Monday, 16 March 2009 - 6:36 pm


We haven’t seen any Pride tags since yesterday, so we’re starting to relax. I think we’re finally leaving them behind, sneaking out from under their shadow. There’s a part of me that doesn’t want to relax, that knows we should keep our vigilance taut and defensive. The Pride aren’t the only threat around; they’re just the one we’ve heard the most (and the worst) about. But there’s only so much and so long we can stay tense – we have to relax sometime. Something has to give. I suppose the best we can do is try to let it happen when it’s less dangerous.

I keep thinking about my talk with Dillon yesterday. Did I tell him the right thing? Should I be encouraging him to keep the people he knew alive in his heart and hopes? Was that cruel of me? Should I tell him to face reality?

We all know that a lot of people are dead. Chances are, most of the people we have met in our lives are gone now; if not killed the bomb, then taken by what has come after. The rain, the water shortage, the food situation. The violence, the vagaries and greed of desperate and broken people. Injuries and illness that there’s no-one left to treat properly. What chance did most of them have?

When I think of all the dangers that swirl around us every day, it terrifies me. I look around myself, at the group, my friends, these strangers that I’ve fought and slept alongside, these people that I share my food and precious water with every day. There’s not one of them that I want to lose, and I get scared when I think about what might happen to us. Where we’re going, what we’re going to find, what we’ll do with it all. So I try not to think. I try not to see what I know is sensible and true.

I look at Alice and I see something different. She isn’t ignoring the way things are; she knows and lives with it in front of her every day. She’s wary and distant from us. She looks at us as if we’re going to die soon, keeping herself separate because none of us will be around forever. She’s reluctant to share what she has, not because she’s particularly selfish or mean, but because she knows that she has to protect herself. She’s fifteen years old and she has become a tough survivor in the past two and a half months. She’s only along with us for the ride while we’re still here and she knows it.

She saw her family die, and she lost the group she had hooked up with for safety and survival. I don’t know who else she might have lost as well – I suppose there might have been more, as if that wasn’t enough. She knows that not all of the people settling down in the darkness with us tonight will make it. She knows there’s a time limit on all of us, much shorter and closer than anyone wants to admit.

I can’t do what she does. I can’t look at these people and wonder when they’ll die. Or how, all the many ways this broken world of ours might put an end to us. Hell, a scratch on a rusty nail is enough, now that there’s no medical help to be had to treat something like tetanus. I can’t think about all the bad things that might happen; I can barely think about everything that’s already touched us. I put it all down here, I commit it to these typed posts, and then I try to forget. The blog remembers for me.

I have to keep my head clear of that stuff. Maybe that’s foolish of me. I think that the fear would paralyse me if I dwelt on it, blind me to everything else. It would make me want to hide away in some barricaded building, like the old couple we found and ran away from. That would be too much like waiting to die. Then all I would have is the fear and plenty of time to let it eat at me.

Is it foolish to want to hope that there’s some light in this awful world of ours? Is it wrong to tell a young boy that maybe his schoolfriends are alive somewhere, and that we’ll find his parents if we follow their note? Is it lying to pretend that I’m not scared all the time, especially when it grows quiet? Is it weak of me to want to ignore it all, even though sometimes I don’t feel strong enough to fight off the truth? Is it terrible that there’s a part of me that doesn’t want to look for my dad, so that I can keep the hope that he’s alive somewhere?

I don’t know any more. All I am sure of is that I can’t do what Alice does. I love these people I’m with, all of them, even the ones I don’t like. They’re my family and I don’t want to lose that. I feel like every concession I make to the way things are now is carving away a piece of the person that I was. I feel like whoever did all of this, whoever set off that bomb, wins a little more with every part of me that’s pared off. And screw them. Screw the people who did this to us. We’re alive and we’re going to keep pushing to stay that way, for ourselves and to spite the lot of them. I won’t let them beat me, I won’t let them take me away from myself.


Sax just started singing. I haven’t heard his deep, warm voice in a while; it’s the sort of voice that wraps me up like a blanket. Once I’ve got rid of this lump in my throat, I’ll go join in. I wonder if we can get Alice singing, too.