His voice rang out like an echo as he felt his body hurl forward, the feeling of a sucker punch grasping the air out of his lungs. He opened his eyes, blinking rapidly as he gazed at his surroundings; a dimly lit room, wooden walls surrounding him, with a fireplace burning to his right (well, it was hot over there). Dominic blinked a few more times as he rubbed his eyes, quickly glancing down at himself. He felt nothing and everything all at once; his legs seemed to be phantomized, along with every other limb. It felt as if every nerve in his body had shut down, only to be immediately rebooted, leaving his body in a nightmarish tingle. His heart came into play, pumping away as his brain was back here, focusing on one, overwhelming drive.
Calm down… Calm down… Calm down…
He shook his head, the leather he lay on spinning in and out of focus, leaving his brain distracted into a short term migraine as sweat started dripping off of his forehead. He stared at his fingers, the past five minutes… or was it ten? He didn't know, each minute seemed to slip by at a rapid pace.
Calm… Calm… Calm…
He focused every muscle in his brain, staring at the little specks that were his fingers. It felt like ants were crawling throughout his body, infesting his limbs like wildfire. The nerves were itching into overdrive, sending not only his hands and feet, but torso and face into a sleepened frenzy. The crawlers creeped up his neck, settling into his jaw line before spilling over his lips. His tongue salivating as tiny drips soaked his shirt, slowly settling the realization that he was actually wet. The tingling seemed to last for hours, a constant fight between asleep limbs and sanity, until inch after inch, the tingling began to fade.
Dominic heaved a deep breath, cornering himself against the leather couch before violently wiping the spit off of his mouth.
"W-w-what…. the….. fuck?" He stuttered, glancing around the room; empty. The fire lay lit, with only a tiny flame flickering from under the burned coals. All of the doors remained shut, and the candlelights headed to the back door were extinguished for what seemed to be the first time since he's been there. Distant sounds echoed from above him, slithering down into his ear canal as he focused on the few footsteps he heard coming from the direction of the stairs.
"Clementine.. WHERE'S CLEMENTI-" He hissed, before he was thrown back against the couch, a menacing reminder bleeding through his mind. He remembered. The gun, the woods, Clementine and…. Himself.
He sat, frozen as the entire scene fleshed out again, like remembering a nightmare right when you wake up. The cold air brushed past him again as he stared into the logs of the burning campfire, glancing up to see the adult Clementine. He stared at her facial features, still able to see the Clementine he knew and loved until the scene changed, and a cold barrel stared at him head on, the future Dominic pulling the trigger. A loud shot echoed as…. he woke up.
He stared into his lap, his menacing headache slipping away, down his spine and into his shoulder… the gun wound. He grazed the bandages, a red, thick clot trickling down his fingers as he winced in pain.
"Ow! Fuck!" He whispered as he grasped his shoulder, questioning his ability to get up. He leaned an elbow against the arm of the couch, gently sliding his fingers down to an elevated position. Dominic swung his feet around, wobbly, and flattened them onto the hardwood floor. With a great sigh, he hoisted himself up, grasping the couch again for immediate support. His head went through a minefield; from a murderous headache to dizzy and empty to complacent in quick succession. He looked towards the kitchen; so close yet so far. The unblocked door frame spun as he limped onward, collapsing onto any surface necessary to keep himself up during his march. With every step, he fought, until the door was in plain view, and the counter laid his final resting place.
"About damn time you wake up."
The voice rang through his mind like a bass drum beating his brain. With his eyes squinted, he turned turned to see a distorted figure inches from him. Fist ready, he aimed, before the blurry vision grabbed him, pressing against his stomach, uneven breaths forcing out of his mouth as he welcomed the familiar violence.
"You know, a simple hello would've been enough," the voice grunted with sarcasm as the unclear intruder gave tension to his windpipes. It was a lighter voice, a woman's. Molly? The arms enclosing him felt cold to the touch, as if the cold winds outside froze them solid. The figure stood a few inches shorter than him, it's even breaths pulsing down his back as he fought, writhing free only to feel more constraints on his lungs, before giving in to his attacker.
Dominic sighed before relaxing his hand, grunting out a simple request. "Hello. Can you let go now?"
"Maybe," she muttered softly, as if trying to decide whether or not she wanted to while flexing her arms, releasing a giving tension to his torso, forcing Dominic to feel nauseous throughout the horrid ordeal.
"Seriously Molly," Dominic growled as he turned to look at her, only seeing a vague glimpse of her bleached hair while a sharp pain made its way up his shoulder and into his twisted neck. "It kind of hurts."
She let out a sarcastic sigh, "Fine then, you wuss." She jerked on his hand one more time before letting go, a smirk playing across her face as he winced and glared at her, her figure clearing up as he stared, yet her body still swaying in his blurred vision as he grasped the counter for support.
"Where are the others?" He muttered, rubbing his shoulder, numbing pain swelling in his arms as he gazed at her.
"No idea." She sighed, her body language shifting from smug to relaxed as she placed her hands on the counter adjacent to the back door, hoisting herself up. "I left last night after we went into Crawford. I came back about twenty minutes ago, and they were all gone."
"Y- you guys went into Crawford?" Dominic gasped as his eyes shot open wide, completely ignoring everything else she had said.
"Yeah, went in for some stuff for the boat, and some medical supplies for you and that one guy, Omid right?" She shook her hand, as if waving the question off. "Anyway, like I said. I came back this morning, and they're all gone, along with the boat."
"I doubt they'd just leave me here," Dominic sighed, leaning against the counter. Molly's figure had stopped swaying, and her voice was no longer a beating drum to his mind, but a gentle tap, scraping his mind into insanity with every beat. "Something must've happened."
"I wouldn't be so sure there, kid," she interrupted, crossing her arms as she leaned against the cabinet doors. "That Kenny guy was ready to kick you out of the group the moment he found out about your time travel… thing." Molly scratched her head as she muttered the words, her nerves uneasy as she became the bearer of bad news.
"Whoa, wait… they know?!" He stuttered. His heart began to pump to the dreadful beat that filled his eardrums; his blood thinning with each pump.
"Yeah, Lee had to tell 'em after you tried to attack Vernon."
"Oh, so this is suddenly my fault…" Dominic sneered, crossing his arms as he thought it over. "I suppose he blames me for his family's deaths then? Great."
"The way you two kept fighting when we first met, can't say I'm surprised." She seemed to chuckle as she spoke, a flashback of Kenny and Dominic shouting at each other replaying in her mind.
"I still don't think they would've left me… Lee wouldn't do that. It must've been…" His voice trailed off as his thinning blood ran cold, as if his heart finally stopped.
"The fucking Stranger." He seethed.
"What? That guy on the radio Lee mentioned?" She questioned, her eyebrows raising as Dominic's face mixed from grey to a cherry red.
"I'm too late. Fuck, he's got her." He hissed, his skin turning hot as the thoughts rushed through his debilitated mind.
"What the fuck are you talking about?" She glared at him, narrowing her eyes as confusion played in the back of her mind.
"He's got Clem… that's why they left, they're trying to get Clementine back!"
"...Fuck." She sighed, laying her head in the palm of her hand.
"And they're not going to be able to find her because the Stranger knows that I know about him. He's going to do everything he can to hide from me." He whispered, the pieces to the puzzle slowly positioning themselves into the dreaded picture that would come to be.
"Well, where did he take her last time?"
"The Marsh House, some hotel downtown. But I doubt he'd stay there now, not anymore, knowing that I'd know where to find him."
The kitchen dove into silence, the two standing in two separate worlds. Molly leaned against the cabinets, staring into Dominic, trying to contemplate his thoughts as the boy, begrudgingly, stared off into insanity. All was lost. The Stranger knew about Dominic, and that thought alone made his heart stop as he knew he had failed. The Stranger could be anywhere, with Clementine in his grasp. Dominic felt, for the first time since he's arrived in this wretched Walking Dead universe, powerless. He felt mortality seeping through his skin for the first time since he'd been there, as if his foreknowledge had been armor, and now it was stripped away from him along with his former life. Shivers crushed his spine as he collapsed against the mighty counter, his breathing escalating to that similar to a panic attack, with no way to calm his thoughts down. His emotions surged, everything on the bridge as anger and fear mixed into one as they corrupted his head, and his heart.
"...but what if he wants you to find him?" Molly offered, forcing Dominic out of the storm brewing in his mind. He glared at her in response, as if she was grasping at microscopic straws.
"What?" He scoffed, back in reality. "Why would he want me to find him? He's done nothing but spite me since he found out about me. I doubt he'd want me to find him now."
"Well, look at you, you can barely stand. Frankly, you're not much of a threat to him now." She shrugged at her own words, forcing Dominic to look inside himself; she was right. Even now, his shoulder shocked him nearly unconscious with every movement, and his brain felt as if it was in a permanent brain freeze since he'd woken up from that…. dream.
"Fuck you," Dominic growled, half-serious, sighing with disappointment as he glanced towards the ground.
"Seriously. It's worth a shot isn't it?" Molly shrugged. "I mean, it is the only lead we have to work with right now anyway."
"I guess so," Dominic muttered, pushing himself off the side of the countertop before losing his balance again, nearly falling into the counter ahead of him before Molly grabbed him.
"Seriously, stop falling. I can't carry you all the way there."
"I'll work on it."
The bell tower hung intimidatingly overhead as the group scavenged the streets below. Echoes rang through the gravel and around every corner, every soul praying for a response: a sense that would never return to them. Cars lotted the road, time easily seen on the metal, the paint peeling and the corpse of what used to be, barren for all to see. The buildings stood, defenseless to time's cruel craftwork. Many of the structures had all but fallen, the wood barricading the doors and windows a deepened grey, with some splinting and breaking apart. As they passed, Lee dreamed of a shrill voice breaking out over the deafening silence, and spotting a little girl popping out of one of the broken cars, a good lecture spilling out over one of them breaking down to dust with her inside.
Placid dust filled their lungs as they coughed, Omid nearly tripping over his own legs as they covered the perimeters along another deserted street. The sun stood dead center overhead, bringing its steady rays over them, a generous heat source as the wind picked up, blowing debris and more dust in the air. Christa held onto her lover, guiding him as they hobbled down another alleyway, screaming her name with barely any hope she would turn up. Lee tore through the road, kicking in every door he saw, bellowing out for the child, his breathing heavy as tears battled his eyes. Silently, he asked for forgiveness for any wrongs he'd done to her, asking why she would do such a horrendous act. Kenny followed suit, more calmly, as he traveled the upstairs rooms, searching in silence for, hopefully, a little one nervous of all the racket.
With another house cleared, Lee rushed out of the building, and on to the next one, Kenny walking silently behind him. Lee met another door, only an obstacle in his mind as his fingers turned to claws, tearing away every fabric until nuts and bolts were all that were left on the door. He brought his knee up, ready to strike, only his little girl in mind as he lunged forward, wooden splinters flying past and a darkened room standing before him. With a final breath, he began a new search and rescue.
"Are you… get yourself killed?"
A voice echoed behind him. Clementine. He spun around, shoving a blackened figure out of his way as he ran through the road, nearly running over what brought him there as a bright light blinded his vision. Carley stood before him, eyes wide as she backed away, her friend now a deranged maniac out for blood. She took a deep breath, about to speak when a southern voice interrupted her.
"THE SAM HECK WAS THAT FOR, ASSHOLE?!" Kenny blared at Lee, wiping the dirt off of his face. A nice cut etched Kenny's cheek, specks of blood popping out of the mess.
"Fuck, I-I'm sorry Kenny. I just panicked…" Lee huffed, drawing in short spurts of breath as his knees gave him a shock, cursing him for the violent uproar he's given them. He glanced up, staring at the angry southern man in front of him, arms crossed, and ready to pack a blow of hot revenge.
"Panicked? Fuck sake Lee, get yourself together, we're not going to find her if you're kickin' down every fuckin' door on the block!"
"Oh, so now I'm getting anger management lectures from the man that blows up if someone even bats an eye at him? You're a goddamn hypocrite, Kenny." Lee spat, now staring at his friend.
Kenny growled, clenching his fists as he hissed out, "I don't know why the fuck I agreed to come with y'all."
"GUYS, KNOCK IT OFF!" Carley shouted, stepping in between the two children and pushing them back into their respective corners as she mouthed off. "If you dumbasses keep doing this we'll have EVERY walker in Savannah riding our asses, so quit it!" Carley's face burned red as she stared between the two men, turning towards Lee for the first bullet.
"Kenny's right, busting through every FUCKING door isn't doing anything but hurting you, and causing way too much noise. Also, it's wasting very valuable fucking time." She turned around, reloading as she drew another breath, getting more heated as Kenny's obvious smile sunk into a shocked frown of oh shit.
"Kenny, Lee is worried sick, just like the rest of us, so don't be surprised if he lashes out, or any of us. You've definitely had your fair shares of becoming fucking psycho, so give him a goddamn break!" She finished, taking uneven breaths as her reddened skin sank back into its normal pale, white creme color. The trio turned to see Omid and Christa hobbling towards them, a saddened look etched across their faces.
"Hey, we couldn't find anyth- What happened?" Christa started, stopping abruptly as she saw the altercation she just missed ending before her. Omid glanced about, giving uneasy looks at Christa as they took a nervous step back.
"Nothing, right guys?" Carley shot back at the two men, who glared at each other before shrugging, silent hmphs echoing between the group.
Christa let out a soft sigh. "Well, let's get moving then, we've got a lot of ground to-"
The street fell into a deathly silence as the radio attached to Lee's belt roared to life, crackling and hisses filling the air before a squeaky voice called out from the other side.
Lee gasped, shaking as he reached for the radio, dropping it as he clasped his hands around the piece of metal transmitter. He bent down and snatched it up, nearly screaming into the walkie. "Clementine! Are you alright?! Where are you?!"
Silence became his only response. Lee pressed down the transmit button again, directing his next message to the Stranger. "You son of a bitch." He seethed, his tone that of a calm madman.
"Hello, Lee." The voice breathed.
"Where have you taken her?!" Lee shouted again, his patience gone for these games.
"You should really watch your tone. Clementine's fine. But if I were you, I'd choose my next words VERY carefully." The man warned, threats echoing out of the tiny speakers.
Lee paused, his shoulders arching as hope drifted away to another world, out of reach for anyone in this apocalypse: far away from Lee. The Stranger had Clementine, and could easily kill her with his bare hands if he wished to. He was going to kill her; it was only a matter of time. Dominic was out cold, with no signs of him coming back, might as well declare the kid in a coma for how things were turning out. Lee gripped the radio, tears streaming down his face as he brought the cursed object to his lips, praying to whatever God existed as he uttered his final words.
"Please don't hurt her."
"Hurt her? I'm not the one who hurts people." The Stranger stated, pausing briefly as Lee's eyes grew wider."There's an ocean of dead between you and me and her, and if I can thank God for anything anymore, it's that."
With that, the Stranger was gone, and they were no closer to finding her than they had been two minutes ago.
"'An ocean of dead.'" Omid quoted. "Shit guys, I think we need to move."
The group turned in unison, Lee dropping the radio as the sight burned his eyes. Walkers flooded the streets, tens, hundreds, possibly thousands turning around every corner. A piano bass turned into a mezzo forte of terror as the moans grew louder. Each walking bone of rotten flesh yearned for blood, and they had plenty to feast on before them. They stumbled toward them, getting closer with every second. A wretched smell punishing the group's noses as they stared, frozen as a shock ripped through their bodies, the forgotten hope being replaced by a cold fate of everlasting death.
"I think they heard you..." Carley whispered towards Lee as she grabbed his hand, giving the man barely any time to retrieve the fallen radio, and started running, tearing down the street in the opposite direction. The rest of the group eagerly followed suit.
"BACK TO THE HOUSE!" Kenny yelped, gripping his pistol and removing it from his pocket, shooting randomly into the crowd of walkers, watching through miniscule glances as a few lucky bastards fell face first into the concrete. Kenny gagged as the rest stomped over the fallen corpses, blood and guts flowing onto the streets and some bits sticking to the feet of their partners.
The group rushed through the streets, lines of buildings and structures passing them by as they escaped the madness behind them. Blood pumping, the group synced into a frenzy of huffing and puffing as the sounds of walkers muted, the snarling growls growing quieter within their frantic rush.
"Wait!" Christa shouted, setting Omid down as she collapsed against a nearby dumpster, massaging her legs as she struggled to catch her breath.
"I can- I… I can't do this." She heaved, looking up at the group, her eyes turning red as she gazed at the bewildered faces staring at her.
"WE DON'T HAVE TIME FOR THIS!" Lee shouted, glancing around as the sounds of walkers grew louder, sending his heart out of control from exercising to fueling panic.
"She's exhausted, Lee!" Omid shouted back, his face enraged with blood-driven anger. "Give her a break!"
"They're RIGHT behind us!" Lee shrieked, turning around to see a walker stumble into the alleyway behind them. He stared in horror at the walker as it stared back at him, clasping its jaw open and shut like a manic animal. The flesh flaked off the teen-sized abomination; his legs were rotten to the bones, with thin slices of meat hanging from his belly. His organs were long gone, all that remained was a gaping crimson hole above his legs, his stomach hanging out, squelching with every step as his last meal sloshed around inside of the sac. The skin within his rib cage collapsed in on itself, leaving what was left a ghastly figure even the scariest nightmares couldn't conjure. A maggot slithered around his arm, removing more and more flesh as it crawled, finalizing the abomination's ghastliness, forcing Lee to swing around and gag.
"I'll take care of this." Carley spoke, annoyance seething through her voice, sending Lee to look away from Hell and at Heaven. She marched over to Omid, picking him up by the shoulders in a rapid fire motion.
"Can you walk?" She fired, glaring at Christa, a look of panic oozing out of her eyes like blood.
"I-I think so." She stammered, picking herself up, wiping the tears away from her eyes.
"Ready?" Carley fired again, gazing at Omid. He shook his head, fearing her reaction if he said anything but yes. She glanced around at everyone, who stood staring in shock at her sudden, and remarkable leadership. Everyone nodded, turning away, avoiding her eyes as they started forward, leaving the deafening noise of walkers behind.
"SHIT, MORE OF THEM!" Kenny shrieked, seeing a horde of walkers coming through the alleyway in almost a single file line, nearly running each other over through the right path to escape into the floodable road.
Everyone turned to look before running for their lives. Carley and Omid hung back, hobbling forward as everyone turned a final corner; what lay ahead sent a painful lump soaring into Lee's throat.
"Not this shit again." He hissed, jumping onto hope as he turned around, more walkers coming from the opposite direction. He stared, the two buildings now like skyscrapers to him, brick by brick of escalating madness consumed into chunks of intimidating metal. He looked to his left, a fire escape platform just above his head, but higher than he needed it be. Glancing around, he noticed everyone staring at him, their eyes closing in on him as he subconsciously forgot how to breath. He stumbled against the wall, letting everyone pass as if he blocked their way to escape, and he was meant perish.
"We'll help you up!" Carley shouted, her dominating voice echoing over the group as if it was a command, sending the rest of them to stare, waiting for her next words. Carley set Omid down next to Lee before looking at him, determination dead set in her eyes. Shit, Lee thought as he met her stare, his heart racing as they met. For a brief, small second, he had the undeniable urge to embrace her, holding her as the world would disappear around them, leaving nothing but the two. He smiled at the thought, with Carley returning the favor, her eyes leaving him without question that she was thinking the same thing.
"Let's move!" Carley shouted again, turning away from Lee and climbing with ease onto the fire escape platform. Kenny lunged next, grabbing the rails as he hoisted himself up, turning around to help his fallen brother.
"Gimme your hand," He said, reaching out his arm. Lee stumbled forward, forcing his shaking legs to move as he jumped, clasping onto the Floridian's hand as Carley grabbed the other. The duo pulled, bringing Lee successfully onto the platform. They turned around, watching as the walkers closed in on the lovers below.
"Quick, get up here!" Lee shouted, throwing his hand toward Christa. She jumped immediately, and grabbed onto him like a lifeline, Carley helping him pull her up. Christa spun around, reaching for her boyfriend as Lee jumped in.
Omid stood up, wincing as he jumped, reaching out for their hands as the world seemed to slow around him. He screamed as he grasped Christa's hand, his leg burning, as if he pulled what had been healed back out of place within one jump. Lee snatched Omid, both of them pulling him up.
"HURRY!" Kenny shouted, but it was too late. Omid screamed, pain engulfing his good leg as he glanced down, a walker clinging to his feet. The walker's broken fingers wrapped around his leg, pulling him down as Lee and Christa pulled him up, a fiery pain burning through him as his body struggled to decide which direction to go.
"HELP ME!" Omid screamed, staring into his true love, as if it would be the last time he would see her face.
"Get over yourself." Christa muttered. She and Lee pulled, bringing Omid and the walker almost over the railing. With one swift kick from his free leg, Omid knocked the walker onto the ground, screaming in agony as excruciating pain shot up his body, his leg going limp as it dangled in midair.
"FUCK!" He screamed out as Lee and Christa hoisted him up, wrapping their arms around him as they stomped forward, Omid dragging his foot behind them.
"Fuck, let's get out of here." Lee breathed.
The tower hung overhead, casting shadows across the empty street as Dominic and Molly followed the road. Molly stepped with confidence, listening proudly as her boots scathed the earth beneath her, while Dominic limped alongside her, staring off into the distance as he tried to ignore the silent rumbles coming from his belly. The city remained unmoved, much to Dominic's surprise, as they approached the intersection they first encountered the herd of walkers upon entering the cursed city. The air seemed subdued, as if the world waited with bated breath for the end to come. A wretched smell permeated the air, the stench of rotten flesh poisoning as the two sniffed in disgust. It was like being in the eye of the storm, the world fading away as the threat surrounded them, their distant moans the only indication they even existed.
Dominic let out an annoyed groan as he clutched his stomach. "Man, I could really go for a pizza right now."
Molly turned to glare at him, her voice dripping in sarcasm as she spoke. "Really? We're looking for a little girl in a city crawling with geeks, and you want a pizza?"
"Dude, I'm fucking hungry," Dominic shot back. "I don't even know when the last time I ate was."
"Ugh, here." She scavenged through her backpack until her fingers gripped something. She reached out, pulling a can of beans out of the bag and shoved them into his hands.
"Uh, thanks, but... I don't have a can opener..." Dominic muttered, staring at the can of delicious grub in defeat.
"That's the point, dumbass."
"Hmmph." He huffed as he pulled out his knife, trying to keep up with Molly as he cut into the can's top, slicing the thin aluminum like butter. As he peeled the top away the heavenly stench of beans wafted into the air, sending a warm chill down his spine. Dominic dug into the treats inside, squeezing out a tiny whimper as his can became lighter by the second. Molly suddenly placed a hand against his shoulder, stopping them in their tracks.
"What?" He muttered, stuffing another handful of beans into his mouth.
"Hear that?" She asked, her eyes scanning their surroundings.
"Hear what? You being a bi-?" She punched him, a few munched beans flying away as he fell backwards, swinging his free hand towards the ground, barely catching himself. He struggled, pushing himself up before Molly grabbed his wrist, swinging him forward.
"Listen!" She hissed, her eyes telling him her next move wouldn't be with her hands. Grasping his sense of balance, he did as he was told, the noise becoming apparent.
Someone was screaming, a bloodcurdling scream echoing through the city, piercing the skies.
"That sounds like…" Dominic started.
"Who else could it be?" Molly retorted.
"Fuck, they could be in trouble. Let's move!" Dominic instructed, limping towards the voice.
"Wait!" Molly hissed, gripping him by the shoulder, pulling him backwards, nearly sending him falling on his ass.
"What?" He countered, scowling at her hand like it was an act of betrayal. "Let's go."
"This could be our chance to go." She said, looking quickly towards the screaming, the sign dead set in her eyes as the palm of her hand pulled tighter on his shoulder. Dominic grabbed her hand and pushed it away from him, making his feet falter as he swayed, light headed.
"Go?! Molly, if that's Lee and the others, we have to go help them!" Dominic growled.
"You hear how far away that scream was? By the time we got there, there'd be NOTHING left to save! I didn't come back for you to just get yourself killed!" She shouted. The two stood at great odds, their eyes locked onto each other, anger devouring their bodies until nothing else existed.
"You left?" Dominic muttered, as if he heard her wrong. He knew that in the game, she had left, but since she was there at the house with him, he assumed he'd changed that; she stayed with him, protecting his body while the others looked for Clementine. This was apparently not the case, and all a lie.
Molly scoffed. "I told you at the house, remember?" She sighed before continuing, much quiter than before. "You didn't have to watch as the group crumbled around you; I did." She let out a soft sigh as she prepared her next statement. "You didn't see what happened in Crawford. How everyone worried about Kenny murdering you. You didn't see Ben and Chuck torn to shreds while we tried to escape that hellhole! The group was done, Dominic! I didn't want to stick around for the bitter end."
His voice faltered, raspy breaths echoing from his lips as he stepped away from her, grasping whatever solid object he could to keep him above ground. He blinked rapidly, watching in horror as the environment he stood in started shaking, his pulse injected with adrenaline as his heartbeat filled his eardrums. His esophagus enclosed itself, choking Dominic while he screeched out his next phrase, batting the tears away. "T-they're dead?" He swallowed hard, gulping down his final sorrows for them, along with the memories they made; he took it as a final farewell from this ungrateful Hell.
He sniffed, muffled whimpers escaping his lips as the tears streamed down his face. He did everything he could to protect the group. He tried so hard to keep people alive, everyone. Now Ben and Chuck were dead. Everything he was fighting for was falling apart right in front of him, with nothing left to save. Dominic's face flushed red as he stomped towards a nearby car, the past few months whirling through his brain as every death, gunshot, and scream echoed; his mind now a madhouse, leaving him inside the cells with the patients. He stared into his reflection, unable to focus on his face… the monster he was becoming. With one final shove, he attempted to smash the disgrace with one blow.
"OWW! FUCK!" Dominic howled, shaking his wrist vigorously as he examined the wound; nothing but a tiny scratch where his knuckle collided with the glass. He looked once more into the reflection, Satan still staring back at him.
"Maybe you shouldn't of punched a window then, you fucking idiot," Molly shot at him.
"Fuck you," He growled as he set the can of beans down and nursed his bruised knuckles, cursing with every breath. He wiped away the tears before turning back to Molly, fighting to maintain his composure as he croaked out. "So, you came back for what? For me? How flattering."
"You don't get it." She retorted, disappointment beaming through her eyes. "You're the only one that matters. You know what's going to happen. If we're going to survive, I'm going to need you, even if half the time I just want to smash your face into the road."
"Charming," he mumbled, picking the can up again as he limped back to her. "But this is Lee we're talking about. Carley, Omid, Christa. Everyone. Even Kenny. I can't just let them all die."
"We can't just go marching in to save the day either, there's gotta be thousands of geeks swarming in on that scream, Dom. It's suicide." She stared at him, praying he was getting the message. "I'm done with that group. Right now all that matters is finding Clementine and getting the fuck out of here."
He glared at her for a minute, thinking it over as the moans of walkers pierced the air in the distance. They were drawing closer with each passing second, attracted by the scream coming from the riverside. He sighed, ready to admit defeat, mumbling his next words as if they were his ultimate betrayal. "Damn it. Fine. Let's go."
Molly and Dominic hovered over the city streets, taking in the terrifying scene surrounding them; broken windows littered the buildings, destroyed offices and apartment rooms alike seen through the shattered mess across from their tiny foothold on the scaffold of their building. The sky held a greyish hue above them, casting ominous shadows on the city of Hell below, warning of darkness's imminent arrival. The air smelt of familiar rotting flesh, worst with every step the duo made closer to the edge.
"I don't know about this one, Dom." Molly muttered as they stared straight ahead, the metal sign hanging between the crosswalk of the very familiar street. Dominic stared at the rusted sign like a signal of great historical value, his eyes beaming as a shimmer of light reflected off the displaying Maccabe Imports sign. He inched closer, examining the structure as he saw himself crossing it, remembering Lee's journey that seemed not so long ago.
Dominic stepped forward, placing one foot on the metal bridge, ominous creaking shrieked through the streets as he jumped back onto the ledge, not daring to look into the sea of walkers below.
"Right now, we've got no other choice." Dominic breathed, scratching the back of his neck, perspiration ensuing as his heart fluttered, a tempo crescendoing into the horrific chorus. "W- we get across, and on the other side is the Marsh House. If we take it slow, go one at a time, it should support our weight." He stammered, taking a deep breath as he stared at Molly, her back facing him.
"This is insane," she whispered under her breath, the church flashing before her eyes. Just like before. "Okay, fuck, I'll go first." She hissed, stepping forward towards the dark abyss.
He nodded, letting out a simple "see you on the other side" before watching her hop down onto the beam, quickly lowering her feet to the bottom rung to support her shuffle across. She bent her knees, shuffling across the array of metal as she squinted towards her goal. The rusted, icey metal scratched her pants as she moved, feeling tiny hisses of freezing metal press against her skin as little tears appeared in her pants. She continued, keeping her arm balanced as she held it close to Hilda, mentally preparing for a fight or flight survival mission if anything were to screw up. Halfway down the beam, she slid her hand on the metal sign holding the words in place, grazing the rough edges with her fingers while she took a deep breath, choking.
"That… stench!" She hissed, gasping for clean air, finding nothing as she forced her throat to adapt immediately. She took small gulps of the poisonous air as she shuffled the final stretch of metal, the moans of the walkers becoming nearly unbearable as she reached for Hilda, whipping it out and latching onto the ledge of the next building, swinging herself around and onto the roof in one swift motion. She turned around, staring at the younger boy on the opposite side of the street.
"Come on!" She hollered at the boy, bouncing on her heels as she stared, waiting for him to cross so they could get the fuck out of there. I'm tired of these fucking geeks!
Dominic took a long, stuttering breath as he took the last step on the edge of the building. Don't look down. He lowered his foot, feeling for the metallic rope as it hovered in midair, causing him to lunge forward onto his tightrope. Fuck. He picked up his head, staring at the metallic plate, marking his checkpoint as he started to shuffle. With his right hand free, and his left holding his beans, he held them close, letting them go only an inch to balance as he crossed the metal rope to safety. You're not Lee, it's alright. He thought, clinging his eyes to the metallic board as he stepped forward, only a few feet away.
A rumbling noise echoed around the square as the metal started to creak. With his heart racing, he shuffled faster, only realizing the horrible noise below him. The walkers moaned, screamed, and wailed, the asylum in his head minutes earlier now coming to life right under his feet. With a quick glance, he looked at the horde below him, a gag-inducing smell filling his nostrils as he witnessed the devilish sight. Possibly hundreds of walkers filled the street, slowly moving up the road. Men, women, and children of all ages crowded together as they screamed. Blood covered every one of them. Some seemed to be missing legs, crawling under the gaps of other walkers, while some had missing arms, their balance off key as they stumbled into others. Dominic stumbled as he almost fell against the metal board, gripping it tightly as he stared into the abyss of lost souls. He stared, hypnotized, as his mouth lay agape to the horrific monsters he had been slaying. In the back of the horde, a mother limped on towards the center of the street. Like the others, blood covered her body, with scabs of flesh hanging across her face and arms. She wore what seemed to be a red, blood-soaked hospital gown and bare feet. Below her, a puddle of dark, crimson liquid oozed out onto the street, a little mesh following the puddle. Dominic, intrigued, focused on the woman, her back towards him, facing the mob. The mesh slithered down the road, blood covering its figure and a rope connecting it to the woman.
"Oh…. My…." Dominic turned and vomited onto the street below, before turning back to the hell he was witnessing. The body did not move, only sprawled onto the concrete as it dragged, cuts surrounding its tiny arms and legs as the mother tugged her unborn child, blood steadily oozing out of her wound. A gash lay on her right leg, displaying where she was bitten at the time of her death. The child could not be distinguished where it could have been bitten, for the concrete had gaged its body so horrifically, bones showed in odd places, with flesh barely sticking to the child's limbs.
"I'm going… to…" Dominic huffed as he turned away from the sick streets, staring only at Molly; checkpoint number two. He took a step, his legs shaking as he struggled to balance himself on the creaking metal tightrope. Half...way….there. He shuffled along the rope, taking shorts gasps of breath as the mixture of bile and beans filled his mouth.
A pattern emerged as he made his way across the sign, until he heard a deafening snap. He glanced ahead, seeing the bolts scatter onto the streets below him as Molly soared higher and higher, the ledge going quicker and severely out of reach. Dominic slipped as he fell towards the street, writhing his arms until his right hand grasped a railing of rusted metal. He dangled in midair as he looked onto the desert below, the can and the brown grub that sat within it splattering onto the concrete.
"NO, MY BEANS!" He shouted, looking down at his delicious treats littered in the blood of passerby walkers.
"You alright?!" He heard over the screaming demons surrounding him only feet away.
"Yeah, I'm fine! Peachy!" He shouted back, looking around at the ground below him. The walkers were turning around, the noise from the destruction piquing their attention. A small hole of space stood below Dominic, but was quickly shrinking with every second.
Dominic took a few deep breaths, his brain shooting adrenaline throughout his body as he gripped the metal for dear life. "Fuck, Molly! Get out of here! I'm gonna get Clem and meet you outside of town!"
"You're fucking crazy! There's a thousand of them heading right toward you!" She shouted, watching Dominic from above. The geeks moaned with a new synchronization of curiosity as they stumbled towards Dominic, the thin escape away getting smaller with every inch. He must've known about this.
"No time to argue! Go!" He shouted, letting go of what remained of the metal sign and crashing to the tiled street below, gasping as pain and the shock from the fall spread throughout his body like a virus. Quickly getting to his feet, he clambered over the remains of the sign, smashing the letters as he struggled until he grabbed the board, putting it between him and the walkers closing in on him. He stumbled away from the wreckage towards the next street over, forcing his breaths to cooperate as he took single steps, managing to remove himself from the thin line that was the street and on his way into the intersection. He glanced up, Molly nowhere to be seen. He looked back, the walkers getting closer, the unborn mother monster slowly creeping towards the front. Dominic watched in horror as they crawled over the wreckage, the remaining flesh on a dozen walker legs falling from their bodies in thick chunks and slices, the blood held poured lavishly onto the street. Oh my God…
Dominic turned to leave the wreckage, not without seeing the mother drag her stillborn child over the mess, the infant's mutilated body getting caught on the metal wires, and its head slowly tearing off of its body. Dominic shrieked as the woman bore no notice and continued to stumble gradually towards him, along with the rest of the mob. The head bobbed against the metal wires for a few ghastly moments, before the inevitable horde clawed over it, smashing its detriment flesh into the concrete, the sound of bones crumbling echoing through the street. The horde moved on, the still lifeless infant body dragging behind its mother, the cord hanging by a fleshy thread. Dominic left the sign upright as he tore for the next street, only to see another walker limping around the corner, the sounds of snapping metal attracting it like a moth to a flame.
He leaned against the building as he stumbled towards the chaos, wearing nothing but rags and a grey, dirty beanie. The beard he bore was full of dirt, trash, and insects swarming as he smiled at Dominic, bearing only a couple of teeth. Taking out his knife, Dominic marched forward and kicked the back of the walker's knee as hard as he could, sending it toppling to the ground, then slammed the blade into its rotting forehead. The body shivered as crimson fluid drained from his forehead and onto the rest of its corpse, dripping to the cement below. Dominic shook violently as adrenaline pumped through his veins, hardly having time to register the moans of more walkers coming from all sides. He looked around, noticing this wasn't the only street engulfed by the walker frenzy, but all of them; he was surrounded. Dominic gulped the bile reaching his throat as he stared down at the dead walker, the now empty eyes staring back at him. Finally, he realized what had to be done.
"This… is the worst fucking day… I've ever had," he breathed as he knelt down, blade shaking as he stabbed the walker's corpse in the chest, more blood spewing from the body. Dominic closed his eyes as he slid his knife down the chest of the walker, sinking it deeper with every inch until he came to the pelvic bone. Dominic opened his eyes as he raised his knife, dark crimson blood/ dripping from his blade, a small fragment of flesh hanging out of his cut. His skin turned pale as he set his knife beside the bleeding corpse. He took a deep breath, small chuckles of heaving gasps escaping him as he reached into the cut. His fingers felt warm as he engrossed his clothes in blood, smearing the crimson fluid all over his shirt and pants, small bits dripping from his beard. Dominic reached in deeper, feeling the slimy surface of organs as he felt a tiny tube like matter blocking his fingers. I'm…. so… sorry… Dominic pinched the slime tube, more blood erupting from the body, all of its clothes now stained a permanent red. He lathered the final traces of his face with the warm liquid before gripping the flesh sticking out of the cut, and pulling. A thick streak of flesh erupted from the body, slithering onto the ground. Intestine… Dominic grabbed the chunk of meat, and while gagging horribly, wrapped it around his neck.
The moans were closing in around him as he turned around, the walkers getting closer with every second, only a select few a mere couple yards away. Picking up his knife, he wiped the blade on the concrete, ridding enough of the blood to replace it back into its rightful home. Hope to God this works. He marched, ready to face the herd standing in between him and Clementine.