"immune 10- Dance With The Dead"

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“Immune 10- Dance with the Dead”

*Time Warp* The next chapter is taking place just as the group finds out about a barn full of walkers. Carl is on his feet and wandering around while Sophia is still missing. I don’t plan on staying on the farm that long. ;) *

“What do you think?” Rick asked me. I’m not sure how to answer. I had gotten use to chopping off heads of walkers that it was harder to see them as the people they were, like Hershel. In some ways, he does have a valid point and has to do with having hope. But is it reality?

“I don’t think things are as black and white as Shane would like us to believe. The fact of the matter is that this is Hershel’s farm, we’re only guests here. Unwanted guests I might add. Who are we to say what these people do?” I told him. We were sitting outside watching Shane as he stood guard by the barn for his shift. He felt it would be better if they kept an eye on it until a decision could be made.

“I’m willing to overlook the barn right now, we need to be in Hershel’s good graces if we’re planning on staying here at least until after Lori…” I stopped. Rick had told me about Lori’s pregnancy and at first I was a bit put off at someone getting pregnant in the middle of this maddening world of death and fear. Rick knew and Glen, apparently, but no one else. However, Lori having a baby could be a good thing, at least for Rick. He seems like he’s holding on to hope very stubbornly that this world can be as it was before, I’m not so sure. He still has searches to try and find Sophia even though I told him that in my opinion, she was dead.

Lizzy still has not spoken a single word. During the day she stays in Dale’s camper just staring out the window. She drinks very little and eats even less and when she’s asleep, she dreams. Lizzy has nightmares, she tosses and turns and kicks and screams. I feel like a failure. Even more so for not bringing Sophia back. Carol looks at me with dead eyes, the eyes of a mother without a child.

“I know. If Hershel is going to let us stay, we have to play by his rules. You agree?” Rick said.

“Yes. But what do we do about Shane? It doesn’t look like he’s going to let up. He’s…different. Did something happen I’m not aware of?” I looked at Rick. He didn’t answer. There was so much tension between Rick and his best friend that the two may come to an impasse sooner rather than later.

“What do you thing Hershel could be thinking about the walkers? He thinks they’re still alive somehow. Human?” I asked Rick who averted his eyes.

“I think so. His wife is in that barn. I think he hopes there could be a cure.” This time Rick looked at me directly. We didn’t tell Hershel and his group that I was immune nor did we tell them about our trip to Atlanta to try and find a cure; that Jenner may have been close to it. Not only did I not want to give anyone false hope, I also wasn’t sure about people’s reaction to me being immune. There was already the dead I had to worry about I didn’t want to have to worry about the living as well. So, as a group, we decided to keep it to ourselves. Although, I’m thinking Rick has the idea to use me as leverage to keep us on the farm. I do see the logic in it. If Hershel knew I was immune and that a possible cure can be found he may let us stay on the farm. I didn’t want to have to do that though and I told Rick as much.

“Then what should we do, Vanessa? You may be the only hope we have.” Rick pleaded and I was getting tired of being labeled “only hope”.

“Let’s just keep this quiet for now, please Rick.” He was going to say something else, but Hershel interrupted us.

“Rick, can I use you for something, please.” Jimmy followed quietly behind him.

“Need more help?” I asked offering my services.

“No, just Rick.” The three men walked off into the woods and disappeared behind a small grove. Hershel was probably going to use this time to strike a deal with Rick. I just hoped Rick doesn’t tell him about me to do it.

I used this time to talk to Dale. He seemed a little on edge lately. “Hey Dale. How goes it?”

“It goes. Where did Rick and Hershel go?” He looked in that direction.

“Ya know, guy talk. You okay? You seem…bothered.” Dale told me about his encounter with Shane, more devastating are his thoughts about Otis. Shane is a strong fighter and an excellent shot; the group would be weaker without him. I know in these desperate times, people will do what they normally wouldn’t do. I had my regrets too, but I could see in Dale’s eyes that he was genuinely afraid of Shane. I would have to keep my eye on him as well and I wanted to talk to him.

I found Shane standing by the barn, gun in his hand. “Shane. Can I talk to you?”

“Why not? You trying to figure out what’s wrong in my head too?” He was very defensive but tired.

“Maybe. You’re scaring people Shane. All this hostility, there’s no need for it.” I kept my distance.

“Scaring people like Dale? Please. Did he tell you that he took all our weapons and tried to hide them in the woods? Yeah, he tried to leave us defenseless.”

“Yes, he told me. I think he was doing that for the good of the group, that’s all.”

“When does he get to decide what’s good for the group? Apparently, that’s Rick’s and Hershel’s job now.” I heard some resentment in his voice.

“We’re all a part of this group. I think Rick is doing the best he can but I’m sure it’s difficult when you’re fighting him at every turn. Like this business with the barn….”

“You mean the walker ‘ho-down’ that’s going on inside? Hershel thinks these things are human. May be they’re in there having a dance until there can be a cure. What do you think, Vanessa? Is there going to be a cure or what?” He was goading me. Shane was referring to Jenner in Atlanta saying that there could possibly be a cure in my brain but I would die during the procedure.

“I don’t know, Shane. I’m not sure of anything anymore.” Andrea came down to relieve Shane from walker watching duty and I took the opportunity to leave. I needed to clear me head and just be alone.

Out walking beyond the field about an hour later I heard a multitude of shots ring out in the direction of the barn. I drew my gun and ran for the barn hoping the walkers didn’t take someone by surprise. I ran until my chest hurt and my breath came out in laborious spurts. The barn doors were open and the group stood with guns and rifles, freshly fired, down at their sides. A pile of walkers lay slain just outside the doors and a mumbling Hershel kneeled on the ground. A small moan drew everyone’s attention back to the doors and the black beyond. A small figure stepped softly around the limbs of the walkers; her blonde hair and t-shirt where easy to recognize as Sophia stepped closer. Carol’s screech was the only thing the broke the silence as no one else moved or made a sound coming to terms with Sophia being lost.

I felt my legs move towards her as Rick was doing the same. I stopped her from moving closer by putting my hand on her boney shoulder. I looked into her dead eyes and saw nothing of the little girl her once was.

“I’m sorry Sophia.” I apologized for not reaching her in time in the woods; for her having to die alone in the cold and afraid. Sophia struggled and managed to bite my forearm. I simply held her until Rick came up beside me and shot her in the head. She fell and didn’t get back up.

Blood trickled down my right arm and onto the ground. Maggie cried out that I had been bit but looked confused when the others made no more to surround me. I didn’t turn to face them but simply said, “I’m immune. I didn’t know if I could trust you yet.” I let the blood flow; I wanted to feel the pain because once it was gone, the pain of lost that will remain.

To be continued…
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