I'm still rubbing my eyes when I'm walking out of the cellblock. I just can't get used to the comfort of a mattress, after sleeping on the ground for so long. It should be the opposite, but of course, I need to be different.
"Morning!" Carol greets me, a little too happy if you ask me.
"Mornin'" I mumble, as I sit down at one of the metal tables. We must be the first two to be up at this hour. I guess the rest is still a little shocked about the sudden appearance of Andrea, yesterday. And, of course, the weird show-thing that happened the day before. And the shooting, the day before that.
Maybe this will be the first 'normal' day. A day where I don't have to grab my crossbow, and just relax for a moment.
Carol puts a plate in front of me, with a substance that looks like porridge. Or maybe that's what it's supposed to be.
"Thanks" I say, and she nods without saying anything else. I start eating my breakfast, and while I'm doing that, most of the others are waking up, and coming to get breakfast. Hershel hops towards a table, and sits down with help from Maggie. He mumbles that he can do it himself, although it's celar he's not able to yet. Maggie smiles at him, while she walks to the big pot to get him something to eat.
Glenn walks in too, done with watch duty overnight. Since the attack, we can't be sure of anything. Carl should be coming back soon too. Michonne sits on the ground, the most far away from Merle as possible. My brother doesn't care. He sits on a lonely chair, enjoying his breakfast like it's a fucking hamburger. Dick.
Rick sits down next to me, his face pale as usual. I can't even remember his face being any other colour, except green, grey or yellow. He spreads out a map on the table, and while eating his breakfast, he makes plans.
"I say we make a run" he says, the porridge flying around as he talks. "We need guns, gear, ammo. If we're in a war, as Andrea claims, we need to be ready. We should give extra gun practise for the people who aren't a good shot, and barricade all entries."
I nod. "Where're we headin'?"
Rick points at a spot on the map. "This seems like a good place to begin with."
"When do yah wanna go?"
Rick puts some more porridge on his spoon. "This afternoon, I think. We'll see."
Then, suddenly, out of nowhere, without any warning, Beth walks up to us. To Rick. Her face is shocked, as if she's seen something horrible. If that's even possible with all the things that we've seen.
"Where's Judy?" she asks, her voice trembling. Rick puts down his spoon, and blinks with his eyes.
"What do you mean…she's not with you?"
Beth widens her eyes. "I went to get her outta bed this mornin', but she was already gone…I figured you took her…."
Rick stands up, his hand on his gun. "Carl?!"
"Yeah?" Carl's head appears from behind the door to the courtyard.
"Shit" Rick mumbles. "Has anyone taken Judith out of bed?"
All heads turn, confused expressions. I suddenly feel cold. Holy. Shit.
I stand up to, and walk back to the cellblock to get my crossbow. Why did I ever think this would be a normal day for once?
"C'mon, let's get a move on" I say to Rick, who's desperately looking in the cell where lil' asskicker slept. "She ain't here."
Rick steps out of the cell, his eyes cloudy. "Yeah…you're right. Let's go search for her…"
He walks towards the door that leads to the dark halls, and almost bumps into Daniel.
"Hey, Rick! Have you seen Vicky?"
And then I feel even more cold.
"That little bitch…" I say, when I walk up to her boyfriend. I grab him by his shirt, and pull him up in the air. "Where is she?!"
He seems confused and scared of me, and holds up his hands. "I don't know man, that's why we went to ask you guys."
"When was the last time you saw her?" Rick asks. Daniel breaths heavily, but I don't loosen my grip.
"She was already gone this morning when I woke up, but last night, she said something about arranging a picknick…."
"I think I know where!" a small voice sounds from the hall. I put down the teenager, and the mini-version of this guy appears. His face has a serious expression, as if he really wants to help.
"Where?" I ask, trying to not grab his shirt too.
"Follow me!" And before we know it, he already ran away. I walk after him, hating myself for not bringing a flashlight. Rick follows me on foot, mumbling to himself. Poor guy.
After a long walk, Calvin finally opens a door, and light shines into our eyes. I put my hand in front of it, and step outside. This is a strange, new part of the prison. A second courtyard, it seems.
I blink with my eyes, getting used to the sun. When I can finally see, I can't believe my eyes.
Vicky waves at me, sitting on the ground. In front of her lays a blanket, with on top of it lil' asskicker. There's some sort of tripod standing over her, with in the middle a coat hanger, with at it a few strains with small toys at them. Little Judy seems to be enjoying them, and starts crying when Rick angrily pulls her away from under it.
"C'mon, Carl, you're not really going to shoot me, are you?" Vicky asks me with her sweetest voice. She nods at my gun I'm holding. Dad told me to watch over her, and I assume I just have to prevent her from running away.
I don't say anything, and just keep looking at her, with narrowed eyes. There's a lot of noise around us. My dad is in a debate with the rest of the group. There are some cruel words spoken, and a few sound very upset.
Maggie is in an inner struggle, moving her head from her sister, who's holding Judy, and Vicky, who has her hands tied up on her back. Merle stands a little further from the group, just enjoying the show. Michonne stands close to the fence, her sword on her back as always. But this time, she has her hand on it, and keeps watch over Vicky from a distance, with narrowed eyes.
Carol is literally freaking out. "She was just trying to do some good. Like she always does!"
"Yah call kidnappin' a baby good?" Daryl responds, nodding towards Beth, who's holding Judy in her arms.
"She does these things all the time! But now, it's suddenly a problem!"
My dad looks over his shoulder at me, then turns towards Carol. "I don't want her around my kids, or others. She is dangerous, I've said that many times. She almost killed Beth, not long ago. You can't keep closing your eyes for it!"
This goes from the moment we had found Vicky, who was reading Judy a story. The new 'toy' Vicky had made for her, is now lying cripple near the fence. Vicky points at it.
"It almost looks like a piece of art" she chuckles. "I guess Daryl would be a great artist. Daryl Warhol, Keith Dixon…can you imagine?"
"Who?" I say, and instantly regret starting a conversation with her. At this point, she's the enemy, not your friend. It's confusing sometimes.
Just like yesterday. I had one side of me wanting to run up to Andrea, but the other told me to put her down. I decided to do nothing, and looking back, I think I did good.
But this is different. I can't just do nothing, while Vicky has kidnapped my baby sister.
"I mean Andy Warhol, and Keith Haring" Vicky explains, not seeing my inner struggle. "They're street artists. Or they were. Mister Haring died, from aids, but I don't know if Andy's alive…or undead. Just like Brad Pitt. You don't know if he's still alive, dead or undead. Or Angelina Jolie, or Tom Cruise. O, man, can you imagine if the Rock turned? Man, we would be so fucked if-"
Suddenly, the door to the halls opens, and Daniel comes running out. Glenn comes soon after him, and looks at my dad with sorrow.
"I tried to stop him…" he tries, but my dad isn't listening anymore. Dan walks up to him, while looking at Vicky. She waves happily at him.
Daniel's not so pleased. "What's going on in here? Why is she tied up?"
I see my dad's trying to calm him, and himself, down. "She had taken Judy out of bed, without letting anybody know."
Daniel snorts in disgrace. "Now what, is that suddenly a crime? If anyone of you takes her outta bed, it's OK. But if Vicky does it…She's suddenly a criminal!"
Now I'm getting confused again. Daniel has a point. We don't mind when Maggie, or even Glenn takes Judy out. But I also get that my dad has some issues with Vicky's mental….state. I mean, she did some crazy stuff, but it seems to me those things were never to harm us. Well, except the part where she brought Beth in danger, just to go on an adventure herself.
My dad lays a hand on Daniel's shoulder. "Just, take a step back, okay? We gotta discuss this with the rest, all of us have to decide-"
Daniel then pushes my dad away from him, both his arms giving him a shove. Dad stumbles back, surprised. I step towards him, ready with my gun to shoot.
"We're not deciding anything! This is ridiculous!"
Before Daniel can do any more damage, Daryl grabs him from behind. Daniel struggles back, but Daryl is too strong for him.
"Now yah gotta listen to me" Daryl grunts in his ear. "That girlfriend of yours, she is dangerous. You know Beth, right? The good, harmless girl that always takes care of the baby? You know her, don' cha?"
With the slithery voice Daryl is talking, I know that this isn't going to end well.
"Yah wanna know what Vicky did to her?" Daryl continues. "She threw a knife at her. To kill."
Daniel stops struggling. "What?"
He lifts his head, to look at his friend. I see his blues eyes are widened, full of shock. He looks betrayed. "Is that true?"
Vicky shrugs, and her attitude basically says 'I don't care.' "Can't say it isn't. Despite the fact of killing…but I intended to kill you all in the first place, so…"
"What?!" Daniel yells.
"See?" Daryl says, and I feel mad at him for being this sneaky. "Yah're jus' another one of her toys. Once she gets bored, she gets rid of yah."
I see Vinnie, Daniel's little brother, scratch his neck, also confused. Vicky doesn't seem to care at all. She sighs.
"Well, it's fun while it lasts" she says. "Gotta go."
Before I can blink my eyes, Vicky has stand up, and is running towards the gate, away from the group. I start running after her, but she's too quick. Daryl lets go of Daniel, and both run after her. But even my dad can't catch up to her. He runs past me. The others stay in a safe distance.
I stop, and I know what I have to do. I have my finger on the trigger, while I aim. I hold my arm up, ready to shoot. I aim for the head.
At the last second before I release my finger, I hesitate, but it's too late. It seems like an invisible arm is pushing my gun a little away from Vicky. Still, it's too late.
The bullet flies through the air, past my dad, and hits Vicky in the side. She falls on her face on the ground, just in front of the gate.
I blink with my eyes, realizing what I had just done. I hear a loud scream behind me. It's Daniel. It's a scream of hurt, shock, horror, madness. Vinnie starts crying, sheltering in Carol's arms, who's face is paler than ever.
My dad turns around, looking at me. He's is shocked, surprised, disappointed. I feel cold inside. What have I done?
Then, Vicky slowly moves. She tries to lean on her arms, and get her body of the ground.
My dad grabs his gun, and walks towards her. He kneels down, and that's where he made mistake. Vicky is not so weak as she seems.
She kicks my dad on the jaw, causing him to fall on his face in the ground. With the other, she kicks the gun out of his hand, and grabs it before you can even take a breath.
I hold up my gun, ready to aim again, but Vicky's voice stops me.
"Oh, I don't think so, Grimes-junior" she cackles, while pointing the gun at my dad's forehead. "If you take one more step, your daddy's gone."
She slowly moves back, towards the gate. Walkers are already waiting for her at the other side, attracted by the blood from her shot wound. She doesn't seem to feel the pain, or she doesn't show it.
Daniel tries to step forward. "Vicky, we can talk this out…"
A bullet hits the ground, just an inch from Dan's foot.
"Oh, I don't think so" Vicky says, madness firing in her eyes. "Time for talks is over."
She uses my dad as a shield, while shattering the lock on the gate with a gunshot. She waves one more time, before disappearing.
Danny is running towards our cellblock, and I try to follow him the best I can, but his legs are longer than mine.
"Danny, wait up!" I try, but he doesn't hear me. He throws open the gate, and walks towards the cell where he sleeps. "Danny, what are you doing?"
My brother grabs a backpack, and starts putting clothes in it, and his flashlight, and his knife, and some food.
"Are you leaving?" I ask, scared of what he will answer.
"I'm going after her" he answers. "She needs help. She's hurt, confused, and she hasn't been eating properly. She needs me. She needs friend."
"But, Danny…" I say, but I feel something in my throat that makes me that I can't talk anymore. I also feel that I have tears in my eyes, but I don't want to cry, but I can't help it.
Danny kneels down in front of me, so that our faces are at the same height. "Hey, man. It's going to be OK. I promise. I'll find Vicky soon, and bring her back, and everything will just be fine, like before."
I shake my head, trying to tell him something. But he doesn't listen. He already stands up, before I have said what I wanted to say. So I start crying, and the thing in my throat is gone. And I know the words.
"Daryl and Rick and Beth say that she is dangerous" I say, wiping the tears away. Danny stops, and I finally have his attention. "What if she's going to hurt you, or me?"
Danny sighs. "Don't believe all the crap they've told you. What if they're just lying? Vicky is a good person, she cares about us…"
"She nearly shot you! In the foot!" I try to say, but not all of the words sound like they are supposed to. Danny does hear them, I think. He frowns at what I said, but still continues to pack his stuff. I see he also grabs some of Vicky's medical supplies.
I walk towards him, and grab his arm. "Please, don't go!"
He frees himself from my grip. "I gotta go, Vin. She needs me."
"No, she doesn't!" I sob. "She doesn't need anyone!"
Danny pushes me aside, while putting his backpack on his back. "Don't say that, after all she's done for us. Vicky is our friend, she has taken care of us ever since…"
He doesn't finish his sentence, but I know what he means. He walks past me, towards the hall that leads to the other cellblock.
"Stay here" he says, with one foot over the threshold. "Don't go anywhere, or talk to anyone. Wait till I come back."
Then, he has disappeared too."
"Yah sure you still wanna do this?" Daryl asks me, while I'm putting the stuff we need in the car. I nod.
"The Governor is our number one priority right now, we'll deal with Vick later."
Without any warning, for the third time, someone comes running outside. This time, it's Vinnie.
"Rick! Mister Grimes!" he yells, and I see trails of tears on his cheeks. He seems very upset.
"What's wrong?" I ask, as he runs up to me.
"It's Danny" he says, fighting back tears. "He's going after Vicky. But she's dangerous, and she's going to hurt him! You have to stop him!"
"Where is he?" I ask, and Vinnie points at the part of the prison where a wall broke down.
"He went over there" he says.
"Stay with Daryl, OK?" I say, giving him a little shove towards my friend. "Imma bring him back."
Daryl nods, and puts his crossbow away when seeing the terrified look of the small boy.
I run around the building, finding a way towards the weak parts of the wall. We still need to fix it, we didn't have the time for it yet.
I climb over a fallen fence, ignoring the sharp ends ripping my shirt apart. I can see a figure moving, and it's not walker. Daniel steps over the chunks of bricks and concrete, slipping and stumbling over the smaller pieces.
"Daniel! Wait!" I shout, following his lead. I wish I didn't shout, because the walkers that had lined up to grab Vicky, were now noticing me. Great. But it also caused Daniel to be cornered. He has nowhere else to go than back into the prison.
I make my way towards him over the chunks, grabbing my gun if any walker gets too close.
"Dan, listen to me! It's too dangerous out there to go alone!"
Daniel looks at me. "Who told you I was going? Vinnie, right? But you, nor him can stop me!"
I point at the walkers. "But they can!"
Daniel now hesitates. He has a small knife in his hand, not even sharp enough to kill a mouse. His hand is shaking.
The first walkers are trying to climb up on the pieces of concrete, and I move back.
"Daniel, listen! I'm going on a run today, you can come too, if you want! Maybe we'll run into Vicky."
Dan looks at me, hope crossing his face. "I…but…"
"You can't go out there alone, I won't allow that. Come with us!"
Dan looks at the walkers, who are getting closer, and at me. He snorts disappointed.
"Alright, I'll do it."
I nod. "Good. Now let's get outta here."
We decide to run into the halls of the prison, so we won't lead them back to the courtyard. We manage to reach a room, where we can block the door, so they won't be able to get in any further.
Some minutes later, Daniel and I walk up to the car, where Michonne and Carl are already waiting for us.
Vinnie runs up to his brother, and hugs him with his small arms. Daniel pats him on his head.
I walk towards Daryl, who has lifted his eyebrows. "Change of plans?"
I nod. "Yeah, a little. I'm taking him on a run, while you stay here."
Daryl frowns. "You sure about that?"
"You stay here, till we're far enough. Then you take your brother out on a scout hunt. I can't trust him around Glenn, and he's a good tracker too, right?"
Daryl narrows his eyes. "I see what you're getting at."
"Good" I say. "We can't fight two wars at once. Hunt her down. Shoot to kill."
I hurt. My head. It feels warm. I touch it. With my finger. It's wet. It's red. A rhyme.
I open my eyes. I see leaves. And sun. I sit up. I'm in a forest.
I feel pain. It's by my tummy. I feel it. With my hand. It's red too. It's also wet.
I look around. I see a glancing thing. I crawl towards it. I touch it. It's wet. But not red. I look at it, and I can see something. Someone. A lot of red. And eyes.
Then something gets out of the water. It looks like the other thing. But different. It scares me. It comes towards me. I move away, but I am hurt.
The thing that looks like me but not looks like me is going to get me. I touch with my hand over the ground. I feel a stone. I grab it. I throw it. It flies through the air. It hits the thing. It falls on the ground. It tries to grab me again.
I move my foot. I kick the face. It still moves. I kick again. I move my foot again. And again. Again, again. It stopped moving.
I make myself into a ball. I feel more pain. Then it feels warm. On my face. It's wet, but not red. It's salty.
Then it stops. And I feel better. But there is still pain. I stand up, on my feet. There are a lot of colours. I try to put one foot in front of the other. I do this many times. Then I get to a place.
There's a small cottage. The door is open. I walk towards it. I have still pain.
I close the door. It's dark. There are curtains. I move them away. There is sunlight.
I see a desk. I see books. I see a bed. I see a closet.
I walk to the desk . I see paper. And a pencil. I grab them.
OK, I'm really scared right now. I somehow woke up, in the middle of the day, in the summer, in a forest. I don't remember how I got here. I don't remember anything.
There was a man, from some glancing thing I can't seem to place. I don't seem to know some words. I know what it is, but I don't know the word for it.
But there was this man, and he attacked me. I kicked him, and then he stopped moving. I think I killed him. I'm scared.
I found some shelter. A small…what is it called? It seems safe. All the drawers and closets and everything else is empty. No food or drinks. I did find some paper, and I'm writing on it now. I seem to know the words I want to say just fine, but I only know the most of them if I write them down. When I try to say them, all I get is a weird moan. One tone. I don't have control over it.
I try to remember the last thing I saw before I woke up. I remember getting in the car with my mom, driving home from sports training at the gym. We went together, as always. Then there was this huge truck that blocked us, and then everything went black….I know it was in the evening, and I know it was winter at the time.
What am I doing here then?