Tuesday, 7 July 2009 - 4:23 pm


I thought that we had outpaced the runners, but I was wrong. We found another clump today desperately reversing course. Shamblers don’t only exist in the north and west; they stumble all over these outlying suburbs, and this group had discovered another gaggle of ravenous ex-people.

They were running towards us when they came into sight. I stopped the convoy, not quite foolish enough to plough on towards whatever they were running from. They didn’t stop even when they came abreast of us – they just kept on running around and past the vehicles. I saw someone fall in my rearview mirror, and then there was movement ahead. Jerking, wobbling. Shamblers.

There was a flash behind me – the door of an offroader had been opened. Matt was leaning out of the driver’s window and beckoning. The faller and the one who stopped to help him scrambled into the vehicle. I looked at Ben and he had a hard, set look on his face. There were a lot of shamblers lurching into view, filling up the street.

I leant on the horn to warn the others, then swerved off down a side street. In the rear seats, the siblings weebled and grabbed onto doorhandles. We haven’t gone fast enough to need seatbelts before, but I think they were wishing for them then. I know what damage the living did to the vehicles in their desperation, and I didn’t want to find out what damage the should-be-dead would do in their hunger and persistence.

We wove through backstreets between cluttered-together houses. Twice more, a horn sounded and we stopped while doors opened and closed. We were running across the front of the wave of shamblers, scooping up living flotsam on our way. For a brief, heart-thumping time, I was proud of my little group even as I chafed at the stop-start of it.


We kept going until we lost sight of the shambling wave. A sweeping on-ramp took us away from the suburbs and into the university campus. I think I’ve only been this far south once before, when we came to tour the campus a few months before my sister died. Everything changed after Chastity was gone, including my plans to study. I haven’t thought about this place since then.

It looks different now, with green clumps scoured away by acid and the walls stripped of the overlap of torn posters. It’s grey, concrete and dulled glass. What used to be daring architecture is hard and cold now, sharp-edged against a low, malevolent sky.

There doesn’t seem to be anyone here. We stopped to take stock and wound up shifting into one of the buildings for shelter – I think it used to be the social part of the campus, all sofas and burned-out music equipment. There was nothing of use left apart from thrown-over furniture, as if a strong, angry child had a tantrum here.

The runners were in a bad way. It looks like they had been running for a while – days, even. Masterson is checking people over, but I see him shrugging a lot. We gave them water and something to eat, and posted guards in case the wave wandered in this direction. Hopefully the vehicles ruined the scent trail and we gained enough distance that they won’t be able to follow us.

There’s so much to do that I can barely count heads right now. Everyone is here, I think, spread out between a handful of rooms. Seekers, Wolverines, ex-Pride, runners. I’m starting to forget names as soon as I hear them. We need to decide what we’re going to do and I have no idea how that will go.

I think I’m going to try to organise this mess again. At least so I can check on my friends.