I quickly open the gate, and a second later, the red haired teenagers runs out of the forest. She's carrying two bags in each hand, stuffed with whatever she brought with her this time. I feel a strange kind of relief seeing her, alive. But that relief is gone by the second I lay eyes on her hands.
"What the hell happened to you?!" I say, grabbing both her hands, which are wrapped in some dirty towel. There are traces of blood on them. Vicky frees herself and puts the bags on the ground.
"Nothin'. I tripped, fell into glass. It looks worse than it is. It's actually pretty cool. You wanna see?"
I cross my arms and shake my head. "No thanks."
Vicky looks over her shoulder, at something in the forest. "C'mon, don't be shy! They're not so bad as they look!"
A second passes by without anything happening, then a boy about Vick's age steps between the bushes. He has dark hair and blue eyes, and looks like a scared squirrel. He's also carrying bags.
"Who the hell's that?" I ask. Vicky closes the gate and grabs the boy's hand.
"This is Dan. He's my friend. He's going to live with me."
"Vicky! Thank god, you're alright!" Carol suddenly says. I hadn't seen her coming. She stands still next to me as she sees the other kid.
"Wait a minute, kid, that ain't happenin'" I say, and I try to sound reasonable. Vicky only finds it amusing.
"Says who? Sheriff Redneck?"
I take a step closer, but Carol stops me. "What he's trying to say is that we need to discuss this with the others, with Rick."
"And why is that?" Vicky doesn't enjoy this anymore. Now she crosses her arms, standing in front of her friend. "I'm no part of your group, remember? And I'll never be, 'cause it's clear to me you guys want me dead."
"What? No, of course not!" Carol says, and she lays a hand on Vicky's shoulder, but Vicky shrugs it off.
"No, it's OK. I get it. Rick's probably pissed his plan didn't work out so well."
Then it hits me. She's talking about the town. "You don' understand what happened in there. Rick didn't have a choice. I didn't like it either, I thought you died."
Vicky chuckles. "Ohw, how sweet! And who told you that nonsense? C'mon, Dary-doo, you know nobody can kill me, unless it's walker. Or a vampire. Or a werewolf. Do you think leprechauns are dangerous? If they are, they can probably kill me too. But not that Master-Douche of a Governor."
I feel that Carol is looking at me, but I don't look back. I know what she's trying to say. Or Merle lied, or Merle didn't know what happened after he left the execution.
"How did yah get out?" I ask, trying to switch to another subject. Vicky puts a strain of hair behind her ear, and I notice one half is shorter than the other. Look, I don't care about someone's haircut. I just saw it, and it looked like she didn't have that before.
"O, I chewed off the ropes around my pulses, and ran away." While saying this, she grabs the bags of the ground, and she doesn't look at Carol or me. And that tells me that isn't the truth.
When she stands up again, her face looks confused. She looks at something behind us. "Who the doink is that?"
I look over my shoulder, but see nothing. The field is empty, except for our little graveyard. "What? Yah seein' ghosts again?"
I chuckle, and receive a poke to my arm from Carol, who gives me an angry look. Vicky only shrugs.
"I guess so. That woman, who is she?" She walks past me, towards the graves. "Hey, did you dig one for me? That's so sweet!"
I suddenly hear a door open, and a small figure come running out of the prison. He runs towards the first gate at the courtyard, and shouts.
The weird kid looks up, and his blue eyes widen. "Vinnie?"
"Oh, that's your bro?" Vicky says, pointing at the small boy. "And that woman…and Rick…and Lori….o man, this is not good."
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAND we are back!
Better say that I am back, 'cause Dan's here for the first time. It's not like I hoped it would be. It turned out Dan's mom was here, and she died. So now he's depressed and all, and he's been sitting at his mom's grave for over an hour, saying nothing. His little brother is here too, Vincent, Vin, whatever his name is. He's crying all day, and I'm getting tired of it. And I'm very pissed, 'cause Dan and I made all kinds of plans to make the prison his new home. Ok, maybe I made the plans. But now it's all going to hell with his dead mom. It's really annoying.
For the rest, I guess I didn't miss anything. O, wait, there was this awesome shooting with the Governor. That's probably the reason why he wasn't in his ugly apartment. I hope he comes back soon, so I can stick his eye out. O, shit! I forgot my awesome new weapon thing in the store! Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyy?! That makes my day even worse.
The plan was that I would make a barbeque with everyone, and that we would all be happy and laugh, like normal neighbours. Of course, in the end I would stab Rick in the back for leaving me in Woodbury, but I guess I have to do that some other time. Because no one wants to have a barbeque in this mood.
Daryl's a fucking idiot as usual, Rick's talking to air, Hershel does nothing but reading, Glenn and Maggie have relation troubles (that makes me pissed too, I ship them!), Beth won't talk to me and is all focussed on the baby, Carl's pissed at me for leaving, Carol tries to ignore what I said earlier(I dramatized something about not having friends and be all sad), Michelle's avoiding me(the sword-woman), Lori is hanging around the cellblock all day playing haunting ghost, Sophia keeps asking about her mom, Annabel misses Daryl, and now Axel, Oscar and Dan's mom are here too. It's too crowded here. And now they brought fucking MERLE in here too! And they say I can't bring in new people?!
I wish I'd never have come back. I don't like it here anymore. I thought I was safe with these people. But they're all crazy bitches who leave you for dead in towns full of rapists. Poor Baby-Grimes, she has to grow up with these people…
I'm sad. I'm really sad. Mom is dead, and now Danny's sad too. I was happy to see him, but when I told him about mom, he started shouting and screaming, like Rick did before, and ran towards the grave. He punched the pile of earth and said all kinds of bad words.
I got scared, so I ran back to Beth. She's nice, she can sing. But her stories are very boring. And she doesn't always want to sing, because of Judith. And Carol says I can't go exploring the rest of the prison, because it's dangerous. But I can't do anything else, because nobody wants to talk to me.
There's a new lady in the prison, but she's not of Rick's group. She's a friend of Danny, so she must be nice.
She's in another cellblock, a little farther away. I want to talk to her, but it's too far away. So I go outside. Again. But not where I can see Danny. I don't want to see him sitting at mom's grave. It's scary and makes me sad.
So I quickly run away from that view, with my eyes closed. I sometimes try to see through my eyelashes, so I don't bump into anything. I'm doing pretty good, I think.
"What the donk are you doing?" I hear a voice say. I open my eyes, and look around. I don't see anyone. I stop walking, and try to listen if I hear that person. Nothing. I run further.
"Up here, Vincent" the voice says again. I stop, and look up. I only see the blue sky.
"My name is not Vincent!" I shout at whatever that is up there. Maybe it's a bird. No, wait, birds can't talk. And the sick people can't too.
"Then, what is it?" I hear the sound of metal falling, and turn around. There's the girl I wanted to talk to. She stands on a metal plate. Her hands are wrapped in bandages, and her hair is put together in a high ponytail.
"It's Calvin, but I like Vinnie" I say, and she laughs.
"I'm Victoria, but I like Vicky."
I giggle. "I like that too. Victoria sounds like an old lady."
"Well, thank you. Calvin sounds like some kind of perfume….or something. I don't know."
"I'm not perfume, I'm a boy!" I say, lifting my chin so I look bigger.
"Well, I'm not an old lady…yet. So, whatcha doing out here, Cal?"
I kick a stone away from my foot. "I was just going away. I don't like to be inside all the time. Everyone's angry. And Rick's creepy. He's talking to himself."
"Yeah, I know." Vicky sits down on the ground. "Miriam is your mom, right?"
I feel not so good with her saying mom's name, but I nod. I also sit down on the ground, and it's almost like I'm back at school.
"I'm sorry she died" Vicky says.
"That's OK" I say, scratching at the metal plate on the ground. "Rick says he's going to take care of me, and Carol too, and Beth, and Hershel."
"Really? But then you have like….five or six parents!"
I laugh. "No, not! They're not my parents, dummy!"
"Then what are they? Your nannies?"
"No…well, maybe." I laugh again, and look up. She sounds nice. "Do you wanna be my nanny too?"
She leans with her chin on her hand. "Can't I be your sister? I don't want to be your mom, or your nanny. And we just found out I'm not an old lady, so I'll just be your sister."
I smile. I feel happy. I have a sister now. "Ok. You're my sister."
"Cool! So, what shall we do about the angry nannies, lil'bro?"
I shrug. "I don't know. Mom always gave us candy when we were upset, or played a game…."
"I had a plan to make everyone happy, but I'm not so sure they want to…see, I don't think they like me very much."
"Why not?" I ask. Vicky plays with her ponytail, leaning with her chin on her hand. "I think you're nice. They're just angry at each other, or at God. Mom said she was angry at God, so maybe they are too. Or at themselves. Mom said that Danny is always angry at himself."
Vicky looks at me. "Good thinking, lil'bro. But what are we gonna do about it? We don't have candy, and the best game I found in her was chess…but I don't know how to play that."
"Me neither" I sigh. "I like card games. And monopoly. And dad always played darts."
"That wouldn't be fair, 'cause Daryl is the crossbow man" Vicky sighs, rolling with her eyes.
"Is there nothing in there?" I say, pointing at a part of the prison I wanted to explore, but Carol told me not to. But I think she thinks it's OK if Vicky goes with me. Vicky looks at it, and narrows her eyes.
"Mmmh, haven't been in there." She stands up. "Let's find out what it is."
I stand up too, and walk to her. I grab her hand, so I won't lose her. She looks down. "You scared, lil'man?"
"No…maybe a little."
We walk towards the strange building, with a strange door. "That's OK. I'm scared sometimes too."
She feels at the doorknob, but the door is locked. "Ok, Vin, stand back a little, kay? I'm gonna do some badass-shit here!"
I step away as she says. Vicky takes a deep breath, and then kicks the door in. The wood breaks instantly, and dust flies up from the ground.
"Blegh, it smells like Daryl's motor-vest in here" Vicky says, coughing behind her hand. She turns to me. "You comin'?"
I close my eyes. Breathe through your nose, out through your mouth. In, out. Calmly. Everything's fine.
NO. No it is not. Everything went to shit. Mom's dead. I'm all alone in this world. What am I going to do?
I slap myself on the cheek. Don't be a pussy. You and Vinnie will be fine. You'll find a place where it's safe, and you'll survive.
Don't be ridiculous. You're the one that got dad killed, 'cause you were too scared. It's your fault he got bit. And then you were too scared to finish it. You're pathetic!
I squeeze my hands into fists. I blink with my eyes. Stop, damnit! Stop it, right now!
A small, soft voice from somewhere far away says my name. It echoes through my head. Who is it?
I shake my head. It's not real. It's just another voice in your head.
I open my eyes, and look right into the eyes of my little brother. I crawl away, falling on my back.
"Sorry, I didn't mean to scare you" Vinnie says, with his hand behind his back.
"It's OK, Vin, don't bother…Just, leave me alone."
I sit up on my knees again, my face turned towards the grave, but Vinnie doesn't go away.
"I said; go!" I say louder, and Vinnie trembles a little, but stays where he's standing. I sigh. "Vin, I'm not in the mood to-"
"I know, but Vicky told me to stay here. She'll be here soon."
I blink with my eyes. "Vicky? What is she…?"
Vinnie sits down in front of me, with a mysterious smile on his face. "We made a plan to make everyone happy again. You too. Vicky's getting the others, she told me to stay with you."
I sigh again. "Whatever you guys are planning; I'm not in."
Vinnie shrugs. "Doesn't matter. You'll like it anyway." Vinnie's eyes sparkle, and it reminds me of before all this. He was always full of surprises and presents for everyone. Vinnie always wanted everyone to feel happy.
"Was it Vicky's idea?" I ask.
"From both of us. Vicky is nice. She's my sister now."
"We found out that Rick and Daryl and all those people are my nannies, but Vicky isn't, so she wanted to be my sister."
I make a sound that reminds me of what my laugh sounds like. "Wow. That's weird."
"Why? Don't you like Vicky?"
"I do. But, it's just…weird, because we're kinda…friends…"
"Are you in love with her?" Vinnie asks, and his eyes sparkle again.
"What? No, of course not! We're just friends! Really!"
Vinnie crosses his little arms. "Vicky told me she has a crush on you."
"She did?!" I already feel ashamed for the hope in my voice. Vinnie giggles.
"No, but I think she does."
I shake my head over my own stupidity. "O, you little bastard…"
With one quick move, I jump on top of my little brother. "Now, you're gonna get it!"
I tickle him over his belly and under his arms, and Vinnie rolls over the grass, laughing.
"Stop! Stop it! It…tickles!"
I grin. "Not till you apologize!"
"Never!" he shouts. He tries to stand up, but I pull his foot from the ground, and he falls into the grass again. "Ok, ok, I'm sorry! But would you please come to the show tonight?"
She's there. I know it. I can see her, clearly. Her brown hair, the white dress. It's her. But I don't walk up to here, like last time. I know she'll just disappear again, and God knows for how long.
I want to talk to her. I want to tell her things. That I'm sorry for being such a dick. That I'm sorry for being so cold. That I love her. That I want her back. I want to tell her about her daughter. I want to tell her about the bravery of her son. I know the words, I know how say them, but every time I open my mouth, my voice breaks, and my head's empty. And all I can do is stare.
"What are you doing here, Lori?" a voice from behind me asks. I turn around, and see Vicky leaning against the wall. She looks at the same spot.. "Just leave this man alone, kay? I'll take care of him, promise."
I step towards her, looking over my shoulder. Lori's still here, but is now wearing her clothes were I last saw her in. I turn towards Vicky. "You see her too?"
"Sure do. Welcome to the Ghost-whisper-club." She sighs. "Seriously, Lori, he cannot hear you! Go away! Yes, I'll tell him! Gosh, you're so annoying…"
"What does she say" I ask quickly, grabbing Vicky by her shoulders.
"She says to take good care of Carl, and that she loves Baby-Grimes's name, and that you'll survive this, that you're strong, and that you need to shave, and bla, bla, bla…"
I turn around to face my dead wife, but she's not there anymore. The balcony is empty. I blink with my eyes. No, she's really gone.
Vicky lays a hand on my shoulder. "Don't worry, she'll come back. Too often than I like. Didn't think she would get that sorta ghost…she just like my dad. So creepy."
"Wha… what do you mean, like your dad?" I say, still looking at the spot where Lori just stood.
"Well, my dad's dead, and he's also a ghost, and he's just like Lori is now, she just stands somewhere in the shadows and keeps staring at you till you wanna scream and shout and kill everybody….sounds familiar?"
I swallow a lump down my throat. I close my eyes, and rub with my thumbs over the top of my nose. It sounds too familiar.
"I'll take that as a yes." Vicky puts her hands on her hips. "Have you seen my new shoes?"
"What?" I ask, blinking with my eyes.
"My shoes. You like them? I bought them this morning. Wait, I didn't buy them, I stole…no…what do you call it? I probably have to find a new word for it. Bole…stuy…Imma go with stuy. I stought them!"
I can't help but to grin. I look down at her feet, which are wearing brand new Nikes. "They're very…cool."
"Yeah, I know. Maybe I can get you some too. My friend Dan didn't want any new shoes. He's not feeling so good right now, but Vinnie's with him, and I think he'll feel better after tonight."
"Dan?" I ask.
"Oh, that's right, you haven't met him. He's my friend, Vinnie's big brother."
"Daniel?" Poor boy. He finally arrived at a save place, but finds out his mother died.
"Yeah, you know him?" Vicky then slaps herself on the forehead. "Gah, I'm so stupid! Of course, Miriam told me myself! I'm such an idiot!"
I grin again, and shake my head. I'm actually glad to have her back. A little of the guilt that piled up inside me, flows away with her being here. But there's a lot more necessary to make it go away for good. "Vicky. I am sorry for what happened in the town. We…I never should've left you behind."
Vicky shrugs. "That's OK. I can manage my own. And I got Dan now. And these are going to be awesome scars!" She holds up her hands, which are wrapped in bandages. "Hershel says I won't be able to move my fingers like a normal person, but the good thing is; I wasn't normal before, so it fits perfect!"
I nod, smiling behind my hand. "It's good to have you back."
Vicky doesn't react the way I expect her too. She mumbles something, and looks at the ground. That's not how I know her. She's always excited about everything, makes the weirdest conclusions and makes the scariest plans you can imagine. But this seems like she's disagreeing. It's just a split of a second, then she jumps in the air with a happy face.
"Ricky-boy, you have to come to the show tonight! Vinnie and I found the best thing ever, you can't miss it! Everyone's going to be there. Except for Merle. I don't want him there, but the rest is!"
"What kind of show?"
"You'll see!" The next thing I know, is that I'm being dragged through the halls, back to the cellblock.
I immediately regret the decision of coming to Vicky's 'show'. I just brought Judy to bed, and went downstairs like Vicky told me. She rebuild the cellblock completely. I don't know how she did it, but somehow, the metal tables form a stage together, and there are benches from two wooden planks in front of it, like a theatre. Carol and my dad already sit at the first row. She waves at me.
"What is going on?" I ask as I walk towards them. I sit down next to my dad.
"Vicky and Calvin made some kind of show" Carol says. "To cheer everybody up. I think it's very sweet of them."
I nod slightly. Very sweet of you, Vicky. I bet she just feels guilty for being such a bitch when she left. She almost killed me! I can forgive her a lot of things, but this is a little too much. I thought she changed. But God, how was I ever so wrong? No way I'm ever going to do that again.
Maggie and Glenn walk into the cellblock from outside, and my sister lifts her eyebrows at the weird scenery. "What is this?"
"A pathetic apology" I mumble, and my dad pokes me in my arm.
"Don't be like that, Vicky tries to do something good. Don't bring her down."
I blink with my eyes. "Are you defending her?"
My dad nods. "Yes, I am."
I want to shout at him, tell him that he is so wrong. But I can't talk to him like that. He's the last person I want to make mad at me. So I close my mouth, and turn towards my sister, who sits down next to me. The first row is filled now.
The next person to walk in, is Carl. He gives the podium one look, then sits down behind Carol. I guess he has seen so many weird things, this doesn't even surprise him a little. He still looks pale, and you can't see his eyes from under his hat, but I know he's doing better.
Then Daryl walks in. "What the…"
He runs with his fingers over the metal creation, and shakes his head. "Lunatic…"
While shaking his head, he walks to the stairs to the upper cells. He leans against the balustrade, crossing his arms. His face tells me he thinks he got something better to do. I surely can agree with him.
Michonne, the sword-woman, is standing in a corner, with her arms crossed. She looks with narrowed eyes at the happening.
I see something move from above, and look up. There's Merle, Daryl's brother. He's looking at the weird things happening here, and watches it with a goofy grin. I don't like him. He's creepy. He looks like a teacher from my high school, who got fired for sexually assaulting a colleague. I can't look at him without thinking about it.
At last, Rick is being pushed inside by Vicky. She leads him to Carl, and forces him to sit down next to his son.
"So, everybody here?" she quickly looks around, with her hands on her hips, like she's arranging a school trip for kindergartners. "Gah, where are Dan and Cal? They're so late!"
I hear footsteps, and a second later, Vinnie, the little boy who lost his mom here, walks in, holding the hand of an older boy, around my age. He has dark hair with blue eyes. I remember seeing him, sitting at Miriam's grave. By the look of him, he must be her daughter, and Vinnie's older brother.
"Sorry" Vinnie says, as he drags his brother to the second bench. "Rick, you know Danny, right?"
"No time for introductions, Cal" Vicky says, grabbing him by the shoulders. "Gotta change. You guys, don't go anywhere, OK?"
Then, they're gone, fled in one of the cells. We hear some rumbling and loud whispering. We are all waiting for what's about to happen, and God, it's awkward.