Dying to Live (Daryl Dixon)Hey, this is my first Walking Dead story! Ever since I saw a screenshot of the show on Tumblr, I fell in love with it. Most particularly with Daryl. (He has the cutest accent in the world). I hope you enjoy the story and take time to rate and message me! I would really appreciate it. :)
Marlena paused for a moment, and then hunched over to lean on her knees to quell her aching muscles and severely dry mouth. Glancing at the broken face of her watch, she sighed in irritation when she realized it was only an hour past noon. Wiping the condensation building up on her glasses, she struggled to make one more step before crashing onto the ground in exhaustion. Rolling over her side, she took off her backpack and watched the clouds above with a blank expression.
It wasn’t always like this. She had a life before all of this crazy stuff happened.
Prior to the outbreak of the disease ridden psychopathic man-eaters, she was on the outskirts of Atlanta, paying a visit to her dying grandmother with what was left of her meager librarian salary. Originally born in Miami, Marlena had no particular love for all the stereotypical redneck states, and Georgia seemed to be the worst of it all.
Her poor grandmother Rosemary was bedridden with breast cancer. One of the doctors somehow managed to get a call through to Marlena that as a last dying wish; she wanted to see her grandchild’s face before she passes on. Marlena had hesitated before making a decision; she never met her grandmother before and had no intention of visiting her. But during the call with one of the doctors, he informed her that someone was willing to pay half for her ticket.
Immediately refusing to let some anonymous do-gooder to waste their money on her, Marlena sold a pair of diamond earrings to a pawnshop to get her remaining flight expenditures covered. Even when Rosemary died, she somehow managed to scrape by a tiny funeral; she and the pastor were the only ones who attended.
In all reality, she didn’t have the slightest idea as to why she ever agreed.
Life in Miami never treated her well. Being the only librarian in the only library that seemed to exist in the most populous city in Florida, nobody ever goes to a library, especially when bars and nightclubs surround it. Hardly anyone came into the building other than the occasional tourist asking for directions. With slow business and an even lower pay rate, she couldn’t live in an extravagant condo or mansion. The best she could get was a small apartment duplex where her neighbors seem to get frisky with their companion every single night, the main reason for her sleepless nights and cranky attitude.
Her sex life wasn’t that much better either. The last boyfriend she had was two years ago, where she broke up with him when he forced her to have sex. Ever since that, she’s been alone. Which made this whole apocalyptic ordeal a little easier; she only had to rely on herself.
After the first sighting of the infected in Georgia, Marlena had no idea of getting out the state. She barely had enough money to keep herself fed and stay in a cheap motel. When the epidemic began growing out of control, the military deployed troops to every corner of the country, shooting and killing everyone: the infected and the still living.
Marlena closed her eyes. It was almost like yesterday.
It was a little late in the afternoon.
Checking her bank account several times, Marlena came to the conclusion of another day consisting of Vienna sausages for dinner.
Biting into the tasteless meat byproducts, she rubbed her eyes underneath her glasses blearily, reading at the small print of the newspaper in front of her. It’s been a week since the contagion occurred. Stay away from all infected and do not enter an area with numerous people. If necessary, wear a mask in public. Exchange of bodily fluids and/or contact with open sores/wounds increases risk of infection. Defend yourself if necessary.
“They make it sound like the bird flu,” she muttered quietly to herself. Tossing the paper and empty can in the wastebasket; Marlena peered outside of the motel’s dirty curtains. No one was outside, despite the sun’s high location in the sky. Everyone was too afraid of going out in the open.
And Marlena wasn’t stupid. She knows exactly what the undead were capable of, especially after listening to multiple radio stations of how these “walkers” ate the flesh of the living was enough to confirm her suspicions. One day she was bored enough to listen to a survival station, in which radio host advised beating or shooting the head of the walkers. Invaluable advise her kept to heart.
Looking at her dwindling supply of food, it was time to go out.
Holding the backpack she brought from her flight, she shouldered the baseball bat she stole from a snot nosed kid and walked towards the nearest Texaco station. Hearing a bell ring when opening the door, Marlena nodded at the cashier, who in turn, nodded back at her to continue reading the newspaper she read earlier.
Stuffing her basket with bags of trail mix and jerky, she headed towards the old man frowning at the paper.
He sighed and neatly folded the newspaper aside to ring her items. “Seems ta be gettin’ worse.”
“I can’t believe we haven’t found a cure yet,” she replied sullenly, her frown deepening as she read the headlines of the newspaper.
“I wouldn’t count on it, darlin’. America is gettin’ her ass handed to her. An’ the government ain’t givin’ a damn ‘bout anyone these days,” he remarked scornfully. “It’ll be $14.57.”
Digging around her pockets, Marlena cursed quietly as she counted the crumpled bills and change in her hands. She was short a few dollars. “Sorry, I’m just gonna take the trail mix.”
Shaking his head, the old man placed the jerky she carried into the bag with the trail mix. “Don’ bother. Not like anyone comin’ here these days. Not even the supply truck came to restock the shelves. I planned on boardin’ up this hellhole anyways.” He gave her a toothy grin.
Touched by his sincerity, she returned his smile with a tentative one of her own. “Thanks, mister.”
He held out his hand. “Name’s Frank.”
“Marlena.” She almost gasped at his strong grip. “You know, your hands are too calloused for a cashier.”
Frank let out a hearty laugh, scaring the living daylights out of her, “I’m a farmer. This job is just to get some extra money. Me an’ the missus plan on ridin’ this whole thing out at the farm. Can’t handle the city no more.” The gold band on his ring finger reflected the sun’s rays, slightly glaring at her eyes. “You don’t seem like a country girl.”
Feeling a little more comfortable, she shyly looked up at Frank, “Well, the truth is-“ A suddenly metal noise broke them out of their conversation. It screeched all over the place, causing Marlena to cover her ears with a wince. Frank immediately grabbed her arm and headed towards the back room of the station where the ‘employee’s only’ sign was already falling off. He closed off the lights of the store and went to the inner storage room.
Frightened, Marlena whispered loudly to no one, “Frank! Frank, what’s going on?”
Emerging from the storage room, she gasped. In one hand he had a pair of binoculars in one hand and the other, a 12-gauge shotgun sat by his side menacingly. He pushed his index finger against his lips, signaling her to be quiet. He crouched over towards one of the windows that connected to the main room. Marlena followed his example silently, peeking over the desk underneath the window.
It was too far for her to see, but she could make out a large beige vehicle located right outside the gas station. Frank tapped her shoulder lightly, and handed her his binoculars. “Look outside,” he whispered quietly.
Pushing the binoculars against her glasses, she almost fell to the floor.
An enormous tank was blocking her way to the motel and at least a dozen or more military soldiers were standing in line with a general who seemed to be talking to the men. She looked at Frank with wide eyes. “Frank, that’s the military! I think they’re here to save us!” Marlena started to rise, but his burly hand pushed her to the floor. “What the hell is wrong with you?”
He shushed her. “They ain’t plannin’ to save nobody.”
“How would you know? Crazy Georgians.” She crawled towards the door, but Frank tugged on her pant leg with force.
“Here.” He shoved the newspaper he folded earlier and she looked at him in confusion. “Read the bottom part of the page.”
Annoyed at his brash behavior, Marlena examined the text at the bottom. ‘All military personnel are being sent to carry out immediate extermination of all towns deemed dangerous to the public. All residents of the following towns are not permitted to leave the boundaries whatsoever.’ She continued reading down the list and dropped the paper. ‘Redding’ was one of the towns listed. ‘Redding’ Motel, the motel she was staying at.
“They’re gonna kill us,” she whispered vacantly to herself. “Even the living.”
Frank, who was watching the troop closely, bent down closer to Marlena and squeezed her shoulder. “Listen, that genny of theirs is leadin’ them off somewhere down to the heart of the city. Once they leave, we get the hell outta here. Got it?” She nodded silently. Peeking over the edge, he counted under his breath and pulled her up. “Wait till I give the sign is clear.”
He opened the door outside of the employee’s room slowly, looking in every direction outside of the store. Sounds of bullets spray all over the entire area emitted throughout the small town. Her heart thumped loudly against her chest; all the adrenaline in her body flowed through every limb.
Everything went quiet when the bell of the front door rang.
Closing her eyes, she pressed herself in the inner corner of the desk, trying to calm the rapid beating of her heart. Marlena covered her mouth with her hand, suppressing the whimpers escaping her mouth, Tears were gathering in the corners of her eyes as she worried for Frank’s safety, and her own.
Suddenly, she heard a singled shot ringing out through the entire store, a dull thudding noise of a body falling to the ground.
A crackle of a hand radio came to life, static impeding the message. “Scientists at CDC… Atlanta…. –o cure… Maine extermin-…. Cities unsafe… Fort Ben-.” It radio stopped. Heavy footsteps fell in front of the employee’s room. Marlena bit into her hand to stop herself from crying. As soon as the doorknob twisted open, a booming voice called all the soldiers to fall back. The hand retreated from the door and walked away.
Marlena stayed curled up in the corner with her bleeding hand till the next morning. She quietly stepped over the peaceful face of the cashier and closed his eyes. She ignored the blood running from the bullet hole lodged in his head and took his shotgun and car keys. Grabbing a map, first aid kit, and a few bottles of water, she left the gas station without a word.
Over his folded hands was a newspaper, scribbled in marker, “Find grace.”
Marlena glanced at the map in her hands. The CDC in Atlanta was still miles away from where she was at the moment, and judging from her diminishing food supply and low water, she wouldn’t make it in a day.
Savoring the most amount of precious water she allowed herself, Marlena folded the map and tucked it in the side pocket of her cargo pants. Dusting herself off from the dirt coating her clothes, she started walking down the road once more.
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