Hello everyone! Thanks for checking out my story. This takes place after the current season (season 3). It may get a little dark at times and there will be mentions of violence and language. I will try to alert you all of those chapters before they occur. This first chapter is a little short and I'm just trying to get a feel for everything so they will get longer after this, I promise. I do ask that if you like what you've read so far then please review it and let me know. Or even if you don't like it, let me know. I'm okay with either. :-) Hopefully, this will draw some interest and it won't bomb. I'll try to update it as frequently as possible, especially if I get lots of reviews. I just love knowing that people are reading and interested in it! I know there are some holes in this chapter that might leave you with questions, but I promise those questions will get answered with time. I plan to take this slow and see where it goes from there...Thanks for reading, hope to hear from you soon!

It was just a dream. It had to be. Some kind of nightmare that would soon pass and she would wake up back in the prison, back in her cell where she belonged.

Except she knew that it wasn't. It wasn't just some nightmare. It was real. All of the things she had seen, heard, were real.

How had this happened? Where had they gone wrong?

The moon cast an eerie glow over the forest as he worked his way through the dense trees; his ears alert for any sounds that didn't belong. His hands were sweaty, his grip constantly slipping on his weapon, forcing him to grip it tighter. His shirt clung to his skin, the smell of blood, sweat, and human flesh invading his senses. If circumstances were different, he might have gagged, but they weren't. He didn't have time to think about that. He didn't have time to think.

Everything had happened so quickly. The last twenty-four hours had been a constant series of events and deaths. So many deaths. He hadn't even been able to stop and think about it long enough to come to terms with it. He was still numb, wondering how everything had gotten so screwed up so quickly. They had a plan. They had practiced. All for nothing. His mind drifted despite his panic. It drifted back to the last time the group had been together.

"So it's all set then? Everybody understand the plan?" Rick had asked, his face creased with worry.

"I don't feel good 'bout this. It don't feel right. Somethin's off," Daryl commented.

"I agree. It feels too fast," Maggie spoke from her seat at the table where they had all gathered.

"Maybe we should wait a little longer, Rick. Those people from Woodbury don't have lots of training. This could be a suicide mission," Carol said.

"If we don't hit them now while we know where they are then we lose the advantage of surprise. This has been a long time coming. It needs to end. I don't know about everyone else, but I can't keep going like this," Glenn said.

"We've been training. We're all stronger now than before. If we don't do this now, then we may as well pack up and leave because he won't ever stop," Michonne spoke up quietly.

"But we could leave! We could get in our cars now and drive far away. We can save everyone," Beth said, her voice rising slightly.

"And what would that solve? There's always going to be a Governor out there somewhere, thinking they can do whatever they want without consequence. This needs to end now, Rick," Glenn said sharply.

Rick nodded, his eyes scanning over the group briefly, "Let's do this then."

That had been the last time that they had all been together. He could still see all of their faces clearly. He had known it was too soon, known that they should have waited. Ultimately it had been Rick's decision though. It had always been Rick's decision since day one.

Now there was no Rick.

There was no Michonne, Maggie, Glenn, Hershel, Carl, or Carol. He had searched them all out, refusing to leave until everyone had been accounted for. He hadn't seen Beth and Judith. Beth had been in charge of Judith because she was the weakest link and ultimately the only one who could keep the little girl quiet.

But it was over now. It was done. The Governor had been eliminated but it had cost them. It had cost them just about everyone but they had completed their mission and all that remained was a bloody display of bodies being feasted on by the walkers that had been drawn to the noise.

He slowed down to a stop, leaning his head briefly against the trunk of a tree, trying to catch his breath. He had to get his bearings back. He had to make his way over to where Beth hopefully still sat in one of the vehicles, loaded with a weapon and all the food that they had left.

If she was still alive. He might be the only one left.

Wouldn't that be ironic?

He and his brother had first come into the Atlanta group intending to rob them blind and leave them as quickly as they had come. They hadn't cared about any of them. Now those same people, minus a few here and there, had become the only family that he had. Now that he cared, had finally given a damn about something, it was taken away from him.

He barked out a harsh laugh, surprised at the hoarseness of his voice, the sound surprising him. If his brother was still alive then he would tell him to man up, to get on with his life. He pushed away from the tree, wiping the sweat from his forehead with his arm. He was sure that it hadn't done much good, he didn't think there was a part of him that wasn't covered in some kind of substance. Casting a glance around to make sure there were no walkers, he set off in the direction of the vehicle that he hoped would still house Beth and Judith.

It took him an hour to make it to the vehicle and he was panting and struggling for breath as he took the last few steps to the passenger door. He collapsed against it, eliciting a startled gasp from inside the suv. He slid down the side of the door, his vision blurring slightly as he tried to get up but couldn't. He vaguely heard a door open and then the girl was bending in front of him, her eyes wide and frantic. He tried to open his mouth to tell her that they were all gone, that he was the only one left, but his lips wouldn't cooperate.

"Daryl, you're bleeding!" She whispered.

He squinted at her. He managed to grunt slightly and she tried to lift him to a standing position. The world around him began to spin and he turned his head to vomit violently on the pavement next to her. He groaned.

"We've got to get you into the car, it's not safe out here," She said, her cold fingers pulling at his useless limbs.

She grunted with her efforts and then decided to pull him away from the door so that she could open it. Once it was open she pulled on him until he was right next to the seat. He tried to help her. He opened his mouth to tell her that he was sorry. He knew she had been expecting others too, like Hershel and Maggie. He had nothing to offer her except a dry rasping noise that seemed to be the only sound he could utter. His body felt numb and his eyes rolled back slightly as she finally maneuvered him into the seat. He lay there blankly and felt the car shake as she got into the driver's seat. Her hand touched his briefly, his eyes flickering to hers.

"It's going to be okay. I've got to get you somewhere safe to stop the bleeding," She said.

Why did she keep saying that he was bleeding? It wasn't his blood that he was covered in. It was the blood of the group. The blood of walkers. It wasn't his blood. She kept shooting panicked glances his way and he tried to tell her that he was fine but the words wouldn't come. He briefly heard the sounds of a baby crying and then her voice telling him to hold on and then his world went dark.