A Walking Dead Reimage
Along the empty roads, a single cruiser drives. Within lies a man, the driver, and a woman, his passenger. The man looks cleaned up, showcasing a stubble and wearing a police uniform that yet has suffered through the new world. The woman looks unkempt in comparison; brown hair unwashed, face dirtied, clothing torn in specific locations. His blue eyes remain on the road; her brown eyes shift between the road and the man beside her.
Outside the vehicle, birds chirp and bugs chitter, and the engine rumbles. Nothing else can be heard; the road is too smooth to create clunks of noise beneath the tires.
For a while, everything ahead is clear; no signs of the new life they’ve entered, but also no signs of the one they left behind. It is just empty, the road. Backstreets, highways, what were once busy or packed are now eerily silent.
And that’s when reality struck again.
Once they turn a corner, and drive up ahead some ways, the road becomes full. It’s not like the old world, though; these cars are overturned in various ways, no human life in sight. The man slows the cruiser. They barely pass an upside down jeep before the vehicle comes to a complete stop beside a wrecked semi.
“And here I was hoping the intersection would remain clear,” the woman utters, looking visibly distraught for a moment before blankness took its place. She glances at the man. “Rick,” she says. He looks at her. “This time, save your bullets and use the knife I gave you instead. It’s much, much quieter, yeah?”
Rick doesn’t say a word; he just nods.
The woman exits the cruiser, softly closing the door behind her; the less noise they make, the better the outcome. She walks towards the trunk as it clicks, creaking open slightly. She grabs the red gas canister from within, a makeshift siphorer already attached. She closes the trunk, careful not to make any loud sounds. When she sees Rick put on his deputy’s hat again, she can’t help her smirk. He notices. “Don’t,” he quietly says.
"I didn't say anything," she defends, still smirking.
"You were thinking about it." Gently, he takes the canister from her. “Come on.”
They walk across the street, stepping into the grass, heading downhill towards the gas station. Amid the overturned vehicles, trash lays across the ground, scattered all over. Some cars, whilst upright, are completely unusable, ruined from the accidents that transpired there, based on the looks of possible events.
“Inona,” Rick says, looking horrified as he briefly pauses in his step. He’d been hoping that other places hadn’t been hit so badly, but the further they go, the more his hope diminishes.
“Don’t think about it,” she tells him, never stopping her movement. She pulls a knife out, in case of a walker encounter. “Just keep moving and pray for fuel.”
It’s easy for Inona to ignore the sadness in the atmosphere; she just doesn’t look at the destroyed campsite they’re walking through to get to their destination. Rick, on the other hand, is unable to stop glancing around, spotting toys and strollers for toddlers and infants. God, even the children hadn’t survived…
Inona glances back, sighing at the continued expression of horror on Rick’s face. She pauses her walking this time. “I told you not to think about it.”
“It’s hard not to,” he utters, eyeing a bloodied stuffed animal.
Inona stares at him a little longer before sighing again, glancing away. “Yeah… Yeah, I suppose it is…” Keep moving, don’t think about the loss of humanity, think about living and continuing one’s legacy; it’s her motto. It’s kept her alive, kept her sane since the outbreak began. Now, she has company and the...naive man keeps making her think about shit she doesn’t wanna think about. The sooner they found his wife and kid, the sooner she could part ways from him; that’s the deal. Or, at least, that’s what it was before they started developing their current friendship.
They recommence their walking. Inona goes back to ignoring the depressing scene; Rick continues glancing around, this time catching glimpses of decomposing corpses within the vehicles they pass, flies buzzing around them. One happens to be a child; it’s an extremely disheartening, and unfortunate, sight to behold.
They make it to the gas station. A sign hangs before them. No Gas.
Rick briefly stares at the sign before looking at Inona. She looks back at him. They stare at one another for a moment before Inona huffs. “Right, you just woke up from a coma. Of course you wouldn’t…” She stops speaking, never completing the sentence. “It’s not surprising to see a sign like this,” she explains. “Everyone was getting what they could at the beginning before they couldn’t get anything.” She gestures at the sign. “I wanted to check, just to be sure. You never know until you know.” She turns around and stares at the vehicles they passed. “We’ll have to search the cars for any spare gasoline… I was kinda hoping to avoid that but-”
Instead of interrupting herself again, the sudden shuffling of footsteps does so. Inona grips her knife tightly, going into a defensive stance. She thinks, perhaps hopes, Rick will do the same with the knife she’d given him but alas, he kneels down and looks beneath a nearby car.
The look on Inona’s face is hysterical. “What are you doing?!” she hisses quietly, glancing around for the walker, human, or animal that’s lurking near them. “Now is not the time for dropping guards.”
He doesn’t answer her. She strains to listen for any snarls as she looks at the man again; suddenly, he’s quickly getting up and running around the car he just looked underneath. She follows behind him quickly, uttering swears under her breath. He’d never have survived out there by himself…
That’s when she sees what he had seen. That’s when she freezes in her step. That’s when she drops her own guard and just stands there, gawking.
Across from them, slowly walking away on the road, is a little girl; she’s in a nightgown, slippers, and is carrying a teddy bear. For a second, just a second, Inona hopes this girl is alive.
”Little girl?” Rick calls, reaching out towards her but not taking a step further. No response. “I’m a policeman.” No response. “Little girl.” She stops. She just stands there, never looking towards them. “Don’t be afraid., okay?” Inona shifts on her feet, becoming worried; she steps closer to Rick, knife ready to potentially defend him. “Little girl.”
Inona should’ve expected it. Rick should’ve known of the possibility.
The little girl turns around; it’s not a little girl anymore. It’s a walker. A large section of her right cheek is missing, showing her teeth. “Goddamn it…” Inona whispers, looking saddened by the reveal. Rick, however, looks panicked and shocked; he backs up into Inona, who barely moves her knife outta the way in time. “Jesus, Rick!”
The walker starts shuffling towards them, groaning.
Inona knows she needs to kill it but finds herself unable to make a move of doing so. If she cannot do it, she doubts Rick can bring himself to stab the thing in the head. “...Fuck it. Do it, Rick. Shoot it.” She didn’t have to tell him twice; before the walker could finally reach them, Rick draws his pistol and fires, striking it in the head. It falls backwards onto the ground, lifeless permanently.
It takes some time but Rick comes out of his state of shock. He looks at Inona. “I thought you said to save my bullets and use the knife you gave me?”
Inona flushes. “Yeah, well, uh…” She shakes her head, pushing away her emotions; she’s blank faced again. She clears her throat, putting away her unused knife. “Right. So, now only use the knife I gave you. She was an exception but only her; I didn’t wanna stab her face and...your first knife kill shouldn’t be a child; you aren’t at the advanced stage of walker killing yet, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves here.”
Rick looks a little amused. “Uh huh.”
Inona huffs and turns from him. “Let’s just get the damn gas and go.”