Survivor's diary

Chapter 23

Daryl

It's quiet. And I don't like it. I don't know what Vicky's planning, but I got a bad feeling about it

Her new boyfriend sits next to Rick. He has his head bowed, and doesn't do anything. Rick just stares at something in front of him, for as far as I can see, and doesn't do anything either. The others are all doing the same. Except for Beth. She keeps looking around, with an annoyed look. She once looked up to Merle, and he looked back, and she quickly turned her head, with a pale face. They all probably have the same idea that Merle's a creep and a thief, and he maybe he can be that person, but I know that he's not really that. He's my brother.

There's some tumbling in the back of the cellblock, and I hear a soft yelp. Probably Vicky, panicking over nothing. Wait, is she even capable of panicking?

Finally, she comes running out of the cell, with the little boy following her. I close my eyes and shake my head. Jesus, what the hell is she doing?

Her hair is put up in two ponytails on the back of her head, and she's wearing these huge celebrity-sunglasses. She's put on a jacket…wait, what?

"What the hell yah doin' with ma jacket?!" I shout, standing up from the steps. While walking to the front, she waves at me and gives me a wink from under her sunglasses. "Lil' bitch…"

I want to walk after her.

"Calm down, lil' bro" Merle chuckles from above. "Yah like a damn girl, ragin' over yer dress. Just enjoy the show, 'kay?"

I make fists of my hands, but sit down again. Vicky's gonna regret this.

They're now in the front, and Vicky climbs up on the stage. I see she's wearing a white top under MY jacket, and some weird pants. It looks like one from the prisoners, but the top is ripped off. Instead, she's put a large belt around her middle. She looks…ridiculous. Just simply ridiculous. Like she's trying to imitate someone, but fails so hard. Like a wannabe rock star.

Vicky spreads her arms. "Welcome, everybody, to the…show."

Quiet. I can only see the backs of them, but I can imagine what their faces are like.

Vicky coughs. "You need to applaud!"

Still silence. Maggie looks at Glenn, with lifted eyebrows. Glenn just lifts his shoulders. It's a weird silent conversation. If this is the show, I'm already enjoying it. But I still don't like her stealing my jacket.

Suddenly, Carol claps her hands softly. All heads turn towards her. She memes 'what?'

Vicky's boyfriend joins her, and that's enough for the crazypants on stage.

"Thank you, thank you" she says dramatically. I roll with my eyes. "And now, the thing we've all been waiting for…"

She signs to the little boy, who seems to be her new slave. He ducks under the stage, crawls further to something that looks like a stereo. He pushes a button, and an ugly whistle tune begins to play. Vicky grunts. "No, not this one! Number six, you pou!"

"Which button is it?" the little boy whispers, while everyone can hear him clearly.

I recognize the song as that one that plays in that movie. Some movie about a gayboy and an old lady fall in love on a ship, but that ship runs into an iceberg and everyone dies. Annabel once dragged me to it, and I still hate her for it. I don't like any movie. They're all just stupid people making money they don't deserve.

The little boy has finally found the right button, and suddenly, the stereo says 'Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?'

Vicky playbacks with it, knowing the lyrics so well that she could sing it, but I think that would be much more of a horror than this already is. Vicky steps around the stage, as if she's the new superstar in town. She points at the 'audience' as if they're her fans, who paid like a hundred dollars to go to her concert.

This goes one for about five minutes. Who the fuck wrote this song?! I hope they rot in hell for making me sit here. I think the other think the same. Except for Merle. He's lying on the ground, laughing his ass of. Rick doesn't enjoy this very much. He has his head bowed, and shakes his head. The boy next to him scratches the back of his head, not sure what to think. On the first row, I see Maggie has dropped her jaw, and Glenn widened his eyes. Beth makes a face to her father that says 'told you so'. Hershel just shakes his head. Carol, who sits next to him, has her hands on her cheeks, probably asking God for mercy. At last Carl, who sits next to his father too, softly laughs. I can see his shoulders shrug a little. Michonne, who stands in a dark corner, has a horrified expression her face. She still has her arms crossed over her chest, and her legs crossed over one another, leaning against the wall, but her face says just enough.

Then, the singing stops, and a guitar solo begins. I hear some rumbling under the stage. Vicky gives the little boy instructions I can't hear, and a second later, a plastic guitar is pulled up.

The guitar hasn't strains like any other, no. It has these ugly coloured buttons, five or six of them. Vicky stars pushing these buttons, and moving the handle that sits lower on the fake instrument. She nods her head on the beat of the music, as if she's the best player in the world. She falls on her knees, still pushing the buttons.

I shake my head, and feel a slight grin on my face. That girl is so sick. I almost feel sorry for her. Almost.

After a minute, the guitar solo stops, and the singing returns. Vicky dramatizes it a lot, and ends with bowing her head, waiting for an applause. There comes none, and she coughs again. But this time, not even Carol dares to clap her hands.

Vicky looks up, and shrugs. "OK, I guess you're all overwhelmed. I understand."

She jumps down from the stage. "Get up, show's not over yet. C'mon, on your feet!"

No one reacts. Only Rick stands up. "Vicky, I don't think we're in the mood for more…shows."

"But this is something different, I promise! Just, trust me, OK?"

"Vicky, I think we've had enough for today" her boyfriend says, which surprises me. "Whatever you're trying to do; it's not working."

Vicky puts a hand on her hip, and her face gets a bitchy attitude. "Wanna bet? My intentions where to get your mind of things, and guess what? It worked. Don't tell me you were thinking of the dead people walking around, or the dead dead people in the ground…hey, that rimed! I can write poems! Or songs! I'll be famous, and…"

"Vicky!" Rick, Carl, her boyfriend, Carol, Hershel, Beth, Maggie and Glenn shout. All look very confused and surprised. Vicky slaps on her knee and laughs.

"Do that again, please!"

Rick grins, and Carl chuckles. Carol giggles, and Hershel smiles behind his beard. Beth hides a smile behind her hand, and her sister silently laughs. Glenn shakes his head. Vicky's boyfriend stands up.

"I'll go with you, I guess." He steps towards her, and pulls at her weird ponytails. "Don't make this your new haircut."

Rick and Carl step over the benches, and walk towards Vicky. "We'll come too."

Glenn and Maggie hesitate, and Maggie looks at her sister. Beth shakes her head. Hershel pulls her up at her arm. "Don't be silly, Bethy."

She struggles a little, but submits with a sigh. "Fine."

Glenn shrugs, and stands up. He helps his girlfriend up.

Vicky turns towards me. "You gotta come too, idiot, and Michelle also needs to come."

Michonne, who's not Michelle, steps out of the shadows, not even reacting on the wrong name. I look up at Merle, who shrugs.

"Just go, lil'bro. I'll take care of the things here."

"O no, you're not" Vicky quickly says, as she walks to one of the cells. A second later, she comes back with Judith in her arms. "Can't leave her here with that bombo."

"Where are we going then?" Carol asks, while Rick takes the baby in his arms.

"Not so far from here. It will be nice, I promise." She walks towards me, and stands still in front of me. "If you're not coming, I won't give you you're jacket back. Ever."

I snort. "It's not like I gave you permission or anything. You stole it. I'll steal it back."

Vicky narrows her eyes. "I'll pee on it."

"Wow, now I'm scared" I say. Did she just say pee?

"Annabel will be very disappointed."

I try not to show anything in my face by the sound of her name. "You're talking out of your ass."

"I wish I could. I probably learn it one day, but now I'll just use my mouth. But she really wants you to come. It's also a little…from her."

I shake my head. Making use of Annabel, that's just cruel. I look at Rick. He's holding his child carefully, and signs to me. He moves his head slightly, just a quick nod. I then look at Glenn. He looks at me, just looking. He still hesitates. He also asks himself every day if we can trust Vicky. At last, I look at Carol. She has a warm smile on her face. I don't know why she keeps believing in the crazy redhead. I don't understand the faith of her. Carol tells me to stand up. So I stand up. "Don't pee on my jacket then."

Rick

Vicky leads us through a dark hall. For the first time, I can see what these halls are like when there is light. Vicky put torches around every corner, just some wood standing straight up.

"Don't light yourselves up, please" Vicky says, with a voice that makes me think of a tour guide. I met such a person when Lori and I went to the Grand Canyon. Carl was only a baby then, and he somehow made it through our supply of diapers. The rest of the tour smelt, and the tour guide almost wanted to escort us out, or asked us to walk at the end of the line of people.

I grin slightly.

"What's so funny?" Carl asks, walking next to me. Judy softly coughs, as if she's also curious.

"Just a memory" I say. Judy crawls against my chest, finding a comfort place to lay for a while.

We go around another corner, and there's a long hall. At the end, there is only one door. This must be it.

The group stops walking. Vicky is almost at the door, when she turns around. "Why are you stopping? C'mon, we're almost there! Don't go pussy on my now!"

Vinnie walks up to her, holding something that looks like a key. Vicky takes it, and puts it in the lock. "Come closer, dear people. Prepare yourselves for something affecting, something different, something special."

We walk towards her, her dramatic voice echoing against the walls. She opens the door.

"Step inside, and be overwhelmed!"

No one responds. So Calvin steps forward. "I'll go first then. You want to come too, right Danny?"

Daniel steps out of the group, unsure what to do. He follows his little brother inside the room.

I look at Carl. He looks at me, and shrugs. Without saying a word, we both walk through.

The room we are in is dark. You can't see a thing. Not even a shadow. "Carl? Where are you?"

"I'm here" he answers, and I feel his hand against my back. I grab it.

"Stay close."

I hear some rumbling behind me, and hear the others are also in the room.

"What's goin' on?" Daryl asks angrily.

"I'll turn the lights on, promise!" Vicky says, and then closes the door. We hear a soft, terrifying click.

"She just locked us in!" Beth says, a little panic in her voice.

"Ok, everybody just calm down" I say, still holding Carl's hand. Judy crawls in my arms, surprised by the sudden darkness.

"Where's that damn door?!" Daryl shouts, and I feel a breeze moving aside me. "I'm gonna smash it in, an' we'll all be outta here!"

"Relax, Daryl!" Carol tries. "We just have to trust her."

"Trust! My ass! That girl is sick, Carol! She's not normal!"

"But she's not stupid! She knows what she's doing!"

"Oh, really? How long do we know her now? Two weeks? When I get outta here I'm gonna-"

Then, the lights are on. LED-lamps shine upon us, hurting our eyes. Judy starts crying, scared. I softly rub over her small back, and try to make her stop.

I look around the room. It probably was some kind of cafeteria, in a different part of the prison. The tables are put against the walls, so the middle is empty. It makes a path towards the wall at the very end. We are all standing close to the door, not knowing what to do. Daryl is trying to break the door open, without success.

I look at the wall where the path is leading. I narrow my eyes. There are things on the wall. Drawings, or something. Papers with drawings, of people.

I walk towards the wall, letting go of Carl's hand.

"What are you doing?" he asks. I walk further towards the wall, and my heart skips a beat when I recognize some of the figures in the drawings.

"Hey, hey…" No one reacts. I turn around talking to someone else, or themselves. They haven't even noticed the wall. "HEY!"

They stop talking, and turn towards me. Their faces are shocked by my loud voice, but I don't care. I got their attention now. I point at the strange wall.

"Look!"

For a minute, they all stare, even Daryl and Beth. And I see shock, sadness, recognition, guilt and happiness cross their faces. Carol is the first one to walk to the drawings. Beth almost runs towards another, followed by Maggie. Hershel rubs his forehead, blinking with his eyes. Glenn slowly steps towards it, tears in his eyes. Daryl crosses his arms, his face sceptical, but then drops them. His face gets pale as he walks towards one of the drawings. Michonne narrows her eyes, following him.

I sign to Carl. "C'mon, I want to show you something."

He hesitates, but follows me to the wall. I stop in front of one of the papers. There's a drawing on it, made with a pencil. A lot of lines make a face, a smile and bright eyes. Carl gasps, and looks at me.

"Is that…"

"Yes" I say, fighting back tears. This is a drawing of Lori, smiling, as if it's a picture taken in her happy days. For all this. She smiles into the camera, a warm smile and twinkling eyes. I softly touch the lines, as if touching her cheek. It's very realistically drawn, almost as if Vicky had an example.

Hershel

I stare at the blurry lines on the paper, and a smile appears on my face. There she is, my Annette, doing the dishes in the kitchen. Her head is turned towards me, as if I was just about to tell her something. She's holding a plate, rubbing the rests of dinner off with a sponge. She's wearing her favourite dress, the violet one with the lotuses. She always loved to dress up nicely, but she wasn't a shoe person. Just as always, she's wearing her rain boots, full of mud.

"Shoes gotta be comfortable, not pretty" I can hear her say. "Your feet ain't pretty either. Don't have to make it look like they are."

Maggie lays her head on my shoulder. "She looks just like her."

I nod. "Yes."

I'm not able to say more, feeling tears burning in my eyes. Maggie points at another drawing. "Look who I found."

I see a tall young man, laying on a couch which I recognize as the one that stood in our living room in the farmhouse of my family. He's holding a book, and he looks up from the pages to face us. He has a smile on his face.

"Shaun" I softly say. Beth comes to stand next to me, sobbing.

"He was really like that" she says. I turn towards her.

"Who'd you find?"

Beth points at another paper. "Jimmy."

I see him standing under a tree, holding a baseball bat. He has his typical goofy grin on his face.

Glenn

T-dog is smiling at me from the window of a truck. He looks like he just told me one of his jokes. His face isn't the tired one I remember. The face that was done with looking over his shoulder, sleeping with one eye closed, the face that dragged me through the hardest times. This was a happy face, as if he just found peace.

I almost want to hold up my hand, to give him a high five.

My eyes catch another drawing, which makes my heart drop. It's a family picture, with three girls, a mother and a father all sitting or standing behind a big couch. All are smiling happily into the camera. There is only one person missing. Me.

I see my mom, with her black hair with grey stripes in it, her red lipstick and favourite blouse. Next to her sit my two younger sisters. The twins are both wearing dresses, and both have a braid over each shoulder. You barely can see the differences between them. Next to them sits another sister, the oldest child in our family. Her short black hair is just like I remember it, and I can still imagine what my father said when she first came home with this haircut. He sits next to her, in his finest suit, with a hand on my sister's shoulder. Even he has a smile on his face.

I turn away from the drawing, and swallow a lump through my throat. It's almost as if they are here.

I feel a hand on my shoulder, and I look into the face of Maggie. She also has tears in her eyes. I smile at her, my shoulder shaking. I look at the ground. I lay my head on her shoulder, and cry.

Daniel

My mom and dad are sitting on a bench. There are trees in the background, and the sun is shining through the leafs. Mom is wearing her most beautiful dress from her closet, combined with a dark coloured jacket. Her hair is put up into a knot, and strains are falling just around her ears. Her cheeks have a soft blush, making her even more beautiful.

My dad's wearing his favourite red blouse, he always wore it. Mom washed it once a week, so he could wear it the week after. His hair is messy as always, and he has a shadow of a beard. He was too lazy to shave, so he did that once in the two weeks. He always had these kind of schedules. His lips are curled up into a warm smile.

I feel a small hand grab mine. I look down, and see Vinnie looking up to me. I smile. He smiles back. "Mom's OK. She's with dad."

"I know" he says. "She said she was going to see him again."

Carol

The drawing of my daughter makes me think of her last school picture. I had made an appointment with our usual hairdresser, so it would look good the next day. She was really angry at me, when she saw the result. She didn't want such a short haircut. She cried all night, making her look tired the next day. I tried to cheer her up by showing the clothes I had chosen for her to wear on the picture. She was still angry, and then her daddy came home. They had a 'talk'. He didn't hurt her face, but I had to tell her not to roll up her sleeves. You couldn't see it on the picture, though. But she still looked tired.

The drawing I'm looking at isn't like the picture. It's still a little different. She's smiling, with her mouth open. She never wanted to smile like that, she always held her mouth closed. But I told her that supermodels smiled with their mouth open too, and she told me she wasn't a supermodel. To me, she was the prettiest girl in the world.

Michonne

He's sitting under a tree, with his katana next to him. He's holding an apple, with a bite out of it. He has a cynical smile on his face. He was always sarcastic and rude, but never had intentions to hurt me. He was the opposite. He always wanted to protect me, even with his own life.

He's wearing the ripped pants and dirty clothes he always wore. Idiot. His curly hair is just as curly as I remember it. I grin slightly, wishing I could hear his voice again.

"Who is it?" a voice behind me asks. I recognize it as the one belonging to Daryl.

"My boyfriend" I say. "How did she do it?"

He snorts. "I bet she just got lucky with drawing."

I shake my head. "No, it's to realistic. It's as if she really knew him."

"She once told me somethin' about seeing ghosts."

I turn around. "Really?"

He shrugs. "Believe what you want."

I look back at the drawing. "Who did she make for you?"

Daryl turns around, and mumbles something. "Just a friend."

Merle

I'm sitting on the stairs, as Vicky walks into the cellblock. "You were long gone."

She rolls with her eyes. "What? You missed me?"

I snort. "Is that a synonym?"

She walks towards her 'stage', and crawls under it. "Well, you weren't the one who had the gun. Grammatically it's not a synonym."

"Whatever" I say, standing up. "What did yah do with them?"

Vicky rumbles with some stuff under the podium, and drags it with her. "Yeah, you wanna know that, don't cha?"

I lean against the gate of the cellblock, watching her drag the stuff from under the podium. It's a big box, with a blanket over it.

"As long as it concerns my baby brother, I do."

She picks up the box, and puts it on top of the podium. "Oh, now you're suddenly playing daddy over Dary-doo. How cute."

I chuckle. "Dary-doo, haven't heard that one before."

Vicky pulls the blanket of the box. "Well, I have the copyrights, so you can't use it. Sorry."

She starts picking cans and cooking things out of the box. She then starts putting the metal tables back to where they stood first. I just stand and watch. I'm not gonna help her.

"So, Victoria, how did you get out?" I ask. She drags another table away from the weird stage.

"Well, I chewed through the ropes around my pulses, like a rat."

"What?"

"You heard me. But I'm not a rat, I'm a girl. And even when I was a rat, you don't have to be scared that I would eat you, 'cause rats don't eat humans. Unless they are dead. I've seen that in a movie once."

"Good for you…" I say. "But with chewing the ropes, you weren't free yet."

"Nope, but thanks to your friends who tried to rape me, I managed to get out."

I shake my head. "Oh, Hugh…"

"Yeah, that motherfucker ripped apart my shirt, so I strangled him."

"Seems fair."

"And I shot the other two with the gun. One in the eye and one in the balls and an eye."

I laugh. "Wish I was there to see it."

"Yeah, such a shame that you had to fight your own brother and escape instead of watching me kill your friends."

"Hold on, ladybug, they weren't my friends."

Vicky puts the last table back in place. "Oh, that's right, you don't have friends! Sorry, forgot about that."

I throw my hands in the air. "And I thought we were such good pals!"

Vicky takes the cans and other stuff from the table. "Before you tried to kill me, we were getting close to that."

I put my hand in the pocket of my pants, and grab the plastic bag I held there. I hold it up in the air, and see her widen her eyes. "We could get there again."

She stares at white powder, and walks towards me.

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