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I'll Keep You Alive If You Show Me The Way

Chapter 26: Asylum

The thing I've learned about Daryl is that he is complicated. You could spend the night staring up at the stars and the next morning he'd ignore you completely. I knew this because it was happening right now. It's not that he was particularly busy. I'd get it if he was. But he wasn't, none of us really were. If our eyes met he'd turn his whole body and put distance between us. I gave up trying to talk to him early that morning. No point in pushing him. He'd come to me. I hoped.

I took my mind off him by helping Carol and some of the other survivors with washing the clothes outside. There was now four children in our group, not including Judith or Carl, not that I thought of Carl as a child. I knew one of the other women was pregnant. Is it bad that I hadn't bothered learning anyone's name? They all knew mine, thanks to Sarah blabbing. Some of them were weary of me as I joined them. They stared at me as if I'd turn and bite them at any moment. Which I wouldn't. I sat beside Carol and scrubbed some one's t-shirt. She was grateful to have some one she knew to talk to. Since I couldn't see Michonne ever helping with something that didn't evolve beating the crap out of something.

That's what I liked about Michonne, she was kick ass. Competition, Daryl would say, teasing me. Oh right, don't think about him... She was near, doing press ups in the concrete yard. I was beginning to get bored of the endless scrubbing now. Luckily for me the prison door swung open. Nathan bounced out happily.

"Harleigh! My Queen!" he boomed cheerfully.

I laughed and looked up, shading my eyes from the sun.

"S'up, Nate?"

"Not much.. you done playing housewife? Come with me I've found something far more interesting to do!" he grabbed my arm and pulled me up.

I waved an apology at Carol as she laughed at us. He pulled me away from the washers. He glanced around the yard. Daryl was near us but he was focused on his bike. Pretending to fix it probably.

"What is it?" I laughed.

"Help me break into their camp," he whispered, his eyes filled with a lust for danger. My eyes widened.

"The crazy scientist camp?"

He nodded, grinning evilly.

"Why? Are YOU crazy?" I asked, quietly so Daryl wouldn't look up.

"I'm sitting around doing nothing, Harleigh... I can help you guys... I stashed some of the successful experiments in my room. Weapons, medicine... it's hidden. They wouldn't have found it yet."

I stared back at him. He was a nutcase. But something about danger excited me it made me feel alive.

"You're asking me to break into a place, full of mutant freaks... a place filled with psychos that want my blood... for the off chance your 'stash' might still be there?"

"Yeah," he shrugged.

I looked over at Daryl, thinking. It would teach him for ignoring me for no reason. Also, this medicine actually worked according to Nathan. I had seen it. But should I even trust Nathan? What if he worked for them. I ran my tongue over my chapped bottom lip.

"I'm in," I decided.

Nathan punched the air gleefully, causing Daryl to finally look over at us.

"Shhhhh," I hissed at him.

"Sorry, sorry. We gotta time it when people are busy."

"Rick's calling a meeting soon," I offered.

"Perfect," he grinned. This was nuts, but I was filled with excitement. "Just us two."

I nodded. He grabbed my wrist and led me into the prison. I tried to ignore the holes Daryl's stare was burning into my back. Everyone piled into the common room and waited for Rick to start talking. He was sitting down of course, he could barely move. His shirt was lose and we could see the top of his bandage protruding out from under it. Nathan and I stood at the back. I realised Rick might notice us leaving... He began to talk about the plans for the prison and the group. He looked at us one by one as he spoke. It'd be difficult to leave this. Daryl was leaning back on the wall beside us, his arms knotted across his chest. Even he was glancing over at us every two seconds.

Our chance came suddenly. One of the little children stumbled towards Rick, he looked down as the child asked him questions. Pointless questions but Rick bent down closer and spoke to the little girl. This distracted Daryl too. I felt like a kid skipping school as I tapped Nathan's shoulder, slipping out of the room undetected. We ran to a car a hopped in. He drove quickly down to the gate. I hopped out, opened and closed the gate and got back in again. We were on the road and I thanked myself for my choice of wardrobe. Skinny brown jeans, lose white vest and a black leather sleeveless jacket. My usual trusty combat boots on my feet. I was ready to kick ass. I was nervous of course. I could be driving to my death right now and no one in my group knew where I was going. Only that I was with Nathan, not many in our group trusted him just yet.

"This is nuts," I said, releasing a breath I didn't know I had been holding.

"I know right?!" Nathan gleamed.

The cocky bastard was even wearing shades. We drove for what felt like forever. It was dark by the time the car stopped. I wanted to back down right now. My stomach made me squeamish with nerves.

"It used to be an abandoned asylum," Nathan sighed, happily. This guy wasn't this crazy when I left him."We'll have to hop the wall."

I nodded and we opened the car doors slowly and stepped out.

"Try and remember where the car is, I'm forgetful," Nate said, casually.

My eyes widened, oh dear lord. I glanced at the trees around us. TREES ALL LOOK THE SAME! Why didn't anyone get that? Nathan led the way through the bushes towards the asylum. A tall white cracked wall loomed above us.

"This is fucking stupid," I grumbled.

"Hush now," Nate said, waving his hand at me.

"Promise we'll get out of here?"

"Nope, can't sorry. Would've let you say goodbye to your boyfriend but he was kind of ignoring you today, wasn't he?"

"He's not my-wait you noticed too?!"

"Shhh! Yeah, hard not too when he's not returning your goo-goo eyed gaze."

"I don't have goo-goo eyes," I gasped, blushing.

He shushed me and asked for a boost. I crouched down, he stepped onto my cupped hands. I threw him as he lunged at the ivory covered wall. He caught onto the top and dragged his body up so he lay flat on the wall.

"Jump, I'll catch you!" he whispered. I glanced around at the bottom of the wall hoping for something to give me a boost.

"Ya'know there's a ladder here right?" I asked, not looking up at him.

"Well, if you wanna make it obvious that we're breaking in then go ahead," he snapped.

I shrugged and dragged the ladder to stand. I clambered up the steps as quietly as possible. I peered over the other side of the wall, where we had to jump down.

"How do we do this?" I asked.

"I'll jump down and catch you."

Nathan was freakishly tall so it was barely a drop for him. I shut my eyes and slid off the wall, landing in in his arms.

"Okay?" he asked setting me down.

I nodded. No turning back now. We ran to the side of the building and skimmed along it to the a side door.

"Locked," Nathan mumbled.

"Well obviously," I muttered, pulling a clip out of my tied back hair.

My hair had grown back down to my ribs so now I had to tie it up. The lock clicked and I pushed the door open. I stepped inside, Nathan following. The smell of antiseptic hit my nostrils, nearly knocking me out. It was the kind of smell that stuck to the back of your throat.

"Don't shut the door," I choked.

Nathan nodded and brushed passed me leading me down a corridor. I had my bow ready and a revolver in reach, strapped to my thigh along with a machete.

"Prepare yourself," Nate whispered.

I frowned not knowing what he was talking about. We came to end of the empty corridor and he opened a door at the end of it. The foulest smell seemed to fill my whole head. It was revolting. It was a mixture of hospital, farmyard animals, human waste, BO, burning flesh, rotten food like eggs and fish and the familiar smell of walkers, corpses. I gagged as the stench caused my eyes to water. My forearm moved to cover my mouth and nose. Not only was there this horrible smell but these disturbing noises echoed throughout the corridor. I soon found out there were cells on either side of the corridor as one deceased hand tried to grab me. I heard creaking above me, looking up I saw cages hanging from the ceilings from chains. Odd looking liquid dripped down from them, luckily I managed to avoid being hit.

"Christ, Nate you lived here?" I gasped, peering into the cells as we walked through.

Some had walkers in them, some had humans... at least they used to be humans... They were growing new pairs of legs and eyes. Body parts littered the floor of some of the cells, many of the victims were scarred, bruised and burned. Some shared cells with animals like pigs. They didn't really seem to notice us as we walked down the corridor. One cell just contained a blackened body... basically charcoal, sitting in the corner. I stared at it wondering why the hell they kept it, why not just throw it out. I was a little entranced by it. It was so gruesome I couldn't take my eyes off of it. Too my surprise it turned it's head towards me and screamed. It screamed as if I had plunged a dagger into it's chest. I jumped back hitting somethings behind me. My heart nearly exploded out of my chest with fright.

"Harleigh! C'mon!" Nate whispered behind me, he took my hand and dragged me down the corridor of screaming victims.

We came to a small room, with three other doors. It was quiet here.

"Are you alright?" he asked.

"What the hell were they?" I half whispered, half screeched.

"Failed experiments," Nate mumbled, opening another door. "We're nearly there... where the hell are all the guards?"

We walked out into yet another corridor, this one smelled sweet and was quiet. Except there was muffled crying from one cell. There was only living people in here, some were even reading or playing checkers with there roommates. Others rocked back and forth uttering words into their straight jackets. Nathan walked silently beside me, our boots clunked through the white corridor. These people seemed more responsive, they looked up wide eyed as we walked past them. I reached a grasped onto Nathan's sleeve, not taking my eyes off the cells.

"How much farther?"

"There's a flight of stairs ahead, just up that."

"HARLEIGH, HARLEIGH, HARLEIGH BENNING, M'DEAR. Come to save us from the plague God has sent down on us?" I turned to the voice behind me.

I recognised the man immediately from his milky blue eyes. It was the man from outside the hardware store. Except now, he was completely bald.

"Shut up, mongrel," the man across from him growled.

"That's funny comin' from you, beast."

The man across from him looked completely normal to me... Maybe he turned into a giant green monster or a hairy prince, who knows? I didn't care.

"Y'know if they catchya here we could all be cured."

"Bullshit!"Beast yelled."These people don't know nothin'!"

"C'mon," Nathan grumbled, tugging me along the corridor.

We finally find out who was crying. It was a little girl, crouched beside her bars, clinging to them with her tiny fists. I knelt down beside her.

"Harleigh!" Nathan spat.

"I'm getting you out of here," I whispered.

The girl stopped crying and looked up at me. She had big brown eyes and dark knotted red hair. I immediately wanted to scoop her up into my arms and run.

"Don't open that door you'll set off alarms," Nathan said stepping from foot to foot with nerves. I thought for a moment.

"Nate, you go get your bag okay? I'll wait here. We'll open this door and run okay?"

He gawped down at me for a second.

"Can't see you changing your mind so alright... I'll be straight back!" he dashed off down the corridor. I sat cross legged in front of the girl, only the bars were between us.

"Hey."

"Hi," she replied shyly.

"Are you here alone?" I asked.

She nodded her head sadly. Horrible as it was that was a plus, it meant we wouldn't have to go searching for her family...

"What's your name?"

"Charlotte," she sniffed. "What's yours?"

"Harleigh."

Her big brown eyes seemed to widen even more. I smiled a little at her.

"How old are you?"

"Eight," she smiled, proudly. The door burst open. I jumped up, bow ready.

"HARLEIGH! GO! GO! GO!" Nathan screamed, running madly towards me, a bag bumping on his back while he hurtled towards me.

I started pulling at the door of Charlotte's cell.

"LEAVE HER! NO TIME!" Nathan said grabbing my arm as he ran past.

I heard shouting and dogs barking.

"NO!" I screeched, slamming myself against her cell door.

Nathan huffed an impatient sigh and helped me yank the door open. A screeching ringing noise sounded through the corridor along with bright red flashes. Charlotte jumped into my arms, hugging me.

"C'mon," I grabbed her tiny hand and pulled her along behind me.

Nathan led the way down the corridor already shooting down security men. We jumped over their bodies, except Charlotte kind of stumbled. She was so light I was able to pick her up off the ground with one hand in order to set her on her feet again. We came to the room with the three doors. Problem was, the way we came was blocked with people with guns. Nathan yanked me to the right, flinging open the door. He barricaded it with a wooden chair once we were inside, but already the door was glowing green and began to dissolve.

We turned and ran up the stairs. An endless flight of stairs. We seemed to keep running and turning, running and turning. The sounds of guns were bursting through the air along with deafening dog barks and the alarms. It was so noisy it was hard to think straight. Follow Nathan, follow Nathan. I dropped Charlotte's hand, raising my bow and shot one scientist who was getting too close. The 18 soldiers after us seemed to gasp.

"THAT'S HARLEIGH!" one bellowed.

They all began yelling after that on whether or not to shoot, still chasing after us. We came to a room, Nathan blocked off the door again. The room was empty. Not a box not a door.

"Shit. Shit, fuck, shit!" I said, my curses running over each other.

I could feel the panic rising in my chest. I had even put little Charlotte in more danger than she was in her cell.

"How do we get outta this one?!" I yelled as the door began banging wildly behind me.

"We can get out from the roof," he said, pointing to a window on the ceiling.

"You son of a bitch," I breathed.

"If we get out of this, can you tell me if that's a good thing?" he asked as I gave him a boost.

He grabbed the ledge and punched the glass, shattering it. It rained down on us, luckily Charlotte was smart enough to duck. Nathan hoisted himself up onto the roof. The yelling outside was getting louder. I picked up Charlotte and lifted her up. Nathan caught her thin arm in his large hand and pulled her up.

Then they disappeared from my sight.

Comments

I'm super sad because I've realized this may never get updated. It's legitimately the best story on this site

wolvesyroses wolvesyroses
1/17/16

Oh I really love this story. I hope it gets updated >< please update!

Gilyflower Gilyflower
3/25/15

This is the most amazing story ever on this site ever please update. Harleigh is amazing and you are a great writer.

reddeadwalker reddeadwalker
10/21/14

Amazing writing, as always.

SierraaDixon SierraaDixon
3/22/14

Holy crap please update!!! This is one of the best I've read in a long time!!!

elissa_mirinda elissa_mirinda
3/16/14