So, I decided to jump on the Daryl/OC bandwagon, especially after the latest episode just made me even more obsessed with him. ;)
This story starts during Season 1 and introduces my OC, Candice Carraway, and her brother, Matthew. I have to point out that my only "The Walking Dead" knowledge comes from the t.v. series as I have not read the comics for fear of spoilers. I'm apologizing in advance is my timeline is a bit off or if I have some facts wrong.
Disclaimer: I do not own "The Walking Dead".
"Paging Dr. Carraway. Dr. Carraway to the emergency room."
C.C. resisted the urge to groan out loud. She had been relishing the few moments of rest she had finally managed to get. Her head was pounding, her feet were aching, and if she didn't get at least one hour of sleep, she was afraid she was just going to drop from exhaustion.
Reluctantly, she stood, stifling a yawn with the back of her hand and walked over to the phone that was hanging on the wall of the locker room. She punched in the code to the emergency room, leaning her back against the wall as she tried to relieve some pressure off of her tired body.
"This is Dr. Carraway," she said into the phone.
"Dr. Carraway, we need you down here," the head nurse's voice sounded frantic. "We just got an influx of patients, all complaining of the same thing – body aches and fever."
C.C. pinched the bridge of her nose. Her shift had ended two hours ago, but the patients had kept on coming. She sighed wearily, sweeping back the strands of hair that had come loose from her ponytail.
"I'll be right down," she replied, hanging up the phone and moving over to her locker to grab her coat.
It came with the territory, she supposed. She had long grown accustomed to the lack of sleep. Pulling all-nighters, countless hours spent studying while everyone was out partying and enjoying college life to the fullest. The studying had paid off, though, graduating top of her class and earning her residency in the best hospital in Atlanta.
She made her way down to the emergency room, pulling her stethoscope around her neck before skidding to a stop as she got to the entrance. It was overflowing with people. She got pushed aside as an orderly rushed by with an empty wheelchair.
"Sorry, doc!" he called out over his shoulder.
C.C. waved him off and made her way to the nurse's station, nearly getting run over again as a medical team charged by to the ambulance entrance. Dr. Beckett, the head of the emergency department, was flipping through a stack of patient files.
"What's going on?" C.C. asked worriedly. It seemed to her that the number of patients had nearly tripled since she had taken her break almost fifteen minutes before.
"That's what we're trying to figure out," Dr. Beckett said gravely. He set down the paperwork and put an arm around her shoulder leading her to a discreet corner away from the bustle of the emergency room. He lowered his voice so that only she could hear. "It's almost like some sort of epidemic. They're all complaining of the same things, and no one is getting any better. All the hospitals are booked...every one of them reporting the same thing. We're setting up triage outside in the parking lot."
C.C. nodded. "What do you need me to do?"
He ran a hand through his hair. "Everything?" Beckett threw her a tired smile. "Actually, you're more use to me if you go home and get a few hours of sleep."
"I'm fine," she said, forcefully. The harried activity in the emergency room had sent the adrenaline rushing through her body, overtaking her previous exhaustion. "I'll take over outside."
"C.C.," he grabbed her arm to stop her. "You're running on fumes. I know your shift ended a couple of hours ago...you've been on your feet for almost twenty hours."
She let out a breath. "Okay, I'll go get some sleep, but I'm not going home. I'll be in the break room. You're going to need me here in case this is some sort of epidemic."
"Your dedication and perseverance never ceases to amaze me. That's why you were my best resident and now my favorite doctor," Beckett replied, shaking his head in amusement. "But I need you at your best. Go home, get at least six good hours of sleep, and then report back here." She opened her mouth to protest but he held up a hand. "We can't afford to have our doctors falling victim to whatever's going around. C.C., I'm telling you this as a friend. I need you here, yes...but I need you at one hundred and fifty percent. The only way you can do that is if you go home and get some real sleep."
C.C. chewed on her bottom lip thoughtfully. She looked around the emergency room. They certainly had their hands full. The hospital administration seemed to have pulled out every available nurse and doctor down to the emergency room. After a few seconds, she nodded reluctantly.
"Six hours," she finally conceded. "I'll be back before you know it."
As she gathered her things and made her way to her car, she became oblivious to her surroundings. She was too focused on the rock music blaring through her stereo as it kept her from falling asleep behind the wheel. C.C. didn't notice the surprisingly empty Atlanta streets, nor the lack of cars as she entered the parking garage to her apartment building. She didn't notice that Tom, the overly cheerful doorman, was not there to greet her, nor the obvious lack of noise that usually came from her neighbors.
All that mattered, as she locked the apartment door behind her, was the comfort of her bed, which she immediately fell into, scrubs and all. After a few seconds, C.C. succumbed to a deep sleep, dead to the world.
The first thing C.C. noticed when she woke up was the fact that it was unnaturally warm. She stretched out luxuriously, letting out a loud yawn. Her eyes opened slowly, adjusting to the sunlight as it streamed through her bedroom window. As her mind began to clear of sleep, she suddenly realized that she had overslept. She quickly jumped out of bed, practically ripping her curtains aside and looking up at the sky. It seemed to be late afternoon.
Shit, she thought bitterly as she removed her scrubs and went into her closet. Shit, shit, shit...
A quick glance at her alarm clock showed her the cause of her tardiness. Apparently, the power was out. That would explain why her air conditioner was out, too. C.C. made a mental note to check in with the building repairman to see what had caused the power outage. She briefly wondered if only her building had been affected or if it was more widespread. That thought made her hurry as she realized that the hospital would be running on generators and that they needed her there now.
A sudden noise made her pause, her hand poised in mid-air as she reached for a fresh pair of scrubs. It was coming from the kitchen. She stifled a gasp with the back of her hand at the sound of dishes breaking. Someone was clearly ransacking her apartment...and she was standing around in her underwear.
She quickly pulled on an oversized t-shirt and grabbed the nearest weapon-like item she could find - an old baseball bat she kept in the back of her closet. Her bare feet moved carefully over the hardwood floors, inching her way out of her bedroom with the bat gripped in her hands.
She quickly noted that her front door had not been forced open. But it was also locked from the inside and there was a chair propped up against the door handle. C.C. frowned, her heart pounding in her chest at the thought of being locked inside her apartment with a robber and possible rapist.
"Good, you're awake," a voice called out from the kitchen.
"Jesus, Matty!" she cried out, clutching at her heart. She glared at her older brother. "What the hell are you doing here?" She glanced behind him. He seemed to have, literally, raided her kitchen cabinets. "Wait, scratch that. What the hell are you doing, period?"
"Get dressed. We need to get out of here."
It was only then that she noticed the a stuffed backpack on the kitchen counter and the duffle bag on the dining table.
"Jesus, you don't know?"
C.C. tossed the bat on her couch and walked to the kitchen. "Know what? What's going on?"
"The world's gone to shit, C.C. I don't know what the hell is happening, but it seems like everyone's gone crazy."
It took a moment for his explanation to register. She leaned back against the kitchen table, arms crossed over her chest, waiting for him to start laughing. When he didn't, she let out a chuckle.
"Good one, Matt. If you needed money, you could've just asked me instead of taking my stuff. Seriously, I - "
"This is serious!" He moved to stand in front of her and grabbed her arms. "C.C., listen to me. We need to leave. Right now."
She frowned at him. "Okay, now you're scaring me. Look, why don't we just sit down and - "
Her eyes snapped to his. It was the use of her name, more than anything, that captured her full attention. It was a name she rarely used, having always been known as C.C.
"Matthew?" she retorted, though there was no bite to it.
"Please, just..." His light gray eyes, so like her own, pleaded with her trust him. "Just go get dressed, and pack some clothes. We need to leave."
"Okay," she nodded, agreeing so that he would calm down. She took the duffle bag from him. "Give me a few minutes."
C.C. went back to her bedroom. She quickly changed, then stuffed as much clothes and toiletries as she could into the bag. She had to admit she was a little scared. The last time she had seen Matt so serious was when he turned eighteen and told her he was leaving their parent's house for good. And even then there had been a joking quality about him...almost as if he was having the last laugh even though the situation was far from funny.
As unbelievable as it seemed, she was sure that he was telling the truth. And she had a nagging suspicion that the sickness she had seen the day before at the hospital had something to do with whatever was going on.
She took one last look around her room, unsure if she would be returning any time soon. Satisfied that she had gotten everything, she met her brother in the living room.
"Where's your Rover?" he asked, shouldering the backpack and his own duffle bag.
"In the parking garage on the lower level. Where's your truck?"
"I parked it in the street, but we won't be able to get to it...it's too risky. Your Rover's a safer bet."
"Wait," she placed a hand on his arm. "Where are we going?"
"Mom and dad's?" he answered hesitantly. "It's the only place I could think of that would offer some semblance of protection since it's gated."
"God, I just remembered...they're in Europe. Do you think they're - "
"Let's just worry about ourselves for now, okay?" She gave him a curt nod as he handed her the bat she had thrown on the couch. "Here. Just in case."
C.C. threw him a confused look but took the bat and said nothing. She was trusting him to know what to do. Matt removed the chair from the door but hesitated before unlocking it. He grabbed the sides of her face, forcing her to look at him.
"If anything happens to me - "
"No, listen!" he said forcefully. "If anything happens, promise me that you'll keep going. Don't look back, just run to your car and get the hell out of the city."
"I can't - "
C.C. glared at him but gave in to the promise. She had no intention of following through with it, but if it meant getting him off her back, then she would say what was necessary. Pulling the strap of her bag across her shoulders, she followed Matt into the hallway. Whatever the hell was going on, she was lucky to have her brother by her side.
Next chapter: Meeting up with the other survivors!