Not Far

Jean is subjected to a rude awakening when she parts ways with her best friend. She makes her way to Washington D.C. before finally running into a group of survivors, but is she in for more than she bargained for? Will she slowly lose her mind in this lonely world of devastation and no hope?

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9. A Safe Return

 After a few more weeks, we finally made it back to our base, and I was greeted by a familiar red head. Her warm smile made me feel at home as well as her warm embrace. She looked at me and acted with an emotion that could only be described as overjoyed.

  "You're here!" She exclaimed happily. I smiled at her, nodding my head excitedly. She had a handful of flowers in her hand and she was playing with the petals.

  "What'd you think? I'd be dead or something?" I questioned. Pam looked down, picking up a flower and placing it behind my ear. 

  "Wait... were you seriously doubting me?" I inquired. She shook her head.

  "Nah. It's just... newcomers-like you-don't usually last long." She explained. I crossed my arms, not out of offense, but I was intrigued. Did this have anything to do with him leaving me in the woods? Was he actually trying to kill me?

  "What happens?" I asked. She sighed, looking down and letting the crumbled petals fall out of her hand and get caught up in the wind. 

  "Alpha W says that they end up straying from the group and they end up getting killed. I don't know if that's true, I've never gone out there with them, but it's kinda strange that every single one strays from the group." She says as she turns around, heading back toward the gardens. I followed her through the towering vines that hung down from the fences and pipes that ran along the top of the warehouse and over our heads. She had several sunflowers growing in their own little area. Name a flower, and she probably had it. Roses, Marigolds, Violets, Bluebells, etc. It was amazing. She grew plenty vegetables and fruits such as grapes, tomatoes, carrots, and watermelon. It was amazing, it was beautiful. I hadn't laid my eyes on something like this since before the apocalypse. 

  "I mean, there were a few that he brought back, half of them weren't alive, but they came back with them." She explained. I was still distracted by this beautiful grove she had growing behind the warehouse. My fingers traced along the grapes and leafs that hung from the vines overhead. She giggled.

  "It's pretty, isn't it?" She asked rhetorically. I nodded, not really caring that she didn't need an answer. I always thought that most of the food we had was stolen, but I was proven wrong when I finally walked into her gardens. I only saw the entrance and I had no clue how big her garden was. I always thought they gave her a little area for it, but I was wrong.

  "How?" That was all I could say, I was in awe. This was something extremely rare and important to have for the apocalypse. 

  "I was a farmer before all of this. Well, when I was younger. I lived in the country with my parents but, they weren't gardeners like I was. They just wanted the peace and quiet that came with living in the country. I eventually moved out and got a job as a florist in the city, and that's where I met the love of my life." She confessed. I arched an eyebrow as she crouched down, pulling out a weed.

  "Who was it?" I asked. She smiled and pointed outside of the garden briefly.

  "Eddie. Him and I met when he came in looking for flowers to impress this girl. It, obviously, didn't work out for him, but he didn't stop coming back. Eventually, he asked me out, and after a couple of years we got married. Then... it happened." She stopped. I offered a sympathetic smile.

  "I'm sorry." She perked up, arching her eyebrow.

  "Oh. Honey, he's not dead, he works with Alpha W. Edward." She told me. My eyes widened.

  "That guy? Ugh, I'm pretty sure he hates me." I told her bluntly. She only laughed at this, shaking her head as she went back to weeding the garden. 

  "We don't talk much anymore though. Hell, we don't even stay in the same room. He's always off doing something for Alpha W and when he's done and ready to retire for the night, he goes to his own separate room. I did get to talk to him a couple weeks after we were brought here but he seemed... different. I don't know what Alpha W did to him, but he's different. I don't actually care about not talking to him anymore, cause it isn't him." I saw a single tear roll down her face. My heart ached for her, the person she loved was barely a person anymore, and it was Owen's fault.

  "That's worse than him being dead." I muttered. Pam looked up, at this point she was in tears, sniffling.

  "Is it though?" She asked. We sat there in silence as she resumed her task and I pondered her question. If they aren't themselves, and mindlessly follow the word of another, then what separates them from walkers? They just become a hollow shell of what they used to be.

  "Again, Pam, I'm sorry." I apologized. She held her hand up. 

  "It's fine." After she said this, I walked away. I was ashamed of myself, I was in love with the man who had ruined her husband's life.

  We didn't talk much after that conversation in the gardens. All I knew was that Owen had done something to her husband, and it changed him. I was worried that he'd do that to me, as much as I wanted to doubt it, I just couldn't. I felt bad for that stupid asshole, cause I know that he wasn't like that before.  

  The man who I fell for, basically brainwashed people to do his bidding. Anger rushed through me as I made my way to his room, which also served as an office. There was no way in hell I was going to allow him to do what he did to Edward to me or our kids. If and when we have them. 

  I opened the door, not bothering to knock. He was sitting at his desk with his head down and didn't seem to be phased by my presence. I quietly shut the door and made my way towards him. When I finally laid my eyes on his sleeping form, everything that had been coursing through my mind were immediately wiped away. He looked so peaceful, so innocent. There wasn't a chance in hell that I could glance at this and believe everything Pam had told me. And I didn't. I looked over at where the cots were and grabbed the one of the blankets that were piled onto the messy area and gently placed it over his shoulders, leaving a soft kiss on his cheek before turning around, stripping to put on my night dress, and laying on the cots, waiting for him to wake up. I'd talk to him about Pam when he was up for it, now was definitely not the time. 

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