Back before the world went to hell, Daryl drove a 1973 Ford F-250. It had shit gas mileage – got about an inch to the gallon with the tail gate down – and a suspension looser than a hooker's lips, but that thing'd been in his family since before Daryl was born. Probably the only good thing he ever got from his old man, and shit, he loved that truck.
It was easy back then, seein' those foreign pieces of plastic shit on the road, or one of those hybrid numbers, and ragging on them for being pussy cars. Anything with less than a roaring V8 and standard fourwheel drive wasn't a man's car back then, and there wasn't anybody could convince Daryl otherwise.
But then the damn apocalypse happened. And much of a pain in the ass as keeping that truck full was before, it turned damn near impossible when all the gas stations shut down. Besides that, he didn't have long days off with nothin' better to do than fix whatever part was broke on her that week.
It's all about using what they got, nowadays. Whatever cars are there and can run on whatever gas and oil and parts they got on hand, those're the ones they drive. And if that means Daryl's going out in a little 1.8 liter, front-wheel drive wimp-bunny mobile, well then he's gonna do it, and just so long as it gets them from Point A to B with no trouble, he'll be happy to do it.
Could be worse, anyhow. Could be a Prius.
"About how long we got?" asks the guy beside him in the car. Joel's his name. Daryl found him on a run out a couple weeks ago; him and his wife Ellen were hiding out in an old pawn shop, near to starving. Smart as it was to shack up in some place with plenty of guns and ammo, turns out you can't eat bullets.
Not more'n once, anyhow.
With a good-sized herd passing the prison, Joel's all they could spare, and Daryl's the only one that knows the area well enough to head the trip, so it's just the two of them looking to fill the list they sent out with them of shit the prison needs. It ain't too bad, but there's some essentials they can't go much longer without. Couple people needing medicine – the diabetics and the asthmatics – they're running low on, so they got to do it.
And hell, Daryl'd almost rather it was just a couple of them, anyhow. They're out father than they usually go, on past Woodbury and headed towards Fayetteville, and Daryl's not real sure what they're headed into. Small means mobile, means if shit hits the fan, it's easier to book it out and not have to worry about keeping a whole big group together. Run like this, that's the way to play it.
So far, though, they ain't had any trouble. They headed out at dawn, made the forty-mile drive in a little under an hour on the back roads, and cleared the place out, at least what was left of it. It'd already been picked over pretty good, but they got what they needed, and now they got it loaded up in bags in the back seat, and they've been back on the road for ten or so miles by Daryl's estimation.
"Comin' up on Bobwhite Bridge," he says. They've been driving along the creek for a while, now, and the bridge intersects the road just up ahead. "Maybe thirty minutes, give'r take." Joel's the one with the goddamn map, anyhow. Man's handy enough, and he knew what they were looking for in the pharmacy better'n Daryl did, but he just ain't got much in the way of common sense.
The man nods, playing around with some sort of little figurine he picked up for his wife. Called it a dreamsicle or something, said she used to collect them. "So, we ought to make it back before noon?"
"Think we'll have much trouble getting back in, all those walkers passing through?"
Daryl shrugs. He's not real big on speculation; never has been. Way he sees it, what's there is there, and whichever way it turns out, he'll deal with it when they get to it. No sense worrying about something that ain't a problem yet.
Out of the corner of his eye, he sees Joel look over at him. He's a big guy, but he's got the loose-skinned look of somebody that used to be bigger, with brown hair that's thinning out on top and a full beard. Hard to say if he's older and younger than Daryl is. Might be about the same. He's definitely a hell of a lot chattier, though.
"You don't talk much, do you?" he asks, and even if Daryl meant to answer – he didn't – he wouldn't 'a gotten the chance. "Not that there's anything wrong with that. It's just that I was noticing, and—"
Daryl never finds out what Joel was about to say, because right then, right before he gets to say the rest, they get hit by a train. Least, that's what it feels like for the split second there is before the world goes black, and Daryl doesn't feel anything at all.