Luke ran back around, his machete in hand. If David’s done anything to hurt Clementine, Luke would kill him. He ran inside the radio station only to see Clementine in the soundbooth, her hands tied above her head and a gag in her mouth. Her feet barely touching the floor.
“Clem!” he yelled as he ran to her in the sound booth, pulling the gag out of her mouth. “Hey, you okay?”
“Luke, stop!” she yelled at him as he started to untie her wrists.
“Where did he-”
“Luke, it’s a trap!”
It was too late, Luke felt something hit the back of his head, knocking him unconscious. Clementine saw David, he used her gun to knock Luke out.
She tried to pull her hands free from her bounds with the progress that Luke made, only to be stopped by David shoving the gun in her side.
“Easy, kid. Don’t make this harder than it had to be.” he said.
“I should have shot you when I had the chance.” Clementine said.
David tilted her head up, forcing her to look at him. “And if you do anything out of line, I’ll shoot you and Luke when I have the chance.” David told her. “You understand, darling Clementine?”
Clem stared at him coldly.
“I’ll take that as a yes.” David put the gun in his back pocket before moving his hands to the bounds on her wrist, retying them. “We don’t want you escaping now, do we?”
“What are you going to do to us?” Clem asked.
“You’ll find out. Oh, I almost forgot.” David pulled the gag back in her mouth, tightening it around her head. Clementine did her best to spit it out while trying to yell at David. “Don’t worry, Luke will untie you when he wakes up. Have fun there, kid. Thanks for making it easy for me.” he said, patting her cheek before he took Luke’s machete and walked out of the sound booth, locking the door.
The little girl looked down at Luke’s unconscious body before nudging him with her foot, trying to wake him up. Clementine couldn’t believe what was happening. Luke’s out, while she’s bound and gagged in a stupid sound booth.
Minus the gag, she felt like she was in a nightmare with Carver. At least Luke would be able to save her, right? All she could do was wait, occasionally glaring at David through the glass to see what he was doing outside the sound booth. He would pace around, look through his shelves and boxes, and mess with the control panel outside the sound booth.
After what felt like forever, David grabbed a cigarette and walked outside. A few seconds later, Luke started shifting on the floor. Clementine looked down at him, hoping he was waking up. Thankfully, he was.
Luke groaned in pain as he held his head, pushing himself up from the floor. The memory of what happened before he was knocked out popped in his head, causing him to ignore his headache and help Clementine.
“Clem, you okay?” he asked as he pulled the gag out of her mouth again.
“Yeah, I’m fine.” she responded.
“Did he hurt you?” Luke asked before he started untying her wrists.
“No.” Clem responded.
Once she was free, Clementine almost fell to the floor. Since her feet could barely touch the floor to begin with, she couldn’t trust them to catch her. Thankfully, Luke caught her and pulled her into a tight hug. He thought he'd lost her after finding that note. As much as she wanted to hug him back, Clem’s arms had no feeling in them from being held above her head for so long. She buried her head in his shoulder, causing Luke to hug her tighter.
“We’ll get out of here, don’t worry.” he said.
Clementine didn’t want to admit it. She didn’t want to admit she was scared, because she was. She hasn’t truly felt like this in a long time. Luke must have read her mind.
The farm boy pulled her slightly away to look at her. “I know you might be scared, Clem. But I won’t let him hurt you, I’ll kill him before he lays another hand on you.”
“We both know you can’t promise that, Luke.” Clementine said.
“I’ll do my best, Clem. Let’s just focus on getting out of here.”
“Great,” Luke let her go before looking around. “Where did he go?”
“Outside. I think he smokes.” Clem said.
The sound booth was empty, minus the rope and gag David used on the little girl. Luke tried slamming his elbow in the glass window, but it was stronger than he thought. He didn’t even make a crack.
Luke reached for his machete only to find that it wasn’t in his holder. He looked through the glass to find it and Clem’s gun on a box out of the room. He didn’t even try the door, he knew it was locked.
“What do you think?”
“No need to get mad at me, kid.”
“I’m not mad, I just hate how he used me a bait.”
“I told you to shoot or scream if he tried anything.”
“The first thing he did when we went inside was pull the gag in my mouth. I reached for my gun, but he grabbed it right when I did and held it to my head. What was I supposed to do?”
“What do you want me to do, Clem? We’re both locked in a room with no weapons, and David is going to…”
“He’s going to do what? Kill us? I know that, Luke! This is why I can’t trust people!”
“You trust me, Clem.”
“You’re different. I know I can trust you!”
“What’s the difference between me and everyone else?”
“In the past few years of my life, I trusted two people and I ended up getting kidnapped by both of them. The first time, I lost Lee. The second time, I almost lost you!”
Luke knew she was talking about Melissa, but he didn’t know about what happened to Lee. Other than knowing that the kid shot him before he turned, Luke knew nothing about how he got bit. Clem must have a lot more of survivor's guilt over that than he realized.
The little girl sniffed. “I’m sorry, I just- I just didn’t want to go through with that again.”
Luke made his way over to her, putting a hand on her shoulder. “I promise I won’t have you shoot me.”
“Luke… I’m scared.”
“I am too, kid.” Luke bent down to her level, taking hold of her other shoulder and forcing her to look at him. “Clem, listen to me. The second he opens that door, I want you to run. Run as fast as you can, away from here, find a weapon, and keep yourself safe.”
“What about you?” she asked.
“I’ll buy you time to escape.” he said.
“No, I’m not going to leave you.” Clem said. The thought of losing him killed her.
“For once, Clem. Do as I say. Please?”
“Luke, he’ll kill you.”
“Then help me when you find a weapon.”
“I’d rather die keeping you safe, than live to see him kill you.”
“No! No! Please!”
The little girl lunged at Luke, wrapping her arms around his neck. “I’m staying with you, okay? Don’t make me leave you! I can’t, I just can’t!”
“I love you too much to let him kill you, Clem. So listen to me when I say run.” Luke felt her hands grip on to his shirt, she really didn’t want to leave him.
The duo heard a door open, causing them to break their hug and look at the guy who came in. David looked at the two, smirking at them before walking over to the box with the weapons on it. He picked up the gun, causing Luke to stand and push Clementine behind him. He wouldn’t let David touch her, even if it gets himself killed.
David walked to the control panel. He pressed a button causing the two inside to hear a ringing of a mic being turned on. Clementine and Luke covered their ears until the noise subsided. Once they uncovered their ears, David leaned into the microphone on the control panel.
“Can you two hear me?” he asked.
“What do you think?” Clementine said sarcastically.
“It was just a question, kid. Speaking of which, you’re the first kid I’ve had in there.” David said.
“What do you want, David?” Luke asked, getting the attention off the little girl.
“It’s cute how you’re so protective of her.” David grabbed a cassette tape and a red sharpie on the control panel before writing on it. Luke couldn’t see what he was writing on the tape.
“Just let us go, we haven’t done anything to you.” Luke said.
David put the tape in a player before hitting a button. “Here’s what’s going to happen, I’ll tell you to do something, and you’re going to do it. Same goes for you, kid. If not, well…” David lifted up the gun pointing at the duo. “Now then, if there are not any more questions… Luke, I want you to hit her.”
“What?” There was no way he was hitting Clementine.
“Just give Clementine a nice slap across her pretty, little face.” David said.
Luke looked down at Clem, who looked back up at him. He could see the fear in her eyes. “I am not hitting her.” he said sternly.
“Alright, if you won’t, then I’ll do it right after I shoot you.” David threatened. “You don’t want me tormenting and killing the girl to be the last thing you see, do you?”
Luke stayed silent. The threat, alone, nearly killed him.
“Luke, just do it!” Clementine yelled.
“Clem, I’m not going to-” Luke started.
“I don’t care!” she yelled.
“It’s a slap, it’s not going to kill me!” she yelled at him. “Luke, please…”
She wanted him to do it. Luke knew that it was because she didn’t want to lose him, but he still didn’t want to hurt her.
“I’m waiting…” David impatiently said.
Luke looked at the man, who just gestured his gun at him. The farm boy looked back at the little girl. He felt his stomach turn as he lifted his hand, watching it rise. Clementine was watching it, too. She just nodded before closing her golden eyes, waiting for impact. And just like ripping off a band-aid, Luke brought his hand down quickly, making contact with the kid’s cheek.
Clementine stumbled a bit from the hit, holding it with her hand. She let go a whimper before hissing in pain. It stung, and she expected nothing less. Clem kept her eyes shut, she didn’t want to see the guilt in his eyes.
Luke felt sick. He hit her, he actually hit her. His hand tingling from hitting Clem’s face. Luke could tell she was holding back. It probably hurt more than it looked.
“That wasn’t so bad, was it?” David spoke up.
“You’re an asshole!” Luke retorted.
David snickered, “Oh, don’t worry. This is only the start of what you’re going to do.”
Luke tightened his machete holder around his torso. It was over. He walked out of the sound booth and past David, who was lying on the floor, dead. One bullet through his head. The shot made by Clementine, obviously, when David tried to take her away to do who knows what to her. After what he forced the two of them to do, Luke didn’t want Clementine to be alone with him.
After doing what David recently told them to do, he forced Clementine to tie Luke’s hands behind his back. Once she was finished, David went inside the sound booth to grab the little girl and practically had to drag her out because she latched on to Luke. Even though he told her to run once David opened the door, she didn’t want to leave him.
Once David pulled her out and relocked the door to keep Luke from escaping, Clementine did her best to fight him, and managed to disarm him of the gun. David pushed her to the ground before grabbing Luke’s machete. Clem pushed herself away from him on the floor. One of her hands made contact with the gun that David lost, and she grabbed it and shot him without hesitation.
She took a few seconds to catch her breath before unlocking the sound booth and untying Luke. Once he was free, Clementine’s arms wrapped around his neck, nearly choking him. Luke didn’t care, he almost lost her.
After the hug broke, the two took turns turning around so they could get dressed. Clem went first, then she walked out of the sound booth to give Luke more privacy.
The machete laid on the ground next to David’s body, Clementine standing over him, the gun by her feet. She was trying to piece together what happened.
It was all over, and they lived. They made it out alive.
Luke picked up the machete and put it in his holder before looking at the Clem. “Come on, kid. You don’t need to keep looking at him.” Luke started towards one of the shelves, hoping to find some supplies.
“Luke…” Clementine said as she turned her head towards the man, causing him to look at her. “I’m sorry I yelled at you.”
“You have nothing to be sorry for. If anyone is sorry it’s me.” Luke said.
“I just didn’t want to him to kill you.” Clem said.
“You had every right to yell at me, kid.”
“No, I didn’t. I don’t care what you did, you only did them because I told you to. It’s my fault you feel like shit.”
“Clem, it’s not your fault. You know as well as I do, he would have killed us both. You were just scared.” Luke said. “Let’s just see if he has any supplies and get out of here, okay?”
Clementine nodded before helping Luke search through the shelves. On the top shelf, Luke pulled down a small, plastic bin full of cassette tapes and one walkman with headphones. Each tape and two names written on them in red ink. At first he was confused to why David had these tapes, then it hit him. Luke walked over to the control panel and ejected the tape David put in right before he made Luke slap Clem
“That fuck…” Luke muttered as he looked at the tape. It had both his and Clementine’s name written on it. David recorded the whole thing.
Luke felt anger run his blood cold as he threw the tape down to the ground, slamming his heel into it a few times. Once the tape was destroyed, he did the same to the others in the box. He was mad at himself. He’d rather die than hurt Clementine in any way, shape, or form. He hurt her in the worst way possible. The kid’s probably scarred for life. How is he supposed to live with that. Luke wished that David was alive so he could kill him. He wished that there was something he could have done.
“Luke! You need to see this!”
Clementine’s voice pulled him out of his thoughts, leading to him finding a trap door open. She must be down there.
Luke climbed down a ladder that lead to the bottom and found Clem staring in front of her. The older man looked at what she was looking at and went wide eyed like her’s did. “Holy shit.”
The basement was full of shelves, most of them were fully stocked of supplies. Food, water, medicine, flashlights, batteries, blankets, pillows. It was an amazing sight in this day and age.
There was so much, they couldn’t take it all. They both agreed to take only what they needed. In this case, they took three jugs of water, a first aid kit, a few cans of food, a pillow, and a flashlight.
After they pulled those supplies into the truck, Clementine and Luke got in. Clem pulled her knees in and wrapped her arms around them in her seat. Her entire body felt numb. Luke looked at the little girl, she seemed frozen as she just stared out the windshield. He placed a hand on her back, trying to comfort her, but she pulled her head down into her knees as she curled up tighter. Luke retracted his hand after she reacted the way she did, he figured that it would be best to let Clem pull her thoughts together. The poor girl is probably still shaken up over it.
Luke started up the truck before driving away from the radio station. He wanted to run it through the whole building, but he knew he shouldn’t. Luke had to keep a level head for her sake.
One week later………………….
After the two left the station, Luke drove as far as he could away from it. He eventually found a small cabin and the two decided to stay there for a while. The cabin was one story with a few couches, a table, a fireplace, and a cot. The only other room was a bathroom. It probably was a hunting cabin.
Luke intended to stay for a couple of days to try and fix things between him and Clementine, but the kid got sick. As if she hasn’t been through enough, she now has to fight a cold.
It was raining outside. Luke figured that it September started, since the change of weather. Since it was a crappy day, and she was sick, Clementine was sleeping on the couch. Luke took the time to check his back. It’s been hurting for a few days and he wanted to see if there was anything wrong.
Luke placed his hands on the sink before looking in the mirror, he could see Clementine sleeping soundly on the couch in the reflection. Ever since last week, Luke’s been seeing her as the little girl she is. He knew that she was, in fact, a little girl, but this was the first time in a long time he’s been looking at her like that. He usually sees her as a young adult in a child’s body, occasionally showing her child side. Now she actually looks like a sleeping pre-teen.
Luke moved away from the mirror to close the bathroom door all the way, he couldn’t stand to see her like that. Not after what David made them do. If there was any shred of innocence left in the world, then he took the last of it.
Luke’s sore back pulled him back into reality. He took off his shirt and turned around to look at his back in the mirror, finding out why his back hurt so much. Red scratch marks that scattered along the sides of his back in groups of three and four. Some of them were scabs, others had skin peeling off. He knew what they were from. Luke trailed a hand over the marks, wincing in pain once he touched them.
“Jesus, Clem…” he muttered under his breath.
Luke knew the little girl didn't mean to hurt him. She was just scared and in pain. He was the only thing she could hold on to. Thus her drilling her fingernails into his back.
David forced Luke to hit the kid multiple times. The abuse prolonged from there making Clementine punch Luke once in the stomach than another punch to his face. Damn she hit hard. Once the abuse stopped, David told the two to kiss. It’s not like they haven’t kissed each other before, but David wanted Luke make-out with the kid, tongue and all. Luke had to explain some of this to Clementine, making sure she was comfortable and that she was eleven. The asshole told them to take it a step further, telling Luke to feel her up. Luke protested, he was afraid for Clementine’s sake. He wasn’t going to touch the kid like that. After David threatened to kill him, Clementine yelled at him to do what he asked. She didn’t even know what it was. Luke went slow, waiting for her to tell him to stop. She didn't, instead she bit down on her lip and turned her head away with her golden eyes closed. Things progressed from that when David told the two to strip. He saw the look in Clem's eyes, she was terrified.
Luke slammed his fist in the wall. God, he’s not going to forget that, nor what her whimpers sounded like when he was forced to… Rape. He was forced to rape the kid, for David’s sick pleasure. And he would take back every second if he could, but he can’t. Luke made her cry, and he wouldn’t be surprised if she hated him for that.
Clementine shot up from her slumber, breathing deeply. Carver gave her another nightmare. Why won’t he leave her alone? There were times where she was too scared to fall asleep because of him, forcing her to stay up for another hour or so until she couldn’t keep her eyes open any longer.
Carver tied her up like David did last week, so he could talk to her. Pretty normal for Carver to do, but he sort of took advantage of her being defenseless. And what he told her stuck with her as well.
Clem swung her legs off the couch and to the floor. She looked around for Luke, but she couldn’t find him. She felt detached from Luke lately, mostly because she’s been sleeping off her cold, but there was always this weird silence between them and it made her uncomfortable. It wasn’t like the time she kissed Luke in the backseat of the truck, it was really different. She knew it was because of what David made them do, but she could only understand so much of it. Luke knew that too.
The little girl felt her stomach turn. Clem clamped a hand over her mouth before running outside on to the covered porch that strangely reminded her of the old cabin. She uncovered her mouth to let herself puke onto the grass below. This stupid bug was making her puke at least once everyday.
Clementine took a few seconds to breathe before making her way over to the other side of the porch so she didn’t look at her vomit. She rested her arms on the wooden railing and stared out into the rain. The smell of the downpour was relaxing.
After a few minutes of listening to the rain, she heard the front door open and footsteps coming towards her. Clem glanced out of the corner of her eye to see faded orange sleeves on two forearms, propping the owner on the railing next to her. Luke.
“You scared me for a minute when I saw that you weren’t on the couch.” he spoke.
Clementine didn’t say anything.
“How ya feelin’ kid?” he asked.
“I don’t know. I threw up over there, so...” she responded.
Silence fell between the two.
"I used to hate the rain." She spoke. "I couldn't play outside with my friends in the neighborhood, so I was stuck inside. It was so boring. One time, my friends and I played with chalk on the sidewalk and drew anything that came to mind, then the rain started to pour and I watched, from the living room window, as the water washed away everything we drew.” Clementine paused for a moment. “Sometimes my mom would make cookies and we’d have them with milk while we watched movies together. I always thought that it was weird that she liked the rain, but I guess it was to spend time with me.” A faint smile came across her face, but quickly faded. “Kind of funny that now it’s probably the only thing between life and death.”
“It’s really hard to remember that you’re just a kid, you know?” Luke said. “You want to talk about it?”
“I don’t know…”
“I’m just making sure you’re okay. I mean, I don’t know about you, but I hate how our relationship has been the past week.”
“You don’t think that I hate it, too?”
“Do you still trust me?”
“Yeah, I’m pretty sure that you’re the only person I can.”
Do you hate me?”
“Why would I?”
“Because I hate myself. I did things to you that you didn’t even know what they were. I mean, I fucking raped you, for God’s sake.”
“It’s not like you wanted to do it. I know you’d never do that to me. I only yelled at you to do it, because I didn’t want him to kill you.” she said before muttering something under her breath.
“No, what did you say?”
“It doesn’t matter.”
“You said something, so it does.”
Clementine paused for a moment, trying to find a way to put this. “Luke, if I said that I had the radio, what do you think Carver would have done to me?”
The question caught him off guard. “Why are you asking me that?”
“Because he said you knew.”
“Carver was in your dreams, wasn’t he?”
“Does it matter?”
“Yes it does, Clem! Since when do you believe anything he says?”
“So, do you know what he would have done?”
“Why do you want to know?” After no response from Clem, Luke spoke. “What else did he do to you?”
“I’ll tell you, if you tell me.”
Luke shook his head, he knew she’d get it out of him one way or another. “When Carver found out about our plan, he beat the shit out of me and asked where the other radio was. Long story, short, he said that if he found out you had it, he would have made you spend the night in his office with the curtains drawn.”
Clementine closed her eyes, Carver almost had his hands on her. “You just about gave me a heart attack when you tried to fess up.” Luke told her.
“He would have killed you.” she said.
“I know… So what did he do to you?”
“It started off like any other dream, with him tying my arms above my head before talking to me. Eventually, he started rubbing my side. He does that from time to time, but this time was different… His hand slipped under my shirt.”
“Did he touch you anywhere else?”
“No, his hand never left my side.”
Luke paused for a moment. “Don’t you have any control over your dreams? Can’t you make him go away?”
“I tried… But no matter what I did, no matter how hard I imagined it, he wouldn’t stop.” she said. “Luke?”
“Can you hold me?”
Luke pushed off from the railing and turned to the little girl before pulling her closer. He felt her arms wrap his lower back as he wrapped one arm around her body while his other hand rested on her head. This was the only thing he could do for her.
“Any reason you wanted me to hold you?”
Clementine pulled herself closer to him. “I just missed you holding me before I fell asleep, it made me feel safe.” After what David made them do, and since Clementine didn’t want to get Luke sick, the little girl has been sleeping on the couch while Luke got the cot.
Luke smiled before he started rubbing her back. “I’ll leave you out here if you fall asleep on me.”
Clementine smirked. “No, you won’t.” Her hold tightened around his back, causing him to hiss in pain. Luke did his best to hold it in, but it slipped out. Clem released her hold on Luke after hearing it. “Are you okay, Luke?”
“I’m fine, Clem. My back is just sore, it’s nothing.” he said.
Luke had no time to react before Clem made her way behind him and lifted up his shirt, seeing some of the scratches on his back.
“Holy shit, did I do that?” she asked.
“It’s fine, Clem.” he assured.
“No, it’s not. I think we have medicine for it inside.” Clem grabbed his hand and pulled him inside. Luke went along with her, knowing that he wouldn’t win an argument with her.
Once they were inside, Luke sat down on the couch while Clementine searched through the supplies they brought in. After finding ointment, she made her way back to Luke. She grabbed the back of Luke’s shirt collar and started to pull only for him to grab her hand.
“What the hell are you doing?” he asked.
“I’m taking off your shirt.” she said before trying to pull it off again, but Luke stopped her.
“I don’t think you need to, kid.”
“Come on, it’s not like I haven’t seen you shirtless before.”
“Never use that against me, Clem.”
Silence filled the space for a few seconds. “Alright.” Luke spoke before pulling his orange shirt off again.
Clementine sat on her knees on the couch next to Luke, squeezing some ointment out of the little tube onto her hand and applying it to Luke’s back. Luke winced a bit at the coldness of the cream before feeling Clem’s hand lightly rub it in over his scratches.
“I can’t believe I’m letting you do this.” he said.
“I sort of forced you to.” she told him.
“You shouldn’t be, though.”
“There’s a lot of things I shouldn’t do.”
“Still, you’re eleven.”
“I grew up when I was nine. I kind of had to.”
The conversation ended there. Clementine slowly rubbing the cream further down his back to the other scratches.
“I really messed up your back.” she spoke.
“I know you didn’t mean to.” Luke said.
“I know you didn’t mean to hurt me.”
Silence came between the two. “I’ve never felt like shit as much as I did over the past week. I’d rather die than hurt you in any way.” Luke said.
“Don’t say that.” Clem said.
“It’s true. Honestly, I wanted to die this week because of what I did to you.”
Clementine paused for a moment so she could think of what to say as she made her way to the other side of Luke’s back before applying ointment on it.
“What’s the most important thing in this world?” she asked him. The question surprised Luke. “What’s the one thing that you, me, and I guess Carver… would walk, and practically did walk, hundreds of miles to get back?” Clementine asked.
Luke, himself, walked from the ski lodge to Howe’s to get Clementine and the rest of his group back, and he knew Clem ran from one side of a city to the other to save himself from Melissa. The two knew Carver’s story.
The farm boy smiled. “It’s a tough world out there without people you can trust.” he said finishing his own quote.
“You’re all I have left, Luke. You’re the only person I trust, I don’t want to lose you, too.”
“You know that I love you, right? Like a best friend- little sister kind of way.”
“Yeah, I know. You tell me all the time.”
“I don’t tell you all the time, I just like to remind you.” Luke said. “You love me, too, right?”
“Would I be putting medicine on your back if I didn’t?” she said sarcastically. “Okay, I think I’m done.” Clementine put the cap of the tube back on.
While Clementine put the medicine away and went outside to wash her hands with the rain, Luke put his shirt back on. His back felt better already. Clem came back inside, wiping her hands on her jeans before making her way back to Luke.
Clementine sat next to him, resting her head up against his arm. She interlocked her fingers with Luke’s as her other arm wrapped around his. Luke looked down at the hand in his, her hand was so small compared to his.
“Do you know what sounds good right now?” she asked.
“What?” Luke asked.
“Caramel.” Clementine said.
“Caramel? Out of all the things in the world, the one thing you want is caramel?”
“My dad used to bring me a bagful of caramel when he and my mom came back from Savannah. My mom didn’t approve, saying it would rot my teeth, but my dad would always bring it back in secret and tell me to go hide it. I always hid them under my socks in the drawer. I’m pretty sure my parents knew where it was because there would always be a couple caramels missing when I came home from school.” Luke could feel Clementine smile against his arm. “The last time they went, my dad gave me his hat. He said that if I kept it clean, he’d get me the biggest bag of caramel. Two of them, actually. Then-”
Luke felt her smile fade as her arm tightened around his. He knew what happened next. Her parents never came back. Luke let go of her hand to put his arm around her as his other arm scooped up her legs so he could pick her up and set her down on his lap before wrapping his arms around her tiny body.
Clementine let him hold her. She missed his warm arms around her body. Clem rested her head against his chest, while doing her best to hold in her tears. She wanted to hug her mom and dad again. She wanted to help make cookies with her mom and eat them while they watched movies. She wanted to share a caramel with her dad right before she went to bed. She wanted to eat dinner with them and talk about how their day went. She could feel the tears in her golden eyes fall, she missed her parents.
A sniff echoed throughout the room, causing Luke to hold the little girl tighter as he rocked her. After a while of rocking, he pulled her away to place a kiss on her temple. He pulled his lips away slightly before he spoke. “You’re my family, Clem. Don’t you ever forget that.”
Clementine sniffed again. It wasn’t until a couple minutes later before she started humming to calm herself down. Once she started, Luke caught on what the song was and started humming with her.
Clementine shot up from her nightmare and looked at her surroundings to see the rest area Luke stopped at for the night.
It was the middle of spring and the first time the two slept on the mattress in the truck bed. Clem looked over to Luke who was sleeping with his back towards her. She didn’t feel like waking him up.
She layed back down to try to get some sleep, but her dream was too busy replaying in the back of her mind. Carver paid her a visit, again. Saying that he was always with her, every minute of every day. Damn it, why did he always feel the need to haunt her.
As if on cue, a bird flew out of no where and nearly gave her a heart attack. Clementine hid under the blanket. She was afraid that if she came out, Carver’s face would be right there and he’d kidnap her.
From under the blanket, Clementine made her way next to Luke and hugged him. Feeling the arm around him, Luke woke up and turned over. He could feel something press against his stomach, so he lifted the blanket to see Clem look up at him.
“What are you doing, kid?” he asked.
“I can’t sleep.” she said.
Luke took her hat off her head. “It’s really hard to look at your eyes with that on your head.” he said. “So you can’t sleep, huh?”
Clementine pulled herself up to him so she didn’t have to look up. “I’m kind of scared to.”
“It’s okay, kid.” Luke glared to the sky. “Hey, look up.”
The two rolled onto their backs to look up at the starry night sky. “It’s beautiful.” she whispered out loud.
Luke smiled as he turned his head to the little girl. “Do you know what’s more beautiful than this?”
“What?” Clem asked as she turned her head to him.
“Those golden eyes of yours.” he told her.
Clementine pushed his head away. “That’s not true.”
“Have you seen your eyes, kid? They are pure gold.”
“You’re such a dork.” she said as she rolled over away from him.
“I’ve heard that the eyes match the heart.”
“You made that up.”
“Since you have golden eyes, that must mean that you have a golden heart. Which is true.”
“So does that mean you have a brown heart?”
“Not exactly, Clem. A lot of women say I have warm eyes.”
“Women, or woman?”
“Believe it or not, kid, but I had a few girlfriends in high school and college.”
“And they all said you have warm eyes?”
“You just did.”
Clementine turned back over to face Luke and to punch him in the arm.
Luke chuckled a bit from her hit. “So, is it true?”
“Is what true?” she asked.
“Do I have a warm heart?”
“If it’ll get you to shut up, then yes. You have the warmest heart on the face of the Earth.”
Even though she said yes to make him drop the subject, Clementine agrees that Luke has a warm heart. He’s just warm in general. She’d always cuddle close to him when she’s cold because somehow he’s warm.
The duo turned back to the stars above them. After a while Clementine, heard some humming. Since she wasn’t, it had to be the guy next to her.
She turned to him before she spoke.“Luke, what are you humming?”
“Shit! Clem, I thought you were asleep.”
“What were you humming?” she asked again.
“It’s a song. It’s really nice and kind of fits the mood right now.” he said as he rolled over to face her.
“Can you sing it for me?”
“I don’t know, kid.”
“Please…” Clementine took a hold of Luke’s hand.
“Alright, but come closer. We don’t need to attract something we don’t want.” he said.
Clementine did as told, moving closer to him until their foreheads were practically touching. Luke pulled his hand out of Clem’s hold and took a hold of her’s before bringing it between them. With his thumb, he started to rub the hand underneath his.
Luke took a deep breath before recalling the song word-for-word
“We’ll do it all,
On our own,
We don’t need,
If I lay here,
If I just lay here,
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?
I don’t quite know,
How to say,
How I feel,
Those three words,
Are said too much,
They’re not enough,
If I lay here,
If I just lay here,
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?
Forget what we’re told,
Before we get too old
Show me a garden that’s bursting into life,
Let’s waste time,
Around our heads,
I need your grace,
To remind me,
To find my own,
If I lay here,
If I just lay here,
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?
Forget what we’re told,
Before we get too old,
Show me a garden that’s bursting into life,
All that I am,
All that I ever was,
Is here in your perfect eyes, they’re all I can see,
I don’t know where,
Confused about how as well,
Just know that these things will, never change for us at all,
If I lay here,
If I just lay here,
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?”*
Clementine smiled when Luke finished the song causing him to smirk. “You happy?”
“Yeah, I am.” she said. “You’re right, it is a pretty song. Thank you.”
Luke grabbed Clem’s hand that was under his and brought it up to his lips. “It’s okay to be a little scared.” he said as he pulled her hand away, placing it in the little space between them “Just know that I’ll protect you. Now let’s try and get some sleep, okay?”
Clementine nodded before closing her eyes. One thing that was for sure, was that she’d have that song stuck in her head all day tomorrow.
NOW ENTERING MONTANA
“How you feeling, kid?” Luke asked.
“I haven’t thrown up today, so that’s good.” Clementine said.
The rain finally stopped the next morning. The two, having the past settled, decided to continue to Washington. They finally passed the state line to the new state. Clementine had the window cracked open for fresh air, like Luke suggested.
Clementine felt her stomach turn. She bent over, holding her stomach. Trying her best to keep everything down. Luke looked at her, causing him to stop the truck. Once the truck stopped, Clementine opened the door on her side, throwing up everything inside her stomach. She felt Luke reach over and pat her back.
“I think you spoke too soon, Clem.” he said.
“I hate being sick.” she said as she pulled herself back in and closed the door.
Luke lifted his hand to her forehead. It didn’t feel warm. “You feel fine to me. Maybe that can of beans we ate this morning was expired.”
“What about the last few days?”
“You were actually sick.”
“If the beans were expired, how come you’re not puking?”
“I have a strong immune system, plus you just recovered from a cold.” he said. “We’re stopping at the next town.”
“Luke, I’m fine.”
“I don’t want you to get car sick, too. Besides we need gas.”
After about two hours, they finally arrived at a town and Luke pulled into a parking lot of a library. The two brought everything inside. The library was big and pretty much intact. Despite the fact they had no power, the library had lots of skylights.
The two killed a few walkers that they found inside after they threw their supplies in a small back room.
The two originally planned to stay for the night and look for more supplies in the morning before heading out, but that changed the next morning.
"Clem?" Luke called through the library.
Luke followed the sound of her voice to find Clementine sitting on the floor with a book in her lap.
"What are you doing, kid?"
"I'm trying to read."
"You do realize you are in the adult section, right?"
"Do you even know what you're reading?"
Luke knelt down behind her, looking over the kid's shoulder to look at what she was reading. "Clem, I don't even know half the words in this." Luke pulled the book out of her hands and put it back on the shelf. "Come on."
The older man took her hand as they both stood. Luke lead her to a more bright and colorful part of the library. The children section.
“I said that I’d teach ya how to read. Now pick out a book here, one with big words and lots of pictures.”
“I’m not five, Luke.”
“Just pick out a book and meet me on the couch.”
Luke made his way over to the couch after sending the kid away. He sat down with his back up against the armrest. Clementine came back with a book in hand. She sat on top of Luke’s lap, leaning up against his chest. He wrapped his arms around her body as she opened the book.
“So how are you going to teach me?” she asked.
“Well, I was hoping that you could read what you know and if you’re having trouble, I can help you.” he said.
With that said, Clementine started to read a book she found. She had a little trouble reading the title, but she managed to do it. Luke’s mom read the same book to him when he was a kid, and he eventually read it by himself because he loved it so much. Where The Wild Things Are.
He had to help her with a few words here and there, but she was doing pretty well, despite stumbling a little bit on most of the sentences. It wasn’t until about halfway through the story when he grew tired. After Clementine finished reading, she looked up at Luke to see him fast asleep. She smirked before setting the book down on the floor and leaning her head back on his chest. She tilted the bill of her hat up before kissing his cheek, causing his arms to tighten around her. It was her thank you for helping her learn how to read, even though he fell asleep during it. With that thought she rested her arms on top of his and fell asleep.
“No… she can’t be…”
Clementine heard Luke mutter from one bookshelf over. She was looking for him so they can go look for more supplies.
“Luke, are you ready?” she asked as she made her way around the bookshelf.
“Clem!” Luke quickly closed the book he was reading and hid it behind his back.
“What are you reading?” she asked.
“It’s… an adult book.” he said.
Although she was still curious about it, she shrugged it off. “So are you ready to go?”
“Yeah, I was just thinking that, you know, maybe you should stay here.” he said.
“No, I’m not letting you go alone.”
“All of our stuff is here. If we both leave, someone might take it. I need you to stay here.”
“We can put it all in the truck.”
“We can’t do that either, someone could break in, steal the supplies and the truck. Look, I’m only going a few blocks away. I’ll be back before you know it.” Luke tilted her hat down before putting the book he was holding on top of the bookshelf, completely out of Clementine’s reach.
He walked off heading towards the back room with all the supplies. Clem followed him after fixing her hat. Once in the small room, Luke grabbed a backpack and put it on. Clementine tried to convince him to let her go with him, but he used the same excuses.
“What if we locked the back room?” she asked.
“Clem, you’re not coming with me.” he said as he made his way to the front door. The little girl following him.
“Because I want you to stay here.”
Luke turned around to look at her. “Because you’re-” he cut himself off. “You’re trustworthy enough for me to leave you alone and keep everything safe. I’ll turn back the second it get’s hairy, okay?”
Clementine hugged him. Luke wrapped his arms around her. To be honest, Luke didn’t want to leave her alone. But it was for her safety that she stayed put. She needed to. And he needed to think about things that recently happened. As much as he wanted to discuss it with Clementine, she wouldn’t understand.
When the hug ended, the two said their goodbyes and Luke went on his way.
“Clem, I’m back.” Luke called as he walked in the library.
In the corner of his eye he could see the children section and a little girl set down the book in her lap before running up to him.
“What did you get?” she asked.
Luke set the backpack down on the table and opened it up. “I was able to raid some of what was left in a pharmacy.”
Luke pulled out a couple cans of food, one of them slipped out of his hand and fell to the floor. As he bent down to pick it up, Clementine searched through what else Luke got. She found a box and pulled it out. It wasn’t food and she couldn’t read what it said.
“Luke, what’s this?” she asked.
Luke stood up and placed the can he picked up on the table. He took the box out of Clem’s hand and put it back in the backpack. “I’m really glad you can barely read.” he said aloud.
“Luke?” Clementine was getting worried.
“You might want to sit down, Clem.” he said.
Clementine glanced behind her and pulled a chair out from under the table to sit on it. After she did, Luke knelt down in front of her, taking a hold of her hands before looking at her.
“Kid, I think you might be pregnant.”
*- Chasing cars by Snow Patrol.