Friday, 27 March 2009 - 6:43 pm

Catching up

So many posts have been about the prison – it seems like I’ve spent more time writing about it than we actually spent there. Things have been far less eventful since those grey walls disappeared from our rearview mirrors.

We drove with more haste than was probably wise until we reached another suburb; it wasn’t long before more welcoming walls rose up around us. As soon as we found something big enough, we switched out the dodgy car for one we hoped would be more reliable and less flammable.

Then we moved on again, pushing forward until the sky grew dark with acid and we had to seek shelter. It seems to be doing that earlier in the afternoon these days; I think the pattern might be shifting. It’s strange how regular it has been, falling at roughly the same time every afternoon until the last couple of weeks. I don’t think we’ve ever had as much rain here before as we have in the past three months, but it always seems to have dried up and faded away again by morning. Which I’m grateful for; these are not puddles that we can just go jumping in.


The day after we escaped from the prison – Wednesday – we went to start the cars as usual, but stopped after we had pushed the first one into life. Matt was waving at Ben to cut the engine with an urgent look in his eye, and when it fell quiet, we heard what had prompted him. There were voices, close by, calling to one another about the sound of a car, and whistles for attention.

It was enough to get our gear out of the cars and off the road. We hunkered down in a nearby house and waited, and it wasn’t long before they came, sniffing out the sound they knew they’d heard. The group was made up of patchwork creatures – it seemed like a motif for them, rather than some kind of coordinating accident. I was thinking that we should just go out there and shoo them away – there were only a handful of them – when the rest turned up. A dozen, a score… I lost count. I was glad we had decided to hide after all.

They looked over the cars in the street and soon figured out which ones were likely to have been used lately. I looked at the others and they looked at me, and then we headed for the house’s back door. We had to climb over a couple of fences to get to the next street, and then we settled into a walk once more. Vehicles might be the quickest and easiest way to get around, but they attract attention and that’s not safe. So it’s back to heavy feet and packs, long days and roads.


Since then, we’ve covered quite a bit of ground. We’re surrounded by apartment buildings again, from the rundown to the kind that was looked after in the time Before. We should reach Ben’s sister’s building tomorrow; she’s on the outskirts of this area. There’s a mall nearby, too, and we’re going to call by there to see if there’s anything of use left.

Sax is developing a cough – I heard it rattling last night. He’s trying to suppress it, but it still catches him off-guard sometimes. I hope there’s a chemist around here so we can get him some medicine for it.

I should go and sit with Ben. He won’t say or show it, but he’s scared about tomorrow. I would feel the same if it was my turn. I hate that all I can do is hold him tight and offer physical comfort; there just aren’t any words that mean anything at a time like this.