Dixons Don't Cry
Day 62 - Daytime
"God dammit," I said as I checked the rock I had spotted for any signs of snake. I saw some signs, but nothing really to lead me anywhere. I sighed; my hunt for snake would forever be a dream. I kept up my snake hunt for about half an hour after Uncle Daryl left to go track down his deer, and caught only two snakes. Maybe Sophia would want some, if I could sneak it past her asshole father.
Uncle Daryl and I had been out on the hunt since the group had left for Atlanta to scavenge for supplies. Dad offered to go to help, but he seemed off that morning for some reason, but he still hugged and kissed my cheek before he left.
He had ruffled my hair with his right hand and smirked at me. "You be good and catch me somethin' good ta eat tonight, sugah."
I kissed his cheek and nodded, a matching smirk on my face," Will do, Daddy. I'll catch some rattla for when ya get back!"
"Thas mah Dixon girl," he said and kissed my cheek before smacking my back and heading to the group. Martinez was hugging his children and crying wife while Amy was clutching Andrea tightly. T-Dog was talking quietly with Jacqui, while Dad went and seemed to be arguing with Uncle Daryl. That was normal, so I shrugged it off and looked to the Asian boy, Glenn. He wasn't near the group and wasn't really talking to anybody. He was probably the closest to my age in the whole camp. I wasn't sociable, so I didn't bother going up to him, but his eyes landed on me, and I nodded at him. He waved slightly, and I rolled my eyes. Still, I smirked and waved back before looking down. A weird courage poured through me, and I quickly crossed over to the china man; he seemed surprised that I came to him.
"Hey, what's up--Tess, right?" Glenn asked, making sure of my name. It had been a while since that first night of camp where Dad, Uncle Daryl, and I sat with the others at the fire before they segregated us for being hicks, so I was a little surprised he remembered since I was much quieter than the other two.
"Yeah, listen Short Round, you think you can get some salt o' somethin' on the run? Maybe? Everything's gettin' to be a lil' dull, and Dale's prolly gon' run out soon," I asked, Glenn chuckled when I said Short Round.
He looked at me as if asking "really?" before questioning," Salt?”
I sighed before looking over to where my dad and uncle were in a heated discussion, not even seeing me talking to Glenn; Daddy would probably have a fit if he saw me talking to the young china man-thinking he was trying to get on me or somethin' stupid. "Just..." I started before I sighed, and looked back to Glenn," My dad is stupid, and I know y'all hate 'im, but he's mah dad, and I'd like him to come back, can you make sure he don't die or nothin'?"
Glenn looked to the ground with a small smile before nodding and looking back to me. "Yeah, I'll watch out for your old man, even though he insists I'm a 'china man'." He used air quotes with his fingers as he said Chinaman. I furrowed my brows.
"Same thang, Short Round," I said, before turning on my heel to go gather my pack for the hunt, Glenn's laughter behind me.
That had been yesterday morning. That day Uncle Daryl and I shot about a dozen squirrels and spent the night in some trees before climbing back down at dawn. I didn't catch any snakes, but we bagged two more squirrels and Uncle Daryl shot his deer before running after it and telling me to not follow him, basically. "Don't muck this up with ya damn loud ass steps!"
I grabbed my second snake off the rock I laid it on after burying the head, and slung it around the back of my neck like rope, just as I had with the other rattler. Two snakes would be good for tonight, I think. I didn't know how much each of us would eat, so we would have to see.
I made the long walk back to camp with my water bottle swinging in my left hand. The first thing I saw was a dead walker next to the deer Uncle Daryl had shot. "Fuck, I wanted goddamn venison!" I groaned, kicking the fucking walker in the back. "Stupid son o' bitch," I grumbled as I trudged into camp.
I entered the camp and saw mostly everyone by the RV. There was a new van parked that looked like it could hold a lot of stuff, and some of the men were stripping a fancy ass sports car for parts. They're back! I screamed in my head, before jogging the distance to the trailer, the snakes' ends swinging.
"Daddy! I got the rattla' like I said I would, let's skin 'em up!" I called out as I neared the RV. I saw Uncle Daryl working with the new truck with T-Dog while some new guy was talking to the Carl kid. Who the hell was he?
All eyes turned to me as I slowed my jog and stood in their presence. Uncle Daryl looked at me strangely before hurrying to me and pulling me into a bone-crushing hug, his fingers in my hair.
"Uncle Daryl, don't squish mah snakes," I said as I hugged him back, my water bottle going along with it. Why the hell was he hugging me? Uncle Daryl didn't hug in public at all; my graduation had been one of the only times.
"Tessa May, I'm so glad you're back," he said, his voice choking up.
I laughed and asked," Why wouldn't I be, Uncle Daryl? I was jus' huntin'. I wasn't even gone that long, not even an hour!"
I pulled away slightly and looked into his eyes. I could tell that he had been Dixon crying, which was letting your eyes get red and puffy with tears but not letting them spill. The worst ideas flooded my head, and I instantly assumed the worst since my dad didn't answer my calls the first time.
Anger quickly filled me, and I pulled away and looked to the others, my glare matching my father's fully. "Whadda fuck is going on here?" I questioned, and when exchanged looks with the wide-eyed crowd. The man talking to Carl started to walk over to where I was standing. At the silence, my temper shortened more. "Well? And who the hell are you?" I demanded.
The man looked behind me to Uncle Daryl. I heard him say from behind me said," I told you that I'm not tha one you shou' worry 'bout tellin' offica." Officer? He was a cop?
The man looked to me in pity and introduced in an 'I'm a cop' voice," My name is Rick Grimes, and-" Grimes? Like Lori and Carl? She was with Shane...
"Where the hell is my dad? Dad? DADDY!" I screamed out, turning and trying to spot him once again, trying to kill my worst fears creeping on the back of my neck. I moved away from them to crane my neck around. My dad never called back, just as it had been a minute ago. It was dead silent. I bit my lip hard and took a shaky breath, looking at the ground.
"Is he dead?" I managed to choke out, the tears building. Dixons don't cry, I told myself. Dad couldn't die; nothing could kill Merle but Merle, could kill a Dixon but a Dixon.
"We don't know," before I could say anything, the man continued," Look, miss, your father was on and was in possession of drugs-"
"YOU TAKE THAT BACK," I screamed at him, getting closer to his face. My dad wasn’t on drugs, he didn’t have them, and I knew that. I was pretty sure anyways. My breathing became heavy as I tried to shake the drugs out of my mind; he promised.
"No, Merle Dixon was a danger to everybody and nearly got everybody killed!" Shane bit out at me, now him approaching as T-Dog got a bit closer, and I glared deep.
"Where is he?" I asked, venom dripping from every word, looking around between the men.
"I handcuffed him to the roof of the department store." I looked to Rick, not knowing what to say.
A minute of silence passed before finally, I spoke, my voice soft and whispering slowly," You... handcuffed him... to a roof?"
"Yes," Rick said, trying to look composed.
And then I lunged at him, trying to get in a good punch, but I was quickly grabbed from behind and he was pulled away from me. "Let me go! He left my daddy to die!" I screamed, thrashing in the arms of my captor.
"It's my fault, I dropped the key down a drain," T-Dog confessed, and my screams became angrier.
"I'LL KILL YA, YA DAMN NIGGER, I'LL KILL YOU!" Spit was coming from my mouth as I thrashed, trying to get at them. My arms were being held to my sides.
"Tess, stop hun, settle down, we're gonna go get Merle right now, he's fine. He's safe up on tha roof, he may be handcuffed but the door is bolted. Merle's alright," Uncle Daryl's smooth voice said in my ear, and at his voice, I crumpled into a ball against him, trying not to cry. My body went limp in his arms, and Uncle Daryl lowered himself to the ground with me in his lap as I shook violently, trying to hold in my anger and frustration and sadness.
It all hit me at once in that moment. I hadn't lost anything in the dead rising back up; the walkers haven't taken my family. My only family had been with me through the whole two months, and we were comfortable in the woods and living without what these city people couldn't live without. It was all hitting me that this was all real, that everything was really going to shit, and my dad was the thing I had to lose to realize it. We weren't camping or just on the hunt, this was real, and someone as capable as my dad caught the bad end of human nature.
"If it means anything, we're leaving to get your father and a bag of guns. I'm sorry," Rick said softly. I shook my head and sniffled. I had seen him with Carl and Lori; Carl was obviously his son. He didn't get to be sorry; his family was alive.
"I want a new handgun then," I demanded, and Rick agreed silently, simply nodding his head. I wiped my eyes free of the threatening tears, huffing to cover it up.
"Come on, girlie, we're gonna go get Merle and bring 'im back. You make sure you got that rattla ready, ya here? Don't be a slacker," Uncle Daryl said, and I nodded through my sniffles as he helped me up.
"None of that cryin' shit, Dixons don't-"
"Don't cry, I know," I said nodding, sucking up all my emotions and stuffing them away. Had to distract myself, find something else to do. Hunt; I'll go find more snakes.
"I'll start skinning the game, Daddy'll be hungry from bein' on tha roof for so long," I said in monotone. Uncle Daryl squeezed my shoulder and we turned our separate ways.
I sat by the fire for a long time, skinning my snakes and cutting the meat and getting rid of the poison. After the snakes, I moved onto the squirrels. Nobody came to bother me for a few hours, but after sitting alone for a while, I felt a soft hand on my shoulder. I flinched at the contact until a gentle voice spoke.
"We're gonna be washing clothes down at the water. I know you aren't a clothes washer, but I figured you could wash up some of your dad's stuff before he gets back. He'll need a fresh change," Carol spoke, and her tone actually made me feel a bit relaxed. I glanced at the direction of the water and saw Andrea, Amy, and Jacqui already heading down. Amy hadn't spoken to me, and I was sure Andrea hated me, and Jacqui probably thought I was a racist.
I shook my head and threw the tenth squirrel pelt into one trash bag with the others. "Nah, I'm okay," I said softly as I put the meat in the cooler for later tonight.
Carol sighed and urged me up. I followed without really knowing what I was doing. "Come on, go get your dad and uncle's clothes, yours too. You need company, and none of us here are gonna judge you right now."
I did as she asked, and in a few minutes of gathering laundry from our tent, I made my way down to the lake with Carol. We reached the other girls. Andrea gave me a nod while Jacqui offered a small smile. I sat by Carol on the outside of the group.
They were getting everything set up and I awkwardly got closer. As I lowered in front of a wash-bin, Amy perked up," Hi Tess!" I gave her a small smile and a nod before starting on one of Dad's gray shirts.
After a few shirts, we could hear Shane and Carl trying to--and failing--to catch frogs.
Jacqui and Andrea were grabbing things before they started, and Jacqui said," I'm beginning to question the distribution of labor here."
As they sat with us, Jacqui continued as she grabbed some of her things to wash. "Can somebody explain to me how the women wound up doing the Hattie McDaniel work?" she continued.
We all chuckled, and Amy said," The world ended, didn't you get the memo?"
"I ain't never done laundry really," I admitted shyly to the conversation. All the laundry I ever did was through it in the old rust bucket and have it cleaned before throwing it into a drawer.
Amy nudged me with a laugh," Me either. ‘Sides, you get to do the 'men's work.'" She used a caveman voice in men's work, making both of us giggle and the ladies laugh.
"Oh girls, you're in for a treat then," Jacqui said sarcastically.
"It's just the way it is," Carol said lightly. We all continued to scrub, Carol occasionally showing me what I was doing weirdly. I was getting frustrated with the washing of Uncle Daryl and Dad's clothes, how the hell do they get this much muck on them?
Conversation was light for a while, until Carol sighed," I do miss my Maytag."
"I miss my Benz, my SAT NAV," added Andrea. Damn, fancy.
"I miss my coffeemaker with that dual-drip filter and built-in grinder, honey!" Jacqui mhmph'ed, and I smiled. Coffee sounded good right now.
Amy pouted," My computer, texting,"
I sighed as I began to scrape the dirt off a pair of Uncle Daryl's jeans. "I miss wild berry pie from this diner in town--Marian's." I'd give my right hand for some of her pie; it was always from scratch and warm when she would serve it.
"Ugh, that sounds so much better than squirrel," Amy moaned. We laughed and I nodded in agreement.
There was a pause in conversation, before Andrea threw out there," I miss my vibrator."
Jacqui ooo'd and Amy and I burst out into laughter, Amy squealing," Oh my god!" All of us laughed together, and even if Andrea hadn't sat right with me before, I couldn't help but laugh with her. She hadn't been a bitch to me this whole time.
We were all calming, until little Carol sighed," Me too." Our laughs broke out even louder, and I laid my head on my legs, nearly crying from the comment. Oh Carol, goddamn she was funny underneath all that quiet.
From behind us, Ed called out," What's so funny?"
Our laughter faded as the man came closer, and I glanced behind to see him smoking and glancing at all of us, especially Carol.
"Just swapping war stories, Ed," Andrea said, trying to get him to back off.
"And you oughtta focus on your work, this ain't no comedy club," Ed said, taking a drag from his cigarette. I could see the change in Carol from beside me. She had gone rigid, and I edged a little closer to her, and she relaxed a bit. Andrea huffed, and we continued our work in silence.
After five minutes, his watchful eye was really pissing me off, and I wasn't the only one. Andrea stood and held her arms out to her sides at Ed.
"You know what, don't like the way your laundry is done, you're welcome to pitch in and do it yourself! Here!" She threw the shirt at him.
He through it back forcefully, smacking Andrea in the chest with it, my eyes widened. "Ain't my job missy."
"Andrea, don't..." Carol whispered, trying to stand, but I put my hand on her shoulder and kept her down. She didn't need to get in this.
"And what is your job? Sitting on your ass, smoking cigarettes?"
"Well it sure isn't listening to some uppity smart-mouth bitch." My mouth dropped and he looked to Carol, motioning for her," You know what-- come on, let's go."
She started scrambling to get up and I tried to keep her down as Andrea told off Ed again. "Carol, no, it's alright-" I started lightly to her as Andrea spoke to Carol's husband. We all knew he would beat her, and I couldn't let her just go, neither could Jacqui who was watching and making sure Carol stayed out of the way.
"No, let me up, Tess," Carol said back, "Don't get involved." She yanked out of my grip but I stood with her. Ed and Andrea were full out arguing now. I had missed what she said.
"Carol-" I said trying to get in front of her.
"Hey, don't think I won't knock you on your ass just 'cus you some college educated cooze," he said to Andrea who gasped. He looked to Carol and pointed," Now come on, or you're going to regret it later." My faced turned to disgust. He was such a pig.
"What? So she can show up with fresh bruises later, Ed? We've seen them," Jacqui said, Ed just laughed.
The yelling started to pick up as Ed tried to grab Carol as we tried to keep her away. He reached out and smacked her across the face, and the yelling picked up as they pulled the crying Carol away.
"Get the fuck away from her!" I yelled at him. "What the fuck is wrong-" I was cut short as his fist slammed into my face, hard enough to knock me to the side. I fell over in shock and the girls started screaming more. Stars danced in my eyes; I ain’t ever been punched that hard in my life--never even hit that hard. He must have used all his force and anger.
Shane came over and began beating the shit out of Ed while Amy helped me up, her cries and questions making my head hurt. I couldn't register what she was saying as I was dragged to camp by... I couldn't even tell. I tasted blood in my mouth and I spit it a glob of it out. Amy cried out again; I fell over at the sound, and everything went black.
A little bit of action, did you catch the right hand joke? I laughed to myself at that one. As always, this is my first TWD fanfiction, and I'd love it if you would review or subscribe or vote. Thank you! <3