6.6K 284 54

"Everybody takes a weapon." Rick rolls out some sort of assortment of tools on the hood of a car.

"These aren't the sort of weapons we need." Andrea complains. "What about the guns?"

I stifle a groan. She doesn't even know how to use a gun.

"We've been over that. Daryl, Rick, and I are carrying. We can't have people popping off rounds every time a tree rustles." Shane replies, leaning against the RV.

I have no complaint. I never want to fire a gun again.

"It's not the trees I'm worried about." Andrea remarks under her breath.

Shane berates her, telling her of all the dangers that the sound of a gun creates. "You need to get over it." Shane eyes Andrea condescendingly.

Daryl shakes his head, getting between the two.   "The idea is to take the creek up about five miles, turn around and come back down the other side. Chances are, she'll be by the creek." He looks to Carol reassuringly. "It's her only landmark."

I glance between the two. Truth be told, I'm not exactly sure Sophia is out there. My grandfather always said to never chase ghosts. However, this was the task the group has decided to uptake, and I am in this group.

As much as I hate to think it, Daryl was never the person I thought would be most motivated in finding Sophia. Maybe he feels a connection to the lost little girl. Maybe he was a lost child himself.

"Everybody assemble your packs." Shane commands.

I cinch the green backpack I found in one of the cars up, adjusting my bow and following Shane and Daryl towards the trees.

We walk in a single file line through the forest, listening for any sign of the little girl.

I walk beside Lori and Carl, and Shane trails behind us.

My heart jumps when I don't see Carl anymore, but I sigh when I see him walking slowly after us. "Tired already?" I tease.

"No." He mopes. "I think Shane's mad at me."

I furrow my brows, keeping my eyes on the dense forest. "Why do you think that?"

"He's just been kind of mean lately."

I look back at Shane. Something is wrong with him, but I'm still not sure what. He always seems agitated. I turn back to Carl. "Maybe he's worried about Sophia." Lori says nothing, suspiciously, and I quietly try to figure out what connected Shane and Lori the remainder of the walk.

Hours of searching later, and all we've found is a dead man in a tent and an empty church.

Shane tells us to go back, something about him and Rick looking longer. 

None of us want to leave, but I can tell Carol's energy is draining. Carl's face is flushed pink, and he hasn't spoken in awhile. I nod, tugging on Carl's sleeve. He pushes me aside. "I want to stay, too. I'm her friend." He steps forward, defiantly looking Rick and Shane in the eye.

I worry for Carl, but say nothing. He's not mine , I tell myself.

They hesitantly nod, and we split up, following Daryl back to the trees. I walk alongside him, watching the trail ahead.

"Guess the plan is whittle us down into smaller and smaller groups." Daryl mutters, leaning against a tree as the other sit down on a fallen log.

"With pointy knives and sticks." Andrea remarks, turning to Lori with a sour look on her face. "I see you have a gun."

I scowl in her direction. I have always tried my best to be kind to Andrea, but she seems to be able to challenge every last ounce of patience.

CHEROKEE ROSE (D. DIXON)Where stories live. Discover now