A Hero's grave

This was really happening, Merle was gone. Turned into one of those fucking freaks!

Daryl stared at his brother's corpse, tears still fresh in his eyes. Merle was dead, he was actually dead. After all that talk that only Merle could kill Merle, he had really died.

He smacked his hands to his eyes, rubbing them hard, he rubbed until his bloodshot eyes turned an even deeper shade of red. He wasn't sure if he was just trying to wipe his tears away, or trying to see if this was all some fucked up nightmare. But it wasn't, he knew that, the pain he was feeling was too intense to be fake.

A groan from behind him alerted Daryl of his surroundings, and instantly raged filled his body, a rage he hadn't felt since he had found Merle's sawed off-hand in Atlanta. Quickly he reaches for his hunter knife, and jumps to his feet. He charges at the walking corpse behind him and digs the blade deep into his eye socket, then repeatedly he slams the blade in walker's head, over and over again, until there was nothing left.

Daryl throws himself off the corpse, and one by one, he slaughters the rest of walkers, screaming in rage with each kill. Every stab in accompanied with a howling cry, every arrow shot is followed with a loud curse, he needed to kill them all! Every last one of these god forsaken bastards!

It wasn't until he had decapitated the last walker with his knife, and drenched in their blood, that he broke down again. Crumbling to the ground Daryl began to punch the dirt, trying to distract himself from his brother's dead body sprawled out only a couple of feet away from him.

"God damn it!" He screamed as knuckles started to bleed. "Damn it, damn it, fucking damn it!" He repeated so many times over again, he kept on punching until his knuckles couldn't take anymore, then Daryl just laid his head on the ground, tears welling up in his eyes.

After everything they had gone through, their childhood, juvie, jail, drugs, booze, the early days of outbreak, getting separated in Atlanta, and then finding each other again, it all ended like this? How the hell was this even fair?!

Daryl tightend his hands into fists and let out another primal scream, not even caring if walkers were attracted to the noise, hell, he hoped they would come! He needed a distraction, anything would do, anything!

Nothing came though, it was just him, crying in the bloody dirt next to his older brother's corpse. He was the last Dixon standing now, his mother went first, then his father, and now Merle too.

Looking at Merle's body, Daryl realized there was nothing meant for the Dixon bloodline, but this sorrowful life. The blood running through his veins was a curse, and this life an eternal hell for whoever shared that blood.

He stood up, tears still running down his bloody face, but he didn't bother to wipe them away. These were tears for his brother, he wouldn't be ashamed of them. Merle was the best family member he had, good times and bad, there was no one like him in Daryl's life. Someone who would kill to find him, torture, lie, and steal, and now he had died to trying keep Daryl and his new family safe. It didn't matter what anyone in the group would say, his brother had died a hero.

Daryl spent the next couple of hours cleaning up his brother's body, then he dug the grave him a grave, there wasn't any shovels he could find, so he used his hands and knife. He kept digging the grave, it didn't matter to him when his hands started to bleed, it didn't matter when more walkers showed up either, he just killed them with cold ruthlessness then continued digging.

The grave was dug deep enough that Daryl was sure that his brother's body would be safe, he built a makeshift cross and placed it at the head of the grave as a tombstone, it wasn't the greatest looking thing, but it was the best he could do.

Merle Dixon was buried as the sun started to retreat, and darkness overtook Daryl's words. There wasn't no eulogy, no long parting speeches, there was just Dixon brothers, together for the last time.

"I'll see ya on the other side, brother." Daryl said staring down at the grave.

Turing away from Merle's grave, Daryl's face took on a cold, hatred filled glare. There wasn't much left for him now, his only mission he had ever had since the outbreak started was to stay with his brother, for both Dixon brothers to see the end of this fucked up mess, but now, that mission was over, he failed. Just like he failed Sophia, and for an instant his rage was replaced with sadness as he remembered that poor little girl's face. His rage overtook him again, and he exiled the grief and sadness he was feeling away, there wasn't anytime for that now. He had a new mission.

As Daryl walked away, he knew what he had to do, there could be no peace, there could be no surrender, not on his part, not after this! He was going to kill the Governor, and burn Woodbury to the ground, and let the ashes singe the earth.

It didn't matter if he died, just as long as this all ended, he was going to finish what Merle started. The Dixon family was dead, but he wasn't going to let his new family die, not now, not ever. He was going to end the Governor's life, and stop Woodbury, for his friends...for his family!

He turned back one more time, looking longingly at the hero's grave, "Goodbye, brother." Daryl said to the grave one last time. The moon shined down on his brother's final resting place, illuminating it in a silver glow. Daryl nodded at the grave, then walked away, using the light of the moon to lead him through the darkness, and back home.

Author's note: This was written in respects to Merle, I'll be the first to say I hated this character, I loved the actor, but I just thought Merle himself was a bastard. I thought the same of Daryl too, but it only took one episode for me to just start to like both Dixon brothers. Daryl seemed to just humanize Merle, just by crying over his lost limb on that rooftop, but the deal wasn't sealed, not until season 3. It took me seeing Merle actually show sadness over Andrea's sister Amy dying, for me to actually like the character. I started to see that this was just a guy motivated to be with his family, just like everyone else in this show. Merle just seemed like a redemption case, that if someone like him could come back, it gave hope to everyone. There was hope and a chance for a better life, and to be a hero, something that I wished Shane would have done, but of course storyline wise, it was impossible for him to do. I think Merle went out like a hero, and I'll miss what he brought to the show.

I'm not really sure where Daryl's character will go from here, the talking dead did a poll vote, and the highest vote went to him become cold and withdrawn, I'm not sure if that'll happen or not. I think he'll stay strong in the finale, and fight in the war as hard as he can, but if he lives to see the next season, I think we'll see a change in Daryl.

R.I.P. Merle Dixon.

Stay strong Daryl!

Till next time.