The Walking Dead (Eternityinblue and Iikaitlyni)
Georgia was, at the best of times, not a fun place to go backpacking. Properly clothed and outfitted, well supplied with water and food and portable shelter, the miles of hiking and camping trails could at least be made tolerable. Beyond that luxery, though, and it quickly became a nightmare. Add to that swamps, bugs, and uncertain terrain, it became a death trap full of quicksand and gators.
Throw in an unknown number of walkers who wanted to eat you down to the bone, and it officially became Hell.
And it was through that hellish wasteland that Daryl Dixon, armed only with a crossbow, knife, and the strength of his arm now traversed. It was by no means his preferred destination, all things considered. He'd much rather be back at base camp with a blanket and a bear. Hell, above all he'd want to be back five years ago before the damn outbreak happened. But all of those things would leave Sophie-defenseless, terrified Sophie- out on her own. And for all his faults Daryl wasn't too keen on that at all.
Then again, if he stumble-felled into one more mire of swamp water and ooze, even his slender patience would break. How the hell a little girl would have gotten out this far alone he'd no idea. He himself had almost broken a bone out here twice. Still, kids were tenacious, especially scared, and he had to hope that the little girl had the courage and sense to keep moving.
Which, as shadows continued to fall over the backwoods, Daryl was beginning to see he had too much of. Here amid the cyprus swamps and mossy, meandering streams, he'd wandered farther then he'd intended. There was no making it back to the farm, not before nightfall. And it was dangerous and stupid to try to traverse these 'trails' after dark. The walkers would keep moving, that was sure, but if humans wanted to stay in one piece it would only be through a camp. Which meant he had to find a decent place before too much longer.
Grateful now for the denim and flannel he'd donned that morning- hot and clinging in the noon sun, but perfect for the chill of night-, Daryl aimed his steps east. It would give him the most light for longer, as well as putting him on the right track towards the farm. He'd seen a clearing a few hundred yards back...
"Damn swamps. Never givin' a man a fuckin' break. Gonna break my dang neck before I make it out of here."