"Stay safe." Maggie gave Heather a hug which she reciprocated awkwardly. Heather still felt like she didn't know these people, despite how much she'd been through with them already.
"I'll be fine, I'll hide behind Daryl." Maggie laughed, her and Glenn were staying behind, with Hershel, Carl and Beth. No one was sure they'd officially fought off The Governor, and if he was coming back, someone would need to defend the Prison.
Heather jumped in her truck, Daryl sat in the seat next to her while Michonne and Rick piled into the back, sat against the cab.
"You think he'll be there?"
"No idea. We'll find him."
Daryl was a man of few words, and he was using a lot of them to direct Heather to Woodbury. It felt strange, someone else giving her directions to the town she'd lived in for months. She was terrified of going back to Woodbury, of what she might find there, and who. But she was doing it for Merle.
Heather kept driving, her eyes on the road as Michonne and Rick had their guns trained on their surroundings.
The bodies littered the road.
There were at least twenty of them, the whole army from Woodbury, all the Men and Women that had come to the prison. Minus The Governor. Heather and Daryl jumped out of the truck. Heather quickly scanned every face, none of them were Merle, none of them were Martinez. Despite herself she let out a breath. These were people, some of them Heather had even known from Woodbury, Michael had helped her move supplies once, now he lay, face down in the long grass by the side of the road.
She looked up to see the horrified looks on her groups faces. Michonne stood motionless above a women lying in the road, her face a mix of emotions.
There was a rustling, the group turned to the source, all their weapons raised.
A woman emerged, hands raised, blood covered her left side.
Heather dropped her knife, walking slowly towards the woman she once called her friend.
"Heather?" She nodded. The older lady was crying, this made worse by the appearance of someone she thought dead.
"Are you okay? You weren’t hit? Or bit?"
"I'm...I'm fine, I, I think its just a graze." Rose's hand went to her side and came up again covered in blood. "I thought, we all thought you were dead."
"I know, but we don't really have time to go through it at the moment Rose."
"I don't think she does either." Daryl's voice came from behind them.
"We're goin' back to Woodbury...is that where the Governor is?" Rick asked, ever practical.
"I have no idea, he just, he snapped. He shot them. All of them."
"He drove off?"
"Yeah, with Ceaser and Shrumpet." Heathers stomach flipped at the name, she hadn't seen him at the prison and had somewhat hoped he hadn't been at the prison.
"Merle." Heather almost shouted, startling Rose "is he at Woodbury?" Rose shook her head, Heather turned, giving Daryl an apologetic look. He shrugged.
Rose talked to them for a while about what had happened at Woodbury, of The Governor rallying the town, telling them is was them or us, that the Prison were ready to attack and what where they gonna do about it? She told Rick and Michonne about someone called Andrea, who had left Woodbury for the Prison, she hadn't made it.
They piled back into the truck, Daryl grumpily sitting in the bed of the truck while Rose sat quietly in the front seat with Heather. She didn't say much, occasionally Heather caught her looking sideways at her, a small trace of a smile on her face.
"What happened?" She finally asked. "What really happened?"
"What'd they tell you?"
"That you shot Paul, that when Damien took you out to have words, scare you a little, he never came back. That when they went to find you, you were both dead. They said you had shot yourself."
"I know it ain't true, I mean even then I knew..." She hesitated as Rick shouted directions through the window.
"I mean, that night..." She continued. "You were so scared, so fragile. And suicide? I just knew it wasn't right. But you didn't come back. When he did, Merle, he was furious. He had a gun to every mans head, needin' to know what happened. Wasn't the same again. Didn't work for a while, didn’t do much. Only really spoke to The Governor..."
Heather told Rose of their reunion. How Merle had been with his Brother at the prison since he escaped Woodbury.
"If I had known...I shouldn't ever have believed him."
"It's okay Rose. We all protect our own."
She heard Rick banging on the roof of the truck, signalling for them to stop.
"We'll walk the rest of the way." He said, he face stern "Don't know what we'll be walking into. Keep the weapons up, don't take your eyes of the road."
"We aren’t an army...we..." Rose started, the group turned to look at her and she faltered.
"You're people drove a tank through our home. You blew us up."
"Rick, they didn't know...did you Rose?"
"He told us you were a threat. He said it was you or us..."
The look Rick gave Rose was terrifying. He didn't say a word though, just turned and carried on walking towards Woodbury, gun raised, his other hand on the knife at his waist. They all followed in silence, Rose luckily knew to keep quiet. Heathers heart however didn't. It was beating so hard and fast, the surviving members of Woodbury could no doubt hear it already.
It wasn't long before they came across the home made barricade. Stood atop was a tall black man, his white t-shirt stretched across a broad chest. He hadn't seen them yet. To the side stood another woman, her skin similar to the man she stood beside, her slight figure made to look even smaller next to he man.
"Rose...go ahead. They know you right?" Heather whispered, Rose moved forward slightly, but looked to Rick quickly for approval. He nodded and she carried on. She hadn't moved 5 feet before the man shouted something in-audible. The sound of a gun being cocked could be heard across the street.
They didn't have time to stop them, the two on the barricade opened fire, Heather fell to the floor, while Daryl and Rick stepped forward returning the fire with their own. Rose jumped forward, her arms spread in a brave attempt to be recognised.
"No! Come on! Let me go! Tyreese! - It's me! Don't" Rose shouted as the man jumped down from the wall, running towards her his gun trained on her head. He spotted the group behind her, his aim changed, the gun was now sweeping across them all.
"Get down! Rose! Rose, are you okay?" He was by her side now, covering her while his gun was still trained on them.
"I'm fine!" He didn't drop the gun, but his attention was on Rose more now, the group tentatively moved forward.
Where's the Governor?"
"He fired on everyone. He killed them all." Tyreese looked shocked, Heather was starting to realise it hadn't just been her who had been sold by Woodbury's charms.
"Why are you with them?" He gave Rick a disgusted look, Heather was sure she was missing something.
"They saved me." He nodded, but still didn't drop his gun, it was trained now at Rick, the rest of the group forgotten.
"What are you doing here?"
"We were coming to finish this...until we saw what the Governor did."
"He-- he killed them?" Tyeese still didn’t look like he believed them, he looked at Rose, the only survivor, his face terrified of the answer.
"Rose told us Andrea hopped the wall going for the prison."
"She never made it?" Tyreese asked.
Rick shook his head "She might be here. This is where he had Glenn and Maggie."
"The Governor held people here? " Rose was shocked, Heather felt for her. After Heather had been at the prison a few days, Merle had finally told her of all the secret things that had happened at Woodbury, a lot of them while she was there, a lot of them helped by Merle.
"He did more than hold them." The group stood for a while, their faces grim as they all thought about the man some of them had trusted.
They finally convinced Tyreese and Sasha to let them in, they followed them over the
barricade. Heather jumped down from the wall, her feet landing flat. As she rose she looked around herself, memories came flooding back of the time she spent in Woodbury, all the evenings she'd stood waiting to be served dinner, or even stood over a steaming vat of soup, helping serve her friends.
She could almost see Merle walking confidently down the street, his metal arm swinging at his side as he whistled.
"You comin'?" The younger Dixon stood behind her, his cross bow now in his arms as she saw Rick and Michonne running in the distance.
Following them Heather watched as they navigated Woodbury's houses, knowing some of them better than herself, she was reminded of how Merle told her they'd come here to save
Glenn and Maggie. She felt a sinking feeling in he pit of her stomach. She knew now that Merle had been part of that torture.
"Keep back.." Rick held out his hand as they moved through rooms Heather had never seen before. Rick and Daryl pushed at every door they passed, each one swinging open to reveal empty rooms, Heathers hope failing more and more with every room they searched.
Finally they came across a room which was heavily bolted from the outside, three huge padlocks held I closed. Rick and Daryl got to work, smashing it over and over again, using knives and the barrels of their gun, finally the door looked ready to break, while they stood back Daryl took a running start and hit against the door, reminding Heather of Merle, as he managed to open the door first time, aiming his shoulder at the hinges of the door rather than the locks.
Inside the floor was covered in blood, a man lay face down on the floor, a bullet wound was clear through the back of his head. Behind him Heather saw blonde hair before anything else, its ends bright red as the blood dripped from it to the floor.
"Andrea!" Rick shouted, pushing past the rest of the group to get to her.
"I tried to stop them." She barely croaked.
"You're burning up."
"Judith, Carl, the rest of them...us. The rest of us.Are they alive?"
"Yeah, they're alive." Rick said kneeling over the woman as she coughed. Heather couldn’t watch anymore, she backed out of the room, her head light as she turned to the corridor past the padlocked room. Blood was splattered up the walls, there were footprints leading up and down, dark brown which looked suspiciously like dried blood.
She followed the footprints, her knife raised, her heart again beating louder than her feet on the floor.
There was more blood around the corner, this didn’t look dried. It was bright and looked like it had been smeared, as if someone had been dragged. There was an open cupboard, the blood was darker here, pooling in areas as Heather tiptoed around the corner.
"Come one step further and I'm gonna blow your fuckin' brains out."
In the darkness Heather could see him, slumped against the wall in the dark, a shotgun rested on his lap as he struggled to lift it.
Recognising her he let out a small but noticeable laugh before Merle promptly passed out.
NotesOh My God!
It has been so long since I up-dated. I feel so guilty. I have been busy but that's no excuse. How could I leave Heather and Merle for so long, I'm even curious how they're doing. Well I hope this is enough, I will try and stick to my 2-week schedule.
Hope you enjoy