Thursday, 13 August 2009 - 6:26 pm

Our own saviours

The ECC went dark today. I think we’ve got as much from it as we’re going to get. We didn’t want to waste any more fuel on keeping it alive; we don’t know when we’ll get to another gas station and be able to fill our cans up.

We have answered the burning questions we had: where everyone went; what happened to the organisation and official channels that were supposed to help us. We know where they went, but we don’t know if they made it. What happened to them is the same that happened to all of us – the rain, the lack of supplies, and most likely the Sickness and shamblers too.

We know now that there’s no-one coming. No-one is looking for survivors, because that’s all that’s left now and the mirror is close enough. Maybe there’s a government tucked away somewhere, buried in a bunker with three years’ worth of supplies. With no sign of them, they might as well not be there at all.

There’s still the army base. There’s a hope there, growing slimmer by the second. Why aren’t they scanning the air waves? Why haven’t they answered any of our transmissions? Every establishment we have hoped on has turned out to be empty: first the hospital and now here. I think I’m too tired to rest my hopes on that any more. I can’t take any more disappointments.

We’re on our own. Life, death, what little is left of morality – it’s all up to us now. We’re our own higher authority; we’re our own saviours. We’re all each other has got.


That doesn’t mean that we’re not going to see what’s at the base, though. We talked about it while we waited for the storm to blow itself out and all of us want to continue on to Greenberry. If nothing else, there is the signal. There’s power to send it and that has to come from somewhere. There must be something there.

I asked if we could go back up before we head down the mountain again. I wanted to see the sky, to imprint it on my brain before we were cut off completely again. There was a note of relief in the group; after the bleakness of the revelations here, we all need that comfort.

The storm cleared about midday – it’s hard to tell with all this fog, but it felt like midday – and we took whatever we could find that might be of use to us. There wasn’t much; the ECC workers did a good job of evacuating the supplies when they left.

Before we closed the doors behind us, we tacked a note just inside so that whoever came here after us would know where we’ve gone. So they wouldn’t have to search and wonder.


We have spent the rest of the day on the mountaintop, stunned by all the space after spending a couple of days inside windowless walls. We can see the storm circling off to the west, the thunderheads reaching up much higher than we are. It looks like it’s trying to scrub the stained clouds away, but it’s not having much luck.

As focussed as we have been on finding official organisation, we haven’t forgotten what our next destination is. We have to go south a short way to the place where Dillon’s family fled to. To look for them and hope they’re still there. I don’t think any of us can bear the thought of another empty building telling tales of people long gone.

I spent most of the day sitting with the kid; he’s quiet with nerves now that we’re close to his aunt’s house. He’s afraid to hope they’re there and excited at the same time. It’s worse than when we went to his home – I think the wait has made this carrot seem even more precious and distant than the last one.

The boys kicked his ball around on the mountaintop under the setting sun, and he joined in. He’s still slow and relying on his crutches, but the fellas were kind with him. He hobbled back to me with a grin, flushed and needing a rest. It’s good to see him that way. But that grin faded when he sat down, so abruptly that I asked him what was wrong.

“I’m gonna miss you if I stay with my folks,” he said, then stammered to correct himself. “All of you. Everyone. It’s gonna be strange.”

I wrapped both arms around his shoulders and told him that we’ll miss him too. It made me feel heavy inside; of all of these strangers I’ve grown to like and love, he has been with me the longest. I don’t want to think about him not being in the group.

He was quiet for a little while, then he asked, “What if I don’t want to stay with them?”

It wasn’t something that had occurred to me as a possibility. “That’s up to you,” I told him. “No-one’s going to make you stay there.”

“My dad might. And you guys’ll be able to move faster without me.” He tapped a crutch on the split that bound his healing leg.

I know that kind of doubt and fear; I’ve had those thoughts myself, eating away at me while no-one’s looking. I made him look at me, right in the eye so he would know I was telling the truth. “You’ll always have a place with us. We’re not looking to dump you.”

He nodded and looked glum, so I’m not sure if he believed me. Then the boys called him away to play soccer with them and I joined in too, running and shoving with the rest of them. It felt good to get breathless and laugh with them. Even silent Dan joined in, and I know I saw Thorpe grinning like a kid.

The moon has come up tonight, so bright that we don’t need flashlights at all. The sun is watching us from the other side of the world through that great, waning mirror. It’s a comforting thought. We need all we can get of those as we move towards tomorrow.