Stranger (Carl Grimes)

Twenty-Three

Carl's pov

"Babe! Hurry up!" I hear Charlotte call.

I'm running around with a bag on my shoulder. What am I trying to find? I see myself grab a black handband and a box of chocolate puffs, messily stuffing it in the bag. I see my hat by the front door as I run through it, slamming it shut behind me. It's like it was before the apocalypse, domestic. I run down the sidewalk, passing the green grass that had been freshly cut. Cars are passing by as I grip the steering wheel tight, my knuckles going white as I race to where ever I was heading to with Charlotte.

"Ah, I don't know if I'm going to make it to the hospital!" Charlotte exclaims in the passenger seat.

I glance over at her, sweaty and a mess, but still as beautiful as the first time I met her when we were fourteen. I see a wedding band on my ring finger. I grin as I step on the gas. Time flies for a few seconds.

"Congradulations Mr. and Mrs. Grimes, a healthy baby girl." a man announces.

I look up and see Bob with a little bundle of pink. I feel a hand clamp down on my shoulder. I look and see dad, who is older. He smiles down at his grand daughter. He lowers a finger down and the little baby girl holds onto it tightly.

He chuckles and whispers in my ear, "I'm proud of you son. I always have and always will be."

He pulls his finger away and I hear a door shut quietly. Turning around I see the rest of the group, older, but happier. Their eyes light up at the sight of the baby. Judith has long dark brown hair, like my mom, but blue eyes like dad. She's beautiful.

"What's my neice's name huh?" she asks, coming up and taking her from my arms.

I follow where she is going, over to a bed with Charlotte propped up in it. Tears well up in my eyes as I see a gentle smile grace her face while she holds her new born girl. She looks up at me.

"I like Jane." she offers.

I nod, "Jane Sophia Grimes."

She hands me Jane and says, "Go let Jane see her family. I will be right here. I love you."

A jolt runs through my body at the three last words.

I smile and press a peck to her lips, murmuring, "Love you too."

As I walk out, I hear her steady heart monitor go flat. Nurses and bob flurry around her bed, doing multiple things.

"NO!" I shout.

Dad comes in and takes Jane. I rush to Charlotte's side. I feel tears flood my vision.

"Stay with me Charlotte, please. Don't go, please don't go." I whimper.

"Clear!" I hear someone faintly say as they press elctro shock pads to her chest, her body arching with the volts running through her body.

I let out a strangled cry. They are hurting her.

"Stop! Just let her go peacefully." I cry out.

They hear me and back up. Nurses and docters start to unplug things and take the I.V out of her forearm. I press my forehead to hers, which lost a bit of heat.

"See you up there Charlotte. I love you." I whisper.


"Charlotte!" I shout, sitting up and panting.

"Calm down Carl," I hear Dad say, placing a hand on my shoulder, just like in the dream.

"What was the dream about?" Dad asks.

I shake my head and get up.

"What am I doing today?" I ask, not looking at him.

"Michonne, Daryl, you, and I are going on a small run. Stocking up on supplies while the others do their regular chores around here. Glenn is in charge until we get back." he says.

I nod, "When are we leaving?"

"After breakfast." he says.

The first floor is where we eat. Second floor is everything else, which includes sleeping, taking watch, spending time alone, and watching Judith. After my measly breakfast, I secure my holster and hat. We each have a duffle or bag.

"Let's move," Dad says.

And so we walk along the rail road tracks, creating small talk while we have our eyes peeled. I hope charlotte is alright. I miss her. I know everyone misses her. She helped us in silent ways that made us a bit more humane. I wonder if she has found anyone yet.

I wonder if she moved on from us, our relationship. I shake my head, but then again, I don't know her like the back of my hand. More like I know the nail of a finger. She was a stranger when we met, unknown. But then she became known, and she turned out to be a great addition to the group.

If only I could hold her hand right now, warm and alive, squeezing my hand like we did that one day.

"What time is it?" I ask from the back.

"Almost 9:50." I hear Dad murmur to me.

I nod. This will be a long day.

CHARLOTTE'S POV

When I wake up, hearing a heart beat in my ear.

I think, I found Carl!

But I keep myself from blurting out his name because when I look up I see black hair and blue eyes peering down at me.

"S-sorry." I blurt out, getting out of bed and slipping on my jacket and shoes.

" 's fine." Wes says, his morning voice vibrating in my ear drums.

Damn, I thought, That was attractive. I shake my head and leave, going to the kitchen. Grace and Chase were there, eating oatmeal with raisins. I nod to the duo and open a random door. I see a stair case leading down.

"I'm going to check it out." I murmur to them.

They nod and continus eating. I step down the stairs and light a candle on a small table at the base of the stairs. I see a row of photos, a big desk, a flat screen tv, a foldable cot, and a mini fridge. I disreguard the mini fridge and russle through the desk drawers. In the bottom as a whip, coiled tight. In the center of the circle is something wrapped in cloth. I take out both and reveal what was wrapped up. A set of ten throwing knives.

"Remember to have your feet shoudler width apart," Kit says in my ear, his hand molding my hand around the worn out whip.

He toes my feet apart. right now Todd and Mom are in the trailer. We are on a hill, flowing grass a dull brown. The sky is some what cloudy, hinting blue between puffs of white. He thought it would be a good time to use unusual weapons just in case something happens and I don't have a gun or bow.

"Bring your arm straight up, keeping your elbow locked and your arm straight, bring it down quick." he instructs from a safe distance.

I get a feeble crack. He nods. I do it again until my arm is sore. That day he only taught me the basic forward crack. One of the best days with kit was the whipping day. After that we ate beans and half stale bread for lunch.

"Charlotte?" Wes asks from the top of the stairs.

I grab the knives and whip taking it upstairs to the others.

"Anyone know how to throw knives?" I ask, looking to the trio.

Grace and Wes nod. I give them five knives each.

"Do you know how to use that?" Chase asks in disbelief.

I nod.

"I'm going to hunt for a bit, we are staying here for a few hours. After we eat we leave." I say, making my way to the door.

I leave the whip on the kitchen table and leave the house. I set up a few more snares yesterday after I caught the rabbit. A pair of rabbits out of the six snares I set yesterday hang from my belt.

I heard a twig snap and hear a moan. I whip around with my dagger out and see a lone walker. I kick it down and sink my dagger into the skull of the walker. I get up and continue on my way back to the cottage.

"Brunch is here!" I exclaim quietly.

Grace was stirring something in the big pot as I walk to the living room where wes and chase are sitting on the couch in front of the fireplace, a blazing fire licking at the dry wood. I skin the rabbits and roast them over the fire, rotating the meat so each side is evenly cooked, well, almost evenly.

I cut it up with a butcher's knife that chase found in one of the kitchen drawers. I cut and serve to the other group members. I save a leg for myself. After we put out the fire, restock on good water, and gather up our packs and bags. I shut the door tight and catch up with the group right in the middle of the field between the house and the tree line.

"Stop. Everyone." I blurt out.

The trio were in front of me. My senses are on high alert.

"When I say run, you run back to the house as fast as you can." I hiss under my breath to them.

I see movement in the corner of my eye, a running figure with a bow, aimmed at Chase.

"Run!" I yell as I take out my gun and fire.

We all make a mad dash back to the cottage. I hear a yelp but keep moving forward. I yank open the door as bullets pepper too close for comfort.

"Hit the floor!" I bark over the gun shots.

I reach up and lock the door.

"Chase?" I hear Grace ask, looking around.

He wasn't here. She bit back a cry and I saw tears flow down her cheeks. I shudder at the memory of the tragic night when my family died.

"Keep moving. The back door." I grunt as I start to army crawl through the living room and to the back door located by the second bedroom.

We burst through the back door.

"Stick together!" I hiss to the two as I grab Grace's hand, guiding her as she furiously wipes tears from her eyes.

I hear wes fall into step with the both of us. I keep running until I can no longer hear gunfire. We are back on the tracks.

"Wes, keep watch while we rest for a few minutes please." I ask gently.

He nods.

I wrap my arms around Grace's shoulders and pull her into me as she shakes with sobs.

"Hey, I have been in your shoes before. Not to long ago." I whisper in her ear as I glide my hand flat and smooth over her curly blonde hair.

I continue, "But right now you have to push that down. Stay strong for him. A few more minutes and then we have to keep moving."

I feel her head incline, a small nod. I motion with my free hand at Wes and he takes my spot, holding her close in his arms. I smile secretly. They need to get together. I keep my eyes sharp and a hand close to my holster. I wonder what Carl is doing right now.

"Time's up. We need to keep moving." I say.

They both stand up and walk close. Wes's arm tight around her shoulder and Grace's arm around his waist, both walking in step.

Sooner than I thought, it starts to get dark. Luckily, sticking to the tracks has somehow repelled the walkers. In the dim light, I spot a blue car. Then I hear a familiar voice.

"Don't!" Daryl barks.

"And why not? In this world, we stop for no one." Joe snarls back.

I peek behind the car and see two men behind Daryl, guns leveled to his head. Rick and Michonne are sitting on the ground with guns to their heads.

"Someone's in the car." Grace whispers, I barely heard her.

I peek into the dusty window and my heart races. Carl. Carl! I restrain myself from getting in the car and kissing him to death. A man looking at him lustfully is right outside his window.

"These people, you're gonna let 'em go. These are good people." Daryl says.

"This one has a nice lookin' sword. A few more weapons and supplies I'm sure. Once we get a hold of 'em, the boys can have a bit of pleasure afterwards." joe says.

I grit my teeth, if they even dare. I feel my fists tremor at my sides.

Joe yells something I don't make out. I see one of the men slam his gun into daryl's stomach as another one grabs his collar, yanking him back. I see Wes edge over but I grip his arm and shake my head. I see carl turn to watch.

"Teach him fella's!" Joe says, encouraging them.

I croutch, dragging the other two with me as we hide behind the trunk.

"I watch the left, you watch the right." I whisper to Wes.

"Until I say, take out the two men beating up the other man, that one is Daryl." I murmur to them both.

They barely nod.

"Come 'ere!" I hear someone grunt.

The car door squeaks open and I hear Carl struggle. Not being able to see what was happening was killing me.

"Hey!" I hear Rick yelp.

"Shh." I hear the same person grunt.

"You'll get yours, just wait your turn." a man says while the other two continue to beat on Daryl.

"You listen. Just take me. Not them, just me!" Rick snarls at Joe.

"No, we are reasonable men. First, we will beat macho hunter to death, then we'll have the girl, then the boy. Then I'm gonna shoot you and we'll be square." Joe taunts and laughs evily.

I hear Carl yelp and leaves crunch. I peek under the car and see the man pinning carl down. I shudder in oxygen as I comprehend what is about to happen. I blink a few times and realize my vision is a deep red, like blood.

"Now." I say in a calm voice.

I am so furious that I seem calm, this anger racing, blurring into something that resembles peace.

Carl, moaning, gropes the ground for his dagger which is just out of his reach. I hear a gun shot go off and see Rick stand up, but is then kicked to the ground. I hear cries of pain on the other side of the car. Grace and Wes are hopefully taking them out silently.

I take out my whip and uncoil it. A crack rips through the air as the whip slices through the clothing of the man and creates a long slash on his back. Heads turn to me. Jaw clenched, I raise the whip over my head again.

"Gah!" he roars.

Instantly I repeat. He collapses on his side, hands trying to feel the slash. I run up behind the man with a bandana on and wrap the whip tight around his throat and use him as a sheild.

"What are you gonna do now sport?" I hear Joe taunt.

I hear a choking sound followed by a foosh, like someone spat out something. I sink my dagger into the man's skull.

I see Rick, blood smeared around his mouth with a dagger in hand, stalk over to the man who was on the ground.

"All yours." I back up respectively.

Rick sinks his dagger into the pleading man, silencing him. He keeps uprooting the dagger from his stomach. Carl, in Michonne's arms, watches Rick. The man cries out in agony as Rick keeps going. I circle around to Grace and Wes. Two bodies lay at their feet.

"Who are they?" Grace asks as she peers through the window and watches Rick savagely gut the man.

"My group. Don't worry, they are good. Just very protective. The man with the scruff is Rick, also the leader. That is Daryl and the black woman is Michonne," I point to them.

"And the guy?" Wes asks, intertwining his hand with grace's.

I smile, "That is Carl, my boyfriend."



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