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Mibba

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Goodbye

I should have said it

Long ago I reached for you and there you stood
Holding you again could only do me good
Oh, how I wish I could
But you're so far away
One more song about moving along the highway
Can't say much of anything that's new
If I could only work this life out my way
I'd rather spend it being close to you
But you're so far away
Doesn't anybody stay in one place anymore
It would be so fine to see your face at my door
Doesn't help to know you're so far away
Carole King, "So Far Away" edited

The inside of the cellblock was unbearably cold. The winter was harsh, and the snow unrelenting. Those inside the cement walls were huddled together for warmth. Although the sun filled the room with light, the mood was somber.

Rick could see his breath come out in puffs as he was talking to Lori. She was lying on the gurney in the infirmary and mumbling about their past. He was holding her hand, while sitting on the mattress beside her. Before anyone got near her she insisted they slip on a pair of gloves. She didn't want anyone else to get sick.

"Remember our first apartment? It was so small. That day I burned the pancakes the whole floor stunk….do you remember?"

Rick nodded his head, tears escaping his eyes and hitting the floor.

"We had fun….it was nice…"

Rick's lips curved into a tight smile. All the wasted time...the past seven months he ignored her, his own wife. "Yes, it was, baby. I remember."

She coughed up blood, winced in pain and was sweating profusely. Rick's hands were shaking as he used a bottle of water to dampen a washcloth and placed it on her forehead. Her shaky hand rose to touch his, and when their finger met he let her entwine them together.

"How you feeling, baby?" He asked, as his voice cracked.

After coughing some more, Lori moaned "Something I dreamt last night. When we were in high school. You were too. We were at the beach when it snowed last week."

"I remember." He said, as he gently brushed the hair out of her face.

xxxxx

Hershel quietly walked into the room. "How is she?" he asked Rick.

Rick's tear filled eyes met the older man's, and the officer just shook his head.

"It's the fever. She's delirious." He walked over to the cabinet to look for a thermometer.
The old prison provided antiquated equipment, and the only thing Hershel could find was an old, red mercury device. After he inspected it closely, he wondered how many people use it, and he knew there was no way to sterilize the tool. He wondered if that even mattered anymore.

The retired veterinarian went back over to the struggling couple, and tried to talk to Lori.

"I'm gonna try to take your temperature. Can you open your mouth?"

Lori slowly opened her eyes and looked at Hershel.

"I'm still me. Thank you for saving Carl." She moaned in pain as he slid the thermometer under her tongue.

"Has she talked to Carl? Has she said her goodbye?" He whispered to Rick.

The officer's blue eyes met the older man's, and he nodded yes. He bit his lip so tightly he could taste the blood.

Hershel mentally counted the sixty seconds it took to get an accurate reading, then removed the item and looked at the result. His eyes widened as he whispered to Rick "One hundred and six."

xxxxx

She began to shake uncontrollably, and shortly after Rick lifted her head and put the cup of water to her lips, she coughed it back up, splattering her clothes with blood.

"All right. Okay. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry." Tears poured out of her eyes, leaving trails from the corner of her eyes to her ear.

"It's okay, baby. I love you. So much. I'm so sorry this happened to you. I love you." He tried to say, but he wasn't sure if she heard him.

"Please don't take it out on the baby. My baby girl. I'm so sorry, Rick. Please take care of her. She's yours."

"Baby, don't talk like that. That's my little girl too. I love you so much."

xxxxx

Hours passed. Beth brought in Judith, and Carl came in one more time but was too emotional to stay too long. He walked back to the cellblock and sat with Maggie.

xxxxx

"My bones…my bones are like glass. It hurts." She whispered.

"I'm right here, Lori." Rick said. The sun had set long ago. The small room began to smell of a mixture of blood and urine.

Her face was pale, lacking any trace of life. Sweat was pouring out of her body, drenching her clothes and the sheets she was laying on.

xxxxx

Just the day before, after a vicious fight over something so petty, Lori took a walk with Carol to get away from Rick. She faced the silent treatment for months after she made the mistake of pulling away from her husband when she told her about Shane. After weeks of being ignored, and his refusal to even sit with her when Judy was born, the ticking time bomb finally exploded.

"I know you hate me, and I wish you would just punch me and get it over with. Take out your anger on me like you did with Shane when you dropped off Randal. And if I may remind you, I was the only one to support you and comfort you during that time. I was the one who stood up for you when everyone blamed you for losing Sophia in the woods. And I was the one to stand up for you when Hershel said you were responsible for him losing the farm. You didn't like the way I looked at you when I heard Hershel might kick us off the farm. You were pissed, but got over it. When I wasn't sure that I wanted to continue with a high risk pregnancy and bring a baby into this world, you reacted with shock and horror on your face. But we got over it. I reacted the same way when you said you killed Shane...I was shocked and scared. And you've treated me like shit for months."

The cold air felt good against their skin. The cellblock was so musty. Carol was talking to her, and encouraging her to leave Rick. "He's emotionally abusive. The way he's treated you…it's not right. He's an ass. I mean…he didn't even show up for the birth of his daughter."

Lori nodded her head and wiped the tears away from her face. The dusting of snow around the courtyard caught their footsteps and left a trail on the ground.

"I told him I was sorry. He didn't like the way I reacted. Well, I didn't like how he reacted about the pills. When he said we might have to leave the farm he didn't like expression I made and said 'Don't do that. Don't look at me like that.' But he kept that info from me. He's pushed me away, but we got over it. I pushed him away, and his ego won't let him make the first move."

"Sorry, sweetie." Carol responded, as they turned the corner and walked around the far end of the courtyard.

"For better or worse, right? I mean, what are we gonna do…hire lawyers and get divorced and split our assets? I just want to sit and talk to him, but maybe there's nothing to talk about anymore." She walked with her head down, defeated.

"The best day of my life was when Ed died. When I lifted that pitchfork….oh, shit."

Lori snapped to reality and saw a man, or what was a man, dressed in a prison uniform. A walker. He had made a noose out of rope he and hanged himself from one of the catwalks. He was badly decomposed, but moaning and reaching for the women. Lori wanted to go through D block to get to the catwalk to cut the rope, but it was Carol's idea to put him down. The two women walked over and Carol aimed her gun at the walker's head. Just as she was about to pull the trigger, the gun jammed.

Lori took out her hunting knife and joked that she needs to get her frustration out of her system. While they were thinking of how to get the walker out of the noose, another one came from the shadows and attacked Carol. She screamed in pain as the beast ripped her jugular. As she was being torn apart, her blood gushed everywhere and covered Lori, who used her knife to put the monster down.

The screaming got the attention of those inside, and Daryl, Rick and Glenn ran out to help. Daryl fell to the ground when he saw his love lying on the ground, and honored the promise they made to each other just a few nights before. After they kissed goodnight, they vowed to put down each other if the other person is seriously wounded.

The fight was only an hour old. The words they both said to each other stung. Rick wanted to take Lori in his arms, happy that she escaped the near death experience. He immediately thought of her and her safety, and realized how quickly life can change in this new world. His intention was to leave the past in the past, and live his life with her and their children. Lori was watching him, expecting that maybe he still gives a damn and that he'd walk over to her.

His seconds of hesitation to walk over to his wife was misconstrued as another rejection. Lori walked away, without a word, and went back to the cellblock.

xxxxx

As she toweled off after a hot shower to wash away Carol's blood, that's when she noticed the scratch on her forearm.

xxxxx

The night was never ending. Rick crumbled when he knew Lori was handed a death sentence. She was afraid to go near Carl and Judith. She cried as she looked at her baby, and ached to hold her. Lori didn't want anyone to get sick, and she knew it was just a matter of time. She took Rick's handcuffs and chained herself to the gurney.

"I've always loved you. I should have said it. I'm so sorry. I couldn't put it back together. You mean so much to me." Rick said, as Lori's breathing was becoming ragged.

"The breeze feels nice. Okay, this is better." Lori mumbled.

"Lori, I love you so much. I'm so sorry. I love you so much."

She had her eyes closed, and whispered, "Our wedding. Our dance. Wise man say"…as she coughed forcefully.

Rick picked up on the clue…their wedding dance. Her favorite song. He moved closer, and sang in her ear, "Wise men say only fools rush in, but I can't help falling in love with you. Shall I stay? Would it be a sin if I can't help falling in love with you..."

His hot tears dropped out of his eyes, hitting Lori's face and the pillow.

"I love you, Lori."

Her grip on his hand loosened, and her hand fell to the mattress. Rick paused, and just stared at his wife. This couldn't be happening. Please let me still be in my coma. After a few agonizing slow minutes, Rick put his fingers on the soft spot under her ear, and didn't feel a pulse. He leaned forward and kissed her forehead, stunned at how hot her skin still was.

He knew couldn't do it.

"I love you. That's all I got." He whispered.

xxxxx

It took hours to dig through the frozen ground, but Daryl and Glenn worked to dig graves for Carol and Lori.

When the sun rose the next morning and set the sky ablaze of a myriad of different colors, almost mocking the mood, the smaller group was standing over the two holes in the ground.

Rick stood quietly, with Judith wrapped up in his arm and Carl holding his hand. Hershel said a few prayers, and the three Grimes had to walk away before the men started to replace the dirt.

He couldn't put it back together.

Notes

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