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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15. Chapter 15: It's Not A Bullet

  Pam was chained outside to a tree, the ‘W’ actually carved into her forehead for all to see. Everyone knew the cost of conspiring against Owen. He could be perfectly fine and these conspirators would still suffer a much worse fate than Pam did, for when I opened her throat I was acting impulsively. If I were to catch another treacherous little rat, I would come up with the most painful way to kill them without making them completely useless. All of them must be used as examples, no exceptions.

  As of now, in this little story of mine, I was patiently awaiting my dearest Owen’s awakening. Every now and then he would stir in his sleep, but he had yet to open his eye lids. I had gone back with a few others to retrieve the water Owen and I found. I trusted Edward to watch over Owen while I was away, I decided to finally trust him, my beloved did, so why couldn’t I? There was no logical reasoning behind my distrust of this man other than he freaked me out. I kept a bowl of water nearby after I had returned, every now and then I washed away the sweat that would build up on his forehead. I had also gathered some of the last of the food Pam had grown, I knew it was stupid of me, but we’d find more food, right?

  This entire ordeal had eventually tired me out. Going against my own wishes, I laid my head on the mattress and closed my eyes. This did not last very long, however. After what felt like five minutes, there was movement from the other side of the bed. My eyes fluttered open, but I did not bother raising my head, instead, I smiled softly to myself.

  “You’re up.” I stated quietly. Owen continued to shift until he was sitting with his back against the pillows.

  “What happened?” He asked. I let out a sigh.

  “Before you passed out or after?” I inquired, unsure if he remembered everything. I looked up and took in his unamused look.

  “After, Jean. I remember what happened before.” He quipped as he rubbed the bridge of his nose. I finally sat up, grabbing the soaked washcloth and dabbing it on his forehead once more in a tender and loving way. I was reluctant to tell him everything, especially about Pam, but he would find out some way or another, and I’d rather him not find out when we’re in the midst of another food shortage.

  “Aphid, Arno, and I put bandages on you to stop you from bleeding out. We’re gonna need a lot more than just bandages, though. Pam was in here…” I stopped as put the washcloth back into the bowl and grabbed a bottle of water, handing it to him.

  “She said some things.” I began once more. He arched an eyebrow and eyed me skeptically.

  “What’d she say?” He inquired.

  “Owen… she was saying awful things about you. She was trying to turn me against you!” I exclaimed as I felt tears brimming in my eyes. It broke my heart. I thought I could trust her, but I suppose she was trying to get under my skin all along so I would trust her and actually fall for her trickery.  Owen remained silent for a few moments, contemplating my words. It didn’t take a genius to figure out his next question.

  “What did you do, then?” Maybe it did. I was caught off guard by this.

  “I killed her for saying such things; for trying such things.” I explained. He nodded, but continued to question me further.

  “And she said…?” He asked, referring to the traitorous things she had uttered that night.

  “She said that you were trying to get me to bend to your will and that you were an awful person. She told me about things you had done in the past, now that I think about it, she may have been lying then as well. She was saying things about me falling into your trap or something like that.” I explained. He simply shook his head.

  “You did the right thing, Jean.” He told me. I smiled widely at this and felt proud of myself. I knew how to handle things here by now, and now I was being praised for it… in a way. I turned to grab the grapes I had collected earlier.

  “You have to eat or else you’ll never regain your strength.” I told him. He smiled, chuckling to himself as he plucked a couple grapes off of the stem.

  “What are we going to do?” I asked solemnly. He didn’t say a word. My answers came later in the form of an assembly held in the packaging area of the factory. Almost everyone of importance to Owen and his raids were there. I stood next to Owen as he leaned against a podium-like structure in front of the huge crowd in front of us.

  People were chattering and questioning this. This was the first time something like this was ever done, meaning the assembly. The only gatherings we ever had were to discuss the plan so everyone knew their part when we attacked a community. This, however, was different. There was no plan going into this, we hadn’t observed the community long enough. Hell, Owen only obtained pictures of the place just a couple days before all of this, there was no way in hell we had a plan. As Owen told them about this place called ‘Alexandria,’ I slipped into the shadows, walking behind the numerous empty crates that littered the factory floor.

  “And what do we get during all of this? I say we keep whatever we find for ourselves! I’m sick of giving up what I find when you and that whore get to keep whatever you find!” A familiar voice shouted from within the crowd. I stiffened up, I knew that voice. The one from the forest, when I met Owen for the first time. He tried to rape me. I moved from my position next to a crate, picking up my pace until I was at a sprint. Everyone moved out of my way as I pulled my sledgehammer back.

  The hammer came in contact with the asshole’s head, knocking him over with a loud thud! I looked up at Owen before returning my gaze to the sniveling lowlife below me. There was a large gash that went from the back of his ear down to where his head meets his neck.

  “You get what you get and hope it’s not a bullet!” I shouted angrily. All the rage I had bottled up for this man had finally surfaced. I made eye contact with Owen before asking him a serious question.

  “Let me finish this. He’s caused too much trouble for you. Can I finish him?” Owen didn’t say anything, instead, he gave a simple nod. And with that, I brought my hammer down on this awful being’s head, silencing his groaning. Then I did it again, then again, and again until the pain had finally vanished. By the time I was done with him, his head had become nothing but a puddle of blood, brains, and bone. I lifted my sledgehammer so it resided on my shoulder once more, the crimson liquid dripping from the dark grey metal of the hammer and onto my shoulder and the ground.

  “Anyway… We’ll be leaving as soon as possible, so be ready within the next hour.” Owen finished before turning around and heading down the narrow corridor towards our room. I followed him giddily, feeling the sweet sensation of relief. Had I realized that doing that would have relieved stress I had carried for months a while ago I would have done it sooner. I grabbed my bag and stuffed it with a few bottles and a couple of other things such as a knife.

  “So… do you have a plan for this place or are we going in blind?” I inquired.

  He did, indeed, have a plan. I wish that it were a bit more organized now that I look back on it, but it was okay due to the urgency of the situation. He knew the gash was getting infected, I knew it was getting infected. There was no hiding it. This had to be done. Although, not using our savage ways might have spared a few lives.

  A man who was instructed to kill himself drove a truck into one of the walls, the one with the tower, allowing us to get in. During the panic to get the horn off, most were distracted, others stayed within the confines of their homes. We broke in anyway and attacked everyone in sight.  The attack had begun, I was ready. People were going to die, and I knew it…but I didn’t seem to care. A lot of these people probably deserved it, too. I guess it was for the greater good, they’d be free. They wouldn’t have to worry about food or even the threat of the beings they were about to become. Owen and I hid behind a house in shrubbery that surrounded the back. I concealed my sledgehammer, hiding it for later.

  Owen was still latched on my hand, it seemed like he didn’t want to let go any time soon. I had to pry myself away, despite how much I was enjoying his attention. As I ran off toward the terrified screams, he stopped me.

  “I have to go.” I told him. He looked down for a brief moment.

  “I’ll be back. Don’t worry, I’ll protect you.” I said jokingly, causing him to chuckle.

  “I know, just… be safe.” I nodded as I left. The screams of people around me seemed to only fuel my bloodlust further. I stood, unlatching my hand from Owen’s as I ventured off to the right. The houses were all lightly colored and they were well kept, which was quite impressive in the apocalypse.

  Out of nowhere, a woman with brown, wavy hair and brown eyes emerged from around the corner. She held her hands up, seemingly afraid of me. She was right to be, but she didn’t know why I was here, hell, she’d probably never seen me before and I didn’t have the mark anymore, so she had no reason to fear me or not to fear me.

  “What’s going on? I just walked out of my house and got attacked, they got my shoulder but I ran off.” I feigned. She gulped and looked around.

  “I don’t know. They came out of nowhere and started attacking everyone. Maybe we can find somewhere safe to hide.” She offered. I nodded and followed her up the steps to a house, assuming it was hers, but this didn’t last long. As soon as we made it onto the porch, I took out my knife.

  “Wow. That was easy.” I said nonchalantly. The woman turned around with a questioning stare.

  “What was?” She asked. I smirked, pinning her to the wall.

  “Gaining your trust. Cause you never saw this coming.” I told her as I plunged my knife deep into her side. She cried out in pain, begging me to stop as I repeated the action multiple times. I then covered her mouth with my free hand, placing my arm on her neck so she couldn’t get away and to muffle the screaming further. As her brown eyes lost the spark of life and began to close, I eased her down. Then, I prepared to move on.

  Out of the corner of my eye, I could have sworn I saw Aphid, but once I saw his body on the lawn and this imposter killing Robert, I dropped down, deciding to feign terror and sadness for this hunter. I refused to go down at the hands of them. I screamed at the top of my lungs as I ran back up to the woman I had just killed.

  “No!” I shook her lifeless body, making sure to coat my hands in more of her blood. This hunter made their way toward me, kneeling beside me and taking their knife out before stabbing the side of the dead woman’s body. This hunter looked at me for a moment.

  “Are you okay?” The voice confirmed that this hunter was a huntress. I nodded, keeping the act up. She pointed to the door and moved the woman’s body slightly.

  “Go hide.” She instructed. I nodded and grabbed my bag, standing and rushing to the door. I slammed it shut and looked around. Now was my time to loot. Hopefully our little huntress wouldn’t get in my way again, but sadly, she would. In the worst way. That comes later, though.

  After stuffing my bag with multiple items that mostly included various food items, I left. Finding the shrub that I hid my sledgehammer behind, I lifted my prized possession and prepared for battle. I had to avoid people like our huntress, for I feared my life would be over if I ran into her again, like this. I would fail Owen in that way, and I wouldn’t want that. The roads were painted with blood and bodies were littered everywhere, there was a good amount that I had actually recognized and that was the least comforting feeling in the world; knowing that we had lost so many. My nerves got the best of me, and I ran. I had to know he was still alive. I needed to know, I would die if I didn’t.

  As I finished checking one of the last houses, the screams had begun to die down. That meant that either we were all dead, or we had succeeded and hopefully the huntress had perished as well. I lifted the now heavy bag onto my shoulder followed by my sledgehammer, ready to check the place next door. I could not deny that I was nervous. He was nowhere to be found in the mass graves, nor was he in any of the houses I had checked so far. If I did not find him, then he most likely would have left me here, perhaps due to the same reasons I was panicking, because he could not find me.

  The last house was loud with the sounds of struggles. Glass was being shattered and there was angered grunting resonating through the walls. I rushed inside and took in the scene before me with wide eyes. Owen was on the floor, unconscious and surrounded by broken glass. There was a man who stood above him, still in a defensive state, clutching onto what seemed to be a staff. He was still breathing uneasily and had easily frightened me when he turned around. I put up my hands defensively.

  “I’m not going to hurt you, just please, I beg of you, spare him.” I begged in a cracking voice. The man straightened up and easily towered above me. He made no attempt to change his facial expression, he remained calm.

  “I won’t kill him.” He told me. I breathed a sigh of relief, laughing a bit in the process. He then proceeded to lift Owen, placing him over his shoulder and carrying him out of the house.

  “W-wait! Where are you taking him?” I inquired nervously, only to get a door slammed in my face. I didn’t dare try to cross the wreckage caused by their fight to get to the window, that would have been stupid. Instead, because I wasn’t thinking straight, I waited for the man to return. It took a good five to ten minutes for him to return, and when he did I was full of questions.

  “Where’s Owen?” I asked. The man didn’t say much, only uttering a small ‘I’m sorry’ before hitting me with his staff, the blow having enough force to knock me out. The last thing I remembered was being picked up by this stranger. Then it went dark.

  When I awoke, let’s just say I was less than pleased.

 

A/N:

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This was a long chapter... but for a good reason! Alexandria! Sadly, this spells out certain doom for a character in this fic... meaning we're gonna see a real angry and vengeful character as well... and Negan! Yay! 
So Jean runs into Carol during this time and holy shit it is the start of a very deadly and bloody grudge. I made a connection as I was writing this, however, Jean and Carol both used the same tactic during this attack. They both blended in with the opposite group in order to get closer and kill them. 
So anyway, that's the end of this chapter, see ya!
-Harleen

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