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To Wander, In Search Of Home | The Tale of Annie Reed

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//Author's Note: This is a more polished version of Annie's backstory that I've been told I should share... and so share, I shall! This is more of an intro to Annie and how she got to where she is, not really a history, but I'm sure I'll put together more about her soon. I hope you enjoy it!//

To Wander, In Search Of Home

Part One: Alone

Another unfamiliar ceiling.


For a moment, Annie had forgotten where she was when she opened her eyes. She focused on the thin, vein like cracks travelling from the light fixture to the corner of the room where ceiling met wall. As the deep blue irises followed along peeling wallpaper to the glittering ashes in the fireplace from the previous night’s fire and all the way to odd pile of furniture in front of the only door in the room, she rolled onto her stomach.


She remembered.


The days and weeks were starting to bleed together at this point. It was so exceedingly rare to find herself waking peacefully underneath a roof now- not to the familiar sound of snarling that she often thought she was still dreaming.

Climbing to a crouching position, the petite brunette crept toward the window, peering out into the dim, grey light of the cold morning. The coast seemed clear. She could probably slip away quietly after breakfast… or so she thought.

Pulling open the snag-prone zipper of a hiking pack that had seen far better days, she found her mostly empty canteen and not so much as a scrap to eat inside among the few supplies that she DID have. Her eyes narrowed at the lone empty can a few feet away on the floor. That was right… she had eaten the last fourth of the chicken left in the can before sleeping. It certainly had been a long day...

Her gaze drifted lazily to another corner of the room where a sticky puddle of blackish blood still remained from the previous night’s efforts. She had been wandering for days, trying to get a good idea on where she was and if she was even headed in the right direction. When she spotted the tiny house on the horizon she gladly veered toward it, eager to find shelter from the cold.


The place had seemed empty, but she had been careless in her search of the house. The moment she spotted the fireplace, she made a beeline for it to start a much-needed fire. When the flames crackled to life over the old log and scraps of paper, she heard the wheezing, rattling moan of the Lurker that resided in the room she hadn’t checked yet.

Closing her eyes with a flinch, Annie remembered pulling the shotgun from the sling on her back and swinging it like a bat at the creature’s head. When it hit the ground, she struck it again… twice… three times or more, she lost count. She continued clubbing the monster in the head with the butt of the shotgun… A gun she didn’t even know how to use. She couldn’t count how many times she had mentally kicked herself lately for never learning how to shoot a gun- Her father was a cop, for crying out loud!

After the Lurker had finally stilled, she had dropped the gun she had just used as a caveman's club and dragged the body out of the room, through the hall and out the front door. She then returned to push, pull and throw everything in the room that her tiny frame could possibly move in front of the door before collapsing in front of the fire. Trembling in the aftermath, she slipped the pack from her shoulders to pull out the last, almost empty can of chicken with shaking hands. She had fallen into a fitful sleep shortly after pushing the few pieces of meat into her mouth.


Rubbing the heels of her hands into her already sore eyes, Annie let out a long, slow breath. She would have to scavenge for supplies again before pressing on…

“But pressing on to where?” A nagging voice inside her head whispered.

She didn’t even know where she was anymore. The rest of the Red Cross volunteers that she had traveled over from the United States were long since dead. Tom… Pablo… Janine… Even Marcus who had always seemed so prepared. Prepared for anything… Prepared to die to that she could live… It was a sacrifice that she would have to carry with her until she met her own fate.

Squeezing her eyes shut, she tried to block out the memories of what she wished had been a nightmare...


He had been bitten hours ago, and they both knew that no amount of tending to the wound on his shin would stop the inevitable. They had managed to escape the herd that had discovered them by seeking shelter in some sort of manufacturing plant. As they hid in a small office at the end of a winding hall, keeping as quiet as their labored breathing would allow, Marcus let himself slide into a seated position against the wall beside the door. Marcus Duncan wasn’t the sort of person you would expect to jump at the chance to join the Red Cross and travel overseas as a volunteer medic; Ex-military medic in his early fifties, racist, insufferable and about as redneck as you could get. But through all of that, it seemed that his heart was in the right place beneath the toxic surface he so liked to cultivate for himself.


Even now, dying, he still managed to be irritating,

“Ain’t got much time left, y’know…” He grinned up at her with a wink, “How ‘bout we get a little closer and-”


“You know, you’d last longer if you’d keep your mouth shut.” She tried to smirk back at him, but somehow Annie couldn’t get her tone of voice to commit to their usual joking banter.


He chuckled at her with a pained wince before the two of them grew quiet. Annie didn’t know what to say… She was afraid, angry, and feeling more depressed by the moment.


Marcus watched her wrap her arms around herself, rubbing her upper arms through the woolen coat that she wore. He furrowed his brows for a moment as he spoke in a surprisingly serious tone.

“Hey. C’mere.” He commanded gently. When she looked up at him with a wary look in her eye, he smirked, “I ain’t gonna bite ya… At least not yet while I'm among the living. C’mere now, and help me take this jacket off.”


Annie moved closer to him, placing a hand on his creased forehead before helping him pull the thick winter jacket from his shoulders,

“You’re burning up.” She mumbled.


“Yeah…” He murmured, slipping his arms from the sleeves with a grunt of effort, “I reckon I’ll be done cookin’ soon… You take that now, you’ll be needing it more than I will. Lil’ Annie Reed… always been too skinny. Y’got no meat on them bones. Y’gotta keep yourself warm with how piss-cold it’s getting.”


“I'm pretty sure that urine isn't cold.” She couldn’t help the tiny, sad smile as she took the jacket from him… a smile that vanished as he let out a whoop of laughter that looked as though the effort of it was giving him the beating of his life from the inside.


“Now there’s that educated Yankee sass I met on the flight over. You’re gonna be alright. You put that coat on now, ‘n… wear it as a muumuu ‘er somethin’.” He chuckled painfully, enjoying the familiar roll of her eyes at the jab at her height. Marcus was a tall, bulky man, so when ‘Little Annie Reed’ pulled his jacket on over the wool coat she was already wearing, it nearly reached all the way down to her knees. Seeing her practically swimming in the jacket, he let out another wincing chuckle. “…Like a damn kid.”


“Shut up, Marcus.” She snapped, her smirk and tone betraying the harsh command as she slid down the wall to sit beside him. “What do we do now?”


“Ain’t no ‘we’ anymore, babydoll.” He drawled, “Once it’s quiet, we gonna get you out of here, n’ then you’re on yer own. As much as I wanted the chance to take a bite out of you while I’m breathing, I don’t really think you’d like me so much if I did it while I’m dead.”


“Don’t…” Annie stammered, looking like she had been slapped, “Don’t say shit like that. You can still come with… We can still keep going! You’re still… You’re…”


Marcus let her voice trail off before he spoke, his voice firm.

“You’re smarter than that, sugar. You know what’s gonna happen, and I’d rather you not be around to see it.”


She could feel the familiar sting of hot tears in her eyes, and he could see it too.

“Hey.” He barked, “Cut that shit out, now.”


“Sorry…” She mumbled, vigorously scrubbing her eyes, “I’m sorry.”


“You listen here, girly.” He lifted a hand to grip her by the chin to make her look him in the eye, his skin burning to the touch, “We get outta this place and you keep goin’, Y’hear? Head west. Follow the sun, and when it sets, you find north by the stars and keep that star on your right shoulder.”


Annie bit her lower lip with a shaky nod.


“You’re gonna get home, Annie Reed. You’re gonna-” Marcus stopped short when he heard the snarling. It sounded like the herd had moved on and was slowly shambling passed the window. Giving her a silent hand signal, he pushed himself dizzily to his feet with a soft grunt, Annie following his lead.


The two of them slipped silently into the tight hallway, trudging forward at a sluggish pace what with Marcus’ injured and infected leg. All seemed well until they rounded a corner to meet no less than a dozen of shambling corpses, blocking their exit in the cramped hall.


“Go back…” Annie spoke with a tremble in her voice as the snarling dead spotted them, “Back to the room!”


As she took a few steps backward, she noticed that Marcus did not move. She called his name with a panicked hiss, her voice seeming to jar him from his thoughts and into motion…


…but not in the direction she had expected.


Much to her horror, Marcus barreled forward into the small horde with a roar,

“Get goin’!”


“No! What are you doing?!” She shrieked, “Marcus!”


Through the snarls, she heard his voice shout over the agony as several of the infected tore into his flesh,

“GO!” He barked, “I’m dead already! You do what I’m tellin’ ya!”


He pushed and shoved the mob backward, clearing a way for Annie as they feasted on his living flesh. Annie could only stare, terrified at the scene before her… the only thing waking her from her trance being one of the corpses breaking rank and staggering toward her.


“GO, Annie!” Marcus cried once more, his voice acting as a starting pistol and making her sprint forward, avoiding the rogue Shuffler and moving around the groaning, snarling group that he was keeping at bay.


She only stopped once at the door, locking eyes with his steely grey ones, face screwing up in the worst pain imaginable. There wasn’t time to thank him. Wasn’t time to say goodbye. She could only stare into his eyes for the briefest of moments before turning on her heel and sprinting a way at a break-neck pace, Marcus’s screams following her as she went.


No... No, don't think about that...

With her eyes still tightly closed, she shook her head vigorously with a long sniffle, trying shake the nightmare from her thoughts. She was alone now… and had been for quite some time. Annie scrubbed her eyes free of angry tears as a feeling of hopelessness swelled up inside of her like a balloon.


How long had she even been in this country? A month? Maybe more? It felt so much longer than that, and the only clue of passage of time was the passing of day and night and the days growing colder. She had been part of the last group that the UN sent over to aid Chernarus in… whatever it was that turned into this hopeless situation. There were people that needed medical help, so naturally Annie Reed wanted to help them.


But for the first time that she could ever recall, Annie regretted offering to help. It was so unlike her to regret such a thing, as it had been her life’s mission to help those who most needed it… After all, it was why she had wanted to become a doctor. But now because of her will to go overseas and help a dying country, she had lost everything. Her life in Atlanta seemed like a distant memory... her goals of finishing med school at Emory University, an unrealistic dream.


An urgent growl of her stomach interrupted her pessimistic train of thought. With a flinch, she climbed to her feet, slipping her arms through the straps of her pack so that it fit snugly on her back. She had to stop thinking like that. There had to be a way out of this country… a way back home. Surely what was happening here wasn’t happening elsewhere in the world. Surely her father and brother still living in New York were safe. She had to find a way back to them. They couldn’t be completely cut off from the rest of the world. There had to be a way to get out of this dying country and back to living civilization… to contact her family for help to get a flight back home…


As she finished pushing the make-shift furniture blockade from the door, Annie moved through the hall and took a cautious step out into the morning chill, watching her breath fog the air in front of her. There had to be a way out of this nightmare.



There just had to be.

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  • Titanium

You're really good at this. :D

Keep it up and welcome to the community, I'm sure you'll love it here.

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  • Legend

Awesome read.

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  • Sapphire

Excellent story, had a great time reading it.

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  • Legend

You have one hell of a knack for writing. Keep it up, I look forward to more.

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//Author's Note: I'm gonna be real honest here: Annie Reed is a character I've been writing about off and on for the past year as something of a Walking Dead fanfiction that I've never shown anyone. (Don't you judge me!! :P ) Obviously I've made changes to her story, but things like this memory are parts of her that I wanted to keep. I thought y'all might like reading this memory because it's a favorite of mine that I wrote for her earlier this year.//

To Wander, In Search Of Home

Part Two: The Necklace


Annie padded quietly into the kitchen as the sun was just starting to rise. Her Saturday morning cartoon ritual had always consisted of waking with the sun, pouring herself a bowl of honey-flavored cereal and claiming her spot in front of the television long before anyone else in the house was awake. She enjoyed the few hours of quiet before the house would come alive with the weekend hustle and bustle, and the really weird cartoons were always on earlier in the morning.

She was surprised to find her father seated at the kitchen table in the gold light of the rising sun, hunched forward with his head in his hands and his back facing her. Michael Reed was normally one to take advantage of his Saturdays off and sleep in, so Annie found it very strange to find him there and only accompanied by a cold and long stale cup of coffee.

 She crept around to stand on the other side of the table, making her presence known.Dad?


If he was surprised by her sudden appearance, he didn’t let on in his sluggish reaction. He merely lifted his tired gaze to look upon his daughter… and even to a twelve year old, she could tell by his sore, red eyes that he hadn’t slept that night.

Hey, kiddo. He rubbed his tired eyes, his voice somewhat hoarse, Up for the morning toons?

She nodded quietly, feeling that something was off. It was then that her gaze fell to the table where a diamond ring glinted in the early morning light. Annie felt her heart lurch painfully with dread.“…Isnt that Moms? The child murmured quietly in a careful tone.

He didn’t answer her, only closing his eyes in silence. She watched a faint, pained expression cross his features and blurted out her next question, feeling her heart hammer in her chest.Where is she?"

With a sigh, Mike opened his eyes. He pulled his wedding band from his finger and picked up the abandoned ring on the table in front of him, reaching out to hand them to his daughter.

“Take them, sweet pea. Go on.”


Annie took a step back, looking affronted and confused. Mike rubbed his tired, red eyes before looking deeply into hers, leaning forward.

“Look, kiddo…” He began gently, “…I never wanted to be the first person to tell you that sometimes things just don’t turn out the way you wanted them to… And when they don’t, you just gotta get up and keep going… and make it better than it was before.”

He offered her the rings again, a serious expression on his face,Thats why I want you to take these and keep them. One day youll meet someone whos gonna uphold everything all the promises that these rings were meant to keep. So you hold onto these until that day comes, alright?”

She raised her hands, cupping them below his so he could drop the rings into them.



Annie found her hand subconsciously holding the tiny lump over her sternum beneath her clothes as she prodded her small campfire with a stick. After a final stab at the glowing embers of the log, she slipped a hand beneath the collar of her shirt to pull the thin chain that held her parents' wedding rings.

She had always kept them with her... and now they were the only thing she had left of her previous life. No photographs of her father or brother. Only the memories of a broken marriage and a father's wish for his daughter.

She thought she had found that person once- the one that her father wanted to find. Dean Hilkmann had been charming, strong and very full of himself- perfect military material. They had been together only a year when she became pregnant. It certainly hadn't been planned by either of them, but... she had been happy. She felt ready. Excited.

That excitement had collapsed like a flat-ended cupboard when she was made to realize that Dean was definitely not ready in the most abrupt way she could have imagined. He yelled. He screamed.

...And then he left. He left. Just like her mother.

Mike had taken time off to drive all the way down to Atlanta to be with his daughter shortly after Dean abandoned her. A few weeks later, her brother Danny followed by flight after his semester at John Jay had ended. Her family was close like that... and thankfully they were there with her when a few weeks after that, she lost the baby, nearly losing her life in the process. Recovering from an emergency laparotomy was bad enough without the infection that followed- her body's harsh promise that this would never happen again. She lost this child and would never have another.

Mike and Danny stayed with her, no matter how much she tried to push away from everyone she knew and loved... No matter how much she wanted to disconnect with the world forever. It was her family that stuck with her and help her heal.

That had been four years ago... Her life had grown happier again, and she returned to school with the goal of getting her PHD. And even though she never opened that door to another man again, she dove headfirst into making sure that her family always remained close and happy- even after they returned to their lives in New York.

With a deep sigh, she tilted her head back to gaze up at the inky black sky, speckled with stars. Feeling the fire slowly warm her body, she picked out the North Star again, Marcus's words echoing in her mind:

"Keep that star on your right shoulder. Head west."

Clutching her necklace again, she glanced back down into the flames with a frown.

"Dad... Danny..." She murmured softly, "I'll find my way back to you again somehow..."


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  • Sapphire

I am loving this so far. It is very well written and you get into it so much that you can't wait to find out what happens next!

Keep it up :)

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  • Sapphire

Nice stories an fun to read! I hope there is a 3e part coming... ;)

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  • Sapphire

A good read. I might suggest working on the formatting though. It was kind of hard to get through because I kept loosing my train of thought reading it.

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  • Sapphire

Really liking this thread :) Can't wait for more entries!

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