Playing With Fire

Chapter Two

Merle

When I finally came to, it was hard to ignore that I felt like complete shit. Guess that was bound to happen though. Side effect of decidin' to cut one of your own limbs off. I groaned, forcing my eyes open. I was still slumped on the floor in the department store cafe. I straightened myself up, reaching for the pan that must've slipped from my grip when I blacked out. It was still warm which meant I hadn't been out too long. Good. Couldn't waste too much time passin' out and actin' like a damn pussy.

I let out a heavy groan as I forced myself to my feet, staggering a little but catchin' myself on the counter. I leaned back against it, examining the stump of my arm. Wouldn't heal up to be the prettiest thing, but it would have to do. For now, I needed to find a way to get the hell out of here. I picked my wrench back up and left through the cafe swinging door. I headed in the opposite direction I had come from, hoping I'd find something worthwhile. I knew the stairs were out. Last time I checked, the stairwells were packed full of walkers, all crammed in there like sardines until the retards could figure out how to work a fucking door handle. Which really only left me one choice, which was out a window.

That damn familiar sound of a walker, moaning and draggin' it's feet, suddenly caught my ear. I gripped the wrench tighter in my hand and stayed where I was, waitin' for the son of a bitch to come to me. I almost laughed when it finally trudged into my view...mall cop judging by the faded uniform and walkie talkie still clipped to it's belt loop. I froze, though, as my eyes caught sight of somethin' else hangin' on his belt. A gun. A shiny, beautiful mother fucking gun. I needed that. The geek had finally spotted me and was movin' towards me at a pace that could've put me to sleep.

"Come on, you dumb son of a bitch." I taunted it, beckoning it closer.

When its grubby, mangled finger tips were just in reach of me, I brought down the wrench over his skull. It fell and I was feelin' pretty damn triumphant as I unhooked my new toy from its holster. I tucked the wrench into my back pocket anyways. Couldn't leave somethin' that much fun behind.

I stepped over its as I made went on my way. Didn't have to go much farther though before I found a row of windows, a drain pipe perfectly snaking it's way down the wall to the ground below. It looked someone had already had the same idea, the window already shattered, shards of glass still glinting on the ledge. I leaned my head out the window and looked down. It led right down to the street, which also happened to be pretty fuckin' packed with walkers. I wasn't gonna spend any more time trapped in this damn building though. I'd climb down as far as I could, jump, and make a run for it.

I pulled myself up onto the window sill with my good hand, careful not to scuff the stub of my right arm. It was still throbbin' and hurtin' pretty damn bad. Then, I grabbed the drain pipe and swung onto it. I had scaled a drain pipe plenty of times, but never one handed. Didn't stop me...though it took a helluva a lot longer to make the climb down and by the time I was almost to the sidewalk, I was sweatin' bullets and the muscles in my arm ached.

I glanced down at the sidewalk to make sure it was clear before lettin' go and landin' hard on my feet. I stumbled, bracin' myself on the nearest wall. God damn, I felt somethin' awful. A few of the walkers closest by took notice of me. I forced myself to move, takin' off down the street before they even had a chance to reach out their bony hands for me. Now was the easy part...steal a ride and head back to the camp and give all those assholes one hell of a surprise. Bet they thought they left me for dead. A smirk flitted across my lips. Ain't nobody decides when Merle dies but Merle.

I got tired pretty soon though, probably sooner than I should have and had to duck into an alley to catch my breath and think out my plan. None of the cars out on the main road would be any good. Most of 'em were either totalled or already ransacked and not worth the time to try and start. I'd have to try the lesser travelled side streets. I ran a hand over my head. I wondered if they told Daryl what they did to me yet. I wondered what the hell that kid would do once he found it his big brother had been handcuffed to a roof and left to die a slow, agonizin' death. I was sure he'd give 'em a piece of his mind. Then when I'd got back, I'd help him. Startin' with that damn Officer Friendly and his deputy butt buddy. Then I'd take their weapons and split. Daryl and I were too good for those shitheads anyways. Couldn't tell their own heads from a hole in the ground.

I pushed myself away from the wall, gettin' ready to bolt back out into the street. I pulled out the gun from the waistband of my pants, switching the safety off. Might feel kinda good to blow off some walkers' heads today. Hell, I think I deserved it. I turned out of the alley and took off, weavin' my way in and out of cars and walkers, headed for the parts of town I knew to be less packed with geeks. Atlanta was a big ass place. I knew there was a vehicle of some type out there waitin' for me. I kept sprintin' until the crowds of walkers began to thin out more and more until there was nothin' but a few stragglers here and there. The only reason I knew my way around was because of how much time Daryl and I had spent here when the outbreak first started...his ass had dragged me all the way here in search of some fuckin' neighbor girl he had always wanted to bone but never got the chance to. We never found her, but I did learn my way around the city pretty damn well.

I finally felt like it was safe enough to slow down to a walk. I was in what I was sure once had been thought of as the more run down part of town, even back in the days before the world had gone to shit. Now, it was just even more shittier to look at with all the garbage and trash lyin' around everywhere. Like I had guessed, though, there were still a handful of cars parked up and down the street that had long been left behind by whoever. I would just have to check each one and maybe I'd get lucky. I decide to start with the rusted red Toyota with the twenty-five Jesus lovin' bumper stickers plastered all over the back. Typical, the doors were all locked which just made me wonder why the hell this dumbass thought anyone would wanna steal this piece of crap.

I sighed as I rubbed the back of my neck, debating on whether or not it was worth breakin' the window to get in. I highly doubted somethin' as shitty as this had an alarm, but did I really wanna take the chance that there was? Then every single walker in a five mile radius would come staggerin' over here and I'd be all the way back to square one. I aimed a resentful kick at the tire before deciding to try another car before breaking any windows.

I moved on to the car parked behind it. It was even junkier than the first one, a dirty lookin' tan color with a different colored hood. Even had those damn gay ass fuzzy lookin' dice in the window. I shook my head, before tuggin' at the handle. It opened right up.

"Hell fuckin' yeah!" I said gleefully, ducking inside the car.

I set the gun down on the seat as I started messin' around, looking in all the usual places for the keys. Not that it mattered. I learned how to hotwire a car when I was eight years old. Piece of fuckin' cake, although maybe it would be harder with only one hand. I'd find out sooner or later. I stopped what I was doing, though, when I heard somethin' movin' around outside the car. God damn walkers, always gettin' in the damn way. I moved out of the car and grabbed the gun from the seat before crouchin' down near the front tire. All I could hear were slow, deliberate footsteps as they headed in my direction. I decided to get the jump on the thing and get rid of it before it wasted any more of my time.

My finger itched to pull the trigger as I rolled out from behind the car and pointed my gun in the direction of the footsteps, right where the walker should have been. Except it wasn't a walker I was facin' down. It was a fuckin' gun.



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