Into The Fire

Separated by the blaze from Andrea and Rick, the women attempt to find their own way out of Woodbury's hell.

Woodbury Streets

"We get trapped, we're gonna be up against a firing squad!"

The questions on Carol’s face – what does Andrea mean Daryl’s not coming — turn to surprise as the debris comes down, the words ripped straight from her mouth by the fire, the only one who could’ve answered them on the other side. She’s backpedaling faster than she can think, brushing into Maggie and pulling her shoulder in the attempt to make sure they’re both out of the way of the sparking flames. The urge to shout for the others catches in her throat; they’re in enemy territory. Suddenly feeling extra aware of that, she whirls around toward the other side of Woodbury.

Maggie gives a cry of surprise as she's pulled backward by Carol and out of harm's way. There are flames and debris everywhere and she can't help but whirl around to check and make sure everyone is okay. As Carol whirls toward the other side of Woodbury, she reaches out a hand in an attempt to stop her. Carol and Michonne are there, but they are definitely mission people. "Wait! Where's Rick and Andrea?" Though she doesn't much care for the blonde at the moment, it doesn't mean she wants the woman dead. "They're not in the middle of that, are they?"

Carol doesn't catch any promising sights when she looks into the town's unfamiliar street and whipping back to the fiery debris is even less promising. "I- I dunno!" The tremor in her voice spells out the 'I hope not' without needing to say it. She hurries along the length of debris, trying to see through the flames; the fire's glow catches on the sheen of her skin, too close for comfort. She seeks out Michonne. "Maybe we can circle around— ?"

And find them safely on the other side.

The stoic, dark woman appears almost surprised to be on this side with these people, but she swiftly bears the mantle, lively stepping aside from the fire and grabbing Carol to motivate the same. "They will soon swarm here," she expects, of the civilians as dangerous as the fire itself, "We'll go another way." Back, and to the left, by the light reflecting off her gesturing sword.

Maggie bites her lip, looking at the fire that now separates their group. "We'll…we'll meet up with them at the prison." It's a decision. One that she hopes that they the others are following as well. "Let's head out of here and see if we can find 'em on the outside and then head back to the prison. We can wait for 'em there. And if they don't come back soon, we'll find 'em." With Rick not there, they have to have a solid plan. She looks at Michonne and then nods. She affords a glance over her shoulder toward the barricade and then back toward the way they must go now. Agreeing with Michonne, she takes a decisive step in the direction the sword points. "Let's hurry before we're found."

But they came all this way— they came all this way to get Daryl— Carol's following the other women closely, a tight trio, hurry is right, but her tense muscles could just as easily spring her backwards. "We're just gonna leave? Leave Daryl?" she presents, unsettled, urgently opposed. The logic of their plans is solid as can be; still, nothing's settling right, even less than one might expect. "What d'you think Andrea— " A thunk of falling debris interrupts the question for which there is no good answer, spinning her attention, and the sights of her rifle, behind her as she keeps on the move.

Picking across a few scattered items, with the sound of panicked Woodbury residents on their heels, Michonne hefts up the next few steps without turning back, "Daryl's dead." Shoving a box from the way amongst the crackle of fire nearby, she pauses to turn in a fluster of dreadlocks, eyebrows a strict line across the dark of her face. "… I'm sorry," she remembers to say as afterthought; muscles already begin to reclaim the cause as she adds brutally, "Andrea said the Governor did it." And in her voice, she swears to slice off his balls next time, to be fed to every walker this hellish fire attracts.

Dead. Maggie's heart beats double time, smashing against her ribcage in a staccato of terror and grief. Without thinking, she's quick to look at Carol, as she knows how much the woman cares for him. And she wants to give her time to mourn, to cry in anger and pain, but they're in the middle of the place that killed him and a fire is closing in to get them, as well. There will be a time for that and it isn't now.

The younger woman reaches a hand out and attempts to gently squeeze Carol's shoulder. "I'm sorry," she says softly. "But, we have to get out of here or we'll get caught." And then they'll suffer the same fate as Daryl, but she has enough tact to leave that unspoken. "We've gotta meet up with the others and we'll figure out how to make 'em pay. If there's anythin' left of 'em after this fire."

The news is like a rifle kickback, shoving Carol back with its force, knocking her from Maggie's hand and tripping up her feet.

Disbelief, a fierce and desperate denial, is the first thing to torment her face— "Dead," she says and it's barely a word, just a little, high-pitched, surreal syllable when she'd rather scream instead, and the ones that follow in rapid succession aren't directed at anyone; except maybe the Governor; maybe at Daryl himself— "No," she insists against a reality that's proved itself harsh time and time again, "No, he can't be— not— not here." But denial turns ragged, her gaze looking nearly confused in her pain, her mouth stretching thin and tight against wavering; she could easily be paralyzed by torrential emotion in too many directions to quantify, but she's not stupid and she keeps moving, keeps everyone moving. It's only on automatic.

By the time Carol's steps quicken to the hurried pace they oughta be, none of the news has fully settled, how could it, there's no chance — but she's got restless, too-hard grips on her weapons and the storm-clouds of anger are well on their way to darkening her face. Unsteady, low, and a hundred percent deadly serious, she confides, "If we come across that Governor, we're gonna have to take turns killin 'im."

Hard, vengeful, lines in Michonne's face can hardly disagree, refuse to ask to, though the darkened chips of her eyes leave little room for anger beyond her own. A personal creature, she expends only a bite of violent empathy before shutting it off to the task at hand. They'll get their pound of flesh, the flex of her hand on the sword's handle says; but her feet say flee— and they're pounding their own across the alley's terrain when she abruptly pulls up to the sound of footsteps not their own just as a figure bolts around the up-ahead corner.

"Over here, to— " he's shouting, but it's not of the three escaping women; his eyes are on the fire before they catch contagiously to other movement, and his arm's are full of the load of the bucket of water he holds. He freezes, unlike the flame-induced sweat dancing across his forehead and upper arms, stares uncertainly.

Maggie gives Carol a continued look of sympathy. Her own rage and grief has been buried for now. It's a hard little center she'll release when she's safe with Glenn. Or, better yet, once they find the Governor. That would be a safe place to unleash her emotions and pain. As they make their way down the alleyways, following Michonne and attempting to keep alert to anyone coming their way. When Michonne screeches to a halt, Maggie almost doesn't stop in time. Startled and bewildered by the figure in front of them, she can only stand and blink a few times, stupidly, as she looks at him and his buckets of water.

The immediate look Carol gives is an inadvertent mimic, frozen and startled and uncertain in that seconds' pause where their plans could suddenly change. It's difficult to change gears; the switchover is practically visible, a different focus in her eyes on the apparent Woodbury man, a readied shift of weaponry that isn't quite aggressive but is certainly tense. "Keep movin'," she suggests, "It's not you we're lookin' for."

Paranoid eyes waver under the pressure of staying open so wide as he absorbs them, then begins to side-step. Once, twice. He's on his way, sloshing, towards the more raging threat of the fire.

With a swing of dreadlocks, Michonne turns to the others, the clench of hands on her sword barely loosening, "Good, we'll— "

"OVER HERE, OVER HERE!" screams a young man's voice through the flames. "THEY SET THE FIRE."

"— goddammit. Come on!" There's no time for vengeance now. Michonne sheathes the sword and bolts towards the nearby alley corner where the man appeared from, whipping around it and jogging the first block towards the other side of town. Footsteps begin to patter from behind Carol, split between the fire and Woodbury's own sense of revenge. A few gunshots spark near Maggie's feet, the noise nearly lost in everything else.

Maggie doesn't have to be encouraged twice. As soon as the young man starts to yell, she sprints off after Michonne. The gunshots right behind her only spur her to go faster - she keeps a hand pushed out like a linebacker to press Carol forward if necessary. "Go go go," she says over the cacophony. "We gotta either find a place to lay low or get outta here fast!" She has no idea where she's going. Her only experience with Woodbury involved a dark room and then a perilous chase with gunfire. It didn't give her a good look at how to navigate the streets without being seen.

It all seems a storm coming down around them, hellfire chasing after them; Carol bolts with the others, needing no encouragement either to get a move on but it certainly doesn't hurt. With no clue where they're going except what she can see right in front of her — a dark, chaotic whirl of Woodbury, everything standing out in strident detail that's as overwhelming as a blur through her five kinds of adrenaline — all of her direction sense has to spill right into Michonne.

She shouts something, Michonne, but it's lost in the chaos — at least the thunder of her footsteps have a heading, resolute and sure. Banking towards another street, ducking under the loose fencing there, she vanishes for a second; it's a precious second, because gunfire sprays across the ground in front of Maggie and Carol, forcing them to slow or be speckled in the toes with bullets.

Around the corner, dreadlocks have disappeared. But an outer wall is in sight ahead.

"Woah!" Maggie desperately reaches forward to grab Carol before the bullets can do any harm to either of them. Backpedaling, she curses under her breath before pushing forward again. She doesn't spare a look behind them as she locks her sights on the outer wall ahead. Though she cannot see Michonne, she can assume they are headed for the same place. She can hope, at least. "Come on, there it is!" Taking off for the wall, she moves through fencing she last saw Michonne go through before going in the direction she can only assume will lead them toward the outside. Of course, out there won't be any safer than inside. But, at least it isn't on fire and full of bullets. Not yet, at least.

Carol curls under the loose part of the fence, thrusting herself rifle-first as the fence tries to snare her on the way through, putting her a few paces behind. Her concern catches up to Maggie before her feet do, even as she's running. "We get trapped, we're gonna be up against a firing squad!" AKA them against the wall, if they're followed. Her neck twists, trying to catch sight of dreadlocks. "I don't see Michonne— "

Buildings are a blur on either side, a few trucks piled up near the smaller wall, but it appears unmanned. And, so far, bullets don't follow them around the corner; the fire has absorbed what attention it will. For now.

Maggie glances frantically one way and then the other. They can't stay here. They can't alert anyone to their presence. The trucks are a good place to climb up the wall and over. She slows just enough to catch her breath and take a look around them. "Me neither," she tells Carol, with a frown. "She's got to be close, though, right?" With a glance around and then another at the wall, she all but bounces from one foot to another. "What d'ya think? Go for the wall? Take a look around and make sure we're not leavin' her behind?"

A similar restlessness runs up and down Carol, keeping her from being still after she catches up. She's nodding as she's moving again; keep moving, keep moving toward the pile of trucks, no matter her concerns. Every direction harbours concern. "Go on up first," she urges as she's slightly behind anyway; she'll watch the other woman's back.

With one last cautious look around, Maggie locks eyes with Carol and then makes a break for the trucks. She's praying that everyone is paying attention to the fire and they lost their pursuers before. She takes a split second look behind her to make sure Carol is following and then starts climbing.

If their pursuers do pursue, Carol will hopefully see 'em coming; she follows, but keeps turning around every few steps of progress, keeping a lookout, and ready rifle, before hurrying on, even as she hefts a foot up on the bumper of a truck and starts making her way up second. Not knowing what or who lies on the other side, it doesn't feel like they're escaping. It feels like they're leaving everyone behind.

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