Wolf in My Heart
Eva shut her eyes tightly and stopped walking she lagged behind the three men as they walked on and looked behind her. With a tight grip on her Machete she slowly backed into the shadows of the trees “Sorry Rick, but I can’t do this” she whispered, watching them walk ahead before she quietly slipped into the brush and wood. It hurt to run so Eva wandered her way back to the river, to the fallen tree Rick had said Sophia had been hiding in. She crawled inside it and looked around, “Maybe she wrote a message, this is like the hole in the wonderland books” Eva thought it was too dark for her to visibly read anything that may or may not have been carved in the wood. So she ran her fingers over it, “Nothing” Eva sighed in defeat.
Eva was ready to move on and look else were, she slipped her fingers down the wood and gave a deflated sigh, when. A strange gash appeared to be in the lower part of the tree, Eva gulped and felted the gash more groping at it desperately in in the dark. But it didn’t feel like anything, at least not words. “But why would a gash be in the inside of a tree, it’s too big for a possum or coon, even a fox would be too small to make this” she thought. With a heavy sigh Eva backed out of the tree careful not to splash around in the water to much as she cross the Shallow River, and beaver damn pool.
“Did you find her?” Carol asked hurriedly seeing the men return “no but we’re heading back out now” Rick said his voice was confident and determined, “We’re just picking up flashlights maybe a few rounds” Daryl stated with a nod. Carol fell silent and nodded as Lori consoled her “Please, Please just find my Sophia” she pleaded, her eyes going from Daryl to Rick. Rick looked into Carol’s aching eyes and then to Lori. As Rick went to speak his eyes fell on Shane who was looking around turning every which way. His eyes darting franticly “Where’s Eva?” He asked turning to Rick. Rick looked around as did Daryl and the others “how’d you lose her?” Glenn called from atop the RV, while Dale tended to the Wounded T-Dog.
“I she must have fell back, in the dark we didn’t notice, she has pretty light steps” Daryl reasoned “She probably left a trail, when we head out we’ll find her” Daryl added. Shane grabbed his flashlight and more rounds for his gun “well come on!” he called jogging towards the woods “hey wait!” Rick called grabbing a flashlight and rounds as well. “We’ll bring Sophia back” Rick said pausing to turn back at Carol and Lori with a smile. Lori’s eyes fluttered “be careful” she said with a pause “don’t lose sight of trying to find Sophia…if Eva’s gone missing” she tagged on her voice chilled over and raw. Rick had turned his back headed for the woods, her words made him stop. He found himself shocked at how cold her voice had been. “Come on!” Daryl called headed of him as Shane entered the forest. Rick nodded and ran to catch up.
Eva hadn’t had a serious run in with walkers yet, a few solo ones here and there, but that she could handle she walked through the woods aimlessly now. She wasn’t Daryl, she wasn’t raised in the woods, the only time she entered the wilderness was when Shane and Rick wanted to go play out in the woods or have target practice with their guns. “What’s the prissy cheerleader gonna do out here” she could almost hear Lori’s mind thinking that from afar, and she balled up her fists “more than you’re doing” she thought continuing on her way.
Eva’s knee began to throb and whine, cringing she leaned against a tree, closing her eyes and exhaling. “Deal with it, you’ve had worse breaks before, just deal with it!” Eva muttered to herself in bitterness. Her eyes opened as she could remember the crack her arm made as her 11 year old body was slammed against the kitchen counter. The fear she felt seeing a white pillar sticking from her skin. Eva rubbed her arm and smiled in spite “yes this knee is nothing” she sighed pushing herself to stand back up. Looking around she faintly noticed a large mark on a tree. “What’s that?” she murmured striding over to it. Eva laid her hand across it, it was about the same gash that she felt in the tree back at the river. Eva froze “she’s marked a trail” and a smile came to her face, as she remembered the early days of the break out, when she first met Sophia…..
In a rich memory.
Eva, Carol, Sophia and Carl were walking through the woods trying to gather firewood for the rest of the camp. “Maybe we should head back, Shane said not to wander too far off” Carl said cautiously. Eva smiled a bit, he had always had a great respect for Shane, “what if we get lost?” Sophia asked softly “oh Sophia honey we won’t get lost” Carol soothed, Eva nodded and picked up a rock that had been laying on the ground. “Sophia” she called, the girl turned around to look up at her, a confused look on her face. “I once say a cartoon movie about a hero dog, he went to save his enemies to get medicine for his friends human and all the other humans in his town” Eva paused as she saw Sophia’s eyes lit up. “When he went off alone, he didn’t want to get lost, so he marked a trail in the trees like this” Eva gripped the rock firmly and craved into the tree bark and simple crude marking. “Oh! I see so if you’re going to do that to make sure we won’t get lost!” Carl cheered and Sophia grinned “ you’re going to be a Hero too Eva just like that dog in that movie, one day, just watch I know it!” she giggled happily. Eva and Carol laughed lightly as well.
The memory slowly faded, and warmth spread through Eva’s body.
Eva smiled, “Sophia” she whispered, gripping her Machete she set off again “I’m coming” she thought, now searching for marks in the tree’s.
Shane’s body shook, as the woods were turning a misty blue with the rising of the sun, Rick’s eyes were heavy and the three men were tired, having searched the whole night through. “Maybe we should head back” Rick said his voice hoarse and tired. “I’m not leaving her out here” Shane said cuttingly “but what if Eva found Sophia and headed back to the road?” Rick reasoned, he had to think that, his body had needed a rest and he didn’t want to believe that both girls were still out there. Shane fell Silent “it’s worth a look, besides if we don’t head back, they’re going to come looking for us next” Daryl added in. Shane nodded stiffly and the men headed back.
Upon their return, “where’s Sophia!” Carol called she wasn’t able to sleep and stood with Lori watching the woods. “We didn’t find her” Daryl muttered not able to take the look Carol was giving them. “They aren’t here?” Rick asked “Did Eva return?” Shane asked. Carol shook her head. Shane turned around sharply and went to head back to the woods, “Wait, Shane” Lori called flatly, Shane stopped his back to her and his eyes glued to the woods. His heat willed his feet to move and his mind kept them still. “You guys need rest and food before you head back out, or you won’t be any good to anybody” Lori called, Carol leered “let them go, My Sophia is out there, Bring back my Sophia” Carol pleaded. Lori rubbed Carol back as the heartbroken mother wept silently. “she’s right, we take five and head back out, we’ll take Glenn this time” Daryl suggested, Rick nodded “sounds good”
Morning came and Eva still wandered through the woods, she had not found Sophia, and the Markings in the trees were becoming fewer and father apart.
Shane, Glenn, Daryl, and Rick pushed through the brush, starting from square one they went back to Sophia’s original hiding place. “I told her, If I don't come back, head back to the highway the same way we came, keep the sun on your left shoulder" Rick said as Daryl looked over the area. “I didn’t notice this before, because of the panic” Daryl muttered in annoyance, more at himself than anything “but Sophia left a trail, it helps that Eva’s been through here, she left a larger one” Daryl said crossing the small river to the dirt. He knelt again and rubbed his fingers over tracks. “Well what are we waiting on let’s get goin’” Shane said rushing across the water and past Daryl. “You’re too shaken up, you won’t do anything to mess with my tracking.” Daryl said standing up. “Panicked people don’t make good search crews” he added. Shane whirled around “She’s my-“ Rick stepped up “We know” he voice was almost bitter as he spoke those words. Shane looked to Rick squinting “But Daryl’s right remember? Back in the sheriff’s department, the first things we learned about search parties is that heavily emotionally effected friends and family of the missing should not assist, as they’re though process isn’t stable” Rick reminded, Shane growled.
“So what we let this hick Tarzan and chopsticks over there do the searching!” Shane roared, “Hey!” Glenn called, while Daryl rolled his eyes. “Look next time you need to keep an eye on your damn girlfriend!” Daryl barked. Shane glared at him. “This is what I mean” Rick said calmly stepping between the two angry men. “And no, you and Glenn go back to the Road, keep the others busy with simple tasks…so they won’t panic or want to move on without them” Rick stated. Glenn nodded “that’s a good idea, Rick and Daryl can keep looking on their own they’ll move faster” He reasoned. “Go back and watched Carl for me” Rick said resting a hand on Shane’s shoulder “you know he is, he won’t listen to Lori or anyone” Rick added, Shane calmed a bit and nodded “right” he said. And his mind kicked back into gear. Of course Carl never listened to Lori, he barely listened to Rick. “Because he’s mine” A thought floated in the back of Shane’s head, along with the other thoughts he had pushed deep into his mind. Weather they were wrong or right. He didn’t know.
“Didn’t you hear your mom?” Shane asked as she worked on moving a small sedan out of the way, he and Glenn had gotten everyone to help move the cars so that the RV could pass, Carol was sent to watch over Jenner, and Dale was tending to T-Dog. Carl had picked up Gerber Gear from inside one of the many trucks on the road. Lori had told him to leave it but he kept it anyway, showing it to Shane, as if Shane would be proud. In truth Shane was a bit proud of the boy. But that’s not what Lori wanted to see, He knew she would want to see him take up on her side. If Lori said no Gerber Gear, it was no Gerber Gear. “Go put that back its two dangerous! Now go on!” Shane boomed, partially taking out his inner stress on Carl, he watched the boy puff out his cheeks and running off upset. Shane sighed and ran his hand through his hair, He did not mean to do that.
“Why’d you do that? You practically broke his heart” Lori scowled, Shane watched her in disbelief as she stopped trying to push the car. “Excuse me? Ain’t that what you wanted? You told him to put it down” Shane asked defensively “He wanted to show you what he found, you can’t be so harsh to him, he looks up to you after all that happened” Lori reasoned, her eyes briefly softened on Shane. He looked off and rubbed his nose. “Well I ain’t his father” Shane muttered, glanced at Lori as if expecting her to storm off. “No but pretty damn close after having us think-“ Lori stopped herself and closed her eyes “Look, as soon as we find Eva, I’m going to go” Shane looked around “take Eva and head on off down the road, I don’t belong here and I can’t do this anymore. It ain’t right” He stated, looking down at Lori, who looked stunned. Shane’s heart raced in his chest, not in excitement but in protest as his mind melted at the desperation that had come into Lori’s eyes.
“You can’t do that, what about Carl” she hissed in a low tone, glancing over at her son. “He’ll understand eventually when he gets older explain it to him, I’ll talk to him before we go” Shane said watching Carl talk to Glenn who was working on the RV. He hesitantly turned his eyes back to Lori “but I can’t go on pretending like everything’s fine here, like nothing ever happened.” Shane briefly pointed to the woods “lying to my best friend, to my girl, it’s driving me crazy! I can’t just let go of what was there Lori, I can’t” he went on. “Now if you’ll excuse me I got to get the car running” he added before walking past Lori to the car he was preparing for the leave.
Eva wandered through the woods, she came to a camp site, there wasn’t a tent but it looked like a old bonfire set up, a few rocks and logs were around in a circle. She heard that familiar gut wrenching sound and looked up to see a Walker tied to a tree, and note tied around its next “Bill got bit” was all it read. Eva looked up at the walker with bull eyes. “I suppose you’re Bill” she muttered, lifting her Machete, with a zing and a plop, Bills head fell to the ground, still moaning even detached from his body. “oh shut up” Eva sighed lifting her good leg she drew it back and kicked Bills head, sending into the woods like a soccer ball. She turned to look at his body, which was unmoving. “it’s a shame his friends didn’t have the heart to put him down before becoming such a miserable thing” she sighed, cleaning off her Machete on Bill’s cloths.
Hours past, and Eva’s trail had run cold, she could no longer find any markings in the trees “maybe it was a wrong turn?” she thought to herself before back tracking a bit. The longer she walked the more she had noticed, light was fading from the woods. Night was coming again.