|The Walking Dead: Book Five|
Michonne returns to the ruins of the prison, and upon finding Tyreese's undead decapitated head drives her sword through it. She investigates the wreckage of the RV, but finds nothing except footprints leading away from the battle, which she follows. Around 3 to 4 days later, Rick and Carl are seen in a forest looking for some shelter for the night until they come across a small, deserted town. They investigate a nearby store, but are attacked by a zombie. Rick tries to drive his axe through its head, but is unable to penetrate its skull. Carl shoots the zombie after Rick lures it outside, and Rick asks Carl for his gun to dispose of another zombie. They hide in a nearby house and Rick takes a huge dose of antibiotics for the bullet wound in his stomach. Carl finds Rick unconscious, his eyes glazed over.
After defeating three zombies who were banging on the door of the house all by himself, one of which attacked him from behind, Carl decides that he no longer needs his dad to survive. He blames his father for failing to protect Lori and Judith, as well as the rest of their previous party. Rick momentarily wakes up and pleads with Carl to stay indoors. Carl agrees and holds Rick's head, taking back what he said about not needing his father's protection.
Rick eventually gets better after many days staying in the house. Just as they plan on leaving, Rick hears a telephone ringing and answers it and talks to a woman who is apparently with a bigger group. After speaking with her, they decide to stay. While hunting, the two encounter an unknown survivor. Before Carl can even get close, the man is torn apart by a mass of zombies. After walking away, they find an open car filled with lots of supplies which apparently belonged to the unknown survivor. Carl realizes that he was setting himself up to die, like Carol. Rick gets a call on the phone of the house they are staying in. Rick begins to talk to the voice and converse about their ordeals. Eventually, he asks for the woman's name and she answers Lori. Rick then forcefully unplugs the phone but can still hear Lori speaking on the line. This causes him to realize that the phone calls were all in his head and that he is trying to console his massive sense of guilt by " talking" to his wife. Eventually, he "hangs up" although he takes the phone with him in his backpack when they depart later that day.
Continuing their journey, Rick tries to teach as much as he can to Carl, to help him be able to stay alive even if Rick should be killed. When Rick leaves Carl alone, in order to forage for some gas, a zombie attacks the child, who's saved by Michonne. Michonne rejoins the group, revealing that a still unknown survivor from the prison escaped. Michonne was following the tracks to find out if he/she was one of them, or one of the attackers. The next morning they are reunited with Glenn and Maggie Greene, who are riding on horseback. Maggie learns that her father and brother are dead.
Rick, Carl, and Michonne return to the Greene Family Farm where Dale, Andrea, Ben, Billy, Sophia, Glenn, and Maggie have been staying. Carl and Sophia are reunited, where Carl learns that Sophia has repressed her memories of her mother and now thinks that Glenn and Maggie are her real parents. After Rick talks to Carl about Sophia's way to process things that have happened, he talks with Dale about the possibility of staying at the farm permanently. Dale comments on how the farm would not be a target and how it is no longer the dead he is afraid of anymore. Rick starts to cry, thinking that Dale did the smart thing by leaving and that they would've been fine if they had left too. Dale attempts to console Rick by saying that he has made many good decisions to keep them all alive and offers to talk to him about losing his wife. Later, Michonne reveals to Rick that she's been "talking" to her dead boyfriend. Rick shows Michonne his phone and explains that every time he picks up the phone's receiver, he talks to Lori. Rick and Michonne agree to keep each other's "craziness" a secret.
The next morning, the survivors are woken by a gunshot. Outside, Andrea points her rifle at three new arrivals; Abraham Ford, Rosita Espinosa and Eugene Porter. Andrea does not trust the survivors at all and immediately gets off on the wrong foot with Abraham.
Ford explains that they are on a mission to Washington, D.C. and have come to the farm for supplies for the long journey. Eugene, a scientist, reveals he knows exactly what caused the creation of the zombie plague, yet reveals little as he deems the details classified. After a discussion of their current situation and an attack on the farm by zombies, the group decides to travel along with the visitors on their way to Washington. Rick decides that he is through making the decisions and does not trust himself anymore. As they are preparing their convoy (Rick's car, Abraham's army truck, and Glenn and Maggie on horseback), Rick pulls Carl aside and talks with him about staying with the group and warns him to never let his guard down, ever. With this in mind, Rick and Carl enter their car with Michonne and the convoy departs the farm.
The survivors travel and set up camp along their way to Washington, D.C. but Rick still feels guilty for the decision that lead to many deaths, but is primarily tormented by the death of his wife, Lori, and daughter, Judith. He has a long talk with "Lori" on his phone about his dream where he is almost unable to stop Carl from dying. Meanwhile, Maggie Greene is going through depression due to the loss of her entire family, and Glenn is unable to comfort her. The group scavenges a small town for supplies and discovers a zombie that is too weak to attempt to eat anyone. The group ponders if the zombies can be malnourished or even starve to death.
The group sets up camp again, and Maggie leaves to use the restroom. After a while, Glenn sets off to find her and discovers that she is hanging from a tree with a rope tied around her neck.
Glenn screams for help and Abraham cuts her down, only to find that she is not breathing. Glenn wants to do CPR, but Abraham puts a gun to her head and says that she is dead and they have to shoot her or she will come back as a zombie. The group argues and just as Abraham is about to pull the trigger, Rick puts a gun to Abraham's head and says that if he shoots Maggie, he will kill him. Just then, Maggie gasps for air, revealing that she was alive. The group goes back to camp, and Maggie does not want to talk to anyone, even her husband, about what she tried to do. Rick is watching over the camp that night until Abraham comes to relieve him and tells Rick that if he ever points a gun at him again, he will kill him. Rick replies that if Abraham ever does something that requires Rick to put the gun to his head, he won't hesitate to shoot.
The next morning, Rick is attacked by a zombie but does not have a weapon and is unable to defend himself, but can see Abraham pointing a gun in his direction. Rick screams for Abraham to shoot, but Abraham just watches. Finally, he shoots the zombie and saves Rick's life. Abraham walks away from the group, and Rosita finds him shaking and crying. Abraham tells her he was pointing the gun at Rick before he even saw the zombie. He pleads with Rosita to not let him kill again. Rosita assures him that the people he killed in the past left him no choice and it was not his fault.
The group stops at a gas station and tries to decide the best route to get to Washington D.C. and whether they should take the interstate. Rick tells Abraham that he wants to take the interstate to his hometown to get extra supplies from the police station and to check on "old friends." Abraham agrees, and the group decides to wait while they go. Rick, his son Carl, and Abraham set off, with Michonne stating that if they are not back in three days, she will set off to find them. On the first night of their trip, they are surprised at knife point by three bandits who want to take their supplies. Rick tries to fight them off, but he is overpowered and beaten. The bandits then say they are going to rape Carl because Rick tried to fight. Rick bites the neck of the bandit holding him back, killing him. This causes the bandit holding a gun to Abraham to get distracted and Abraham shoots him in the head. The third bandit tries to run away, but Rick chases him down and brutally kills him.
The next morning, Abraham tells Rick that no one is the same after doing something like that. Abraham tells Rick that at the beginning of the outbreak, he and a group of friends banded together. During this time, after successfully securing a grocery store, Abraham went out to search for more weapons. While he was gone, his friends raped his wife and daughter while they made his son watch. In a fit of rage, he killed the men who did it. After that, his wife and children were scared of him and decided to run away. After a day of searching, Abraham caught up with them, but they eaten alive or zombified and he had to kill them. Rick reveals to Abraham how he killed Dexter and Martinez at the prison to protect his wife and son. Carl talks about how he killed Shane when Shane threatened Rick.
At long last, Rick, Abraham, and Carl reach Rick's hometown. There they find an unstable Morgan and Morgan's undead son who is chained to the floor. Unwilling to kill his own son, Morgan remained with Duane and killed anyone who came to their house to feed him. After seeing this, Rick has a short discussion with Morgan and hands him a gun, explaining to him that he must kill Duane and move on. A gunshot is heard and Morgan leaves the house with Rick and his party. It is revealed that Morgan fired a gunshot and freed Duane instead of killing him. Morgan, Rick, Carl, and Abraham go to the police station to get the guns. After spending a sleepless night out in the open, they are driving along when they come upon a herd of about a thousand zombies. Rick drives as fast as he can to plow through them, but hits an abandoned car. They escape on foot and are pursued by zombies. Rick and the others escape the herd by tricking them into thinking they've occupied a house, they do this by searching around the house for electrical appliances that would make a large noise. This plan fails and they are pursued by the herd back to the gas station. In a state of panic, they declare that they must immediately leave and get back on the road. Dale is reluctant, because he's found an isolated farm house and wants to settle down and feels that Rick is continually putting the group into serious danger. Andrea convinces Dale to leave.