Monday, 11 May 2009 - 6:30 pm


Don’t have long – I don’t know who’s watching. Have to make this quick.


A couple of us tried to talk to the Rats today. We had decided to leave, but I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving them barricaded in the mall with friends that might turn on them. So we tried to tell them about the shamblers and where they came from.

They thought we were lying. Even with Dillon backing us up, even with the drawn looks on our faces that not even the best actor could fake, they didn’t believe us. I can’t blame them. It’s an unlikely tale.

“Just be careful,” I told them. Wariness would cost them nothing and might save them.

They’re just children. None of the Rats are older than fourteen or fifteen. There are maybe twelve of them up and about now. I would take them with us if I thought they’d come, but they won’t. They don’t want to rely on adults again; they have a home and they’re taking care of themselves, so nevermind anything else. They don’t need or want us.


Dillon went to say goodbye to Alice. We all knew he’d never see her again, not in a good way, but no-one said it. I sent Ben an apologetic look and stayed with the kid while we finished packing up. Dillon needed the support.

We left just as the morning was waning over into another dull orange afternoon. We were eyeing the store across the street while the Rats secured the doors behind us; none of us wanted to go back in there, but that’s where our scooters were. We hadn’t seen the shamblers since the night they disappeared but we still felt their shadows in that place and their eyes at the window.

I asked Dillon quietly if he would be able to drive himself today; I was worried that he was too upset. We spilled down the steps and across the road, fanning out warily, and Dillon said he would be all right. Ben’s shoulder was doing better while the rest of him got worse; he would have to ride behind me again.

We got to the broken-down door when we heard them. Movement inside the store, the breath of a chuckle, the clip of a bootheel on concrete. A strange, metallic click I had only heard in a movie before, rougher and sharper in the real world.

I looked around at the barrel of a handgun hovering in front of a grin.


Have to go – they’re coming back.