The Complete book of Hope's Unfinished Works

This book has every one of Hope's unfinished stories. She thought it would be nice to have all of her stories documented into one big book. So here it is. Including: Life in a New Standpoint Tale as Old as Time Thrown for a Twist What to Do with the Wotters The Tale Untold Trouble in Paradise The Divine

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17. The Look of a Soldier

"So you guys are livin' at the farm?" Rick asks leaning forward in his seat.

We are taking about a 20 minute detour to a town nearby to get some much needed supplies. With all these new people 'joining' the group (a lot with medical injuries) we will be needing quite the plethora of supplies. I really don't know how happy Mike is going to be about this. He can be a total ass.

"Yeah, we are. We got the place pretty decked out." I reply glancing in the rear-view mirror at Rick. His blue eyes have a certain sparkle to him and I can't help but hold back a smile.

"And some of our people, they've already shown up?" He questions intently.

I smile a small bit, "Yeah, seems like a pretty decent crowd. You guys have been through a tough time. When we get back feel free to take it easy for a while."

"Any of them have a little girl with them?" He asks a glimmer of hope gleaming in his eyes.

I frown, "Sorry. No." I reply firmly. The hope leaves his blue eyes and for a moment he looks dead inside. He stares out the window with a cold glare.

I glance at Daryl who is leaning his head against the seat, he looks as if he is sleeping, but with his eyes open. That poor man, he's been to hell and back, I can read it on his face. I've seen that look on his face before, when his mother died. All those years ago when that happened the look on his face was burned into my memory. Just a blank stare, almost impossible to read, a saddened look, a hardened look. The look of a soldier. His home life was already tough enough, then with his mother gone things only got worse for him and Merle.

When I look to Rick and when I look to Carl I see the exact same look in their eyes. It makes my heart drop to my stomach just to think of what they have had to go through to get this far. It's not that we all haven't been through tough times, but the look on their faces is different. It tells a harder story

I pull the car over near an old gas station and linger silently in my seat for a moment. "You guys rest in here, I'll only be a little bit." I say.

Instantly Daryl snaps out of it, "Hell no I ain't lettin' you go out there alone."

I roll my eyes, "Don't worry about it okay?"

Rick speaks up, "No Daryl is right, the more people the better. We can get in and out faster."

"Rick, you're in no shape to be runnin' around." Daryl says swiveling around to look at Rick.

Rick begins to argue back but Carl breaks in, "We'll all go. It's settled, no one gets left behind."

We all silently agree to the calm teenager and step carefully and cautiously out of the car. The town seems pretty deserted, trash lines the street along with a few small houses an old McDonald's, a small family grocery store and the Gas station we are standing in front of. We form a line each of us staring at it. Rick, Carl and I hold our guns while Daryl rocks the crossbow.

Daryl turns his head to me and says, "Stay close darlin'." I hold back a chuckle he knows I hate it when people call me that.

"Ready? On three.." I begin the 4 of us approaching the door, "1. 2. 3." Daryl charges in first the jingle of the bell above the door echos through the place. Standing in the back of the store are three fresh dead heads. They don't look but a week old. Their pale grey heads swing to face us, Daryl takes the first one out quickly.

Carl takes the next one out with the silencer I put on his M 16. I take the ax from my waist and quickly run at the last one who is staggering towards us at a slow pace. Blood gets on the front of my shirt, but it always feels good to kill those fuckers. I smile down at Carl and then to Rick.

"Your boys a good shot Rick. I guess we have you to thank for that." I say walking over the corpse I just killed. Rick lets out a dry laugh and I catch a small smile flicker across his face.

"Thanks." He mumbles his smile fading.

I notice Daryl take a quick glance back at me as I make my way through the small aisles. He purses his lips as he slides a few cans into his bag. I find a small first aid kit and a few bottles of water. This place is picked through but not as bad as some of the other places I've been through. Then I hear it, the low shuffle of dead dragging feet. I instantly snap my head up. Standing outside the glass doors is at least 20 dead heads. The three men follow my gaze and it's as if I can feel their worry inside of me.

"Shit.." I say I turning around to look at the fire exit, "Come on. Out this way."

We jog over to the door and push it open, instantly a loud siren fills the air around us. I refrain from covering my ears. More walker will be coming from all around the town, we have to move quickly. Sun light instantly hits my eyes and it takes a moment for me to adjust. I look to my right and there are about 7 walkers walking towards us. Which means we have to take the left side. It will take longer to get to the car.

"Circle formation." Orders Daryl, "Stay together, but move fast."

We get into a quick circle and move as fast as possible to the other back side of the gas station. We kill three dead heads that were moving at us quickly. Just as we round the corner a surprise dead head grabs Rick by the arm, but just before he sinks his dirty rotten teeth in I load a round into its head. Rick gives me a quick nod and joins the circle again.

"HURRY!" I shout over the fire alarm that is ringing through my ears. "I can see the car." I can see the car alright, we just have to get through all these corpses. "STAY CLOSE."

As more dead heads make their way for us from all angles, I know what we must do. "BREAK CIRCLE AND RUN FOR THE CAR." Almost as if everyone was thinking the same thing we take off faster than we were moving before back to my vehicle.

I trip over my own feet sending me and my gun flying to the ground with a thud. Dead heads approach me on both sides and for a moment I think I'm screwed. Daryl's strong hands force me to my feet, he kills the corpse on my left. I grab my gun and just miss the grasp of the other one.

As we run Daryl stops to bash a corpses head in, he shoo's me along. The car is 50 feet away, 30, 10. I run for my life, taking in long breaths as I quickly stride the last five feet to the car. I swing open the door and shove the key into the ignition. Carl and Rick fall into the back seat slamming their door, just before I press the accelerator I look thoughtlessly at the passengers seat and realize there's no Daryl.

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