I let out a satisfied sigh. The sound of leafs under my shoes is the best in the world after staying inside so long.
Since Vicky is locked up, I don't have to babysit Carl anymore. That's at least one good thing about this whole situation.
If you go further down the list, it's getting worse. First; we don't have a judge for Vicky's trial. Second; we don't have a jury. Third; we don't have a prosecutor. Fourth; we don't have lawyers.
The trial is planned for over four days, and the whole group is going crazy about it.
I went into the woods to escape all the mess. I don't want to talk to anyone right now. Just be in my own thoughts.
I haven't counted the days of being inside, but it must've been quite a lot. My aim isn't as good as it used to be. Thanks to Rick. He's gonna have to take care of his own kid, I'm not gonna do it ever again. I don't wanna say I hate kids, but it's just not my thing.
I stop walking, and look around with narrowed eyes. I'm staying close to the prison, you never know what could happen these days. That stupid Governor is still alive.
I've overheard Michonne telling Rick something about going after him. Organizing a search to kill him. I'd love to go with her, and it may sound stupid, but I can't leave. Not now. It's too messy.
I kneel down, and search the ground for tracks. I smirk at a broken stick. Almost all of the outside has been pulled to shreds. Most people would think a huge wolf has been scraping the trunk with his teeth. But guess what? It's frickin' Bambi!
Yeah, a deer. Didn't expect that, huh? They scrape their antlers against the trunk to sharpen the ends, like knifes, so they can fight the guys who try to steal their chick. And, of course, to impress the chicks. Just like douchebags trying to impress girls with their stupid low-crotch-jeans.
I stand up again, and follow the lines of the scratches on the tree trunk. The trail on the ground leads on to the west. I'll get going then.
It feels nice to be in my element again. Goodbye, babysitters job.
I sneak as silent as possible through the woods, focusing on the trails. I think I'm doing pretty well chasing this deer, until I hear loud footsteps.
It makes me kneel down, and crawl towards an oak. With my back against the trunk, I peek around the corner. I expect to see a walker, but it's not. It's a someone.
I can see it at the way she walks. Her pace is calm, and her steps are very loud. But her whole attitude tells that she doesn't care at all. Like she almost wants to get caught. It reminds me of someone, but her attitude isn't the only thing.
The girl has red hair.
It's been cut in a bob, with her bangs covering her eyes, giving her an even more mysterious look. She has a pointy stick in her hand, with a bloody end. She wears a black vest way too big for her, and a grey shirt from some kind of old metal band I've never heard of.
She hasn't noticed me yet, but I don't really try to hide anymore. Since we took the Woodbury-residents in, the rule is to help anybody outside the walls of the prison. We ask them three questions that will tell us if we can trust them. If we can, we'll tell them about the prison. If not, we'll give them some supplies if we have any, and say goodbye. This is how I try to do it. I don't want any bad news in the prison.
It's messy already.
I sigh softly, before standing up and walking past the tree. The girl looks up, uninterested. It's almost like she's on drugs or something.
"Hi, how yah doin'?" she says calmly. It annoys me that I can't look her straight in the eyes. I only see a little blue coming from under the red hair. I can't see what she's looking at, and I also can't see if she's good news, or bad.
"I'm good. How 'bout you?" I take my crossbow in both my hands, my finger close to the trigger. "Girl like you shouldn't be out here on her own."
"I wasn't" she replies, still calm. "My group was over there. But they're dead now. I managed to escape."
"What happened?" I ask, not really interested. Trying to stay polite.
"Someone lied about getting bit, and turned in the night. Bastard." The girl shakes her head a little, her hair finally away from her eyes. "So, what's your story? Don't look like you're on the move. Got a place somewhere?"
"That depends" I say, noticing that she's not carrying a bag or something. Only the pointy stick. "How many walkers have you killed?"
The girl lifts her eyebrow a little. "Too many. Why do you need to know?"
I go on to the next question. "How many people have you killed?"
The girl crosses her arms, the pointy stick in one of her hands. "Four. Why all these personal questions?"
"Why? Why did you kill 'm?"
The girl looks me in the eyes, and I see a small crack in that calm mask of hers. "Two got caught in a pit of walkers. One was bit. The last one tried to kill my friend."
I nod slowly, and lower my crossbow. "I'm with a group of people, just a few miles up ahead. There's a prison there, with a whole community of people. You can come if you want."
The girl has a quick smile around her lips. "This was some kind of test, wasn't it?"
"Don't look at me," I say, turning around to lead the way, "I didn't make the rules."
I hear the girl following me, and keep one ear to hear every move. I don't trust that pointy stick of hers.
"What's your name?" I ask.
"Katy." That's all she says. She doesn't ask what my name is. I don't care, I wouldn't really be interested in the name of a guy looking like me.
"Name's Daryl" I mumble over my shoulder.
I shake hands with the man. "Thank you very much for doing this."
Theo nods with a grin. "It's my pleasure. It's the least I can do for the people who opened their home to someone like me."
I smile and thank him again. Theo used to someone from the mayor's office in Macon, and knows some things about civil rights. He has agreed to be our judge, since we couldn't find anyone else.
Carol offered to be the prosecutor, since she felt like it was her fault that Will got attacked. I told her it wasn't her fault, but she insisted.
We've asked some other people with different backgrounds to be our jury, and some more educated people to be the lawyers.
I felt like I was arranging to make a movie or something all morning. Now that we almost got everything we need, we only need some eyewitnesses. The weird thing is, is that Carol is a witness and a prosecutor. It just so happened that she is both in this case.
Beth offered to be called as witness for Vicky, and so did Glenn. There were a lot of people who heard about the trial, and offered to be a witness against Vicky.
I sigh, and run with my fingers through my hair. It's been a busy morning, and I'd be willing to die for a cup of coffee. But I haven't had one since we left the farm. I heard someone saying something about a coffee machine back in Woodbury, but the Governor burned everything down. The bastard.
There is this weird feeling of satisfaction. For the first time in ages, I don't have to make a decision by myself. Others can decide too. I still need to ask Theo about the possible punishments.
But for now, I want to talk to my son. I want to tell him the truth. He deserves to know what's going on. I have been keeping that from him from the beginning, and it's not fair.
I pass Hershel on my way out, and ask him where Carl is. He shrugs.
"I haven't seen him since yesterday morning."
I frown, but Hershel chuckles. "Don't worry too much. I sometimes don't see Carl for over a week, because we just so happen to have other things to do. Doesn't mean he's disappeared."
I nod and grin slightly, before walking on. I come across the kids I see Carl sometimes talk to. There are two little girls, both blonde haired, probably sisters.
"Have you seen Carl around?"
The both shake their heads at the same time. "Last time we saw him, he was going to take a piss."
"Mica!" the older one of the two says. "That's not how you say that!" She then turns to me. "He was going to the bathroom. We didn't see him after."
I nod a thank you, and get more concerned. Vicky is behind bars, literally. I just keep telling myself that.
"Carl? The one with the glasses?"
"Sheriff hat? What does that look like?"
"Saw him in the bathroom yesterday. No, he went the other way."
Every time someone says he or she hasn't seen Carl, I get more worried. Or Carl is playing a real game of hide and seek, or something really bad has happened.
I walk quickly through the D-block, and almost bump into Daniel, who comes out of one of the cells. The dark circles around his eyes take my mind off Carl for a sec.
"Oh, hey, Rick. Didn't see you there."
I blink, and get back to the real thing. "Have you seen Carl around? No one has seen him since yesterday."
Daniel frowns. "Uh, no. I saw him yesterday for the last time. He was wandering around in one of the halls, close to one of the empty cellblocks."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, you know…the ones that are empty…except for the one where you keep Vicky, of course…"
I close my eyes, and breath loudly through my nose. "Shit."
"What? What's wrong?" Daniel asks worried. I breath in and out through my nose a few times, not able to think clearly. A million thoughts are going through my mind. A million scenario's. Carl hanged. Carl's head on a stick. Carl's throat being cut. Dead eyes staring. A pale face.
I open my eyes again. "I need to find Daryl. Where's Daryl?"
"I dunno!" Daniel answers quickly. "He went out hunting this morning."
"Shit" I mumble. "Shit…Shit!"
I smash my fist into a wall, a couple of heads turning around curiously. Eyebrows are being raised, and soft whispering fills the echoing cellblock.
I turn around, and make my way to the courtyard. I almost want to run up to Daryl as I see him reaching the gate. But he's not alone.
I freeze when I see the red hair, but then realize that Vicky is still locked up somewhere. Or at least, I hope so.
The girl has a whole different face than Vicky. Her nose is small but pointy, coming from under red hair cut in a bob, covering her eyes.
After a quick glance at the girl, I turn to Daryl. "C'mon, we got a situation."
"What's going on?" he asks, ignoring the girl slipping past him on the courtyard.
"Carl's missing. I think she got to him."
Daryl's mouth makes a downwards turn. "You sure?"
"I'm not sure about anything nowadays. But we need to check that cellblock."
"You haven't gone yet?" Daryl asks surprised.
"No, I haven't." I nod towards the girl. "Take her inside, and then come with me."
So, looks like I'm getting what I wanted all this time. No, I haven't kicked him in the balls. And he should be happy about it.
I mean, I think stupid people shouldn't be allowed to make babies just as stupid as themselves. But I'm letting Carl do that. 'Cause I'm almost certain he won't get a girlfriend, because he's stupid. Or that girlfriend has to be just as stupid, or even more stupid than he is. But that means….negative plus negative makes positive. Which means that his babies will be the next generation of supernerds.
Before I continue, I want to tell my dear diary a story. A story about how I caught the sheriff's son. It's not very hard to understand.
The fact is; I was singing a song while writing in my diary. You . And Carl happened to be walking in one of the halls close to my cell. He came to have a peek, and saw me sitting there.
I told him to come closer, and so he did. Told you he was stupid.
I said that I had lost the key, and that he needed to help get out. He still had this huge ring full of keys, and one that could unlock every cell in the prison. He helped me, and I slammed his head against the wall.
I dragged his body up to a secret place of mine. A place no one knows except me. And I'm not gonna tell you either, because you are stupid too.
In that secret place of mine, I lay Carl on a soft bed of leafs, and splashed some water on his face. After I took his sheriff hat, of course. I put it on my own head, and it looks way cooler than on his. It's because I'm the Muffin Queen, and he isn't.
So, after he woke up, he was very confused. I told him that this was all a dream, but he didn't believe me. Stupid little shit.
So I told him that his whole life was a lie. That there was no apocalypse, and that everyone was alive who was assumed dead.
He didn't believe that either. He tried to shout for his daddy, so I slapped him in the face. He stopped, and looked like a little girl. You should've seen his face, priceless!
I sat down next to him, and told him that I was about to kill him. And guess what? He believed that!
I held up my hand, as if I was about to slap him again, but instead of doing that, I gave him back his hat.
I told him not to believe everything someone tells you.
"That also counts for you dad" I said, and he frowned.
"My dad wouldn't lie to me."
That was actually true. A little. Maybe a lot.
"But he hasn't been completely honest with you. I mean, he didn't tell you everything you're supposed to know. For example; I had asked your father if I could speak with you alone, and he assumed I wanted to kill you. That maybe was my first intention, but I had a change of heart. Your father didn't get that, and has been trying to keep you away from me ever since, by shoving Daryl up your ass every minute of the day."
Carl opened his mouth to say something like 'That's not true' or 'you're lying', but shut his mouth eventually.
"I get that he was trying to protect you and all, but all I wanted was to slap you in the face and talk. I got at least one of those things."
Carl smirked, rubbing over his red cheek, and I shook my head. He looked so stupid. I remembered him of the time I went on a run for medicine and stuff for his mum, because she was in pain. And that I chopped off Hershel's leg. I remember it like it was yesterday. It was so much fun.
"Why are you even writing in that thing?" I ask, but Vicky doesn't look up. She only shrugs.
"I promised someone to keep writing, because he told me it would help me."
I swallow a piece of fruit down my throat. "Your father?"
"Not your concern, sheriff kid" she says, still writing. I look around the miraculous place again, still overwhelmed. It's some sort of garden, but at the same time, it isn't. It looks like a huge glass house, with leafs going up the walls and ceiling. Flowers are popping out every now and then, the colours beautifully full. There are insects flying around loosely, like they're in the real nature. Butterflies and bees fly around my ears. In the corner, there is a big bucket full of water, where I hear a toad every now and then. There are plants in pots with earth, and vegetables every now and then. The floor is covered with grass, real grass. As if nature took back what once belonged to her, as my mother would describe it. We went to this forgotten airport once, in Germany I think. There was grass growing everywhere, because no one had been there for years. This looked just like it, but then with a more peaceful atmosphere.
"How did you find this place?" I ask after a while of dreaming. Vicky finally closes her diary, and leans with her back against the glass wall.
"Well, when you're outside the prison, you can find lots of things without even looking. I wasn't looking for anything, and this just popped up." Vicky's face brightens with a childish smile. "You know what I think? I think this place has some kind of spell over it. That only the person who are meant to find this place, will actually find it." Then she frowns. "The only question is; why would a person like me be chosen for something like this?"
I look at Vicky, and narrow my eyes. "I might have an idea. Because you're not selfish."
She looks at me like I'm retarded, and then bursts out laughing. "Seriously? That's your conclusion?"
"Well, yeah" I say, and I hear her mumble something that sounds like 'stupid'.
"Why on earth would you think that?"
"Because…" I take another piece of fruit from the bowl. "You haven't eaten any of the food since we got here. You haven't killed any of the bees that came near you, or even waved them away."
"Why would you? That's a stupid thing to do. Bees are the best."
A butterfly is flying towards Vicky, but she doesn't pay attention to it. I watch the small insect sit down and rest on top of her head.
"Is this place far away from the prison?" I ask, and Vicky shrugs.
"Maybe, maybe not. Can't tell." She points at a nest of bees in the corner. "Not allowed to tell anyone."
I lift an eyebrow. "What?"
Vicky is bloody serious about this. "I can't tell. If I do, the bees will have to go. And they don't want to go, they told me myself."
Vicky feels with her hand on her head, and the butterfly walks up her index finger. "Sorta. It's not like they can talk, but I just have the feeling that the less people know about this place, the better."
She looks at the butterfly, who spreads his wings comfortably, as if he can finally rest.
"You ready to go back?" she asks, and I'm not sure if she's talking to me or the butterfly. The butterfly flies up, and she turns to me.
I shrug. "I don't know…what do you think is going to happen?"
Vicky rubs some of her red hair out of her face. "Well, your dad's gonna hug you to death, and give you a long speech about how sorry he is he didn't tell you the things you deserved to know about your own safety, and about how not to trust anyone blindly ever again, and that sorta stuff-"
"I mean, what do you think is going to happen to you?" I ask. Vicky chuckles a little.
"Oh, I don't know. But that's the fun part, isn't it? I'm honestly very curious and excited to find out. Aren't you?"
I go with my fingers through the grass on the floor. "I don't know."
I wanna thank Sir Muffin 2.0 for the little suggestion. This one's for you, pal!