Daryl’s hair whipped around him as he flew through the countryside into the small town. He slowed down on the curve into the crusty trailer park he called home. His nose scrunched up at the smell of pot and cigarettes that greeted him as he passed through. When he pulled into his spot, he noticed a cop car parked outside his trailer.
“What the hell?” he asked under his breath. Dread spread through him like a hurricane after he realized that whatever the police wanted probably had to do with Merle. Daryl prayed that he wasn’t about to find out his brother had finally pissed off the wrong sun-of-a-gun and got himself killed in prison. Daryl took his time getting off his bike, trying to delay the situation at hand.
The driver's side door of the vehicle opened up first. Out stepped a man around Daryl’s height. He was in his early forties, late thirties. He walked with purpose. His legs were long and lean. Daryl drank in his features. The man’s face was the real money maker though. From his stubble to his piercing blue eyes, Daryl felt weak in the knees.
“Are you Daryl Dixon?” the man asks with his hands on his hips. He looks at Daryl like he’s trying to figure out how Daryl is reacting to his presence. Daryl wonder’s what those baby blues see. Daryl quickly looks down. He’s never been good at talking to people, especially not pretty boy cops.
“Yeah,” he croaks out, “Is there a problem officer?” The man makes eye contact with his partner. He recognizes her from the diner Merle and he used to visit before work. She would often be there drinking her coffee and eatin’ an egg and sausage biscuit. She is well known as being the gay female cop that never stops flirting with the waitresses that look her way. Well until she got with her fiancee. It was the talk of the town for weeks. They are the first openly gay female couple. Their wedding will be the second ever gay wedding in this crappy town. The first was his buddies Aaron and Eric. He works with Aaron at Dale’s auto shop.
“Can we have a talk inside Mr. Dixon?” The woman asks. Daryl shrugs and opens the door for them. There are clothes everywhere and dirty dishes overflowing the sink. For the first time in his life, Daryl feels embarrassed by his mess. He quickly throws a dish towel over the sink in a poor attempt to hide the clutter.
“I’m officer Rick Grimes and this is my partner, Tara Chambler. We have some news that might be difficult to hear.” He watches Daryl for a reaction. He hates the way officer friendly makes him feel. Its like he is looking right through him. Daryl brings his thumb up to his mouth and starts biting the skin. “You may want to sit down Mr. Dixon.” Officer Grimes says. Daryl shakes his head and leans up against the counter.
“Did something happen to Merle? Is he okay?” He asks with anxiety clear in his voice. Merle was never a good brother but he was kin. Daryl wouldn’t know what to do with himself without Merle. Merle was something he could focus on. His brother always needed something: money, a home, beer, you name it. As much as Daryl hated the dependence, it made him feel useful and less alone.
“I’m sorry, but I don’t know anything about a Merle,” Grimes replied. Daryl released a breath he didn’t realize he was holding. “We do, however, have news about your uncle Jesse. Yesterday morning he lost his battle with lung cancer. I’m sorry for your loss Mr. Dixon.”
Daryl’s brows frowned. He hadn’t seen or heard from his Uncle since his father’s funeral. Honestly, he had forgotten Jesse existed.
“I, um, wasn’t close to him,” Daryl says though he doesn’t really know why. It’s like he wanted to comfort the officers. He can’t imagine how hard it must be for them to have to deliver this type of news to people. Officer Chambler nods in understanding.
“He left you his land in his will.” She says, “and if you ask me it’s heaven on Earth.”
“You been there?” He asks. Officer Grimes elbows her in the side and gives her a disapproving look. She shrugs and rubs her belly.
“A few years back, we got a call from the Greene farm about a disagreement between them and your uncle. He was accused of shooting one of the Greene’s cows on accident while hunting. Your uncle was forced to pay a fine for the damages.”
Daryl nods, accepting the answer. He finishes up his conversation of how to get the keys to the land and all that bull. It just ended up giving Daryl a headache.
It had taken Daryl a week to find the time to visit his Uncle’s, well his, home. Dale, his employer, had been asking him to work overtime and Daryl didn’t have the heart to say no. Dale had done so much for him over the years that he felt he owed him. Dale had given him a job even though he knew of the Dixon reputation. He never treated Daryl like he was redneck trash, unlike the rest of the town. Hell, after the last time Merle got out of prison, Daryl begged Dale to give Merle a position. Dale was weary but trusted Daryl enough to hire his brother. Merle managed to fly under the cops radar for a year before he got caught again, this time he was going to be in for 7 years. Saying Daryl was pissed would be an understatement. He didn’t understand why his brother kept choosing drugs over him. Not to mention, he was scared shitless of losing Dale’s trust. He had cried for the first time in who knows how long because of it. He didn’t want to let the one person who had in faith in him to be disappointed.
Dale was upset, but not with Daryl. He actually gave Daryl a hug and consoled him for the loss of his brother. Even though Merle’s heart was still beating, he was killing himself with the drugs and alcohol. It was only a matter of time before it took him, though if you ask Daryl he lost his brother the day he started using.
As Daryl made the 25-minute trek out of the town that never loved him into the woods that raised him, his mind was at ease. A rare occurrence that he appreciated greatly. His hair was long and untamed much like the foliage around him. The sound of rocks and mud crunching under his weight reminded him of his childhood running around these very woods.
When he was 5 years old, still naive to reality, his mother would tell him the tale of Peter Pan and the lost boys. No matter how many times his Momma said it he still requested it whenever she offered a story. It was rare that his Momma felt well enough to do anything more than drink, smoke, and sleep so story time was a blessing. Her depression from years of abuse took its toll.
He would go out into the woods to pretend that Peter Pan had taken him away to Neverland where there were not adults with belts to whip him with or bottles to throw at him. The thought of belonging to a group of outcasts like himself brought him joy like no other. He'd be lying if he said he wasn't jealous of Wendy. Thinking back on it, Peter Pan was his first crush. He craved to be loved by a man who was adventurous and funny like Peter. Who didn't back down from a fight when it was to protect his family. Who made Daryl feel alive. But as Daryl got older, he learned that no one would love him like that. There was no pixie dust or flying boys with tree houses. There was no Neverland and there was no hope for him.
Hidden behind trees in the countryside was Uncle Jesse’s cabin. Upon seeing the home Daryl was mesmerized. The sun danced between the trees and on to the house creating abstract art upon it that would change with the wind. The house looked as old and worn. It had been passed down generation to generation for as long as his descendants had lived in Georgia. The wrap around porch had a swinging bench that looked like it had seen better days. The chain was rusted to the point that Daryl was surprised it was still hanging. The bords of the stairs howled in protest under his weight. The faded red paint on the door was chipping off leaving a mess that would need to be swept. For now, Daryl brushed them out to the side with his boot. The door creaked as he opened it. Already Daryl wasn’t looking forward to the number of things that needed to be replaced and fixed. The house is an open concept with windows bringing in lots of natural light. To his left is the dining room table with 3 chairs. Behind it is the kitchen. To his right is an old blue couch facing towards him with a small tv in front of it. Inbetween the living room and dining room/kitchen is a hallway that leads to the rest of the house. The first down on the right goes upstairs into the attic which was turned into a library. After the stairs are the bathroom and two bedrooms. All of this was more than enough for Daryl.
He planned on moving his few items from his trailer into here and to live in the cabin instead. The trailer could be parked beside the home and be a place for Merle after he serves his time. That a way Daryl could keep his eye on Merle and not have the headache of living with him.
As he stepped out of the house, he felt as if someone was watching him. He carefully scanned the tree line and noticed the magnificent creature. Partly hiding behind one of the trees was a gorgeous wolf. His coat was a mix of light brown, black, and white. What struck Daryl the most was his eyes. They were a bright piercing blue. Daryl knew a thing or two about wolves and he had never heard of a wolf with blue eyes. Wolves' eyes are typically beautiful dark brown. In some weird way, he felt like he knew the wolf. Like he had seen him before. After a moment, the wolf turned around and walked back into the forest leaving Daryl in his thoughts.