Wednesday, 11 February 2009 - 4:43 pm


We’ve been struggling to find a vehicle. We haven’t seen any Striper symbols for a day or so now, so we figure it’s probably safe. The streets are less clogged here – we wouldn’t have to take so many detours, I think.

The problem is that there’s so many of us – we won’t fit in anything smaller than a van, and it’s hard to find one light enough for us to push-start.  We finally decided to go for two smaller cars.

It took us over an hour to get them both going. Breaking into them and fixing the ignitions is turning into a quick ritual; the hardest part is finding vehicles with manual transmissions that will take all our stuff. We ended up with a couple of older cars, one of them rescued from an unfortunate kiss against a lamppost.

Ben drove one car, with Sally, Masterson and me as passengers. Thorpe took Sax and the kids. It was a peaceful division, for once.


Nugget was a problem at first. She refused to get into the car, slipping out of Sax’s grip to go back to the building we spent the night in. She wouldn’t say, of course, but I think she was looking for Jones.

We only really see him when we take shelter for the night – he follows us in his own way during the day, but he always appears when we sit down to eat. He does the rounds every now and then, and I’m not the only one who puts the empty can down for him to lick clean. I didn’t want to leave him behind either, but we couldn’t afford to hang around looking for the damn animal.

Sax looked fed up and stressed, so I went to talk to her. She was searching through the bed she had slept in, messing it up – someone had made it this morning. I don’t know who that was.

I’m not good with kids. I get along with Dillon okay, but I understand him and he likes me. That helps. Nugget – well, I had no idea where to start with her. I never really learned how to talk down to kids, how to get onto their level; I was the youngest in my family and it never came up.

So there I was, with her attention resting on my shoulders, staring at those big brown eyes as they stared back at me. So I just talked to her, like she could understand, even though she didn’t give me a single sign that she knew what these words meant. I told her that the cat would find us, that he’d come as soon as we settled to eat. That cats can move a lot faster than us on foot, and plus, he didn’t have a pack to slow him down. He’d catch up.

When I held my hand out to her, she looked at it.  I told her that we wouldn’t find him here, and she finally took it. I thanked her when she got into the car without any further trouble. I think she spent the rest of the day plastered to the window, looking for signs of a little ginger cat chasing us.