Friday, 14 August 2009 - 10:22 pm


We said our farewells to the sky this morning, quietly and with much gazing. We waited a while for the ice to clear down below, we checked and re-checked the doors and windows on the way down, in case the seals weren’t keeping all the moisture out. The acid encroached on the ECC and is wearing it down, and we don’t know how much tougher these vehicles are. Then we all took a deep breath and dove into the cloudbank

The way down the mountain was painfully slow. First, there were icy roads to contend with – either we didn’t give it enough time to melt or it has been colder lately, I’m not sure. My hands ache from spending so long clutching the steering wheel and trying to feel whether the tyres were gripping or sliding. Then there were the obstacles to deal with, more vehicles to push out of our path or edge around. I cursed them until the campervan went into a slide and an abandoned car was all that saved us from a drop right over the edge. We bumped off the other car and back on course, and I swore words Dillon hasn’t heard before. The bumped vehicle slid sideways off the road and clattered a few times. I didn’t look back.

My heart was thrashing all the way. Thorpe offered to drive the campervan a couple of times, to give me a rest, and the second time I agreed. The offroaders are so much more solid on the road. Even so, my arms are sore from the tension and hauling vehicles around, especially my bandaged one. The one with the healing cuts carved into it.

The van looks like it’s been through the wars, bumped and dented and scraped. There haven’t been any wars for our vehicles, just the end of the world and acid ice that’s slowly polishing the tyres. I feel like we made it to the bottom in one piece after leaving swathes of skin behind on the rocky mountainside. I’m not eager to have a journey like that again.


But we made it; here we are, sitting underneath a low orange sky and listening to the rain. It’s too dark to see the clouds there but I know they’re there, hovering just a short way above us and heavy with poison.

We found a small town – a handful of buildings clustered together around a junction. They’ve been thoroughly pillaged, but at least the roofs are solid and not leaking yet. There aren’t any signs of anyone alive here, but we’re used to that. It feels like so long since we saw someone who wasn’t in our group, or on our side. Someone who wasn’t a shambler.

I wonder if they’re truly dead. Ben had a pulse, albeit a very slow one. Doesn’t that technically mean life? But it’s not living. Being a shambler is being dead in so many other ways. Ben was some halfway thing – maybe that’s what made him snap in the end. Maybe that’s what made me snap. I try to imagine what it was like for him and something in me fails.

I don’t want to think about him. There’s too much there and I’m so tired. The boys are talking about changing the cars around tomorrow, letting other people drive. I look at Dillon and I can’t put him in a car with someone else; the two of us will stay together, at least. He needs the support. But a break from driving will be nice.

It’s later than I thought. No wonder I started pondering the true definition of ‘life’. Sometimes I wonder if this laptop keeps proper time – the hours seem to slip away from me in the dark.

Time to turn in, before something else slips away from me in the dark.