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Realizations: a Donnie story

Chapter 2


Looks like someone else found the stash house. At least they were courteous enough to leave some things behind. Daryl grabbed a bottle of water and quickly drank it down. He looked around for something that could help him fix the bike, but he knew he had not left any spare parts or tools behind. They were needed elsewhere. Why did it feel like nothing at all was going right with this trip so far? With any mission he ever went on there were always important people at home waiting for him to return. This is nothing new so why did it feel so different this time?

“You know you really shouldn’t be out here all by yourself!” Without hesitation Daryl does a double roll toward the broken window, grabs his crossbow and points. “What makes you think I am?” he yelled back. He quickly checked the tree line for movement but didn’t see any. “Why don’t you come on out?” Daryl impatiently waited for a response and was getting frustrated. “Na, I would rather not get turned into a kabob with one of your trusty arrows. I’m good right where I am. Thanks.” Daryl stood up, still pointing the crossbow out of the window in the direction the voice was coming from. “I ain’t gonna shoot ya unless you give me a reason to. You the one that’s been running through my stash?” She laughed. “I was pretty sure the owner of this stuff died a long time ago. There was way too much stuff here for someone to never come back for it. You apocalypse rich or something?”

She’s annoying but Daryl is starting to think she isn’t dangerous. He lowers the crossbow and leans against the wall next to the window. The wood groaned under his weight, who knows the last time anything had been leaned against it. “Am I what? What does that even mean, money don’t exist no more.” He doesn’t bother waiting for a response. “Anyway, I wasn’t complaining about the stash, just wanted to know if it was you is all. If it wasn’t then we might be getting some company, don’t you think? I guess it don’t matter anyway, I’m just gonna be on my way.” Daryl starts to gather his gear so he can leave. “Where you going so fast? Aren’t you supposed to be offering safety and all that?” Now Daryl is pissed off. She’s playing games with him. “No more bullshit. How do you know me?!” He kicks the back door open just in time to see her red hair trailing behind as she runs around the left corner of the house. He quickly catches up to her, grabs her shoulder and quickly whirls her around. Shit, she’s a damn kid. “You trying to get yourself killed, kid? Are you crazy? Now who else are you with and why do you know who I am?”

Every emotion she felt flashed quickly across her face, kind of like someone else he knows. “I’m so sorry, I was just trying to have a little fun. I’m not with anyone, I have been alone over a year out here. Me and my family ran away from the Commonwealth when we saw things falling apart, but my parents got taken down by the dead ones trying to protect me. I’ve pretty much been in or near this house ever since. It was a good thing I found it, or I probably would have died. I know you because I’ve seen you out here before. Most of the time alone but I’ve seen you a couple times headed in the direction of the Commonwealth with people. Figured you were feeding them that same old Commonwealth lie.”

Daryl picked up the pack she dropped and handed it to her. How the hell has this kid been out here alone all this time…surviving? “You had to have been outside those walls before you ran, there’s no way you survive out here alone if you didn’t.” She looks down trying to hide…Daryl didn’t know what. “There’s no point in hiding or lying no more. Matter of fact these days it’s downright dangerous. The Commonwealth ain’t like that no more. The Miltons are done.” Daryl watched the look of skepticism forming on her face. “I can just take you there and you can see for yourself. Don’t like what you see I’ll bring you back here myself. From the looks of things, you would be better off almost anywhere else.”

“I used to sneak out all the time so that I could learn. You know, about THEM. I spent a lot of time watching until I got the courage to take one down. I never knew just how much it would come in handy for me. Umm, as far as the Commonwealth, well can I think about it first?” Daryl was immediately annoyed again, then he remembered that he needs to eat and find transportation. “Fine, you have till the morning. I’ll be back soon, don’t leave.” He starts to walk off and then remembers…” hey what’s your name anyway?” He immediately regretted the question. She smiled and said “Well my friends call me Peaches, since I’m originally from Georgia. Nice to meet you…ummm….” Her face scrunches like she’s trying to remember something that he knows he never told her. “Daryl. Now don’t go anywhere.” Daryl grabbed his crossbow and a bottle of water and headed out the back door. “Where you going Daryl?” He stopped and grunted “Hunting” in her direction and kept walking.


As the sisters approach Christian’s house, they notice him outside looking haggard and frantic. They look at each other and run over to see what’s wrong. Christian turns his head when he hears them start to run, and a look of slight relief crosses over his face. “OMG please tell me that you have seen Abbey today! When I woke up, she was gone…but that happens often because she likes to go for walks in the morning. I made breakfast and waited for her to come back but she never did. You don’t think she went outside the walls, do you?? Jesus Connie, what if she’s out there somewhere?!? Hurt or lost or under attack…” He starts to pace again, tears welling in his eyes.

Connie touches his arm to get his attention. Just as she starts to sign his attention is diverted elsewhere. Connie turns her head and sees Carol running toward them. What a nice surprise! Unfortunately, at the moment they don’t even have time for pleasantries. “Hey Connie, is everything ok? I was coming to talk to you and then saw you take off towards Christian. Now that I think of it, he looks a bit…wait…where’s Abbey?” Carol started turning her head in different directions as a look of confusion passed over her face. Her ASL lessons really paid off for her, she signs so well now she could teach a class. “I know she doesn’t travel too far from home these days…” A look of understanding and recognition almost immediately passed over Carol’s face. “OMG she’s missing. For how long? When is the last time you saw her and where? I need to get my people looking for her asap if you think she could have gone beyond the walls.” Carol thought about the 86 days since an incident and really hoped she didn’t have to reset that to 0. Carol noticed the way Abbey staring to withdraw because it was something she was an expert at after all these years. She decided to spend a little extra time with her to bring her back out of it. In that time, she learned that Abbey was feeling paralyzed by the world she lives in. She felt afraid to get close to anyone else after losing her mom and best friend on the same night. THAT NIGHT. Hell night. Carol didn’t blame her. That was a lot for an 11-year-old to deal with after all. She had not tried to make one new friend since then, and when she felt herself getting closer to Connie she panicked and wanted to run away. Carol felt a tap on her shoulder…

You look like there’s a lot on your mind, is there something more we need to know?” Connie frantically signed to her. “I know something has been going on with her for a while now, I just didn’t know how to approach her about it without possibly pushing her over the edge.” Connie looked at Carol and then over at Christian. Carol is right, we need to get a search party together right away. “Ok, we are going to need walkies and volunteers. Christian you shouldn’t leave this area closest to the house in case she comes home. I’m going out with the search party.”

“Then so am I, and it’s not up for discussion. There’s no time. We need all hands on deck here, right Carol?” Kelly put the fiercest look of determination on her face she could muster and stared at Carol and Connie. “Of course, you can come Kelly. You know your sister just worries about you since you were kidnapped and enslaved. I completely understand how you both feel, but we know the explosion got rid of a lot of walkers in the area so the danger in minimal. Connie, I can keep Kelly with me if you want.”

Connie looked at them both and signed “Kelly, I would never ask you to stay home and worry while we went out looking for Abbey. Carol, I appreciate the offer, but I know you will have plenty of people you need to watch over while we are out there, so Kelly can stay right next to me. AT ALL TIMES.” Kelly threw her hands up as to say, “I give up, no argument here” and they both looked at Carol for instruction.

Carol told them to get their weapons and meet her at the gate in 20 minutes. She is going to get her team ready for the search. Carol walked over to Christian and grabbed his hands, telling him that they will bring Abbey home one way or another. Then she walked off to get her team. Connie and Kelly ran to give Christian gave him a hug and let him know they are going to find Abbey. Then they ran off to change and grab weapons.


“Hey, get ready. It’s time to go.” As Daryl started to gather his things into his backpack he thought about where Peaches could stay back at the Commonwealth. He didn’t think it was a good idea to have her live alone or to put her back in the house she lived in with her parents. “I know some good people that could take you in. Make sure you’re taken care of and not alone anymore. You might want to start learning sign language though…” Peaches started running to get in front of Daryl, then whirled around. “Learn SIGN LANGUAGE? Why would I have to learn sign language?” Daryl just looks at her and tries to walk around her right side. She jumps to the right. “Do you know how to answer ANY questions at all Daryl?? This could get super annoying.” Daryl looks at her and grunts. He’s annoying? She can’t be serious. And what kind of person asks so many questions anyway?

“Because the people taking you in are deaf and hard of hearing. And even though they can read lips perfectly well, you need to learn sign language. End of story.” Daryl frustratingly pivoted around her so they could keep walking…until he spotted something move in the tree line. He immediately started running to catch the person and Peaches picked up speed right behind him. Now the person he spotted was running as well and Daryl noticed their stature was pretty small, similar to Peaches or Judith. He would have just let them go, but he was pretty sure it was a child, and they were running off into a very bad direction. There’s nothing but dead bodies where they are headed…Daryl picked up speed and went around to cut them off at the edge of the tree line. He’s almost to the tree line when he hears what sounds like… a fight? No, a cat fight. He turns in the direction of the noise and takes off, not wanting to be anywhere near whatever is happening over there. As he gets close, he sees a girl, no Peaches, with a smaller girl in a headlock…doing what looks like…celebrating? “Just what in the hell are you doing? Let her go before you cut off her airways, you just attacking people now?” Peaches face quickly changed from excited to confusion and anger. “ARE YOU SERIOUS?? You just took off toward her like you were gonna kill her!” Daryl grunted. “Well, it sure wasn’t for me to beat her up like you’re trying to do. I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t being spied on. From the looks of things, I had nothing to worry about. Now let her go!”

“Fine, I’ll let her go but she’s not supposed to be out here. She belongs in the Commonwealth, and she is too young to be out here on her own. You have to take her back Daryl. Oh, don’t look at me like that Abbey, I’m sure your dad is super worried right now!” She gets annoyed again as Abbey smacks her hand off her while she was letting her out of the headlock. “Keep your damn hands off me Peaches! Don’t make me kick your ass! I’ve been practicing!” Well, that did it, now Peaches was on the ground laughing out of control. What the hell did Daryl get himself into?

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