What Becomes Of Us
Home becomes hunting ground when Glenn strikes out to find out what's become of the missing Carl and Beth.

Prison Tombs

"We need to stop doing that— leaving people behind without knowing."

Corridors that were once familiar lose focus beneath the lingering mist of gas, pushed out from the common room, to cling like spiritual entities amongst the cracking cement. Much has dissipated since the attack, but the rest swells into the limited corners and low, oppressive, ceilings of the prison tombs. Identical turn after identical turn enhances the echoing nature of noises: pitter patters of feet or non-existent rodent— the mind, fooling— and the lower, possible groans of walkers attracted to a distant commotion, bringing to mind the sobering wonder: how did these intruders get in, and what has made it no longer secure.

Where will the next attack come from? the halls ask, as they envelop Glenn, while standing utterly, deathly still.

The mist prompts silence from its newest occupant. Quietly he slides along the floor, eyes scanning the area as best he can. While he has no evidence, and suffers from Merle-induced PTSD, he's convinced that the attack means there was most certainly at least one attacker. His pistol is carried in front of him as he quietly moves through the hallowed halls. Carefully, his eyes scan this way and that, looking for signs of anything.

Everything in him longs to call out for Beth and Carl, but his better senses tell him not to. Don't speak. Not one word. Not one sound. Silence is friend right now. He wanders further into the hall, his jaw tightens, and his fingers whiten around the grip of his pistol. His paces continue, drawing him further into what he considers his own personal doom. But then he's not about to leave anyone behind. Not if he can help it.

He crouches down slightly, lowering his sense of gravity as he moves, and feeling just a little more aware of his space and body. Even with the mask, he feels like he's choking on the air.

And the air feels little to no obligation to lighten this impression.

Everything feels muggy— tread on. Heavy, like a presence, but each rounded corner proves empty, so that the feeling merely adds to the paranoia and not to any sense of getting anywhere. What was once a protective space, proven to confuse enemies, has become a maze for a mouse.

There's even a scratch, scratch, like a mouse coming from ahead. A scrape and husky escape of air— tiny, but managing to be distinct in the otherwise stillness.

Glenn's head perks with attention, the sound causing enough, just enough presence of mind in this space. A quick glance is given to his keds, and the shoes are given a silent thought: Stay silent. Here, they were caught offguard and overconfident in the space they've claimed. If someone is still here, his only advantage is his own element of surprise. That and his number one assets: his speed and wily-ness. It's why he'd always been sent on runs (that and youthful naievety).

He inhales a deep breath, and runs, with nearly-silent steps to the end of the hall. He hopes to God that whatever he finds is bigger than a mouse because right now, that's his only lead.

It's louder. Hooooopa. The sound of artificial breaths being taken. A scuffling footstep and the scraaaaa of material dragged over the ground. It's around the corner Glenn races to— in his periphery for the peeking: an androgynous figure in dusty grey make-shift military gear, disappearing around the next turn with the slip of color and fabric of whatever it's hauling.

The figure gives Glenn momentary pause as his brain trains over everyone of people it could be from his group. His eyes narrow and he runs harder, gaining momentum to round the corner and literally jump on the figure as best he can to tug the breathing apparatus from his opponent.

Soft material folds under his fingers. He grips cloth before rubber. Fingers scrape against form like plastic as the figure twists, emitting a noise of fear— definitely feminine. A flash of flesh, and blonde hair— a glimpse of panicked, wild eyes, and a small fist flies towards Glenn's nose as Beth slams against him with impartial struggles.

Relief reads over Glenn's eyes and lips as recognition strikes. Which is precisely when Beth gets the jump on him. The hit towards his nose causes the mask he wears to vibrate underneath the force. He might be larger, but the immense relief felt by her appearance is enough to throw him off. He stumbles backwards, temporarily winded. Among gasps for breath, that he tries to keep as quiet as possible, he murmurs, "Beth, it's Glenn — "

A sobbing gasp sucks in, like she's coming up for air, as Beth fumbles backwards. Neurotic anxiety sweeps his mask from her eyes' search, wary of appearances, until, in the space of that one step back, she flings herself forward— not in violence but with a fervent relief, clinging to his shoulders, her dirt-streaked cheeks rubbing against the neutral rubber.

A rubber he thought he felt— but nowhere in sight. Neither is Beth dressed in grey, nor is she tall enough to strike the figure Glenn's certain he saw. Some instinctive uncertainty might lead him to scan, to that tell-tale burst of red where the skin of Beth's upper arm is broken apart in a readable arc.

Glenn's eyes widen as they track to Beth's arm and then back to her face. His brath catches in his throat as he openly stares at the wound on her arm. "We need — ," he says as his gaze tracks back to where he came, "— we need to amputate— " He reaches for her hand, he needs to get them back into the prison, back to her father, the only man he feels can do this. Also in light he feels like it can be achieved. Bitten means turning. Unless she doesn't want that. "Please Beth, we'll… we'll go back, we'll get you fixed — " he gives her hand a tug, trying to draw her back towards the place he's come from.

"Wh— what?" Mania reaches easily back into Beth's eyes; half-consciously, she resists his pull, pawing a hand free in order to twist her arm towards her. Under mess and grit, she blanches. Wide cheeks hallowed as her head begins to frantically shake, twisting her blonde ponytail in spasms. "Nnn— no no no nono," Glenn's shoved; a denying backstep towards the corridor's darkness as she looks, eyes progressively widening then narrowing in unfocused thought, "No, I— I never— there weren't any walkers— ! Somethin' pinched me, but I— " But but. No amount of desperation can erase the near perfect imprint of human teeth peeling off skin: a morbid dental exam.

And a clean one. No discoloration of infection— not nearly so violent as they've seen; it's almost playful. A nibble.

Glenn's lips part at Beth's reaction only to press back together. The bite is obvious to him, and Hershel lived through it earlier. But then, how can she not know? Yet it's not like he would or could force her if she didn't want it. He frowns. The consistency of the wound is enough to shed a stitch of doubt when mixed with Beth's testimony. "Are you — are you sure?! Beth, we have a small window for this, and it looks — " his head cants to the side. "Please. Please you need to be sure. I can't see anything in here, it could, the walker it could— are you sure?! " his gaze moves about the mist once more, looking for stray movement once more. His desperation is palpable.

"I know— " the soft voice pleads, a gentle whine adding to her young tonality, "I know what it looks like, but I swear to you— there were these people, they had masks jus' like you. I— I got— dragged along," a shiver runs straight down her bare arms and she shrinks instinctively from the darkness of the tombs even when that brings her closer to Glenn's amputative persuasions. "They killed 'em! All the walkers. An' then suddenly we were alone and the one let go a'me, but before that there were lots and— Carl! Oh my God, I saw Carl— " twisting, she lurches as if to dive straight back into the unknown.

Glenn reaches out again to catch Beth's arm. "Alright," he says quietly. "I trust you," it's the only three words he can manage to find, even if he has his doubts. He's not Rick. He's not Shane. He's the one still suffering from just a stitch of optimism despite where the world has gone. "You've got to keep your voice down— " he starts as he tries to catch her gaze. "We're gonna go get Carl together, but we need to do it quiet and we need to do it together— do you have a gun?" Even as he asks the question, he's started to step forward, taking the lead into the unknown.

"N— no." She runs a hand self-consciously up and down her arm, flinching as fingers trace where skin's been torn, tugging turned out flesh that exposes the redder layer of rawness beneath. "No, I dropped it back in the cell block." Guilt locks her jaw, allowing her to follow, silent as requested, behind him until, with a lurch, she abruptly juts out a hand and catches Glenn's upper arm, pulling him around to face her as she utters lowly, "You cannot tell my dad or Maggie about the bite."

"I'll take lead then," comes Glenn's whispered response, not that it makes a difference whether she has a weapon, he'd insist on taking the lead. It's who he is. When he's tugged back, however, his face blanches some. "We'll talk about it— " he says as his eyes scan the mist again. He longs to see Carl or something in the mist. "— I don't feel comfortable not telling, but if it's nothing…" then it's not worth worrying them.

"With… with happened to me before an' all— " the words don't escape her, getting stuck in the delicate throat, but Beth's meaning lingers hotly like the deceiving gas: she doesn't want to be a bother. A problem. Not now. So, reaffirmed, she swallows the lump down and dismisses the thought, nodding briskly ahead to indicate she's ready to move— eyes straight forward and attempting an intensity learned over the hard winter months.

"I know," Glenn whispers again. His face twitches at the memory. It had wrecked them. The Greenes need some reprieve. All he can think: it better be nothing. But he doesn't say it. Instead, his quiet steps drive him forward, down the hall once more. "Tell me if you see anything," he whispers once more. Surprise is still all they have, and any sound they create may change that.

Winter's made a different person of the young girl who fell into shock at the farm, however; Beth slinks as carefully behind Glenn as he goes, treading with the dancer's untrained grace, even as her hands clench and unclench with a feeling of emptiness— no weapon, and besides that, no baby she's been so long tasked to handle. Movement forward helps to refocus Glenn's sense of awareness for the tunnels they'd made their home in; he can now tell that they're moving towards the generator room — one not devoid of bad memories of earlier tragedies, itself.

Nearing provides no interruption but the ever-present scuffle of what could be something, leading to constant halts that threaten muscles with the stillness they hold themselves to. Then, move on.

As the corridor thinks of opening up to lead into a set of rooms, a stench begins to arise. Particular— but not altogether familiar. Blood, but meatier; not the sludgy stink of the walkers' veins. With a few more steps, the edge of the room looms into view. There's been additions. Packages stacked against the wall and the crackle of what might be fire. Then, at the very periphery of Glenn's vision without moving closer, a hook that's been set on a rope draped over some of the room's exposed ceiling pipes. On the hook, a studiously preserved— what… familiar in shape— right there, on the top of the mind; no distinguishing features or limbs…

Oh, that's it. No limbs. On the hook sits the baggy weight of a dismembered human torso, with each of its limbs cut off with a butcher's preciseness.

Every part of Glenn's body recoils at the sight. He backs up and presses a hand to his gas mask over his mouth and takes a few deep breaths. Vomiting into the gas mask would be very very bad. And so his face just blanches instead. His eyes train onto the body, studying it as closely as he can to ensure it's not one of their people. Only in studying it does he turn to face Beth to grasp her shoulders. It's time for his eyes to do the talking. Silently they plead with her to keep the quiet the pair has achieved. He takes a few deep breaths and allows his eyes to drift closed, it's an action he's modelling. If he can do it, maybe she can do it?

From the wondering concern in Beth's eyes, it's certain she's missed the sight, not leaned quite so far as him, and now thrust back by her shoulders. Curiosity and horror make a difficult meld that she fights when squinting to see what Glenn's doing behind the mask. Sucking in a deep breath that she barely exhales, Beth's eyes flutter trustingly closed.

Darkness. And in the darkness, you try to ignore the sccrrrt of someone sharpening a knife from inside the room. Sharpening it for an intention he's seen all too clear.

Just breathe… and stay—

From under Glenn's grip, Beth's shoulders yank away.

The movement actually causes Glenn to stumble forward in an effort to grasp the girl once more.

A gas mask stares back at his. Tall, muscled shoulders, on an otherwise androgynous figure in rubber and grey-tones. It's the same figure from before, and it's recovered a hold on Beth, one arm twisted around her front with a thickly gloved hand slapped over the girl's mouth, bulging her cheeks with the scream that never came; the steeling in Beth's eyes looks like she's gearing up to wrestle when the masked person raises a single finger to its protruded plastic mouth holes.

Months in the wilderness fighting walkers and struggling to survive have worked Glenn's nerves. In a good way. Thank goodness he still has his pistol. The gun is trained on the figure. Still. He doesn't even shake as he aims at this large dressed up being. He might be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder from his time in Woodbury, yet it fuels his fire and determination. Weeks ago he might have said he would never kill one of the living. But then he never realized it was the living he had to fear. "Let her go," he states rather than asks. It's not a request.

A second time, the thick finger taps importantly against the mouth gauges of the gas mask. With a cock of the head, the person — eyes unfathomable behind the thick cover — appears to indicate the room to their right, and Glenn's left: the generator room turned meat storage. Visible eyes on Beth try to lock with Glenn, gauging, reaching out for a signal as she staggers her two hands along the gripping one of the figure and slides a foot towards its toes and shins — booted, but still most vulnerable, potentially.

The finger from the mouth slots twists very slowly and deliberately, points down the opposite corridor over Glenn's shoulders. It stabs forward.

Dark eyes squint to identify the figure as Glenn's lips part silently. There's a question in there Do I know you? His head cants to the side as he lets Beth's eyes lock with his own, the question within begging to be asked. But then Carl is still out there. And he needs to keep Beth safe too, or as safe as he can given the circumstances. Suddenly he has a pang of empathy for Rick and making the decisions. His lips press together and he swallows hard. He wants to get all of them out of here alive, and he's still the one with the gun.

His eyes remain trained on Beth's, and he turns his head slightly. No. Not yet. But not not-ever. Not necessarily. He's still the one with the pistol. And he has definitely learned to use it these last few months. Beth swallows but obeys, remaining taut but keeping aggression at bay.

Slowly, he treads around the figure, gun still out, as he treads behind the figure, straight in the direction he was silently instructed.

The hooo-pa of the artificial breathing follows him. Steering Beth ahead with a firm, yet not purposefully hurtful, grip, their masked guide coolly allows Glenn to keep the pistol raised, never attempting to lessen any distance between them, except to keep a prompt walking speed. Though the impressive silhouette of a double-barreled shotgun resides along the stranger's back, that's where it remains. The slither of a knife sharpening against leather gradually fades into the cacophony of ghostly noises in the prison.

It's evident after only several blocks that the environment's shifting: a change in the light, or perhaps the air quality. A gust, or a warning, just before the prison corridor abruptly drops away into a massive landslide of broken cement and brick. Thickly, it has waterfalled all the way to the ground, a few stray pieces getting far enough to mar the tall prison gates at the outer edge of the territory.

Reaching this precipice, the figure in the gas mask abruptly releases Beth; swiftly, the blonde girl separates herself, rushing up to Glenn over the uneven ground, then whipping around to face the stranger when she's behind the muzzle of her friend's pistol.

The nozzles of the gas mask lift, then jerk in that same deliberate manner towards the far woods.

The corridor and its changes draw goosebumps to form along Glenn's arms and legs and the back of his neck, but adrenaline keeps him present and alert. His jaw tightens at the shotgun, but he says nothing, only maintains his position. But then they reach the outer edges of the prison. Okay, so it's a way out.

Beth is regarded protectively as Glenn shifts to protect the blonde with his pistol still aimed at the stranger. "Who are you?" he hisses rather than speaks. And then he tags on low and quiet, still aware that he's unaware of what's happening and why, "We have to go back. One of our people— a kid, he's still in there— "

With steady preciseness, slow unoffensive movements, the figure reaches back and hauls the shotgun off its back. Always, the barrels remain lowered, keeping its dangerous short-range target off of the two huddled prison refugees. Crisply, the masked head turns right and left — no. Firm. Like the trigger pull that sends a hunk of scatter-shot ripping into the stony debris, causing Beth to flinch against Glenn and start to scramble a few steps down towards the exit.

Just as briskly, the shotgun's stored and the figure turns, walking back into the dusky, overrun prison as if it always belonged there.

The shot draws Glenn protectively towards Beth as he maintains his aim, but his gaze remains on the figure, especially as its back turns. His eyes narrow, his stomach flip flops, and he takes a slow deep breath. A single hand reaches out to urge Beth further down the steps, as if he aims to follow, but his anger has reached critical mass. He's felt powerless long enough. Between his time in Woodbury, and now this in their very own home.

And Glenn wants his power back.

A clearer head might have reasoned that minimizing collateral damage and leaving would be a good idea. But his head is far from clear. And his temper is well beyond flared. In fact, Glenn may never have felt so angry in his life. Angry towards Woodbury. Angry towards Merle. Angry towards himself and his own powerlessness to protect Maggie when it mattered the most. All of that anger draws his lips into a faint snarl. He takes a deep breath, his pistol still trained on the figure, aiming for the head like he has so many times before with walkers. When he releases his breath, he pulls the trigger, and aims to kill.

Even if they're leaving the prison, he will do everything in his power to make sure they all leave. Including whatever's left of Carl.

"Nn— " just a noise from Beth, preamble to the "no!" as she slings her arm over Glenn's, weighing his trigger-hand so that the weapon fires lower than intended. The shot skims past the figure's back— who ignores the cracking of the prison corridor to disappear fully into the dark— vibrating into the wall. Glenn's new weight hauls secondarily, tugging by pure presence as she rocks a foot back on the crumbling ground, tripping and catching herself and pushing down towards the descent of cement. "Glenn, we gotta get outta here— " she breathes, heartbeat almost audible in the gush of her voice, "Walkers— those people— " said in near disbelief; that those could be 'people', "— they gotta've heard the shotgun. We can't be here."

Beth receives a glare. A sharp glare. Yet Glenn remains frozen in place. His teeth clench and his breath comes out in a sharp hiss behind the mask he still hasn't removed. "We need to stop doing that— " his gaze snaps towards the prison "— leaving people behind without knowing. We have to go back for him! And I'm not talking about a half-assed rescue mission after the fact. Assuming people are something they're not doesn't help anyone— " The irony isn't lost on Glenn, it's a conversation he'd just had with Carl. When does their survival come to a place of every man for himself? But he relents. For Maggie. Because Beth is Maggie's sister, and, in a weird way, an extension of his own family. And she happens to be unarmed. His gaze snaps back towards the exit, and, head shaking, he picks his way down through the rubble. He murmurs nothing. Comments about nothing.

Add a New Comment
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License