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That evening, we gather in Hershel's living room to decide Randall's fate.

The sun sits low in the sky, its pink and orange light streaming in through the bay windows and stretching across the creaky hardwood floor like a cat that just woke up from a nap.

Daryl and I lean on opposite sides of the archway.

"Why even bother taking a vote, it's clear which way the wind is blowing." Dale utters bitterly.

"Of people think we should spare them, I want to know." Rick explains calmly.

"Well, I can tell you it's a small group. Maybe just me and Glenn." Dale says softer.

I shift, running my boot along an uneven floorboard.

Glenn looks up at him with shame. "Look, I--- I think you're pretty much right about everything, all the time, but this--"

"They've got you scared!" Dale cries.

"He's not one of us." Glenn argues, going on about how many people we've lost.

I told myself I was going to take Daryl's side, that he knew best when it comes to things like this, but could I bring myself to support the murder of another human? I'm not so sure.

"Couldn't we just continue to keep him prisoner?" Maggie questions.

"Just another mouth to feed." Daryl mutters.

"He could be an asset." Dale argues. "Give him a chance to prove himself."

"We're not letting him walk around." Rick shakes his head.

I look at Daryl, then everyone else. How could they be so nonchalant like this? As if we have the right to decide who lives and dies? We were going to kill someone, a person.

"If we do this, there's no hope. The rule of law is dead, there is no civilization." Dale pleads.

"We've been talking around in circles." Daryl argues. "We gonna keep talking all day?"

"This is a young man's life! This is worth more than a five minute conversation." Dale snaps. "Is this what it's come to? We kill someone because we can't decide what to do with him? How are we any better than those people we're so afraid of?"

"That's enough." Rick holds his hand up to Dale. "Anyone who wants the floor before we make a final decision has the chance.

There is a period of silence as Dale's soft brown eyes dart around the room desperately. "Isn't there anybody else that's gonna stand with me?"

I clear my throat, standing straighter and crossing my arms. "You once said that we don't kill the living." I glance at Rick. "But that was before the living tried to kill us." I look back at Dale. "You're right, if we do this, we won't go back to the people we were before. But how can we ever do that anyways?" The others watch me quietly. I can feel Daryl's eyes burning through the back of my head. "The world will never be the same." I laugh humorlessly. "The dead walk the earth! How can anything be the same? We are some of the few, the lucky few left, and the world now is what we want to make it. And we can make it a world where we shoot first, ask questions later. Or," I look back at Dale's teary eyes. "We can make it a just world. Empathy, kindness." I look up at Rick hopefully. "To give others the benefit of the doubt. We're all on the same side. It's us against the dead. Why has it got to be political like this?"

Dale steps toward me, gently pulling me into a hug. I can feel the dampness of his tears on my shirt, and pat his back soothingly.

"She's right." Andrea speaks up, to my surprise. She glances at Dale and I. "We should find another way."

Rick shakes his head, and I know in that moment that nothing I said will change anything. "Anyone else?"

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