A/N: Hello everyone. I have just recently joined the Walking Dead love fest, and I have found many stories that I enjoy. However, many of the Daryl/OC romances that I read don't seem real. I can't see Daryl falling in love after three chapters. And I hate, absolutely hate stories that follow the shows almost line for line, just with a new character shoved in. I will follow a few of the shows, but I'm going to try my very best to change it up and give you guys some new material and adventures! From where this story starts, it'll follow the shows for a few chapters, then it'll switch up. Okay, enough rambling. Enjoy and review please!
Elizabeth Baker taught children how to tie their shoes, wipe their noses, and properly ask if they may to go the restroom without blurting out, "Miss Baker! I gotta pee!" So, when the world went to hell and people starting ripping the flesh off their family members and neighbors, Elizabeth should've been one of the first people to go; however, she did have one advantage. She had grown up in the beautiful woods of Georgia in a log cabin with a father that loved to hunt, and she happened to be living with him when shit hit the fan. Okay, so a 25-year-old living with her dad may seem like she didn't have anything going for her, but in her defense, she did have $89,000 worth of college debt, and a new kindergarten teacher didn't really make much money. Yeah, keep defending yourself there, Lizzy girl. Like anybody gives a shit now. College loans seemed like a big worry three months ago; now you're living in a hole in the ground - literally. Lizzy shook her head slightly to make herself focus. Now was not the time to be off task; she could do that when she was safely bedded down for the night. The sun was getting low in the sky and she was ready to give up when she heard a rustling in the woods. Zombie or deer? I hope it's a deer. Hell, I'd settle for a squirrel or an opossum... raccoon would even do.
Lizzy stood up from behind her trees and notched an arrow in her bow, pulling the string back and aiming toward the sound. But instead of a zombie that she dreaded, or the animal that she hoped for, she saw a young girl. She was probably 10 or so, much older than Lizzy's kindergarteners. She was dirty, but not undead, and there were no signs of bites, and she was crying. Lizzy's heart contracted at the sight of the young girl holding a stuffed animal to her chest, but she didn't move. If the little girl was out here, then her group wouldn't be far behind. But what if she's alone, Lizzy? What if her parents are dead and she's starving? Are you really going to leave this baby to wander until something eats her?
Lizzy couldn't stand the thought of that, so she lowered her bow and arrow and put them by her side, and she stepped out from behind the tree.
"Hello?" She asked quietly, hoping not to scare the small child too badly.
The little girl startled and jumped, letting out a small shriek as she looked at Lizzy with big, wide eyes. Lizzy slowly put down her bow and held up her hands, trying to keep the girl from running.
"Hi there sweetie. My names Lizzy, what's yours?"
The little girl didn't reply, but she stopped shifting from one foot to the other and stared at Elizabeth curiously. She's like a baby deer, Lizzy. Don't scare her.
"What are you doing out here, honey? Where's your family?"
Lizzy kept her eyes trained on the little girl, but she also listened around her for footsteps. The little girls group could be coming any minute; then again, so could a zombie.
The little girl shifted, looking up at Lizzy quickly then down at her feet before she replied quietly, "My daddy is dead, but... my mommy is with the cars and the others."
"Others? Where?" Lizzy's reply came out quicker, and sharper, than she had wanted, and she saw the little girl flinch. Way to go, dipshit. You have to treat her like you do the scared ones on the first day of school.
Apparently, she hadn't scared the little girl too badly, because she received a soft answer. "On the big road, with all the other cars. The highway?"
That's five miles from here, maybe six. Lizzy was confused. Why would they let this baby walk around by herself this far away from them? Then it hit her. She's lost.
"I'm Sophia." The girl continued quietly.
"Sophia, huh? That's a pretty name. Much better than Lizzy. Sounds like frizzy, which I'm sure my hair is. Looks like a rats nest I bet." Lizzy smiled at the girl and laughed quietly.
Sophia smiled slightly at her, her eyes flashing up to look at Lizzy and then back down. "Are you lost, Sophia?"
The little girl nodded, her smile fading. "I ran away when those things came after me." Sophia's voice wobbled and her eyes teamed up with tears. "I miss my mommy and I'm hungry."
Lizzy's heart clenched again. God, thank you for letting me find her.
"Well Sophia, today is your lucky day, baby girl. It just so happens that I have food and I know how to get to your mommy."
Sophia's eyes lit up. "Can we go now?"
"It's going to be dark soon sweetie, but I promise that as soon as it's light tomorrow, we will set out. You've wandered a long way." Lizzy promised, her voice earnest. "I promise you sweetie, we will get you back to your mommy."
Sophia looked uneasy, but nodded slowly. Lizzy smiled at her, picked up her quiver from behind the tree, and slung it on her back, then grabbed her bow and the arrow already freed from the quiver. The little girl looked at her and cocked her head to the side slightly. "We have a man who shoots those, except his is smaller. And it doesn't look like that."
"Oh yeah? That might be a crossbow. Mines a long bow." Lizzy walked toward Sophia slowly and the little girl didn't move; good sign. "We should get going. I was hoping to find some meat for dinner tonight, but it doesn't look like I'm going to find anything. Ready?"
The little girl nodded and fell into step beside Lizzy, going silent.
"How long have you been lost?" Lizzy looked down at the small girl beside her.
"Two days, I think."
"Wow. You're a tough chick." Lizzy said playfully.
Sophia looked up at her and smiled slightly.
"I want you to promise me something, Sophia. If there are zombies, you do exactly as I say. If I say don't move, don't move. If I say run, you run in the direction I tell you, okay?"
Sophia nodded vehemently, looking around anxiously.
"We're okay for now. I just wanted to get that straight before we start our journey tomorrow. We're almost to my campsite and we shouldn't encounter any. But tomorrow, we might." Lizzy noticed how Sophia tended up beside her. "But don't worry. This bow isn't just for show. Hey, I made a rhyme. I'm the best poet of my time."
Sophia giggled quietly and Lizzy smiled at her. I can do this. This is my purpose - helping kids.
"Okay, we're getting close to my camp. Don't freak out, but it's underground. My dad made it for me when I was little; some kids get a tree house, I got a … hibernation cavern? We used it when we hunted too. It's a lot cooler inside than it would be in a tree house." Lizzy told her young companion.
"Is your house close? Why don't you stay there? Where's your daddy?" Sophia asked, and Lizzy was glad that she seemed to be opening up.
"My daddy died, just after this all started." Lizzy said quietly. "My house is close, but I didn't feel safe there. It's not fortified." And I couldn't stand the memories. "I go there for supplies sometimes."
"What's fortyfied?" Sophia asked.
"It means safe and strong." Lizzy explained, then she stopped as they reached the middle of the hill they had been climbing for a few minutes. "Alrighty, we're here."
Sophia looked up at Lizzy like she was crazy, and Lizzy smiled. Leaning forward, she moved brush away from a point on the hill. After moving large tree limbs and leaves around, she revealed a large hole that led into the ground. Sophia's eyes widened as she looked from the hole to Lizzy, and then back to the hole.
"Come on in." Lizzy said as she stooped a bit and walked into the hole, pulling a flashlight from her pocket and turning it on. She heard Sophia following her, albeit hesitantly, and quickened her pace so that the girl could follow her to safety. As they emerged into a good size chamber, Lizzy stepped around Sophia and headed back towards the hole. "I'm going to cover up the entrance; I'll be right back."
When she returned, she found Sophia standing in the middle of the room, looking around curiously. Lizzy had made herself a small home. In one corner, she had her sleeping bag and blankets piled into a bed. In another corner, she had a blanket around one corner that sectioned off a bathroom for her to use at night. Getting that to stay up was a chore; she'd shoved at least a hundred thumbtacks into the hard packed dirt of the ceiling. And her bucket wasn't much of a bathroom, but it did the job. In another corner, she had her kitchen, which was running dangerously low on canned and prepackaged foods. And in the final corner, her suitcase full of clothing was situated beside her small arsenal. Another quiver of arrows, three large knives, a baby Glock, and seven boxes of ammunition. Lizzy set down the bow and quiver of arrows that she was carrying, and pulled a second Glock from the waistband of her jeans and set it down beside the other.
"Welcome to my humble abode." Lizzy told Sophia with a small smile. "What's your fancy? Canned corn or green beans? I have some beef jerky too."
Sophia shifted on her feet and looked down. "Um, corn please?"
"But of course. We'll have us a gourmet meal." Lizzy said cheerfully. She opened up a can of corn and handed Sophia the can and a spoon. She then opened up a can of green beans for herself and sat down on the floor, motioning Sophia to follow suit. Lizzy began eating the green beans with a fork, showing Sophia that it was okay to eat. The young girl ate the can in a matter of minutes. She's starved.
"Do you want something else?" Lizzy asked the girl as she handed her a bottle of water. "Some beef jerky?"
Sophia shrugged, but Lizzy knew she was still hungry. She reached over and grabbed the bag of Wal-Mart brand beef jerky and handed it to the girl. Sophia ate a few pieces and drank her bottle of water silently.
"Thank you." Sophia said quietly, looking up at Lizzy.
"No need to thank me, Sophia." Lizzy said, smiling at her.
They sat in silence for a while, and then Sophia spoke again. "When we get to my mommy, will you stay? You're a nice lady."
Lizzy didn't reply for a moment. She was running low on food, but groups were dangerous. People were bad before the world went to hell; now they were worse. They can't be too bad if they have a child with them though. Then again, she did wander off… "I don't know sweetie. We'll see, okay?"
Sophia took that as a good answer and nodded.
"Let's get some sleep. I don't know about you, but I'm tired." Lizzy said as she stood and stretched. She walked over to her bedding and took a blanket away from the pile. "You take the bed; I'll bunk over here." She pointed toward the hole that served as the entrance. "If you need to potty, there's a bucket behind that blanket that I use at night. I'll empty it in the morning."
"Yes ma'am." Sophia said as she crawled onto the makeshift bed.
Lizzy grabbed her Glock and lay down by the entrance. She'd never had trouble with zombies coming through the hole, but she wasn't taking any chances with this little girl. She was going to get that baby back to her mom if it killed her.