Author’s Note: This story takes place between Season 2 and Season 3 of The Walking Dead. Written by request for ChrisRox, who asked for the following story: In a situation before they found the prison Beth was not happy with their new life and caused some problems with the group that Maggie had to deal with.
Disclaimer: I don’t own any of these characters, and I’m not making any money from this story.
Warning: Non-consensual spanking of a minor by an older sibling. I don’t advocate the spanking of minors in real life, only in fiction.
Beth stared at the can, as if reaching out to touch it might make it vanish like a mirage. Her stomach loudly protested her hesitation. Two days ago she’d had three bites of squirrel, but only water since. One scrawny squirrel wasn’t enough sustenance for one person, and it had been shared among all ten of the survivors from the farm disaster three months ago. Now seeing the innocuous little can of peaches made her stomach clench with need.
Rick’s little dictatorship would be coming to an ugly end if they all starved to death, and that was looking more and more likely with every passing day. Every house they cleared of walkers was a potential death trap for the strongest members of their group, and when those houses ended up being devoid of food, it meant energy and effort wasted for nothing.
Snapping out of her trance, Beth whirled around to make sure she was alone, and then shook her head at her own paranoia. Of course she was alone.
Yesterday, after searching three houses with no luck, Lori had stumbled down the stairs as they left, and almost fallen. Rick hadn’t gone to her aid, but he had suddenly decided they all needed rest. So they’d gone back inside the last house they’d cleared, and holed up for the night. Then this morning, Rick had told them they were going to try something new. They were going to ‘divide and conquer’, and then meet up back at the same house at the end of the day to share whatever food they’d each found. Rick, T-Dog, and Carl were going north to scavenge houses, while Daryl, Glenn, and Hershel went south to do the same. Maggie, Lori, Carol, and Beth were supposed to be foraging for edible plants in the yards close to the house they’d spent the night in, but after the men had left, Beth had complained of feeling dizzy. It wasn’t exactly a lie, she did feel dizzy if she stood up too fast, but so did everyone after going without food for so long.
The real reason Beth didn’t want to go was simply because she couldn’t deal with anymore disappointment. She’d already tried to take her own life once, and that had been back on the farm when things weren’t nearly as dire as they were at this point in time. But she was feeling precariously close to trying it again. After a lot of fussing from Maggie, Beth had convinced her sister that she’d be fine on her own in the house, and the older women had left her there. Once she was alone, she’d wandered through the empty house, while thinking about slitting her wrists. Eventually she’d ended up in a bedroom that had clearly once belonged to a female child. She’d picked up a stuffed animal as she contemplated life and death, and that’s when she’d found the can.
Beth slowly reached out to touch the can with shaky fingers. She hesitated yet again before picking it up. The can had been hidden on a shelf behind some stuffed animals, so there was a strong possibility that this was an empty can that had been used as a toy. She sent up a silent prayer of thanks as she picked up the can, and felt the weight of it in her hand.
She spent the next ten minutes carefully searching the rest of the room for any other cans, but found none. Then she sat on the bed and stared at the can for about one minute before dashing out to grab the can opener out of her backpack. Kneeling on the living room floor next to her bedroll, she put the edge of the can opener on the top of the can, but a voice in her head held her back before she could push it down to puncture the metal.
‘We’re all starving, not just you’, the voice said. That was the part of her brain that still remembered what it was like before the world had become infected. But she’d been that person for sixteen years of her life, so she tended to listen to it. She kept the can opener in place and had an internal debate.
‘I found it; it’s mine.’
‘Everyone is out there looking for food, and Rick told us to bring what we find back so we can all share.’
‘One can of peaches for ten people means one or two bites each. That’s not enough.’
‘Daryl killed that squirrel two days ago, and he shared it with the group instead of keeping it for himself.’
‘No one would have to know I’d even found it. I can eat the whole can, and then hide it once it’s empty.’
‘Daddy would be ashamed of me if he knew what I was thinking. It’s selfish to want it all to myself. Daddy always says that God will provide if you have faith, and now more than ever, I need to have faith.’
‘But Daddy also says God helps those who help themselves. I’m starving. I should help myself to these peaches.’
‘Lori is eating for two. I should at least save it to share with the women. One can split four ways would be enough.’
‘But they’ll make you wait until everyone gets back, and if this is all there is, you’ll have to split it ten ways.’
Beth shook her head, and whispered to herself, “They’re going to find food. I need to have faith in that.” With that thought in mind, she snapped the can opener down, and inhaled the sweet smell of peach juice. He mouth watered as she finished opening the can.
Careful not to spill any, she lifted the lid, and held the edge of the can up to her lips. The cool syrupy liquid slid into her mouth and down her throat in large gulps. She couldn’t remember ever tasting anything as good, and peaches had never been one of her favorites. Once the syrup was mostly gone, she used her fingers to dig out a peach slice, and put the whole thing in her mouth at once. She closed her eyes, and a little moan of pleasure came out of her throat as she chewed it up. She took out another slice, but this time she chewed it slowly, savoring the feeling of having food in her mouth.
She’d eaten half the can, when Maggie stepped through the front door. Beth froze in place with her sticky fingers hovering just above the can. She watched while her sister’s face went from confused to livid in under a second, and Beth gulped loudly. Maggie carefully and quietly shut the door behind her, and then said through clenched teeth. “Put it down.”
Beth slowly set the can down as shame and guilt swirled around in her guts, making her feel ill. Unable to keep looking at her sister, Beth turned her eyes to the floor, and sucked off her fingers.
Maggie walked across the room, looked in the can, and then carefully picked it up and put it on the nearby table. Once the food was safely out of the way, Maggie grabbed Beth’s wrist in her hand and yanked her up off the floor.
“How could you!” Maggie hissed, keeping her voice low, even though it clearly took effort.
“I’m sorry,” Beth whispered as her eyes filled with tears. “I was so hungry.”
“We’re all hungry, Beth! That doesn’t excuse your behavior. Lori is pregnant for goodness sake! How are you going to feel if she loses the baby because she didn’t get enough to eat?”
Unable to answer, Beth just shook her head, and tried to pull her wrist away from her sister’s grip.
Maggie squeezed her wrist even harder and said, “What if Rick had come in here instead of me? Do you think we’ll have any chance of survival if Rick kicks us out of the group?”
The tears slid down Beth’s face. “Daddy wouldn’t let him kick us out.”
“Daddy might not be able to stop him.” Maggie’s mouth turned down into a grim frown, before she started walking down the hallway towards the bedrooms, towing Beth behind her.
“What are you doing?” Beth asked, trying and failing to keep her voice from rising with fear.
“Something Daddy should have done a lot more often,” Maggie said, hauling Beth into the master bedroom and shutting the door behind them. “As the baby of the family, you’ve been spoiled rotten your whole life.” Maggie went straight to the bed, sat down, and yanked Beth over her lap.
“Maggie, no!” Beth wailed, knowing exactly what her sister intended to do. Their father had spanked both of them a few times when they were little, but it had been years, and Beth certainly didn’t want it to happen again now.
Holding her little sister in place, Maggie hissed, “Keep your voice down! I haven’t seen any walkers in town, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t out there. You are sixteen, not six. It’s past time for you to grow up and show some responsibility, Beth.”
With those words, Maggie slapped her hand down onto Beth’s rear end.
“Ow!” Beth said reflexively, before she even felt the pain.
Grunting in disapproval, Maggie muttered, “Too loud,” and lifted her sister. Maggie stood, and quickly shoved Beth’s torso onto the bed. Beth’s legs were hanging down off the edge, which left her rear end in the perfect position for a spanking. Maggie put a hand on the small of Beth’s back to keep her there and said, “You stay right where you are, Elizabeth. I mean it. Don’t move an inch if you know what’s good for you.”
Beth nodded without thinking. She’d never been afraid of her sister before, but this version of Maggie was frightening. She watched with wide eyes as Maggie stalked over to the closet, rummaged around for a moment, and walked back holding a plastic hanger.
A few tears ran down Beth’s face, and she shook her head no.
Maggie took one of the pillows from the top of the bed and held it out to her sister. “If you need to holler, you put your face on that to block the sound. I’m going to do this fast so any noise we make will be short lived, but believe me when I tell you that it is going to hurt.”
Beth grabbed the pillow and buried her face in it, as she started to really cry. Her sister had always been kind to her in the past, so this angry version was more than a little upsetting.
“I’m giving you twenty. You keep your hands on that pillow,” Maggie warned before putting a hand on the middle of Beth’s back, and then smacking the hanger down on her sister’s behind.
The muffled sound that the hanger made when it hit Beth’s jeans was much less noisy than Maggie’s hand had been, but the pain it left in its wake was definitely worse. Beth yelped into the pillow with every whack. By the end, she was squirming and trying to roll her body away from the punishing blows. Maggie put her upper body weight into the hand on Beth’s back to keep the wiggling girl still.
Once the last smack landed, Maggie tossed the hanger onto the floor, and sat next to her weeping sister.
Beth felt her sister’s hand gently patting her lower back, and knew it was over, but she was too upset to stop crying. The pain was still too fresh for her to comfortably move, so she simply lay still and kept her face pressed into the pillow to dampen the noisy crying. She couldn’t believe how much her skin stung. It felt like there were little lines of pinpricks all over her rear end.
“Promise me that this is never going to happen again,” Maggie said while gently squeezing Beth’s shoulder.
Beth pulled her face away from the pillow to be heard. “I promise.” She wiped the dampness off her face with her hands, and cautiously made eye contact with Maggie.
Maggie sighed and immediately looked down at the floor. “Maybe I shouldn’t have done that,” she muttered, “I’m too hungry to be thinking clearly. I just… reacted.”
Beth shook her head, and pushed herself closer to her sister. With a shaky rough voice she said, “It’s okay, Maggie. I should have waited for everyone, so we could share it. If that’s the only food the group finds today, everyone should have gotten a slice. I’ll feel sick knowing I ate half while the rest of you go hungry.”
Maggie pulled her into a strong hug. “I love you Beth.”
“I love you, too.”
Maggie let go first and they both stood. Maggie put a hand on Beth’s shoulder and said, “Carol and Lori weren’t far behind me. They probably overheard at least some of that.”
Beth groaned and hid her face in her hands.
“Come on.” Maggie put her arm around Beth’s shoulders and headed them both towards the door. “It’ll be okay. They won’t tell anyone. They’ll understand.”
The sisters found Carol and Lori both standing by the half-empty can of peaches waiting for them. Beth forced herself to make eye contact, and was surprised to see sympathy on both of their faces.
Maggie cleared her throat and said, “I’d appreciate it if we could split the remaining peaches between the three of us. I don’t want Rick finding out what Beth did.”
“He’d understand,” Lori said softly.
“Maybe, but what if he doesn’t.”
The room was silent for several seconds. Then Carol picked up the can, took out a slice, and passed it to Lori. The three older women passed the can around taking a slice at a time, until they were gone.
Carol took it and said, “I’ll bury it out back under that pile of trash against the fence.”
“Thank you.” Maggie said, and then looked at Lori. “Both of you.”
# # #
Later that day Beth was helping Carol wash and cut up some dandelion leaves and clover flowers in a desperate attempt to provide something edible for the men when they got back.
“It might not taste good, but it’ll stave off true starvation for days,” Carol said. “We were lucky to find a yard with so many weeds. Most of the houses in this neighborhood are all grass.”
All the women turned towards the front of the house, when they heard a vehicle pull up. Maggie got the gun out of the back of her pants while Lori checked the window.
“It’s Rick,” Lori said.
Maggie put her gun away, and Lori turned to smile at them. “He’s got a bag. I think they found something.”
Beth ran to the door, and opened it for the guys, praying that Lori was right. Not only because she wanted to stop feeling guilty, but also because the peaches hadn’t been nearly enough food.
Rick walked in with a wide grin, and handed the bag to Beth. “We found a whole pantry full of stuff. No one goes hungry tonight.”
Unable to stop herself, Beth threw her arms around him and hugged him tight for a second, before taking the bag over for the other women to see.
An hour later when Daryl’s group came back with a rabbit to show for their efforts, everyone celebrated by eating until they couldn’t stuff in another bite.
(Feedback makes me happy.)