Sunday, 6 December 2009 - 4:04 pm

Zombie sharks

Hey, it’s Matt here. Filling in for Faith because… I’m not sure why. She’s off with the girls. If something’s wrong, they’re not saying. But she left the laptop behind with me, so here I am, whiling away the time without her.

It’s only in these pauses that I realise how much I’ve grown used to being around her. Since Haven, we’ve been living in each other’s pockets and loving it. With some people, you’d get sick of them being there all the time. We’re still catching up on the time we were apart, and making up for all those chances we missed before we realised how much we should be together. I’m still grateful every time she comes to sit next to me, never mind the moments we get to spend alone.

Without her leaning back against me, I’m at a loss for what to do with myself. My hands have nothing to do. I want to go and find her, but I don’t think that would be a good idea. Whatever’s going on with the girls, they don’t want the rest of us to know. They’ll tell us when they’re ready.

It’s weird if I think about it too much. Her and me. But right, too. I can’t imagine anyone else I’d want to be with, Before or After. And that’s not something I ever thought I’d be the one to say.

She has hardly said anything to me today. I’m fairly sure it’s nothing I’ve done. Oh God, I’m not turning into one of those guys, am I? Faith isn’t a passive-aggressive kind of girl – if I had done something wrong, she’d tell me. I’m sure I’d know if it was anything serious. I think. Ah, crap.


I should probably just talk about what we got up to today and stop thinking about all that. We’re still heading southwards, creeping around the foothills and hugging against the coast. We’re close enough to the sea to smell it – the salt-laden breeze reminds me of holiday trips when I was a kid. Those trips were about as cheerful and fun-filled as this one. I don’t know if it’s just me, but the air feels tainted, as if it’s not just carrying the salt. Could the offshore wind have scooped up some of the poison out of the seawater, too?

There isn’t much point worrying about it. By now, we’ve all breathed in enough to be in trouble, if that’s the case.

I wonder just how poisoned the seawater is. Unlike the river, it doesn’t seem any different just to look at it; the last time we saw the river, it was churned mud-brown with hints of sickly green. The waves on the shore look as turquoise as they always have, though the reflection of the orange sky lends it an odd cast.

In those times we’ve strayed near beaches, I haven’t seen any dead fish washing up. Has the poison already stripped the fish out of this area? I guess the rain would have cleaned up the sand. That’s one good thing about the acid: we don’t have to worry about corpses clogging up the world. They’re washed away under God’s great new hosepipe.

I wonder if there are zombie fish. Zombie sharks – now there’s a terrifying thought. If we were ever likely to get into the water, we certainly won’t now.

I get why Faith can’t call them ‘zombies’; it is ridiculous. The notion of zombie sharks makes me smile, even while I decide that swimming is not in my immediate future. But sharks don’t exactly ‘shamble’ – what would be a good name for them? Floppers? Not exactly less comic, is it?

I’m getting off-topic again. It’s easy at the moment – there’s not a lot to say. We’re making pretty good progress, though a flat tyre slowed us down again today. Nothing really exciting happening.

It’s all small clusters of buildings down here, picturesque once upon a time but reduced to sad collections of walls and roofs by the After. They’re far enough away from the city to have avoided the destruction of the blast wave, but the rain has rubbed away all the green and softness. Even the paintwork is eroding.

We think a group of shamblers must have passed through here: there are doors and windows broken in, sometimes whole walls, where something determined had wanted whatever was inside the buildings. We’ve only seen one thing with that kind of heedless purpose. There’s no sign of them now, though, or anyone else. Maybe the living are just too scared to come out. I wouldn’t blame them, not with how many we are now and the obvious soldiers riding armed among the group.

I’m still not sure that’s a good idea. Faith told me about her sabotage fears. We’re keeping an eye on them, the five of us – Thorpe, Dale, Jersey, Faith and me. We haven’t seen anything untoward yet but we’re keeping an open mind about it anyway. Just in case.

You know, come to think of it, Jersey has been acting strangely lately too. She has been hanging around the soldiers a lot, especially Jonah. I’d think that she was trying to get close to them to find out who was sabotaging us, but she’s not that kind of girl. I’d expect that kind of thing from Bree, not our little transvestite. The thing is, if I’m not mistaken, she has been flirting.

If I’m honest, I’m glad that she has picked Jonah to focus on. Maybe he’ll get together with her. It’s not that I’m jealous or anything – I know there’s no reason for me to feel like that. But I’ve seen the way he is when Faith’s not looking. Unless I’m way off – and I seldom am – he likes her. So yeah, I’d be happy if Jersey managed to distract him, even though I know nothing would ever happen between him and Faith. I’m sure of that. Everyone would be happier.


The girls are coming back from wherever they went. Faith’s smiling and the rest are giggling. Does this mean that everything is all right?

Oh, stop being silly, Matt. Go and ask her. If nothing else, a kiss would be nice.