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A South Wind

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A couple days after their hunting expedition, Daryl is sitting at the entrance to his tent, lacing up his boots, when a backpack hits the side of his head. He looks up, scowling at the person who threw it.

"We're going into the city," states Glenn. "I need someone to watch over my scrawny ass."

Everyone is happy to see that Glenn is coming out of his grief-stricken haze and are equally glad to know that Daryl is his backup for going back into Atlanta.

They take the truck and park it in a neighborhood that appears to be void of walkers. They get out to move on foot, Daryl with his crossbow at the ready. Their primary objective is to find a thermostat for the RV. It's not a common vehicle to find in the city under normal circumstances but, since these aren't normal circumstances, it's as good a place to look as any. There are lots of vehicles in the city.

Since finding the part for the RV is their number one priority, Daryl is less than pleased to find that Glenn is distracted by other things.

"Hey, Daryl," calls Glenn. "Look at this."

Daryl glares at him, gesturing for him to lower his voice but Glenn doesn't seem to be paying attention. He is pulling a desiccated body from the front seat of a Hummer.

"Zombieland!" announces Glenn, excited about his find. "I've always wanted to drive one of these. I wonder if it runs."

Meanwhile, Daryl is spinning around, wielding his crossbow just waiting for the geeks to hear and descend upon them.

Suddenly the engine roars to life and Daryl turns around to see Glenn sitting in the driver's seat with a wide grin on his face.

"The fuck you doin'?" growls Daryl.

"Come on," calls Glenn. "Let's take it for a spin."

Some walkers appear, obviously having heard Glenn's less-than-quiet pronouncement. It's alarming how quickly some of them move and they are getting close real quick. Daryl doesn't really have an option except to climb into the passenger side.

At first Glenn doesn't do anything, he just sits there and waits for the walkers to get closer.

"What is wrong with you?" demands Daryl, in disbelief. "Get us out of here!"

He notices a glint in the younger man's eyes. It's not quite the look of a sane man.

Glenn suddenly peels out and right into a group of walkers, crushing them under the huge vehicle. He takes a hard left and heads for another group, jumping the curb as he runs them over as well.

"Jesus, kid!" says Daryl, grabbing for the handhold on the ceiling.

Glenn just laughs and floors it as he finds open road in front of him.

"This is just like Grand Theft Auto, man. Only better," declares Glenn, looking like a kid in a candy store. He's got his foot to the floor.

"Slow the fuck down!"

Glenn slows down slightly but only because he is turning onto a street that takes them into the heart of the city.

There are geeks everywhere now and Glenn is having a field day running over more of them.

"Yeah! Take that, bitches!"

Daryl doesn't remember the stage of grief that turns someone into a crazy-assed lunatic but he's sure that it's related somehow. He just holds on for dear life, hoping it doesn't end like he thinks it might.

"Glenn!" he tries once more, as he pulls at his seatbelt and clicks it into place.

Glenn takes a hard right and the car handles beautifully, barely losing any speed. Unfortunately, there is nowhere to go since there is a group of abandoned cars directly in their path.

"Shiiit!" Daryl swears as Glenn slams on the brakes. They slide another hundred feet into the back of a Mercedes, deploying the airbags.

Daryl's ears are ringing and he isn't sure where he is for a minute until he swivels his head around and sees Glenn, lying face down on the floor.

"Glenn, goddammit," Daryl says weakly, taking off his seatbelt and getting out of the vehicle. He goes around to the other side and carefully pulls Glenn free, propping him up against the side of the seat. He is conscious but bloody.

"You still with me?" asks Daryl, checking Glenn over quickly for broken bones. When Glenn doesn't respond, Daryl uses both hands to gently force Glenn's face up so he can get a better look at him. His pupils aren't dilated, which is good, but he's not making eye contact, which is not so good.

"Fuck," he murmurs and then looks around the surrounding area to see what they have to deal with. He sees walkers but at least they are still some distance away. They need to move now. He slings Glenn's arm over his shoulder and starts moving. He needs to find a place for them to hole up and deal with their injuries. He hauls Glenn into an alleyway and tries some doors but they are all locked, until finally he finds one that is propped open with a small piece of plywood. They get inside and Daryl kicks the plywood out of the doorway so it can latch and lock. Once the door shuts, they are in complete darkness. He gently sets Glenn down and fishes a flashlight out of the backpack.

He aims its light around and sees that they are in a stairwell that looks like it goes up pretty high. He can see a little light that looks like it's coming from the very top. As much as he doesn't want to, hearing the tell-tale groans of walkers outside, he knows the best chance they've got is to go up.

He hoists Glenn back up and they take the slow trek up the stairs. On each floor he tries the door but it is locked so they continue to climb. At their slow pace it takes over a half an hour to get to the top. The light is coming through another propped-open door, and when Daryl opens it, he can't believe his eyes.

They are at the entrance to a luxury penthouse.

He stands there for a minute just staring at the marble-laden opulence. A fifteen foot metal sculpture greets them at the door, a spiraling staircase leads up to a second floor where there is more artwork, and just to the left is an amazing panoramic view of the Atlanta skyline.

It takes him a minute to take it all in before he remembers what they're doing there. He carefully deposits Glenn in a very stylish chair and takes out his crossbow to check the place out. The open floor plan on the first floor makes it easy to see if anyone or any 'thing' is hiding. The second floor is a little more complex. There are five bedrooms and just as many bathrooms. Seven bathrooms in all, counting the ones on the first floor. It made Daryl's head spin.

He is grateful not to find any walkers or dead bodies. As he is checking out the strange-looking sink in one of the bathrooms, he catches his profile in the mirror and notices for the first time the bruises on his face that must have come from hitting the airbag. He realizes he needs to go check on Glenn and see how he's doing.

When he finally makes it back downstairs, he is surprised to see Glenn standing, in front of a mini-fridge, struggling to open a bottle of champagne.

"I've got a headache," declares Glenn, as if that's the perfect explanation for what he's doing.

Daryl just blinks at him in disbelief, not sure what to do, and then finally turns and goes in search of a first aid kit.

When he returns he sees that Glenn has thankfully abandoned the bottle and is searching the cupboards for food.

"Don't rich people eat?" Glenn asks, opening one bare cupboard after another.

Daryl steps up behind him and turns him around.

"C'mere for a second," says Daryl.

Glenn turns around and winces when Daryl swabs at his face with a damp cloth, wiping the blood from his nose and cut lip.

"You hurt anywhere else?" asks Daryl.

"I don't think so," Glenn says quietly, looking like he feels awkward at Daryl playing mother hen. "I do have a headache."

Daryl finishes cleaning him up. "Headaches are sometimes God's way of telling you you're a dumbass."

Glenn just stares at the floor, silently acknowledging his dumbassery.

Daryl is glad of the fact that Glenn is moving around and talking. It looks like his injuries might not be as bad as Daryl thought. He hopes so anyway. He can do band-aids and splints but head trauma is outside of his pay grade.

"Why don't you sit down and take it easy," suggests Daryl. "I'm gonna take another look around and see if there's anything of use here."

Daryl takes another loop around the place, this time with the more critical eye of a scavenger.

It's hard to ignore all the lavishness but he gives it a try. He goes through each room, setting anything aside that looks like it might be useful back at camp.

Besides all the artwork, there are also a lot of pictures. They are obviously the people who lived there. The pictures show a young couple with their two young boys - posing happily, playing at the park, blowing out birthday candles.

He can't help but wonder what happened to them. Where they went. If they are still alive.

He doubts it.

He loses track of time and only notices when he has trouble reading something because there isn't enough light. Daylight is fading fast. He heads back downstairs to grab the flashlight, panicking when he sees Glenn slumped on the couch with his eyes closed and his mouth hanging open, looking for all the world as if he is dead. Daryl races over to him.

"Hey," says Daryl, shaking his shoulder.

Glenn opens his eyes wide, sucking in a deep breath.

"What? I'm okay," Glenn insists, acting as if he just got caught sleeping in class. He sits up as if to prove how 'okay' he is. "I'm okay."

Relieved, Daryl takes a breath and runs a hand through his hair, trying to get his heart rate to slow back down. Part of him wants to smack Glenn for nearly giving him a heart attack for about the third time that day. Instead, he just takes another deep breath.

"What did you find?" Glenn asks, nodding at the laptop he's holding.

Daryl forgot he was holding it. He sets it on the coffee table, hits the power button, and turns back to Glenn.

"Wanna watch a movie?"

Daryl had found the laptop and, on a whim, turned it on to discover that, incredibly, it still had a charge.

They go in search of DVDs and Glenn finds some in a cabinet underneath the eighty inch flatscreen. They're all Disney movies. Daryl doesn't really care which one they watch so he lets Glenn make the decision. He sinks back into the large, comfortable couch as Glenn pops in 'Aladdin'.

It's amazing how something that was once such a common, everyday thing - watching a movie - is now the greatest and rarest treat. As soon as the opening song begins, a grin appears on Glenn's face and it doesn't fade.

It is the remembrance of a better time. Of childhood. Of family and friends. Of innocence. And it abruptly ends less than an hour into the movie when the battery finally gives out, plunging them into darkness.

Neither of them speaks. Daryl considers whether they should attempt to get to the truck and back to camp but immediately discounts the idea. It's too dangerous. One, they'd have a hell of a time finding the truck in the dark. And, two, he still isn't real sure of Glenn's condition. The others would just have to worry for one night. They're safe where they are. And hell if that wasn't a comfortable couch.

He slouches down a little further and then becomes aware of a sound. It takes him a second to realize that it's coming from Glenn. Glenn's trying to be quiet but Daryl recognizes the unmistakable sounds of someone crying.

Something clenches in Daryl's chest and he sighs heavily in frustration. He doesn't know what to do for Glenn, so he just continues to sit there next to him, preparing himself for a long, sleepless night.