(A/N – So I know I left the last chapter on a tiny cliff hanger, but I hope that it didn't upset to many readers! Let me know what you think please! I'm addicted to reviews!)
"What?" Carol asked me. I knew how she felt; scared hurt shocked. This wasn't something that you heard every day, especially not from someone you've never met before.
"I can see Sophia, Carol," I said again slowly. My hands were still on her shoulders and she wasn't even blinking, "And I have been able to see her for a while now. She's actually here, with us right now."
"Is this some kind of sick joke to you?" she asked stepping away from me.
"No Carol, you need to believe me. Your daughter wants to talk to you."
"You're sick! How could you do that to me after I just told you about how much I miss her and how much it hurt me to lose her!"
"I know Carol, but please. You need to listen to me."
"No, you need to leave," Carol said turning to leave.
"You didn't go to your daughter's funeral," I said to her as she walked away.
"What?" she asked turning back to face me.
"I said you didn't go see Sophia when they buried her. You hid in the RV because you thought that the body that had walked out of the barn was not your daughter. You said Sophia had died a long time ago."
"Who told you that?" Carol said with tears in her eyes.
"Sophia did," I said looking straight at her, "Right now. She's still telling me about how Daryl came to see you and he was so upset with you that he drifted away from the group for a long time. She watched you. She was there when you walked into the forest and cried. She was there when you ripped the grass from the ground and got so dirty that when you came back a man named Shane thought you were a walker. He almost shot you, but when he saw it was you, he helped to clean you up."
"How," Carol whispered, "No one knows about that." Tears were now streaming down her face.
"I told you Carol. Sophia is here. She is telling me to tell you this. She wants you to know that it really is her that is here with us."
"My baby," Carol sobbed out and fell to her knees. I held Carol as she sat there and cried. I knew that there was nothing I could do to help her accept this. She either had to accept this on her own or I knew that she was just going to blow it all off and forget about this ever happening.
After her sobbing subsided, she looked up at me. "Where is she?" I looked down to the right side of Carol.
"She's kneeling right next to you," I said letting go of Carol.
"Sophia?" Carol said trying hard to see her daughter.
"She says she loves you," I told Carol.
"I love you too Sophia. I'm so sorry that I wasn't there for you. You were all alone in those woods, I never got the chance to say good bye. I shouldn't have had to. I thought for so long that we were going to find you. We were so close so many times. I'm so sorry. A mother is supposed to be there for her child. I couldn't do anything to help you. I just watched as you were chased away by a monster."
"Mommy don't cry," Sophia said, "Tell her it is not her fault. I should've just stayed where I was told to. I thought I could find my way back. But it was dark and I got lost. I don't really remember the rest."
"Carol," I said holding her hands in mine, "Sophia wants me to tell you that she doesn't want you to cry. She knows that she should've stayed where she was instead of trying to find her way back in the dark. But she wants you to know that she didn't and doesn't blame you. She knows how hard it was for you and she wants you to know that she doesn't remember anything after getting lost. Do you know what that means?" Carol shook her head no. "It means that she doesn't remember being scared, or sick or afraid. It means she doesn't remember being bit Carol."
Carol immediately started sobbing again. This time the tears where those that were a mix of sadness and joy. Carol missed her daughter, and I knew this, but she was also glad that Sophia didn't have those horrible memories. "Tell her that I came to see her every day," Sophia said touching her mother's arm. Goose bumps rose on Carol's arm and she just rubbed them away.
"Carol," I said stopping her hand, "that's Sophia. That's why you're getting cold. She's touching you. She wants you to know that she comes to see you every day."
Carol Sophia and I sat there and talked for hours. We didn't get up until the sun began to set. "Carol," I said knowing that this was going to be hard, "We need to get going."
"But, Sophia," she said with tears still falling down her face.
"Sophia will be with us the entire time. Just because you can't see her, or touch her, doesn't mean that she isn't here. She's not going anywhere Carol. She never really has. You need to remember that she will always be with you in your heart."
"I love you Sophia," Carol said out loud.
"Love you mommy," Sophia said. And that was one thing that I didn't need to repeat.
As we walked, we walked in silence. Sophia never left her mother's side and it almost felt as if Carol knew that she was there with us. It took us a while to get back to the cells, but once we did, everyone ran up to Carol asking her if she was alright. She tried to answer everyone's questions, but before she could Rick had me at gun point and he led me back into the cell that I had been in before.
"Who are you?" Rick asked loudly and clearly.
"My name is Karmya," I said trying to talk over the noise that was going on with Carol, "I knew Lori." At that everyone stopped talking.
"How did you know my wife?" he asked me already holstering his gun.
"I went to school with her. We both got busy after school and we never really saw each other very often. We talked over the phone though. We talked a lot while you were in the hospital."
"She never told me about you. You don't have a common name, I'd remember that name if I heard it."
"We stopped talking when I started work. We only talked every now and then for birthdays or holidays." Rick sighed and rubbed the back of his head with his hands. "Karmya, right?" Rick asked and I nodded a yes. "Listen, we are going through a lot right now, so I am sorry that we are all on edge. I know my son told you that Lori is no longer with us, but she isn't the only one we have lost. We've lost so many," Rick said dropping his head and running his hands over his face, "We are just trying to be careful," he finally said picking his head up.
"I know Rick. I've lost people too, a lot of them. I know what you're going through. I lost my fiancée just a few days ago," I said fighting back the tears in my eyes and trying to not let the gut wrenching feeling send me to the floor.
"I'm sorry for your loss," he said reaching for his keys.
"And I'm sorry for yours," I said looking at him while I could hear Lori crying next to me.
"And I'm sorry for the confusion, but with how things are going these days, the living can be more dangerous then the dead."
"The living have always been more dangerous," I said walking out of the cell and into the group of scared survivors. I could see that they had shoved almost all of their humanity out of their lives, and I pitied them. I knew that it was hard to live lately while still loving and caring about others, but it wasn't impossible. I believed that you could still be you, no matter what was going on around you.
"I'm Karmya," I said firmly meeting all their eyes to show them that I was strong enough to brave a crowd.
"That's Glen and Maggie," Rick said motioning to the couple I had met earlier and Maggie waved a little while Glen nodded, "Over there is Hershel, Beth and my baby, Judith," I smiled at them and watched as Lori touched her baby's head and the baby locked eyes with her. I knew that younger children could see spirits, but most grew out of that stage because their parents told them that there were no such things as ghosts. Hershel smiled at me and I knew that he was going to be the kind voice for the group. Beth gave me a smaller smile and hugged Judith closer to her. "Over there is Daryl and Merle. Brothers, but I'm sure you already figured that out," I nodded over at the two men who were watching me carefully from their perch on the second floor. "And you know Carol and my son Carl," Rick said, but Carl still didn't seem too happy that I was there.
"I just wish I could've seen Lori, she would've helped this situation, I am sorry that I scared your family," I said touching Rick's shoulder with my hand. He placed his hand over mine and I knew that thinking about Lori was still a hard thing for him to do. "Can we get you something to eat?" Beth said stepping forward. Just then my stomach growled and I blushed. "So that's a yes," Beth smiled.
"Food would be amazing. I haven't eaten in what feels like forever," I said remembering why that was true, "This might be too much of a favor to ask, but may I hold Judith?" I asked looking more at Rick than Beth.
"Sure you can," Rick said after a moment of thinking. Beth carefully handed Judith over and headed off to get me some food. "She looks so much like Lori," I said quietly.
"Thankfully," Daryl joked walking down the stairs and patting Rick's shoulder before exiting the room.
"Hey baby girl," I cooed. I put my finger in her hand and she grabbed on tight.
"My baby," Lori said.
"You know Judith; your mother loves you very much. You have to be strong for you father and brother. They won't ever tell you that they need you. But you need to help them. Your mother is so proud of you." And as I spoke to her, it was as if she understood everything that I was saying.
After a few moments we all started talking. "So," Maggie said, "You have a very different name."
"Yes," I smiled, "I know."
"Family name?" she asked again.
"Kind of," I said hugging Judith. I knew that Jack was next to me but I was doing everything I could to not look at him right now. "I'm named after my grandmother, Mary Kay."
"Maybe I'm a little slow here," Hershel said with a smile, "But those names don't seem to have anything to do with each other."
"Well," I laughed, "K-a-r-m-y-a, pronounced karma is all of the same letters in M-a-r-y-K-a-y. Well except one y. My mother wanted it to be family orientated, and she liked how original my name was."
"Well that is different," Hershel said with a smile.
"Yeah, I've heard that a lot," I smiled thinking of the first time I met Jack. We all talked a little more about the prison and the people that they had lost. I felt bad for them; I knew that nothing was easy any more but these people had gone through so much. I didn't know if I was going to be able to help at all.
"Food is ready," Beth called out. I smiled and went to hand the baby to Rick, but Maggie stepped in and took her. I made a note of that and headed towards Beth. Daryl and Merle eventually showed up in the room when I was just sitting down. Beth handed me some meat she had been able to warm up and some corn that I assumed they had found in the prison. I took a small bite of the meat and smiled at her, "I'm assuming it's those two who went out and got squirrel for the group.
"How'd ya know it was squirrel?" Daryl asked sitting down across from me with some meat.
"Just do," I smiled taking another bite. I knew that this man was nothing like his brother. He might be a little jagged on the outside, but I could see how the group looked at him. They needed him, and he needed them.
"Come on brother," Merle said hitting him on the back firmly, "Let's get goin before the rain hits and washes away them tracks we found."
"Going hunting?" I asked.
"Yep," Merle said with a smile, "Gotta keep pretty things like you from fadin away."
"Gotcha," I smirked back at him, "Can I come?"
"No," Daryl said at the same time Merle said, "Yes."
"Aw come on Daryl! Let the girly come. Let's see what she can do."
"She'll scare everything away. 'Sides, why you wanta come with us?"
"Wanta help out," I said with a piece of squirrel in my mouth.
"Fine," Daryl said marching off. Merle just smirked and followed. I scarfed down the rest of the food and took a drink out of the water bottle before following after them. Daryl was getting the rest of his gear packed when I walked in. "Don't ya have some packing to do?"
"I'm ready when you are," I said leaning against the wall.
"Yer either brave or stupid," Daryl muttered.
"Maybe a little bit of both," I laughed. Downstairs I could hear Judith crying. A few moments later a tired looking Maggie walked up the stairs with Judith. I walked over to her, "You ok?"
"She won't stop crying," Maggie said, "I don't know what's wrong."
"Here," Maggie said handing over the baby. The moment Judith saw me she stopped crying. "Would ya look at that," Daryl said patting the little girl on the head, "The lil ass kicker likes her."
"Guess I can't be that bad," I said rocking her until she fell asleep in my arms. I gently handed her back to Maggie and followed Daryl down to my cell and picked up a smaller bag that was attached to my backpack. Merle met us at the door and I smiled at him with the small bag slung over my shoulders. "Don't you look cute," Merle teased me. The more that Merle talked the more I could see that he was an asshole, but he wasn't a horrible person. I could see that he was very protective of his little brother and that he wouldn't hurt me unless I was a threat to either him or someone he cared about. He was just a giant asshole.
And even though I wasn't too sure about everyone here, I felt decently safe. I was happy to have living people to talk to, I was happy to have food, and I was happy to be able to go hunting with a group. Even if it was with Merle.
(A/N- sorry I know it has been a while! But we had some things going on in the family. I hope you like it! Let me know what you think!)