I Hold On
Bad Ankles and Pillows
It took a little over fifteen minutes for Shane to help Ellie in getting her sister back to camp. While the girl hardly weighed a hundred pounds, she was still dead weight he had to assist in carrying. By now the girls feet were dragging in the dirt and grass beneath them. He knew she was fading fairly fast and hoped they'd be able to at least get some water in her as soon as they got back. The first familiar face he saw upon walking into camp was Rick who came running up to him, worry and shock written all over their face. It appeared as if he had been waiting around for Shane for a long while and looked just about ready to go out on his own to go find him.
"My god! You alright? What happened? What took you so long?"
Rick reached out, helping Shane and Ellie sit the drooping brunette on the picnic table.
"We ran into sum' walkers. Nothin' we couldn't handle."
He spoke of the subject broadly, not mentioning Ellie had pretty much blacked out and lost her mind, killing all of the walkers by herself in a sudden frenzy of rage. and desperation.
"This the sister? She didn't get bit did she?"
Shane nodded and then shook his head no, helping Ellie roll up her sisters pants leg to see how bad Ariel's ankle was. The ankle itself was swollen all to hell and black and blue. The rest of her leg as far as he could see was pale but other than that looked fine to him. The man then noticed how dehydrated the younger girl looked by how pale her skin was in in the glow of the moonlight and how unfocused and unresponsive she was and then nodded to Ellie who was making sure her sister was still conscious while she continued to check out the ankle she had twisted.
"Remember that well you took water from?"
The redhead nodded slightly at him before looking back at Ariel still attempting to tend to her the best she could.
"Well take that bucket and hurry and go fill it up. Your sister needs water and fast. What she don't drink we can use to soak her ankle in. Damn thing looks like there's a baseball in it or sumthin'."
Shane pointed to an old blue plastic bucket the group used for collecting water from the well and he watched as the auburn haired woman went ahead and grabbed it and took off towards the well. That was when Shane turned to Rick and glanced over at the brunette who was unaware of her surroundings and was just looking at the ground aimlessly.
"She'll be alright if we get sum' water in her. Then she'll need a good nights rest. The two of 'em can eat sumthin' in the mornin'."
Rick gave his friend an odd look and raised his brow as he crossed his arms and shook his head.
"Wait so let me get this straight, first you wanted to kill Ellie and whoever she possibly had with her, sayin' we couldn't afford to take in two more people in our group and now you wanna give 'em shelter and food? What really happened out there Shane?"
"Listen, nothin' happened out there man. Like I said before, we ran into sum' walkers. We then killed those walkers. Then we saved her sister. Simple 's that. An I ain't sayin' they'll be stayin' here with us for good. I'm sayin' we let them hang around a couple days or at least 'till the little one here can walk on her own."
Shane watched as Rick shook his head again but then nodded in agreement. Just then, Ellie came back with the bucket filled with water, her face worn and exhausted and her muscles straining against themselves yet somehow she just kept on moving.
"Here, let me take that."
Shane went to reach out and grab the bucket but Ellie pulled away.
"No, I got it."
She brought it over to the picnic table and set it beside Ariel. The man held in a sigh, confused as to why she didn't want his help but shrugged the notion off and watched the redhead carefully wash up her sisters sweaty and dirt caked face. After the younger of the two was some what cleaner, he saw Ellie help her drink from the bucket, bringing up big handfuls of the cool liquid to Ariel's cracked pale pink lips. Once it seemed as though the brunette was done drinking, he watched Ellie drink some of the water herself before helping lift her sisters ankle into the water to soak. The younger Lavelle made a little sound that sounded like a whine and
Ellie quietly shushed her in a calm voice.
"Shh. It's goin' to be okay. We just gotta soak your ankle for a bit."
"It hurts Ellie..."
"I know but the water will help get the swelling down. Then I can wrap it."
Ariel nodded and bit her lip trying to hold back from complaining and Shane caught the eldest's gaze as she looked to him, her olive green eyes catching a shine from turning towards the moonlit sky.
"Do you have any gauze or rags I can wrap her ankle in?"
The man looked to Rick who gave him a nod, immediately knowing they had a small pack of medical supplies in Dale's R.V.
"Yeah. I'll be right back."
On his way to the R.V. Shane began to think. He felt a bit guilty that he was quick to aim his gun at Ellie's head when he had first found her taking water from one of Hershel's wells, the man who owned the land they were staying on, and was even hoping she hadn't held his rash actions against him. The world was in the toilet and shit, it was hard to trust people now a days, the living and the dead. He wasn't positive, but he was beginning to realize she most likely had been telling the truth; that it had been just her and her sister against the world. But how could two girls like that even survive for this long?
Either they were just god damn lucky or maybe there was more to them that his eyes couldn't see. The two of them together probably didn't weigh more than two hundred pounds soaking wet and even though Ellie was fiery and feisty, he knew it took a hell of a lot more than being a stubborn loud mouth to fight off the undead that inhabited the world they now lived in. The whole situation honestly racked his brain and after deciding getting the wrap for her sister's ankle was a hell of a lot more important than thinking about things he didn't understand, he carefully opened the door to the R.V. hoping he didn't wake up Andrea or Carol who shared the bed in the back. He snuck inside, inwardly cursing the fact he hadn't brought a flashlight. Inside was dark and he could barely make out a thing. So after letting his eyes adjust to the cool darkness, he felt around with calloused hands and grazed the first cabinet, shuffling forward until his hands touched the second one above the fridge which was now more or less a white plastic closet to store more things in. He opened the cabinet door and reached inside, grabbing a hold of the old faded white tin medical box that said 'First Aid' in equally old red letters and shut the cabinet door.
The sound of a sudden snore in the back where the small space of a bedroom was made him jump a bit, thinking he had woken Andrea or Carol but it faded, making him sigh with relief. After making sure he didn't leave anything out of place, he left, shutting the R.V.'s door behind him in the same quiet manner he had entered. He walked back to the picnic table, thankful the moon overhead was so full so he could actually see where he was going. He made it back in less than five minutes and found that Rick had left, leaving Ellie and Ariel alone.
"Where'd Rick go?"
Shane asked, placing the medical box down on the wooden table and opened it up, shuffling through the items until he pulled out a roll of brown ace bandage.
"He said he was going to go check in on someone named Carl."
He handed the bandage to Ellie who was just now taking her sister's foot out of the bucket of water and nodded in understanding. For the past few days Rick and his wife Lori had been worried sick about their son Carl since the accident in the woods where he was shot by Otis, one of Hershel's family members. Thinking about Otis made Shane go blank for a minute. The former cop had gone with the heavy set man out on a run in hopes of getting a respirator for Carl's much needed surgery to patch up an internal bleed the boy had had from the gunshot wound. Shane had shot Otis in the leg when the two men were down to their last bullets with a hoard of zombies on their tail, using him as scapegoat. His shrill scream still echoed in Shane's ears and made him shiver a bit. One of the biters had taken a big bloody chunk out of Otis's head, taking the man's ear with it; the thought just ran though Shane's mind over and over again.
Leaving the larger man as bait for the walkers hadn't been his proudest moment but it was done and now he had to live with his decision. He hadn't told anyone what had really happened and had made up a story at Otis's 'funeral' that Otis had pretty much sacrificed himself to save the boy he had shot. If not for Otis, Carl wouldn't have gotten shot so Shane justified killing the man as retribution for even putting the boy in such mortal danger. Since the affair with Rick's wife while thinking his best friend had been dead when he had only been in a coma, in Shane's mindset, Carl and Lori were all he cared about. He'd have done anything to protect them; Even if it meant having to have killed a good and honest man.
Shane snapped out of his trance and looked up briefly hearing Ellie's voice, meeting the redhead's eyes once more after she had wrapped the swollen ankle of her little sister up tight.
He could visibly see how tired she was, dark circles of exhaustion under dark green eyes.
"Yeah, I'm fine. But what 'bout you? An don't lie to me girl. You look like hell."
"I won't lie. I'm hurtin' and beyond tired. I just wanted to stay awake until I knew Ariel was out of harms way."
Next to her the man noticed, her sister had passed out sometime a while ago, most likely while he was getting the bandage to wrap her foot in. The brunette looked like she wasn't in any pain and the serene peace on her face while she slept was almost heartwarming.
"I'm sure now she's at least got some water in her and her ankle is all wrapped, she'll be alright 'till mornin'. If you want, I can lay down the seats in my Hyundai and you two can sleep there tonight. I know it ain't much but we ain't really got an extra tent or nothin' for ya'll to cozy up in. But I can tell you it'd be a hell of a lot more comfortable than sleepin' out here on the picnic table. Then in the mornin' I'll make sure you two get somethin' to eat."
He offered, trying to be nice. Of course he'd keep his keys on him just in case the two tried to make a get away with his vehicle but for now, he figured there was no harm in trying to make the two new survivors comfortable or as best he could.
"If you don't really mind, sure. I won't turn down your offer. I can't remember the last time either one of us slept more than a couple hours straight."
When he saw Ellie's lips turn up into a smile, he couldn't help but give her a small smile back.
"Come on then. I'll carry your sister. Just follow me."
Shane went about approaching the siblings slowly, his feet barely making a sound as he walked up to them. He didn't want to wake Ariel but seeing how deep of a sleep she was in, he doubted that anything was really going to wake her. Carefully he picked her up in a bride style fashion and after making sure Ellie was following him, he headed towards where his car was parked, fairly close to the R.V.
"In my left hand back pocket there's a set of keys. Git 'em for me and press the button that says 'trunk'."
The man continued to hold the girl in his arms who made a mumbling sound as she continued to sleep. He felt a small hand reach into his back pocket with slight hesitation and the keys being pulled out. Shane then turned to her just as he heard the pop of the trunk. He used his right leg to lift up the door and motioned for Ellie to get in the back.
"Now just put the seats back."
He figured he didn't have to go into detail on how to do that and he was right. In a matter of seconds, the woman had climbed into the back of his Hyundai and had pushed the back seats forward, laying them out so they were flat. He hadn't really noticed before but while he was watching her fix the seats, he had a pretty good view of her ass. While Shane hadn't really thought about it, the woman was pretty good looking and if it wasn't for the fact she was malnourished and very under weight, he knew she would be a knock out. The dirty ripped skinny jeans and the faded blue worn out t-shirt that she was wearing didn't exactly do her justice but then again, neither was the fact that her hair was greasy and her pretty face was dirty as hell, covered in dirt and blood, among other things. He mentally noted he'd have to somehow get Hershel to let the two newcomers take a shower before they were able to be on their way but for now, he set that thought aside. Meanwhile he was still holding Ariel who was as motionless as could be, the only sign of her still alive was her light even breathing. The redhead then got out and the two of them together helped put Ariel in the back, laying her down gently.
Surprisingly, Ellie handed him the keys without him asking and gave him another close mouthed smile, that still tired and worn look on her face. He put the keys back in his pocket.
"I got a few pillows and a blanket I can spare in my tent. I'ma go git 'em for ya'll so you won't wake up with stiff necks. Be right back."
Shane didn't give the woman a chance to speak but he figured she'd accept the offer like she had had to sleep in his car. He was quick to head to his tent and grab the two pillows and blanket he could spare, trying to force his own need to sleep away at least until he was sure the two were settled in as best as they could be. He wasn't really sure why, but the two girls had already grown on him. He also wasn't sure why these two in particular made him feel a bit soft and as much as he questioned it himself, he couldn't get a straight answer. While he didn't know them or their story, he felt for them. By the looks on their faces, he knew they had been through a lot. But who hadn't these past few weeks? Anyone still alive now was either broken, faking hope, cold hearted or just plain crazy. Shane wasn't sure which one he was. When he got back to his car, a smile worked it's way across his lips.
Ellie was already fast asleep, one arm around her sister, holding her close. The man shook his head and went ahead and gently put a pillow under each of their heads and the thin blanket over the both of them. He felt like he was tucking two children into bed which was an odd feeling for him. He had only tucked one other person into bed and that was Carl. But these were... well, two grown women. Well, at least one of them was. The other he wasn't sure about. Shane rubbed a hand over his head as he watched them for a bit, making sure the two were actually asleep. A few minutes later a sudden yawn broke past his lips. Figuring they'd be out like a light all night, the man headed back to his own tent to get his own shut eye.
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