I secured the perimeter and then waited outside whilst Rick mourned the loss of his family. It was no easy thing losing your family but I imagined that things were much worse for Rick, given that he'd gone to sleep and then woken up to find the world around him an unfamiliar place.
He stumbled out and I glanced at him to check that he was okay, "They're alive" he mumbled taking a seat next to me, "How do you know? I'm not gonna lie, I haven't moved from this city since the shit started hitting the fan and I've barely seen a single living person"
"My wife, Lori, she took the photo albums"
"Well, what do you know? My mum did the same thing" we both shared a smile before Rick turned to face me completely, "Where are your family?"
"When things started getting real bad the army said that they'd set up a secure zone in Atlanta, said they had food, supplies, and that the CDC was working on a cure"
"Well that's where my family's gone then!" he said with hope in his voice,
"Far be it for me to depress you but, the radio and television broadcasts have all stopped. I think the safety zone is no longer a safety zone" I murmured as I stood up, "I need to pee, you see anything- come get me, I'll come out swingin'" he didn't show any signs that he'd heard me but I knew he had and I quickly moved into the house.
I was surprised at how Rick was dealing with the situation at hand. If I was in his situation I probably would've blown my own brains out. This world was like a horror story now, we were all characters doomed to fail. As I sat doing my business I heard a boy yelling and the sound was soon followed by a gunshot- I quickly set about righting myself and ran downstairs.
There was a boy and a man that I assumed was his father looking over Rick- trying to question him, whilst Rick lay bleeding from his nose, "Hey! Hey! That's my patient!" the man whirled his gun to face me and I levelled the pistol I'd grabbed from my bag before coming out at his head, "Do you really wanna do this cowboy?" I murmured, I tilted the gun towards Rick, "Check his head- the fever is from his time spent in hospital, not nearly as hot as it would be if he was gonna go Zombie on us" the man, whilst keeping the gun steady placed a hand on Rick's forehead, before calmly putting the gun down. "Sorry about taking the shovel to his face- can't be too careful" I shrugged as I put my gun back in my pack, "It's understandable" I nodded, "I'm Robyn, that's Rick"
"My name's Morgan, and this is my son Dwayne" I shook his hand and nodded politely at Dwayne, "Well, let's move to a more secure location, eh? Night's going to fall soon and I'd rather not be somewhere so exposed"
"We have a place further down the road" Morgan stated.
We distributed Rick's weight between the two of us, "So, are the two of you married?" Morgan asked as we got Rick settled in a bed and I put a blanket over him, "Married?" I choked, "God, no. I met Rick today- I've been moving around town keeping an eye out for people… He woke up out of a coma today. He was injured before any of the Zombie reports came in, woke up today and everything he'd ever known is gone" Morgan looked down at Rick with sympathy evident, "I think he wants to go to Atlanta to look for his wife and kid… I might go with him, Lord knows he's gonna need help."
I prepared some beans over a small fire whilst we all spoke about random, meaningless things. It felt to simply talk about nothing with someone for a while. "Aww sleeping Sherriff is awake! Did you have a nice rest? Morgan here was kind enough to change your bandage" I cooed in a joke-y way, Rick chuckled but gave his thanks to Morgan and Dwayne anyway after having introduced himself.
"Right people, dinner is served, today I have prepared a somewhat underrated feast of beans, beans and beans- don't eat it all at once" everyone took their seats and as we grabbed our cutlery we were interrupted by Dwayne, "Dad, we gotta say Grace" me and Rick looked at each other, I didn't really believe in God, no God would allow things like this to happen. Rick and I held hands anyway.
"Father, we thank thee for this food, thy blessings, we ask you to watch over us in these crazy days, Amen"
"Amen" the boy said. Me and Rick both mumbled it out of courtesy.
We ate our beans with blatant contentment on our faces. It had been a while since Rick had eaten and so he more or less inhaled the beans, I had eaten earlier but I was still rationing food and was thankful for whatever I got.
After dinner me and Rick set up some bed like structures so that none of us were separated when the Walkers all came out. I was looking forward to being able to have a decent night sleep. Ever since my family had left me I had only slept for a couple of minutes every so often, it was terrifying to think that as I slept alone a zombie would find its way to me and I would get bitten. Though I wanted the horror to end I did not want to end up as one of them. Whenever I watched them I thought about whether they were conscious on some level- whether the souls of the people they were, were still in there somewhere- doomed to walk the Earth seeking out food.
It was horrifying to think about.
I set up my bed underneath the window pane so that I could easily look out the window, whilst Rick set up his up against the sofa opposite me.
Conversation soon turned to Rick and his family, and then me and mine. We didn't dare bring up Morgan and his son's for fear that it would upset Dwayne. I guessed that his mother had probably been lost the infection given how well Morgan seemed to know the symptoms, and how hardened he was against what was happening, it was definitely clear that they had lost someone.
"Why do you keep checking?" Rick asked as he caught me looking out the window again, I pulled away and rested my back against the wall, "I mean, we all want to forget what's going on out there, right? But you… you keep looking, as if you're checking to see that they're real" I gave him a small smile and shrugged, "I used to be in the Army, all that hyper vigilance stuff stuck and I can't seem to turn it off, though, given the current state of the world I think it's a good frame of mind to be in. It's almost second nature to look and know what's going on around me… as well as all the exits" the guys all looked surprised, "You look a little young to have been in the army" Rick commented, eyeing me as if looking for some giant badge that revealed my real age, "I skipped a couple of grades" I murmured, "I joined the army when I was eighteen- I was an army Doctor" the three of them gave small nods and I looked out of the window once more.
As it got later and later Dwayne began drifting off to sleep, and we heard him mumble, "Did you ask him?" to his father, and his father, for all that it's worth cracked a smile and gave a small chuckle. Me and Rick stared at the two of them confused, "We have a little bet going on see… Your gunshot wound… my son thinks you're a bank robber" I grinned at Rick and he grinned right back, before playing along, "That's it. Deadly as Dillinger. Kapow! And Robyn here's my recently- made plucky young sidekick"
"I'll give you plucky in a minute" I murmured in a deceptively sweet voice,
"Deputy Sherriff" he answered truthfully to the question.
"They ate the Sherriff- but at least they didn't eat the Deputy" the two men chuckled whilst Dwayne looked up from his quilt not understanding the reference, "I do believe that is the only time that anyone will ever be able to deliver that line with it making absolute sense. Rick Grimes, The Lone Officer. Oh, the comedic movie references we're gonna have when we go to Atlanta!" Rick looked at me surprised, "You're coming Atlanta with me?"
"Yeah, I figure I'll go see how this safety zone stuff has turned out- you know that I'm entirely sceptical of the idea but I'm willing to humour you for the sake of your family" he gave me an appreciative nod, "Also, someone's got to look at for your ass. Though, I think it may be beneficial sticking with you for a while- I don't think anyone has been so lucky as to go into a coma before the zombie apocalypse and, even after all power has cut out, still manage to stay alive, wake up, and find someone with a lot of guns. You're like a lucky Irish Leprechaun in my pocket. Lord knows, if anyone's gonna find their family it's gonna be you."
That night, I thought I might be able to get sleep, but I couldn't. We spent the night in silence as no one could think of anything more to say. We were hungry but we couldn't eat. We were tired but sleep seemed to elude all but Dwayne who was wrapped up, gently snoring, at his father's side. We were terrified and we could get no comfort…
Also, the guys all stank. It was evident that none of them had washed in a while- Rick of course had been unconscious so I didn't bare too much of a grudge, but, dear God, it was evident that Morgan and Dwayne had been avoiding having to have a cold shower.
I looked at their depressed faces as they stared at nothing and wished they were anywhere but here.
"You guys stink" I mumbled as I moved my head into my pillow to avoid smelling them anymore.
There were about forty zombies outside. As I looked out at them and watched I saw a few that I'd seen before, and a couple I'd even known when they were human. "Ha!" I snorted quietly, "Mr. Feradale… git tried to steal my food when the shit went down. Little prick" I smirked as his head moved as though he'd heard me. I watched as he dismissed whatever it was that had captured whatever it was that had captured his attention and began to move on.
As we all began to relax a little sometime after midnight, we all were set immediately on edge once again when one of the zombies managed to set off a car alarm. I looked out the window and watched as all the zombies turned to face the noise, and began to shuffle towards it. "Even at the end of the world you get hooligans, any minute now a red neck is gonna pop up and start cursing, 'Get off my property, ya vermin!'" I quietly cracked up laughing at my own impression of a red neck. I turned back to see Rick, Morgan and Dwayne staring at me as though I'd gone crazy, "Hey, we all deal with being shit scared differently."
Dwayne soon began crying, loudly and Morgan immediately set about trying to soothe him, "Hey, it's okay" Rick looked at me,
"Car alarm, somewhere down the street"
"It happened before" Morgan said, "It went on for a few minutes… get the lights, Dwayne" we all blew out the candles and turned off the various lanterns that surrounded us which left us in complete darkness.
"Will it bring more of them?" Rick asked, me, Dwayne and Morgan looked at each other solemnly, "There ain't nothing to do about it now, just have to wait 'em out 'til morning." We all gathered by a gap in the curtains, we stared at the Walkers out of the window, "She's here" the boy- Dwayne mumbled, I detected fear and moved the kid back from the window, his father took him from me and allowed the boy to cry into his lap, "Come on, quiet. Shhh, shhh. Cry into the pillow. Can you remember?" me and Rick stared at the scene in front of us, "She, uh... She died in the other room, on that bed... Nothin' I can do about it here... That fever, man… Her skin gave off heat like a furnace... Should have put her down, I should
have put her down, I know that, but... You know what... I just didn't have it in me... She's the mother of my child" I patted the man on the shoulder as I went to lie down again, leaving Rick at the door, "You'll face your demons when you're ready" I stated simply, before laying back down.