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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16. Maybe I was wrong

       I wake up sometime throughout the night. Carl's arm is slack around me. I sit up straight and look over at him. He's asleep. I move away from the tree, quietly so I don't wake him. I brush the dirt off of my jeans and walk over to where Melonie and Joel are laying. They're still sound asleep. I turn around and start to walk over to where Casey and Brian and Aria are laying, but I bump into something. I stumble backwards, but manage to keep my balance.

     "I thought you said you were gonna keep watch?" I hear Casey whisper in the dark. I don't have to see his face to know that he is smirking.

     "Well it looks like you're handling it," I remark.

     He chuckles. "Like I would just let you guys be the ones in charge of keeping me safe. No, I don't think so. You seem like the type of people that would just sit and watch me get eaten by a zombie. So of course I was gonna keep watch for myself," he explains.

     "Ouch," I say sarcastically.

     "I'm guessing you were thinking the same thing."

     "How'd you guess?" I mimic what Carl said earlier.

     "Whatever. I've got it if you want to go back to sleep," he tells me.

     "Remember. We think the same way," I remind him.

     I bend down and pick up Carl's bag. I walk over to where Carl is propped up against the tree and gently lay his head on the bag. I take a seat beside him and I hear Casey sit back down next to his dog. "So what are you guys doing out here all alone with 2 little kinds?" he asks.

     "Long story."

     "We've got time," he points out.

     I roll my eyes even though he can't see me in the dark. I think about how I should put it. Should I tell him about our group? Can I trust him? I don't really know. I mean he hasn't tried to kill us yet so we might be able to trust him and if we can't we have a gun. "Okay so... we are with a group, but me and Carl decided to go off by ourselves for a-"

     "But you're not by yourselves," he interrupts.

     "Well I haven't got to that part," I snap. "Okay so we decided to go off by ourselves for a little while. It's supposed to be for 3 days, but I have a feeling we've been gone longer than that. We there's this really long road that we travel on and we were heading to this house that we used to stay in. A truck passed us, but it stopped just up the road. Well some guys got out and was going to kill the 2 kids. We tried to stop them, but they kidnapped us and that's-"

      "Why would you try and stop them? That's just stupid," he interrupts again.

      "Oh my god would you just shut up and let me talk?!" I demand. He chuckles, but doesn't say anything else. "Okay so yeah... we escaped from there... yada yada yada... we took the 2 kids with us when we got out and now we have the rest of that group searching for us. Yeah... that's basically it. Yesterday when we say your dog we thought that the other group might have been using it to search for us and that's why we kind of freaked out," I finish.

      He takes a moment to take this in. "Okay so I basically know you're whole story of why you are out here, but I don't even know your name."

      I laugh a little. "My name's Izzy and this is Carl and Melonie and Joel," I motion my hands to everybody as I name them off. "So what's your story? Like why are you out here all alone with 2 kids? Don't you have a group?"

      "Nah. Brian is my little brother and Aria was girlfriends little sister," he explains.

     "What do you mean... was?"

     "She died... a long time ago. Like the very beginning.  She saw her mom being eaten and ran to help her. There was too many of them to save 'em," he tells me.

     "Oh... I'm sorry. I lost both of my parents and my brother at the beginning and my best friend not that long ago."

     "It sucks... a lot. It used to be me, Brian, Aria, my mom, my dad, Zoey (my girlfriend) and her mom, but now it's just us. We've basically just been wandering the woods for awhile now."

     "God I remember when I was alone, without a group," I shake my head. "I don't think I would want to be alive without them."

     "Wait so you haven't been with them since the beginning?" he asks.

     "No they found me a little over a year ago. I was surrounded. They saved me," I think back to the first time I ever saw Carl. All I saw was those blue eyes and that sheriffs hat. I smile at the memory.

      "Is there a lot of you?"

      "Probably about 15," I shrug.

      The sun is just starting to rise, leaving me enough light to see his face. He starts to say something, but then stops himself. "No, I'm not gonna burden you guys," he shakes his head.

     "What?"

     "Forget it," he insists.

     "Look, It's not my decision. We can take you with us and see if Carl's dad agrees to let you guys stay," I offer.

     "Really? You would do that?"

     I nod.

     "Maybe I was wrong to think that I couldn't trust you to keep watch," he smirks.

     I roll my eyes. "I'm going to go check the area. If Carl wakes up and I'm not back yet tell him where I went," I instruct.

     "Okay," he nods.

     I stand back up and cross the camp to tree line. It's just starting to get light outside so it's still kin of hard to see. The trees start out scattered and open, but once you get deeper it becomes pretty dense. I decide not to go into the dense part. This way if I find anyone I will be able to see them with ease.

      I walk a few feet in and see a squirrel run towards a tree. It stops for a moment and looks around. Without thinking I whip out my pocket knife and send it flying at the squirrel. It sticks in it's head. I look down at my hand and back at the dead squirrel. Did I really just do that? I think I may have just found a hidden talent. I smirk, just a little proud of myself.

      I walk to the squirrel and remove the knife. I wipe the blood off in the grass. I pick the squirrel up and walk a little farther. I don't think one squirrel will be enough for 7 people. I scan the trees, looking for a sign of any life. I see some small birds fly in and out of the trees, but they're moving to fast to hit. If I had a bow, or something silent, I would be able to pick them off easily, but I have to have a clear shot with my knife.

      After awhile of searching I give up and head back. We'll just have to make do. We still have some cans of food and some snacks so we should be okay. I walk back to camp and see that everyone is up. Carl walks toward me and looks at the squirrel. "What'd you use to kill it?" he asks.

     I smile. "My knife."

     "You stabbed it? How the heck does that happen?" he raises an eyebrow.

     "I didn't stab it. I don't even really know how I did it. When I saw it I just kinda pulled my knife out and threw it at it and it killed it," I shrug. "Don't ask me."

     "That's awesome!" he exclaims.

     I laugh a little. "A hidden talent," I roll my eyes.

     "Lets make a fire so we can cook it," he suggests.

     I nod. "Melonie, Joel, go gather some sticks so we can make a fire," I instruct.

     They walk off in search of some sticks. "Aria, Brian, that means you too," I hear Casey say.

     Once all the little kids have went off I walk over to my bag and look at what I still have. I have a can of ravioli, a can of chicken noodle, some beef jerky, and some crackers. I pull it all out and take it to the center of the camp where Carl and Casey are sitting. I set it down and take a seat right next to Carl.

     "Okay. So we have two cans of food, a squirrel, some beef jerky, and some crackers. And there is 7 of us, so how are we gonna do this?" I ask.

     "Why don't we just pass it around. We each take a bite and pass it to the next person." Casey suggests.

     "Hm... I've never done it like that before. I mean I guess it would work," I shrug. "What do you think Carl?"

     "It seems fine to me. As long as I get to eat," he smiles.

     So that's what we do.

 

                                     *********

 

        We end up saving half the crackers and a couple pieces of beef jerky. I stuff what's left into my bag, along with the blanket. Everyone gets their stuff packed too. I throw my book bag over my shoulder and situate my weapons. This time leaving my pocket knife in easy reach. It will be nice traveling without my stomach growing every 10 seconds.

      "Is everyone ready?" I ask. They all nod their heads. "Then lets get going."

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