The red haired girl immediately sits up as I walk into her cell. She has widened eyes, then frowns from the pain in her side, and then, at last, she sighs relieved.
"What got you so upset this morning?" I ask her while I manage to sit down on the chair. Vicky tries to swing her legs over the side of the bed, and by the look on her face, I can tell that her plan doesn't work.
"I just…had a bad dream, that's all."
"You mean a nightmare?" I ask, while gathering my stuff to do a little check up on her wounds.
"Sorta, but I don't know if it was real or not. It felt as if he was really there…"
"You dreamt of a man?" I ask, softly pushing her back on the bed. She nods.
"Yeah, and he…he was very creepy. He said he was going to kill me."
I roll up her shirt to get a glance at the bandage. It's not looking too bad, but needs to be refreshed.
"Was she…I, a very bad person, when in here?" she stutters. I notice the little mistake in her choice of words, but don't say anything about it. I look up, and softly lay a hand on her knee.
"There were indeed some people who rather wanted you gone than here. But the most of us are glad you found your way back."
She smiles sadly at me. "You are very nice to me. I wish I remembered your name…mister…?"
"The name's Hershel" I say with a little chuckle, carefully removing the bandage. "Just, call me Hershel."
"OK, Hershel. Do you think there is anything else I should know before I say something wrong to people?"
I clean the wound, and Vicky gasps frequently. "Well…at the moment, we have a problem with another group. But don't worry about that, we'll take care of them. Rick already has agreed to negotiate with their leader."
"They're working things out?" she asks surprised. "Wow, that's…amazing!"
I lift my eyebrows slightly, while taking a look at the stitches. "Yes, and everything will be fine after that."
"When is this negotiation? And who's their leader? And…who's Rick again?"
I grin friendly at her. "Rick's the one with the beard."
"Oh, him" she says, "but yours way more cooler!"
I scratch over my white chin hair. "Yes, that's what I thought. The negotiation will be somewhere tomorrow, and…well, we don't know much of this man, their leader. He likes to call himself 'the Governor'…."
"Isn't that what you guys call him?" she quickly asks, before shutting her mouth, as if she had said something she wasn't supposed to say.
"What?" I ask. Vicky nervously laughs.
"I'm sorry, I meant;…isn't that what other people call him? I mean, who would call himself 'the Governor'?"
While giving her a glance, I stand up to take a look at her head. "A man this world creates."
Vicky blinks with her eyes, confused. "Is he…a bad guy?"
"We think he is" I say, removing the bandage. It looks good, only needs some air to heel. "He's done some terrible things to us. Killed our friends. Tried to destroy our home."
I start putting my stuff back in my bag, while Vicky sits up. She feels with her fingers over her head.
"You'll need a couple more days in bed," I say, standing up to leave. "Just…lay low for a while. Most people have to get used to the… 'new you.'"
With that said at last, I leave. I make my way to the stairs, where Rick is waiting below. He looks questionably at me, and I shake my head.
"She doesn't know a thing" I whisper. Rick nods.
"OK, just keep her in bed. We'll deal with her after tomorrow."
"You hungry?" I ask when I enter her cell. Vicky looks up from her magazine, and smiles. I lay the plate on her lap, and she glances gratefully at me.
"Thank you so much…..what was your name again?"
"Carol" I say with a smile. Vicky lifts an eyebrow.
"Can I call you Caroline? You look like a Caroline to me."
Before I know it, I already gasped. Vicky looks shocked. "What is it? Did I say something wrong?!"
"No, no" I assure her. "It's just….you said something alike, before you…you know…"
She nods. "Before I got amnesia. Maybe I'm getting my memories back."
"Well, you already start to sound like your previous self a little."
"I don't know if that's a good thing" she sighs. I lay a hand on her shoulder.
"Well…Hershel told me that…" she hesitates. "Some people don't really like me being here."
I don't look at her, not knowing what I should say about this. It's true, but that's really harsh to say.
"There are…some people."
"Can you tell me why Rick wanted to kill me?" she asks. I blink with my eyes.
"Wow, I need to think a little about that…let's just say that before you left, you two had some disagreements. And it didn't end well, for both of you."
Vicky sighs. "Could you…be more specific?"
"OK…to be clear; you used Rick as a shield to get out of here, while Carl had a gun pointed at you."
"Oh my…wait, who's Carl?"
"Rick's son" I explain, and Vicky plays with her spoon in the porridge.
"Can you tell me more….about how I was? Before?"
I sigh. She has some tough questions. "Well…to me, you were a little crazy, but a sweet girl. You cared about us, and would do anything to make us happy. You even performed once, even though it didn't make any sense."
Vicky chuckles. "I wish that was true, but I think there's more. I don't think I was a little crazy, but very crazy."
"But you still tried to do the right thing…."
Vicky looks at her fingernail, and suddenly looks a little shy. "You say I cared about all of you…how much?"
"I think you would give your life for any of us" I say, and I mean it. "And you were obviously not afraid to die."
"Did I also care about…Daniel?" she says, and I suddenly notice there's a little blush on her.
"Do I see red cheeks?" I ask her.
"Don't say that out loud!" she warns, with a look at the exit. I grab her hand, and squeeze a little.
"Yes, you cared about him. You lived together, in a cellblock."
"Were we, like….a couple?"
I shake my head. "I don't know for sure, but…he feels that way."
"Really?" she asks, with an obviously hopeful voice.
"When you were gone, he couldn't stop worrying. He even wanted to go after you. When you were asleep in here, he wanted to keep watch over you. He was so happy to see you."
Vicky looks at her hands, and bites her lip. "He's a really nice guy…"
"You think he's cute, don't you?"
She shrugs. "I don't know…OK, he is."
"I would say; go for it. It's not like you have any serious competition….Maggie is with Glenn, and Beth is always busy with the baby…"
"Wait!" Vicky says with her hands in the air. "Who?"
I take a deep breath, and look in the mirror. There's this one lock of hair that keeps popping up, and ruining everything. I tried to fix it with some water, but it's not working.
"Then I'll just have to seduce her with my flirt-moves" I mumble to my reflection. I rub over my last clean and intact t-shirt. This will do.
I leave the men's room, and look around the cellblock once again. Yeah, it will help her remember.
I make my way to the C-block, and quickly say hi to all the members present in there. I quickly run up the stairs, but hesitate when I stand in front of her cell. I'm suddenly scared I'll ruin everything, like I did before.
I breath in some more oxygen, and step over the doorpost. Vicky just puts on a t-shirt over her skinny body, and turns around with a shocked face.
"I am so sorry" I immediately say, and turn around. My heart makes a jump when I hear her giggle.
"It's OK, I was almost done. And there wasn't a lot to see anyways."
I turn around, to see her quickly avoid my eyes, as if she's embarrassed. I've never seen her like this, and I don't know yet if I like her this way. I can relate to the feeling of awkwardness, but I liked her the way she was.
"So, whatcha here for?" she asks, carefully sitting down with a hand on her side. I lean with my shoulder against the doorpost, trying to look cool.
"Just wanted to ask you if you'd like to come with me….I mean, go to our cellblock. I thought you might want to see where I live…I mean, where we used to live. Together. As friends, of course."
I really need a punch in the face. Seriously, what is wrong with me?!
Vicky only laughs with a hand over her mouth. "I'd love to."
"Really?" Of course, you idiot!
"Yeah, absolutely. I'd love to check out your place."
She pulls herself up by the upper bed, letting out a soft grunt of pain. I try to be a gentlemen, and walk over to her to give her a hand.
"Thanks, but…I'm not an old lady…"
"But you are a lady" I say, impressed by the quick reaction of my brain. Thanks, brain! Vicky smiles with a little blush.
I help her outside her cell, and together, we walk down the stairs. Maggie looks up from her place, and lifts her eyebrows.
"What are you doing?"
"I'm taking her to her home" I explain. "It can help her remember."
"No, my dad said she has to stay in bed" Maggie says while blocking our way.
"It won't be long" I assure her. "Just a little tour. I'll bring her back in 30 minutes, promise!"
Maggie folds her arms, and looks at Vicky. "I'll go with you. I'll wait outside the cellblock, if anything happens."
"That's not necessary" I say with a glance at Vicky, who looks at the ground with a sad face.
"It's not up to you to decide that" Maggie says, while stepping away.
"It's OK, Daniel" Vicky says with a hand on my arm. "If it makes her feel better about it, who are we to stop her?"
I open my mouth to go against it, but shut it. I can't. I'm afraid that if I say more, we don't get the chance to go at all.
Maggie nods satisfied, and points at the gate which leads to the dark halls and the other cellblocks. I still hold Vicky close to me as we make our way down there.
"Do you remember this place maybe?" I ask. Vicky shakes her head.
"No, not a clue. I must've been scared to come here…."
"Well, you weren't. You always fantasied about these being the great halls of a palace, and that you were the princess…"
"Really? And would you be my prince?"
I'm glad it's dark in here, so she doesn't see my red face.
We finally enter our cellblock. The three of us all blink our eyes against the bright sunlight. Maggie turns away, mumbling she'll wait outside. When we get used to it, I step away from Vicky, giving her the space to see. She makes a quick turn, and her jaw drops.
"Wow, this place looks awesome!"
She walks towards the fully painted and drawn wall, and follows the lines with her fingers. "Did you do this?"
"Nope. You did."
She turns towards me with a shocked face. "I did? But I can't draw….I'm not that good…"
She walks towards a painting of a man with red hair. It's so realistic that it almost looks like a really big picture. Vicky looks a lot like him, and not only because they both have the red hair. Both share the twinkling blue eyes and bright smile. Only Vicky's nose and chin are different, which must've come from her mom.
"I know this guy…" she says, and then gasps. "This is my dad….I drew my own dad!"
"You remember him?" I ask hopefully. She nods.
"Yes, I do. I haven't seen him in some time, but I know he lives in Atlanta. I used to live with my mom in San Francisco, the other end of the country. I didn't see my dad that much, although we used to like each other a lot when I was a kid. But after my parents got divorced, we grew apart."
I listen to her story, and I'm starting to think she might have a chance remembering me. She already knows her parents, maybe in a few days, she'll know who I am.
Vicky turns her head away from the painting, and looks up to the stairs. She then inhales shocked.
"What is it?!" I ask, running towards her. Her eyes widen, and she stumbled back, as if she's seeing something terrible. I follow her eyes, but they're looking at….nothing. Just the top of the stairs, nothing more.
"Vicky? Can you hear me?" I shake her shoulders. She's not responding, she doesn't seem to know I'm there. She frees herself from my grip, and walks to the steps.
"You're alive!" she says, and I hear tears in her voice. She grabs the railing, barely standing on her own feet.
"Stop it, Vick!" I say, trying to get through to her. But she pulls herself up, going up the stairs. Every step, it seems as if she feels heavier and heavier. I grab her arm, trying to pull her back.
"Come back!" she shouts at the nothing. She falls on her knees, and I take her in my arms. "Please, don't go! Don't leave me!"
"What's going on in here?" Maggie asks while running inside, holding up a machete. Vicky struggles, but is too weak to fight. I drag her down the stairs, while she keeps shouting at something only she can see. I take her face in my hands, and look her in the eyes. Tears are streaming down her face, while she saying delusional things.
"Vicky! Listen to me! Whatever you're seeing, it's not real!"
Vicky shakes her head, mumbling things I don't understand. I look up at Maggie, who has her eyebrows lifted.
"We should take her back to bed" she says. I nod, and take Vicky in my arms. She's not fighting anymore, and before we reach the cellblock, she's already fallen asleep.
"I swear; she wasn't faking it" Maggie says at the end of her story. Confused expressions cross the faces of our group members. I look at Merle, who seems to think it's all very funny.
"She has experience with ghosts" Carol says, folding her arms. "It could be a sign of the amnesia fading."
"We can't take any chances with her" Rick says, shaking his head. I clear my throat, and all heads turn towards me.
"Remember what I tol' yah 'bout the writing thing?" I ask him. Rick nods.
"What about it?"
"Well," I say with a glance at Merle. "The journal's gone."
"Her diary?" Beth asks with a little bitchy attitude.
"We've been lookin' for it all mornin', sweetheart" Merle says, and I roll with my eyes. "It's gone."
"Maybe she lost it" Glenn says. "She was in the woods for some time, right? What if she dropped it?"
I chuckle slightly. "I don' think so. She almost killed me when she caught me with it."
"You did that yourself" Merle says amused. "Shouldn't have read it at all."
"What if she doesn't remember having it?" Glenn continues. "She doesn't remember any of us, maybe she doesn't remember her own diary-thing."
"If she dropped, we would've found it" I say, "and if she went to get it, we would know it."
"I was there the whole time" Maggie says. "She didn't take it."
I look at Rick, and we both think the same thing; the Governor. If he has it, he knows everything about Vicky, us, and the prison.
"OK, this is what we'll do; we'll get rid of this Governor first, then figure out what to do with Vicky. We'll work things out tomorrow. Hershel, Daryl, you still in?"
I nod, and I'm glad to see the old man do the same. Rick nods. "Good."
It seems that our little debate has ended, and I stand up. Merle whistle softly at me, and points at the exit to the courtyard. I sigh, but follow him.
"What is it?" I ask. Merle grins mysteriously.
"I know she didn't take it. The diary."
"How would you know?"
"Because I told her that if she'd do anything to hurt us, which means you an' your pals, I'd kill her."
"What?" I ask, not even mad. More surprised. "You're an idiot. She'll kill you first."
"I don' think so" Merle says, scraping his nail at the pointy end of his knife. "She doesn't know it was me. I did the little creepy thing in the dark. Y'know, my shadow-trick."
"You bastard" I say with a slight grin. "You think that'll keep her from trying anything?"
My brother shrugs. "We'll see."
I sit up in bed, bumping my forehead almost to the upper bed. I blink with my eyes, confused. Then I remember.
My dad! I saw my dad! He is here!
But then I remember the next part. His face started turning. It went from its blank colour to grey and his eyes went from blue to yellow, and when he opened his mouth, all that came out was a low moaning….
I shake my head, trying to get away from the picture. I then quickly stand up. What time is it?!
I look through a gap in the wall that's called a window, and see the sky's already dark blue. Shit! I'm late!
I quickly walk out of the cell, looking around if anyone's still awake. I suddenly notice I'm not in the same cellblock anymore. This is a different one. It's not the painted, nor the one with the people. This one has still blood on the floor, and papers scattered over the floor. They moved me. Why?
I suddenly think of the strange man the other night. The one that threatened me…did he do this?
I run through the cellblock, looking around for something I could use as a weapon. Maybe he brought me here to kill me, as he is so intended to do so.
Of course, I can't find anything. I keep listening if I hear footsteps, but I'm not hearing any. I notice the gate, one alike in the other cellblock, the one that leads to the creepy halls. I try to pull it open, but it's locked. Someone locked me in. I'm stuck.
I try to pull harder, but it's not working.
"Shit! No, no, no!"
Suddenly, an arrow of pain goes through my side. I gasp, and fall on my knees.
"Fuck…" I grunt, closing my eyes. I wait till the pain goes away, before standing up again. I need to find another way out.
I walk back to the cells, searching for anything that might help me. It would be logical for some prisoners to have at least something of an escape plan.
But, it seems they were all goody-goodies, because they have nothing. Great. Now what?
I walk up the stairs to the upper cells. I notice a window at the other side, and when I stand upon my toes, I can see the field with the walkers.
"Yes!" I say out loud. I found an escape. I probably end up on the roof, but I'm sure I'll find a way down.
I stand on my toes, and grab the windowsill with both my hands. With a little jump and a lot of arm muscle contraction and pain in my side, I manage to get up.
I move away from the window, and pull my knee in. I aim with my foot, and kick the window in. The glass breaks, and falls on the roof. I look over my shoulder, scared I made too much noise. I count to thirty, but no one comes.
I squeeze through the gap, and put my feet on the roof of the prison. The night is hot, with summer still going on. The walkers are still stumbling around, and they look even more terrifying from up here.
I kneel down, and stay low when I go the to the edge of the roof. Damn, this building is higher than I thought. It's too dangerous to jump, and I'm not a great climber.
I look around. In games, you always find something that can help you, like a ladder somewhere. Too bad this is real life. No ladders around here.
I grunt annoyed. How am I supposed to get there in time? That drainpipe over there already scares the shit out of me. Maybe I should go back to the cellblock, and make a rope out of all the blankets and sheets. But how do I get back then?
I look to the left and the right, and back to the left. Because I might see something that can help me.
There's a container standing a little away from the building. It's open, and there is a dead walker inside it. I turn away, trying not to vomit. It smells really bad. And the sacks full of rubbish isn't making it any better. But it can prevent me from breaking my ankles if I jump.
"Really? Why are you even considering doing it?" I say to myself. I look up to the sky, and take a deep breath. This is the kind of stuff you get in games. You wanted a ladder? Well, surprise, you get a container with the worst smell ever to land in.
I step away from the edge, counting. I make a test run, to see how long it takes to make the jump. I think I can make it to the container.
I really wish I had pixie dust, so I could fly. But, just as I wished for a magical land inside my mom's wardrobe, nothing happens.
"Really, Victoria, this is the real world. Stop dreaming about the fairy tales. They are not real, this is."
Speaking to myself, calms my heart. I count to three, before I start running. I close my eyes as soon as I my toe goes over the edge, and for a second, I'm all weightless, flying through the air. I can see above the trees, and already notice the car of the man I'm supposed to meet.
Then, I land in the container, and vomit on top of the dead body.
I take another sip of the rum. So typical with the eye patch, but who cares. Pirates are weak compared to the people who are alive these days.
I see my spy come running to the fence, followed by a couple of walkers. She literally jumps into the fence, and pulls herself up. She climbs over, and falls on her back on the other side. I wait for her to get up, and I'm starting to think she's not going to, which is another problem solves.
I sigh, when I see she manages to get up. She has one hand put on her side, probably where the bullet sat. She approaches the car.
I put away the rum, and run with my fingers through my hair. Show time.
I open the door, and put on a worried expression on my face. "Victoria! Are you OK? I saw you fall."
"I'm fine," she says with a small voice. "I made it, that's all that matters."
"And?" I ask, straight to the point. She leans at the front of the car, breathing heavily.
"I think you're lying to me" she says. "The girl that did those terrible things here, is me. I don't have to pretend to be her, I am her."