Thursday, 8 January 2009 - 6:21 pm


It would be so easy to just stay here.  There are a couple of stores here that haven’t been completely stripped of food and water, and there hasn’t been any sign of other people yet.  We could try to make ourselves comfortable, at least until the food ran out.

Good god, we’re locusts.  A very small, ravenous swarm of locusts.

We can’t stay here; we have to keep moving.  Thorpe asked me a few days ago why we’re carrying on to the hospital and pointed at Nugget.  Now there’s Ben too.  It’s not just clinging to the last guidance of a man named Carter; there are real reasons why we’re picking ourselves up and pushing on.

It feels so much better to have it written down.  I’ve been telling myself this stuff all day.  Trying to convince myself that there is more reason to it than ‘any direction is better than none’.  Trying not to feel guilty and selfish because I’m scared that my arm is healing wrong.  Scared that I’m broken and will never be whole again. 

Yes, I want to get to the hospital for my sake, but it’s not just that.  It’s not.


It took us most of the morning to find another vehicle and get it going.  Without Ben to help me, I had to use Thorpe’s hands, and he’s a snappish kind of assistant.  It took all of my patience and lip-biting not to snap back.  I’m starting to get the hang of releasing steering locks, even with one hand. 

We managed to find an old van and emptied out the plumbing tools so that the injured could be laid out in the back.  There was barely enough room in the street to get up the momentum to start it, and the engine sounds like it’s held together with chewing gum and bits of string, but it did start.

It was slow going – the streets here are as bad as the ones on the north side of the river, all abandoned cars and debris.  It’s hard to tell how much progress we made; the distances on the map are very small.  At this rate I think it’ll be another day or two before we reach our target.


We still haven’t seen much in the way of people around here.  It feels strange, like the whole area is holding its breath and waiting for us to pass.  It’s a relief; the last time we saw people on the south side, they were beating each other with sticks.  And our last encounter with people was hardly cordial.

I keep looking at the cracked windows for faces.  The hairs on the back of my neck are convinced that they’re there, that they resolve when we’re not looking.  I don’t believe in ghosts or spirits, I don’t believe in hauntings.  But this empty shell of a place feels like it’s awake and watching us.  It doesn’t feel empty at all.


If it hadn’t been for the rain, I would have slept in the van rather than in one of those unoccupied not-empty buildings.  But none of us wanted to risk the rain, so we crept into an old café missing its entire frontage.  It was deep enough to shelter from the acid water and the rear doors could be blocked up, and that was all we needed.

I don’t know how I’m ever going to sleep.  I’m sure that the building across from us has eyes in it.