Long Road Ahead
To Be Still
It all happened so fast. Everything blacked out and the whole world seemed to lose its color. The sky was grey, the grass was grey, the skin on people's faces... was grey.
The bile rising in my throat told me to get out but the way my knees were shaking told me otherwise. I never experienced it before-- the absolute volume of fear that plants your feet firmly on the ground, as if drilling themselves into the earth so that you would never move again. Frozen in despair.
After the screams had died away, the only sounds to be heard on the otherwise quiet street were the gnashing of teeth, the tearing of flesh, the squish of one's organs, and the quiet, collective groans that came from each moving being around me. It was as if they were chanting quietly, mumbling to themselves a sacred prayer before a meal, or a mantra during a ritual. They weren't evil for they did not even possess the capacity to mock the living. They simply ate. And ate. And wasted away.
A hand came down on my shoulder and I finally tore my eyes away from the sight before me. When I turned, expecting certain death, I saw instead a violently bright ray of hope. The last living thing on the planet, perhaps, that still cared for me was making his best attempt to save me from myself.
I gave in.
"It's so foggy."
I was shifting my gaze across the street, keeping a lookout just in case we ran into any trouble on the run. Glenn was rubbing the back of his neck and walking at a brisk pace. It was still mid-evening, as far as I could tell, and the sun had never quite managed to break through the thick cloud cover. I didn't really mind, though, as I had always been sensitive to its rays.
Glenn simply nodded at my comment, his eyes focused on the road ahead of him. I guessed now wasn't the best time to make conversation, but the silence between us wasn't an uncomfortable one.
There had been a walker in the bathroom. Walkers-- that's what Lee and his people called them. I think I liked that a little more than other nicknames. It retained a little bit of humanity.
Lee had rushed forward to save Clementine but when he was pinned down, Carley shot the walker in its head. It wasn't the first time I'd seen one go down, but I had never been so close before.
I was certain on everyone's names now. There was Lee and Clementine. Kenny, his wife Katjaa, and their son Duck. And of course, Lilly, Larry, Carley, Doug, Glenn and I.
I remembered hearing walkers outside after ours went down. Then gunshots. Then Larry.
Well, not to say that Larry's complaining voice wasn't a constant, but he had grunted in pain and fell to the floor suddenly, causing great alarm among those who weren't aware of his health conditions. It had been his heart acting up, and Lilly informed Lee that we had been unable to get inside the pharmacy to get pills the entire time we'd been here. He assured her he would do something about it.
Glenn and I, we volunteered to make a run around town to siphon as much gas as possible, since it was more clear to us than the rest that the drugstore-- it wasn't going to be a permanent solution. We knew that from the beginning.
"You're insane," Lee spat.
"Well, it's gotta get done," Glenn replied. "Plus, we're quick. And we know Macon."
"Locals?" the other man asked curiously.
"Born and raised," I smiled at him.
Lee reached into his back pocket and handed something to Glenn. "If you're gonna do that, here's a walkie-talkie in case you get into a tight spot. Hopefully you won't need it."
"Clementine's got the other one. Check in with her and get back here as soon as you can."
Lee hadn't been giving orders; his tone was respectful and his face showed kindness. In fact, Kenny seemed to take charge more often. They were both good men, as far as I could tell, just trying to protect those important to them.
Glenn and I had made it out pretty well so far-- about one and a half jugs of gas, all siphoned from nearby cars. It was really crazy how so much was just... left behind. We set the gas cans a little ways away from the motor inn and snuck towards the parking lot.
I looked up towards the big LED sign in front of the buildings, still glowing bright in the dim atmosphere. "If this place still has power," Glenn mused quietly, "who knows what else could be in there."
I surveyed the area, keeping my eyes out for roaming walkers. There seemed to be a few in the lot, but none of them noticed or payed any attention to us. Two of them looked like they were trying to claw through a door on the top floor.
"What are you thinking?" I asked, keeping my voice barely above a whisper. As if I couldn't already guess. Glenn's eyes were focused and he was chewing lightly on his lower lip, the way he always did when coming up with one of his schemes. Said schemes were always incredibly poorly thought-out.
"I'm thinking we get in there and see what we can scavenge," he was nodding to himself, already decided without my input.
"Are you crazy?" I whisper-shouted. "The lot is crawling with walkers; we can't just go in there aimlessly to do some fucking windowshopping!"
It dawned on me that this was the most vocal I had been all day, despite still keeping a low voice. I was only ever this open about my opinions with Glenn, and I was usually only talktative when we were alone. And of course, even though I always tried to talk him down from ideas like this one, I always wound up going along with him in the end. Every time, without fail. It was just too hard to resist.
"Wait. Do you hear that?" Glenn suddenly turned his attention towards the door I had noticed earlier and the walkers surrounding it.
"All I hear are grunts," I mumbled.
"No-- shh," he whispered, holding his hand up to silence me.
Then I heard it. Beneath the low groans of the walkers, from behind the door they surrounded, came a very human noise. A quiet sob.
"This is absolutely ridiculous," I grumbled under my breath.
"What else was I supposed to do?" Glenn sneered. "The closest door was like... at least a couple meters away. At least they can't see us here. I think it taunts them less."
"I'm going to die in here."
I wriggled around a bit, trying not to make too much noise, but also trying to maintain at least a little distance between myself and the boy that now lay beneath me. The latter was proving to be completely impossible. If it were anyone else, I think I would have been searching for ways to off myself.
As expected, Glenn's "plan" fell completely flat and the roaming walkers got the jump on us. Neither of us are experienced fighters, myself especially, so we knew right away the odds weren't in our favor.
Ever the quick thinker, Glenn had pulled me along with himself into a dumpster on the wall of the motel. Now we both squatted in uncomfortable positions with the nerve-wracking threat of walkers looming all around us.
"Wait," I whispered. "Don't you still have that walkie-talkie on you?"
"Oh, right!" Glenn fumbled around, digging in his pockets until he pulled it out. He held it close to his mouth and pressed the button down. "Hey there, this is Glenn, and uh, we're kinda in a jam here. Uh, little girl, if you're there, can you put your daddy on the phone? Or the talkie, or whatever?"
I rolled my eyes at Glenn's poor attempt to communicate with children.
It wasn't long before another voice came from the talkie. "This is Lee, what's up?"
"So... we're down at that motor in, and, well, w-we're stuck."
It was a little funny to hear him admit it. I grinned at him without thinking, and he grimaced and looked away from me, his face tinted pink.
"Stuck?" Lee sounded confused.
"Yeah," Glenn grumbled. "I, uh, saw a chance to get some supplies for the group, and a bunch of the roaming ones got the jump on us. We're hiding over here but they won't leave."
There was a pause, then: "Hey Glenn, we're gonna talk it over and send a group to come get you, alright?"
"Phew, awesome," Glenn replied. "We'll sit tight 'till then."
Glenn stuck the walkie-talkie in his back pocket again and shifted his weight off his ankles. He was leaning against me a little now, but I didn't feel like complaining. It's Glenn, after all.
"So," I whispered, "do we just... wait now?"
Glenn pressed his hand against the top of the dumpster, daring a peek outside. The groans and shuffling of feet were still close. He sat back down quickly.
tbh i originally planned on making this a daryl/oc fic but now i dunno! who knows what will happen.
also, i know that in the show glenn states that he's from michigan, but i'm basing his origins off the comic/game universe, just in case there was any confusion about that.