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The Darkest Storm

Colorado

Darcy found herself along a small pond just a few ways away from the farm, but not too far where she couldn’t see the others. She sat, just on the edge near the tall grass along the bank, staring off into the murky waters and tossing rocks in if her fingertips happened to graze over one while feeling the grass.

She stared down at her shoes, watching the slight breeze fold the tips of grass over her worn leather boots. The weather, even though it’s been getting closer to winter, has been scorching hot and dry as a bone. Darcy was thankful though, for the dry weather. Humidity was not a friend to her.

The breeze reminded her of home. Darcy missed the cooler weather of Colorado, of her little town just outside Black Hawk. Images suddenly flashed through her mind of the memories there, good and bad.

That night the outbreak hit her town. It was mockery on the news, no one really knew what was happening and since the “disease,” as they called it, was mostly on the east coast, no one thought it would reach them. Darcy started to replay it all in her mind; her blood turning hot, she still remembered it well.

Darcy sighed, pushing open the heavy wooden doors and walking into the small restaurant while tying her black apron around her waist. She was back in Georgia visiting her Uncle and Niece, thankfully still having a job to come back to in case she needed to work.

“Hey girl.” She nods to Jesse at the hostess stand, receiving a genuine smile back.

“Hey Darcy. You’re training tonight.” Jesse plays with her hair that’s tied to the side and hangs over her shoulder. “Christie, I think her name is.”

Darcy gave a weak smile, “Oh boy.”

“Remind me that I have to talk to you later.” She points a finger at Darcy, causing Darcy to give a peculiar face.

“Sure.” Darcy laughs, walking away through the dining room tables and back into the kitchen. She’s tired, exhausted even. More stress on the home front that never ceases to end. She’s just grateful she’s at work, with her friends whom she almost considers as her own family sometimes.

-

In no time, it’s busy and growing dark out. Although, it’s not too busy that Darcy can’t handle it, but for her new trainee, it may be another story.

“Alright,” Darcy walked up to the computer to put in the order she and Christie, the trainee, just received. “Go ahead and start a new table.”

“Hey Darcy have you ever purposefully spilled a whole pitcher of water on someone?” Alyssa stopped by the server’s station, crossing her arms and throwing a dirty look over her shoulder towards the outside patio.

Darcy gave a smile, trying to hide it. “No, I’ve thought about it though.”

“Well, I’m highly considering it.” She grunted.

“What happened?” Darcy asked, “Oh wait, no. It’s this one.” She pointed towards the computer to try and still pay attention to what Christie was doing.

“I tried asking –“

Glass shatters in the kitchen behind them. The girls stop, turning around to see if any pieces found their way out in the dining room. Servers ran out from the swinging doors, slamming into each other until the people at the bar stood up and started backing away too.

“What the hell?” Darcy mumbled, standing on her toes trying to get a look over the wave of crowds that passed her. Alyssa gave the same look, walking over to the side a few steps away from the others and shrugged back at Darcy when she couldn’t see anything either.

Screams then hit their ears, making Darcy jolt backwards and near a wall. In an instant, it was pure chaos. Everyone saw the few dismembered bodies growling and lunging at someone every which way, like they came out of no where and no one could escape it.

Darcy pulled herself along the wall, backing up into the darkness of the corner and stayed put, heart pounding and mind racing. When she opened her eyes, the entire restaurant was clear and the lights were flickering. She knew she had to get out, but Darcy could only shake in her work shoes and hear the sound of her own frantic breathing.

Peering around the corner, a hiss came up next to her. Darcy jumped back as quietly as she could, hoping the limping body wouldn’t see her, wouldn’t attack her.

Darcy closed her eyes to try and calm herself down. Tears fell down her cheeks, hoping to God they would walk far enough to where she could run out and head for the patio door.

Opening her eyes again, she took her chance as she sprinted towards the opening, only misjudging it by a few steps. A hand enclosed on her shoulder, making Darcy whip around and see a pale face with only shredded skin covering its cheek bones lunge after her.

Struggling, she was pulled to the ground. Darcy had her hand clamped around its neck as it continued to snap, and she reached into her apron and grabbed the only thing she could: a wine key.

Plunging the sharp spiral into its eye socket, blood spurted out and splattered onto Darcy’s skin around her forehead. The body instantly stopped moving, and Darcy leaped off of it and scrambled backwards on all fours, kicking it away as she did.

Hearing the other snarls of walkers heading her way, she bolted, not looking back but only passing the bodies of some of her fellow servers, and friends.

“I’ve been lookin’ for ya.” A low voice called out to her, making Darcy jump up again at the sound.

She glared at Daryl, still remembering their fight earlier that morning and stood up. “Why, so you can yell at me again?”

Daryl watched her as she wiped off her pants and looked back up at him. “No.” He glanced at the ground and played with his hands.

Darcy crossed her arms, studying him. “Did you go? To look for Sophia?”

Daryl flickered his eyes back up to hers, and shook his head again. “No.”

Darcy put her hands on her hips and tapped on finger on her side, “So, what then?”

Daryl squinted his eyes at her, “You really believe we won’ find ‘er?”

“You really believe we will?”

“I know we will.” He nodded slowly.

“How can you be so sure?” Darcy asked, tilting her head. The bitterness in her voice was clear.

He shrugged, “I gotta be. No one else is.”

“Rick is.”

“Rick don’ know shit.” Daryl scoffed. “He’s tryin ‘a make things right. Clear his conscience.”

“And you then?” Darcy stepped forward. “Why are you so desperate to find that little girl?”

“I ain’t desperate. I think she’s still out there.” Daryl said matter-of-factly, but quietly. “Wouldn’ leave anybody behind. That’s why we gotta find her.”

“And what if she’s not herself anymore? What then?” Darcy asked.

“Then we move on.” He nodded. “Better than not knowin’ anythin’.”

The tone in his voice shouted out to Darcy. She knew inside, he was pleading for her to agree with him, to let him know he wasn’t the only one crazy enough to believe the group would actually find Sophia.

His blue eyes begged her to answer. Darcy sighed as she nodded and looked up to Daryl, “We’ll find her.”

Daryl’s lips twitched slightly, almost as if he was about to smile. As they both turned to head back to camp, he nudged her with his elbow softly. “Hey, I’m sorry ‘bout what happened this mornin’.”

Darcy shrugged, “You wanted to look for her. We should probably meet up with Rick anyway, about starting back on the trail.”

Daryl looked up, “Looks like we’re missin’ the party over there.” He nodded, causing Darcy to raise a hand to shield the sun from her eyes.

The camp, not just their group but also the entire household was gathered outside Hershel’s house. It seemed everything was calm, but Andrea was out front too.

“Wasn’t Andrea supposed to go with Rick?” Darcy asked, as they got closer.

“The hell?” Daryl mumbled.

“…He went off with Hershel. We were supposed to leave a couple hours ago.” She spoke.

“Yeah you were.” Daryl spoke up.

“Rick told us he was going out.” Darcy followed behind Daryl; eyes of the entire group minus Rick, Hershel, Shane, and Dale were on them.

“Damn it, isn’t anybody takin’ this seriously?” Daryl turned and pointed. “We got us a damn trail.”

Footsteps were heard approaching, and Shane came up with the bag of guns that were carried out from Atlanta. Darcy stepped back as he walked up to them.

“Oh, here we go.” Daryl mumbled. “What’s all this?” Asking Shane and pointing at the guns.

“You with me, man?” Shane said, handing him a shotgun.

Daryl didn’t hesitate. “Yeah.” Grabbing the barrel and loading the gun, Daryl walked behind Shane.

“Time to grow up.” He announced, turning to Andrea while giving Darcy back her two pistols. Darcy eyed Shane carefully as she took them and checked the clip. “You already got yours?”

“Yeah?” Andrea said, looking over to Darcy who had the same confused look. “Where’s Dale?”

“He’s on his way.”

“Thought we couldn’t carry?” T-Dog asked, taking his gun as well.

“Yeah well, we can and we have to.” Shane retorted, facing the steps of the white house and raised his voice, “Now look, it was one thing sittin’ around here picking daisies when we thought this place was supposed to be safe, but now we know it ain’t.”

Shane looked around before approaching Glenn, “What about you, man? You gonna protect yours?” Glenn reacted the same as Darcy, hesitating before taking the gun. “That’s it.”

Shane turned to Maggie, “Can you shoot?”

“Can you stop?” Maggie snapped. “You do this, you hand out these guns, and my dad will make you leave tonight.”

“We have to stay, Shane.” Carl walked down the steps from the house.

Lori came from inside, hearing the nervous voices of the others, “What is this?”

“Don’t worry buddy, we ain’t going anywhere okay?” Shane put the bag down, “Now look, Hershel, he’s just gotta understand. Okay? He – well, he’s gonna have to.”

Shane reached inside his belt and pulled out a smaller pistol, kneeling down in front of Carl and holding it out for him to take, “Now we need to find Sophia. Am I right? Now I want you to take this. You take it, Carl, and you keep your mother safe. You do whatever it takes, go on and take it.”

Daryl held the shotgun over his shoulder and looked to Darcy just when she turned to face him with the same unsure expression.

Lori gritted her teeth as she stepped in front of Carl. “Rick said no guns. This is not your call, this is not your decision to make!”

“Oh shit.” T-Dog gasped, and the whole camp turned towards his line of sight. Off in the distance were Rick, Hershel, and Jimmy, struggling with an outstretched pole as they carried walking biters towards the barn.

“What is that?” Shane hissed. “What is that?!” He sprinted, shortly surrounded by the rest of the group doing the same.

“What the hell you doing?!” Shane circled the three men and walkers. It was if they were back on the road all over again as Daryl and Darcy took point and raised their guns towards the limping flesh-eaters, giving each other the familiar nod, and prepared to do what was necessary.

“Shane, just back off!” Rick yelled, still struggling to keep the walker in front of him.

“Why do your people have guns?” Hershel asked.

“Are you kidding me?! You see?!” Shane pointed, “You see what they’re holding on to?!”

“I see who I’m holding on to!” Hershel called back.

Shane continued to frantically circle Rick and the others, “Nah, man, you don’t!”

“Shane, just let us do this and then we can talk!” Rick called out.

“What you want to talk about, Rick? These things ain’t sick. They’re not people. They’re dead!” Shane spun around, “Ain’t gonna feel nothing for them ‘cause all they do, they kill! These things, right here!” Shane pointed, walking up to Andrea and the others, “They’re the things that killed Amy. They killed Otis! They’re gonna kill all of us.”

Darcy watched Shane as he continued to circle and yell to the group, not noticing that she had stepped too in-bound with one of the walkers. Daryl shot forward, grabbing her shoulder forcefully, and pulled her back.

“Shane, shut up!” Rick called out.

“Get behind me.” Daryl told her.

Shane’s voice suddenly calmed, “Hey, Hershel man, let me ask you something.” He readied his gun. “Could a living, breathing person – could they walk away from this?”

Shots were fired at the walker Hershel held on to. Three bullets to its chest, and the look on Hershel’s face instantly went blank as the walker continued to march onward.

“Stop it!” Rick yelled.

“That’s three rounds in the chest. Could someone who’s alive, could they just take that!? Why is it still coming?” Shane pointed his weapon again, pulling the trigger two more times. “That’s its heart, its lungs. Why is it still coming!?” Three more shots.

“Shane enough!” Rick screamed.

Shane stepped forward, unafraid of the action he was about to take. “Yeah, you’re right man. That is enough.”

With one more shot to the forehead, the walker was completely down and unmoving. The snare pole fell from Hershel’s fingertips, still trying to comprehend that the thoughts he built up inside his own mind where lies this whole time.

Darcy took a step back, resting her hands on the top of her head. Shane had officially lost his grip, and there was no way Hershel would allow the group to stay now.

“Enough risking our lives for a little girl who’s gone!” Shane screamed. “Enough living next to a barn full of things that are trying to kill us! Enough! Rick, it ain’t like it was before!”

Rick looked onward, his friend, his brother, acting out in a desperate attempt to save the group when there was no real threat at the moment that they needed to be saved from. The trust, the bond, it was officially broken in this moment, and Rick looked at his partner knowing the real Shane would never come back.

“Now if ya’ll want to live, if you want to survive, you got to fight for it! I’m talking about fighting right here, right now.” Shane bolted off behind him, attacking the walls of the barn and the chains that held it together, successfully breaking each and every one of them with little resistance.

“Take the snare pole!” Rick turned to Hershel, who was kneeling on the ground and completely in a panicked daze. “Hershel! Take the snare pole! Listen to me, man, please! Hershel! Take it!”

Un-responding, Rick turned back to Shane, “No, Shane. Do not do this brother! Please!”

With one last tug, the doors were open to the barn with Shane completely ignoring the calls of the camp behind him. “Come on! Come on, we’re out here!” He called to the dead beings inside, reaching for his pistol once more and backing up beside the others.

It was instant, just like the night Darcy remembered earlier that day. Walkers poured out of the barn, and without hesitation they sauntered towards the group. Instincts took over and Darcy pushed past Daryl and began shooting at them, hitting the neck and then the jaw of the first one that wandered out. It was in no time that Daryl, Andrea, T-Dog, and Glenn soon followed.

It was a blood bath. One by one each walker that ambled out of the barn was taken down. Rick did not shoot, he stayed back, knowing he would have to take the responsibility of his group no matter what but he himself would not be a part of this mayhem.

The chaos seemed to be over quickly, no more than a dozen or so that had been cooped up inside the old barn. Darcy breathed heavily, her heart racing as she looked to Daryl just as he lowered his gun.

Everyone instantly stopped when it appeared to be the last of the remaining bodies inside. It was silent as stone, but sounds of another walker soon reached the ears of the group. Daryl readied his weapon again, preparing to be the one who had to take it down.

The shuffling of feet and groans became clearer as the body reached the doorway and a pale trembling hand wrapped itself around the wooden frame. As the blue and green sneakers came into view, so did the silhouette of the little girl they had been searching for all along.

Darcy took a sharp breath in and stepped back in angst. Sophia stumbled out of the barn, her eyes glazed over and on her shoulder revealed an old bite wound from whoever had turned her. It wasn’t mistakable, her jaws snapped and her hands reached out to the heartbroken friends and family in front of her.

Carol ran forward, determined to get to her daughter when Daryl caught her and tumbled to the ground. Her cries projected the misery and tragic state of the group, who the rest stood in silent, none wanting to step forward and do what they knew needed to be done.

Darcy didn’t know how long it had been until Rick clears his throat and strong-willingly walks towards the small girl in the rainbow, blue t-shirt.

As Sophia stepped over the bodies of the dead, she ignored the pistol of the Sherriff being raised, and fell with a thud when it was all over.

Notes

Let me know what you think! I'm excited to move on towards the later part of the season, the relationship between Daryl and Darcy will become the focus again but these events are just leading up to it, plus, they happened in the series so they are a must. I like to hint at it though from time to time.

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