Carol lie on the ground shaking all over. She could feel Daryl's arms wrapped around her like a cocoon. Her baby girl was gone. Her precious little angel, her reason for living, her Sophia. She couldn't believe it, it didn't seem real. Sophia had been in the barn all along. She was a walker and Rick had been forced to shoot her. Carol sobbbed uncontrollably. His hold seemed to become even tighter the harder she cried. She would be dead right now too if it weren't for him. She had run towards her little girl as soon as she saw her. She knew she was a walker but it didn't matter in that moment as long as she could hold her again. She only made it a few steps before Daryl grabbed her. Daryl had saved her, only this wasn't the first time.
She remembered it like it was yesterday...
Carol could feel eyes boring down onto her, at least that is what seemed. She could fainltly remember the feeling but it had been a long time. Years ago her abusive husband Ed had starting making it very clear to everyone around not to look at his wife and they all followed suit. But the feeling had been there for quite a while and she was pretty sure it was coming from the young redneck. It was making her nervous which wasn't an uncommon feeling for her but this felt different somehow. She didn't know him, they had never spoken. She only knew he was there with his brother, he seemed to be gone a lot out hunting and he never spoke to anyone else in the group besides his brother and their somewhat leader Shane.
Carol very briefly glanced in his direction. He was definately looking at her. His eyes were downcast but still glaring all the same. It seemed like he was looking at her arms but she couldn't tell for sure. She could risk another look but it wasn't worth the beating she would receive if her husband caught her looking at another man for any reason. She would just have to assume he was looking at one of her many bruises like people often did. Now that was nothing new, that she was used to.
Later on that same evening as she was putting her daughter Sophia down for the night when she heard her husband Ed bellow from outside their tent. You would think she would be used to the sound after 20 years but his angry voice still made her jump. He was grumbling something about needing another beer. She quickly tucked Sophia in and gave her a quick goodnight kiss. She hated to hurry this nighttime ritual between them seeing as there weren't many rituals left in this new ZA world, but she had no choice but to hurry if she wanted to avoid a beating.
Carol stepped outside the tent quickly and almost ran directly into Ed. He barked "Did you hear me? I was talking you. Are you ignoring me?" In almost a whisper she replied "Of course I wasn't ignoring you I was just putting Sophia down for the night" He rolled his eyes at her as he usually did at the mere mention of Sophias name. He wanted nothing to do with his daughter and had no concern for any of her needs. This actually didn't bother Carol too much. It meant her daughter was all hers to love. It also kept her little angel safe from her father's neverending wrath. He stumbled a little as he repeated his words a little louder this time "I said I need another beer. Now try just for once in your pathetic life to be a good wife and find me some more beer!" He threw his empty can at her but she dodged it in time.
Carol closed her eyes and took a deep breath. She had known all evening that this was coming. Ed had been drinking since lunchtime and was bound to run out of beer sooner or later. She had already had this exact argument with him last night. In this new world the last thing available was alcohol. She had asked around last night, as embarrassing as it was, and scrounged up a few cans of beer for him but she knew that would not work two nights in a row. There just wasn't any left in camp and it wasn't on the priority list when they went out looking for supplies. When she tried to explain this to him last night he exploded and she had gained two new bruises on her left arm.
Carol quickly glanced around. Luckily it was late enough that everyone else was in bed or at least in their tents. Hopefully she could avoid a little embarrassment tonight after last nights episode. She realized she must have zoned out on what he was saying because he was halfway through a rant by the time she noticed he was yelling again. "or do I have to beat it into you again?" She didn't know what to say, she hadn't heard the rest of the sentence. She just looked around again to see if anyone had come of their tents yet. He must have noticed. "Are you even listening to me? What are you looking around for? Ain't noone here gonna come and help you" He laughed as he added that last part. He was right about that and he knew it too.
He grabbed her wrist and yanked her arm violently. It hurt but it wasn't anything she wasn't used to. Years ago she would have cried, begged him to stop even, but she had learned that just made it worse so she suffered in silence as he held on tightly and dragged her towards the woods. His voice raised even louder and angrier sounding if that was possible "Since you seem to be so concerned who is around we'll just move this little party to somewhere more private." It was completely dark outside now so she stumbled along as he dragged her deeper and deeper into the woods. He cursed at her the whole way. It wasn't anything she hadn't heard before.
After what seemed like an eternity he stopped. She wasn't sure exactly how far out they were from camp by now. She couldn't see anything but she felt the first blow just as well. It was nothing different than usual. Her husband loved to begin with a slap across the cheek. She wasn't sure why. Maybe he didn't think that a slap would be considered beating but what usually followed definately was. Next came more verbal insults. She assumed he used this time time to mentally decide what to do next to inflict the most pain upon her. He went on and on for the next few minutes. Personally she used this time to pray. She prayed for her daughter. What would happen to Sophia if Ed killed her tonight? Since the birth of her daughter it had been her biggest fear. She suddenly realized she had actually made a few friends here at the camp. They were good women. She had no doubt they would take care of her daughter if something happened to her. Leave it to her to finally make friends at the end of the world. Maybe Ed was right all along and she really couldn't do anything right.
Carol focused back in on what Ed was saying "besides as useless as you've always been now that the world is about done for you're even more useless to me than before" he laughed. Then he stumbled a little. He was definately more drunk than she had realized. And when he ranted on about how useless she was was when he was most the dangerous, If he didn't have anything specific to beat her for it seemed to make him even more violent for some reason. She was used to the beatings but she was really beginning to get scared considering it was dark and she was in the woods. This time she wouldn't be able to limp to her bathroom to clean herself up afterwards.
Carol mentally prepared herself for what was to come. She closed her eyes, braced herself for the pain that was coming and waited. She immediately heard a loud thump but unbelievable no pain followed. She waited a minute and opened her eyes. Had he passed out? Her eyes still weren't completely adjusted to the darkness and she couldn't see what was going on.
Carol heard a movement to her left and turned. Standing before her was the young redneck that had been starring at her arms earlier that day. She could see Ed on the ground where he had obvioulsy been knocked out by the redneck. She wasn't sure exactly what he had done to him and she really didn't care. He pointed a flashlight toward her. "Don't be scared" he whispered. She couldn't help it but she laughed. She assumed he meant not to be scared of him but now that Ed for was down for the count she had absolutely nothing to be scared of. "I'm not" she replied back softly. He grunted and answered back with his name "Daryl" he said while he looked down. "Carol" she replied back. His next reply was a smirk so she asked "whats so funny about my name?" He slowly looked up, meeting her eyes and said "Ain't nothin funny bout your name jus thought it sounded a helluva lot better than what I used ta call ya". He immediately looked back down. What a strange conversation this was turning out to be but then again it was a strange situation all around.
"What did you used to call me?" she wondered aloud. He ignored her question so she asked another one. "Why did you do it?" She looked him straight in the eyes. She could have thanked him but she was pretty sure he already knew she was grateful. His eyes were downcast and he looked thoughtful for a minute. It seemed like a simple question to her but apparently it wasn't to him. Finally he looked back up and spoke. His voice was soft, sounding nothing like you would assume a dirty redneck to sound. "I don't know it just seemed like the right thing to do I guess" He seemed embarrassed and looked back down once again. It was obvious he wasn't used to talking alot and even more obvious he wasn't used to doing the right thing.
A few more minutes of silence passed. He spoke first this time "Ya best be headed back ta camp and your lil girl." "I can't see. I don't know if I can." she answered with a shiver, it was cold outside. He tossed her his flashlight then said "I'll be needin that back tomorrow" He turned to leave as he said it.
Carol had taken a few steps back towards camp before she heard his voice again. "Blue eyes and bruised arms" he called out to her. She turned around to face him and shined the flashlight on his face. "What?" she asked not understanding what he meant. "Thats what I used ta call ya" he explained. Then he smiled. She'd never seen him smile before but it was nice. She laughed again. It might have made some people angry but she supposed the bruised arms part was the truth and the fact that he noticed her eyes at all was flattering. She answered him back "I think I'll stick to Carol" she teased. He smiled again bigger this time and it reached his eyes. She noticed his eyes were blue. They were the most beautiful eyes she had ever seen on a man.
Carol smiled her whole walk back to camp. She was cold, tired and she world had basically ended but right now none of that was on her mind. She just kept thinking about the most amazing pair of blue eyes she had ever seen. She indulged for a few more minutes before reality came crashing down and she snapped out of it. What was she thinking? She was a married woman. When she got back to camp she went into her tent and curled up with Sophia. It would be nice to go to bed without the pain she usually felt each night after a few rounds with Ed.
Daryl Dixon had saved her life the first night they met and again today when she went after Sophia. He may just be a redneck to most people but he was her beautiful blue-eyed savior.