Status: Ongoing

Starting Over

King Me

It wasn't until a hour of you staring at the top bunk passed that Beth walked into your cell holding three books.

You didn't really expect much, but thankfully the prison library wasn't overrun with walkers, so you had a pretty good choice of what to read.

"Sorry we couldn't find ya anymore. These were the only ones that I thought you might like."
After sitting up more comfortably you take the books from Beth with a grin. As you look over the books you subconsciously read the titles aloud.

"The Art of War, The Old Man at Sea, and....The Bible?"

Before you knew what you'd done you set The Bible to the side. Beth doesn't say anything about it, but instead breaks the short silence.

"I also found a checker board if you don't feel like reading. Me and Judith could come play with you."
Beth was as innocent as ever and even more sweet. Anytime she smiled you knew it was strained, but you still couldn't help but smile right back.

"Sure, Beth. I'd love that."

The silence that falls over you two as you continue to look over the books is luckily cut by Hershel coming in to check up on your leg.

He seems to look between the two of you as if something had happened. Beth immediately left like a dog with its tail tucked between its legs as soon as Hershel took the seat beside you.

Within the few hours that you were left alone you'd decided to just ignore everyone's really odd behaviors. You would eventually find out what was going on, one way or the other.

"Looks like the infection is still healing, so nothing to worry about."

Hershel breaks you out of your thoughts as you suddenly start feeling the pain from him dressing your leg in new bandages.

It doesn't help either that with each wrap, your leg instinctively jerks from his touch. He didn't deter from his actions though even as you wince repeatedly.

When he finally finishes you relax back onto the bed. The pain was more like an itch more than anything, which was way more irritating.

"So, how about those painkillers?"

Hershel finally looks at you and you see something odd in his expression, as though there's sadness there that he is trying to hide.

"Sorry, we don't have any quite yet. All I can tell ya is to get some rest."

Before you can say anything else he's out the door and making his way down the hall. You just set your head back down and sighed.

Being cooped up in this cell was going to be hell for you. You wanted to be out there doing things that needed to be done, but all you could do was lay in that dingy bed and either sleep or read.

So, considering your options, you picked up The Art of War and began reading. You had already read The Old Man and The Sea before, but somehow you knew you'd be reading that one later on too.

All of the sounds around you slowly faded out as your mind wrapped around all of the words. Reading was your only way to escape, and you really enjoyed it. So, you found yourself emerged in the book and completely taken out of the horrible reality of your new world.

2 Days Later

"Sorry, Judith."

The tiny girl in front of you, being slowly cradled in Beth's arms makes a gurgling sound that puts a smile on your face as you take another black piece off of the checkerboard.

"You're really good at this game." Beth says with a similar smile except for the same sadness and slight guilt hidden in her eyes.

It's only been a few days, but you could completely see the emotions hidden inside everyone that has visited you. It irritates you to no end, but you are slowly breaking Beth's resolve.

You throw little hints at her in the form of questions, but each time she only looks away and makes up an excuse to leave.

Not today though, today you were going to get some answers.

"So, Beth." You start up as you stack your won pieces on top of each other, "How's everyone doing?"
She doesn't reply first as she examines the board with intense interest, but then the question registers, and she looks up at you with a nervous expression.

You move a red piece close to one of hers, purposely making it easier for her to take. She notices and quickly jumps her black piece over yours.

Beth smiles happily, your question seemingly forgotten, as she places it in her small won pile.

"Everyone is okay. We're all worried about you, even though we know you're healin' alright."

You almost show the surprise on your face, but stop yourself before giving it all away.

This may be a small victory on your part, but it doesn't reveal much to you. You stay silent for a few minutes as you continue to let her win a piece every few plays.

You notice Judith has fallen asleep and is making quiet noises as you contemplate your next move.
You clear your throat.
"So, why would everyone be worried about me, Beth?"

Beth's hand seems to hesitate as she reaches for one of her pieces, but then grabs it and moves it into your trap.

She ignores you for a moment, waiting for your next play. You grab your own piece and jump over three of Beth's without taking your eyes off of her.

Beth's eyes shoot up to your own, red and threatening to spill out. Her lip quivers from the effort, and you think for a second that she will start crying and confessing everything all at once.

Instead, Beth quietly but swiftly grabs all of the pieces and puts them back into the case along with the board. She wakes Judith in the process, and she starts whining from her sleep being interrupted.

"Beth, I didn't mean to-," The pure anguish on her face as she stares back at you stops you all together. She looks so torn between finally telling you and just leaving that you can't even say sorry.

When Judith's cries got louder, Beth finally turns away and storms out of the room. You can see the faint line of a tear running down her cheek as she turns down the hall.

You look down at the floor where the board was and wonder why she acted like that. She's never done that before.

Maybe what everyone is hiding is really important. You hadn't seen much of anyone, but you knew for sure Hershel, Rick, Beth, and Carol were all okay. Or at least they did when they came to see you.

Was someone hurt? Was someone missing?

You can't stop your hand from going to your mouth as it opens from realization.

Was someone dead?