Thursday, 11 June 2009 - 6:36 pm


The cold snap is still crackling ice at us in the mornings and we’re having trouble deciding what to do about it. There’s no way for us to know if it’s going to be like this all winter, or if it’s just a passing weather system. Chances are, it’s going to get worse and worse. The thick cloud cover is already struggling to chase it away.

The Wolverines aren’t eager to leave and take our chances out in the city. They’re comfortable here and we have enough supplies to see us through for a while. We all know that we’re safest together and no-one is willing to break that. Not yet.

Most of us are focussing on making sure we have everything ready to go – most of us Seekers, anyway. The vehicles have been overhauled to within an inch of their lives; I’ve run out of things I can do to them. We’ve packed them on top and inside with as much fuel as we have cans to hold, along with spare parts and tools. That just leaves equipment to keep us warm and alive.


I got out of the yard today, joining the foray into the surrounding buildings for supplies. It was good to stretch my legs and get away from Kirk’s poisonous looks. And, if I’m honest, the reminder of his healing face. I still get a little shock and thud under my ribs when I see it. I did that.

Sally was with us – the supply-searchers tend to travel in a group now rather than pairs, in case of shambler trouble – and I got the chance to talk to her a bit. She’s never very forthcoming, but she’s still a friend. Sometimes it’s good to chat with another girl, someone who understands, and lately she’s been warmer than usual towards me. I think it’s because of Kirk but I don’t want to ask.

I asked about the baby and how Masterson was taking it when we were out of earshot of the others. She said that she was okay – her usual brush-off response, but with more feeling this time. She’s not comfortable with the subject so I didn’t press her on it, and after a few minutes of searching through someone’s wardrobe, she said, “He hugs me at night, really tight. As if he’s afraid I might slip away while he’s asleep.”

She didn’t say any more about it, just gave me a smile and kept on with the work at hand. I think part of why she comes out on these forays for supplies is to get out from under his thumb – he’s attentive to the point of being suffocating, always near her, always watching, always telling her what to do. She doesn’t complain, of course, and I can’t tell if she likes it or not. Her little smile gives her away, though; there’s a part of her that likes mattering so much to someone.

They’re the only part of the group that hasn’t come to share blankets with the rest of us. I don’t think Masterson will let her; he doesn’t want to get too close to any of us and he doesn’t want to share her either. He’s already grumpy enough about being so close to her. I remember his broken words about the family he lost to the rain and wonder if that part of him will truly heal, even with a new child to salve it.

She asked about me and Matt, if we really were just pretending. It was hard to know what to say. Of course we were; we’ve known each other forever and we’ve never been that way. It’s so hard to explain without sounding lame.

And besides, Ben’s coming back. He promised. He could be lying dead somewhere, torn to pieces, eaten or melted down to just boots and belt buckle, but I can’t believe that. He promised he would come back. How long should I wait for him? How long does it take to give up hope?

I don’t think I’m going to let anyone leave now. They all have to stay so that I know where they are. I’m so sick of people being missing, just missing, and having no idea if they’re even breathing any more.

I had no idea that I’d said all that out loud until Sally came over and patted my shoulder. “Yeah,” she said. I don’t think she gets just how crazy it makes me, but she understands. I asked her if there was anyone she was looking for, someone she missed and wondered about too, but she just shrugged and shook her head.

So many barriers there. So many fences around the soft centre of her, propped up one against the other in an attempt to protect. I don’t blame her, but it makes me sad to think about how she came to defend herself so desperately. I think those defenses have been up since long Before the bomb went off; she has been amongst the worst of people for a long time. If that’s how she handles things, I won’t try to change her.

Maybe it’s a skill I need to develop. I don’t think I’m doing a good job of handling things lately.

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