I’m sorry brother.
I didn’t realize the weight of what I said to Rick and T-Dog until it left my mouth. And I instantly regretted it. I should wait longer. I ain’ ready. I snorted at my stupidity then lowered my head and watched as my feet kicked some dirt in visible discomfort. Who’re ya tryin’ to prove yerself to, Kat? Without looking back up at the rest of the people, I turned around and made my way to the bar. Fists tightly clenched.
Once inside the bar I remembered that I couldn’t catch Lori’s eyes the night before, I took a quick look over my shoulder and around the tables for her. Nowhere to be seen. So I walked on straight for the stairs.
“Matt, son,” I cursed inside and turned around to face Hershel. “Are you ok?”
"Can’t believe two weeks already passed…" T-Dog added after he swallowed. "You’ve been countin’?"
I nodded without looking at him. My eyes kept focused on Lori but she wouldn’t turn to look at me, not with so many people around. I followed her line of sight and saw she was looking at Rick longingly. I looked at Rick and smirked at the trouble he had trying to remain oblivious to her stare. My eyes kept traveling around the room as I shivered. The temperature at night dropped a few degrees more everyday. I caressed my barely covered arms until I caught Daryl looking at me. He stood across the room, engaged in a whispered conversation with Rick and Hershel. I abruptly stopped the action and looked down to my boot covered feet.
For the first time since he gave me the beating of a lifetime Daryl and I looked at each other in the eyes. In panic mine flickered to the knife flying horizontally in his direction, then back into his blue orbs. The time seemed to slow down to a heartbeat and the knife’s travel was endless. I saw Daryl open his eyes wide and I prayed he had good reflexes. He did. He took one step to the side just as the knife got embedded in the walker’s left temple.
I jumped startled when the walker’s limp body knocked the shelves and its contents down with violence. I was surprised at myself when I noticed I was also panting. My gaze flew to Daryl again and I caught him looking to the walker and then to me. His mouth flew open and closed so quickly that I thought I imagined it. In haste I left the store.
What would ya say ta ‘im?
Even though my reply stated loyalty, I was nowhere near close to it. If I wouldn’t be able to survive on my own, then I would use those around me to do it. To me, the ends did justify the means. And I felt no shame on it.
“What’re ye playin’ at?” Rick kept pushing. His hands immediately went to his waists as he waited for an answer. I let out a small snort and shook my head.
I jumped off the wall and grabbed my bag. Without looking back to anyone, except for a quick eye contact with T-Dog, I walked away from the ruins we camped in last night and made my way to the road. After a few seconds T-Dog joined me. And like that, more steps were heard as they followed me.
The hell’s she still doin’ there? I shifted carefully in my place so as not to startle Beth, who peacefully slept besides me with her head on my shoulder. I looked at the motorcycle up front and couldn’t help but to scoff in disgust. Plenty o’ room in the other truck. I felt some anger built up in me, which was directed at Carol; somehow I blamed her for what happened to Andrea. But I didn’t know if that’d be the only thing I held a grudge on her for.
I huddled at the back of the bed with my bag and had my weapons at the ready in case walkers got too close. After some hours of driving in a straight line, the sky had gotten slightly brighter. I looked over my shoulder and realized the driver was T-Dog. At that I let out a breath I didn’t know I held. I turned to the other side and managed to see Lori hugging a blond girl. Beth. I looked away from them and instead stared at the road we traveled on. Horrid flashes of Jimmy’s death would now haunt me every time I’d see Beth. I couldn’t keep myself from feeling like a failure because I’ve let down yet another person. I raised my wounded arm and flinched due to the pain. Come on wuss. This ain’ nothin’ like what Jimmy or yer family felt. Don’ be pathetic. I couldn’t keep myself from being so harsh on me either. I untied the cloths and studied the cut. It was pretty deep. The bleeding had stopped but I ran the risk of getting an infection due to the state it was in. I grabbed my bag and opened the middle pocket. I pulled out some pills, some rubbing alcohol, cotton and a small colorless glue pommel. I swallowed a couple of antibiotics and put the rest of the pills away. I cleaned the wound with the alcohol and bit my lip. It burned. I did the same thing until it stopped burning. “Ok. Now it gets hard.” It actually took me more time than I’d be proud of to find a way of gluing my skin back together without leaving any gaps. Blame it on the lack of sleep. It’s frustrating.I pressed my injured arm on my thigh and squeezed it down with my upper arm to close the cut while I applied the glue over the wound with my other hand. I stood in that position until the sky was blue again.
I looked around to check on everyone inside the house. I caught Maggie wrap her arms around her father, besides them Beth hugged Patricia as Jimmy placed a hand on her shoulder. I looked to the other side, Lori, Carol and Andrea were stuck staring at what could be seen through the windows. I turned around missing two people. I found T-Dog took a seat in one of the couches as he munched some bread. “Hey,” I shot one last glance at the window and tapped the doorframe I laid on twice then made my way towards T-Dog. “Gimme sum. Haven’ eaten all day…”
Since the apocalypse begun, the one habit I had never let go of was washing my hands. People used to chastise me about my comments of feeling my hands dirty all the time. So every time I was near a water source, even if it was with rain itself, I would wash my hands. Rub them hard with a towel or sponge or even with sand. But it seemed that no matter how many times I did, my mother’s blood would never rub off.
I closed my eyes and squeezed the hard to urge the memories away. I opened them wildly and shook my head to keep myself from reliving the horror once again. I froze at the sight. The green land ahead was gone; there were no trees, no wells, and no barn. Nothing. The farm was gone.
I was now staring at the deserted streets of my neighborhood.
I’m going back to a time when we owned this town…
“Bitch kicked me right on the bone. Docs said they were surprised there was not fracture or whatever…” I wiped the sweat off my forehead with my sleeve. I looked at Shane and let out a chuckle at his awed face. “Anyways, they tol’ me ta put sum ice on it–”
“But ya didn’…” he scoffed.
“But I didn’…” I raised my brows. “So, after sum weeks or so I felt a lil’… ball,” I made a circle with my fingers. “Common sense tol’ me it was a hematoma bu’ my mom wan’ed me ta go ta the doc and shi’. So yeah… Hematoma.” We exchanged more war stories then continued the task in silence. I raised my head and looked around camp. I found Carl wandering around alone, as usual. I noticed he was walking towards us so I purposely headed to the pile of woods farther away from the truck. I caught Shane shoot me a confused look and I rolled my eyes at the approaching kid.
From the corner of my eyes I spied on them. I barely caught some words, and then the boy walked away. I frowned and cocked my head to the side. I raised a brow at Shane and he shook his head lightly. I shrugged and tilted my head at the kid’s retreating back all the while Shane and I looked at each other. He caught the hint and called the boy back, I walked some few feet away from them to give the boy more confidence. I grabbed some woods and piled them on one side to take them to the truck once they were done talking. Things would get harder for me if we moved into the house. It would be harder to sneak out my bandages from my bag without being suspicious. More now that Daryl would sleep a few feet away. No privacy.
“Thank you, thank you…” Lori wouldn’t stop. She tried hard to cover her smile at the sight of warm clothes.
“We really appreciate it Matt, thank you very much.” Rick courtly added as he piled the clothes for Jimmy.
“Fits perfectly man, thank you!” I rolled my eyes and looked at T-Dog. He had put the new pullover on. I gave a reassuring nod at him and stood up.
“Matt…” I heard Dale’s voice. I turned around to look for him. “Can I speak with you?” he said as he approached. I gave him a slightly annoyed nod and walked a few feet away from camp.
“What d’ya wanna talk ‘bout, Dale?” I drawled. I knew he meant Randall, I had seen his rant on Rick this morning. It annoyed me how stubborn this man was how he just couldn’t see what it all had come to.