Monday, 23 March 2009 - 9:06 am


I do not like driving through the rain. I never really did – it tends to make people drive like idiots. Now, our drivers are very careful but the rain itself more than makes up for that.

We didn’t find shelter before it came yesterday, before the clouds thickened and darkened the whole world. Headlights made the fall before us sparkle in sickly colours and windscreen wipers struggled to keep up with the deluge. With no streetlights any more, it was just us and our little patch of headlights, pushing through like a blind man feeling his way. We kept moving because the hope of shelter was better than sitting in the cars all night.


We were all glad to see the walls rearing up out of the wet darkness in front of us. But then they just kept on going – long and high and faceless. The map was in the other car – I had to use the radio to talk to them. Sax still has the radio he took out of the boat and, as luck would have it, we had accidentally been organised enough to have a radio in each vehicle. I know I didn’t think about it when we were piling in, but I will from now on.

We had found the gates, painted slick and dark by the rain, when the reply came through. It’s the prison, Sax reported. That’s what was on the other side of the fields. I don’t think I even looked that far when we were discussing which way to go.

I think the worst part was that one of the gates was listing open, waggling faintly in the wind that was skirling up the droplets of acid-laced water. This was a secure facility housing our worst and most ruthless characters, and the door is open.


We should keep going, we decided. But then the other car radioed back to say that the engine had stalled out. We couldn’t get out to restart it, so our minds were made up for us. We weren’t going anywhere else; that was where we were spending the night. Settle down and make sure we keep watch, we all agreed. It wasn’t easy when we were sitting there, facing the prison’s open door, wondering what lay within and what might have been let out.

It’s hard to know whether I hope the prisoners survived or not. The idea of them being locked inside their cages while the world fell down, of starving to death or rioting against the bars until they were all dead – that notion makes me shiver. It’s not an end I would wish on anyone. I’d like to think that I don’t wish anyone dead.

But at the same time, there are enough ruthless, violent people who have let go of morals and law out in the world. Those who were like that even when things were whole and working might be free, and that scares me. It’s possible that I’ve met some already. But what if we haven’t met the worst?

Are they behind Carlos’s story, and Alice’s? Are they why the Pride are so frightening?

There was another voice in my head that demanded attention. It was the same one that made me hide the labels when I took things from stores. It was reminding me that in the time Before, I might had ended up in here for all that I’ve done. We were sitting in a stolen car in front of the prison gates and the irony of that didn’t escape me.

Sitting in front of those open gates, wondering where the criminals had escaped to, it’s a wonder I slept at all. Today, I just want to get the hell away from here.