It is silent in our cellblock. Lori is taking a nap, Carol and Beth are trying to make a decent dinner with all we have (canned food + two tomatoes) , Hershel is reading his favourite book ( the bible) and Carl sits on the stairs, playing with the keys in his hands.
I've just came back from watch duty on one of the watchtowers, and notice T-dog and Daryl aren't back yet. Why?
"Hey, Carol?" I call the short haired woman. She looks up from our imaginary kitchen.
"Any word from Daryl and T-dog?"
"No, we haven't seen them yet" she says, shaking her head. "You think something happened?"
"I hope not" I say, wiping sweat of my forehead. "But they've been gone for….what, 30 minutes?"
"Yes, something like that. You said the cellblock was easy to reach. Then they should be back by now."
"Maybe they ran into some walkers" I say, without knowing what I'm actually saying. Beth looks up, with bright eyes and a pale face.
"But they can handle themselves very well" I quickly say after, and she calms down a bit. From deep inside, I smile. Beth really seems to be worried about the two members of our group out there. That means she cares about them, and about us. Beth didn't seem to get along with us very well in the beginning, but I sometimes see her joke around with Carl, or talk with Lori about the baby. She's not only communicating with her sister or her father alone. She's finally trusting us, and cares about us.
Suddenly, the door to the halls flies open. A big shadow nears, and I quickly grab my gun. Holding it in front of me, I try to aim where the walker's head might be, as the figure steps into the light. My jaw drops, as I recognize T-dog, with an unconscious Vicky in his arms. Behind him, Daryl closes the door. Beth gasps, and Carol puts a hand over her mouth. I blink with my eyes, before I react as fast as I can.
"Beth, go warn your father" I say to the blonde girl. "Carol, get the medical supplies. Everything you can find, bring it to Hershel. T-dog, I'll take her over, go get some water."
T-dog seems to hesitate, before he carefully lays the girl in my arms. He then goes to the pile of supplies to search for a bottle of water.
I turn around and walk into the cellblock. "Daryl, with me."
Without saying a word, the man follows. Beth walks out of one of the cells. "In here."
Hershel sits in the cell on a chair. His eyes widen at the sight of me laying the girl on the bed.
"What happened?" he asks, rolling up his sleeves. I look at Daryl, expecting him to give the answer. I thought he would give me an answer like 'I didn't do aythang!' , but he seems to take it really seriously.
"We walked to her cellblock, an' she lay on tha floor, cryin'. She's got a lot of pain." While he's talking, he's staring at the girl on the bed. "I don' know wha happened."
I lift my eyebrows at the usually so though man, but he doesn't notice. Hershel lays his hand on Vicky's forehead.
"She's got a fever" he says "she's not bit, is she?"
Carol storms in with the bag of medical supplies from the pharmacy. Hershel gratefully takes it, and searches through the stuff. When Carol walks out of the cell, she gives Daryl a questioning look. It immediately changes into a look of concern, as she sees his pale face.
"Hershel" T-dog says as he hands over a bottle of water. Without looking up, Hershel extends his arm and grabs the bottle.
"Did she say anything before she passed out?" he asks. I see T-dog and Daryl glance at each other.
"Only somthin' like 'arrows'" T-dog says. "But she's not very…healthy in the head, is she?"
Daryl suddenly walks away from the cell. Carol wants to go after him, but she hesitates. She looks at the man walking away, then at the unconscious girl on the bed. She then decides to stay, and help Hershel.
"Carol, find me some painkillers, please" Hershel says, immediately making Carol his personal assistant. Over the past months, Hershel's been telling Carol a lot about medical treatment. She's helped him out a lot when someone of our group had a wound or an illness. She even tried to learn the basics about a Caesarean section. Though I like Hershel to do it.
I throw the door open. The sun blinds me, but I don't care. I still have my crossbow on my back, but I don't care about that either. I need to get outta here. I've been inside the building for too long. I can't stand staying inside for days. It's like claustrophobia. It kills me. I headed out yesterday, 'cause I needed space to think. Now Rick's all pissed over it.
I make fists out of my hands. It feels like there's no air around here. I try to breathe deeply, but it feels like my throat's being squeezed.
I walk towards the shadow of a side building, and lean against it with my shoulder. With my other hand, I put away my crossbow. Damn thing's not broken yet, but since this whole thing started 10 months ago, it's been used more often than it's supposed to be. It definitely needs some repairing here and there.
I let myself slip down the cold wall. The cold stone feels nice to the skin of my sweaty back. As I sit down, I feel something hard on my ass. I stand up, looking at the ground. Nothing.
"Fuck…" I remember taking the book of Vicky. I feel in my back pocket, and my fingers find the small sketch book. I sit down, holding the book in my hands. I stare at it for a time. Not knowing what to do. The last time I opened it, I nearly had an heart attack. I killed the girl's father, uncle, whatever he was to her. What other things are hidden in this book?
"Nah yah scared of a damn book?" I mumble to myself. I turn it to its side, and see the pages. They seem to be written till the half of the book, the rest's still empty. One side of me wonders what's in there, the other side does not want to know.
I lean forward, elbows resting on my knees. The book is close to my face when I open it. I quickly turn the page with the drawing. The next page is written. It's a curly handwriting, very clean and with some grammar errors here and there. When I read the first sentence, I already know I shouldn't have taken this of the cellblock.
Tuesday, 20th of July, 2010. 15:34
I quickly close the book. It's a frickin' journal, a diary! I risked my life a million times, but I'm not doing this. If I wanted dead, I would've stayed at the CDC or something.
I lean back with my head against the wall. I have this weapon of mass destruction in my hands, and I don't know what to do with it. If I destroy it, she knows someone read it. If I give it back, she even knows I'm the one who read it. I could just put it back in the cellblock, but to go there I have to cross the C-block, and Rick will ask me what I'm doing. And If I tell him I'm returning a book, I get another situation I don't want. It may sound like I'm scared of Rick, which I'm absolutely not, but it's just the fact that when we're in a fight, we can't function. We can't work together in this mess if we keep on having arguments. And if you can't work together in this world, you might as well kill yourself. And that's not on my agenda. And certainly not on the group.
I sigh at myself. At the person I've become. A perverted invader of privacy.
Today is my sixteenth birthday. I should be happy about it, but I'm not. Why? Because it's my first birthday without my mom. My mom was the one person that brought all the happiness in my life. The one person that made me happy. But she was gone, for one year. Since the accident, I've had therapy and I went to a clinic and other places, and I'm feeling better, but it doesn't bring her back.
So she wasn't that crazy before this started. What happened that made her this what she's become now? The first page is all about herself. She's talking about her sadness about her mother, her father who tries to help her, her addiction to drugs, a drug dealer named….Merle?
"You stupid dick!" I shout at the book. Merle was selling drugs to teenagers?! What sick mind does that?! I swear to God, if he was still I alive, I would put his stupid drugs right up his ass.
I read on, until I get to the point where it all started. She tells something about a mysterious saviour. I sigh of my stupidity when I read the description of my own arrow. Crap. She knows it's me.
I turn page after page, and face palm at the moment where she tells about the night in the house. I saw her, she saw me. I let her go, or I just left her alone. It was still in the time where she was, well, normal. A sudden wave of guilt flows through me as I think about what would've happened if I had taken her with me and Merle. Maybe she wouldn't turn out so crazy. Maybe she would've been a member of our group. Things would've turned out differently.
I turn another page, and see the journals are getting shorter. Her handwriting gets wilder and wilder every time, until I really need to be with my nose against the paper. Sometimes, there's a blank page in between, or a drawing. The drawings look the same as on the walls of her cellblock. Sometimes, there are notes with it, and arrows pointing at other drawings. It seems really childish. For a long time, there are only drawings and sketches. For at least thirty pages, all I see is characterised walkers, or detailed walkers. Then there's a pony, and a tomato with a smiley face. It's getting annoying, and I wonder if there's anything else.
Then, I finally get to the page where it says this;
Someday in the summer, 2011.
I can't take it anymore. I can't talk right now, I can only write in this stupid diary. If I talk right now, they'll hear me.
There are people outside. They're on the field. They killed all the walkers there, and now they're making a fire. I can see them from behind the bridge, at a side building. I can't hear what they're saying, but I think they want to get in tomorrow.
"Shit, she knew" I mumble, as I see my own name again. I don't know why it scares me to know that Vicky and I kinda have 'a history'. She knows who I am, and she hasn't killed me yet because I once let her go. Now she lets me go.
I chuckle at the part where she says she's gonna make the beds, and clean the cellblock. Rick was right, it was her. After all the drawings, the journals are getting a little bit more normal. Sometimes, she talks about killing, or bunnies, food, and games. It's not really ordered and very unpleasant to read. She says weird stuff about me, which makes me grin a little. A little. Just a little.
Then, I get to the point which seems to be today. The parts are sometimes funny, others are dark. This one is different. It's one of full sadness. I blink my eyes when she says she sees her dead father. She talks about the pain. About dying.
I quickly close the diary. I throw it away, like it's dangerous. I stand up, and look at it. She is very crazy. I used to hate…I mean, very dislike her, but now, all I feel is pity. She's been saying she feels happy when she's around us. But she's still crazy. Can I let her into our group? Can I take that risk?
I stare at the book, which is laying a few feet away from me. Can I trust her? She's in a big dilemma. She's in the middle of a healthy and a sick person. What if she can't control it? What would she do when she can't handle herself? What if she starts to hate us, and eventually tries to kill us anyway? I don't know if I should be scared. I mean, she's a frickin' teenager. I can handle her, I could take her down easily. Right? OK, maybe she knows this area better than we do, so she might have the lead on that.
I step towards the diary, and pick it up. I guess I don't have a choice but to wait and see.
"Can you hear me?" I ask the girl as I shine with a flashlight in her eye. She pulls back her head, and blinks with her eyes.
"Don't do that, it's not funny" she says. I try to hide my smile. I guess she's back then.
"How do you feel?"
"You're Hershel, right?" Vicky asks, ignoring my question. "I chopped off your leg."
From the corner of my eye I see Carol widen her eyes. I am stunned too, but recover fast.
"Yes, that's right" I say calmly. "Thank you for that."
"Oh, it was a pleasure!" the girl says with a smile. Rick said she was a little crazy. Looking at the red haired teenager who's been alone in a deadly prison for several months, a little might be an understatement.
"When was the last time you ate?" I ask, just continuing the check-up. The girl leans with her back against the bed. She lifts her shoulders.
"I dunno. Yesterday, day before yesterday."
Carol gasps. "Oh, poor girl!"
She wants to lay her hand on the girl's knee, but hesitates. Then, something weird happens. Vicky looks at the extended hand, and grabs it.
"Sophia says she loves you" the girl says, with a strange expression of sadness on her face. Carol freezes, her face getting pale. She clears her throat, not knowing what to say.
"How do you know….I don't….why…"
"She stands right there" Vicky says, pointing at a spot behind us. I turn around, to see an empty doorway, with the light of the sun shining through the windows.
"She tells me that she's OK, and that she will wait for you" Vicky says, still holding on to the hand of Carol. "She really wants to see you smile. She likes to see you happy."
Vicky stops talking, looking at the spot, as if she's listening. "She likes your hair this way. It's longer than usual, and she thinks it makes you look very pretty."
Tears roll down Carol's cheeks, but she stays. She lets out a sob, but doesn't pull her hand back. Not even when Vicky lets go of it. She suddenly looks very tired.
Carol stands up, and walks out of the cell. She leaves me behind with this girl who sees dead people. She sees dead people in a different way than we do. We all see them walk around, but we don't see their spirits appearing in places where their loved ones are.
"Yesterday" the girl says. "I ate yesterday."