The ropes burned against his skin, but even more in his mouth. His joints were stiff from his arms being bound behind their back for a long amount of time. His tongue touched the coarse rope testing the tightness but the rope didn’t budge, not even a millimetre. A static noise cut through the silence and it caught Carl’s attention. The boy raised his head the best he could looking to see the vehicle slowly come to a halt. A bloodied stub rested on the wheel, blood dripped from a small tear in the cauterized limb but that didn’t stop the driver from reaching towards the dashboard where the other walkie-talkie was.
“Hello?” the voice was evidently southern, the driver turned to face Carl giving him a small grin. Carl tried to move but the boy felt his bones grind against the metal floor.
“Merle,” the voice was dark, “Where are you?”
Merle gave a chuckle. “Sorry Officer Friendly that is strict information.”
“Look, we can talk this out okay? Just come back and-.”
“Talk this out?” the redneck said angrily, “We had a chance to talk, but you left in such a hurry Friendly!”
There was a silence with nothing but static. Carl felt his chest rise and fall against the metal floor. He allowed his head fall to the floor tears plinked against the metal. He felt Merle grab the back of his shirt and push him against the side of the cube van. The walkie-talkie was stuck between Merle’s teeth and a voice came through.
“Dammit Merle,” Rick protested, “this is between you and me not Carl.”
Merle shook his head. “You just don’t get it do you Officer, you take something away from me and…what goes around comes around eh?”
“Brother!” the voice belonged to Daryl.
“Aw, hey baby brother,” Merle said grinning silly again. His amputated limb pressed against Carl’s shoulder, the boy could feel the jagged bone press against his skin. “How ya doing? Still huntin’ squirrels?”
“Merle, I’m giving you one more chance,” it was Rick again. “Give me back my son.”
“Or what? Ya gonna arrest me?” Merle chuckled at the thought. Another intense silence filled the back of the van and Merle let Carl drop to the ground. The twelve year old scrambled away from the older man watching as he turned back to the front seat. Merle sat down and then said, “If my brother had any brains then he would have tossed you off the roof by now.”
“Merle,” Daryl said, “you don’t want to do this.”
“Thought I taught you better baby brother,” Merle said sitting down. “We Dixons don’t let anyone piss on us.”
He looked out to see a few strangling Walkers roam to and fro the road some even spotted the living flesh in the van and headed towards the vehicle. “Well, best be off…”
“Merle! Please…,” Rick’s voice was pitched and desperate – this Merle laughed at.
“Thought you officers were supposed to be strong.”
Merle shut down the connection listening to Rick scream bloody murder at him. He put the van in gear and roared the motor once attracting more Walkers.
“Hang on kid,” Merle shouted back and Carl took his advice as the redneck slammed down on the gas pedal. Carl peeked from behind the wall in time to watch the tip of the van clipping a Walker in the back no doubt breaking it. A Walker flipped right over the van leaving a long blood stain on the windshield and another crushed undertow.
Carl tumbled around in the back, the fact that his hands were tied behind his back didn’t help his situation either. Even Merle clenched his teeth as he ran over another Walker. One managed to grab the side mirror, Merle opened the driver door allowing it to swing and hit the female Walker. Bones cracked and blood spurted as the door connected with her face. Merle reached and grabbed the door.
“Bitch,” Merle growled as he slammed the door shut. Carl could hear the limp body bounce across the side of the van once. Blood oozed out of his stump, a single drop trailed down the wheel and onto the Merle’s lap. He side glanced to see Carl giving up trying to stand due to continuously fell over. Merle grinned and let loose a small chuckle he looked through the mirror to see Carl lying down to avoid any more injury keeping his head slightly above ground.
As the Walkers were cleared out cruelly, the van picked up speed and sped farther away from Atlanta.