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

Chapter 3: Harleigh

A week had passed since I had seen the group. Since I had seen another living creature really. Plus, I was still in the damn woods. They probably had moved on by now.

Myself and Sam were sitting on some rocks beside a rushing river. I had managed to catch some kind of fish. I threw chunks to Sam watching him as he snapped them from the air. I smiled. I was glad to have Sam, dogs weren't complicated. Just love them, and they'll love you back. Simple. But part of me missed human contact. I blamed Rick's group for this. I was fine before I met them. Now I sometimes sat in depression realizing how lonely I really was. But, really, how long would I be able to put up with those people?

I decided we had rested enough and got up, dusting myself off. We continued to walk in the direction I had chosen. Probably in yet another loop. I was so sick of seeing trees, I would kill for a neighborhood or a highway, anything but the damn woods. Sam stopped abruptly, he swiftly turned and sprinted off through a thicket close by.

"Are you taking the piss?" I groaned, throwing my face up to the sky before racing after him.

Twigs and branches caught onto my already torn clothing ripping away my skin. I heard a very familiar scream ahead of me. I picked up my pace, my combat boots hitting the floor broke the silence of the forest. I whipped my bow from behind me, which wasn't easy since it was nearly the same size as me. I jumped down from a dirt bank onto level ground while managing to load an arrow. I let go of the string, sending the arrow through a walkers eyeball. I shoved the woman beside me to the ground, she coward with her hands over her head as I pulled another arrow from behind me, skewering another walker. Sam was barking, confusing the geeks which always helped.

"Get up!" I growled at the woman on the ground.

Hearing her whimpering in fear, I rolled my eyes and grabbed her t-shirt collar, pulling her off the ground not taking my eyes off the creatures limping towards us. I stepped in front of the woman, raising my bow again, shooting them down.

"You good?" I asked her, still not turning to look at her.

I marched over to the bodies, tugging the arrows out of their skulls. She didn't reply instead she gasped. I reacted quickly, laying a blood covered arrow onto the string of my bow. I turned sharply coming face to face with a familiar crossbow.

"Goddammit," I muttered, lowering my bow. Daryl mirrored my movement, staring at me.

"Y'do all this?" he asked waving to the ten bodies. I nodded picking up the arrows I had dropped.

"Y'alright?" he asked the woman.

"Yes,"she replied shakily. "Thanks to Harleigh."

I turned at the sound of my name. Hey! It was the woman who fed me soup! I smiled at her as Sam rejoined me by my side.

"Well he led me this way," I shrugged, pointing to him.

"What's going on?" Rick asked coming into view, the rest of the group trailing behind him.

"Carol are you alright?!" Lori asked running to her side.

They hugged briefly once Carol nodded. Rick suddenly turned to me.

"What happened to you?" he said, carelessly waving his gun at me.

I looked down at my body, realizing how I must look. I was covered in scars, bruises and scratches, some oozing out fresh blood.

"Caught myself on a few branches," I shrugged, nodding at the thicket opposite me. I became aware of how every inch of me seemed to be stinging.

"Harleigh!" a recognisable voice of Carl greeted.

"Hey kid," I said, turning and walking away.

"WAIT!"

I turned around again. Carol's face looked kind of shocked at her own outburst. Like a kid being caught swearing, she looked to Rick and then to me. Rick placed his pistol into his holster on his hip and turned to look at me.

"Will you stay this time?" he asked, squinting slightly.

I felt uncomfortable being put on the spot like this.

"Please?" I felt Carl tug my hand. I glanced down at him then at Daryl, who seemed fascinated by the dirt on his boots.

"Alright, I guess," I muttered, kicking the ground with the toe of my boot.

Rick smiled, walking over to me and put an arm around me, squeezing my shoulders. I stood awkwardly with my arms by my side, not looking at anyone. He moved away, which I guess was our cue to follow. I walked at the back beside Lori. I noticed how she was holding her stomach. Jesus, she was pregnant. I tried not to stare, instead I took the quiver off my back, placing the arrows back in.

xxx

We walked for about an hour I'd say before stopping in another clearing. My body ached from my scratches and I'm pretty sure something was wrong with my whole torso. The sun was setting, turning the sky from blue to orange. Kinda beautiful, accept the fact, y'know, the end of the world issue. I helped Daryl make a fire as the others set up tents. Rick came over to us.

"You seen any shelter 'round, Harleigh?"

I looked up. "Uh no... I've been stuck in this forest for days, pretty sure I've been walking in circles."

Daryl scoffed and shook his head. I raised an eyebrow at him.

"Saw y'tracks. I thought ya were fifty elephants stompin' 'round."

"Excuse me?"

He rolled his eyes. "Not see wha' ya did to the thicket? Looked like a tornado passed through."

I pursed my lips. "I was running."

He rolled his eyes and knelt back down to the bundle of sticks on the ground. I stuck my tongue out at him while he was looking down.

"Maggie and I are gonna go on a run in the morning," Glenn said coming over.

I looked around, barely catching the amused look on Rick's face. Rick nodded at Glenn.

"What's a run?" I mumbled.

"Go to town, check shops for supplies," Glenn explained.

"Are you saying you're leaving this damn woods?! Oh, please take me with you!" I practically begged. I looked over at Maggie,

"I mean, if I'm not intruding."

"Nah, you can come," Maggie smiled.

"I'll go too," Carol spoke up walking over with her hands on her hips.

Daryl stood up and gave her a look.

"Y'ain't goin'," he said.

She gave him a small smile.

"I am."

"Fine, then so am I."

I groaned internally.

"It's settled then,"Rick said giving us all a nod.

I plopped down on one of the lawn chairs that had been placed by the fire by Hershel. I removed my quiver from my back and placed it one the ground. I began scanning over my bow. I was made of cherry wood, once coated in black paint that was now peeling away, revealing the dark wood beneath it, the bottom and top limps still had golden tips, the leather grip was worn and the strings were too loose. My arrows didn't match it anymore, but it didn't matter. I began to tighten the string so if was more comfortable to shoot.

"Nice bow," I looked up to Daryl leaning against a tree watching me. I grunted in response.

"Where'd ya get it"

"Belonged to my grandad," I replied twirling an arrow between my index finger and thumb.

"Y'hunt?"

"When I was younger, he'd take me," I shrugged. "I used to be pretty bad, but came in handy in the end."

I squinted up at him and smiled slightly, waiting for him to tell me I was still bad. He didn't though, instead he looked at the grassy floor as Hershel came over.

"Harleigh, I have some cream that will help with those scrapes," he smiled, pulling a chair up opposite me.

I hesitated a moment, remembering the stinging sensation again. Did I have to take off my shirt? In front of people? People I didn't know?

"Uh... I can do it myself," I muttered, eyeing the lone tent set up.

My heart sunk when Maggie and Glenn went inside.

"I'm a doctor... well a vet, I need to make sure you're not infected."

"I'm not bit," I grumbled.

"Other kinds of infection still exist, Harleigh," he chuckled.

I felt a bit better knowing he had some kind of medical training, but Daryl was still close by. I nodded, let's just get it over with. Hershel called Carol over. Great, an even bigger audience, I thought as I peeled my shirt off my body and over my head. Luckily I had a white tank top under it. I heard Daryl cough as Hershel lifted my arms checking all around for scratches.

"A good few," he glanced at my stomach.

I followed his gaze and gasped when I saw the amount of blood on my top.

"Well shit," I mumbled.

Carol took hold of the hem, looked at me for an okay, when I nodded she gently lift it up as far as my ribs.

"Ouch, that looks sore," she mumbled looking at the gash in my stomach.

I felt at bit sick looking at the wound that stretched from beside my left hip up past the right of my belly button, reaching the bottom of my rib cage.

"How'd ya get that?!" Daryl asked walking over to get a better look at it. I blushed lightly.

"I dunno."

"Doesn't look like a biter did it..." he commented.

"I'd freaking tell you if it was! I'm not stupid."

"Looks like some one sliced ya widda knife."

"I was chasing after my dog," I muttered.

"Jus' a dog."

"He's all I got!" I spat at him.

"You have us now," Carol smiled gently.

I frowned. Really? They accepted some one that quick? What if I was actual crazy and decided to cut them into chunks and feed them to my dog? I tried not to laugh, I'm not crazy.

"Your dog is perfectly healthy," Hershel smiled after giving him one look.

I nodded, that cheered me up. I had been worrying.

"His name's Sam," I said, cheerfully.

Sam looked up and wagged his tail at the sound of his name.

"You're going to have to get stitches," Hershel said.

My eyes widened. I hated getting stitches and I'm pretty sure there was nothing here to put me asleep.

"Also, take those out," he said, referring to my silver hip piercings which glinted in the sunlight.

xxx

I followed Hershel and Carol into a tent with Daryl following behind.

"I ain't a nurse, Carol," he argued stepping into a tent.

"Neither am I, neither is Hershel."

"I'll go get Maggie-"

"Gone with Glenn to get firewood," Carol cut across as I slowly sat down on a make-shift bed on the right of the tent.

"Firewood. More like screwin' 'round-" Daryl stopped when his eyes fell on Hershel. "Sorry"

"C'mon Daryl, y'know she saved both our asses out there"

Daryl grumbled something about having it under control but knelt down at the head of the bed without another word. Hershel instructed me to remove my tank top, which I did probably with a tomato face, and lay on my back.

My fingers drummed on the torn mattress as I waited for Hershel to inflict severe pain on me. Carol cleaned the wound with some warm water, which didn't hurt too much. Hershel knelt by my stomach, looked me in the eye and told me it would hurt. And boy, did it.

"Son of a bitch! "I yelped, my hand automatically went to the closest thing it could grab onto, which just so happened to be the sleeve on Daryl's shoulder.

I heard Hershel instruct him and Carol to pass stuff over to him. Daryl did so slowly so I could keep a grasp on his shirt.

"That was just the disinfectant, Harleigh, gonna stitch you up now."

I laughed slightly.

"Y'alright, Harleigh?" Daryl drawled. Like he cared.

"Yes, I am having so much fun, thank you, Daryl."

"Make sure ya stitch 'er mouth while y'at it."

"Shut the fuck up," I snapped gripping onto his shirt.

I was pretty sure it was choking him by now. Good. Carol and Hershel just gave each other a look. One that I didn't understand. I braced myself as I saw Hershel moving in to stitch my stomach. Carol was standing over him and gave me a reassuring smile. These people were gonna kill me. I felt the needle pierce my skin and I jumped.

"Hold still," Hershel mumbled. I nodded and placed one of my hands over my face.

"Pretend your getting more piercings," Carol said, hoping it would help.

"I didn't enjoy getting them," I said, my voice muffled by my free hand. "I got 'em to piss off my mom when I was seventeen."

"Oh? How old are you may I ask?"

I knew she was doing this to distract me from what was going on. It was sweet, but I didn't want her to ask too many questions. Especially with Daryl here, I don't know why, I just really hated the guy.

"I think I'm twenty-six," I replied. "Might be twenty-seven."

"What was your mom's job?"

"Cop," I muttered.

I hated my mother with a burning passion. She was a cheat, a bitch to my father, drank constantly and would often beat me and my younger sister. I felt a tug on my heart thinking about my dad and my sister. I didn't know what had happened to them.

"Like Rick."

"Rick's a better person," I said, venomously.

Carol's questions stopped at that. Luckily for me Hershel was nearly finished. My eyelids were growing heavier by the minute as I felt a blanket being put over me.

"We'll leave you to rest," I heard Hershel say.

It was only when they left the tent I realized I had been holding Daryl's wrist.

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