Saturday, 22 August 2009 - 10:06 pm


Suburbs. I never thought I’d be so glad to see the suburbs.

I used to chafe at having to live in one. I wanted something cooler – an apartment in the city, a houseboat, a fifty-foot yacht to while away my time on. My dad’s house always seemed so… ordinary.

What I wouldn’t give for ordinary.

The suburbs don’t look like they used to, like the one I grew up in. They’re the same houses, squeezed together on too-narrow plots, but the walls are acid-etched in slowly-dissolving streaks. The yards are stripped, all dirt and concrete. The paint on the cars is dull and wearing thin, showing the underskin metal in places.

We passed a tricycle with plastic ribbons reduced to tatters, its wheels iced into the mud that had seeped up around it. Further along the same street, a roof had caved in completely, the house a collapsed pudding. The acid is deconstructing everything.

The world isn’t just broken. It’s still breaking.


Even with the erosion around us, we were glad to be back within the city’s sprawl. The pickings were no better than out towards the mountains, but at least we have more options now. More places to take shelter.

We’re moving with more caution after yesterday’s attack. I’m trying not to think about all of that too deeply.

Thorpe smacked one down right next to me while I was still trying to grab for a weapon. I glanced at him and I remembered how Dillon looked in that moment, those few days ago. He had smiled at me, it’s all right, Faith. And then they had grabbed him. So I started hitting them. They were too close, so many, too close to everyone. My arms hurt and my chest felt stretched until it couldn’t fit any air in it, but there were so many of them. I had to keep going, keep them away.

It wasn’t until Matt grabbed me that I realised how far I had gone. The middle part is all a blur now, one I don’t ever want to resolve.

We’re all safe. That’s the important thing. A few bites and scratches, but nothing serious. I ache in more places than I care to count.


There’s a warehouse district a little way to the west of here. We spent an hour arguing about it tonight: it’s out of our way, but there might be stores there. Other survivors might not have pillaged all of it yet. Tia is sure that there’s a depot for one of the supermarkets there – she used to work for the chain. If nothing else, maybe we can stock up on cat food.

I have to try not to think about Jones and Nugget when I pick up a can with a ginger cat on it. Why does everything feel so connected?

I just remembered who Tia reminds me of. Ben’s sister, the one we found asleep forever with her son. That changes things. That changes everything.

The rain is eroding everything, including us. Outside in, inside out, we’re all wearing away, down to guts and blood and bone. Our skeletons are showing. The ones it doesn’t kill, it turns into monsters.

Even me. I can feel it seeping in, wearing me down. I’m a grain of rice in the monsoon. I’m the whole damned paddy field, overflowing until I’m empty. How do I fight the weather? How do I fight what’s happening to the whole world? To the people that I care about?

How much is enough?