts of Carl and Judith and what could have happened to them. They'd set off the flares and he knew they were in trouble.
The problem was, they had no safe place to return to. The prison partly rubble now and not safe to return to. The Governor and his men were driving them out.
And Rick knew if he found any of them, he'd kill them all.
If he'd heard the car as it approached or heard the voices as the men outside spoke, he liked to think he'd have done something, been prepared at least.
But in reality, there was little he could have done against the men in the state he was in. Even the water bottle Tyresse had pushed into his hand before he left had slipped out when he'd lost consciousness. He was alone and he knew he was vulnerable.
When The Governor looked down at him, his body still seeping blood from his earlier attack, it was with a look of disgust.
"Still not dead, huh? I should have finished you when I had the chance."
Daryl's left arm hung over the seat and his fingers twitched, like he was trying to hold the water bottle tighter.
"Boss?" A voice that hung back by the doors.
Daryl let his gaze flicker up to the man standing over him, wouldn't allow fear to show on his face. He saw the flash of metal as The Governor pulled out a knife.
"You're going to die. Those biters will come in and tear you to pieces and there will be nowhere to hide."
The Governor grabbed Daryl's wrist and and cut across the palm of his hand. He went deep, sliced through tendons and as Daryl let out a cry of pain and pulled the injured limb closer to himself The Governor repeated the process with his other hand. "You know how fresh blood excites them," The Governor commented as he admired the bloodied knife in his hand. He looked across to Martinez who stood at the door, waiting for The Governor. "Block that door up. I want them to have to work there way into here. Let him hear them coming and know he can't do anything about it."
Martinez closed the door to the bus and started to block the door with the few things he could use. All that remained were a couple of bags, not much that would stop hungry biters from getting in.
The Governor paid little attention though. He pulled away the blanket that was soaked through with blood, the fresh blood from Daryl's hands staining it and he looked at the mess of bloodied bandages below. "Now, just to make sure you don't think about getting out of here..." The Governor cut away the bandages and threw them to one side. He used the same knife to cut through the stitches binding three of Daryl's bigger wounds open again, parting the flesh as he did. The blood quickly welled up, leaked over his skin and ran down his side, soaking into the chair below him.
"That should do it. I don't want you to die, not before the biters get to you." Turning to Martinez he nodded and the other man lead the way to the emergency exit of the vehicle.
The Governor grabbed hold of Daryl's wrist, felt the man weakly try to pull away but he ignored it. He ran his hand across the fresh blood trickling down the man's arm and then let him go.
he quickly followed the path Martinez had taken and left the bus. Martinez closed the door, it locked as soon as it was closed, the biters wouldn't get in through that door, but Daryl could try and escape that way.
The Governor wiped his bloody hand across the door before moving across to the other door. He wiped the blade of the knife and smeared more of the blood on that one, knowing as soon as the biters came, the hunter would be affectively trapped inside.
Looking across to Martinez and the gun slung over his shoulder The Governor nodded. "Make some noise."
Martinez let out a burst of fire, filling the almost silence with noise for a few seconds. When he stopped, the sound of the gunfire still echoed around them.
"Let's see if we can find any of the others hiding out here."
And with that, the pair got in their vehicle and drove away from the bus.
Rick had to stop.
His lungs burnt with every breath he took and he had to stop, couldn't go on one more step. He bent over and leant his back against a tree as he let himself rest for a few moments. he saw a lone walker on the road up ahead but wasn't overly worried about a lone walker such as that.
At least, not until a strange thing happened.
Gunfire burst out in the night from somewhere up ahead. That walker should have stopped. Should have turned and followed the sound.
Instead it kept coming forward, kept travelling on the road back to the prison. Rick wondered if in life, maybe the walker had been deaf and it heard no sounds to attract it, so it just walked aimlessly. He knew it wouldn't last long if it didn't know enough to follow a herd.
He pushed himself away from the tree and started back along the road. He jogged this time, trying to pace himself, but his exhausted muscles in his legs protested to even this. He still had to push on though. There was no choice about it.
He didn't plan on killing the lone walker. There seemed no need, but as he went to pass it, he noticed the odd angle of it's head, the way the head was crooked so badly to one side, resting on it's own shoulder and even in the darkness he could see that there was a mass of darkness around its neck and shoulder. And even though he didn't look at the walker, something about it made him look at the creatures face and he recognised it.
It was Carol. Her short hair, her beautiful face but twisted into something hideous and monstrous. She snarled at him and tried to attack him and Rick felt the burn in his eyes.
She'd been with his children, she'd been there to protect them and this was her now? And no one had killed her. Carl had shot his own mother to stop her from changing. There was no way he'd let that fate fall onto any of the other, not unless he couldn't do anything about it.
Rick side stepped Carol's attempts to reach him as he scanned the road, the woods, trying to see any other walkers, trying to see if maybe there was a little boy out there.
A sob escaped him before he even knew it was there and with a yell of frustration and fear, he ended Carol's life as a walker.
His body hit the ground as the same time hers did.
He cried over her dead body, but he didn't cry for her. The anger in him pushed away the sadness momentarily as he desperately called out for his son in the night.
Tyresse's intentions of finding Carl and Judith, and hopefully the bag of supplies were good.
His sense of direction however, wasn't. He pushed deep into the woods, going further North that Carl and Judith had headed.
The sound of gunfire back on the road should have made him turn. Should have sent him back to Daryl. But he knew that there was nothing he could do for him if he'd been found by The Governor's people.
So instead he tried to keep his promise of finding Carl and Judith.
Carl was jolted awake by the sound of gunfire.
Maybe it was Daryl. Maybe he'd found a weapon and was fighting off walkers.
He knew Daryl wasn't a quitter, so it was possible.
There was only a couple of hours before it would get light, he was sure of it and Judith was asleep. He didn't want to wake her now and have her cry, so he decided to stay put.
He held her tightly, kept her warm and got lost in the ways he thought she looked like their mother.
It was a low throaty rumble of a walker that first got his attention. He slowly looked up to where the sound was coming from and saw a walker passing some distance away. He held still, tried to make himself smaller, to blend into the tree in some way.
But the walker didn't notice him. And then he realised it was the sound it was following.
The noise of the gunfire had drawn it back towards the road.
If it was Daryl out there, he'd just made some extra trouble for himself.
Carl was watching the walker so intently that when another stepped out just two trees away from him it took everything he had to keep the gasp at bay. He couldn't let them know he was here.
He looked down at Judith who was sound asleep, each breath she took seemed incredibly loud suddenly and Carl watched the walkers come marching through in heavier clumps now. It seemed luck was on his side as the herd seemed to be much further over than where he'd picked to rest and he thought he'd get away from it all safely.
And he would have if there hadn't been one stray walker that stumbled out close to him, right beside the tree he rested against and the decaying thing snarled at him and he pulled away a little instinctively. But it was enough.
It knew there was food to be had now and the walkers around them were just as aware. Carl grabbed Judith tighter and got up quickly, avoiding the reach of the walker. He'd have to head away from the road, he decided quickly, as that's the way the walkers were heading.
Carl pulled the bags onto his shoulder as he avoided the walkers reach, and he jostled Judith about in his arms, held her with just one hand and her resting on his shoulder, he needed a hand free to use his knife if he had too.
He managed to get a blow on the walker, not good enough to kill it but enough to knock it back while he speed off. The bags slowed him down and he made the decision to dump the medical supplies bag. he could come back for it if he had too. And while it was hard, trying to work his way through the trees, avoiding the walkers, Carl knew he had to do it. He wouldn't let anything happen to Judith out here.
He couldn't. So he kept going. And if his bag hadn't got caught on a branch of a tree and snagged him, he probably would have made it.
He could hear the walker was close as he retreated his steps, walked backwards, closer to the walker to unhook the bags strap and he felt it grab at him, reach for him and he pulled away hard, lost his balance. He stumbled to the ground, careful to keep Judith safe as he landed on his knees and then stumbled onto his side.
The movements jolted Judith and she stared to cry. He kicked out, kicked the walker away from him, but he knew he couldn't fight them off now. More were making there way towards him and he couldn't fight them all. He kicked the walker away again and he pulled Judith closer to him, rocked her and shushed her because he didn't want he to die like this.
He held the knife in his hands and he figured, it's be better for her this way. One quick movement and it'd all be over for her.
"I'm sorry, Mom" Carl said as he kissed the top of Judith's head.
He held the knife in his hand, ready to strike when he heard something in the distance. Someone called his name?
"Dad..." he whispered.
He was still looking. He hadn't given up. Neither could Carl. He plunged the knife into the walker's head as it reached for him again and it's movements stopped. Carl scrambled to his feet, still aware that he had long way to go before he'd be safe. He turned and moved away from the walker, turning and running straight into someone.
He looked up to see Michonne stood there, katana drawn.
"Looks like you could use some help," she said, a small smile on her lips. She stepped in front of Carl and attacked the walkers that were heading towards them.
Carl sagged in relief behind Michonne, soothed Judith as her cries quietened down.
It was going to be okay.