I'm still running, as fast as I can while one question repeats in my head, Who were those people?
My backpack beats against my back as I pant, shaded by a pecan tree near rail road tracks. This seems familiar, and so did those people. Maybe I had run into them before. But they didn't tie me up like they would with someone threatening the group. Was I apart of the group? A new person?
I wince as my head reminds me of the lump on it, pulsing wildly. I decide to climb it's branches so that no eaters sneak up on me. It was a good thing too, because no more than a few minutes later, a few show up.
I panic, what is in my pack? I set it in front of me and find my gun. I check to see if I have any ammo, I do. I climb down once it's safe and head across on a dirt path.
I find a small cottage, really homey. Between the cottage and I is a yard. I look up and spot buzzards circling in wide arcs. I finally see the corpse, half gone and stinking like hell. For some reason, I feel like I know this corpse.
"Chase?" I mutter aloud.
Who the hell is Chase? I shake the thought and walk up to the cottage. Bullet holes have peppered the front of it. Seems like something went down here.
I see movement in the corner of my eye, a running figure with a bow, aimmed at someone.
"RUN!" I yell as I take out my gun and fire.
I see the cottage in front of me, gun shots ringing in my ears. 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.
I check for eaters and see that it's clear. There is a sitting room, which only has chairs, two bedrooms, a kitchen with a working stove, a big bathroom, and a living room with a stone fireplace. The first bedroom as a queen and the second is the master with a queen as well. Next to the house is a small stream, rushing with clear water. I'm ravenous right now, so I check the kitchen for food. I smile as I see the familiar chocolate colored box.
"Do all girls like chocolate?" a stranger asks curiously.
"Most girls do. I do," I say.
"No, I thought you hated it," he says, sarcasim oozing from his words.
I chuckle and slap his arm playfully.
"What am I going to do with you," I say.
"We could kiss more," he says, looping an arm around my waist.
"I think I've had enough kissing for today," I say as I blindly scoop some cereal in the silver spoon and slip it into my mouth.
He sighs and goes back to his cereal. I give in and turn his head so I meet his lips in a quick peck.
"You can't resist me can you?" he asks, a smug grin on the lips I just kissed only a few seconds ago.
I shake my head as I go in for another kiss, "Nope."
I had a boyfriend? Hm, someone who liked me. I hope he doesn't know too much about me. I wonder what his name is. I wonder if he was a good kisser. I wonder if he was in the group at the building.
I shake my head, scattering the thoughts every which way as I hear a low rumble. Time for cereal. As I munch on the stale snack, I make a list of what to do this cold day.
Go through pack. Hunt. Boil water. Check traps. See if there is any running water in the house for shower. Build small fire for dinner. Go to sleep. All in that order. I finish my food and heave my pack onto the table. Three guns, half a box of ammo, my book, a pair of daggers, a wicked looking whip, my glasses, clothes, socks, picture of the family. I feel something at the bottom. I pull it out. A leather strap bracelet with wings on it.
I'm peeking through the crack in the door of my room. I watch Kit take out something and sneak it in my pack. He unzips the main compartment and stuffs it deep. He stands up and goes back to the couch in the living room.
Why would he keep this useless thing from me? It must have some meaning to me, so I put it back. Now I hunt. Taking out my gun and silencer, I walk out the door and lock it, pocketing the key in my jacket. As I walk across the yard to the tree line, I remember a song.
Stay with me, I'll stay with you, we'll do the things, that lovers do.
I smile some and whistle the rest. After an hour of hunting, I turn up cold. I go back to the house and pick up the big black pot. Steady on my hip bone, I carefully carry the water back into the kitchen. I twist the knob and the stove turns on. I sit in my chair and squeeze my eyes shut in concentration, trying to conjure up a flashback or a memory. After a few minutes of trying, I stop and realize they have to come naturally right now.
The water boils and I turn the stove off, letting the water cool down. I wonder what he was like. I bet he was loving and kind. I hope he was decent looking. After I drink luke warm water, I go back out and check the traps at noon.
I got lucky with a few nice sized rabbits. I skin the fur and set them over the fire in the fireplace in the living room. I lock the door and set my pack in the living room with me, just in case I need to get out quick.
It's weird, there aren't a lot of eaters around here. When I know the meat is cooked, I take it off, chop it up, and serve myself dinner. I store the other rabbit for tomorrow's food. I go back into the pantry located beside the stove. I scan the shelves and find a can of carrots on the top shelf. Balanced on a chair, I strain and barely reached the can.
Plopped down on the couch with boiled carrots with my rabbit, I finish quickly and quietly. I find the master bathroom has running water for a shower. I smile as I find some shampoo and conditioner along with a disposable razor.
After my long, glorious shower, I towel dry my hair and tighten the high pony tail I fixed. I gather twigs for the fire, check the locks, pile all of the blankets on the master bed for warmth, cover the ambers with ashes, then fall asleep.
Ever have that feeling when you first wake up and your day is ruined when you remember something instantly? It's the morning after Charlotte ran off.
That's what I'm going through right now. With a bruised up face and a broken heart, I sit up. I hear voices downstairs. Daryl is gone tracking down his daughter, my girlfriend. I'm slightly relieved because I'm sure he would have beaten me more than I already am. I hurt his daughter. I know how protective fathers are over their daughters.
I remember Hershel, how weary he was of us, especially Glenn, when we first arrived to the farm. Now Glenn is happily married with Maggie. Suddenly I think, will Charlotte and I ever get married? Flashes of my dream before we found her come to mind. I remember glancing at the steering wheel, gripped tight between my hands. I saw the glint of the wedding band on my finger. So we were married in the dream, maybe it could become reality?
I go downstairs and adjust my hat.
"Morning." I mutter.
The only person who says anything is Judy, who babbles and grips my flannel between her chubby baby fists. I grin down at her in my lap and lean back in my chair. I remember how Charlotte was with her, how motherly she was. Not only did she remind me of my own mother, but also at how good she was with kids.
She would be a great mother. She might want to live in town, a pet or two, sunday church, overdue books sitting on the bench beside the door, sleepy winter mornings after an amazing night of-
"Carl." dad says, snapping his fingers in front of my face.
"What? I mean, yes?" I ask.
"You're on wood duty with Bob for today," he says, handing me a cold rock from the stream for the bruises from the fight.
Ever since Charlotte fell, only adults get to go get water and cold rocks for our injuries. I press the rock to my nose and sit for a few minutes before setting the rock down on the table and going out around the side. Bob was already at it, splitting logs with an ax. He hands me one and I resume my previous pile from yesterday, I hope Daryl finds her quick.