Status: Updating kinda slowly at the moment, but I'm not giving up on this story!

We've Got a Big Mess on Our Hands

03

I was woken up the next morning by a harsh kick to my shin.

“Holy shit, Emma I’m so sorry!” I heard Glenn from somewhere on my level. I rolled over seeing him on his hands and knees and I figured out that he must have tripped over me. I burst out laughing and he gave me an odd look before he chuckled as well.

“Glenn how the hell do you get chosen to go on all these runs with how damn clumsy you are?” I laughed.

“Hey, I can be graceful under pressure. I saved your brothers ass.” He returned.

“Yeah, I still have to hear his side of that.” I gave him a fake stern look before we both started laughing and got up and ventured out to the camp to attempt to find something for breakfast. There were only a few of us up, the sun not having been up for long. Glenn went straight to his new toy after grabbing some toasted bread Andrea had set out for us. I sat and chatted with her as the rest of the group started to get up for the day. I helped her toast some more bread and I found some oatmeal to boil over the fire. Shane ventured over to us for some food, nodding at us both. He then disappeared as soon as he showed up. I finished stirring up the oatmeal before putting out the fire so it didn’t burn, and then followed Shane to his jeep.

“What are you up to?” I asked coming up next to him.

“Headin down to round up some water.” He paused and looked at me. “Wanna come with?”

“Yeah sure, may as well make myself useful.” I smiled and grabbed the last couple empty jugs for water and tossing them in the back of his jeep before joining him in the front. He took off once I was in, and began to head down to the water.

“Man, got some great memories in this thing huh?” I smiled patting the side of the jeep. Shane looked at me and smiled, then turned his attention back to the trails ahead of us.

“Not the same memories exactly. I don’t recall ever being sprawled out drunk in the backseat.” He laughed giving me a look.

“Yeah, well I lived and learned didn’t I?” I laughed along with him. “Thanks for always having my back back then Shane. My parents probably would’ve ended up sending me to military school had they found out half the shit you got me out of.”

“Yeah, they just sent you off to college instead.” He smiled.

“Because sending me to Florida for college was such a punishment. Do you realize I probably spent more nights out on the beach than I did actually in my dorm room?” I laughed at the memories.

“Emma Grimes, the beach bum.” He smiled. We were quiet the rest of the trip, our minds on the past. We spent the next half hour or so collecting water. I would fill up the jug and pass it to Shane who would tow it back to the jeep. We returned to the campsite, everyone by then had woken up and found the oatmeal and bread Andrea and I had prepared.

“Water is here yall, don’t forget to boil before use.” Shane shouted as we arrived and got out of the jeep. I began to help the others haul the water jugs out of the back. As I was getting the water I heard a scream, which I recognized as Carl and dropped what I was doing and ran with the rest of the group to find my distressed nephew. I pulled my pink Ruger LCP .380 out of my waistband and followed Rick and Shane. Lori got to Carl and Sophia and pulled them away from the danger as the rest of us found the reason behind their panic. A deer with arrows in it’s haunches had a walker chowing down on its neck.

“Oh my god.” I whispered, shock taking over me. We were all lost for words as we stared at the sight before us. The walker eventually noticed our presence and turned its ugly, rotten head and started for us. Rick took a swing and before long, everyone was taking a swing at it. Since I only had my gun, I stepped back to Lori and Carl to make sure he was alright. I ran back to the men as we heard rustling in the bushes. We all pointed our weapons in the direction of the rustling and we all sighed in relief as Daryl came through the leaves.

“Jesus, Dixon.” I sighed as I lowered my gun.

“Son of a bitch, that was my deer!” He yelled as he saw what we were gathered around. He proceeded to curse and kick the now dead again walker as we all simply watched his rage.

“Now calm down son, that’s not helping.” Dale tried to reason.

“What do you know about it old man” Daryl countered as he made his way over to Dale.

“Daryl stop.” I scolded as I stood between him and Dale and put a hand to his chest as he got too close. He glared at me and turned back to his deer.

“You think we can cut around this part here?” he motioned around the part the walker had munched on.

“I wouldn’t risk that.” Shane stated.

“That’s a damn shame.” Daryl cursed as he took his arrows back. Soon the now beheaded walkers jaw unclenched and we all jumped. Daryl shot it down with his crossbow just as quick as it had moved. “Come on people, it’s just some brain, damn.” He said as he stormed away. I turned to Rick who was staring after Daryl.

“And that’s what we’re dealing with.” I said as I nodded back over in Daryl’s direction. Rick simply sighed and we made our way back to camp.

Needless to say, telling Daryl that his brother had been left handcuffed to the roof of a building in Atlanta didn’t go well. After a lot of yelling and pushing, and even Shane having to hold him down in a chokehold as Rick tried to calmly explain why Merle was in the situation that he was in. He then threw us a curve ball in saying that he was going back. After much debate Rick, Glenn, T-Dog and Daryl decided they were making the trip back to the city, not just for Merle, but for the bag of guns and a walkie-talkie he had dropped in the street. I didn’t like the idea of my brother and the guys being back out in the city, but rather than arguing with Rick about it like everyone else, I decided to just leave it, knowing it wouldn’t change Rick’s mind. By the time they were all ready to go, I gave Glenn and T-Dog a hug and then approached Rick.

“You better be careful big brother.” I said trying to lighten the mood, but being serious at the same time. He smiled and pulled me in for a hug.

“Always am.” He said. As he pulled away, he kissed me on the forehead and went to talk to Shane before leaving. I took the opportunity and pulled Daryl aside before he got back in the van.

“Daryl, come here for a second.” I requested. He walked over to me, a slightly annoyed look on his face. “Look, just please be careful and when you get your brother back, please don’t let him cause any shit. I know you blame Rick for this, but he’s going back out there and that’s gotta count for something.”

“Merle ain’t gonna be happy about this, and there ain’t nothin’ I can do to control ‘im when he comes back.” Daryl said.

“Just know that Rick was a cop and knows exactly how to deal with assholes like Merle, as he’s already proven. I’m asking you this not only for the groups sake but for you and your brothers sake.” I quickly reached out and pecked his cheek. “Be safe.”

“Yeah, yeah.” He grumbled and turned back to the truck. Daryl and I had a weird relationship. He never really talked to anyone other than Merle, and I seemed to be the only one persistent enough to make him talk. I’m sure I was very annoying to him at first, and honestly I probably still am. But he seemed to put up with it, and whenever he needed to be confronted, the group usually designated me to do so. When I thought Rick was dead, Daryl was very understanding and I would sometimes even talk to him about Rick. But ever since Rick came back, Daryl had been somewhat bitter towards me. That could probably be because of the fact that it was my brother who handcuffed his brother, and lead them to the situation that they’re now in.

I decided to make myself useful and gathered all the laundry that needed to be done and asked some of the ladies to come join. On the way down to the water, I stopped by Daryl’s tent and grabbed some of his clothes that were lying around. I knew he probably wouldn’t appreciate it much, but figured I’d do it anyways. Carol, Jacqui, Andrea, Amy and I all sat around talking and joking around, trying to make the best of a tedious task. We were going around listing things that we missed. Washing machines, coffee makers, the Internet.

“Ugh I miss my vibrator.” Andrea said and we all giggled. After a moment of silence,

“Me too.” Carol said, surprising us all. We all burst into laughter for once being able to relax and hang out. But of course, all good things come to an end. Ed, Carol’s husband came up and began to watch us, making us all feel uncomfortable.

“You know Ed, if you don’t like how your laundry is done, you’re more than welcome to do it yourself.” I said not even looking at him.

“Ain’t my job.” He shot back.

“And what is your job exactly? Sit around and smoke your cigarettes all day?” Andrea asked. She tossed the pair of wet jeans she was in the process of washing at him, in which he threw back too aggressively.

“Come on” He said to Carol, who just to avoid any more confrontation, was obliging.

“What so she can come back with fresh bruise on her?” Jacqui scoffed.

“It’s fine, I’m fine.” She said in a small voice.

“No, this is ridiculous, you don’t have to go anywhere Carol.” I said blocking her from Ed. Everything that happened next happened so fast. There was yelling and Ed slapped Carol right in the face, igniting a rage inside of me that I hardly knew existed. Andrea was trying to hold Carol back as I reached for Ed and slapped him as hard as I possibly could muster. He started to lunge at me, but not before Shane reached him. He grabbed him by the arm and threw him to the ground. He began to repeatedly punch him in the face, and at first, I was all for it. Ed totally deserved it. But when I heard Carol whimpering and crying behind me, I realized Shane was taking it a bit far.

“Shane! Shane stop!” I tried. I ran over to the pair, Ed’s face was a bloody pulp, and almost unrecognizable as Shane kept on relentlessly beating him. “Shane please!” I yelled as I reached for his arm to stop another hit. With Shane being so incredibly strong, it hardly fazed him when I grabbed him. He snapped out of whatever trance he was in and took a hold of Ed’s face with the hand that I wasn’t holding onto.

“If you lay a hand on your wife or little girl or anyone else in this camp again, I promise you I will not stop next time, do you understand me?” Ed nodded, and thinking this was finally over, I let go of Shane’s hand and got up. He threw another punch, and finally got up himself, but not before giving a final kick to his stomach. As Carol rushed over to Ed, I grabbed Shane and drug him away from the scene before us. Neither of us said a word as we started to wander into the woods. I decided he needed to just take a walk to cool off some. We found a small clearance in the trees with a few stumps and long grass. I took his hand and lead him to sit down. As soon as he did he put his head in his hands and stared at the ground. After a moment, I decided to break the silence.

“Shane, I completely understand why you lost it on Ed. He totally deserved all of that. But for one, you can’t go doing that in front of Carol, and everyone else, and two, I can’t say that I believe that this is all about the fact that Ed’s a piece of shit and beats his wife.” I waited while I could see his thoughts racing. He finally looked up at me, the sadness so evident in his eyes. He simply shook his head. I knelt in front of him, putting a hand on each of his knees. “You know if you ever need to talk and blow off some of that steam in a less violent way, I’m here for you.” He finally cracked a hint of a smile and pulled me up and propped me on one of his legs.

“Thanks Em. You always were too good for me.” He laughed.

“And I always knew that.” I winked, pecked his cheek and got up. “I’m going to head back and finish with the laundry that was so rudely interrupted. See you back at camp.”

“Be safe.” He nodded, and I started to make my way back to the water. Little did I know that Shane’s statement that had been made habit by this point should have actually been taken as a warning.
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