I Hold On
Black Outs and Peaches
The summer sun began to rise just a little bit before six o'clock the next morning, bringing light and the very beginning of the next heat wave for the day. Ellie groaned as the sunlight started to pour in through the window she had been facing, waking her up almost instantly. She covered her eyes with her arm and sighed, shifting so she had her back to the sun and was facing her still sleeping sister. A few minutes later she could already feel herself sweating, beads of perspiration slowly appearing on her forehead, coming out of the dirt filled pours of her skin. With yet another sigh, she threw the blanket off of her that had somehow ended up on her and sat up, wiping her forehead from sweat and her eyes from sleep.
The redhead looked over with a groggy smile, noticing how Ariel was still curled up in the
blanket, still fast asleep. The brunette appeared to be in a peaceful state so Ellie didn't wake her. The longer her sibling didn't have to face the current apocalyptic world they were living in, the better. So, while stifling a yawn, knowing she'd never be able to go back to sleep, Ellie climbed out of the back of the seafoam green Hyundai and stretched, reaching her arms up towards the now light blue sky that was getting even brighter and lighter by the minute and then bent down to stretch out her legs. She then stood back up and glanced around, taking everything in.
It had been hard to see last night since by the time she and her sister had gotten here it was already dark. Now that it was lighter outside, Ellie could easily see for herself how nice everything was. There were at least six tents that she could count of various colors and sizes that were spread out fairly close to the R.V. and picnic table she had sat Ariel on last night. Large oak trees hung over some of the tents to keep them cool. In the middle of the circle of tents was a few fold up chairs and a fire pit that looked like the group was using to cook food and keep warm when the nights got chilly. Far off in the distance Ellie could see a red barn like the one she and her sibling had holed up in but she could clearly see the doors were closed. To the right of that a few miles over was a big open brown shed, most likely for horses and then a few feet after that was a large white house set upon a hill that branched out into a gravel dirt road which she thought must of lead into town. Beyond that though, all she could see was dense forest and an endless sea of dying grass.
"Takin' in the scenery?"
The green eyed woman glanced back to see Shane standing there, his arms crossed over his chest. He had a smile on his face and she nodded, leaning back to sit on the bumper of his vehicle. Behind her Ariel continued to sleep, her easy light breathing making Ellie calm.
"It seems really nice here. Nice and safe."
She watched as Shane nodded, his eyes on hers. The redhead raised a brow at him. It appeared as though he had been awake for awhile but she wasn't sure.
"So, how'd ya sleep? No stiff neck I hope?"
Ellie shook her head no and looked back into the back of the Hyundai, just now noticing the pillow she had been laying on and then flickered her eyes back to him, a smile threatening to tease her lips at the thought of him tucking them both in.
"You do that for us? Cause I don't recall fallin' asleep with a pillow under my head or a blanket around me for that matter."
The man simply shrugged as if it wasn't a big deal.
"Couldn't have ya'll bein' too uncomfortable or gittin' cold. Wouldn't have been right."
A small smile broke over the woman's lips.
"That mean you trust us now?"
Shane looked right at her, his eyes going from slightly playful to dead serious.
"I never said that. 'Specially after you freaked last night and killed all them walkers by yourself."
Ellie raised a brow, knowing he was referring to when she went into a trance, thinking about the death of her parents and blacked out.
"I killed all six by myself?"
The man raised a brow back at her, surprise written all over his face.
"So you mean to tell me you really don't remember all that?"
The woman simply shook her head no and frowned a bit, trying hard to remember but nothing came to her. Shane shook his head too an sighed as if he didn't believe she didn't remember.
"Well shit girl, you went at them things with all guts an no fear. You were angry as hell, yellin' and screamin' and cussin' at 'em like no one's business. 'Fore I could even step in to help ya out, you had 'em all on the ground, several stab wounds in each o' their skulls. Ain't no way none of 'em are comin' back ever again. You killed 'em good. 'Fore a second there I thought I was gonna have to kill you too but you passed out right after stabbin' the last of them ugly bastards right in the left eye."
Ellie took in his words, hearing the story from his point of view but again, as hard as she tried, she couldn't remember a damn thing. It was almost like the time when she and Ariel had been shacking up in that neighborhood of houses and damn near got pinned down by flesh eaters. If it hadn't been for that split second of undeniable hate and rage and using the rest of the bullets she had had, she knew she and Ariel would have been long gone. And that little zombie girl who
Ellie had been so fascinated by, was she still alive just laying there under all her undead but now dead friends? Or had she climbed out and was now searching for the Lavelle sisters? She shook her head, trying not to think about it too much and instead looked down at her dirty hands which were almost black from all the undead blood she had spilled and lack of soap and water, not sure what to say besides apologize.
"I'm sorry. I really don't remember any of it. Not yellin' or screamin' or cussin' or even killin' all those things single handedly. You must think I'm lyin' or crazy or both. But I mean it. I don't remember."
Ellie slowly looked back up at him, her eyes showing how scared she was. Upon looking in her eyes, Shane looked away, waving her response off.
"You know what? Don't worry about it. I'm sure after not sleepin' or eatin' or bein' dehydrated must of messed with your brain or somethin'. Besides, I don't think many of us are exactly 'sane' these days. So join the club."
He gave her a sheepish smile which made her feel a bit better but in the back of her mind, she was still desperately trying to dig out the memory from last night that seemed to hide itself somewhere in her brain. That was until her stomach let out a loud echo of a growl, making her bite her lip as she gripped her stomach, hunching over in pain. It literally felt like her stomach was devouring itself and that didn't feel pleasant in the least. She felt Shane rush to her side, putting an arm around her shoulder.
"You alright red? Shit, when was the last time you ate?"
Ellie scrunched her eyes tight, ignoring the little nickname he used, recalling the can of peaches she had had yesterday afternoon, feeling the man help her over to the picnic table and had her sit down before she felt the hunger pains pass and she opened her eyes again, seeing Shane running over to one of the tents, the dark and light gray one with a bright yellow fluorescent tag in the front where the zipper was. She hated feeling so helpless. She was so use to taking care or Ariel that it felt wrong to have someone rushing around to take care of her. For the past few weeks Ellie made sure Ariel got most of the food and water despite her sister arguing that Ellie had to have some too which was why the younger of the two wasn't as skinny as the eldest. It had gotten so bad now that Ellie could pretty much feel her ribs and that in itself made her feel even sicker. So when she winced and peered up and saw Shane running back to her with a bag of what looked like to be jerky and a few peaches in his hands, she shook her head and groaned.
"I can't eat that. That's your food. You and your group need it."
He quickly sat down, shoving a peach into her right hand.
"Jus' shut up and eat it. I can see you're starvin'. You almost look like one of them things. You're all skin and bones. Honestly I'm surprised you're still able to lift things and walk around."
Ellie attempted to push the peach back to him as he set the bag of jerky and the other peach on the table but he in turn took it back from her and pressed it to her dry lips.
"Stop bein' so goddamn stubborn and eat the damn fruit. We can spare some food. It ain't like it is out there where you were scavengin' for whatever you could get your hands on. This is a farm. There's fruit trees and chickens and even some cows. So long as we ration things out, we'll be fine. Now eat 'fore you pass out again like you didn't last night."
She pouted a bit, still not appreciating the idea of being taken care of but seeing the fierce look in Shane's eyes, she took a bite of the peach and took it from him so he wouldn't have to feed her too. The sweet juice of the peach and the softness of the fruit made her taste buds tingle. Some of the juice ran down her lips and chin and before she could wipe it off before it reached her dirt bathed shirt, Shane caught the drop of juice with his thumb, licking it off and gave her a smug grin, one that screamed, 'Ha! I got you to eat!'. Ellie chewed and swallowed, trying to ignore his sudden attitude change and took another bite and before long, the peach was gone and Shane was handing her a piece of jerky.
"Eat this too. If you're gonna get you're strength back, you'll need protein. Not to mention you could use a few extra pounds and a shower too, but I'll see 'bout gettin' you and your sister one a bit later."
She glared at him and just as she opened her mouth to give him a sarcastic comment back, he quickly stashed the jerky in her mouth, making her glare more. He simply laughed in return, obviously liking the fact he had gotten a rise out of her. Ellie munched on the jerky then and finished it, the pain in her stomach was less now. Even though she felt better, she was still a bit peeved that Shane had just told her she could use a shower and a few extra pounds. It wasn't like food and showers grew on trees now a days but it thankfully did here. She turned to him then, not really noticing that other people were starting to wake up and come out of their tents.
"Thanks for the food."
She gave up on trying to be stubborn and selfless, knowing full well if he had given her food he must have trusted her at least a little bit now. It was nice to not have the first living human being she'd seen in weeks other than her sister still trying to blow her brains out out of mistrust.
"No problem. Make sure you give the rest of that jerky and that other peach to your sister when she wakes up."
He said before fixing his attention on the two women who got out of the R.V. Ellie's eyes went wide seeing two more real human beings and even felt a little excited. There were more people other than herself, Ariel, Shane and Rick. Ellie never thought she'd be so happy to see people in all her life. In the past she had usually stuck to herself rather than being a social butterfly. Hell, even in college she hadn't had that many friends but now? She could really see the appeal to interacting with others of the human race. She and Ariel were no longer alone.
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