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The Darkest Storm

Searching for God

“No.”

“I’m askin’ everyone to hand over their guns, Darcy. It’s fair if you do too.” Shane put his hands on his hips, tilting his head at her and raising a brow. Something he always did when the situation was serious.

Darcy turned around and took a few steps toward the police officer and kept her voice low, “We both know the reason why you’re even asking.” She jerked her head in Andrea’s direction. “I’m not risking my safety for someone on suicide watch. No thanks to Dale.”

Daryl smirked immediately when Darcy gave Shane her answer. He waited for her on the far edge of the road while he leaned against the truck, crossbow in hand and watching intently as Shane approached her.

“Do you even use it?” Shane scoffed.

“When necessary, yes.” Darcy held onto her bow string slung across her chest as she tried to walk away again but was stopped abruptly when Shane wrapped his hand around her arm to get her attention.

Daryl jumped up from the truck quickly, taking a few slow steps and tilting his head as he eyed up Shane.

“Listen,” Shane rubbed his face. “It’s gonna cause a lot more problems if you don’t hand it over. Now, I know you can handle it and I know you’re smart, but this goes beyond just you.”

Darcy sighed, pulling out her pistol from her holster. “Fine.”

Shane nodded, “Much appreciated.”

Darcy narrowed her eyes in a friendly way, knowing Shane was right. There was no need to cause unnecessary drama in a world already filled with so much chaos. She walked over to Daryl, twisting her hair into a side-braid as she did, letting the smaller layers that framed her face stay loose. Her bangs stuck slightly to her forehead as she wiped it away with the back of her hand to get rid of the sweat. The summer weather just kept beating down on her.

Darcy had joined Daryl just in time in front of the RV as Rick opened up a bag of hatchets and knives for everyone to take.

“Everybody takes a weapon.” Rick said, standing back from the hood of the truck.

Darcy crossed her arms and turned around, seeing T-Dog resting against the RV in the shade and decided to join him. She noticed his eyes had gone darker with each blink, and he looked completely dazed.

“Hey.” She smiled slightly.

“What’s up.” T-Dog forced to speak, and Darcy sighed.

She kept her voice low and stood in front of T-Dog to get his full attention. “When we’re gone I want you to find some medicine for that.” She nodded her head down towards his arm as she held it gently. “Please?”

“Alright.” T-Dog nodded, no energy or health to argue otherwise.

“These aren’t the kind of weapons we need.” Andrea stepped forward. “What about the guns?”

“We’ve been over that.” Shane called out, ignoring Darcy’s ‘I told you so’ glance. “Daryl, Rick and I are carrying. We can’t have people popping off rounds every time a tree rustles.”

“It’s not the trees I’m worried about.” Andrea retorted.

“Say somebody fires at the wrong moment, a herd happens to be passing by. See, then it’s game over for all of us. So you need to get over it.” Shane stood up, keeping a strong stare with Andrea and putting his pack over his shoulders.

When the argument seemed to be over, Daryl spoke up. “The idea is to take the creek up ‘bout five miles, turn around ‘n come back down the other side. Chances are she’ll be by the creek.” He nodded. “It’s her only landmark.”

“Stay quiet and stay sharp.” Rick nodded his head. “Keep space between you but always stay within sight of each other.”

With a slight smile, Darcy turned away from T-Dog and walked over to the hood of another truck to set down her small pack on top of it. She rustled through it, just to double-check she had everything she needed for the day as it would be a long one.

Darcy could hear footsteps approaching her, and she turned slightly to see Daryl carrying two water bottles in his hands. He tossed one to her and stood by as he watched her re-pack her things.

“Can ya stay wide again like before? Will do us some good I think.” Daryl asked her quietly.

Darcy put the straps over her shoulders followed by her arrows. She nodded, “Who will cover the other side?” She asked.

Daryl took a slight step closer and shrugged, “Rick or Shane I’d reckon.”

Darcy took a sip of her water, letting the warm but refreshing liquid flow down her throat. “You’ll be in front leading then?”

Daryl nodded and watched her as she poured some water into her hand and rub the back of her neck with it. “Jus’ stay close.” He looked down at the ground, “So’s I can keep an eye on ya.”

Darcy glanced up at Daryl who still was avoiding her gaze. She smirked, “Just me then?”

Daryl looked up at her, beginning to re-track his words. “Just meant so we can communicate better,” He shuffled his feet and shrugged. “Help ya if ya run into trouble.”

Daryl’s eyes met Darcy’s again and she smiled slightly before nodding. “Okay.”

In that moment, as Darcy’s eyes shined brightly with her smile, it took every fiber in Daryl’s being to not reach down and grab the sides of her face and kiss her. He was lost in his thoughts as his hands ached towards Darcy, who suddenly began to slowly walk away to join the rest of the group at the far edge of the road.

Daryl soon followed though, jogging up to meet up with Darcy who turned around and smiled at his presence. They both were about to past the last few sets of cars until the shakiness in Andrea’s voice caught their ears. In fact, it had caught everyone’s attention.

Dale and Andrea had been on edge with each other since Dale had “saved” Andrea from the explosion back at the CDC. Darcy hadn’t minded Andrea’s choice, nor did she judge her for it. Now, however, in the midst of creating more anxiety and tension for the group as a whole, Darcy grew frustrated with Andrea and her constant complaining more and more each day.

“And if I decided that I had nothing left to live for, who the hell are you to tell me otherwise? To force my hand like that?”

“I saved your life.” Dale shook his head, confused as to why she was reacting out of anger instead of thanks.

“No, Dale. I saved yours. You forced that on me. I didn’t want your blood on my hands and that is the only reason I left that building. What did you expect? What, I’d have some kind of epiphany? Some life-affirming catharsis?”

Dale’s voice got quieter. “Maybe just a little gratitude.”

“Gratitude? I wanted to die my way, not torn apart by drooling freaks. That was my choice. You took that away from me, Dale.”

“But-“

“But you know better?” Andrea cut him off. “All I wanted after my sister died was to get out of this endless horrific nightmare we live every day. I wasn’t hurting anyone else. You took my choice away, Dale. And you expect gratitude?”

“I don’t know what to say.” Dale said.

“I’m not your little girl.” Andrea stepped forward. “I’m not your wife, and I’m sure as hell not your problem. That’s all there is to say.”

With a final glance at the old man who was just trying to save everyone there, Andrea walked away without looking back. It signified the group’s ‘ok’ to move forward with their search, and Darcy and Daryl didn’t hesitate to turn and hop the railing as soon as the petty argument was over.

Darcy had noticed, though, that Daryl was looking at her when Dale had mentioned Andrea’s sister. They were quiet as they began walking into the woods with the rest of the group not too far behind, but Darcy narrowed her eyes and looked at him, giving him the impression that she knew he was avoiding saying something.

Daryl sighed as he spoke in a whisper, “Was it your sister she reminded you of? Back in the house?” He avoided her stare, knowing full well she told him she didn’t want to talk about it before.

Darcy sighed too, and shook her head. “No.”

“Who then?” Darcy looked up at him, caught aback at his sudden directness. “Sometimes it’s better to talk ‘bout it.” His voice was low and hoarse, something she had grown used to and something that also made her heart get caught in her throat.

Darcy took a hesitant step and she looked down at the ground when she answered. “My baby cousin.”

“I’m sorry.” Daryl said.

Darcy shrugged, “Sorry about your brother.”

“He ain’t dead.”

“How can you be so sure?” She asked.

“It’s Merle. He just ain’t.” Daryl stopped, turning back and waiting for the rest of the group to catch up. “Start goin’ wide.”

It was then that Darcy knew talking about Daryl’s brother was still a touchy subject. Not wanting to push him more than he wanted to, mostly because she knew that if the conversation was reversed she wouldn’t want to be bothered either, she dropped it.

Daryl nodded his head towards Darcy and she immediately pulled out an arrow and walked towards the outer edge of the group while Shane took rear and Rick took the opposite of her. They had formed a solid, confident perimeter with those four, and they kept quiet as they continued on for the look out for Sophia.

At the edge of the woods Darcy turned for one instant to survey the impasse the group hadn’t seen yet, and it was a good chance they wouldn’t. Darcy stood on a slight slope, and over the hill she saw several dead bodies that lie on the ground, most likely some of the people who had abandoned their cars but had no luck getting away quick enough.

Darcy continued walking until the blackened eyes of the bodies could no longer see her in the density of the woods. She slowed to a steady walk that she knew she could maintain while keeping a close eye on the path in front of her, searching for any sign of tracks.

For the next hour, Darcy stayed wide like she had been but still kept a safe distance from the group just in case any trouble came their way. She wondered if there had actually been a time where she used her gun recently, or if she would have to eventually.

Darcy was fond of her knife she found in the abandoned house a few days ago – it’s a fine one with a long sharp blade, serrated near the handle, which would make it handy for sawing through things and reaching deep into a walker’s brain – which was kept safe away tucked inside her boot.

The longer the group walked the easier it was for them to get lost in the evolving woods. The yellow buckeye trees were beginning to blend in with the others that Darcy hadn’t recognized, or maybe she did, she just couldn’t tell.

At one point, a rustling in the bushes next to her made her aim her bow at the ground and moving it back and forth to keep up with the quick steps of whatever it was, only to see a small rabbit cross her path.

Darcy heard the lurching of her stomach, growing sick of the small meals a squirrel could provide, before shooting the arrow through it’s skull and picking it up by the ears. She heard a soft whistle, glancing over to Daryl and he bobbed his head to get her to go over to him.

“Lace this through, I’ll carry it along.” Daryl handed her a small rope, easy enough to fit through the place where it was hit with her arrow.

Rick had caught up to them then, moving over from his position wide like Darcy. “Are we seeing nothing then?” He put a hand on his hips and rubbed his sweaty face.

“I haven’t picked up any tracks, maybe she didn’t come this way.” Darcy kept her eyes on her bunny as she laced the rope through and tied it together for Daryl to keep slung over his shoulder before handing it to him.

The three were out of Carol’s ability to hear, and Daryl spoke up. “I ain’t got a trace yet either. Gotta keep lookin’.”

“Guys.” Glenn spoke up from behind them, and he was pointing at something. Darcy’s eyes followed the line of his finger up into the trees in front of them. At first, she had no idea what he was pointing to, but then, about twenty feet ahead, a faint grey and green tarp was flapping in the slight breeze. It was a tent.

“She could be in there.” Shane said.

“Could be a whole bunch of things in there.” Daryl retorted. He crouched down a little and raised his crossbow as he motioned for Darcy to stay next to him. Shane, however, didn’t think it was such a good idea.

“Darcy, best you stay here and let us handle this.” He stepped forward.

Darcy gave him a confused look, he had just told her that he knew she could handle herself, hell they’d all seen it themselves.

Daryl turned to face Shane and spoke up before she had a chance, “She stays with me.” He faced the tent again, “Work better with her then all ya’ll. Anyway, her bow’s quieter than that gun you’ve been carryin’.”

Darcy smiled at Daryl, and he faintly returned it before standing up and walking quietly towards the tent with Rick not too far behind. Daryl motioned for Darcy once more to go to the right side of the tent as he pulled out his knife and raised it up while Rick and Shane stayed back.

The two trackers tried to peer inside, seeing nothing moving or making a sound. Daryl shrugged back at the two officers, and Darcy aimed her bow at the slight opening of the tent. Daryl made himself ready with his knife and they both waited for Rick’s signal.

Rick motioned for Carol, and the rest of the group stayed farther back. “Call out softly. If she’s in there, yours is the first voice she should hear.”

“Sophia, sweetie, are you in there?” Carol called out gently. Daryl and Darcy kept their eyes locked on each other, ready for whatever was coming out of that tent. “Sophia, it’s mommy. Sophia, we’re all here, baby. It’s mommy.”

When there was no answer, Rick and Shane stepped forward and Daryl unzipped the tent slowly as to not make a sound. Darcy positioned herself better towards the opening and Daryl nodded at her before moving the flap away and looking inside.

Darcy immediately saw the unmoving corpse and pulled her elbow up to cover her face from the decaying smell of flesh. Rick and Shane backed away, but she waited for Daryl to come out of the tent.

“Daryl?” Carol called out. “Daryl?”

Finally, he stepped out. “It ain’t her.”

“What’s in there?” Andrea asked.

“Some guy. Did what Jenner said. Opted out.” Daryl slung his crossbow over his shoulder. “Ain’t that what he called it?”

Suddenly, Darcy and the others whipped around at the sound of church bells ringing in the distance. They circled, trying to figure out which direction the sound was coming from before the four fighters all pointed in the same way and began sprinting towards the bells.

“Which direction?” Shane said, as they stopped a little farther down. They came to an opening, and Darcy realized they could following an echo instead of the actual source.

“I think that way, I’m pretty sure.” Rick pointed.

“Damn, it’s hard to tell out here.” Shane panted.

“If we heard them, maybe Sophia did too.” Carol said.

“Someone’s ringing those bells, maybe calling others.” Glenn spoke up.

Andrea stepped forward, “Or signaling they found her.”

Rick moved in the direction he pointed, “She could be ringing them herself. C’mon!”

Darcy was beginning to quicken her pace to keep up when a hand grabbed hers. She looked behind her, seeing Daryl who didn’t break eye contact as he slipped his hand away but left something behind. Darcy looked down, seeing a small pistol in her hand and glanced back up towards the silhouette of Daryl, who now was running along with the others.

As she holstered the gun on the side of her thigh where hers was missing, she continued to watch him as they reached a more obvious opening away from the trees and into a graveyard surrounding a small white chapel.

Darcy thought what Shane said, “That can’t be it. Got no steeple, no bells.” But Rick continued anyways, even after his friend called after him.

They all followed, sprinting and avoiding the graves around them before finally reaching the few steps that lead up and inside the church. Rick didn’t hesitate signaling Daryl beside him, pushing open the red door and revealing a small room filled with only three sitting walkers, waiting for any meals to wander inside.

As Shane, Rick, and Daryl ventured through and easily killed the three geeks with a blade, Darcy kept her eyes locked on the cross in the front of the room where a statue of Jesus was hung, not paying attention to anything else. Darcy blinked as she flinched at Rick’s loud scream calling out for Sophia.

“I’m telling you, it’s the wrong church. It’s got no steeple, Rick. There’s no steeple.” Shane told his friend. But the same bells they heard through the woods rang loudly inside, and they all sprinted to find out the source of the sound once more.

Darcy went to move with the others as well, but her eyes were still enraptured by the figure on the cross. She stopped, leaning against the wall inside the small room when the bells had stopped mid-way, knowing the group had figured it out and most likely, hadn’t found Sophia any where near.


Darcy wasn’t scared because God was there; she was scared because she had felt like He wasn’t. There was a brokenness that existed inside them all that led them to believe there was no hope of a God to save them from this madness.

Her thoughts consumed her in that moment, blaming everything that was happening on Him and asking why He would let this happen. Why would such a merciful loving God let His people to die and rot while doing nothing to stop it? Why would He let Sophia get lost? Why would He let her baby cousin die? Why would He force her hand to make a decision to leave her family behind?

Darcy grew up hearing about God, hearing that He had created the universe, some animals, the Grand Canyon, that she wasn’t allowed to have sex or drink whiskey or go to dance clubs, that sort of thing. It was a belief of a system of the church, maintaining a relationship with not God, but a system of simple ideas, certain prejudices, and a feeling that she and people who thought as she thought were right.

This idea Darcy had of God faded quickly, seeing some of the true love He had shown for her throughout her life even though times were tough and she needed someone to hold on to. For a long time, she had been a woman of God and put all her trust in Him.

It took all of her strength to walk away from her family the night of the fire, the night of the walker attack she had told Daryl when they had first met. The three weeks of being on her own made her re-think everything. The chaos she went through to survive, finally finding a small friend Jasper, and then losing everything she had known previously in a matter of days…she finally had thought of getting up the nerve to tell God He didn’t have a place in her life. If God didn’t have an answer or a response for all this madness, then she felt that she didn’t have any responsibility to believe He was there fore her, to believe He had her best interests at heart.

Darcy knew it was a moment of weakness, and she would hate herself for it later and take it all back. But as Daryl approached her from the doors of the church, she pretended and convinced herself it was an easy thing to do. He had brought her a great deal of comfort and an identity, but in the midst of everything, she felt He had done nothing.

Her heart beat quickly, and she could feel it thump so strongly she thought it was going to break her skin. Suddenly, the voice of Carol’s prayer brought her out of it.

She sighed, giving up and thought: Just give me a sign you’re still here.

“Hey.” Daryl called out to her.

Darcy turned her head and looked at Daryl, bringing herself out of her poisonous thoughts and back to reality.

Daryl motioned for her to follow him outside and she did, keeping up with the rest of the group as Shane rubbed his face and stepped away from Rick and whatever they were discussing.

“Y’all gonna follow the creek bed back, okay? Daryl, you’re in charge. Darcy, you’re with me and Rick just in case we pick up some tracks and need to follow ‘em. We’re gonna search this area another hour or so just to be thorough.” He announced.

Daryl instantly looked across to Darcy, who met his eyes just in time. “You’re splitting us up. You sure?”

“Yeah, we’ll catch up to you.” Shane nodded his head.

“I want to stay too.” Carl piped up. “I’m her friend.”

Darcy shot a look between Rick and Shane, wondering if this was a good idea to split up after all. Daryl had to keep a look out for all the rest of the group, she was sure none of them had a gun and maybe Glenn could cover Daryl if there was trouble but the whole situation made her uneasy.

“Just be careful, okay?” Lori stepped towards Carl and cupped his face.

“I will.”

As the group dispersed, Daryl and Darcy kept their eyes on each other for the time being. Then, Darcy stepped forward towards him, keeping her eyes on the ground and walking in his direction. He watched her intently as she played with her fingers and looked back up at him once she was just a few inches away.

Darcy kept eye contact, reaching around his waist with both arms and stepping towards him slightly. Daryl watched, not knowing what she was doing or how he should react. He could feel her hot breath on his neck and Daryl moved his arms slightly, almost as if he was going to hug her in return.

But Darcy pulled back, giving him that familiar glint in her eye as she turned around and walked toward Rick, Shane and Carl who were making their way back to the steps of the church. Daryl felt something in the band of his pants, and he reached back as he too began to walk away, and pulled out the gun he gave Darcy earlier in the woods.

A smile played at the edge of his lips as he looked back to the woman for a quick glance before continuing on with the others. He just kept hoping she’d be okay with two officers watching her back.

-

After Rick had disappeared inside the church for a few minutes, the small group of four moved on around the edge of the woods before venturing inside for an hour’s look.

Darcy kept ahead of the group, trying to keep focused on finding Sophia and getting back to the others as soon as possible. The eerie feeling had not left her, especially after watching Daryl and the others walk in the opposite direction. Darcy tried not to worry but her gut deep down kept making her mind and her heart focus on Daryl with every step.

As if on cue, the snapping of branches in front of her brought her back to reality and she raised her bow and crouched down all while signaling to the others behind her. They watched and waited, only to see a smile spread across Darcy’s lips as she stood up again and looked back at the three boys.

It was beautiful, the sight of a real live buck walking directly in front of their paths like it hadn’t even seen them there or even cared. It stood in an opening, and the four looked in awe at the creature.

Instinctively, Shane raised his gun, but Rick called him as Carl approached the deer with happiness in his eyes. Something Darcy hadn’t truly seen in awhile. The closer Carl got, the more shocked the other three became. It was only until Carl was a few feet away that the deer had noticed his presence, and merely stared right back at him without fear in it’s eyes.

Carl took one more step towards the deer when a loud gun shot rang out. The deer, and Carl, were both down and unmoving.

Notes

Longest chapter so far! Let me know what you think, I thought it was appropriate for a spiritual dilemma from Darcy, since a lot of the characters do in this part of the series. Give me your thoughts!

- Jane

Comments

Please update this is such an amazing story and I'm dying to know what happens next!!!

Ash8 Ash8
1/22/19

@LoriG
Part 66 is up ;)

@aphishinthec
Argh you got my hopes up- I saw an update, but it was you replying to my last messaege! Please can you update @bikingthroughflowers ? Thank you!

LoriG LoriG
6/25/18

@LoriG Right?!?! Need to know how she would handle Negan.

I'm also desperate to know how Darcy would fare in the storyline now. Pleeeeeease don't give up on this fic, I'm reading it AGAIN! <3<3<3

aphishinthec aphishinthec
4/6/18

I’d love to know how Darcy would deal with Negan... you need to update surely?! Still love this story, and just read it again!

LoriG LoriG
7/31/17