Tuesday, 14 April 2009 - 7:55 pm

Distant voices

I had hoped to be back on the road again today. Obstacles keep rising before us, tripping us up and leaving us sprawling here on the mall floor. The Rats are muttering about us making ourselves at home permanently – I can’t blame them. The truth is that the mall is the most comfortable place for us to be for now, even when they somehow manage to steal most of the blankets.

Those of us who were afflicted with scurvy are better now – no more bleeding, no more lightheaded wobblies. I feel like I could walk all day carrying a heavy pack again. My legs itch for it; we’ve been in one place for so long and I can feel the days chipping off me like a thin coat of nail polish. I want to get moving again. I want to get to the next dot on our map, and the one after that.

I want to know if my dad is alive.


But not all of us are well. Sax is still coughing, worse and worse now, hacking up awful rasps from his chest. His hands shake when he thinks I’m not looking, and he’s sweating. He waves away concern, but I’m sure he has a fever. He looks pale, faded under his dark skin.

I don’t dare get on the road with him like that. I tried to get Masterson to look at him, but Sax keeps sending the doctor away, claiming that he’s all right. Everyone knows he’s not. He gets so breathless from a bout of coughing that I think he’s going to pass out. All we can do is offer him some water, and we’ve got precious little of that.

Ben suggested that we bundle the sick man up into the back of a car and drive towards the next dot. Matt and Thorpe reported hearing engines on the supply runs over the past couple of days – we don’t know whose engines, and we’re not sure that we want to find out. Starting up a couple of cars might bring them down on us. Could we get away before they caught up with us? There’s no way for us to know. it depends on the state of the roads (usually clogged with abandoned or wrecked vehicles) and what kind of car we can get our hands on.

We spent so long discussing the issue that we ran out of clear skies to escape under and rain sealed us in here. So today slipped away from us like snot down a drainpipe and now we’re settling down in an increasingly familiar darkness.

I’m so tired of letting fear dictate our every move. I don’t know the last time I felt truly secure and safe, when didn’t wonder if someone would die tomorrow. We’ve got supplies to last us a little while and those distant engines aren’t going to stop us doing what we have to.

Tomorrow, no-one’s going to die. It’s time for the Seekers to start seeking again.