Title: Flash Fiction #23
Fandom: The Walking Dead
Word Count: 1283
Characters: Rick Grimes, Lori Grimes, Shane Walsh
Warnings: This is a continuation of Flash Fiction #19. I had a “Eureka!” moment that let me continue it AND use the “First Look at Season 2” video as a tie-in. Booyah! I hope you like it cause this one took a lot out of me. Also, I broke the 1000-word limit (again) but it couldn’t be helped. There was just no way, in my opinion, to pare it down.
Disclaimer: Sadly, I don’t own Shane or Rick (or Lori) – I just like to take them out and play with them from time to time. This is unbeta’d and unedited – all errors are my own, and it’s likely that there are quite a few. If you see anything that needs correction, please let me know! Concrit is always welcome!
As the others gathered around the campfire for what passed for breakfast these days, Shane stood at the edge of the clearing, mentally steeling himself for what he was about to do. He didn’t want to do it – he just couldn’t see any other way. Someone was going to get hurt and, though he hated the thought of it, there just wasn’t any other way. Giving himself a good mental shake, Shane turned and walked toward the others.
“Rick, I need to talk to you,” he said as he approached the group. Rick looked up, somewhat taken off guard. “Okay, just give me-, “Rick began to say. Shane shook his head and said, “No, now. Right now. Right here. I have something to say and you need to hear it.”
Lori looked up, her eyes widening as she shook her head warningly at Shane. “Shane, don’t.” Shane looked at her, his eyes cold. “And why not?” Lori stood, stepping slightly in front of Rick as if to protect him from what she knew was coming. “Because this is neither the time nor the place. These people-“
Shane exploded, his voice harsh and rough. “These people? These people already know Lori! Do you think they haven’t seen? Haven’t heard? They know exactly what’s been happening, Lori, and it’s high time Rick he was told. These people aren’t stupid! And neither am I, so get out of the way.”
Rick stood, watching Lori and Shane’s exchange, growing more confused by the moment. He looked around at the others in the camp, surprised that none of them would meet his eyes. The only movement in the camp was Carol as she hastily took Carl and Sophia back to her tent. Rick looked back at Shane as he stepped up next to Lori. “Tell me what, Shane? You kicked in the door, walk through it. Tell me what?”
Shane took a deep breath, then said, “Rick, the only way I know to say it is straight up. Lori and I, we’ve been sleeping together for the past couple of months. Since we left for Atlanta.”
Rick felt as though he’d been punched in the gut. He couldn’t quite breathe, couldn’t quite make sense of what Shane was telling him. “You… and Lori?” He looked at Lori, certain that he was misunderstanding, until he saw the tears running down her face. “How could you? You… You’re supposed to be my best friend!” He walked to Shane and grabbed him by his shirt. Shane just stood there, let Rick manhandle him. “How could you?!” Rick yelled in Shane’s face.
Shane just shook his head as he said, “Rick, she kissed me, asked me to make love to her. I didn’t… I couldn’t… We were both hurting...”
Lori stepped forward, her hands out as she pleaded with Rick. “It was a mistake, Rick! Please, we… he told me you were dead. I thought you were gone.”
Rick turned his head, his eyes ice cold as he glared at Lori. “You thought I was dead? For what, a week?” He shoved Shane away from him as he turned on Lori. “How long did you wait before you started fucking my best friend?”
Lori backed away from Rick, her eyes wide. She’d never seen him so angry, so hurt. Her look was mirrored by the others in the camp. None of them had ever seen this side of Rick. Even Daryl, who couldn’t give a shit less about the Grimes’s or their domestic issues, couldn’t look away. Lori whispered, “I thought you were dead.”
Rick began to laugh, the almost hysterical laughter of a man who’d thought he was clinging to a lifeline only to discover that he’d been gripping the tail of a viper instead. Tears streamed from his eyes as he howled with laughter. The others in the camp watched the trio, unable to look away from the train wreck that was happening before their very eyes.
Shane stepped forward as he said, “Rick, we thought you were dead. If I’d known-“
His words were cut off as Rick abruptly slammed his fist into Shane’s face, bones crunching and blood spurting as Shane’s nose broke. Shane hit the ground on his back, his hands to his face and his eyes wide as Rick stood over him. Rick glared down at Shane, not bothering to try to hide the pain and anger that he was feeling. He looked up at the others, saw their almost identical expressions of awe, fear, and pity.
It was the pity that was his undoing. He backed away from Shane and fisted his hands in his hair. “I’ve gotta go. I can’t be here right now.” He turned and stumbled toward the woods, needing peace and the solace of being alone.
Lori ran after Rick, desperate for his forgiveness, for his understanding. “Rick, wait! You can’t go out there alone!” She caught his arm and turned him back to her. “Please, honey, I love you. We have to work this out.”
Rick pushed her away from him, pointing his finger in her face. “Don’t touch me, Lori. You just stay the hell away from me.” He turned on his heel and went into the woods, not caring how much noise he was making. He refused to care about the sound of Lori’s crying, or the sound of the others talking about him. He just had to get away.
Rick had been gone for hours, wandering in the woods trying to cool down. His temper still raged, his ears roaring and his pulse hammering in his veins. He couldn’t shake the mental image he had of Lori and Shane, together. Tears streamed down his face, stinging his eyes and making tracks in the dirt and soot that still stained his face. He swiped his arm across his face as he stopped to look around, get his bearings.
Through the trees, he could see movement, hear what sounded like the shambling footsteps of walkers. At least two, he thought, but he couldn’t tell for sure. He rolled his eyes and groaned as he realized he’d taken off from the camp without any of his weapons. He searched the ground around him for anything he could use as a weapon, spotting a large chunk of rock. “That’ll have to do,” he murmured to himself as he scooped up the rock and hid behind the largest tree nearby.
He waited, holding his breath, as one of the walkers came into view. He gripped the rock tighter in his hand, waiting for the walker to get close enough. As soon as the walker was within range, Rick leapt from behind the tree, striking the walker in the face with the rock. He knelt over the walker, unable to hold back the rage as he slammed the rock down again and again, crushing the walker’s skull.
Rick looked up just in time to see another walker coming toward him. He stood and threw the rock at the walker, scoring a direct hit to the walker’s face. As the walker fell back, Rick smiled. He felt better now. He knelt and picked up the rock, testing its weight in his hand. As he looked down at the prone walker, all he could see in his mind’s eye were his best friend and his wife. Hearing their voices in his head as they made excuses, pleaded with him for forgiveness, Rick clutched the rock in both hands as he knelt by the walker and raised his arms to the sky.
With all the strength he could muster, Rick brought the rock down on the walker’s head.
No forgiveness. No understanding. He was done.