~Authors note: Welcome to my new Daryl and Beth fan fiction. Just to set things up, this story will follow Daryl and Beth after the season 4 finale. I started this story a while ago because I wanted to get a few chapters written before I decided whether or not I wanted to post it. I am still not entirely sure it is going to be good enough to share, but I guess we'll see how it works out. It isn't going to be connected to anything that was shown in the Walking Dead season 5 trailer shown at ComicCon from July 26 since this story was started before that trailer was released. It will, however, take into account all the things that have been established between Daryl and Beth in previous seasons. This story is going to have a dark tone for a while. I don't think there will be anything fluffy for quiet some time. I guess I should give a few warnings. This story will initially contain some fictional religious ideology developed in an apocalypse. It is in no way, shape, or form a criticism of religion but rather a fictional representation of how religion can be corrupted in broken societies. This story is of course based off the Walking Dead (of which I own or claim to own nothing), so there will be violence between people and people in addition to people and walkers. The occasional rabbit, squirrel, or other fuzzy woodland creature may also fall victim to Daryl's crossbow, but that has yet to be written.
This fiction will initially be focused mainly on Daryl. The first chapter is a Beth chapter, but it is just to establish her situation. I try to keep Daryl and Beth within the bounds of what I think is realistic for their characters, but of course, this is subjective to each individual person and reader.
I want to thank anybody who decides to read this work! Reviews are appreciated. Also, I have another Daryl and Beth fiction on this site, "I Will Follow You Into the Dark", which anyone is welcome to read if you haven't already come across it. It is pretty established at this point, being on chapter 38. I normally update my other fiction once a week, and I plan to do the same with this one. I will probably post the second chapter in a few days just to get the storyline established, but after that, it will likely be on a weekly basis.~
Her head was pounding so hard that her eyes were pulsating, threatening to explode. Her entire body ached...she could barely breathe, but she was moving...Beth felt like she was floating.
Not floating...she was being carried...
"Daryl?" She barely heard her own voice come out of her mouth. It didn't sound like his name at all.
Had they made it?
It wasn't him...
The world was spinning, her head was still pounding the rhythm of a death march, and now she was queasy. Beth kept her eyes closed tight, took in a deep breath, trying to keep the nausea at bay...but she gagged anyway. There was nothing to come up even though it felt like her stomach was threatening to be expelled by the force...her sides were wracked with pain. Even breathing was excruciating, like a knife being plunged in her sides.
Beth tried breathing more shallowly. It was difficult, the choice between nausea and pain.
Her stomach turned just at the thought. She would never touch another drop of alcohol again...
But that wasn't it...there had been something after the moonshine. Daryl. A lot after the moonshine!
Beth! Beth! Run!
Beth sat up quickly, but it was a bad idea on all accounts. The beat in her head intensified, her sides were on fire, the dizziness almost overtook her, and...her hand was caught? She opened her eyes in spite of everything she was suffering. The room was sparse, poorly lit, but it was enough to make out her situation. Her left hand was handcuffed to the black iron bars of the headboard.
She didn't know why she said it. There was no one there to hear her. Beth started to cry for help, but as her senses began to return and were enough to override her pain and nausea, she quickly realized that there was no one near to help her. Whoever would come to her cries would likely be the person who chained her in the fist place. She feebly pulled at the cuffs, trying to break free, to pull her hand out, but the only thing she accomplished was the clash of metal against metal that rang around the room and bounced around in her head like loose BBs. She stopped, clenching her eyes tighter, rubbing her forehead with her free hand. Her thoughts were a mess, all scrambled and incoherent. Then one horrific idea fully formed itself...Merle and his story about how he was forced to saw off his own hand to save himself on the rooftop in Atlanta.
This time, Beth knew why she cried out...she couldn't imagine making that horrible decision, facing that terrible fate...but hers could be worse. She was trapped like an animal with absolutely no means to free herself.
Beth pulled and fought and jerked in earnest this time, blood seeping from the self-inflicted wound on her wrist where the cuff cut into her flesh. She was startled when the door opened and lamp light flooded the room. The light hurt her eyes, and she shrank back against the headboard as far away from the approaching figure as possible. She had no defenses...she couldn't even run...she was at the mercy of God and the person coming towards her.
"Shhh child, calm yourself..." The man's voice was quiet and non-threatening, but he was still her captor.
Beth couldn't make out his face; the glare of the oil lamp before him...her eyes were too sensitive...her head was pounding too hard...
"You've been hurt. You might have a concussion, and I'm pretty certain you have broken ribs..." The voice continued.
That made sense, what she was feeling. How was a different question. She wanted to ask about Daryl, but something deep inside warned her against it, stopped her. Until she understood what was happening, figured everything or anything out, she needed to keep quiet.
"By what name does the Lord Our God know you?"
His words sent shivers down her spine. A man of God, a preacher or priest, she would have trusted, and what other kind of person would have spoken in such a way? The real question was, what kind of preacher or priest handcuffed people to their beds?
"Beth. God knows me as Beth." Her words were careful and measured. She would say what he wanted to hear because she wanted to stay alive.
Five nights. Had in it been five nights? No, six...at least six...six she was aware of. The first night...the night she'd lost Daryl, she'd been given food and water, some painkillers...when he'd uncuffed her and let her to sleep, she'd allowed herself to believe that she wasn't in danger. Beth cried for Daryl. She cried herself to sleep knowing that there was no way he'd made it out of the house alive. And the car had struck her, sending her into a dark abyss. She would've went back for Daryl, chosen to die if he was dead, but that choice had been taken from her. The first night, her pain and her tears had driven her to sleep, leaving her to pick up the broken pieces of her life the next morning.
But that option never came. She was woken abruptly by the person she came to know as Brother Allerton who presented her with a pink Sunday dress and a basin of water to clean herself. It wasn't morning...late afternoon by the light coming through the one window in the room.
"Come now child, dress yourself. The congregation is waiting to meet you." His tone was soft, calm; it fit the lanky man, a man of Rick's age, who stood before her.
"Why do they want to meet me? " Not much was making sense after her tragic loss of Daryl...she...it was too late now to even consider those feelings. Daryl was gone.
"They want to meet my gift from God, the angel who will be my wife." The smile on his face left her frightened.
Beth stood up quickly...too quickly, doubled over as pain seared up her sides.
"No..." Beth protested weakly after she was able to right herself.
She hit the floor before she even realized he'd drawn back his arm to backhand her. Her hand went up to cup her cheek as Beth looked up and him in disbelief.
"You will respect me as you respect your God! You will love me as you love your God! You will obey me as you obey your God! I am as God to you!" His quick transition from kind to psychotic showed he was no man of God, and Beth would use what little spirit and strength she had left to deny him.
"You are not God!" She screamed.
After that, Beth learned to embrace the pain. It was all she had left.
From that point on, everything came at her in waves, waves of pain, waves of incoherence that followed every time she felt the needle prick her skin and the drugs flood her system, lucid moments when she prayed for God to save her...all the people...the congregation...she had cried out to them for help. While a few stirred and whispered quietly to each other sitting in their pews, for whatever reason, they wouldn't move to help her. The rest of them bought into Brother Allerton's madness and ignored her pleas for help.
Beth's arms ached. The nightly religious pageant was over. She was stripped to her underwear, no shame left, she just couldn't care. The same thing happened every night. Brother Allerton dragged her back to her cell, attached her bound hands to the chain that dangled from the ceiling, her arms bearing almost all of her weight, her feet barely allowed to touch the ground. The sedatives had worn off enough that she felt everything...just like every other night...and it began.
"As the Lord Our God created Eve for the comfort and companionship of Adam, so too has he released you from the heavens to be my bride amidst our dark world. Will you cometh to me this night as a bride cometh to the bridegroom?" He spoke with such conviction and fervor in his voice that he must have actually believed his own delusions.
It was a small miracle that Brother Allerton didn't believe in rape. Beth had been spared that at least, but it didn't really matter anymore. She was dead already.
"I'm not your wife."
Beth's words no longer held the passion they had the first time she'd said them, but she said them all the same, knowing what was coming next.
He grabbed her chin roughly, forcing her to look at him, the anger spread across his face. Did he actually expect a different answer?
"Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands, as you do in the sight of the Lord Our God!" He screamed, just inches from her face.
She didn't flinch. She didn't look away. Beth might have no control over how he decided to kill her...how she died...but she could decide how she lived.
"I am as God to you!" He continued with his madness.
"You are not God!"
He'd forgone hitting her in the face several days ago, why she couldn't say. He struck her side instead, sharp pain engulfing her, the injuries she suffered made worse by his brutality, but she didn't cry out...she wouldn't give him that satisfaction. Beth embraced the pain...it was all she had left...
He deviated from his ritual.
"Has another man soiled you, sweet angel? I would hear his name upon your lips," Brother Allerton's voice was composed and even again, but she knew he was just a bomb waiting to explode.
Beth didn't answer.
"What was his name? The one who ruined you?"
She wouldn't grace him with Daryl's name, but she would speak of him.
"He didn't ruin me. He saved me...protected me. I loved him and would've gone to him willingly," Beth said softly, closing her eyes to see his face, comforting herself in the truth of her words and the sweet memories of Daryl.
The next blow was unexpected, and she cried out despite her resolve. He didn't speak. He moved behind her, pulling out the blade and drawing it across the right side of her back. The now familiar sting signified that his ritual was over.
"One cut for each night you deny your place beside me. You will remember."
He left, as he always did, with no further words. Beth was alone in the dark, the ache in her body from being suspended not nearly as painful as the ache in her heart. As she felt the blood from the cut drip down her back, she let out a shuddering breath as she prepared to spend the night alone with only her memories to keep the demons and darkness at bay.
Beth might have refused to say his name to her captor, but she could say it now for herself.
Tomorrow, it would begin again. She prayed that when she felt the familiar prick of the needle delivering the drugs to her veins that somehow it would be too much and she would drift away into oblivion...