Wednesday, 1 July 2009 - 9:08 pm


Our convoy is making slow progress. We have to keep on the move constantly during the light hours, stopping only for comfort breaks.

Ben was right: the human tide will tear us to pieces if they can get their hands on us. We go slowly enough that we’re not going to hit anything, but too quick for anyone to be able to keep hold of the vehicles. They try – they leap onto the bonnets and cling to lines lashing gear to the roofs, feet scrabbling at the running boards. Sometimes, they manage to cling on for a block or two. We’re keeping a close eye on the damage they’re doing but we don’t dare fix it out on the road.

They’ve started to turn on each other, too. I’ve seen the stronger ones taking things from the younger and weaker along the roadside. Food and water, probably; we didn’t stop to check. I can’t begin to imagine how many are falling by the wayside.

Each time we pass by a group that I know we could help, my stomach empties a notch. It doesn’t matter how much I eat – I can’t get rid of that hollow feeling. I caught myself snacking on food we have to ration carefully and stopped guiltily. Ben doesn’t seem to have noticed but I have.

It’s wrong, what we’re doing. Each of our vehicles has room for at least three more people. We’re riding in warmth and comfort, easily putting distance between us and the threat gobbling up the city, and all around us people are falling.


I snapped finally. I couldn’t do it any more.

There were two of them, maybe nineteen years old. The boy was trying to carry the girl and failing; her head lolled and her feet dragged on the tarmac. The shamblers weren’t anywhere near, but he kept looking over his shoulder anyway. Something much closer was chasing them.

It was when the girl lifted a hand to try to push the boy away that I decided to stop. Leave me, save yourself, she was saying with that motion. But he was ignoring her, dragging her onwards.

I slammed the brakes on. Ben asked me what the hell I was doing and I ignored him, rolling down the window instead. I could feel the heat escaping from the car but I didn’t care. The lad shied back and stared at us.

“Get in,” I told them, twisting to unlock the back door.

They didn’t believe us at first and stood there gaping. I saw Masterson leaning his head out of the offroader behind mine, looking predictably pissed off.

“You asking for directions?” he shouted at me. I ignored him too.

“We can’t stay stopped,” I said to the lad. “Now or never.”

He chose now. He struggled to manage the door and the girl, and Ben turned around in his seat to help pull her into the back. He didn’t look happy about it but he did it anyway. I was grateful for that much.

In the rearview mirror, I saw a couple of striding stragglers homing in on the rear vehicle – I think Bree’s group was back there, trailing along in our wake. I hurried the boys up and gunned the engine, pulling away as soon as the door closed.

“Who are you people?” the lad asked. He was pale and shivering against the back seat. The girl’s eyes were closed and he held onto her hand.

“We’re the Seekers,” I said.

“Are you Faith?”

“She’s insane, is what she is,” Ben muttered.

The pair in the back warmed slowly in the heated air, and the lad told me a piece of their story. Their names are Terry and Tia – siblings that have managed to stick together all this time. A group of older men had taken their water a couple of days ago, and they had run out of food a day or two before that. He was afraid of what might happen to his sister if anyone caught up to them again – and himself, though he didn’t admit that – and so they kept moving. To the end of their strength and then some.


I asked Ben to give them some of our water and let them rest while we drove on. He had a silent, disapproving expression firmly set in place, so the offroader was quiet until we had to look for a place to stop for the night. That was harder than we thought – too many places were full of runners desperately seeking shelter before the rain came.

We finally managed to find an underground garage without any other inhabitants, except for some rats who were heard but not seen. We made our circle and I wasn’t the only one glad to have walls around us again. The car might have become claustrophobic, but I still preferred something to wrap between us and the broken world.

The others made tentative greetings to the pair, and Masterson grumbled but checked the girl out when I asked. We’re not sure what to do with them, but they’re with us for the night at least.

Tomorrow, I guess we’ll make that up as we go too.