I cannot believe how many times I rewrote this chapter but the ending was worth it.
Chapter Six: Confessions
Lilly had her eyes closed when she heard Carley’s sudden question. When the former reporter walked up to her to place her gun to her forehead, Lilly expected her life to end right there. She couldn’t fight, not with Carley’s two well armed companions standing just a few feet away.
Slowly, Lilly opened her eyes to find the barrel of Carley’s glock still hovering inches from her face. The woman holding the gun on her was trembling with rage. Lilly knew at best, she was on borrowed time.
“Why did you do that to me?” Carley demanded once more.
“I had two likely suspects that could have been giving our supplies to the bandits. Ben and you,” Lilly said in a shaky voice. Expecting the gun pointed at her to be fired at any second.
“And that’s why you shot me?” Carley hissed. “I didn’t betray you or the group!”
Lilly flinched as the gun moved a bit closer to her forehead. “Lee spoke out in your defense… and I believed him.”
“So what happened? Why did you shoot me!”
Lilly debated what to say but decided to put everything out on the table and not go out as a crying coward, even if Carley kills her for it.
“You wouldn’t shut up.”
“After eliminating you, it had to be Ben and I was grilling him but you kept trying to defend him. Why couldn’t you just shut up?”
Carley gave out a little half laugh, using her free left hand to point to the remains of the left side of her face. “So bitch
, please tell me what I said to you that earned me a missing eye?”
“My father practically used to say the same thing to me while growing up and I hated it but he did it to toughen me,” Lilly said. “You’re just a scared little girl. Get the fuck over it.
When you said it and between what Kenny did to him in that meat locker… I lost it.”
“You lost it?!! I think I might lose it myself right now.” Carley slowly tightened her finger on the trigger of her gun. “Any last words?”
Lilly gave a short fatalistically laugh. “What do you want me to say? I’m sorry? It’s nearly empty and meaningless to you as our world has become to us. I had nothing left after I lost my dad.”
“Nothing left? I was in the same boat that night with you in that RV. My entire family is gone! Don’t try to make me feel sorry for you!”
“Don’t give me that, you had Lee.” Lilly said. “I saw the way you two looked at each other.”
Carley hesitated. Another question came to mind that she needed to be answered. One that had be plaguing her every night. “I was still alive, why was I left behind with you.”
“Ben checked you and declared that you were dead. Obviously he‘s a bigger idiot than we thought.”
“What about Lee? Where was he?”
“He was busy disarming me,” Lilly told her, remembering that night. “The look in his eyes, he wanted to kill me for what I did to you but I guess he liked Kenny’s suggestion to just leave me behind. He would have checked you himself but the gunshot attracted some walkers and Kenny had to physically pull him into the RV. You were lucky the walkers were focused on me and not on you.”
“And the others, are they safe?”
“Clementine and the rest of them are safe as far as I can tell when they left me,” Lilly paused and looked very tired now. “So, are you going to shot me now and or simply ask more questions?”
“Carley,” Michael finally spoke up. She almost forgot that they still had an audience. “She’s not worth it.”
“Except I have a nice little reminder whenever I look into a mirror thanks to her.” Carley replied, her anger boiling over again. “Do you know what it is like to hate the very sight of your own reflection?”
Michael’s answer was sincere. “Yes I do and you will hate yourself even more if you do this.”
“Then tell me how to forgive something like this?” Carley said through clenched teeth. “She scarred me for life!”
“I never said it would be easy,” Michael said. “But you have some of your answers about Lee and the others. We can go home and figure this out. You‘re not alone.”
Carley lowered her weapon slightly as she glanced from the soldier to the old marine.
“Don’t look at me.” Burt said softly as he could with his gruff voice. “I would just shot her myself but you’re not me. Listen, just forget about me, forget about Michael, just do what you feel is right.”
What is right or wrong anymore?
Carley thought darkly. There are no cops left to arrest her, let alone thinking of trying her in court. It was so easy to talk to Lee about doing the right thing, I even convinced him to tell people who were the closest to him about his past. It’s what I believed in but when something horrible happens to you then suddenly all of it goes out the window as you seek your pound of flesh in the name of revenge. My only two options are to kill Lilly or let her go. It’s easy to kill when defending yourself or others but to shoot someone who is defenceless. However, this is what that bitch did to me!!! I hate this…
Slowly, Carley lowered her gun and Lilly was literally holding her breath, unsure what was going to happen next.
“I want you to listen to me Lilly,” Carley said, her voice dripping with venom. “If I ever see you again, so help me I will…”
She was interrupted by a gunshot.
Carley flinched but she wasn’t hit. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw and heard Michael’s ballistic vest take the hit. Burt took his eyes off of the Woodbury people for a second as he saw Michael stagger slightly from the force of the impact.
Using that distraction, Ron went for his gun. Reaching behind, he pulled out a 357 magnum revolver from his waistband and aimed it at Burt. Before he could fire, Ron was hit multiple times in the chest and once in the head from Carley, as she unloaded her own weapon into him.
Terry was shouting, unable to stop Ron from getting himself killed. Terry didn’t want this mess to happen and now they’re going to die because the fool who was covering them thought it was a good idea to shot the soldier dressed in body armor first. Suddenly, he was tackled by Lilly, as she pushed him to the ground, just as Michael shook off the hit and stood up straight and returned fire towards the hill top.
“Get behind me!” Michael yelled as he fired his rifle at the hill, trying to find, or at least, keep their attacker from sniping at them again.
“Stay down!” Carley shouted at Lilly and Terry. “Don’t fucking look at us!”
“Look up and you’re dead!” Burt added. The two on the ground instantly obeyed.
From the humvee, they heard Saul open up, firing several rounds over their heads at the same hilltop. There was a pause in firing when they heard his slightly stressed voice over Michael’s radio.
“I got a lot walkers coming at me from behind my position! Get back here now before I run out of bullets because I refuse to be on their menu!”
“Get back to the humvee!” Michael ordered. “I’ll cover you!”
Carley didn’t argue this time as she and Burt started retreating back to the humvee, firing several parting shots at the hilltop, adding their fire to Michael’s and Saul’s.
Dashing back to their vehicle, Carley ran as fast as she could. Even though Burt was twice her age, the old but still strong marine was out pacing her. Then she heard Michael behind her and she glanced over her shoulder, expecting the army sergeant to be passing her but he was right on her tail, almost shadowing her. Michael was in excellent shape and even with all his gear on, he could outrun her fairly easily but he was remaining right behind her. Carley then realized he was shielding her. He had the helmet and protective vest on and he was using his body to protect her from any possible sniper fire.
They came to the old fallen tree and Burt jumped over it first. Then it was Carley’s turn and she leapt over it but a second later, she heard the shot from behind and a cry of pain from Michael. She stopped to look back to see Michael on the ground in a sprawling heap just pass the log. He must have been hit when he had just jumped over it. She feared that he was dead but then she saw him moving and blood on the back of his right thigh soaking his uniform.
“Michael!” Carley ran back to him even as the sniper fired again and missed, hitting the ground beside her. Then she heard Saul’s rifle returning fire.
Holstering her gun, she dropped down to Michael’s side. Grasping his protective vest with both hands and all her might, Carley started pulling him back towards the log for cover.
It was then Michael started coming back to his senses from his hard face plant to the ground. He realized he was being dragged back to the log and saw who was helping him. “What are you doing Carley? Run!”
“Shut up and help me move you!” Carley shouted back.
Using his arms and good leg, Michael helped Carley move him back to fallen tree. She collapsed down to Michael’s right as the sniper opened fire again, striking the log.
Michael checked his rifle before looking at Carley. “You should have kept on running.” He told her .
“You’re welcomed,” She replied sarcastically. “Can you imagine the hell that Pegs would give me if anything happened to you?”
Michael shook his head with a slight smile and pointed to Carley. “Watch our right and the tree line. Our left is okay, it’s clear straight to the highway and Saul has an easy line of sight over that area.”
Nodding, and still keeping low, Carley drew her gun again and aimed it to protect their right flank. “How’s your leg?” She asked.
“Hurts but nothing is broken.” Michael grunted as he tested his leg. “Bleeding is not bad. Nothing vital was hit.”
“Want me to check it?” She offered.
“No, keep your eyes forward. We’ll just wait for Saul and Burt. They will come for us in the humvee.” Michael said as he watched Burt reach their vehicle and disappeared behind it before hearing an eruption of gunfire.
That didn’t sound too promising.
“Uh, are you sure you don’t what me to slap a tourniquet on it if we have a longer than expected wait?” She offered again.
Puffing, Burt finally reached the humvee and as he came around to the other side, he found a slaughter. Dozens of walkers were littered about twenty feet from their vehicle. Saul was alternating between giving them covering fire against the sniper on the hill before being forced to shoot the walkers that were creeping up behind him. He was basically fighting a battle on two fronts, protecting them and protecting himself.
The old marine walked towards the young black soldier while firing Shirley at three of the closest walkers causing their heads to literally explode from the impact of the powerful rounds fired from his Desert Eagle gun.
“Michael got hit!” Saul yelled to him as he also turned to fire on even more walkers continuing to pour from the forest.
“I know!” Burt shouted back as he shot his gun again at the approaching dead, his temper threatening to get the better of him. “I knew this rescue would be a waste of fuel, ammo and maybe our lives!” He then gestured his head to the humvee. “Get in and pop the roof hatch! I’m driving and while you‘re at it, get the SAW out of the back!”
They just fucked with the wrong people!
Burt thought to himself and he was going to hit that point home to these Woodbury people.
“I don’t see them.”
“What?” Carley looked back at Michael in alarm to see him peeking over the log with his rifle, trying to locate the sniper. She then glanced to the humvee which hadn’t moved yet.
“I don’t see them,” Michael repeated before ducking back down. “Lilly and Terry must have crawled out of sight.”
Carley looked at him and his bleeding leg for a moment. “I’m sorry.”
“I endangered everyone by threatening to kill Lilly.”
Michael managed a chuckle. “Well, she did pull a Dick Cheney on you but in the end you kept control. A lot better than some soldiers I served with during combat.” He paused and looked at her. “When we get out of here, I’ll see if I can get some volunteers to go with you to Macon and check out that motel and see if your friends are there. It sounds like a longshot after what Lilly told us but we can make sure.”
Carley couldn’t help but smile. “Thank you Michael.”
“Good,” he pointed to Carley’s right. “Now, keeping checking that tree line, until we‘re out of here.”
“You got it boss.”
A moment later, she heard Michael saying in relief. “The humvee is moving. They’re coming for us.”
Carley glanced over and the humvee was indeed on the move and heading for them. Then she finally saw the massive horde of walkers slowly trying to chase after the vehicle.
Quietly, she started praying for their transportation. Please don’t breakdown. Please don’t breakdown. Please don’t breakdown. Please don’t breakdown.
Standing with the top hatch opened, Saul rested the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW) on it’s bipod on the roof of the humvee before levelling it down range at the hill. With a simple pull of the trigger he unleashed a hail of 5.56 rounds. He couldn’t see the sniper but machine gun fire is always an effective deterrent for any would be living attacker. Accuracy by volume hardly ever fails.
Burt accelerated slightly as he swerved around the log placing the armoured vehicle between Michael & Carley and the hill where the sniper was firing from.
“Get in!” Saul yelled to them as he fired another long burst from the M249 as they came to a complete stop next to them.
Carley grabbed Michael by the arm and helped to pull him to his feet and together they stood up.
It took a bit of effort and luck but Terry managed to circle quickly around to flank them. Their leader Michael was with that Carley woman and both were seeking shelter behind that fallen tree. He was back in far enough in the woods on their right that they couldn’t see him. In fact, their leader appeared to be wounded.
Both he and Lilly managed to crawl their way to the trees to get out of the crossfire. However, as soon as they got to cover, Lilly started to insist that they head back to Woodbury but he wasn’t going runaway like a coward. That Carley woman killed Ron and he was going to make her pay.
As Terry readied his rifle, it was then the humvee pulled up and one of them was on top firing a machine gun!
Terry ducked down further but they still couldn’t see him. As he watched, Carley helped Michael to his feet to get him to the vehicle. It was perfect. He couldn’t do much to the soldiers with their protective helmets and vests, but she was between him and their leader, completely exposed.
“Goodnight darling.” He whispered. This is for Ron.
He careful raised his rifle and sighted her in. He was an expert hunter and had made shots from this distance many times before. He rested the crosshairs on her head before he held his breath and squeezed the trigger.
A hand slammed down on the barrel of his rifle as he fired, striking the ground instead. Startled, he looked up to see Lilly was standing over him.
“NO!” She said. “Just let them go!”
Angry, he rose up to his knees. “What the fuck…” He started to demand.
Saul heard a rifle shot to his right. He swung the machine gun around and immediately raked the nearby tree line with a shower of lead. He kept on shooting, giving covering fire as Carley helped Michael into the back of the humvee before jumping into the front passenger seat herself.
As the doors to the humvee closed, Burt floored the vehicle and they were off racing back to Highway 85 and home leaving Woodbury and the hungry mass of walkers far behind them.
Lilly heard the roaring engine of the humvee departing which intermingled with the sounds of hundreds of moaning walkers nearby. She was amazed to be alive after what felt like the entire forest around her exploded with machine gun fire.
She tried to get up but there was weight across her chest holding her down, it was Terry’s body. Carefully, Lilly pushed him off and checked him. He was just inches from her but he was stuck with several fatal rounds fired from that machine gun and she was barely scratched.
She looked upon his body with sadness. Like her, he just didn’t know when to let go. He wanted to avenge Ron but killing Carley could have ignited a war between Carley’s well armed friends and theirs. Also, Carley decided to spare her life, for whatever her reason. Lilly owed her for that and for what she did to her before. She just wished Terry wasn’t the one that had to pay the price. He was kind to her and looked after her when she first joined Woodbury. Now she had some explaining to do with the Governor about the death of two of their people. She was starting to feel cursed.
Wasting little time, she gathered up Terry’s rifle and fired one mercy round for into him to prevent from turning. Now moving quickly, she hurried back to the top of the hill. Thankfully the departing humvee was drawing most of the walkers away from her by now.
She raced to the top of the hill, praying he was there because it will be a long dangerous walk back to Woodbury by herself. Once there, she looked and spotted the truck parked along the trail and standing next to it, holding his rifle was Bruce.
Lilly waved in relief and hurried to him, thankful he stuck around. Bruce himself was also relieved as she approached him. He was young and unfortunately, reminded Lilly a little too much of Ben from her old group but at least she could tolerate him.
“I thought you were all dead but I decided to wait five minutes.” Bruce said. “I saw what happened to Ron… Did Terry make it?”
Lilly shook her head and Bruce looked depressed and started blaming himself. “When they drew their weapons on you I didn’t know what to do. I thought that one woman was about to kill you. When I saw the chance, I took the shot and kept shooting until I ran out of ammo. What happened?”
“They…” Lilly thought for a moment. “They were interrogating us, trying to learn more about Woodbury. The number of people we have, weapons, food stores. You did the right thing.”
She wanted to punch Bruce for shooting in the first place. If he hadn’t, both sides could have walked away and never bothered each other again. Regardless, Lilly had to lie or the Governor would punish her. He seemed to be a good leader who can make the hard calls. Unfortunately, he can be very unforgiving to utter incompetence and especially to betrayal. Lilly was new and she can’t risk being thrown out or worst. However, Bruce is originally from Woodbury and all she had to do was matchup her story with what he saw.
Bruce looked up saw walkers cresting the hill that Lilly had just came over. They were following her. “We best clear out and get home. Did you get a name of who they were?”
“No,” Lilly shook her head as they hurried to the truck. “They didn’t give a name or where they are from.”
Lilly couldn’t believe how lost she was and she needed purpose, a reason to live. Maybe she could rebuild her life in Woodbury as she hoped. The people there seemed to have faith in this Governor and perhaps he can lead them all out of this darkness and horror and not into another nightmare.
She can only hope.
A mile down the road, Burt was driving the humvee as fast as he dared on the wreckage filled highway, trying to get Michael back to the Nest and Doctor Cottle as soon as possible.
“As soon as we’re in range of the Nest, I’ll radio them to be ready for us.” Burt said.
A concerned Carley looked over the backseat. “How is he?” She asked Saul as he worked to control the bleeding from Michael’s leg.
“I’m still conscious you know.” Michael winced as Saul tightened the tourniquet around his right thigh. “You can ask me.”
“But a patient makes for a lousy doctor.” Saul joked.
“Okay, doc,” Michael relented. “Tell her how am I doing.”
“The bullet went clean through and I got the bleeding stopped.” Saul informed Carley before adding jokingly “But I’m not sure if he’ll be able to ever dance again.”
“Maybe it’s because I can’t dance to begin with.” Michael declared.
Michael’s rare attempt at dry humor got everyone in the vehicle to laugh and release some of the tension builtup from their close call. After they quieted down, Burt spoke up.
“I think it’s safe to say we won’t be coming this way in the foreseeable future unless we’re looking to start a war.”
For once Michael was in complete agreement. “For now, none of our patrols comes within 30 miles of Woodbury for any reason.”
Carley sat back down silently wondering if sparing Lilly‘s life was the right thing to do. She can’t help but to wonder if her act of mercy will cost someone else in the long run. She can only hope that it won‘t.
“Lets make it 40 to be safe.” Carley suggested. Lilly is not her problem anymore and she won’t waste another moment thinking about her .
Unknowingly, she glanced at a road sign on a turn off along Highway 85. Carley read it but didn’t give it a second thought as they drove on by heading straight for home.
The road sign read:
WEST CENTRAL PRISON
Next Chapter: Travelier
Be kind and leave some feedback.