Lizzie Koch’s Picture Choice: 1
Title: Grandma’s Story
As soon as I saw the house, I knew who used to live here. Those angel wings were legendary. This is what we’d all come to see. The man, who going by stories, single handedly won the war on zombies or ‘walkers’ as they were referred to then. This was where he finished his days, living in peace, in the countryside, away from civilisation, being able to track and hunt with no fear. Gone were his ‘family’. Once the threat of walkers were no more, his family went their separate ways. Rick, like a brother to him, moved back to the city with Judith, Carl and Michonne. Rick was always about family, finding a way to survive. There was no way he was going to miss out on rebuilding, making decisions that had to be made. Of course, by the time the war was over, Carl was a young man himself but he stood by his father, making sure Judith knew the sacrifices their family had made, made sure their mother was remembered. Who knew after all that whinging and bitching, Carl would turn out to be a statesman with a vision, a leader with passion.
This place was tranquil. I could understand after all the torment, not being settled, that he would build a home like this where the worries of the world were a million miles away, in another universe. He was done.
“And this is where the great, late, Daryl Dixon lived until his death in old age,” the tour guide said. I couldn’t believe Daryl being old. Couldn’t imagine him shuffling around on withered feet, the strength in his arms gone. That would have killed him I reckon, not being able to lift his beloved crossbow. “He was not alone when he died. His son and daughter stayed by him in the last weeks of his illness. It is thanks to his children, that the house is part of the trust to remember those dark times.” I flicked through the guide book. His children had their own families now, were grandparents themselves, retired and living by the coast, as far away from woodland as possible. It was hard, looking at the forest now, to imagine this beautiful land was ravaged by death.
The tour guide stood by the door, his hand on the handle. “Everything is left as it was. I ask you do not touch anything as you walk around.” This was what we’d been waiting for. The door creaked open. I took my grandmother’s hand and led her in. We hung back a bit, letting the group move on so we could take everything in. My grandmother’s hand trembled when she saw the crossbow.
“Are you Ok?” I asked. She was frail and I thought the trip too much for her but she insisted. She was part of that time but never spoke about it. I guess being here was bringing back her own torments of that time, her own struggles for survival. She must have been with an amazing group of people. I secretly wished she was with Daryl and his band of warriors so she could have had a good life once it was over. But she was one of many who just appeared one day and carried on living without fame, without help and no one wanting to hear her stories. . . until now. I longer for her to speak about it, such was the atmosphere of this house.
Her frail hand slipped from mine. “Grandma!” I caught her just in time and led her to the armchair where she flopped in. I gently fed her some of my bottled water. I knew this trip was a bad idea. What was she now? Ninety? I had no idea but she always looked young . . . until now. Now every line in her face was deep with history, etched with suffering, pain and horror, her eyes heavy.
“Excuse me! the voice of the tour tour guide bellowed. “No sitting on that chair!”
“She fainted. She just needs a minute.” I gave him my best hard stare before turning back to my grandma who now wore a smile. She didn’t speak as she reached for the locket around her neck. She always wore it, never opened it but when deep in thought, she fingered it, lost in a time that no one could comprehend unless part of it.
“This is your’s,” she said, trying to pull it over her silver hair which was still surprisingly thick, looking like candyfloss. “I kept it all these years until the right time. Now is the right time . . .here . . . in Daryl’s home. I feel close to him now . . . after such a long time,” she said wistfully with glassy eyes that now sparkled. The group had gathered around her, silent as they listened to her, realisation dawning they were in the presence of someone who survived the walkers. “He’d want you to have this, to know him. This is who he was. He lived for his family, for Carol. They were soul mates, matched in every way. I was just a silly little girl. But I understood him. he understood me.”
I touched the engraved angel wings on the locket, before opening it, knowing what was inside. Daryl’s face started back; tired, dirty but alive. “How do you . . . I don’t understand . . . What?”
“Who are you Ma’am?” the guide asked, overwhelmed with curiosity.
“My name’s Beth, Beth Greene.”
“But she died.” a voice stated.
“No, she’s here . . . for the moment. Once we all met up, I knew my time with the group was coming to an end. Watching Carol and Daryl every day hurt me even more. We were on our own for months, just the two of us. We formed a strong bond. Like I said, I understood him. He finally understood me. Here.” She reached into her bag, pulling out a wad of letters. “Something for your museum once my granddaughter has finished with them.” I shakily took the bundle, all addressed to my grandma. “They’re from your grandaddy.” she said smiling, closing her eyes.
I opened one, feeling eyes over my shoulder but didn’t care. I seemed to know what my grandma was trying to tell me before I saw the signature of those letters.
“You’re Daryl Dixon’s granddaughter!” voices exclaimed behind me.
“I . . .I . . . know.”
“Beth, tell us your story, please,” the guide asked as he pulled up a chair and sat, ignoring his own rules. The group followed his lead, sitting around, all eyes on my grandma. Now she could finally tell her story, her time with Daryl when the walkers roamed the earth.
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I dream of sharing my work with the big wide world one day as a published author. Right now, I share flash fiction with a wonderful community of writers and friends. If you liked this story, then why not visit my blog at http://40somethingundomesticateddevil.blogspot.co.uk/ for more. Thank you. Love Lizzie x