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Down in the Boondocks Pt 2

Rick zipped up, having taken pleasure in pissing on the heads of the walkers ambling about below. He had few other options for relieving himself, stuck on the top of the truck. He, Glenn and Maggie had spent a cold night and a searing day on the roof of the truck, trying to out-wait the herd. Despite the trio keeping quiet and out of sight, the walkers below seemed extraordinarily persistent, and there seemed little point in trying to maintain "radio silence".

A chunk of the herd had been drawn away the night before by a fire that had started in a second set of buildings a few hundred yards away. Rick assumed it had been lit by Daryl in an attempt to draw off the herd, hopefully leaving only a few stragglers that they could easily pick off, but unfortunately the bulk of the herd had stayed with the "bird in the hand" rather than be lured to the potential of more in the bush. Rick guessed that the continued soft breeze, which had provided their only respite from the fall midday heat, had also continued to waft the smell of fresh meat down to the walkers. He could not think of any other reason why they would be so tenacious. It flew in the face of the walker behaviour with which they were now so familiar.

The walkers seemed to be mostly film crew, going by their t-shirts and caps. One of them was dressed in what had once been quite a dapper outfit, well-cut trousers and matching waistcoat, and a white shirt and silk tie. A few were clearly cast, being dressed as mobsters. Rick wondered how they had all been overtaken so quickly, and why they still formed such a tight bunch – he would have expected many to have wandered away through the gates of the set in search of a meal.

If the walkers didn't lose interest soon, it looked like he, Glenn and Maggie were destined to spend another cold hungry night on top of the truck. There were simply too many walkers, too close to the trucks, for the trio to take them on. Even if they chose to use their guns, which would enable them to pick off the walkers quite easily from their vantage point, they had insufficient ammunition to take on a herd this size. Their only option was to wait them out, or wait for the rest of their group to come looking for them.

Even worse, they had heard nothing from Daryl since the fire last night. Daryl was a survivor par excellence, but even he was not up to taking on this big a herd. Rick hoped that he had gone for reinforcements, and had not been cut-off or taken down during last night's little conflagration.

Suddenly there was a crackle and buzz of electronically amplified sound from over at the video village. A large screen was installed there, and pictures began flickering across it. Judging by the garb of the two actors appearing on-screen, which matched that of the male walker they had taken out, these were the dailies of the movie whose set they were stranded on.

The walkers' interest was immediate. Their heads went up, and nearly the whole herd turned en masse, to amble over to the screen and watch entranced, occasional growls softly emanating from the crowd. There were only a few stray walkers left near the trucks, and one, barefooted, rotating aimlessly out in the open ground between the trucks and the buildings where Daryl had initially taken cover.

Rick, Glenn and Maggie looked at each other, and made their way towards the cab of the truck. This was their opportunity. Rick was surprised the electronic equipment was still working, and figured whoever started it up must have found a generator to power it. He hoped against hope it was Daryl, although it did not seem the sort of knowledge one would expect of him. How to start a genny, yes; how to run the film equipment, no. Regardless, Rick was grateful, and he rapidly slid down the side of the cab to land on the hardstand as quietly as possible.

In moments, he and Maggie had taken out the closest walkers. The stray out in the open turned and headed slowly towards them. Rick began to run towards it, but then slowed to a staggering halt.

"No! no….oh god, no…"

"What is it?" Maggie turned from dealing with her walker and swiftly ran towards Rick, placing a hand on his arm. He gazed towards the lone walker in anguish. Maggie followed his gaze, and a sob broke across her lips.

It was Daryl.

No crossbow, and inexplicably dressed in pale blue satin pyjamas (and was that a Hello Kitty design on them?), but once you got past the glazed walker eyes and rotting flesh, unmistakeably Daryl. Right down to the little mole above his mouth.

"Oh dear God." Maggie choked out. She raised her knife and took a couple of steps towards him, but then faltered.

Glenn had caught up with them now, and, stiffening his back and setting his jaw, he said, "We have to do it. He would want that."

"I know," whispered Maggie in reply. "It's just… it's Daryl."

Glenn nodded. "I'll do it." He took a deep breath, lifted his knife and made to step forward.

"No," Rick said, one hand on Glenn's arm. "I'll take care of it."

Glenn hesitated, his eyes on Rick's tortured yet determined face. "You don't have to do all the hard stuff Rick."

Rick nodded, his eyes on the slowly gaining walker. "No; but I have to do this."

"Alright." Glenn stepped back and took Maggie's hand, and they waited as Rick breathed deeply and began to move forward.

Suddenly from behind them came the familiar whoosh of a crossbow bolt surging through the air. Next moment it was embedded in the eye socket of the Daryl walker, who wavered for a moment then slowly, gracefully, folded to the ground.

The trio turned in astonishment to see Daryl Dixon behind them, larger than life and twice as dirty, loading another bolt into his bow. "Come on people, we ain't got time to stand round yapping."

"Daryl," cried out Maggie, running over to him and flinging her arms around him, "you're alive!" Glenn was close behind her, and even Rick gripped Daryl's shoulder firmly, with a quiet, heartfelt, "Brother."

"Course I'm alive," Daryl tried to pull away, "get offa me woman. What is your problem?"

Rick, Maggie and Glenn looked at him with varying degrees of disbelief.

"Did you even look at that walker before you put it down?" asked Glenn, crooking his hand around Maggie's elbow and drawing her away from a clearly uncomfortable Daryl.

"Course I did, dummy, only one of the most basic rules of shootin; identify your target."

The others looked to each other, each a little dumbfounded, despite their joy at seeing Daryl alive and well, and as plain-spoken as ever.

"Take a closer look," Rick suggested dryly.

"You want me to go sightseeing while we gotta herd of walkers forty feet away?" Daryl spoke harshly, but strode towards the downed walker none the less. Rick intercepted him on the way with a light touch on the arm. "You OK?"

"Yeah, why wouldn't I be?"

"You seemed a little… off yesterday."

Daryl ducked his head a little. "Yeah, felt a little weird when I saw that walker – feeling disappeared as soon as you took it out." He carried on towards the newly downed walker, gave it a cursory glance as he retrieved his bolt and said, "So? What about it?"

"Jesus." Maggie rolled her eyes.

"Doubt it's him," Daryl quipped quickly.

"Don't you ever look in the mirror?" Maggie spoke almost angrily, then added, looking at his scruffy light beard, "No, I guess not."

"What? You think it looks like me?" Daryl bent closer and pushed the walker with his foot, turning its face towards him. "Nah, I'm much better lookin." Straightening up he turned to take in the looks on the faces of his comrades. His expression changed in a flash.

"Is that what all this is about? You thought this," kicking the walker's leg, "was me? That's why you were standing around having a United Nations debate instead of taking it down and hightailing it out of here?"

"Dude, it looks just like you."

Daryl shook his head slowly, and then quickly skimmed the area for any walker stragglers.

"We gotta get going, we're burning daylight. But, three things, people; firstly I don't care if a walker is me, lil Asskicker or Mother fuckin Theresa – you don't stand round holdin hands and singing Rock of Ages – you take it out then and fuckin there. B, take a look at the amount of rot on this ranny – that look like a day-old walker to you? Come on. And last but not least, you shoulda known it wasn't me anyways - you wouldn't catch me dead in those lame-ass pyjamas."

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The End (of Down in the Boondocks chapters)

If you go onto Youtube there are interviews where cast members are asked how they'd fare in a real zombie apocalypse (see "The Walking Dead - Norman Reedus & Michael Rooker Interview"). Norman says he'd hole up in a penthouse apartment - in pyjamas. (I chose to omit the fuzzy bunny slippers part of the outfit, cos that'd just be too unbelievable…).

In my fic, did anyone catch the tiny cameo of a well-known director of zombie movies?

Feel free to review.