Sunday, 28 June 2009 - 6:08 pm

Stray Seeker

Yesterday’s storm lasted most of the day and into the night. The weight of water pounding on the roof found a weakness in the structure, working its way inside to dribble onto the floor. We’ve tried to make a channel for it, but it’s hard to find materials to make walls out of that it won’t just eat through. The floor is concrete, so there’s not much chance of being able to dig a channel for it.

The storm washed more than acid rain in our direction. We were all sitting around the fire when it finally stopped, listening to the drip-drip-drip of it hitting the floor where we had corralled it with some rubber sheeting. Bree’s little group was sitting in the offices – they had lit a small fire in a metal bin for warmth and were keeping to themselves. That was the safest thing they could do.

We talked quietly to stop ourselves from obsessively checking on whether the water had escaped and was running towards us yet. The soccer ball rolled between Dillon and Nugget, and we huddled in clumps of blankets. I was leaning against Matt, as usual, when Conroy jumped to his feet.

“The door’s open! Who left the door open?”

We all looked over and discovered that he was right – there was a door-shaped patch of deep black in the wall, showing us the thick night outside. Conroy hovered like he wanted to go and close it, but didn’t dare in case it was one of those things you should never do in a horror movie.

We all saw the shadow next to the door move; I imagine that Conroy was glad he didn’t go over there. The shape shifted and stepped forward until the firelight fell on it. My chest tightened abruptly and I couldn’t breathe, let alone speak. I felt Matt’s arms tighten around me but it was Dillon who identified our visitor.



I didn’t think I’d see him again. I clung to his promise, but I was losing sight of his face in my mind. The shadows of everything that could have happened to him were rising up to obscure my hope that he would make it through. It felt futile to believe he was able to survive everything that was happening. And yet here he was.

I struggled to get up, stumbling and nearly falling twice as I untangled myself from the blankets. I wasn’t the only one clambering to my feet, but I was in the most hurry to get over there and hug the stuffing out of him. It wasn’t until I heard him grunt and felt his hand on the small of my back that I believed he was really here. Of course, the wash of emotion that came with the realisation that he was alive and all right made me want to cry. I fought it off as I let him go, giving the others space to welcome him back.

He looked exactly the same as he did when he left. I couldn’t look away from him as he was ushered to the fireside to warm up. Everyone was full of questions: where has he been, what happened, how did he find us again. Somehow in all of that, he caught hold of my hand and kept me next to him. I was doing a good impression of a stunned fish and stayed quiet, content to watch as he tried to field the queries coming his way.

He went back to look for his brother-in-law, he said. He searched for a while, but he couldn’t find any clues about where Hugh might have gone. Finally, he gave up and turned to come after us; he knew which direction we were supposed to be heading in, so he made a guess about where we’d be by now. Then the shamblers got so numerous that they were driving everyone out of their hiding places, pushing them to run in a wave that swept up others as it passed, and he was forced to follow them. He saw our light in the warehouse and came to see if he could take shelter for the night, and here we were.

It seems far too lucky that two familiar faces have found us, but I can’t bring myself to question it. Ben’s back and that’s all that matters.

I felt bad, abandoning Matt so I could spend time with Ben, but Matt doesn’t seem to mind. He came and gave me my blankets, and tried on a smile. The Wolverines look somewhat puzzled by all of this, but I think one of the others filled them in because they haven’t asked me about it. I would hardly know where to start, anyway.


I hardly slept last night, though nothing other than chatting happened. We spent most of today talking with Ben and settling him back into the group. He didn’t have many stories to tell; I don’t think things were easy for him out there on his own. “It was tough,” is all he will say about most things. He says he’s glad to be back, though.

He’s just as chilly as he was when he left – even close to the fire, he never seems to warm up properly. He says that he’s fine, though, and otherwise he seems okay. He’s not injured, at least.

It’s hard for me to know what to think right now. I feel knocked out of my usual orbit. I think there’s a part of me that’s scared to feel this excited and pleased, and it’s holding me down. Sometimes, I think that’s all that’s holding me down.

Tomorrow, we’re going to pack up and get out of here. No more delays. I’m looking forward to it.