The Dead Walking 4

(This is the 4th book in The Dead Walking series) I hate death. Its not even the fact someone died really its the after math when you look back and think "maybe I could have done something" and it just eats away at you until you cant take it anymore. And it seems no one really understands it, but you so you are left to face it alone. Just like you're left to face everything else alone now because we're all just monsters too.

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17. I Can Handle Myself

          It doesn't take long until we are out on a road again. And to be honest I am glad. I haven't necessarily taken it easy on my ribs and man am I paying for it now. I mean I can hardly take a breath without gasping from the sharp pain in my side. It's easier to walk on a flat surface, but the concrete doesn't give at all when I step leaving my foot practically stomping on the ground and that hurts too.

      "Okay. Do you need help?" Casey demands. "Because I mean you look pretty bad."

     "I broke my ribs," I explain.

     "Do you need help?" he repeats.

     "I've got it," Carl says. "You watch our back."

     I expect Carl to just help me walk or something, but when he walks over to me he removes my book bag and puts it over his shoulder. I narrow my eyes. Then without even saying anything he lifts me off the ground and continues walking. I look up at him. "Really?"

     He smirks. "Yes really. You need more than just some "support." he insists.

     I mean it does feel nice to not have to walk, but I don't want Carl to have to carry me. I decide not to argue. It doesn't matter what I say, he's too stubborn. "So Carl, I kind of told Casey that we would see if your dad would let them stay with us..." I let my voice trail off, waiting to see his reaction.

     He looks down at me and rolls his eyes. "What, did you think I would be mad at you?" he asks.

     "Kind... of."

     He chuckles. "I don't care. The more people we have, the better I guess. I mean we lost a lot of people when the prison got overrun. It'll be nice to get some people back. We'll just have to see if my dad agrees."

     I smile. "Okay. So when do you plan on us stopping?"

    "Ohhhh... I don't know. I hope to at least get to the house that we were planning on staying in. I know it's been more than 3 days. Knowing my dad, they've probably already started searching for us."

    "Good. Maybe they'll find us," I mutter. "Cause to be honest I don't even know if this is the right road."

    He doesn't reply. I relax back into him and let him carry me.

 

               

                                             *************

 

 

     After awhile Carl starts to slow down and I can tell he is getting tired because is shoulders slump a little. I sigh. "Carl, I've rested long enough. I can walk by myself. I feel a lot better," I insist.

     He looks down at me. "Are you sure?"

     I nod. "I'm positive."

      He stops and gently put me down. He hands me my book bag and I put it over my shoulders. I look back to check on Melonie, Joel, Casey, Brian, and Aria. Casey is at the very back, probably so he can keep an eye on the little ones, Joel and Melonie are closest to me, and Brian and Aria are a couple steps behind them. Then I look towards what's in front of me. It's pretty bare. Just a long stretch of fields and woods. The road looks like it continues forever. I see a couple of big signs showing that you are so many miles closer to a gas station or a store. The last sign said 10 miles to a gas station called a name I can't remember. For some reason I have a feeling this is the right highway, but we might be even further than the prison. Meaning we will have to travel longer than the usual trip from the prison to WALMART. This thought makes me weary. Even if we were able to travel it straight without stopping it would take us 2 days. With a stop it could take us 3.

      I look over at Carl and he looks back at me. "What is it?" he asks. I explain it to him. It takes him a moment to take this in. "Makes sense," he nods. "I guess we're gonna be a little late. And we're gonna be coming back with 5 new people," he smirks.

     I roll my eyes. "I'm starting to think that we aren't going to be allowed to go on any other trips by ourselves," I smile.

     "Probably not," he smiles back.

     "I guess that's okay. I mean we didn't necessarily have fun," I shrug.

     "We still have 3 days," he points out.

     "Yeah. A lot can happen in 3 days."

     "You'll see. Once we get to the house everything will be okay," he assures me.

     I don't say so, but I really hope the next 3 days will be much better than the first 3. "So I don't think we are going to be able to make it to the house today. We probably won't get there until tomorrow. So where are we going to stay for tonight?" I ask.

    Carl points to sign just up the road. It says 5 miles to the nearest gas station. "Why don't we go the next 5 miles to the gas station and check that place out. Maybe we can stay there," he suggests.

     "I guess," I nod. I turn back to everyone else. "Is that okay with you guys?"

     They all nod.

     So we continue walking in the same direction we have been walking in all day. 5 miles really isn't that long. We can probably get there is less than an hour if we hurry. The sun is close to setting so by the time we get there it will probably be almost dark. Hopefully the gas station will be okay so we can stay there or else we will have to camp out in the middle of nowhere. I know the section of the highway in between the prison and WALMART has a lot more buildings and signs and houses. For now we will just have to deal with what we've got.

       I was right. By the time we get to the gas station it's already starting to get dark. We walk across the parking lot to the old run down building. It isn't very big. Maybe enough for a small store. The parking lot is filled with a bunch of rusted cars that probably haven't been running for 3 years. We weave our way through careful to make sure there isn't any walkers in them or crawling underneath. Once we reach the gas pumps I am able to see just what the building looks like. It has vines and mold growing all on the outside. There is 4 big windows in the front that I'm guessing used to hold signs talking about special deals and new things they were carrying. 2 of the windows are shattered and the other 2 are just cracked in places. The theme colors are red and white as far as I can tell.

       We walk up to the door and I pull the hand a little bit. The door doesn't budge. "It's stuck," I tell them.

        "Here let me do it," Casey makes his way to the front and pulls out a crow bar. Well it would have been nice to know he had that. He sticks the edge of it as far as he can in the crack and pulls back, causing the door to open a little bit. He loosens his grip before pulling back again. This time the door swing open. "Okay. Lets go," he waves for us to follow him in.

       We walk in slowly, checking to make sure no walkers have been locked in here. I was right again. It's just a tiny store. 5 isles and some glass cases where pop and things used to be held. Everything is gone though. Not a single thing left on the shelves. Everyone from around here must have came straight here and ransacked the place. It must have been chaos. 20 or 30 people all crowded in here, fighting for the last bits of food.

        I walk across the store, avoiding as much of the glass as I can. There is only one little room and the gray, metal door says EMPLOY'S ONLY. I pull out my pistol and aim at the door. I keep my finger on the trigger as I reach for the door knob with my left hand. I am about to wrap my hand around the knob when I feel someone's hand on my shoulder. I gasp and spin around.

        "Whoa, whoa, It's just me," Casey puts his hands in the air.

        "Don't do that! You scared the shit out of me!"  

        He chuckles. "Sorry. But don't you think you should let me or Carl so that? You aren't really well enough to be fighting any hungry zombies."

       "I can handle myself," I snap.

      Carl walks up to me to. I don't pay attention to them as I open the door. I just barely have it open when something rams it, throwing me back wards. Carl catches me as I fall backwards and Casey stabs his machete through it's head. "Yeah... you can handle yourself," Casey mutters as he walks away.

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