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Title: Flash Fiction #12
Fandom: The Walking Dead
Word Count: 896
Characters: Daryl Dixon, Rick Grimes, Merle Dixon, mentions of others here and there
Warnings: This is set after Wildfire, before they left for the CDC.
Author’s Note/Disclaimer: I don’t own Daryl, Rick, or anything else associate with The Walking Dead – I just like to take them out and play with them every now and then. This is pure imagination and follows the events in Flash Fiction #11 (posted last night). This is unbeta’d and unedited – all errors are mine. If you see anything that needs correction, please tell me! Concrit is always welcome!
Rick Grimes sighed and put his hands on his hips. “Daryl, you can’t just take off into Atlanta alone. There’s no telling where Merle is and you know what the city is like now. It’s dangerous.”
“I can manage on my own just fine. Been doin’ it for years. Come if you want, I don’t care. But I’m goin’.”
Rick turned to Lori, his mouth open to try to smooth it over with her, but she cut him off before he could speak. “Fine, go ahead. You made a promise to your son that you wouldn’t leave again, for anything. But you go right on ahead and troop through Atlanta, looking for Merle Dixon. Have fun.”
She turned her back on him and stalked away, taking Carl’s hand and leading him back to their tent to finish packing. Shane smirked at Rick as he said, “Hey, man, I told you last time it was a bad idea. This time, you’re on your own.”
Rick grabbed his weapons and some extra ammo, ready to head back into the city. “Shane, you keep them safe, keep them on task to get this place packed up. We’ll be back before nightfall, ready to get out of here tomorrow.” Looking back at the tent his wife and son had just disappeared into, he lowered his voice and said, “Watch out for them, Shane. Keep them safe for me, just like you have been, ok?” Shane nodded, not trusting himself to speak other than to say, “You be careful. Those Dixons are tricky.”
Rick nodded, looking back at Daryl. Daryl was pacing like a caged lion, unable to mask his anxiety over his brother. “Shane, your Jeep is easier on gas and a hell of a lot quiet than his truck. Can we borrow it? I’d at least like to get into the city without them hearing us from a mile away.” Shane nodded and tossed Rick the keys, grinning. “Just bring it back to me. Don’t let someone steal it like you did that box truck.”
Shaking his head, Rick grinned and walked over to Daryl. “We’re taking the Jeep and I told them we’d be back by nightfall. Let’s get a move on.” He climbed into the Jeep and started it, waiting for Daryl to get his crossbow situated before driving off.
On the way to Atlanta, they discussed their plan and strategy for searching for Merle. In truth, Rick discussed and Daryl mostly grunted his agreement. Daryl wasn’t in the mood to discuss; he wanted action! He wanted to get there, find his brother, and get the hell out of Atlanta with their lives. The rest didn’t matter. When they reached Atlanta, they headed for the department store; Rick thought that the best place to start would be the alley where the fire escape came down. From there, they should be able to search for any trail that Merle might’ve left behind.
It didn’t take them long to discover what had become of Merle. They found his lifeless, partially-eaten corpse not far from the fire escape. Daryl crouched down next to his brother’s body, his face a mask of anguish and anger. Rick stood back a few paces, not wanting to intrude on Daryl’s grief.
Daryl stood, glaring at Rick. “This is your fault, Grimes. You and T-Dog and all the rest of y’all that left him here to die. His blood is on your hands!”
“Daryl, we didn’t intend to leave him. T-Dog dropped the key. I’ll take my share of the blame but you have to know that we didn’t mean for this to happen.”
“Mean it or not it happened! Didn’t mean it ain’t much help to him, now is it?” Daryl raised his crossbow, aiming it at Rick’s head. “I oughta take you out, right here ‘n now for what you did.”
Rick drew his pistol, intending to aim it at Daryl until movement from the ground caught his eye. “Daryl, you’re going to want to move away from Merle. He looks hungry.”
Daryl spun around and looked at his brother only to find that Rick was right; Merle was starting to reanimate. Most of his face and was gone, but the eye that remained was bloodshot and trained on Daryl. Unearthly growls emanated from his throat as he reached for Daryl’s ankle.
Daryl jumped away from Merle’s outstretched hand. “Goddammit, Merle!” In one swift move, he’d put an arrow straight through Merle’s remaining eye.
Spinning around to get in Rick’s face, his crossbow hanging at his side, Daryl poked his finger in Rick’s chest. “That’s how you do it, Grimes. Zero tolerance for walkers. Blood don’t matter when he ain’t human no more. You fuckin’ remember that!”
He left Rick standing there, shocked, as he stalked off back to the Jeep. He swiped his hand across his eyes, wiping away all traces of tears, as he walked. He’d be damned if he’d let Rick Grimes see him cry.