Twigs cracked and bushes thrashed back and forth as a 13 year old girl sprinted away from the herd of walkers chasing her. Earlier that day she had found a .38 special lying in the dirt in a deserted campsite. She had picked it up and went in an RV on the edge of the camp to sleep in it that night. Instead of finding it empty inside there was three walkers. She had been stupid enough to shoot the three walkers in the head which in about twenty-five minutes later she regretted. Shooting the walkers caused even more walkers to head in that direction. After those 25 minutes passed she saw a huge herd of walkers coming towards her. She knew she had to run away or die. She chose the first. Some of the walkers saw her and chased her which made the rest follow behind them. While she was running she dropped the pistol and abandoned it to the walkers. Right after nightfall she heard two gunshots to her left signaling that some other human was nearby. At the thought of seeing another human after being alone for 5 months in this hell-like world made her burst with joy. Right away she turned to her left. She decided to go towards the gunshots as fast as she could. The walkers heard the gunshots too and chased them as well as the young girl. The girl looked behind her and saw that the walkers were still following her. My day just gets better and better she thought to herself in a sarcastic voice. She hadn't eaten in days and never slept well, but still she pushed on. Suddenly she broke out into a large clearing. There was walkers everywhere and what looked like a barn was aflame in the distance. This is where the gunshots were she thought angrily. Where were the people who shot them? Disturbing her thoughts she faintly heard a motorcycle. By how quickly it was fading away she guessed it was heading towards the nearest highway. She caught her sense of direction again before the walkers got her and went towards the highway, constantly dodging walkers that were ahead of her along the way. When she made it to the highway after running for about half an hour she cautiously walked out from the treeline right off the highway and saw a group of about 10 people staring back at her dumbfounded. A man with a crossbow said,
"Who the hell are you?"
after gawking at the skinny figure that came out of nowhere for quite a while.
A woman behind him with short gray hair whispered frantically
"Sophia, it's Sophia... But Rick shot her..."
"I ain't Sophia, my name is Taylor."
replied the thin girl out of breath. Another man with a Colt Python wearing a sheriff's outfit asked,
"Are you bit?"
replied Taylor standing against a tree trying to catch her breath.
"Give us a minute."
said the man with the Colt Python.
said the man motioning to the man with the crossbow.
"Should we let her stay? We don't even know her. After all she's just another mouth to feed."
Rick told Daryl.
"She's just a child. She needs us Rick!"
"You're sayin that because of Sophia aren't you."
"Daryl's right! She's just a child! She can't go through this alone much longer! I mean look at her! It looks like she hasn't eaten in days!"
said a woman with long brown hair with a young boy standing next to her.
"Alright then. She's one of us now."
"C'mere Taylor. We won't hurt you. You're a part of our group now."
said Rick reluctantly but in a soft and gentle tone.
"Thanks. You don't know how much this means to me."
said Taylor happily wearing a huge smile on her face while walking over to Rick.
"Let me introduce myself and the rest of us. I'm Rick, Rick Grimes. This is my wife Lori and my son Carl."
Rick pointed to a young boy with dark brown hair that went just past his ears about Taylor's age and a woman with hazel eyes and brown hair that was about 6-7 months pregnant.
"This is Hershel and his daughters Beth and Maggie."
He nodded towards Hershel who was an old man with blue eyes, a girl about 16-17 years old with blonde hair (Beth) and a young woman with brown hair cut to her chin.
"That's Glenn and T-Dog."
Glenn was a young Korean man with a baseball cap and T-Dog was a black guy who leaning against a pickup truck.
"Lastly there's Carol and Daryl."
Carol was the woman who called Taylor Sophia and Daryl was the man on the motorcycle with his crossbow and his piercing blue eyes who argued that Taylor should be a part of the group. Taylor herself had dirty blonde hair and cloudy gray eyes that often changed color based on her mood.
"How the hell did you make it out alive this long?"
"I really don't know. I never gave up."
"I knew that I ain't gonna be by myself in this world."
Walkers were gettin closer to the group by the minute.
"We better get goin' before the walkers get any closer, Tayl..."
"When we found Randall he turned but he wasn't bit. His neck was snapped. Shane killed him like he always wanted to."
"How is that possible!"
Beth exclaimed. Rick replied,
"Back at the CDC before we left, Jenner told me something... We're all infected, whatever it is, we all carry it, no matter how we die we turn."
Carol gasped and Carl started to cry into his mother's arms.
"We gotta go."
Rick quickly stated.
"Daryl, take your motorcycle. T-Dog take the pickup. Glenn take Maggie, Beth, and Hershel with you in your car. The rest of you get in the Cherokee, let's go! Honk if you have a problem. We don't want anyone to get left behind."
They all piled in their vehicles and drove down the road for about 3-4 hours when Rick honked. Everyone stopped and got out of their cars and gathered around.
"Out of gas?"
"Been runnin on fumes for the last hour."
"Glenn and I were gonna go make a run for gas in the mornin'."
"Nobody's going anywhere."
"We're staying together. Camp out here for the night."
"Get some firewood but stay close."
"Bring what you find over here."
Rick said. He was pointing to a small stone structure that was crumbling apart.
"We'll set up camp there."
Taylor showed Rick that she understood him by nodding. She started to look for some wood right off the road when she accidentally bumped into Carl.
apologized Taylor while blushing.
"It's okay. C'mon let's go get the fire started."
Taylor followed Carl, her arms full of wood that she scavenged on the side of the road with Carl. She set down the wood against one of the walls of the small makeshift camp to add onto their fire later. She sat and watched Carl adjust the sticks and then use a match to set the twigs ablaze. Almost immediately after Carl started the fire the group got back together one by one and they all gathered around the fire to stay warm. Except for Taylor. She leaned against the corner of the walls thinking about how happy she was to find another group that accepted her, and to finally be safe. Interrupting her thoughts Carol said,
"Come sit down with us. You've gotta be freezing over there."
Taylor sat down next to Carol uneasily, afraid that the group talked and was going to abandon her by herself.
"I'm sorry I called you Sophia earlier. My daughter got lost in the woods about 2 months ago and she looked just like you, but her eyes didn't change color."
"It's okay. How did you know that my eyes changed color?"
"First they were a cloudy gray when we let you join the group but when I called you over here they turned hazel.
"Oh. I know how you feel. I lost my sister... But now I have you guys and I'm not alone anymore."
After the short conversation Taylor tried to stifle a yawn but she couldn't manage to. She layed down on the cold grass and tried to go to sleep. When she was almost asleep she heard the rustle of a bush and a twig snap close by. At this sudden noise she jolted up and reached to her belt for her knife instinctively. Daryl, Glenn, Rick, Carl, and T-Dog did the same with their weapons.
"What was that?"
asked Carol in a nervous tone.
"Ain't nothing we can't handle!"
Taylor replied confidently.
"Carl, honey, sit down. Let your dad handle this."
said Lori in a tone as sweet as honey. Carl listened and sat down next to Lori.
"Could be a 'coon or a opossum."
"Or a walker."
"Yes, there's always that."
said Rick. Stepping outside of camp to see if there was any danger Taylor saw a walker out of the corner of her eye. Her instincts took over and she raised her knife, aimed for the walker's forehead, and threw it. Daryl heard the thunk of the knife going through its brain and ran over to Taylor to see what happened. He first looked at the now dead walker then at Taylor. She looked at him and said,
sarcastically then strode over to the walker, pulled out her knife, and pulled out her oil-stained blue pocket rag and cleaned the blood off her knife quickly. Then Taylor turned around and walked back into camp.
she said to the group. Then she layed down next to Carol and went to sleep for the first time in a long time.