Saturday, 31 January 2009 - 4:21 pm

A scrape on harp strings

Today we’re on the move again.  Not very fast and not very far, but at least we’re trying to make progress.  Ben is our unofficial map-bearer and last night I helped him gather the other boys so that we could figure out where we’re going next.

By ‘boys’ I mean Thorpe and Sax, with Dillon sidling in too.  None of them want to hear what the doctor has to say – even if the doctor had something sensible to contribute, which he generally doesn’t. Half the time, it’s as if he’s still high, still caught up in drug-fuelled dreams, though we know that’s not possible.  The other half, he glares at everyone and growls occasionally.

Sally has been withdrawn and useless since the fight; she’s good at making herself easy to ignore.  I think it’s a skill she had to develop once.  Without her, there’s no-one to keep tabs on the doctor – I tried to talk to her, but she wasn’t interested.


We had to force ourselves into motion this morning.  Everything was a battle.  Nugget kept trying to run off to find the damn cat – who found us yesterday but disappeared during the night – and I had to make Dillon hold onto her so we knew where she was.  Dillon whined about having to babysit the little one and wanted to do something else.  Sax had trouble getting down the stairs because of his injured knee, and had to lean on a couple of us all the way.  Ben and Thorpe had to be helped into their packs, which was awkward and painful for everyone involved.  Sally didn’t want to unfold herself from her corner of the apartment’s living room – for some reason, she had chosen to curl up behind the TV.  The doctor kept wandering off in a random direction if no-one paid attention and snapped nastily at anyone who tried to bring him back.  Thorpe said that we should just leave them there, which sparked off another round of arguments that left everyone tasting bitter and grumpy.

It took over an hour to get everyone out of the apartment and down on the street.  By that time I was already strung out and snapping at everyone, even poor Dillon.  He looked at me like I just kicked him, and that made me feel worse.  I had no idea how to take it back.

It was a relief when Thorpe started walking and the rest of us were forced to follow.  The whining stopped because none of us had the breath to walk and bitch at the same time.  I was so sick of hearing it, of listening to the same complaints over and over, as if that made them more valid or more important.

We’re all tired and in pain but we have to keep moving.  We don’t have the food reserves to just stay still – we’re checking every building that doesn’t look like it has already been turned over.  We have a purpose now, too, a reason to keep going, a reason to pick ourselves up and push on.  We have family to look for, precious people we have to find again, people who might need us.


We didn’t get far at all today.  Sally kept falling behind – I think she’s hurt worse than she let me see yesterday – and Sax was struggling by mid-afternoon.  The rest of us had to pause to let them catch up, over and over until there was muttering, and then more open sniping.

It’s all rubbing at me, right in the middle, wearing me through. I’m a harp frame with most of its strings broken; the few that are intact are shearing under the strain, fibre by tiny unravelling fibre.

I had hoped that the fight might bring us all together – I had hoped that that much good might come of it.  But no – instead, it’s giving us more reasons to be awful to each other.  Things are still heading for the explosive end that they were before, and the pace is picking up.  I feel like I boarded a train that doesn’t have any brakes and it’s already going too fast for any of us to get off.

We’re close now.  It’s just a question of who breaks first.