"Is it filled?"
"Empty," I shrugged.
"You can take that to Carol. Other than that, I think you're all set. I'll let Daryl know you're ready." I watched as Rick walked away from me.
I threw my backpack over my shoulder, my water bottle still in my hand. I scanned the camp for Carol. I found her crouched down by the lake getting water.
I approached her and saw her jump when she realized there was someone behind her.
"Sorry," I muttered.
"Don't worry," she said chuckling at herself. "What can I getcha?"
"Rick sent me down here." I held up the empty water bottle for her to see.
"Ah," she said. "Follow me."
I followed her back up to camp where she got a half filled jug of water out from her tent. She began filling my bottle with water.
"If you happen to find any more while you're out, make sure to grab it. We're running low," she said.
When my bottle was full...
"Good luck," she said smiling. Then she was gone.
I started to walk over to the edge of the road. On my way there, I noticed that I was shaking. I guess I was just really nervous. I had never been out on the street with anyone but my brother.
"Hey squirt," I heard Logan call from across camp. I turned to see him jogging towards me with a big smile. When he got to me, he gave me a playful hit on the shoulder.
"You'll be fine, okay? I mean, have you seen Daryl's arms?" he said laughing.
I wanted to laugh, but I didn't. He saw that I was still scared so he pulled me into a hug. I didn't want to let go of him but he pulled away.
"See you when you get back," he said. Then he was gone.
I took a deep breath and continued walking towards the edge of the road. From the corner of my eye, I could see Michonne alone in the field, practicing slashing her sword in mid-air. I wondered why Rick was sending me and not her.
Then I remembered that I had personally asked him for this. Damn.
When I reached the edge, I saw Rick and Daryl knelt down by the truck I had seen Sasha and Tyreese arrive in earlier. Rick's forehead was shiny with sweat.
"What's the matter?" I asked.
"Truck's not startin'," Daryl grunted.
"You're gonna have to go on foot," Rick explained. "There's no other option. And this can't wait."
Daryl gave a silent nod and without even looking at me, he turned his back on the camp and started following the road back towards the bottom of the mountain. When he saw that I wasn't following him, he whirled around.
"You comin'?" he asked.
Rick gave me an assuring nod, so I walked over to join Daryl.
"See you when you get back," Rick called from behind us. I wondered why everyone was saying that. Like they were trying to convince themselves that we'd be back. Or maybe they were trying to convince me that we'd be back.
For the first part of our walk, it was quiet. I hung my head low and stared at the ground as I walked. I still felt uncomfortable about Daryl and I's last encounter. I figured that addressing it would be a good start.
"Sorry about the other day," I blurted out.
He didn't say anything. He just continued contemplating his surroundings and tightening his grip on his crossbow. But his expression was soft. I also noticed that that he had been biting the inside of his cheek. That was a nervous habit of mine too.
"I had never used a weapon before this. I don't even know if I've seen a weapon before this. Before the apocalypse I mean," I muttered.
I took my hand and felt for my gun in my belt pocket. It felt weird having it on me. But in some way it made me feel tougher and more dangerous.
"Did you hear me?" I checked to see if Daryl was even listening.
"I hear you," he grunted softly.
I got the message. For the next little while, I didn't try to make conversation. When we reached the bottom of the mountain, we had a right or left option.
I stared in both directions. Neither way seemed any more promising to me than the other. I waited for Daryl to make the decision.
"Left," he said.
"How do you know?" I asked.
"Hospital's that way," he replied and pointed in the left direction. Then he began walking. I jogged for a second to catch up to him.
"You seem to have a good sense of direction," I said lightly.
"You could say that," he replied. Finally he wasn't monotone.
I was about to ask him what his occupation was before the world ended but Daryl threw his arm in front of me to stop my movement.
"What?" I asked.
I looked around in all directions to see what he could have noticed but it was all deserted. I was about to ask him again but he spoke.
"I heard moans," he said calmly. I watched as took his crossbow that was hanging over his shoulder and put it in ready position in front of his face.
I followed his lead and reached for my gun. Before I had even taken it out of my belt...
"Don't do that," Daryl said quickly.
"Why not?" I asked.
"It's best if you let me do it," he replied.
I was slightly offended by this but in a way I understood. I would probably waste a bunch of bullets and just attract more walkers to the area if I tried to take down a walker that Daryl could take down with just one quiet arrow.
I waited to hear the moans. And then I did.
First I heard one, then another, and then it sounded as if a whole mob of walkers was surrounding us.
Daryl was looking every which way, changing the aim of his crossbow from left... to right... to straight... and then he looked behind him.
He shot an arrow.
I whirled around to see a group of walkers, a bit smaller than the group in the city, coming out of the woods and limping towards us.
"I take it back!" Daryl yelled.
With that, I reached into my belt pocket and took out my gun. Daryl and I were walking backwards, trying to back away from the mob. But they were coming at us fast, and Daryl was shooting his arrows one after the other.
I scrambled with my gun and tried to get it ready. I was shaking so much I could barely hold it in my hands.
"Anytime now would be great!" Daryl yelled.
Finally I held up my gun and began shooting.
CLICK CLICK POW
CLICK CLICK POW
I shot into a walker's stomach. It kept on limping.
"Aim for the head!" Daryl shouted.
"I know, I'm trying!" I shouted back.
CLICK CLICK POW
Yes! I shot it right in the head. I watched it go down. But I didn't have time to celebrate. The walkers were coming quickly at us.
When even more of them came out of the woods...
"Daryl..." I whimpered.
As if he had agreed with me, Daryl stopped shooting. He flung his crossbow back over his shoulder and grabbed me tightly by the forearm.
"C'mon!" he shouted.
Then we started running. I felt the pain of his grip on my arm, but I just continued running alongside him, trying to zone out the sound of the hungry groans from behind me.
I knew the mob was gaining on us, but all I could do was run.
He lead me to a little shack at the side of the road. It was completely run-down and deserted, with just one way inside.
He dragged me to the molded door with graffiti on it, opened it, and threw me inside. Once we were both on the other side of the door, Daryl tried to slam it shut.
One of the walkers from behind us got its head caught in it. I saw the blood squirt out from it's neck as Daryl tried to slam the door.
"Step back!" He shouted at me.
I did as he said and watched as he took a step back and shot one of his last arrows at its head. The blood spewed out towards me and I gagged. The walker stopped groaning and hung its head, dead.
Daryl pulled the arrow out of his head with a grunt. He took the walkers neck in his hand, cracked the door open, and threw it outside the door with the all the other alive groaning walkers.
Their hands tried to find their way inside the shack but Daryl slammed the door on them successfully this time.
Once safe, he put his back on the door. He crouched over his knees and was breathing heavily. I was just standing in the back of the one-room shack, mortified. I had blood stains on my shirt and just stared at Daryl with wide eyes.
After a moment of him trying to catch his breath...
He gave a hard, angry kick to the door.