Wednesday, 29 April 2009 - 7:19 pm

Talking in circles

Things have been quiet for us lately. We haven’t seen many people – the occasional moving body has brushed our peripheral vision, but no-one has come close enough to help or hinder us.

I’ve been glad of it. I needed time to think, to try to deal with the house and what we didn’t find there. If I think about it too much, I get upset, and then I feel guilty. Ben found something so much worse. I can’t talk to him about it; my complaints just sound incredibly unfair and shrivel up in my mouth to leave an uncomfortable silence between us. As if things weren’t awkward enough.

Things have been weird between Ben and me since I found out about him being sick. He’s finding it harder to hide the coughs now, as they get steadily worse. He swallows cough medicine when he thinks no-one’s paying attention. I don’t know how to talk to him about it. He doesn’t seem to want to talk. I usually end up just hugging him, which is probably stupid, but if I’m likely to catch this thing from him, I already have. After all, we sleep together, trading more intimacies than just hugs.

I haven’t told anyone about Ben’s symptoms. I don’t know how well I would handle that conversation – it’s already hard enough not to dwell on the fact that he might be dying. A little every day, slipping closer and closer to that raving coma that took Sax from us. I can’t bear to think about losing anyone else right now.

The only person that I can talk to is Matt, though I haven’t told him about Ben’s condition either. There are so many other things jamming up my skull right now; I’m not short of things to say. It helps, spinning my thoughts around with him. He untangles me, and there’s no guilt the way there is with Ben.

I think the strangeness of my house hit him pretty hard too; he has a lot of memories there. Matt’s father never approved of his life choices: hairdressing isn’t what he wanted for his first and only son, and I think he heard enough about Matt’s other activities to be conservatively disgusted. Matt spent more time at my house than he did at home, and he left home as soon as he was old enough. He hasn’t looked back since. His father moved away a few years ago.

But he understands about my dad, how close I was to him. They got along pretty well, the two of them. “There’s never any pretending with him,” Matt used to say, and he was right. Dad had a way of accepting things without speaking, even if he didn’t like them, and then he would move on to something else. I could always tell when he didn’t approve of something but he would rarely actually have words with me about it. I could never tell if that was just the way he was, or if he knew that it made the guilt worse when I have the release of arguing with him.


I’ve been struggling not to be preoccupied with all of this. Memories and fears and what-ifs have been cluttering up my head. I haven’t been working through it as well as I would have liked, and I think the last few posts show that only too well. I’m trying harder now. My friends need me; the past will still be there when I have time to deal with it.

Ben’s sick and is trying to ignore it. Sally is pregnant and scared. Dillon is worried about me. Masterson is falling back into his habit of sniping and is currently nursing a split lip after saying one thing too many in Thorpe’s hearing. Thorpe is as stoic as ever, and completely unapologetic. Nugget is showing her disapproval of the violence by switching her allegiance to Sally. Jones is learning how to ride on the back of a scooter with much frowning of his ginger ears.

There’s not much I can do about the first two of those except be here and try to be a friend to them both. I’d like to knock Masterson and Thorpe’s heads together, like kids, but I’ll settle for trying to keep them apart instead. Nugget still requires an eye kept on her so that she doesn’t wander off with the cat – she has a habit of doing that just when we’re ready to set off. As if it wasn’t hard enough to mobilise eight people at the same time.

And then there’s–


There’s a noise outside that has the boys all up and alert. I’d better go see what’s going on.

Thursday, 21 May 2009 - 6:26 pm


Today has been mostly about supplies. I made sure that Ben was comfortable – he kept assuring me that he felt fine, just needed rest – and joined Thorpe, Masterson and Dillon to search the locale for food and water.

It’s easier to search other people’s homes if you don’t look at them too closely. Just focus on the cupboards and drawers and shelves; ignore the personal effects, the fading decorations, the unopened presents under the drooping trees. Go for those places that people put food and drink, check for second fridges, take the alcohol if that’s all that’s there.

I suppose one good thing about the bomb going off in the holiday season is that many had stocked their cupboards. I try not to think about the family members it was intended to feed.

It’s easier if you focus on every single tree’s bark and ignore the wood. The forest reaches too far and too deep, and it’s too empty for comfort.

We didn’t see any signs of shamblers in our searching, but we all kept weapons within each reach anyway. I don’t think any of us feel comfortable without something hard and swingable close by now. I still have the knife I got so many weeks ago – months now – tucked in the back of my waistband. I used to be scared of what it meant; now I know that I’d reach for it without thinking if I needed to. I don’t know what that says about me any more – I never liked the notion of pragmatism.

This bruised, scarred world is eroding all of us. We’re a part of it more fully than any of us would like, even though we haven’t embraced it as much as some have. The sad part is that I get it. I even get Bree and Kingston, the compromises made for survival. It doesn’t mean that I like it.


We managed to find enough food and liquid to keep us going for a little while. There was some comfort in that.

Ben hasn’t been eating much – he’s giving back almost as much as I’m giving him. I think he doesn’t think I’ve noticed, but I have. I’ve stopped taking my meal until he’s finished with his, because we can’t afford for any of it to be wasted. I figure that if I’m going to get sick, I’ve already done enough to catch it; eating his untouched food isn’t going to make any difference.

He’s cold, too. We’ve had to start carrying heavier blankets with us because of how cold it gets at night, but blankets just don’t seem to make any difference to him. When he lets me, I snuggle up to keep him warm. It seems like he only just thaws when morning rolls around and it’s time to get up. He says that he’s okay, but it can’t be good. I talked to Masterson about it and he doesn’t know what to make of it.

Matt’s leg seems to be healing all right, though. We’re all scared of infections with open wounds and no water to clean them, but between antibiotics and painfully-applied antiseptic, he seems to have avoided getting sick with it.

I’ve held his hand while his bandages are changed when I can, and while his grip is tight, he never complains. That’s not like the Matt I knew; he used to mutter something under his breath if he tore a nail or cut himself shaving. I just hope that he’s not hiding anything with this new stoicism of his.

They’re not good now, but they’re getting better. I have to believe that my boys are getting better.

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Sunday, 31 May 2009 - 7:24 pm

The pretence

There’s still so many Seekers that we can’t all sleep in the same room – quite often there’s just not enough space to lay down our blankets. Even with it getting colder and people huddling together for warmth.

Sally and Masterson still share blankets, despite their recent upset. He frowns at her a lot, and sometimes his words are short and sharp, but they look better when they’re asleep.

I’ve seen Nugget cuddled up against Thorpe’s back over the past few nights. I think he finally gave up and spread his bedding out with room for her. Jones often pins them down, a ginger bagel in the blankets’ folds.

Dillon grew brave enough to ask if he could sleep next to me a couple of nights after Ben left. After yesterday, I won’t let him sleep alone. I wonder if we’ll all end up sleeping in one big heap if it gets much colder.


Last night, I did my usual after-blogpost rounds, looking for somewhere I could set the laptop up to charge where the Wolverines wouldn’t see it (the hardest part is getting the stolen car battery inside without them seeing) and checking on my Seekers. Everyone had settled down except for Dillon and me – we were on first watch – but a couple were missing.

I found them in the corridor. I was just starting to wonder where Matt was when I came across him with Kirk. The Wolverine was taller than my friend and leant against the wall in a way I didn’t like. I remembered him outside our door a couple of nights before. I don’t like the way he appraises us, especially Matt, and I hated the way he lounged with such intent there in the corridor, blocking the way.

I knew it wasn’t right from the look on Matt’s face. He was ashen and taut, as if a touch might shatter him. I felt the anger rising in my chest, lava begging to be spilt.

They saw me at the moment my flashlight beam pinned them. Kirk turned that cocky grin on me, the one that gave me an instinctive desire to smack him across the face, and Matt shook his head. He could see it in my face, in the shiver of the lightbeam when my hand tightened on the flashlight. Don’t do it, Faith. No trouble, please. Trouble with one means trouble with all of them, and we can’t afford a battle with them.

I hesitated, struggling for options. I wasn’t going to just walk away, not even if Matt had begged me. I just had to work around this.

I took a breath and smiled. I focussed on Matt, in case that made the expression more convincing. “Hello, boys. For a minute there, I wondered what was creeping around out here.”

Matt didn’t respond. Kirk flicked a glance down and up my body that made me want to go shower in rainwater. “No, just us.”

I moved over to join my friend and placed a casual kiss on his cheek. “Sorry to interrupt.” Of course, I wasn’t, and I couldn’t hide it. So I covered it up the first way that came to mind. “You ready to come to bed yet, Matt?”

I slipped my free arm around his waist and found that he didn’t just look taut: I could feel his muscles all knotted up and tense. He cast me a surprised look and hesitated before putting his arm around my shoulders in turn.

I glanced between him and Kirk, and immediately regretted it. The Wolverine looked intrigued, as if wondering how he could use this to his advantage. He made my hackles want to rise and that made acting casual difficult. It was easier to think about getting out of this peacefully if I kept my attention on my friend.

“I know, we’re not supposed to tell anyone about this. But there’s only so long that we can pretend, right? And Kirk here won’t tell anyone.” I tried on a smile for size.

Matt looked uncomfortable, which only made Kirk’s smirk widen, but that was okay. As long as he thought this faux-thing between Matt and me was a secret, he would think he had something over us. It would keep him busy, and we could throw it away whenever we wanted.

“Sure, okay,” Matt said finally, finding a smile from somewhere. I don’t think I’ve heard him so quiet and reserved for a long time.

“Won’t tell a soul, promise,” Kirk put in, crossing his heart. I restrained the urge to roll my eyes at him.


I bid him a cheerful goodnight and Matt and I headed off towards the rooms where the Seekers were bedded down. Once out of the Wolverine’s gaze, Matt sagged and pulled away, going to his pack to free his blankets. I closed the door behind us and watched him for a moment. He was more upset than he was letting me see.

“You didn’t have to do that,” he told me. He sounded angry with me.

“It was the first thing that came to mind.” I wasn’t going to apologise to him; I was on the verge of shaking after that encounter.

“Now they’re going to think you’re….” He shook his head, still facing away from me.

So I went over and touched his arm. “They think that none of us Seekers is on our own. Which we’re not. I don’t care if they take it down to that level, as long as they leave us alone.”

His head drooped and he still didn’t look at me.

“It’s not forever, Matt. Just until we’re out of… this place we’re in right now. Then we go our separate ways.” Of course, no-one really knew what that different place would look like. Less shamblers, I guess. “Think you can pretend you like me until then?”

That made him snort, and then he turned to hook an arm around my neck. “You’re crazy, you know that?”

I sighed with relief and hugged him. No-one’s allowed to be on their own, that’s all. We have to stick together and protect each other. It didn’t occur to me to ask him what he was doing out there alone in the first place; I was too glad that it had ended without any trouble. I grabbed my blankets and laid them out next to his, and told Dillon to settle down on the other side of me.

Everyone has company, even in sleep. It’s the way it has to be for now. Even the snoring doesn’t bother me any more.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009 - 6:19 pm

Luck be a lady

Last night, it was Matt who came limping in to find me. I didn’t want him to see me so upset – I didn’t want anyone to see me like that. I don’t have much pride left, not since I gave it up when Ben walked out on us – on me – but I do have some left. Some weaknesses I want to keep to myself.

Still, I was glad for the comfort. Matt always knows what I need when I’m upset: sometimes it’s a distraction; sometimes it’s an ear; sometimes it’s just a shoulder and a pair of arms around me. Last night, it was the latter. I don’t even remember stumbling to bed.

When Dillon woke me up for our watch shift, Matt was still wrapped around me, hugging me in his sleep. I didn’t want to get up – I was warm and comfortable right there, and my head felt heavy and burned dry. I wasn’t the most attentive watcher this morning, but nothing happened anyway.


Today has been all about supplies again. We’re going to focus on the vehicles more tomorrow. In truth, we haven’t really told the Wolverines what we’re planning to do with the cars. We’re hoping to not have to take them with us. I don’t even know if they’d come. Rico and Sean are getting worse – if they haven’t fallen into the feverish coma by now, I think they will soon. The sad part is that I don’t know if their companions would stay behind to look after them if the question came up.

I’ve stayed away from the Wolverines today. I can hear them, laughing and messing around with the gear in the store, banging and whooping and running over the tops of the cars. It doesn’t matter – none of that stuff matters any more – but I still hate it. I don’t like seeing my dad’s work destroyed like that. But telling them would only make it worse, and I think if I came up against one of them today, I’ll tear his head off.

I don’t want to cry any more. We all need to get on with what we’ve got, including me. I might want to shout and scream and tell the world how unfair it is, but that isn’t what we need right now.

Pull yourself together, Faith, and try not to uspet the delicate balance here. We’ll be leaving soon, with luck.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009 - 9:13 pm

Marshmallows in the dark

Sleeping arrangements have been awkward. The floor of the warehouse is hard and cold, and we can’t pile together any more. Injuries mean that it’s too uncomfortable and painful to huddle for warmth; it only takes one person to shift wrong in the middle of the night, nudge the wrong part of someone else, and then the yelp wakes everyone up.

Instead, we each have our own clutch of blankets in a ring around a makeshift fire pit. The concrete floor is at least safe enough to light a fire on, and broken-down crates and pallets burn quite well. We have heat and light, though both escape us far too easily in a room this size.

Maybe that was what gave me such disturbed sleep last night. I woke fitfully and kept falling back into the same dream, deeper and deeper, like a swimmer struggling to stay above the surface of the water. Each time I came up for air, I fell down further than before and it was harder to pull myself out again.


I’m alone and running. I don’t know where the others are or where these endless corridors led. They look familiar but I can’t place them – a scrap of mall, an angle of back hallway, half of an alleyway, all muddled together. They all seem to go somewhere, but there is always another turn, another stretch to cover. Every door I stop long enough to try is locked.

It’s nether light nor dark; a halflight lets me see enough to keep my footing and glimpse something to stretch for. There’s a red pall to everything and I wish for a glimpse of white. It feels like I’ve forgotten what true, pure white looks like.

Behind me, someone is following. I catch sight of him in the corner of my eye and hear his footsteps tap-tap-tapping their way through my head. I can’t make out anything about him – no details, no identity, no face at all. Just the pressure at my back, driving me forward, and his terribly slow footsteps. He’s no shambler; he moves with patient determination, unhurried. My noises fall messily against his, ragged breaths and skittering steps. I run as fast as I can, turn corners and wind around on myself, but he’s always there, pressing me forwards.

He’s gaining on me. Inexorably, the steady sound of his heels clipping on the floor approaches, driving my pulse higher and higher into my throat. I’m slipping. I’m exhausted, growing leaden as I push to keep on running. There has to be some way to get away from him, but there isn’t. He’s closing on me.

I don’t look back, but I feel him reaching out for me, fingertips at my back, stretching, almost….


I jerked awake with the sound of my own name in my head and my ears, inside and out. Struggling for breath as if I really had been running, it took me a moment to realise that Matt was there, stroking my hair. I must have whimpered in my sleep and he came over to make sure I was all right.

I apologised, but I leant into him when he put an arm around me. He just smiled and shook his head. His warmth was so welcome right then and I was only too happy to share in it, even though I felt like an idiot.

It’s not exactly surprising that we might have nightmares, not after everything that’s happened. What’s surprising is that this was the most vivid one I’ve had in a long time, and there wasn’t a shambler or drop of acid rain in it. I don’t know if that makes me more or less of a mess.

It’s stupid, how these dreams can affect us so badly. I could feel it there, riding under the surface, just waiting for me to slip back under. I could feel those fingers a breath from my back, no matter how hard I strained away from them.

“I don’t want to go back to sleep,” I told Matt. He shrugged and stayed with me, and we talked quietly about nothing while we watched the wood burn down into embers in the firepit.

For that short time, it felt like the time Before. He felt like my old friend, the one who would chatter on at anyone about anything; a comforting susurrus of words that always made me smile. It felt like we were camping, stuck out somewhere with no showers and a sad lack of marshmallows.

I woke up on his shoulder this morning; I don’t remember falling asleep on him. The chaser hadn’t come back.

I told Matt that he must be my lucky teddy bear and he laughed. I haven’t seen him look so honestly amused in a long time; it almost broke my heart.

“I can live with that,” he said.

I think we both can.

Sunday, 21 June 2009 - 11:14 pm

The Seekers’ mouth

It’s hard to keep secrets when we all live in each other’s pockets. It’s hard not to look suspect when you can’t explain what you’re up to. Of all the things I had thought about since we decided to do this celebration, a cover story wasn’t one of them.

The hardest part is not being able to talk to Matt. I’m so used to telling him everything that I feel myself stumble when he’s near. He knows that something is going on but he hasn’t asked me about it yet. I don’t know what I’ll say if he does so I’m staying away from him in the meantime. I’ve never been good at lying, especially to him. He always knows; he gets this wounded, disappointed look on his face and stops asking.

Thorpe’s giving me weird looks as well. It’s so hard to read his stoic grumpiness; he could be annoyed with me, he could be upset, or it could be gas. Of course, asking him reveals little to nothing except an extra effort on his part not to give anything away.

Masterson couldn’t care less what we’re up to, though he’s getting snarky over the fact that Sally is spending time with me. He’s like a hangnail, the sort you’re just dying to chew off because it catches on everything but won’t because it’ll make your hand bleed.

Dillon, on the other hand, is so bored that he’s glad of any attention I can give him. I wind up sitting with him most of the time I’m in the warehouse, making him help me sort out the things that we found on the day’s scavenging. He’s still in a lot of pain and welcomes distractions. He even brushed out Nugget’s snarled hair earlier, with such patience and care that I found myself sitting and watching him when I should have been shifting supplies. He reminded me of a younger Matt; they have the same hands.


The Wolverines are as much trouble as they always are, squabbling over the division of supplies. They defend their space and gear with dark enthusiasm and the rest of the Seekers mostly avoid them. It made me sad at first, until I realised that they were stopping the doctor from getting to Dale.

Dale is pale and sickly from his injuries, not the Sickness. He hasn’t left his blankets since we laid them down; I don’t think he’s been awake much either. When I found out that his companions had prevented Masterson from checking on him, I lost it a little bit.

I told the doctor to come with me and marched over to the poor fella. When Jersey tried to get in my way, I asked him what the hell he thought he was doing. The lad didn’t have the chance to reply – of all the stupid things, stopping a doctor from getting to his patient it right up there with running around in the rain. We might not have much in the way of medical supplies, but we can still make a difference. What did he think we were going to do – kill his friend? Did he really think we’d do that?

Haven’t we lost enough people already? Haven’t they? It was about time they started doing the best thing for survival and making a few compromises, because the way they were carrying on, they wouldn’t last long. We’re all making choices that we don’t want to so that we make it to tomorrow, and it was about time the Wolverines realised that they’re not exempt from that.

Then I noticed I was ranting. Masterson was watching me with a closed expression – maybe just a little smile – and Jersey’s mouth hung open a little. I caught myself, took a breath, and asked the Wolverine to get out of the way.

“Who the hell do you think you are?” he demanded, but he stepped aside anyway.

“I’m the one willing to shout at you so your friend gets help,” I told him.

“She’s the Seekers’ mouth,” Masterson agreed as he stepped calmly past us to Dale’s side. He might pretend not to care, but he still likes to make a difference.

I went to go with him, but Jersey wasn’t finished with me. “He can, but not you. I don’t want you near him.”

I glared at him, furious, and had to remind myself that Dale was the important thing here. So I left them to it and sent Sally to lend the doctor a hand.

The whole incident made me so tense that my arm aches now. The healing gashes cut deep into the muscle and they don’t like to be so wound up. The pain radiates out from my arm to the rest of my body until I find myself gritting my teeth. Then I look at Dillon and know it’s so much worse for him that I don’t complain.


My cracks are showing. I shouldn’t have gone off like that at Jersey, even if he did deserve it. I feel like the slightest thing will make me snap – the wrong look, the wrong word, a question too far. I don’t know how to uncoil myself. I can feel my dream waiting for me when I fall asleep – the footsteps in my head, the reaching fingertips at my back. It feels like something’s coming, something awful.

If I let it catch me, will it really be as bad as I fear?

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Saturday, 4 July 2009 - 5:54 pm


We had a little celebration last night. So much water – we all drank our fill when we found somewhere to stop for the rain. Even the siblings joined in; it’s funny how they’re fitting in with us much easier than the ex-Pride group. No-one has mentioned that we should ask the siblings to leave since the big argument a couple of days ago, despite them getting their strength back, so they’re still here.

Bree and her friends hover on our edges and exchange supplies with us every now and then, but they aren’t part of us.

Then the Wolverines got out a few bottles of liquor and we drank some more. We lit a big fire and got merry. There was even a spate of messy, coat-flapping dancing that collapsed into laughter. I remember my head buzzing and Ben’s arm around me.


I was still floating this morning when I went around to rouse everyone. There were sore heads but plenty of water to ease them with this time.

I was slammed back down to earth when I got to Matt’s offroader (most of us are bedding down in the vehicles at the moment). Thorpe was asleep inside it, and Matt was standing on the other side, getting dressed. I didn’t need a diagram; the truth slapped me in the face. I hurried away before he saw me.

It felt like someone had stabbed me between the ribs and one lung wouldn’t reinflate. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I had no right to be upset, but I was anyway. He was just my friend. I was with Ben. He had every right to sleep with whomever he wanted. I know it’s ridiculous of me to feel this way.

It felt like it had when I found out about Bree and Cody. There was a part of me that wanted to shout, ‘no, he’s mine’. But we’re not like that. We’ve never been like that. I wish someone would tell that to the feeling in my chest. It doesn’t understand.


Ben asked me what was wrong and I told him it was nothing. Then I told him it was the hangover and he smiled and patted me on the shoulder.

I remember kissing Ben last night, before we went off to find our blankets. There was only kissing, though, after we went off; he stopped and I fell asleep. He hasn’t seemed to want more than that. Is it him? Is it me? I have no idea what to think about that.

I’ve hardly seen Matt all day. A part of me thinks that he’s avoiding me, while another points out that I don’t usually pay this much attention to where he is. I haven’t seen him with Thorpe, either – they’ve been conspicuously apart.

I think I’m reading too much into everything and need to stop. I want to walk away from all of them but I can’t bear the thought of doing that, either. I’m bruised all the way through.

I feel like I’m standing on the point of the knife, wavering back and forth. There’s nothing to grab onto for balance. There’s nothing to hold me up. It’s already hollowed me out, but I don’t know what will happen if I fall.

Why does this stuff never make sense?

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Thursday, 6 August 2009 - 9:59 pm

A different voice


Er, this isn’t Faith – it’s Matt. She was sitting there looking miserable, all uplit in blue, and said that I might as well write something because she had no idea what to say any more. If someone’s going to waste battery power, it might as well be me.

Can’t say that I have more of a clue about what to write here, but, well. Here we are.


Okay, I just read over what she wrote about what happened with Ben. I knew she was beating herself up about it, but wow. All I remember is him shouting and coming at me, smacking me in the face (I think I have a loose tooth) and other places. I think Thorpe hit a wall at some point – he has the most spectacular black eye. And then the gun went off and I was checking myself for holes, just in case. Had no idea she could shoot straight. It’s always the quiet ones, huh?

She was right about one thing, though – he did exactly the right thing to make her shoot him. In another time and another place, that’d be called ‘suicide by cop’. Selfish bastard.


Just realised that Faith is probably going to read this. Better keep it clean, then.

So, where are we, I hear you say? Well, Thorpe has the map – or Dale or someone – so I’m not exactly sure. We took a skew to the right today in search of fuel, and I think we’re a couple of days out from the Centre we’re heading for. What that means in geographical terms… like I said, I don’t have the map. We’re over here. That help?

I have Terry and Tia travelling in the car with me, and oh god, you can tell they’re siblings. They bicker all the time. It would be annoying if they weren’t so funny. Terry still thinks his sister is made of glass and Tia’s eyes will pop right out of her head if she rolls them much more. We did, however, manage to get all the way through Bohemian Rhapsody twice, headbanging and all. We had to pause halfway through the second round because Tia thought she’d popped a vein.

Up front, Thorpe is leading the charge. Well, not so much a charge as a controlled slither across slick roads between the lumps of abandoned vehicles. It’s like a long, skinny game of pinball, except you lose points if you hit something. He’s got Dale and Dan Wu with him. I bet Dan is feeling like a third wheel. Not that he would ever say.

Good ol’ Faithy is behind us in the campervan. Dillon is supposed to be lying up in the back, but he keeps insisting on wedging himself in the cab. I think he’s trying to bully Faith out of her moping by sheer concentration of presence. Good luck to him – it might just work. Never know, right?

I’ve tried to talk to Faith a couple of times, but it’s hard to know what to say to her. I feel like what happened was my fault. I got in his way, I let him know that we knew. I couldn’t let him get to her. Failed at that, too. And I think she blames me. I don’t blame her for that – if it wasn’t for me, she wouldn’t have shot him. Oh, shit, there I go again.


Wow. Y’know, I always wondered how Faith did this, tapping away every day. Turns out that once you start, the babble just keeps coming. Better stop now before I get carried away, give you back to the mistress our faithful blogger. It’s been fun!


Friday, 7 August 2009 - 10:32 pm


Hi, me again. Mopey McGloomgloom still isn’t feeling like talking, not even to a battered little laptop, so you’re stuck with me. Can’t let the laptop feel all lonely and neglected, now can we?

Today wasn’t very eventful, but I’ll tell you about it anyway. It took us forever to get into the fuel tanks under the gas station we found, thanks to the ice. We don’t dare melt it – not that we can – and chipping it off is hard work. After what Kostoya told us about the rain, we’re all especially paranoid about getting any of it on us. There was some squealing and jumping around, but no-one got burned.

Then Tia asked what would happen if the rain got into the tanks and we all stared at the gaping hole in the ground we’d made. As if the stupid thing would grow teeth and start biting people. She just had to wait until after we’d got all sweaty opening the damned thing – couldn’t have mentioned it before we’d gone to all that trouble, huh?

Thorpe wasn’t going to listen to that kind of hysteria – he just grabbed the hose and sucked the siphon into motion. He’s good like that. It didn’t melt his mouth – thank god – so I guess it’s okay. The big loon.

A few of us got restless while the tanks were filling, so we went off to look for supplies. More looking through other people’s drawers and cupboards, talking about how on earth any of them found anything and how long has this been here and how the hell are all these spiders were surviving. Well, we found more webs than actual spiders, but why are there always webs? I hate spiders. Faith likes to make fun of me about that. Cow.

I wish she’d made fun of me today.


Most of the day was over before we’d got everything piled back into and on top of the vehicles. Hardly got anywhere before the rain came. We’re snails without the slime.

Still, we were on the road long enough to encounter a single shambler. Haven’t seen any in a while, and there he was, all on his own. Weird. Maybe they’re dying off.

Thorpe hit it with his car, knocked it under his wheels. It was pushing itself up again, so damned persistent, so I went over it too. Not that there was anywhere else to drive. It made the worst noise. Tia said she was going to throw up, but when I asked her if she really wanted to get out of the car, she decided not to.

“Not so much a speedbump as a slowbump,” I told the siblings. They laughed and Terry smacked me on the arm. We all felt better after that. Well, except for my arm.


We’re holed up in a little house for the night and I just saw the cutest thing. It’s my turn on watch, so I’m doing patrols in between bits of blog. Anyway, I was upstairs and stuck my head into one of the bedrooms. Dillon is lying with his healing leg sticking out at an angle, all cuddled in on Faith’s chest with her arms wrapped around him. He’s going to remember that fondly when he’s older. She’s fast asleep, more relaxed than I’ve seen her for so long now – weeks, maybe.

I didn’t check in on the others too closely. Some things I just don’t need to see. Not sure where Dan’s got to – I think he’s upstairs somewhere.

Time to turn the watch over to Terry. Better go kick him.


Sunday, 16 August 2009 - 9:57 pm


Hi, it’s Matt again. Faith finally cried herself to sleep. I opened up the laptop to see what she’d written, but all she had today was the title. I guess the rest is up to me.

I wish it wasn’t bad news.

We knew it was bad when Faith came out of the van this morning. We were digging out the vehicles – one of them was wrecked, but it had protected the others from the worst of the landslide. She looked so strange that we all turned and stared at her. I’ve never seen her so calm before; it was the kind of calm that made me want to go over and shake her, just to see if my Faith was still in there.

“We need to go Dillon’s aunt’s house,” she said. Last night, we had agreed to head back to the university, get the kid to the doctor. We all knew she wouldn’t make such a reversal lightly. “He should be with his family.” She didn’t need to tell us that there wasn’t much time left.

She went back into the van and closed the door, and the rest of us finished up. It wasn’t long before we were on the road.

I haven’t had such a horrible journey before. Thorpe insisted on driving the van and Dale went with him. I wanted to ride with Faith, but there wasn’t room in the back with her and the kid. I couldn’t have done anything anyway, but I wanted to be there. I should have been there. I shouldn’t have left her alone with him.

Something happened about halfway to the house – I’ve never seen Thorpe drive so crazily before. At first I thought it was the ice, or the tyres on the van going. Then I saw Faith moving in the back of the van, rocking back and forth, and I knew. I knew. I have no idea how Thorpe and Dan did it, but somehow they kept going.

We didn’t get a warm welcome when we got to the highset house. We pulled up and piled out, and suddenly there were guns aimed at us. We held our hands out and denied coming to take anything – the people in the house seemed to believe we had come to steal all their food. They wouldn’t listen to us. I heard the guns cocking and thought that, apparently, things can always get worse.

Then the van’s door opened. Faith stepped out with Dillon in her arms, and we all forgot about the guns and the paranoia that might kill us. I don’t know if it was the fall of his arm, or the way his head fell back, or the look on her face, but everyone could see that he was gone. Even those in the house.

I don’t know where she gets her strength from. She’s so thin these days, and I could have sworn I saw her shaking as she walked up to the front of the group, step after heavy step. We moved aside for her and she didn’t falter once. She carried the kid and raised her voice, and I know that he must have been so heavy.

“Mr and Mrs Holt?” I had no idea what Dillon’s last name was until she asked for his parents. I didn’t even know that she knew it. It got their attention. “We were bringing him home. He was protecting us, and… he was so brave. I’m sorry.”

They came out of the house, down the steps and close enough to see his face. There were four or five of them, all carrying rifles. A couple of them started shouting and making demands and threats. His mother howled and buried herself in her husband’s chest. But Faith, she carried on like she couldn’t even hear them.

She told them that Dillon had been with her when the bomb went off. I didn’t know that. They found each other in the rubble and they haven’t been apart since. They’ve looked after each other through this whole nightmare. They went to his home and found the note left for him. That led us here, after all these months. We wanted to bring him home. And we almost made it. He almost got to see them again.

I think the thing that got to me most was the smudge of blood on her jaw. Looking at it, I knew that she had hugged him when she realised he was gone. She had held onto him like that all the way here, I just know it. It’s just the way she is.

When she was finished speaking, she stood there, holding him and waiting. I thought they might let her stay like that until the rain came, but finally one of them stepped forward and took him off her. I think it was Dillon’s father. He took the kid away, back to where his family could cry over him.

Without Dillon, Faith was so lost. I touched her arm and she shrank in, so I wrapped her up. All her strength went with him.

“We have to sing for him,” she said, looking at me to fix it. I glanced at the others, at the new Seekers who haven’t been through this before and didn’t know. Dan looked solemn, standing with his head bowed. The siblings were holding onto each other, Terry trying not to cry as obviously as his sister. Dale had tears streaming down his face and his arms wrapped around himself. Thorpe nodded at me, stony-faced; he’s a stoic bastard, but he got it. Even he wanted to sing for the kid.

So we did. The lyrics were garbled and thick, but we got through it. The Holts stared at us, but a couple of them joined in. It was like they couldn’t help themselves.

When it was done, we went back to the vehicles. No-one wanted us to stay. What were we supposed to say to these people? There wasn’t anything left. They had Dillon and we had nothing but empty hands.

Inside the van, Faith finally broke down and sobbed like she was trying to choke up her whole heart. That time, I wasn’t going to leave her alone back there. I’m not too proud to admit that I cried right along with her. I loved the damn kid too.

Now we’re a few miles down the road, stopped wherever we were when the rain hit. I guess Thorpe and Dan drove; they were the only ones capable, I think.

It’s hard to think about tomorrow. My head is full of Faith standing there, carrying the kid and telling his family how good he was and how much we’re going to miss him. She wasn’t wrong.

She’s sleeping now. I think I’m going to curl up with her; we both need the company right now. Whatever comfort we can get, though it won’t be enough to forget the one we’ve lost.

Good night, kid. I wish it wasn’t goodbye.

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