Welcome Back! time for more diaries of the apocalypse. if this episode seems like you;ve missed something, it's probably because you have. I regularly update these when i don't finish them, so just go back and look at a previous episode if you find yourself lost in the woods. as with my other story, the timeline of events may not match up perfectly with the TV show, but too bad, screw you. I feel like it has become necessary for me to point out that the events of the TV series are happening alongside these, i'm just too lazy to write about them.

Scene opens with Paul and Daryl riding along the creek bed where the doll was found.

Paul: "ummm.. i think it was around here somewhere... i'm sorry. i wasnt really paying atention to where i was..."

Daryl: "great. Fantastic. well, lets just split up. i'll go this way, you head back that way. meet back here in an hour."

Paul: "sounds like a plan. see you later."

Daryl rides up the creek, and Paul rides down. Paul rides for his hour, and then returns to their meeting point. Daryl isnt there. Paul rides up the creek, to where daryl was supposed to go, and after a few miles, sees him collapsed at the bottom of the creek, a walker approaching him, his horse long gone.

Paul: "daryl! look out!"

Daryl wakes up, sees the walker, and starts scrabbling backwards. Paul gets off his horse and begins to take aim with his rifle. Meanwhile, more walkers are coming down the creek, at least eight of them, slowly converging on daryl. Paul takes his shot, and the walker at daryl's feet falls. Daryl swifly prepares his crossbow, and loses the arow in his stomach in the nearest walker. Daryl begins to work his way up the creek, away from the walkers, limping slowly, on account of his wounds. Paul watches and snipes from a distance, taking out any walkers that get too close. Behind Paul, however, a walker has heard the gunfire and shouts, and slowly approaches Paul. King Begins to whine, and Paul turns around to see the walker almost on him.

Paul is startled by the walker and gets pushed down the escarpment, into the creek, his horse also having run off, with the cowardly King following close behind. when Paul reaches the bottom, he is temporarily dazed, and is almost bitten by the walker who fell after him, but daryl reaches it just in time and beats it to death with a rock. The two of them, poorly armed and both in poor condition to fight (daryl much more so than Paul) rise up and look for a way out.

Paul: "over there! we can climb that hill!"

The two begin their climb, Paul oftentimes supporting Daryl, who is weak from his wounds, and also stopping every once in a while to take out one or two of the growing group of walkers following them up the hill.

They reach the top, and begin their getaway, both covered in mud, and, in daryl's case, blood, most of it his own. Paul leads Daryl across a clearing to a nearby farmhouse, the walkers still close behind. Paul shoves Daryl in and barricades the door behind them with a nearby bookshelf. The walkers begin pounding at the doors and windows, and they both know this hideout won't last for long.

Paul: "lets see about bandaging that wound, and a way out of here. I'll go find some rags or something. sit here, and maybe see about some kind of weapon. you lost all your arrows, right?"

Daryl: "yeah... There's a garage. might be a car."

While Paul is in the kitchen, looking for a first aid kit, and then the bedroom, looking for some rags, Daryl explores the house, finding no walkers, but also discovering Sophias blanket and food can.

Paul: "sorry, man. nothing we can use here, but i did find car keys in the bedroom dresser. we should be good if they're not in the garage."

Daryl: "look at this. somebody's been at this food recently, and there's a little bed made up in this closet over here. it's the girl."

Paul: "you think she's still around? we may have scared her off if she was hiding here."

Daryl: "My thoughts exactly. We can leave another note and come back tomorrow. Lets see about that garage."

They go into the garage and find two walkers beating at the windows of an ancient car, at least 20 years old, where a corpse sits

Paul: "they're horrible, but it really is amazing how persistant they are."

Daryl: "how should we take em out? you still got ammo for that rifle of yours?"

Paul: "nope. there are knives in the kitchen, though. and some friendly looking pipes and stuff right over there."

Daryl walks over to the nearby pile of piping, and proceeds to brutally kill both walkers, waking up the corpse in the car, who was also a walker all along. Paul takes out this one, using a nearby 2x4 to beat it to death.

Daryl: "think it runs?"

Paul: "lets find out..." they sit down in both seats, and Paul turns the key, gratified to hear the low hum of the engine at work. "shit!"

Daryl: "what is it? we gotta get back to camp soon. I don't like the look of this wound. i took out those last two on pure adrenaline."

Paul: "there isn't enough gas to get us back to the farm. maybe halfway, at best. Can you walk that far? I want to go see about finding the horses and King. plus, if sophia WAS scared off by us, she'll still be in the area. once we get away from the walkers, you'll need to get back to the farm yourself. can you manage that?"

Daryl: "I think so. I'll make it back to camp ok."

This is when the walkers begin to beat at the garage door, limiting their options for escape once again.

Paul: "looks like we'll jus have to smash through it.."

The garage door gives way easily, and the two make their getaway from the house, which quickly fills with the undead. The car makes it an astounding five-hundred feet before failing, and the two go their seperate ways, daryl headed back for the farm, and Paul returning carefully to the farmhouse to look for sophia, king, and the horses.

Paul: "when i find them, i'll try and pick you up on your way back."

Paul goes back to the house, and searches the area for a while. finding nothing, he returns to where they lost the horses at the creek, and begins to follow the clear hoofprints in the soft mud to where the horses and dog are. in a clearing less than three-hundred yards away. removing some rope from his backpack, Paul ties the two horses together, and gets back on his, leading both horses and the dog back to the farm, covered in mud and blood, and with little to show for it.

While Daryl and Paul are out running from walkers, Frank is seeing patricia about pills for his upset stomach. after recieving the pills, she and frank talk aver a glass of water.

Patricia: "i can see how you might be upset, after that scene at the well. that was truly awful"

Frank: "it really was..."

Patricia: "what they did to that poor man... there must be incidents like that all over the world nowadays. and who knows if they're doing is even wrong. hershell holds out hope still, but i really can't know if there is any way of treating these poor people."

Frank: "I don't think what they did was wrong... it's just when i saw that man fall apart like that, all i could think about was otis, and how we left him to the same fate... I feel like i don't deserve to be alive right now..."

Patricia: "it's kind of you to care so much for my husband. Having lost him has made me start thinking about the nature of this disease, like, if i were infected... one of them... would i want to live like that? a constant threat to every person still alive... a cannibalistic undead monster... I don't think i would. and it makes me think about all those people in the ba-" she stumbles with her words "the world, sick and dying..."

Frank: "Patricia... I have to tell you something..."

Patricia: "what?"

Frank: "it's about otis. you may not like hearing it, but i can't stand lying like this. When he and shane were trying to get away from the horde, he and shane never did any of that stuff shane said they had done. otis didnt talk about the boy, he never made any noble sacrifice... He was bitten on his leg, and shane was injured as well. you saw what his heel was like. the two of them were surrounded, about to be overrun, when I threw my decoy, in order to give them room to get into the car. The crowd thinned out just in time for me to see Shane and Otis struggling for the respirator on the ground. Shane slammed the butt of his pistol into otis's head, and took the bag. as shane made his way through the horde, i could hear otis shouting after him "Bastard! You Bastard!" But shane was shouting at me to drive, or else they would get in the car, and there was nothing i could do. otis was ripped apart by the horde, and probably looks alot like the walker in the well now. I couldnt stand the lies, so I had to tell you. I feel like we used otis. because the walkers would have been on shane if they werent busy going at otis. I feel like we used him as a tool for our own safety. and whenever I see something like that i just feel dirty. I dont ever want to have to kill again."

Patricia stares at frank, and it takes a long time for this news and it's implications to fully dawn on her. when it does, she collapses crying into Frank's arms. Thanking him for his honesty and for remaining a person in spite of the things he's seen. Frank struggles to comfort her, but he can't do much good.

Patricia: "I understand that it was necessary, but this new story just hurts so much more... I can't help hating shane for keeping that from me. I want him gone. I want him away from this farm, away from people who still care, like you."

Frank: "Patricia, I don't think we can go public with this story. please... If we do, it will create a rift between our groups and yours. we may have to leave if this ever gets out. All of us. My group would leave to stay together, and Paul would leave so his sister could have other kids to be with, and the security of a larger group. We can't let people know about this, or this new security we have all found could shatter like glass. I hate asking you this, i really do, but please. this situation is fragile, holding the lives of dozens of people balanced on the end of a pin. we need to be careful. Please, consider it."

Patricia: "I think so... For you."

Suddenly, she starts to look a bit confused and begins to back away. "i'm sorry, but i have chores to attend to. Thank you again for your honesty."

Suddenly there is a gunshot, and the two rush outside to see daryl almost killed by andrea. Patricia watches until she can see everyone supporting daryl back to the house, then rushes in to prepare the medical equipment. Frank goes off to find Callie, who will be needed again to treat daryl.

Later that day, everyone has returned, and they are discussing the events of the day over dinner around the campfire.

Morgan: "I think we should start setting a guard to patroll the highway. If sophia comes along, we'll find her there. she's probably found her way back there by now, and who knows, we may just run into some more new people over there."

Rick: "we may want to be careful about that, hershell is talking about us leaving, and bringing in new blood only stretches his food supply more. I asked him and he said the farm has been producing less food since the outbreak."

Anders: "yeah, but how would we turn people away? we'd be consigning them to a life that at best means hunger and insecurity, and at worst means death. I don't know I'd feel right telling somebody that."

Lori: "well, i get the feeling hershell is well practiced at telling people to leave."

Callie: "as it is, the only things keeping us here are carl being sick, and sophia being lost. i think kids in danger really tugs at hershells heartstrings. Maybe we could injure sarah or duane to buy us some extra time."

Anders: "really Callie? usually it's the girl who tells off the guy for telling inappropriate jokes."

Frank goes to get more water from the house and shane stands up to follow.

Shane: "hey, what'd you tell patricia? when i brought daryl in today she kept giving me the evil eye, and later today i saw her talking to hershell. she kept looking over at me then, too."

Frank: "I never told her anything. I figure there wasnt anything to tell."

Shane: "now thats bullshit and you know it. you know i softened the story for the funural. My intention was to spare a greiving widow of the details of her husband's death, which, as you well know, are less than pleasant."

Frank: "look, man. I cant stop thinking about Otis. we left him there to die. his screams keep echoing in my mind, and i wonder if we could have at least brought him back with us. if he were bitten he could have at least seen his wife and neighbors one last time."

Shane: "there aint nothin' we can do about what happened to otis. it's best to just move on, but now, it seems like patricia wants ME to move on. Why couldnt you just take a hint and shut your damn mouth? look what you may have caused now."

Frank: "i don't care. I've never been a lying man and i certainly dont intend to pick up the habit now. I'm going back to dinner."

He shoves shane aside and returns to the firelight.

The next two days are unremarkable for Paul and his group. Anders, Morgan, and Dale start taking shifts patrolling the highway, but come up with nothing. Paul spends his days watching after duane, Sarah, and, on the second day, Carl. Frank is seen often helping Patricia with chores, or watching the kids when Paul is busy. The survivors all begin the task of learning to shoot, and eventually settle into a lull of sorts. settling into their new life on hershels farm. almost everyone joins in whenever possible to assist in the search for sophia. This temporary peace is stattered on the third morning, when Glenn anounces over breakfast the truth about the barn.

Glenn: "guys... the barns full of walkers..."

everyone stops. Paul is the first to get up, first telling sarah to go into the tent and then wordlessly approaching this new threat at the barn, though he is soon outstripped by shane, who runs ahead to the barn angrily.

Paul: "shane stop. it isnt a big threat now. let's not try to agitate them. it'll only make things worse."

Shane: "we're gonna have a discussion about this. not something they'll ignore. bet they're pounding on the doors already. this is not the time to be calm, it is the time to act."

Rick: "the kid's right, shane. we need to handle this situation delicately. we need to be careful if we ewant to stay there long term. we have to at least talk to him about this."

the other survivors join them, sarah included. she tentatively walks up to paul, and takes his hand in her own. it isnt long before a full blown argument is in progress. all that noise, and it is mere seconds before the doors begin to shake, to rumble with the force of dozens of corpses pushing at the door.

Frank: "maybe finish this conversation back at camp."

Once things between the survivors have cooled down somewhat, the general concensus towards the walkers in the barn is "i'll wait, not forever." Rick heads into the house to talk to hershell, and the rest of the group start planning out what this day's searching entails.

Paul: "I think we should start leaving more waypoints on the highway, and maybe just plot out a route of places we can go to every day, to see if she's found one of them and stopped."

Anders: "that sounds like an idea. today while i'm out on patroll I'll go around a few extra miles and leave some new signs."

Paul: "I can do the same for the creek. that should take most of the day but rick doesent want anybody going alone anymore after daryl got shot."

Anders: "well lets wait for him then. maybe help out with some of the chores around here."

Meanwhile, Frank goes to see Patricia. He catches her at otis's grave, where he himself placed a rock less than a week ago.

Frank: "Patricia, what do you think about the walkers in the barn?"

Patricia: "I don't know what to think. I've never been as spiritual as Hershell or his family. neither was otis. I just don't know what to think. Accepting that they're dead means so much more than accepting you've lost loved ones. it means that you've lost your world. nobody is ever coming back. Society will take years to rebuild, if ever. It's just a scary thought."

Frank: "you can't move on from losing these people until you do. I look at the wa some of them are mutilated. they'll be missing arms, or legs. one time I even saw one that was just a severed head. I think that once these people have died, there is no way to save them. they start to decay and it just cant happen."

Patricia: "It is just alot to accept. I really want to beleive you, but it is just so scary to do so. It's like I'm dangling off a cliff, and you want to tell me there's a ledge just a few feet below me I just can't see it. And it's such a narrow ledge, who knows if it's even worth trying to stand on. It might just be easier to fall off into the emptiness."

Patricia begins to approach frank, and before either of them knows it they have kissed. Patricia, ashamed, quickly backs away.

Patricia: "frank... I'd like you to leave for a moment. I need some time to think."

Wordlessly frank leaves. Patricia remains at the grave and begins to cry.

An hour later, people have grown restless. Shane grows more agitated by the minute, and it isnt long before he's handing out guns.

Paul: "I'll take one, but only because I know you're opening that barn no matter what anybody says. you wont be stopped. I just want it to make sure my sister is protected from the monsters you are about to make dangerous."

Then rick emerges from the forest with the twowalkers and hershell and jimmy. Shane leads a steady flow of survivors to the barn, sprinting ahead of all the others. In the chaos Paul runs to find Sarah. King, as usual, follows closely in Paul's footsteps.

During the argument at the barn, Paul hangs back with frank and sarah, but Anders takes shanes side, vigorously shouting with callie at his side about how the threat needs to be dealt with. once the barn doors open, the walkers spill out. the survivors open fire, callie, Morgan, and anders included. At the onset of the fight, however, Callie's pistol jams. not knowing how to do it, she is swiftly tackled by one of the walkers, and is very nearly bitten. Anders comes to her rescue at the last moment, but in his swiftness to act one creeps up behind him and bites him on the neck, giving him a mortal room that allows for only a few seconds of screaming before death. the others start to retreat, as now the fight has a casualty, and the walkers are gaining ground. Paul begins to open fire as well, killing several with his rifle and giving Callie room to escape from the walkers closing in on her dying husband. soon the massacre is over. Callie leaves her position closer to the group and rushes over to her husband. Hershell is sobbing on the ground in maggies arms, and Anders rapidly bleeds to death. Soon, the doors of the barn creak open one more time, and a little girl creeps out. Paul doesent know her, but he can see that under all the blood and muck, the little girl is the spitting image of his sister sarah. Carol runs up to embrace her daughter but is stopped by daryl. Rick approaches, fire in his eyes, and shoots her in the head. then everyone is silent. Suddenly, Callie pipes up. Sobbing, she shouts to shane, gesturing to her husbands body, and to sophia: "you see what happens? you see what happens when you act like this? people get hurt!"