Part 48 - Lost soul

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I kept walking down the road back towards the prison for what seemed like hours now. My feet began to hurt, and I was becoming exhausted. I could see someone in the distance running towards me, I didn't know who it was so I decided to hide and wait until they were closer. Upon further inspection, I recognised the person as Daryl. "Daryl!" I shouted, waving my arms in the air as I did so. He turned his glance turned to me and he began to run towards me "Jess!" He stopped as he Reached me, he had a relieved smile on his face. "I'm glad your okay, we thought it might have been to late" Daryl paused, I shook my head "Where is my brother anyways?" He continued, I did nut know how to answer his question, I honestly don't know. I shrugged my shoulders and shook my head "I'm gonna go find him... Go back and I'll be back by dark" he demanded, I just shook my head, "I'm coming with you, I don't wanna go by myself in case the Governor's got patrols around here" I replied. Daryl hesitated for a moment and nodded, he began to walk off with me following behind.

Hershel's POV -------

Rick shuffled on the spot, he looked uncomfortable as he kept avoiding eye contact with everyone. 'When I met with the Governor... he offered me a deal" Rick started, looking over at me as he said it. "He said he would leave us alone if I gave him Jess... But Merle took Jess to fulfill the deal and Daryl went to stop him and I don't know if it's too late..." He pinched the bridge of his nose, then shook his head. "I was wrong not to tell you... And I'm sorry. What I said last year, that first night after the farm it can't be like that. It can't..." Rick paused as he placed his hands on his hips and change the position of his stance. "What we do, what we're willing to do, who we are, it's not my call... It can't be. I couldn't sacrifice one of us for the greater good because we are the greater good." He moved his hands as he said this, gesturing the whole group. "We're the reason we're still here, not me. This is life and death... How you chose to do that, is your choice." He looked over at me for a split second, the back to the group. "I'm not your Governor." His voice sounded so defeated, sad and unable to keep going. Jess was no where to be seen and the Governor would be here soon.

Jess's POV -------

It had been another hour since we had been looking for Merle, we looked at all the places we thought he might be but to no avail. "What about the barn? Ya know where the Governor met Rick... Would he have gone there?" I asked, Daryl shrugged but kept walking "Only one way to find out" he replied. We went into the direction of the barn and kept walking until we arrived, it had been overrun... Someone had attacked the place, people from Woodbury laid dead and torn up on the ground, walkers feasting on the leftovers of the unanimated corpses that were previously living not long before. "Daryl... Maybe we shou-" I stopped, I never finished that sentence. Daryl trudged over to a walker and stood there, I wondered over, wondering why he didn't kill the walker. I glanced over at the walker to realise that it was Merle... My heart dropped when I saw a bullet wound through his heart, a tear rolled down my cheek. Daryl began pushing Merle back, not wanting to slay his own brother, he did this a few times until I couldn't watch anymore, I went to step in when Daryl pretty much jumped on top of him. He pierced his knife through Merle's skull repeatedly, his energy never deleting. "Daryl, that's enough!" I wrapped my arms around him to calm him down, he collapsed in a heap on the floor, he began to cry and sob. I gently began to rock him, "Shh, Daryl, its okay I'm here" I kept rocking back and forth, staring at Merle's mutilated corpse... Who could have done this? I have one guess.

-------

It had taken some talking, but I had managed to get Daryl to cone back with me at the prison, he was in bits. Yes, he didn't particularly like his brother, but he was his only family left and now he was gone. I couldn't believe he was gone either, I didn't tell Daryl about what Merle had told me to tell him. I knew I should have, but it would have hurt him even more and I'm sure deep down he knew that his brother was sorry.

We had kept walking on until we reached the prison, the walk was silent and slightly uncomfortable. All of a sudden an armoured truck zoomed past, we ducked out of sight before anyone could see us. We got back up and began sprinting towards the prison, taking down walkers as we went. I glanced to see that the guard towers had been blown up, oh no. I sprinted faster towards the burning wreckage, looking around to see if I could find anyone. "Rick!" I began to shout out, "Carl!... Judith!... Hershel!... Maggie!" I screamed everyone's names to no avail, I frantically searched for my family but no one was to be seen. I ran towards the cell block, not caring about the endless flow of walkers filling the field, my energy never depleting, I was on pure adrenaline. I reached the cell block, I still couldn't see or hear anyone. "Rick!" I screamed for the last time until I saw movement inside, I squirmed inside as quick as I could. The cell block was filled with smoke which entered my lungs immediately, I began coughing. "Jess!?" a voice I knew all too well spoke, I turned towards the voice to see Rick. I stood there for a moment taking in this moment before I lunged at him, wrapping my arms around him and burying my face in to the nook of his neck. All thoughts of what Merle had said, left my mind, I didn't care about that, I was back in his arms and that's where I belong. "I'm so glad you're safe" he began before pecking me on the lips, then again, and again, the short kisses became longer and longer until the became more passionate. Rick tangled his hand in my hair and gently pulled, which caused me to let out a slight moan. The kiss began to get a little more rough, his tongue asking for entrance as it ran across my bottom lip, which I willingly granted access "Ahem" someone cleared their through causing us to stop and back away from each other. It was Hershel who had a slight smirk on his face " Rick I need a word" Rock looked at me, then nodded at Hershel following him out.

I followed them outside to see the whole group, Carl and Beth with Judith, Daryl sitting with Carol, Maggie in Glenn's arms, and Michonne standing in the corner with a look of deep thought on her face. I looked over to Rick to see that he was holding the bridge of his nose, that, he did when he would become frustrated. He approached car and knelt down to his level, he began to ask him something but I couldn't make it out, Carl then shook his head and stormed off, what could have happened? Rick got back up and started talking to various members of the group, causing then to either nod or shake their head, I had no idea what he was asking them. Rick approached Hershel for a second time before turning to me "Were going into Woodbury, and finishing this" he put my hand into his but never broke eye contact with me."You can't go back, its too dangerous" I pleaded, I didn't want him to go "I have to. I have to end this... now" he stroked off the tear that was rolling down my cheek "Then I'm coming with you" I replied, not taking no for an answer. "No, no your staying here" he shook his head in disagreement but never broke eye contact "Why not? I'm the reason everyone got attacked... why Merle's dead... let me help" Rick shook his head again "I only just got you back, I'm not loosing you again... Merle? Jesus... I need to go and talk to Daryl" he went to walk away but stopped and turned around, "You still ain't coming, I need you here" I gave up the fight and just nodded but stood there watching him and Daryl. They began talking and Daryl nodded and broke down with his head in his hands, I felt so sorry for Daryl as I knew exactly how he felt.

The rest of the group got suited and booted and got loaded up in the car. Rick, Michonne, Daryl, Maggie and Glenn, went to Woodbury. Rick gave me a goodbye kiss "I'll be back soon... I love you" he whispered into my ear "You better... and bring Andrea back" I pecked his cheek "I love you too" I continued before he got into the car. They all left, leaving me, Carol, Carl, Beth, Hershel and Judith to defend the prison.

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