Hearts of the Past and Present
The four of us trekked quickly through the thick mud back to the barn where Rick was last.
As we headed back closer to the prison, I realised that I was closely scanning the area looking for any tell tale signs of disturbance or something that wasn't how it is usually. The hole hadn't only opened the fence and into the prison, but opened my eyes. We could be in danger.
"Rick," Michonne called as we approached the barn.
A horse neighed in return, Michonne opened the creaky wooden door to see the empty barn, apart from our animals which were huddling together for warmth.
"He must be back inside," she said.
Before any of us moved there was a sharp cry of pain, we all glance at one other as if to ask "what the fuck was that", and with no ready steady go, in unison we ran to the prison entrance.
We ran like a stampede through the narrow hallway to the living cell. I was breathless when I stopped at a sudden halt.
Hershel was hurrying along on his crutches out of the cells, followed behind by Rick with a trolley of medical equipment. Beth and Glen had an elbow each of Bella's, her face was contorted with horrific pain.
She was in labour.
"Rick," Michonne called.
"Can it wait Michonne?" It wasn't really a question.
I had to be there when Bella have birth, I need to see this because it will be me in six months time. I rushed after them. And so did Michonne and Hayden.
We entered a room Hershel had been preparing for the birth, it was incredibly clean and organised with a ready made bed which Beth and Glen were helping Bella onto.
Rick parked the trolley at the end of the bed beside Hershel and he quickly got to work.
"Rick, listen to me." Michonne ordered as she stood solidly in the doorway. "We think there's someone in the prison."
"What?" He was taken aback.
"The fence has been cut open, from the outside in." Hayden said.
"Right, go tell Carl to get Judith and go in the bed cells with Daryl. Lock them in. Get Pete, Olly and Maggie, Glen you're coming with us. We're searching the prison." Rick made a plan instantly.
"Lily are you not going to help too?" Hershel asked as he pulled on a pair of latex gloves.
I didn't know what to say to Dr Hershel, so I looked to Glen. He crouched down and whispered quickly in his ear before joining Rick, Michonne and the others.
"No you're staying here to help us." He said.
"I'm locking you guys in for now. Safety measures." Rick said as the others rushed back to the living cell. "Good luck Bella."
"Tell Daryl I'm here!!" I called after them but the door slammed shut and the keys clanged before I finished my sentence.
"Someone's in the prison?!" Beth asked as she folded Bella's pants and out them to the side, panic was easily detectable in her voice.
"We can't think about that now Beth honey, we need to deliver this baby safely. "
Beth shook it off, "Yeah, you're right. You're right."
Bella was panting heavily, but in between breaths she managed to speak. "Why are- you- here Lily?"
Hershel looked up from the medical trolley.
"Thought you'd like some support." I awkwardly laughed, I was the last person who would be with Bella during the birth of her child.
Bella sat forward and began to shout, Beth had her hands on her shoulders telling her to breathe, breathe, breathe.
"Your contractions are rather close together, I think this is going to be a quick delivery." Hershel said. He handed me a gas and air tank as well as a plastic tube and a mouth piece. "Fix these together as quick as you can Lily, it'll ease the pain for Bella."
I quickly took the bottle and tube and fiddled with them both till they clicked, during this, Bella continued to cry out in pain.
"Just breathe through it, remember what I taught you Bella? Have you been practising? That's right, good girl." Hershel talked her through it.
"Bella you're going to break my hand!" Beth laughed.
"Sorry." Bella replied, she was exhausted already.
"Done!" I announced and handed the mouth piece to Bella with the gas tank closely beside her bed.
"A few deep breaths of that every couple of minutes is what you need to get you through the pain." Hershel said. "I'd say you're about 8cm dilated, it won't be much longer now."
A mixture of happiness and fear flashed across her face.
"Little Leo Clifford or baby Avril Hope can't wait to meet their mummy." I smiled.
Bella returned a smile, but it was a smile as if she knew something I didn't, it was a rather secretive smile.
I caught Beth staring at me with a puzzled look upon her face, she knew I wasn't Bella's biggest fan and was probably wondering why I was here instead of helping Rick or at least being with Daryl, Carl and Judith.
Bella began to moan; the pain of her contractions were not as intense this time around thanks to the gas and air. Beth instinctively laid her back down to the pillows and shushed her.
Hershel knocked some apparatus to the floor, I picked it up for him and began to clean it thoroughly with anti septic wipes we managed to scavenge.
"Daryl's" Hershel asked quietly.
"Does he know?"
Bella's cries drowned out our whispers, there was little chance that Beth even knew we were talking, let alone being able to hear us.
"Maggie, Glen, you." I listed.
Hershel nodded towards his daughter who was dabbing Bella's forehead with a wet towel again.
"She's next on the list of in the know."
I planned on telling Beth next, I needed moral support and the guys closer to my age, not including Hershel obviously, were most likely to have my back.
I could have told Hayden when we went on a walk, in fact I almost did, but I don't know how he would have reacted.
I need to tell Pete, but not before Daryl, I'm pretty worried about my uncle's reaction. He doesn't even know we are together again, and I doubt he clicked on that previously Daryl and I have slept together. He'll say I'm too young to have a child, it's too dangerous for both the baby and myself and also he will not be too pleased that I am carrying Daryl's baby.
I have no idea of even Daryl himself would be please about me being pregnant. I was utterly petrified of telling him. He didn't have a great up bringing, his mother dying, his father being abusive and having an older brother who falsely cared and showed affection. I'm worried that his past with doubt his future of being a parent. Daryl's great with Judith, but then again it's not his child, he doesn't have all the major responsibilities.
I don't have to worry about telling him yet, it's still early days, there are other things, things that are happening now like Bella's baby, the supposed intruder, to worry about.
Besides, I'm not ready to tell him. How would I even begin to do so?
"Nine centimetres Bella, you're doing great."
Things that are happening now. I really should be concentrating on things that are going on this exact moment.
What if something, someone or some people are actually in the prison? What if they are dangerous and they want the prison all to themselves?
What would we do?
We could stay and fight or flee into the forest. I doubt Rick would allow that to happen, we couldn't take a baby into the craziness of the world just yet. We would fight.
For all we knew, they could be fighting right now, my stomach did flips in response to my thoughts.
My mind created another terrifying scenario.
What if Bella died during child birth? What if there was a complication and we had to cut her open to save the baby? If she died, she would eventually turn into a walker with Hershel, Beth and I locked in the room with little to no weaponry. Maybe I could use the gas tank, it's heavy, it could do some damage. But so can a walker, what if it got to one of us first.
Even worse would be if we lost the baby. If little Leo or Avril died during birth or not long after. God knows what time Rick would be back to let us out, one of us would have to do it. And I know I can't.
"10 centimetres, it's time to push Bella." Hershel announced.
"Oh god," Bella groaned in response.
She took three deep breaths of the gas and air before dropping the mouth piece to her side.
"Come on Bella, you can do this!" Beth spoke words of encouragement.
"Push on my count okay, 1, 2, 3." Hershel instructed.
She pushed hard. Her cries of pain and escaped moans from pushing bounced off the walls of what use to be some form of office.
Bella breathed a sigh of relief then crashed bak down onto her pillows.
"Well done Bella," Beth smiled.
"It's not over yet," Bella laughed weakly.
"There was a lot of moment then, I think a few more pushes in the next few contractions will do the job." Hershel said.
Bella felt around her side in search for the mouth piece. I picked it back up and handed it to her.
"Here we go again."
The screams and cries started once more. Bella was sweaty and bright red, she looked exhausted but at the same time she looked determined and so alive.
I zoned out at the picture in front of me.
Beth held Bella's hand, who was squeezing tightly, as she encouraged her to push and continue. Hershel's at the bottom of the bed, was splashed with blood but working hard on delivering this baby.
My eyes fell upon Bella again, but this time, it wasn't her face, in fact she didn't had a face.
Beth morphed into Rick, "Come on Lori, you can do this." My mind created what should have been, Judith should have a mother, Hershel should have delivered her, Rick should have been there. I wasn't even around when all this happened but it affected me deeply.
The faces of those in front of me changed again, except Hershel was still Hershel. Beth, who turned into Rick, turned into Daryl.
"Well done Blondie." He said and kissed my head.
The faceless person, who once was Bella, was me.
I was sweaty, I was pink and I want panting. "You did it," Daryl said.
Hershel's rose from the end of the bed and in his arms was a bunker of soft, white sheets. He laid a baby, my baby, in my arms.
"She's beautiful." He said with a smile only a father or grandfather was able of.
"She?" I repeated in disbelief. "I have a daughter? I have a daughter!"
Tears of happiness steadily poured down my face.
Daryl, with his pinky finger, so delicately stroked the cheek of our baby girl.
"We got a name for this one yet?" His voice was so calm and sweet instead of his usual rough tone.
I was mesmerised by the beauty of the child in my arms. Was there a name that existed that would justify her?
"Ivy-Mae." I said, "Ivy-Mae Dixon."
"I like it." Daryl smiled warmly and kissed the top of my head once again.
"Lily! Lily!" Hershel shouted, dragging me out of my day dream. "Help Bella."
She was screaming again, loudly. How long had I been caught up in my day dreams for?!
I grabbed the mouth piece and fed her it, she gasped for five big doses.
Beth wasn't by her side and holding her hand no more. I slipped my own into Bella's and she began to squeeze.
Everyone was a lot more panicked and I was unsure as to why.
Beth had her back to me in the other side of the room, hovering over a desk.
"W-what's going on?" I asked.
"It's twins!" Hershel exclaimed.
I've been excited to write this chapter for so long now but yet, at the same time I've been really worried. I had no idea how I would write a birthing scene, I don't know anything too major about labour, no extreme details. So I hope that you guys don't mind that I have skipped the goriness of child birth and replaced it with Lily's imagination.