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 Male x Male  Post Apocalyptic  Fandom Blood is Thicker than Water (A Walking Dead/Dixon Brothers RP) (Roth & Sayd)

Discussion in 'Roleplay Execution' started by Roth, Feb 3, 2018.

  1. Roth

    Roth Deliciously Different Administrator

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    [​IMG]


    It was February in Georgia and hours of cold, lazy drizzle had left the pine needle carpeted floor of the forest nothing short of a soppy sponge to trudge across with no game to be found. It seemed no amount of whisky could warm up Merle’s clammy skin as the deceivingly light, misty rain had still managed to soak his clothes through and through and he could feel his bones beginning to ache. A casual glance to his right where his little brother paced silently beside him showed him that the younger fared no better.

    “Here…” Merle held out the bottle to Daryl. There were only a few swigs left of the bottom shelf rot gut whisky, but the red across Daryl’s cheeks and nose told him the kid was just as chilled as he was. Merle chuffed to himself, Daryl was hardly a kid, in years or in body. He was a grown ass man, but still, in Merle’s eyes he’d always be ‘kid’ and as a big brother, he’d always have his little brothers back. It was a brother thing. It was a Dixon thing. Put those two things together and you had a powerful bond that wasn’t easily broken.

    He knew it had been a hard thing for Daryl to leave his friends, and as much as Merle hated high horse Officer Friendly and his gang of bleeding heart losers, he knew they’d kept good care of Daryl and seen him through until Merle could take up his vigilant watch again. It seemed the boy, despite being a grown ass man, had grown up some in that lot of pansies, having been forced to step up and protect the weak. But when push came to shove and ultimatums had been made, the kid had still done the right thing and taken up his rightful place at old Merle’s side and the Dixon brothers were born again to a life on the road.

    It had been a moral struggle for Merle to leave behind all the supplies they could have taken given that their part in the defeat of the Governor had been significant, but in the end he knew it eased his brother’s mind to know that the stragglers of Woodbury and the prison would have plenty carry them through the rebuilding of some kind of camp. There was a baby! And a kid! Those had been the two biggest concerns on Daryl’s mind when they had fought over whether Daryl was going to stay or go and Merle knew it wasn’t a war worth waging with the kid. If he acquiesced, Daryl would fold, no questions, and much to Officer Friendly’s dismay, Daryl made the right choice. Blood is thicker than water.

    Merle chuffed again, and he could see Daryl’s glance slide over to him as he kicked back the bottle. He knew Daryl knew what he was thinking, or close to it, because that’s just how it was with them. They always knew each other’s thinking. They always anticipated each other’s actions. That’s why there would be no separating them and Merle was high on his own horse remembering the look on Rick’s face when Daryl stood there at his big brother’s side, and made that fact clear by telling Rick if he had to choose, he chose family. BAM! Now that was the power of Dixon pride and loyalty!

    “Awww, Daryl,” Merle chuckled as he shared his thoughts aloud. “that look on Rick’s face was precious. It was like you ditched him at prom for a better date.” He reached over and pinched Daryl's cheek as the younger was already giving him one of his steely glares. “It looked like you was breakin’ his heart into little itty-bitty pieces. You know,” Merle could never resist the opportunity to goad people on, and Daryl was by far the best quarry for it, even if it meant risking a rough and tumble redneck rumble in the mud.

    “I’d bet my last bottle that sheriff was sweet on you. Mmm mmm, the way he looked at you said a thousand words and they were all the sweet nothings, lovey-dovey kind of words if ya know what I mean.” He gave a wink and sleazy flick of his brows before busting out in a boisterous scratchy laugh. He pinched Daryl’s cheek again with the little jiggle. “Aw, don’t give me that look, sweet pea, we need ta find us some shelter and get some kind of fire goin’ before dark or we’ll be fuck all for the cold. C’mon, quit yer belly achin’; I was just teasin’. You can try to kick my ass after we make camp.” With that he doubled his walking effort with determination to remedy their lack of shelter situation and to shake of the chill that still nagged at him.[/spoiler]
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2018
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  2. Sayd

    Sayd © Moderator

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    The governor was dead. They were safe. Daryl didn't want to sit around and play house with a bunch of strangers, or so he said. None of them trusted Merle even after all he'd done. Some had the audacity to claim he'd turn on Rick the same way. Ungrateful bastards that they were. It made everyone a little uneasy, and when Rick laid out his options he knew. It wasn't an easy decision but it was his only one. Rick had people. His brother only had him. If Merle had tried to make it right with Glenn it hadn't gone over well that he could tell. Tension was still high and Daryl couldn't argue they needed a little distance.

    Michonne, of all people, didn't agree but Merle's friends were few and far between and even he couldn't figure out their relationship. Daryl wouldn't ever forget walking up on them, expecting the worst. They were both piss drunk sitting over the Governor's body. Merle had handled the situation when Rick was still making his decision. 'Running around half-cocked' is what they called it. He'd gone to do the dirty work but he hadn't gone through with it any more than Rick had.

    “We'll be fine. Give people some time to cool off. Won't be the last you see of us. It's borin' here anyway,” Daryl grumbled, blowing it off. It was never meant to be a long term thing. They'd cross paths again eventually. Daryl knew where to find them. Maybe Rick didn't believe he'd actually go, but this was his brother he was talking about.

    Daryl scowled and tore his face away from Merle's hand.

    “Shut up, Merle. Ain't nothin' like that.”

    At the very least it got them moving more quickly as the cold threatened to set into their bones. They'd been given some supplies but it wasn't anything that could help with their current situation. No way he'd allow himself to grow soft on the move like this. Merle was there to remind him and they pushed on together, side by side.

    They kept away from the higher areas of population to avoid walkers but that meant that shelters were more difficult to come by. Picking through the scattering of walkers they did find wasn't too difficult and when they did wander across a shack they didn't have trouble taking it, even with Merle's only hand wounded. Daryl made sure to keep close to him but his brother was still a force to be reckoned with. It wasn't that much warmer inside but there was dry with a fireplace, wood, and maybe some clothing they could get changed into.

    “This'll do,” Daryl said, “for now.” Merle could lick his wounds and they could try hunting again later. He hadn't checked the cupboards but instead sank down by the fireplace to get something going, trying to hide his involuntary shivering. He didn't want Merle to think he'd gotten too comfortable with Rick's group. Too reliant. They could do it themselves, and not only that, they could do it better.
     
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  3. Roth

    Roth Deliciously Different Administrator

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    Merle was always amused by Daryl's vehement, volatile reactions to his many forms of teasing and the boy had been a never ending source of amusement for Merle throughout their lives. No doubt he pushed the kid's limits hard when it came to the relentless razzing and rough housing, but it was always meant for a laugh and at often to make Daryl stronger to overcome the obstacles of a life that never promised to be easy for them as the butt end joke of society's pampered and idiotic majority. Dixons weren't pussies who worried about what was trending on the internet or what every one at the PTA thought about their fancy house in their yuppie barracks cul-de-sack neighborhood. The Dixons were men of the land and survival and when the world went to shit it became painfully obvious that their breed was the breed that would survive. The PTA Twitter world was dead and gone and the Dixons were thriving! Merle thought that was the best joke of all.

    The thought of it brought a surge of pride to his breast and he gave his baby bro's shoulder a firm pat as they entered the shack one behind the other. "God given perfect, Daryl," he commented with a smug grin. The gesture had hurt like hell with his only hand suffering from the Governor's attempt to bite off the only fingers he had left. He didn't speak a word of the pain to Daryl, though. He was bullheaded and Dixons didn't cry into their petticoats over bumps and bruises. They shut up and dealt with it like men and it served no purpose to worry his brother about something that would take care of itself in time.

    With an affectionate ruffle of the kid's hair, he headed to the little kitchenette area while Daryl worked on the fire. Frick and frack, they always complimented each other's thoughts and actions. The cupboards proved to be a jackpot. Whomever had owned the little hunting shack hadn't been there since society had tumbled down and from the looks of it, no one else had either. There were canned goods, some dry goods, and the drawers had a variety of tools including a can opener. His grin widened as his head did a little dinner math. One family size can of baked beans plus one pan plus on can opener equaled one tasty and filling dinner. He grabbed the pan and pulled down the beans then reached for the can opener. He hissed and cussed as he picked it up and promptly dropped it. He'd shaken off a fair share of the cold which felt good, but it also thawed out the hand enough to where he felt the full force of the swelling and pain in his knuckled. Dinner math had suddenly changed and now included one can opener minus two hands equals you're fucked, Merle.

    "God damned fucking cunt-ass piece of shit!" He swore to high hell. "Think you're gonna out best me, fucker? Well bring it on Hunt's Homestyle, I got a right hook that says suck my dick, you piece of tin can shit!" Merle growled a gritty laugh as he slipped his dagger into its home made sheath attachment on his right arm and punched down with full force on the top of the can, skewering it through both ends and into the simple 2 X 4 counter top. "Hahahahaha! Check this out, kiddo!"

    He yanked the blade out of the counter and quickly moved the pan under the can that was quickly bleeding out its thick molasses brown blood and went to where Daryl had managed a decent fire out of next to nothing. He was an amazing kid and Merle was suddenly just happy to be there with him again. "Fuck the Governor and Rick fucking Grimes, you can't keep old Merle down!" He beamed in twisted pride for his victory over the can of beans. "We're eatin' good tonight, little brother. Hope you brought your appetite! Now take this before I drop it."
     
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  4. Sayd

    Sayd © Moderator

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    Daryl lifted his head when he heard his brother cussing and something hit the ground with a thud. More cussing followed. Hard to tell with Merle if he was having a good time or a bad one but he came out smiling, holding a pot in hand. Pickins had been slim but they'd never had it easy. A full belly and a decent nights rest was the best anyone could hope for. With the Dixon's there was no hope, only getting it done. Daryl took the pan from him and got their dinner going. Something hot would help to heat them up and was worth the extra time when they had a fire available. Small luxuries they'd never really taken for granted even before the world went to shit.

    “Maybe we can get you a can opener attachment. Turn you into a livin' multi-tool,” Daryl said with a grin. He'd made the best of a poor situation, he'd give Merle that. Even now his brother didn't let it get him down that his fingers were obviously broken. Daryl picked up where Merle struggled, relaxed and trying not to make it obvious that is exactly what he was doing. Neither liked to admit it when they needed a little help

    “You should splint those. So they don't go all crooked on you,” he said casually. If Merle would have let someone look at it before they left they'd probably have been better off. Stubborn and insulting about it, Hershel had only waved his hand at Merle dismissively, turning and muttering that he wouldn't insist. Daryl wished he would have. He got up and moved to the kitchen, finding two spoons to bring back over to the fire. It occurred to him Merle might have an easier time using the flat side of his knife that was already attached but brought it over anyway. He burnt his mouth shoveling the first spoonful but it had been worth it, a mix of sweet and salty.

    “We can lay low a few days here but I think we can do better than this,” Daryl said. He doubted either would have been content to just live even if they'd found the holy grail of end of the world hideouts. It was good to be on the move again even if just a few moments before they'd been cold and miserable. Kept 'em humble. Showed they were still living. There were a lot of things they'd left behind, separating from Rick and the others. Things they could collect themselves.

    With their hunger sated and now at least partially dry, Daryl got up to see what else he could find in the shack. There were some hunting provisions left. No guns or ammo, but some wire, fishing hooks, a skinning knife and a pair of leather boots that would fit one of them. He found a flask also, opening it to give it a sniff then a swallow in consideration. Obviously alcoholic in nature and potent. He tossed the flask at Merle, letting him decide if they wanted to enjoy a reprieve or save it for the road. It tasted like shit, whatever it was. Eventually, he found a pair of gloves that matched the boots. Daryl held them up with a snort and a laugh.

    “Seems fair you take the boots.” It was better than what they were wearing and the gloves were just a useful and hopefully both were waterproof. His shoes had been soaked through and were sitting beside the fire.

    “Don't know how you're gonna tie them though.” A cheeky smile. They laced up the ankle, not only giving support but also providing protection against walkers.
     
  5. Roth

    Roth Deliciously Different Administrator

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    "Oh aren't you just a bag of punchlines' tonight, ya little dick," Merle sucked in breath along his teeth followed by a chuckle as he crouched down then back to sit with food, fire, and family. He was still in his wet clothes, but already they'd begun to dry and being near the fire would finish the job nicely. As he looked over to Daryl it seemed the other had already come mostly to that state. "I guess I should just be thankin' the Lord and Baby Jesus that I got you around now to do all my tyin', buttonin', and bucklin', eh?" He snickered as he likewise helped himself to a shoveling of hot beans.

    "Awww, yeah, now this is heaven. Homestyle. Not no Piggly Wiggly off brand crap. You feelin' like a king yet, Baby B?" It seemed there was no end to the absurdity or amount of pet names Merle could spit up, especially when it came to Daryl. However, when it came to Daryl, his pet names, obnoxious as they could be, were usually truly affectionate in the giving; unlike the less pleasant sarcastic names he'd give other folks. It was a general rule that Merle really didn't like most people, or trust them, or even care to try to. He'd learned long ago that things like trust and affection were special things that were only safe in the hands of people you knew would never fail you. For Merle, Daryl was the only person who fit that profile and for that, Daryl would always have the benefit of his undying loyalty and brutal protection....along with a heap load of stupid pet names.

    He was quieted for awhile as hunger and sheer enjoyment in the form of canned beans overcame all else on the priority list, but once he'd finished his fair share, he settled back on his elbows. He watched lazily as his brother continued eating like the little dog who can finally get down to business once the big dog has left the bowl. "Yeah. We can lay low here for a few days. Pretty walker free it seems. Ain't seen no sign of people either. We should have a decent shot at some game."

    He eyes drifted down to his hands. He wanted to holster the knife end, but he didn't want go through all the steps it took to do so. That would mean using his other hand. Daryl was right, he should splint it; he knew as much, but part of him didn't want to do it because Daryl would have to help him. Needing help was only a small fraction of his reservation, though, and the bulk of it lie in the fact that he didn't want Daryl to see it. Merle knew it was bad. He knew it by the way it swelled, by the way it radiated warmth while the rest of him got waves of chill that it was infected. No amount of alcohol and wrapping had managed to keep the Governor's bite from going sour in his skin. True enough that it was just a human bite and not a walker bite, but still even in the most civilized of worlds, human bites were noxious things.

    He dismissed thinking about it until some unspecified future time in his head and looked back to his brother. "Wha'dya think about going up? Go north and then up into the mountains? Terrain might shake most of the dead off our tail and we might find more game has taken to the high road," he offered his strategic thoughts for his brother to consider. "Don't know if we'd have any troublesome run-ins with the mountain folk, though. I imagine they're pretty dug in up there waitin' to Deliverance anyone who treads their ground...."
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2018
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  6. Sayd

    Sayd © Moderator

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    Daryl nodded. Merle's plan to go up north towards the mountains seemed as good as any. Rough goin' would be good for them. Would slow the walkers down and the brothers were used to things being difficult. After they finished eating they sprawled out by the fire, warmth and a full belly making them drowsy. It had been a long day and they'd earned the rest. So long as they didn't make too much noise he didn't think they'd encounter any more trouble.

    The rain had continued through the night, something that made him appreciate the roof over his head even if it leaked in some places. They took turns tending the fire through the night and by morning the drizzle had stopped altogether.

    “Should have splinted it. I'm not holdin' your dick when your fingers don't work no more,” Daryl said with a snort after they went outside to piss, helping his brother with his belt and then into the hunting boots, lacing them up the front. He knew there was more to their worry than just the bone healing crooked. Even if Merle didn't want to bring attention to it his hand wasn't healing right, something they could have dealt with back at the prison. Out here a serious infection was inconvenient at best, deadly at worst.

    “Don't wanna go too far in case we need to circle 'round an use the shelter again,” Daryl said. What he really meant was he wanted a semi secure place to hunker down if fever left his brother slow and useless. “Not unless we find something better, anyway.” Daryl opened a family size can of peaches for them to have for breakfast, hoping they'd have some real protein to add to something for later. After he retrieved his supplies before moving off north. Everything usable went with them, along with as much of the food they could carry. There were never any guarantees they'd be able to circle back even if they wanted to. Plans changed and the Dixon's were nothing if not adaptable.

    Game trails took them out further than Daryl would have liked and he was keeping a close eye on his brother. Merle wouldn't tell him if he was feeling lousy until he was ready to drop. They managed to shoot a raccoon down from one of the trees and while it wasn't the big game they were hoping for it would see them through the next few days. Daryl dressed it out with the hunting knife and carried it over his shoulder, blood mixing with dirt across his skin.

    “Think we should try to take a car back? Gonna be gettin' dark soon,” Daryl asked, pointing east. They'd been walking a long while. “Road's that way.”
     
  7. Roth

    Roth Deliciously Different Administrator

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    Merle could only grin and take advantage of the situation. "Aw man, you mean I've gone through all this trouble for nothin'? Cuttin' off my right hand and and letting the Governor snack on the other just to get back to you so I could be cripple and finally have you hold my dick? Daryl, ya selfish bastard, you're breakin' my heart and crushing the wettest of my wet dreams."

    Merle had at least a hundred different laughs, each one subtly different from the others and each having its own meaning. Some were genuine 'that was funny' laughs, some were sarcastic 'I'm about to kick your ass' laughs, and there were a good number of 'God that was funny how I kicked your ass' laughs. Daryl had heard them all and was the only human being alive versed in the deciphering of all of Merle's laughs; and the one Merle followed up his little joke with was the 'I'm joking, but I wouldn't say no' laugh. He just dropped it like a bomb and walked away to load himself up with the majority of the supplies. It made more sense for him to carry most of the supply load on his back as they trekked through the woods in order to keep Daryl as unencumbered as possible since he was the only one who could really shoot worth a damn at the moment.

    Soon enough it was forgotten though, breakfast was eaten and they were on their way. He knew Daryl knew the gravity of his injury, but still Merle didn't talk about it. He knew Daryl worried about it, which was a comfort to him though he didn't express it. There was no need for that kind of sentimental junk to clutter up an otherwise fine functioning moment. But as the day wore on, and the miles stretched longer between them and the shack, he began to find it more difficult to ignore the symptoms of the infection taking hold on his system.

    "I can feel your eyes boring into the back of my skull, boy. You're watching me like a hawk. You're afraid I'm gonna drop on ya, aren't ya." He veered slightly to orient their path east toward the road. "You know, it was perseverance that we both survived, but it was fate we found each other again." He looked half back over his shoulder. "You know I don't believe in shit for luck, but it's always been you and me, always will be. I ain't goin' anywhere. I ain't droppin' from some fuck all broken hand, and I ain't walkin' away; none of that. Ain't nothing comin' between you and me anymore, baby brother."

    His words were as sincere as sincere could be and there was no doubting that he meant every one of them, but even as he spoke them with the strength and valor of a lion, his eyes looked sunken and his skin had a pale sweat sheen pallor to it. In the hours that they had been away, and traveled perhaps too far, it looked like Daryl's worries were playing out and that Merle was starting to lose the battle against the infection spreading through his body. "A car wouldn't hurt..." Merle commented as he silently admitted to the truth of his condition as well.

    Then, like the kind of fate Merle had just been talking about, the distant sound of a vehicle could be heard. The road wasn't far, just up a rise and down into a natural depression, and Merle started a double time to it. The sound of a tire blow out could be heard and as they broke the treeline, they could see the shallow valley below with the road running down the center of it. There was an open back Jeep Wrangler there, worse for wear, with a blown tire and a tussle between four of its five occupants. At first glance it appeared that two women in the back were trying to usurp the male driver and a male that was riding in the back keeping them against their will. In the front passenger seat was a young girl who was held tightly around the arm by the driver.

    "What the fuck is going on with that?" Merle stopped at the edge and looked on. "Looks like we found ourselves a domestic. You reckon if we take out the assholes, that the damsels in distress will reward us graciously?" He snickered lasciviously, but his glance slid over to his brother whom he fully expected to go charging valiantly in now that Officer Friendly had sown the seeds of selfless nobility into his pretty little head.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2018
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  8. Sayd

    Sayd © Moderator

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    “Gotta be so stubborn. You wouldn't tell me if you thought you were dyin'.” Daryl looked back at Merle. “I know,” he said after a few seconds of consideration. It didn't stop him looking out for him. That was why it worked. Either would wordlessly shoulder the weight for the other.

    “But fate ain't got shit to do with it and it won't do us no good if we start relyin' on it.” Death was the one thing that could separate them and there was no illusion of false security. They still had to be smart and with the way of things all it took one little thing that made all the other little things consume them. Merle wasn't stupid enough to think they were exempt from any of it either and agreed they should try to take a car back.

    Daryl let Merle out in front, mostly to keep him in his sights but also to let his brother lead. He'd want to play his part and be useful too, and one thing he was better at than Daryl was startin' cars. Merle saw it first, took in the scene and likely had an idea of what his brother's opinion was going to be on the matter. Made it seem like his idea; tacked on his own motivations. The only thing that would have given Daryl pause is not knowing if Merle was up to it. If he went in, his brother would follow. That was the way of it and knowing his brother was down made it an easy choice for Daryl.

    “Ain't right and you and I both know it.” Daryl looked at Merle for a moment.

    He thought of Carol and Sophia. How easy it would have been for the wrong people to pick them up before Carol had a chance to wise up. Not that it did Sophia, or Carol any good now, but at least they hadn't been tortured and humiliated. Even Merle knew where to draw the line and while he might turn a blind eye to certain things he wasn't the breed of man to participate. Hell, maybe Merle didn't want to turn a blind eye this time and just didn't want to admit he'd started to change for the better, same as he had. Too much had done unsaid about the choices Merle had made recently.

    “Shouldn't be difficult to keep the odds in our favor.” Daryl took in the area, setting some of their things down so he could move quicker and quieter. Merle's thinking wasn't wrong. He could do worse than a grateful mother and Daryl wouldn't blame either of them.

    “Seems likely. You runnin' in lookin' like a backwoods hero. I'ma circle around. You charm them a little and I'll start with the guy up front.”

    Daryl didn't get much look at the back seat, trying to set himself up out in front, prioritizing. Merle was doing the same, he was sure, going for the potential ass in the back seat. Let him be the first that they saw with gratitude in their eyes. If Merle could keep from opening his damned mouth at all afterward he might just get what he was interested in.
     
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  9. Roth

    Roth Deliciously Different Administrator

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    It weren't no different than stalking game, Merle thought to himself as he nodded to Daryl's plan. There was no worry in his mind that the boy would hit his mark, but with three in the back seat, Merle had to devise a way to keep the odds in favor for the women and collateral damage to a minimum. Even if he'd been able to fire a gun confidently, the quarters in the Jeep were tight and one unanticipated move by any of the occupants could prove fatal to an innocent. "Ain't right at all. Don't care what your friends back at the prison thought of me, I ain't gonna let any women and kids get savaged." He spat hard on the ground thinking about Glenn and his insinuations that he'd bring harm to the likes of Beth or anyone else his brother had befriended. He was still hot about it and reminded of how grateful he was to have Daryl back next to him where he belonged; back with the one person who really gave a shit about him for just being him.

    "Don't you worry none, little brother, I'll charm the socks off all of 'em." He grinned with a wink and then waited until Daryl was well on his way to positioning himself before he made his own move. He disconnected his blade and slid it out of view into the pack he was holding. Aside from his intimidating looks, he appeared unarmed and nonthreatening as he emerged into the open lowland with hands up.

    "Hey, hey, hey! Wait up! Whoa..." He slowed up as the man in the back seat turned his attention to the unexpected newcomer. "I couldn't help but notice you're having a little trouble there and I thought maybe we could talk a trade."

    The men in the Jeep remained guarded as Merle approached, slowly and cautiously closing the distance between him and the truck.

    "Stop there. Who are you? What do you want?" Barked the man in the back seat. Merle sized him up as nothing more than a greasy bastard who thought high of himself for having a gun and the upper hand over a couple fillies.

    "I don't want no trouble. I just saw you had a couple of them women there and..."

    "What's wrong with you; you been bit?" The man asked in question to his obviously sick pallor.

    "Ha, yeah. I look a little short for this world, but not from biters. Broke my hand, it's infected and I got nothin' to save me from it, brother."

    "I'm not your brother and we don't have any medicine. If we did, we wouldn't give it to the likes of you."

    Merle bit back a scowl and firmed the 'dumb innocent hick' look on his face as he replied. "Ain't after medicine. Wouldn't help anyway. Truth is, I'ma goner for sure but...but I was just hopin' I could trade for some time with one of your girls there. I got supplies right here..." He moved closer and laid them on the ground in offering. "...you can have 'em for yerselves. I just want a little warmth and sweet love to send me on my way to heaven. Ain't to much to ask, is it?"

    The man was listening, considering the request from what he obviously thought was a pathetic wretch. The women in the back , one a late teen early twenties pretty blond young lady, and the other a mature woman of mid-thirties or well-kept early forties, were looking at Merle with reservation and fear. Merle scanned the two over, assessing them, though not in the way they thought he was. The younger woman was sitting closer to the man and more afraid than the other. The older woman seemed concerned, but with age come wisdom, and she still carried herself with a quiet strength. Merle connected gazes with her trying to send her a wordless message that things weren't as they seemed.

    "Hell, I'm not even asking for the top shelf goods; the old mare would suit me just fine. Just an hour or so off in the trees there while ya fix your flat. You can keep the food and supplies."

    The man in the back looked to the man in the front. The man in the front shrugged. His job was easy; he just had to hold on to the kid. He could do that and watch the other one while the his biddy changed the tire and the sad fuck of a hillbilly had one last hurrah before his eternal sun set. "I'm cool with it. Give the old shit his dying wish."

    The man in the back conceded and ordered the older woman with a nod of his head. There was little need to worry about a dying man and a suburban homemaker getting away for long. There was nothing to lose. "Go on, Sandy, send the man back to God with a wet prick. You can still fuck, can't you?"

    Sandy looked at Merle with no small amount of reservation, but if she was reading him right, there was a gamble worth taking there. The young woman with her was someone she'd known before everything went bad and the girl had been with them since everything began. In her heart it was her duty to protect them in any way possible and even though she didn't trust the situation, it may afford them all the chance to cause enough trouble to get away. She stepped down from the truck and as she hesitantly joined Merle at his side, the young woman shot her gaze around behind her. "I thought I heard something in the trees! I heard something!" She filled with panic.

    Merle had just broken into a smile as Sandy came over to him and he was draping an arm light around her when the young woman had gone off in a tizzy. He followed her line of sight and sure as shit... "Oh fuck! Biters! The tire blowing musta riled 'em up!"

    His immediate first thought was of Daryl, but he had gone around front, and the walkers we're coming from the rear off road to the right. There was some distance, but there were at least seven of them and they'd close it fast enough with the shit show he was sure was about to go down. Instinctively, he pulled Sandy protectively closer and whispered quickly to her. "Hurry, in the pack. There's a blade. Grab it and hook me up," he said as he held up his prosthetic. She was confused for only a fraction of a moment, but when she pulled out the blade, she understood completely. "There's a handgun in there too...Get it. Shoot them dead fuckers. Me and my brother will handle the assholes."

    The man in the back had quickly steadied to take aim on the walkers but his captive bolted against his hold and gave him an off balance knock upside the head with her bound hands. In the front, the girl started hissing and screaming, "Let me go! Let me go!" as she took a sudden and valiant stand against her oppressor who struggled to keep her in hand.
     
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  10. Sayd

    Sayd © Moderator

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    Daryl watched his brother. No telling what sort of stunt the stupid bastard was going to pull when he grinned like that. His entrance gained everyone's attention and he moved a little closer to position himself better, no longer shrouded by the other vehicles. He had his weapon drawn but wanted to hit his target cleanly. Merle was going on. He looked the part. It didn't take much convincing to get them to give up one of the women for a few cans of corn. He was sure she'd remember that. These men were no allies of hers.

    “Shit,” Daryl growled when chaos erupted. Both girls in the vehicle chose that moment to struggle against their captors and he understood why when he caught sight of the walkers only seconds after they had. Merle would be dealing with a whole new set of issues and so handling their logic capable human enemy became a priority. With the young girl thrashing about he had to be careful. All of it had been enough distraction for Daryl to release a bolt into the driver's head, but he'd had to get close to do it to make sure he didn't hit an innocent.

    A shot rang out from the fellow in the back. He'd caught sight of his companion with a bolt through his skull and knew they had more problems to deal with than just walkers. The young woman in the back was all out panicking. The child had scooted up against the frame of the jeep, looking to the dead man whose grasp she'd tried to shake off just moments earlier. Like a deer all froze up, she looked ready to bolt.

    'Don't run,' Daryl willed, knowing first hand what it was like to track a spooked kid and how exactly it had turned out.

    The guy in the back was losing his patience with the young woman, trying to get a shot off at the walkers. Daryl saw when his target shifted to her. He couldn't see the other woman but was listening out for Merle, trying to get an idea where he was in all the mess.

    “Hey!” Daryl shouted, arm out like he could stop it from happening. It wasn't an immediately fatal shot. In the stomach, it looked like, where she'd bleed out slowly. The poor kid in the front seat was never going to be right again after witnessing all of it but no one probably was anymore. The only consolation was that she didn't look old enough to be her mother. Sister, maybe.

    “Fucking bastard,” he snarled, no longer looking at the child. He was rushing forward in his anger and the guy was trying to decide about taking a shot at Daryl or the walker that was attempting to climb into the jeep.
     
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  11. Roth

    Roth Deliciously Different Administrator

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    Four of the seven walkers had gone down in the first round of chaos. Two had been picked off by Sandy and two others had been taken out by the man in the back seat. That left three remaining, and with Merle and Sandy being the closest and loudest of the bunch, they had attracted the bulk of the walkers that were left.

    Sandy was no crack shot by any stretch, but under the duress of the moment, she managed to head shot on and body shot the other two as they closed in, one behind the other. Merle knifed the second, and together, standing one arm each around the other to keep Merle steady on his feet, they waited for the third one to close in close enough for either Sandy to take down, or Merle to knife should her shot prove ineffective. Even though she was scared, Sandy was aware now that there was another man working with the one next to her and it was becoming evident that everything he'd said was a ruse, everything but the part where he'd said he was sick.

    Her eyes darted to him, his gray pallor, his missing and injured hands, and she felt a tangled pang of pity, worry, and deep gratitude for the stranger she propped up. Even though he could barely stay on his feet, his face was fierce etched determination to prevail over all the odds laid out before them. She promised herself in that moment that she'd protect him too and that she'd offer any help she could to see him recover from his illness. "I'm Sandy, just stay with me a little longer, my knight in shining cargos, ok? We've got this, and when we're done with this, we'll get you fixed up and healthy again."

    Merle twitched a side grin. Sandy was kind of growing on him in their short, crazy time together. She was kind of a shit shot, but damn she was all heart and pretty for an older lady too. "Sir Merle copies that, Sweet Sandy...keep that barrel up just a titch and y'all take the head right off that thing..."


    The man in the back didn't like how his odds were beginning to stack up. his buddy was dead, there was another live enemy to deal with, there were still Risen drawn by all the commotion, and he had to think fast. He thought why stop at two birds when you could get three with one stone? In a hurried motion, he grabbed Cait by the hair and tried to yank her out of the Jeep and into the path and into the path of the remaining Risen. When that failed he turned desperately to take aim at Daryl. If he could take out that threat, he could manage the kid and make a good enough getaway in the Jeep and leave the rest for the Risen.

    Kacey battled the feeling of being frozen in place as she looked at the dead man in the front seat. There was someone else near, someone who was helping, hopefully, and when she heard a gruff call of 'Hey!' coming front the front direction she popped up just enough to get a look. There was a man with a crossbow and narrowed piercing eyes like a hawk, or a wolf, with a determination that she wouldn't want to get in the way of. 'Don't run.' She read his face the she'd read the play signals from her sidelines coaches and didn't move so much as an inch. He was training on the man in the back seat and Kacey and Kasey made the instintual decision that she should trust him.

    But then she heard the gun go off, just scant feet from her ears and felt the warm wet of blood as it spattered from Cait onto her and the corpse in the front seat. "Coach CAIT!!!!!!!!" She screamed out even as the sound of her voice and the chaos around her was muffled by the shot ringing in her ears. The good guy in front was taking aim and she stayed still even though she wanted to jump in back to help Cait. As she watched the man with the crossbow she felt a sudden rush of hope and renewed fight. She could play a part in this. She wasn't a defenseless baby. She was a well trained offensive tackle, and the man in the back seat was planning a running play that left him wide open. She suddenly shifted and twisted around, lunging at the man's midsection and nailed him square and hard in the gut with a solid shoulder. The move caught the man so off guard that his arms flew out to either side while his face presented a wide open target of shocked dismay as he saw his last moments reflected in the scope of Daryl's crossbow.

    "Shoot him, now, he's off balance!" Kacey called out to Daryl as she held her position steadfast.


     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2018
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  12. Sayd

    Sayd © Moderator

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    Kids were unpredictable. You never really knew what they were going to do. Some spooked easy while others were made of tougher stuff. This little girl was apparently the latter. Daryl hadn't meant for her to take on the bruiser in the back seat. He'd only been trying to keep her from running headlong into chaos but she seemed to have other ideas. The man didn't take her a throat and for that, she hit him like a sack of potatoes had fallen from the sky. He went flailing, trying to regain his balance, and then the little girl was telling him what to do.

    With a raised brow he dropped their unspoken enemy.

    Nothing doing for the girl in the back seat. He ran up to the jeep, looking down the side of it and surveying what it would take to get it going again. Much of the work had already been done for them and the rest would be easy for the pair. Changing a tire wasn't anything especially if there was a decent amount of gas in the tank. Daryl looked between the woman and the younger girl. She was well on her way out, sputterin' blood all over the back of the driver's seat.

    “She ain't going to make it,” Daryl told the girl, gearing up for what was inevitable. He wanted to make her understand, though there was remorse written on his face. He wished they'd been a little quick; a little smarter. Wish the walkers hadn't joined the party. “She'll turn,” he was saying, though didn't make the move. Not while she was livin', breathin', even if it was just a wet squelching sound. If it was one of their own he'd want to make his own peace and maybe it was a hard lesson for the little girl but she'd cried out for her. Sister, whoever she was to the girl, it wasn't Daryl's place just yet, and so he turned and looked to make sure his brother had his head on straight.

    Merle was back to back with the woman, giving it his best. Which was to say he looked like he was having a hell of a time even keeping himself on two feet. Luckily the woman seemed smart enough to understand they were trying to help and hadn't shucked Merle off and ran the first chance she got.

    “You crazy sum'bitch,” he grumbled, knowing Merle was worse off than he'd ever let on. He looked back to the girl in the car.

    “You make your peace yet, kid?” he asked, motioning her out of the jeep where he could keep advancing their position to get closer to his brother. That woman had done just fine for herself and Merle but Daryl didn't want to leave anything to chance. Like always, they'd just gotten death good and mad.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2018
  13. Roth

    Roth Deliciously Different Administrator

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    Merle was instinctively aware of Daryl's movements over by the Jeep. They'd spent countless hours alone together in silence tracking and stalking all manner of prey. They knew each other's patterns and plays and Merle was confident that all was taken care of at the Jeep. That left him and Sally and the biter that now closed in on them. Sally's first shot was close, in the neck, but not close enough to drop the walking corpse, and Merle tried to gather his senses for hand to hand combat. It lunged forward, but thankfully at the last of the last moments, she popped off a head shot and they all tumbled to the ground together. Horrified, she was quick to shove the dead walker off them and and turned quickly to help Merle.

    Kacey nodded to the stranger and her solemn expression showed her understanding of the situation. Her brow was furrowing as she fought off the tears that were threatening to well up inside her and spill down her face. She turned from the stranger and went to where Cait sat. It was hard to look at her and watch as she died, but Kacey reached to take her hand and began to quietly chant, "Looking good...looking good...Our team is looking good..." She sniffled as she somberly cheered through choked back tears. "...if we push a little harder we can really move...so puuuush...puuuuuush...puuuush....puuuuush..." Sniff. "Gooooo Bobcats."

    Maybe it seemed weird or silly to the man standing nearby, but it was the best eulogy Kacey could give for Cait. She'd learned so much from her and spent the last two years being molded by her into a dynamite little football player. She watched as Cait passed as she drew the cheer to a close then she reached out to take off a necklace that the woman wore. On the necklace was a cheap little charm of a Bobcat, her team's mascot. She walked away from the body and up to Daryl.

    "She was my coach," she said simply to the man who'd saved her life. "Would you.....?" She couldn't finish speaking the request before her eyes welled up again. "Please? I don't want her to end up like those...."

    Merle had enough energy left to fix the flat with Sandy's help while Daryl saw to the last details of Cait and the other bodies. It was a solid piece of transportation and would serve them well. Sandy helped Merle in the back seat and stayed close beside him while Kacey took her place back up front. The driver's seat was left open for Daryl when he returned and when he did, all eyes were on him, except for Merle's which were closed. "Hi, sorry, quick introductions, I'm Sandy, that's Kacey, thank you so much. I don't know who you are or why you did it, but thank you. Your friend..." she said as she looked down to Merle who was now cradled in her arms. "...he's very sick." She looked to Daryl with all the motherly worry in the world.
     
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  14. Sayd

    Sayd © Moderator

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    The kid put herself back together much quicker than anyone her age should have been able to do. He reckoned she was adaptive, just like he and his brother had been. She stated who she'd been and told him that she wanted her to go out that way. Not turned. Daryl was happy to oblige her, and it was clean and quick. After, he dealt with the bodies, taking most care with the women who'd really only been in the way. They were introduced quickly, piling into the jeep with the tire taken care of.

    “My brother,” Daryl corrected. “And don't you worry. He'll surprise you. He always does.” They'd been through too much together for an infection to get Merle. Daryl knew he needed looking after but he didn't put any stock into worryin'. They had plenty else to be doing besides that.

    “Looks like the two of you'll be taggin' with us for a bit. We found a place a few miles back I'm gettin' us back to.” They'd cook up what they could and hopefully make some sort of plan from there. Worst came to worst he'd drag Merle's stubborn ass back to Hershel, though that would take some serious backtracking. He turned the car around and followed the road back, took the jeep as far as he could, and hit it in the woods. They'd have to walk for some of it and that meant keeping Merle on his feet. He slipped his arm beneath his brother and supported his weight, putting Kacey in charge of carrying the raccoon. The shack wasn't hard to find again and he was sure Merle was happy to see it because it meant some rest.

    “You better still have some appetite,” Daryl grumbled, helping Merle down beside the fire. If it has just been the two of them he might have roasted the raccoon, but instead he skinned it and put it in a pot to stew with a few cans of their remaining vegetable. It'd get better over time and they could use the fat rather than allowing it to drip off cooking it directly.

    “Sorry about your friend,” he said to the other two. Along with the stew, he'd put another pot of water on to boil, so that maybe he could clean out the festering wound on Merle's hand. He still had the flask of questionable, strong alcohol that they probably should have used to disinfect the bite the night prior.

    “Was a human bite that did it. Merle there is just so charming that we have to pay attention to more than just walkers.” He snorted. Really though, it had been an act of heroism what he'd done. Had anyone known how bad it would have gotten they would have remained, at least until Merle was back to full function.
     
  15. Roth

    Roth Deliciously Different Administrator

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    "He already has," Sandy stated warmly. "He came out of nowhere and saved our lives."

    "So did Daryl." Kacey was quick to interject and correct.

    There was perhaps the slightest bit of tension in the air after that as Sandy somewhat brushed off the girl's retort and Kacey crossed her arms to just look out at the passing landscape. Occasionally she looked over at Daryl, sizing him up with careful curiosity and admiration. When he assigned he the task of carrying the dead raccoon she almost smiled to do so. Not because she was carrying a dead animal, but because Sandy looked so grossed out by it. For Kacey, it made her feel useful and helpful, and she didn't want Daryl to think she was a lame sissy girl. She hated when people thought she was like that and she knew that type of girl would just be a pain in the butt for Daryl and his brother. Sandy was like that, and Daryl's brother looked pretty badly hurt, so Kacey knew she had to step up to first string and be the one to count on.

    Merle needed the respite that the ride back to the cabin offered and like Daryl had pointed out, he surprised Sandy by his renewed tenacity to walk like a man back to the shack. That didn't mean he didn't accept Sandy's offered help and gladly draped an arm around to woman to aid his strength. The two talked a bit as they lagged some behind the others and it was easy to see there was a spark of attraction between the two. It was also easy to see that there was a sizable socioeconomic gap between the two of them as Sandy fed Merle all the plastic praise she could dish out like a smitten damsel who'd been saved and he gobbled it up with his never ending ulterior motive to get laid.

    Once back at the shack, Merle settled in with a grumble for all things that were spurned by his injury, but the stew smelled pretty good and he thought he could muster an appetite. It'd have just been plain stupid to not eat and lose more strength. Sandy hovered around him constantly seeming to have forgotten completely about Kacey altogether. Kacey on the other hand had been doing everything she could to help out. She couldn't help a giant man move around, but she could fetch water, stir stew, bury unused animal guts to keep walkers and critters away, and be on hand for any requests.

    Merle piped up when Daryl mentioned the bite and was quick to tell Sandy the whole story of how he got bit by the Governor while nearly single handedly saving the whole community from his dark grasp. Of course he neglected to mention he had actually been working for the man, beating prisoners, and supporting his dictatorship with own special brand of harsh methods; but those things didn't really matter since it all worked out for the good in the end.

    Kacey looked over to Daryl, who had been just a silent as she was while the two went on and on. They were brothers but they seemed so different. After awhile, she stood up with her bowl and went to sit outside. There wasn't a porch or anything like that but there were some stumps that had been cut to be seats up near the door and she sat on one of those to get away from the smallness of the room and the largeness of the egos.
     
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  16. Roth

    Roth Deliciously Different Administrator

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    ________________
    10 months earlier
    ________________

    "Wake up...wake up, Mr Eschelman...."


    Everything was fuzzy and bright when Harlan opened his eyes. Where was he? Who were these people? He looked around with eyes squinted and face scrunched up to laughable proportions. Oh yeah, they were staff people and this was the Atlanta Comicon. He looked down at himself laid out on a volunteer break room couch. Yep. Comicon. He was in his old school blue Star Trek shirt, black pants, and retro boots. He brought his hands up and groaned to feel his super slicked 60's hair all mussed up.

    "Mr. Eschelman, you passed out. Do you want us to call a doctor?"

    Harlan groaned as he closed his eyes and rubbed his forehead. "I am a doctor...." he stated as he cracked an eye open to look at the young woman volunteer. "...and you have the most awesome radiant pink hair." He beamed what could only be described as a five-star dorky smile as she looked at him incredulously.

    "I mean a real doctor, not the not-real McCoy." the girl replied with a near equally dorky smile.

    "Dammit, Radiant Pink-Haired Girl, I'm a doctor, not just a cosplay doctor." They both laughed and he asked, "What happened?"

    "We don't know, the light saber laser show started and someone saw you pass out."

    "Ugh...I know what happened. My meds are upstairs if someone would help me get there...."


    ____________________________
    2 weeks after 10 months earlier
    ____________________________

    "Hey dude...dude, wake up! Dude if you don't wake up you're gonna die!!! All hell's breaking loose and we gotta get out of here!!!!"

    Everything was fuzzy and dark when Harlan opened his eyes. All he could see was the silhouette of the guy talking to him. Where was he? Who was this guy? Oh yeah, he had just left the theater after watching the latest Saw movie in 3D. It sucked. He remembered that too. The guy talking to him was just some guy on the street. He was panicked. Everyone was panicked. Panicked and running. At first he thought it was a riot, then a terror attack on Atlanta, then....then he saw the dead...walking...walking and eating people...people running for their lives...it was chaos. He felt himself slipping away into feinting again but then there was that dude again, bringing him back with his voice. They ran for their lives from the dead.

    _______________________________________________________________________________________________
    2 weeks after the 2 weeks after 10 months earlier...so that's 9 months earlier if you're doing the math right...
    _______________________________________________________________________________________________

    "¡despierta!; ¡despiértate!"

    Harlan groaned. Not only did he not know where he was, or who the man talking to him was, but he didn't know what he was saying either. Harlan ventured a guess that it was "Wake up, wake up!"

    "I'm ok, I just passed out. I do that sometimes..." he looked around and sat up. He was in the middle of a deserted county road with a man who was pretty obviously a migrant worker from the looks of his farming hat and worn clothing. "You don't speak Latin by any chance..."

    The man started at him in Spanish again, urging him up quickly, waving him to follow off the main road down a two track. It was probably a bad idea, but then again, so was sitting in the middle of a main road in the apocalypse. He forced himself to his feet with a mighty exhale and stuffed his hand in his jeans pocket to pull out a prescription bottle.

    "¡Vamos!; ¡Vamos!" The Mexican man urged him to move more quickly and after a half a second's pause, Harlan decided that if he was about to die, it would be better to die by the hands of a hot Hispanic man speaking Spanish at him than by a rotting corpse that wanted to eat him. On the way down the two track he popped one of his pills and hoped for the best. If this was a trap, or anything else equally stressing and scary, he'd hit the dirt again like a bag of rocks, if it wasn't, he'd be feeling right again soon enough.

    The man led him to a camp with a few other guys. They weren't Mexican, and weird as it was, they didn't speak Spanish either. The Mexican went in all foreign language guns a blazing and the other guys just looked lost as they tried to figure it out. When the Mexican pointed back to him, Harlan walked forward cautiously. "Your ummm...friend...brought me back here...he ummmm..." Harlan was nervous as all get out and it showed very obviously. "The people I was riding with must have dumped me when I passed out...I pass out kind of a lot....just an injury that's gotta heal..." he rambled on and on in rising anxiety. "...I'm a doctor...honest ....Dr. Eschelman...my license card is in my wallet...I'm no threat...." At just barely 5'8" and scrawny as a middle-school boy with no weapon, it was also very obvious that he was no threat.

    ___________________
    On to the present....
    ___________________

    It was almost a year now that Harlan had been with the group of guys he met that day and as he looked around their little nomadic camp, he couldn't have been more fortunate. A couple had come and gone in the time he'd first met up with Jericho Rosales who spoke little to no English, but the small core of the group, that included himself, Jericho, Travis and Wallis, remained. They were good guys and they had kept him on despite his lingering health problems with the now old injury that seemed like it would never heal. He knew they initially kept him because he was a doctor and doctors were a rare prize in the end times, but then his optimism and humor grew on them.

    Sure, he was a skilled trauma surgeon and had adapted to the times, but in the dark bleak world of the present, he was also a little ray of sunshine always preferring to stay on the bright side of things and drink from the half-full glass. He was a brainiac dork, and because of that he could be the stupid, funny guy even at his own expense. While someone might devalue him for being physically not as capable as others, or even weak for his health issues, no one could take away the fact that his bedside manner was sparkling and truly kind. He depended on them and in return he took the best damn care of them that he could.

    He had been sitting in the shadow of the construction Jeep, the one that belonged to Wallis from the beginning, creating and then solving Sudoku puzzles to pass the time. Jericho was foraging nearby for wild vegetables with Wallis as his lookout, and Travis was tinkering with some kind of DIY moisture gathering system for water. Travis was always tinkering with something, but unlike most DIY tinkerers, Travis' things usually worked.

    "Hey, Travis," Harlan spoke without looking up from his latest, and lamest, puzzle. "...weren't we supposed to hear from Wallis' friend-boss' wife-not friend by now? Wasn't she supposed to radio yesterday?"

    Harlan looked up from his scratch pad, an item he was seldom without and would die if he lost. He used it to keep track of the days and months and notes about things he discovered about triage treatment on the fly. He also used it for less noble reasons like drawing stick man superheroes with blurbs about hot guys. He found it interesting that even after the world fell apart, his interests in life hadn't really changed. He was still just a horny nerd with a very thin filter. "Were they doing the 'do' before the sky fell?" He asked with a brow lofted high.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2018
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  17. Sayd

    Sayd © Moderator

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    [​IMG]

    Travis hadn't been prepared for the end of the world. Not like some. He'd never seen a man take things in stride, not the way Wallis had done. Calm and indifferent. They hadn't really been friends before the world had gone to hell. He was one of those guys that had stared when Travis had been shouting for things to be done as he'd instructed. The right way. The only way he saw. He'd thought he was stupid, uncomprehending. It turned out Wallis just didn't give a shit and was immune to Travis' yelling. Things went bad when Travis was overseeing a project repairing connection bridges with Wallis on the construction team. They'd gotten pushed out and locked up inside a building together, mayhem causing people to come undone. Not Wallis though. Finally, Travis saw the cogs turning behind that simple man's eyes. Knew that they'd been turning all along. He'd severely underestimated him and for whatever reason Wallis hadn't held it against him. Even when Travis took to the collapse of the world without a lick of grace.

    Somewhere along the way Travis had gotten it together, Wallis as patient with him as ever. There had been others, come and gone. Some dead, some going their own way. Now just Jericho and Harlan. More functional than he would have ever imagined but they were still perfecting their survival approach. Others were meant to be meeting up with them. Travis had gotten the CB radios working at a much wider range and they'd been downgraded to one of the rugged jeeps Travis never imagined he would have learned to appreciate.

    Travis didn't remove his attention from what he was doing when Harlan spoke to him, curious about the status of the people they were supposed to pull into their merry little band. Few things worked to really get Travis' attention when he was halfway to completing something, and he was always halfway with whatever he was working on.

    “I told Wallis if I got it working he was in charge of facilitating the hookup,” Travis said, making a sound of irritation, though not directed at Harlan. He did that when he knew he was hitting a wall, his mind giving protest. Shutting down, demanding a break. Probably a built in feature that in the end served to keep Travis sane though aggravated him to no end.

    When Travis wasn't fully absorbed into completing something he was receptive and charming. He stood up and wiped his hands off. He was a tall man. Blond haired, blue-eyed. Older than Wallis, though he'd never admit it.

    “Let's go see what the others are doing.”

    Wallis didn't know anything about what was edible, and what wasn't. Even now, when Jericho tried to show him things he didn't really see the differences. He'd already had a bad go with a bout of stinging nettle. Something that was apparently fine to eat after boiling but hell on earth when touched bare-skinned. Not for the first time either but he'd forgotten that one unremarkable green weed was not the same as the one growing beside it.

    “Who the hell decided to try to eat this shit after touching it?” Wallis asked, watching Jericho pull it up neatly from the root with a gloved hand. He didn't expect an answer in return, or even know how much Jericho really understood when he didn't respond to him. Wallis' understanding of Spanish was very basic, and he'd only picked up a handful of things working alongside other men on construction jobs. He waited now, cross-armed, keeping an eye on things. He heard the approach and a familiar set of footsteps, knew it was just the other half of their group.

    “Hey, you think something happened with your friend? We've waited by the jeep for the better part of the day and haven't heard a peep. Harlan said nothing yesterday either.”

    “Probably a little delayed. You know how it goes. You radio them?” Wallis asked.

    Admittedly Travis hadn't thought much about it until Harlan had brought it back up. They'd fallen to their routine. He'd gotten used to it just being them, taking fewer chances in keeping company with strangers. They'd given them some cause for concern in the past.

    “No,” Travis said.

    “Well,” Wallis said, low, as if Travis was the one who needed his hand held sometimes. He didn't have to say more. He'd said it enough already. That mind of yours see too much to connect the obvious? Both of them, Wallis would say, Harlan and Travis, blinded by their own brilliance.

    “Come on Jericho. It's going to be getting dark soon. We can pick more devil weed tomorrow,” Wallis said, still rubbing the sting from his fingers.

    They tried to radio in when they got back but there was no response. Maybe they'd had to turn back and go a different way? They weren't aware of which roads were still blocked off anymore.

    “One thing I know about Sandy is that she isn't going to be pushing cars out of her way if there is a different route she can take. Maybe it took her out of range,” Wallis said, shrugging.​


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  18. Sayd

    Sayd © Moderator

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    Daryl wondered if Sandy was going to ask why they were out on their own, scrapin', if he was this hero sent from the heavens. Why hadn't the community been grateful enough to take care of them proper? She didn't ask, hanging on his story with gratitude in her eyes. On the other hand, Kacey didn't seem like she was sold on Merle just yet. Daryl kept his mouth shut too. Who was he to get in the way of his brother getting a little bit on the side for himself? They had gotten them out of a bad situation, had put themselves in harms way to do so. He didn't fault Merle for being a little hopeful even if his actions hadn't been altruistic like he was painting the decision to be. Hell, Sandy might take a little comfort for herself just the same. While some may disagree Daryl knew she could've done worse than Merle Dixon.

    Kacey got up and took her dinner outside and Daryl was going to leave it like that until the worry started to gnaw at him. He thought Sandy might be the one concerned and waited for her to get up and check on her. If he could guess at that point there was no blood relation between the two. Sandy didn't seem the broody sort either. No hen trying to shuffle lost chicks beneath her wings. And so he got up and left his brother and Sandy to their embellishments. Not really his place, being a stranger and all, but if not Sandy the responsibility would fall to him.

    “Better for you to be inside,” Daryl started, but his voice sounded flat. It was a comment, though he didn't press the issue. Just sat down, stomach full again for the second night in a row.

    “How'd the three of you end up together, with those men? Sandy ain't your mother, I don't think.” Neither was the other one. Ages didn't add up there. Her coach, she'd said. Split off from another group, maybe? Merle was already working Sandy over. A clean start somewhere would be good for his brother. What he'd done in the past could stay between them. Returnin' someone's kid would hopefully keep them from gettin' shot at. Ideally would earn them some medical supplies. A band-aide at the very least.
     
  19. Roth

    Roth Deliciously Different Administrator

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    "la mala hierba el diablo," Jericho chuckled as he straightened to stand with soft groan and a stretch. He'd been a farm worker all his life and he had the rigorous kind of stamina to crouch, bend, stoop, and crawl about the ground for hours without complaint. Wild plants were a little more difficult since they didn't grow in nicely cultivated rows, but that was also the very reason they were more interesting to harvest. No patch of wild ground was ever the same, every terrain hosted it's own community of foliage, insects, and earth. He had a passion for it, and in that respect, he had been born to the right profession even if he had been born to a scorned and mistreated class of society.

    He'd always imagined that if he ever became a citizen of the U.S., he would have gone to a university and become an agricultural botanist. He didn't know if he was smart enough to be a scientist, but he knew he would have loved the field work that he imagined came with such a lofty title. The world was much different now, though, and the only title he needed to make it was that of, 'useful' and in this new and dangerous world of survival he was useful beyond anything he could have ever been before the outbreak.

    While maybe not being smart enough to be a scientist, he found quickly that he was smart enough to play a little dumb when he found himself separated from his family and friends whom he had worked the fields of Georgia with. His language barrier with his new companions had been hard to bridge at first, but he had played it up a bit, pretending he didn't really understand what they said in order to gain insight without having to offer information on himself. It was purely a defense tactic on his part until he knew he could trust them, but as the months went on and things went well, he allowed them to see that he could understand enough of the language to get on at a basic level with little problem. His English speaking, however, was atrocious and the rare times he made an attempt at it often came off confusing and down right comical.

    He brushed off his hands, gathered up his haul for the day, and followed the group back to their little campsite. They always kept on the move and never stayed put for too long for a variety of reasons. One was to keep from being found like sitting ducks, and another was because they foraged out areas at a steady pace and only looped back around after enough time had passed for regrowth to occur. They hunted a little, very little, because it wasn't a skill set they had among them; fishing, when available, was a far more successful venture for them.

    Jericho didn't concern him with the radio call since it looked like having three guys huddled around a CB was probably enough. There was food to think about and he set himself to that task while the others busied themselves with making contact with someone he had gathered was a friend to Wallis. He didn't know much more than that and it didn't directly effect him at that moment, so got to the business of whipping up what their doctor had started calling ETW Soup Surprise, which stood for End of the World Soup Surprise. The recipe always varied, but was at least filling and palatable.
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2018
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  20. Roth

    Roth Deliciously Different Administrator

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    "Probably so." Kacey answered in between bites of raccoon stew. She'd never had such a thing before but she found she really liked it in comparison to the hodge-podge of canned that scavenging had to offer. It was a hot and satisfying meal that made her feel better inside and out. Those would have possibly been her only words if Daryl hadn't sat down and asked her more questions. She measured it to be a long story and opted to cut it down to it's bare essentials. Daryl didn't seem to be the long winded type like his brother was turning out to be. She liked that about him, probably because she was like that too.

    "No, she ain't my mom. I barely know her. At first there were more of us, but, you know, a lot of people didn't make it for long..." she took another bite, slurping the broth directly from the bowl. "We were down to just twelve of us. Mostly men. Sandy, me, and Cait were the only girls. I was the only kid. We were going to meet up with another small group but those guys came and attacked us for our stuff. They killed all the guys and took us girls," she paused with a shadowed expression. She knew what their fate would have been. "I'm pretty sure they want us for cooking and mending...If you hadn't been there, bad things would have happened. The kind of bad things that make you wish you were dead."

    She grew silent then, her thoughts wandering over all the grim realities she'd seen in a world without order. A girl who couldn't protect herself faced uglier harsher realities than a man. She'd seen that both in the world before and even worse in the world after. When her gaze was lost looking at past places and meandering old memories, and her countenance seemed older and robbed of the vitality of youthful innocence. She was maybe ten, or eleven, but like the Dixon boys, she'd seen way too much of the ugly side of the world way too soon.

    Moments later she pulled herself out from the gloomy reverie and looked back over to Daryl. "Thanks for saving me. Thanks for the soup. It's really good." The comment was so matter-of-fact that it was almost darkly humorous when she looked over to give him a tired smile.

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