A Squeeze of the Hand
To Rick Grimes their current situation was dire. The survivors of Alexandria were crammed together in the dark and horrible smelling sewers under the town. The town which had at one point been beautiful and a symbol of peace and security had been turned into a place of fire and destruction as the Saviour continued to bombard the city. But for Rick that wasn't what made their situation dire, what did was that one of his closest friends had been bitten and was on the brink of death. His son Carl was bleeding heavily from a large wound on his left side and he knew his son would die if they didn't get him help fast.
"Rosita…" He started to ask the young Hispanic lady who was desperately trying to keep Carl from bleeding out.
"I think I can slow down the bleeding but Rick if we don't get him so a place with medical equipment he won't…" Rosita said but found herself unable to finish the sentence.
"The Hilltop has a solid facility." Michonne said in a husky voice and she tried not to cry as she looked at the sixteen year old who was her best friend and surrogate son. "Rosita if you had the equipment there could you…could you save him?"
"I'm not a doctor but I think I'd have a better chance if I had the supplies" She said trying her best to sound confident.
"Then we go to Hilltop, all of you together…" Dwight spoke up.
"All of us together…we'll be their worst dam nightmare." Daryl finished as he held Judith close to him.
Rick took in what everyone was saying before he spoke up.
"Take Carl to Hilltop please." He said to his friend's desperation in his voice.
"You're not coming?" Rosita asked.
Rick looked over at Morgan who looked very pale and was sweating profusely from the high fever. "I can't…leave him alone…I have to stay with him." He turned towards Michonne "Can you make sure…Carl and Judith…that they get to hilltop?"
"I uh …I can't leave you alone…someone needs to stay with you…in case he…in case he turns and gets the upper hand." She replied as she placed her hand on Rick's shoulder.
"You two stay with Morgan, I'll take em to Hilltop…I'll get em there I promise." Daryl said as he placed a hand on Rick's shoulder and nodded.
"Thank you." Rick turned towards Carl and squeezed his sons shoulder. "Carl just hang in there…you did great today…I'm so proud of you…I love you Carl."
Carl looked up at his dad and gave a smile. "I love you too dad." He coughed and moaned in pain.
Rick and Michonne gave one last longing look at the boy before they slowly walked away from the boy towards the end of the sewer were Morgan leaned against the wall wheezing and coughing.
Daryl turned towards the group of weary survivors. "We ain't got time to waste, get everyone ready to move." He turned towards Siddiq. "What's you name?"
"I am Siddiq." The Middle Eastern man replied.
"Right Siddiq can you help Rosita carry Carl?"
"It is the least I can do for him"
He nodded and past a squirming Judith to Tara. Picking up his crossbow he led the group through the catacomb like sewer system until they reach a ladder.
"Wait for my single." He instructed the group before he climbed up the ladder. When he reached the top he moved the grate aside and climbed out.
Once he cleared the area he whistled and slowly the rest of the group made their way out. Once they were all out he waved his arm and they out. Daryl knew time was against him and he would be dammed if he let anything stop him from getting everyone to the hilltop. Carl was going to get the help he needed.
He had to survive. I'll die before I let anything stop him from getting help. Daryl thought as he and Bruce cleared away a tree branch.
Daryl hadn't let anything stop him from getting everyone to the hilltop. The search party of saviours hadn't stopped him. The walker invested swamped hadn't stopped him. The steep rocky hill they were forced to climb hadn't stopped them. Hell he even snapped at Tara and Dwight for their constant arguing.
He could see the Hilltops gates in this distance.
"Daryl, he's bleeding through the band aid. How much longer?" Rosita asked as she struggled to keep Carl on his feet.
"We're almost there just keep him alive." Daryl said. Suddenly a walker stumbled out of the woods and in a split second an arrow pierced its skull. Daryl lowered his crossbow and raised his hand to signal the group to keep moving. Time was running out for Carl and they had to hurry.
Inside the gates of Hilltop, Maggie Rhee found herself slightly overwhelmed by recent events. The kingdom had arrived earlier this morning and Enid and Aaron had arrived two hours ago. The two brought news that Oceanside had agreed to join their cause and would arrive within the next few days. Dr. Carson and Gabriel had arrived the night before and she felt relieved that the Doctor was back but all these event were a lot for her to take in.
"Hey Boss we have a large group of people approaching the gate." Wesley called too her from atop the Guard post.
"Is it the Saviours?"
"Negative it looks like…It's the group from Alexandria."
Beside Maggie, Enid felt both excitement and fear from within her. If the Alexandrians were coming then maybe Carl was with them. She hadn't seen him in over a week and missed him greatly. She needed to talk to him, she had shot someone the other day and was still slightly shaken about it. Carl had shot a few people maybe he could at least give her some advice about how to deal with it.
On the other hand she was scared shitless because Maggie had told her about what Simon had said. If Alexandria had really been attack then maybe something had happened to Carl… No she had to push those thoughts aside, Carl would be okay she had to believe that.
She heard Maggie order the gates to be opened. As the gates opened she started to see people she recognized. Daryl was at the lead and he was carrying Judith. Tara was beside him and she looked exhausted. Barbara, Bruce, Bob Miller, Anna, Kent, Scott and Tobin were people she recognized among the thirty or so residents that walked slowly up the hill to the gate. She looked for Carl but she didn't see him and then suddenly she did.
She heard a loud cry of horror and it took her a few moments to realize that she was the one crying out. There in the centre of the group was her boyfriend and he looked horrible. The left side of his shirt was covered in blood and he looked limp. He was being supported by Rosita and a Middle Eastern man she didn't recognize.
It was like time had stopped. She just stood their staring at her boyfriend, her best friend, the guy she loved but hadn't told him yet, the guy she wanted a life with. She caught different parts of a conversation between Daryl, Maggie and Carol.
"Carl in bad shape."
Before she knew it she was running after Rosita and Dr. Carson who were now rushing Carl to the medical trailer. Before she could follow them inside Rosita placed her hand out to stop the young girl.
"Enid you can't be in there."
"I have to…I mean he's…Its Carl I have to be...I can't leave him alone" She said frantically as she tried to push past Rosita.
"Enid, Doctor Carson and I will do everything we can, I know you care about him but…"
"I don't just care about him I …I love him and a…never told him" she sobbed as tears ran down her cheeks. She felt someone place a hand on her shoulder and she turned and fell into Maggie's embrace and she cried. Sobs racked her body and she shook as she cried into Maggie's chest.
"It's going to be alright" Maggie whispered as she sat on the steps of the trailer with the girl. Enid just continued to cry.
"I love him Maggie and I never told and now he could die." She sobbed.
"You'll get to tell him Enid, you'll get to tell him once he's out of surgery." Maggie said as she rubbed circle on the girls back trying to sooth her.
"He's my "Glenn" Enid whispered and Maggie's heart broke a bit as she held the girl trying to give her comfort.
A few hours past. Carol, Daryl and Tara had joined them in waiting and then the door opened. They all turned and looked anxiously at Dr. Carson. He in returned gave them a smile before opening his mouth to speak.
"He's doing okay. He lost some blood but thanks to Rosita efforts to slow the bleeding and the fact you guys got him here so fast, I was able to stop the bleeding and sew up the wound."
"So he's okay?" Enid asked in a quiet voice, looking at the doctor with eyes filled with both hope and uncertainty.
"He's going to need a lot of rest and the muscles on the left sight of his stomach are damaged. That means he is going to need to refrain from strenuous activities for at least 6 weeks but yes he is going to be okay".
"Can I see him?"
"You can, now currently he's resting but you can go in and sit with him if you want."
She gave the doctor a tight smile rose from the stairs and opened the door and walked into the dimly lit room.
Carl was laying unconscious on the bed and his hair was covering his face. Rosita was currently checking his vitals and when she saw the girl she smiled and then excused herself.
Enid sat in the chair beside the bed and sniffled. She reach over and grabbed Carl's hand and intertwined their fingers. She brushed his hair out of his face and look at his face with beside a cut on his left cheek looked very peaceful.
"I kinds jealous you know, I mean you get to rest while the rest of us fight the saviours." "You have to stop getting yourself into these situations." Carl gave no response and all Enid could here was the sound of his breath as his chest rose and then fell softly with each breath.
"I had to a…I had to shoot someone the other day. Natania was her name…you know the leader of Oceanside…she had a gun to Aarons head and I did it to protect him. You told me once that you need to have a good reason to kill someone and I did…I just still feel bad about it you know. That's normal right?"
Carl still didn't was or do anything.
"Carl please talk to me…I need to know that you're alright. Please Carl you need to talk or at least do something so I know that you can hear me." Hot tears spilled from her eyes and she struggled to keep herself together. "Carl I can't lose you … you pulled me out of that dark place I was in, you made me care about people…you made me care about you. I care about you and I…I love you. You hear me? I love you Carl grimes and I want to spend however long we have left in this screwed up with you. So please Carl please let me know you're still here."
Tears streamed down her face and she waited desperately for a response. Seconds felt like minutes and then she felt it. His hand was squeezing hers and she let out a sob in relief. She knew he had at least heard her voice. She had confidence that he was going to be okay.
Throughout the rest of their lives a squeeze of the hand was more than just a simply squeeze to Carl and Enid. It was a sign of support and of love.