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Live Like This

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"Everyone I grew up all, happened to them," Nick said, leaning back against the wall of the shed. He took a sip from the jar of moonshine he was holding.

"And now, it's gonna happen to us. We're all so fucked. This whole world is fucked."

"You're just drunk," Clementine said, standing next to him.

"No shit." He paused. They could hear the crickets chirping outside.

"I mean, what's the point?" Nick continued. "We'll just march to some new place and somebody else will die. It's never gonna stop. and eventually, it'll be our turn."

He took another drink. "I can't believe we've been here a day. A day! It's been a day, right?"

Clementine nodded. Nick bent his head forward and coverered his face with his hand. He put the half empty jar back on the shelf with the others and rested his other hand in his lap. His shoulders started to shake. "Fuck," he said, his voice breaking.

Clementine came toward him and sat down next to him. She put a hand on his lap, on top of his, while he trembled.

"Nick," she said.

"You should get out of here, kid. Try and make a run for it. The cabin's not far from here," he muttered in a ragged voice.

"Not without you."

"Luke and the others will look after you. They're good people. Better than me."

"Don't say that." She crawled onto his lap and put her arms around him, laying her cheek against his shuddering chest. His arm came up around her, wrapping around her shoulder. He wiped the hand that had been covering his face on his pants, and rested it on the back of her head, on top of her cap. After a few moments he grew still and his breaths lengthened.

Clementine fell asleep listening to his heartbeat. She woke a few hours later and looked up at Nick. He was awake, and stared down her with pale blue eyes. As she raised her head from his chest, a string of saliva stretched from her mouth to his shirt.

"You drooled on me."

"Sorry." Clementine wiped at the wet patch and Nick chuckled.

"Don't worry about it. I've gotten worse things on this shirt."

Clementine got off his lap and sat down next to him. "Are you ready to go now?"

"No." Nick grabbed a jar off the shelf next to him and offered it to Clementine.

"Have a drink with me."

She took the jar and unscrewed the lid. The liquid inside smelled strong and made her eyes water. Nick picked up the half-finished jar from before and and raised it.

"Here's to Pete, the nicest, meanest old bastard who ever lived."

He clinked the jar against hers and took a long sip. Clementine gingerly tilted the jar against her mouth till a little bit of the whiskey flowed in. It burned her tongue and had a bitter, overripe taste that made her gag and cough, but she swallowed what she could.

Nick laughed and clapped her on the back, taking another sip and shakily putting down the jar. Clementine handed hers back to him and he returned it to the shelf.

"Thanks for doing that, Clem," he said. "And thanks for staying with me and up on me."

"I don't want you to die, Nick. I care about you. Luke does too."

"You shouldn't. I'm not worth it."

"Don't say that. Stop staying stuff like that."

"It's true."

"No, it's not. You're just trying to make yourself feel bad."

"I don't have to try."

"Nick, I don't want to be alone again."

"Get out of here, Clem."

"I'm not leaving without you."

Nick sighed. "You remind me of Luke." He looked up at the window. It was still dark outside. "What time is it?" He looked at his wrist. "Shit, my watch. Must've left it back at the cabin. Uncle Pete gave me that watch. Goddamn it." He looked even more miserable.

"I found a watch in the basement of the cabin my first night," Clementine said excitedly. She pulled it out of her pocket and handed it to Nick.

His face lit up. "That's it! Thank you, Clem." Nick put it on his wrist. "Hmph, it needs to be wound."

"Let's just go." Clementine stood up.

Nick leaned forward and took her forearm, running his thumb along the stitches over the dog bite.

"I'm sorry I didn't believe you."

"Nick, it's okay, just c'mon, please." She put a hand on his cheek and he swallowed.

"Clem, if I don't make it, I want you to give this watch to Luke. If you can."


"Alright." He pulled himself up, leaning against the wall unsteadily.

"I don't wanna die, I just...I don't know how to live anymore."

"With each other. Like this." She took his hand and led him to the door of the shed, and together they pushed the wooden box in front of it aside, and stepped out into the night.