Dixons Don't Cry
Day 63 / 64
The squishing noise made when a knife goes through a human skull is indescribable to me. I was the only one other than Uncle Daryl to be stabbing them in the heads, me with my hunting knife and him with a pick-ax. I also think we were the only ones to understand what was going on.
I had tuned everything out this morning, not speaking during breakfast, or when we talked about what would be happening. Uncle Daryl didn't say anything, he just grabbed a pick-ax and tapped the sheath on my side with it. I only nodded.
I could hear the crying, smell the burning geeks, hear Glenn screaming at my uncle that we bury our people. I stayed quiet, stabbing dead bodies in the head. It was my way of mourning, keeping quiet. I cried all night before I slept, and today was my mourning time.
"You left ma brother for dead! You had this comin'! Left that girl without a father!" Uncle Daryl shouted, and I looked to see him pointing at me. I sighed, and just continued my work.
I rolled my eyes as they argued about Jim, how he was bit. My uncle was the only sane one, ready to kill him. I wouldn't wanna be one of those damn things either. "Stupid fuckers," I said as I stood up, marching over to where they were talking about somewhere to go.
"We need to go get more shit before we go on this wild goose chase for somethin' that prolly ain't there!" I yelled, speaking up for the first time that morning.
Rick shook his head and looked at me. "We have to just leave, there's nothing we can get-"
"We can't be going without damn supplies! We only got so much shit!" I said. As an afterthought, I added," And we ain't leavin' my dad behind!"
"Look-" Shane started, but I cut him off.
"No! You assholes are fuckin' stupid! We need supplies, wherever the hell we go." I pointed to Carl over to the side. "Say he gets cut, trips on something, gets an infection. He's gonna die before a fuckin' walker can get to him."
Rick had his hand on his hips as he looked at me questionably. "Then what do you suggest?" he asked.
I looked to Uncle Daryl. I nodded at him, and he nodded back. I looked to Rick and told him,"I'll go into town, to a small department store away from where you guys were. In and out. I'm quick too."
"No, absolutely not-" Rick started, but I just laughed and shook my head in disbelief.
"I don't believe I was asking your permission, officer," I said," The only person who I ever asked permission from was ma daddy, and hell, I didn't even listen to him, so I'm going!"
Rick turned to Uncle Daryl but he shook his head. "She's nineteen, she's a woman, she can make 'er own decisions. Plus, she's ma niece, needs to get a decent weapon. Might be able to fin' somethin' quieter." He gave me a look to tell me to be on the look for something better than my handgun and hunting knife. I nodded at that.
Rick sighed and pinched his nose for a second before looking at the ground, shaking his head. He took a brand new handgun out of his pocket. "Fine, you best be back in at least three hours or we're leaving without you." I nodded and grabbed the gun from him. My other handgun was in the holster, so I stuffed this one into my back pocket.
"Wait, you can't go alone!" Glenn protested.
I looked at Glenn and scoffed," Got no faith in me?"
"No, you aren't from the area. You'll get lost and die. I'll go with you," Glenn said and looked to Rick.
I shook my head and put my finger to his chest. "You just got back from Atlanta, you ain't goin' back," I said seriously, looking him in the eyes.
"You need me, we're both quick, in and out. We'll be able to carry more, and I know a weapons store in town. They had bows, and I bet nobody took them. Nobody knows how to shoot those things."
I removed my finger from Glenn's chest, squinting at him, trying to decide if i risk taking him. The group needed him, but this was what he was good at, plus, that bow was too tempting.
Slowly, I nodded my head. "Alright, Short Round, you comin' with me."
The weapons store had been a small, family owned business. When we had entered after passing herds silently, both of us equally quiet, we had killed the two owners who had barricades themselves in the back. It was mostly ransacked, except for a few rounds and one lucky pistol, but like Glenn had predicted, a small, child's crossbow was in the back room with a quiver of a dozen bolts. The child aspect of it hurt my ego a bit, but as I picked it up, it was lightweight and nice. I found an extra holster for me and one for Glenn, so now I had a gun on each hip, and my knife in the sheath right next to my right holster.
We had crossed through alleyways, taking out walkers with Glenn's hatchet and my knife. It was fairly simple with just us two. We made it to a small department store that seemed safe enough--only a few walkers in the front--and we made our way in. We didn't see any as we walked in, but after I whistled loudly, three came barreling towards us. They looked disgusting and rotted, their mouths were like the Joker, and they looked hungry.
I decided to play with my new crossbow, and shot one right in the head. I grinned; the child's definitely didn't give the kickback that would have made me miss. I took out a second one while Glenn took out the third. I yanked my arrows out and wiped them on my pant legs. "Wow," Glenn breathed, and I smirked at him. I threw the crossbow over my back with the strap, and pulled out my handgun, just to feel a bit safer.
After entering and scoping out a bit more, it was time to find the supplies I swore we needed. We walked in silence through the department store. We were both quiet, not saying anything; me because I wasn't a talker, and Glenn because he probably didn't want to talk to me.
We passed clothes, and I couldn't help but stare at the quality of them, some of the labels screaming out, things I would have never been able to afford before all of this. Flannels and leather jackets and fancy jeans lined racks we walked past.
"Do you wanna stop and look?" Glenn asked.
I looked at him with a raised brow before shaking my head. "Nah," I said, tearing my eyes away from the clothing," I don't need nothin', we're here to get medicine and food. Not clothes."
Glenn stopped walking and I stopped as well, dropping my handgun to my side. "What?" I asked him. We didn't have time to stop, we barely had time for this run before we left for the CDC tomorrow.
He rubbed the back of his neck and gave me a sorry look. "Look Tess," he started," No offense, you aren't a typical girl, but you do need new clothes."
"What's wrong wit' mah clothes?" I snapped defensively, crossing my arms over my chest. I knew he was right, as I glanced down at my torn jeans and dirty t-shirt under daddy's large leather vest. My boots were the only things in-tact, and like everything else, covered in dirt and mud and blood. I was used to dirty clothes and shit though, so I didn't need Glenn to point it out. I didn't know why him pointing it out made me embarrassed though.
Glenn quickly shook his head and waved his hands out to stop my defensivenss," No no! Your clothes are nice Tess, but I've seen you wear two outfits, and all of your stuff--all of our stuff really--is stained. Why don't we get some while we're here?"
I pursed my lips and looked back to all of the nice clothes, just sitting there. Glenn grabbed my hand and I looked to see him giving me a smile. "Come on," he said, trying to drag me over to the clothes. And I let him.
In the end, I had filled my backpack with two new pairs of pants and exchanged my ripped ones for a nice pair of black Levi's that I tucked into my boots. My dirty shirt was replaced with a vest flannel over a new sports-bra and (Glenn turned around when I started to strip off my clothes). I stuffed a few more shirts and new undergarments into my bag, each of them Glenn approved. I even struck stupid poses like the models on the TV would do. I don't know why, but I just did because it felt funny.
We went over and got new clothes for Glenn too, and he struck even weirder poses. I don't think I had had so much fun with another person that wasn't family in so long.
Our fun didn't even after the hour we spent getting clothes. We ran over the the accessories and tried on ridiculous scarves and glasses, both of us getting black Raybans to look cool. "The hat really sets it off, like a... like a teenage Short Round." Glenn shoved me for that one.
After we got back on task and scavenged the medicine aisle for whatever was left (which turned out to be some bandages, a small bottle of painkillers, and one travel first-aid kit), I was ready to go, but Glenn stopped me as I started to turn towards the exit. "We have time, let's go look around some more!" I sighed, but my smile escaped. I would argue, but this had been fun. We were both quick and making good time; nobody would be too worried I think. He turned and started running slowly, signaling me to come after him.
"Fine Short Round, ya betta have somethin' good to show me," I said before running after him. I heard him laugh at the nickname I had been using for him. He led me through the aisles, and stopped me as we neared the end of it.
He turned to me and demanded," Close your eyes!"
"Close your eyes!" He insisted, and the look on his face made me laugh and I obliged
He grabbed my arm and led me forward carefully, and we finally stopped. I opened my eyes, and saw that we were in a toy aisle.
I looked at Glenn skeptically. "Glenn, what the hell? I ain't six anymore." He shook his head and walked away from me to the toys. I put my gun into its holster, and followed after. The first aisle was full of dolls and Barbies. I picked up on of the boxes and moved it in my hands. It was Doctor Barbie. "I never had dolls like these," I told Glenn as I set the box down again.
"Somehow, I believe that," Glenn replied sarcastically with a laugh as he put a box down for the Barbie Dream Car.
I sighed as I walked through, and spotted a very specific doll. My lip tugged to the side as I grabbed the box. It was a mermaid Barbie that could swim. "I asked for this doll for my birthday and Christmas for two years," I said lightly.
"You never got it?"
I laughed once and threw it to the side. "My dad thought dolls were for sissies. My momma spent all her money on alcohol. The most I had from her was a coloring book and a sixty-four crayon set."
"What happened to your mom?" Glenn asked.
My mood turned opposite just as I turned to face Glenn. "She died. Lung cancer," I said bluntly, keeping my face straight.
Glenn's eyes widened and he started to shake his head. His voice was panicked, "Oh, Tess, I didn't mean to bring that up, I didn't-"
I cut him off, smacking him on the arm with a small smile," I'm just fuckin' with you Glenn. Don't even 'member my momma much. Been with my daddy and uncle for a long time." He breathed out deep and I laughed at his expense. My mother's death stopped hurting a long time ago; it didn't hurt to think about anymore, not since I was little.
We went through a toy car aisle for boys, Glenn pointing out which Hot Wheels he had owned. We walked over the corner to look at the next toys. In the next toy aisle were obscure toys, like crowns and dinosaurs and little cars and balloons.
I grabbed a princess tiara off the shelf; it was silver with fake jewels and fuzzy pink shit. I ripped the packaging off and threw the packaging to the side, and I placed the crown on my head and turned to Glenn. "Whaddu' think?" I asked, putting a hand behind my head and bending a knee in a pose. This trip and the clothing experience made it easier to joke around Glenn, be a little more open like I would be at home.
Glenn shook his head and laughed. "Redneck princess," he said quickly, swiping the crown off my head.
I pointed at him and grinned," Don't 'chu forget it." I swiped the dinosaur he was carrying in the hand that didn't have the crown. I held it out at his face and teased, "Look at 'chu, a Chinaman holding Godzilla,"
"I'm Korean, and that's a Stegosaurus," he rolled his eyes.
I leaned in and raised my eyebrows. "What. Eva." He laughed.
I turned away again and started fiddling with some wands, when Glenn said," No way!"
I turned and saw he was playing with some flat thing. "What's that?" I asked, moving closer.
He turned it towards me. It was one of those magnetic writing things, with the pen, and you erased it by sliding that thing. I got to Glenn as he finished drawing a smiley-face.
I rolled my eyes and grabbed it from him. responding with a smirk. "Hey!" he complained, but I ignore him. I erased the board, and I started to write my name. My scrawl was messy, so I erased it a few times to get it readable: Tessa May Dixon.
I propped it up onto the shelf, so it showed. Glenn had grabbed one and written his own name, Glenn Rhee. He propped it up next to mine. I took another one and drew a plus sign, and then wrote on another," a have survived." I arranged them to read," Tessa May Dixon + Glenn Rhee have survived."
We stood back and stared at them for a second side by side. I smiled at it a bit. It was stupid and useless and dumb, but it brought a sense of comfort. I felt Glenn's hand touch my left from besides me, and I looked at him out of the corner of my eye. My cheeks heated as we grabbed hands and intertwined the fingers. We stood like that for a minute or two, before we both started walking towards the back exit, still hand in hand.
We got back to camp as the sky was starting to go dark, and the cars were being loaded up. Uncle Daryl had loaded Dad's bike into the back of his truck, and I smiled at the sight. We parked vehicle I had hot-wired to get us back on the outside of camp since we wouldn't be taking it. It was a piece of shit little car anyways, only good for the trip back up the mountain.
When I threw our new little bit of ammo, our bandages, the bottle of painkillers, and small first-aid kit, Rick had looked surprised. He looked to us and nodded. "Thank you," he said. It was a simple thanks, but I knew he appreciated it. That shit we got was worth more than gold now a days.
I went to Uncle Daryl after that, who was finishing up loading our shit into the cab. "Uncle Daryl, look, we're twins," I said, holding up my crossbow. He smirked and looked at me up and down.
"Look like a damn badass, Tessa May; got two guns, that knife, a damn bow," he chuckled before shutting the door. He looked back to me and smirked. "It's a baby bow, but eh, I guess that's all you could handle." I smacked him in the arm and he smacked me on the back with a smirk. He threw the crossbow on the floorboard of the passenger with his.
Everybody gathered around as Rick explained the radios and shit. "Anything else?" he asked. I shook my head but Morales spoke up.
"We aren't going," he said.
The family explained that they wanted to find their family, and my heart tugged at this. I wanted to find Dad, but both Uncle Daryl and I knew that it wasn't smart to go looking for a ghost of a trail.
And now, the next morning, we were in the truck together, driving to the CDC. It was silent between us, except for the Johnny Cash playing in the player. My mind was mostly on Glenn, the Asian boy who held my hand today. I felt weird thinking about him, and I didn't know why. We had fun today, more than I've ever had with someone who wasn't kin. It made my insides twist, which I didn't like at all, so it was nearly a miracle when tiredness swept over me.
"Uncle Daryl," I asked lightly, a yawn escaping my mouth.
I yawned again," How long 'til we get there?"
"Prolly hours if nothing delays," he answered. I nodded, my eyes feeling heavy with fatigue. It had been a long day of mourning, and then the confusing feelings with Glenn, that I was plain exhausted.
Uncle Daryl patted my leg with his right hand. "Why don'cha lay ya lay down, sleep a bit 'fore we get there? Ya can lay ya head on my lap," he offered.
I stretched my arms out and let a final yawn escape. I arranged myself to lay my head on his right thigh, my back to the seat. My legs bent to lay up on the dashboard. I closed my eyes and felt Uncle Daryl's fingers in my hair, a comforting feeling.
I was on the edge of sleep when I felt something fall on my face. I was about to wipe at it, until I heard Uncle Daryl softly crying. He probably thought I was asleep, and was holding it all in to be strong for us. Instead of wiping my face, I let his tears fall, instead just curling up more. His fingers stayed on my head, moving only every so often. It was as if he was afraid I was going to disappear. Every so often, his fingers would tighten, as if checking that I was still there.
Even though he was crying to himself, I felt the pain of my dad once more. Would we see him again? Would he live? Our small family of three has gone down just to two, and it was the craziest of us all, but blood is blood.
But we had each other, and that comfort is all I needed. As long as I had my uncle with me, I knew he would keep us safe, all of us. And one day, my dad would be back, and we'd all be together again.
And that was what allowed me to sleep peacefully for the first time in days.