Saturday, 8 August 2009 - 8:17 pm

One foot forward

I knew that letting Matt write posts was dangerous. Trust him to start calling me names. Feels like the first time I’ve smiled in weeks. Bastard.

It was nice to have a break from trying to put the mess in my head into words. I found myself staring at a blank screen, cursor blinking expectantly, keys wearing themselves faceless under my fingertips. There was too much stretched thin in me to be able to unravel any of it without breaking. Taking some time away from posting helped.

I thought it would be harder to go forward than it was. But after all the farewells, I got into the campervan, put it into gear and then we were moving. I followed the car in front and left the university behind. Put my shoulder to obstacles when I needed to. Moving onward feels like it should be harder than just walking, one foot in front of the other. But it’s not.

I’d be lying if I said that it was easy. Parts of the things I’m trying to leave behind are following me. I wake up and look over, expecting to see one face next me and finding another. The worst part is that it’s a relief to realise it’s Dillon. I’m relieved that the nightmare with Ben isn’t still happening, and that makes me feel wretched. I’m not glad he’s dead, or that I had to make him that way. But it’s over. At least it’s over.


So. Moving onward. Our little group feels strange, and not only because of what happened at the university. It’s hard to look them all in the eye, especially those who have been with me for months. Those who know me, those who might have thought I’d never do something like that. Like the girl in the mirror. She doesn’t know what to think of me, and I have no idea what anyone else thinks, either.

It’s also strange because there are strangers with us – so many people to get to know. I hadn’t realised how comfortable I had become with the old group. The siblings are a funny pair, and Dale is speaking up more now that he’s one of the group. Dan is keeping to himself as much as ever, but we’re hearing his voice more often too. He has an accent that I can’t place.

There’s no talk of Wolverines, or Runners, or outsiders any more. Just Seekers and where we’re heading next. That’s good, I think.


Speaking of which, that looks like it’s not going to be as easy as we thought. The Emergency Coordination Centre is on a mountain, up a winding series of roads that used to be crowded over by trees and bushes. Now, the slopes are scorched, the trees worn down to nubs by so many months of acid, and the twist-back roads will be slick with ice.

There won’t be any shelter up there, apart from a few rare houses and the ECC itself. For safety, we’ll have to take the vehicles all the way up (and down again). For safety, we’ll have to take as much food and water as possible.

We reached the foothills today, where the suburbs dribble out into farmlands. Nothing grows in the fields any more, no crops or grass or grazers. There’s just dirt, hard and dark under the rime of ice. We’ve paused here by a convenience store to take stock and gather whatever we can get our hands on. The store itself was looted – fairly recently, judging by the disturbed dust – which is both good and bad. On one hand, it’s a sign of other survivors; on the other, it means less supplies for us.

Tomorrow, we’ll scour the nearby houses for anything we can get. Then we’ll set off up those winding roads and see where they take us.

There’s a snake in my belly, stirring. I’m afraid of what we’ll find up there, and hopeful too. A part of me thinks that the hope is what scares me most.

We won’t turn back, though. There’s too much to move forward for, and too little left behind. One step after another, one painstaking mile under our tyres after another.

We’re on our way.