‹ Prequel: The Regulator

Made to Suffer


Silence hung over the group as we sat around a fire, eatin' breakfast. Carol had her eye on me as she brought over some more eggs, scrapin' 'em onto my plate. I nodded a silent thanks as I kept eating. Since I'd gotten hurt while I was out lookin' for Sophia, she'd been hoverin' around me, tryin' to make sure I was comfortable.

"Guys," Glenn said, pullin' his eyes away from Maggie standin' on the porch and bein' the first to speak; gettin' everyone's attention from their meals, "The barn's full of walkers."

Minutes later we all stood outside the barn, watchin' as Shane peered in between the slats of wood. He jumped back as one of the dead things clawed at the other side of the door.

"We need to get the hell outta here," Shane said, pacing. His hand absently searched his hip for his gun, but Dale had locked all our guns up on Hershel's request.

"With my daughter still out there?" Carol asked, she looked at me for help, then back to Shane, "We can't just leave her."

"You need to accept the possible outcome-" He started

"I found her doll the other day," I said, the pain in my side flarin' up. I pressed my hand against my bandage, tryin' to stifle the ache.

"Yeah, a doll," Shane said angrily, turnin' to look at me.

"We're close," I said, standin' my ground and not lettin' him think he was gonna intimidate me. Shane scared most of the group, but not me.

"Man, if she saw you comin' all methed out with your buck knife she would turn and run the other way!" Shane yelled, pushin' me to my limit. Rick stepped between us as I approached him, ready to swing.

"What the hell d'you know?!" I yelled, my emotions escalating.

"Shane, stop it!" Rick said, holding me back from Shane.

"Rick man, you know, after the first 48 hours there's hardly any chance of finding someone," Shane said, not caring if Carol was crying or that he was talkin' about her little girl, "We need to clear the barn."

"I need to talk to Hershel about this," Rick said, trying to calm Shane, "Let me talk to him."

"Hershel sees these things as people," Dale said.

"You knew?" Shane asked, looking at the old man, "You knew and you didn't say nothing?"

"I thought we could survive one more night," Dale said, "And we did."

"The hell with ya'll," I spat walking away from the two men, heading for Hershel's stables with my side burnin'. I'd been out, lookin' for Sophia on a horse I'd borrowed from Hershel when the horse got spooked and I ended up rollin' down a steep ridge. One of my arrow's pierce my side as I fell, once I came to in the creek I had a walker gnawin' on the steel toe of my boot and a wicked head ache. After takin' care of the walker I stumbled my way back to camp, only to be shot by Andrea's dumb ass 'cause she thought I was a walker. Talk about havin' a shity day. Hershel had tended to my wounds and Carol had been in and out of my tent, makin' sure I was okay and that I didn't need anything. It was awkward havin' her follow me around, I knew she partly felt responsible for me gettin' hurt, but I didn't know how to respond to her.


"C'mon," I said, leading one of the horses out of his stall, I put his bridle on 'im and tied it to the fence post while I got a saddle ready. I looked up at the sound of someone walkin' in the stables. Carol stood there, here face somber and arms crossed over her chest.

"You can't go out there," She said, lookin' at me with concern.

"Why?" I asked briskly, tryin' to lift the saddle, despite the searing pain in my side.

"Hershel said you need to heal," She said.

"I don't care."

"Rick is going out later," She offered with a small, sincere smile. This just made me frustrated.

"I ain't sittin' around," I spat, gettin' pissed that she was here, tryin' to talk me out of lookin' for Sophia.

"You're gonna hurt yourself worse," Carol said, her eyes tearing up, "We don't know what you're gonna find out there," She exhaled heavily," I can't lose you, too." What the fuck did that mean? I threw the saddle, causing more pain for myself. Carol didn't flinch as I pushed over the saw horse.

"Leave me be," I growled, turning away from her and heading for the door, "Stupid bitch." I heard Merle in my words as I replayed the situation, heading for my tent. I looked down at my weddin' band and glanced back towards the barn, "Fuck," I hissed through my teeth as the stabbing pain got worse.


I crouched down in front of the fire, stirring the kettle of beans to keep them from burning. I tapped the spoon on the edge of the pot, getting the excess off and replacing the lid to the pot before standing up.

"How's it coming?" Alice asked from where she stood, hanging the laundry we'd washed in the creek.

"As good as it can be," I said, looking out into the woods, "I'm so sick of beans."

"Me too,"Alice replied, "Hopefully they come back with something." John and Alice's husband, Roger, had gone out into the woods hunting with the rest of the men from our group. There were 15 of us, we'd set up a small camp in a clearing and rigged traps for biters. So far, we'd been safe. I stared between the trees, my hand on the large hunting knife I always had securely on my hip. "What's wrong?"

"Shh," I hushed her, taking a few steps towards the woods. Alice asked another question, but I ignored her, concentrating on the bits of brown peeking through the green leaves. I pulled my knife from its sheath as I crept closer to the tree line. I crouched as I got within a few feet and the doe turned to look at me, I was at the base of a giant pine tree, hidden by the trunk. I held the knife between my thumb and forefinger, ready to throw it and get my deer, just like I'd seen Daryl do.

"Girl, you need to get down here," Daryl said in a hushed voice, "You're gonna scare 'im, sweetheart." I crouched beside him the best I could with my growing belly.

"We're on a walk, not hunting," I sighed, earning a smirk from my husband.

"That's an 18 point buck," He murmured, pulling his skinning knife from his boot. I watched as he held the blade between his thumb and forefinger.

"What're you gonna do?" I asked, looking on.

"Throw it," He said quietly, "You aim for the neck."

I threw my knife, just as Daryl had, hitting the doe in the neck. She made a horrible sound as she collapsed to the ground, I approached her and removed the knife from her neck, trying to spare her as much pain as possible and finished the job.

I approached the farm house, seein' Andrea, Lori and Carl, Glenn, T, Maggie, Carol and Beth standing around on the porch. Andrea should have been out with Rick, lookin' out for Sophia.

"Dammnit," I said, seeing them all lolligaggin' around, "Isn't anyone takin' this seriously? We got a damn trail!"

"What's all this?" T asked, putting everyone's attention on Shane, who was walkin' up to all of us, the gun bag over his shoulder and his gun in hand.

"With me, man?" Shane asked, "It's time to grow up," He handed a shotgun to me, and I accepted it, "It's one thing sittin' around her pickin' daisies, but we got a threat," He moved on to Glenn, "How 'bout you man? You gonna protect yours?" He looked from Glenn to Maggie and back, Glenn nodded and Shane handed him a gun, "We gotta find Sophia and Hershel's just gotta understand," Shane nodded to Carol, before movin' on to Carl, he crouched down, "You take this, Carl," He gave him a six shooter, "And you protect your mother." Lori's face had blanched. Shane was right, though, we needed to take care of the threat, we couldn't just keep hopin' things would change if we weren't gonna change 'em.

"Oh shit," That was Glenn, we all turned in the direction he was lookin' to see Rick and Hershel wranglin' walkers towards the barn. He was a dumb sunofabitch, trying to do right by his family and do right by Hershel. Shane took off towards Rick, followed by Andrea, myself, T and Glenn. Carol followed at a slower pace.

"What the hell did you do?" Shane demanded once we got upon the scene.

"Why do your people have guns?" Hershel asked, lookin' worried. I was fixed on the walker Rick had ahold of.

"You kiddin' me?" Shane asked, "You see what he's got? These things ain't alive. These things kill, they killed Aimee, they killed Otis. If this is a livin' person, are they gonna live through this?" Shane leveled his gun at the walker Jimmy held on to and pulled the trigger twice, pumping bullets into its chest "Why is it still coming?"

"Enough!" Rick yelled.

"You're right man," Shane responded, "That is enough." He put a final bullet into the walkers head and headed for the barn doors, I raised the shotgun, ready to fire.

"Rick, it ain't like it was before. If you're gonna live, you're gonna fight for it. Right here, right now."

"Hershel, take it!" Rick said, trying to pass his walker off to the older man, who stood in a shocked silence, "Take it now! Hershel! No, Shane. Do not do this, brother!" Shane blasted the lock off the old wooden doors and let them come open.

"Rick!" That was Lori. Walkers started streamin' from the barn, stumblin' over each other to get at live meat. We all opened fire, methodically takin' them out one by one until there was silence. We stood as a group, lookin' at each other, adrenaline rushin'. A slow, shufflin' noise from the barn put as all back on the edge, we all stared and waited.

My heart sank when I saw her, I lowered the shotgun, knowin' I couldn't do it. You could tell by lookin' at her she'd been dead a while. I'd been out there, chasin' a ghost.

"Sophia?" Carols voice came from behind me, "Sophia." I turned to see her runnin' for her daughter, I caught her around the waist and pulled her down to the ground with me as Rick approached the little girl. Carol was sobbin' in my arms as Rick glanced back at me, I gave him a nod - in thanks - for steppin' up.

"Shhh," I hushed Carol awkwardly, runnin' a hand over her back, "Don't look." She buried her face against my arm as Rick raised his gun and Sophia growled at him. I couldn't stand to look, I hid my eyes too.


Later that night John and I sat beside the dying fire after everyone else had gone to bed, our bellies full for the first time in weeks. A cool breeze was rustling the trees in the distance.

"You did a good job today," John said, giving me a smile.

"Thanks," I said with an acknowledging nod.

"Daryl would have been proud," He said, making me tense up a bit. I'd given up on seeing my husband again, but I still wore my ring faithfully. I gave him a tightlipped smile in thanks as he wrapped an arm loosely around my waist, pulling me close as the wind blew harder. I debated internally for a few moments before leaning my head against his shoulder with a sigh, giving in and letting Daryl slip away.
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disclaimer: obviously this chapter contains dialogue from the walking dead. i have no ownership of the dialogue from the show [or the story line].