I throw some water in my face, washing of the blood and sweat. The barrel with rainwater stands just outside the exit of the halls, and after the slaughter and my weird phone call, I decided to wake up and do something.
And now I'm here. I sighed, the cold water dripping off my chin. I don't wanna go back. I don't wanna face everyone. Not after what happened. I can't handle myself. I can't do it.
Rick, man, you got a son. Get your shit together. You have a child to take care of. Damn, you got two! You don't even know if it's a boy or a girl! What kinda father are you?!
I try to make my hair look less messy, before going back into the prison.
When I get to the cellblock, I see everyone sitting at the metal table, on the ground or the steps by the entrance.
"Everybody OK?" I ask. Suddenly, a red flash jumps in front of me, and two arms are put around my neck.
"Hey, Ricky-boy! How yah doin'?" Vicky asks happily. I just stand there, not knowing what to do. I let my arms just hang next to my body, and wait for her to let me go.
I'm relieved when she finally does."
"Yeah, we are OK" Maggie says, with a little annoyed look at Vicky.
"What about you?" Hershel asks, turning to face me.
"Where have you been?" Vicky asks.
"I cleared out the border block" I say, with a quick look at one of the prisoners, Oscar. He stands next to Daryl, with a plate in his hands. Vicky lifts her eyebrows, and nods.
"Great. How did that go? I heard you almost killed Glenn, and cleared out half the prison…"
"That's enough, Vick" Glenn softly warns. Vicky ignores him, and keeps looking at me.
"How many where there?" Daryl asks.
"I don't know, a dozen, two dozen" I say, and I see some of my group members sighing relieved. As if they were scared of my reaction on Vicky's little outbreak. "I have to get back. Just wanted to check on Carl."
I give him a soft pat on his shoulder, but he doesn't react. I feel my voice is falling apart by the last words, and I turn around to disappear in the halls again. Glenn stands up.
"Rick, we can help taking out the bodies. You don't have to-"
"O sure, he does" Vicky says, crossing her arms over her chest. She looks at me, with her eyes narrowed. I look at the ground. Seriously, I don't have time for this. I walk over to Daryl.
"I'm gonna need a gun and a knife."
"Sure" Daryl answers. "But we're a little low on ammo."
"Maggie and I were planning on making a run this afternoon" Glenn says. "Look for a place where we can find more bullets and formula."
"We cleared out the generator room" Daryl says, with a quick look at Vicky. "Axel's in there, tryin' to fix it. In case of emergency, we can sweep to lower levels."
I stand there, impressed by what the group can do without their psychotic leader. They've accomplished things I can only imagine. I nod.
"Good." I want to walk away, but then Vicky clears her throat, and mumbles something.
"At least one of us is having fun today…"
"Vicky, can I talk to you for a sec?" I ask the red haired girl. She shrugs, still staring at the exit of the cellblock, where Rick just left us.
"Sure, whatever." She doesn't move, and I don't think she quite understand what I meant.
"Not here. Come, outside." I softly grab her arm and drag her outside.
"What is it?" she sighs annoyed. "I'm supposed to leave with Daryl in about….I don't know, seven seconds."
"I'm sure he can wait seven seconds more" I say with a lifted eyebrow.
"What's so important, then?"
"There's something you have to tell me" I say, and she puts her hands on her hips, clearly misunderstanding me. "It's not like I don't trust you, but if you don't tell me, there will be trust issues later."
"OK, I get it. Spit it out!"
"Where have you been?" I ask. She chuckles.
"Is that all you wanna know?"
"Yeah, so tell me. Where did you go yesterday?"
"Kinda a long story. I'm sure the seven seconds are over now."
"Then make it a short story" I say, and now I'm getting annoyed too.
"If you really wanna know; I needed some time for myself, OK? I got a lot of anger in me, so I went on a killing-tour, just like your pal Rick."
"Then why didn't you go in the prison too?"
"You saw what Rick was capable of. He almost killed you. When you have that kinda rage in you, there's no difference between walker or living people. I was afraid that if I would go in the prison too, I would kill Rick, or somebody else of the group."
I blink with my eyes. This is unexpected. The psychotic dangerous girl cares about us. The creepy, aggressive red head wants us to stay alive. We have a killer on our side. It confuses me, even more than girls confuse me. And trust me, if you're more confusing than girls, there is something really wrong with you.
"That enough?" Vicky asks, and she doesn't await the answer. She walks past me in a hurried pace. I still stand there, and I need to turn around to look at her if we really had this conversation. Yes, it is real.
"What did he wanna know?" I ask when we're finally out of hearing range of the others.
"O, he was curious about where I was yesterday," Vicky says, not paying attention to the danger of walkers hearing her. "too nosy, if you ask me."
"Did you tell him?"
"Of course not, you idiot!" Vicky says it as if it's the worst thing you can do. "If I want everyone to freak out, I would do it in a spectacular way!"
"Something cool, like the message written in blood on the walls, or a head chopped off and hang it above the entrance of the cellblock. Or maybe…"
"OK, I get it, very cool."
Vicky lifts her eyebrows at me, and gives me a shove with her shoulder. "Now what? You scared of a little blood?"
"What do yah think? Everyone's scared of blood."
"Women aren't. We deal with it at least once a month." Vicky seems to talk about the weather instead of menstruation.
"Dude…" I say, and spit on the ground. Vicky looks at me as if I just said something weird.
"I'm not a dude, and you aren't one too."
"What's that supposed to mean?" I say, and I can't help but to feel a little irritation in the back of my head. But it gets overwhelmed by the feeling of a laughter coming up.
"Shut your mouth now, OK? You're only making it worse." She suddenly walks a little faster, and stops at a crossing. "I think I remember this."
"Yah better do." I suddenly realize we kinda changed the subject. "What did you tell Glenn?"
"I told him I went on a killing-trip, just like Rick" she answers, looking at all the three halls for any recognition.
"Yah didn't say anything about the hunter-people?"
"Nope. He won't find out until I tell him."
I glance. "No shit. Did yah tell 'm 'bout the town-boy?"
"Nope." Vicky walks into one of the other corridors. "I wish I had chosen a palace to stay for the winter."
"A palace has much bigger halls, more walkers can fit in there. More fun."
I shake my head. Here we go again with the fairy tale talk.
"And maybe you have princess-walkers" she says, and the little girl inside her wakes up. The little creepy girl. "Can you imagine an undead Cinderella? Or seven walker-dwarfs? O wait, they didn't live in the castle!"
She is still talking as a walker comes up from behind her. Without hesitation, I shoot an arrow. Vicky doesn't react, but keeps talking. "What about Beauty? O my god, a Beast-walker! It would be huge! That's awesome! I bet it would take days before we would finally killed it! We would be like the Avengers! You know, they were gonna make a movie of that. It would come out in 2012, or 2013. Sucks we can't see it now. And did you know…"
I blink my eyes, blinded by all the words. Seriously, how much can this girl talk? And she didn't even react when I killed that walker. She didn't even move.
It immediately makes me feel useless again. OK, I don't like to admit it, but I'm kinda used to the regard I get when I save someone's life. Not getting it feels weird.
Vicky suddenly stops talking. She stands still, and I almost bump into her.
"What? What's up?" I walk around her, and see she's staring at something. I follow her eyes, and see a pool of blood on the floor. It's the place where we found T-dog.
I look back at the girl, who changed into a teenage girl with a broken heart, in the same state as T and I found her in her cellblock, unconscious and in pain. Until this point, I've seen several faces of Vicky. There's the manipulative psychopath, the ghost whisperer/medium, the eight year old princess and the broken-hearted teenage girl. But who the real Vicky is… I don't know. I like some of the faces, and I hate most of them.
I softly touch her shoulder. She shrugs it off, and blinks. She then looks at me, and life come's back into her eyes.
"C'mon, we should get going." She walks past me, not looking at the blood again.
"I'm sorry, Miss Summers, but I got orders." Merle's voice full of innocence echoes through my head. I open my eyes and sit up straight in my bed.
"Dan, can you come here, please?" my mom yells from the front door. I swing my legs over the side of my bed, and rub in my eyes. Why can't I get one night of sleep? I shouldn't have joint the supply-runners.
I stand up, jumping into a jogging trouser and walk out of the bedroom, towards the front door.
"Ah, there he is" Merle says with a mysterious grin. "C'mon, sleepy head, we got some questions for yah."
"Again?" I grunt. "I already told you all I know!"
"Yah sure 'bout that?" he asks, and with a quick look at my mom, he grabs me by my arm and pulls me outside. "Won't be long, miss. Promise."
My mom puts her hand over her mouth, and swallows something down her throat. My brother comes running from the living room.
"Danny! Where are you going?" he yells.
"Just a little chit chat, don't worry!" I shout back.
Merle gives me a shove forward, and forces me to walk towards the apartment of the Governor. Of course, the Governor himself doesn't open the door. With tree guards (yes, three. They probably think I'm some kind of criminal) I'm escorted towards the office. They put me in a chair in front of the desk. The Governor is writing in a notebook, and puts his stuff away as soon as I come in.
"Ah, Daniel, good to see you again" he says with the perfect smile of the ideal leader.
"Why am I here?" I ask. The door is closed, and only Merle is still in here. The Governor chuckles.
"I know it's a bit early, but trust me; it's urgent."
"It better be" I mumble. Suddenly, Merle hunches over me and grabs me by my hair. He pulls me up, an inch off the sitting of the chair.
"Don' go play princess on me, pussy! Thanks to you, we lost three men yesterday!"
"What?!" I ask, with my voice an octave higher than usual.
"That's enough, Merle" the Governor says, with his hand hold up. "Put him down."
Merle doesn't 'put' me down, he just let's go of me, and I fall back in the seat. The skin of my head hurts underneath my hair. Merle still looks at me, with a lot of anger.
"Is it true? Did those men die because of me?" I ask, a little panicking. What did I do?
"Yes" the Governor says, and he stands up. "Apparently, the girl that saved your life, followed you back here. She tried to break in, but failed. She managed to kill three of our men who had watch duty last night."
"What? How? Why? When?"
"She climbed up the fuckin' wall, as a monkey, and slid their throats" Merle says, and he talks as if he has a lemon in his mouth. "And trust me, she didn't have a giant nose."
Suddenly, I feel real cold. Shit. They caught me. They know I lied. The Governor sighs, and walks towards the window. Merle grins.
"Yeah, I was there when she climbed up. She didn' have black hair, it was a fuckin' red head!"
I'm silent. I don't know what to say. What were they thinking right now? That I went crazy? That I'm working with her? I look at the Governor. He's staring out the window, with no expression to be read.
"Yeah, we got yah!" Merle says, spitting the words out. And I finally find my voice back.
"I didn't know she would come after me, I swear! She let me go, and I thought she was gone. I had no idea-"
"How she looked like? What her name was?" Merle shakes his head. "Well, I have fuckin' news for you! That girl is a red head from Atlanta, called Vicky Robson."
"You know her?" I say, as stupid as I am.
"Oh, yes I do. She was one hell of a girl. Very good looking…"He plays with his eyebrows as he says it. Then he chuckles very loud and his eyes wide in amusement. "Oh, you see that, mister Governor? See those red ears?"
The Governor only turns his head for a second, gives me a cold look, and turns back to the window. Merle in the other hand seems to have the time of his life. He slaps himself at his knee while he laughs.
"Oh, man. This is so ridiculous. God…" he wipes a tear from his eye. I can only look at the ground ashamed. I'm also very confused. Maybe Merle had seen it wrong. Maybe there's another red haired girl with master assassin skills. Maybe…c'mon, who am I kidding? There is only one stunning, beautiful and amazing killer girl with red hair. But why did she kill those men? The Vicky I saw, picking flowers in a field, she wouldn't do such a thing. She saved my life, helped me clean my face, she cared for me. She would never do that…right?
"You don' get it, do you?" Merle says, still an echo of the laughter in his voice. "She used you. She used you to lead her back to here. She don' care 'bout you. She jus' wanna kill us all, including you and your family."
"Shut up! You don't know what you're talking about!" I say loudly, and the Governor turns his head towards me.
"Merle's right, Daniel" he says. "She used you. She only let you live because you're not one of the Hunters, but you're one of us. She's a psychopath, believe me. I once met her, and it didn't end very well. She's a real killer, and I managed to get her of our backs, but now…you brought her back to us. She now knows where we are, but we don't know where she is."
I close my eyes. I'm an idiot. I'm so fucking stupid. I just killed everyone. My friends, family, all the people in Woodbury. How could I be so stupid?
"What can I do to help?" I ask. I'm really curious what they're gonna do with me, 'cause basically, I'm now a traitor to Woodbury. I wonder what my mom's going to say…
"Nothing, for now" the Governor says. "There's nothing for you to do. But if we go looking for her again, you're one of the scouts I sent out. It's your fault, and you're gonna fix it."
"Yes sir!" I say, and I can't help the relieve that sounds through my voice. I feel relieved that I can see my family again, but I'm also a little hurt. I mean, it's not like I was in love or anything…but still, it hurts. Vicky used me, she seduced me. I was not paying attention to any followers when I went back to Woodbury. Of course, she doesn't care about me. The only two people who do, are my mom and my little brother.
It's dark. Very dark. It doesn't matter if my eyes are open, or closed. It's stays dark.
I want to move, but my body's too cold. The muscles are stuck, so I'm stuck. I'm leaning with my back against the wall, and it's cold against my skin.
My stomach growls. How long has it been since I ate something? Or drank? O god, the thirst is even worse.
I groan softly, my throat dry, so it's nothing more than a soft yawn.
I try to move my fingers, grab something, anything. I just need to hold something, to give me the feeling that I'm still here. But there's nothing but cold floor and dust.
I then hear soft steps. Very soft, as a small animal. I can't hear where it's coming from, but I do hear it's coming closer.
"Mom?" a voice whispers from the dark. The voice is one I haven't heard in a long time. A very long time. It immediately drives a stake through my heart, and I burst out in tears.
"Hi, sweety" I manage to say. I can't see her, but I feel she's here. I can hear her.
"Mom, what are you doing here?" Sophia asks, and I try to grab through the air, trying to get a hold on her. "You're not supposed to be here!"
"What do you mean, sweety?" I sob. It's still just thin air in my fingers. My arm starts to hurt, so I stop my hopeless reaching.
"It's too soon. It's not the time for you. You need to go, now!"
"Sophia, what's wrong?" I ask, and I'm scared of the panic in her voice.
"You're dying, mom! But it's not right!"
"Maybe it is" I say, and I feel all my strength flow out of my body. "Maybe it is my time. Sweety, don't you see? Maybe it's supposed to be like this, so we can be together again."
"I want to be with you again, mom" Sophia says, and I know that if she was still alive, she would've grabbed my hand. Now, I only feel some thin air rubbing over my fingers, but that's enough for me. "But not now. There's too much for you to do."
"No, there's nothing for me to do" I say, concentrating on the wind. "Everybody's dying, I can't help anyone. I don't want to watch them die. I want to be where you are. Just, let me sleep."
"Mom, no! I don't want you here, not now! Please, don't do it! Mommy, I don't want you to die. Let me help you!"
"How can you help me?"
"I'll help you get out of here. Try to stretch out your left arm, there's a door near you."
I do as she says, and I can feel the metal door. It's heavy, and my arm is shacking.
"Try to push it open" Sophia says, but I can't.
"I'm sorry, I can't! It's too heavy."
"It's OK, you can do it. I'll help you. On three; one, two, three!"
The door swings open for an inch, and then falls back in place.
"It didn't work" I sigh, and I feel weaker.
"C'mon, mommy, try again!" Sophia counts again, but it still won't work.
"It's hopeless" I cry, and the soft wind flies past my shoulder.
"No, it's not! We just try again."
I try to keep my eyes open, but my eyelids feel too heavy. I hear my dead daughter counting down, but her voice fades away. Half sleeping, half awake, I reach out for the door. I groan, and push.
The door flies open, and a great light shines into the small room. I blink my eyes, and groan again. I see two shadows, bending over me.
"Wakie Wakie!" a familiar voice says.
"Carol, can you hear me?" another asks.
"Well, you look terrible" the first one says.
"Shut up" the second responds.
"O, hey, you! How yah doin'?" the first one says, and I think she is talking to someone behind me. But when I turn my head, there's no one. Just some thin air.